Wahhabism & Salafism

A blistering and controversial seminar: ‘Wahhabis’, who are they and what do they want?

Specifically there is a detailed analysis regarding allegations of ‘anthropomorphism’ and the claim that God is in a place and has ‘hands’ etc.

Comprehensive, shocking, unique and quite simply a must-see.

Perhaps the most important and relevant Islamic talk to take place in the U.K for years. See for yourself.

Instructor – Hafiz Mahmud:

Sent to a traditional Islamic Madrasah at the age of ten, he memorised the whole Quran, studied classical Arabic, Tafseer, Shatibiyyah (different types of recitation), Fiqh, Hadith, Mantiq (logic) and Kalaam for the next decade.

In a complete change of tac, he then gained BSc’s in both Molecular Biology and Mathematics and Astrophysics as well as an MSc in Theoretical Physics from Kings College London.

He is currently researching Black Hole thermodynamics.

He is also an Imam, leading Tarawehs, teaching Qur’an, classical Arabic, Fiqh, Tafseer in various London Islamic centres and mosques.

‘Transcendent is Allah’ by Haji Noor Deen, Master Calligrapher

A brilliant set of five lectures by Sheikh Atabek Nasafi clarifying points on this oft mis-understood issue. I was reluctant to get involved in this kind of stuff  but it is important to have clarity, especially if we are to call people to Islam, as is our duty. It is also an issue that has repeatedly (and unnecessarily) brought to the fore by the Salafi/Wahhabi brothers who unfortunately tend to make a big issue out of this and tend to get themselves and others confused in the process.

Part 1; Introduction to The Waseeya of  Imam Abu Hanifa (RA)

Part 2: The Waseeya of Abu Hanifa (RA) 

Part 3: The Isnad of the Waseeya of Abu Hanifa (RA)

Part 4: The Prophet (PBUH) On The Right Hand Of God?

Part 5: Where Is Allah?

There are a further two parts but they are extremely detailed (and ‘controversial’) and therefore perhaps only for somewhat advanced students. They are nonetheless hugely enjoyable and informative and I will post them if people want. (Update: I have added these as well)

Sheikh Atabek Shukrov Nasafi is a noted scholar and specialist in Islamic aqeeda and theological sciences. Undertaking his religious studies at first in secret in Uzbekistan while it was part of the USSR, he has gone on to have an eclectic and comprehensive Islamic education all over the Muslim world. Already a scholar when he arrived in the Middle East, he studied in Damascus under such luminaries as Mhmd Adnan Darwish, graduating finally from Al Azhar but only after having studied both in Medina and the wider region, for example under Sh. Uthaymeen (and numerous others).

He is currently based in the Northwest of England where he is the founder of the Avicenna Institute.

Imitating The Non-Muslims Clothing Is Fine…According To The Prophet (SAW)

Oh no! Writing ‘Bismillah’ in Chinese is Bidat! We’re doomed!

Another, rather idiotic, idea that the Deobandis in particular used to insist on, in the U.K at least, was that if one wore clothes other than those of Muslims or the Prophet (SAW), one was imitating the kuffar and thus ‘one of them’ (in a corruption of the Hadith which mentions that whoever imitates a people is one of them).

They used this deviation to insist that the wearing of jeans, amongst other things, fell into this category and was haraam (!). This was part of their ‘BIDAT FEST’ mentality, which they no doubt contracted from the Salafis (where everything is a bad innovation, no matter how innocuous).

Fortunately they have moderated their stupidity on this and other issues as the years have gone by (at least in the U.K), though one fears this is more out of fear of censure than genuine change of principle.

Below is a list of ‘foreign’ items of clothing in the Prophets’ (SAW) possession. Many if not most are from non-Muslim countries, such as Rome and Egypt.

Perhaps the Deobandis think that the Prophet (SAW) was ‘imitating’ the kuffar by wearing them.

The items used by the Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) from abroad (not exhaustive)

1. An embroidered Yemeni sheet
2. A Sahuli sheet
3. Thawb Qatr - yemeni sheet
4. Burd Najrani - from Najran, Yemen.
5. A Yemeni Jubba
6. A Syrian Jubba
7. A Roman Jubba
8. Jubba Tayalisa Kasrawaniyya - a black Persian jubba 
9. Qalansuwa Misriyya - Egyptian cap

 Ibn Taymiyyah: A Concise Heresiography By GF Haddad


Ah.mad ibn `Abd al-H.alîm ibn `Abd Allâh ibn Abî al-Qâsim ibn Taymiyya, Taqî al-Dîn Abû al-`Abbâs ibn Shihâb al-Dîn ibn Majd al-Dîn al-H.arrânî al-Dimashqî al-H.anbalî (661-728) was one of the most influential scholars of the late H.anbalî school, praised by the h.adîth Master S.alâh. al-Dîn al-`Alâ’î as “Our shaykh, master, and Imâm between us and Allâh Almighty, the master of verification, the wayfarer of the best path, the owner of the multifarious merits and overpowering proofs which all hosts agree are impossible to enumerate, the Shaykh, the Imâm and faithful servant of his Lord, the doctor in the Religion, the Ocean, the light-giving Pole of spirituality, the leader of Imâms, the blessing of the Community, the sign-post of the people of knowledge, the inheritor of Prophets, the last of those capable of independent legal reasoning, the most unique of the scholars of the Religion, Shaykh al-Islâm…”

He Was Mostly Self-Taught

A student of Ibn `Abd al-Dâ’im, al-Qâsim al-Irbilî, Ibn `Allân, Ibn Abî `Amr al-Fakhr, Ibn Taymiyya mostly read by himself until he achieved great learning. Shaykh al-Islâm, al-H.âfiz. al-Taqî al-Subkî said: “He memorized a lot and did not discipline himself with a shaykh.”  He taught, authored books, gave formal legal opinions, and generally distinguished himself for his quick wit and photographic memory.

His Principal Students

Among his most noted students were the h.adîth masters Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Dhahabî, Ibn Kathîr, and Muh.ammad ibn Ah.mad ibn `Abd al-Hâdî al-Maqdisî (705-744) as well as the H.anbalî jurist and h.adîth narrator Sirâj al-Dîn Abû H.afs. `Umar ibn `Alî ibn Mûsâ al-Azjî al-Bazzâr (688-749) who should not be confused with the h.âfiz. Abû Bakr al-Bazzâr (215-292)!

Divided Opinions Concerning Him

Ibn Taymiyya’s views and manners created intense controversy both in his life and after his death. Al-Sakhâwî in al-Tawbîkh (p. 61) noted: “Certain people gave rise to disavowal and a general reluctance to make use of their knowledge despite their stature in knowledge, pious scrupulosity, and asceticism. The reason for this was the looseness of their tongues and their tactlessness in blunt speech and excessive criticism, such as Ibn H.azm and Ibn Taymiyya, who were subsequently tried and harmed.”

An illustration of Ibn Taymiyya’s ambivalent status is the fact that, although the Shâfi`î h.adîth Master al-Mizzî did not call anyone else Shaykh al-Islâm in his time besides Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Abî `Umar al-H.anbalî, and Imâm Taqî al-Dîn al-Subkî,  yet the H.anafî scholar `Alâ’ al-Dîn al-Bukhârî issued a fatwâ that if anyone called Ibn Taymiyya Shaykh al-Islâm they would commit disbelief and authored against the latter a book entitled al-Muljima li al-Mujassima (“Curbing the Anthropomorphists”). 

Ibn Nâs.ir al-Dîn al-Dimashqî countered this fatwa by authoring al-Radd al-Wâfir, in which he listed all the authorities who had ever written in praise of Ibn Taymiyya or called him Shaykh al-Islâm. Shaykh `Abd al-Fattâh. Abû Ghudda includes Ibn Taymiyya among the scholars who never married and extravagantly names him “Shaykh al-Islâm and the Standard-Bearer of all standard-bearers” in his book al-`Ulamâ’ al-`Uzzâb, which he wrote after he took up residence in Najd.

Al-Dhahabî’s Synopsis of His Case

In Bayân Zaghl al-`Ilm al-Dhahabî states:

If you were to excel in the Principles (al-Us.ûl) and its affiliates – logic, ethics, philosophy, the sayings of the ancients and the conandrums – all the while protecting yourself with the Book and the Sunna as well as the doctrines of the Salaf, then joining between reason and transmission, still, I do not think you would reach the level of Ibn Taymiyya. No, by Allâh! you would not even come near it. Yet, I saw what happened to him – how much opposition he faced, desertion, rightful and wrongful declarations of heresy, apostasy, and mendacity! Before he entered into this science [i.e. Islamic Doctrine], he was shining with light and enlightening others, bearing the signs of the Salaf on his face. Then he became lightless, dark and somber to countless droves of people, a wicked Anti-Christ and disbeliever according to his enemies, while great numbers of the wise and the elite considered him an eminent, brilliant, and scholarly innovator (mubtadi` fâd.il muh.aqqiq bâri`), while the commonality of his uneducated friends, one and all, deemed him the standard-bearer of Islâm, the defensor of the Religion, and the reviver of the Sunna.” 

In the `Ibar al-Dhahabî, after praising his teacher, states: “He also had some strange opinions on account of which he was attacked.”  Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî in al-`Uqûd al-Durriyya makes a similarly meandrous admission that his teacher was accused of innovation: “He gave vent to certain expressions whom early and late Scholars never dared use while he boldly indulged them.” 

In his biographical monograph al-Durratu al-Yatîmiyya fî al-Sîrati al-Taymiyya, al-Dhahabî reports that Ibn Daqîq al-`îd said, upon meeting with Ibn Taymiyya: “I saw a man with all the sciences [laid open] before his eyes, taking what he wished and leaving what he wished.” Asked why he did not debate him, Ibn Daqîq al-`îd answered: “Because he loves to speak (yuh.ibbu al-kalâm) and I love silence.” 

Al-S.afadî: “He was very learned but lacked intelligence”

Imâm S.alâh. al-Dîn al-S.afadî said: “The Shaykh, Imâm, and erudite scholar Taqî al-Dîn Ah.mad ibn Taymiyya – Allâh have mercy on him! – was immensely learned but he had a defective intelligence (`aqluhu nâqis.) that embroiled him into perils and made him fall into hardships.” 

The Fatwâ Hamawiyya
Attributing Direction to Allâh Most High

His first clash with the scholars occurred in 698 in Damascus when he was barred from teaching after he issued his Fatwâ Hamawiyya in which he unambiguously attributes literal upward direction to Allâh (swt). He was refuted by his contemporary, Imâm Ibn Jahbal al-Kilâbî (d. 733), in a lengthy reply which Tâj al-Dîn al-Subkî reproduced in full in his T.abaqât al-Shâfi`iyya al-Kubrâ. Ibn Jahbal wrote: “How can you say that Allâh is literally (h.aqîqatan) in () the heaven, and literally above (fawq) the heaven, and literally in (fî) the Throne, and literally on (`alâ) the Throne?!” 

Qâd.î Yûsuf al-Nabahânî also refuted the H.amawiyya in his magnificent epistle Raf` al-Ishtibâh fî Istih.âlat al-Jiha `alâ Allâh (“The Removal of Uncertainty Concerning the Impossibility of Direction for Allah (swt)”) cited in full in his Shawâhid al-H.aqq (p. 210-240).

His Several Imprisonments

Ibn Taymiyya then returned to his activities until he was summoned by the authorities again in 705 to answer for his `Aqîda Wâsit.iyya. He spent the few following years in and out of jail or defending himself from various “abhorrent charges” according to Ibn H.ajar al-`Asqalânî. Because he officially repented, his life was spared, although at one point it was officially announced in Damascus that “Whoever follows the beliefs of Ibn Taymiyya, his life and property are licit for seizure.”

These events instigated great dissension among the scholars in Damascus and Cairo as detailed in Imâm Taqî al-Dîn al-H.is.nî’s Daf`u Shubahi Man Shabbaha wa Tamarrad wa Nasâba Dhâlika ilâ al-Sayyid al-Jalîl al-Imâm Ah.mad (“Repelling the Sophistries of the Rebel who Likens Allâh to Creation, Then Attributes This Doctrine to Imâm Ah.mad”). 

His Equivocations Under Interrogation

Ibn Taymiyya at various times declared himself a follower of the Shâfi`î school – as did many Hanbalîs in Damascus – and an Ash`arî. Ibn H.ajar wrote in al-Durar al-Kâmina:

An investigation [of his views] was conducted with several scholars [in Cairo] and a written statement was drawn in which he said: “I am Ash`arî.” His handwriting is found with what he wrote verbatim, namely: “I believe that the Qur’ân is a meaning which exists in the Divine Essence, and that it is an Attribute from the pre-eternal Attributes of His Essence, and that it is uncreated, and that it does not consist in the letter nor the voice, and that His saying: The Merciful established Himself over the Throne (20:5) is not taken according to its literal meaning (laysa `alâ z.âhirihi), and I do not know in what consists its meaning, nay only Allâh knows it, and one speaks of His ‘descent’ in the same way as one speaks of His ‘establishement.'” It was written by Ah.mad ibn Taymiyya. They witnessed over him that he had repented of his own free will from all that contravened the above. This took place on the 25th of Rabî` al-Awwal 707 and it was witnessed by a huge array of scholars and others. 

Al-T.ûfî’s Summary of the Charges Brought Against Him

The Hanbalî scholar Najm al-Dîn Sulaymân ibn `Abd al-Qawî al-Tûfî said: 

He [Ibn Taymiyya] could bring up in one hour from the Book, the Sunna, the Arabic language, and philosophical speculation, material which no one could bring up even in many sessions, as if these sciences were before his very eyes and he was picking and choosing from them at will. A time came when his companions took to over-praising him and this drove him to be satisfied with himself until he became conceited before his fellow human beings. He became convinced that he was a scholar capable of independent reasoning (mujtahid). Henceforth he began to answer each and every scholar great and small, past and recent, until he went all the way back to `Umar raDiy-Allahu-anhu.gif and faulted him in some matter. This reached the ears of the Shaykh Ibrâhîm al-Râqî who reprimanded him. Ibn Taymiyya went to see him, apologized, and asked forgiveness. He also spoke against `Alî raDiy-Allahu-anhu.gifand said: “He made mistakes in seventeen different matters.”… Because of his fanatic support of the H.anbalî School he attacked Ash’aris until he started to insult al-Ghazzâlî, at which point some people opposed him and would almost kill him…. They ascertained that he had blurted out certain words, concerning doctrine, which came out of his mouth in the context of his sermons and legal pronouncements, several battles mentioned that he had cited the tradition of the descent of Allâh (swt) (to the nearest heaven), then climbed down two steps from the minbar and said: “Just like this descent of mine” and so was categorized as an anthropomorphist. They also cited his refutation of whoever uses the Prophet  as a means or seeks help from him (aw istaghâtha)…. People were divided into parties because of him. Some considered him an anthropomorphist because of what he mentioned in al-`Aqîda al-H.amawiyya and al-`Aqîda al-Wâs.itiyya and other books of his, to the effect that the Hand, Foot, Shin, and Face are litteral Attributes of Allâh and that He is established upon the Throne with His Essence. It was said to him that were this the case He would necessarily be subject to spatial confinement (al-tah.ayyuz) and divisibility (al-inqisâm). He replied: “I do not concede that spatial confinement and divisibility are necessarily properties of bodies,” so it was recorded against him (ulzima) that he held the Divine Essence to be subject to spatial confinement. Others considered him a heretic (zindîq) due to his saying that the Prophet  is not to be sought for help and the fact that this amounted to diminishing and impeding the establishing of the greatness of the Prophet …. Others considered him a dissimulator (munâfiq) because of what he said about `Alî:… namely, that he had been forsaken everywhere he went, had repeatedly tried to acquire the caliphate and never attained it, fought out of lust for power rather than religion, and said that “he loved leadership while `Uthmân loved money.” He would say that Abû Bakr had declared Islâm in his old age, fully aware of what he said, while `Alî had declared Islâm as a boy, and the boy’s Islâm is not considered sound upon his mere word…. In sum he said ugly things such as these, and it was said against him that he was a hypocrite, in view of the Prophet’s  saying (to `Alî): “Only a hypocrite has hatred for you.” 

His Former Admiration of Ibn `Arabî

Another reason why Ibn Taymiyya was opposed was his criticism of S.ûfîs, particularly Shaykh Muh.yî al-Dîn Ibn `Arabî, although he described himself, in his letter to Abû al-Fath. Nas.r al-Munayjî, as a former admirer of the Shaykh al-Akbar:

I was one of those who, previously, used to hold the best opinion of Ibn `Arabî and extol his praise, because of the benefits I saw in his books, such as what he said in many of his books, for example: al-Futûh.ât, al-Kanh, al-Muh.kam al-Marbût., al-Durra al-Fâkhira, Mat.âli` al-Nujûm, and other such works. 

His S.ûfi Affiliation With the Qâdirî T.arîqa

According to the S.ûfî Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî in his Bad’ al `Ilqa bi Labs al Khirqa, Ibn Taymiyya also declared himself a follower of several S.ûfî orders, among them the Qâdirî path of Shaykh `Abd al-Qâdir al-Gîlânî  on whose book Futûh. al-Ghayb he wrote a hundred-page partial commentary covering only five of the seventy-eight sermons of the book.  In al-Mas’alat al-Tabrîziyya Ibn Taymiyya declares: “Labistu al khirqa al-mubâraka li al Shaykh `Abd al-Qâdir wa baynî wa baynahu ithnân – I wore the blessed S.ûfî cloak of `Abd al-Qâdir, there being between him and me two shaykhs.” 

His Innovative Nullification of Multiple Divorce

Further charges of heresy were brought against Ibn Taymiyya for his unprecedented assertions on divorce pronounced in innovative fashion: he held (1) that a threefold formulation of divorce in a single sitting counted as one; (2) that divorce pronounced at the time of menses did not take place; and (3) that swearing an oath to divorce could be taken back through expiation (kaffâra), all in violation of the Consensus of the Four Imâms and others of the Salaf.

Shaykh al-Islâm al-Taqî al-Subkî said: “Ibn Taymiyya has spread deceit in [affirming] the existence of a difference of opinion in the matter [of divorce], which is a lie, a fabrication, and impudence on his part against Islâm. … It has been affirmed by many of the scholars that he who opposes the Consensus (al-ijmâ`) of the Community is a disbeliever (kâfir).” 

His Innovative Prohibition of Travel to Visit the Holy Prophet 

After spending the years 719-721 in jail, he was jailed again in 726 until his death two years later amid charges of kufr for declaring that one who travels to visit the Prophet  commits a prohibition (h.arâm), a sin (ma`s.iya), and an innovation (bid`a).

The H.anbalî Rejection of His Fatwâ

Al-Mardâwî, Ibn Hubayra, and others stated that the entirety of the early and late authorities in the H.anbalî Madhhab stipulate the desirability (istih.bâb) of visiting the grave of the Prophet  in Madîna, most especially after H.ajj, and/or travelling to do so.  Ibn Muflih., al-Mardâwî, and Mar`î ibn Yûsuf in Ghâyat al-Muntahâ stated the Sunnî character of visiting the graves of the Muslims and the permissibility (ibâh.a) of travelling to do so. Mar`î reiterates this ruling in his unpublished monograph on the ethics of graves and visitation, Shifâ’ al-S.udûr fî Ziyârat al-Mashâhid wal-Qubûr. 

Shaykh al-Islâm al-Subkî’s Rejection of His Fatwa

This most notorious of all fatwas was refuted by his contemporary the h.adîth Master and Shaykh al-Islâm Taqî al-Dîn al-Subkî in his landmark book Shifâ’ al-Siqâm fî Ziyârati Khayri al-Anam (“The Healing of Sickness Concerning the Visitation to the Best of Creatures”) , also titled Shann al-Ghâra `alâ man Ankara al-Safar li al-Ziyâra (“The Raid Against Him Who Denied the Lawfulness of Travel for the Purpose of Visitation”). Shaykh al-Islâm adduced the h.adîth”Whoever visits my grave, my intercession will be guaranteed for him”as proof against Ibn Taymiyya’s claim that “all the h.adîths that concern the merit of visitation are weak or rather forged”  and denounced Ibn Taymiyya’s unprecedented fatwâ as a flagrant innovation.

Shaykh al-Islâm al-Zayn al-`Irâqî’s Rejection of His Fatwa

Imâm Abû al-Fad.l Zayn al-Dîn `Abd al-Rahim ibn al-H.usayn al-`Irâqî al-Mis.rî (725-806), Shaykh al-Islâm, the Imâm, Qâd.î of Cairo, h.adîth Master of his time, and principal teacher to the h.adîth Master Ibn H.ajar al-`Asqalânî, said in al-Ajwiba al-Makkiyya, a refutation of Ibn Taymiyya’s fatwâ claiming the prohibition of travel to visit the Prophet  : “There is no tah.rîm (prohibition) of an act of travel in the h.adîth [“Mounts are not to be saddled except to travel to three mosques”]; rather, it is an emphasis on the importance of traveling to these three mosques in particular, and the emphasis becomes an obligation in case of vow (nadhr), which is not the case for a vow to pray in any mosque other than these three.” 

Al-`Irâqî further reacted to Ibn Taymiyya’s claim that it was an innovation in the Religion to several battles generosity to relatives on the day of `Âshûrâ’ with the words: “I find it strange that such words should come from this Imâm, whose followers say that he has encompassed the Sunna in knowledge and practice…. One who has not heard of something should not deny that it exists!” Al-`Irâqî then proceeded to several battles that, on the contrary, it was a Sunna based on sound narrations from the Prophet  as well as the Companions and the Imâms of the Successors and the succeeding generations. 

Shaykh al-Islâm Ibn H.ajar’s Rejection of His Fatwa

Imâm Ibn H.ajar al-`Asqalânî in Fath. al-Bârî said of Ibn Taymiyya’s fatwa prohibition to travel in order to visit the Prophet  : “This is one of the ugliest matters ever reported from him.” In his marginalia on that work the “Salafî” scholar Bin Baz comments: “This was not an ugly thing but a correct thing for Ibn Taymiyya to say”! 

H.âfiz. al-S.afadî’s Rejection of His Fatwa

Al-S.afadî said:

Ibn Taymiyya gilded his statement
Concerning the visit to the Best of Creation,
Whereupon souls came in droves to complain
To the best of scholars and purest of Imâms
Who compiled this book, providing them with a cure
And so it was indeed The Healing of Sickness.

H.âfiz. al-Qârî’s Rejection of His Fatwa

Al-Qârî said in his commentary on `Iyâd.’s al-Shifâ’:

Ibn Taymiyya – one of the H.anbalîs – committed excess when he declared it prohibited to travel to visit the Prophet  just as other than him also committed excess saying that it is obligatory in the Religion to know that the Visitation is an act that draws near to Allâh (qurba) and whoever denies it is judged to be a disbeliever (kâfir). Yet the latter view is probably closer to being correct than the first, because to declare prohibited something the Ulema by Consensus declared desirable (mustah.abb), is disbelief. For it is graver than to declare prohibited something agreed to be merely permitted (mubâh.) on this chapter. 

Imâm al-Khafâjî’s Rejection of His Fatwa

Another H.anafî Imâm who wrote a major commentary on `Iyâd.’s Shifâ’, al-Khafâjî, said of Ibn Taymiyya in relation to his heretical fatwa: “He imagined that he was defending monotheism with all kinds of nonsense which do not deserve mention for they do not originate from the mind of a rational person let alone an eminent one – Allâh forgive him!” 

Also rejecting Ibn Taymiyya’s fatwa as invalid are Shaykh al-Islâm Ah.mad Zaynî Dah.lân in his books, Abû `Abd Allâh ibn al-Nu`mân al-Maghribî al-Tilimsânî al-Mâlikî in his Mis.bâh. al-Anâm fî al-Mustaghîthîn bi Khayr al-Anâm, Nûr al-Dîn `Alî al-H.alabî al-Shâfi`î – the author of the S.îra H.alabiyya – in his Bughyat al-Ah.lâm, both of them included in al-Nabahânî’s H.ujjat Allâh `alâ al-`âlamîn among many other works on the topic of seeking means and asking the Prophet  (al-tawassul wa al-istighâtha), al-Nabahânî with his Shawâhid al-H.aqq, Shaykh Muh.ammad ibn `Alawî al-Mâlikî in Shifâ’ al-Fu’âd fî Ziyârati Khayr al-`Ibâd, al-Lacknawî’s Ibrâz al-Ghay fî Shifâ’ al-`Ay (“The Exposure of Deviation for the Healing of the Sick”), Shaykh `Îsâ al-H.ymiarî of Dubai, al-Sayyid Yûsuf al-Rifâ`î of Kuwait, and others.

Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî Fanatic Defense of His Teacher

A S.ûfî but anti-Ash`arî student of Ibn Taymiyya and al-Dhahabî, Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî, violently attacked Shaykh al-Islâm al-Subkî in a refutation titled al-S.ârim al-Munkî fî Nah.r al-Subkî (“The Hurtful Blade in the Throat of al-Subkî”) in which he “adopted the manner of fanatics and departed from the norms of the scholars of h.adîth” according to Shaykh `Abd al-`Azîz ibn al-S.iddîq al-Ghumârî.  Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî filled his book with unfounded accusations “in order to defend the innovations of his teacher…. It would have better been titled al-Shâtim al-Ifkî (‘The Mendacious Abuser’).”  Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî falsely accuses al-Subkî of encouraging pilgrimage to the Prophet’s  grave, prostration to it, circumambulating around it, and the belief that the Prophet removes difficulty, grants ease, and causes whoever he wishes to enter into Paradise, all independently of Allâh (swt)!

Nu`mân al-Alûsî also wrote an attack on both al-Haytamî and al-Subkî in his Jalâ’ al-`Aynayn which he dedicated to the Indian Wahhâbî S.ûfî, S.iddîq H.asan Khân, and in which, according to al-Nabahânî, he went even further than Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî. Among the counter-refutations of these two works: al-Samannûdî’s Nus.rat al-Imâm al-Subkî, a monograph by al-Akhnâ’î, and al-Nabahânî’s Shawâhid al-H.aqq.  The latter cites the poems of two other critics of al-Subkî – the H.anbalî Abû al-Muzaffar Yûsuf ibn Muh.ammad ibn Mas`ûd al-`Ubadî al-`Uqaylî al-Saramrî and Muh.ammad ibn Yûsuf al-Yumni al-Yâfi`î, “who claimed to follow the Shâfi`î school” – then proceeds to refute them together with Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî’s book.

The Hadîth “Whoever visits my grave, my intercession will be guaranteed for him”

The hadîth “Whoever visits my grave, my intercession will be guaranteed for him” (Man zâra qabrî wajabat lahu shafâ`atî is a fair (h.asan) narration as concluded by Imâm Abû al-H.asanât al-Lacknawî  and his editor `Abd al-Fattâh. Abû Ghudda in the latter’s notes on Mâlik’s Muwat.t.a’ as per Muh.ammad ibn al-H.asan’s narration (chapter 49: On the Prophet’s grave) as well as Shaykh Mah.mûd Mamdûh.,  although some early scholars had declared it sound (s.ah.îh.) such as Ibn al-Sakan in al-Sunan al-S.ih.âh. and `Abd al-H.aqq al-Ishbîlî in al-Ah.kâm, followed by Shaykh al-Islâm al-Taqî al-Subkî in Shifâ’ al-Siqâm in view of the totality of the chains.  Other h.adîth scholars who considered it authentic are Ibn H.ajar’s student the h.adîth Master al-Sakhâwî,  the h.adîth Master of Madîna Imâm al-Samhudi  and Shaykh al-Islâm al-Haytamî in al-Jawhar al-Munaz.z.am. Al-Ghassâni (d. 682) did not include it in his compendium of al-Dâraqut.nî’s weak narrations entitled Takhrîj al-Ahâdîth al-D.i`âf min Sunan al-Dâraqut.nî.  Some late scholars, beginning with Ibn Taymiyya, remained undecided whether to grade this h.adîth weak or forged.

Imâm al-Lacknawî said about this h.adîth:

There are some who declared it weak [e.g. al-Bayhaqî, Ibn Khuzayma, and al-Suyût.î], and others who asserted that all the h.adîths on visitation of the Prophet  are forged, such as Ibn Taymiyya and his followers, but both positions are false for those who were given right understanding, for verification of the case dictates that the h.adîth is h.asan, as Taqî al-Dîn al-Subkî has expounded in his book Shifâ’ al-Siqâm.” 

Among those who fall into the category of “Ibn Taymiyya and his followers” on this issue:

• Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî who wrote al-S.ârim al-Munkî in violent refutation of al-Subkî’s book on visitation but contradicted his own position in another book of his: he makes much ado about the reliability of `Abd Allâh ibn `Umar al-`Umarî in al-S.ârim al-Munkî, but relies upon him in another book, al-Tanqîh.! Shaykh Mah.mûd Mamdûh. refuted his weakening of this h.adîth in great detail  and stated that al-S.ârim al-Munkî is at the root of all subsequent generalizations in weakening the h.adîths that concern the desirability of visitation. 

• The late Wahhâbî “Desert Storm” Shaykh, `Abd al-`Azîz Bin Baz, who reiterated Ibn Taymiyya’s imprudent verdict: “The h.adîths that concern the visitation of the grave of the Prophet  are all weak, indeed forged”; 

• The late Nasir al-Albânî,  who claimed that the visit to the Prophet  ranks among the innovations  although he himself is the arch-innovator of our time.

• and Nasir al-Jadya`, who in 1993 obtained his Ph.D. with First Honors from the University of Muh.ammad ibn Sa`ud after writing a 600-page book entitled al-Tabarruk in which he perpetuates the same aberrant claim. 

Imâm al-Sakhâwî said:

The emphasis and encouragement on visiting his noble grave is mentioned in numerous h.adîths, and it would suffice to several battles this if there was only the h.adîth whereby the truthful and God-confirmed Prophet promises that his intercession among other things becomes guaranteed for whoever visits him, and the Imâms are in complete agreement from the time directly after his passing until our own time that this [i.e. visiting him] is among the best acts of drawing near to Allâh. 

There is no contest among the jurists of the Four Schools as to the probative force of the narration of Ibn `Umar, as it is adduced time and again by the jurists to support the strong desirability of visiting the Prophet  in Madîna. See, for example, among H.anbalî sources alone, the textbooks cited above. See also the additional sound texts illustrating the visit to the Prophet  , among them that of the Companion Bilâl ibn Rabâh. al-H.abashî ? all the way from Shâm,  as well as the Companions’ practice of seeking the Prophet  as a means for their needs by visiting his grave, such as Bilâl ibn al-H.ârith al-Muzanî, Abû Ayyûb al-Ans.âri, `â’isha, and Fât.ima ?, all as cited in the sections on Tawassul and Visitation in Shaykh Hishâm Kabbânî’s Encyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine. And Allâh knows best.

His Final Repentence

In the final five months of his last two-year period in jail Ibn Taymiyya was prevented from writing, at which time he turned to prayer and the intensive recitation of the Qur’ân and repented from having spent time writing doctrinal refutations instead of focussing on the commentary of the Qur’ân. At that time he confided to his faithful student Ibn al-Qayyim: “My Paradise and my Garden are in my breast – meaning his faith and knowledge – and wherever I go they never depart from me. My prison is seclusion, my execution is martyrdom, and my exile is an excursion.” 

Al-S.afadî said: “He wasted his time refuting the Christians and the Râfid.a, or whoever objected to the Religion or contradicted it, but if he had devoted himself to explaining al-Bukhârî or the Noble Qur’ân, he would have placed the guarland of his well-ordered speech on the necks of the people of knowledge.”  Al-Nabahânî said in Shawâhid al-H.aqq: “He refuted the Christians, the Shî`îs, the logicians, then the Ash`arîs and Ahl al-Sunna, in short, sparing no one whether Muslim or non-Muslim, Sunni or otherwise.”

His Abandonment by His Former Admirers

His student al-Dhahabî praised him lavishly as “the brilliant shaykh, imâm, erudite scholar, censor, jurist, mujtahid, and commentator of the Qur’ân,” but acknowledged that Ibn Taymiyya’s disparaging manners alienated even his admirers.

For example, the grammarian Abû H.ayyân praised Ibn Taymiyya until he found out that he believed himself a greater expert in the Arabic language than Sîbawayh, whereupon he retracted his previous praise and dissociated himself from him.

Shaykh al-Islâm Taqî al-Dîn al-Subkî at first reportedly praised him in a letter to al-Dhahabî  but later accused him of disbelief.

Other former admirers turned critics were the Qâd.î al-Zamalkânî, Jalâl al-Dîn al-Qazwînî, al-Qûnawî, al-Jarîrî, and al-Dhahabî himself, in whose Nas.îh.a he addresses Ibn Taymiyya with the words: “When will you stop criticizing the scholars and finding fault with the people?”

His Revival of Ibn Hazm’s Vicious Style

The Ulema saw the influence of Ibn H.azm in Ibn Taymiyya’s poisoned quill. Al-S.afadî said: “He adorned himself with [Ibn H.azm’s] al-Muh.allâ, imitating whatever he wished from it – if he wished, he could cite it from memory – and adducing from it a number of attacks and disparagements.” 

Al-Dhahabî said: “I do not consider him sinless, and I even disagree with him on a number of questions in both the foundations and the branches, for, despite his vast knowledge, great courage, abundant wit, and staunch defense of what Allâh had prohibited, he was nevertheless a human being among other human beings, hot-tempered in his manner of debate, given to anger and outbursts against his opponents. This would sow enmity toward him in people’s hearts. If he had several battlesn kindness towards his opponents he would have been the pivot of consensus.” 

His Excessive Involvement in Kalâm and Philosophy

Dr. Sa`îd al-Bût.î pointed out that although Ibn Taymiyya blamed al-Ghazzâlî and other Ash`arî scholars for involving themselves in philosophical or dialectical disputations, yet he went much further than most into kalâm and philosophy. This is several battlesn by his books in kalâm and philosophy such as Muwâfaqât al-Manqûl wa al-Ma`qûl, al-Ta’sîs Radd al-Asâs, and most notably by his positions in al-Radd `alâ al-Mant.iqiyyîn (“Against the Logicians”) on the “generic beginninglessness” of created matters and Aristotelian causality (al-`illa al-arist.iyya). 

Al-Dhahabî alluded to this in his epistle to Ibn Taymiyya: “When will you stop investigating the poisoned minutiae of philosophical disbelief, so that we have to refute them with our minds? You have swallowed the poisons of the philosophers and their treatises, not once, but several times!” 

Al-Dhahabî’s Bayân Zaghl al-`Ilm and His Nas.îh.a to Ibn Taymiyya

Al-Dhahabî’s Bayân Zaghl al-`Ilm wa al-T.alab is a brief epistle in which al-Dhahabî lists the different disciplines and sciences of Islâm then proceeds to describe them briefly, includikng the Four Sunnî Schools. In his chapter on doctrine, he mentions his teacher: “Ibn Taymiyya was considered by his enemies to be a wicked Anti-Christ and disbeliever, while great numbers of the wise and the elite considered him an eminent, brilliant, and scholarly innovator (mubtadi` fâd.il muh.aqqiq bâri`).” 

Al-Nas.îh.a al-Dhahabiyya li Ibn Taymiyya is an epistle written when al-Dhahabî was around fifty-five years of age and addressed to Ibn Taymiyya towards the end of his life. In this brief but scathing epistle the author distances himself from his contemporary and admonishes him without naming him, calling him “an eloquent polemicist who neither rests nor sleeps.” 

