Category Archives: Ahlus Sunnah

The Consensus of Ahlus-Sunnah on Remaining Silent on What Occurred Between the Sahabah

The earliest Muslims used to prohibit the reading of the incidents and historical accounts which cast aspersions on any of the Sahabah of the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam.

Al-Khallal has stated in alSunnah (2/464):

`Ismah ibn `Isam had related to me that Hanbal had said: “I intended to compile a book on Siffin and Jamal, from Khalaf ibn Salim[2], so I went to Abu `Abd Allah [Ahmad ibn Hanbal] to ask him about it and he said, ‘what will you do with that as there is no discussion on halal and haram in that? I had written [recorded] what Khalaf had written, I recorded the chains and avoided the discussions whereas Khalaf had done so. We were both present with Ghundar[3] and we recorded narrations from him. I wrote the chains of transmission of the narrations of Shu`bah, whereas Khalaf had recorded everything.’ I asked him, ‘why did you write the chains of transmission but not the texts?’ He said, ‘I wanted to know what Shu`bah narrates from that.’ Hanbal said, ‘I went to Khalaf and wrote down those narrations, and Abu `Abd Allah came to know of this so he told my father to take what I had written and lock it away and not allow me to read it.’”[3]
Ibn Battah writes in al-Ibanah (294):

Do not look in the book of Siffin, Jamal, the incident at the home of `Uthman, and all the other disputes that occurred among them. Do not write it for yourself or for anyone else. Do not narrate it from anyone and do not narrate it to anyone, nor should you hear it from someone who narrates it from someone else. Upon this the noble scholars of this ummah are unanimous — the prohibition of doing what we described earlier — and among those who expressed this are Hammad ibn Zayd, Yunus ibn `Ubayd, Sufyan al-Thowri, Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah, `Abd Allah ibn Idris, Malik ibn Anas, Ibn Abi Dhib, Ibn al-Munkadir, Ibn al-Mubarak, Shu`ayb ibn Harb, Abu Ishaq al-Fazari, Yusuf ibn Asbat, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Bishr ibn al-Harith, `Abd al-Wahhab al-Warraq. All of them held the opinion of prohibition of looking into, reading, narrating or listening to what transpired between them and they cautioned their students from making effort to collect these reports. And those among them who had done this have narrated of them [the teachers] many things, with various expressions, all of which prohibit and caution against those who narrate such reports or listen to them.

Al-Dhahabi states in al-Siyar (10/92):

As it has been established that one should avoid what happened between the Sahabah and their fighting — may Allah be pleased with them all — we still find many collections, books, treatises etc., passing us. However, most of it is interrupted [in terms of its chain] and weak.

They considered the narrations which describe what happened between the Sahabah to be of three kinds:

  1. That which is an outright fabrication.
  2. That which has been manipulated through omission or addition.
  3. That which is correctly transmitted of which they are excused either on account of correct ijtihad or ijtihad in which they erred.

However, they have preceding virtues and merits and righteous characteristics and deeds which warrant their pardon for what transpired between them and Allah had praised them with full knowledge of what would later transpire.

Ibn Battah narrates with and authentic chain [as assessed by Ibn Taymiyyah in Minhaj al-Sunnah (2/22)] — from `Abd Allah ibn Ahmad — from his father — who said — Abu Mu`awiyah narrated to us — saying that — Raja’ narrated to us — from Mujahid — from Ibn `Abbas radiyallahu `anhu who said:

Do not abuse the Sahabah of Muhammad sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam since Allah has instructed that you seek forgiveness for them and He knew that they would dispute and fight.[5]

The scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah have consensus on the fact that one should not delve into that which occurred between the Sahabah, and rather avoid it.

Al-Khattabi narrates in al-`Uzlah (44) by way of Hamzah ibn al-Harith al-Dahhan — who said — `Abd Allah ibn Rowh al-Mada’ini narrated to us — who said — Yahya ibn al-Samit narrated to us — who said — Abu Ishaq al-Fazari narrated to us — from al-A`mash — from Abu Rashid — who said — a man from Basrah came to `Ubayd Allah ibn `Umar saying:

Indeed the messenger of your brothers in Basrah have sent me to you, conveying their greetings and asking about the matter between these two men, `Ali and `Uthman and what do you have to say about them? `Ubayd Allah asked, “is there anything else?” when the response came in the negative, he said, “prepare provisions for the man — and once that was complete he said — convey to them my greetings and inform them that I have this to say to them:

تِلْكَ أُمَّةٌ قَدْ خَلَتْۖ   لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَلَكُمْ مَّا كَسَبْتُمْۖ     وَلَا تُسْأَلُوْنَ عَمَّا كَانُوْا يَعْمَلُوْنَ

That was a nation which has passed on. It will have [the consequence of] what it earned and you will have what you have earned. And you will not be asked about what they used to do.[6]

Al-Khattabi narrates in al-`Uzlah (44), as well as Abu Nu`aym in al-Hilyah (9/144) by way of Yunus ibn al-A`la — from al-Shafi`i — who said — it was said to `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz: “What do you say regarding the people of Siffin?” He replied:

That is blood which Allah has kept my hands pure from; I do not wish to dye my tongue with that.[7]

A similar statement is recorded by Ibn Sa`d in al-Tabaqat (5/394) and Ibn `Asakir (65/133) by way of Khalid ibn Yazid ibn Bishr — from his father who said that `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz was asked regarding `Ali, `Uthman, al-Jamal and Siffin and his response was:

That is blood which Allah avoided by hand from, I do not wish to soil my tongue with it.[8]

Al-Khallal narrates in al-Sunnah (2/460) and Ibn al-Jowzi in al-Manaqib (164):

It was said to Ahmad ibn Hanbal, “what do you say about what happened between `Ali and Mu`awiyah?” He responded, “I only speak of them that which is the best; may Allah have mercy on them all.”[9]

Under the biography of Hasan ibn Isma`il al-Raba`i in Tabaqat al-Hanabilah (1/349) Imam Ahmad is quoted saying:

Ninety men from the generation of the Tabi`in and the scholars of the Muslims and the jurists of the Muslim territories are unanimous in their view of abstaining from whatever transpired between the Sahabah of the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, as well as the view that the best of people of the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam are Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, `Ali — the cousin of the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, as well as seeking mercy for all the Sahabah as well as the wives of the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam and his extended family. May the Pleasure of Allah be upon all of them. This is the Sunnah so hold on to it. Holding fast to it is guidance and abandoning it is misguidance.

Al-Khatib narrates in his Tarikh (7/44) as well as Ibn `Asakir (59/141) as well as Abu Ya`la in his Tabaqat (1/251) with their chains to Imam Ahmad that a person asked him about what happened between `Ali and Mu`awiyah so he turned away from the man. It was said, “O Abu `Abd Allah this is a man from Banu Hashim, so he turned to the man and said:

تِلْكَ أُمَّةٌ قَدْ خَلَتْۖ   لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَلَكُمْ مَّا كَسَبْتُمْۖ     وَلَا تُسْأَلُوْنَ عَمَّا كَانُوْا يَعْمَلُوْنَ

That was a nation which has passed on. It will have [the consequence of] what it earned, and you will have what you have earned. And you will not be asked about what they used to do.[10]

Ibn Kathir states in al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah (11/427):

This was the view of many of the earliest Muslims.

Ibn `Adi narrates in al-Kamil (4/34) and through his chain Ibn `Asakir (22/215) from Shihab ibn Khirash ibn Howshab, the nephew of al-`Awwam ibn Howshab, who said:

I witnessed those whom I witnessed of the earliest of the ummah and they all say: “Mention the good of the Sahabah of the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam and that which unites the hearts. Do not mention what occurred between them as this will disunite the people.”

There are alternative chains for this report, like that narrated by al-Khallal in al-Sunnah (513).

Al-Lalaka’i narrates in Usul I`tiqad Ahl al-Sunnah (321) with his chain to Ibn Abi Hatim who said:

I asked my father as well as Abu Zur`ah about the view of Ahl al-Sunnah regarding matters of the essentials of faith, and that which they found the scholars of the various regions upon in terms of what their beliefs were, whether it was Hijaz, al-Sham, Iraq or Yemen. They replied that their beliefs were as follows: “Iman [faith] comprises speech and action, it increases and decreases, the Qur’an is the Speech of Allah, not created in all its aspects. Predestination, the good and bad of it is all from Allah. The best of this ummah after its Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam is Abu Bakr, then `Umar, then `Uthman, then `Ali and they are the rightly guided Khulafa’; and that the ten whom the Prophet named and testified that they shall enter Paradise are as he has spoken of them and that his speech is the truth and that one should seek mercy for all the Sahabah of Muhammad sallallahu `alayhi wa sallamand avoid discussion what transpired between them…”

Ahmad narrates in Fada’il al-Sahabah (1739) with his chain to Maymun ibn Mihran — who said:

Three things I reject: cursing the Sahabah of Muhammad sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, looking into the stars [astrology], and looking into matters of predestination [al-Qadr].[11]

Ibn `Asakir has mentioned under the biography of Mu`awiyah radiyallahu `anhu (59/141) with his chain to Abu Zur`ah al-Razi who said:

A person came to my uncle and said, “I hate Mu`awiyah.” So my uncle asked him why and he responded, “it is because he fought `Ali without a rightful course.” So Abu Zur`ah remarked: “The Rabb of Mu`awiyah is a Merciful Rabb, and the opposition of Mu`awiyah is a noble opposition. What gives you the right to interfere?”

Al-Khallal narrates — with a sound chain to Ahmad ibn Hanbal — in al-Sunnah (512):

It was said to Ahmad, “what do you say about one who considers it permitted to speak about the pitfalls of the Sahabah of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam?” He replied, “this is evil speech, such people should be avoided, the company abandoned and people ought to be made aware of their harm.”

Al-Sabuni writes in `Aqidat al-Salaf wa Ashab al-Hadith (294):

They held the view of refraining from discussing what transpired between the Sahabah of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, and to purify ones tongue from mentioning what could be understood to be a flaw or belittling towards them.

Abu Hasan al-Ash`ari write in al-Ibanah(78):

As for what transpired between `Ali and Zubayr and `A’ishah then it only happened on account of applying their discretion and ijtihad. `Ali and the others were qualified for ijtihad, and the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam had testified that they all were from the people of Jannah which indicates that their ijtihad was a rightful ijtihad. Likewise what transpired between `Ali and Mu`awiyah occurred on account of differing ijtihad. All the Sahabah are trustworthy leaders and none suspects them an anything regarding their religion. Allah and His Messenger sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam have praised all of them, and we gain proximity to Allah through respecting and revering them, and associating ourselves with them and disassociating ourselves from those who belittle any one of them.

Ibn Abi Zayd states in his book on belief (23):

… and none of the Sahabah should be mentioned except with the best mention; and to refrain from discussing the internal conflicts among them; and they are the most deserving of excuses for their actions, and that they should be given the best thoughts.

Al-Khattabi says in al-Ghunyah (59):

They held the view of refraining from discussing what transpired between the Sahabah of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, and to purify ones tongue from mentioning what could be understood to be a flaw or belittling towards them.

