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Various Questions (4)

Answered by Shaykh Gibril Haddad


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{ وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا }

{ And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids, abstain from it } 59-7

Keywords, Questions
Athari/ Hanbali/ Ashʿari/ Maturidi Terminology  Awliya and Qutb  Celebrating Christmas with the Christians  Commemoration of al-Husayn on Ashura?   Displaying body of the deceased  Do Muslims Have to Give Bay'a to an Amir?  Donating reward of Salat  Explaining the ruling for apostasy  Flirting and chattering  Forbidden Forms of Dhikr  Greatness of the (non-)Arabs  Hanbali ʿAqida of Sh ʿAbd al-Qadir  Heart-Nafs-Shaytan  Imam Malik and the Sufis   Looking for American Imams?  Minimum age of fetus to be called miscarriage  Regarding Marriage and Consent  Reply to modernist‘s crit. of ʿawra  Student - Shaykh relations  Sulayman ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab   The Book of Allah and my Sunna  The Qutb  Two Sahihs‘ Canonicity & al-Ghazali  UK Kharijis  Was Mariya al-Qibtiyya ever a spouse?  What is haram is haram at all times  Zakat funds to build mosques  


Q. Shayatin and Mala´ika (kiram al-katibin) do not have access to intention and to the deep part in the heart. However, when one follows ones‘ thoughts, it seems as if Shaytan‘s wispering coincides sometimes with the way the nafs "thinks" during internal dialogue. Sometimes one feels that such thoughts are not from nafs but from shaytan. How does Shaytan know the details of ones‘ thoughts - if he does- so that he wispers at appropriate moments during our internal dialogue?

A. As you indicated there are levels to the heart. Hence, the heart, the mind, and the nafs are terms used interchangeably or exclusively of each other depending on a variety of contexts and according to positive and negative meanings. Regarding accessibility the Naqshbandis said, according to a five-leveled convention, that shaytan has access only to the surface which they called qalb (heart) - in which sense it coincides to the nafs al ammara as indicated by the hadiths on the rusting of the heart or its blotting by a black spot upon sinning (we seek refuge in Allah from the death of the heart) - but not to the other levels such as sirr (secret), sirr al-sirr (secretest), khafa (hidden), and akhfa (hiddenmost). There is more but I seek refuge in Allah from venturing out of my depth. I pray that someone more qualified speak, and Allah knows best.

GF Haddad

The Qutb

Q. Who is commonly considered the qutb in this day and age by the righteous ʿulama'? Or are there aqtab?

A. Al-Jurjani in the Taʿrifat and al-Munawi in the Tawqif ʿala Muhimmat al-Taʿarif suggest that there is always a Qutb and that is the received wisdom in the literature on this topic. However, specific knowledge of the Qutb(s) is of no use even to the generality of the Awliya and lies outside the scope of their interests and activities, let alone the common public.

Imam Ibn ʿAbidin in his comprehensive epistle on the Qutb and Ghawth - synonyms - mentioned that the title is sometimes used in a relative sense to indicate a spiritual authority in a certain region or for certain people in a certain time, or for certain spiritual functions and offices exclusive of others as opposed to "the" supreme Qutb. In that relative sense Imam al-Shaʿrani said it is sufficient for the student who wishes to maximize his progress to regard his own Shaykh as the Qutb. Imam ʿAbd Allah al-Haddad said in his Sufi Fatwas and Risalat al-Murid that the best avenue of success for the Murid, even with little effort on his part, is to maintain a good opinion of his Shaykh. The latter is in fact the minimal condition of success sine qua non as agreed upon in Sufi writings from Ibn Khafif al-Shirazi's time down to ours.

The Qutb al-Ghawth Shaykh Abd al-Aziz al-Dabbagh in al-Ibriz said a beautiful word on this. When his student Shaykh Ibn al-Mubarak told him, "So-and-so has come to visit our locality, he is said to be a qutb; may I go and see him?" he said yes, then he told him: "All the qutbs are here" pointing to his own chest, or something to that effect.

He also said, "If someone told me that all the Qutbs were around the corner I would be content with you for company. You are my lot among the Murids and I am your lot among the Shaykhs."

The Awliya are a great affair. Ibn al-Jawzi said in the introduction to his Sifat al-Safwa (Portrait of the Quintessence) that "They are the objective of all that exists." Allah be well-pleased with them and accept us among the Mutamalliqin at their door-steps, i.e. "gentlest in endearing ourselves to them through gentle request imbued with lowliness and broken-spiritedness before the Most Great and Most Exalted" as per al-Sharnubi's explanation of that attribute (mutamalliq) which Ibn ʿAta Allah used in his Munaajaat.

Hajj Gibril

Commemoration of al-Husayn on Ashura?

Q. Is transmitting the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (ra) part of sunnah of rasul (saw). What do we actually have to do on this day? is it sunnah?

A. No. Ashura is an important and great day in Islam not because of the historical events in question but because of Divine and Prophetic stipulations that concern it as part of Muharram, the holiest month after Ramadan. To follow other than those Divinely-ordained stipulations is a distraction from the proper observance of that great day that would rob its victim blind of its benefit here and hereafter, especially compounded with the added delusion that such innovation is a pious deed.

The modality of observance of Ashura is found in the Sunna and nowhere else. And the Sunni practice on Ashura' consists in fasting (an emphasized sunna that carries tremendous reward and expiation of sins); giving sadaqa (which on this day is multiplied by the days of the year); renewed generosity and kindness to one's immediate dependents; honoring and visiting the returning pilgrims to the House of Allah and asking their dua; and visiting the Ulema and Awliya.

As for the merits of using kohl or henna, or doing ghusl on that day: it is based on false evidence and forgeries. (The report, "Whoever dyes his eyelids with kohl on the day of Ashura shall never suffer ophthalmia for the rest of his life" is forged by agreement of al-Hakim per al-Fayruzabadi in Sifr al-Saʿada; Ibn al-Jawzi in the Mawduʿat; Ibn Nasir al-Din in al-Lafz al-Mukarram bi-Fadli Ashura' al-Muharram; Ibn Rajab in Lata'if al-Maʿarif; al-Sakhawi in the Maqasid; al-Haytami in the Sawaʿiq al-Muhriqa; and al-Qari in the Masnuʿ.)

Therefore, if by "transmitting the martyrdom" of our liege-lord al-Husayn (Allah be well-pleased with him) is meant the scholarly narration of those events by a qualified historian in a book or a gathering, this has been done by some past masters such as Ibn Abi al-Dunya, al-Baghawi, and Ibn Nasir al-Din in monographs and by al-Dhahabi and al-Suyuti as part of more extensive works, so it is part of Sunni history and education.

However, if by such transmission is meant a public discourse or a book commemorating those events for specific emotional or purportedly religious purposes then the Ulema have said that this is ignorance and the door of fitna and jahiliyya because it fosters unIslamic expressions of mourning and divisive hatred of some of the Companions of the Prophet and other early Muslims from the centuries praised by the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, all of which is haram. Nor has such commemoration been Sunni practice at all - even for the death of the Holy Prophet, whose passing from this world is a much greater loss - whether on Ashura or any other time of the year.

As for love of Ahl al-Bayt it is an integral of Sunni belief but in a Sunni way, not a sectarian way chock-full with ill feelings fanned by fabrications. Ibn Kathir said in al-Bidaya wal-Nihaya (8:201-202):

"Al-Tabarani mentioned in this chapter very strange reports indeed and the Shiʿis went overboard concerning the day of Ashura', forging many hadiths that are gross lies such as the sun being eclipsed on that day until the stars appeared, no stone was lifted except blood was seen under it, the celestial regions became red, the sun and its rays seemed like blood, the sky seemed like a blood clot, the stars were hurling against one another, the sky rained red blood, there was never redness in the sky before that day, and the like... among other lies and forgeries of which not one report is sound."

Success is from Allah, may He keep us on the path of His Prophet and his Companions, away from sectarianism and bad adab posing as love of Ahl al-Bayt.

Hajj Gibril

Two Sahihs‘ Canonicity & al-Ghazali

The importance of the six books in hadith has been exagerated in western scholarship, as well as among modernist Muslims. Sahih Bukhari, for example, served mainly as a ritual tool in the late Middle Ages. Al-Ghazali, whose works are very important for the Shafi'i madhhab only started to learn the two Sahihs shortly before his death.

The two Sahihs were already canonic generations before al-Daraqutni (306-385) as shown by the earlier critiques, commentaries, and Mustakhrajs of: Ibn Abi Hatim (d. 327) on al-Bukhari; Ibn al-Akhram (250-344) on al-Bukhari and Muslim; Ibn ʿAbduyah (260-345) and Ibn ʿAdi (277-365) on al-Bukhari; al-Masarjasi (297-365) and Ibn Abi Dhuhl (294-378) on al-Bukhari and Muslim; al-Ghitrifi (d. 377) and Abu Ahmad al-Hakim (285-378) on al-Bukhari....

As for Imam al-Ghazali (450-505) he was no different than the other great Mujtahids in that he was thoroughly familiar with the two Sahihs. Ibn ʿAsakir in his Tabyin and al-Dhahabi in the Siyar mention that al-Ghazali took al-Bukhari's Sahih from Abu Sahl Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Hafsi, meaning he read it with him from cover to cover. Since the latter died in 465 or 466, it means al-Ghazzali was at the most 15 or 16.

Ibn al-Jawzi narrated in al-Thabat ‘ind al-Mamat ("Firmness at the Time of Death”) from al-Ghazzali's brother the "peerless admonisher” Ahmad:

"On Monday [14 Jumada al-Akhira] at the time of the dawn prayer my brother Abu Hamid made his ablution, prayed, then said: ‘Bring me my shroud.' He took it, kissed it and put it on his eyes, saying: ‘We hear and obey in readiness to enter the King's presence' (samʿan wa-taʿatan lil-dukhuli ʿalal-Malik). Then he stretched his legs, facing the Qibla, and died before sunrise – may Allah sanctify his soul!” As cited by Sibt Ibn al-Jawz? in Mir'at al-Zaman (8:40) and Ibn al-Subki in Tabaqat al-Shafiʿiyya al-Kubra (6:201).

