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Thread: Islamic Figures

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    Default Islamic Figures

    Um Sulaym

    Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported:

    Maalik ibn Anas said to his wife Um Sulaym – who was the mother of Anas – “This man – meaning the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) – is forbidding alcohol.” So he left Madeenah and went to Shaam (Syria), where he died. (i.e., he fled from Madeenah when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came there, because he did not like the ban on alcohol, and he died as a kaafir or non-believer in Syria). Then Abu Talhah came and proposed marriage to Um Sulaym, and spoke to her about it. She said, “O Abu Talhah, a man like you would not be turned down, but you are a non-believer, and I am a Muslim woman. It is not right for me to marry you.” He said, “This is the chance of a lifetime!” She said, “What chance?” He said, “The yellow and white (i.e., he was tempting her with a mahr or dowry of gold and silver).” She said, “I do not want any yellow or white. I want you to become Muslim. If you become Muslim, that will be my mahr, and I will not ask you for anything else.” He asked, “Who could help me with that (i.e., to become Muslim)?” She said, “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) will help you.” So Abu Talhah went to look for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who was sitting with his Companions. When he [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] saw him, he said, “Abu Talhah is coming to you with the light of Islam shining on his forehead.” (This was one of the miracles of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): he knew that Abu Talhah would become a Muslim even before he spoke). Abu Talhah told the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about what Um Sulaym had said, and he married her on that basis. Thaabit (i.e., Thaabit al-Banaani, one of the people who narrated the story from Anas) said: “We have never heard of any mahr greater than this, she accepted his Islam as her dowry.”

    So he married her, and she was a woman with nice eyes, rather small. She was with him until she bore him a son, who Abu Talhah loved very much. The child became very ill, and Abu Talhah was very upset and distressed by the child’s sickness. Abu Talhah used to get up to pray the morning prayer, he would go to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and pray with him, and would stay with him for almost half the day. Then [Abu Talhah] would come to take a nap and eat, and when he had prayed Zuhr [mid-day prayer] he would get ready and leave, and would not come back until the time of the ‘Isha’ [night-time] prayer. One evening, Abu Talhah went out to see the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) (according to another report: to go to the mosque), and the child died (during his absence). Um Sulaym said, “No one is to tell Abu Talhah about his child’s death until I have told him.” She covered the child up as if he were sleeping, and left him in a corner of the house. Abu Talhah came back from visiting the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and brought some people from the mosque with him. He asked, “How is my son?” She said, “O Abu Talhah, from the time he fell sick, he has never been as calm as he is now, and I hope that he is resting.” (She spoke vaguely so as not to upset him; this was not a lie. She was referring to the calmness of death and the child finding relief from the pain of his sickness, but her husband took it to mean that the child’s condition had improved). She brought the meal and they all ate dinner, then the people left. Then he went to bed and lay down, and she got up and put on perfume and adorned herself, making herself more beautiful than she ever had before. (This was a sign of her patience and great faith in the will and decree of Allaah. She was seeking reward from Allaah and concealing her feelings, hoping that she would become pregnant that night to make up for the loss of her child). Then she came and lay down in the bed with him, and when he smelt the perfume, he did as men usually do with their wives (this is the narrator’s polite and circumspect manner of referring to what happened between them). At the end of the night, she said, “O Abu Talhah, do you think that if some people lent something to some others, then they asked for it back, do they have the right not to give it back?” He said, “No.” She said, “Allaah, may He be glorified, lent your son to you, and now He has taken him back, so seek reward with Him and have patience.” He became angry and said, “You left me until I did what I did (i.e., had intercourse), then you tell me that my son has died!” Then he said, “Innaa Lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon (Truly, to Allaah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return – the words uttered by Muslims when faced with news of death or calamity) and he praised Allaah. In the morning, he did ghusl (full ablution) then he went to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and prayed with him, and told him what had happened. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “May Allaah bless you for last night.” She conceived a child (thus the Prophet’s prayer for them was answered).

    Um Sulaym used to travel with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), leaving Madeenah when he left, and returning when he returned. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “When she gives birth, bring the child to me.” He was on a journey, and Um Sulaym was with him. When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came back from travelling, he would never enter Madeenah at night (so as not to disturb the people, and so that wives would have time to get ready to greet their husbands). They reached the outskirts of Madeenah, and her labour pains started. Abu Talhah stayed with her, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went on. Abu Talhah said, “O Allaah, you know that I like to set out with your Messenger when he sets out, and come back with him when he comes back. I have been detained as You see.” Um Sulaym said, “O Abu Talhah, I do not feel the pains as much (this was one of her “miracles”; her labour pains ceased because she had asked Allaah to enable her to catch up with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)). So they set off, and after they had reached Madeenah, her labour pains started again, and she gave birth to a boy. She told her son Anas, “O Anas, I will not give him anything to eat until you take him in the morning to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),” and she sent some dates with him. (Because she wanted the first thing to enter the child’s mouth to be food from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him); this was a sign of her great faith, because the woman’s natural instinct is to hasten to feed the baby as soon as he is born). The child cried all night long, and I [Anas, the narrator of this story] stayed up all night taking care of him. In the morning, I took him to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who was wearing his burdah (a kind of cloak) and marking the camels and sheep that had been given to him (the animals had been given in charity and he was marking them so that they would not get lost or mixed with other flocks or herds). When he saw him, he said to Anas, “Has the daughter of Milhaan [i.e., Um Sulaym] given birth?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “I will be with you in a minute.” He put down the tool in his hand (with which he had been marking the animals) and took the child, then he said, “Do you have something for him?” They said, “Yes, dates.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) took some of the dates and chewed them, mixing them with his saliva (and the saliva of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was blessed by Allaah). Then he opened the child’s mouth and gave him some of the dates, wiping them inside his mouth (this is called Tahneek and is one of the customs among Muslims when a baby is born). The infant began to smack his lips, sucking some of the sweetness of the dates and the saliva of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Thus the first thing that entered that child’s stomach was mixed with the saliva of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He said, “See how much the Ansaar (the Muslims who were living in Madeenah when the Prophet migrated there) love dates!” I [Anas] said, “O Messenger of Allaah, name him.” He wiped his face and named him ‘Abd-Allaah. There was no young man among the Ansaar who was better than him, and when he grew up he had a lot of sons, and was martyred in Persia (he died as a martyr when the Muslims conquered Persia; all of this happened as a result of the Prophet’s blessed du’aa’).

    (The story was reported by Imaam al-Bukhaari, Muslim, Ahmad and al-Tayaalisi; this version was reported by al-Tayaalisi and others. Al-‘Allaamah al-Albaani collected all its isnaads in his book Ahkaam al-Janaa’iz, p. 20).

    This is one story of one Muslim woman among the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). There are many other stories which show the effect Islam had on the hearts of Muslim women and how the religion of Allaah bore fruits of righteous deeds and good lives. In this there is enough to convince the seeker of truth of the right religion which he must follow. Read it again and think about it; maybe you will take the greatest step of your life. Peace be upon those who follow true guidance.

    Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

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    The Tiger of Mysore

    By Iftikhar Ahmed

    Had his aides not betrayed Sultan Tipu, the history of India would have taken a different shape. The prosperity and freedom that the state of Mysore, also called Sultanat-e-Khudadad, enjoyed under the Sultan could have trickled down to all other neighboring states and perhaps all over India.

    Even Sultan Tipu himself did not know that one day he would become the Sultan of the state of Mysore, and history would remember him as a legendary hero with his most famous words: "Living one day like a tiger is better than living hundred years like a jackal."

    As a small boy, in 1757, while playing with his mates he was directing and commanding them in a way that caught the attention of a passing dervish. The dervish called the boy and endearingly said to him: "One day you will become the ruler of this state. Promise me that you'll not forget Allah and build a mosque." Amused at the dervish's words, the boy smiled and promised.

    Tipu was born to Hyder Ali who was a military commander in the state army but later became the ruler (1761). After not being blessed with a child for a long time after his marriage, Hyder Ali went to the shrine of Tipu Mastan Wali at Arkat, where, along with his second wife Fatima Begum, he prayed to Allah to bless them with a son who would leave a mark in history. Hyder Ali had a great regard for Sufis and saints as he was the descendant of a saint called Hazrat Bahlol -- buried at Chinyote (Pakistan). His ancestors had migrated from the West Punjab to Gulbarga (India) and then to Mysore during the 14th and 15th centuries.

    Allah blessed him with a son (in 1750) and he named him after the saint's name - Tipu, to reflect his respect to him. Tipu means tiger. Amazingly, both Tipu and his father were very fond of tigers. It is said that Tipu in his youth had confronted a tiger in the forest of Mysore and killed it with only a dagger. After that, he was called the Tiger of Mysore.

    From the early age, Tipu was trained in the art of warfare and different languages such as Arabic, Persian, French and English. He loved reading books. One day, while he was engrossed in a book, Hyder Ali admonished him: "You are not to become a scholar of books, but I want to see you in the battle fields commanding troops."

    Since that day, Tipu was always there at the battlefronts - fighting with the enemies and proving himself as a competent soldier. Besides military training, he was also trained in diplomacy and administering the state affairs. However, his penchant for reading never faded. His personal library consisted of more than 2000 books in different languages.

    After the demise of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir (1707), India had slipped into a political chaos due to the weak central rule and influx of the British. The rajas and nawabs of different states had started strengthening their rules and making their own dynasties. With this background, Hyder Ali and Tipu were the only two strong personalities who conceived to unite India by throwing out the British who were gradually gaining the political power.

    The British had come to India as traders in 1721 but soon they consolidated their trading societies into a unified company under the name of East India Company. This company, along with their trading interest, had started dominating politically and geographically.

    After the death of Hyder Ali in 1782, Tipu assumed the power with two clear objectives: a) to establish an Islamic State and b) to free India from the growing influence and power of the British. Along with a competent state army, Tipu inherited a vast empire encompassing an area 300 miles wide and 400 miles long. Immediately after taking over the power, he announced unprecedented reforms by introducing a democratic form of government in order to share power with the people and confront the growing menace of the British. Making himself as the constitutional head, he devolved powers to his prime minister and cabinet. To bring harmony and cohesion among his subjects and masses, he, regardless of religion and caste, treated them with equality.

    Paying special attention to the prosperity of the state he extended trade with Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, France, Turkey and Iran; constructed a chain of roads, dams, buildings and developed agriculture to improve the infrastructure. Also, not forgetting his promise to the dervish in his childhood, he made a beautiful mosque in Sringapatam, the capital of Mysore.

    When the mosque was ready it was decided that the one would lead the first prayer who had never missed a prayer in his life. Even the reputed ulema (religious scholars) present there did not dare to come forward. Eventually, the Sultan himself came forward saying: "I did not want to disclose but I fulfil the condition."

    During his 18-years-rule, he continuously remained engaged with the British, Marhattas and Nizams, who were always jealous of his growing power and prosperity of his state. The British thought him a threat to their existence and therefore never stopped conspiring against him. Although defeated in every battle with the Sultan, the struggle to subdue him eventually led the British to buy the close aides and important officials of the Sultan. The treachery of the Sultan's key officials, for their personal greed, paved the way for his downfall.

    In the last battle of Mysore, the British under the command of General Harris reached Sringapatam on May 4, 1799, where the Sultan resided. His prime minister Mir Sadiq and other key officials such as Mir Qasim and his army commander kept the Sultan in dark until the time the British soldiers reached near the fort and attacked it. Actually, the Sultan's officials had led the British soldiers to the most vulnerable spot of the fort to enable them to break in.

    When the Sultan came to know about the treachery of his aides, it was too late. The onslaught of the British soldiers continued and eventually, the Sultan himself came out to protect his land but unfortunately was martyred while fighting with the enemy. Within two hours, the battle at the fort was over. The Sultan was buried at a mausoleum that he had built, along with his father and mother. His family was consigned to oblivion in Calcutta.

    With the death of Tipu Sultan, most of India fell to the British and the doors of freedom for Indians closed. Once Tipu was out of their way, the British strengthened their rule in India for the next 150 years. They not only single-handedly ruled India but also shifted most of its wealth to Britain.


    THIS is with reference to Iftikhar Ahmed’s article The Tiger of Mysore (November 26), delineating the history of Tipu Sultan of Mysore. Even though an interesting piece of writing, it carries certain conjectures and surmises coupled with historical inaccuracies that need to be corrected.

    The decline and fall of dynasties and systems depend on various historical factors, notwithstanding the bravery of some individuals, as Tipu Sultan. It is correct that Sultan Tipu was the last thorn in the Britishers’ way but it is also a fact that by that time the British, trained in modern warfare and armed with most sophisticated weaponry, had not only defeated the combined forces of Mir Kassim of Bengal, Nawab of Oudh and Emperor Shah Alam II in the battle of Buxer (1764) but almost dislodged all their European rivals from Indian primacy.

    Besides, his powerful neighbours — Marhatas and Nizam of Deccan — with whom Sultan was not enjoying cordial relations, in order to save their precarious positions had sided with the British. Thus the entire period of Sultan Tipu’s rule was tumultuous. The British, afraid of the only independent-thinking sovereign having diplomatic relations with France, (an arch rival in Europe and in India as well) and Afghanistan, continued intriguing against Tipu Sultan. Under these trying times the betrayal by Mir Sadik and Purnaiya, the ministers of court and not Mir Qasim who was Sultan’s counsel in the Court of Masqat, only accelerated the pace of his downfall.

    As regards Haider Ali’s ancestry, Mr Ahmed’s version that he was descendant of Hazrat Bahlol of Chinyote is without any corresponding source. According to the historian Kirmani, Haider Ali was a Quraish descendant from of Mecca, and it was probably at the end of sixteenth century that his ancestors arrived in India by sea, instead of following the usual land route from the North West. Beyond these facts nothing is known about them before they immigrated to India.

    The first person of the family about whom some tradition has been preserved was Sheikh Wali Muhammad who, according to Kirmani, came to Glbarga from Delhi with his son Muhammad Ali during the reign of Muhammad Adil Shah of Bijapur (1626-56). He, being a religious man, attached himself to the shrine of Sadruddin Husaini, commonly known as Gisu Daraz and married his son to the daughter of a servant of the Dargah. After his father’s death, Muhammad Ali joined the service of Bijapur. He had four sons, one of them being Fateh Muhammad (the father of Haider Ali).

    Fateh Muhammad thereafter settled in Acrot and joined the services of Nawab Saadatullah Khan. There he married the daughter of Syed Burhanuddin of Tanjore. He next took service under the Raja of Mysore when Shahbaz and Haider Ali were born to him. Like his father, Haider Ali also joined the Mysore army and gained many laurels in the battlefield and ultimately become its ruler.

    The British formally came in India in the year 1600 when the company was chartered by the Crown for trade and not in 1721. The area of Mysore inherited by Tipu was a reasonably big kingdom (part of Vijayngar kingdom) but not a vast empire as claimed.

    The day Tipu was defeated, his eldest son Fateh Haider Ali was out of the capital heading an expedition against some state rebel. He, however, instead of resisting the usurper too, was entrapped by the treacherous ministers and he surrendered along with the army he was leading, without firing a single shot.

    Here is another article on tipu sulatan from http://www.islamicvoice.com/may.99/TIPPU.HTM
    Communal Harmony and Secularism of Tipu Sultan
    Prof. B. Sheik Ali.

    Tipu Sultan was a secular ruler, in whose state there was perfect communal harmony. The very fact that during his entire regime, despite the numerous wars, there was not a single uprising of the people, shows the popularity of his rule. Such assessment of his character that he was intolerant was more a requirement, a necessary framework for colonial rule. The Indian people had never known any religious war, and Tipu would not think of any distinction among his subjects on the basis of caste, creed or class. He was quite conscious of the fact that when the overwhelming majority of his subjects were Hindus, he could hardly afford to be anything other than secular, humane and liberal. He would well remember the statement of his father, Haidar Ali, who had snubbed a Muslim saint for complaining that some Hindus had committed excesses on his followers, and that as the head of a Muslim government, he should redress his grievances, by saying “who told you that this was a Mussalman government?” Tipu knew well that he could not administer the state on principles unacceptable to his subjects.

    Instances are not wanting to depict the secular character of his rule. Once a faujdar reported to him that a Hindu had married a Muslim lady causing tension in the locality, and wanted to know what action to be taken. Tipu wrote back immediately admonishing the faujdar that it was none of his business to interfere in the personal affairs of the people, and that his duty was merely to safeguard the life and property of the people, and ensure peace.

    Tipu furnished Sree Shankaracharya of Sringeri with funds for reinstalling the displaced image in the sharada temple. There are about thirty letters in Kannada of Tipu to the Swamiji, which throw a flood of light on his religious policy. Normally, all his letters begin with his own name at the top, but these letters mention the name of the Swamiji at the top with all his titles, and Tipu’s name is at the bottom without any title.

    In 1791 during the third Mysore war the invading Maratha army under Persuram Bhau caused a lot of damage to Sringeri, plundered the temple property and even displaced the image of the goddess Sharada. The Swamiji of the temple left the place, and informed Tipu about the Maratha raid, seeking his help for consecrating the image of the goddess. Tipu responded immediately to the request, and wrote to the Swamiji expressing such sentiments of respect for Hinduism as to disprove any charge of intolerance against him. He furnished the Swamiji with funds to reinstall, Tipu received the Prasada and shawls, and in return he sent cloth and a [edited] for the goddess and a pair of shawls for the Swmiji, besides two palanquins, one for the goddess and the other for Swamiji. At another time Tipu addressed the Swamiji as Jagadguru and asked him to pray for the well-being of all his subjects.

    Sringeri was not the only holy place which enjoyed the patronage of Tipu. To the Lakshmikantha temple at Kalale in Nanjungud taluk, he gave four silver cups, a silver plate and a silver spittoon. To the Narayanswamy temple at Melkote, he presented gold and silver vessels, besides an elephant and a few jewels. The Srikanteswara temple Nanjungud was presented with a jewelled cup and some precious stones. To another temple, Nanjundeswara, in the same town of Nanjungud, he gave a greenish linga. To Ranganatha temple at Srirangapatana he gifted seven silver cups and a silver camphor burner.

    This temple was hardly a stone’s throw from his palace from where be would listen with equal respect to the ringing of temple bells, and the Muezzin’s call from the Mosque.

    There were two other temples, the Narasimha and the Gangadhareshwara, near the palace where daily pujas were offered, and they were never interfered with. The Pagoda at Ruyakottai received an allowance from Tipu, who completed the Gopur temple in Conjeevaram, whose foundation Haidar had laid in 1780.

    Tipu participated in the celebration of its chariot festival. When his help was sought in solving a dispute of two sects of Melkote temple, he readily obliged, and his decision was accepted by both. In a campaign while attacking the fort of Dindigal, he ordered not to fire from the rear of the fort, as the Raja’s temple was located there. When some complaints were lodged against his minister, Purniah, with an insinuation that the Brahmin community was not trustworthy, he suddenly burst out on the allegation and quoted a Qur’anic verse saying, ‘for the fault of some one, do not accuse the whole community.’ His appointment of numerous Hindus to high offices falsify the wrong accusation that he was intolerant. Gandhiji wrote in Young India that he was an embodiment of Hindu-Muslim unity.

    It is also true that for political reasons he was harsh on the Nairs of Malabar, the Christians of Mangalore and the Raja of Coorg, for they were allied with the British. If he was harsh on them he did not spare the Muslim Mopillas and Mahdevis in the interest of law and order, peace and security. He was more friendly with the Marathas than with the Nizam. Srinivasa Rao and Appaji Ram were entrusted with the important task of negotiating peace with other powers. Purnaiya held the Revenue and Finance portfolio. Krishna Rao was the Treasurer. Narsing Rao held a key post at Srirangapatana. Nagappaya, a Brahmin, was the faujdar of Coorg. Hari Singh commanded a wing of cavalry. Therefore, his policy was strictly secular.

    Another aspect which brings out his secular policy was his interest in French revolutionary ideas. A Jacobin Club of extreme revolutionary ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity was formed at Srirangapatana. There were 59 members of this club, one of whom was Tipu. Its purpose was to introduce constitutional principles of democratic nature as enunciated in the republic of France. He planted the tree of liberty in front of his palace, and called himself “Citizen Tipu”. A clause in the proposed treaty of alliance with the French stated, “I demand that male and female prisoners, English as well as Portuguese, who shall be taken by the republican troops or by mine, shall be treated with humanity, and with regard to their persons, and they shall be transported at our joint expense out of India to some place far distant from the territories of allies”.

    In short Tipu was an enlightened ruler, the sheet anchor of whose state-policy was the well-being of all his subjects irrespective of caste, creed or class. He took his stand on the bedrock of humanity, regarding all his subjects as equal citizens to live in peace, harmony and concord. The aquatint was drawn by an English man, the painting shows the Lal Mahal in the background and army of Tipu Sultan next to it are the elephants on which the traditional howda the royal seat is mounted. Now the actual Lal Mahal ruins are being excavated by the Archeological Survey of India. Courtesy : Buckingham museum, London. These couple of fruit bearing Mango trees, numbered as 1156 & 1157 by the Botanical Garden authorities in Lal Bagh Bangalore. The bastion of greenary in the city have been planted by the “citizen Tipu Sultan”. Research & Photographs : Azmath Srirangapatna : One of the Temples patronised by Tipu Sultan during his reign Sri Gangadhareshwara Swamy Dewasthana, Srirangapatna - The official residence of Tipu Sultan the Lal-Mahal was located just behind this fourteen century temple.

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    Good read.
    If Allah is with you, then whom do you have to fear,
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    Thumbs up Imam Muslim

    Imam Muslim

    The full name of Imam Muslim is Abu'l-Husain 'Asakir-ud-Din Muslim b. Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naisaburi. "Muslim," as his nasba shows, belonged to the Qushayr tribe of the Arabs, an offshoot of the great clan of Rabi'a. He was born in Naisabur (Nishapur) in 202/817 or 206/821. His parents were religiously minded persons and as such he was brought up in a pious atmosphere. This left such an indelible impression on his mind that he spent the whole of his life as a God-fearing person and always adhered to the path of Righteousness. He was in fact a saint of high calibre. His excellent moral character can be well judged from the simple fact that he never indulged in backbiting, a very common human failing.

    Imam Muslim travelled widely to collect traditions in Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Iraq, where he attended the lectures of some of the prominent Traditionists of his time: Ishaq b. Rahwaih, Ahmad b. Hanbal, 'Ubaydullah al-Qawariri, Qutaiba b. Sa’id, 'Abdullah b. Maslama, Harmalah b. Yahya, and others.

    Having finished his studies, be settled down at Nishapur. There he came into contact with Imam Bukhari, and was so much impressed by his vast knowledge of Hadith and his deep insight into it that he kept himself attached to him up to the end of his life. He was an ardent admirer of another great-teacher of Hadith, Muhammad b.Yahya al-Dhuhali and attended his lectures regularly, but when the difference of opinion between Muhammad b. Yahya and Imam Bukhari, on the issue of the creation of the Holy Qur'an, sharpened into hostility, Imam Muslim sided with Imam Bukhari and abandoned Muhammad b. Yahya altogether. He was thus a true disciple of Imam Bukhari.

    He wrote many books and treatises on Hadith, but the most important of his works is the collection (Jami’) of his Sahih Some of the commentators of Ahadith are of the opinion that in certain respects it is the best and most authentic work on the subject. Imam Muslim took great pains in collecting 300,000 Traditions, and then after a thorough examination of them retained only 4000, the genuineness of which is fully established

    He prefixed to his compilation a very illuminating introduction, in which he specified some of the principles which he had followed in the choice of his material.

    Imam Muslim has to his credit many other valuable contributions to different branches of Hadith literature, and most of them retain their eminence even to the present day. Amongst these Kitab al-Musnad al-Kabir 'Ala al-Rijal, Jami' Kabir, Kitab, al-Asma' wa'l-Kuna, Kitab al-Ilal, Kitab al- Wijdan are very important.
    His Methods of Classification and Annotation

    Muslim's Sahih comes next to it. However, in certain respects the latter is considered superior to the former. Imam Muslim strictly observed many principles of the science of Hadith which had been slightly ignored by his great teacher Imam Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on both of them). Imam Muslim considered only such traditions to be genuine and authentic as had been transmitted to him by an unbroken chain of reliable authorities and were in perfect harmony with what had, (been related by other narrators whose trustworthiness was unanimously accepted and who were free from all defects.

    Moreover, Imam Bukhari, while describing the chain of narrators, sometimes mentions their kunya and sometimes gives their names. This is particularly true in case of the narrators of Syria. This creates a sort of confusion, which Imam Muslim has avoided.

    Imam Muslim takes particular care in according the exact words of the narrators and points out even the minutest difference in the wording of their reports.

    Imam Muslim has also constantly kept in view the difference between the two well-known modes of narration, haddathana (he narrated to us) and akhbarana (he informed us). He is of the opinion that the first mode is used only when the teacher is narrating the hadith and the student is listening to it, while the second mode of expression implies that the student is reading the hadith before the teacher. This reflects his utmost care in the transmission of a hadith.

    Imam Muslim has taken great pains in connecting the chain of narrators. He has recorded only that hadith which, at least, two reliable tabi'in (successors) had heard from two Companions and this principle is observed throughout the subsequent chain of narrators.
    His Students

    Imam Muslim had a very wide circle of students, who learnt Hadith from him. Some of them occupy a very prominent position in Islamic history, e.g. Abu Hatim Razi, Musa b. Harun, Ahmad b. Salama, Abu 'Isa Tirmidhi, Abu Bakr b. Khusaima, Abu ‘Awana and Hafiz Dhahabi.
    His Death

    Imam Muslim lived for fifty-five years in this world. Of this short span of his life he spent most of his time in learning Hadith, in Its compilation, in its teaching and transmission. He always remained absorbed in this single pursuit and nothing could distract his attention from this pious task. He died in 261/875, and was buried in the suburbs of Nishapur.
    If Allah is with you, then whom do you have to fear,
    If Allah is against you, then what hope do you have.

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    Jan 2007



    1. Name

    Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ismail ibn Ebrahim ibn Mugira ibn Bardizba Al Ju’fi Al Bukhari.

    2. Birth and Lineage

    Born on Friday (after Jumuah) 13 Shawwal 194 A.H. Passed away on Friday 1 Shawwal 256 A.H. (the night before Eid-ul-Fitr) (Hadyus Saari - pg.477).
    Bardizba was a fire worshipper. His son Mugira accepted Islam on the hands of Ju’fi the governor of Bukhara. That is why the name Ju’fi appears at the end of his name. There is not much mention about Imam Bukhari’s grandfather, Ebrahim. However his father, Ismail, was a muhaddith and Ibn Hibban has rated him in the 4th category of reliable muhadditheen. He has narrated from Hammad ibn Zaid and Imam Malik. Abu Hafs Kabir says that he was present at the time of Ismails death when he heard him say: "I do not have a single dirham of doubt in my earnings."

    3. Abilities (Remarkable Memory)

    When Imam Saheb was 11 years old, he was once at the lesson of Imaam Daakli and Imaam Daakhli narrated the following sanad: Sufyan from Abu Zubair from Ebrahim. Imaam Saheb said that this sanad is incorrect because Abu Zubair did not narrate from Ebrahim. When it was checked up, Imaam saheb was correct. (Hadyus Saari pg.478).

    Hashid bin Ismail mentions that Imam Bukhari (R.A.) in his youth use to come to the Mashaaikh of Basra but he never used to write. After 16 days, we rebuked him for not writing down the notes (Ahadith). After a while he said: "You have rebuked me enough - bring your kitaabs." Haashid says: "We brought our kitaabs and Imam Saheb mentioned each and every hadith with their sanads and also corrected our kitaabs and said: "You think I’m wasting my time!" (At that time there were over 15 000 Ahadith taken from those Mashaaikh of Basra) (Hadyus Saari pg.478).

    Once Ishaaq bin Raah-weih mentioned that I know the 70 000 Ahadith mentioned in my book like I’m looking at them. When this was mentioned to Imam Bukhari (R.A.), he replied: "You are astonished at that, perhaps in this time and age, there are such people who know 200 000 Ahadith as mentioned in the kitaab (by this Imam Saheb was referring to himself) (Hadyus Saari pg.487).

    Once when Imam Bukhari went to Baghdad, the muhadditheen got together and took 100 Ahadith and mixed up their sanads (chain of narrators) and matan (text). Thereafter 10 muhadditheen were appointed to present ten of these Ahadith each to him incorrectly. When each Hadith was presented, he replied each time with these words: "I don’t know this Hadith." After all the Ahadith were presented to him, he mentioned each Hadith as it was narrated by those ten muhadditheen and then mentioned the correct version of each one (Hadyus Saari pg.486).

    Abu Azhar (R.A.) says; "Once when Imam Bukhari (R.A.) came to Samarkand, 400 muhadditheen got together and mixed up the sanads of Iraq with Yemeni sanads and the sanads of the Haram with the Yemeni sanads in trying to make Imam Saheb commit a mistake, but not one mistake was taken out by anyone of the 400 muhadditheen.

    4. Ustaads

    Imam Bukhari (R.A.) said he has more than 1000 Ustaads. He knows the chain of narrators of every Hadith from every Ustaad. Ibn Hajar has categorized Bukhari’s Ustaads into 5 groups:

    2.Contemporaries of Tabi'een but did not narrate.
    3.Heard from elderly Tabi'een.
    4.Narrates from his colleagues who were his seniors.
    5.Narrates from his juniors.

    5. Students

    90 000 people have heard the Bukhari Shareef directly from Imam Bukhari (Hadyus Saari pg.491).

    6. Sacrifices

    Imam Bukhari (rahmatullahi alaih) invested his money of inheritance from his fathers estate and he should receive 500 dirhams monthly. All this used to be spent in attaining knowledge.

    When he went to Aadam ibn Abi Ayas there was a delay in receiving money - he ate grass, after 3 days somebody gave a bag of coins.
    He got sick, his container of food was shown to doctors, they said this is like the Raahibs. Imam Bukhaari did not eat curry for 40 years. When people insisted, he accepted to have bread and sugar as curry.

    7. Piety and Character

    Imam Bukhari said: "From the time I knew backbiting is haraam I never spoke ill about anyone."

    The need once arose for Imam bukhari (R.A.) to travel by sea. He had with him 1000 ashrafis (gold coins). While on the ship, he met a person who became very close to Imam Saheb. One day (whhile on the ship) that person began shouting, when asked the reason for the shouting he mentioned that he had a thousand Ashrafis that were missing. While every passenger on the ship was being searched, Imam Bukhari (R.A.) threw his 1000 Ashrafis into the sea. After all the passengers on board were searched and the money not found, the people began rebuking that person. When the journey ended that person came to Imam Bukhari (R.A.) and enquired as to what he had done with the money. Imam Bukhari (R.A.) replied that he had thrown it into the sea. That person asked why he had borne such a huge loss. He replied: "Are you not aware that my entire life has been devoted to the Ahadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and my authenticity is very renowned. I was not prepared to loose what I had earned my entire life because of a few gold coins." (Zafrul Muhassileen - pg.103)

    Whilst practicing archery, the arrow hit a bridge and damaged it. He asked the owner for forgiveness and offered to repair it.