Ibn Battah writes in al-Ibanah (294):

After that we refrain from mentioning what transpired between the Sahabah of the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam as they witnessed the battles with him, and they preceded the rest of people with virtues. Allah has forgiven them and instructed you to seek forgiveness for them and to gain proximity to him through loving them; and enjoined that upon us from the tongue of His Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam and He knew what would happen between them and that they would fight…

Al-Qurtubi writes in his Tafsir (16/3216):

It is not permitted to ascribe to any of them an absolute error since they were all mujtahids in what they had done and they sought the pleasure of Allah in all they did. All of them are our leaders and guides and we seek closeness to Allah through refraining from discussion of what transpired among them. We shall not mention them except in the best manner because we hold sacred the status of companionship and because the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallamprohibited from cursing them, and Allah has forgiven them and expressed His Pleasure with them.

Al-Ajurri writes in al-Shari`ah (5/2458-2491) in refutation of those who permit discussing what transpired between the Sahabah:

It is necessary for one who reflects on what we have written regarding the virtues of the Sahabah of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam and the virtues of his noble household — may Allah be pleased with all of them — that he loves them and seeks mercy and forgiveness for them and to pray for them and to mention them with mercy and request Allah’s divine happiness for them and that he thanks Allah he grants him the ability to do this; and not to mention that which transpired between them and not to harp on it and to delve deep into it. If a beguiled fool contradicts us then he has stepped away from the path of guidance by doing this, and by saying: why did so-and-so fight so-and-so and why did he fight and why did he? It should be said to such a person: you and I have no need to mention this as it holds no benefit, nor harm, to any one of us to know that.

If someone says, “why not?,” then it should be said to him: It is because these are trials witnessed by the Sahabah and they reacted in accordance with their knowledge and better judgement and they were more knowledgeable in how to interpret the situation and they were on better guidance than those who came after them since they are the people of Paradise. Upon them was the Qur’an revealed, and they witnessed the era of the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam and they fought alongside him and Allah has testified to the fact that He is Pleased with them and that they have achieved forgiveness and a great reward; and the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam testified that they were the best of all generations. They were more knowledgeable of Allah and His Messenger sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam; and of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. From them knowledge is taken, and it is in accordance with their statements do we live, and with their rulings do we judge, and with their manners do be behave, and it is they whom we follow and it is this that we have been instructed with.

If someone then says, “what harm is there in knowing what happened between them and investigating it?,” it ought to be said to such a person: there is no doubt that their minds are greater than ours, and ours is much more deficient and we have no assurance that if we research what happened between them that we will not stray from the path of truth, and go against what we have been instructed to with regards to them.

And if someone says, “what have we been instructed with regarding them?” it will be said: we have been instructed with seeking forgiveness for them, asking for Allah’s Mercy to descend upon them, to love and follow them. The Qur’an and Sunnah teach this, as well as the scholars of the Muslims. We have no need to mention what happened between them. Allah has guaranteed for them in His Book that he will not humiliate any of them, and He has mentioned in His Book that He has given their description in the Torah and the Injil and He described them with the most beautiful of descriptions and the best of qualities, and He has told us that He has forgiven them all; and if He pardons them He shall not punish any one of them ever; and that they are pleased with Him.

لَّا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُوْنَ بِاللّٰهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللّٰهَ وَرَسُوْلَهوَلَوْ كَانُوْا آبَاءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيْرَتَهُمْۚ   أُولئِكَ كَتَبَ فِيْ قُلُوْبِهِمُ الْإِيْمَانَ وَأَيَّدَهُمْ بِرُوْحٍ مِّنْهۖ     وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِيْ مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِيْنَ فِيْهَاۚ   رَضِيَ اللّٰهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوْا عَنْهۚ     أُولئِكَ حِزْبُ اللّٰهِۚ     أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللّٰهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُوْنَ

You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day having affection for those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even if they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred. Those – He has decreed within their hearts faith and supported them with spirit from Him. And We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally. Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him – those are the party of Allah . Unquestionably, the party of Allah – they are the successful.[12]

If it is said, “my reason for wanting to know this is so that I have knowledge regarding it, and none of their affair will be absent from me, I love to know everything about them and not to be ignorant.” It will be said to such a person: you are one who seeks trouble since you are searching for that which holds harm for you and will not benefit you. If you engaged yourself in correcting that which is Allah’s right over you in what he made an obligation upon you in terms of fulfilling the obligatory duties and abstaining from the prohibitions, that would be better for you — more so in the times in which we live in terms of the evils that have become apparent in terms of deviant ideologies [what would he say if he witnessed the times we live in ] — it will also be said to him: your preoccupation with your food and clothing is where? That is deserving of more importance. Likewise your financial matters, how you earn and spend your wealth deserves more attention. Also, we do not wish that on account of your seeking these matters that your heart becomes deviated and develops desires that you ought not to follow, and the devils will begin playing with your mind so you then begin to curse and hate those whom Allah has instructed you to love and to seek forgiveness for and follow. So your foot might slip from the straight path and you will tread the path of falsehood.

If it is said, “so mention for us from the Qur’an and Sunnah, and from those who have come to pass from the great scholars from the Muslims that which proves what you have said so that we can return our hearts from its deviation and its quest to find out what transpired between the Sahabah,” it will be said to him: we have previously mentioned that which you have asked for wherein there is a proof and conveying of the true message to people of intelligence. However, we shall repeat some of what had been mentioned previously so that the discerning believer might be alerted to the path of truth, Allah says:

مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللّٰهِۚ   وَالَّذِيْنَ مَعَهأَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْۖ   تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَّبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَرِضْوَانًاۖ   سِيْمَاهُمْ فِيْ وُجُوْهِهِم مِّنْ أَثَرِ السُّجُوْدِۚ   ذٰلِكَ مَثَلُهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِۖ   وَمَثَلُهُمْ فِي الْإِنْجِيْلِ كَزَرْعٍ أَخْرَجَ شَطْأَهفَآزَرَهفَاسْتَغْلَظَ فَاسْتَوَىٰ عَلَىٰ سُوْقِه يُعْجِبُ الزُّرَّاعَ لِيَغِيْظَ بِهِمُ الْكُفَّارَ

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah ; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah. And their description in the Injil is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers – so that Allah may enrage by them the disbelievers.[13]

Thereafter He promises them forgiveness and a great reward:

وَعَدَ اللّٰهُ الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ مِنْهُمْ مَّغْفِرَةً وَّأَجْرًا عَظِيْمًا

Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward.[14]

لَّقَدْ تَّابَ اللّٰهُ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ وَالْمُهَاجِرِيْنَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ الَّذِيْنَ اتَّبَعُوْهفِيْ سَاعَةِ الْعُسْرَةِ مِنْۢ بَعْدِ مَا كَادَ يَزِيغُ قُلُوْبُ فَرِيقٍ مِّنْهُمْ ثُمَّ تَابَ عَلَيْهِمْۚ   إِنَّهبِهِمْ رَءُوْفٌ رَّحِيْمٌ

Allah has already forgiven the Prophet and the Muhajirin and the Ansar who followed him in the hour of difficulty after the hearts of a party of them had almost inclined [to doubt], and then He forgave them. Indeed, He was to them Kind and Merciful.[15]

وَالسَّابِقُوْنَ الْأَوَّلُوْنَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِيْنَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ وَالَّذِيْنَ اتَّبَعُوْهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللّٰهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوْا عَنْهوَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِيْ تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِيْنَ فِيْهَا أَبَدًاۚ   ذٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيْمُ

And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajirin and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct – Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.[16]

يَوْمَ لَا يُخْزِي اللّٰهُ النَّبِيَّ وَالَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا مَعَهۖ     نُوْرُهُمْ يَسْعٰى بَيْنَ أَيْدِيْهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَانِهِمْ يَقُوْلُوْنَ رَبَّنَا أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُوْرَنَا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَاۖ       إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيْرٌ

On the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will proceed before them and on their right; they will say, “Our Rabb, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are over all things competent.[17]

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُوْنَ بِالْمَعْرُوْفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُوْنَ بِاللّٰهِۖ   وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُمْۚ     مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُوْنَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُوْنَ

You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah . If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient.[18]

لَّقَدْ رَضِيَ اللّٰهُ عَنِ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ إِذْ يُبَايِعُوْنَكَ تَحْتَ الشَّجَرَةِ فَعَلِمَ مَا فِيْ قُلُوْبِهِمْ فَأَنزَلَ السَّكِيْنَةَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَثَابَهُمْ فَتْحًا قَرِيْبًا

Certainly was Allah pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you, [O Muhammad], under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquillity upon them and rewarded them with an imminent conquest.[19]

وَالَّذِيْنَ جَاءُوْا مِنْۢ بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُوْلُوْنَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِيْنَ سَبَقُوْنَا بِالْإِيْمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِيْ قُلُوْبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوْفٌ رَّحِيْمٌ

And those who came after them, saying, “Our Rabb, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Rabb, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.”[20]

The Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

The best of people are my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them.

Ibn Mas`ud radiyallahu `anhu said:

Indeed Allah looked at the hearts of the creation and found the heart of Muhammad sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam the best of the hearts of the creation, so He chose him for Himself and sent him with His message. Thereafter, he looked at the hearts of the creation, after the heart of Muhammad sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, and found the hearts of his Sahabah the best of the hearts of all creation — besides the other Prophets and Messengers — so he made them the advisers of His Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, they will fight for His religion.[21]

Thereafter al-Ajurri says:

It will be said to one who heard this from Allah and His Messenger sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam: if you are a slave who has been granted inclination towards good, you would heed the admonition of Allah and adhere to what he commands you with; and if you are one who follows his own desires I fear that you be from those whom Allah describes as:

وَمَنْ أَضَلُّ مِمَّنِ اتَّبَعَ هَوَاهبِغَيْرِ هُدًى مِّنَ اللّٰهِ

And who is more astray than one who follows his desire without guidance from Allah?[22]

وَلَوْ عَلِمَ اللّٰهُ فِيْهِمْ خَيْرًا لَّأَسْمَعَهُمْۖ     وَلَوْ أَسْمَعَهُمْ لَتَوَلَّوْا وَّهُمْ مُّعْرِضُوْنَ

Had Allah known any good in them, He would have made them hear. And if He had made them hear, they would [still] have turned away, while they were refusing.[23]

It will be said to him: whoever comes to the Sahabah of the Prophet salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam to find fault in them, to blame some, to censure some, to praise some, and ridicule others; such a person is one seeking trouble and internal conflict. And it is in fitnah that he has fallen since his duty was to love them all and seek forgiveness for them.

Abu al-Qasim Isma`il al-Isfahani (d.530 A.H) has written in al-Hujjah fi Bayan al-Mahajjjah (1/252):

It is from the Sunnah to remain silent on what occurred between the Sahabah of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and to promote their virtues, and to follow them as they are the shining stars.

Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi says in Lum`at al-I`tiqad (150):

It is from the Sunnah to associate with the Sahabah of the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam and to love them, and mention their good qualities, and to seek mercy and forgiveness for them; and to refrain from mentioning their pitfalls and whatever transpired between them, and to believe in their virtue and to acknowledge their services at the beginning of Islam. Allah says:

وَالَّذِيْنَ جَاءُوْا مِنْۢ بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُوْلُوْنَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِيْنَ سَبَقُوْنَا بِالْإِيْمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِيْ قُلُوْبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوْفٌ رَّحِيْمٌ

And those who came after them, saying, “our Rabb, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Rabb, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.[24]

مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللّٰهِۚ   وَالَّذِيْنَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْۖ   تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَّبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَرِضْوَانًاۖ   سِيْمَاهُمْ فِيْ وُجُوْهِهِم مِّنْ أَثَرِ السُّجُوْدِۚ   ذٰلِكَ مَثَلُهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِۖ   وَمَثَلُهُمْ فِي الْإِنْجِيْلِ كَزَرْعٍ أَخْرَجَ شَطْأَهفَآزَرَهفَاسْتَغْلَظَ فَاسْتَوَىٰ عَلَىٰ سُوْقِه يُعْجِبُ الزُّرَّاعَ لِيَغِيْظَ بِهِمُ الْكُفَّارَ

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah ; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah. And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers – so that Allah may enrage by them the disbelievers.[25]

The Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

Do not curse my Sahabah, for indeed if one of you had to spend the equivalent of Uhud in gold, it would not reach the mudd[26] of one of them or even half of that.

Al-Nawawi said in his commentary on Sahih Muslim (18/219-220):

It is the stance of Ahl al-Sunnah is to hold the best opinion of them and to refrain from discussing the internal conflict, and to apply a plausible interpretation to the fighting that occurred. They exercised ijtihad and did not intend disobedience, nor the affairs of the world. Rather every group considered itself to be on the truth, and that its opposition was exceeding the bounds; therefore it was necessary to fight them to return them to the command of Allah. Some of them applied ijtihad and were correct and others erred in their ijtihad and they can be excused for their error. If the Mujtahid errs there is no blame on him.

Ibn Taymiyyah says in Minhaj al-Sunnah(4/448):

The stance of Ahl al-Sunnah is to associate with the Sahabah of the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallamand to love them, and mention their good qualities, and to seek mercy and forgiveness for them; and to refrain from mentioning their pitfalls and whatever transpired between them. As for what transpired between them, for some of it they have a valid excuse, some of which they repented from, and some of which they are pardoned for. As for delving in their internal disputes in creates an attitude of hatred an animosity towards them in the hearts of many; and in so doing this person errs and becomes one who disobeys. They begin to find fault with those who do not deserve fault, and certain matters are praised even though they do not warrant praise. Therefore, the attitude of silence was the way of the virtuous among the first Muslims.

He says in Majmu` al-Fatawa (3/406):

Likewise we believe in refraining from discussion of what occurred between them and we know that some of what has been transmitted in that regard is false. They were people who exercised ijtihad, so they either arrived at the correct result and are rewarded a double-reward, or rewarded for their ijtihad even though it was not the correct result, and they are pardoned for this. As for their misdeeds, they already have the promise of Allah that they will be granted Paradise, so Allah shall definitely pardon them either through their repentance or through righteous deeds that erase sins, or through afflictions that expiate sins, or some other means. Indeed they are the best generation of this ummah.

Al-Dhahabi said in his al-Siyar (3/128):

So we praise Allah for our well-being that He brought us into existence in a time when the truth has become clear and unambiguous from both sides. We know where both sides are taking their opinion from; and we have become well-informed and aware and we have excused and sought forgiveness for and love within moderation. We have asked for mercy for the rebellious party by a broad interpretation in general; or on account of error — with Allah’s permission — which may be forgiven. And we say, as Allah has taught us, “O our Rabb, forgive us and our brothers who have preceded us in faith; and place not in our hearts enmity towards those who believe.” We also ask Allah to be pleased with those who did not participate like Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, Ibn `Umar, Muhammad ibn Maslamah, Sa`id ibn Zayd and others. In addition to this, we disassociate ourselves from the dissenting Khawarij who fought `Ali and declared both parties disbelievers.

Ibn Hajar states in al-Fath (13/37):

Ahl al-Sunnah is unanimous on the obligation to refrain from any defamatory remarks about any of the Sahabah on account of what transpired between them even if he knows which of the two parties was on the right position; since they did not fight those wars except that it was on account of their ijtihad and Allah has pardoned the one who errs in his ijtihad. In fact it has been established that he will receive a single reward and that the one who is correct in his ijtihad will receive a double-reward.

These quotations from the scholars are one a drop in the ocean of what has been written about this matter. Perhaps what has been transmitted of them will satisfy one who is seeking the truth and does not follow his own desires.

And with Allah is all success.

Footnotes:

[1] Al-Maliki states:

Discussing what happened between the Sahabah if it is based on knowledge and done sincerely and with the objective of arriving at the truth then there is nothing wrong in doing so. On the contrary it becomes an obligatory duty that is discharged if a few of the learned perform the task. However, it is not permitted to leave it out [speaking about what happened among the Sahabah].

Through this statement of his he has undermined the consensus of Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama`ah, and their agreement on avoiding discussions on the topic of what occurred between the Sahabah. See what he has written in al-Suhbah wa al-Sahabah (224)

[2] He is Khalaf ibn Salim al-Makhrami, a reliable narrator.

[3] He is Muhammad ibn Ja`far al-Hudhali, A great scholar and memoriser of hadith.

[4] The chain is authentic.

[5] Fada’il al-Sahabah (2/1152) — there is an error in the published version, instead of Abu Mu`awiyah it reads [Mu`awiyah].

[6] Surah al-Baqarah: 134

[7] This chain is interrupted.

[8] Al-Khallal narrates it in al-Sunnah(1/261) via an alternate chain. All these variant chains support each other and elevate the report to an acceptable level.

[9] The chain is authentic.

[10] Surah al-Baqarah:134

[11] This chain is authentic.

[12] Surah al-Mujadalah: 22

[13] Surah al-Fath: 29

[14] ibid

[15] Surah al-Towbah: 117

[16] Surah al-Towbah: 100

[17] Surah al-Tahrim: 8

[18] Surah Al `Imran: 110

[19] Surah al-Fath: 18

[20] Surah al-Hashr: 10

[21] This narration has also been narrated by Abu Nu`aym in al-Imamah(202), and al-Ajurri (1128) and its chain is authentic.

[22] Surah al-Qasas: 50

[23] Surah al-Anfal: 23

[24] Surah al-Hashr: 10

[25] Surah al-Fath: 29

[26] A unit of measurement equivalent to approximately 750 ml.

The Basic Principle of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’at 

By Moulana Manzur Numani (Rahimahullah)

The defining mark of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’at is that, together with accepting the Holy Qur’an as the foundation of religion, they understand the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam), that is to say his statements and his practice, to be its exposition and the elaboration of what it sets out in principle, and that whatever has not been explained in the Holy Qur’an itself is then to be found in the Sunnah. They therefore regard the Sunnah as also being an intrinsic part of religion and something that has to be followed.

Then, together with accepting the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) in this way, they also regard the Sahabah (Radhiyallahu Anhum) as the measure by which these things are to be understood. That is to say, whatever they understood to be the intent of anything in the Book of Allah or the Sunnah, and whatever rulings they were all agreed on also have to be followed, and no Muslim has the right to hold any contrary opinion on the rulings and decisions on which they were all in agreement.

In the view of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’at the ijma(consensus) of the Sahabah (Radhiyallahu Anhum) on any matter of religion means that the matter becomes definitive, and to disagree with it is then error, because without any doubt the Sahabah (Radhiyallahu Anhum) knew better than anyone else the environment, the atmosphere, the conditions, and the language in which the Din came.

Then, they acquired the Din direct from the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), and had the benefit of his company and his training. Thus, no one can have a better knowledge of religion and understanding of the spirit and the intent of the teaching of the Messenger of Allah than them. So religion is whatever they understood it to be.

In short, the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’at regard the consensus of the Sahabah (Radhiyallahu Anhum) on any question of religion as being decisive, and in their view there is no room for disagreement with it. So, this is the guiding principle of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’at, and indeed the reason for being called the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’at is that, after the Book of Allah, they have attached so much importance in religion to the sunnah and the jama’at of the Sahabah (Radhiyallahu Anhum) and have bound themselves by them.

(From Din and Shariat by Moulana Manzur Numani Rahimahullah)

AHLUS SUNNAH WAL JAMA’AH – A MISUNDERSTANDING

By Mujlisul Ulama

There exists a huge misunderstanding among Muslims, even among the Ulama, regarding the predication of the Ahlus Sunnah designation. Due to this misunderstanding, it is generally said that the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah constitutes mainstream Islam.

In terms of this conception, Shi’ism is surreptitiously promoted onto the pedestal of Islam when in reality Shi’ism has no room in Islam. Shi’ism is alien to Islam just as Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism are alien.The designation, Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah is mentioned with reference to some deviant sects whom the Fuqaha have not excommunicated (made takfeer). In our current age, we have the deviant sects of the Salafis, the Barelwi Qabar Pujaari (Grave worshippers), Jamat-e-Islami, etc. Whilst these sects remain within the fold of Islam, they are beyond the confines of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah.

Although during the Khairul Quroon era of the Salafus Saaliheen, there existed many authentic Math-habs of the Ahlus Sunnah, in our time the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah is confined to the followers of the Four Math–habs (Hanafi, Shaafi, Maaliki and Hambali). Salafis,etc are not of the Ahlus Sunnah. Therefore, the term Ahlus Sunnah should not be juxtaposed with Shi’ism/Shiahs. In reference to Shiahs it should be said MUSLIMS and SHIAHS, NOT Ahlus Sunnah or Sunnis and Shiahs. This phraseology implies that Shiahs are Muslims. Just as Qadianism, Bahaiism, Bilalians etc. are not of Islam, so too, are Shiahs not of Islam.

The profession of Islam’s Kalimah by some Kuffaar religionists is satanically deceptive. A glaring example is the belief of the Bilalians (the followers of Elijah Muhammad of the U.S.A) that Allah Ta’ala appeared on earth in the form and body of Elijah Muhammad – Nauthubillah!  Recitation of the Kalimah does not in any way whatsoever bestow Imaan to such mushrikeen. Similar is the status of the Shiahs.

