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Dogs are pure in Islam, according to the Qur’an.

They ask you what is lawful to them (as food). Say: lawful unto you are all things good and pure: and what you have taught your trained hunting animals (to catch) in the manner directed to you by Allah: eat what they catch for you, but pronounce the name of Allah over it: and fear Allah; for Allah is swift in taking account.” (Qur’an 5:4)

 

This is written to show that the practice of the Blessed Prophet Muhammed (saw) is that dogs are pure in Islam, and this was the way of the people of the city of Madinah in particular, as well as the way of many Muslims all over the world until today.

 

This blog entry will also show inconsistency of the other views, as well as common objections to this view; usually by citing oral traditions.

 

Some people who have been brought up and trained their whole lives to hear that dogs are not tahir (clean or pure) are going to have to rethink what they were taught in light of the evidence presented.

 

Imam Ash-Shawkaani (rahimahullah) states in his masterpiece: “Nayl Al-Awtaar Sharh Muntaqaa Al-Akhbaar” the following:

 

It has been attributed to the Prophet Muhammad,

From Abu Hurayrah who said that Rasulullah (alayhis salaam) said, “When a dog licks one of your vessels (e.g. bowl), apply dirt to it and then wash the vessel seven times.”1

[Says Shawkaani]: And this narration also proves that the dog is najaasah (impure)…and the Jumhoor (majority) hold this opinion. And ‘Ikrimah and Malik in a report from him state “Verily it is Taahir (pure)”. And their proof is the statement of Allah ta’alaa,

فَكُلُواْ مِمَّا أَمْسَكْنَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاذْكُرُواْ اسْمَ اللّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ

(Say: lawful unto you are (all) things good and pure: and what ye have taught your trained hunting animals (to catch) in the manner directed to you by Allah eat what they catch for you, but pronounce the name of Allah over it: and fear Allah; for Allah is swift in taking account.” (Qur’an 5:4)

Also another proof is what is established in Abu Dawud from the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar with the words, “Dogs would come freely into the masjid and urinate in the time of the Rasulullah (‘alayhis salaam), and they would not pour water over it (i.e. the urine).” 

Source: (Al-Bukhari hadith number 174 in the Book of Wudhu’)

 

[Note that Ibn Hajr states this occurred before doors were put on the masjids and the command to keep them clean was established..This is the opinion of a Shafi’i and not that of the Maalikis] – End quote from Nayl Al-Awtaar.

 

The Shafi’i Judge and Jurist Qadhi As-Safadi states, “Malik says that dogs are pure and what they lick is not made impure, but that a vessel licked by a dog should be washed to avoid filth.”2

 

The following quotes are statements from Imam Malik as reported in the Mudawwanah of Imam Malik regarding the dog:

One may eat what it catches in a hunt, how then can we declare Makrooh (hated or disliked) what it drinks (or places its tongue in).” (page 116)

 

Malik said, “If one desires to make wudhu’ from a vessel wherein a dog has drank (or put its tongue in), it is ok for him to make wudhu’ from it and pray.” (pg 115)

 

Malik said, “If a dog puts his tongue in a vessel of milk (labn) there is no harm (la ba’as) if one takes (i.e. eats) from that milk.” (ibid)

Note that there are many other quotes from him within Volume 1 of the Mudawwana regarding the purity of the dog. I have chosen these only as a sample. Source: (Vol. 1 published by Daar Al Kutub Al-‘Ilmiyyah published in 2005 CE)

 

The Maliki Faqih (jurist consult) of Andalus, Ibn Rushd states in his “Bidayatul-Mujtahid”,

Malik held the view that the leftover of a dog is to be spilled and the utensil is to be washed, as it is a ritual act of non-rational worship, for the water that it has lapped up is not unclean (najas). He did not require, according to the widely known opinion from him, the spilling of things other than water, which a dog had licked. The reason, as we have said, is the conflict with analogy according to him. He also believed that if it is to be understood from the tradition that a dog is unclean, it opposes the apparent meaning of the Book, that is, the words of Allah ta’alaa, “So eat of what they catch for you…” meaning thereby that if the dog had been unclean the prey would become unclean by the touch of the dog’s (mouth). He supported this interpretation by the required number of washings as number is not a condition in the washing of unclean things. He held that this washing is merely an act of worship. He did not rely upon the remaining traditions as they were weak in his view.”

Source: (pg 27 published by Garnet; also see Al-Hidayah of Imam Al-Ghumaari Vol. 1 page 288 for a detailed discussion of the chains of narration)

 

May Allah swt bless and show His immense Mercy upon Imam Malik ibn Anas for striving in truth,defending Islam, and spreading the sciences of Islam

  1. This narration is reported by Imam Muslim in his Sahih 89/279 as well as by An-Nasaa’i hadith number 66
  2. Taken from “The Mercy in the difference of the Four Sunni Schools of Islamic Law” translated by ‘A’ishah Bewley printed by Dar-al-taqwa. Page 4

 

May we turn our attention to the hadith again that seems to bring allot of misunderstanding in relation to dogs in Islam.

When a dog licks one of your vessels (e.g. bowl), apply dirt to it and then wash the vessel seven times.”

I would encourage the reader to look at the following information and then I would like to comment about this as well.

The hadith above that requires us to wash the utensil licked by a dog seven times is pretty much explained away as follows:

First, if it is done with the intention in the heart to obey the Messenger (saw), then it counts as worship, Furthermore, as Ibn Rush stated, the fact that the washing is a set number of times is a proof that this constitutes a ritual act of worship.

Second, the command for us to perform this action is purely for hygienic reasons and has nothing do with ritual purity. It’s a leap of reasoning to connect the command to ritual purity.

Modern science is testament to the fact that there are certain strains of bacteria in dog saliva which are not part of the human normal flora. If a container licked by a dog is left unwashed (especially in the hot climate regions), it provides a fertile breeding ground in which those bacteria will multiply at geometric rates and render the container useless thereafter. Thus, the command to wash the container is purely a medical precaution.

And similar to what was alluded from Bidayat al-Mujtahid by Ibn Rush this only applies to containers which contain water. Containers which contained others useful contents are not to be discarded of those contents and washed.

 

Overall, it appears as if Imam Malik had high respect and esteem for dogs. They had a special status with him unlike any other animal as the following excerpt from the Mudawanna shows us:

 

Regarding ablution with the leftovers of animals, chickens, and dogs: [Ibn Al Qasim] said: I asked Malik about the leftovers of donkeys and mules and Malik said: There is no problem with them. I [Sahnun] said: Did you see if he communicated regarding other than such? Ibn Al-Qasim said: it and others beside it are equal. Ibn Al-Qasim said: And Malik said: There is no problem with the sweat of the horse, mule, or donkey; Ibn Al Qasim further added, and Malik retorted: In the container that contains water licked by a dog with which a man makes wudu? Ibn Al Qasim said: Malik Said: If he makes wudu with it and subsequently performs salah, then this is permitted. Ibn Al Qasim said: And [Malik] does not see the dog like other animals. Ibn Al Qasim Said: Malik Said: If those repugnant species from birds and predatory animals drink from the water container, one is not to make wudu with that container. Ibn Al Qasim said: And Malik said: If a dog licks a container which contains milk, then there is no problem in consuming that milk. I [Sahnun] said: Did Malik used to say wash the container seven times when the dog licks inside the container? Ibn Al Qasim Said: Malik Said: This tradition has definitely come to us and I do not know of its truth/authenticity. Ibn Al Qasim said: And it is as if (Malik) viewed the dog as if the dog was a member of the household (Ahl Al-Bayt) and that it was not like other predatory beasts, and Malik used to say: the container is not washed of margarine or milk and what the dog licked from that IS to be eaten and I see it as an enormity to purposefully intend (waste) towards the bounty from the bounty of God and discard what the dog licked.

 

Here is something that I would like to ask people. Consider this a proof to show how people turn Islam into tomes and volumes of legalism and even than are inconsistent in their principles and application of the knowledge.

Let us say that indeed we did witness a dog lick from a dish that we left on a carpeted area and then this dish was washed 6 or 7 times and with earth as well. How many of you would actually drink from this dish afterwards?

Not many, which is exactly my point!

 

People are trying to make the halal (permissible) into the haram (forbidden). Now you want to make the whole of the contents and the dish unusable? This is fanatic legalism that turns this beautiful way life into rules and rituals devoid of conscious, and devoid of mercy. Worse than these two it is done without tacit approval or explicit proof from the Qur’an or the Sunnah.

 

Case in point: The Shaf’i School of jurisprudence. Now many people will wonder why I would critique Imam Shaf’i (may Allah have mercy on him) and this is not the case. I am simply repeating an answer to his polemic from other Sunni imams

People who are not aware that Shaf’i critiqued Imam Malik have not read or are unfamiliar with the Shaf’i corpus known as Al-Risala (The Message).

 

Thus, as history has it Imam Shaf’i’ and his critique of Imam Malik would not go unanswered.

MALIKI SCHOLAR IBN AL LABBAD’S REFUTATION OF IMAM SHAF’I

The following information is taken from a small tract in which a Sunni Maliki scholar Ibn Al Labbad gave full response to Shaf’i. This is where I will take my information from since it critiques the Shaf’i view on the matter.

The following is titled:

Kitab fihi radd(u) Abi Bakr ibn Muhammad ala Muhammad ibn Idris Al-Shaf’i fi munqadaati qawlihi wa fima qala bihi min al-tahdid fi mas’ail qalaha khalfa fiha al-Kitab wal-sunna (A treatise containing Abu Bakr Muhammad’s refutation of Muhammed Ibn Idris Al-Shaf’i for the latter’s self contradictions and his arbitrariness in setting legal limits in matters regarding which his doctrine violated the Book and the Sunnah).

Al’Shaf’i added, however, that both the vessels and their contents were rendered ritually impure.

 

This extrapolation drew heavy criticism from Ibn Al-Labbad, who argued that while the Prophet (saw) ruled that vessels from which dogs had drunk had to be washed seven times; he never stated that either the vessels or their contents were ritually impure. This was simply al-Shaf’is invention, according to Ibn al-Labbad, which he concocted on the basis of his own ra’y (reasoning) and then injected into the hadith. That al-Shaf’i’s position was deficient could be easily proved by reference to the Holy Qur’an, where there are verses permitting the eating of game seized by hunting dogs. (Qur’an chapter 5:4)

 

To make matters worse, Ibn al-Labbad cites Al-Shafi’is argument to the effect that neither the vessels nor their contents were rendered ritually impure if such contents exceeded two qullas in volume, since according to al-Shaf’i anything more than two qullas was not subject to ritual impurity.

 

On this view, he ends up, according to Ibn al-Labbad completely undermining the Prophet’s rule. On the one hand, he holds vessels from which dogs have drunk but which contain more than two qullas not to require ritual washing, while the Prophet (saw) stated explicitly that whenever a dog laps from a vessel it is to be washed seven times. On the other hand, he holds the contents of vessels containing less than two qullas to be ritually impure, while the Prophet himself never designated them as such.

 

At first blush, it might appear that ibn Al-Labbad is donning the Shaf’i inspired robe of Zahirism in order to slam the door to logical inference in Al-Shaf’is face. But this turns out not to be altogether true. Ibn al-Labbad is not saying al-Shaf’i is wrong for attempting to understand the underlying implications of the Prophet’s command but merely that the results of this attempt were flawed.

 

For while it may be reasonable to assume a connection between the command to wash vessels and the status of their contents, the Prophet made it clear according to Ibn al-Labbad that dogs drinking from vessels constitute a sui generis category. As proof, he cites instances as the Bedouin who urinated in the mosque and the infant who relieved himself on the Prophet’s lap. In neither case did the Prophet order a seven-fold washing. This, according to Ibn al-Labbad, clearly indicated that urine and other ritually impure substances constituted one category. Meanwhile vessels from which dogs have lapped constitute another. The two issues, in other words, were simply unrelated, and Al-Shaf’i was misguided in extending the logic of ritual impurity to vessels from which dogs had lapped and their contents.

 

Once again, however, Ibn al-Labbad case would not end there. Al Shaf’i had extended the ruling on dogs drinking from vessels to pigs, arguing that ‘if pigs were not worse than dogs, they were certainly no better than them.’ This, argued Ibn Al Labbad was pure ra’y, for the validity of which Al-Shaf’i had provided no textual proof. Similarly, regarding the use of earth for the first or last cleansing of vessels, Al Shafi’i held that if one was unable to find earth (turab), one could use something that functions like earth,

e.g., potash or the like. Yet, when it came to tayammun, al Shaf’i flatly disallowed these things, insisting instead on the use of pure earth (turab). All of this went to show, according to Ibn Al-Labbad, just how inconsistent and arbitrary Al-Shafi could be. In the end none of this was based upon information related on the authority of the Prophet (saw).

 

Ouch! This is an intra-Sunni critique.  A scholar of the Maliki School of jurisprudence lambasting the founding jurist of one of Sunni Islam’s most prominent school’s of jurisprudence.

 

Now let us take a look at the contradictory hadith reports concerning dogs in various situations and see if we can make sense of all of this.

 

Now what will follow is allot of ahadith reports that will leave the average Muslim scratching their heads. Now again I am not here to attack hadith or to tell Muslims to abandon the hadith. I am simply saying that the hadith should never supplant the Qur’an as it has today.

 

The Hadith should be understood in the light of the  Qur’an and the practice of the Sunnah that was orally transmitted and practiced by the masses of the Muslims across all cities and regions.

So first let us take a look at what the Qur’an itself says concerning dogs. There are three places where the Qur’an mentions about dogs.

 

This is of the signs of Allah. He whom Allah guides, he is on the right way; and whom He leaves in error, you will not find for him a friend to guide aright. And you might think them awake while they were asleep, and We turned them about to the right and to the left with their dog outstretching its paws at the entrance. If you did look at them, you would turn back from them in flight, and you would be filled with awe because of them. And thus did We rouse them that they might question each other. A speaker from among them said: How long have you tarried? They said: We have tarried for a day or a part of a day. (Others) said: Your Lord knows best how long you have tarried. Now send one of you with this silver (coin) of yours to the city, then let him see what food is purest, and bring you provision from it, and let him behave with gentleness, and not make your case known to anyone. For if they prevail against you, they would stone you to death or force you back to their religion, and then you would never succeed. And thus did We make (men) to get knowledge of them, that they might know that Allah’s promise is true and that the Hour — there is no doubt about it. When they disputed among themselves about their affair and said: Erect an edifice over them. Their Lord knows best about them. Those who prevailed in their affair said: We shall certainly build a place of worship over them.(Some) say: (They were) three, the fourth of them their dog; and (others) say: Five, the sixth of them their dog, making conjectures about the unseen. And (others) say: Seven, and the eighth of them their dog. Say: My Lord best knows their number — none knows them but a few. So contend not in their matter but with an outward contention, and question not any of them concerning them. And say not of anything: I will do that tomorrow, Unless Allah please. And remember your Lord when you forget and say: Maybe my Lord will guide me to a nearer course to the right than this. And they remained in their cave three hundred years, and they add nine. Say: Allah knows best how long they remained. His is the unseen of the heavens and the earth. How clear His sight and His hearing! There is no guardian for them beside Him, and He associates none in His judgment.” (Qur’an 18:9-26)

 

The question from reading this is why would a dog be worthy of mention in the last revelation given to humanity if it is such an unclean and impure animal? These are the questions that need to be answered.

 

However, here is a passage from the Qur’an that compares the behavior of dogs to some people who reject faith.

 

Thus If it had been Our Will, We should have elevated him Our Signs; but he inclined to the earth, and followed his vain desires. His similitude is that of a dog: if you attack him, he lolls out his tongue, or if you leave him alone he (still) lolls out his tongue. That is the similitude of those who reject Our Signs, so relate the story, perchance they may reflect.” (Qur’an 7:176)

 

Can you see this verse giving explicit command to attack dogs? No! It simply says that ‘IF’ you were to attack him this dog is going to behave in the same way even if you let him be. This is the only thing that I could see the  Qur’an portraying the dog in a negative light. Yet the similitude is more directed at mankind than it is making any statement about dogs.

 

THE AHADITH AND DOGS

Allah forgave a prostitute of her sins because she gave water to a dying dog.