Even if it were accurately reported that at the time al-Ghazali died he was reading Sahih al-Bukhari, this does not mean it was the first time he opened that book. If he died with an open Mus-haf in front of him it would not mean he was just beginning to memorize the Qur'an.

At the end of Qanun al-Ta'wil Imam Ghazali humbly stated of himself: "Know that my wares in the science of hadith are poor.” This disclaimer only typifies the Friends of Allah that abhor self-promotion even in what they know. In reality al-Ghazali is a bottomless ocean of hadith. In the book of ʿilm of the Ihya', in the section listing the minimum syllabus of the Muslim student he states:

"As for Hadith, the bare minimum in it is to become thoroughly familiar with the two Sahihs, verifying your copy by reading it with an expert in the science of hadith-texts.... and it is not necessary for you to memorize the texts of the two Sahihs but only familiarize yourself with them thoroughly. This way, you can obtain whatever you need out of them at will. If you want more then add to them other compilations such as the narrations in the sound Musnads. As for the maximum then it encompasses everything else besides whether weak, strong, or sound together with knowledge of the many chains of transmission that are conveyed and mastery of the status of the narrators, their names, and their attributes.”

In Ihya ʿUlum al-Din there are close to 1,000 references to hadiths in the two Sahihs not to mention other compilations. Allah have mercy on him.

GF Haddad

Sulayman ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab

Q. Another question is that it is well known that Sulayman Ibn Abd al-Wahaab rejected his brothers misguidence and wrote against the wahaabi regime. A salafi brother pointed out that he repented from going against his brother before he died. I needed some clairty on that issue too.

A. Bakr Abu Zayd and ʿAbd al-Rahman ʿUthaymin, the two Wahhabi editors of Ibn Humayd al-Najdi's Hanbali bio-dictionary _al-Suhub al-Wabila ʿala Dara'ih al-Hanabila_ (Risala ed. 2:679), consider the report of that repentence spurious and say there is no proof that Sulayman ever changed his mind.

What is agreed upon is that when his father died, Sulayman ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab ibn Sulayman al-Tamimi al-Najdi (d. 1210?) succeeded him as qadi of Huraymila' in 1153. Twelve years later, in 1165, Sulayman led the people of that town and ʿUyayna, another nearby town, in a rebellion against his brother Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab ibn Sulayman's (d. 1207) Wahhabi forces which lasted for three years. The towns were overrun in 1168 and Sulayman fled to Sudayr where he was left alone. Twenty years later he was brought against his will to Dirʿiyya, the capital of his brother and ʿAbd al-ʿAziz ibn Muhammad ibn Saʿud, where Muhammad kept him under a sumptuous but strict house arrest until they both died.

Sources: Ibn Bishr, _ʿUnwan al-Majd bi-Tarikh Najd_ (years 1165 and 1168); _Tarikh Ibn Laʿbun_ (year 1190); Ibn Ghannam, _ Tarikh_ (1:142), all as cited in the marginalia of Ibn Humayd, _al-Suhub al-Wabila_ (2:678-679).

It is in the context of his losing battle against his brother that Sulayman wrote his famous book against the Wahhhabi sect titled:

_Fasl al-Khitab min Kitab Allah wa-Hadith al-Rasul (salla Allahu ʿalayhi wa-Sallam) wa-Kalam Uli al-Albab fi Madhhab Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab_ ("The Final Word from the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the Sayings of the Scholars Concerning the School of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab"),

also known as:

_al-Sawaʿiq al-Ilahiyya fi Madhhab al-Wahhabiyya_ ("The Divine Thunderbolts Concerning the Wahhabi School").

This book is among the first and earliest refutations of the Wahhabi sect in print, consisting in over forty-five concise chapters spanning 120 pages that aim to show the divergence of the Wahhabi school, not only from the Consensus and usūl of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jamaʿa and the fiqh of the Hanbali Madhhab, but also from their putative Imams, Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn al-Qayyim on most or all the issues reviewed.

The biographer of the Hanbali School, Ibn Humayd al-Najdi (1236-1295) said in _al-Suhub al-Wabila ʿala Dara'ih al-Hanabila_ (2:675-679 §415):

ʿABD AL-WAHHAB ibn Sulayman ibn ʿAli ibn Musharraf al-Tamimi al-Najdi. He read fiqh with his father the author of the famous _Mansak_ and with others. He obtained learning and fiqh, taught, and wrote excellent epistles on various legal issues. He died in the year 1153. He is the father of MUHAMMAD, the founder of the Daʿwah whose evil has spread to / every horizon, but there is a vast difference between the two of them.... / He was angry with his son Muhammad because he would not study fiqh as his predecessors and peers did. His premonition concerning him was that he would bring upon a calamity. He would say to the people, 'One day you will see Muhammad cause evil.' Then Allah decreed that whatever happened happened.

Similarly his son, SULAYMAN, the brother of Shaykh Muhammad, opposed the latter and his Daʿwah and refuted him with a fine refutation with Qur'anic verses / and reports, since the one being refuted put no credence in anything else and lent no ear to the discourse of any of the Ulema whether old or late, whoever they may be, except Shaykh Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya and his student Ibn al-Qayyim. He considered their words uninterpretable scripture and would hammer the people on the head with it / even if what they said differed from his understanding. Shaykh Sulayman titled his refutation of his brother _Fasl al-Khitab fil-Radd ʿala Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab_.

The Fasl/Sawaʿiq received the following editions:

1st edition: Bombay: Matbaʿa Nukhbat al-Akhbar, 1306/1889. 2nd edition: Cairo (date?). 3rd edition: Istanbul: Ishik reprints at Wakf Ihlas, 1399/1979. 4th edition: (Annotated) Damascus, 1420/1999.

The claim that Sulayman repented apparently originates under the pen of the contemporary literary historian of Arabia, ʿAli Jawad Tahir in his eight-volume history published in Baghdad in the Fifties, _Tarikh al-ʿArab qabl al-Islam_ ('Pre-Islamic History of the Arabs') 7:227. What gave this claim circulation is its endorsement by the Syrian historian Nur al-Din al-Zirikli (d. 1410/1990) in his much more famous biographical dictionary _al-Aʿlam_ (3:130).

Al-Zirikli says in his snippet on Sulayman ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab:

'Sulayman ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab: the brother of the Shaykh and leader of the reformist revival Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab. His brother opposed him in the Call (al-daʿwah) and wrote epistles voicing this [opposition], among them _al-Radd ʿala man Kaffara al-Muslimin bi-Sababi al-Nadhri li-Ghayr Allah_ ('Refutation of Him Who Pronounced Apostasy against the Muslims for Vows to Other than Allah') in Baghdad's Awqaf archives, manuscript 6805. Then he abandoned his position and proclaimed he was sorry. He authored an epistle to that effect, in print. [FOOTNOTE:] _Al-Kashif_ by Talas (p. 126-127) [a catalogue of manuscripts] which misattributes to him the book _al-Tawdih ʿan Tawhid al-Khallaq_. See also the periodical _al-ʿArab_ (7:227).'

The latter is a sourcing mistake and elsewhere al-Zirikli shows that he means ʿAli Jawad's book _Tarikh al-ʿArab_ rather than the periodical, as the latter obviously requires a different type of sourcing than volume and page number.

Problems with the above claim

There are many problems with the above claim in addition to its being rejeted by the Wahhabis themselves as already mentioned:

1. Why does the author of the claim not cite the title of the supposed pro-Wahhabi 'repentence epistle' of Sulayman and who printed it and where?

2. Why is there no record of this supposed pro-Wahhabi position of Sulayman even among the Wahhabis? If he had really authored such a book one would expect the many supporters of the Wahhabi movement to have made sure it never got lost to the Muslim world but, on the contrary, no one ever heard of it other than an Iraqi literary historian and the Syrian biographer who cites him.

3. Why does the great bio-bibliographer ʿUmar Rida Kahhala not mention any such pro-Wahhabi recanting in his entry on Sulayman ibnʿAbd al-Wahhab in his much more detailed eight-volume _Muʿjam al-Mu'allifin_ ('Dictionary of Authors'), other than Sulayman's known anti-Wahhabi work?

4. The style of Sulayman's anti-Wahhabi epistle typifies staunchness and a systematic refutation style with complete mastery of the Usul and ʿAqida literature that a Hanbali debater is expected to possess. He also states that he waited eight years before deciding to speak out against the deviations of his little brother's followers. It is unlikely that he would then back up and change his mind.

5. In 1995 the Jordanian Wahhabi, Mashhur Hasan Salman published in Ryadh a 2-volume work he titled _Kutubun Hadhdhara al-ʿUlama'u Minha_ ('Books the Ulema [supposedly] Warned Against'), a 'Salafi' equivalent of the Vatican's _Index Librorum Prohibitorum_, a guide listing books that the Roman Catholic Church forbade its members to read (except by special permission) because they were judged dangerous to faith or morals. He included Sulayman ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's _Fasl/Sawaʿiq_ in his pompous censorship manual. To us, of course, the fact that Salman includes Sulayman ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's classic refutation in his index is in fact a thumbs-up and a proof that it is a Sunni book. The point, however, is that Salman makes no mention of a supposed repentence of Sulayman nor of his supposed pro-Wahhabi book. If there had truly been such a repentence and book he would have not missed it nor would he have omitted mentioning it.

The above are internal and external circumstancial evidence that Sulayman ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab never changed his anti-Wahhabi position nor authored a pro-Wahhabi epistle.

A selected chronology

A selected chronology of other early condemnations of Wahhabism in print:

1. Shaykh Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-Shafiʿi al-Kurdi al-Madani, said to be one of Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's former teachers, wrote a fatwa condemning the Wahhabi movement in general terms. It is reproduced at the end of Sayyid ʿAlawi ibn Ahmad al-Haddad's Misbah al-Anam (1908 edition; see below) and is also found at the beginning of the Waqf Ihlas offset reprint of Sulayman IAW's _Sawaʿiq_.

