Category Archives: The Salafi Sect

The Feet In Salaat – A Salafi Error

[Mujlisul  Ulama  of  South  Africa]

Introduction

In  this  fourteenth  century  of  the  Islamic  era,  a  recently  mushroomed  sect  known  as  the  Salafis,  has  invented  some  new  rules  which  they  believe  are  the  Sunnat  teachings  of  Rasulullah  (sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam).  Inspite  of  their  views  being  in  conflict  with  the  teachings  of  the  Salf-e-Saaliheen  belonging  to  the  Noblest  Ages  of  Islam  (Khairul  Quroon),  they  obstinately  cling  to  their  misguided  opinions.  Their  method  is  to  subject  the  Ahadith  to  their  personal  understanding.  Inspite  of  the  divergence  which  this  self-opinion  produces  from  the  Way  of  the  Ummah  inherited  from  the  Sahaabah,  the  Salafis  intransigently  cling  to  their  deviation.

A  little  reflection  would  convince  them  that  it  is  not  possible  that  the  Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen  who  were  the Students  of  the  Sahaabah  would  propagate  acts  which  are  in  conflict  with  the  Sunnah.  Any  act  which  has been  accepted  and  practised  by  the  entire  Ummah  from  the  earliest  era  of  Islam  cannot  be  deviation. Deviation  will  be  the  act  which  is  in  conflict  with  this  sacred  Unanimity.

One  of  the  erroneous  practices  of  the  Salafis  is  their  act  of  spreading  their  legs  wide  apart  during  Salaat.  In the  bid  to  touch  the  toes  of  the  musalli  standing  adjacent  to  them,  they  disfigure  their  stance  and  ruin  their composure  with  the  mental  preoccupation  of  touching  the  toes  of  the  musallis  standing  on  both  sides  in  the Saff  during  Jamaat  Salaat.  Even  when  performing  Salaat  alone,  they  stretch  the  legs  hideously  apart.  But  for this  innovation  they  have  absolutely  no  Shar’i  evidence.  A  solitary  Hadith  which  makes  reference  to  ‘foot with  foot’  has  been  grievously  misunderstood  and  misinterpreted  by  them.  Besides  their  misinterpretation, they  have  intentionally  ignored  all  the  other  Shar’i  proofs  which  refute  their  interpretation.

A  perusal  of  the  relevant  Ahadith  on  this  subject  will  convince  every  unbiased  Muslim  that  the  Salafi  interpretation  of  the  Hadith  is  a  concoction  of  the  nafs.  It  is  a  concoction  designed  and  prepared  by  shaitaan to  create  rifts  and  discord  in  the  Ummah.  When  people  opt  to  abandon  the  practices  which  the  Aimmah Mujtahideen  have  reported  on  the  basis  of  the  authority  of  the  Sahaabah,  then  shaitaani  manipulation  is evident.

All  four  Math-habs  of  the  Ahlus  Sunnah  Wal  Jama’ah  unanimously  refute  the  Salafi  contention  on  the position  to  be  adopted  when  standing  for  Salaat.  None  of  the  Math-habs  teaches  that  the  legs  should  be  spread  out  widely  when  standing  for  Salaat  nor  that  the  toes  of  the  Musalli  alongside  should  be  touched. Some  of  the  Salafis  go  to  great  lengths  in  spreading  their  legs  in  the  bid  to  touch  the  next  man’s  toes  causing  annoyance  and  much  irritation.

The  Emphasis  on  Straightening  the  Sufoof (Sufoof  is  the  plural  of  saff  which  refers  to  the  row  of  musallis  in  a  Jamaat)

The  Ahadith  of  Rasulullah  (sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam)  emphasise  the  straightening  of  the  sufoof.  The emphasis  in  all  the  Hadith  narrations  dealing  with  this  subject  is  directed  to  proper  saff*–  formation,  not  on  the  feet  of  the  musallis  touching  the  toes  of  the  musalli  standing  alongside  as  the  Salafis  inordinately  and inconsiderately  practice.

In  the  endeavour  to  sustain  the  practice  of  stretching  the  legs  wide  open  while  performing  Salaat,  the  Salafis  have  gone  to  the  extreme  of  adopting  this  ugly  stance  even  when  performing  Salaat  alone.  While  a  man  who  is  uneducated  in  the  laws  of  the  Shariah  may  misunderstand  the  solitary  Hadith  in  which  reference  has  been  made  to  foot  with  foot,  the  same  mistake  cannot  and  should  not  be  made  in  so  far  as  Salaat  performed  alone  because  the  question  of  foot  with  foot  is  not  remotely  related  to  infiraadi  Salaat,  i.e.  performing  Salaat alone.

The  Salafis  may  abortively  argue  that  the  aim  of  spreading  the  legs  wide  apart  is  to  ensure  straightness  of  the  sufoof,  but  what  argument  do  they  have  for  justifying  this  unbecoming  practice  when  a  man  is  performing Salaat  infiraadan (individually)?  Furthermore,  there  is  no  Hadith  narration  in  this  regard  which  could  even  be  misinterpreted  to  support  the  case  of  a  munfarid  stretching  his  legs  to  the  extremities  of  east  and  west  or  north  and  south,  depending  on  the  location  of  the  Qiblah  from  where  he  happens  to  be.

The  Salafis  claim  that  it  is  Sunnah  to  stretch  the  legs  wide  apart  and  for  a  musalli’s  toes  to  touch  the  toes  of the  musalli  standing  alongside  him  in  the  saff.  This  ludicrous  position  is  imposed  by  the  Salafis  on  even  women  who  are  obliged  to  stand  with  their  legs  wide  open.  What  an  ugly,  miserable  and  immodest  stance for  a  woman  to  adopt?  A  woman  is  an  object  of  concealment  according  to  the  statement  of  Rasulullah (sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam).  When  she  has  to  stretch  her  legs  wide  open,  she  adopts  the  stance  of  lewd  and shameless  women.  Throughout  Salaat,  a  woman’s  postures  are  to  be  constricted  —  made  small  and  drawn in,  not  asserted  like  a  man  asserts  and  expresses  his  actions  during  Salaat.

As  far  as  their  stance  is  concerned  for  the  munfarid,  there  is  not  a  single  Hadith  which  they  can  cite  in substantiation  for  their  view  which  anyhow  is  utterly  baseless.  All  the  relevant  Ahadith  on  this  topic  teach  the contrary,  namely,  that  the  feet  should  be  held  slightly  apart  —  about  four  to  five  inches  (10  cm).  There  also exists  consensus  of  the  Four  Math-habs  on  this  issue.

As  far  as  the  feet  position  for  the  saff  is  concerned,  the  Salafis  conveniently  overlook  all  the  Ahadith  which  negate  their  corrupt  view  and  intransigently  cling  to  a  view  which  they  have  understood  to  be  the  method.  In  taking  to  this  view,  they  deliberately  cast  aside  what  exactly  the  Hadith  in  question  says.  They  took  a  single word  (namely  ‘foot  with  foot’)  out  of  the  context  of  the  Hadith  and  formulated  the  practice  of  stretching  the legs  wide  apart  and  touching  the  toes  of  the  musallis  standing  alongside  on  either  side  in  the  saff.  For  understanding  this  issue,  it  is  best  that  we  cite  all  the  relevant  Ahadith.

The  Ahadith

1.  Hadhrat  Umar  (radhiyallahu  anhu)  narrates  that  Rasulullah  (sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam)  said: Straighten  the  sufoof,  line  up  the  shoulders,  close  the  gaps  and  become  tender  in  the  hands  of  your  brothers.  Do  not  leave  any  gaps  for  shaitaan.  Whoever  joins  the  saff,  Allah  will  join  him.  And whoever  cuts  the  saff  Allah  will  cut  him.  (Bukhari  &  Abu  Dawood)

[Become  tender:  that  is  to  comply  when  a  brother  musalli  in  the  saff  touches  your  shoulder  indicating  that you  should  bring  it  in  line  with  the  shoulders  of  the  other  musallis  in  the  saff.]

2.  Hadhrat  Baraa’  Bin  Aazib  (radhiyallahu  anhu)  narrates  that  Rasulullah  (sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam) used  to  enter  the  saff  from  end  to  end,  touching  our  chests  and  our  shoulders.  He  would  say:  Do  not  be  irregular  (in  your  rows),  for  then  your  hearts  will  become  irregular  (i.e.  discord  will  overtake  you). He  would  (also)  say: Verily,  Allah  Azza  Wa  Jal  and  His  Malaaikah  dispatch  Salaam  on  the  first  sufoof

[When  the  word  ‘Salaat’  is  related  to  Allah  Ta  ‘ala,  it  denotes  Rahmat,  i.e.  He  sends  down  mercy.  When  it  is related  to  the  Malaaikah,  it  means  that  they  supplicate  to  Allah  Ta`ala  to  send  His  mercy  upon  His  servants.]

3.  Hadhrat  Anas  Bin  Maalik  (radhiyallahu  anhu)  narrates  that  the  Iqaamah  for  Salaat  was  given. Rasulullah  (sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam)  turned  towards  us  and  said:  Straighten  your  sufoof  and stand  close  together,  for  verily  I  see  you  from  behind.  In  a  narration  of  Hadhrat  Anas  (radhiyallahu anhu)  it  is  mentioned:  Everyone  among  us  would  put  his  shoulder  with  the  shoulder  of  his  companion  (alongside)  and  his  foot  with  his  foot.

4.  Hadhrat  Anas  (radhiyallahu  anhu)  narrates  that  Rasulullah  (sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam)  said:  Join your  sufoof  and  stand  close  together,  and  stand  in  line  with  (your)  necks.  I  take  oath  by  The  Being in  Whose  power  is  my  life  that  most  certainly  I  see  shaitaan  entering  the  gaps  in  the  saff  as  if  he  is a  lamb.  (Abu  Dawood)

5.  Abul  Qaasim  Jadli  (rahmatullah  alayh)  said  :I  heard  Nu’maan  Bin  Basheer  (radhiyallahu  anhu)  say: ‘Rasulullah  (sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam)  turned  towards  the  people  (the  musallis)  and  say  three times:  ‘By  Allah!  Most  certainly,  you  should  straighten  your  sufoof  otherwise  Allah  will  create discord  in  your  hearts.’  Thereafter  I  saw  that  a  man  would  attach  his  shoulder  to  the  shoulder  of  his companion  (the  one  standing  alongside),  his  knee  to  the  knee  of  his  companion  and  his  ankle  to  the  ankle  of  his  companion.  (Bukhari  &  Abu  Dawood)

6.  Nu’maan Bin  Basheer  (radhiyallahu  anhu)  narrates:  Rasulullah  (sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam)  would arrange  (set  in  order)  our  sufoof.  One  day  he  came  out  (from  his  home)  and  saw  a  man  (in  the  saff) whose  chest  was  protruding  in  front  of  the  (chests  of)  the  community  (i.e.  the  musallis).  He  then commented:  ‘Straighten  your  sufoof  otherwise  Allah  will  cast  discord  in  your  faces  (i.e.  in  the  words coming  from  your  mouths).  (Tirmizi)

7.  Maalik  Ibn  Abi  Aamir  Ansaari  (radhiyallahu  anhu)  narrates:  Uthmaan  Bin  Affaan  (radhiyallahu  anhu) would  recite  in  his  Khutbah:  ‘When  the  Salaat  is  ready,  arrange  the  sufoof  properly  and  line  up  with the  shoulders’  (i.e.  the  shoulders  of  the  musallis  should  all  be  in  line  and  touching).  (Muatta  Imaam Muhammad)

8.  Hadhrat  Anas  (radhiyallahu  anhu)  narrated  that  Nabi  (sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam)  said:  Join  your  sufoof  and  draw  close  among  yourselves  and  line  up  with  the  necks.  Reported  by  Abu  Dawood  and Nisai.  Authenticated  by  Ibn  Hibbaan.  (Bulooghul  Maraam)–*I’laaus  Sunnan

These  are  about  all  the  narrations  pertaining  to  the  manner  and  style  of  standing  in  Jamaat  Salaat. Explaining  these  Ahadith,  Imaam  Bukhaari  (rahmatullah  alayh)  states  in  the  section  captioned:

JOINING  SHOULDER TO  SHOULDER:

This  is  what  the  Jamhoor  have  said:  ‘Verily,  the  meaning  (of  joining  in  this  context)  is  complete  nearness and  lining  up,  not  actual  joining  (or  touching).’  Al-Haafiz  said:  The  meaning  of  this  is  to  emphasise  in straightening  the  saff  and  closing  the  gaps.  And  Aini  too  has  said  so.  With  this,  the  indication  is  towards emphasis  in  straightening  the  sufoof  and  closing  the  gaps.  Qustulaani  and  others  have  also  said  this. (Laamiud Duraari commentary of Bukhari)

In  Faidhul  Baari  it  is  reported  as  follows:

It  is  stated  in  Sharhul  Wiqaayah:  ‘The  musalli  should  stand  apart  (with  his  feet)  so  that  there  is  a  distance  of  four  fingers  in  between  them,  and  that  is  also  the  view  of  Imaam  Shaafi  (rahmatullah  alayh),  In  another  view  it  is  said  that  the  distance  (between  the  feet)  should  be  one  hand  (i.e.  about  10  cm).’  (The  author  says):  I  did not  find  any  difference  of  opinion  among  the  Salf  (i.e.  Salf-e-Saaliheen)  between  the  stance  (of  the  musalli) in  Jama’ah  and  in  infiraad  (i.e.  performing  alone).  There  is  no  difference  regarding  the  gap  (between  the feet).  It  is  not  that  the  spreading  of  the  feet  should  be  more  in  Jama’ah  than  when  performing  Salaat  alone.

The  summary  of  this  is:  When  we  do  not  find  the  Sahaabah  and  the  Taabi-een  differentiating  in  their standing  position  between  Jama’ah  and  individual  Salaat,  then  we  understand  that  the  only  meaning  of Rasulullah’s  statement  of  ‘joining  the  shoulders’  is  to  line  up  closely  and  to  abstain  from  leaving  gaps (between  the  musallis).

The  following  appears  in  Laamiud  Duraari,  Commentary  of  Saheeh  Bukhaari:

The  Authorities  (the  Fuqaha)  stated  that  it  is  best  for  the  musalli  to  keep  his  feet  about  four  fingers  apart. They  did  not  say  that  the  feet  should  be  united  in  ruku’  or  sajdah.  Aini  says  in  Binaayah:  ‘It  is  appropriate  that  there  be  the  distance  of  four  fingers  between  the  feet  of  the  musalli,  for  verily,  this  is  nearest  to  khushoo.’

Ibn  Umar  (radhiyallahu  anhuma)  would  not  spread  (widely)  his  feet  nor  would  the  one  foot  touch  the  other, but  between  this  there  would  be  neither  much  closeness  nor  much  distance.

In  Raddul  Muhtaar  it  is  reported  as  follows:

The  meaning  of  joining  ankles  to  ankles  is  that  everyone  in  the  Jama’ah  should  stand  alongside  the  other (i.e.  in  a  straight  line).  So  is  it  said  in  Fataawa  Samarqand).  (I’laaus  Sunan)

From  all  the  narrations  and  views  of  the  Muhadditheen  and  Fuqaha  of  the  Khairul  Quroon  era  it  is abundantly  clear  that  the  Hadith  which  mentions  joining  foot  with  foot  does  not  have  a  literal  meaning.  It simply  means  that  the  feet  should  be  all  in  line,  and  this  is  achieved  by  the  heels  of  the  musallis  all  being  in the  same line. This  will  ensure  a  straight  saff  on  which  the  emphasis  of  all  the  Ahadith  is.

