““And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” (Qur’an 29:69)
“Verily, this is My way, leading straight: follow it: follow not other paths: they will scatter you about from His great path: thus does He command you, that you may be righteous.” (Qur’an 6:153)
Before I begin this entry I would like to say two things.
I still love respect, honor, cherish, and wish to work with all Muslims.
- I have and will continue to love and respect and work with my Muslim brothers who are from the ‘Ahl Sunnah’ as well as the ‘Shi’a‘. I will continue to love and respect and work with all Muslims rather you are ‘Salafi‘ or ‘Sufi‘ in your orientation.
- The second thing I would like to say is that these are my thoughts and reflections. I do not wish to cause any ill feelings towards any of the Muslims.
Please know I will speak very candidly about my own conclusions. Also, this entry is about 16 pages in length! I would ask that you, the respected reader would read this in sections and then take a break.
A brief overview of why I started Prima-Qur’an.
As those of you know who have been following my blog Prima-Qur’an that it is the result of unanswered questions that I have had in my years of being with the group that calls itself ‘The Ahl Sunnah‘. I think that many Muslims who are in the field of daw’ah (calling people to Islam) do not appreciate that just because a person becomes a Muslim does not mean that they do not have any more questions about Islam.
Also, it is very important to remember that just because we give someone an answer it doesn’t mean that the answer is intelligible, sensible, or coherent.
For many of us as converts, it is a continuous process of taking on new information as it is being presented, weighing, and evaluating this information.
The struggle of us converts.
We are converting are told that “Islam is simple” only to find out much later it is anything but simple -at least not the Islam that is currently being presented to the multitudes.
We are told that the Shahadah is “I bear witness that there is only one God and Muhammed is the Messenger of God” only to find out that the “correct Shahadah” entails taking on the theological, juristic, philosophical, historical baggage of the group who administered the Shahadah to us.
“I bear witness that there is one God and Muhammed is the Messenger of God, and Dawatus Salafiyyah is correct in all issues of fiqh and aqidah and that Bukhari is infallible and if Al Abani, Uthaymee, and Bin Baz say something that it must be true, and the by the way the Qur’an is uncreated and Allah has a ‘foot’but not like other feet.“
“I bear witness that there is one God and Muhammed is the Messenger of God, and that the books of Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, are the books we rely upon, that I bear witness that I will choose between any of the four schools of jurisprudence, Maliki, Shafi, Hanbali, and Hanafi, and there are two schools of aqidah I can choose from, yet I’m not supposed to make taqlid in aqidah, and eventually when I get around to it or when he finds me I will be guided to a Sufi Tariah who will take care of my spiritual affairs and guide me to safe shores.”
“I bear witness that there is one God and Muhammed is the Messenger of God, and we are to be guided by the 12 Imams, and only the Ahl Bayt are the sources of true knowledge of true guidance, and temporary marriage is a thing.”
When those of us as converts take the Shahadah I believe we do so for various reasons but why we feel comfortable with saying that declaration is that we do come to some rational, emotional, spiritual understanding that there is One Almighty Creator.
We either are moved by the call to prayer, the congregational prayer, the treatment by fellow Muslims, something we read in a translation of the Qur’an, something that pulls us in that direction; and if this man Muhammed (saw) is the who has imputed this information we have no problem in accepting that he must be the envoy, ambassador, messenger and prophet of this One Almighty Creator.
So now we have taken the shahadah, to the thunderous sounds of Takbir! Allahu Akbar! (God is Greater). The warm embraces of fellow Muslims. So now we are Muslims, members of 1.6 billion community worldwide. Feels amazing right?
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FOLLOWING ALLAH AND HIS MESSENGER AND SOMEONE’S UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT ALLAH AND HIS MESSENGER WANT.
Now here comes the fine print. Now we will be expected to embrace and defend the historical, philosophical, theological, juristic world view of the bunch we took our Shahadah with.
So as I stated above I was never comfortable with the ‘packaged deal‘. Now certainly I understand that Islam means submission. I certainly understand that our ego is like a wild horse that needs to be broken. I certainly understand that we are all of us are products of presuppositions. I certainly understand that we are slaves of Allah (swt).
Yet in the same breadth I certainly understand when a position or view is not based upon facts or something solid, I certainly understand when a position or a view is cacophonous and discordant.
I can sit with learned pious and well-meaning people from sunrise until sunset and still understand when there are woeful inconsistencies in a viewpoint. I can even look a person in the eye and glean from it that they themselves are not certain of what they are saying. I am capable of all of that by the grace of Allah (swt).
MY POSITION WILL ALWAYS BE PRIMA-QUR’AN.
I also want to make a few other points before talking about my decision to follow the Ibadi school. I will discuss what I feel the Ibadi school gives me closure on and how it aligns with my own research and findings, with more discoveries to be made.
I also want to make it a point that my world view as a Muslim is still very much Prima-Qur’an. The Ibadi school doesn’t expect anyone to practice Taqlid. This is a breath of fresh air for me. I will always uphold the Qur’an over any ahadith, fiqh, ijtihad that conclusively clashes with fundamental teachings or precepts in the Qur’an.
THE IBADI SCHOOL GIVES ME CLOSURE ON AND WHY I FEEL IT IS THE SCHOOL OF JURISPRUDENCE OF THE FUTURE.
- THE UPRIGHTNESS OF THE COMPANIONS THE COMPANIONS WERE ALL ANGELS WHO DID NO WRONG.
