ON THE LAWFULNESS OF MARTIAL ARTS

[By Shaykh Sharif ibn Farid]

The Roots of African Martial Arts in the `Amal of Medina

In his Sawq al-Umma Ila Ittiba` as-Sunna, Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio narrated two prophetic traditions which establish the lawfulness of practicing martial arts; combining it with the drums, poetry and entertainment; similar to the Caporeira system the Africans developed in Brazil; but in addition to the formation of a system of martial arts the two prophetic traditions establish that this martial tradition was connected with the `amal of Medina among the Africans of the city.

The first narration by the Shehu cited with his chain to the Saheeh of al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Hurayra who stated:

“We were present when some Abyssinians were making entertainment in the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with their lances when Umar entered. He (Umar) then reached for some pebbles and began to stone them with them. He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “Let them alone O Umar!”

The meaning of the words of Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him: “We were present when some Abyssinians”; it is said that this cognomen is a reference to the descendants of Habash ibn Kush ibn Haam ibn Nuuh, who are the traditional neighbors to the people of Yemen, and are only cut off from them by the Red Sea.

Historically, the Abyssinians conquered Yemen before the time of Islam and took sovereignty over its land. Also Abraha made the well-known military engagement from their kingdom against the Ka`aba and its people accompanied with his elephants, and were known as ‘the Companions of the Elephant’.

This event occurred in the year in which our master Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace was born. Allah ta`ala says about them:

“Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with the Companions of the Elephants? Did He not bring their stratagem to nil; and sent against them swarms of flying creatures, which pelted them with stones of baked clay; and made them like green crops devoured.”

This is evidence that the lands of Yemen and parts of the lands south of the Hijaz were under the sovereignty of Abyssinia until the event of the Elephant.

Ibn Hajr al-`Asqalani said: “The kingdom of Abyssinia lay in the direction of the west of the land of Yemen, and its distance is extremely vast, and they are divided into many ethnic types. All of the divisions of the Blacks fall under the sovereignty of the ruler of Abyssinia.”

This statement is proof that any mention of the name Abyssinia in the prophetic traditions is a designation for all Blacks in general. The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “…were making entertainment”; is that the entertainment of the Abyssinians with their lances, was actually their convention and custom by which they trained in the art of war; and this should not be assumed that they were performing some kind of dancing for amusement.

It was called ‘entertainment’ (la`b) although it was primarily a form of practice in martial arts, and it was performed with gravity although it resembled entertainment, because of what was in it of mock jabbing and stabbing, even though this was not actually done. And those participating would give the false impression that the fighting was real, even when they were fathers and sons; and Allah knows best. In this is evidence for it being highly recommended to train and practice boxing, swordsmanship and other than these from the sciences of martial arts.
The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “…in the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with their lances”; is intrinsically connected to the reality that this practice was their custom during every `Eid celebration. It also indicates that this was an authorization that they were accustomed to with the advent of the `Eid.

There was no contradiction between their actions and the religion in that their arrival to perform coincided with the day of the `Eid. This is because it was among their custom prior to Islam to entertain themselves in this fashion during all their holiday festivals. Thus, they did that as a convention, and then eventually they made this form of entertainment on the day of every `Eid.
This was corroborated by what was related by Abu Dawud on the authority of Anas who said:

“When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace arrived in al-Medina the Abyssinians made entertainment out of joy for that by making amusement with their lances.”

The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “…when Umar entered”; is based upon what Ibn at-Teen said: “It is conceivable that Umar did not actually see the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and was not aware that he was actually observing them. Or perhaps he assumed that he saw them but was too modest to prevent them from doing it.”

The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “He (Umar) then reached”; is that he made the obvious objective with his hands for reaching for the stones.

The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “…for some pebbles”; is that the expression ‘hasaa’ (pebbles) is the plural of ‘hisaat’, and are pebbles small enough not to cause injury if thrown at someone. It was not Umar’s intention to punish them, but to deter them.

The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “and began to stone them with them”; is that he threw the pebbles at them as an objection to what they were doing. Umar did this based upon his own ‘ijtihaad’ (independent judgment) considering that their behavior was not appropriate for the masjid, because it resembled the behavior of the words of Allah ta`ala: “…and their prayer in the House is nothing but shouting and the clapping of hands.”

Thus, Umar objected to their making entertainment based upon the apparent meaning of the words of Allah ta`ala: “The life of this world in nothing but entertainment and amusement, while the Abode of the Hereafter is better for those who are fearfully aware”; assuming that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace was unaware of what they were doing.

Umar held the view that making amusement and entertainment in any way was not appropriate for the masaajid, because Allah ta`ala says: “And the masaajid are solely for Allah.” And Allah knows best.

The meaning of his words, upon him be blessings and peace: “Let them alone O Umar!”; is leave them alone because their behavior is permitted or highly recommended, and consistent with the Sunna. That is to say, that demonstrating adroitness and dexterity with weapons in mark combat is not reprehensible, especially when it is done to entertain the Muslims during their holidays.

It is clear that Umar did know this ruling when he was throwing the pebbles at them until it was said to him: ‘Let them alone.’ That is to say, let them alone because they are not doing something which is displeasing to Allah and His messenger.

If Umar knew of the presence of the Messenger of Allah and yet he made his decision to deter the Abyssinians from making entertainment in the masaajid, is evidence for the permissibility of the Companions making independent judgment in the presence of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

What the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said to Umar was not an objection to his independent judgment, or his duty to command the good and forbid evil. On the contrary, the Messenger of Allah commended the ijtihaad of a mujtahid even when he errs, by his words, upon him be peace:

“When a jurist gives a judgment based upon his independent judgment and he gets it correct, then he will have two rewards. And if he gives a judgment based upon his independent judgment and he makes an error, then he will have a single reward.”

Thus, with respect to giving ijtihaad, every single mujtahid is correct in his judgment. Thus, Umar was correct from one perspective and incorrect from another. The silence of the Prophet, upon him be peace during the entertainment of the Abyssinians in the masjid is evidence for its permissibility according to the shari`a, since the sunnan were established by his words and actions and sometimes by his silent approval of what he saw from the Companions.