Piecemeal acceptance of Islamic doctrines does not confer the title of Muslim to the partial accepter. He remains a Kaafir. About partial acceptance, the Qur’aan Majeed States: “What! Do you believe in part of the Kitaab and commit Kufr with part? What then is the punishment for the one who commits so (commits Kufr), except disgrace in this world. And, on the Day of Qiyaamah he will be assigned to severest punishment”.  [Al-Baqarah, Aayat 85]

The Falsity of the “Hanafi-Shafi’i Disputes” mentioned in Mu’jam al-Buldan

The lâ-madhhabî people like Rashîd Ridâ and Zubair Ali Zai, in order to attack the four Madhhabs of Ahl as-Sunnah, choose a tricky way. For doing this, first they write about the assaults of the seventy-two groups [for whom the Hadîth says will go to Hell] against the Ahl as-Sunnah, and about the bloody events which they caused, and then they basely lie by adding that the four madhhabs of Ahl as-Sunnah fought one another. The fact, however, is that not a single fight has ever taken place between the Shâfi’îs and the Hanafîs at any place at any time. How could they ever fight despite the fact that both belong to the Ahl as-Sunnah! They hold the same belief. They have always loved one another and lived brotherly. Let us see if the lâ-madhhabî people, who say that those people fought, can give us an example after all! They cannot. They write, as examples, the jihads which the four madhhabs of Ahl as-Sunna co-operatively made against the lâ-madhhabî. They try to deceive Muslims with such lies. Because the name “Shâfi’î” of the Ahl as-Sunnah and the word “Shî’a” sound alike, they narrate the combats between the Hanafîs and the lâ-madhhabî as if they had taken place between the Hanafîs and the Shâfi’îs. In order to blemish the Muslims who follow the Madhhabs, those who reject the four Madhhabs slander them by misinterpreting some special terms. For example, referring to the dictionary  Al-munjid written by Christian priests, they define the word ‘ta’assub’ as ‘holding a view under the influence of non-scientific, non-religious and irrational reasons’, in order to give the impression that the teachings of Madhhabs as ta’assub, and say that ta’assub, has caused conflicts between Madhhabs. However, according to the scholars of Islam, ‘ta’assub’  means ‘enmity that cannot be justified.’ Then, attaching oneself to a Madhhab or defending that this Madhhab is based on the Sunnah and on the sunnahs of al-Khulafâ’ ar-râshidîn (radiy-Allâhu ’anhum) is never ta’assub. Speaking ill of another Madhhab is ta’assub, and the followers of the four madhhabs have never done such ta’assub. There has been no ta’assub amongst the madhhabs throughout Islamic history.

The lâ-madhhabî, who are the followers of one of the seventy-two heretical groups, endeavoured much to sidetrack the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs from the Ahl as-Sunnah. Those who achieved it caused bloody events. It is a base slander against the scholars of Islam to accuse them of ta’assub because they, to prevent the harm of the lâ-madhhabî, counselled these caliphs and invited them to follow one of the four Madhhabs of Ahl as-Sunnah. A newly developed method for attacking the four madhhabs is: first pick up a smattering of Arabic, then scan a few history books in a haphazard manner and with a narrow-minded personal sentiment, then evaluate the various past events fortuitously encountered, and finally piece them together as the evidences for the harms of ta’assub, which you somehow attribute to the Sunni Muslims. To find justification, some of those who are against the madhhabs say that they are against not the madhhabs but the ta’assub in madhhabs. However, by misinterpreting ‘ta’assub,’ they attack the fiqh scholars defending their madhhabs and claim that these scholars caused the bloody events in the Islamic history. Thereby they try to alienate the younger generations from the Madhhabs.

As it is written in Qâmûs al-a’lâm,  Amîd al-Mulk Muhammad al-Kundurî, the vizier of Seljuqî Sultan Tughrul Beg, issued a rescript stating that the lâ-madhhabî should be cursed at mimbars and, therefore, most of the ’ulamâ’ in Khurasan emigrated to other places during the time of Alb Arslân. Lâ-madhhabî people like Ibn Taymiyya distorted this event as “The Hanafîs, and the Shâfi’îs fought each other, and the Ash’arîs were cursed at mimbars.” They spread these lies and their own false translations from as-Suyûtî’s books among young people to deceive them and to destroy the four Ahl as-Sunna Madhhabs and to replace it with lâ-Madhhabism.

The following story is one of those related to ta’assub as it is unjustly attributed to the madhhabs and is claimed to have caused fights between brothers in Muslim history: Yâqût al-Hamawî visited Rayy in 617 A.H. and, seeing that the city was in ruins, asked the people whom he met how it happened; he was told that there had arisen ta’assub between the Hanafîs and the Shâfi’îs, that they had fought, and that the Shâfi’îs had won and the city had been ruined. This story is referred to in Yâqût’s book Mu’jam al-Buldan. However, Yâqût was not a historian. As he was a Byzantine boy, he was captured and sold to a merchant in Baghdad. He travelled through many cities to do the business of his boss, after whose death he began selling books. Mu’jam al-Buldan is his geographical dictionary in which he wrote what he had seen and heard wherever he had been. He profited much from this book. Rayy is 5 km south of Tehran and is in ruins now. This city was conquered by Urwah ibn Zaid at-Tâ’î with the command of Hadhrat ’Umar (radiyallâhu ’anhu) in 20 A.H. It was improved during the time of Abû Ja’far Mansûr, and it became a home of great scholars and a centre of civilization. In 616 A.H., the non-Muslim Mongol ruler Chenghiz, too, destroyed this Muslim city and martyred its male inhabitants and captured the women and children. The ruins seen by Yâqût had been caused by the Mongol army a year before. The lâ-madhhabî asked by Yâqût imputed this destruction to the Sunnîs, and Yâqût believed them. This shows that he was not a historian but an ignorant tourist. The lâ-madhhabî, when they cannot find a rational or historical support to blemish the followers of Madhhabs and the honourable fiqh scholars, make their attacks with the writings and words based on Persian tales. Such tales do not harm the superiority and excellence of the scholars of Ahl as-sunnah; on the contrary, they display the lâ-madhhabî men of religious post are not authorities of Islam but ignorant heretics who are enemies of Islam. It is understood that they have been endeavouring to deceive Muslims and thus to demolish the four Madhhabs from the inside by pretending to be men of religious post. To demolish the four Madhhabs means to demolish Ahl as-Sunnah, for Ahl as-Sunnah is composed of the four Madhhabs with regard to practices (a’mâl, fiqh). There is no Ahl as-Sunnah outside these four Madhhabs. And to demolish Ahl as-Sunnah means to demolish the right religion, Islam, which Hadhrat Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) brought from Allâh Ta’âlâ, for, the Ahl as-Sunnah are those Muslims who walk on the path of as-Sahâbah al-kirâm (radiyAllâhu ’anhum). The path of as-Sahâba al-kirâm is the path of Hadrat Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), who, in the hadîth, “My Companions are like the stars in the sky. If you follow any one of them you will find the right way,” orders us to follow as-Sahâbah al-kirâm.

Taqlîd (following, adapting oneself to) is done in two respects. First is the following in respect of belief (’itiqâd, îmân). Second is the following in respect of actions to be done (a’mâl). To follow as-Sahâbah al-kirâm means to follow them in respect of the facts to be believed. In other words, it is to believe as they did. Those Muslims who believe as as-Sahâbah al-kirâm did are called Ahl as-Sunnah. In respect of practices, that is, in each of those actions that are to be done or avoided, it is not necessary to follow all as-Sahâbah al-kirâm since it is impossible. It cannot be known how as-Sahâbah al-kirâm did every action. Moreover, many matters did not exist in their time and appeared afterwards. The father of Ahl as-Sunnah was Hadrat al-Imâm al-a’zam Abû Hanîfah (rahmatullâhi ’alaih). All the four Madhhabs have believed what he had explained and what he had learned from as-Sahâbah al-kirâm. Al-Imâm al-a’zam was a contemporary of some Sahâbîs. He learned much from them. And he learned further through his other teachers. That al-Imâm ash-Shâfi’î and Imâm Mâlik had different comments on a few matters concerning belief does not mean that they disagreed with al-Imâm al-a’zam. It was because each of them expressed what they themselves understood from al-Imâm al-a’zam’s word. The essence of their words is the same. Their ways of explaning are different. We believe and love all the four A’immat al-Madhâhib.

A snide trick which the lâ-madhhabî people often have resort to is to write about the badness of the difference in those subjects concerning belief and try to smear this badness on to the difference among the four Madhhabs. It is very bad to be broken into groups concerning îmân. He who dissents from Ahl as-Sunnah in îmân becomes either a kâfir (disbeliever) or a heretic (a man of  bid’a in belief). It is stated in the hadîths of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that both kinds of people will go to Hell. A kâfir will remain in Hell eternally while a heretic will later go to Paradise.

Some of those who have dissented from the Ahl as-Sunnah have become disbelievers, but they pass themselves off as Muslims. They are of two kinds. Those of the first kind have depended upon their mind and points of view in interpreting the Qur’ân al-karîm and the Hadîth ash-Sharîf so much so that their errors have driven them to kufr (disbelief). They think of themselves as followers of the right path and believe that they are true Muslims. They cannot understand that their îmân has gone away. They are called  “mulhids.” Those of the second kind have already disbelieved Islam and are hostile to Islam. In order to demolish Islam from within by deceiving Muslims, they pretend to be Muslims. In order to mix their lies and slanders with the religion, they give wrong, corrupt meanings to âyats, hadîths and scientific teachings. These insidious unbelievers are called “zindîqs.” The freemasons occupying religious posts in Egypt and the so-called Socialist Muslims, who have appeared recently, are zindîqs. They are also called “bigots of science” or “religion reformers.”

The Qur’ân al-karîm and the Hadîth ash-sharîf declare that it is bad to be broken into groups in respect of îmân and prohibit this faction strictly. They command Muslims to be united in one single îmân. The faction prohibited in the Qur’ân al-karîm and the Hadîth ash-sharîf is the faction in respect of îmân. As a matter of fact, all prophets (’alaihimus-salâm) taught the same îmân. From Âdam (’alaihis-salâm), the first prophet, to the last man, the îmân of all Believers is the same. Zindîqs and mulhids say that those âyats and hadîths which condemn and prohibit breaking in îmân refer to the four Madhhabs of Ahl as-Sunna. However, the Qur’ân al-kerîm commands the differentiation of the four Madhhabs. The Hadîth ash-sharîf states that this difference is Allâhu Ta’âlâ’s compassion upon Muslims.

It is an utterly loathsome, very base lie and slander to twist the Mongolian invasion of the Muslim countries and the destruction of and bloodshed in Baghdad into the “Hanafî-Shâfi’î disputes,” which never took place in the past and which will never take place in future. These two madhhabs have the same îmân and love each other. They believe that they are brothers and know the insignificant difference between them concerning a’mâl (acts) or ’ibâdât (practices) is Allâh Ta’âlâ’s compassion. They believe that this difference is a facility. If a Muslim belonging to a Madhhab encounters a difficulty in doing an act in his Madhhab, he does it in accordance with one of the other three Madhhabs and thus avoids the quandary. Books of the four Madhhabs unanimously recommend this facility and note some occasions. Scholars of the four Madhhabs explained and wrote the evidences and documents of their own Madhhabs not in order to attack or –Allah forfend– to slander one another, but with a view to defending the Ahl as-Sunnah against the lâ-madhhabî people and preserve the confidence of their followers. They wrote so and said that one could follow another madhhab when in difficulty. The lâ-madhhabî, that is, the mulhids and zindîqs, finding no other grounds fhor attacking the Ahl as-Sunna, have been meddling with and misinterpreting these writngs which are right and correct.