I believe not only we as convert Muslims but many born and raised Muslims read many of the ahadith concerning many of the companions and cannot possibly walk away with the impression that these people were all angels and saints.
The civil wars among the companions are all to easily swept under the rug by ‘Ahl Sunnah’. Statements like “when lions fight dogs bark” is not an intellectually robust nor serious way to address the matter.
Well listen to what this respected ‘Sunni‘ scholar and researcher of hadith, Professor Jonathan Brown, has to say:
“There are even reports from the early historian al-Mada’ini that Mu’awiya encouraged systematic forging and circulation of hadiths affirming the virtues of the caliphs and Companions at Ali’s expense.” (cited from Al-Mada’ini’s Kitab al-ahdath; Ahmad b Sa’d al-Din al-Miswari, Al Risala al-munqidha min al-ghiwaya fi turuq al riwaya, pp. 51-55)”
Source: This citation is found in Dr. Jonathan Browns book “Hadith Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World page 7o”
“That the collective impunity of the Companions was a later construct of the Sunni worldview is evident when one finds occasional minor Companions listed in early books of weak hadith transmitters.”
Source: (Hadith: Muhammed’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World’ by Dr. Jonathan Brown page 88)
This is why for example you have forged hadith like the one about the “10 promised paradise“.
“The Prophet said, “On the Day of Resurrection a group of companions will come to me but will be driven away from the Lake-Fount, and I will say, ‘O Lord those are my companions!’ It will be said, ‘You have no knowledge as to what they innovated after you left; they turned apostate as renegades.” (Book #76, Hadith # 585 Bukhari)
Say: “I am no bringer of new-fangled doctrine among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I follow but that which is revealed to me by inspiration; I am but a Warner open and clear.” (Qur’an 46:9)
“There are quite a number of authentic traditions in which Companions describes other Companions as kadhdhabin (liars) in relating hadith. Sunni scholars hold that kadhdhab in these cases only means “being in grave error.”
Sources: Suhaib H. Abdul Ghafar, Criticism of Hadith Among Muslims with Reference to Sunan Ibn Maja (IFTA: 1984), pp. 59-63. Also, G.H.A. Juynboll, Muslim Tradition, Cambridge (1983), pp., 190-206.” -From Professor Jeffery Lang’s Book: Losing My Religion A Call for Help pg.211
There is no way intellectually that I can accept the way our brothers from the ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ go through in order to salvage this doctrine.
The contributions of ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ to the Ummah of Muhammed (saw) are gargantuan. May Allah (swt) reward every one of their scholars for the most sincere efforts.
Often what happens is because of this doctrine many of the laymen of ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ feel that this presentation cannot be correct and they become captivated with the Shi’a narrative.
SO WHY NOT BECOME A SHIA?
First, it is important to understand that just as the ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ has undergone transformation through history so have the ‘Shi’a‘ or the ‘Partisans of Ali‘.
Yet, I am not ready to believe that people like Abu Bakr As Siddiq and Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) were people who robbed Ali (may Allah be pleased with him).
The whole idea of Muslims being ruled through the family of the Prophet (saw) is not something I find support for in the Qur’an nor the idea of being ruled by 12 or even 7 Imams.
So though I agree with the Shi’a brothers that it is not possible that all the companions were angels and saints who did no wrong, it is also not possible for me to stay fixated upon that point in Muslim history. With due respect to my Shi’a brothers, they seem like they are always look back with no future other than hanging hopes upon a Mahdi salvation figure.
Also if the things that Shi’a say about Ali (r.a) and the Ahl Bayt are true it only leaves me unfortunately with not very positive thoughts concerning Ali. For example, if it is your divine right to rule over the people who can you just sit back and allow Abu Bakr (r.a) and Umar (r.a) to reign?
Understandably he ruled over a very difficult time in Muslim history but if Ali (r.a) was to be this Imam that the Shi’a claim with all the attributes that entails, ruling for 5 years does seem very lackluster.
Lastly, if I was to be a Shi’a I would also have to apply the same scrutiny to Ali (r.a) as I do other companions. In other words, I could agree and do agree that Ali (r.a) is the fourth of the Rashidun Kaliphs. Ali (r.a) was unjustly opposed by Talha, Zubayr, and latter Muaviya.
So technically I am a Shi’a (supporter of Ali) on these points.
However, if the companions can make errors in judgment, and commit wrongdoing I would have to be consistent and apply the same criteria to all companions including Ali (r.a).
I have done exactly that and I have found Ali (r.a) to be in error in the battle of Siffin in his arbitration with Muaviya.
This brings me to my second point.
2. WHO SHOULD RULE THE MUSLIMS?
The ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ believe that Muslims must be ruled from a Caliph and that this Caliph has to come from the tribe of the Quresh.
The Shi’a believe that the Muslims have to be ruled by the Ahl Bayt (The Noble Prophets Family).
The Ibadi believe that any upright and righteous Muslim can lead the Muslims. This view is an egalitarian view that we actually find support for in the Sunnah.
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “You should listen to and obey, your ruler even if he was an Ethiopian (black) slave whose head looks like a raisin.”
The next point.
3. HOW SHOULD RULE OF THE MUSLIMS BE DECIDED?
Our brothers from ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ claim that the leader should be selected by a group of men. However, we can see dynastic hereditary rule throughout Muslim history.