The silence of the Messenger of Allah, of the Abyssinians and his censure of the actions of Umar, corroborates the lawfulness of martial games or demonstrations the Africans were doing. For this reason it states in the at-Tawdeeh:

“The playing at martial arts games is a Sunnah because it is a preparation for encountering the enemies, and disciplining of the people for that.” It should be noted that no mention was made in the prophetic tradition of singing and dancing.

However, there are many of those who are associated with the Sufis who utilize this prophetic tradition and the one regarding the two Abyssinian girls singing as evidence for the permissibility for singing and dancing as a form of worship. It is sufficient to refute them with the fact that the entertainment of the Abyssinians was a form of exercise and training with shields and lances, and this was a custom of theirs for recreation, and not a type of worship.

The scholars differ regarding the permissibility of singing. A large group from the people of the Hijaz allowed it, based upon a narration on the authority of Malik, however, Abu Hanifa and the people of `Iraq said that it was prohibited. The view of as-Shafi` considered it reprehensible, which is also the most famous view of Malik.
Those who consider singing permissible take reliance upon the above cited prophetic tradition, while others refute them by citing that the kind of singing that the Abyssinians performed was that regarding bravery, fighting, adroitness in fighting and the like, which has no corruption in it. This is in contrast to the kind of singing which comprises provoking the lower souls towards evil and inducing them to that which is false and obscene.

Whatever the case, the above cited prophetic tradition establishes the fact that it was a sunnan for the Africans, the Blacks (Sudaniyuun), the Abyssinians, etc of the city of Medina, to train in martial arts, and to give entertainment in the form of weapons demonstrations in the presence of the Prophet inside the masaajid. We can see that is far easier for a Sufi Zawiyya to be a place for the purification of the soul accompanied with martial training; than let’s say a zawiyya where the Sufis sing and dance.

The second prophetic tradition which Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio cites with his chain of authority going back to the Saheeh of al-Bukhari which establish the fact that the Africans of the city of Medina formally practiced a form of martial arts and gave regular demonstrations before the people of Medina during their Eids; is what was related on the authority of A`isha, may Allah be pleased with her who said:

“On the day of the `Eid, the Blacks were playing with leather shields and lances.”
The meaning of the words, of A`isha may Allah be pleased with her: “On the day of the `Eid, the Blacks were playing”; is a reference to the Abyssinians. This is proof that the names Abyssinian and Blacks were interchangeable, and that the name Abyssinian is a cognomen designating all Blacks, as we mentioned previously.
They were playing in the masjid as it was stated explicitly in the narration of az-Zuhri: “…and the Abyssinians were playing in the masjid.” In the narration of Mu`aliqa it added: “…with their lances.”

Muslim related from the narration of Hisham on the authority of his father: “The Abyssinians came and began to play in the masjid”; in that it was their custom to do so during every `Eid, as we mentioned.

In the narration of Ibn Hibban it stated: “When he arrived, the Abyssinians assembled and stood and played in the masjid.”

The meaning of her words, may Allah be pleased with her: “…with leather shields”; is that ‘the leather shield’ is among the instruments of war which are necessary for the people of this art to take up as a defensive implement against the weapons of the enemies.
It is said that the leather shield is a type of shield made from leather and contains wood without a stump at its end. It is well known that the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace used to utilize them for defensive purposes.
The meaning of her words, may Allah be pleased with her: “…and lances” is that the expression ‘hiraab’ is the plural of ‘harba’, which is weapon shorter than a spear, as Ibn al-`Arabi said: “The lance is not to be included among the types of spears.” This means that the lance was categorized as a close quarter combat weapon; while the spear is for long distance and keeping the enemies at a distance.

This prophetic tradition gives evidence of the permissibility of playing with weapons by way of exuberant movements for the purpose of practicing for war and vitalizing oneself for it. It is what the people of China call ‘chuan’ (organized martial movement) and the people of Japan call ‘kaataa’ (a martial arts form).

Further, what can be extracted from it is the permissibility of fencing and swordsmanship and what it comprises of training the hands in the art of war. These kinds of exercises also invigorate the metabolism and make the body healthy in order to worship Allah.
The fact that A`isha, may Allah be pleased with her was the one who transmitted this prophetic tradition through eye witnessing indicates the permissibility for women observing the actions of men, even though it is reprehensible for them to gaze upon their attractiveness with the objective of taking pleasure from that, as Qadi `Iyad mentioned in his as-Shifa.

In these times when Muslim national minorities all around the globe are the targets of summary attacks by bullies, thugs and xenophobes; it is time that we revive the dead Sunnah of martial training for our men women and children.

BARBERS PROMOTING ZINA

FUSSAAQ-FUJJAAR BARBERS PROMOTING ZINA

QUESTION

What is the ruling of the Shariah regarding barbers who massage females? In Hawarthia Drive, Malabar, there is a barber who would first cut only men’s hair. He then degenerated to cutting women’s hair. Now he even massages women.

Also of great concern is that some moulanas and turbaned tablighis lustfully sit side by side with these women without batting an eyelid. What does Islam say about this barber and these so-called men of the Deen who are able to tolerate such brazen haraam misdeeds, and even derive   lustful pleasure?

ANSWER

They are not men of the ‘Deen’. All of them – the vile barber and the molvis and turbaned tablighis – are of the progeny of Iblees. As for the barber he is a murtad. He believes that his acts of zina are halaal whilst in reality every zina step he takes believing it to be halaal, is kufr. The molvis and tablighis who grace the devil’s barbershop are fujjaar of the worst order. They are party to zina in the making.

When molvis, not only maintain silence in the face of flagrant fisq and fujoor being committed in the public domain, but derive haraam bestial and carnal pleasure  from the barbers immoral acts of fisq, fujoor and kufr, then there is no doubt in their own fisq and fujoor. They are fussaaq and fujjaar in terms of the Shariah. Their beards and turbans are extremely deceptive. These ‘deeni’ louts and scoundrels are bereft of the haziest idea of Deen. They are among the munaafiqeen while the barber is a murtad.

It is haraam for Muslims to visit the haraam barbershop which according to the Shariah is akin to a brothel. It is haraam to have one’s hair cut by the filthy hands of the murtad barber. It is haraam to have any kind of Muslim ties with this evil, shaitaani barber. Muslims should not invite Allah’s Curse on themselves by sitting in that evil barbershop which has become a venue for promoting zina.

