What Really Holds Muslims Back

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Many people would like to let you know why they think Muslims are ‘behind’ or lacking in whatever field they choose to criticise that community for: you will find every shade of Orientalist, from those advocating a Muslim renaissance to the outright xenophobes who are content to blame Islam, the Quran or Muhammad (pbuh) for being hostile to everything from critical thinking to Capitalism (and of course for being against female empowerment). Causes are said to be everything from Ottoman scholars forbidding the use of the printing press as a ‘bad innovation’ to Al Ghazzali having allegedly stifled the rise of Islamic science (or at least natural philosophy) with his withering critique of ‘the incoherence of the philosophers’.

There are those more charitable voices who say that Islam was a good idea for those that followed it to start with but it failed to adapt to the times and therefore could not produce the apparent modern necessities of an Industrial Revolution and Democracy. These more forgiving neo-Orientalists, having no need to establish the superiority of ‘Western’ Civilizational models, then prescribe various remedies which involve incorporating the missing elements wholesale or with ‘adaptations’. They like to hold up countries like the UAE or sometimes Malaysia or even Turkey as examples of this kind of ‘syncreatism’. Nonetheless, they all agree that something went ‘wrong’. In fact, Bernard lewis, archdeacon of Orientalists (at least according to the man who coined that neologism, Edward W. Said) wrote a whole book about Islam called nothing other than ‘What Went Wrong’.

The academics are not alone: they are joined by a slew of popular writers, journalists, critics and politicians from entire spectrum, extreme Left to extreme Right who also want to opine as to what is wrong with Islam (meaning what is wrong with Muslims, but they are usually not allowed to say the latter so they just say ‘Islam’). Even female pop-stars are fond of complaining about the ‘dress code’ when they have to perform is some Muslim countries.

In short, a lot of people have an opinion. In fact, probably everyone has an opinion.

Including, of course, the Muslims.

Muslims groups also agree that something has gone ‘wrong’. In fact, there seems to be a consensus amongst Muslim and non-Muslim ‘thinkers’ that something has indeed ‘gone wrong’. The disagreement is about the cause. Whereas the Orientalists and neo-orientalists (and I use the phrase in the pejorative sense, not to denigrate the legitimate field of Oriental studies by people of any religion or persuasion) are fond of blaming the source texts, personalities and ideas of Islam, the Muslims are fond of blaming…well, the non-Muslims. Or ‘disunity’. But the disunity is itself usually blamed on non-Muslims so it often amounts to the same thing. Many of them also blame a lack of Islamic orthodoxy among Muslims and thus blame the Muslims via a kind of judgement from God, but again, this lack of Orthodoxy is frequently blamed on non-Muslims or people within the community who are not ‘proper’ Muslims (i.e. lapsed Muslims, ‘sell-out’ Muslims, secret non-Muslims or people who think they are Muslim but really are not).

The main criticisms by non-Muslims for the relative lack of ‘development’ (by which they mean military or at least financial-industrial success like the West, Japan or even China) in the Muslim world tend to fall into the following categories:

1) Muslims are unable to develop Western scientific/economic methods because they have a faith based outlook that is hostile to empiricism and the development of new technology. This is because they insist on following a defunct book and teaching which are hopelessly outdated.

2) The reason for the above is the failure of Islam to develop a ‘free thinking’ ethos; thus it stifles disagreement and inquiry, especially in matters of religion, which in Islam, appear to extend to everything including the political and economic spheres. This lack of demarcation is also found to be a cause of Muslim backwardness – they just never learnt to separate the religious from the profane and thus it held back technological, economic and social development. The social ills of the Muslim world are also blamed on this. They have too many children, they do not practice abortion or birth control and they do not allow women into the workforce. This is again because they follow the dictates of their primitive book/religion which has been superseded by modern or even Renaissance ideas such as humanism, The Free Market (for some of those who believe in this, the term needs capitalization for the same reason that ‘God’ is capitalised), gender equality and even Communism (depending on who you ask). This is a view shared by many and not only in the West. It is also sometimes applied to the Catholic Church and other groups as well as Muslims. Sometimes Christians join in and tell Muslims that they have always had to use their brains and incorporate Greek philosophy to understand their scripture, so they were ‘open’ from the start. Sometimes poor Imam Ghazzali gets the blame for shutting the door on ‘philosophy’ (despite the fact that he was himself an accomplished philosopher). Often Muslims of a certain leaning will join in to lament the fall from grace of the Mu’tazzila or ‘Rationalists’  over a millennium ago and wish for their resurgence.

3) The Quran is a ‘medieval’ remnant in modern societies, mysteriously followed by most Muslims (the spectre of Muslims not having ‘woken up’ as Enlightenment Europe did is invoked here). This line of argumentation is popular with both armchair, polemic and academic Islamophobes: any group that would believe in child marriage, sex slavery, chopping off limbs for theft, stoning someone for adultery, blowing up subways etc. is hopeless and more pertinently dangerous. Not only are the people dangerous, but even the ideas should be rooted out, as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens would have it. Basically, Islam is a dangerous and barbaric ideology from which irrationality, violence and misogyny flow naturally: it has survived only because of the relative lack of education and backwardness of the lands that espouse it. It is ideologically intolerable and more importantly, an existential threat.

4) Islam can be tolerated according to gentler voices, but it needs modifications to bring it in line with secular liberal values. Who is to carry out these modifications is left open but presumably it must be someone who is a secular liberal. This group thinks that Islam is indeed backward and perhaps even barbaric but as long as it can be ‘contained’ in the same way as Christianity was in Europe and domesticated, then it will wither away and die much like that other faith, or it will survive in a form which may even be beneficial, at least to those that feel a need for it.

5) Islam is perhaps a problem, but he main issue is the West’s attitude to the Muslim world, specifically foreign and economic policy, the IMF’s damaging influence or our attitude towards Israel and the support of dictatorial regimes in places such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This causes anger and humiliation amongst Muslims as it would in any victimised group and they become hostile, radicalised and violent. But the actual precipitating factor was the ‘West’. Proponents of this view, such as Noam Chomsky, do not really blame the religion itself but nor do they necessarily think it is a good thing. They are basically the opposite of the first group who blame ‘Muslims’ via Islam: they blame the outside forces such as the West for both the economic plight and the political situation in Muslim majority lands and even Muslim minds. They nonetheless would almost invariably agree that Muslims’ failure to adhere to secular liberal values and principles is a problem. They just think that the problem can be solved by being ‘nicer’ to Muslims.

As for the Muslim groups, a large number of individuals ranging from Abd Al Wahhab, Muhammad Ilyas, Rashid Rida, Taqiuddin An Nabbhani, Sayyid Qutb and even Osama Bin Laden (and far too many others, most of whom have inspired non-eponymous movements) have pondered the problem of Muslim ‘backwardness’ (or their preferred term ‘powerlessness’) and the need for ‘revival’ in the Muslim world. There are a great many groups such as Ikhwanis, Tablighis, Salafists, from the political to the violent, but the ideas are actually only a handful:

1) Non-Muslim powers, ranging from ‘the West’ to India and China, occupied Muslim lands by nefarious means, usually meaning ‘not in a fair fight’ (they are usually ambiguous about what constitutes a ‘fair’ fight) and this has led to the oppression and execution of the Muslim intellectuals over hundreds of years of colonialism. This combined with economic disadvantages as colonial powers such as Britain favoured non-Muslims who were more readily able to benefit from colonial policies (why non-Muslims should be more easily able to benefit from colonialism is left open or placed in the context of European hostility to Islam). This led to intellectual and politico-industrial stagnation and an asymmetric distribution of wealth and resources that persisted even after the colonial period. In fact, the colonial powers planted and continue to insert pliant leaders into the ‘Muslim world’ even in the post colonial period, which after all was very recently in the case of most countries. These leaders are just another means of ‘neo-colonialism’ and prevent Muslim ‘revival’.

Many groups, especially Salafists, imply that these leaders are secretly not really Muslim. Some go further and state that if they do not ‘rule by Islam’ they can be killed. Others go further still and say that those who support them can also be killed, for a kind of ‘treason’. This is the root idea behind many modern Salafist groups and their justification for both domestic and international violence against governments and individuals.

How the colonial powers were able to take over in the first place, or how are they allegedly still in charge is blamed on disunity as opposed to superior technological or economic/organisational abilities on the colonisers part.

2) Another group, especially prevalent in those areas that did not experience European colonialism, or conversely even benefited from it, such as Saudi Arabia, blame the decline on the alleged perfusion of heterodoxy amongst Muslims: they declined because they failed to follow Islam properly. If they had, this would not have happened. They echo Genghis Khan when he is reported to have said, ‘Had you not been so evil, God would not have sent me’. They feel that there are heresies, imports from other religions – ‘bidat’ or innovations – which have led to the formation of a less than pristine form of Islam. They question if the people practising these knowingly are even Muslim in the first place. They also see other enemies from within, for example, they feel the Shi’ites have previously and continue to undermine ‘Islam’. This group is not as interested in colonial explanations (unlike Hizb Ut Tahrir or The Muslim Brotherhood). Rather, their concern is purifying Islam and making it into the pristine form of their chosen ‘Salaf’ (after all, Shia and Mu’tazzila are from the Salaf also) or some of the people from first three generations after the Prophets (pbuh) time. Likewise, they are not very clear on the issue of acquisition of new technology or specialist knowledge: some of them say it is unnecessary as God will take care of this as long as we correct our faith (to that which they see fit). Others advocate a selective adoption of Western technology (but without Western ideals). The two sides have come to blows (and continue to do so, especially in Saudi Arabia).

3) The ‘Ijtihadists’: they are related to the above two groups, overlapping in many cases, and to varying extents blame the factors of ‘kuffar colonialism’ and lack of faith amongst Muslims. However, their primary issue is that ‘traditional Islam’ has failed by not continuing to assess and adapt to the demands of the age. They particularly blame Islamic scholars and institutions for not keeping pace and being too obscurantist or dogmatic. They are also rather annoyed at the traditional ‘schools’ of Islamic jurisprudence and often advocate novel interpretations or abrogations of the text for old problems based on their understanding. They are often led by charismatic people who set up a kind of ‘new madhab’ which has ‘new fatwas’.

This group is further divided into two: the first group, whose ‘new ijtihad’ serves the ends of ‘reviving Islam’ in Muslim countries and often provides very local solutions (for example, for the Middle East or Egypt) which the followers then try to generalise. The second group has ‘discovered’ that by new ijtihad, they can resolve issues where there is conflict with secular liberalism. Thus the first groups tailor their ‘fatwas’ to the Muslim majority countries and therefore on the face of it tend to be more orthodox. The second group tailor them to the anxieties of Muslims living in the West, especially America or the UK. This group tends to try and ‘find’ novel approaches that very often are the same as the prevailing western ideology, but in Islamic garb.

So for example, the first group may ‘discover’, in opposition to 1400 years of Islamic thought, that suicidal terrorism or killing the leader is allowed in Islam. The second group may discover that women can lead prayer after all. Despite their widely divergent views, they both believe that traditional Islam is defunct but we need to exercise a ‘new ijtihad’ and this will reveal the proper Islam that has been obscured by backward scholars and institutions.

4) This group could be called ‘modernists’ but modernity is not really their hallmark. For example, the ‘Quilliam Foundation’. They agree that Islam needs to be changed to fit in with Liberalism, and have no problem criticising the behaviour of Islamic personalities, up to and including the Prophet (pbuh) and the Quran. They basically agree that Islam is pre-modern and needs to change, but allow for this to happen and for themselves to be called Muslims. They would agree with may of the neo-Orientalist’s conclusions as to the reasons for the backwardness of Muslims. Why we should follow a revised version of what claims to be an infallible scripture is not addressed. Many of these individuals are former Salafists (such as Usama Hassan and Majid Nawaz) and bizarrely share with them the idea that traditional Islam has failed and needs reform: whereas the former would like the reform to be along Salafist lines, the latter would like it to be along secular/Liberal lines.

5) This group is a unique stand-out as it actually does not think there is a problem, other than Western misrepresentations of the Islamic world. They think that Saudi Arabia or Iran (depending on their preference) are good examples of social morality and public welfare that have been misrepresented. They will point out ‘facts’ such as Saudi Arabia’s low prevalence of rape or welfare programmes in the Gulf states as proof of problem free ‘Islamic’ systems. A strange corollary to this is the ‘Dawah’ movement in the West, which in general, when exemplified by UK groups such as Hizb Ut Tahrir and iERA, think that not only is there no problem with Islam but probably not with Muslim states either: the problem is in fact either western intervention which is preventing the flowering of a new and Islamic state of the ‘Khilafa’ in the case of the former or the fact that non-Muslims don’t know enough about Islam and that is why they are criticising it in the case of the latter. Hence, they have set out to ‘educate’ the West through debates and propaganda, explaining issues such as polygyny and apostasy to a Western audience (using a Wahhabi model). So there is in fact more of a perception problem than an actual problem. They would also agree that the ‘Muslim nations’ need to rule ‘by sharia’ (which is invariably a Taliban/Deoband/Salafist version).

So wherever you look Dear Reader, you will find a ‘reason’ for the problems that Muslims face. No matter if it is extremism or the underdevelopment of the road network in Indonesia, some form of explanation will be forthcoming. Whether you don’t know if you should vote or are having trouble finding a husband/wife, the above factions have an explanation.

But is it right? And as someone has already asked, who really speaks for Islam?

Well, none of them.

They are all…fantasists.

But instead of doing what everyone else does and presenting a theory about why I am right, it may be more productive to give a set of examples that most Muslims living in the West will recognise instantly. Whether they agree or not is a different story.

Rather than asking what holds the ‘Ummah’ or Muslims back, lets see what holds us back, as individuals, and then generalise that – since the Ummah is just a collection of individuals and their problems will simply be represented and magnified. Lets take the example of a young Muslim man growing up in the UK shall we?

The young man (lets say), if he were to show from an early age such a precocious talent for the arts that he may be a latter day Da Vinci, would nonetheless never have it come to any kind of fruition, for he would have been told by his mosque teachers and others that sculpture and painting are ‘haraam’ unless confined to the restrictive zone of geometrical patterns.  Thus a Muslim Rodin, were he to ever be born, would probably have no way to emerge, unless first divested of his Islam. But the prohibition is on sketchy grounds – the earliest hanafis disagreed about the pictures of living things for example.

The child’s’ Jewish neighbour however would have free reign, encouragement and support. But as a Muslim he has to deal with dissuasion (at best) and carrying around the guilt of engaging in ‘haraam’ while constantly being reminded that God will force him to breathe life into his works of art, and if he cannot do it, as he surely won’t, he will be cast into hell, with all of his idols. It’s not a promising start.

It is much the same if he shows great talent with the piano or violin. He won’t get even get a beginning – in fact if Cat Stevens, with all his fame and wealth can only get the puritan side of the story about music and Islam and has to give up being ‘the next John Lennon’ when he accepts Islam, what chance does our young musical prodigy have? What does it matter if the early Hanafi sources allowed music in the same way as they allowed literature: it was to be engaged in and the prohibited matters avoided only. Or will he ever be told about Imam Al Ghazzali (and his brothers) large volume on music, never translated? Does Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam even know to this day? How much influence and wealth did he lose from his twenty plus year retirement from music (and belated return)? How much more influence could he have had with the wider society? How many more people would have been curious about Islam through his Music and fame?

As for the child’s’ Jewish neighbour, he will be encouraged, lauded even, and his parents will show off his piano recitals. When the Muslim kid grows up he will be told by Salafists (and others) that there is a ‘Jewish conspiracy’ to control the media. He will wonder how exactly Muslims would have any influence in the media if film-making, painting and music are haraam. And he wonders if what the Muslims call a ‘conspiracy’ is just a surfeit of talent in the Jewish community, suppressed in his own.

Suitably dissuaded from the arts, he may look towards the humanities, but even here he will constantly wonder if he would not be better off pursuing an ‘Islamic education’ instead. He will perpetually be made to feel guilt about whether he is really studying ‘useful knowledge’ or if it is ‘for the sake of Allah’ as opposed to for his own ‘nafs’ or ego. The Jewish kid next door of course does not have to worry about this: he can study something just because he wants to.

The Muslim teenager is regaled with stories about how the second Caliph Umar (RA) burned whole libraries of books because they contained ‘nothing useful for the hereafter’ (but this never actually happened) and that only the knowledge which will benefit him in the hereafter is useful. If he comes across the hadith of The Prophet (pbuh) to seek knowledge even in China, he will be brusquely reminded by Salafists that it is fabricated (no one will tell him that there are innumerable ayats of the Quran and other hadith saying the exact same thing). He will also told, just for good measure that ‘knowledge’ here means only knowledge of Islam, namely recitation of Quran, how long your beard should be, how to avoid free mixing and not imitate the kuffar etc and not by any stretch of the imagination appreciation of literature, poetry, the reading of history or the classics, learning a language other than Arabic or studying ethnography, anthropology or a million other disciplines. If he does engage in them, he does so again with a sense of guilt (if he stays within Islam that is of course), always with the feeling that he is wasting his time, following his vain desires and engaging in ‘idle chatter’. Would it not really be better to seek ‘Islamic knowledge’? He will never be told about Al Farabi, Ibn Sina (and if he is, he will learn it from the non-Muslims and the moulanas will quickly label them ‘Greek philosophy loving kafirs and non-believers’, using Ibn Taymiyya as their proof, himself ironically a Greek philosophy loving heretic), Al Baruni, Al Haythami and all the other countless Islamic scholars who nonetheless mastered fields from musical appreciation to optics via mathematics and astronomy. If he does know of them, he will likely assume they were time wasters.

Similarly, he will not ascribe the Prophets’ appreciation of poetry to an artistic temperament, rather, if he hears about this at all, he will be confused by it.

Philosophy then of course is impossible for him, a forbidden and heretical pursuit, the language of Satan. Not only the Salafis, Deobandis and other visible sects of Islam but nearly all of the Islamic ‘authorities’ he comes across as an inquiring teenager will warn him off it and even Islamic Kalaam, telling him either that they are prohibited for him or even outright disbelief. He will never know that all of the great scholars of Ahlus Sunnah practised both freely.

No matter if he has the philosophical brain of Aristotle or Maimonides, he will never write a jot on the subject. He will never read the great philosophical works of the Muslim grandmasters, and in any case, even if he wanted to, he will never find them translated. His Jewish neighbour is of course, free to become a Levi-Strauss or a Karl Popper.

Having been dissuaded from the vast majority of intellectual and artistic pursuits, the young man, by now contemplating furthering his education at university, does nonetheless yet have one route open to him: the sciences. For are they not frequently used to confirm the truth of the Quran?

But of course, here he will find that the vast majority of the entrants into this field have no interest in religious matters and in any case, he will be once again dissuaded from the theoretical side of things as more ‘useless knowledge’ (perhaps of the kind that Umar burned). After all, what is the point of knowing the names and properties of the fundamental particles or Quantum Physics? It’s all wishy-washy nonsense. However, perhaps something more practical like engineering or medicine, something that can ‘benefit the ummah’. But the guilt is always there: is he studying for the sake of Allah? Will this really help the ‘ummah’? Is all this haraam free mixing worth it? Would he not be better off in a Deobandi or Brelwi seminary? Medina University perhaps?

When he is older, if he stays in science, he will see that the ‘Science and Islam’ arguments are the work of rank amateurs and even outright charlatans. Knowing the lack of pursuit and endeavour that the Muslims show in the sciences, it will not surprise him.

It is often said that if Bill Gates had been working in Japan instead of the US we would never have heard of him, because the rights to his intellectual output would have been held by his employer and thus he would have been just another faceless programmer (albeit a brilliant one). But what if Bill Gates was Muslim? Indeed, what then?

When the child becomes a man, he will hear, if faintly, all of the voices telling him what is ‘wrong with Islam’ and how Muslims have been held back. If he has learned his lesson, he will wonder if someone who engages in a field like the arts or sciences but always with a sense of guilt can ever achieve the same as the one who does so with a clear conscience. And he will see his Jewish friends (it is unlikely he has any though), with their role models in all spheres of life, from acting to cutting edge physics and he will wonder if it is this and not the alleged ‘Jewish conspiracy’ he was told about in the mosque which gives this community it’s alleged influence and power.

Quite apart from all of the fields of human activity that the young man thought were proscribed for him by his religion, but that he would most likely, as Cat Stevens did (after a lengthy interval), discover were in fact not so, he faces another problem: he is not quite sure if his religion is one of faith or blind following or that of independent reasoning. He is torn in different directions. He finds himself confused when outsiders challenge him as to how can he, for instance, allow adulterers to be stoned to death, apostates to be killed and such. He looks to Islamic personalities and speakers to give him the answers.

And it’s answers he gets, those and a good deal of intellectual gymnastics that go with them.

He will fall into one of two groups – justifying, say, the stoning, or refusing on some novel grounds. The latter feels a newly invented position and makes him feel like a heretic. The arguments proffered by the famous speakers for the former are of varying degrees of believability, but in any case, each one is a bit different and he has to wonder why it was left to these polemicists, often like Hamza Tzortzis, utterly lacking in secular qualifications or Islamic orthodoxy, to provide these answers and why they are not in the classical texts. He sees their atheist or Christian opponents shame them on this very point. In fact, he often feels how a Christian does hearing novel explanations for the Trinity from William Lane Craig, likewise wondering why God left the necessary clarifications to this man and not St Paul or St Anselm. Or better still, Jesus Christ.

Of course, what he does not realise is that the answers are there: but he will never learn of them, since the classical texts have been suppressed, mistranslated or ignored by the sectarian agendas of the puritans and literalists – and these heretics of the orthodox past are now the virtual entirety of those who speak for Islam. If he had, say, access to the works of Abu Hanifa, Malik and the Hanafi jurists, he would have found that they initially denied both the stoning of adulterers and the killing of apostates. Thus emboldened by the authoritative verdicts of the greatest and earliest Imams he could have held his head high in discussions and debates and would have had no need of the aforementioned Islamic intellectual pretenders (nor the verdicts or narrations of scholars old or new such as Imam Bukhari or Ibn Taymiyyah or Yusuf Al Qaradawi and countless others, who in the Islamic Big Picture, don’t really matter all that much).

But of course, he won’t hear of this.

The people answering the questions on his (and God’s) behalf about the stoning of adulterers or whatever are not interested in just defending Islam, but rather their personal ideological leaders, much in the way that Communists were not really about helping the proletariat but rather promoting Marx, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, materialism, economic centralisation etc: if they are Salafi, they will defend the opinion of Ibn Taymiyya and find innovation and licentiousness everywhere, if Deobandi, Gangohi and an insistence on making the Sunnah into Wajib, if Brelwi, Ahmed Ridha Khan…If any of these latter day idols made an Islamically illicit mistake (and they very frequently did), it becomes for these people and their naive audiences thereby mistake of Islam itself. And the classical, orthodox Islam which could inspire the young man with the confidence that people did indeed have it right, even at the start, cannot be allowed to interfere. So the ‘answer’ to the stoning of adulterers is not a ‘guess what I made up in my bedroom’ answer from Yasir Qadhi or Hamza Tzortzis; it is that the biggest and earliest group of Muslim jurists denied any such thing and regardless of any differences of opinion between the different schools then or today, you cannot stone someone to death when there is a disagreement as to whether it is even necessary. Non-Muslims and Muslims alike would be reassured, just as they would be about the lack of capital punishment for apostates and homosexuals exhibited in the Hanafi texts (though both groups are confidently and unapologetically reprobated). It is still the most widely practised school. However, it is not Islam that is being defended, but the opinion of the favourite latter-day scholars of the various speakers for Islam. In the case of the above-mentioned groups, most of them were frank heretics vis-a-vis Orthodox Islam.

Take the case of a highly educated American academic convert such as Jeffrey Lang. He learnt Arabic and struggled for years to understand the issues of hadith authenticity, abrogation in the Quran and allegations that Islam allows ‘wife beating’. Eventually he came up with his ‘own’ approach to controversial hadith (i.e. rejecting those ahad narrations that made no sense or were insulting to the Prophet or Sahabah, even if they were in ‘Sahih Bukhari’). However, this was exactly the same as the original Maturidi and Maliki mustalah (methodology) of hadith, the earliest and most authentic approach to dealing with narrations attributed to The Prophet (pbuh). But he could not get a hold of it. No one told him. He still does not know. Ditto with abrogation in the Quran – he concluded after years that it had been grossly overstated – but he only had before him the Salafist & heterodox answers of the people who claim to speak for Islam, such as the heretical comments of Haitham Haddad or others like him. But had he seen the books of the authentic scholars, he would have known, especailly having taught himself to read Arabic, that he had stumbled on the same conclusion as orthodox Islam.

Had all the speakers and writers (and now bloggers) he had come across not been too keen to explain to him that beating ones wife was only a ‘light’ beating, he would not have had to come to the conclusion that he needed to interpret the Arabic text in a different way. He would have found classical commentators such as Zamaskhari and Al Qushayri who agreed with him that of ‘beating’ there are other, perhaps more appropriate readings.  If he ever finds this information, he will be told that Zamakshari was a Mu’tazzila (and then it will take him years more to find out that most of the Quranic commentaries are by Mu’tazzila). And so on…but if a well known speaker and intellectual such as Lang has to spend years to get through the quagmire, then what hope for our young man?

The truth is he was never held back by Islam at all –  Islam always told him to go for it – whether he wanted to become a concert pianist, an actor, a theoretical physicist, a linguist or anything in between or all of them (as Ibn Sina and many other genuine Islamic scholars were). Islam always had the answers for the controversial questions from the very start, from the earliest and most reliable authorities, as opposed to dodgy Salafist publishing houses or Deobandi ‘Youtubers’.

What held him back was not Islam but rather Salafism, Deobandism, Ikhwanism, Hizbism and too many others to name, which try to take on the mantle of Islam for their own goals. But how was he to know, when the men who spoke for the religion wore the garb of these organisations and fed off the petro-dollars of their sponsors or the humiliations frustrations and ignorance of the Muslims?

Not only this, but their real source of power: make the Muslims unable to learn, excel and think for themselves. And then do their thinking for them. Badly.

Orwell always warned us that we would be brought low by that which we feared. Huxley, his fellow prophet of doom (and no friend of Islam) knew that we would be enslaved by that which we loved.

And such it is with the lovers of the groups above.

What Really Makes Muslims Leave Islam – Part 2

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Adil returns with a much needed sequel to his previous article on the growing wave of Muslim apostasy…

Please skip the introduction if you have read part 1

Which conversation topic is likeliest to cause the most exquisite discomfort amongst Muslims? ISIS? Dress codes? Whether our financial transactions are ‘Sharia compliant’ or not? Saudi Arabia? Allegedly Muslim Grooming gangs? All of the above and more can, and do. Often. However, the lofty first prize easily goes to the subject of Muslims leaving the faith; so much so, that it is discussed little in proportion to the importance of the issue. Perhaps, we feel that bringing the topic into the open legitimises the concept or perhaps we feel that discussing apostasy makes us appear weak and defeatist. Regardless, the phenomenon is real, and almost certainly growing. As I Muslim, I do not believe that there exist ‘valid’ grounds for apostasy, but I have to accept that there are some that warrant empathy as opposed to ostracisation. I also agree with the reality of many of the reasons that Muslims who question Islam give, though I may disagree with the conclusions drawn from them.

This is the first of a series of articles where I discuss and reflect on some of the reasons for the rise of atheism and agnosticism in the Muslim communities in the West and worldwide. My hope is that Muslims can recognise these problems and avoid perpetuating one. Meanwhile, I hope that doubting Muslims will re-evaluate some of their reasons; though this article is no debunking exercise. Following the original article in the series, in no particular order whatsoever I discuss a further five reasons for why many Muslims start doubting Islam.

6) Muslims start to distrust influential Muslim speakers who may eloquently critique Islamophobia but show tacit acceptance and complicity towards extreme or intolerant Muslim speakers or activists.

As a discussed in the previous article, human beings have double standards; perhaps this is as inevitable as sin itself, but as Muslims we are clearly warned against them, and told to stand for justice, regardless of who it is against.

O YOU who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of any-one lead you into the sin of deviating from justice. Be just: this is closest to being God-conscious. And remain conscious of God: verily, God is aware of all that you do (Qur’an 5:8)

O YOU who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in upholding equity, bearing witness to the truth for the sake of God, even though it be against your own selves or your parents and kinsfolk. Whether the person concerned be rich or poor, God’s claim takes precedence over [the claims of] either of them. Do not, then, follow your own desires, lest you swerve from justice: for if you distort [the truth], behold, God is indeed aware of all that you do! (Qur’an 4:135)

A couple of meanings here are clear and unambiguous; first, the Qur’an recognises that we are not saints and that we will invariably detest people, but it reminds us to be just even to those we hate, equating this with God consciousness. Secondly, we are told to stand for justice even if it is against ourselves or our families. At no point is there small print telling us to give a Muslim whose name pops up on an adultery website the benefit of the doubt if we wouldn’t do the same for a non Muslim too. Making excuses for people who are on ‘the same side,’ is undeniably common amongst most people; secular societies (and ironically named anti extremist organisations) for instance, persistently make excuses in favour for outright anti-Muslim neocon warmongers like Bill Maher, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Douglas Murray, Sam Harris, and others. But how can we cry foul play when we do exactly the same, even though we have a religious mandate not to and they do not?

Many Muslim websites and spokespeople articulately and skilfully de-construct anti-Muslim bias and prejudice in the media; CAGE do, iERA do, 5 Pillarz does; hard-line activists of Hizbut Tahir can be very perceptive when it comes to de constructing Islamophobia too. But where is that perception when it comes to Muslim extremists? Trawl through the pages of certain Dawah carriers (some who laughably fancy themselves as human rights activists) and you’ll see articles on Zionism, Islamophobia, anti-Muslim bigotry, Western foreign policy and critiques of secular liberalism; but seldom if ever, a criticism of Muslim extremists. If pushed, most of these individuals and organisations will denounce ISIS and perhaps Al Muhajiroun (a group of murderers, and a laughable band of moronic provocateurs respectively), but critique of any ultraconservative ‘scholars’ who advocate anything slightly less than mass murder will either be disregarded, or elicit frenzied accusations of modernism and heresy. Criticise Ibn Baz for his excommunication of people who disagreed with his ‘cosmology,’ or still living ‘scholars’ like Haitham al Haddad for calling Osama Bin Laden a martyr (albeit one whose ‘methods’ he disagrees with), or for clearly condoning domestic violence, and at best, you’ll be faced with a mountain of emotional blackmail in the name of ‘unity’. It is indeed ironic that the Muslims who try to stifle criticism of scholars in the name of ‘unity’ are usually defending scholars who advocate sectarianism of the worst kind; often denouncing any non Salafist perspectives, and have such a stringent criteria for what makes a Muslim or even a valid prayer (according to one ‘Dawahman,’ most Muslims haven’t ever said a prayer that ‘counts’ anyway); that they would consider virtually all other Muslims as disbelievers anyway.

But hey, isn’t ‘making excuses for your brothers’ a good thing anyway? Even if Al Haddad is just a little bit on the hard-line side (you know, for insisting that even closet apostasy should be punishable by death, or that domestic violence is okay, or that Jews are the enemies of God, or that homosexuality is worse than murder), he’s a man of knowledge right? Part of the Ummah. Okay, then we can surely give some slack to the chairman of the ‘anti extremist’ Quilliam foundation for defending his ‘sister’ Ayaan Hirsi Ali who thinks Islam should be crushed; or Benjamin Netanyahu for defending his settler ‘brothers,’ or ‘comedian’ Bill Maher for defending anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders. Right? Or are only Muslims allowed to have double standards in defending repugnant views?

 

7) Many Muslim parents teach their children about Islam horrendously, or not at all

Many non Muslims (including some of my Christian friends who say this as complement) assume that most young Muslims are brought up to be very religious by their parents, and are given a thorough religious education (or ‘indoctrination,’ for many militant secularists who see any form of religious upbringing as such). The reality of the upbringing of your average Muslim child is very different however; and more akin to a sponge like absorption of ideas and practices rather than actually being taught very much of note. Children simply see their parents doing ‘Muslim things,’ and copy them. It is not uncommon for a parent to teach their child how to pray, and perhaps sprinkle their children with whatever hadiths appear to fit their parental wants, but this is usually where it ends. I genuinely struggle to think of any of my Muslim peers who have meaningful theological conversations with their parents, or have been taught anything remotely academic by them. At best, parents will often tick the ‘teach the children about Islam’ box by sending their child to a Qur’an class, often led by an uneducated village elder who can barely speak English.

We will pay dearly for this lack of education whilst living in the West. In a Muslim majority country, the ‘Muslim ideas,’ and the general belief that Islam represents reality, will generally be absorbed by young people growing up in that society, even if parents give their children scant religious education. In Western countries however, the general sense that Islam represents reality is clearly absent, so young Muslims will only be absorbing the general idea that Islam is true at home, and the general notion that no religion is especially worth following outside. Living in such a society need not be problematic, provided the individual has a reasonable understanding of why his/her faith at least adds up, or is relevant to daily life. However, the unfortunate reality is that most Muslims are philosophically and theologically illiterate, and simply following Islam from learnt behaviour, which provides no defence should the individual be faced by his/her own self or others with ‘why’ questions.

(Two outstanding books for young Muslims living in the West are the excellent Struggling to Surrender and Losing my Religion by Dr Jeffrey Lang)

8) Many Muslims are brought up hating going to the Mosque, often for understandable reasons, and they stop going at the first opportunity

Unfortunately many mosques in the modern age, for want of a better term, suck. It is unsurprising therefore, that many Muslims who are dragged there as children, cease to attend at the first possible opportunity. This is not necessarily accompanied by abandonment of their faith, but the alienation from the religious establishment increases the probability, if not with the current generation, then the next one. It is very common for mosques and Islamic centres to have awful or non-existent provision for women (who, if anything should be given greatest priority as they have the leading role in raising the next generation), and are a boring at best environment for children. Unlike in the days of the Prophet when the mosque would be characterised by the happiness and playing of children, many mosques in Britain are a child’s worst nightmare. On a good day, a children’s ‘Islamic class’ may only be boring, with the children learning how to scribe Arabic words (which naturally they are never told the meanings of). Other days however might feature being scolded or beaten by a barely literate village elder who was appointed as ‘maulvi saab‘ because he originates from the same village as whichever family has the dominant position in the mosque.

What are the implications for otherwise intelligent Muslim kids, who are being ‘educated’ by unintelligent ‘teachers,’ and learning about things which they can’t understand in an unintelligent manner? At school they learn about the mind expanding and multifaceted sciences. They learn about drama, love, tragedy and war in English. They learn to think critically in History, they learn about people and culture and customs in geography. Their teachers (generally) know how to connect with them, and explain, and compassionately try to help them learn from mistakes.  

Then they go to the mosque; learning very little, by someone who can’t teach, can barely reason, has very little critical thinking ability, and even less compassion. Of course, this is not a logical proof that Islam is backward (just as having a numerically illiterate maths teacher with anger problems and progressive neurodegeneration would not prove that maths sucks), but to put it mildly, negative associations are made, and ‘Islamic education’ becomes synonymous with backward, boring, pointless and judgemental dogma.

Furthermore, many mosques show worryingly little interest in actually doing ‘good things,’ i.e actions which will positively impact on other human beings. Many of them are completely apolitical and are content with being pointless and irrelevant to the world around them, even with global ‘Muslim issues.’ Others which supposedly raise for good causes will on principle only do so with typical ‘Muslim causes’ (i.e. Syria or Palestine) and show little or no interest in additionally helping their non Muslim neighbours. Unsurprisingly, common khutbas [sermons] tend to be pointless (such as making the Jummah Khutbahs nothing more than sermons on how important Jummah is) , irrelevant, dogmatic (like raving about Christians celebrating their festivals by getting drunk) and sometimes spoken either in another language; or by someone in broken English, who is clueless about life in their host country. 

By contrast, the last church I visited put just about every mosque I have attended to shame; they counselled youths with mental health issues, they raised food for a local foodbank, they had leaflets about corporate tax fraud, human trafficking and racism amongst other things, and they had material promoting ethical lifestyles. Tragically for them, like most churches they have a relatively small following, most of whom are older, whilst our mosques (almost in spite of what happens in them) often have a much larger one. But how long for? How many more people can we alienate before we see a complete exodus from the next generation?

9) The decline of Christianity and rise of atheism means that Muslims share a far more different notion of reality to their neighbours

Few Muslim – Christian debates in the West end in conversion from the Muslim side. The number of Western Muslims who convert to Christianity has been fairly minimal, even when Christianity was followed by a higher proportion of the populace then it is today. The number of Muslims who have turned to atheism or agnosticism (that is, beyond merely lacking certainty or harbouring a few doubts; which I believe is still compatible with considering oneself a believer) however is far greater. Both Islam and Christianity share many paradigms; the existence of God, the reality of revelation, and the general sense that we serve something higher. I argue that a Muslim population living in a majority practising Christian society is generally unlikely to convert en-masse to Christianity as to do so would require more than merely drifting from Islamic teachings, but actually embracing specific Christian doctrines. Even should an individual become somewhat apathetic with regard to Islamic teachings, chances are, they would remain Muslim; as they live in a society that holds that God is a reality, and on balance, the Muslim notion of monotheism appears more intuitive for most people then the doctrine of the trinity. It seems unlikely that being in a predominantly Christian society would make Muslims ‘drift into’ embracing specific Christian beliefs, but far more likely that they would drift into non-theistic beliefs in a more atheistic society.

Of course, it is very possible for Muslims to thrive in an atheistic society, and to make their friends and neighbours open to the possibility of God. This however would require seemingly sparse concepts like a common understanding of basic philosophy and Islamic theology; some significant Muslim representation in science, more progressive Islamic scholarship, and more human decency and proactiveness from the Muslim communities as a whole.

10) Violent extremism committed by Muslims, regardless of disingenuous media reporting, is a reality, and causes Muslims to have doubts

I hesitated before including this one at all, because I have pondered as to whether violence carried out in the name of Islam is actually significant direct source of apostasy. Whilst the internet is full of strident voices claiming to have left Islam after discovering that the Qur’an tells you to decapitate non Muslims, feast on their bone marrow and drink their spinal fluid, I have yet to meet an ex-Muslim in real life who actually considers Islam to be terroristic. Some have I have spoken to have thought it to be austere and possibly harsh (an unsurprising result of effectively being told that harshness and difficulty in Islam = authenticity, a point to be discussed later), but not inherently violent.

That said, I still believe that violence committed by adherents of any religion including Islam can potentially facilitate apostasy. When violence is (or appears to be) everywhere, the presence of God is harder for people to see, and the appeal of the emotional problem of evil becomes increasingly credible. People become jaded when seeing killers claiming to represent their faith and inevitably ask the question ‘is this really worth it?’ Would God send down a revelation which is so easy to abuse or misinterpret that any sort of violent interpretation is plausible?

We can say that one should ‘judge by texts’ and not a few bad apples, but even a few fractions of a percent of the entire Muslim population represents tens of thousands of people, who currently get a disproportionate amount of airtime.

Sure there are credible responses to these doubts; that many violent Muslims are theologically (if not completely) illiterate, that many reasons for violent extremism are actually secular dressed in religious garb, that Islamophobia, Neocon foreign policy and Muslim extremism are all part of one vicious positive feedback cycle, that it has been non-Muslims have committed the worst genocides of recent history, that much of the media is disingenuous, and so forth. Regardless of this, and the fact that other forms of violence often get swept under the carpet or attributed to non-ideological factors (like mental illness; the standard get out clause after a Caucasian goes on a shooting rampage); violence and oppression carried out by Muslims exists, and even ill-intended motives of those who report it does not somehow diminish its reality. Just because the Daily Mail is an Islamophobic rag doesn’t mean that Mohammad Emwazi (‘Jihadi John’) didn’t join ISIS nor that this wasn’t somehow alarming…just because the Mail had lots of coverage on it!

Yes, sections of the media are Islamophobic, they might distort, misreport and even outright lie; but they need something to work with. If there was no ISIS, no Boko Haram, no Taliban, no Al Shabaab and no Al Qaeda, this would be much harder. Would some especially twisted Islamophobes try anyway? Of course, but the vacuousness of their arguments would be exposed with pitiful ease. Ultimately we must accept that whether we have a monopoly on violence or not (and I believe the latter is true), unless we make a concerted effort for peace, starting from our homes, then our communities in humanity, and ultimately the world around us, more Muslims will become jaded, distrustful, cynical and resentful towards more and more of their co-religionists, and ultimately Islam itself.

I hope that my second article has given readers food for thought and as always I would love to see constructive critique of the ideas put forth here. Stay tuned for the next in the series and have a blessed day.

Recommended reading:

Islam and the Destiny of Man (Gai Eaton)

Losing my religion: A cry for help (Jeffrey Lang)

The Message of the Quran (Muhammad Asad; this is a Quran with extensive commentary)

Islam and the fate of others: The salvation question (Dr Mohammad Hassan Khalil)

Hanafi Principles of testing Hadith (Shaykh Atabek Shukurov)

Reasoning with God (Khaled Abou el Fadl)

They Mess You Up

A blistering new piece from ‘Suede Nikita’!

After the article ‘What Really Holds Muslims Back’: https://asharisassemble.com/?s=what+really+holds+muslims&submit=Search, where the author compared the difficulties faced by Muslims in their academic and personal pursuits, such as choice of degree or career as well as marriage and relationships, with their non-Muslim colleagues, I was expecting a robust comeback from the diverse groups critiqued in that piece, especially after the exposure the article received on Paul Williams popular site ‘bloggingtheology.org’.

Instead, people focused on the claim (entirely true) that the earliest usooli (methodological) Hanafis denied stoning for adultery and on the apparent condoning of ‘free mixing’ (also not a big deal in Islam – more on this in a moment). It was even more surprising when the interlocutors for these ‘important’ bastions of Islamic faith, were ‘pwned’ by someone, who although maybe a good writer, was a rank amateur in Islamic sciences. Despite getting passionate and with the pre-requisite takfirs and accusations of hadith rejection (although the most famous hadith rejecter in modern times is Sheikh Nassiruddin Albani, who rejected some of the Sahih of Bukhari as ‘weak’ and is Imam of hadith to most of those throwing about these claims) along with modernism and high treason, they utterly failed to make their case (see the comments thread here: http://bloggingtheology.org/2014/02/05/what-really-holds-muslims-back/ despite getting extremely verbose, they failed to even establish the point about stoning).

It made me think that there were a lot of self-appointed defenders of Islam who were very visible and loud, but seemingly did not have the knowledge to match their claims. Perhaps the author was right: the Emperor had no clothes.

In fact, there do seem to be a huge number of ‘memes’ which pass for ‘necessary’ Islamic beliefs or practices which are in fact modern and cultural interpolations, which in the case of traditional Islam, are entirely unnecessary – yet they are insisted on most vehemently by many groups, including, but not limited to, Salafis, Deobandi and Brelwi brothers. These ‘tests of Islamic authenticity’ encompass some of the most controversial issues which both Muslims and non-Muslims make a big deal out of, from political participation to the aforementioned gender segregation.

I will be responding from the authoritative tradition of the Hanafite school to avoid any claims of ‘modernism’ or ‘hadith rejection’ – these are typical strategies employed by people who themselves want to interpolate their secular and modernist ideas into Islam but want to shut down people who may highlight this by accusing their opponents of what they are in fact themselves doing. The Hanafi madhab, for those who don’t know, is responsible for both the first collection of Hadith (no Hanafis or Makiliks then no Bukhari or Ibn Hajar either) and the first book after the generation of the Sahabah, ‘Kitab Al Athar’ (itself a book of hadith), as well as setting up the rules for jurisprudence and creedal issues. For example, Maturidi aqeeda (the Orthodox Islamic school of theology) is derived by Imam Abu Mansur Maturidi from the statements of Abu Hanifa himself.

Further, it is the only school of jurisprudence to survive that is actually from the Salaf of the Successors (the ta’baeen – even Imam Malik does not have this honour) and it’s superiority and primacy is established by both history, demographic influence to this day and the endorsements of the eminences of the other schools such as Shafi and Malik (though they also saw fit to criticise aggressively, a fact which is often concealed from lay Muslims and causes dismay when they find out).

Therefore one hopes that accusations of ‘unorthodoxy’ by the above-mentioned groups and disingenuous spin from Islamophobes could be curtailed, but I will include a full section on objections when they invariably unleash their rather amateurish sophistry.

So seeing that the author of the previous piece actually had a point and did a service to Muslims, here is how, if you are Muslim, ‘they’ mess you up – sometimes permanently.

Oh, and who are ‘they’ you might ask? Well, ‘they’ already know who they are. And soon, you shall be acquainted with them as well…

1) They are forever confusing you about the role of reason and revelation

Which comes first – the intellect or the Quran? You must choose! Don’t you have the courage to suspend your brain and follow the Quran you filthy heretic?!

It may even be put to you as a different perjury – which is greater the Quran or your intelligence (for intelligence, sometimes the words science, logic or ‘philosophy’ are susbtituted)? What about the hadith? Will you apply your paltry intellect to the reports of sayings of the Prophet (SAW)?!

You may also be told that Islam is a religion of naql (copying or thoughtless imitation) and not aql (intellection).

There is a great deal of confusion amongst Muslims about this: do the beliefs and commands of the Quran have to make sense, should I think about things? Is thinking about Islam only for those who have studied the requisite sciences? Am I just to do taqleed (imitation of authorities)? Should I do it on matters of faith or only on practices such as how to pray?

Of course, the clear indication ‘they’ have is that you should not think about things too much. Unless you are non-Muslim, in which case you should do nothing but think. For example, about how the Trinity does not make sense or that God can’t be an idol or even about how there are scientific miracles in the Quran. But once you are Muslim, the thinking should really stop and you should defer to the scholars and follow them blindly, in not only fiqh (jurisprudence) but aqeeda (beliefs) also.

Typical comment ‘they’ might make: ‘So what about wudu, huh?! If we are to apply our intellect to it, why do we wash areas which don’t get dirty as opposed to those that do? Why don’t we wash our armpits or private parts HUH?! Didn’t think of that did you Brainiac?! Can you give me a reason from your ‘brain’, huh?!

Of course, there is a genuine discussion in Islam about then role and the limits of the human intellect (even between the Asharis and Maturidis as well as between Ahlus Sunnah and the Mu’tazilla or Salafis), but as always, the issue has been sorted, as has the issue of ‘taqleed’ or ‘blind following’. You are being stressed out and your faith jeopardised over literally nothing.

The Quran, being the discourse of God, is obviously superior to the intellectual capacity of any or even all men. It cannot, according to us, be produced by any intellect. However, the Quran is not ‘your brain’ – you can’t shut off your brain and use the Quran to drive your car or do your maths homework. Your only possible means of interacting with the word of God is your intellect – and there is absolutely, unequivocally no escaping it. From reading it to applying it, you have to use your brain. So your brain is not as good as the Quran, but the only way you decided that the Quran was true in the first place was by using your brain.

So the brain and intellect comes first.

Similarly, if a Hindu brother decided to look into the Vedas, Upanishads and the Quran, he would have to use his brain to decide between the two and ‘they’ would wholeheartedly encourage him to do so, just as they would a Christian to examine the coherence of the doctrine of the Trinity (or even a moral issue like ‘Original Sin’) so that he/she could come to Islam.

Thus for everyone, intellect came before Quran, since this is the means by which they recognised the truth of the Quran. This does not mean that your intellect is better than the Quran, just that you only have your intellect and you are not God that you could use him instead of your brain.

Problem solved.

But ‘they’ won’t let it go that easily. After all, they want to mess you up…

What about those fiqh issues? Do you apply your intellect to them? Do you apply it to the hadith? To the ‘essence’ of God? These issues are clarified in aqeeda and kalaam, but most of the books are not translated (so that ‘they’ can keep confusing ignorant people like us). A rare example is Mufti Mustafa Ceric’s ‘The Roots of Synthetic Theology’, which is a primer on the Maturidi creed – which explains that issues such as why there are four cycles of prayer in Zuhr (the afternoon) prayer are not to be pondered over as they are as they are because God said so, but how do we know God indeed said so is pondered over. Likewise with the example of wudu (ritual washing).

So the intellect is given unrestricted reign, except in the issue of the very essence of God, since a limited processor such as our brain trying to understand the ‘essence’ of a beginningless and endless being that exists without time and space and aka God is infinitely more futile that trying to run ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4’ (or whatever they are up to now) on a Commodore 64.

Likewise, taqleed or blind following makes sense in issues which the layman does not have time to sort out, such as what does or does not invalidate the prayer, but not in matters of belief: we can forgive the ordinary man for taking it on trust from his doctor to take Paracetamol for a headache, but would require of him greater research and a second opinion if his doctor asked him to undergo castration. As it is with doctors of medicine, thus it is with doctors of law: they are indeed experts relative to us and most of us can never hope to reach their status of knowledge – but if they cannot explain themselves to us or their advice makes no sense from our perspective, we may have to ignore them. And we are free to do so in Islam. Otherwise all it would take to misguide all of mankind would be one misguided scholar and almost everyone else would have to follow him.

Likewise, we are happy to follow an Imam ‘without thinking’ but not on matters such as what God or religion to follow and does God have a son: we would forgive a genteel lay Catholic for taking it on trust from the Parish that he should pay alms but not that God had a son or what the ultimate fate of mankind shall be.

And if it is not an excuse for non-Muslims to say on the Day of Reckoning that ‘we took this on taqleed from our priests and Brahmins’ then it is likewise not valid for us as Muslims.

Or to put it another way, it is fine to be wrong about what breaks your prayer because you were blindly following and authority like Imam Malik, (indeed it is necessary to follow such an authority on these matters) but not about God climbing on ropes around the heavens because Ibn Taymiyya said so. In the second case you must use your intellect, even if Ibn Taymiyya knows more than you.

With this cleared up, Muslims are free to engage in not only an intellectually enriching and fearless faith, but are also thus liberated to pursue the sciences and critical thinking in other fields ‘guilt free’. Islam is indeed an religion of ‘aql’, God says so in more than seventy places in the Quran: Islam does not fear the intellect, science or philosophy because it is confident that it makes sense as Allah claims in the Quran.

So don’t let ‘them’ take away your intellectual heritage.

Let us conclude with the statement of Imam Razi (or Imam Fakhr as he is called by Persian speakers) that the one who says the duty of the intellect or mind of man is to lead one to Islam and thereafter it is to no longer be applied has indeed invalidated the means by which he came to Islam in the first place, made it untrustworthy and inserted a doubt about the religion of God.

2) They Tell You That You Are Not A Scholar/You Don’t Know Arabic

First of all…well, whose fault is that? It’s a lot easier to learn Chinese when you are a kid (or any other language) than as an adult: but most of the Madrassas, in the UK at least do not teach Arabic language, merely Quran recitation and their favourite books from their favourite sects. Tablighi Jamaat likewise will not teach anything on their excursions except their own syllabus. Although Arabic is becoming more widespread in Islamic classes, people send their children to madrassa for two hours a day with precious little to show for it except how to pray and recite Quran without understanding.

Even in the Deobandi madrassas for scholars, Aqeeda and Kalaam (the foundations of belief) are not taught adequately or correctly. They claim to teach ‘Hanafi madhab’ but then confusingly use the Shafi Mustalah (methodology) of hadith (a contradiction if there ever was one) and tolerate Salafist teachers. Other groups such as Brelwis will focus excessively on their favourite books to the expense of more authentic works of the Imams. And that’s for people wanting to become scholars – if it’s so hard and such a minefield for them, then what about the ordinary folk? Long story short, it is very hard indeed to get authentic knowledge, which leaves people open to blackmail and guilt trips about not being a scholar or not knowing Arabic.

But in reality, this plays out exactly as it did above: not being the most knowledgeable Christian does not mean you delegate your thinking about the son-ship or lack thereof of Christ to your local Priest or the Pope or Martin Luther: you have a duty to think about doctrine to the best of your ability. Just as your brain is not the Quran, it is not that of a scholar either. So what? You are indeed accountable for not having enough knowledge (adjusting for how much time, access to education as well as lifespan that God gave you – a Himalayan farmer is not as accountable for not knowing about the best argument for God’s Justice as Socrates or Plato), but you have to make the best of what you do know: and everyone has the rational faculty to work out important things like the existence of God without being a scholar.

Therefore, even if you do not have Ibn Taymiyya’s knowledge of Quran (he was a hafiz) or other things, you are free to reject his assertion that God can be reached in a bucket.

A doctor can tell you to lose weight: but you don’t have to listen, even though he has huge knowledge of Human physiology compared to you. If he told you to ingest poison, you may even tell him to go to hell, even though he has much more knowledge than you.

For God gave people the wits to survive in the midsts of experts of all kinds.

Like how Satan is an expert with huge knowledge…

If Muslims have to ‘put up or shut up’ when it comes to scholars and knowledge, by that token no Hindu can disagree with a pundit and no Catholic with the Pope and according to this logic no-on should ever change religions as people who are more knowledgeable than them told them that their religion was in fact true.

Further, the Prophet (SAW) predicted that a day would come when scholars would stand up in the mosque and talk nonsense and the ordinary people would not challenge them.

Even if this narration had no isnad, we would have to accept it. Because in our time, it came true.

3) They ‘Spam’ Hadith At You

‘Spamming’ probably is not the right word any longer, maybe it was in the day of Sheikh Muhammad Al Ghazzali who tried to address this malady in his succinct and masterful ‘The Sunnah Of The Prophet’ (and was harassed and takfired for his trouble, though he was an eminent and orthodox scholar) but nowadays we are dealing with an even worse problem: hadith carpet bombing.

This consists of a hadith being wheeled out in any given situation, usually in an inappropriate and lopsided manner and then being used to blackmail the lay people that if they do not follow it, they are going against the Prophet (SAW). It works every time because of the extreme love that all sects of Islam have for the Prophet. But it’s long term effect is to damage and reduce that love by blackmailing people into doing what the particular group wants by using the Prophet as a guarantee, all the while never explaining to the ‘victim’ of the hadith bomb how conflicting hadith are reconciled, how they are reconciled with Quran and how they may in fact be rejected.

Example:

Scene: typical romantic evening for a ‘practising’ Salafi couple.

Man: I think we should go to bed early tonight

Woman: But why? It’s a Friday, we don’t have to get up tomorrow. And I wanted to watch ‘Rambo III’ on the telly, you know the one where he joins the Taliban.

Man: Fear God and lower your gaze you wench!

Woman:

Man: Anyway, I want to have sexual relations so lets go to bed early

Woman: But I want to watch telly!

Man: How dare you!

Are you unaware of the Sahih narration of The Prophet (SAW) said that if a woman does not sleep with her husband when he wants, the angels curse her till morning?! Are you going against the Prophet??!

Woman: Ahhh…So you think Hadith are your ally?

Don’t you know that the Prophet commanded clearly that you cannot insist for even your wife to have sex with you? He also said ‘the best amongst you is he who is best to his wives’. Double hadith Hadou-Ken!

How dare you go against the Prophet you ignoramus?!

Man: Huh! You merely adopted hadith, I was born into it, moulded by it. I haven’t even bothered to study fiqh or even the Quran AT ALL.

THAT’s how much I love the Prophet and hadith!

You silly munter, you don’t even know that the Prophet said that a woman must satisfy her husband EVEN if she is riding a horse. Take that you frigid cow!

Woman: As if you are man enough to ride a horse let alone satisfy a woman thereon!

Are you so ignorant of hadith as to not know that The Prophet said do not approach your women like beasts! Take that you grave-worshipping Sufi waste-man!

Man: I didn’t want to bring this up but you know I’m allowed to beat you if you refuse to sleep with me right?

Don’t make me put you over my knee woman!

Woman: Fool, The Prophet said never to beat your wife! Your knowledge of hadith sucks!

Man: Forget it, I’m not in the mood anymore.

Woman: What?! Don’t you find me attractive anymore!?

Man: Actually, I never found you attractive. I ‘married for the Deen’

Woman: Oh, that’s okay then

And if this offends you, think of the blasé way in which hadith are rolled out nowadays, regardless of situation, applicability or authenticity.

The ‘hadith bomb’ is most often dropped by scholars or groups who believe that all ‘Sahih’ hadith are certain knowledge and there is little or no need for Mustalah (methodology) of Hadith. This is absolutely wrong and is the belief of a tiny heretical (but extremely well funded and vocal) minority amongst Muslims known as ‘Ahl al Hadith’ (or ‘the party of hadith’). These individuals see the classical schools of Islamic jurisprudence (and creed) as redundant and feel that we need to ‘return to the text’. A corollary to this is that they regard ‘ahad’ (single transmission) narrations, which make up the bulk of hadith texts as ‘certain’ as opposed to speculative or 50/50 as Sunni scholarship of Hadith such as Ibn Hajar or Isa Ibn Abban or indeed Imam Malik or even Shafi (trhe most hadith oriented of this group) explained (the vast majority of ‘Sahih Hadith’ are nonetheless considered ‘ilm ul zann’, or speculative knowledge by Ahlus Sunnah/mainstream Muslims and cannot be use to decide issues of creed, nor in Maturidi/Hanafi madhab can such narrations settle major issues of fiqh unless they reach the grade of ‘Mashoor’ (famous) or ‘Muttawatir’ – certain/mass transmitted. Ahl Al hadith however think that they can be followed directly without any Usool of Hadith (principles of hadith).

The reasons they cannot and indeed should not be taken as certain, the way the mass transmitted Muttawatir hadith or the Quran are, is due to the possibility, however remote, of error or interpolation by the narrators, a possibility which heterodox modernists such as Ahl al Hadith and Salafis are unwilling to acknowledge. So in effect, ‘they’ in practice make the Sahih equal to the Quran and even a judge over it (in the words of their Imam Barbahari), a horrifying and heretical innovation.

In short, a hadith having an isnad that is ‘sahih’ is sufficient for it to be acted on for these people. Conflicts between ‘Sahih’ hadith (those with the reliable chain of narrators) are to be resolved by giving Bukhari preference and so on.

This leads to serious errors in fiqh and to taking into belief things such as the ‘Satanic Verses’ incident, which the arch-Imam of Ahl al hadith Ibn Taymiyya indeed did.

The approach has been discussed at length, save to say, it is not the approach of Sunni Muslims (nor Shia) and causes huge problems: there are a total of one million hadith, if we exclude the ones with the same text but different chains we are still left with some 300,000. If we only take the sahih ones, we still have in the region of 20,000 (Bukhari for comparison contains a mere 5,000, only 1/3 of which Imam Bukhari graded as meeting his conditions for sahih or authenticity).

Before people can ‘spam’ hadith or use them as a proof distinct from usool and the sciences of fiqh, they should know all of the hadith that pertain to the incident and whether they are accepted into fiqh aqeeda etc. Even this would not be close to sufficient, but it would be a start. Arabic language proficiency is of little use alone, but is loved by the modernist dilettantes of ‘their’ party.

For example, in the ‘romantic evening’ above, the parties should have both not got into it in the first place or if they had to, they should have referred to the fiqh or jurisprudence as opposed to trying to find support from hadith directly. But a better example may be hadith ‘hurled’ as projectiles recently on the issue of music. I am not here to talk about the permissibility of music or not (actually I am, see below) but to show how hadith are abused:

Sahih Al Bukhari Book 69 Number: 494 Narrated Abu ‘Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash’ari: that he heard the Prophet saying, “From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful…(continues)

I have not looked it up in the Arabic, and the translation, due to the source it was from (Darussalaam, Salafi publishers), is almost certainly ‘dodgy’, but the point was that this hadith was used to blackmail a Muslim speaker into saying that Music was haraam.