The Nas.îh.a contains the following prophetic description of Taymiyya-followers in our time:

Oh! The disappointment of him who follows you! For he is exposed to corruption in basic beliefs and to dissolution. Particularly if he is short of learning and religion, a self-indulgent idler who does well for you by fighting on your behalf with his hand and tongue, while he is actually your enemy in his being and heart. What are your followers but hidebound do-nothings of little intelligence, common liars with dull minds, silent outlanders strong in guile, or dryly righteous without understanding? If you do not believe it, just look at them and honestly assess them. 

A “Salafî” apologist recently cast doubt on the authenticity of al-Dhahabî’s authorship of this epistle, also claiming that, even if al-Dhahabî wrote it, then it is directed to someone other than Ibn Taymiyya.  However, Ibn H.ajar cites the Nas.îh.a in al-Durar al-Kâmina and does not doubt its authenticity as attributed to al-Dhahabî,  nor his student al-Sakhâwî who calls it “a glorious statement of doctrine” in al-I`lân wa al-Tawbikh.  And the two greatest experts on al-Dhahabî’s works, S.alâh. al-Dîn al-Munajjid and Bashshâr `Awwâd Ma`rûf, declared there was no doubt al-Dhahabî wrote it towards the end of his life and addressed Ibn Taymiyya. 

Al-Subkî’s Summary of Ibn Taymiyya’s Deviations in Doctrine

Shaykh al-Islâm al-Subkî wrote in his introduction to the first epistle of his threefold refutation of Ibn Taymiyya:

When Ibn Taymiyya innovated whatever he innovated in the principles of doctrines and destroyed the pillars and seams of the foundations of Islâm after camouflaging himself with the pretense of following the Book and the Sunna, feigning to summon people to the truth and guide them to Paradise, he exited conformity (ittibâ`) and entered novelty (ibtidâ`), strayed (shadhdha) from the Congregation (jamâ`a) of the Muslims by violating the Consensus (al-ijmâ`), and attributed what necessitates corporeality and compound nature (mâ yaqtad.î al-jismiyya wal-tarkîb) for the Transcendent Essence.He claimed that dependency on composite parts is not an impossibility; that created entities (al-h.awâdith) subsist in the Essence of Allâh (swt); that the Qur’ân is originated, Allâh speaking it after its nonexistence; that He speaks, falls silent, and originates in His Essence the volitions (al-irâdât) according to created things, in the process arriving at the necessary pre-eternity of the world (istilzâm qidam al-`âlam) by stating that there is no beginning for created entities. So he claimed the existence of originated entities without beginning (h.awâdith lâ awwala lahâ),  affirming the pre-eternal attribute to be originated and the created and originated to be without beginning. And none ever held these two doctrines at one and the same time in any society nor in any religious community, so he is not part of any of the seventy-three sects  into which the Umma split, nor can there be any ground for him to stand with any particular umma. And even if all this constitutes the foulest disbelief (kufran shanî`an), yet it is little compared to what he innovated in the branches! 

Al-Haytamî’s Summary His Deviations in `Aqîda, Us.ûl, and Fiqh

Another Shâfi`î jurist, al-Haytamî, similarly wrote in his Fatâwâ H.adîthiyya:

Ibn Taymiyya is a servant which Allâh forsook, misguided, blinded, deafened, and debased. That is the declaration of the Imâms who have exposed the corruption of his positions and the mendacity of his sayings. Whoever wishes to pursue this must read the words of the mujtahid imâm Abû al-H.asan al-Subkî, of his son Tâj al-Dîn Subkî, of the Imâm al-`Izz ibn Jamâ`a and others of the Shâfi`î, Mâlikî, and H.anafî shaykhs… It must be considered that he is a misguided and misguiding innovator (mubtadi` d.âll mud.ill) and an ignorant fanatic (jâhilun ghâlin) whom Allâh treated with His justice. May He protect us from the likes of his path, doctrine, and actions!… Know that he has differed from people on questions about which Tâj al-Dîn Ibn al-Subkî and others warned us. Among the things Ibn Taymiyya said which violate the scholarly consensus are:• that whoso violates the consensus commits neither disbelief (kufr) nor grave transgression (fisq); • that our Lord is subject to created events (mah.allun li al-h.awâdith) – glorified, exalted, and sanctified is He far beyond what the depraved ascribe to Him!• that He is complex or made of parts (murakkab), His Essence standing in need similarly to the way the whole stands in need of the parts, elevated is He and sanctified beyond that!• that the Qur’ân is created in the Essence of Allâh (muh.dath fî dhâtillâh), elevated is He beyond that!• that the world is of a pre-eternal nature and exists with Allâh since pre-eternity as an “ever-abiding created object” (makhlûqan dâ’îman), thus making it necessarily existent in His Essence (mûjaban bi al-dhât) and [making Him] not acting deliberately (la fâ`ilan bi al-ikhtyâr), elevated is He beyond that! • his suggestions of the corporeality, direction, and displacement [of Allâh (swt)] (al-jismiyya wa al-jiha wa al-intiqâl),  and that He fits the size of the Throne, being neither bigger nor smaller, exalted is He from such a hideous invention and wide-open disbelief, and may He forsake all his followers, and may all his beliefs be scattered and lost!• his saying that the Fire shall go out (al-nâr tafnî), • and that Prophets are not sinless (al-anbiyâ’ ghayr ma`s.ûmîn),• and that the Prophet  has no special status before Allâh (la jâha lahu) and must not be used as a means (la yutawassalu bihi), • and that the undertaking of travel (al-safar) to the Prophet  in order to perform his visitation is a sin, for which it is unlawful to shorten the prayers, and that it is forbidden to ask for his intercession in view of the Day of Need,• and that the words (alfâz.) of the Torah and the Gospel were not substituted, but their meanings (ma`ânî) were. Some said: “Whoever looks at his books does not attribute to him most of these positions, except that whereby he holds the view that Allâh (swt) has a direction, and that he authored a book to establish this, and forces the proof upon the people who follow this school of thought that they are believers in Divine corporeality (jismiyya), dimensionality (muh.âdhât), and settledness (istiqrâr).” That is, it may be that at times he used to assert these proofs and that they were consequently attributed to him in particular.
But whoever attributed this to him from among the Imâms of Islâm upon whose greatness, leadership, religion, trustworthiness, fairness, acceptance, insight, and meticulousness there is agreement – then they do not say anything except what has been duly established with added precautions and repeated inquiry. This is especially true when a Muslim is attributed a view which necessitates his disbelief, apostasy, misguidance, and execution. Therefore if it is true of him that he is a disbeliever and an innovator, then Allâh will deal with him with His justice, and other than that He will forgive us and him. 

The “Salafî” Nu`mân al-Alûsî responded to the above condemnations and took the side of Ibn Taymiyya in his Jalâ’ al-`Aynayn bi Muh.âkamat al-Ah.madayn (“The Arbitration Between the Two Ah.madsî), which Shaykh Yûsuf al-Nabahânî refuted in turn in his Shawâhid al-H.aqq fil-Istighâtha bi Sayyid al-Khalq ? (“The Witnesses to Truth Concerning the Obtainment of Aid through the Master of Creatures”).

Al-Kawtharî’s Scathing Exposure of His Anthropomorphism

The Renewer of Islâm in the previous century, Imâm Muh.ammad Zâhid al-Kawtharî also stated in strong terms that Ibn Taymiyya’s position on the Divine Attributes is tantamount to disbelief and apostasy because it reduces Allâh to a corporeal body. He states in his Maqâlât:

In al-Ta’sîs fî Radd Asâs al-Taqdîs (“The Laying of the Foundation: A Refutation of al-Râzî’s “The Foundation of Divine Sanctification”) Ibn Taymiyya says: “Al-`arsh (the Throne) in language means al-sarîr (elevated seat or couch), so named with respect to what is on top of it, just as the roof is so named with respect to what is under it. Therefore, if the Qur’ân attributes a throne to Allâh, it is then known that this throne is, with respect to Allâh, like the elevated seat is with respect to other than Allâh. This makes it necessarily true that He is on top of the Throne.” So then the Throne is, for Ibn Taymiyya, the seat (maq`ad) of Allâh (swt) – Exalted is He far beyond such a notion!He also says: “It is well-known that the Book, the Sunna, and the Consensus nowhere say that all bodies (ajsâm) are created, and nowhere say that Allâh Himself is not a body. None of the Imâms of the Muslims ever said such a thing.  Therefore if I also choose not to say it, it does not expel me from religion nor from Sharî`a.”  These words are complete impudence. What did he do with all the verses declaring Allâh (swt) to be far removed from anything like unto Him? Does he expect that the idiocy that every single idiot can come up with be addressed with a specific text? Is it not enough that Allâh (swt) said: ?There is nothing whatsoever like Him? (42:11)? Or does he consider it permissible for someone to say: Allâh (swt) eats this, chews that, and tastes this, just because no text mentions the opposite? This is disbelief laid bare and pure anthropomorphism.In another passage of the same book he says: “You [Ash`arîs] say that He is neither a body, nor an atom (jawhar), nor spatially bounded (mutah.ayyiz), and that He has no direction, and that He cannot be pointed to as an object of sensory perception, and that nothing of Him can be considered distinct from Him. You have asserted this on the grounds that Allâh is neither divisible nor made of parts and that He has neither limit (h.add) nor end (ghâya), with your view thereby to forbid one to say that He has any limit or measure (qadr), or that He even has a dimension that is unlimited. But how do you allow yourselves to do this without evidence from the Book and the Sunna?”  The reader’s intelligence suffices to comment on these heretical statements. Can you imagine for an apostate to be more brazen than this, right in the midst of Muslim society?In another place of the same book he says: “It is obligatorily known that Allâh did not mean by the name of “the One” (al-Wâh.id) the negation of the Attributes.” He is here alluding to all that entails His “coming” to a place and the like. He continues: “Nor did He mean by it the negation that He can be perceived with the senses, nor the denial of limit and dimension and all such interpretations which were innovated by the Jahmiyya and their followers. Negation or denial of the above is not found in the Book nor the Sunna.” And this is on an equal footing with what came before with regard to pure anthropomorphism and plain apostasy.In another book of his, Muwâfaqât al-Ma`qûl, which is in the margin of his Minhâj, Ibn Taymiyya asserts that things occur newly in relation to Allâh and that He has a direction according to two kinds of conjecture.  And you know, O reader, what the Imâms say concerning him who deliberately and intently establishes that Allâh has a direction, unless his saying such a thing is a slip of the tongue or a slip of the pen. Then there is his establishing that the concept of movement applies to Allâh, along with all the others who establish such a thing; his denial that there is an eternal sojourn in hellfire has filled creation; and his doctrine of the “generic pre-existence” of the world (al-qidam al-naw`î). 

His Denial of the Eternality of Hellfire

Ibn Taymiyya’s affirmed and denied the eternality of hellfire intermittently, in the same way as he intermittently affirmed and denied the corporeality of the Divine, the beginninglessness of the world, and other things. His denial of the eternality of hellfire and his suggestion of its eventual extinction was refuted, among others, by the Commander of the Believers in H.adîth Muh.ammad ibn Ismâ’îl al-S.an`ânî in his Raf` al-Astâr li-Ibt.âl Adillat al-Qâ’ilîn bi Fanâ’ al-Nâr (“Exposing the Nullity of the Proofs of those that Claim that Hell-Fire Shall Pass Away”) and by Shaykh al-Islâm Taqî al-Dîn al-Subkî in his epistle al-I`tibâr bi Baqâ’ al-Jannati wa al-Nâr published as part of his book al-Durra al-Mud.iyya fî al-Radd `alâ Ibn Taymiyya, which also contains two epistles refuting the latter’s positions on divorce. In al-I`tibâr al-Subkî states:

The doctrine of the Muslims is that Paradise and Hellfire do not pass away. Abû Muh.ammad Ibn H.azm has reported Consensus on the question and the fact that whoever violates such Consensus is a disbeliever (kâfir) by Consensus. There is no doubt over this, for it is obligatorily known in the Religion and the evidence to that effect is abundant. fn78

This heretical doctrine was endorsed by Ibn Taymiyya’s admirer Ibn Abî al-`Izz in his commentary on al-T.ah.âwî, in flat contradiction of the latter’s statement, §83. “The Garden and the Fire are created and shall never be extinguished nor come to an end.” 

His Invention of a Double or Triple Tawh.îd

Also among Ibn Taymiyya’s kalâm innovations was his division of tawh.îd into two types: tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya and tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya, respectively, Oneness of Lordship and Oneness of Godhead.  The first, he said, consisted in the acknowledgment of Allâh as the Creator of all, a belief shared by believers and non-believers alike. The second, he said, was the affirmation of Allâh as the one true deity and only object of worship, a belief exclusive to believers. His natural conclusion was that “whoever does not know tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya, his knowledge of tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya is not taken into account because the idolaters also had such knowledge.” He then compared the scholars of kalâm to the Arab idol-worshippers who accepted tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya but ignored tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya! This dialectic was imitated by Ibn Abî al-`Izz in his commentary on al-T.ah.âwî’s `Aqîda. 

Al-Tubbânî’s Refutation of His Multiple Tawh.îds

Abû H.âmid Ibn Marzûq [Imâm al-`Arabî al-Tubbânî] wrote:

Tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya and tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya were invented by Ibn Taymiyya who claimed that all Muslims among the mutakallimûn worshipped other than Allâh due to their ignorance of tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya; he claimed that the only tawh.îd they knew was tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya. The latter consists in affirming that Allâh is the Creator of all things, as, he says, the polytheists conceded. He then declared all Muslims to be unbelievers. Muh.ammad ibn Abd al-Wahhâb imitated him in this, and others imitated Muh.ammad ibn Abdul Wahhâb. The late erudite scholar al-Sayyid Ah.mad ibn Zaynî Dah.lân (d. 1304) looked into this matter in a small section of his treatise al-Durar al-Saniyya fî al-Radd `alâ al-Wahhâbiyya (“The Resplendent Pearls in Refuting the Wahhâbîs”).  So did the savant al-Shaykh Ibrâhîm al-Samannûdî al-Mans.ûrî (d. 1314) who spoke excellently in his book Sa`âdat al-Dârayn fî al-Radd `alâ al-Firqatayn al-Wahhâbiyya wa al-Z.âhiriyya (“The Bliss of the Two Abodes in the Refutation of the Two Sects: Wahhâbîs and Z.âhirîsî). The late erudite scholar al-Shaykh Salâmat al-`Azzâmî (d. 1376) also wrote valuable words about it in his book al-Barâhin al-Sât.i`a fî Radd Ba`d. al-Bida` al-Shâ’i`a (“The Radiant Proofs in Refuting Certain Widespread Innovations”)…Imâm Ah.mad ibn H.anbal… never said that tawh.îd consisted in two parts, one being tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya and the other tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya. Nor did he ever say that “whoever does not know tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya, his knowledge of tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya is not taken into account because the idolaters also had such knowledge.”… None of the followers of the Followers… none of the Successors… none of the Companions of the Prophet  ever said that tawh.îd consisted in two parts, one being tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya and the other tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya, nor did any of them ever say that “whoever does not know tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya, his knowledge of tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya is not taken into account because the idolaters also had such knowledge.”… Nowhere in all the Sunna of the Prophet  … is it related that the Prophet  ever said or ever taught his Companions that tawh.îd consists in two parts, one being tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya and the other tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya, nor that “whoever does not know tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya, his knowledge of tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya is not taken into account because the idolaters also had such knowledge.” If mankind and jinn joined together to establish that the Prophet  ever said such a thing, even with an inauthentic chain of transmission, they would not succeed.The books of the Sunna of the Prophet  overflow with the fact that the call of the Prophet  to the people unto Allâh was in order that they witness that there is no God except Allâh alone and that Muh.ammad is the Messenger of Allâh, and in order that they repudiate idol-worship. One of the most famous illustrations of this is the narration of Mu`âdh ibn Jabal when the Prophet  sent him to Yemen and said to him: “Invite them to the testimony that there is no God but Allâh and Muh.ammad is the Messenger of Allâh….” And it is narrated in five of the six books of authentic traditions – and Ibn H.ibbân declared it sound – that a Bedouin Arab reported the sighting of the new moon to the Prophet  and the latter ordered the people to fast without asking this man other than to confirm his testimony of faith. According to this drivel of Ibn Taymiyya, it would have been necessary for the Prophet  to call all people to the tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya of which they were ignorant – since tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya they knew already – and he should have said to Mu`âdh: “Invite them to tawh.îd al-ulûhiyyaî; and he should have asked the Bedouin who had sighted the new moon of Ramadan: “Do you know tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya?”Finally, in His precious Book which falsehood cannot approach whether from the front or from the back, Allâh never ordered tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya to His servants, nor did He ever say that “whoever does not know this tawh.îd, his knowledge of tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya is not taken into account.” 

Ibn Marzûq is the pseudonym of Shaykh Muh.ammad ibn `Alawî’s Shaykh, Muh.ammad al-`Arabî ibn al-Tubbânî al-Maghribî al-Mâlikî al-Makkî (d. 1390) who authored both Barâ’at al-Ash`ariyyîn and al-Ta`qîb al-Mufîd `alâ Hady al-Zura`î al-Shadîd in refutation of Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn al-Qayyim, and the Wahhâbî movement’s insinuations against the Ash`arîs. 

His Verbose Methodology in Disputation

Ibn Taymiyya’s method in debate was to provide a barrage of quotes and citations in support of his positions. In the process he often mentioned reports or stated positions which, upon closer examination, are dubious either from the viewpoint of transmission or from that of content. For example:

• His report of Ibn Bat.t.a’s narration whereby H.ammâd ibn Zayd was asked by a man: “Our Lord descends to the heaven of the earth – does that mean that he removes Himself from one place to another place? (yatah.awwalu min makân ilâ makân?)” H.ammâd replied: “He Himself is in His place, and He comes near His creation in the way that He likes (huwa fî makânihi yaqrabu min khalqihi kayfa shâ’).” Even if the question and its answer can be authentically established to have taken place – since Ibn Bat.t.a’s reliability was questioned -, the doctrine of attributing place to Allâh (swt) is unheard of among the Salaf.

• His report from Ish.âq ibn Râhûyah’s words to the Emir `Abd Allâh ibn T.âhir: “He is able to descend without the Throne being vacant of Him” (yaqdiru an yanzila min ghayri an yakhlua al-`arshu minh).  Such a statement leaves nothing of the characteristics of creatures except it attributed it to the Creator: body, place, surface, and displacement!

• Al-Bayhaqî in al-Asmâ’ wa al-S.ifât narrates the reports of Ish.âq’s encounter with the Emir `Abd Allâh ibn T.âhir with five chains (three of them sound according to al-H.âshidî), none of them mentioning the words “without the Throne being vacant of Him.”  This apparent interpolation is nevertheless the foundation of Ibn Taymiyya’s position in Sharh. H.adîth al-Nuzûl (p. 42-59) that Allâh Most High descends “in person” yet remains above the Throne “in person”! That position has been characterized by Imâm Abû Zahra (see further below) as a dual assertion of the aboveness and belowness of Allâh Most High on the part of Ibn Taymiyya, although strenuously denied by Ibn Taymiyya himself in Minhâj al-Sunna and by al-Albânî who defends the latter against Abû Zahra’s conclusion in his introduction to Mukhtas.ar al-`Uluw! 

• His report from Abû `Umar al-T.alamankî’s book al-Wus.ûl ilâ Ma`rifat al-Us.ûl: “Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jamâ`a are in agreement (muttafiqûn) that Allâh established Himself in person (bi dhâtihi) on the Throne.”  Note that Ibn Taymiyya quotes inaccurately, as al-Dhahabî quotes from the same book the following passage: “The Muslims of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jamâ`a have reached consensus (ajma`[û]) that Allâh is above the heavens in person (bi dhâtihi) and is established over His Throne in the mode that He pleases (kayfa shâ’).”  Of course, both assertions are false since no such consensus exists; and the position of Ahl al-Sunna is that whoever attributes direction to Allâh commits apostasy.

• His statement: “The scholars approved by Allâh and His accepted Friends have narrated that Muh.ammad the Messenger of Allâh (swt) will be seated by His Lord on the Throne next to Him.”  By “the scholars approved by Allâh and His accepted Friendsî here he means a minority of H.anbalî scholars with anthropomorphist convictions.

• His claim regarding the narration of `Abd Allâh ibn Khalîfa from `Umar whereby “the Prophet  glorified Allâh and said: `Verily, His Seat of Authority (kursî) encompasses the heavens and the earth, and verily He sits on it (innahu yajlisu `alayh) and there does not remain of it [but] a space of four fingers, and verily it groans like the sound of the new saddle when one mounts it, due to His weight pressing down on it'”  that “most of Ahl al-Sunna accept [this narration]” when their near-totality – including his own students al-Dhahabî and Ibn Kathîr – grade it “denounced” (munkar), and he himself acknowledge Abû Bakr al-Ismâ`îlî’s rejection of it among others. 

• His statement that “I do not know any of the Salaf of the Community nor any of the Imâms, neither Ah.mad ibn H.anbal nor other than him, that considered these [verses on the Divine Names and Attributes] as part of the mutashâbih”  when everyone has heard the statement of Imâm Mâlik on istiwâ’ whereby “its modality is inconceivable” (al-kayfu ghayr ma`qûl)! Al-Baghdâdî in Us.ûl al-Dîn cites, among those who consider the verse of istiwâ’ one of the mutashâbihât, Mâlik ibn Anas, the seven jurists of Madîna, and al-As.mâ’î while Imâm al-Ghazzâlî counted the verses and narrations on the Divine Attributes among the mutashâbihât in al-Mustas.fâ and Imâm al-Nawawî concurred with him. 

• His statements: “The elevation of Allâh (swt) over the Throne is literal, and the elevation of the creature over the ship is literal” (lillâhi ta`âla istiwâ’un `alâ `arshihi h.aqîqatan wa li al-`abdi istiwâ’un `alâ al-fulki h.aqîqatan). “Allâh is with us literally, and He is above His Throne literally (Allâhu ma`ana h.aqîqatan wa huwa fawqa al-`arshi h.aqîqatan).  … Allâh is with His creation literally and He is above His Throne literally (Allâhu ma`a khalqihi h.aqîqatan wa huwa fawqa al-`arshi h.aqîqatan).” 

His Climbing Down the Pulpit to Illustrate the Divine Descent

The above statements all undoubtedly corroborate Ibn H.ajar’s and Ibn Bat.t.ût.a’s reports whereby he once climbed down the minbar in purported illustration of the descent of Allâh (swt) to the nearest heaven, saying: “Just like the descent I just made”! 

The Revival of His Teachings by the Wahhâbî Movement

Ibn Taymiyya’s burial was attended by about 50,000 people. His teachings were by and large forgotten until Muh.ammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Najdî brought them back from oblivion. Later, the “Salafî” movement revived them through a large-scale publication campaign backed up by political and financial activism from the 1930s to our day.

Imâm Muh.ammad Abû Zahra said in his book on the history of the madhâhib in Islâm:

The “Salafîs” and Ibn Taymiyya assert that settledness takes place over the Throne. […] Ibn Taymiyya strenuously asserts that Allâh descends, and can be above (fawq) and below (tah.t) “without how”. […] and that the school of the Salaf is the affirmation of everything that the Qur’ân stated concerning aboveness (fawqiyya), belowness (tah.tiyya), and establishment over the Throne. The Wahhâbîs appeared in the Arabian desert […] and revived the School of Ibn Taymiyya. The founder of the Wahhâbiyya is Muh.ammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhâb who died in 1786. He had studied the books of Ibn Taymiyya which became inestimable in his sight, deepening his involvement in them until he brought them out from the realm of opinion into the realm of practice. In reality, the Wahhâbîs did not add anything to what Ibn Taymiyya had brought but they exaggerated it more than he had, instituting practical matters which Ibn Taymiyya had not addressed because they were not widespread in his time. These can be summarized thus:1. They did not restrain themselves to view worship (`ibâda) in the same way that Islâm had stipulated in the Qur’ân and Sunna and as Ibn Taymiyya had mentioned, but they wished to include customs (`âdât) also into the province of Islâm so that Muslims would be bound by them. Thus they declared cigarette smoking haram and exaggerated this ruling to the point that their general public considered the smoker a mushrik. As a result they resembled the Khawârij who used to declare apostate whoever committed a sin.2. In the beginning of their matter they would also declare coffee and whatever resembled it as haram to themselves but it seems that they became more indulgent on this point as time went by.3. The Wahhâbis did not restrain themselves to proselytism only, but resorted to warmongering against whoever disagreed with them on the grounds that they were fighting innovations, and innovations are an evil that must be fought, and it is obligatory to command good and forbid evil. […] The leader of Wahhâbî thought in the field of war and battle was Muh.ammad ibn Sa`ûd, the ancestor of the ruling Sa`ûdî family in the Arabian lands. He was a brother-in-law to Shaykh Muh.ammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhâb and embraced his madhhab, defending it fervently and calling unto it by force of arms. He announced that he was doing this so as to uphold the Sunna and eradicate bid`a. Perhaps, this religious mission that took a violent turn was carrying with itself a rebellion against Ottoman rule. […] Until the governor of Egypt, Muhammad `Alî, faced them and pounced on the Wahhâbîs with his strong army, routing them in the course of several battles. At that time their military force was reduced and confined to the Arabi tribes. Ryadh and its vicinity was the center for this permanent da`wa that would turn violent whenver they found the strength and then lie still whenever they found violent opposition.4. Whenever they were able to seize a town or city they would come to the tombs and turn them into ruins and destruction […] several battles would destroy whatever mosques were with the tombs also. […]5. Their brutality did not stop there but they also came to whatever graves were visible and destroyed them also. And when the ruler of the H.ijâz regions caved in to them they destroyed all the graves of the Companions and razed them to the ground. […]6. They would cling to small matters which they condemned although they had nothing to do with idolatry nor with whatever leads to idolatry, such as photography. We found this in their fatwas and epistles at the hands of their Ulema, although their rulers ignore this saying of theirs completely and cast it by the wayside.7. They expanded the meaning of bid`a to strange proportions, to the point that they actually claimed that draping the walls of the noble Rawd.a is an innovated matter. Hence they forbade the renewal of the drapes that were in it, until they fell in tatters and became unsightly, were it not for the light that pours out to all that are in the presence of the Prophet  or feels that in this place was the abode of Revelation on the Master of Messengers. In fact, we find among them, on top of this, those who consider that the Muslim’s expression “our Master Muh.ammadî (sayyiduna Muh.ammad) is an impermissible bid`a and they show true extremism about this and, for the sake of their mission, use foul and furious language until most people actually flee from them as fast as they can.8. To tell the truth, the Wahhâbîs have actualized the opinions of Ibn Taymiyya and are extremely zealous followers and supporters of those views. They adopted the positions of Ibn Taymiyya that we explained in our previous discussion of those who call themselves “Salafiyya”. However, they expanded the meaning of bid`a and construed as innovations things that have no relation to worship. […] In fact, it has been noticed that the Ulema of the Wahhâbîs consider their own opinions correct and not possibly wrong, while they consider the opinions of others wrong and not possibly correct. More than that, they consider what others than themselves do in the way of erecting tombs and circumambulating them, as near to idolatry. In this respect they are near the Khawârij who used to declare those who dissented with them apostate and fight them as we already mentioned. This was a relatively harmless matter in the days when they were cloistered in the desert and not trespassing its boundaries; but when they mixed with others until the H.ijâz country was in the hand of the Sa`ûd family, the matter became of the utmost gravity. This is why the late King `Abd al-`Azîz of the Sa`ûd family opposed them, and treated their opinions as confined to themselves and irrelevant to others.” 

Recent Literature

1.) The Mauritanian Shaykh Muh.ammad Miska al-Ya`qûbî’s Fatâwâ Ibn Taymiyya fîl-Mîzân mostly cites and sources Ibn Taymiyya verbatim in the following chapters:

1. Sayings of the Scholars on IT
2. The H.ashwiyya, IT’s group
3. The doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jamâ`a
Al-Ghazzâlî’s Qawâ`id al-Ah.kâm Ibn `Abd al-Salâm’s Mulh.a

Chapter One: Salient Characteristics of IT’s Fatâwâ
1. The Prevalence of Tashbîh and Tajsîm in the Fatâwâ of IT
2. IT’s aggressiveness against his opponents and his manipulating their words
3. His style of verbose argumentation
4. Concerning his scholarly trustworthiness
5. Concerning his program

Chapter Two: Refutation of IT’s position on the direction [of the Deity]
1. Refutation of direction in the Qur’ân and Sunna
2. Refutation of direction by rational proofs
First Corollary
Second corollary: IT’s virulent denial of kalâm terminology
3. Refuting the sayings of those who affirm direction
4. Status of those who affirm direction according to Ahl al-Sunna

Chapter Three: Refutation of IT’s creed of contingencies subsisting in Allâh (swt) and his belief in the pre-existence of the world
1. Establishing his creed in this from his own words
2. Refutation of his creed in the pre-existence of the world
3. The Divine transcendence beyond the subsistence of contingencies in him

Chapter Four: Refutation of IT’s statement that the Qur’ân is created and that Allâh speaks with a voice
1. Establishing his creed in this from his own words
2. Refutation of his creed that the Qur’ân is created and his attribution of voice and silence to Allâh Most High

Chapter Five: His creed in the non-`is.ma of the Prophets, upon them blessings and peace

Chapter Six: His statement that travel to visit the grave of the Prophet  is a sin and that tawassul through him is shirk or leads to shirk.

Chapter Seven: His statement that Hellfire comes to an end and his opinion on resurrection

Chapter Eight: His proclivity for insulting the pious servants of Allâh

Chapter Nine: His probing the positions of the philosophers and their influence on him and that of other non-believers

Chapter Ten: Some of the issues in which he violated the Consensus.

Main Sources: al-Dhahabî, Tadhkirat al-H.uffâz. 4:1496 #1177; Ibn Kathîr, al-Bidâya wa al-Nihâya 14:5, 14:42-48; Ibn H.ajar, al-Durar al-Kâmina 1:144-160 #409; al-Haytamî, Fatâwâ H.adîthiyya; al-Kawtharî, Maqâlât.

2.) The Refutation of he who attributes direction to Allah, by Sh. G F Haddad
publ. at: Aqsa Publications, x L 20120703