As for the Tatars’ and Mongols’ invading Muslim countries, history books write its causes clearly. For example, Ahmad Jawdad Pasha wrote:

“Musta’sim, the last ’Abbâsid Caliph, was a very pious Sunnî. But his vizier, Ibn Alqamî was lâ-madhhabî and disloyal to him. The administration of the State was in his hands. His sheer ideal was to overthrow the ’Abbâsid state and establish another state. He wished for Baghdad to be captured by the Mongol ruler Hulago, and he himself become his vizier. He provoked him into coming to Iraq. Writing a harsh reply to a letter from Hulago, he incited him. Nasîr ad-dîn Tusî, another lâ-madhhabî heretic, was Hulago’s counsellor. He, too, incited him to capture Baghdad. The intrigues were played in the hands of these two heretics. Hulago was made to advance towards Baghdad. The Caliph’s army of about twenty thousand could not stand against the arrows of two hundred thousand Tatars. Hulago assaulted Baghdad with naphtha fires and catapult stones. After a fifty-day siege, Ibn Alqamî, under the pretext of making peace, went to Hulago and made an agreement with him. Then, coming back to the Caliph he said that if they surrendered they would be set free. The Caliph believed him and surrendered to Hulago on the twentieth of Muharram in 656 A.H. (1258). He was executed together with those who were with him. More than four hundred thousand Muslims were put to the sword. Millions of Islamic books were thrown into the Tigris. The lovely city turned into a ruin. The Khirkat as-Sa’âda  (the mantle of the Prophet) and the  ’Asâ an-Nabawî  (the short stick the Prophet usually had with him) were burned and the ashes were thrown into the Tigris. The five-hundred-and-twenty-four-year-old ’Abbâsid State was annihilated. Ibn Alqamî was not given any position and died in abasement the same year. That year, ’Uthmân Ghâzî, founder of the Ottoman Empire, was born in the town of Söghüt.”As it is seen, the Mongols’ ruining the Muslim countries was caused by a lâ-madhhabî’s treachery against Ahl as-Sunnah. There has been no dispute between the Hanafîs and the Shâfi’îs; Muslims belonging to the four Madhhabs have loved one another as brothers.

The Creed of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jama’ah

By Darul al-Ifta al-Misriyyah

Creed
The word for creed in Arabic is ‘aqida. Linguistically, it means to bind firmly and tightly. And in the terminology of the sciences, it is a belief held strongly and with conviction in the hearts of humans, whether it be true or false. This strong belief is a motivator to action, such as is the case with the belief of a Muslim in the existence of God and the veracity of the Prophet.

History attests to the fact that all peoples at all times have had an ideology or religious creed to which they assent, which moves them to action and which has an impact on their behavior and conduct.

The Islamic creed consists of a firm belief that God, Lord of the Worlds, is the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth; that there is only one God Who can be characterized by all perfections, Who transcends all deficiencies, and Who is unlike any other being; that Muhammad is his Prophet and Messenger to the Worlds, and that he fulfilled this mission in the most perfect and complete manner; that the Qur’an is His Book, truthful and untouched by any falsity; and that what it conveys of matters unseen – for example, angels, other prophets, paradise, and hell – is all true.

This set of beliefs moves he who possesses them to hold fast to the rules of the shari’ah and the commands and prohibitions of the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

Monotheism
Monotheism (tawhid) is to believe in the Oneness of God, worshipping Him alone, and affirming this belief of His Essence, His Qualities, and His Actions. It is also to affirm that there is no entity which resembles His Indivisible Essence; that no qualities which resemble the Divine Qualities, in which plurality is not possible such that one can say that God has two Wills or Knowledges, for example; and that His Actions do not admit of any association – there is, that is to say, no action other than His, and any action of another is to be regarded as acquisitive (kasb).

What has been said by the theologians with regards to monotheism can be simplified as follows:
1. It is the belief that God is other than anything that can be conceived by the imagination
2. It is the belief that His Essence in no way resembles other entities, nor does It compromise his Qualities
Tawhid is in fact a developed science derived from certain and definitive proofs. It enables one to establish religious beliefs via argumentation and repelling doubts.

It is concerned with the Essence of God, and what is necessary, impossible, or permissible to affirm of It. It is also concerned with the messengers, what they brought affirming the existence of a Creator. Finally, it treats revelatory data, and the necessity to belive in it.

The benefit of the science of tawhid is that it leads to a knowledge of God through definitive proofs, and the attainment of eternal happiness as a result. Because it is connected to the knowledge of God and His prophets, it is the most noble of sciences. As the Arabic saying goes, things are ennobled by that which they are connected to.

Learning this science is an individual obligation for every person, male or female, as established by the verse which directs all to “Know that there is no god but Allah” (Surah Muhammad, 19). Technically, the obligation is to know the creed in a general way; while knowledge of the particulars and details is a communal obligation.

The science of tawhid discusses three matters:
1. Divinity – that which has to do with God
2. Prophecy – that which has to do with prophets and messengers
3. Revelation – that which treats matters which cannot be proven except through revelatory reports
Types of Proofs

There are two types of proofs:
1. Purely rational, such as that which establishes the existence of a Creator through the creation of the Heavens, the Earth and ourselves.
2. Revelatory, which is in fact a combination of rational and revelatory premises, because the veracity of a report can be established only by reason. These proofs may establish definitive certainty in shari’ah matters when they are mass-transmitted or accompanied by empirical evidence. However, in cases where they do not accord with a reason-based proof, the latter is given priority, for to disregard reason would be to disregard both types of proofs (since the latter is a hybrid).

Epistemology and Ontology
The philosophers say that that which may be known are either non-existent, existent in the mind, or existent in the world. And that which has extra-mental (i.e., worldly) existence is either necessarily existent, i.e., it is impossible that it does not exist, or it is contingently existent.
The theologians say that the existent is that which has a reality in the world, and it is either eternal or created. The created is further divided into two: the substance and the accident

The ‘contingent’ (al-mumkin) is that which is necessarily in need of a cause. It may be either existent or non-existent, in equal probability. The ‘contingent’ is always created, never eternal.

The ‘necessary’: The essentially necessary is God, Who is Simple, not compound. This is because to be compound means to be contingent, created and admitting divisibility. This also means he does not admit association because that would entail being compound. God transcends comparison and resemblance. His Qualities include Life, Knowledge and Power. These Qualities are eternal, and do not compromise his necessity of being, nor do they render him needy of anything, for His Qualities are not other than Him.

The createdness of the world
To be created (huduth) means to be preceded by non-existence (‘adum). The world is everything other than God, the Exalted. The world is made of substances (jawahir) and accidents (a’raad). Substances are those entities that are independent of place. Accidents are those qualities that are “connected” to substance, such as color, taste, smell, life, death, will, power, and knowledge.

The createdness of the world is proven as follows: All existents can be classified as either eternal (qadim) or created. 

The eternal is that which is preceded by nothing else. It is necessary of existence. It is impossible for the eternal to not be, for eternality contradicts non-existence.

The created is that existent which is preceded by another. It may both exist and not exist. So, when it is distinguished by existence rather than non-existence, it is in need of something that performs that distinguishing for it. This entity is a creator characterized by volition and power.

All that is not void of created entities is created. No body in the world is void of created accidents and changeable states. The qualities of the bodies change, and they move from one state to another. The reality of changeable entities is that in fact one state is annihilated and another is created. This is known in the case of the new state by observation, and in the case of the old state because, if it were eternal it would not have become non-existent.

Therefore, it is necessary to believe firmly that the world, all its bodies, including all sorts of vegetation and animals; all actions; all utterances; and all beliefs are created. They came to exist after non-existence.

The existence of the Creator
Belief in the existence of the Creator is the first pillar of Islamic doctrine. All other doctrinal principles are built upon it. And believing in this existence is the only path to attaining a correct understanding of creation, and the meaning of existence in this world.

The world that we see is contingently existent (mumkin al-wujud), which means that the mind precludes neither its existence nor non-existence. Therefore, there must be some external cause which made it existence, and distanced it from non-existence. In its default mode, the world and its entities are possible of both states. And the Cause that made it existent (and not non-existent) is what we call God, the Exalted.

Every rational person, through observation, knows necessarily that creation came into existence after non-existence, i.e., they were created. That which is created is in need of a Creator. An infinite regression of such creators is impossible, as all rational people agree. Infinite regression means that a created entity has a creator, and that creator has its own creator, and on and on with no end. This infinite regression, on whose impossibility all rational people agree, cannot be avoided except by positing an Eternal Creator, Who is in need of no other. His Existence needs No Originator. This is God, the Necessarily Existent. The Necessary, i.e. God, is not a compound being, nor multiple. It is truly One.

If all existences were simply contingent, and none of them were necessary, this set of contingently existent entities – which encompasses all existent entities – would be in need of an originator. This is because the set is itself contingent, a compound entity made of a set of contingent entities. However, the Necessary of Existence (God) is independent in His Existence. He does not need any other entity for his existence. And He is outside of this set. So He is the Creator.

The first obligation
Contemplating (al-nazar) knowing God is an obligation by consensus, whether it is by revelatory means as the Ash’aris say, or by rational ones as the Mu’tazilis say.
The primary obligation is to know God, and the means to achieving it is speculation (al-nazar), so it is also an obligation. But speculation is not possible without intent to engage in it. Therefore, the intention is also an obligation, indeed the first obligation.

By al-nazar is meant the tools and methodologies by which knowledge is organized so as to lead from one piece of information to another. Alternatively, it is defined as abstracting the mind away from insignificant matters and orienting it to the objects of reason. When this is done properly, what results is necessary knowledge.

This is an obligation, because in matters of doctrine, following another based on his or her authority is a sin for someone who is capable of engaging in theoretical and rational thought. If he is not capable of this, it is not a sin. Abu Mansur al-Maturidi says, “Our companions are agreed that the masses believers and knowers of God, and they will populate Heaven, as we are informed in reports and as is agreed on by scholars. For their natural state leads them to monotheism and belief in the Creator’s eternality and the createdness of all else, even if they are unable to articulate this in the terminology of the theologians.” Al-Amidi reported agreement that those who attest to the correct doctrine based on authority are not disbelievers.

The difference of opinion obtains when we turn to the judgement in the Hereafter. In matters of this world, there is no disagreement that we are to judge based on apparent attestations alone. So, he who attests to the doctrine of Islam is to be treated as a Muslim, and not pronounced a disbeliever. So, he may marry other Muslims; he may lead the prayer; his slaughtered meat may be consumed; Muslims may inherit from him, and he from them; and he is to be buried in their cemeteries.

Belief (Iman)

Belief (iman) is to attest to all that is brought by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and is known necessarily to be of the religion, both in generalities and particulars. “That which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) brought” is al-Islam, outside of which there is no salvation. As Allah says, “Say: ‘Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for God, the Cherisher of the Worlds. No partner hath He: this am I commanded, and I am the first of those who submit (muslimin).” [al-An’am: 162-163].