Quite apart from whether we can make things ‘haraam’ based on single ahad narrations (and we can’t in traditional Islam), this hadith cannot be used to establish the case anyway: no-one in Islamic history took it literally as modernist Salafst and Ahl al Hadith movements do: the reason is obvious – the wearing of silk is only haraam for men, not women, who are free to wear it, and that is only if the entire garment is silk (Caliph Umar had a partially silk garment). But the hadith says silk is haraam – period. So we need to see all of the other hadith about silk and music and reconcile them, according to some logical principles as the jurists did. But the literal meaning of this narration is rejected – because quite apart from the silk issue, some musical instruments, such as duff and tambourine, are allowed by ijma (consensus), but the plain text of the hadith says all musical instruments are unlawful.

Thus even if we agree with the methodology of ‘hadith spammers’, this narration cannot be used as it conflicts with others and needs clarification (further, Ibn Hazm, a favourite of ‘hadith-bombers’, says the chain of this narration is broken and it is one of the supporting and not ‘Sahih’ hadith of Bukhari anyway).

‘They’ make your life difficult and mess you up by spamming you with hadith that you will take as certain from the Prophet but may make your life unnecessarily difficult (through fiqh) or give you doubts about Islam (like the Satanic Verses hadiths or latter day scholars like Ibn Taymiyya saying that the hadith of God riding goats in ‘Sahih Ibn Khuzayma’ is acceptable) because you love the Prophet and heretical offshoots of Islam told you that every sahih hadith is a certain and applicable statement of the Prophet, you will fall for it.

But in the long run you may come to resent the Prophet or doubt Islam because you are told that you must believe in narrations that were in fact rejected from Islamic belief because the Prophet did not actually say them, despite them having a decent chain of narration as the chain is only one of the conditions, the rest are to do with the content or ‘matn’.

The correct position of Orthodox Islam is that rejecting an Ahad hadith for no-reason at all is not allowed, but if there is a valid reason to reject it as stipulated by the authentic scholars and Fuqahah (jurists and doctors of law and creed) then it is not a problem. Do yourself a favour and learn  about how Muslims are supposed to approach hadith here:https://asharisassemble.com/hadith/

Or ‘they’ will be ruining a lot more than your romantic evening.

4) They Assault You With Scholars Opinions

This is really just a variation on the above two areas but deserves it’s own treatment.

There are lots of scholars in Islam.

They, like all people, deserve respect and deference, in their case for their knowledge. However, when you have a huge number of anything, say, physicists or Star Wars fans, you will get all kinds of personalities and thus all kinds of behaviours and ideas. Some physicists (including the ‘humanitarian’ Richard Feynmann) were involved in making the atomic bomb. It doesn’t mean that making weapons of mass destruction that did not exist before is the majority position of Physics or even physicists themselves (at least I hope not), just that there are some odd or even immoral physicists who nonetheless know physics to a very high level. Likewise, I was reading a book by a well respected physicist, David Deustch, where he went on a lamentable flight of fancy about how in the future, the thinking machines might ‘make’ God. This is ‘far out’ and an abuse of physics, even if it comes by way of a certainly eminent physicist who I could never hope to match (but then anyone can get strange ideas high as a kite on that ‘stuff’ while watching ‘The Matrix Reloaded’).

Likewise, amongst Islamic scholarship, which even now is a very widespread profession, all kinds of views, many of them strange, can be found. Further, the danger of the incorrect views of Islamic scholars is commented on in narrations (which ‘they’ would have to accept at face value). Did you know that the first person to enter Hell is not Satan but a Muslim scholar? As Spiderman keeps narrating as ‘Sahih’: ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ (or Islamically, ‘accountability’).

What ‘they’ like to do is have an pre-formed opinion, outside of Orthodox or classical Islam, that is held by them and then quote mine and mis-quote Islamic scholars of the past and present in support of it to confuse you into believing that if you go against them, you are going against the authoritative doctors of law. They also like to bring in the concept of ‘ijma’ or consensus (whether they believe in it or not), a valid source of Islamic law, and show that the ‘consensus’ is on their side by again quote mining, knowing that you, as a layman, have no way of checking.

Know who Imam Tabari is? Read his books? How about As Sayuti? Is Al Ghazzali Muqallid or Mujtahid? What is the difference anyway? Is he allowed to take his own stance on issues of fiqh? Can anyone?

We don’t know, most of us, so they can just say, as they often do:

Me: Such and such scholar believes in the Satanic Verses incident but I can’t accept that.

Them: Fear God you unholy handmaiden of Satan! Don’t you know that Imam Tabari and Ibn Hajar also believed in it? Do you know more than them?!

Me: But I don’t know who those guys are…

Them: They are hype guys girlfriend. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. It isn’t just so and so who believed it, it is ijma!

Me: I feel like crying now

[NOTE: They didn’t believe it, don’t worry]

The actual way traditional Islam works is that people who are scholars are not all equally qualified to express an opinion: the opinion of Imam Al Kawthari is not as weighty as Abu Hanifa and each school has various opinions of thinkers within it (much like a department at a university in the West) – each school has a head and a main opinion supported by proofs, like how Plato is the head of the Platonists or Plotinus of the Neo-Platonists and has his own ideas. But if we take the fringe and minority opinions we can make a very strange madhab. A articulate student of knowledge put this tendency quite well:

‘Moulanas, local imams and shaykhs are teaching people that a madhab (school of jurisprudence) has two opinions – the strong and the weak – and it is okay to follow the weak.

There can only be two conclusions, either they are ignorant of the correct position or they are trying to misguide the masses. Either way the result is really worrying and concerning.

If we were to form the madhab we follow based on weak opinions, we would concoct a very strange one indeed. Perhaps this is an example of the modernist Salafi influence on the madhabs.

A small example is in Hanafi madhab: there is a weak opinion that temporary marriage is allowed, according to the “leaders” would it be okay to follow this or any other weak opinion.’

The actual grades of scholars and the relative leeway they have in traditional Islam (compiled by an actual scholar! Swoon!)

1. ‘Mujtahid Mutlaq’ – Such as Imam Abu Hanifah (or Imam Malik etc) – the highest level and it is he who set up the Hanafi madhab (system of knowledge about religion). They articulate and prove first principles and base them on sound reasoning – so they elucidate the epistemology of that madhab. They should not follow any other scholars of their own or lower level and are not even allowed to do so since they are able to reason from said first principles. The requirement of intellect, memory and independent verification and peer review to reach this level is almost preposterously exacting by any system of knowledge; for example, knowing everything by heart which can include pieces of evidence ranging into the hundreds of thousands or even millions verbatim. Such people are thus exceedingly rare and none will be found to meet the required standard today (though many will claim it).

2. Mujtahid Muqayyad – such as Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad (Salafis disagree but this is due to their own antagonisms and novel methodology). Theoretically they shouldn’t leave the madhab and they can only use the already established principles of the madhab to issue fatwa (rulings) about non – existing masail (new problems that need answers, like for example nowadays, the permissibility of organ transplantation). But in practice we do see them leaving the madhab from time to time.

3. As’haab Tarjeeh – examples would be individuals such as Qadikhan, Sarakhsi. It’s those who can chose the stronger opinion if there is more than one opinion availible within the madhab, by weighing the evidence for each position and choosing. But if there is only one opinion they are not qualified to leave that opinion. As well as if there is more than one then they are not qualified to take some opinion from outside of the madhab.

4. Rawil-Madhab – it’s those who are trusted to narrate the mu’tamad (official) position of the Madhab.

Odds are the ‘scholar spammers’ never told you this. And when they hit you with long lists of scholars who agree with their positions (which are nearly always outside orthodox Islam), they will almost invariably be from 1) Their own sect only (in the case of Ahl al hadith or Salafis, Hashwee Mujassims (anthropomorphic corporealists) or 2) from the last two categories.

The other worrying tendency ‘they’ have is claiming that they follow authentic schools of Islam and authentic scholars but then presenting the heterodox and thoroughly modern ideas of scholars who agree with them: So Salafis will try and convince you that the opinion of Ibn Taymiyya is to be the one lens through which Islam is understood, they will then present others of his ‘brand’ of Islam as further authoritative voices: Ibn Qayyum Al Jawzi, Ibn Baz, Uthaymeen and Albani as well as a few others. They will keep telling you their opinions and say that they are the teachings of the ‘Salaf’, but the earliest of these is from the 14th century. but of course, the layman won’t know. It s the same with Deobandi brothers, who will only look at traditional Islam through the lens and books of their founding fathers (such as Sheikh Gangohi, Ashraf Ali Thanvi etc), whose mistakes then become for them the mistakes of the entire Hanafi or Maturidi madhab.

Rather, ‘they’ and others do not take from the authoritative Imams of traditional Islam and then try to make you follow the same authorities as them.

Because, like I said, they mess you up.

It is indeed strange that no-one clarified Islamic aqeeda until Ibn Qayyum – what were Muslims believing for the previous eight hundred years, were only the tiny minority who agreed with him correct? Why did it take so long for him and others to sort it out and guide the Muslims even if they were right? Likewise, did no-one understand or write about Hanafi fiqh or aqeeda until Gangohi or Thanwi? Did Hanafi madhab exist before Ahmad Ridha Khan or not?

So ‘they’ are confused and will confuse you as well.

5) They Make You Think If Something Is More Difficult, It Is More Islamic

Puritanism is best defined in my opinion as the suspicion of pleasant sensations or simply as hatred of ease. It is paradoxically loved both by ‘them’ and hedonists, liberals and atheists. In both cases, it furnishes a superb argument against religion.

But in the case of Islam, such an argument is invalid.

It is human nature to respect those endeavours which are the most difficult as the most worthy, from the Twelve Labours of Hercules to climbing Mount Everest or winning an Olympic medal.

So it is natural that we would think that the path to the most exalted thing of all, Paradise or God, should be the most difficult. How could the most precious thing be easy to achieve?

This is understandable and also ‘sort of’ true. But it also does not make complete sense: if God has made the truth the hardest thing to realise and live by, is it justice for him to them account flawed human beings who usually can’t even make it to work on time for falling short?

So it is not at all evident that being a good Muslim or Christian or Buddhist necessarily has to be as difficult as those human endeavours which we adore.

But people take great pride in their religious achievements vis-a-vis others. And pride, also known by it’s other names of self righteousness and hubris, is the only real danger of religion.

People who are religious, often fall into the trap of making their spiritual achievements seem difficult, due to the pride they take in these efforts achievements. They also feel the need to make their supererogatory acts to be essential for others. Sufis have always been careful of not trying to make their spiritual regimens compulsory on all people, but the tendency of some individuals who do well at nafl (optional) devotions and such to try and insist on these for others can lead to puritanism.

It is also because of Muslims (and others) feeling ‘under siege’ from non-Muslim society and Islamophobia that they are often automatically wary of things which seem too ‘easy’ or ‘compromising’. It becomes identity politics: for a certain type of person the best statement to make against the unfair victimisation of those who wear the niqaab is to don it to make a point. At least, they think, it is better than those who have relinquished it out of fear and pressure from the anti-Islamic forces. This again, is heroic, but must not be allowed to fall into self righteousness: we cannot make something like the niqaab, which is not required, into a necessary action for Muslims just because people are persecuting it’s wearers.

In this climate, ‘they’ want you to think that you are ‘lacking’ and sinful if you:

Don’t have a beard (Abu Hanifa says it is sunnah and not sinful to omit, Shafi and Malik say nafl only),

If you dress in a suit or ‘like the kufaar’ (Islam says no problem and the Prophet himself possessed and wore clothes of non-Muslim nations),

If you don’t have niqaab (totally not necessary according to Abu Hanifa),

If you don’t have your trousers above your ankles (not required according to consensus of schools of jurisprudence),

All of these things allegedly make you a ‘fasiq’ (an ‘openly sinful person whose testimony is not to be taken’. They do not),

Listening to music is haraam (haraam or ‘forbidden’ is a big word with big implications in Islam. And it is not),

Not praying in the mosque is sinful (it isn’t, it is merely better to pray in mosque. Not praying in congregation may be sinful, but they have not established it),

Missing ‘Sunnah Moakkadah’ (Sunnahs which the Prophet always did, like the four of the Zuhr prayer) is sinful (it isn’t but nearly all self proclaimed Hanafis say this nowadays. In fact the opposite of a sunnah which was always kept by the Prophet is ‘Isa’a’ or ‘blameworthy’ – not sin).

Thus, they make you feel guilty for things that you really don’t need to feel guilty about in traditional Islam. A bit like a Catholic if I may go so far and if my Catholic brothers and sisters will forgive me.

A simplified way to understand their puritanical formulation versus Orthodox Sunni Islam is:

Fard = Fitra (human nature), Sunnah = Fard, Nafl = Sunnah etc

Of course they take it further than just these things: living in a non-Muslim country other than for the purposes of Dawah is haraam (nonsense) and if you don’t support ‘ruling by Islam/the Caliphate/their favourite political causes, you are against Sharia/Islam (this is a trope of HT who are fond of making a big deal out of reviving the Caliphate. They neglect to tell you they offered the same deal to Khomeni – they just want ‘Caliphate’, it doesn’t matter who runs it or how. Hence their utter lack of criticism for the Taliban).

Currently it is ‘unacceptable’ to not support the Syrian ‘opposition’, and scholars from Qaradawi to Yaqoubi refuse to assert the Sunni consensus on rebelling against the ruler. People who know the truth, like Hamza Yusuf and Tim Winter, have to stay silent or face a hideous backlash. ‘They’, the real modernists, edit out those pieces of Sunni Islam they find unpalatable, like the aforementioned consensus, refused by no-one including the literalists, that the leader cannot be taken arms against unless he commits ‘Kufr Bu’wah’ (big, manifest, blatant and undeniable apostasy). Rebelling against a ruler for ‘not ruling by Islam’ is a HT/Khawarij pipe-dream that would have shocked Islamic authorities from Malik to the Ottomans: the Sahabah did not rebel against Yazid even when he raped and killed the women of Ahlulbait and the Sahahbah en mass. And they were much more orthodox (and courageous) than them.

Hard to stomach, yes – but who are the modernists? The ones sticking to the way of the Sahabah, which is correcting the ruler with advice and protest or the ones who ignore the Sahabah and consensus of all sects of Islam (apart from the Khawarij) and take up arms?

And of course the most harmful way ‘they’ make ‘more difficult = better Islam’ is…

6) They want YOU (To Die For Your Religion)

There really is no better way to mess up someone’s life (and afterlife) than this, but the allure that ‘they’ give to going and ‘fighting for your Muslim brothers’ (*only in certain select locations of course) is tragically hard to resist. Here is the heartbreaking recent case of British teenager  Abdullah Deghayes, killed shortly after entering Syria to fight http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-27076266

What kind of military contribution could a martially untrained eighteen year old have made to the conflict in Syria? Who told him to go? Did he realise that he could do much more for the Syrians by perhaps living his life, getting a good job and sending them money, maybe adopting an orphan? Did he make any contribution to the war? Did an untrained eighteen year old ever even have a chance? And why was he given front line duties immediately, except as cannon fodder?

In fact, why is he involved in a proxy war between Iran and Syria on one side and Saudi Arabia, Qatar, The US and Israel on the other in the first place? Did he even know what is going on there, or who has killed more Muslims, the rebels or Assad? Did he wonder why the US won’t arm the rebels?

Because someone, usually a corpulent ‘scholar’ as uninformed about personal hygiene as he is about the religion of Islam, who would never himself dream of fighting or allowing even a third cousin from his family to fight, told him that it was his ‘Islamic duty’ to take up the jihad for his oppressed Muslim brothers against the Alewite infidel (they forgot to mention that most of Assad’s army is Sunni and he isn’t Alewite and prays in a Sunni mosque).

War is old men talking and young men dying

There is the proof, that young man, Abdullah Deghayes. No-one will remember his name. We can only hope his two brothers, also out fighting in Syria, make it home alive.

Not all of ‘them’ are telling people like Abdullah to go and fight: some of them merely get people ‘excited’, do ISOC fundraisers, others keep the young ignorant about the true fiqh and rulings around military jihad but keep them emotional at the same time.

And the glory hound Salafists on the internet will do the rest.

These people have been claiming credit for ‘saving’ the Afghans during their conflict with the Soviets (they didn’t – there are estimated to be about five hundred ‘Afghan Arabs’ under Abdullah Azzam, teacher of Bin Laden, and their contribution to a war which killed up to two million is not decisive or even significant), the Bosnians during that war (they also didn’t) and Chechnya (the Chechens in fact had them kicked them out).

It is strange that these people who get young men to fight and die for their ‘Muslim brothers’ never seem to be concerned about the support provided by Muslim countries (since they are the same ones that allow these people to operate) to Israel via the US: Saudi Arabia provides over a trillion dollars of investment into the US (as Michael Moore showed in ‘Fahrenheit 9-11’, there are academic sources too) and is a military ally and major arms purchaser from the US, and also facilitated the Gulf War and The Iraq War providing transit and military support http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governmental_positions_on_the_Iraq_War_prior_to_the_2003_invasion_of_Iraq#Saudi_Arabia. The US which is in turn the major military ally of Israel, who is killing Palestinian ‘Muslim brothers’, as the Salafists will remind you.

Recall the recent Iraq War, in which 600,000 innocents died; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancet_surveys_of_Iraq_War_casualties.

It is clear that the Saudi state is an organ of the United States, is the fifth biggest spender on arms (all from the UK and US) with no military action to show for it. Their vassal status can be seen from their facilitating the two Gulf Wars and recently from their offer of cut price oil to China to appease them vis-a-vis sanctions on Iran (which would have curtailed the supply to China).

Wikileaks has shown that the Saudis demanded a strike on Iran, with the help of Israel and this is now a matter of public record thanks to Julian Assange.

They support Mubarak (and offered asylum to him), yet he doesn’t ‘rule by Islam’. Should we send our teenagers to fight Saudi for supporting him then?

They also supported (with Qatar) Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen (who is a Shia) and the regime in Bahrain against their protesters. This is manifest unconcern for the life of Muslims. Shall we go from Britain to fight in Saudi?

Saudi gave asylum to Ben Ali of Tunisia (a hijaab banner). Should we fight?

Are we, according to these ‘jihadis’, to go and fight Saudi then or not? Since they killed our Iraqi and Palestinian brothers? Usually ‘they’ are not so keen on that: even Bin Laden said that the Saudi monarchy should be ‘verbally corrected’.

How about China to help the Uygurs? Ah, but that might affect trade links so…

Kashmir? Africa? Burma? Well…Not so many pretty white girls to incite unmarried and unemployed Wannabee jihadists with so…

But when it comes to you, ‘they’ want you to go and fight. And die.

But only where they tell you to.

7) Free Mixing Of The Sexes Is A Big Deal In Islam

No it isn’t, allow me to explain the correct orthodox Hanafi Islamic rulings (as this rare example of an erudite and honest scholar does: https://asharisassemble.com/2013/03/07/sex-segregation-in-islam/).

…No, wait!

Actually, you won’t be requiring the real Islamic position on gender interaction because you won’t be interacting with the opposite sex. At all.

Because…

8) They Make You Socially Awkward (And Dependant On Them)

I have partners of friends who undertake ‘Tablighi Jamaat’ – this is a movement which started in colonial India that seeks to make Muslims start attending the mosque and get ‘into’ Islam. The way it does this is by essentially indoctrinating them with it’s heterodox formula (which of course is presented as the ‘pristine Islam’) and essentially making them stay at retreats (in the mosque) from which they may go out to invite other people (to come and stay in the mosque). They aim for daily time in the mosque and at least three days a month and thirty days a year and four months in a lifetime on retreats (in the mosque). The longer retreats can be international (yes, in a mosque). On retreats they learn from a book called the ‘Virtues of Charity’ or one about good deeds: these good deeds are basically also about staying in the mosque. There is a female version of this which is slightly less exciting as it involves staying in the house and not the mosque.

People spend huge portion of their life on this movement, which may well have it’s heart in the right place (though it was inspired by the teachings of one Muhammad Abdul Wahhab, who most certainly did not have his heart in the right place: just ask the people of Taif in Arabia which his movement attacked. Oh wait, you can’t, they killed them all). Maybe it even helped in India. Reems have been written on this movement and I will not change the minds of any of it’s heavily indoctrinated devotees but my point here is twofold: despite all of the time people spend on this, they never learn anything about the essentials of Islam: nearly zero time is spent on aqeeda, fiqh etc or anything of essential value but I guess enough is spent to satisfy some of the nominally practising people the movement is aimed at.

My main point is that this movement, like almost all of the institutes and courses that people spend their time and money on as well as most ‘dawah’ events and lately, mosque ‘fun days’, are all isolationist movements which seek to protect Muslims faith by asking them to sequester themselves in the Muslim community or the mosque. Confronted by the completely secular and un-Islamic and even immoral nature of modern Western society, these people want to avoid the ‘fitna’ (trials and tribulations) that face them outside of the mosque and even in the Islamic community. Billboards with semi-naked women, actual semi-naked women (most of the things that ‘they’ describe as ‘fitnah’ are to do with sexual temptation).

In the case of Tabligh, nearly everyone these people will know will be their friends from Tabligh or their families (who they will see increasingly less of as they follow the time consuming regimen of sequestering themselves in the mosque). They start to worry about going to work or getting a job as it will mean they have to spend less time in the mosque and missing congregational prayer. They start to dream of moving to an ‘Islamic’ country so that they can avoid ‘fitna’ and raise their kids in an Islamic environment and so on. In short, they get alienated from British society, or rather they alienate themselves from it and become socially inept around strangers and especially women. This then feeds the cycle and they are all the more comfortable in the mosque. Or Islamic course. Or Islamic institutes. Or University ISOCS, take your pick: the pattern is the same – social isolation, dependency and increased sequestration. Dependant on the movement and their colleagues for everything, many of these people struggle to find work, fail exams and have no hope of finding a partner, which is entirely dependant on the goodwill of those in charge of such movements. And trust me, when it comes to finding cash or a girl, goodwill is thin on the ground, no matter what religion you are.

Basically, it’s a cult.

But like all cults, the members don’t think so.

‘They’ make you afraid of ‘fitna’ or trials of ones faith or good character. It is understandable: if one fears God, one fears sin. A typical comment which they use to justify this is

‘Whatever leads to haraam is itself haraam’

This is true, but like most Islamic teachings, it is misrepresented by them. Clearly it cannot be applied literally: being born leads to sin as does getting out of bed in the morning or going to work. That’s just life, it cannot be helped. Strangely, these people never apply this principle to ‘fighting in the path of Allah’, which could lead to the serious sin of killing unnecessarily. They mainly rather, apply it to mixing of the sexes: mixing, or the ‘gaze’ leads to illicit sex.

And unlike traditional Islam, for them, illicit sex is the worst ever sin.

Like, ever.

Of course they can’t say that, because there are clearly bigger sins, but the way they act and the preventative measures they take make it obvious that in their mind, if not their tongues, illicit sex is the worst thing ever. 

Thus, whatever leads to sex must be forbidden: irrespective of what the Prophet or companions did. The principle must be used to make any type of mixing, talking, looking at or seclusion with women to be absolutely forbidden. If women’s faces can be covered, then all the better. If they are not allowed out without a mahrem, even better. You get the picture.

I once asked one of ‘them’ that if it is compulsory for a woman’s face to be covered, from what is the Quran telling believing men to lower their gaze from? ‘You might still get turned on by her. Maybe from her eyes.’

I’ll leave that to your intelligence.

Lowering ones gaze is one of the most hideously misunderstood teachings of the Quran: it is taken to mean that one is just not to make eye contact with the opposite sex, but again, it is not something to be taken literally: Imam Al Ghazzali explained that lowering the gaze merely meant not staring obstinately as continuous eye contact makes the other party uncomfortable. And in traditional Islam, it is understood that one should lower ones gaze if one is feeling lust. No lust, no need to lower ones gaze (unless one is considering the other party for marriage, in which case no need to lower ones’ gaze even if feeling lust).

I once explained this to a scholar who should have known better. he reposted with: ‘Ah, but it is impossible that you will look at a woman and not feel lust!’

Like Sigmund Freud, Islamic scholars can sometimes be willing to generalise their perceptions and neuroses to their flock.

In reality, sexual permissiveness is indeed proliferating in our society, but things are not so bad as they are made out to be. Like any disease, a bit of inoculation is needed against the proliferation of sex in our culture: if you have too much exposure, you will in all likelihood be led astray. No exposure and you will be too vulnerable.

These people often argue that things nowadays are much worse than they were during the time of the Prophet and the successors so ‘special measures’ like enforcing niqaab or driving bans are needed, but as usual, ‘they’ are wrong or lying: first of all, we do not have the large scale wars and rapes that we had around the time of the aforementioned Yazid – you have it very easy compared to the Companions. Nor would the sight of naked flesh shocked them – people complained to caliph Umar that servant girls would walk around with their breasts out (as in no top. Like, at all. They would be making Beyonce and Miley feel uncomfortable) and asked that he should legislate for them to be made to wear hijaab. He refused and took no action – saying the hijaab was for Muslims (a good lesson for countries such as Iran and Saudi who enforce a dress code on their non-Muslim female workers and visitors. But of course, what does Caliph Umar, second best friend and companion of the Prophet know! The Ayatollas and Ibn Baz know better!).

Also, if things are ‘bad’ sexually today what about this narration of hadrat A’isha (ALERT: Hadith spam incoming)

Aa’isha reported four kinds of marriage in pre-Islamic Arabia: The first was similar to present-day Islamic marriage procedures…In the second type, the husband would send his wife – after the menstruation period – to cohabit with another man in order to conceive. After conception her husband would, if he desired, have sexual intercourse with her. A third kind was that a group of less than ten men would have sexual intercourse with a woman. If she conceived and gave birth to a child, she would send for these men, and nobody could abstain…

[Abu Dawood]

Seen anything like that in London, New York or Tokyo lately?

Thought not (I deliberately didn’t mention Paris…).

Don’t let them fool you: Sahabah did not go running and hide out in the mosque because they might accidentally see a billboard or a woman in a tight dress or boob tube. There is no need for ‘special legislation’ due to the modern proliferation of sex. The reality is that ‘they’ have certain sexual paranoias which they want to ‘out’ in an Islamic garb.

In any case, the scenario these people imagine is merely a product of their social isolation and lack of knowledge of the society which they live in (which is why Hanafis made it a strict requirement that a judge or scholar should be from the land he is working in or have acquired expert knowledge thereof – hard to do when you are hidden away in the mosque).

When is the last time you went out and a girl or boy just threw themselves at you? If you are honest, it almost never happens (if it did, some of those warning you off would be the first to accept). The reality is that you can get sex, but only if you know how to get it. You don’t just leave your house planning to do some shopping and then some hot stranger offers you sex. That only happens in pornos. Which is where some of these people got their ‘knowledge’ of Western sexual norms.

Islam has already legislated for all of this and it does not require you to be a prisoner in the mosque or spend your whole life looking at the floor.

It is quite simple:

Lust, caution.

9) They Make You Worry That The Prophet Married A Nine Year Old

No-one is even sure how old the Prophet was at the time of marriage as no-one is sure of his birthday, let alone that of Ai’sha. The real reason ‘they’ are so keen to show she was nine is to appease their constituency, who would like her to be nine (never a good starting point for getting at the truth) and because they want to establish their heretical and modernist approach to hadith (that all single chain narrations are ‘certain’ knowledge as opposed to the correct position of Ahlus Sunnah that they are probabilistic). Since there are narrations saying that she is nine, they must thus insist on it, otherwise they would have to revise their approach to hadith and thus their whole heterodox epistemology. The problems their banality causes for both Muslims and those wanting to know more about Islam are immense.

They don’t even do you the favour of telling you that the narrations do not even mention that any sexual intercourse took place, merely that she ‘entered the household of the Prophet’ at nine. There is a separate narration of Abu Dawood, which contradicts the wording of the others (Bukhari etc) that mentions intercourse. Which one is the correct one? Well both according to them. But we already know: ‘they’ aren’t telling you the truth about hadith.

And as for ‘no – one disagreed with the opinion that she was nine’ (as Jonathan A C Brown, who really should know better, mistakenly said), that is not true and in any case, it is because no-one had an opinion on this. No-one made a big deal of it (apart from Ahl al Hadith of course).

It was not a big deal, but not in the way they are saying – namely that ‘everyone accepted that she was nine’. It was not a big deal because people knew these narrations are not certain knowledge. And that no-one is going to be asked by God: ‘So how old was A’isha at the time of marriage?’

The best and only reliable talk in English or Arabic on this subject is this:https://asharisassemble.com/2012/11/01/the-age-of-hadrat-aisha-ra-a-detailed-and-balanced-answer/

10) Apparently, Killing People Who Leave Islam Is A Big Deal In Islam

‘They’ stress you (and non-Muslims) out about this and make Islamophobes happy. I find most people who leave Islam to be insincere vacillators and grudge bearers. But that’s not the point: A whole cottage industry has emerged amongst dawah carriers and ‘them’ trying to find exotic justifications for this ruling of some (in fact many) jurists.

But the answer is very simple: Abu Hanifa says no killing of the male or female apostate.

Problem solved.

The End.

11) Stoning adulterers is the acid test of whether you are an orthodox Muslim

No it isn’t: not in Quran or muttawatir hadith, never was in Quran or muttawatir hadith (according to no less than Ibn Abbas).

None of what is narrated about this area goes beyond ‘mashoor’ and denying it is not disbelief but may be innovation (bi’dat).

Except it isn’t, because, I hate to blow my ‘Hanafi’ trumpet again, but the earliest Hanafis did not accept stoning of adulterers. And their reasoning is very strong.

The previous author was given a hard time merely for saying what many Hanafi scholars know but are afraid to say (due to ‘their’ backlash). A very good treatment and defence of this Hanafi opinion that rajm (stoning) is abrogated by the Quran (abrogating in this case the Torah) is by Sheikh Abu Zara and Imam Ahmad Mustafa Sarqa.

Of course, you haven’t read these books because they decide what you read. And they didn’t translate them.

12) Don’t you have the courage to stone? You Modernist Kufaar Appeaser! Die Bitch!

This should be rephrased as ‘Do you have the recklessness and stupidity to stone someone to death when there is a difference of opinion about whether it is even allowed in Islam?’

If there is one time when differences of opinions amongst the jurists have to be respected, it is on the issue of hadd punishment. Just as belief or ‘Iman’ cannot be on uncertain or speculatively held knowledge but only on what is absolute certainty, likewise you cannot kill someone when there is a difference of opinion, from Hanafis, who are the earliest and most authoritative school of jurisprudence and belief no less, about whether it is even necessary in the first place.

13) They Make You look Down On Non-Muslims

‘Learn from your enemy until you can overcome him’

Muslims today could never do this: avoid him, insult him, kill him even, but never learn. After all, what could they teach us? As Beduzzamin Said Nursi (Abd Al Wahhab and Ibn Taymiyya never heard of him or else he would have been on their takfir list too) explained, it is a gross error to think that everything a non-Muslim does comes from the impulse of disbelief, just as it is similarly erroneous to think that everything a Muslim does is from an Islamic impulse.

In any case, non-Muslims are not ‘the enemy’ – it is ‘they’ who are the enemy.

Many non-Muslim academics have correctly understood and articulated what most Muslims have not: most of the modern ‘Islamic’ movements, from Darul-Uloom Deoband to The Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb Ut Tahrir and even the Salafis are post colonial movements. More correctly, they are a reaction to colonialism. If they are honest, said academics do not attribute the views and emphases of these movements to traditional Islam, since they emerged emphasising those aspects (or rather, adding those features) which could give Muslims a way of feeling self assurance (read: superiority) or optimism in the face of total domination by non-Muslims. However, many academics and Islamophobes, rather than admitting that all of these movements are in some sense ‘reactionary’ and thus to varying degrees distortions of traditional Islam in response to colonialism, Socialism or modernity, find their gaffes a convenient brush with which to tar Islam as a religion. Thus the militancy of Hamas or Ikhwaanis or HT becomes generalised to Muslims, as does the isolationism or gynophobia of Deobandis and their Taliban brethren.

To this end, Islamic history is often re-framed as the colonial (or even ‘workers’) struggle of the Prophet (SAW) and his dispossessed and poor band of followers against the bourgeois/colonial powers of the Quraysh, with the Jews singled out for special vilification as class traitors.

In reality, Islam views itself as a divinely revealed religion applicable to all societies, circumstances and classes: many of the Prophets earliest followers were wealthy or extremely wealthy (Khadija, Abu Bakr, Uthman) and in fact nobles or even the equivalent of royalty. It was not just a religion of slaves or the poor but a great equaliser in which everyone found a place. Nor does Islam have a ‘persecution complex’ or not know how to live with minority status or without being in power (some of the earliest companions emigrated to Abyssinia to live in a blatantly Christian state) and the Prophet only left Mecca in extremis. Of course, the hadith spammers will try and present isolated narrations of bad behaviour towards non-Muslims or minorities as historical fact, but I hope you know better by now: ahad narrations [not equal to] certainty.

In short, to a very large degree and by very many populist and well funded movements, Islam has been re-framed as identity politics: a political and cultural identity and ‘us against them’. But not ‘them’, the Ahl Al Hadith and Salafis, who are the enemy within. Rather only at the ‘enemy’ without: the colonist or neo-colonial – specifically the Non – Muslims (and Muslim class traitors who don’t ‘rule by Islam’).

To a large extent, this is understandable – take the example of Deobandi clerics who were ‘radicalised’ against the non-Muslim British due to colonial excesses against their scholars (such as execution by being strapped to the barrel of a cannon) and the continued interference in what are seen as ‘Muslim lands’ by Western (and other) foreign policy initiatives. All of this is true and justified, but as IERA like to keep saying (but never practising), we don’t change the religion, the religion changes us. We cannot make the emphasis of Islam on ‘Muslim government’, implementation of Sharia, or differentiating ourselves from or agitating the non-Muslims, unless indeed that is the main message of Islam.

Which it isn’t (we will speak about what is the real message of Islam in its due place).

Unfortunately, Islam is more of a political and cultural identity to people (both Muslims and non) than a religion or epistemic system. There are huge groups of Muslims stressing how to establish the Islamic Caliphate and feeling that they cannot be complete Muslims without it, thereby giving themselves and others living in non-Muslim countries (which is all of them) a problem: loyalty to an idea which does not exist or getting on with their real life in Britain or France or wherever and improving their and their religions’ lot in these lands. Of course, most choose the ‘fantasy ummah’ as the land of their dreams, thereby being seen as traitors to their nations (with some justification) and also not making use of the opportunities to spread Islam properly in their own lands. By the time they wake up and realise that there is no land of milk and honey where there is a wonderful Islamic state with sharia and pure Muslim wives and a welfare state that lets them sit in the mosque doing nothing all day, it is too late.

Likewise, Deobandis and Brelwis are so worried about ‘assimilation’ and free mixing of the sexes that they can’t see the woods for the trees: by teaching people the real Islam and not making them hung up on trivialities like dress, speaking to the opposite sex or the length of ones beard, they can actually impart an intellectually rigorous religion that can sustain itself in the face of the ideological challenges that are inevitable in modern society (and indeed since the inception of Islam). But they cannot pass on what they themselves don’t have.

Of course it is understandable that people would fear ‘assimilation’ or more precisely a loss of identity or distinctiveness in the face of what Tim winter has called the overwhelming ‘monoculture’, and many distinct communities of believers and races have disappeared into the dominant culture that is, say, China or the US in the past. For example, everyone who invaded China, from the Muslims to the Manchus with the Mongols in between, ended up becoming to a large degree  (Han) ‘Chinese’. Intermarriage between ‘host’ populations such as the US and immigrants from places such as Vietnam, are so common that apart from further immigration, there may not even be much of a culturally distinct Vietnamese community in the US in a hundred years, since most of the children of such unions identify themselves as American as opposed to Vietnamese or indeed have little to do with that culture (interestingly the same goes for Native Americans, who have a very high rate of exogamy). ‘So what?’ you might say, interracial marriage is great, but Muslims tend to fear the loss of religious or cultural identity (also, interracial marriage tends to be asymmetric – in the US for example, you have many unions between Asian and Caucasian but very few between Asian and Black: in Malaysia there are far more Chinese-Indian unions than Chinese/Indian with Malay – there are ‘preferred’ races and ethnicities for intermarriage. See this fascinating entry on Wikipedia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interracial_marriage_in_the_United_States#Interracial_marriage_by_pairing).

As someone who does not ‘look’ Middle or South Asian, and especially as a female, I have seen first hand how easy it is to be ‘assimilated’ into the dominant culture if you have no Muslim friends, dress or eating habits. But the way to preserve this Islamic identity is not by isolationism or by demonising the ‘host’ community, rather it is by having a coherent and self confident exposition of one’s identity that need not fear the prevailing cultural or ‘racial doctrines’. In fact it can influence or subvert them – in life, whoever has the stronger belief effects the other person. In the past, Muslims had self assurance and did not fear being influenced by the non-Muslims but were rather confident of influencing them (one of the reasons they had what would be considered today shockingly liberal views on intermarriage). But this is a lot harder than the simple ‘kufaar bashing’ and Caliphate pipe dreams than most Muslims are raised with today.

The downside (for non-Muslims) and upside (for modernist reactionary Salafist Muslim groups) is that non-Muslims are effectively the demonic ‘other’, the enemy that is trying to prevent the Islamic state, make your daughter into a Lindsey Lohan clone or whatever. Most Muslims cope with this by 1) looking down on non-Muslims for trivial matters like hygiene or dress 2) avoiding them as much as possible 3) taking them to task for drinking, sleeping around or other perceived ‘affronts to decency’ through ‘dawah’. All the while though, most Muslims are secretly nurturing the uneasy feeling that Non-Muslim society is like the tortoise Achilles was trying to catch – always in front due to a massive head start. Despite the fantastical posturings of HT and the hopes pinned on the ‘Arab Spring’, the Caliphate resolutely refuses to re-emerge, forcing many Muslims down the rabbit hole of apocalyptic dreams of the coming of Mahdi (much like the defeated Evangelicals in the United States await ‘The Rapture’).

I remember one ‘map’ no doubt produced by ‘Hizb ut Tahrir’, which showed what economic and demographic might all of the Muslim nations would have if they ‘united’. It was a map with all of the ‘Muslim’ countries painted the same colour to show an impressive swathe of the Mercator projection of Earth as green. I asked the ‘author’ if this had ever in fact happened in known history (it hasn’t) and why he had foolishly left out all of the countries which have huge numbers of Muslims but are not ‘Muslim’ (such as India, Russia, Nigeria, China) and how that fit with HT’s polemic about the halcyon age of Islamic Spain, which also was not ‘all Muslim’ by any means. The most stupid thing was that you could draw a similar, even more impressive map for Christians or Buddhists if they ‘united under one Ummah’ (in fact they are closer to doing so with organisations from NATO to NAFTA). But all of this was lost on HT; they merely want to remind you of lost glories (which never existed in the first place).

Those with one eye in the past rarely reach their destination.

The focus on establishing the Caliphate makes many believe that they will not be ‘stuck’ in the US or UK forever and that they will be able to emigrate to this ‘Islamic State’ when it comes to be. It means they lives their life chasing a dream and never making their current (and most likely future homes), namely the countries they are living in right now, as accommodating and comfortable for their religion as possible (something our Jewish cousins have recently mastered).

Most peoples’ energy is distracted into setting up a mythical Caliphate overseas rather than applying pressure by money, lobbying and voting at home and making sure that the US and UK moderate and maybe even reverse their huge Zionist bias. But no, they will wait for the ‘Caliphate’ to do that (precisely how it will do that is never explained or is left to the ‘help of Allah’).

Essentially, the relationship with non-Muslims is one of fascination/contempt (especially towards non-Muslim women, who are desired but…). This is never healthy. And the presentation of a lopsided and politicised version of Islam with ‘sharia’ (as understood by Salafists) as the essential condition (despite the fact that Sharia was implemented only a handful of times in the entirety of Islam’s history) has led to hostility and indifference from non-Muslims.

Francis Fukyama made a rare accurate statement when he said that Islam was indeed and coherent system – but no-one outside of Muslims would ever consider following it.

What do non-Muslims understand by Islam today? In the UK and US, bombs, obsession with gender and superficialism. In Malaysia, dogs are bad, pork is bad. In Saudi, an unhinged attempt to re-create a medieval state which only ever existed in the fevered dreams of Abd Al Wahhab and Ibn Taymiyya.

Imam Al Ghazzali said that the burden of disbelief in fact rests on those who made the religion of God too ugly in the eyes of the people for them to want to follow it.

Can you guess who he was talking about?

14) They (like Islamophobes) Make You Worry About Whether You Are Muslim First or [insert nationality here] First

In reality, this is one of the most stupid questions asked since ‘Can God make a stone so heavy that even He can’t lift it?’. Indeed it is also a category error, such as ‘are you female first or a mother first?’ or something equally banal, but both Islamophobes and ‘they’ love these types of apparent ‘conflicts’ of identity.

Why? Because it is a great way to manipulate you and keep you distracted and thinking about the wrong thing. It is in fact the art of misdirection. You know, like when a magician says to you; ‘see how there is nothing up my sleeves?’ But of course, now you are looking in the wrong place…

It relies on two faulty premises. Firstly, it depends on the relative value of different affiliations and can just as well be asked of non-Muslims and be equally offensive: Do you love your mum more or your dog? It depends on what place ‘dog’ and ‘mum’ occupy on your hierarchy of values.

Secondly, since they need your identity to be sufficiently malleable to get you to go and fight in their preferred overseas conflicts, they would like you to have the idea that you are affiliated to something other the than your country, some supra national entity called the ‘Islamic State’ (which has not been issuing passports recently).

Think about it very carefully: do you actually even have a choice to be affiliated with, for example, Britain for good or for bad or not? If you decide not, where are you welcome to go? Of course, Westerner Muslims, having money, are relatively welcome in other countries, so they feel they are part of an ‘Ummah’; ‘Hey, if these bloody English start giving me too much grief I can always move to Saudi/Afghanistan/Pakistan/Malaysia/[insert country here]. The Palestinians know better. Yes, if you have a British passport you can live and work in Dubai or Malaysia or wherever, but it isn’t because you are Muslim that they let you in.

It is because of the British Passport.

I am British and born in Britain and I pretty much always hated it – from the weather to the people. Just like many Non-Muslims. So what? I hardly have a choice. And if I do have one it is because of the freedom my British citizenship affords me. Just ask the Syrian refugees turned away from all of those rich Muslim countries (Saudi, Dubai, Qatar *cough).

The most obvious and yet overlooked factor is that were there an Islamic state, these people would no doubt find that it was in fact not that Islamic and then be back to square one, i.e dissatisfied that Britain is not the Caliphate or that there is not a caliphate to move their families to. When the Taliban, Saudi or Iran do set up an Islamic State, it is a far worse place for Islam than most of the countries these complainants are from. Of course they will claim that the Islamic state they long for is better than any of these (though as mentioned, HT supported both Iran and propositioned Khomeni as well as the Taliban – prostituting to the idea of Islamic statehood if there ever was). I wonder.

As Richard Dawkins might put it – there is no Islamic state or country to give allegiance to or emigrate to. Now get on with your life.

Islam itself is however always open for allegiance and loyalty. If you think Islam can only exist as a nation state or political system you have understood very little of it and insult all of those who thrived and enriched the lives of countless non-Muslims despite being minorities. People forget: the Ottomans and Andalusians were minorities, as are the Hui of China and even the Malays in Malaysia.

To imply that these people somehow incomplete is noxious and flagrantly idiotic.

15) Finally, Dogs Are Apparently a Big Deal In Islam

No they aren’t.

In fact, I don’t think dogs are a big deal in any religion.

Many authoritative Malikis in particular say there is no problem having them as pets. If you like dogs that much, be Maliki and save yourself a lot of Salafi guilt tripping and paranoia – Malik and others found the hadith relating to dogs unconvincing (since the were not Ahl Al Hadith modernists and applied their methodology before accepting narrations such as the Satanic Verses willy nilly).

Dogs are a great acid test of ‘their’ methodology and the careful observer can derive all they need to know about it from this case: I personally dislike dogs as needy and unhygienic and sometimes dangerous annoyances, and so did most jurists, but a large group, in fact the main group of Malikis disagree and allow them to be kept for purely personal or amusement reasons.

Of course, ‘they’ will start hadith bombing and scholar spamming with people and traditions that disparage the keeping of dogs as I mentioned above. This illustrates their methodology: they want to blackmail you with hadith despite the fact that hadith sans jurisprudence is confusion and misguidance. As a corollary to this, they will accost you with long lists of scholars/authorities that you have never heard of and then demand that you follow the ‘majority’. Of course, you can never trust their narrations and Salafis and Ahl Al Hadith have the principle that it is ‘okay to lie’ if it is for the purpose of ‘guiding people’, but assuming they are telling you the truth, they will say; ‘yes, Imam Malik allows it but Ahmad and blah blah did not, so it’s Malik on one side and all of the others on the contrary! Hah!’

In fact, you, as a follower of Imam Malik, are under no obligation to take account of the other opinions (unless you are a scholar or looking into the matter). You need have no guilt when following Malik in the matter of dogs, how to pray or anything else, regarding other authorities who disagreed. This would be as difficult as me trying to pray my salat according to all of the schools of thought at once: it is neither necessary nor strictly possible.

It is just a way for them to confuse you that following a madhab or Imam’s opinions (as explained in the ‘aql/naql’ debate above) is actually about looking into the opinions of everyone and then following the ‘salaf’ or the majority – which is nonsense. In fact it is another way for Ahl Al Hadith and Salafis to indoctrinate people into their methodology – they and Abd Al Wahhab argued that it is incumbent upon all Muslims to know the proofs for each thing they do and if they do not then it is ‘kufr’ or disbelief.

This is one of numerous unhinjed statements from Abd Al Wahhab and his genocidal bedfellows but in practice it means that all Salafis and Ahl Al Hadith consider that anyone speaking Arabic is a scholar and can assess the proofs – which is a bit like saying everyone who has GCSE Maths has to make up their own mind about String Theory. It is also the reason (namely, giving dilettantes free reign to give opinions and fatwas) that one finds so many strange fatwas amongst them, from driving and brazier bans for women to legitimising the killing of innocent Muslim or non-Muslim civilians. Bin Laden is, after all, the example par excellance of the home made fatwa from an unhinjed amateur (Salafis and Deobandis are in a perpetual struggle in trying to avoid ‘taking credit’ for Bin Laden).

What Is Islam Really About?

Since everyone else has told you, and it was, basically rub bish, allow me to have a go as well.

Have you seen all those awful posters in mosques and Islamic Awareness weeks at universities which say ‘What is Islam’? and then start talking about the ‘Five Pillars’, namely belief, prayer, fasting, Pilgrimage and compulsory charity.

I was once in a prayer room that had posters such as ‘what is Buddhism’?, ‘What is Islam?’ etc. they even had one for the Native American Religion:

20131224_154410

 

Be perfectly honest: which seems more appealing?

Of course you don’t want to admit, even to yourself, that the bottom poster is more attractive.

But it is.

The reason is that it is actually more about Islam than the Islam poster is. And it is about frames of mind or ideas rather than merely practices, which is all the ‘Five Pillars’ poster is about.

Nonetheless, whenever anyone anywhere is asked about Islam, ‘they’ almost invariably reply with ‘The Five Pillars’.

This is what ‘they’ made you think – but it makes no sense. First of all prayer, fasting and pilgrimage are common to all religions, as is almsgiving (even Scientologists have it) – these practices cannot be the defining character of Islam or any religion as they are common to most religions.

Even the profession of faith – which all religions have – Well, who is this ‘Allah’? Can he be a Trinity or Hannuman? And who is this ‘Muhammad’? We are not told. This is because Islam is not the ‘Five Pillars’ – Is the concept of God, Prophethood, the relation of man to God, the relation of man to man clarified in them?

No – it is a profession of faith or practice that needs elucidation and is insufficient in itself to explain the main message of Islam. ‘The Five Pillars’ merely tell people what Muslims do devotionally (and not all of that either). Perhaps the confusion comes from Hanbalis and Ahl Al Hadith who do not make a distinction between faith and practice of Islam, using these terms interchangeably. This is a gross error.

As Gai Eaton, the most eloquent of the latter day Muslims said: ‘the five pillars are just that – the pillars. They are not the house itself’.

What in fact defines Islam is the reason behind these practices – the cause of them or even their esoteric meaning – which is actually far better expressed in the ‘Native American’ commandments.

Even practically, the simplistic diatribe around the ‘Five pillars’ is grossly misleading: the main concern of Islam is not ‘prayer’ etc or even faith but the preservation of life and the species because without this there will not be any humans to recognise God in the first place. There are almost as many explanations of Islam as there are Muslims but the main message of the Quran is about freeing mankind from intellectual slavery, subjugation by ones own ego, justice, the brotherhood of humanity and…well, in short, what the Native Americans said.

So now we have been led by ‘them’ into a position where we need to have Islam explained to us by non-Muslims, who seem to have ‘got it’ better than us.

All of those posters about the ‘Five Pillars’ can reduce their carbon footprint by being summarised thus: ‘Islam is believing in Islam and praying and practising it’. This explains nothing to anyone, least of all Muslims.

Of course, this will lead to yet another hadith ‘carpet bombing’ where narrations are wheeled out which mention the ‘Five Pillars’ (all of these hadith were narrated to Shahabah practising Islam already with a deep understanding of it’s rational and philosophical underpinnings, so The Prophet (SAW) advised them on these things which come after those underpinnings, much like a doctor prescribes paracetamol for a headache and then I go and generalise that everyone and to appendicitis or whatever – so they are yet more hadith taken out of context) and probably takfir by the route that I am denying the ‘fundamentals’ of Islam (rather it is they, namely Ahl Al Hadith and Salafis who takfir by saying that one who does not pray or practice is outside Islam, a belief they have but are embarrassed to share – which makes no sense anyway: as Imam Shafi said to Imam Ahmad: ‘I heard you are saying that the one who does not pray is not Muslim?’ [which is Ahmad’s opinion], Imam Ahmad replied, ‘yes’. Imam Shafi then asked: ‘then how does the person, who is according to you not Muslim because he does not pray, re-enter Islam?’. Imam Ahmad retorted, ‘By Saying the profession of faith (kalima)’. ‘But he never denied this in the first place’, said Imam Shafi. ‘Well, then by praying Salat again’ said Imam Ahmad. ‘But according to you, he would be a non-believer when he prayed the salat, and the salat of a non-believer is not accepted’ finished Imam Shafi, highlighting that belief and practice are distinct and that imam Ahmad’s opinion was, well, wrong).

Of course, no one is denying the importance and necessary nature of the ‘Five Pillars’, but practices nor rituals neither define a religion nor explain it – religion is beliefs and a world view and ideas, not ‘non-specifics’ such as fasting and prayer. What defines Islam and Muslims is not that they fast or pray (others do that too, perhaps even more) but why they fast and pray.

I think someone should make a poster about that.

But ‘they’ won’t will they?

Oh, still don’t know who ‘they’ are?

Don’t worry they know about you.

As Lenin said: You may have lost interest in War, but War has not lost interest in you.

You may think that you don’t care about Hanafis, Salafis, modernists, Hadith.

But it’s not only soldiers who are killed by guns Dear Reader…

PrimaQuran on The Ibadi School

Image result for the promised neverland

From ‘The Promised Neverland’, a manga By Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu

I can safely say that this is bar none the most useful and comprehensive articles I have seen for very many years for Muslims in the West (and elsewhere). It is clearly the product of many years of sincere questioning and learning. And I’m saying that as a non-Ibadi Maturidi. I think this is an indispensable article for converts and Muslims alike and I hope it is widely read and re-blogged so that people can arm themselves against valid doubts that would otherwise cause the best of us to leave the faith – since only morally and intellectually bankrupt people are convinced by the types of abysmal apologetics Muslims have to endure. In line with this actually being good and useful, Muslims will no doubt hasten their own demise by ignoring it for some nonsense by celebrity Salafis like Jonathan Brown, but regardless a huge thanks to PrimaQuran for this. (The rest of his site is packed with indispensable articles too BTW).

Original article here: https://primaquran.wordpress.com/2018/11/24/why-i-now-follow-the-ibadi-school/

Why I now follow the Ibadi school

 

                 By Prima Quran

 

Bismillah ir rahman ir raheem, Allahumma Salli Ala Muhammed.

And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good. (Holy Qur’an 29:69)

“Verily, this is My way, leading straight: follow it: follow not other paths: they will scatter you about from His great path: thus does He command you, that you may be righteous.” (Holy Qur’an  6:153

Before I begin this entry I would like to say two things.

I still love respect, honor, cherish and wish to work with all Muslims. 

  1. I have and will continue to love and respect and work with my Muslim brothers who are Sunni and Shi’a.  I will continue to love and respect and work with all Muslims rather you are Salafi or Sufi.
  2.  Second thing I would like to say is that these are my thoughts and reflections. I do not wish to cause any ill feelings towards any of the Muslims.   Please know I will speak very candidly about my own conclusions.

 

A brief over view on why I started Prima-Qur’an.

As those of you know who have been following my blog Prima-Qur’an that it is the result of  unanswered questions that I have had in my years of being with the group that calls itself ‘The Ahl Sunnah’.    I think that many Muslims who are in the field of daw’ah (calling people to Islam) do not appreciate that just because a person becomes a Muslim does not mean that they do not have anymore questions about Islam.

Also it is very important to remember that just because we give someone an answer it doesn’t mean that the answer is intelligible, sensible or coherent.

For many of us as converts it is a continuous process of taking on new information as it is being presented , weighing and evaluating this information.

The struggle of us converts. 

We are converts are told that “Islam is simple” only to find out much latter it is anything but simple -at least not the Islam that is currently being presented to the multitudes.

We are told that the Shahadah is “I bear witness that there is only one God and Muhammed is the Messenger of God”  only to find out that the “correct Shahadah” entails taking on the theological, juristic, philosophical, historical baggage of the group who administered the Shahadah to us.

Examples being:

“I bear witness that there is one God and Muhammed is the Messenger of God, and Dawatus Salafiyyah is correct in all issues of fiqh and aqidah and that Bukhari is infallible and if Al Abani, Uthaymee and Bin Baz say something that it must be true, and the by the way the Qur’an is uncreated and Allah has a foot but not like other foots.”

“I bear witness that there is one God and Muhammed is the Messenger of God, and that the books of Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi , Ibn Majah, are the books we rely upon, that I bear witness that I will choose between any of the four schools of jurisprudence, Maliki, Shafi, Hanbali and Hanafi, and there are two schools of aqidah I can choose from , yet I’m not suppose to make taqlid in aqidah, and eventually when I get around to it or  when he finds me I will be guided to a Sufi Tariah who will take care of my spiritual affairs and guide me to safe shores.”

“I bear witness that there is one God and Muhammed is the Messenger of God, and we are to be guided by the 12 Imams, and only the Ahl Bayt are the sources of true knowledge of true guidance, and temporary marriage is a thing.”

When those of us as converts take the Shahadah I believe we do so for various reasons but why we feel comfortable with saying that declaration is that we do come to some rational, emotional, spiritual understanding that there is One Almighty Creator.

We either are moved by the call to prayer, the congregational prayer, the treatment by fellow Muslims, something we read in a translation of the Holy Qur’an, something that pulls us in that direction; and if this man Muhammed (saw) is the who has imputed this information we have no problem in accepting that he must be the envoy, ambassador, messenger and prophet of this One Almighty Creator.

So now we have taken the shahadah, to the thunderous sounds of Takbir! Allahu Akbar! (God is Greater).  The warm embraces of fellow Muslims.  So now we are Muslims, members of 1.6 billion community world wide.   Feels amazing right?

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FOLLOWING ALLAH AND HIS MESSENGER AND SOMEONE’S UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT ALLAH AND HIS MESSENGER WANTS. 

Now here comes the fine print.  Now we will be expected to embrace and defend the historical, philosophical, theological, juristic world view of the bunch we took our Shahadah with.

So as I stated above I was never comfortable with the ‘packaged deal’.  Now certainly I understand that Islam means submission.  I certainly understand that our ego is like a wild horse that needs to be broken. I certainly understand that we are all of us products of presuppositions. I certainly understand that we are slaves of Allah (swt).

Yet in the same breadth I certainly understand when a position or view is not based upon  facts or something solid,  I certainly understand when a position or a view is cacophonous and discordant.

I can sit with learned pious and well meaning people from sunrise until sunset and still understand when there are woeful inconsistencies in a viewpoint.  I can even look a person in the eye and glean from it that they themselves are not certain of what they are saying.  I am capable of all of that by the grace of Allah (swt).

MY POSITION WILL ALWAYS BE PRIMA-QUR’AN. 

I also want to make a few other points before talking about my decision to follow the Ibadi school.   I will discuss what I feel the Ibadi school gives me closure on and how it aligns with my own research and findings, with more discoveries to be made.

I also want to make it a point that my world view as a Muslim is still very much Prima-Qur’an.   The Ibadi school doesn’t expect anyone to practice Taqlid.  This is a breath of fresh air for me because I will always uphold the Holy Qur’an over any ahadith, fiqh, ijtihad that I feel clashes with a fundamental teaching or precept in the Holy Qur’an.

THINGS THE IBADI SCHOOL GIVES ME CLOSURE ON AND WHY I FEEL IT IS THE SCHOOL OF JURISPRUDENCE OF THE FUTURE.

  1.  THE UPRIGHTNESS OF THE COMPANIONS THE COMPANIONS WERE ALL ANGELS WHO DID NO WRONG. 

I believe not only we as convert Muslims but many born and raised Muslims read many of the ahadith concerning many of the companions and cannot possibly walk away with the impression that these people were all angels and saints.

The civil wars among the companions is all to easily swept under the rug by “Ahl Sunnah.”    Statements like “when lions fight dogs bark” is not a very intellectual or serious way to address the matter. Why  differences among companions were so serious as to have them thrust swords into one another and even killed each other is definitely an issue that needs addressed.

Well listen to what this respected Sunni scholar and researcher of hadith Professor Jonathan Brown has to say:

“There are even reports from the early historian al-Mada’ini that Mu’awiya encouraged systematic forging and circulation of hadiths affirming the virtues of the caliphs and Companions at Ali’s expense.”(cited from Al-Mada’ini’s Kitab al-ahdath; Ahmad b Sa’d al-Din al-Miswari, Al Risala al-munqidha min al-ghiwaya fi turuq al riwaya, pp. 51-55)” This citation is found in Dr. Jonathan Browns book “Hadith Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World page 7o

“That the collective impunity of the Companions was a later construct of the Sunni worldview is evident when one finds occasional minor Companions listed in early books of weak hadith transmitters.” Source: ( Hadith: Muhammed’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World’ by Dr. Jonathan Brown page 88)

This is why for example you have forged hadith like the one about the “10 promised paradise”.

