Outline Of Misbah Al-Anam
by al-Habib `Alawi ibn Ahmad al-Haddad
Transl. GF Haddad, 1999

(the author of Sharh Ratib al-Haddad) from his own general introduction to his book.

Chapter One

Exposition of the doctrine of Divine Oneness (al-tawhīd) and what contradicts it; the Prophetic miracle (al-mu'jiza) and the saint's miracle (al-karāma); evidence that the latter is possible for the Friend (walī) of Allah by Consensus and that none denies this except the Khawarij and the innovators.

Chapter Two

In which it can be learned that the so-called 'Oneness of Godhead' (tawhīd al-ulūhiyya) is part of the general meaning of the 'Oneness of Lordship' (tawhīd al-rubūbiyya) and that the fiendish Najdi went astray by differentiating between them.

Chapter Three

Refutation of the Najdi's claim whereby visiting the righteous (al-sālihīn) and believing in them consists in major association with Allah (shirk akbar)! Refutation of his words uttered against the Imam of scholars and the Scholar of poets, Imam al-Busiri (d. ~694) who said, addressing the Prophet ﷺ upon him blessings and peace [in Qasidat al-Burda]:
O noblest one in all creation!
I have none with whom I can seek shelter
Other than you on the Day
The Universal Event shall befall.
In this chapter we establish the permissibility of seeking means (tawassul) with the Prophets and the Friends of Allah as well as calling upon them by name whether alive or dead.

Chapter Four

Exposition of the high station of the Friends of Allah and of the fact that the worlds do not worship them besides Allah in spite of such high station.

Chapter Five

Exposition of the fact that even if those who are ignorant and commit errors in this Community do something tantamount to idolatry and disbelief, nevertheless, this does not make them polytheists nor disbelievers. They are excused on the basis that they are mistaken and ignorant. This remains the case until they clearly grasp the reason behind the fact that he who contravenes such-and-such becomes a disbeliever. This education is obtained through the invitation of an imam or his deputy and through their demonstration of the fact to him in clear and unambiguous fashion.

Chapter Six

Exposition of the separation of the Community into sects and the necessity to adhere to the largest mass of the people (al-sawād al-a'zam), who are the People of the Way of the Prophet and the Congregation of the Muslims (Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jamā'a) formed by the Hanafis, the Malikis, the Shafi`is, and the Hanbalis.

Chapter Seven

This is the central argument of the book. The chapter establishes the truth of the miracles of the saints after their death and lists those who related examples of this among the major verifying scholars and authoritative jurists. The chapter further establishes the permissibility of seeking aid (istighātha) and means (tawassul) with the living and the dead. The chapter mentions the added benefit of mankind's growth in the different worlds ' each of which is defined ' and the unique distinction of the souls of Prophets and saints apart from others.

Chapter Eight

If someone asks: 'You affirm the reality of the miracles of the Prophets and Saints whether they are alive or dead, and you declare it obligatory to believe in them; however, we find that, in our time, there are those of the people of Najd and their predecessors in misguidance, who have destroyed the domes of [the graves of] the saints and dug up their graves in contempt of them. They have also detained or killed many living saints. Why, then, did nothing happen to those who committed such acts, for their punishment was not hastened nor did the Divine revenge befall them in the world?' Such a questioner did not think of the saying of Allah Most High: {Nay, but the Hour (of doom) is their appointed tryst, and the Hour will be more wretched and more bitter (than their earthly failure} (54:46).

Chapter Nine

Concerning the benefits of trials and difficulties and the belief that it is Allah Who is the Doer alone. If one believes that the doer is one of the creatures of Allah then commits a grave lapse and perpetual calamity is feared for that one. This chapter mentions the explanation of the benefits of calamities, difficulties, trials, and great losses by the Sultan of Ulema, Shaykh al-Islam al-'Izz ibn 'Abd al-Salam. The chapter concludes with the prohibition of ill deeds, the obligation of loving the Friends of Allah, and the ensuing punishment of those who harm them.

Chapter Ten

Concerning the statements of the Ulema about Imam Ibn Taymiyya al-Hanbali in order that the reader be familiar with what they said concerning him. This is advice for the Community of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, which was made immune from agreeing on misguidance.

Chapter Eleven

On hanging something on oneself or on cattle for protection and the refutation of the Najdi who said that it is prohibited. The chapter concludes with a refutation of the Najdis' condemnation of the placing of scarecrows (jamājim) in plantation fields.

Chapter Twelve

Refutation of the Najdi's condemnation of statements such as: 'This is entrusted to Allah and to His Prophet' (amānatullāhi warasūlih), or 'I leave it to Allah and to you, O So-and-so,' or 'for Allah and for you,' or 'I have no-one except Allah and you' and the like.