The  Salafis

The  Salafis  of  this  age,  while  grabbing  the  words  ‘foot  with  foot’,  ignore  ‘neck  with  neck’,  ‘shoulder  with  shoulder’,  ‘knee  with  knee’  and  ‘ankle  with  ankle’.  The  narrations  command  joining  of  the  necks  just  as  it instructs  joining  of  the  feet.  And,  in  the  same  way  it  commands  joining  of  the  knees  and  ankles.  How  is  it possible  for  the  neck  of  one  musalli  to  touch  the  neck  of  the  musalli  alongside?  At  most,  shoulders  can  touch.  But  to  achieve  the  phenomenal  act  of  joining  necks,  the  musallis  will  have  to  ruin  their  Salaat  and stand  on  their  toes  balancing  at  a  precarious  angle  to  achieve  the  goal  of  touching  each  other’s  neck.  But  no  one  has  ever  advocated  this  ludicrous  stance.  Similarly,  if  the  literal  sense  of  the  ‘ankle  with  ankle’  has  to  be  accepted,  it  will  place  the  musallis  under  great  stress  to  achieve  what  is  not  simple  because  the  protruding heels  are  barriers  for  this  achievement.  Also,  if  ‘knee  against  knee’  had  to  be  literally  considered,  the  musallis  would  have  to  stand  with  ugly  bandied  legs,  stretching  even  their  thighs  hideously  in  order  to  join their  knees  with  the  knees  of  their  companions?  But,  not  even  the  Salafis  have  ventured  such  ludicrousness.

Why do the  Salafis  choose  only  ‘foot  with  foot’  out  of  the  several  instructions  pertaining  to  the  joining  of various  bodily  parts?  For  this  choice  they  have  only  their  intransigent  nafsaani  desire –no  daleel  whatsoever. What  is  the  determining  factor  to  choose  only  feet  and  to  ignore  necks,  knees,  shoulders  and  ankles?  On the  other  hand,  the  Ahlus  Sunnah Wal  Jama’ah  —  the  followers  of  the  Four  Math-habs  —  *have  a  mass  of evidence  to  support  ‘joining  of  the  shoulders’.  Furthermore,  joining  or  lining  up  of  the  shoulders  is  simple, rational  and  fulfills  in  the  best  way  the  instruction  of  straightening  the  saff.

It  should  be  noted  that  the  emphasis  is  on  closing  the  gaps.  There  should  be  no  gap  between  two  musallis  standing  in  the  saff.  But,  the  wider  the  legs  are  spread  apart,  the  more  the  distance  between  the  shoulders will  increase.  Thus,  spreading  the  legs  wide  apart  defeats  the  very  command  issued  in  the  Hadith  to  close the  gaps  and  straighten  the  sufoof.

In  order  to  achieve  ‘foot  with  foot’  literally,  the  Salafis  are  constrained  to  turn  their  feet  at  angles  away  from  the  Qiblah.  In  this  hideous  exercise  they  manage  only  to  touch  the  toes  of  the  adjacent  musalli  with  much  difficulty  and  irritation  to  those  whose  peace  of  mind  is  disturbed  with  the  unruly  encroachment  of  his companion’s  toes.  When  the  toes  are  made  to  touch  with  the  feet  in  diagonal  positions,  the  shoulders  cannot touch,  the  knees,  ankles,  necks,  etc.  are  thrown  completely  out  of  alignment.

When shoulders  are  not  lined  up,  it  is  impossible  to  achieve  straight  sufoof.  It  is  for  this  reason  that  the Hadith  emphasises  more  on  shoulders.  Feet  are  mentioned  only  once.  The  Sahaabah  and  the  Taabi-een  relate  the  instruction  ‘to  line  up’  and  straighten  the  saff  to  the  shoulders,  necks,  knees,  ankles  and  the  feet.  In  other  words,  all  these  should  be  in  line,  not  out  of  alignment.  It  is  for  this  reason  that  the  Hadith  clearly mentions  that  the  Khulafa-e-Raashideen,  in  fact  Rasulullah  (sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam)  himself,  would  order  protruding  chests  to  recede  into  line.  Never  did  any  of  the  Authorities  of  the  Shariah  speak  about  feet  which  should  touch.

In  the  adoption  of  the  Salafi  mode,  the  movement  is  excessive  in  Salaat.  Neither  is  proper  Ruku’  nor  proper  Sajdah  possible  if  this  hideous  posture  has  to  be  retained  throughout  Salaat.  In  fact  Sajdah  is  not  at  all  possible  with  the  feet  spread  wide  apart.  Therefore,  the  Salafis  are  constrained  to  shift  positions  repeatedly  when  going  to  ruku’.  This  excessive  movement  in  Salaat  in  negatory  of  khushoo’.

THE  FOUR  MATH-HABS

While  the  case  of  the  Four  Math-habs  is  logical,  the  actual  daleel  (proof)  for  our  view  is  not  rational interpretation,  but  is  narrational  evidence.  Such  evidence  has  been  transmitted  down  the  centuries  from  the Sahaabah.  It  should  be  understood  that  the  Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen  —  the  Imaams  of  the  Math-habs  —  had acquired  their  knowledge  of  Islam  from  either  the  Sahaabah  or  the  Taabi-een  who  were  the  Students  of  the Sahaabah.  Whatever  they  taught  is  therefore,  what  the  Sahaabah  had  instructed.  It  is  the  height  of  folly  and deviation  to  differ  with  them  and  to  choose  a  way  which  is  at  variance  with  what  they  had  disseminated.

It  is  not  conceivable  that  the  Salf-e-Saaliheen  —  all  the  Imaams  of  the  Math-bas  were  among  them  —  were in  deviation  and  the  present-day  Salafis  are  on  Rectitude.  This  is  unacceptable  to  any  Muslim  who  is prepared  to  reflect  a  bit.  The  greatest  daleel  for  the  view  of  the  Math-habs  is  that  whatever  they  teach  has been  acquired  directly  from  either  the  Sahaabah  or  the  Taabi-een.

The  Salafi  practice  of  spreading  the  feet  wide  apart  and  the  irritating  attempt  to  touch  the  next  man’s  toes  are  in  conflict  with  the  Sunnah  as  the  aforegoing  Shar’i  evidences  have  established.

Conclusion

1.  According  to  the  Hambali  Math-hab  there  should  be  a  ‘small’  gap  between  the  feet  of  the  musalli.

2.  According  to  the  Maaliki  Math-hab,  the  distance  should  be  moderate,  neither  together  nor  so  wide  apart  which  is  considered  repugnant.

3.  According  to  the  Shaafi  Math-hab,  the  gap  between  the  feet  should  be  one  hand.  It  is  Makrooh  to  spread the  feet  wider  than  this.

4.  According  to  the  Hanafi  Math-hab,  the  distance  between  the  feet  should  be  four  fingers.

This  is  the  Sunnah  and  the  Way  of  the  Salf-e-Saaliheen.  The  Salafis  have  no  authority  from  the  Salf-e-Saaliheen  to  substantiate  its  view  of  bid’ah.

Manner of standing in the rows of the jama`ah

[Shaikh Muhammad Ilyas Faisal, Madinat  al-Munawwara]

It  is  established  from  several  ahadith  that  the  row  should  be  absolutely  straight and  no  gaps  should  be  left  between  the  worshippers.  However,  some  people  insist on  spreading  their  feet  and  standing  in  such  a  manner  that  their  ankles  touch  the ankles  of  their  neighbour.  What  is  the  reality  of  standing  in  this  fashion?  

Those  who  stand  in  this  way  base  their  practice  upon  a  hadith  narrated  by Nu’maan  bin  Basheer  (radhiallahu  anhu).  He  says:  “Once  Rasulullah  (sallallahu alaihi  wasallam)  faced  us  and  said:  “Straighten  your  rows”.  He  repeated  this thrice.  He  then  said:  “By  Allah,  you  must  most  certainly  straighten  your  rows  or else  Allah  Ta’ala  will  disunite  your  hearts”.  Hazrat  Nu’maan  bin  Basheer (radhiallahu  anhu)  says:  “I  then  saw  the  people  joining  together  their  shoulders and  ankles”.  [Abu  Dawood,  Sahih  ibn  Khuzaima]  

The  concluding  statement  of  Hazrat  Nu’maan  (radhiallahu  anhu)  is  also  reported in  Sahih  Bukhari.  

However,  upon  analysing  this  hadith,  several  points  come  to  light:  Firstly, Rasulullah  (sallallahu  alaihi  wasallam)  never  commanded  the  joining  of  the ankles.  No  hadith  has  yet  been  found  wherein  Rasulullah  (sallallahu  alaihi wasallam)  himself  instructed  the  Sahaaba  (radhiallahu  anhu)  to  join  their  ankles. The  Sahaaba  (radhiallahu  anhu)  had  themselves  adopted  this  manner  in  order  to fulfil  the  command  of  straightening  the  saff.  Secondly,  this  hadith  clearly mentions  that  Nu’maan  bin  Basheer  (radhiallahu  anhu)  saw  the  Sahaaba (radhiallahu  anhu)  doing  this  PRIOR  to  the  commencement  of  the  salah.  There is  no  mention  of  this  position  being  maintained  even  after  the  salah  had commenced.  Therefore  we  find  that  great  muhadditheen  such  as  Hafiz  ibn  Hajar (Rahimahullah)  and  Allama  Shawkani  (Rahimahullah)  have  regarded  this  as  an  extreme  measure which  was  occasionally  adopted  by  the  Sahaaba  (radhiallahu  anhu)  to  ensure  that the  row  is  straight.  

In  fact,  a  hadith  of  Hazrat  Anas  (radhiallahu  anhu)  makes  it  absolutely  clear  that this  practice  was  merely  a  measure  adopted  BEFORE  the  salah  to  ensure  the straightening  of  the  row.  He  says:  “If  I  had  to  do  that  (join  the  ankles)  with anyone  of  them  (the  tabi’een)  today,  they  would  run  like  wild  mules”.  [Fath  al-Bari,  vol.2,  pg.176]  

This  simply  means  that  the  taabi’een  severely  disliked  that  anybody  should  join their  ankles  with  them.  Several  points  are  understood  from  this:  Firstly,  Hazrat Anas  (radhiallahu  anhu)  had  stopped  doing  this  completely.  Had  this  been  a sunnah  and  not  just  a  manner  of  ensuring  that  the  saff  was  straight,  it  is impossible  that  Hazrat  Anas  (radhiallahu  anhu)  would  have  left  it  out  merely upon  somebody  disliking  it.  

Secondly,  the  taabi’een  would  never  have  disliked  it  if  they  had  observed  many  of the  Sahaba  (radhiallahu  anhum)  continuously  practicing  upon  this.  It  was  only due  to  the  fact  that  they  had  not  generally  observed  the  Sahaba  (radhiallahu anhum)  adopting  this  procedure  that  they  disliked  it.  Hence  this  makes  it  crystal clear  that  the  Sahaba  (radhiallahu  anhum)  had  only  occasionally  adopted  this practice  to  ensure  the  straightening  of  the  saff.  It  was  not  a  sunnah  in  itself, otherwise  they  would  never  have  left  it  out.  

It  has  already  been  made  clear  that  Rasulullah  (sallallahu  alaihi  wasallam)  never  himself  instructed  the  joining  of  the  ankles,  nor  is  there  any  mention  of  the  Sahaba  (radhiallahu  anhum)  having  maintained  this  position  even  IN  salah. However,  if  for  a  moment  we  do  accept  that  this  position  must  be  adopted  during  the  course  of  the  salah  as  well,  the  question  is:  In  which  posture  of  salah  must this  position  be  maintained?  Must  it  be  maintained  during  qiyam,  ruku,  sajdah  and qada  or  in  only  some  of  these  postures?  If  one  says  that  the  ankles  should  be  joined  only  in  the  qiyam  posture,  on  what  basis  were  the  other  postures  excluded? If  it  is  argued  that  it  is  difficult  to  do  so  in  ruku  and  sajdah,  the  same  could  be  said for  qiyam,  since  to  stand  with  one’s  feet  spread  apart  is  naturally  awkward  and hence  it  presents  a  certain  amount  of  difficulty  and  uneasiness  for  many  people.  In short,  this  practice  is  not  established  as  a  sunnah  of  salah.  It  was  merely  adopted initially  by  the  Sahaba  (radiallahu  anhum)  BEFORE  the  commencement  of  salah  to  ensure  that  the  rows  are straight. 

Related Reading: The Distance to be kept between the feet during Salaat [Hanafi view]

The 8 Raka’ts Dilemma and Debacle of the Salafi Juhhala

[By Zaheer Mangera – [(A Madrasah Student)]

I’m sure that by now we are accustomed to the 8 rakaat brigade slinking out of the Masaajid after 8 rakaats. This unfortunately has become a common aberration in many Masaajid throughout South Africa and other parts of the world. Some Masaajid in Johannesburg have actually made a separate parking area for the 8 rakaat gang of deviates. Hence I felt the need to comment on this matter. In reality the matter is quite simple. The complications arise as always from the side of the dim-witted Salafis who can’t grasp simple issues of the Shariah

WHY 8 RAKAATS??

I’m sure this is the question running through the minds of all and sundry who, for the pleasure of Allah, diligently uphold the Sunnah Taraaweeh of 20 rakaats. The reality is that no Aalim on the surface of this earth had declared Taraweeh to be 8 rakaats except a man who popped up in the last century, and who believed that he could interpret Hadith narrations better than the entire fraternity of Aimmah Mujtahideen and Fuqaha from the Sahaabah running all the way down over 1400 years. This person who had deviated from the Way of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah was Albaani, the recent Imam of the Salafis.

It is unfortunate that Salafis vigorously try to justify the deviation of their Imams from the Path of the Sahaabah and the Aimmah Mujtahideen. In complete conflict with the Sahaabah and the Ummah, they adamantly adhere to Albaani’s view and audaciously label anyone who opposes his view as one who is “disuniting the ummah”, when in fact they are the ones guilty of sowing discord in the Ummah with their baseless 8 raka’t stunt.

Quite hilarious I’d say, the man deviated from the interpretation of every single Aalim and the Ijma’ of this Ummah. When the ummah speaks and opposes his deviation then it is said that we causing disunity?

The main Hadith they present as proof is a Hadith with regards to Tahajjud Salaat which they take out of context and interpret only as Albani had understood. However, they are blind to the fact that Imaam Bukhari (Rahmatullah alayh) himself, from whose Kitaab they obtain their baseless daleel, is proven to having performed 20 Raka’ts.

The books of the Muhaditheen and Fuqaha are replete with discussions regarding Taraaweeh. None of these great authorities of the Shariah related to Taraaweeh the Hadith which Salafis usually quote, as ALL KNEW that the Hadith did not pertain to Taraaweeh, and that it referred to Tahajjud Salaat.

The Ummah always performed 20 rakaat and regarded it to be Sunnah. Some even performed extra as Nafil such as the Maalikis who performed extra rakaats whilst those in Makkah made Tawaaf after every four rakaats hence the people in Madinah used to performs 36 raka’ts. However, the Sahabah by consensus deemed Taraweeh to be 20 rakaats, and this elevates the 20 Raka’ts Taraaweeh to the status of Sunnatul Muakkadah.

