Archive for the ‘miscellany’ category

Albani’s weakening of Imam Abu Hanifah and Abu Raumaysah blind following

June 25, 2007

 From Sidi Faqir’s post on

In recent times certain pseudo-Salafis have attempted to weaken the status of Imam Abu Hanifah RH as a narrator of Hadith.

Abu Rumaysah [who is known to the users of sunniforum for his blatant mistakes (see the thread on ta’wil of the sahaba, for example)] produced a “defence” of his shaykh al-Albani [may Allah have mercy upon him] against the comments of Hassan Saqqaf. This can be read here: [posted by a certain “Ibn Adam “al-athari“]…/msg00014.html

Alhamdolillah I recently came across a useful article in defense of Imam Abu Hanifah RH by Shaykh Dr. G.F. Haddad and I will post it on the forum for those who may have mistakenly fallen into the trap of the pseudo-Salafiyya .

[The article will be posted in sections [InshaAllah] as it is too large to post together]

The vindication of the Imam from the claim of “Salafis” whereby Abu Hanifa was da’if (weak in Hadith)

Hasan al-Saqqaf wrote in his book about Albani’s attacks on the great scholars entitled Qamus shata’im al-Albani [Dictionary of Albani’s Insults of the Scholars]:

“He [Albani] says of Imam Abu Hanifa: “The imams have declared him weak for his poor memorization” (in his commentary of Ibn Abi `Asim’s Kitab as-Sunna 1:76) although no such position is reported, see for example Ibn Hajar `Asqalani’s biography of Abu Hanifa in “Tahdhib al-tahdhib”.

A blind follower of Albani replied:

The statement that no such position is reported is a lie, it was the position of Muslim (al-Kunaa wal Asmaa), Nasaa’ee (ad-Du’afaa) ibn Adee (al-Kaamil 2/403), ibn Sa’d (Tabaqaat 6/256), al-Uqailee (ad-Du’afaa p.432), ibn Abee Haatim (al-Jarh wat Tadil), Daaruqutnee (as-Sunan p132), al-Haakim (Ma’rifa Ulum al-Hadeeth), Abdul Haqq al-Ishbelee (al-Ahkaam al-Kubraa q.17/2), adh-Dhahabee (ad-Du’afaa q. 215/1-2), Bukharee (at-Taareekh al-Kabeer), ibn Hibbaan (al-Majrooheen)

Our reliance is on Allah. Shaykh Albani has shown enmity towards scholars, of a kind that passes all bounds and is unbefitting of a person with knowledge in Islam. As we mentioned in the first volume, Saqqaf has documented in his book an instance where Albani compares Hanafi fiqh to the Gospel in respect to distance from Qur’an and Sunna, and this would be unacceptable coming from a Christian, how then could it be accepted from a Muslim? Albani and his following have pushed even the gentlest of scholars, the late `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda, to take pen to paper to oppose such aberrations in his book Radd `ala abatil wa iftira’at Nasir al-Albani wa sahibihi sabiqan Zuhayr al-Shawish wa mu’azirihima (Refutation of the falsehood and fabrications of Nasir al-Din Albani and his former friend Zuhayr al-Shawish and their supporters). This book received two editions recently.

The claim by Albani’s supporter whereby “The statement that no such position is reported is a lie” is itself a lie. None of the references he adduces contains a single authentic proof for Albani‘s claim that “the imams have declared him weak for his poor memorization.” For such a claim to be remotely true it would have to be modified to read: “He was graded weak by some scholars but this grading was rejected by the Imams.” The proof for this is that the positions reported against Abu Hanifa in the references given are all weak and rejected, and often inauthentic in the first place, in the end amounting to nothing: therefore, even though there is criticism reported, it comes to nothing and does not constitute any “declaration of weakness by the Imams” as asserted by Albani!

The example given as proof by Saqqaf, namely Ibn Hajar `Asqalani‘s notice on Abu Hanifa in Tahdhib al-tahdhib, confirms that the Imams of hadith never declared Abu Hanifa weak, for Ibn Hajar would have had to report such a weakening if it held true. Rather, he states the reverse, as seen from the translation of Ibn Hajar’s notice excerpted below. This shows that Saqqaf’s statement is correct, since Ibn Hajar undoubtedly represents the opinions of the Imams of hadith criticism and methodology concerning the weakness or poor memorization of any given narrator or scholar. Moreover, Ibn Hajar in Taqrib al-tahdhib (1993 ed. 2:248 #7179) calls Abu Hanifah al-Imam, and al-faqih al-mashhur (the well-known jurisprudent), and Dhahabi includes him among the hadith masters in his Tadhkirat al-huffaz [Memorial of the Hadith Masters]. These titles are not given to anyone who is declared weak in hadith. And Dhahabi before Ibn Hajar, and al-Mizzi before Dhahabi, all concurred that no position purporting Abu Hanifa’s weakness should be retained, as Dhahabi said in Tadhhib al-tahdhib (4:101): “Our shaykh Abu al-Hajjaj [al-Mizzi] did well when he did not cite anything [in Tahdhib al-kamal] whereby he [Abu Hanifa] should be deemed weak as a narrator.”

The remainder of the “Salafi”‘s references are therefore irrelevant and over-ruled, especially in view of Ibn `Abd al-Barr‘s statement that “Those who narrated from Abu Hanifa, who declared him trustworthy (waththaquhu), and who praised him, outnumber those who criticized him” as related by Ibn Hajar al-Haytami in his book al-Khayrat al-hisan fi manaqib Abi Hanifa al-Nu`man (p. 74).

Nevertheless we shall examine the sources that he brings up to show the extent to which these sources all suffer from various problems, as it is the wont of “Salafis” seen time and again to adduce false or weak evidence to promote their opinion.

Hafiz Ibn Hajar’s Notice of Abu Hanifa in Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib

From Tahdhib al-tahdhib, 1st ed. (Hyderabad: Da’irat al-ma`arif al-nizamiyya, 1327) Vol. 10 p. 449-452 #817 (10:45f. of the later edition)

Al-Nu`man ibn Thabit al-Taymi, Abu Hanifa, al-Kufi, mawla Bani Taym Allah ibn Tha`laba.

It is said that he was Persian.

He saw Anas.

He narrated hadith from `Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah, `Asim ibn Abi al-Nujud, `Alqama ibn Marthad, Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman, al-Hakam ibn `Utayba, Salama ibn Kuhayl, Abu Ja`far Muhammad ibn `Ali, `Ali ibn al-Aqmar, Ziyad ibn `Alaqa, Sa`id ibn Masruq al-Thawri, `Adi ibn Thabit al-Ansari, `Atiyya ibn Sa`id al-`Awfi, Abu Sufyan al-Sa`di, `Abd al-Karim Abu Umayya, Yahya ibn Sa`id al-Ansari, and Hisham Ibn `Urwa among others.

From him narrated:

his son Hammad, Ibrahim ibn Tahman, Hamza ibn Habib al-Zayyat, Zafr ibn al-Hadhil, Abu Yusuf al-Qadi, Abu Yahya al-Hamani, `Isa ibn Yunus, Waki` (ibn al-Jarrah al-Kufi),* Yazid ibn Zuray`, Asad ibn `Amr, al-Bajali, Hakkam ibn Ya`la ibn Salm al-Razi, Kharija ibn Mus`ab, `Abd al-Majid ibn Abi Rawad, `Ali ibn Mus-hir, Muhammad ibn Bishr al-`Abdi, `Abd al-Razzaq [one of Bukhari’s shaykhs], Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani, Mus`ib ibn al-Miqdam, Yahya ibn Yaman, Abu `Usma Nuh ibn Abi Maryam, Abu `Abd al-Rahman al-Muqri, Abu Nu`aym, Abu `Asim, and others

[such as `Abd Allah Ibn al-Mubarak and Dawud al-Ta’i: see al-Mizzi’s Tahdhib al-kamal 12 and al-Dhahabi in Manaqib Abi Hanifa (p. 20). al-Mizzi’s list is about one hundred strong.]…

[* Dhahabi relates in his Tadhkirat al-huffaz (1:306) in the biography of Waki` that Yahya ibn Ma`in said: “I have not seen better than Waki`, he spends the night praying, fasts without interruption, and gives fatwa according to what Abu Hanifa said, and Yahya al-Qattan also used to give fatwa according to what Abu Hanifa said.” al-Hafiz al-Qurashi in his al-Jawahir al-mudiyya fi manaqib al-hanafiyya (2:208-209) said: “Waki` took the Science from Abu Hanifa and received a great deal from him.”]

Remarks on Abu Hanifa’s national origins and his father’s profession.

Muhammad ibn Sa`d al-`Awfi
said: I heard Ibn Ma`in say: “Abu Hanifa was trustworthy (thiqa), and he did not narrate any hadith except what he had memorized, nor did he narrate what he had not memorized.”

Salih ibn Muhammad al-Asadi said on the authority of Ibn Ma`in: “Abu Hanifa was trustworthy (thiqa) in hadith.”

[a) Ibn `Abd al-Barr relates in al-Intiqa’ (p. 127): `Abd Allah ibn Ahmad al-Dawraqi said: Ibn Ma`in was asked about Abu Hanifa as I was listening, so he said: “He is trustworthy (thiqatun), I never heard that anyone had weakened him: No less than Shu`ba wrote to him (for narrations), and ordered him to narrate hadith.” Ibn Hajar said in Kharija ibn al-Salt’s notice in Tahdhib al-tahdhib (3:75-76): “Ibn Abi Khaythama said: If al-Shu`bi narrates from someone and names him, that man is trustworthy (thiqa) and his narration is used as proof (yuhtajju bi hadithihi).”

b) al-Haytami in al-Khayrat al-hisan (p. 74) and al-Qurashi in al-Jawahir al-mudiyya (1:29) relate that Imam `Ali ibn al-Madini said: “From Abu Hanifa narrated: al-Thawri, Ibn al-Mubarak, Hammad ibn Zayd, Hisham, Waki` (ibn al-Jarrah al-Kufi), `Abbad ibn al-`Awwam, and Ja`far ibn `Awn. He [Abu Hanifa] is trustworthy (thiqatun) and reliable (la ba’sa bihi = there is no harm in him). Shu`ba thought well of him.” Ibn Ma`in said: “Our colleagues are exaggerating concerning Abu Hanifa and his colleagues.” He was asked: “Does he lie?” Ibn Ma`in replied: “No! he is nobler than that.”

c) Dhahabi in Tadhkirat al-huffaz (1:168) cites Ibn Ma`in’s statement about Abu Hanifa: la ba’sa bihi (= there is no harm in him, i.e. he is reliable). Ibn Salah in his Muqaddima (p. 134) and Dhahabi in Lisan al-mizan (1:13) have shown that this expression by Ibn Ma`in is the same as declaring someone as thiqa or trustworthy: “Ibn Abi Khaythama said: I said to Ibn Ma`in: You say: “There is no harm in so-and-so” and “so-and-so is weak (da`if)?” He replied: “If I say of someone that there is no harm in him: he is trustworthy (fa thiqatun), and if I say da`if: he is not trustworthy, do not write his hadith.”” Abu Ghudda in his commentary to Lucknawi’s Raf` (p. 222 n. 3) has indicated that the equivalency of saying “There is no harm in him” with the grade of trustworthy (thiqa) is also the case for other early authorities of the third century such as Ibn al-Madini, Imam Ahmad, Duhaym, Abu Zur`a, Abu Hatim al-Razi, Ya`qub ibn Sufyan al-Fasawi, and others. Note that like Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi`i is declared trustworthy by the early authorities with the expression la ba’sa bihi in Dhahabi’s Tadhkirat al-huffaz (1:362).]

Abu Wahb Muhammad ibn Muzahim
said: I heard Ibn al-Mubarak say: “The most knowledgeable of people in fiqh (afqah al-nas) is Abu Hanifa. I have never seen anyone like him in fiqh.” Ibn al-Mubarak also said: “If Allah had not rescued me with Abu Hanifa and Sufyan [al-Thawri] I would have been like the rest of the common people.” [Dhahabi in Manaqib Abu Hanifa (p. 30) relates it as: “I would have been an innovator.”]

Ibn Abi Khaythama
said from Sulayman ibn Abu Shaykh: “Abu Hanifa was extremely scrupulous (wari`) and generous (sakhi).”

Ibn `Isa ibn al-Tabba`
said: I heard Rawh ibn `Ubada say: “I was with Ibn Jurayj in the year 150 when the news of Abu Hanifa’s death reached him. He winced and pain seized him; he said: “Verily, knowledge has departed (ay `ilmun dhahab).” Ibn Jurayj died that same year.”

Abu Nu`aym said: “Abu Hanifa dived for the meanings of matters so that he reached the uttermost of them.”

Ahmad ibn `Ali ibn Sa`id al-Qadi
said: I heard Yahya ibn Ma`in say: I heard Yahya ibn Sa`id al-Qattan [Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s greatest shaykh] say: “This is no lie on our part, by Allah! We have not heard better than Abu Hanifa’s opinion, and we have followed most of his sayings.” [This is also related by Dhahabi in Manaqib Abi Hanifa (p. 32).]

[About Yahya al-Qattan, Imam Nawawi relates on the authority of Ishaq al-Shahidi:

I would see Yahya al-Qattan — may Allah the Exalted have mercy on him — pray the midafternoon prayer, then sit with his back against the base of the minaret of his mosque. Then `Ali ibn al-Madini, al-Shadhakuni, `Amr ibn `Ali, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Yahya ibn Ma`in, and others would stand before him and ask him questions about hadith standing on their feet until it was time for the sunset prayer. He would not say to a single one of them: “Sit” nor would they sit, out of awe and reverence.

Related in Nawawi’s al-Tarkhis fi al-ikram bi al-qiyam li dhawi al-fadl wa al-maziyya min ahl al-islam `ala jihat al-birr wa al-tawqir wa al-ihtiram la `ala jihat al-riya’ wa al-i`zam (The Permissibility of Honoring, By Standing Up, Those Who Possess Excellence and Distinction Among the People of Islam: In the Spirit of Piousness, Reverence, and Respect, Not in the Spirit of Display and Aggrandizement) ed. Kilani Muhammad Khalifa (Beirut: Dar al-Basha’ir al-islamiyya, 1409/1988) p. 58.]

al-Rabi` and Harmala
said: We heard al-Shafi`i say: “People are children before Abu Hanifa in fiqh.”

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Yusuf that he said: “As I was walking with Abu Hanifa we heard a man saying to another: This is Abu Hanifa, he does not sleep at night. Abu Hanifa said: He does not say something about me which I do not actually do. He would — after this — spend the greatest part of the night awake.”

Isma`il ibn Hammad ibn Abi Hanifa
said that his father (Hammad) said: When my father died we asked al-Hasan ibn `Amara to undertake his ritual washing. After he did he said: “May Allah have mercy on you and forgive you (O Abu Hanifa)! You did not eat except at night for thirty years, and your right side did not lay down at night for forty years. You have exhausted whoever comes after you (who tries to catch up with you). You have outshone all the readers of the Islamic sciences.”

`Ali ibn Ma`bad said on the authority of `Ubayd Allah ibn `Amr al-Raqi: Ibn Hubayra told Abu Hanifa to undertake the judgeship of Kufa and he refused, so he had him lashed 110 times, but still he refused. When he saw this he let him go.

Ibn Abi Dawud said on the authority of Nasr ibn `Ali: I heard Ibn Dawud — al-Khuraybi — say: “Among the people concerning Abu Hanifa there are plenty of enviers and ignorant ones.”…

Ahmad ibn `Abda the Qadi of Ray said that his father said: We were with ibn `A’isha when he mentioned a saying of Abu Hanifa then he said: “Verily, if you had seen him you would have wanted him. Verily, his similitude and yours is as in the saying:

Censure them little or much: I will never heed your blame. Try only to fill, if you can, the space that they filled.

al-Saghani said on the authority of Ibn Ma`in: “I heard `Ubayd ibn Abi Qurra say: I heard Yahya ibn al-Daris say: I saw Sufyan [al-Thawri] being asked by a man: “What do you have against Abu Hanifa?” He said: “What is wrong with Abu Hanifa? I heard him say: I take from Allah’s Book and if I don’t find what I am looking for, I take from the Sunna of Allah’s Messenger, and if I don’t find, then from any of the sayings that I like from the Companions, nor do I prefer someone else’s saying over theirs, until the matter ends with Ibrahim (al-Nakh`i), al-Shu`bi, Ibn Sirin, and `Ata’: these are a folk who exerted their reasoning (ijtihad) and I exert mine as they did theirs.” [i.e. Sufyan criticized Abu Hanifa, a junior Tabi`i, for placing his own opinion at the same level as that of the senior Tabi`in.] …

[Mentions of Abu Hanifa’s date of death and of the fact that Tirmidhi and Nisa’i narrated hadith from him.]

End of Ibn Hajar’s words.

I. The “Salafi’s” claim that the grading of Abu Hanifa as weak for his poor memorization” was the position of … Daaruqutnee (as-Sunan p132).”


Daraqutni did declare Abu Hanifa weak in his Sunan (1:132), without including him in his Kitab al-du`afa’. However, his opinion of Abu Hanifa carries no weight since he is known to have fallen into extremism in his opinion on Abu Hanifa, and because of this, this particular judgment of his is rejected as required by the rules of narrator-criticism. The hadith master al-Badr al-`Ayni, author of `Umdat al-qari, a massive commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari, said in his commentary of al-Marghinani entitled al-Binaya sharh al-hidaya (1:709):

From where does he [Daraqutni] take the right to declare Abu Hanifa weak when he himself deserves to be declared weak! For he has narrated in his Musnad [i.e. his Sunan] narrations that are infirm, defective, denounced, strange, and forged.

This is a serious charge made against Daraqutni as a narrator, and many authorities have stated the same concerning him. Another hadith master, al-Zayla`i, said in Nasb al-raya (1:356, 1:360): “al-Daraqutni’s Sunan is the compendium of defective narrations and the wellspring of strange narrations… It is filled with narrations that are weak, anomalous, defective, and how many of them are not found in other books!” While Muhammad ibn Ja`far al-Kattani said in al-Risala al-mustatrafa (p. 31): “Daraqutni in his Sunan… has multiplied the narrations of reports that are weak and denounced, and indeed forged.”

Ibn `Abd al-Hadi al-Hanbali wrote a large volume still unpublished on merits of Abu Hanifa entitled Tanwir al-sahifa bi manaqib al-imam Abi Hanifa in which he said: “Among those who show fanaticism against Abu Hanifa is al-Daraqutni.” It is quoted in Ibn `Abidin’s Hashiyat radd al-muhtar (1:37). `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah in his commentary of Abu al-Hasanat al-Lucknawi’s al-Raf` wa al-ta`dil (p. 70 n.1) also said: “al-Daraqutni’s fanaticism against Abu Hanifa is well-known” and he gives several sources listing the scholars who held the same opinion.

One of the reasons for Daraqutni’s attitude is his extreme bias in favor of the school of Imam Shafi`i. This is shown in Muhammad `Abd al-Rashid al-Nu`mani’s commentary on the book Dhabb dhubabat al-dirasat `an al-madhahib al-arba`a al-mutanasibat (2:284-297) by the Indian scholar `Abd al-Latif al-Sindi. al-Lucknawi also referred to this question in his book al-Ajwiba al-fadila `ala li al-as’ila al-`ashra al-kamila (p. 78):

It is related that when Daraqutni went to Egypt some of its people asked him to compile something on the pronounciation of the Basmala, whereupon he compiled a volume. A Maliki came to him and summoned him to declare on oath which were the sound narrations of this book. Daraqutni said: “Everything that was narrated from the Prophet concerning the loud pronounciation of the Basmala is unsound, and as for what is related from the Companions, some of it is sound and some of it weak.”


II. The “Salafi’s” claim that the grading of Abu Hanifa as weak for his poor memorization “was the position of… ibn Adee (al-Kaamil 2/403).”


Ibn `Adi shows enmity to Abu Hanifa as he reports nothing but criticism, and he relies on weak or inauthentic reports from his [Ibn `Adis’] shaykh, some of them being the strangest ever related about Abu Hanifa (Dar al-Fikr 1985 ed. 7:2472-2479). His narrations are all problematic and none of them is reliable or sound. Imam Kawthari said in the introduction to Nasb al-raya (p. 57) and in his Fiqh ahl al-`Iraq (p. 83): “Among the defects of Ibn `Adi’s Kamil is his relentless criticism of Abu Hanifa — three hundred narrations! — with reports that are all from the narration of Abba’ ibn Ja`far al-Najirami, one of Ibn `Adi’s shaykhs, and the latter tries to stick what al-Najirami has directly to Abu Hanifa, and this is injustice and enmity, as is the rest of his criticism. The way to expose such cases is through the chain of transmission.”

The late Shaykh `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda, Kawthari’s student, said in his annotation of Lucknawi’s Raf` wa al-takmil (p. 341) that Kawthari examined Ibn `Adi’s excesses against Abu Hanifa in three works of his: Ta’nib al-khatib `ala ma saqahu fi tarjimat abi hanifa min al-akadhib (p. 169), al-Imta` bi sirat al-imamayn al-Hasan ibn Ziyad wa sahibihi Muhammad ibn Shuja` (p. 59, 66, 69), and the unpublished monograph Ibda’ wujuh al-ta`addi fi kamil ibn `Adi.

Following are some examples of the strangeness of Ibn `Adi’s reports:

– Ibn `Adi relation of Sufyan al-Thawri’s alleged statement that “he [Abu Hanifa] is neither trustworthy nor trusted” (al-Kamil 7:2472). However, it is established that Sufyan narrated hadith from Abu Hanifa, and so he would be contradicting himself if he said that Abu Hanifa cannot be trusted, since he himself trusted him! `Ali ibn al-Madini said: “From Abu Hanifa narrated: al-Thawri, Ibn al-Mubarak, Hammad ibn Zayd, Hisham, Waki`, `Abbad ibn al-`Awwam, and Ja`far ibn `Awn.” Narrated by al-Haytami in al-Khayrat al-hisan (p. 74) and al-Qurashi in al-Jawahir al-mudiyya (1:29). Furthermore Sufyan praised Abu Hanifa in explicit terms when he said: “We were with Abu Hanifa like small birds in front of the falcon,” and when Abu Hanifa visited Sufyan after the death of the latter’s brother he stood up, went to greet him, embraced him, and bade him sit in his place, saying to those who questioned this act: “This man holds a high rank in knowledge, and if I did not stand up for his science I would stand up for his age, and if not for his age then for his godwariness (wara`), and if not for his godwariness then for his jurisprudence (jiqh).” Both reports are narrated by Suyuti in Tabyid al-sahifa (p. 32) and al-Tahanawi in his book Inja’ al-watan (1:19-22).

Sufyan’s supposed criticism is qualified by what Ibn `Adi himself narrates further below in his section on Abu Hanifa, namely, the statement of `Abd al-Samad ibn Hassan: “There was something between Sufyan al-Thawri and Abu Hanifa, and Abu Hanifa was the one who restrained his own tongue more.”

If there was any disagreement between Sufyan and Abu Hanifa, the nature of their disagreement was not so fundamental as to impel Sufyan to hold such an exaggerated view as that related by Ibn `Adi, but only pertained to an issue of manners or competition. This can be gathered from Ibn Hajar’s relation in Tahdhib al-tahdhib (10:451) of Sufyan’s disapproval of Abu Hanifa’s words about the senior Tabi`is: “These are a folk who exerted their reasoning (ijtihad) and I exert mine as they did theirs,” whereby he placed himself, a junior Tabi`i, at the same level of ijtihad as the senior Tabi`is such as al-Nakh`i, al-Shu`bi, Ibn Sirin, and `Ata’.

The competition between Sufyan and Abu Hanifa was fostered by Sufyan’s entourage, as shown by the wording of Ibn `Adi’s reports in the following cases:

÷ the dream of an unnamed man who saw the Prophet telling him to take Sufyan’s opinion rather than Abu Hanifa’s (al-Kamil 7:2473). Furthermore, this report contains Ahmad ibn Hafs who is munkar al-hadith — a narrator whose narrations are rejected — according to Ibn al-Jawzi in al-Mawdu`at (2:168, 3:94; see also Tabsir al-mutanabbih 2:733, and al-Mushtabah p. 98, 359); it also contains an unnamed narrator — the man who had the dream — and one whose reliability is not known (majhul), Abu Ghadir al-Filastini.

÷ the contrived style of the narration of Sufyan al-Thawri’s story that “he [Abu Hanifa] is neither trustworthy nor trusted”: Mu’ammal said: I was with Sufyan al-Thawri in his room when a man came and asked him about something and he answered him, then the man said: But Abu Hanifa said such and such, whereupon Sufyan took his sandals and flung them exclaiming: he is neither trustworthy nor trusted!! Furthermore, the narrator of this report from Sufyan, Mu’ammal ibn Isma`il, was declared by Ibn Hibban, al-Sajir, and Ibn Qani` as making mistakes in his narrations, and al-Saji said: “He is not a liar but he makes many mistakes, and he sometimes imagines things” (saduq kathir al-khata’ wa lahu awham).

All the above evidence are some of the reasons why any criticism of Abu Hanifa attributed to Sufyan al-Thawri is rejected out of hand and Ibn `Adi’s reliance on such criticism is not taken into account. al-Taj al-Subki said in Qawa`id fi `ulum al-hadith (p. 195) as well as his Qa`ida fi al-jarh wa al-ta`dil (p. 53-55): “No attention whatsoever is given to al-Thawri’s criticism of Abu Hanifa or that of other than al-Thawri against him.” The same statement is found in Haytami’s al-Khayrat al-hisan (p. 74) and is echoed by `Abd al-Hayy al-Lucknawi’s warning in his al-Raf` wa al-takmil (p. 425): “Beware, beware of paying any attention to what supposedly took place (of enmity) between Abu Hanifa and Sufyan al-Thawri!”

– The story of Imam Malik’s words related by Ibn `Adi (al-Kamil 7:2473): “The consuming ailment is destruction in Religion, and Abu Hanifa is part of the consuming ailment” and “Is Abu Hanifa in your country? Then one ought not to live in your country.” These are extreme statements attributed to Imam Malik by those of his companions who were of the so-called Ahl al-hadith, as for the fuqaha’ among them they reported no such statements from him. This is elaborated by the Maliki authority Ibn `Abd al-Barr in his notice on Abu Hanifa in al-Intiqa’ in which he invalidates the evidence of Malikis against him.

It is remarkable that Ibn `Adi narrates the story of Malik’s statement “The consuming ailment” from Ibn Abi Dawud, while it is established that Ibn Adi Dawud’s own father, Abu Dawud, said: rahimallah malikan kana imaman. rahimallah al-shafi`i kana imama. rahimallah aba hanifa kana imaman and the last part means: “May Allah have mercy on Abu Hanifa, he was an Imam.” It is narrated by Dhahabi in his Tarikh al-Islam (6:136) and, as noted by Muhammad Qasim `Abduh al-Harithi in his book Makanat al-Imam Abi Hanifa bayn al-muhaddithin (p. 201), the strength of Abu Dawud’s remark resides in the nature of his own specialty which is hadith, in function of which he recognized Abu Hanifa’s leadership among Muslims.

Ironically, Ibn Abi Dawud himself said on the authority of Nasr ibn `Ali: I heard Ibn Dawud — al-Khuraybi — say: “Among the people concerning Abu Hanifa there are plenty of enviers and ignorant ones.” Ibn Hajar relates it in his Tahdhib as we mentioned above, while Dhahabi relates it through Bishr al-Hafi in Tarikh al-Islam (6:142) and Manaqib Abi Hanifa (p. 32) with the wording: ma yaqa`u fi abi hanifa illa hasid aw jahil “None whatsoever inveighs against Abu Hanifa except an envier or an ignoramus.”

– Ibn `Adi alleged report of Yahyan ibn Ma`in’s weakening of Abu Hanifa from Ibn Abi Maryam’s saying: I asked Yahya ibn Ma`in about Abu Hanifa and he said: “One must not write his narrations.” (2473) This is assuredly a false ascription to Ibn Ma`in since it is firmly established that Ibn Ma`in considered Abu Hanifa as of reliable and trustworthy narrations:

a) Ibn Hajar in Tahdhib al-tahdhib (10:450) relates from both Muhammad ibn Sa`d al-`Awfi and Salih ibn Muhammad al-Asadi that Ibn Ma`in said: “Abu Hanifa is trustworthy (thiqa) in hadith”; and he relates from Ibn Ma`in’s own shaykh, Ibn al-Qattan, that he relied greatly on Abu Hanifa: Ahmad ibn `Ali ibn Sa`id al-Qadi said: I heard Yahya ibn Ma`in say: I heard Yahya ibn Sa`id al-Qattan say: “This is no lie on our part, by Allah! We have not heard better than Abu Hanifa’s opinion, and we have followed most of his sayings.” This is also related by Dhahabi in Manaqib Abi Hanifa (p. 32).

b) Dhahabi relates in his Tadhkirat al-huffaz (1:306) in the biography of Waki` that Yahya ibn Ma`in said: “I have not seen better than Waki`, he spends the night praying, fasts without interruption, and gives fatwa according to what Abu Hanifa said, and Yahya al-Qattan also used to give fatwa according to what Abu Hanifa said.”

c) Ibn `Abd al-Barr relates in al-Intiqa’ (p. 127): `Abd Allah ibn Ahmad al-Dawraqi said: Ibn Ma`in was asked about Abu Hanifa as I was listening, so he said: “He is trustworthy (thiqatun), I never heard that anyone had weakened him, and Shu`ba ibn al-Hajjaj wrote to him and told him to narrate hadith. He ordered him to do so, and Shu`ba is Shu`ba!”

– Ibn `Adi groundless conclusion: “Most of what he [Abu Hanifa] narrates is wrong.” (7:2479) This is applicable to Ibn `Adi himself. As for Abu Hanifa it is just as Shu`ba and Ibn Ma`in said, respectively: “He was, by Allah! good in his memorization” (Ibn `Abd al-Barr, al-Intiqa’ p. 127), and “Indeed he was more than trustworthy (na`am thiqa thiqa)” (al-Khatib, Tarikh Baghdad 13:449).

III. The “Salafi’s” claim that the grading of Abu Hanifa as weak for his poor memorization “was the position of Muslim (al-Kunaa wal Asmaa) [and] Nasaa’ee (ad-Du’afaa).”


It is correct that Nasa’i included Abu Hanifa in his book al-Du`afa’ wa al-matrukin (p. 233 #614) where he said: Nu`man ibn Thabit Abu Hanifa, laysa bi al-qawi fi al-hadith, kufi “He is not strong in hadith.” Apart from Nasa’i’s passing bounds in including such as Abu Hanifa in his book, and apart from the truth or merit of the remark “he is not strong,” nevertheless such a remark does not constitute tad`if as if he had said: “He is weak.” It only means that Nasa’i found something objectionable in him to deny him the rank of strength, not that he considered him weak as a narrator since one does not have to be strong in hadith in order to be a reliable narrator. Therefore it cannot be claimed that “the grading of Abu Hanifa as weak was the position of Nasa’i in his Sunan” for such was not his position. If one insists that it was, then Nasa’i would be contradicting it himself since in his Sunan he did narrate hadith from Abu Hanifa, as stated in the latter’s entries in al-Mizzi’ Tahdhib (10:449), Dhahabi’s Tadhkirat al-huffaz and his al-Kashshasf fi ma`rifati man lahu riwayatun fi al-kutub al-sitta (p. 322 #5845), Ibn Hajar’s Taqrib (2:248 #7179), and al-Khazraji’s Khulasat tadhhib tahdhib al-kamal (3:95 #7526)!

Equally false is the claim that Imam Muslim declared Abu Hanifa weak since all he said in his book al-Kuna wa al-asma’ (1:276 #963) is: sahib al-ra’y mudtarib al-hadith laysa lahu kabir hadith sahih. “The scholar of the “school of opinion,” his narrations are not firm in their wording and he has not many sound ones.” He did not say that he was weak.

Furthermore, generally spealing Muslim’s judgment is tainted by the difference in methodology between him and Abu Hanifa. This is evident in the tone he uses since he calls Abu Hanifa sahib al-ra’i, a loaded term of criticism by which the Hanafis are labeled by those who disagree with them. For this reason, neither Nasa’i’s inclusion of Abu Hanifa in his book of weak narrators nor his and Muslim’s remarks about Abu Hanifa are acceptable as a legitimate jarh or criticism of the Imam. The reason is that one of the fundamental rules of narrator-criticism is that if the critic is kown to differ with the narrator in matters of doctrine and methodology — and it is widely known that the so-called “school of hadith” differed with the so-called “school of opinion” (ra’y) — then the critic must state the reason for his jarh, and both Nasa’i and Muslim omitted to state any reason for theirs. Therefore their jarh is not retained until it is explained and can thus meet the criteria of the discipline.

Finally, it is a rule of jarh wa al-ta`dil that if the unexplained jarh (narrator-criticism) contradicts the explained ta`dil (narrator-authentication) by an authority of authentication who is fully aware of the jarh, then the explained ta`dil takes precedence over it without hesitation, as is the case with Nasa’i’s and Muslim’s jarh of Abu Hanifa not being retained after them by Abu Dawud and others, nor by later authorities such as al-Mizzi, Dhahabi, Ibn Hajar, al-Khazraji, al-Suyuti, and others.