Chapter Thirteen

Concerning the lawfulness of erecting domes over the (graves of) the Friends of Allah and the Ulema, not to mention the Prophets; the lawfulness of swearing an oath (nadhr) on their behalf according to certain conditions; and the lawfulness of placing lights or candles under their domes for the use of visitors. The chapter ends with a very beneficial word on the desirability of travel for the visit of the Friends of Allah ' not to mention his Prophets ' and the keeping of their company afforded by their visit. If something reprehensible takes place there, still one must visit and condemn whatever is reprehensible if possible, otherwise, he will be rewarded [for condemning it] in his heart. The conclusion mentions the benefits of meeting them by visiting them, the fact that they know who visits them, and the request for donating the reward of Qur'an-recitation and charity to them. Moreover, the recitation or chanting of poetry in meetings devoted to remembrance of Allah is permissible.

The conclusion also addresses the case whereby the Saint's location is a shrine (mashhad) without an actual grave in it: is it venerated or visited in the same fashion as his grave or not?

Chapter Fourteen

Refutation of the Najdi's condemnation of seeking means (tawassul) with the elite of Allah among the righteous, whether alive or dead. He condemned it although it is obligatory to seek means with them, as was shown by the Imam al-Sayyid 'Abd Allah ibn Mawlana al-Sayyid Ibrahim Mirghani in his book Tahrid al-Aghbiya' 'ala al-Istighatha bi al-Anbiya' wa al-Awliya' ('The Provocations of the Ignorant Against Seeking the Help of Prophets and Saints'). May Allah benefit us throught them in this life and the next! Amin. We list for the reader the statements of the Ulema concening the obtainment of blessings (tabarruk) through the Saints and their relics. We then explain their proofs for using means (tawassul) and seeking aid (istighātha). We then enumerate for the reader some of the gross aberrations of the Najdi in that chapter. Finally, we demonstrate to the reader that there is a Consensus among the Four Schools that one who disparages the Prophets commits disbelief, as well as other points. This is for the benefit of the Community lest they fall in the same way as the Najdi and thus perish in this world and the next.

Chapter Fifteen

Refutation of the calumny of the innovator from Najd against invoking blessings and peace on the Master of Prophets by addressing him in the second person from the mosque pulpits with a loud voice. I even heard that he killed someone who refused to cease doing this after he forbade it. He went so far as to say that playing a musical instrument in the house of a prostitute was preferable to the act of the person who calls upon the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, invoking blessings and peace upon him. Is there anything more ludicrous than this saying of his? The scholars refuted that position in the past. Among them are the mufti of Zabid, al-Sayyid 'Abd al-Qadir ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Ahdal and Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad ibn 'Umar al-Habshi. The Pole of Saints, the Helper of Mankind 'Abd Allah ibn 'Alawi al-Haddad was also consulted about that question and he gave them a reply that is found quoted in full in the book Masa'il al-Sufiyya ('Sufi Questions'), which the reader should consult. I did not have that book available at the time of writing this. The statements of other scholars are also quoted on the question. Also in the chapter is the refutation of the Najdi's prohibition of supplication (du'ā') after the five prayers and of calling out 'O our Master and our Liege-Lord' (yā mawlānā wa-sayyidanā) for any creature, not even a Prophet or a Saint.

Chapter Sixteen

The disbelief (kufr) shown by the Najdi's statement whereby the school of Imam Abu Hanifa amounts to nothing (laysa bi shay'); his rejection of the scholars who follow one of the Four Schools and their books; his affirmation that he will not imitate them nor accept the sayings of their major followers among the verifying Imams who transmitted their knowledge, even if such report reached the degree of mass-transmission (tawātur) and decisiveness (qat'). Even so, he burnt their books and shredded them ' indeed he went so far as to deny mass-transmitted narrations from the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace!

We conclude this chapter with a section to the effect that it is incorrect to use as a proof a sound hadith or a verse of qur'an nor to base any action on them until we look and see who among the four imams of independent reasoning has so used the hadith or the verse so that we may imitate him in that.

Chapter Seventeen

On the desirability of visiting the Prophet ﷺ upon him blessings and peace, and travelling to him, with the immense merit of visitation. We conclude the chapter by using him, upon him blessings and peace, as a means and conclude the book with questions and answers in refutation of the Najdi by [his former teacher] the Shaykh and verifying Imam Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-Kurdi al-Madani al-Shafi'i (ra)  may Allah benefit us with him! And what greater indecency is there than the act of the Najdi [in this respect], and what greater enormity than his proven sanction against whoever visits the Master of Messengers (saws).

Allah bless and greet him and his Family and Companions

GF Haddad

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