Allah’s Messenger (saw) is reported to have said, “A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that.” Source: (Bukhari: Volume 4 Book 54, Number 538)

 

Question: If dogs are so vile and evil why was a prostitute forgiven by Allah because of showing this act of mercy and kindness to the animal?

 

The Prophet is reported to have said, ‘A man felt very thirsty while he was on the way, there he came across a well, He went down the well, quenched his thirst and came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself, “This dog is suffering from thirst as I did.” So, he went down the well again and filled his shoe with water and watered it. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him. The people said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals? He replied: Yes, there is a reward for serving any living being.” Source: (Bukhari: Volume 3, Book 43, Number 646)

 

Question: If dogs are so vile and evil why would Allah thank a man for the act of kindness that he showed this particular animal?

The Prophet (saw) is reported to have said, “A man saw a dog eating mud from the severity of thirst. So, that man took a shoe (and filled it) with water and kept on pouring the water for the dog till it quenched its thirst. So Allah approved of his deed and made him to enter Paradise.” And narrated Hamza bin ‘Abdullah: My father said. “During the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle, the dogs used to urinate, and pass through the mosque (come and go), nevertheless they used to sprinkle water on it (urine of the dog.)” Source: (Bukhari: Volume 1 Book 4 Number 174) 

 

KEEPING DOGS AS PETS

 

The Prophet is reported to have said, “Angels do not enter a house which has either a dog or a picture in it.” Source: (Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 54 Number 539)

 

Narrated Sufyan bin Abi Zuhair Ash-Shani: “That he heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “If somebody keeps a dog that is neither used for farm work nor for guarding the livestock, he will lose one Qirat (reward) of his good deeds every day.”

Narrated Salim’s father: “Once Gabriel promised the Prophet (that he would visit him, but Gabriel did not come) and later on he said, “We, angels, do not enter a house which contains a picture or a dog.” Source: (Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 54, Number 450)

 

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (saw) said “Whoever keeps a dog, except a dog for herding, hunting or farming, one qiraat will be deducted from his reward each day.” Source: (Muslim 1575)

 

It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn Umar said: The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Whoever keeps a dog, except a dog for herding livestock or a dog that is trained for hunting; two qiraats will be deducted from his reward each day.” Source: (Bukhari 5163, Muslim: 1574,)

 

IS IT PERMISSIBLE TO KEEP A DOG TO GUARD HOUSES?

 

Al-Nawawi said: “There is a difference of opinion as to whether it is permissible to keep dogs for purposes other than three, such as guarding houses and roads. The most correct view is that it is permissible, by analogy with these three and based on the reason is that is to be understood from the hadeeth, which is based upon necessity. ”

Source: (Sharh Muslim, 10/236)

In a hadeeth narrated by Ibn ‘Umar: The Prophet (saw) said, “Whoever keeps a dog which is neither a watch dog nor a hunting dog, will get a daily deduction of two Qiraat from his good deeds.” Source: (Bukhari Book #67, Hadith #389)

 

Comments:

If we look at all the hadith evidence above something becomes very obvious and that is nowhere is there an explicit prohibition to not keep a dog as a pet.

 

There are reports that talk about one or two good deeds being removed from a person who keeps a dog other than the purpose of (hunting, sheep dog, guard dog, guards live stock, guards family).

So for example a person may get a poodle and claim that it is for guarding the family and this maybe an unlikely scenario. However; dogs also make noise when there is intrusion, and they serve their purpose to guard human lives.

The United States of America has one of the highest percentages of gun ownership out of any populace on earth. Think of how many people have access to guns in the family. I myself support gun ownership; however many people may agree that it is more safe to have a dog in the house protecting and guarding the family than it is to own a gun.

Again there is no prohibition above against owning a dog in one’s home. Simply saying that rewards are moved for keeping a dog for intention other than serving some use is also not a prohibition.

 

Even if a person said and it was their intention to keep a dog simply for the purpose of entertainment the traditionalist may consider that person to be negligent but not a sinner.

 

Today in the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, West African, Oman and other places where the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) is people keep dogs as pets.

Blind people also need dogs as a part of their life to help protect and guide them. The issue of angels not entering houses is because of a presence of a dog is not because the dog is impure. The dog is pure in the ‘law’ of Islam. If the angels did not enter because the dog was not pure than the angels would not enter houses and mosque (masjids) because of the presence of toilets!

You could also find the above hadith have been amended to include the phrase (except the angel of death) which should raise an eye brow. Most likely if angels never entered an abode where a dog was present this would mean the angel of death and thus a person could be guaranteed eternal life on the basis of keeping a dog as a pet!

So you will find the above hadith amended to include the exception (except the angel of death).

Those who are still opposed to dogs namely the Shaf’i and Hanafi schools of jurisprudence are really going to have to rethink their positions in today’s world that we live in. What works for the Shaf’i in Somalia and for the Hanafi in India and Pakistan is not going to work in New York City, London or Minneapolis where a man or woman may get into the cab with his or her dog.

Not only that but angels ‘not entering the house’ should be pondered over due to the fact that many people live in an apartment complexes so what would actually constitute a house? Could an angel be in your apartment while your neighbour has a loud barking dog? These questions have to be answered to keep people from doing extreme things or taking issue out of context.

The hadith about Angel Gabriel not entering into the house where Prophet Muhammed (saw) was because he had a female dog under his bed with puppies needs to be taken into context with all the other information that is given.

DIDN’T THE BLESSED PROPHET MUHAMMED (SAW) ORDER DOGS TO BE KILLED?

 

Malik related to me from Nafi from Abdullah ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whoever acquires a dog other than a sheepdog or hunting dog will have two qirats deducted from the reward of his good actions every day.”

Malik related to me from Nafi from Abdullah ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ordered dogs to be killed. Source: (Al Muwatta Book 54, Number 54.5.13:)

 

Without going into the various hadeeth that talk about the killing of dogs the two statements above alone will suffice.

Why?

They suffice because Imam Malik the ‘founder’ of the Maliki school of jurisprudence, may Allah have mercy on him related both ahadith but he understood the practice. He did not take ahadith (lone narrator reports) in isolation as do many Muslims today.

 

He is taking the whole of the practice as it was orally mass transmitted and practiced by the people of his city in Madinah. Anyone who has been reading this blog entry from the beginning can see that the view with Imam Malik may Allah have mercy on him is that dogs are of a highly favourable status in Islam.

The reports about killing dogs seem to be in the context of a mass outbreak of some virus, rabies, scabies, ring worm and Allah knows best!

If you have actually seen a dog with a severe case of the mange or scabies it is a very sad sight to behold.

The point being is that the Muwatta of Imam Malik (quoted above) and the views he holds and transmits from the people of Madinah and those before him is that dogs are not to be killed.

 

I hope the Muslims will better understand Islam. This is why I ask Muslims that it is imperative for them to take the Qur’an and the mass transmitted practice over the Hadith.

 The overwhelming vast majority of Muslims are ignoramuses (myself included) when it comes to the hadith literature it was never meant to be understood in isolation as it is being done today.

One of Imam Malik’s major shaykhs, Rab’a Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman, nicked named Rabi’a al-Ra’y, stated: “I will take a thousand from a thousand before I will take one from one, because that one from one can strip the practice out of your hands.”

If the Muslims insist on taking hadith (one from one) in isolation over the practice (mass transmitted tradition) than we will continue to be a source of embarrassment and rage. I leave you with the following story in which an old blind man was denied entry on a bus because of the ignorance of us Muslims

May Allah (swt) continue to guide us to that which is beloved to Allah (swt)!

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The Trauma of being a Muslim convert.

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)

 

Being a convert to Islam is a traumatic experience. It is not usually something you would hear from a convert to Islam. I myself am a convert to Islam. It is a powerful, liberating and beautiful experience to come to know the truth; and yet it is also a traumatic experience. I feel that the majority of those born and raised as Muslims do not appreciate this challenge that we as converts face.

 

Indonesians, Malays, Turks, Pakistanis, the Arabs in general, when they came to Islam, there were usually whole families, tribes, cities who came to Islam as a whole. At times perhaps a king, sultan or tribal leader would convert to Islam and than announce, ‘we are Muslims now’.

 

I often think in my particular context because of my ancestral lineage going back to the Vikings. What was that like to leave behind Thor, Odin, Freya and Loki for Christ Jesus? They embraced a new worldview. Perhaps this new world view was more cohesive and answered lingering questions in a way their previous faith did not. They had a new language for liturgy, Latin.

 

Yet, in all of this they still very much were Danes, or Swedes, or Welsh. They had their, culture, their language, their identity and a sense of who they were, and yet were very comfortable with the additional identity of Christian.

 

So for them the process was very natural and organic. We, the people who convert to Islam in South Korea, Australia, Canada, the U.K, Brazil and other places we do not get to experience any of that at all.

 

In fact if we were to challenge any of the traditional narratives of Islam some Muslims think of us as agents, trying to lead Muslims astray from the right path. Not only do some of our brothers and sisters look upon us with suspicion, often our very governments do as well. Who are our teachers? What are our circles/spheres of influence? Are we radicalized?

 

So you can imagine I was very disappointed with over simplification of Muslim identity with statements like the following from the otherwise very insightful Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad.

 

Those who come to Islam because they wish to draw closer to God have no problem with a multiform Islam radiating from a single revealed paradigmatic core. But those who come to Islam seeking an identity will find the multiplicity of traditional Muslim cultures intolerable. People with confused identities are attracted to totalitarian solutions. And today, many young Muslims feel so threatened by the diversity of calls on their allegiance, and by the sheer complexity of modernity, that the only form of Islam they can regard as legitimate is a totalitarian, monolithic one. That there should be four schools of Islamic law is to them unbearable. That Muslim cultures should legitimately differ is a species of blasphemy.”― Abdal Hakim Murad

 

What identity does he think Muslim converts are seeking? What identity does he imagine us to have in this admittedly sea of diverse views, opinions and communities?

 

At one point I looked to people like Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, and Abdal Hakim Murad as sources of inspiration and than I realized, I should not expect them to go against the grain because these are people who are primarily supported by immigrant Muslims or 2nd generation Muslims. As they say you do not bite the hand that feeds you.

 

Also, in a world where we are increasingly (at least in the West) taking on more and more of a corporate culture, who could blame people for trying to find a sense of belonging /grouping. It is like the people who say, “I don’t believe in organized religion”.

 

Obviously they do not mean to favour disorganized religion; but they fail to grasp that people, that humans form groups. These groups or bonds are based upon many different factors. Language, tribal affiliation, social economic factors and so forth.

 

There was a group in the United Kingdom known as the Murabitun. They saw some of these problems and tried to give focus to the convert community but what ended up happening with them is they became in their own eyes an elitist group. The Maliki school=Islam, not just a school among schools. The working class which should have been a focus of theirs became a point of ire.

 

In fact it wasn’t long that I realized that Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Abdul Hakim Murad also belonged to this mindset that does believe In hierarchy and status quo.

So they never were or never will be voices for the Muslim convert community. They are simply locked in the great power competition against another rival vision of Islam. That is a version of Islam that is better funded, and represented and does tend to go to those places (inner cities, working class communities, those not highly educated) that people like Hamza Yusuf and Abdul Hakim Murad simply cannot relate to (Muslim or not).

 

So the conversion to Islam will continue to be in many ways traumatic, fraught with personal upheavals, inorganic, and yes a search for identity and a search for one’s place in the greater scheme of things.

 

Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad is correct about one thing he said in the above statement. That is that ultimately the focus of being a Muslim is on a personal relationship with Allah. As Allah is the Truth, that also means a continued refinement of what this truth entails and what is means for one as a Muslim.

 

If one becomes a Muslim to form solidarity with the cause of Palestine or the Muslims this may not be the best of intentions. If one becomes a Muslim simply to marry this man or woman it may not be with the best of intentions. If one become a Muslim because they imagine themselves as Paul Mu’adib who will lead the Freedom in battle against the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, this to may not be with the best of intentions.

 

So what do you do if you came to Islam with such intentions? Change your intention. Read, reflect, refine. Know that Islam is ultimately the science of what it means to be a human being. It is about direct communication and awesome awareness to the sovereign of all existence.

 

Often this means sifting through different Islamic narratives and paradigms. Understanding that one particular view does not equate to the whole of Islam endorsing this particular understanding.

 

You should be comfortable with being you and who you are. Remember real personal growth comes not from always being in the familiar, or with the familiar, it often comes from being in the unfamiliar with the unfamiliar, in being completely in the unknown.

 

By the grace of Allah (swt) we humans got to where we are today through adaptation and mutation. This comes through adversity and not through complacency, through the familiar.

 

Being a Muslim is about stability and flux. Not one or the other.

If there is no change, no innovation, no adaptation, things become stagnant like dead water. A period of imitation is a period of stagnation. Yet, if we are like the tides of the ocean being tossed about here and there, there will be no continuity, to connection to past, and present. Balance is both the key and the struggle.

 

We trust in Allah and in Allah let the believers put their trust. You are born now in this age in this time. Allah is every wise.

 

Along the way in this journey as a Muslim you will find that there will be assistance, and at different junctures of your development, different situations, different people will present themselves in your life in different capacities, to trigger you, to fire you up and to remind you. Not to do it for you. I am only one of those triggers, a catalyst.

 

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Shaykh Salek bin Siddina al-Maliki Return of Jesus: The use of hysteron proteron.

“Behold! Allah said: “O Jesus! I will take thee AND raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.” (Qur’an 3:55 Yusuf Ali translation)

“Never said I to them aught except what You did command me to say,’worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord’; and I was a witness over them while I dwelt among them; when You did take me up You were the Watcher over them, and You are a witness to all things.” (Qur’an 5:117 Yusuf Ali translation)

Now if we only had Qur’an 5:117 and didn’t have Qur’an 3;55 and only IF we were feeling really charitable (despite the fact the word is translated as death every where else)- we could say o.k  maybe you have a point.

However, Q 5:117 has to also be in harmony with Q 3:55 doesn’t it?

This is where our opponents are in a most difficult situation.  Why are they in a most difficult situation?  Q 3:55 says, “mutawaffīka WA rāfiʿuka.”

Thus, their arguments make the Qur’an a redundant revelation. It would have been sufficient to just say that Allah (swt) ‘took him up’.

However, we have this slight problem. We have this very troublesome conjunction called ‘WA‘ -AND. 

 

Respected Shaykh, Saleh bin Siddina al-Maliki (may Allah continue to benefit many by his knowledge)

 

In fact one of the Mauritanian Shaykhs -Shaykh Salek bin Siddina āl-Māliki who was called upon to correct brother  Naheim Ajmal who goes by the pseudonym of “Mufti Abu Layth” doesn’t buy into the argument of redundancy either.

This Shaykh knows full well what the text says and so he uses a different strategy -to save the hadith traditions-of course!

See for yourself! 

     

Here are some notes I took of the video.

I thought it was interesting the translator said:  @ 0:55 “Isa alayi salam has died a complete death” -what other kind of death is there?

@ 3:30 minutes the translator addresses what the Shaykh says.
mutawafikka a word that can be translated to ‘I will cause you to die‘ It is mentioned in a way that it is not indicating any particular order”
“Allah says I will cause you to die and I will raise you to me it doesn’t it is used…”

@5:11  minutes the translator addresses what the Shaykh says.

“So this ‘And’ the type of WA that is being used that are both things that are being done, not necessarily in a particular order.”
“In the statement that Zayd and Umar came it doesn’t mean that Zayd came first. Not in any way does it indicate an order of those things.”

 

My comments:

Firstly. May Allah (swt) have patience with the translator. The shaykh often would not allow the translator to finish which is a sign of really bad adab. If the idea is to convey in Arabic let it be conveyed in Arabic, but if there is an agreement that this knowledge is to be transmitted by translation into English, than give the translator time.

Second the respected Shaykh knows full well the obvious that ‘mutawafikka‘ means ‘I will cause you to die‘.

Third he definitely is not on board with the interpretation: “No he raises him up first and than will put him to sleep in the future!

Fourth the Shaykh being influenced by the traditions has to make the Qur’an confirm to his presuppositions.  As I said before if it were not for the traditions (which the Shaykh brought up quite often) you would wonder if he would have felt the need to use this literary device.   In English we call this hysteron proteron.

