Wait…aren’t those outfits BIDAT?! This union is doomed
It is sad but true that there are numerous idiotic and deluded Muslims, including some well known Dawah carriers and scholars, who hold to the idea that there is a ‘superiority’ of Arabs in Islam, an idiotic deduction that they made from the rules of compatibility in marriage laid down as a recommendation by some traditional scholars. Sadly, these ideas are very common within the Salafi/Wahhabi and Deobandi communities (which have a large overlap anyway). Frankly, this kind of error is to be chastised in the harshest way and is unforgivable of a person or group that claims to follow Islam, the only religion to not only take on racism but even colour bias within races.
So here is a humorous but harsh reply to those Deobandis who hold to the rules of ‘compatibility’ and the statements in their books that a non- Arab can ‘never’ be a match for an Arab (sheesh). It is taken mainly from the evidence provided in the book ‘The Social System In Islam by Taqiuddin An Nabhani (which I recommend highly).
Many people have been asking me about the whereabouts of Sheikh Rehan lately. As you may know, like his Deobandi colleges in the U.K, Sheikh Rehan started going around mosques in the U.K preaching after he was give ‘Permission to Teach’ by another Sheikh you have never heard of from some place in India you have never been. People were really impressed with his large beard and white turban and flowing robes and he became a fixture in mosques although he has no qualifications you can verify at all. He was particularly known for the intensity of his effort to the sisters, especially the good looking and light – skinned ones and his encouragement to them to ‘fear Allah’ and to ‘marry for the Deen’ (i.e. himself).
We in the Deobandi establishment, along with our Wahhabi friends have felt him to be a great Sheikh and well suited to our purposes. Imagine our shock then when we read the following reply from the Sheikh posted on-line on the issue of matching in marriage. As anyone of us knows, this is a very important subject and it is clear from books like Behishti Zewar by Ashraf Ali Thanvi that ‘compatibility’ or ‘kafa’ is certainly a part of Islam. Our Salafist brothers agree whole heartedly with the statements found in that book, such as that a non – Arab can never be a match for an Arab in marriage even if he/she is a great scholar or noble. We and our Arab masters, er sorry, I meant brothers, are united in this because we are on the Deen ul Haq and we go so far as to say that such a marriage can be annulled by the wali or the judge. I mean for God’s sake, everyone knows that Arabs are a master race and if they do choose to marry one of us lower animals it is an act of great charity which should be scrutinised in the closes terms.
We truly hope Sheikh Rehan is not responsible for the below deviation and is till on the ‘straight path’ of Deoband.
Sheikh Rehan wrote;
‘There is absolutely no Islamic basis for the idea of ‘compatibility’ in marriage. It is not mentioned at all except in fabricated Hadith and is contradicted by authentic hadith and the Nobel Quraan. Every Muslim man is a match for a Muslim woman and vice versa. The son of a Philippino bin man from Manilla is a match for the daughter of the Amir – Ul Mumineen:
The Quraan clearly says;
‘Verily the most honourable of you with Allah is that who has more Taqwa’ (Al – Hujurat 13)
I don’t even know how anyone could mess this topic up to start with, especially when the Prophet (SAW) himself married his own cousin, Zaynab bin Jahsh (ra) to a FREED SLAVE, Zaid bin Haritha (ra), so according to these guys this is ‘never a match’, so why did he do it? Even though Zaynab’s father and brother protested on the grounds of her status and that it was considered a great shame for the daughter of Arab nobility to marry a freed slave?In fact authentic (i.e not Deobandi or Salafist) scholars say that the Prophet insisted on the marriage because he wanted these traditions which existed solely on the basis of tribalism to be erased and for Arabs to understand that they have no superiority over non Arabs. Would our Deobandi scholars have had the marriage made by the Prophet ANNULED on their grounds of ‘compatibility’? Let them answer if they have mouths!
Further, there is a clear hadith narrated by Abdullah Bin Burayda (ra) from his father that a young girl came to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and said;
‘My father married me off to his nephew in order to raise his lowly status’. So the Prophet (SAW) gave her the right to repudiate the marriage. She responded: ‘I accept what my father has done, but I wanted to inform the (other) women that fathers do not have the authority to give their daughters in marriage against their wishes’
This means that the father gave her in marriage against her wishes, because she did not consider him suitable for her, not because he was not a match for her as the Deobandis will argue, indeed, he was her cousin. Also, Deobandis and
Salafists go against this Hadith by allowing a man to marry off his virgin daughter without her consent. But that’s another story.