The ‘Shi’a‘ claim that the rule is through the ‘Ahl Bayt‘ simply being a descendant of the Blessed Prophet (saw) is qualification enough. This is something soundly refuted by the Qur’an.
“And remember that Ibrahim was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: “I will make thee an Imam to the Nations.” He pleaded: “And also (Imams) from my offspring!” He answered: “But My Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers.” (Qur’an 2:142)
Allah (swt) told Ibrahim that simply being a descendant of a prophet is not criteria enough to be as ruler.
This can be clearly seen with the ‘Ahl Bayt‘ of Noah.
“He said: “O Noah! He is not of thy family: For his conduct is unrighteous. So ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge! I give you counsel, don’t act like the ignorant!” (Qur’an 11:46)
The Ibadi position is that the righteous in the community will come together through consultation and elect the leader.
“And those who have responded to their lord and established prayer and whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves, and from what We have provided them, they spend.” (Qur’an 42:38)
In fact here is something interesting.
Hussein Ghubash, delegate of the United Arab Emirates to UNESCO,
Chairman of the G77 in Paris and author of “Oman-The Islamic Democratic Tradition” he sees the Ibadi school as a proto democratic tradition.
You can see the link here: https://www.amazon.com/Hussein-Ghubash/e/B001HPC72Q
So it is very possible with the Ibadi school to have a representative democracy where representatives are chosen and ultimately these representatives choose the Imam/ Caliph.
The next point.
IBADHI DOESN’T TEACH INFERIORITY/SUPERIORITY COMPLEX
I can say that with full confidence that the Ibadi school embraces what Allah (swt) teaches us in the Qur’an about being one humanity and what has been related to us by the Blessed Messenger (saw).
As we have already seen that our brothers from the ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ and the ‘Shi’a‘ will have it that the destiny of humanity is that we will be ruled by Arabs, simply by virtue of them being Quresh, or being Imams from the family of the Blessed Prophet (saw).
Among the ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ these are opinions from respected scholar the noble Imam Shafi’i (May Allah have abundant mercy upon him)
We see the following regarding the kafa’a for marriage in the classic Shafi’i manual of Islamic law titled‘Umdat as-Salik wa ‘Uddat an-Nasik (Reliance of the Traveller and Tools of the Worshipper):
والكفاءةُ في: النسَبِ والدِّينِ والحريةِ والصَّنعةِ وسلامة العيوبِ المُثْبِتَةِ للخِيار، فلا يُكافئ العجميُّ عربيةً، ولا غيرُ قُرَشيٍّ قُرشيَّةً، ولا غيرُ هاشميٍّ أو مُطَّلبيٍّ هاشميةً أو مطَّلبيةً، ولا فاسقٌ عفيفةً، ولا عبدٌ حرةً، ولا العتيقُ أو من مسَّ آباءَهُ رِقٌّ حرةَ الأصلِ، ولا ذو حِرفَةٍ دنيئةٍ بنتَ ذي حِرفةٍ أرفعَ، كخياطٍ بنتَ تاجرٍ، ولا معيبٌ بعيبٍ يُثْبِتُ الخِيارَ سليمةً منهُ، ولا اعتبارَ باليسارِ والشيخوخةِ، فمتى زوَّجها بغَيْرِ كُفءٍ بغَيرِ رضاها ورِضا الأولياءِ الذينَ هم في درَجتهِ فالنِّكاحُ باطلٌ، وإن رَضُوا أو رضيَتْ فليسَ للأبعدِ اعتراضٌ.
(Taken from the section of Kafa’a in the chapter of Nikaah in the text)
Translation: Kafa’a (Suitability in marriage for a female) is in the lineage (ancestry of the man), and in religiousness, and his being a free man (not a slave), and in his profession, and his being free of defects that can cause the annulment of the marriage. And the ajami (non-Arab) is NOT suitable for an Arab woman, and a non-Qurayshi is NOT suitable for a Qurayshi woman (Quraysh was the trtibe of the Holy Prophet (S)), nor is a non-Hashimi or non-Muttalabi suitable for a Hashimi or Muttalabi woman (Hashimites are the members of the clan to which the Holy Prophet (S) belonged to), and Muttalabites are the descendants of the grandfather of the Holy Prophet(S)). Nor is an immoral man suitable for a virtuous woman, nor is a slave suitable for a free woman, nor is a freed slave or one whose ancestors were touched by slavery suitable for a (free) woman whose ancestors were free. Nor is a man of a lowly profession suitable for the daughter of someone with a noble profession, such as a tailor wanting to marry a tradesman’s daughter.
We can see the following are NOT kafa’a (suitable for marriage) for women:
- Non-Arab men for Arab women
- Non-Qurayshi man for a Qurayshi woman
- Non-Hashimi or non-Muttalabi for a Hashimi or Muttalabi woman
- Sinful man for virtuous a woman
- A slave or a freed slave for a free woman
- A free man but one whose ancestors might have been slaves for a free woman whose ancestors were not slaves
- A man with a lowly profession for a woman whose father has a noble profession
We also have the opinion of Ibn Taymiyyah in his (IqtiDaa’ Siraat al-Mustaqeem, volume 1, page 419) the following:
فإن الذي عليه أهل السنة والجماعة اعتقاد أن جنس العرب أفضل من جنس العجم عبرانيهم وسريانيهم رومهم وفرسهم وغيرهم وأن قريشا أفضل العرب وأن بني هاشم أفضل قريش وأن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أفضل بني هاشم فهو أفضل الخلق نفسا وافضلهم نسبا
Indeed it is the belief of the Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama’ah that the race of Arabs is superior to the race of non-Arabs, the Hebrews (Jews), the Syrians (Arameans), the Romans (Europeans), the Persians, and others. And indeed the Quraysh [tribe of the Prophet (S)] is the most superior among the Arabs. And indeed the Banu Hashim [the clan of the Prophet (S)] is the most superior among the Quraysh. And indeed the Prophet, may the Blessings and Peace of Allaah be upon him, is the most superior of the Banu Hashim, for he is the most superior of all creation by his own self, and also the most superior among them because of his lineage (ancestry).