    Abu Hafs Kabir sent goods to him which he promised to sell to somebody at a certain price. Others offered a higher price. He refused.

    Imam Bukhari (R.A.) mentioned: "I did not write any Hadith in this book before taking a bath and performing 2 rakaats and I deduced this kitaab from 600 000 Ahadith in 16 years.

    8. Imam Bukhari’s Mazhab

    1. According to ibn Taimiyyah (R.A.), Imam Bukhari was a mujtahid and an independent Imam.

    2. Allama Taqi’uddeen Subki has regarded him as a Shafi because he was the student of Humaidi, who was a Shafi. This conclusion is not correct because then Imam Bukhari should be regarded as a Hanafi in view of Ishaaq ibn Raahwa - Imam Bukhari’s Ustaad being a student of Abdullah ibn Mubarak and Abdullah ibn Mubarak was a Hanafi.

    3. Ibn Qayyim (R.A.) says Imam Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawood were strong followers of Imam Ahmad ibn Hambal.

    After studying and closely looking at Imam Bukhari one will realise that Imam Bukhari did not follow any one Imam, he has his independant views on many issues, therefore Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiri (R.A.) and Sheikh Zakaria (R.A.) have the same view as that of Allama Taimiyya that Imam Bukhari is a mujtahid.

    Hazrath Moulana Fazlur Rahman is of the opinion that Imam Bukhari’s Usools (fundamental principles) are not known, it is difficult to regard him as an independant Imam and Mujtahid.

    My humble view is that not knowing the Usool of any Imam is not a criteria to disqualify him from being a mujtahid, just as there were many other mujtahids other than the famous and commonly known 4 Imams. Their usools are not known, but they were mujtahids or else it would mean that their were only 4 mujtahids in this Ummat. Yes, one may say that since the usools of Imam Bukhari are not known, he cannot be followed, just as we cannot follow for eg. Sufyan Sawri, Sufyan Uyaina, etc. etc.

    9. Demise

    Imam Bukhari very frequently became a victim of differences and disputes and he breathed his last in that condition. He was expelled from Bukhara 4 times.

    1st - When he issued a ruling that foster relationships are effective even by drinking goat and sheep milk. This was in his early days. There is speculation whether this incident is true or not.

    2nd - Many Ulama of Bukhara held the opinion that Iman is not makhlook, because of that those Ulama had to leave Bukhara. Imam Bukhari was also amongst them.

    3rd - After his experience with Imam Zuhli in Nishapur, Zuhli wrote to the Ameer of Bukhara complaining about Imaam Bukhari which resulted in his expulsion.

    Concerning the dispute with Imam Zuhli in Nishapur - When Imam Bukhari came to Nishapur he was very warmly welcomed and Imam zuhli, who was also the Ustaad of Imam Bukhari, encouraged the people to benefit and listen to ahadith from Imam Bukhari. Once someody asked the question whether Qalamullah is makhlook or not. Imam tried to evade the question but upon insisting he answered that Qalamullah is not makhlook but our reciting the kalamullah is maqluk. People did not fully understand this and made an issue that Imam Bukhari says that "lafzi bilquran maklook." Imam Zuhli said, He (Imam Bukhari) is a bid’ati and no one should go to him. People left Imam Bukhari (R.A.) except Imam Muslim and Ahmad ibn Salama. Zuhli did not allow any person who subscribe to Imam Bukhari’s view or associated with him to sit in his lesson. Imam Muslim and Ahmad ibn Salama chose to be with Imam Bukhari. A few days later Imam Bukhari left Nishapur and went to Bukhara and was expelled from there. This was the third time he was expelled from Bukhara. There is some speculation that when Imam Bukhari began having discourses in Nishapur, Zuhli’s discourses were not largely attended hence Zuhli initiated Imam Bukhari’s removal from Bukhara. And Allah Ta’ala knows best

    4th - Imam Bukhari was called to Bukhara and he received a very large reception. Ameer of Bukhara, Khalid Zuhli asked him to come to his place and teach his children Bukhari Shareef. Imam Bukhari refused and Khalid then used people to make objections on Imam Bukhari’s beliefs and thus he was finally expelled from Bukhara. Imam Bukhari cursed Khalid and within a month Khalid was dismissed and imprisoned.

    After Imam Bukhari was removed for the fourth time by Khalid. He went to Khatang (today Khaja Abad) by his relatives. Abdul Quddus (R.A.) says that I heard Imam Bukhari making dua in tahajjud: "O Allah, the earth has become narrow for me despite its spaciousness, therefore call me to you."
    Gaalib ibn Jibraeel says - I was in Khartang when people of Samarqand sent a messenger to propose and invite Imam Bukhari to Samarqand. Imam Bukhari got ready to go and after walking about 20 steps he felt weak and lied down and breathed his last. This was on the night of Eid - 256 A.H. After his death, musk scent emitted from his grave. His opponents came to the grave to make tawba. Upon his death, 2 persons saw a dream in which he made ziyarah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and the Sahaba (radhiallahu anhum) and they were waiting for somebody. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said that they are waiting for Imam Bukhari.


    Imam Bukhari’s family and friendly ties with Abu Hafs Kabir’s family.

    Imam Bukhari was a student of Abu Hafs Kabir, he made sima of Jami Sufyan from him. Even after that Imam Bukhari and Abu Hafs Sagheer (Kabirs son) were contempories and colleagues in studying. It is obvious that because of Imam Bukhari and his family being close to Abu Haf’s family (Abu Hafs used to render financial help to Imam Bukhari) he was aware of the fiqh of the Ahnaaf.

    Infact he first studied all the books of Abdulla ibn Mubarak who was a student of Abu Hanifa and member of the fiqh shura committee of the Ahnaaf.

    However later in life when Imam Bukhari came into contact with Imam Humaidi and Nuaim Khuzaaie, who were very strongly opposed to the Ahnaaf - he too was influenced by their anti-Ahnaaf attitude.

    11. Writings and Other Compilations

    Imam Bukhari wrote many kitaabs besides Bukhari Shareef (Al Jamius Sahih). Hereunder are some books written by Imam Bukhari

    1.Al Aadaabul Mufrad
    2.Juz - Raf-e-Yadain
    3.Juz - Qiraat-Kalful-Imam
    4.At-Taareekh-Al Kabeer - Al Awsat-As Sageer
    5.Kitabul Ashribah
    6.Kitabul Hibah
    8.Kitabul Ilal
    9.Kitabul Wuhdaan
    10.Af’aalul Ibaad


    Motivating factors of compiling Bukhari Shareef

    There were many books written on hadith but there were mixtures of Sahih and Daeef ahadith. Imam Bukhari felt that there should be a compilation of only Sahih ahadith. Once while sitting in the gathering of Ishaaq ibn Raahwai he (Ishaq) expressed his wish that a book of Sahih ahadith be compiled, when he heard this, his feeling of compiling such a book was strengthened and this was later consolidated with a dream wherein he (Imam Bukhari) saw a dream that he was waving away flies from Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) with a fan. The dream was interpretated as Imam Bukhari will sift out the fabricated Ahadith form the authentic Ahadith.

    The dominant purpose of compiling Bukhari Shareef from the motivating factors was to compile and gather only Sahih ahadith. Apart from that, Imam Bukhari designed and brightened his book with other aspects as well, for eg., he would deduce fiqhi aspects from the hadith, he would express the authenticity of the hadith by presenting another sanad (chain of narrators). He also explains the meaning of many ahadith etc. It is due to the above factors that the hadith in Bukhari Shareef are not in a subject or topic sequence. However, Imam Muslim has arranged and compiled his book according to a topic sequence.

    13. Specialities of Bukhari Shareef

    1. It is the first book compiled only on sahih ahadith.

    2. It took the author 16 years to compile his book. The tarajims (topics) were prepared at the rowda mubarak.

    3. Abu Zaid Mirwazi Shafi, who was a very fond shafi was sleeping in the mataaf area when he made ziyarat of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi waallam) who asked him, why do you not make research and read my book. Abu Zaid asked: "Oh prophet of Allah which is your book?" Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) replied the book of Muhammad ibn Ismail ie. Bukhari Shareef.

    4. When read at the time of difficulties and hardships, matters are made easy.

    When read in a boat it does not sink.
    5. There are 22 Sulusiyyaats in Bukhari Shareef. However Darami has more sulusiyyaats than Bukhari Shareef.

    14. Conditions of Choosing a Hadith

    Muhammad Maqdasi says that the conditions of choosing a hadith in Bukhari Shareef are not mentioned by the author himself. The muhadditheen have pondered and studied the book and deduced these conditions, presuming they were the criteria set out by the author. Tahir Maqdasi says that the conditions of choosing a hadith in Bukhari Shareef are:

    1.The narrator is unanimously realiable. Here a question may arise as to why is there discussions on the reliability and authenticity of many narrators in Bukhari Shareef. Ibn Humam has answered this that certifying a narrator as reliable or unreliable is not absolute (qat’ie). A muhaddith certifies according to his understanding and research.

    2.The chain of narrators must be an unbroken one (itti’saal - see page five).

    3.If two narrators narrate from every narrator it is better but not a condition.

    4.Haakim, author of Mustadrak says it is a condition of Bukhari Shareef that there always be two narrators from a narrator. This is not correct. The first and last hadith indicates that even narrations with one narrator is accepted. In fact, there are about 200 such ahadith in Bukhari Shareef. Ziya Maqdasi has prepared a book Galaaibus Sahihain on this matter.

    Hereunder is a more clear explanation as to what type of narrators are chosen by Imam Bukhari.

    Imam Zuhri has five categories of students:

    1.Very realiable in memory and authenticity and always or for a very long time stayed in the company of Imam Zuhri.
    2.Also very realiable but stayed lesser than the first group.
    3.Stayed with Zuhri but were criticized by some.
    4.Did not stay with Zuhri and were criticized by some.
    5.Weak and unknown narrators.

    Imam Bukhari took narrators of the first category, seldom would he take from the second category. Imam Muslim would take from the third cateory as well.

    Abu Dawood and Nasai would take from the third category.
    Tirmizi from the fourth category, Tirmizi is more superior to Abu Dawood because he discusses the reason a hadith is weak, etc.

    Imam Abu Dawood uses the fifth category to support and consolidate. (Read after the section on itti’saal.)

    A question arises that if according to Imam Bukhari, the chain of narrators must be an unbroken one, why are there ahadith-e-muanan (hadith with an-an).

    According to Imam Bukhari for a hadith muanan to be under the category of unbroken chain of narrators, the narrator and from whom he is narrating must be contemporaries and must meet at least once.

    In order to clearly understand the above, the following must be understood:

    The narrator and from whom he is narrating, if they are not contemporaries, such a narration is named as Irsaale Jali.

    If they are contemporaries but they did not meet, this is called Irsaale Khafi.

    If they are contemporaries, met but narrates something he did not hear, this is Tadlees.

    According to Imam Bukhari, the two must meet at least once. According to Muslim, merely being contemporaries is sufficient. Imam Bukhari views this as a possibility of being Irsaal, hence the narration will not be of an unbroken chain (muttasal).

    One may raise an objection that according to Imam Bukhari, meeting once is sufficient, but still there is a possibility of non-narration. The answer is that we are discussing about a narrator who does not practice Tadlees. A mudallis’s narration is not muttasil, hence disqualifies from being accepted.
    In the light of the above discussion, it is clear that Bukhari shareef is more superior to Muslim or any other book on hadith. Dare Qutni says:

    The statement of Abu Ali Nishapuri: "There is no other kitaab on the surface of this earth more sahih than Muslim Shareef," is opposed by Nishapuri’s Ustaad, Imam Nasai, who said there is no better book than Bukhari Shareef.
    However, it must be noted that the superiority of Bukhari Shareef over Muslim Shareef and other books of ahadith is on a general basis, not that every hadith of Bukhari Shareef is more superior to any hadith in any other book of hadith.

    15. The Topics (Taraajim) of Bukhari Shareef

    1.Sometimes the purpose of Imam Bukhari is not literal. He says something and means isharatun-nas or dalatun-nas.

    2.Imam Bukhari does not repeat a topic, if so the purpose is different.

    3.Generally the topic is like a claim and the ahadith follow it as proof, but in many instances, he means to explain the meaning of the following hadith.
    4.A tarjuma sometimes has two meanings, clear and unclear. People think and assume the clear meaning, hence they experience difficulty in reconciling the topic with the hadith, whereas the unclear meaning is the purpose of Imam Bukhari.

    5.Sometimes there is no link between the topic and hadith quoted under it, but the hadith with that link is nearby, if not further in the kitaab, or maybe it is not in Bukhari Shareef, because it does not conform with the conditions of Bukhari Shareef.

    6.Sometimes with the topic, Imam Bukhari quotes sayings of sahaba and tabi’een (radhiallahu anhum), but those sayings have no direct relevance.

    7.Sometimes there is a baab but no hadith under the baab. The reason for this is that the hadith is somewhat related to the previous baab, just like the fasal of the fuqaha. Imam Bukhari’s purpose is also probably to sharpen the brain, that one ponders in the hadith and deduce some valid point.

    8.Sometimes there is a tarjama but no hadith under it. This is of different types:

    Either there are verses of quran after the topic, or the verses are part of the topic. In the above two the verses are sufficient substantiations.

    However if there is a topic and no verse or hadith, the reason is either that the hadith is not in conformity with the conditions set out by Imam Bukhari or the hadith is mentioned elsewhere and to avoid exact repetition, he did not mention it or for sharpening the brains, that one ponders over a hadith to substantiate.

    9.Sometimes a topic is mentioned twice, the purpose of the second is to elaborate on the first one.

    10.Sometimes such a topic is mentioned that does not need any explanation but he brings it to refute an opinion of some muhaddith. This is common in Bukhari Shareef against Musannaf Abdur Razzaak and Ibn Abi Shaiba.

    16. Repetitions in Bukhari Shareef

    Generally Imam Bukhari repeats a hadith but with a different chain of narrators or different words. However there are about 21 or 22 places in Bukhari Shareef wherein there are exact (sanad or words) repeated. This is indeed a very negligent number in comparison to the vast number of ahadith in Bukhari Shareef. However, where a hadith is repeated but with a different chain of narrators or different words, the benefits of reporting them are:

    1.When one sahabi narrates a hadith, that same hadith is narrated by another sahabi, the purpose of quoting the other sahabi’s narration is to remove the misconception of non-familiarity (garaabat).

    2.One narrator quotes the hadith short, the other complete, Imam Bukhari quotes both as narrated by the narrators.

    3.A hadith is narrated with different words, for every change of word he brings a different topic and repeats it.

    4.If there are two posibilities in one narration, of broken and unbroken chain of narrators (muttasil and ghair muttasil) Imam Bukhari quotes the both possibilities to indicate that the irsaal does not prevent the itti’saal’s acceptance.

    5.Similarly if there are two possibilities, of dependant (mawkuuf) and complete (marfu) narrations.

    6.In some chain of narrators, if there is an addition, Imam Bukhari brings both versions to show that both are correct.

    7.One narration is muanan, the other chain expresses meeting, Imam Bukhari brings both to remove doubt.

    17. Important Books related to Bukhari Shareef

    1.Aini (762-855 A.H.) - He wrote his sharah (commentary) over a period of 27 years. This sharah consists of 25 volumes. In this meanings of the words in the hadith are given and the link between the topic (baab) and hadith and many other aspects.

    2.Fathul Baari (Ibn Hajar Asqalani 773 - 852 A.H.) - This sharah was written over a period of 25 years. It consists of 13 volumes. Before this sharah, Ibn Hajar wrote (Alhadyus Saari) an introduction to Bukhari Shareef and Taghleequt-Taaleeq. After Aini wrote his sharah, Ibn Hajar wrote Intiqaasul I’tiraaz to answer Ainis objections. In Aini and Fathul Baari, there are answers of the same objections by one another. This was also due to some students eg. Burhaan ibn Khizar attending both discourses and informing both of them accordingly. However both the sharah have their own beauties and positive features, but Aini is easier to refer to and understood quickly, due to its concise and orderly fashion.

    3.Irshaadus Saari (851- 923 A.H. Qastalani) - This sharah is also known as Sharah Qastalani. This sharah is a synopsis of the above two sharahs.
    4.Alkawaakibud-daraari (Allama Kirmaani 717-786 A.H.) - The author was sleeping by the kaba and there he was inspired to keep this name for his sharah.

    5.Faizul Baari (Allama Badre Aalam) - Has written the main points from Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiris lessons in Bukhari Shareef.

    6.Alabwaab Wat-taraajim (Hazrath Sheikh Zakariyya) - This is a must reference for Abwaab as well as other important discussions.

    7.Laamiud Daraari - (Moulana Yahya Saheb) noted the points from Hazrath Moulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi’s discourses of Bukhari Shareef.

    Ebrahim Desai (Mufti)
    Isipingo Beach, South Africa

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    May Allah give us the strength to live up to the great muslims of the times before.
    If Allah is with you, then whom do you have to fear,
    If Allah is against you, then what hope do you have.

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    IMAM BUKHARI (Rahmatullahi alaihi)

    “The most authentic book after the Holy Qur’an.” This is the conclusion that every learned religious Scholar came to. No matter how great these Scholars were, they were forced to unanimously agree that ‘Sahih Al-Bukhari’ is the most authentic work in Hadith literature ever compiled.

    We seem to have heard a lot about the magnificence of this compilation, but how much do we really know about the person who actually compiled this book? How much do we know about the man who had spent endless years traveling to many lands in search of people who had picked up the gems that had fallen from the lips of the Noble Messenger of Allah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) so that he may gather these precious gems and present them to the world in the form of ‘Sahih Al-Bukhari.’

    I feel it necessary to express my indebted honour to have the opportunity to make an attempt of presenting a brief outlook on the life of this celebrated personality.

    His name, ‘Abu Abdillah Muhammad Ibn Ismail Ibn Ibrahim Ibn Al-Mughirah Ibn Bardizbah Al-Bukhari.’ He was born on 13 Shawwal 194 AH / 810 CE after the Jumuah Salaah in Bukhara in the territory of Khurasan (West Turkistan).

    Ismail, the father of Imam Bukhari, died during the Imam’s childhood leaving him along with a brother and sister in the care of his mother, where he was nourished with love and care.

    Historians relate a remarkable incident that occurred during the Imam’s childhood. He had lost the use of both his eyes. Because of the endless prayers of his mother and the nights spent weeping, the Imam’s sight was miraculously restored. The Imam’s mother was informed by means of a dream in which the Prophet Ibrahim (alaihissalam) had appeared and said:
    “Because of your bountiful and sacred prayers, Allah has returned the eyesight of your son.”

    Imam Bukhari began to learn traditions (hadith) by heart at the age of ten. His intelligence was already showing at that age, for he is credited with having been able at an early age to correct his teachers.

    It was at the age of sixteen, after having memorized the compilations of both Imam Waki and Abdullah Ibn Mubarak, that he made the pilgrimage to Makkah accompanying his mother and elder brother. Upon completing the pilgrimage, the Imam decided to remain in Makkah. He would spend the next six years in Hijaz (Makkah and Madinah) in the pursuit of Hadith (traditions). He traveled widely in search of traditions, visiting the main centers of knowledge, namely Basra, Kufa, Baghdad, Egypt and Syria. Iraq was the place where Imam Bukhari would occasionally return (Kufa and Basra were both historical ‘powerhouses’ of knowledge).

    There are a great number of teachers from whom Imam Bukhari gained his knowledge. It is reported that the Imam has heard traditions from 1080 different people, all of whom were Scholars.

    The Scholars who taught the Imam were the likes of Muhammad Ibn Salam and Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Baikandi, Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Musnadi, Ibrahim Ibn Ash’ath and even Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal. However, he had mostly benefited from Ishaaq Ibn Rahway and Ali Ibn Madeeni.

    Many a story has been told regarding the Imam’s remarkable memory. Many considered his memory to be inhuman! The Imam was able to repeat a hadith immediately after it was recited to him.

    During his student years, whilst visiting Baghdad, he had memorized 15,000 traditions in sixteen days. There is another spectacular incident that also took place in Baghdad when the Imam had taken up temporary residence there. People had heard about the Imam’s extraordinary memory. They decided to test him to see if the Imam was worthy of the attributes that were being issued to him. One hundred different ahaadeeth were chosen that had their testimonials and text altered. These altered ahaadeeth were to be recited to Imam Bukhari by ten people. By now, a crowd had gathered to witness the outcome of this deliberate test. One by one, each altered tradition was recited. The Imam remarked at the end of each recital:
    “Not of my knowledge.”
    After all the traditions had been presented, the Imam demonstrated the power of his memory by correcting the testimonial and text of each tradition in order.

    Imam Bukhari had memorized over 200,000 traditions and written over 300,000. Unfortunately, some of these traditions were not genuinely authentic and unreliable, for he was born at a time when traditions of the Holy Prophet (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) were being forged and distorted either to please kings and rulers or to corrupt the religion of Islam.

    It was because of this reason that Imam Bukhari decided to dedicate the rest of his life in compiling a book that would strictly comprise of authentic traditions. The Imam’s mission was further strengthened when he was advised by his respected teacher, Sheikh-ul-Hadith Ishaaq Ibn Rahway to compile such a book that would exclusively contain ‘Sahih’ (authentic) Prophetic traditions.

    The Imam’s determination grew stronger after seeing himself in a dream, standing in front of the Noble Messenger of Allah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim). He had a fan in his hand and was driving away the flies from the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim). After relating the dream to numerous Scholars whom were experts in interpreting dreams, he was told that the dream meant that he would drive away and remove the false traditions that were claimed to have been heard from the Blessed Messenger of Allah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim). It was this dream that fuelled his determination to compile the book that the world recognizes today as ‘Sahih Al-Bukhari.’

    Wherever the Imam went, the compilation of his book would remain constant. At times he was seen compiling his book in Bukhara. Others state that he was seen in Basra. It has also been stated that he was seen writing in both Masjid-ul-Haraam and the Mosque of the Holy Prophet (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim).

    After sixteen years of exceptionally hard work, his famous book had been completed. Despite the excessive number of traditions that the Imam had memorized, he only selected 7275 ahaadith because these were the traditions that held strong testimonials as well as having no doubt in their authenticity. The above number consists of traditions that have been repeated. If the repeated ahaadith were to be excluded, the number of traditions will then become a total of 4,000. It is reported that the Imam would first have a bath then perform two rakat salaah and pray for guidance before inserting a new tradition to his book. The book was reviewed and approved of by great Scholars of his time including Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Ali Ibn Madeeni and Yahya Ibn Mu’een.

    The Imam had inherited a fair amount of wealth which he decided to spend in the path of Allah leaving him with no money. He would spend his days on one or two almonds.

    In spite of the high status and respect that the Imam was worthy of, he would always search for ways however small they may be, to please Allah. There was one such incident where a man from a crowd inside a Mosque had noticed a feather in his beard. The man removed the feather and threw it on the floor. Imam Bukhari was aware of what the man had done, he looked around to make sure nobody was looking, bent down to pick up the feather and placed it in his pocket. The fact that he had just conducted an act of good had immensely pleased him.

    There are lessons to be learned in the piety of Imam Bukhari and the enjoyment that he received from performing salaah. He was once performing the Zuhar prayer. After completing his prayer he began to perform his Nafl. The salaah was performed with complete devotion and composure. Once the salaah had been completed, the Imam turned to face his companions and lifted his shirt asking whether there was anything under it. The crowd saw a wasp fall out leaving seventeen places on the Imam’s body that were swollen and red. The companions were astonished and asked why he had not terminated his salaah, but the Imam replied with an answer that is worth pondering upon. He said that he had felt a certain pleasure in his salaah that made him carry on.

    The Governor of Bukhara, Khalid Ibn Ahmad Al-Dhuhli requested the Imam to make visits to the Governor’s home in order to teach his children. The Imam refused, saying that it was an indignity to convey learning to people’s houses. The Imam stressed on the fact that he had greater respect for knowledge than people. A second request was made for the Imam to hold sessions strictly for the Governor’s children. The Imam again refused to give the Governor’s children preferential treatment. This second refusal enraged the Governor; the Imam was therefore expelled from Bukhara.

    Hearing Imam Bukhari’s situation, the people of Samarqand invited him to their hometown. Unfortunately, the Imam again suffered opposition and was forced to make his way towards Khartank where he stayed with his relatives.

    It was here in Khartank, where he spent his final Ramadhan and on 1 Shawwal 256 AH / 870 CE whilst on a journey from Kartank to Samarqand, that the great Imam Bukhari departed from this world (To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return). The body of this great man was buried in Khartank (May Allah shower blessings upon his soul).

    We have come to the end of what I believe is not even a mere glimpse at the life of Imam Bukhari. Many detailed biographies have been written that should be studied in order to understand exactly why this man had been elevated to such a high status and the reason why the whole of the Islamic World attributed the titles, ‘Commander of the Faithful in Hadith’ and ‘Possessor of the most powerful memory in the world’ to him.

    Lessons should be learned from the Imam’s steadfastness, piety and manners. May Allah strengthen our love for the beautiful traditions of the Chosen Messenger of Allah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) and may Allah bless us and accept our efforts in the cause of Islam like He accepted the man who has left a mark on the pages of Hadith forever.

    Courtesy: Inter-Islam.Org Copyright 1998-2001 ©


    Al-Bukhaari: the master in the science of Prophetic narrations

    His mother woke up with a start and said happily: "What a pleasant dream! Allaah’s messenger Ibraaheem appeared in my dream, and said: "O woman! Allaah restored your son’s eye sight because of your frequent supplications". She said: "O Allaah, make it a glad tiding. "O Allaah answer my supplications and restore the sight of my child."
    The pious mother walked to her son’s room, hardly able to move her feet. When she reached his bed, she was about to wake him up but she hesitated. Her broken heart was beating and she kept tenderly and kindly caressing his head with her shaky hands. She was still supplicating and hoping that Allaah would answer her frequent supplications and cure her son. The young boy woke up and started looking in amazement and moving his eyelids in confusion. He said in a breaking voice:

    "Mother!! I can see you, I can see your beautiful face! I can see my room and my toys!!"

    All perfect praise be to Allaah! All perfect praise be to Allaah! Allaah gave me back my eyesight!!"

    She was so happy that she thought she was dreaming. But she soon realized that it was real when she saw her beloved son running and playing as he used to do. Filled with faith and happiness, she said: "All perfect praise be to Allaah! All perfect praise be to Allaah who has the power to do everything."

    One day, when the mother was tidying up the house in the morning, she came across a few papers containing some narrations of the Prophet . She remembered her beloved husband and said sadly and painfully while wiping the tears off her cheeks: "May Allaah have mercy on you, Muhammad’s father. You were a man who used to fear Allaah. You dreamed for a long time that your son Muhammad would be a religious scholar! I promise you that I will do my best to achieve your dear wish, Allaah willing." Then she called her son kindly, and Muhammad hurried to her obediently. Then, she said to him: "It is time for you, my son to seek religious knowledge and benefit yourself and the people around you. Tomorrow I will send you to a small school where you can memorize the Quran, learn Prophetic narrations and study the Arabic language to become an honourable scholar like your father, Ismaa'eel.

    The young boy, Muhammad, said cleverly: "Mother! Was my father an eminent scholar?"

    The mother replied: "Yes, my son." Mohammad, then said politely: "I promise you, Mother, that I will follow his footsteps seriously and exert all my efforts."

    The city of Bukhaaraa (now in Islamic Uzbekistan) was located at that time in one of the greatest countries beyond the Transoxus (now Turkistan). Schools of knowledge where people could learn Arabic, the Quran, history, and Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) were spread throughout the city. The young boy, Muhammad Ibn Ismaa’eel Al-Bukhaari then set out to quench his thirst for knowledge from these sweet springs. Early in his life, he showed signs of intelligence that surprised everyone around him. He had a sharp mind, an attentive heart, an amazing memory, and an incredible ability to memorize. Before he was ten, he had memorized the whole Quran, mastered the Arabic language, covered much of the Fiqh, and memorized many Prophetic narrations. His pious good mother always encouraged her son and prepared a suitable atmosphere for him to acquire knowledge. When Al-Bukhaari finished his studies in the small schools, his wise mother thought to send him to the well-known study circles in Bukhaaraa, Samarqand, Bekend, Marw, and Nesabor. He became famous among the scholars to the point that he used to argue with his professors and even corrected them sometimes!!

    The success and physiognomy of Al-Bukhaari didn't end there. His shaykh and teacher Mohammad Ibn Salaam Al-Bekandy the scholar of Buhaaraa and the scholar of Prophetic narrations across the Transoxus (now Turkistan), used to ask him to revise some of his books and corrected any mistakes he found. Scholars used to wonder in astonishment: "Who was that boy who edits the books of his professor?!"

    Imaam Bekandi used to say proudly about his clever student: "This boy is unique of his kind."

    On many occasions Imaam Bekandi talked to his colleagues about his student, Al-Bukhaari who memorized seventy thousand Prophetic narrations by heart. In addition to this, he never reported a narration of the companions or the generation following them unless he knew when and where they were born, as well as where they lived and died!

    The years passed and Mohammad Ibn Ismaa'eel reached the age of sixteen years. He felt a great need to go and seek knowledge in every corner of the world to satisfy his thirst for knowledge. He headed to Makkah, accompanied by his mother and elder brother, Ahmad, in 210 AH to perform Hajj (pilgrimage) and seek more knowledge. After the pilgrimage, his mother and brother Ahmad returned to Bukhaaraa while he stayed in Makkah to move between its domes of knowledge: East, and west; North and South. Before the end of two years in this sacred city, he started writing his book The Issues of the companions and their Followers which marked the beginning of his renowned books.

    * Al-Bukhaari always loved to visit Madeenah. Among the fruits of his visits to that blessed place was writing his book: "The Big Book of History" which is considered the first book that comprises the names of the narrators of Prophetic narrations and the details of their lives. From that wonderful sacred spot, Al-Bukhaari set out on a relentless endeavor to visit all the Islamic territories out of his love for compiling the Prophetic narrations. He traveled to Hijaaz (Saudi Arabia), Greater Syria (Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon), Egypt, and Khurasaan (a vast area between north east Iran, southern Russia, and western Afghanistan). He visited Basrah and settled for some time in Baghdad which was the capital of the Abbasid state at that time. He greatly benefited from these journeys seeking knowledge. He had the pleasure of meeting most the narrators of Prophetic narrations at that time, sat with them, listened to the narrations, and memorized whatever knowledge they had.