Imaam Tirmidhi (Rahmatullah alayh), died 279 AH, states that ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu), ‘Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu), Sufyan Thawri (Rahmatullah alayh) and Imam Shafi’i (Rahmatullah (alayh), all accept that Taraaweeh Salaat is Twenty Rakaahs. He quoted Imam Shafi’i as saying that he saw the people of Makkah performing twenty raka’ts. (Tirmidhi, v.1 p.99)

The Muwatta of Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullah alayh), reads:

“We go by this (twenty rak’ats Taraweeh)….because the Muslims (the Sahaabah) were unanimous about it and saw it to be a good act. It has been reported that Rasulallah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Whatever the Muslims (the Sahaabah) regard as a good act, it is indeed a good act in the sight of Allah as well.”

Hafiz Abu Zur’ah Al-’Iraqi stated,

“They (the Ulama) have regarded the approval of the Sahaabah [when Sayyiduna ‘Umar did so] as Ijma’“.

Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari stated that the Sahaabah (Radhiyallahu anhum) have enacted Ijma’ on the practice of twenty rak’ats. Ibn Hajar al-Haytami and many others have also claimed Ijma’ of the Sahaabah on this issue.

SALAFIS BECOME RETARDED WHEN READING THIS HADITH

“You must then follow my Sunnah and that of the rightly-guided Khulafa” [Abu Dawud]

Many other Ahaadith emphasize that the Ummah should follow the Khulafah and more specifically, Shaikhain i.e.  Hadhrat Abu Bakr and Hadhrat Umar (Radhiyallahu anhuma).

The errant Salafis say absurdly that it means that we should follow the Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). It seems they can’t understand simple issues.

Nabi [Sallallahu alayhi wasallam] equated the Sunnah of his Sahabah to his own Sunnah. Thus he mentioned that out of the 73 sects only the one that holds on to both his way and the way of his Sahaabah would be saved. Since Salafi’ism is a sect of baatil, it’s no wonder that they so abortively justify their conflict with the Ijma’ of the Sahaabah.

Rasulullah [Sallallahu alayhi wasallam] said:

“A group of my Ummah shall remain steadfast on the truth, victorious, unharmed by those who oppose them, and do not support them, until death or until the Day of Resurrection.”

[Al-Bukhaari, Book 71 no. 3641 Sahih Muslim, no. 1920]

Now on the basis of this Hadith, Taraaweeh of less than 20 raka’ts and the Salafi malpractice of 8 raka’ts are manifestly baatil, because from the time the blessed Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) left this world until the last century NO ONE EVER PERFORMED 8 RAKAATS.  It was only with the advent of this miscreant Salafi group that it began to be propagated that Taraaweeh is 8 raka’ts. Thus, one does not require intelligence to understand that the innovated 8 rakaats can never be the Sunnah.

TRUTH ON THE TONGUE OF ‘UMAR (Radhiyallahu anhu)

Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Allah has placed truth on Umar’s tongue and heart.” [Abu Dawud]

We ask the Salafis when Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) said with his ‘tongue’ that Taraweeh should be 20 rakaats, was this the Haqq or not? What these Salafis don’t understand is that when they negate Ijma’, they automatically imply, like Shiahs, that they and their Imam, Albaani who died just yesterday, have understood the Sunnah better than the Sahaabah. It follows from this implication that the Sahaabah and Taabieen had erred in their Ijma’ of 20 raka’ts. These Salafis are opening the doors of fitnah – the fitnah of blatantly contradicting the Sahaabah in their understanding of the Sunnah, yet Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) explicitly said:

“The best of people are my generation, then those who follow after them, then those who follow after them, then there will come after them a people who will be fat, and they will love obesity, bearing witness before being asked to.”  [Tirmidhi and Al-Haakim]

These Salafis are in diametric conflict with this clear declaration of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

FURTHER WARNING FOR THOSE NEGATING IJMA’

An old man dressed in woollen garments came to Imaam Shaafi’i (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) and said: “May I ask a question?” Imaam Shaafi’i gave him permission. He then asked: “What are the Shar’i proofs in the Deen of Allah Ta’ala?” Imaam Shaafi’i replied: “The Kitaab of Allah Ta’ala.” He then asked: “And what else?” Imaam Shaafi’i replied: “The Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). He then asked: “And what else?” Imaam Shaafi’ replied: “The consensus of the Ummah.” He then asked: “What is your proof for this?” Imaam Shaafi’i thought for a while. The old man then said: “I give you respite for three days, either you bring me proof from the Qur’aan or seek forgiveness and repent to Allah Ta’ala.” The facial complexion of Imaam Shaafi’i changed. He then went and did not come out for three days. On the third day between Zuhr and ‘Asr, weak and sick, he emerged from his seclusion. As he was about to be seated, the old man appeared, greeted and sat beside him. He then asked for his proof. Imaam Shaafi’i said: “Yes”, and he recited the Qur’aanic verse:

“And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows a path other than the path of the believers, we shall (forsake him) and let him continue on his path, and thereafter We shall drive him towards Hell, and evil an abode it is. [Surah Nisa, 115]

The man said: “You have spoken the truth.” The man then left. Imaam Shaafi’i said to those seated around him: “I recited the entire Qur’an thrice daily for three days, until the proof finally dawned upon me.”

It is no wonder that Salafis become blind and deaf to the Haq and can’t understand simple concepts because they have contradicted Ijma’. The warning of Allah Ta’ala mentioned in this verse is true. The stated calamity has overtaken the Salafis.

“We shall (forsake him) and let him continue on his path, and thereafter We shall drive him towards Hell, and evil an abode it is.”

Allah Ta’ala has abandoned them in their waywardness and deviation, and if Allah does not guide than who can guide one?

Despite all this Salafis will still monotonously ramble on. One should not waste one’s precious time, no matter what ‘daleels’ are put forward. The fact of the matter is that they will never accept the Haqq. Just deliver the message of Haqq. It is about such people that the Qur’aan mentions:

“Do you not see those who take their nafs  [also their own intellects and reasoning] as gods besides Allah [by giving preference over truth or making that the yardstick] how we lead them astray even though they possessed knowledge; how we sealed their hearts and ears and cast a veil over their eyes? Who can guide them besides Allah? Will you then not take heed?”

May Allah protect us and guide one and all and protect us from becoming part of the 8 rakaat brigade which contradicts the Sunnah of the noble Sahaabah.

THE BASELESS FOCAL DALEEL OF THE SALAFIES

As mentioned earlier on it was clearly proved that for over the past 1400 years, 20 rakaats Taraweeh were considered Sunnah by the Ummah. However, their main daleel which is a misinterpretation shall be neutralized. Hypothetically, we shall assume that the tooth fairy exists and that the Hadith and its interpretation were not known to any Sahaabi or Faqeeh. And that Imaam Bukhari himself became somewhat lacking in vision when he came across this Hadith, and that only Albani was raised up this past century to correct all the Sahaabah and those who followed them with regards to what the true SUNNAH is.

THE MISINTERPRETED HADITH

Narrated Abu Salama Bin Abdur Rrahman (Radhiyallahu anhu):

“I asked Aishah (Radhiyallahu anha) about the Salaat of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) during the month of Ramadan. She said that Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) never exceeded 11 Rakats in Ramadan nor in the other months. (First) he used to offer 4 rakats. Do not ask me about their beauty and length, then 4 Raka’ts. Do not ask me about their beauty and length. Then 3 Raka’ts.”

Aishah further said: I said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Do you sleep before offering Witr salat?’ He replied: ‘O Aishah! My eyes sleep but my heart remains awake!”

[Bukhari, Book of Tahajjud Salaat, chapter: the Salaat of the Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) at night in Ramadan and in other months. 2:248]

REFUTATION

1. The commentator of al-Sahih al-Bukhari and the erudite Muhaddith, Shaykh Shamsud-Din al-Kermani (d. 786 AH) said: ‘In the Hadith (above), the Tahajjud Salaat is meant. Abu Salama’s question and Hadrat Aishah’s answer concerned the Tahajjud.’ He adds further: ‘If the Tahajjud prayer is not meant, then this Hadith will be in conflict with the Hadith that states that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) led twenty Rak’ats  for each of two nights, and in the case of such clash the Hadith of twenty Rakat’s which is  affirmative (Muthbit) shall have precedence because according to the principles of Hadith, the affirmative takes precedence over the negative (Nafi)”  — [Al-Kawakib ud-Durari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 9, pg 155-156].

Let’s for one minute exercise some common sense, we all know and even Salafis agree that Taraaweeh was performed in JAMAAT IN PUBLIC for a number of days before Nabi [Sallallahu alayhi wasallam] desisted for fear of it becoming obligatory.

Now if it was performed in jamaat and in public what was the need to ask Aishah [Radiallahu anha]? Wouldn’t the number of raka’ts of Taraaweeh have been common knowledge to the Sahaabah?  It is quite obvious that the Sahaabi was asking Hadhrat Aishah (Radhiyallahu anha) about the private ibaadat of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The Sahaabi was not asking her about Taraaweeh which was being performed in public in the Musjid. She confirmed that Rasulullah’s Tahajjud remained 8 raka’ts throughout the year even in Ramadhaan. This Hadith does not refer to Taraaweeh Salaat.

While the deviant Salafis cite Hadhrat Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radhiyallahu anhu), they are either ignorant of his standing practice regarding Taraaweeh or they are conveniently ignoring it, or they attempt to conceal it in a vain bid to justify their 8 raka’t fallacy. Hadhrat Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radhiyallahu anhu) himself performed 20 rakaats Taraaweeh like the rest of the Sahaabah. Thus, in a conflict between his words and his practice, the latter takes precedence and is given preference. But the Salafis are too stupid to understand the operation of the principles of the Shariah.

For more detailed Analysis on this issue read:

1. NUMBER OF RAK’ATS IN TARAWIH: A DETAILED ANALYSIS

2. THE BID’AH OF 8 RAK’ATS OF “TARAWEEH”

The Disease of Ghuluww [Committing Excess in Faith]

Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ Usmani

Excess  in  Faith

O  people  of  the  Book,  be  not  excessive  in  your  Faith and  do  not  say  about  Allah  anything  but  the  truth… [Qur’an  4: 171]

In  this  verse,  the  People  of  the  Book  have  been  asked  not  to  indulge  in  excess  in  matters  relating  to  their  Faith.  Lexically,  the  Qur’anic  word:  al-Ghuluww  means  to  cross  the  limits  or  transgress.  In  Ahkam  al-Qur’an,  Imam  al-Jassas says:

Excess  in  Faith  is  crossing  the  limit  set  therein.

The  People  of  the  Book,  that  is,  the  Jews  and  the  Christians  were  both  made  addressees  of  this  injunction  because  excess  in  Faith  is  the common  factor  between  them.  Both  groups  have  fallen  victims  to  nothing  but  excess  in  matters  of  Faith.  The  Christians  committed  excess  in  believing  and  honouring  Sayyidna  ‘Isa  (alayhissalaam)  when  they  went  on  to  the  extreme  of  taking  him  to  be  God  or  son  of  God  or  the  third  God.  As  for  Jews,  they  committed  excess  in  disbelieving  and  rejecting  him  –  not  simply  that  they  did  not  accept  him  even  as  a  prophet,  they  were  audacious  enough  to,  God  forbid,  impute  a  false accusation  to  his  revered  mother,  Sayyidah  Maryam  and  to  cast  a  slur  against  her  parentage.

Since  the  disastrous  deviation  of  Jews  and  Christians  in  matters  of  Faith  was  a  common  scene  of  the  time,  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  specially  instructed  his  community  to  be  very  careful  about  it.  According  to  a  report  from  Sayyidina  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  appearing  in  the  Musnad  of  Ahmad,  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  said:

Do  not  exaggerate in  my  praise  as  was  done  by  Christians  in the  case  of  ‘lsa  son  of  Maryam  (alayhissalaam).  Beware,  I  am  only  a  servant.  So,  call  me  a  servant  of  Allah  and  His  messenger.  [This  narration  has  also  been  reported  by  al-Bukhari  and  Ibn  al-Madini  rating  it  as  sound  and  authentically  reported] 

In  brief,  the  sense  of  what  he  said  is:  I  am  one  with  everyone  in  being  a  servant  of  Allah  and  a  human  being.  The  highest  rank  I  have  is  that  I  am  a  Messenger  of  Allah.  Raising  it  higher  to  the  limit  that  you  go  about  taking  me  as  partner  in  the  attributes  of  Almighty  Allah is  excess  and  I  do  not  want  you  to  fall  into  this  excess  like  the  Christians.  This  excess  in  Faith  practiced  by  the  Jews  and  Christians  did  not  remain  limited  to  prophets  only.  Once  used  to  it,  they  extended  this  attitude  of  theirs  to  the  apostles,  followers  and  deputies  of  the  prophets.  They  had  already  assigned  Godhood  to  their  prophet,  now  they  invested  the  followers  of  the  prophet  with  immunity  from  sin.  While  doing  so,  they  did  not  even  take  the  trouble  of  investigating  and  making  sure  if  such  followers  were  genuine  followers  of  the  prophet and  who  correctly  and  firmly  adhered  to  his  teachings,  or  they  were  no  more  than  hereditary  religious  scholars  and  guides.  This  resulted  in  the  emergence  of  a  leadership  which  was  astray  in  itself  and  could  do  nothing  but  keep  adding  to  the  strayings  of  others.  So,  they  ruined  their  Faith  by  practicing  it  erroneously  from  within.  The  Holy  Qur’an  has  described  this  very  condition  of  these  people  in  the  verse (that  is,  these  people  took  their  religious  leaders  as  objects  of  worship,  other  than  Allah). It  means  that  they  had  already  been  excessive  in  making  their  prophet  a  God,  then,  they  started  worshipping  later-day  religious  leaders  in  the  name  of  following  the  prophet!

The  lesson  to  be  learnt  is  that  excess  in  Faith  is  a  dangerous  attitude  which  has  destroyed  the  Faiths  of  earlier  religious  communities  all  in  the  fair  name  of  Faith.  So  serious  were  the  implications  that  our  noble  master  devised  perfect  defences  to  keep  his  community  safe  against  this  terrible  epidemic.

It  appears  in  Hadith  that  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  asked  Sayyidina ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Abbas  (radhiyallahu  anhu)  on  the  occasion  of  Hajj  that  he  should  go  and  collect  pebbles  which  he  could  use  to  throw  at  the  Jamarat.  He  returned  with  average-sized  pebbles  and  presented  them to  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  who  liked  them  very  much  and  said twice:  (a like  these,  like  these)  which  means  that  one  should  do   his  or  her  ramy  at  Jamarat  using  average-sized  pebbles  like  these. Then,  he  said: 

It  is  your  duty  to  avoid  excess  in  Faith  for  communities  before you  were  destroyed  because  of  being  excessive  in  their  Faith.  

Important  Rules  of  Guidance

Some  important  rules  come  out  from  this  hadith:

1.  The  masnoon  limit  placed  on  pebbles  thrown  at  the  Jamaraat  during  the  Hajj  is  that  they  should  be  average  in  size,  neither  too  small  nor  too  big.  Throwing  big  rocks  is  included  under  excess  in  Faith.

2.  The  legal  limit  of  everything  is  what  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  has  left  determined  by  his  word  and  deed.  Going  beyond  this  limit  is  ghuluww,  excess  in  Faith.