We are living in the era in which the Signs of Qiyaamah are increasingly materializing by the day. The degeneration of the Muslim community into the cauldron of immorality is ample testification for the villainous and immoral conduct of this evil barber and his scoundrel molvi and tablighi clients.

This immoral state of affairs which has obliterated the Imaani conscience of Muslims is a sure Sign of the Impending Athaab of Allah Ta’ala. The rot of the community is now absolute. No one is deriving lesson from the heart-rending and miserable plight of the Muslims of Syria, Burma, Kashmir, etc. Eyes will open only when Allah’s Athaab is unleashed. But then it will be too late. Then no amount of duas and wazifahs will help.

“Beware of such a punishment which will not befall only the transgressors among you.” (Qur’aan)

The universal Punishment of Allah Ta’ala will take in its wake even the buzrugs, the molvis and the tablighis because all of them are hypocrites, hence they derive lustful pleasure from public acts of zina as the zina perpetrated by the scoundrel barber. (By Mujlisul Ulama).

The Meaning of Salah (Durood) and Salam

[By Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ Uthmani (Rahimahullah)]

The word: Salah is used in the Arabic language to convey the sense of: Mercy (rahmah), prayer (du’a) and praise (madh and thana). The Salah attributed to Allah Ta’ala in the cited verse means His sending of mercy, but Salah from the angels denotes their prayer for him, and the sense of Salah (durood) from common believers is a combination of dua’ (prayer) and thana’ (praise). Most commentators have given these very meanings and Imam Al-Bukhari has reported from Abu’l-‘Aliyah that the Salah of Allah Ta’ala means the honor accorded to him and the praise showered on him before the angels. As for the honor bestowed on him by Allah Ta’ala within this mortal world, it translates as the high rank he was blessed with when, on many an occasion, his mention was joined with the mention of Allah Ta’ala in adhan (the initial call for prayers) and iqamah (the call announcing the immediate start of the prayer) and elsewhere, and that Allah Ta’ala made the religion brought by him spread and prevail throughout the world, and that He enjoined upon all people to keep acting in accordance with the Shari’ah brought by him right through the last day of al-Qiyamah and, along with it, He has undertaken to keep his Shari’ah stand perennially protected. Then, as for the honor bestowed upon him in the Hereafter, it can be said that his station was made to be the most exalted of the entire creation and, at a time when no prophet or angel could dare intercede on behalf of anyone, it was right at that time that he was blessed with the celebrated station of intercession called:(Al-ma’qam-ul-Mahmud: Praised Station).

Given the interpretation that Allah’s Salah in favour of the Holy Prophet ﷺ means praise, someone may raise a doubt that, according to the narrations of Hadith, Salah and Salam are also offered to the family and companions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ. If so, how can anyone other than him be made to share in the honor bestowed and praise done by Allah Ta’ala? This doubt has been answered in Ruh-ul-Ma’ani etc. by saying that the degrees of such honor and praise are many. The Holy Prophet ﷺ has it at its highest, while his family and companions and believers in general are included with him only to a certain degree.

As for the word: Salam, it is an infinitive in the sense of as-salamah and means staying in peace. And As-salamu-‘alaik conveniently taken as ‘peace on you’ means: May the state of peace and security from losses, defects and calamities be with you. And since, according to the rule of Arabic grammar, this is not the occasion to use the word: ‘ala: on, upon, but since the word ‘Salam’ implies praise, hence the word: ‘ala is appended with it.

And some other early commentators have taken the word: Salam here to mean the sacred Being of Allah Ta’ala, because Salam is among the beautiful names of Allah Ta’ala. According to this view the sentence will mean that Allah is enough to take care of your security and well-being.

Rebuttal to Najdi islamqa.info’s Objections on the Qaseeda Burdah

QUESTION

السلام علیکم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Hope Mufti is well.

I came across the following article. I’m aware that Hazrat Mufti has written a Sharh on Qasidah Burdah. Can Mufti please answer or give a refutation to this article.

Click this link for the article………

https://islamqa.info/en/answers/115502/qaseedat-al-burdah-by-al-busayri-and-an-explanation-of-what-it-contains-of-kufr-and-heresy

Kindly awaiting Mufti Saheb’s response.

Jazaakallahu Khair.

والسلام علیکم ورحمة الله وبركاته

ANSWER

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

You refer to the 6 objections on the Qaseeda Burdah in the link provided. We will answer in the sequence of the objections. All translations have been taken from the commentary of the Qaseeda Burdah by my beloved ustaad, Mufti Ebrahim Desai Saheb (Hafidhahullah). Some of the explanations provided here have been reproduced verbatim from Mufti Sahebs commentary.

Objections have been made upon the following verses:

1.     Verse 43 and 44,

43 دع ما ادّعته النّصارى في نبيّهم … واحكم بما شئت مدحا فيه واحتكم

44 وانسب إلى ذاته ما شئت من شرف … وانسب إلى قدره ما شئت من عظم

Translation: “Discard what the Christians claimed about their Prophets, then you decree and praise Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) in any way after that.”

 “And attribute whatever excellence you want to the personality of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), and attribute whatever greatness you wish to the personality of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)”

Objection: This verse implies that it is permissible to exaggerate the praises of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).

Response: It is clear to anyone with an adequate understanding of the Arabic language that while we proclaim the excellency of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) in relation to previous Rasul’s, we will not trespass the limits of moderation and elevate him to the position of Allah as the Christians did with Isa (Alayhis Salaam).[1] In actual fact, the verse clearly prohibits such exaggeration. Review the first stanza,

Discard what the Christians claimed about their Prophets”

The Christians exaggerated in praising Isa (Alayhis Salaam), the poet clearly states; leave that out! i.e. do not exaggerate as the Christians exaggerated.

2.     Verse 46,

لو ناسبت قدره آياته عظاما … أحيا اسمه حين يدعى دارس الرّمم 46

Translation: If the Mu’jizaat of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) were in proportion to his greatness, then, when his name would have been called out, it would bring decaying bones back to life.”

The objection raised is that the author is saying that if one were to call out, O Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam(, resurrect the bones, they would be resurrected. This is calling out to besides Almighty Allah.

