A follow up to his previous article and essential reading in its own right – Atabek Shukurov shows how some figures of the Islamic past are ‘untouchable’, while others who are just as or even more authoritative are ignored or belittled at will by today’s Muslims. I’ll give you one guess as to who’s deciding who’s ‘in’ and who’s ‘out’ in regards to the scholars of the past…
You can read the original on his increasingly excellent blog here:https://shaykhatabekshukurov.com/2016/05/15/rejecting-theology-for-hadith/
After releasing our article about the famous Sunni theologian Imam Abu Mansur Al Maturidi’s rejection of a story about the Prophet Moses being made to run around naked by God to prove he had a ‘perfect body’, which is narrated by Bukhari and others, I was gratified to receive a lot of support from readers for clarifying such important issues (often abused by Islamophobes and ex-Muslims) based on a classical and early theological school – which has of late been brazenly overlooked by partisans of the Muhaditheen or ‘narrators’ and schools of thought which are based on the opinions of such narrators and historians, most of whom are not on the level of Ijtihad (the requisite level to exercise independent juristic or creedal reasoning).
You can read the original article here:https://shaykhatabekshukurov.com/2016/05/08/the-truth-about-the-study-quran-part-2-al-maturidi-and-who-are-the-theological-modernists/
Also, I’ve received a few very worrying questions concerning the story which I wanted to address in this article:
- Is it possible that Maturidi wasn’t aware of this hadeeth?
- Why Abu Mansur said that it’s impossible for the rock to come to life and run when we know that God says that a rock can melt and break from the fear of God (Quran 2:74)?
- Maturidi didn’t get it right because he said; ”Jews were hoping to see the private places of each other, they were hoping to bathe with Moses’’, and the hadeeth of Bukhari is not saying that Jews used to bathe naked, and the hadeeth doesn’t say that they were hoping for this opportunity to see Moses naked.
- We all know that God can do whatever he wants, so what is the problem with him showing the naked body of his prophets to people?
- Narration of Bukhari doesn’t say that Jews wanted to bathe with Moses, but Maturidi says that they wanted that (basically the same as the third question.
Before answering these questions I can’t help but remark that these points show the miserable academic and intellectual level of Muslim ”academics”. It is the same as someone who claims he has a PhD in Physics critiquing Newton or Einstein about gravity by saying; ”Things falling towards massive objects or the ground doesn’t prove gravity exists”.
Some of the abovementioned questions are from among basics of Aqeeda (dogma or creed) which no ‘Muslim Academic’ has the right to be unaware of, especially if they wish to opine in public. I will explain them so that we all can see the near cosmic level of ignorance of these ”Scholars”. Yet I am not surprised: in their obsession with narrations and hadith, these individuals show near total neglect of other Islamic sciences and play to the gallery which is already suitably groomed by Salafists and partisans of (certain) hadith.
It is the very same people who proudly preach the authenticity of the stories such as the one about ”a group of monkeys stoning two monkeys that committed adultery’’ and that one of the Tabein (successors to the companions or Sahabah of the Prophet, which includes heretical groups) saw this and joined the monkeys to stone the ‘guilty’ monkey. Also, they are the same people who have no issue with Prophets bringing ‘Satanic Verses’, just because someone ‘narrated’ it. Further, they have no issue about The Prophet Muhammad’s brain and sexual performance being affected by magic. And they have no issue with about talking about ”erection” of prophets. And so on. They proudly, to the glee of not only Islamophobes but militant atheists and secularists and the enemies of religion in general, assert that ‘faith’ is the belief in ridiculous or absurd things and the that ‘Iman’ is the degree to which one can shut down ones intellect and moral sense while receiving such absurdities. This is the same mistake which our brothers in other religions made: when confronted with the unbelievable things attributed to religion by men (and not God), they chose to hunker down and defend these ideas, thereby delegitimising religion in the face of an onslaught in the Enlightenment. I guess Muslim scholars wish to repeat these errors and bring a similar wave of apostasy and heresy to Islam as that which has overtaken Christianity and Judaism, presumably to show that they are not ‘imitating the ‘kufaar’’
Moreover, the reason they don’t even question these things is only because Bukhari narrated them. They are a people with inverted intellect. Horribly stupid things for them are ”nice, and beautiful and sacred”, theologically rejected things for them are ”part of belief, the foundation of Islamic theology, and sacred message of the Prophets”. It reminds me the prediction of Prophet Muhammad PBUH about a group of ”Muslims” that will exist towards the day of Judgement who don’t distinguish the evil from good, but actually consider the evil as good, and good as evil. It happens when there isn’t any Islam but just its name, nor Quran but only its calligraphy.