2. Al-Sanʿani (d. 1182) the famous author of _Subul al-Salam_ at first wrote Muhammad IAW a panegyric which he sent him. Then he changed his mind and wrote an epistle denouncing him titled _Irshad Dhawi al-Albab ila Haqiqat Aqwal Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab._ See on this Imam al-Kawthari's _Maqalat_ (article 'IAW and Muhammad ʿAbduh'), al-Shawkani's _al-Badr al-Taliʿ_, s.v. 'Muhammad ibn Ismaʿil al-Yamani,' and Siddiq Hasan Khan al-Qinnawji's _Abjad al-ʿUlum_, introduction, and his _Taj al-Mukallal_.

3. Al-Habib ʿAlawī ibn Ahmad al-Haddad, _Misbah al-Anam fi Raddi Shubah al-Najdi al-Bidʿi al-Lati Adalla biha al-ʿAwamm_ ('The Luminary of Mankind Concerning the Refutation of the Fallacies of the Innovator from Najd by which He Has Misguided the Common Public' written 1216/1801 but long out of print!) of which I translated and published the introduction [see outline in a separate post] together with the translation of al-Sayyid Yūsuf al-Rifaʿi's _Advice to Our Brothers the Scholars of Najd_ (1420/1999);

4. Al-Sawi (d. 1241) in his _Hashiya ʿala al-Jalalayn_ for Surat 35:6 mentions the Wahhabis and refers to them as Khawārij. NOTE that this phrase and the word 'Wahhabiyya' was excised from all present-day editions of this Tafsir!

5. Ibn ʿAbidin (d. 1243) said the same in his famous Hashiya, Book of Iman, Bab al-Bughāt.

6. The Mufti of Makka, Sayyid Ahmad Zayni Dahlan (d. 1304/1886) with several works: _al-Durar al-Saniyya fī al-Radd alā al-Wahhabiyya_ ('The Pure Pearls in Refuting the Wahhabis') (Cairo, 1319 and 1347), _Fitnat al-Wahhabiyya_ ('The Wahhabi Tribulation'), and _Khulāsat al-Kalām fī Bayān Umarā' al-Balad al-Harām_ ('The Summation Concerning the Leaders of the Holy Land,' whose evidence is quoted in full by al-Nabhānī in _Shawāhid al-Haqq_ p. 151-177), the last two a history of the Wahhabi movement in Najd and the Hijāz.

7. Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (1272-1340) states in his _Fatawa al-Haramayn_ (Waqf Ikhlas offset ed. p. 11-12):

'As for the Wahhabis they are a misguided sect (firqa dalla) and volumes were compiled - both in Arabic and other languages - declaring them heretics. Among them is the book of our teacher in Hadith, our Master ʿAllama Ahmad ibn Zaini Dahlan al-Makki ' Allah sanctify his secret - titled _al-Durar al-Saniyya fi al-Radd ʿala al-Wahhabiyya_. The best word ever said about them is that of the Mufti of al-Madinat al-Munawwara, Mawlana Abu al-Suʿud - Allah have mercy on all of them: {The devil has engrossed them and so has caused them to forget remembrance of Allah. They are the devil's party. Lo! is it not the devil's party who will be the losers'} (58:18-19).'

Al-Sawi al-Maliki adduced the same verse against them in his Hashiya on Tafsir al-Jalalayn. And Allah knows best.

GF Haddad

Imam Malik and the Sufis

Q. al-Qadhi 'Iyadh is known to be a great sunni scholar, yet quite recently a salafi brother pointed out that in his book "Tadreeb al-Madarik", al-Qadhi quotes a narration from Imam Maalik who rejected sufism. This confused me deeply and i wanted to know if you could clarify this issue for me please.

A. Wa ʿalaykum as-Salam,

Certain opponents of tasawwuf adduce two reports, one chainless and one weak-chained, originating in a man from the city of Naseebeen (Iraq) who has been critiqued as munkar al-hadith or 'disclaimed in his narrations' to claim that Imam Malik derided group dhikr:

1. Al-Tinnisi said: We were sitting with Malik with his companions around him. A man from the people of Nasibin said, 'We have some people who go by the name of Sufis. They eat a lot then they start [chanting] poems (qasa'id), after which they stand up and start dancing.' Malik said, 'Are they boys (sibyan)?' He said no. Malik said, 'Are they insane?' He said, 'No, they are old men (mashayikh) and other than that, and they are mature and sane (ʿuqala').' Malik said, 'I never heard that any of the people of Islam do this.' The man said to him, 'Indeed, they do! They eat, then they stand up and start dancing intensively (dawa'ib), and some of them slap their heads, and some their faces.' Malik started laughing then went into his house. His companions said to the man, 'You were, O man, ill luck (mash'um) for our friend [Malik]. We have been sitting with him thirty-odd years and never saw him laugh except today.'

This is narrated without chain by al-Qadi ʿIyad. in Tartib al-Madarik (2:53-54).

2. ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Ziyad al-Nasibi said: 'We were with Malik when I mentioned to him Sufis in our city. I said to him that they wear fancy Yemenite clothes, and do such and such. He replied, 'Woe to you! Are they Muslims?' He then laughed until he lay on his back. Some of his companions said to me, 'What is this? We have not seen more trouble (fitna) caused to the Shaykh than you, for we never saw him laugh!?'

Narrated by al-Khallal in al-Hathth ʿala al-Tijara wal-Sinaʿa wal-ʿAmal (ed. Abu Ghudda, §97) with a weak chain because of ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Zyad al-Nasibi who is 'condemned in his narrations and untrustworthy' (munkar al-hadith, ghayr thiqa) according to al-Azdi as per Ibn al-Jawzi in al-Duʿaf?' wal-Matrukin (1:149) while Ibn Hibban in his Thiqat (8:390) said he reports oddities from Malik.

Content-wise, neither of the above reports shows unambiguous condemnation of group dhikr but only that some people who passed for Sufis in the Imam's time reportedly committed certain childish excesses or irrational breaches of decorum. The reports only show that Imam Malik found the story amusing. The delator seems obsessed by the 'eating and dancing' which he mentions twice as if afraid Malik didn't hear it the first time. There is also on the part of Malik's circle a clear disapproval of the delator who is apparently perceived as an interloper.[1]
And Allah knows best.

GF Haddad

"The Book of Allah and my Sunna"

A question concerning the hadith: I have left you two things, the Book of Allah and my Sunna..."

Assalamu 'alaykum,

Your claims that the hadith about the two weighty things which have been left to us is really the Qur'an and the Sunnah, is claimed to be false by Muhammad bin Yahya Ninowi in his "Satisfying the Need: Sharh Aqīdah Tahawiyyah", in which he states the following:

"Please note, that some people are using an alleged Hadeeth (that I am leaving you with the book of Allah and my Sunnah.) Please be advised that this Hadeeth is extremely weak. Moreover, many leading scholars of Hadeeth have declared it as fabricated. The later Hadeeth that contains (my Sunnah) is narrated by Al Hakem in his "Mustadrak" by way of Ibn abi owais by way of his father by way of thawr by way of Zayd through Ikrima, through ibn abbas, however, ibn abi owais and his father are unreliable people and fabricators. See "tahtheeb al kamal" 3/127 by Imam Hafez Mizzy, and "Sharhh saheeh Al Bukhari" intro/391 by Imam Hafez Inb Hajr, also Imam Nasaaiy was among other scholars to denounce those narrators describing them as " weak and unreliable", similarly did Abu Hatem Arrazy in his book "aljarhh wat ta'deel in Elm Al hadeeth", others who also mentioned their unreliability are Llakaiy, Assideeq, Ibn Mueen, Ibn Habban,. ....etc. Even Imam Al Hakem himself who mentioned this hadeeth in his book, after he added another weak route to it, declared this Hadeeth immediately as a weak Hadeeth and admitted it's great weakness." [Quoted from www.ummah.net x L 20120703] What is your comment on such a claim?

Wa-alaykum as-Salam:

Thank you for the question. The hadith in question states that the Prophet said, upon him blessings and peace:

"I have left among you two matters by holding fast to which, you shall never be misguided: the Book of Allah and the Sunna of His Prophet.”

This is narrated from Anas by Abu al-Shaykh in Tabaqat al-Muhaddithin fi Asbahan (4:67 §549);

also from ʿAmr ibn ʿAwf by Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr in al-Tamhid (24:331);

and also from Ibn ʿAbbās by Ibn Nasr al-Marwazi (202-294) in al-Sunna (p. 25-26 §68), al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (1:93=1990 ed. 1:171 §318) who declared that all its narrators are "agreed upon” meaning in the two books of Sahih; al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (10:114 §20108) and al-Iʿtiqad (p. 228), Malik – without chain – in his Muwatta' but Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr narrated its chain in al-Tamhid (24:331) and describes it as "so famous and widespread as a Prophetic report among the people of knowledge” that it can be treated as mass-transmitted (mahfuz, maʿruf, mashhur ʿan al-Nabi salla Allahu ʿalayhi wa-Sallam thamma ahl al-ʿilm shuhratan yakadu yustaghna biha ʿan al-isnad); and Ibn Hazm who declared it sahih in al-Ihkam (6:243=6:810) although he is overly strict in his criterion for soundness as stated by Shaykh Ahmad al-Ghumari in his student ʿAbd Allah al-Talidi's biographical notes, Darr al-Ghamam al-Raqiq.

Another version states:

"I have left among you two matters by holding fast to which, you shall never be misguided: the Book of Allah and my Sunna. And these two shall never part ways until they show up at the Pond.”

Narrated from Abu Hurayra by Ibn Shahin in al-Targhib fil-Dhikr (2:406 §528) as stated by Ahmad al-Ghumari in al-Mudawi (3:482 §3923), al-Hakim in the Mustadrak (1:93=1990 ed. 1:172 §319), al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (10:114 §20109), al-Daraqutni in his Sunan (4:245 §149), Abu Bakr al-Shafiʿi in the Ghaylaniyyat as stated by al-Suyuti in the Jamiʿ al-Saghir (§3923), al-Lalika'i in Sharh Usul Iʿtiqad Ahl al-Sunna (1:80), al-Khatib in al-Jamiʿ li-Akhlaq al-Rawi (1983 ed. 1:111=1991 ed. 2:165-166 §89) and al-Faqih wal-Mutafaqqih (1:94), Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr in al-Tamhid (24:331), and Ibn Hazm in al-Ihkam (6:243=6:810) while al-Suyuti declared it hasan in al-Jamiʿ al-Saghir (§3923). (Since all these chains from Abu Hurayra contain Salih ibn Musa al-Tulahi who is discarded though honest, it is understood that al-Suyuti means the hadith in general, not this particular route.)