The links to this information USED TO BE HERE: http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=9427&CATE=1
Wonder why this was taken down??
This is not the case for the Ibadi school.
The Ibadi school gained wide acceptance all across North Africa, the Sahara because of sticking to the message of the universality of humanity.
I am quite sure and quite confident that Muslims of all ethnic and racial backgrounds do not want to trade the current world order of Western Hegemony and White Centers of Power only to go to a world of Arab Hegemony and Arab Centers of Power.
Nobody wants to trade one system of oppression for another. This has misled and misguided many among the Arabs to call black people abeed (slave) when in reality all of us are slaves. Or you may find that some Arabs consider it a taboo to call their children ‘Bilal‘.
The Ibadi position on the fraternity of humanity is based upon the following:
O, men! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, Allah is all-knowing, All-Aware. (Qur’an 49:13)
“But the Jews and the Christians say, “We are the children of Allah and His beloved(hibbaohu).” Say, “Then why does He punish you for your sins?”Rather, you are human beings from among those He has created. He forgives whom He wills, and He punishes whom He wills. And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them, and to Him is the [final] destination.” (Qur’an 5:18)
In a sublime oral tradition we find:
Abu Nadrah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, is reported to have said:
“O people, your Lord is one and your father Adam is one. There is no favor of an Arab over a foreigner, nor a foreigner over an Arab, and neither white skin over black skin nor black skin over white skin, except by righteousness. Have I not delivered the message?” Source: Musnad Ahmad 22978, Grade: Sound
“Have I not delivered the message?” Subhan’Allah. Indeed you have our Master, our Heart, the Mercy sent unto the worlds!
IBADI SCHOOL HAS THE BEST CHANCE TO MAKE PEACE WITH ISRAEL.
Now before I begin my argument here let me say clearly that we as Muslims should never ever give up the Palestinian cause. We should always demand justice for the Palestinians and the right to a homeland and self-determination. The day the Muslim community gives up the cause of the Palestinians we will have lost a piece of our own souls.
Now, why would I say the Ibadi school has the best chance to make peace with Israel? I not only say that but I say the Ibadi school is the school with the most hopeful outlook for the future.
In the Ibadi school, there is absolutely 100% no belief that a Mahdi will come or that Jesus will return again and kill all of the Jews and instigate Armageddon.
Think about it. Logically Israel is a nuclear-armed power based by another superpower. Already Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, Bahrain, and other states have had meetings and delegations from Israel.
Again, I don’t think normalization with Israel should come at a cost of abandoning the Palestinian people or their cause.
Yet, if you were an Israeli think tank and you are forced to deal with a ‘Sunni world view‘ that has a core belief that sometime in the future Jesus (a.s) will show up and give your people the choice to accept Islam or die how hopeful would peace prospects be with such people?
The Ibadi position is in line with Allah (swt) told us in the Qur’an. That position is that Christ Jesus is dead. Not only this but the Ibadi school does not hang its hopes or future on some possibly distant messianic figure, Christ Jesus or Mahdi.
To me, this makes the Ibadi school the school of the future because it is teaching us to live in the here and now and to be practical. Muslims need to work together to solve the problems of today. We cannot hang our hopes by thinking any moment now some apocalyptic figure will pop up and then he will ‘get even with the kuffar!‘.
How long have we been waiting for anyway?
Unfortunately, in many ways, our beloved brothers from the ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ and the ‘Shi’a‘ are either living in the past, beholden to the clash of the Ummayad Caliph Muawiya, and the supposed rights of the Ahl Bayt; or they are looking off to the distant horizon for some salvation figure.
The Ibadi school is living in and dealing with the present reality. The Ibadi school is not defined by the past, other than trying to emulate the most beautiful human and most excellent example in the Blessed Prophet (saw). The Ibadi school is not hanging its hope in some fatalistic future salvation figure that may never come.
Other reasons for my decision:
IBADI SCHOOL OF AQIDAH IS SOUND AND BASED UPON THE QUR’AN.
The Ibadi school does not believe in Tahrif of the Qur’an. The Ibadi school believes that we have the entire Qur’an with us.
Probably the most difficult (and not well known) position for me to accept as a Muslim from ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ was the idea that we do not have the entire Qur’an but only the Qur’an Allah (swt) intended for us to have.
The Ibadi position is based upon what Allah (swt) says:
“And recite that which hath been revealed unto you of the Scripture of thy Lord. There is none who can change His words, and you will find no refuge beside Him.” (Qur’an 18:27)
“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it.” (Qur’an 15:9)
Our beloved brothers and their scholars from the ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ have often charged the following:
a) There are large portions of the Qur’an that are simply missing (because they were forgotten)!
b) There is some Qur’an that is not in the Qur’an that Muslims have today but found in extra Quranic material -namely the ahadith.
