Muslim? Confused? Finally, Some REAL Help Arrives…

A few weeks ago I was sent a preview copy of a book which I was to soon discover could be as crucial to Muslims in the West as Gai Eatons’ ‘Islam and the Destiny of Man’ or Jeffrey Lang’s ‘Losing My Religion’. The reason was the same as for those two essential works: it actually addresses, in a cogent and frank way, the main causes of Muslim and non – Muslim doubts about truth of Islam. And it provides answers – but not the easy populist and frequently falsifiable ones that Muslims have hitherto had to be contented with.

Under the deceptively bland title of ‘Hanafi Principles of Testing Hadith‘, the authors have produced a wide ranging exploration into the truth of Islam and more fundamentally, how we know anything is true. Both a survey of controversies and sectarianism in modern and classical Islam as well as a dissection of those issues and hadith which cause consternation to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, it answers with great honesty and effectiveness the kinds of questions I receive on this site daily. Furthermore, it does so from a place of authenticity within Islam (the references are worth the asking price alone).

Taking in everything from wife beating through divinely sanctioned violence and slavery to comparative religion, the book is frighteningly ambitious and yet succeeds wonderfully.

The authors’ re-examination of the issue of apostasy killing is certain to infuriate many Muslims and Islamophobes in equal measure – no bad thing given how politicised this issue has become, with both sides disregarding theology and using it dishonestly as a means of gaining popularity amongst their cohorts.

I have been aware of and impressed by Avicenna Academies’ work for some time now and have often featured it on this site (their ‘Avicenna Answers’ website is one of the best Islamic resources on the web, though admittedly, that is not saying much) but I must admit, I had no idea they were capable of such a wide reaching treatment of what ails modern Muslims. After much pleading, they have allowed me to include an excerpts from the book before it goes on sale this week.

I always tell readers who have doubts about Islam to consult Lang’s essential ‘Losing My Religion’, but with the imminent release of this work I will have to direct them to this masterpiece: I can honestly say it will come to be seen, if not in the authors lifetime, then eventually, as one of the most important works ever produced about Islam in the English language.



About the Book

In Islam there are many sources of religion, three of them are agreed upon by all groups of Sunni Muslims. In order of priority they are Quran (القران), Hadith (الحديث) and Ijma’a (الإجماع). This book will deal with the thousands of hadith that form part of the Islamic tradition.

Hanafi Principles of Testing Hadith is a manual which explains the methodology of the traditional Islamic Hanafi School towards hadith. There are thousands of hadith; the concern of both the scholar and the layman is what their approach should be to these narrations. We know some hadith are accepted into theology or belief, and thus they need to fulfil the highest criteria of validity. Other hadith are accepted into law and everyday practice, but for these the burden of proof required is less than in issues of theology – yet they still require strong evidence in favour of their authenticity, especially when they can result in rulings about legal punishments (and especially capital punishment). Yet others are examples of how to follow the Prophetic tradition or words of wisdom, and consequently the degree of verifiability required for these is much lower. We also have some hadith which are completely rejected based on a variety of principles which are discussed in detail in the manual. Therefore, succinct principles to be used in the application of hadith are of the utmost importance. These principles were established by great Scholars from the early period of the development of Islamic theology and jurisprudence such as Imam Abu Hanifa (d. 767/148 AH), Imam Malik (d. 795/179 AH) and Imam Shafi’i (d. 820/204 AH).

Despite the modern day epistemic confusion when it comes to hadith, these principles were in fact strictly followed by Imam Abu Hanifa and the early Hanafis.

322 Pages (with Index, tables, diagrams and some Arabic text), Hardback/Dust jacket

Price £15

Order here:

Another brief review:

‘I’m going to go all out here and say that I think this is one of the best books in the English language on Islam period, whether for Muslims or non-Muslims. I seriously rank it up there with the works of Gai Eaton or Jeffrey Lang. The reason is not because of literary merit (it is written in a simple, unpretentious style) but rather because it addresses, under it’s rather misleading title, those exact issues which cause people to have serious doubts about Islam, both from within and without the faith.

This is the first book I have seen which basically systematically tackles all of the controversial hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), not only on a case by case basis but also in PRINCIPLE, so you can generalise the authors’ approach, which they identify with that of traditional Islam, to other purported narrations from the Prophet Muhammad. Further, it does so in an honest way rather than bending over backwards with hard-to-swallow apologetics just because the narrations are in the canonical collections such as ‘Sahih Al Bukhari’.

For example, the narration in ‘Bukhari’ that there is no capital punishment for murdering non-Muslims in cold blood. Though it is in a canonical collection, Muslim scholars to a ‘T’ rejected it and considered it a forgery. But it was happily brought back by puritanical and violent movements in Islam, most recently ISIS. But people trying to appear ‘authentic’ today from within the Muslim community as well as Islamophobes refuse to deny this narration as the earlier generations did. Furthermore, when they do make excuses for it, they never say that Scholars such as Bukhari erred by including it and others like it. This leaves Muslims confused and vulnerable.

The authors approach empowers readers to tackle these narrations and for added measure they show without a shadow of a doubt that the narration was rejected by Muslim communities of the past, providing extensive references. They also tackle controversial issues such as warfare, apostasy killing, dress codes, gender segregation etc. They stubbornly refuse to ‘play to the gallery’, whether that is Muslims or secular folk.

It really does not spare the rod for Muslims or Islamophobes and is a really beautiful example of honesty and critical inquiry. Most of the time, Muslims and others have to put up with Evangelical style posturing and half (or non-truths) about controversial hadiths from Salafo-Wahhabi or other groups with an ‘angle’. This leaves them with doubts and at the end of the day, the arguments are weak and are clearly of a ‘no retreat, no surrender’ sort, with most popular Muslim groups being totally unwilling to ‘reject’ a hadith from ‘canonical’ collections, even if these were not accepted by Islamic scholars and the Companions of the prophet. This obsession with cheap arguments, spurious hadith and puritanism (often to appeal to Saudi or Gulf funding) is causing many to leave Islam and many others to not consider it seriously in the first place.

The authors write from the earliest Hanafi texts (a school of jurisprudence which is the earliest and still most followed in Islam) and remove the puritanical and modernist accretions from the faith and leave an easy to follow and understand religion. I was very impressed with the breadth of their knowledge in both Islam, comparative religion, philosophy and other disciplines.

There are about 60 pages of references, many from hard to find books, lots of tables and illustrations to aid understanding and an extensive glossary. It’s just not like the myopic, sectarian and generally un-academic works Muslims have had to put up with in English from the so-called Islamic ‘Scholars’. The author’s voice is articulate, sincere and comes across as genuinely concerned for humanity and the future of religion in general, not just Islam.

In summary, I would recommend this to anyone who has doubts about Islam (from any background).’