For example you could say I put on my shoes and socks. No one understands that you put the shoes on and than the socks.

So what is important that we take away from this is that.

  1. The Shaykh understands the word means death
  2. A cursory reading of the text would be ‘I will cause you to to die and than elevate you.’
  3.  The obvious understanding of the text is made to conform to a literary device. This is obviously based upon the presupposition the Shaykh holds to the ahadith.

 

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Al-Muatamad The Reliable Jurisprudence of Prayer By Shaykh Al-Muatasim Al-Mawali

Recite, what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.” (Qur’an 29:45)

The Prophet (saw) then added, “Pray as you have seen me praying, and when it is the time for the prayer one of you should pronounce the Adhan and the oldest of you should lead the prayer.”

Source: (Al Bukhari 631 Book of Call to prayers Book 10 hadith 28 in English Vol 1 Book 11 Hadith 604)

 

Shaykh Al-Muatasim Al-Mawali (May Allah continue to benefit us by him)

 

al-Muatamad English Part no.1, Version no.1

 

This is truly a monumental work and achievement by Shaykh Al-Muatasim Al-Mawali (Religious Studies Supervisor at Sultan Qaboos University). This book, Al-Muatamad (The Reliable Jurisprudence on Prayer) was going for a fee. However, Shaykh Muatasim has given me permission to share the pdf file to this website. Many times people will come and take and not appreciate the efforts that others have done. So I am humbly asking you that if you follow this method in your prayers to ask Allah (swt) to reward Shaykh Muatasim for delivering to us in the English speaking world the method of prayer as instructed by the Blessed Messenger (saw).

You may also print out this simple and useful guide for the prayer as well: Salaat Simplified – z-card

 

I am also asking (if you are able) to make a financial contribution (in any amount) to the following Masjid: https://ahlulistiqamah.co.uk/index.php/en/

They are truly beautiful and noble people. 

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The Sufis and the Ana (I)

When his Lord said to him, ‘Surrender,’ he said, ‘I am now in submission to the Lord of all that exists.” (Qur’an 2:131)

 

The Sufis and the ‘Ana’ (I)

 

The problem is not with the self, the problem is what one does with the self. Allah (swt) is not everything. If Allah (swt) was everything we would be automatons. Without the I there would be no struggle and without the struggle, there would be no surrender, no submission.  

 

Say, “O people, I am only to you a clear warner.” (Qur’an 22:49)

 

It is not the I AM it is what the I is in relation to. It is what proceeds and follows the I.

He said: What hindered you so that you did not prostrate when I commanded you? He said: I am better than he: You hast created me of fire, while him You did create of dust.” (Qur’an 7:12)

 

I am dust but nonetheless, I am

 

 

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Unscripted #9 Dr. Yasir Qadhi unrepentantly reveals ALL!

“The servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say words of peace.” (Qur’an 25:63)

This is a very excellent interview. It was done very well by the host, they did a great interview. They focused on important issues all the while keeping the atmosphere relaxed.

 

Very impressed with Dr. Shaykh Yasir Qadhi. This is a must-watch!

It shows the evolution in the views of Shaykh Yasir Qadhi. It is very eye-opening. I will put down some statements that really caught my attention.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8WYUj19Ltk

 

Yasir Qadhi –

No longer identifies as Salafi
Doesn’t want to be trapped by one theological school.

“The more that a person studies and the more a person grows that inevitably they change their positions. To remain stagnant on the views you had in your 20s when you reach 40,50 or 60 shows you haven’t really been studying.”

@:15:23 “When you been going through this for years and years and years you start rethinking through allot of what you been taught and studied.”

@:15:50 “These creeds that we are wed to also have elements of human products in them.”

@16:31 “Frankly the Sunni theological schools are very much akin to these legal schools, each one of these strands is attempting with their best efforts to get at the truth with a capital “T”. And we need to understand that they are human attempts to get at the truth.”

@17:10 “I no longer view myself as being pigeonholed within a particular theological strand.”

@27:59 “Never substitute the school for the religion of Islam, this, unfortunately, is what sectarianism has done.”

May Allah (swt) continue to give us more people who will speak honestly about our history and about our current condition.

May Allah (swt) continue to bless Shaykh Yasir Qadhi and bless others through what he has been taught and what he continues to learn.

 

 

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The Ibadi perspective: Rebellion and Oppression A Middle Way

And DO NOT OBEY the order of the transgressors, Who cause corruption in the land and do not amend their ways” (Qur’an 26:151-152)

 

O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in the result.” (Qur’an 4:59). 

In this clear verse, we find that in matters of disagreement between those in authority and those under authority, we need to refer back to Allah and the Messenger. Had it been that those in authority were infallible or divinely appointed then, Allah wouldn’t have given any scope to disagree with them.

The fact that there is disagreement proves that “those in authority aka the Ulil Amr”, are neither an absolute nor an infallible authority.

Before we get into this article let it be said that in truth good governance and a stable society are indeed a blessing from Allah (swt). Many of us have the leisure time to read a post like this in relative comfort and safety. The worse thing anyone could want for their government or any other government is chaos and ruin.

 

We should also reflect that there are indeed a very few key components that make for a stable society, regardless of the social-political worldview of that government. Those components are being able to drink clean water and afford food. Being able to afford comfortable housing, and in many places being able to have access to electricity. Another component is the ability of the government (in whatever form it takes) to be able to implement law and order.

If you were to remove three of these five factors, let us say, water, electricity, and the ability to access food for as much as a few days, many countries would quickly descend into chaos.

Therefore indeed a stable government and stable governance is a blessing from Allah (swt).

According to Maslow’s pyramid of hierarchical needs the very basic needs of any human being or group of human beings are psychological and safety needs. To be honest many governments of the world fail to address these very basic needs. Some of them through no fault of their own, such as a devastating natural disaster, and some of them through social engineering and social-economic systems that benefit the few and leave the masses to want.

 

The second aspect of this pyramid is the feeling of belonging and the feeling of self-esteem. Now usually nation-states try and invoke feelings of belongings by nationalism. The feeling of self-esteem presents itself through merit through the education system, feats of valor in military service, and/or sports. However, even then most feelings of self-esteem and prestige come from the privileged group continuing to hold on to their privilege and in usually in today’s market economy where materialistic nihilism is the new spirituality by making oneself feel superior to the next guy.

 

You have a better this. You have more of that. You have greater access to….and so forth. These all give false feelings of accomplishment.

In the last part of Maslow’s pyramid, the feeling of self-actualization is never reached or even encouraged in any government that I am aware of. Often for some people reaching that state of self-actualization and a sense of true freedom and/or awakening means going against the status quo.

So indeed having a stable government is a blessing from Allah (swt). That being said having a government that oppresses itself people, does not allow legal representation, has kangaroo court systems, sends death squads, inquisitors, police, and other people to crush those who have different ideas and world views is not a blessing from Allah (swt).

 

“So stand firm in your devotion to the faith, inclining to truth, [according to] the innate nature Allah has instilled in [all] people. There is no changing Allah’s creation. This is the correct religion, but most people do not know it..” (Qur’an 30:30)

The innate nature (fit’rata)

When your Lord told the angels, “I will place a steward on earth,” they said, “Will you put someone there who will corrupt it and shed blood, while we glorify, praise, and sanctify You?” He said, “I know things you do not know.” (Qur’an 2:30)

 

The English definition of violence is as follows:

behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.

strength of emotion or of a destructive natural force.

So we speak of a violent storm or we say that the volcano had a violent eruption.

 

Tariq Ramadan (May Allah have mercy on him) held a debate with Christopher Hitchens on the topic: “Is Islam a Religion of Peace” Which to be honest was a horrible proposition for Tariq Ramadan to debate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMraxhd9Z9Q

@19:50 marks you can see Tariq Ramadan express his reservations about the title for the debate. However, as Christopher Hitchens rightly pointed out he knew the proposition beforehand.

The better title would have been. “Is Islam a Religion of Violence.” Christopher Hitchens could have argued that it is evident whereas Tariq Ramadan could have made his point that Islam deals in war and peace and thus it deals with peace and violence.

@20:50 Tariq Ramadan made the point that Islam deals with humans and has such you deal with violence and you deal with peace.

 

ISLAM REGULATES THE REALITY OF VIOLENCE.

“So stand firm in your devotion to the faith, inclining to truth, [according to] the innate nature Allah has instilled in [all] people. There is no changing Allah’s creation. This is the correct religion, but most people do not know it..” (Qur’an 30:30)

Keep in mind the English definition of violence is as follows:

behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.

There is not a creature on this earth even among plants and corals that do not act violently in some way shape or form or have not been given the means to defend themselves from aggression.

Vegans and vegetarians do violence to plants. Insects, fish, and all manner of plants, flora, fauna, and creatures do violence to each other in this world.

Even if we were to witness a Jain in meditation one may not see the battlefield of violence inside the devotee’s body as different types of bacteria unleash violence on other types of bacteria.

I do not think there is a man reading this that if someone was to go into his home and try and rape his mother, daughter, sister, wife, or anyone else that he would put his life on the line to defend that person.

This is natural. Even among animals that try to flee a situation if given no other opportunity, they will stand their ground and fight.

“So stand firm in your devotion to the faith, inclining to truth, [according to] the innate nature Allah has instilled in [all] people. There is no changing Allah’s creation. This is the correct religion, but most people do not know it..” (Qur’an 30:30)

Now let us do some thinking for a moment. Let us look at some passages from the Qur’an.

“And if he [Muhammed] had made up about Us some [false] sayings
We would have seized him by the right hand; Then We would have cut from him the aorta valve.” (Qur’an 69:44-46)

“Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed, and most surely Allah is well able to assist them;[They are] those who have been evicted from their homes without right – only because they say, “Our Lord is Allah.” And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.” (Qur’an 22:39-40)

Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.” (Qur’an 2:190)

 

Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they are impaled…” (Qur’an 5:33)


A prophet may not take captives until he has thoroughly decimated [the enemy] in the land. You desire the transitory gains of this world, while Allah desires [for you] [the reward of] the Hereafter and Allah is all-mighty, all-wise.” (Qur’an 8:67)

So if you come upon such people in war, make a harsh example of them to deter those coming after them so that hopefully they will pay heed.” (Qur’an 8:57)

 

 

TURN THE OTHER CHEEK?

The closest verse to pacifism or turning of the other cheek that one will find is the following:

And We ordained therein for them: Life for a life, eye for an eye, nose for a nose, ear for an ear, tooth for a tooth, and wounds equal for equal. But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it shall be for him, an expiation. And whosoever does not judge by that which Allah has revealed, such are the wrong-doers.” (Qur’an 5:45)

So in this verse, a person can forgive a wrong that is done to them; however, they are not required to do so.

These verses are only a handful of many many more than can be quoted. This is to ask us all to reflect. Islam a religion that regulates violence. We are commanded to sacrifice animals on certain occasions. Those of us who are magistrates (judges) are commanded to enact the penalties of the Islam penal code on those who transgress the limits. The Blessed Prophet (saw) is threatened with extreme violence if he even were to think of pretending to write something on authority from Allah (swt). Allah (swt) commands Muslims to fight those who fight them, and that some times Allah (swt) uses some people as a means of checks and balance upon the Earth.

HOWEVER…..

When it comes to the leader Islam demands complete and total obedience?

Something seems very off about this.

 

POSITIVE PROOFS THAT WE CAN REBEL AGAINST AN UNJUST LEADER.

First, it should be understood that if there is a dispute among parties that they refer the matter back to the book of Allah (swt). Second, the administration or government deserves admonishment first and foremost. No one group or individual has the right to take any matters into their own hands. 

 

“Do you not see those who have been given a portion of the Book being invited to let Allah’s Book be the judge between them? But then a group of them turn away.” (Qur’an 3:23)

So the first point of reference is to the Qur’an.

Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.” (Qur’an 2:190)

If two groups of believers should fight each other, then try to reconcile them. But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight the oppressing group until it complies with Allah’s command. Once it has complied, make peace between them with justice and be equitable. Allah loves those who are equitable. “ (Qur’an 49:9)

Understanding the first proof:

These two verses together absolutely debunk the idea that Muslims cannot rebel against a leader. It is not reasonable to think that if two groups of believers were fighting each other (with intent to kill) that the leader would not be opposed (if not among one of the two warring factions). Notice that it uses the word ‘believers’ when discussing those who would be fighting (with intent to kill). Also says until it complies with Allah’s command (amri-l-lahi). Notice it does not say until it complies with the uli-l-amri (those that are given authority over you).

O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in the result. (Qur’an 4:59). 

Understanding the second proof.

In this clear verse, we find that in matters of disagreement between those in authority and those under authority, we need to refer back to Allah and the Messenger. Had it been that, those in authority were infallible or divinely appointed, or to be given absolute obedience then, Allah (swt) wouldn’t have given any scope to disagree with them.

The fact that there is disagreement proves that “those in authority aka the Uli-l-amri”, are neither an absolute nor an infallible authority, nor are Muslims to submit to their seat of power in all things.

In fact, often those who argue that we should obey the ruler no matter what will use this verse to deceive the masses! They will quote, “Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you.” However, they do not quote the full verse! Why is that? Because it is proof against them!

 

“People, be mindful of your Lord, who created you from a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them spread countless men and women far and wide; be mindful of Allah, in whose name you make requests of one another. Beware of severing the ties of kinship: Allah is always watching over you. (Qur’an 4:1)


“O you who believe,
do not take your fathers nor brothers as allies if they prefer rejection to belief. And whoever of you takes them as such, then these are wicked.” (Qur’an 9:23) 

 

Understanding the proof.

The proof here is from inference. There can be no greater bonds than that of family, kith and kin. Yet even these blood ties are to be forsaken when our family turns to evil. If this is the case of blood ties how much more to an unjust, impious, or evil ruler?

 

“For that cause, We decreed for the Children of Israel that whoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it will be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoever saves the life of one, it will be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came to them of old with clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty), but afterward lo! many of them continued to commit excess on the Earth.” (Qur’an 5: 32)

Understanding the proof.

No commentary, no tafsir that I have ever come across said that the verse above applies to everyone except the Khalif/Sultan/Leader, etc. If there is bring forth the evidence.

If you saved the life of the Khalif/Sultan/Leader it will be as if you saved the life of the whole mankind.

If you took the life of the Khalif/Sultan/Leader unjustly it will be as if you saved the life of the whole of mankind.

Now there are two caveats here the verse tells us.

You can take a life if someone has taken a life unjustly. You can take a life if someone is spreading fasadin (corruption). Who better to spread corruption on the Earth than a corrupt Khalif/Sultan/Leader who is in a position of authority, influence, and power.

The killing of one person from a practical perspective outweighs the millions of lives that can be lost due to a leader who continues to kill and oppress.

 

And that was ‘Aad, who rejected the signs of their Lord and disobeyed His messengers and followed the order of every obstinate tyrant. and they were [therefore] followed in this world with a curse and [as well] on the Day of Resurrection. Unquestionably, ‘Aad denied their Lord; then away with ‘Aad, the people of Hud.” (Qur’an 11:59-60)

Understanding the proof.

Allah (swt) contrary to the hadiths that “Ahl Sunnah” will quote, did not find following the orders of every obstinate tyrant to be something meritorious and praiseworthy but rather something blameworthy and shameful, even to the point of being cursed in this life as well as the life to come! May Allah (swt) protect us from it!

 

And those who, when tyranny strikes them, they defend themselves, Although the just requital for an injustice is an equivalent retribution, whoever pardons and makes reconciliation – his reward is [due] from Allah. Indeed, He does not love the unjust. And whoever avenges himself after having been wronged – those have not upon them any cause [for blame].  The cause is only against the ones who wrong the people and tyrannize upon the earth without right. Those will have a painful punishment. And whoever is patient and forgives – indeed, that is of the matters requiring determination.” (Qur’an 42:39-43)

Understanding the proof.

While this verse has in two places that discuss forgiveness when retaliation is due, it also has two places that mention retribution for injustice and avenging oneself if wronged that this person is not to be blamed.

Now of course this verse is not encouraging vigilante justice or taking matters into one’s own hands. However, this verse is general and it equally applies to anyone in authority. No one understands that this verse excuses an officer, a judge, an imam, or in-person in a position above others, including the Khalif/Sultan/Leader.