fn1 Al-Subkî, Fatâwâ cited in his al-I`tibâr (3rd epistle of al-Durra al-Mud.iyya p. 59). 
fn2 Cf. Ibn al-Subkî, T.abaqât al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubrâ (10:195) and al-Sakhâwî’s introduction to al-Jawâhir wa al-Durar. 
fn3 Cf. al-Sakhâwî, al-D.aw’ al-Lâmi` (9:292). Cf. H.ajjî Khalîfa, Kashf al-Z.unûn (1:838). 
fn4 Cf. al-Kawtharî, Maqâlât (p. 413). 
fn5 Al-Dhahabî, Bayân Zaghl al-`Ilm (p. 23-24), cited in al-Sakhâwî, al-I`lân (p. 78). 
fn6 Al-Dhahabî, al-`Ibar (4:84). 
fn7 Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî, al-`Uqûd al-Durriyya (p. 117). 
fn8 As cited by Abû Ghudda in al-`Ulamâ’ al-`Uzzâb (p. 169) from Ibn al-Wardî’s citation of al-Dhahabî in his Tatimmat al-Mukhtas.ar fî Akhbâr al-Bashar (2:406-413). 
fn9 Al-S.afadî, Sharh. Lâmiyya al-`Ajam li al-T.ughrâ’î, in al-Nabahânî, Shawâhid al-H.aqq (p. 189). 
fn10 Ibn Jahbal, Refutation of Ibn Taymiyya ß93 in Ibn al-Subkî, T.abaqât al-Shâfi`iyya al-Kubrâ (9:61). 
fn11 Published in Cairo at Dâr Ih.yâ’ al-Kutub al-`Arabiyya, 1931. 
fn12 The names of the scholars who counter-signed Ibn Taymiyya’s deposition are listed by al-Kawtharî in his notes to Ibn al-Subkî’s al-Sayf al-S.aqil (p. 95-96). 
fn13 In Ibn H.ajar’s al-Durar al-Kâmina (1:153-155). 
fn14 Narrated from `Alî by Muslim, al-Tirmidhî, al-Nasâ’î, and Ah.mad. 
fn15 Ibn Taymiyya, Tawh.îd al-Rubûbiyya in Majmû`at al-Fatâwâ (2:464-465). 
fn16 See George Makdisi, “L’isnâd initiatique soufi de Muwaffaq ad-Dîn ibn Qudâma,” in Cahiers de l’Herne: Louis Massignon (Paris: Éditions de l’Herne, 1970) p. 88-96; “Ibn Taimiya: A S.ûfî of the Qadiriya Order,” in American Journal of Arabic Studies I (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1974) p. 118-129; and “The H.anbalî School and Sufism,” in Boletin de la Asociacion Espa@nola de Orientalistas 15 (Madrid, 1979) p. 115-126. Based on Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî’s Bad’ al `Ilqa bi Labs al Khirqa, ms. al-Hâdî, Princeton Library Arabic Collection, fos 154a, 169b, 171b 172a; and Damascus University, copy of original Arabic manuscript, 985H.; also mentioned in al-T.alyânî, manuscript Chester Beatty 3296 (8) in Dublin, fo 67a. 
fn17 The commentary is found in the tenth volume of the first Riyadh edition of the Majmû` Fatâwâ Ibn Taymiyya (10:455-548). 
fn18 Ms. Damascus, Zahiriyya #1186 H. 
fn19 Al-Subkî, al-Durra al-Mud.iyya fî al-Radd `alâ Ibn Taymiyya (1st epistle, Naqd al-Ijtima` p. 12, 14). 
fn20 Ibn Qudâma, al-Mughnî (3:117, 3:297, 5:465), al-Muqni` (1:466), al-Kâfî (1:619); Ibn Muflih., al-Mubdi` fî Sharh. al-Muqni` (3:259); al-Buhûtî, Kashshâf al-Qinâ` (2:514-515; 5:36), al-Rawd. al-Murba` (1:522); Ibn Dawyân, Manâr al-Sabîl (1:256); Shams al-Dîn ibn Muflih., Furû` (3:523); al-H.ajjâwî, Iqnâ` (1:395); `Abd al-Rah.mân al-Ba`lî, Kashf al-Mukhaddarât (p. 193); Mar`î, Ghâyat al-Muntahâ (1:418), Dalîl al-T.alîb (p. 88); Ah.mad al-Ba`lî, al-Rawd. al-Nadî (p. 190); Bahâ’ al-Dîn al-Maqdisî (p. 209); Ibn al-Najjâr, Muntahâ al-Irâdât (1:286); Ibn al-Jawzî, al-Madhhab al-Ah.mad (p. 68); Shams al-Dîn Ibn Qudâma, al-Sharh. al-Kabîr (3:494); al-Kawladhânî, Hidâya (p. 105); Ibn Hubayra, Ifs.âh. (1:297), al-Mardâwî, Ins.âf (4:53). 
fn21 Z.âhiriyya ms. cf. Ibn Muflih., Mubdi` (2:107), Mar`î, Ghâya (1:258), al-Mardâwî, Ins.âf (2:317). 
fn22 A claim heedlessly perpetuated by Ibn Taymiyya’s followers in our time. 
fn23 Cf. al-`Irâqî, T.arh. al-Tathrîb (6:43). 
fn24 Cf. Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû` al-Fatâwâ (25:299-300). 
fn25 See al-`Irâqî’s fatwâ in al-Nabahânî’s Shawâhid al-H.aqq (p. 192-195). 
fn26 Fath. al-Bârî (1989 ed. 3:66). 
fn27 Al-Qârî, Sharh. al-Shifâ’ (2:514). 
fn28 In al-Nabahânî’s Shawâhid (p. 185). 
fn29 In his al-Tahânî fî al-Ta`qîb `alâ Mawd.û`ât al-S.âghânî (p. 49). 
fn30 Al-Nabahânî, Shawâhid al-H.aqq (p. 275-276). 
fn31 Cf. Al-Nabahânî, Shawâhid al-H.aqq (p. 241-247, 275-298). 
fn32 Narrated from Ibn `Umar by al-Dâraqut.nî in his Sunan (2:278 #194), al-T.ayâlisî (2:12), al-Dûlâbî in al-Kunâ wa al-Asmâ’ (2:64), al-Khat.îb in Talkhîs. al-Mutashâbih fî al-Rasm (1:581), Ibn al-Dubaythi in al-Dhayl `alâ al-Târîkh (2:170), Ibn Abî al-Dunyâ in Kitâb al-Qubur, al-Bayhaqî in Shu`ab al-îmân (3:490), al-H.akîm al-Tirmidhî in Nawâdir al-Us.ûl (p. 148), al-Haythamî (4:2), al-Subkî in Shifâ’ al-Siqâm (p. 12-14), Abû al-Shaykh, Ibn `Adî in al-Kâmil (6:235, 6:351), al-`Uqaylî in al-D.u`afâ’ (4:170), al-Bazzâr in his Musnad with a very weak chain containing `Abd Allâh ibn Ibrâhîm al-Ghifari [cf. Ibn H.ajar’s Mukhtas.ar (1:481 #822)] with the wording “my intercession shall take place for him” (hallat lahu shafâ`atî), and Ibn H.ajar who indicated its grade of h.asan in Talkhîs. al-H.abîr (2:266) as it is strengthened by other h.adîths which both he and al-Haythamî mention, such as: (1) “Whoever visits me without any avowed purpose other than my visit, it is incumbent upon me to be his intercessor on the Day of Resurrection.” Narrated by al-T.abarânî in al-Awsat. and al-Kabîr with a chain containing Maslama ibn Salim and by Ibn al-Sakan in his Sunan al-S.ih.âh. as stated by al-Shirbînî in Mughnî al-Muh.tâj (1:512). (2) “Whoever makes pilgrimage then visits me after my death it is as if he visited me in my life.” Narrated by al-T.abarânî in al-Kabîr (12:406) and al-Dâraqut.nî (2:278) with a chain containing H.afs. ibn Abî Dâwûd al-Qârî, whom only Ah.mad declared passable (sâlih). Mamdûh. said (p. 337-340) it is more d.a`îf than other weak h.adîths in this chapter. (3) “Whoever visits my grave after my death is as those who visited me in my life.” Narrated by al-T.abarânî in al-Kabîr (12:406) and al-Awsat.. (1:94) with a chain containing `â’isha bint Yûnus, whose status is uncertain, and from H.ât.ib by al-Dâraqut.nî (2:278) with another chain which al-Dhahabî said was one of the best chains in that chapter. Mamdûh. said (p. 330-334) it is da`îf but not mawd.û`, contrary to the claims of Ibn Taymiyya and his imitators. Abû Ghudda cites a fourth narration: (4) “Whoever makes pilgrimage and does not visit me, has been rude to me.” Narrated by al-Dâraqut.nî in his Sunan. Abû Ghudda said: “It is not forged as Ibn al-Jawzî and Ibn Taymiyya said, rather, a number of scholars considered its chain fair, and a number considered it weak.” Mamdûh. (p. 344-346) considers it forged. Al-`Uqaylî in al-D.u`afâ’ (4:170) declared the chains of Ibn `Umar’s narration “soft” (layyina) as did al-Dhahabî, the latter adding – as did al-Bayhaqî and al-Fattanî in Tadhkirat al-Mawd.û`ât – that they strengthened each other as none contains any liar nor forger, as stated by al-Suyût.” in al-Durar al-Muntathira, al-Munâwî, and al-`Ajlûnî in Kashf al-Khafâ (2:328-329). 
fn33 In Z.afar al-Amânî (p. 422) and al-Ajwibat al-Fâd.ila (p. 155). 
fn34 In his Raf` al-Minâra (p. 280 and p. 318). 
fn35 As related by Ibn H.ajar in Talkhîs. al-H.abîr (2:267). Cf. al-Shawkânî in Nayl al-Awtar (5:95) and al-Sindî in his notes on Ibn Mâjah. 
fn36 In al-Qawl al-Badî` (p. 160). 
fn37 In Sa`âdat al-Darayn (1:77). 
fn38 Published at Ryad: Dâr `Alam al-Kutub, 1991. 
fn39 Al-Lacknawî, Z.afar al-Amânî (p. 422). 
fn40 Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî, al-Tanqîh. (1:122) as pointed out by Mamdûh. in Raf` al-Minâra (p. 12). 
fn41 In Raf` al-Minâra (p. 280-318). 
fn42 In Raf` al-Minâra (p. 9). 
fn43 In his annotations on Ibn H.ajar’s Fath. al-Bârî (1989 ed. 3:387), echoing the exact words used by Ibn Taymiyya in his Minhâj al-Sunna al-Nabawiyya (1986 ed. 2:441) and Majmû`at al-Fatâwâ (27:119). 
fn44 In his Irwa’ al-Ghalîl (4:337-338) in which he imitated Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî’s claims. 
fn45 In Talkhîs. Ah.kâm al-Janâ’iz (p. 110) and elsewhere in his writings. 
fn46 Nasir al-Jadya’, al-T.abarruk (p. 322). Note that all these books are presently available in print, but not Shifâ’ al-Siqâm! 
fn47 Al-Sakhâwî, al-Qawl al-Badî` (p. 160). He contradicts himself in al-Maqâs.id al-H.asana (p. 413) where he adopts al-Dhahabî’s opinion that “the chains of the h.adîth of visitation are all `soft’ (layyina) but strengthen each other because none of them contains any liar.” 
fn48 Narrated by Ibn `Asâkir (7:137) with a good chain (sanad jayyid) as stated by al-Shawkânî in Nayl al-Awtar (5:180), at the conclusion of Kitâb al-Manâsik. 
fn49 In Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Wâbil al-S.ayyib min al-Kalim al-T.ayyib (p. 66). 
fn50 Al-S.afadî, al-Wâfî bi al-Wafayât (7:19-22), cf. Ibn Taymiyya as related from al-Dhahabî by Ibn Rajab in Dhayl T.abaqât al-H.anâbila (2:401-402). 
fn51 Reproduced by Ibn Rajab in Dhayl T.abaqât al-H.anâbila (2:392) and Ibn H.ajar in al-Durar al-Kâmina (1:159) cf. Abû Ghudda, al-`Ulamâ’ al-`Uzzâb (p. 175). In light of al-Subkî’s published positions on Ibn Taymiyya the authenticity of this letter is dubious. 
fn52 Al-S.afadî, al-Wâfî bi al-Wafayât (7:19-22). 
fn53 Al-Dhahabî as cited by Ibn H.ajar in al-Durar al-Kâmina (1:176-178). 
fn54 Cf. al-Bût.î, al-Salafiyya (p. 164-175). Cf. Ibn Khafîf’s `Aqîda (“Things do not act of their own nature…”). 
fn55 Al-Dhahabî, al-Nas.îh.a al-Dhahabiyya, in the margin of his Bayân Zaghl al-`Ilm wa al-T.alab, ed. al-Kawtharî (Damascus: Qudsi, 1928-1929); also in Shaykh al-Islâm Ibn Taymiyya, Sîratuhu wa Akhbâruhu `inda al-Mu’arrikhîn, ed. S.alâh. al-Dîn al-Munajjid (Beirut: Dâr al-Kitâb al-`Arabî, 1976) p. 11-14. 
fn56 Al-Dhahabî, Bayân Zaghl al-`Ilm wa al-T.alab (p. 23-24). Also cited in al-Sakhâwî, al-I`lân (p. 78). 
fn57 Al-Dhahabî, al-Nas.îh.a al-Dhahabiyya, in the margin of his Bayân Zaghl al-`Ilm, ed. al-Kawtharî; also in Shaykh al-Islâm Ibn Taymiyya, Sîratuhu wa Akhbâruhu `Inda al-Mu’arrikhîn, ed. S.alâh. al-Dîn al-Munajjid (Beirut: Dâr al-Kitâb al-`Arabî, 1976) p. 11-14. 
fn58 See masud.co.uk for a full translation of the Nas.îh.a. 
fn59Muh.ammad al-Shaybânî, al-Tawd.îh. al-Jalî fî al-Radd `alâ al-Nas.îh.a al-Dhahabiyya al-Manh.ûla `alâ al-Imâm al-Dhahabî (al-Kuwayt: Markaz al-Makht.ût.ât wa al-Turâth, 1993). This type of revisionist scholarship is reminiscent of the story-teller who was caught by Imâm Ah.mad saying: “Ah.mad ibn H.anbal narrated to us…” whereupon the unfazed fibber replied: “I meant another Ah.mad ibn H.anbal, not you!” (Al-Dhahabî in the Siyar [9:511] considers this report forged.) 
fn60 Al-Durar al-Kâmina (1:166). 
fn61 Al-I`lân wa al-Tawbîkh (p. 77=54). 
fn62 Cf. Bashshar `Awwad Ma`rûf, al-Dhahabî (p. 146). Two extant manuscripts of the Nas.îh.a are kept, one in Cairo at the Dâr al-Kutub al-Mis.riyya (#B18823) copied by Ibn Qâd.î Shuhba and one in Damascus at the Z.âhiriyya library (#1347). 
fn63 Cf. below (n. 67). 
fn64 An allusion to a mutawâtir h.adîth of the Prophet  . 
fn65 Al-Subkî, al-Durra al-Mud.iyya fî al-Radd `alâ Ibn Taymiyya (1st epistle, Naqd al-Ijtimâ` p. 6-7). 
fn66 A necessary corollary of Ibn Taymiyya’s claim that the triple formulation of divorce counts as one in unambiguous violation of the Consensus on the matter.
fn67 This is mentioned about Ibn Taymiyya also by Ibn H.ajar in Fath. al-Bârî (1959 ed. 13:411). Whoever holds this doctrine is considered a kâfir by Imâm Abû Ish.âq al-Isfarâyînî. Ibn Taymiyya was refuted by his contemporary al-Ikhmîmî al-Mis.rî (d. 764) in his Risâla fî al-Radd `alâ Ibn Taymiyya fî Mas’alati H.awâdith lâ Awwala lahâ (“Epistle in Refutation of Ibn Taymiyya on the Question of Created Matters that Have no Beginning”) and by al-S.an`ânî in his Risâla Sharîfa fî ma Yata`allaqu bi Kam al-Bâqî Min `Umr al-Dunyâ? (“A Precious Treatise Concerning the Remaining Age of the World”) ed. al-Wasabi al-Mathani. (San`a’: Maktabat Dâr al-Quds, 1992). 
fn68 This doctrine was refuted by Ibn Jahbal al-Kilâbî and Qâd.î Yûsuf al-Nabahânî. 
fn69 As reported from him by Ibn al-Qayyim – who tends to agree with him – in his Hâdî al-Arwâh. (p. 252-258 and following). 
fn70 This is explicitly contradicted by the vast majority of scholars, including Ibn Taymiyya’s own students Ibn al-Qayyim (cf. Nûniyya, section on tawassul) and al-Dhahabî, as well as al-Shawkânî and countless others cf. volume on tawassul in Shaykh Hishâm Kabbânî’s Encyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine. 
fn71 Al-Haytamî, Fatâwâ H.adîthiyya (p. 114-117). 
fn72 Al-Ash`arî in Maqâlât al-Islâmiyyîn (p. 211) says precisely the contrary: “Ahl al-Sunna and the people of h.adîth said that Allâh (swt) is not a body.” Similarly al-Kalabâdhî in al-Ta`arruf (p. 34-35). Ibn Taymiyya knows this cf. his Minhâj (2:326): “Al-Ash`arî and his early disciples said…. He is not a body.” 
fn73 Ibn Taymiyya, al-Ta’sîs = Bayân Talbîs al-Jahmiyya (1:118) cf. Minhâj (2:205). He also claims in the latter (2:220) that the first to say that Allâh (swt) is not a body were the Jahmiyya and Mu`tazila. 
fn74 Ibn Taymiyya, al-Ta’sîs (1:101) = Bayân Talbîs al-Jahmiyya (1:444). It is amusing that the defenders of Ibn Taymiyya indirectly acknowledge the heresy of this position by claiming that “he was merely paraphrasing the position of those who affirm the Attributes among the mutakallimîn”! Salmân, al-Rudûd (p. 21-22). As Salmân undoubtedly knows, the truth is that this particular argument of Ibn Taymiyya comes up frequently and favorably enough under his pen [cf. Bayân Talbîs (1:548, 1:600, 2:169); Sharh. H.adîth al-Nuzûl (69-76); Majmû` al-Fatâwâ (3:306-310, 13:304-305); Minhâj (2:134-135, 192, 198-200, 527)] to be safely attributed to him. Compare to Imâm Mâlik’s statement: “He is neither ascribed a limit nor likened with anythingî (lâ yuh.addad wa lâ yushabbah). Ibn al-`Arabî said after citing it in Ah.kâm al-Qur’ân (4:1740): “This [statement] is a pinnacle of tawh.îd in which no Muslim preceded Mâlik.” 
fn75 Ibn Taymiyya, Muwâfaqât al-Ma`qûl on the margins of Minhâj al-Sunna (2:75, 1:264, 2:13, 2:26). The Muwâfaqa was republished under the title Dâr’ Ta`ârud. al-`Aqli wa al-Naql. 
fn76 Al-Kawtharî, Maqâlât (p. 350-353). 
fn77 Ibn H.azm, Marâtib al-Ijmâ` (p. 193-194). 
fn78 Al-Subkî, al-Durra al-Mud.iyya fî al-Radd `alâ Ibn Taymiyya (3rd epistle, al-I`tibâr bi Baqâ’ al-Jannati wa al-Nâr p. 60). 
fn79 Cf. Ibn Abî al-`Izz, Sharh. (p. 427-430). 
fn80 In his Fatâwâ (1:219, 2:275); Minhâj al-Sunna (2: 62); Risâlat Ahl al-S.uffa (p.34). 
fn81 But in no other commentary of the same text, not even the “Salafî” commentary on the Tahâwiyya by H.asan al-Busnawî, although the latter does follow Ibn Abî al-`Izz in other matters. 
fn82 Recently republished in Damascus (2001). 
fn83 Ibn Marzûq, Barâ’at al-Ash`ariyyîn Min `Aqâ’id al-Mu`tazilati wal-Mukhâlifîn (1:89, 1:94f.) Chapter reprinted in Ibn Marzûq, al-Tawassul bi al-Nabî  wa al-Salihin (Istanbul: Hakikat Kitâbevi, 1993) p. 25-101. Cf. H.asan `Alî al-Saqqâf’s al-Tandîd bi man `Addada al-Tawh.îd (“Punishment of Him Who Counts Several Tawh.îds”). 
fn84 Cf. Mah.mûd Mamdûh.’s Tashnîf al-Asmâ’ bi Shuyûkh al-Ijâzati wa al-Samâ` (1984 ed. p. 375). 
fn85 Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû`at al-Fatâwâ (5:376). Narrated with its chain by al-Dhahabî in the Siyar (8:213, chapter of Bishr ibn al-Sirî). 
fn86 Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû`at al-Fatâwâ (5:376-377). Also narrated by al-Dhahabî with a sound chain according to al-Albânî in Mukhtas.ar al-`Uluw (p. 192 #235). 
fn87 Al-Asmâ’ wa al-S.ifât (Kawtharî ed. p. 451-452; H.âshidî ed. 2:375-377 #950-953). 
fn88 Cf. Ibn Taymiyya, Minhâj al-Sunna (2:248) and Mukhtas.ar al-`Uluw (p. 40-41, 192-193). 
fn89 Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû`at al-Fatâwâ (5:189). 
fn90 Al-Dhahabî, Mukhtas.ar al-`Uluw (p. 264 #321). Al-Dhahabî criticizes these assertions: see the post, “Allâh is now as He ever was”. 
fn91 Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû` al-Fatâwâ (Mufas.s.al al-I`tiqâd – “Specifics of Belief” – 4:374). See the post, “The Prophet’s  Seating on the Throne”. 
fn92 Narrated by al-T.abarî in his Tafsîr (3:10-11). 
fn93 In his commentary on Sûrat al-`Alaq in Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû`at Rasâ’il (16:435). 
fn94 Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû`at al-Rasâ’il (13:294). 
fn95 Al-Ghazzâlî, al-Mustas.fa (p. 85); al-Nawawî, Sharh. S.ah.îh. Muslim (16:218). 
fn96 Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû`at al-Fatâwâ (5:199) 
fn97 Ibid. (5:103). 
fn98 Ibn Bat.t.ût.a, Rih.la (1:110) and Ibn H.ajar, al-Durar al-Kâmina (1:180). 
fn99 Abû Zahra, Târîkh al-Madhâhib al-Islamiyya (p. 320-322). 
fn100 Abû Zahra, Târîkh al-Madhâhib al-Islamiyya (p. 235-238). 

GF Haddad ©

Ibn Baz: Another Heresiography By GF Haddad

`Abd al-`Aziz ibn `Abd Allah Ibn Baz, the late (d. 1999) nescient mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, government scholar par excellence, and major innovator whose influence on spreading deviant beliefs is incalculable. The present crippling of Islam and Muslims took place under his leadership and as a direct result of his policies as listed by Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa`i in his Nasiha li Ikhwanina `Ulama’ Najd (“Advice to Our Brothers the Scholars of Najd” ):

Calling the Muslims “Pagans”
* Calling the Muslims “Apostates”
* Calling the Muslims “Deviants”
* Calling the Muslims “Innovators”
* Monopolozing Teaching in Hijaz
* Falsifying Our Scholarly Heritage (see below)
* Libeling Ulema Who Disagreed with Wahhabi Doctrine
* Imposting the Style of Najd in Adhân
* Shutting the Mosque in Madina at Night
* Posting Hoodlums at the Noble Grave
* Obstructing and Scolding Women in Madina
* Blocking Women from Visiting Baqi`
* Police Interrogation Centers
* Razing of the Mosque of Abu Bakr -riDiaLLahu ‘anhu –
* Razing of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari’s House
* Destroying Historical Makka and Madina but Preserving Khaybar
* Replacing Khadija’s House with Latrines
* Outlawing Nasiha to Rulers
* Interdiction of Dala’il al-Khayrat and other books
* Forbidding Mawlid Gatherings
* Etc.

As former overall president of the Directorships of Scholarly Research, Iftâ’, Da`wa, and Irshâd, Ibn Baz is on record for issuing a fatwa declaring as unIslamic the Palestinian people’s uprising against the Jewish State of Israel, whereas he never condemned the practices, in his own country, of gambling, horse-racing, and usury. In the late sixties he declared any and all forms of cooperation with the kuffâr prohibited and cast a judgment of apostasy on `Abd al-Nasir for employing a civilian force of a few hundred Russian engineers to build the Aswan dam. In the early nineties he again made it halâl for kufr forces to come, under their flag and sovereignty, in hundred of thousands, to occupy Muslim lands and destroy Iraq, because of “necessity.” There was also no problem for them to stay after the “necessity” was over.

In his infamous al-Adilla al-Naqliyya wa al-Hissiyya `ala Jarayan al-Shamsi wa Sukuni al-Ard (“The Transmitted and Sensory Proofs of the Rotation of the Sun and Stillness of the Earth”), he asserted that the earth was flat and disk-like and that the sun revolved around it.

Like all the anthropomorphists of his School, Ibn Baz added modifiers to the Divine Attributes, asserting, for example, that Allah Most High and Exalted “istawâ `alâ al-`arsh haqqan” – variously translated as “He established Himself over the Throne in person” or “actually” or “literally” – haqqan being an innovated addition which violates the practice of the true Salaf consisting in asserting the Divine Attributes bilâ kayf – without “how” – any modifier being by definition a modality. What is worse, of course, is that such an innovated addition is an avenue to anthropomorphism.

In his footnote to article 38 of Imam al-Tahawi’s `Aqida  (“He is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having parts or limbs. Nor is He contained by the six directions as all created entities are”), he asserts, “Allah is beyond limits that we know but has limits He knows.” This is, like haqqan, a true innovation of misguidance and innovated phrase as stated by al-Dhahabi and others, utterly unsupported by the Qur’an, the Sunna, and the Consensus, and violating the practice of the true Salaf who refrained from indulging in speculations of modality whenever they mentioned the Divine Attributes. (This footnote also appears in Shu`ayb Hassan’s translation in English, which also contains other major doctrinal errors.)

Ibn Baz’s Najdi friends commit the same ugly innovation: `Abd Allah al-Hashidi in his edition of al-Bayhaqi’s al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat – written in rebuttal of al-Kawthari’s landmark edition – states: “As for us we affirm a form (sûra) for Allah unlike forms,” while al-Albani in his Sharh approvingly quotes Muhammad ibn Mani`’s remonstration of Imam al-Tahawi for this particular article and his pretense that the Imam, perhaps, did not write it in the first place: “The Imam and author was in no need at all for these invented, wrongly suggestive words, and if someone were to say that they are interpolated and not his own words, I would not think it improbable, so as to keep a good opinion of him”!1

Ibn Baz also suggests corporal limbs for Allah Most High and Exalted in his statement in Taliqat Hamma `ala ma Katabahu al-Shaykh Muhammad `Ali al-Sabuni fi Sifat Allah (“Important Comments on What Shaykh al-Sabuni Wrote Concerning the Divine Attributes”) that “To declare Allah transcendent beyond possessing body (al-jism), pupils (al-hadaqa), auditory meatus (al-simâkh), tongue (al-lisân), and larynx (al-hanjara) is not the position of Ahl al-Sunna but rather that of the scholars of condemned kalâm and their contrivance.”2

By his phrase “the scholars of condemned kalâm” he disparages Ibn Khafif, Ibn `Abd al-Salam, Ibn al-Juwayni, Ibn Hibban, Ibn `Arabi, al-Ghazzali, al-Razi, al-Qadi `Iyad, al-Maziri, al-Nawawi, al-Pazdawi, al-Bayhaqi, al-Qurtubi, al-Khatib, Ibn al-Jawzi, Ibn Daqiq al-`Id, Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, Shah Wali Allah, the entire Ash`ari and Maturidi Schools and, lately, al-Sabuni, all of whom asserted transcendence in similar terms. As Ibn Hajar stated in Fath al-Bari: “The elite of the mutakallimûn said: `He knows not Allah, who attributes to Him resemblance to His creation, or attributes a hand to Him, or a son.”3 Contrary to this the doctrine of the Literalists consists in attributing an actual hand to the Creator. But Ibn Baz in his notes on Fath al-Bari charges al-Qadi `Iyad and Ibn Hajar with abandoning the way of Ahl al-Sunna for stating that the Hand of Allah does not pertain to a bodily appendage.4 This is similar to the pretext of the anthropomorphist who said: “We expelled Ibn Hibban from Sijistan for his lack of Religion: he used to say that Allah is not limited!”5

Ibn Baz’s acolyte Muhammad Zinu mumbles a similar claim of corporeality in his book Tanbihat Hamma `ala Kitab Safwat al-Tafasir (“Important Cautions Regarding [al-Sabuni’s three volume Qur’anic commentary] `The Quintessence of Commentaries’”). Al-Sabuni blasted both of them in his 1988 rebuttal, Kashf al-Iftira’at fi Risalat Tanbihat Hawla Safwat al-Tafasir (“Exposing the Lies of the Epistle `Cautions’”).

Ibn Baz explicitly attributes a geographical direction to Allah Most High and Exalted, and affirms that such was the belief of “the Companions and those who followed them in excellence – they assert a direction for Allah, and that is the direction of height, believing that the Exalted is above the Throne.”6

In his tract translated into English as Authentic Islamic Aqeedah and What Opposes It (p. 16), Ibn Baz calls those who visit the graves of saints “unbelievers” who commit what he calls kufr al-rubûbiyya. This fatwa compounds three innovations: (1) the dreadful sin of indiscriminately declaring millions of Muslims kâfir without the proofs and due process required by the purified Shari`a: (2) the blind, wholesale dismissal of the numerous orders of the Prophet  in the authentic Sunna to visit the graves for they are reminders of the hereafter; (3) the branding of Muslims with an innovated classification of disbelief he calls kufr al-rubûbiyya.

The weakness of Ibn Baz’s doctrinal positions can be inferred from the very title of one of his tracts purportedly designed to champion true doctrine: Iqamat al-Barahin `ala Hukmi man Istaghatha bi Ghayr Allah (“Establishing the Patent Proofs for the Judgment on Whoever Calls for Help Other than Allah”). For the licitness of istighâtha or calling for help of a creature QUALIFIED TO HELP, is patently established in the Qur’an and Sunna, as shown by the verse {And his countryman sought his help (istaghâthahu) against his enemy} (28:15) and al-Bukhari’s narration of the Prophet  from Ibn `Umar – Allah be well-pleased with him – already quoted: “Truly the sun shall draw so near on the Day of Resurrection that sweat shall reach to the mid-ear, whereupon they shall ask (istaghâthû) help from Adam – upon him peace -, then from Musa – upon him peace -, then from Muhammad – Allah bless and greet him – who will intercede.” Furthermore, Ibn Baz directly contradicts Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s words in Majmu`at al-Tawhid (p. 232): “We do not deny nor reject the invocation of help from the creature [as distinct >from the Creator] INSOFAR AS THE CREATED CAN HELP, as Allah Most High said in the story of Musa – upon him peace -: {And his countryman sought his help against his enemy}.”

An inveterate deprecator of the Prophet  and principal enemy of the Sufis, in one of his fatwas he asserts, “Among other things, the Messenger of Allah , after his death, never appears in a vision to a wakeful person. He of the ignorant Sufis who claims that he sees, while vigilant, the vision of the Prophet , or that that vision attends the Mawlids or the like, is guilty of the foulest error, and exceedingly deluded… the dead never rise out of their graves in this world save on the Day of Judgement.”

The above is a claim to know in their entirety: (a) the unseen, (b) the wherewithal of the Prophet  in Barzakh, and (c) the states of the servants of Allah Most High; in addition to an impious reference to the Prophet  as “the dead”! Surely, it is ibn Baz who is dead while the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him -, as stated by Shaykh Muhammad ibn `Alawi in Manhaj al-Salaf, “is alive with a complete isthmus-life (hayât barzakhiyya) which is greater and better and more perfect than worldly life – indeed, higher, dearer, sweeter, more perfect, and more beneficial than worldly life.”

It is also related from one of the great Sufi shaykhs, Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili – may Allah have mercy upon him – who, unlike Ibn Baz, was only physically blind, whom the hadith master Ibn al-Mulaqqin mentioned in his Tabaqat al-Awliya, and concerning whom Ibn Daqiq al-`Id said: “I never saw anyone more knowledgeable of Allah,” that he said: “If I ceased to see the Prophet  for one moment, I would no longer consider myself a Muslim.” His teacher Abu al-`Abbas al-Mursi said the same. The Ghawth `Abd al-`Aziz al-Dabbagh said something similar, as reported from him by his student Ahmad ibn al-Mubarak in al-Ibriz. Assuredly, Shaykh Abd al-Aziz shall have to answer for his calumny of these Sufis among many others on the Day of Judgment, in addition to having issued legal judgments and spoken of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – without knowledge.

As for attending Mawlid, “a vision” does not attend or do anything, but the spirits of the believers who passed away, together with the angels and the believing jinn, are certainly related to attend the gatherings of the pious all over the earth. Ibn al-Kharrat in al-`Aqiba, Ibn al-Qayyim in al-Ruh, al-Qurtubi in al-Tadhkira, Ibn Abi al-Dunya in al-Qubur, al-Suyuti in Sharh al-Sudur, Ibn Rajab in Ahwal al-Qubur, and others relate from many of the Salaf – including Imam Malik in al-Muwatta’ – that the spirits of the believers in Barzakh are free to come and go anywhere they please. This is all the more possible for our Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – as we celebrate Mawlid specifically to remember him and invoke blessings upon him.

Ibn Baz passed a fatwa that “It is not permissible to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet , in fact, it must be stopped, as it is an innovation in the religion.” His sole proof for this declaring an act illicit and an innovation in Islam is that it did not take place in the early centuries of Islam, whereas al-Shafi`i and the Imams and scholars of the principles of jurisprudence defined innovation in the Religion as “that which was not practiced before AND contravenes the Qur’an and Sunna.” It is noteworthy that the heads of the “Salafi” movement and those of their offshoots who propagate their views are always careful, through ignorance and/or duplicity, to omit this second, indispensable pre-condition in their definition of bid`a: Deobandis, Tablighis, Tahriris, Muhajiris, Jama`is, Ikhwanis, ICNA, ISNA, IANA, MAYA, JIMAS, WAMY, QSS, SAS, IIIE, and other Wahhabis. Furthermore, the majority of the scholars of Ahl al-Sunna – and Allah knows best – concur either outloud or tacitly on the licit character of the celebration of the Mawlid provided the usual etiquette of Islam in public gatherings is kept. Lastly, the Hanbali school in its entirety never declared forbidden the celebration of the Mawlid and even Ibn Taymiyya stated that one who celebrates it with sincere intentions will be rewarded!7

Ibn Baz revived the innovation and invalid fatwa of Ibn Taymiyya to the effect that it is forbidden to travel with the intention of visiting the Prophet  in his notes on Ibn Hajar’s Fath al-Bari, book of Fadl al-Salat fi Makka wal-Madina, where Ibn Hajar comments on Ibn Taymiyya’s prohibition of travel for Ziyara: “Ibn Taymiyya said: `This kind of trip – traveling to visit the grave of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – is a disobedience, and salât must not be shortened during it.’ This is one of the ugliest matters reported from Ibn Taymiyya.” To which Ibn Baz reacts in a footnote: “It is not ugly, and Ibn Taymiyya was right.” Indeed, Ibn Hajar’s teacher, Zayn al-Din al-`Iraqi, rightly called it in his Tarh al-Tathrib (6:43) “a strange and ugly saying.”

Bin Baz also reduplicates word for word and without the least critical analysis or original understanding of the evidence the pretense of Ibn Taymiyya whereby “The hadiths that concern the desirability of visiting the grave of the Prophet are all weak, indeed forged.” By the grace of Allah Most High this pseudo-bold and fashionable claim – among “Salafis” – has been laid to its final resting-ground by Shaykh Mahmud Mamduh’s superb documentation work titled Raf` al-Minara fi Takhrij Ahadith al-Tawassul wa al-Ziyara (“Raising the Lighthouse: Documentation of the Narrations Pertaining to Using an Intermediary and Visitation”).

Another astonishing deviation of Ibn Baz in his remarks on Fath al-Bari is his characterizing the visit of the Companion Bilal ibn al-Harth – Allah be well-pleased with him – to the grave of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – and his tawassul for rain there as “aberrant” (munkar) and “an avenue to polytheism” (wasîla ilâ al-shirk).”8

One of his innovations in usûl is his public declaration – in the Saudi periodical al-Majalla – that he does not adhere to the Hanbali Madhhab “but only to the Qur’an and Sunna,” whereas Ibn Taymiyya said himself asserted in Mukhtasar al-Fatawa al-Misriyya that the truth is not found, in the whole Shari`a, outside the four Schools. Nor have any two Sunni Ulema on the face of the earth agreed on the qualification of Ibn Baz as an absolute Mujtahid capable of extracting his own proofs and School from the primary evidences of the Law. On the contrary, his fiqh is superficial compared to his subordinate Ibn `Uthaymin, his natural bent for taqlîd is evident, his blunders numerous, and his innovations countless.

Among the other innovations of Ibn Baz in doctrine, he tried to rectify whatever did not please him in Fath al-Bari by the Imam and hadith master Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani with interpersed remarks that do not qualify as commentary but as an attempt to substitute Ibn Hajar’s Ash`ari Sunni doctrine with anthropomorphism as the Islamic creed.9

Under his leadership, Ibn Taymiyya’s Majmu`a al-Fatawa al-Kubra received a new edition from which the 10th volume – on tasawwuf – was suppressed. Similar examples of unreliable editorship and blatant tampering of the scholarly heritage abound at the hands of Wahhabis:

1- In the book of al-Adhkar by Imam Muhyi al-Din al-Nawawi as published by Dar al-Huda in al-Riyad in 1409/1989 and edited by `Abd al-Qadir al-Arna’ut of Damascus, page 295, the chapter-title, “Section on Visiting the Grave of the Messenger ” was substituted with the title, “Section on Visiting the Mosque of the Messenger of Allah ” together with the suppression of several lines from the beginning of the section and its end, and the suppression of al-`Utbi’s famous story of intercession which Imam al-Nawawi had mentioned in full.10When al-Arna’ut was asked about it, he replied that the Ryad agents were the ones who had changed and tampered with the text. A facsimile of his own hand-written statement to that effect was printed in full in Shaykh Mahmud Mamduh’s Raf` al-Minara (p. 72-75).

2- Suppression of al-Sawi’s (d. 1241/1825) words on modern-time Kharijis in his supercommentary on Tafsir al-Jalalayn titled Hashiya `ala Tafsir al-Jalalayn (v. 58:18-19), “namely, a sect in the Hijaz named Wahhabis” from all new editions beginning from the Eighties.11

3- Zuhayr al-Shawish’s suppression of the word “substitute-saints” (al-abdâl) from his al-Maktab al-Islami (3rd) edition of Ibn Taymiyya’s `Aqida Wasitiyya in the following passage: “The true adherents of Islam in its pristine purity are Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a. In their ranks are found the truthful saints (al-siddîqûn), the martyrs, and the righteous. Among them are the great men of guidance and illumination, of recorded integrity and celebrated virtue. And among them are the substitute-saints (al-abdâl) – the Imams – concerning whose guidance and knowledge the Muslims are in full accord. These are the Victorious Group…” as found in the Cairo Salafiyya edition (p. 36) and the Majmu`a al-Rasa’il al-Kubra (3:159).

4- Suppression of the chapter that concerns the Friends of Allah (al-awliyâ’), Substitute-Saints (al-abdâl), and the Righteous (al-sâlihîn) >from Ibn `Abidin’s Epistles.12

5- Removal of Abu Hayyan’s denunciation of Ibn Taymiyya as an anthropomorphist from his two Tafsirs, al-Bahr al-Muhit and al-Nahr al-Madd min al-Bahr (passage on Ayat al-Kursi).

6- Interpolation of the phrase bidhâtihi (“in person”) into al-Gilani’s mention of Allah Most High establishing Himself over the Throne as well as the takfîr of Imam Abu Hanifa in his classic al-Ghunya.

7- Interpolations among the same lines as well as the takfîr of Imam Abu Hanifa in al-Ash`ari’s al-Ibana.

8- Suppressions and additions along anthropomorphist lines in al-Nawawi’s Sharh Sahih Muslim from as early as Ibn al-Subki’s time.

9- Anthropomorphist additions to al-Alusi’s Ruh al-Ma`ani transmitted by his “Salafi” son Nu`man as shown by a comparison with its autograph manuscript.