“The Prophet said, “On the Day of Resurrection a group of companions will come to me, but will be driven away from the Lake-Fount, and I will say, ‘O Lord those are my companions!’ It will be said, ‘You have no knowledge as to what they innovated after you left; they turned apostate as renegades.” (Book #76, Hadith # 585 Bukhari)

Say: “I am no bringer of new-fangled doctrine among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I follow but that which is revealed to me by inspiration; I am but a Warner open and clear.” (Holy Qur’an 46:9)

“There are quite a number of authentic traditions in which Companions describes other Companions as kadhdhabin (liars) in relating hadith. Sunni scholars hold taht kadhdhab in these cases only means “being in grave error.” Suhaib H. Abdul Ghafar, Criticism of Hadith Among Muslims with Reference to Sunan Ibn Maja (IFTA: 1984), pp. 59-63. Also, G.H.A. Juynboll, Muslim Tradition, Cambridge (1983), pp., 190-206.”

From Professor Jeffery Lang’s Book: Losing My Religion A Call for Help pg.211

Notice we don’t hear from Professor Jeffery Lang anymore. Why is that?  Because people who don’t accept the “package deal” get silenced.

There is no way intellectually that I can accept the mental gymnastics that the Ahl Sunnah go through in order to salvage this doctrine.

This is honestly very sad.  The contributions of Ahl Sunnah to the Ummah of Muhammed (saw) are gargantuan. May Allah (swt) reward everyone of their scholars for the most sincere efforts.  Yet, unfortunately they feel compelled to propagate the Islam of the machine and the Islam of the empire.

The only groups of Muslims who are willing to acknowledge that the companions were in error and did injustice are the Shi’a and the Ibadi.

So what happens is because of this doctrine many of the Ahl Sunnah feel cheated, duped or lied to and many of them eventually do become Shi’a.  Either 12er or Zaydi.

SO WHY NOT BECOME A SHIA? 

First it is important to understand that just as the Ahl Sunnah has undergone transformation through history so have the ‘Shi’a’ or the ‘Partisans of Ali’.    Just like the Ahl Sunnah there are certainly many aspects of the ‘Shi’a that are attractive.

Yet, I am not ready to believe that people like Abu Bakr As Siddiq and Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) were shysters.   The whole idea of adorning oneself in black and being almost in a constant state of mourning carries such a weight of gloom and it seems so hung up on a moment in time, a constant reflection of a crisis in the early Muslim community.

Allah (swt) says about martyrs.

“And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah , “They are dead.” Rather, they are alive, but you perceive [it] not.”  (Holy Qur’an 2:154)  If you truly believe someone is a martyr that is a cause of rejoice. It is only a symbol of betrayal and mourning if your aspirations are fixated upon this world.

The whole idea of Muslims being ruled through the family of the Prophet (saw) is not something I find support for in the Holy Qur’an nor the idea of being ruled by 12 or even 7 Imams.

So though I agree with the Shi’a brothers that it is not possible that all the companions were angels and saints who did no wrong, it is also not possible for me to stay fixated upon that point in Muslim history.   With due respect to my Shi’a brothers they seem like they are always look back with no future other than hanging hopes upon a Mahdi Salvic figure.

Also if the things that Shi’a say about Ali and the Ahl Bayt are true it only leaves me unfortunately with not very positive thoughts concerning Ali.   For example if it is your divine right to rule over the people who can you just sit back and allow Abu Bakr and Umar to reign?

Understandably he ruled over a very difficult time in Muslim history but if Ali was to be this Imam that the Shi’a claim with all the attributes that entails, ruling for 5 years does seem very lackluster.

Lastly  if I was to be a Shi’a I would also have to apply the same scrutiny to Ali as I do other companions. In other words I could agree and do agree that Ali is the fourth of the Rashidun Kaliphs.  Ali was unjustly opposed by Talha, Zubayr and latter Muaviya.

So technically I am a shi’a (supporter of Ali) on these points.

However, if the companions can make errors in judgement, and commit wrongdoing I would have to be consistent and apply the same criteria to all companions including Ali.

I have done exactly that and I have found Ali to be in error in the battle of Siffin in his arbitration with Muaviya.   This brings me to my second point.

2. WHO SHOULD RULE THE MUSLIMS? 

The Ahl Sunnah believe that Muslims must be ruled from a Caliph and that this Caliph has to come from the tribe of the Quresh.  Again unfortunately Ahl Sunnah has come to support the Islam of the machine and of the empire.

The Shi’a believe that the Muslims have to be ruled by the Ahl Bayt (The Prophets Family).

The Ibadi believe that any upright and righteous Muslim can lead the Muslims. This view is egalitarian and more based upon the evidences we find in the Sunnah.

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “You should listen to and obey, your ruler even if he was an Ethiopian (black) slave whose head looks like a raisin.”

3. HOW SHOULD RULE OF THE MUSLIMS BE DECIDED?  

Ahl Sunnah claim that the leader should be selected by a group of men. However, we can see dynastic hereditary rule throughout Muslim history.  We know among the Ottomans that Sultans had brothers killed at young ages so that their rule would not be challenged. This is hardly a recipe for justice.

The Shi’a claim that the rule is through the ‘Ahl Bayt’ simply being a descendant of the Prophet (saw) is qualification enough.   This is something soundly refuted by the Holy Qur’an.

“And remember that Ibrahim was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: “I will make thee an Imam to the Nations.” He pleaded: “And also (Imams) from my offspring!” He answered: “But My Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers.” (Holy Qur’an 2:142)

Allah (swt) told Ibrahim that simply being a descendant of a prophet is not criteria enough to be as ruler.

This can be clearly seen in the Ahl Bayt of Noah.

“He said: “O Noah! He is not of thy family: For his conduct is unrighteous. So ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge! I give  you counsel, don’t act like the ignorant!” (Holy Qur’an 11:46)

The Ibadi position is that the righteous in the community they will come together through consultation and elect the leader.

“And those who have responded to their lord and established prayer and whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves, and from what We have provided them, they spend.” (Holy Qur’an 42:38) 

In fact here is something interesting.

Hussein Ghubash, delegate of the United Arab Emirates to UNESCO,
Chairman of the G77 in Paris and author of “Oman-The Islamic Democratic Tradition” he sees the Ibadi school as a proto democratic tradition.   Al hamdulillah!

You can see the link here: https://www.amazon.com/Hussein-Ghubash/e/B001HPC72Q

So it is very possible with the Ibadi school to have representative democracy where representatives are chosen and ultimately they choose the Imam/ Kaliph.

IBADHI DOESN’T TEACH INFERIORITY/SUPERIORITY COMPLEX

Al hamdulilah I can say that with full confidence that the Ibadi school embraces what Allah (swt) teaches us in the Holy Qur’an about being one humanity and what has been related to us by the Blessed Messenger (saw).

As we have already seen the Ahl Sunnah and the Shi’a will have it that the destiny of humanity be that we will be ruled by Arabs simply by virtue of them being Quresh or being Imams from the family of the Prophet (saw).

Among the Ahl Sunnah these are opinions from Imam Shafi’i

We see the following regarding the kafa’a for marriage in the classic Shafi’i manual of Islamic law titled‘Umdat as-Salik wa ‘Uddat an-Nasik(Reliance of the Traveller and Tools of the Worshipper):

والكفاءةُ في: النسَبِ والدِّينِ والحريةِ والصَّنعةِ وسلامة العيوبِ المُثْبِتَةِ للخِيار، فلا يُكافئ العجميُّ عربيةً، ولا غيرُ قُرَشيٍّ قُرشيَّةً، ولا غيرُ هاشميٍّ أو مُطَّلبيٍّ هاشميةً أو مطَّلبيةً، ولا فاسقٌ عفيفةً، ولا عبدٌ حرةً، ولا العتيقُ أو من مسَّ آباءَهُ رِقٌّ حرةَ الأصلِ، ولا ذو حِرفَةٍ دنيئةٍ بنتَ ذي حِرفةٍ أرفعَ، كخياطٍ بنتَ تاجرٍ، ولا معيبٌ بعيبٍ يُثْبِتُ الخِيارَ سليمةً منهُ، ولا اعتبارَ باليسارِ والشيخوخةِ، فمتى زوَّجها بغَيْرِ كُفءٍ بغَيرِ رضاها ورِضا الأولياءِ الذينَ هم في درَجتهِ فالنِّكاحُ باطلٌ، وإن رَضُوا أو رضيَتْ فليسَ للأبعدِ اعتراضٌ.
(Taken from the section of Kafa’a in the chapter of Nikaah in the text)
Translation: Kafa’a (Suitability in marriage for a female) is in the lineage (ancestry of the man), and in religiousness, and his being a free man (not a slave), and in his profession, and his being free of defects that can cause the annulment of the marriage. And the ajami (non-Arab) is NOT suitable for an Arab woman, and a non-Qurayshi is NOT suitable for a Qurayshi woman (Quraysh was the trtibe of the HOly Prophet (S)), nor is a non-Hashimi or non-Muttalabi suitable for a Hashimi or Muttalabi woman ( Hashimites are the members of the clan to which the Holy Prophet (S) belonged to, and Muttalabites are the descendants of the grandfather of the Holy Prophet(S)). Nor is an immoral man suitable for a virtuous woman, nor is a slave suitable for a free woman, nor is a freed slave or one whose ancestors were touched by slavery suitable for a (free) woman whose ancestors were free. Nor is a man of a lowly profession suitable for the daughter of someone with a noble profession, such as a tailor wanting to marry a tradesman’s daughter.

We can see the following are NOT kafa’a (suitable for marriage) for women:

  • Non-Arab men for Arab women
  • Non-Qurayshi man for a Qurayshi woman
  • Non-Hashimi or non-Muttalabi for a Hashimi or Muttalabi woman
  • Sinful man for virtuous a woman
  • A slave or a freed slave for a free woman
  • A free man but one whose ancestors might have been slaves for a free woman whose ancestors were not slaves
  • A man with a lowly profession for a woman whose father has a noble profession

 

We also have the opinion of  Ibn Taymiyyah in his (IqtiDaa’ Siraat al-Mustaqeem, volume 1, page 419) the following:

فإن الذي عليه أهل السنة والجماعة اعتقاد أن جنس العرب أفضل من جنس العجم عبرانيهم وسريانيهم رومهم وفرسهم وغيرهم وأن قريشا أفضل العرب وأن بني هاشم أفضل قريش وأن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أفضل بني هاشم فهو أفضل الخلق نفسا وافضلهم نسبا
Indeed it is the belief of the Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama’ah that the race of Arabs is superior to the race of non-Arabs, the Hebrews (Jews), the Syrians (Arameans), the Romans (Europeans), the Persians, and others. And indeed the Quraysh [tribe of the Prophet (S)] is the most superior among the Arabs. And indeed the Banu Hashim [the clan of the Prophet (S)] is the most superior among the Quraysh. And indeed the Prophet, may the Blessings and Peace of Allaah be upon him, is the most superior of the Banu Hashim, for he is the most superior of all creation by his own self, and also the most superior among them because of his lineage (ancestry).

The links to this information USED TO BE HERE: http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=9427&CATE=1

Wonder why this was taken down??

This is not the case for the Ibadi.

The proto-Ibadi school gained wide acceptance all across North Africa, the Sahara because of sticking to the message of the universality of humanity.

I am quite sure and quite confident that Muslims of all ethnic and racial backgrounds do not want to trade the current world order of Western Hegemony and White Centers of Power only to go to a world of Arab Hegemony and Arab Centers of Power.

No body wants to trade one system of oppression for another.   This has mislead and misguided many among the Arabs to call black people abeed (slave) when in reality all of us are slaves.    Or you will find it taboo for Arabs to call their children ‘Bilal’.

The Ibadi position on the fraternity of humanity is based upon the following:

O men! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another.Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware. (Holy Qur’an 49:13)

“But the Jews and the Christians say, “We are the children of Allah and His beloved(hibbaohu).” Say, “Then why does He punish you for your sins?”Rather, you are human beings from among those He has created.He forgives whom He wills, and He punishes whom He wills. And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them, and to Him is the [final] destination.”  (Holy Qur’an 5:18)

Abu Nadrah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, is reported to have said:

“O people, your Lord is one and your father Adam is one. There is no favor of an Arab over a foreigner, nor a foreigner over an Arab, and neither white skin over black sin, nor black skin over white skin, except by righteousness. Have I not delivered the message?   (Source Musnad Ahmad 22978, Grade: Sound 

IBADI SCHOOL HAS THE BEST CHANCE TO MAKE PEACE WITH JEWS AND ISRAEL. 

(It is also the school not clingy to the past or holding out for some fatalistic future).

Now before I begin my argument here let me say clearly that we as Muslims should never ever give up the Palestinian cause.  We should always demand justice for the Palestinians and the right to a homeland and self determination.

Now why would I say the Ibadi school has the best chance to make peace with Jews and Israel?   I not only say that but I say the Ibadi school is the school with the most hopeful outlook for the future.

In the Ibadi school there is absolutely 100% no belief that a Mahdi will come or that Jesus will return again and kill all of the Jews and instigate Armageddon.

Think about it.  Logically Israel is a nuclear armed power based by another super power. Already Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, Bahrain, and other states have had meetings and delegations from Israel.

Again I don’t think normalization with Israel should come at a cost of abandoning the Palestinian people or their cause.

Yet if you were an Israeli think tank and you are forced to deal with a Sunni world that has a core belief that some time in the future Jesus will show up and give your people the choice to accept Islam or die how hopeful would peace prospects be with such people?

The Ibadi position is in line with Allah (swt) told us in the Holy Qur’an. Christ Jesus is dead.  Not only this but the Ibadi school does not hang its hopes or future on some possibly distant messianic figure,  Christ Jesus or Mahdi.

To me this makes the Ibadi school the school of the future because it is teaching us to live in the here and now and to be practical.  That Muslims needs to work together to solve the problems of today.  We cannot hang our hopes by thinking any moment now some apocalyptic figure will pop up and than he will ‘get even with the kuffar!‘.

How long have we been waiting any way?

Unfortunately both the Ahl Sunnah and the Shi’a are either living in the past being legacies of the clash between the Ummayad Caliph Muawiya and the supposed rights of the Ahl Bayt;  or they are looking off to the distant horizon for some salvation figure.

The Ibadi school is living in and dealing with the present reality.  The Ibadi school is not defined by its past and is willing to move beyond that.  The Ibadi school is not hanging its hope in some fatalistic fashion to some future salvation figure.

 

IBADI SCHOOL OF AQIDAH IS SOUND AND BASED UPON THE HOLY QUR’AN.

A) The Ibadi school does not believe in Tahrif of the Holy Qur’an. The Ibadi school believes that we have the entire Qur’an with us.

Probably the most difficult (and not well known) position for me to accept as a Muslim from ‘Ahl Sunnah’ was the idea that we do not have the entire Qur’an but only the Qur’an Allah (swt) intended for us to have.

The Ibadi position is based upon what Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qur’an.

And recite that which hath been revealed unto you of the Scripture of thy Lord.There is none who can change His words, and you will find no refuge beside Him. (Holy Qur’an 18:27)

“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it.” (Holy Qur’an 15:9)

The scholars of Ahl Sunnah claim the following:

a) There are large portions of the Holy Qur’an that are simply missing (because they were forgotten)!

b) There is some Qur’an that is not in the Qur’an that Muslims have today; but found in extra Quranic material -namely the ahadith.

Umar said, “I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, “We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book,” and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession.” Sufyan added, “I have memorized this narration in this way.” ‘Umar added, “Surely Allah’s Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him.” (Bukhari, vol. 8, bk. 82, no. 816)

Zirr ibn Hubaish reported: “Ubayy ibn Ka’b said to me, ‘What is the extent of Suratul-Ahzab? ‘I said, ‘Seventy or seventy-three verses’. He said, ‘Yet it used to be equal to Suratul-Baqarah and in it we recited the verse of stoning’. I said, ‘And what is the verse of stoning’? He replied, ‘The fornicators among the married men ( ash-shaikh)) and married women (ash-shaikhah), stone them as an exemplary punishment from Allah, and Allah is Mighty and Wise.”‘ (As-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur’an , p.524).

“It is reported from Ismail ibn Ibrahim from Ayyub from Naafi from Ibn Umar who said: “Let none of you say ‘I have acquired the whole of the Quran’. How does he know what all of it is when much of the Quran has disappeared? Rather, let him say ‘I have acquired what has survived’”. (As-Suyuti, AlItqan fii Ulum al-Quran page 524)

‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with, her) reported that it had been revealed in the Holy Qur’an that ten clear sucklings make the marriage unlawful, then it was abrogated (and substituted) by five sucklingsand Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) died and it was before that time (found) in the Holy Qur’an (and recited by the Muslims). (Saheeh Muslim Book 008, Number 3421)

We used to recite a surah which resembled in length and severity to (Surah) Bar’at I have, however, forgotten it with the exception of this which I remember out of it: “If there were two valleys full of riches, for the son of Adam, he would long for a third valley, and nothing would fill the stomach of the son of Adam but dust.” (Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2, 501).

Before I begin I would like to say that I would consider myself a fairly open minded Muslim. I would also consider myself able to accept a wide range of opinions and views with in the Islamic tradition.

However, when it comes to anyone trying to undermine the revelation of the Holy Qur’an and thus undermine Islam in the process I am not open to such a position.

B) The Ibadi school does not hold anthropomorphic views on the attributes of Allah (swt).

“Indeed, those who pledge allegiance to you, [O Muhammad] – they are actually pledging allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands. So he who breaks his word only breaks it to the detriment of himself. And he who fulfills that which he has promised Allah – He will give him a great reward.” (Holy Qur’an 48:10)

There are only three ways to interpret this verse consistently.

  1. Allah’s hand is a literal hand and their hands are literal hands.
  2. Allah’s hand is a hand but unlike other hands is over their hands (which are unlike other hands).
  3.  Allah’s power and authority is over their power and authority.

Interpretation 3 is the most sensible interpretation.

We see this in the following example: “Except from their wives or those theirright hand posses, for indeed they will not be blamed.” (Holy Qur’an 23:6

It is not logical to think of woman or any person being in someone’s hand.  The understanding of “hand” here is power or authority.

“Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breast that grow blind.” (Holy Qur’an 22:46)  Here the heart is attributed with blindness or conversely seeing and these things are allegorical and not to be taken by its outward meaning. 

People who have interpreted the various claimed attributes of Allah (swt) by their apparent outward without giving interpretation have ran into enormous difficulty.

For example:

“And do not invoke with Allah another deity. There is no deity except Him. Everything will be destroyed except His Face. His is the judgement, and to Him you will be returned.” (Holy Qur’an 28:88)

If you interpret this by its apparent meaning without comparing it to anything or giving it an interpretation  you have the understanding of everything of Allah (swt) , his shin, foot, hands, etc will be destroyed except his (Allah swt) face.   This gives the very illogical idea of the Creator being composed of parts and the possibility that some aspects of the Creator can be vanquished and others cannot.

C)  The Ibadi school does not believe that we will see Allah (swt) in the hereafter. 

Personally this is another “packaged deal”  from Ahl Sunnah that I always thought was very strange.  I can personally understand how Sunni Muslims who follow the Salafi perspective on Allah (swt) and his attributes have reconciled themselves to the idea that they will see Allah (swt).        However, it has always come as extremely inconsistent for the those Sunni Muslim who call themselves Ashari or Maturdidi to uphold the view.

They (Ashari/Maturdidi) claim that Allah (swt) is not time/space and yet they are adamant about seeing Allah (swt).   Though I have noticed many of them soften the stance with ‘beatific vision’

Narrated Masruq:

I said to ‘Aisha, “O Mother! Did Prophet Muhammad see his Lord?” Aisha said, “What you have said makes my hair stand on end! Know that if somebody tells you one of the following three things, HE IS A LIAR: Whoever tells you that Muhammad saw his Lord, IS A LIAR.” Then Aisha recited the Verses:

‘No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision. He is the Most Courteous Well-Acquainted with all things.’  (Holy Qur’an 6:103)

‘It is not fitting for a human being that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration or from behind a veil.’ (Holy Qur’an 42:51)

(Al Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 378)

This should be evidence and clear enough.  Yet, you will be surprised the lengths that people will go to.  Once they have certain ahadith that say things instead of sticking with the clear teachings of the Holy Qur’an they will go to great lengths to make the Holy Qur’an confirm to their ahadith!

D) The Ibadi school believes that the  Holy Qur’an is created. 

Now for me personally from the moment I took the Shahadah, sat with Muslim brother hood, followed the Salafi Manhaj,  went to the Rihla at Zaytuna in 2001, and adopted the Maliki school I have never ever felt comfortable with this. I have looked into it and I just cannot believe as an aqidah position that the Holy Qur’an is uncreated and eternal.

*Note* The idea that the Holy Qur’an is eternal and uncreated is an agreed upon position by all of the Ahl Sunnah, this means Salafis Sunnis and Sufis Sunnis, it means those who follow the madhab of Bin Baz, Uthaymeen and Al Abani  (may Allah’s mercy be upon them all. and those who follow the madhabs of Malik, Shafi’i and Abu Hanifa (may Allah’s mercy be upon them all).

Now as mentioned above about the ‘seeing of Allah’ in the afterlife I can understand why Salafi  Sunni Muslims of Ahl Sunnah accept this. However, the Ashari Sunni Muslims of Ahl Sunnah have to really go through some great lengths to defend this position.

Yet, when it comes to the Holy Qur’an being eternal and uncreated this is a position I can understand how the Ashari accept this but for the Salafi Muslims it is clear kalaam.  They have to impose theological suppositions about Allah (swt) rather than allow the text to speak.

“Indeed, We have made it an Arabic Qur’an that you might understand.” (Holy Qur’an 43:3)

Allah (swt) has clearly said that he has made the Qur’an.

“And thus We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command. You did not know what is the Book or [what is] faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants. And indeed, [O Muhammad], you guide to a straight path.” (Holy Qur’an 42:52)

Is the Qur’an a thing or nothing?
If the Qur’an is nothing than let that stand on the record.

If the Qur’an is a thing than be reminded of what Allah (swt) says:

“That is Allah , your Lord; there is no deity except Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He is Disposer of all things.” (Holy Qur’an 6:102)

“We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent?” (Holy Qur’an 2:106)

Abrogation is omission, removal and it is impossible for that which is eternal. The idea that some part of Allah’s essence of ‘speech’ would be ‘better’ than other parts merits pensive reflection.

Before this We wrote in the Psalms, after the Message (given to Moses): My servants the righteous, shall inherit the earth.” (Holy Qur’an 21:105)

Where is this revelation and action that preceded the eternal uncreated Holy Qur’an?

“Has there not been over Man a long period of Time, when he was nothing – (not even) mentioned?”  (Holy Qur’an 76:1)

I can answer this question. If the Holy Qur’an is eternal and uncreated the answer is no, because Man is being mentioned in the very verse asking the question.

“No mention comes to them anew from their Lord except that they listen to it while they are at play.” (Holy Qur’an 7:52)

Muhdath in Arabic means newly made. And since it’s newly made it cannot be eternal. i.e. It came after being nothing which means “Created

We also need to ask about the hadith Qudsi is this the speech of Allah? As such is it eternal and uncreated as well?   What about the Torah, the Injeel and the Zabur?

All I want to say is that I am more at peace and I feel more confident that the Ibadi school has accepted conclusions from clear text in the Holy Qur’an rather than to impose their theology upon the Holy Qur’an.  Al hamdulillah!

I also want to say I do not make takfir of anyone who believes that the Holy Qur’an is eternal and uncreated. However, I just want to say best of luck to you when debating the Christians!

E) The Ibadi school believes that Allah (swt) is absolutely one. The Ibadi school does not believe that Allah is a ‘unified being’ as being taught by Ahl Sunnah.

That is to say that Allah swt is composed of various attributes-some of which will be destroyed others of which will remain.   (This is what the Salafi Aqidah teaches).   The Salafi Aqidah also tells Muslims that that creed is divided into various sub categories.

Tauhid Rububiyyah, Tauhid Uluhiyyah and some times Tauhid Al Hakimiyyah.

You will never find the Blessed Prophet Muhammed (saw) teaching such things or dividing doctrine up as they do. These are ‘their’ terminologies and wordings nothing more.

Also The Ahl Sunnah think of Allah (swt) as a unified being in much the same way that Trinitarian Christians believe that Allah (swt) is a unified being.

*Note* You will NEVER find the word ‘tauhid’ any where in the Holy Qur’an.

You will NEVER find the word ‘tauhid’ in the ahadith about the Prophet Muhammed (saw) is relation to the the oneness of Allah (swt).

You will only find the word ‘tauhid’ in the ahadith attributed to the Prophet Muhamed (saw) as in calling people to ‘tauhid’.  Why is he calling people to ‘tauhid’?  He is calling THEM (plural) to ‘tauhid’ to ‘unify’ and be a ‘united’ people.

The Prophet Muhammed (saw) , the Blessed Messenger (saw), the Beloved of Allah (swt) he NEVER taught that Allah (swt) IS A TAUHID.

Nor does the Ibadi school remain unclear about about the relationship between the essence of Allah (swt) and the essential attributes of Allah (swt).

For example the Ashari Sunni Muslims are not certain about their positions in regards to the essence of Allah (swt) and the essential attributes.

“In other words, the Mu’tazaila assert that the attributes of God are His essence itself; claiming that He is All-Knowing and All-Mighty in essence, and not through [the attributes of ] knowledge and power. We state (as maintained by the Companions, tab’in and others from the jurist) – that the attributes of God are neither His essence itself, nor anything independent to his Essence, this is because His attributes are never separate from His essence and that has always been pre-eternally and always will be, contrary to the attributes of mankind. [Minah ar-Rawd al-Azhar 96 | Daw al-Ma’awli li Bada’ al-Amali 23].

Source: (pg 101 The Beneficial Message & The Definitive Proof In the Study of Theology -Muhammad Salih Farfur Translation and Notes by Wesam Charkawi)

*Note* Notice how they say, “We state (as maintained by the Companions…..)    Very sad.    It is obvious that the Ashari Sunni Muslims believe that the attributes of Allah (swt) are in a static relationship with Allah (swt).   They are a sort of quasi existence.

Please see also:

“They claimed that the logical consequence of the “Attributes of Forms” was “multiplicity of beginning-less entities” (ta’addud al-qudama’). This reasoning was refuted by the entirety of Ahl Al-Sunna scholars. see al-Buti, Kubra al-Yaqinat Al-Kawniyya (p. 119 n.).
The Attributes are neither the Essence Itself nor other than It (al-sifat laysat ‘aynu al-dhat wa la ghayraha), as in the school of
Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama’a.” Al-Qari, Daw’al-Ma’ali (p.5)

Source: (Pages 7 & 8 Correct Islamic Doctrine/Islamic Doctrine  Volume 2 By Ibn Khafif, translated by Gibril Fouad Haddad

This is no refutation at all!

The assumption of an attribute which can be described neither by existence nor by nonexistence is the assumption of something which is in the middle between existence and nonexistence, between affirmation and negation, but this is something absurd!

“Say, “My Lord has only forbidden immoralities-what is apparent of them and what is concealed- and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.” (Holy Qur’an 7:33)

Again I want to be clear that I don’t make takfir of Sunni Muslims for the belief that Allah (swt) is a tauhid (a unified being) or that Allah (swt) has attributes that are neither defined by existence or non -existence.

All I will say is that it is a doctrine that never brought peace to my heart. I also want to say good luck with the Christians!

F) The Ibadi believe that hellfire is eternal for those who commit major sins and for the polytheist.  

Personally I can remember be quite elated and jubilant at the idea that the Prophet Muhammed (saw) will make shafat and that because of this shafat the entire Ummah will enter into paradise.

However, this idea takes the sting out of the hellfire. It makes us complacent, even when we read how awesome and gruesome the punishment of the hell fire is, many of us as Muslims can , could and in fact do become complacent.  We treat the hellfire as a minor threat.

I also feel that such a position is held on to because it is not politically correct to tell the polytheist that they will be in the hellfire.

This differs from Sunni Muslims who believe that those who commit major sins among Muslims will be let out of the hellfire.

We can see from the Holy Qur’an that the idea of hellfire being a temporary abode is a theological position attributed to the Jews.

“And they say: “The Fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days:” Say: “Have ye taken a promise from God, for He never breaks His promise? or is it that ye say of God what ye do not know?” (Holy Qur’an 2:80)

“That is because they say: The Fire will not touch us save for a certain number of daysThat which they used to invent has deceived them regarding their religion.” (Holy Qur’an 3:24)

“To those who reject Our signs and treat them with arrogance, no opening will there be of the gates of heaven, nor will they enter the garden, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle: Such is Our reward for those in sin.” (Holy Qur’an 7:40)

As we know a camel will NEVER pass through the eye of a needle. May Allah (swt) protect us all from the hellfire.

And those who were but followers will say: If a return were possible for us, we would disown them even as they have disowned us. Thus will Allah show them their own deeds as anguish for them, and they will not emerge from the Fire. (Holy Qur’an 2:167)

“But those who reject (God) – for them will be the Fire of Hell: No term shall be determined for them, so they should die, nor shall its Penalty be lightened for them. Thus do We reward every ungrateful one!” (Holy Qur’an 35:36)

“Their wish will be to get out of the Fire, but never will they get out therefrom: their penalty will be one that endures.” (Holy Qur’an 5:37)

“The belief of us Ibadis is that whoever enters the Fire from among the muwahhid disobedient and those who associate partners (mushriks) will remain therein permanently, not for a finite period. In the same way, those who enter Paradise from among the righteous servants of Allah will not come out of it. For both places are permanent stay.” -Shaykh Ahmad b. Hamad al-Khalili Mufti of Oman

Usually some of the internal evidence that people use to try and say that the hellfire punishment is temporarily are the following two.

“One day will He gather them all together, (and say): “O  assembly of Jinns! Much (toll) did you take of men.” Their friends among men will say: “Our Lord! we made profit from each other: but (alas!) we reached our term – which you didst appoint for us.” He will say: “The Fire be your dwelling-place: you will dwell therein for ever, except as Allah wills.” for thy Lord is full of wisdom and knowledge.” (Holy Qur’an 6:128)

Those who are wretched shall be in the Fire: There will be for them therein (nothing but) the heaving of sighs and sobbing, They will dwell therein for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure, except as your Lord wills: for thy Lord is the (sure) accomplisher of what He plans.”  (Holy Qur’an 11:106-107)

“By degrees shall We teach thee to declare (the Message), so you shall not forget,Except as Allah wills: For He knows what is manifest and what is hidden.” (Holy Qur’an 87:6-7)

The expression “except as your Lord wills or as Allah wills” means exactly that, what is the will of Allah. So in the case of the Prophet (saw) it is not the will of Allah (swt) that he forget.  Just as it is not the will of Allah (swt) as seen by very clear verses above that the polytheist and those who have committed the major sins to be released from hell fire.

Another example of that this time of the inhabitants of heaven.
“And those who are blessed shall be in the Garden: They will dwell therein for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure, except as thy Lord wills: a gift without break.” (Holy Qur’an 11:108)

“And leave those who have taken their religion for a play and an idle sport, and whom this world’s life has deceived, and remind (them) thereby lest a soul should be given up to destruction for what it has earned; it shall not have besides Allah any guardian nor an intercessor…” (Holy Qura’n 6:70)

Let us say for the same of argument that this particular theological position of the Ibadis is wrong.  What harm is there in acting on it as if it is correct? Surely there is only gain and a strong warning for us.   This is the best insurance is to treat the matters of one’s final destination with utmost concern and sincerity.

IBADI POSITIONS ON FIQH. 

Here are some unique aspects about the Ibadi school when it comes to jurisprudence , usul ul fiqh.

Point 1) The Ibadi school is the oldest living legal school. 

When Jabir bin Zaid died the first Sunni Imam, Abu Hanifa was only thirteen years old, while Imam Malik was just being born.

Abu ash-Shatha, was a direct student of many of the Prophet’s Companions in both Hijaz and Iraq such as Ibn Abbas,Aisha, Ibn Mas’ud, (May Allah be pleased with them all).

He was fully aware of the Hijazi school of hadith and the Iraqi school of ra’y.

Thus he was well informed and able to make decisions based upon this exposure.

Point 2) Companions opinions and actions do not serve as independent proof.

A whole host and range of things are looked into before making legal decisions.

Point 3) The Ibadi school is against the idea of Taqlid.

If one is able to do to or make ijtihad they should do so.  One should take the strongest proofs based upon sound methodological principles.

Point 4)  “Abrogation is never permitted in the reports of the Law-Maker because His Knowledge is not refreshed, and He is not ignorant of anything that happens, and He does not reveal but the truth.” -Ahmed bin Hamad al-Khalili

Point 5)  Against the idea that every Mujtahid is correct.  

It is possible that people can describe certain aspects of an issue and both can be correct. However, when Mujtahids arrive at completely different conclusions logically one cannot be correct.

Point 6)  Ever Evolving ‘Ijma or Consensus. 

Unlike the Ahl Sunnah where once a consensus is reached it basically has the status of revelation. This is unfortunate because it seeks to uphold a scholastic class rather truth.  Often new evidence is discovered or a new reality may come about that will demand change.

In the Ibadi school the consensus can and indeed has changed.

Examples of that being:  Issues like rather or not to do the Friday Prayer in the absence of a just ruler.  Rather or not righteous non-Ibadi who do not couple right action with right belief go to heaven or not.    Softening of stance on Uthman and Ali where as earlier Proto-Ibadi school was often more harsh towards the two Caliphs the latter attitude has changed.

This makes me hopeful on two points of ‘classical jurisprudence’ that I have always had difficult with as a Muslim.

A) Punishment for Adultery being stoning.

B) The Punishment for Apostasy being death.

On point A)  Egyptian author Fahmi Huwaydi mentions in his Hatta la Takuna Fitna, p. 132

He brings up the point about the proto-Ibadi did not believe in stoning for adultery.

You cannot halve stoning to death.

“If any of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those whom your right hands possess: And Allah has full knowledge about your faith. You are one from another: Wed them with the leave of their owners, and give them their dowers, according to what is reasonable: They should be chaste, not lustful, nor taking paramours: when they are taken in wedlock, if they fall into shame, their punishment is half that for free women. This (permission) is for those among you who fear sin; but it is better for you that you practice self-restraint. And Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Holy Qur’an 4:25)

and on Point B) With the Ibadi school not having a fixed ‘ijma, the fact that Taqlid is frowned upon this position is amenable to change based upon proofs, evidences and rigorous debate.

In other words the Ibadi school is amenable to change in ways that the Ahl Sunnah are not due to equating ‘ijma to revelation’  and the way the 12er Shi’a assign infallibility to their Imams in jurisprudence.

This to me also strong proof that the Ibadi school is the school of jurisprudence for the future and future generations.

The Ibadi school has strong mechanisms that protect the sanctity of sex, marriage and the family in general. 

The Ibadi school does not accept mutah marriage and nor does it allow divorce without witnesses.

Too many marriages in Ahl Sunnah end in dissolution and heartache because the man is entrusted with one word ‘Talaq”.

The majority of shari’ah laws in the Holy Qur’an focus on and deal with the sanctity of the family.  It is difficult to imagine that the family ,the bedrock of any functioning society or civilization would be utterly and completely dissolved with one word.

This runs contrary to the clear text of the Holy Qur’an.

“They are invited to the book of Allah to settle their dispute”. (Holy Qur’an 3:23)

“And this is a book which We have revealed as a blessing, so follow it and be righteous, that you may receive mercy”. (Holy Qur’an 6:155).

“Lo! this Qur’an guides to that which is most upright”. (Holy Qur’an 17:9)

“Thus when they fulfil their term appointed, either take them back on equitable terms or part with them on equitable terms; and take for witness two persons from among you, endued with justice, and establish the evidence (as) before Allah. Such is the admonition given to him who believes in Allah and the Last Day. And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out.”

The Ahl Sunnah even accept divorce of women while they are in their menses! They call it ‘Bidati’ and still allow it.

O Prophet! When any of you divorce women, divorce them during their period of purity and calculate their ´idda carefully. And have fear of Allah, your Lord. Do not evict them from their homes, nor should they leave, unless they commit an outright indecency. Those are Allah´s limits, and anyone who oversteps Allah´s limits has wronged himself. You never know, it may well be that after that Allah will cause a new situation to develop.” (Holy Qur’an 65:1)

If any men among you divorce their wives by Zihar (calling them mothers), they cannot be their mothers: None can be their mothers except those who gave them birth. And in fact they use words (both) iniquitous and false: but truly Allah is one that blots out (sins), and forgives (again and again).” (Holy Qur’an)

This verse clearly repudiates those men who would use an idiom or simply a verbal expression to divorce women.  This verse is also clear when coupled with other verses about having  two just witnesses present, and consultation that it repudiates instant divorce simply through  a statement, ‘Talaq’.

Also notice the following verse:

“Men are in charge of women by right of what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend for maintenance from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in their husband’s absence what Allah would have them guard. But those wives from whom you fear disobedience -first advise them: then if they persist , refuse to share the bed with them; and finally strike them. But if they obey you once more seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is Ever Knowing and Acquainted with all things.” (Holy Qur’an 4:34-35)

This revelation itself would be a perfect context to simply tell men to say ‘talaq’. In this context Allah (swt) is addressing a husband who is under great duress over a wife who is openly rebellious and contentious.  Yet, great effort is there in telling man to restrain himself, not have copulation and even if he’s push to his limits to act out his behavior he may strike her.   Even than the following verses speaks about arbitration and reconciliation.

There is nothing in there about simply saying ‘talaq’.

To be honest with you when you look at all the heavy weights of Ahl Sunnah, the intellectual, philosophical, theological, philological, legalistic contributions to the Ummah of Muhammed (saw) it is highly disappointing that this is the best that they could do in safeguarding the sanctity of marriage.

Articles like this speak for themselves. https://gulfnews.com/opinion/op-eds/rising-arab-divorce-rates-a-cause-for-concern-1.2244451

I will also add that as a man who could be a father to a daughter one day I cannot allow my daughter to enter into a marriage with any man who holds the position in jurisprudence that Sunni Muslims hold.  I owe that much to any future daughters that Allah (swt) may bless me with, and I owe that much to the sanctity of marriage and the family.

Lastly the fruit of the Ibadi school of Islam as seen in Oman.

Now in Oman,  Shia, Sunni and Ibadi Muslims pray together in the Masjid.  It is the one country in the middle east in which different groups of Muslims are not fighting and killing each other.  Look at Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and other places the sectarianism is horrific and bringing great evil every where.  It will be a miracle if the children of those countries do not grow up to become averse to religion altogether.

In Oman there is a very rich and flourishing Sunni and Shi’a communities.

Not only this but Hindus have temples and Christians have their churches there.

The people of Oman, it’s government guided by principles of wisdom and tolerance do not in any way shape or form feel threatened by multiculturalism.

They (the Ibadi Muslims) in Oman have openly extended invitations to Sunni Muslims of the Salafi Manhaj like Yusuf Estes: https://timesofoman.com/article/95088

As well Imam Khalid Yasin here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cA_o1jnz-90

and Mufti Menk here: https://timesofoman.com/article/465018/Oman/Video-Grand-Mufti-of-Zimbabwe-to-visit-Oman

As well as Sunni Muslims of the Sufi persuasion like Shaykh Hamza Yusuf here: https://realityinoman.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/shaykh-hamza-yusuf-visiting-oman/

As well world famous Dr. Adnan Ibrahim,  as you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi8razf1ZH0

This particular video moved me to tears because you can see he is deeply touched by the love and warmth that he received by his Muslim brothers in Oman.

So with that said this is an over view of my decision -part and parcel of my journey.

I have been very straight forward and have not minced my words nor my thoughts on matters that had weighed on my heart and mind for a very long time.

I want to say that I love all Muslims, all the Ahl Qiblah, be you Salafi, Sufi, Sunni or Shi’a in your orientation.  I bare no hate or ill will towards any of you.  I will always do what I can with in my means to be of assistance to my Muslim brothers.

“And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. Allah named you “Muslims” before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people.” (Holy Qur’an 22:78)

“And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you-when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.” (Holy Qur’an 3:103)

The Truth About ‘The Study Quran’ Part 2: Who Are the ‘Modernists’?

Another marvellous broadside from the increasingly outspoken Sheikh Atabek Shukurov. Could it be that Muslim scholars in the West are growing a conscience?!

Here he addresses some of the inevitable errors by ‘The Study Quran‘ team – but uses this as a platform to really shine a light into those aspects of Classical Islam which modern ‘practising’ and ‘Salafi’ schools find inconvenient and would rather just disappeared. And they are more than happy to help in getting rid of them…

Read the brilliant part one here: https://asharisassemble.com/2016/05/08/the-truth-about-the-study-quran-part-1-the-quransploitation-industry/

I just want to say: thank God for sequels. Unless it’s ‘Batman vs Superman’. 

Shaykh Atabek Shukurov 

It has become necessary to embark on this article and others like it because under ideological and financial pressure from Salafis and other fringe elements, most Muslim groups purporting to follow ‘Classical Islam’ have instead falsified and fabricated astonishing amounts in its name.

A prominent example is pretending that those hadiths, fatwas and narrations emphasised and accepted by puritanical groups such as Salafis and their fellow travellers (sadly very often Brelwis and Deobandis) are in fact accepted by everyone through Islamic history. This exercise in revisionism means that the unsuspecting layman is lead to believe that, for example, every narration of Bukhari or some controversial hadith were accepted ‘unanimously’ and that ‘no one disagreed’. The names of the famous scholars of Islam are frequently wheeled out for this purpose – their reputations merely a stepping stone and a sacrifice to fabricating evidence for an a prior fringe position.

Having undertaken the first ever English critical edition of Imam Maturidi’s Magnum Opus ‘Kitab ut Tawhid‘ (a task whose omission by many others despite calls for it even by Orientalists speaks volumes about the intentions of many of his ‘followers’. Please notice the surfeit of editions and translations of the works of latter day salafist favourites like Ibn Taymiyya and the latter day founders of other ‘sects’ from the Deobandis to the Ikhwaanis to ‘Hizb Ut Tahrir‘), I had been asked repeatedly about Imam Maturidi’s authoritative yet untranslated positions and fatwas. Add to this that Maturidi’s Arabic, of the Central Asian style, is uniquely complex and Muslims are subjected to deliberately poor translations and ‘commentary’ by puritans of even the Quran itself. My fear is that having tried their best to ignore Maturidi and not translate him at all, his ‘followers’ will now do their best to censor and mistranslate him.

Thus I have endeavoured to mention those excerpts of Maturidi’s which are most intellectually and practically relevant and helpful to Muslims (and others) today (as we did here:https://sulaimanahmed.com/2016/01/20/black-magic-and-the-perfection-of-the-prophet/). And make no mistake – relevant and stimulating they most certainly are, which is why they are so carefully kept from the Muslim laity today.

As the most widely followed doctor of Islamic creed, Maturidi’s scope, influence and authority is astonishing. It is my intention to show that this original and fearless thinker is relevant today – and is much more than the caricature that many who ‘follow’ his school claim him to be.

Here I just want to post an example for readers on hadith as we did previously on Black Magic. 

 

Prophet Moses Naked?

We all know of the Hadeeth which is narrated by Imam Bukhari and other authors of Hadeeth collections about Prophet Musa/Moses PBUH.

The general story they relate has variations but says that Moses was a very shy person – so he used to hide his body from peoples gaze. When he would bathe with his nation, they would do it communally but Moses would go far away from then and bathe in a different part of the river.

Some people from his nation allegedly used to use this to make up insults against him. They said; ‘He has cut off his genitals, that’s why he is ashamed to show himself to us naked‘ or; ‘He has big testicles, [or a scrotal hernia] that’s why he doesn’t take off his clothes‘.

And many other insults.

God wanted to prove them wrong. Prophet Moses was taking a ‘shower’ (unclothed) in the river far from the people, and he left his clothes on a rock. This rock suddenly came to life and took his clothes and ran towards the people who insulted him. Moses in turn took his staff and ran after the clothes. When rock stopped, he started beating the rock and cursing it. People who were sitting there saw that the naked body of Prophet Moses didn’t have any of what they used to insult him with.

This is the story which is narrated with some differences (we mentioned it here by meaning –  incidentally as most hadith are) in a number of collections and is repeated as an ‘explanation’ for Surah Al Azab verse 69 onwards by numerous classical commentators of the Quran and even by the recent ‘Study Quran‘ by Nasr et al: Here is the ayat in, perhaps appropriately, the translation of Muhammad Asad, himself a Jew who lost his parents in the Holocaust:

33:69 

O YOU who have attained to faith! Be not like those [children of Israel] who gave offence to
Moses, and [remember that] God showed him to be innocent of whatever they alleged [against
him or demanded of him]: for of great honour was he in the sight of God.

The ‘Study Quran‘ actually follows the methodology of most today and attributes the accusations against Moses in this part of the Quran to his alleged ‘physical defect’. Although the authors avoid relating the hadith and details of the story in full (they do not mention the animate rock or the naked running etc, perhaps out of embarrassment), they use the explanation of Quranic exegetes Ibn Kathir and Qurtubi, both beloved of Salafists for their alleged anthropomorphism.

Despite this towing of the ‘party line’ (so to speak), the authors of the ‘Study Quran’ were subjected to a sustained campaign of attack and anathematisation from a strange coalition of Salafi and other scholars and interests. (of relevance here, Asad, attributes the reason for the revelation of this part of the Quran to the issues in the beginning of Numbers 12 as opposed to the story related by ‘The Study Quran‘ and Co.)

Here is the actual text of Bukhari;

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(Bukhari narrated this hadeeth Number 3404 from Abu Huraira);

Prophet PBUH said; ‘Moses was a shy and reserved man. None of his skin would be seen due to his shyness. Some people from Sons of Israel insulted him and said; He doesn’t hide himself except for some defect in his skin, either vitiligo or scrotal hernia or some other defect. Then God wanted to defend Moses from this insult. Once Moses was alone and took off his clothes and put them on a rock. Then he went for a bath. Once he finished, he came to take his clothes, but rock started running with his clothes on it. Moses took his staff and went looking for the rock. He started calling; ”O rock, my clothes! O rock, my clothes!”

He kept on walking until he reached the place where group of Sons of Israel were sat. They saw his body as most perfect shape that God created. That is how God defended him from what they used to accuse him of. Then the rock stood, and Moses took his clothes and put them on. Then he beat the rock with his staff. I swear by God that rock has three or four or five scars on it from striking by the staff.

That what is the meaning of the verse; ”O believers! don’t be as those who have hurt Moses, then God freed him from their accusation. Indeed he [Moses] was very glorious in front of God”‘.

However, Abu Mansur Maturidi flatly rejected it in his Tafseer (Quranic exegesis)  Volume 4, Page 138:

Портрет Муртазы-Кули-хана

Abu Mansur gives the following reasons to reject this hadeeth;

  1. Prophet Moses used to order them to cover their private parts as a matter of religious observance (still followed by Jews today), that is why it is not possible that they will hope or try to bathe with him in the very first place.
  2. It is not possible that they would wish to look at his private parts
  3. It is not possible that a rock will be able to run away with the clothes of the Prophet Moses

Maturidi doesn’t even look at its chain and narrators, doesn’t even look at which collection is it narrated in, doesn’t consider that it is in the collection of Bukhari, neither does he try to show his excuses to Bukhari. But he does very frankly show only the above three rational reasons and comments on the narration using two very harsh names;

  1. ‘Outlandish interpretation’
  2. ‘Bizarre or strange statement’

Based on this we can see that Abu Mansur makes his analysis to reject this hadeeth based on intellect with the support of general accepted principles based on The Quran…

It also looks as if Abu Mansur holds the rank of Prophets in very high regard, and shows a lot of respect towards them.

No doubt that Abu Mansur Maturidi is the highest ranked Hanafi scholar, other than the eponymous founder of the school. And were we to respect his authority and reasoning, even if we were to disagree, then that would be that. However, this opinion and methodology employed by Maturidi, as with so many of the luminaries of Islamic scholarship, is an inconvenient truth for the partisans that the Muslim laity find themselves surrounded by today. They will not and cannot allow a scholar, regardless of his rank and authority, to disregard any of the hadith they wish to be accepted, in particular those of their canonical collections such as Bukhari etc.

The reason is not any insistence by Imam Bukhari himself (who never stated that he intended each and every one of his hadith to be accepted into faith nor acted upon, and often included hadith for documentary as opposed to theological or juristic reasons) but rather due to the self interested, partisan and inclusive criteria these groups and individuals have towards (certain) hadith narrations. If it becomes widely known that some narrations later canonised by these interests were in fact rejected by luminaries of the past, then the game is, as they say, up.

So the evasions, misdirections, fudges and outright lies begin. Since the easiest course of action, namely to disown and discredit Imam Maturidi himself, is inexpedient due to his authority and following for the past thousand years or so (although this does not stop Salafis openly denouncing him) and as well as this, Maturidi has a ‘built in fan base’, which it would be useful to retain and divert to these groups own, frankly, nefarious ends. Therefore the next line of concealing the truth (that Maturidi and others rejected narrations these groups are fond of) is:

  1. Mistranslating
  2. Fabricating an absurd ‘context’ for the rejection
  3. Claiming that said scholar was idiosyncratic or a lone wolf and naming others who disagreed with him to subtly discredit him – regardless of his or their relative authoritativeness
  4. Claiming that, well, he might have rejected it but that we have to follow ‘the majority’, by which they mean them or their group
  5. As above but with ‘ijma‘ (consensus) substituted for ‘majority’

Number three can be most confusing for the layman.

In the case of this hadith – and many others, we see a game by groups like Salafis and Deobandis of trying to play off the early group of scholars with a more recent cohort that agrees with their preferred, usually ‘gotta’ accept them all’ methodology. The classic example is to claim that well, maybe some early Hanafis believed that this hadith is false but later on other Hanafis fell into line with the hadith collectors. This is a kind of ‘modernism’ and a strangely secular idea that the latest version of the truth is the truth, an idea alien to Islam and for which these same groups anathematise others. The game usually consists of not telling the audience that the ‘later’ scholars were in fact following a methodology, be that in hadith or anything else, that these groups would like you to follow (usually more puritanical or more inclusive of certain hadith) and the earlier scholars were following a methodology (easier and more rationalist) that these groups would not want you to follow.

This is in no way as far as I know the methodology of the ‘Study Quran‘, they are merely repeating the claims of some past commentators, but even this did not save them from the ire of those they agreed with. it isn’t enough to agree with ideological extremists it seems unless you agree with them in everything.

So in the above case, the stance of Maturidi was supported by other Hanafi giants such as Isa Ibn Abban (in fact Imam Jassas also narrated this hadith from him), Imam Bazdawi, Imam Sarakhsi, Imam Qadhikhan – and big list of other Hanafi theologians supported the opinion of Isa bin Abban…but Kamal ibn Humam, Lakhnawi and group of other latest Hanafi scholars have rejected the opinion of Ibn Abban.

Thus layman and scholar alike will be unilaterally blackmailed by saying ‘how dare you go against the opinion of the latter (i.e more hadith oriented) group!’- without telling you that these scholars were in fact themselves going against the opinion of the earlier and more authoritative group. The poor Muslim layman is taught ‘earlier is better’ and the merits of the Salaf. But then these same people jettison the opinions of the early and authoritative scholars for their own favourites, later scholars and even scholars with deviant views such as Ibn Taymiyya when it suits them (a good example is the shocking adoption of Ibn Taymiyya by Shah Wali Allah, who is venerated by both of the puritanical and Salafi oriented faux Hanafi groups in the Indian Subcontinent, the Deobandis and their arch rivals the Brelwis).

What is really lamentable is that if anyone today rejects a hadith from ‘Sahih Bukhari‘,  a lynch mob composed of Salafists, Deobandis, Brelwis and even Sufis is rapidly assembled, but rejecting the teachings of senior Imams and theologians such as Imam Maturidi is considered of no consequence – even by his self proclaimed ‘followers’. What makes this even more egregious is that Imam Bukhari, as stated, seems to have never himself insisted that all his hadith be accepted. In fact, in an ironic twist, Imam Bukhari died alone and isolated,  hounded by Hanbali mob for being a ‘heretic’ and a ‘Mu’tazilite’ – he was persecuted by the ideological ancestors of the very people who today insist that not single one of his narrations be rejected. Perhaps it is their way of redeeming for what was done to him, but it nevertheless doesn’t change the fact that Bukhari himself neither insisted his collection was complete nor to be completely followed (for the record, there was friction between Bukhari and some of his local Hanafis too).

In this rush to rewrite Islamic intellectual history to agree with their partisan views, these groups destroy the diversity and heritage that is the right of believers of all faiths. In trying to make everything equally true, or rather the same, they in fact introduce weakness, incoherence and make everything equally false.

Unlike many of these groups, I believe that people are free to believe what they wish and that people can believe that Maturidi and the other Haanfi giants were wrong in their decision and that the hadith is reliable after all. I personally consider the glosses and explanations offered for this hadith by scholars past and present to be outlandish, but the academic tradition in Islam mandates that I hear them out and not shout them down with accusations of heresy, hadith rejection and modernism as these sectarians are wont to do.

The Truth About ‘The Study Quran’ Part 1: The ‘Quransploitation’ Industry

This is one of the best articles I have come across in recent times -both a brilliant skewering of the hypocrisy surrounding the furore by Salafists and Co. over the recent publication of ‘The Study Quran‘ as well as a brilliant rejoinder to the abuse of the Quran by both Muslims and Islamophobes to justify violence.

A must read for anyone interested in Islam and perversions thereof and a useful antidote to the vacillating and Milquetoast responsa from some of the ‘Study Quran‘ team themselves – in particular Joseph Lombard, who seems intent in Social Media such as Facebook on defending the very people who are insulting and anathematising Nasr – ‘playing nice’ at the expense of justice is a favourite game of public Muslims who are often concerned only with being able to speak in front of as many people as possible. One has to pity Nasr, assailed from without and undermined from within, so it is with genuine delight that I read this wonderful piece.

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Written by

 Shaykh Atabek Shukurov

and

Sulaiman Ahmed

The recent controversy over the release of ‘The Study Quran’ by Sayed Hossein Nasr and his team has really shown Muslims at their worst – both in their academic incompetence and in their readiness to anathematise and declare Nasr and others heretics and unbelievers based on the flimsiest, or rather no, evidence – a Godsend to Islamophobes who wish to prove that Muslims as a whole are violent and intolerant. Though legal restraints in the West have prevented Muslim groups and scholars from complementing their open or veiled declarations that Nasr is an apostate or non-believer with the violence that they would prefer to be visited upon him, it is ever present in the background of their vile ejaculations.

Perhaps even more repugnantly, many of those who have spoken on the issue or previously endorsed the book, have used the controversy and the rabid reaction of many in the Salafist establishment which is acting as a financial and ideological hydra in Islamic circles, to pose as ‘arbiters’ or ‘impartial’ judges while in fact using the issue to gain exposure and to ‘play both sides’. Numerous well-known scholars have on the one hand played to the heresy hunting gallery by claiming that the book ‘kind of, may be’ questionable or by couching their endorsements and comments in such politically expedient language that it would make most Republican Presidential candidates blush, and on the other benefited from the exposure the ‘Study Quran’ has received and tried to bask in its glow. Some of the endorsers have claimed that they were merely given ‘samples’, so didn’t in fact know what they were endorsing and any critique of the book by them would be a worthless endeavour ‘as they would never place it on the book jacket.’ The Muslim laity and intelligentsia alike have reflexly made use of phrases such as ‘perennialist’ to impugn the most outrageous enormities upon Nasr and his cohorts while at the same time never taking the trouble to define this term, except by their own unverifiable ‘definitions’, but then, who doesn’t want to argue their opponents case as well as their own, all the better to expedite victory. Thank goodness the criminal justice system doesn’t proceed in a like manner – although it in fact does in those countries or rather monarchies from whence many of these people receive or hope to receive patronage.

Neither have these individuals taken the time, nor do they seem to possess the expertise, to compare the purported errors of Nasr and his teams tafsir (commentary of the Quran) with those which one can find with ease in many of the so-called ‘authentic’ or classical ones. As a further unacademic and reactionary failsafe, they simply brand any dissenters also as ‘perennialists’ (one slur fits all in Muslim discourse nowadays) and heretics, again, never having to trouble themselves with a definition nor engagement with perennialists themselves. Examples of this can be seen in this Facebook post made on behalf of a notable scholar:

SQ1

As well as this vile, ranting takfir, based on the solitary ’evidence’ of the commentators from ‘The Study Quran’ merely stating that some people (not even necessarily them) hold a controversial opinion: http://mahdinnm.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-accommodation-and-promotion-of.html.

This level of ‘academia’ will no doubt delight Islamophobes and the enemies of religion in general: merely stating that there is a view held by some, without even endorsing it, is enough for Muslims to become a lynch mob. The ease with which Muslims and their erstwhile ‘scholarly’ interlocutors declare people to be unbelievers and targets will likewise delight this contingent. Sadly they are right: the entire ‘Study Quran’ incident showed at the outset, and continues to show the lax, authoritarian, sectarian and self-interested way that Muslim discourse is conducted. It is very obviously academically degenerate and based on considerations far removed from truth and beauty of any sort.

My aim in this series of articles is to highlight the inconsistencies and errors brought to the fore by, but not limited to, the response to ‘The Study Quran’ in a way which I feel more befits the heritage of Classical Islam, which today is sold for the cheap price of endowments and chairs funded by petro- dollars or for the interests of sectarian partisans.

I make no apologies for naming offenders – just as they have made no apology for the affronts to Nasr and his faith nor for the confusion and discord they have sown amongst Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It goes without saying that I am neither particularly a supporter of Nasr nor a perennialist nor even a ‘Traditionist’ – before this incident I hardly knew who they were. But unlike the vast majority of Muslim scholars purporting to ‘refute’ them, I at least bothered to look up who they were before spewing hatred. ‘The Study Quran’, like any work of man, also contains errors. So do many of the famous commentaries of the Quran (see below) that get a ‘free pass’ from the same people who pour bile on Nasr and company, such as ‘Tafseer Ibn Katheer’ or ‘Tafsir Qurtubi’ because they serve these groups anti-rational, sectarian and authoritarian agenda. Throughout these articles, I will also endeavour to speak of the ease with which Muslims call for killing and anathematisation (which sadly are very closely related concepts in the Salafist influenced ‘mainstream’ Islam of today) and try to illustrate this with easily apprehended and contemporary examples.

You can read my students article on the ‘Study Quran’ here: https://sulaimanahmed.com/2015/11/29/the-study-quran-and-muslim-intellectualism/. Since it proved insufficient to restrain the ramblings of bloggers, scholars and organisations alike, I must endeavour to elaborate.

The Quran to Muslims is the very word of God and thus in Islam it has the foremost importance. Yet it seems that amongst Muslims today it is the least appreciated source of knowledge. The Quran has become effectively a secondary or tertiary source within the religion, easily side-lined either by the statements of scholars who state that the Hadith literature (sayings and acts attributed to the Prophet Muhammad ()) can ‘abrogate’ the Quran, or more subtly when people take the statements of scholars, the Hadith or tafseer (exegesis or commentaries) over and above the Quran.

In the very first instance, one must realise that there are different levels within the mufasireen (Quranic commentators). Thus Imams such as Shaykh Abu Mansoor al-Maturidi and Imam Jassas were Mujtahid (of the highest rank or learning) Mufasir scholars. Then we had people who were muqalid mufasireen (scholars not qualified to set up principles but rather those who follow the Mujtahids – at least in theory). It may surprise readers to know that even famous Imams such as Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir fall into this category. Then we have those who wrote tafseer but in fact their expertise did not lie within this field, such as the widely translated and published (especially by Salafis) Ibn Kathir. Even after all of this, a Mufassir is just a human and humans can be right or wrong about any particular matter. No one should make the monumental error, sadly widespread amongst Muslims today, of thinking that the Book of God is understood by only a few people from the past or that after this period one cannot be inspired to gain understanding from the Quran. The wisdom of the Quran is not limited to the understanding of a few scholars. Therefore having a few opinions from the scholars of the past does not exclude the possibility of them being wrong or incomplete and thus it should never block further research.