Arabic Transliteration Key 1

Prologue 2

A Short Biography Of Imam Abu Hanifa 6

Introduction 10

Part I – The Connected Chain 15

Types of Sunnah 16

Verbal Sunnah 20

How the Narrations Are Connected [To the Prophet] 23

Mutawatir [Mass Narration] 24

Mashhūr [Famous Narrations] 29

Aĥad [The Statement of One Person] 34

The Ruling on Aĥad [Narrations] 40

Rulings on the Rejection of Aĥad 45

The Categories of the Narrators of Aĥad 49

The Known Narrators 53

The Unknown Narrators 60

Summary 68

The Brief Specifications For A Narrator 70

Intellect 73

Memory 76

Righteousness 82

Islam 86

Maturity 90

Freed from Innovation 93

Part II – The Disconnected Chain 96

Categories of Disconnection 97

The Ruling 102

Implicit Disconnection 107

Disconnection Due to Opposing [A Stronger Proof of Islam] 109

The Reasons for Comparing Aĥad to the rest of the Religion 111

Types of Opposing 115

Disconnection Due to a Defect in the Narrator 128

The Ruling 131

Part III – The Subject of the Narration 136

The Subject of the Narration 137

The Ruling 138

Part IV – Types of Sunnah 144

About the Narration 145

Types of Narration 147

Rulings Pertaining to the Conditions of the Receiver 149

Initial Condition (Azīmah) In Listening 150

Replacement (Rukhsah) In Narrating 156

Writing the Hadith 163

Issues Pertaining to the Narrator 167

Condition for Narrating Hadith Literally or by Meaning 169

Types of Sunnah in Terms of their Meaning 171

The Ruling 173

Types of Narrations and their Strength 178

Part V – Criticism of Narrations 181

Criticisms from the Narrator 182

The Ruling 183

Criticism from Other than the Narrator 189

Criticism from the Companions (Ŝaĥabah) 190

Criticism from the Scholars of Hadith 193

Explained Criticism 196

Types of Accepted Defect 198

Types of Agreed Criticism 201

Ruling on the Types of Criticism of the Narrator 202

Reasons Which Are Not Valid Defects 203

[Miscellaneous] Issues 207

Part VI – Sunnah of Action and Tacit Approval 209

Sunnah of Action 210

Ruling on Following the Four Types 215

Tacit Approval 221

Practical Application of the Hanafi Hadith Methodology 223

Apostasy 226

Niqaab [Face Veil] 232

Black Magic 237

Advice about Excessive Involvement in Hadith 243

Conclusion 248

Glossary 251

Index 262

Bibliography 265





There are many purported sources of the Islamic religion, three of which are agreed upon by all the groups of Sunni Muslims. They are, in order of priority, the Quran, the Hadith (which report the actions, statements and tacit approval of the Prophet (r)) and Ijmāʿ (consensus). This book deals with the many thousands of hadith which form a part of the Islamic tradition. Are all these Hadith accepted? If not, then which ones are rejected? And why?

The principles of categorising and using hadith were set up by the two major schools of jurisprudential thought – the Hanafis and Shafi’is. Their respective principles of hadith result in the theology and jurisprudence of that particular school.

During the past eight hundred years, Shafi’i principles of hadith (‘Muŝŧalaĥ‘) have become very well-known, to the point where they were even adopted by most Hanafis. In contemporary times, nearly all Islamic institutes tend to teach Shafi’i hadith methodology. This has had the unfortunate result of confusion for Hanafis, since the principles of hadith they were learning are not congruent with the Hanafi jurisprudence they follow. A great deal of cognitive dissonance results.

For instance, consider the hadith about black magic affecting the Prophet Muhammad (r), reportedly narrated by Aisha (y) in ‘Sahih al-Bukhari’, a book which is considered by many Muslims in current times as being second only to the Quran itself. After being affected by said black magic, “The Prophet (r) continued for such-and-such time imagining that he had slept [had sexual relations] with his wives, when in fact he had not….”[i] In a second narration concerning the same event, also found in Sahih al-Bukhari, it is stated that “Once the Prophet (r) was bewitched, so that he began to imagine that he had done a thing when in fact, he had not done


it.” These hadith highlight quite a few important issues. Firstly, the mind of the Prophet (r) supposedly being affected to such an extent that he was imagining or hallucinating events occurring and not aware of what was happening around him. This could bring the entire religion of Islam into question. For instance, were parts of the Quran revealed during this time? Could parts of the Quran have been missed by the Prophet (r) due to him allegedly losing control of his mind? Are there then errors in the Quran as the Prophet (r) did not have control? The main role of any Prophet is to convey the message of God, and if there is a possibility of distortion in the message at the very point at which it is being revealed, it seemingly renders the entire process worthless. A message that can, even in theory, be distorted or contain significant errors cannot be trusted and therefore it can be argued that the entire religion cannot be trusted.

Ibn Hajar Asqalani (d. 1449/852 AH) is a famous pioneer of the Shafi’i Muŝŧalaĥ of hadith. He is also one of the main reasons for ‘Sahih al-Bukhari’ currently holding the position of the second most valued book in Islam. His commentary on Bukhari’s collection is considered the most authoritative amongst all of the scholars of hadith. But in this commentary he not only accepts this hadith, he compounds the problem by stating that the hadith was ‘only rejected by heretics’. [ii] Thus according to Ibn Hajar at least, rejecting this hadith results in a person leaving the parameters of Sunni Islam.

Qadi Iyaad (d. 1149/543 AH), a Maliki scholar, who is renowned for writing one of the best biographies of the Prophet (r), also tried to address this issue and explains that he believes that the magic did not affect the mind of the Prophet (r) but rather his body, which resulted in the Prophet (r) suffering from sexual impotence.[iii] This statement of Qadi Iyaad also highlights serious issues. From the outset, to speak about the Prophet (r) in this manner is highly unbecoming. Also, from whom was this information taken? Which of the wives of the Prophet (r) informed the people of the physical problems facing her husband? Is this not an


insult to the wives of the Prophet (r)? In fact, none of them did and this whole story is only a conjecture of the scholars!

The Hanafis on the other hand do not try to give their ‘own’ interpretation to this hadith and instead reject it outright based on their classical principles. The first question that arises is what are the effects of black magic? Imam Baidawi, a Hanafi scholar from the thirteenth century, explains in his Tafsīr (interpretation of the Quran) that someone affected by such magic loses his ”Aql” (brain and mind).[iv] This would bring the message of Islam into disrepute as the mind of the Prophet (r) has been compromised.

But the primary problem with this hadith is that it directly contradicts the text of the Quran: “We are most knowing of how they listen to it, when they listen to you, and when they are in private conversation, the wrongdoers say, “You follow none but a man affected by magic.”[v] According to God, the people who said the Prophet (r) was a man affected by magic were wrongdoers or oppressors (‘žālimīn’). Imam Abu Mansur al-Māturidī (d. 944/333 AH), a renowned scholar from the fourth Islamic century and the founder of Māturidī ʿAqīda (theological School), denied the notion that the Prophet (r) was affected by black magic at all and rejected this hadith. He also said the reason for the revelation (Asbāb al-Nuzūl) of ‘Surah Al-Falaq’ (The Daybreak) and ‘Surah Al-Naas’ (Mankind), which are two portions of the Quran which some claim refer to the Prophet (r) being affected by magical forces, was not as a result of magic at all but instead he emphasised that the two chapters were revealed whilst the Prophet (r) was merely on a journey.[vi] Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas al-Razi al-Hanafi was a prominent Hanafi jurist from the fourth century, one of the most respected scholars in the field of Uŝūl (epistemic principles), and the grand-teacher of Abul Hasan al Quduri, who wrote the most famous and most commonly used primer in Hanafi jurisprudence, ‘Mukhtasar al-Quduri’. He not only rejected this hadith but stated “the ignorant of the Hashawis (anthropomorphists, those who believe that God is a form or body bound by space) narrated this hadith without knowing it was fabricated.”[vii] These strong statements of the Hanafi scholars demonstrate the philosophy of the school concerning certain types of hadith. As we can see, the issues at stake are of crucial importance for both Islamic theology and comparative religious studies.