    One night, Al-Bukhaari had a strange dream that later had a great impact on his life. He saw himself standing before the Prophet holding a palm-leaf fan in his hand with which he pushed all evil away from the Prophet . He was so confused and surprised that he went to his scholars asking them to interpret his dream. They said happily: "You will clear the lies and false claims away from the Prophet ." Al-Bukhaari then remembered his teacher, shaykh Is-Haaq Ibn Raahawayh, the prominent scholar of Khurasaan, when he told his students once: "It would be great if you can compile a concise and brief book containing the authentic narrations of the Prophet ."

    These words echoed in Al-Bukhaari’s heart and he remembered that dream which was always in his mind since he started learning the Prophetic narrations. Thereupon, he immediately made an intention to actively and seriously pursue this mission and started to strive in his long journey of writing this great book in 217 AH when he was twenty three.

    Because of that dream, Al-Bukhaari traveled thousands of miles moving from one Islamic territory to another, undergoing all sorts of difficulties, hardships, and weariness, sometimes to obtain only one narration of the Prophet . He sometimes even had to eat grass to satisfy his extreme hunger after he had spent all his money. Even the few hours of night in which he snatched short naps to rest a while, were not so resting for him, as he used to wake up fifteen to twenty times a night to lit his lamp and sit to classify the narrations he had collected. Al-Bukhaari made a pact with himself that he wouldn’t include a narration from any narrator until he had personally met him, and listened to the narration with his own ears. He never accepted narrations except from the ones who were known for being honest, diligent, accurate, fearing Allaah, and having a sharp memory. After this process, he would have a ritual bath; pray two Rak'as and then include only the narration that had met all these conditions in his book.

    After sixteen years of continuous effort and hard work, Al-Bukhaari finished his valuable book that comprised around 7000 authentic narrations which he selected from amongst 600,000 authentic and non-authentic narrations. He overlooked many authentic narrations so that his book wouldn’t be too long. He chose to name the book "The Authentic Book Encompassing a Brief Authentic Narrations of the Prophet, his Tradition and Life" to become the title of the most authentic book after the Quran. The book is known as 'Saheeh Al-Bukhaari' (The authentic narrations reported by Al-Bukhaari). This book became well known and it gave him a high rank that someone like him truly deserved to achieve. He had a vast knowledge, great manners, a tolerant nature, dignity, and an untainted tongue. He cared so little for this life, he had deep faith, and had Allaah's consciousness at all times. After Imaam Al-Bukhaari became famous throughout the world, thousands of scholars came to him as students of the leader in memorization of authentic narrations until the number of people who attended his study circles in Baghdad reached 20,000. Among the most remarkable figures of his students were Imaams At-Tirmithi, An-Nasaa'ee, Muslim, and others.

    In 250 AH, Al-Bukhaari left to Nisabor, a city in Khurasaan and stayed there for a while teaching the people. Then he decided to return to his dear city, Bukhaaraa, and when he did the people rushed to welcome him in a great celebration in which huge tents were pitched and decorations were hung. They threw flowers and golden and silver coins on the Imaam upon his arrival into the city. There was an overwhelming atmosphere of happiness that prevailed throughout all Bukhaaraa.

    Allaah Willed, out of mercy to the Imaam, that Al-Bukhaari would only meet his Lord after peace and happiness had found their way into his heart again. One day, the people of Samarqand sent a message for him asking him to come. He agreed and packed with great joy. When he started walking towards his animal he said: “Take me back, I have become weak and very ill”. When they took him back to his house, he said some supplications then he laid on his bed sweating a lot, then his pure soul ascended to its Creator. His death was on a Friday night, the beginning of the month of Shawwaal, 256 AH (870 AD). He was sixty-two years old when he died. He was buried in the village of Khartank which is now known as 'Khawaajah Saaheb'. May Allaah have mercy upon the great Imaam and may Allaah admit him into Paradise. Aameen.
    Last edited by islamirama; May-17-2007 at 06:15 AM.

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    Imam Abu Hanifa

    AL-IMAM AL-AZAM ABU HANIFAH (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala) :

    The book Qamoos al-alam states: Al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa's name was Numan. His father's name was Thabit. His grandfather's name was Numan, too. He was the first of the four great imams of the Ahl as-Sunnah Wal Jama'ah. 'Imam' means 'profoundly learned scholar.' He was one of the main pillars of the brilliant religion of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). He was a descendant of a Persian notable. His grandfather had embraced Islam. He was born in Kufa in 80 (698 A.D.). He was born early enough to see Anas ibn Malik, 'Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa, Sahl ibn Sad as-Sa'idi and Abu al-Fadl Amir ibn Wasila, four Sahaabis (Radi-Allahu ta'ala anhum). He learned 'ilm al-fiqh from Hammad ibn Abi Sulaiman. He enjoyed the companionship of many notables of the Tabi'een, and of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala). He memorized innumerable Ahadith. He was brought up so as to become a great judge, but he became an imam al-madhhab. He had a superior, and amazingly keen intellect. In 'ilm al-fiqh, he attained an unequalled grade in a short time. His name and fame became worldwide.

    Yazid ibn 'Amr, Governor of Iraq during the time of Marana ibn Muhammad, the fourteenth and last Umayyad Halifax, who was a grandson of Marwaan ibn Hakam (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala) and was killed five years after assuming the caliphate in Egypt in 132 (750 A.D.), proposed to Abu Hanifa (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala) to become a judge for the law-court of Kufa. But, since he had as much zuhd, taqwa and wara' as he had knowledge and intellect, he refused it. He was afraid of not being able to safeguard human rights because of human weaknesses. With a command from Yazid, he was given a whipping, hundred and ten blows to the head. His blessed face and head swelled. The next day, Yazid took the Imam out and oppressed him by repeating his offer. The Imam said, "Let me consult," and obtained permission to leave. He went to the blessed city of Mecca and stayed there for five or six years.

    The 'Abbasid Khalifah Abu Ja'far Mansoor (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala) commanded him to be the chief of the Supreme Court of Appeal in 150 A.H. [767 A.D.]. He refused it and was put into jail. He was subjected to whipping, ten blows more every following day. When the number of whipping reached one hundred, he attained martyrdom. Abu Sad Muhammad ibn Mansoor al-Harizmi (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala), one of the viziers of Malikshah (447-485 A.H., the third Saljuqi Sultan and the son of Sultan Alparslan), had a wonderful dome built over his grave. Afterwards, Ottoman emperors embellished and had his tomb restored several times.

    Abu Hanifa (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala) was the first who compiled and classified 'ilm al-fiqh, and he gathered information for each branch of knowledge. He wrote the books Fara'id and Shuroot. There are innumerable books describing his extensive knowledge on fiqh; his extraordinary ability in qiyaas; and his dumbfounding superiority in zuhd, taqwa, mildness and righteousness. He had many disciples, some of whom became among the great mujtahideen. The Hanafi Madhhab spread far and wide during the time of the Ottoman Empire. It almost became the official Madhhab of the State. Today, more than half of the Muslims on the earth and most of the Ahl as-Sunnah perform their 'ibaadah according to the Hanafi Madhhab. Citation from the book Qamoos-ul alam ends here. The book Mir'at al-ka'inat states: The ancestors of al-Imam al-azam (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala) come from the province of Faaris, Iran. His father, Habit, had met Imam 'Ali (Radi-Allahu 'anhu) in Kufa and Hadrat 'Ali had pronounced a benediction over him and his descendants. Al-Imam al-azam was one of the greatest among the Tabi'een and saw Anas ibn Malik (Radi-Allahu 'anhu) and three or seven more of the as-Sahaabat ul-kiram. He learned Hadith ash-Sharif from them.

    A hadith ash-Sharif, which al-Imam al-Harizmi reported from Abu Hurairah (Radi-Allahu 'anhu) through isnaad muttasil (an uninterrupted chain of reporters), states: "Among my Ummah, there will come a man called Abu Hanifa. On the Day of Resurrection, he will be the light of my Ummah." Another hadith ash-Sharif states: "A man named Numan ibn Habit and called Abu Hanifa will appear and will revive Allah ta'ala's Religion and my Sunnah." And another one states: "In every century, a number of my Ummah will attain to high grades. Abu Hanifa will be the highest of his time." These three Ahadith are written in the book Mawdua'at al-'Uloom and in Durr-al-mukhtaar. This hadith ash-Sharif is also well known: "Among my Ummah, a man called Abu Hanifa will appear. There is a beauty spot between his two shoulder blades. Allahu ta'ala will revive His Religion through his hand."

    Preface to Durr al-mukhtaar writes: "A hadith ash-Sharif states: As Adam ('alaihi 's-salaam) was proud of me so I am proud of a man of my Ummah named Numan and called Abu Hanifa. He is the light of my Ummah.' " Another hadith ash-Sharif states: "Prophets ('alaihimu 's-salaam) are proud of me. And I am proud of Abu Hanifa. He who loves him will have loved me. He who feels hostility towards him will have felt hostility towards me." These Ahadith are also written in the book Al-muqaddimah by the profound scholar Hadrat Abu 'l-Laith as-Samarqandi and in Taqadduma, which is a commentary to the former. In the preface to the fiqh book Al-muqaddimah by al-Ghaznawi Ahadith praising him are quoted.

    In Diya' al-ma'nawi, a commentary on it, Qadi Abi 'l-Baqa said, 'Abul-Faraj 'Abdur-Rahman ibn al-Jawzi, based on the words of al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi, said that these Ahadith were made'. Yet this remark of his is bigotry, for these Ahadith were reported by several chains of transmitters. Ibn 'Abidin, in his commentary on Durr al-mukhtaar, proved that these Ahadith were not made' and quoted the following hadith ash-Sharif from the book Al-khairaat al-hisaan by Ibn Hajar al-Makki: "The ornament of the world will be taken away in the year 150." He went on, "The great fiqh scholar Shams al-aimmah 'Abdul-Ghaffaar al-Kardari (d. 562/1166 A.D.) said, "It is obvious that this hadith ash-Sharif refers to al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa, since he passed away in 150." A hadith ash-Sharif given by al-Bukhaari and Muslim says, "If imaan went to the planet Venus, a man of Faaris (Persian) descent would bring it back." Imam as-Suyuti, a Shafi'i alim, remarked, "It has been communicated unanimously that this hadith ash-Sharif refers to al-Imam al-azam." Numan Alusi writes in the book Ghaliyya that this hadith ash-Sharif refers to Abu Hanifa and that his grandfather descended from a Faaris family. 'Allamah Yusuf, a Hanbali scholar, quoted in his work Tanwir as-sahifa from Hafiz 'Allamah Yusuf ibn 'Abdul-Barr (b. 368/978 and d. 463/1071 in Shaatiba), Qadi of Lisbon, Portugal, 'Do not slander Abu Hanifa and do not believe those who slander him! I swear by Allahu ta'ala that I know not a person superior to him, having more wara', or being more learned than he. "Do not believe what al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi said! He was antipathetic towards the 'ulama'. He slandered Abu Hanifa, Imam Ahmad and their disciples.

    The 'ulama' of Islam refuted al-Khateeb and censured him. Ibn al-Jawzi's grandson, 'Allamah Yusuf Shams ad-din al-Baghdadi, wrote in his forty-volume book Mirat az-zaman that he was astonished to know that his grandfather had followed al-Khateeb. Imam al-Ghazaali (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala), in his Ihya', praises al-Imam al-azam with such words as ''abid', 'zahid' and 'al-'arif billah'. If the Sahaabat ul-Kiraam and the 'ulama' of Islam had different points of view from one another, it was not because they did not approve of each other's words or because they were unsociable to one another or because they disliked one another; mujtahideen (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaihim ajmain) disagreed with one another concerning ijtihaad for Allah ta'ala's sake and to help the religion."1]

    An alim dreamt of Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and asked him, 'What would you say about Abu Hanifa's knowledge?' He answered, 'Everybody needs his knowledge.' Another alim asked in his dream, 'O Rasul-Allah! What would you say about the knowledge Numan ibn Habit has, who lives in Kufa?' He answered, "Learn from him and do as he says. He is a very good person." Imam 'Ali (Radi-Allahu 'anhu) said, "Let me inform you of a person called Abu Hanifa, who will live in Kufa. His heart will be full of knowledge and hikmah (wisdom). Towards the end of the world, many people will perish because of not appreciating him, just as the Shiites will perish because of not having appreciated Abu Bakr and 'Umar (Radi-Allahu 'anhuma)."

    Imam Muhammad al-Baaqir ibn Zain al-'Abidin 'Ali ibn Hussain (rahmat-Allahi 'alaihim, b. 57 A.H. in Medina and d. 113, buried in the shrine of Hadrat 'Abbas [Radi-Allahu 'anhu] in Medina) looked at Abu Hanifa and said, "When those who destroy the religion of my ancestors increase in number, you will revive it. You will be the savior of those who fear and the shelter of those who are confused! You will lead the heretics to the right way! Allahu ta'ala will help you!" When he was young, al-Imam al-azam (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala) studied 'ilm al-kalaam and ma'rifah and became very skillful. Then after serving Imam Hammad for twenty-eight years, he attained maturity. When Hammad passed away, he took his place as a mujtahid and Mufti.

    His knowledge and superiority became known far and wide. His virtue, intelligence, sagacity, zuhd, taqwa, trustworthiness, readiness of wit, devotion to Islam, righteousness and his perfection in every respect as a human being were above those of all others of his time. All the mujtahideen and those who succeeded him and noble people -even Christians- praised him. Al-Imam ash-Shafi'i (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala) said, "All men of fiqh are Abu Hanifa's children." He said once, "I get blessings (tabarruk) from Abu Hanifa's soul. I visit his tomb every day. When I am in difficulty, I go to his tomb and perform two rak'ah of salaat. I invoke Allahu ta'ala, and He gives me what I wish." Al-Imam ash-Shafi'i was a disciple of Imam Muhammad.2 He remarked, "Allahu ta'ala bestowed knowledge upon me through two persons. I learned the Hadith ash-Sharif from Sufyaan ibn 'Uyaynah and fiqh from Muhammad ash-Shaibaani."

    He said once, "In the field of religious knowledge and in worldly affairs, there is one person to whom I am grateful. He is Imam Muhammad." And again, al-Imam ash-Shafi'i said, "With what I learned from Imam Muhammad I have written a pack-animal-load of books. I would not have acquired anything of knowledge had he not been my teacher. All men of knowledge are the children of the 'ulama' of Iraq, who were the disciples of the 'ulama' of Kufa. And they were the disciples of Abu Hanifa." Al-Imam al-azam acquired knowledge from four thousand people. The 'ulama' of every century wrote many books describing the greatness of al-Imam al-azam. In the Hanafi Madhhab, five hundred thousand religious problems were solved and all of them were answered. [Editor's note: It is to be noted that that number is close to doubled in the present-day era.]

    Al-Hafiz al-kabir Abu Bakr Ahmad al-Harizmi wrote in his book Musnad, "Saif al-aimmah reports that when al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa derived a matter from Qur'an al-karim and Hadith ash-Sharif, he would propound it to his masters. He would not give the answer to the inquirer unless all of them confirmed it." One thousand of his disciples attended all his classes when he taught in the mosque of Kufa city. Forty of them were mujtahideen. When he found the answer for a matter he would propound it to his disciples. They would study it together and, when they were all in agreement that it was consistent with Qur'an al-karim and Hadith ash-Sharif and with the words of the Sahaabat al-kiraam, he would be delighted and say, "Al-hamdu lillah wallahu Akbar," and all those who were present would repeat his words. Then he would tell them to write it down."

    It is written in the book Radd al-Wahhabi 3: [THE FOLLOWING IS A VERY IMPORTANT PIECE OF INFORMATION!!!] "Being a mujtahid requires first being specialized in the Arabic language and in the various linguistic sciences such as awda', sahih, marwi, mutawaatir; ways of radd; made' vocabulary; fasih, radi and mazmun forms; mufrad, shadh, nadir, mustamal, muhmal, mu'rab, marifa, ishtiqaq, haqiqa, majaz, mushtarak, izdad, mutlaq, muqayyad, ibdal and qalb. Next you must be specialized in sarf, nahw, ma'ani, bayan, badi', balaghat, 'ilm al-usul al-fiqh, 'ilm al-usul al-hadith, 'ilm al-usul at-tafsir, and have memorized the words of the imams of jarh and tadil. Being a faqih requires, in addition to these, knowing the proof for every matter and studying the meaning, the murad and tawil of the proof.

    Being a muhaddith, that is, a scholar of hadith, requires only memorizing the Ahadith as one heard them; it is not compulsory to know the meanings, murads, tawils, or to understand the proofs for the rules of Islam. If a faqih and a muhaddith disagree with each other about a hadith ash-Sharif, e.g. if the former says that it is sahih and the latter says that it is daif, the faqih's word will be valid. Therefore, al-Imam al-azam's word or decision is more valuable than all the others because he was the first mujtahid and the highest faqih due to his having heard many Ahadith directly from the Sahaabat al-kiraam without any intervention. A hadith ash-Sharif that was said to be sahih by this exalted imam was said to be sahih by all Islamic scholars. A muhaddith cannot be in the grade of a faqih. And he can never reach the grade of an imam al-madhhab."

    'Abdulhaq ad-Dahlawi, a scholar of hadith, wrote in his book Sirat-i mustaqim, "Some Ahadith which al-Imam ash-Shafi'i took as documents were not taken as documents by al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa. Seeing this, the la-madhhabi used it as an opportunity for traducing al-Imam al-azam and claimed that Abu Hanifa had not followed the hadith ash-Sharif. However, Hadrat al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa found and took other Ahadith which were more sahih and dependable in documenting the matter."

    A hadith ash-Sharif states: "The most beneficial ones of my Ummah are those who live in my time. The next most beneficial ones are those who succeed them. And the next most beneficial ones are those who will come after them." This hadith ash-Sharif shows that the Tabi’een were more beneficial than Taba' at-Tabi’een. The Islamic 'ulama' all agree that al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa saw some of the as-Sahaabat al-kiraam, heard Ahadith from them, and, therefore, was one of the Tabi’een. For example, al-Imam al-azam heard the hadith, "A person who builds a mosque for Allahu ta'ala's sake will be given a villa in Paradise," from 'Abdullah ibn Awfa, who was a Sahaabi.

    Jalaal ad-din as-Suyuti, a Shafi'i scholar, wrote in his book Tabyid as-sahifa that al-Imam 'Abdulkarim, one of the Shafi'I scholars, wrote a complete book describing the Sahaabis whom al-Imam al-azam had seen. It is written in Durr al-mukhtaar that al-Imam al-azam saw seven Sahaabis. Among the four aimmat al-madhahib, only al-Imam al-azam was honored with being one of the Tabi’een. It is a rule in 'ilm al-usool that the view of those who admit something is preferred to the view of those who refuse it. It is obvious that al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa, being one of the Tabi’een, is the highest of the aimmat al-madhahib. The la-madhhabis' denying al-Imam al-azam's superiority or their trying to vilify this exalted Imam by saying that he was weak in the knowledge of hadith, is similar to their denying the superiority of Hadrat Abu Bakr and Hadrat 'Umar (Radi-Allahu 'anhuma).

    This perverse negation of theirs is not a sort of illness that can be cured by preaching or advice. May Allahu ta'ala cure them! The Muslims' Khalifah 'Umar (Radi-Allahu 'anhu) said during his khutbah: "O Muslims! As I tell you now, Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) told us during his khutbah: "The most beneficial people are my Sahaabah. The most beneficial after them are their successors. And the next most beneficial are those who will come after them. There will be liars among those who will come after these.' " The four Madhhabs which Muslims have been following and imitating today are the Madhhabs of those beneficial people whose beneficence was corroborated by Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam). The Islamic 'ulama' declare in consensus that it is not permissible to adopt a Madhhab other than these four Madhhabs.

    Ibn Nujaim al-Misri (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala), author of the book Bahr ar-ra'iq, wrote in his work Ashbah, "Hadrat al-Imam ash-Shafi'i said that a person who wanted to be a specialist in the knowledge of fiqh should read Abu Hanifa's books." Abdullah Ibn Mubaarak said, "I have not seen another specialist as learned as Abu Hanifa in the knowledge of fiqh. The great alim Mis'ar used to kneel in front of Abu Hanifa and learn what he did not know by asking him. I have studied under a thousand 'ulama'. Yet, had I not seen Abu Hanifa, I would have slipped into the bog of Greek philosophy." Abu Yusuf said, "I have not seen another person as profoundly learned as Abu Hanifa in the knowledge of hadith. There is not another alim who can expound Ahadith as competently as he did." The great alim and mujtahid Sufyaan ath-Thawri said, "In comparison with Abu Hanifa, we were like sparrows with a falcon. Abu Hanifa is the leader of the 'ulama'." 'Ali ibn Asim said, "If Abu Hanifa's knowledge were to be measured with the total knowledge of all the 'ulama' contemporary with him, Abu Hanifa's knowledge would prove to be greater."

    Yazid ibn Harun said, "I studied under a thousand 'ulama'. Among them I did not see anyone who had as much wara' as Abu Hanifa did or who was as wise as Abu Hanifa (Rihimahu Allahu Ta'ala)." Muhammad ibn Yusuf ash-Shafi'i, one of the Damascene 'ulama', praises al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa much, explains his superiority in detail, and says that he is the leader of all mujtahideen in his book Uqud al-jaman fi manaqibi'n-Numan. Al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa said, "We esteem and love Rasulullah's ('alaihi 's-salam) Ahadith above all. We search for the words of the Sahaabat al-kiraam, choose and adopt them. As for the words of the Tabi’een, they are like our words. Translation from the book Radd-i Wahhabi ends here. This book was printed in India and in Istanbul, in 1264 (1848 A.D.) and in 1401 (1981 A.D.), respectively.

    In the book Sayf-ul-muqallidin ala a'nak-il-munkirin, Mawlana Muhammad 'Abdul-Jalil wrote in Persian: "The la-madhhabi say that Abu Hanifa was weak in the knowledge of hadith. This assertion of theirs shows that they are ignorant or jealous. Al-Imam az-Zahabi and Ibn Hajar al-Makki say that al-Imam al-azam wasan alim of hadith. He learned Ahadith from four thousand 'ulama'. Three hundred of them were among the Tabi’een and were 'ulama' of hadith. Al-Imam ash-Sharaani says in the first volume of al-Mizaan, 'I have studied three of al-Imam al-azam's Musnads. All of them transmit information from the well-known 'ulama' of the Tabi’een.' Hostility which the la-madhhabi people bear against the Salaf as-saliheen and their jealousy towards the mujtahid imams, particularly towards their leader al-Imam al-Muslimeen Abu Hanifa, must have obstructed their perception and conscience to the extent that they deny the beauty and superiority of these Islamic 'ulama'.

    They are intolerant of the fact that pious people have what they do not have. It is for this reason that they deny the superiority of the imams of Islam and thus venture into the shirk (polytheism) of jealousy. It is written in the book Hada'iq: "When al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa memorized Ahadith he wrote them down. He kept the hadith books he wrote in wooden boxes, some of which he always kept at hand wherever he went. His quoting only a few Ahadith does not show that the number of Ahadith he memorized was small. Only bigoted enemies of Islam may say so. This bigotry of theirs proves al-Imam al-azam's perfection; an inept person's slandering the learned indicates the former's perfection." Founding a great Madhhab and answering hundreds of thousands of questions by documenting them with ayahs and Ahadith could not have been done by a person who was not deeply specialized in the sciences of tafsir and hadith. In fact, bringing forth a new, unique Madhhab without a model or an example is an excellent proof for al-Imam al-azam's expertise in the sciences of tafsir and hadith. Because he worked with extraordinary energy and brought forth this Madhhab, he did not have time to quote the Ahadith or to cite their transmitters one by one; this cannot be grounds for denigrating that exalted imam by jealously casting aspersions on him by saying that he was weak in the knowledge of hadith. It is a known fact that riwayah (transmitting) without dirayah (ability, intelligence) has no value. For example, Ibn Abdul-Barr said, "If riwayah without dirayah were valuable, a dustman's quoting a hadith would be superior to Luqman's intelligence."

    Ibn Hajar al-Makki was one of the 'ulama' in the Shafi'i Madhhab, but he wrote in his book Qala'id: "The great alim of hadith A'mash asked al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa many questions. Al-Imam al-azam answered each of his questions by quoting Ahadith. After seeing al-Imam al-azam's profound knowledge in hadith, A'mash said, 'O, you, the 'ulama' of fiqh! You are like specialized doctors, and we the 'ulama' of hadith are like pharmacists. We cite Ahadith and their transmitters, but you are the ones who understand their meanings.' " It is written in the book 'Uqud al-jawahiri 'l-munifa: "While 'Ubaidullah ibn 'Amr was in the company of the great alim of hadith A'mash, someone came up and asked a question. As A'mash thought about the answer, al-Imam al-azam joined in. A'mash repeated the question to the Imam and requested an answer. Al-Imam al-azam immediately answered it in detail.

    Admiring the answer, A'mash said, "O Imam! From which hadith do you derive this?' Al-Imam al-azam quoted the hadith ash-Sharif from which he derived the answer and added, 'I heard this from you.' " Al-Imam al-Bukhaari knew three hundred thousand Ahadith by heart. He wrote only twelve thousand of them in his books because he feared very much the threat in the hadith ash-Sharif, "If a person quotes, in the name of hadith, what I have not uttered, he will be tormented very bitterly in Hell." Having much wara' and taqwa, al-Imam al-azam imposed very heavy conditions for the transmitting of Ahadith. He would quote only those Ahadith fulfilling these conditions. Some 'ulama' of hadith transmitted numerous Ahadith because their branch was wider and their conditions were lighter. The 'ulama' of hadith never belittled one another on account of differing conditions. Had this not been so, Imam Muslim would have said something to offend al-Imam al-Bukhaari (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaihima). Al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa's transmitting only a few Ahadith because of his circumspection and taqwa is only a good reason for praising and lauding him."4

    The book Mirat al-ka'inat goes on: "Al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala) performed morning prayer in a mosque and answered his disciples' questions until noon every day. After noon prayer, he taught his disciples again until night prayer. Then he would go home and, after resting for a while, return to the mosque and worship until morning prayer. Mis'ar ibn Kadam al-Kufi, one of the Salaf as-saliheen, who passed away in 115 (733 A.D.), and many other great people reported this fact. He earned his living in a halaal way by trading. He sent goods to other places and with his earnings he met the needs of his disciples. He spent much for his household and gave an equal amount as alms to the poor. Moreover, every Friday he distributed twenty gold coins to the poor for his parents' souls. He did not stretch his legs towards his teacher Hammad's (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala) house, though he lived at a distance of seven streets away. Once he found out that one of his partners had sold a large amount of goods incompatibly with Islam. He distributed all the ninety thousand aqchas earned to the poor, not taking one penny of it. After brigands had raided the villages of Kufa and had stolen sheep, he, thinking that these stolen sheep might be slaughtered and sold in the town, did not eat mutton for seven years, for he knew that a sheep lived seven years at the longest. He abstained from the haraam to that degree. He observed Islam in his every action.

    For forty years al-Imam al-azam (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala) performed the morning prayer with the ablution he had made for the night prayer [that is, he did not sleep after the night prayer.] He performed hajj fifty-five times. During the last one, he went into the Ka'bah, performed a prayer of two rak’ah and recited the whole Qur'an al-karim during the prayer. Then, weeping, he invoked, "O my Allahu ta'ala! I have not been able to worship Thee in a manner worthy of Thee. Yet I have understood very well that Thou cannot be comprehended through intelligence. For this understanding of mine, please forgive the defects in my service! At that moment a voice was heard, "O Abu Hanifa! You have acknowledged me very well and have served me beautifully. I have forgiven you and those who will be in your Madhhab and follow you until the end of the world." He read Qur'an al-karim from the beginning to the end once every day and once every night.

    Al-Imam al-azam had so much taqwa that for thirty years he fasted every day [except the five days of a year on which it is haraam to fast]. He often read the whole Qur'an al-karim in one rak'ah or two. And sometimes, during salaat or outside it, he read an ayah describing Heaven and Hell over and over again and sobbed and lamented.5 those who heard him pitied him. Among the Ummah of Muhammad ('alaihi 's-salam), reciting the whole Qur'an al-karim in a single rak’ah of salaat fell to the lot of only 'Uthman ibn 'Affan, Tamim ad-Daari, Sad ibn Jubair and al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa. He did not accept any presents from anyone. He wore clothes like those of the poor. Yet at times, in order to exhibit the blessings of Allahu ta'ala, he wore very valuable clothes. He performed hajj fifty-five times and stayed in Mecca for several years. Only at the place where his soul was taken, he had read the whole Qur'an al-karim seven thousand times. He said, "I laughed once in my life, and I regret it."

    He talked little and thought much. He discussed some religious matters with his disciples. One night, while leaving the mosque immediately after performing the night prayer in jama'ah, he began to talk with his disciple Zufar on some subject. One of his feet was inside the mosque and the other was outside. The conversation continued until the morning adhan. Then, without taking the other step out, he went back in for the morning prayer. Because Hazrat 'Ali (Radi-Allahu 'anhu) had said, "It is permissible to have a personal allowance of up to four thousand dirhams," he distributed to the poor what was more than four thousand dirhams of his earnings. The Khalifah Mansoor revered the Imam very much. He presented him ten thousand aqchas and a jariyah. The Imam did not accept them. At that time one aqcha was worth one dirham of silver. In 145 A.H., Ibrahim ibn 'Abdullah ibn Hasan ibn 'Ali was recruiting men in order to help his brother Muhammad (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaihim ajmain), who had proclaimed himself the Khalifah in al-Madinat al-munawwarah. When he came to Kufa, it was rumored that Abu Hanifa was helping him. Mansoor heard this and had the Imam taken from Kufa to Baghdad. He told him to tell everybody that Mansoor was rightfully the Khalifah. He offered him the presidency of the Supreme Court of Appeal as recompense. He imposed on him very much. The Imam did not accept it. Mansoor imprisoned him and had him thrashed with a stick thirty strokes. His blessed feet bled. Mansoor repented and sent him thirty thousand aqchas, only to be refused again. He was imprisoned again and thrashed ten strokes more every day.