Furthermore, in many cases we may only have one opinion which has been translated into contemporary languages, but there are in reality many other opinions too, equally authoritative and equally ‘classical’ which have not been translated, or have been accidentally or deliberately ignored or have not been ‘discovered’ as they remain in manuscript form. The much berated ‘Study Quran’ was at pains to plead for this manuscript research and translation. Sadly, most Muslims are very aware of the sectarian interests and ‘state sponsored’ translation and publication that afflicts Muslim works.

Another aspect that must not be overlooked is that there are many factors that affect the statements of any scholar and human being – and make no mistake, despite the pseudo-infallibility attributed to their favourites by most Muslim groups today, scholars most avowedly are both humanly frail and fallible – and scholars were affected by things such as the political, social and economic landscape of his time, his psychological condition, his academic standard, his hidden tendencies which he may occult due to fear of punishment or death from the ruling class or the possibility that he may want to please the ruling class by providing interpretations that may support their political or social agenda. Most of us today are taught that our favourite scholars were above such considerations, but even a cursory glance at much of their output establishes otherwise – and in any case, being completely above such considerations is the province of Prophets or angels. God provided no such assurance for the scholars, not that this has stopped Muslims furnishing it regardless.

Therefore the Quran is very obviously there for humans to contemplate today as always. They will continue to reach conclusions of various degrees of veracity and utility.

Furthermore, I in no way agree with the common (mis) understanding amongst many today that the entire religion of Islam will be ‘preserved’. Rather it is the Quran alone which will be preserved because it was this and not the ‘religion’ that God assured us would be guarded against corruption. Yes, I do agree that throughout time at least some of the scholars will get issues right, but that does not mean that the opinion of that scholar will necessarily be preserved for posterity. It could have been lost, destroyed or the scholar was killed (as was the fate of many of the greatest Islamic luminaries such as Abu Hanifa and Imam Razi at the hands of their ideological enemies). So it is entirely plausible that there was disagreement between scholars, and a thousand of them stated one thing and this position was only opposed by one person and yet in fact he alone was in the right – but we do not have his book and his explanation was not preserved.

A good example of this is theological issue regarding whether practicing the religion is a part of belief. Imam Abu Hanifa was alone in opposing thousands of scholars in saying ‘no it isn’t’ and he was right. We are lucky that his opinion was preserved. Yet it is entirely possible that under different circumstances his opinion may not have reached us. This is how it is possible that there were many great scholars who we do not know of because their enemies burnt their books and erased them from history.

Consider that many scholars were killed and imprisoned, their books destroyed. We no longer have the book of Eisaa ibn Abaan on Usul (epistemic principles), though we have people such as Imam Jassas quoting from his book but the book itself has been destroyed – not lost, but destroyed. The reason for this is obvious – those in power wanted to destroy all of his works and diminish any influence his ideas and opinions had on the general public. Therefore, often, the ‘Islam’ that was preserved was that which had the backing and support of the political elite.

Today Imam Al Ghazali is famous amongst most Muslims and Orientalists, but what of the ruling made by Qadi Iyaad and his teacher Qadi Mazari which can be found in their books such as ‘The refutation of Al Ghazali’ – both widely venerated and used as ‘unimpeachable’ proofs by Muslims on issues such as the alleged necessity of killing ‘apostates’ and those who insult the Prophet () – that all of Ghazali’s books especially his iconic ‘Ihyaa’ be destroyed as it propagated heresy and kufr (disbelief)? Now if it had not been for the popularity, influence and following of Imam Ghazali his books may also have not been preserved. This is further compounded by the fact that we have a large number of manuscripts of the works of Ibn Taymiyyah such as his erratic and violent work ‘Majmu’ al-Fatawa’, yet we are hard pressed to find the same for people such as Imam Abu Hanifa, Eisaa ibn Abban and Shaykh Abu Mansoor al-Maturidi.

Let’s look at a classical text and verdict from the time of the ‘Salaf’ in ‘Muheet al-Burhani’ a foundational text in the Hanafi school, which establishes the aforementioned principle, today widely ignored, which states that a solitary scholar may be the only correct opinion and likewise, proof is based on academic rigor and not majority or a ’head count’: Volume 6, page14:

12747248_1025373364172406_8649673449397593690_oThis is well known by genuine scholars but kept from the laity by Salafists –  Imam Abu Hanifa holds the position that opinion of the majority of Muslims is not superior to the opinion of one person. Rather the most important determining factor in one opinion being accepted over another is the strength of the proof for the position that is held. His student Imam Muhammad disagrees and states that as long as both sides have some evidence then the opinion of the majority is taken.

This brings me nicely to the particular verse that we will be analysing as an example of what has gone before. The ultimate irony here is that this is one of verses which demands peace…and has instead somehow been used by people, including senior scholars, to support their commitment to bloodshed and war. We are seeing the regretful continuation of this wilful manipulation and exploitation of the Quran to this day.

In this verse, used to ‘refute’ Nasr and ‘perennialists’ as well as by extremists, God says;

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱدۡخُلُواْ فِى ٱلسِّلۡمِ ڪَآفَّةً۬ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُواْ خُطُوَٲتِ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنِ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَڪُمۡ عَدُوٌّ۬ مُّبِينٌ۬

O the ones who have believed! All of you! Enter into a treaty of peace! Do not follow the footsteps of Satan! Indeed he is an obvious enemy of yours.’’ (2:208)

The word ”Silm” here is ‘translated’ by many people, including early ones such as Ikrima, Mujahid and others as ”Islam”. They attribute this position to the companion of the Prophet () Ibn Abbas, therefore making their position seem stronger. Most of the Sunni Mufassireen in fact also took this position and ignored the understanding based on Arabic language – the language of the Quranic revelation. But in reality this order is basically forbidding any type of anarchy and bloodshed, be it rebellion or military methods of resolving issues between nations, tribes or families.

So on the one hand we have an understanding that says that people must enter into ‘Islam’, i.e change their religion or become Muslims. This is understandably a favourite ayat of Islamophobes and orientalists of a certain bent to try and prove that Islam demands conversion ‘by the sword’. Many Muslims backed this understanding too or provided various glosses. But linguistically none of this is called for in the very first place, since it means not ‘enter into Islam’ but ‘enter into a treaty of peace’. The difference is important, as we shall see.

The word used in this passage of the Quran ”Kaaffah” is very strong. It could be used as a Haal (description) of a command, or as a description of the ones commanded. In the first case it will mean ”Peace in all aspects”, in the second ”everyone accepting it”. There are no other licit options in the Arabic language of the Quran.

In my opinion it is the first one, because linguistically the second is mentioned by the pronoun of the command. So in the first case there is no repetition. But in the second case it will be ”Tawkeed” (emphasising) which means repeating. Those who have studied even basic Arabic grammar will know that if we have an option of repeating and not repeating, we take the first as it is the ‘Asl’ (initial condition). Thus, God is ordering the ”ones who have believed” to accept peace ”kaaffah” from all of its angles. ”All of its angles” means:

  • Peace with other nations
  • Peace with other races
  • Peace with the members of other religions
  • Peace with the people from other countries
  • Peace between the citizens and government
  • Peace between heads of the country and parliament
  • Peace with the members of other schools of thought
  • Peace with the followers of other scholars
  • Peace between committee members and lay people.
  • Peace with neighbours
  • Peace with relatives
  • Peace between parents and children
  • Peace with your teachers
  • Peace with your students
  • Peace between the doctors and patients
  • Peace between buyers and sellers
  • Peace with yourself
  • Peace between the brain and heart
  • Peace between the intellect and emotions

And so on…

Yet God doesn’t stop on this order, but goes even further by saying: ”And do not follow the footsteps of Satan!” The reasoning which comes after the order given means that one is connected to the other by one of the means (basic level of grammar). Therefore it means that either accept peace…or you are a follower of Satan.

There is even another critical point pertaining to this verse, namely that God is attaching this order with belief. It therefore means that it has been given the utmost level of importance – according to Quranic terminology it is one of the pillars (faraidh) of Iman (belief).

Irrespective of what people may claim in Islam or any other system of thought or belief, ultimately what you choose to believe is your choice alone. Many people have clearly chosen to, as God puts it, ‘follow the footsteps of Satan’ by abusing this verse to propagate bloodshed. So Satan actually has a huge number of people who followed him, and one does not need to increase this number by causing yet more bloodshed on the Earth. My question is; where are the ‘People of God’, since the Prophet () said: “The People of God are the People of the Quran!’’ We have ended up in the current situation as Islam has mainly been presented by people who are not qualified. Be it so – called Sufis, hadith-hurling ‘narrators’, isolationists, haters of ‘philosophy’ or mediocre Humanities graduates who have taken their entirety of their knowledge from newspapers such as “The Guardian’’ and plagiarise the Far Left and anarchists while claiming to establish a ‘Khilafa’,  the most important point is that none of them are suitably qualified. As a result they will damage the real meaning of the Quran and produce a totally different religion.

To continue with the above verse and the linguistic vs. sectarian understanding of it:

According to the famous ‘Tafsir i Jalalayn’, one of the few Quranic commentaries translated into English, the following verse was revealed regarding ‘Abd Allāh b. Salām and his companions, who after converting to Islam from Judaism allegedly still observed the Sabbath with reverence and were averse to the consumption of camels:

’O you who believe, come, all of you, into submission [read al-salm or al-silm, that is, Islam; kāffatan is a circumstantial qualifier referring to al-silm, meaning, ‘into all of its precepts’] and follow not the steps, (the ways), of Satan, (that is, his temptations to you by way of creating divisions), he is a manifest foe to you, (one whose enmity is obvious)’’

The fabrication of this narration explaining the verse is obvious from its silly content. Apparently one of these ‘sahaba’ who wanted to continue celebrating the Sabbath was Abdullah bin Sallama, a former Rabbi. Even a muhadditheen partisan Ibn Kathir did not accept this interpretation due to the defamation attributed to this companion of the Prophet ().

Silm’ and ‘Salm’ mean exactly the same thing – which is peace. One merely needs to look at the context. Sadly it was one of the interpretations of the verse which the scholars of the Umayyad Empire presented to the Umayyads so that they were given legislative permission to kill anyone and everyone they wanted to (and they wanted to kill a lot of people). During my research I checked many tafseers such as Tabari who translate ‘silm’ as Islam. But the meaning of the word never meant ‘Islam’. Can someone bring me any verse or a poem from pre-Islamic Arabia where ‘silm’ means ‘Islam’? One merely needs to read the five verses before after this verse and the meaning and context of the verse is very obvious.

Some may ask how does this differ with verse 131 in Surah Baqarah.

إِذۡ قَالَ لَهُ ۥ رَبُّهُ ۥۤ أَسۡلِمۡ‌ۖ قَالَ أَسۡلَمۡتُ لِرَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

‘’When his Lord said unto him: Surrender! He said: I have surrendered to the Lord of the Worlds’’. (2:131)

Aslim” is the word in the form of a verb whose noun is “al-islam“.  It means ‘submitting’, but it is not referring to the theological meaning of ‘Islam’. In clear contrast, Verse 208 of Surah Baqarah is speaking about the nounal-silm” whose verb is “salima” and “saalama” (which is derived from analogical reasoning – qiyaas) which means ‘peace through safety’ and ‘peace treaty’.

Monopolies in Islam and ‘Quran-splaining’

Unfortunately, most Muslims seem to believe that there is a ‘monopoly’ in all Islamic subjects beginning with grammar through theology through to fiqh (jurisprudence) and the many other Islamic sciences, restricted to their favourite scholars or group of scholars – almost invariably today those who are particular to a certain ‘Salafi friendly’ hadith methodology of rather late providence. So people will bizarrely insist that maters of law and creed should be settled by hadith scholars or matters of war or killing settled again by people who are hadith experts as opposed to legists etc. This is akin to giving historians a monopoly on law, theology and metaphysics, along with language, grammar and anything else you could think of. This sort of unilateral ‘omni-competance’ and monopoly has never existed and would be laughed at in today’s academic institutions. We have discussed many such issues in Islam in the past and have been able to prove that no such monopoly exists. Here I wish to display another example using the books of Tafseer.

The following text is from ‘Tafseer Nasafi’ written by Imam Nasafi, a Hanafi Maturidi Scholar born in the middle of the eleventh century.

  • (O the ones who have believed, enter in al-Silm) it is read by fathah [al-Salm] by the Hijazis and Ali (RA), it means to surrender and obey, i.e. Surrender to God and obey him.
  • Or it could mean Islam, then this verse will be addressed to Ahle Kitab (people of the book), because they have believed in their Prophet and book.
  • Or it addresses the hypocrites because they have believed by their tongue but not their hearts.

So Imam Nasafi gave three possible meanings for the word ‘al-Silm’ which are ‘surrender’, ‘obedience’ and ‘Islam’. The question that is brought to the fore is that if the meaning of this word contained within these three possible meanings, then is it permissible to leave two of the possible meanings? Is it possible that scholars have given even more alternative meanings? We are going to see many other interpretations when we look at the tafseer of Razi, Asbahani, Baidhawi and the many others.

The following is a text from Imam Ibn Aashur, a Maliki Ashari scholar born in the middle of the nineteenth century.

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“(al-Salm) Read by Fatha on Seen and Kasrah too, by sukoon of Lam…The real meaning of al-Silm is “not fighting”, as Abbas bin Mirdaas [poet] said. The word [Silm] with kasrah and its other varieties mean “safety” from pain or being hurt or stubbornness…”

Ibn Aashur continues on the next page;

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‘This is why the Imams of the Arabic Language said that all of the forms of Al-Silm – regardless if it is with fatha or kasra with sukoon of Lam or its harakah – all of them are synonymous. Some of them said that all of three forms are used for ‘Islam’ and they have attributed it to Ibn Abbas, Mujahid and Qatadah. They supported their position with the poem of Imri’ Qays….’’

But this meaning of the word is supported only by the writers of the books of tafseer. But Raghib and Zamakhshari and Ibn Manzoor did not even mention this. That is why this meaning is in fact not reliable.

It is easy for a layman to become confused – not knowing of the sectarian wrangling that took place between the grammarians and linguists of the Arabic language and the partisans of hadith. The hadith scholars jealously and violently [see the famous hadith scholar Ibn Hajar Haythami’s ‘Fatwaa’ p207 onwards] tried to proscribe analysis of the Quran as per the linguistic requirements of Arabic pre-Islamic poetry (as is in fact mandated by reason – since the Quran was revealed to non-Muslims who did not have a ready-made ‘glossary’ of novel Islamic terms – they understood words like ‘al Silm’ in the way that they used them before Islam. Otherwise we are faced with the bizarre scenario that the Prophet () had to teach the Arabs the Quran and Arabic too, which no doubt silly people will nonetheless assert).

Therefore ’Al-Silm’ is one of the words that is used for ‘Peace Treaty’ by the consensus of the Imams of Arabic – in contrast to Quranic exegetes. ‘Peace treaty’ is in fact what this verse is talking about – without any other option. As for the possibility of this word meaning ‘Islam’, if that is authentic we can consider it too: it will then have to be used as a Mushtarak (a homonym) with two meanings – which means ‘Islam’ is used to mean ‘peace treaty’ – which would be most strange!

Based on this – al-Silm meaning a peace treaty, the Arabic language necessitates that this verse means; ‘O the ones who have believed, meaning Muslims, go for peace and not for fighting’…and as I (and the consensus of the Imams of Arabic language) stated, this meaning is necessitated by the context.

Hopefully, as you can see, the most authentic position is that the meaning of the word is “peace”. But if you use it to mean “Islam” then you have to accept that “Islam” has two meanings; namely “religion” and “peace”. And therefore it is still used in this verse to mean ‘Peace’. This is according to Ibn Aashur. You also saw that Imam Nasafi gave three meanings for the word of ‘Al-Silm’, but he supported the meaning of ‘surrender’. According to both of these scholars though, the strongest opinion is that ‘al-silm’ does not mean ‘Islam’.

The following text is from Ibn Kathir, the aforementioned Shafi scholar born in the fourteenth century.

12747247_1023685177674558_7072191966984455554_oIn the first and second paragraphs he supports the opinion that it means ‘Islam’. He mentions that it is narrated from several Tabein such as Ikrima, Qatada, Mujahid and Ibn Abbas. In the third paragraph he mentions a second meaning which is ‘obedience’’ and said that it is [narrated] from Dhahhak, Ibn Abbas, Abu Aaliya, and Rabea. He then mentions a third possible meaning from Qatadah where he states that it means ‘peace treaty’. In the last paragraph he mentions that a group of ex-Jewish sahabah asked the Prophet () if they can continue practising their Jewish rituals (as ‘Tafsir Jalalayn stated). But on the next page he emphatically states that it is not possible that Abdullah bin Sallam would make such a request.

Even those scholars such as Ibn Kathir who are ‘super followers’ of hadith narrations mentioned three possible meanings of the word ‘al-silm’ – and even they did not accept the narration about the reason of revelation of being due to the Sahabah wanting to continue their Jewish rituals. Ibn Kathir supporting the meaning of ‘Islam’ is his personal opinion. His approach is from the context of deference to Hadeeth narrations, this is why his opinion is based on the narrations, as opposed to the rules of Arabic language, which hadith scholars are wont to overrule in favour of ahad hadith. We have narrations from several Tabein (people after the time of the companions of the Prophet ()) that it means ‘Islam’, so he took the side of the majority of narrators as opposed to the Arabic language experts. However, we know with certainty that the tabein mentioned are not in fact the ‘sources’ of Arabic language – rather this is taken from Imams who are the specific experts of Arabic language.

Ibn Manzoor, born in the thirteenth century, was a lexicographer of the Arabic language and the author of the famous Arabic dictionary called ‘Lisan al-Arab’. He therefore was an expert of Arabic language.

12710774_1023686744341068_947321890271764984_oHe confirms that ‘Silm’, ‘Salm’ and ‘Salam’ all mean ‘peace’, ‘peace treaty’ and ‘safety’. He also mentions the incident of Hudaibiya (where a treaty was signed between the Prophet () and the pagans) where this word is used to mean ‘Peace treaty’. This opinion is also supported by Ibn Atheer, an Asharite scholar from the thirteenth century.

Baidawi, another Shafi Ashari scholar from the thirteenth century, confirms that both ‘Silm’ and ‘Salm’ mean ‘surrender’ and ‘obedience’, which is why it is used for ‘peace treaty’ and ‘Islam’. Then he gave several possible meanings of the verse.

12747375_1023687237674352_2496037792818480836_o.jpgImam Zamakhshari a scholar from the eleventh century supports the meaning of ‘surrender’ and mentions the meaning ‘Islam’ as being a weak opinion.

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Imam Razi, who came five centuries after the time of revelation gave many more possible meanings which the previous Mufassirs did not even mention (of course, he is derided and insulted by the Salafis and Muhaditheen – who may have been responsible for his assassination, as the Hanbali mob of Bagdad and elsewhere where was well known for its violence – see in English for example  ‘The Venture of Islam: Conscience and History in A World Civilization’, Hodgson, Marshall GS (Volume 1 Page 386-9).

Asbahani a Shafi scholar from the eleventh century confirms that ‘Silm’, ‘Salm’ mean peace:

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This proves that one should not insist on the approach that we can only take what was mentioned before, that we should just follow the salaf, or that the earlier scholars did not leave any room for us to contemplate and reflect on the Quran, or that it is not permissible to bring new interpretations and understandings and the many other ‘Bedouin type’ statements that are made on behalf of Islam and the Quran nowadays.

As you can see, it is a narrow minded understanding to insist that it means ‘Islam’. To restrict your understanding only to what the muhaditheen (hadith scholars) mentioned and rejecting all other possible meanings means ignoring important Islamic sciences, in this case the Arabic language. It demonstrates a lack of academia to hold the position that there is only one legitimate ‘translation’ of Quran and to think that this contains all possible meanings and understandings.

This verse has been used to kill many people in order to make them to ‘enter into Islam’. Extremists have used the word ”Kaffah” and tried to convince everyone that it means; “O you mankind, enter in Islam, all of you” and that Muslims are responsible for the practical implementation of this verse by the sword. This interpretation is also beloved of Islamophobes. But as you see this verse is actually speaking about doing the opposite of killing or coercing, which is entering into a treaty of peace. To be clear: this verse does not mean that all people should forcibly enter the religion of Islam. This verse also is not proof for those who use it as a method of refuting the so – called ‘perennialists’. Sadly the monopoly of Islamic understanding is given to a few individuals and the scholars who come after these merely copy them. Salafis, Hanafis, Shafis, Malikis, Hanbalis and Shia give this right to a few scholars within their own school. So I have tried to give holistic examples where many renowned later scholars were able to conduct their own research.

The word of ”Islam” has two meanings, it has a linguistic definition and then a theological understanding.  The Quran never uses the word ”Islam” with the second meaning – it only uses the linguistic definition. Sadly, some people who understand it to be the second meaning cannot even imagine that it could have any other. This verse has been abused by schools of thought and sects. What I mean by this is that if anyone does not agree with you then he is classed as an ‘innovator’ and this innovator is not obeying this verse because it says “kaaffah’ which according to them means that you must agree with them in each and every issue because of this word “kaaffah”. So extremists claim they are therefore responsible to apply the punishment of God on that person.  The question is that opposing whom is classed as ‘innovation’?  And who is responsible to apply this punishment? The answer to this question is almost always the sect or group of ‘scholars’ who are attached to the people in power. So disagreement with those in power is ‘innovation’ and ‘heresy’ and they can and will punish you for not following the scholars endorsed by the rulers.

For example, Imam Abu Hanifa was considered an innovator and ‘heretic’ when his opponents were in power.  Then the Mu’tazila took power so the others became known as ‘heretics’, and then they took power back…and so on…But genuine people seeking knowledge and truth do not get distracted by such things.

My position is quite clear, analyse all verses of Quran without any preconceived prejudices. I find it immature that many people are taking two extremes, one is to assume that all classical tafseers are infallible and therefore one should follow them blindly or they tell people not to read certain works as they do not agree with certain aspects of that tafseer. Let me be clear, one would find it difficult to find any tafseer that does not contain monumental theological errors – i.e the most serious kind of error. Most of the time, these ‘scholars’ who issue dire warnings and declare people such as Nasr and Co. disbelievers and heretics are not able to differentiate between what is a theological error and what fits into the differing orthodox Sunni theological schools of the Maturidis and Asharis. And yet these same people are advising others not to read certain tafseers of the Quran.

So my question is: how come Nasr deserves such censure and a torrent of internet abuse but the errors of the previous mufasireen deserve such impunity? And is encouraging forced conversion or violence somehow more palatable than Nasr’s purported ‘deviations’? Isn’t it just sectarian insistence on turning a blind eye to the errors of our preferred authorities and reserving all of our bile for Nasr and others that we don’t ‘like’?

I don’t have a problem with ‘robust’ criticism, but the attacks on Nasr as we can all see above, go well beyond that. How would Salafis and the aforementioned scholars bathing in the limelight at the expense of Nasr react to a similarly ‘robust’ criticism of the inevitable (and serious) errors of their favourites such as Ibn Kathir, and Ibn Taymiyya – not to mention their own error-ridden publications and pronouncements? ‘Tafsir Ibn Kathir’ which has some theological issues contained within it has been translated into English and mass produced (by the Saudi Government). Do we have the same level of condemnation or warnings about mistakes contained within it? Is it that these scholars are not aware or are there other reasons for them speaking about certain tafseers in a negative manner whilst remaining quite about others?

An example of this is the story of ‘Harut and Marut. It is found in the Quran 2:103. Here God speaks about the false accusations levelled against Solomon (who amongst other things, is accused of being an occultist). It mentions that two angels taught men dark arts or sorcery along with the warning that these arts were prohibited by God. People nonetheless paid no heed to their warnings and indulged in them. There is no mention of ‘fallen angels’ like the Bible (2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6) or any mention of angels sinning or having sex etc in the Quran whatsoever.

In the ‘Tafsir’ of Ibn Kathir however, he says God sent them to earth after commanding them to avoid wine, idolatry, fornication and murder. Harut and Marut eventually succumbed to their human lusts (despite not being human) and fell into the sins of fornication, murder and even associating partners with God (very similar to the Bible, from where many Quranic exegetes would borrow egregiously and without concern for the Quran’s major differences with that book). Ibn Kathir argues that committing sins does not conflict with the infallibility of angels because the both of them were exempt from that general ruling (which begs the question of why God warned them off the sins in the first place and how come angels don’t understand theology). In one place he mentions that the relevant narrations are from Ka’b and senior sahaba such as Ali, Ibn Umar and others in authentic and inauthentic chains and confirms it, but in other places he mentions many Tabein narrated extra details which are taken from Isrealiyaat (essentially plagiarised narrations from Christians and Jews or the Bible). So Ibn Kathir does not question the so called ‘authentic’ narrations attributed to the sahabah but he does question the extra details mentioned by the Tabein. I don’t need to point out the glaring error of saying that murder and associating partners with God does nothing to scratch ones ‘infallibility’, and this is a good illustration of the kinds of contradictions a militant approach to following each and every hadith or narration can lead one into.

Other issues mentioned in Tafsir Ibn Kathir are the narration that the Earth is on the back of a whale (I am told that the Saudi publication of his works in English has curiously left this out. Let’s hope the atheists don’t notice eh?) – he narrates it from the Prophet () and Ibn Abbas and confirms its authenticity.

He further narrates from the scholars of Tafsir that the Earth is on top of a herd of bulls who have thousands of horns. And that these bulls are standing on top of a whale.

The reason for relaying this is not to disparage scholars such as Ibn Kathir but it is to demonstrate the double standards of contemporary scholars.

It is one of life’s great ironies that it is usually the most puritanical who usually are the most lenient when it comes to their own partisans.

Another issue that was presented to me was that some scholars illustrated mistakes within the fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) that was presented in the ‘Study Quran’. Again, if the litmus test is a ‘mistake’ within a tafseer for a work to be thrown out then this means all tafseer books should be banned – never mind the more important theological mistakes that are contained within the tafseer collections. If the fall-back position is that only ‘scholars’ should have access to these tafseers, then who is categorised as a scholar? Are many of them able to ascertain mistakes made within these collections?

Recently my student presented a theological mistake in ‘Tafseer Qurtubi’, where Qurtubi (image can be found at the end of the post) attributes direction to God and then states that this was the position held by the Salaf, but some of the scholars, and others who can speak Arabic nonetheless did not have the requisite grammar skills to be able to determine the mistake and in fact were presenting the issue opposite to what was mentioned in the tafseer of Qurtubi. Each topic requires an understanding of the terminologies contained within the subject, sadly most contemporary scholars have shown a lack of ability in understanding the source texts. So does this mean only one or two people should have access to any tafseer or is it that this information should be open to all, so that there is open debate and discussion about the issues presented and strong analyses of the ideas?

It seems hypocritical to change ones principles based on whether or not we agree with a certain book of tafseer.

We have seen in the verse above how the meaning of ‘peace’ was used for the slaughter and death of many Muslims. So a person should not blindly trust any tafseer or any scholar. We have seen very clearly with the ‘Study Quran’ episode that scholars too are a sectarian and self-interested group. There are levels of survival a self-interested religious elite is prepared to accept which would nonetheless be profoundly harmful for the masses. Essentially, many scholars from all religions have a myopic and career-minded approach, which the response to Nasr brought to the fore – as long as they have someone to listen to them, pay and attend for courses, they do not really care, beyond the necessary lip service, about the wider doubts and concerns of Muslims nor the general reverses suffered by religion. We can see this with the Salafi movement in the West, which has gone from publically debating atheists and doing ‘dawah’ by using ‘science and the Quran’, into virtual hiding after suffering some embarrassing reverses, with their own little clique of fans that they have attracted. Having grabbed some supporters and subscribers, they are happy to run back to their little isolationist corner of the world or internet.

They are much like those Midwestern Preachers in the US, who are completely ignorant of having lost the ‘Culture Wars’ and in fact don’t really care – just as long as they can fill out a hall or a prayer revival. But what of wider society? The job of the Muslim scholars and intelligentsia is the service of the people, not just some of the people.

I would suggest that one should be able to read all tafseer and then use one’s God given intellect to analyse and deduce the correct understanding of the issue as best as one can. One should learn what the various theological schools mention about a particular issue and then make a judgement. All issues should be analysed based on their own merit. The Quran is a source of enlightenment. People who are misguided by it, are only so due to their own egos and their own ideology which they force into the understanding of the Quran, and as such ‘PEACE’ turns into bloodshed.

Qurtubi

 

Islamic Blasphemy Laws and the Strange Case of Mumtaz Qadiri

Shiro

An extremely rare example of academic honesty by Muslim scholars, whose general answer, (as much as they try to hide it) to all aqeeda (creed), fiqh (legal) or spiritual enquires is violence (*but not in the ‘UK’ only in an Islamic state and only if all the conditions are met blah blah). Enjoy it while it lasts.

It comprehensively dismantles the idiotic position held by most Muslims scholars today that non-Muslims are to be killed for blasphemy, especially against the Prophet Muhammad (*but not in the ‘UK’ only in an Islamic state and only if all the conditions are met blah blah). I am glad that someone spoke up about this with through references, even though it shows how intellectually degenerate Muslims are nowadays: first of all, non-Muslim’s whole religion is ‘blasphemy’ for Muslims (and vice versa) and insulting God is worse than insulting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) – and since Muslims have allowed people to make statues of God as a naked woman or animal or whatever for centuries without killing the worshippers, it automatically follows that insulting the Prophet could not result in death either.

But multiplying excuses for violence (*but not in the ‘UK’ only in an Islamic state and only if all the conditions are met blah blah) beyond necessity and out with all proportion of traditional Hanafi Islam is the hallmark of nearly all of the visible sects of Islam today. And then they are ‘shocked’ when people commit acts of violence. Go figure.

By Sulaiman Ahmed and Sheikh Atabek Shukurov

I often look at the online fatwas and talks of Islamic ‘scholars’ and wonder if perhaps they are deliberately trying to arm Islamophobes or to further garner harassment and vilification for Muslims with their bizarre pronouncements. What makes me really sad is that they never couch these as their own idiosyncratic and extremist positions but rather impugn the whole of Islam by insisting that these are the ‘mainstream’ or normative Islamic verdicts, when in fact they have concocted these to please their Salafi paymasters or to whip up their followers into a (violent) hysteria. We have seen this kind of thing multiple times in the past, where scholars have worsened as opposed to resisted sectarian tensions and extra judicial violence, falling victim to the worst caricatures of religion by its enemies. Now we are seeing it again, this time in Pakistan concerning blasphemy laws as applied to non-Muslims who live in a Muslim country – a country which purportedly follows the normative Hanafi Sunni School of Islam, which categorically and famously does not allow the killing of non-Muslims for ‘blasphemy’. Of course, this does not stop said scholars from binning thirteen hundred years of Hanafi heritage when it suits them. Sadly this cannot be helped, but their disgraceful and fraudulent presentation of the Hanafi School, which they claim to follow in the same breath as rubbishing its tenants, must be addressed.

One may ask what is so strange or interesting about his case to both the Islamophobic press and Muslims scholars. Is it not resoundingly obvious? A vigilante by the name of Mumtaz Qadiri took the law into his own hands and killed a person he was being paid to protect, the governor of the Pakistani state of Punjab, Salman Taseer (who he claims was a blasphemerand therefore an apostate both, for and before questioning Pakistan’s blasphemy law during a fracas about the incident below). The expected response would be that everyone condemns and denounces this killer, right? Sadly not so, as many Muslim Scholars from the Brelwi sect, dominant in Pakistan, including many from the UK, have either supported him openly by stating ‘he did what we could not’ or claimed that he is a martyr. These scholars were in reality encouraging people to kill and then calling these killers ‘martyrs’ or ‘shaheed’, who in Islam are people who have a very lofty status with God after death. However, as soon as the British Media get a hold of it[i]they all started deleting their posts faster than you can say ‘security risk’ or ‘person of interest’. So these so-called scholars do not even have the courage or dignity to back up their ‘convictions’ by leaving the posts on their wall. This is due to fear of the UK government, which, like it or not (and they most certainly do not) is in fact one of the most lawful countries. Yet these same people ask or encourage others to kill and become ‘martyrs’. They do not mind that you receive a prison sentence, are killed or are given capital punishment but they want to make sure they keep their jobs, institutes and money out of fear of being investigated or asked questions. This is pure hypocrisy, or rather something worse.

All of this began with the case of Aasia Noreen. In June 2009 Aasia Bibi, a poor Christian woman with three children from a low ‘caste’ was working on a farm in Shiekhupura, Pakistan. She was asked to collect water from a well and as she was doing this, she took a sip of water using an old cup. Two workers who were Muslims and neighbours of Aasia refused the water stating, ‘we do not take water from the hands of a Christian’.[ii] After this there was a quarrel between the women where heated words were exchanged. It is only at this point there is a dispute about what was said. In court documents, Aasia Noreen maintains that she never made any blasphemous comments and that she respects the Quran as well as the Prophet Muhammad (). The two sisters argue that Aasia stated that ‘the Prophet Muhammad () was ill on bed for one month and before his death and insects emerged from his mouth and ear. That he married Khadijah for the purposes of looting her wealth and that the Quran is a ‘man made book’.[iii] The claimants are all connected – two of them are sisters and were studying under the wife of Qari Saleem, the religious scholar who brought forth the claim against Aasia Noreen, who herself maintains that ‘she was falsely accused to settle an old score’.[iv] The claimants all maintain that Aasia confessed to her crime when confronted by hundreds or perhaps thousands of people from her own and nearby villages. They claim that it was ‘civil’ and that Aasia confessed to her crimes but Aasia argues that it was far from ‘civil’, and that: ‘In the village they tried to put a noose around my neck, so that they could kill me,’ and that it was out of fear for her life that she confessed to the crimes of which she had been accused. When analysing the testimonies of the claimants there are many contradictions within their statements with some aspects giving clear indications of ‘coaching’. In court, Aasia maintained her innocence and clarifies that she offered an oath on the Bible that she has never stated “such derogatory…and shameful remarks against the Holy Prophet () and the Holy Quran.” She went onto say “I have great respect and honour to the Holy Prophet () as well as the Holy Quran”. What compounds the problem is that since 1953 in Baluchistan, Islamabad and the entire state of Punjab, the majority of people accused of blasphemy have been people from minorities such as Christians, Hindus, Ahmadis and Shia. Proportionally, in the entirety of Pakistan, minorities are accused of blasphemy much more than Sunni Muslims. The case took a dreadful twist when the Governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, acted as an interloper for Aasia and said the blasphemy laws should be changed. He was subsequently gunned down by his own on-duty bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri, who claimed that he committed the murder but was ‘provoked’ by Taseer and offered a ‘theological’ justification for his actions, adducing ‘proof’ of Taseer’s apostasy and blasphemy such as that he ‘drank scotch’ (although he admits to never having seen this) and was married to a Sikh etc. (see Criminal Appeals no 210 and 211, Supreme Court of Pakistan). We will leave aside the fact that none of these things is ‘blasphemy’ or worthy of the death penalty in Islam anyway, but I can imagine any non-Muslim friends of Islam understandably being horrified by this account and the extremely ‘inclusive’ criteria that Muslims seem to have for killing people. But please bear with me a while longer.

What compounds the issue is that Brelwi fanatics sent a letter to the Habaib, who are Shafis and who are in all likelihood not aware of the specifics of this case, as well as the case of Mumtaz Qadiri for an Islamic ruling. Now in the letter they mentioned, “It was investigated by a police officer and she admitted her crime in front of him.” Now in the court documents it does not mention she admitted her crime in front of the police officer. In fact she admitted her crime in front of a mob of people who were ready to lynch her. In her statement recorded under section 342 Cr.P.C:

“I offered an oath to the police on the Bible that I have never passed such derogatory and shameful remarks against the Prophet () and the Holy Quran. I have great respect and honour to the Holy Prophet () as well as the Quran.”[v]

I want to say at the outset that understanding ‘blasphemy’ as committed by non-Muslims in Islam actually requires absolutely no Islamic knowledge and can be understood by anyone with a modicum of common sense: it is clear that blaspheming the Prophet () and insulting him or calling him names is dreadful to Muslims. It is however likewise clear that the Prophet () is ‘insulted’ daily, explicitly or implicitly by non-Muslims who don’t believe in him (about five and half billion people, i.e most of Earth) and either regard him as wrong but innocuous or a liar and so on. We do not kill these people.

Aasia Noreen’s three daughters

Further, it is obvious that insulting God is much worse than insulting Prophet Muhammad (). According to Muslims, ideas like the Trinity or making an idol of God as, for example, as a naked women with her foot balanced on a skull, is blasphemy. Yet we do not go around burning down temples and challenging Hindus or Christians to a fight (not that many Muslims and non-Muslims alike wouldn’t like to see this). Also consider what unprecedented chaos would ensue if Hindus and Christians started to apply their blasphemy laws onto Muslims and declared monotheism or ‘tawhid’ to be grounds for killing people in a Hindu or Christian state (and this has happened). How would that work?

We might also have to kill a whole bunch of Muslims (perhaps the majority) who accuse the Prophet () of losing his mind due to ‘black magic’ or compromising on monotheism due to the ‘Satanic Verses’, because, spin it how you will, those are insulting too.

So it is obvious from first principles that the non-Muslim citizens, by their very existence, are usually blaspheming, by Muslim standards – if not the Prophet () then certainly God. Even their worship is sometimes ‘blasphemous’ vis-a-vis Islamic norms. It is likewise then obvious that there can be no death penalty for them in Islam, no matter how disturbing Muslims find this, because then we would have to fight and kill almost everyone who was not Muslim. Of course, some people would actually like this. I hope people can appreciate both that such people are ‘mental’ and the inescapable weight of this rational argument. It is in fact not only a clear and rational necessity but is in fact the very same argument furnished by the first jurisprudential ‘Imam’ of Sunni Muslims, Abu Hanifa. But of course, many Muslims today don’t like this. Maybe it’s too simple or too bloodless or lacks the necessary ‘drama’ they feel should be associated with insults directed at the Prophet (). But religion is not about drama, hysteria or mobs. Religion is about answering those questions we ask which distinguish us from beasts: Why am I here? How should I live? Is there anything after death? Why do pain and loss exist, and so on.

Sadly, God is one of the most insulted ‘things’ in the world today. It detracts nothing from him. By rejecting him we only hurt ourselves and deny purpose and hope in an otherwise vast and unfeeling universe. When Pharaoh denied God and claimed to usurp him, who did you feel sorry for, God for having been rejected and insulted or Pharaoh?

I felt sorry for Pharaoh, he deceived himself by not accepting God. So did Moses – he persisted in trying to help him for a long time.

Now: is Islam really violent and does it really suppress minorities? The answer to this is a resounding ‘No!’ but you would never know that if you were to look at the viler pronouncements of both UK scholars such as the Brelwi adept Asrar Rashid nor those of ‘Dawah activists’, who are actually Salafis masquerading as Hanafis to groom and inveigle their way into normative Muslim communities[vi]

Bear in mind before reading further the general strategy of such groups and individuals:

  1. Ignoring the position of the Hanafi school, (which precisely for its understanding attitude to minorities and Muslims alike achieved success amongst non-Arabs and in lands with many non-Muslims) and presenting the extremely latter day and heterodox positions of Salafi influenced and cult-like groups from the subcontinent such as Deobandis (who were actually until 2005 apparently proudly funded by the Saudi government) and Brelwis. As for the former, they ignore the normative positions and methodology of Hanafis in favour of their modernist founders such as Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanwi, Rashid Ahmad Gangohi and such. In the case of the latter, they defer to the equally late and heterodox Shaykh Ahmed Ridha Khan in all matters. Both groups are beholden to Shah Wali Allah, a eighteenth century anti-Sufi scholar who acted as an apologist and propagandist for Salafi archfiend Ibn Taymiyyah in the Indian Subcontinent
  2. Quote mining anyone and everyone they can find, especially people such as Shah Wali Allah and Ibn Abideen (who also took the positions of Ibn Taymiyyahh as opposed to Abu Hanifa – though he, unlike them, was open about this) and basically anyone they can find to try and turn the Salafi position into the Hanafi position – so the Hanafi and Maturidi position, which is anathema to the Salafis, is only to be taken and understood through those scholars who claim to be Hanafi but are in fact adherents of the Salafis position – this the same strategy as narrating the Hanafi position through Deobandis and Brelwis. It would assist Salafis greatly if they could pretend that Hanafis are really just Salafis and could thus occupy the ideological ‘main space’. The problem for them is that the scholars they wish to use, whether the very late ones of Deoband and Brelwis or the merely ‘late’ ones such as Shah Wali Allah and Ibn Abideen, openly abandon Hanafi principles.
  3. Deploying ‘reason’ and legal arguments…but only if they lead to killing people. Ignoring reason and law in all other cases.
  4. Blatantly, shamelessly, uninhibitedly and flagrantly ignoring the Hanafi position and following that of the other contradicting schools. Because it’s always better to err onthe side of killing isn’t it?
  5. If all else fails, in case of emergency, break glass and freely mistranslate the Arabic

People of average intelligence and gullibility need read no further – as long as they look critically at the arguments of those who claim that Hanafis support the killing of non-Muslim blasphemers, they will find they invariably fall into one of these categories.

Bearing these points in mind, let’s look at the actual Islamic position of non-Muslims living in Muslim lands. Please remember that Pakistan alleges to be a country that follows the ‘Sunni Hanafi School’ in Islamic Jurisprudence and theology. Therefore let’s look at what is the position of this classical school really is.

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 Usul (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’.[vii] Salafis and occult Salafis alike would very much like to eradicate this man from the history of Islamic scholarship – it would make their lives much easier – but he is too central, too early and too big a deal in the Hanafi school to do away with – not that this stops them from trying.

Jassas stated in his book ‘Mukhtasar Ikhtilaf’ in the chapter titled ‘Dhimmi (Non-Muslim living in lands controlled by Muslims) insulting the Prophet’ () that according to Hanafi Imams, aDhimmi (recall, this is a non-Muslim citizen of an ‘Islamic State’) is not killed but insteadta’dheer (discretionary punishment, which is a maximum of lashing twenty nine) is applicable.[viii]

As an aside, a vile strategy being used by faux Hanafis such as Rashid and their impious ilk is to claim that this ‘ta’dheer’ or ‘discretionary punishment’ can include death, thereby turning Hanafis repudiation of the death penalty into a charade where they kill them nonetheless under ‘judge’s discretion’ – but this is sheer unacademic and fraudulent poppycock – since it is an unassailable pillar of Hanafite law that discretionary punishments can never exceed the mandatory ones – the lowest of which historically is forty lashes to a slave – so the highest discretionary or ta’dheer punishment can be as a maximum thirty nine lashes only. So where did they get this ‘discretionary death penalty’ from? Indeed, non-Muslims are justified in fearing, nay, even hating us if we are willing to lie and manipulate to this degree to justify killing. Furthermore, it is funny how God failed to clarify what you would have thought were important matters like killing but instead left it to the ‘discretion’ of judges.

As proof for his stance, Imam Jassas mentions the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad ()which were reported by Ibn Umar (ra), Anas (ra) and Aisha (ra) about a Jewish person who insulted and cursed the Prophet () when they were greeting one another – but yet the Prophet () never killed him nor did he order the Sahabah (companions) to kill him.[ix] But of course, Salafis, Brelwis and Deobandis are always harassing people to follow hadith, anathematising those who question hadith and so on – unless the hadith stops them from stuff they want to do (like killing people for rubbish reasons), in which case they shamelessly ignore them or conveniently discover a ‘weakness’ in their chain which everyone else overlooked for a millennium and an half.

Jassas concludes the analysis of this hadith by stating that if a Muslim were to insult the Prophet () he would become an apostate and would have to be killed (because his stance is that apostates should be killed) but for some reason the Prophet () did not kill this Jewish person. He then narrates the hadith of Anas where a Jewish lady poisons food which the Prophet () then eats. When the Sahabah (companions of the Prophet ()) caught her and asked him if they should kill her, he said ‘No!’

Jassas states that there is no disagreement that if a Muslim were to do the same thing, he would then become an apostate that is liable for the death penalty. Jassas concludes his explanation of the hadith by stating that the Prophet () not killing her proves that thedhimmi must not killed. Jassas then goes even further, showing a comprehensive and bipartisan style which would shame todays scholars, and analyses the hadith used by those who support the position that a non-Muslim living in a Muslim land should be killed for blaspheming the Prophet () and says that; ‘if someone were to ask about the incident where a person came to Umar (ra) and said; “I have heard that some monk insulted the Prophet()’’. Umar (ra) said; ‘if I would hear that I would kill him,’ then we do not agree with them about this issue and the chain of the hadith is weak’.[x]

Imam Tahawi another genuinely authoritative and genuinely early Hanafi scholar from the fourth century (as opposed to the handpicked, novel and ‘cross party’ groups of scholars served up to a vulnerable Muslim public by those demanding blasphemy killing), in his book ‘Mukhtasar Tahawi’ which has a commentary by Imam Jassas states:

If a Dhimmi insults the Prophet () he will not be killed but instead will be disciplined. This is because they have been left alone to practise their religion, and their religion includes worshiping someone beside God and rejecting the Prophet (). The proof of this is Jews visited the Prophet ()and they said ‘Damn you!’, and the Prophet () replied ‘you too’ but he did not order from them to be killed’’.[xi]

Abu ‘Abdullah Al-Qurtubi, a Maliki scholar from the thirteenth century stated that:

If a Dhimmi insults the Prophet () he will be killed according to Imam Malik, Imam Shafi, Imam Ahmad and others but according to Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Thawri, he will not be killed’.

Even the senior authorities in the other, rival schools are admitting that Hanafis are not in favour of killing non-Muslims who blaspheme. Not that this will stop the likes of Sheikh Rashid (and too many others to mention) bending over backwards and doing verbal somersaults to try and justify killing people nonetheless – after all, who needs laws or coexistence? As Hiroshi Sakurazaka put it: ‘All you need is ‘kill’’.

Now Imam Qurtubi attempts to justify the position of his school (the Maliki school), harder to find in Pakistan than a Latin Americans at a Donald Trump rally) by explaining that if a Dhimmiinsults the Prophet (), degrades him, describes him by something which is not acceptable, then he should be killed as they do not give him protection for insulting the Prophet (). He further explained that his opponents in this issue are Imam Abu Hanifa and Sufyan Thawri and that their followers from Kufa (now in Iraq) as they argued that disbelief is a much bigger issue than insulting – and no one asked for a carte blanche killing spree on non-Muslims (they obviously never met todays scholars and ‘Dawah’ activists). The position of Imam Abu Hanifa and Sufyan Thawri was that a Dhimmi must be disciplined and ta’dheer must be applied. This is exactly the rational argument I stated at the outset.

Remember, according to Imam Abu Hanifa the minimum punishment of ta’dheer is a stern look and the maximum is thirty nine lashes. Imam Qurtubi then attempts to refute the position of Imam Abu Hanifa [xii] – which is more than a bit above his pay grade, and kind of ignores the whole ‘follow the salaf’ thing that the advocates of blasphemy killing are always going on about – since Abu Hanifa is one of the salaf and Qurtubi most certainly is not.

Qurtubi continues that the scholars held the same position in the case of a Dhimmi who insults Islam. A Dhimmi that criticises the religion has his agreement (with the Islamic State – a ‘contract’ of citizenship if you will) nullified according to the official position of Imam Malik and that this was also the position of the Shafi school but Imam Abu Hanifa said that thedhimmi will be asked to repent from his statement because criticising Islam does not nullify the contract seeing as God allowed fighting based on only two conditions and both of these conditions must be present according to Imam Abu Hanifa. (This is based on Surah Tawbah verse 12).

If they violate their oaths after having made a treaty with you and condemn your faith, then fight against these leaders of ungodliness, who have no regard for their own oaths, so that they will stop their aggression.

The first is breaking of the contract and the second is critiquing the religion. Qurtubi argued for his own proof that when they say something against the religion this ‘automatically nullifies’ the contract of citizenship. The fact that God mentioned two conditions does not mean they have to do both, for us to fight against them, according to Qurtubi. Qurtubi then argues that in his school of thought this means if the non-Muslim citizens do something prohibited in the contract, it then becomes permissible to fight against them. If they do not do something which is prohibited in the contract but instead if they criticise the religion it nullifies the contract anyway and Malikis can fight against them.[xiii] Which means that Imam Abu Hanifa holds the position in contradistinction to Qurtubi, the Malikis and Shafis, to say nothing of the Hanbalis and Salafis, that a Dhimmi must not be killed even if they insult Islam or insult the Prophet Muhammad ().

What is really funny and sad is that Abu Hanifa’s opponents and critics in the distant past were much more honest about his position than those like Asrar Rashid and Co. who claim to be championing his own school, today.

Muhammad Amin Ibn Abidin is a Hanafi jurist from the nineteenth century who wrote a long piece about this issue. He is considered a senior Hanafite, but Salafis and others cannot get enough of him because he was fond of quoting their all-time favourite person ever, Ibn Taymiyyah, who was an avowed enemy of Hanafi methodology and creed and let alone wanting to kill non-Muslims for insulting the Prophet (), wanted to kill Muslims for saying the intention to prayer out loud. Let’s go through Ibn Abideen’s reasoning. I’m afraid it’s long.

If a Dhimmi insults the Prophet () and he does it publicly or does it regularly then he will be killed even if it is woman and this is the ruling from now as narrated from ‘Durr’ and ‘Muntaqa’, this is what Temurtashi [another scholar and commentator] mentioned in his summary’.

Obviously, Salafis, Deobandis and Brelwis are over the moon at reading this, remember, ‘all you need is kill’.

Ibn Abideen is therefore explaining that this is the brand new fatwa of the Hanafi School which he is following. I think the more perceptive readers will see where this is going.

According to Ibn Abideen, Ramli, a Hanafi scholar added a further condition that if there was no prior agreement with the non-Muslims and if they then commit blasphemy then the ‘contract’ will be nullified. On the other hand if it is mentioned in the contract with the Dhimmithen it is obvious, meaning that they can be killed (so the discussion is exactly the same as what the previous Maliki who was trying to attack the Hanafi position, Imam Qurtubi said above). Imam Abu Yusuf (a student of Abu Hanifa) in the book ‘Kharaaj’ mentioned that it was stated in a contract of Abu Ubayda with people of Syria, he said that he would leave their churches, monasteries and temples with the condition that they would not build new places of worship and that they would not insult or beat Muslims. Ibn Abideen narrates that Alama Qasim mentioned from Khalal and Bayhaqi in the chapter of contracts, that when he came to Umar (ra) with the book, there was an extra condition that Christians will not beat Muslims. If they will not keep to this, then the contract will be nullified and it becomes permissible for us to do what we do with our enemies and rebels. After a lengthy preamble, Ibn Abideen continues that the summary of what he mentioned is that the contract will not be nullified unless it was specifically stipulated in that contract that if non-Muslims insult or blaspheme it will be nullified, otherwise it will not be nullified, unless they insult publicly or it becomes their habit as he mentioned before.[xiv]

In this issue Shurunbulali, whom Ibn Abideen quotes, wanted to convert the position of the Hanafis to that of the Malikis but because of the conditions mentioned such as the ruling of Umar not being applicable on other places (i.e. it is not general), Ibn Abideen explained however that he was not able to do it (that is, reconcile the Hanafis non-killing position with the killing opinion of Malikis). Ibn Abideen explains that he found quite a few references about a person falling within the parameters of blasphemy if these two things (public insult or habitual insults) occur, but the primary source of all of these references is Hafiz Uddin Nasafi, who said if a Dhimmi insults Islam publicly, it becomes permissible to kill him. This is because the agreement between him and the state was that he should not criticise Islam, but if he does criticises Islam, he himself then nullifies the contract and this contract is no longer applicable on him. Ibn Abideen then says, that even this position will necessitate that the reason for the nullification of the contract is that he should not be insulting Islam, and that there is no need for an extra condition as this is known by having a simple contract. Ibn Abideen explains ‘But that is going against our Hanafi scholars’ – so he tells the reader to ‘contemplate for yourself’. Ibn Abideen is alluding to the classical Hanafi position which was mentioned by the authorities Jassas and Tahawi – namely that insulting Islam is a part of their [non-Muslims] religion and we give them the right to follow different religions. Thus the justification of Imam Nasafi for killing is clashing with the position of the Hanafi School and this is why Ibn Abideen is saying that there is an obstacle and his opinion cannot be taken.

So Ibn Abideen has rejected the position of Nasafi and explained that it does not meet the principles of the Hanafi School – as of yet he has not provided proof for his own position.

Ibn Abideen then goes on to say that it was Imam Shafi who introduced the idea that insulting Islam is not seen as something which is covered within the contract of a [Dhimmi], because a part of following their own religion is being able to insult Islam. Something which is claimed by the Hanafi School. Abu Sauud, an Ottoman Scholar, mentioned in his commentary that if they will mention our Prophet () by some evil comment which is based on their religion, or that he was not a Prophet (ﷺ), or he killed Jews without justice, or attributed a lie to him, then according to some scholars his contract will not nullified. If he mentioned something which is not concerning his non-Muslim religious beliefs and not part of his religion, then as that is not part of the religion of the Dhimmi, he will be disciplined and punished – and according to this commentator, ‘disciplining’ and ‘punishing’ will include killing for the person who will do it continuously or publicly. Here Ibn Abideen is clearly going against the position of the Hanafi School as ‘disciplining’ means ta’dheer (discretionary punishment) and themaximum punishment for this is thirty nine lashes. Ibn Abideen continues that its proof is what we mentioned above from Hafiz Uddin Nasafi in terms of it being public or continuous and that it is mentioned in the chapter of ta’dheer that the arrogant oppressor will be killed, the highway robber will be killed, the people who commit major sin will be killed and Nasafi said kill anyone who causes harm to the people – but Ibn Abideen has already refuted this position and admitted that it does not match with Hanafi principles and authorities. So as you can see Ibn Abideen has not been able to provide proof from the Hanafis, and he has even gone so far as to refute the same person he is now relying on as a proof for killing blasphemers (and even then, only in public or habitual cases) as he has admitted that Nasafi is incongruent with Hanafi rulings on the matter.

Ibn Abideen then uses the book ‘as-Sarim al-Maslul’ of Ibn Taymiyyah al-Hanbali. Here it is stated that Imam Abu Hanifa and his student said the contract of citizenship will not be nullified by insulting the Prophet (ﷺ) or Islam and the dhimmi will not be killed due to it, but he will get ta’dheer in the case of his doing it publicly…Ibn Taymiyyah goes on to say that according to Hanafi principles, people on whom there is no death penalty – can nonetheless be killed by the khalifah and the king will have right to kill him and it is permissible for the king to increase the official Islamic punishment if the king thinks it will have a benefit.

Quite apart from the fact that we can still see this bizarre ruling in effect in oppressive Wahhabi regimes inspired by Ibn Taymiyyah – from Saudi Arabia to ISIS, and the fact that we can see that when it comes to killing, people are willing to ditch the Sharia entirely and defer to a kind of ‘divine right of kings’, the problem with this is that no Hanafi ever made this statement. Ibn Taymiyyah continues that Hanafis justify this by the reasoning that the Prophet (ﷺ) and the Sahabah used to kill giving the reason that this type of death penalty is a ‘political death penalty’. There are quite a few problematic issues with this as I am sure readers can see, the first being that in the Hanafi School there is no such thing as Siyasa(political punishment) at all. If you ever wanted to see as example of a politically motivated fatwa’, then here it is.

The second problematic issue is that Ibn Abideen has not been able to find any Hanafi to support his opinion (and if he can’t even find it, what chance do the erstwhile ‘Hanafis’ Asrar Rashid and Co. have?) but is instead totally randomly using the opinion of Ibn Taymiyyah, the father of modern day Salafism and by no stretch of the imagination a Hanafi – in fact Ibn Abideen’s Ottoman employers had actually banned Ibn Taymiyyah’s works as an affront to Sunnism.[xv]

Ibn Abideen continues with more proofs outwith the classical Hanafi School, saying that Badr al-Din al-Aini states that it his opinion based on his ‘personal choice’, that Dhimmis can be killed for blasphemy. We can see that he had not used the Hanafi School as a basis of his opinion or it would not be his ‘personal choice’ otherwise (who knew that the personal choice extended to such matters as killing – but that’s a separate issue). Badr al-Din al-Aini is a hadith orientated scholar, and hence not in accordance with methodology of the Hanafi School. He is the brother in law of Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, a prominent Shafi scholar and his student Kamal ibn Hummam followed this opinion too. More on them later.

So what we are seeing is a wholesale, but honest and frank (unlike todays horrendous deceptions), abandonment, by a set of later scholars, of the authentic and early Hanafi position of not prescribing the death penalty for non-Muslims who blaspheme, in favour of Hanbali, Shafis and even anthropomorphists who do support it. If anyone pulled off such a maneuver today, they would be harangued with cries of betrayal of the Sharia and appeasing the government or the ‘West’, let alone modernism. But when it comes to fatwas that deal with violence, well…’all you need is ‘kill’’.

Ibn Abideen says explicitly that ‘it is a judgement of the rulers that we have to follow the opinion of our scholars who support killing the one who insults’. So the Hanafi madhab is to be decided by the government of the time and the ‘blessing’ of the differences of opinions of the scholars that we are always being told about is to be overlooked. Or as Henry Ford put it: ‘Available in any colour, as long as it’s black’. What this means is that Ibn Abideen has not brought forth any proof from the Hanafis to support his position. The main reason for him attempting to prove this position is the pressure he received from his employers, the Ottoman Empire c. 1800. Therefore he brought forth the famous opinion of Ibn Taymiyyah that killing people for political reasons is permissible. He states that Ibn Taymiyyah is reliable when he is narrating the Hanafi School and therefore this has to be accepted.[xvi] This is scandalous, as for the first time ever, we are being told that the Hanafi school has to in fact be narrated through a Hanbali anthropomorphist scholar who came seven hundred years after Imam Abu Hanifa and opposes the Hanafi Maturidi school anyway. Ibn Taymiyyah is known for supporting killing over peace, having a habit of transmitting incorrect information from scholars, making errors when narrating scholarly consensus (ijma) and is known to transmit disagreements when there is ijma on the issue. Therefore not only is he an extremist, but he is completely unreliable.

Imam Jassas says that concerning a Dhimmi who insults the Prophet (ﷺ) publicly, there is disagreement amongst the jurists. So this contradicts the statement of Ibn Abideen who stated that there was no disagreement about either public or private insults. Jassas says ‘our scholars said he will be given ta’dheer and will not be killed, this is narrated by Thawri. But Abu Qasim narrated from Imam Malik that the Dhimmi will be killed unless he accepts Islam. Waleed ibn Muslim narrated from Owzai and Malik that anyone who insults the Prophet (ﷺ), that is apostasy, and he must repent or otherwise he will be killed’. Jassas then continues and tests the issue of ‘breaking an agreement of citizenship’ and he states that according to Imam Abu Hanifa that agreement will only be broken in one scenario, and that is if this Dhimmi goes and joins the country who is at war with your country. Imam Malik, Imam Shafi and Imam Ahmad said it will be broken even if he critiques our religion.[xvii] A Dhimmi who publicly insults the Prophet (ﷺ) is different to the Muslim who publicly insults the Prophet (ﷺ).[xviii]

So as you see that Hanafis are quite clear about this issue even when related to an insult in apublic context.