Umar said, “I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, “We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book,” and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession.” Sufyan added, “I have memorized this narration in this way.” ‘Umar added, “Surely Allah’s Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him.”
Source: (Bukhari, vol. 8, bk. 82, no. 816)
Zirr ibn Hubaish reported: “Ubayy ibn Ka’b said to me, ‘What is the extent of Suratul-Ahzab? ‘I said, ‘Seventy or seventy-three verses’. He said, ‘Yet it used to be equal to Suratul-Baqarah and in it, we recited the verse of stoning’. I said, ‘And what is the verse of stoning’? He replied, ‘The fornicators among the married men ( ash-shaikh)) and married women (ash-shaikhah), stone them as an exemplary punishment from Allah, and Allah is Mighty and Wise.”‘
Source: (As-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur’an , p.524).
“It is reported from Ismail ibn Ibrahim from Ayyub from Naafi from Ibn Umar who said: “Let none of you say ‘I have acquired the whole of the Quran’. How does he know what all of it is when much of the Quran has disappeared? Rather, let him say ‘I have acquired what has survived’”.
Source: (As-Suyuti, AlItqan fii Ulum al-Quran page 524)
‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with, her) reported that it had been revealed in the Qur’an that ten clear sucklings make the marriage unlawful, then it was abrogated (and substituted) by five sucklings and Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) died and it was before that time (found) in the Qur’an (and recited by the Muslims).
Source: (Muslim Book 008, Number 3421)
“We used to recite a surah which resembled in length and severity to (Surah) Bar’at I have, however, forgotten it with the exception of this which I remember out of it: “If there were two valleys full of riches, for the son of Adam, he would long for a third valley, and nothing would fill the stomach of the son of Adam but dust.”
Source: (Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2, 501).
Before I begin I would like to say that I would consider myself a fairly open-minded Muslim. I would also consider myself able to accept a wide range of opinions and views within the Islamic tradition.
However, when it comes to anyone trying to undermine the revelation of the Qur’an this is certainly problematic. I am not open to such a position.
The Ibadi school does not hold anthropomorphic views on the attributes of Allah (swt).
“Indeed, those who pledge allegiance to you, [O Muhammad] – they are actually pledging allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands. So he who breaks his word only breaks it to the detriment of himself. And he who fulfills that which he has promised Allah – He will give him a great reward.” (Qur’an 48:10)
There are only three ways to interpret this verse consistently.
- Allah’s hand is a literal hand and their hands are literal hands.
- Allah’s hand is a hand but unlike other hands (which are unlike other hands).
- Allah’s power and authority are over their power and authority.
Interpretation 3 is the most sensible interpretation.
We see this in the following example: “Except their wives or those their right-hand posses, for indeed they will not be blamed.” (Qur’an 23:6)
It is not logical to think of a woman or any person being in someone’s hand. The understanding of “hand” here is power or authority.
“Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breast that grow blind.” (Qur’an 22:46)
Here the heart is attributed with blindness or conversely seeing and these things are allegorical and not to be taken by its outward meaning.
People who have interpreted the various claimed attributes of Allah (swt) by their apparent outward without giving interpretation have run into enormous difficulty.
“And do not invoke with Allah another deity. There is no deity except Him. Everything will be destroyed except His Face. His is the judgment, and to Him, you will be returned.” (Qur’an 28:88)
If you interpret this by its apparent meaning without comparing it to anything or giving it an interpretation you have the understanding of everything of Allah (swt), his shin, foot, hands, etc will be destroyed except his (Allah’s) face. This gives the very illogical idea of the Creator being composed of parts and the possibility that some aspects of the Creator can be vanquished and others cannot.
C) The Ibadi school does not believe that we will see Allah (swt) in the hereafter.
Personally, this is another “packaged deal” from our brothers in ‘Ahl Sunnah’. I never did find this view to be at all cohesive. I can personally understand how ‘Sunni‘ Muslims who follow the ‘Athari‘ or Modern ‘Salafi‘ perspective on Allah (swt) and his attributes have reconciled themselves to the idea that they will see Allah (swt). However, it has always come as extremely inconsistent for those ‘Sunni‘ Muslims who call themselves ‘Ashari‘ or ‘Maturidi‘ to uphold the view.
They (Ashari/Maturidi) claim that Allah (swt) is not time/space and yet they are adamant about seeing Allah (swt). Though, I have noticed many of them soften the stance with ‘beatific vision‘.
I said to ‘Aisha, “O Mother! Did Prophet Muhammad see his Lord?” Aisha said, “What you have said makes my hair stand on end! Know that if somebody tells you one of the following three things, HE IS A LIAR: Whoever tells you that Muhammad saw his Lord, IS A LIAR.” Then Aisha recited the Verses:
‘No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision. He is the Most Courteous Well-Acquainted with all things.’ (Qur’an 6:103)
‘It is not fitting for a human being that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration or from behind a veil.’ (Qur’an 42:51)
Source: (Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 378)
D) The Ibadi school believes that the Qur’an is created.
Now for me personally from the moment I took the Shahadah, sat with the ‘Muslim brotherhood‘, followed the ‘Salafi Manhaj‘, went to the ‘Rihla‘ at Zaytuna in 2001, and adopted the ‘Maliki‘ school, I have never ever felt comfortable with this. I have looked into it and I just cannot believe as an aqidah position that the Qur’an is uncreated and eternal.