The objection is based on an incorrect understanding of the verse. The verse is in the context of expressing the greatness of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). While he performed many Mu’jizaat (miracles), his status is far beyond the many Mu’jizaat he performed. If the Mu’jizaat of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) would be equivalent to his status, then IF he would call to decaying bones to come to life, they would come to life.

It is our Aqeedah (belief) that prophets performed Mu’jizaat with the order of Allah. If Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) would call out to the dead and they would come to life, that would be a Mu’jizah with the order of Allah. The Quran and Ahadith are replete with such Mu’jizaat of Rasulullah (Sallalhu Alayhi Wasallam). Almighty Allah refers to the Mu’jizah of Isa (Alayhis Salaam), Surah Maaidah, Verse 49,

وَأُحْيِ الْمَوْتَى بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ

Translation: “I revive the dead with the permission of Allah”

The objection is based on misinterpretation of the poem and a poor knowledge on the issue of Mu’jizaat.

3.     Verse 80,

80 ما سامني الدّهر ضيما واستجرت به … إلّا ونلت جوارا منه لم يضم

Translation: “Time did not frustrate me with oppression and I took refuge through Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), except that I received support from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) which was not abused.”

Objection: Tawheed demands that we seek refuge in Allah alone, then why does the author state taking refuge in Rasulullah Sallallhu Alayhi Wasallam in the various challenges of life?

Response: We know that the author (Allamah Busaiyri Rahimahullah) had correct Aqaa’id, hence we must interpret these verses in line with his Aqeedah. As stated above, seeking refuge in Allah through the waseelah of the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam is permissible. Allah says in Surah Maaidah, verse 35,

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَابْتَغُوا إِلَيْهِ الْوَسِيلَةَ وَجَاهِدُوا فِي سَبِيلِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

Translation: “O you who believe, Fear Allah and seek the Waseelah towards him”

Consider this hadith,[2]

Sayyiduna Uthmaan ibn Hunayf (radhiallaahu anhu) narrates that once a blind person came to Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and said, “Oh Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam)! Ask Allah to cure me.” Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied, “If you wish I will make Du’aa or else you may be patient, and this is better for you.” The man said, “Make Du’aa instead”, Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) then commanded him to make Wudhu properly and that he recites the following Du’aa, “Oh Allah, verily, I ask of you and I turn to you through your prophet, the prophet of mercy, O Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam), verily, I have turned to my Lord through you so that my need be fulfilled. Oh Allah, accept his intercession on my behalf.” Imaams Tirmidhi, ibn Khuzaymah and Haakim have classified this Hadith as authentic. The words, “I turn to you through your prophet” clearly proves Tawassul through the position of a person. Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) also told him that he should make the same supplication whenever he needed to.

For more detail on the topic of tawassul, you may refer to the link provided in the references.[3]

In this verse, Allamah Busayri (the author) expresses that whenever he faced challenges in life and asked Allah through the Waseelah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam), he got relief.[4]

4.     Verse 146,

فإنّ لي ذمّة منه بتسميتي … محمدا وهو أوفى الخلق بالذّمم 146

Translation: “For verily I have a promise from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) due to my name being Muhammad, and he is most faithful in fulfilling promises.”

Objection: The author is making use of a fabricated hadith to make his point.

Response: Imam Suyuti (Rahimahullah) quotes the hadith[5]

من ولد له مولود فسماه محمدا تبركا به كان هو ومولوده في الجنة

Translation: “To whomever a boy is born, and he names him Muhammad solely for the blessings of my name, then both he (the father) and his son will enter Jannah.”

According to Imam Suyuti (Rahimahullah), the hadith is sound. However, according to other Muhadditheen like Allama Zuhali and Allama Ibn Hajar Rahimahumullah, the hadith is fabricated. It is probable that Imam Busayri (the author of the Qaseeda) relied upon the opinion of the hadith being sound.[6] A true lover of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) looks for the smallest excuse to draw closer to his beloved. It is not our place to accuse him of something regarding which there was a difference of opinion.

5.     Verse 147,

147 إن لم يكن في معادي آخذا بيدي … فضلا وإلّا فقل يا زلّة القدم

Translation: “If Rasulullah sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, out of grace, does not hold my hand in the hereafter (to intercede for me), then say (lament) Oh slip of the foot (you caused it).”

Objection: The author is directly asking Rasullullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam for help on the day of Qiyaamah.

Response: It is easily understood that the author is referring to the intercession of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) on the day of Qiyaamah. Who amongst us would not wish for that? The author expresses fear that if Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) does not intercede for him on the day of Qiyaamah, then he will slip on the bridge of Siraat.[7]

Consider the following ahadith,[8]

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: شَفَاعَتِي لِأَهْلِ الكَبَائِرِ مِنْ أُمَّتِي

Translation: “My intercession will be for the people of my ummah who commited major sins”

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَتَانِي آتٍ مِنْ عِنْدِ رَبِّي فَخَيَّرَنِي بَيْنَ أَنْ يُدْخِلَ نِصْفَ أُمَّتِي الجَنَّةَ وَبَيْنَ الشَّفَاعَةِ، فَاخْتَرْتُ الشَّفَاعَةَ، وَهِيَ لِمَنْ مَاتَ لَا يُشْرِكُ بِاللَّهِ شَيْئًا

Translation: “A messenger from my lord came to me and offered me a choice between him (Allah) entering half of my ummah into Jannah and intercession, so I chose the intercession, and it will be for whoever passes away not ascribing any partners to Allah”

Furthermore, all the prophets will request (make shafaa’ah) to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) on the plains of Hashr to request Allah to commence accountability. This is clearly stated in the hadith.[8] Would we say that the prophets committed wrong by requesting Rasulullah’s (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) assistance on the plains of Hashr?

6.     Verse 154,

154 فإنّ من جودك الدنيا وضرّتها … ومن علومك علم اللّوح والقلم

Translation: “For verily, (the effect of) your generosity is (the continued existence of) this world and its partner (hereafter), and from among your knowledge is the knowledge of the Lawh (sacred tablet) and Qalam (pen).”

Objection:  Two objections have been raised on this verse.

The first objection: Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is the reason behind the creation of the world and the hereafter.

Response: If one were to understand the authors words in the light of various nuances of the Arabic language, it should become clear that the author does not intend a literal meaning of these words.