Now, some people deceptively use the quote from Imam Muhammad, a student of Abu Hanifa, to present the case that it is permissible to kill the Dhimmi. “If she publicly insults the Prophet (ﷺ) there is nothing wrong in killing her.”[xix] Not only has the quote been taken out of context but it has only been used in the issue of a Dhimmi when it is not referring to aDhimmi at all. The ruse is to use this quote as a reference for a Dhimmi when Imam Muhammad was speaking about the Harbi (Non-Muslim who is not living in Muslim land, whose military is a threat to the safety of the Muslims). Remember in the Hanafi School (and common sense), killing old people and woman in the battlefield is not permissible. That is what the entirety of the chapter from Imam Muhammad is referring to. The chapter is in fact called ‘who amongst the HARBI can and cannot be killed’.[xx] He mentioned that if someone kills Harbi women and old men (in the battlefield) there is no penalty but instead it is better not to do it (Khilaaful Awlaa) The second thing is that according to Imam Muhammad, it will be permissible to kill the Harbi woman if she insults the Prophet (ﷺ) publicly. So there is a difference between a non-Muslim who is protected by their contract, which allows for them to live peacefully in Muslim land and a Non-Muslim who does not live in Muslim land. Using this as reference to give one a licence to kill is completely unacceptable. It seems like the modus operandi is that if you cannot find a classical reference to support your bloodlust then you have to fabricate a reference which has no relevance to the topic at hand.

Unlike most Muslims scholars and so-called apologists, I believe in neither undue violence nor undue censorship: you are free to follow either the early Hanafis such as Abu Hanifa and Imams Jassas and Tahawi from the first to the fourth centuries or you can follow the ‘new’ opinions of eighteenth century authorities and the ‘interpretations’ of rival and antagonistic schools. But please be consistent: if people from the eighteenth century or whatever can rewrite the Hanafi school, then don’t complain about someone doing that today either. Don’t complain about ‘modernism’ and if rivals are the most reliable narrators of one’s own position, then I am sure Salafi followers of Ibn Taymiyyah will have no problems with people narratinghis positions through Sufis. All I ask is to be consistent and not just pick and choose your favourite evidence when you feel like making a big song and dance about how pious you are because you are willing to kill people because they ‘insulted Islam’. If killing is the determinant of piety then I guess Genghis Khan was an archangel. Who knew.

Sadly, this will not be enough to silence the voices that incite and bray so loudly in our community, only to fall silent when they are called out by the press. So allow me to present a veritable barrage of scholars of all stripes, including Salafis and Zahiris, who despite being trenchant critics of Hanafism, are far more honest and state the real position of Abu Hanifa and others of authority in that school, that non-Muslims citizens are not licit to kill for blasphemy, than today’s erstwhile Hanafis.

Muhammad ash-Shawkani, a scholar from the eighteenth century, beloved of Salafis, explains in his ‘Tafseer’ (commentary of the Quran), that Abu Hanifa used Surah Tawbah verse 12-16, to say that if a Dhimmi criticises the religion he will not be killed unless he disowns the citizens contract. ‘This is because God only allowed one to fight non-Muslim citizens if two conditions are met, the first is them disowning the contract and the second is insulting the religion. But Imam Malik, Shafi and others said critiquing the religion is enough to be killed because by critiquing, the contract will be nullified’.[xxi]

Ibn Hazm an eleventh century Zahiri scholar says that according to the Zahiri School, thedhimmi who insults the Prophet (ﷺ) according to Imam Malik must be killed without any excuse, this is also the opinion of Layth ibn Sa’d. Imam Shafi said we have to include the (two extra) conditions (stating it continuously or in public):

On the other hand Imam Abu Hanifa and Sufyan and their followers said that anyone who insults God, or his Prophet (ﷺ), will not be killed but he will stopped from it. Some of the Hanafis said we apply ta’dheer. There is a narration from Ibn Umar wherein he states ‘anyone who commits blasphemy must be killed without any excuse’ and therefore, [according to Ibn Hazm] the Hanafis have proven their misguidance and slander by using the Hadith of Anas (ra)about the group of Jews and the Prophet (ﷺ) responded to them by saying ‘to you too’.[xxii]The Hanafis also use the hadith of Aisha and the Jewish lady poisoning him and that the Prophet (ﷺ) did not say kill them and so we do not kill them.

Ibn Hazm explains that the Hanafis have no proof beside what he mentioned.[xxiii]

Mahmud al-Alusi, an Iraqi/Ottoman scholar, wrote in ‘Ruh al-Ma`ani’ that the scholars who supported killing if the non-Muslim citizen insults publicly are Malik, Shafi, Layth and this was supported by Ibn Hummam:

We already said the Dhimmis pay the tax and this protects them and their disbelief (kufr), so insult of the Prophet (ﷺ) is not worse than other kufri beliefs, which are protected by their tax [the ‘jizya’ or exemption tax on non-Muslims]. So that tax which is protecting them by their bigger kufri statements will protect them from insulting the Prophet (ﷺ) and the religion. The criticism mentioned in the Quran is different to what Malik, Ahmad and Ibn Hummam are saying. That is not justice to the Quran. Based on this it is necessary to not apply the ta’dheer too, paying tax means that we have given them permission to make kufri statements. So if the tax protects from kufr, then why does it not protect for small incidental mistakes?[xxiv]

Of course, the same people who were insisting on admitting late scholars from the 18thcentury and rival schools as evidence will now be furious that we have admitted one from the same period who doesn’t want to kill non-Muslims for blasphemy, but pot/kettle etc.

Jarir ibn Atiyah, a Maliki scholar from the sixth century narrates:

The Dhimmi who critiques our religion, the relied upon position is that he must be killed. The weak opinion in the Maliki School is that some said that if he makes a statement of blasphemy which conforms with his own religion then he will be disciplined for publicising it, but if he makes a statement of blasphemy which cannot be found in his own religion then he will be killed. But Imam Abu Hanifa states that he will be requested to repent, which means that he will be told to stop making these statements. But there is disagreement if a Dhimmi insults the Prophet (ﷺ) and then accepts Islam to avoid a death penalty and the relied upon opinion of the Malikis is that he will left alone. But in Athbiyah it is stated that he has to be killed, so he will be killed and will not get priority over Muslims’.[xxv]

Ilkia, a Shafi scholar from the fifth century, states:

’This verse [Surah Tawbah: verse 12] proves if Dhimmi publicly insults the Prophet (ﷺ) or criticises the religion it becomes permissible to kill him and fight against him. But Imam Abu Hanifa said just critiquing the religion does not nullify the contract with him. But no doubt this verse is strongly supporting the position of Imam Shafi.[xxvi]

Ibn Nujaim a Hanafi scholar from the sixteenth century narrates in ‘Bahr al-Raiq’, that in the following cases a non – Muslim’s protection as ‘Dhimmi’ will not be nullified:

  • If he doesn’t pay the tax – him paying is not a condition because protection he is given is by agreeing to pay and not by actually paying. So not paying will not nullify his contract or status.
  • If he commits adultery with a Muslim woman
  • If he kills a Muslim person,
  • Or he insults the Prophet (ﷺ).
  • In terms of adultery and killing we apply the just punishment as we apply on Muslims but in terms of insulting the Prophet (ﷺ) that is kufr (disbelief) which he already commits anyway so by renewing his disbelief he is not going to get anything extra as he already has that disbelief. That initial permanent kufr did not nullify the transaction so renewing the kufr also will also not nullify the transaction.

Badr al-Din al-Aini , a Hanafi scholar from the fifteenth century mentions ‘Waqiyat’ of Husami, a twelfth century Hanafi scholar as saying, if a Dhimmi refuses to pay the tax, the contract will be nullified and we will fight against him – that is the opinion of Imam Malik, Imam Shafi and Imam Ahmad. Ibn Nujaim comments:

It is obvious that it is weak in terms of its textual proof and its meaning. What Aini said is also weak as he said ‘I choose’, (meaning that it is his personal opinion), this opinion has no basis in terms of narration from our Hanafi sources. Also in terms of what Ibn Hummam said, he opposed the Hanafi School. Qasim Ibn Qatlubgah, the student of Ibn Hummam, in his fatwaconfirmed that the research of his teacher when he opposes our School will not be accepted.

Ibn Nujaim continues:

‘I do find that inside (our heart) we may have inclination in the issue of insulting the Prophet (ﷺ) but for us following the [Hanafi] School is compulsory.

It is stated In Hawi al-Qudsi if a Dhimmi insults the Prophet (ﷺ), Islam or the Quran, then we will discipline him and he will be punished’.[xxvii]

We see here the inspiring academic and moral rigour of the genuine scholars of the past: he admits that insults to the Prophet (ﷺ) cause him and all Muslims anger and the feeling to lash out – but he insists that the rule of law and Islamic principles are more important than emotion. If only we had a single such scholar today, who understands that religion is there to control our urges and to moderate our impulses, not to unleash them. But today’s scholars are militant when it comes to restraining our urges to talk to a member of the opposite sex and accommodating when it comes to our urge to kill people. They are more than happy to pervert the earliest and most widespread school of Sunnism for this end.

Zailae, a Hanafi scholar from the fourteenth century states:

‘He has to be killed according to Shafi. But our proof is that some Jewish person insulted the Prophet (ﷺ), he said ‘damn you oh Muhammad’. The Sahabah said ‘shall we kill him?’ and the Prophet (ﷺ) replied ‘no’. The Prophet (ﷺ) did not nullify contract of the Jew and nor did he kill him. This is our proof against Imam Shafi and Imam Ahmad, as well as against Imam Malik who believed that Dhimmis insulting the Prophet (ﷺ) have to be killed.

The insult of the Prophet (ﷺ) is disbelief, but he is already a disbeliever so renewing the disbelief does not cause anything extra which permanent disbelief did not already cause’.[xxviii] 

Imam Abdul Hakeem Afghani, a Hanafi scholar from the nineteenth century, in his commentary of ‘Kanzul Daqaiq’ stated:

In terms of insulting Prophet (ﷺ), this does not nullify their [non-Muslims] agreement with us as he has got permanent kufr. So if permanent kufr does not nullify the contract then the ‘refreshing’ of the kufr also does not nullify it. The proof of this that Aisha narrated that a group Jews came and said ‘damn you!’ to the Prophet (ﷺ) and there is no doubt that this is an insult and if this is nullifying the covenant of citizenship then the Prophet (ﷺ) would kill them as they became non-Dhimmis’[xxix]

Imam Abdullah Ibn Ahmad Ibn Mahmoud Al-Nasafi in ‘Kanz Daqaiq’ writes,

‘…the contract will not be nullified by them not paying tax, adultery with a Muslim lady, them killing someone or even insulting the Prophet (ﷺ). But it will only be nullified if he joins a war against us or they will commit treason and overtake the state and then they will be challenging us. Only in that scenario will it will be nullified’.[xxx]

In ‘Bidayat al-Mubtadi’ Imam al-Marghinani a Hanafi scholar from the twelfth century narrates:

‘The Contract of citizenship for non-Muslims will not be nullified by them not paying tax, adultery with a Muslim lady, them killing someone or even insulting the Prophet (ﷺ). But it will only be nullified if he joins a party at war with us or they will commit treason and overtake a state; and then they will be challenging us and only in that scenario will it be nullified’’[xxxi]

As one can see all the Hanafi scholars are relaying the same position: that a Dhimmi cannot be killed for blasphemy as a contract can only be invalidated in one instance.

In ‘Hidayah’, which is a commentary of ‘Bidayat alMubtadi’ also written by Al- Marghinani, he states:

Shafi said insulting Prophet (ﷺ) is classed as nullifying the contract of citizenship for non-Muslims but our proof is that insulting the Prophet (ﷺ) is kufr and permanent kufr did not nullify the contract so renewing the kufr also doesn’t’.[xxxii]

Kamal ibn Humam is the hadith orientated scholar we met above, who supports the anti-Hanafi position of killing non-Muslim citizens for blasphemy says in his commentary on ‘Hidayah’, he states:

[He mentions our Hanafi proof about the Hadith of the Jews]. Aisha replied, ‘Damn you and may curse be upon you!’ The Prophet (ﷺ), ‘Oh Aisha take it easy, because God loves gentleness in everything’, and then she said “Oh Prophet (ﷺ) are you not listening that they are insulting you?’ And the Prophet (ﷺ) said “I know and I replied to you too”.

No doubt it is insulting from them. If it were to nullify the transaction then the Prophet (ﷺ)would kill them but he did not kill them’… So he is giving the Hanafi proof.[xxxiii]

Then Ibn Hummam continues on and states ‘but according to me,’ (clearly expressing it is his own personal opinion), ‘insulting the Prophet (ﷺ) and attributing to God what they don’t already believe as part of their religion makes it permissible to kill them.[xxxiv]

Shibili, a sixteenth century Hanafi scholar, in his hashia (brief commentary) of the commentary of Zailae on ‘Kanzul Daqaiq’ of Imam Nasafi stated:

Abu Yusuf [the student of Abu Hanifa] said, [regarding] someone who commits kufr multiple times he will not be asked to repent but will be killed. In the ‘Hashiyyah’ however it says we ask him to repent indefinitely’.

Shibli confirmed we carry on asking him to repent infinitely, so he would not be killed, if he does not accept we will continue asking him. He narrated that Imam Abul Hasan al-Karkhi, a Hanafi scholar from the tenth century said that it is the opinion of all of our scholars; they also said the apostate will not be killed. But there was a narration from Ali and Ibn Umar that after the third apostasy his repentance will not be accepted, as he is demeaning the religion.[xxxv]So our scholars confirm that the apostate will not be killed and a dhimmi insulting the Prophet (ﷺ) regularly will not be killed according to Shibili and Kharkhi.

Thus Shibili is using the statement of Kharkhi to show that a person insulting the Prophet (ﷺ) regularly will not be killed, as it is one of the two conditions mentioned by the other schools which will result in breaking of the contract of citizenship – but not according to Hanafis.

Conclusion

For those who support killing and oppression, this blog post will upset them. Of course, they will never say that they support these things, nor authoritarianism or despotism or legal laxity or anarchy (which they will call ‘theocracy’ or ‘sharia’ or ‘legislating by God’ – evil people have always used God to justify their desires and oppressions, because deep down they think, ‘well, he can’t really speak for himself can he?’) or any of the other pejorative terms. They will try to make themselves sound like heroic warrior monks standing for ‘authentic Islam’ in the face of weak and lily livered people succumbing to ‘liberalism’, ‘secularism’ and ‘the West’. People who want to oppress the masses usually cannot do it openly at the start. Even the Nazis had to ‘start slow’ (just as Islamophobes are doing) and get people to sympathise with them. What the public has to do is to see whether these people are consistent: do the really respect and adhere to Islam or the scholars or the Salaf or the hadith as they so vociferously claim, or is it only when it favours their temperaments and proclivities? I think we can see clear examples that answer that question: Jassas and Abu Hanifa can go in the ideological dustbin when they say something ‘inconvenient’, and there is a remarkable and suspicious ‘unity’ of Salafists, Brelwis and Deobandis – groups who claim to hate one another – behind the issue of killing non-Muslim blasphemers. They want to take Ibn Abideen and Ibn Taymiyyah come what may, even when they admit they are deviating from the Hanafi School.

Ask yourself if this is consistent.

We can clearly see the position of the Hanafi School from nearly all of the great scholars, who stated in multiple places that a Dhimmi living in Muslim land cannot be killed for blasphemy and the reason for this is that he has a contract for protection. We have seen Hanafis hold that this person is already a disbeliever and as such any further statements of blasphemy that are made by this person will not increase his disbelief. Therefore, as per what is mentioned in the Quran, a person will only be fought if he breaks the contract and insults your religion. And insulting the religion of Prophet (ﷺ) in and of itself does not break the contract.

What does nullify the contract of dhimmis is that the person joins people with whom you are at war or they commit treason and attempt to overtake the state. It is only in this scenario the contract will be nullified, not just blasphemy, vile though it is.

This is the relied upon opinion of the Hanafi School and this opinion is relayed by a huge proportion of Hanafi Scholars.

There are three Hanafi Scholars who left the Hanafi position. If we look at a fourteen hundred year history of anything, any subject, we will find individuals who held virtually every imaginable opinion. So we can see that at one time, senior physicists such as Isaac Newton had a penchant for alchemy or spiritualism and so on. It does not mean that this ‘proves’ that alchemy is a part of physics but rather than any discipline practiced by enough people over enough time will have nearly every conceivable tendency. This is why we look at a ‘normal distribution’, in statistical terms, and not at the extremes of the Bell Curve when we look at any group. Some Americans are racist or teachers or astronauts for example. But what aremost Americans? Lamentably, today, what is called ‘mainstream Islam’ is frequently occupied by those who are in fact at these fringes of a ‘normal distribution’. Those who support killing will look for these isolated opinions to help support their bloodlust, and they will find them here and there, just as I can find a famous physicist who believes in alchemy or fairies or whatever. But this does not mean that this is then main position of the discipline known as ‘physics’. So it is with the Islamic legal schools.

But if this deviation from the norm and following isolated opinions is permissible as these people in general and Salafis in particular would like (for their whole sect is based on isolated and aberrant trends in both creed and law), then why not follow the same procedure for otherissues too? For example we have many weak opinions in all four schools which will make the lives of people much ‘easier’. There is a weak opinion in the Hanafi School that temporary marriage is permissible, but people will not propagate this as this a position held by ShiaMuslims, and apparently we are meant to hate them. There is also a weak opinion within the Hanafi School that if you participate in adultery and you then pay the woman, then you are not liable for any punishment, basically modern day prostitution. I am guessing that modern ‘Hanafis’ who are so eager to follow the minorities within and without the Hanafi school in matters of killing, will not be encouraging their followers to participate in this weak opinion. Anyone who has studied the Islamic sciences to a basic level knows that it is impermissible to follow the weak or minority opinion within a given school anyway. We have been at pains to state many times, by referring to classical scholars, that following the weak opinion is like following an invalid opinion.[xxxvi]

As for these three aforementioned scholars, Aini and Ibn Hummam are Hanafi scholars whose methodology is that of an over-reliance on hadith. What you find is that they leave the position of the Hanafi School on many occasions and instead follow the position of the Shafi, Maliki and Hanbali Schools. Both of them are connected to the famous Shafi scholar Ibn Hajar Asqalani, a pioneer within their school. He placed a huge emphasis on hadith and his commentary of ‘Sahih Bukhari’ is considered the most reliable. Aini is his brother in law and Ibn Hummam is his student. In this instance both of them are very honest unlike the modern day crypto-Salafists masquerading as ‘Hanafis’, and make it clear that it is their personalopinion and not the opinion of their school. In the case of Ibn Hummam his student, another Hanafi Scholar called Ibn Qatlubgah stated that it is not permissible to follow the position of his teacher as he has gone against the position of the Hanafi School.

Their position is not accepted in this issue as they clearly left the position of the School, most likely due to their affiliation to Ibn Hajar and the emphasis they place on the non-Hanafi methodology of Hadith.

You are free to accept it nonetheless – we are happy to grant those freedoms which Salafis, Deobandis and Brelwis would violently remove, but just don’t pretend that this is the opinion of the Hanafi school. Stand or fall on your own arguments as opposed to prostituting the name of Hanafism to get you a ‘free ride’ with the South Asian public and others who have an affection for it. This is actually the perverted strategy of nationalism adapted here for religion.

Now, most of the joy that occurs in this issue amongst Salafists and extremists who think they have found ‘support’ from the Hanfis is coming from the statement of Ibn Abideen. There are many problematic issues with the position of Ibn Abideen as stated, but he again was honest that he was leaving the position of the Hanafis but then bizarrely insisted that an anti-Hanafite anthropomorphist must be admitted as an ‘Imam’ of the Hanafis. I wonder is Salafis would be as happy to have an anti – anthropomorphist, someone who said that Salafi beliefs are in fact heretical disbelief, such as Al Ghazzali or Imam Razi, admitted as an ‘Imam’ of Salafism. I suspect not, especially given that Ibn Taymiyyah gleefully labelled these two as disbelievers.

The main reason for Ibn Abideen stating his position as he did was probably due to the political pressure placed on him by the rulers who in this case were the Ottomans. He was most likely forced due to fear of death or incarceration. Another clear example of how politics shaped the laws of the Muslims perhaps, but who knows – what is inescapable is that in this issue he not only makes statements which are demonstrably inaccurate (as above) but much worse than this, the basis of his opinion is ‘Shaykh ul-Islam’ Ibn Taymiyyahh – the grandfather of modern day Salafism and ISIS type ideology. ‘Kill first and ask questions later’ is the prime position of his methodology. All you need is ‘kill’, right?

Ibn Abideen also said that there was no disagreement between the Hanafis and the Malikis about insulting publicly, but we have seen many proofs from Jassas, Alusi, Malikis and Shafis where they quote that the disagreement between the schools was only about public insults. He also said that there is no disagreement between us and the Malikis when a Dhimmi insults continuously. This is also incorrect as Imam Abu Hanifa stated that we will ask him to repent…infinitely.

Of course, Deobandis and their ilk want to whip people up into an emotional frenzy, that’s the whole point and problem. So they will dramatise, wail, gnash teeth and claim that we have rejected Ibn Abideen and impugned a giant of Hanafism, fill whole blog posts of scholars singing his praises etc. But apart from the fact that Ibn Abideen is a late, though admittedly senior scholar, he is no more or less fallible than anyone else of his rank. Furthermore, why were these same people not kicking up an equal stink when Ibn Abideen was neglecting and ignoring Imams Jassas, Tahawi and even Abu Hanifa? Because kicking up a stink is only when you reject positions they like and scholars they like. It isn’t applied uniformly. Ibn Abideen is expedient to their cause, so they will defend him to the hilt come what may. Abu Hanifa is extraneous and even opposing their desires, so they callously cast him aside. Don’t fall for it.

Therefore the correct and authentic position of the Hanafi School is that a Dhimmi living in a Muslim land cannot be killed. They are protected through their contract of residence. Therefore even if Aasia Noreen had made those statements she should not have been given the death penalty. It would also permissible for the governor to release her because according to the Hanafi School ta’dheer punishment can be as little as giving the individual a stern look. However when reading the statements made in court, it seems like there was a personal grudge, with the Muslim girls screaming blasphemy to receive support from the courts with their ongoing vendetta. In Pakistan, the current law needs to be re-assessed and the classical position of the Hanafi School should be implemented. And no, asking for this law to be reassessed is not blasphemy as I believe that the position of the Hanafis is in line with the Quran: No killing of non-Muslims is prescribed for blasphemy and the punishment must not go beyond ta’dheer.

Some sincere people will of course feel aggrieved that there is not a more harsh punishment for the crime of insulting the Prophet (ﷺ). Though the opponents will tell you otherwise, I feel just as furious as the next man when I hear these vile remarks – including the idiotic pronouncements of Muslims who claim the Prophet (ﷺ) was affected by black magic, became impotent, lost his mind or compromised on monotheism due to the ‘Satanic Verses’. All of this disgusts me, not only the vile garbage of Islam haters. But ask yourself: are we to be emotional and driven by our urge for revenge or to be rational and controlled as the Quran asks? Do we want to reflect the Quran or the caricature of Muslims and believers that our enemies without and within would like? Do we let hatred of a people, just or unjust, deviate us from justice and the law of God?

Do you want to kill and avenge on behalf of the Prophet (ﷺ) or do you want to be like him and forbear and teach? Does religion control or unleash our hatred?

Or is it really as these people would have it, that ‘all we need is ‘kill’?

 

_________________________________________________________________

[i] http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article4703515.ece,http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/12181905/We-must-not-tolerate-British-imams-who-applaud-barbarism-in-Pakistan.html

[ii] http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2104050-aasia-noreen-testimony.html

[iii] https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2104048-prosecution-witnesses.htmlvillagers.

[iv] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11930849,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia_Bibi_blasphemy_case#cite_note-kazim-1

[v] http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2104046-complete-court-document.html

[vi] http://icraa.org/hanafi-blasphemer-non-muslim-dhimmi

[vii] Shaykh Atabek Shukurov and Sulaiman Ahmed, ‘Hanafi Principles of Testing Hadith’, (Avicenna Publishing, UK, 2015), p. 4

[viii] Abu Bakr Ahmad bin Ali Al-Razi Al-Jassas, “Mukhtasar Ikhtilaf’ (Dar al-Bashair, Beirut, Lebanon, first edition year 1995), Volume 2, p. 504

[ix] Ibid, p. 505

[x] Ibid, p.506

[xi] Abu Jafar al-Tahawi, ‘Mukhtasar Tahawi’, (Dar al – Bashair, first edition year 2010, Beirut, Lebanon), Volume 6, p. 142

[xii] Abu ‘Abdullah Al-Qurtubi, ‘Tafseer Qurtubi’, (Mussasah Risala, first edition, Beirut, 2006), Volume 10, p. 124

[xiii] Ibid p. 125

[xiv] Muhammad Amin Ibn Abidin, ‘Fatawa Shaamia’, (Dar Aalam al-Kutub, Riad, KSA, special edition year 2003), Volume 6, p. 344

[xv] ibid, p. 345

[xvi] Ibid, p. 346

[xvii] Abu Jafar al-Tahawi, ‘Mukhtasar Tahawi’, (Dar al-Bashair, first edition year 2010, Beirut, Lebanon), Volume 6, p. 142

[xviii] Abu Bakr Ahmad bin Ali Al-Razi Al-Jassas, “Tafseer Jassas (Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, 1992), Volume 4 , p. 275

[xix] Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Abi Sahl Abu Bakr al-Sarakhsi, Sharh Al-Siyaar Al-Kabir, Volume 4, p. 188

[xx] Shams al-Aimmah al-Sarakhsi, Mabsut, (Dar al-Ma’rifah, Beirut Lebanon, 1989), Volume 9

[xxi] Muhammad ash-Shawkani, al-Badr at-Tali, (Dar al-Wafa, , year 1994), Volume 2, p. 489

[xxii] Abu Muḥammad Ali ibn Aḥmad ibn Saʿid ibn Ḥazm, al-Muhalla, p. 415

[xxiii] Ibid, p. 416

[xxiv] Mahmud al-Alusi, Ruh al-Ma`ani, Mahmud al-Alusi, Ruh al-Ma`ani (Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon), Volume 10

[xxv] Jarir ibn Atiyah, ‘Tafseer ibn Atiyyah al-Muharrar al-Wajeez fee Tafseer al-Kitab al-Azeez’, Dar ibn Hazm, Beirut, p.829

[xxvi] Imam Imad al-deen bin Muhammad al-Tabari Ilkia, ‘Tafseer ”Ahkaam al-Quran’ (Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, beirut, lebanon, first edition, 1983), Volume 3-4, p. 183.

[xxvii] Ibn Nujaym, ‘Al-Bahr al-Raiq’, (Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, first edition 1997), Volume 5, p. 194-195

[xxviii] Fakhr al-Deen Zailae, Hashiyat al-Shibli, by Shihab al-Deen Ahmad al-Shalabi, ‘Zaile Tabyeen al-Haqaiq’ (Dar al-Amiriyyah, Bulaq, Egypt, 1313 Hijri), Volume 3

[xxix] Abdul Hakeem Afghani Kashf al-Haqair, ‘Matba’a al-Adabiyyah’, (Egypt’, first edition year 1318 Hijri), Volume 1, P. 333

[xxx] Abdullah Ibn Ahmad Ibn Mahmoud Al-Nasafi, ‘Kanz daqaiq’ (Dar al bashair, beirut, first edition year 2011) , p. 385

[xxxi] Qasim ibn Qutlubgha, ‘al-Tarjeeh wal-Tas’heeh’, (Dar al-Kutub al-ilmiyyah, Beirut, first edition 2002)

[xxxii] Burhan al-Din al-Marghinani, ‘Al-Hidayah fi Sharh Bidayat al-Mubtadi’, (Idarat al-Quran wal-uloom al-Islamiyyah, Karachi, Pakistan, first edition, 1417 hijri), Volume 4, p. 138

[xxxiii] Kamal Ibn Hummam, ‘Fat’h al-Qadeer’, Kamal ibn al-Humam, , (Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, first edition 2002, Volume 6, p. 58

[xxxiv] Ibid, p. 59

[xxxv] Shibili, Tabeen Haqaiq, p. 249

[xxxvi] Muhammad Amin Ibn Abidin, ‘Fatawa Shaamia’, (Dar Aalam al-Kutub, Riad, KSA, special edition year 2003)

How Muslim Scholars Are Destroying Islam

liar-game

This is yet another wonderful illustration of the lengths the so-called ‘representatives’ of Islam will go to to pervert the religion. In fact, this a favourite pass time for all kinds of Salafi groups (and here one must include the Deoband sect of South Asia as well unfortunately).

In this incident on ‘Facebook’, a Hanafi adept called Sulaiman Ahmed is making the entirely true and obvious case that Imam Maturidi, the codifier of Hanafi creed, did not consider the idea that the Prophet Muhammad was affected by ‘Black Magic’, and thereby driven insane and sexually impotent (as the hadith in Bukhari states), to be licit in Islam. Of course, as Salafis are highly inclusive of hadith from Bukhari, they find this position to be inconvenient. At the same time, by rejecting Maturidi creed, they are outing themselves as modernists and Wahhabis, which they are loathe to do as it will make their sectarian affiliation clear, lose them followers and make them unable to groom vulnerable youngsters.

The solution? Well, just lie about what Imam Maturidi said in his famous ‘Kitaab Ut Tawhid‘ (‘The Book of Monotheism‘), which neither Deobandis nor others claiming to be ‘Hanafi’, in distinction to the books of their modern day Imams, have deigned to translate. Using this, and the assumption that the laity is ignorant of basic classical Arabic, they conduct a series of bald lies to claim that Maturidi, who he is clearly saying he does not accept this incident of Black Magic nor the hadith it is based on, is in fact saying the exact opposite.

Witness how far they are willing to go in their efforts, which I am sure would leave the most brazen religious hoaxers of the past blushing…

Remember, this being a Facebook exchange, there are numerous grammatical and spelling/readability errors. I have tried my best to correct these without changing the text and added my comments in blue to explain the tortuous but worthwhile discussion to the uninitiated.

My ‘commentary’ is in blue and obviously not part of the actual exchange. BTW, I also love how these scholars clearly hate and insult each other!

It is long and difficult to follow, but of great benefit if you can bear it, as it will show clearly the tactics and misdirections of Muslim Scholars. It is rather like those shows that reveal how magicians perform their illusions.

But bear in mind – if it takes a guy who can read Arabic and is a scholar himself this much effort to reveal the deception, what chance do the ordinary Muslims like us have against the machinations of Muslim scholars. Is it any wonder that many Muslim youth are easily ‘radicalised’?

The only question Muslims and others should have by the end of this is that if Muslim scholars and apologists are so brazenly lying in religious matters, why believe anything they say?

The original post from ‘Facebook’ by a Hanafi scholar, ‘SA’ here:https://www.facebook.com/sulaiman.ahmed.98/posts/804058113023405:0

Black Magic and Shaykh Abu Mansur al-Maturidi

(Qur a’udhu birab al-falaq)
Faqeeh [Abu Mansur] said;
This command of Kul [ayat of the Quran] is to seek protection and 3 explanations were given:

11027771_804058113023405_7684618054461994967_n

[This is the opinion of Shaykh Abu Mansoor al-Maturidi]

1. God is Teaching, BUT NOT FOR A PROBLEM THAT HAPPENED IN THAT TIME, but because God knew the huge harm of the things that are mentioned [in the verse] [then Abu Mansur mentioned the different effects of Satan and his tribe].

I hope these guys know the meaning of ‘Qeeela’ and ‘Ruwiyah’. So ‘Qeela’ is used on the book to show it is a weak opinion. Again, brothers just need to open any classical book and study.

Dear Reader: remember this – at the very outset it has been stated by this scholar what the Arabic term ‘Qeeela‘ means. You would think this would curtail the ability of Salafists to obfuscate.

But you would be wrong.

2. Qeela [some said]; Jibreel [the Arabic name of the Angel Gabriel] came to the Prophet (PBUH) and informed him that some ‘ifreet’ (or ‘Jinn’ basically the same meaning as it’s English usage as spiritual creature) is plotting against him, so seek protection by these two verses from the harm that may come when you will go to sleep.

This is a reference to a fabricated Hadith that didn’t survive until our time – but the next one did

3. Qeela [some said]; one of the Jews performed magic on the Prophet (PBUH) so that is why this verse [of the Quran] was sent.

Abu Bakr al-Asamm said; They mentioned some hadith which are impossible so I ignored that.

Now this ‘Abu Bakr’ is giving the Mutazalite opinion – we don’t know which of the two fabricated Hadith he is talking about but this has nothing to do with Abu Mansoor’s opinion above.

Faqeeh [again, this means Abu Mansur al Maturidi] said; But according to us as QEELA [some said] that Prophet PBUH was affected by magic, there are two ways of proving his Prophethood;

1. That the Prophet knew about the magic by revelation. It was done secretly, and no one could know it except by revelation.

2. Quran is invalidating the effect of magic, just as the staff of Moses destroyed the effect of Pharaohs’ magicians tricks…but as for curtailing the effect of magic by reading Quran, this is only by the mercy of God. God knows better.

Anyway ALASL our initial position is that the command of asking for protection is shared by the people who need it if they have some problem, and it is TA’LEEM [instructional] for them….

Shaykh Atabek then explains:

Abu Mansur mentioned three meanings of this command of reading the Surah, and indicated that the first is his opinion, as he gave an explanation. And at the end he reconfirmed that ‘ASL‘ his initial position is the first meaning. Then he mentioned two other opinions by saying ‘QEELA‘ means ‘some said’. People who studied Islamic sciences know the meaning of ‘qeela‘. It is a confirmation from the scholars that what follows it is a weak opinion. And Abu Mansur didn’t justify these two ‘qeelas’, or weak opinions nor support them.

Then he mentioned what Abu Bakr Assam the Mutazilite said, i.e. rejected the Hadith.

Then he mentioned two answers given from someone from ‘Ahl Sunnah’, but again he mentioned these with QEELA, meaning ‘some said’.

At the end Abu Mansur reconfirmed that his stance about this issue is the first of three opinions.

Look at the last red portion, right at the beginning he said; ‘Thumma al-Asl indana’.

From here we understand that Abu Mansur rejected that The Prophet was affected by magic as he confirmed in the Sura alIsra that I quoted. According to Abu Mansur, the command of reading this portion of the Quran is not to the Prophet because of some problem that happened to the Prophet himself [namely, his being allegedly affected by black magic], but it is to teach his nation.

But I know there are people who are insisting that Prophet was affected by Black Magic and that is why God ordered him to ask a protection from a ‘Satan of the hearts’.

And what is the ‘heart’? The heart of the Prophet is the very place where the Quran was revealed – as God said.

I didn’t mention this text from the start because as you see it is long text with many opinions and details, which may confuse the people.

I will repost that text of Abu Mansur which is very clear even for a layman…

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SA: Sheikh Abu Mansur Maturidi speaks about two verses that people believe to have been revealed in the incident of black magic. Please follow the text;

(‘Qul a’udhu birabbi al-nas’) explicitly looks like being an order to the Prophet PBUH to do this specific thing – seeking refuge – that’s how after the command it is mentioned (‘I seek refuge by the Lord of people’)

– But God knows better, it’s meaning is two things;

1. It is an order to the people to whom he is passing it onto, and it is teaching them…
2. The order is for others. But order of saying is left there so it will be a continuous command for ever. 
Again Shaykh Atabek explains:
– As you can see, Abu Mansur didn’t accept that this order is directed towards the Prophet as these people who believe in his being affected by black magic claim.
– If we go with these people however, then look at what God is allegedly ordering the Prophet PBUH to seek protection from; a ‘Waswas’ [whisper or perversion] that makes deception in the heart of  people.
Now a question;

Do you guys believe that Prophets’ heart is reachable for the Satans’ of jinn and ins to do waswasah? If ‘no’ then the order of reading these Suras is not to Muhammad (SAW) but to the people as Abu Mansur said. Lets look at the next text.

2
God informed his Prophet about a secret conversation that Mushriks [Meccan polytheist opponents of Muhammad] had. That was a proof for him being a Prophet, because how else could he know that conversation except by divine intervention? And God calls these Mushriks ‘Dhalimeen’ – oppressors because they knew that the Prophet is not insane and nor he is a person affected by magic. But mushriks alleged these things nonetheless, and described the Prophet as insane and debilitated by magic – knowing all along that The Prophet is not. 
So here is an easy and clear denial from Abu Mansur saying that Muhammad wasn’t affected by magic. Now it is worth knowing who are the ones who say that The Prophet was  affected;
Mushriks of Quraish (as Quran mentioned)
Orientalists (many of whom accept this and the ‘Satanic verses’ story for obvious reasons)
Muhaddiths
Salafis
Ash’aris
Deobandis
Beralawis 
Latest Maturidis
Some of Ja’faris
As we saw, some of them called the rejection of the Prophet being affected by magic a ”dangerous and false claim”. So, regardless, I follow Quran, Abu Mansur and Abu Bakr in favour of this ‘dangerous claim’.  
3
  
This really is all that needs to be said on the matter, from a Hanafite perspective at least. To anyone who is familiar with scholarly Arabic, the issue is at least and all references have been given explicitly. If you understand the Arabic, it is undeniable that that is the position of the Maturidis (whether you agree with it is another matter). 
But those expecting such honesty from Muslim scholars are about to be sorely disappointed…
MJ: This text does not in no way reject magic. The only place this is mentioned regarding the narration is Abu Bakr al-Assam and as has already been pointed out, he had mu’tazili tendencies and I’m sorry but that’s not evidence in the religion. Even then, here it is referring to the reason of revelation of this Surah (Sabab an-nuzool). Nowhere does it state the magic cannot occur based on how you are deriving your opinions and ideas.You say that Allah in the Qur’an says the Messenger ﷺ is protected. Because of this verse you say magic is not possible. Firstly, how have you done takhsees (specifying) of magic? Where is your evidence for takhsees? Why have you specified this verse for magic and not for other harm that came to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ like Abu Jahl throwing rotten meat on the Messenger of Allah ﷺ?
 
Note, despite the clear opinion of Maturidi having been presented with the original text and word for word ‘scanlation’ as well as clear commentary by the Imam himself, a denial is forthcoming.
As per Salafist protocol, it ignores the texts and demands the throwing out of any evidence as it is from a ‘Mutazzilite’ and thus a heretic – although it was Maturidi’s opinion and Al Assam, the alleged Mutazilite was quoted by Maturidi, as well as ‘Ahlus Sunnah’, and along with them refuted. But to trigger readers, the interloper ignores everything, banks on the readers’ having no Arabic competence and invokes ‘Mutazzilites’, hoping this will make you shut off your brain as you have been pre-conditioned by Deobandis and others that mu’tazzilites are the worst heretics ever (it is interesting to note that despite their alleged heresy hunting, Salafis are more than happy to take narrations from the violent Kharijites, who are equally heretical, but not the rationalist Mutazzilites, a bone of contention between Salafis and their bitter enemies the Shi’ítes)
 
SA: Look Jamilli are you back? Last time you guys caused a wave and then ran off. You guys were so dodgy as you accept the Hadith yet won’t confirm that you then believe that the Prophet lost his mind or became impotent. This is complete dishonesty.
Here Ahmed is making reference to the fact that those who accept that the Prophet was effected by ‘black magic’ do so on the basis of hadith, and these same hadith state explicitly that the Prophet lost his mind for a period of up to three months and became sexually impotent at the same time.
Finding this embarrassing, they try not to mention this and when asked if they believe in the insanity and impotence, resort to obfuscation and merely state the disease (black magic) and not the symptoms. But this is flagrant lying.
 
YA He confirms the sihr [black magic] in the passage brother
 
SA: Brother, translate all the text word for word and especially the last page where Abu Mansoor explicitly explains this, and then according to you God is lying.  
 3

SA: MJ, by ‘you guys’ I mean the people working with you such as that Deobandi brother and the people from Arab peninsula that you mentioned.

You insulted, publicly called us heretics then you went to ‘private message’ and tried to dodge the issue when I said clearly to you to bring this up in public and I will refute it. As I saw your dishonesty and you ran away.

As I always said in discussion with you guys I’m willing to do it only publicly since you have shown that you practice ‘Takiyah’ [not admitting to one’s true beliefs in public].

Your filthy language is also unbelievable: I will never call a person a ‘dog’. It’s embarrassing.

I’m ready to carry on the dialogue about these issues but first I ask for honesty and sticking to the point and you brining equivalent proof.

So I honestly begin:

My premise is that: I reject Hadith in Bukhari and as such I don’t believe that the Prophet was affect by magic.

Your premise: you accept all Hadith in Bukhari and as such do you accept the conclusion that Prophet lost his mind or was impotent?

Clearly, Ahmad is referring to previous campaigns of slander and anathematisation by the advocates of the position that the Prophet was affected by magic. These are easily seen online. Note that he has again translated the relevant passage verbatim and stated his and Imam Maturidi’s position clearly.

YA: It isn’t ‘guys’ calling those who adopt your opinion heretics it is Badr al-Din al-Ayni and others.

YA: It is weird that you advise brothers that they need nothing more to understand the science of hadith than one small book. While you completely disparage individuals who have spent significant portions of their live studying abroad and studying many books. If people should go study, then with who? You and your shaykh? Those who are obviously propagating opinions that the classical scholars said are innovation and heresy What does studying abroad here have to do with your rejection of hadith? Nothing.

I comment on this because this is a favourite tactic of Salafists and Deobandis who wish to market themselves as Hanafites or Sunnis: notice that he ignores Maturidi, who is in fact the ‘author’ of Hanafite creed and instead name drops a Salafi and Deobabandi favourite, the hadith scholar Badr al Din Al Ayni – the very same scholar who neglected Hanafite principles to make a compromise with the Muhaditheen. Note that Ahmad had already said that in contradistinction to the Hanafites, the muhaditheen, including those like Ayni who ‘sold out’ to Muhaditheen principles, accept that black magic was done on the Prophet, so what is the point of his opponent saying this?

It illustrates for us nicely that when Salafis wish to infiltrate the ‘madhabs‘, and especially the Maliki and Hanafi schools, they quote mine much later scholars who were advocates of abandoning Hanafi and Maliki creedal principles and hadith methodology and accepting the redaction of Bukhari and the other Muhaditheen uncritically. 

In essence, he is saying that you should learn the positions of Hanafis and others through the Muhaditheen, which is absurd as in most cases they were opponents.

YA: Why don’t you translate the first wajh Maturidi mentions:

بما علمه بالوحي أنه سحر  [he helpfully does not translate it either]

SA: Yaqub you’re not even smart enough to realise that there were two different threads [on Facebook]. So what if Badr Al-din al-Ayni said it, people who everyone considers untouchable scholars called Abu Hanifa heretic. That doesn’t prove anything. We know Ayni loved Bukhari.

People you quoted yourself insulted Ghazali too so that doesn’t prove anything.

This is a good point: people name drop scholars as if they were all some kind of monolithic mass. This is nonsense. Imams like Shafi and Malik insulted each other and we know that people until the time of Ghazzali (himself not excluded) were insulting the founders of rival schools (in his case he insulted Abu Hanifa due to his esteemed teacher Imam Al Juwayni’s conflict with the Hanafites). The point is that Ayni agrees with Bukhari against Maturidi, so is inadmissible as evidence for Maturidi’s positions.

YA: And highlight who is actually rejecting the hadith in this passage. It is Abu Bakr al-Asamm, the Mutazilite.

قال أبو بكر الأصم ذكروا في هذه السورة حديثا مما لا يجوز فتركته

[again, no translation offered, despite the discussion taking place in English, a favourite Salafi tactic which you must be aware of. The reason for not translating will become obvious here too]

Maturidi is refuting Asamm who rejected the hadith. Hence the word ولكن.

SA: You are so dishonest it is unbelievable. When scholars say ‘Qeeela’ they mean it is ‘weak’, have you studied anything at all? Assam didn’t reject the Hadith he didn’t even mention which of the two Hadith he is rejecting

Stop wasting our time and snipping bits and being evil. Translate it all.

YA: I am not going to translate it. Anyone who comes can read it and judge for their own selves.

YA: When scholars say ولكن they are indicating to what comes after to be preferred.

YA: After that Maturidi confirms the sihr.

YA: If you have another place he denies it, or Imam Abu Hanifa for that matter, please share it.

YA: You can see also that Asamm’s line of argument is basically the same thing as yours.

Although Assam’s opinion is not given in the text anyway, and it is not even clear what Maturidi is attributing to him or which hadith Assam rejected, we have the ‘you are a Mu’tazzilite’ hurling to try and anathematise Ahmed in the eyes of the readers. Note again the brazen refusal to translate. And now he is asking for an opinion of Abu Hanifa as opposed to Maturidi – the whole idea is to get the inconvenient Maturidi out of the picture.

SA: Yaqub stop playing games and translate all of it. You’re taking snippets like a dodgy guy. You not translating shows your deception. No more snippets. Translate ALL THE TEXT, especially the bit where Imam Maturidi says (‘Thuma Al Asloo Inthana‘). If you refuse, then don’t come back.

YA: If you want the whole passage translated. Do it yourself.

Huh?! Then why argue?

SA: Lol too funny. You’re not willing to translate, only to take just snippets

MJ: Oh and Shaykh Hasan Hitu and others in aqidah islamiyyah also mentions what Marizi said when speaking of magic

Another interloper appears and immediately begins name dropping. Notice how no one is willing to engage with or even translate what Maturidi has said in plain Arabic – namely that he rejects that the Prophet was ever afflicted with black magic. The game here is to name drop and obfuscate to avoid having to openly reject Maturidi and hence anathematise one of the Imams of creed (Salafis true position vis-a-vis Asharis and Maturidis)

SA: Jamili, option to translate all of it is there for you too. But before you do, confirm your position. Again don’t post until you do this and you both confirm your position.

YA: Again, anyone who comes can review the passage from Maturidi and evaluate it themselves.

Tahawi confirms the sihr, ‘Ayni confirms it and calls those who reject the hadith innovators. ‘Ayni’s position is also what is taken by Hafiz Ibn Hajar and Maziri.

Do you have a clear statement from Maturidi in which he rejected this hadith? Do you have a clear statement from Imam Abu Hanifah in which he rejected this hadith?

Again, a bunch of guys who are not Maturidi (or even Hanafi in some cases) accept black magic – but the discussion is not on whether these hadith scholars accept it or not but rather what Maturidi said – which Ahmed’s opponents are unwilling to translate, even though they insist on conducting this charade in English, for the purpose of confusing English readers who can’t read the Arabic. Salafis love to ‘acquire’ as many English speakers as they can, thereby making it easier for them to spread their ideology in the dominant language and to the dominant region of the time.

Also, note that since the beginning, neither of the interlopers have stated their position on the Prophet suffering from insanity and impotence – the whole ‘discussion’ is a mere charade.

SA: Like I said don’t bring names of people as proof: I already said all these accepted magic.

Mushriks of Quraish (as Quran mentioned)
Orientalists
Muhaddiths
Salafis
Ash’aris
Deobandis
Brelawis  
Latest Maturidis
Some of Ja’faris

Both of you should confirm your position and translate all the text

YA: Wait, are you saying you do not accept sihr altogether? I would take the opinion of a great hadith scholar like Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani or Badr al-Din al-‘Ayni regarding who is a heretic over yours. We accept the opinion of the scholars of jarh and ta’dil regarding establishing innovation and ascribing that to individuals.

Again, an attempt to impugn and anathematise Ahmed, a Hanafite, as a Mu’tazzilite by attributing the Mutazzilite denial of Black Magic to him, a baseless diversion. Note again, that we are to name drop hadith scholars and ignore what Maturidi said (which is what is under discussion).

Another learning point here is that Salafis would like you to learn creed from the (late) scholars of hadith like Ibn Hajar or Ayni. But the Imams of creed are entirely different. This is like asking your doctor to fly a jumbo jet. In fact, this is the distinction between the Maliki and Hanafite versus the Salafist position – the latter would like to bin the opinions of the Imams of creed such as Maturidi, Tahawi, Ashari, Ghazali etc in favour of a literalist adoption of context-less hadith from muhaditheen. This is just the people of jurisprudence versus the people of hadith in a different guise, with the interlopers name dropping hadith scholars hoping you will be too naive to notice what is going on. Notice the peppering of Arabic terminology sans explanation or translation to try and impress the reader – again, standard Salafist operating procedure to show they have knowledge.

Hilariously, Ibn Hajar is neither Hanafi nor Maturidi.

MJ: After he mentioned all three opinions he has adopted the first approach which is to teach. However, he is stating that the seeking refuge was revealed to teach and not because of something that occurred. So from this, he is stating that his opinion that the Sabab nuzool (the reason of revelation) was to teach and not because of an occurrence. This does not mean he negated that magic has its effect. This in usool is not a dhahir never mind a nass.

So, as Ibn Hajar says in Hadi Us-Sari, Bukhari is confirmed Sahih by ‘udool (trustworthy narrators) and the ummah has accepted it, so if you want to break this code, you need to bring a hujjah zahirah (a clear, absolute proof)!

Seeing that the ruse is in danger, this guy finally tries commentary and partial translation of Maturidis text, where he argues that Maturidi stated that the reason for the revelation of the verses of the Quran allegedly dealing with black magic was not because black magic occurred but to teach people about it (which is true). But he absurdly claims that even this does not constitute denial of black magic by Maturidi, since he is merely saying that the reason for the verses revelation is not black magic being done on the Prophet. But maybe he still believed that it had been done. Which I hope you realise is a stretch at best – so he then goes on to say that Maturidi must have accepted black magic…because the later non-Hanafi imams of hadith who came after him did. So the game is the same – a flimsy translation and the assertion as above that the final say on creed is not with the imams of creed such as Maturidi, but rather with muhaditheen such as Bukhari and his famous commentator (and non-Hanafite) Ibn Hajar Asqalani.

This could have been shortened to ‘it doesn’t matter what Maturidi says, go with the hadith and muhaditheen‘ – but that would have given the game away. Notice how he is confusing the audience in his first paragraph – where he basically admits what Ahmed has been saying all along – by once again dropping untranslated (and irrelevant) Arabic terms to show how clever he is. This is the same as a physicist turning up and saying things like ‘entanglement’, ‘black body radiation’ and ‘Scwarzchild radius’ without any context or explanation, hoping that this would cow you into being impressed with him.

But no physicist would ever act as stupidly as a Muslim scholar (though some have tried).

Also, a question for consideration: why is it SO important to believe that the Prophet was affected by black magic and became impotent and deluded? 

SA: This is not the first time your brought Ibn Hajar as proof. This time you are demanding absolute evidence because of the opinion of Ibn Hajar. Can you then confirm that Prophet revealed SATANIC VERSES as Ibn Hajar believes and stated it, and if you don’t believe this, can you bring absolute evidence to disprove the opinion of Ibn Hajar?

Ahmad is stating that since Ibn Hajar, the much later 15th century (died 1449 CE), who MJ is demanding be taken as an authority in Maturidi creed (despite his being not only an A’sharite but a mu’haddith and not a theologian), believes in the authenticity of the ‘Satanic Verses’ incident, does MJ accept this or is his offer of Ibn Hajar as a proof and an authority spurious?

MJ: I’m sorry Sulaiman but this is not how the religion works. You are the one that needs to bring evidence. As you should be aware of in fiqh, the hujjah is upon the one who wants to break what is set. So bring your hujjah zahirah forth.

This is how a debate works. Otherwise it’s just throwing things left, right and centre.

MJ: Also this is not the opinion of Ibn Hajar solely. This is in the fatwa of Ibn Salah and many others of Ahl Us -Sunna across all the schools. Anybody who has read on this topic will be aware of this.

I wouldn’t want to state my position either if I believed what this MJ ‘scholar’ does. Notice that Ibn Salah is another hadith scholar and partisan of Ibn Hajar, in the sense that he is the main person responsible for the popularisation of Bukhari’s redaction and advocating for the ‘abrogation’ of the Hanafi and Maliki as well as other hadith methodologies in favour of blind adherence to that of Muhaditheen as typified by Imam Bukhari. So we have the same game again – you can only learn about Maturidi creed from other people who were not of his school and did not even address it, and worse still were opposed to him. And even then, they can only be from the muhaditheen. And only some of them etc. 

Notice that the liberal dropping of Arabic terms, none of which are relevant, continues to show how learned and what a good ‘scholar’ MJ is. He is claiming that Ahmed needs to bring the proof ‘to break what is set’ – but it was ‘set’ by Ibn Hajar et al – so why can’t Ahmed mention that if they are the ones doing the setting, must we not also accept their other, err, ‘idiosyncratic’ stances such as that the Prophet accepted shirk (associating partners with God) in the ‘Satanic Verses’ incident (another issue rejected by Maturidi but accepted by others, especially the muhaditheen)? 

SA: Jamilli I will give you some credit, at least you admitted about the translation, unlike the other person.

Now my claim and premise was that Abu Mansoor rejected that black magic was done on the Prophet as per what the Hadith in Bukhari states.

He does this 3 times in the text.

Firstly, the Hadith in Bukhari is explaining the Asbab Nuzool [reason for] the revelation, Imam Maturidi rejected this explanation as he said it is to TEACH and NOT because Magic occurred. The Hadith in Bukhari is saying  the opposite – that magic occurred and this is the reason for the revelation.

Secondly, the position held by Bukhari is called by Imam Maturidi ‘Qeela’, i.e weak.

Thirdly, he narrates the verse in the Quran where it was states MUSHRIKS [Meccan pagans or polytheists] said Prophet (PBUH) was affected by MAGIC and he was INSANE. However, this is what the actual Hadith in Bukhari says, so God was wrong to insult them because according to the Hadith in Bukhari, Muhammad was affected by magic and he was insane.

Now as per the rules of Islamic debate please state your premise and claim and being the proof from the books.

This is merely what the text of Maturidi says and what was stated by Shukurov and Ahmed at the beginning – so what was the point of the profuse obfuscations by MJ and YA?

YA: Admitted what about what translation?

YA: In the passage, the only one who rejects the narration outright is the Mutazilite Abu Bakr al-Asamm.

SA: YA, I’ve been advised by brothers to keep patient and the truth will come out. As you have not made a single academic comment in the last week, if you post again you will be removed. I’m sorry but time is a precious commodity and I could be using it to help people.

As long as MJ remains honest and follows the rules of discussion, I will continue to respond to him.

Quite right. YA is simply unable or unwilling to read Arabic and indeed has been contradicted by his own side in MJ. It is tantamount to argue in front of someone who cannot read Chinese that something that says ‘right’ is saying ‘wrong’, on the assumption that the audience will fall for it due to not being Chinese. This is astonishingly banal in front of people who can speak Chinese however.

MJ First and foremost I do not see the reason for your blocking Shaykh YA. It is totally unnecessary.

On to the topic, Your claim is Abu Mansoor rejects the Hadith which is in Bukhari. I ask you, where does he say that? Abu Mansoor, Rahimahu Allah, has done tarjih (preference) and has stated clearly that he does not see the reason of revelation of this Surah to be because of an occurrence that happened. In أضواء البيان, [curiously, yet again selectively untranslated – see later] the author says the mufasiroon [Quranic commentators] are unanimous that this was revealed due to that. Furthermore, as Shaykh Yaqub stated previously, after that statement of Abu Bakr al-Assam, Abu Mansoor used ‘Lakin’ [Arabic for ‘but’] which is him making clear he DOES NOT take accept what Abu Bakr al-Assam said and then said the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was affected by magic and then explained this opinion in two ways. At the end of it, Abu mansoor clearly states that his opinion is that this Surah was revealed with the first opinion he mentioned which is to teach, but nowhere does he state that he rejects magic to have been done on the Prophet ﷺ. Rather, he affirms that this is an opinion but he sees this Surah to be revealed for teaching.

Secondly, the Hadith in Bukhari is not not under any title for the tafsir [exegesis, especially of Quran] or reason of revelation of this chapter. Rather, you will find it under the chapter of magic and whether a dhimmi [essentially a non-Muslim in a ‘Muslim’ land] is killed because of magic performance.

Finally, as is clearly stated in the books of aqidah and you may open any one you wish, you will find that magic cannot affect the Messenger of Allah ﷺ in his mind nor in revelation. Other than that, it may have affected him ﷺ just like any other illness and then passed and this was also mentioned by Abu Mansoor in that text.

Now I will relate to you who has narrated this Hadith and let the public be aware that this is not a joke to just play with Hadith and use your minds as you wish. Allah gave you an intellect and it is a tool which the law praises but it never ever rules what the shari’ah has stipulated:

This Hadith is in Bukhari in five chapters [Notice the trick here: he wants you to think it is five hadith or five chains. It is merely the same hadith and the same chain, repeated five times in Bukhari’s book. In an astonishing display of dishonesty, he admits this below while restating the alleged multiplicity while trying to conceal that all of the chains converge on the same narrator i.e the hadith is single chain and ahad]. In the narration of Ibn Namir, who is a trustworthy narrator which the scholars narrate from and so does Ahmad and Ibn Al-Madini (Tahdheeb, Ibn Sa’d, Ibn Abi Hatim), Ahmad narrates from this Hadith in ‘Al-Musnad’ and so does Muslim in his ‘Sahih’ on the authority of Abu Kurayb. Ibn Maajah narrates this on the authority of Abu Bakr b. Shaybah and both narrators from Ibn Namir.

Also, many of the trustworthy narrators have narrated this on the authority of Hisham b. ‘Urwah, then his father and then Aishah, May Allah be Pleased with her. This chain is found in Musnad of Ahmad via Ma’mar and another chain via Abu Usama b. Hammad b. Usama. Bukhari and Muslim both narrate via Abu Usama. Ahmad and Ibn Sa’d narrate via Wuhayb. Bukhari narrates it again via Isa b. Younus, and via Ibn ‘Uyaynah, and via Anas b. ‘iyadh Abu Dhamrah. Then Bukhari also narrates it Mu’allaqan from the narration of Layth b. Sa’d. All of these narrated on the authority of Hisham b. Urwah, then his father and then ‘Aishah, May Allah be Pleased with her. Then Bukhari says after the narration of ‘Isa b. Yunus, “he heard it before that from Ibn Jurayh” and says, “the family of Urwah recited to me on the authority of ‘Urwah.” Also, Ibn ‘Uyaynah asked Hisham about him and he narrated it to him on the authority of his father and then ‘Aishah, May Allah be Pleased with her.

Ibn Kathir also narrated this in his tafsir of ‘Surah Falaq’.

A similar occurrence was also narrated in the Hadith of Zayd b. Arqam. Ahmad relates this in his Musnad 4:367 (Halabi) on the authority of Abu Mu’awiyah, ‘Amash, Yazid b. Hayyan then Zayd b. Arqam. And this is a sound chain. Yazid b. Hayyan Abu Hayyan at-Taymi is a trustworthy narrator and a tabi’i (tahdheeb, Al-Kabir of Bukhari, Ibn Abi Hatim).

Ibn Sa’d also related this on the authority of Musa b. Mas’ud, on the authority of Sufyan ath-Thawri, on the authority of Al-‘Amash, on the authority of of Thumamah Al-Muhallimi, on the authority of Zayd b. Arqam. This chain is also sound. All narrators in this are trustworthy (Thiqah).