IV. The “Salafi’s” claim that the grading of Abu Hanifa as weak for his poor memorization “was the position of… Bukharee (at-Taareekh al-Kabeer).”


Bukhari’s negative opinion of Abu Hanifa in his Sahih and his Tarikh is a rejected type of jarh and considered unreliable, since it is known that he had fundamental differences with Abu Hanifa on questions of principles, fiqh, and methodology, and his entire Sahih is in many parts an unspoken attempt to refute Abu Hanifa and his school. The Indian scholar Zafar al-Tahanawi showed Bukhari’s fanaticism against Abu Hanifa in the book edited by his student `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda under the title Qawa`id fi `ulum al-hadith (p. 380-384), and other scholars have highlighted this aspect of disagreement between them. Among them is the Hanafi faqih and hadith master al-Zayla`i, who said in Nasb al-raya (1:355-356):

No student of the Science adorned himself with a better garment than fairness and the relinquishment of fanaticism…. Bukhari is very much pursuing an agenda in what he cites from the Sunna against Abu Hanifa, for he will mention a hadith and then insinuate something about him, as follows: “Allah’s Messenger said: such and such, and some people said: such and such.” By “some people” he means Abu Hanifa, so he casts him in the ugliest light possible, as someone who dissents from the hadith of the Prophet!

Bukhari also says in the beginning of his book (Sahih): “Chapter whereby Salat is part of Belief,” then he proceeds with the narrations of that chapter, and his purpose in that is to refute Abu Hanifa’s saying: “Deeds are not part of Belief” although many fuqaha’ do not realize this. And I swear by Allah, and again — by Allah! — that if Bukhari had found one hadith [to the effect that Salat is part of Belief] which met his criterion or came close to it, then his book would certainly not have been devoid of it, nor that of Muslim.

As we just said regarding Nasa’i and Muslim, among the kinds of rejected jarh are those based on differences of school, or `aqida, or methodology. For example, the mere fact that a narrator is Shi`a in `aqida and showing excessive love for `Ali, or if he is Nasibi in `aqida and showing hatred of `Ali, does not automatically mean that he is majruh [defective]. An example of a Shi`i narrator retained by Bukhari is the great muhaddith `Abd al-Razzaq al-San`ani (d. 211), the author of the Musannaf, from whom Bukhari took a quantity of hadiths. Two examples of narrators retained by Bukhari and Muslim although they were accused of being Nasibi are Huswayn ibn Numayr from whom Bukhari narrates the hadiths: “The Communities were shown to me and I saw a great dark mass” and “The Communities were shown to me and there was a Prophet with only one follower, and a Prophet with only two followers”; and Ahmad ibn `Abdah al-Dabbi, from whom Muslim takes one of three chains of the hadith: “I have been ordered to fight people until they say la ilaha ilallah and believe in me.”

Another example is the undue weakening of a scholar of the so-called “school of ra’y” [opinion] at the hands of a scholar of the so-called “school of hadith,” in this case the weakening of a Hanafi by a Hanbali: thus Ahmad’s weakening of Mu`alla ibn Mansur al-Razi (d. 211) is rejected, as shown by Dhahabi in al-Mughni (2:270) and by Abu Dawud before him, who said in his Sunan (book of Tahara): “Yahya ibn Ma`in said that Mu`alla is trustworthy while Ahmad ibn Hanbal would not narrate from him because he followed the methodology of ra’y”; thus Abu Dawud rejects Ahmad’s verdict and narrates from Mu`alla, as did Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and others.

Bukhari’s narrations, in his Tarikh al-saghir, of reports ostensibly detrimental to Abu Hanifa, just as his narration of Yazid ibn Harun’s outlandish labeling of Abu Hanifa’s student, Muhammad al-Shaybani, as a Jahmi in his Khalq af`al al-`ibad (1990 ed. p. 15), belong to this category of rejected jarh. Such reports are simply dismissed as mistakes for which Bukhari must be forgiven, as he is not ma`sum.

The same is said about Ibn Hibban’s outlandish declaration in his Kitab al-majruhin (3:63-64) that Abu Hanifa is not to be relied upon because “he was a Murji’ and an innovator.” Such a judgment is discarded, as stated by al-Lucknawi in al-Raf` wa al-takmil: “Criticism of Abu Hanifa as a narrator on the claim of his irja’ is not accepted.” The reason is that the so-called Murji’a among the Hanafi Imams all belong to Ahl al-Sunna and are in no wise to be called innovators, such as Abu Hanifa, his shaykh Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman, and his two students Muhammad and Abu Yusuf. al-Dhahabi said in his Tarikh al-Islam (3:358f.): “The disapproved Murji’a are those who accepted Abu Bakr and `Umar but withheld taking a position concerning `Uthman and `Ali.” It is obvious that the Hanafi Imams do not enter into such a definition. Imam Abu Hanifa said in his Fiqh al-akbar (as narrated by `Ali al-Qari in his Sharh, 1984 ed. p. 96-101):

The best of mankind after the Prophets, peace be upon them all, are Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, then `Umar ibn al-Khattab, then `Uthman ibn `Affan dhu al-Nurayn, then `Ali ibn Abi Talib al-Murtada, may Allah be well pleased with all of them: men worshipping their Lord, steadfast upon truth and on the side of truth. We follow all of them (natawallahum jami`an). Nor do we mention any of the Prophet’s Companions except in good terms.

A longer definition of the “Murji’a” is given by Ibn Hajar in Hadi al-Sari (2:179) where he says:

Irja’ has the sense of “delaying” and carries two meanings among the scholars: some mean by it the delaying in declaring one’s position in the case of the two warring factions after `Uthman’s time [i.e. neither following nor rejecting either one]; and some mean by it the delaying in declaring that whoever commits grave sins and abandons obligations enters the Fire, on the basis that in their view belief consists in assertion and conviction and that quitting deeds [i.e. ceasing from obeying commands and prohibitions] does not harm it.”

The Sunni so-called “Murji’a” belong to the latter category but with one important provision: they do not hold that quitting deeds does not harm belief in the sense of threatening to destroy it: on the contrary, they hold that quitting deeds does harm the quitter. As `Ali al-Qari said in the title of one of his chapters in Sharh al-fiqh al-akbar (p. 67, 103), “Acts of disobedience harm their author, contrary to the belief of certain factions.” al-Mizzi relates in his Tahdhib al-kamal from Abu al-Salt al-Harawi this clarification overlooked by Ibn Hajar, whereby the Sunni “Murji’a” is thus called not because he considers that “quitting deeds does not harm belief” but only because he professes hope (yarju) of salvation for great sinners, as opposed to the Khawarij who declare sinners disbelievers, and the Mu`tazila who disbelieve in the Prophet’s intercession for great sinners. In this sense Abu Hanifa and the Maturidi school of doctrine hold what all other schools of Ahl al-Sunna hold. As for the Murji’a who rely on faith alone exclusively of deeds, they belong to the heretical sects, and the attribution of Abu Hanifa to such a belief is iftira’ and fabrication.

The difference with the Imam which Bukhari and Ibn Hibban were picking upon resides in among others in Abu Hanifa’s view that iman — belief — stands for one’s Islam and vice-versa and therefore neither increases or decreases once acquired. It is a fundamental tenet of the Maturidi school with which Bukhari differed and which is illustrated by the latter’s chapter-titles like “Salat is part of belief,” “Belief increases and decreases” etc. in his Sahih as al-Zayla`i pointed out in the excerpt we already quoted from him. The vast majority of Hanafis and the entire Maturidi school of doctrine hold the opposite view, as illustrated by `Ali al-Qari’s naming two chapter-titles of his Sharh al-fiqh al-akbar: “Belief neither increases nor decreases” (p. 126, 202), and another chapter is entitled: “The believers are equal in belief but differ in deeds” (p. 128) and another: “The grave sin [such as not performing salat] does not expel one from belief” (p. 102). All the above is also the sound doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna, as opposed to some present-day extremists who declare anyone who commits a major sin to be a disbeliever in need of repeating his shahada or be killed — and the latter contradicts the view of Imam Ahmad, who insisted that no Muslim should be called a disbeliever for any sin, as shown by Ibn Abi Ya`la in Tabaqat al-hanabila (1:329).

After these preliminaries we may now turn to show why Bukhari’s aspersions on Abu Hanifa in his Tarikh al-saghir are not retained by the scholars, even if today’s “Salafis” attempt to rely on them to justify Albani’s position against the Imam!

1st relation Bukhari said in his Tarikh al-saghir (p. 158): I heard al-Humaydi say: Abu Hanifa said: “I came to Mecca and took from the cupper three Sunan when I sat in front of him: He said to me to face the Ka`ba, he began with the right side of my head [shaving], and he reached the two bones.” al-Humaydi said: “A man who does not have Sunan from the Prophet nor from his Companions concerning the rituals of Pilgrimage or other things, how can he be imitated in questions of inheritance, obligations, charity, prayer, and the questions of Islam?!”

This relation is defective from several perspectives:

÷ `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda said in his annotations to al-Lucknawi’s Raf` wa al-takmil (p. 395-397) that his shaykh al-Tahanawi said in his book Inja’ al-watan (1:23): “al-Humaydi wished to demean Abu Hanifa with his comments, but in fact he praised him without realizing. For Abu Hanifa was gracious and generous, and he would show gratefulness to whomever showed him kindness or taught him something, even a single letter. He was not one who kept hidden other people’s goodness towards him, or their favors. When he obtained something related to matters of religion from a simple cupper, he told of the cupper’s kindness and he showed him up as his teacher, fulfilling the right he held over him. And what a strange thing indeed to hear from al-Humaydi, when his own shaykh, al-Shafi`i, said: I carried from Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani knowledge equivalent to a full camel-load, and he would say: Allah has helped me with hadith through Ibn `Uyayna, and He helped me with fiqh through Muhammad ibn al-Hasan. And it is well-known that the well-spring of Muhammad ibn al-Hasan’s sciences are Abu Hanifa. Imam Shafi`i also said: Whoever seeks fiqh, let him frequent Abu Hanifa and his two companions; and he also said: Anyone that seeks fiqh is a dependent of Abu Hanifa. And yet, with all this, al-Humaydi does not show gratefulness for the Imam who is his Shaykh’s Shaykh, nor for the favor he represents for him.”

÷ al-Tahanawi also mentioned that Abu Hanifa went to pilgrimage with his father as a young man, and that the incident may well have taken place at that time, since what is learnt in a young age is hardly ever forgotten.

÷ al-Tahanawi also pointed out that in the time of Abu Hanifa in Mecca knowledge was distributed everywhere among the people, and it is not a far-fetched possibility that the humble cupper was one of the Tabi`in who had heard or seen what he knew from the Companions themselves. He asks: “From where does Humaydi know that that cupper was not one of the knowledgeable Tabi`is, and that he either narrated these three Sunan with their chain back to the Prophet, or suspended back to one of the great Companions?!”

÷ al-Tahanawi concluded: “As for Humaydi’s saying: how can Abu Hanifa be imitated, then we know that a greater one than Humaydi did imitate him, such as Imam al-Shafi`i — whom al-Humaydi imitated, — Yahya ibn Sa`id al-Qattan, Malik ibn Anas, Sufyan al-Thawri, Ahmad ibn Hanbal (through Abu Hanifa’s students the Qadi Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani), Waki` ibn al-Jarrah, `Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak, Yahya ibn Ma`in, and their likes. Then the kings, the sultans, the khulafa’, the viziers imitated him, and the scholars of knowledge, the scholars of hadith, the saints, the jurists, and the commonality imitated him, until Allah was worshipped through the school of Abu hanifa all over the world, and that was because of the good manners upon which Abu Hanifa was grounded, because he did not look down upon taking the highest knowledge from a cupper, and so Allah made him the Imam of the Umma, the greatest of the Imams, and the guide of humanity.”

[Another illustration of Imam Abu Hanifa’s great humility is the narration of Ishaq ibn al-Hasan al-Kufi related by Dhahabi in Manaqib Abi Hanifa (p. 38): A man came to the market and asked for the shop of Abu Hanifa, the Faqih. Abu Hanifa said to him: “He is not a Faqih. He is one who gives legal opinions according to his obligation.”]

÷ Shaykh Abu Ghudda added (al-Raf` p. 397-398): “In addition to the above it is noted that al-Humaydi said: Abu Hanifa said without mentioning from whom he had heard it, and I have not found any proof that al-Humaydi (d. 219) ever met Abu Hanifa at all…. It is clear to us that he was not born when Abu Hanifa died (d. 150)… The report is therefore weak due to the interruption in its chain of transmission, and that is enough.”

÷ Shaykh Abu Ghudda concluded with what we mentioned before, in the section on Ibn `Adi, namely that any criticism of Abu Hanifa attributed to Sufyan al-Thawri is rejected out of hand and there can be no reliance on such criticism to establish narrator-criticism. This particular rule was enunciated by al-Taj al-Subki in Qawa`id fi `ulum al-hadith (p. 195) as well as his Qa`ida fi al-jarh wa al-ta`dil (p. 53-55), also Haytami’s al-Khayrat al-hisan (p. 74), al-Lucknawi’s al-Raf` wa al-takmil (p. 425), and Abu Ghudda’s marginalia on Subki’s and al-Lucknawi’s works.

2nd relation Bukhari also said in his Tarikh al-saghir (p. 174): Nu`aym ibn Hammad narrated to us and said: al-Fazari narrated to us and said: I was visiting with Sufyan al-Thawri and we received news of Abu Hanifa’s death, so Sufyan said: “al-Hamdu lillah! he was taking apart Islam branch by branch. No greater misfortune than him was ever born into Islam (ma wulida fi al-islami ash’amu minhu).”

This relation is even more defective than the first — may Allah have mercy both on Abu Hanifa and his detractors — for the following reasons:

÷ Shaykh `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda said in his marginal notes to al-Lucknawi’s al-Raf` wa al-takmil (p. 393): “Our shaykh, the verifying scholar al-Kawthari, said in his book Fiqh ahl al-`Iraq wa hadithuhum (p. 87), and in the introduction of hafiz al-Zayla`i’s book Nasb al-raya (p.58-59):

There is a kind of criticism by which the critic destroys his credibility from the start through the fact that his words bear all the traits of rashness. If you see him saying, for example: “No greater misfortune than him was ever born into Islam,” you will notice that there is no misfortune (shu’m) in Islam; even if we should admit that there is — in the centuries other than the three mentioned in the hadith — still, without doubt, the gradations of misfortune vary: and to declare a certain person to be the worst of the worst without a statement to that effect from the Prophet is to claim to know the unseen from which the people of Religion are clear. Such a statement, therefore, destroys the credibility of its speaker, if it is firmly established to come from him, before the credibility of the subject of the statement. In a very precarious position indeed is the one who records such an absurdity to the detriment of the leading Imams.”

÷ “And in his book Ta’nib al-Khatib (p. 48, 72, 111) Kawthari also said:

If such a saying were ascertained from Sufyan al-Thawri, he would have fallen from credibility due to this word alone for its passionate tone and rashness. Suffice it to say in refutation of that narration that Nu`aym ibn Hammad is in its chain of transmission, and the least that was said about him is that he conveyed rejected narrations and he has been accused of forging disgraceful stories against Abu Hanifa.

÷ “And our shaykh, the verifying savant and hadith scholar Zafar Ahmad al-Tahanawi said in his book Inja’ al-watan min al-izdira’ bi imam al-zaman (Saving the Nation from the scorn displayed against the Imam of the Time) 1:22:

“It is a grievous thing that issues from their mouth as a saying. What they say is nothing but falsehood!” (18:5). By Allah, there was not born into Islam, after the Prophet, greater fortune and assistance than al-Nu`man Abu Hanifa. The proof of this can be witnessed in the extinction of the schools of his attackers, while his increases in fame day and night. I do not blame al-Bukhari for it, since he only related what he heard. However, I blame for it his shaykh Nu`aym ibn Hammad, even if the latter is a hadith master whom some have declared trustworthy [e.g. Ahmad, Ibn Ma`in, and al-`Ujli], nevertheless the hadith master Abu Bishr al-Dulabi said: “Nu`aym narrates from Ibn al-Mubarak; al-Nasa’i said: he is weak (da`if), and others said: he used to forge narrations in defence of the Sunna, and disgraceful stories against Abu Hanifa, all of them lies.” Similarly Abu al-Fath al-Azdi said: “They said he used to forge hadiths in defence of the Sunna, and fabricate disgraceful stories against Abu Hanifa, all of them lies.” Similarly in Tahdhib al-tahdhib (10:462-463) and Mizan al-i`tidal (3:238, 4:268) [and also Tahdhib al-tahdhib (10:460)]: “al-`Abbas ibn Mus`ab said in his Tarikh: “Nu`aym ibn Hammad composed books to refute the Hanafis”… [and in Hadi al-Sari (2:168): “Nu`aym ibn Hammad was violently against the People of ra’y”] therefore neither his word nor his narration to the detriment Abu Hanifa and Hanafis can ever be accepted….

It is, furthermore, established that Sufyan al-Thawri praised Abu Hanifa when he said: “We were in front of Abu Hanifa like small birds in front of the falcon,” and Sufyan stood up for him when Abu Hanifa visited him after his brother’s death, and he said: “This man holds a high rank in knowledge, and if I did not stand up for his science I would stand up for his age, and if not for his age then for his godwariness (wara`), and if not for his godwariness then for his jurisprudence (jiqh).”

Finally, we repeat Ibn al-Subki’s instruction to hadith scholars already quoted in the discussion of Ibn `Adi: “Pay no attention to al-Thawri’s criticism of Abu Hanifa” and `Abd al-Hayy al-Lucknawi’s warning: “Beware of paying any attention to what took place between Abu Hanifa and Sufyan al-Thawri….” And Allah knows best.

V. The “Salafi’s” claim that the grading of Abu Hanifa as weak for his poor memorization “was the position of… al-Uqailee (ad-Du’afaa p.432) [and] ibn Hibbaan (al-Majrooheen).”


We already mentioned that jarh — narrator-criticism — is rejected if it is based on differences in methodology and school. Another category of jarh that is not taken into account by the scholars is that declared by a scholar who is known for his fanatic or blind condemnation of others. Examples of this category of jarh are the fanaticism (ta`annut) against Hanafis and Abu Hanifa of the following: Daraqutni and Ibn `Adi as already shown, Ibn Hibban and al-`Uqayli as we will show presently.

Of Ibn Hibban’s general method in narrator-criticism Dhahabi said in Mizan al-i`tidal (2:185, 3:121): “He vociferates, as is his habit” and he calls him “Ibn Hibban the Shredder, the most reckless of the ill-natured ones” (Ibn Hibban al-khassaf al-mutahawwir fi `arimin); while Ibn Hajar said in al-Qawl al-musaddad fi al-dhabb `an musnad Ahmad (p. 33): “Ibn Hibban all-too-readily declares the trustworthy to be weak, and acts as if he does not know what he is saying.” The editor of Ibn Hibban’s book al-Majruhin min al-muhaddithin wa al-du`afa’ wa al-matrukin, Mahmud Ibrahim Zayid, says the following in the margin of his notice on Abu Hanifa (3:61):

[Ibn Hibban] did not leave a single device of the devices of narrator-criticism except he used it [against Abu Hanifa], and in so doing he accepted the reports of narrators whom he himself does not trust for narration according to his own methodology. He discarded the reports of those who are considered trustworthy among the Imams of the Umma and he accepted the reports of the most extreme of those who have been criticized for weakness.

Nor did he content himself with what he cited in the contents of his books in such attacks against the Imam, but he also composed two of his largest books exclusively as an attack against Abu Hanifa, and these books are: Kitab `ilal manaqib Abi Hanifa (Book of the defects in Abu Hanifa’s qualities), in ten parts, and Kitab `ilal ma istanada ilayhi Abu Hanifa (Book of the defects of what Abu Hanifa relied upon), in ten parts!

As for the Hanbali scholar al-`Uqayli: he is possibly the most fanatic and least reliable of narrator-criticism authorities. His notice on Abu Hanifa in his book entitled Kitab al-du`afa’ al-kabir (4:268-285 #1876) is, like that of Ibn Hibban on the Imam, a biased selection of weak, very weak, and fabricated reports. As a result of this and other similar displays he does not carry any weight with the hadith masters. To quote his opinion as evidence for the weakening of Abu Hanifa is only a proof of ignorance on the part of “Salafis.”

`Uqayli attacked in his book narrator after narrator of the authorities relied upon by Bukhari and Muslim, in addition to the Imams of fiqh and hadith, hacking down, in the process, the names of `Ali ibn al-Madini, Bukhari, `Abd al-Razzaq, Ibn Abi Shayba, Ubrahim ibn Sa`d, `Affan, Aban al-`Attar, Isra’il ibn Yunus, Azhar al-Saman, Bahz ibn Asad, Thabit al-Bunani, and Jarir ibn `Abd al-Hamid. Dhahabi throws the book at him in Mizan al-i`tidal (2:230, 3:140):

Have you no mind, O `Uqayli?! (afama laka `aqlun ya `uqayli) Do you know who you are talking about?! The only reason we mention what you say about them is in order to repel from them the statements made about them — as if you did not know that each one of those you target is several times more trustworthy than you?! Nay, more trustworthy than many trustworthy narrators whom you did not even cite once in your book… If the hadith of these narrators were to be abandoned, then shut the gates, cease all speech, let hadith transmission die, put the free-thinkers in office, and let the antichrists come out!

One of `Uqayli’s worse traits in his Kitab al-du`afa’ is his putting derogatory reports in the mouth of great Imams, such as the story whereby Imam Ahmad reportedly states that Abu Hanifa lies (4:284)! If this were true, then how could Imam Ahmad allow himself to narrate hadith from Abu Hanifa in his Musnad, as he did with the narration al-dallu `ala al-khayri ka fa`ilihi which he took from the Imam with a sound chain to the Prophet from Burayda? And the reason why Ahmad included it in the Musnad is that no one other than Abu Hanifa narrated this hadith from Burayda. This is a proof against `Uqayli’s above relation from Ahmad since the latter would not have related this hadith if he considered that Abu Hanifa lied.

A more explicit proof against this spurious attribution to Imam Ahmad is his words as related by his close student, Abu Bakr al-Marrudhi al-Khallal: I said to him [Ahmad ibn Hanbal]: “al-Hamdu lillah! He [Abu Hanifa] has a high rank in knowledge.” He replied: “Subhan Allah! He occupies a station in knowledge, extreme fear of Allah, asceticism, and the quest for the Abode of the hereafter, where none whatsoever reaches him.” Dhahabi narrated it in Manaqib Abi Hanifa (p. 43).

Another proof against `Uqayli’s spurious attribution to Imam Ahmad is given by Ibn Ma`in when he was asked: Does Abu Hanifa lie? and he replied: Woe to you! He is nobler than that. We mentioned this report above, in the first part of Ibn Hajar’s notice from Tahdhib al-tahdhib.

Finally, it is established by Ibn `Imad in his Shadharat al-dhahab (1:228), al-Dhahabi in Tarikh al-islam (6:141), and al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad (13:360) that whenever Abu Hanifa was mentioned to Imam Ahmad he would speak kindly of him, and that when Ahmad under the whip was reminded that Abu Hanifa had suffered the same treatment for refusing a judgeship, he wept and said: Rahimahullah. [See above, Ibn Hajar’s notice on Abu Hanifa in Tahdhib al-tahdhib.] May Allah have mercy on both of them. We also refer the reader to Ibn `Abd al-Barr’s relevant section in his book al-Intiqa’, where he systematically refutes al-`Uqayli’s narrations against Abu Hanifa.

VI. The “Salafi’s” claim that the grading of Abu Hanifa as weak for his poor memorization “was the position of… ibn Abee Haatim (al-Jarh wat Tadil).”


Ibn Abi Hatim’s notice on Abu Hanifa in his book al-Jarh wa al-ta`dil is plagued with grave weaknesses from the viewpoint of reliability. The reason is not that Ibn Abi Hatim is unreliable as an authenticator of narrations, but rather that he is intent on reporting what is damaging to Abu Hanifa at all cost, even if he must turn a blind eye to the inauthenticity of such reports. A flagrant sign of his bias is that he reports only a few derogatory stories, but no positive report about Abu Hanifa, contrary to the rule of fairness imposed on all scholars of narrator-criticism and narrator-authentication. Some examples of those stories:

÷ Ibn Abi Hatim claims in al-Jarh wa al-ta`dil (8:449): “Ibn al-Mubarak [d. 181], in his later period, quit narrating from Abu Hanifa. I heard my father [b. 195!] say that.

The fact is that if Ibn Abi Hatim were to see such a report as this, he would reject it out of hand and never adduce it as evidence for anything. The reason is that when Ibn al-Mubarak died, Ibn Abi Hatim’s father was not even born. How then could a report from the latter constitute reliable evidence about the former, when the chain of transmission of such a report is cut off and misses one, two, or more narrators?

What puts a final seal on its inadmissibility is that it contradicts the established position of the verifying scholars on Ibn al-Mubarak’s transmission from Abu Hanifa, which is that he never stopped taking hadith from him whether in his early or his later period. This is stated by al-Mizzi in his notice on Abu Hanifa in Tahdhib al-kamal and al-Dhahabi in Manaqib Abi Hanifa (p. 20) and is confirmed by the following reports:

– Ibn al-Mubarak praised Abu Hanifa and called him a sign of Allah. al-Khatib reports it in Tarikh Baghdad (13:337) and al-Dhahabi in Siyar a`lam al-nubala’ (6:398).

– `Ali ibn al-Madini said: “From Abu Hanifa narrated: al-Thawri, Ibn al-Mubarak, Hammad ibn Zayd, Hisham, Waki`, `Abbad ibn al-`Awwam, and Ja`far ibn `Awn.” al-Haytami related it in al-Khayrat al-hisan (p. 74) and al-Qurashi in al-Jawahir al-mudiyya (1:29).

– Both Ibn al-Mubarak and Sufyan al-Thawri said: “Abu Hanifa was the most knowledgeable of all people on earth.” Ibn Hajar related it in his notice on Abu Hanifa in Tahdhib al-tahdhib and also Ibn Kathir in al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya (10:107).

– Ibn Hajar also related that Ibn al-Mubarak said: “If Allah had not rescued me with Abu Hanifa and Sufyan [al-Thawri] I would have been like the rest of the common people.” [Dhahabi in Manaqib Abu Hanifa (p. 30) relates it as: “I would have been an innovator.”]

– `Abdan said that he heard Ibn al-Mubarak say: “If you hear them mention Abu Hanifa derogatively then they are mentioning me derogatively. In truth I fear for them Allah’s displeasure.” Dhahabi related it in Manaqib Abi Hanifa (p. 36).

– Hibban ibn Musa said: Ibn al-Mubarak was asked: “Who is more knowledgeable in fiqh, Malik or Abu Hanifa?” He replied: “Abu Hanifa.” Dhahabi relates it in Tarikh al-islam (6:142) and Manaqib Abi Hanifa (p. 32).

The latter report echoes the statement of Imam Ahmad related by Dhahabi in Manaqib Abi Hanifa (p. 41) whereby Nusayr ibn Yahya al-Balkhi said: I said to Ahmad ibn Hanbal: “Why do you reproach to this man [Abu Hanifa]?” He replied: al-ra’y = “[Reliance on] opinion.” I said: “Consider Malik, did he not speak on the basis of opinion?” He said: “Yes, but Abu Hanifa’s opinion was immortalized in books.” I said: “Malik’s opinion was also immortalized in books.” He said: “Abu Hanifa opinioned more than him.” I said: “Why then will you not give this one his due and that one his due?!” He remained silent.

÷ Ibn Abi Hatim also claims in al-Jarh wa al-ta`dil (8:450): Ibrahim ibn Ya`qub al-Jawzajani [d. 259] told me in writing, on the authority of `Abd al-Rahman al-Muqri’ [d. 185] that the latter said: Abu Hanifa would talk to us, after which he would say: “All that you have heard is wind and null and void” (hadha al-ladhi sami`tum kulluhu rih wa batil).

This is another one of those reports which are against rather than for Ibn Abi Hatim’s credit to cite, due to uncertainty in the link or links that may be missing in its chain of transmission.

As for the defect in the matn — text — itself, it is so evident that it would be absurd to pretend that Ibn Abi Hatim missed it. Abu Hanifa was described by the following as an Imam whose fiqh outweighed the intelligence of everyone who lived on earth in his time: Abu Bakr ibn `Ayyash, Ibn Jurayj, Yazid ibn Harun, Shaddad ibn Hakim, Sufyan ibn `Uyayna, Makki ibn Ibrahim, Mis`ar ibn Kidam, `Ali ibn `Asim, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal! All this is related by Dhahabi in Manaqib Abi Hanifa (p. 29-32, 42-43). Would all these testify to the knowledge of an Imam who concludes his lessons by tossing them out into the wind?

In fact, the reality of what Abu Hanifa would say in conclusion of his lessons is linked to his humility and greast fear of Allah as shown by the following reports taken from the same book by Imam Dhahabi (p. 34):

– Muhammad ibn Shuja` al-Thalji said: I heard Isma`il ibn Hammad ibn Abi Hanifa say: Abu Hanifa said: “Our position here is only our opinion. We do not oblige anyone to follow it, nor do we say that it is required for anyone to accept it. Whoever has something better, let him produce it.”

– al-Hasan ibn Ziyad al-Lu’lu’i said: Abu Hanifa said: “Our science in this is only an opinion. It is the best that we have been able to reach. Whoever brings us better than this, we accept it from him.”

The above clarifications of the Imam on his method are a far cry from Ibn Abi Hatim’s corrupt attribution to him of the words: ” All that you have heard is wind and null and void”!

÷ Ibn Abi Hatim in al-Jarh wa al-ta`dil (8:450) claims on the written authority of the same Ibrahim ibn Ya`qub al-Jawzajani that Ishaq ibn Rahawayh said: I heard Jarir say: Muhammad ibn Jabir al-Yamami said: “Abu Hanifa stole Hammad’s books from me”!

May Allah forgive Ibn Abi Hatim and all Abu Hanifa’s detractors for going to such extremes in attempting to discredit him. Such a mendacious report as the above is easily thrown out on the two bases of its chain and its text.

Its chain is weak due to Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Yamani whom Ibn Abi Hatim himself in al-Jarh (1:219) declared to be weak with the words: da`if kathir al-wahm, “He is weak and many times imagines things”! Others who declared this narrator as weak are: Ibn Ma`in in his Tarikh (3:507), al-Nasa’i in al-Du`afa’ wa al-matrukin (p. 533), `Uqayli in al-Du`afa’ (4:41), Ibn Hibban in al-Majruhin (2:270), Ibn `Adi in al-Kamil fi al-du`afa’ (6:2158), al-Dhahabi in al-Mughni fi al-du`afa’ (#5349), among others.

Its text is absurd due to the fact that Abu Hanifa could have easily gotten Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman’s books directly from him, since he was his student for more than twenty years. Furthermore Abu Hanifa was extremely rich, and in no need of stealing what he could obtain by purchase. Finally, Abu Hanifa was reputed for his extreme fear of Allah (wara`), which precludes him, in accordance with all those who testified to his character, from committing such an act. Dhahabi related in Manaqib Abi Hanifa (p. 24): Ibn al-Mubarak said: “Abu Hanifa for a long time would pray all five prayers with a single wudu’,” and Hamid ibn Adam al-Marwazi said: I heard Ibn al-Mubarak say: “I never saw anyone more fearful of Allah than Abu Hanifa, even on trial under the whip and through money and property.”

VII. The “Salafi’s” claim that the grading of Abu Hanifa as weak for his poor memorization “was the position of… al-Haakim (Ma’rifa Ulum al-Hadeeth).”


It seems this is but another proof of the fibbing of “Salafis,” since al-Hakim in Ma`rifat `ulum al-hadith mentions the Imam only among the “reputable trustworthy Imams”! as we see from the following excerpt taken from Sa`id Muhammad al-Lahham’s edition (Beirut: Dar al-hilal, 1409/1989):

The forty-ninth kind [of the sciences of hadith]: Knowledge of the famous trustworthy Imams (ma`rifat al-a’imma al-thiqat al-mashhurin):

Among the people of Kufa:… Mis`ar ibn Kidam al-Hilali, Abu Hanifa al-Nu`man ibn Thabit al-Taymi, Malik ibn Mighwal al-Bajali…

VIII. The “Salafi’s” claim that the grading of Abu Hanifa as weak for his poor memorization “was the position of… ibn Sa’d (Tabaqaat 6/256).”


Ibn Sa`d’s weakening of a narrator is questionable when it pertains to the scholars of Iraq — Abu Hanifa being among them — according to Ibn Hajar’s words in his notice for Muharib ibn Dithar in Hadi al-Sari (2:164): “Ibn Sa`d’s tad`if is questionable (fihi nazar), because he imitates al-Waqidi and relies on him, and al-Waqidi, according to the fashion of the scholars of Madina, is extremely adverse to the scholars of Iraq. Know this and you will be directed to what is right, with Allah’s will.”