In actual fact, he is saying that the continued existence of the world is linked to the generosity of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). Generosity in this case refers to the guidance that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) brought to the world. As long as the teachings and guidance of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) are in existence, the Day of Qiyaamah will not come and the world will continue to exist. Hence, the existence of the world is due to the generosity of Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). This is also understood from the hadith,

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ:لَا تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ عَلَى أَحَدٍ يَقُولُ: لَا إِلَهَ إلا الله

Translation: “The last hour shall not appear (as long as) there is someone proclaiming there is no Lord but Allah i.e. practicing on the teachings of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).”

It is also safe to say that the generosity of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is exemplified in this world and the hereafter. In this world it is in the form of the guidance he spread across all corners of the world. In the hereafter, it will be in the form of his various intercessions.[10]

The second objection: Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has Ilmul Ghayb i.e. he possesses knowledge of ALL that is contained in the Lawh and whatever was written by the Qalam.

Response: It is a well-known fact that Almighty Allah has already written everything in the Lawh, from the beginning of time till the end. It is also true that Almighty Allah at times informed Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) regarding the unseen. This means that Almighty Allah informed his prophet about some of the things contained in the Lawh. Therefore, Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was aware of SOME of the knowledge contained in the Lawh as Almighty Allah himself informed him regarding it.[10] Once more, this meaning can easily be understood once one ponders over the nuances of Arabic language. For example, using Totality (كل) and meaning Part بعض)) as understood in verse 7 of Surah Nuh,

وَإِنِّي كُلَّمَا دَعَوْتُهُمْ لِتَغْفِرَ لَهُمْ جَعَلُوا أَصَابِعَهُمْ فِي آذَانِهِمْ

Translation: “And whenever I invited them (to the truth) so that you may forgive them, they thrust their fingers in their ears”

The verse is now understood as,

“and from among your knowledge is some of the knowledge in the Lawh and Qalam i.e. that regarding which Almighty Allah informed you”

Alternatively, the verse could also mean that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is the one who told us regarding the Lawh and the Qalam. If Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) did not inform us about the Lawh and the Qalam, we would not have known what Lawh and Qalam are.[12]

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Bilal Yusuf Pandor

Student Darul Iftaa

Lusaka, Zambia

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

 


البردة شرحا وإعرابا وبلاغة لطلاب المعاهد والجامعات (ص: 67) [1]

43 – دع ما ادّعته النّصارى في نبيّهم … واحكم بما شئت مدحا فيه واحتكم

المعنى

اترك ما زعمته النصارى في نبيهم افتراء من أنه إله أو ابن الله، ثم اقض له بعد ذلك مدحا لا تأليها- بما أردت من صفات الكمال الدالة على علو شأنه وجلال قدره وشرفه العظيم، وخاصم في إثبات هذه الفضائل من شئت من الخصماء فلن يستطيع ردها أو إنكارها

رحيق الوردة بشرح البردة ص 40 

الدرة الفردة شرح قصيدة البردة ج 1 ص 470 

مسند احمد ج 4 ص 148 [2]

سنن الترمذي 3578

سنن ابن ماجة 1385

[3]http://askimam.org/

البردة شرحا وإعرابا وبلاغة لطلاب المعاهد والجامعات (ص: 114) [4]

80 – ما سامني الدّهر ضيما واستجرت به … إلّا ونلت جوارا منه لم يضم

المعنى

ما أصابني ظلم من الزمان وأهله مرة من المرات ثم استشفعت به صلى الله عليه وسلم إلا حباني الله بالإجارة والحفظ الذي لا يخرق

رحيق الوردة بشرح البردة ص 72 

الدرة الفردة شرح قصيدة ج 2 ص 150

 اللاليء المصنوعة في الاحاديث الموضوعة 1/97  [5]

البردة شرحا وإعرابا وبلاغة لطلاب المعاهد والجامعات (ص: 198) [6]

وكيف لا أطمع أن يغفر الله ذنبي، وبيني وبين رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عهد وأمان ألا يعذب الله من كان اسمه محمدا؟ ورسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أشد الناس وفاء بالعهد

ولعله في هذا المعنى يشير إلى الحديث الذي رواه ابن بكير عن أبي أمامة مرفوعا: «من ولد له مولود فسمّاه محمدا تبركا به، كان هو ومولوده في الجنة» . وهو حديث ذكره الألباني في (سلسلة الأحاديث الضعيفة والموضوعة) وقال عنه: موضوع. انظر  (1/ 319)

الدرة الفردة شرح قصيدة ج 2 ص 614

رحيق الوردة بشرح البردة ص 118

رحيق الوردة بشرح البردة ص 119 [7]

البردة شرحا وإعرابا وبلاغة لطلاب المعاهد والجامعات (ص: 200)

المعنى

إن لم يكن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم معينا لي يوم القيامة على الشدائد وشافعا لي من ذنوبي، تفضلا منه وإحسانا، فما أشد موقفي وما أسوأ حالي

الدرة الفردة شرح قصيدة ج 2 ص 619

سنن الترمذي ت شاكر (4/ 627) [8]

2441 – حَدَّثَنَا هَنَّادٌ قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدَةُ، عَنْ سَعِيدٍ، عَنْ قَتَادَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي المَلِيحِ، عَنْ عَوْفِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ الأَشْجَعِيِّ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «أَتَانِي آتٍ مِنْ عِنْدِ رَبِّي فَخَيَّرَنِي بَيْنَ أَنْ يُدْخِلَ نِصْفَ أُمَّتِي [ص:628] الجَنَّةَ وَبَيْنَ الشَّفَاعَةِ، فَاخْتَرْتُ الشَّفَاعَةَ، وَهِيَ لِمَنْ مَاتَ لَا يُشْرِكُ بِاللَّهِ شَيْئًا» وَقَدْ رُوِيَ عَنْ أَبِي المَلِيحِ، عَنْ رَجُلٍ آخَرَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَلَمْ يَذْكُرْ عَنْ عَوْفِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ

سنن الترمذي ت شاكر (4/ 625)

2435 – حَدَّثَنَا العَبَّاسُ العَنْبَرِيُّ قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّزَّاقِ، عَنْ مَعْمَرٍ، عَنْ ثَابِتٍ، عَنْ أَنَسٍ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «شَفَاعَتِي لِأَهْلِ الكَبَائِرِ مِنْ أُمَّتِي»: «هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ غَرِيبٌ مِنْ هَذَا الوَجْهِ» وَفِي البَاب عَنْ جَابِرٍ