This is the first book which contains the traditional Hanafi principles of hadith, with an English translation and commentary in one volume. It is recommended to readers of all backgrounds who interact with hadith, but especially those who have read hadith and are left confused because they seemingly defy logic, ethics, or clash with the principles of the Islamic religion.


This book is a manual which explains the methodology of the traditional Islamic Hanafi School towards hadith. There are thousands of hadith; the concern of both the scholar and the layman is what their approach should be to these narrations. We know that some of these hadith are accepted into theology or belief, and thus need to fulfil the highest criteria of proof. Other hadith are accepted into law and everyday practice, but for these the burden of proof required is less than in issues of theology – yet they still require strong evidence in favour of their authenticity, especially when they can result in rulings about legal punishments (and especially capital punishment). Yet others are examples of how to follow the Prophetic tradition or words of wisdom, and consequently the degree of verifiability required for these is much lower. We also have some hadith which are completely rejected based on a variety of principles which will be discussed later in the manual. Therefore, succinct principles to be used in the application of hadith are of the utmost importance. These principles were established by great Scholars from the early period of the development of Islamic theology and jurisprudence such as Imam Abu Hanifa (d. 767/148 AH), Imam Malik (d. 795/179 AH) and Imam Shafi’i (d. 820/204 AH).

Despite todays’ epistemic confusion amongst Muslims when it comes to hadith, these principles were in fact strictly followed by Imam Abu Hanifa and the early Hanafis. An example is the following hadith found in the collection of Bukhari: “When two people engage in a transaction, each of them has the right to choose to annul it as long as they haven’t parted and are still together…”[1] Imam Abu Hanifa took issue with the hadith stating that the transaction is not complete until the participants separate.


Ibrahim bin Bashar (d. 844/230 AH) claims that Sufyan ibn Uyaynah (d. 815/200 AH) said; “Imam Abu Hanifa used to reject the hadith of Prophet (r), and he gave some examples”. Regarding the above hadith Imam Abu Hanifa said; “what happens if the both of them are on a boat, how are they able to separate?”[2] In another statement relayed by Bishr bin Mufaddal about the same hadith, Imam Abu Hanifa said “this is poetry”, meaning that this hadith is a fabrication. Bishr bin Mufaddal then narrated another hadith to Imam Abu Hanifa which is also found in Bukhari; “Qatadah narrated from Anas that a Jewish man fractured the skull of a woman by assaulting her with two rocks, so the Prophet (r) fractured the man’s skull with two rocks as well.”[3] Imam Abu Hanifa said this hadith was a ‘delusion’.[4]

Imam Abu Hanifa was not rejecting the words of the Prophet (r) but rather was denying that these words came from the Prophet (r) in the first place. This distinction is very important when trying to understand the methodology of the Hanafis.

As stated at the outset, this is the first book in the modern era which contains the science of hadith based solely on the principles of the Hanafi school of thought. Across the globe, people are taught Shafi’i Muŝŧalaĥ, which is in some instances taught in tandem with the Hanafi Muŝŧalaĥ, leaving the student or lay individual confused.

Hanafi Muŝŧalaĥ, Māturidī ʿAqīda, Hanafi Uŝūl and Hanafi Fiqh are all cogs in the same machine. Their principles are interconnected and there should never be a situation when there is any conflict between them. Hanafi Uŝūl are the principles used to derive rulings based on the primary sources, which are the Quran and Sunnah. This subject also develops rulings that are based on scholarly consensus (Ijmāʿ), and the application of analogical reasoning (Qiyyās) in order to derive legal precedent. Qiyyās is used when matters are not mentioned specifically in the primary sources but have some similarity to issues which are found therein. Hanafi Muŝŧalaĥ is in fact a branch of Hanafi Uŝūl which deals solely with the principles of verifying hadith. Once these principles are applied, the results form a part of


Hanafi theology which is commonly known as ‘Māturidī ʿAqīda’ (one of the two great subdivisions of Sunni theology, with the other being Ashʿarīsm), as well as Hanafi Fiqh, which are foundational legal principles and maxims.

An example may help illustrate this point. Take the hadith in the collection of Abu Dawood where Abu Zahr (y) is lying on his chest, and the Prophet (r) reportedly said “Don’t lie on your chest, as the people of Hell will be doing this.”[5]

The later Māturidīs were heavily influenced by the principles of the Ashʿarīs, which is generally the theological orientation of the Shafi’i and Maliki Schools, and therefore based on this hadith stated that lying on one’s chest is major sin.[6] According to classical Māturidīs however, this hadith is in fact rejected, and the basis of this is the Hanafi epistemology in the scrutinising of hadith. The Māturidīs find it highly improbable that the Ŝaĥabah (companions of the Prophet (r)) would not know that lying on one’s chest is a major sin in Islam, since it implies that the Ŝaĥabah as a body were either heedless or ignorant of such basic rulings. The second issue is that any major sin is a fundamental issue, which everyone should know, yet in this case it is narrated by only one person in a single narration. In Uŝūl this is known as ʿUmūm Al-Balwā’, an issue that affects a large number of people yet only a few people narrate the hadith. The acceptance of this hadith will result in the lowering of the status of the Ŝaĥabah, as it either demonstrates their ignorance or their inability to understand the importance of relaying such a crucial component of the religion to the rest of the Muslim nation. Therefore based on this, the hadith is rejected.

What has gone before may lead people to claim that the author is being ‘sectarian’ or igniting divisions between the different schools such as the Shafi’is or the Hanafis. However, this is in fact a spurious and misleading claim as it is not sectarian to state one’s schools’ position academically. Rather, people today paradoxically remind Muslims that there is a mercy in the differences of opinions of the


scholars and yet at the same time insist that everyone must follow the Shafi’i/Hanbali hadith methodology, denouncing all others as heretics or sectarians and even claiming that all Sunni Muslims have agreed upon (‘Ijmāʿ’ or consensus) the Shafi’i principles – a claim which we shall see does not hold up to scrutiny. The same claim is frequently made about the collection of Bukhari, with vociferous protests that Bukhari is ‘agreed upon’ and that ‘no-one’ in classical Sunni Islam rejects or questions the hadith contained within it. However, this is itself an exaggeration and sectarian challenge and seeks to stifle the variety within classical Sunnism by insisting on a single (usually Shafi’i or Hanbali) approach to hadith, when there are just as valid (and in the case of the Hanafi and Maliki Schools, earlier) alternatives. Our purpose is not challenge or debate but rather to present the diversity of traditional Islam so that students and readers can make informed choices, as opposed to enforcing a false orthodoxy as many would like to…

But one might ask: why are these principles we hope to elucidate applied only to hadith and not to the Quran? Or to put it another way, since the Quran is uncritically accepted as authentic by all Muslims, why do we not extend the same courtesy to the hadith literature? The answer lies in the fact that the Quran is ‘mutawātir’ (mass narrated)[8] and thus considered totally reliable and beyond the possibility of forgery – therefore we don’t have principles that test whether aspects of it should be accepted or rejected.