IX. The “Salafi’s” claim that the grading of Abu Hanifa as weak for his poor memorization “was the position of… adh-Dhahabee (ad-Du’afaa q. 215/1-2).”


Dhahabi’s authentic position on the reliability of Abu Hanifa is established in the notices on Abu Hanifa in Tadhkirat al-huffaz and al-Kashif fi ma`rifat man lahu riwaya fi al-kutub al-sitta, in the monograph he wrote on him entitled Manaqib Abi Hanifa, and in his mention of him in his introduction to Mizan al-i`tidal. In none of the above texts does he mention any weakening of Abu Hanifa. Therefore whatever contradicts them must be questioned and, if established as authentic, retained, if not, rejected as spurious and inauthentic.

Let us examine the text of Dhahabi’s purported notice in his Diwan al-Du`afa’ wa al-matrukin as found in Shaykh Khalil al-Mays’s edition (Beirut: Dar al-fikr, 1408/1988 2:404 #4389):

al-Nu`man: al-Imam, rahimahullah. Ibn `Adi said: “Most of what he narrates is error (ghalat), corruption in the text (tashif), and additions (ziyadat), but he has good narrations.” al-Nasa’i said: “He is not strong in hadith, he makes many errors although he has only a few narrations.” Ibn Ma`in said: “His narrations are not written.”

This is a spurious attribution to Dhahabi and an evident case of interpolation into the text of his book al-Du`afa. Dhahabi said in Tadhhib al-tahdhib (4:101): “Our shaykh Abu al-Hajjaj [al-Mizzi] did well when he did not cite anything whereby he [Abu Hanifa] should be deemed weak as a narrator.” He also said in the introduction of Mizan al-i`tidal, on which his Du`afa’ is based: “I do not mention [in my classifications of the weak narrators] any of the Companions, the Tabi`in, or the Imams who are followed.” It is established that Abu Hanifa is a Tabi`i and the foremost of the Imams who are followed. Moreover, in his entire book on Abu Hanifa entitled Manaqib al-imam Abu Hanifa, Dhahabi mentions no such weakening nor even alludes to it. Nor does he cite it in the chapter devoted to Abu Hanifa in Tadhkirat al-huffaz! How then could he cite in al-Du`afa’ Ibn `Adi’s and al-Nasa’i’s biased opinions, which flatly contradicts his other works, and his method as established from his own words, without any explanation on his part? And how could he relate in the Du`afa’ that Ibn Ma`in said: “His narrations are not written” while he relates in Manaqib Abi Hanifa (p. 45) and Tadhkirat al-huffaz (1:168): “Ibn Ma`in said: Abu Hanifa is trustworthy (thiqa)” and: Ibn Ma`in said of Abu Hanifa: la ba’sa bihi — “there is no harm in him”? Note that in Ibn Ma`in’s terminology such a grading is the same as thiqa (i.e. he is reliable), as stated by Ibn Salah in his Muqaddima (p. 134) and Dhahabi himself in Lisan al-mizan (1:13).

The reason for the discrepancy is clearly that the passage in the Du`afa’ is a later addition to Dhahabi’s book from those who wanted to put on Imam Abu Hanifa’s weakening the stamp of Dhahabi’s credibility, even at the cost of forgery.

A remarkable proof of this forgery is confirmed by the near-identical spurious notice on Abu Hanifa in Dhahabi’s Mizan al-i`tidal under the name of al-Nu`man ibn Thabit, Abu Hanifa, whereby Dhahabi purportedly said: “al-Nasa’i declared him weak from the perspective of his memorization, also Ibn `Adi, and others” (ed. `Ali Muhammad al-Bajawi, Cairo: al-Halabi, 4:265 #9092). This is an addition by other than Dhahabi, which is found in the less reliable copies (nusakh) of the Mizan and not in the authentic manuscripts. There is a hint of this in the footnote by the editor, al-Bajawi, who says: “This notice [on Abu Hanifa] is missing from two of the manuscripts.”

The proofs that it is an interpolation are both internal and external, as we quote below from Shaykh `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda’s masterful demonstration in his edition of al-Lucknawi’s al-Raf` wa al-takmil (p. 121-126):

`Abd al-Fattah says: al-Lucknawi gave ample proofs for the tampering of the notice on Abu Hanifa in some of the manuscripts of the Mizan in his book Ghayth al-ghamam `ala hawashi imam al-kalam (p. 146), where he mentions many factors for concluding that it does not authentically belong to the Mizan. I will mention only some of them and direct the reader to his book for the rest. He said: “There is no trace of this mention in some of the reliable manuscripts which I have seen, and the following confirms it:

÷ al-`Iraqi said in his Sharh al-alfiyya (3:260): “Ibn `Adi mentioned in his book al-Kamil every narrator who was ever criticized even if he is considered trustworthy, and Dhahabi followed him in this in al-Mizan, except that he did not mention any of the Companions or the Imams that are followed.” ÷ al-Sakhawi said in his Sharh al-alfiyya (p. 477): “Although Dhahabi followed Ibn `Adi in mentioning every narrator who was ever criticized even if he is considered trustworthy, yet he bound himself not to mention any of the Companions or the Imams that are followed.” ÷ al-Suyuti said in Tadrib al-rawi sharh taqrib al-Nawawi (p. 519): “Except that Dhahabi did not mention any of the Companions or the Imams that are followed.”

`Abd al-Fattah says: Dhahabi himself explicitly declares in the introduction of al-Mizan (1:3): “Similarly I did not mention in my book any of the Imams that are followed in the branches of the Law due to their immense standing in Islam and their greatness in the minds of people: such as Abu Hanifa, Shafi`i, and Bukhari. If I mention any of them, I do not do so except to render him his due (`ala al-insaf i.e. to be very fair). This does not attack their standing before Allah and before men.”

However, the edition of the Mizan published at Matba`at al-sa`ada in Cairo in 1325 (3:237) contains a two-line notice on Abu Hanifa [“al-Nasa’i declared him weak from the perspective of his memorization, also Ibn `Adi, and others”] which contains no defense of Abu Hanifa at all, and consists only in criticizing him and declaring him weak: and Dhahabi’s words in the introduction preclude the existence of such a notice, since it is all faultfinding and renders him no justice….

I looked up the third volume of Mizan al-i`tidal kept in the Zahiriyya library in Damascus under the number “368 New,” a very valuable set indeed, which begins with the letter m and ends with the end of the book, all written in the hand of the savant and hadith master Sharaf al-Din `Abd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Wani (d. 749) of Damascus, Dhahabi’s student, who read this back to Dhahabi three times while comparing it to his original, as declared on the back of folios 109 and 159 of the volume, and elsewhere. I saw no mention of Imam Abu Hanifa in that volume under the letter n [for Nu`man] nor under the paternal names.

Similarly I saw no notice for Abu Hanifa in the manuscript kept at the Ahmadiyya library in Aleppo uner the number 337, a good copy made in 1160 from an original made in 777…

Nor in the manuscript of Dhahabi’s own copy of Mizan al-i`tidal kept in the general storing-library in Rabat, Morocco under number 129Q which is signed by the hand of eight different students of his to the effect that they read it in his presence and were certified by him to have done so….

This is a tremendous and rare examplar in the world of manuscripts, and I did not find in it a mention of Abu Hanifa. Something such as this is a decisive proof for anyone that the notice found in some copies of the Mizan is not from the pen of al-Dhahabi, but was interpolated into the book by some of the adversaries of the Imam Abu Hanifa….

Dhahabi’s Mizan has been tampered with by foreign hands in more than one place, and it is imperative that it be edited and published on the basis of a manuscript that has been read before the author himself, such as that in the Zahiriyya library of Damascus, or that in the library of Rabat….

Our friend the savant Shaykh Muhammad `Abd al-Rashid al-Nu`mani al-Hindi in his book Ma tamassu ilayhi al-haja li man yutali` sunan Ibn Majah (p. 47) also showed another aspect of the tampering done with Abu Hanifa’s notice in the Mizan and I refer the reader to it. The same proof was mentioned before him by Lucknawi’s student, the brilliant verifying scholar Zahir Ahmad al-Nimawi in his book al-Ta`liq al-hasan `ala athar al-Sunan (1:88).

I also took notice of what was said by our shaykh the great savant Mawlana Zafar Ahmad al-`Uthmani al-Tahanawi in his book Qawa`id fi `ulum al-hadith (p. 211) in commenting on Dhahabi’s words — already quoted — from the introduction of his Mizan, whereupon Tahanawi said: “By this it is known that what is found in some copies of the Mizan concerning Abu Hanifa and his weakening due to poor memorization is an ilhaq — something added which was not there originally…. And how could it be there when Dhahabi included Abu Hanifa in Tadhkirat al-huffaz, which he introduced with the words: “This is the memorial of the names of those who were declared the trustees among the carriers of the Science of the Prophet and to whose ijtihad one refers concerning matters of narrator-certification (tawthiq), authentication (tashih), and falsification (tazyif).” End of our shaykh’s words.

I also saw that the Emir al-San`ani said in Tawdih al-afkar (2:277): “There is no notice for Abu Hanifa in al-Mizan.”….

Nor is there any notice for Abu Hanifa in the manuscript of the Mizan that was copied by the meticulous hadith master and muhaddith of Aleppo in his time, Ibrahim ibn Muhammad Sibt Ibn al-`Ajami who finished copying it in the year 789 from a copy that was certified in Dhahabi’s handwriting.

It is therefore decisively ascertained that the notice on Abu Hanifa in the Mizan is an interpolation in some of its manuscripts in which Dhahabi had no part.


The great merits of Imam Abu Hanifa are extremely numerous. Imam Dhahabi wrote one volume on the life of each of the other three great Imams but he said in his Siyar a`lam al-nubala’ (6:403): “The account of Abu Hanifa’s sira requires two volumes.” The greatness of Abu Hanifa was never reached by those who followed him, just as his son Hammad had predicted when upon his father’s body he said: ” You have exhausted whoever comes after you (who tries to catch up with you).” He is the first to have put down the topics of Fiqh in a book, beginning with tahara and salat. Whoever followed after him in Islam using that model, such as Malik, Shafi`i, Abu Dawud, Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, and others, are indebted to him and give him a share of their reward because he was the first to open that road for them, according to the hadith of the Prophet: man sanna fi al-islami sunnatan hasanatan: “Whoever starts something good in Islam…” and al-Shafi`i referred to this when he said: al-nasu `iyalun `ala abi hanifa fi al-fiqh = “people (scholars) are all the dependents of Abu Hanifa in fiqh.” al-Dhahabi relates it in Tadhkirat al-huffaz in the chapter on Abu Hanifa, and also Ibn Hajar in Tahdhib al-tahdhib (10:450). And the hafiz al-Khatib al-Baghdadi narrated in Tarikh Baghdad (13:344) that the hafiz Abu Nu`aym said:

Muslims should made du`a to Allah on behalf of Abu Hanifa in their prayers, because the Sunan and the fiqh were preserved for them through him.

Like Imam Bukhari, Abu Hanifa used to make 60 khatmas of Qur’an every Ramadan: on in the day, one in the night, besides his teaching and other duties. al-Subki relates it of Bukhari in Tabaqat al-shafi`iyya, while Dhahabi and al-Haytami relate it of Abu Hanifa respectively in Manaqib Abi Hanifa (p. 23) and al-Khayrat al-hisan. Al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad (13:356), Dhahabi in the Manaqib (p. 22), and Suyuti in Tabyid al-sahifa (p. 94-95) relate that Ibrahim ibn Rustum al-Marwazi said: “Four are the Imams that recited the entire Qur’an in a single rak`a: `Uthman ibn `Affan, Tamim al-Dari, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, and Abu Hanifa.” Suyuti also relates in Tabyid al-sahifa that a certain visitor came to observe Abu Hanifa and saw him all day long in the mosque, teaching relentlessly, answering every question from both the scholars and the common people, not stopping except to pray, then standing at home in prayer when people were asleep, hardly ever eating or sleeping, and yet the most handsome and gracious of people, always alert and never tired, day after day for a long time, so that in the end the visitor said: “I became convinced that this was not an ordinary matter, but wilaya.” May Allah be well pleased with His Friend and make him inhabit the Highest Paradise.

May Allah have mercy on Imam al-A`zam Abu Hanifa and forgive his detractors. al-Hamdu lillah it is proven without doubt that Abu Hanifa has been given the three highest gradings by the verifying authorities in hadith since he has been called imam by Abu Dawud, hafiz by al-Dhahabi, and thiqa thiqa by Ibn Ma`in. More importantly, the claim that he was declared weak has been shown to be itself a weak claim no sooner made than proven wrong or worthless. The claims of present-day innovators against him were anticipated and rejected in advance by the hadith master Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani when he said, as related by his student the hadith master al-Sakhawi in his biography al-Jawahir wa al-durar (p. 227):

The Imam and his peers are of those who have reached the sky, and as a result nothing that anyone says against any of them can have any effect. They are in the highest level, where Allah raised them, through their being Imams that are followed and through whom one reaches guidance. Let this be clearly understood, and Allah is the Giver of success.

Shaykh Muhammad `Awwama mentioned it in his book Athar al-hadith al-sharif (p. 116). And Allah Almighty knows best.

The Special Life of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. in BARZAKH

June 23, 2007

The Prophet in Barzakh

The Special Life of Our Prophet by Sayyid Muhammad ibn `Alawi al-Maliki

Translation and notes by GF Haddad ©

It is established that our Prophet possesses an isthmus-life that is greater and more perfect than that of any other, of which he himself told us. It is equally established that he is intimately connected with the Community, fully cognizant of their states, seeing their actions, hearing their speech, replying to their greetings, and the hadiths to that effect are numerous.

Among these hadiths is the narration of the Prophet from `Abd Allah ibn Mas`ud – Allah be well-pleased with him:

“Verily, Allah has angels that roam the earth and convey to me the greeting of my Community.”

(Inna lillâhi malâ’ikatan sayyâhîna fi al-ardi yuballighûnî min ummatî al-salâm.)1
Al-Mundhiri said: “Al-Nasa’i and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih narrated it.” Isma`il al-Qadi2 and others have narrated it through various paths with chains that leave no doubt as to their soundness. All of these chains are to Sufyan al-Thawri: From `Abd Allah ibn al-Sa’ib: From Zadhan: From `Abd Allah ibn Mas`ud. Al-Thawri explicitly declared having heard it from `Abd Allah ibn al-Sa’ib, as reported in al-Qadi Isma`il’s book. As for `Abd Allah ibn al-Sa’ib and Zadhan, Muslim used them as sub-narrators [in his Sahih], and Ibn Ma`in declared them trustworthy (thiqa), so the chain is sound.3

Also among these hadiths is Ibn Mas`ud’s narration that the Prophet said:

“My life is a great good for you, you will relate about me and it will be related to you, and my death is a great good for you, your actions will be exhibited to me, and if I see goodness I will praise Allah, and if I see evil I will ask forgiveness of Him for you.”

(Hayâtî khayrun lakum tuhaddithûna wa yuhaddathu lakum wa wafâtî khayrun lakum tu`radu a`malukum `alayya famâ ra’aytu min khayrin hamidtu Allâha wa mâ ra’aytu min sharrin istaghfartu Allâha lakum.)4
The hadith master al-`Iraqi said in the book of Jana’iz of his work Tarh al-Tathrib fi Sharh al-Taqrib: “Its chain is good” (isnâduhu jayyid).5 The hadith master al-Haythami said: “Al-Bazzar narrated it and its sub-narrators are the men of the Sahih.”6 The hadith master al-Suyuti declared it sound (sahîh) in al-Mu`jizat and al-Khasa’is. So did al-Qastallani the commentator of al-Bukhari. Al-Munawi also declared, in Fayd al-Qadir, that it is sahîh.7 So did al-Zurqani in his commentary on al-Qastallani’s al-Mawahib al-Laduniyya. So did Shihab al-Din al-Khafaji in his commentary on [al-Qadi `Iyad’s] al-Shifa’.8 So did al-Mulla `Ali al-Qari in his, adding: “Al-Harith ibn Usama narrated it in his Musnad with a sound chain.”9 Ibn Hajar also mentioned it in al-Matalib al-`Alya.10 This hadith also came to us through another, mursal way from [the Tabi`î] Bakr ibn `Abd Allah al-Muzani. The hadith master Isma`il al-Qadi narrated it in his monograph on the invocation of blessings on the Prophet , and Shaykh al-Albani said about it: “Mursal sahîh.”11 The hadith master Ibn `Abd al-Hadi declared it sound (sahîh) despite his excessive rigor and harshness in his book al-Sarim al-Munki. After all this evidence, does any meddler have anything left to say? The hadith is undoubtedly sound, and no-one questions its authenticity.

This hadith indicates that the Prophet knows about our actions because they are being shown to him, and he asks Allah forgiveness on our behalf for whatever wrong we may do. If this is the case, then it is permissible for us to use him as a means to Allah and ask for his intercession with Him. For he knows our case, and so he can intercede for us and supplicate for us, as he is the intercesor whose intercession is granted – may Allah send blessings and peace upon him and his Family, and increase him in honor and bounty.

Allah has informed us in the Qur’an that the Prophet is a witness over his entire Community. This assuredly requires that the actions of his Community be shown to him so that he may witness to whatever he saw and knew:

Ibn al-Mubarak said: One of the Ansâr narrated to us from al-Minhal ibn `Amr that the latter hears Sa`id ibn al-Musayyib say: “Not one day passes except the Prophet’s Community is shown to him morning and evening. He knows them by their marks [or names] and their actions, thereby giving witness concerning them. Allah said: {But how (will it be with them) when we bring of every people a witness, and We bring you (O Muhammad) a witness against these?} (4:41). (Laysa min yawmin illâ wa yu`radu fîhi `alâ al-nabiyyi ummatuhu ghuduwwatan wa `ashiyyan fa ya`rifuhum bi sîmâhum wa a`mâlihim fa lidhâlika yashhadu `alayhim. Yaqûlu Allâhu ta`âlâ…)12

Also among these hadiths is the narration from `Ammar ibn Yassir – Allah be well-pleased with him – that the Prophet said:

“Verily, Allah has put an angel in charge of my grave and given him the names of all creatures. No-one invokes blessings upon me until the Day of Resurrection except he informs me of his name and the name of his father thus: So-and-so son of So-and-so has just invoked blessings upon you.”

(Inna Allâha wakkala bi qabrî malakan a`tâhu Allâhu asmâ’a al-khalâ’iqi falâ yusallî `alayya ahadun ilâ yawmi al-qiyâmati illâ ablaghanî bi ismihi wa ismi abîhi hâdhâ fulânu ibnu fulânin qad sallâ `alayk.)
It is narrated by al-Bazzar, while Abu al-Shaykh – Ibn Hayyan – narrates it thus:

The Prophet said: “Allah Most High has an angel to whom he has given the names of all creatures, and he shall stand at my grave, after I die, so that none shall invoke blessings upon me except he shall say: `O Muhammad, So-and-so son of So-and-so has just invoked blessings upon you.’ Thereupon the Almighty Lord shall send a blessing upon that person, tenfold for each blessing he invoked upon me.”

(Inna lillâhi malakan a`tâhu asmâ’a al-khalâ’iqi fatr huwa qâ’imun `alâ qabrî idhâ mittu falaysa ahadun yusallî `alayya salâtan illâ qâla yâ Muhammadu sallâ `alayka fulânu ibnu fulânin. Qâla fa yusallî al-Rabbu `alâ dhâlika al-rajuli bi kulli wâhidatin `ashrâ.)13
Also among these hadiths is the narration of Abu al-Darda’:

“Make abundant invocations of blessings upon me the day of Jum’a, for that day is witnessed by the angels. Verily, no-one invokes blessings upon me except his invocation is shown to me until he finishes it.” Abu al-Darda’ said: “Even after death?” The Prophet replied: “Even after death! Truly Allah Most High forbade the earth to consume the bodies of Prophets. Therefore the Prophet of Allah is alive and sustained!”

(Akthirû al-salâta ‘alayya yawma al-jumu’a fa innahu mashhûdun tashhaduhu al-malâ’ikatu wa inna ahadan lan yusalliya ‘alayya illâ ‘uridat ‘alayya salâtuhu hattâ yafrughû minhâ. Qâla qultu wa ba’da al-mawt? Qâla wa ba’da al-mawti inna Allâha harrama ‘alâ al-ardi an ta’kula ajsâda al-anbiyâ’i fa nabiyyullâhi hayyun yurzaq.)14
Shaykh Ibn Taymiyya said: “This hadith is authentic by the criterion of Muslim.”

Also, the hadith of Abu Hurayra: Abu Dawud narrated with a sound (sahîh) chain – as stated by al-Subki – from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah said:

“No-one greets me except that Allah has returned my soul to me so that I may greet him back.”

(Mâ min ahadin yusallimu ‘alayya illâ radd Allâhu ‘alayya rûhî hattâ arudda ‘alayhi al-salâm.)15
Also, the hadith of Abu Hurayra from the Prophet :

“Whoever invokes blessings upon me at my grave I hear him, and whoever invokes blessings on me from afar, I am informed about it.”

(Man sallâ `alayya `inda qabrî sami`tuhu wa man sallâ nâ’iyan bullightuhu.)16
The narrations to that effect are very numerous indeed.


1Narrated from Ibn Mas`ud with a sound chain by Muslim’s criterion as stated by Shaykh Shu`ayb al-Arna’ut in Ibn Hibban (3:195 #914), al-`Azim Abadi in `Awn al-Ma`bud (6:21), Ibn al-Qayyim who declared its chain sound in Jala’ al-Afham (p. 24), and al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak, confirmed by al-Dhahabi (2:241=1990 ed. 2:456). Also narrated by al-Nasa’i with six chains in his Sunan, al-Sunan al-Kubra (3:43), and `Amal al-Yawm wa al-Layla (2:167), Isma`il al-Qadi in Fadl al-Salat `ala al-Nabi – Allah bless and greet him – (p. 34), al-Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-Iman (2:217) and al-Sunan al-Kubra (1:380), Abu Ya`la in his Musnad (9:137 #5213), Ahmad in his, al-Darimi in his, Ibn Abi Shayba (2:253=2:517, 6:316), `Abd al-Razzaq in his (2:215 #3116), al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (#10528-10530), Ibn al-Mubarak in al-Zuhd (p. 364 #1028) and his Musnad (p. 30 #51), and al-Khatib in Talkhis al-Mutashabih (p. 766).

2The Imam and hadith master, Shaykh al-Islam Abu Ishaq Isma`il ibn Ishaq ibn Isma`il ibn Hammad ibn Zayd al-Azdi al-Jahdami al-Qadi al-Maliki (199-282), author of several works, including a Musnad. See al-Dhahabi, Siyar (Arna’ut ed. 13:341).

3Zadhan in this narration is Abu `Umar al-Kindi al-Bazzaz as named explicitly in Abu Sa`id al-Shashi’s (d. 335) narration of this hadith in his Musnad (2:252). Muslim narrated from him, from Ibn `Umar, two narrations of the Prophet in three places: “Whoever strikes his slave in the face or beats him unjustly, his expiation is to manumit him,” and the Prophet’s prohibition of the use of wine fermentation-vessels. See also Abu Bakr al-Asbahani’s Rijal Muslim (1:230) and Ibn Hajar’s Taqrib. He was declared thiqa by Ibn Ma`in, Ibn Sa`d, al-`Ijli, Ibn Shahin, al-Khatib, and al-Dhahabi as reported by al-Arna’ut and Ma`ruf in al-Tahrir (1:409 #1976). From `Abd Allah ibn al-Sa’ib al-Kindi or al-Shaybani al-Kufi, Muslim narrated through two chains the hadith of Thabit ibn al-Dahhak whereby the Prophet forbade sharecropping. He is trustworthy (thiqa) as stated in Ibn Hajar’s Taqrib (1:304 #3339). The rest of the sub-narrators of this hadith are all the men of al-Bukhari and Muslim.

4Narrated from Ibn Mas`ud by al-Bazzar in his Musnad (1:397) with a sound chain as stated by al-Suyuti in Manahil al-Safa (p. 31 #8) and al-Khasa’is al-Kubra (2:281), al-Haythami (9:24 #91), and al-`Iraqi in Tarh al-Tathrib (3:297) – his last book, as opposed to al-Mughni`an Haml al-Asfar (4:148) where he questions the trustworthy rank of one of the narrators in al-Bazzar’s chain. Shaykh `Abd Allah al-Talidi said in his Tahdhib al-Khasa’is al-Kubra (p. 458-459 #694) that this chain is sound according to Muslim’s criterion, and Shaykh Mahmud Mamduh in Raf`al-Minara (p. 156-169) discusses it at length and declares it sound. Their shaykh, al-Sayyid `Abd Allah ibn al-Siddiq al-Ghumari (d. 1413/1993) declared it sound in his monograph Nihaya al-Amal fi Sharh wa Tashih Hadith `Ard al-A`mal. Opposing these six judgments al-Albani declares it weak in his notes on al-Qadi Isma`il’s Fadl al-Salat (p. 37 n. 1). It is also narrated with weak chains from Anas and – with two sound mursal chains missing the Companion-link – from the Successor Bakr ibn `Abd Allah al-Muzani by Isma`il al-Qadi (d. 282) in his Fadl al-Salat `ala al-Nabi (p. 36-39 #25-26). The latter chain was declared sound by al-Qari in Sharh al-Shifa’ (1:102), Shaykh al-Islam al-Taqi al-Subki in Shifa’ al-Siqam, his critic Ibn `Abd al-Hadi in al-Sarim al-Munki (p. 217), and al-Albani in his Silsila Da`ifa (2:405). A third, weak chain is related from Bakr al-Muzani by al-Harith ibn Abi Usama (d. 282) in his Musnad (2:884) as per Ibn Hajar in al-Matalib al-`Aliya (4:23). Al-Albani declared the hadith weak on the grounds that some authorities questioned the memorization of the Murji’ hadith master `Abd al-Majid ibn `Abd al-`Aziz ibn Abi Rawwad. However, he was retained by Muslim in his Sahih and declared thiqa by Yahya ibn Ma`in, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, al-Nasa’i, Ibn Shahin, al-Khalili, and al-Daraqutni, while al-Dhahabi listed him in Man Tukullima Fihi Wa Huwa Muwaththaq (p. 124) as stated by Mamduh in Raf` al- Minara (p. 163, 167). Al-Arna’ut and Ma`ruf declare him thiqa in Tahrir al-Taqrib (2:379 #4160) as well as Dr. Nur al-Din `Itr in his edition of al-Dhahabi’s Mughni (1:571 #3793) and Dr. Khaldun al-Ahdab in Zawa’id Tarikh Baghdad (10:464). Even if al-Albani’s grading were hypothetically accepted, then the weak musnad narration in conjunction with the sound mursal one – graded sahîh by al-Albani – would yield a final grading of hasan or sahîh, not da`îf. In addition to this, Mamduh quoted al-Albani’s own words in the latter’s attempted refutation of Shaykh Isma`il al-Ansari entitled Kitab al-Shaybani (1:134-135) whereby “The sound mursal hadith is a proof in all Four Schools and other than them among the Imams of the principles of hadith and fiqh, therefore it is apparent to every fair-minded person that the position whereby such a hadith does not form a proof only because it is mursal, is untenable.” This is one of many examples in which al-Albani not only contradicts, but soundly refutes himself.

Shaykh Hasanayn Muhammad Makhluf wrote in his Fatawa Shar`iyya (1:91-92): “The hadith means that the Prophet is a great good for his Community during his life, because Allah the Exalted has preserved the Community, through the secret of the Prophet’s – Allah bless and greet him – presence, from misguidance, confusion, and disagreement, and He has guided the people through the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – to the manifest truth; and that after Allah took back the Prophet , our connection to the latter’s goodness continues uncut and the extension of his goodness endures, overshadowing us. The deeds of the Community are shown to him every day, and he glorifies Allah for the goodness that he finds, while he asks for His forgiveness for the small sins, and the alleviation of His punishment for the grave ones: and this is a tremendous good for us. There is therefore `goodness for the Community in his life, and in his death, goodness for the Community.’ Moreover, as has been established in the hadith, the Prophet is alive in his grave with a special `isthmus-life’ stronger than the lives of the martyrs which the Qur’an spoke of in more than one verse. The nature of these two kinds of life cannot be known except by their Bestower, the Glorious, the Exalted. He is able to do all things. His showing the Community’s deeds to the Prophet as an honorific gift for him and his Community is entirely possible rationally and documented in the reports. There is no leeway for its denial; and Allah guides to His light whomever He pleases; and Allah knows best.”

5Al-`Iraqi, Tarh al-Tathrib (3:297).

6Al-Haythami, Majma` al-Zawa’id (9:24 #91).

7Al-Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir (3:401) only reported al-`Iraqi’s words “Its narrators are the men of the Sahih except for `Abd al-Majid ibn Abi Rawwad who, despite being retained by Muslim as a narrator and being declared trustworthy (thiqa) by Ibn Ma`in and al-Nasa’i, was declared weak by some.” Al-Munawi then went on to criticize al-Suyuti’s unmitigated authentication of the narration in Manahil al-Safa although al-Suyuti is correct.

8Al-Khafaji, Sharh al-Shifa’ (1:102).

9Al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ (1:102), referring to the mursal hadith of Bakr al-Muzani.

10Ibn Hajar, al-Matalib al-`Alya (4:22).

11In his edition of Isma`il al-Qadi’s Fadl al-Salat `ala al-Nabi – Allah bless and greet him – (p. 37), after which he goes on to say that the hadith is weak, as in his Silsila Da`ifa (#979).

12Narrated by Ibn al-Mubarak in al-Zuhd (p. 42), Ibn Kathir (asmâ’ihim instead of sîmâhum) in his Tafsir (1:500), al-Qurtubi in al-Tadhkira (1:335), Ibn Hajar (asmâ’ihim instead of sîmâhum) in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 9:99), and al-Mubarakfuri (asmâ’ihim instead of sîmâhum) in Tuhfa al-Ahwadhi (8:300).

13Narrated from `Ammar ibn Yâsir by Abu al-Shaykh in al-`Azama (1988 ed. 2:763) and al-Bazzar in his Musnad (Ibn Hajar, Mukhtasar 2:436 #2164), and from Abu Bakr al-Siddiq by al-Daylami in al-Suyuti’s al-La’ali’ al-Masnu`a (1996 ed. 1:260 =1981 ed. 1:284) and al-Haba’ik fi Akhbar al-Mala’ik (p. 99).

Al-Haythami (10:162) said: “Its chains contain Nu`aym ibn Damdam whom some scholars declared weak and `Imran ibn al-Himyari [al-Ju`fi], whom al-Bukhari indicated was unconfirmable (lâ yutâba`) [i.e. very weak], while the author of Mizan al-I`tidal [al-Dhahabi] declared him unknown. The rest of its sub-narrators are the men of the Sahih.” There are some inaccuracies in this report. Al-Bukhari actually stated in al-Tarikh al-Kabir (6:416 #2831): “He is unconfirmable in his narration of that hadith” as cited by Ibn `Adi in al-Kamil (5:93 #1273). Al-Dhahabi in the Mizan (3:236 #6278) did not declare Ibn al-Himyari unknown, but said: “His narration of the hadith `Allah has given me an angel’ is not known, and al-Bukhari said: he is unconfirmable in narrating it.'” Ibn Hajar names him `Imran ibn Himyar and similarly states in Lisan al-Mizan (4:345 #996): “His narration of `Allah has given me an angel’ is not known.” However, Ibn Hibban includes him in the Thiqat (5:223 #4608) and Ibn Abi Hatim mentions him without discrediting him in al-Jarh wa al-Ta`dil (6:296 #1644). As for Nu`aym ibn Damdam, Ibn Hajar in Lisan al-Mizan (6:169 #595) stated: “From him narrated Sufyan ibn `Uyayna, Abu Ahmad al-Zubayri, Qubaysa ibn `Uqba, `Abd al-Rahman ibn Salih al-Kufi, and others… and I was so far unable to discover who had declared him weak.” Accordingly, the chain of the hadith is fair because Nu`aym’s unknown state is eliminated and his credibility is established by the fact that two or more trutworthy authorities narrated from him, according to the rules of hadith science. Lastly, al-Daylami’s chain contains neither Nu`aym nor `Imran.

Al-`Uqayli cited the narration in his Du`afa’ (3:248 #1246) and said: “`Ali ibn al-Qasim al-Kindi from Nu`aym ibn Damdam is a Shi`i chain of transmission that needs investigation.” Al-Suyuti cited it in La’ali’ al-Masnu`a (1996 ed. 1:259-260 =1981 ed. 1:284) and went on to narrate corroborative proofs for the authenticity of the hadith, among them Ibn Abi Shayba’s (2:253, 6:326) two mursal narrations from the weak Tâbi`î Yazid ibn Aban al-Raqashi: “An angel is in charge of all that invoke blessings upon the Prophet to inform him of it saying: `So-and-so from your Community has invoked blessings on you.'” Isma`il al-Qadi also narrates it from Yazid in Fadl al-Salat (p. 37-38 #27) but with the addition: “on the day of Jum`a, and with the wording: “So-and-so from your Community is invoking blessings on you.”