     صحيح بخاري 6565 [9]

رحيق الوردة بشرح البردة ص 128 [10]

الدرة الفردة شرح قصيدة ج 2 ص 705

البردة شرحا وإعرابا وبلاغة لطلاب المعاهد والجامعات (ص: 209).[11]

المعنى

وكيف يضيق جاهك بي وأنت ذو جاه عظيم عند الله، وخير الدنيا والاخرة رهن جودك بالشفاعة، وعلما اللوح والقلم بعض علمك

There is NO “TEENAGER” Phase in Islam

The ‘teenager’ image was artificially created in the 1920s by marketing gurus and other social engineers. The aim was to bring into existence an artificial demographic that could be targeted by the commercial sector and to encourage the purchase and consumption of all manner of useless, unnecessary gadgets, fads and fashion items designed to give those between the ages of thirteen and nineteen the impression that:

(a) they were different; and
(b) that they were somehow special.

And so, instead of a child being prepared gradually and carefully by its parents for the arrival of maturity and adulthood, and to start behaving responsibly and constructively (a child has the most zest for life in these very same years), children at the age of thirteen were now encouraged to think of themselves as not quite children and not quite adult: an in-between stage full of (mis)adventure, rebellion, financial semi-autonomy, personal freedom, sexual activity without commitment and a whole new – but totally false – social identity.

The creation of the teenager was, then, not only a commercial ploy but also a classic case of divide and rule, and wasting the energy of the youth in utter frivolity.

It is interesting to note that in the three most important languages spoken by people in the Muslim world – Arabic, Persian and Turkish – there are no words for ‘teenager’.

In Islam one is an adult when he or she reaches the age of puberty.

Some examples of youth from Islamic history and their achievements:

Tariq bin Ziyad (Rahimahullah), 19 years old and married. Commander of the Muslim army courageously conquered Spain and most of western Europe.

Abdul Rahman Al-Nasser (Rahimahullah), 21 years old. He was the most powerful prince of Iberia, his era was the golden time of Andalusia, in which he ended the chaos and raised an unrivaled scientific renaissance, making his state the strongest one in his era, which required the leaders of Europe to seek his acceptance.

Mohammed Al-Fatih (Rahimahullah), 22 years old: He conquered Constantinople, capital city of the Roman/Byzantine empire, that the top commanders at the time couldn’t approach.

Sayyidina Usamah bin Zayd (Rahimahullah), 18 years old, led the army of the Muslims that included the top companions may Allah be pleased with them, like Sayyadina Abu Bakr  and Sayyadina ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhum), to face the greatest armies of the earth at the time.

Muhammad Al Qasim (Rahimahullah), 17 years old, married to a princess.: He conquered the Land of Indus, he was one of the top military commanders of his time.

Sayyidina Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas (Radhiyallahu Anhu), 17 years old: He was the first to throw an arrow for the sake of Allah and one of six people of Al Shura. whenever he turned to the Prophet ﷺ . while sitting among his Companions, he was greeted cheerfully by the Prophet ﷺ . saying, “He’s my maternal uncle. let every person show me who his uncle is?”

Sayyidina Al-Arqam bin abi al-Arqam (Radhiyallahu Anhu), 16 years old: He made his house the headquarters for the Prophet ﷺ for 13 continuous years in MAKKAH.

Sayyidina Talhah ibn Ubaydullah, 16 years old: He was the most generous Arab in Islam, pledged an allegiance to the Noble Prophet ﺻﻠﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ in the battle of Uhud, and protected him from the Kuffar and shielded him from the arrows with his own hands until it got paralysed and shielded him with his body.

Sayyidina Al Zubayr ibn al-Awam (Radhiyallahu Anhu), 15 years old: He was the first one to raise a sword for Islam, and he’s known as “the disciple” of the Noble prophet ﷺ.

Sayyidina Amr ibn Kulthum, 15 years old: He was a knight and the leader of the Taghlib tribe, in which it was said that “if it weren’t for islam, the taghlib tribe would have eaten the people”.

Sayyadina Mu’ādh ibn ‘Amr ibn al-Jamūḥ, 13 years old and Mu‘awwidh ibn ‘Afrā’, 14 years old: They fatally wounded Abu Jahl the leader of the polytheists in the battle of Badr.

Sayyidina Zayd bin Thabit (Radhiyallahu Anhu), 13 years old: He was entrusted the important role of writing down the Quranic verses that were sent to the Prophet ﷺ from Allah  through Sayyidina Jibreel (Alayhis Salaam). He learned the Syriac and Hebrew languages in 17 nights, memorized the Qur’an and contributed in compiling it, and he was the personal scribe of the Noble Prophet ﷺ.

Sayyidina Attab ibn Asid (Radhiyallahu Anhu) the most Noble Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) appointed him as the governor of Makkah when he was just 18 years old.

MAY ALLAH TA’ALA GRANT DIRECTION TO OUR YOUTH AND MAKE OUR FUTURE BRIGHT THROUGH THEIR UPRIGHT NURTURING AND CORRECT SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY AAMEEN

BLANKETS, TENTS AND SURVIVAL PROVISIONS

[An Appeal by Mujlisul Ulama of South Africa]

THE FREEZING-DEATH PLIGHT OF THE SYRIAN REFUGEES

Vacillating between extreme weather conditions – extreme heat and extreme cold – the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees are on the doorstep of the freezing winter which commences from about the end of November. The following press report pertaining to last year’s winter suffering, will give just a glimpse of the harsh and heart-breaking conditions our Brothers and Sisters are facing in the open desert.

“REAL RISK” of REGUGEES FREEZING TO DEATH IN SYRIA

“As temperatures fall, aid workers warn of danger to at least 11,000 people across Idlib. With storms also battering camps in Lebanon. Damage caused by  flash floods at Atma refugee camp in Idlib,  in late December – temperatures there have now dropped below freezing.

At least 11,000 child refugees and their families are facing a weekend of freezing temperatures with no shelter, after torrential rains across Syria’s Idlib province swept away tents and belongings.