3.  Precisely  defined,  excess  in  Faith  is  the  crossing  of  the  masnoon  limit  set  for  doing  something.

The  Limits  of  Materialism

The  greed  for  worldly  wealth  and  luxury  beyond  the  level  of  need  is  considered  blameworthy  in  Islam.  Instructions  to  observe  restraint  against  such  urges  are  profusely  spread  out  in  the  Qur’an.  But,  the Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  while  prohibiting  attachment  to  wordly  life greedily,  has  set  its  proper  limits  by  his  word  and  deed.  He  declared  marriage  to  be  his  way  and  pursuaded  others  to  follow  his  example. He  explained  the  many-faceted  blessings  of  having  children.  To  live  nicely  and  wisely  with  the  family  and  to  fulfill  the  rights  of  everyone properly  were  things  he  prescribed  as  obligatory.  To  work  for  one’s  family  and  earn  a  good  living  was  what  he  called  an  obligation  after the  obligation  (Fareedhah ba’d al-Fareedhah). He  laid  stress  on  people  to  engage  in  business,  agriculture,  industry  and  labour.  The  establishment  of  an  Islamic  Nation  and  government  and  the  promotion  of  a  system  governed  by  Islam  was  something  he  declared  to  be  part  of  the  mandate  of prophethood.  Thus,  by  acting  in  accordance  with  it,  he  went  on  to  establish  a  state  system  throughout  the  Arabian  peninsula  which  was  later  extended  to  other  parts  of  the  world  in  the  East  and  the  West.  All  this  shows  that  being  engaged  in  these  pursuits  within  the  limits  of  need  is  not  counted  as  gross  love  of  the material  nor  as  greed  and  avarice.

The  Jews  and  Christians  did  not  realize  the  truth  of  the  matter  and  got  themselves  involved  in  monasticism.  The  Holy  Qur’an  has  refuted  this  uncalled  for  involvement  of  theirs  by  saying: 

It  means  that  they  took  to  ways  of  monasticism  which  were  not  prescribed  for  them  by  Allah  except  that  they  were  to  seek  the  pleasure  of  Allah  Then,  they  failed  to  fulfill  the  conditions  of  what  they  had  themselves  imposed.  [see Qur’an 57:27]

The  Limits  of  Sunnah  and  Bid’ah

By  his  word  and  deed,  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  has,  in  everything  such  as  religious  acts  of  worship  and  social  transactions  and  dealings,  demarcated  the  limits  of  moderation.  Any  deviation  from  these  limits,  whether  it  be  in  falling  behind  or  in  pushing  ahead  of  them,  is  forbidden  for  it  leads  a  believer  astray  from  the  right  path.  It was  for  this  reason  that  he  has  very  emphatically  blocked  the  incursion  of  bid’at (self-promoted  innovations  in  established  religion)  and  muhdathat:  (the  embracing  of  everything  appearing  recent  and  novel  in  a  given  time  as  if  a  part  of  established  religion  which,  in  our  time,  are  introduced  under  the  fancy  garbs  of  recension  and modernity).  Let  us,  therefore,  remember  what  he  said:

“Every  Bid’ah  is  straying  and  every  straying  ends  in Jahannam.”  

The  word  Bid’ah  used  In  the  hadith  refers  to  everything  (assumed to  be  a  part  of  religion)  which  is  not  there  in  the  word  and  deed  of  the Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  clearly  or  through  hint.  Hadrat  Shah Waliyyullah  has  said  that  Islam  condemns  Bid’ah  as  a  serious  offence because  it  opens  the  doors  to  alteration  in  religion.  This  is  what  happened  with  earlier  religious  communities.  They  added  up  things  on their  own  to  what  their  Book  said  and  their  prophet  taught.  Then came  another  generation,  and  the  generations  that  followed,  each  adding  its  share  to  the  original.  Finally,  everything  got  so  mixed  up  that  it  became  impossible  to  identify  the  true  religion  as  distinct  from  the  additions  introduced  by  its  adherents.

In  his  famous  book,  Hujjatullah  al-Balighah,  he  has  also  given details  of  circumstances  under  which  efforts  have  been  made  all  over the  world  to  inject  alterations  in  the  religion  of  Islam.  He  has  also  pointed  out  to  the  concern  shown  by  the  Shari’ah  of  Islam  which  has installed  defensive  mechanisms  on  all  such  doors  of  incursion  so  that  there  remains  no  single  outlet  through  which  this  disease  could  hit  the  Muslim  community  in  epidemic proportions.

The  Moderate  Course  in  honouring  and  following  religious leaders

One  such  cause  referred  to  above  is  the  practice  of  excess  in  Faith  (Ghuluww fid Deen). Two  factors  distinctly  contribute  to  the  emergence  of  this  attitude:  Firstly,  the  desire  to  undertake  deep  investigations  unnecessarily  or  to  be  involved  in  far-fetched  interpretations;  and  secondly,  the  choice  of  a  hardened  stance.  It  is  a  matter  of  great  regret  that, despite  so  much  elaborations  made  by  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  and  active  restrictions  placed  by  the  Shari’ah  of  Islam,  the  Muslim community  is  suffering  fatally  from  this  very  disease  of  excess.  Its  fallout  can  be  distinctly  noticed  in  all  departments  of  our  Faith.  Out  of  these,  the  field  most  affected  is  that  of  religious  leaders  where  the  question  is:  Whom  to  follow?

Stretching  between  two  extremes,  a  group  of  Muslims  has  gone  far  out  by  holding  that  there  is  no  such  thing  as  a  religious  leader  or  teacher  or  ‘alim  or  Shaykh.  They  would  say:  ‘The  Book  of  Allah  is  suffi- cient  for  us  If  they  understand  the  Book  of  Allah  so  do  we  –  – ‘They  are  men,  so  are  we.’  The  result  was  that  every  ambitious  pseudo-intellectual  –  unlettered  in  Arabic  and  uninitiated  into  the  facts  of  and  insights  into  the  Qur’an  and  unfamiliar  with  the  exegetical  clarifications  given  by  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  –  considered  it  sufficient  to  look  at  translations  of  the  Qur’an  and  be  hoisted  as  a scholar  of  the  Qur’an!  How  can  a  tafsir  or  explanation  of  the  Qur’an  which  has  been  authentically  reported  from  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  or  from  his  direct  disciples,  the  noble  Companions,  be  ever  ignored  or  bypassed?  But,  such  is  the  breed  of  these  dabblers  in  the  discipline  that  they  would  dismiss  anything  in  favour  of  their  brain  wave  and still  have  the  temerity  to  tie  it  with  the  Qur’an?  Although, had  a  book  without  a  teacher  been  enough,  Almighty  Allah  had  the  power  to  make  written  copies  of  the  book  become  available  for  people  at  their  homes  – there  was,  then,  no  need  to  send  a  prophet  to  teach.  A  little  reflection  would  reveal  that  this  is  not  something  peculiar  to  the  Book  of  Allah. No  one  can,  by  simply  looking  at  the  translation  of  any  book  in  the  arts  and  sciences,  become  an  expert  in  those  fields.  We  have  yet  to  find  a  physician  who  became  a  physician  through  a  familiarity  with  translations  of  medical  books.  No  engineer  became  an  engineer  by  browsing  through  engineering  texts.  Even  the  study  of  common  books  on  sewing  and  cooking  has  not  made  anyone  succeed  as  a  master  tailor  or  chef.  So,  the  truth  lies  elsewhere  –  the  system  needs  the  elements  of teaching  and  learning  under  a  teacher.  This  is  all  too  established  for  everyone.  But,  it  is  indeed  sad  to  see  that  the  Qur’an  and  Sunnah  alone,  of  all  things  around  us,  have  been  taken  so  casually  as  not  to need  any  teacher.  Thus,  a  fairly  large  group  of  educated  people  drifted  down  in  the  direction  of  serious  deficiency  when  they  took  the  lone study  of  the  Qur’an  as  all  sufficient  and  totally  dispensed  of  with  the need  to  consult  the  exegesis  and  interpretation  of  early  scholars,  and  to  be  guided  by  them.

On  the  other  side  of  the  extreme,  a  large  group  of  Muslims  got  involved  in  a  kind  of  excess  which  goaded  them  to  take  just  about  anyone  as their  religious  guide  almost  blindly,  and  blindly  it  was  that they  started  following  them.  They  never  took  the  trouble  of  finding  out  whether  or  not  the  person  they  were  taking  as  guide  came  up  to  the  standard  of  high  intellectual  achievement,  corresponding  personal  behaviour,  concern  for  the  good  of  people  and  the  genuine  sense  of responsibility  before  Allah.  They  did  not  even  care  to  apply  a  much  simpler test  by  looking  at  the  kind  of  teaching  such  a  person  was imparting  and  making  sure  that  it  was  not  against  the  Qur’an and  Sunnah.

The  Ideal  Solution

The  Shari’ah  of  Islam  has  wisely  shielded  Muslims  from  falling  into  the  trap  of  excess.  The  middle  course  In  between  the  two  extremes  it  has  suggested  is:  Learn  the  Book  of  Allah  (Kitabullah)  from  the  Men  of Allah  (Rijalullah)  and  recognize  the  Men  of  Allah  from  the  Book  of  Allah.  In  other  words,  one  should  first  recognize  those who are engaged  in  learning  and  communicating  the  true  knowledge  of  the Qur’an  and  Sunnah  through  the  all  too  well-known  teachings  of  these  twin  sources  of  Islamic  Faith.  Once  this  is  settled,  no  intricate  problem  relating  to  Qur’an  and  Sunnah  will  ever  bother  you  –  if  you  give  precedence  to  their  explanation  above  your  own  opinion,  and  follow  them.

Imam Abu Hanifa, Salafis, Al-Fiqh al-Akbar And the Truth

By Abdullah bin Hamid Ali

Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) says about the qualities of God:

“He has a hand, a face and a self. So what is He, High is He, mentions in the Qur’an of the mention of the face, hand and self, they are all Attributes of His with no modality (or description).

It is not said that His hand is His power or His blessing, since such would be a nullification of the attribute. And such is the statement of the People of Qadar and I’tizaal. [A]

Rather, His Hand is His attribute with no modality (or description). And His anger and His satisfaction are two of His attributes with no modality (or description).

One must first understand that by the virtue of the fact that the book – Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar – is considered to be the first book written in the time of the Tabi’een on the topic of Tawhid in an organized and methodical fashion during an age of great controversy when Sunnis were attempting to codify the orthodox creed of Muslims that there will be statements found in it that may be problematic.

Of course, Salafis would find  great joy in seeing such statements like the one above, since it apparently gives credence to their arguments about what they refer to as ‘The Attributes of Allah,’ like hands, face, eyes, foot, side, shin, self, etc.

They could easily make the claim that their ‘aqeedah is correct and in agreement with the creed of the Salaf, since Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullay alayh) who is one of the Salaf says in Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar that Allah has a hand. And His hand is an Attribute, similar to what they say.

So on the surface it would seem that the argument is over, and that Salafis have proven themselves to be victorious in their claims.

However, a number of other things have to be considered before accepting their arguments.

Firstly, if we are to accept that Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar is an authentic work legitimately ascribable to Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) and that it represents the ‘aqeedah of the Salaf, Salafis have to accept all that it contains, so they’d have to also accept the following statement made by Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) about Allah’s speech:

“And He speaks, not as our speech. We speak with tools and letters while Allah, High is He, speaks without a tool or without letters. The letters are created. And the speech of Allah, High is He, is uncreated.”

In this passage, Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) states that when Allah, High is He, speaks, He speaks without letters. But Salafis believe that when Allah speaks, He speaks with letters and sounds.

So, really this is another case of Salafis selectively abusing and misusing the words of Salaf and those attrobuted to the Salaf in an attempt to make it seem that their creed agrees with with that to the Salaf, when in fact it doesn’t.

Add to that, Salafis are those who argue that the current version of Kitab al-Ibanah an Usul ad-Diyaanah, attributed to Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari (rahmatullah alayh), is a proper ascription to him.

And in that book, it states that Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) believed that the Qur’an was created [1]. But if Salafis accept that Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar is appropriately ascribed to Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh), they have to also accept his words that contradict this claim when he says:

“The Qur’an is Allah’s word, High is He, in pages transcribed, in hearts protected, on tongues recited, and on the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and his family revealed. Our utterance of the Qur’an is created. Our writing of it is created. Our recitation of it is created. And the Qur’an is uncreated.”

How more explicit can the Imam be?? He expressly states in Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar that the “Qur’an is uncreated.” But the Salafis claim that the narrations in Al-Ibaanah that claim that Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) believed that it was created is a proper ascription to Abu al-Hasan. And at the same time they consider Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar to be properly ascribed to Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh).

In addition to that, Imam Abu al-Hasan (rahmatullah alayh) doesn’t make any mention of Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) as being one of those who believed that the Qur’an was created in his more prominent and well-established worked entitled, Maqaalaat-e-Islaamiyyeen. And according to Salafis, Kitaab al-Ibaanah was his last work.

So how do they explain the fact that Imam al-Ash’ari (rahmatullah alayh) waited until his final work to mention Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh), who died more than a century prior to him, as one of those who believed that the Qur’an was created in his supposed last work, when he didn’t mention him in what they believe to be one of his earliest works?

Did not Al-Ash’ari (rahimahullah) know that Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) was the author of Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar?

They just can’t have it both ways.

Either Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar is Imam Abu Hanifa’s work, which would make Kitaab al-Ibaanah – in its present form – not Abu al-Hasan’s work. Or the current Kitaab al-Ibaanah is Abu al-Hasan’s work, which would mean that Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar is not Imam Abu Hanifa’s work.

And if Al-Fiqh al-Akbar is Imam Abu Hanifa’s work and Salafis want to use it as proof that their ‘aqeedah is no different than his, they have to accept everything in it without exception.

Now as for the issue of the statement in Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar about the hand, face, and self and them being attributes, we must consider two things in particular:

1. Imam at-Tahaawi (rahimahullah) makes no mention of hands, a face, or a self in his ‘aqeedah. And his book has been accepted as the one represents the ‘aqeedah of Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) and his two companions, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad al-Shaybani (rahimahumullah).

2 – Secondly, we must understand any comment made in Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar – as in other works – according to the context.

According to Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar, Allah has two general classifications of attributes known as ‘Attributes of the Essence’ and ‘Attributes of Action.’

Attributes of the Essence are the essential qualities of His being.

As for attributes of action, they are things that happen outside of His being. And since He is the one responsible for those occurrences, they are attributed to Him and called ‘Attributes of Action.’

Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) explains this in his book when he says:

“He doesn’t resemble anything of His creation, and nothing of His creation resembles Him. He has always and will always exist with His names and his attributes of the (divine) essence and those atteibutes of action.

As for those of the essence, they are, life, power, knowledge, speech, hearing, seeing and will.

And as for those of action they are: creating, providing, producing, originating, manufacturing and other attributes of action.”

So the attributes of Allah’s divine essence are seven:

1. Life
2. Power
3. Knowledge
4. Speech
5. Hearing
6. Seeing
7. Will

As for the attributes of action, he states things like:

– Creating
– Providing
– Producing
– Originating
– Manufacturing
– And other attributes of action.

Then, Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) says:

“He has always and will always exist with His names and attributes. He has not acquired any new name or attribute.”

So according to Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh), Allah has confirmed 7 attributes of essence [2] while he places no limit to His attributes of action, since the possibilities of what can exist are limitless.

As for restricting the attributes of essence to merely seven, this is not to say that these are the only attributes that Allah has. It is merely to say that this is the number that both revelation and reason have been able to conclude. As for the standard view of Maturidis, the attributes of the essence are 8.

As for Ash’aris, they divide attributes a bit further to the point that some of them have stated 13 [3] and some have stated 20 [4].