Al-Suyuti cites `Ammar’s narration in his commentary on al-Nasa’i’s Sunan (4:110). Al-Mundhiri cites the narration in al-Targhib (1994 ed. 2:388) after al-Bazzar, Abu al-Shaykh, and al-Tirmidhi in [al-`Ilal?] “al-Kabir.” The hadith is further confirmed by the sound narrations already mentioned and those that follow, as well as the Tâbi`î Ayyub al-Sikhtyani’s sound mursal narration in Isma`il al-Qadi’s Fadl al-Salat (p. 36): “It has reached me – and Allah knows best – that there is an angel in charge of each person that invokes blessings on the Prophet so that he will convey it to him.” Al-Tabari in the commentary on the verse {For him are angels ranged before him and behind him who guard him by Allah’s command} (13:11) in his Tafsir (13:115) narrates from `Uthman ibn `Affan that the Prophet identified the angels that attend every believer as twenty, ten in the day and ten in the night, among them two angels whose unique responsibility is to record one’s invocations of blessings upon the Prophet . See also al-Albani, Silsila Sahiha (#1530).

14Narrated from Abu al-Darda’ by Ibn Majah with a munqati’ chain missing a sub-narrator in two places. However, its parts are confirmed verbatim by other sound narrations, among them Aws’s narration cited below. Consequently the hadith master al-Busiri declared it sound in his Zawa’id (2:58-59). The first part (concerning the order to invoke more blessings on Jum’a and the disclosure of this invocation to the Prophet) is related by al-Bayhaqi in Shu’ab al-Iman through Abi Umama, Anas, and Abu Mas’ud al-Ansari, and by al-Hakim in his Mustadrak from the latter. Al-Shafi’i in his Musnad relates the first part only (“Invoke blessings upon me abundantly on Friday”) mursal from Safwan ibn Salim.

15Narrated from Abu Hurayra by Abu Dawud with a chain declared sound by al-Nawawi in Riyad al-Salihin and al-Adhkar, Ibn al-Qayyim in Jala’ al-Afham (1996 ed. p. 48 #23 cf. ‘Awn al-Ma’bud 6:22), Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 6:488), al-Wadyashi in Tuhfa al-Muhtaj (2:190), al-‘Ajluni in Kashf al-Khafa’ (2:253), and al-Shawkani in Nayl al-Awtar. Also narrated from Abu Hurayra by Ahmad with a sound chain according to al-Zayn in the Musnad (9:575 #10759) and al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (5:245 #1040) and Shu’ab al-Iman (2:217, 3:490-491); and al-Tabarani in al-Awsat (3:262) with a weak chain as indicated by al-Haythami (10:162). There is little weight to al-Albani’s claim in his notes on al-Alusi’s al-Ayat al-Bayyinat (p. 80) and his Silsila Sahiha (#2266) that “this hadith is only fair, not sound.”

16A fair hadith narrated from Abu Hurayra, not by Ibn Abi Shayba (as mistakenly stated by al-Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa’) but:

* By Abu al-Shaykh with a good chain in Thawab al-Salat `ala al-Nabi as stated by Ibn al-Qayyim in Jala’ al-Afham (p. 48-49=p. 16-22), Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1989 ed. 6:379=1959 ed. 6:488), al-Suyuti in al-La’ali’ (1996 ed. 1:259=1:282-283), and others. Ibn al-Qayyim states: “This narration is extremely singular” while Ibn Hajar states: “Abu al-Shaykh cites it in al-Thawab with a good chain (sanad jayyid).” Al-Sakhawi reiterates the latter verdict in al-Qawl al-Badi` (p. 154) as reported by Shaykh `Abd Allah Siraj al-Din in al-Salat `ala al-Nabi (p. 214) and Shaykh Mahmud Mamduh in Raf` al-Minara (p. 351). Al-Munawi questions this grading in Fayd al-Qadir and Ibn `Abd al-Hadi in al-Sarim al-Munki (p. 206) claims without proof that Abu al-Shaykh’s chain, although strong, is “a gross mistake” because – in his view – “the hadith did not come to us except through al-Suddi, who is discarded” (cf. below). However, Ibn `Arraq in Tanzih al-Shari`a (1:335) confirms Ibn Hajar’s verdict and al-Suyuti in al-La’ali’ authenticates Abu al-Shaykh’s chain – among other narrations, citing it in his commentary on al-Nasa’i’s Sunan (4:110) and rejecting Ibn al-Jawzi’s verdict of forgery in al-Mawdu`at (1:303). Shaykh Ahmad al-Ghumari in his al-Mudawi li `Ilal al-Munawi (6:277) graded Abu al-Shaykh’s chain “spotless.”

* By al-Bayhaqi with two chains – with ublightuhu in the end – in Shu`ab al-Iman (2:218 #1583), al-`Uqayli in al-Du`afa’ (4:137) and others, through Muhammad ibn Marwan al-Suddi who is accused of lying and is discarded as a narrator as stated by Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir (6:466), or through al-`Ala’ ibn `Amr al-Kufi who is weak, but al-Bayhaqi in Hayat al-Anbiya’ (p. 15) cites corroborating chains and narrations which strengthen the hadith.

* By al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad (3:292) with the very weak chain of Muhammad ibn Marwan al-Suddi with the wording: “Whoever invokes blessings upon me at my grave I hear him, and whoever invokes blessings on me from afar, an angel was put in charge of it who informs me of it. He will have sufficiency of his worldly needs for it as well as his needs in the hereafter, and I shall witness on his behalf – or: I shall be his intercessor.” Al-Ahdab in his Zawa’id Tarikh Baghdad (3:69) considers the second sentence of this narration undoubtedly forged.

As for al-Albani’s grading of mawdû` for this hadith in his notes on al-Alusi’s al-Ayat al-Bayyinat (p. 80) and his Silsila Da`ifa (#203) in imitation of Ibn Taymiyya’s identical verdict in the latter’s al-Radd `ala al-Akhna’i in Majmu`a al-Fatawa (27:241-242), it stems from studied ignorance of Abu al-Shaykh’s chain as pointed out by Mamduh in Raf` al-Minara (p. 354). Note that Ibn Taymiyya contradicts himself by (1) declaring al-Suddi’s chain not forged but “containing some weakness (fîhâ lîn) and corroborated by firmly established reports” elsewhere in his Fatawa (27:116) and (2) considering the meaning of the hadith correct, all of which al-Albani rejects (“I do not know from where Ibn Taymiyya took his claim (27:384) that he hears the salaam from someone near!”). That man goes so far as to state: “I have found no evidence for the Prophet’s hearing of the salaam of those who greet him at his grave”! This is one of his greater enormities and the essence of innovation and deviation. On the hearing of the Prophet in the grave see also al-Nabahani, Shawahid al-Haqq (p. 283-285).

Allah bless and greet the Prophet, his Family, and all his Companions. Wal-hamdu lillahi Rabb al-`alamin.

Hajj Gibril

GF Haddad ©

Imam Abu Hasan Al-Ash’ari

June 17, 2007

 Imam Abu Hasan Al-Ash’ari by Sheikh Dr. GF Haddad

Abi Bishr Ishaq ibn Salim, Abu al-Hasan al-Ash‘ari al-Yamani al-Basri al-Baghdadi (260-324), a descendent of the Yemeni Companion Abu Musa al-Ash`ari, was in the first half of his scholarly career a disciple of the Mu`tazili teacher Abu `Ali al-Jubba’i, whose doctrines he abandoned in his fortieth year after asking him a question al-Jubba’i failed to resolve over the issue of the supposed divine obligation to abandon the good for the sake of the better (al-sâlih wa al-aslah). At that time he adopted the doctrines of the sifatiyya, those of Ahl al-Sunna who assert that the divine Attributes are obligatorily characterized by perfection, unchanging, and without beginning, but He is under no obligation whatsoever to abandon the good for the sake of the better. He left Basra and came to Baghdad, and took fiqh from the Shafi`i jurist Abu Ishaq al-Marwazi (d. 340). He devoted the next twenty-four years to the refutation of “the Mu`tazila, the Rafida, the Jahmiyya, the Khawarij, and the rest of the various kinds of innovators” in the words of al-Khatib. His student Bundar related that his yearly expenditure was a meager seventeen dirhams.


Among al-Ash`ari’s books up to the year 320 as listed by himself in al-`Umad (“The Supports”):


    • Adab al-Jadal (“The Etiquette of Disputation”).


    • Al-Asma’ wa al-Ahkam (“The Names and the Rulings”), which describes the divergences in the terminology of the scholars and their understanding of the general and the particular.


    • Al-Dafi` li al-Muhadhdhab (“The Repelling of `The Emendation’”), a refutation of al-Khalidi’s book by that title.


    • Al-Funun (“The Disciplines”), a refutation of atheists. A second book bearing that title was also written, on the disciplines of kalâm.


    • Al-Fusul (“The Sub-Headings”) in twelve volumes, a refutation of the philosophers, perennialists, and members of various religions such as Brahmans, Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians. It contains a refutation of Ibn al-Rawandi’s claim that the world exists without beginning.


    • Idah al-Burhan fi al-Radd `ala Ahl al-Zaygh wa al-Tughyan (“The Clarification of the Proof in the Refutation of Heretics”), a preliminary to al-Mujaz.


    • Al-Idrak (“The Awareness”), on the disciplines that address the subtleties of dialectic theology.


    • Al-Istita`a (“Potency”), a refutation of the Mu`tazila.


    • Al-Jawabat fi al-Sifat `an Masa’il Ahl al-Zaygh wa al-Shubuhat (“The Replies Pertaining to the Attributes On the Questions and Sophistries of Heretics”), al-Ash`ari’s largest work, a refutation of all the Mu`tazili doctrines he had upheld previously.


    • Al-Jawhar fi al-Radd `ala Ahl al-Zaygh wa al-Munkar (“The Essence: Refutation of the People of Heresy and Transgression”).


    • Al-Jism (“The Body”), a proof of the Mu`tazila’s inability to answer essential questions that pertain to corporeality, contrary to Ahl al-Sunna.


    • Jumal al-Maqalat (“The Sum of Sayings”), which lists the positions of atheists and the positions of monotheists.


    • Khalq al-A`mal (“The Creation of Deeds”), a refutation of the doctrine of the Mu`tazila and Qadariyya whereby man creates his own deeds.


    • Al-Luma` fi al-Radd `ala Ahl al-Zaygh wa al-Bida` (“The Sparks: A Refutation of Heretics and Innovators”), a slim volume.


    • Al-Luma` al-Kabir (“The Major Book of Sparks”), a preliminary to Idah al-Burhan and, together with the Luma` al-Saghir, the last work composed by al-Ash`ari according to our Shaykh `Isa al-Humyari.


    • Al-Luma` al-Saghir (“The Minor Book of Sparks”), a preliminary to al-Luma` al-Kabir.


    • Maqalat al-Falasifa (“The Sayings of Philosophers”).


    • Maqalat al-Islamiyyin wa Ikhtilfa al-Musallin (“The Discourses of the Proponents of Islam and the Differences Among the Worshippers”), an encyclopedia of Islamic sects.


    • Al-Masa’il `ala Ahl al-Tathniya (“The Questions in Refutation of the Dualists”).



    • al-Mujaz (“The Concise”) in twelve volumes, which identifies and describes the various Islamic sects. It contains a refutation of the Shi`i doctrines of the questioning of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq’s imamate and of the infallibility of the Imam in every era.


    • Al-Mukhtasar fi al-Tawhid wa al-Qadar (“The Abridgment: On the Doctrine of Oneness and Foreordained Destiny”), a review of the different doctrinal issues which the opponents of Ahl al-Sunna are unable to address.


    • Al-Mukhtazan (“The Safekeeping”), on the questions which opponents did not bring up but which pertain to their doctrines.


    • Al-Muntakhal (“The Sifted”), a response to questions from the scholars of Basra.


    • Naqd al-Balkhi fi Usul al-Mu`tazila (“Critique of al-Balkhi and the Principles of the Mu`tazila“), a refutation of the book of the Mu`tazili scholar al-Balkhi entitled Naqd Ta’wil al-Adilla (“Critique of the Interpretation of the Textual Proofs”).


    • Al-Nawadir fi Daqa’iq al-Kalam (“The Rarities Concerning the Minutiae of Dialectic Theology”).


    • Al-Qami` li Kitab al-Khalidi fi al-Irada (“The Subduer: A Refutation of al-Khalidi’s Book on the Will”), a refutation of a-Khalidi’s doctrine whereby Allah creates His own will.


    • Al-Radd `ala Ibn al-Rawandi (“Refutation of Ibn al-Rawandi”) concerning the Divine Attributes and the Qur’an.


    • Al-Radd `ala Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab al-Jubba’i, an extensive refutation of a Mu`tazili scholar and of his book al-Usul (“The Principles”).


    • Al-Radd `ala al-Mujassima (“Refutation of the Anthropomorphists”).


    • A refutation of `Abbad ibn Sulayman in the minutiae of kalâm.


    • A refutation of a book by `Ali ibn `Isa.


    • A refutation of al-Balkhi’s book in which the latter claimed he had rectified Ibn al-Rawandi’s error in his disputation.


    • A refutation of al-Iskafi’s book entitled al-Latif (“The Subtle”).


    • A refutation of al-Jubba’i on the principles and conditions of scholarly investigation and the derivation of rulings.


    • A Refutation of al-Jubba’i’s objections to al-Ash`ari on the vision of Allah in the hereafter as reported by Muhammad ibn `Umar al-Saymari.


    • A refutation of al-Khalidi’s book on the denial of the vision of Allah in the hereafter.


    • A refutation of al-Khalidi’s book on the denial of the creation of the deeds of human beings by Allah Almighty and Exalted according to His decision.


    • The refutation of the philosophers, especially the Perennialist Ibn Qays al-Dahri and Aristotle’s books “On the Heavens” and “On the World.”


    • Al-Ru’ya (“The Vision”), which affirms the vision of Allah by the believers in the hereafter, contrary to the Mu`tazili doctrine which denies the possibility of such a vision.


    • Al-Sharh wa al-Tafsil fi al-Radd `ala Ahl al-Ifk wa al-Tadlil (“The Detailed Explanation in Refutation of the People of Perdition”), a manual for beginners and students to read before al-Luma`.


    • Al-Sifat (“The Attributes”), a description of the doctrines of the Mu`tazila, Jahmiyya, and other sects that differ from Ahl al-Sunna on the topic of the Divine Attributes. It contains a refutation of Abu al-Hudhayl, Ma`mar, al-Nazzam, al-Futi, and al-Nashi, and an affirmation that the Creator possesses a face and hands.


    • Tafsir al-Qur’an wa al-Radd `ala man Khalafa al-Bayan min Ahl al-Ifki wa al-Buhtan (“A Commentary on the Qur’an and Refutation of Those Who Contradicted it Among the People of Perdition and Calumny”) which Ibn al-`Arabi al-Maliki says numbered 500 volumes. Ibn al-Subki reports from al-Dhahabi that this Tafsir was written at a time al-Ash`ari was still a Mu`tazili.


    • Various epistles in response to questions from the scholars of Tabaristan, Khurasan, Arrujan, Sayraf, Amman, Jurjan, Damascus, Wasit, Ramahramuz, Baghdad, Egypt, and Persia.


    • Ziyadat al-Nawadir (“Addenda to `The Rarities’”).


Among al-Ash`ari’s books between the year 320 and his death in 324 as listed by Ibn Furak:



    • Af`al al-Nabi Sallallahu `Alayhi wa Sallam (“The Acts of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him”).


    • Al-Akhbar (“The Reports”).


    • Bayan Madhhab al-Nasara (“Exposition of the Doctrine of Christians”)


    • Hikayat Madhahib al-Mujassima (“The Tales of the Schools of the Anthropomorphists”), a refutation of the proofs they adduce.


    • Al-Ihtijaj (“The Adducing of the Proofs”).


    • Al-Imama (“The Doctrine of the Imam”).


    • Ithbat al-Qiyas (“The Upholding of the Principle of Analogy”).


    • Sessions around the lone-narrator report (al-khabar al-wâhid).


    • Mutashabih al-Qur’an (“The Ambiguities in the Qur’an”), in which he brought together the stands of the Mu`tazila and the atheists in their invalidations of the ambiguities in the hadith.


    • Naqd Ibn al-Rawandi `ala Ibtal al-Tawatur (“The Critique of Ibn al-Rawandi’s Denial of Mass-Narrated Hadiths”), which contains an affirmation of the principle of Consensus (ijmâ`).


    • Naqd al-Mudahat (“Critique of `The Similarity’”), a refutation of al-Iskafi on the term qadar.


    • Naqd al-Taj `ala al-Rawandi (“The Diadem: Critique of Ibn al-Rawandi”).


    • On questions put to al-Jubba’i concerning names and rulings.


    • A refutation of Abu al-Hudhayl on the limitlessness of the foreknowledge and decisions of Allah Almighty and Exalted and another on motions.


    • A refutation of Harith al-Warraq on the Attributes.


    • A refutation of the logicians.


    • A refutation of the proponents of metempsychosis and reincarnation.


    • al-`Umad (“The Supports”) on the vision of Allah in the hereafter.


    • Al-Wuquf wa al-`Umum (“The Abeyance of Rights and the Public at Large”).


After listing the above titles, Ibn `Asakir says: “I have seen other works not mentioned by Ibn Furak in his list.” He then proceeds to list the following:


    • Al-Hathth `ala al-Bahth (“The Encouragement to Research”).


    • Risala al-Iman, an epistle on Belief which discusses whether it is permissible to say that belief is created. Ibn Hajar heard it from Abu Ishaq al-Tannukhi with the latter’s chain of transmission back to al-Ash`ari, through the latter’s student Abu al-Hasan Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Miqsam al-Muqri’ al-Baghdadi.


    • Risala ila Ahl al-Thughar (“Epistle to the People of al-Thughar”), a definition on the doctrines of Ahl al-Sunna.


Ibn `Asakir then mentions that al-Ash`ari’s works number over two or three hundred books. As for the epistle entitled Istihsan al-Khawd fi `Ilm al-Kalam, al-Ash`ari most likely wrote it – provided he actually authored it – before his conversion, since it is ostensibly directed against the Hanbalis and uses markedly Mu`tazili terminology such as “divine Oneness and Justice” (al-tawhîd wa al-`adl) in reference to the fundamentals of belief.


The Corrupt Text of al-Ash`ari’s al-Ibana


The above lists exclude al-Ash`ari’s al-Ibana `an Usul al-Diyana but Ibn `Asakir explicitly attributes it to him in the first few pages of Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari, an attribution confirmed by al-Bayhaqi, Abu al-`Abbas al-`Iraqi, Abu `Uthman al-Sabuni, and other hadith masters. The book dates from the beginnings of al-Ash`ari’s Sunni career according to a report narrated by Ibn Abi Ya`la in Tabaqat al-Hanabila and adduced by al-Dhahabi in the Siyar. The report is phrased rather oddly since it depicts a fawning Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari visiting the Hanbali Abu Muhammad al-Barbahari upon entering Baghdad and enumerating before him his refutations of the Mu`tazila and defense of Ahl al-Sunna in order to win his approval, to which al-Barbahari coolly responds: “We only know what Ahmad ibn Hanbal said.” “Whereupon,” the report continues, “al-Ash`ari went out and wrote al-Ibana but they [the Hanbalis] did not accept it from him.” Al-Dhahabi cites this report at the opening of his biographical notice on al-Barbahari in the Siyar directly following the extremely brief notice on Imam al-Ash`ari. Apart from its obviously Hanbali-biased terms, the report clearly shows that al-Ash`ari composed the Ibana upon first coming to Baghdad or shortly thereafter. Shaykh Wahbi Ghawiji cites a statement explicitly confirming this date from Imam Abu al-Hasan `Ali ibn Ibrahim al-Muqri (Ibn Matar) who died in the year 306: “Imam al-Ash`ari composed it in Baghdad upon entering it.”


However, despite the authenticity of al-Ash`ari’s authorship, the text of the Ibana itself has undoubtedly not reached us in its original authentic form but in a corrupted version which comprises interpolations along two main ideological slants:

(1) the anthropomorphist interpretation of the divine Attributes and

(2) the apostatizing of Imam Abu Hanifa for supposedly holding, with the Jahmiyya, that the Qur’an was created.

Shaykh Wahbi Sulayman Ghawiji has shown in his analysis of the work entitled Nazra `Ilmiyya fi Nisba Kitab al-Ibana Jami`ihi ila al-Imam al-Ash`ari (“A Scientific Look at the Attribution of al-Ibana in Its Entirety to Imam al-Ash`ari”) that these two stances are contradicted by what is known of al-Ash`ari’s authentic positions in his and his students’ works.

  1. The anthropomorphist interpretation of the divine Attributesis illustrated by the following examples:


      • The passage: “[Our position is] that He has two eyes (`aynayn) without saying how; just as He stated: That ran under Our eyes (a`yuninâ) (54:14).” Ibn `Asakir’s citation of the same passage in the Tabyin states: “[Our position is] that He has an eye (`aynan) without saying how.” A recent edition of the Ibana consequently amended its own tradition to follow the text cited by Ibn `Asakir since the evidence of the Qur’an and the Sunna mentions My Eye (`aynî) (20:39) in the singular and Our Eyes (52:48, 54:14) in the plural but never two eyes in the dual. Further down in all versions of the Ibana the text states: “Allah Almighty and Exalted has said that He possesses a face and an eye which is neither given modality nor defined.”


      • The passage: “When supplicating, the Muslims raise their hands toward the sky, because Allah Almighty and Exalted is established (mustawin) over the Throne which is above the heavens… The Muslims all say: `O Dweller of the Throne’ (yâ sâkin al-`arsh)!” This kind of faulty reasoning can hardly come from al-Ash`ari for the following reasons:


      • The Attributes are divinely ordained (tawqîfiyya) and al-Ash`ari considers it impermissible to make up or derive new terms such as mustawin and sâkin al-`arsh if there is no verse or authentic hadith transmitting them verbatim: “My method in the acceptance of the Names of Allah is Law-based authorization without regard to lexical analogy.”


      • The argument of supplication on the basis of location leads to placing Allah Almighty and Exalted inside the Ka`ba according to the same logic, an absurd impossibility.


      • The claim that “the Muslims all say: `O Dweller of the Throne’” is unheard of. Yet Ibn Taymiyya cites it and attempts to justify it with the narration: “Allah created seven heavens then chose the uppermost and dwelt in it,” adducing a condemned report to support an invented phrase!


      • Three editions of the Ibana have, “O Dweller of the heaven (yâ sâkin al-`samâ’)” which further casts doubt on the integrity of the text in addition to being equally anthropomorphist.


      • The passage: “If we are asked: `Do you say that Allah has two hands?’ The answer is: We do say that, without saying `how.’ It is indicated by the saying of Allah Almighty and Exalted The Hand of Allah is above their hands (48:10) and His saying that which I have created with both My hands (38:75). It was also narrated from the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – that he said: `Allah created Adam with His hand then He wiped his back with His hand and brought out of it his offspring.’ So it is established that He has two hands without saying how. And the transmitted report reached us from the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – that `Allah created Adam with Hand, created the Garden of `Adn with His hand, wrote the Torah with His hand, and planted the tree of Tuba with His hand,’ that is: with the hand of His power (ay biyadi qudratih).” The last clause contradicts the entire reasoning that precedes and follows, and is actually suppressed from the latest edition of the Ibana! The text further states: “They say: `the hands’ (al-ayd) are the strength (al-quwwa), so the meaning of with both My hands has to be `with My power’ (bi qudratî). The answer to them is: That interpretation is wrong.” Al-Ash`ari’s actual position on the Attribute of hand according to Ibn `Asakir is: “Al-Ash`ari took the middle road [between the Mu`tazila and the anthropomorphists] and said: His hand is an Attribute and His face is an Attribute, just like His hearing and His sight.”


      • The following passage is missing from two of the editions of al-Ibana but is found in two others: “And [we believe] that He established Himself over the Throne in the sense that He said and the meaning that He wills in a way that transcends touch, settlement, fixity, immanence, and displacement. The Throne does not carry him, rather the Throne and its carriers are carried by the subtleness of His power, subdued under His grip. He is above the Throne and the Heavens and above everything to the limits of the earth with an aboveness which does not bring Him nearer to the Throne and the Heavens, just as it does not make Him further from the earth. Rather, He is Highly Exalted above the Throne and the Heavens, just as He is Highly Exalted above the earth. Nevertheless, He is near to every entity and is (nearer to [the worshipper] than his jugular vein) and He witnesses everything.”

    2. The apostatizing of Imam Abu Hanifa for supposedly holding, with the Jahmiyya, that the Qur’an was created. Imam al-Tahawi stated that Abu Hanifa held the opposite position in his Mu`taqad Abi Hanifa or “Abu Hanifa’s Creed,” also known as the `Aqida Tahawiyya. Nor did al-Ash`ari mention Abu Hanifa in the chapter on those who held the Qur’an was created in his Maqalat al-Islamiyyin. Al-Ash`ari lived in Baghdad – the seat of the Caliphate and home of the Hanafi school – at a time the Hanafi school had long been the state creed and would probably have been executed or exiled for making such a charge. Furthermore, al-Bayhaqi stated that “al-Ash`ari used to defend the positions of the past Imams such as Abu Hanifa and Sufyan al-Thawri among the Kufans.” The charge of the Ibana is therefore almost certainly a later interpolation, as enmity against the Imam al-A`zam and his school and followers typifies fanatic Hanbalis and their “Salafi” successors.

    There are also blatant errors which al-Ash`ari the heresiographer and former Mu`tazili would never commit, such as the attribution to the Mu`tazila as a whole of the belief that Allah Almighty and Exalted is everywhere, when he himself reports in his Maqalat that the vast majority of the Mu`tazila said, like Ahl al-Sunna, that it was the controlling disposal (tadbîr) of Allah Almighty and Exalted that was everywhere. Furthermore, there is apparently no known chain of transmission for the Ibana from the Imam despite its ostensible fame and the abundance of his students, nor do any of his first or second-generation students – such as Ibn Furak – make any mention of it. Finally, Imam al-Qushayri’s Shikaya Ahl al-Sunna bi Hikaya Ma Nalahum Min al-Mihna provides an additional external sign that the tampering of al-Ash`ari’s Ibana took place possibly as early as the fifth century:


    They have attributed despicable positions to al-Ash`ari and claimed he had said certain things of which there is not one iota in his books. Nor can such sayings be found reported in any of the books of the scholars of kalâm who either supported him or opposed him, from the earliest times to our own – whether directly quoted or paraphrased. All of that is misrepresentation, forgery, and unmitigated calumny!


    In conclusion it is possible to say with a fair degree of certainty that the Ibana attributed to al-Ash`ari today is actually the anonymous, chainless rewriting of an anti-Ash`ari, anti-Hanafi literalist with clear anthropomorphist leanings and a willingness to adduce Israelite reports typical of the works of anthropomorphist doctrine while the unaltered version known to Ibn `Asakir, Abu `Uthman al-Sabuni, and other Ash`aris did not reach us. It is a telling confirmation of this conclusion that the early anthropomorphists used to reject the Ibana while those of later centuries quote it without reservation. And Allah knows best.

    Donating the reward of the Qur’an

    June 15, 2007

    Ihda’ – Donating the reward of Qur’an

    We have heard from “Salafi” sources that, contrary to the teaching of Ahl al-Sunna that we know, it is wrong to:
    Donate the reward of Qur’an-recital to the dead, or
    To address the dead upon burial such as with the kalima — LA ILAHA ILLALLAH MUHAMMADUN RASULULLAH, or
    To recite from the Qur’an upon the grave, although the Prophet said to read Ya Seen over the dead.
    What is the understanding of the reliable scholars of the Umma on these three questions?


    The condemnation by those who call themselves “Salafis” of the donation of the reward of Qur’an recitation to the deceased is another proof of an exaggerated and sectarian approach that deviates from the method and teachings of Ahl al-Sunna while claiming to uphold them, and we ask Allah for His protection from error. It is reminiscent of the Mu`tazila position whereby nothing we do can benefit the dead. Thus, in his book on the rulings that pertain to funerals (Mukhtasar ahkam al-jana’iz) published by “Jam`iyyat ihya’ al-turath al-islami,” Shaykh Nasir al-Din Albani lists among the rejected innovations in religion: “the recitation of the Qur’an for the dead and over them” (p. 104 #123, #126) and “recitation of the Fatiha for the dead” or of “Ya Seen over the graves” (p. 105 #147, #148) and “donation to the deceased Muslims of the reward of acts of worship such as the recitation of the Qur’an” (p. 106 #160) and many other such statements, all of which are false and rejected.

    Donation of all kinds of acts of worship, among them Qur’an-recital, can and do benefit the dead, just as the simple supplication of a Muslim does. The Salaf believed the dead were helped and relieved by the living, as shown by the du`a of Abu Hurayra for the dead: allahumma in kana muhsinan fa zid fi ihsanihi wa in kana musi’an fa tajawaz `an sayyi’atihi — “O Allah, if he did good, then increase his goodness, and if he did evil, then forgive his evil deeds.” Malik narrated it. Moreover it is established that the best supplication is the Fatiha itself. We present in the following pages the authentic teaching of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a whereby recitation of the Qur’an for the dead and over them is ordered by the Prophet, especially Surat Ya Seen, and donation to the deceased Muslims of the reward of acts of worship such as the recitation of the Qur’an is not only permitted but recommended.

    There are three parts to this answer in following with the tripartite phrasing of the question:

    a) reciting from the Qur’an upon the grave (qira’a `ala al-qabr);

    b) donation of the reward of Qur’an-recital to the dead (ihda’ al-thawab);

    c) instructing the dead after burial (talqin al-mayyit).


    a) reciting from the Qur’an upon the grave (qira’a `ala al-qabr):

    The Prophet said: iqra’u `ala mawtakum ya seen “Read Ya Seen over those of you who are dying/deceased.” It is narrated by Abu Dawud in his Sunan (Jana’iz), al-Nasa’i in his Sunan (`Amal al-yawm wal-layla), Ibn Majah in his Sunan (Jana’iz), and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih (Ihsan), and he declared it sound (sahih).

    `Abd al-Haqq ibn al-Kharrat al-Ishbili (d. 582) in his book al-`Aqiba (p. 255 #576) said: “The meaning of this hadith may be that the recitation is done over the person at the time the person is dying; or that it be done at his grave.” al-Qurtubi said the same according to Suyuti who adds: “I say: the vast majority of the scholars take the former meaning, while Ibn `Abd al-Wahid al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali [and others] take the latter in the monograph he compiled on the topic. Both apply.” Sharh al-sudur p. 312. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya in Kitab al-ruh (Madani ed. p. 18-19) also prefers the former meaning (“dying”).

    The Prophet said: “Ya Seen is the heart of the Qur’an, no man reads it desiring Allah and the afterlife except he is forgiven. Read it over your dying/deceased.” Ahmad relates it in his Musnad (5:26) as part of a longer narration whose chain contains two unnamed narrators.

    `Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah said: I heard Ibn `Umar say: I heard the Prophet say: “When one of you dies do not tarry, but make haste and take him to his grave, and let someone read at his head the opening of Surat al-Baqara, and at his feet its closure when he lies in the grave.” al-Tabarani narrates it in al-Mu`jam al-kabir, but Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa’id (3:44) that the latter’s chain contains Yahya ibn `Abd Allah al-Dahhak al-Babalti who is weak. However, the hadith is confirmed by the practice of `Abd Allah ibn `Umar as narrated through sound chains (see below). al-Khallal also narrates the hadith in his al-Amr bi al-ma`ruf (p. 122 #239).

    It is related that al-`Ala’ ibn al-Lajlaj said to his children: “When you bury me, say as you place me in the side-opening (lahd) of the grave: Bismillah wa `ala millati rasulillah — In the name of Allah and according to the way of Allah’s Messenger — then flatten the earth over me, and read at the head of my grave the beginning of Surat al-Baqara and its end, for I have seen that Ibn `Umar liked it.” Narrated by Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (4:56), Ibn Qudama in al-Mughni (2:474, 2:567, 1994 ed. 2:355), al-Tabarani in al-Kabir, and Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa’id (3:44) that the latter’s narrators were all declared trustworthy.

    Abu Bakr al-Khallal (d. 311) in al-Amr bi al-ma`ruf (p. 121 #237) relates the above with the following wording: “flatten the earth over me, then read at the head of my grave the Opening of the Book, the beginning of Surat al-Baqara, and its end, for I have heard Ibn `Umar instruct it.” Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya cites it in Kitab al-ruh (Madani ed. p. 17) from Khallal’s narration in al-Jami` but without mention of the Fatiha.