Coming back to the questions, I want to give very brief explanations to each point. I advise you to study further about the Prophethood issues I mentioned though.
1) Is it possible that Maturidi wasn’t aware of this hadeeth?
Obviously it is common concept among Muslims nowadays that top Mujtahids such as Abu Hanifa, Abu Mansur, Jassas, Dabbusi and many others didn’t have good knowledge of Hadeeth. Whenever they find these mujtahids rejecting hadeeth and opposing them, they say; ”Yeah, Abu Hanifa and Company were unaware of these hadeeths”
Even if you show them the actual statements of these Mujtahids about rejecting hadeeth, they again say; ”Well, this story cannot be accepted”.
Bukhari by himself mentioned over 20 hadeeths which were rejected by Abu Hanifa. His teacher mentioned over 200 hadeeths rejected by him. Some other muhaddith said; ”Abu Hanifa rejected 400 hadeeths that I am aware of”.
What is really funny and illustrative about these people is that of you were to say the equivalent statement about their ‘favourites’ (inevitably the Imams of hadith, who they imagine have given them licence to accept all of the hadiths – usually unwholesome and violent ones – that they wish to accept, merely by virtue of the fact that these Imams of hadith narrated or documented them), they will instantly anathematise and attack you. So if I had said ‘well, maybe Imam Bukhari was unaware of this point of creed or theology’, these people would literally be rioting in the streets and causing a zombie apocalypse. But implying or even bluntly saying that Abu Hanifa, an Imam much more senior than Bukhari, was an ignoramus is fine, because it suits their sectarian and political agenda. This Dear Readers is what they mean by ‘respecting’ the scholars of the past.
Modern ”Muhaddiths” (usually of Salafist or Deo-Brelwi leanings) say things like; ”Yes, because Maturidi was unaware, or didn’t get it through an authentic chain”! Forget what I mentioned in my article – that Maturidi rejected it without even looking at the chain – yet if you were to test the chain of these narrations which Abu Hanifa rejected, you find that some of them are classed as the ”Golden Chain” such as Nafe’ from Ibn Umar. As we know Nafe’ is one of the teachers of Abu Hanifa. It shows how shallow is this excuse of ”Abu Hanifa didn’t get it through an authentic chain, and he wasn’t aware of it”.
What’s even worse for these people is that they have now become fully ‘Mu’tazilite’ and modernist – using their intellect to ‘determine’ what did and did not happen, sans any evidence whatsoever. So after threatening people for using their intellect to reject narrations and even tacitly condemning the Imams of Islam such as Maturidi for doing it, they themselves concoct a ‘narrate as you go’ story about Abu Hanifa not knowing the chains or Maturidi not knowing the best chain (even though as I explained, he rejected it without even looking at the chain merely on its unacceptable and objectionable content). These ‘Just So’ stories, pulled out of thin air by modern scholars with no textual, historical or rational basis would have made the most militant Mu’tazzilites blush.
Coming back to Abu Mansur and the hadeeth of Bukhari, is it possible that Maturidi wasn’t aware of it?
The answer is very obvious;
He mentioned the story, so he was perfectly aware of it.
Also, as an aside, don’t forget that Bukhari used to visit Samarkand, the home town of Maturidi – actually Imam Bukhari is buried in Samarkand. Besides that, Samarkand and surrounding towns were full of top Muhaddiths, such as Imam Darami (died 255 Hijri) from Samarkand, Abd bin Humaid (died 249 Hijri and the teacher of Bukhari) from Kesh (about 20 miles from Samarkand), Imam Tirmidhi died 279 Hijri (about 100 miles from Samarkand), Imam Shashi died 335 Hijri (300 miles from Samarkand), and many other top scholars of Hadeeth.