Al-Haythami also narrates this in Majma’ az-Zawaid with two narrations. He said, “Nasa’i related it in short and then Tabarani did so with many chains and the narrators in one of those chains are sahih (sound).

As you all see, there are many narrators of this Hadith and many of the names will be famous and known to you. When a Hadith scholar says they are trustworthy, they test them vigorously before they pass a comment as this is sound or not.

We do not neglect the intellect, however how can your intellect neglect all of these trustworthy narrators and the ones I have mentioned is just a drop in the sea.

These people and many more prior to them which were refuted by the likes of Al-Marizi and others claim that such narration removes trust in legislating the religion because it is possible, if this is allowed, that they may say they met Jibreel but they actually didn’t. However, this is all rejected because evidence is established that the Prophet ﷺ is truthful by Qur’an in what he ﷺ relates from Allah and that he ﷺ is protected in propagating the message. And as is known in usool and logic, to make permissible that which is already established by evidence is nullified. Therefore, the claim they make at the start is already null.

In regards to your point of mushrikeen, the tafsir is rejecting the claim that they made regarding him ﷺ being affected by magic when he ﷺ recited upon them the Qur’an and that he ﷺ is the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. This is mentioned by Ahl us-Sunna as I just mentioned that he ﷺ is protected as is clearly mentioned by Qur’an in these regards.

The principle I mentioned at the end in Arabic is

تجويز ما قام الدليل على خلافه باطل

Here we see the game afoot. According to this scholar, the translation is wrong after all. But this is just the entrée (for now, he will come back to this), his main course, as you will see, is that: 

  1. We have to accept the hadith because it is Bukhari, and I named dropped a bunch of narrators
  2. Don’t use your intellect to question or reject hadith if they have ‘sound’ chains
  3. Only my chosen Muhaditheenn have the right to define sound chains, not Malikis or Hanafis, and especially not the early pre-Bukhari ones

He then contradicts himself and applies and demands the ‘intellect and logic’ to stipulate how the black magic affected the Prophet and ignores the hadith of Bukhari which says his mind and sexual potency was affected. This is sadly typical of the scholars of today and especially the Salafists – literalists, but when challenged, suddenly rationalists.

Likewise, he has interpreted the Quranic injunction that only the Mushrikeen and dhalimoon accuse the Prophet of being affected by Black Magic as meaning that the Prophet will not be affected by magic when it comes to reciting the Quran but in other things (like sanity), he can be. And he claims this is known by ‘logic’. Leave aside that this is absurd since how can one be insane and yet be reliable in religious matters, but we can see there is no consistency – we are to accept the hadith based on narrators and yet reject what it says based on logic. I don’t even know what they call that, err, ‘epistemology’.

The idea of specifying or abrogating verses of the Quran, here seen in the example of the Quran saying that only ‘bad’ people accuse Muhammed of being affected by Black magic, by using the hadith is the methodology of Muhaditheen and Shafis as well. It is clearly rejected by Hanafites and again, Ahmad as a Hanafite is being compelled to reconcile a hadith with the Quran when that lack of concordance is the very basis in Hanafite methodology to not accept the hadith in the first place.

Notice once again, naming something in Arabic makes it automatically ‘true‘.

SA: I’ve responded to your points academically and I have numbered each point. Please respond to each number to keep on point.

a) “I do not see the reason for your blocking Shaykh Yaqub Abdurrahman.”

Here are the statements of YA:

“Why don’t you translate the first wajh Maturidi mentions” “He confirms the sihr in the passage brother” “I am not going to translate it. Anyone who comes can read it and judge for their own selves” “If you want the whole passage translated. Do it yourself.”

I blocked your Shaykh as he was making completely non-academic points, not willing to take the time to translate but instead posting snippets which I see as dishonest and a way of confusing people, he did this the last time and wasted all of our time for 2 days without bringing any proof, he posted after I warned him so I blocked him. Back on point please and let’s keep it academic.

1) “Your claim is Abu Mansoor rejects the Hadith which is in Bukhari. I ask you, where does he say that?”

Shaykh Abu Mansoor al-Maturidi states the word “Qeela” before he mentions the narration about the Jewish person performing black magic on the Prophet (PBUH). “Qeela” is “Seeghat al-Tamreedh” (Weakening Form) which I hope you know, “Seeghat al-Tamreedh” is used as a means of rejecting whatever comes after, which is the Jewish person performing black magic on the Prophet

2) “In Adhwaaul Biyaan, the author says the mufasiroon are unanimous that this was revealed due to that”

Shaykh Abu Mansoor al-Maturidi was a Mujtahid [highest level] Mufassir [commentator of Quran], Mujtahid Mutaqallim [theologian] and Mujtahid Faqhee [jurist]. Abu Bakr al-Jassas al-Hanafi was Mujtahid Mufassir, Mujtahid Usuli and Mujtahid Mujtahid Faqhee.

You quoted Ijma [consensus – basically saying that all Muslims agree on something] from “Adhwaaul Biyaan” a book written by “Muhammed Amin bin Mohammed Mukhtaar Shanqiti” who died in 1973. He is a Salafist-Mujassim [anthropomorphist]. I am a Hanafi and you refuted the position of a Mujtahid Hanafi Imam by narrating from a Salafist. I was not aware that this discussion was with a Salafist, anyway back to the Hanafi point.

So you admitted Shaykh Abu Mansoor al-Maturidi’s position was that the reason for revelation of Surah al-Falaq and Surah an-Nass was not due to Black Magic and yet you quoted Ijma from a Salafist to say the reason for revelation was Black Magic. He will most likely be narrating form Qurtubi and he is not Mujtahid [again, a high level or in some interpretations the highest level of Islamic scholarship]. So you either contradicted yourself by narrating both or you believe Shaykh Abu Mansoor al-Maturidi went against Ijma. Please check the rules of Ijma as you cannot have Ijma (= consensus} without Mujtahids agreeing on it. In fact, the two Mujtahids Mufassirs rejected black magic as a reason for revelation. For me these Mujtahid Mufassirs are well above all the other Mufassirs that you can even think about mentioning.

If you want a quote from a non-Mujtahid then, Shaykh Muhammed Tahir ibn Ash’oor, a Maliki Ashari, in ‘Tafsir Al-Tahrir Wal Tanwir’, Vol 30, p. 631 also rejects magic as the reason for the revelation of the two verses. They are contemporaries but I will take the position of a Maliki over a Salafist.

Ijma can only be established by Mujtahid Mufassir, and if there is only one Mujtahid Mufassir then what he says is Ijma.

Can you name the Mujtahid Mufassir who created this ijma that your Salafist Shaykh is claiming? You will need to find these Mujtahid Mufassirs who followed what you said, Salafi-Mujasim Muqallids do not bring forth any weight to the argument. But the two Mujtahids I mentioned are giants and if they say no magic that’s ijma. But muqallids [basically, lower level scholar who have to follow the mujtahids] agreeing on something opposite to this is breaking ijma, and Ibn Hajar, Ibn Salah, Qadi Iyad, Maziri and Qurtubi are all Muqaallids, not Mujtahids

3) “that statement of Abu Bakr al-Assam”

Please can you quote Abu Bakr al-Assam verbatim please, what is he exactly rejecting?

4) “after that statement of Abu Bakr al-Assam, Abu Mansoor used ‘Lakin’ which is him making clear he DOES NOT accept what Abu Bakr al-Assam said”

‘Lakin’ does not support your position. On the contrary, he says ‘Lakin Intha’na fee ma QEELA’ which means “but according to us in terms of what was said, that the Prophet was affected by magic…” So once again he is not affirming but stating “Qeela” which once again is “Seegahtu al Tamreeb”. [see above]

5) “the Hadith in Bukhari is not not under any title for the tafsir or reason of revelation of this chapter. Rather, you will find it under the chapter of magic and whether a dhimmi is killed because of magic performance.”

You quoted from your Mujassim scholar that it was Ijma that the narration was for the two verses, so you according to you Bukhari is rejecting Ijma as he has not put it under the chapter of “Reason of Revelation”. Unless you are accepting Bukhari’s position and as such you are suggesting that the magic occurred twice. One for the two verses and another time as Bukhari never mentioned it in the chapter on reasons for the revelation of certain verses.

6) “is clearly stated in the books of aqidah and you may open any one you wish, you will find that magic cannot affect the Messenger of Allah ﷺ in his mind nor in revelation.”

This is what I am asking you to do. Your hadith in Bukhari clearly states the Prophet lost his mind and was imagining events occurring. Are you rejecting this bit of the hadith or do you accept it? If you accept it then you are contravening the books of Aqeedah [creed or religious dogma] which I am upholding, if you reject that he lost his mind then you are also rejecting selective passages of the hadith. Please explain.

7) “it may have affected him ﷺ just like any other illness and then passed and this was also mentioned by Abu Mansoor in that text.”

It is not mentioned in the text. Bukhari says the Prophet (PBUH) lost his mind, Qadi Iyaad [a later Maliki scholar inclined towards Bukhari and the muhaditheen] said the Prophet was sexually impotent for one year: as he approached his wives, he would lose his erection. Are you rejecting a part of the text in Bukhari and talking the position of Qadi Iyaad? Or are you rejecting both positions and creating a new position?

8) “We do not neglect the intellect, however how can your intellect neglect all of these trustworthy narrators and the ones I have mentioned is just a drop in the sea”

The drop in the sea you speak of, have narrated this hadith in many different contradictory manners, so which drop shall I take as they are not from the same sea. In some narrations it is an immature kid who performs the magic, in others it is a Jewish person, in yet another it is a lady who performs the magic. In some narrations it happened for three days and in others for forty days.

In terms of the intellect and it’s primacy over the single chain narrations, the Hanafis, Shafis, Malikis and some Hanbalis such Ibnul Jawzi apply the intellect on the text of ahad [broadly speaking, single chain narrations]

Also the narrations that you have mentioned are weak even according to the Muhaditheen, because they contain weak and unreliable narrators.

You mentioned that this was narrated by “Ibn Saad and other Thiqaa narrators”. Are you making this statement intentionally or by mistake? All of these are weak. If you narrated this and you didn’t know that’s bad but if you know then that is really scary. You will struggle to find any authentic narration even according to the Muhaditheen except the Aisha one – which is narrated to only Urwa, which is then narrated to only his son Hisham [i.e single chain]. You also said Laith bin Saad narrated it but did you know he narrated it from Hisham? So there is no need to mention a big list of names when the reality is quite different and they are all from the same source.

9) Please translate the verse about magic and Shaykh Abu Mansoor’s Tafseer.

The statements of the brother trying to attribute being under magic and insanity to the Prophet Muhammad as per the Hadith in Bukhari sure do sound like the same statement made by the Mushriks which were admonished by God in the Quran.

10. “Believing in possibility of opposite which was proven is void”

This principle is irrelevant except that I would say believing that the Prophet lost his mind/Impotent is batil (void).

11. Also, a Mujtahid quoting something does not mean he believes in it, as we know the famous incident of Imam Malik – when someone came to him to ask about why he put the hadith about buying and selling and having a choice to nullify the transaction (which is also contained in Bukhari) in his ‘Muwatta’, but he rejected it. Imam Malik replied that “it was to let the people know that he rejected not because he didn’t know it but he rejected knowingly”.

I have taken some time to respond to your points, I expect an academic response, which is on point addressing the points I made without deviating I expect complete honesty, if this does not happen I will end the discussion as I could have used this time to do work that open minded people would actually benefit from.

There is not much to be said here apart from the note that we can see that Ahmed is actually bothering to translate and refraining from name dropping. He is naive to expect an academic discussion though, as will soon become clear.

MJ: 1) Abu Mansoor said ‘Lakin’ and then ‘fi ma qeel’. So he does not accept Abu Bakr’s statement and neither does he see this opinion to be the correct stance according to his tarjih for the reason of revelation. To make it plain and clear as I have already done, ABU MANSOOR HAS REJECTED THAT THIS WAS REVEALED BECAUSE OF THAT INCIDENT. This does not mean he rejected the Hadith. Where is the dilalal iltizaam in this which you are making?

Continued use of obscurantist language and untranslated terms to hide the simple fact that there is no factual content to this statement at all, other than to hide that Imam Maturidi unambiguously rejected black magic being done on the Prophet. MJ, who I remind you, is an Islamic scholar of ‘note’, shamelessly continues to obfuscate by saying that Maturidi is not rejecting that the Prophet suffered from black magic but rather that he rejects that there are passages of the Quran revealed for this purpose. Assuming that is true, in this lengthy dialogue, we have not seen MJ or his cronies show Maturidi’s acceptance, other than by insisting that there is no way that Maturidi could have disagreed with Bukhari et al so it must be true.

2) I quoted from that book and the author said ‘ittafaq’. By ‘unanimous’ I did not mean ‘ijma‘. Furthermore now you are hiding being men and saying Abu Mansoor a mujtahid is my evidence. You still have no leg to stand on because he has not rejected that Hadith on magic as I have made absolutely clear.

I hope the readers can appreciate the rank hypocrisy here of Muslim scholars: having appealed to argument from authority ad-nauseum, he is nonetheless affronted when it is applied against him. Even to the extent that he is objecting to the authority of Maturidi being used to show Maturidi’s own opinion!

Note the astonishing dishonesty – he deliberately fails to address why he narrated the position of Maturidi’s from a 1970’s avowedly Salafi scholar’s book. As I have hopefully made clear – Salafis are modernists – 1400 years of learning and tradition go in the bin for the rants of their latter day 20th century scholars – yet Salafis decry ‘modernists’. That’s like a lesbian calling a gay man ‘homosexual’ in a derogatory manner.

3) Abu Bakr is stating that “there is a narration which they have mentioned which is not permissible, so I left it.” Who is they? And what is not permissible? If it’s because of what I have already mentioned, then Ahl us Sunna have already clarified the boundaries of magic with Qur’an and Hadith.

4) This has been addressed previously.

5) you are know only attempting to refute me because I quoted from ‘Adhwaa Bayaan’. This has not refuted my case about the sentence you are trying to refute here. Very academic indeed Sulaiman….

Notice the true colours of the alleged Hanafi authority here: he is crying foul because he has been criticised for narrating from Wahhabi scholars. He sees no issue with narrating the position of Maturidi through those who label him a heretic and are the antithesis of his theology. As I mentioned at the beginning, that is the whole game of Salafism: narrate the position of the classical schools falsely through the mouths of Wahhabi scholars for the purpose of appropriating the authority and following of the classical schools for their own nefarious modernism and heresy.

It is exactly the same as someone arguing that we should ask Martin Luther what the position of the Pope was on a particular matter.

6) I accept what the narration says. However it was, it was just like an illness which came upon him ﷺ and then he ﷺ was cured by Allah.

Remember, the narration in question asserts that the Prophet lost his mind and didn’t know what he was doing and became impotent. Perhaps for a period of three months. He is ashamed to say that he accepts this. This is a good thing.

7) again, Abu Mansoor states three opinions why these Surahs were revealed and the third he said is because he ﷺ was affected by magic. He does that take this stance for the reason of revelation but he does not reject the fact anywhere in that text that he rejects magic. He has only rejected that this was the reason for revelation.

8) I will struggle? Read again and look at the narrators and the hukm [command] given.

9) Abu mansoor has said that they are oppressors because they knew he was not crazy and not affected my magic and they said this to him and related to him whatever they did regarding magic and loss of mind and this is not the case.

I have mentioned what the mushrikeen did and how this relates to them and it’s context. You are now creating a new addition from your own mind and putting that Hadith into this where there is no correlation apart from the word. Look at the previous lines before he underlined part which says,

“They conspired between themselves that he is affected my magic and he is crazy and he is a sorcerer. Then Allah informed His Prophet ﷺ what they were hiding and conspiring in order to guide them to his message and for them to know that he ﷺ knows what has been conspired by Allah.”

Finally, in desperation, he is offering a translation. Why not start in this manner instead of offering untranslated technical terms to show his ‘scholarly’ credentials?

10) the principle stands and you are rejecting it based on Intellect and no textual evidence which is no hujjah zahirah at all. If you reject principles of usool and logic, what basis at you talking from?!?!?

I just want readers to note Wahhabi stupidity: in the first sentence he accuses Ahmad of rejecting a principle based on his use of intellect. He then, in the very next sentence chastises him for rejecting and not using ‘epistemology and logic’ i.e intellect. This is simply moronic but is in fact the style Wahhabis employ while debating non-Muslims, in which case they apply ‘science and logic’, which they promptly forget when it comes to hadith, which are to be judged on ‘chain only’, unless of course they wish to show us where clashing with reality or observation was a criteria for rejection of hadith. The inconsistency is galling and would put off any prospective ‘religious shopper’

Sulaiman Ahmed, not in one place have you academically refuted my argument against you. Rather you sit there and just curse one man after another and at the same time reject these trustworthy narrators. Did you know in fiqh to to ta’n (accuse) to a trustworthy person (‘adl) you need your hujjah zahirah otherwise you get whipped? You are doing ta’n to a great number of them such as Sufyan b. ‘Uyaynah, Sufyan ath-thawri, [these were hadith scholars who showed great enmity to Hanafites – recall that it is the Hanafi position that is being debated here, yet these people are being brought as ‘reliable witnesses’ – note the complete subterfuge; MJ is very obviously from the outset a Salafi posing as a Hanafi] Ibn Namir etc.

Violence threatened in a cowardly and veiled way – ‘you deserve to be whipped etc’. Salafi 101 again and more proof if it was needed that despite their denials, ISIS is an authentic ”Islamic State” – as far as Wahhabis go anyway

Imam Malik also rejected the fact that Awais Al-Qarni existed and this is in Sahih Muslim?!?!? The ‘ulama understand his to be that this Hadith with that chain didn’t reach him when he said that and then later on when his was related to him with the chain he did accept this.

So my argument as before still stands, where does Abu mansoor reject the Hadith of magic? (The answer is nowhere because he doesn’t and I have explained what he is rejecting. You are taking a snippet out of its context and then you accuse others of this. Have some dignity!). If the public don’t believe me, please take that copy to any learned scholar and ask them to explain it to you and if they said opposite to what i have said, let me know.

Since you cannot prove Abu mansoor said it, I ask you to prove how you make takhsees (specify) the verse that you quote “Allah will protect you from mankind” to only this Hadith and magic. Where is the evidence to say it is only for that and not any other harm? As you know, takhsees needs evidence otherwise the verse remains ‘aam (general) so it should mean no harm will come to him ﷺ in any form but it is known he ﷺ had rotten meat thrown on him and had stones thrown at him in ta’if and his ﷺ upper garment pulled such that it left a mark on his ﷺ blessed neck, may my mother and father be sacrificed for him ﷺ.

I love how he has suddenly decided to start translating technical terms! Bit late in the game. Notice the overly dramatic and unacademic offers to sacrifice his mum and dad for the Prophet. This is the kind of nonsense which makes the irreligious look down their nose at Muslim scholars.

If you have no script evidence for takhsees, then you only have the intellect to do takhsees. And you doing takhsees on a matter by YOUR intellect against Ahl us Sunna which you see to be the case which is totally flawed.

Note the famously inconsistent position on the intellect of not only Wahhabis but also Muslim scholars in general. He has variously chastised Ahmed for using it and not using it. Here we have anew bastardisation: He is accusing Ahmed of using his intellect instead of that of ‘Ahlus Sunnah‘. Leaving aside the impossibility of using anyone else’s intellect or indeed other mental components, this is just argument from authority and indeed, we saw who he means by ‘Ahlus Sunnah‘ – a Wahhabi and a couple of name-dropped Muhaditheen (Ibn Hajar and Ibn Salah)

Block me if you wish, but I hope the public can see the lies and deceit you guys are putting on the public platform and attempting to lead people astray.

Not once, and the public and academics can see, have you actually refuted my argument with textual evidence or support. You have just picked a name and decided to curse him and then use that against me throughout this whole thing.

جاء الحق و زهق الباطل. أن الباطل كان زهوقا

Allah says, “Truth has come and falsehood has perished. Indeed, falsehood is bound to be perished.”

The abuse of both Quran and hadith to insult ones opponent and play to the gallery is disgustingly common in encounters with Wahhabites.

That is the nature of these false claims which is in reality your opinion and Shaykh Atabek, not the Hanafi madhab.

This is very fresh coming from someone who demands that Hanafi madhab be taken from Salafis, Muhaditheen, Shafis, Hanbalis…in short, anyone but Hanafis!

And if you want more chains of that Hadith, Ibn Hajar [another muhaddith from the rival Shafi/A’shari school] in ‘Fath Al-Bari’ goes into significant detail about the turuq and different chains [just above he treated us to a lengthy passage about all the different chains of the hadith – but now when exposed that all of these amount to just one chain, he abstains from quoting again and merely tells us to ‘look it up’. So why not present the ‘different’ chains in his original one page post on ‘chains’ (plural) which was in fact just one chain? The answer is simple and ells you a lot about Muslim scholars – he assumes you can’t look it up in Arabic]

Be aware of these scholars, some of whom (the first two only) are indeed top scholars, that Salafis almost exclusively rely on: Ibn Hajar, Ibn Salah, Albani, Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Qayyum, Uthaymeen and Ibn Baz. Most other they mention will be intimately connected to these. The Deoband school add Gangohi and the Thanwi’s amongst others. It always comes back to these very latter day guys. Presumably Islam did not exist until they came along, much like how Orientalists such as Tom Holland (too stupid to even be called an orientalist) assert.

SA: Wow. I don’t know what to say. I did in fact expect such a weak response without any research, academia and unscientific as your Shaykh Samir an-Nass calls it, but I was hoping for more. Sad times. In your post all you did was try to insult and rather than answer any of the points and in fact what frustrates me is that I wasted my time with someone who did not have the calibre nor the academic honesty to address this issue. The remaining responses from your side should be from Shaykh Samir an-Nass himself. At least, I hope, there will be a better and on point response.

1) Issue of ‘Qeela’ being ‘Seeghat al-Tamreedh’ NOT ADDRESSED

2) I quoted two mujtahid Mufassirs, you quoted your Salafi imam. I asked for mujtahid Mufassirs on your side. NOT ADDRESSED

3) Abu Bakr is stating that “there is a narration which they have mentioned which is not permissible, so I left it.” Who is they? And what is not permissible?

Rest of your statement is assumption. So we don’t know which position Abu Bakr al-Assam was in fact rejecting. How have you made this magical assumption? NOT ADDRESSED

4) After ‘LAKIN’ it says ‘QEELA‘, still NOT ADDRESSED

Ahmed still hasn’t realised the banality of the game being played against him: he simply is too inexperienced and naive to appreciate that the whole gambit of the Salafists rests on simply mistranslating the word ‘Qeela‘ refusing to admit that it is a sort of prefix which denies what comes after it (in its scholarly use by Muslims). He does not realise that the whole charade is about denying that ‘Qeela’ is used to reject something. He is soon to be disabused of his naiveté.

5) Did not answer if magic happened twice or once and why your points are contradictory. NOT ADDRESSED

6) You accept narration that the Prophet lost his mind but then have not shown why you contradictorily reject this and say it was an illness, and when you accept the Hadith in Bukhari why you are contradicting the books of aqeedah. NOT ADDRESSED

7) You accept the Hadith in Bukhari about the Prophet losing his mind. In the Hadith it does not say he had an illness. Where on earth did you get this information from? Again, NOT ADDRESSED

8) NOT ADDRESSED

9) “They conspired between themselves that he is affected by magic and he is crazy (lost his mind) and he is a sorcerer. Then Allah informed His Prophet ﷺ what they were hiding and conspiring in order to guide them to his message and for them to know that he ﷺ knows what has been conspired by Allah.”

The verse of the Quran matches up nicely with your views.

10) Saying the Prophet has lost his mind is ‘batil’ [iniquitous falsehood]

11) Imam Malik not knowing a) something exists and b) rejecting a Hadith and nonetheless placing it in his collection for illustration that he dares to reject it are in fact two different things. NOT ADDRESSED

12) The Question you ask about ‘Thasees’, there is an easy answer that a student who learns one basic book in Usul [epistemology] can answer and I will also address this once you do what I said.

At least Ahmed is not naive enough to jump from point to point as the Salafis would like him to do.

13) “That is the nature of these false claims which is in reality your opinion and Shaykh Atabek, not the Hanafi madhab”

No brother with my claim I have two giant Mufusareen [Quranic commentators] that the reason for revelation was not magic but instead was to teach.

On your side you have shown only a Salafist imam and if you work hard, which you didn’t, you may find opinions of Muqaallids.

In reality what it is that you are doing is forcing impotence on the Prophet so it matches up with your Salafi-Deobandi version of Islam. You can have that version of Islam but please don’t make it look like it is the original Hanafi position. We’ve seen this in arguments before where the Prophet (PBUH) is made lower than other creatures. I’m not being sectarian – people can follow any sect they wish but your slander needs to be addressed. In reality, the Deobandi and Salafist Muslims have been fixated with these Hadith to denigrate the Prophet (PBUH) and have influenced everyone. But now some do Mawlids [this is a celebration of the Prophet’s birthday and is hated by puritanical groups like the Wahhabis, Salafis, Deobandis etc]. I don’t accept this version of Islam.

You then quoted erroneous and emotional tripe about ‘truth coming’, this is why you were not given ijaza [permission to teach or the equivalent of a diploma or certificate of competence] by Shaykh Atabek in aqeedah [creed] and tajweed [Arabic pronunciation]. He was most likely concerned that you would place your Salafist-Deobandi version of Islam on it. Like I said, I have no problem with your sect but don’t make it out as though it is the position of the Hanafi giants of this ummah, who actually respected the Prophet (PBUH).

Back on point, you haven’t taken the time to address anything. I’m not being horrible but the rules to discussion are that you’re well versed in the field you are discussing and that does not mean collecting ijazas but studying intensively. So it means strong knowledge in Hanafi Usul, Hanafi and Shafi Mustalah, terminologies used by scholars, Hanafi Fiqh [jurispudence], Maturidi and Ashari aqeedah for this issue. I’m not confident based on the discussion you have expertise on this issue. I had many more points to make but my initial ones weren’t even addressed.

Brother, don’t take this personally. But as you have not addressed anything at all, I want you instead to relieve yourself, and take my points to your teacher, Shaykh Samir an-Nass [a famous ‘Hanafi’ scholar from Syria who is basically a Salafi] and let him address them. I hope his arguments will be on point and he will address each issue and will understand the points I have made and we can continue discussing this issue. Please don’t waste our time with a response that even a beginner student can make.

So your next post should be from Shaykh Samir an-Nass.

MJ: You haven’t read a word of what I have said. You claim to be behind Abu Mansoor when he doesn’t even mention what you say. So you don’t have a mujtahid. I’m not standing behind a salafi. Ibn Kathir mentions this in Surah Falaq tafsir with his chain, if only you read what I wrote.

Hilariously, Ibn Kathir is another ”go to” Imam of the Salafis: he is in fact well known for narrating anthropomorphisms and is a student of Salafi archfiend Ibn Taymiyya – next to whom he is buried. In any case, literally no one accepts Ibn Kathir as an Imam of Creed nor is he in any way qualified to challenge the opinion of Maturidi, even according to his not inconsiderable fan club. He is also, as per Salafist protocol, very late (after Ibn Taymiyya and so 15th century onwards)

I’m sorry Sulaiman. But you have shown no light of knowledge at all. Allah help you and all those that are falling for this.

I have told you the that hujjah [proof] is upon the muda’i (the claimer). You have your claim and it was flawed. So Abu Mansoor is not on your side. Abu Bakr opinion is not taken by Abu Mansoor. So at the moment you are behind a Mu’tazilte [the hated enemies of Muhaditheen and Salafis and the go to guys when trying to accuse someone of heresy. Salafist groups and sadly most A’sharis as well, condition their students from childhood to imagine the rationalist Mu’tazzila as the worst things ever, whereas the barbaric violent Khawarij, who ironically were also rationalists and hadith rejecters are given a ”pass”. We will ignore the foolishness of narrating hadith from people who don’t recognise the validity of hadith – namely the Khawarij] opinion. That’s your standing. And oh yeah, your own whim and intellect.

You see to try and respect the Prophet ﷺ, when in fact you disrespect his inheritors and disrespect him ﷺ.

Anybody who understands what I have written will know that you have addressed nothing and you have no leg to stand on. Abu Mansoor, Rahim Ullah, is free from your claims.

Salafist- Deobandi Islam? Name calling again and another conclusion from nothing. You can even make takhsees of my approach based on your intellect of putting snippets together and here we have a Salafist-Deobandi? Nice usool.

Anyway, it’s clear you don’t want to discuss academically. I leave you to know that Abu Mansoor does not support you and you are behind a mu’tazilte opinion. That is what we have gathered already.

Wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmat Ullahi wa barakaatoh.

Again, notice the typical Salafi Latin drama antics and the accusations of name calling…while himself name calling. Also notice the vile ‘Salafi Sin’ of not admitting that one is a Salafi – nor does he deny it though.

SA: You have not addressed one point. I even numbered them to make it easy for you. Please take them to your shaykh. I expect a better response after the time I have taken.

You keep saying I’m behind the Mutazalite Abu Bakr Al-Assam’s opinion yet you yourself established that we didn’t know his opinion. Complete dishonesty and frankly, deception and lying.

In reality at that time Hashwis (Salafists equivalents in the classical period), hated all Hanafis and called them ‘Mutazalite’. Even Abu Hanifa was called Mutazalite as he didn’t adhere to your Salafist version of Islam.

We have here an important point for the uninitiated: Muslims who are educated in or exposed to Deo-Salafi mosques or teachers are taught from an early age that Imam Ahmad was subjected to imprisonment and torture by the Mu’tazzilites under the reign of Caliph Ma’moun (or his successor). However, as has been made abundantly clear by orientalists and genuine scholars, this is half a story. Ahmad was imprisoned for maybe 18 moths or perhaps much less. He was not executed (unlike Malik and Abu Hanfia who were assassinated). After the time of the ‘minha‘ which was the inquisition up to assert whether Muslim scholars believed in the created-ness of the Quran (of which Ahmad fell foul since his position was that the Quran is uncreated in its written and recited form – incidentally, the wrong position, though students are never told this), which frankly was rather mild as seen by Imam Ahmad’s survival, there was a counter inquisition by the Muhaditheen and Hanbali mobs which led to the murder of countless Hanafites and Mu’tazillites – Ahmed has cottoned on to the fact that when Muhaditheen of old are talking about ‘mutazzilites’, they in fact mean all of their enemies, particularly Hanafis. The elevation of Imam Ahmad’s trial and the wilful ignorance of the genocide of his opponents that followed it (recently displayed by Jonathan AC Brown, a crypto-Salafist himself) is a standard trope of Deo-Salafists as they find it expedient to support the Muhaditheen and Salafis against the Hanafites, more galling in the Deobandi case given they claim to be Hanafis themselves.

In reality you have shown you are with the Salafist-Deobandi version of Islam. Ibn Kathir [as mentioned, a Quranic commentator again, inclined against Hanafis and a student of Salafi arch-fiend Ibn Taymiyyah] is a muqallid (you do know what that means right?).

‘Respecting knowledge’ is in fact tackling issues that you have studied intensively. So are you an expert in the Hanafi/Shafi school? From this discussion it seems neither.

If you are not addressing this academically and on point and are not able to analyse the points I have made, as you don’t know basic terminologies then at least look at it from the position of how disgusting your view is:

The Prophet (PBUH) is impotent is your position, and as related by Qadi Iyad [a Maliki jurist highly regarded, but again, a partisan of hadith and advocate of ignoring Maliki hadith methodology in favour of accepting reports willy-nilly] this was for one whole year, would you say the same about your own father or yourself? Disgusting.

The Prophet Muhammad lost his mind and didn’t know when he was having sex. Disgusting.

The Prophet Muhammad would approach his wife and he would become ‘limp’ as Qadi Iyad said. Disgusting.

These are what you mean by ‘physical illness’ which you convoluted yourself.

Indeed, Salafis often play to the gallery – MJ asserted the Prophet was suffering from physical illnesses, after the assertions of previous scholars such as Iyad – but he deliberately omitted what these ailments were, and they were indeed most foul, for the sake of masking the real difficulties with the ”gotta accept them all’ approach to the narrations of Bukhari

But then you guys say we ‘respect’ the Prophet Muhammad when it is time for Mawlid. £££ (ca – ching!) £££ [a reference to the donations which are made by Muslims on the Prophet’s birthday]

Like I said take my point to your Shaykh, Samir al-Nass as I had many more proofs waiting. And when he responds, I will respond.

Samir An Naas is a famous scholar and senior of MJ. He also claims to be a Hanafite but is indistinguishable form a Salafist.

I’m disappointed because unlike Shaykh Atabek, who knows nearly all of this from the top of his head, it takes me a long time to research, to make sure the point I narrate is relevant to the point, is strong, has basis and refutes the point of the other person. When this is not reciprocated, then it is terribly disappointing.

This shows how foolish Ahmed is – he is unaware of the epic time wasting strategies of Salafis. We saw this repeatedly on this site where they would refuse to translate, demand proofs and when proffered, would disengage.

MJ: Hang on, I’m a salafi, do I celebrate mawlid? (According to you)

As you can see, you are no longer fit to debate. You tell people to study and say you have so many points. You haven’t made one at all to engage the discussion. You hide behind your status of ‘shaykh’ [teacher, scholar or literally ‘old man’] which you gained in how many years sorry? And then say I don’t have time and I have a lot more but I wait.

It would be interested to hear you read one line in Arabic correctly. For a while you guys in Avicenna used to call ‘mustalah Hadith’ as ‘mustalal’

Recall that MJ was complaining about ‘name calling’ previously. The ‘bad manners’ or adhab card is also inconsistently employed by all stripes of Islamic scholars.

This is the end of the so-called discussion.

I hope the public have seen your deceit and treachery. Hiding behind I could do this and that and not engage the points and rather just keep saying you don’t know this and don’t know that. Anybody with some idea, is aware of the points I made have basis in fiqh, usool and Hadith. And yours? Show me someone other than Avicenna who will give basis and backing to your approach and is not Mu’tazili.

If you didn’t get the idea from the get go, the game here is to repeatedly accuse Ahmed of being a Mu’tazzilte heretic, which the Muslims have suitably been conditioned to hate and switch off to for years.

Allah help you all.

SA: You have not addressed any of my points, since you know that they don’t match with your Salafi-Deobandi version of Islam. Hence why you hate the Hanafi way.

What made you ‘shaykh’ is that you happened to be born in Iran and as such can speak Arabic. I’m afraid, like many other claiming to be Sheikhs, that’s it. According to you Prophet is impotent and yet you want to celebrate his Mawlid. Odd.

It is sad that it takes Ahmed this long to realise that the only ‘knowledge’ that 90% of Muslim scholars have is the ability to read Arabic. If they even come across a layman with a little bit of knowledge and the ability to read Arabic they are nixed. That’s the whole game. It is also why Salafis immediately start teaching their adepts Arabic (poorly). To impress on the poor Muslims that they have ‘knowledge’. It is just as how some people in the Developing world lionise anyone who can speak English.

Look the last few posts – we are needlessly posting against each other.

Ask Shaykh Samir to respond to each numbered point I made with references and proof. If he does, then he has proven his point. If not, I have proven mine.

MJ: I am salafi but yet I celebrate mawlid according to you? I hate the Hanafi way? Some teachers of mine are Hanafi and senior Hanafi scholars.

So I was born in Iran and I speak Arabic and it makes me shaykh? Strange deduction again.

This discussion was over a long time ago. You must bring your evidence forth for you to reject Bukhari and it must be clear evidence. Abu Mansoor text is not supporting you. If Abu Bakr is all you have, then that has been flawed already. So what’s left? Your opinion based in your intellect and I think this is what you were getting at before where you feel you can do takhsees of that verse with your opinion and reach this conclusion and then remove the Nass.

Remember that a clear text right at the start where Imam Abu Mansooor Maturidi clearly says that he rejects the narrations of Bukhari (which had not been compiled then) where the Prophet Muhammad is affected by Black Magic? But MJ keeps pretending that this has not happened, or that the text does not exist. Once again, he is banking on showmanship to trump scholarship and on you not knowing Arabic or the meanings of the words ”qeela” and ‘lakin‘. It is just shocking and why I felt that readers have to see the depths that so – called Islamic scholars will go to for the ends of misleading people. They are no less than the most cunning baptist ministers.

Do not bring shaykh samir’s name into this conversation. If he wants to deal with you, he will. He already has dealt with you on that video, but if you want to bring this nonsense to him, then it is up to him how he wants to deal with you guys, May Allah Preserve him.

SA: If you are slandering me, I am okay with it but It is funny how you keep saying ‘you guys’. Don’t show any respect to your own teacher Shaykh Atabek? You have learnt and studied from him, grovelled for Ijaza [permission to teach], which was refused and then you insult him publicly. Is this you version of ‘Prophetic Knowledge’? Have a bit of shame.

If you post again without addressing the point I will keep posting the points that were not addressed. You can consult with Shaykh Samir and bring evidence to answer the question.

1) Issue of Qeela being Seeghat al-Tamreedh NOT ADDRESSED

2) I quoted two mujtahid Mufassirs [senior-most commentators on the Quran], you quoted your Salafi imam. I asked for mujtahid Mufassirs from your side. NOT ADDRESSED

3) Abu Bakr is stating that “there is a narration which they have mentioned which is not permissible, so I left it.” Who are ‘they’? And what is not permissible?

The rest of your statement is assumption. So we don’t know which position Abu Bakr al-Assam was in fact rejecting. How have you made the magic assumption? NOT ADDRESSED

4) After ‘LAKIN’ it says ‘QEELA’, still NOT ADDRESSED

5) You did not answer whether magic happened twice or once and why your points are contradictory. NOT ADDRESSED

6) You ‘accept’ narration that the Prophet lost his mind but then have not shown why you actually reject this and say it was an illness and why when you accept the Hadith in Bukhari why you are at the same time contradicting the books of aqeedah [creed]. NOT ADDRESSED

7) You accept the Hadith in Bukhari about the Prophet losing his mind. In the Hadith it does not say he had an ‘illness’. Where did you get that from? Again NOT ADDRESSED

8) NOT ADDRESSED

9) “They conspired between themselves that he is affected my magic and he is crazy (lost his mind) and he is a sorcerer. Then Allah informed His Prophet ﷺ what they were hiding and conspiring in order to guide them to his message and for them to know that he ﷺ knows what has been conspired by Allah.”

The verse of the Quran matches up nicely with your views.

10) Saying the Prophet has lost his mind is batil [false]

11) Imam Malik not knowing something exists and rejecting Hadith and placing it in his collection are two different things. NOT ADDRESSED

12) The Question you ask about Thasees, there is an easy answer that a student who learns one basic book in Usul [epistemic or juristic principles] can answer – and I will also address this, once you do what I said.

If these points a unequivocally refuted then my position is refuted.

Until then however, I have proven that Shaykh Abu Mansoor rejected that the verses were revealed due to the Prophet (PBUH) being affected by Black Magic. So I say Shaykh Abu Mansoor al-Maturidi was rejecting the black magic on the Prophet (PBUH).

When scholars use the word “Qeela” it is “Seeghat al-Tamreedh“.

What is “Seeghat Al-Tamreedh“?

MJ: How Maturidi uses lakn and qila can be seen in other places. Like:
(2.a) Maturidi said,
وقوله: (فِي الصور) قيل الصور هو القرن ينفخ فيه النفخة الأولى فيصعق من في السماوات ومن في الأرض إلا من شاء اللَّه، ثم ينفخ فيه مرة فإذا هم قيام ينظرون. ومنهم من يقول أي نفخ الروح في صور الخلق؛ لكن جمع الصورة الصور، بنصب الواو فلا يحتمل أن يكون المراد منه جمع الصورة
(2.b)
ومنهم من ذكر أن الكافور شيء جرى ذكره في الكتب المتقدمة فذكر كذلك في القرآن. ومنهم من قال إنه عين من عيون الجنة. ومنهم من صرفه إلى الكافور المعروف. لكن قيل إنه كناية عن طيب الشراب وقيل إنه كناية عن برودة الشراب لأنه ذكر أن ذلك الشراب في طبعه كالكافور لأن ألذ الشراب عند الناس البارد منه لا أن يكون في نفسه باردا وذكروا أن الكأس لا تسمى كأسا حتى يكون فيها خمر.
(3.b)
قيل فيه بوجهين وإلا فظاهر القصاص لا يكون حياة، لكن قيل من تفكره في نفسه قتلها إذا قتل آخر ارتدع عن قتله، فتحيا النفسان جميعا.

MJ: Also, Naysaburi makes basically the same point as Sahib Adwa’ al-Bayan:
وقال جمهور المفسرين إن لبيد بن الأعصم اليهودي سحر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في إحدى عشرة عقدة في وتر ودسه في بئر ذي أروان فمرض النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم واشتد ذلك عليه ثلاث ليال فنزلت المعوذتان وأخبره جبرائيل بموضع السحر فأرسل عليا بطلبه وجاء به وقال جبرائيل اقرأ السورتين فكان كلما يقرأ آية تنحل عقدة فيجد بعض الراحة والخفة حتى إذا أتمهما فكأنما أنشط من عقال. طعنت المعتزلة في هذه الرواية بأنها توجب تسلط الكفار والأشرار على الأنبياء.

MJ: From Tafsir al-Qurtubi,

مَعَ اتِّفَاقِ الْمُفَسِّرِينَ عَلَى أَنَّ سَبَبَ نُزُولِهَا مَا كَانَ مِنْ سِحْرِ لَبِيَدِ بْنِ الْأَعْصَمِ، وَهُوَ مِمَّا خَرَّجَهُ الْبُخَارِيُّ وَمُسْلِمٌ وَغَيْرُهُمَا عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا قَالَتْ: سَحَرَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَهُودِيٌّ مِنْ يَهُودِ بَنِي زُرَيْقٍ يُقَالُ لَهُ لَبِيَدُ بْنُ الْأَعْصَمِ، الْحَدِيثَ. وَفِيهِ: أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ لَمَّا حُلَّ السِّحْرِ: (إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَفَانِي). وَالشِّفَاءُ إِنَّمَا يَكُونُ بِرَفْعِ الْعِلَّةِ وَزَوَالِ الْمَرَضِ، فَدَلَّ عَلَى أَنَّ لَهُ حَقًّا وَحَقِيقَةً، فَهُوَ مَقْطُوعٌ بِهِ بِإِخْبَارِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى وَرَسُولُهُ عَلَى وُجُودِهِ وَوُقُوعِهِ. وَعَلَى هَذَا أَهْلُ الْحَلِّ وَالْعَقْدِ الَّذِينَ يَنْعَقِدُ بِهِمُ الْإِجْمَاعُ، وَلَا عِبْرَةَ مَعَ اتِّفَاقِهِمْ بِحُثَالَةِ الْمُعْتَزِلَةِ وَمُخَالَفَتِهِمْ أَهْلَ الْحَقِّ.

[none translated – and two of them are from A’sharis, which is a creed already accepting that the Prophet was affected by Black Magic – and this is not even under discussion – the issue is what did Maturidi say, since he disagrees with A’sharis on this. Nonetheless, notice the shocking dishonesty of Muslim scholars – bringing A’sharites as untranslated Arabic proofs of the Maturidi position. It’s like narrating form a Democrat and saying ‘this is the Republican position’].

He is again banking on your ability not to read Arabic – Arabic readers note that Maturidi is again using ‘qeela‘ to reject what comes after – MJ is simply to dishonest or foolish to understand this as he cannot fathom or allow you to see that Maturidi disagrees with Bukhari.

Finally, MJ gets to the point. But why was this not brought before? Remember, Muslims scholars, like hyenas, usually hunt in packs. He is no doubt being helped by his partisans such as Samir An Naas. See how we suddenly have ‘new’ evidence. It would have been useful to have this from the start.

SZH: Although The hadith of Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) being affected by magic is narrated by Bukhari, ibn sa’d but as per the Usool hadith, ”Riwayatan” this hadith is weak

-As per the Hadith 5765 of Bukhari ‘The comb and hairs etc were taken out from the well’ BUT at the same time, as per the hadith 5766 of Bukhari ‘these things were NOT taken out of the well’
-as per hadith 5765 of Bukhari due to magic Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) would think he had done a work but actually he wouldn’t have done it’.
-as per hadith from Tabaqat of Ibn Sa’d vol 2 page 152
‘due to magic Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) when he looked at anything he would think it any other thing’ i.e his eyesight was affected.
-as per Hadith 19765 from Musannaf Abdr Razaq ‘Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) became impotent (العياذ بالله) for ONE year
-As per Hadith of ibn Sa’d vol 2 page 153, when 11 verse (of al-Falq and al-Naas [chapters of the Quran]) were recited, the threads/knots would open (from the thing on which magic spell was made)…but HERE it should be noted that These Suras are ‘Makki’ [Meccan period] whereas the magic incident is ‘Madni’ [Madinan period, i./e later in the Prophets life]

So as per Muhadiseen this Hadith is مضطرب
Similarly it opposes the Quran
Eg:

ولا يفلح الساحر حيث اتی
‘…. and wherever a magician may come, he will not be successful.’
Sura Taha verse 69.

So that is why it is best to reject this hadith.

Similarly the incident of Magic is narrated to be done after the Treaty of Hudaybia, and in that year the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) was busy in achieving victory in many battles and many other things but this narration says that his mind/body/eyesight was affected. So it is not possible for a person who is affected by magic on mind/body to do these lots of victories.

MJ: I think you will find that if you read some tafsir books and Hadith books that this is not the case. Please reference the book you are quoting from when you say the Hadith is mudhtarib. Jazak Allahu khayra.

But this new interloper, yet another Muslim scholar, already explained it and gave the reasons for weakness. Instead of addressing the complaints against the hadith, he wants the book from which the interloper derived the complaints. Textualist when it suits, rationalist when it suits…

SA: Shaykh Syed Zahid Hussain, thank you for taking your time to being evidence about the weakness of the chains regarding point 7, from what I know you are Hanafi and well versed in the Hanafi school and as such your input will add only benefit to this thread.

But I want to take 1 point at a time. Because posting a lot of things causes too much dust and the issue is lost.

MJ, lets both of us keep on point and not take snipes at each other, even with back handed comments. Let’s bring honesty to the discussion.

1) You bought some texts from Asharis [theological group, related closely to the party of hadith], when I already that they believe in the sexual impotence of the Prophet. In terms of the Maturidi text you bought we can discuss that issue in a different thread BUT you still haven’t answered the question:

When scholars use the word “Qeela” it is “Seeghat Al-Tamreedh

Ahmed has finally cottoned on to the ruse (very late in the game) – Salafis wish to deny that ‘qeela‘ is ‘seeghat al tamreedh‘- namely, a way of rejecting what follows the word ‘qeela‘. By denying that this is the case, Salafis can literally make ‘no’ into ‘yes’ and completely re-write all of Islamic scholarship.

Don’t believe me? Then keep reading.

What is ‘Seegah Al-Tamreedh‘?

Please answer this question as this is where we are disagreeing. I am saying Imam Maturidi is rejecting the hadith and you’re saying he is not.

Please let’s stay on topic.

When scholars use the word “Qeela” it is “Seeghat Al-Tamreedh

What is ‘Seegah Al-Tamreedh‘?

RP: Please continue Shaykh Sulaiman…the proofs have been very convincing thus far and furthermore you are doing a great spiritual service to the honour of the Prophet by bringing to bear scholarly arguments, the very lack of which are the basis for well meaning supporters of the Prophets isma being maligned as opposers of the authentic traditions. Your task is in its very nature noble and the opposition’s can only be miserable.

Finally, someone intercedes on behalf of the Prophet. And it only took about 20 pages.

MJ: Here is Tahawi in Sharh Mushkil Athaar (vol 15 pg 180) speaking about magic. This is the narration of Zayd b. Arqam which states that the Prophet ﷺ was affected by magic by one of the Jews and the Falaq and naas were revealed.

 4
 This is the page preceding that which is the narration of ‘Aishah
 5
This is what Tahawi said in conclusion to these two narrations,“Both of these narrations indicate that the action of magic did remain to the time where the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was affected by magic. So if it can remain until then, it can continue also after that.”
 6
[Not translated]
See how he doesn’t want to address the issue about the word ‘qeela‘ denoting rejection?
And why are we talking about Tahawi when the discussion was about Maturidi? Games and name dropping. Jumping from point to point is a strategy of all dishonest people but is typified in Muslims by Salafists
  
SA: Please answer the question I have asked numerous times, I will then deal with the issues you have presented. What is ‘Seegah Al-Tamreedh‘? Please answer this question as this is where we are disagreeing. I am saying Imam Maturidi is rejecting the hadith and you’re saying he is not. Please let’s stay on topic. When scholars use the word “Qeela” it is “Seeghat Al-Tamreedh“. What is ‘Seegah Al-Tamreedh‘?
 

MJ: Seegah at-Tamreedh is used generally to indicate that this is not the reliable position. However context is important and not always does ‘qeela’ mean it is weak. Regardless, when he said, “However, according to us from what has been said (fi ma qeel) the Prophet ﷺ was affected by magic” and then explained it in two ways. He said qeela in all the other ones as well except the teaching. So at the end he has confirmed that his opinion FOR THE REASON OF REVELATION was the first to teach. Again, I repeat myself, he has not rejected magic being done to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. He has rejected that this was the reason for why these two chapters were revealed. I have previously addressed every point. And anybody that has objective thinking will be aware of that.

You are welcome to discuss this with me in Sheffield in my house. I am no longer going to be involving myself in this debate as I have answered all that you need from before.

Lets see if he sticks to this and stops inflicting his lies on the public – he is now saying something brand new that ‘qeela‘ does not always mean that what comes after it is rejected. Prepare for Salafis to literally throw classical Islam in the bin and then assert that they are combating ”modernists”. Note that he is still trying his fall back position that Maturidi is rejecting that the reason for revelation is magic – but he wants a separate place where Maturidi says it did not happen at all. And we are to accept that in the absence of this, Maturidi did accept that black magic took place on the Prophet Muhammed – the reason is that Bukhari says so and no one is allowed to disagree with him, even Hanafis like Maturidi who do indeed completely disagree with the later scholar and non-Hanafi.

Notice that Maturidi unambiguously rejected the hadith that MJ is claiming was not rejected. Once again, he is banking on a western audience and Arabs with no knowledge of scholarly terminologies, or else his deception is woefully poor.

 
YA: I asked another Shaykh on, and he said qeela doesn’t always mean the weak opinion but can be one that is less known but stronger? Is this correct?
 
MJ: Yes sidi Yusuf. It depends on the context. And I have mentioned a big Hanafi imam at-Tahawi that affirms these Hadith [but no one was talking about Hanafi imams but the meaning of ‘qeela‘ – Tahawi never affirmed that qeela means anything other than weak, as MJ well knows. And as for affirming the hadith, the issue is what Maturidi believes about it, not Tahawi. It is the same as me asking you what Obama’s position on the Iraq war is and you start talking about John Kerry instead].
 
SA: Sidi Yusuf, your teacher is incorrect, please check my post and also the ramifications of such a statement. Jazakallah Sidi
The game is afoot – ‘qeela‘ does not mean to reject what comes after according to the innovation of Salafists. With this MJ can turn all of the times that Muslims scholars said ”rejected’ to ”accepted”. Notice how no reference is given for what qeela means yet – SA is clearly too shocked at someone trying to argue, like a rapist, that ‘no’ means ‘yes’ to appreciate the gravity of the situation. YA’s instructor is also clearly a Salafist – since for 1200 years, no Muslim scholar said that qeela is anything other than a means to reject the thing that comes after it.
 
YA: SA, he’s not actually my teacher but just a scholar. I read your posts and they seem to only relate to hadith being weak, not opinions.
 
They seem to be two different things altogether.
 
SA: ‘Seegha al-tamreedh’ is there in Hadith and other subjects such as usul, aqeeda, fiqh etc. Please check the quote from Ibn Abideen. It’s a big thing as our scholars use ‘Qeela‘ to reject Mujasssim [anthropomorphic] ideas, if you say it is not rejected then Sunni Islam is actually anthropomorphism.
 
YA: But with the Hadith it’s understandable as it’s attributing a saying to the Prophet ﷺ which may not he his speech. However when it comes to opinions, I am told that it could also refer to a lesser known opinion i.e. they use it as opposed to ‘jazm‘.
 
SA: No problem sidi. I’m not here to try to change your view, each person has their own opinion but as I showed Ibn Abideen explained it and he wasn’t talking about Hadith. Also, with your position you can not disagree with Salafists when they say the position of ‘Ahle Sunnah‘ is that God is Jism [a body] as the scholars use ‘Qeela‘ when explaining that they don’t accept this position.
Now Salafis and confused people such as YA are saying that qeela is used to reject hadith but in other contexts it can mean to not reject. This would be pretty weird anyway but SA refers to the opinion of Hanafi Hadith expert Ibn Abideen who clarifies the use of this word and makes it abundantly clear that it means to reject what comes after it whether a hadith or a scholars’ opinion. Note how brazen Salafis are in overturning the meaning of words that have stood unchanged for 1200 years – without so much as a reference!
 
YH: Copy and paste of what he said: “Also, the mutaqalimeen did not use qeela or ruwiya for tamreed. It was a later term. The earlier scholars would use qeela for things that Ahadith that were sahih according to themselves. It was only the later scholars who came up with the usage of seegha at-tamreed to indicate weakness.”
 
Would Abu Mansur RA be considered as the early scholars?
 
SA: Like I said, Ibn Abideen is accepted by all Hanafis and he was a later scholar. If the scholar has shown proof for his position then that’s fine. As we saw on this thread, picture and translate the proof, because cutting snippets never gives an honest idea of what is being presented by the scholar. But if this scholar holds this position then he needs to accept that the Salafi position is also right. He has to follow through on his own principle. God has hands, feet, shin, but not like ours according to him then.
Notice how MJ has to sit this one out – he is in a bind: he was claiming to be a Hanafi and not a Salafi, but he has contradicted an agreed upon Hanafi giant, Ibn Abideen, on the meaning of ‘qeela‘. So he will just hope no one notices. YH has been told that qeela used to mean ‘accept’ but was changed by later people to mean ‘reject’ – a clever inversion since it is in fact Salafis, a modernist group that have changed the meaning – but of course they can baselessly argue that they have in fact gone ‘back’ to the ‘real’ meaning – but sadly, since this is the same as arguing that ‘no’ means ‘yes’, they will not be able to find any source for their wish to do this – motivated, as Ahmed rightly divines, from their desire to take all of the books where Sunni scholars were refuting and denying anthropomorphsism and other Salafi heresies and turn these denials into acceptances (which would make no linguistic or contextual sense anyway). But that’s just how brazen they are.
 
YH: I will message him now. Again, please understand I’m only trying to understand myself and forgive if I sound disrespectful.
 
SA: Brother Yusuf it’s better that you start from the beginning as you didn’t even know who Imam Maturdi was, when explaining the ramification of your statements you may not understand it, as you haven’t looked into the background, so when I say Ibn Abideen, you may think, ‘so what’. But for others its like, Ibn Abideen saying something holds a lot of value. My sincere advice is if you already engaged in the Islamic field, it’s better to start at the beginning.
 
SA: No worries sidi I’m not offended
 
SA: This is the case with all sciences – Muslims have become the most dumbest creatures. So they don’t understand that if they are going to make a statement, they need to follow through with that statement as well as its consequences.
 
SA: Any other issues you can email me with evidence. As for me I’ve proven my position unequivocally.
 
MJ: I sent some examples before as well in Arabic where Abu Mansoor used ‘qeela‘ and its context clearly does not mean a weak position.
I like how he doesn’t want to refer to Ibn Abideen, as then the game would be up. Ahmed lets him get away with it. In those ‘examples’, Maturidi is, like everyone else ever, using qeela to reject that which comes after this word. But since MJ didn’t accept Maturidi’s use of this to reject the issue of black magic because he didn’t like it, there is no reason why he would do any differently in any other issue.
 
RP: It hasn’t ceased to shock me since I began reading about this issue here how much effort is being exerted to back up the claim that the Prophet (saw) was affected by sihr [often translated as ‘magic’]. Hearts should tremble at the possibility of such ijtehad [extrapolation] being incorrect and for what a scary position it is to defend. Anyone with an ounce of piety should pray that the truth be clearly manifest on the lips of Shaikh Sulaiman or anyone defending his position, as imam Shafii would say of his opponent in an argument, especially as this is a khilaaf [disagreed] issue and the safest camp and most noble camp to be in is Shaykh Sulaiman’s as his objectives are noble. Further, it’s hard to fault his methodology too.
Finally, another onlooker is forced to intercede for the Prophets reputation, attempted to be molested by Muslim scholars.
 
MJ: Just a final point, you have admitted in your post previously what my case was, and I quote you, “Until then I have proven that shaykh Abu Mansoor rejected that the verses WERE REVEALED DUE TO the Prophet ﷺ being affected by Black Magic. So this settles the debate, we agree that Abu Mansoor in this text you have bought has rejected that these two chapters were revealed because of that incident and not that he rejects that magic had occurred on the Prophet ﷺ. Alhamdu liLLAH.
You will see this type of self congratulatory behaviour from Muslim scholars when they think they have ‘won’. Unfortunately, they rarely have the brains to back their ego, as will soon become apparent. But how many well meaning laymen would have been fooled by now. Many I fear.
 
MJ: And you said,“No brother with my claim I have two giant mufasuareen that THE REASON FOR REVELATION was not magic but instead to teach.”
 
YH: Two giant mifasuareen? But what if 20 giant mufasuareen said otherwise? 
 
MJ: The majority say it was revealed because of that incident but Abu Mansoor does not adopt this approach. This is a matter of difference of opinion regarding the reason of revelation and this difference is not an issue.

However, the scholars of Ahl us Sunna confirm the Hadith is sound and not rejected and as I have mentioned because they have mentioned how it can affect the Messenger of Allah ﷺ just like a fever as Ibn Hajar said.
 
YH: OK brother. But is it true that magic affected him ﷺ that he would be unsure if revelation came to him? Or was it only for worldly things?
 
MJ: I will translate what Imam Nawawi says in his commentary on Muslim about this and then also what Qadhi ‘Iyadh says when I get home Inshaa Allah.
 
No sayyidi. Magic cannot affect him in his mind ﷺ, nor in matters of revelation. I will translate a passage from imam Nawawi in Sahih Muslim which is clear and evident and understandable
 
SA: Here is a hadith in Bukhari about Black Magic:
Bukhari, Narrated ‘Aisha:
The Prophet continued for such-and-such period imagining that he has slept (had sexual relations) with his wives, and in fact he did not. One day he said, to me, “O ‘Aisha! Allah has instructed me regarding a matter about which I had asked Him. There came to me two men, one of them sat near my feet and the other near my head. The one near my feet, asked the one near my head (pointing at me), ‘What is wrong with this man? The latter replied, ‘He is under the effect of magic.’ The first one asked, ‘Who had worked magic on him?’ The other replied, ‘Lubaid bin Asam.’ The first one asked, ‘What material (did he use)?’ The other replied, ‘The skin of the pollen of a male date tree with a comb and the hair stuck to it, kept under a stone in the well of Dharwan.”‘ Then the Prophet went to that well and said, “This is the same well which was shown to me in the dream. The tops of its date-palm trees look like the heads of the devils, and its water looks like the Henna infusion.” Then the Prophet ordered that those things be taken out. I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Won’t you disclose (the magic object)?” The Prophet said, “Allah has cured me and I hate to circulate the evil among the people.” ‘Aisha added, “(The magician) Lubaid bin Asam was a man from Bani Zuraiq, an ally of the Jews.”
You say magic cannot affect the mind but the hadith says that he was imagining whole events occurring. So are you rejecting this part of the hadith. Shall we put a red mark over it and you choose that you will only accept the bit about magic and not that the Prophet (PBUH) lost control of his mind. Or is that you don’t accept but you don’t act on it?
How would one act upon it? Does everyone need to lose their mind? 
 