    `Ali ibn Musa al-Haddad said: “I was once with Ahmad ibn Hanbal at a funeral in the company of Muhammad ibn Qudama al-Jawhari. After the dead was interred a blind man came up and recited [from the Qur’an] beside the grave. ‘O So-and-so,’ Ahmad said to him, ‘Recitation at the graveside is an innovation (bid`a)!’ But when we left the cemetary Muhammad ibn Qudama asked Ahmad, ‘O Abu `Abd Allah, what is your opinion of Mubashshir ibn Isma`il al-Halabi?’ ‘A sound authority,’ he said, ‘have you written anything down from him?’… ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘Mubashshir ibn Isma`il related to me on the authority of his father, on the authority of Abd al-Rahman ibn al-`Ala’ ibn al-Lajlaj, on the authority of his father, that he had requested that upon his death the opening and closing verses of the Chapter of the Cow should be recited over his grave, saying: I heard Ibn `Umar requesting that this be done.’ Thereupon, Ahmad said to him, ‘Return to the man, and bid him recite’.” Narrated by al-Ghazali in his Ihya, book of “The Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife,” trans. T.J. Winter [`Abd al-Hakim Murad] (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1989) p. 117. al-Khallal narrates it in al-Amr bi al-ma`ruf (p. 122 #240-241), Ibn Qudama in al-Mughni (2:567, Beirut 1994 ed. 2:355) and Qal`a’ji in Fiqh Ibn `Umar (p. 618). Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya cites it in Kitab al-ruh (Madani ed. p. 18) from Khallal’s narration in al-Jami`. Ghazali prefaces the relation with the words: “There is no harm in reciting the Qur’an over graves.”

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

    Shawkani in Tuhfat al-dhakirin (p. 229) cited al-Jazari’s instruction in al-Hisn al-hasin: “Let one recite over the grave, after burial, the beginning of Surat al-Baqara and its end.” This is based on Ibn `Umar’s words narrated by Bayhaqi in his Sunan (4:56): “I like that it be read over the grave the beginning of Surat al-Baqara and its end.” Shawkani comments: “Nawawi declared its chain fair (hassana isnadahu), and even if it is only Ibn `Umar’s saying, such as this is not uttered on the basis of mere opinion. It is possible that because of what he learned of the benefit of such recitation generally speaking, he then deemed it desirable that it be read over the grave due to its merit, in the hope that the deceased benefit from its recitation.”

    Mujalid said: al-Shu`bi said: “The Ansar, if someone died among them, would go to his grave and recite the Qur’an there.” al-Khallal narrates it in al-Amr bi al-ma`ruf (p. 123 #244) with a chain that contains Sufyan ibn Waki` who is weak according to Haythami, but from whom Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad took over eighty narrations. Furthermore Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya also cites it as evidence in Kitab al-ruh (Madani ed. p. 18).

    Ya`qub ibn al-Sayyid `Ali al-Hanafi said: “[One visiting the graves] should read Surat Ya Seen or whatever is easy for him to recite from Qur’an. Know that Abu Hanifah, May Allah have mercy upon him, considered it blameworthy (makruh) to recite Qur’an at the cemetary, but not Muhammad, May Allah have mercy upon him.” Mafatih al-jinan sharh shir`at al-Islam p. 580.

    Qadi Khan al-Hanafi said in his Fatawa: “Whoever recites from the Qur’an over the graves: if he intends thereby that the familiarity of the sound of the Qur’an reach them, then let him recite. If he did not intend that, then Allah hears the Qur’an wherever you recite it.” Suyuti mentions it in Sharh al-sudur (p. 312).

    al-Za`farani said: “I asked al-Shafi`i about reciting Qur’an at the graveside and he said: la ba’sa bihi — There is no harm in it.” al-Khallal narrates it in al-Amr bi al-ma`ruf (p. 123 #243), Suyuti in Sharh al-sudur (p. 311), and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya in Kitab al-ruh (Madani ed. p. 18).

    Ibrahim ibn Rahawayh said: “There is no harm in reciting the Qur’an in cemetaries.” al-Khallal narrates it with his chain (p. 123 #245).

    Imam Ahmad said the same. Ibn Qudama relates it in al-Mughni (1994 ed. 2:355).

    al-Khallal said: Abu `Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham al-Bazzar — our most trustworthy shaykh — narrated to me: “I saw Ahmad ibn Hanbal pray behind a blind man who was reciting Qur’an over the graves.” Ibn Qudama relates it in al-Mughni (1994 ed. 2:355) as well as al-Khallal himself with his chain in his book al-Amr bi al-ma`ruf (p. 123 #242).

    Nawawi said: “Whoever visits a grave, let him greet its dweller, recite some Qur’an, and make an invocation for the deceased.” al-Nawawi, Minhaj al-Talibin, end of Kitab al-Jana’iz.

    He also said in al-Majmu` sharh al-muhadhdhab: “It is desirable (yustahabb) that one who is visiting the graves recite from the Qur’an what is easy for him to recite, after which, that he invoke Allah on their behalf. Shafi`i stipulated it and his companions all agreed with him.” In another place he says: “If they conclude the recitation of the Qur’an over the grave it is better.” Suyuti mentioned both excerpts in his Sharh al-sudur (p. 311).

    Nawawi also said in his Sharh Sahih Muslim (al-Mays ed. 3/4:206): “The scholars have declared desirable — mustahabb — the recitation of the Qur’an over the grave.”

    al-Qurtubi said: “As for reciting over the grave, then our companions (Malikis) are categorical that it is lawful, and others say the same.” Suyuti mentioned it in his Sharh al-sudur (p. 311).

    al-Jazayri said: “Someone who visits the grave must engage in du`a and supplication. He must reflect upon those who died and he must recite Qur’an for the dead, for the more correct view is that this benefits the dead.” al-Jazayri, al-Fiqh `ala al-madhahib al-arba`a (2:540).

    One of the false rulings given by Albani in his Talkhis ahkam al-jana’iz (p. 102 #90) concerning recitation at the graveside is that it is an innovation — he claims — to recite upon throwing the first earth into the grave: minha khalaqnakum and upon throwing the second: wa fiha nu`idukum and upon throwing the third: wa minha nukhrijukum taratan ukhra “From it (the earth) We created you // and into it We return you // and from it We shall bring you out once more” (20:55). The proof that this is a hasty and careless ruling is:

    Even if the chain of the hadith stating that the Prophet did it, which al-Hakim narrated in his Mustadrak — followed by his student Bayhaqi — was declared weak by Ibn Hajar, it does not remove the possibility that the hadith is authentic, and this possibility precludes its practice from being an innovation or being called one.
    Albani’s ruling that it is an innovation is itself an innovation, for none of the verifying scholars of Ahl al-Sunna declared what he declared although they looked at the same evidence: Not al-Hakim, nor Bayhaqi, Ibn Hajar, Ibn al-Jazari, Shawkani, and Nawawi.
    Not only did Nawawi not declare it an innovation but he declared it mustahabb according to the vast majority of the authorities in the Shafi`i school, as Shawkani reported in his Tuhfat al-dhakirin (p. 229) and Nayl al-awtar (4:81) without contradicting him, although he did report Ibn Hajar’s grading in the latter.
    Nawawi said in Kitab al-adhkar (Ta’if ed. p. 211-212):

    The Sunna for whoever is at the graveside [at the time of burial] is to to throw earth with his hand three times into the grave at the side of the head.

    A large group of our companions [in the Shafi`i school] said: “It is desirable — mustahabb — that one recite upon throwing the first earth into the grave: minha khalaqnakum and upon throwing the second: wa fiha nu`idukum and upon throwing the third: wa minha nukhrijukum taratan ukhra “From it (the earth) We created you // and into it We return you // and from it We shall bring you out once more” (20:55).

    It is desirable that after burial they sit at graveside for the duration of slaughtering a camel and distributing its meat, and that during that time the sitters busy themselves with reciting Qur’an, supplicating for the deceased, exhortation, and the stories of the People of Goodness as well as the states of the saints… We narrated in Sahih Muslim [book of iman] from `Amr ibn al-`As that he said: “After you bury me, stay around my grave for the duration of slaughtering a camel and distributing its meat, so that I may share your familiar company and examine what I should reply to my Lord’s envoys [the angels of the grave].”

    We also narrated in Sunan Abi Dawud [Jana’iz #3221] and al-Bayhaqi [al-Sunan al-kubra 4:56; also al-Hakim’s Mustadrak 1:370]: from `Uthman that the Prophet, whenever he finished burying the deceased, would stand over him and say: “Ask forgiveness for your brother, and ask for him to be made firm, for he is presently being questioned.”

    al-Shafi`i and his companions said: “It is desirable — yustahabb — that they recite something of the Qur’an at the graveside,” and they said: “If they recited the entire Qur’an it would be good.”

    We also narrated in Bayhaqi’s Sunan (4:56-57) with a fair (hasan) chain that Ibn `Umar liked for the beginning and the end of Surat al-Baqara to be recited over the grave after burial.

    b) donation of the reward of Qur’an-recital to the dead (ihda’ thawab al-qur’an ila al-mayyit):

    al-Kamal ibn al-Humam al-Hanafi in Fath al-qadir stated that every single act of worship including Qur’an-recital can be donated to the deceased. The Hanafi faqih `Uthman ibn `Ali ibn Mihjan al-Zayla`i said: “There is nothing rationally far-fetched in the reaching of someone else’s reward to the dead because it is nothing more than the placing of what he possesses of reward at someone else’s disposal, and it is Allah Who is the One Who conveys it, and He is able to do that. Nor is this specific to one type of act at the exclusion of another.” Ibn `Abidin said in his Hashiyat al-durr al-mukhtar that in visiting the graves one may recite:

    Surat al-Fatiha
    Surat al-Baqara, beginning, Ayat al-Kursi, and amana al-rasul
    Surat Ya Seen
    Surat al-Mulk
    Surat al-Takathur
    Surat al-Ikhlas 12 or 11 or 7 or 3 times
    Then let him say: allahumma awsil thawaba ma qara’tuhu ila fulan aw ilayhim: O Allah, convey the reward of what I have recited to So-and-so [one or many].

    Hasanayn Muhammad Makhluf mentioned all these sayings in his Fatawa shar`iyya (2:277-279, 2:308).

    Makhluf also reports (2:300) that among the later Malikis the preferred position is that the reward of Qur’an recitation does reach the deceased, as stated by Ibn Farhun according to Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani in his Risala, and Ibn Rushd states that there is no objection on the permissibility of donating the reward.

    Imam Suyuti states in Sharh al-sudur bi sharh hal al-mawta wa al-qubur (p. 310):

    There is disagreement as to the reward of recitation reaching to the dead. The vast majority of the Salaf as well as the Three Imams consider that it does reach them, while our Imam, al-Shafi`i, differs. His basis was the verse: wa an laysa li al-insani illa ma sa`a: “Man can have nothing but what he strives for” (53:39). However, the former replied to this objection in several ways:

    (a) The verse is abrogated by Allah’s saying: wa al-ladhina amanu wa ittaba`athum dhurriyyatuhum: And those who believe and whose families follow them in Faith, — to them We shall join their families: nor shall We deprive them of the fruit of anything of their works: yet each individual is in pledge for his deeds (52:21). This verse enters the children into Paradise because of the righteousness of the parents.

    (b) The verse “Man can have nothing but what he strives for” is specific to Ibrahim’s and Musa’s nations. As for this Community which has been granted mercy, then it has both what it strove for and what was striven for on its behalf. This is the saying of `Ikrima (Ibn `Abbas’s freedman and the transmitter of his Tafsir. Bukhari included 139 of his narrations in his Sahih. He died in Madina in 104).

    (c) What is meant by “man” in that verse is the disbeliever. As for the believer, then he has both what he strove for and what was striven for on his behalf. This is the saying of (the Tabi`i) al-Rabi` ibn Anas (d. 139).

    (d) Man can have nothing but what he strives for according to divine justice (`adl); as for what comes through divine munificence (fadl), then it is permissible for him that Allah increase him in anything whatsoever. This is the saying of al-Husayn ibn al-Fadl (al-Bajali, one of Bayhaqi’s (d. 458) shaykhs. Qurtubi often cites him in his Tafsir).

    (e) The meaning of the verse is: “Man will have nothing counted against him except what he strove for.”

    They used as proof of the reward of recitation reaching to the dead, the analogy of all that is sent in the way of supplication (du`a), charity (sadaqa), fasting (sawm), pilgrimage (hajj), and manumission (`itq): since there is no difference in the transfer of reward whether it is for pilgrimage, charity, endowment (waqf), supplication, or recitation. They have also used the hadiths that will be mentioned, and even if these are weak, yet their collected import is that the donation of reward has a basis in the Law. Another proof they have used is the fact that the Muslims never ceased at any time in history to gather and recite (the Qur’an) for their dead without anyone objecting, and this constitutes consensus (ijma`). All the above was mentioned by the hadith master (hafiz) Shams al-Din ibn `Abd al-Wahid al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali in a monograph he compiled on the topic. End of Suyuti’s words.

    Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Marwazi said: “I once heard Ahmad ibn

    Hanbal say, ‘Whenever you enter a cemetary, recite the Opening Chapter of the Book, the Two Refuge-taking Chapters, and [the chapter which begins] {Say: He is God, the One}. Make the reward of all this over to the people of the cemetary, for it will reach them.'” Narrated by `Abd al-Haqq ibn al-Kharrat al-Ishbili (d. 582) in his book al-`Aqiba, also by al-Muhibb al-Tabari and Suyuti in Sharh al-sudur (p. 312). See also Ghazali’s Ihya, book of “The Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife,” trans. T.J. Winter [`Abd al-Hakim Murad] (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1989) p. 117.

    Ibn `Abbas narrates: The Prophet once passed by two graves and said, “These two persons are being tortured not for any major sin. One of them never saved himself from being soiled with his urine, while the other used to spread calumnies.” The Prophet then took a green date-palm stalk, split it into two pieces, and fixed one on each grave. They said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Why have you done so?” He replied, “I hope that their punishment might be lessened until these two pieces become dry.” Bukhari and Muslim narrated it. (Cf. (English Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 4, Number 217.)

    Nawawi said in commenting on the above in his Sharh Sahih Muslim (al-Mays ed. 3/4:206): “The scholars have declared desirable — mustahabb — the recitation of the Qur’an over the grave due to the above hadith, because if relief from punishment is hoped for through the glorification of date-palm stalks, then the recitation of the Qur’an is more deserving yet, and Allah knows best.”

    Qurtubi said: “It is also said that the reward of recitation goes to the reciter while the reward of listening goes to the deceased, whence mercy reaches him. Allah said: If the Qur’an is recited, listen to it and be silent, perhaps you will be granted mercy (7:204). It is not unlikely that in Allah’s munificence the reward of both the recitation and the audition reach him, and, added to that, the reward of whatever is donated to him from the recitation even what is not heard, such as charity and supplication… Some of our scholars have inferred a proof for the deceased’s benefit in the recitation of Qur’an at the grave from the hadith of the date-palm stalk which the Prophet split and fixed (above the graves) saying: Perhaps their punishment might be lessened until these two pieces become dry.” al-Khattabi said: “Among the People of Knowledge this is understood on the basis that all things make glorification as long as they are in their original state, or their verdancy and freshness; until they lose their moistness or greenness, or they are cut off from their root.” Other than Khattabi said: “If the glorification of the stalk lightens their punishment, what about the recitation of the Qur’an by the believer? This hadith also constitutes a legal basis for the planting of trees at the site of graves.” Among the Companions it is established that Abu Barza al-Aslami [as narrated by Ibn `Asakir through Hammad ibn Salama] and Burayda [as narrated by Ibn Sa`d] asked to be buried together with two fresh stalks. Suyuti mentioned this in Sharh al-sudur (p. 312-313).

    Ibn al-Jawzi said, as reported by Ahmad ibn Qudama al-Maqdisi in his abridgment entitled Mukhtasar minhaj al-qasidin (p. 448): “Let whoever visits the graves face towards the deceased in his grave, recite something from teh Qur’an, and donate it to him, and let the visit be on the Day of Jum`a.”

    Nawawi said: “There is consensus among the scholars that du`a [invocation] for the dead benefits them, and that its reward reaches them. They have adduced Allah’s saying: “And those who came (into the faith) after them say: Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who were before us in the faith” (59:10) and other well-known verses with the same import, as well as the well-known narrations such as the Prophet’s saying: “O Allah, forgive the people of Baqi` al-Gharqad” [i.e. the cemetary of the Companions]

    and others. There is disagreement among the scholars as to whether the reward of reciting Qur’an reaches the dead. It is well-known that Shafi`i and some Shafi`i scholars said it did not, while Ahmad ibn Hanbal and another group of scholars among whom are Shafi`is said that it did reach the dead. It is up to the reciter to say at the end of his recitation: O Allah, bring the reward of what I have recited to So-and-so. And Allah knows best.” Nawawi, al-Adhkar (Mecca ed. 1992 p. 208; Ta’if ed. p. 215 #500). These words of Nawawi make it patently clear that he did not consider ihda’ al-thawab an innovation, rather he declared it permissible.

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

    Ibn Abi al-`Izz al-Hanafi, who adopted the doctrines of Ibn Taymiyya, said in his commentary on Tahawi’s `Aqida (1995 ed. 2:664-673):

    Ahl al-Sunna agree that the dead benefit from the striving of the living in two matters: the first is what the dead one himself caused to take place during his life, and the second is the invocation of Muslims on behalf of the dead, their asking forgiveness for them, giving charity, and performing pilgrimage….

    As for the reward of such bodily worship as fasting, reciting Qur’an, and dhikr reaching the dead, there is disagreement. Abu Hanifa, Ahmad, and the vast majority of the Salaf agree that it reaches the dead, while the more known position of the schools of al-Shafi`i and Malik is that it does not… Some of the innovators among the Ahl al-kalam [i.e. the Mu`tazila] have adduced as proof for the complete lack of benefit for the dead such ambiguous verses as: “Man can have nothing but what he strives for” (53:39), and “Nor are you requited except for what you used to do” (36:54), and “For the soul is only what it has earned, and against it only what it has deserved” (2:286) and that the established hadith whereby the Prophet said: “When a human being dies his work ceases, except for three things…” shows that the Prophet said that one only benefits from what one has brought about during his life, and as for the rest then he is cut off from it….

    But the proof that the dead benefits from other than what he has brought about in his life is in the Book, the Sunna, the Consensus, and the sound analogy…. [After citing several proofs he says:] As for the reaching to the deceased of someone else’s reward for fasting, it is narrated in the two Sahihs [also Abu Dawud, Ahmad, and al-Nasa’i] from `A’isha that the Prophet said: “Whoever dies without making up an obligatory fast that he had missed, let his patron (wali) fast on his behalf…. The Lawgiver pointed, with the reaching of the reward of fasting, to the reaching of the reward for Qur’an-recitation and other such types of bodily worship. It is made plain by the fact that to fast is merely to restrain the ego from food through intention, and the Lawgiver has prescribed that its reward will reach the dead: what about the reward of recitation which is both work and intention?…. The recitation of Qur’an and its voluntary, unpaid donation to the dead do reach him, just as the reward of fasting and pilgrimage reach him.

    Mulla `Ali al-Qari in his commentary on Abu Hanifa entitled Sharh al-fiqh al-akbar (p. 194-197) said:

    Among them [the rulings that pertain to barzakh] is the ruling that the supplication of the living and the donations on their behalf (sadaqa) benefits the dead and raises their positions, contrary to the Mu`tazila who said that the qada’ or divine decree does not change for the dead and that every soul has only what she gained and cannot acquire what someone else does: the answer to this is that the immutability of qada’ for the dead does not preclude the benefit of the supplication of the living on their behalf, for such benefit may well be part of the qada’ in the first place. Furthermore it may be that the benefit of the living in making the du`a is itself for an action they did in the world and for which they get the reward in the hereafter.

    In addition to all the above the supplication for the dead is established in sound hadith, especially in salat al-janaza, and the Salaf transmitted it, and the Khalaf agreed upon it, and if there was no benefit in it for the dead it would be in vain, whereas many verses of the Qur’an comprise invocation for the dead such as: “O my Lord! grant them mercy as they raised me when I was young” (17:24), “O my Lord! forgive me and my parents and whomever enters my house a believer, and all believers males and female” (71:28), “O our Lord! forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith” (59:10). It is related from Sa`d ibn `Ubada that he said: “O Messenger of Allah! Umm Sa`d — in Nasa’i: my mother — died, what is the best donation (sadaqa) [on her behalf]?” The Prophet replied: “Water.” Sa`d dug a well and said: “This is for Umm Sa`d.” Abu Dawud and al-Nasa’i [with a sound chain] narrated it [also Ibn Majah and Ahmad with a sound chain]…

    al-Qunawi said: “The principle inferred from this among Ahl al-Sunna is that any person can donate the reward of their work to another, whether prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, charity (sadaqa), or other than that.” al-Shafi`i permitted this in charity and acts of monetary worship (`ibada maliyya) as well as pilgrimage, and if someone recites over the grave then the deceased obtains (only) the reward of listening to the Qur’an, but he objected to the bestowability of the reward of Qur’an-recital to the dead, as well as that of prayer, fasting, and all non-monetary acts of obedience and worship. The position of Abu Hanifa and his companions is that donation is permitted and that the reward (of recitation) does go to the deceased.

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

    The answer is: The verse is a proof for us, because the one who donates the reward of his work to another strives in conveying such reward to the other: therefore he obtains what he strove for according to that verse, and he does not obtain it except through the reaching of the reward to the one to whom he donates it. Thus the verse is a strong proof for us, not against us! As for the hadith, then it indicates that the work of the deceased stops and we hold this to be the case also, however, the issue is only the reaching to him of another’s reward. The One who causes the reward to reach the dead is Allah, because the dead do not hear by themselves, and their nearness and distance is all one and the same with relation to Allah’s power, and He said: “Call upon Me and I shall respond to you” (40:60)…

    Shaykh Muhammad Makhluf said: “As for reciting the Qur’an for the deceased, whether at his grave or far from it, scholars disagree as to whether the reward for it reaches him. The scholarly majority hold that it does reach him, and this is the truth, especially if the reciter afterwards donates the reward of what he has read to the deceased. In such a case the reciter also receives the reward for his recital without this diminishing anything from the reward of the deceased.” Fatawa shar`iyya wa buhuth Islamiyya (2:303). From Nuh Ha Mim Keller’s Reliance of the Traveller (w35.0).

    Sheikh Nuh Ali Salman said: “The position of Hanafis and Hanbalis is that a Muslim is entitled to donate the reward of any kind of worship he performs to whomever he wishes of the Muslim dead. As for Shafi`is and Malikis, they distinguish between acts that are valid to perform in another’s stead and those that are not, the former being valid to donate the reward of to the deceased, while the latter are not, though the later scholars of the Shafi’i and Malikis incline toward the validity of donating the reward of any kind of worship whatever to the dead. The Hanafis and Hanbalis adduce the following evidence to support their position:

    (1) Bukhari and Muslim relate that the Prophet sacrificed two rams of predominantly white color, one for himself and the other for his Community. The evidence therein is that the Prophet offered sacrifice animals and donated the reward to his Community, which includes both the living and the dead, both those who existed in his time and those who came after.

    (2) Anas relates that he said to the Prophet: “O Messenger of Allah, we give in charity, perform the pilgrimage, and supplicate for our dead. Does this reach them?” He replied, “Yes, indeed it reaches them, and they rejoice thereat just as one of you rejoices at the gift of a tray of food.”

    (3) The Prophet said: “Recite Ya Seen [Qur’an 36] over your dead.”

    (4) Allah Mighty and Majestic has informed us that the angels ask forgiveness for believers, as He says: “The angels glorify their Lord with praise and ask forgiveness for those on earth” (42:5) and He praises believers who ask forgiveness for their brethren, by saying: “…And those who come after them say, ‘Lord, forgive us and our brethren who have preceded us in faith'” (59:10).

    (5) And the Prophet used to supplicate for those he performed the funeral prayer over — the evidence in all of the above being that supplication (du`a’) are an act of worship, for the Prophet said: “Supplication is worship,” while the above texts clearly show that supplications benefit others besides the one who makes them, even when the other does no ask for the supplication to be made for him.

    The foregoing provides evidence that the deceased benefits from all types of worship, whether monetary or physical, since fasting, pilgrimage, supplications, and asking forgiveness are all physical acts of worship, and Allah Most High conveys the benefit of them to the deceased — and so it must also be with other works.” Nuh `Ali Salman, Qada’ al `ibadat wa al-niyaba fiha, Maktaba al-Risala al-Haditha, Amman, 1403/1983 (p. 400-403). From the Reliance of the Traveller (w35.0).

    c) instructing the dead after burial (talqin al-mayyit)
    Abu Umama al-Bahili said: Allah’s Messenger said: “When one of you dies and you have settled the earth over him, let one of you stand at the head of his grave and then say: O So-and-so, son of So-and-so [name of the mother]! for he will hear him even if he does not reply. Then let him say a second time: O So-and-so, son of So-and-so [name of the mother]! whereupon he will sit up (in his grave). Then let him say: O So-and-so, son of So-and-so [name of the mother]! At this the other one will say: Instruct me, and may Allah grant you mercy! even if you cannot hear it (wa lakin la tasma`un) — or [in Ibn Hajar’s narration]: even if you cannot notice it (wa lakin la tash`urun). Then let him say: Remember the state in which you left this world, which is your witnessing that there is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger; that you are pleased with Allah as your Lord, Islam as your religion, Muhammad as your Prophet, and the Qur’an as your book. At that Munkar and Nakir [the angels of the questioning in the grave] hold each other back, saying: Let us go; there is no need for us to tarry here, for he has been instructed his argument. [In Tabarani’s and Ibn Qudama’s narration:] And Allah will accept his argument without the two of them.” A man said: O Messenger of Allah, what if his mother’s name is not known?” He replied: “Then let him say: Son of Hawwa’ [Eve].”

    It is narrated by Ibn Qudama in al-Mughni (1994 ed. 2:319) who mentions that Ibn Shahin narrates it in Kitab dhikr al-mawt with his chain. Ibn Hajar in Talkhis al-habir (2:143) said that Tabarani narrates it with an adequate chain (isnaduhu salih) which, despite its weakness, is consolidated by the witnessing of sound hadiths, and that Dia’ al-Din declared it strong (qawwah) in his Ahkam. Shawkani also narrates it in Nayl al-awtar (4:89-90) from the narration of Sa`id in his Sunan from Rashid ibn Sa`d and Damara ibn Habib, and he mentions that `Abd al-`Aziz al-Hanbali also narrated it in his Shafi. Shawkani’s citation of Sa`id’s narration is not traced back to the Prophet and its wording is: “They used to like (kanu yastahibbun) that it be said to the dead…”, “they” referring to the Companions, and Shawkani added that Shafi`i’s companions also considered it mustahabb — desirable.

    Among the Hanafis Ibn `Abidin stated in his Hashiyat al-durr al-mukhtar that instructing the deceased after burial is lawful and that it is useful to make him firm and keep him company with a reminder according to what has been mentioned in the reports. Hasanayn Muhammad Makhluf mentioned it in his Fatawa shar`iyya (2:272). See also Ibn `Abidin’s Shifa’ al-`alil.

    Nawawi in al-Adhkar (Ta’if ed. p. 212-213 #494) said:

    A very large number of our companions [i.e. of the Shafi`i school] declared that it is desirable — mustahabb — to instruct the deceased after burial, and among those who prescribed it are Qadi Husayn in his Ta`liq, his companion Abu Sa`d al-Mutawalli in his book al-Tatimma, the Shaykh, the Imam, the Zahid Abu al-Fath Nasr ibn Ibrahim ibn Nasr al-Maqdisi, Imam Abu al-Qasim al-Rafi`i, and others… The Shaykh and Imam Abu `Amr ibn al-Salah was asked about this instruction to the dead and he said in his Fatawa: “The talqin is what we choose and what we practice.”

    Ibn Qudama in al-Mughni (1994 ed. 2:319) cites among those who practiced talqin al-amwat or declared it desirable — mustahabb:

    Abu al-Mughira
    Abu Bakr ibn Abi Maryam al-Tabi`i
    Rashid ibn Sa`d al-Tabi`i
    Hamza ibn Jundub al-Tabi`i
    Hakim ibn `Umayr al-Tabi`i
    The shuyukh of the above-named, i.e. among the Companions
    Ibn `Iyash
    al-Qadi Abu Ya`la ibn al-Farra’
    Abu al-Khattab
    Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya adds Imam Ahmad to the above list of those who consider it good to instruct the deceased, as stated in the following passage of his Kitab al-ruh (Madani ed. p. 20-21):

    Another proof of this [the dead hearing the living] is also the practice of people (`amal al-nas) formerly and to the present time of instructing the dead in his grave (talqin al mayyit fi qabrihi). If the dead did not hear that and did not benefit by it there would be no advantage in it and it would be done in vain. Imam Ahmad was asked about it and he considered it good (istahsanahu) and adduced for it a proof from usage (ihtajja `alayhi bi al-`amal).

    There is also related on this subject a weak narration which al-Tabarani related in his Mu`jam from Abu Umama, who said:… [see above]. Although this hadith has not been established (lam yathbut), nevertheless the continuity of its practice in every country and time without objection is sufficient warrant for its performance. For Allah certainly never caused a custom (`ada) to persist so that a people who encompass the eastern and western parts of the earth, and who are the most perfect of peoples in intelligence, and the most comprehensive of them in sciences, should agree to address one who neither hears nor reasons, and approve of that, without some mistrustful one of that people disapproving it! But, the first established it for the last (sannahu al-awwalu li al-akhir), and the last imitates the first therein (wa yaqtadi fihi al-akhiru bi al-awwal). And were it not that the one who is addressed hears, this act would have the status of address to earth and wood and stone and the non-existent — and this, even if one person might approve of it, the learned would unanimously abhor it and condemn it.

    Abu Dawud related in his Sunan with a chain to which there is no objection: The Prophet attended the funeral of a man, and when he was buried he said: “Ask confirmation for your brother, for he is now being questioned.” So he gave information that he was being questioned at that time. And since he was being asked, then he could hear the dictation. And it is valid on the Prophet’s authority that the dead one hears the beating of their sandals when they turn to leave.

    `Abd al-Haqq [Ibn al-Kharrat al-Ishbili] related on the authorities of one of the saints that he said: “A brother of mine died and I saw him in my sleep. I said: O brother, what was your state when you were placed in your grave? He said: Someone kept coming to me with a bright flame of fire. If it had not been that someone made du`a for me I would have perished.”

    Shabib ibn Shayba said: “My mother enjoined me at her death saying: O my son, when you bury me, stand at my grave and say: O mother of Shabib, repeat: la ilaha illallah. So when I buried her, I stood at her grave and said: O mother of Shabib, repeat: la ilaha illallah. Then I departed. When night came I saw her in my sleep and she said: O my son, I was on the point of perishing but for the expression: la ilaha illallah overtaking me. So you have observed my last wish, O my son.

    Shaykh Nuh `Ali Salman said as reported in The Reliance of the Traveller (p. 921-924 w32.1-32.2):

    Instructing the deceased (talqin) is when a Muslim sits besides the grave of his fellow Muslim after burial to speak to him, reminding him of the Testification of Faith “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,” and certain other matters of belief, such as that death is real, paradise is real, hell is real, and that Allah shall raise up those who are in their graves — and praying that the deceased will prove steadfast when the two angels question him. It does not have a particular form, but rather anything that accomplishes the above is called “instructing the deceased.” The following evidence may be adduced for its validity in Sacred Law:

    The rigorously authenticated (sahih) hadith that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) ordered that the bodies of the idolators slain on the day of Badr be thrown into a well whose interior was uncased with stones, then he approached the well and began calling the unbelievers by their names and fathers’ names, saying: “O So-and-so son of So-and-so, and So-and-so son of So-and-so: it would have been easier if you had obeyed Allah and His Messenger. We have found what our Lord promised to be true; have you found what your Lord promised to be true?” To which `Umar said: “O Messenger of Allah, why speak to lifeless bodies?” And he replied: “By Him in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, you do not hear my words better than they do.”
    The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
    “When a servant is laid in his grave and his friends have turned away from him and he hears the footfalls of their sandals, two angels come to him, sit him upright, and ask him: “What were you wont to say [i.e. what did you use to say] of this man Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace)?” The believer will answer: “I testify that he is the slave of Allah and his Messenger,” and it will be said: “Look at your place in hell, Allah has changed it for a place in paradise,” and the man will behold both of them…”

    `Uthman ibn `Affan (Allah be well pleased with him) relates that when the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to finish burying someone, he would stand by the grave and say, “All of you, ask Allah to forgive your brother and make him steadfast, for he is now being asked.”
    Abu Umama said: “When I die, do with me as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) ordered us, saying: “When one of your brothers die and you have smoothed over the earth upon his grave, let one of you stand at the head of the grave and say: “O So-and-so son of So-and-so [note: the latter “So-and-so” is feminine, naming the deceased’s mother] — for he will hear, though he cannot reply — and then say: “O So-and-so son of So-and-so,” and he will sit upright; and then say: “O So-and-so son of So-and-so,” and he will say: “Direct me, Allah have mercy on you,” though you will not hear it, but should say: “Remember the creed upon which you departed from this world, the testification that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, and that you accepted Allah as your Lord, Islam as your religion, Muhammad as your Prophet, and the Koran as your examplar.” For then the two angels Munkar and Nakir will take each other’s hand and say: “Let us go, what is there to keep us beside someone who has been instructed how to make his plea?” A man said: “O Messenger of Allah, what if one does not know the name of his mother?” and he answered, “Then he should mention his descent from his mother Eve, saying: “O So-and-so son of Eve….”
    Tabarani related this hadith in his al-Mu`jam al-kabir, and Ibn Hajar `Asqalani has said that “its chain of transmission is sound” (isnaduhu salih) in Talhis al-habir fi takhrij ahadith al-Rafi`i al-kabir (2:143). Some scholars have said that this hadith is not well authenticated (da`if), while others have gone to the extreme of calling it a forgery.