With hadith, principles are however needed, as we have thousands of strong, weak and fabricated hadith. The differences in the schools are in great measure due to the different principles they follow in the science of hadith. When hadith scholars state that a person is a strong or weak narrator, the reason must be


investigated (according to the Hanafis) to establish if we agree with the judgement. For example, if it is stated that a person is weak due to their being an expert in legal reasoning (Fiqh), we reject this explanation for excluding he or she as a narrator.[9] The reason given for rejecting a narrator has to be something that is cogent and will reasonably affect the authenticity of the narration. The hadith scholars, such as Imam Bukhari, are not given a monopoly over such things – at least according to the Hanafis.

The Maliki methodology bears some similarity to that of the Hanafis, whereas the Shafi’is and Hanbalis (and modern day Salafists and Wahhabis for that matter) differ from both Hanafis and Malikis in their principles of scrutinising hadith. The reason for this in our opinion is that Imams Abu Hanifa and Malik applied a high level of reasoning and deduction when establishing axioms to authenticate hadith. An emphasis was placed on the application of the narration by the Ŝaĥabah (with Imam Malik further specifying this to the Ŝaĥabah of Madinah).[10] The Shafi’i and Hanbali methodology places a greater or even exclusive emphasis on the narrator and whether he meets their criteria.[11] The Hanafis scrutinise the text and content of the narration as well as the narrators and chain of transmission.

With our necessary preamble completed, let us now begin to examine the Hanafi approach to hadith.


Niqaab [Face Veil]

The ‘niqaab’ is a veil for the face that leaves the area around the eyes clear. Nearly all scholars agree that the hijaab (a simple headscarf) is compulsory but there is a disagreement about the niqaab. Some scholars hold it is compulsory to wear whereas on the opposite side of spectrum many believe that it is recommended that women do not wear the niqaab. This issue leaves many people from various communities uncomfortable and therefore it will be beneficial to compare it to the Hanafi principles of hadith. This is the strongest hadith used (although others are deployed in the same vein) in terms of authenticity by those who propagate the compulsion of wearing the niqaab:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Abbas: Al-Fadl (y) (his brother) was riding behind Allah’s Apostle and a woman from the tribe of Khath’am came and Al-Fadl (y) started looking at her and she started looking at him. The Prophet turned Al-Fadl’s (y) face to the other side.[i]

The reasoning for the proof of niqaab that is given from this narration is that the actions of the Prophet (r) demonstrated the impermissibility of Al-Fadl ibn Abbas (y) looking at a woman. This hadith deals with the action of the Prophet (r) as opposed to the verbal statement. Therefore, according to what we have learnt, the action should have been applied specifically to the above situation rather than generally to all circumstances. This tradition does not meet the requirements of mutawātir nor mashhūr and so is aĥad. Consequently, for now there is a possibility it could be right and an equal possibility that it could be wrong…


46 thoughts on “Muslim? Confused? Finally, Some REAL Help Arrives…

  1. Thank you for blogging about this book; I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. It looks very simply written and totally comprehensible; I’ll be picking it up.

    I wonder if you know anything about the classical views of impassibility and the concept of God seemingly having emotions. In the Quran it says God likes certain things and dislikes certain things, is merciful, is loving, etc. I’ve heard people say this means that God does have emotions, but “emotions not like ours,” which kind of sounds a lot like “God has a body but not like ours,” especially since emotion seem to be tied partly to our physiological responses. I’ve heard another explanation saying that these preferences and attributes simply describe God in a sort of cold way–God is merciful, not because He’s compelled to do it emotionally per say but because he chooses to act as such on other grounds. There are probably a million plus one explanations of the concept of the Islamic God having emotion, and skeptics as well as Christians in my experience tend to prefer the answer that the Islamic God clearly does have emotions like humans–and He’s very vindictive (a view very much upheld by especially Christians who prefer to mindlessly pit ideologies against one another, and who want to paint “look at this evil Islamic God, but look, ours is Love!”) Clearly this is not accepted in Islam at all, but how would one respond to such an allegation accurately?

    Murata wrote that the greatest Islamic thinkers had to play a sort of balancing act between emphasizing the impassibility of God while also trying to connect with God on things that might be vaguely similar to us, understandable attributes dropped and inferred from the Quran. Was there a popular dogma among different schools about this? I could find very little about this topic …

    Sorry if I’m bothering you. And tell Kuma I’m sorry for eating all the ice cream. D= sorry, chocolate is just a bear’s favorite flavor.

    • I havr read about this somewhere. in aqeedah of ahlus-sunnah, it’s impossible for Allah to have rrsemblance with creations as per Qur’an 43:11. we have the aqeedah of tanzih, i.e. sanctifying Allah from the likeness with creations.

      so it’s impossible for Allah to have body or limbs. classical scholars had said that attributing physical body to Allah is akin to idol worshippers and is Kufr. only the Wahhabi/Salafist movement that restore this horrendous ”aqeedah”. they claimed to be followers of salaf, but they only follow a controversial scholar Ibn Taymiyyah and batiini heretic sect Hashwiya, ghulat Hanbali who attributed human attribute to Allah. they infact following salaf jaheel, not salaf saleeh.

      back to emotions, it’s not befitting for Allah to have emotion or be emotional. His anger is translated as His justice on compensating evildoing with punishment. His pleasure is His mercy and accepting of good deeds and piety from His servants.

      you can

  2. It’s listed on ‘’ but as ‘currently unavailable’.

    I think the Avicenna guys are shipping now if you want to order it direct. I’ve seen a few people with copies already!

  3. Links working now – thanks for the heads up. Better off getting it from the Avicenna guys directly. Who knows when the Amazon thing will go up!

  4. Thanks a lot, I will definitely be picking up a copy of this book at somepoint, and while this helps I still feel somewhat confused.

    For example the extract says that all schools of Fiqh view hijab as compulsory, does this mean an individual who does not wear it is committing sin? Since hijab is proscribed for a reason, I am assuming it is to protect against forms of sexual harassment, since societies change it may not always be the case that hijab will be necessary or ineffective. Since Islam is a universal religion, is it possible in this scenario that something like Hijab or the amputating of a thieves hands be replaced or changed to better suit socital conditions keeping in line with the original intention of the ruling?

    Is there the ability for leniancy in Islamic jurisprudence, is it necessary to follow all legal rulings and if one does not follow them does that make them unbelievers?

    I apologise for the

  5. Thanks a lot, I will definitely be picking up a copy of this book at somepoint, while this helps I still feel somewhat confused.

    For example the extract says that all schools of Fiqh view hijab as compulsory, does this mean an individual who does not wear it is committing sin? Since hijab is proscribed for a reason, I am assuming it is to protect against forms of sexual harassment, since societies change it may not always be the case that hijab will be necessary or ineffective. Since Islam is a universal religion, is it possible in this scenario that something like Hijab or the amputating of a thieves hands be replaced or changed to better suit socital conditions keeping in line with the original intention of the ruling?

    Is there the ability for leniancy in Islamic jurisprudence, is it necessary to follow all legal rulings and if one does not follow them does that make them unbelievers? Have there been any modern attempts to improve, or create a new, Hadith methodology?

    I apologise for the probably quite bad grammar.

  6. Can you kindly give us a soft copy for the sake of Allah? Some people like me do not have money to but that book.

    • I didn’t publish the book brother but I do not recommend the writers to give out electronic copies for the simple reason that no one will buy it and thus the authors will not be able to pay for even this book let alone their time and effort.