Interestingly the word used for tyranny l-baghyu is also used for injustice, rebellion, discord. So it is not that masses who are the only one’s who rebel, but rulers, who do rebellion against Allah (swt) and against their sacred trust and duty towards people.

Now you will note that for us we rely heavily upon the revelation of Allah (swt) for our position and our proofs. Whereas those who differ with us rely heavily upon the oral traditions for their positions and their proofs.

 

PROOF FROM THE ORAL TRADITIONS, COMPANIONS, AND HISTORY OF EARLY MUSLIMS.

 

#1) It should be known clear as day that we follow the Manhaj of the Blessed Prophet (saw) who is reported to have said…

On the authority of Abu Sa`eed al-Khudree (r.a) who said:

I heard the Messenger of Allah (swt) say, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.”

Understanding the proof:

Note that the very first recourse was to change the situation with the hands ……not to abide it with patience, not to run and hide like a coward but to change it with your hands…..first….not last…

Lastly, notice that it says clear as day that hating it with your heart (is the weakest of faith).

 

#2) Also, keep in mind that those who say and claim it is a sin to go against the ruler the well-known exchange between Umar Ibn Al Khattab (r.a) and a companion.

One day Khaleefah Umar bin al-Khattab stood up and delivered a speech in which he said: “O people, whoever among you sees any crookedness in me, let him straighten it.” A man stood up and said: “By Allah if we see any crookedness in you we will straighten it with our swords.” Umar said: “Praise be to Allah Who has put in this ummah people who will straighten the crookedness of Umar with their swords.”

Source: (Dr Muhammad as-Sallabi, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, His Life and Times,’ vol. 1, p. 213)

This is well known.

Umar (r.a) was humble and pious and just. The people had the right to say such statements because people like him and Abu Bakr (r.a) were immense people and great leaders.

However, when the “Ahl Sunnah” started to be ruled by dynasties and oppressors and people who were less than these great men, they made such excuses for them.

Verily, tyrannical rulers will come after me and whoever affirms their lies and supports their oppression has nothing to do with me and I have nothing to do with him, and he will not drink with me at the fountain in Paradise. Whoever does not affirm their lies and does not support their oppression is part of me and I am part of him, and he will drink with me at the fountain in Paradise.” Source: (Sunan An-Nasa’i 4207)

Understanding the proof.

One of the objectives of the Prophets is to establish justice in the land. It is contrary to the teachings of mercy and justice that people should support and affirm the lies of the oppressors.

Attempts to distort what the Blessed Messenger (saw) gave us concerning oppression and rulers.

#3) Narrated Anas bin Malik:

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

Source: (Al Bukhari 7142 Book 93, Hadith 6 Vol 9 Book 89 Hadith 256)

https://sunnah.com/bukhari/93/6

“If an Ethiopian slave with a cut off nose and ear were appointed as your ruler, you would have to listen to and obey his orders as long as he rules in accordance with the Book of Allah.Source: (Sunan Ibn Majah 2861)

Understanding the proof.

This hadith puts to bed the idea that “Ahl Sunnah” have first that the ruler can only come from the Quresh. However, notice that this hadith comes to us with a very interesting addition. That we are to under no circumstances to rebel against a leader/ruler/khalif/sultan of any racial/ethnic background as long as that person rules in accordance with the Book of Allah (swt).

 

Narrated ‘Abdullah:

The Prophet said, “A Muslim has to listen to and obey (the order of his ruler) whether he likes it or not, as long as his orders involve not one in disobedience (to Allah), but if an act of disobedience (to Allah) is imposed one should not listen to it or obey it. Source: (Al Bukhari Volume 9, Book 89, Number 258 & Hadith No. 203, Vol. 4)

Understanding the proof.

The hadith before this one mentions that we are to obey the ruler as long as they rule in accordance with the Book of Allah (swt). The hadith quoted above states that we are to obey the ruler as long as they do not impose upon those they rule over disobedience to Allah (swt).

So we can see that allegiance to a ruler is conditional upon two points.

a) That this ruler actually rules in accordance with the book of Allah (swt).

b) That this ruler does not impose upon the Muslim disobedience to Allah (swt).

 

#4)

Narrated ‘Ali:

The Prophet sent an army unit (for some campaign) and appointed a man from the Ansar as its commander and ordered them (the soldiers) to obey him. (During the campaign) he became angry with them and said, “Didn’t the Prophet order you to obey me?” They said, “Yes.” He said, “I order you to collect wood and make a fire and then throw yourselves into it.” So they collected wood and made a fire, but when they were about to throw themselves into it, they started looking at each other, and some of them said, “We followed the Prophet to escape from the fire. How should we enter it now?” So while they were in that state, the fire extinguished and their commander’s anger abated. The event was mentioned to the Prophet and he said, “If they had entered it (the fire) they would never have come out of it, for obedience is required only in what is good.” Source: (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 89, Number 259 & hadith No. 629. Vol. 5)

 

Understanding the proof.

This hadith has shown that thankfully the companions were not dimwitted. These people had the intelligence to understand that throwing themselves into fire even though the commander commanded them to do so, that this was something ridiculous. Also again the hadith states that the Blessed Messenger (saw) said, ‘obedience is required only in what is good.’

 

#5) “There is no obedience to the created in the disobedience of the Creator.”

Source: (Ahmad Al-Musnad Vol 1. p. 366, tradition no. 1065, p 372-373, tradition no, 1095, Al-Nasai Al Kubra Vol. 8 p 71 traditions 8667-8668, Mariful Qur’an pg 481 Volume 5)

 

Understanding the proof.

This can be used on many occasions. We are exhorted to obey our parents but they asked us to worship other than Allah (swt) we can refuse them. If a husband asked his wife to do something immoral she can refuse. If the wife asks the husband to do something immoral he can refuse. If a government or any authority asks us to do anything that is in disobedience to Allah (swt) we do not have to obey them.

 

Understanding the Ibadi Position

 

The Ibadis do not encourage revolts against their Imams to avoid bloodshed. It is justifiable only as a last resort and in extreme circumstances, The history of the Ibadhi Imamate in Oman speaks for itself as the following list shows: 

Source: (Shaykh Soud H. Al-Ma’awaly in his book: Ibadhism the Cinderella Story Of Islam)

So there you have it. Yet some so-called Islamic scholars and historians have the impudence to say that Ibadhis are Khawarij who are terrorists and shedders of blood.

Now compare/contrast this with the first four Caliphs and the Umayyads:

 

The Only one killed by a so-called Khawarij is Ali bin Abi Talib (r.a) and this was done in retaliation for Ali’s slaughter of 3000 innocent Muslims at Narhawan.

 

Now compare/contrast this with the Abbasids:

 

 

 

 

Now let me also mention to you (the reader) that the position of the Ibadi school (Ahl Istiqamah) is as follows:

  1. We are absolutely to obey the just and good rulers in our society.
  2. To go against the just and good rulers in our society is a major sin.
  3. To go against an unjust and corrupt ruler who is spreading fitna and fasad is meritorious, praiseworthy, and obligatory.

Now there is a caveat to point 3.

A) If going against the unjust and corrupt ruler will actually meet with little chance of success and cause more bloodshed and chaos than if one had not, it is a sin to go against the rulers. One must abide by their cruelty and oppression with great patience. 

B) If going against the unjust and corrupt ruler will actually meet with a great chance of success and it will cause less bloodshed, suffering, and chaos than as mentioned it is obligatory and meritorious to do so.

That is our position (the position of the Ibadi).

Now a few points to make about some of our brothers from “Ahl Sunnah” and those that take an opposite stance.

  1. The Majority sect does not have a consensus on the issue no matter what they claim. In fact, they even say that one can go against a ruler if they commit a clear act of disbelief. Shaykh Muhammed Al Yaqoubi (may Allah continue to benefit us by him) asked for the overthrowing of Assad in Syria. Or the Madhkali Salafi Muslims who are active in the overthrow of the government of Libya. 
  2. Their claim of ‘ijma’ of course excludes us (Ibadi), Zaidi, and 12er Shia. Because in their fanaticism they consider us as heretics.
  3. Name a single scholar in the history of “Ahl Sunnah” that was against the rebellion of an unjust ruler or tyrant that was A) Not on the government payroll or patronized by the government & B) Not admired and patronized by the elites.
  4. The fact that the “Ahl Sunnah” will claim that going against the ruler will result in more bloodshed and death and yet they will not even entertain the idea that replacing an obstinate tyrant by force would actually result in less bloodshed and death in the end.
  5. Their inconsistency in saying that those who rebel against the sultan/khalif have left Islam but their recognition that if such a rebellion is successful that the new leadership (taken by force) is now legitimate!
  6. Their inconsistency regarding the companions. Which we will discuss now.

 

 

We hold fast to the following:

“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in the result.” (Qur’an 4:59). 

That’s it. If we are all Muslims than we can certainly turn to the book of Allah (swt) to settle our disputes.

In conclusion:

We should all do our best to be loyal, productive citizens of whatever state that we live in. We should abide by its rules and dictates. If we are not happy where we live there is nothing wrong with us immigrating to a place we feel may be more suitable for us.

However, if our lives and our property begin to be taken unjustly and we have no recourse to legal representation or no recourse for justice there are certain situations where it is in the best interest of the people to rise up against oppression and bring about better governance for themselves. Hopefully any government agencies or people in the employ of government agencies reading this post as inciting violence or sedition in any way shape or form. Government’s all over the world are intelligent enough to know that if they oppress people there will be repercussions to their actions. May Allah (swt) guide all governments in making just decisions. 

Allah (swt) knows best and the help of Allah (swt) is sought.

I dedicate this particular article to the struggle of the Palestinian people, the people of Syria, the people of Iraq, Kashmir, Yemen, the Muslims of Myanmar, the Muslims of Western China.

I dedicate this particular article to all people suffering from oppression and injustice all over the world. If Muslims are oppressing Non-Muslims than may Allah (swt) soften the heart of those Muslims and if not may Allah (swt) give victory to any Non-Muslim suffering from oppression from Muslims.

May this world be filled with peace and justice. Amin.

And DO NOT OBEY the order of the transgressors, Who cause corruption in the land and do not amend their ways” (Qur’an 26:151-152)

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Ibadi view of Yazid and the Ummayd dynasty.

And DO NOT OBEY the order of the transgressors, Who cause corruption in the land and do not amend their ways” (Qur’an 26:151-152)


Abu Hamza al-Mukhtar bin ‘Awf, One of the prominent Ibadhi’s of Basrah had this to say about the Umayyad rulers in general and Yazid in particular during a Friday sermon in Medina in the presence of Imam Malik ibn Anas:

“There came Yazid, a libertine in religion and unmanly in behavior, in whom was never perceived right guidance. He would eat forbidden food, and drink wine, and wear a robe worth a thousand dinars, through which you could see his flesh so that the veil of modesty was rent, an unpardonable disrobe. And Haraba the singing girl

on his right, and Salama the singing girl on his left, both singing if you had taken drink away from him, he would rent his garments!

And he would turn to one of them and say, Shall I fly? Aye, he flew. To God’s damnation, and the burning Fire, and a painful torment!

He then turns to the Umayyads:

“The sons of Umayyads are a party of error, and their strength is the strength of tyrants. They take conjecture for their guide, and judge as they please, and put men to death in anger, and govern by mediation and take the law out of context and distribute the public money to those not entitled to them. For God has revealed those who are entitled, and they are eight classes of men, for He says:

“The freewill offerings are for the poor and the needy, those who work to collect them, those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and slaves and debtors, and those in the way of Allah and the travelers. they make themselves the ninth category and take it all! Such are those who rule by what Allah has not sent down.” (The World of Islam John A Williams p 218)

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Clarity from Obfuscation: Where to place the hands in the prayer?

The Messenger of Allah is certainly a good example for those of you who have hope in Allah and in the Day of Judgment and who remember Allah very often.  (Qur’an 33:21)

 

And perform the prayer, and pay the alms, and bow with those that bow.”  (Qur’an 2:43)

 

And obey Allah and obey the Messenger. But if you turn away, then Our Messenger is responsible only for conveying the message clearly. (Quran 64:12)

 

It has been attributed to the Blessed Messenger (saw) in the following hadith:

Malik ibn Al-Huwayrith reported: We came to the Prophet, (saw), while we were young men and we stayed with him twenty nights. Then the Prophet considered that we were anxious to see our families, so he asked us who we had left behind to take care of them and we told him. The Prophet was kindhearted and merciful, and he said, “Return to your families, teach them, and enjoin good upon them. Pray as you have seen me praying. When the time of prayer arrives, then one of you should announce the call to prayer and the eldest of you should lead the prayer.” (Source: al-Bukhari 5662, Muslim 674)

 

The hadith above have been used by many people to advocate that Muslims should try and pray the way that the Blessed Messenger (saw) prayed.    Often what they really mean is to pray the way THEY THINK he prayed.  In reality, we don’t have any video footage recorded of the Blessed Messenger (saw).

What we have are two ways of obtaining evidence about the way the Blessed Messenger (saw) performed his prayer.

Before we get into that it is important to understand exactly what the prayer means to us as Muslims.

I would encourage you to read the following: https://primaquran.wordpress.com/2019/05/19/the-value-of-the-prayer-in-islam/?wref=tp

 

Clarity from Obfuscation: Where to place the hands in the prayer?

We have a situation in the Muslim Ummah in which there are certain groups who go around and police other people’s prayers.   They are like the ‘prayer police’.  I honestly think that many of them are coming from a place of sincerity in that they only want you to follow what they believe the Blessed Messenger (saw) was doing.

 

However they give the false impression that the correct way of doing the prayer is to place the right hand over the left hand (SOMEWHERE.…..)  -we will come to this latter.  Thus, they will give the impression that anyone who does anything different than this is not doing the prayer of the Blessed Messenger (saw) or worse yet they are doing innovation! Interestingly enough the ‘evidence for placing the hands on the chest’ is not contained in either al- Bukhari or ‘Muslim’

 

First things first.

It should be noted that according to the Majority group , ‘al-Bukhari’ and ‘Muslim’ are the two most authentic hadith collections.

However, you will be quite surprised to know that NEITHER of these collections to you the following information:

 

  1. It doesn’t tell you to place your right hand over your left hand behind your back.
  2. It doesn’t tell you to place your right hand over your left below your navel.
  3. It doesn’t tell you to place your right hand over your left hand in the mid-section.
  4. It doesn’t tell you to place your right hand over your left wrist and grip it.
  5. It doesn’t tell you to place your right hand over your left forearm.
  6. It doesn’t tell you to place your right hand on your left shoulder.
  7. It doesn’t tell you to place your right hand under the chin at the top of the sternum.

Neither of these hadith collections to tell you or inform you to do any such thing at all!

That being said we do have a hadith in ‘al-Bukhari’ that should have many of you scratching your heads:

 

Narrated Sahl bin Sa’d:

“The PEOPLE WERE ORDERED to place the right hand on the left in the prayer. Abu Hazim said, “I only know that it is attributed tot he Prophet .” ( Source: Volume 1, Book 12, Number 707)

Like why the hell would people need to be ordered to do something that the Blessed Prophet (saw) did? Any Muslim would rush to imitate a sunnah of the prophet!

 

I would encourage you to reflect upon all the oral traditions you have heard attributed to the Blessed Messenger (saw).  How often do you hear this terminology “THE PEOPLE WERE ORDERED” ??

 

The people were ordered to sleep on their right side?

The people were ordered to wash their right hands?

The people were ordered to do two rakats upon entering the Masjid?

The Hadith of Sahl closer look:

“Abdullah ibn Maslama related to us from Malik from Abu Hazim from Sahl ibn Sa’d He said: “The people were ordered that a person is to place their right hand over their left hand during Salat.” Abu Hazim said, “I know only that he attributes that (yanmi dhalika) to the Prophet.” Isma’il said,” (I only know that) That is attributed (yunma dhalika).” And he didn’t say: “He attributes” (yanmi).

This hadith -in spite of being in the Muwatta of Imam Malik and the Sahih of Imam Bukhari is not definite proof that the Prophet’s sunnah was to pray while holding his left with his right hand. What weakens such an assumption made from this hadith are the following:

 

#1) It is not an explicit report or statement or action of the Prophet (saw).