10- Commissioning Muhammad Muhsin Khan and Muhammad Taqi al-Din al-Hilali with English translations of the motherbooks of Islam such as the Qur’an, al-Bukhari’s Sahih, al-Zabidi’s al-Tajrid al-Sarih, al-Naysaburi’s al-Lu’lu’ wa al-Marjan etc. when Khan was only trained as a chest doctor while the late Moroccan-born Hilali had no more than a poor mastery of the English language.13 Hence their translations are clumsy, inelegant, filled with gaps and approximations, and further corrupted by deliberate manipulations of meaning along doctrinal lines as shown by the following example in their Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 549: “Narrated Ibn `Abbas: `The Prophet said, “The people were displayed in front of me and I saw one prophet passing by with a large group of his followers, and another prophet passing by with only a small group of people, and another prophet passing by with only ten (persons), and another prophet passing by with only five (persons), and another prophet passed by alone. And then I looked and saw a large multitude of people, so I asked Gibril, “Are these people my followers?’ He said, `No, but look towards the horizon.’ I looked and saw a very large multitude of people. Gibril said. `Those are your followers, and those are seventy thousand (persons) in front of them who will neither have any reckoning of their accounts nor will receive any punishment.’ I asked, `Why?’ He said, `For they used not to treat themselves with branding (cauterization) NOR WITH RUQYA (GET ONESELF TREATED BY THE RECITATION OF SOME VERSES OF THE QUR’AN) and not to see evil omen in things, and they used to put their trust (only) in their Lord.” On hearing that, `Ukasha bin Mihsan got up and said (to the Prophet), “Invoke Allah to make me one of them.” The Prophet  said, “O Allah, make him one of them.” Then another man got up and said (to the Prophet), “Invoke Allah to make me one of them.” The Prophet  said, `Ukasha has preceded you.”‘”

As demonstrated in the text of the Encyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine (6:137-149) on ta’wîz, there is a Jahili ruqyâ, and there is a Sunni ruqyâ. The former is made with other than what is allowed in the Religion, such as amulets, talismans, spells, incantations, charms, magic and the like: and that is what the Prophet  meant in the above hadith. But the translator Khan mischaracterized it, in his parenthetical gloss, as the Sunna ruqyâ consisting in using some verses of the Qur’an or permitted du’â for treatment! Thus he suggests, in his manipulation, exactly the reverse of what the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said and practiced, and the reverse of what the Companions said and practiced both in the time of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – and after his time. One well-known probative example of the Sunna ruqyâ is the use of the Fatiha by one of the Companions to heal a scorpion-bite – and the Prophet  approved of it – as narrated by al-Bukhari elsewhere in his Sahih.14

11- The 1999 translation of al-Nawawi’s Riyad al-Salihin published by Darussalam publications out of Riyad makes a similar interpolation distorting the meaning of the words of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him -: “They are those who do not make RUQYAH (BLOWING OVER THEMSELVES AFTER RECITING THE QUR’AN OR SOME PRAYERS AND SUPPLICATIONS THE PROPHET – Allah bless and greet him – used to say).”15 Observe their equating something the Prophet  used to do with an act that those who enter Paradise do not do. The same book calls al-Albani “the leading authority in the science of hadith” (p. 88), declares that “in case of breach of ablution, the wiping over the socks is sufficient, and there is no need for washing the feet” (p. 31), that “ours should not be the belief that the dead do hear and reply [our greeting]” (p. 515), and that expressing the intention (niyya) verbally before salât “is a Bid`ah (innovation in religion) because no proof of it is found in Sharî`ah” (p. 14)!

12- Other manipulations of meaning along anthropomorphist lines and dilly-dallying can be seen in Khan-Hilali’s discrepant, multiple translations of the meanings of the Qur’an into English. An example of this confusion is in the footnote to the verse of the Throne (2:255) for the word kursiyyuhu, translated as “His Throne”: “Throne: seat.”16 In a later edition by the same M.M. Khan and his friend M. Taqi al-Din al-Hilali, the word is left untranslated, giving “His Kursî,” with a footnote stating:

“Kursî: literally a footstool or chair, and sometimes wrongly translated as Throne[!]. Ibn Taimiyah said: a) To believe in the Kursî. b) To believe in the `Arsh (Throne) [sic]. It is narrated from Muhammad bin `Abdullâh and from other religious scholars that the Kursî is in front of the `Arsh (Throne) and it is at the level of the Feet. (Fatawa Ibn Taimiyah, Vol. 5, Pages 54, 55).”17

None of the above explanations is authentically related from the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him -, least of all the astonishing mention of “the Feet”18 – and who are “Muhammad bin `Abdullâh” and the “other religious scholars”?! Nor is the call for imitating what “Ibn Taymiyya said to believe” other than a bankrupt innovation. Nor is the translation of kursî as “Throne” wrong when called for in certain cases, as in the narration: “On the Day of Resurrection your Prophet shall be brought and shall be made to sit in front of Allah the Almighty, on His kursî.”19 Some of the Salaf, among them al-Hasan al-Basri, even explicitly said that the kursî is the `arsh.20 Furthermore, it is authentically related from Ibn `Abbas that he said: “His kursî is His knowledge (kursiyyuhu `ilmuhu),”21 and this is the explanation preferred by the Imams of the Salaf such as Sufyan al-Thawri, al-Bukhari, al-Tabari, al-Bayhaqi, and others.

13- Other examples of Khan-Hilali’s bamboozled translations: “Then he rose over (Istawâ) towards the heaven” (p. 643) as compared to Pickthall’s {Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke} (41:11) and Yusuf `Ali’s over-figurative “Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke”; “and then He rose over (Istawâ) the Throne (really in a manner that suits His Majesty)” (p. 208) as compared to Pickthall’s simple {then mounted He the Throne} (7:54) and `Ali’s typical “then He established Himself on the Throne (of authority)”; “Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allâh)” (p. 772) as compared to Pickthall’s literal (Have ye taken security from Him Who is in the heaven (fî al-samâ’)( (67:16-17) and `Ali’s “Do ye feel secure that He Who is in Heaven”; etc.

14- The translation of verse 2:200 states: “So when you have accomplished your Manaasik, remember Allâh as you remember your forefathers or with a far more rememberance” (p. 43)!; etc. Did Ibn Baz, “The Presidency of Islamic Researches, Ifta, Call and Guidance,” and the “King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an” all think so cheaply of the Book of Allah and so dearly of their own agenda that the basic grammar and syntax of the translation of its meanings into the most heavily spoken language on earth did not deserve to be double-checked by a competent English proofreader before being printed on the best bible paper, sewn-bound, and distributed freely at huge cost?

Ibn Baz did his best to aid and abet the main innovators of our time such as al-Albani, on whom he bestowed the King Faysal Prize “for services rendered to Islam” (!) the year before their respective deaths; al-Albani’s student and deputy in Kuwait, `Abd al-Rahman `Abd al-Khaliq the author of the despicable attack on the Friends of Allah which he titled Fada’ih al-Sufiyya (“The Disgraces of the Sufis”) and which al-Buti termed an exercise in calumny; Muqbil ibn Hadi al-Wadi`i who asked that the Noble Grave be brought out of the Mosque and the Green Dome destroyed, and roamed the land in Yemen with armed thugs, digging up the graves of the dead with picks and spades; Abu Bakr al-Jaza’iri, Muhammad Zino, `Abd al-Rahman Dimashqiyya, and their ilk…

As Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa`i said to the Ulema of Najd: “You left none but yourselves as those who are saved, forgetting the Prophet’s – Allah bless and greet him – saying: `If anyone says, `The people have perished,’ then he has perished the most.”22


1 Muhammad ibn Mani` as quoted by al-Albani in the latter’s commentary in al-`Aqida al-Tahawiyya, Sharh wa Ta`liq, 2nd ed. (ed. Zuhayr Shawish, Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1993) p. 46.

2 Tanbihat Hamma (Kuwait: Jam`iyya Ihya’ al-Turath al-Islami, p. 22).

3 Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 3:361 #1425).

4 Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 3:361 n.; 1989 ed. 3:357 n.)

5 See Ibn al-Subki, Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra (3:132) and his stand-alone, edited Qa`ida fi al-Jarh wa al-Ta`dil (p. 31-33) [TSK (2:13)].

6 Notes on Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari (1989 ed. 3:37-38; 1959 ed. 3:32-33 #1094).

7 A thorough refutation of Ibn Baz’s fatwa on Mawlid was issued by the Imam Ahmed Raza Academy in South Africa and published on the Internet.

8 Al-Bayhaqi and others narrate from Malik al-Dar, `Umar’s treasurer, that the people suffered a drought during the successorship of `Umar, whereupon a man came to the grave of the Prophet  and said: “O Messenger of God, ask for rain for your Community, for verily they have but perished,” after which the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – appeared to him in a dream and told him: “Go to `Umar and give him my greeting, then tell him that they will be watered. Tell him: You must be clever, you must be clever!” The man went and told `Umar. The latter said: “O my Lord, I spare no effort except in what escapes my power!” Ibn Kathir cites it thus from al-Bayhaqi in al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya (7:92) and says: isnâduhu sahîh; Ibn Abi Shayba cites it in his Musannaf with a sound chain as confirmed by Ibn Hajar who cites the hadith in the 3rd chapter of the book of Istisqa’ in Fath al-Bari (1989 ed. 2:629-630) and al-Isaba (3:484), identifying the man who visited and saw the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – in his dream as the Companion Bilal ibn al-Harth. He counts this hadith as one of the reasons for al-Bukhari’s naming of the chapter “The people’s request to their leader for rain if they suffer drought.”

9 Cf. section, “Dwarves on the Shoulders of Giants” in Shaykh Hisham Kabbani’s Encyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine (1:174-177) = Islamic Beliefs and Doctrine (p. 204-208).

10 See: http://sunnah.org/msaec/articles/arnaut.htm.

11 See Reforming Classical Texts – How widespread is tampering  of texts by the Salafis.

12 Namely, the epitle titled Ijabat al-Ghawth bi Bayan Hal al-Abdal wa al-Ghawth that can be found in the original edition of Ibn `Abidin’s Rasa’il (2:264-284).

13 As revealed to the author by Dr. Muhammad Mustafa al-A`zami who personally knew Hilali. Perhaps Hilali’s close friend Dr. Abu al-Hasan al-Nadwi should be credited for these translations instead of him.

14 The correct translation of the above hadith is: The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: The people were displayed in front of me and I saw one Prophet passing by with a large group of his followers, another Prophet passing by with only a small group of people, another Prophet passing by with only ten (persons), another Prophet passing by with only five (persons), and another Prophet passed by alone. And then I looked and saw a large multitude of people (sawâd `azîm), so I asked Gibril: “Are these people my followers?” He said: “No, but look towards the horizon.” I looked and saw a very large multitude of people. Gibril said: “Those are your followers, and there are seventy thousand of them in front of them who will neither have any reckoning of their accounts nor will receive any punishment.” I asked: “Why?” He said: “They used not to treat themselves with cauterization nor amulets, nor to see auguries and omens in birds, and they relied solely upon their Lord.” On hearing this, `Ukkasha ibn Mihsan stood up and said to the Prophet  : “Invoke Allah to make me one of them.” The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “O Allah, make him one of them.” Then another man stood up and said to the Prophet: “Invoke Allah to make me one of them.” The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: `Ukkasha has preceded you with this request.”

15 Riyâd-us-Sâliheen, vol. 1, translated by Muhammad Amin ibn Razduq with a commentary by Hafiz Yusuf (p. 94).

16 Footnote #298 in The Holy Qur-an: English Translation of the Meanings and Commentary, Revised and Edited by The Presidency of Islamic Researches, Ifta, Call and Guidance (Madinah: King Fahd Holy Qur-an Printing Complex, 1410 [1990]).

17 The Noble Qur’an: English Translation of the Meanings and Commentary by Muhammad Taqi al-Din al-Hilali and Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Revised and Edited by The Presidency of Islamic Researches, Ifta, Call and Guidance (Madinah: King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an, 1417 [1997] (p. 57 n. 1).

18 See al-Bayhaqi, al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat (Hashidi ed. 2:196 #758), Ibn al-Jawzi, al-`Ilal (1:22), al-Dhahabi al-Mizan (2:265), Ibn Kathir, Tafsir (1:317), Ibn Hajar, al-Tahdhib (4:274), and al-Ahdab, Zawa’id Tarikh Baghdad (7:37-39 #1383).

19 Narrated mawqûf from `Abd Allah ibn Salam by Ibn Abi `Asim in al-Sunna (p. 351 #786) and al-Tabari in his Tafsir (8:100).

20 Narrated by al-Tabari, Tafsir (3:10).

21 Narrated marfû` from the Prophet  by Sufyan al-Thawri with a sound chain according to Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 8:199) and al-Tabarani in al-Sunna; and mawqûf from Ibn `Abbas by al-Tabari with three sound chains in his Tafsir (3:9-11), al-Mawardi in his Tafsir (1:908), al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur (1:327), al-Shawkani in Fath al-Qadir (1:245), and others. Al-Tabari chooses it as the most correct explanation: “The external wording of the Qur’an indicates the correctness of the report from Ibn `Abbas that it [the kursî] is His `ilm… and the original sense of al-kursî is al-`ilm.” Also narrated in “suspended” form (mu`allaq) by al-Bukhari in his Sahih from Sa`id ibn Jubayr (Book of Tafsir, chapter on the saying of Allah Most High: {And if you go in fear, then (pray) standing or on horseback} (2:239). Its chains are documented by Ibn Hajar in Taghliq al-Ta`liq (2/4:185-186) where he shows that Sufyan al-Thawri, `Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi, and Waki` narrated it marfû` from the Prophet , although in the Fath he declares the mawqûf version from Ibn `Abbas more likely.

22 Narrated from Abu Hurayra by Malik, Ahmad, Muslim, al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, and Abu Dawud.

Wal-`Aqibatu lil-Muttaqin.

GF Haddad ©

Towards Understanding Hadith

How exactly should Muslims approach Hadith literature? Do we act upon all Sahih Hadith? Are all ‘Sahih’ Hadith ‘true’? Is Bukahari Sharif ‘perfect’? Who is qualified to use Hadith? Is a Hadith ‘Proof’ in an argument? Is ‘Hadith spamming allowed’? Who or what are ‘Ahlal Hadith’?

How to Approach Hadith Correctly – Wahhabis vs Imam Bukhari

Understanding Principles of Hadith: What Does It Mean That Bukhari Is ‘The Most Authentic Book After the Quran’ and What Does Imam Bukhari Say About This?

How exactly should Muslims approach Hadith literature? Do we act upon all Sahih Hadith? Are all ‘Sahih’ Hadith ‘true’? Is Bukhari Sharif ‘perfect’? Who is qualified to use Hadith? Is a Hadith ‘Proof’ in an argument? Is ‘Hadith spamming’ allowed? Who or what are ‘Ahlal Hadith’?

This part deals with the issue of Bukhari being the ‘most authentic book after the Quran’. Is it? What does this statement mean? And are you in trouble if you deny a Hadith from Bukhari? Does a Sahih chain mean you must act on a given Hadith? What do the pious predecessors say?

The biography and ideas of Imam Bukhari are explained as well as the relative position of Fiqh and Hadith, Imam Bukhari visiting graves, and the rank of Imam Malik relative to Imam Bukhari as a Muhaddith.

All this and more in YET ANOTHER brilliant talk, tackling this oft misunderstood subject. Detailed and indispensable as always.

Sheikh Atabek is really becoming the premier scholar as far as Dawah and apologetics responses go in the U.K by addressing all of these misconceptions about Islam that both non-Muslims, and sadly Muslims bring to the fore.

Towards Understanding Hadith 3 – Are All Authentic Hadith Accepted?

Well, ARE they?

Does being in Bukhari mean that a Hadith is superior to those in other collections? Are you still Muslim if you don’t believe in a Hadith from Bukhari? Are you sinful?

What about the Hadith in Bukhari where Abdullah Ibn Masud is allegedly questioning the number of Suras in the Quran?

It also addresses some of the immensely troubling and controversial attitudes to Hadith exemplified by the Salafi/Wahhabi movement, including the common practice of anathematising and harassing people who question Bukhari as Hadith rejecters – however, they seem to openly reject Hadith from Bukhari and then there is the issue of Ibn Taymiyyah rejecting the famous Hadith of Bukhari ‘There was Allah and nothing else besides him’ (Bukhari 3091)…the stance of Alabani is also addressed.

This clarifies many of the almost universal misconceptions amongst Muslims who have perhaps become confused by all the different voices in the community claiming to use the ‘Sunnah’.

A brilliant introduction to the Usool of Hadith.

Are All Weak Hadith Rejected?

People nowadays often try to settle an argument by bringing forth Hadith and if one of them is found to be ‘weaker’ than the other, then it’s case closed.


Sheikh Atabek Shukrov Nasafi is a noted scholar and specialist in Islamic aqeeda and
theological sciences. Undertaking his religious studies at first in secret in Uzbekistan while it was part of the USSR, he has gone on to have an eclectic and comprehensive Islamic education all over the Muslim world.

Already a scholar when he arrived in the Middle East, he studied in Damascus under such luminaries as Mhmd Adnan Darwish, graduating finally from Al Azhar but only after having studied both in Medina and the wider region, for example under Sh. Uthaymeen (and numerous others).

He is currently based in the Northwest of England where he is the founder of the Avicenna Institute.


Jamil Effendi al-Zahawi’s

al-Fajr al-sadiq

fi al-radd `ala munkiri al-tawassul wa al-khawariq

1: The Origin of the Wahhabi Sect

The Wahhabiyya is a sect whose origin can be traced back to Muhammad Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab.  Although he first came on the scene in 1143 (1730 CE), the subversive current his false doctrine initiated took some fifty years to spread.  It first showed up in Najd.  This is  the same district that produced the false prophet, Musaylima in the early days of  Islam.  Muhammad Ibn Sa`ud, governor of this district, aided Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab’s effort, forcing people to follow him. One Arab tribe after another allowed itself to be deceived until sedition became commonplace in the region, his notoriety grew and his power soon passed beyond anyone’s control. The nomadic Arabs of the surrounding desert feared him. He used to say to the people: “I call upon you but to confess tawhid (monotheism) and to avoid shirk (associating partners with  Allah in worship).” The people of the countryside followed him and where he walked, they walked until his dominance increased.

            Muhammad Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab was born in 1111 and died in 1207 (1699-1792 CE). At the outset of his career, he used to go back and forth to Mecca and Madina in quest of knowledge.  In Madina, he studied with Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Sulayman al-Kurdi and Shaykh Muhammad Hayat al-Sindi (d. 1750).  These two shaykhs as well as others with whom he studied early on detected the heresy of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab’s creed.  They used to say: “Allah will allow him be led astray; but even unhappier will be the lot of those misled by him.”  Circumstances had reached this state when his father `Abd al-Wahhab, a pious scholars of the religion, detected heresy in his belief and began to warn others about his son.  His own brother Sulayman soon followed suit, going so far as to write a book entitled al-Sawa`iq (the thunderbolts)[3] to refute the innovative and subversive creed manufactured by Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab.

            Famous writers of the day made a point of noting  the similarity between Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab’s beginnings and those of the false prophets prominent in Islam’s initial epoch like Musaylima the Prevaricator, Sajah al-Aswad al-Anasi, Tulaiha al-Asadi and others of their kind.[4]  What was different in `Abd al-Wahhab’s case was his concealment in himself of any outright claim to prophecy.  Undoubtedly, he was unable to gain support enough to openly proclaim it.  Nevertheless,  he would call those who came from abroad to join his movement Muhajirun and those who came from his own region Ansar in patent imitation of those who took flight from Mecca with the Prophet Muhammad in contrast  to the inhabitants of Madina at the start of Islam.  Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab habitually ordered anyone who had already made the obligatory Pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca prior joining him to remake it since Allah had not accepted it the first time they performed because  they had done so as unbelievers.  He was also given to telling people wishing to enter his religion: “You must bear witness against yourself that you were a disbeliever and you must bear witness against your parents that they were disbelievers and died as such.”

             His practice was to declare a group of famous scholars of the past unbelievers.  If a potential recruit to his movement agreed and testified to the truth of that declaration,  he  was accepted; if not, an order was given and he was summarily put to death.  Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab made no secret of his view that the Muslim community had existed for the last six hundred years in a state of unbelief (kufr) and he said the same of whoever did not follow him.  Even if a person was the most pious and Allah-fearing of Muslims, he would denounce them as idolaters (mushrikun), thus making the shedding of their blood and confiscation of their wealth licit (halal).

            On the other hand, he affirmed the faith of anyone who followed him even though they be persons of most notoriously corrupt and profligate styles of life .  He played always on a single theme: the dignity to which Allah had entitled him. This directly corresponded to the decreased reverence he claimed was due the  Prophet whose status as Messenger he frequently depreciated using language fit to describe an errand boy rather than a divinely commissioned apostle of faith. He would say such things as  “I looked up the account of Hudaybiyya and found it to contain this or that  lie.”  He was in the habit of using contemptuous speech of this kind to the point that one follower felt free to say in his actual  presence: “This stick in my hand is better than Muhammad because it benefits me by enabling me to walk.  But Muhammad is dead and benefits me not at all”.  This, of course, expresses nothing less than disbelief and counts legally as such in the fours schools of Islamic law.[5]

             Returning always to the same theme, Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab used to say that prayer for the Prophet was reprehensible and disliked (makruh) in the Shari`a. He would prohibit blessings on  the Prophet from being recited on the eve of Friday prayer and their public utterance from the minbar, and punish harshly anyone who pronounced such blessings. He even went so far as to kill a blind mu’adhdhin (caller to prayer) who did not cease  and desist when he commanded him to abandon praying for the Prophet in the conclusion to his call to prayer.  He deceived his followers by saying that all that was done to keep monotheism pure.

            At the same time, he burned many books containing prayers for the Prophet, among them Dala’il al-Khayrat and others, similar in content and theme. In this fashion, he destroyed countless books on Islamic law, commentary on the Qur’an, and the science of hadith whose common fault lay in their contradiction of his own vacuous creed. While doing this, however, he never ceased encouraging any follower to interpret Qur’an and hadith for himself and to execute this informed only by the light of his own understanding, darkened though it be through errant belief and heretical indoctrination.

            Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab clung fiercely to denouncing people as unbelievers.  To do this he used Qur’anic verses  originally revealed about idolaters and extended their application to monotheists.  It has been narrated  by `Abd Allah Ibn `Umar and recorded by Imam Bukhari in his book of sound hadiths that the Khawarij transferred the Qur’anic verses meant to refer to unbelievers and made them refer to believers.[6]  He also relates another narration transmitted on the authority of Ibn `Umar whereby the Prophet, on him be peace, said: “What I most fear in my community is a man who interprets verses of the Qur’an out of context.” The latter hadith and the one preceding it apply to the case of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab and his followers.

            It is obvious the intention to found a new religion lay behind his statements and actions. In consequence, the only thing he accepted from the religion of our Prophet, on him be peace was the Qur’an. Yet even this was a matter of surface show.  It allowed people to be ignorant of what his aims really were. Indicating this is the way he and his followers used to interpret the Qur’an according to their own whim and ignore the commentary provided by the Prophet, on him be peace, his Companions, the pious predecessors of our Faith (al-salaf al-salihun), and the Imams of Qur’anic commentary.  He did not argue on the strength of the narrations of the Prophet and sayings of the Companions, the Successors to the Companions and the Imams among those who derived rulings in the Shari`a by means of ijtihad nor did he adjudicate legal cases on the basis of the principle sources (usul) of the Shari`a; that is, he did not adhere to Consensus(ijma`) nor to sound analogy (qiyas).  Although he claimed to belong to the legal school (madhhab) of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, this pretense was motivated by falsehood and dissimulation.  The scholars and jurists of the Hanbali school rejected his multifarious errors.  They wrote numerous articles refuting him including his brother whose book  touching on Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab’s errors was mentioned earlier.

            The learned Sayyid al-Haddad al-Alawi[7] said: “In our opinion, the one element in the statements and actions of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab that makes his departure from the foundations of Islam unquestionable is the fact that he, without support of any generally accepted interpretation of Qur’an or Sunna (bi la ta’wil), takes matters in our religion necessarily well-known to be objects of prohibition (haram) agreed upon by consensus (ijma`) and makes them permissible (halal).[8] Furthermore, along with that he disparages the prophets, the messengers, saints and the pious.  Willful disparagement of anyone failing under these categories of person is unbelief (kufr) according to the consensus reached by the four Imams of the schools of Islamic law.

            Then he wrote an essay called “The Clarification of Unclarity Concerning the Creator of Heaven and Earth” (kashf al-shubuhat `an khaliq al-ardi wa al-samawat)[9] for Ibn Sa`ud. In this work he declared that all present-day Muslims are disbelievers and have been so for the last six hundred years.  He applied the verses in the Qur’an, meant to refer to disbelievers among the tribe of the Quraysh to most Allah-fearing and pious individuals of the Muslim community.  Ibn Sa`ud naturally took this work as a pretext and device for extending his political sovereignty by subjecting the Arabs to his dominance.  Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab began to call people to his religion and instilled in their hearts the idea that every one under the sun was an idolater. What’s more, anyone who slew an idolater, when he died, would go immediately to paradise.

            As a consequence, Ibn Sa`ud carried out whatever Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab ordered.  If he commanded him to kill someone and seize his property, he hastened to do just that.  Indeed, Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab sat among his folk like a prophet in the midst of his community.  His people did not forsake one jot or little of what he told them to do and acted only as he commanded, magnifying him to the highest degree and honoring him in every conceivable way.  The clans and tribes of the Arabs continued to magnify him in this manner until, by that means, the dominion of Ibn Sa`ud increased far and wide as well as that of his sons after him.

            The Sharif of Mecca, Ghalib, waged war against Ibn Sa`ud for fifteen years  until he grew too old and weak to fight.  No one remained if his supporters except they joined the side of his foe.  It was then that Ibn Sa`ud entered Mecca in a negotiated peace settlement in the year 1220 (1805 CE). There he abided for some seven years until the Sublime Porte (i.e. the Ottoman government) raised a military force  addressing command to its minister, the honorable Muhammad `Ali Pasha, ruler of Egypt. His intrepid army advanced against Ibn Sa`ud and cleared the land of him and his followers.  Then, he summoned his son Ibrahim Pasha who arrived in the district in the year 1233 (1818 CE). He finished off what remained of them.

            Among the hideous abominations of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab was his prohibiting people from visiting the tomb of the Prophet, on him be Allah’s blessing and peace. After his prohibition, a group went out from Ahsa to visit the Prophet.  When they returned, they passed by Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab in the district and he commanded that their beards be shaved and they be saddled on their mounts backwards to return in this fashion to Ahsa.  The Prophet, on him be peace, related information about those Khawarij preserved in numerous hadiths.  Indeed, these sayings constitute one of the signs of his prophethood; for they convey knowledge of the unseen.  Among them are his statements in Bukhari and Muslim: “Discord there; discord there!” pointing to the East; and “A people will come out of the East who will read Qur’an with it not getting past their throats.  They will pass through the religion like an arrow when it passes clean through the flesh of its quarry and comes back pristine and prepared to be shot once again from the bow. They will bear a sign in the shaving of their heads.” Another narration of the hadith adds: “They are calamity for the whole of Allah’s creation; Blessed is he who kills them” or “Slay them! For though they appeal to Allah’s Book, they have no share therein.” He said: O Allah! bless us in our Syria and bless us in our Yemen!” They said: O Messenger of Allah! And in our Najd? but he replied: In Najd will occur earthquakes and discords; in it will dawn the epoch [or horn] of Shaytan.” Again he said: “A people will come out of the East, reading the Qur’an and yet it will not get past their throats. Whenever one generation is cut off, another arises until the last dawns with the coming of Antichrist.  They will bear a sign in the shaving of their heads.”

            Now the Prophet’s words explicitly specify in text his reference to those people coming out of the East, following Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab in the innovations he made in Islam. For they were in the habit of ordering those who followed them to shave their heads and once they began to follow them, they did not abandon this practice. In none of the sects of the past prior to that of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab did the likes of this practice occur.[10] He even ordered the women who followed him to shave their heads. Once he ordered a woman who entered his new religion to shave her head.  She replied: ” If you ordered men to shave off their beards, then it would be permissible for you to order a woman to shave her head.  But the hair on a woman’s head has the same sacred status as a man’s beard.”  Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab was unable to answer her.

            Found among the narrations transmitted from the Prophet, on him be peace, is his statement: “At the end of time, a man will rise up in the same region from which once rose Musaylima.  He would change the religion of Islam.”  Another saying has it: “From Najd a Shaytan will appear on the scene causing the Arab peninsula to erupt in earthquake from discord and strife.”

            One of the abominations of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab was his burning of books containing works of Islamic science and his slaughter of the scholars of our faith and people both of the top classes and common people.  He made the shedding of their blood and confiscation of their property and wealth licit well as digging up graves of awliya (saints).  In Ahsa, for example, he ordered that some of the graves of awliya be used by people to relieve the wants of nature.  He forbade people to read Imam Jazuli’s Dala’il al-Khayrat, to perform supererogatory acts of devotion, to utter the names of Allah in His remembrance, to read the mawlid celebrating the Prophet’s birth, or to evoke blessings and prayers on the Prophet from the Minaret after the call to prayer.  What’s more, he killed whoever dared to do any of those things.  He forbade any kind of act of worship after the canonical prayers.  He would publicly declare a Muslim a disbeliever for requesting a prophet, angel or individual of saintly life to join his or her prayers to that person’s own prayer expressing some intention whose fulfillment might be asked of Allah as, for example, when one supplicates the Creator for the sake of Muhammad, on him be peace, to accomplish such-and-such  a need.  He also said anyone who addressed a person as lord or master (sayyid) was a disbeliever.

            Undoubtedly, one of the worst abominations perpetrated by the Wahhabis under the leadership of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab was the massacre of the people of Ta’if. upon entering that town.  They killed everyone in sight, slaughtering both child and adult, the ruler and the ruled, the lowly and well-born.  They began with a suckling child nursing at his mother’s breast and moved on to a group studying Qur’an, slaying them, down to the last man.  And when they wiped out the people they found in the houses, they went out into the streets, the shops and the mosques, killing whoever happened to be there.  They killed even men bowed in prayer until they had annihilated every Muslim who dwelt in Ta’if and only a remnant, some twenty or more, remained.

            These were holed up in Beit al-Fitni with ammunition, inaccessible to their approach.  There was another group at Beit al-Far to the number of two-hundred and seventy who fought them that day, then the second and third until the Wahhabis sent them a guarantee of clemency; only they tendered this proposal as a trick.  For when they entered, they seized their weapons and slew them to a man.  Others, they also brought out with a guarantee of clemency and a pact to the valley of Waj where they abandoned them in the cold and snow, barefoot, naked exposed in shame with their women, accustomed to the privacy afforded them by common decency and religious morality.  They, then, plundered their possessions: wealth of any kind, household furnishings and cash.

            They cast books into the streets alleys and byways to be blown to and fro by the wind  among which could be found copies of the Qur’an, volumes of Bukhari, Muslim, other canonical collections of hadith and books of fiqh, all  mounting to the thousands. These books remained there for several days, trampled upon by the Wahhabis. What’s more, no one among them made the slightest attempt to remove even one page of Qur’an from under foot to preserve it from the ignominy of this display of disrespect.  Then, they raised the houses and made what was once a town a barren waste land.  That was in the year 1217 (1802 CE).


2:  The Wahhabis and their

   Recent Rebellion (1905)

The leader of the Wahhabis at the time of the present account is `Abd al-Rahman Ibn Faysal, one of the sons of Muhammad Ibn Sa`ud, the Rebel who turned his face in disobedience to the greater Islamic Caliphate in the year 1205 (1790 CE). The incidents he occasioned with the Sharif of Mecca, Ghalib continued up to 1220 (1805 CE). Then, when the Sharif’s power to do battle with him waned, the Sublime Porte raised a military force against him, charging its minister the late Muhammad `Ali Pasha, ruler of Egypt, and his son, the late lbrahim Pasha, with its command as we pointed out in the preceding chapter just as books of history have written it down.

            Now this `Abd al-Rahman was for almost thirty years governor of Riyadh.  Then, Muhammad Ibn al-Rashid, took over Najd as its governor and Ibn Sa`ud fled to the remote areas by the sea coast.  He ultimately ended up in Kuwait where he remained in humiliating poverty.  Nor did anyone feel sorry for him until the Sublime Porte looked on him with favor and afforded him a remittance. Thereupon, he began to live a more comfortable life, though in a state of exile, due to the largesse of the Ottoman government.

            When Muhammad Ibn al Rashid died, May Allah have mercy on his soul, his nephew came to power, `Abd al-Aziz Ibn Mut’ab Ibn al-Rashid, who is governor of Najd at the time of writing this.  It fell out that an incident took place between the `Abd al-Aziz just mentioned and the Shaykh of Kuwait, Mubarak Ibn Sabah.  Behind it was Mubarak Ibn Sabah’s murder of his brother, Muhammad Ibn Sabah who was, at that time, locum tenens or temporary substitute of the Sublime Porte in Kuwait.  The same individual also murdered his other brother and robbed his children of an immense inheritance. The latter heirs, thereupon, fled the fratricide’s further pursuit.  Faced with this state affairs, the uncle of the murdered children, Yusuf Ibn Ibrahim, took refuge with `Abd al-Aziz Ibn al-Rashid, the Governor of Najd, taking sides in his presence against his own brother Mubarak Ibn Sabah, the aforementioned fratricide, in an attempt get back the wealth the latter had robbed from his nephews.

            Negotiations of reconciliation broke down to the point that each of the two parties in the dispute fitted out an army, one against the other.  The two armies clashed at a place called Tarafiya.  Mubarak Ibn Sabah suffered defeat and some four thousands fighters from his army were killed, although he escaped unharmed.  He fled back to Kuwait vanquished and humiliated.  However, no time elapsed before Ibn Sabah sought foreign protection and rebelled again.  The foreigners supplied both money and arms.  Then, the power of `Abd al-Rahman ibn Faysal ibn Sa`ud began to wax strong against the Governor of Najd, al-Rashid. It chanced that the latter was at that moment preoccupied by military expeditions in the remote districts of Riyadh.

            Mubarak Ibn Sabah seized his opportunity.  Helped by foreigners with money and weapons, he fitted out an army and placed it under the command of that `Abd al-Rahman mentioned earlier.  Ibn Sabah dispatched him to Riyadh to capture it, occupy it by force, fortify its barriers and entrench himself within.  When the news of what had happened reached the governor, Ibn al-Rashid, he returned and encircled it for a time with the intent of taking it back.  His encampment around Riyadh lasted for a year.  Then, something occurred in one of remote areas of the district that distracted him from the encirclement and he abandoned it. This afforded Ibn Sa`ud an opportunity as well, for he came out with his army outfitted with foreign aid and seized `Unayza, Burayda, and the remainder of the regions of Qusaym.

             The Sublime Porte witnessed the hostile action of `Abd al-Rahman, his rebellion and insolence against its friend the faithful Governor of Najd, Ibn al-Rashid, as well as his  defection to the foreigner, it dispatched a squadron from its intrepid armies as a support for the Governor of Najd, Ibn al-Rashid to cut off the rear end of those renegades and crush their hostile activities. Ibn al-Rashid snuffed out the sparks of sedition.  The Ottoman forces clashed with the rebels, the party of Ibn Sa`ud near the town of Bahkrama in the region of Qusaym.  A fierce battle between the two forces ensued, issuing finally in the defeat of the rebellious party, the forces of Ibn Sa`ud.  The victorious army took possession of eleven standards of their defeated foe.  Ibn al-Rashid and his soldiers were extolled for their role in crushing the enemy in this battle and their bravery; the memory of it will last forever.  This praise has an undeniable base in fact, word and deed.  [At the time of writing this,] the vanquished are presently enclosed and surrounded with the intrepid forces of Ibrahim Pasha looking on and encompassing them round about, praised for their exemplary manner of containing the enemy and curbing his defiance.

When Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab saw that the inhabitants of the rural regions of Najd were different from the urbane world of its cities, he would extol the simplicity and innocence of human beings as they are found in the primordial state of the Arabs.  Ignorance, then, gained the upper hand among the city-dwellers so that sciences of an intellectual character lost status in their eyes.  Besides, there was no longer an appetite in their hearts for things sound and wholesome, once he had sewn in their hearts the seeds of corruption and vice.  For it was to vice and corruption that his own soul had become attuned since time immemorial nourished by his grab at  political leadership masked under the name of religion.  After all, he believed — May Allah revile him — that prophethood was only a matter of political leadership which the cleverest people attain when circumstances help them in the form of an ignorant and uninformed crowd.

3: The Wahhabi Creed

            Moreover, since Allah the Exalted had shut tight the door of prophecy after the Seal of the Prophets, our master Muhammad, on him be Allah’s blessing and peace, there was no way to realize the goal of his desires except to claim that he was a renewer of the faith (mujaddid) and an independent thinker in the formulation of legal rulings (mujtahid).  Such an attitude — or rather the worst and most profound state of moral misguidance and religious disbelief –brought him to the point of declaring every group of Muslims disbelievers and idolaters. For he set out to apply the verses of Qur’an specifically revealed to single out the idolaters of the Arabs to generally include all Muslims who visit the grave of their Prophet, and seek his intercession with their Lord.

            In doing this, he cast aside what ran counter to his own invalid claims and the vain desires commanding his ego to work mischief regarding the explicit statements of the Master of all messengers and Imams, the mujtahids of our religion (that is, who have the capacity to exercise independent reasoning in the process of legal discovery).  Hence, when he saw a consensus of legal opinion in matters of faith which clashed with his own unwarranted innovations, he rejected it as a matter of principle, asserting:  “I do not entertain any opinion of people coming after the Qur’an which contains all that pertains to Islam, the fresh and the dry (cf. 6: 59).”  Thus, he failed to heed what the Qur’an itself declared, when it says:  “He who follows the path of those other than the Muslims” (4:115) inasmuch as he accepted from Qur’an only what it reveals concerning the idolaters of the Arabs.  These verses he interpreted in his own obscure fashion, having the gall to stand before Allah and facilitate the accomplishment of his own personal political ambitions by means of an unwarranted and unjustified exegesis of His holy text. His method here mostly consisted in applying these verses concerning the idolaters to Muslims and on this basis declaring that they had been disbeliever for the last six hundred years, that one may shed their blood with impunity and confiscate their property and reduce their land, the Abode of Peace, (Dar al-Islam) to a field of war against disbelief (Dar al-Harb).

            Yet the Prophet, on him be Allah’s blessings and peace, from what we see in the two canonical collections of sound hadith, Bukhari and Muslim, declared in the narration where the angel Jibril assumes human form to question him about the creed of Islam:  “Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”  Again, in the narration of `Umar he says: “Islam is built upon five articles of faith (the first being): “Testimony that there is no god but Allah, Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.” Then, there is his declaration to the delegation of `Abd al-Qays also cited in Bukhari and Muslim:  “I am commanding you to believe in Allah alone.  Do you know what belief in Allah alone is?  It is to testify:  “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.””  Also cited is his exhortation: “I have been ordered to fight people until they say:  “There is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” Finally, the Prophet says: “It is sufficient that folk say: “There is no god but Allah.”

            However, Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab and his followers go counter to all these statements of the Prophet, on him be peace.  They make a disbeliever the one who says: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” because that person is not like them in respect to their claim that the one who testifies in the aforementioned fashion and yet asks Allah for something for the sake of a prophet or evokes the name of someone absent or dead or makes a vow to that person it is as if his belief diverges from his testimony.  His only aim here is to market goods unsaleable where sound hadiths and correct exegeses of the Qur’an are exchanged.  We will explain — Allah willing — the groundlessness of this claim and show its spuriousness to the reader.

            It is amazing how Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab misrepresents use of the prophet’s name in petitions to Allah or tawassul under the pretense of monotheism (tawhid) and divine transcendence (tanzih) claiming that use of a prophet’s name in this manner constitutes association of a partner with Allah; yet at the same time there is his outright assertion to the effect that Allah’s mounting His throne is like sitting on it and his affirmation that Allah has a hand, face and possesses spatial dimension!  He says it is possible to point to Him in the sky and claims that He literally descends to the lower heavens so that he gives a body to Allah who is too exalted in the height of His sublimity beyond what obscurantists proclaim.  What happens to Divine transcendence after making Allah a body so that the lowliest of inanimate creatures share properties in common with their Creator?  To what is He, the Exalted, transcendent when He is characterized in so deprecating a fashion and His divinity couched in terms so redolent of ridicule and contempt?

            One of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab’s more enormous stupidities is this: When he sees reason going against his claims, he casts aside all modesty and suspends reason giving it no role in his judgment.  He endeavors thereby to make people like dumb beasts when it comes to matters of faith. He prohibits reason to enter into religious affairs despite the fact that there is no contradiction between reason and faith. On the contrary, whenever human minds reach their full measure of completeness and perfection, religion’s merits and prerogatives with regard to reason become totally manifest. Is there in this age, an age of the mind’s progress, anything more abominable than denying reason its proper scope, especially when the cardinal pivot of religion and the capacity to perform its duties is based on the ability to reason? For the obligation to carry out the duties of Islam falls away when mental capacity is absent. Allah has addressed his servants in many places in the Qur’an: “O you who possess understanding” (cf. 65:10) alerting them to the fact that knowledge of the realities of religion is only a function of those possessed of minds.

            Now the time has come for me to give a summation of the vain and empty prattle of the renegade Wahhabi sect which it aspires to issue as a doctrine.  Next, I shall discuss it in terms of the research that has been brought in its rebuttal and refute its argument.  Their invalid creed consists of a number of articles:

(1)    Affirming the face, hand, and spatial direction of the Creator and making Him a body that descends and ascends;

(2)    Making principles derived from narration (naql) prior to those derived from reason (`aql);

(3)    Denial and rejection of consensus as a principle (asl) of Shari`a legislation;

(4)    Similar denial and rejection of analogy (qiyas);

(5)    Not permitting copying and emulating the judgments of the Imams who have in Islam the status of those capable of exercising independent reasoning in matters of Shari`a;

(6)    Declaring Muslims who contradict them disbelievers;

(7)    Prohibition of using the name of the Messenger in petitions to Allah or the name of someone else among the friends of Allah and the pious;

(8)    Making the visiting of the tombs of prophets and of pious people illicit;

(9)    Declaring a Muslim a disbeliever who makes a vow to someone other than Allah or sacrifices at the grave or final resting place of awliya or the pious.

4: Their Making Allah

Into A Body (Tajsim)

Although the Wahhabis declare any Muslim a disbeliever who visits the Prophet’s grave and asks Allah for help by means of him, and they consider that associating with Him a partner in his Divinity, declaring that His Divinity is too transcendent for that, they at the same time annul this transcendence when they insist on making his “firm establishment on His throne” at once:

            – a literal affirmation of the throne,

            – a taking up a spatial position with respect to it, and

            – being physically situated at a higher level above it.

            They further corrupt divine transcendence by making Him a holder of the heavens in one finger, the earth in another, the trees in another, and the angels in yet another.  Then, they affirm of Him spatial direction placing Him above the heavens fixed upon the throne so a person can to point to Him in a sensible fashion.  Also, they say that he literally descends to the lower heavens and ascends from thence.  Accordingly, one of them recites:

            “If  affirming Allah’s establishment on His throne

            means He is body, then I make Him a body!

            If affirming His attributes is making Him like something,

            then I do not hesitate to make Him like something!

            If denying establishment on His throne, or His attributes,

            or His speech is to avoid anthropomorphism

            Then I deny that our Lord avoids anthropomorphism!

            He alone grants success,

            and He knows best and is more sublime.”

            Now I shall relate to you the way at least one of the Wahhabiyya expresses his doctrine  in a book entitled “The Pure and Undefiled Religion.”[11]  The author says that by body one means either what is made up of matter and form according to the philosophers; or what is composed of the atom according to the theologians. All this, he says,  is categorically denied of Allah, the Exalted.  But the correct view — he says — denies it of contingent[12] beings as well; for neither are the bodies of creatures composed of matter and form nor of atom.  Note how far off the beaten track and eccentric his mode of expression is here.  For, on the one hand, he claims that in its generally accepted meaning “body” is either a hylomorphic[13] or an atomic compound.  On the other hand, he rejects the existence of “body” in this sense whether the body in question be necessary[14] or contingent. Evidently, the purpose of this denial is to arrive at a denial of corporeality. This follows from his own opinion concerning Allah: since he does not want it said that he likens the Creator to the creature, he denies corporeality to the creature but only in the sense of a hylomorphic or atomic compound, taking it for granted that the reader will be cognizant of the fact no body is made up purely of matter and form — as the philosophers have it.

            But, then, he is left with it being composed of atoms. Yet his ignorance does not lie in the strange claim that “body” possesses no limit at which it ends.[15]  It is no wonder that he arrives at this abominable confusion. I wish he had explained, after his denial of body’s being a hylomorphic compound, what order of bodily composition he has in mind.  I do not think even his muddle- headedness allows him to hold to the claim that bodies are made up of infinitely divisible parts.  The ulama of Kalam or dialectical theologians reject this position without exception.  Today’s science denies it as well.  Besides, any demonstrative proof one can produce will vouchsafe its invalidity.  To delve into an explanation of why this is so would take us beyond our proper business.

             So to return to the present discussion, we note that the Wahhabi author, casting his first definition aside, goes on to say that if one means by body what is characterized by attributes and means by this that bodies see by means of vision, talk, speak, hear, are pleased, are angry, then these are ideas affirmed of the Lord, the Exalted, as well insofar as one ascribes such attributes to Him.  Hence, to characterize bodies as seeing, hearing, etc. cannot constitute denial of the same attributes to Him.

            I reply: We know of no one who defines body as something which talks, speaks, hears, sees, which is pleased and is angry.  These attributes exist only in a living being possessed of intelligence.  To be sure, the body sees by means of vision just as he says.  But his affirmation of body to Allah in this sense is to bring Him down to the level of His creatures because of what it simultaneously denies about His Divinity.  When predicated of Allah, being a body in this sense is an imperfection and deficiency which is obligatorily rejected.

            As from the standpoint of reason, according to the scientific explanation given in optics, sight is only brought about by the radiation of light on the surface of a visible object and the reflection of  light-rays on the organ of vision.  Given this, we must first suppose the existence of an object of vision which possesses, as we said, a surface on which light-rays fall. And that, in turn, requires an object made up of parts.  But here we take a fall, if our purpose is to characterize Divinity.  This is because the body in this sense is identical to the definition of “body” which the Wahhabi author of “The Pure and Undefiled Religion” denies is true of Allah at the outset. Indeed, he denies that body in this sense applies to any contingent (mumkin) being.

            From the standpoint of transmitted proof-texts Allah says: “Sight does not perceive Him yet He perceives sight”  (6: 103). There is no conflict of this verse with the verse: “Faces on that day will be bright looking at their Lord” (75: 22). For the mode of this vision of Him on the day of resurrection is unknown just as true doctrine teaches and proclaims. It is possible that vision on that day consists of a kind of uncovering without a need of sight which is, strictly speaking, without parallel. Indeed,  the text’s  use of “faces” signifies precisely that inasmuch as He did not say eyes.  And its saying “bright” expresses clearly the occurrence of the perfected attitude experienced by the faces as a result of that unveiling.

            Then he says “If you mean by body what can be pointed to in a sensible fashion then the most knowing of Allah among His creatures pointed to Him by his finger raising it up to the sky,”[16] etc. then I reply that common sense judges that what is pointed to in a sensible way must be in a direction and a place and must be an object of vision — and all of that is impossible concerning Allah.  If Allah the Most Exalted were in a direction or a place, then place and direction would exist before He did whereas demonstrable proof exists that there is no priority without beginning other than Allah. Furthermore, if He were in a place then He would need that place and this would constitute a denial of His absolute self-sufficiency.[17]

            Still further, if He were in a place then He would be in it sometimes or at all times. The first alternative is false because moments in time are similar in themselves. Likewise Allah’s relation to moments of time is all the same so His singling out of one of them would be a gratuitous preference of one time over another if there is no external agent who is responsible for tipping the scales; and if there is, then He would be depending on external factors to achieve spatial confinement. The  second alternative is also false since from it follows the insertion of spatially confined things into places already occupied by bodies and that is absurd. Also, were it possible to point to him in a sensible fashion then he could be pointed to from every point on the surface of earth and since the earth is circular it follows that Allah is surrounded by earth from all directions. Otherwise, pointing to him would be impossible. And since He is firmly established on His throne and has taken a position on it just as the Wahhabis claim, then, his throne is surrounded by the seven heavens. Thus, it follows from His coming down to the lower level and His going up from thence, as the Wahhabis say, that His body becomes small when he goes down and gets big when he goes up.  Therefore Allah would be constantly changing from one state to another!

            Now the texts from the transmitted sources of Qur’an and Sunna establishing that He can be pointed to and of which the Wahhabis lay hold — these they understand superficially and they in no wise contradict certainties.  They are interpreted (tu’awwal) either in a general sense — and the detailed meanings are left to Allah himself, just as the majority of the pious ancestors are in agreement on; or they are interpreted in a detailed fashion as according to the opinion of many, in that what is mentioned about pointing him to the heavens is predicated upon the fact that Allah is the creator of the heavens or that the heavens are the manifestation of His power because of what they contain in the way of the great worlds in relation to which our humble world is only an atom.  Likewise ascent to him is in the sense of ascent to the place to which one draws near by acts of obedience and so forth and so on with respect to Qur’anic exegesis.

5: How the Wahhabis

Cast  Aside  Reason

Since clear reason and sound theory clash in every way with what the Wahhabis believe, they are forced to cast reason aside. Thus by their taking the text of Qur’an and Sunna only in their apparent meaning (zahir) absurdity results. Indeed, this is the well-spring of their error and misguidance. For by attending only to the apparent meaning of the Qur’anic text, they believe that Allah being fixed on His throne and being high above His throne is literally true and that He literally has a face, two hands and that His coming down and His going up is a literal going down and coming up and that He may be pointed to in the sky with the fingers in a sensible manner and so forth. According to this interpretation, Allah is made into nothing less than a body. These very Wahhabis, who call visiting graves idol-worship, then, become themselves idol-worshippers by fashioning the object they worship into a body, like an animal who sits on its seat and literally comes down and goes up and literally has a hand and a foot and fingers. But the true object of worship, Allah the Exalted, transcends what they worship.

Still, if one refutes them by rational proofs and establishes that their beliefs contradict the nature of divinity by criteria recognized by reason, they answer that there is no arena for humble human minds in matters like this whose level is beyond the level of mere reason. In this respect they are exactly like Christians in their claim about the Trinity. For ask a Christian:  “How is three one and one three?”  they will answer: “Knowledge of the Trinity is above reason; it is impermissible to apply reasoning in this area.”

There is no doubt that when reason and the transmitted text contradict each other, the transmitted text is interpreted by reason. For often it is impossible for a single judgment to affirm what each of them requires because of what is entailed by the simultaneous holding together of two contradictory propositions. Taking one side or the other, in other words, does not relieve the conflict. On the contrary, one must choose either priority of the transmitted text over reason or reason over the transmitted text. Now the first of these two alternatives has to be invalid simply because it represents the invalidation of the root by the branch.

Clearly, one can affirm the transmitted text only by virtue of reason. That is because affirmation of the Creator, knowledge of prophecy and the rest of the conditions of a transmitted text’s soundness are only fulfilled by aid of reason. Thus reason is the principle behind the transmitted text on which its soundness depends. So, if the transmitted text is given precedence over reason and its legal implication established by itself aside from the exercise of reason, then the root would be invalidated by the branch. And from that the invalidation of the branch would follow as well. For the soundness of the transmitted text is derived from the judgment of reason, whose corruption is made possible when reason is invalidated.

Reason, then, is not cut off  by the soundness of the transmitted text. Hence, it follows that declaring the transmitted text sound by making it prior to reason constitutes nothing less than the voiding of its soundness. But, if making something sound accomplishes its corruption, we face a contradiction: the transmitted text, then, is invalid. Therefore, if the priority of the transmitted text over reason does not exist on the basis of the preceding  argument, then we have determined that reason has priority over the transmitted text. And that is what we set out to prove.

Once one realizes this, one also realizes without question the necessity of interpreting the Qur’anic verses where the apparent sense contradicts reason when the said verses are obscure and do not refer to things that are known with certainty (yaqinat). On the one hand, there is general interpretation where the detailed clarification is left to Allah (tafwid tafsilih). This is the school of the majority of  the Pious Ancestors of our Faith (al-Salaf). On the other hand, we have interpretation which sets out the text’s meaning in a more perspicuous fashion. The majority of later scholars (al-khalaf) follow the latter. In their view:

       The term “to firmly establish” as in the verse of Qur’an: “The All-Merciful is firmly established on His throne” (20:18) means “He took possession of it” (istawla). This is supported by the words of the poet who said: “`Amr took possession (qad istawla) of Iraq without bloodshed or sword.”

       Allah’s saying: “And your Lord comes with angels rank on rank” (89:22) means his power comes.[18]

       His saying: “Unto Him good words ascend” (35:10) means: good words please Him.[19] For the word is an accident for which, by itself, locomotion is impossible.

       His saying: “Wait they for naught else than that Allah should come unto them in the shadows of the clouds with the angels?” (2:210) means that His punishment should come unto them.[20]

       His saying: “Then He drew near and came down until he was two bows’ length or nearer” (53:8-9) means that the Prophet came near Him by virtue of his obedience. The length of two bow-lengths is a pictorial representation in sensible fashion of what the mind understands.

       In the Prophet’s saying in Bukhari and Muslim: “Allah comes down to the nearest heaven and says: who is repenting, I shall turn to him, and who seeks forgiveness, I shall forgive him” the coming down signifies Allah’s mercy.[21] He specifies night because it is the time of seclusion and various kinds of acts of humility and worship and so forth, as found in many verses of the Qur’an and narrations of the Prophet.

5:  Wahhabi Rejection

Of  Consensus(Ijma`)

Since the very substance of the Wahhabi creed contradicts what the noble Companions, the great Mujtahids and the totality of the Ulama have reached a consensus on, they must reject Consensus as a principle (asl) of Islamic legislation and deny its probative value as a basis for practical application. In consequence, they have declared disbeliever any Muslim who says “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” other than themselves because Muslims visit the graves of prophets and awliya, and ask Allah for something for the sake of a prophet.

            They pronounce this declaration of unbelief despite the fact that the Muslim Community has reached a consensus that whoever articulates the twofold testimony of faith or shahada, the ordinances of the religion become immediately binding. As we have seen from the hadith: “I have been ordered to fight people until they say: There is no god but Allah” and the hadith: “It is sufficient that folk say: There is no Allah but Allah is sufficient.”  Ibn Qayyim has said: “Muslims have reached a consensus that when the disbeliever says : There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, he enters Islam.” For that reason,  there is a general agreement that when the apostate apostatizes by an act of idolatry, repentance is accomplished by utterance of the shahada.

            Furthermore, Wahhabis consider seeking the intercession of the Prophet after his death an act of disbelief (kufr) even though a consensus allowing it is in place. At the same time, they say following and emulating the legal rulings of one of the four mujtahids, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi`i, Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal is prohibited. As a result, anyone, they say, may derive legal rulings (istinbat al-ahkam) directly from the Qur’an according to their capability; notwithstanding the existence of consensus to the effect that no one is capable of being an Imam in the religion or school of law unless he satisfies the criteria for a scholar capable of legal reasoning (mujtahid). It is not up to anyone to take from Qur’an and Sunna until he has satisfied those criteria by joining in himself the qualifications of the mujtahid which are, simultaneously, the conditions of ijithad.

            Ijtihad is the agreement of the mujtahids of the Muslim community in a certain generation on a matter of religion or dogma. A corollary to this is that consensus on any matter is absent after the disappearance of a generation of mujtahids. While this is the case, one knows that if no consensus has been agreed upon, there exists a possibility in each generation of reaching a settlement on questions about which a clear ruling in Qur’an and Sunna is absent and which mujtahids of the past have not discussed.

            Consider these examples. A man hears it said that the earth is moving around the sun. Without thinking, he says: “If the earth is moving around the sun, then my wife is divorced,” since there is no clear evidence in Qur’an and Sunna for affirming the earth’s movement around the sun. The ulama of the Muslim community therefore need to make a clear pronouncement regarding this question. Hence, their consensus regarding the earth’s motion does not exist until a question like this is settled.

            Or, suppose a man fasts, riding in a balloon in the air before the setting of the sun and he is lifted into the air until he arrived at the height of ten thousand miles. Then the sun sets on earth and the people on land break their fast but the sun is not absent from his eyes when he is in the air by reason of the earth’s roundness. Is it permitted for him to break fast and it is obligatory for him to pray salat al-Maghrib? This is an example where there is no clear ruling upon in Qur’an and Sunna. It follows, then, that the ulama of a generation must clarify a judgment of things like this and agree upon it. And what we say agrees with Imam Ghazali’s definition of ijma`. He defines it as agreement of the community of Muhammad (s) upon a certain matter and what is meant by agreement is the manifest and unhidden agreement of its ulama.

            Those that deny ijma` claim: the occurrence of such a consensus is impossible. They deduce evidence for their denial by arguing that agreement of the ulama presupposes their being equally placed with regard to the legal situation in question. Their being scattered in remote countries over the face of the earth precludes this. We refute this objection by rejecting the reasoning that the ulama’s being spread abroad is an impediment to their agreement in view of the (unconditional) strictness of their scrutiny of Shari`a evidences.

            Those rejecting ijma` claim further that agreement is based either on an indication (dalil) in the sources which is decisive (qat’i) or on a speculative one (zanni).  Both, they say, are invalid.  The decisive indication is invalid because, they say, if it were existent there would be no need for recourse to agreement in the first place; and the speculative indication is invalid because agreement on a ruling is  impossible since temperaments differ and points of view differ out of natural habit. Our answer is a rejection of both their objections. Regarding the decisive indication there is no need of transmitting it since consensus is stronger than it, and for the elimination of difference entailed through its transmission. With regard to the speculative indication, their objection does not stand up because of the possibility of consensus being too obvious for either differences of temperament and/or point of view to prevent it. Only in what is minute and obscure lie impediments to reaching consensus.

            In further objection, they claim: Even if we grant establishment of consensus in itself, then knowledge of their agreement would still be impossible. They argue that in the habitual course of things there is no chance of affirmation of a legal ruling concerning this thing or the other declared by every individual member of the ulama in the world.  Likewise, they argue that in the habitual course of things transmission of a consensus is impossible because its transmission from single individuals is not conveyed and the consensus does not issue in practical application.  One simply cannot conceive of a thing being so widely known that lying about it is impossible (tawatur) — they claim — inasmuch as such a situation would involve the necessary equaling out of  points of view on a given state of affairs with the result that pro and con positions and a middle position would be unfeasible.  Moreover, it is unlikely that people informed of something so well-known that lying about it is impossible to have seen and heard all the ulama in every country and in that fashion to have transmitted it from them, generation to generation, until it reaches us.

            To both their arguments there is one answer.  Its procedure consists in causing one to doubt that there exists a conflict with what is necessary.  For it is well known in a decisive manner that the Companions and the Successors reached a consensus on the priority of a decisive indication over a speculative one and that this is the case only by reason of its being established with them and its transmission to us. Furthermore, ijma` constitutes a proof in the view of all the ulama except the Mu’tazilite al-Nazzam and some of the Khawarij. The proof of its evidentiary nature (hujjiyya) is that they agree upon the decisive certainty of the error of contradicting ijma`. Ijma` therefore counts as proof in Shari`a legislation because custom transforms the agreement of a number of many recognized ulama from the status of non-decisive to the status of decisive certainty in a matter pertaining to the Shari`a. By virtue of custom the implication of a decisive text necessarily counts as decisive indication that to contradict ijma` is error.

            On this point, no one says here that there is affirmation of ijma` by ijma` nor affirmation of  ijma` by a decisive text whose establishment is itself dependent on ijma`: that would be to reason in a circle. We are saying: what is being claimed is that the fact of ijma` itself constitutes a proof for ijma`. What establishes this is the existence of a decisive text indicated by the existence of a formal consensus, which custom precludes were it not for that text. The establishment of this formal consensus and its customary indications pointing to the existence of a text are not dependent upon the fact that ijma` constitutes a proof.  This is because the existence of such formal consensus is derived from tawatur — what is known as true beyond doubt so that the possibility  of people’s collusion on a lie is precluded — and because the formal evidence indicating a text is derived from the custom.

            Among the evidences for the probative value of ijma` is the Prophet’s statement, on him be peace:

“My community will never agree on error (al-khata’).”

The content of this hadith is so well-known that it is impossible to lie about it (mutawatir)[22] simply because it is produced in so many narrations, for example:

“My community will not come together on a misguidance”;[23]

“A group of my community will continue in truth until the dawning of the Hour”;[24]

“The hand of Allah is with the congregation (al-jama`a)“;[25]

“Whoever leaves the community or separates himself from it by the length of a span, dies the death of the Jahiliyya (period of ignorance prior to Islam)”;[26]

and so forth.  As for the solitary hadiths (ahad) involved, even if they are not widely attested, they possess value equivalent to the widely attested hadith and, indeed, positive knowledge results from them just like stories we hear relating the courage of Imam `Ali and the generosity of Hatim.

            The deniers of the evidentiary nature of ijma` use as proof the verse from the Qur’an: “And We reveal the Scripture unto thee as an exposition of all things” (16:89). Then they say that there is no reference for the exposition of legal rulings except the Qur’an. The answer to them is this does not preclude that there can be something other than the Book also exposing matters; nor does it  preclude that the Book can expose certain things by means of the ijma`. If it did, we would wind up with external meanings which nevertheless do not oppose the decisive texts.[27]

            They also invoke against the probative nature of ijma` Allah’s statement: “If you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger”  (4:59). Therefore there is no source of reference, they claim, other than Qur’an and Sunna. The answer is: this text refers specifically to what people are “differing about.”  But what is agreed upon is not like that.  Or it specifically concerns the Companions.  If we were to accept that this is not the case, then, again, one ends up with external meanings not clashing with what is decisive just as we claimed earlier.

            In addition, they adduced the hadith of Mu`adh as evidence that he left out ijma` when he mentioned his evidences in answer to the Prophet’s query about them, and the Prophet approved what he said.[28] They say this indicates that ijma` does not count as evidence. The answer is Mu`adh did not mention it only because at that time ijma` did not yet constitute a formal proof in case of failing to settle upon a source with respect to Qur’an and Sunna.  It does not follow that ijma` did not become a proof in its own good time and after taking its place as a source.

6:  The  Wahhabis’

Denial of the Principle

of  Analogy  (Qiyas)

Wahhabis reject analogy (qiyas) in legal reasoning just as they reject consensus. By rejecting it, however, they only intend to discredit the authority of  those truly capable of independent reasoning in deriving legal rulings in the Muslim Community, that is, the  mujtahids of the four recognized schools of Islamic law.  The Wahhabis allege that the mujtahids cast aside the Qur’an and Sunna and operate only on the basis of their personal opinions to the point of criticizing the Imams of the Umma for using qiyas as a proof in Shari`a.  They denounce by saying that the Imams believe that the religion of Islam is deficient and that they complete it by reasoning like of ijma` and qiyas.  For this, they cite the Qur’anic verse: “This day I have perfected for you your religion” (5:3). They say we find whatever is necessary for life clearly stated in the Qur’an.  So what need do we have for qiyas.  The texts take in the whole of life’s eventualities, they claim, without need of derivation (istinbat) and analogy.

            It is amazing that the Wahhabis, for the sake of calumny against mujtahids who accept qiyas themselves, proceed to toy with the word of Allah and verses of Qur’an and manipulate them, changing them from their correct meaning and interpreting them according to their own passion and whim.  And yet they have no interpretation of the superficial sense of the verses of the Qur’an that does not disparage the Creator — in keeping with their literalism according to which Allah is established firmly on His throne and has hands and a face.  They say that the mujtahids operate according to their own opinions, even though they go so far as to allow the ignorant riffraff of those possessing their faith to comment upon the Word of Allah according to their own limited understanding.

            Qiyas is the equating of the branch with the root with respect to the cause of the legal ruling. Its essential elements are four:

(1)    the original root which is the object of comparison;

(2)    the branch or subsidiary case being likened to root;

(3)    the ruling governing the root;

(4)    the general attribute which is the aspect under which the comparison is being made.

The legal ruling of the new case is not an essential element of it since it is the fruit of the analogy and its consequence.  An example of analogy is when we say a drink made of fermented figs is an intoxicant, then it is forbidden by analogy to wine by the evidence of the statement: “Wine is prohibited”:[29]

(1)    The original case is wine, that is, the object of comparison.

(2)    The new case which is like it is the drink made from fermented figs which is what is being compared to the wine.

(3)    The legal ruling in the original case is prohibition.

(4)    The general attribute is intoxication.

            Analogy counts as a proof because the Companions had acted by it repeatedly despite the silence of the others. In a case like that the silence is the agreement of custom because of Qur’anic command: fa`tabiru — “Consider and reflect!” (59:2).  It is well known that “consideration” consists of making an analogy of one thing to another which is not an exception.

            Even if this did not constitute an argument, many matters would remain that we see come into existence in the course of time whose legal status is overlooked, and regarding whose status the criteria for judging are absent from the apparent meaning of the texts in the Qur’an and Sunna. Yet this does not contradict Allah’s statement: “There is not a grain in the darkness or depths of the earth, nor anything fresh or dry but is inscribed in a clear Record” (6:59). What is meant by “clear Record” here is the Preserved Tablet on which Allah has  deposited what was and what will be.

            We may say that since the root of the analogy is mentioned with its legal ruling in the Book, the branch to which the root’s ruling is applied is considered mentioned as well, for it is built upon the root.   Or again we say: It is obvious  that the manner in which the content of the Book of Allah embraces every green and dry is not all explicit. Rather, many of the legal rulings of Qur’an come into being by pure derivation (istinbatan).  And among the modes of derivation there is qiyas.  So the Wahhabis’ statement whereby the texts of Qur’an and hadith pertain to all of life’s phenomena without derivation or analogy is not granted. Their containing all of life’s phenomena is only complete by their application.

7: Their Denial of Taqlid and of

the Ijtihad of Past Sunni Scholars

Since the statements of the Mujtahids of the past — may Allah have mercy upon them — and the established religious rulings to which they have arrived clash with what the deviant sect of Wahhabis have devised in the way of unwarranted innovation, that sect deemed it a necessity to deny the validity of their ijtihad, reject the soundness of their opinions, and declare whoever followed their opinions to be an unbeliever. The result of this is that they have the freedom of action to establish themselves far and wide and to scream and play with the religion just as their passions dictate.  Thus, they pave the way for founding the basis of their clear misguidance.  For if they did not deny the ijtihad of the Mujtahids of the past, then their application, in accordance with their whim, of the verses of the Qur’an revealed concerning idolaters to Muslims and to those who make their petitions to Allah for the sake of the honor of His Messenger and respect of the saints (awliya) could not have been brought to pass.  That is because they focus on what no Mujtahid said in the first place and what none of Imams of the Religion accepted.

            All of this misguidance is due to the unwarranted innovator Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab who displayed marked resemblance to those who claimed prophethood like Musaylima and Abu al-Aswad al-Anasi and other liars. For he was concealing in himself the establishment of a religion which imitated the pattern of those liars.  But he feared to show people his lies unlike they who showed their lies. What he made appear to people he put in the guise of support of the Islamic faith while he painted this picture in people’s minds that he simply wanted pure monotheism and that people had become idolaters.  Thus, the jihad with people followed so that they might “return from their idolatry.”  Therefore, Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab claimed absolute ijtihad for himself and charged with error whoever preceded him belonging to the Mujtahids — those great figures who dipped from the sea of knowledge of the Prophet — and declared disbeliever their followers.  He did not permit imitating the opinions of anyone other than himself, although he allowed anyone his of his ignorant followers to interpret the Qur’an in whatever mode their limited understanding gave them access, and to derive legal rulings from them on the basis of their weak grasp of its meaning.  It was as though he permitted any one of his followers to be a mujtahid.  Look at the way he played with religion and toyed with the Shari`a of the Faithful Messenger of Allah!

            As for his claim of absolute ijtihad, it is pure silliness on his part and shameless impudence with regard to the Arab language since he was not in his time one of those recognized for being foremost in knowledge. On the contrary, he was not even numbered among those who were considered by masters in the Hanbali madhhab as having any weight whatsoever, not to mention being considered an absolute mujtahid in the religion.

            Ijtihad has conditions which the ulama have agreed upon without exception and it is not permissible for any individual to be an imam in the religion and in any of the schools of Islamic Law, unless he has fulfilled them.

Conditions of Ijtihad

(1) He must be a master of the language of the Arabs, knowing its different dialects, the import of their  poems, their proverbs, and their customs.[30]

            (2) He must have a complete grasp of the differing opinions of the scholars and jurists of Islam.[31]

            (3) He must be a jurist himself, learned in the Qur’an, having memorized it and knowing the difference of the seven readings of the Qur’an while understanding its commentary, being aware of what is clear and what is obscure in it, what it abrogates and what is abrogated by it, and the stories of the prophets.

            (4) He must be learned in the Sunna of the Messenger of Allah, capable of distinguishing between its sound hadith and its weak hadith, its continuous hadith and hadith whose chain of transmission is broken, its chains of transmission, as well as those hadith which are well known.[32]

            (5) He must be scrupulously pious in the religion, restraining his lower desires with respect to righteousness and trustworthiness, and his doctrine must be built upon the Qur’an and the Sunna of the Prophet. One who is missing in any of these characteristics falls short and is not permitted to be a Mujtahid whom people imitate.[33]

            Ibn al-Qayyim in I`lam al-muwaqqi`in does not permit anyone to make derivation from the Qur’an and Sunna as long as he has not fulfilled the conditions of ijtihad with respect to the Islamic sciences. A man asked Ahmad Ibn Hanbal: “If a person memorized a hundred thousand hadiths, is he a jurist (faqih)?” Imam Ahmad said: “No.” He said: “Two hundred thousand hadiths?”  Imam Ahmad said: “No.”  Three hundred thousand hadiths? Again, he said: “No.”  “Four hundred thousand hadiths?”  Finally, he said: “Yes.”[34] It is said that Ahmad Ibn Hanbal gave legal answers on the basis of six hundred thousand hadith.[35]

            Know that people have agreed generation after generation and century after century that the Mujtahid Imams only derive legal rulings from the Qur’an and the Sunna after they have completely studied the Sunna and its sciences and the Qur’an with respect to its rulings and understanding, in a way unmatched by those who followed them in later times.  On the contrary, the ulama, generation after generation, take hold of what they said , scholars of the caliber of al-Nawawi, al-Rafi`i, Taqi al-Din al-Subki, Ibn Hazm, Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn al-Jawzi, scholars like Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, al-Tahawi, al-Qasim, al-Qarafi: all were imitating the opinions of the Mujtahids and their followers, despite the fact that each one of these leading figures and those before them had delved deep into every category of the Islamic sciences. Yet and still, they knew that they had not arrived at the level of deriving law from Qur’an and Sunna independently. What’s more, they understood their own limits.  May Allah have mercy on the man who knows his measure and does not go beyond his proper level.