Also narrated mursal from ʿUrwa as cited by al-Suyuti in Miftah al-Janna (p. 29 §35).

Also narrated mursal through Ibn Ishaq from ʿAbd Allah ibn Abi Najih by al-Tabari in his Tarikh (2:205-206) and Ibn Hisham in his Sira (6:8-10).

So there are chains through at least four different Companions corresponding to two versions which have in common the wording: "I have left among you two matters by holding fast to which, you shall never be misguided: the Book of Allah and the Sunna or my Sunna.”

The fact that this wording in the Muwatta' is enough proof that it is sahih, as further confirmed by Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr's remarks. Both these sources actually reflect that there is more to hadith-grading than the mere documentation of chains of transmission. Namely, the practice of this mercied Umma as embodied in its authorities.

Nevertheless, let us look at the evidence forwarded by the denier of its sihha. He says:

Please note, that some people are using an alleged Hadeeth (that I am leaving you with the book of Allah and my Sunnah.) Please be advised that this Hadeeth is extremely weak. Moreover, many leading scholars of Hadeeth have declared it as fabricated.

What scholar(s) of hadith declared this hadith "extremely weak”? What scholars(s) declared it "fabricated”?

I have listed over two dozen dictionaries of forgeries in an article titled "The ‘famous hadith' and forgery compilations” available in full at [livingislam.org] & (pdf-file).

Surely if "many leading scholars of Hadeeth have declared it as fabricated” it should be easy to say where, in any of those books, one of those supposedly "many leading scholars” can be seen declaring such a thing.

Then he states that the hadith is narrated by Al Hakem in his "Mustadrak" by way of Ibn abi owais by way of his father by way of thawr by way of Zayd through Ikrima, through ibn abbas, however, ibn abi owais and his father are unreliable people and fabricators.

Says who exactly? Imam al-Bukhari narrates over 200 hadiths from Ibn Abi Uways. Over 170 of those are hadiths Ibn Abi Uways narrates from his maternal uncle, Imam Malik. As for his father ʿAbd Allah Abu Uways, he is one of the narrators of the Sunan and Muslim also uses him in his Sahih.

See "tahtheeb al kamal" 3/127 by Imam Hafez Mizzy, and "Sharhh saheeh Al Bukhari" intro/391 by Imam Hafez Inb Hajr, also Imam Nasaaiy was among other scholars to denounce those narrators describing them as " weak and unreliable", similarly did Abu Hatem Arrazy in his book "aljarhh wat ta'deel in Elm Al hadeeth", others who also mentioned their unreliability are Llakaiy, Assideeq, Ibn Mueen, Ibn Habban,. ....etc.

None of the above called these two narrators "unreliable people and fabricators.” On the contrary, Ibn Hajar, Abu Hatim, and Ibn Maʿin all called him truthful (saduq).

Even Imam Al Hakem himself who mentioned this hadeeth in his book, after he added another weak route to it, declared this Hadeeth immediately as a weak Hadeeth and admitted it's great weakness."

Actually, al-Hakim followed up with another route because it came through another Companion, which strengthens the hadith. Nowhere does he declare the first hadith weak.

The webpage cited above says that the critic of this hadith, Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya Ninowi (Allah reward him for his translation of the Tahawiyya), narrates the Tahawiyya with the following chain:

I, narrate it through and with the permission of, my Shaykh and Father Sayyedi As-Sayyed Yahya bin Muhammad bin Sa'eed bin Muhammad an-Ninowy Al-Musawy Al-Husayny - May Allah forgive him and raise his rank in paradise- [ also in the same way and through the same honorable chain of scholars, I narrate it through Sayyedi Abdullah bin Assideeq, and Sayyedi Ibrahim bin Assideeq] and they narrated it by way of, Al-Hafedh Al-Mujtahed As-Sayyed Abul-Fayd Ahmad bin Assideeq Al-Ghumari Al-Hasany -may Allah bless his soul....

Note that Shaykh Abu al-Fadl Ahmad al-Ghumari in his book al-Mudawi li-ʿIlal al-Munawi (3:482 §3923) supports the authenticity of this hadith and that his brother, Shaykh ʿAbd Allah ibn al-Siddiq al-Ghumari, Allah have mercy on both of them, included this hadith among the sound hadiths in his compilation of the sahih and hasan hadiths of Imam al-Suyuti's al-Jamiʿ al-Saghir which he titled al-Kanz al-Thamin fi Ahadith al-Nabi al-Amin salla Allahu ʿalayhi wa Sallam.
And Allah knows best.

GF Haddad

Was Mariya al-Qibtiyya ever a spouse?

No. Mariya al-Qibtiyya was never a spouse but rather a surriyya - with tashdid of the ra and its kasr - until the passing of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, as explicitly stated by al-Zubayr ibn Bakkar in his al-Muntakhab min Kitab Azwaj al-Nabi salla Allahu ʿalyhi wa-Sallam (Risala 1983 ed. p. 60):

„Wa-tuwuffiya Rasulullah (salla Allahu ʿalayhi wa-Sallama) wa-Mariyatu fi mulkih, faʿataqat, faʿtaddat ʿalayhi thalatha hiyadin baʿdah."

„The Messenger of Allah passed away as Mariya was in his possession (as a slavewoman), whereupon she became free then observed, after her widowhood of him, three menstrual periods of home seclusion." Important notes:

1- The Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, made her wear hijab (contrary to the normal ruling for slaves).

2- At one time, because of one of his wives' complaint, he swore that he would stay away from Mariya then Allah Most High ordered him to cancel that oath without kaffara. (This may have been confused with a revocable divorce by some; in reality it confirms that a self-pronounced tahrim of mulk al-yamin is inconsequential. Imam Malik said: „Haram is halal with regard to slavewomen.")

3- When Ibrahim, alyhi as-Salam, was born the Prophet said of her, upon him blessings and peace: „Her son freed her." (This may have been interpreted as a cancellation of her slavehood tantamount to a declaration of marriage but is confirmed by the narrations to apply to her status after the passing of the Holy Prophet, upon him blessings and peace.)

4- When the Prophet died, upon him blessings and peace, she observed three menstrual periods of ʿidda in complete home seclusion (contrary to the normal ruling for slaves because at that time she became a freedwoman).

5- Our liege-lords Abu Bakr and ʿUmar in their caliphates spent lavishly on her (in resemblance of the duty to support the Mothers of the believers) until she died in Muharram of the year 16. ʿUmar gathered the people himself, she was buried in al-Baqiʿ, and he prayed over her. Allah be well-pleased with her.

6- The Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, did free and marry the surriyya Rayhana bint Zayd ibn ʿAmr of the Banu al-Nadir. This case may have been confused with that of Mariya. And Allah knows best. Sources:

- The Hafiz, Qadi of Makka, and genealogist al-Zubayr ibn Bakkar (172-256) in his al-Muntakhab min Kitab Azwaj al-Nabi salla Allahu ʿalyhi wa-Sallam.

- Hafiz Sharaf al-Din al-Dimyati (613-708), Nisa‘ Rasul Allah salla Allahu ʿalayhi wa-Sallam.

- Hafiz Muhibb al-Din al-Tabari (615-694), al-Samt al-Thamin fi Manaqib Ummahat al-Mu‘minin.

- Hafiz Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Salihi (d. 942), Subul al-Huda wal-Rashad fi Sirat Khayr al-ʿIbad.


Athari/ Hanbali/ Ashʿari/ Maturidi Terminology

As-Salamu ʿalaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh:

Is Hanbali ʿaqida and Athari ʿaqida the same? Was Athari ʿaqida ever a school like the Maturidi or Ashʿari school, or was Athari only a title given to scholars of particular beliefs?

Inside Islam "Athari,” "Sunni,” and "Ahl al-Hadith” are all synonymous with each other and with each of the Four Sunni Schools in contradistinction with those non-Sunnis that are defined, in Sunni heresiographical discourse, as denying part or all of the Athars (reports) and Hadiths that define the principles and practice of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jamaʿa.

Inside Sunnism, however, the above terms differ in various ways due to further polemical meanings according to the emphasis desired by the speaker and the guidelines of his own self-definition.

For example, when "Ahl al-Hadith” define themselves in contradistinction of "Ahl al-Ra'y” then the first term tends to be synonymous with Hanbalis (and Shafiʿis) and the second term with Hanafis (and Malikis) although they are all Ahl al-Ra'y wal-Hadith in the larger sense since, on the one hand ra'y - qualified juridical opinion - is the soul of ijtihad and fiqh without which the Shariʿa becomes impaired; and, on the other hand, the source-texts are no less essential to the Shariʿa. Hence Imams Abu Hanifa and al-Shafiʿi's famous saying comparing the muhaddith to the pharmacist and the jurisprudent to the physician.

When defining ʿaqida, the distinctions similarly reflect the self-perceived and self-representating emphases of each school. In this respect the Hanbalis perceive and represent themselves as the most focused of the Sunni Schools on source-texts. In reality, insofar as those Schools are defined by their founding Imams, then all four of them are equally source-text-focused. But most self-definitions of who Ahl al-Sunna are or what Sunna and Jamaʿa consist in, are actually formulaic responses which are not meant to be all-comprehensive but are part of a timely, practical arsenal to help dispatch deviations to their graves.

For example, Imam Abu Hanifa said: "Sunna and Jamaʿa are defined by loyalty to the Two Shaykhs [Abu Bakr and ʿUmar as Caliphs], love of the Two Sons-in-Law [ʿUthman and ʿAli], and [the permissibility of] wiping over leather socks [in ablution].” Yet, elsewhere (as in his Wasiyya and Fiqh al-Akbar) he also made belief in Divine foreordained destiny (qadar) and the uncreatedness of the Qur'an as essential, defining articles of Sunni doctrine also. The discrepancy is moot since each definition is dictated by context and the needs of the time in which it was uttered.