#2) The statement, “That the people were ordered that a person is to place their right hand over their left forearm during Salat” is the statement of the Companion, Sahl. And he doesn’t say that the Prophet (saw) gave this order. So there is a possibility that another could have given this order.

#3) The statement, “I know only that he attributes that (yanmi dhalika) to the Prophet” is not the statement of Sahl. Rather it is the statement of the Tab’i Abu Hazim. So there is no certainty that Sahl actually attributed this to the Prophet since Abu Hazim is merely conjecturing about what he remembers.

#4) The statement of Isma’il that (I only know that) That is attributed (yunma dhalika).” And he didn’t say, “He attributes (yanmi)”. further emphasizes the belief that Abu Hazim didn’t actually hear Sahl attribute the order to the Prophet.

#5) Notice that many Muslims pray with their arms below their navel or up midway above the navel or high up on the chest. So obviously that hadith above (which has been shown not to be firmly established from the Prophet) doesn’t help us to know where to place the hands. You could even do takbir and than put your hands behind your back taking the left forearm with the right as in the picture below!

 

(The above illustration is ‘taking the left hand with the right hand’)

 

VARIOUS MUSLIM POLITIES AND EMPIRES WOULD OFTEN FORCE THEIR VIEWPOINTS AND POSITIONS UPON THE MASSES.  THEY WOULD ALSO FORCE PEOPLE TO CHANGE THEIR ACTS OF WORSHIP! 

 

Example being: Ibn Tumart who forced theological positions at sword point!

It is nothing but bigotry and small-mindedness, if not political, Indeed, in Morocco, when Al-Mahdi b.Toumart returned from his travels seeking knowledge in the East, meeting many great Ash’ari scholars like Al-Kiya Al-Harrasi, he proceeded to disseminate the school throughout Morocco, When he claimed to disseminate the school throughout Morocco. When he claimed to be the Mahdi, and established the Almohad state, he obliged the population to adhere to the school, and fought against the school of the early Muslims, dismissing the previous Almoravid state as “anthropomorphists”,  when they actually were upon the way of the early Muslims in their beliefs. He called his own dynasty  Muwahhidun (“Monotheist”). He also opposed the Maliki school and the scholars of Morocco and Andalusia who adhered to it. In this way, enmity developed between the two groups; and the inherent cause was political.”   -The Hadith Scholar, Professor ‘Abdullah Guenon Al-Hasani, President of the Morrocan League of Scholars and Member of the Islamic World League, Mecca’  taken from page 326 (Notions that Must Be Corrected by Shaykh Muhammad b ‘Alawi Al-Maliki Al Hasani)

 

Example being: The Shirazi Shi’a dynasty that forced people to adopt their prayer as well as adopt their version of Shiasm in general!

 

“It was, however, nothing less than a reign of terror that inaugurated the new dispensation. On capturing Tabriz in 907/1501, a city two-thirds Sunnite in population, Shah Esmāʿil threatened with death all who might resist the adoption of Shiʿite prayer ritual in the main congregational mosque, and he had Qezelbāš soldiers patrol the congregation to ensure that none raise his voice against the cursing of the first three caliphs, viewed as enemies of the Prophet’s family. In Tabriz and elsewhere, gangs of professional executors known as the tabarrāʾiān would accost the townsfolk at random, forcing them to curse the objectionable personages on pain of death. Selective killings of prominent Sunnites occurred in a large number of places, notably Qazvin and Isfahan, and in Shiraz and Yazd, outright massacres took place. Sunnite mosques were desecrated, and the tombs of eminent Sunnite scholars destroyed (Aubin, 1970, pp. 237-38; idem, 1988, pp. 94-101).”  (Source: Hamid Algar http://www.cultureofiran.com/islam_safavid_era.html)

 

So yeah these people were not really impressed by the verse: “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” (Qur’an 2:256)

 

Often when a Muslim politic conquered a rival Muslim politic they would have the muezzin add to the prayer: “So and so is now the commander of the faithful” -because this was their mass communication in those days.

 

In fact, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf had quoted something very interesting from the great Hanafi master of fiqh and hadith: Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari.

Quoting from Mulla ‘Ali Qari Shaykh Hamza Yusuf says,

“Mulla ‘Ali Qari says It could have been the Prophet, It could have been the Khulfa, or it could have been the rulers that were telling people to do that.”

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf continues:

“So even the Hanafi, one of the great Hanafi scholars of hadith it’s not clear who was telling who to do what.”

 

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf continues:  “My conclusion is I actually think its a political thing. Because the two people who were leaving their hands at their side were the people who were most resistant to the Ummayad rule. And that was the Kwarij and the Shi’a. So it’s very interesting that the thing that immediately distinguishes your political allegiance is in the prayer. ”  (Source is:  @ 07:20 seconds into the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6vobY94XkE&t=940s

 

In fact further proof of what Shaykh Hamza Yusuf says comes to us in the following report:

Ibn ‘Abd Al-Barr in his book al-Tamheed narrates that (20:76):

Abd Allah ibn al-Izar said, ‘I used to make tawaf around the Kaba with Said ibn al-Jubayr. Once, he saw a man placing one hand over the other, so he went to him, separated his hands, and then returned to me.

 

Placing the hand over the other was considered to be munkar by Said ibn Al-Jubayr because you can only change an act that is known to be munkar. It is also interesting that he (Said ibn Al-Jubayr) observed a person doing this meaning that it ‘stood out to him’.  So the majority practice during the time of the companions and their successors was to place the arms at the side.

Keep in mind that Said ibn Al-Jubayr took part in the Battle of Dayr al-Jamājim against the Ummayds!

Also, keep in mind that not everyone who opposed the Ummayads prayed sadl (hands to the side).

An example of this is  Sa’id ibn al-Musayyib.   Sa’id ibn al-Musayyib refused to give allegiance to Abdullah ibn Al-Zubayr who was opposed to the Ummayads.

Also narrated in al-Tamheed: ‘Abd Allah ibn Yazid said, “I never saw Said ibn al-Musayyib holding his left hand with his right hand in the prayer, he used to lay them straight.”

Sa’id ibn al-Musayyib was one of the biggest Tabi’een in Madina, and this was thus the practice of the people of Madina that Imam Malik witnessed. (Source: al-Tamheed Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr 20:76)

 

Another example of the prayer being an issue of politics is the history of the rivalry in West Africa between the two Sufi Tariqah: The Tijani and The Qadiri.

“Beginning with the 1949 demolition of the Tijani mosque in Sokoto Province at the order of the sultan of Sokoto, tensions between Tijaniyya and Qadiriyya periodically erupted into violence throughout the 1950s and 1960s. A 1956 riot in two districts of Sokoto resulted in four deaths, including that of a Qadiri imam. In 1965, again in Sokoto Province, clashes attributed to Tijaniyya-Qadiriyya disputes resulted in the deaths of eleven policemen. As in Mali , a potent symbol of and perhaps pretext for inter-brotherhood antagonism remains the posture of arms during prayer: Tijanis cross their arms over the chest (kabalu), whereas Qadaris keep their arms straight at their sides. The Qadiris regard kabalu as heretical.(Source: The History of Islam in Africa  page 219)

 

The exact ritual of prayer has long been an expression of difference-especially whether the arms are folded (kablu) or at one’s side(sadlu) when standing in the course of prayer. After Friday prayer, there is also the issue of what dhikr is said and for how long-and whether, as a novelty, bandiri drums are used. There were thus very visible and audible differences between Qadiri and Tijani Muslims, and these could become a source of much controversy. In some emirates, the Tijaniyya clearly represented opposition to the ruling establishment when that establishment was Qadiri. Given that ‘Uthman dan Fodio was a Shaikh of the Qadiriyya and his son was a successor Muhammad Bello refused to abandon his father’s tariqa in favour of the new, radical Tijaniyya (which a visitor to Sokoto, ‘Umar al-Futi, was then strongly promoting), then joining the Tijaniyya was in effect an act of dissidence or at least dissent.” (Source:  Sects & Social Disorder: Muslim Identities & Conflict in Northern Nigeria page 43)

 

The issue of the kabalu (folding the hands) or the sadlu (leaving them)  was ordered in the Tijani Tariqa an outward display of political dissonance and a means of separating them and making them distinct.

 

“For example, Shaykh al-Tijani (RA) strongly recommended us to recite the Basmalah loudly before the Fatihah. This is against the Maliki and Hanafi Madh-habs, but we have to follow it. Shaykh Ibrahim (RA) ordered his (mostly Maliki) followers to pray with folded hands, so Maliki Tijanis have to do it, even if it goes against the Maliki Madh-hab. Indeed, when he was ordered by Allah, Rasul (SAW), and Shaykh al-Tijani (RA) to order the people to pray with folded hands, many people in West Africa fought him. They said to him: “But your father (RA) prayed with open arms???” He replied: “Al-Humduli’Llah! Allah has not ordered us to follow anyone absolutely but the Prophet (SAW)”. Also, when someone said: “But Shaykh al-Tijani (RA) is related to have prayed with open arms too?” Baye (RA) replied: “We take the Tariqah from Shaykh al-Tijani (RA) and we don’t go an inch against him. But, we take the Shari’ah from Rasul-Allah (SAW).” As Shaykh Mahy Cisse told me, Shaykh al-Tijani (RA) also wished to pray Qabd but was not given the permission than as he had other affairs to see to, as well as the fact that his following in Fes and Morocco was not big enough to bring about such a major change. Everything has a time, and the Shaykh al-Tijani (RA) ordered Shaykh Ibrahim (RA) to revive this Sunnah among the Malikis.”

(Source: https://www.facebook.com/181790208517422/posts/the-salah-of-ibrahim-niass-may-allah-be-pleased-with-himwritten-and-published-by/640450455984726/)

 

We should be careful to not take our fiqh and our ijtihad from dreams as anyone can say anything.

 

With a Shaykh, especially a Sufi Shaykh does such a thing they put you in a difficult position. They are either lying or telling the truth

All that you have read was tell you the political history in regards to the Muslims and in particular the politics surrounding the prayer of the Blessed Messenger (saw).

 

Now we will be looking at the only three pieces of evidence to support the majority position (all three of them hotly disputed).

1) The Hadeeth of Wa’il Ibn Hujr in Ibn Khuzaimah
2) The Hadeeth of Halb At-Taa’ee in Tirmidhi
3) The Mursal report of Tawus in Sunan Abu Dawud

 

A very important note.   When I said the pieces of evidence about where the hands are placed as the ‘majority practice’  there is a caveat here.

This is the majority position (before the first ruku -bowing).

After the first ruku-bowing leaving the hands at the side (becomes the majority practice) and those putting the hands back on the chest or navel become the minority!!

Now, this is a ‘Salaah Guide’ a guide on doing the prayer according to one of the  Sunni Muslim views.

Now notice that in figure 3 the hands are folded above the navel.   In figure 4 the person is bowing.  However, in figure 4a after coming up from bowing the hands are placed at the sides!

Placing the hands at the side in the prayer after ruku (is the majority practice) among all Muslims worldwide!

HOWEVER…….

As you can observe in the following video there are those Muslims who when they come back up from the ruku they will fold their hands back. In doing this it becomes the (minority practice).

You can see that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYyPSjWAIi8

 

It is a point of dispute among those Muslims who claim to be following ‘The way of the Salaaf‘.   Among the big Salafi Shaykhs who practice this are:

Shaykh Badeeu deen As-Sanadi and Shaykh Bin Baaz whereas Shaykh al-Albaani declared that those who did that are innovators.

 

The proof text that Bin Baaz uses for his position is the very hadith under discussion above!  So this hadith does not tell us if the hand is placed one over the other (where are they to be placed) and if they are to be folded (before or after the ruku)!

 

https://abdurrahman.org/2014/10/08/placing-the-hands-back-on-the-chest-after-the-rukoo-shaykh-al-albaani/

So opposed to the diagram above those people who take the position such as Bin Baaz

they believe the hands go like this before and after the ruku!

 

Now we will be looking at the only three pieces of evidence to support the majority position (all three of them hotly disputed).

 

Before I begin this section I want to say that the proofs and evidence are largely taken from the Sunni Maliki scholar: Mukhtar ibn Muhaydimat ad-Daudi ash-Shinqiti.

 

He wrote a treatise called: “The Legality of Draping the Arms in Salah“.  His works are often used but rarely is the source credited.  May Allah (swt) bless all who have contributed towards learning and truth!

 

1) The Hadeeth of Wa’il Ibn Hujr in Ibn Khuzaimah
2) The Hadeeth of Halb At-Taa’ee in Tirmidhi
3) The Mursal report of Tawus in Sunan Abu Dawud

 

HADITH NO.1 USED THE HADITH OF WA’IL IBN HUJR <

Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr says, ‘I prayed with the Prophet (saw) and he placed his right hand over his left on his chest’. ( Source: Ibn Khuzaimah, 479)

This hadith has been reported by Muammal bin Ismaeel from Sufyan al Thawri from Aasim bin Kulaib from Wail bin Hujr  -However, it is only Muammal who reports these additional words from Sufyan al Thawri.

 

Sufyan’ al Thawri’s other student, Abdullah bin al Waleed who also narrates this hadith from him does not include these words in his narration as recorded in Imam Ahmad’s Musnad. (Source: Ahmad 18392)

 

Ibn al Qayyim al Jawziyyah also says in I’laam al Muwaqqieen, ‘No one has said upon the chest apart from Muammal bin Ismaeel.’ (Source: I’ilaam al Muwaqqieen 2/361)

 

It is an accepted principle of hadith that if a certain authentic and reliable narrator contradicts other equally authentic or more reliable ‘narrators in his wording of a hadeeth then his narration will be declared shaadh and will not be accepted.

 

Study the following observations of the scholars of Jarh and T’adeel about Muammal bin Ismaeel:

Hafiz Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani has made it clear in his Fath al-Bari that there is daif (weakness) in Muammal bin Ismaeel’s narrations from Sufyan (Source: Fath al Bari, 9/297). The above hadith has this very chain of narration.

 

 

WHY IS SUCH A HADITH NOT INCLUDED IN BUKHARI OR MUSLIM?

Imam Bukhari mentions that Muammal ibn Ismaeel is among the munkarul Hadith (denounced in hadith). ( Source: Aathar Us-Sunan Pg. 65, Chapter: Placing the hand on the chest).

(People who view Imam Bukhari as the ultimate authority in matters of hadith should note his following statement: ‘It is not permissible to narrate from anyone whom I have labeled munkar al hadith‘  [Source: Mizan al I’itidal. 1/119]

 

Shaikh ibn al-Hammaam said in ‘at-Tahreer’, ‘when al-Bukhari says about someone, “there is a problem in him” then his hadith are not depended upon or used for support, or given any consideration.’

 

Observe the following list of narrators who have all reported the same hadith from Aasim bin Kulaib but none of then have included the additional words ‘upon the chest’ reported by Muammal bin Ismaeel

 

Sh’ubah, Abdul Wahid, and Zubair bin Muawiyah as in Imam Ahmad’s Musnad. (Source: Ahmad 18398, 18371 & 18397)

Zaidah as in Imam Ahmad’s Musnad, Darimi, Abu Dawood. Nasai and Baihaqi (Source: Ahmad 18391, Darimi 1357, Abu Dawood 726, Nasai 889 and Baihaqi 2325)

Bishr bin al Mufaddhal as in Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood, and Nasai (Source: Ibn Majah 810, Abu Dawood 726 & 957, and Nasai 1265)

Abdullah bin Idrees as in Ibn Majah (Source: Ibn Majah 810)

Salam bin Saleem as in Abu Dawood Tayalisi’s Musnad (Source: Abu Dawood Tayalisi 1020)

 

In Layman’s understanding, it is like this.

A -B-C-D-E-F than G says…
A -B-C-D-E-F
A -B-C-D-E-F
A -B-C-D-E-F

So what happens is we go and double-check what G says.  Which should be a huge eye-opener to anyone reading this.  If the prayer of the Blessed Messenger (saw) was folding the right hand over the left upon the chest it would be a mass transmitted practice. I mean c’mon! This is something as frequent as praying five times a day, every day until He (saw) died!  The very fact that they need to do and double-check these statements should open some eyes!   So after double-checking what G says, we go back and say transmissions from F through other chains and NONE OF THEM say what G is saying.