            So how is it possible for any one of us from this later time to derive law from Qur’an and Sunna and to cast aside the ulama who were capable of deriving law and whom both the elite and the masses of the Muslims agree on following?

            Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab’s labeling disbeliever those who imitate the opinion of the Mujtahids of the past, as mentioned previously is only to initiate spread of his unwarranted innovation (bid`a) in our faith so that he may only considers Muslim those who follow him.  Would that I knew what would happen if we supposed that past Mujtahids had gone astray, as Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab has claimed, and they had, indeed, gone astray.  Would it be incumbent upon the common person to practice Islam while being unable to know how to derive legal rulings from Qur’an and Sunna with Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab having not yet been born to resolve the difficulty of their confusion and ignorance?  I do not believe that he would have arrived at the temerity to say those people were living in the primordial state of natural religion (fitra) since they came in a time prior to a “renewer of religion”![36]

            The present writer knows that following an authority in matter of Islamic practice (al-taqlid) is necessary inasmuch as, ordinarily speaking, it is impossible that each individual Muslim reach the level of knowledge enabling him to derive legal rulings of the Shari`a directly from Qur’an when there is no plain meaning text and he is completely ignorant of the Arabic language like non-Arab people such as Persians, Kurd, Afghans, Turks, and others whose number increases beyond the number of Arabs, a fact obvious to any one with a knowledge of geography. The scholars of Islam have agreed that it is incumbent upon a person who has not reached the stage of ijtihad to follow and imitate the legal rulings of a mujtahid.  For Allah has said: “Ask those who have knowledge (Ahl al-dhikr) if you do not know.” (16: 43) and the Prophet said, on him be peace: “Did they ask when they did not know?  For the only remedy of incapacity in such instances is to ask a question.”[37]

8: Their Naming Muslims Disbelievers  (Takfir)

Wahhabis have pretexts for their doctrine to in order to construct a foundation for their unwarranted innovation in religion. One of them is to declare Muslims unbelievers.  That is because Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab, as you know by now, has been seduced by the evil promptings of his ego into attempting to create a new religion by which he could obtain political leadership.  However, when he saw that this could not be brought to pass in the land of Muslims — for, in spite of their extreme ignorance, they held fast to the faith of Islam — he created the innovation in Islam itself.  Furthermore, when he saw that the matter could not be accomplished except after declaring Muslims disbelievers by using some semblance of Qur’anic evidence, he found that the only way to declare them unbelievers was through their calling on Allah by using their Prophet as a means (tawassul) as well as for the sakes of other prophets, awliya and pious persons.  Likewise he levelled the same charge at those who vow or perform sacrifices for their sakes and perform other acts whose description I shall bring later. All these matters he considers worship of the Prophets and the saints. And since the Qur’an is jam-packed with clearly articulated verses to the effect that one who worships something or someone other than Allah, he is an idolater, Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab makes all monotheists idolaters because of the state of affairs just described.

            Since the Wahhabis have declared disbeliever all Muslims who differ with them, they have made their country the land of warfare (bilad harb). Then they have made licit the shedding their blood and seizing their property. Yet Allah, the Exalted, has said: “Surely, religion with Allah is the Surrender (al-Islam)” (3:19). And the Prophet has said: “Islam consists in testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”  Also, in the hadith of Ibn `Umar we find: ” Islam is built upon five things: Testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the His servant and Messenger,” to the end of the hadith.  There is the hadith of the delegation of `Abd al-Qays: “I order you to believe in Allah alone.  Do you know what belief in Allah alone is?  It is to bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”[38]  Ibn Qayyim said: “All Muslims agree that if the disbeliever says: There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, he enters Islam.”

            Know that to declare a Muslim a unbeliever is no small matter. The ulama, among them Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim,[39] have agreed that the ignorant person and the one who makes a mistake in this community, even if what is done makes its perpetrator an idolater or disbeliever, and that person pleads the excuse of ignorance or that he made a mistake until a proof is explained to him in a lucid and clear fashion, a situation like such a person’s is ambiguous.[40] The Muslim might have joined in him disbelief, idolatry and faith. Yet he does not disbelieve in such a way that carries him out of the religion.


Apostasies and Heresies

The Khawarij were the first to separate from the Congregation of Muslims. The Messenger of Allah had spoken about them and ordered them to be killed and fought: “They will pass through Islam like an arrow passes through its quarry.  Wherever you meet them, kill them!”[41] “They are the dogs of the people in Hell.”[42]  “They recite Qur’an and consider it in their favor but it is against them.”[43]  The Khawarij went out of Islam in the time of our master `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him.  They declared him and Mu`awiya disbelievers and declared licit their blood and property as well as the blood and property of those with him.  They made the land of the former a land of war and declared their own land an abode of faith.  They only accepted from the Prophet’s Sunna what agreed with their own doctrine, deduced evidence for their doctrine from what was not perspicuous in the Qur’an, and applied the verses revealed concerning the idolaters to the people of Islam.  Yet despite their disbelief, neither the Companions nor the Successors declared them disbelievers, just as Ibn Taymiyya has transmitted. `Ali said to them: “We do not start out killing you nor are you kept out of the mosques of Allah in which you mention His name. We do not rescind the rights of protection with respect to your life and property afforded you by Islam as long as your hand is with us.” The great among the Companions debated the Khawarij, like Ibn `Abbas, until four thousand returned to the truth.

            As for the fighting of the people of the Ridda — apostates — one category among them apostatized Islam and returned to the disbelief which they were on with respect to idol worship.  Another category apostatized and followed Musaylima and they were the Banu Hanifa and some other tribes.  Yet another group apostatized, followed and agreed with Aswad al-`Anasi in Yemen.  Others said claims of Tulayha al-Asadi were true; they were the Ghatafan, Fazara and other tribes. Still others did the same with respect to Sujah. All these denied the prophethood of  Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. They refused to pay the tax on Muslims and to pray, abandoning the rest of the Shari`a as well.  One class of apostates distinguished between prayer and the tax.  They denied the obligatoriness of conveying the latter to the Imam.  In reality, those are the People of Rebellion (baghi).  The name “Ridda” was attached to them only because of their entry into the throng of the apostates.

            The Qadariyya separated from the Congregation of Muslims in the final period of the time of the Companions.  They were composed of two sects.  The first directly denied the divine Decree (qadar).  They said that Allah did not foreordain His servants to commit acts of disobedience nor does he guide the one in error and foreordain the guidance.  In their view, the Muslim is one who makes himself Muslim by himself and the one who prays makes himself a prayer by himself, and so forth and so on with respect to other acts of obedience and disobedience.  This sect makes the servant the creator (khaliq) of his own deeds instead of Allah.

            The second sect is just the opposite of the first.  They claim that Allah compels people to act in a certain way and that disbelief and disobedience among human creatures are like the black and white color of their skins.  In their view, the creature has no part to play in doing none of this.  On the contrary, all acts of disobedience in their view are ascribable to Allah.  The perpetrators of such acts are the followers of Iblis where he says: “Because You have sent me astray, I shall ambush them” (7:16). Similarly, the idolaters say: “Had Allah willed, we nor our forefathers would not have been idolaters” (6:148).  Yet for all this disbelief and misguidance on the part of the Qadariyya, not one of the Companions nor any of the Successors declared them to be disbelievers.  Rather, they stood right before them and explained to them their misguidance from the Qur’an and Sunna.  They did not make killing them an obligation incumbent on Muslims nor exact against them the judgments made against the people of apostasy.

            Then, the Mu`tazila separated from the Congregation of Muslims in the period of the Successors.  Among their doctrines of disbelief is their claim that the Qur’an is created.  They also deny that the Prophet, on him be Allah’s blessing and peace, can intercede in the behalf of perpetrators of acts of disobedience and assert that perpetrators of disobedience will reside eternally in hell fire and so on and so forth with respect to their teachings.  Again, not one of the ulama of that time declared them unbelievers but the scholars among the Successors and those who succeeded them confronted them.  They refuted them and explained to them the falsity of their doctrine.  They did not exact on them the laws against apostates.  On the contrary, on them and those before who made unwarranted innovations in the religion they carried out the Muslim laws of inheritance and marriage and buried them in Muslim ground.

            Then there was the Murji’a who claimed that faith (iman) resided in the verbal assertion of belief and not in the deed.  Hence, in their view, one who articulates the twofold declaration bearing witness to his faith is a believer even if he does not perform a single act of prayer the whole of his life, nor fast one day of Ramadan.  Yet despite their lingering in error and their continual dogged resistance to change even after the people of truth explained to them the error of their school of thought, no one declared them unbelievers. Rather, they treated them and the people of unwarranted innovation before them as brethren of fixed and stable faith.

            The Jahmiyya separated from the Congregation of Muslims. They said no Allah who is an object of worship is upon the throne nor does Allah have any speech as on earth.  They denied Allah the attributes that He affirms of Himself in His clear Book and which His true and faithful Messenger affirms of Him and all the Companions. Likewise, they denied the vision of Allah in the hereafter and so forth and so on with respect to their doctrines of disbelief.  In spite of that, the ulama refuted them and demonstrated to them their misguidance until they killed some of their propagandists like Jahm Ibn Safwan and al-Ju`d Ibn Dirham. But after killing them they ritually cleansed their bodies, prayed for them and buried them in Muslim ground.  They did not carry out the rulings for people guilty of apostasy.

            Then the Rafida or “Rejecters” separated from the Congregation of Muslims.  They agreed with the Mu`tazila in their belief that they were the sole creators of their own actions.  They denied the vision of the Creator on the Day of Judgment.  They declared most of the Companions to be unbelievers and they vilified the Mother of the Believers (`A’isha).  Despite all this non of the `ulama declared them to be unbelievers nor did they forbid the rulings of inheritance and marriage apply to them; rather they applied to them the same rulings that applied with all Muslims.

            Those following the school of thought of the Pious Ancestors — which the Wahhabis attempt to hide behind — are distinguished by the signal absence of declaring deviant groups unbelievers as we have mentioned.  Shaykh Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya said that Imam Ahmad did not declare the Khawarij disbeliever, nor the Murji’a nor the Qadariyya nor the individuals of the Jahmiyya.  Indeed, he prayed behind the Jahmiyya who called people to their doctrine while they punished harshly those who did not agree with them.  Ibn Taymiyya also said in essence that among the blameworthy innovations is declaring a group among the Muslims to be unbelievers, making their blood and wealth licit because of rejected innovations.  For, he said, there may be in that group less unwarranted innovation than in the party carrying out the declaration of disbelief.  Even if one supposes a group to have made unwarranted innovation, it is unwarranted for the group which is on the path of the Sunna to declare them unbelievers, since, perhaps, its innovation is an outgrowth of an error, and Allah said: “Our Lord do not blame us if we forget or make a mistake” (2:286) and: “The mistake you make will not be held against you but what your hearts on purpose intend” (33:5). The Prophet said: “Surely, has Allah forgiven my community error and forgetfulness and what they were forced to do.”[44]

            The Consensus has long since concluded that whoever confirms what the Messenger has brought — even if there be in it some trace of disbelief and idolatry — should not be declared a unbeliever until the proof is furnished.  The only proof that can be furnished is in the strength of Consensus not speculative but decisive. Further, the one who furnishes the proof is the Leader of the Muslims or his deputy. But disbelief only exists when one denies things necessary to the religion of Islam such as the existence of the Creator and his unity, the rejection of the message of Muhammad or the rejection of the duties of Islam like the obligatoriness of prayer.

            The school (madhhab) of the People of the Prophet’s Way and the Congregation of Muslims (Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a) shrinks from declaring anyone belonging to the religion of Islam an unbeliever. This holds even to the point of suspending pronouncements of disbelief against people who introduce unwarranted innovations into Islam, despite the command to kill them out of defense against the harms they may do — not because of their disbelief.  For there may be found joined in a single individual disbelief (kufr), belief (iman), hypocrisy (nifaq), and idolatry (shirk) and he is not a complete disbeliever. Whoever confesses Islam it is accepted from him whether he be truthful or lying. Even if signs of hypocrisy and ignorance are manifest on him, he is excused from disbelief.  The same is true of hesitation and doubt even if this be weak.  By now the unwarranted innovation on the part of the Wahhabis should be manifest in any case, when they introduce an unwarranted innovation by declaring Muslims disbelievers and thereby contradict what Allah has brought to us in the Qur’an and by the Sunna of His Messenger as well as the statements of the Imams of the religion and the learned mujtahids.

9:  The Wahhabis’ Rejection

of Tawassul (Using a means)

In the preceding sections we have spoken about the way the Wahhabis declare any Muslim a disbeliever for contradicting their unwarranted innovations in our religion, and the way they ascribe to that person idolatry.  The moment has now come to speak of how they take, as a pretext for their declaration of disbelief, the seeking of help from the prophets and awliya and their use of the latter as a means to Allah and the visiting of their graves.  For the Wahhabis have rejected these practices and claimed they are forbidden (haram).

Their Hatred of Muslims

Who Make Tawassul

The Wahhabis have made their rejection of those seeking aid (mustaghithin), those using persons as means of access to Allah (mutawassilin), and those visiting graves (za’irin), especially intense. They consider them actual idolaters and idol-worshippers. Indeed, they deem their status worse than the idolaters of old. The latter, they say, were idolaters only with respect to divinity. As for the Muslim idolaters — they mean those who contradict them —  they have associated a partner both to divinity and to lordship. They also say that the unbelievers in the time of the Messenger of Allah did not always practice idolatry but they sometimes practiced polytheism and sometimes practiced monotheism, abandoning calling on prophets and men of righteousness. That is because when times were good they prayed to them and believed in them. But when disaster and difficulties struck, they abandoned them, worshipped Allah faithfully and sincerely, and recognized that the prophets and pious could do them neither good nor ill.

Their Assimilation of Muslims

to Idol-Worshippers  by

quoting  the  Qur’an

The Wahhabis applied the Qur’anic verses revealed concerning the idolaters to the monotheists of the Community of Muhammad, Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, and grasped on to these verses as a basis for declaring Muslims disbeliever.  They may be listed as follows:

     “Do not call on anyone along with Allah” (72:18);

     “And who is more astray than one who invokes besides Allah such as will not answer him to the day of judgment and when mankind are gathered they will become enemies for them, and deny having been worshipped” (46:5-6);

     “Nor call on any other than Allah such as can neither profit thee nor hurt thee: if thou dost, behold! thou shalt certainly be of those who do wrong” (10:106);

     “And those whom you invoke besides Him own not a straw.  If ye invoke them, they will not listen to your call, and if they were to listen, they cannot answer your prayer. On the day of Judgment they will reject your  partnership and none, O Man! can inform you like Him who is All-aware” (35:13-14);

     “So call not on any other god with Allah, or thou will be among those who will be punished” (26: 213);

     “To Him is due true prayer; any others that they call upon besides Him hear them no more than if they were to stretch forth their hands for water to reach their mouths but it reaches them not. For the prayer of those without faith is vain prayer” (13:14);

     “Say: Call on those besides Him whom ye fancy; they have no power to remove your trouble from you or to change them. Those unto whom they cry seek for themselves the means of approach to their Lord, which of them shall be the nearest; they hope for His mercy and fear His wrath: for the wrath of thy Lord is something to take heed of” (17:57).

            These and other verses have been revealed with respect to the idolaters among the Arabs.  Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab, however, claims that whoever seeks help by the Prophet, implores or calls upon Allah by means of the Prophet of someone else among the prophets, awliya or pious, or asks for the Prophet’s intercession or visits his grave is considered in the class of idolaters contained within the scope of the above verses. His specious argument concerning these verses is based on the idea that though they were revealed concerning the idolaters their admonition belongs to the general sense of the expression and not the specificity of the cause.

Refutation of This Falsehood

We do not deny that the admonition belongs to the general sense of the expression and not with a specific cause.   However, we say that these verses do not refer to the people whom the Wahhabis claim they embrace since the Muslims who make tawassul (using means) and istighatha(seeking aid) in no way share the state of the unbelievers concerning whom the verses were revealed.  Invocation (du`a) comes in a variety of senses which we will soon mention.  However, in all these verses it has the sense of worship, and Muslims only worship Allah the Exalted; none of them ever adopted prophets and awliya as gods, making them partners with Allah so that the general sense of these verses would apply to them. Muslims do not believe that prophets and awliya are entitled to worship since they have not created anything nor do they have control over harm and benefit.  On the contrary, they believe that they are Allah’s servants created by Him.  By visiting their graves and imploring Allah in their name they only intend being blessed by means of their blessing for they are alive, near to Allah and He has selected and chosen them.  Hence, he shows mercy to His servants by means of their blessing and heavenly benediction (baraka).

Further False Comparison

of Muslims to Idolaters

The Wahhabis say: the defense of those who practice tawassul is the same apology the idolaters of the Arabs offered as the Qur’an says describing the way the idolaters defended their worship of idols: “We only worship them in order that they may bring us nearer” (39:3).  Hence, the idolaters do not believe that the idols create anything.  Rather, they believe that the Creator is Allah, the Exalted, by evidence of the following verse: “If thou ask them, Who created them, they will certainly say, Allah” (43:87) and: “If indeed thou ask them who is that created the heavens and the earth, they would be sure to say, Allah” (39:38).  Allah has only judged against them for their disbelief because they say “We only worship them in order that they may bring us nearer.” The Wahhabis say: Thus, do people who implore Allah by prophets and the pious use the phrase of the idolaters: “In order to bring us nearer” in the same sense.

Refutation of That False Comparison

The answer contains several points:

(1)  The idolaters of the Arabs make idols gods; while the Muslims  only believe in one Allah.  In their view, prophets are prophets: awliya are awliya only.  They do not adopt them as gods like the idolaters.

(2)  The idolaters believe these gods deserve worship contrary  to what Muslims believe.  Muslims do not believe that anyone by whom they implore Allah deserve the least amount of worship.  The only one entitled to worship in their view is Allah alone, May He be Exalted.

(3)  The idolaters actually worship these gods as Allah relates: “We only worship them…” Muslims do not worship prophets and pious persons by the act of imploring Allah by means of them.

(4)  The idolaters intend by their worship of their idols to draw near Allah just as He relates concerning them.  As for the Muslims, they do not intend by imploring Allah by means of prophets and saints to draw close to Allah, which is only by worship.  For that reason, Allah said  in relating about the idolaters: “… in order that they bring us nearer.” However, Muslims only intend blessings (tabarruk) and intercession (shafa`a) by them. Being blessed by a thing is obviously different from drawing near to Allah by it.

(5)  Since the idolaters believe that Allah is a body in the sky, they mean by “to bring us near” a literal bringing near.  What indicates this is its being stressed by their use of the word zulfa — nearness to power — inasmuch as emphasizing something by its own same meaning indicates for the most part that what is intended by it is the literal meaning and not the metaphorical.  For when we say: “He slew him murderously” (qatalahu qatlan) a literal killing rushes to the understanding, not that of “a hard blow” in counterdistinction to what we mean when we just say: “He slew him”; for that might mean only a hard blow.  The Muslims do not believe that Allah is a body in the sky remote enough from them to see a literal proximity to Him by imploring Allah through a prophet.  The ruling of Shari`a contained in the verse does not apply to them, whereas since the Wahhabis believe that Allah is a body who sits on his throne, they do not discover a meaning of blessing which the Muslims intend by their imploring Allah by prophets and awliya, but only that of drawing near which belongs to bodies. For that reason, these verse are applicable to them not to Ahl al-Sunna.

Kinds of shirk

We ought here to explain the various forms of idolatry or association of partners with Allah or shirk. First, we find the shirk of making-independent, such as affirming two independent gods like the shirk of the Zoroastrians. Secondly, there is the shirk of dividing into parts, that is, making-compound but of a number of gods like the shirk of the Christians.  Thirdly, there is the shirk of drawing-near, that is, the worship of something other than Allah in order to draw near to Allah in a closer fashion. This is exemplified in the shirk of the Period of Ignorance prior to Islam.

        The kind of shirk that Wahhabis made applicable to the Muslim making istighatha and tawassul and upon which Wahhabis built their doctrine of calling Muslims disbelievers belongs to the third category, the shirk of drawing-near which the Jahiliyya professed as its religion.

            The state of affairs that delivered the Jahiliyya into its form of idolatry is a type of satanic seduction whereby its worship of Allah in its idolatrous manner stemmed from extreme human weakness and powerlessness; and a belief that not to draw near to Him by worshipping those nearest to Him, nobler in His sight, and more powerful, like the angels, would constitute bad manners.  But when they observed the disappearance of the objects of their worship either constantly or some of the time they fashioned idols to represent them; so that when the objects of worship disappeared from them, they worshipped their images.

            If this is firmly understood, then it is clear to the reader that the state of the idolaters of the Jahiliyya does not in any way apply to Muslims imploring Allah by the means of prophets and the pious. The Arabs of the Jahiliyya adopted idols as gods.  “Allah” means “One who deserves worship.” They believed the idols deserved worship.  First of all, they believed that they could deliver harm and benefit. Thus, they worshipped them. This belief on their part plus their worship of them is what caused them to fall into idolatry.  So when the proof was furnished them that these idols had no power to harm them or benefit them, they said: “We only worship in order that they bring us nearer.” How, then, is it possible for the Wahhabis to assimilate the believers who declare that Allah is One to those idolaters of the Jahiliyya?

            There is no doubt that Arab idolaters disbelieved simply because of their worship of statues and representations of prophets, angels, and awliya of which they formed images which they worshipped and to which they did sacrifice. This was due to their belief that prophets, angels, and awliya are gods (aliha) along with The Allah (allah) and could, on their own, do them benefit and harm. The Allah therefore furnished proof of the falsity of what they were saying and struck parables to refute their doctrine which He did in many verses.  These verses state that the one Allah who alone is entitled to worship necessarily has power over removing harm and delivering benefit to him who worships Him; and that what they in fact worshipped were objects originating in time and antithetical to Lordship. Persons who seek help and who call upon Allah by means of prophets are free and innocent of this order of idolatrous worship and belief.

            As for the claim that seeking aid (istighatha) is worship of someone other than Allah, it is high-handed and arbitrary.  For the verses which the Wahhabis adduce as proof-texts — all of them — were revealed to apply to unbelievers who worship someone other than Allah. They intended by their worship of that other individual to come closer to Him. Furthermore, they believed that there is another god along with Allah and that He has a son and a wife — exalted exceedingly high is He beyond what they say.  This is a point of unanimous agreement which no one disputes.  There is nothing in the verses revealed concerning the unbelievers that would count as evidence that merely seeking the help of a prophet or saint when accompanied by faith in Allah is worship of someone other than Allah Himself.

Refutation of their claim that tawassul is worship of other than Allah

The Wahhabis say that such seeking of help is a form of invocation. They cite the hadith:

inna al-du`a huwa al-`ibada“: “Invocation — it is worship.”[45] Hence, they claim, he who asks help from a prophet or a saint (wali) is simply worshipping him by that request for help; yet only worship of Allah alone is beneficial and worship of other than Him is shirk.  Hence, they conclude, the one who seeks aid of someone other than Him is an idolater.

            The answer for this is that the verbal pronoun huwa (“it is”) in the hadith conveys restriction of the grammatical predicate “worship” to its subject “invocation” and it thus renders definite the predicate, just as the author of al-Miftah[46] says and with whom the majority of the scholars agree concerning this hadith. Thus, for example, when we say: “Allah — He is the Provider” (Allah huwa al-Razzaq) (51:58), it means there is no provider other than He.  Accordingly, when the Prophet said: “Invocation: it is worship” he signified that worship is restricted to invocation.  What is meant by the hadith is:

            “Worship is nothing other than invocation.”

And the Qur’an supports this meaning when it says: “Say: My Lord would not concern Himself with you but for your call (du`a) on Him” (25:77).  That is, He would not have shown favor to you were it not for your worship. For the honor of mankind lies in its worship and its respect in its knowledge and obedience. Otherwise, man would not be superior to the beasts. The Hajj, the Zakat, the Fast and the testimony of faith are all invocation and likewise reading of the Qur’an, dhikr or remembrance, and obedience.  Hence, worship is confined to invocation. Once this is firmly established, it becomes clear that there no is proof in the hadith for what Wahhabis claim, because if asking for help is a kind of invocation, as the Wahhabis claim, it does not necessarily follow that asking for help is worship, since invocation is not always worship as is plain to see.[47]

            If, on the contrary, we restrict the subject “invocation” to the predicate “worship” in the hadith according to the interpretation of the author of al-Kashshaf[48] whereby the definition of the predicate in a nominal clause might be either restricted to the subject or restricted to the predicate, then the logical deduction of the Wahhabis whereby all du`a is worship is still not supported by it.  Otherwise, the definite article al in al-du`a (invocation or literally a call on someone) makes invocation generic and betokens universal inclusion into the genus. Yet this is not the case since not every invocation is an act of worship (`ibada).

            On the contrary, the matter stands as we find it in the verse of Qur’an: “Nor call on other than Allah such as can neither profit thee nor hurt thee” (10:106) and similarly in  the verse: “Call your witnesses or helpers!” (2:23). Calling on Allah in the sense of requesting is found where the Qur’an says: “Call on Me and I will answer you” (40:60) and in the sense of a declarative statement: “This will be their prayer (da`wahum) therein: Glory  to Thee, O Allah!” (10:10). As for “calling on someone” in the sense of summoning them (nida’), we find: “It will be on the day when he will call you (yad`ukum)” (17:52) and in the sense of naming someone we find: “Deem not the calling (du`a) of the Messenger of Allah among yourselves like the calling of one of you to another” (24:63).

            As the author of al-Itqan[49] makes plain: If the definite article belongs to the genus and signifies universal inclusion therein, then the man who says: “Zayd! Give me a dirham” perpetrates an act of disbelief. Yet the Wahhabis, of course, will not claim this. Hence, it is plain that the definite article signifies specification.  So what is meant by invocation in the hadith is invocation to Allah and not calling on someone in the general sense.  The meaning would be:

        “Calling to Allah is one of the greatest acts of worship.”

It is in the manner of the Prophet’s saying: “al-hajju `arafatun” or:

        “The Pilgrimage is `Arafah”[50]

which is taken to mean that this represents the Hajj’s greatest essential element. For the one making the request comes toward Allah and turns aside from what is other than He.  Furthermore, the request is commanded by Allah and the action fulfilling that command is worship.  The Prophet names it “worship” to show the subjugation of the subject making the request, the indigence of his condition, and the humility and lowliness of his worship.

            Among the proofs that what is meant by “invocation” in the hadith is the “calling on Allah” and not the general sense of “calling” is the fact which many grammarians confirm and Ibn Rushd clearly makes plain as does al-Qarafi also in his Commentary on al-Tanqih:[51] namely, that asking (al-su’al) is one of the categories of wanting (al-talab) put forth by one lower to one higher in station.  If it is addressed to Allah, it is named “request” (su’al) and “invocation” (du`a).  The latter is not applied to someone other than Allah. And if it is not permissible (la yajuz) to name the request of other than Allah by the unqualified name ofdu`a, then such a request a fortiori is not named a du`a in the sense of worship.

10: Tawassul (Using means):

Evidence for its Permissibility

Before plunging into this chapter let us clarify one thing pertaining to what one means by seeking help with the prophets and pious persons and imploring Allah by means of them.  First, they are means and causes to obtain what is intended.  Second, Allah is the true agent of the favor or miracle which comes at their hand, not they themselves, just as true doctrine asserts in the case of other actions: for the knife does not cut by itself but the cutter is Allah the Exalted, although the agent is the knife in the domain of the customary connection of events.  Be that as it may, it is Allah who creates the cutting.

            Al-Subki, al-Qastallani in al-Mawahib al-laduniyya, al-Samhudi in Tarikh al-Madina, and al-Haythami in al-Jawhar al-munazzam said that seeking help with the Prophet and other prophets and pious persons, is only a means of imploring Allah for the sake of their dignity and honor (bi jahihim). The one doing the asking seeks from the One asked that He assign him aid (ghawth) on behalf of the one higher than him. For the one being asked in reality is Allah. The Prophet is but the intermediary means (wasita) between the one asking for help and the One asked in reality. Hence, the help is strictly from Him in its creation(khalqan) and being (ijadan), while the help from the Prophet is strictly in respect to secondary causation (tasabbuban) and acquisition from Allah (kasban).

            The most prominent among the scholars of Islam have acknowledged the permissibility of istighatha and tawassul with the Prophet, peace be upon him.[52] Its permissibility is not contravened by the report of Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, whereby when he said “Rise! [plural], We will seek help with the Messenger of Allah from this hypocrite,” the Prophet said:

            “Innahu la yustaghathu bi innama yustaghathu billah

            “Help is not sought with me, it is sought only with Allah.”

Since Ibn Luhay`a is part of its chain of transmission, the discussion of it is well-known.[53]

Were we to suppose that the hadith is sound, it would be of the like of the Qur’anic verse, “You did not throw when you threw, but Allah threw” (8:17)[54] and the Prophet said, “I did not bear you but Allah bore you.”[55]  Thus the meaning of the hadith “Help is not sought with me” is:

            “(Even if I am the one ostensibly being asked

            for help,) I am not the one being asked for help,

            in reality Allah Himself is being asked.”

            In sum, the term istighatha or “asking for help” applies to whomever the help comes from including in respect to causation and acquisition;[56] this is what the Arabic means and the Shari`a permits. The hadith “Help is not sought with me” must be interpreted in the light of this. This meaning is supported by the hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari[57] touching on intercession on the Day of Resurrection. Such was the help people sought from Adam, then Ibrahim, then Musa, then `Isa, then Muhammad, on him and them be Allah’s blessings and peace.

            Now we have come to the point of setting forth the permissibility of tawassul and adducing evidence for it.  We find in the Qur’an:

            “O ye who believe!  Be wary of Allah and seek al-wasila

            — the means to approach Him” (5:35).

Ibn `Abbas said that al-wasila signifies whatever means one employs to draw close to Allah.  The Wahhabis claim that “means” refers exclusively to actions and this is pure arbitrariness.  The manifest and apparent sense (zahir) of the text refers to persons (dhawat) not actions.  For Allah says: ittaqu Allah (Fear Allah) which conveys the sense of  wariness in doing whatever Allah has ordered and relinquishing whatever He has forbidden. If we interpret “seek the means” in terms of actions, then the order of “seeking the means” would consist in an emphasis (ta’kid) of the command: “Be wary of Allah.”  This is different than if “seeking the means” is interpreted to refer to persons.  For then the command of taqwa is to actually lay a basis (ta’sis) for one’s action and this is better than emphasis.[58]

            Again, Allah says:

            “Those unto whom they cry seek for themselves

            the means of approach to their Lord, which of

            them shall be the nearest” (17:57).

Ibn `Abbas said they are Jesus and his mother, Azrael and the angels.  And the commentary on this verse is that the unbelievers worship prophets and angels because they regard them as their lords.  Thus Allah says to them,  “Those whom you worship are imploring Allah by who is nearer.  How, then, do you make them lords when they are servants in need of their Lord and imploring Him by One who is higher in rank than they are?”

            Allah also said:

            “If they had only, when they were unjust to

            themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah’s

            forgiveness, and then the Messenger had asked

            forgiveness for them, they would have found

            Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful” (4:64).

Allah has linked their seeking of forgiveness from Him with seeking forgiveness from the Prophet.  So in this verse from the Qur’an we have clear evidence of imploring Allah by means of the Prophet and acceptance of the one that implores Him in this fashion.  We understand this also from the statement: “They would have found Allah Oft-returning, Most Merciful.”

            Asking forgiveness for his community, you should know, is not tied to his being alive and the hadiths cited shortly indicate this. One cannot say that the verses cited among a definite group of people have no general applicability; for even if they are cited among a definite group while the Prophet was alive, they maintain a general relevance by the generality of the cause occasioning their utterance. So the verses take in whomever satisfies such a description whether he be alive or dead.[59]

            Another evidence is the Qur’anic verse: “Now the man of his own people appealed to him [Musa] against his foe” (28:15).  Here Allah attributes a request for help to a creature who is asking someone other than Himself. This is sufficient evidence for the permissibility for asking someone other than Allah for help.

            If  someone objects and says that the help being sought in these texts is from someone alive and who has power over his actions, the reply is that attributing the power to him if it is held to issue from him in a fashion independent of Divine assistance is the same as kufr, that is disbelief. And if it is only Allah’s power to be a cause and means, then there is no difference between living and dead. Thus the recipient, alive or dead, possesses the miracle as a token of respect and honor. If the seeking of aid is not related to Allah literally and to someone else figuratively, the seeking of help is forbidden in either case. From this you know the secret of the Prophet’s formal rejection of seeking help from himself when Abu Bakr al-Siddiq said: “Rise! We will ask the Messenger of Allah for help from this hypocrite” and the Messenger of Allah said to him: “Help is not sought from me. Help is sought from Allah” despite the fact that the Prophet was then alive and had power over his actions. He only intended to deny the seeking of help from him literally and in reality. For he wanted to teach his Community that help only can be sought, in reality, from Allah.

            We find another evidence for tawassul in the Qur’anic verse:

            “They do not possess intercession save those

            who have made a covenant with their Lord” (19:87).

Some of the commentators on Qur’an say that the “covenant” (al-`ahd) is the phrase: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” The meaning of the verse would be: “Intercessors will not intercede except for those who say: There is no god but Allah,” that is, the believers, like what we find where the Qur’an says: “They only intercede for one who is accepted” (21:28).  However, the resulting meaning: they do not possess intercession for anyone except those who made a covenant etc. is far-fetched and somewhat constrained.

            The best commentary of Allah’s statement “They do not possess” is “They do not obtain.” Then, the expression of the exception “save those who…” is admissible without implying something in addition, and the meaning is asserted:  “He does not possess intercession except the one who says: There is no god but Allah.” That is, only the believers intercede. This is like the verse “And those unto whom they call instead of Him possess no power of intercession except him who bears witness to the Truth” (43:86).  The bearing witness to the Truth is the phrase: “There is no god but Allah.”

            Since what is meant by imploring Allah with the prophets, the saints, and the pious and by asking them for help is a request for their intercession, and since Allah has related that they possess intercession, then who can prevent anyone from seeking by permission of Allah what they possess by permission of Allah? Thus, it is permissible to ask from them that they give you what Allah has given to them.  The only thing forbidden is asking intercession from idols which do not possess anything at all.

            Another evidence is narrated by Ibn Majah with a sound chain of transmission on the authority of Abu Sa`id al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him.  He relates that the Messenger of Allah said: “The one who leaves his house for prayer and then says: “O Allah, I ask thee by the right of those who ask you and I beseech thee by the right of those who walk this path unto thee, as my going forth bespeak not of levity, pride nor vainglory, nor is done for the sake of repute. I have gone forth solely in the warding off your anger and for the seeking of your pleasure. I ask you, therefore, to grant me refuge from hell fire and to forgive me my sins. For no one forgive sins but yourself.”  Allah will look kindly upon him and seventy thousand angels will seek his forgiveness.”[60]

            In this manner did the Prophet make tawassul when he said “I ask thee by the right of those who ask you,” that is, by every believing servant. Moreover, he commanded his Companions to use this prayer when they made du`a and to make tawassul just as he made tawassul. The Pious Ancestors (al-Salaf) of our faith among the Companions’ Successors and their Successors continued to use this prayer upon their going out to prayer and no one disavowed them for it.