In the end, most of that is just a difference in semantics. And the true difference is with relationship to what Ash’aris call ‘Abstract Attributes’, which are the 7 that Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) mentions in Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar, while Maturidis add an eighth called ‘Takween.’

At any rate, notice how Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) doesn’t make mention of the hand, face and self until he enumerates the attributes of the essence. And, so that the readers can see, here is the complete text prior to the mention of the hand, face and self:

“He doesn’t resemble anything of His creation, and nothing of His creation resembles Him. He has always and will always exist with His name and His attributes of the divine essence and those (attributes) of action.

As for those of the essence, they are: life, power, knowledge, speech, hearing, seeing and will.

And as for those of action, they are creating, providing, producing, originating, manufacturing and other attributes of action.

He has always and will always exist with His names and attributes. He has not acquired any new name or attribute.”

So if he hasn’t acquired any new name or attribute, there are truly no other definitive attributes of essence other than those mentioned above [5], and the hand, face and self aren’t included among them.

Then he continues,

He has always been Knowing by His knowledge. And knowledge has been an attribute since pre-eternity.

(He has always been) Powerful by His power. And power has been an attribute since pre-eternity.

(He has always been) A Speaker by His speech. And speech has been an attribute since pre-eternity.

(He has always been) Creator by His creative-will [6]. And the creative-will has been an attribute since pre-eternity.

(He has always been) A Doer by His will to act [7]. And the will to act will has been an attribute since pre-eternity. The Doer is Allah, High is He. The will to act has been an attribute since pre-eternity. And the resulting entity of His will to act is created, while Allah’s will to act, High is He, is uncreated. And his attributes have been since pre-eternity un-invented and un-created. So whoever says that they are created or invented, remains silent about them, or entertains doubts about them is one who rejects faith in Allah, High is He.”

He also says,

“And Allah, High is He, was indeed a speaker at a time when He had not yet spoken to Musa, upon him be peace. And Allah was indeed a Creator in pre-eternity even though He had not yet created. (There is nothing like unto Him. And He is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing). So when He spoke to Musa, He spoke to his with His speech, which has been an attribute of His since pre-eternity. And all of His attributes are withoit beginning for pre-eternity; contrary to the state of the attributes of created beings.

He has knowledge, not as our knowledge. He has power, not as our power. He sees, not as our seeing. He hears, npt as oir hearing. And He speaks, not as our speech. We speak with tools and letters while Allah, High is He, speaks without a tool and without letters. The letters are created. And the speech of Allah, High is He, is uncreated.

He is a thing, not like other things. And the point of saying ‘thing’ is to confirm His existence while not being a divisible body, an indivisible body, and not an accident of a body.

He has no boundary. He has no opposite. He has no rival. And He has no equal.

Then he finally says,

“He has a hand, a face and a self. So what is He, High is He, mentions in the Qur’an of the mention of the face, hand and self, they are all Attributes of His with no modality (or description).

It is not said that His hand is His power or His blessing, since such would be a nullification of the attribute. And such is the statement of the People of Qadar and I’tizaal. [A]

Rather, His Hand is His attribute with no modality (or description). And His anger and His satisfaction are two of His attributes with no modality (or description).

So what are we to understand from all of this? How do we reconcile between Imam Abu Hanifa’s (rahimahullah) saying after mentioning the seven attributes of the essence:

“He has always and will always exist with His names and attributes. He has not acquired any new name or attribute.”

And between his saying,

“He has a hand, a face and a self. So what is He, High is He, mentions in the Qur’an of the mention of the face, hand and self, they are all Attributes of His with no modality (or description).”

I believe that the best way to reconcile between the two is to say that ‘hand, face and self’ are reference to either one of Allah’s true attributes of the essence as stated in the first clause by Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh). Or they are references to one  of His attributes of action [9].

One cannot deny that by such words being annexed to Allah’s name or pronoun in the Qur’an, they are being ‘attributed’ to Him directly even if calling them  ‘attributes’ doesn’t coincide with the original linguistic definition of what an attribute is.

So calling them attributes will be a metaphorical application as opposed to a literal application. And if it is a metaphorical application, it would have to be accepted that such named ‘attributes’ are metaphorical ‘attributes.’  So the hand, face and self would have to a metaphorical ‘hand, face and self,’ which are references to one of Allah’s true attributes, since there is nothing like unto Him. And ‘hand’ in its original linguistic understanding applies to only created beings.

Abdur-Rahman Ibn Al-Jawzi (rahimahullah) says while mentioning the mistakes of some Hanbali scholars in the area of scriptural interpretation of the problematic verses of the Qur’an:

“And those writers who I have mentioned have erred in seven areas. The first of them is that they called the ‘reports’ as ‘attributes.’ When they are annexations/possessive forms. And not every possessive form is an attribute. For Allah, High is He, has said: (And I have blown into him from my spirit) [Al-Hijr: 29]. And Allah doesn’t have an attribute inown as a ‘spirit.’ So those who have called ‘the possessive form’ (idaafa) ‘an attribute’ are guilty of innovation.”

The linguist, Thalab says in Taj al-‘Aroos,

“A na’t is a descriPtion given to a specific part of the body like the word lame (a’raj). A ‘sifa’ attribute is for non-specificity ‘umoom’, like the word magnificient (‘azeem) and generous (kareem). So Allah is described with a ‘sifa’. But He is not described with a ‘na’t’

What this would mean is that the word ‘sifa’ (attribute) is being used metaphorically to mean ‘na’t’, which is another word for ‘attribute’ or ‘trait.’ The difference is that a na’t’ describes a specific part of the body, like ‘lame’ or ‘blind.’

For this reason, Imam Bukhari (rahmatullah alayh) uses the word ‘nu’oot’ (plural of na’t’) instead of ‘sifaat’ (plural of ‘sifa’) to refer to those reports that make mention of Allah’s anger, laughter, foot, hand and face even though He isn’t a body and doesn’t have a body.

This would have to be the accepted interpretation. Otherwise, we must accept that Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) contradicts himself by first limiting the attributes of the essence to the 7 mentioned above, and then later adding Allah’s face, hand and self.

Another important question is, ‘Why doesn’t Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) add to what he considered attributes ‘the shin, the side, the eyes, the foot and the spirit?’

This is important because Allah annexes His name or personal pronoun to each of these things in the Qur’an or the Messenger does so in the hadith. So if I am to accept that Allah has a face, hand and a self, simply because He annexes such things to His name or pronoun. I should also accept that He has eyes, a spirit, a foot, a side, a shin, a she-camel, a house and any other thing that He has attached His name or pronoun to.

And if the Salafis agree with Imam Abu Hanifa’s (rahimahullah) creed, they should only accept as attributes those things that Imam Abu Hanifa  declared to be attributes. This would mean that Salafis have to stop saying that Allah has a foot, a shin, a side and eyes.

But we know that they won’t do that, because Salafis are very selective about what they want to accept from the Salaf and what they don’t want to accept, all the while claiming that their ‘aqeeda is the ‘aqeeda of the Salaf.

If they use Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah)’s words about the face, hand and self as being proof that they follow the manhaj and understand of the Salaf, they should only say what the Salaf said and stop adding to their words.

So to accept that these are the words of Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh), we’d either have to accept the first interpretation or we’d have to accept the second, which would mean that he is in contradiction with his self.

And if that is so, we’d have to accept that Imam Abu Hanifa may not have been an authority on this subject.

As for referring to these problematic verses and hadiths as “Attributes Verses” (Aayaat al-Sifaat) or ‘Reports of Attributes’ (Akhbaar as-Sifaat), this was the specific terminology that scholars used to refer to them even though they didn’t actually mean that such ascriptions mentioned in the scripture were attributes of Allah. Imam Ibn al-Jawzi’s words above clarify the error of this sort of designation. So hopefully that should resolve any confusion about the issue.

Footnotes:

[A] In other words, to say such a thing would be equal to saying what the people who deny the divine decree (Qadar) say and like Mu’tazilities who say that everytime Allah ascribes a hand to His self, it means ‘power’.

[1] In Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah’s 1998/1418 publication of Kitaab al-Ibaanah, it reads on page 40:

“Haarun Ibn Ishaq al-Hamdani mentionee about Abu Nu’aym feom Sulayman Ibn ‘Eesa al-Qari that Sufyan ath-Thawri said: “I said to Hammaad Ibn Abi Sulayman: “Proclaim to Abu Hanifa, The Idolator, that I am innocent of him.” Sulayman said: “That’s because he used to say, “The Qur’an is created”.

Sufyan Ibn Waki’ said: “I heard ‘Umar ibn Hammad, the grandson of Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh), say: “My father said to me: “The comment that Ibn Abi Layla demanded that Abu Hanifa repent from his statement: “The Qur’an is created” He (Hammad) said: “So he repented from it and announced his repentance publicly. My (Hammad) said: “How did you tuen to this?” He (Imam Abu Hanifa) said: “I feared – by Allah – that I would be disciplined. So I used a misleading expression to trick him (heela).

Harun Ibn Ishaq said, I heard Isma’eel Ibn Abi al-Hakam mention about ‘Umar Ibn ‘Ubayd At-Tanaafusi that Hammad – i.e Ibn Abi Sulayman – sent someone to Imam Abu Hanifa to say: “Verily I am innocent of what you say until you repent”.

Ibn ‘Abi Inabah was with him (i.e. Hammad) and said: “Your neighbour told me that Imam Abu Hanifa invited him to what he was asked to repent from after he had alrwady been asked to repent from it”.

And it was mentioned that Imam Abu Yusuf said, “I debated with Imam Abu Hanifa for two months until he retracted his statement about the createdness of the Qur’an”. [Al-Ash’ari, Abu al-Hasan (ascribed to him), Kitaab al-Ibaanah ‘an Usul ad-Diyanah: 1998/1418 Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah. Marginal notes by ‘Abdullah Mahmood Muhammad ‘Umar]

On the same page, the commentator, ‘Abdullah Mahmood Muhammad ‘Umar, makes the following comments:

“Tahaawi, states in his book, Al-Aqeedah al-Tahawiyyah, what contradicts these narrations that claim that Imam Abu Hanifa used to state that the Qur’an is created. And Tahaawi is more reliable in transmission and more knowing of the creed of his comrades (Imam Abu Hanifa and his two Companions) than Al-Ash’ari is. Imam Tahaawi, the Hanafi, says: “The Qur’an is the word of Allah. It came from Him as speech without it being possible to say how. He sent it down upon His Messenger as revelation. The believers accept it as absolute truth. They are certain that it is, in truth, the word of Allah. It was not created like the speech of human beings…’

So the commentator, in spite of the fact that he seems to accept that the book is properly ascribed to Imam al-Ash’ari, he establishes that such a claim made by him cannot be substantiated, since it conflicts with the reports given by those who have better knowledge of the creed of Imam Abu Hanifa who conveyed it to the Ummah.

Add to this, Al-Ash’ari doesn’t list Imam Abu Hanifa among those who believed the Qur’an to be created in his book, Maqalaat al-Islamiyyeen, even though the narrations above from Al-Ibaanah give the impression that Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) never actually relinquished the presumed belief that the Qur’an is created.

[2] These seven attributes are referred to by the Ash’ari’s as ‘The Abstract Attributes’ (Sifaat al-Ma’ani).

[3] In addition to the seven aforementioned attributes, Ash’ari’s include the following six:

– Existence

– Permanance without beginning

– Endurance without end

– Absoluteness Independence

– Dissimilarity to Created Beings

– Oneness

Existence is known as the ‘Essential Attribute’ (As-sifah an-Nafsiyyah), since without it  Allah would not be able of being described by any of the others.

The other 5 are known as the ‘Negating Attributes’ (As-sifat As-Salbiyyah). This is because by establishing them, one negates their opposites from Allah’s being.

[4] Ash’ari’s also include seven other attributes called ‘Signifying attributes’ (As-Sifaat al-Ma’nawiyyah). They are:

– That Allah be Powerful
– That Allah be Willful
– That Allah be Knowing
– That Allah be Living
– That Allah be Seeing
– That Allah be Hearing
– That Allah be Speaking

They are called the ‘Signifying attributes’ (As-Sifaat al-Ma’nawiyyah), because they signify that Allah has the attribute that each adjective implies, i.e. power, Will, knowledge, sight, hearing and speech.

Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) mentions only the 7 abstract attributes. But this doesn’t mean that he denies the existence of the other thirteen mentioned by the Ash’ari’s. This is because the ‘essential attribute’ of ‘existence’ and the other five negating attributes are characteristics of the 7 ‘essential qualities. So they go without saying.

[5] The reason that Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) doesn’t mention the 5 ‘negating attributes’ (i.e. permanence without beginning, endurance without end, absolute independence, dissimilarity to creation, and oneness), the ‘Essential Attribute’ (Existence) and the 7 signifying attributes stated above, is that these attributes are actually qualities of Allah’s main qualities, which are the 7 Attributes of the Essence or as Ash’aris call them, ‘Abstract Attributes’.

[6] The ‘Creative-Will’ is a translation of what Maturidis refer to as ‘takhleeq.’

[7] The ‘will to act’ is a translation for the word, ‘fi’l’, usually translated as ‘action.’ I translated as ‘will to act’ since it is more in line with the actual creed of Maturidis who based much of their creed off of the doctrine of Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah). To translate fi’l as ‘action’ or ‘act’ would imply that the creation – one of Allah’s actions – is eternal without a beginning, since the author states that the ‘fi’l’ is uncreated.

[8] In other words, to say such a thing would be equal to saying what the people who deny the divine decree (qadar) say and like the Mu’tazalities who say that everytime Allah ascribes a hand to His self, it means ‘power.’

[9] Imam Shawkani states in his Irshad al-Fuhool while discussing the different relationships that tie between literal and figurative language that one of them is, “Assigning a thing the name of one of its forms and manifestations, like using the word ‘hand’ to refer to ‘power’….[Irshad al-fuhool 1/119] In other words, the hand is a form or manifestation of power. This would mean thar when one says that the ‘hand’ is one of Allah’s attributes, he really means that it is His power even though a different word is used to apply to it. And Allah knows best.

What does “Omnipresence” of Allah Ta’ala mean??

A Brain-dead Anthropomorphist ‘Salafi’  after having a look at the article: Divine Omnipresence of Allah Ta’ala  posts a non-sensical question regarding the term ‘Omnipresence of Allah Ta’ala’, his stupid Question was:

“Um… do you lot not know what “omnipresent” means?”

These duffer Salafi-modernists agents of Iblees, when they could not refute the proofs laid down academically, resort to transform into ‘quiz-masters’ as if like they had already refuted the contention which had been made, their moto is “If you cannot refute them, then question them and confuse them!”

OMNIPRESENCE

The Principle of Omnipresence for the Divine Attributes are not literal as the Juhhaal Salafis want the people to believe and get mis-leaded to their “Quiz-masters ‘baboon’ tactic”

“Omnipresence” is an Attribute of Allah Ta’ala mentioned in simple Qur’aanic terms without delving into philosophical, metaphysical, academic and copro-arguments with all their hair-splitting paraphernalia, incongruities, absurdities, etc.  –  argument and exposition which are totally destructive for the masses, arguments which display the  ghabaawah (density of brains)  of even so-called ‘shaikhul islams’, and which open the avenue for kufr.