*Note* The idea that the Qur’an is eternal and uncreated is an agreed-upon position by all of our brothers from the ‘Ahl Sunnah’. This means ‘Salafis‘, ‘Sunni‘ and ‘Sufi‘ orientated ‘Sunni‘. It means those who follow the madhab of Bin Baz, Uthaymeen, and Al Abani (May Allah’s mercy be upon them all). This also means those who follow the madhabs of Imams, Malik, Shafi’i, and Abu Hanifa (May Allah’s mercy be upon them all).
Now as mentioned above about the ‘seeing of Allah‘ in the afterlife I can understand why the ‘Athari‘ or Modern ‘Salafi‘ of ‘Ahl Sunnah’ accept this. However, when it comes to the issue of the Qur’an being created the opposite is puzzling for me.
I can personally understand how ‘Sunni‘ Muslims who follow the ‘Athari‘ or Modern ‘Salafi‘
Yet, when it comes to the Qur’an being eternal and uncreated this is a position I can understand how the ‘Ashari‘ or ‘Maturidi‘ accept this; however, for the ‘Athari‘ or Modern ‘Salafi‘ this should be clear kalaam for them. They have to impose theological suppositions about Allah (swt) rather than allow the text to speak.
The verses of the Qur’an are clear on the matter.
“Indeed, We have made it an Arabic Qur’an that you might understand.” (Qur’an 43:3)
Allah (swt) has clearly said that he has made the Qur’an.
“And thus We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command. You did not know what is the Book or [what is] faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants. And indeed, [O Muhammad], You guide to a straight path.” (Qur’an 42:52)
Is the Qur’an a thing or nothing?
If the Qur’an is nothing than let that stand on the record.
If the Qur’an is a thing then please be reminded of what Allah (swt) says:
“That is Allah, your Lord; there is no deity except Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He is Disposer of all things.” (Qur’an 6:102)
“We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent?” (Qur’an 2:106)
Abrogation is omission, removal and it is impossible for that which is eternal. The idea that some part of Allah’s essence of ‘speech’ would be ‘better’ than other parts merits pensive reflection.
“Before this, We wrote in the Psalms, after the Message (given to Moses): My servants the righteous, shall inherit the earth.” (Qur’an 21:105)
Where is this revelation and action that preceded the eternal uncreated Holy Qur’an?
“Has there not been over Man a long period of time, when he was nothing – (not even) mentioned?” (Qur’an 76:1)
If the Qur’an is eternal and uncreated the answer is no because Man is being mentioned in the very verse asking the question.
“No mention comes to them anew from their Lord except that they listen to it while they are at play.” (Qur’an 7:52)
Muhdath in Arabic means newly made. And since it’s newly made it cannot be eternal. i.e. It came after being nothing which means “Created”
We also need to ask about the hadith Qudsi is this the speech of Allah? As such is it eternal and uncreated as well? What about the Torah, the Injeel, and the Zabur?
All I want to say is that I am more at peace and I feel more confident that the Ibadi school has accepted conclusions from the clear text in the Qur’an rather than to impose their theology upon the Qur’an.
I also want to say (for the record) I do not make takfir of anyone who believes that the Qur’an is eternal and uncreated. However, I just want to say best of luck to you when debating our learned Christian friends!
E) The Ibadi believe that hellfire is eternal for those who commit major sins and for the polytheist.
Personally, I can remember being quite elated and jubilant at the idea that the Blessed Prophet Muhammed (saw) will make shafat and that because of this shafat the entire Ummah will enter into paradise.
However, this idea takes the sting out of the hellfire. It makes us complacent, even when we read how awesome and gruesome the punishment of the hellfire is, many of us as Muslims can, could, and in fact, do become complacent. We treat the hellfire as a minor threat.
I also feel that such a position is held on to because it is not politically correct to tell the polytheist that they will be in the hellfire.
This differs from our brothers from ‘Ahl Sunnah’ who believe that those who commit major sins among Muslims will be let out of the hellfire.
We can see from the Qur’an that the idea of hellfire being a temporary abode is a theological position attributed to the Jews of that time.
“And they say: “The Fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days:” Say: “Have ye taken a promise from God, for He never breaks His promise? or is it that ye say of God what ye do not know?” (Qur’an 2:80)
“That is because they say: The Fire will not touch us save for a certain number of days. That which they used to invent has deceived them regarding their religion.” (Qur’an 3:24)
“To those who reject Our signs and treat them with arrogance, no opening will there be of the gates of heaven, nor will they enter the garden, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle: Such is Our reward for those in sin.” (Qur’an 7:40)
As we know a camel will NEVER pass through the eye of a needle. May Allah (swt) protect us all from the hellfire.
“And those who were but followers will say: If a return were possible for us, we would disown them even as they have disowned us. Thus will Allah show them their own deeds as anguish for them, and they will not emerge from the Fire.” (Qur’an 2:167)
“But those who reject (God) – for them will be the Fire of Hell: No term shall be determined for them, so they should die, nor shall its Penalty be lightened for them. Thus do We reward every ungrateful one!” (Qur’an 35:36)
“Their wish will be to get out of the Fire, but never will they get out therefrom: their penalty will be one that endures.” (Qur’an 5:37)
“The belief of us Ibadis is that whoever enters the Fire from among the muwahhid disobedient and those who associate partners (mushriks) will remain therein permanently, not for a finite period. In the same way, those who enter Paradise from among the righteous servants of Allah will not come out of it. For both places are permanent stay.” -Shaykh Ahmad b. Hamad al-Khalili Mufti of Oman
Usually, some of the internal evidence that people use to try and say that hellfire punishment is temporarily are the following two.