      Of course, I don’t doubt that you have difficult circumstances. If you like, you can write to me explaining and I will send you my copy (but please explain the circumstances if you can). This goes for anyone else as well: they can write to me explaining why they need this book and why they cannot afford it and I and the others on the site will try our best to buy it for them.

      The thing is, in the UK and US etc, most people are very lucky – it is RELATIVELY rare to find someone (apart from the destitute and homeless, of whom there are many) who does not have money to spare for a meal, cinema ticket or a book. Also, the genuinely poorer people will often not benefit from an electronic copy as where did they get the smartphone, tablet or internet connection to read it on (unless they are doing it on someone else’s phone or computer)? So to be honest, I personally would never release an electronic copy for free as the number of people who will benefit will be far outweighed by people who think this stuff should be free or copied without concern for the time and expense to produce these things.

      So it is not hikmah to give out stuff for free just in case people have trouble affording it, rather this is to be done on a case by case basis. Given by the amount of money Muslims spend on courses and Dawah events and stuff in the UK, they have plenty to go around.

      I am informed that the authors will be making free copies available for students in developing countries however.

  7. Can someone give a new methodology on tafsir of Quran? Are the so called Sabab Nuzur faultless? How do we take some abrogating/abrogated verses of the Quran? How do we deal with verses of previous books?

  8. The book isn’t worth the paper it is written on, far from being a “scholarly” work, it is filled with typos, spelling mistakes, and mistranslations almost on every page. The author makes massive false assumptions which are very misleading, not a single quote is properly referenced. Basic mistakes show the immaturity and weakness in Arabic of the author e.g. on page 39 the companion “Mu’adh bin Jabal” is constantly spelt as “Ma’aaz bin Jabbal.” He constantly refers to the Hanbali School as the “Ham-bali” School etc. Other massive mistakes are made in relation to fiqh and hadith, way too many to mention here, e.g. on page 29 a claim that he hadith in al-Bukhari is only narrated by “one lady” (quite a rude way of describing a sahabiyah to be honest) is totally false, al-Tirmidhi (1108) and Ibn Majah (1880,1882) narrate the hadith from Abu Hurayrah and Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them).

    The book is about 150 pages, but the font is large and there are many huge blank spaces, Arabic text, and even blank pages, it could have been published on 50 pages easily.

    In some ways the book is kind of self-defeating and can’t be taken seriously by any student of knowledge. There is too much to be mentioned here and a proper non-biased critique of the text needs to be done in a separate article.

    May Allah rectify us and overlook our errors.

    • Uh..I was expecting plenty of hate mail from people who hadn’t read the book, but that was QUICK!

      So the guy who wrote this fakery is to be ignored [and BTW, I ban anyone who posts without reading the articles, so don’t complain – and you posted a book review without even having read the SAMPLE let alone the book!], and people are directed to the extensive samples below to decide on the quality of the book, contents, English and if it is useful for them, but for readers who are interested as to the extent of ‘fake reviews’ that authors of all kinds have to put up with [e.g on Amazon], this is a excellent example: apart from the fact that the book isn’t out yet and very few people have received a copy [like, two people], this guy even gets the number of pages wrong: it is 330 whereas we are told it is 150 (WTH!?!). The font is ‘large’..but you can see it here and it is standard 12 point so…?

      The cheap emotional appeals…although the incidents and references to the book he gives were not found by me AT ALL (since of course he hasn’t read it but is posting on behalf of his group/cult who told him what to do), we are to believe the following:

      1) Calling ‘female’ a ‘female’ is ‘disrespectful’ and calling a female Sahabi a ‘lady’ is ‘disrespectful’. You know, like calling a male a ‘man’ is rude.
      2) The transliteration of Arabic has been standardise…by him
      3) He has solved the riddle of how to pronounce Arabic names in English with exactitude as a result. Sadly, he has not deigned to publish this. Anywhere.
      4) The book has a Arabic transliteration key at the very start. Which he would know. If he had read it.
      5) He’s telling us about ‘the hadith on page 29…’ and that it is in Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah. Except, there is no hadith mentioned on page 29, which he might know if he had read the book instead of posting this comment on this and numerous other sites as he no doubt will, for someone else.
      6) The reviewer objects to the use of Arabic text in books. Hmmmm…I know of another book that uses quite a lot of Arabic text…

      Hilariously, he actually admits that his review is basically aimless and that ‘a proper non-biased critique of the text needs to be done in a separate article‘. Quite.

      He rightly though asks God to overlook his errors and to rectify him though!

      But instead of waiting for God’s rectification (and the possibly, er, severe form it can take), he can rectify himself by actually reading the book. Or at least the free sample!

  9. Got my copy last night, haven’t had a chance to read it…can’t find any of the references this guy gives AT ALL. Nothing on Page 29/30 AT ALL.

    Why are you posting his ‘review’ when you can see it is fake mmmclmru?

    Are you trying to make yourself look clever at the expense of the authors? As admin you should not approve these comments. I mean the book MIGHT suck (though from what I can see it looks brilliant), but at least don’t put up stuff by people who are saying that it is 150 pages when it’s like 400. That can affect the authors reputation and sales etc.

    • Yes, that’s the right (and only) edition!

      Now try reading it dear boy and then reviewing it (but not here because you are banned for posting fake reviews)!

    • Abu yusuf is right.
      He is talking about the very first edition .
      This is the second edition which got edited because the first one was really embarrassing.
      I read the first one and frankly it was a joke. It showed the immaturity of the writer and his pseudo, mickey mouse scholarship.
      But of course other brothers helped out and helped to edit it, not making it a joke. And are now trying to hide the fact that the first edition ever existed.
      Nevertheless there is some benefit in the book and it may be a good source for ppl to read if they have any confusion regarding certain issues.
      It’s well accepted and widely know that imam abu hanifa would take the quran first and would then take the hadith and keep to what was consistant with the quran.
      I pray some good does come from this book. But it’s success all depends on the writer’s intention whether he is in it for the truth or trying to project himself for fame. Allah knows best.
      But I pray good comes from it nonetheless.

      • Okay, so both you and Abu Yusuf, two anonymous guys read a ‘first edition’, even though the book just got released today and it says nothing about that it’s a second edition. You neglected to mention or review or warn people about this ‘first edition’, which had different page numbers (?!) but now that the ‘second’ edition comes out, even though it is not called that by the authors but by you, NOW you are telling us about this other edition. Where is it? Where can I buy it? When did it come out and why didn’t you post a review of it?

        If it is nowhere to be found and not on sale, then why are you talking about it? And what exactly is ‘Mickey Mouse Scholarship’? Can we have some examples?

        Basically, have you read this book yes or no? And if you haven’t, other than slandering anonymously and without any kind of evidence, what is the point (apart from to prove my earlier claim that sectarian nonsense will abound) of talking about it?

        Also, do you think we are really interested in literary reviews by people who don’t believe in capitalisation? And in starting a new paragraph for each sentence. I mean, are you sure you didn’t just read the book and not like it as opposed to having read a different, phantom book? That seems more likely right?

        Guess what! I read a ‘first edition’ of Stephen Kings’ ‘IT’ and it was RUBBISH! Then he got loads of other people, like JK Rowling and Dan Brown to fix it. But I don’t know that it’s fixed because I haven’t actually read Stephen King’s ‘IT’. Also, this ‘first edition’ is like, not on sale. And I can’t tell you where to get it. But trust me, it sucks!