‘Omnipresence’ or ‘Everywhere’ is the most logical and simplest way for negating makaan for Allah Azza Wa Jal. It is the best manner of refuting the Taimiyyite-Hashawi Aqeedah concept of confining Allah Azza Wa Jal to a specific place and space of His creation. The Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah absolutely deny and negate the Taimiyyite belief of the confinement of Allah Ta’ala in space and direction  –  high is He above such blasphemy which the anthropomorphists and Taimiyyites ascribe to Him.
(Did you know??: ‘Salafi’ is just a label to deceive masses but they follow 7th century scholar Ibn Taymiyyah!, know more: Are the Salafis “followers of Salaf Saaliheen”?? )

Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan Majeed:

The east and the west belong to Him. Wherever you turn your face, there is the Face (Presence) of Allah.

He is with you wherever you are.

He is with them wherever they are.

He is Allah in the heaven and Allah in the earth.

Thus, Allah’s Presence as mentioned in the Qur’aan, is Everywhere without confinement to makaan, and to our understanding it is Divine Omnipresence bila kayf. The uncorrupted minds of simple people do not dwell into avenues of kufr nor embroil themselves in hair-splitting academic issues and arguments. The simple belief of  ‘everywhere bila kayf’  is an affirmation of the belief of the Ahlus Sunnah that Allah Ta’ala is not confined to any specific space. This is the belief of Imaam Abu Hanifah and of all the Salf-e-Saaliheen  –  a belief inherited from the Sahaabah.

We do believe that Allah Ta’ala is in the Arsh, but at the same time we also believe that He is near to our jugular veins bila kayf (i.e without how) but unlike the hypocrite Salafis we do not take the literal meaning (with howness) for the first one and a selective ‘Ta’weel‘ for the second (Note: according to the crooked “Manhaaj” of the brain-dead Salafis, Ta’weel is not valid, yet one will see a Salafi moron hypocritically making Ta’weel for the ayat of “Allah being near to us than our Jugular veins”  as “knowledge” or even the ayat t “He is with you wherever you are” to mean “His knowledge is with us” and so on).

In the exposition of the Qur’aanic  verse: “He (Allah) is with you wherever you are.”, Imaam Bayhaqi narrated that the Sahaabi, Hadhrat Ubaadah (radhiyallahu anhu) said that the best Imaan of a Mu’min is that he understands and has implicit faith that Allah is with him wherever he is.  [Al-Asmaa’].

In simple terms: Allah Ta’ala being everyhwere (Omnipresent) in the meaning of  the context of the above Qur’aanic verses affirming Omnipresence  for Him  –  a meaning which is beyond the comprehension of the created human mind with its finite boundaries of operation.

Describing the non-existence of  makaan in relation to Allah Azza Wa Jal, Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) stating the belief of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah, said: 

“He existed (since Eternity) and there had not existed makaan (space/place i.e. not even the ‘Arsh).”

We are to simply believe just as Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan and Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in the Hadith. The Qur’aan says: Allah is wherever you turn your face. We say: Yes, we believe Allah is bila kayf  wherever we turn our face. The Qur’aan says: Allah is with you wherever you are. We say: We believe Allah is with us bila kayf  wherever we are. The Qur’aan says: Allah made istiwa on the Arsh. We say: We believe Allah’s  istiwa on the Arsh, bila kayf,  whatever it may mean without us attempting to fathom the  haqeeqat  of this istiwa. The Qur’aan says Allah is in the heaven and in the earth. We say: We believe Allah is in the heaven and in the earth bila kayf – bila makaan.

The only benefit and utility of the polemical and philosophical expositions of the Akaabireen Salaf-e-Saaliheen and of our recent Ulama on the issue of Allah’s  Sifaat and Zaat were to refute the corrupt, kufr beliefs of  the many baatil sects which had mushroomed in the Ummah. All of them were the illegitimate offspring of Greek philosophy initiated by the Mu’tazilahs & Hashawiyyah-Taymiyyites.

Also read: A Response to: “Akhi! If Allah is Everywhere, then is He also in Filthy Places??”

The Practices of Saudi Arabia Are Not Proof Of Islam – Here’s Why You Should Desist From Imposing Them On Others

[Mufti Ibadur Rahman (hafidhahullah), Ashraful Uloom, Hyderabad, India]

السّلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

Some people, owing to their narrow mindedness, want to impose every act practiced in Saudi Arabia on the entire world and narrow the vast nature of Islam. But they should take a lesson from the broad mindedness of Imam Malik (rahimahullah). Caliph Harun al Rashid (rahimahullah) wished to enforce Muwatta of Imam Malik throughout the world as a primary book of law. But Imam Malik suggested to him not to do that, because the Companions had spread in every region. They narrated ahadith in every place. Thus, the people of every region had acquired knowledge from those Companions, while Imam Malik had collected the knowledge of only Madinah. (Majmu’ al Fatawa: V. 2, p. 311, Faid al-Qadir. V. 1, p. 209)

Islam is a global as well as eternal faith. It has not been confined to any specific race, color, region or period. Islam revolves around truth, wherever it goes. Therefore, no specific place has been taken as the cradle of truth, for places go through continuous changes. Places always accept every sort of good and bad change. The truth was, therefore, not confined to any specific place; even the blessed cities of Makkah and Madinah, although birth place of Islam and, therefore, worthy of every reverence from us, are not hujjat (solid base for action) for us like Allah ta’ala, Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), the Holy Qur’an and the Ahadith do. Despite the fact that the Holy Qur’an was revealed and the Ahadith were stated in these two cities, they did not remain limited to them; they crossed the boundaries to dominate all over the world.

Sanctity is one thing, while being hujjat is something else. Every Sacred thing does not necessarily qualify for being hujjat.

The blessed Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) spread throughout the world with the Holy Qur’an and they made lslam a global faith and purified the entire world with the blissful teachings of the Quran and Ahadith, as though creating a new Makkah and Madinah in the very place they visited. They built the castles of Islam in every city and left the message for us “Stay with truth wherever it is found.”

A group of people nowadays is making effort to establish that the practice in Saudi Arabia is hujjat for us and we are bound to follow the norms practiced over there. Everything against them is avoidable. This trend is badly affecting the people who do not have deeper knowledge of the faith. People are often heard saving that it happens in Saudi this way and in Makkah this way, as the truth was found only in Saudi Arabia and Makkah. Apart from that, every place of the world is void of this quality. This mentality is synonymous to narrowing the global face of Islam, not to speak of the harms it causes to the belief of common masses.

Spreading this mentality is surely not a service to the faith, or any positive and constructive task. It reflects a negative process and destructive mindset. We do not believe that truth is found only in Saudi Arabia; instead we believe that it is also found in it, apart from many other parts of the world. We do not accept the confinement of the truth in Saudi Arabia and everything that is practiced in it as hujjat. Our purpose is no way to degrade the sanctity of the holy city, nor to hurt the sentiments of its residents. The Makkah and Madinah are, in fact, the centre place for our love and qiblah for our soul. It is our primary duty to honor and protect the Holy cities. We consider it as our privilege and responsibility to sacrifice our lives for their security. At the same time, we are also neither ready to endure the travesty of the Haramayn and conspiracy against the spirit of Islam, nor will let anyone do it. We cannot remain silent if someone creates dissention amongst the Muslim community in the name of the Haramayn, charge people for infidelity from there and presents a distorted face of Islam. We will fight against them with both, the life and letters and will present Islam with all its vastness to the humanity, as the pious elders have done.

I will substantiate this view in the light of evidences from the writings of the pious elders, so that the truth stands apart and the falsehood gets disclosed.

Below are some evidences.

Allamah Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) discusses an issueprimarily based on practices in the holy city of Madinah in details. He just abhors with due evidences the view that the practices of thepeople in the holy city serve as hujjah or authority for Muslims. He emphasizes the it is the sunnah (of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasllam)) and the truth that primarily make basis for action. It is the hadith that will serve as criterion to judge the deeds. The practices of no specific place, may it be the city of Madinah, will be taken as the criteria.

He writes in I’lam al-Muwaqqi’een:

Ending (salaah) with one salaam is a common practice in Madinah. It has been traditionally practiced by the People of Madinah for long ago. This is such an act with which argument can be made for practice in every city, as it cannot remain hidden due to repeatedly being practiced so many times a day.

I say (Ibn al-Qayyim rejects this view). This basis (the practice of people in Madinah) is opposed by the majority of scholars. They say that the practice of the people in Madinah is similar to that of people in other cities. There is no difference between the practice of people in Madinah and that of the people in Hijaz, Iraq and Syria. The practices of only those who have sunnah (hadith) in support make a base for action. It is the sunnah that judges an act, and not vice versa. No specific city, barring other ones, ever guarantees accuracy of action for us. The walls, houses and the regions do not play a role in preferring any of the different opinions. It is the residents that play a role. It is known to all that the Companions of the Prophet (saws) witnessed the revelation of the Qur’an, learnt its meaning and acquired the knowledge that the latter generations could not. Thus, they have superiority over others in regards with knowledge, as they have in regards with the religion and virtue. Their practices are such that cannot be disputed with. Most of them shifted from Madinah to other cities. Most of the scholars among the Companions (radhiyallahu anhum) stayed in Kufa, Basra and Syria, like Ali ibn Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu), Abu Musa (radhiyallahu anhu), Abdullah ibn Masood (radhiyallahu anhu), Ubadah ibn al-Samit (radhiyallahu anhu), Abu Darda (radhiyallahu anhu), Amr ibn al-Aas (radhiyallahu anhu), Mu’awiya ibn Abi Sufiyan (radhiyallahu anhu) and Mu’adh ibn Jabal (radhiyallahu anhu).

Almost over three hundred Companions migrated to Kufah and Basra, and almost the same number to Egypt and Syria. So, how can their practices while living in Madinah will be reliable and the practices of their opponents not? It is not possible that their actions remain reliable as long as they stay in Madinah, but when they migrate from there, the practice of only those who remain there even after them be reliable (meaning those who remain back in Madinah – blog author). (I’lam al-Muwaqqi’een v. 2, p. 380-381, Beirut, Maktabah Dar al-Jabal). The author has further written in this regard which has been left for fear of excessive length.

In Zad al-Ma’ad also, Allamah Ibn al-Qayyim discloses the fact that unreliability of the practices of people of Madinah is also caused by the fact that the officials appointed by the Umayyad government had innovated many new things in Madinah. (See, Zad al-Ma’ad. v. 1, p. 99, Maktabha al-Maurid)

Layth ibn Sa’d, a celebrated mujtahid and hadith scholar, once wrote a long letter to Imam Malik. Apart from pointing out to many things, he also wrote in the letter that the early Companions spread in numerous regions for the purpose of jihad. They stayed in various places and people joined them. They taught people the Holy Qur’an and Ahadith which was not concealed from the Rashidun caliphs. They used to guide them through letters in many small affairs, so that Islam could remain Safe. The early Companions lived in other places and also they received guidelines for work from the Rashidun caliphs. So how can it be said that Islam did not remain pure in other cities except Madinah?

Layth ibn Sa’d writes:

Many of those early Companions got out in jihad seeking the pleasure of Allah. They recruited people in the army and people continued to gather around them. The Companions promoted the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasllam) among them. They deduced rulings about the issues on which the Holy Qur’an and the Ahadith did not make a clear view. At the forefront among them were Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman (radiyallahu anhum) whom the Companions had chosen for themselves. These three caliphs were neither to make the lives of the soldiers meaningless, nor were they neglectful about them. They instead guided them with letters in small issues to establish the faith and avoid differences from the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah. Thus, they did not leave anything that the Holy Qur’an clearly presents, or the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) practiced or the Companions (radhiyallahu anhum) unanimously decided after him (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), but these caliphs taught them everything. (Talam al-Muwaqqieen. v. 3, p. 83, Maktabah Dar al-Jabal)

Layth ibn Sa’d also establishes with sufficient evidences that the practices of the people in Madinah was totally different from the practices of the early knowledgeable Companions in other cities, while the sunnah also supported them. This long interesting letter is known as ‘Risalah al-Laith Ila Malik’ and can be seen in I’lam al-Muwaqqi’een.

A narration related in Sahih Bukhari speaks of a disputed issue of the Hajj. The people of Madinah asked Abdullah Ibn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu), a Makkah based scholar, about a woman who has menses after performing the Tawaf Ifadah. He said, “She could depart (from Mecca). They said, “We will not act on your verdict and ignore the verdict of Zaid.” (Sahih Bukhari 1785).

Allamah Aini also quotes from the Musnad Abu Da’ud al Tayalisi in his commentary on Sahih Bukhari that the Ansar said: “We will not obey you, o ibn Abbas, if you dispute with Zaid (Umdat al-Qari, v7, pg. 386, Dar Al Fikr, Lebanon).

The noteworthy point here is that a celebrated scholar of Makkah issues a verdict, but the people of Madinah directly refused to accept it. They only wanted to act upon the verdict of the imam Zaid ibn Thabit (radhiyallahu anhu). What happened later is another story, but the narration suggests that people from outside Makkah were not ready to accept a verdict passed by ibn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) even in that period.

Even the Ulama of Madinah themselves have not accepted the practice of people in Madinah as a basis for action. They disputed with Imam Malik (rahmatullah alayh) in the issue of Khiyar al-Majlis, while he did not act upon the hadith “the deal is optional until the two parties depart”, because the people of Madinah did not act according to this hadith, yet Sa’id ibn al-Musayyib and ibn Shihab Zuhri, both scholars of Madinah, act according to this hadith, Imam Ibn Abi Dhiab, a contemporary scholar of Imam Malik (rahmatullah alayh) highly criticized the latter for his view in this issue, see Asbab al Ikhtilaaf al-Fuqaha, pg. 60, Cairo, Dar al-Fikr al-Arabi).

One of the most respected Syrian hadith scholars and researchers, Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah (rahimahullah), edited a book “Arba Rasa’il fi Ulum al-Hadith”. In the footnote, he also writes about the criticism of ibn Abi Dhi’ab on Imam Malik for not acting on the hadith “the deal is optional until the two parties depart”, (Arba Rasa’il fi Ulum al-Hadith p. 24, Maktabah al Matbuat al-Islamia Halab).

Thus, even the residents of Madinah do not accept the practices in their city as a base for action. So, those who present the practices in Saudi Arabia or Haramain as solid base for action in this evil times have no words to refute it. In the best period of Islam, even the Madinah based Ulama and Fuqaha abhorred the practiced accustomed in the city.

Some hadith scholars of Hijaz including Imam Malik viewed that the ahadith with Iraq or Syria based chain of narrators were not reliable as long as they do not find a root in Hijaz.

It simply means that all the Hijazi ahadith were reliable, as opposed to the Iraqi and Syrian ahadith, they cannot be reliable as long as they do not have any narrator from Hijaz. But the majority of scholars have rejected this view. Imam Sha’fi also held the same view before, but later on he took it back. Most of the scholars opine that the hadith is reliable, if its chain of narrators is solid, no matter the chain is from Hijaz, Syria, Iraq or Kufa.

Imam Abu Da’ud al-Sijistani wrote a book in which he collected ahadith with the chain ofnarrators based in different cities. The book covers only the ahadith which are narrated from the narrators of only one city (for details, read Allamah Ibn Taimiyyah, Rafa al-Malaiman Aimmah al-‘Alam: p. 21, Majmu’al-Fatawa: v. 20. p. 317).

Some people, owing to their narrow mindedness, want to impose every act practiced in Saudi Arabia on the entire world and narrow the vast nature of Islam. But they should take a lesson from the broad mindedness of Imam Malik. Caliph Harun al Rashid wished to enforce Muwatta of Imam Malik throughout the word as a primary book of law. But Imam Malik suggested to him not to do that, because the Companions had spread in every region. They narrated ahadith in every place. Thus, the people of every region had acquired knowledge from those Companions, while Imam Malik had collected the knowledge of only Madinah. (Majmu’ al Fatawa: V. 2, p. 311, Faid al-Qadir. V.1, p. 209)

In short, Imam Malik who was the greatest scholar of his time in Hijaz did not like his book to be enforced in every city even in that period. Thus, no one has the right today to enforce the practices of Saudi Arabia on the entire world.