    According to some report, on the eleventh day, for fear that the people might rebel, he was forced to lie down on his back and poisonous sherbet (a sweet fruit drink) was poured into his mouth. As he was about to die, he prostrated (sajdah). Some fifty thousand people performed janazah salaat for him. Because of the enormous crowd, it was performed with difficulty and finished not before the late afternoon prayer. For twenty days many people came to his tomb and performed janazah salaat for him near his tomb. He had seven hundred and thirty disciples. Each of them was famed for his virtue and pious deeds. Many of them became Qadis or Muftis. His son Hammad (Rahimahu Allahu Ta'ala) was one of his notable disciples. Passages from the book Mirat-ul-kainat ends here. They have been leaders guiding the ahl-i din, rahmat-Allahi 'alaihim ajmain.

    There were some disagreements between al-Imam al-azam and his disciples on the information that was to be deduced through ijtihaad. The following hadith ash-Sharif declares that these disagreements were useful: "Disagreement (on the 'amal, practices) among my Ummah is [Allahu ta'ala's] compassion." He feared Allahu ta'ala very much and was very careful in following Qur'an al-karim. He said to his disciples, "If you come across a document (sanad) inconsistent with my words on a subject, ignore my words and follow that document." All his disciples swore, "Even our words inconsistent with his words surely depend on a proof (dalil, sanad) we had heard from him."

    Hanafi Muftis have to issue fatwas agreeable with what al-Imam al-azam said. If they cannot find his word, they should follow Imam Abu Yusuf. After him, Imam Muhammad should be followed. If the words of Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad are on one side and those of al-Imam al-azam on the other, a Mufti may issue a fatwa according to either side. When there is darura (a pressing difficulty), he may issue a fatwa suitable with the words of the mujtahid who showed the easiest way. He cannot issue a fatwa that does not depend on the words of any of the mujtahideen; such an issue cannot be called a fatwa.


    1. It is explained in the second fascicle of Endless Bliss that a made' hadith does not mean 'false, made-up hadith' in 'ilm al-usool al-hadith.
    2. Al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa's two leading disciples were al-Imam Muhammad bin Mubaarak al-Shaybaani and Al-Imam Abu Yusuf al-Ansaari (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaihim).
    3. First published in India in 1264 (1848 A.D.); reprinted in Persian in Istanbul in 1401 (1981 A.D.).
    4. Saif al-muqallidin 'ala a'naqi 'l-munkirin.
    5. Crying out of love for Allah ta'ala in salaat does not break the salaat in the Hanafi Madhhab


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    Default Ibn Khaldun


    (1332-1395 C.E.)

    Abd al-Rahman Ibn Mohammad is generally known as Ibn Khaldun after a remote ancestor. His parents, originally Yemenite Arabs, had settled in Spain, but after the fall of Seville, had migrated to Tunisia. He was born in Tunisia in 1332 C.E., where he received his early education and where, still in his teens, he entered the service of the Egyptian ruler Sultan Barquq. His thirst for advanced knowledge and a better academic setting soon made him leave this service and migrate to Fez. This was followed by a long period of unrest marked by contemporary political rivalries affecting his career. This turbulent period also included a three year refuge in a small village Qalat Ibn Salama in Algeria, which provided him with the opportunity to write Muqaddimah, the first volume of his world history that won him an immortal place among historians, sociologists and philosophers. The uncertainty of his career still continued, with Egypt becoming his final abode where he spent his last 24 years. Here he lived a life of fame and respect, marked by his appointment as the Chief Malakite Judge and lecturing at the Al-Azhar University, but envy caused his removal from his high judicial office as many as five times.

    Ibn Khaldun's chief contribution lies in philosophy of history and sociology. He sought to write a world history preambled by a first volume aimed at an analysis of historical events. This volume, commonly known as Muqaddimah or 'Prolegomena', was based on Ibn Khaldun's unique approach and original contribution and became a masterpiece in literature on philosophy of history and sociology. The chief concern of this monumental work was to identify psychological, economic, environmental and social facts that contribute to the advancement of human civilization and the currents of history. In this context, he analysed the dynamics of group relationships and showed how group-feelings, al-'Asabiyya, give rise to the ascent of a new civilisation and political power and how, later on, its diffusion into a more general civilization invites the advent of a still new 'Asabiyya in its pristine form. He identified an almost rhythmic repetition of rise and fall in human civilization, and analysed factors contributing to it. His contribution to history is marked by the fact that, unlike most earlier writers interpreting history largely in a political context, he emphasised environmental, sociological, psychological and economic factors governing the apparent events. This revolutionised the science of history and also laid the foundation of Umraniyat (Sociology).

    Apart from the Muqaddimah that became an important independent book even during the lifetime of the author, the other volumes of his world history Kitab al-I'bar deal with the history of Arabs, contemporary Muslim rulers, contemporary European rulers, ancient history of Arabs, Jews, Greeks, Romans, Persians, etc., Islamic History, Egyptian history and North-African history, especially that of Berbers and tribes living in the adjoining areas. The last volume deals largely with the events of his own life and is known as Al-Tasrif. This was also written in a scientific manner and initiated a new analytical tradition in the art of writing autobiography. A book on mathematics written by him is not extant.

    Ibn Khaldun's influence on the subject of history, philosophy of history, sociology, political science and education has remained paramount ever since his life. His books have been translated into many languages, both in the East and the West, and have inspired subsequent development of these sciences. For instance, Prof. Gum Ploughs and Kolosio consider Muqaddimah as superior in scholarship to Machiavelli's The Prince written a century later, as the forrner bases the diagnosis more on cultural, sociological, economic and psychological factors.
    If Allah is with you, then whom do you have to fear,
    If Allah is against you, then what hope do you have.

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    Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal: Life & Madhab


    Imam Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Hanbal al-Shaibani, Abu ‘Abdullah, was conceived in Merv in current day Turkmenistan. His mother carried him in her womb, on route to Baghdad, where he was born in the year 164 AH. His father passed away when he was little more than years old, and thereafter he was raised by his mother.


    He was a distinguished child known for his piety, cleanliness and asceticism. Once, his uncle sent him with several documents containing information about some people to the Caliph's office. Ahmad took those papers and did not see his uncle for a long time. When his uncle eventually met him, he asked him about the documents and discovered that Ahmad – who was then a boy – did not deliver them. When asked why, Ahmad replied: "I wouldn’t hand in those reports, and I have thrown them in the sea!" To this, his uncle replied: "This little boy fears Allah so much! What then of us?" Thus, Ahmad refused to act as an informant, even on behalf of his uncle, due to the fear of Allah that had been instilled in his heart from such a young age.

    Youth and Education

    He started his career by learning jurisprudence (Fiqh) under the celebrated Hanafi judge, Abu Yusuf, the renowned student and companion of Imam Abu Hanifah. He then discontinued his studies with Abu Yusuf, in the pursuit of Hadith, travelling around the Islamic Khilafa, at the tender age of 16. As a student, he was held in awe by his teachers, to the same degree that they would respect their own.. Ibn al-Jawzi states that Imam Ahmad had 414 Hadith masters whom he narrated from. Imam al-Shafi’i was from the most beloved of Ahmad’s teachers, held in high esteem by him for his deep insight into jurisprudence. Al-Shafi’i equally admired Ahmad, for his expertise in jurisprudence and Hadith. He would often say to Imam Ahmad: “Tell us if you know of an authentic Hadeeth so that we may act on it.” What demonstrates Imam Ahmad’s love and admiration for al-Shafi’i is that when the latter would pass by him riding a mule, Imam Ahmad would follow al-Shafi’i on foot to enquire about various issues of jurisprudence. The great affectopm and regard between the two Imams is clearly reflected in the resemblance between the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of jurisprudence.
    Imam Ahmad did not suffice himself with seeking knowledge, but he also adorned it with actions, by making Jihad, performing the guard duty at Islamic frontiers (Ribat) and making Hajj five times in his life, twice on foot.

    Expertise in Various Sciences

    The Imam spent 40 years of his life in the pursuit of knowledge, and only thereafter did he assume the position of a Mufti. By this time, Imam Ahmad had become a leading authority in six or seven Islamic disciplines, according to al-Shafi'i.

    Imam Ahmad became – unquestionably – a leading authority in Hadith, and left a colossal Hadith encyclopaedia, al-Musnad, as a living proof of his proficiency and devotion to this science. He is also remembered as a leading and the most balanced critic of Hadith (Naqid) of his time.

    Imam Ahmad became a principal specialist in jurisprudence, since he had the advantage of benefiting from some of the famous early jurists and their heritage, such as Abu Hanifah, Malik, al-Shafi'i and many others. Imam Ahmad further improvised and developed upon previous schools, such that he became the founder of a new independent school, that was to be attributed to him as the Hanbali school. Some scholars, such as Qutaiba b. Sa’id noted that if Ahmad were to witness the age of Sufyan al-Thawri, Malik, al-Awza’i and Laith b. Sa’d, he would have surpassed them all.

    Imam Ahmad, despite being bilingual, became an expert in the Arabic language, poetry, grammar. He gave great importance to the Arabic language, the proper application of grammar and correct pronunciation, such that he would often discipline his daughter for making a grammatical error in her everyday speech.

    Imam Ahmad established himself as the Imam in the sciences of Quran, authoring works in exegesis (Tafsir), science of abrogation (al-Nasikh wal-Mansukh), as well as the different modes recitations (Qira’at), preferring some modes of recitation over others, and even expressing dislike for the recitation of Hamza due to its exaggerated elongation of vowels.

    Imam Ahmad notably evolved into the most celebrated theologian, to be known as the ‘Imam Ahl al-Sunnah’, the leading authority on the Orthodox doctrine. Imam Ahmad personified the theological views of the early orthodox scholars, and in particular, the founders of the three juristic schools before him, Hanafi, Maliki and al-Shafi’i. This proved to be historically significant, since the Hanbali doctrine remained the only school representing the views of the founders of the other three juristic schools, that later became dominated by Ash’arites or the Maturidis. What also gained him a resounding reputation was his vigorous refusal to accept the dogma of the ‘creation of the Quran’, in spite of going through a protracted, arduous period of severe persecution. He is often likened to Abu Bakr, as the lone champion of Islam during the wars of apostasy.

    Imam Ahmad was equally considered to be a leading example in Zuhd (material and spiritual asceticism), for he lived a very simple life, detached from worldly pleasures. His work on Zuhd (Kitab al-Zuhd) is regarded to be the most profound contribution to the Islamic heritage. Abu Dawud, the famous compiler of Sunan, observed that sessions with Ahmad were sessions devoted to the Hereafter, for he would never mention anything of this world.

    Ahmad’s Five Basic Juristic Principles

    Despite being an exceptional jurist, Imam Ahmad detested that his opinions be written and compiled, fearing that it may swerve his students away from studying the sources of Law, the Quran and the Sunnah. Yet, as Ibn al-Jawzi comments, Allah knew the sincerity in his heart and raised around him faithful students who would record his opinions, such that an independent school of jurisprudence and theology was formed and attributed to Imam Ahmad.

    Imam Ahmad employed exceptional caution while formulating juristic opinions and issuing verdicts, and would frequently warn his students of speaking in a matter in which you have no reputable predecessor. This prudent attitude is clearly demonstrated in the thought process applied by Ahmad in extrapolation of laws from the divine sources, which is as follows:

    1) Divine text (Nass) from the Quran and the Sunnah was the first point of reference for all scholars of jurisprudence, and in this, Ahmad was not an exception. Whenever he noticed a divine textual evidence for an issue, he never referred to other sources, opinions of the Companions, scholars or resorted to analogical deduction (Qiyas).

    2) Verdicts issued by the Companions were resorted to when no textual evidence was found in the Quran or the Sunnah. The reasons for ranking the verdicts of the Companions after the Quran and the Sunnah are obvious: The Companions witnessed the revelation of the Quran, and its implementation by the Prophet – SallAllahu ‘alaihi wa-sallam, who advised the Ummah to adhere to the rightly-guided caliphs, hence, the Companions ought to have a better understanding than the latter generations.

    Imam Ahmad, would likewise, never give precedence to a scholarly opinion or analogical deduction (Qiyas) over that of the Companions’, to the extent that if they were divided into two camps over an issue, two different narrations would similarly be documented from Imam Ahmad.

    3) In a case where the Companions differed, he preferred the opinion supported by the divine texts (Nass).

    4) In instances where none of the above was applicable, Ahmad would resort to the Mursal Hadith (with a link missing between the Successor and the Prophet – SallAllahu ‘alaihi wa-sallam) or a weak Hadith. However, the type of weak Hadith that Ahmad relied on was such that it may be regarded as ‘fair’ Hadith due to other evidences (Hasan li Ghairihi), not the type that is deemed very weak and thus unsuitable as an evidence for Law. This was due to the fact that, during his time, the Hadith was only categorised into ‘sound’ (Sahih) and ‘weak’ (Dha’if). It was only after Ahmad, that al-Tirmidhi introduced a third category of ‘fair’ (Hasan).

    5) Only after having exhausted the aforementioned sources would Imam Ahmad employ analogical deduction (Qiyas) due to necessity, and with utmost care.

    Ahmad’s doctrine

    As demonstrated previously, Imam Ahmad became the leading authority on the Orthodox doctrine of Islam, which represented the first three blessed generations of Islam, untainted with foreign dogmas. Ahmad’s doctrinal influence can be measured by the fact that, out of the four traditional schools, the Hanbali school alone maintained its own theological view, unlike the Hanafi school which adopted the Maturidi doctrine, or the Shafi’i and Maliki schools that adopted the Ash’ari doctrine. The secret for this was the depth and length at which Ahmad spoke in matters of theology, due to the prevailing unorthodoxy in his age, headed by the Mu’tazilites. Due to this it is noted that there have been, in comparison to other schools, very few Hanbalis who inclined towards unorthodox views, for the copious volume of narrations from Imam Ahmad dealing with specific issues of doctrine made it extremely difficult for his followers to adhere to any other, yet still remain faithful followers.

    Imam Ahmad’s doctrine could be summarised as follows:

    1) He would believe in the description that Allah gave to himself in the Quran, or inspired the Prophet with, and affirm them at their face value (Dhahir), while generally negating any resemblance between the Creator and the creation.

    2) He would vigorously reject negative theology (Ta’til), as well as allegorical exegesis (Ta’wil), with respect to belief in Allah, which was heavily employed by the Jahmites, Mu’tazilites and the Kullabites (later to be known as the Ash’arites) to justify their philosophical approach to God.

    3) He believed that Allah Speaks with letters and sound, for he believed every word and letter of the Quran to be the word of Allah, contrary to the Kullabites, who, in their opposition to the Mu’tazilites, affirmed eternal Speech for Allah, yet still agreed with them in that they believed that the Quran, which is composed of letters, was created.

    4) He believed that Allah literally Hears and Sees; that He has two Hands with which He created Adam; that Allah has a Face

    5) He believed that Allah literally Rose over the Throne after Creating the heavens and the Earth in six days.

    6) He believed that Allah is High above and distinct from His creation

    7) He believed that Allah is all Knowing, All Wise, All Power and All Able, and that Allah has His own Will, He Does what He likes out of His Wisdom. Whatever Allah has Written and Decreed upon His creation, must come to pass. Nothing leaves His knowledge, or happens without His Permission or Will.

    8) He believed that Allah becomes Pleased when obeyed and Displeased when disobeyed.

    9) He would regard the Jahmiyah (followers of al-Jahm ibn Safwan), and the Rafidha (the Imami Shias) who curse the Companions, to be disbelievers (Kuffar).

    10) He held that the sinners amongst the Muslims are under the threat of Allah's punishment; that if He wishes He may Punish them or Forgive them; Contrary to the Khawarij. He would not declare a Muslim to be a disbeliever (Kafir) on account of his sins, nor would he exclude actions from Iman unlike the Murjia. Once he was asked about those who declare their belief in the five pillars of Islam, yet refuse to perform them; he said, in reply, they are disbelievers (Kuffar).

    11) He believed in the miracles that occurred at the hands of the Awliya (pious Muslims) as a favour from Allah.

    12) He believed that Abu Bakr is the best of the Companions, followed by Umar, then the six companions chosen by the latter as Ashab al-Shura (members of Shura council): Uthman, Ali, al-Zubair, Talha, ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Awf and Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas; followed by the fighters of Badr from the Emigrants (Muhajirin) and then the Helpers (Ansar).

    13) He prohibited discussions on the differences between the Companions or dislike of any of them; for the honour of Companionship with the Prophet – SallAllahu ‘alaihi wa-sallam – is sufficient a virtue to rank them higher than the entire Muslim Ummah until the end of time.

    The Trial

    Imam Ahmad is remembered as a legendary figure in the Islamic history for his uncompromising stance and for withstanding immense pressure during the trial of ‘the creation of the Quran’. The Caliph at the time, Ma’mun, subjected the scholars to severe persecution, at the behest of the Mu’tazilite theologians who attributed themselves to Imam Abu Hanifa in jurisprudence. The Mu'tazilites were a heretical Muslim sect, who sanctified their intelligence above the revelation and espoused the belief that, even though, the Quran is the speech of Allah, He created that speech as a distinct entity and called it ‘the Quran’. This was in opposition to the orthodox belief that Allah spoke every word of the Quran, and indeed: ‘Allah spoke to Moses directly’, as Allah states in the Quran.

    The Mu’tazilites were discredited throughout the Umayyad rule and never given the position of prominence and influence, until the Caliph al-Ma'mun came to power, during the ‘Abbasids, who took them into confidence and bestowed them with official positions within the state as judges. Bishr al-Marrisi and Ahmad b. Abi Du’ad were the two important figures behind the Mu’tazilite inquisition, which systematically placed many jurists and traditionists on trial until they were forced to acknowledge that the Quran is created, and their acknowledgement publicised in all major cities.

    Nearly all the scholars of Baghdad from the jurists and the traditionists were tested, and all of them acknowledged the doctrine of the created Quran, with the exception of the two; Ahmad b. Hanbal and Muhammad b. Nuh. This greatly pained and angered Imam Ahmad, such that he boycotted some of the great traditionists for their acknowledgement, and often refused to narrate from them. Amongst those boycotted were a close companion and a colleague of Imam Ahmad, Yahya b. Ma’in, about whom, it is said that Imam Ahmad refused to speak to him until he died and composed the following lines of poetry censuring his acknowledgement of heresy:

    Ya ibn al-madini al-ladhi 'uridat lahu
    Dunya fa Jada bi dinihi li yanalaha
    Madha da'aka li intihali maqalatin
    Kunta taz'umu kafiran man qalaha
    O Ibn al-Madini, to whom the world was offered,
    So he strove to attain it at the expense of his religion
    What made you embrace a dogma (about which)
    You would impute disbelief on the one who adopts it!

    Finally, Ahmad b. Hanbal and Muhammad b. Nuh were also put to the test on the order of al-Ma’mun, but they refused to acknowledge the creation of the Quran. Consequently, they were despatched in irons to be dealt with by al-Ma’mun himself. On the way, Imam Ahmad supplicated to Allah to prevent him from meeting al-Ma’mun. His prayer was answered in the sudden death of al-Ma’mun due to which they were both sent back. Muhammad b. Nuh passed away on their return journey, and there was none to prepare his funeral, pray over, and bury him, except Imam Ahmad.

    He remained imprisoned in Baghdad until al-Mu’tasim assumed power. Al-Mu’tasim, unlike al-Ma’mun, was a destitute to knowledge. Nevertheless, he continued the Mu’tazilite inquisition as explicitly requested by al-Ma’mun in his will. His rule was perhaps the most brutal towards Sunni scholars in general, and Imam Ahmad in particular who intransigently continued to resist all attempts by the authorities to force him to acknowledge the creation of the Quran. The frustrated Caliph finally ordered Ahmad to be flogged in public, which resulted in Ahmad falling unconscious. Imam Ahmad was released shortly afterwards, when al-Mu’tasim feared that the commotion caused in Baghdad due to mistreatment of Ahmad may reach an uncontrollable pitch.

    After al-Mu’tasim’s death, al-Wathiq took over the office of Khilafa, and ordered his loyal Mu’tazili judge in Egypt, Ibn Abi al-Layth to press hard with the inquisition. This caused many to flee from Egypt, while the prisons became full of jurists and traditionists who resisted the government demands. In Baghdad, however, the general public had become enraged over the policies of the government, which made it difficult for al-Wathiq to pursue the inquisition with the same vigour. He therefore, instead of re-imprisoning Imam Ahmad, resolved on banishing him from Baghdad, saying: “Do not live with me on this earth!”, and henceforth, Ahmad b. Hanbal went into hiding.

    Towards the end of al-Wathiq’s reign, a close student of al-Shafi’i, Ahmad b. Nasr al-Khaza’i was caught by the officials and charged for organising an uprising in Baghdad. When Ahmad al-Khaza’i was brought to al-Wathiq in chains, the latter, instead of asking him about his role in the uprising, questioned him about his belief in the creation of the Quran, to which Ahmad al-Khaza’i gave the standard Sunni reply. The enraged Caliph, upon hearing his response, personally decapitated him. His head remained in Baghdad, while his body remained on a crucifix in Samurra for six years, as a grisly warning to potential rebels.

    After al-Wathiq’s death, his brother al-Mutawakkil took charge of the office. Al-Mutawakkil, unlike his predecessors had the utmost respect and admiration for the Sunni school, and through him, Allah decided to put an end to the inquisition. Promptly after assuming the position as Caliph, he sent orders throughout the Khilafa to put an immediate end to all discussions regarding the Quran, released all the prisoners of faith, dismissed the Mu’tazili judges, and more significantly deported the chief instigator of the inquisition, Ahmad b. Abi Du’ad along with his family. He further ordered that the Mu’tazili judges responsible for the inquisition be cursed from by the pulpits, by name.

    Al-Mutawakkil, on the other hand, showed his utmost reverence to the Sunni hero of the inquisition, Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal, and wished to take care of all his affairs. Ahmad, however, turned down the offers due to his general dislike of being close to the rulers. Al-Mutwakkil, knowing that Imam Ahmad would refuse his offerings, instead presented some gifts to his son, Salih b. Ahmad. When it came to his knowledge, Imam Ahmad showed strong disapproval and refused to consume anything from his son’s wealth.

    Illness, Death and Funeral

    After Imam Ahmad turned 77, he was struck with severe illness and fever, and became very weak, yet never complaining about his infirmity and pain until he died. In spite of his debilitation, he would urge his son, Salih b. Ahmad, to help him stand up for prayer. When he was unable to stand, he would pray sitting, or sometimes lying on his side. After hearing of his illness, the masses flocked to his door. The ruling family also showed the desire to pay him a visit, and to this end sought his permission. However, due to his desire to remain independent of any influence from the authority, Ahmad denied them access.

    Once during his illness, an old man entered upon Imam Ahmad and reminded him of his account before Allah, to which Imam Ahmad began to weep profusely. On another occasion, a man who partook in the beatings inflicted on Imam Ahmad, came to Salih b. Ahmad, the son of the Imam, and begged him to seek permission from his father to allow him to enter, for he felt the guilt of his involvement in the suffering of the Imam. When he was finally given permission, he entered upon the Imam and wept, begging for his forgiveness. Imam Ahmad forgave him on the condition that he would never repeat his actions. The man left the Imam, and all those present, in tears.

    ‘Abdullah b. Ahmad b. Hanbal narrates, that while Imam Ahmad was on his death bed, he kept drifting in and out of consciousness, and gesturing with his hands saying: ‘No… No… No…’ When enquired about it, Ahmad replied: ‘The Devil was standing near me, trying his hardest to mislead me, saying: ‘Come on, Ahmad!’, and I was replying back: ‘No… No…’

    On Friday, the 12 of Rabi' al-Awwal 241 AH, the legendary Imam breathed his last. The news of his death quickly spread far and wide in the city and the people flooded the streets to attend Ahmad’s funeral. One of the rulers, upon hearing the news, sent burial shrouds along with perfumes to be used for Ahmad’s funeral. However, respecting the Ahmad’s wishes, his sons refused the offering and instead used a burial shroud prepared by his female servant. Moreover, his sons took care not to use water from their homes to wash Imam Ahmad as he had refused to utilise any of their resources, for accepting the offerings of the ruler.

    After preparing his funeral, his sons prayed over him, along with around 200 members of the ruling family, while the streets were teeming with both men and women, awaiting the funeral procession. Imam Ahmad’s funeral was then brought out and the multitudes continued to pray over him in the desert, before and after his burial at his grave.

    During the trial of Imam Ahmad, he would often say: “Say to the heretics, the decisive factor between us and you is the day of funerals”; meaning, the adherents to the orthodox doctrine always have a good end, for they earn the love of Allah, as well as the affection of the multitudes, and their death has a great impact on people’s lives. This is exactly what took place in this instance, for it is estimated that about 1 300 000 people attended his funeral. One of the scholars said in relation to this that such a massive attendance at a funeral has never been equalled in the history of the Arabs, neither in the pre-Islamic era (Jahiliyah) nor in Islam. The masses were engulfed in the genuine popular emotion, while the scene of his grave became overwhelmed by such sentiments that the graveyard had to be guarded by the civil authorities.

    Another scholar relates that when he attended the funeral of Ahmad, he wanted pray over him at his grave. But the crowds were so awe-inspiring that he didn’t reach the grave until after a week. The funerals of the famous opponents of Imam Ahmad, however, were in stark contrast, which where not attended by more than a handful. The funeral procession of the Ahmad ibn Abi Du’ad – the chief instigator of the inquisition – went largely unnoticed, with none willing to carry his funeral to the graveyard, except a few from the ruling family. Such was also the case with al-Harith al-Muhasibi – a theologian and an ascetic – who, despite being a bitter enemy of the Mu’tazilites, was still discredited by Imam Ahmad for his interests in Kalam (speculative theology). Only three or four people prayed over al-Muhasibi, and a similar fate met Bishr al-Mirrisi.

    In the Islamic history, Ahmad’s funeral is noted as the day when the Mu’tazilite doctrine was brought to a decisive and a humiliating end, whilst the Sunni Islam and the Prophetic guidance were the order of the day. Ahmad’s death had proven the ineffectiveness of the Caliph’s role in defining Islam, and further unquestionably acknowledged that it were the scholars, rather than the Caliphs, who were the true ‘inheritors of the Prophets’. Ahmad’s funeral was marked by the multitudes flocking, and openly cursing al-Karabisi and al-Marrisi, the chief heretics. This became a frequent practise amongst the subsequent Hanbali funerals throughout Islamic history, where the masses would rally behind prominent Hanbali funerals proclaiming: This day is for Sunnis and Hanbalis! Not Jahmis, Mu’tazilis or Ash’aris!

    The Madhab of Imam Ahmad

    After the death of Imam Ahmad, his students travelled across the Muslim world along with the responsa (Masa’il) of Ahmad concerning theology, jurisprudence and traditions. From the foremost of his students are: his two sons, Salih and Abdullah, Hanbal ibn Ishaq, al-Marrudhi, al-Kawsaj, Ibn Hani, Abu Dawud (compiler of Sunan Abi Dawud), al-Athram, Abu Zur’ah al-Razi, Abu Hatim al-Razi, ‘Abdul-Wahhab al-Warraq, al-Tirmidhi and many others.

    However, it was not until al-Khallal travelled the Muslim world, collecting the responsa of Imam Ahmad from his students scattered across the Khilafa, that the Madhab of Imam Ahmad was compiled in an organised form. This vast compilation became known as al-Jami’, which is still used in the 8th Islamic century by Ibn Taymiyah and his contemporary Hanbali jurists.

    This collection was then summarised into a short treatise on the Fiqh of Imam Ahmad by the Baghdadi-Hanbali jurist al-Khiraqi, which became known as Mukhtasar al-Khiraqi. This treatise was the first Fiqh manual ever written in the Madhab, and its first ever commentary was also written by its very author, thus, making al-Khiraqi the first author of a Fiqh manual in the Madhab, the first one to write a commentary on a manual, and indeed the first Hanbali to comment on his own manual.

    The summarised treatise on Fiqh by al-Khiraqi proved to be the most important contribution to Hanbali Fiqh, with over 300 commentaries, according to Yusuf b. ‘Abd al-Hadi, which even today remains an excellent introductory manual to the Hanbali school of jurisprudence. The famous commentaries to al-Mukhtasri include, but are not restricted to: a commentary by Ibn Hamid, then al-Qadhi Abu Ya’la, then Ibn Qudama al-Maqdisi, whose commentary, famously known as al-Mughni, is considered to be a timeless masterpiece.

    Hanbali Books on Theology

    Since Hanbalism is as much a school of theology as it is a school of Law, the Hanbali theologians have contributed several works, at various intervals in history, representing the doctrine of Ahmad b. Hanbal. Imam Ahmad himself played a leading role in authoring books on doctrine, such as the Kitab al-Sunnah (Book of Sunnah) and al-Rad 'Ala al-Zanadiqah wa al-Jahmiyah (The refutation of the Heretics and the Jahmis). Apart from these two works, Imam Ahmad wrote several letters addressed to some of his contemporaries, explaining the orthodox creed, found in the Tabaqat of Ibn Abi Ya'la, although not all of the letters are authentic.

    Subsequently, the students of Ahmad in particular, and the rest of his followers, continued to contribute works in theology. Several Hanbalis authored books, in the footsteps of their Imam, with a common title: Kitab al-Sunnah, such as al-Athram, ‘Abdullah (the son of Imam Ahmad), Hanbal ibn Ishaq (the cousin of Imam Ahmad), al-Khallal.

    Some of the important manuals on doctrine accepted by the mainstream Hanbalis include: Lum’at al-I’tiqad by Ibn Qudama al-Maqdisi, al-I’tiqad by al-Qadhi Abu Ya’la, al-Iqtisad fi al-I’tiqad by ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi, and various treatise written by Ibn Taymiyah, such as al-Wasitiyah and al-Tadmurriyah, as well as his close student Ibn al-Qayyim, such as his famous Nuniyah, an ode rhyming in the letter Nun.

    It is worthy to note that many works on theology by some Hanbalis were reactionary to the Hanbali-Ash’ari feud, such as al-Radd ‘Ala al-Asha’irah (Rebuttal of the Ash’arites) by Ibn al-Hanbali, and by Abul-Wafa Ibn ‘Aqil with the same title. Another example of such work is Ibtal al-Ta'wilat li Akhbar al-Sifat (Negation of the Allegorical Interpretations of the Traditions Pertaining to Divine Attributes) by al-Qadhi Abu Ya’la, which came is a rebuttal of the book Mushkil al-Hadith wa Bayanuhu (The Problematic Traditions and their Interpretations) by Ibn Furak, the Ash’ari theologian and a traditionist, who compiled the aforementioned book, giving allegorical interpretations to divine texts that seemed problematic according to Ash’ari principles; and al-Munadhara fi al-Quran ma’a Ahl al-Bid’ah (The Debate Regarding the Quran with Some Heretics), by the great Hanbali jurist, Ibn Qudama al-Maqdisi, where he relates his violent discourse with his contemporaries from the Ash’aris, whom he refers to as ‘Heretics’, about the nature of the Quran contained in a book-form (Mushaf), whether it is created or uncreated.