        I neither reviewed nor saw nor, to be honest, believe in the ‘edition’ of the book you are talking about. I reviewed the (first) edition that has actually gone on sale today and I included samples to back up my positive review. People are free to agree or disagree. You are talking about an edition which you and your friend (who may just be you BTW) ‘saw’. But we have nothing to go on to substantiate your review or claims.

        Also, you are claiming that Mickey Mouse scholars have hype students. That’s also a bit dumb. It’s like a tone deaf warbler teaching Whitney Houston how to sing. And doing a good job.

        I know I said I would not allow ‘reviews’ by people who haven’t read the book, but I think I have no choice in the interests of humour as long as they are so ridiculous. Also, where did you get this book when it only was released today and I’m the only one who had any samples?

        Also, has anyone actually got any comments about the actual book or the actual samples?


  10. mmmclmru: you are SUCH a tool

    Okay – I skimmed the Arabic hadith manual and translation by Sheikh Atabek. He seems to be totally legitly using classic Hanafi sources. Salafists, Modernists and Deo-Brelwis understandably won’t be happy but this appears to be Classical Islamic scholarship plainly presented.

    Let’s hear the objections to his language or scholarship with quotes from either the mythical or actual edition.

    Which is the Mickey mouse scholarship? He is quoting from Hanafi hornbooks of law and usool. Are they Mickey Mouse do you mean?

    Clarify with examples or stop spamming.

    mmmclmru: If I don’t see proof or examples, I expect these comments to be taken down and trolls blocked.

  11. Examples of ‘Donald Duck’, ‘Goofy’ or ‘Huey, Dewy and Louie’ scholarship, or any other Disney character, including ‘Marvel’ ones, are fine too.

  12. We have read the book. I have the book right in front of me now. Unfortunately, we’re unable to upload pictures on this blog. But I suggest you do your research before accusing other Muslims of telling lies. Like the other brother/sister said to quote: “This is the second edition which got edited because the first one was really embarrassing.” Be careful who you take your knowledge from.

    • Who asked you to upload photos?

      Does it stop you typing and showing quotes as well? Does it stop you putting in the correct page numbers and hadith as well? Is it some kind of advanced AI or something?

      Also, I though you don’t know the other ‘guy/girl’? who is this ‘We’ that have read the book? Is it the royal ‘we’?

      I asked you to bring proof of the ‘Mickey Mouse’ or otherwise poor scholarship. Stop stalling, bring it or get lost and claim your title as a time wasting troll.

  13. What the heck is it to you what edition of the book or otherwise? If I want to buy it I will, if you have a review of the book or something specific why we should not buy it then TELL US OR SHUT THE HELL UP!!!

    You are clearly a whacko. What book hasn’t been edited? People should not buy the book because it has ‘editions’? HAVE YOU READ THIS EDITION OR NOT?! WHERE IS THE EVIL ‘FIRST’ EDITION THAT PROVES WE SHOULD NOT READ THIS. WHAT IS SO EVIL ABOUT IT?

    Do you have a PROBLEM with THIS book. If ‘YES’ what is it? I have been following your CRAP for the last SIX HOURS you CHEAP PLONKER. I ordered it based on the sample and recommendation of this site and you are giving me a BRAIN TUMOR with your vague crap!



  14. Yes, this has gone on long enough: If I pay £15 for this book, what issue is there with this book (which you don’t seem to have read) which makes it not worth buying?

    Tell me now or I will gladly delete your previous comments. I don’t want the authors complaining to me that I am putting up unsubstantiated nonsense.

  15. Look, you are just trolling to try and stop people buying the book. You don’t even have the page numbers or the number of pages right.

    He put up a sample of the book, along with his review. Non-Cheap ass people can ACTUALLY read the book and then disagree with his review using SPECIFICS, point out mistakes and ’embarrassing’ stuff using SPECIFICS from THIS book, not some fictional or whatever version which IS NOT UNDER DISCUSSION, REVIEW OR SALE.


    Another Salafist hater?

  16. Since you have refused to explain what’s wrong with the book or why you have the page numbers wrong, I have spammed your comments! Enjoy!

    • What’s wrong with the book? Is this your question? The book says that the apostate is not killed. What else does one need when this basic principle of Islam is denied? The book is clearly false and full of kufr but I would read it if someone sends it to me for free.

      • ‘The book is clearly false and full of kufr but I would read it if someone sends it to me for free’.

        LOL! It’s clearly bad…but I haven’t read it!

        Why don’t you ask your MUM to get it for you?

  17. subhanallah, posting fake reviews where the guy doesn’t actually have the book? how can you haters go so low!

    post your rants, assumptions, and objections, but posting fake review is equal to slander!!!

    you remind me of a stupid salafi jihadi i once came across, who posted hadith on how Rasul loves violence but he’s quoting the hadith from Ibn Taymiyyah book chapter and page that never exists.

  18. I’m 2/3 of the way through reading the aforementioned ‘losing my religion’ by Jeffrey Lang. Its hard to imagine a book that could come close to its perceptiveness, academic brilliance and insight into just how badly we have alienated youth, converts, born Muslims and non Muslims from Islam. I think it should be on the shelf of every Muslim household. Its just brilliant.

    This book (which ive ordered but havnt recieved yet) will have to go some to be put in the same league, but I’m looking forward!

  19. Does Avicenna academy ever plan to do a translation series like Oxford does with classical literature or bringeham university does with islamic works?

  20. this is unrelated to the book but just wondering out of curiosity. why is shaykh atabek or whoever starts Avicenna Academy chose that scientist name Avicenna/ Ibn Sina for a Sunni Hanafi source? He is a Shia Ismaili who most likely believed that Quran had been changed, I read an excerpt of his essay when he said paradise and hoors are not literal, and historians actually still debate whether he turned into Hanafi or remain a Shia Ismaili. above all, some of his philosophical views are controversial, which made Ghazali refuted him and declared takfir on him. I mean, out of all other names, why choosing a controversial figure like Avicenna? you guys can choose other name that still reflect an islamic scholarship.

    and talking about Avicenna, however seemingly misguided his aqeeda was (may Allah have mercy on him), I’d still disagree if some ppl said he’s atheist. I read his opening of either Shifa or Canon of Medicine iirc, he frequently wrote ”such and such phenomenon has been by the will of God”.

    • So show me where he said he is Shia or Ismaili? Nowhere, that’s where. he is Sunni/Hanafi and that’s why as Sunni Hanafi institute is named after him.

      You should know better than to believe trash-talk about scholars, which in the case of Ibn Sina comes mainly from people like Ibn Taymiyya and other Mujassim types. There is absolutely no proof that he was Shia Ismaili (you are thinking of his dad). Also, I am wiling to bet that you don’t really know what Shia Ismailis believe anyway, since no one does for sure except them, not even Western Orientalists are sure. Isn’t it just something your teachers told you brother?

      Likewise, did you read Al Ghazzalis’ refutation of him as well as his own ideas? I never heard him say that hoors are not literal. And if he did, I would like to hear his reasoning rather than simply assuming he denied the Quran. It is better to not say stuff like Al Ghazzali refuted him. In fact Al Ghazzali did not fully understand him and in many places agreed with him, as Richard A Frank showed in his book ‘Al Ghazzali and The Ashari School’. Muslims seem to have this bizarre idea that Al Ghazzali somehow refuted ‘philosophy’. That is silly. For example, Al Ghazzali totally failed to understand what Ibn Sina was talking about when it came to the eternality of the Universe. BTW, Al Ghazzali insulted Abu Hanfia very badly too and this was one of the reasons he wanted to attack Ibn Sina. Both Al Ghazzali and his teacher Al Juwayni had a lot of friction with the Hanafis. These people are al human, they mess up and go overboard and start inappropriately takfiring people.