    The first three of the above hadiths, all of them rigorously authenticated (sahih), show that:

    a dead person hears the words of a living person speaking to him and even the sounds and movements around him;
    the dead are questioned in their graves;
    and that it is legally valid after burial for a living person to ask Allah to forgive the deceased and make him steadfast for the questioning of the two angels.
    As for the fourth hadith, scholars have felt comfortable with it (ista’nasa bihi al-`ulama’), saying that if the deceased can hear, we should let him hear these words which he is in the direst need of in such circumstances, and even if the hadith that has conveyed them is not well authenticated, its content is valid and true (madmunuhu kalamun haqqun sahih).

    The foregoing is what has been said about instructing the deceased (talqin), so whoever does it cannot be blamed, since they have something of a case for it; and whoever does not cannot be blamed, because they do not consider the case sufficient. In any event, we should be anxious to promote love and brotherhood between Muslims, and not divide the ranks with questions like this, for the important thing is our belief in the oneness of Allah, and the unity of the Islamic Community.

    Reading Yasin for the dead by Sheikh Amjad Rasheed

    June 15, 2007

    السؤال: ما حكمُ قراءة سورة ( يس ) للميت ، فقد قال بعضُ الناس : إنه منكرٌ ؛ لأنه عملٌ مبنيٌّ على أحاديث موضوعة ؟

    الجواب : الذي ذكره أئمتنا وغيرهم أن قراءة القرآن عند المحتضر مستحبة خصوصاً ( يس ) والذي عليه جمهورُ أهل السنة أن قراءة القرآن عند الميت تنفعه سواءٌ في ذلك سورة ( يس ) أو غيرها من القرآن فكلُّه فيه البركة والنفع ، بل جاء الأمرُ بقراءة ( يس ) بخصوصها على الميت ، وذلك فيما رواه الإمامُ أحمد والنسائي وابن ماجه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال :” اقرءوا على موتاكم يس “.

    وهذا الحديثُ ضعفه الدارقطني وابن القطان ، لكن رواه أبو داود أيضاً ولم يضعفه والقاعدةُ : أن ما يرويه ولا يضعفه فهو عنده حسنٌ ، وصححه ابنُ حبان ، وحسنه الحافظُ السيوطي في “الجامع الصغير” .

    وقد ذكر الحافظُ ابن حجر في “التلخيص الحبير” عند الكلام على هذا الحديث : أن الإمام أحمد رحمه الله قال في “مسنده” :” حدثنا أبو المغيرة حدثنا صفوان قال : كانت المشيخةُ يقولون : إذا قُرئت يعني ( يس ) عند الميت خُفف عنه بها “. اهـ

    فهذا دليلٌ على أن قراءة ( يس ) عند الميت كانت معروفةً مشهورةً عند السلف بنقل الإمام أحمد رحمه الله تعالى وحسبُك به إماماً في النقل ، ودليلٌ أيضاً على أن الإمام أحمد نفسه كان يرتضي العملَ بهذا ؛ لأنه نقله عن المشيخة ولم يردَّه فلو لم يكن يرتضي ذلك لبينه ولما سكت عليه ، وسيأتي تأكيد ذلك بعد قليل .

    قال الحافظ بعد نقل كلام أحمد :” وأسنده صاحبُ “الفردوس” من طريق مروان بن سالم عن صفوان بن عمرو عن شريح عن أبي الدرداء وأبي ذر قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم :” ما من ميت يموت فيقرأ عنده يس , إلا هون الله عليه “. وفي الباب عن أبي ذر وحده أخرجه أبو الشيخ في “فضائل القرآن” “. اهـ

    فعُلم من هذا كله أن لحديث قراءة ( يس ) على الميت أصلاً لا يُنكر ، وهو وإن كان ضعيفاً كما قاله من مرَّ لكن خالفه من ذكر أيضاً ، والحديثُ الضعيفُ يعمل به في فضائل الأعمال بإجماع العلماء كما ذكر ذلك الإمام النووي في مقدمة “الأذكار” ، وقد عمل بهذا الحديث العلماء ، ومن هؤلاء الإمام أحمد كما ذكره إمام الحنابلة في الفقه الإمامُ ابن قدامة في كتابه “المغني” الذي هو أعظمُ كتبهم ونصه :” قال أحمد : ويقرءون عند الميت إذا حضر ؛ ليخفف عنه بالقراءة , يقرأ ( يس ) , وأَمَرَ بقراءة فاتحة الكتاب “. اهـ

    قلتُ : فتراه كيف استحب قراءة ( يس ) بل وزاد عليها قراءة الفاتحة وهي لم يرد بخصوص قراءتها على الميت شيءٌ لكن استحبها الإمام أحمد وأمر بها ، وهو دليلٌ على أن الأمرَ في ذلك واسعٌ لا يُنكر ، ومما يؤكد هذا ما سيأتي نقله عن النووي : أن بعض التابعين استحب قراءة سورة الرعد عند الميت .

    ثم قال ابن قدامة :” وروى سعيد حدثنا فرج بن فضالة عن أسد بن وداعة قال : لما حضر غضيفَ بن حارث الموتُ حضره إخوانُه , فقال : هل فيكم من يقرأ سورة ( يس ) ؟ قال رجلٌ من القوم : نعم. قال : اقرأ ورتل وأنصتوا ، فقرأ ورتل وأسمع القوم , فلما بلغ : ( فسبحان الذي بيده ملكوت كل شيء وإليه ترجعون ) خرجت نفسه ، قال أسد بن وداعة: فمن حضر منكم الميت , فشدد عليه الموت فليقرأ عنده سورة ( يس ) ؛ فإنه يخفف عنه الموت “. اهـ

    وقال الإمام النووي في “المجموع” :” يستحبُّ أن يقرأ عند المحتضر سورة ( يس ) هكذا قاله أصحابنا ، واستحب بعضُ التابعين سورة الرعد أيضا “. اهـ

    والحاصلُ أن الذي عليه الأئمةُ المحققون من المحدثين والفقهاء أن قراءة ( يس ) وغيرها من القرآن عند الميت مستحبةٌ ، فالذي ينكره هو المخطئ والجاهل طريق السلف والعلماء المعتبرين في بيان الأحكام ، والله الهادي للصواب .

    بقي أن أشير إلى أن العلماء اختلفوا في المراد من الموتى في حديث :” اقرءوا على موتاكم يس “. فقال ابن حبان في “صحيحه” : المراد به من حضرته المنية , لا أن الميت يقرأ عليه . لكن ذكر الحافظ ابن حجر في “التلخيص الحبير” أن الإمام الحافظ المحب الطبري قد ردَّ ذلك؛ أي : فجعل المراد من الميت في الحديث على ظاهره وهو من فارق الحياة .

    Baseless attacks against Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller

    June 15, 2007

    A brief clarification about Nuh Ha Mim Keller
    “Whoever has no sheikh, has the devil as his Sheikh.” – Nuh Keller [‘Tareeqa Notes’ Pg. 2 ]

    Nuh Ha Mim Keller, an American Sufi Sheikh, became Muslim in 1977 and moved to Jordan where he currently resides. Keller claims to be a scholar of Islamic Fiqh. However, some troubling points can be found in his published works. We have listed and commentated some of his many mistaken statements and ideas, in order to expose his faults, lest the people follow the wrong ideas into misguidance and self-ruin

    1. Following the Sheikh to death, and Setting aside one’s intellect !

    a. Keller says: “The conduct of the disciple towards the sheikh… consists of five things: following what the sheikh says, even when something else seems better; avoiding what he forbids, even if it means ones death; upholding the sheikhs honor be he present or absent, dead or alive; fulfilling the sheikhs rights to the degree possible, without remissness.”

    b. He continues: “… Suspending ones intellect, knowledge, and leadership except as the sheikh confirms.”

    (Reference 2. Pg. 102-103)

    2. Overly praises the following problematic figures:

    A. Abd Al-Wahab Shaarani is praised by Keller as a “ Sha’afi scholar and prolific author in works in Sufism, sacred law and tenants of faith…”(Reference 1 pg 1023)


    However here are two examples of what Ash-Shaarani narrated in his writings:

    i) He writes: “a man would not attain the levels of the siddiqeen, until he leaves his wife as if she was a widow, his kids as if they were orphans, and takes refuge in dogs pens.”(in At-Tassawuf, Wal Masdar Pg 58)

    ii) Ash-Shaarani also praised a celebrated sufi, who “cut of his own private part in the beginning of his ‘Jathbah’ a mystic Sufi state.” (in Al-Akhlaaq Al-Matbuliyyah Vol. 3 Pg. 179)

    B. Ibn Arabi

    Keller and other sufis refer to Ibn Arabi as: “The greatest Sheikh, ‘Al-Shaykh Al-Akbar’…(who is) widely regarded as a friend (wali) of Allah most high” (Reference 1 Pg. 1080).

    The following quote is an example from Ibn Arabi’s work:

    The consolation (comfort) of Pharaoh was with the belief Allah gave him when he was drowning. So Allah took him pure and purified. There was no impurity in him since He took him in his belief before he had acquired any wrong actions. Islam effaces what was before it. He (Allah) made him (Pharaoh) a sign of His concern so that none might despair of the mercy of Allah, for “no one despairs of solace from Allah except for the unbelievers.” (12:87) If Pharaoh had been of those who despair, he would not have embarked on belief (Imaan). Musa, peace be upon him, was, as the wife of Pharaoh said, “a source of delight for me and for you. Do not kill him. It may well be that he will be of use to us.” That is what happened. Allah gave them use of Musa, although they were not aware that he was a prophet who would destroy the kingdom of Pharaoh and his family. (The Seal of the Wisdom of Sublimity in the Word of Musa)


    (1) Contrary to Ibn Arabi’s statement the Quran clearly states that the Pharaoh died as a kaafir! See for example verse: “And indeed we went Musa with our Ayat and a manifest authority. To Pharaoh and his chiefs, but they followed the command of Pharaoh, and the command of Pharaoh was no right guide. He will go ahead of his people on the day of resurrection, and will lead them into the fire…” (Surah Hud 11:96-98)

    (2) Regardless of Ibn Arabi’s statement, the simple fact is that Keller is quoting a man who was declared a kaafir by countless well-reputed Muslim scholars. Below are some such statements:

    i) Imam ibn Katheer in his book of Islamic history- Al-bidaya Wal Nihaya comments on ibn Arabi “He has a book named Beads of Wisdom in which there are many things that are apparently clear kufr.”

    ii) Imam adh-Dhahabi said (in Siyar ‘Alam an-Nubala) that “if ibn Arabi’s book (Beads of wisdom) does not contain clear Kufr, then there is no Kufr in the world!

    iii) Imam ‘Izz ibn abdul Salam said about Ibn Arabi: “(he is) an evil liar sheik who claims that this world is eternal (i.e. was not created by Allah) and embraces promiscuity.”

    iv) Also, a prominent Hanafi Scholar, Imam Bukhari Al-Hanafi, declared that: “The one who does not consider Ibn Arabi a kaafir, then he himself is a kaafir !

    C. Ibn Al-Farid (References 3 Page 18)

    In describing the hadra (public Dhikr), Keller said: “Singers near the sheikh, in solo or chorus, deliver mystical odes to the rhythm of the group; high spiritual poetry from masters like Ibn al-Farid…”


    Ibn al-Farid was a Sufi poet who died in 632 H. Imam adh-Dhahabi in his biographical works – Siyar ‘Alam an-Nubala- said about Ibn al-Farid: that he filled his poetry with Ittihad[1]. “If his poetry is not clear Ittihad (kufr), then there is no kufr or misguidance in this world. O’ Allah inspire us with guidance, piety, and protect us from desires. O’ Scholars of Islam don’t you get angry (by this) for the sake of Allah? There is no power except Allah.” It is strange that Nuh Keller describes this same poetry as “high spiritual poetry.”

    3. Saying that people can see Prophet Muhammad (saw) while Awake !

    -Keller states that certain Dua’s allow a person to see the Prophet (saw) while awake!

    About the Dua ‘al-Yaqutiyya’ Nuh says: “whoever regularly recites it three times, morning and evening, shall frequently see the Prophet, both awake and asleep, in the sensory and the spiritual.” (Reference 2. Pg. 88-89)

    Comment: This claim clearly contradicts the Quran and Sunnah which both confirm the death of the Prophet saw.

    4. Reporting many fabricated supplications in his writings,

    – Here are some examples of his innovated (man-made) supplications:

    i) In the supplication ‘hizb Al-Nur’ he says: “I ask You by the reverence due to teacher, by the sanctity of the Guiding Prophet, by the sacredness of the Seventy eight,…” (Reference 2. Pg. 39)

    ii) In the supplication ‘hizb Al-Sheikh’ he mentions: “And make me the treasury of the Forty” (Reference 2. Pg. 52)

    Comment: What is the sacredness of the Seventy-eight?! What or who is the treasury of the Forty?!

    5. Scholars and Human Intellect

    a. Keller says about Abdul-Waheed Ibn Zayd (ra) and Imam Abu Haneefa (ra) they “.. performed the Dawn prayer for forty years with the ablution made for the nightfall prayer..” (Reference 1. Pg.1023 & Pg. 1028)


    1. This is against the clear teaching of the Sunnah. The Prophet saw said: “I pray some of the night and I sleep some of the night.” Sahih Bukhari. And therefore Nuh Keller is insulting Abu Haneefah and others by accusing them of disobeying the Sunnah.

    2. It seems Nuh Keller is either lying, or has placed his intellect aside (as mentioned above), since it is humanly impossible for a person to refrain from sleep for (40 years x 365 days) 14,600 consecutive nights.

    6. Promotes dancing and singing as a form of worship !

    Keller says: “Individual motives, thoughts, and preoccupations are momentarily put aside by means of the sacred dance, of moving together as one, sublimating and transcending the limitary and personal through the timelessness of rhythm, conjoined with the melody of voices singing spiritual meanings.” (Reference 3. Pg.19)


    1. Since when have singing and dancing become means of Worshipping Allah?

    2. If these are indeed means then why are there no authentic Hadeeth on how to dance for Worship.

    *REFERENCES: 1. ‘Reliance of the Traveler’ by Nuh Ha Mim Keller

    2. ‘Invocations of the Shadhilhi Order’ ”

    3. ‘Tariqa notes’

    The above have been taken from the spurious wahabi site
    You may also find similar attacks against Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller at other wahabi outlets. Below is a complete defense of the sheikh.

    We have seen in other posts the utter ignorance of a few to a topic that was not justifiably defended before being locked off.

    Alhamdullillah, locking the post was the correct thing to do because Diamonds786 took pride in his ignorance and began posting posts from websites that have no knowledge or understanding of traditional sciences in islam.

    Diamonds786 did not address the initial post and went off on his parade attacking falsely the mashayekh and sufis.

    His claim was that he was addressing an earlier topic from another thread which he didn’t do in that thread. However the topic in that thread was also different and he also had veered onto the same path and began attacking shaykhs and sufis without proof or evidence except from the left click on his mouse button and the cut and paste functions in his window being his

    Furthermore, these websites have used non-muslim references to try and discredit a science which has outlasted the claims of being a sect for centuries.

    Tassawuf is not a sect, but rather the very drinking glass that the awliya of the ummah drank from. Even the most notable scholars of the ummah drank from this glass.

    Scholars such as:

    al-Hasan al-Basri (d. 110), Imam Abu Hanifa (d. 150), Sufyan al-Thawri (d. 161), Imam Malik (d. 179), Imam Shafi`i (d. 204), Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (d. 241), al-Harith al-Muhasibi (d. 243), al-Qasim ibn `Uthman al-Ju`i (d. 248), Imam al-Junayd al-Baghdadi (d. 297), al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi (d. 320), Imam Abu Mansur `Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi (d. 429), Imam Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri (d. 465), Shaykh Abu Isma`il `Abd Allah al-Harawi al-Ansari (d. 481), Hujjat al-Islam Imam Ghazali (d. 505), Abu al-Wafa’ Ibn `Aqil al-Hanbali (d. 513), Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani (d. 561), Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597), Imam Fakhr al-Din Razi (d. 606), Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili (d. 656), al-`Izz ibn `Abd al-Salam al-Sulami (d. 660), Imam Nawawi (d. 676), `Abd al-Salam b. Ahmad b. `Anim al-Maqdisi (d. 678), Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728), Ibn `Ata’ Allah al-Iskandari (d. 709), Taj al-Din al-Subki (d. 771), Imam Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi al-Maliki (d. 790), Ibn Khaldun (d. 808), Imam al-Sakhawi (d. 902), Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 911), Zakariyya ibn Muhammad Ansari (d. 926), Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (d. 974), `Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha`rani (d. 973), Mulla `Ali al-Qari (d. 1014), Ibn `Abidin (d. 1252), Abu al-`Ala’ al-Mawdudi (d. 1399), Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

    A list of their sayings towards sufis can be found with full references at:

    We thus ask the wahabi following and these imposter websites what they are going to do to try and refute all these great scholars who either were sufis or were in praise of sufis??

    Obviously these highly regarded scholars couldnt all be “deviants” could they? Obviously scholars that they themselves quote from couldnt be innovators could they?

    Some of these scholars who are actually Salaf wouldnt praise the sufis if they were deviants would they? This is the biggest proof against the claim that tassawuf was not know to the salaf!

    Why then do we find muslims drift off on such tangents regurgitating the false material that the real innovators, the wahabis spread?

    Maybe its lack of education, maybe its sheer ignorance, maybe its arrogance or maybe they just dont want to know the truth.

    You would think however that at least they would remain silent until they studied the topics enough to learn what that truth is.

    Instead they are the most confused people on the face of the earth. They dont follow teachers or scholars and this is why they lead themselves and others astray.

    Rather they follow their caprice and turn to which ever zawiya they feel like at the time and never ever take a clear straight path in their life.

    Instead their souls, minds and even bodies are in upheaval and total turbulence.

    A similarity that Shaykh Abdul Rahman Al Shaghouri says is like “one who tries to dig in a place for water because they are thirsty. Getting frustrated they move to another place and dig again and keep doing so, eventually not doing anything but dirtying their hands and maybe dying of thirst. however, had this individual dug in one place and remained steadfast in that one place, eventually they would hit water, drink from it and quench their thirst and then quench others thirst too.”

    Are we as muslims willing to admit this to ourselves though? Can we look deeply into the abyss of our heart and soul and despite what our nafs wants us to believe, go against it and admit we dont actually have one direct goal?

    Most of the time the answer is no. None of us do enough soul searching or contemplation for us to even realise we have an entity called the nafs which pushes us and pulls us in certain directions which is verified by the verses of the Quran in which Allah calls them, “Al Nafs al Ammara, Al Nafs al Lawamma, and Al Nafs al Mutma’innah.”

    Even some of the greatest Mujahideen of the Ummah were sufis or belonged to sufi orders totally rubishing the claims that sufis never engage in Jihad.

    Sufis Do engage in Jihad, but they are not so stupid as to mis-interpret the verses of the Quran and Hadith and use Jihad as their platform to spread hatred across the world and thus causing more harm than good to muslims and non-muslims.

    After all, what kind of Jihad can it be called when one kills innocent civilians and then has whole muslim countries bombed in return as a retaliation for killing those innocent civilians.

    The weighing up of benefit verses harm has to be made and we can see more harm has happened to the muslim ummah than benefit from the imposter muslims carrrying out disasterous and horrific missions against innocent non-muslims and even muslims.

    However Shaykh Nuh will speak more on this topic in part Two of my answers against the lies spread by diamonds786 and the like.

    We ask that people let go of thier pre-conceived ideas and open thier hearts and let them be vessels of understanding and accepting truth, not ones of accepting claims of people who decorate their words with screaming and yelling or fancy websites in a hope to win people over superficially and then make them possibly not see the falseness or emptiness behind their claims.

    This is not a simple matter of quoting hadiths and not knowing the contents behind the hadiths such as what diamonds786 did with refering to bid’ah.

    So it is your choice, make it and make it for truth alone. As one scholar said: “truth is a sword, you either use it to cut or it will cut you.”

    The ultimate Truth is Allah and rest assured if you dont use Allah in your life to cut through the falseness of the world then Allah will cut you like he has cut down nations before you.

    After we introduced what we were going to do we now introduce one of the most famous essays written by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller regarding Tassawuf and its origins.

    From this essay many have been guided if not to accept Tassawuf as thier way, at least to recognise it as a true science in islam worthy of all merit sitting alongside the other sciences of islam.

    I am in no way any more learned than Shaykh Nuh to be able to speak on the topic so i therefore advance his essay in full confidence most Questions can be answered.

    The Place of Tasawwuf
    in Traditional Islam

    ©Nuh Ha Mim Keller 1995

    Perhaps the biggest challenge in learning Islam correctly today is the scarcity of traditional ‘ulama. In this meaning, Bukhari relates the sahih, rigorously authenticated hadith that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,
    “Truly, Allah does not remove Sacred Knowedge by taking it out of servants, but rather by taking back the souls of Islamic scholars [in death], until, when He has not left a single scholar, the people take the ignorant as leaders, who are asked for and who give Islamic legal opinion without knowledge, misguided and misguiding” (Fath al-Bari, 1.194, hadith 100).

    The process described by the hadith is not yet completed, but has certainly begun, and in our times, the lack of traditional scholars—whether in Islamic law, in hadith, in tafsir ‘Qur’anic exegesis’—has given rise to an understanding of the religion that is far from scholarly, and sometimes far from the truth. For example, in the course of my own studies in Islamic law, my first impression from orientalist and Muslim-reformer literature, was that the Imams of the madhhabs or ‘schools of jurisprudence’ had brought a set of rules from completely outside the Islamic tradition and somehow imposed them upon the Muslims. But when I sat with traditional scholars in the Middle East and asked them about the details, I came away with a different point of view, having learned the bases for deriving the law from the Qur’an and sunna.

    And similarly with Tasawwuf—which is the word I will use tonight for the English Sufism, since our context is traditional Islam—quite a different picture emerged from talking with scholars of Tasawwuf than what I had been exposed to in the West. My talk tonight, In Sha’ Allah, will present knowledge taken from the Qur’an and sahih hadith, and from actual teachers of Tasawwuf in Syria and Jordan, in view of the need for all of us to get beyond clichés, the need for factual information from Islamic sources, the need to answer such questions as: Where did Tasawwuf come from? What role does it play in the din or religion of Islam? and most importantly, What is the command of Allah about it?

    As for the origin of the term Tasawwuf, like many other Islamic discliplines, its name was not known to the first generation of Muslims. The historian Ibn Khaldun notes in his Muqaddima:

    This knowledge is a branch of the sciences of Sacred Law that originated within the Umma. From the first, the way of such people had also been considered the path of truth and guidance by the early Muslim community and its notables, of the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), those who were taught by them, and those who came after them.

    It basically consists of dedication to worship, total dedication to Allah Most High, disregard for the finery and ornament of the world, abstinence from the pleasure, wealth, and prestige sought by most men, and retiring from others to worship alone. This was the general rule among the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the early Muslims, but when involvement in this-worldly things became widespread from the second Islamic century onwards and people became absorbed in worldliness, those devoted to worship came to be called Sufiyya or People of Tasawwuf (Ibn Khaldun, al-Muqaddima [N.d. Reprint. Mecca: Dar al-Baz, 1397/1978], 467).

    In Ibn Khaldun’s words, the content of Tasawwuf, “total dedication to Allah Most High,” was, “the general rule among the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the early Muslims.” So if the word did not exist in earliest times, we should not forget that this is also the case with many other Islamic disciplines, such as tafsir, ‘Qur’anic exegesis,’ or ‘ilm al-jarh wa ta‘dil, ‘the science of the positive and negative factors that affect hadith narrators acceptability,’ or ‘ilm al-tawhid, the science of belief in Islamic tenets of faith,’ all of which proved to be of the utmost importance to the correct preservation and transmission of the religion.

    As for the origin of the word Tasawwuf, it may well be from Sufi, the person who does Tasawwuf, which seems to be etymologically prior to it, for the earliest mention of either term was by Hasan al-Basri who died 110 years after the Hijra, and is reported to have said, “I saw a Sufi circumambulating the Kaaba, and offered him a dirham, but he would not accept it.” It therefore seems better to understand Tasawwuf by first asking what a Sufi is; and perhaps the best definition of both the Sufi and his way, certainly one of the most frequently quoted by masters of the discipline, is from the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) who said:

    Allah Most High says: “He who is hostile to a friend of Mine I declare war against. My slave approaches Me with nothing more beloved to Me than what I have made obligatory upon him, and My slave keeps drawing nearer to Me with voluntary works until I love him. And when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he seizes, and his foot with which he walks. If he asks me, I will surely give to him, and if he seeks refuge in Me, I will surely protect him” (Fath al-Bari, 11.340–41, hadith 6502);

    This hadith was related by Imam Bukhari, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Bayhaqi, and others with multiple contiguous chains of transmission, and is sahih. It discloses the central reality of Tasawwuf, which is precisely change, while describing the path to this change, in conformity with a traditional definition used by masters in the Middle East, who define a Sufi as Faqihun ‘amila bi ‘ilmihi fa awrathahu Llahu ‘ilma ma lam ya‘lam,‘A man of religious learning who applied what he knew, so Allah bequeathed him knowledge of what he did not know.’

    To clarify, a Sufi is a man of religious learning,because the hadith says, “My slave approaches Me with nothing more beloved to Me than what I have made obligatory upon him,” and only through learning can the Sufi know the command of Allah, or what has been made obligatory for him. He has applied what he knew, because the hadith says he not only approaches Allah with the obligatory, but “keeps drawing nearer to Me with voluntary works until I love him.” And in turn, Allah bequeathed him knowledge of what he did not know, because the hadith says, “And when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he seizes, and his foot with which he walks,” which is a metaphor for the consummate awareness of tawhid, or the ‘unity of Allah,’ which in the context of human actions such as hearing, sight, seizing, and walking, consists of realizing the words of the Qur’an about Allah that,

    “It is He who created you and what you do” (Qur’an 37:96).

    The origin of the way of the Sufi thus lies in the prophetic sunna. The sincerity to Allah that it entails was the rule among the earliest Muslims, to whom this was simply a state of being without a name, while it only became a distinct discipline when the majority of the Community had drifted away and changed from this state. Muslims of subsequent generations required systematic effort to attain it, and it was because of the change in the Islamic environment after the earliest generations, that a discipline by the name of Tasawwuf came to exist.

    But if this is true of origins, the more significant question is: How central is Tasawwuf to the religion, and: Where does it fit into Islam as a whole? Perhaps the best answer is the hadith of Muslim, that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said:

    As we sat one day with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), a man in pure white clothing and jet black hair came to us, without a trace of travelling upon him, though none of us knew him.

    He sat down before the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) bracing his knees against his, resting his hands on his legs, and said: “Muhammad, tell me about Islam.” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and to perform the prayer, give zakat, fast in Ramadan, and perform the pilgrimage to the House if you can find a way.”

    He said: “You have spoken the truth,” and we were surprised that he should ask and then confirm the answer. Then he said: “Tell me about true faith (iman),” and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) answered: “It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His inspired Books, His messengers, the Last Day, and in destiny, its good and evil.”

    “You have spoken the truth,” he said, “Now tell me about the perfection of faith (ihsan),” and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) answered: “It is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you see Him not, He nevertheless sees you.”

    The hadith continues to where ‘Umar said:

    Then the visitor left. I waited a long while, and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to me, “Do you know, ‘Umar, who was the questioner?” and I replied, “Allah and His messenger know best.” He said,

    “It was Gabriel, who came to you to teach you your religion” (Sahih Muslim, 1.37: hadith 8).

    This is a sahih hadith, described by Imam Nawawi as one of the hadiths upon which the Islamic religion turns. The use of din in the last words of it, Atakum yu‘allimukum dinakum, “came to you to teach you your religion” entails that the religion of Islam is composed of the three fundamentals mentioned in the hadith: Islam, or external compliance with what Allah asks of us; Iman, or the belief in the unseen that the prophets have informed us of; and Ihsan, or to worship Allah as though one sees Him. The Qur’an says, in Surat Maryam,

    “Surely We have revealed the Remembrance, and surely We shall preserve it” (Qur’an 15:9),

    and if we reflect how Allah, in His wisdom, has accomplished this, we see that it is by human beings, the traditional scholars He has sent at each level of the religion. The level of Islam has been preserved and conveyed to us by the Imams of Shari‘a or ‘Sacred Law’ and its ancillary disciplines; the level of Iman, by the Imams of ‘Aqida or ‘tenets of faith’; and the level of Ihsan, “to worship Allah as though you see Him,” by the Imams of Tasawwuf.

    The hadith’s very words “to worship Allah” show us the interrelation of these three fundamentals, for the how of “worship” is only known through the external prescriptions of Islam, while the validity of this worship in turn presupposes Iman or faith in Allah and the Islamic revelation, without which worship would be but empty motions; while the words, “as if you see Him,” show that Ihsan implies a human change, for it entails the experience of what, for most of us, is not experienced. So to understand Tasawwuf, we must look at the nature of this change in relation to both Islam and Iman, and this is the main focus of my talk tonight.

    At the level of Islam, we said that Tasawwuf requires Islam,through ‘submission to the rules of Sacred Law.’ But Islam, for its part, equally requires Tasawwuf. Why? For the very good reason that the sunna which Muslims have been commanded to follow is not just the words and actions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), but also his states, states of the heart such as taqwa ‘godfearingness,’ ikhlas ‘sincerity,’ tawakkul ‘reliance on Allah,’ rahma ‘mercy,’ tawadu‘ ‘humility,’ and so on.

    Now, it is characteristic of the Islamic ethic that human actions are not simply divided into two shades of morality, right or wrong; but rather five, arranged in order of their consequences in the next world. The obligatory (wajib) is that whose performance is rewarded by Allah in the next life and whose nonperformance is punished. The recommended (mandub) is that whose performance is rewarded, but whose nonperformance is not punished. The permissible (mubah) is indifferent, unconnected with either reward or punishment. The offensive (makruh) is that whose nonperformance is rewarded but whose performance is not punished. The unlawful (haram) is that whose nonperformance is rewarded and whose performance is punished, if one dies unrepentant.

    Human states of the heart, the Qur’an and sunna make plain to us, come under each of these headings. Yet they are not dealt with in books of fiqh or ‘Islamic jurisprudence,’ because unlike the prayer, zakat, or fasting, they are not quantifiable in terms of the specific amount of them that must be done. But though they are not countable, they are of the utmost importance to every Muslim. Let’s look at a few examples.

    (1) Love of Allah. In Surat al-Baqara of the Qur’an, Allah blames those who ascribe associates to Allah whom they love as much as they love Allah. Then He says,

    “And those who believe are greater in love for Allah” (Qur’an 2:165), making being a believer conditional upon having greater love for Allah than any other.

    (2) Mercy. Bukhari and Muslim relate that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whomever is not merciful to people, Allah will show no mercy” (Sahih Muslim, 4.1809: hadith 2319), and Tirmidhi relates the well authenticated (hasan) hadith “Mercy is not taken out of anyone except the damned” (al-Jami‘ al-sahih, 4.323: hadith 1923).

    (3) Love of each other. Muslim relates in his Sahih that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “By Him in whose hand is my soul, none of you shall enter paradise until you believe, and none of you shall believe until you love one another . . . .” (Sahih Muslim, 1.74: hadith 54).

    (4) Presence of mind in the prayer (salat). Abu Dawud relates in his Sunan that ‘Ammar ibn Yasir heard the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) say, “Truly, a man leaves, and none of his prayer has been recorded for him except a tenth of it, a ninth of it, eighth of it, seventh of it, sixth of it, fifth of it, fourth of it, third of it, a half of it” (Sunan Abi Dawud, 1.211: hadith 796)—meaning that none of a person’s prayer counts for him except that in which he is present in his heart with Allah.

    (5) Love of the Prophet. Bukhari relates in his Sahih that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “None of you believes until I am more beloved to him than his father, his son, and all people” (Fath al-Bari, 1.58, hadith 15).

    It is plain from these texts that none of the states mentioned—whether mercy, love, or presence of heart—are quantifiable, for the Shari‘a cannot specify that one must “do two units of mercy” or “have three units of presence of mind” in the way that the number of rak‘as of prayer can be specified, yet each of them is personally obligatory for the Muslim. Let us complete the picture by looking at a few examples of states that are haram or ‘strictly unlawful’:

    (1) Fear of anyone besides Allah. Allah Most High says in Surat al-Baqara of the Qur’an,

    “And fulfill My covenant: I will fulfill your covenant—And fear Me alone” (Qur’an 2:40), the last phrase of which, according to Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, “establishes that a human being is obliged to fear no one besides Allah Most High” (Tafsir al-Fakhr al-Razi, 3.42).

    (2) Despair. Allah Most High says,

    “None despairs of Allah’s mercy except the people who disbelieve” (Qur’an 12:87), indicating the unlawfulness of this inward state by coupling it with the worst human condition possible, that of unbelief.