    Other Hanbalis, although they did not author books dedicated to doctrine, they did, however, include sections of doctrine in books of Fiqh and Suluk (ethics). Al-Ghunya, by Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani – a famous Hanbali jurist and the founder of the Qadiri Sufi order – is for the most part, a manual in ethics and morality, yet it begins with a thorough presentation of the Hanbali doctrine, which paints al-Jilani as an ardent follower of the mainstream Hanbalism, and an avowed antagonist of the Ash’aris.

    Hanbali Books on Fiqh

    The first manual in Fiqh, as mentioned earlier was the famous al-Mukhtasar by al-Khiraqi, which has remained up until this day, from the most important introductory works on Hanbali Fiqh, with its commentary par excellence, al-Mughani by Ibn Qudama.

    Al-Majd Ibn Taymiyah, who was the grandfather of the famous Hanbali theologian and jurist, Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyah, was considered to be one of the great authorities in the school, along with Ibn Qudama, such that if the two Sheikhs agreed upon an issue, it would be considered the reliable opinion (mu’tamad) in the school. Al-Majd Ibn Taymiyah authored his famous and reliable Fiqh manual called al-Muharrar fi al-Fiqh.

    Ibn Qudama played a key role in developing a Hanbali curriculum of Fiqh for all levels of students. He wrote a preparatory manual for the beginners called al-‘Umdah, with the objective of developing an all-round surface understanding of jurisprudence, without confusing the student with difference of opinion within the school. For the students at an intermediate level, he authored al-Muqni’, aimed at training the students at exercising preference (tarjih) upon conflicting opinions (ta’arudh) within the school. For the next level, he authored al-Kafi, with the goal of acquainting the student with the sources of the Law, and the methodology for extrapolating rules from the revelation. Al-Mughni (lit. rich), which is a commentary on al-Mukhtasar by al-Khiraqi, was compiled for the advanced students, to familiarise them with the difference of opinion and the respective arguments, beyond the school, even surpassing the four traditional schools.
    The aforementioned book, al-Muqni’ by Ibn Qudama had received two main important commentaries: al-Sharh al-Kabir (the Great Commentary) by al-Muwaffaq Ibn Qudama’s nephew, Shams al-Din Ibn Qudama al-Maqdisi; and al-Insaf by the famous Hanbali jurist and judge, ‘Ala al-Din al-Mardawi. These two commentaries have remained popular amongst post-Ibn Qudama generations up until today.

    Al-Muqni’ , also has a very popular abridgment by the famous Hanbali jurist Sharf al-Din Abu al-Naja al-Hajjawi called: Zad al-Mustaqni’ fi Ikhtisar al-Muqni’. This abridgement became particularly famous amongst the Hanbalis from Najd, where it is regarded as the primer to the Madhab. The most common and widely accepted commentary on Zad was written by the Egyptian Hanbali jurist, Mansur b. Yunus al-Buhuti called: al-Rawdh al-Murbi’, which was further commented on by the Najdi-Hanbali jurist, ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Muhammad b. Qasim. The latter commentary, which is informally known as Hashiyat Ibn Qasim is regarded to be one of the greatest contributions to the school in the modern times. Another invaluable contribution to the school has been al-Sharh al-Mumti’ ‘Ala Zad al-Mustaqni’, by the famous and profound Hanbali jurist, theologian, traditionist, linguist and a grammarian, Muhammad b. Salih al-‘Uthaimin. Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, originally, was delivered as a series of lectures over the years, which was then written, compiled and then published by his loyal students into volumes.

    The aforementioned author of Zad al-Mustaqni’ – al-Hajjawi, is also the author of al-Iqna’ which serves today as a major reference work for verdicts (Ifta) in Saudi Arabia, along with Muntaha al-Iradat by al-Futuhi. Both of these voluminous manuals have been commented on by several authors. The most famous of those commentaries are Kashaf al-Qina’ ‘An Matn al-Iqna’, which is a commentary on al-Iqna’, and Sharh Muntaha al-Iradat, both by al-Buhuti.

    Notable Hanbali Scholars

    Many celebrated personalities in the Islamic history received their tutelage in the Hanbali school, in Baghdad, Greater Syria (Sham), Egypt and finally the Arabian Peninsula. The following is a very humble list comprising of some of the notable Hanbalis – bar the direct students of Imam Ahmad:
    • Al-Khallal (d. 311) – A student of some of the closest companions and students of Imam Ahmad. He is remembered and honoured for collecting the responsa of Imam Ahmad from his students, who were scattered across the Muslim world.
    • al-Khiraqi (d. 334) – (who summarised Jami' al-Khallal into a Fiqh manual, the mother of all Fiqh manuals in the Madhab)
    • Ghulam al-Khallal (d. 363) – A servant and a devout student of al-Khallal, and author of many works in various sciences. It is reported that, days before his death, in his illness, he said to his companions: I am with you until this Friday. Upon being asked why, he said: al-Khallal informed me from Abu Bakr al-Marrudhi that Ahmad lived until he was 78 and died on Friday. Abu Bakr al-Marrudhi lived until he was 78 and died on Friday. Al-Khallal lived until he was 78 and died on Friday. On Friday, Ghulam al-Khallal breathed his last when he was 78.
    • Ibn Hamid (d. 403) – He was a leading authority on the Hanbali school in his time, and known for his frequent performance of Hajj, such that he died on his way back from Makkah. He is regarded to be the last of the early class (Tabaqa) of the Hanbalis.
    • al-Qadhi Abu Ya'la (d. 458) – He was born to a Hanafi family, but became a Hanbali after studying under Ibn Hamid. He became the leading authority on the school after Ibn Hamid, who is remembered for spreading the Madhab far and wide. His Hadith assemblies were very popular and attended by thousands of Traditionists, where he would sit on the chair of ‘Abdullah b. Ahmad b. Hanbal and narrate Hadith.
    • Abu al-Khattab (d. 510) – A devout student of al-Qadhi Abu Ya’la, and author of many works in the Madhab, the most important of them: al-Intisar authored as a defence to various Hanbali juristic opinions in comparison to other schools. His students included many prominent Hanbali figures, such as ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jailani.
    • Abu Isma’il al-Harawi (d. 481) – A celebrated Hanbali jurist and a theologian, known for his awe-inspiring personality, and ardent enmity towards the Ash’arites. He was one of the great Sufi figures in the history, who authored Manazil al-Sa’irin – a manual in Tasawwuf – which was later expounded by Ibn al-Qayyim in Madarij al-Salikin. He was a fearless defender of the Hanbali faith such that he would often say:
    Ana Hanbaliyun Mahayiytu fa in amut
    Fa wasiyati li al-Nasi an yatahanbalu
    I am a Hanbali as long as I live, and when I die
    My legacy to the people is to become Hanbalis
    • Abul-Wafa ‘Ali ibn ‘Aqil (d. 488) – One of the most intelligent jurists the Hanbalis ever had within their ranks. He was, in his youth, influenced by the Mu’tazlites and showed admiration for al-Hallaj (a pantheist who pretended to be a Muslim), but soon repented and wrote various rebuttals against the Mu’tazlites and the Ash’arites. Ibn al-Jawzi relates that Ibn ‘Aqil once said: I say with utmost certainty that the Companions died having no knowledge of the atoms (Jawhar) or accidents (‘Aradh). Hence, if you feel that you should be like them, then be! But, if you think that the way of the Doctors of Kalam is better than the way of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, then how evil is what you think! He left behind many works, amongst them voluminous al-Funun, of which only a small portion is found today.
    • ‘Abdul-Qadir al-Jailani (d. 561) A Hanbali theologian, great preacher and, perhaps the most influential Sufi figure who founded the Qadiriyah way (Tariqa). Although, his life is regarded as a chain of miracles, so much has been claimed about his ‘sainthood’ by his passionate Sufi followers that very little of his biographical accounts can be verified. The only book one can attribute to al-Jailani with a level of surety is al-Ghunya, in which he spells out his strict adherence to the Hanbali dogma and Law.
    • Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597) A famous jurist, exegete, critic, preacher and a prolific author, with works on all subjects. He began his preaching career at a very young age and gained popularity amongst the masses. Although, he never met Ibn ‘Aqil, he did receive a fair amount of tutelage from his books, which left him perplexed about the orthodox doctrine of the Hanbali school; as reflected in his theological opinions that are often contradictory, and at times leaning towards allegorical exegesis (ta’wil) conflicting with the mainstream Hanbali position. His works in theology, thereafter, were criticised by the mainstream theologians of the Madhab, such as Ibn Qudama.
    • Ibn Qudama al-Maqdisi (d. 620) One of the major Hanbali authorities and the author of the profound and voluminous book on Law, al-Mughni, which became popular amongst researchers from all juristic backgrounds. He was also an authority on Hanbali doctrine and a passionate opponent of the Ash’arites, but that did not prevent him from joining the military campaign of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi, who was an Ash’ari, against the Crusaders in Palestine.
    • Majd al-Din Ibn Taymiyah (d. 653) A great jurist, traditionist, grammarian and exegete of Harran. He was the grandfather of the celebrated Sheikh al-Islam Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyah. The well-known grammarian and the author of Alfiya, Ibn Malik would hold al-Majd in high regard. He also enjoyed an esteemed position in the Hanbali school, as the term ‘The Two Sheikhs’ (Sheikhan) would only refer to him and Ibn Qudama.
    • Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyah (d. 728) – A legendary figure in the Islamic history, known by his friends and foes for his expertise in all Islamic sciences. Aside from being a celebrated scholar, he also gained much prominence due to his fearlessness, zealous activism, political and military campaigns in Damascus against the invading Tatar. Ibn Nasir al-Din al-Dimashqi in his book al-Radd al-Wafir mentions 87 scholars from all schools who referred to Ibn Taymiya as ‘Sheikh al-Islam’, a prestigious title given only to jurists and traditionists whose verdicts reached a high level of fame and acceptance. His fame also earned him many envious enemies who continued to conspire against him, until he was imprisoned in the citadel of Damascus and died therein. His funeral was attended by a mammoth number of inhabitants of Damascus, while the funeral prayer in absentia was prayed over him throughout the Islamic world. He is remembered for his invaluable contributions, not only to the Hanbali school of jurisprudence and theology, but also to the rich Islamic heritage. He also produced many students of high calibre. Names such as Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Dhahabi and Ibn Kathir are but some of his virtues.
    • Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziya (d. 751) – The closest companion and a student of Ibn Taymiyah who shared with him the moments of ease and hardship, until the latter’s death in the citadel. His works in various Islamic sciences earned him much acceptance and fame. Some of his important works include Zaad al-Ma’ad in Seerah and Fiqh, I’lam al-Muwaqqi’in in Usul al-Fiqh, and al-Kafiyah fil-Intisar lil-Firqat al-Najiyah, an ode rhyming in the letter Nun on Hanbali theology, which is taught and studied in Hanbali schools until today.
    • Ahmad ibn ‘Abdil-Hadi (d. 744) – A devout and close student of Ibn Taymiyah and an expert traditionist. He wrote at length the legendary accounts of his beloved teacher Ibn Taymiyah. He is also the author of al-Sarim al-Munki fi al-Radd ‘Ala al-Subki, a violent rebuttal of al-Subki’s attempt to justify taking long journeys for the visitation of the Prophet’s grave. Unfortunately, he died before completing this book at the age of forty.
    • Najm al-Din al-Tufi (d. 716) – The author of several important works, such as the summarisation of Rawdat al-Nadhir by Ibn Qudama, also known as al-Bulbul, widely taught until today. In spite of being a Hanbali in Fiqh, he would often refer to himself as an Ash’arite and extreme Shi’ite. He was chastised in public and imprisoned several times for his unorthodox views. Although, his repentance is reported; however, Ibn Rajab doubted the sincerity of his repentance.
    • Shams al-Din b. Muflih (d. 763) – One of the leading authorities in Hanbali Law who received his tutelage amongst several prominent Hanbali figures, including Ibn Taymiyah. He gave particular attention to the juristic preferences of Ibn Taymiyah, and included them in his voluminous and renowned masterpiece on Hanbali jurisprudence known as al-Furu’.
    • Ahmad b. Qadhi al-Jabal (d. 771) – A chief judge and a devout student of Ibn Taymiyah. He is regarded to be the leading Hanbali poet of his time. He would often recite the following:
    Nabiyi Ahmad wa Kadha Imami
    wa Sheikhi Ahmad Ka al-Bahri Tami
    wa ismi Ahmad Li Dhaka Arju
    Shafa'ata Ashrafi al-Rusul al-Kirami
    My Prophet is Ahmad, and so is my Imam
    My Sheikh, Ahmad (b. Taymiya), is like an ocean abundant with knowledge
    My name is Ahmad and henceforth I wish for
    The intercession of the most noble of the Messengers
    • Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (d. 795) – A prominent jurist, traditionist, ascetic and preacher, who authored several important works, largely commenting upon famous collections of traditions, such as al-Tarmidhi, al-Bukhari and the forty Hadith of al-Nawawi. His teachers include Ibn al-Qayyim, under whom he learnt his famous Hanbali ode al-Kafiyah.
    • ‘Ala al-Din Al-Mardawi (d. 885) – A chief judge and one of the foremost specialists in the Madhab amongst the latter Hanbali generations. He is the author of al-Insaf, a rich commentary on al-Muqni’ of Ibn Qudama, where he lists the variance of opinion, then declares the correct position in the school.
    • Sharaf al-Din Al-Hajjawi (d. 968) A distinguished figure amongst the latter Damascan Hanbali scholars, and the author of two important manuals that were to remain the basis for verdicts amongst the Hanbalis until today: Zad al-Mustaqni’, a summarisation of al-Muqni’; and al-Iqna’.
    • Ibn al-Najjar al-Futuhi (d. 980) – A notable Egyptian Hanbali authority and the author of Muntaha al-Iradat, which were to become another widely accepted manual amongst the latter Hanbalis, along with al-Iqna’.
    • Mar’i b. Yusuf al-Karmi (d. 1033) – A Palestinian born scholar who resided in Egypt and wrote extensively on various sciences. He is particularly remembered for making two important contributions to Hanbali Fiqh: i) Ghayat al-Muntaha, which came as a merger between the two relied-upon manuals, al-Iqna’ and Muntaha al-Iradat; and ii) Dalil al-Talib, a summarisation of Muntaha al-Iradat. This manual received various commentaries, the most famous of which is Manar al-Sabil, by Ibn Dhuwayan.
    • Mansur b. Yunus al-Buhuti (d. 1051) An Egyptian jurist of great stature, held in much respect for his invaluable contribution to the Hanbali school. His works mostly comprise of commentaries on various manuals, such as al-Rawdh al-Murbi’, a commentary on Zad; Kashaf al-Qina’, a commentary on al-Iqna’; and a commentary on Muntaha al-Iradat. He became the centre of learning for the Hanbalis from Jerusalem, the Greater Syria and Najd.
    • ‘Abd al-Baqi al-Hanbali al-Ba’li (d.1071) – A jurist and a traditionist who received his tutelage from al-Azhar. He assumed the position of Ifta for the Hanbalis in Jerusalem, and dedicated his life to learning and teaching various sciences.
    • Ibn al-‘Imad (d. 1089) – A Syrian-Hanbali scholar and the author of a large biographical history, known as Shadharat al-dhahab fi akhbar man dhahab, covering the Hijra years one to 1000.
    • Abu al-Mawahib al-Hanbali (d. 1126) – A Damascan Hanbali traditionist and a leading reciter of the Quran, who wrote extensively on various topics. Due to his known piety, he would often be asked to lead the prayer for rain (Salat al-Istisqa’), as occurred in the year 1108 when Damascus was hit by a drought. Abu al-Mawahib then led the masses in prayer, beseeching Allah for rain, and his prayer was instantly answered.
    • Muhammad Al-Saffarini (d. 1188) – A traditionist and jurist and a profound writer on various issues. He is most commonly famous for his poetic treatise on Hanbali theology called: al-Durrah al-Mudhiyah fi ‘Aqd al-Firqat al-Mardhiyah, which generally falls in line with the mainstream Hanbali dogma, bar few instances. However, in his commentary, known as Lawami’ al-Anwar al-Bahiyah, he often tends to contradict his poem, in agreement with the mainstream Hanbali doctrine. His poem, nevertheless, still remains popular amongst Hanbali students.
    • Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Wahhab (d. 1206) A leading Hanbali jurist and a theologian of Najd; more notably remembered as the pioneer of the revivalist movement which began in the Arabian Peninsula, and continued to influence various Islamic movements until today. The focus of his call was to revive the true Islamic monotheism which – in Najd – had been tainted over the years with various pre-Islamic and pagan practises. After a period of persecution, he was finally triumphant, joining forces with the leader of al-Dar’iyah, Muhammad b. Su’ud (Saud).
    • Sulaiman b. ‘Abd Allah b. Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Wahhab (d. 1233) – Grandson of Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Wahhab, who excelled in traditions, Fiqh and theology. He was brutally executed on the orders of the viceroy of Egypt, Ibrahim Pasha, by a firing squad in a graveyard. His flesh was then collected and buried.
    • Fatima bint Muhammad al-Hanbaliyah (d. 1247) – A famous female scholar of traditions, Fiqh, an ascetic and a popular preacher. She died in Makkah and was buried in al-Mu’lla graveyard.
    • ‘Abdullah Aba Butain (d. 1282) – The grand Mufti of the 13th Islamic century Najd, and an undisputable Hanbali authority on Fiqh, traditions and theology. He was also a great admirer and defender of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab.
    • ‘Uthman b. Bishr al-Najdi (d. 1290) – A Najdi historian and a follower of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, known for his work on history: Unwan al-Majd fi Tarikh Najd.
    • Muhammad b. Humaid al-Najdi (d. 1295) – A Hanbali jurist, traditionist , historian, and an ardent enemy of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s followers, in spite of being a student of Aba Butain and a great admirer of Ibn Taymiyah and Ibn al-Qayyim. He is the author of al-Suhub al-Wabila ‘ala Dhara’ih al-Hanabilah, which is a continuation of Dhail Tabaqat al-Hanabila of Ibn Rajab.
    • Hamad b. ‘Atiq (d. 1301) – A jurist and a judge in al-Kharaj, and then al-Aflaj, and an author of several works in theology and Fiqh.
    • Ahmad b. ‘Isa al-Najdi (d. 1329) – A jurist, traditionist, theologian, a student of Aba Butain and a passionate follower and a propagandist of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s revivalist movement. He would travel to Makkah, the centre of the Islamic world, and would often discuss theology with various scholars of the Muslim world. He managed to earn great respect from the Sharif of Makkah, who, at his encouragement, demolished all the domed-tombs in al-Mu’alla graveyard. His invaluable contributions include his two volume commentary on al-Nuniyah of Ibn al-Qayyim in theology.
    • ‘Abd al-Qadir b. Badran (d. 1346) – A Damascan scholar in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, theology, grammar, and a great enthusiast for Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s movement. He was initially a Shafi’i, and later, after much research and investigation decided to be a Hanbali. His invaluable contributions to the Madhab include: al-Madkhal ila Madhab al-Imam Ahmad, an all-round introduction to the Madhab; a commentary on Ibn al-Qayyim’s al-Nuniyah; a commentary on a Hanbali manual on Usul, Rawdhat al-Nadhir by Ibn Qudama, and many other works.
    • Abu Bakr Khuqir (d. 1349) – A prominent Hanbali scholar of Makkah, and a student of Ahmad b. ‘Isa. He was an outspoken propagandist of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s movement, due to which he was imprisoned along with his sons, while the eldest of them died in prison. He was eventually released upon ‘Abd al-‘Aziz b. Su’ud’s conquest of Makkah, where he was, thereafter, appointed as a Mufti for Hanbalis. His contributions mainly comprised of works and rebuttals on theological issues.
    • Ibrahim al-Duwaiyan (d. 1353) – A jurist, traditionist, genealogist and a judge in Qasim, most notably known for his commentary on Dalil al-Talib, called Manar al-Sabil.
    • ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Nasir al-Sa’di (d. 1376) – A prominent jurist, exegete, grammarian with a great interest in poetry. He contributed many works in different subjects, the most of celebrated of them: Taysir al-Karim al-Mannan in exegesis; Manhaj al-Salikin a primer in Fiqh. His students include Muhammad b. Salih al-‘Uthaimin and ‘Abdullah b. ‘Aqil.
    • Muhammad b. Ibrahim (d. 1389) – The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, and a prominent Hanbali jurist. He played a leading role in the development of some important legal and educational institutes. His students include: Ibn Baz, Muhammad b. Abd al-Rahman al-Qasim and ‘Abd Allah b. Jibrin.
    • ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Qasim (d. 1392) A prominent jurist, traditionist and a theologian, who is particularly esteemed for the most valued contribution to the Islamic heritage in this age, a 35-volume Majmu’ al-Fatawa of Ibn Taymiyah. His seven-volume commentary on al-Rawdh al-Murbi’ has also become considerably popular amongst the latter Hanbalis.
    • ‘Abd al-'Aziz b. Baz (d. 1420) – The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia after his teacher, Muhammad b. Ibrahim, and a leading figure in the Islamic Da’wah. He was a Mujtahid in Hanbali Madhab, and was referred to by some as the leading authority on orthodox Islam (Imam Ahl al-Sunnah).
    • Muhammad b. Salih al-Uthaimin (d. 1421) – A leading jurist, grammarian, linguist, and a popular preacher. A close and devout student of ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di, and a commentator on Zad al-Mustaqni’; his commentary is known as al-Sharh al-Mumti’. His students include Ahmad al-Qadhi, Khalid al-Muslih, Khalid al-Mushayqih, and many others.
    • ‘Abdullah b. ‘Aqil – A jurist and formerly chief justice in Saudi Arabia. One of the closest students of ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di, who is known today as Sheikh al-Hanabilah. His close students include: Dr. al-Shibl, Haitham al-Haddad and Anas b. ‘Aqil, his grandson.
    • Bakr b. ‘Abd Allah Abu Zaid – A jurist, traditionist, linguist and a profound author of many works. His important contributions to the Hanbali Madhab include al-Madkhal al-Mufassal ila Fiqh al-Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal, a two-volume in-depth introduction to the Madhab, which serves today as one of the main reference work on the school.
    Increasing Number of Hanbalis

    Historically, the Hanbali Madhab has always been known for having fewer followers comparatively to the remaining schools. Some even argued that the small number of followers was indicative of an inherent weakness of the Madhab and its lack of popularity. Hanbalis often responded with the following verse of poetry:

    Yaquluna fi ashabi ahmada qillatun
    Fa qultu lahum inn al-kirama qalilu
    They say of Ahmad’s followers: How few they are!
    Thus, I said to them: The dignified are always few

    The secret behind the spread of any particular Madhab, or lack thereof, has mainly been the authorities, responsible for bestowing the Islamic courts to one faction, at the expense of the other. In a land where courts were dominated by a particular Madhab, a student qualifying in a different Madhab had no future, and consequently, was forced to migrate, or embrace the native Madhab, or conspire with fellow Madhabists to seize the courts for themselves, by any means necessary. This was one of the main reasons behind Hanafi-Shafi’i rivalry in the Islamic history, which at times led to violent clashes.

    The Hanbalis, however, had an inherent tendency of declining lofty positions offered by the authorities. Hence, Abu al-Wafa Ibn ‘Aqil al-Hanbali remarks that the Hanbali Madhab has been ‘oppressed’ by none other than Hanbalis themselves. For whenever a Hanbali would excel in knowledge, he would submerge himself in worship and gratitude to Allah, embrace the ascetic life (Zuhd) and divorce himself from fame, status and worldly life. This was also confirmed by a prominent Shafi’i traditionist and a historian, al-Dhahabi, in his book Zaghl al-‘Ilm where he describes the Hanbalis with similar distinguishing qualities.

    The Hanbalis had remained an insignificant minority, and perhaps, close to extinction, until Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Wahhab arose in Najd forming an influential revivalist movement, with the aim to purify the true understanding of Islamic monotheism, in a society stained with pre-Islamic pagan beliefs and practices. After a period of persecution and exile, he joined forces with Muhammad b. Su’ud and successfully revived the enforcement of the much-neglected Shariah laws.

    It is solely to the credit of the Wahhabist revivalist movement, that until today, the courts in the Arabian Peninsula are predominantly Hanbali, bar some areas to the south near Yemen, which still remain Shafi’i. The significance of the Wahhabist call is demonstrated in an undeniable fact that nearly all Islamic reformist movements in the 20th century, directly or indirectly, are influenced by the basic call of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab. Egypt, for example, apart from being the centre for Ash’ari learning, with its political life dominated by a brutal socialist-dictatorship, has been historically at odds with the followers of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab; yet, one cannot but notice that the majority of ‘The Youth of Awakening’ (Shabab al-Sahwah) are somewhat more inclined towards the Wahhabist thought than the dogma propagated by the local Azharites. Hence, it comes at no surprise that ‘Wahhabism’ has been singled out as an ideological target in the so-called ‘War on Terror’.

    A scant reading of the Islamic history illustrates that the Hanbalis are known for having an outstanding character, fearlessness and eagerness for enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, with Imam Ahmad setting the precedence by remaining steadfast during the inquisition. After the demise of Imam Ahmad, the Hanbalis grew stronger in Baghdad, and as Ibn ‘Asakir notes, they would patrol the streets, during which, if they noticed a man with an unrelated woman, they would report him to the police; or if they noticed a musical instrument or a bottle of alcohol, they would smash it. Al-Khiraqi, who was the first Hanbali scholar to write a Fiqh manual, died after being severely beaten while attempting to combat evils in Damascus. Ibn Taymiyah would likewise patrol the streets with his students, during which, if they noticed anyone playing chess they disrupt the game; or if they saw utensils of alcohol or musical instruments, they would smash them. Ibn Taymiyah was also greatly admired for his fearless encounter with the ruthless Mongolian invader of Damascus, Qazan; as he is also remembered for his frequent imprisonment for in defence of the orthodox doctrine.


    If a hundred-and-fifty pages by al-Dhahabi, or over seven-hundred pages by Ibn al-Jawzi could not encompass all the details in the life of such a magnificent figure in our history, as that of Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal al-Shaibani, then how can one claim to do justice in this brief twenty page introduction. The unavoidable omission of detail in such a piece, should not be considered as a disservice to the Madhab.

    The enthusiastic reader with a keen interest to inquire more about Imam Ahmad is recommended to read the most comprehensive biography of Imam Ahmad by Ibn al-Jawzi called Manaqib al-Imam Ahmad; followed by Imam Ahmad’s biography by al-Dhahabi in Siyar al-‘Alam al-Nubula’. Those seeking in-depth information about the Madhab are recommended to read the richest introduction to the Madhab by Dr. Bakr b. ‘Abd Allah Abu Zaid called al-Madkhal al-Mufassal Ila Fiqh al-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (A detailed introduction to the jurisprudence of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal). Equally recommended is another primer, albeit not so detailed, but still unique, titled: al-Madkhal ila Madhab al-Imam Ahmad, by Ibn Badran al-Dimashqi. Ahmad b. Hanbal al-Sirah wal-Madhab (Ahmad ibn Hanbal – the life and the Madhab) by Sa’di Abu Jaib is similarly recommended for a devotee of the Madhab, dealing with various aspects of the life of Imam Ahmad and his Madhab not addressed in the two aforementioned introductory books.

    We ask Allah to accept this effort and forgive our shortcomings, for to err is only human.


  11. #11
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    Jan 2007


    Imam Al Shafi’i

    The four Imam's - Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal and Imam Shafi - are the main figures who's interpretation of the Hadith and Qur’an are followed by the majority of Sunni Muslims all over the world. They are therefore of great importance to the correct practice of Islam.

    Muhammad ibn Idris ibn al-`Abbas, al-Imam al-Shafi`i, Abu `Abd Allah al-Shafi`i al-Hijazi al-Qurashi al-Hashimi al-Muttalibi (d. 204), the offspring of the House of the Prophet, the peerless one of the great mujtahid imams and jurisprudent par excellence, the scrupulously pious ascetic and Friend of Allah, he laid down the foundations of fiqh in his Risala, which he said he revised and re-read four hundred times, then said: "Only Allah’s Book is perfect and free from error."

    He is the cousin of the Prophet - Allah’s blessings and peace upon him - descending from al-Muttalib who is the brother of Hashim, `Abd al-Muttalib’s father. Someone praised the Banu Hashim in front of the Prophet, whereby he interlaced the fingers of his two hands and said: "We and they are but one and the same thing." Al-Nawawi listed three peculiar merits of al-Shafi`i: his sharing the Prophet’s lineage at the level of their common ancestor `Abd Manaf; his birth in the Holy Land of Palestine and upbringing in Mecca; and his education at the hands of superlative scholars together with his own superlative intelligence and knowledge of the Arabic language. To this Ibn Hajar added two more: the hadith of the Prophet, "O Allah! Guide Quraysh, for the science of the scholar that comes from them will encompass the earth. O Allah! You have let the first of them taste bitterness, so let the latter of them taste reward." Another hadith of the Prophet says: "Truly, Allah shall send forth for this Community, at the onset of every hundred years, someone who will renew their Religion for them." The scholars agreed, among them Abu Qilaba (d. 276) and Imam Ahmad, that the first narration signified al-Shafi`i, and the second signified `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz and then al-Shafi`i.

    He was born in Ghazza or `Asqalan in 150, the year of Abu Hanifa’s death, and moved to Mecca at the age of two, following his father’s death, where he grew up. He was early a skillful archer, then he took to learning language and poetry until he gave himself to fiqh, beginning with hadith. He memorized the Qur’an at age seven, then Malik’s Muwatta’ at age ten, at which time his teacher would deputize him to teach in his absence. At age thirteen he went to see Malik, who was impressed by his memory and intelligence.

    Malik ibn Anas and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani were among his most prominent teachers and he took position against both of them in fiqh. Al-Shafi`i said: "From Muhammad ibn al-Hasan I wrote a camel-load." Al-Hakim narrated from `Abd Allah ibn `Abd al-Hakam: "Al-Shafi`i never ceased to speak according to Malik’s position and he would say: ‘We do not differ from him other than in the way of his companions,’ until some young men spoke unbecomingly at length behind his back, whereupon al-Shafi`i resolved to put his differences with Malik in writing. Otherwise, his whole life he would say, whenever asked something: ‘This is what the Teacher said’ - hâdha qawl al-ustadh - meaning Malik."

    Like Abu Hanifa and al-Bukhari, he recited the entire Qur’an each day at prayer, and twice a day in the month of Ramadan.

    Al-Muzani said: "I never saw one more handsome of face than al-Shafi`i. If he grasped his beard it would not exceed his fist." Ibn Rahuyah described him in Mecca as wearing bright white clothes with an intensely black beard. Al-Za`farani said that when he was in Baghdad in the year 195 he dyed his beard with henna.