      BTW, there is no name which is not controversial and even the Imams like Shafi and Malik used to insult each other very badly.

  21. “the narration in ‘Bukhari’ that there is no capital punishment for murdering non-Muslims in cold blood.”

    i’ve read an explanation this said hadith was for kuffar harbi. in the time of Caliph Ali, he gave a qisas punishment for a muslim who killed non-muslim. as recorded in either Tabrani or Bayhaqi

  22. Started reading Hanafi Principles of Hadith now. It is VERY good and a phenomenally timely and important read. I cannot recommend ‘losing my religion’ and ‘Islam and the destiny’ of man enough though.

  23. This book is okay. You will benefit if you are good at making a distinction between ‘information’ and ‘text’ when reading a book. There is plenty of information in this book which helps you understand the differences between the Hanafi principles and the non-Hanafi principles. But then there are also many unqualified statements which do not give any indication if such is the view of the early Hanafi School or just the author. Such unqualified statements, which may very well be true, leave you very unsatisfied. For example:

    1. When talking about the hadith “don’t lie on your chest, as the people of Hell will be doing this” the author mentions, “According to classical Maturidis however, this hadith is in fact rejected, …” (pg. 12)

    Now unless I trust the author a bit too much, this statement is of no use to me. There is no referencing as to who are those classical Maturidis and where is this information taken from?

    2. “the statements of the Prophet (pbuh) are applied generally, where his actions are applied specifically to the situation in which they take place.” (pg. 17)

    Again, this is another unqualified statement which may have significant implication for legal rulings. However, there is no referencing and I do not know how seriously should i take this statement.

    3. “Eisaa ibn Abbaan is responsible for many of the principles in Usul and Mustalah.” (pg. 32)

    This may very well be true. But who are the other hanafis who are of similar view as that of the author?

    4. “Ahad (i.e. single) narration give the hadith an equal possibility being either authentic or inauthentic. Once the ahad narration has been accepted by hanafi testing, it gives the narration a greater than fifty percent chance of being authentic.” (pg. 34)

    With a background in statistics and doing a PhD in Economics, I personally find such arbitrary statistics highly offensive. Greater than 50%? Seriously? Where are you getting this number? Infact such statistics are not needed as such. The author has done a good job in explaining the issue of ‘Certainty of knowledge’ when it comes to different type of hadith (mutawatir, mashur and ahad). There is no need for such nonsensical probabilities.

    5. “The Hanafis are also somewhat sceptical about the Tranditionists monopoly on declaring which hadith are or are not to be accepted.” (pg. 43)

    Who are ‘The Hanifis’? Some names of early Hanafi scholars would have helped if this statement is true at all.

    6. “According to the majority of hadith scholars there is no minimum number of narrators for a hadith to be classified as ahad, …” (pg. 47)

    Well, its the same problem everywhere. ‘Tha Hanafis’ ‘Shafis’ ‘Hadith Scholar’ etc etc On every page I am asked to trust the author and take his statements as ‘information.’

    There is another point to keep in mind – though it is not author’s fault. The author uses ‘ahl e hadith’ to refer to ‘muhadithin’ or ‘traditionalists.’ Since the audience of this book will be mostly from Indo-Pak (being Hanafi mostly), it should be kept in mind that this is not a reference to the ‘ahl e hadith’ sect.

    Overall this book can be of good use. Its not too difficult for a careful reader to isolate ‘information’ from unqualified statements. There is good referencing for certain key principles at the start of every chapter. You can learn a lot especially since there is no other book available to English audience (as far as i know) looking at the Hanafi principles of hadith.

    However, I found this book very misleading at the very end. On the topic of ‘apostasy’ the author goes on to show how the Hanafi principles lead us to a ruling which is very different from other schools: namely, the killing of an apostate after granting him an opportunity to repent. Most of the chapter focuses on the criticism of the narration about Ali bin Abi Talib (r.a.) from Ikrama. Throughout the chapter, the author gives an impression as if this is the only narration on this subject and the hanafis have got it all wrong when it comes to using their own principles. This is clearly not the case.

    In his ‘Siyar’, Imam Muhammad Shaybani writes the following:

    [I (Shaybani) asked (Abu Hanifa): If a Muslim apostatizes from Islam, what do you this would be the ruling concerning him?
    He (Abu Hanifa) replied: Islam would be offered to him; he has either to accept it or be killed at once, unless he asked for deferment. This would be given him and its (maximum) duration would be tree days.
    I asked: Has any narrative come to your knowledge about this matter?
    He replied: Yes. It has been related to us from the Prophet (pbuh) to this effect as well as from Ali bin Abi Talib, AbdAllah bin Masud, and Muadh bin Jabal. This, this ruling is based on the sunna.


    Now either Abu Hanifa, Shaybani and others werent being Hanafi enough, or the author is getting carried away for whatever reason. Had the author tried to qualify his statements throughout the book, he would not have reached such conclusions. Unfortunately, I cannot call this book as a true representation of the early Hanafi jurists. I am sympathetic to the author’s statement that later hanafis have been heavily influenced by Shafi giants in hadith and have somewhat digressed. But certainly this is not the book which may take me back to the world of early Hanafi jurists.

    After this blunder, i cannot trust the author about what he says on other issues concerning today’s Muslims. Maybe he is right but surely i dont think he represents the early Hanafi jurists. May be this can be achieved in the next edition of this book.

    • Look, I know you think you are really clever by doing a ‘Trojan Horse’ job and doing a review which you think will actually get published unlike the dozens of fake ones I have had for this book but you aren’t really fooling anyone: your take home message is ‘Don’t trust the author, he is lying’. Why? Because we have a narration from Muhammad Shaybani saying apostates should be killed!

      So once again, you did not seem to have read or understood the book (almost certainly the former). One of the ways we all know this is that all of the ‘mistakes’ are curiously exclusively from the first 47 pages (out of 300 I think). Because that’s probably all you read in an effort to prove that you had read it and get your ‘review’ published.

      Had you read the rest instead of skipping to the back to get to your real bugbear, which was the issue of apostasy killing not being valid, you would have not written this ‘review’. You should have spent more time doing that as opposed to telling us about your statistics skills Economics PhD and nitpicking things which in fact show your slight occasional unfamiliarity with normal practices in, er, writing. And books.

      First of all, the whole point of the book is that one cannot ‘trust’ narrations, even those of canonical redactions such as Bukhari without applying the filters of the Quran, intellect and the Hanafi (or other suitably sensible) conditions, of which there were about eight or so. Furthermore, there was an extensive amount of information on how punishments could not be set up by ahad hadith and in particular how the death penalty requires a Muttawatir or Quranic narration. This was heavily referenced. But in your ‘review’ you are telling us that the book is flawed because you have one narration from Shaybani (which itself is neither from the Quran nor Muttawatir) that says apostates should be killed. So just as you find arbitrary statistics ‘highly offensive’, I find this kind of thing where one misses the whole point of the book, nauseating. But again, I’m pretty sure you only read it’s opening chapter to find some stuff that could make it look like you read the whole thing. But what you should have done is read all of it and then select the ‘mistakes’ from all over, like page 117, page 85 etc

      The whole point of the book seemed to me to be that people like yourself, who take ahad narrations as certain and worse, are seemingly willing to kill people based on them, are irrational and dangerous. Further, the book highlighted that no one, including Abu Hanifa, is protected from error and any statement he makes not according with his own principles is rejected. Just as if Newton or Leibniz made a mistake in Calculus it would still be a mistake, even though they invented Calculus. Originating something does not give you infallibility nor omni-competence in it, unless you are God. Abu Hanifa could still misapply his own principle. In fact he warned about this: The book began with a quote from him to that effect: ‘it is prohibited for someone who does not understand our proofs to narrate our opinions’. He’s talking about people like you BTW.