            Among further evidences for the permissibility of tawassul is the occasion when the Prophet said on the authority of Anas ibn Malik: “O Allah, grant forgiveness to my mother, Fatima Bint Asad, and make vast for her the place of her going in[61] by right of thy Prophet and that of those prophets who came before me” and so on until the end of the hadith.  Al-Tabarani relates it in al-Kabir. Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim declare it sound. The “Fatima” referred to here is the mother of Sayyidina `Ali who raised the Prophet. Ibn Abi Shayba on the authority of Jabir relates a similar narrative.  Similar also is what Ibn `Abd Al-Barr on the authority of Ibn `Abbas and Abu Nu`aym in his Hilya on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik relate, as al-Hafiz al-Suyuti mentioned in the Jami` al-Kabir.[62]

            Also found as evidence: al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasa’i, al-Bayhaqi, and al-Tabarani relate with a sound chain that a blind man came to the Prophet and said: “Pray to Allah that He relieve me.”  The Prophet said: “If you wish I will pray, and if you wish you may be patient, and that is better.” Then he prayed for him and commanded him to make ablution and do his ablution well and utter this prayer: “O Allah, I ask you and I address You by Your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. O Muhammad, I address by you my Lord in my need. O Allah, accept his intercession on my behalf.”  Then he returned and gained his sight. Al-Bukhari produces this hadith in his Ta’rikh (Biographical History), Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak with a sound chain of transmission.  Suyuti in al-Jami’ al-Kabir and al-Saghir mentioned it also. It is therefore established that the Prophet commanded the blind man to invoke him and implore Allah by means of him to accomplish his need.

            The Wahhabis may claim that this is only in the life of the Prophet and that it does not provide evidence for the permissibility of imploring Allah by means of him after death.  We answer that this prayer has been used by the Companions and the Successors also after the repose of the Prophet to accomplish their needs.  The evidence for this is what al-Tabarani and al-Bayhaqi have related, namely, that a man visited `Uthman ibn `Affan, may Allah be pleased with him, during the time when he was Caliph, concerning a certain need he had but the noble Commander of the Faithful did not look immediately into it. The man complained  to `Uthman Ibn Hunayf who said to him: “Go and make ablution, then go to the mosque and pray in the following manner: “O Allah, I ask you and address you by your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy.  O Muhammad, I address my Lord by you to accomplish my need.”  Then  mention your need.” So the man went away and did precisely as he was told and came back to the door of `Uthman ibn `Affan.  Then the doorkeeper came to him, took his hand, brought him into the presence of `Uthman and made him to sit down with him. `Uthman said: “Tell me what you need” and he mentioned his need and it was fulfilled. Then the Caliph said to him: “Whatever need you have, mention it to me.” When the man went out of his presence he met Ibn Hunayf and said: “May Allah reward you with good for he would have not looked into my need until you spoke to him for me.” But Ibn Hunayf said:  “By Allah I did not speak to him, but I witnessed Allah’s Messenger when the blind man came to him and complained about losing his sight.”[63]

            Such an act constitutes tawassul and he called upon him after the death of the Prophet on the grounds that the Prophet is living in his grave and his rank is above the rank of the Martyrs whom Allah has expressly said that they are living, being provided for, with their Lord.

            Another evidence for tawassul is what al-Bayhaqi and Ibn Abi Shayba relate with a sound chain of transmission that a drought afflicted the people during the caliphate of `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, and Bilal Ibn al-Harth came to the grave of the Prophet and said: “O Messenger of Allah, ask for rain for your community, for they are being destroyed.”  Then the Messenger of Allah came to him in a dream and said to him that they would have water. This evidence of ours is not in the vision of the Prophet.  Even if his vision is true, the legal rulings of the Shari`a are not established by dreams, where there is room to cast doubt on the words or perspicuity of the dreamer.  The evidence we are citing lies in the action of one of the Companions while that Companion was awake. That is Bilal Ibn al-Harth who came to the grave of the Prophet and called on him and made a request of him to provide his community with rain.[64]

            Again, we find evidence in the Sahih of Bukhari from a narration of Anas Ibn Malik from `Umar Ibn al-Khattab in the time when he was Caliph asking for rain by means of  al-`Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet, when there was a drought in the Year of “Ramada” (the Year of Destruction in 17 A.H.), then they received rain. And in al-Mawahib al-laduniyya of the savant al-Qastallani we find that when `Umar asked `Abbas for rain, he said: “O people, the Messenger of Allah used to see in al-`Abbas what as son sees in a father,” whereupon they followed the Prophet’s model in his behavior with al-`Abbas and took the latter as a means to Allah.

            There is no difference in the tawassul or imploring by naming prophets and other pious persons and them being alive or dead because in neither state do they differ in anything whatsoever.  In either state, producing an effect on states of affairs is not up to them. Creation, bringing into existence, producing an effect on states of affairs: all of this belongs to Allah alone, who has no partner in this or anything else. As for the one who believes that producing effects belongs only to the living, it is up to them to differentiate between imploring Allah for the sake of the living or imploring Allah for the sake of the dead.  For our part we say that Allah is the Creator of all things regardless, and “Allah has created you and all you do” (37:96). The Wahhabis who make a great show of their defense of monotheism and permit using only living persons as a means have made themselves fall into the sin of associating a partner with Allah (shirk) insofar as they believe, in their ignorance, that living beings have an effect upon things when in reality no one produces an effect except Allah.

            Using as means (tawassul), or using as intermediary (tashaffu`), or asking for help (istighatha) a single person: the upshot of all this is the same, the aim of it being only to get blessings (tabarruk) by mentioning the names of beloved servants of Allah for whose sake Allah may grant mercy to creation, be they living or dead. The actual author of existence is Allah alone, they are only customary causes (asbab `adiyya), they produce no effect on their own.

Their Condemnation of

Nida’ (Calling Out)

As for the invocations of common Muslim people in Arabic like: “O `Abd al-Qadir Gilani look at me (Ya `Abd al-Qadir adrikni)!” and “O Ahmad al-Badawi give us support (Ya Badawi madad)!” they belong to the figurative language of the mind just as the application of someone who says to his food: “Satisfy me!” or to his water: “Quench my thirst!” or to his medicine: “Heal me!”  The food does not satisfy, nor does the water quench the thirst, nor the medicine heal.  But the One who is the real Satisfier of our hunger, the Quencher of our thirst and the Healer of our ills is Allah alone.  The food, the water, the medicine are only the proximate or secondary causes which custom has established on the surface of things by our mind’s regular association of them with certain concomitant events.

            The majority of the Muslim community agree on the permissibility of imploring Allah for the sake of the Prophet, the Companions, and the pious. From many of the Companions, the ulama of the Pious Ancestors, and those in succeeding generations, the meeting together of a majority on what is forbidden and idolatrous is not allowable because of the Prophet’s sound hadith which some consider mutawatir:[65] “My community will not come together on an error”[66] and because Allah said: “You are the best community of mankind which has been produced” (3:110).  Then how could all of them or the majority of them come together on what is erroneous?

            One of the evidences permitting the seeking of help is what Bukhari has related in a sound hadith from Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet mentioned in the story of Hajar, the mother of Isma`il: when thirst overtook her and her son, she began to run in search for water, then she heard a voice yet saw no one and she said: “If there be help (ghawth) with you, then help us (aghith).”[67]  If seeking aid of other than Allah was shirk then why did she seek aid? Why did the Prophet mention it to his Companions and not reject it? And why did the Companions after him transmit it and the narrators of hadith mention it?

            Bukhari also relates in the Hadith of Intercession[68] that people, while they are in the horrors in the Day of Resurrection, ask help of Adam, then of Noah, then of Abraham, then of Moses, then of Jesus, and all of them will give an excuse, and Jesus will say: “Go to Muhammad.”  Then they will go to Muhammad and then he will say: “I will do it.”  If seeking aid of a creature was forbidden then the Prophet would have not mentioned to the Companions.  The ones who object to this give the answer that this is the Day of Resurrection when the Prophet has power. One responds with the refutation that in their worldly life they have no power except as a secondary cause: likewise after death, the living in their graves and beyond are allowed to be secondary causes only.

            Al-Tabarani has related from `Utba Ibn Ghazwan from the Prophet that he said: “If one of you loses his way with respect to anything whatsoever or wishes help when he is in a land in which he has no friend let him say: O servants of Allah help me (ya `ibad Allah a`inuni)! for Allah has servants whom he does not see.”[69]

            It is not said that all that is meant by the “servants of Allah” in the hadith cited above are only angels, or Muslims among the jinn,  or men of the realm of the invisible: for all of these are living.[70] Hence, the hadith would not give evidence for asking aid from the dead, but this is not the case.  We mention this because there is nothing explicit in the hadith whereby what is meant by “servants of  Allah” are the categories we mentioned above and nothing else. Yet even if we were to concede this, the hadith would still be a proof against the Wahhabis from another standpoint, and that is the calling on someone invisible. The Wahhabis no more allow it than the calling on the dead.[71]

            Furthermore, their contestation for some of the narrators of this hadith is pointless.  It was narrated through a variety of paths of transmission, one of which supports the other.  Thus, al-Hakim related it in his book of sound hadith as well as Abu `Uwana and al-Bazzar with a sound chain of transmission from the Prophet in this form: “If the mount of one of you runs loose in a desert land, let him call: O servants of Allah, restrain my beast! (ya `ibad Allah ahbisu).” Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya has mentioned this hadith in his book al-Kalim al-Tayyib, also Ibn Qayyim in his own al-Kalim al-Tayyib, Nawawi in his Adhkar, al-Jazari in Al-Hisn al-Hasin, and other transmitters of hadith whose number is too large to count.  The latter wording is from the narrative of Ibn Mas`ud  whose chain of transmission is continuous back to the Prophet.  The narration of Ibn Mas`ud whose chain is interrupted is: “Let him call: O servants of Allah, help me(a`inuni ya `ibad Allah).”[72]

            There is also transmitted on the authority of `Abd Allah Ibn al-Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal that he said: “I heard my father say: “I had made Hajj five times and once I got lost on the way.  I was walking and I began to say: O servants of Allah, show us the way!  I continued to say this until I got on the right way.”[73]

            One of the Wahhabis’ pretexts in declaring disbeliever anyone who asks for help or calls on an absent prophet or saint who has died is that the call of people who beseech help from an absent prophet or saint might be in numerous places at one and the same time, and the number of the callers exceedingly large, mounting to hundreds of thousands. Yet  and still, they claim, the ones asking for help believe that the one who is called upon is present at that very moment — not to mention their view that it is disbelief and shirk because of attributing to the person called upon for help the characteristics of Allah, since they are impossible for the ordinary mind to conceive when attributed to a human being. For it is obvious that one body cannot be existent in numerous places at one time.

            The answer is that Muslims do not believe that  the person called upon is present  in person at the time he is called in a number of places.  That  counts as disbelief.  Besides,  omnipresence of this order is impossible.  What the callers believe is that  the baraka, that is, the blessing or grace of the one called, is present in those places in a subtle fashion by Allah’s act of creation and  motivated by His mercy for the person asking for help out of respect for the one whom he calls on. That is not impossible, for the mercy of Allah is wide and without limit.

            Then, when the Wahhabis attribute to Muslims this belief (omnipresence in person) of which they are completely innocent, they apply to it the criterion of invalidity which the jurists apply in the conditions of marriage if, as they note, a man marries a woman “by witness of Allah and his Messenger”: the marriage contract is invalid. The Wahhabis then claim: if the Prophet knows of the call of someone who is asking for help when he calls out to him from afar, then he would be the Knower of the invisible and the contract of marriage which the jurists say is invalid would be sound.

            The answer is that Muslims just as they do not believe the Prophet or a saint asked for help is present when he is called; likewise they do not attribute knowledge of the invisible to anyone except Allah, the Exalted.  As for the absence of the validity of a marriage contract by witness of Allah and His Messenger, it is because Islamic Law makes the eye-witness testimony a condition of marriage and acts like it to preserve the marriage rights; since disputes may arise between the partners to the marriage which may eventually come before judges. Then it will be impossible for one or the other of the disputing parties to establish his claim by the witness of Allah and His Messenger.  For suppose that Allah — who transcends what the obscurantists say — is indeed a body who comes down to the lower heaven as the Wahhabis claim: then we would say it would be a common phenomenon for him to descend to the courtroom so that His testimony before it might be produced to decisively settle the dispute of the two contending parties!

            You know that the Wahhabis declare one who calls on other than Allah a disbeliever; for example, one who says “O Messenger of Allah” (ya rasulallah) and so forth.  Yet if we go to look we see that this purported disbelief of one who says “O Messenger of Allah!” for example, implies two suppositions: either he believes that the individual whom he calls is himself present at the time of his call, hears his call, accomplishes his need because of it and saves him from the difficulty for which he called him in the first place; or he believes that the one whom he calls hears by Allah’s hearing, purely through Allah’s own power, and that Allah and no one else accomplished his need in virtue of the baraka of the one on whom he calls; and, moreover, that it is Allah who delivers him from the difficulty which he is in, for the honor of that Prophet.

            Either supposition shows some fault of thinking on the part of the Wahhabi who claims that the caller is a disbeliever.  As for the first, anyone who believes that someone else other than Allah accomplishes his need and saves him from difficulty is a disbeliever whether he calls out or never calls out anyone and it is incorrect to make his disbelief depend on the circumstance of calling out. You know that no Muslim believes this doctrine.  As for the second supposition, one whose heart is the seat of faith[74] and who believes that the one who accomplishes needs and saves from perils is Allah alone, not someone else: it is not allowed that such a person be called an unbeliever solely on the basis of calling out to someone absent while believing that Allah creates the hearing in him.

            The Wahhabis have shown ignorance in saying, at this juncture of the argument, that Islamic Law judges on the basis of externals (al-hukm bi al-zahir), and that the external sense of calling upon someone other than Allah is that the caller believes in that other as having all-encompassing knowledge of the unseen and possessing an effective power to accomplish needs and complete disposal over the universe!  Yet, they say, complete knowledge of the unseen and effective power to accomplish the needs of creatures are characteristics peculiar to the Creator: therefore, they conclude, belief  that someone other than Allah is characterized in this way automatically constitutes ascribing a partner to Allah and disbelief.

            The answer is that the external interpretation of the frame of mind of a person who supplicates someone other than Allah signifies only that the caller has called other than Allah.  It does not signify that he believes that the one he calls has power to carry out one’s needs nor any of the other attributes the Wahhabis mention.

            Belief is an inward matter of which certain external phenomena might give indications.  The act of calling is not one of them.  Say to the Wahhabis who deem the external meaning of calling to be an indication of idolatry and disbelief: Why is it most of you don’t consider what belongs to the Muslim whom you call a disbeliever from the side of his external behavior manifest in acts of prayer, fasting, zakat, and the other pillars of the Faith?  Why do you not look at these as indicators of his faith and sound belief?  What is more amazing, that same Muslim who engages in supplication, clearly articulates (by keeping the pillars) his disbelief in the own power of the one he calls to and in anything that goes with it.  Yet despite this, you use this single external act of his as an indicator of that very belief which he has denied of himself.  Would that I knew by what legal rule you can prove from the external significance of a man’s call (nida’) that his belief  is deviant in the face of all the clear indications he gives you that his belief is sound.[75]

11:  Wahhabis  Claim:  Anyone

Visiting a Grave is a Disbeliever

Should one inquire as to the nature of Wahhabi doctrine and be curious as to what its objective is, the answer to both questions is easily summed up. It is their declaring all Muslims unbelievers.  This answer is a sufficient definition of their entire school of thought.  For the one who looks closely into the ideas they introduce will find that in each question that school strives to declare all Muslims unbelievers, even though Allah Himself is pleased with Islam as their religion:

     they have declared Muslims unbelievers for their assertion that Allah the Exalted transcends corporeality;

     they have declared Muslims unbelievers for their acceptance of Consensus is unbelief;

     they have declared Muslims unbelievers for their unquestioning emulation (taqlid) of the legal rulings concerning the faith made by the Imams, the mujtahids of the four schools of Islamic law;

     they have declared Muslims unbelievers for their seeking the Prophet’s intercession (istishfa`) after his death and using him as a means to Allah (tawassul);

     they have declared Muslims unbelievers for their visitation of graves.

            To anyone who has eyes to see, it is obvious that a visitor to a grave either aims at seeking intercession, using as means to Allah those buried there and seeking to be blessed by visiting them, as in the case of visitation of places where prophets and saints are buried; or, on the other hand, the purpose may be consideration of the departed folk in order to strengthen feelings of humility in the heart and attain reward by reading the opening chapter of the Qur’an and asking Allah to forgive them, as when one visits the graves of all Muslims.  Or, yet again, the aim of visitation may be remembrance of relatives and the departed beloved and visiting those whom fate has snatched away, of early making their graves their abodes. He remembers that they left him never to return again, feeling grief at their leave, his mind’s tongue moving to express itself in lines like the following:

            O thou departing hence in  pomp and power,

            Tarry a while, for thy ransom is pomp and power.

            Do not make haste, but walk humbly,

            For thou art leaving never to return again.

His sensibilities impel him to visit their graves, pausing at the traces of their tombs to shed sad tears over their remains and express their sorrow in lines like the following:

            Gone are those dear to me! and I remain, like a lone sword.

            How many a brother dearly beloved

            I laid in his grave by my own hand!

            There is not in any of these practices one thing which calls for labeling as an unbeliever a Muslim bearing witness that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.  I do not think that even the uneducated and gullible among people, not to mention the learned person versed in Islamic Law, is ever so impelled by his ignorance as to intend, by his visitation of  a grave, to worship it; nor that he would ever believe that the grave itself accomplishes his need and creates what he wants.

The Prophet’s Order to Visit Graves

The Prophet said: “I forbade you in the past to visit graves, but visit them. (For visiting graves promotes renunciation of this World and remembrance of the Hereafter).”[76]  As for travels to visit graves, the ulama have had different opinions about it. Some of them make it illicit(haram) giving as evidence the words of the Prophet: “Do not travel except to three mosques: the Masjid al-Haram, this Masjid here in Madina, and Masjid al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem).” This is related by Bukhari, Muslim and al-Tirmidhi. Al-Qadi Husayn al-Marwazi (d. 462H) and al-Qadi `Iyad (d. 544H) have opted to forbid travel for visitation to graves[77] while others have permitted it, among them Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni and others.  The proof they adduce for its permissibility is the Prophet’s statement: “I have forbidden you in the past to visit graves, but visit them.”  They said the Prophet has commanded us in this hadith to visit graves, and that he did not differentiate between graves that are near and graves that are far and to visit which travel becomes necessary.

            As for the hadith: “Do not travel except to three mosques…” he only forbade frequency of travel to mosques not to places of religious visitation, just as is clear from his words.  He only forbade frequency of travel to mosques because one mosque is like the other and no city is devoid of a mosque; so there is no need for a journey. This is not the case with graves that are places of visitation.  They are not equal in blessing just as the hierarchical standing of their inhabitants differs in the view of Allah.

            Without doubt, the exception expressed: “…except for three mosques” has several ramifications. Its meaning may be either the remote genus as when one says: “Do not travel anywhere except to three mosques.” According to this meaning it is prohibited to travel anywhere other than what is expressed in the exception: this means that travel is illicit even for jihad, trading and commerce, gaining livelihood, acquiring knowledge and for pleasure and so forth.  This cannot be the case. As for the proximate genus the meaning is: do not undertake travel to any mosque except to three. This is the correct  interpretation. The hadith is specific in forbidding travel to all mosques except three. Thus, it is evidence for the permissibility for travel to visit graves.

            `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, after the conquest of Damascus said to Ka`b al-Ahbar: “O Ka`b, do you wish to come with us to Madina to visit the Messenger of Allah?”  Ka`b answered:  “Yes, O Commander of the Faithful.”  Similarly, we have evidence of Bilal’s coming from Damascus to Madina to visit the grave of the Prophet.  This took place during the caliphate of `Umar.[78]

            Among those who say that traveling to visit graves is permissible we find Imam al-Nawawi, al-Qastallani, and Imam al-Ghazali. The latter said in his Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din after mentioning the hadith: “Do not travel…”:  “The gist of the matter is that some ulama use it as evidence for prohibiting travel to places of religious visitation and pilgrimage.  It is clear to me that this is not the case.  On the contrary, visitation to graves is commanded by the hadith: “I have forbidden you in the past to visit graves, but visit them.” The hadith only mentions the prohibition of visitation to other mosques than the three Mosques because of the likeness of one mosque to another. Furthermore, there is no city in which there is no mosque.  Hence, there is no need to travel to another mosque.  As for places of religious visitation, the baraka of visiting them varies to the measure of their rank with Allah.”

              Touching on the issue of whether dead people hear or not, our view is as follows. It is well known that hearing in living people is actually a property of spirit (al-Ruh).  The ear is only an organ or rather instrument of hearing, nothing more.  Since the spirit of the dead person does not become extinct with the extinction of his body, the belief that the spirit hears is not farfetched.   One cannot claim that it does not hear due to loss of the organ of hearing by reason of the body’s perishing.  For we say that it sometimes hears even without that organ just as in visions. Thus, the spirit talks and hears in its sleep just as it sees in dreams without mediation of an instrument, that is, an organ of sensation.  Then, is it too much for the rational person, after experiencing sound and sight in one’s sleep by the sole means of the spirit and without the slightest participation of the organs of sound and sight, to believe that after the spirit separates from the body it hears and sees even without the organs of sound and sight?

            Yet and still, the Wahhabis do not extend their denial that the dead can hear to martyrs because Allah says: “Do not consider those who are slain for Allah’s sake dead, but they are alive receiving sustenance with their Lord” (3:169). There is no doubt that the rank of prophets is not beneath the rank of martyrs: they, like them, are alive with their Lord, receiving sustenance. It has been narrated that the Prophet said: “I passed by Musa on the night of my Journey while he was praying in his grave.”[79]  And on the authority of Anas the Prophet said: “Prophets are alive in their graves [praying].”[80]  Abu Ya`la al-Mawsili and al-Bazzar relate this.  On the authority of Ibn `Umar the Prophet said: “I saw Jesus, Moses, and Abraham, on them be peace.” This is related by Bukhari, Muslim and Imam Malik in his Muwatta’.  Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn Husayn al-Bayhaqi recorded in Shu`ab al-Iman on the authority of Abu Hurayra that the Prophet said: “Whoever sends blessings on me at my grave, I will hear him, and whoever sends blessings on me from afar, I am informed about it.”[81]  Therefore, if the premise prophets are alive is affirmed, then, one must also affirm the premise prophets can hear; for hearing is a concomitant property of life.

            It is incorrect to invoke the fact that since the life of prophets and martyrs in the barzakh or “isthmus life” is different from the life of  this world they cannot hear. Even if we grant that the two lives are each of a different kind, nevertheless affirming “They are alive” with any kind of life is sufficient to establish that they hear and that their tawassul and supplication for help follows as a matter of course.

            Finally, the organ of  hearing itself, in prophets, is not voided by death: for their bodies do not suffer the corruption of the grave as we know from the noble hadith: “Allah has forbidden the earth to consume the bodies of Prophets.”[82]  If we were to slacken the reins and say it is true that the bodies of prophets undergo corruption in their graves as the Wahhabis claim, having already affirmed that they are alive and receiving sustenance (3:169), then, this would simply count as affirmation that they hear even though they lack an organ for this purpose according to the view we expounded above.

            We have abundant evidence in hadith which provide evidence that other than prophets and martyrs among the dead can hear. Cited by Bukhari and Muslim and the narrators of the Sunan is the hadith transmitted on the authority of Ibn `Umar who said: “The Messenger of Allah spoke to the People (buried) in the Well saying: “Have you found out that what your Lord had promised you is true?” then someone exclaimed: “Are you calling out to the dead!” The Prophet replied: “You do not hear better than they do, except they do not respond.”” And in Bukhari and Muslim we find the hadith of Anas on the authority of Abu Talha that the Prophet called to them: “O Abu Jahl Ibn Hisham! O Umayya Ibn Khalaf! O `Utba ibn Rabi`a! Have you not found out that what your Lord promised you is true? for I have found that what he has promised me is true.”  `Umar said to him: “O Messenger of Allah, how do you address bodies devoid of spirit?”  The Prophet replied:  “By Him Who holds my life in His Hands! You do not hear what I am saying to them better than they do.”  Similarly, it has been affirmed in Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Anas that the Prophet said: “Surely, when the servant of Allah is placed in his grave and his companions in this life turn away from it, he hears the thumps of their sandaled feet.”[83]

            Abu Nu`aym Al-Isbahani has mentioned with his chain of transmission from `Ubayd Ibn Marzuq who said: “A woman of Madina, named Umm Mihjan, used to sweep the mosque, then she died. The Prophet was not told of this event.  Thereafter, he passed over her grave and queried: “What is this?”  Those present replied: “Umm Mihjan.” He said: “The one who swept the mosque?” They answered: “Yes.” Thereupon the people lined up and prayed for her. Then he addressed her: “Which work of yours did you find more favored?” They exclaimed: “O Messenger of Allah, can she hear you?” He replied: “You cannot hear better than she does.” Then it is mentioned that she answered him: “Sweeping the mosque.”  The chain of transmission in this hadith is interrupted.  There are others more like it.[84]

            It is narrated concerning `A’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, when she heard the hadith about the dead hearing, she denied it and said: “How does the Prophet say something like that when Allah has said: “You cannot make those to hear who are in the graves”  (35:22). While her opinion does not affirm the hearing of the dead as Ibn Taymiyya notes in his Legal Opinions (Fatawa) and in other places, we have no excuse for following it. For the question necessarily concerns a well-known matter of faith which no one has permission to deny. In fact `A’isha has also narrated that the Prophet said, as Ibn Rajab has noted inAhwal al-Qubur: “Surely they know now that what I said to them is true.”  This narration of hers supports those which say  that the dead hear, for if it is possible for a dead man to know, surely  it is possible for him also to hear. Therefore, to affirm that they do know is necessarily also to affirm that they hear.

            As for the Qur’anic verses: “You cannot make those who are in the graves hear” (35:22) and: “You cannot make the dead hear…” (27:80) there is no evidence in them for the denial of hearing in the case of the dead in the absolute sense, it is only evidence for denying hearing for those who benefit thereof.[85] That is because what is meant by the phrase: “Those in the graves” in the first verse and by “the dead” in the second verse are the unbelievers, who are compared to the dead lying in their graves.  Just as the dead do not hear with a beneficial kind of hearing — that is, with a hearing made complete by the mutual exchange of address between the hearer and the speaker — in the same way the unbelievers do not hear the warning signs that the Prophet addresses to them in a way that benefits them by guiding them to faith in Allah.

            What otherwise confirms the above is that unqualified hearing is also an established attribute of the unbelievers: they hear what the Prophet said to them; but they derived no benefit from it.  This is confirmed by Allah’s saying: “If Allah had recognized in them any good, He would, indeed, have made them hear: if He made them hear (as it stands), they would turn away” (8:23). Hence, what is meant by “hear” when He says “He would indeed have made them hear” is a hearing which brings benefit to the hearer and when He says: “If He made them hear (as it stands)” He means hearing which carries no benefit.  If this were otherwise, the sense of the passage would be corrupt inasmuch as the verse would, then, be a syllogism where the middle term (He makes them hear) is reiterated; the end result would be: “If Allah had recognized any good in them, they would have turned away.”  This conclusion is absurd and contradictory, as you can see, since it would entail that the turning back take place — which is evil — despite the fact that Allah recognized good in them. Allah’s recognition would be, in that case, a misrecognition with respect to the true state of the unbelievers — Exalted is Allah high above such a possibility.

            The above cited two verses point to a further meaning: that what is meant by the hearing negated in both cases is the hearing connected with the faculty of guidance just as the context of the two verses indicate. The meaning then is that you do not guide the unbelievers by yourself, O Muhammad! because they are like dead men and that you cannot cause the dead to hear by yourself.  The only agent causing them to hear is Allah as the Qur’an says: “You do not guide whom you like but Allah guides whom he wishes” (28:56).

            One does not say: “Just as the one making the dead to hear in reality is Allah, likewise, the one making the living to hear is in reality none other than He.”  For Allah is the Creator of all actions whatsoever, just as the true doctrine on the matter teaches.  What, then, is the motivation for illustrating Allah’s agency with the hearing of the dead?  What we say is this:

1-   The fact that Allah alone is the one making the dead to hear is a matter admitting of no ambiguity even for a blind man.  As for His being the one causing the living to hear in reality, it is not said like that.[86]  This is because one might falsely suppose that the Agent causing hearing in the one spoken to is the actual speaker, on the grounds that the hearing of the one spoken to directly follows the external voice issuing from the mouth of the person who addresses him. Hence to exemplify Allah’s agency with the hearing of the living is improper.  To give an example requires that its content be unambiguously clear; this is not the case in the category of living persons as we have explained.[87]

2-   Since the unbelievers were alive, to illustrate the fact that the Prophet cannot make them hear by comparing them to the living whom the Prophet cannot cause to hear comes close to fashioning a comparison between a thing and itself, as we find in that given by the poet who said:

            Surrounded as we are with water,

            We sit like people encircled by water.

            The Wahhabis respond, with regard to the hadith of the People of the Well, that the hearing experienced by the dead on the occasion when the Prophet questioned them was a miracle proper only to him. It does not count as evidence, they claim, that these dead were also capable of hearing the speech of someone else.  The answer to this is that the miracle is not a miracle unless its manifestation is a phenomenon experienced by other persons like the speaking of pebbles.  The Companions were hearing the voice of the pebbles glorifying Allah while they were being held in the palm of the Prophet’s hand.[88]  But it is impossible that the dead’s hearing of the Prophet speaking to them be a miracle since it was not manifest to anyone but himself.  Furthermore, the hadith reporting that the dead hear the thumping of sandaled feet (Bukhari and Muslim) contravenes such a phenomenon being a miracle in the case of the People of the Well.  For it indicates that dead people also hear the talk of other people besides the Prophet.

            The Wahhabis further respond that the object intended when the Prophet spoke to the dead was admonition of the living and not to cause an act of  understanding on the part of the dead. The answer to this is that if the intended object of his speech was admonition of the living, why did `Umar  ask: “How do you speak to bodies devoid of spirit?” out of astonishment at his speaking to them? I do not believe that fatuousness has pushed the Wahhabis to the point of thinking that after almost three-quarters of a millennium they understand what the Prophet meant better than his Companion, `Umar.  Besides, the answer the Prophet gave by itself constitutes denial that what he aimed at was admonition because he replied: “You do not hear better than they.”  This answer is obviously not suitable as an admonition.  On the contrary, it is a clear rejection of `Umar’s sense of farfetchedness in the Prophet’s behavior and astonishment because of it.

            The Wahhabis, finally, answer that the Prophet only spoke to the dead out of personal conviction that they hear.  Thereafter, they claim, the two verses of the Qur’an were revealed to correct his belief. The response to this is that it is unallowable that the Prophet believed anything like that of his own accord.  On the contrary, it came about necessarily in virtue of revelation and inspiration from his Lord. Allah said of him: “He does not speak of his own desire” (53:3). This is especially the case since he did not arrive at his knowledge of the matter by merely exercising his faculty of reason.  Rather, it came about by way of revelation and inspiration as we have said.

            One piece of evidence that indicates that Allah quickens the dead in their graves so that they hear is His statement retelling the avowal of those who said: “Our Lord, twice hast Thou put us to death and twice hast Thou quickened us” (40:11).  For what is meant by the first putting to death is the putting to death before resting in the grave. What is meant in the case of the other is the putting to death after resting in the grave.  If Allah did not give life in the graves a second time, it would be impossible to put to death a second time.  The Wahhabis answer this by saying that the first putting to death is the state of nonexistence prior to creation and the second putting to death is after creation.  In truth, this is amusing even for children because putting to death can take place only after the occurrence of life and there is no life prior to Allah’s creation of life.  As for their response that the first putting to death is the putting to death of people after their life in the world of atoms, it is weaker than the first answer.  People in the world of atoms were no different than spirits which Allah created and asked: “Am I not your Lord? and they answered, saying: Yes!” (7:172).  Moreover, the reader knows that death is defined as a separation of the soul from the body.  Hence, there is no death prior to embodiment, although it is possible for Allah to annihilate spirits after creating them. But that has nothing to do with death as we have just defined it.

            Finally, the Wahhabiyya usher forth evidence for the incapacity of dead people to hear on the basis of a legal ruling of the Shari`a that ulama apply in the case where a man performs  certain acts using such words as: “If I address X, my wife is divorced” — or: “my slave-girl is free.” Now, if that man speaks to X after his death, then the divorce is invalid and the act of manumission null.  They conclude that the basis of nullity and voidness is the fact that dead person lacks the faculty of hearing.

            We refuse to grant that the basis of the ruling for the ulama is the absence of hearing on the part of the dead.  On the contrary, they base themselves on what they know of custom, namely that it routinely makes the stipulating of oaths like the above, conditional on life. The whole benefit of speaking is the mutual exchange of communication, which does not place when one party of the communication is dead. Conversing with a dead person, therefore, does not qualify as speech only inasmuch as his death renders him powerless to respond — not because he is powerless to hear.

12: The Wahhabis’ takfir of the one who swears, makes a vow, or sacrifices by other than Allah

May Allah the Exalted fight the Wahhabis because they are intent on establishing reasons to declare Muslims unbelievers. They have shown that takfir is their highest ambition. You see them declaring as disbelievers persons who implore Allah for the sake of the Prophet and seek his help by intercession to Allah to accomplish their needs, while not feeling the slightest shame in seeking help from unbelievers of the foreign states of Europe[89] in order to carry out their plans which are to subject the Muslims to their control, make war against them, and, in rebellion from the authority of the Commander of the Faithful, renounce allegiance to him and the obedience to him which Allah has ordered in the Qur’an as we have explained earlier.  They have taken the enemies of Islam as intimate friends, asking them to aid them with military support in their corrupt purpose and using that support to perpetrate their stubborn harassment and error. Yet Allah has said: “O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors” (5:54). May our Lord remove the Wahhabis from the face of the earth. Do they not know that those same “friends” they make in order to subjugate Muslims to their tyranny, will, once they have gotten a foothold, in turn, subjugate and oppress them as well along with whomever else they consider adverse and opposed to their plans?

            We have shown that the practice of the Wahhabis is to declare all Muslims disbelievers. As we already said, they claim they are unbelievers because they implore Allah for the sake of prophets and saints and, in addition, call on them for help. Wahhabis also claim that Muslims are unbelievers if they swear by the name of someone else than Allah and make vows to other than Him and sacrifice animals for their sake.

            For the sake of argument, let us grant that certain doctrines which the Wahhabis attribute to Muslims are held by them and do in fact constitute disbelief, and that it is correct to say that the person asserting them has acted contrary to Islam.  Even then, it would still not be correct to pronounce the entire community of Muslims guilty of unbelief or even a specific Muslim individual.  For the latter might have made such a statement lacking knowledge of whatever texts would obligate acknowledgment of the truth.  Or it might be the case that such knowledge has not been suitably established in his view. Or perhaps he has not understood it and had what confuses him laid out in a fashion that allows him to beg forgiveness before Allah and seek proper excuses for his error.  For the one who believes in Allah and His Messenger, Allah is a Forgiver of sins whether committed in thought, word, or deed.  As for the more severe aspect of what He has revealed in the Qur’an concerning those who perpetrates those sins, it comes in the form of threats and, as it says, is meant for: “Whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein” (4:93); and “Those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, eat a fire into their own bodies: they will soon be enduring a blazing fire” (4:10); and: “Those who disobey Allah and His Messenger and transgress His limits will be admitted to a Fire, to abide therein: and they shall have a humiliating punishment” (4:14).