    Abu `Ubayd al-Qasim ibn Sallam said: "If the intelligence of an entire nation was brought together he would have encompassed it." Similarly, al-Muzani said: "I have been looking into al-Shafi`i’s Risala for fifty years, and I do not recall a single time I looked at it without learning some new benefit."

    Al-Sakhawi in the introduction to his al-Jawahir wa al-Durar and others narrate that someone criticized Ahmad ibn Hanbal for attending the fiqh sessions of al-Shafi`i and leaving the hadith sessions of Sufyan ibn `Uyayna. Ahmad replied: "Keep quiet! If you miss a hadith with a shorter chain you can find it elsewhere with a longer chain and it will not harm you. But if you do not have the reasoning of this man [al-Shafi`i], I fear you will never be able to find it elsewhere." Ahmad is also related by his students Abu Talib and Humayd ibn Zanjuyah to say: "I never saw anyone adhere more to hadith than al-Shafi`i. No-one preceded him in writing down the hadith in a book." The meaning of this is that al-Shafi`i possessed the understanding of hadith after which Ahmad sought, as evidenced by the latter’s statement: "How rare is fiqh among the scholars of hadith!" This is a reference to the hadith: "It may be one carries understanding (fiqh) without being a person of understanding (faqîh)." Sufyan himself would defer to al-Shafi`i in matters of tafsîr and fatwa. Yunus ibn Abi Ya`la said: "Whenever al-Shafi`i went into tafsîr, it was as if he had witnessed the revelation." Ahmad ibn Hanbal also said: "Not one of the scholars of hadith touched an inkwell nor a pen except he owed a huge debt to al-Shafi`i."

    Al-Shafi`i was known for his peculiar strength in Arabic language, poetry, and philology. Bayhaqi narrated:

    [From Ibn Hisham:] I was al-Shafi`i’s sitting-companion for a long time, and I never heard him use except a word which, carefully considered, one would not find (in its context) a better word in the entire Arabic language. . . . Al-Shafi`i’s discourse, in relation to language, is a proof in itself.

    [From al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Za`farani:] A group of bedouins used to frequent al-Shafi`i’s gathering with us and sit in a corner. One day I asked their leader: "You are not interested in scholarship; why do you keep coming to sit with us?" They said: "We come to hear al-Shafi`i’s language."

    Al-Shafi`i trod the path of the Salaf in avoiding any interpretation of the verses and narrations pertaining to the divine attributes. He practiced "relegation of the meaning" (tafwîd al-mi`na) to a higher source, as established in his saying: "I leave the meaning of the verses of the Attributes to Allah, and I leave the meaning of the hadiths of the attributes to Allah’s Messenger." At the same time, rare instances of interpretation are recorded from him. Thus al-Bayhaqi relates that al-Muzani reported from al-Shafi`i the following commentary on the verse: "To Allah belong the East and the West, and wheresoever you turn, there is Allah’s face (wajh)" (2:115): "It means – and Allah knows best – thither is the bearing (wajh) towards which Allah has directed you." Al-Hakkari (d. 486) related in his book `Aqida al-Shafi`i that the latter said: "We affirm those attributes, and we negate from them likeness between them and creation (al-tashbîh), just as He negated it from Himself when He said: ‘There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him’ (42:11)."

    Al-Shafi`i’s hatred of dialectic theology (kalâm) was based on his extreme caution against errors which bear heavy consequences as they induce one into false beliefs. Among his sayings concerning this: "It is better for a scholar of knowledge to give a fatwa after which he is said to be wrong than to theologize and then be said to be a heretic (zindîq). I hate nothing more than theology and theologians." Dhahabi comments: "This indicates that Abu `Abd Allah’s position concerning error in the principles of the Religion (al-usûl) is that it is not the same as error in the course of scholarly exertion in the branches." The reason is that in belief and doctrine neither ijtihâd nor divergences are permitted. In this respect al-Shafi`i said: "It cannot be asked ‘Why?’ concerning the principles, nor ‘How?’" Yet al-Shafi`i did not completely close the door to the use of kalâm in defense of the Sunna, as shown below and in the notice on Ahmad ibn Hanbal.

    Yunus ibn Abi Ya`la narrated that al-Shafi`i defined the "principles" as: "The Qur’an, the Sunna, analogy (al-qiyâs), and consensus (al-ijmâ`)"; he defined the latter to mean: "The adherence of the Congregation (jamâ`a) of the Muslims to the conclusions of a given ruling pertaining to what is permitted and what is forbidden after the passing of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him."

    Al-Shafi`i did not close the door on the right use of kalâm as is clear from Ibn Abi Hatim’s narration from al-Rabi` of his words: "If I wished, I could produce a book against each one of those who deviated, but dialectic theology is none of my business, and I would not like to be attributed any part in it." Similar to it is his advice to his student al-Muzani: "Take proofs from creation about the Creator, and do not burden yourself with the knowledge of what your mind did not reach." Ibn Abi Hatim himself spoke similarly when he was told of Ibn Khuzayma’s unsuccessful attempt at kalâm: "It is preferable not to meddle with what we did not learn." Note that al-Shafi`i also spoke of his wish not to have a single letter out of all his works attributed to him, regardless of topic.

    Al-Shafi`i’s attitude towards tasawwuf was as strict as with kalâm, and he both praised it and denigrated its abuse at the hands of its corrupters. In criticism of the latter he said: "No-one becomes a Sufi in the morning except he ends up a dolt by noon" while on the other hand he declared in his Diwan: "Be at the same time a faqîh and a Sufi." In Mecca al-Shafi`i was the student of Fudayl ibn `Iyad. Imam al-Nawawi in his Bustan al-`Arifin fi al-Zuhd wa al-Tasawwuf ("The Garden of the Gnostics in Asceticism and Tasawwuf") narrated from al-Shafi`i the saying: "Only the sincere one (al-mukhlis) can recognize self-display (al-riyâ’)." Al-Nawawi comments: "This means that it is impossible to know the reality of self-display and see its hidden shades except for one who resolutely seeks (arâda) sincerity. Such a one strives for a long time, searching, meditating, examining at length within himself until he knows, or knows something of what self-display is. This does not happen for everyone. Indeed, this happens only with special ones (al-khawâss). But for a given individual to claim that he knows what self-diplay is, this is real ignorance on his part."

    Al-Shafi`i deferred primacy in the foundations of fiqh to Imam Abu Hanifa with his famous statement: "People are all the children of Abu Hanifa in fiqh." Ibn Hajar al-Haytami mentioned in the thirty-fifth chapter of his book on Imam Abu Hanifa entitled al-Khayrat al-Hisan: "When Imam al-Shafi`i was in Baghdad, he would visit the grave of Imam Abu Hanifa, greet him, and then ask Allah for the fulfillment of his need through his means."

    Two schools of legal thought or madhahib are actually attributed to al-Shafi`i, englobing his writings and legal opinions (fatâwa). These two schools are known in the terminology of jurists as "The Old" (al-qadîm) and "The New" (al-jadîd), corresponding respectively to his stays in Iraq and Egypt. The most prominent transmitters of the New among al-Shafi`i’s students are al-Buwayti, al-Muzani, al-Rabi` al-Muradi, and al-Bulqini, in Kitab al-Umm ("The Motherbook"). The most prominent transmitters of the Old are Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Karabisi, al-Za`farani, and Abu Thawr, in Kitab al-Hujja ("Book of the Proof"). What is presently known as the Shafi`i position refers to the New except in approximately twenty-two questions, in which Shafi`i scholars and muftis have retained the positions of the Old.

    Al-Subki related that the Shafi`i scholars considered al-Rabi`s narration from al-Shafi`i sounder from the viewpoint of transmission, while they considered al-Muzani’s sounder from the viewpoint of fiqh, although both were established hadith masters. Al-Shafi`i said to al-Rabi`: "How I love you!" and another time: "O Rabi`! If I could feed you the Science I would feed it to you." Al-Qaffal al-Shashi in his Fatawa relates that al-Rabi` was slow in his understanding, and that al-Shafi`i once repeated an explanation forty times for him in a gathering, yet he did not understand it then got up and left in embarrassment. Later, al-Shafi`i called him in private and resumed explaining it to him until he understood. This shows the accuracy of Ibn Rahuyah’s statement: "I consider the best part of me the time when I fully understand al-Shafi`i’s discourse."

    Al-Shafi`i took the verse "Or if you have touched women" (4:43) literally, and considered that contact between the sexes, even accidental, nullified ablution. This is also the position of Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Umar, al-Sha`bi, al-Nakha`i, al-Zuhri, and al-Awza`i, which is confirmed by Ibn `Umar’s report: "Whoever kisses or touches his wife with his hand must renew his wudû’." It is authentic and related in numerous places including Malik's Muwatta’. Al-Shafi`i said: "Something similar has reached us from Ibn Mas`ud." They all read the above verse literally, without interpreting "touch" to mean "sexual intercourse" as do the Hanafis, or "touch with pleasure" as do the Malikis.

    A major contribution of al-Shafi`i in the foundations of the Law was his division of innovation (al-bid`a) into good and bad on the basis of `Umar’s words about the tarâwih or congregational supererogatory night prayers in the month of Ramadan: "What a fine innovation this is!" Harmala narrated that al-Shafi`i concluded: "Therefore, whatever innovation conforms to the Sunna is approved (mahmûd), and whatever opposes it is abominable (madhmûm)." Agreement formed in the Four Schools around his division, as illustrated by the endorsement of some major later authorities in each school. Among the Hanafis: Ibn `Abidin, al-Turkumani, and al-Tahanawi; among the Malikis: al-Turtushi, Ibn al-Hajj, and al-Shatibi; consensus among the Shafi`is; and reluctant acceptance among later Hanbalis, who altered al-Shafi`i’s terminology to read "lexical innovation" (bid`a lughawiyya) and "legal innovation" (bid`a shar`iyya), respectively û although inaccurately û matching Shafi`i’s "approved" and "abominable".

    Among al-Shafi`i’s other notable positions: Al-Muzani said: "I never saw any of the scholars make something obligatory on behalf of the Prophet as much as al-Shafi`i in his books, and this was due to his high remembrance of the Prophet. He said in the Old School: ‘Supplication ends with the invocation of blessings on the Prophet, and its end is but by means of it.’" Al-Karabisi said: "I heard al-Shafi`i say that he disliked for someone to say ‘the Messenger’ (al-Rasûl), but that he should say ‘Allah’s Messenger’ (Rasûl Allah) out of veneration (ta`zîm) for him."

    Among al-Shafi`i’s other sayings:

    "The study of hadith is better than supererogatory prayer, and the pursuit of knowledge is better than supererogatory prayer." Ibn `Abd al-Barr in Kitab al-`Ilm listed the many hadiths of the Prophet on the superior merit of knowledge. However, al-Shafi`i by this saying meant the essence and purpose of knowledge, not knowledge for its own sake which leads to Satanic pride. The latter is widely available while true knowledge is the knowledge that leads to godwariness (taqwa). This is confirmed by al-Shafi`i’s saying: "Knowledge is what benefits. Knowledge is not what one has memorized." This is a corrective for those content to define knowledge as "the knowledge of the proof" (ma`rifa al-dalîl). "He gives wisdom to whomever He will, and whoever receives wisdom receives immense good." (2:269)

    "You [the scholars of hadith] are the pharmacists but we [the jurists] are the physicians." This was explained by `Ali al-Qari in his book Mu`taqad Abi Hanifa al-Imam (p. 42): "The early scholars said: The hadith scholar without knowledge of fiqh is like a seller of drugs who is no physician: he has them but he does not know what to do with them; and the fiqh scholar without knowledge of hadith is like a physician without drugs: he knows what constitutes a remedy, but does not dispose of it."

    "Malik was asked about kalâm and [the Science of] Oneness (tawhîd) and he said: ‘It is inconceivable that the Prophet should teach his Community hygiene and not teach them about Oneness! And Oneness is exactly what the Prophet said: ‘I was ordered to fight people until they say ‘There is no God but Allah.’ So, whatever makes blood and property untouchable û that is the reality of Oneness (haqîqa al-tawhîd).’" This is a proof from the Salaf against those who, in later times, innovated sub-divisions for tawhîd or legislated that their own understanding of Allah’s Attributes was a precondition for the declaration of Oneness. Al-Halimi said: "In this hadith there is explicit proof that that declaration (lâ ilâha illallâh) suffices to extirpate oneself from all the different kinds of disbelief in Allah Almighty."

    "Satiation weighs down the body, hardens the heart, does away with sagacity, brings on sleep, and weakens one from worship." This is similar to the definition of tasawwuf as "hunger" (al-jû`) given by some of the early masters, who acquired hunger as a permanent attribute and were called "hungerers" (jû`iyyûn). A notable example is al-Qasim ibn `Uthman al-`Abdi al-Dimashqi al-Ju`i (d. 248), whom al-Dhahabi describes as "the Imam, the exemplar, the wali, the muhaddith, the shaykh of the Sufis and the friend of Ahmad ibn al-Hawari."

    "I never swore by Allah - neither truthfully nor deceptively." This is similar to the saying of the Sufi master Sahl ibn `Abd Allah al-Tustari narrated by al-Dhahabi: "Among the manners of the truthful saints (al-siddîqîn) is that they never swear by Allah, nor commit backbiting, nor does backbiting take place around them, nor do they eat to satiation, if they promise they are true to their word, and they never speak in jest."

    Al-Buwayti asked: "Should I pray behind the Rafidi?" Al-Shafi`i said: "Do not pray behind the Rafidi, nor behind the Qadari, nor behind the Murji’." Al-Buwayti said: "Define them for us." He replied: "Whoever says ‘Belief consists only in speech’ is a Murji’, and whoever says ‘Abu Bakr and `Umar are not Imams’ is a Rafidi, and whoever attributes destiny to himself is a Qadari."

    Abu Hatim narrated from Harmala that al-Shafi`i said: "The Caliphs (al-khulafâ’) are five: Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, `Ali, and `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz." In his Diwan he named them "leaders of their people, by whose guidance one obtains guidance," and declaimed of the Family of the Prophet:

    The Family of the Prophet are my intermediary to him! (wasîlatî)

    Through them I hope to be given my record with the right hand.


    O Family of Allah’s Messenger! To love you is an obligation

    Which Allah ordained and revealed in the Qur’an.

    It is enough proof of your immense glory that

    Whoever invokes not blessings upon you, his prayer is invalid.

    Ibn Hajar said that the first to write a biography of al-Shafi`i was Dawud al-Zahiri (d. 275). Al-Nawawi in Tahdhib al-Asma’ wa al-Lughat (1:44) mentioned that the best biography of al-Shafi`i was al-Bayhaqi’s for its sound chains of transmission. Ibn Hajar summarized it and added to it al-Shafi`i’s Musnad in his Tawali al-Ta’sis fi Ma`ali Ibn Idris.

    In the introduction of his compendium of Shafi`i fiqh entitled al-Majmu` al-Nawawi mentions that al-Shafi`i used a walking stick for which he was asked: "Why do you carry a stick when you are neither old nor ailing?" He replied: "To remember I am only a traveller in this world."

    Main sources: al-Shafi`i, Diwan; Abu Nu`aym, Hilya al-Awliya’ 9:71-172 #442; al-Nawawi, Tahdhib al-Asma’ wa al-Lughat 1:44-67 #2; al-Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ 8:377-423 #1539, 10:79, 10:649; al-Subki, Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra 2:133-134; Ibn Hajar, Tawali al-Ta’sis p. 3-157.
    by Dr. G.F. Haddad

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    Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: The Enemy of Islam

    No sooner had he assumed power than he made bold to declare that he would destroy every vestige of Islam in the life of the Turkish nation. Only when the authority of Islam was utterly eliminated could Turkey "progress" into a respected, modern nation . He made speech after public speech, fearlessly and brazenly attacking Islam and all Islam stands for:

    For nearly five hundred years, these rules and theories of an Arab Shaikh and the interpretations of generations of lazy and good-for-nothing priests have decided the civil and criminal law of Turkey. They have decided the form of the Constitution, the details of the lives of each Turk, his food, his hours of rising and sleeping the shape of his clothes, the routine of the midwife who produced his children, what he learned in his schools, his customs, his thoughts-even his most intimate habits. Islam - this theology of an immoral Arab - is a dead thing. Possibly it might have suited tribes in the desert. It is no good for modern, progressive state. God's revelation! There is no God! These are only the chains by which the priests and bad rulers bound the people down. A ruler who needs religion is a weakling. No weaklings should rule![3]

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    Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah: the tortured scholar

    One day, his father and his family asked him to join them on a picnic but he suddenly disappeared, so they had to go out without him. When they came back at the end of the day, they blamed him for not going out with them. He said, pointing to a book in his hand: "You did not benefit anything from your trip, whereas I memorized all this book in your absence."

    He was known for his physiognomy, sharp memory and wittedness which amazed the people of Damascus and made them admire him more and more. Though he was young, his fame reached the neighbouring territories. Once, one of the scholars of Halab visited Damascus. The scholars and dignitaries of the city went to welcome him. He told them: "I heard in other territories of a boy who is quick in memorizing everything. I came here to see him."

    They led the man to the small school where the boy used to go to memorize the Quran. The Halabi scholar sat for a while until the boy passed with a big board in his hand. The scholar called him, so he went to him.

    The scholar took the board from him and said to him: "Sit here son, and I’ll relate to you some Prophetic narrations to write." He dictated for him some, then he asked him to read them.

    The boy started reading from the board. Then the Shaykh said to him: "Let me hear it from you." He then started recounting the narrations from his memory exactly like he was reading them from the board. The scholar told him: "Erase this, son." He cited more of the Prophet’s narrations and asked him to repeat them. The boy did the same again; he read it from the board and then from his memory. The scholar stood up saying: "Should this boy live long, he will have a great position [become a great scholar]. We’ve never seen anyone like him before."

    This boy was later to be the tortured scholar, Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah who acquired his knowledge from the best scholars of his time. He studied the Hanbali school and no one surpassed him in it. He also studied the main books of the Prophet’s narrations and tradition such as the authentic narrations reported by Al-Bukhaari, Muslim and others.
    Ibn Taymiyyah was a devoted person who very much observed the acts of worship. He never let anything distract him from worshipping Allaah. He used to spend his night alone, imploring his Lord, continuously reciting the Quran and performing prayers, mentioning and invoking Allaah, and observing the optional late night prayer.

    Ibn Taymiyyah wrote a large number of books; he wrote more than three hundred books. He had a vast knowledge and wrote many classificatory books and literary works. He used to write up to four notebooks a day. One day, he managed to write the “Ar-Resaalah Al-Hamawiyyah(The Hamawi Treatise) which is made up of seventy medium sized pages. He wrote it between the time of Thuhr and 'Asr prayers. He wrote all his books during the seven years he spent in prison, except the book of Al-Eemaan, (The Faith) which he wrote in Egypt.

    Ibn Taymiyyah was keen to do every kind of good deeds. Every week, he used to visit those who were ill especially those in the hospital. He was known for his asceticism and benevolence. He loved to give whatever he had whether it was little or much. Even when he had very little, he gave it in charity. He used to donate whatever he had. If he had nothing to give, he used to take off some of his clothes and give them to the poor.

    Despite his poverty, he never accepted any donation from a king or prince. He didn’t save any money for himself; neither had he saved any furniture nor food.

    Ibn Taymiyyah was famous for his courage, valour, and brave initiatives. Whenever he went out for Jihaad (fighting in the Cause of Allaah) with the Muslims, he used to be in the front line, encouraging the warriors and arousing their determination and enthusiasm. He took part in conquest of 'Akkah and showed much bravery that proved his strong faith and love for participating in Jihaad.

    When Qazaan, a Tartar king, took a number of Muslims as captives, Ibn Taymiyyah went to him, rebuked him for this act and requested him to set the Muslim captives free and the king did.

    Ibn Taymiyyah had a difficult life full of continuous trials, calamities, and tests. No sooner did one calamity end than a new one emerged. As soon as he is released from one prison, he is again locked up in another.

    Towards the end of his life, some people plotted against him because of his opinion about prohibiting people from visiting the graves of the Prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention, and righteous people. So they spread a rumor among the people that he belittled the Prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention. Accordingly, the judges of the four schools of Egypt ordered that he be imprisoned. So he was locked up in Damascus citadel.

    In that citadel, Allaah inspired him with the understanding of many meanings of the Quran and the basics of knowledge that many scholars would have wished to have.
    During his captivity in the citadel, he used to say: “If I gave as much gold as that which would fill this citadel, I wouldn’t have been grateful enough for this grace of being imprisoned.”

    When he was reminded of the people who had hurt and caused his imprisonment, he said: “I can never reward them for the good they brought to me.”

    Ibn Taymiyyah remained in jail in that citadel for about two years till he died in 728 A.H. At the time of his funeral prayer in the mosque, the soldiers surrounded the funeral to protect it from the overwhelming crowds. The number of people kept increasing till they filled up all the alleys, streets and markets. May Allaah have mercy on this great scholar.


    Ibn Taymiyyah. - by Fatwa-Online

    All praise is for Allaah Lord of the worlds. Peace and blessings be upon Muhammad (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam), his pure family, his companions and all those who strive to follow in their footsteps till the last day. To preceed :

    Many people today accuse some of the greatest scholars of Islaam of blasphemy and kufr (disbelief). One who is frequently attacked is Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah - rahima-hullaah -. In actual fact he is slandered and lied against. People say things about him which he never said... in actual fact things which he was totally against!! These people who do should fear Allaah, and remember that they should be just and judge a man with justice and from knowledge, rather than judging him from ignorance and heresay ! subhaan-Allaah, Ibn Taymiyyah used to strive for the upliftment of the sunnah, and for the defence of this deen from those who in ignorance are changing it. And it was he who led the people to fight the tyrant tartars and it was he who suffered the darkness of the jails of Egypt so that Islaam can be lifted, and it was he who used to pray to Allaah to guide those who are misguided. Therefore let there be a warning to those who blemish his name - a severe warning indeed- that they may not slander him, for a scholar's flesh is poisonous.

    Many people accuse Ibn Taymiyyah of Likening Allaah to the creation.....this a big lie and slander...and these people should fear Allaah, and take account of the evil their tongues utter before its too late. Inshaa.-Allaah below are some quotes from the writings of the noble Shaykh which clarifies his position beyond doubt on this issue. And those who after reading this still utter salnder and lies agianst the Shaykh, then all that can be said about them is that they have an illness in their hearts, and we pray to Allaah that He cures them of this disease.

    In "al-'Aqeedatul Waasitiyaah " Ibn Taymiyyah - rahima-hullaah - says:

    "from faith (eemaan) is acceptance (eemaan) of what Allaah has ascribed Himself in the scripture as well as what the messenger r ascribed to Him. [This creed] prevents any attempts at altering the sacred texts (tahreef), and rules out stripping Allaah of his tributes (ta'teel) or asking questions), concerining their modality ( takyeef..ie ..ascribing a "howness", or attempting to understand them analogicaly (tamtheel). Indeed [the ahlus-sunnah] hold that:
    There is nothing like unto Him (Allaah); [that] He is the All-Hearing and All-Seeing One (Qur.aan 42:11).

    They do not negate what Allaah has attributed Himself, nor do they alter the meaning of His words on these matters, nor subscribe to heretical notions regarding the divine names (asmaa') and manifestations (aayaat). They do NOT (!!!) seek to explain His attributes (sifaat) or COMPARE THEM with those of HIS CREATURES, for He (Allaah) has no namesake (samiy), no equal, no peer (nidd) and, therefore, He, the One free of all imperfections and Most High, does NOT befit of being compared to His creatures."

    Ibn Taymiyyah says in at-Tadmuriyyah (p20):

    "It is a must to affirm that which Allaah affirms for himself , whilst NEGATING ANY likeness to Him to His craetion..... whoever says His Knowledge is like my knowledge, His Power like my power, or Love like my love, or Pleasure like my pleasure, or Hand like my hand, or istawaa (ascending) like my ascending-- then he has resembled and likened Allaah to His creation. Rather, it is must to affirm (Allaah's Attributes) without any resemblance, and to negate (what Allaah negates for Himself), without ta'teel (divesting Allaah of any of His affirmed Attributes)."

    Ibn Taymiyyah wrote in Majmoo-al Fatawaa (5/262):

    "Whosoever considers the Attributes of Allaah to be like the attributes of creation- such that the Istawa (Ascending) of Allaah is like the ascending of the creation, or His nuzool (descending) is like the descending of the creation, or other than that-- then he is a DEVIATED INNOVATOR."
    So people please read and pay heed to the words of the noble scholar !!!!

    This is enough proof for those that are just and who are sincerely seeking the truth ...and Allaah knows best.

    Taqi.ud-deen Abul-'Abbaas Ahmad Ibn 'Abdul-Haleem Ibn 'Abdus-Salaam Ibn Taymiyyah al-Harraanee al-Hanbalee, was born on Monday the 10th of Rabi' al-Awwal 66l A.H./22nd of January 1263 C.E. at Harraan (northern Iraq) into a well known family of "mutakallimoon"(theologians). His grandfather, Abu al-Barkat Majd-ud-deen ibn Taymiyyah (d.653 A.H./1255 C.E.) was a reputed teacher of the Hanbaleete school and his "Muntaqa al-Akhbaar (selections of prophetic sayings) which classifies such Ahaadeeth upon which Islaamic legislation is based, is even today regarded as a very valuable work. Likewise, the scholarly achievements of Ibn Taymiyyah's father, Shihaabuddeen 'Abdul-Haleem Ibn Taymiyyah (d.682 A.H./1284 C.E.) were wide spread.

    This was the time when the Tataar hordes under Hulagu Khaan were inflicting their barbaric onslaught throughout the world of Islaam - especially the mesopotamium region. Ibn Taymiyyah was only seven when the Tataars launched their attack on Harraan. Consequently, the populace left Harraan to seek refuge elsewhere. Ibn Taymiyyah's family proceeded to Damascus in 667 A.H./1268 C.E. which was then ruled by the Mamlooks of Egypt. It was here that his father delivered sermons from the pulpit of the Umayyad Mosque and was invited to teach Hadeeth in the mosque as well as in the Daarul-Hadeeth 'Assaakuriyyah in Damascus. These discourses were attended by a large number of students as well as by the scholars. Damascus was the center of Islaamic studies at that time, and Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah followed in the footsteps of his father who was a scholar of Islaamic studies by studying with the great scholars of his time, among them a woman scholar by the name Zaynab bint Makkee who taught him hadeeth.


    From his early childhood, Ibn Taymiyyah was an industrious student. He fully acquainted himself with all the secular and religious sciences of his time. He devoted special attention to Arabic literature and gained mastery over grammar and lexicography. Not only did he become an expert on the great Arab grammarian Seebawayh's al-Kitaab which is regarded as the greatest authority on grammar and syntax, but he also pointed out the errors therein. He commanded knowledge of all the prose and poetry then available. Furthermore, he studied the history of both pre Islaamic Arabia and that of the post-Islaamic period. Finally, he learnt mathematics and calligraphy.

    As for the religions sciences, Ibn Taymiyyah studied the Qur.aan, Hadeeth and Sharee'ah (http://www.fatwa-online.com/glossary/index.htm). He learnt the Hanbalee fiqh (law) from his own father and then became a distinguished representative of the Hanbalee school of law. He is reported to have acquired his knowledge on Hadeeth in Syria like Ibn 'Abduddayaam. Another of his teachers was Shamsuddeen 'Abdurrahmaan al-Maqdisee (d.682 A.H./1283 C.E.).Thus Ibn Taymiyyah received a thorough grounding in the Sihaah Sittah and the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad.

    Ibn Taymiyyah had great love for tafseer (Qur.aanic exegesis). He read over a hundred commentaries of the Qur.aan.

    He completed his studies when he was a teenager and at age 19 he became a professor of Islaamic studies. Well versed in Qur.aanic studies, Hadeeth, fiqh, theology, Arabic grammar and scholastic theology, etc., he started giving fatwas on religious legal matters without following any of the traditional legal schools, the Hanafee, Maalikee, Shaafi'ee and Hanbalee. He defended the sound prophetic traditions by arguments which, although taken from the Qur.aan and the Sunnah, had hitherto been unfamiliar to people of his time. The freedom of his polemics made him many enemies among the scholars of the traditional Orthodox Schools, who falsely accused him, of all kinds of heretical beliefs. Among them was the famous Muslim medieval traveler, Ibn Batutah, who visited Damascus while Ibn Taymiyyah was in jail. This did not hinder Ibn Batutah in testifying in his book that "he witnessed Ibn Taymiyyah on the pulpit saying, 'every night Allaah descends to the lower heaven like my descent', and he descended one step down the pulpit". From reading this 'aqeedah we learn that Ibn Taymiyyah accepted the attributes of Allaah without questioning (bi-laa kayfa).

    When Ibn Taymiyyah lost his father in 682 A.H./1283 C.E. at the age of twenty two, he succeeded at the 'Assaakuriyyah. He began to teach "Tafseer" at the Umayyad mosque and in 695 A.H./1296 C.E. he began to teach at the Hanbaleeyyah in Damascus. Soon he became prominent among the leading scholars of Syria and also became immensely popular with the masses.

    The Mongol Threat

    In the meanwhile, Iraq, Iran, and Khuraasaan continued to smother under the cruel domination of the Tataars. The Mamlooks who were ruling over Egypt, Syria and the Hijaaz (Arabian peninsula) attempted several times to capture Iraq but failed each time. When it was learnt that the Tataars were planning to conquer Damascus, the Mamlook Sultaan, al-Maalik an-Naasir Muhammad bin Qalawoon left Egypt with a powerful army to check the advance of the Tataars.
    The two forces met in a bloody battle in 699 A.H./1299 C.E. but the Sultaan was defeated and he returned to Egypt. Now Damascus lay open before the Tataar forces led by Ghazzaan, also known as Mahmood, the great grandson of Ghengis Khaan. Consequently, all the nobles including the religions scholars, judges, administrators and traders fled from Damascus where total chaos and anarchy held sway in the face of the Tataar invasion.

    At this critical moment Ibn Taymiyyah and their remaining notables decided to lead a delegation to meet Ghazzaan and pursue for peace of the city. Accordingly, the delegation led by Ibn Taymiyyah met Ghazzaan at Nabak (near Damascus) and he agreed to grant amnesty to the people of Damascus.
    News of the Tataar army advancing towards Syria again reached Damascus in 702 A.H./1303 C.E. Delay in the arrival of Sultaan Qalawoon from Egypt caused panic among the people, many of whom began to abandon their homes for safer places. When Ibn Taymiyyah saw this, he began to urge the people to defend themselves and their city, thereby arresting the exodus. He also went personally to appeal to the Sultaan to speed up his journey to Damascus.
    At last the Muslim forces of Egypt and Syria encountered the Tataar forces at Thaqab during Ramadhaan 702 A.H./1303 C.E. and after a bloody conflict the Muslims defeated and dispersed the Tataar armies.