“One day will He gather them all together, (and say): “O assembly of Jinns! Much (toll) did you take of men.” Their friends among men will say: “Our Lord! we made a profit from each other: but (alas!) we reached our term – which you didst appoint for us.” He will say: “The Fire be your dwelling-place: you will dwell therein forever, except as Allah wills.” for thy Lord is full of wisdom and knowledge.” (Qur’an 6:128)
“Those who are wretched shall be in the Fire: There will be for them therein (nothing but) the heaving of sighs and sobbing, They will dwell therein for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure, except as your Lord wills: for thy Lord is the (sure) accomplisher of what He plans.” (Qur’an 11:106-107)
“By degrees shall We teach thee to declare (the Message), so you shall not forget, Except as Allah wills: For He knows what is manifest and what is hidden.” (Qur’an 87:6-7)
The expression “except as your Lord wills or as Allah wills” means exactly that, what is the will of Allah. So in the case of the Prophet (saw) it is not the will of Allah (swt) that he forgets. Just as it is not the will of Allah (swt) as seen by very clear verses above that the polytheist and those who have committed the major sins to be released from hellfire.
Another example of that this time of the inhabitants of heaven.
“And those who are blessed shall be in the Garden: They will dwell therein for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure, except as thy Lord wills: a gift without break.” (Qur’an 11:108)
“And leave those who have taken their religion for a play and an idle sport, and whom this world’s life has deceived, and remind (them) thereby lest a soul should be given up to destruction for what it has earned; it shall not have besides Allah any guardian nor an intercessor…” (Qura’n 6:70)
Let us say for the same of argument that this particular theological position of the Ibadis is wrong. What harm is there in acting on it as if it is correct? Surely there is only gain and a strong warning for us. This is the best insurance is to treat the matters of one’s final destination with utmost concern and sincerity.
IBADI POSITIONS ON FIQH.
Here are some unique aspects of the Ibadi school when it comes to jurisprudence, usul ul fiqh.
Point 1) The Ibadi school is the oldest living legal school.
When Jabir bin Zaid died the first Sunni Imam, Abu Hanifa was only thirteen years old, while Imam Malik was just being born. Abu ash-Shatha was a direct student of many of the Prophet’s Companions in both Hijaz and Iraq such as Ibn Abbas, Aisha, Ibn Mas’ud, (May Allah be pleased with them all). He was fully aware of the Hijazi school of hadith and the Iraqi school of ra’y. Thus, he was well informed and able to make decisions based upon this exposure.
Point 2) Companions’ opinions and actions do not serve as independent proof.
A whole host and range of things are looked into before making legal decisions.
Point 3) The Ibadi school is against the idea of Taqlid.
If one is able to do to or make ijtihad they should do so. One should take the strongest proofs based upon sound methodological principles.
Point 4) The Ibadi school does not believe in the Abrogation of the Qur’an.
“Abrogation is never permitted in the reports of the Law-Maker because His Knowledge is not refreshed, and He is not ignorant of anything that happens, and He does not reveal but the truth.” -Ahmed bin Hamad al-Khalili
Point 5) Against the idea that every Mujtahid is correct.
It is possible that people can describe certain aspects of an issue and both can be correct. However, when Mujtahids arrive at completely different conclusions logically one cannot be correct.
Point 6) Ever Evolving ‘Ijma’ or Consensus.
Our brothers from the ‘Ahl Sunnah’ where once a consensus is reached it basically has the status of revelation. However, this is not the position of the Ibadi school. Often new evidence is discovered or a new reality may come about that will demand a shift in perspective.
In the Ibadi school, the consensus can and indeed has changed.
Examples of that being: Issues like rather or not to do the Friday Prayer in the absence of a just ruler. Rather or not righteous non-Ibadi who do not couple the right action with the right belief go to heaven or not.
This makes me hopeful on two points of ‘classical jurisprudence‘ that I have always had difficulty with as a Muslim.
A) Punishment for Adultery being stoning.
B) The Punishment for Apostasy being death.
On point A) Egyptian author Fahmi Huwaydi mentions in his Hatta la Takuna Fitna, p. 132
He brings up the point about the early Ibadi did not believe in stoning for adultery.
You cannot halve stoning to death.
“If any of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those whom your right hands possess: And Allah has full knowledge about your faith. You are one from another: Wed them with the leave of their owners, and give them their dowers, according to what is reasonable: They should be chaste, not lustful, nor taking paramours: when they are taken in wedlock, if they fall into shame, their punishment is half that for free women. This (permission) is for those among you who fear sin, but it is better for you that you practice self-restraint. And Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an 4:25)
and on Point B) With the Ibadi school not having a fixed ‘ijma, the fact that Taqlid is frowned upon; this position is amenable to change based upon proofs, evidence, and rigorous debate.
In other words, the Ibadi school is amenable to change in ways that our brothers from the ‘Ahl Sunnah’ are not. This is due to many equating ‘ijma to revelation‘ Likewise our brothers from the ‘Shi’a‘. This is because of the way the ‘12er Shi’a‘ assign infallibility to their Imams in jurisprudence.