            In his book Madarij al-salikin, Ibn al-Qayyim has made the statement, the gist of which is as follows: The adherents of the Sunna of the Prophet are in complete agreement that Allah’s friendship and enmity might be found in the single individual in two different respects: there might exist in him faith and hypocrisy, as well as faith and unbelief together.  In addition,  he will be close to Allah in one respect more than the other.  Hence, of the people in one respect the Qur’an says: “They were that day nearer to unbelief than to faith” (3:167).  Associating a partner with Allah — shirk — falls into two classes: hidden and manifest. Hidden shirk might be forgiven. As for manifest shirk, there is no forgiveness for it without express repentance.

            Now swearing by someone other than Allah — Ibn Qayyim continues — does not remove the one who does it from Islam, even though there is mentioned in a hadith narrated on the authority of Ibn `Umar that:  “Whoever swears by someone other than Allah has associated a partner with Him.”[90] And in another narration of the same hadith: “Whoever swears by someone other than Allah has committed an act of kufr.”  The leading scholars of hadith in the schools of Shafi`i, Hanafi, Maliki and Hanbali law all construe kufr here to mean kufr al-ni`ma or the failure to acknowledge Allah’s favor or blessing.  As for the shirk mentioned in the first narration, they find it to be al-shirk al-khafi or the kind that is hidden rather than manifest such as occurs when one performs an act of piety in order to show off.  That does not remove a person from Islam.  Yet it defeats the religious purpose of that act.  On this much the ulama have reached a consensus so that those who follow the school of Imam Shafi`i, for example, say that it falls into the category of what is makruh tanzihan or reprehensible for purposes of scrupulous observance, rather than makruh tahriman or reprehensible to the point of prohibition and reprobation. Therefore, the mode of swearing about which the ulama disagree over whether it is reprehensible or prohibited cannot be said to make its perpetrator an unbeliever and thus remove him from Islam.[91]

            As for the vow to someone other than Allah, both Shaykh Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn al-Qayyim — who are among the most critical concerning this question — said that it is not permissible and that it constitutes an act of disobedience. Neither said that it constitutes an act of unbelief or of shirk such as would remove one from Islam. Their position is that fulfilling such a vow is not allowable, but that if the vow is to give alms to some deserving person among the poor, then, it is good for him in the sight of Allah. Now, if the one making the vow to someone other than Allah were an unbeliever then they would not have ordered him to perform an act of charity since charity is unacceptable from an unbeliever. Rather, they would have ordered him to renew his Islam.

            As for the sacrifice for the sake of someone other than Allah, Ibn Qayyim categorizes it under things prohibited, not under act of unbelief, except when one sacrifices to something worshipped besides the Creator.  Similarly,  those versed in knowledge record that it is prohibited because it is for the sake of someone other than Allah.  Nevertheless, they do not declare the one who performs such a sacrifice an unbeliever.


What I intended to elaborate in this hastily thrown together work has now been accomplished.  My purpose has been to prevent the spread of the Wahhabi school into Iraq and neighboring areas, to clarify for the individual reader the truth, and unveil for him what is correct.  He should no longer be deceived by whatever this subversive sect publishes to infect with its views the ignorant and the simple-minded.

            My efforts in this work have been aided by my brother and friend in Islam, the learned Ma`ruf Effendi al-Risafi, may the Creator long sustain him. And praise belongs to Allah first and last.


The indigent one relying on Allah the Exalted

Jamil Effendi Zahawi Zadah

Beginning of Ramadan 1322 A.H. (1904 C.E.)


                        [1]Vol. I and II, pub. As-Sunnah Foundation of America (1996).

                [2]A sound (sahih) hadith related by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, and al-Darimi.

                [3]Sulayman ibn `abd al-Wahhab al-Najdi, al-Sawa’iq al-Ilahiyya fi al-radd ‘ala al-Wahhabiyya [“Divine Lightnings in Refuting the Wahhabis”], ed. Ibrahim Muhammad al-Batawi (Cairo: dar al-insan, 1987). Offset reprint by Waqf Ikhlas, Istanbul: Hakikat Kitabevi, 1994.

                [4]These were self-declared prophets in the time of the Prophet and directly after.

                [5]It is an offense passible of death to disparage the Prophet in all Four Schools according to the ijma`. See the chapters on disparaging the Prophet in Qadi `Iyad’s Shifa’, Ibn Taymiyya’s Al-sarim al-maslul, Ibn Qunfudh’s Wasilat al-islam bi al-nabi, etc.

                [6]Bukhari, English ed. 9:50.

                [7]This is the father of al-Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad who died in Mecca in 1995 — may Allah have mercy on both of them.

                [8]E.g. asking Muslims to repeat their shahada, or killing them.

                [9]Edited by `Abd Allah ibn `Abd al-Rahman Al Bassam, 1st ed. (Cairo: Dar ihya al-kutub al-`arabiyah, 1377 [1957 or 1958]).

                [10]The mufti of Zabid (Yemen) al-Sayyid Abd al-Rahman al-Ahdal said: “It is enough testimony against Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab that the Prophet (s) said: “Their mark is that they shave,” for this was never done by any of the sects of innovators before him.” Related by al- Sayyid Ahmad Dahlan in his book Khulasat al-kalam fi bayan umara’ al-balad al-haram p. 235.

When Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab had a group of Muslims killed because they did not shave their heads as he required his followers to do, al-Mun`ami wrote a lampoon whose first verse is:

Afi halqi al-ra’si bis sakakina wal haddi

hadithun sahihun bil asanida `an jaddi

[Is there, concerning shaving the head at swordpoint,

an authentic hadith related from my ancestor the Prophet?]

                [11]Muhammad Siddiq Hasan, Nawab of Bhopal (1832-1890), author of al-Din al-khalis in 4 volumes (Cairo: Maktabat dar al-`urubah, 1956-1960).

                [12]I.e. created.

                [13]I.e. composed of both corporeal and spiritual matter.

                [14]I.e. non-created.

                [15]I.e. it lies in graver conclusions yet.

                [16]An aberrant, anthropomorphizing interpretation of the hadith in Sahih Muslim (English ed. 2:616) whereby at the end of the Farewell Pilgrimage the Prophet pointed his finger in turn at the sky then at the people, saying: “O Allah, be witness, O Allah, be witness, O Allah, be witness.”

                [17]In kalam or theology Allah’s “necessity” (wujub) is a reference to necessary existence and self-sufficiency, which applies to Allah alone, whereas all other existence possesses only “contingency” (imkan).

[18]Or His reward, as Imam Ahmad interpreted it. See Bayhaqi’s sound report in Ibn Kathir’s al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya 10:327 and Ibn al-Jawzi’s Daf` shubah al-tashbih (Saqqaf ed.) p. 13.

[19]Or His acceptance, as interpreted by Abu Hayyan in Tafsir al-bahr al-muhit (7:303) and Bayhaqi in Ibn Hajar’s Fath al-Bari (13:416).

[20]Or: His power and His order, as Imam Ahmad interpreted it.  See Bayhaqi’s sound report in Ibn Kathir’s al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya 10:327 and Ibn al-Jawzi’s Daf` shubah al-tashbih (Saqqaf ed.) p. 110 and 141.

[21]As reported also from some of the Salaf, such as Imam Malik: see Ibn `Abd al-Barr, al-Tamhid (7:143) and Dhahabi, Siyar a`lam al-nubala’ (8:105).

                [22]“Ghazali has pointed out that this hadith is not mutawatir… Having said this, however, al-Ghazali adds [Mustasfa 1:111] that a number of prominent Companions have reported ahadith from the Prophet, which although different on their wording, are all in consonance on the theme of the infallibility of the community and its immunity from error… [Both he and al-Amidi in al-Ihkam 1:220-221] observe that the main purport of these ahadith… convey positive [qat`i] knowledge, and that the infallibility of the ummah is sustained by their collective weight.” Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1991) p. 178.  See Ibn al-`Arabi al-Maliki’s list of the ahadith pertaining to ijma` in his commentary on Tirmidhi’s relevant section in Kitab al-fitan: `Aridat al-ahwadhi (Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-`ilmmiyya, n.d.) 9:8-11.

                [23]Ibn Majah 2:1303 #3950.

                [24]Mutawatir (Bukhari and Muslim).

                [25]Tirmidhi (hasan).

                [26]Muslim (Imara #55) through Ibn `Abbas.  Muslim relates it with slight variations through three more chains.  Ibn Abi Shayba also relates it in his Musannaf.

                [27]Al-zahir la yuqawimu al-qati`: “The external sense does not stand in opposition to what is decisively known.

                [28]It is reported that the Prophet asked Mu`adh ibn Jabal upon the latter’s departure as judge to the Yemen: “How will you apply judgment when the occasion arises?” He said: “I shall judge according to Allah’s Book.” The Prophet asked: “And if you do not find [an answer]?” He said: “Then by the Sunna of His Messenger.” The Prophet said: “And if you do not find [an answer]?” He said: “Then I shall do my best to form an opinion and spare no pain.” The prophet slapped his chest and said: “Praise belongs to Allah Who has blessed the messenger of Allah’s Messenger’s with something pleasing to Allah’s Messenger.” Related by Abu Dawud (Eng. 3:1019 #3585).

                [29]Anas and others in Bukhari and Muslim.

                [30]It is not necessary, according to consensus, that he possess profound erudition in the Arabic language (tabahhur), but it is enough that he have a moderate erudition (tawassut) as described by Zahawi.

                [31]By this are meant the science of differences of opinions (`ilm al-khilaf), the science of consensus in opinions (`ilm al-ijma`), and the science of analogy and its kinds (`ilm al-qiyas).

                [32]It is not necessary that he reach the rank of hadith master (hafiz), as Suyuti in al-radd `ala man akhlad points out by listing non-hafiz absolute mujtahids (mujtahid mutlaq) such as Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi, Ibn al-Sabbagh, al-Juwayni, and al-Ghazali.

                [33]Suyuti has listed among the mujtahids whose mastership is recognized at one and the same time in the three fields of jurisprudence, hadith, and the Arabic language: himself, Ibn al-Salah, Abu Shama, al-Nawawi, Ibn Daqiq al-`Id, and Taqi al-Din al-Subki among others.

                [34]Al-Sakhawi relates in the introduction to his biography of Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani entitled al-Jawahir wa al-durar that Ahmad said neither yes nor no to the figure of 300,000, but he gestured with his hand that it was acceptable (Cairo 1986 ed. p. 26). Ibn al-Jawzi relates in al-Hathth `ala hafz al-`ilm (Alexandria ed. 1983 p. 43) that Abu Zur`a said that Imam Ahmad knew no less than 1,000,000 hadiths.

                [35]According to Imam Ahmad’s statement reported by Al-Hakim in his Madkhal li `ulum al-hadith (Robson ed. p. 13) there were 7,000,000 sound hadiths known in his time, of which the hafiz Abu Zur`a had memorized 6; and he sat at Bukhari’s feet like a young boy learning. All these numbers refer to chains of transmission, not texts.

                [36]These are the renewers of religion according to Ahl al-Sunna:

1st Century: `Umar ibn `Abd al-Aziz (62-101)

2nd: Abu Hanifa (80-150), Malik  (93-179), al-Shafi`i (150-204)

3rd: Ahmad ibn Hanbal (164-241), Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari (260-324)

4th: al-Hakim al-Naysaburi (321-405)

5th: al-Bayhaqi (384-458), al-Ghazali (450-505)

6th: Fakhr al-din al-Razi (544-606)

7th: al-Nawawi (631-676), Ibn Daqiq al-`Eid (?-702)

8th: Taqi al-Din al-Subki (683-756), al-Bulqini (724-805)

9th: al-`Asqalani (773-852), al-Suyuti (849-911)

10th: al-Sha`rani (898-973)

11th: al-Faruqi al-Sirhindi (971-1034)

12th: Ibn `Alawi al-Haddad (1046-1132)

13th: Khalid al-Baghdadi (1193-1242)

14th: al-Kawthari (d. 1371)

                [37]Related by Abu Dawud.

Ibn Qayyim said: “There is an obligatory (wajib) taqlid, a forbidden taqlid, and a permitted taqlid… The obligatory taqlid is the taqlid of those who know better than us, as when a person has not obtained knowledge of an evidence from the Qur’an or the Sunna concerning something.  Such a taqlid has been reported from Imam al-Shafi`i in many places, where he would say: “I said this in taqlid of `Umar” or “I said that in taqlid of `Uthman” or “I said that in taqlid of `Ata’.”  As Al-Shafi`i said concerning the Companions — may Allah be well pleased with all of them: “Their opinion for us is better than our opinion to ourselves.””  Ibn Qayyim, A`lam al-muwaqqi`in `an rabb al-`alamin 2:186-187.

                [38]All three are related by Bukhari and Muslim.

                [39]Zahawi mentions them often because Salafis consider them their highest scholarly authorities. Yet, as he shows, they contradict them on many foundational issues, such as this one.

                [40]I.e. he cannot be declared an unbeliever.

                [41]Bukhari and Muslim have more than one form of this hadith.

                [42]Sound (sahih) hadith related through various chains by Ibn Majah, Muqaddima 12, and Ahmad 4:355, 382, 5:250, 253, 256, 269.

                [43]These and many other ahadith have been understood by some scholars to apply to the Wahhabis as well.  See above, section following the bibliography.

                [44]Ibn Majah, Talaq 16. Tabarani also relates it through two good chains. See Haythami, Majma` al-zawa’id.

                [45]Ahmad 4:267, 271, 276; Tirmidhi, Tafsir of surat 2:16 (#2969) and 40 (#3247, #3372) (hasan sahih); Abu Dawud Witr # 1479 (sahih); Ibn Hibban; Bukhari in al-Adab al-mufrad (sahih); Ibn Majah, Du`a Ch. 1 (#3828), and Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman 2:37 (#1105bis); without “inna”: Muslim, Tabarani, al-Hakim, al-Nisa’i, and Ibn Abi Shayba.

                [46]Suyuti: Miftah al jannah fi al-i`tisam bi al-sunnah.

                [47]E.g. in the sense of calling someone.

                [48]al-Zamakhshari’s Qur’anic commentary entitled al-Kashshaf `an haqaiq al-tanzil wa-`uyun al-aqawil fi wujuh al-ta’wil.

                [49]Suyuti: al-Itqan fi `ulum al-Qur’an.

                [50]Tirmidhi, Tafsir 2:22; Abu Dawud, Manasik 68; Ibn Majah, Manasik 57; Darimi, Manasik 54.

                [51]This is Sharh tanqih al-fusul fi al-usul by Ahmad ibn Idris al-Qarafi al-Maliki (d. 1285 CE).

                [52]Imam Ahmad, for example. `Ala’ al-Din al-Mardawi said in his book al-insaf fi ma`rifat al-rajih min al-khilaf `ala madhhab al-Imam al-mubajjal Ahmad ibn Hanbal (3:456): “The correct position of the [Hanbali] madhhab is that it is permissible in one’s supplication (du`a) to use as means a pious person, and it is said that it is desirable (mustahabb).  Imam Ahmad said to al-Marwadhi: yatawassalu bi al-nabi fi du`a’ih — “Let him use the Prophet as a means in his supplication to Allah.””

Al-hafiz Taqi al-Din al-Subki said: “Verily Allah knows that every goodness in my life which He has bestowed upon me is on account of the Prophet (s), that my recourse is to him, and that my reliance is upon him in seeking a means to Allah in every matter of mine.  Verily he is my means to Allah in this world and the next.” In Fatawa al-Subki, beginning of the article entitled “The Descent of Tranquility and Peace on the Nightlights of Madina” (tanazzul al-sakina `ala qanadil al-madina) 1:274.

Imam Shawkani said in his commentary on al-Jazari’s (d. 833) `Iddat al-hisn al-hasin entitled Tuhfat al-dhakirin bi `iddat al-hisn al-hasin: “He [al-Jazari] said: Let him make tawassul to Allah with His Prophets and the salihin or saints (in his du`a). I say: And exemplifying tawassul with the Prophets is the hadith extracted by Tirmidhi et al. (of the blind man saying: O Allah, I ask You and turn to You by means of Muhammad the Prophet of Mercy)… as for tawassul with the saints, among its examples is the hadith, established as sound, of the Companions’ tawassul asking Allah for rain by means of al-`Abbas the Prophet’s uncle, and `Umar said: “O Allah, we use as means to You the uncle of our Prophet etc.” (Beirut ed. 1970) p. 37.

                [53]Suyuti, Jami` al-ahadith 496 #2694. Haythami in Majma` al-zawa’id: “Tabarani related it and its men are those of sound hadith except Ibn Luhay`a who is fair (hasan).

                [54]And: “Those who swear allegiance unto thee swear allegiance only unto Allah” (48:10).

                [55]Bukhari and Muslim.

                [56]I.e. secondary causes.

                [57]Kitab al-Tawhid.

                [58]To be wary of Allah is itself a means to Him, therefore the order that follows it (“Seek a means to Him”), if it refers to actions, is a reiteration of the action already named (“Fear Allah”) for emphasis. This Zahawi calls ta’kid. If it refers to persons, however, it is a definition of a distinct action rather than a reiteration of the action already named. This Zahawi calls ta’sis. In the latter case the strength of the two orders is greater.

                [59]Al-`Utbi said: As I was sitting by the grave of the Prophet (s), a Beduin Arab came and said: “Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah!  I have heard Allah saying: “If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah’s forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful” (4:64), so I have come to you asking forgiveness (of Allah) for my sin, seeking your intercession with my Lord.” Then he began to recite poetry:

O best of those whose bones are buried in the deep earth,

And from whose fragrance the depth and height have become sweet,

May I be the ransom for a grave which thou inhabit,

And in which are found purity and bounty and munificence!

Then he left, and I dozed and saw the Prophet (s) in my sleep. He said to me: “O `Utbi, run after the Beduin and give him glad tidings that Allah has forgiven him.”

Related in: Nawawi, Adhkar, Mecca ed. p. 253-254, and al-Idah fi manasik al-hajj, chapter on visiting the Prophet; Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, al-Jawhar al-munazzam [commentary on Nawawi’s Idah]; al-Qurtubi, commentary on 4:64 in Ahkam al-Qur’an 5:265; Samhudi, Khulasat al-Wafa p. 121 (from Nawawi); Dahlan, Khulasat al-Kalam 2:247; Ibn Kathir, Tafsir 4:64 and al-Bidayat wa al-nihayat 1:180; Abu Muhammad ibn Qudama, al-Mughni 3:556; Abu al-Faraj ibn Qudama, al-Sharh al-kabir 3:495; al-Bahooti al-Hanbali, Kashshaf al-qina` 5:30; Taqi al-Din al-Subki, Shifa’ al-siqam p. 52; and Ibn al-Jawzi, Muthir al-gharam al-sakin ila ashraf al-amakin.

                [60]Related in Musnad Ahmad (3:21), Ibn Majah (Masajid), al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (1:179), Ibn Khuzayma in his Sahih, Ibn al-Sani, and Abu Nu`aym. Ghazali mentions it in the Ihya and `Iraqi said: it is hasan. Nawawi mentions Ibn al-Sani’s two chains in the Adhkar and says they are weak. However, Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani says it is hasan in al-Amali al-masriyya (#54) and the Takhrij of Nawawi’s book, explaining that the latter neglected Abu Sa`id al-Khudri’s narration and omitted to mention Ibn Majah’s.

                [61]I.e. her grave.

                [62]Haythami says in Majma` al-zawa’id: “Tabarani’s chain contains Rawh ibn Salah who has some weakness but Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim declared him trustworthy. The rest of its sub-narrators are the men of sound hadith.”

                [63]Sound (sahih) hadith related by Bayhaqi, Abu Nu`aym in the Ma`rifa, Mundhiri (Targhib 1:473-474), Haythami, and Tabarani in the Kabir (9:17-18) and the Saghir (1:184/201-202) on the authority of `Uthman ibn Hunayf’s nephew Abu Imama ibn Sahl ibn Hunayf.

                [64]Ibn Kathir cites it from Bayhaqi in al-bidaya wa al-nihaya (7:92) and says: isnaduhu sahih; Ibn Abi Shayba cites it in his “Musannaf” with a sound (sahih) chain as confirmed by Ibn Hajar who says: rawa Ibn Abi Shayba bi isnadin sahih and cites the hadith in Fath al-bari Istisqa’ ch. 3 (Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-`ilmiyya, 1410/1989 2:629-630). Ibn Hajar says that the man who visited and saw the Prophet (s) in his dream is identified as the Companion Bilal ibn al-Harth. He counts this hadith as one of the reason for Bukhari’s naming of the chapter “The people’s request to their leader for rain if they suffer drought.”

In his edition of Ibn Hajar, the Wahhabi scholar Ibn Baz rejects the hadith as a valid source for seeking rain through the Prophet (s) —  although it is established that the hadith is sound — and condemns the act of the Companion who came to the grave, calling it “munkar” and “wasilat ila al-shirk.” Fath al-Bari 2:630n.

                [65]I.e. of definite authenticity and commanding belief.

                [66]Already referenced in the section on ijma`.

                [67]Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-anbiya’.

                [68]Kitab al-tawhid.

                [69]Hadith hasan (fair) related by Tabarani in al-Kabir, Abu Ya`la, Ibn al-Sani, and Haythami in Majma` al-zawa’id 10:132. Bayhaqi relates something close to it on the authority of Ibn `Abbas in Kitab al-adaab” (p. 436): “Allah has angels on earth who keep a record even of the leaves that falls on the ground.  Therefore, if one of you has a lameness in his leg or finds himself in need in a deserted place of the earth, let him say: a`inu `ibad Allah rahimakum Allah, “Help, O servants of Allah, may Allah have mercy on you!”  Verily he shall be helped, if Allah wills.”  Ibn Hajar said its chain is fair (isnaduhu hasan) in al-Amali. Bayhaqi relates it with two more chains from Ibn `Abbas in Shu`ab al-iman (1:183 #167; 6:128 #7697) and another from Ibn Mas`ud in Hayat al-anbiya’ ba`da wafatihim (p. 44) also related in al-Kabir by Tabarani who has ya `ibad Allah a`inu repeated three times, Ibn al-Sani, Abu Ya`la, and Nawawi in al-Adhkar. Ibn Abi Shayba relates in his Musannaf (7:103) through Aban ibn Salih that the Prophet (s) said: “If one of you loses his animal or his camel in a deserted land where there is no-one in sight, let him say: “O servants of Allah, help me! (a`inu `ibad Allah), for verily he will be helped.” The latter is the same as Bayhaqi’s narration #167 from Ibn `Abbas.

                [70]I.e. there is no controversy about asking their help.

                [71]Shawkani allows the calling on someone invisible: “In the hadith (of a`inu) there is evidence that it is permissible to ask help from those one does not see among the servants of Allah, whether angels or good jinn, and there is nothing wrong in doing it, just as it is permissible for someone to seek the help of human beings if his mount becomes unmanageable or runs loose.” Tuhfat al-dhakirin p. 155-156.

                [72]Ibn Mas`ud’s narration of ahbisu is the weaker of the chains and `Utba’s narration of a`inu the stronger. Ibn Hajar said of the former, as reported by Ibn `Allan in his Futuhat (5:145): “A rare (gharib) hadith related by Ibn al-Sani (#508) and Tabarani (cf. Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir 1:307) and its chain is interrupted.” Both Ibn Hajar and al-Haythami (Majma` 10:132) said: “Its chain contains Ma`ruf ibn Hassan who is weak.” (Shawkani mentions that Abu Ya`la cites it also.) However, as the third previous note shows, the hadith a`inu is established as authentic.

Nawawi relates in Al-adhkar after mentioning the hadith ahbisu: “One of our very knowledgeable teachers related to me that one day his animal ran loose — I think it was a mule — and he knew that hadith, so he said it, and Allah restrained it for them on the spot.  I myself was with a group one time when one of their animals broke free and they were unable to restrain it, so I said it: it stopped on the spot with no reason other than those words.” Shawkani cites Nawawi’s two accounts in his Tuhfat al-dhakirin.

                [73]Reported by Ibn Muflih al-Hanbali in his book al-Adaab al-shar`iyya.

                [74]I.e. a Muslim.

                [75]From Abu Hurayra: I heard the Prophet (s) say: “By the one in Whose hand is Abu al-Qasim’s soul, `Isa ibn Maryam shall descend as a just and wise ruler. He shall destroy the cross, slay the swine, eradicate discord and grudges, and money shall be offered to him but he will not accept it.  Then he shall stand at my graveside and say: Ya Muhammad! and I will answer him.”

Abu Ya`la relates it with a sound chain in his Musnad (Dar al-Ma’mun ed. 1407/1987) 11:462; Ibn Hajar cites it in al-matalib al-`aliya (Kuwait, 1393/1973) 4:23, chapter entitled: “The Prophet’s life in his grave” and #4574; Haythami says in Majma` al-zawa’id (8:5), chapter entitled: “`Isa ibn Maryam’s Descent”: “Its sub-narrators are the men of sound (sahih) hadith.”

Bukhari in his Adab al-mufrad, Nawawi in his Adhkar, and Shawkani in Tuhfat al-dhakirin all relate the narrations of Ibn `Umar and Ibn `Abbas whereby they would call out Ya Muhammad whenever they had a cramp in their leg (Chapters entitled: “What one says if he feels a cramp in his leg”). Regardless of the grade of these narrations, it is significant that Bukhari, Nawawi, and Shawkani never raised such a disturbing notion as to say that calling out “O Muhammad” amounted to shirk.  See the following editions:

Nawawi’s Adhkar:

1970 Riyadh edition: p. 271

1988 Ta’if edition: p. 383

1992 Mecca edition: p. 370

Bukhari’s Adab al-mufrad:

1990 `Abd al-Baqi Beirut edition: p. 286

1994 Albani edition entitled Da`if al-adab al-mufrad: p. 87

The latter gives as a reference: Takhrij al-kalim al-tayyib (235)”

date?  Beirut: `Alam al-kitab: p. 324

date?  Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-`ilmiyya: p.142.

Shawkani’s Tuhfat al-dhakirin:

1970  Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-`ilmiyya: p. 206-207.

                [76]Muslim (Jana’iz, penultimate chapter; Adahi 37); Abu Dawud (Jana’iz 77; Ashriba 7); Tirmidhi (Jana’iz 7, 60); Nisa’i (Jana’iz 100; Dahaya 39; Ashriba 40); Ibn Majah (Jana’iz 47); Ahmad (1:145, 452; 3:38, 63, 66, 237, 250; 5:350, 355-357, 359, 361).

                [77]This prohibition does not include the grave of the Prophet, concerning which visit `Iyad and Marwazi hold the same position as the ijma`, namely that it is a Sunna mustahabba.

                [78]Shawkani in Nayl al-awtar confirms that Bilal undertook travel for the express purpose of visiting the Prophet (s) according to a report with a good chain in hafiz Ibn `Asakir’s Tarikh Dimashq.

                [79]A sound (sahih) tradition related on the authority of Anas and others by Muslim, Nasa’i, Bayhaqi in the Dala’il al-nubuwwa and the Hayat al-anbiya, and Suyuti in Anba’ al-adhkya’ and Sharh al-sudur.  Nawawi said in his commentary on this hadith: “The work of the next world is all dhikr and du`a” (Sharh Sahih Muslim 1/73/267).

                [80]A sound (sahih) tradition related on the authority of Anas ibn Malik (r) by al-Bazzar in his Musnad, Abu Ya`la in his Musnad, Ibn `Adi in al-Kamil fi al-du`afa’, Tammam al-Razi in al-Fawa’id, al-Bayhaqi in Hayat al-anbiya’ fi quburihim, Abu Nu`aym in Akhbar Asbahan, Ibn `Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq, al-Haythami in Majma` al-zawa’id(8:211), al-Suyuti in Anba’ al-adhkiya’ bi-hayat al-anbiya’  (#5), and al-Albani, in Silsilat al-ahadith al-sahihah (#621).  Suyuti adds: “The life of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, in his grave, and [also] that of the rest of the prophets is known to us as definitive knowledge (`ilman qat`iyyan).”  Sakhawi, Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani’s student, said: “As for us (Muslims) we believe and we confirm that he (s) is alive and provided for in his grave” (al-Qawl al-badi` p. 161). Ibn al-Qayyim said in Kitab al-Ruh p. 58: “It is obligatory knowledge to know that his body (s) is in the earth tender and humid (i.e. as in life), and when the Companions asked him: ‘How is our greeting presented to you after you have turned to dust’ he replied: ‘Allah has defended the earth from consuming the flesh of Prophets,’ and if his body were not in his grave he would not have given this answer.”

                [81]Abu al-Shaykh cites it in Kitab al-Salat `ala al-nabi (“Jala’ al-afham” p. 22), and Ibn Hajar says in Fath al-Bari (6:379): “Abu al-Shaykh cites it with a good chain (sanad jayyid).”  Bayhaqi mentions it in Hayat al-anbiya and Shu`ab al-iman (2:218 #1583).

                [82]A sound (sahih) tradition related on the authority of Aws ibn Aws al-Thaqafi by: Ahmad in his Musnad, Ibn Abi Shaybah in the Musannaf, Abu Dawud in the Sunan, Nisa’i in his Sunan, Ibn Majah in his Sunan, Darimi in his Musnad, Ibn Khuzaymah in his Sahih, Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, Hakim in the Mustadrak, Tabarani in his Kabir, Bayhaqi in Hayat al-anbiya’, Suyuti in Anba’ al-adkhiya, Dhahabi who confirmed al-Hakim’s grading, and Nawawi in the Adhkar.  Another version in Ibn Majah has this addition: “And the Prophet of Allah is alive and provided for (fa nabiyyullahi hayyun yurzaq).”  Bayhaqi mentions it also in the Sunan al-kubra.

                [83]See also the “Chapter on the Proofs Used to Establish the Knowledge that the Dead Hear in the Graves” in Ibn al-Qayyim’s al-Ruh and similar chapters in Suyuti’s Sharh al-sudur, Ibn al-Kharrat’s al-`Aqiba, Ibn Rajab’s Ahwal al-qubur, Subki’s Shifa’ al-siqam and others.

                [84]Ibn Hajar says in al-Isaba (8:187): “Mihjana, also named Umm Mihjan: a black woman who used to sweep the mosque [in Madina]. She is mentioned in the books of sound (sahih) hadith but without being named.”

                [85]See Ibn Qayyim’s section “That the Hearing of the Dead is Real” in Al-Ruh (Madani ed. 1984) p. 59: “The actual meaning of these verses (35:22 and 27:80) is: You cannot make those hear whom Allah does not wish to hear, for you are only a Warner.  That is: Allah has only given you the ability to warn, for which he has made you responsible; not that of making those to hear whom Allah does not wish to hear.”

                [86]I.e. it is inappropriate to use such terms.

                [87]Zahawi’s point is that Allah highlighted the power to make the dead hear in the Qur’an as an example of His agency, because in the case of the dead, His agency is more evident to the mind than in the case of the living, although He equally effects the hearing of both the living and the dead.

                [88]Hadith of Abu Dharr related by Haythami in “Majma` al-zawa’id” with a sound (sahih) chain, chapter entitled `Alamat al-nubuwwa (Signs of Prophethood): “The Prophet took pebbles and they glorified Allah in his hand; he put them down and they became silent…”

                [89]And now America.

                [90]A sound (sahih) hadith related by Abu Dawud, Iman 3:570 (3251), and Tirmidhi, Iman 5:253 (1535).

                [91]This is Ibn Qayyim’s text in Kitab al-Salat of the Madarij: “About Greater Shirk Allah says: “Surely whoever ascribes partners to Allah, for him Allah has forbidden the Garden. His abode is the Fire. For wrong-doers there will be no helpers” (5:72); and also: “Whoever ascribes partners to Allah, it is as if he had fallen from the sky and the birds had snatched him or the wind blown him to a far-off place” (22:31).  About showing off He says: “And whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, let him do righteous works, and associate no partner in the worship due only to his Lord” (18:110).

“On this same subject of Lesser Shirk, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “Whoever swears an oath by other than Allah has associated something with Him.” This was related by Abu Dawud and others. However, it is well known that swearing an oath by something other than Allah does not take one out of the community of the Muslims, and it does not make someone a disbeliever. In the same vein the Prophet said: “Shirk in this Umma is stealthier than creeping ants.”  [Ahmad 4:403; Albani considers it sound in Sahih al-Jami` al-saghir, 3:333 (3624).]




The Author: Al-Shaykh Jamil Effendi al-Siqdi al-Zahawi was the son of the Mufti of Iraq and a descendant of Khalid ibn al-Walid.  He was educated in the Islamic sciences chiefly by his father and, besides going on to become the greatest Arabic and Persian poet of modern Iraq, was also a literary master in the other two Islamic languages of the time: Turkish and Kurdish.


Al-Zahawi gave early proofs of his scholarly talents.  By the age of forty he had served on the board of education in Baghdad, as the director of the state printing office, as editor of the chief state publication, al-Zawra’, and as a member of the Baghdad court of appeal.  The second half of his life was devoted to writing, journalism, and teaching.  He taught philosophy and Arabic literature in Istanbul and law in Baghdad.  A prolific writer, at one point he declined the office of court poet and historian of Iraq offered him by King Faysal.  In addition to the above he was scientifically inclined and wrote papers on various scientific topics such as electricity and the power of repulsion, all this despite a chronic disease of the spine which had crippled him from his twenty-fifth year.


At the turn of the century Arabia had witnessed the return of the Wahhabis to power and the open rebellion of their forces against the Caliph of the Islamic community.  What was worse, the Wahhabi heresy was knocking at the gates of Baghdad, and the scholars of Ahl al-Sunna spoke out in order to stem its rising tide.  In 1905 at the age of 42 and upon the request of his father al-Zahawi published this eloquent indictment of the sect’s innovations in doctrine and jurisprudence, refuting its tenets one by one.  He named the book, of which the present work forms the major part, al-Fajr al-sadiq fi al-radd `ala munkiri al-tawassul wa al-khawariq (“The True Dawn: A Refutation of Those Who Deny The Validity of Using Means to Allah and the Miracles of Saints”).  The title indicates Zahawi’s opinion, reminiscent of that of other scholars who wrote similar refutations, that the Wahhabi position on tawassul represents the essence of their deviation from the beliefs of Ahl al-Sunna, although it is but one of their many divergences with Sunni Muslims.


Zahawi’s brilliant style, his acute sense of balance and moderation, and his luminous logic and concision gave this brief book an undisputed place of honor among modern works of heresiology.  May Allah reward him with His generosity, as well as those who collaborated on this timely and all-beneficial translation for the edification of English-speaking Muslims.  We warmly recommend this book to all the sincere students and teachers who are interested in the growth and dissemination of sound Islamic belief in the West. As Sayyidina `Umar said, “This Religion is our flesh and our blood, so watch from whom you take it”: in our time it is a duty to inform ourselves as to the soundness of the religious teaching which we are receiving and passing on to our children.  For our own sake and theirs, we must discern the sources of such teaching with extreme caution, sifting the sound from the unsound, correcting what is wrong with our hand, our tongue, and our heart.

2 thoughts on “Wahhabism & Salafism

  1. Assalamu alaikum

    I am bewildred to read above that Sh. Attabek studied with the wahhabi kingoin – ibn Uthaymin. Please clarify why he did so?


  2. Why did Imam al-Ghazali study the works of philosophers? Other examples could be given. In order to properly refute something a person first needs knowledge of and insight into that which he seeks to refute. Otherwise his rebuttals will be weak and superficial. If you listen to some of the lectures of the sheikh you will quickly notice that he shows no influence from the ‘salafi’/Wahhabi movement. The sheikh already had many years of studies behind him with sunni scholars in ‘aqida and other fields. It is different from someone who lacks firm knowledge and a strong foundation, like me for example, going to Saudi to study with ‘salafi’/wahhabi scholars which could potentially be (and often is) devastating.

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