 

Questions:

So before I would be inclined to accept such a description of the prayer just our hearts and curiosity:

1) Is it possible to have the quote from Sufyan Al Thawri or Aasim bin Kulaib where he said the prophet prayed with his hands upon his chest? I just want to make sure that I am following the Salaaf and not someone’s simple mistake by making an added addition.

2) Why did Imam Bukhari denounce Muhammal ibn Ismaeel and why does he not use him in his narrations?

3) Why did Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani declare Muhammal’s narrations from Sufyan At Thawri as weak?

4) Why accept Wail Ibn Hujr’s narration above on placing hands but not the following narration. Narrated Wa’il ibn Hujr: ‘I saw that the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) placed his knees (on the ground) before placing his hands when he prostrated himself. And when he stood up, he raised his hands before his knees.’?    (Source: Kitab Al-Salat): Details of Commencing Prayer’ of Sunan Abu-Dawud. 0837)

 

HADITH NO.2 USED  THE HADITH OF HALB  At-TAA’EE

The hadith of Halb at-Taa’ee/Hulb Al-Ta’i reported by Imaam Ahmad in his ‘Musnad’/Tirmidhi/Ibn Majah, and Daraqutni,

 

“That Yahya bin Sa’eed narrated to us from Sufyaan At Thawri , from Samaak bin Harb from Qabeesa bin Halb from his father that, ‘I saw the Messenger of Allah (saw) turn from his left to right, and place these on his chest, and Yahya al-Yamanee depicted this by placing the right hand upon the left (on the chest) above the level of the elbows.’

The above hadeeth contains the words ‘upon his chest‘. This extra wording is not firmly established or confirmed, because of all the narrators who report this hadith from Simak, only one reports this extra wording.

Observe the following narrations of the same hadeeth without the extra wording of ‘upon his chest’.

 

Abu al Ahwas reports from Simak bin Harb from Qabeesah bin Hulb from his father that the Prophet (saw) would lead us in prayer and would clasp his left hand with his right.

Shareek reports from Simak from Qabeesah bin Hulb from his father who says (towards the end of a longer hadeeth), ‘I saw him place one of his hands on the other and I also saw him turn once towards his right and once towards his left.’

Wakee reports from Sufyan from Simak bin Harb from Qabeesah bin Hulb from his father who says, ‘I saw the Prophet (saw) place his right hand upon his left in prayer and I also saw him turn away from both his right and left.’

Daruqutni narrates from Abdul Rahman bin Mahdi and Wakee’, from Sufyan from Simak bin Harb from Qabeesah bin Hulb from his father who says, ‘I saw the Prophet (saw) place his right hand upon his left in prayer.’ ( Source: Daruqutni 1087)

 

The above narrations all clearly show that the wording ‘upon his chest is an unreliable addition on the part of one of the reporters and therefore this particular narration is shaadh.

 

 

The weakness of this Hadith.

Weakness #1: Qabisa ibn Hulb has been classified as weak and unknown.

Shawkani said in Nayl Al-Awtar [2/200]: “In the chain of this hadith is Qabisa ibn Hulb. Sammak is the only one to narrate from him. Al-‘Ijli considered him to be reliable. And Ibn Al-Madini and Nasa’i said: “(He is) Unknown.”

Weakness #2: Sammak ibn Harb has been classified as weak.

Dhahabi said about him in Al-Mizan [2/422 &423]: “Sufyan At Thawri, Shu’ba, and others declared him to be weak. And Imam Ahmad said: “He is) Unstable (mudtarib) in hadith.” And Nasa’i said: “He used to be dictated to. And he would learn (from those dictated notes.).”

So there is a weak transmitter who transmits from another who is unknown. So no attention is to be shown to it!

 

As for what Tirmidhi relates from Samaak ibn Harb from Qabeesah ibn Hulb from his father who said: “The Messenger of Allah used to lead us, and take his left with his right.” and declared it to be Hasan (of fair grading), then said, “Action is in accordance with this among the companions of the Prophet (saw) “; There is no doubt that he (Tirmidhi) depending upon the hadith of Hulb in attributing this action, since there is a distance (in time) between him, and between the Sahaabah and Taabioon. Also because he didn’t mention any support for that (placing hands on the chest) other than the Hadith of Hulb.

 

If it (the hadith) had been Sahih (sound), it would have passed as evidence. However, it is one of the narrations of Samaak and Qabeesah. And it has already preceded that Samaak is weak… and Qabeesah is unknown (majhool). And only Samaak narrates on his authority. And Tirmidhi’s choosing of this chain from (all) the different chains going back to the Prophet in this chapter is proof that all chains of transmission fall in the center of ignominy!!!

In Layman’s understanding, it is like this.
A -B-C-D-E-F than G says…
A -B-C-D-E-F
A -B-C-D-E-F
A -B-C-D-E-F

So what happens is we go and double-check what G says.   So after double-checking what G says, we go back and say transmissions from F through other chains and NONE OF THEM say what G is saying.  Not only that but it is known that G is unstable as a transmitter.  Not only this but G is relying upon F and no one seems to know who F is!

 

Questions:

1) Again why isn’t such a Hadith in Bukhari or Muslim?

2) Why did Tirmidhi choose this chain from all the different ones going back to the prophet?

3) Why did Imam Ahmad declare him (Sammak ibn Harb) to be unstable in hadith?

4) Why did Imam Nasa’i declare Qabisa ibn Hulb as unknown?

 

HADITH NO.3 USED THE HADITH OF TAWUS 

And from the hadith these people depend upon is the hadeeth of Tawus

Reported by Abu Dawood in ‘al-Maraaseel’ who said, ‘Abu Tawba narrated to us from al-Haytham (ibn Humaid) from Thawr bin Yazeed from Sulaiman bin Musa from Tawoos who said, ‘The Messenger of Allaah (saw) placed his right hand upon his left and then hold them tight on his chest while in prayer.’’ (Source: Abu Dawood 759)

Weakness #1:

This report is incompletely transmitted since there are undisclosed companion and/ or even-non-Companion intermediaries between these Tabi’in.

So the Hadith of Tawus is Musral, because Tawus is a Taabi’ee . So he could not have seen the Blessed Messenger (saw).

However, the mursal hadith is considered a proof with Imam Abu Hanifa, and the Hanafi’s have their response to this.

Status of Mursal Hadith.  Prima-Qur’an we reject the mursal hadith as evidence.  How did the Sunni Imams deal with mursal hadith?

It is a proof with Imam Malik when it confirms the Amal of Madinah. This does not confirm the Amal of Madinah from a Maliki point of view because the view with Imam Malik is that the hands are laid to the sides.

Unless the report describes the nawaafil or sunnah prayers.

It’s a proof with Imam Ahmad in general, and we all know the best position of Imam Ahmad (r) is the hands are below the navel.

And according to Imam Shaafi’ee the mursal hadith are not acceptable unless there is another chain with a complete isnaad that backs it up.

 

Weakness #2: The first narrator of this tradition is Abu Tawba, whose full name is Ahmed bin Salem. Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani; said of him, “he is famous for tailoring fake traditions.”

(Source: Meizan ul E’tidaal, volume 1, page 100) 

 

Ibn Hajar writes in Taqreeb al-Tehzeeb that, he was unreliable and an extreme liar“. “He used to make changes in the traditions and steal traditions, he could never find a person more of a liar than him.” (Source: Taqreeb al-Tehzeeb, volume 2, page 69.)

 

Weakness #3: The second narrator is Haytham, whose full name is Haytham bin Hameed al-Damishqi; Abu Dawood himself has called Haytham a follower of Qadri religion, Abu Mus-har Ghasani has called him a Qadri and unreliable.

( Source: Al Mizan ul E’tidaal volume 4, page 319, series 9289)

 

Weakness #4:

This hadith is mursal and its isnad contains Sulaiman bin Musa who has been classified as weak by some scholars.

Bukhari claims that he has munkar narrations. (Source: Aathar Us-Sunan Pg. 65, Chapter: Placing the hand on the chest)

Dhahabi said about him in Al-Mizan volume 2, page 225, Nasa’i says that he is a weak narrator of hadith.

Weakness #5:

The third narrator is Thawr bin Yazeed; he too followed Qadri faith.  (Source: Mizan ul E’tidaal, volume 1, page 373)

In Layman’s understanding, it is like this.
A -B-C-D-E-F than G says…
A -B-C-D-E-F
A -B-C-D-E-F
A -B-C-D-E-F

So in this case we have a report from G who has been declared to be an outright liar and someone who is known for making up traditions.  Than G takes from F who apparently has issues with his creed. F takes from E who apparently is classified as weak by some scholars and Bukhari outright claims he has denounced traditions!  E takes from D who again has issues with his creed.  D claims to get information from C who relates information from an undisclosed source.

 

I would say that if a person has a creed (aqidah) whom the hadith scholars are being critical of for me that is not cause for rejection, that is simply sectarian bias.  However, as we know from history taking information from a Tabiee or even a Companion doesn’t make that person innocent of possible treachery.

Questions:

1) Why isn’t such a report in Bukhari, or Muslim?

2) Why is such a description of the prayer such as ‘pressing one hands to the chest tightlyonly a Musral Hadith?

3) Is it possible that since there is a break in this chain (in the sanaad) the Blessed Messenger (saw)  may not have even done it at all?

4)  Since Abu Dawud mentions many ahadith about the positions of the hands in prayer.

He transmitted the following:

with one’s hands below the navel
on the chest
and even hands to the sides

Just like Imam Malik related the hadith about Sahl ibn Sa’d,  in his Muwatta as mentioned above.   Malik related this hadith to show his awareness of this hadith being in circulation.

Similarly, Abdu Dawud has transmitted three hadith that he was aware of in regards to the placement of the hands.

Proof that Imam Malik related the same hadith above:

“Yahya related to me from Malik from  Abu Hazim ibn Dinar that Sahl ibn S’ad said, “People used to be ordered to place their right hands on their left forearms in the prayer.” Abu Hazim added: “I know for sure that Sahl traces that back to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.” (Source: page 59 Al Muwatta of Imam Malik ibn Anas translated by Aisha Abduurrahman Bewley)

Yet, Imam Malik who was the city of Madinah was of the view that the hands are to be placed at the sides during the prayer.

This is the opinion narrated by Ibn al-Qasim in  [al-Mudawanna (1:74) ]

Yet there are some untruths and some huge lies being circulated concerning why Imam Malik prayed with his hands to the side.  One of these lies is being circulated by  Salafi preacher Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips.

 

He was severely beaten in the year 764 CE by the order of the Ameer of Madeenah, because he made a legal ruling that forced divorce was invalid. This ruling opposed the ‘Abbaasid rulers’ practice of adding in the oath of allegiance given to them by the masses the clause that whoever broke the oath was automatically divorced. Malik was tied and beaten until his arms became severely damaged to such a degree that he became unable to clasp them on his chest in Salaah and thus he began the practice of praying with his hands at his sides according to some reports.” ( Source: pg 78. The Evolution of Fiqh Islamic Law & The Madh-habs) By Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips International Islamic Publishing House.)

Some reports” such as? Doesn’t Abu Ammenah Bilal Philips have to give his evidence or are we just suppose to accept what he said?

Can such a claim be verified by and in any of the traditionally relied upon books of Islamic history?  No!  One will be hard-pressed to find any evidence substantiating this argument.

Remember what Allah said:

Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidence, and the guidance, which We have sent down after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by those who curse.” (Qur’an: 2:159)

 

 

So where is the proof? Secondly, how could Imam Malik not have enough strength to clasp his hands on his chest but still be able to do the tabkir-, go into ruku, and go into sajdah and to push his hands up from sujuud since Imam Malik’s view is that the knees go up than the hands after sajdah? What about all the other Tabieen who prayed the way Imam Malik did? Did each and every one of them have their arms broken as well? Also don’t you think Imam Malik would have said as plain as day, “Hey everyone as you know I’m only praying this way because my arm was pulled out of my socket, don’t follow me follow the Blessed Messenger!”

Likewise, where did the Shi’a get the idea to pray with the arms to the side?

Where did the so-called Khawarij get the idea to pray with the arms to the side?

Where did the Ibadi get the idea to pray with the arms to the side?

Are they all following someone who got their arms pulled out of their shoulder joint?   Please!  We need to use some common sense!

 

THE POSITION OF IMAM ABU DAWUD ON WHERE THE HANDS GO DURING THE PRAYER: 

 

 

So what was  Abu Dawud’s position on the matter? Did he pray with hands below the navel, at the sides, just above the navel or pressed tight to the chest?

Inquiring minds want to know!

 

So for example Abu Dawud also narrates the following:

 

Hadith no: 757

Narrated / Authority Of Abu Huraira
(The established way of folding hands is) to hold the hands by the hands in prayer
below the navel.

Hadith no: 755

Narrated / Authority Of Ali ibn Abu Talib
Abu Juhayfah said: Ali said that it is a sunnah to place one hand on the other in prayer
below the navel.

Source: (Chapter 3 Prayer Kitab Al-Salat)

 

So Imam Abu Dawud narrated ahadith about placing the hands below the navel. Does this mean he found this to be the strongest evidence or acted upon it? Why even narrate such a hadith at all?

Similarly, Imam Malik narrated the hadith that people were ordered to place ‘the right over the left’ (unspecified place). Does this mean he found this to be the strongest evidence or acted upon it? Why even narrate such a hadith at all?

*Note*   It should be understood that placing the hands below the navel is the view of the Sunni Hanafi school of jurisprudence. It is also one of many views that are ascribed to Imam Ahmed and the Hanbali school of jurisprudence.   The Hanafi school brings us an anomaly.  This anomaly consists of instructing men to place the hands below the navel but instructing women to place their hands. The placing of the hands-on the chest is considered ‘makrooh’ extremely disliked in the Hanafi school.  In the school it is next to haraam.  One then wonders why one standard for the men and another for the women?

Certainly, this issue has perturbed many in the Hanafi school.

So we quoted the hadith from Abu Dawud about pressing the hands on the chest and two hadith about placing the hands under the navel.  Anyone who studies these hadith knows they are fraught with issues and intra-madhab rivalry and intra-Sunni fighting.

So then what about the hadith about praying with arms on the side (which is not disputed or controversial) and actually IS IN Bukhari is simply brushed aside?

It is related from Abu Hurayra,
“The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, entered the mosque and a man entered and prayed. He greeted the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who returned the greeting and said, ‘Go and back and pray. You have not prayed.’ He went back and prayed as he had prayed before. Then he came and greeted the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who said three times, ‘Go back and pray for you have not prayed.’ He said, ‘By the One who sent you with the truth, I cannot do any better than that, so teach me.’ He said,
‘When you stand for the prayer, say the takbir and then recite something you know well from the Qur’an and then do ruku’ until you are at rest in your ruku’ . Then stand back up until you are completely upright. Then go into sajda until you are at rest in your sajda. Then sit back until you are at rest in the sitting position. Do that throughout all of your prayers.’  (Sources:)

So where is all the Sunni critique of this hadith?  Where is the critique of its chains of transmissions, its matn, its narrators?

Again:

It has been related by Abu Dawud on the authority of `Amr ibn `Ataa al-Qurashi al-`Aamiri who said:

He said: “I heard Abu Humayd as-Sa`adi, who was present among ten of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, among whom was Abu Qatada, say the following. ‘ I am the most learned of you regarding the prayer of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.’ They said to him: ‘How is this? By Allah! You did not follow him more than us nor did you proceed us in companionship to him.’ He replied: ‘Indeed, this is true.’ They then said: ‘Then show us.’ He said: ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace when he stood for the prayer he would raise his hands equal with his shoulders.

يَقِرَّ كُلُّ عَظْمٍ فِي مَوْضِعِهِ مُعْتَدِلًا

He would then make the takbir letting all of his limbs settle in their proper places…

قَالُوا صَدَقْتَ هَكَذَا كَانَ ‏ ‏يُصَلِّي ‏ ‏صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ
They all said: “You have told the truth. Likewise did he, may Allah ta`ala bless him and grant him peace perform his prayer.”

This hadith can be found in the Sunan of Abu Dawud, Ibn Maajah, and others and is sound!

Now my dear brothers and sisters and respected readers after reading all of this we have to do some reflection.