Similarly, the emphasis of the Hanbali School on textualism is a legacy of the heroic stand taken by Imam Ahmad in defense of that self-defining principle of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jamaʿa against Muʿtazilism: "We stick to all the authentic reports narrated from the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, and his Companions that define his and their way because this is the Prophet's own definition of the Saved Group.” That legacy became embedded in Hanbali discourse and methodology even though there are, in the ʿaqidas narrated from the mouth of Imam Ahmad by his students, many Ashʿari and Maturidi truisms. This is the strain that a few Hanbalis embraced in their own positively Ashʿari creeds such as Ibn ʿAqil, Ibn al-Jawzi, and al-Saffarini.

Al-Saffarini (d. 1188) notably gave the following definition in his Lawamiʿ al-Anwar: "Ahl al-Sunna consist of three groups: the textualists (al-Athariyya), whose Imam is Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the Ashʿaris, whose Imam is Abu al-Hasan al-Ashʿari, and the Maturidis, whose Imam is Abu Mansur al-Maturidi…. and they are all one sect, the saved sect, and they are Ahl al-Hadith.”

Perhaps a more satisfactory expression of the Sunni self-definition of Ahl al-Sunna is given by the great Ashʿari Imam known in absolute terms as "the Ustadh”: Abu Mansur ʿAbd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi (d. 429) in his Farq bayn al-Firaq (The Difference between the Sects). This entire book is in fact an elucidation of the hadith of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, of which the central part says: "... and my Community shall divide into 73 sects...” At the end of the book he defines Ahl al-Sunna thus:

"Those that have completely mastered and codified the principles of belief [=Ashʿaris and Maturidis], the Mujtahid Scholars of the four Schools of Law and their followers, the Scholars of hadith that steered clear of deviation, the Scholars of Arabic grammar that steered clear of deviation, the Scholars of tafsir that steered clear of deviation, the Sufis, the people making jihad, and the general masses of the Muslims.”

Similarly al-Iji (d. 756) in the Mawaqif:

"The Saved Group which is excepted from the Prophet's hadith ‘All of them are in the Fire except one: Those that adhere to what I and my Companions follow' - these are the Ashʿaris, the Salaf of the scholars of hadith, and [generally speaking] Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jamaʿa.”

While al-Haytami, al-Baydawi, and al-Saharanfuri say: "When we use the term Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jamaʿa, what is meant are the Ashʿaris and the Maturidis.”

Imam ʿAbd Allah ibn ʿAlawi al-Haddad (d. 1132) said:

"If you look with a sound understanding into those passages relating to the sciences of faith in the Book, the Sunna, and the sayings of the Salaf... you will know for certain that the truth is with the party called ‘Ashʿari,' named after the Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Ashʿari, Allah have mercy on him, who systematized the foundations of the creed of the people of the truth and recorded its earliest versions, these being the beliefs which the Companions and the best among the Successors agreed upon.… The Maturidis are the same as the Ashʿaris in the above regard.”

Was Ghawth al-Aʿzam (ra) Athari or Hanbali in ʿaqida? Is a Hanbali or Athari school recognized today? If so, who are some Athari scholars? Is it true that the Hanafis and Shafiʿis of Khurasan fought each other and as a result the Hanbali/Athari school spread there? Also, was Mawlana Jami (ra) a Maturidi? There is a discussion going on at one of the forums at their website wherein one brother claims that the Maturidis "considered one an arch innovator if one didn't give laʿnah to Abu-l Hasan al-Ashʿari, rahimahumullaah.” Was this ever the case? Were the Maturidis and Ashʿaris ever rivals?

Not to my knowledge but who would focus on such an issue in the first place except those given to laʿna, an exercise despised by the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, and the Awliya? As the ancients advised and no doubt would Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qadir also: Beloved brother, leave the mire and stick to the pure water. He definitely advised to leave doctrinal debates and focus on good works as time is short! (Note also that the hafiz and Imam al-Samʿani mentions in his Ansab that al Maturidi's daughter was married to al Hasan al Ashʿari, the father of Imam Abu al Hasan al Ashʿari.)
And Allah knows best.


Flirting and chattering

As-Salamu ʿalaykum, While the situation is better in mosques where there female shariʿa students, when it comes to your common mosque: it's talk, talk, talk, chatter, chatter, chatter. This leads me to ask: did communities bar women from the mosque in response to their own actions?

Ibn Saʿd narrates in his Tabaqat (8:295-296) that Umm Subayya Khawla bint Qays al-Juhaniyya said, Allah be well-pleased with her: "We used to be, in the time of the Prophet, Abu Bakr, and the beginning of ʿUmar's caliphate, in the [Madinan] Mosque, women who might intermix (qad tukhalilna). Sometimes we flirted (rubbama ghazalna) and at times one of us might even be groped there (wa-rubbama ʿalaja baʿduna fihi al-khaws). ʿUmar said: 'I swear I shall make free women of you again.' So he brought us out (akhrajana) of the Mosque except that we attended the prayers punctually."

Ahmad in his Musnad (6:66, 6:154) and al-Tabarani in al-Awsat narrate from ʿA'isha, Allah be well-pleased with her, that the Prophet said, upon him blessings and peace: "There is no goodness in the congregation of women except [to pray] in the mosque or over the body of someone who was killed."

Ibn Abi ʿAsim in al-Ahad wal-Mathani (6:63 §3273), al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (24:246 §632), and Abu Nuʿaym narrate in Maʿrifat al-Sahaba (6:3309 §3848) from Khawla bint al-Yaman al-ʿAbsiyya the sister of Hudhayfa, Allah be well-pleased with them, that the Prophet said, upon him blessings and peace: "There is no goodness in the congregation of women (jamaʿat al-nisa') except [to pray] over the dead. For truly, whenever they gather, they chatter to no end."

Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr also narrates the above from Abu Salama in al-Istiʿab (4:1834) while al-Tabarani also narrates it from Ibn ʿUmar in al-Kabir (12:317 §13228), Allah be well-pleased with them.


Student - Shaykh relations

s-Salamu ʿalaykum:
In his beautiful page on "Studying Islam in Yemen," (http://www.abuhanifah.8m.com/ Yemen.html - expired link before 2020-10-01) , brother Shadee Elmasry says, "It is more important that the shaykh love the student than that the student love the shaykh."

This sentence drew my attention because it obviously came out from personal experience and so must be very true to the one who experienced its meaning. However, Sidi ʿAbd al-ʿAziz al-Dabbagh in al-Ibriz stated that in reality, the very reverse is true. Meaning, it is absolutely vital for the student to love the Shaykh and far more important than vice-versa. The reason for this is that the love of the student for his Shaykh is an eye and ear-opener, it brings out the best in the student and prepares in the best way to learn from the Shaykh.

The Shaykh always loves his students, he loves those Allah has placed in his care more than a mother cherishes her infant. However, as much as a Shaykh loves his student, or a father his son, if on the receiving end there are only deaf ears and a rush to misguidance, then on the giving end there is nothing that can be done. I.e. nothing other than ask Allah Most High to guide them beyond the usual causes and effects. Look how much the beloved Messenger of Allah ﷺ loved his uncles and supplicated Allah for their guidance.

The only relation of senior to junior in which the rule does not apply that the junior MUST love the senior to benefit, Sidi ʿAbd al-ʿAziz al-Dabbagh said (qaddas Allahu sirrah), is the relation of Allah to the servant. In the latter relation, if Allah decides to love that servant, then it does not matter at all where or who that servant is: he will be raised instantly and "despite everything" including himself…

Hajj Gibril

Reply to a modernist‘s criticism of the concept of ʿawra

My point is not that we should discard all notions of modesty

Astaghfirullah, or conditions for prayer. But rather that we should critically investigate them today to make sure that when we line up for prayer before God Almighty, that the dignity of men and women is acknowledged and engaged, that every level of what makes us human (spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and yes, physical) is respected and adored, acknowledged and engaged as being fully human--and not shameful.

Surely the purpose of our worship is the same as that of creation, to adore our Creator, not the body beautiful. The sense of shame that the Abrahamic faiths foster and which is missing from other cultures is the expression of our consciousness that Allah Most High is truly the One that deserves such adoration. The first advice of satan to our parents was: doff it, you are beautiful gods. Hence modest attire is part of the antediluvian Prophetic recipe for controlling the intrusive opacity of creation and facilitating the subtlety of the Creator in our lives.

In traditional Prophetic cultures the hijab of garment, space, and society is not because men are animals and women objects but because we are forever trying to turn within and trying to make our lives a reflection of His beautiful Names and Attributes, not ours.

Even the angels, for all their perfection and beauty, are represented as veiling their faces before Him although they have nothing to be ashamed of. But shame is an integral part of faith, said the Prophet, and it is nothing to feel guilty for even if our societies no longer validate it and even if they hate and persecute it in the guise of liberty and equality.

He also repeated the message of former Prophets: If you feel no shame then do as you wish.


Explaining the ruling for apostasy

Concerning apostasy (…) I think in the perception of a non muslim it is difficult to understand, especially because we say that there is freedom of religion. and in an Islamic society it should be hard for anybody to hide that he is not a muslim anymore, except he is a munafiq, this is why some people say a ruling like this supports nifaaq. this is why some so called modernists came to the conclusion that an appostate is not killed, a relatively big german muslim writer (Murad Hofmann) went even so far as to say this goes against the quran (meaning the hadith which cannot abrogate the quran) and therefore should be abbandoned... for me it is no problem to accept the hadith and the hukm, but how to explain ....?

Wa ʿalaykum as-Salam wa rahmatullah: The apostate who declares his apostasy in the midst of a close-knit Muslim society is rightly considered an overt threat to that body and the body has a right to defend itself, just as high treason in military law is punishable by the sentence of death passed through a martial court even in a non-Muslim liberal democracy.