Aid workers warn there is a real risk people will simply freeze to death as temperatures have already dropped to  -1C, amid  shortage of blankets and heating fuel………..Camps in the border town of Asral have been buried in snow, while settlements in the central and west Bekaa areas,  where there has been heavy flooding, have experienced even worse damage……

About half of the 2.9 million people living in Idlib and the surrounding areas are displaced, according to  the UN. Children, who make up half of those

displaced , have often been forced to move up to seven times and are already

in poor health.”

The above report depicted the situation last winter. This winter the misery and hardship have multiplied manifold as a result of another 600,000 (six hundred thousand) refugees, displaced from their destroyed homes by the brutal onslaught of indiscriminate kuffaar bombardment.

The desert where these unfortunate Muslim Brothers and Sisters are stranded will, in a matter of weeks be literally covered and even buried in snow and ice

For us, drowning in luxury, pleasure and waste, the real plight of these refugees is unimaginable. It is for this reason that the hearts of Muslims intoxicated with comforts remain like stone or even harder as Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan Majeed:

“Then their hearts became like stone or even harder, for verily, from some stones (rocks) gush forth rivers, and some stones (rocks) split and water emerges, and some stones roll (from heights) for the fear of Allah.”

THE IMMEDIATE NEEDS

Insha-Allah, we shall again within the next week or two, be proceeding to assist the refugees in whatever little way Allah Ta’ala permits. The immediate need is for more tents, thousands of blankets and other absolutely necessary provisions for survival.

In Allah’s Name we implore Muslims to open their hearts – to understand the urgency and the heart-rending plight of the suffering Muslim Brothers and Sisters. Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“The Muslimoon are like a single person. If the eye pains, the whole body is affected. If the head pains, the whole body is affected.”

Therefore, if the heart fails to open for this Waajib Cause, then there is most certainly some drastic aberration corroding one’s Imaan. Our Muslim community is basking in opulence. There are those who can easily afford to contribute thousands of blankets and numerous tents. Those who intend squandering tens of thousands of rands on ‘umrah’ holidays, should divert the funds to aid their suffering Brethren and thereby earn the thawaab of hundreds of Maqbool Umrahs. Abstain from squandering in wedding receptions, and think of your suffering Brothers and Sisters stranded in brutal conditions – extreme weather as well as repeated bombings by the kuffaar. The one who can afford even a single blanket will also be well rewarded. Allah Ta’ala looks at the intention embedded in the heart.

We trust that the Muslim community understands fully the import of our Call, and that aiding the suffering Muslims is a WAAJIB obligation on all Muslims.  It is hoped that the hearts will open up to respond generously.

ZAKAAT, LILLAH, SADQAH, ETC. ARE ALL ACCEPTED FOR THIS DIRE AND URGENT PROJECT

Our banking details:

Our Nedbank details are:

Mujlisul Ulama of South Africa

A/c no. 1217 040 145

Standford Quarter Branch (code 198765)

Port Elizabeth

(Sorte Code NEDSZAJJ)

=====

Our ABSA Bank details are:

Mujlisul Ulama of SA

ABSA Bank

A/c no. 40 8255 6635

Port Elizabeth

=====

Our Standard Bank details are:

Account:  MUZO  of S.A.

No:    080645240

Branch Code:  050217

Branch: Berry’s Corner, Port Elizabeth

Depositing from overseas

Beneficiary Bank: Standard Bank

Swift Address/ BIC code: SBZAZAJJ

Beneficiary Name: MUZO of S. A.

Beneficiary Account Number: 080 645 240

BIC Code / Sort Code/ Bank Code/ Clearing system: 051001

THE RISE AND FALL OF MU‘TAZILISM

By Firas al-Khateeb

The rise of Muslim intellectual achievement that began in the mid-eighth century was partially a by-product of a massive translation effort undertaken by the enormous Muslim empire. Ancient Greek, Latin, Persian, and Indian works were translated into Arabic, primarily at Bayt al- Ḥikmah in Baghdad. While much of the translation was in the field of empirical sciences, some of it had to do with ancient Greek philosophical ideas. The works of Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato were translated. The result of this was the development of a school of theology based on reason and rational thought, known as the Mu‘tazila.

Origins of Mu‘tazilism

Mu‘tazilism was a very broad and dynamic theological movement, and it’s thus difficult to pinpoint exactly where and how it began. What is clear, however, was the impact of ancient Greek philosophical reasoning on the movement. A prime contention of the Mu‘tazila was that rationalism can be used to understand not just the physical world, but also the nature of God and creation.

The Mu‘tazila adapted Greek philosophical reasoning and attempted to understand it in an Islamic context. To them, the Qur’an and Sunnah were not necessarily the only sources of truth. Like the Greeks, they elevated the role of reason in understanding the world to be equal to, or in some cases, higher than revelation. Using rationalism and reason (dubbed kalam), the Mu‘tazila came to conclusions regarding God that most other scholars considered to be outside of mainstream Muslim belief.

Mu‘tazili belief was summarized by its adherents into five principles:

  • Unity: The basic concept that the Mu‘tazila organized themselves around was Tawhid, the Oneness of God. While this is a concept that all Muslims accept, the Mu‘tazila took it a step further than most in insisting that the attributes of God (as exemplified by his names in the Qur’an, such as al-Raḥman, the Source of Mercy) should not be considered part of God himself. Based on their reasoning, they believed that God’s essence should not be associated with His names and attributes, for fear of falling into a form of polytheism as Christians had through their concept of the Trinity.
  • Justice: Like the ancient Greeks, the Mu‘tazila believed in absolute free will. In their view, God does not predetermine the lives of humans, but rather that they make decisions entirely independently of what God wills. As a result, they believed that humans are bound to a fate on the Day of Judgment that is entirely determined by Divine justice (‘adl). The Mu‘tazila rationalized that any faḍl (mercy) exercised by God was a violation of justice and incompatible with His nature.
  • The Promise and the Threat: A by-product of the third point, the Mu‘tazila believed in al-wa‘d wa al-wa‘id, a belief that God is bound by an obligation to exercise absolute justice.
  • The Intermediate Position: The Mu ‘tazila believed that any Muslim who died after committing a grave sin but before repenting for it, was to be considered neither a believer nor a disbeliever in God. They claimed that such a person was in an “intermediate position” that would be judged separately by God.
  • Commanding Good and Forbidding Evil: This is a primary belief in Islam, taken directly from the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ. In their interpretation of it, however, force may be used to command what they saw as good and forbid evil, a concept that directly led to the Miḥna.