How is that the Ibadi, Kwarij, Shi’a, and even people like Said ibn Al Musayyib who were all opposed to each other historically and would jump at the opportunity to site the other for innovation and infraction can all agree that the method of the prayer of the Blessed Messenger (saw) is to let the hands be at the side?

How is that the ‘Ahl Sunnah Wal Jammah‘  who seem to have more continuity and unity than any of the groups mentioned above, and yet have such conflicting views on where the hands are to be placed in the prayer!

We have in the Hanafi school men placing the hands below the navel and women placing them on the chest.  We have disputes among the Salafi who do not know if they place the hands on the chest after the ruku or not.

In fact, the Salafi have disputes on actually where to place the hands on the chest. The Arabic word yad could refer to any part of the human arm up to and including the shoulder joint.

This is why you see them placing the hands:

Pressed on the chest……

Clasped over the left hand.

On the forearm

On the shoulder

Just below the chin…

After examination and close consideration you will find that (the majority practice)  have as their evidence basically only two ahadith and one mursal hadith.

We can see that our brothers are relying upon lone narrator reports that chalked full of problems.  However, a very clear report about the Blessed Messenger (saw) praying without placing one hand over the other is reported in Abu Dawud, Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Majah, and the only ones seem to be following it are a few Sunni Muslims of the Maliki school.

Now, what is going on here?

May Allah (swt) open the hearts and the eyes of this Ummah!

With Allah (swt) is success!

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Shafi’i Muhaddith (Salah al-Din al-idlibi) questions age of Aisha in Bukhari

“Follow not that whereof you have no knowledge. Lo! the hearing and the sight and the heart – of each of these it will be asked.” (Qur’an 17:36)

A very interesting discussion Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn al-’idlibī, a contemporary Muḥaddīth using matn critique to show that the age of Aisha as reported in Bukhari and understood by the majority does not add up when all evidence and factors are considered.

 

This is all too important because time and time again we hear that anyone who challenges the hadith corpus is some modernist Muslim who has no grounding in his/her faith.  This humble article is one of many that refute these overly simplistic and unfounded allegations. The source for the original article in Arabic is: https://salahsafa.blogspot.com/2013/02/blog-post_27.html?fbclid=IwAR0rRA_ODrbLmqTsJ4-ObzBNbTwWcuw7hjbi_KWnDruTvkKNLsEzt_PuTnw

 

Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn Ibn Aḥmad al-’idlibī was born in 1948 in the Syrian city of Idlib. He is Shāfi‘ī in lineage and got a PhD in Islamic sciences with a specialty in Ḥadīth from the Dār al-Ḥadīth al-Ḥassīniyah in Morocco in 1980. He has taught Ḥadīth sciences at several Arab universities, including the Kulliyah al-Darāssāt al-’islāmiyah wa al-‘Arabiyah in Abu Dhabi and the Kulliyah al-Sharī‘ah in the United Arab Emirates.21 He has a website where his publications and media appearances are posted.

 

He is famous for writing a 22 detailed response 23 to a Salafī critique against the ’Āsh‘arī theological school.24 His first publication (probably a rework of his PhD thesis) is a detailed research that tries to prove that textual (matn) criticism of prophetic Aḥadīth has been part of Islam since its beginnings.25 The Aisha-age-traditions are not discussed in it, but he provides many examples of famous Aḥadīth that are found in the Ṣaḥīḥ collections, which has been criticized by many foundational scholars, including ‘Ā’īsha who was famous for criticizing traditions that spoke in a denigrating manner about women or traditions with anthropomorphic contents.26

 

This book in my eyes shows the key element in al-‘idlibī’s approach to the Ḥadīth corpus whereby traditions are determined firstly by contents, and not just by isnād. Although scholars of Fiqh have always applied textual criticism, over the centuries the authenticity level of the isnād became more and more decisive in accepting a tradition and increased the reluctance to reject it.27 Al-’idlibī on the other hand points out that to declare an isnād authentic (ṣaḥīḥ) it needs to comply to five conditions, while there are numerous reasons for a text (matn) to contain a mistake (’asbāb al-Wahm kathīrah).

 

Only a tradition which is deemed both ṣaḥīḥ in isnād and matn can overcome its probable truth factor (ghalab ‘alā al-Ẓann), but it still isn’t multiple transmitted (lā yatawātar) and thus doesn’t gain the certain truth factor (maquṭū‘a) of a multiple transmitted tradition (al-Mutawātir). When a tradition has 28 an authentic isnād but deviant contents (’isnād ṣaḥīḥ wa matnahu shādh) it is classified as weak and deficient (ḍa‘īf) and can be rejected.29 Al-’idlibī thus clearly presents an ’usūlī methodology in judging and classifying traditions .30, although he never references his methodology to any ’usūlī scholar.

 

Jonathan Brown calls this approach ‘Late Sunni Traditionalism’, which is a revival of the ’Ahl al-Rā’y juristic methodology whereby ”jurists, not hadith scholars, with the ultimate authority in determining the authenticity and implication of a hadith“, making jurists ”responsible for content criticism“.31 Al-’idlibī is clearly influenced by, or follows a similar vision as, the late ’Aẓharī scholar Muḥammad al-Ghazālī (d. 1996 CE) who saw a Ḥadīth only as truly ṣaḥīḥ if it didn’t contain a hidden flaw (‘illā) or contradict more reliable evidence.32 It is this methodology which we will also find in his discussion on the Aisha-age-traditions.

 

Al-’idlibī’s analysis on the age of marriage of ‘Ā’īsha

Although I was acquainted with English works on the age of ‘Ā’īsha, and knew there were already Arabic discussions on this matter from the 1950s 33, I hadn’t come across any work in Arabic until I saw a blog post by professor Mohammed Fadel (University of Toronto) where he recounted his meeting with al-’idlibī and had posted a link to al-’idlibī’s essay.34 While reading I noticed he used many similar sources and arguments as the English works, but because he used classical terminology it didn’t feel apologetic. That he wrote a specific essay on it shows that the age presented in the traditions were probably disconcerting to him, but by applying his methodology and terminology this apologetic element isn’t present.

 

In the essay, he points out that because the Aisha-age-traditions are of ṣaḥīḥ status, there is no avoiding in studying it. If we take his ’usūlī methodology in mind, it means that the ṣaḥīḥ status of the isnād demands that the matn must also be checked for an error (wahm), so that its probability status (ẓann) can be judged.

 

Secondly, he says he came across some articles on this subject by some scholars, and he wanted to write about it to “sharpen some scientific thoughts in the condoning indifference on the positions of weakness”. 

Meaning, he wants to point out to people that they remain too much indifferent to possible weaknesses in historical sources. Thus according to him, his objective is not to simply discredit the Aisha-age traditions because he rejects the possibility of the Prophet marrying an underaged girl, but to use it as an example of how people easily overlook mistakes in generally accepted sources. Just as his book on matn criticism tries to prove the classical practice of it, and thus its authenticity level as an Islamic methodology, this essay tries to show the necessity and usefulness of such criticism.

 

In his analysis he tries to determine ‘Ā’īsha’s age by determining:

 

  1. The age difference and the birth-year of her older sister ’Asmā’
  2. The possibility she experienced and narrated events at a certain age
  3. The words used to describe her
  4. When she converted to Islam
  5. When her father married her mother
  6. The way she was proposed as a possible spouse for the Prophet

 

He does this by using both graded and ungraded narrations, thus collecting as much evidence to prove there is a conflict between the gathered evidence and the original narration under question.

Part of his argument is also based on the idea that it is unreasonable that she was four or younger at certain events (2.) and when she was proposed to the Prophet (6.), which uses assumptions about a child’s capability and the way seventh-century culture discussed possible spouses. It thus not simply an argument based on the clear textual and linguistic comparison, but also involves the idea of what is reasonable. All this taken together is enough proof for al-’idlibī to declare the Aisha-age-traditions as containing an error (wahm), and thus being defective (ma‘lūl).

Translation of al-’idlibī’s essay

 

The transmitted Ḥadīth in the estimated age of the honorable ‘Ā’īsha on the day of marriage contract and marriage

 

In the name of Allah Most Merciful ever Merciful.

Praise to Allah numerous good blessed praising such as loving and pleasing our Lord, and praise to Allah whom by His blessings completes the righteous, the Lord completes through the good, and seals for us through the good, through Your beneficence and grace and honor, O Honored of the honored.

A Ḥadīth is transmitted about the Prophet, salutations of Allah upon him and peace 36, that the marriage-contracted (‘aqada)37 honorable ‘Ā’īsha, Allah’s pleasure upon her 38, and her years were six years and he married her [when she was] nine years. And is this Ḥadīth authentic in transmission chain (isnād) and textual contents (matn)?? [There] is no avoiding from its study.

 

I came across an article about this important subject written by some researcher in weakening (taḍa‘īf) that Ḥadīth regarding transmission chain and textual contents, and I found that one [can get] possible gain (al-Mumkin al-Istifādah) from it in the sharpening.

(al-Taqāṭ) of some scientific thoughts in the condoning (al-Taghāḍī) on the positions of

 

weakness (nuqaṭ al-Ḍu‘f), for the leaving [of this condoning] (al-Khurūj) through constituent result (bi natījah mu’assisah) on evidence (al-’Adilah) and conductive indications (al-Qarā’īn al-Muwaṣṣilah) towards the rational correct expression, by Allah’s authority.

And for necessary clarification (li ḍarūrah tajliyah) of the aspect of the rational correct (wajh al-Ṣawāb) in this important issue from the issues of the noble Prophetic biography and the reported tradition so this research supported through evidence in the history of the birth of honorable ‘Ā’īsha (rA‘), and estimation of her age (miqdār ‘umrahā) at the time the marriage-contract [was placed] upon her from the Messenger of God (ṣA‘ws) and her age at the time of her wedding. And in this [there are] two said issues:

 

The first saying is well known (al-Mashūr): Is that he marriage-contracted her and she was a girl of six years and he married her and she was a girl of nine. They take through what is established on it from her saying in ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and others, which means that she’s born after the Prophetic mission (ba‘ada al-Ba‘thah al-Nabawiyah)39 by four years.

 

The second saying: Is that he marriage-contracted her and she was a girl of fourteen years and he married her and she was a girl of eighteen years, which means that she was born before (qabla) the mission by four years.

 

The evidence of the first saying: 

Al-Bukhārī, Muslim, and others reported from Ṭariq on Hishām bin ‘Arwah on his father on ‘Ā’īsha that the Prophet (ṣA‘ws) married her and she was a girl of six years, and he consummated with her and she was a girl of nine years. And Muslim’s transmission is from Ṭarīq Mu‘ammar on al-Zuhrī on ‘Arwah on ‘Ā’īsha

 

And Ibn Ḥanbal and Muslim’s transmission is from Ṭarīq al-’Aswad bin Yazīd al-Nakha‘ī on ‘Ā’īsha. And the wording “he married her (tazawwajahā)” 40 is intended with the meaning of marriage-contract (al-‘Aqd), and this is the objective (al-Maqṣūd) here.

And the Ḥadīth it’s transmission chain (sanad) is ṣaḥīḥ. And it’s certainly incorrect (’akhṭā’) as an opinion (ẓann) that Hishām bin ‘Arwah is isolated (tafarrada) in its transmission and that it is from his imagination (’awhāmahu).41

 

The evidence of the second saying: 

1 – ‘Ā’īsha is younger than her sister ’Asmā’ (rA‘) with 10 years, and ‘Asmā’ was born before the Hijrah by twenty-seven years, meaning before the Prophet mission by fourteen years, and this means that ‘Ā’īsha was born before the Hijrah by four years.

Ibn ‘Asākir reported in the “Tārīkh Damashqi” through its sanad on ibn ’Abī al-Zanād that he said: ”’Asmā’ the daughter of ’Abū Bakr was older than ‘Ā’īsha by ten years.“42

And ’Abū Na‘īm said in the “Ma‘rifah al-Ṣaḥābah” in the biography (tarjamah) of ’Asmā’:” She was born before the history 43 by twenty-seven years, and she died seventy-three years later in Makkah after her son killed ‘Abd Allah bin al-Zubayr in [those] days, and she was a hundred years.“44 And [that] which confirms this report in the knowing the year of birth of ’Asmā’ is what ’Abū Na‘īm reported such about her that she said: ”I saw Zayd bin ‘Amrū bin Nafīl and supporting himself on the wall of the Ka‘abah, he said: Oh community of Quraysh, none of you today is on the religion of Abraham other than I.“ 45 Zayd had passed away and the Quraysh was building the Ka‘abah before He [God] send down a revelation on the Messenger of God by five years. Such was reported by Ibn Sa‘ad in the “al-Ṭabaqāt” on Sa‘yd bin al-Musayb 46, meaning [this] was before the Hijrah by eighteen years, thus her age was nine years [when] she heard this as that time.

 

And this is logical (ma‘aqūl), because anyone recollecting what was heard from him (yaḍbuṭ mithl hadhā al-Samā‘ minhu) cannot be anything other than predominantly nine (tisa‘a fī al-Ghālib). And ibn al-’Athīr in the “’Asad al-Ghābah”: ’Abū Na‘īm said: ”She was born before history by twenty-seven years.“47 And ibn ‘Abd al-Birr said in “al-istī‘āb”: ”And ’Asmā’ passed away in Makkah in Jumādī al-’Awwalā year seventy-three [after Hijrah], and at her death, she had reached a hundred years.“48

 

2 – Al-Bukhārī reported on ‘Ā’īsha (rA‘) that she said: ”Indeed He sent in Makkah on Muḥammad (ṣA‘ws), while I proceeded to play (li-jāriyah ’ala‘abu), {But surely the Hour is their appointed time, and the Hour is calamitous and bitter} 49, and what was sent down of chapter al-Baqarah and al-Nisā’ except what was already with him.“ 50

 

Al-Qurṭubī says in his commentary (tafsīr): Ibn ‘Abbās said: ”Between the sending down of this verse and between [the battle of] Badr were 7 years“51. And when it is as such, this means that it was sent down before the Hijrah by five years and after the [Prophetic] mission by eight.

And ibn Sayd said in the “al-Muḥkām” and ibn Manẓūr in ” 52 Lisān al-‘Arab”53: ”al-Jāriyah: The youthful from the women (al-Fatiyyah min al-Nisā’).“ And al-Fatiyyah is the juvenile woman (al-Shābbah). And they applied (yuṭaliqūn….‘alā) the word “al-Jāriyah” for the girl in her adolescence (fatā’īhā) and juvenileness (shabābahā) until the appearance of coming and  going [of her menstrual period].54

 

So how much is the age of ‘Ā’īsha with the sending down of the Exalted His saying {But surely the Hour is their appointed time, and the Hour is calamitous and bitter} which was sent down after the [Prophetic] mission by eight years?!

Concerning the first saying her age is four years and a girl of four isn’t called jāriyah as the first saying outlines. As for the second saying, her age is placed with the sending down of the verse estimating (thantī) ten years and thus is harmonious (al-Mansajim) with the meaning of al-Jāriyah.

 

3 – al-Bukhārī transmitted on ‘Ā’īsha (rA‘) that she said: ”I didn’t understand my parents except that they professed the religion [of Islam], and no day would pass except with the visit of the messenger of God (ṣA‘ws) at the morning daylight and night. So when the Muslims were tested [by being persecuted] Abū Bakr went out-migrating towards Ethiopia, and when he reached al-Ghimād early he was met by Ibn al-Daghnah…” [till the end of the] tradition.

The aspect of interference from this narration are two issues:

 

First of the two is that a child cannot know the custom (al-‘Āddah) professed by the majority of the people from its religious conversion and its religiosity (tadayyun) and its condition (aldīhu) by the religion of others at four years, and if ‘Ā’īsha was born four years after the [Prophetic] mission, and her first awareness (‘ayahā) of her surroundings in the 8th year [of the Prophetic mission] then her statement “I didn’t understand my parents except that they professed the religion [of Islam]” is a result without use; because Abū Bakr was known to have been one of the earliest converts to Islam, and [his wife] ’Umm Rūmān became Muslim in Mecca in early times, as Ibn Sa‘ad said.

However if she was born before the mission by four years, and her first awareness of her surroundings in the first year of the mission, that statement is useful. And is that – it explains she begins to become aware of her surroundings – she sees the condition of both of them professing the religion of Islam, and not only one condition.