    Jihaad (http://www.fatwa-online.com/glossary/index.htm) Against Heretics

    Ibn Taymiyyah's fight was not limited to the Soofees and the people who followed the heretical innovations; in addition, he fought against the Tataars who attacked the Muslim world and almost reached Damascus. The people of Syria sent him to Egypt to urge the Mamlook Sultaan, the Sultaan of Egypt and Syria to lead his troops to Syria to save it from the invading Tataars. When he realized that the Sultaan was hesitant to do what he asked of him, he threatened the Sultaan by saying: "If you turn your back on Syria we will appoint a Sultaan over it who can defend it and enjoy it at the time of peace". He was present at the battle of Shaqhab near Damascus against the Tataars which took place during the fasting month of Ramadhaan and gave a fatwa to the army to break their fast in order to help them against their enemy, as the Prophet Muhammad (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) did during the battle of the liberation of Makkah. The Muslims won the battle against the Tataars and drove them away from Damascus and all Syria. Ibn Taymiyyah's courage was expressed when he went with a delegation of 'ulamaa. to talk to Qazan the Khan of the Tataars to stop his attack on the Muslims. Not one of the 'ulamaa. dared to say anything to him except Ibn Taymiyyah who said: "You claim that you are Muslim and you have with you mu'adhdhins, judges, Imam and Shaykh but you invaded us and reached our country for what? While your father and your grandfather, Hulago, were non-believers, they did not attack the land of Islaam, rather, they promised not to attack and they kept their promise. But you promised and broke your promise."

    Once the Tataar threat was eliminated, Ibn Taymiyyah again devoted himself to his mission of his intellectual pursuit and teaching. At the same time, he continued to wage Jihaad against the heretical sects like the Baatinites, Ismaa.eelites, Haakimites and Nusayrites living in the hilly tracts of Syria who had invited the Crusaders and the Tataars to invade the Muslim lands, helped these invaders against the Muslims and looted and plundered the weak and defenceless population. Ibn Taymiyyah personally led expeditions against these sects.

    Religious Condition Of The Muslims

    Apart from the external threats mentioned above, Islaam was also confronted at this time with internal dangers. There were Baatinites (an extremist Sheeite sect which confronted the Muslim Government at that time) and their followers, the Assassins (Hasheeshiyoon). Their creed was a mixture of Magian dogma and Platonic concepts which could easily sow the seeds of intellectual dissension and spread irreligousness and apostasy among the simple minded people. Then there were Muslims who, under the influence of the polytheistic beliefs and customs of the non-Muslims with whom they had free associations, began to glorify their saints (highly pious Soofee personalities - Walee-Allaah) as the Jews and the Christians were doing. Further more, some Soofee's orders like the Rifaa'iyyah had adopted certain neo-Platonic and Hindu doctrines which became so confused with the true Islaamic beliefs that it became almost impossible to distinguish one from the other.

    In the wake of crusaders, some Christians were emboldened to censure Islaam and criticise the Prophet in their speeches and writings. In the intellectual circles of the Muslims there was stagnation and rigidity in their theological disputations and in their approach to the re-interpretation of the Sharee'ah. There was continuous polemical wranglings between the 'Asharites and Hanbaleeites. Finally, some of the philosophers, influenced by the theories of Plato and Aristotle, began to spread their agnostic ideas and concepts in total disregard to the teachings of Islaam.

    These were the conditions pertaining to the time of Ibn Taymiyyah and which he had to contend. Ibn Taymiyyah formed a society along with his students and followers to renounce the polytheistic cults, un-Islaamic cults, un-Islaamic influences and heretical beliefs and practices among the Muslim masses. As a result of his enthusiastic and zealous reformative activities and condemnation of heresies, un-Islaamic innovation and practices at the visitation of graves of saints, he earned the displeasure of certain sectors of the population. Nonetheless, his popularity among the Muslim masses increased tremendously.

    All this jihad against the enemies of Islaam did not help Ibn Taymiyyah with the 'ulamaa.. The authorities put him in jail many times until he died in jail because of his daring and free progressive opinions on many legal and social issues which angered his opponents, the followers of the Orthodox Schools of law.
    However when Ibn Taymiyyah had the chance to punish his opponents among the 'ulamaa. who caused him all kinds of trouble and put him in jail many times, he showed the utmost of magnanimity and forgave them when the Sultaan an-Naasir Qalawoon gave him the chance to do so. He said: "If you kill them you will never find 'ulamaa. like them." The Sultaan said: "They harmed you many times and wanted to kill you!" Ibn Taymiyyah said: "Whoever harmed me is absolved, and who harmed the cause of Allaah and His Messenger, Allaah will punish him."

    The Muslim historians, like adh-Dhahabee, Ibn Katheer, Ibn al-'Imad al-Hanbalee and many others praised Ibn Taymiyyah and considered him one of the greatest scholars of Islaam of all time.

    He fought heretical innovations in religion which were wide spread during his time all over the Muslim world, especially certain acts and beliefs of some Soofee orders, like saint worship and visiting saints' tombs, and throwing themselves in the fire. His attack on the Soofees caused him a lot of trouble with the authorities whose leaders were under the influence of certain soofee leaders.

    As a result of Ibn Taymiyyah's popularity, some influential religions scholars became jealous of him and even annoyed because he challenged the Qaadhee's on juridical matters. They therefore sought ways and means to discredit him in the eyes of the Government and the people. Ibn Taymiyyah rejected the teachings expounded in the al-Futuhaat al-Makkah ("the Makkan Revelations") and Fusoos al-Hakeem ("The Mosaic of Wisdom") of Shaykh Muheeuddeen ibn al-'Arabee (d.638 A.H./1240 C.E.) the most respected Soofee and teacher of tasawwuf - as incompatible with the teachings of the Qur.aan and the Sunnah, thereby earning the wrath of the Soofee's, and by being outspoken on Government policies, he earned the hostility of the government. Consequently he was summoned to Egypt in 705 A.H./1305 C.E.

    When Ibn Taymiyyah arrived in Egypt, he was asked to attend a meeting of theologians, jurists and the chiefs of the state. During the session certain charges were levelled against him relating to his concepts of the nature and attributes of Allaah. He was not allowed to defend himself and was promptly imprisoned for about 16 months. While in prison, he diverted the attention of his followers from indulgence in frolics and amusements to a sense of piety, discipline and temperance. A number of prisoners became his devoted disciples on their release.

    After Ibn Taymiyyah was released from prison in 707 A.H./1307 C.E. he decided to remain in Egypt for a while. Soon he began to deliver lectures in various Mosques and educational institutions before select gatherings of scholars, jurists and theologians. However, Ibn Taymiyyah's views on pantheistic monoism, intercession, etc were not received kindly and numerous complaints were made against him to the Sultaan. The religions scholars to whom the complaints were referred could not find any fault with Ibn Taymiyyah. However, as the administration was growing weary of the charges brought against him, he was detained for a while but was soon released on the unanimous request of the religions scholars. But when Sultaan Qalawoon abdicated in favour of his viceroy Baybaan al-Jashnikeer in 709 A.H./1309 C.E., Ibn Taymiyyah was exiled to Alexandria where, inspite of his internment, he earned himself a respectable position in the Academic and literary circles. Soon though Baybaan abdicated and Sultaan Qalawoon returned to Egypt and ordered Ibn Taymiyyah.

    Return To Damascus

    In Cairo, Ibn Taymiyyah had busied himself in his teachings and reformative activities for about 3 years. At the same time, he acted as adviser to the Sultaan and was instrumental in having several important reforms introduced in Egypt and Syria. Several royal edicts were issued on his advice in 712 A.H./1312 C.E. He visited Jerusalem in the same year, then went for Hajj (pilgrimage) and eventually returned to Damascus in 713 A.H./1313 C.E. From now onward he devoted his attention primarily to juristic problems though he continued teaching. His chief disciple was ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d.751 A.H./1350 C.E.) who was chiefly responsible for spreading his ideas.

    The Question Of Three Talaaq's

    Ibn Taymiyyah like his forefathers was a Hanbaleeite and his legal opinions conformed to that school, though not exclusively. He often rejected the Hanbaleeite view just as in some matters he expressed disagreement with all the four principal juridicial schools. One such case in which he differed with them was in regard to the repudiation of one's wife by three divorces given at one time.

    The issue was whether a divorce pronounced thrice at the same time took legal effect or not. This issue raised the following considerations:

    • whether revocation of such a divorce was possible or not.
    • whether the three sentences of divorce would be counted as one revocable pronouncement (talaaq) or taken as an irreversable separation.
    • whether the wife so divorced could return to her husband or not without a halaalah (i.e until his divorced wife was married to another man who, in turn, after the consummation of the marriage, divorces).

    All the earlier jurists and traditionalists, likewise a good number of the Prophet's companions were of the view that such a pronouncement, although being repugnant to the law as well as irregular and sinful, would be regarded as an implied divorce with legal effect. As against that Ibn Taymiyyah firmly held the opinion that the three sentences of divorce spoken at the same time should be regarded as one revocable divorce. The view of Ibn Taymiyyah happened to be against the official view which naturally brought him in conflict with the 'ulamaa on one hand and with the government on the other.

    Consequently, the theologians tried to prevent him from expressing further legal opinion on such matters. In fact, a royal edict was issued from Cairo in 718AH/1318AD forbidding him from giving legal opinions in such cases.

    Initially Ibn Taymiyyah abided by the edict but later again began giving legal judgment on this issue as he decided that it was improper for him to desist simply for fear of the government. As a result in 720 A.H./1320 C.E. he was detained in a citadel for just over five months till he was released on direct orders from Cairo.

    The Final Years

    Between 721 A.H./1321 C.E. and 726 A.H./1326 C.E. Ibn Taymiyyah devoted himself to teaching in the Madrasah Hanbaleeyyah and his own Madrasah Qassaaseen and revising some of his earlier works. In 726 A.H./1326 C.E. his adversaries again conspired to have him imprisoned. Here he continued writing his exegesis of the Qur.aan as well as treatises and monographs on various issues.

    Ibn Taymiyyah died in jail in Damascus on the night of Sunday-Monday 20th Dhul-Qa'dah 728 A.H./26-27 September 1328 C.E. at the age of 67, and is buried in the cemetery of the Soofiyyah in Damascus.

    The people of Damascus, who held him in great honor, gave him a splendid funeral and an estimated 200,000 men and 15,000 women attended his funeral. He was buried at the Soofee cemetery in Damascus where his mother was buried.

    Character And Achievements

    Ibn Taymiyyah occupied a highly honorable place among his contemporary religions scholars due to his prodigious memory, intellectual brilliance, encyclopedic knowledge and dauntless courage. He is described as a great orator, brave and fearless, resolute, disciplined, very pious, resigned and contended, noble and forgiving, just and ever determined.

    Ibn Taymiyyah's reformative endeavors and literary pursuits cover a vast field which can be summarised as follows:

    1 revival of faith in and adherence to "Tawheed"(oneness of Allaah).
    2 eradication of pantheistic beliefs and customs.
    3 criticism of philosophy, syllogistic logic and dialects in order to demonstrate the superiority of the Qur.aan and the sunnah.
    4 extirpation of un-Islaamic beliefs through refutation of Christianity and Sheeism.
    5 rejuvenation of Islaamic thought and its related sciences.
    The total number of Ibn Taymiyyah's works is 621 though many of his writings have been lost. Some of Ibn Taymiyyah's writings dealing with the themes are listed below:
    1 al-Jawaab as-Saheeh liman baddala Deen al-Maseeh (an answer to the criticism against Islaam by the Christians).
    2 Radd 'ala al-Mantiqiyyeen (a refutation of the philosopher).
    3 Kitaab as-Siyaasah ash-Shar'iyyah (deals with political theory and government in Islaam).
    4 Minhaaj as-Sunnah an-Nabawiyyah (a refutation of Sheeite beliefs written in response to Minhaaj al-Karanmah of Ibn al-Mutahhir al-Hillee).
    5 Ziyaarah al-Quboor (a criticism of saint-workshop, intercession, superstitious beliefs).
    6 Majmoo'at ar-Rasaail al-Kubra (this book contains articles on various subjects).
    7 Majmoo'at al-Fataawa (a collection of opinions on various issues).
    8 Majmoo'at ar-Rasaail wa al-Masaail (contains articles and legal opinions on various issues).
    9 Majmoo'at Shaykh al-Islaam Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah (contains discussion on Islaamic jurisprudence and legal opinions enunciated by Ibn Taymiyyah).


    To include in the words of Mawlaana Abu al-Hasan 'Alee Nadawee who has paid a glowing tribute to Ibn Taymiyyah as follows:

    "Ibn Taymiyyah interpreted the Qur.aan and Sunnah, established the superiority of Islaam over heresy, Philosophical concepts and other faiths and contributed to a genuine revival of religion after a deep study and deliberation that was necessary for lighting the religions and intellectual waywardness of the time. Seeking to surpass his opponents he mastered the methodology employed by them to attack Islaam. In fact, his learning, his erudition, his intellectual attainment and his mental grit always left his adversaries spell bound"(*1)

    Little wonder then that Ibn Taymiyyah's contemporary and succeeding scholars have acclaimed him with such complimentary remarks as "The master spirit of the age", "The crown of scholars", "Last of the Enlightened scholars", and "A sign among the signs of God".

    (*1) A. H. A. NADAWEE, Saviours of Islaamic spirit, Vol. 2, Academy of Islaamic research and publications, Lucknow, India, 1974, p24.

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    Prepared by Abu Rumaysah

    He is the mujtahid and reformer of his age, Ahmad bin Abd al-Haleem bin Abd as-Salaam bin Abd Allaah bin Abu Qaasim ibn Taymiyyah al-Harraanee Taqi ad-Deen Abu al-Abbaas bin Shihaab ad-Deen. He rose the flag of the belief and understanding of Ahus Sunnah in his time, at a time when innovation, misguidance, and corruption was widespread, being preached by even some of the People of Knowledge that became well known in later times.

    Due to ibn Taymiyyah’s firm stance against all that was false and corrupt he earned the envy and hatred of all those that he opposed - who were many - and as such had many lies heaped around him. The purpose of this section is to show this scholar in his true light and expose those lies heaped around him.
    Al-Haafidh al-Bazzaar said, depicting the opponents of ibn Taymiyyah, "you would not see a scholar opposing him (ibn Taymiyyah), dissuading from him, filled with hatred for him, except that he was the most greedy of them in gathering the worldly goods, the most cunning of them in acquiring them, the most ostentatious of them, the most desirous for reputation…and the most prolific of them in having lies on his tongue." [ ‘al-A`laam al-Uliyyah’ (pg. 82) of al-Bazzaar.]

    The Praise of the Scholars of him:

    Many of the scholars of his time and after his time praised Shaykh al-Islaam for his knowledge, asceticism, piety, and following closely the way of the salaf. Many of these statements of praise were collected in a book written by al-Haafidh ibn Naasir ad-Deen entitled ‘Radd al-Waafir’ refuting the extreme claim of the one that said calling ibn Taymiyyah, ‘Shaykh al-Islaam’, was unbelief.

    Al-Haafidh adh-Dhahabee said, "It was amazing when he mentioned an issue over which there was a difference of opinion, and when he gave evidence and decided the strongest opinion - and he could perform ijtihaad due to his fulfilling it’s conditions. I have not seen one who was quicker than he at recalling a verse which pertained to the issue that he derived from it, nor a man who was more strong in recalling texts and referring them to their sources. The Sunnah was in front of his eyes and upon the tip of his tongue with eloquent phrases and an open eye.

    He was a sign from the signs of Allaah in tafseer and expounding upon it. With regards to the foundation of the religion and knowledge of the differing opinions (on an issue) then he was unequalled - this alongside his generosity, courage and lack of attention to the joys of the soul.

    And maybe his legal rulings in the various sciences reached three hundred volumes, rather more and he was always saying the truth for the sake of Allaah, not caring for the blame that came to him.

    Whosoever associates with him and knows him well accuses me of deficiency/slackness with regards to him. Whosoever opposes him and differs with him accuses me of exaggeration, and I have been wronged by both parties - his companions and his opponents.

    He was white skinned with black hair and a black beard with a few grey hairs. His hair reached his earlobes. His eyes were eloquent tongues, and had broad shoulders and a loud, clear voice with a fast recitation. He was quick to anger but overcame it with patience and forbearance.

    I have not seen his like for supplications (to Allaah) and seeking succour with Him, and his abundant concern for others. However I do not believe him to be infallible, rather I differ with him on both fundamental and subsidiary matters for he - despite his vast learning, extreme courage, fluid mind, and regard for the sanctity of the religion - was a man from amongst men. He could be overcome with sharpness and anger in discussion, and attack his opponents (verbally) hence planting enmity in their souls towards him.

    If only he were gentle to his opponents then there would have been a word of agreement over him - for indeed their great scholars bowed to his learning, acknowledged his ability and lack of mistakes, and conceded that he was an ocean having no limits and a treasure having no equivalent. However they harboured ill feeling against him….and every person’s saying can be taken or left

    He used to preserve the prayers and fasts, glorifying the laws outwardly and inwardly. He did not give fatwa out of poor understanding for he was extremely intelligent, nor out of lack of knowledge for he was an overflowing ocean. Neither did he play with the religion but derived evidence from the Qur`aan, Sunnah and Qiyaas (analogy) and proved and argued following the footsteps of the Imaams who preceded him, so he has a reward if he erred and two rewards if he was correct.

    He fell ill in the castle (in which he was imprisoned) with a serious disease until he died on the night of Monday 20th Dhul Qa`dah, and they prayed over him in the mosque of Damascus. And afterwards many talked about the number that attended his funeral prayer, and the least number given was fifty thousand." [‘ad-Durar al-Kaaminah’ of ibn Hajr al-Asqalaanee under the biography of ibn Taymiyyah]

    Ibn Hajr al-Asqalaanee said, "the shaykh of our shaykhs, al-Haafidh Abu al-Yu`maree (ibn Sayyid an-Naas) said in his biography of ibn Taymiyyah: ‘al-Mizzi encouraged me to express my opinion on Shaykh al-Islaam Taqi ad-Deen. I found him to be from those who had acquired a fortunate of knowledge in the sciences that he had. He used to completely memorise and implement the Sunan and Aathaar (narrations). Should he speak about tafseer then he would carry its flag, and should he pass a fatwa in fiqh then he knew its limits. Should he speak about a hadeeth then he was the companion of its knowledge and fully cognisant of its narrations. Should he give a lecture on Religions and Sects then none was seen who was more comprehensive or meticulous than he, he surpassed his contemporaries in every science, and you would not see one like him, and his own eye did not see one like himself.

    He used to speak on tafseer and a large number of people would attend his gatherings, and an agreeable number would return (having drunk) from his sweet, rich ocean. It continued in this way until the sickness of envy crept (into the hearts) of the people of his city. The people given to faultfinding gathered together and picked out anything that could be disapproved of in his beliefs, and they memorised certain of his statements with respect to this. They undermined him due to this and laid traps for him by which they could declare him to be an innovator. They thought that he had left their way, and split off from their sect. So they argued with him, and he with them, and some of them cut relations with him, and he with them.

    Then he argued with another group who was attributed to the Fuqaraa (a group of the Sufis) who thought that they were on the minute details of the inner reality and upon its truth. And he exposed these Orders….

    Then this reached the first group and they sought help from those who cut relations with him and harboured malice towards him. So they took the matter to the rulers, each of them having decided that he was a disbeliever. And they prepared a meeting and inspired the ignorant people to spread the word amongst the great scholars. And they took steps to transfer the matter to the king of Egypt and as a result he (ibn Taymiyyah) was arrested and put in prison. And gatherings were convened to discuss the spilling of his blood, calling for this purpose the people from the small mosques and students - those people who would argue to make others happy, and those who would argue to show their cleverness, and those who declared takfeer and called for disassociation. And your Lord Knows what is in their hearts and what they proclaim. And the one who announced his kufr was no better than the one who argued to make others happy.

    And the sting of their plots crept up on him, and Allaah made futile every plot, and rescued him at the hands of those who He chose…

    Then he continuously moved from one trial to another and in all his life he did not move from trouble except into trouble. Then there followed what followed in the matter of his arrest and he stayed there in prison until he died, and to Allaah all matters return. On the day of his funeral the streets were crowded, and the Muslims came from every roadway…’" [ibid]

    Ibn Hajr al-Asqalaanee also said, "I read in the handwriting of al-Haafidh Silaah ad-Deen al-Balaa`ee in endorsement of the shaykh of our shaykhs al-Haafidh Bahaa ad-Deen Abdullaah bin Muhammad bin Khaleel: ‘Our shaykh and master and Imaam in matters that are between Allaah and us, the Shaykh of research (tahqeeq), traversing, with those that followed him, the best way. Possessor of many excellent qualities and radiant proofs that all the nations have acknowledged are beyond enumeration. May Allaah make us benefit from his outstanding knowledge, and make us benefit from him in this life and the hereafter. He is the Shaykh, the Imaam, the Aalim who understands the affairs, the deeply devoted, the ocean (of knowledge), the pole of light, the Imaam of Imaams, the blessing to the Muslim nation, the sign of the scholars, the inheritor of the Prophets, the last of the Mujtahids, unique amongst the scholars of the Religion - Shaykh al-Islaam, proof of the scholars, the example for the creatures, proof for the learned ones, effacer of the innovators, sword of the disputers, ocean of knowledge, beneficial treasure, the interpreter of the Qur`aan, the amazement of the times, unique in this age and others. Indeed Taqi ad-Deen (ibn Taymiyyah) is the Imaam of the Muslims, the proof of Allaah against the creation, the joiner of the righteous, the one who is like those who have preceded, the mufti of the sect, helper of the truth, the sign of guidance, the pillar of the Huffaadh, Knight of the meanings of words, cornerstone of the Sharee`ah, originator of new sciences Abu al-Abbaas ibn Taymiyyah." [Ibid. From this book taken on it’s own it is very difficult to discern ibn Hajr’s own opinion on ibn Taymiyyah was. For all he did was to gather all the material he could find on the Shaykh and then start off the account with all those scholars who wrote against him, and end with all those scholars who supported him. It would seem likely that ibn Hajr’s own stance would be in line with those whom he finished off his biography with, due to their being his Shaykhs. This reasoning is supported with the next quote from ibn Hajr. Allaah knows best.]

    Ibn Hajr said, "…those of his stances that were rejected from him were not said by him due to mere whims and desires and neither did he obstinately and deliberately persist in them after the evidence was established against him. Here are his works overflowing with refutations of those who held to tajseem yet despite this he is a man who makes mistakes and is also correct. So that which he is correct in – and that is the majority – is to benefited from and Allaah’s Mercy should be sought for him due to it, and that which he is incorrect in should not be blindly followed. Indeed he is excused for his mistakes because he is one of the Imaams of his time and it has been witnessed that he fulfilled the conditions of ijtihaad…

    From the astonishing qualities of this man was that he was the strongest amongst men against the People of Innovation, the Rawaafidah, and the Hululiyyah, and the Ittihaadiyyah, and his works on this are many and famous, and his fataawaa on them cannot be counted, so how the eyes of these innovators must have found joy when they heard those who declared him to be a kaafir! And how delighted they must have been when they saw those who did not declare him to be a kaafir in turn being labelled kaafir! It is obligatory upon the one who has donned the robe of knowledge and possesses intelligence that he consider the words of a man based upon his well-known books or from the tongues of those who are trusted to accurately convey his words – then to isolate from all of this what is rejected and warn from them with the intention of giving sincere advice and to praise him for his excellent qualities and for what he was correct in as is the way of the scholars.

    If there were no virtues of Shaykh Taqi ad-Deen except for his famous student Shaykh Shams ad-Deen ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, writer of many works, from which both his opponents and supporters benefited from then this would be a sufficient indication of his (ibn Taymiyyah’s) great position. And how could it be otherwise when the Shaafi`ee Imaams and others, not to speak of the Hanbalees, of his time testified to his prominence in the (Islamic) sciences…" [From Ibn Hajr’s endorsement of ‘Radd al-Waafir’ contained at the end of the book.]

    Ibn Katheer said, "the least he would do when he heard something was to memorise it and then busy himself with learning it. He was intelligent and had much committed to memory, and he became an Imaam in tafseer and everything linked to it and knowledgeable in fiqh. Indeed it was said he was more knowledgeable of the fiqh of the madhabs then the followers of those very same madhabs in his time and other than his time. He was a scholar in Usul and the branches of the religion and grammar and the language and other textual and intellectual sciences…no scholar of a science would speak to him except that he thought that that science was the speciality of ibn Taymiyyah. As for hadeeth then he was the carrier of its flag, a haafidh and able to distinguish the weak from the strong, fully acquainted with the narrators…" [‘al-Bidaayah wan Nihaayah’ (14/118-119) of ibn Katheer.]

    He also said, "He was, may Allaah have mercy upon him, from the greatest of scholars, also from those who err and are correct. However his errors with respect to his correct rulings were like a drop in a huge ocean and they are forgiven him as is authentically reported by Bukhaaree, ‘when a ruler makes a ruling, and he is correct then he has two rewards, and if he has erred then he has one reward.’"

    He also mentioned that when the scholars of his time gathered for a sitting with ibn Taymiyyah to discuss his work ‘Aqueedah al-Hamawiyyah’ that his replies to their accusations could not be rebutted. [‘al-Bidaayah wan Nihaayah’ (14/5)]

    Similarly he mentioned that when the scholars sat to argue with him with regards to his Aqueedah al-Waasitiyyah the argument ended with them accepting all that was contained in the book as in vol. 14 of ‘al-Bidaayah’ under the heading ‘Aqd al-Majaalis ath-Thalaatha’

    Al-Haafidh al-Mizzi said, "I have not seen the likes of him, and his own eye had not seen the likes of himself. And I have not seen one who was more knowledgeable than him of the Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger, nor one who followed them more closely." [‘Hayaat Shaykh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah’ (pg. 21) of Shaykh Bahjatul Baitaar.]

    Al-Haafidh ibn Daqeeq al-Eid said, "when I met ibn Taymiyyah I saw a man with all the sciences in front of his eyes, he took from them what he wished and he left what he wished." [ ‘Min Mashaheer al-Mujaddidayn’ (pg.26) of Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan] This after he had said, "by Allaah I did not think that there remained the likes of you."

    [ ‘al-Bidaayah wan Nihaayah’ (14/27) of ibn Katheer and ‘Dhail `alaa Tabaqaat al-Hanabilaa’ (2/392) of ibn Rajab.]

    The Qaadee of Qaadees ibn al-Hureeree said, "if ibn Taymiyyah was not Shaykh al-Islaam than who is?" [‘Hayaat Shaykh al-Islaam’ (pg.26)]

    Al-Haafidh al-Bazzaar said, "I have not seen him mention any of the pleasures and attractions of this world, he did not delve into worldly conversations and he never asked for any of its livelihood. Instead he directed his attentions and conversations to seeking the Hereafter and what could get him closer to Allaah." [‘al-A`laam al-Uliyyah’ (pg.52) of al-Bazzaar.]

    Al-Shaykh Mullaa Alee al-Qaaree said, "it will become clear to the one who studies ‘Madaarij as-Saalikeen’ (of ibn al-Qayyim) that these two (ibn Taymiyyah and ibn al-Qayyim) are from the greatest of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa`ah, and from the Awliyaa of this nation." [‘Mirqaat al-Mafaateeh’ (8/251-252) his commentary to ‘Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh’, as quoted from in ‘Shubuhaat Ahl al-Fitna’ (pg. 442) of Abdurrahmaan Dimisqiyyah.]

    Muhammad bin Abdul Barr as-Subkee said, "by Allaah no one hates ibn Taymiyyah except for an ignoramus or the possessor of desires which have diverted him from the truth after he has come to know it." [‘Radd al-Waafir’ (pg.95) of ibn Naasir ad-Deen]

    Al-Haafidh Abdurrahmaan ibn Rajab al-Hanbalee said, "he is the Imaam, the legal Jurist, the Mujtahid, the Scholar of Hadeeth, the Haafidh, the Explainer of the Qur`aan, the Ascetic, Taqee ad-Deen Abu al-Abbaas Shaykh al-Islaam, the most knowledgeable of the knowledgeable, it is not possible to exaggerate his renown when he is mentioned….he, may Allaah have mercy upon him, was unique in his time with respect to understanding the Qur`aan and knowledge of the realities of faith." [‘adh-Dhail `alaa Tabaqaat al-Hanaabilaa’ (2/387-392) of ibn Rajab]

    The Imaam of the Hanafees, Badr ad-Deen (Mahmud bin Ahmad) al-`Ainee said, "whosoever says ibn Taymiyyah is a kaafir the he is in reality himself a kaafir, and the one who accuses him of heresy is himself a heretic. How is this possible when his works are widely available and there is no hint of deviation or dissension contained therein." [‘Radd al-Waafir’ (pg. 245)]

    As-Suyutee quotes from az-Zamlakaanee that he said, "our Master, our Shaykh, the Imaam, the Scholar, the Unique (al-Awhad), the Haafidh, the Mujtahid, the Ascetic, the Worshipper (Aabid), the Example, the Imaam of the Imaams, the example for the Nation, the sign of the scholars, the inheritor of the Prophets, the Last of the Mujtahids, unique (Awhad) scholar of the Religion, the Blessing for Islaam, the Proof of the Scholars (A`laam), the proof of the Mutakallimeen, the effacer of the innovators, endowed with exalted and amazing sciences, the Reviver of the Sunnah. The one by whom Allaah has greatly favoured us with, and established the proof with against His enemies. …Taqee ad-Deen ibn Taymiyyah…"
    Then as-Suyutee follows this up by saying, "I have quoted this biography from the handwriting of the Allaamah, the unique individual of his time, Shaykh Kamaal ad-Deen az-Zamlakaanee, may Allaah have mercy on him who used to say, ‘one who had more memorised than him has not been seen in the last five hundred years.’" [‘al-Ashbaah wa an-Nadhaa’ir an-Nahwiyyah’ (3/681), see also ‘Dhail alaa Tabaqaat al-Hanaabila’ (2/392-393)]
    As-Suyutee said in the course of discussing his biography, "Shaykh al-Islaam, the Haafidh, the Faqeeh, the Mujtahid, the distinguished Mufassir, the rarity of his time, Scholar of the Ascetics" [‘Tabaqaat al-Huffaadh’ (pg. 516 no. 1144), and ‘al-Asbaah wa al-Nadhaa’ir’ (3/683) of as-Suyutee.]
    We could mention many more scholars who praised him but insha’Allaah what we have quoted above is sufficient to paint a more just and true picture of this Imaam. As for those scholars that applied the title ‘Shaykh al-Islaam’ to him then they are numerous and would require a separate volume to list them [As has been done by some scholars, from amongst them ibn Naasir ad-Deen in the aforementioned book ‘ar-Radd al-Waafir’]

    The Accusations against him:
    From what has preceded it is clear that Shaykh al-Islaam had many enemies, and many jealous rivalries who plotted against him together to try to make out that he was an innovator. So we advise anyone who wishes to criticise the Shaykh that he must make sure that his criticisms are based firmly upon the written works of ibn Taymiyyah, not merely upon the words of other than him, as done by his opponents.