To further lay the smack down on the Deobandis, Abu Hatim al Muzani reports that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
‘When someone whose character and morals are agreeable to you approaches you for marriage give your daughter to him in marriage. IF YOU DO NOT THEN THERE WILL BE TRIBULATION AND IMMENSE CORRUPTION IN THE EARTH’. They said ‘O messenger of Allah (SAW), even if he has some deficiency?’ He replied: ‘When someone whose character and morals are agreeable to you approaches you for marriage give your daughter to him in marriage’. He said this THREE TIMES.
But three times was clearly not enough for the Arabists and the Deobandis! They still didn’t get it! Notice that the Prophet (SAW) did not say ‘when someone whose race or lineage is agreeable to you’. Also, Abu Hurayra narrates a version of this Hadith as well as other lines of transmission. But that still isn’t enough for them!
However, the Deobandis and Arab racists do try to narrate some ‘evidence’ for their stance, I will now examine this to shame them up properly so that they can’t try to make a comeback; they narrate from Ibn Umar that the Prophet (SAW) said;
‘The Arabs are equal to each other, a tribe to a tribe, a family to a family and a man to a man except a tailor or a clipper’
This hadith is a lie and is rejected, Ibn Abu Hatim said ‘I asked my father about this and he replied; ‘it is rejected’. Ibn Abdel Birr said this hadith is FABRICATED.
They further try to use what Al Bazzar has recorded of the Hadith of Mu’adh:
‘The Arabs are a match to each other and the freedman (non – Arab patrons) are a match to each other’, This hadith has a weak chain of narration, but that won’t stop the Deobandis using it!
Further, people like to use what has been reported from the Prophet (SAW);
‘Do not marry women except those that are your match and do not marry them to men except those who are friends’.
However, this Hadith is classified as ‘daif’ weak and in any case mentions nothing about race or lineage anyway! HAHAHAAHAH! They are so dumb they can’t even prove their case with weak or fabricated Hadith!
An in any case, any evidence has to to reconciled, and there is no way that the stipulation of matching as found in Salafist and Deobandi manuals does not contradict the clear statement of the Prophet (SAW):
‘No Arab is better than a Non – Arab, except in Taqwa’
So there is NO FIELD OF ACTIVITY OR LIFE, apart from taqwa, where an Arab can be better than a non – Arab, that explicitly means, lineage and culture or any other criteria of matching they would like to bring up, status etc.
And their ‘rules of compatibility’ also goes against what Allah tells us blatantly in the Quraan.
So what is important for people who follow these scholars or groups who promote these ideas of matching and compatibility is why did people come up with this stuff on such scant evidence when it clearly contradicts authentic narrations and even the Quraan?
Why did they choose to follow it? What is their REAL agenda? One is a fool if one does not ask such questions in light of the evidence.
As for the Arabs, they seem to have no problems finding white, non – Muslim women ‘compatible’ for themselves, the rules only seem to come in to play if a non – Arab man wants to marry an Arab woman, then everyone is up in arms.
I have no doubt that scholars such as Imam Shafi, who is sometimes quoted, did come up with advice about what type of women or men one should marry, but this can’t be taken out of context. For example, when the Muslims were in ascendancy, they would go to many foreign lands with money and prestige and the local women would want to marry them, much like white men are considered desirable in any part of the world today. Arab or Muslim men may marry foreigners and find their customs and manners strange. They would then divorce these women and they would be left alone without a man and their Iman in danger…Oh hang on, isn’t this still happening today?! Arab men marry European and Oriental women, have their fun, ditch them and go off and marry a woman of good Arab lineage (while keeping a few South-East Asian or African concubines of course). Meanwhile, the poor woman is left in the lurch nurturing a hatred for Islam…
Of course, it’s obvious that we need some kind of idea about how couples should be matched up (one I would suggest is don’t marry your daughter to most modern day Arabs for a starter) but there is no Sharia basis for this and it is prohibited and haraam to do this on the basis of race or nationality as this is unambiguous racism and thus tribalism, which has been extensively critiqued by The Prophet (SAW) and GOD.
One would hope that would have be enough for the Scholars…’
Are you suggesting that classical scholars that held to the foundations of kafa’a, and the uuperiority of Arabs in marriage were mistaken? (This list includes , unambiguosly, ash Shafi’i, an Nawawi, al Mawsili, and many others).