It is necessary that one submit to this, for there is no salvation in the eyes of God except by entering into Islam: “Say: ‘We believe in God, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to God do we bow our will (in Islam).’ If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to God), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).” [Aal Imran: 84-85].

Islam is the religion of God with which all other messengers had been sent: “Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian but he was (an) upright (man), a Muslim, and he was not one of the polytheists.” [Aal Imran: 67]

The formula of testification is: “I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” For one who is capable of uttering it, it is obligatory for the validity of his faith. Simply uttering the words is not sufficient if the speaker does not understand the meaning of what he is reciting.

Articulating the formula of testification is a condition of one being considered a Muslim in legal matters, such as inheritance, marriage, leading prayer, being eligible for the funeral prayer, burial in Muslim cemeteries, and being subject to the demand to pray and pay the zakat. This is because silent affirmation in one’s heart, though it constitutes belief, is hidden, and we are in need of a visible sign of one’s Islam.

He who attests with his tongue, but not his heart, is a hypocrite. Though he is not a Muslim in the eyes of God, he is to be regarded as a Muslim in this world, provided he does not betray any visible indication of his disbelief, such as prostrating to an idol or abusing a copy of the Qur’an.
The “rejecter” is one who refuses to utter the formula of testification. He is a disbeliever both in the eyes of God and in the consideration of people in this world. An affirmation of the heart is of no consequence.

He who is confronted by doubts must seek to dispel them either through rational speculation or by asking someone of knowledge. He who is confronted by temptations should seek refuge in Allah, and say “I believe in God and His Messenger.” The children of Muslims are considered believers, and are to be treated as such in this world even if they never articulate the formula of testification their whole lives.

Divine Attributes

What may not be attributed to God: There are some things that cannot be affirmed of God. In short, He is transcendent, and free of anything that indicates createdness or deficiency of any sort. Therefore, one may not attribute to Him accidental attributes like taste, color, smell, or pain. Nor is he restricted to directionality. Nor can we ascribe to him adjacency, for he is not bound by area. Neither the earth nor the heavens surround Him. He has neither limits nor measure.

Anything that is distinguished by directionality is restricted in a space, and therefore is capable of being joined to substances and separate from them. Anything that admits such a joining and separation with substance is connected to substance, and not void of it. Anything that is not void of substance is created like the substance it is connected to. In contrast, God transcends space, and connection to bodies.

We believe that the Creator of the world cannot be restricted by space, nor can He have an end. For a thing may not be so restricted except by something else, nor can he have an endpoint except by imposing a limitation on him by another entity. But the Creator is neither created, nor restricted, nor limited in any way. As Allah says, “Do you not see that Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth? Nowhere is there a secret counsel between three persons but He is the fourth of them, nor (between) five but He is the sixth of them, nor less than that nor more but He is with them wheresoever they are; then He will inform them of what they did on the day of resurrection: surely Allah is Cognizant of all things.” [al-Mujadala: 7].

It is impermissible to attribute to God movement or rest, going and coming, being in a place, connectedness and disconnectedness, physical proximity and distance, size, body, form, measure, directions, or sides.

The Attributes of the Divine Essence: These are the attributes which subsist in the Divine Essence. They number seven or eight, the difference in number being due to scholarly disagreement.

These attributes are eternal like His Names. If they had been created, this would mean affirming something created of the Divine Essence. It would also mean that God was once without them, i.e., before their creation. Finally, it would indicate the need for something to endow the Divine Essence with this quality, which contradicts His Absolute Self-Sufficiency, i.e., His lack of need of anything other than Him.
These are in contrast to “the attributes of action” which are not eternal according to the Ash’aris.

The attributes of the Divine Essence are of neither the essence, nor of other than it. The former is obvious, for it is well known that the reality of the essence is not the same as that of its attributes, otherwise they would be identical. As for the latter, what is meant is that they are not of a separable other. For these attributes are not separable from the essence, even though their reality is not that of the essence itself.

Whoever directs his worship to the attributes alone has committed disbelief. And whoever connects his worship to the Essence alone has sinned. The correct path is to worship the Divine Essence characterized by Its Attributes.

These attributes are:
1. Existence: This means the existence of His Essence, uncaused by any other. It is impossible that He did not exist. This sort of perfect existence is affirmed only of God. All others partake in a subordinate mode of existence, both preceded and succeeded by non-existence. This is an affirmative attribute, affirmed of the Essence itself.

2. Eternality: This is a negative attribute, which is to say that it negates that which is not worthy of God – in this case, createdness, and so previous non-existence. What is meant is the eternality of the Essence – that It never “came into” existence. For if It were not eternal, It would be created, and thus in need of a creator, which creator would itself be in need of a creator. This would regress infinitely. As such, He must be Eternal. We believe that God has always been. A report in the Sahih of Ibn Hibban has it that, “There was Allah, and there was none other than Him.”

3. Everlastingness: This is also a negative attribute intended to exclude non-existence from His Essence. Just as we may not contemplate a cause for the generation of the Necessary Existent, we may not admit a cause for Its destruction. If we were to admit such a cause, there would be no Necessary Existent. The proof that God’s existence has no end is that It would then not be Eternal, because eternality contradicts non-existence. The existence of all other creation has both a beginning and end, except for Paradise and Hell, which had a beginning but no end. We know this through revelation and not reason.

4. Opposition to all Created Things: This is also a negative attribute indicating a lack of resemblance between God and creation. For He is neither a body nor an accident, neither a universal nor a particular. He similarly transcends all states and attributions that, for example, can be said of humans and other entities, such as sleep, heedlessness, hunger, thirst, and need. The proof of this attribute is that if God were not opposed to all created things in all qualities, He would resemble them in their createdness, or they would resemble Him in His eternality. That is impossible.

We believe that God cannot be characterized by those qualities which characterize creation. These latter is the essence of createdness, such as being restricted to a place or time, having bodily or mental needs, or weakness or incapacity. God is completely Transcendent. Nothing even remotely resembles Him. He has neither ancestors nor descendants. Nor does He have friends and enemies in the manner commonly spoken of, though we may use these words to mean sincere devotees, on the one hand, and those who transgress his commands, on the other.

However, it is true that we may describe humanity by some qualities we attribute to God, such as knowledge, power, will, and perception. But we distinguish by saying that these are essential attributes of God, but not essential attributes of humans. In the case of the latter, they are divine blessings.

5. Subsistence in Himself: This means that he has no need for other. We believe that God subsists in Himself. He has no need for an entity to generate Him, nor for a space to encompass him. He has been God since before the generation of anything else, and before the generation of time and space itself. Nor does he have directionality, though some anthropomorphists have said that He is characterized by “aboveness.” This is invalid. As Qadi ‘Iyad has said, “There is no disagreement among the Muslim jurists, hadith scholars, theologians, thinkers, and lay people that the apparent meaning of verses that mention God being in the Heavens, such as ‘Do ye feel secure that He Who is in heaven will not cause you to be swallowed up by the earth when it shakes (as in an earthquake)?’   are not to be taken literally, but rather are to be interpreted.”

6. Oneness: This is also a negative attribute in that it denies something that is not appropriate to attribute to God, that is, multiplicity or quantity. God is neither composed of parts, nor made up of particulars (subsumed under a universal). He does not have two knowledges or wills that complement one another, nor does He have a knowledge or will that partakes in the knowledge or will of others.

7. Power: This is an eternal attribute of the Divine Essence, through which all things come to be and come to an end in accordance with His Will. What is necessary for every Muslim to know and believe is that God is capable of all things. The proof that God is characterized by power is that if He were not All-Powerful, He would be characterized by incapacity. This is impossible.

8. Will: This is also an eternal attribute of the Divine Essence, which has to do with realizing some of the potentialities of contingent beings. God’s Will is one. It originates and annihilates some things. 

Other Eternal Attributes: There are also other attributes. These include Knowledge, Life, Speech, Hearing, and Sight.

The Beautiful Names of God: Allah says, “The most beautiful names belong to God: so call on Him by them” [al-A’raaf: 180].

The names of God are eternal like His essential attributes. This eternality is taken to mean that either that they were suitable of God from pre-eternality, or that they always indicated the meaning of those names. Some like Ibn ‘Arabi took them to be equal in that they all pertain to one essence (God’s), even though they may differ in the world. Others took them to be of varying degrees of importance.

“Allah” is itself the Greatest Name, above all others. Ninety-nine have been enumerated in a hadith in Tirmidhi on the authority of Abu Hurayra, but al-Nawawi has said that the scholars have agreed that the names listed there do not exhaust the names of God. The position of ahl al-sunna is that His Names and Attributes are taught to us, for this is what indicates God’s permission. This may take the form of either being in the Qur’an and sunna, or it may be established by consensus of use, such as the Fabricator, the Existent, the Necessary, the Eternal.

Prophecy

In Arabic, the word “prophet” (nabi) is taken from the word for “news, or report” for he reports about God. He is also the one who is reported to, in the first instance, since Gabriel brings him news.

Terminologically, the word “prophet” refers to a pure human who is inspired by a revelatory code of conduct on which he himself acts, even though he may not be called on to propagate it. If he is in fact called upon to propagate, he is a “messenger” (rasul). All messengers are prophets, but not all prophets are messengers. The sending of messengers is a great bounty from God. It is a rational possibility, but He is under no obligation to send messengers.

Allah has named 25 prophets in the Qur’an. Their prophethood must be believed in. It is not permissible for a Muslim to be ignorant of them. There are yet others not mentioned by name or in detail in the Qur’an. We know of them only generally, and so must believe in them in that general manner. That is to say, we must believe that God sent many prophets and messengers, to every nation and group, in a variety of places and times. It is ignorant to think that God specified only the Arabian peninsula and its surrounding areas for prophecy.

There are five necessary requirements for prophethood:

1. Prophets only arise among humans, not among jinns or angels.

2. Prophets must be characterized by trustworthiness and honesty, and innocence from sin. This is so that their testimony may be believed, and held to a high standard.

3. Prophets must be characterized by a perfect rationality, precision, and uprightness.

4. They must have propagated to the people everything they had been ordered to propagate. They did not conceal anything.

5. There is disagreement on whether a prophet must be male. Those who said he must be a male rely on the verse, “And We did not send before you any but men to whom We sent revelation, so ask the followers of the reminder if you do not” (al-Anbiya: 7). Those who say it is not a condition that a prophet be made point to verses which say that the mother of Moses was “inspired” (al-Qasas: 7) and that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was listed in a context where many other prophets were listed (Maryam : 58). 

The greatest of Prophets is the final Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him). Muslims are duty bound to love him, as we learn from a number of hadith.

Miracles

Miracles are actions of God in which the conventional laws of nature are broken at the hands of His messengers, so that the messenger’s truthfulness, and the veracity of his message, may be affirmed. It may be speech, like the Qur’an; or an action, such as the gushing forth of water between his fingers; or an absence, such as the inability of the fire to burn Abraham.