This is not to encourage hypocrisy (nifaq), but rather:

(1) to contain the potential damage of overt enemies in the midst of Muslim society through the consciousness that law and society will not stand idle in the face of such a threat; and

(2) to give any apostates the normal and logical option to go live somewhere else, since he or she is not welcome at all among the brethren who had previously laid open all their secrets and the benefits of full social intercourse and whom he or she has now utterly betrayed.

These stands make a lot of sense since overt apostates are usually of the activist proselyte type with an agenda and outside supporters who wish Islam harm.

A possible recent example is a person who had flirted with apostasy then apparently declared it recently, when she rejected the authority of the Holy Qur'an according to an article in the British periodical _Q-News_, I mean the American Amina Wadud.[2] She was supported by a German group (see the relevant _Economist_ article to that effect) in her founding of a deviant feminist group in Malaysia, "Sisters in Islam," before the termination of her employment by the International Islamic University of Malaysia some time ago. That shadowy group continues its activities and its outside support, and is calling for the usual radical revision of the Qur'an, Sunna, Shariʿa and so forth - the standard missionary fare of anti-Muslim ideas planted in the midst of a healthy traditional society, to wreak havoc on their ideals and beliefs in the name of liberal democracy.

So it would make sense that such a person leave Muslim society and join up with the kafir society whose kufr he or she has embraced, just as that kafir society should openly (not covertly) embrace and support him or her. What matters is that Muslim society has a right to take measures to prevent such harm to itself through the principles and means that its law provides, without transgressing in the least the individual's right to free expression and freedom of religion, whether opponents of Islam admit it or not. But such rights to free expression do not include openly waging war against the Religion or preaching satanism - to take an extreme but probative example of a type of worship that is not covered by the freedom of religion in Islam.


Greatness of the (non-)Arabs

Seeing the state of the buildings Arab engineers design and build, should we be surprised that their religious views are as ugly and shabby as they are?

Wa ʿalaykum as-Salam, There is no greatness left to being Arab after Arabs turn their backs on the Sunna, as indicated by Sayyidina ʿUmar's famous saying: "Nahnu qawmun aʿazzana Allahu bil-Islam." I.e. Arabs are adhilla otherwise, as perfectly illustrated by their state and times nowadays - sadaqa Sayyiduna ʿUmar! With respect to architecture and engineering it is fair to say that in large parts of the Arab world, especially the urban metropoles, they have long since turned their back on the traditional building materia and the ethics of beneficial human habitat, settling instead for mediocrity and cheapness.

We are commanded to love the Arabs for the sake of Sahib al-Sunna and his distinguished lineage, upon him and them blessings and peace. At the same time, Islam has made the mahmud meaning of being Arab consist in being a believer that follows the path of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, according to the rule that there is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab except in God-consciousness and the athar: "Arab tongues and ʿajam hearts..." to designate those salivating-after-kufr Arabs, "... ʿAjam tongues and Arab hearts" to designate non-Arabs who long for Akhira { wa-ma baddalu tabdila }.


Donating reward of Salat

I was under the impression that the dead can only benefit from sadaqa jaariya that they left behind or dua that their children make for them, otherwise their file is closed.This message implies that anyone can pass on rewards to any dead person he wants to. Please clarify, jazakAllah.

Is it permissible to perform nafl salah for Allah and pass the reward of it to the dead? One woman here I was told performs 2-rakat nafl and passes the reward to one of her relatives.

There is agreement among the 4 Sunni schools that one may donate the reward of some or all one's actions to some or all believers, living or dead. [Ibn al-Humam, Fath al-Qadir]

Wa ʿalaykum as-Salam,

The deceased person's own deeds come to an end, but not necessarily the deeds of others on their behalf, such as the supplication of the living and the sadaqa of the living, as stated in the ʿAqida Tahawiyya. Allah Most High mentioned the duʿas the believers make for the Muslims who passed away before: "O my Lord! grant them mercy as they raised me when I was young" (17:24), "O my Lord! forgive me and my parents and whomever enters my house a believer, and all believers males and female" (71:28), "O our Lord! forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith" (59:10).

Furthermore the Prophet, upon him peace, commanded the same specifically upon the burial of Muslims. In addition, he recommended acts of charity on behalf of the deceased. Saʿd ibn ʿUbada said: "Messenger of Allah! Umm Saʿd my mother died, what is the best donation (sadaqa) [on her behalf]?" The Prophet replied: "Water." Saʿd dug a well and said: "This is for Umm Saʿd." Abu Dawud, al-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad narrated it with a sound chain.

Imam al-Nawawi said in Kitab al-adhkar (Ta'if ed. p. 212 #493): "We narrated in al-Bayhaqi's Sunan (4:56-57) with a fair (hasan) chain that Ibn ʿUmar liked for the beginning and the end of Surat al-Baqara to be recited over the grave after burial."

Imam al-Shawkani commented on the above report in Tuhfat al-Dhakirin (p. 229): "Even if it is only Ibn ʿUmar's saying, such as this is not uttered on the basis of mere opinion. It is possible that because of what he learned of the benefit of such recitation generally speaking, he then deemed it desirable that it be read over the grave due to its merit, in the hope that the deceased benefit from its recitation."

Qadi Khan al-Hanafi said in his Fatawa: "Whoever recites from the Qur'an over the graves: if he intends thereby that the familiarity of the sound of the Qur'an reach them, then let him recite." Imam al-Suyuti mentions it in Sharh al-Sudur (p. 312).

Furthermore, the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, ordered someone to make the obligatory Hajj on behalf of their mother who had not performed it. The latter was used as the proof by some of the Ulema that donation of reward for acts of worship includes not only Qur'an recitation, sadaqa, and Hajj but also (although there is disagreement over it), Salat and other acts of worship as well, such as Ibn al-Humam as mentioned above.

Similarly, al-Zaylaʿi said: "There is nothing rationally far-fetched in the reaching of someone else's reward to the dead because it is nothing more than the placing of what he possesses of reward at someone else's disposal, and it is Allah Who is the One Who conveys it, and He is able to do that. Nor is this specific to one type of act at the exclusion of another."

Ibn Taymiyya in his Majmuʿ al-Fatawa (24:300, 24:317) said: "The sound position is that the deceased gets the benefit of all kinds of bodily worship whether prayer, fasting, or recitation, just as he gets the benefit of acts of monetary worship such as sadaqa and its like and just as if one supplicated on his behalf."

Ibn Abi al-ʿIzz al-Hanafi, a close follower of Ibn Taymiyya, said in his commentary on Imam al-Tahawi's ʿAqida (1995 ed. 2:664-673):

"Ahl al-Sunna agree that the dead benefit from the striving of the living in two matters: the first is what the dead one himself caused to take place during his life, and the second is the invocation of Muslims on behalf of the dead, their asking forgiveness for them, giving charity, and performing pilgrimage.... As for the reward of such bodily worship as fasting, reciting Qur'an, and dhikr reaching the dead, there is disagreement. Abu Hanifa, Ahmad, and the vast majority of the Salaf agree that it reaches the dead."

Mulla ʿAli al-Qari said in his commentary on Imam Abu Hanifa's Fiqh al-Akbar (p. 194-197): "Al-Qunawi said: 'Ahl al-Sunna hold that any person can donate the reward of their work to another, whether prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, charity (sadaqa), or other than that.'"

Al-Qari goes on to comment (Allah have mercy on him and all those cited above):

"The position of Abu Hanifa and his companions is that donation is permitted and that the reward does go to the deceased.

"Those who object cite the verse: { Man can have nothing but what he strives for } (53:39) and the hadith: 'When a human being dies his work ceases, except for three things: an ongoing sadaqa, knowledge of his from which people derive benefit, and a righteous child of his who supplicates for him.' [Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, and others.]

"The answer is: The verse is a proof for us, because the one who donates the reward of his work to another strives in conveying such reward to the other: therefore he obtains what he strove for according to that verse, and he does not obtain it except through the reaching of the reward to the one to whom he donates it. Thus the verse is a strong proof for us, not against us!

"As for the hadith, it indicates that the work of the deceased stops and we hold this to be the case also, however, the issue is only the reaching to him of another's reward. The One who causes the reward to reach the dead is Allah, because the dead do not hear by themselves, and their nearness and distance is all one and the same with relation to Allah's power, and He said: { Call upon Me and I shall respond to you } (40:60)."

And Allah knows best.


Hanbali ʿAqida of Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qadir

Was Abdul Qadir Jilani (rahmatullahi alayhi) of the belief that Allah the exalted was literally in the sky? If so, was this a corrupt belief i.e., in contradistinction of Ahl Sunna wa Jama''? If so, could he have been a ''true'' wali?

As-Salamu ʿalaykum:

It is a poorly phrased question that ends with such a conditional sentence: "If so, could he have been a 'true' wali." If he were not, then who! Therefore, from the firm assumption that Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qadir al-Gilani was one of the great major Friends of Allah we can safely deduce that:

[1] either the text in which he is related to say that Allah Most High is "above" (fawq) the heaven and the Throne "with his Essence" (bi-dhatihi) is a corrupt text;


[2] our own understanding of what he actually meant is corrupt.

The latter is probably more correct, since it is related that Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qadir said "bi-dhatihi" in more than one text and this is the literalist Hanbali stance he inherited from his School.

Hence, we must categorically affirm that he meant it in an orthodox sense far away from anthropomorphism; namely, that Allah Most High is indeed "high above" with his Essence, not in the sense of altitude and location or direction, but in the sense of being exalted high above and beyond the characteristics of creatures.

This is nothing new. It is the correct belief over which no two Muslims would have differed, except that shaytan fanned the flames of misunderstanding and dissension by focussing people on wordings and labels rather than meanings, splitting the ranks of the Muslims and then proceeding further to split the ranks of Ahl al-Sunna.

Hence it is best, as our pious predecessors always cautioned, to stay away from hair-splitting discussions on points of doctrine and what they called "kalam" - theological discourse.



UK Kharijis

Non-implementation of Sharʿia → kāfir?

(1) concerning the Muslim rulers: can So-and-so be called kāfir based on his non-implementation of sharʿia and his allowing of riba and other anti-Islamic laws.

Wa ʿalaykum as-Salam:

Yazid drank wine and killed dozens of sahaba; he was not called a disbeliever but dissolute and depraved, i.e. fasiq.