These are the seven evidences which just suffice to prove the view. The number seven is a unique number that covers the implications of all numbers, as Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzi writes in his book. (Zad al-Ma’ad; v. 3, p. 46, Maktabah al-Maurid). In view of the unique nature of the number seven, we can say that not only seven evidences, but many more which suffice to establish the actual view, remove the dispute and satisfy the mind.

At last, I would like to present a logical point.

Some irrational authors lavishly of the virtues of Saudi Arabia today and therefore try to impose the practice of the holy city on the whole. Following in the same footsteps, if the people of Syria too begin to speak of their virtues, consider every act of their country to be a solid base for actions and invite the entire world to follow them, will it be accepted from them? Never, because a virtue is one thing, while being hujjat or solid base for action is a totally different thing. For example, a hadith says: Ibn Hawalah (radhiyallahu anhu). narrates that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “It will turn out that you will be armed troops, one in Syria, one in Yemen and one in Iraq” Ibn Hawalah said: “Choose for me, Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), if I reach that time” He (saws) replied “Go to Syria, for it is Allah’s chosen land, to which his best servants will be gathered.” (Sunan Abi Da’ud and Musnad Ahmad) (Note that this has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Islamic State – blog author)

The land of Syria is described as the ‘Sacred Land’ and whose environs we have blessed in the Holy Qur’an, and as “Allah’s chosen land” in this hadith. Muslims are directed to take shelter in Syria to avoid the fitnas. A hadith says: “So, what do you order us, O Messenger of Allah? He said: Go to Syria.” Sunan Tirmidhi # 2217)

In a yet another hadith, those who migrated to Syria are called ‘the best of people’. Abdullah Ibn Amr ibn al-As says: I heard the Apostle of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) say “There will be emigration after emigration and the people who are best will be those who cleave most closely to places which Abraham migrated. (Sunan Abi Da’ud # 2482)

Many more virtues have been narrated about Syria. The greatest virtue is that it accommodates Bait al-Maqdis whose virtue is known to all. So, keeping all these virtues in eyes, can anyone accept every act practiced in the country to be a solid base for action? The reply one gives about Syria will be given about Saudi Arabia too. At last, I would like to reiterate that the purpose of this article is not to disrespect Makkah or Madinah. It is also not intended that every act that is practiced over there is wrong. The only thing I would like to say is that the solid base for action is not confined only to the acts of the people residing in those cities. The truth and sunnah are found in other cities too and the actions of people residing in any region too are reliable. May Allah ta’ala grant us all the right wisdom and put us on the right path!

وعليكم السلام و رحمة الله و بركاته

                             * * *

Are the Salafis “followers of Salaf Saaliheen”??

[Majlisul Ulama]

In a pamphlet issued by the modernist Salafi sect who has in reality no relationship with the Salaf Saaliheen, it is said:“…the first generation (the Companions (r) were called As-Salaf As-Saalih (The Pious Predecessors). The Messenger of Allah (s) and his Companions (r) and those that follow them in Ihsaan (beliefs, sayings andactions) are the Salaf of this Ummah.”

The deviant Salafi sect has vainly attempted to categorize its path (manhaaj) as the Path of the Salaf Saaliheen whereas they (the modernist Salafis) are far from the Manhaaj of the Salaf Saaliheen. Let us first explain who exactly the Salaf Saaliheen are. Explaining who they are, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“The best of ages is my age, then the age of those who follow, then the next age. Then after them (i.e. after the Pious Men of these three ages) will come a nation (of people) who will testify without being called on to testify; they will vow without fulfilling (their vows); they will abuse trust and will not be trustworthy.……….. Then afterwards will come people who will love obesity (their opulent lifestyle will make them obese and ugly, physically and spiritually).”

In another Hadith, our Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Honour my Sahaabah, for verily they are your noblest; then those after them, then those after them. After them falsehood will become rampant.”

The Salaf-Saaliheen comprise the Sahaabah, Taabi-een and Tab-e-Taabieen. These three ages are collectively referred to as Khairul Quroon (the Best Eras). It was in these three eras that the entire Shariah was structured on a solid basis and systematically codified.
All the Aimmah Mujtahideen, Muhadditheen, Mufassireen and the most illustrious Fuqaha of the Ummah flourished during the Khairul Quroon epoch.

Those who do not follow the Path of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen – who were all among Salaf Saaliheen – are never on the Path of the Salaf. Imaam Abu Hanifah, Imaam Maalik, Imaam Shaafi’, Imaam Ahmad Bin Hambal and all the other Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen were of this noble era. The Isnaad of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen links up with Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) via the Link of the Sahaabah. Numerous among the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen were the direct Students of the Sahaabah.

These Aimmah Mujtahideen – the Students of the Sahaabah–were in turn the Asaatizah (Teachers and Mentors) of the Aimmah Mujtahideen of the Taabieen and Tab-e-Taabieen periods – all of them were the Salaf Saaliheen. Thus, the wicked contention  that those who follow the illustrious Aimmah Mujtahideen  such as Abu Hanifah, Maalik and  others are the ‘blind’ followers of  ‘ignoramuses’ and akin to the ‘mushrikeen‘ who blindly followed their forefathers, is the  whispering of Shaitaan who has  misled these modernist so called  Salafis whose Imaam is NOT any  one among the Salaf Saaliheen. Their Imaam is no other than Ibn  Taimiyyah who appeared on the  stage of Islamic history six  centuries after the Sahaabah.  Then their latest Imaam is Al-Albaani of this century. They  blindly follow every iota which Al-Albaani has acquired from the kutub of Ibn Taimiyyah. Then they deceive people into the  belief that they are mujtahideen who extract the masaa’il  directly from the Qur’aan and Ahaadith when in reality this claim is a momentous and a preposterous fraud.

All the famous Math-habs  existed during Khairul Quroon since all the Aimmah Mujtahideen  were of that glorious epoch of  Islam. Thus the Manhaaj of the Math-habs is the Manhaaj of the Salaf Saaliheen. On the contrary,  the of the manhaaj of the Salafi  sect of this age is the way of Ibn  Taimiyyah who had veered  sharply from the Manhaaj of the Salaf Saaliheen, hence he  deviated into error manifest.  Whilst the math-hab of Ibn  Taimiyyah was acquired from kutub (books), the Math-habs and Manhaaj of the Salaf Saaliheen who included the noble Imaams  of the Math-habs, were the  glorious products of authentic Naql (Narration) which they  acquired directly from the  Sahaabah and the illustrious  Aimmah Mujtahideen who were  the Students of the Sahaabah.  They did not acquire the Deen  from books which were compiled centuries after their era.

The Salaf Saaliheen among whom the illustrious Imaams of the  Math-habs occupy the highest  and most elevated pedestal after  the Sahaabah, verified and  authenticated every Hadith which  constitutes a Mustadal (Basis of  Deduction and Formulation of Masaail) on the authority of Ruwaat (Reliable  Narrators). Their Ilm of the Deen was FIRST HAND,  not third class. While Ibn  Taimiyyah’s sources were kutub compiled and written centuries  after the Sahaabah, the Sources  of the Aimmah Mujtahideen were  the noblest of the Ummah  and  of the highest category of  authenticity – Sahaabah  and  Taabieen.

The current term ‘salafi’ as it  applies to the Salafi sect of this  age is a misnomer. It is a deceptive term which is utilized  to mislead Muslims to believe  that this deviate sect is the  following of the Salaf Saaliheen when in the reality it is  something entirely different.  Whoever diverges from the  Manhaaj of the Four Math-habs, has diverged from the Manhaaj of  the Salaf Saaliheen, and fallen  into error manifest.

The implied claim of the errant  Salafis of this age is that the  illustrious Students of the  Sahaabah and their Students  had missed the Road, hence their  followers are ‘blind-followers of  baatil‘. Yet they themselves are  the blind followers of Ibn  Taimiyyah and Al-Albaani.  Substituting a golden, superior  Taqleed of Salaf Saaliheen
for an inferior taqleed – the  taqleed of Ibn Taimiyyah – is pure  self deception.

The Salafi contention that Ibn  Taimiyyah’s manhaaj was to  acquire the Shariah directly from  the sources implies that the  Students of the Sahaabah and  their Students – the Aimmah  Mujtahideen did not acquire their  Deen from the Sources, viz. the  Qur’aan and the Sunnah. There is  nothing more blatantly  audacious and false than this baatil propagation. The current  Salafi sect follows the manhaaj of Ibn Taimiyyah while the  Muqallideen of the Mathaahib follow the Manhaaj of the Salaf Saaliheen among whom were the  Imaams of the Math-habs – the  Aimmah Mujtahideen. Now what  does Aql dictate? Should we  follow the Manhaaj of the Salaf Saaliheen or the manhaaj of a  scholar who appeared six  centuries after the Sahaabah?

By having appropriated or  misappropriated the term ‘salafi’,  the deviates of the modern sect  labour to create the impression  that they are followers of the Salaf Saaliheen. But this is  palpably false, for if they were  truly on the Manhaaj of the Salaf Saaliheen, they would have  followed the Manhaaj of the  illustrious Aimmah Mujtahideen  who were part of the Salaf  Saaliheen. So, while they  deceptively claim they  are in reality the blind followers of Ibn Taimiyyah.

The deviate Salafis have no Isnaad (authoritative Chain) to link them  with Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi  wasallam). Their furthest point in  antiquity is Ibn Taimiyyah whereas the Pivot of the Shariah of the  Muqallideen of the Math-habs is  Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi  wasallam). All the Ahkaam of the  Shariah we adhere to are the effects and products of the  Shariah which the Aimmah  Mujtahideen acquired directly from the Sahaabah and from the  Scholars who sat at the feet of  the Sahaabah.

In their pamphlet, the Salafis  state: “So in these aayats we  have seen Allah’s promise of  reward of Paradise for those who  follow the way of the  Companions, & the threat of Hell-Fire for those who do not.”

Undoubtedly, this aayat applies  with precision to the deviate  Salafi sect because they have  abandoned the Way of the  Sahaabah who had imparted their Manhaaj to the Aimmah Mujtahideen and the Salaf Saaliheen in general. Thus those  who follow Imaam Abu Hanifah  and Imaam Maalik for example,  are following the Way of the Companions, not those who  follow the way of the seventh  century Ibn Taimiyyah. 

The vital question which the  modernist Salafis should answer  is: From whom did Imaam Abu  Hanifah and Imaam Maalik learn to perform Wudhu and Salaat, etc., etc.? Were the Asaatizah of these  illustrious Imaams deviates- Nauthubillaah!? Were their  Mentors not on the Manhaaj of  Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi  wasallam)? Were the Asaatizah of  these great Imaams not part of  the Salaf Saaliheen? In fact they were the Salaf Saaliheen.

The deviate Salafis say further in  their pamphlet:“However, in order to crush any doubts that may remain, we turn to the  authentic Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah(s): “…So  whoever lives on amongst you  will see many differences, so  stick to my Sunnah & the  Sunnah of the Rightly Guided,  Right Minded Caliphs, and bite  onto it your molar teeth.” So the  Sunnah is of two affairs; that of  the Prophet(s) (Ahl us-Sunnah) & that of the Companions (wal Jama’ah).”  

The motive underlying the  citation of this Hadith is to imply that the Aimmah Mujtahideen among whom were the Four Imaams, were not following the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi  wasallam). This is the only  construction which can be posited for this citation because  the Muqallideen blindly follow  these illustrious Men of the Salaf  Saaliheen. By stopping at the  ‘Companions’, the deviates have  attempted to peddle the idea  that the illustrious Aimmah  Mujtahideen were not part of the Salaf Saaliheen while Rasulullah  (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) himself had declared unequivocally that  the Salaf Saaliheen were the  illustrious Men of Islam of the Khairul Quroon epoch. 

Furthermore, if these noble  members of the Salaf Saaliheen were not treading along the Path  of the Sunnah, what makes Ibn  Taimiyyah a follower of Sunnah  six centuries later, and what  makes Al-Albaani a follower of  the Sunnah 13 centuries later? It  is pure jahaalah to even dream  that Imaam Abu Hanifah and  Imaam Maalik, etc. were not  following the Sunnah, and that  each and every verdict issued by them was not the effect of the  Sunnah – of the Qur’aan and  Ahadith.

While the Muqallideen cite as  their grounds of reference Salaf  Saaliheen, the modernist deviate  Salafis of our times present as  their ‘proof’ the likes of the some  Sheikh Ashgar and Sheikh Bin  Ba’z, the Saudi government  scholar. We are not interested in what these government scholars  of this age say. The Salafis can  enjoy themselves by making  taqleed of Bin Ba’z and his likes.  Our Taqleed is the Taqleed of the Saaliheen Salaf who had  imparted to us the Shariah which  they had acquired from the Sahaabah who in turn obtained  it from Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). About this Shariah  acquired from the Salaf, the Qur’aan Majeed declares:

“Then We have established you  on a Shariah with regard to (all  your) affairs. Therefore follow it,  and do not follow the vain  desires of those who do not  know (i.e. the juhala).”

Indeed these modernist Salafis  are most ignorant. They find issueand fault when we make Taqleed  of the Salaf Saaliheen, while their  compound ignorance blinds and bludgeons them into the taqleed  of Bin Ba’z and his likes.

In their pamphlet the Salafis say: “So now it should be clearly  understood that following the  Qur’an and the Sunnah according  to the understandings and  practical applications of the Salaf  (Companions & their followers) is  an obligation upon every Muslim.”

Just imagine! In this belated 14th century of Islam’s existence, the  deviate Salafis are stating a truth  which the Muqallideen have been  adhering to since the time of the Sahaabah. In addition to this  fact, only the Muqallideen of the  Four Math-habs are following the  Qur’aan and the Sunnah  according to the understandings  and practical applications of the  Salaf” while the Salafis of this  age are following the way of Ibn Taimiyyah the 7th century luminary. What the Salaf Aimmah  Mujtahideen acquired from the  Sahaabah and their followers has  been transmitted had by way of authentic narration to the  Ummah from one generation to  the other. On the other hand, the  modernist Salafis, ignore what  has come down to us from the  Salaf Saaliheen, and they subject  the Hadith to their personal  opinion and interpretations conspicuous isolation of the ‘understandings and applications’ of the Salaf. So, who are the true  followers of the Salaf Saaliheen:  The followers of the Four Math-habs or the modernist deviate  Salafis who do not follow that Manhaaj which was acquired from  the Sahaabah?

All the Ahadith which the  deviates quote in their pamphlet describe the followers of the  Four Math-habs as the Salaf  because only they are following  the Sunnah of the Rasool  (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and  the Sunnah of his Sahaabah  (radhiyallahu anhum). There is  not a single Hadith which  supports the way of the  modernist Salafis. As long as the  Salafis of this era do not abandontheir way of personal opinion,  they will never qualify to be on  the Manhaaj of the Salaf  Saaliheen.

Brazenly and stupidly  contradicting and indicting  themselves, the deviate Salafis of our age say: “These elite  individuals from amongst the  Major Scholars & Great Imams of  the Muslims have been  undoubtedly recognized as the  leaders of Islam for centuries  now. They are the Mujaddids and  Upright Scholars that the  Prophet (s) instructed us to  honor & follow, and no sane  Muslim would ever begin to  dispute their status, station or  rank in this Deen. So I ask the  noble reader: If one does not take their advice, then whose  advice will one take??? Likewise, if one  does not take his/her  understanding of the Qur’an & Sunnah from the Salaf of this  Ummah, then from where do they  take their understanding???”