So this objection is astonishingly silly from any and every angle. What one observes with such people is that when one presents something that these individuals or groups do not like, they attack you by saying you are the only one who says this! Show us some classical scholars who say this!’ But when a top classical scholar like Maturidi says something they don’t like, they become fully modernist and begin to proffer ‘explanations’ of their own with no classical sources at all. Funny.
2) Why did Abu Mansur say that it’s impossible for the rock to run when we know that God says that rocks can melt and break from the fear of God (Quran 2:74)?
We will just ignore the sad tendency for the Muslims of our time to defend hadith by bringing the same doubts one has about the hadith onto the Quran. We will also ignore that the authenticity of the Quran and the hadith are wildly different order of magnitude, whatever Salafis would have us believe. We will also ignore that it is the same as comparing apples and oranges and the two episodes are wildly different, as well as the vile implication that Maturidi somehow does not believe in the omnipotence of God or Gods ability to animate rocks – an implication which if anyone made against one of these groups favourites (say, Imam Bukhari), would result in a generalised riot.
This questions is the same in fact as saying; ”Why do you say that it’s impossible for Prophet Muhammad PBUH to lie, when we know that humans can lie?”
Such questions can come only from a person who doesn’t know the basics of Islamic Theology.
This question is touching the following issues;
- Can Prophets commit adultery by using a ‘miracle’?
- Can God forbid his prophets from lying and then make them lie by ‘miracle’?
Obviously the answer is ”No”!
There is no real difference between adultery, lying and showing a genitals to random people, as all of that is prohibited for the prophets (and their nations). Based on that, if God doesn’t make his prophets commit an adultery ‘miraculously’, likewise he doesn’t make them to show their genitals miraculously either.
But, I can understand that Islamic Theology in our time is no longer based on theological principles, but on opinions of narrators. That is why people are not familiar with the theological foundations and basics, but with the stories and opinions of the narrators.
3) Maturidi didn’t get it right because he said; ”Jews were hoping to see the private parts of each other, they were hoping to bathe with Moses’’, and the hadeeth of Bukhari is not saying that Jews used to bathe naked, and the hadeeth doesn’t say that they were hoping to see them.
This question is coming from a person who doesn’t have good understanding of a text. It’s the same as if I say; ”I am born and raised in Uzbekistan.” Then this guy comes and says; ”Yes, but it doesn’t prove that he was in Uzbekistan!”
Just think about it; according to this narration, Jews said that Moses had some physical defect such as a ”large testicles” and that’s why he doesn’t bathe with us.
It means the following things;
- They used to bathe in a way in which they could see teach others testicles
- If Moses would bathe with them it would show the private places of Moses
- If Jews gave some reasons for Moses not bathing with them and even criticised and backbit him for this, it proves that they actually wanted to bathe with him.
But again, modern Muslims are very strongly against ”thinking”, ”contemplating”, and ‘‘understanding the religious texts from different angles”. Or even the normal use of language to convey information. All what they want is very direct, literal meanings of the Arabic words translated into a contemporary dialect of the Arabic Language. It explains the reason why most Muslims are obsessed with ‘black and white’ thinking, narrow minded and even banal sometimes: Because it is utterly absurd that I would say to you ‘How come so and so doesn’t bathe with us. I heard it is because he is a eunuch’ and from this you would surmise anything other than that we bathe naked and we are trying to look at your private parts, in English or Arabic.
The absurd lengths that Salafists and their fellows go to for the purpose of rescuing their favourite narrations and undermining ‘inconvenient’ ones has already decimated the faith of many young Muslims. Of course, these people would never admit it as they claim to ‘serve’ those same people whose faith they are hurting. What is even more sad is these people have no mandate whatsoever from Imam Bukhari or anywhere where he says ‘accept every single one of the narrations I have documented or I hate you’ etc.
As for ”Bukhari didn’t narrate that Jews were bathing naked”.
This claim proves that this person didn’t even bother to read ‘Saheeh Bukhari’ before criticising or ‘questioning’. It is not strange that fans of Bukhari are not familiar with his collection which they insist ”the most authentic book after the Book of God”.