The conditions for a miracle are that:
1. It be from God himself.
2. It be a breaking of the conventional laws of nature
3. It be inexplicable
4. It be at the hands of someone who claims prophecy, so that his prophethood may be established.
5. It be in accordance with what is being claimed
6. What is claimed not be disproven by the miracle itself.
7. It not precede the claim, but be made in conjunction with it
Therefore, Prophet Jesus’s speech in his infancy, wet dates falling on lady Mary from a dry palm tree, cutting the chest of Prophet Muhammad and washing his heart, clouds forming a shadow over him to protect him from the sun along with the peace greetings that he used to hear from stones before his prophecy are considered miracles.

The Prophet’s greatest miracle was the Qur’an itself. He also had material sensible miracles, such as the splitting of the moon, the greetings offered to him by stones, trees speaking to him, the gushing forth of water between his noble fingers, and others.

Causality and Intermediaries

It is obligatory for a Muslim to believe firmly that there is no Cause in the world other than God, and that all the apparent causes we see in the world of phenomena are deputized by God Himself. There is however no harm in using language that indicates causality of things other than God if one’s beliefs are sound on this matter. For example, one might say, “This medicine was of benefit to me,” or “This doctor cured me,” or “The rain this year caused there to be a good crop.”

This is why there is no harm in a Muslim seeking intercession with God via the relics of prophets, as long as he believes that the only Cause is Allah. This fits with the language used with respect to the apparent causality of the world. The most obvious instance of such is the Qur’anic verse, “We have not sent you (O Messenger) except as a mercy to the worlds.”   If Allah has said of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he is the cause of mercy to his servants, there is no harm in invoking this honor He has granted the Prophet.

Revelation

The word used here, sam’iyyat, refers to all that which can be known only through reports that partake in certainty. One may not be a believer in Allah in his heart, mind and soul without believing in both the seen and the unseen. The unseen we believe in is that which is not visible, which may not be perceived purely through rationality.

Believing in the unseen is the first pillar of piety. This means believing in God; the reality of angels; divine scriptures and messengers, and that they are from God; the Last Day, and that it will undoubtedly come; in Fate, good and bad; and that there is nothing in the world except it was willed by God.

The unseen includes also

1. jinns, whose existence is proven by definitive texts. God says in the Quran “And He created the jinn from a smokeless flame of fire”. 55:15. So the jinns are created from fire and are asked to worship God Almighty and follow the prophets and messengers as God says “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me”. 51:56. Also the jinns are divided into believers and non believers as God says in the Quran “And among us are Muslims [in submission to Allah], and among us are the unjust. And whoever has become Muslim – those have sought out the right course.”   72:41 Satan is one of the jinns but was expelled away from God’s mercy and earned God’s wrath on him because of his disobedience of God’s direct command to prostrate to Adam as was narrated in the Quran “And [mention] when We said to the angels, “Prostrate to Adam,” and they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was of the jinn and departed from the command of his Lord. …” 18:50. God’s eternal wrath on Satan deems him to enter hellfire but his punishment is postponed till Judgment Day where he will be sentenced to excruciating pain along with those who were seduced by Satan and followed his path of evil. The jinns are inhabitants of earth and are able to see humans unlike humans who are unable to see jinn as God explained in the Quran saying “Indeed, he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you do not see them..” 7:27

2. The Throne, which is the greatest of creation, and where Allah will present Himself on the Day of Judgment. This throne will be carried by eight angels in the Day of Judgment but we are unable to attribute any sort of a defined or detailed description of this throne due to a lack of knowledge about it. We also believe in the divine Seat but similarly we have no available date describing it. What we know for sure though is that neither the throne nor the Seat are dwellings of God. In other words, God did not create the throne out of need for elevation or superiority and did not create the Seat out of a need for sitting down. Same goes for creating the pen, He did not create it for writing a non previously known knowledge nor asked angels to write down and document the deeds of humans out of fear of forgetfulness.

3. Paradise and Hell, which are two created entities, the first an eternal abode of reward, and the latter an eternal abode of punishment and fire. They are of levels, and each person will occupy the level in accordance with his deeds. Some people might assume that the eternality of heaven and hell comes in opposition to God’s saying in the Quran “Everything will be destroyed except His Face. His is the judgement, and to Him you will be returned”. 28:88 but the correct interpretation of this verse is that everything in its own right amounts to nothingness (‘adum) because of its inability of independent self existence.

4. The reservoir from which the Prophet will serve the believers of his nation in the hereafter and we believe that whoever drinks from it will not be subjected to thirst.

5. The Hour and its signs: there are some obvious signs like the appearance of Gog and Magog, the emergence of the Beast, the rising of the sun from the west and the appearance of smoke. These signs- especially the ones that are backed by definitive proofs from the Quran- whoever denies its veracity deemed to be a liar and a disbeliever. These signs are part of revelation which the mind does not have much say in as they are believed in through revelatory reports. For example, God says in the Quran “Until when [the dam of] Gog and Magog has been opened and they, from every elevation, descend 21:96.

6. The questioning in the grave is authenticated by numerous prophetic reports. It is believed that the soul returns back to the body with all its five senses intact and its intellectual ability persevered to be questioned in the grave and receives its due punishment or enjoys its grace. After the burial of the dead and the dismissal of people attending his or her funeral, two angels called Munkar and Nakir are responsible for asking the deceased three questions with the language that is comprehendible to the deceased.

The angels ask the dead about the two parts of the testimony of faith namely the oneness of God and the prophecy of Prophet Muhammad. Prophets are exempted from these questions as well as martyrs who died for the sake of God along with children because they were not eligible to understand commands and prohibitions ordained by God. God the Almighty has the power to gather back the scattered particles and atoms of the body resided in a grave or spread in a desert or kept in the belly of an animal and form the human body again to be asked about his or her life on earth. The scholars of the Ash’arite theology reached a consensus that both the body and the soul combined either suffer from the ailments or enjoy the grace in the grave.

7. The return of the body to the spirit on the Day of Judgment is believed in as all the particles of the body is gathered again to return it to its original state to form the full human body. God Almight possesses the ability to reorganize these particles because of his unlimited power and divine knowledge.

8. The resurrection of the dead and taking them out of their graves for the Reckoning. In this day all human beings, jinns, angels are resurrected along with beasts and animals.

9. The Reckoning

10. The Intercession of the Prophet. The belief in the intercession of Prophet Muhammad to all people in the day of Judgement is obligatory and this noble status of waseelah is the supplication or prayer which the Prophet saved for his people until Dooms Day. The meaning of intercession entails forgiveness for whoever attested to the Oneness of God and the prophecy of Prophet Muhammad even if this person committed grave sins.

Prophets as well have an intercession in the Day of Judgement along with the angels, the Gnostics and the martyrs. The first intercessor among all these is Prophet Muhammad. As for the intercession of others, it occurs only after reckoning and punishment over small and grave sins which were not forgiven by God. The importance of intercession lies in honouring the intercessor in this day and showing his great position in the sight of God. Therefore, the forgiveness of sins other than polytheism is possible both through logic and revelation as intercession deems forgiveness possible. As for polytheism is it deemed impossible through revelation for a polytheist to be forgiven.

The Ash’arite creed refuses to make a judgement of disbelief on any sinful believer in this world and it is similarly impermissible to pass a verdict of his or her eternal stay in hellfire for sins whether minor or major. The correct approach is to delegate the whole issue to God.

11. The Judgment of all the deeds of people’s lives

12. The crossing of the path that stretches over Hell. All will have to pass over it as a test and among the passers are the prophets, the Gnostics and those who enter paradise without previous subjection to reckoning and judgement over their deeds. The description of the path is that it is thinner than a hair and sharper than a blade. Whoever is deemed to enter paradise will succeed in crossing his way over to heaven and whoever is deemed to enter Hell will fall over the bridge straight down to Hell.

The Ahle-Sunnah

by Huseyn Hilmi Isik of Turkey (Extract from: The Sunni Path)

THE Ahl as-Sunna ‘ulama’ differed slightly from one another in understanding some pieces of knowledge pertaining to ‘Ibadat. Hence various madhhabs arose. Each sahabi had a madhhab, too. Only four of all madhhabs are known today. Others were forgotten before being committed to books. The I’tiqad or Iman of these four real and correct madhhabs are the same. There is no difference among them. All of them are of the Ahl as-Sunna I’tiqad. Those who do not believe the Ahl as-Sunna I’tiqad are called the “non-madhhabite”. They call themselves “members of the fifth madhhab”. They lie; there is not anything called the “fifth madhhab”.

Today there is no way other than learning the knowledge pertaining to ibadat from the books of one of these four madhhabs. Everyone chooses the madhhab that is easy for him to follow. He reads its books and learns it. He does everything compatibly with it and becomes a member of it. Because it is easy for a per­son to learn what he hears and sees from his parents, a Moslem usually belongs to the madhhab of his parents. The madhhabs’ being not one but four is a facility for Moslems. It is permissible to leave one madhhab and join another, yet it will take years to study and learn the new one, and the work done to learn the former one will be of no help and may even cause confusion. It is by no means permissible to leave one madhhab because one dislikes it, for Islamic scholars said that it will be kufr to dislike the Salaf as­-salihin or to say that they were ignorant.

Recently some people like Maudoodi of Pakistan and Sayyid Qutb of Egypt have appeared, who say that the four madhhabs should be un­ited and that Islam should be made easily practicable by selecting and gathering- the rukhsas of the four madhhabs. They defend this idea with their short minds and deficient knowledge. A glance over their books will show at once the fact that they know nothing about taf­sir, hadith, usul (‘ilm al-fiqh and ‘ilm al-kalam) and fiqh and that they reveal their ignorance through their unsound logic and false writings; because:

1. The ‘ulama’ of the four madhhabs say, “The mulfiq’s decisions are in­correct,” that is, an ‘ibada performed by following more than one madhhab at the same time will not be sahih when this perfor­mance is not sahih in one of these madhhabs. A person who does not obey this unanimity of the ‘ulama’ of the four madhhabs will not be in any madhhab. Deeds of such a non­-madhhabite person will not be compatible with the Sharia. They will be false. He will have made game of Islam.

2. Uniting the madhhabs will be confining Moslems to a single way and making the ‘Ibadat more difficult. Allah and His Prophet would have declared everything clearly if they wished it so and everything would be done by following only that one way. But, pitying human creatures, Allah and His Messenger did not declare everything clearly. Various madhhabs came out as a result of different in­terpretations of the Ahl-as-Sunna ‘ulama’. When a person en­counters a difficulty, he chooses the easy way in his own madhhab. In case of a greater difficulty, he follows another madhhab and does that action easily. There will be no such facility in the case of a single madhhab. The non-madhhabite peo­ple who think that they are collecting the rukhsas to establish a single system of easy ways are, in actual fact, raising difficulties for Moslems, probably unaware of what they are doing. 

3. An attempt to do one part of an lbada according to one madhhab and another part to another madhhab will mean to disrespect the knowledge of the imam of the former madhhab. As it is already written above, it will be kufr to say that the Salaf as-salihin were ignorant.