(2) "So-and-so's non-implementation of sharʿia goes to show that whilst he has the ability to implement this law, he is denying it by not implementing it in the holy lands of Hijaz." Is this a valid statement?

No, it is invalid both logically and legally.

(3) where do we stand with regards to voting in a government which is responsible for the bombing of Islamic nations such as Iraq, Afghanistan and others. Does voting in itself constitute shirk or kufr for we are voting in a man-made system and kufr laws?

Voting in a man-made system and kufr laws no more constitutes shirk or kufr than obeying man-made traffic laws in the same system. More than that, if voting empowers one to promote the lesser of two evils than it is an obligatory act according to the Shariʿa.

(4) where do we stand with regard to court hearings and arbitration and judgement 'according' to kufr law?

The same place we stand with regard to righteously and lawfully promoting right and truth everywhere inasmuch as we can.

(5)'Following the law of the land,' - to what extent do we obey such a statement?

To the extent countenanced by the Shariʿa, which recognizes [1] the validity of non-Muslim laws, especially those which are based on heavenly Scriptures, and [2] the fact that "the law of the land" is motivated by the protection of populations from inequity and crime.

(6) Are we living in dar al-Harb?

Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti confirmed to me the view that at the present time there is nowhere on the face of the earth a declared state of war between any two respectively Muslim and non-Muslim states.

(7) The hadith, 'one who dies without pledging alliegence to the khaleef dies a death of ignorance,' is presented by these groups to show that the muslim masses are in a state of jahiliyya for they do not giving bayah to their khaleef. What is the tafsir on this from a scholarly perspective?

The meaning of this hadith according to the Salaf and the Ulema is "one who dies without recognizing the caliph to whom the Jamaʿa of the Muslims have pledged their loyalty" such as in the case of the Khulafa al-Rashidin, the Jamaʿa being defined as the Sawad al-Aʿzam i.e. the masses of the Muslims. There is neither such caliph nor such jamaʿa in our time.

These ideas, as extreme as they appear, have a significant hold on people. So much so that stealing from non-muslims has been declared as halal under the concept that the lands of UK and US are dar ul-Harb. Fraudulent transactions have been legalised under their law in the name of 'Islam.'

Such are thieves who are passible of the full brunt of the law, as well as depraved innovators if not kuffar for misrepresenting the haram as halal and vice-versa.

Somebody needs to stand up and defend the pure and pristine deen brought to us by sayyidina Muhammad (alahimus salam) but how is this possible with the lack of scholarship in these lands.

"Somebody"? Rather, every person of sound mind and belief. It is just another false notion that one needs to be a scholar to stand for what is right, while the rest scratch their heads before sheepishly joining the line that ends at the slaughtering-block.

Moreover, a Muslim in a non-Muslim state, in the eyes of the Shariʿa, is never more than a guest even if he is a voting, tax-paying, and even a born citizen in the eyes of that state.

Since before the fall of the Ottoman Sultanate, politicized Muslims, accross the spectrum from modernists to purists, have consistently preferred to adopt unIslamic strategies of power politics rather than what the Shariʿa commanded. Any call to a return to Khilafa by the very products of those philosophies is a masterpiece of hypocrisy.

Was-Salam, gibril

Zakat funds to build mosques

Someone came to me and asked me if we can use zakat money to build a mosque whether in Singapore or perhaps in a 3rd world country? Another would be can this zakat money from wealth be use for dakwah purposes? thanks .

This is a frequently asked question. The reply has always been, as far as I know, that it is impermissible to use zakat funds to build mosques. { The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is knower, Wise } (9:60).

The learned Ulema from the time of the Salaf to ours have reminded us that the act of zakat is, as its literal meaning implies, the _purification_ of one's wealth and hence what one gives away by way of zakat is the "filth of one's wealth," while mosques are the houses of Allah and must be built with the purest resources available.

Yet, many mosques have been built with zakat funds in the last two generations, particularly in Europe. Responsibility for this innovation goes to the Ikhwan al-Muslimun and Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who gave the decisive fatwa of permissibility in this regard on the unprecedented interpretive basis of the words { {fi sabilillah} ("for the cause of Allah") }.

Conversely, the proper categories of recipiency for zakat have been deprived in the same proportion if not more, because communities, as a result, have rested on this fluid understanding of "fi sabilillah" to reorient themselves more and more toward the funding of mosque buildings and all sorts of "Islamic projects" including "daʿwah" at the exclusion, in practical terms, of supporting people the way Allah Most High commanded.[emph. by editor]

We belong to Allah and unto Him we shall return.

GF Haddad [SP 2006-10-06]

Minimum age of fetus to be called miscarriage

What is the criterion of a miscarried child? I was told that the foetus has to be over 12 weeks.

Shaykh Muhammad Afifi, Allah preserve him, said that in the Shafiʿi and Hanbali schools if the fetus is over 40 days old what comes out can be considered to be either the child [walad] or the foetus [janin] or, at the very least, human flesh [lahm Adam], even if it is not fully developed yet; and 'walad' is used technically here by our jurists in its most general sense to mean that which the mother carries in her womb, whether dead or alive, perfect or defective in form, is in one or in several parts, immature or mature (i.e., mature, after having reached the point of Nafkh or the 120 days of pregnancy).

If the fetus is 40 days old or less, if the expert witnesses (e.g. two or more midwives) agree that the mudgha that came out is indeed human flesh, then, this will be legally considered a miscarriage with the same stipulations as what was mentioned above, otherwise, a menstrual period and treated like one.

I took the above from an article on nifas (post-delivery bleeding) by Sh. Afifi. I would add that the wording of the hadith "Your miscarried fetuses are the daʿaamees of Paradise," which means larvae, implies the very least embryonic form imaginable, i.e. definitely less than 12 weeks, and Allah Most High knows best.

GF Haddad
[SP 2006-11-01]
see also: miscarriage - loss of child
and: Post-Delivery Bleeding [Nifas] caused by Miscarriages

Preparing the body of the deceased for display

I had written:

Intended exposure / display of the face of the deceased, male or female, to the public before burial is an unIslamic practice (so is the display of a photograph). The result of such a practice would be that those responsible for it have left the Sunna, entered the realm of not following the way of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, and deprived themselves and those involved of a great blessing.

A question came:

This is the first I have come across this issue and did not think that displaying the body before burial was incorrect. This practice is very common in our community in the UK and back home (Bangladesh), where the deceased body is put on display either at home or the masjid, for people to come and say their final goodbyes while the funeral and burial arrangements are being made. [Note that the burial is not delayed to allow people to see the body but rather the people are given the opportunity to see the body while the burial arrangements are made].

The note is of relevance to clarifiy that this is a lesser offense than if the display were deliberate. However, in the display itself there is sufficient departure from Islamic practice and imitation of non-Muslims to warrant caution.

Preparing the body for display usually includes cosmetic arrangements some of which are halal, such as using camphor to cover odor, and others are haram. Not one hair or nail must be removed and if a hair falls it is returned to its place. Also, "saying goodbye" is not a notion that the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, taught, so much as remembering the hereafter, preparing for death, and looking forward to meeting Allah Most High.

Would you be kind enough to clarify the issue for me and just confirm whether this is a Bid'a and whether it harms the soul of the deceased and should this practise be stopped?

The poor deceased is innocent of any act of the living. The work of the deceased is done, he/she is no longer responsible for anything his uneducated relatives might do but he benefits from their duʿa. The Sunna practice in funerals is haste, much duʿa for both the living and the dead, and lowkey privacy. There will be without doubt reward for standing for the Sunna even if one has to face the ire of his entire custom-enslaved tribe in such events as well as those of Muslim marriage, naming a newborn Muslim child, and many other such family and social practices.

Was-Salam, gibril
[SP 2006-06-30]

Celebrating Christmas with the Christians - Halal or Haram?

Wa alaykum as-Salam,

It is positively impermissible to celebrate Christmas with the Christians as it is the soul of tashabbuh (resemblance) and takes one out of the pale of Islam according to one of two opinions related from the Imams of the early Muslims, the other being that one is an evil person for doing so.

In addition, a report from Sayyidina ʿUmar, Allah be well-pleased with him, explicitly forbids the Muslims from any connection whatsoever with their festivals.

It is not a question of "their Milad, our Milad." Neither milla is actually imitating the other as Christmas existed before Islam, and Mawlid exists obliviously of Christmas. In addition, the celebration Christmas has nothing to do with celebrating the birth of the Prophet ʿIsa; rather, they celebrate the birth of "the Son of God," with all its Mithraic and Dionysiac connotations. Even though I have nothing but the best memories of three decades of such celebrations, I have to say in conscience that it is a pagan festival. What is more, it is historically rooted in the European pagan winter solstice celebrations which preceded the beginnings of Christian history.

The real and practical question is: Should we return their greetings? As for one's private non-Muslim relatives and silat al-rahm, there must be cordiality and love but there must also be a sincere and consuming desire for right guidance and faithful good advice to them. As for non-relatives then it can be compared to relatives telling you during Easter: "Christ is risen!" One cannot stand mute but rather should answer: He never died in the first place; or take some such stand (such as basic absence from the places and times of such conversations) as clearly demarks one from any type of assent or confirmation of misguidance.

Should we visit them as a matter of protocol, especially in case of a political arrangement of coexistence such as in Lebanon for example? Here also the fatwa of Sh. Muhammad ibn Jaʿfar al-Kattani in his Nasiha li Ahl al-Islam is an emphatic NO, but the reality of practice in the history of Lebanon, for one, is different. The Mufti of the Republic and other Muslim representatives will even visit churches and sit in their front pews on certain occasions.

But for such to take place in a literally "purely" Muslim country such as Pakistan, all we can say is La hawla wala quwwata illa billah and remember the hadith of the Holy Prophet, upon him blessings and peace: "Two types of drunkenness shall be observed among you [Muslim]: the drunkenness of ample living and the drunkenness of ignorance."

Was-Salam, gibril

Regarding Marriage and Consent

In SP; IR wrote:

So in Islam it is allowed to marry a minor. Does this mean sexual relations are allowed with a minor?