Here is the narration of Bukhari;
In the red box;
‘’The Sons of Israel used to bath naked. They used to look at each other’s private places. But Moses used to bath alone. They said Moses doesn’t bath with us because he has a large testicles…’’
So what on earth were these two questions about? I don’t believe they were asked in any spirit of inquiry or honesty.
4) We all know that God can do whatever he wants, so what is the problem of him showing the naked body of his prophets to people?
Sorry, but I have to be blunt for the sake of the readers, this question is coming from someone who didn’t study the chapter of Aqeedah which talks about ”What is possible and what is impossible about God”.
For example, is it possible for God to act unwisely or can he lie, or can he oppress?
So can God do ‘whatever he wants’? Can he become Jesus? ‘Resign’ as God? Make another God?
Can he become Satan?
Based on this misunderstood principle of ‘God can do whatever he wants’, the answer should be ‘’Yes”
But actually the answer is an emphatic ‘No’!
Also, read point number two above.
5) Narration of Bukhari doesn’t say that Jews wanted to bathe with Moses, but Maturidi says that they wanted that.
The reason why Maturidi says that Jews wanted to bathe with Moses is that Maturidi has a brain that shows what text is actually talking about – look at the point number 3.
I know having a brain is probably haraam for these people (as it seems, is reading the texts before commenting or asking questions) and their ideological ancestors harassed Bukhari for using his brain too, but according to Maturidi (and God) the brain and intellect are glorious gifts which elevate us above animals.
Here I want to upload few more Mufassirs (Quranic commentators) who didn’t agree that the reason for revelation of this verse was what Bukhari narrated. I know it won’t work, because these people showed that they don’t respect intellect nor blind following (taqleed). Maybe I should show them a proof from something they will respect – which I guess is ego or modernism. But sadly I don’t have any proofs from those…
Here is Imam Razi died 604 Hijri, he mentioned all of the opinions including;
A defect in his body
Accusation of Moses about adultery
At the end he said; However, the accusations of Jews against Moses which are mentioned in Quran are sufficient.
Imam Nasafi died 710, mentioned the following accusations of Moses;
- Killing his Brother Aaron
- Accusation of Karun about Moses committing adultery
But didn’t even mention the reason that Bukhari narrated…
Burhan al-Buqa’e died 885 Hijri, said: The most probable issue by which Moses was accused is the story about Karun accusing him about adultery.
Abu Saud died 982 Hijri confirmed that the accusation was about adultery from Karun. Then he mentioned the rest of the reasons including the story of Bukhari by ”Seegha al-Tamreedh” (means weak opinion).
Lastly, one of the most famous popularisers and main commentators of Imam Bukhari’s collection, Ibn Hajar al Asqalani (d. 1449 C.E) also offered what is a difficult to believe explanation for this hadith – he claims that it is fine because the Jews at the time of Moses were not required to cover their private places and this is proved by the hadith. So in essence, Moses being naked was fine because the law of the Jews was that full frontal nudity was permissible. Jews and historians will disagree in the strongest terms, one imagines.
Further, Ibn Hajar relates the opinion of the famous Hanbali scholar Ibn Jawzi (d 1201 C.E) – who says that when Moses ran naked from his bath, he first covered himself with a (wet) loincloth and when he appraised the Jews, they could see the shape of his genitals through the soaked loincloth and thereby verify that Moses had his genitals in tact, but he wasn’t really naked due to the soaked loincloth (which nonetheless outlined his testicles). Even Ibn Hajar is forced to disregard this explanation and call it ‘silly’ because it doesn’t really help and ignores and adds to the text of the hadith – something we find in many scholars explanations for hadith (famously with Qadi Iyad claiming that black magic led to the loss of the Prophet’s erection, though there is absolutely no mention of the Prophet’s private parts in the hadith he is trying to explain).
I think there is perhaps a culture of extremely far fetched and non-evidence based ‘explanations’ such as these offered to try and accept what Imam Maturidi had called bizarre narrations. Imam Bukhari himself avoided doing this but the people who emerged later and demanded that all of his documented hadith be ‘accepted’ did resort to what I think we can agree are very controversial explanations and superadded information. Maturidi was a classical and early antidote to this.