This to me also strong proof that the Ibadi school is the school of jurisprudence for the future and future generations.
The Ibadi school has strong mechanisms that protect the sanctity of sex, marriage, and the family in general.
The Ibadi school does not accept mutah marriage and nor does it allow divorce without witnesses.
Too many marriages from our brothers in the ‘Ahl Sunnah’ end in dissolution and heartache. This is because the man is entrusted with one word ‘Talaq’.
The majority of shari’ah laws in the Qur’an focus on and deal with the sanctity of the family. It is difficult to imagine that the family, the bedrock of any functioning society or civilization would be utterly and completely dissolved with one word.
This runs contrary to the clear text of the Qur’an.
“They are invited to the book of Allah to settle their dispute”. (Qur’an 3:23)
“And this is a Book which We have revealed as a blessing, so follow it and be righteous, that you may receive mercy”. (Qur’an 6:155).
“Lo! this Qur’an guides to that which is most upright”. (Qur’an 17:9)
“Thus when they fulfill their term appointed, either take them back on equitable terms or part with them on equitable terms; and take for witness two persons from among you, endued with justice, and establish the evidence (as) before Allah. Such is the admonition given to him who believes in Allah and the Last Day. And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out.” (Qur’an 65:2)
Our brothers from the ‘Ahl Sunnah’ even accept the divorce of women while they are in their menses! They call it ‘Bidati‘ and still allow it.
“O Prophet! When any of you divorce women, divorce them during their period of purity and calculate their ´idda carefully. And have fear of Allah, your Lord. Do not evict them from their homes, nor should they leave, unless they commit an outright indecency. Those are Allah´s limits, and anyone who oversteps Allah´s limits has wronged himself. You never know, it may well be that after that Allah will cause a new situation to develop.” (Qur’an 65:1)
“If any men among you divorce their wives by Zihar (calling them mothers), they cannot be their mothers: None can be their mothers except those who gave them birth. And in fact, they use words (both) iniquitous and false: but truly Allah is one that blots out (sins), and forgives (again and again).” (Qur’an 58:2)
This verse clearly repudiates those men who would use an idiom or simply a verbal expression to divorce women. This verse is also clear when coupled with other verses about having two just witnesses present, and consultation that it repudiates instant divorce simply through a statement, ‘Talaq‘.
Also, notice the following verse:
“Men are in charge of women by right of what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend for maintenance from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in their husband’s absence what Allah would have them, guard. But those wives from whom you fear disobedience -first advise them: then if they persist, refuse to share the bed with them; and finally strike them. But if they obey you once more seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is Ever Knowing and Acquainted with all things.” (Qur’an 4:34-35)
This revelation itself would be a perfect context to simply tell men to say ‘talaq‘. In this context, Allah (swt) is addressing a husband who is under great duress over a wife who is openly rebellious and contentious. Yet, great effort is there in telling the man to restrain himself, not have copulation, and even if he’s pushed to his limits to act out his behavior he may strike her. Even then the following verses speak about arbitration and reconciliation.
There is nothing in there about simply saying ‘talaq‘.
Articles like this speak for themselves. https://gulfnews.com/opinion/op-eds/rising-arab-divorce-rates-a-cause-for-concern-1.2244451
Lastly the fruit of the Ibadi school of Islam as seen in Oman.
Now in Oman, ‘Shia‘, ‘Sunni‘, and ‘Ibadi‘ Muslims pray together in the Masjid. We are all brothers. It is the one country in the middle east in which different groups of Muslims are not fighting and killing each other. Look at Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and other places the sectarianism is horrific and bringing great evil everywhere. It will be a miracle if the children of those countries do not grow up to become averse to religion altogether.
In Oman, there are very rich and flourishing ‘Sunni‘ and ‘Shi’a‘ communities. Not only this but Hindus have temples and Christians have their churches there. The people of Oman, it’s government guided by principles of wisdom and tolerance do not in any way shape or form feel threatened by multiculturalism.
They (the Ibadi Muslims) in Oman have openly extended invitations to ‘Sunni‘ Muslims of the ‘Salafi Manhaj‘ like our brother Shaykh Yusuf Estes: https://timesofoman.com/article/95088
As well as our respected Imam Khalid Yasin here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cA_o1jnz-90
and Shaykh Mufti Menk here: https://timesofoman.com/article/465018/Oman/Video-Grand-Mufti-of-Zimbabwe-to-visit-Oman
As well as ‘Sunni‘ Muslims of the ‘Sufi‘ persuasion like the respected Shaykh Hamza Yusuf here: https://realityinoman.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/shaykh-hamza-yusuf-visiting-oman/
As well as world-famous Dr. Adnan Ibrahim, as you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi8razf1ZH0
This particular video moved me to tears because you can see he is deeply touched by the love and warmth that he received by his Muslim brothers in Oman.
So with that said this is an overview of my decision -part and parcel of my journey. I have been very straight forward and have not minced my words nor my thoughts on matters that had weighed on my heart and mind for a very long time. I want to say that I love all Muslims, all the ‘Ahl Qiblah’, be you ‘Salafi‘, ‘Sufi‘, ‘Sunni‘, or ‘Shi’a‘ in your orientation. I bare no ill will towards any of you. I will always do what I can within my means to be of assistance to my Muslim brothers.
“And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. Allah named you “Muslims” before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people.” (Qur’an 22:78)
“And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.” (Qur’an 3:103)