There is no such category as "minor" in Islam. Sexual cohabitation is allowed on the basis of physical capacity. If able to enact or withstand intercourse, one or both of the spouses are allowed by their respective guardians to cohabitate, otherwise not, regardless of age.

On marriage see also: [ref: family life: marriage]

Awliya and Qutb

In defense against those who believe that Islam is devoid of spiritual ranks of merit, mysticism, or miracles; what is the basis for belief concerning the awliya and their hierarchy? What is agreed upon as regards their existance and the existance of the Qutb?

The Holy Qur'an explicitly mentions the Awliya and describes them as the Believers who fear Allah. So we must all agree that there are Awliya and that they exist co-terminally, which means co-everlastingly, with the Religion.

Next, the Holy Qur'an explicitly mentions that the Believers have "levels" (darajaat), and that "He raises" (yarfaʿu) some of the Believers above others, and that "above every knowledgeable one there is one more knowledgeable," and that "those whom Allah has particularly graced" are defined as "the Prophets, the Siddiqs, the Shuhada', and the Righteous" in that order, and that some Prophets were exalted above others. So we must all agree that there is a hierarchy of Believers in general, and hierarchies of Awliya and Prophets in particular.

The early scholars of hadith were very interested in the topic of the Awliya' and they gathered not only the hadiths but even non-Prophetic accounts about their states and miraulous gifts, and even dreams. For example, Ibn Abi al-Dunya's al-Awliya and the compilations respectively entitled al-Awliya' and Karaamaat al-Awliya' by the two Hanbalis al-Khallal and al-Lalika'i.

These books are available to us but ignorance is human and people tend to be the enemies of what they don't know, including "those who believe that Islam is devoid of spiritual ranks of merit... or miracles." The Holy Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, said that the only cure for the malady of ignorance is to ask. Sufyan ibn ʿUyayna said, "The learned scholar does not care for people's positions or feelings when he disseminates the Divine wisdom; if you accept he praises Allah, and if you reject he praises Allah." (As for the term "mysticism," it is best to steer clear of it since it is largely misunderstood to mean something ethereal or purely spiritual and tends to betray the fact that the Awliya are the most practical and act-oriented people of humankind.)

As for a specific terminology for the Awliya' the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, did use certain terms such as Abdal (substitutes), or certain qualifications of intercession such as the hadiths in which he refers to certain arch-intercessors such as our liegelords ʿUthman ibn ʿAffan and Uways al-Qarani. Ibn ʿAsakir in his Tarikh (51:282) narrates with his chain that when Imam al-Shafiʿi finished memorizing the Qur'an he said to himself: "You have obtained the Qutb al-Aʿzam" i.e. the greatest axis or authority around which the Religion revolves.

However, the terms "ghawth", "qutb" and the like to mean individuals among the Awliya' may have been devised as a convention among later scholars (see, for example, the treatises by al-Suyuti in al-Hawi lil-Fatawi and Ibn ʿAbidin in his Rasa'il) and are not binding upon the Muslims as terminology. As the scholars say, "la mushahata fil-mustalah," meaning: Don't nag about how we call things.

GF Haddad

What Is Haram Is Haram At All Times

Is it possible for something which by origin is legally permissible or disliked, to change to haram depending on the circumstance?

Let us say, in order to avoid divergence, that it can definitely change to "near haram" or "mostly haram" status. Smoking is a good example, as our knowledge of its ill effects has now increased to the point that it is almost unanimously known to be a harm in itself, although some fuqaha' insist on relativizing that harm to the condition that it be used in excess, not one or two puffs here and there.

For example, reading shaykh hamza yusuf's article on the legal rulings of chess, the hanafi ulama stated that chess was makruh tahrimi, but if played regularly [such that it would may distract from the prayer], then it would be haram.

Well, this is also true of everything innocuous or even good if it comes to distract someone from the foundational obligations, including, say, working, horseback riding, eating cantaloupe, or reading Shakespeare.

Shaykh qaradawi also states this with regards to chess:

"However, playing chess is permissible only if the following conditions are met:

Apparently he does not "also state this" at all, since "makruh tahrimi" is not the same as "permissible" but rather means "impermissible," so the two statements are at odds.

1- One should not get so absorbed in it that he delays his prayer; chess is well-known to be a stealer of time.

2- There should be no gambling involved.

3- The players should not utter obscenities or vulgarities.

If any of these conditions are not met it should be considered as haram."

Again, all these aspects are not intrinsic to chess and would make other things haram too.

Could you explain the legal reasoning behind how the ruling can change? i would have thought that if something was haram, it would be haram at all times - but in the above case, the ruling changes based on the actions of a specific person.

Even carrion meat becomes halal in a certain context such as surviving famine; or the outward expression of apostasy under deadly duress, as long as the heart is firmly holding on to belief.

Backgammon, by the way, is much more definitely condemned in the Sunna.


Looking for American Imams?

"Islam in America is trying to create a new cultural matrix that can survive in the broader context of America," said Prof. Sherman Jackson, who teaches Arabic and Islamic law at the University of Michigan. "It has to change for the religion to survive."

The last paragraph is preposterous.

The notion that a religion needs to change in order to survive typifies Christianity and Judaism. I remind you of the call of the Mufti of the great mosque of Paris in the 60's to European Christians who were losing their faith en masse due to the Vatican reforms: "Come to Islam, the immutable Religion."

If only Jackson were referring to the relentless assault of worldliness on all things spiritual which characterizes the ultra- materialist American society, he would have a point (though poorly phrased). However, with his words being cited in the wake of the article's suggestion of the hijab as outmoded, his position is dubious.

Was-Salam, GF Haddad

Forbidden Forms of Dhikr

Shaykh Bouti, for example, is known to have participated in the hadra. The same is also related of Shaykh ʿAbd al Fatah - as one of my teachers told me - from his students, such as Shaykh Mamduh and Shaykh Muhammad Rasheed. Is there any 'proof' available for this?

To begin with, the hadra of the Ulema is not like the hadra of the ʿAwamm. Read the classic discussions of samaʿ and replace the latter with the word "hadra." See for example Ibn al-Hajj's discussion of the samaʿ in the Madkhal and al-Suhrawardi's in ʿAwarif al-Maʿarif. These were major Sufi Fuqaha'. In the eyes of the true inheritors in Damascus, the Hadra there is fraught with infractions and is mostly a hadra of the ʿAwamm which the Masters themselves nowadays have issues with, long before the objections of an outsider.

Secondly, besides the above problem, among the Ulema who might be present at a hadra there might be actual Sufis and there might be mere sympathizers who are passing through. Dr Buti may well have kissed the hand of some senior Sufi Shuyukh and stood in the hadra, just as Sh Taqi Uthmani may well have attended many Mawlids and Sh Abd al-Fattah has several Sufi silsilas among his ijazas. All this "proves" little.

It would be a mistake to blur the difference since, when it comes to brass tacks, there are divergences between the two groups. An example of this is the firm rejection I've witnessed, by Shadhili teachers such as Sayyid Mustafa Basir and Sayyid Muhammad al-Yaʿqubi, of many of the comments Sh Abu Ghudda made in the margins of Imam al-Harith al-Muhasibi's Risalat al-Mustarshidin.

Another example is the scandal Dr Buti caused in Syria when he called the Naqshbandis' concept of rabita "shirk". One of the kurdish Shuyukh of Qamushli wrote in a few days a quite useful book to correct him, although this age is no longer prepared to reap the benefit of such correctives. The ʿAwamm (in society and on the Internet) become tied in knots at the idea of "a fight between Ulema". It only worsens matters when some among the latter, also, are far from prepared to be corrected, not to mention the pupils.

A further complication is that the non-Sufi Ulema of Damascus are a type of oxymoron, because they drank in tasawwuf from their environment. So, as Dr Wahba Zuhayli does, they may firmly defend what their minds comprehend, such as Tawassul and the celebration of Mawlid, but not what they do not comprehend, such as the Hadra and the Rabita, or even some of the karamat of the Awliya.(*) They may be seen in self-contradictory positions, either in good faith or because their understanding varies according to context and company but Allah knows best.

(*) When Dr Samer al-Nass spoke at length about the karaamaat of Shaykh Ahmad al-Harun in the talk devoted to him in Jamiʿ al-Tawba, Dr Hisham al-Burhani interrupted him on the pretext that he "was not focusing enough on ʿilm!" which I thought was ironic since most of those karaamaat contained pointed lessons in Tawhid.

A final, related complication is modernism. Among their countless innovations of accommodation, the Ikhwan al-Muslimin invented a Diet Tasawwuf based on patchwork. They picked and chose. Worse, they did so according to a deliberately egalitarian vision, free of the spiritually-grounded authority (and manhaj) of the founding Awliya and their Turuq inheritors. This resulted in people like Sh Yusuf al- Qaradawi discoursing on "the real Sufism" and so forth against the Sufis themselves. This, and a post-Wahhabi, post-La-Madhhabi Azhar, is the backdrop from which your friends like Webb and "the Transtalors" take their cues, regurgitating worn-out issues over which they can accuse the Fuqaha, Sufis and Ashʿaris of "taʿassub" to coat over their own talfiq and lack of adab.

GF Haddad

Do Muslims Have to Give Bay'a to an Amir?

Also, I have often noted scholars quoting Shaykh Yusuf Nabahani but is his grandson considered a classical and reliable scholar to make taqlid on for his political fatawa?

Some may consider him a Scholar but I do not know of anyone nor have read of anyone who does so outside of the political party that promotes his ideas. Since then I have found that Taqi al-Din al-Nabhani the founder of Hizb al-Tahrir stated in his books al-Shakhsiyya al-Islamiyya and Nizam al-Islam that "human acts are not part of the Divine qada' but are a matter of human free will" and that "guidance and misguidance are from the acts of servants and not from Allah." Such a belief, as we said of Abu al-Fadl's identical creed, goes even further than the classic stance of the Muʿtazilis and Qadaris and is a modern form of libertarian materialism.

GF Haddad

Oriental Pattern


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  1. interloper: a person who becomes involved in a place or situation where they are not wanted or are considered not to belong.

  2. See: Wadud's Way


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