 

And this proves that she was born before the mission with approximately four years, and this is proven in other evidence.

Second, of the two is that her statement ”So when the Muslims were tested [by being persecuted] Abū Bakr went out-migrating towards Ethiopia“ is a turning point (Ma‘ṭūfā) on her realization of her parents and they two professed the religion is so candid in that when she was was aware to this event (al-Ḥuduth) and the departure of the companions from Mecca for the migration to Ethiopia was in the middle of the fifth year from the mission and their migration second for her in the last of the fifth or beginning of the sixth.

 

And if ‘Ā’īsha was born four years after the mission it was possible for her to be aware of that event in the beginning of the sixth year, and because she was born before the mission with four years, thus this means the possibility of her awareness for that with clarity (bi-wuḍūḥ).

4 – Muḥammad bin ’isḥāq said in the Prophetic biography in mentioning ’Asmā’ as one of the first who became Muslim: ”Then people from the Arab tribes submitted, from them Sa‘īd bin Zayd bin ‘Amr bin Nafīl and his wife Faṭimah bint al-Khaṭāb, and ’Asmā’ bint Abū Bakr, and ‘Ā’īsha bint Abū Bakr and she was young (ṣaghīrah)….then Allah the Exalted commanded His Messenger (ṣA‘ws) that he proclaim (yaṣda‘) with what came with him. And that he announces through His command to mankind, and call towards Allah the Exalted, and maybe he concealed something and hide through it that command with its appearance, so it was broadcasted years after the mission, then God the Exalted said {So proclaim what you have been commanded, and turn away from the idolaters}.55

 

And Ibn Kathīr transmitted some of this text with the meaning as said: ”Ibn ’isḥāq said: Then Allah commanded His Messenger (ṣA‘ws) after three years after the mission through that he proclaimed with what he was commanded, and that he endured on whom are idolaters.“56 And Ibn ’isḥāq’s statement means here that ‘Ā’īsha became Muslim during the time of the secret call [to Islam] (fitrah al-Da‘wah al-Siriyah) after the mission, and that she was young, and if that fitrah time period was 3 years, ‘Ā’īsha may have been brought in to some of the gatherings of the Muslims at the end of the fitrah.

 

And on the statement that she was born after the mission by four years, this cannot be right in principle because she wasn’t born after.

In regards to the second statement, her age would be six years or seven. Perhaps ibn ’isḥāq mentioned her as being amongst the first Muslims in spite of her young years as a respect for her father Abū Bakr (RA‘) and consisted the turning point (Ma‘ṭūfah)57 of her sister ’Asmā’ who was older than her by ten years.

5 – al-Ṭabarī says in his “Tārīkh”: ”Abū Bakr married in the pre-Islamic times (al-Jāhiliyah) Qutīlah ibnah ‘Abd al-‘Uzzā and she fathered for him ‘Abd Allah and ’Asmā’, and he also married in the pre-Islamic times ’Umm Rūmān bint ‘Amir and she fathered for him ‘Abd al-Raḥman and ‘Ā’īsha, so all these four children were born from his two wives whom their [marriage] oaths were taken in the pre-Islamic times.“58 So these historical texts are candidly obvious in that ‘Ā’īsha (rA‘) was born before the Prophetic mission.

 

6 – Ibn Abī ‘Āṣam transmitted in the first and second, and al-Ṭabarānī in the “al-Mu‘jam al-Kabīr” and al-Ḥākim in the “al-Mustadarak” on ‘Ā’īsha (rA‘) that Khawlah bint Ḥākim, the wive of ‘Uthmān bin Muẓa‘ūn (rA‘), said in Mecca to the messenger of God (ṣA‘ws): ”In other words, the messenger of God desists from marrying? He said: And who [do you suggest]? She said: Do you want a young woman (bakrā) or an old woman (thayibā)? He said: So who is the young woman? She said: The daughter of the most beloved of Allah’s creation to you, ‘Ā’īsha bint Abī Bakr. And he said: Who is the older woman? She said: Sawdah bint Zama‘ah. He said: So go and mention me to both of them.“59

 

 

The context (al-Siyāq) proves that Khawlah (rA‘) wanted to speak to the messenger of Allah (ṣA‘ws) after the passing of the honorable Khadijah, because from that moment he had no wife, and in the purpose (Ghāyah) is improbable that she speaks to him in this case about her who is of the age of six years!! However when she is a girl of fourteen years then this is reasonable (ma‘qūl), and seems that this is correct (al-Ṣaḥīḥ).

 

– And there is no doubt that together these proofs and external indications on the statement in that the Prophet (ṣA‘ws) married ‘Ā’īsha and her age being eighteen years is proven by strong proof that this is correct.

 

And in regards to what is established about ‘Ā’īsha from that the messenger of God married her and she was of nine years, and it is unavoidable that this is an error (wahmā). And she (rA‘) lived – [based] on the deciding statement here – seventy-five years. So perhaps she was afflicted (’aṣābahā) by forgetfulness (al-Nisayān) in this matter, thus its narration is erroneous (al- awahhum).60 And the error of the narrated statement (tawahhīm al-Qawl al-Murawī) about ‘Ā’īsha (rA‘) doesn’t escape it, and that from the gathered evidence and indications which presents its conflict (khilāfahi).

 

The summary of the research:

 

Based on the gathering of evidence and indications that the honorable ‘Ā’īsha (rA‘) was born before the mission by four years, and she was marriage-contracted (‘aqada ‘alayhā) by the messenger of Allah (ṣA‘ws) in the tenth year of the mission and her age was fourteen years, before the Hijrah by three years. And married her at the end of the first year after the Hijrah and her age were eighteen years.

 

The mentioned tradition in specifying the age of ‘Ā’īsha by six years on the day of the marriage-contracting and nine years on the day of marriage are authentic in the chain of transmission (ṣaḥīḥ al-’isnād), however, it conflicts with the researched texts and historical indications. Thus it is defective (ma‘lūl) because it is from those that are erroneous (al-’Awhām).

 

The imams (rA) stated that the narration when its contents (matn) conflicts with what is stronger evidence from reliable history, it is thus rejected (yuradd), because it is proven that it is in some way unsound (al-Khalal) through an occurring cause of the error (al-Wahm) in the single narration.

 

And Allah knows best.

And praise is to Allah, Lord of the worlds.

 

References:

19 See a discussion on this in Jonathan A.C. Brown, Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy (London: Oneworld, 2014), 145-148. Early 20th century Orientalist writing caused some discussions on this among higher classes and some intellectuals in Egypt, but it is the post-1990 era when this discussion seemed to have returned in Arabic, in far more Arab countries among the larger population, and by scholars trained in Islamic sciences.

20 See for example a lecture by the well-known preacher Dr. Adnan Ibrahim: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8Nz2LpiYVs (accessed on 26-01-2015).

21 Personal communication from his students at these universities.

22 http://www.salahsafa.blogspot.com

23 Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn al-’idlibī, ‘Aqā’īd al-’Āshā‘irah fī Ḥiwār hādī ma‘ Shubhāt al-Munāwi’īn (Cairo: Dār al-Salām, 2010).

24 Safar ibn ‘Abd Raḥmān al-Ḥawālī, Minhaj al-’Āshā‘irah fī al-‘Aqīdah (Riyadh: Dār al-Taybāt al-Kudharā, n.dt.).

25 Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn al-‘idlibī, Minhaj Naqd al-Matn ‘inda ‘ulamā’ al-Ḥadīth al-Nabuwī (Beirut: Dār al-’Afaq al-Jadīdah, 1983).

26 For example, a famous tradition transmitted by Abū Hurayrah claims that the prayer is nullified when a donkey, dog or woman passes in front of the praying men, ‘Ā’īsha scolded Abū Hurayrah for this. Another famous saying by her is that “anyone claiming Muḥammad saw Allah is lying, as God cannot be seen by human eyes”, whereby she refuted the still dominant belief that Muḥammad’s night journey to heaven was in a bodily form.

27 Wael B. Hallaq, “The Authenticity of Prophetic Ḥadîth: A Pseudo-Problem”, Studia Islamica, No. 89 (1999), 75-90.

28 A Mutawātir is a Ḥadīth or saying (khabar) which is transmitted in every stage of the stages of the sanad by multiple transmitters (general agreed-upon requirement is 10 transmitters), whereby it can be rationally be concluded that these transmitters could not have agreed upon a fabrication (’ikhtilāq). A Mutawātir provides necessary knowledge (al-‘ilm al-Ḍarūriyya). Any ṣaḥīḥ tradition that doesn’t confirm to these criteria, but has an authentic isnād, is of the status of Aḥād (singular transmission) only provides conditional knowledge (al-‘ilm al-Mutawaqqif), which needs further investigation. Maḥmūd al-Ṭaḥḥān,Taysīr Muṣṭalaḥ al-Ḥadīth (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ma‘ārif li-lNushr wa al-Tawzī‘a, 1425 AH), 23-25, 27.

29 al-’idlibī, ibid, 33.

30 For the difference between’usūlī and ’athārī methodology, see Hallaq, ibid, 79-85. For a classical ’usūlī exposition, see Abū Ishāq al-Shāṭibī, al-Muwāfiqāt fī ’usūl al-Sharī‘ah (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘ilmiyyah, n.dt.), 4:3-21.

31 Jonathan A.C. Brown, Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World (Oxford: Oneworld, 2009), 262.

32 Brown, ibid, 263. See the first two chapters in al-Ghazālī’s The Sunna of the Prophet between the People of the Fiqh and the People of the Ḥadīth (al-Sunnah al-Nubuwiyyahbayna ʾAhl al-Fiqh wa ʾAhl al-Ḥadīth) (translated by Aisha Bewley, Istanbul: Dar al-Taqwa,2009).

33 See footnote 19 above. Brown also points out that other known ‘Late Sunni Traditionalist’ scholars as ‘Alī Goma‘a also have written arguments against the Aisha-age-traditions, I hope to compare these in later writing.

34 http://shanfaraa.com/2013/07/salah-al-din-al-idlibi-on-the-age-of-aisha-r-when-shemarried-the-prophet-s/ (accessed on 10-09-2014). I thank prof. Fadel for his kind encouragement to translate and analyze al-’idlibī’s essay. The Arabic essay is added as Appendix I.

35 I have transliterated important words between brackets (), my additions to the text to amplify readability between [], and I stay as close to the Arabic sentence structures as possible by retaining the long sentences as much as possible. al-’idlibī refers to several sources without precise references (he doesn’t use footnotes in this essay), when I could trace the exact citations in the mentioned works I have added them in footnotes. I have added dates of death of the mentioned historians to show the period they were working in (which was mostly centuries after the compilers of Ḥadīth).

36 Translation of ṣalā Allah ‘alayhi wa salam, in the rest of the translation abbreviated as: (ṣA‘ws)

37 The contracting of marriage refers to the agreement between the guardians and/or prospected spouses on the wish to get married and on the amount of dowry. The root-word ‘aqada literally means making a knot (thus the English expression on marriage as “tying the knot” comes very close) and is used for contracts, agreements etc. It can be used to refer to the contracting of the marriage and the existing marriage itself as a form of contract. In classical Sharī‘ah constructs, betrothal (khiṭbah), contracting the marriage (‘aqd), and consummating it are separate acts whereby the first is an unofficial agreement between parties, the second an officializing agreement between parties with a dowry, while the latter is generally when the female is deemed physically ready. [al-Zuḥaylī, ibid, 7:23-26, 43-65. Brown, Misquoting Muhammad, 143]

38 Translation of raḍī Allah ‘anhā, in the rest of the translation abbreviated as: (rA‘)

39 Throughout most of the essay, al-’idlibī uses only al-Ba‘ath, the mission, to refer to the advent of the Prophetic mission. Although I will sometimes add ‘prophetic’ between brackets, I mostly just translate it literally with ‘the mission’, but it is best read as ‘advent to the Prophetic mission’. It is generally accepted that the Prophet received his first revelation in 610 CE, thirteen years before the Hijrah.

40 See footnote 3 above.

41 Here al-’idlibī dismisses the attempts by some apologists to try to find a weakness in the transmission chains of the Aisha-age-traditions to discredit them. See footnote 18 above.

42 Abū al-Qāsim ibn al-‘Asākir (d. 571 AH), Tārīkh Damashqi (Dār al-Fikr al-Ṭabā‘h wa al-Nushr wa al-Tawziya‘, 1995), 69:8. The isnād is not graded, thus its authenticity compared to the Aisha-age-traditions is unknown.

43 The history here means the Hijrah in 623 CE, when the Meccan Muslims migrated to Medina, which soon after was turned into the starting point of the Islamic calendar, and thus, history.

44 Abū Na‘īm al-’Aṣbihānī (d. 430 AH), Ma‘rifah al-Ṣaḥābah (Riyadh: Dār al-Waṭan li-lNushr, 1998), 6:3253. See also ibn al-‘Asākir, ibid, 69:9. Again the isnād is not graded, thus its authenticity compared to the Aisha-age-traditions is unknown.

45 al-Aṣbihānī, ibid, tradition 2843, 3:1134. Ungraded isnād.

46 ibn Sa‘ad (d. 230 AH), al-Ṭabaqāt al-Kubrā (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘ilmiyyah, 1990), 3:291. Ungraded isnād.

47 ‘Azz al-Dīn ibn al-’Athīr (d. 630 AH), ’Asad al-Ghābah fī Ma‘rifah al-Ṣaḥābah (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘ilmiyyah, 1994), tradition 6705, 7:7. Ungraded isnād.

48 ibn ‘Abd al-Birr (d. 463 AH), al-istī‘āb fī Ma‘rifah al-Ṣaḥābah (Beirut: Dār al-Jīl, 1992), tradition 6705, 7:7. Ungraded isnād. See also in al-‘Asākir, ibid, 69:8.

49 Qur’ān 54:46.

50 al-‘Asqalānī, ibid, 7:290. Isnād graded ṣaḥīḥ.

51 Shams al-Dīn al-Qurṭubī, Jāma‘a al-Aḥkām al-Qur’ān (Cairo: Dār al-Kutub al-Miṣriyah, 1964), 17:146. Ungraded isnād. The battle of Badr occurred in 2 AH (624 CE).

52 Bin Sayd al-Mursī, al-Muḥkām wa al-Muḥīṭ al-‘Aẓim (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘ilmiyyah, 2000), 7:625-626 (under the heading al-Shīn wa al-Bā’, the root of al-Jāriyah is jarā).

53 ibn Manẓūr al-’Anṣārī, Lisān al-‘Arab (Beirut: Dār Ṣādr, 1414 AH), 7:81.

54 I interfere that it refers to the coming and going of her menstrual period, although by my knowledge it is unusual to use it for such.

55 Qur’ān 15:94

56 Ibn Kathīr al-Damashqī (d. 774 AH), al-Sīrah al-Nabawiyah (min al-Bidāyah wa al-Nihāyah li-ibn Kathīr) (Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah li-lṬabā‘h wa al-Nushr wa al-Tawzī‘, 1976), 1:454. Ungraded isnād.

57 Meaning here the conversion of ’Asmā’.

58 Ibn Jarīr al-Ṭabarī (d. 310 AH), Tārīkh al-Rusul wa al-Mulūk (Beirut: Dār al-Turāth, 1387

AH), 3:425-426. Ungraded isnād.

59 Abū al-Qāsim al-Ṭabarānī, al-Mu‘jam al-Kabīr (Cairo: Maktabah ibn Taymiyah, 1994),

23:23. Nu‘īm bin al-Ḥākim al-Naysābūrī, al-Mustadarak ‘alā al-Ṣaḥīḥayn (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘ilmiyah, 1999), tradition 2704, 2:181. Isnād graded ṣaḥīḥ.

60 Wahm is a technical indication within the classical Ḥadith sciences: ”When an error (wahm) is discovered through external indications (al-Qarā’īn) and the gathered the paths [of transmission], then it is defective (al-Mu‘allal)“, al-‘Asqalānī, Nukhbah al-Fikr fī Muṣṭalaḥ Ahl al-Athār (Cairo: Dār al-Ḥadīth, 1997), 8.

Dr. Shaykh al-Din al-idilibi (May Allah continue to benefit many by him)

 

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