    (3) Arrogance. Muslim relates in his Sahih that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “No one shall enter paradise who has a particle of arrogance in his heart” (Sahih Muslim, 1.93: hadith 91).

    (4) Envy,meaning to wish for another to lose the blessings he enjoys. Abu Dawud relates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Beware of envy, for envy consumes good works as flames consume firewood” (Sunan Abi Dawud, 4.276: hadith 4903).

    (5) Showing off in acts of worship. Al-Hakim relates with a sahih chain of transmission that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The slightest bit of showing off in good works is as if worshipping others with Allah . . . .” (al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihayn, 1.4).

    These and similar haram inward states are not found in books of fiqh or ‘jurisprudence,’ because fiqh can only deal with quantifiable descriptions of rulings. Rather, they are examined in their causes and remedies by the scholars of the ‘inner fiqh’ of Tasawwuf, men such as Imam al-Ghazali in his Ihya’ ‘ulum al-din [The reviving of the religious sciences], Imam al-Rabbani in his Maktubat [Letters], al-Suhrawardi in his ‘Awarif al-Ma‘arif [The knowledges of the illuminates], Abu Talib al-Makki in Qut al-qulub [The sustenance of hearts], and similar classic works, which discuss and solve hundreds of ethical questions about the inner life. These are books of Shari‘a and their questions are questions of Sacred Law, of how it is lawful or unlawful for a Muslim to be; and they preserve the part of the prophetic sunna dealing with states.

    Who needs such information? All Muslims, for the Qur’anic verses and authenticated hadiths all point to the fact that a Muslim must not only do certain things and say certain things, but also must be something, must attain certain states of the heart and eliminate others. Do we ever fear someone besides Allah? Do we have a particle of arrogance in our hearts? Is our love for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) greater than our love for any other human being? Is there the slightest bit of showing off in our good works?

    Half a minute’s reflection will show the Muslim where he stands on these aspects of his din, and why in classical times, helping Muslims to attain these states was not left to amateurs, but rather delegated to ‘ulama of the heart, the scholars of Islamic Tasawwuf. For most people, these are not easy transformations to make, because of the force of habit, because of the subtlety with which we can deceive ourselves, but most of all because each of us has an ego, the self, the Me, which is called in Arabic al-nafs, about which Allah testifies in Surat Yusuf:

    “Verily the self ever commands to do evil” (Qur’an 12:53).

    If you do not believe it, consider the hadith related by Muslim in his Sahih, that:

    The first person judged on Resurrection Day will be a man martyred in battle.

    He will be brought forth, Allah will reacquaint him with His blessings upon him and the man will acknowledge them, whereupon Allah will say, “What have you done with them?” to which the man will respond, “I fought to the death for You.”

    Allah will reply, “You lie. You fought in order to be called a hero, and it has already been said.” Then he will be sentenced and dragged away on his face and flung into the fire.

    Then a man will be brought forward who learned Sacred Knowledge, taught it to others, and who recited the Qur’an. Allah will remind him of His gifts to him and the man will acknowledge them, and then Allah will say, “What have you done with them?” The man will answer, “I acquired Sacred Knowledge, taught it, and recited the Qur’an, for Your sake.”

    Allah will say, “You lie. You learned so as to be called a scholar, and read the Qur’an so as to be called a reciter, and it has already been said.” Then the man will be sentenced and dragged away on his face to be flung into the fire.

    Then a man will be brought forward whom Allah generously provided for, giving him various kinds of wealth, and Allah will recall to him the benefits given, and the man will acknowledge them, to which Allah will say, “And what have you done with them?” The man will answer, “I have not left a single kind of expenditure You love to see made, except that I have spent on it for Your sake.”

    Allah will say, “You lie. You did it so as to be called generous, and it has already been said.” Then he will be sentenced and dragged away on his face to be flung into the fire (Sahih Muslim, 3.1514: hadith 1905).

    We should not fool ourselves about this, because our fate depends on it: in our childhood, our parents taught us how to behave through praise or blame, and for most of us, this permeated and colored our whole motivation for doing things. But when childhood ends, and we come of age in Islam, the religion makes it clear to us, both by the above hadith and by the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) “The slightest bit of showing off in good works is as if worshipping others with Allah” that being motivated by what others think is no longer good enough, and that we must change our motives entirely, and henceforth be motivated by nothing but desire for Allah Himself. The Islamic revelation thus tells the Muslim that it is obligatory to break his habits of thinking and motivation, but it does not tell him how. For that, he must go to the scholars of these states, in accordance with the Qur’anic imperative,

    “Ask those who know if you know not” (Qur’an 16:43),

    There is no doubt that bringing about this change, purifying the Muslims by bringing them to spiritual sincerity, was one of the central duties of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), for Allah says in the Surat Al ‘Imran of the Qur’an,

    “Allah has truly blessed the believers, for He has sent them a messenger of themselves, who recites His signs to them and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom” (Qur’an 3:164),

    which explicitly lists four tasks of the prophetic mission, the second of which, yuzakkihim means precisely to ‘purify them’ and has no other lexical sense. Now, it is plain that this teaching function cannot, as part of an eternal revelation, have ended with the passing of the first generation, a fact that Allah explictly confirms in His injunction in Surat Luqman,

    “And follow the path of him who turns unto Me” (Qur’an 31:15).

    These verses indicate the teaching and transformative role of those who convey the Islamic revelation to Muslims, and the choice of the word ittiba‘ in the second verse, which is more general, implies both keeping the company of and following the example of a teacher. This is why in the history of Tasawwuf, we find that though there were many methods and schools of thought, these two things never changed: keeping the company of a teacher, and following his example—in exactly the same way that the Sahaba were uplifted and purified by keeping the company of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and following his example.

    And this is why the discipline of Tasawwuf has been preserved and transmitted by Tariqas or groups of students under a particular master. First, because this was the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in his purifying function described by the Qur’an. Secondly, Islamic knowledge has never been transmitted by writings alone, but rather from ‘ulama to students. Thirdly, the nature of the knowledge in question is of hal or ‘state of being,’ not just knowing, and hence requires it be taken from a succession of living masters back to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), for the sheer range and number of the states of heart required by the revelation effectively make imitation of the personal example of a teacher the only effective means of transmission.

    So far we have spoken about Tasawwuf in respect to Islam, as a Shari‘a science necessary to fully realize the Sacred Law in one’s life, to attain the states of the heart demanded by the Qur’an and hadith. This close connection between Shari‘a and Tasawwuf is expressed by the statement of Imam Malik, founder of the Maliki school, that “he who practices Tasawwuf without learning Sacred Law corrupts his faith, while he who learns Sacred Law without practicing Tasawwuf corrupts himself. Only he who combines the two proves true.” This is why Tasawwuf was taught as part of the traditional curriculum in madrasas across the Muslim world from Malaysia to Morocco, why many of the greatest Shari‘a scholars of this Umma have been Sufis, and why until the end of the Islamic caliphate at the beginning of this century and the subsequent Western control and cultural dominance of Muslim lands, there were teachers of Tasawwuf in Islamic institutions of higher learning from Lucknow to Istanbul to Cairo.

    But there is a second aspect of Tasawwuf that we have not yet talked about; namely, its relation to Iman or ‘True Faith,’ the second pillar of the Islamic religion, which in the context of the Islamic sciences consists of ‘Aqida or ‘orthodox belief.’

    All Muslims believe in Allah, and that He is transcendently beyond anything conceivable to the minds of men, for the human intellect is imprisoned within its own sense impressions and the categories of thought derived from them, such as number, directionality, spatial extention, place, time, and so forth. Allah is beyond all of that; in His own words,

    “There is nothing whatesover like unto Him” (Qur’an 42:11)

    If we reflect for a moment on this verse, in the light of the hadith of Muslim about Ihsan that “it is to worship Allah as though you see Him,” we realize that the means of seeing here is not the eye, which can only behold physical things like itself; nor yet the mind, which cannot transcend its own impressions to reach the Divine, but rather certitude, the light of Iman, whose locus is not the eye or the brain, but rather the ruh, a subtle faculty Allah has created within each of us called the soul, whose knowledge is unobstructed by the bounds of the created universe. Allah Most High says, by way of exalting the nature of this faculty by leaving it a mystery,

    “Say: ‘The soul is of the affair of my Lord’” (Qur’an 17:85).

    The food of this ruh is dhikr or the ‘remembrance of Allah.’ Why? Because acts of obedience increase the light of certainty and Iman in the soul, and dhikr is among the greatest of them, as is attested to by the sahih hadith related by al-Hakim that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

    “Shall I not tell you of the best of your works, the purest of them in the eyes of your Master, the highest in raising your rank, better than giving gold and silver, and better for you than to meet your enemy and smite their necks, and they smite yours?” They said, “This—what is it, O Messenger of Allah?” and he said: Dhikru Llahi ‘azza wa jall, “The remembrance of Allah Mighty and Majestic.” (al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihayn, 1.496).

    Increasing the strength of Iman through good actions, and particularly through the medium of dhikr has tremendous implications for the Islamic religion and traditional spirituality. A non-Muslim once asked me, “If God exists, then why all this beating around the bush? Why doesn’t He just come out and say so?”

    The answer is that taklif or ‘moral responsibility’ in this life is not only concerned with outward actions, but with what we believe, our ‘Aqida—and the strength with which we believe it. If belief in God and other eternal truths were effortless in this world, there would be no point in Allah making us responsible for it, it would be automatic, involuntary, like our belief, say, that London is in England. There would no point in making someone responsible for something impossible not to believe.

    But the responsibility Allah has place upon us is belief in the Unseen, as a test for us in this world to choose between kufr and Iman, to distinguish believer from unbeliever, and some believers above others.

    This why strengthening Iman through dhikr is of such methodological importance for Tasawwuf: we have not only been commanded as Muslims to believe in certain things, but have been commanded to have absolute certainty in them. The world we see around us is composed of veils of light and darkness: events come that knock the Iman out of some of us, and Allah tests each of us as to the degree of certainty with which we believe the eternal truths of the religion. It was in this sense that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said, “If the Iman of Abu Bakr were weighed against the Iman of the entire Umma, it would outweigh it.”

    Now, in traditional ‘Aqida one of the most important tenets is the wahdaniyya or ‘oneness and uniqueness’ of Allah Most High. This means He is without any sharik or associate in His being, in His attributes, or in His acts. But the ability to hold this insight in mind in the rough and tumble of daily life is a function of the strength of certainty (yaqin) in one’s heart. Allah tells the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in Surat al-A‘raf of the Qur’an,

    “Say: ‘I do not possess benefit for myself or harm, except as Allah wills’” (Qur’an 7:188),

    yet we tend to rely on ourselves and our plans, in obliviousness to the facts of ‘Aqida that ourselves and our plans have no effect, that Allah alone brings about effects.

    If you want to test yourself on this, the next time you contact someone with good connections whose help is critical to you, take a look at your heart at the moment you ask him to put in a good word for you with someone, and see whom you are relying upon. If you are like most of us, Allah is not at the forefront of your thoughts, despite the fact that He alone is controlling the outcome. Isn’t this a lapse in your ‘Aqida, or, at the very least, in your certainty?

    Tasawwuf corrects such shortcomings by step-by-step increasing the Muslim’s certainty in Allah. The two central means of Tasawwuf in attaining the conviction demanded by ‘Aqida are mudhakara, or learning the traditional tenets of Islamic faith, and dhikr, deepening one’s certainty in them by remembrance of Allah. It is part of our faith that, in the words of the Qur’an in Surat al-Saffat,

    “Allah has created you and what you do” (Qur’an 37:96);

    yet for how many of us is this day to day experience? Because Tasawwuf remedies this and other shortcomings of Iman, by increasing the Muslim’s certainty through a systematic way of teaching and dhikr, it has traditionally been regarded as personally obligatory to this pillar of the religion also, and from the earliest centuries of Islam, has proved its worth.

    The last question we will deal with tonight is: What about the bad Sufis we read about, who contravene the teachings of Islam?

    The answer is that there are two meanings of Sufi: the first is “Anyone who considers himself a Sufi,” which is the rule of thumb of orientalist historians of Sufism and popular writers, who would oppose the “Sufis” to the “Ulama.” I think the Qur’anic verses and hadiths we have mentioned tonight about the scope and method of true Tasawwuf show why we must insist on the primacy of the definition of a Sufi as “a man of religious learning who applied what he knew, so Allah bequeathed him knowledge of what he did not know.”

    The very first thing a Sufi, as a man of religious learning knows is that the Shari‘a and ‘Aqida of Islam are above every human being. Whoever does not know this will never be a Sufi, except in the orientalist sense of the word—like someone standing in front of the stock exchange in an expensive suit with a briefcase to convince people he is a stockbroker. A real stockbroker is something else.

    Because this distinction is ignored today by otherwise well-meaning Muslims, it is often forgotten that the ‘ulama who have criticized Sufis, such as Ibn al-Jawzi in his Talbis Iblis [The Devil’s deception], or Ibn Taymiya in places in his Fatawa, or Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, were not criticizing Tasawwuf as an ancillary discipline to the Shari‘a. The proof of this is Ibn al-Jawzi’s five-volume Sifat al-safwa, which contains the biographies of the very same Sufis mentioned in al-Qushayri’s famous Tasawwuf manual al-Risala al-Qushayriyya. Ibn Taymiya considered himself a Sufi of the Qadiri order, and volumes ten and eleven of his thirty-seven-volume Majmu‘ al-fatawa are devoted to Tasawwuf. And Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya wrote his three-volume Madarij al-salikin, a detailed commentary on ‘Abdullah al-Ansari al-Harawi’s tract on the spiritual stations of the Sufi path, Manazil al-sa’irin. These works show that their authors’ criticisms were not directed at Tasawwuf as such, but rather at specific groups of their times, and they should be understood for what they are.

    As in other Islamic sciences, mistakes historically did occur in Tasawwuf, most of them stemming from not recognizing the primacy of Shari‘a and ‘Aqida above all else. But these mistakes were not different in principle from, for example, the Isra’iliyyat (baseless tales of Bani Isra’il) that crept into tafsir literature, or the mawdu‘at (hadith forgeries) that crept into the hadith. These were not taken as proof that tafsir was bad, or hadith was deviance, but rather, in each discipline, the errors were identified and warned against by Imams of the field, because the Umma needed the rest. And such corrections are precisely what we find in books like Qushayri’s Risala,Ghazali’s Ihya’ and other works of Sufism.

    For all of the reasons we have mentioned, Tasawwuf was accepted as an essential part of the Islamic religion by the ‘ulama of this Umma. The proof of this is all the famous scholars of Shari‘a sciences who had the higher education of Tasawwuf, among them Ibn ‘Abidin, al-Razi, Ahmad Sirhindi, Zakariyya al-Ansari, al-‘Izz ibn ‘Abd al-Salam, Ibn Daqiq al-‘Eid, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, Shah Wali Allah, Ahmad Dardir, Ibrahim al-Bajuri, ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi, Imam al-Nawawi, Taqi al-Din al-Subki, and al-Suyuti.

    Among the Sufis who aided Islam with the sword as well as the pen, to quote Reliance of the Traveller, were:

    such men as the Naqshbandi sheikh Shamil al-Daghestani, who fought a prolonged war against the Russians in the Caucasus in the nineteenth century; Sayyid Muhammad ‘Abdullah al-Somali, a sheikh of the Salihiyya order who led Muslims against the British and Italians in Somalia from 1899 to 1920; the Qadiri sheikh ‘Uthman ibn Fodi, who led jihad in Northern Nigeria from 1804 to 1808 to establish Islamic rule; the Qadiri sheikh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza’iri, who led the Algerians against the French from 1832 to 1847; the Darqawi faqir al-Hajj Muhammad al-Ahrash, who fought the French in Egypt in 1799; the Tijani sheikh al-Hajj ‘Umar Tal, who led Islamic Jihad in Guinea, Senegal, and Mali from 1852 to 1864; and the Qadiri sheikh Ma’ al-‘Aynayn al-Qalqami, who helped marshal Muslim resistance to the French in northern Mauritania and southern Morocco from 1905 to 1909.

    Among the Sufis whose missionary work Islamized entire regions are such men as the founder of the Sanusiyya order, Muhammad ‘Ali Sanusi, whose efforts and jihad from 1807 to 1859 consolidated Islam as the religion of peoples from the Libyan Desert to sub-Saharan Africa; [and] the Shadhili sheikh Muhammad Ma‘ruf and Qadiri sheikh Uways al-Barawi, whose efforts spread Islam westward and inland from the East African Coast . . . . (Reliance of the Traveller,863).

    It is plain from the examples of such men what kind of Muslims have been Sufis; namely, all kinds, right across the board—and that Tasawwuf did not prevent them from serving Islam in any way they could.

    To summarize everything I have said tonight: In looking first at Tasawwuf and Shari‘a, we found that many Qur’anic verses and sahih hadiths oblige the Muslim to eliminate haram inner states as arrogance, envy, and fear of anyone besides Allah; and on the other hand, to acquire such obligatory inner states as mercy, love of one’s fellow Muslims, presence of mind in prayer, and love of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). We found that these inward states could not be dealt with in books of fiqh, whose purpose is to specify the outward, quantifiable aspects of the Shari‘a. The knowledge of these states is nevertheless of the utmost importance to every Muslim, and this is why it was studied under the ‘ulama of Ihsan, the teachers of Tasawwuf, in all periods of Islamic history until the beginning of the present century.

    We then turned to the level of Iman, and found that though the ‘Aqida of Muslims is that Allah alone has any effect in this world, keeping this in mind in everhday life is not a given of human consciousness, but rather a function of a Muslim’s yaqin, his certainty. And we found that Tasawwuf, as an ancillary discipline to ‘Aqida, emphasizes the systematic increase of this certainty through both mudhakara, ‘teaching tenets of faith’ and dhikr, ‘the remembrance of Allah,’ in accordance with the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) about Ihsan that “it is worship Allah as though you see Him.”

    Lastly, we found that accusations against Tasawwuf made by scholars such as Ibn al-Jawzi, and Ibn Taymiya were not directed against Tasawwuf in principle, but to specific groups and individuals in the times of these authors, the proof for which is the other books by the same authors that showed their understanding of Tasawwuf as a Shari‘a science.

    To return to the starting point of my talk this evening, with the disappearance of traditional Islamic scholars from the Umma, two very different pictures of Tasawwuf emerge today. If we read books written after the dismantling of the traditional fabric of Islam by colonial powers in the last century, we find the big hoax: Islam without spirituality and Shari‘a without Tasawwuf. But if we read the classical works of Islamic scholarship, we learn that Tasawwuf has been a Shari‘a science like tafsir, hadith, or any other, throughout the history of Islam. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

    “Truly, Allah does not look at your outward forms and wealth, but rather at your hearts and your works” (Sahih Muslim, 4.1389: hadith 2564).

    And this is the brightest hope that Islam can offer a modern world darkened by materialism and nihilism: Islam as it truly is; the hope of eternal salvation through a religion of brotherhood and social and economic justice outwardly, and the direct experience of divine love and illumination inwardly.


    We will in the next part put forth a reply to the claims that diamonds786 posted against sufis by the imposter website

    In his absolutely false post diamonds786 could not control himself and let his nafs go on a spree of ignorance searching. To fuel this search he chose the most repungent websites and references. He did not bother to check the authenticity of these claims and he merely accepted their false attacks on great scholars at face value.

    Something really has to be wrong with a website that declares more than 3/4 of the muslim ummah to be kafirs or led astray.

    they spare no one when they label groups such as:
    Nation of Islam
    Ansaru Allah
    Dawoodi Boharas

    as kuffar and outside the fold of islam.

    Whilst it is true some of them have strayed in thier beliefs not all of them have. To call them kuffar so easily is not a light matter and they will be accountable on the day of judgement against all these lies.

    furthermore, all thier so called proofs are lacking in substance and display to the world how little they actually know.

    But this is in defence of Tassawuf and sufis from the absurd lies and fabrications of diamonds786.

    diamonds786 wrote:

    The word “Sufism” was not known at the time of the Messenger or the Sahaabah or the Taabi’een. It arose at the time when a group of ascetics who wore wool (“soof”) emerged, and this name was given to them. It was also said that the name was taken from the word “soofiya” (“sophia”) which means “wisdom” in Greek. The word is not derived from al-safa’ (“purity”) as some of them claim, because the adjective derived from safa’ is safaa’i, not soofi (sufi). The emergence of this new name and the group to whom it is applied exacerbated the divisions among Muslims. The early Sufis differed from the later Sufis who spread bid’ah (innovation) to a greater extent and made shirk in both minor and major forms commonplace among the people, as well as the innovations against which the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned us when he said, “Beware of newly-invented things, for every newly-invented thing is an innovation and every innovation is a going-astray.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, who said it is saheeh hasan).

    the origin of tassawuf and sufis and thier link with the salaf and early muslims has more than adequately been answered by part two of this series of refutations.

    Dr Diamonds thinks that this poor attempt at describing where sufis originate from is going to be the end of all definitions. He claims the early sufis differ from the later ones that spread bida’h and accuses the later sufis of shirk and minor and major sins. he then uses the well known hadith of the rasul about bid’a as justification and a seal on his arguement.

    He does not even comprehend the real essence of the hadith as we have numerously posted time and time again against similar users of the hadith in other threads.

    A thorough search on islamic sydney forums will lead you to the right way.
    If that doesnt help you then i can point you to many texts and scholars who will rectify your understanding of the meaning of the word bid’a and the understanding of the scholars in regards to it.

    If you were to take the hadith as EVERY innovation is going astray then by the same token we call you to be sincere in your claim and not use the modern technology and good pleasures of this world that have been newly-invented.

    Otherwise you should retract your use of this hadith and place it in its proper context. That is, to use it when appropriate and against the matters appropriate not so general as you have above.

    If you like we can meet up with you and give you lessons in our new book, ” Bid’a for dummies.”

    We doubt that you would want to though and wont be holding our breath anytime soon.

    Next Dr diamonds786 says:

    Sufism has numerous branches or tareeqahs, such as the Teejaniyyah, Qaadiriyyah, Naqshbandiyyah, Shaadhiliyyah, Rifaa’iyyah, etc., the followers of which all claim that their particular tareeqah is on the path of truth whilst the others are following falsehood. Islam forbids such sectarianism.

    Yes there are many branches or tariqas and you have mentioned some of them but then you falsely accuse them that they claim they are the only saved ones and of sectarianism.

    Upon close observation of this false claim and your adherance to wahabi websites it can be easily concluded that you borrowed this concept from the mouths of wahabis and tried to make it stick to Sufis. I dare you to find one reference for this statement that sufis claim everyone else but themselves are following falsehood, or sectarianising the ummah.

    The truth of the matter is, real tariqas do not emphasise this at all. They do not call fellow muslims who dont want to take tariqa as off the path and never have.

    Therefore your use of the Quranic verses

    “… and be not of al-mushrikoon (the disbelievers in the Oneness of Allaah, polytheists, idolaters, etc.),
    Of those who split up their religion (i.e., who left the true Islamic monotheism), and became sects, [i.e., they invented new things in the religion (bid’ah) and followed their vain desires], each sect rejoicing in that which is with it.” [al-Room 30:31-32]

    does not apply to them and in any case it is out of context.
    Your or translators adding in parentheses the words above are not the tradiotional understanding of Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama’ah.

    In any case you have immediately gone from your first quote above to then automatically calling Sufis Mushrikoon, disbelievers, polytheists and idolators. How sorry you will be on the day of judgement when all these innocent muslims will rush to you and forcefully take your hassanat off you for such outrageous claims.

    Next Dr Diamonds786 takes a cheap shot at the well supported and documented concept of tawassul in Islam.

    he says:


    The Sufis worship others than Allaah, such as Prophets and “awliya’” [“saints”], living or dead. They say, “Yaa Jeelaani”, “Yaa Rifaa’i” [calling on their awliya’], or “O Messenger of Allaah, help and save” or “O Messenger of Allaah, our dependence is on you”, etc.
    But Allaah forbids us to call on anyone except Him in matters that are beyond the person’s capabilities. If a person does this, Allaah will count him as a mushrik,

    It is understandable that ignorance breeds ignorance and Diamonds is certainly letting his ignorance feed on itself.

    To speak on the issue of tawassul and its acceptance according to the Quran and Sunnah and the righteous scholars would require volumes and i wont do it any justice fitting the topic in this small space we have available here. perhaps we will address this topic in other separate threads but for the meantime, i will counter his lies by putting forth the evidence that he has overlooked or ignored.

    The Prophet Pbbuh said in a long hadith:

    Allah will say: “The angels have interceded. The Prophets have interceded. The believers have interceded. There does not remain except the Most Merciful of the merciful ones.”

    Narrated by Muslim (Iman) from Abu Sa`id al-Khudri.

    – Bukhari [Istisqa’]: Annas narrated: Whenever drought threatened them, `Umar ibn al-Khattab used to ask Allah for rain through the mediation of al-`Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib. He [`Umar] used to say: “O Allah! We used to ask you through the means of our Prophet and You would bless us with rain, and now we ask You through the means of our Prophet’s uncle, so bless us with rain.” And it would rain.

    – Tirmidhi (hasan), Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim: Abu Umama narrated that the Prophet said: “More men will enter Paradise through the intercession of a certain man than there are people in the tribes of Rabi`ah and Mudar,” and that the elders considered that this was `Uthman ibn `Affan.

    – Muslim (jana’iz): `A’ishah reports the Prophet as saying: “If a company of Muslims numbering one hundred pray over a dead person, all of them interceding for him, their intercession for him will be accepted.”

    – Muslim (jana’iz): Ibn `Abbas said: “I have heard the Prophet say: If any Muslim dies and forty men who associate nothing with Allah stand over his body in prayer, Allah will accept them as intercessors for him.”

    I really hate hadith and ayah bashing people but clarification is well due here and diamonds lies must be exposed. if these hadiths arent enough to prove to you the validity of intercession i can gladly post much more. enough to probably make you flee from these false accusations you make.

    Next Diamonds786 tries to deny the hadiths of the Prophet pbbuh where he clearly mentions to us the concept of abdal.

    diamonds says:
    The Sufis believe that there are abdaal, aqtaab and awliya’ (kinds of “saints”) to whom Allaah has given the power to run the affairs of the universe. Allaah tells us about the mushrikeen (interpretation of the meaning):

    Unfortunately, despite the fact that i hate writing in wahabi style and refuting everything that they say by posting blasts of hadith and Quran, there is no other method by which they can comprehend Islam. It is as if their brains have locked out the ability to do anything else. If this intention was sincere then one would look at it as noble. But it can be seen from their false accusations that their intentions are only to follow what pleases them, not the Quran and sunnah as they claim.

    Anyway, here are hadiths proving the fact of abdal.

    Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal narrates in his Musnad (1:112):

    … The people of Syria were mentioned in front of `Ali ibn Abi Talib while he was in Iraq, and they said: “Curse them, O Commander of the Believers.” He replied: “No, I heard the Messenger of Allah say: The Substitutes (al-abdal) are in Syria and they are forty men, every time one of them dies, Allah substitutes another in his place. By means of them Allah brings down the rain, gives (Muslims) victory over their enemies, and averts punishment from the people of Syria.” al-Haythami said: “The men in its chains are all those of the sahih except for Sharih ibn `Ubayd, and he is trustworthy (thiqa).” Sakhawi mentions this narration in his Maqasid (p. 33 #8) and says the same. However, he is of the opinion that it is more likely a saying of `Ali himself.

    No less, Ibn Taymiyya writes at the end of his `Aqida wasitiyya:

    “The true adherents of Islam in its pristine purity are Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a. In their ranks the truthful saints (siddiqin), the martyrs, and the righteous are to be found. Among them are the great men of guidance and illumination, of recorded integrity and celebrated virtue. The Substitutes (abdal) and the Imams of religion are to be found among them and the Muslims are in full accord concerning their guidance. These are the Victorious Group about whom the Prophet said: “A group within my Community manifestly continues to be in the truth. Neither those who oppose them nor those who abandon them can do them harm, from now on until the Day of Resurrection.”

    al-Hakim narrated the following which he graded sound (sahih), and al-Dhahabi confirmed him:

    `Ali said: “Do not curse the people of Syria, for among them are the Substitutes (al-abdal), but curse their injustice.”

    The above is a narration of `Ali not attributed to the Prophet. Note, however, that any religious knowledge unattainable through ijtihad and authentically conveyed from one of the Companions is considered a hadith by the experts of that science.

    Tabarani said in his Mu`jam al-awsat:

    Anas said that the Prophet said: “The earth will never lack forty men similar to the Friend of the Merciful [Prophet Ibrahim], and through them people receive rain and are given help. None of them dies except Allah substitutes another in his place.” Qatada said: “We do not doubt that al-Hasan [al-Basri] is one of them.”

    Ibn Hibban narrates it in al-Tarikh through Abu Hurayra as: “The earth will never lack forty men similar to Ibrahim the Friend of the Merciful, and through whom you are helped, receive your sustenance, and receive rain.”

    Abu Dawud through three different good chains the “Book of the Mahdi” in his Sunan (English #4273), Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (6:316), Ibn Abi Shayba in his Musannaf, Abu Ya`la, al-Hakim, and Bayhaqi narrated:

    Umm Salama the wife of the Prophet related that the Prophet said: “Disagreement will occur at the death of a Caliph and a man of the people of Madina will come forth flying to Mecca. Some of the people of Mecca will come to him, bring him out against his will and swear allegiance to him between the Corner and the Maqam. An expeditionary force will then be sent against him from Syria but will be swallowed up in the desert between Mecca and Madina, and when the people see that, the Substitutes (abdal) of Syria and the best people (`asaba) of Iraq will come to him and swear allegiance to him between the rukn and the maqam…”

    Imam Ahmad cited in Kitab al-zuhd, also Ibn Abi al-Dunya, Abu Nu`aym, Bayhaqi, and Ibn `Asakir narrated from Julays:

    Wahb ibn Munabbih said: I saw the Prophet in my sleep, so I said: “Ya Rasulallah, where are the Substitutes (budala’) of your Community?” So he gestured with his hand towards Syria. I said: “Ya Rasulallah, aren’t there any in Iraq?” He said: “Yes, Muhammad ibn Wasi`, Hassan ibn Abi Sinan, and Malik ibn Dinar, who walks among the people similarly to Abu Dharr in his time.”

    If all this isnt enough to prove to you the fact of abdal, then i will gladly post more, but your probably getting a little wiser now and learning you shouldnt jump to conclusions before you have studied matters properly.

    Then out of no where you write:

    The mushrik Arabs knew more about Allaah than these Sufis!

    I really do not know what to reply to someone who thinks a polythiest knows more about Allah than someone who prays, fasts, gives zakat, goes to hajj, believes in Allahs oneness, in the angels, the prophets, the books, the day of judgement and divine decree. The twisted state of your mentality is really shining through here. but for all relevant purposes i think you can be absolved of total blame since all you did was regurgitate material of a wahabi website and i dont think you even read it yourself, much like you dont read any other posts but your own on this forum.

    Diamonds wrote:
    The Sufis turn to other than Allaah when calamity strikes, but Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

    This has been explained under the section on tawassul and in any case the definintion of tawwasul is not turning to the people themselves but rather asking Allah alone THROUGH the people, the blessings of the people or the favour of the rank of these rightreous people to give to them what they ask for.

    It is not compulsory to do and never has been, so if you want to, do it and if your scared that you cant do it without thinking your worshipping a human then dont do it and protect your faith.

    Next you say,

    Some Sufis believe in wahdat al-wujood (unity of existence). They do not have the idea of a Creator and His creation, instead they say that everything is creation and everything is god.

    Subhanallah, much like the rest of your false claims, you have never in this whole post referenced any of your claims further adding to the doubtful nature of them.

    Regardless, wahdat al wujjud has always been a concept distorted and misunderstood by wahabis, mainly due to a lack of comprehension in Islamic sciences, language, literature and poetic artforms of expression.

    this massive topic will not be justifiably defended here but restassured sufis do not believe that They are Allah or Allah is them as misconstructed by anti-sufi literature. The real sufi holds the shariah above themself and any other human being.

    But the serious inconsistencies in wahabi beliefs of creed – which are an innovation in themselves- of anthropomorphism and literal belief of Allah having hands, feet, shins, mouth, ears, face and eyes are a possible reason why they claim that sufis mean by the term wahdat al wujjud that they are Allah and Allah is them.

    Having a mind full of bodily representations of Allah such that wahabis do, will lead anyone to make these foul accusations and come to these fabricated conclusions.

    One need to look no further than Ibn taymiyahs “sharh aqeedat al wasitiya”, which wahabis heavily believe in to see the amount of anthropomorphism that they believe in.

    May Allah rid us of these incomprehnsible innovations.

    next diamonds wrote:

    The Sufis advocate extreme asceticism in this life and do not believe in taking the necessary means or in jihaad

    The position of sufis with Jihad has been explained in the article by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller. But since sufis do not agree with the hate filled wahabi interpretation of Jihad the wahabis try to make out that they are not practioners of it or believers in it.

    As for the arguement of asceticism or even extreme asceticism, not you or any other person on the face of the earth has a right to determine what people take or abstain from. No one can give a benchmark for what is or isnt acceptable for humans to live by or abstain from regarding material or physical matters.