The Miḥna

The Mu‘tazila gained ascendancy in the ‘Abbasid caliphal government during the reign of Caliph al-Ma’mun (r. 813-833). The founder of Bayt al-Ḥikmah accepted Mu‘tazili beliefs as truth and used his position as the most powerful man in the Muslim world to enforce them. In an inquisition known as the Miḥna (Arabic for “the test”), al-Ma’mun (and his successors al-Mu‘tasim and al-Wathiq) imprisoned, tortured, and killed scholars of Islamic theology that did not follow the official governmental positions regarding Mu‘tazili belief, especially the idea that the Qur’an is not the uncreated, eternal Word of God.

While many scholars accepted the government’s official dogma, or at least remained silent on it, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal refused and was famously tortured during the reigns of al-Ma’mun and his successors for it. Due to his insistence on the uncreatedness of the Qur’an and the supremacy of traditional Islamic belief over Greek rationalism, he clashed with the official ‘Abbasid government position that the Qur’an is created and that man has total free will.

The Miḥna was wildly unpopular with the general population. Riots in the streets of Baghdad threatened ‘Abbasid rule, and in 848, Caliph al-Mutawakkil ended the Miḥna and released Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal from prison. But the Miḥna had already done its damage to the Mu‘tazili cause. The brutal methods used by those in power to led to the inevitable decline of Mu‘tazilism.

Theological Alternatives

The unpopularity of Mu‘tazili thought among the general population was further compounded by the opposition of more orthodox-minded approaches towards theology. The Mu‘tazila believed, after all, that reason supplants revelation, and many of their resulting theological conclusions directly contradicted orthodox Islamic belief as stated in the Qur’an. Various Muslim scholars thus attempted to refute Mu‘tazili thought and re-emphasize the role of the Qur’an and Sunnah in deriving Islamic belief.

The first approach was that of Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, who insisted on the truth of traditional Islamic belief, but was not in favor of proving it using the kalam that Mu‘tazila believed in. This way of understanding theology became known as the Athari approach to ‘aqidah (belief). Proponents of the Athari approach resisted diving into rational explanations of God, free will, or metaphysics. Instead, they relied on a literal understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah to guide their ‘aqidah. While the Athari approach is firmly within the realm of traditional, mainstream Islam, it did little to turn back the tide of the Mu‘tazila, who fundamentally rejected the Athari approach as being un-intellectual and irrational.

A more direct and effective opposition to Mu‘tazilism came from the Ash‘ari and Maturidi schools of ‘aqidah. These two approaches, founded by Abu al-Ḥasan al-Ash‘ari (d. 936) and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d. 944), accepted the use of kalam, but only to defend traditional Islamic belief as stated in the Qur’an. The Ash‘aris and Maturidis refused to use reason to derive new beliefs that contradicted revelation as the Mu‘tazila had, and attempted to use the same reason that the Mu‘tazila championed against them. Al-Ash‘ari and al-Maturidi were contemporaries who independently arrived at similar conclusions regarding reason, and thus founded their two parallel schools. For the most part, these two approaches are identical. They both accept the same orthodox points about ‘aqidah that the Atharis champion, and only differ on minor issues that generally come down to no more than semantics.

Throughout the tenth and eleventh centuries, the scholars of these two schools became masters of philosophy, logic, and rationalism. They managed to find a balance between reason and revelation that the Mu‘tazila could not, and formed a series of arguments based on reason that refuted key Mu‘tazili beliefs such as the createdness of the Qur’an and the inability of God to have mercy on sinners. These scholars argued that God’s attributes not separate from Him, but are simply no more than characteristics that He describes himself by. And that believing so is not a form of polytheism, but orthodox Islamic belief as typified by the Quran and Sunnah. By using reason with the Mu‘tazila considered the highest form of human thought and achievement, they managed to win converts to a more traditional understanding of ‘aqidah.

The greatest scholar of the tradition-based kalam approach was the eleventh century Ash‘ari scholar Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d. 1111). He saw the Muslim world as plagued by numerous unorthodox theologies, such as Ismai‘ili (Sevener) Shi‘ism, propagated by the Fatimid Empire in Egypt, and the remnants of Mu‘tazilism. His works thus rely heavily on kalam to prove traditional Islamic beliefs, while also invoking spirituality to guide the layman towards a life of subservience to God. His most profound work was Tahafut al-Falasifah(The Incoherence of the Philosophers), in which he addressed all the major theological claims of Muslim philosophers and the Mu‘tazila and refuted them using their own methods.

What is remarkable about al-Ghazali’s career is that he did not physically fight his theological opponents, yet effectively vanquished them through his writings. Mu‘tazilism did not entirely die out after al-Ghazali, but its popularity dropped precipitously. Outside of Shi‘ism, which adopted some Mu‘tazili concepts, it is difficult to find much in the way of Mu‘tazili works from the eleventh century onwards.

The bulk of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama‘ah (Sunni Islam) came to accept the Athari, Ash‘ari, and Maturidi approaches to ‘aqidah as legitimate. And while knowledge of kalam and rational discourse meant to prove Islamic orthodoxy is not considered to be mandatory on every Muslim in Sunni Islam, that field of Islamic sciences has been used throughout history to defend orthodoxy. In the past hundred years, opposition to the use of kalam has developed among some Muslims who believe it to be an unlawful innovation and who fail to differentiate it from Mu‘tazilism. Yet throughout Islamic history, the use of kalam to defend Islamic beliefs as relayed in the Qur’an and Sunnah has been almost universally accepted. It was, in fact, the kalam-based traditional approach of the Ash‘aris and Maturidis that helped bring about the fall of the unorthodox Mu‘tazili approach towards theology in the first place.

Bibliography:

Al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid, and Richard McCarthy (trans.). Deliverance from Error. Beirut: American University of Beirut, 1980.

Brown, Jonathan. Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy. London: Oneworld, 2014.

Yusuf, Hamza. The Creed of Imam Al-Tahawi. Zaytuna Institute, 2007.

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