History has witnessed many people who wanted to make changes in lbadat and who insulted the Ahl as­-Sunna ‘ulama’. It is obvious that the people who say it is necessary to select the rukhsas of the four madhhabs and to abolish the four madhhabs cannot even correctly read and unders­tand one page of the a’immat al-madhahib’s books. To un­derstand the madhhabs and the superiority of the a’im­ma, it is necessary to be deeply learned. The one who is, profoundly learned will not lead people to ruin by open­ing an ignorant, stupid path. Those who believed in the ig­norant, deviated people, who have appeared in the course of history, have rolled down into great loss. Those who followed the Ahl as-Sunna ‘ulama’ who have come in every century for thirteen hundred years and who have been praised in the Hadith have attained happiness. We, too, should hold fast to the right path of our ancestors, of those pious, pure Moslems, of those martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of Allah and for the spread of Islam. And we should not believe the poisonous, harmful ar­ticles of upstart reformers!

Unfortunately, the poisonous ideas of `Abduh, chief of the Cairo Masonic Lodge, have recently spread in Jami’ al-Azhar in Egypt, thus in Egypt there have appeared the religion reformers such as Rashid Rida, Mustafa al-Marfighi, rector of the Jami’ al-Azhar, ‘Abd al-Majid as-Salim, muf­ti of Cairo, Mahmtid ash­-Shaltut, Tantawi al-Jawhari, ‘Abd ar-Raziq Pasha, Zaki al-Mubarak, Farid al-Wajdi, ‘Abbas ‘Aqqad, Ahmad Amin, Doctor Taha Husain Pasha and Qasim Amin; more unfortunately, as done to their master ‘Abduh, these were regarded as “modern Moslem scholars” and their books were translated into many languages. They caused many religious men to slip out of the right path.

Great Moslem scholar Sayyid ‘Abdul hakim-i Arwasi, the mujaddid of the fourteenth century of the Hegira, said: “‘Abduh, Mufti of Cairo, could not unders­tand the greatness of the ‘ulama’ of Islam but sold himself to the enemies of Islam and at last became a freemason, one of the ferocious disbelievers who have been demolishing Islam insidiously.”

Those who rolled down into disbelief or deviation like ‘Abduh sort of competed with one another in leading astray also those young religious men who succeeded them. They pioneered those disasters which were prophesied in the hadith, 

“Ruination of my umma will come through fajir (deviated) men of religious authority.”

‘Abduh’s novices who were trained in Egypt did not stay idle; they published numerous harmful books which caused the manifesta­tion of Divine Curse and Wrath. One of them is the book Muhawarat by Rashid Rida. In this book, like his master, he  attacked the four madhhabs of the Ahl as­-Sunna and, thinking of the madhhabs as idealistic differences and misrepresen­ting the methods and con­ditions of ijtihad as reac­tionary controversies, went so far into deviation as to say that they had broken Islamic unity. He sort of made fun of millions of true Moslems who have been following one of the four madhhabs for a thousand years. He walked away from Islam as far as to search for meeting the con­temporary needs in changing Islam. It is common among religion reformers that each of them introduces himself as an Islamic scholar of exten­sive culture who has com­prehended real Islam and modern needs, while saying “imitators -who think vulgarly” about those real, pious Moslems who have read and understood Islamic books and who have been walking in the footsteps of the Ahl as-Sunna ‘ulama’ who were given the good news that they were Rasiilullah’s inheritors and who were praised in the hadith. 

“Their time is the best of times.” 

The reformers’ speeches and articles show clearly that they know nothing of the rules of the Sharia and of the teachings of fiqh, that is, they are devoid of religious knowledge and that they are vulgarly ignorant. In the hadiths, 

“The highest human beings are the scholars who have Iman,”

“The ‘ulama’ of the religion are the prophets’ inheritors,” 

“The Aalim’s sleep is worship,”

“Revere the ‘ulama’ of my umma! They are the stars on the earth,”

“The ‘ulama’ will intercede on the Day of Judgement,”

“The fuqaha are estimable. It is ‘ibada to be in company of them.” 

and

“An ‘alim among his disciples is like a prophet among his umma,” 
does our Prophet praise the Ahl as­-Sunna ‘ulama’ of thirteen hundred years or ‘Abduh and his novices of the last hun­dred years? The question is answered by our master Rasulullah, again: 

“Each cen­tury will be worse than the cen­tury previous to it. Thus they will go on worsening till Doomsday!” and 

“As Dooms­day draws near men of religious post will be more rotten, more putrid than putrefied donkey flesh.” 

These hadiths are written in Mukhtasaru Tadhkirat al-­Qurtubi. All Islamic scholars and thousands of awliya’ whom Rasulullah praised and lauded, unanimously say that the path which has been given the good news of being saved from Hell is the path of those ‘ulama’ who are called Ahl as–Sunnat wa‘I–Jama’a, and that those who are not Ahl as-Sunna will go to Hell. They also say unanimously that talfiq (unification), that is, selecting and gathering the rukhsas of the four madhhabs and making up a single false madhhab, is wrong and absurd.

Will a reasonable person follow the Ahl as-Sunna path, which has been praised unanimously by the ‘ulama’ of Islam who have come dur­ing the period of a millennium or will he believe the so-called “culture, progressive” people who are ignorant of Islam and who have sprung up during the last hundred years?

The outstanding talkative ones of the seventy-two heretical groups, about whom it was told in the Hadith that they will go to Hell, have always attacked the Ahl as-Sunna ‘ulama’ and attempted to blemish these blessed Moslems, yet they have disgraced with answers documented with ayats and hadiths. Seeing that they are unsuccessful through knowledge against the Ahl as-Sunnah, they have begun brigandage and violence and caused bloodshed of thousands of Moslems in every century. But the four madhhabs of the Ahl as­-Sunna have always loved one another and lived brotherly. Rasulullah declared,

“Disagreement (on the ‘amal, practices) among my umma is (Allah’s)compassion.” 

But such religion reformers as Rashid Rida, who was born in 1282 A.H. (1865) and died suddenly in Cairo in 1354 (1935), said that they would establish Islamic unity by un­iting the four madhhabs.

Whereas, our Prophet com­manded all Moslems over the world to unite in one single iman path, in the right path of his four caliphs. By working together, the ‘ulama’ of Islam searched and studied the iman path of the four caliphs and transferred it into books. They named this path, which our Prophet had showed, Ahl as–Sunnat wal –Jama‘a. Moslems all over the world have to unite in this single path of Ahl as–Sunna. Those who wish for unity in Islam, if they are sincere in their words, should join this union. But unfortunately, freemasons and zindiqs, who have been trying to demolish Islam insidiously, have always deceived Moslems with such false words as ‘uni­ty’ and, under the mask of their slogan, “We shall bring cooperation,” have broken the “unity of iman” into pieces.

Following Isolated Opinions of Scholars

The following are some great advices of top Syrian Shaykh, Al Muhaddith Shaykh Muhammad Awwamah (damat barakatuhum) given to students who wish to follow isolated opinions of scholars. 

The following advices have been extracted from a lecture titled: ‘Golden Guidelines in The Path of Knowledge’ translated by Maulana Ibn Maulana Haroon Abasoomar titled ‘The Eight Guideline’.

The Eighth Guideline:

The eighth guideline is that a student should ensure that he sticks to the view of the overwhelming majority of ‘ulama and that he distances himself from the isolated or uncommon views, forsaking them totally just as our ‘ulama used to do. I do not mean that we should be searching for those issues on which the majority are unanimous. It is very rare for them all to concur on one view only.

The motive here is that, for instance, on a particular issue there may be a different view by each of the four imams. Each of these four is backed by other scholars of the past who concur with them in their respective viewpoints. There may also exist one or two scholars who have a fifth viewpoint which is in contrast to what all the others have said. In such a situation, it is binding upon a student that he keeps to the view point of the four imams, and those that backed them, and that he abandons the fifth view which goes against the majority.

This is a huge mistake that is often committed by students of our era. Rather, as a result of the present academic disarray, this practice actually appeals to many of them!

Listen to the words of the great imam and mujtahid who lived in the early period of Islam, Imam Awzai (rahmatullah alayh):

“One who accepts the isolated views of the scholars will eventually leave Islam !!”

Imam Awzai passed away in 157 A.H.  – An era which was filled with great personalities and many tabi’un, of which some might have had certain isolated views. Despite their position, this is the effect he foresaw in following such remote views.

Imam Sulayman At-Taymi (rahmatullah alayh) who lived in an era earlier than Imam Awzai. He says:

“If you accept the (isolated) concessions of every scholar, in you would be every evil !!”

After quoting this statement, the great muhaddith of Spain, Imam ibn ‘Abdil Barr (rahmatullah alayh) writes:

“This is a unanimous and accepted fact regarding which I am unaware of any difference of opinion.”

In the book, Tabaqatush Shafi’iyyatul Kubra, after citing some isolated views that were held by certain illustrious scholars, the author, Tajuddin As-Subki (rahimahullah) then quotes a statement of a great imam of Hadith and Fiqh, Imam Abu Ali Karabisi (rahimahullah) who said:

“If somebody claims that the proponents of such isolated views are sometimes respected scholars, he will be told, the only real cause of the destruction of Islam would be the mistake of a respected aalim whereas a thousand mistakes of a jahil (non-aalim) would not affect Islam in the least. Historically there have been several people of knowledge who propounded views that were impermissible in Islam. For example, The famous Judge, Qadi Shurayh, passed certain verdicts which were not acceptable to anyone, which have no basis whatsoever, neither in the noble Quran, the hadith, or the views of the Sahabah or Tabi’in.”

If somebody studied the biography of Qadi Shurayh, he would understand him to be Islam’s second best judge of all times. (The first being Sayyiduna Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) who received the title of being the best judge amongst the Sahabah from none other than the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) himself). Despite the position of Qadi Shurayh, see what Imam Al-Karabisi said regarding some of his verdicts.

Therefore, it is not permissible for one who clings to a weak, isolated view to justify his stance against us by saying that this is the view of such and such a scholar who is an imam, hujjah (proof) and a mujtahid etc, for our response would be that such and such an imam and tens or hundreds like him have opposed him by forsaking his view all together!

Since a student should beware of adopting the view of one or two people which is in contrary with the vast majority of Islam, it is even more important that he guards himself against another even more drastic and grave offence. That is to appoint one or two scholars as arbitrators over the vast majority of Islam, thereby habitually adopting the view of these one or two whilst abandoning as well as insulting everyone besides them.

So, the first precaution should be against resorting to the view of one or two scholars which oppose the majority for the sole purpose of suiting one’s worldly needs at the expense of one’s Din, or for no other reason but to create concessions for one’s self or anybody else… The second precaution should be against one surrendering the steering of his knowledge to one or two scholars whose every view he adopts and defends, thereby forsaking the view of the vast majority of the ulama of the ummah who may even number up to several hundreds or even thousands.

The gist of the post is that Muslims who cling to isolated opinions of scholars have a lot of evil in them and are more likely to die without imaan, meaning they will be a burden upon the earth while they live and after they die will be the fuel of hell-fire, and if they also happen to prefer social isolation, not only are they going to be a burden upon themselves, they will also be a burden upon the state and are also more likely to die earlier, which is not a bad thing after all, is it?

Stick with the Jama’ah.