Be interested to hear your thoughts, because this issue is not just a Deobandi fabrication, nor is it merely based upon the ahadith and scenarios you have quoted.
Many thanks for reading. Let me take this opportunity to say that I have benefited greatly from your debates, for example your exchanges with James White were very helpful indeed for me.
This article was meant as darkly (attempted) humorous riff on scholars in the U.K, particularly of a Deobandi background and the authoritarian way in which they present issues such as kafa’a to their congregations. People find these things hard to digest but more so due to the way they present them and the lack of knowledge which they sometimes show when questioned a bit more deeply.
Of course you are absolutely right that the issue is found in Madhabs and the sources you said. This article was lifted practically wholesale from Taqiuddin An Nabhanis invective against Kafa’a in ‘The Social System Of Islam’ and he found it necessary to criticise the use of those Hadith. I have not seen my Deobandi teachers use them to defend the practice to be honest, but then, they present no evidence whatsoever most of the time and make this a ‘taqleed’ issue.
So I am not saying it does not exist in the Madhabs, since as you rightly mention it most certainly does. Rather I am trying to undermine the way in which it is used – i.e to assert the superiority of the ESSENCE of Arabs (as per Ibn Quyyam and Ibn Taymiyya). These guys went WAY too far with this stuff and even started arguing in the case of the former that Arabs were superior ‘in their essence’, irrespective of The Prophet (SAW), whereas the issue of compatibility in marriage, in at least the Hanafi Madhab is an issue of concession to adat and in fact is almost a condemnation of the Arabs who found it embarrassing to marry their daughter to a non-Arab and stirred up trouble between the couple. The other issue is that of Muslim men marrying women from outside their culture or even religion and then divorcing them with the excuse that they could not put up with her ‘habits’, so it makes sense for madhabs to try and tackle this ‘compatibility’ a priori as these types of relationships used to (and still do in England) leave women embittered and children to be raised in a household that may be hostile to Islam. But one does not hear of this side of the Kafa’a argument.
Rather, in books like Behishti Zewar by Ashraf Ali Thanwi, they compound the problem by drawing up lists of compatibility, including going so far as to say that a convert cannot be ‘equal’ to a born Muslim etc, which again, causes a lot of grief in London, despite being Hanafis, they do not refer to the authentic Hanafi books and take the work of very latter day non-entities as sacrosanct. Further, in the Hanafi madhab, all non-Arabs (that includes Egyptians etc.) are a match for each other and equal in terms of marriage, but Deobandis are occultly practicing a kind of caste system in marriage, so they abuse kafa’a to this end and ignore the fact that all Non-Arabs are equal to each other in terms of marriage and the explicit references that in Hanafi madhab the kafa’a has nothing to do with actual superiority but with the fact that the complete freedom to choose her mate given to the woman in the Hanafi madhab (even without her walis permission) is counterbalanced with the concession to the father’s being slighted at her marrying someone who other Arabs will make fun of him for.
Also, Thanvi explicitly states in his book that ‘A non-Arab can never be a match for an Arab even if he is a great scholar’ whereas the Hanafi madhab actually says that he is in fact greater (in social rank). So they totally abuse this concept and don’t even follow it properly.
Also, IMHO, in the U.K, exogamy is the norm amongst Middle Eastern men (but not yet women) so I find it a bit laughable that they insist on this kafa’a stuff when it comes to their daughters (as do Deobandis from both sides of the boarder).
I probably have not articulated myself very well, but I did organise a talk on this in my locality as this issue caused a lot of problems. The guy giving it understands this stuff a loot better than me so it is most useful for explaining the use (and abuse) of the concept of kafa’a:
JazakAllah khayr. Your kind words are much appreciated and I enjoy this blog, which I have only recently discovered.
I haven’t read an Nabhani’s analysis of kafa’a, so I can’t really comment on it.
Given what you have elaborated upon above, I more or less agree with you. I think that kafa’a is a misunderstood and incorrectly applied principle, by and large. Having said that, basically every second point of fiqh falls under such a distinction, sadly.
MashaAllah, love the blog. Keep it up!
Many thanks indeed!
And you are absolutely right: unfortunately, at least in England, misapplying Kafa’a has been elevated to a fine art-form and even British born Muslims are heavily ‘into it’!