This averment rebounds against  the deviate Salafi sect of this age. They are the very people who do  not take their “understanding of  the Qur’aan and Sunnah from the Salaf“. They take it from a luminary (Ibn Taimiyyah-died 728  Hijri) who never was among the Salaf. The Muqallideen of the  Mathaahib on the other hand, take their understanding of the  Qur’aan and Sunnah from the Salaf-from Imaam Abu Hanifah, Maalik, Imaam Ahmad and Imaam  Shaafi’ (rahmatullah alayhim) who  all are in close proximity to the  Sahaabah. Thus, whoever does  not acquire their understanding  of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah  from the illustrious Imaams of  the Four Math-habs is a deviate,  for he rejects the methodology  of the Salaf Saaliheen. All authorities, from the age of the Sahaabah to the present, unanimously declare that acquisition of understanding of  the Qur’aan and Sunnah from  the the Salaf Saaliheen is Waajib, yet  the modernist Salafi deviates  reject this methodology, and  resort to their personal and  whimsical opinions, subjecting  the Qur’aan and Hadith to their  own understanding century and  to the understanding of the 7th century Ibn Taimiyyah and the 14th century Al-Albaani who was  not even a qualified Aalim since he had no Isnaad to join his  knowledge to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

Quite rightly has it been said that  it is only an insane Muslim who  would dispute the status of the Salaf Saaliheen among whom were the Aimmah of the Math-habs. These insane people are the modernist Salafi deviates who brand the superior and holy  Taqleed of the Aimmah Mujtahideen as ‘blind following’  akin to the following by the  mushrikeen of their idolater  forefathers. In their pamphlet the  modernist Salafis mention 25  illustrious authorities of the  Shariah from the age of the  Sahaabah to the 9th Islamic  century, who all unanimously proclaim the incumbency of following the Salaf Saaliheen.  Despite this concession, we find  the deviate Salafis of this age  rejecting each and every one of  these illustrious authorities. They  set aside the Taqleed of the Salaf  Saaliheen and blindly adopt the  taqleed of Ibn Taimiyyah as their manhaaj. Surely this is error and  deviation manifest.

There is no gainsaying that it is  gross jahaalah (ignorance) for  people in this age to extract  Ahadith from the Hadith kutub, then ignoring the understanding  of the Salaf Saaliheen and satanic  contumacy relative to these  Ahadith, adopt the opinion which  Ibn Taimiyyah offers for the  Ahadith.

Then they compound their  jahaalah with palpable falsehood  by claiming that such opinion is  the view of the Salaf. The final  limit of the knowledge of the  modernist Salafis of this era is Ibn Taimiyyah. Beyond this point  they have no entry into domain of  Ilm. They come within the scope of the Qur’aanic aayat: “That is the limit of their knowledge…”   

The slogan of the modernist Salafi sect is “the Qur’aan and the  Sunnah”. Under guise of this  appealing slogan they condemn  and brand the 14 century Taqleed  of the Salaf Saaliheen as ‘blind  following’, implying thereby that  these illustrious Aimmah of the Salaf Saaliheen plodded the path of error. Thus they accuse the  followers of the Four Math-habs  which constitute the Ahlus  Sunnah Wal Jama’ah to be in  conflict with the Manhaaj of the Salaf when in reality the only valid  Manhaaj of Haqq is the way of the Four Math-habs because this is  the Pathway of the Salaf  Saaliheen which is the Sunnah of  Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sunnah of his  Sahaabah. The Salafi slogan is  therefore a massive deception.

While they portray themselves as  followers of the Salaf Saaliheen,  they are extremely far from and  at violent odds with the Salaf. If  they had been truly following the Salaf they would never have veered away from the Path of the  Four Math-habs to adopt the inferior and incorrect taqleed of  Ibn Taimiyyah who was not at all  among the Salaf nor did he follow  the Manhaaj of the Salaf. If Ibn  Taimiyyah was a genuine follower of the Salaf he would not have  clashed with such Shar’i Ahkaam on which there exists consensus of the Salaf Saaliheen. By way of  example, consider just one example, the mas’alah of Three Talaaqs being THREE, not one.   According to the deviate Salafis of this age, Three Talaaqs issued at once or in one session are one Talaaq.

To substantiate their belief that  three talaaqs equal one talaaq, the deviate Salafis cite some  Ahadith and the practice during  the Khilaafat of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) and the  practice which existed for two  years during the Khilaafat of  Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu). Despite the fact that  Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu  anhu) after the first two years of  his Khilaafat enacted the fatwa  that three Talaaq in a single  session equal three Talaaq, not  one, and despite the fact the Salaf viz. Sahaabah and the  Aimmah Mujtahideen and the Fuqaha of all Four Math-habs  upheld this fatwa unanimously,  the deviate Salafis ignore it and  revert to the ruling which had been abrogated by the Ijma’ of the Salaf from the era of Hadhrat Umar’s khilaafat

In so doing the deviate Salafis of  this age have submitted the  Ahadith to their own understanding or the  understanding and opinion of Ibn  Taimiyyah whereas the Ummah is  required to take their  understanding of the Qur’aan  and Sunnah from the Salaf  Saaliheen which is the Manhaaj of  the Four Math-habs. This  example conspicuously betrays the dishonesty of their slogan  which they raise to mislead ignorant and unwary Muslims.

There are many such examples  which substantiate the  contention that these deviates have ignored the Manhaaj of the  Salaf and are employing the  ‘Qur’aan and Sunnah’ slogan  deceptively. However, this is not  the occasion for discussing such  examples.

Of extreme and vital importance  is to ascertain who exactly were  the Asaatizah of the illustrious  Aimmah of the Four Math-habs.  How did these Aimmah  Mujtahideen acquire their  Knowledge of the Deen and from  whom? The entire edifice of the  Deen is structured on the Isnaad  of the Authorities. Just a cursory  glance at the Isnaad of Imaam  Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh)  will establish that his knowledge  was acquired directly from some  Sahaabah and from their  Students. In the Chain of Senior  Students of the Sahaabah and some of the Hadith narrations of  Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah  alayh) there is only ONE link  connecting him to Rasulullah  (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

While some deny the Taabiiyyat  (being a Tabi’i) of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh), none  denies that he was a Tabe Taabee.  Being a Tabi’i (having linked up  with some Sahaabah) and also  having acquired his Ilm from some of the greatest Taabieen, Imaam  Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh)  occupies a truly unique and  golden pedestal in the firmament  of Islamic Uloom. But in their  private sessions, the deviate  Salafis scandal about this  illustrious Waarith (Heir) of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). This great Imaam  (Imaam A’zam) is in fact the Father of all the Aimmahe  Mujtahideen who followed him,  hence Imaam Shaafi’ (rahmatullah  alayh) said: “We are the children of Abu Hanifah in Fiqh.” In the presence of knowledgeable Hanafis, the deviate Salafis  conduct themselves like Shiahs,  for they utilize the Shiah doctrine  of taqiyah and praise Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) in  public while they castigate him bringing themselves within the  scope in their private sessions,  thus of the Qur’aanic aayat:

“When they meet those who  believe, they (the Munaafiqeen)  say: ‘We believe.’ And, when they  are in privacy with their  shayaateen, they say: ‘We are with  you. Verily we are (only) mocking  (the Mu’mineen).” (Surah  Baqarah, Aayat 14)

This aayat was revealed to  castigate the hypocrites. Our  purpose for citing this verse is  not to declare the deviate Salafis munaafiqeen, but is to show that  they have an attitude similar to the munaafiqeen, and this is  dangerous. They speak much of and praise the Salaf, but they deliberately and  irrationally ignore the fact that these illustrious Aimmah Mujtahideen were the cream of the Salaf  and  after the Sahaabah.

Imaam Jalaaluddin Suyuti  (rahmatullah alayh), the illustrious  Shaafi authority of the 10th Islamic century, in his treatise, Tabyeedhus Saheefah fi Manaaqib  Abi Hanifah, enumerating the  excellences of Imaam Abu Hanifah  (rahmatullah alayh) records the statements of the Muhadditheen  in praise of Imaam A’zam:

* “Samaani said in Al-Asbaab: Abu Hanifah had totally engrossed himself in the quest of knowledge so much that he  acquired (knowledge) which no  one else had acquired. One day he  entered in the presence of (the  Khalifah) Mansoor while Isaa Bin  Musaa was present. He (Isaa Bin  Musaa) said to Mansoor: ‘Today  this is the greatest Aalim on earth”.

* “While Makki Bin Ibraaheem was  discussing about Abu Hanifah, he  said: ‘He was the most knowledgeable of his age. I never  saw a more pious person than  him among the people of Kufa.” 

* “Yusuf Al-Qaadhi said: I did not  see anyone more knowledgeable  in the tafseer of Hadith than Abu Hanifah.”

* “Yazeed Bin Haaroon said: ‘I met a thousand men (of Knowledge), and I wrote (Hadith) from most of them. Among them I did not see anyone more versed in fiqah, more pious and more  knowledgeable than five  persons.’ The first one he narrated was Abu Hanifah. Ibn  Abdul Barr narrated this episode  in Jaami Bayaanil Ilm.”

* “Al-Khateeb narrated that Shaddaad Bin Hakeem said: ‘I did  not see anyone with more  knowledge than Abu Hanifah.”  

* Muhammad Bin Sa’d Al-Kaatib  narrated: ‘I heard Abdullah Bin  Daawood Al-Khurubeeni saying:  ‘It is incumbent on the people of  Islam (the Ummah) to make dua for Abu Hanifah in their Salaat’.  Then he mentioned that Abu  Hanifah had guarded for them  the Sunnah and Fiqh.”

* “Abu Ja’far Shizaamaariyy narrated that Shaqeeq Balkhi said: ‘Imaam Abu Hanifah was the  most pious among men; the most  knowledgeable among men, and the greatest worshipper among men.”

* “Ibraaheem Bin Ikramah  Makhzoomi said: ‘I did not see  any Aalim more pious, more  abstemious, and more  knowledgeable than Abu Hanifah.”

*  “Abdullah Bin Mubaarak said: ‘I  entered Kufa and asked its Ulama:  “Who is the most learned in this  city? All of them responded: ‘Imaam Abu Hanifah.”

* Khalf Bin Ayyub said: ‘Knowledge was transmitted  from Allah Ta’ala to Muhammad  (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), then  to his Sahaabah, then to the  Taabieen, then to Abu Hanifah  and his companions. There is  consensus of the Ummah (i.e. of the Ulama) that Abu Hanifah was a Faqeeh, a Mujtahid and a great  Imaam in Fiqh.”

* “Muhammad Bin Bishr said: Once when I visited Sufyaan Thauri, he asked: ‘From where do you come?’ I said: ‘From Abu Hanifah.’ He said: ‘Verily, you  have come from him who is the  greatest Faqeeh on earth.”

* “Muhammad Bin Mazaahim greatest narrated: ‘I heard Ibn  Mubaarak saying: ‘The Faqeeh  among mankind is Abu Hanifah. I  have not seen his likes in Fiqah.”

* “Yahya Bin Maeen said: ‘I heard  Yahya Qataan saying: ‘We did not  hear better opinions (in Deeni  matters) than the opinion of Abu  Hanifah. We have accepted most of his statements.”

* “Ali Bin Madini said: ‘I heard  Abdur Razzaaq saying: ‘Ma’mar  said: ‘I am not aware of anyone  after Hasan Basri who expresses  himself in Fiqah better than Abu Hanifah.”

* “The Fuqaha when they adopt  Qiyaas are the children of Abu  Hanifah.”

Imaam Suyuti said: “It is an  established fact that Fiqah is  pivoted on principles such as  Hadith, the statements of the  Sahaabah and the Taabieen, their  differences, the knowledge of  Naasikh and Mansookh of the  Sunnah, etc. We find consensus  of the Ulama that Abu Hanifah  being a Faqeeh was necessarily a  Haafiz of the Hadith of Rasulullah  (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Zahbi  has enumerated him among the Huffaaz of Hadith.

Ibn Khaldoon says in Al-Muqaddamah: “The Imaam of the  people of Iraq is Imam Abu Hanifah Nu’maan Bin Thaabit His rank in Fiqh is unattainable. The Fuqaha especially Imam Maalik and Imam Shaafi’, had testified to this.”

“Ibn Nadeem said: “He (Imaam Abu Hanifah) was among  the  Taabieen. He met several Sahaabah. He was among the Wara-een (men of great piety) and Zaahideen (those who  renounce the world).

Writing in his Tabyeedhus  Saheefah, Imaam Suyuti  (rahmatullah alayh) says: “Imaam  Abu Ma’shar Abdul Kareem Tabari  Shaafi’ has compiled a treatise on  such (Hadith) narrations which Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh)  narrated from the Sahaabah. In his treatise he mentions:

‘Abu Hanifah said: ‘I met seven  Ashaab of  Rasulullah (sallallahu  alayhi wasallam).- Anas Bin Maalik, Abdullah Bin-Juz’iz-Zubaidi, Jaabir Bin Abdullah, Ma’qal Bin Yasaar, Waathilah Bin  Asqa’, Aa’ishah Bint Ajrad and Abdullah Ibn ‘Aufa (radhiyallahu  anhum).’  

He narrated from Anas  (radhiyallahu anhu) Hadith; three  Ahadith;  from Ibn Juz’i one Hadith; from Waathilah two  Hadith; from Jaabir one Hadith;  from Abdullah Bin Anas one  Hadith; from Aa’ishah Bint Ajrad  one Hadith, and from Abdullah  Bin Abi Aufa one Hadith.”

The illustrious authorities of the  Shariah of all Math-habs, Fuqaha and Muhadditheen, have lauded numerous accolades on Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh). Although all the Aimmah  Mujtahideen have been  applauded by the authorities, mention here in this brief article  is made of only Imaam Abu  Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) in  view of him being specifically  targeted by Salafis for their venom.

Since the Imaams of the Math-habs are among the greatest and  noblest members of the Salaf, and the Ummah has been making  their Taqleed for the past almost  fourteen centuries, it is pure  satanic deception to propagate  abandonment of this superior Taqleed in this age of corruption,  kufr, bid’ah and dhalaal. The  Salafis of this age with their  ideology of abandoning the Taqleed of the Math-habs and  adopting the taqleed  of Ibn  Taimiyyah are implying that for  the first almost seven centuries of Islam’s existence, the entire  Ummah  was astray and in error,  and this error was discovered by  Ibn Taimiyyah. This conclusion is  contumacy at its highest. While believing that Ibn Taimiyyah had  erred in his methodology is  compliant with intelligence, the  belief that the Salaf had been  plodding the path of deviation  with the Math-habs is, revolting  to intelligence and Imaan.

The only path of Najaat  (Salvation) for the Ummah in  these times is firm adherence to the Math-habs. Beyond the  confines of the four Mathhabs is  the way of dhalaal and kufr. The  Ahlus Sunnah in this age comprises the followers of the  Four Math-habs which are as old  as Islam while the math-hab of  the Salafis – the math-hab of Ibn  Taimiyyah is not an integral  constituent of the Way of the Salaf Saaliheen. It is infinitely safer for the masses to be firm on  the perceived and alleged ‘errors’ of their Imaam of the Math-hab they are following, than the supposed ‘rectitude’ of Ibn Taimiyyah.