      Also, we were all really impressed that you are a PhD candidate, but I think you have not really fully understood: 1) Writing books (or other stuff) and 2) referencing. Don’t worry, but as maybe a little pointer, people do not write mass market books or even academic papers or textbooks with references for every statement. Referencing is, in the main, for contestable or controversial statements. I guess someone taught you about referencing and you got carried away.

      BTW,there is no referencing at all in the classic books that you are telling us to trust on the opinion of killing apostates, they are all ‘he said’ etc. So you are cool with taking totally unreferenced books, written before that method even became popular and deciding death penalties based on them. But you got turned off this book even though it had hundreds of references and about 50-80 pages of nothing but references if I remember correctly. Odd.

      So when reading, the reader does not assume the writer is lying because the piece is out there in the public eye and lies can be refuted and exposed by anyone. Which you failed to do. Your point was ‘what if this guy is lying?’ Well, quite. What if you are lying? What if Muhammad Shaybani is lying? Scepticism is not what you seem to think it to be. We need some proof that someone is dishonest. Not referencing every statement including the glaringly obvious ones, which no-one does anyway, does not mean that we can assume the posture ‘guilty until proven innocent’. It is the other way round in both life and academia.

      Your stance is ‘authors are liars until proved by a reference (even though that can be a lie too)’. BTW, do you have a reference for this belief? Or is it just some thing from an author?

      You just said ‘why should I trust x.y.z’ (a tiny sample of things you ‘found’ curiously only in the first 50 pages of a 300 page book) without a reference? Well, why do you trust the reference either? Do you have Arabic skills or manuscripts at home? So if authors are brazen enough to just lie then why not just take the lie a step further and lie about the references or misquote them?

      So when writing, one does not need to give a reference for statements such as ‘Albert Einstein was a Physicist’. The reason is that one can safely assume that people already know that. Also, one does not have to give a reference if the proof has already been included in the main text. Also, you can’t pitch books at people who don’t know anything at all. If you don’t know who Esa Ibn Abban is then that probably means you will you need a more basic text, not more references. Or to take it on trust and then check it up. Space in books is limited as is money and time (Economics you could say!) and you can’t explain every little thing – the book has to be at the level of someone who is at least familiar with concepts such as Muhaditheen, Jurists etc. And they explained who Esa Ibn Abban was and who references him in the main text. And they provided a glossary for those who don’t know what ‘Shafis’ are. Of course, how do you know you can trust the glossary right? Or the word meanings in a dictionary?

      Likewise, no one is asking you to trust the author but all of the controversial or divisive statements seem to me to be thoroughly referenced. So you shouldn’t make bizarre statements such as:

      ‘‘Tha Hanafis’ ‘Shafis’ ‘Hadith Scholar’ etc etc On every page I am asked to trust the author and take his statements as ‘information.’’

      But that is the same with any book, including the one of Muhammad Shaybani. So authors tell you stuff, they reference the controversial part of it and the assumption is that a subject matter expert is telling the truth since the book is a matter of public record. If one can find him lying then one can have doubts and make these public. You got to the gist of your review at the end when you tried to prove that he was lying, but you basically failed. So that’s not one example from you of something not to ‘trust’ in a three hundred plus page book.

      You also maybe have a problem with the concept of ‘information’. Any information in a book is the authors’ statement, even if he points you to a meta-analysis or peer reviewed paper. You then have to check that paper and it is still the authors of the papers’ statement unless you do the experiment or study yourself. You are frankly being somewhat nonsensical and applying, as in the case of your apostasy issue, selective scepticism and agnosticism.

      You probably got taught about referencing at uni and got a bit over excited. It happened to me too. But pick up any popular science book or one by an economist such as Ha Joon Chang written for the mass market. They don’t reference every sentence: they expect you to take what the author says and if you have sufficient expertise in the subject check it up or refute or critique it.

      Sorry if this seems harsh, but your tone comes across as irritatingly smug and self-satisfied. Obviously, you are going to have a glittering career ahead of you in economics since those guys were able to be smug even after totally failing to see the 2008 economic crisis. But I don’t want you to get into bad habits so sought to correct you to the best of my limited ability. This book, like all books, will contain mistakes. That is inevitable. But you are basically:

      1) Claiming each word needs to be referenced, even if it is common knowledge or explained in the text or the next chapter
      2) Not doing a good job of showing you understood or possibly even read the book
      3) Claiming to be agnostic about authors…but then failing to apply this to un-referenced classical books. So is referencing and the assumption that the author is lying only for modern books or for all books then?
      4) Asking why the author does not accept a narration by Abu Hanifa that goes against usool (epistemic principles) – when the whole book was about sticking to usool as opposed to blind imitation or argument from authority (which are the opposite of usool) and not punishing people based on speculative information.
      5) Making this statement:

      ‘You will benefit if you are good at making a distinction between ‘information’ and ‘text’’

      Is there anyone who can’t do that? And BTW, text is a form of information anyway.

      6) Saying you don’t know if this is the view of the author or the Hanafis (basically again, a veiled accusation of academic fraud). Even though the author says that it is the opinion of the early Hanafis, references this and called his book ‘Hanafi principles of Testing Hadith’ as opposed to ‘My Personal Principles of Testing Hadith’. But you were still ‘confused’.

      7) The book is not in Urdu, so there is no need for people to get confused between Ahl Al Hadith and Ahl e Hadith, which are obviously different in Urdu or English. It was pointless mentioning this. Nitpicking, when there isn’t even a nit. And these groups are jot actually that different in their ideas anyway.
      8) Unilaterally deciding that the audience of this book will mainly be from Indo-Pak. When the author made clear (on the cover no less) that the book was a presentation of Hanafi principles to a wider audience and especially adherents of the Deo-Brelwi sects (like yourself no doubt – you see, I just can’t trust what you say. Or even don’t say!) who are in fact dominant in those countries that you mentioned. Your criticism is as banal as ‘why isn’t this book in Urdu since most Hanafis are in Indo-Pak?’ when the point was that most ‘Hanafis’ are not in fact really Hanafi and that the aim was to use Hanafi principles to benefit a wider audience.

    • The Deobandi/Brelwi bias is unjustified. Read it and be honest.
      Your own scholars write books with zero references. Not a criticism, but this book is OVER Referenced IMHO. It got in the way of the writing. So that’s a rubbish complaint.

  24. Pingback: Muslims Proudly Display Academic ‘Standards’ | Asharis: Assemble

  25. The book is currently available on Amazon here in the US via the UK. I just ordered it. Should receive in about 2-3 weeks. I sincerely at a loss at how to effectively combat all the misinformation about Islam that has been spreading now for more than a century at the hands of fellow Muslims.

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