SA: Imam Nawawi and Qadi Iyaad said that it was sexual impotence and for Qadi Iyad this was for a year. But the hadith says he lost his mind as he was imagining events occurring when they did not. So Qadi Iyad and Imam Nawawi are rejecting this hadith…I mean according to you, ”not acting upon it”. Please answer this and I will address the points you made last night
 
By the way this is the infamous hadith of Bukhari which MJ is using to call us heretics. So do you go with Qadi Iyaad and Imam Nawawi in rejecting this hadith and as such according to you we are all going to Hell together, for being heretics or do you reject their position and go with Bukhari that the Prophet (PBUH) lost his mind?
 
As you quoted from Maziri that only heretics rejected this hadith, so the list of heretics is increasing, you can now add:
Imam Nawawi
Qadi Iyaad
Mohammed Jamilli
And you will continue to add to it as you bring more statements of scholars saying the Prophet lost his mind.
 
So: Do you agree with Bukhari that The Prophet lost his mind?
Or Do you reject Bukhari and say Prophet didn’t lose his mind and instead was sexually impotent for 1 Year. 
You can call it what you want, but it is called ‘rejected’.
 

MJ: Firstly brother Sulaiman, this debate is over already because your evidence you attempted to use was in fact, as you mentioned, what I mentioned and you agreed upon that so that is then end of debate. The Hadith, as Qadhi ‘Iyadh, says is understood as being he ﷺ with his eyes saw it as such and not an issue with his intellect. And if you turn around and say so he ﷺ could have said he saw Jibreel but he didn’t. This is impossible because the Qur’an which is mutawattir says he ﷺ is protected by Allah and is truthful in what he ﷺ says and that he ﷺ cannot be affected by magic in relation to revelation or in propagating the message he ﷺ was ordered by Allah to deliver. Here is the statement of Qadhi ‘Iyadh,قَالَ الْقَاضِي عِيَاضٌ وَقَدْ جَاءَتْ رِوَايَاتُ هَذَا الْحَدِيثِ مُبَيِّنَةً أَنَّ السِّحْرَ إِنَّمَا تَسَلَّطَ عَلَى جَسَدِهِ وَظَوَاهِرِ جَوَارِحِهِ لَا عَلَى عَقْلِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ واعتقاده ويكون معنى قوله فى الحديث حتى يظن أنه يأتى أهله ولا يأتيهن وَيُرْوَى يُخَيَّلُ إِلَيْهِ أَيْ يَظْهَرُ لَهُ مِنْ نشاطه ومتقدم عادته القدرة عليهن فاذا دنى مِنْهُنَّ أَخَذَتْهُ أَخْذَةُ السِّحْرِ فَلَمْ يَأْتِهِنَّ وَلَمْ يَتَمَكَّنْ مِنْ ذَلِكَ كَمَا يَعْتَرِي الْمَسْحُورَ وَكُلُّ مَا جَاءَ فِي الرِّوَايَاتِ مِنْ أَنَّهُ يُخَيَّلُ إليه فعل شيء لم يفعله ونحوه فمحمول على التخيل بالبصر لا لخلل تَطَرَّقَ إِلَى الْعَقْلِ وَلَيْسَ فِي ذَلِكَ مَا يدخل لبسا على الرسالة ولا طعنا لِأَهْلِ الضَّلَالَةِ. Imam Nawawi says in his commentary on Muslim, “Know that the Prophet ﷺ is protected by Allah from lying and changing any of the law whilst he is healthy and in the state of illness. He ﷺ is also protected by Allah from not clarifying what he has been ordered to clarify and propagate what Allah has ordered him to deliver. He ﷺ is not protected from illnesses that affect his body ﷺ as long as it is not considered as reducing his level and does not destroy what he has set in the law. The Prophet ﷺ was affected by magic such that he would see that he did something but he actually didn’t. In this state, he ﷺ did not say anything which negates any of the previous rulings which he ﷺ had already set.” As you can see, no part of the Hadith is rejected. Ta’weel (interpretation) has been done because the literal (which is what you are working on now like zaahiris [literalists]) is impossible as it is already set by mutawaatir Qur’an that he ﷺ cannot be affected in his mind. As far as I am concerned and the majority of Ahl us Sunna including Imam Abu Mansoor al-Maturidi, this is clear and confirmed as I have put it to you. The ones that reject this Hadith are the Mu’tazilites and this has been transmitted in several books which have been put on here for everyone to look at and has been refuted in the past and in the same way in the present. For your information brother Sulaiman, I transmitted what the scholars said about the rejecters of this Hadith and they called them heretics because the Mu’tazilites are heretics. If you adopt their opinion in this, then it is a bid’ah [innovation, especially bad innovation]. I did not scold you and say you are a heretic. As this is over now, I hope InshaaAllah this can be a step in understanding and increasing in knowledge and holding to the religion of the inheritors that have sacrificed their lives in transmitting and teaching us correctly so that we do not go astray. All Praise is due to Allah, Exalted is He, and may His Peace and Blessings be upon our Master Muhammad ﷺ, the Beauty and the Most Perfect in creation.

Notice that once again he is saying clearly that Ahmed is a Mutazzile heretic…and then saying ”I didn’t call you a heretic [even though you are]”. Orwell could not in his most fevered dreams write such doublespeak. Notice also that he has, despite decrying the use of the intellect, claimed that despite the text of the hadith saying that the Prophet’s mind was being affected by the magic (”He thought [not saw] that he had had sex with his wives but he hadn’t), MJ has decided that this is impossible and so it was in fact an optical illusion. So Ahmed is a heretic for being a ‘mutazzilite’ rationalist but MJ is ‘Ahlus Sunnah’ for being ultra-rationalist and rejecting the text of the hadith…but then making up that the hadith in fact is referring to an optical illusion. Note that the same issue would apply to Qadi Iyad were he to assert this – which he did not, though he does say that despite the Prophet losing his mind, this is fine since he is ”protected’ in this state from revealing anything about religion or changing anything already revealed about it. But where does it say that in Quran? MJ boldly asserts that the Quran is muttawatir (mass transmitted) without showing the non-existent ayat that says that The Prophet can be affected by magic but nonetheless not ”reveal’ anything in this state. This is not even rationalism but rather sub-par fabrication and storytelling.

 
SA: I have quite a few proofs ready as you have made quite a lot of contradictory statements – but before I get to them: Did the Prophet (PBUH) lose control of his mind?
 
The debate has not even started yet as you have not answered a question I have posed directly without creating a huge amount of smoke and mirrors. I asked about “Qeela” being “Seegha Al-Tamreedh” and you didn’t respond till this morning and gave an incorrect definition, but you also didn’t do this until you added a lot of information that was not relevant. So please can you answer the question, a simple yes or no will suffice:
Did the Prophet (PBUH) lose his mind such that he did not know what was happening?
 
The reason I say this is that the etiquette of discussion is that you address one point at a time. So point one was about “Qeela” being “Seegha al-Tamreedh” – it’s why I politely asked Shaykh Syed Zahid to hold off on his proof. I asked many times and the brother only posted when he decided to add more post points which were about other issues. This is jumping from point to point, creating dust/confusion. As he brought up the issue of the Prophet losing his mind, so I once again ask: 
Did the Prophet (PBUH) lose his mind?
A simple answer please.
 
I will politely refuse your invitation to your home as you made the decision to make this into a public issue by calling me and your teacher a heretic publicly. Let me show why you have been playing the game of avoidance, have been dishonest throughout and now you are trying to run away.
Uh, yes, get on with it: the game as Ahmed describes is of the most unimaginably vulgar variety – pretending that ‘no’ means ‘yes’ under the assumption that the readers are ignorant of Classical Arabic usage of basic terminologies like ”true’ and ‘false” and even the word ‘but’. Once again gentle reader, I remind you that these people are scholars. 
There has been a reason why Jamilli [MJ] did not reply to my persistent question of “Qeela” being “Seegha al-Tamreedh”; because he knew it would end the game he was playing, and he wanted to continue to create the deception of making people think that Shaykh Abu Mansoor al-Maturidi did not reject the position of magic. Here is why:
 
Why was the question of “Qeela” being “Seegha al-Tamreedh” not answered? Seegha al-Tamreedh” is a terminology which is used by Scholars to clarify that something is weak. The opposite of “Seegha al-Tamreedh” is “Seeghat al-Jazm”, which is referring to something that is authentic.
 
Ibn Abideen [this guy is a very big deal in the Hanafi school, especially amongst the hadith oriented Hanafis, the school the Salafi MJ is pretending to follow to confuse readers], states in Minha al-Khaliq, Volume 6, Page 55. Qeela” is “Seegha al-Tamreedh
  
 7
Imam Nawawi, Shafi/Ashari, ‘Majum‘, Volume 1, Page 104. Briefly, he is explaining that when a hadith is weak it is not permissible to use “Seeghat al-Jazm” but instead you have to use “Seegha al-Tamreedh” such as “Yuqolu” (this is the present and future tense of the word “Qeela”, which is the same word in the past tense).

Seeghat al-Jazm” is used for Sahih and Hasan Hadith.
Seegha al-Tamreedh” is for any hadith beside these two types!
 
 8
Ibn Salah, in ‘Muqaddimah ibn Salah‘, Page 287. ‘If you want to narrate a weak hadith then do not use “Seeghat al-Jazm”’
 
9
 
Imam Suyuti, a Shafi/Ashari, in ‘Tadreeb Rawi’, Volume 1, Page 350. Summary
If it is a weak hadith then do not use “Seeghat al-Jazm
If it is an authentic hadith then do not use “Seegha al-Tamreedh
 
 10
For the uninitiated, Sayuti, Nawawi and Ibn Salah are giants of Sunni Islam. Even Salafis would not dare to denounce them openly, which is why Ahmed has, quite strategically deployed them now to prove that MJ is operating on Salafi protocol and being a total modernist by renouncing near on 1200 years of uninterrupted Sunni scholarship for his own novel position which is, yes, you guessed it, ‘no’ means ‘yes’. Ladies be forewarned.
SA: This is in fact a simply long game of people turning ‘Ahle Sunnah’ into a Hashwi-Mujassim [anthropomorphist] religion. If “Qeela” has now become to denote a valid and accepted opinion which contradicts what I have mentioned above, then all of the statements made by ‘Ahle Sunnah‘ to refute misguided sects and positions are now invalid.
When they say ‘Qeela‘ to say God is not a body, it can now be accepted, since they have inverted the clear meaning of the word ‘Qeela‘, which is to reject, NOT accept what comes after it.
What makes it worse is this is done intentionally, because here Jamilli is contradicting himself about its usage:

“Seegah at-Tamreedh is used generally to indicate that this is not the reliable position.”
“However context is important and not always does ‘qeela’ mean it is weak.”

But here he contradicts himself:

“We agree that Abu Mansoor in this text you have bought has rejected that these two chapters were revealed because of that incident and not that he rejects that magic had occurred on the Prophet ﷺ.”

Your statements are contradictory: on the one hand you say in terms of “Qeela“, one needs to look at the context and it does not always mean weakening and on the other hand you ADMIT that Shaykh Abu Mansoor rejects that these two chapters were revealed because of the incident. So is “Qeela” rejecting or not?

Does he actually know what he is talking about? If no, then he is not in a position to debate, if yes then this is taking Taqiyah [hiding one’s true beliefs, especially in religious matters] to the next level.

So “Qeela” is a position that is rejecting, as Jamilli confusingly admitted, it cannot be used for any valid opinion.
This is why this question was not answered. It proves this position was rejected. Now what do I do with this brother who intentionally dodged this question, who intentionally tried to misguide people. who did not respond to a single simple question that asked for a mere definition of “Qeela” being “Seegha al-Tamreedh”, until he added a lot of other irrelevant posts to confuse the people.

It’s very simple: by using it Shaykh Abu Mansoor al-Maturidi as well as other scholars, use it as a way of rejecting something. Be ready, after I have explained this post, later I will show how giants of Ahle Sunnah used ‘Qeela‘ and after this used Mujassimi [anthropomorphist] statements to show they are weak, unless people actually believe that Ahle Sunnah are Mujassims.
Indeed, the reason Salafis want to lie about the usage of the word ‘qeela‘ by Sunni scholars is because it invalidates the position that Salafis are Sunnis, since they wish to adopt many positions, in particular anthropomorphism, invalidated by Sunnis (and Shi’ítes) by using the word ‘qeela‘, meaning that this position is weak and rejected.
Put another way, they want to hide the fact that they are a heretical sub-sect.
 
SA: I tried to maintain the etiquettes of debate by clarifying each point numbered one at a time. Sadly Jamilli was not honest enough to do this, that’s why each time that he came, he made random point and then ran off. I’m sorry, but this is not how an honourable Islamic discussion takes place. As his deceptive method can confuse easily influenced people, I will display each point and show what Jamilli said and show my response.

He knew his position was weak – that’s why he deployed this method. What do you call someone who does this? Do you think that person is genuine with God? As the truth must be the most important factor in all of this.
At this stage MJ ignominiously runs off.
I am told, after nearly six months of failing to reply or justify his misdirections and misguidance of Muslims, he will release a ‘book’ to clarify these issues (as if they were not clear enough from the forgoing).
Remarkably, his apparent teacher, a crypto-Salafist by the name of ‘Samir An Naas’ extremely unusually agreed to come out of the woodwork and debate the topic in public. However, he being a Muslim scholar of note, one should have been wary to expect such honesty: he quickly came to his senses and realised that if the lies of Muslim scholars are exposed publicly, they are soon detached from many of their followers. True to kind, he too ignominiously shirked away from a debate, in his case all the more embarrassing since he displayed great bravado in offering it in the first place.
The take home message Dear Reader is that Muslims scholars, just like those of other religions, are more than happy to lie to get you to believe their favourite narrations.

Many Muslim Leaders Denounce ISIS Out Of Convenience, Not Conviction

tenkuu-7

By The Sultans Jester

A non-Muslim academic, well versed in the Islamic sources, recently asked me a difficult and telling question: ‘To what extent do you think Muslim leaders and speakers in the UK are limited, when they speak about subjects such as violence, terrorism, ISIS etc, by the law or anti-terror legislation as opposed to what they actually believe?

Hoping he wasn’t getting at what I thought he was, I answered the way they do in the movies when faced with these types of questions: ‘How do you mean?’.

In typically blunt fashion he replied: ‘Don’t most of your scholars and speakers accept the exact same narrations and even fatwas as ISIS but simply don’t act on them?’

A few of our colleagues were also around since we had retired to the staff room. I didn’t press him any further – mainly because I was afraid he would bring up something like this:

‘A Muslim will not be killed in retribution for the murder of a Non-Muslim’ (Bukhari and Tirmidhi)

Now of course, most Muslims, while understandably concerned at the inclusion (sans explanation or comment) of such a narration in the canonical collections, will be telling themselves ‘well, I’m sure the scholars sorted this out and there is no way they would tell anyone to act on this. File under ”strange”’. This in and of itself is rather self-deluding, but then there is the problem that the majority of Muslim scholars did not ‘sort it out’, including Imam Ahmad and Imam Ash-Shafi` who actually maintain the view that indeed, a Muslim cannot be killed for a non-Muslim.

They themselves justify this with another Hadith:

“A Muslim is not to be killed for a Kafir (unbeliever).” (Reported by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari and An-Nasa’i)

They also go even further and quote this:

“A believer is not to be killed for a disbeliever or for a person enjoying protection under a covenant [a dhimmi].” (Reported by Ahmad, An-Nasa’i and Abu Dawood)

Of course, many scholars of the past (such as Abu Hanifa and Imam Nakhai) and the contemporary period (including those from Salafist groups such as Yusuf Al Qaradawi), openly rejected these hadith and fatwas, since the main source of Islam, the Quran, makes no differentiation either in the act of killing (which is between ‘people’ and not ‘Muslims’) nor in its insistence in a ‘Life for a life’ (as opposed to a life for a Muslims’ life – assuming God has command of the Arabic language and if he meant to say ‘a life for a life unless the murderer is Muslim’, he was capable of doing that)[1]

All this though, my erstwhile questioner already knew. But his point was in fact more profound: how is it that personalities who would be regarded as unimpeachable Imams of Sunni Muslims such as Bukhari, Ahmad and Shafi, can narrate such things? More pertinent to his own speciality, Political Islamism, I knew he would no doubt lead on (as he did) to the crux of his question: these and other similar narrations (such as those in Bukhari calling for the killing of certain people by burning[2]) are precisely the ones used by ISIS and earlier terrorist groups to justify the actions which Muslim leaders in the UK and elsewhere have condemned.

But don’t the same Muslim ‘leaders’, such as Haitham Al Haddad and Akram Nadwi, who have gained generous publicity for condemning ISIS and restraining UK Muslims from joining them[3] [4], accept and venerate exactly the same narratives and personalities that ISIS use to justify the Islamicity of their actions?

In short, aren’t the icons of the religion of Islam as held up by violent Salafists in fact common to all Muslims and hence, isn’t the difference between them and ‘mainstream’ UK Muslims simply a matter of their leaving the constraints of British law behind and giving wind to the wings of Imam Ahmad and Bukharis’ fatwas and narrations?

Or to put it another way, don’t ISIS simply practice what the same Muslims who condemn terrorism preach? If Haddad and others who claim that their views are simply ‘mainstream Islam’ are right, then isn’t then the difference one not of belief but rather of expression?

The answer is not as simple as either Muslims or Islamophobes or even genuine seekers would like: people like ISIS and indeed Haddad neither represent mainstream Islam nor are completely antithetical to it. Rather, they represent a particular tradition within Islam, which has held, with certain variations, views similar to what is now being practised by ISIS. Despite their assertions though, this is not ‘mainstream’, but Haddad and others are and have been for much of the post-colonial period of Muslim history, making it mainstream. Whereas this violent orientation, irrespective of its endorsement by senior scholars such as Ahmad and Bukhari, was unambiguously rejected by traditional Islam, today however, the respect and deference afforded to those scholars held in great respect by Salafist movements (and many other speakers and institutes, often in the hopes of receiving generous funding and petro-dollars as Salafi oriented organisations do), which includes the aforementioned as well as other purveyors of extreme fatwas such as Ibn Taymiyyah, means that while on the one hand attacking anyone who opposes the legitimacy of Ahmad Ibn Hanbals’ or Imam Barbahari (who asserted that a person could become an apostate simply by taking a walk with a Hanafi[5]) opinions and formulation of Islam as a ‘modernist’ or a ‘Mutazzilite’ (and this holds not only for the purveyors of Wahhabi Islam but most of the orientations in Islam a young Muslim is likely to encounter in the UK) as well as anyone deigning to reject a hadith from Bukhari’s collection as a ‘hadith rejecter’, or ‘Quranist’, they yet condemn anyone who actually follows these fatwas or hadith as well. For, how exactly am I to condemn ISIS without rejecting the opinions of Imam Shafi and the hadith of Imam Bukhari?

The result is clear – by applying the same principles as the Salafi-Wahhabis such as Haddad, Muslims from other orientations are in fact tacitly admitting that theirs is the mainstream Islam.

As my non-Muslim colleague could see, Salafists are insisting on acting on such Hadith and the de-legitimacy of those schools such as Sufism and Hanafism that opposed them by labelling them pejoratively as rationalists or grave worshippers. Or worse, in the case of speakers such as Akram Nadwi, reformulating traditional Islam to make it appear as if the opposing traditions are in fact part of the Salafist whole. Therefore, it becomes no problem for a Sufi or a Hanafi to venerate the leaders of the resolutely anti-rationalist and anti-Sufi ‘Ahl Al Hadith’ movement such as Ibn Taymiyya or Ibn Qayyam[6]. The result is simple: the main-streaming of this orientation, supported with the relative diplomatic immunity afforded to Saudi and Qatari institutions and channels of funding[7]. (A corollary to this is that these are the only countries that in fact have any money to spare for such ‘Islamic’ activities from amongst the Muslim world anyway, as a cursory glance at the per capita GDP of Muslim majority countries will reveal). The result is that many European youth depart from the Sufi/traditionalist approach that has been delegitimised in this way and in fact harangue the practitioners of these for not following the literal narrations relied on by the Wahhabi-Salafis. When some of these youth chose to disabuse themselves of the constraints on applying these narrations placed upon them by British law, they take advantage of the global village we now inhabit to join ISIS and other such groups, of which there are many less well known examples around the world[8]. Those very scholars and institutions who laid the groundwork for this to occur then score brownie points by lamenting the departure of these youth and by reminding their flocks of the importance following the rule of local laws etc[9].

It is enough to know that Haddad himself is unapologetically a product of Medina University[10] (where he studied under its founder, the Wahhabi cleric Abdul Aziz Bin Baz, whose other illustrious students were responsible for the siege at Mecca in 1984[11]) an educational institute that teaches and distributes the works of thinkers such as Abd Al Wahhab, who calls for the burning to death of Muslims on trivial grounds[12] (let alone Yazidis or anyone else). Yet it is precisely Haddads’ affiliation with both Medina University and Bin Baz that makes him a popular speaker in the UK and affords him legitimacy with much of the Muslim laity[13].

Whereas a practitioner of traditional Islam could easily say when confronted with the narrations of Bukhari or even Imam Ahmad: ‘We respect these imams’ scholarship, but indeed, this is a gross error. We can never allow impunity for the killing of any person. This is the law of both Reason and The Quran’, scholars from the Salafi-Wahhhabi orientation on the other hand would be forced to brand such a person a ‘hadith rejecter’, ‘modernist’ or worst of a ‘Mu’tazilite’ (the Ahl Al Hadith and puritanical Hanbalis hated and persecuted enemies)[14]. Having set up both punishments and ‘obligations’ such as female circumcision, in opposition to traditional Islam by using isolated hadiths from Bukhari and other canons, on what basis do they now oppose the moratorium on punishment for killing non-Muslims? Especially when it is backed up with the opinion of, say, Imam Ahmad and Ibn Taymiyya and others venerated and lionised by this movement[15] (and ISIS co-option of fatwas of the latter)[16]? It is in fact a contradiction and whereas to some this will be an indication that this movement is defunct, others will be easily seduced by the siren calls of internet preachers and radicalisers:

‘How can you say that a person who kills a non-Muslim for no reason is not liable to any punishment apart from a monetary fine. And even the fine is much less than if he had killed a Muslim’?

‘Are you denying the hadith of Bukhari and the words of our Prophet Brother? The dirty kufaar kill us and our children without any qualms. But you are worried about their lives! This is why the Ummah is weak.’

[According to Salafis, Imam Ahmad, Ibn Taymiyya and even Imam Shafi amongst others, the blood money paid for a non-Muslim is not equal to that of a Muslim. As usual, the Sufis and Maturidis and hated Mu’tazzila disagree and say that it is equivalent][17]

Or take the following, which we are assured from sources that the Salafis will insist are sacrosanct, is the practice of Muslims ’till the end of time’:

In the chapter terrifyingly named “The Punishment of Qadaris, Killing, Torturing and Hanging them”[18]

‘Abu Qasim Tabari said; Amirul Mu’mineen Qadir Billah may Allah preserve him, extend his life and support him in his deeds and words, forced Mu’tazalite Hanafis to repent in the year 408. They then repented from their Mu’tazalite beliefs. He also forbade them from learning and dialogue, Rawafidhi beliefs and any ideas that go against Islam and the Sunnah. He also made them sign an oath to that effect. He warned them that if they do not keep this promise he will punish them…

Ameer Dawla followed his predecessor Khalifa Qadir Billah on this issue by killing Mu’tazalites, Rawafidh Qaramita, Jahmees, Mushabbihs in Khurasan, he hung them or jailed them or banished them from their city. He ordered the Imams to curse them on the pulpits and expelled them from their home town…

This became the Sunnah of Islam until the Day of Judgement’ [19]

[Fortunately, it did not]

If this is the treatment to be meted out to competing sects within Islam (and in fact the ones persecuted above went on to become the mainstream ones today, to the continuing anger of puritanical Hanbalism/Wahhabism) then what hope for the poor non-Muslims?

The question of course arises whether this violent extremism was a result of some divine Quranic verse? In fact quite the opposite:

“Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you [O Muhammad] have nothing to with them. Behold, their case rests with God” [20]

As my colleague went on to point, if we took the hadith of Bukhari and the opinion of Imam Ahmad and scholars such as the above (and examples can be multiplied almost indefinitely – take the case of Imam Barabahri or Ayub Sukhtiyani, another Ahl Al Hadith icon, who is a proponent of killing apostates, but is so inclusive of what causes ‘apostasy’ that he stated a person became an apostate because he took a short walk in the park with a rival, Imam Abu Hanifa)[21] and presented them to scholars such as Haddad and Nadwi or organisations such as IERA or ‘Al Maghrib’ or ‘Al Kuathar’ and countless others like them at home and abroad, who also feign to ‘tackle’ extremism, they would indeed be in a quandary: If they were to say ‘Even though this hadith is in Bukhari and many other canonical tomes, I reject it’, which would put them in the same position as the ‘hadith rejecters’ that they often decry, they would lose legitimacy and income from their Wahhabi/Salafi fan and funding base, which essentially insists on uncritically accepting all of the single chain (‘ahad’) narrations from Bukhari. Likewise, if they reject the fatwa of Imam Ahmad or Shafi, they have become just like the grave worshipping Sufis, rationalists, kalaam practitioners and ‘Mu’tazzilites’ that their movement abhors (and movements like IERA assiduously avoid giving a platform to despite being ‘inclusive’ and ‘mainstream’).

The solution? Play both sides and condemn ISIS while not actually tackling any of the Islamic sources of the fatwas they use to justify their actions, since you in fact accept most of these narrations and they are rejected only by your ideological enemies (say, Brelwis or Hanafis or Sufis). And hope nobody notices. Except as my colleague so adroitly demonstrated, they have noticed. As an added benefit, by condemning their ideological bedfellows, these people gain kudos from the Muslim and general public.

It is much akin to a doctor who through his bad advice and neglect causes his patients to become ill and then benefits from their gratitude by deploying his continued quackery while ‘curing’ them.

The actual fact is that the brand of Islam promoted by individuals such as Haddad, not by his severely limited personal charisma but through well-funded organisations such as IERA[22], is a natural way-station on the road to ISIS: insisting on hadith and fatwas rejected years ago, profoundly anti-rational and textualist, intolerant of diversity (in particular Sufism, rationalism and Shi’ism) and even in most cases, labelling scholars such as Ibn Taymiyya, Abd Al Wahhab and many others who anathematised traditional the mainstream Islam that marginalises or even outright rejects these narrations[23] as ‘righteous imams’ and ‘genuine scholars’ has no other effect than to remove the obstacles traditionally present to prevent people taking non-Muslim women as ‘war booty’, burning those they disagree with and killing with impunity both civilians and combatants.

The recent crisis in Syria has exposed the degree of confusion amongst Muslims and the main-streaming of Wahhabi Islam: even sane and measured voices such as Hamza Yusuf, Muhammad Al Yaqoubi and others usually seen as voices of balance against the influence of Wahhabism, have fallen into line with the Salafist narrative of the Syrian war being a Sunni/Shia or Sunni/heretic conflict, and this when it is entirely clear that what is in fact occurring is a speeded up version of the Soviet/Afghan war, where in order to damage it’s enemy the Soviet Union, the US in conjunction with Israel, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, supported and encouraged what is now called ‘militant’ Islam as well as Jihad tourism from around the globe[24]. Muslims have entirely failed to grasp what watchers like Robert Fisk, Patrick Cockburn and others in the West saw all too clearly: Saudi, the US and Israel were co-opting militant jihadism for the purpose of damaging their enemy Iran, whose only regional ally was Syria[25]. To this end they funnelled, in conjunction with Turkey, hundreds of millions in ‘aid’ and weapons to a largely fictitious ‘Free Syrian Army’[26] and self-radicalised their domestic Muslims in the West by portraying Assad as a genocidal killer of Sunnis (and trying to bomb him themselves before suffering reversals in Parliament). When, in much quicker order than the Mujahideen – Taliban case in the 1990’s, the jihadis proved impossible to control[27] [28], Islam quickly became the fall guy and the Western and Muslim media again fell into line, asking how such barbarity could exist today and what Islam had to do with it. But in essence this was merely Frankenstein criticising his own monster to prevent anyone investigating his charnel house of a laboratory.

My point here though is that the speed and ease with which Muslims in the UK and West in general uncritically adopted the Salafist line on Syria, accepted it as a sectarian Shia/Sunni issue (despite Assad’s previous relative tolerance of Sunnism and even support of Hamas, the withdrawal of which due to Hamas’ support of the rebels being one of the proximal causes of the recent Gaza war – a fact in neither Israel or Hamas’ interests to admit[29]) and as we are still seeing, involved themselves in supplying fighters and funding for the cause. This indicates nothing more, despite the attempt to blame Western foreign policy, despicable though it is, as a ‘Deus Ex Machina’ for all actions of Muslims, than the degree of penetration of the Wahhabi/Salafi narrative into the hearts, minds, charities and Universities of British Muslims.

But this should be unsurprising: IERA and others from the Saudi Hydra are the most prominent Islamic organisations in the media and on campus[30]. They are quite open and proud of their association with people such as Haddad and Nadwi, the former who has argued that Bin Laden is a ‘martyr’[31] and the latter who seems to think that promoting the views of the same Salafi icons that led to the emergence of ISIS is a good way of preventing them (see below), a sort of bizarre ideological homoeopathy perhaps. With leaders such as these, Muslims protesting either that UK youth joining ISIS is a ‘fluke’ occurrence or squarely to be blamed on British foreign policy, are deluded to a frightening degree. If educated students at British universities are willing to take instruction from people as openly vile as AR Green[32] or Haddad then any and every outcome is unsurprising. The case of those less privileged and educated Muslims can only be imagined.

The case of Akram Nadwi is rather more insidious. He too is a ‘guide’ behind IERA and like Haddad and seeks to ‘tackle’ extremism and has even become something of a women’s rights activist[33]. He represents the school of Salafism that seeks to gain credit for rectifying the problems that in fact it creates. For example, while decrying the plight of women under traditional Islam and asserting that they were much better off under the ‘Ahl Al Hadith’, he neglects to mention that the partisans of this group, including their senior Imams, were known for beating their daughters for minor infractions[34] as well as demanding that women be segregated from monkeys[35] (since they may develop sexual feelings for each other). Similarly, he recently sought to combat ISIS’s use of Salafi icon Ibn Taymiyya in their propaganda and fatwas (while never stopping to ask why it is always this scholar and others of his orientation that are wheeled out for this purpose and never, say Ibn Arabi or Abu Hanifa) by running a course to teach Ibn Taymiyya’s Quranic hermeneutics (at your expense of course)[36]. This served manifold purposes. Firstly, it actually uses the fact of Ibn Taymiyya’s works inspiring ISIS and many other violent extremists[37] as a starting off point for absolving him and actually promoting his teachings. This is the ultimate ‘win-win’ for Salafism – taking credit for cleaning up their own mess. The problem with this approach is that ISIS and other Jihadi groups as well as the puritanical and revivalist groups from Hizb-Ut-Tahir to The Muslim Brotherhood, have been using the controversial 14th century scholar[38] Ibn Taymiyya with good reason. Apart from wishing to segregate women not only from men but even male monkeys, he’s also very laissez faire on the issue of excommunicating and killing Muslims:

‘Making an intention [eg for prayer] loudly is not permissible according to any of the Muslim Scholars.

And Prophet PBUH didn’t do it. And nor any of his Khalifs, Companions and nor any of the Salaf of the Ummah and its Imams [none of this is true as it happens]. And if anyone claims that it is the religion of God, and that it is wajib, then its compulsory to let him know the correct way and to ask him to repent from this claim.

If he insists, then he should be killed’.

Majmu’ Fatawa Volume 22, Page 143

 

‘Anyone who does ”ta’assub” to Malik or Shafi, or Ahmad or Abu Hanifa, and believes the opinion of this one imam is the true one that should be followed, and not the opinion of some other imam…

anyone who believes that is ignorant and misguided, and could be ”Kafir” [an apostate or non-believer]…this person has to be asked to repent.

If he repents that is it, otherwise he will be killed.’

Majmu’ Fatawa, volume 22, page 150

 

Apart from giving two reasons to kill Muslims who commit the heinous crime of disagreeing with his jurisprudential decisions in a mere five pages of his fatwas (I have omitted others for brevity), we are justified in thinking that ISIS is congruent in their use of this individual. I’m sure there is nuance and apologists such as Nadwi might have specific issues with how his work is used, but the fact remains that promoting such views under the guise of ‘tackling’ ISIS is a bit like smacking your children to teach them that violence isn’t the answer.

It is also interesting to consider why an anti-rationalist puritanical Hanbali such as Ibn Taymiyya is being rehabilitated for public consumption by both Islamophobes, legitimate orientalists and of course Salafi Muslims and their affiliates in the first place, having been largely ignored for several centuries[39]. What modern day concern of Muslims can be solved by referring to this controversial scholar is never made clear, but personalities from Hamza Yusuf through to gifted apologist Shabir Ally through to Western academics are fond of quoting from him and using him as an authority. Presumably they think that Muslims need more literalism and intolerance and that Islamophobes (who also adore him for different reasons) are lacking in ammunition and should perhaps be given a helping hand by frequently quoting a scholar who popularised both female circumcision[40] and the Satanic Verses incident[41].

In a more general and subjective vein, it is questionable whether it is constructive for Muslim students to be exposed to teachings of Nadwi such as the following:

‘Imam Ahmad refused to debate the head of the Mu’tazzila of the time. He said ‘I will not debate him, I do not see him in any of the classes of the Muhaditheen’

Imam Ahmad refused to debate someone because the person taught himself, and so it was not even worth the time to debate. Now people teach themselves and make the silliest mistakes and call themselves Muhaddith’ [42]

At first pass this seems like the kind of gentle warning against the dangers of learning without a teacher often found in Muslim circles, for example by scholars such as GF Haddad or Tim Winter (as if a teacher cannot misguide just as badly if not worse than a text or book – but that’s another story). In fact it is once again an occult legitimisation of an essentialist and sectarian stance. First of all, is Nadwi saying (using Imam Ahmad as a mouthpiece) that we should only debate with people who are from our own sect and even went to the same classes as us? In essence this means ‘We should only debate with people who already agree with us’. One wonders if he has proffered this advice to his friends in IERA, who are keen to debate not only self-taught people but non-Muslim ones at that.

The naked veneration of Imams, no matter how strange or unacceptable the things they say, is in full effect here, as is the unthinking condemnation of the enemies of puritanical Hanbalism. It is absurd to think that the head of the Mu’tazzalite theologians was ‘self-taught’. Rather, he was taught but by people that Imam Ahmad did not like, which is an entirely different matter[43]. Again, Muslims are free to believe and teach naked argument from authority and anti-rationalism, as long as their audience is suitably informed that this is not the only orientation within Islam and its proponents are likewise honest to their non-Muslim friends: One wonders if Nadwi would similarly lionise a Christian or an atheist who told (say, his students in IERA) that he does not wish to dialogue or debate with them as they did not ‘study from his teachers’ and in any case, he has a ‘no platform’ policy to people who are not atheist.

Indeed, UK Muslims have very easily fallen into a strange narrative: on the one hand apparently eschewing sectarianism under the banner of a ‘mainstream Islam’ that is on the other so militantly sectarian that it ‘solves’ the problem of sectarianism with a ‘no platform’ approach (practically and ideologically) to anyone other than Salafis, thereby strangling all dissent and diversity while paradoxically decrying those who highlight this as ‘sectarians’. It is somewhat akin to killing all the Catholics in Holland and then being credited with being ‘inclusive’ or having solved the problem of Christian sectarianism.

Likewise, the contradictory and partisan foreign policy of the US and UK is used to adopt a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ approach towards Saudi Arabia and other donor nations. It is abundantly clear, especially according to organisations such as Human Rights Watch, which Muslims often hypocritically use to highlight their own very real plight, while conveniently ignoring the same charities’ and others criticism of countries such as Saudi[44], Qatar and (in the case of Sh’ii extremists) Iran. The fact that funding and scholarship for Muslim organisations or ‘leaders’ such as IERA and Haddad comes from countries such as Saudi is thought of as being of no consequence. Indeed, many organisations such as ‘Al Maghrib’ proudly display that their instructors and teachers have trained in the state sanctioned (the words they use on their website are ‘illustrious Islamic University of Madinah’) and funded University of Medina, set up by the aforementioned rather unhinged Abdul Aziz Bin Baz and whose current rector is appointed by the Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs[45]. This presumably leads to greater demand for their courses (despite the fact that it’s ‘degrees’ are not recognised in most British universities), which is somewhat akin to Western educated people being persuaded to study democratic values because the instructor had trained in North Korea.

Further to this, the Muslim response to Saudi crimes and human rights violations from domestic affairs to international interventions such as in Bahrain[46] or Yemen[47] [48] is merely to reflexly point out Western interventions. Which is interpreted by most non-Muslims for what it is: tacit consent and a ‘morality’ which only applied to the ‘other’.

But my point is more fundamental: none of this should surprise us. If Muslim scholars, leaders and laity have adopted an unthinking and uncritical attitude to narrations such as the above and even more gratuitously, are willing to anathematise anyone who dares to think otherwise, it is little wonder that they will be willing to tolerate grievous transgressions on and in the name of their religion. Even some of the vanguards of traditional Islam are tripping over themselves to show how ‘authentic’ they are by criticising people who show the slightest hint of ‘rationalism’, for example the stalwart critic of Wahhabism, GF Haddad had the harshest words for Khaled Abou El Fadl for the slightest infraction but narrations such as the above are allowed to pass unchecked[49].

Similarly, the erudite and courageous critic of ‘false Salafism’ Tim Winter, had to quickly assert his Islamic credentials as ‘the kind of conservative who values the hadith, so quintessentially Muslim, that insists that ‘every umma has a particular quality, and the quality of my umma is modesty…’[50] when he was lambasted recently for appearing in the ‘Happy Muslims’ music video. I have no doubt that he is sincere when he says that he was not aware of the nature of the video, but the fact that a scholar of his standing and following was unable to confidently assert what he knows only too well, that music is a contested issue and that the evidence in favour of its permissibility is very strong, shows how poorly he is doing in his own fight against Salafism: he can only engage them on certain narrowly defined issues in defence of traditional Islam and Sufism. Whereas Imam Al Ghazzali and his brother, despite being under constant threat of a murderous Hanbali mob[51], were able to write three whole books on the intricacies of music and its permissibility, and Muhammad Al Ghazzali[52] was able to assert the same in heavily Salafi Egypt a few years ago, Tim Winter was unable to state a single word in post ‘Prevent’ UK lest he be banished from the mainstream of Muslim thought forever.

As my inquisitive colleague knew very well, the veneration of Imams extends well beyond Twelver (or other) Shi’ism: Sunnis have not just twelve but hundreds of untouchable Imams, coupled with wildly inaccurate ideas of ‘taqleed’ or blind following. One of my students proudly asserted to me, in front of a classroom of largely non-Muslim onlookers, that ‘Islam is a religion of imitation not intellect’. I believe that he actually thought that the horrified audience considered him a heroic rebel. Before I could respond, one of the other students asked him, quite pertinently; ‘what if you were a Nazi then? Should you just imitate and not think for yourself?’ Needless to say, the young pseudo-radical promptly accused the questioner of ‘Islamophobia’ for comparing Islam to Nazism. It was entirely lost on him that it was in fact he who had made Islam tantamount to Fascism with his incredibly misguided ‘explanation’ and that the poor student had merely pointed this out. But a victim complex serves to alleviate the most embarrassing of missteps, at least in one’s own mind.

Blind imitation of certain authorities, and even then only in certain matters, may well have served a useful function in strong Muslim states where scholars, their endowments and training were regulated (not necessarily by the governments, see for example the history of ‘Wakf’ in Islam), but in today’s far more literate society (most Muslims completely ignore that in the time of many of their favourite Imams, hardly anyone could read), where every person has access to more information at the tips of their fingers than Imam Razi (himself assassinated by puritanical Hanbalis known as the ‘Hashawiyyah’) had in his lifetime, as well as far more disposable time, it is a dangerous anachronism. This does not mean we stray from or disregard traditional Islam, but it does mean that when Salafists and others on one hand try to exclude certain authorities (usually the ones who are more rational and inclusive) and insist on the other on an ever expanding list of ‘untouchable’ idols from their own cadres, Muslims have to be sceptical and empowered.

When encountering Bukhari or Ahmad, Barbaharis’ (or even Al Ghazzali’s depending on the orientation of their idolisation) problematic narrations, Muslims are frozen: having been suitably groomed to think that rejecting Bukhari’s narration is ‘heresy’, they have a binary choice: make a ridiculous explanation for it, thereby leaving the dangerous seed of doubt forever in their own and others’ minds, or accept it, thereby putting themselves on the road to what is colloquially known as ‘radicalisation’ or extremism.

However, there is a third option which protects both the faith and morality of the listener as well as the image and relevance of Islam: namely that Imam Bukhari has erred by transmitting this narration. Those who accepted it, despite their hallowed status, have also erred. The reason is all too clear – the convoluted justifications made for it are reminiscent of the dreadful moral vacuum one encounters in the apologia of Neo-Cons for the dead in their misguided expeditions. Scholars today, such as Al Qaradawi, have rejected the narrations mentioned and refused to act on them, quoted other hadith which contradict them, but the fact remains that none of this explains why these narrations were narrated in the first place and worse still why some scholars took them into law[53]. The real answer is the obvious one: they erred. Badly. If non-Muslims take this narration of no retaliation for killing non-Muslims at face value and act in kind, we face anarchy beyond the wildest dreams of the most fevered political thinkers. We must be ready not just to give sophistic answers but to state the obvious and tell the truth.

Efforts to redress the balance have been about as effective as the A’shari synthesis – despite the major difficulties involved, it is insisted by many Islamic groups extant today that the ideas of Ahl al Hadith and other related orientations are of continued importance. Shi’a rightly point to the near absence of serious criticism by Sunni authorities such as Al-Azhar and Deoband of Wahhabi orientations. In the case of Deoband, their half-hearted attempt to defend the traditional practices of Islam, in publications such as ‘Towards Understanding Taqleed’, actually claim that Saudi Islam is congruent with Sunnism while contradictorily criticising Ahl Al Hadith[54] (this is unsurprising as until recently, Deoband was a major recipient of Saudi funding)[55]. In fact, it is somewhat fair to say, as the Brelwi critics of Deoband do, that a consistent follower of this effort to synthesise the Ashari/Maturidi creeds with what is known as the Athari or literalistic, anthropomorphic and anti-rationalist strand of Islam should by rights be a Wahhabi in any case. And indeed, Deoband is now losing many of its graduates to Wahhabi movements, for whom they become valuable recruiters and apologists (for example the case of IERA co-opting Nadwi and Zahir Mahmood from the Deobandi movement in the UK, in preference to their Brelwi rivals).

The continued attempt to ‘reduce sectarianism’ by bending over backwards to include the Ahl Al Hadith or puritanical Hanbali orientation is even more myopic given the current social and intellectual trajectory of Western civilization, which Muslims have yet to fully understand is only negligibly affected by their output (which tragically is too minuscule to even be significant in and of itself – a UN Development Project report laments that all Arabic speaking countries combined produced less literary and intellectual activity than the bottom ranked European nation, Spain. Although 5% of the world’s population, Arabs accounted for around 1% of the world’s book production)[56].

Religion in general has suffered a serious reverse which its adherents are only now beginning to appreciate. It has almost entirely given over its space in the mass media and education as well as cultural life in the West. Into this aggressively irreligious and even misotheistic climate, Muslims are seeking to import a literalist and anti-rational Hanbalism that even in the pre-modern Islamic world was in danger of extinction due to the harshness and impracticality of its jurisprudence and theology – until it was suitably resuscitated by Saudi money and British arms, much to the chagrin of TE Lawrence[57]

Individuals such as Haddad know very well that they are reaping the fruits of this effort to normalise the Hanbali orientation amongst Muslims – no wonder they claim that when they are attacked in the media for insisting on female circumcision etc, that they are being harangued for holding mainstream Islamic views. Strangely, no one is attacked in the admittedly biased Western media for holding Sufi or rationalist views or for saying that the headscarf but not the face veil is needed, but this too plays into the hands of the Haddads’ of the world, who argue that it is a sign of their authenticity that the hard to maintain and unappealing ideas are only given a reality in their own practice. Groups such as Brelwis, Deobandis and many others, including many of the puritanical Sufis and Shi’ia, have in fact done the groundwork by accepting the ‘Ahl Al Hadith’ and their narrations and fatwas wholesale, while grafting some Maturidi and Ashari theology onto their crass anti-rational and anthropomorphist views to mitigate the worst affronts that could lead to theological collapse[58]. It is no coincidence that most of the post-Maturidi Imams reserve their worst bile and accusations of heresy for the Mu’tazzalites, the erstwhile enemies of the Ahl Al Hadith. A decision was made to ‘include’ the Ahl al Hadith despite their frequent incongruence with the rest of the Islamic Creeds (for example the A’shari and Maturidi) and to take those parts from the rationalist Mu’tazzalites and Hanafis that were needed to stand Islams’ theological ground against the Philosophers and Christians but to anathematize the movement in general[59]. The modern reincarnation of this effort is to try and make it look like the wholly inconsistent theology, conception of God, Jurisprudence and approach to hadith exhibited by the Wahhabi movement is in fact compatible with traditional Islam. Having brought back a number of dangerous and extreme fatwas and puritanical creeds from the dustbin of religious history, these Muslim groups are now surprised when the youth follow through on these fatwas and narrations.

It is of little comfort that the telling of Islamic intellectual history by the ‘Orientalists’, despite their well-documented and oft lamented prejudices, is in fact far more rooted in reality than the completely ‘Disneyfied’ version presented to most Muslims by their own groups, including those undergoing education at seminaries in the UK and around the Muslim world. That many of these seminaries are either funded by or cannot risk openly criticising Saudi, Qatar and other Wahhabi states is a contributing factor[60]. Even a born Muslim will receive a better grounding by reading the work of someone like W. Montgomery Watt or Thomas W. Arnold than from nearly any of the Muslim accounts.

This brings us back to the issue of venerated Imams: such blind veneration is very dangerous in this day and age (if it was ever wholesome) but the issue is deeper still: many Muslims on hearing this will resort to their favourite excuse, namely using the behaviour of non-Muslims to explain their own. So what if there are bizarre or even genocidal statements in the books of Imam X? What of it if he was writing under pressure from the Hanbali mobs or Ismaili assassins or government censure? Is it not true that religious thinkers such as Augustine, Calvin, Martin Luther and even Secular ones such as Rousseau and Mill, along with many others expressed scandalous, intolerant and even violent ideas? Why are we picking on Muslims? At the outset this case is fallacious: Muslims treat their ‘imams’ differently to Christians and it is hard to find a Christian today who would be offended at aspersions cast on either Augustine or Aquinas in the Catholic case or Luther and Calvin in the Protestant one. Ditto with humanists and Rousseau or Socialists and Communists and Marx or Trotsky. At the risk of offending my Christian brothers, I would go further and say that those who do find the coercive ideas expressed by some of their theologians acceptable are just as dangerous as Muslims who accept the hadiths and ideas mentioned above. Likewise, I would argue that in the case of the Christian and even secular thinkers, they could cite textual or philosophic evidence for their ideas, including the violent ones, whereas the Quran has nothing of the violence we find in the Old Testament, Revelations or the statements and actions of the Jacobins.

The veneration of certain schools of thought and certain scholars in spite of their disturbing ideas also raises another serious problems in apologetics; the intellectual gymnastics involved in sparing the reputation of these individuals or hadith while trying to make it look like Islam is a religion that can be followed by every culture and society (i.e it does not have a completely idiosyncratic definition of concepts like ‘justice’, ‘mercy’, ‘compassion’ and ‘equality’ which in fact allows it to spare Muslim murderers punishment). This is no small ask, as any debate between the intellectually aggressive (but incompetent) Salafi movements in the UK such as IERA and their opponents shows[61]. I would hazard that the failure to square the intellectual circle contributes in no small part to doubts and apostasies amongst Muslims. Frankly, instead of just saying what everyone including the Muslims are thinking, namely that ‘Imam X is wrong’ or that ‘hadith X is a fake even though Muhaditheen graded it as Sahih’, we witness the most outlandish verbal and apologetic flourishes. Muslim onlookers are frequently left emotionally satisfied but intellectually crippled. Secularists and atheists meanwhile see this charade and smell blood in the water[62].

In fact, having been suitably conditioned by Wahhabi Islam and those influenced by it as well as the Salafi movements which are largely themselves a reaction to modernity and post or neo colonialism as opposed to genuine expressions of Islamicity, most Western Muslims baulk at what they see as a compromise by giving an inch to the criticisms of non-Muslims. They have completely failed to notice that many of the issues critiqued by both Islamophobes and the genuinely confused are idiosyncratic positions of Wahhabis and before them Ahl Al Hadith and the puritanical strand of Hanbalism. These include most of the well-known loci of apologetics from the young age of the wife of the Prophet Muhammad, Aisha, at marriage to the stoning of adulterers through to salvific exclusivity, as any glance at the numerous Islamophobic websites will reveal.

I recall the American scholar Jonathan AC Brown (who one might have expected to know better despite his Salafi leanings) insisting at a public talk in England that no-one ‘ever’ questioned or disagreed as to the age of Aisha at marriage until recently, implying or saying that this was due to Western ideological pressure rather than a genuine scholarly disagreement about her age. Had he a sufficiently diverse exposure to the Islamic tradition as opposed to an over exposure to one particular orientation within it, he would have appreciated that what he was saying was in fact tantamount to ‘no one has ever disagreed with Ahl Al Hadith and their partisans on this topic’. This however is total nonsense – apart from the glaring fact that the narrations found in most of the canonical collections stating Aisha was nine at the time of her marriage to the Prophet Muhammad do not even mention that any intercourse took place, there is the issue of the opinions of scholars such as Abu Hanifa and many others over a century before these narrations were even canonised insisting that marriage must take place at maturity and that maturity was at the age of nineteen for women (or older)[63]. If people such as Brown, who is blissfully unaware of the diversity of opinions on this topic, do come across such narratives, they immediately re-frame them in Ahl al Hadith terms – Abu Hanifa was an incompetent scholar who did not know the narration and that is why he held this opinion contrary to the party of hadith.

That is, of course one way of looking at it. There are others (such as that the narration was unknown during the earlier period of the development of Islamic jurisprudence and creed)[64] but the first has become entirely normalised.

I recall advising one perverse apologist who was making a terrible show of defending the marriage of nine year olds, telling him that there is no reason to take a single chain narration from Bukhari into belief and it may well be that she was just not nine. He then displayed his ignorance of the sciences of hadith, in addition to those of rhetoric, by insisting that the narration was in ‘all of the collections’. ‘Yes’, I explained (though it isn’t), but it has the same chain, yet the text varies, so this is rather a weakness as opposed to an endorsement. He would not, of course, budge and made his argument (if it could be called that) that nine year old girls can indeed give consent for marriage and mature faster in warm climates (neither of which is true). As can be imagined, some of the Muslim audience felt he did a good job. Everyone else was appalled. He later confessed that he in fact thought at The Prophet would not marry a nine year old. I asked why then did he defend that position. ‘Because we don’t give and inch to the kufaar’. Or miss a penny from Saudi, he could have added.

It is a mark of how entrenched and sectarian the thinking of Muslims, even educated ones such as Brown, has become towards puritanical Salafism. It is surprising that an American academic would state the historic lack of questioning of child marriage as a proof of its authenticity in the first place. It could just as well be that since in the past such things were common for a variety of reasons[65], people accepted the opinion of the Muhaditheen and Puritans on this issue uncritically as it accorded with the norm, rather than that of the Hanafis. Likewise, todays’ ‘new normal’ does not favour the Salafi approach. The job of the academic is not to find proofs for what he already believes or wants to be true (for that, enter politics) but rather to look at textual and historical/anthropological evidence to establish a ‘best guess’ at what that truth should be. But Brown, like most Muslims, is preaching to the converted. Nor is the non-Muslim audiences’ being troubled by the young age of Aisha or the penalty for adultery in Islam being worse than that for child murder a proof of how right we are and how wrong they are. Rather, it is proof of the normalisation of an idiosyncratic version of Islam that cares not for how it is perceived by the ‘other’. Yet absurdly, these same people continue to claim that Islam is a ‘universal religion’. However, when non-Muslims challenge Islamic morality, instead of seeing if the challenge might not be exposing flaws in Muslims’ own understanding of our religion, we take pride in arguing positions that are bizarre to outsiders and even us if we are not suitably groomed to turn off our moral and intellectual faculties, in contradistinction to the demands of the Quran.

Another clear example is that of the stoning of adulterers. This was denied by many senior Islamic scholars[66] and many Islamic sects in both Sunni and Shi’ite Islam (none of whom certain Hanbalis, Deobandis, Wahhabis or Iranian Ayatollahs like of course), but due to the normalisation and ascendency of puritanical Hanbalism, of which both Wahhabism and ISIS are merely offshoots (and quite natural ones at that)[67], merely denying that stoning is a legitimate punishment for adultery brings instant accusations of heresy, modernism and even disbelief. The issue is not in fact even whether adultery mandates stoning or not but rather that curiously, all the ‘case closed’ issues in modern apologetics – stoning, the age of Aisha, the killing of apostates, gender segregation etc correspond precicely to the fault lines between Ahl Al Hadith and their enemies (in particular the Hanafites, Malikis and Mu’tazzila). Combined with the lack of even academic criticism by Sunni authorities of Wahhabism[68] (and the harsh conditions endured buy those such as Muhammad Al Ghazzali and Khaled Abou El Fadl who did), it is very hard to see this as a coincidence.

Rather, I would posit that the necessity to be inclusive of Salafist orientations and the desire for funding as well as the fact that most Muslims are ‘pre-treated’ to accept puritanism and literalism regardless of its congruity or homology with traditional Islam by groups such as Deobandis, mandates that a whole set of issues that in the past had a diverse juristic exposition (such as ‘Rajm’, the stoning of adulterers), are today reduced to stereotyped responses to keep Muslims and Wahhabis happy. The effect on Islam’s public image is ignored or bandaged over by reports of how Islam is spreading and is the fastest growing religion (except it isn’t).

And what of the effect on the inquisitive mind when he or she asks why the punishment for deliberately killing, say, a random child is beheading, with the possibility of reprieve if the relatives were to choose to forgive (and this is recommended) but for the obviously less serious crime of adultery it is stoning, (with small stones to maximise pain and there is no option of reprieve, from the cuckolded husband for instance). Harping on about how it is only once the evidentiary standards are fulfilled, four witnesses are needed and the punishment was rarely applied (which in the Wahhabi case is not true – in both the instances of Abd Al Wahhabs’ original movement[69] and it’s modern ISIS offshoot[70], one of their first acts was to stone a woman, as appalled Meccan onlookers noted contemporaneously[71]) is of absolutely no use. The fact remains that whether we look at punitive or preventative models of correction, according to these people at least, Islam mandates a harsher punishment for illicit sex than for murder. On top of this, the Q’uran neglects to mention such important things.

The inquisitive mind is left with two options: shut off said intelligence, critical thinking and follow along blindly (in which case why follow a different religion to the one, or none, that you are born into?) or two, leave the mainstream of Islam or apostate. Option three, which is that it is entirely possible to be a ‘proper’ Muslim while not accepting this punishment nor the narrations or fatwas that it is based on, as the earliest Muslims indeed did not, is never made available to him. Because ‘mainstream Islam’ is available in any colour. As long as it’s Salafi.

My point of course is not that Salafi Islam should in some way be banned or restricted. Indeed, as the example of the earlier puritanical and literalist Hanbali orientations shows, it  has proved impossible to do so and Sunni Imams such as the Hanafis, Asharis, Imam Maturidi, Razi etc all had to compromise with it, albeit under the threat of violence[72]. Rather, it is that Salafi Islam is a particular puritanical and minority methodology within puritanical Hanbalism itself and this should be made abundantly clear so that people can choose for themselves between it and say, Sufism or A’sharism rather than simply mainstreaming it. It is also the case that Salafi Islam by and large would like to ban and restrict all the other forms – as the case of Saudi, Qatar and their institutionalisation of Wahhabism at home (at both the primary school, madrassa, mosque and Hajj pilgrimage level) shows. Wahhabism is explicitly the state religion of these countries with Wahhabi scholars and cadres having a monopoly (and even running religious police forces and deciding capital punishments for adultery etc according to Wahhabi fatwas to the exclusion of all other juristic inclinations) and when in turn they promote it abroad, Muslims see any attempt to point this out as ‘Islamophobic’ and against ‘mainstream Islam’. Wahhabis like Haddad look on with glee as the treatment they meat out to other ‘deviant sects’ in systems under their control is generously spared them by a gullible and ignorant Muslim laity. Of course, this is not helped by Islam bashers who indeed often do just mean ‘Islam’ when they say ‘Wahhabi Islam’, thereby doing significant damage and again allowing Salafis and Saudi to play the misrepresented victim. However, the fact remains that Saudi is domestically and in terms of its global reach explicitly intolerant of Sufism, Brelwism and other mainstream Islamic ideas. Those who seek to defend it and accuse others of demonising it must explain Saudi and Wahhabis Islam’s own hostility and sectarianism. Yet this does not happen: Wahhabism and puritanical Hanbalism is well tolerated abroad while its competitors are censored or even killed at home.

The situation is made all the worse by talented and articulate British Muslim journalists and interlocutors such as Yvonne Ridley, Asghar Bukhari and Lauren Booth. Blinded by Western Foreign policy missteps (and IERA speaking engagements), they are completely unable to see the trees for the woods so to speak: frequently getting into bed with Salafists such as Haddad and even ‘reformed’ Talibanists such as Moazzam Begg. These individuals are obviously inspiringly well versed in current affairs but almost completely ignorant in theology (and indeed history).

They also are simply too theologically naïve to appreciate that even if Western Foreign policy was completely remedied in favour of Muslims, Britain apologised for the Iraq and other wars and even wholesale converted to Islam, it still wouldn’t do anything about the narration of Bukhari we encountered above:

“A Muslim is not to be killed for a Kafir (unbeliever).” (Reported by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari and An-Nasa’i)

For this and others like it, that even in the most benign foreign policies will continue to provide fuel for extremism when combined with Salafi approaches to the hadith and sharia, Ridley, Bukhari and Co. have no answer. The irony – that they actually resemble those Western apologists who can only blame Islam and Muslims while never accepting the role of economic inequality (usually engendered by their own systems) and their own foreign policies in fostering violence – is completely lost on them.

Fortunately, my colleagues’ work with the Islamic sources had led him to the correct conclusion: that he needs to divorce the ideas of Islam and most (but not all) Muslims from the mis-steps of Salafism and fallible Imams.