    Numerous examples are available from the Quran and Sunnah as to the higher status of those who do not indulge in this world and its material affairs so there is no need for me to even begin to defend those who choose the simpleness of life over its luxuries. some Muslims have even been so blessed as to have an abundance of luxuries at their disposal yet chose to be detached from it and live simply according to their immediate needs.

    diamonds continues to ignorantly write:

    The Sufis refer the idea of ihsaan to their shaykhs and tell their followers to have a picture of their shaykh in mind when they remember Allaah and even when they are praying. Some of them even put a picture of their shaykh in front of them when they are praying.

    Again total fabrication and lacking in evidence. just a baseless claim with no proof of what he is saying.

    Ihsaan is the most explicitely explained concept by the sufis and none other than them have dwelled into this topic and given it justice. Your oversimplified version of it will have people reading it and wondering. Much like someone who reads the Quran and not the hadith and comes across an ayah where Allah orders them to pray. If they have never read ahadith then they will never know how to pray.

    Similarily, the concept of Ihsaan, or excellence is one explained, taught and practised by the Sufis for centuries and where all sincere seekers of this noble station of Ihsaan have turned. Never will you find wahabis speaking in detail about this topic and explaining it. Reading the hadith of Gabriel alayhi salam where Muhammad pbbuh explains Islam and Iman and Ihsan needs volumes in explanation on how to implement these major concepts in a muslims life.

    As for praying to a picture, i have heard of people doing this, but these are jahils or jahil sufis with no real shaykh who is authorised to teach them.

    If you knew anything about the processes of the mind and psychology you would understand that as human beings we cannot grasp ultimate realities at the click of a finger. Especially the Reality of All Realities…. Allah!
    Allah in his mercy has sent us Muhammad because as scholars have mentioned, if the veils were to be lifted between us and Allah then humanity will be destroyed. That is why on the day of judgement All creation will die, including the angels and the angel of death will take his own soul. Only Allah will remain and He will question the whole decayed existance ” To whom is the dominion today!” None shall answer, but He will answer Himself!

    The reality of the matter is, humans need the day of judgement to realise this because of thier abased state of affairs of being attached to this world. But Muhammad has taught a select few of the companions on how to live this reality in thier lives in this world so that they perceive nothing but Allah in this life and the next.

    This is confirmed by the hadith of Abu Hurayra where he states: I received two vessels of knowledge from the Prophet pbbuh. One i have transmitted( ie the shariah) and the other ( haqiqa) if i were to transmit it, my throat would be cut!”

    The process of coming to this stage includes systematic desensitisation to fake created worldly affairs. If all you can see in your life is created things then the creator is going to be a far goal. Going from witnessing creation to witnessing the Creator is a stage by stage process. This is verified by the hadith of Ihsaan where Muhammad first says ” worship Allah as if you see him” then he says ” and if you dont, then know that he sees you”.

    if you dont understand this hadith or take it for superficial value then it is your problem, but a check in to a real scholar will help you progress.

    Next you again with no proof claim:

    The Sufis allow dancing, drums and musical instruments, and raising the voice when making dhikr, but Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
    “The believers are only those who, when Allaah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts…” [al-Anfaal 8:2] Moreover, you see some of them making dhikr by only pronouncing the Name of Allaah, saying, “Allaah, Allaah, Allaah.” This is bid’ah and has no meaning in Islam. They even go to the extreme of saying, “Ah, ah” or “Hu, Hu.” The Sunnah is for the Muslim to remember his Lord in words that have a true meaning for which he will be rewarded, such as saying Subhaan Allaah wa Alhamdulillah wa Laa ilaaha illa Allaah wa Allaahu akbar, and so on.

    If you had ever read a Hizb or a wird of a tariqa you would realise that they are all based on quran or hadiths.

    Your claim that mentioning of Allahs name is bid’a has probably displayed the pinnacle of your ignorance. Why on earth would saying Allahs name, wether in person alone or in a group lead you to the hellfire. I guess the inner whisperings of shaytan that wahabis have dont like it when Allahs name is mentioned. What would you prefer, muslims say shaytan, shaytan?? In anycase the Quran clearly says at the end of verse 6:91 in Surat al-An`am:

    “Say ALLAH. Then leave them to their play and vain wrangling.”

    The Prophet said: “The Hour will not rise before Allah, Allah is no longer said on earth.” And through another chain: “The Hour will not rise on anyone saying: Allah, Allah.” Muslim narrated both in his Sahih, Book of Iman (Belief), chapter 66 entitled: dhahab al-iman akhir al-zaman “The Disappearance of Belief at the End of Times.”

    Obviously wahabis are setting up for the end of time by trying to erradicate the recital of the name of Allah. What else can be said when they try to make muslims stop reciting it as is often witnessed in popular masjids when brothers or sisters get together for dthikr.

    Imam Nawawi said in his commentary on this chapter: “Know that the narrations of this hadith are unanimous in the repetition of the name of Allah the Exalted for both versions, and that is the way it is found in all the authoritative books.” (Sharh Sahih Muslim, Dar al-Qalam, Beirut ed. vol. 1/2 p. 537)

    Imam Muslim placed the hadith under the chapter-heading of the disappearance of belief (iman) at the end of times although there is no mention of belief in the hadith. This shows that saying “Allah, Allah” stands for belief. Those who say it show belief, while those who don’t say it, don’t show belief. Therefore those who fight those who say it, are actually worse than those who merely lack belief and do not say “Allah, Allah.”

    Nawawi highlights the authenticity of the repetition of the form to establish that the repetition of the words “Allah, Allah” are a sunna ma’thura (practice inherited from the Prophet and the Companions) as it stands. Ibn Taymiyya’s claim that the words must not be used alone but obligatorily in contruct, e.g. with a vocative form (“Ya Allah”), therefore contradicts the Sunna.

    It is noteworthy that the Siddiqi translation of Sahih Muslim mistranslates the first narration cited above as: “The Hour (Resurrection) would not come so long as Allah is supplicated in the world” and the second as “The Hour (Resurrection) would not come upon anyone so long as he supplicates Allah.” This is wrong as translations go, although it is right as a commentary, since saying Allah, Allah is supplicating Him, as is all worship according to the hadith of the Prophet: “Supplication: that is what worship is.” (Tirmidhi and others narrate it.) However, concerning accuracy in translation, the word form highlighted by Nawawi must be kept intact in any explanation of this hadith. It is not merely “supplicating Allah.” It is saying: Allah, Allah according to the Prophet’s own words.

    One who knows that the dhikr “Allah, Allah” has been mentioned by the Prophet himself, is not at liberty to muse whether it was used by the Companions or not in order to establish its basis. It suffices for its basis to establish that the Prophet said it. And yet, it is established that Bilal used to make the dhikr Ahad, Ahad while undergoing torture. Ibn Hisham says in his Sira: Ibn Ishaq narrates [with his chain of transmission] saying: “Bilal was a faithful Muslim, pure of heart… Umayya ibn Khalaf used to bring him out in the hottest part of the day and throw him on his back in the open valley and have a great rock put on his chest; then he would say to him: You will stay here until you die or deny Muhammad and worship al-Lat and al-`Uzza. He used to say while he was enduring this: Ahad, Ahad — One, One!” Ibn Hajar cites it in al-Isaba (1:171 #732).

    One who knows that Allah, Allah is a dhikr used by the Prophet, is not at liberty to object to similar forms of dhikr such as HU and HAYY and HAQQ. “To Allah belong the most beautiful names, so call Him by them” (7:180). As for the hadith of the ninety-nine names, it does not limit the names of Allah to only ninety-nine, as Nawawi made clear in his commentary of that hadith.

    As to regarding saying Hu or Hay

    – “Hu” and “Hayy” are respectively a pronoun and a name of Allah Almighty in the Qur’an according to ayat al-Kursi:

    Allahu la ilaha illa HU AL-HAYY al-Qayyum (2:255)

    Allah! There is no god except HE, the LIVING the Self-Subsistent

    – “Haqq” is one of the names of Allah in the hadith in Bukhari and Muslim enumerating the ninety-nine Names (see below).

    Furthermore, the Prophet prayed to Allah with the following invocations:

    (a) “Labbayka ilah al-Haqq” [At your command, O the God of Truth]. It is narrated in the book of Hajj in al-Nasa’i’s Sunan, and in the book of Manasik in Ibn Majah’s.

    ( “Anta al-Haqq” [You are Truth]. Bukhari and Muslim.

    – Allah said: “Wa lillahi al-asma’ al-husna fad`uhu biha” : To Allah belong the Most beautiful Names, so call Him with them (7:180). These names are not confined to ninety-nine, as Nawawi explicitly stated in his commentary on the hadith in Bukhari and Muslim whereby the Prophet said: “Inna lillahi ta`ala tis`atan wa tis`ina isman, mi’atan illa wahidan, man ahsaha dakhala al-jannat…”: “There are ninety-nine names which belong to Allah, one hundred less one, whoever memorizes (or recites) them enters Paradise…” Nawawi and others showed that the meaning of this hadith — and Allah knows best — is not: “There are only ninety-nine names,” but “There are ninety-nine well-known names,” or “There are ninety-nine names which suffice to enter Paradise if memorized.”

    – The Prophet used to call Allah by ALL His Names: “Allahumma inni ad`uka bi asma’ika al-husna kulliha”: O Allah, I invoke You with all of Your beautiful Names. Narrated by Ibn Maja, book of Du`a; and by Imam Malik in his Muwatta’, Kitab al-Shi`r.

    you then went on a much more disgusting display of ignorance and accusation and say:


    The Sufis recite love poems mentioning the names of women and boys in their dhikr gatherings, and they repeat words such as “love”, “passion”, “desire” and so on, as if they are in a gathering where people dance and drink wine and clap and shout. All of this has to do with the customs and acts of worship of the mushrikeen.

    After posting in other posts that you have nothing against sufis you now call them mushrikeen. Astaghfirallah. You also falsely accuse them of drinking wine and make out that they are oversexed people who cant control themselves and recite love poems about boys and women.

    Again none of this has any proof, leaving us all wondering if we shall continue with exposing your absolute foul character in making so much lies against muslims.

    Qasidas are poetic islamic songs and are more than allowed. Especially ones praising Muhammad or praising righteous shaykhs. The scholars are unanimous about islamic songs permissibility so long as they adhere to the shariah use of instrumentation.

    no where in sufi literature is there any evidence of sufis writing poems to boys or women and then using this as a mode of dthikr.

    no where also is there any evidence of sufis being alcoholics and drunkards.

    we thus await your proofs for these allegations and pray that you repent from these accusations.

    I and I am sure many others are growing quite weary of reading your baseless accusations with no proof against the sufis.

    i therefore am reluctant to reply to any other absurd comment you mentioned in the rest of that post.

    i will however keep continuing to expose your lies in the other posts. specifically the ones about shaykh nuh.

    It is obvious here that you lack education in Islam and are not willing to learn. we have tried to help you on numerous occasions pointing you in the right direction giving you proof over proof of arguements against you lies but you fail to acknowledge them.

    we therefore dont see any benefit in continuing to counsel you if you do not make a positive assessment of your self and realise the mistakes you have made.

    As Imam Ali said, ” i never once spoke to a jahil in which he only defeated me and i never once spoke to a a’lem in which i defeated him.” if imam ali radiallahu a’nu has said this and his knowledhe far surpassed most of the companions, then what is to say about us who are struggling to remain steadfast in our islam.
    therefore if you continue with your ignorant and lieing insults further without verifying what you say, i have no choice but to ignore you much the same way you ignore the religon of Allah.

    After no doubt exposing the lies and fabrications and false accusations against Sufis and Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller in part 1, 2 and 3 of this series we are going to further prove to you how lying and deceitful some people can be when attacking shaykhs.

    Dr Diamonds786 wrote:

    Rather than attacking me again, the internet site or google , address the issues. Sufism was the original issue in a different thread and Keller became an issue after some people thought my criticism of him was unjustified. What I found afterwards about him is mind boggling

    The fact of the matter is, you were never the focus, but since you made it your duty to spread lies and falsehood about a noble shaykh without any evidence what so ever, I thus make it my duty to defend Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller against your lies.

    Even still, YOU are not the focus but your ignorance, lack of education and deceit is!
    As for Google, well maybe one day i can forgive them.
    Adressing the issue is hardly your strong point as we have seen from your various erratic posts and contrary to what your claiming, sufism was never the issue in the other posts, rather it was saudis in one thread and wahabis in another.

    What you claim to have found about Shaykh Nuh is not some unbelievable ijtihad worthy of praise nor is it even factual information that can be used to discredit him. It isnt even referenced properly nor are the references true. If your mind is boggled then i suggest a couple of dispirins and a good night sleep, because its probably the radiation from the internet that got to you rather than any serious arguement against Shaykh Nuh as we shall prove.

    Diamonds786 wrote:

    Nuh Ha Mim Keller mentions in his Tariqa Notes[1] that sacred dance is one of the rituals of the Shadhili order. According to him, the sacred dance is a type of dancing performed by Sufis in unison while they make Dhikr (remembrance of Allah). To show the permissibility of it, Keller argues that sacred dancing has 3 components:

    I have the tariqa notes directly infront of me as i type now and i have it turned to page 19, mentioned in the reference by diamonds.

    GUESS WHAT!!!!!

    mind boggling stuff really, but no such reference exists on those pages. How could this be??? Of course, i didnt have to check it as i knew it was a lie on diamonds behalf, since ive read the tariqa notes several times and for that matter, this reference isnt on any other page either, nor in any other of his books or translations.
    Subhanallah, whats next?? are you going to accuse him of dealing in magic and making those lines dissapear from the tariqa notes so that i didnt see them and only you did??

    If anyone wishes to see the evidence for this then i will gladly photocopy the relevant page and post it out to whomever free of charge. Just send me a PM and i will arrange it inshallah.

    Next diamonds786 continues and says that Shaykh Nuh argues that sacred dancing has 3 components of Dthikr, dancing and performing it in congregation.
    Again a total fabrication and not available in any of Shaykh Nuhs books let alone the tariqa notes. Anyone that has heard Shaykh Nuh speak or read his articles, knows the high degree of esteem he has for the Sacred Law and how fearful he is of going against Allahs command.

    Anyone that has an iotta of intellect realises one doesnt get authorised to translate a huge work such as ibn naqib al misris work and the maqasid of Imam al nawawi let alone the material for the darqawi-hashimi tariqa of the shadthiliya by being a fool. anyone that also realises that his work was the first ever translated work of any kind to receive an official stamp from the azhar university would realise they are dealing with a highly intelligent and qualified individual.

    to get back to the issue at hand diamonds then goes off an another tangent that seem to be so becoming of his nature and starts trying to put together peices of irrellevant material to try and discredit Shaykh Nuh against something which he did not say in the first place.
    This is shown here:

    diamonds786 lies and says in continuation of the above false quote:


    The dancing itself

    Performing it in congregation

    Since each of the above components is permissible if not recommended in its own, therefore –Keller concludes- combining them yields a permissible act of worship.

    Although, the fallacy of this argument is so evident, we will – Allah willing- contest it hoping that some of his followers might see the truth. We’ll approach this from 2 angles:

    By reasoning:

    If we follow the logic Keller uses, then we can say the following:

    It is an established religious fact that praying 4 rak’ahs in Dhuhr is obligatory. So this act has its roots in the Sacred Law.

    It is also well known that praying 2 rak’ahs as a Nafl (voluntary) is recommended, and again it has its roots in the Sacred Law.

    Based on the above, one can produce a praise-worthy Bid’ah[2] which states that it is recommended to pray Dhuhr prayer as six rak’ahs instead of four. Keller can’t argue this is a blame-worthy Bid’ah if he is to use the logic and textual evidence he provides in his works[3]..

    One can provide another example regarding prayer. Keller tries to prove that the companions invented many acts in prayer and it is the Sunnah of the beloved prophet SAAWS to accept that newly invented acts. So by the same line of reasoning, one can argue:

    a. Since Nafl (voluntary) prayer is recommended under the Sacred Law.

    b. Dancing is permissible under the Sacred Law according to Keller.

    c. The Sunnah of the prophet SAAWS is to accept the newly invented matters in prayer so long as they fall under some principle in the Sacred Law, again according to Keller[4].

    One can safely say that dancing while praying is permissible if not recommended.

    We do not think that a Muslim in his/her right mind will accept this conclusion which indicates that there is a fundamental error in the premises upon which the reasoning process was established. The flaw in Keller’s reasoning is that combining several recommended ( or permissible) acts of worship does not necessarily yield a religiously permissible act. Acts of worship can’t be invented but rather they are extracted from the textual evidence provided in the Quran and the Sunnah. The reader is reminded that the discussion here does not address mundane matters but rather is confined to acts of worship. It is a well accepted general rule that when it comes to acts of worship everything is haram unless specifically proven halal (permissible) by a textual evidence from the Quran or the Sunnah. However, for actions other than worship, everything is halal (permissible) unless proven otherwise[5].

    Also, all people are in agreement that it is very disrespectful to dance when addressing an elder or any person of a higher status. If this (Adab) is true for addressing other fellow humans, then how can one argue that it is recommended or even acceptable to dance when addressing Allah SWT the Lord of the universe and all its creation!

    Since the first quote has been proven baseless then it can be concluded that what follows it and is meant to be connected to it is also baseless.
    Never the less, even if it were true, it is still faulty reasoning on behalf of diamonds to try and come to those conclusions with the examples he has given. examples that im sure confused the hell out of people when they read them due to them being so erratically out of place.

    This and other monstrosities of lies has really proven to us the attitude of wahabis and their fabrications. They dont fear Allah! They have no sense of God conciousness when it comes to spreading thier lies and the beating of their chests to the tune of ” we are purifying the ummah from bida’a, shirk and kufur”, has done nothing but show us who really needs purifying in this ummah.

    Allah will not let the imposters and liers off so easily and woe to them on the day of judgement.

    From this and the previous three threads i have put up, further defence of Shaykh Nuh is not even needed as the deceitful agenda of diamonds786 has been proven over and over again. However, for the viewers reading and peace of mind we will continue.

    Diamonds is not satisfied in spreading this much lies and continues to say:

    Textual evidences from the works of Muslim scholars:

    In this section, statements of early Muslim scholars about dancing are presented. The list is not meant to be extensive but rather good enough to refute Keller’s concept of a sacred dance.

    a. Izz bin Abud salam (d 660 H ) RA: He is a Shafi scholar who was famous with enjoining good and forbidden evil. Keller rightly said about him:

    A Shafi’i scholar and mujtahid Imam…though his main and enduring contribution was his masterpiece on Islamic legal principles Qawa’id al-ahkam fi masalih al-alanam [The bases of legal rulings in the interests of mankind][6].

    We extract the following quote about dancing from that very book:

    “Concerning dancing and clapping, they are considered acts of Khiffah immaturity and foolishness similar to the foolishness of females[7] which is only done by a foolish or a phony person…the prophet SAAWS has said: ‘the best of generations is my generation, then the one that comes after them, and then the one that comes after them’ and none of those –whom people take as role models- used to do any of this (clapping and dancing)[8]. In fact, Satan has taken over people who think that the excitement they experience when listening to singing is concerning Allah ‘Azz wa jalla but verily they lied about this.”

    Izz continues:

    “It is not becoming from one -who fears Allah and has some respect to Him- to clap or dance. These two (clapping and dancing) originate only from a foolish ignorant. They do not originate from sane and pious. As an evidence of the ignorance of whoever does them is that the Shari’ah (Sacred Law) did not legislate them neither in the Quran nor in the Sunnah, and none of the prophets had done them, nor any of their real followers. They are only performed by the ignorant immature people who confuse truth with desires. Allah SWT said: ‘We have We have not neglected anything in the Book, then to their Lord shall they be gathered’ (Surah 6, verse 3. The early Muslim generations and the pious among the late generations had proceeded without embracing any of that (clapping and dancing)”

    The above quote is exceptionally clear and shows beyond any question that Sheikh Izz ibn Abdul Salam completely opposed any form of dancing as worship.

    Ironically Keller quotes Sheikh Izz ibn Abdul Salam’s statement where he divided Bid’ah into five categories as a basis to prove the legitimacy of Sufi Dhikr (litany). However the statements of Izz mentioned above show that Izz’s concept of Bid’ah is completely different from what Keller made it out to be. Detailed discussion of this, will be provided soon in the Bid’ah section.

    Here diamonds has really messed up his arguement even further.

    He mentions the quote of the famous shafi’i scholar but he says “Abud salam”. Shaykh Nuh makes no reference to a Abud salam in his biography references in the back of the reliance of the traveller. Rather he does mention Al Izz Ibn Abdu Salam. We will give diamonds the benefit of the doubt and think of it as a typo and not attribute it as another fabrication, however the conclusions derived from mentioning of this scholar by diamonds are totally irrellevant and have no ground.

    Shaykh Nuh quotes the great scholars interpretation of the five different categories of Bid’a. I have posted these previously in another thread about bid’a. His position is accepted amongst shafi’i scholars unanimously and even non shafi’is accept it. But we arent refering to the fake madthab here popularily known by wahabis as the “salafi madthab”. Never has there been an acceptance of this outright innovation in 1423 years of islamic scholarly heritage.

    rather, thier loud claims that this madthab exists above the other madthabs which were accepted since thier emergence is flung to the side and unotticed like a rotten peice of garbage!

    Diamonds tries to link ONE reference in the whole book of Reliance of the traveller to dancing which was narrated by Imam Al Nawawi and commented on by Muhammad Shirbini Khatib as perfectly valid.

    this is not only in shafi’i school but others as well.

    anyway, he tries to say that Shaykh Nuh tries to link this commentary and shafi position on Dancing to Shaykh abdu salams bid’a explanation to justify dancing.

    These lies are growing beyond riddiculous and there is no such thing ever written, stated or derived by Shaykh Nuh anywhere in audio recordings or books or internet articles by him.

    If you have evidence then i suggest you put it forth very quickly because your looking more a fool by the minute.

    next diamonds says:
    b. Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah (Islamic rulings issued in India):

    al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah is a collection of Islamic rulings issued and compiled by a group of Hanafi scholars from India. This scholarly work was in response to a request by the Muslim king of India and a Islamic scholar in his own standing, Muhammad Aurangzeb. In this collection of Fatawa (Islamic rulings) one finds the following:

    “The Sama’ (listening to singing), singing poetry, and dancing that Sufis do these days are impermissible; both going to it and attending it are not permissible. These actions are similar to singing and music[10].

    He says the hanafi position is that listening to singing, poetry and dancing is impermissible. Firstly i will state that i am not a Hanafi and dont know the explicitness of the position of these matters in the Hanafi school.
    However shaykh Nuhs wife is a Hanafi and is under the guidance along with Shaykh Nuh under the Hanafi Shaykh, Shaykh Al Aranut.
    It is hard to perceive that she would be a hanafi and sit at the dthikr and qasida gatherings if it were against her madthabs rules since is a most devout and noble learned woman.
    However i will not comment further except to say regardless of the Hanafi position on the matter, it does no justice to mention it in an attempt to discredit the shafi’i position and doesnt prove a thing much like the rest of diamonds rubbish except that he is clutching at straws.

    As for his last comment: c.

    The encyclopedia of Islamic Jurisprudence

    This is a huge work of Islamic Jurisprudence put together by a host of contemporary Muslim Jurists. The following is a quote from their work under the title “Dancing, whirling, drums and using wind instruments”:

    “Some people of Bid’ah add to Dhikr –besides what has been discussed earlier- other things.

    Al-Shatibi[11] (d 790 H) said: ‘I wish they stopped at this –which in itself is blameworthy- but on top of that they have progressed into dancing, using wind instruments, whirling, and beating their chests; some bang their heads. How similar this is to the laughable acts of the foolish ones! This is so because these actions of theirs belong to kids and insane, it causes sane people to cry in sympathy for them since this can’t be taken as a path to Allah, and a way to resemble the pious ones.’

    Al-Ajiry (d 360 H) said: ‘it has to be said to whoever did this (dancing, whirling, etc): know that the most truthful when admonishing, the most sincere to his Ummah, and the one with the softest heart[12] and the best among the people who came after him[13] -with no doubt- never screamed when they were admonished, nor cried out loudly or danced. If these acts were acceptable then they (the companions) are the most entitled to do them in front of the Prophet SAAWS, however (they did not) because it is Bid’ah, falsehood, and evil.’ ”

    The evidences mentioned above should be sufficient to a reader who seeks the truth. We refuted Keller’s argument, concerning dancing and singing as an act of worship, by reasoning first and then by providing clear statements by renowned scholars of Islam.

    Im reluctant to even acknowledge “the encyclopedia of islamic jurisprudence as a sound work since no real scholar over the past 1423 years has tried to riddicule the ummah and the religon of Allah by saying all scholarly effort in the major schools of thought can be contained in one encyclopedia, no matter how fancy or large it is or how pretty the hard cover is.

    The shafi’i madthab alone would require room after room of shelves to contain its scholarly works, let alone the other schools of thought.

    much like sabiqs work fiqh al sunnah it can be hardly looked at as an authoritative work doing justice to the schools of thought.

    Attacks against Sheikh Hamza Yusuf

    June 15, 2007 I found this website recently and found that it vilifies and disparages Sheikh Hamzah Yusuf. Below is Sheikh GF Haddad’s response to wahabiyya baseless attacks against Sheikh Hamzah Yusuf.

    RE: Accusations on Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
    Answered by Shaykh Gibril F Haddad

    There are many things being spread about Shaykh Hamza Yusuf by the opposite parties saying he interprets Quran wrongly , shows daeef ahadith .. condemns suicide bombers to hell fire and calls the fire fighters who saved people from world trade centre as Jihadis and destined to paradise !! then Hamza Yusuf saying that in the Quran the word Jihad is not even used once to present the military form of Jihad .. could you please shed some light on this as I read some emails by Shaykh Yusuf Estes bashing him in his long emails.

    Wa `alaykum as-Salam:

    Yusuf Estes is not qualified to say anything but good about Sidi Hamza as Estes only stands to learn from him. Estes belongs to a group of persons that speak in the name of Islam while openly admitting that they “do not follow any schools of thought” i.e. they are misguided cf. They also hold the Awliya’ of Allah in contempt — may Allah Almighty give them their just deserts.

    Whatever one’s position on the issue, it remains that the condemnation of suicide bombers of civilians to hell fire is not new nor exclusive to Shaykh Hamza but I have heard it from the Ba `Alawi Shuyukh as per Shaykh Abu Bakr al-`Attas at the Muhammad Fatih Institute in Beirut. It is also the position of al-Albani as cited by Yusuf Estes’ Salafite director, Muhammad Adly at

    And whoever saves one life it is as if he saved all humankind. As for jihad not being military HY is right with respect to all the Makkan Suras; I heard this from Dr. Sa`id al-Buti in one of his Jumu`a sermons. Allah Most High said:

    {And whosoever STRIVES (JAAHADA), STRIVES (YUJAAHIDU) only for himself} (29:6). {As for those who STRIVE (JAHADU) in Us (the cause of Allah), We surely guide them to Our paths, and lo! Allah is with the good doers.} (29:69) This is a Meccan Sura and the two verses refer to Jihad al-Nafs. There was no military jihad then.

    Also, jihad is not based on a murderous heart but a cleansed heart. Without jihad of the nafs, fighting leads to Hellfire.

    Allah Most High said:

    {WA NAFSIN WA MAA SAWAAHA, FA-ALHAMAHA FUJURAHA WA TAQWAHA. QAD AFLAHA MAN ZAKAAHA WA QAD KHAABA MAN DAS-SAAHA} “By the nafs and the proportion and order given to it, and its inspiration as to its wrong and its right; Truly he succeeds who purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it” (91:7-10). This is also a Meccan Sura.

    Without purification, the nafs remains a “soul that enjoins evil” (al-nafs al-ammara bil-su’) until it surrenders itself in total obedience to the call of animal passions and shaytan.

    Allah Most High said:

    {Have you seen the one who chooses for his god his own lust?} (25:43). {He followed his own lust. Therefore his likeness is as the likeness of a dog; if you attack him he pants with his tongue out and if you leave him he pants with his tongue out} (7:176). These are both also Meccan Suras.

    About the person who controlled the passion of his ego Allah says: {But as for him who feared to stand before his Lord and restrained his soul from lust, Lo! The garden will be his home} (79:40-41). This is also a Meccan Sura.

    The above are among the many Meccan verses and Suras enjoining jihad al-nafs. One that denies that there was/is such a Divine command commits kufr. Such a command cannot mean military jihad, as there was no permission – much less an order – for such a jihad until the Madinan period.

    >another question is that Sufis use 2 ahadith very often > when they talk about Jihad and those are…… The best > Jihad is to fight against your nafs

    This is firmly established as true from the glorious Qur’an.

    Further, the Prophet said, upon him peace:

    1. <
    > – Ibn Hibban (#1624, 2519): Authentic; – Shu`ayb al-Arna’ut (Commentary on Ibn Hibban): authentic; – al-Hakim: sahih; – `Iraqi confirms him; – it is also in Tirmidhi, Ahmad, and Tabarani; – Albani included it in the “Sahiha”.

    2. “`A’isha, Allah be well-pleased with her, asked: ‘Messenger of Allah, we see jihad as the best of deeds, so shouldn’t we join it?’ He replied, ‘But the best jihad is a perfect Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah).'” (Sahih Al-Bukhari #2784)

    3. On another occasion, a man asked: “Should I join the jihad?” The Prophet asked, upon him peace, “Do you have parents?” The man said yes. The Prophet said: “Then do jihad by serving them!” (Sahih Al-Bukhari #5972)

    4. Another man asked: “What kind of jihad is better?” The Prophet replied, upon him peace: “A word of truth spoken in front of an oppressive ruler.” (Sunan Al-Nasa’i #4209)

    5. The Prophet also said, upon him peace: <
    > Al-Haythami declared it authentic in Majma` al-Zawa’id.

    6. The Prophet, upon him peace, said to Abu Sa`id al-Khudri: “Even if one strikes unbelievers and idolaters with his sword until it breaks, and he is *completely* dyed with their blood, the Rememberers of Allah are above him one degree.”

    and the second hadith > of Rasul Ullah coming back from a battle and saying we >are coming back from Jihad e Asghar to Jihad e Akbar .. >its said that both these ahadith are extremely weak ,

    Let them complain of Ibn al-Qayyim who writes page after page about the jihad of the ego as the greatest jihad in his book al-Fawa’id.

    Even if a hadith is very weak it does not mean it is forged. As for these particular hadiths, it is incorrect to say they are very weak for various reasons (see below).

    >Please give me exact references of these ahadith and the > classical scholars who authenticated them

    The “greater jihad” hadith is narrated variously thus:

    1. As a saying of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, from Jabir – Allah be well-pleased with him – in the wording:


    Narrated with a very weak chain containing Yahya ibn al-`Ala’ al-Bajali al-Razi (who is accused of forgery) by al-Bayhaqi in al-Zuhd al-Kabir (p. 165 §373=p. 198 §374) and al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad (13:493=13:523) cf. al-Ahdab, Zawa’id Tarikh Baghdad (9:309-311 §2077). This is the narration cited by Imam al-Ghazzali in the Ihya’ and thus sourced by al-`Iraqi in his documentation.

    However, even if the wording is inauthentic, the meaning of the last phrase i.e. that the greater jihad is the struggle against hawa/nafs IS CONFIRMED AS SAHIH by the verses quoted above and by the narrations of the previous section: 1, 5, and 6.

    2. As a saying of the Companions `Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As as cited by Ibn Rajab in his Sharh Hadith Labbayk (p. 128).

    3. As a saying of the Tabi`i Ibrahim ibn Abi `Abla narrated by al-Nasa’i in his Kuna in the wording:

    “You have come back from the smaller jihad; what about the greater one?” They asked, “What is the greater jihad?” He [Ibn Abi `Abla] replied: “The jihad of the heart.”

    Al-Qari said in al-Asrar al-Marfu`a: al-`Asqalani in Tasdid al-Qaws (“Adjusting the Bow”) said, “This report is famous and widespread but these are the words of Ibrahim ibn Abi `Abla as narrated in al-Nasa’i’s Kuna.”

    4. As a saying of Ibrahim ibn Ad-ham as narrated by al-Bayhaqi in al-Zuhd (p. 152).

    5. As a saying of Abu Hatim al-Asamm as narrated by al-Bayhaqi in al-Zuhd (p. 286).

    See also: al-Mizzi, Tahdhib al-Kamal (2:144); Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib (1:142), al-Kafi al-Shafi fi Takhrij Ahadith al-Kashshaf (p. 114), and Tasdid al-Qaws (cf. al-`Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa’); and al-Zayla`i, Takhrij al-Ahadith wal-Athar al-Waqi`a fi Tafsir al-Kashshaf (2:395-396 §825).

    Hajj Gibril


    And BY THE WAY

    **The supposed letters of Yusuf Estes which he supposedly wrote against Hamzah Yusuf has been denied by the former himself. He has stated that :
    “The words you quote (above) are not my words, they have been added – others have been taking what I wrote (in private) to a brother years ago, and copied then altered and changed and posted on the web my comments…

    All of this is haram and whoever does try to divide the Muslims with such tactics will have to face Allah for what they are doing.”

    The letters may be found at wahabi owned websites like and