Now my colleague instead asked another telling question, namely, ‘Fine they are human and they made mistakes. But then how is it that people who make such big, life and death mistakes, can become the ‘Imams’ of the Muslims?’. But that is a story for another time.

 

 

 

[1] Quran 5:45

[2] ‘Sahih Al Bukhari’ Hadith 3017, Saudi Edition

[3] ‘UK Imams Call on ‘Immediate and Unconditional’ Release of Alan Henning From Hands of Isis’ Natasha Culzac ‘The Independent’ 20th September 2014

[4]http://www.cambridgeislamiccollege.org/muqaddimah-tafsir/?utm_source=emailcampaign107&utm_medium=phpList&utm_content=HTMLemail&utm_campaign=%22Islamic+State%22+%28ISIS%29%2C+Qur%27an+and+Ibn+Taymiyyah

[5] See his own book ‘Sharh As Sunnah’ or in English Joel L. Kraemer, ‘Humanism in the Renaissance of Islam: The Cultural Revival During the Buyid Age’, pg. 60 onwards

[6] See for example Nadwis constant referencing of Ahl Hadith authorities such as the above mentioned in his compendium of ‘Hanafi’ fiqh ‘Al Fiqh Al Islami’

[7] See for example: ‘Extremism Fear Over Islamic Studies Donations’, The Telegraph, Ben Leach, 13th April 2008. Interestingly, the 20 million pounds that the Oxford Centre For Islamic Studies received presumably went in part towards hiring Akram Nadwi, not doing wonders for his impartiality. Also:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11799713, http://www.theguardian.com/education/2008/apr/17/highereducation.uk

[8] Who inspires the Syrian foreign fighters? Joseph A. Carter, Shiraz Maher and Peter R. Neumann Kings College International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence

22nd April 2014. See also http://icsr.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/ICSR-Report-Greenbirds-Measuring-Importance-and-Infleunce-in-Syrian-Foreign-Fighter-Networks.pdf. All of the named scholars have links to the Wahhabi school of Saudi Arabia.

[9] ‘Foreign fighter total in Syria/Iraq now exceeds 20,000; surpasses Afghanistan conflict in the 1980s’, Peter R. Neumann, Kings College Report ICSR report, 26th January 2015

[10] The Tayyibun Institute has taken down this biography of Haddad: ‘Shaykh Haitham al-Haddad was born in Saudi Arabia and studied under Shaykh Ibn Baz and Shaykh Ibn Jibreen. He attained a BSc in Law & Islamic Law…’which is still available in the Google search of their site however. Numerous other wildly popular institutes in the UK such as ‘Al Maghrib’ and ‘Al Kawthar’ boast of their instructors qualifications from Medina University.

[11] See generally ‘The Meccan Rebellion: The Story of Juhayman Al-Utaybi Revisited’ by Thomas Hegghammer  and Stephane Lecroix or ‘The Siege of Mecca: The Forgotten Uprising in Islam’s Holiest Shrine’ by Yaroslav Trofimov or Timothy J. Winter ‘Commentary on the Eleventh Contentions’, Catechism to Cataclysm. From Winters’ elegant account: ‘The new Ikhwan, comprising many former students of Bin Baz, burst onto the world stage in 1979 when three hundred of them forcibly took over al-Masjid al-Haram, the ‘Inviolable Mosque’, taking thousands of worshippers hostage. Under their leader Juhayman al-‘Utaybi, they proclaimed his disciple, the Salafi student Muhammad al-Qahtani, to be the long awaited Mahdi. Days later the Saudi army stormed the mosque, and the leaders were tried and execute’

[12] For Abd al-Wahhabs’ opinion on burning Muslims he disagrees with (which is most of them), as per a distortion of a report attributed to Abu Bakr (RA), see: Abd al-Wahhab, “al-Risalah al-Ula,” in Majmu‘at al-Tawhid, 36, 70– 72; ‘Abd al-Wahhab, “Kashf al-Shubuhat: al-Risalah al-Thalitha,” in Majmu‘at al-Tawhid, 117–18; ‘Abd al-Wahhab, “Bayan al-Najah wa al-Fakak: al-Risalah al-Thaniya ‘Ashra”, in Majmu‘at al-Tawhid, 403–9.

For an (extensive) list of acts which could mean that you will be in receipt of this punishment see:

Abd al-Wahhab, “Bayan al-Najah wa al-Fakakmin Muwalat al-Murtaddin wa Ahl al-Shirk: al-Risalah al-Thaniya ‘Ashra” (collected by Hamad b. ‘Atiq al-Najdi), in Majmu‘at al-Tawhid, 413–16. One can also consult his son’s account:‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Abd al-Wahhab, “Bayan al-Mahajja: al-Risalah al-Thalitha ‘Ashra,”

The interested reader can investigate these for him/herself and also the defences of the man found online and in Natana de Long Bas’ book on Wahhabi Islam, which portrays him sympathetically (but does not explain his fatwas, equivocations or the massacres by his adherents).

Historian David Commins writes:

‘Is it any wonder that Muslims detested Sheikh Muhammad [Abd al-Wahhab] and his followers when they justified executing Muslim prisoners of war? At one time a Muslim had written to him asking for an explanation of his attacks.In his reply, Sheikh Muhammad declared that it was proper to fight any idolater, which in this instance apparently referred to someone who did not accept his definition of monotheism, for he wrote that if someone received correct instruction but rejected it, then he was to be fought. Since early Islamic history, Muslims have differed on the essential point of what constitutes correct belief, but at most times, such differences did not result in military conflict or the adoption of coercive measures as in an inquisition. The Muslim consensus had been weakest along the divide between Sunnis and Shiites, but among Sunnis themselves, violent conflict over doctrinal matters was a rarity and it was unquestionably the Sheikh’s castigation of Sunnis as idolaters that fostered a legacy of hostility that would endure…’

The same point is made in a strangely different way by the Wahhabi scholar Muhammad Ibn Al Uthaymeen in his book ‘The Attributes of Allah’ where he gives the justification for not making takfir on non-Wahhabis (in terms of creed) as that they are like those who deny the omnipotence of Allah, but inconsistently yet still they are not disbelievers

[13] For example, Haddad provides the scholarship for IERA, extremely well known on UK campuses and even heads up as a ‘judge’ for the UK (and Ireland it seems) ‘Sharia Council’.

[14] See A J Wensinck ‘Muslim Creed’ page 83 onwards or better a Muslim account by Mustafa Ceric in ‘The Roots of Synthetic Theology’ (under ‘Mu’tazilites) or more generally (and especially page 58) ‘Islamic Philosophy and Theology; An Extended Survey’ by W. Montgomery Watt, Edinburgh University Press. Also Joel L. Kraemer, ‘Humanism in the Renaissance of Islam: The Cultural Revival During the Buyid Age’, pg. 60 onwards and most shockingly, ref 18 below.

[15] “A believer is not to be killed for a disbeliever or for a person enjoying protection under a covenant [a dhimmi].” (Reported by Ahmad, An-Nasa’i and Abu Dawood). Ibn Taymiyya endorses this opinion, amongst other places in his exceedingly lengthy ‘Majmoo Fatawa’ (Vol. 20, p. 282): “Nothing in the law of Muhammad states that the blood of the disbeliever is equal to the blood of Muslims because faith is necessary for equality. The people of the Covenant (Jews or Christians) do not believe in Muhammad and Islam, thus their blood and the Muslim’s blood cannot be equal. These are distinctive texts which indicate that a Muslim is not to be put to death for one of the people of the covenant or an unbeliever, but a free Muslim must be killed for a free Muslim, regardless of the race” (Vol. 14, p. 85).

[16] For an examination that spares Ibn Taymiyya the rod but is erudite and provides useful references, see Professor Jon Hoovers’ article here: http://theconversation.com/how-to-read-the-medieval-scholar-the-islamic-state-used-to-justify-al-kasasbeh-murder-37293

[17] “Ahkam al-Qur’an” page 284, “If a believer murders an unbeliever, he has to pay blood money which is one-third of that of the believer…’ Imam Malik says it must be half. Ibn Tamiyya agrees with Malik’s opinion (‘Fatawa’ Vol. 20, p. 385)

[18] Imam al-Lalika’i in Sharh Usul I’tiqad of Ahl Sunnah states this in the chapter of “Believing in the attributes of      God”.

[19] The same persecution is confirmed by orientalists such as Joel L. Kraemer, ‘Humanism in the Renaissance of Islam: The Cultural Revival During the Buyid Age’, pg. 60 onwards or Franz Rosenthals’ wonderful introduction to ‘The History of Al Tabari’ Volume 1, SUNY press, page 76 onwards. Jonathan AC Brown in his recent ‘Misquoting Muhammad’, like most partisan authors, was at pains to stress the persecution of the Hanbalis in the much better known period of ‘the Minha’ but failed to mention the generalised massacre and state sponsored persecution of Mu’tazilites that followed it. It seems that the imprisonment of his preferred party (Imam Ahmad) was of more importance than a generalised massacre of his opponents. For an objective view on Imam Ahmad’s imprisonment, consider ‘Islamic Philosophy and Theology; An Extended Survey’, W.M Watt

Page 58; ‘Hanbal says that the utterance of the Quran is uncreated’. If Watt is to be believed, then it was Brown (and Imam Ahmad) who were in the wrong as Sunni Muslims today believe that the Quran as the speech of God is uncreated buy the Quran as written or read out load is obviously created (see also the anathematisation of Imam Bukhari on this issue by the Hanbalis)

[20] Quran, Surah Al-An’am (6:159)

[21] Ira M. Lapidus, Islamic Societies to the Nineteenth Century: A Global History, pg. 192. Cambridge University Press

[22] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/investigation-launched-into-educational-charity

http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/FinancialHistory.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1134566&SubsidiaryNumber=0

http://mend.org.uk/iera-faces-statutory-inquiry/

http://thesultansjester.com/2013/03/12/who-do-iera-think-they-are/

[23] Abd al-Wahhab, ‘al-Risalah al-Ula,’ Majmu‘at al-Tawhid, 36, 70– 72; ‘Abd al-Wahhab, ‘Kashf al-Shubuhat: al-Risalah al-Thalitha,’ in Majmu‘at al-Tawhid, 117–18; ‘Abd al-Wahhab, “Bayan al-Najah wa al-Fakak: al-Risalah al-Thaniya ‘Ashra”, in Majmu‘at al-Tawhid, 403–9.

Ibn Taymiyya, ‘Majmoo Fatwa’, Volume 22. Page 143 onwards

[24] See in general Patrick Cockburns’ masterful ‘The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution’

[25] ‘Iraq crisis: Sunni caliphate has been bankrolled by Saudi Arabia; Bush and Blair said Iraq was a war on Islamic fascism. They lost’ Robert Fisk ‘The Independent’ 12 June 2014

[26] ‘War with Isis: If Saudi Arabia isn’t fuelling the militant inferno, who is’? Robert Fisk, Belfast Telegraph, 4th February 2015

[27] ‘Rise of the Islamic State’ – ‘Saudi Arabia tries to pull back’

See also John Pilgers’ insightful comments on the web for example here: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37306.htm

[28] ‘From Pol Pot To ISIS: Anything that flies on everything that moves’ John Pilger 9th October 2014 https://newmatilda.com/2014/10/09/pol-pot-isis-anything-flies-everything-moves#sthash.3LEefV6J.dpuf

[29] ‘Another of the region’s supreme ironies is that Hamas, supposedly the ‘super-terrorists’ of Gaza, have abandoned Damascus and now support the Gulf Arabs’ desire to crush Assad.’ ‘’Iran to send 4,000 troops to aid President Assad forces in Syria’’, Robert Fisk, 16th June 2013

[30]http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/hussein-kesvani/iera-does-no-favours-for-muslim-students_b_2881884.html

[31] ‘In any case, he died as a Muslim and it is an established part of our Islamic creed that every Muslim, unlike the disbelievers, will eventually enter paradise. According to a number of scholars, the Muslim killed by the enemies of Islam is considered a martyr, regardless of whether he died during combat or simply in a state of non-combative military engagement such as being killed whilst sleeping. Other scholars limit the title of martyr only to those Muslims who are killed during active combat. Whatever the case may be, all scholars have agreed that mistakes made by a Muslim fighter in combat do not deprive him of his rights, whether it be the right of regarding him a martyr or any other Islamic right’. http://www.islam21c.com/politics/2644-advice-to-muslims-on-the-death-of-osama-bin-ladin/

[32] Sample quotes he admits to: ‘The purpose of the jizya is to make the Jew and the Christian know that they are inferior and subjugated to Islam, OK?

Even by some statement that you can make. For example, slandering and attacking the Muslims unjustly, such as you find many Muslims have done this about the Taliban. Slandering them and attacking them and reviling them based upon news that has come from the disbelieving media, helping the kuffar against the Muslims.

You know guys, I’ll tell you something right? I’ll probably, someone at least is probably going to want to assassinate me after what I’m going to say here but you know, I don’t really get very sad when, you know, a non-believer dies

…if you find the Jew or a Christian walking down the street, push them to the side. It is well-known from what Umar ibn al-Khattab and the khulafa ar rashidin used to implement, that the Jew and Christian was not allowed to ride on a horse when the Muslim is riding on a horse. They would have to walk”

More NSFW comments here: https://asharisassemble.com/2014/04/18/10-problems-with-dawahmen/

[33]http://islamicommentary.org/2015/05/carla-power-on-an-unlikely-friendship-journey-to-the-heart-of-the-quran-book-q-a/

[34] ‘Munaqib’ 307/ 414

[35] Ibn Taymiyya ‘Al Fatwa Kubra’ under ‘women’. Unsurprisingly, this is not found in all the prints available, presumably due to how embarrassing it is for Salafis.

[36]http://www.cambridgeislamiccollege.org/muqaddimah-tafsir/?utm_source=emailcampaign107&utm_medium=phpList&utm_content=HTMLemail&utm_campaign=%22Islamic+State%22+%28ISIS%29%2C+Qur%27an+and+Ibn+Taymiyyah

[37] Cf 16

[38] See for example the senior Brotherhood scholar Qaradawi’s praise of Ibn Taymiyya as a ‘sea without a shore’ as well as Taqiuddin An Nabbhani, the founder of ‘Hizb Ut Tahrir’ and many other Salafi founders from Rashid Rida to Abduh’s approval of him, as well as that of the founders of the subcontinental Ahl Al Hadith inspired movements such as Deobandism under Shah Wali Allah, who wrote a full hagiography of him and his grand student Sayyid Ahmed Khan’s adulation of him too.

[39] ‘Ibn Taymiyya and his Times (Studies in Islamic Philosophy)’ Yossef Rapoport (Editor), Shahab Ahmed (Editor), in particular the ‘Introduction’. For an account of some of Ibn Taymiyya’s beliefs which are toxic to mainstream Islam, such as his uncritical acceptance of the ‘Satanic Verses’ incident, see Shahabs’ ‘Ibn Taymiyya and the Satanic Verses’.

[40] See this rather gynaecological article: https://asharisassemble.com/2014/01/24/the-truth-about-islam-and-female-circumcisionfgm/

[41] Cf 39

[42] This was posted on ‘Facebook’, screen captured and attributed to Nadwi causing widespread embarrassment to Muslims on the Net. It must be emphasized that the referencing of Facebook is a minefield, one that Nadwi has seemingly not in fact successfully navigated, for example by removing the remark.

[43] For yet another account of the fundamental and often violent differences between the Hanbalis and the Mu’tazzila, see ‘Defenders of Reason In Islam’ Richard C. Martin, Mark Woodward, Dwi S. Atmaja as well as the aforementioned ‘Roots of Synthetic Theology’ by Ceric and other refs from main text.

[44] ‘Human Rights Watch, World Report’, under Saudi Arabia. Or Qatar. Or basically any other Middle Eastern Nation, obviously including Israel.

[45] ‘Why Islam Doesn’t Need a Reformation’ Mehdi Hasan, ‘The Guardian’, 17th May 2015

[46] Despite the medias’ strange aversion to covering uprisings in allied nations such as Saudi, and Saudi and other intervention in Bahrain, journalistic articles abound in the ‘alternative’ media: http://rt.com/in-motion/246785-yemen-airstrike-bahrain-protest/ A good op-ed piece by Noam Chomsky can be found here: http://artvoice.com/issues/v10n18/news_feature

[47] ‘Yemen crisis: What will Saudi Arabia do when – not if – things go wrong in their war with the Shia Houthi rebels?’ Robert Fisk, ‘The Independent’ 2nd April 2015

[48] ‘Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf’s fire World View: Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis’ Patrick Cockburn, ‘The Independent’ 29th March 2015

[49] http://www.livingislam.org/o/ftnw_e.html. GF Haddad embarrasses himself by displaying the same brand of militant anti-rationalism as his purported Wahhabi enemies (as is somewhat inherent in Shafi A’sharism – see Ceric’s ‘Roots of Synthetic Theology’ generally on this for a Maturidi view of the reciprocal compromises between Puritanical Hanbalism and its As’hari equivalent). Having to accept some of the noxious narrations we encountered above, this is unsurprising). Telling of the extent to which essentialist anathematisation has penetrated the Muslim community, following this issue on the Net, we see El Fadl is on many young Muslim students list of ‘scholars to avoid’, since the best way to expand one’s mind and refute ones opponents is to apparently simply avoid them. One assumes they would welcome Nadwis’ previous quote. The problem with this approach will soon be seen when Muslims try to find a list of non-Muslim ideas and media to ‘avoid’ as opposed to engage and deconstruct or reconcile.

[50] http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/ahm/clarification-happy-muslims-video.htm

[51] ‘The Venture of Islam: Conscience and History in A World Civilization’, Hodgson, Marshall GS (Volume 1 Page 386-9). Interestingly, neither of the Ghazzali brothers’ books on music have yet been translated into English, showing how much of an economically dependent and ideologically biased process even academic publishing can be.

[52] ‘The Sunnah of The Prophet’ By Muhammad Al Ghazzali, Dar Al Taqwa edition Page 54 onwards

[53] Ibid, in general but especially page 135 onwards. For Al Qaradawis apologetics on Bukharis’ narration, see here:http://www.onislam.net/english/ask-the-scholar/crimes-and-penalties/retaliation-qisas/175024-killing-a-muslim-for-a-non-muslim.html, which is an example of exactly the kind of intellectual gymnastics Ghazzali is decrying. Interestingly, Qaradawi neglected to support his friend and fellow Ikwaani Ghazzali during his lifetime against puritanical Salafis in Egypt (See Khaled Abou El Fadl ‘Reasoning With God’ under his discussion of Muhammad Al Ghazzalis’ persecution and death).

[54] ‘Towards Understanding Taqleed’ Part 1 By Shaykh Mufti Afzal Hoosen Elias, Zam Zam Publishers, in particular page 30 onwards where there is a ‘dialogue’ with the Ahl Al Hadith.

[55] ‘The Jihad Factory: Pakistan’s Islamic Revolution in the Making, Sushant Sareen, pg. 282. New Delhi: Har Anand Publications, 2005. For accounts of the links between Deoband and the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden, see generally the sympathetic account ‘My Life With The Taliban’ by the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan at the time of 9/11 Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef. For a shocking account of Osama Bin Laden addressing a crowd of up to 500,000 at Deoband, see ‘Messages to the World, The Statements of Osama Bin Laden’ Edited By Bruce Lawrence, page 95 (chapter 8).

[56] ‘The Arab Human Development Report: Building a Knowledge Society’ New York, United Nations Publications, Pages 3-6, 55 & 67, For example, Muslims countries and especially Arab countries ranked in the bottom of the Third World in scientific and intellectual accomplishments. Although 5% of the world’s population, Arabs accounted for about 1% of the world’s book production.

[57] ‘Arabia of the Wahhabis’ by H. St John Philby. Philby was instrumental in gaining at first British and then American (after the discovery of oil) support for the House of Saud. The essential account is ‘Kingmakers’ by Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac, which also contains a marvellous rendering of TE Lawrence’s frustrations at the British support of Wahhabi Islam. A brief account is found here also: http://www.mei.edu/content/saudi-wahhabi-islam-service-uncle-sam

[58] Ibn Abi Ya’la, Tabaqat, 2:45 f; Ibn ‘Adi, ai-Kamil, 2:677, an example of Puritanical Hanbalis insisting that God has ‘the form of a beardless young man with curly hair’.

[59] See again Ceric’s ‘Roots of Synthetic Theology’ or Watt’s ‘Islamic Theology and Philosophy’. It must be understood that at the times of publication of both of these works, especially the latter, The Maturidis more conciliatory approach to Mu’tazzalism had not been adequately studied due to the dearth of manuscript evidence (and the now discarded assumption that the Maturidis were merely the ‘As’haris of the East’).

[60] Cf note 7

[61] IERA’S withdrawal of its ‘research’ paper on ‘Embryology in the Quran’ (signed off by Haddad and according to some, Nadwi as well), under atheist internet bloggers’ fire is an illustrative example. Despite the assurance several years ago that it would be ‘improved’ and re-issued, this has failed to happen, much to then continued delight of militant atheists. Of note is that the paper is still being widely distributed amongst Muslim groups and its author, Hamza Tzortzis is still receiving great credit as an internet search will reveal, despite his own admission of gross failures. An embarrassing account can be seen here: https://asharisassemble.com/2013/10/20/muslim-scientists-and-scholars-not-impressed-with-ieras-new-approach-to-quran-science/

[62] Ibid

[63] Of course, Brown and others will immediately go running to the practitioners of Hanafisms’ own Ahl Al Hadith tradition (such as Ibn Abideen) to ‘counter’ this but the strand of traditional of Hanfism that asserts this is unmistakable and of great providence. See Abu Bakr al-Razi al-Jassas, “Al-Fuŝūl fi Al-Uŝūl”, Volume 2. The problem may well be that Brown does not like Imam Jassas, but perhaps it is better to let people decide for themselves whose case they favour.

[64] Ibid. Also, see Hanafi scholars such as Abu Yusufs’ concession, under considerable duress to the position Brown states was uncontested. See also Tabaris’ tacit refusal to acknowledge the age of nine for Aisha.

[65] Also stated by Abu Hanifa – namely that the age of maturity and hence consent is socially and environmentally determined and at the time and place of A’isha was eighteen or nineteen years (as explained by Abu Bakr Al Jassas above).

[66] For example, see the clear denials and proofs presented in the works of Imam Samarkandi, Khuduri Beg, Abu Zahra (once again Hanafite authorities and frequently anathematized by puritanical Salafis and Hanbalis). The usual response to this from puritanical and Salafist orientations (when they have discharged the necessary ad hominems) is to bombard the laity with narrations and hadith supporting the stoning of adulterers, usually making it appear as if these are in fact the verbatim accounts of the Companions and The Prophet. It does not occur to them that the very reason that the aforementioned do not concede the legitimacy of stoning is that they do not accept these narrations as reliable, despite being aware of them. The similarities with the case of the age of A’isha controversy are telling.

[67] Cf 14 & 18

[68] Shiites decry this, for example ‘Wahhabism: A Critical Essay’ Hamid Alghar

[69] It is reported that the Wahhabis had the unusual distinction of being the first to stone a woman to death for over a thousand years in Arabia: see for example ‘Tarikh Najd wa Mulhaqatih’, Amin al Raihani page 39 or ‘Tajdid Kashf al-Irtiyab’ p58-60 and 90-111 by Muhsin al Amin.

[70] ‘Isis throws ‘gay’ men off tower, stones woman accused of adultery and crucifies 17 young men in ‘retaliatory’ wave of executions’ Adam Withnall, ‘The Guardian’, 18th January 2015. Of course, there is video and social media evidence of the perpetrators taking ‘kudos’.

[71] Ibid

[72] ‘Freedom and Modernity In Islam’ Richard A Khudri, page 247 onwards, ‘Al Ghazzali and the Asharis’, Richard M Frank, Duke University Press, pages 5,41 (and generally).

Cf 14 & 18

11 Problems With The ”Muslim” Marriage Market


287A bold and brilliant new piece from Adil: practically the whole thing is stacked with insights I wish I had been given long ago.

Muslim youth (and others) would do well to listen to this guy with an attentive ear…

Okay, so I’m playing the inverted commas game which I previously gave several Dawah carriers stick for when they implicitly takfir (excommunicate) other Muslims; usually ones deemed over liberal (*cough* Not Wahabbi enough). I myself make no such allegation towards particular individuals, but rather the quotation marks represent my distain for what one could refer to as: ‘The Muslim Marriage Market’ in this day and age on the grounds that it seldom if ever comes close to living up to the principles of Islam.

To clarify a possible misassumption before I proceed; I am not attacking the concept arranged marriages; there is nothing intrinsically wrong with family helping to choose a suitable spouse, providing their offspring are willing. An arranged marriage can be beautiful, romantic, and as fulfilling as any other; the issues which we will look at here are certainly not confined to arranged marriages.

Muslim readers will have heard ad infinitum that ‘The Ummah (the worldwide Muslim community) is beset with problems.’ Some of these oft listed problems are ones I concur with as being critical (like the vile and widespread corruption in Muslim majority countries); other allegedly heinous ‘problems’ which some Muslims lament over (like, wait for it….music…and no not even gangster rap or lewd lyrics but the mere existence of music itself) should, in my opinion be replaced with this rather underrated one: our collection of morally bankrupt marriage ethics and practices. These practices entail principles which hold actual Islamic principles in contempt and are impediments to Muslims forming stable, viable and thriving families, something which is relatively important to say the least. In no particular order here are my top 11 problems with the Muslim marriage market.

1) ”No Doctor, no wedding”

Going by what some of our ‘enlightened’ representatives claim, you might think that vanity, materialism and a shameless lust for money would be traits reserved for the ‘kuffar’ (literally ‘ingrates’ and ‘coverers’ of truth, though this term is usually translated into ‘disbelievers’ and often used to label all non Muslims- as if we know that they have all purposefully and knowingly rejected God) because of their attachment to this worldly life. You would be wrong however as evidenced by the ‘No Doctor, No wedding rule‘ which is often followed far more rigorously by some Muslims then any Qur’anic commandment. Note that people following this rule will still shamelessly insist that ‘This Dunya (life) is just a drop in the ocean’ and similar phrases which only highlight their hypocrisy when contrasted to their rampant materialism. The no Doctor, No Weddingrule essentially states that the earning power and ‘flashiness’ is the primary basis by which a man is deemed ‘acceptable.’ Virtues like kindness and decency are fine, maybe a tiebreaker, but not a necessity; a kind and gentle man with a very modest job is certainly inferior to a doctor with an average at best temperament. Much of the Muslim community tends to view jobs a bit like this:

Doctor: ”Mashallah”

Denstist: ”Mashallah”

Enjeenear: ”Mashallah”

Vet: ”It pays like a doctor? Mashallah”

Businessman: What is ethical business? No matter. Brings in the cash. Mashallah.

Careworker: ”I would rather marry my daughter to an illiterate landowner from a backwater in Sindh with a penchant for bestiality and wife beating then let her set foot in the same room as that.”

Before I began my own career in teaching, my aspiration was to be an environmentalist, and you would not believe the barely concealed distain it received from otherwise supposedly pious Muslims because it was not typically Asian friendly (Which sadly in practice usually takes precedence over what Islam says…but these people pray so it must be fine right?)!One would think even the most one dimensional simpletons would put two and two together…something about saving God’s ever threatened creation? Making a world more habitable for God’s creation? Nope. Not medicine, not engineering, not dentistry, not banking, not business. Not acceptable.

From personal experience even my current profession (which I like to think is perfectly respectable; the whole Islam and knowledge and education thing? No?) is considered by some upper middle/upper class Muslim Asians to be a deficient one! An anecdotal piece of evidence to be sure but I was once told by a Pakistani girl that as an aspiring teacher I would be unsuitable husband material in the eyes of her family (and her own, though it took a while for her to be candid enough to admit this) because of the reputation and social status associated with the job! What effect did pointing out this reasoning as clearly unIslamic have? I might as well have argued with a statue. Call out any Muslim who puts classism and their own cultural baggage foremost and you will seldom hear anything but a variation of ”I know but…..” and nothing remotely meaningful. If you are lucky; I have even heard condemnation of marriages to people with perfectly secure, stable and professional but sub £50,000/year jobs on religious grounds that the man has to provide! Seriously. Not even the dignity to distance the self as far as possible from religious teachings when justifying such blatant materialism!

I am not saying that what a person does is inconsequential; a certain job might be indicative of other traits a person has (being a counsellor for example would likely suggest a person is perceptive; a desirable trait), and in Islam a man must be able to provide for a wife; but provide what? Several holidays a year, private schooling for the children, a detached house in the country and three cars? Maybe I missed the Hadith which says this is obligatory or something. I always thought it was more like food, shelter and safety from actual harm; and then all the unimportant things like love and affection and time. Maybe there is something I am ‘not getting’ here. (See point 11)

(Clearly the author has no bitterness or personal baggage here. I assure you. None. Honestly.)

*Note: The ‘No Doctor no Wedding’ rule mostly applies to men i.e. the man must have the ‘suitable’ job to be considered a good husband. A lucrative job can actually reduce the ‘suitability’ of a woman in the marriage market for the two fold reason that:

A) ”If her husband earns less this may hurt his ego”

B) ”As the husband has the job of the provider it isn’t really right that he earns less. Not the done thing.”

Point A Sometimes holds true; some men are just plain insecure and it really would damage their egos to earn less than their wives. I don’t want to seem too unsympathetic, but I am, so this is how it comes across; I really find it hard to empathise with someone mentally weak enough to feel ‘threatened’ or somehow inadequate (less still how this could manifest into bad, insecurity based behaviour, which it sometimes does) because his wife earned more money than him; unless of course she purposefully tried to make him feel such.

As for Point B, all I can say is ‘Khadija.’ Not only did she earn more than Muhammad (PBUH), but she was considerably older than him, something which is all but unacceptable to many Muslims now in practice; yet another pointless and unIslamic cultural norm. I do not subscribe to the popular feminist notion that being a housewife is intrinsically inferior to being very driven career wise; but neither should women who are very career focussed be accused (implicitly or otherwise) of being colonialised by this mindset, nor should they be ‘punished’ for their ambition; and this is exactly what happens.

(Also remember: when a woman marries, according to Islam, what’s hers is hers, and what’s his is hers too. Even if she is a millionaire and he a binman; I have insufficient evidence to say whether most Muslims do this in practice but my hopes aren’t high).

2) ”White is right. Also I have to marry another Punjabi”

No one likes being called a racist (even hardcore white nationalists with a fetish for Celtic crosses insist that the term is redundant and demand to be referred to by idiotic synonyms like ‘race realist’) and Muslims are no exception, especially given that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) explicitly and non ambiguously said that no person of any racial group was greater than another in except in their good deeds and piety. However, it is not our disclaimers that define us but our behaviour and many Muslims are demonstrably racist whether they admit to it or not.

‘I don’t really think dark people are any worse but….’

‘Yes I do agree, and I know it’s not really right but….’

‘I wouldnt mind but my parents would and I can’t hurt them. In Islam you have to be good to your parents right?’

Stop. Judging people on their skin colour is morally and Islamically reprehensible (I pray for the day when Muslims get it into their heads that the two are inseparable, but ironically enough, like atheists they can actually be pretty good at trying to detach morality from religion). You cannot square this circle whereby you refuse to accept your status as a simple minded racist yet be an exclusivist regarding the race or colour you deem acceptable for marriage (often it boils down to a revulsion for dark skin in Indo-Pakistani culture). Many young Muslims tend not to actually share these opinions with their older family but in a pathetic act of cowardice they often give them credence in practice, as if being complicit is somehow acceptable. The wretched default excuse from people who lack the conviction to challenge such cultural dogmas and others is that ‘in Islam you have to be good to your parents’. Yes, you do, but being good to people isn’t placating them; it means helping them to thrive and do the right thing, which should be good for them in this life and the next.

O believers, be you securers of justice, witnesses for God, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents and kinsmen, whether the man be rich or poor; God stands closest to either. (Qur’an 4:135)

If your parents, or grandparents or any other family members treat some races and colours as undesirable, the greatest good you can do unto them is help put them right. This need not mean go out of your way to cause drama, or that you have to elope with someone who is too well endowed with melanin for them; but help your family see the light. Give them advice like someone offering something precious on a silver platter, and offer it upwards, not downwards. Kindly remind them of what Islam says and that it really is in stark contrast to their cultural views. If they still refuse to acknowledge, then on what Islamic grounds should you obey them?

Colour is not the sole unnatural divider at play here; many young Muslims still believe ‘I can only marry a Gujarati, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Mirpuri etc.’ It doesn’t take a scholar to identify the abhorrence of such tribalistic behaviour and recognition that this is the antithesis of Islam. For Muslims who contest that this is tribal, I ask you; then what is? How is attributing positive or negative value to someone because of their province of origin or their caste anything but?

If Ethiopian Bilal were here today (Bilal was one of the Prophet’s first and most courageous disciples; refusing to renounce Islam even under hideous torture) he would be considered inadequate by many Pakistani Muslim parents. Too dark. Worst of all his daughters would be too dark. Muslims are great at losing their cool when non Muslims insult Muhammad (PBUH), but such puerile insults are nothing compared to the way that our own behaviour insults the Prophet, everything he stood for and in this case one of his dearest companions! Wake up and recognise this behaviour for what it is.

O mankind, verily, We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Verily, Allah is knowing and aware. (Qur’an 49:13)

“He is not one us who calls for `Asabiyyah, (nationalism/tribalism) or who fights for `Asabiyyah or who dies for `Asabiyyah.” (Abu Da’wud)

“There are indeed people who boast of their dead ancestors; but in the sight of Allah they are more contemptible than the black beetle that rolls a piece of dung with its nose. Behold, Allah has removed from you the arrogance of the Time of Jahiliyyah (Ignorance) with its boast of ancestral glories. Man is but an Allah-fearing believer or an unfortunate sinner. All people are the children of Adam, and Adam was created out of dust.” (At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)

“An Arab is no better than a non-Arab. In return, a non-Arab is no better than an Arab. A red raced man was not better than a black one except in piety. Mankind are all Adam’s children and Adam was created out of clay.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of Abu Musa]

3) ”We can’t get married now! We need to work for 6 years to afford the wedding!”

After hundreds of singles events, searches on matrimonial websites, rishta meetings and ‘accidently’ taking all the same study modules as attractive people you happen to like, you finally find that someone who you can share your life with. Great; all that remains is another decade to wait while you save up for the wedding. Why? While there are some individuals whose desired fairytale wedding warrants shopping exclusively at Poundland for several years in order to save for such an occasion, I believe most Muslim families spend obscene quantities of money on weddings is because they feel obliged to. The family has a reputation to uphold; ‘what will people say if we skimp on the venue?’ Also if you invite person X then it necessarily follows that you must invite person Y. This person will get offended if you don’t invite them, that person invited you to their son’s wedding and so forth. The relatedness to the bride and groom to warrant being a guest is so tenuous that a Muslim version of the film Wedding Crashers wouldn’t even have to feature the crashers fabricating an elaborate back-story involving relatedness to some made up uncle.

As far as I am concerned, if I ever find anyone masochistic enough to marry me, the marriage will consist of myself, herself and some people who we actually really care about; you know, like people who would actually blink if we died, and it would happen in the Masjid. A few thousand quid, a wedding in the house of God (metaphorically speaking of course, I’m not a disciple of Ibn Taymiyya, though I do like his ‘Eventual Universalist’ views) and the reward of having brought people to pray; furthermore any non Muslims who present might become intrigued (in a good way for once) by Islam too.

Setting new trends is difficult, and sadly, the people who can barely afford extortionate weddings are the ones likely to get pilloried by the community for not having them. The people who could best begin a new and more sensible trend are those who are most wealthy. These are people everyone knows could afford to fill Wembley stadium with guests, but they choose to have a modest wedding which does not entail burning as much cash as conceivably possible, and features only guests who actually have any meaningful relationship with them, because it is the more sensible, and dare I say it, Islamic thing to do.

But waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allâh) likes not Al-Musrifûn (those who waste by extravagance)” (Qur’an 7:31)

The marriage, which produces the most blessings, is that which involves least burden.” (Tirmidhi)

And those, who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly, but hold a medium (way) between those (extremes)” (Qu’ran 25:67)

4) ”Sorry I love you and all but what will the aunties say?”

‘If I marry you the aunties will whisper because…. (*Insert reason here: Too young, Not rich enough, Too dark, their sister was once seen walking next to a boy, their brother was once seen at a nightclub etc etc*)’

How many of us have heard variations of this phrase, or indeed phrases featuring a fear of being gossiped about in general? The desire to gossip is pretty natural; I would be lying if I said I never have the urge to gossip, and lying further if I said that I have always overcome it. However, it is a grievous sin according to Islam:

Why no not the believing men and women whenever such (a rumour) is heard, think the best of one another and say ‘This is an obvious falsehood’? … When you take it up with your tongues, uttering with your mouths something of which you have no knowledge, you deem it a light matter. Whereas in the sight of God it is an awful thing (Qur’an 24:12-15)

O you who acknowledge, let not a people ridicule other people, for they may be better than them. Nor shall any women ridicule other women, for they may be better than them. Nor shall you mock one another, or call each other names. Evil indeed is the reversion to wickedness after attaining acknowledgement. Anyone who does not repent, then these are the transgressors (Qur’an 49:11)

O you who acknowledge, you shall avoid much suspicion, for some suspicion is sinful. Do not spy on one another, nor shall you GOSSIP one another. Would one of you enjoy eating the flesh of his dead brother? You certainly would hate this. You shall observe God. God is Redeemer, Compassionate (Qur’an 49:12)

‘(Backbiting) is to say something about your brother that he would dislike’. Someone asked him, ‘but what if what I say is true?’ The messenger of Allah said ‘If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him but if it is not true then you have slandered him’ (Muslim)

Yet the whole culture of ‘auntie gossip’ is omni-present. When it comes to marriage based issues, ‘aunties’ can be truly vile, snide, underhand and merciless.

‘Ooh she’s very darrk yarr’

‘He only gets paid that much? Oi hoi…Just think….ve could have married her to that lovely dactar’

‘I saw her walking in the other day in jeans. JEANS!!!!’

The reality is probably much worse; as a male I am not usually directly privy to the gossip of bored middle aged women but the fact that I have spoken to enough girls who consider it a defining factor in their decision making suggests it is pretty severe. What can we do? Joining in is morally repugnant and standing by indicates compliance and acceptance. More people need to overcome the fear of the water and have the courage to call such people out; to put their conscience first and their immediate dignity second if necessary. I believe many people would be surprised at how successful calling people out on vicious gossip can be. Imagine a circle of aunties gossiping about a young girl in the family who, let’s say was rumoured to be seen with a young man and walking next to him (horror). You get the picture. One auntie then stands up and tells all the others that this is pointless and vicious speculation that serves no purpose except for their own gratification, it could damage the reputation of an innocent person and is, as the Qur’an says, tantamount to eating their flesh. Would the remaining aunties feel comfortable continuing the gossip? Even if the lady calling them out then left the room I suspect they might not. Deep down most of us know when we are doing the wrong thing and once called out on it, it becomes far more difficult to continue.

5) ”We don’t have…..I cant even say it….basically…babies are made because Mum for them and they just appear”

A highly embarrassing truth about our community is that parents often struggle to talk plainly about marriage to their offspring let alone sex. Our prudishness is such that many Muslims will only get properly acquainted with sex education if they don’t live in a Muslim majority country (I am reminded of a Pakistani biology student I knew who wasn’t even fully sure of what sexual intercourse entailed, beyond rubbing. Seriously). I can only speculate where this wanton ignorance stems from; I have heard it argued that this is a product taken from the once squeamish Christian West, but whether this is true or not, no one is compelling us to behave like this now. Let us see how squeamish the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself really was:

God’s Messenger(s) said: “In the sexual act of each of you there is a sadaqa (worship through giving).” The Companions replied: “0 Messenger of God! When one of us fulfils his sexual desire, will he be given a reward for that?” And he said, “Do you not think that were he to act upon it unlawfully, he would be sinning? Likewise, if he acts upon it lawfully he will be rewarded.” (Muslim) 

“Three things are counted inadequacies in a man. Firstly, meeting someone he would like to get to know, and taking leave of him before learning his name and his family. Secondly, rebuffing the generosity that another shows to him. And thirdly, going to his wife and having intercourse with her before talking to her and gaining her intimacy, satisfying his need from her before she has satisfied her need from him.” (Daylami) 

Not very, appears to be the answer. The Muslim world has not always been as backward and prudish as we see today. Some of the most influential Islamic scholars of all time in the Medieval Islamic world wrote material which would get them lynched for spreading ‘immorality’ if they lived in Pakistan or Afghanistan today. The medieval Islamic civilisation actually featured comprehensive education about such issues and many texts from that era were very sexually explicit. Many of the great Muslim pioneers of philosophy and medicine wrote volumes on sex; from sexual health, anatomy, and even technique! For instance:

According to Imam al-Ghazali: “Sex should begin with gentle words and kissing,” and Imam al-Zabidi adds: “This should include not only the cheeks and lips; and then he should caress the breasts and nipples, and every part of her body.” (Zabidi, Ithaf al-Sada al Muttaqin, V 372).

Believe it or not it is precisely the ghastly puritanical inhibition present in our communities which actually helps drive people to carry out sex crimes. Sex education is not the same as pornography, and the burden of proof is on those who think it makes young people more ‘immoral.’ Most studies actually suggest the reverse; that sex education makes people more sensible about sex.

“Of His signs is this: that He created for you spouses that you might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy.” (Quran, 30:21) 

Allah created male and female from a single soul in order that man might live with her in serenity (Quran, 7:189)

6) ”Death before divorce”

Some Muslims will protest that ‘you can’t make halal haraam’ when called out on some idiotic behaviour or lifestyle choices which is not literally condemned by name in the Qur’an but any sane person could see it goes against the principles of Islam. Various sorts of unethical business come to my mind, I am sure readers can think of other examples. However, when it comes to divorce which is explicitly allowed in Islam, the very same Muslims would rather be hung drawn and quartered then entertain the possibility, and much less look at a female divorcee as anything but an utter degenerate. The ‘divorce stigma’ applies far more strongly to women than men. I am not saying it puts a man in a great light either but sadly for many Muslim women, being a divorcee is considered about as acceptable as an AIDS ridden prostitute when it comes to remarriage. When it comes to a past (including pre marital escapades), a man’s past it less likely to haunt him; boys will be boys! As for girls; spoilt goods. Wherever they got this idea from it wasn’t Islam.

Sure, divorce is disliked and sure it should not be undertaken lightly but it is sometimes necessary. Relationships can be destructive and abusive and sometimes the only forward is out. Some marriages may consist of two great people who are not great together. Once they divorce they are still two great people. All this said, I do think there is a gradual paradigm shift where divorces are becoming more viable, as divorce rates are increasing amongst the Muslim community (in Britain anyway), though I have heard suggestions that some are shifting to the other extreme where even a moderately bad spirited quarrel warrants divorce. Obviously divorce is a last resort, but it is an option, and it is a right which Islam supports.

Also, a woman came to the Prophet Muhammad seeking the dissolution of her marriage, she told the Prophet that she did not have any complaints against her husband’s character or manners. Her only problem was that she honestly did not like him to the extent of not being able to live with him any longer. The Prophet asked her: “Would you give him his garden (the marriage gift he had given her) back?” she said: “Yes”. The Prophet then instructed the man to take back his garden and accept the dissolution of the marriage (Bukhari).

” A believing man must not hate a believing woman. If he dislikes one of her traits he will be pleased with another” (Muslim).

“The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives” (Tirmidthi).

“If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves; and such settlement is best” (Quran 4:128).

7) ”Of course you can choose who you marry! Just make sure its someone you’ve never seen and never spoken to”

You sit next to a girl next in a ‘non segregated’ lecture. You look at her and realise she is attractive. You start talking. Even as you leave the lecture you are still talking. You realise no one else is there now. It is cold so you decide to go indoors and have a coffee. This leads to a meal, this leads to watching a movie, which leads to her coming to your house with the ‘intention’ of looking over some course notes but before you know it you have fornicated and got her pregnant. Your lives are now ruined.

What should you have done? As soon as you noticed her from your peripheral vision you should have told your brother whose wife has a friend who is on the same course as the girl you noticed to tell his wife to tell her course mate that she has caught your eye and thus should consider marrying you.

This is essentially the narrative that many young Muslims are given when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex; one which pretty much defines ‘slippery slope argument,’ and sets the bar for inappropriate ‘free mixing’ way too low, making talking to the opposite sex all but unfeasible in practice.

Now I am not saying that hundreds of dates with scores of people are required in order to find who is ‘right’ for you, nor cohabiting to make sure that you are ‘compatible’ or anything like this; but the way that young Muslims are being drilled into believing that almost any sort of interaction with the opposite gender is a hairsbreadth away from fornication is just counterproductive. I know enough boys who can hardly even carry themselves properly around girls because they have been trained to think that just talking to a girl is a step away from sleeping with her and thus have barely spoken to a female who wasn’t an aunt, sister or their mother before.

The ‘you cannot interact with the opposite sex at all’ narrative is yet another impediment put on people to stop them successfully finding partners for marriage and having the ability to interact properly with other people. Such overzealous restrictiveness also provides incentive to rebel. When someone has rebelled against one (perceived) aspect of Islam, it becomes easier to do so with others. It also makes people lose faith in this supposed aspect of Islam, bringing the wisdom of Islam into question in the mind of the person (even if the value they are opposing is not actually Islamic). As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with young Muslims being fed notions about anthropomorphic conceptions of God, ”say Masjid not mosque because mosque sounds like mosquito” fatwas and other petty frivolousness.

8) ”You *will* marry Adil here. What do you mean ‘he’s weird?’ Don’t worry about that fact that you cant stand the sight of him. Just trust us. You might as well because let’s face it you don’t really have a choice”

Muslim and non Muslim readers will have heard the stories; girls being taken on ‘surprise holidays’ and forced at knifepoint to marry a deranged landowner with a legion of slaves and a harem of 12 year old transgender concubines, but I want to discuss a far more common type of ‘forced’ marriage; entailing pressure that is harder to pin down; something you couldn’t really report as being criminal. One way to phrase this is:

”Parents forcing their children to choose to get married”

In other words, putting so much emotional and societal pressure on their children so that as long as they choose to remain unmarried, they are never at peace; I think this happens very often. Such guilty parents would likely agree in principle that forced marriage is unacceptable in Islam, but deny that what they do constitutes to forcing. The Qur’an reminds us that ‘falsehood by its nature is bound to perish’ (Qur’an 17:81) and we should be honoured to be agents of materialising this claim and show that emotional coercion is a real and reprehensible concept which cannot be passed off as merely laying out options and ‘advising.’

Marriage may be half our Deen, but it means nothing if you are forced. To say you helped your child fulfil half their Deen because you forced them to get married is rather like saying you helped them pay their zakat because you stole money from them. Yes, parents should advise, even encourage, but God is the best of judges and whatever semantics people use to claim they are not forcing their children, the best they can do is to convince is gullible mortals and for a very very short space of time.

Aa’ishah reported that a girl came to her and said, “My father married me to his brother’s son in order to raise his social standing, and I did not want this marriage [I was forced into it].” ?Aa’ishah said, “Sit here until the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) comes. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came and she told him about the girl. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent for her father, then he gave the girl the choice of what to do. She said, “O Messenger of Allaah, I have accepted what my father did, but I wanted to prove something to other women.” (Reported by al-Nisaa’i, 3217).

(Narrated Khansa bint Khidam Al-Ansariya): That her father gave her in marriage when she was a matron and she disliked that marriage. So she went to Allah’s Apostle and he declared that marriage invalid.

O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may Take away part of the dower ye have given them,-except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good. (Qur’an 4:19)

 

9) ”I am an avatar of my mother”

My mother is a far greater person then I will ever be, but nonetheless, she does not live through me. Yes, your mother comes first, second and third, and paradise is beneath her feet, but that does not prevent her from being a fallible human being. Nor does it make her the puppet master pulling your strings, or for that matter the owner of your spouse. Many mother (and father) in laws are lovely; they really do treat their children in law like their own; they know when to be involved and when not to be, and they put justice above what appears to be more favourable for their half of the family. Others sadly, are less noble, and think that they run the marriage; they say when they want grandchildren, and they have the right to be obeyed by their children in law at all times. The cases I have heard of husbands and wives behaving in a vile and despicable manner towards their spouses because Mummy told them to are truly disgusting and not rare enough to be dismissed as isolated incidents. Unfortunately this is sometimes inadvertently encouraged by the newlyweds themselves who are anxious to please their in laws, not realising that their submissive and over accommodating behaviour is encouraging their in laws (even subconsciously) to believe that when they say jump, you merely ask into what mud? Stand your ground early or face a spiral of manipulation

10) ”But he did this…she did this…..he/she deserves this abusive treatment which I will administer”

I do not claim that Muslim marriages contain more abuse then non Muslim ones, but I do claim that they should have much less, given the teachings of Islam. Sadly the degree to which they are less abusive is conspicuously unapparent or nonexistent. Depending on what you classify as abuse, you can raise the bar pretty low such that there is an element of it in any relationship; admittedly it is sometimes difficult to define. The (fairly loose) definition I shall use here is:

Carrying out (or witholding) a particular action in the full knowledge that it will cause physical or emotional harm and no benefit to the other person.

Rather than focus on rarer extremes of abuse such as outright physical brutality (I do not feel knowledgeable enough to give this much authoritative discussion), I want to look at ‘lower level’ forms of abuse which a far larger proportion of people indulge in. Here are several:

-Stonewalling; prolonged passive aggressive behaviour where one party refuses to significantly talk or interact with their partner. This causes far more trauma then people realise and is a particularly vicious and cowardly form of emotional torment; the passive aggressor can claim not to have ever really done anything serious; though in Islam it is the intention that counts; if you know the effect an action will have on another person and you do it, you ‘intended’ it whatever semantics you use.

-Humiliation or arguing in the public sphere; another petty way to cause pain, discomfort and ill feeling. You can keep going knowing that the other person might be too proud to cause more of a scene and thus cannot really respond to your torments. This can be done is many ways; going out of your way to side against a spouse in an argument, raising your voice, making underhand jabs infront of others, and even degrading and aggressive gestures like slapping.

-Trying to fundamentally change someone; yes a marriage should have compromise and a good spouse will advise the other about what to do in life; so I suppose in some sense people can ‘change each other.’ What I refer to by change is to change the other person in a way that is not inherently ‘good.’ For instance, pressuring them to change careers because you want them to do something more ‘high flying.’ Another pertinent example is stopping or restricting the other from doing things which define them. Again, I have to be nuanced in explaining this, we all do foolish actions and if our loved ones can help us refrain from doing so then we should take heed. Some chauvinists would condemn their spouses trying to reign in foolish and irresponsible behaviour like binge drinking as being restrictive. I am referring to perfectly halal pastimes which make us who we are and continue to do so. For me, I love doing certain sports. This is something I require for my well being and I would not be the person I am without them. If I am unable to run, lift weights or hit a punch bag for more than a week or two, I get stressful and ill tempered; like a caged animal; and cease to become the mellow and laid back person that I want to be. I know others of a similar mould who have partners who will wantonly fail to appreciate the importance that important pastimes (which develop body and mind) play in defining the person they committed too and cruelly restrict them; almost just to prove a point. ‘He/she will sacrifice doing X, Y or Z for me. They shouldn’t need that to be happy.’

Again, not all forms of trying to curb people’s habits are ‘wrong,’ some habits are potentially harmful (like certain extreme sports), even ones which are not ‘wrong’ can become addictive, and people can be selfish and put their hobbies over people who should matter to them. I realise this, but my point stands; many people do try to change their partners out of selfishness and the want to prove a point. If you try to change someone you will either fail and resent them yourself, or you will succeed and they will resent you.

-One up manship. Arguments and disagreements in any relationship between two people are inevitable but is their purpose to secure the best outcome for you both or to vindicate your ego? When we disagree with someone, let us never lose sight of our well intended objectives.

-Emotional guilt tripping; Muslims of the Indian subcontinent have surely acquired unparalleled mastery at this art. Not even just in terms of marriage; we are at a stage where our emotional stability is ridiculously low (some readers had emotional meltdowns just on reading my 10 problems with Dawahmen where I critique the methods of certain Muslim popularisers). We are excellent at getting really offended and upset, phenomenally easily, and using our upset to make unreasonable demands. Pulling on heart strings and emotionally blackmailing people is a just as underhand and disingenuous as any other form of manipulation. Let’s grow out of it.

-Failing to properly forgive. Forgiving does not mean agreeing to round off an argument because you want to bring it up another day; it really does mean forgiving and letting go. We also need to learn to better forgive in the most difficult circumstance of all; when we have ourselves been proven wrong. It is often harder to drop grudge against someone for them being right then for being wrong. Sometimes the vindicator might come across as obnoxious in his/her correctness but we can still accept they are right (whilst gently asking them to be more humble) without resenting them. But please, anything but the lame, intellectually deficient but extremely common response of ‘Stop lecturing me,’ when we have nothing to say.

In any marriage, specially an Islamic one, both parties should be striving to make the other party fulfilled, but in this society it often seems like people prefer to furiously compete with each other to secure what they see as their intrinsic right to be ‘made happy,’ at all times on demand by the other.

After having read my rantings on this problem of abuse, you may wonder ‘Is this a real problem with the Muslim marriage market as such? Isnt this just something across the board?’

This is a problem across the board, but the point is that relationships between people striving to practice and live by (as opposed to living with) Islam should be characterised either by mutual love and success, or, if the people are genuinely incompatible, mutual respect, and then end on such terms. It is my sad realisation to observe that the term ‘practicing’ Muslim nowadays really just refers to someone who does the specific noteworthy rituals which are exclusive to Islam (e.g. prayer and fasting and not eating pork). It does not actually refer to someone who upholds Islamic values like kindness and community work and the active desire to leave the Earth and its people in better state then it was prior to their existence. The fact is that abuse (which granted I have lowered the bar for considerably) exists in our community, even if it no more present than in any other, shows that there is something wrong with the way marriages are determined, and conducted, and followed through. I could not say which gender has the monopoly on this; some feminists will insist that most abuse related problems are based on misogyny and patriarchy and this may well be true in some societies. However, going by many British Asian families I have known, women can be very dominant and controlling and thus potentially guilty of several of the above. I can think of several ‘whipped’ men who would be nodding their heads to this. As God has created men and women to be equally but differently flawed, I tend to believe such cases of spiteful mistreatment are probably about even.

“Nor can goodness and evil be equal.  Repel (evil) with that is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!.” (Qur’an 41:34)

And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness(Qur’an 2:228)

 The strong is not the one who over comes the people by his strength”  “But the strong is the one who controls him while in anger.” (Abu Huraira)

11) ”You don’t get it”

Translation: ”I am literally unable to defend my position because it would entail admitting that culture is a stronger decision maker to me then Islam is. When it comes to the way I actually live my life. I live with Islam, but I live BY my culture.”

I have had similar conversations talking about the above 10 problems with otherwise very intelligent, very articulate people who are perfectly proficient at argumentation; yet their arguments here were so bankrupt, that all they could resort to was telling me that ‘I didn’t get it’ and trying some phenomenally atrocious (dis)analogies (like: ‘getting married is like going to school, you don’t get a choice.’).

A vicious part of me feels that people who are morally and spiritually weak enough to be ruled by the unIslamic practices and ideas which I have discussed, pretty much deserve to lie in the bed that they make for themselves (no pun intended) but sadly this not only damages their own lives but perpetuates this vortex of ignorance to the next generation. There are people who would read this and respond along the lines of ‘I admire people who stand up to unreasonable parental demands, who would marry someone whether white black or green, who don’t care what job someone has as long as they are a good Muslim and kind person etc….its really great…but…..I’m just not cut out to be a hero basically’

Being brave or heroic, questioning cultural norms or standing up to the people you love/fear/respect the most is not an abstract ideal reserved for an elite few people. It is a fundamental duty of every Muslim, if the occasion warrants it. Many Muslims act as if while praying and fasting is compulsory, doing good and preventing bad is some sort of optional extra that is okay, but in the scale of things it doesn’t really matter. Basically if you pray and fast enough you pretty much go straight to heaven. The damage and stagnation caused by unwritten paradigms like this (which Islam refutes ad infinitum) is catastrophic; stay tuned for an article dissecting them!

Indeed the worst kind of all living creatures in God’s sight are the deaf and dumb, who do not reason (Qur’an 8:22)

Conclusions:

All of the problems I have discussed serve to undermine Islam; even if we convince ourselves and non Muslims that Islam is not directly responsible for the problems; the fact that these problems manifest themselves so abundantly through people who claim to follow Islam does not suggest that Islam is capable of producing solutions. Once a faith seems irrelevant, people question its validity; for those who care about the future of the Muslim community it is critical that we do not underestimate this effect. However, human beings are good at compartmentalising religious teachings and their behaviour (being very selective with the former), and people of conscience should (gently) point this out to guilty persons. Whilst this set of problems can undermine Islam in the eyes of people, Islam also undermines these problems when followed as a holistic way of life. Islam does demand that a man can provide safety and security for a wife, but a manual labourer could do this, and if he is good in his character he could make a woman ‘richer’ then any investment banker could. There are no races in Islam, and thus Islam condemns discrimination based on colour; there is no tribalism in Islam, thus origin cannot be used as a basis to determine a person’s worth or suitability; Islam unequivocally condemns obscene and reckless materialism and extravagance, something many Muslim weddings are based on to the core. Gossiping is a grotesque sin in Islam, and Islamic traditions even seem to pre-empt and repudiate any possible loopholes that people would use to protest that their gossiping isn’t ‘real’ gossiping or backbiting. Islam does not encourage divorce, but it does permit it, and under circumstances far less extreme then life and death situations. While many Muslims are in practice opposed to sex education and open discussion about issues surrounding marriage and sexuality, there is nothing inherent in Islam which is similarly prudish and traditions of the Prophet along with classical Islamic scholarship suggest the reverse. Finally, the spitefulness in many tit for tat relationships which we see could not be more contrary to the spirit of Islam and its teachings.

Most of this 8000 word article has been spent criticising people, or at least their practices. Yet, unlike the case with some of my other writing (See ’10 problems with Dawahmen’) I do not forsee the same magnitude of vitriol and offence in any responses. Sure, some might argue that I am being a little simplistic or generalising or judgemental but overall I do not think the essence of what I am saying will be considered highly radical; yet many of these despicable problems I discuss are in many cases the norm, not the exception. What I am trying to say is that many people are perfectly aware of the marriage based problems today, but continue to allow or perpetuate them.

If you, as the reader fundamentally disagree with me on the above points as being problems, I am sad to say that it is hard to see us reaching common ground; but if any of the claims which I have made resonate with you, then please do not be amongst those whose internal response is ‘You might be right, but thats the way it is, thats the way its always been, and theres nothing I can or will do about it.’ Just sharing and justifying your opinions in conversation is doing something about it. Being strong enough not to accept or fall foul of any of these ‘traditions’ yourself is doing something about it too.

I do think that agreeing with many of the problems with Muslim marriages (as most Muslims I speak to actually do) but then ‘going along’ with them in practice when it is one’s own turn is easy, and as this is a trial I have yet to overcome myself, I do not want to be more judgemental then I undoubtedly come across as already. However, I hope I am less likely to fall foul or be guilty of the above as a result of writing this article and I hope and pray that any readers are less likely to do so having read it too.

Assalamu alaikum, and enjoy the rest of your day