    What follows is an investigation of the points of belief that ibn Taymiyyah was accused of having deviances in. We have left out the various legal positions he had for which he was attacked for due to their relative unimportance.

    On the works of Taqi ad-Deen Subki and his son Taaj ad-Deen Subki:
    Much of what is written against ibn Taymiyyah are based upon the works of these two scholars. ‘Rasaa`il as-Subkiyyah’ of Shaykh Taqi ad-Deen and the various biographical works of Taaj ad-Deen for example ‘Tabaqaat ash-Shaafi`iyyah’.

    As for the works of Taqi ad-Deen then adh-Dhahabee wrote to him, censuring him for what he had written, and his erroneous claims, to which as-Subkee replied saying, "As for what you say with regard to ash-Shaykh Taqi ad-Deen, then I am convinced of the great scope, the ocean-like fullness and vastness of his knowledge of the transmitted and intellectual sciences, his extreme intelligence, his ijtihaad and his attainments in that which surpass description. And I have always held to this opinion. Personally, his status in my eyes is greater and more esteemed, for the asceticism, piety, religiosity, his helping the truth and standing firm on it for the sake of Allaah alone, his adherence to the path of the salaf and his abundant taking from it, and his strangeness in this time, nay any time." [‘ad-Durar al-Kaamina’ of ibn Hajr under the biography of ibn Taymiyyah (1/159) and ‘Dhail Tabaqaat al-Hanaabilah’ (2/392) of ibn Rajab al-Hanbalee.]

    As for his son, Taaj ad-Deen, then unfortunately, he went to extremes in criticising ibn Taymiyyah, due to his highly partisan and sectarian attitude. Such that as-Sakhaawee endorsed the following words about him, following his statement, "did any of the Hanbalees raise their heads (i.e. become prominent)":
    "This is from the strangest of things, and the most sectarian/partisan of attitudes, and this is why the Qaadee of our time, and Shaykh of the madhab al-Izz al-Kanaanee wrote under this statement, ‘and likewise Allaah did not raise the heads of the Mu`attila’ and then he said about Taaj ad-Deen Subki, ‘he is a man having little manners, lack of scholarly integrity, ignorant of Ahl as-Sunnah and their ranks.’" [ ‘al-I`laan bi at-Tawbeekh liman Dhamma at-Taareekh’ (94-95) of as-Sakhaawee]

    A glimpse of his attacks can be seen in ‘Albani Unveiled’ (pp 114-116) and in what follows the truth of the above criticism will become clear, and a more severe and devastating reality will become apparent, and that is the amount of lies that are heaped around the pillars of Ahlus Sunnah in all ages by individuals that claim to be supporting the truth.

    On the book ‘Naseehah adh-Dhahabiyyah’:
    A book ascribed to adh-Dhahabee in which he launches a severe attack on ibn Taymiyyah, but in reality was not written by him, but falsely ascribed to him, this due to many reasons:
    a.No one who is familiar with the works of adh-Dhahabee mentioned this as one of his works.
    b.Adh-Dhahabee remained the student of ibn Taymiyyah until the latters death.
    c.All of the sayings of adh-Dhahabee in the books that are affirmed to be from him, to do with ibn Taymiyyah, revolve around praise and respect of him. (A glimpse of these has preceded).
    d.This letter is written in the handwriting of ibn Qaadee ash-Shuhba, an enemy of ibn Taymiyyah.

    We have not seen one who ascribes this book to adh-Dhahabee after Qaadee ash-Shuhba except for his contemporary, al-Haafidh as-Sakhaawee, may Allaah have mercy on him, who merely followed him. [From the book, ‘at-Tawdeeh al-Jallee fee ar-Radd alaa Naseeha adh-Dhahabiyyah al-Manhula alaa al-Imaam adh-Dhahabee’ (pp85-86) by Shaykh Muhammad bin Ibraaheem ash-Shaybaanee, with summary]

    1.The Accusation that ibn Taymiyyah held Allaah to be a body, of composite parts having organs.

    Amongst those contemporary, and recent writers who accused Shaykh al-Islaam of this are: al-Habbashee al-Huraree, as-Saqqaaf and his mentor Zaahid al-Kawtharee. In fact all the attacks that are about to be raised will find their origins with one, or all of the three personalities mentioned above, from the writers of recent and contemporary times.

    As-Saqqaaf says, after previously quoting an-Nawawees ruling of unbelief on the one who ascribes to Allaah a jism (body):
    "Entering into this category is al-Harraanee (i.e. ibn Taymiyyah)…who has affirmed tajseem (Allaah having a body) in many of his books. So from this is his saying in ‘at-Ta`sees’ (1/101): ‘and there is not in the Book of Allaah, nor in the Sunnah of His Messenger, nor a statement from any of the Salaf of this ummah and it’s Imaams that He is not a jism, and that His Attributes are not bodily, consisting of organs…’ I say: By Allaah who originated the heavens and the Earth - your saying is ignorance and misguidance. Is not Allaah - the Most High’s - saying, "there is nothing like Him" sufficient in negating tajseem and it’s reality, O al-Harraanee?!! And what about the Imaams of the Ummah and the Salaf - O al-Harraanee - and their censure of tashbeeh…." [‘Daf Shubah at-Tashbeeh’ (pp 245-246) with it’s footnotes by Saqqaaf. ]

    Shaykh Mashur Salmaan said in reply to this, "these words are from one who does not know what fairness is, who acts haphazardly in his rulings, and who falsely accuses the scholars of wickedness. This becomes apparent in a number of ways:

    From them: that the previously stated words are not from the writings of ibn Taymiyyah in which he is clarifying his own views, or even stating them. Rather he is quoting the saying of the People of Kalaam (innovated speech and rhetorics). However as-Saqqaaf has conveniently omitted the beginning of the quotation from Shaykh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah, where he clearly stated: Qaaloo (they said)!!

    From them: that Saqqaaf overlooks the words of Shaykh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah - may Allaah have mercy upon him - concerning the overall usage of this term in reference to Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic - and he halted where he halted upon with knowledge. However justice is very rare - and there is no movement and power except with Allaah.

    Shaykh al-Islaam said, in the course of this topic, ‘indeed the term al-Jism (body), al-Arad (organs), al-Mutahayyiz (extent) are newly invented terminoligies. We have mentioned many a time before that the Salaf and the Imaams have not spoken about such things - neither by way of negation, nor by way of affirmation. Rather they declared those who spoke about such matter to be innovators, and went to great lengths to censure them.’

    This is what has repeatedly been affirmed by Shaykh al-Islaam - may Allaah have mercy on him - in many of his books, such as: ‘Sharh Hadeeth an-Nuzool’ (pp. 69-76), ‘Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa’ (3/306-310, 13/304-305), ‘Minhaaj as-Sunnah an-Nabawiyyah’ (2/134-135, 192, 198-200, 527). Indeed in ‘Sharh Hadeeth an-Nuzool’ Shaykh al-Islaam has labelled ascribing Allaah with the term jism, by saying, ‘an innovation in the Sharee`ah, a corruption of the language, and a contradiction to the [sound] intellect. Rather it is repudiated by the Sharee`ah, the language and the [sound] intellect.’

    And from them: Shaykh al-Islaam mentions the intended meaning of ascribing Allaah with the term jism, by saying: ‘whosoever alleges that the Lord is a jism - with the meaning that he accepts division, separation and partition (for Allaah) - then he is the most disbelieving of people and the most ignorant. Indeed, his statement is more evil than the one who says that Allaah has a son - with them meaning that a part of Him split and thus became His son.’" [ ‘al-Asaalah’ magazine (no.4 pp.54-55), see also his ‘Rudood wat Ta’qubaat’ (pp 21-23) ]

    And at this point we quote from a writer of the own ranks of the accusers: Dr. Sa`eed Ramadaan al-Bootee who says, "and we are amazed when we see the extremists declaring ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, of being an unbeliever. And also at them saying that he was one who held Allaah to be a body (mujassid), and I have studied long and hard as to where I could find a statement or a word from ibn Taymiyyah that he wrote or said which would indicate his holding Allaah to be a body as was quoted from him by as-Subki and others [This is a clear indication from al-Bootee of the injustice done against ibn Taymiyyah by the likes of as-Subki and others], and I have not found anything from him like this. All I found was him saying in his legal rulings, ‘Indeed Allaah has a Hand as He said, and has risen over the Throne as He said, and He has an Eye as He said’"

    And he adds to this, " I referred to the last work written by Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`aree, ‘al-Ibaanah’, and I found him saying exactly what ibn Taymiyyah said [on the issue of the Names and Attributes of Allah]…" [‘Nadwa Ittjaahaat al-Fiqr al-Islaamee’ (pp 264-265) of al-Bootee.]

    The Claims of ibn Batuta:
    Amongst the contemporaries of ibn Taymiyyah who accused him of tajseem was the travelling historian, ibn Batuta who said, "I was present in Damascus on Friday where he (ibn Taymiyyah) was admonishing and reminding the people from the minbar (pulpit) of the congregational mosque. During his speech he said: Indeed Allaah descends to the lowest heaven of the world just as I am descending now. He then descended one step of the minbar…" [‘al-Rihlah’ (1/110) of ibn Batuta.]

    The falsehood of this can be seen from many angles:

    1.This contradicts the madhab of ibn Taymiyyah concerning the Attributes of Allaah - the Most High - which was the same as the madhab of the Salaf, being built upon the saying of Allaah, ‘there is nothing like Him, He is the Hearing and the Seeing’.

    2.Ibn Taymiyyah says in ‘at-Tadmuriyyah’ (pg. 20), "It is a must to affirm that which Allaah affirms for himself, whilst negating any likeness to Him with His creation…Whosoever says: His Knowledge is like my knowledge, His Power is like my power, or Love like my love, or Pleasure like my pleasure, or Hand like my hand, or Ascending like my ascending, or His Nuzool (descent) is like my descent - then he has resembled and likened Allaah to the creation. Rather it is a must to affirm (Allaah’s Attributes) without resemblance, and to negate (what Allaah negates for Himself), without ta`teel (divesting Allaah of His Attributes)."

    3.Likewise he said in ‘Majmoo` al-Fataawaa’ (5/262), "whosoever considers the Attributes to be like the attributes of the creation - such that Istawaa of Allaah is like the ascending of the creation, or His Nuzool is like the descending of the creation, or other than that - then he is a deviated innovator." And he repeats this principle over and over again in his works.

    4.It is not possible that ibn Batuta witnessed ibn Taymiyyah deliver this speech, since ibn Batuta clearly states in his ‘Rihla’ (1/102) that he entered Damascus on the 9th of Ramadhaan in the year 728H. However Shaykh al-Islaam was - before, during and after that time - in prison. Ibn Katheer states in ‘al-Bidaayah wan Nihaayah’ (14/135) that ibn Taymiyyah was imprisoned on the 6th of Sha’baan in the year 728H and remained there until his death on the 20th of Dhul Qa’dah 728H [These dates are endorsed in ‘al-A`laam al-Uliyyah’ (pg.84) of al-Bazzaar, and ‘Sahdharaat adh-Dhahab’ (6/80) of ibn al-Amaad.]

    5.Ibn Batuta, may Allaah have mercy upon him, did not write the book ‘Rihla’ with his own hand, rather it was collected by Muhammad bin Jazee al-Kalbee who writes in the introduction to ‘Rihla’, "and I have quoted the meaning of the words of Shaykh Abu Abdullaah (ibn Batuta) with words that give the meaning that he intended…."

    6.Ibn Batuta started his journey on the 2nd of Rajab 725H and completed it on the 3rd of Dhul Hijjah 756H and he did not write anything down, rather after this journey he dictated to al-Kalbee the events of his journey from memory. Hence the door is open for mistakes, and it is highly likely that ibn Batuta did not witness what he claimed to have witnessed, but merely conveyed the accusations that were in vogue at that time against Shaykh al-Islaam from his enemies.

    7.Ibn Batuta himself was opposed to ibn Taymiyyah, for he states in ‘Rihla’ (1/309), ‘and from the great Hanbalee Legal Jurists of Damascus was ibn Taymiyyah, except that he was lacking in his intellect.’ Hence it would have been easy for him to take on board the accusations without verifying them.

    8.Ibn Taymiyyah has a separate book concerning Allaah’s Descending called, ‘Sharh Hadeeth an-Nuzool’. In it is no trace whatsoever of the anthropomorphic beliefs that he has been falsely accused of.

    9.Ibn Taymiyyah was not the khateeb of the aforementioned masjid, rather it was Qaadee al-Qazwaynee. Ibn Batuta himself says in his ‘Rihla’ (1/107), "and at the time of my entering it (Damascus) their Imaam was Qaadee Jalaal ad-Deen Muhammad bin Abd ar-Rahmaan al-Qazwaynee from the great legal jurists, and he was the khateeb of the masjid…."

    10.Ibn Taymiyyah did not used to give admonitions and reminders to the people from the minbar, rather he used to sit upon a chair. Al-Haafidh adh-Dhahabee said, "and he became very famous and well-known, and he started giving tafseer of the Might Book from his memory, on the days of Jumu`ah, sitting upon a chair." And ibn Batuta states in his ‘Rihla’ (1/108), "it was the habit of the scholars of hadeeth to read books of hadeeth on a raised chair." And a raised chair in the Arabic language is called, ‘minbar’. [‘Lisaan al-Arb’ (5/189)]

    11.This is why ibn Hajr mentioned in his ‘Durar al-Kaaminah’, "and he used to speak on the minbar in the way of the explainers of fiqh and hadeeth, and he used to mention in an hour, what another was unable to mention in many sittings, as if the sciences were displayed in front of his eyes" Meaning by this that he sat on a chair as done by the scholars of hadeeth.

    [The above discussion is taken from ‘Min Mashaaheer al-Mujaddidayn’ (pp 27-29) of Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan, and ‘ibn Taymiyyah al-Muftaraa alayhi’ (pp 50-60) of Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee.

    Ibn Hajr al-Asqalaanee also mentioned in ‘Durar al-Kaaminah’ (pg. 154) quoting from at-Tufee that, "and they mentioned that he mentioned the hadeeth of Descent and he descended two steps of the minbar and he said, ‘Like this descending of mine’ so he was imputed with tajseem (fa nusiba ilaa at-tajseem)"

    This statement is by no means an evidence against ibn Taymiyyah as it only states ‘they mentioned’ mentioning no eye witnesses, And in fact it only confirms, along with all that has preceded, that these were lies being spread against ibn Taymiyyah. This is the reason that at-Tufee only said, ‘he was imputed with tajseem’ using uncertain phraseology.]

    So with the above it is clear that the account of ibn Batuta cannot be depended upon due to his obvious confusion and the lack of coherency of his account, and due to it’s clear contradiction to the written words of ibn Taymiyyah.

    And with this the gross exaggeration of Taaj ad-Deen Subki can also be discerned, where he said, "none of them (scholars) denied that he had said, ‘Allaah had directions and is a composition of particles coming together’" [ See ‘Albani Unveiled’ (pg.116)]

    2.The Accusation that ibn Taymiyyah held Allaah to be subject to direction (jihha).

    Nowhere in the works of ibn Taymiyyah has he used the word jihha in describing Allaah. Rather the basis of this accusation arises from his following our Salaf and clearly stating that Allaah is outside of His creation, above the heavens, over His Throne. When reading this, the misguided philosophers (mutakallimeen) argued that this position of ibn Taymiyyah necessitated that Allaah have a direction.

    The Position of the Salaf as to Allaah being distinct from creation:

    Know that the verses of the Qur`aan on this issue, clear and unequivocal in their meaning, run into hundreds, and likewise the ahaadeeth, that Allaah is above His creation and over His Throne. These are well known so we will suffice here with stating the position of the Salaf on this issue as it is they who understood the Qur`aan and Sunnah the best.

    Below is a translation of some points from 'Khalq Af`aal al-Ebaad' of Imaam Bukhaaree (RH), pp.13+. All narrations quoted are authentic insha`Allaah according to the takhreej done of the works quoted. The narrators are mainly Taabi`ee and those that came immediately after.

    "6) Wahb bin Jareer said, ‘The Jahmiyyah are heretics, they think that He has not risen over His Throne.’
    13) Ibn al-Mubaarak said, ‘we do not say as the Jahmiyyah say that Allaah is on the earth, rather He has risen over His Throne.’
    14) And it was said to him, ‘how should we know our Lord?’ He said, ‘above the Heavens, over/upon (`alaa) His Throne’
    29) Sufyaan ath-Thawree was asked about the verse, "and He is with you wheresoever you are". He said, ‘His Knowledge.’
    64) Sadqa said, ‘I heard Sulaiman at-Taimi saying, ‘if I were asked, "where is Allaah?" I would say, "above (fee) the heaven". And if it said, "where was the Throne before the Heaven?" I would say, "over the water." And if it is said, "where was the Throne before the water?" I would say, "I do not know."’

    And Imaam Bukhaaree said, ‘and that (i.e. his answer) was because of the saying of Allaah, "and they cannot encompass anything of His Knowledge except what He wills." i.e. except what He explains.’

    [This shows that the question ‘where is Allaah’ was considered allowed by the Salaf, and how could it be otherwise when the Prophet (SAW) himself asked the slave girl, "where is Allaah" as is established firmly in the saheeh of Imaam Muslim. So do not be misguided by the neo-Jahmiyyah of today, Saqqaaf and al-Habbashee and their likes who try to declare the above hadeeth of Muslim as weak, and make out that the above question is a bid`ah, having only the classical Jahmiyyah as their precedents.]

    66) Muhammad bin Yusuf said (one of the teachers of Bukhaaree), ‘the one who says that Allaah is not over (`alaa) His Throne is a kaafir. And the one who thinks that Allaah did not speak to Moses is a kaafir.’

    103) Ibn Mas`ud (RA) said about His saying, "then He rose over His Throne", - ‘the Throne is over the water, Allaah is above (fawqa) the Throne and He knows what you are upon.’

    104) Qataada said about His saying, "and He is Allaah in the Heaven and in the Earth" - ‘the One Who is worshipped in the heaven and in the earth.’

    Below are further points translated from ‘Sharh Usul I`tiqaad Ahlus Sunnah’ of al-Laalikaa`ee (d.414, pp396+)

    "660) Abdullaah bin Abbaas (RA) said, ‘Verily Allaah was above His Throne before He created anything, then He created the creation and decreed what was to exist until the Day of Judgement.’

    662) Bashr bin Umar said, ‘I heard more then one of the Mufassir say about the verse, "The Most Merciful istawaa upon the Throne" - istawaa means rose above.’

    665) Rabee`(one of the teachers of Maalik) was asked about the verse, "The Most Merciful rose over His Throne" - ‘how did He rise?’ He replied, ‘al-Istawaa (rising) is known, and the how is not comprehensible, and from Allaah is the message, and upon the Messenger is the preaching, and upon us is believing.’

    670) Maqaatil bin Hayaan said about His saying, "and there is no secret discourse of 3 people except He is the fourth, or of 5 people and He is the sixth" - ‘He is above His Throne, and nothing is hidden from His knowledge.’

    673) Imaam Ahmad was asked, ‘Allaah is above the seventh heaven, above His Throne, distinct from his creation, and His Power and Knowledge are in every place?’ He replied, ‘yes, above the Throne and His Knowledge is in every place.’

    675) Imaam Ahmad was asked about the verse, "and He is with you wheresoever you are", and the verse, "there is no secret discourse of 3 people except that he is the fourth." – he replied, ‘(meaning) His Knowledge, He is the Knower of the seen and the unseen, His knowledge encompasses everything, and our Lord is above the Throne without setting limits and giving description, and His Kursi is as the expanse of the heavens and the earth with His Knowledge.’"

    Imaam Awzaa`ee said, "we used to say, while the Taabi`een were many, ‘indeed Allaah is above His Throne, and we believe in what occurs in the Sunnah to do with His Attributes’" [ Related by al-Bayhaqi in ‘Asmaa was Sifaat’ (pg. 408) and ibn Hajr declared it’s chain of narration to be good as in ‘Fath al-Baaree’ (13/406).]

    Imaam Abdullaah bin Ahmad quoted Abdullaah ibn Mubaarak as saying, ‘...I bear witness that You are above Your Throne above the seven heavens and this is not as the enemies of Allaah say, the heretics.’ [ ‘Sharh as-Sunnah’ of Imaam Abdullaah]

    He also quoted Abdullaah ibn Mubaarak as saying, ‘we know that our Lord is above the seven heavens over the Throne, and we do not say as the Jahmiyyah say that he is here,’ pointing with his hand to the earth. [Ibid.]

    Abu Haneefah (RH) said, when asked of his opinion of the one who says, ‘I do not know whether Allaah is in the heavens or on the earth.’ -
    ‘He has disbelieved, because Allaah says, "The Most Merciful rose above the Throne.", and His Throne is above His seven heavens.’ He was then asked, ‘what if he said that Allaah is above His Throne but he does not know whether the Throne is in the heavens or on the earth?’ He said, ‘He has disbelieved, because He has denied that He is above the heavens and whosoever denied that He is above the heavens has disbelieved.’ [‘al-Uluww’ of adh-Dhahabee, also ‘Sharh Aqueedah at-Tahaawiyyah’ of ibn Abee al-Izz al-Hanafee.]

    Ibn Khuzaymah (the Imaam of the muhadditheen of his time) said, ‘whosoever does not affirm that Allaah is above His heavens, over/upon (`alaa) His Throne and He is distinct from His creation, must be forced to repent. If he does not repent then he must be beheaded and thrown in the garbage dump so that the Muslims and thimmis (Jews and Christians living under the Islamic State) would not suffer from his stinking smell.’ [‘at-Tawheed’ of ibn Khuzaimah, also quoted by al-Haakim in ‘al-Ma`rifah’]

    Imaam Abul Hasan al-Ash`aree (d.290) in ‘al-Ibaanah’ brings a whole chapter on ‘Istawaa’ (Allaah Rising over His Throne), in the course of his discussion he said, ‘and some people say, from the Mu`tazila and Jahmiyyah and Hururiyya, about the saying of Allaah, "The Most Merciful rose upon His Throne", that he istawla (conquered), Milak (owned), Qahr (dominated), and that Allaah is in every place, and they denied Allaah being above His Throne, as the People of Truth say...’

    [‘al-Ibaanah’ (pg. 120+) containing an excellent refutation of the above claim. This also refutes clearly what Abu Mansur al-Baghdaadee states in his ‘Farq bayna al-Firaq’ that, "The majority go the way of saying that the meaning of "Istawaa" is establishing dominance (al-qahr) and victory (al ghalaba), that is, the Merciful vanquished the Throne (al-rahmanu ghalaba al-`arsh) and overcame it (wa qaharahu). He mentioned the Throne specifically because it is the greatest of created things (a`dhamu al-makhluqat)."

    It should be said to him, ‘establish the throne and then sit on it’, what majority? When the totality of the Salaf held that Istawaa meant that Allaah has risen over His Throne. Not only that but the very Imaam that Abu Mansur claims to follow, al-Ash`aree refutes his very claim as being misguidance!]

    The quotes on this run into the hundreds from the salaf, and the books written on this by the early scholars of Islaam are many but we do not wish to lengthen the discussion beyond what is necessary.

    So we say to those that accuse ibn Taymiyyah of giving Allaah a direction, because of this belief of his: Your accusation necessitates that all of the above Salaf also held Allaah to have a jihha, including the two great Companions, ibn Mas`ud and ibn Abbaas. So if you were to declare ibn Taymiyyah as misguided due to this, then you must do the same with the Salaf. We seek refuge with Allaah from such misguidance!

    Ibn Taymiyyah said,"And when it became established in the souls of the addressees (of the revelation) that Allaah is the Highest of the High, and the He is Above everything, the understanding of His saying, "Indeed He is (fee) the Heaven" became that He was High and Above everything. Likewise the slave girl when it was said to her, "where is Allaah," she said, "(fee) the Heaven," meaning above, without designating for Him a created body or His being contained in His Creation….Furthermore whosoever thinks that Allaah being (fee) the Heaven means that the Heaven surrounds or encloses Him, then he is a liar if he is quoting someone else or misguided if He believes this with respect to His Lord. We have not heard anyone understand this from this word (fee) just as we have not seen anyone quote this from anyone else" [‘Bayaan Talbees al-Jahmiyyah’ (1/559) of ibn Taymiyyah]

    He said in ‘Darr at-Ta`aarud’ (1/253), "so when the Creator, the Exalted is separate and distinct from the creation, high above it, and there is nothing in existence save the Creator and created, then there is nothing that exists alongside Him which is besides Him, let alone that He – Subhaanahu – should be in some existing thing which surrounds and encompasses Him."

    Ibn Taymiyyah said, "The people fall into three groups over the convention of the use of the word jihha. A group that negates it, another that affirms it, and a third that explains the issue. This difference is present amongst the followers of the Four Imaams who affirmed the Attributes of Allaah and the difference of the Ahlul Hadeeth and Sunnah, specifically, over this is a difference in wording, not in meaning. This is why a group from the Companions of Ahmad - like the Tameemiyyeen and al-Qaadee in one of his two sayings - negated it yet another, larger group, affirmed it - and this is the last saying of al-Qaadee. This is because the word jihha could be used to refer to that which is subject to time and space (wujood) or that which is not (ma`doom) and it is known that there is nothing present except for the Creator and creation.
    So if the word jihha is used to refer to something that exists other than Allaah then it refers to something created by Allaah and Allaah is not encompassed or confined by any of his creation. If the word is used to refer to something outside time and space, i.e. above the creation, then there is nothing there except Allaah." [‘Minhaaj as-Sunnah’ (1/216) of ibn Taymiyyah.]

    So it is clear with all of this that ibn Taymiyyah did not believe Allaah to be subject to any of the created direction, nor did he believe Allaah to be surrounded in any way by His creation.

    3) The Accusation that ibn Taymiyyah held Allaah to be subject to limitation (hadd)
    The innovators looked into the works of ibn Taymiyyah and saw him mentioning the word hadd with respect to Allaah and immediately assumed that he held Allaah to be subject to limitation and without and further research declared him as a deviant or kaafir. The error of this accusation will become clear, by the Permission of Allaah.

    The basis of this accusation lies with the authentic saying related from Abdullaah bin Mubaarak as is related in ‘Tabaqaat al-Hanaabila’ (1/267), "I said to Ahmad: it is reported from ibn al-Mubaarak that it was asked him, ‘how should we know our Lord?’ to which he replied, ‘over (fee) the Seventh Heaven, over His Throne with hadd.’ So Imaam Ahmad said: this is how we believe it." [Related by ad-Daarimee in ‘Radd alaa Mareesee’ (pg.34), Abdullaah bin Ahmad in ‘as-Sunnah’ (1/175), al-Bayhaqi in ‘Asmaa was Sifaat’ (pg. 467). Imaam adh-Dhahabee said in ‘al-Uluww’ (pg. 152 - of the mukhtasar), "this is saheeh, established from ibn al-Mubaarak and Ahmad may Allaah be pleased with him." Ibn Taymiyyah said in ‘al-Hamawiyyah’ (5/184 - of Majmoo al-Fataawaa), "this is famous and established from ibn Mubaarak via many routes, and it is also established from Ahmad bin Hanbal, and Ishaaq bin Raahawayyah and other Imaams." See also ‘Sharh Aqueedah at-Tahaawiyyah’ (pg. 240). See also the refutation of al-Kawtharees feeble attempts to declare this narration da`eef in ‘Daf` Shubah al-Ghawiyyah’ (pp73-74) of Shaykh Muraad Shukree.]

    But was the meaning of the Imaams in saying this? Was it establishing limits for Allaah with the meaning of the walls of a house setting its limits, or something else? Or does Allaah have an Attribute of hadd? What is the reconciliation between this narration from Imaam Ahmad and the previous one mentioned above (no.675)?

    Ibn Taymiyyah says, "These words that he mentioned would be applicable if they had said that He has an Attribute and it is hadd, as suggested by this person who tries to refute them. This has not been said by anyone and neither would any intelligent person say this, for this statement has no reality to it due to their not existing a single Attribute from the Attributes that He is described with, such as Hand and Knowledge, that has been specified as hadd. All that is meant here is what distinguishes something from something else with regards to its description and measure as is well known of the word hadd when dealing with the clearly defined things. For example it is said: the hadd of man, meaning those characteristics that distinguish him as being a man." [ ‘Talbees al-Jahmiyyah’ (1/442) of ibn Taymiyyah.]

    So historically when the Jahmiyyah, denied the Attributes of Allaah, and denied his being above His Throne, rather they said He is everywhere, then some of the Salaf replied to this by saying that indeed Allaah has a hadd with the meaning: that which distinguishes Him from anything else, in that He has Risen over His Throne and is distinct from creation.

    Ibn Taymiyyah said, "So when the Jahmiyyah said: indeed the Creator is not distinguished from the creation, and they denied the Attributes which distinguish Him, and they denied His Power (qadr), to the extent that the Mu`tazila said, when we acknowledge that He is Living, Knowing and all-Powerful (only), then we have come to know His reality. They say: indeed He is not distinct from other than Him. Rather they depict Him, either with negative descriptions such as: He is not in the world, nor out of the world, and not this and not that, or they make Him to be encompassed by the creation.

    So Abdullaah bin Mubaarak made clear that the Lord is over His Throne, distinct from the creation, and he mentioned hadd because the Jahmiyyah used to say: He does not have a hadd, and whatsoever does not have a hadd cannot be distinct from creation, and cannot be above the creation because that would necessitate a hadd. So when the Ameer al-Mu`mineen Abdullaah ibn al-Mubaarak was asked: ‘How should we know Him?’ He said, ‘above His Heavens, over His Throne, distinct from His creation.’ So they said, ‘this implies that which the Jahmiyyah negate, and with this negation of theirs they negate the fact that He is present over the Throne, distinct from creation.’ So they asked him, ‘with hadd?’ And he replied ‘with hadd’.

    So this is what is understood by anyone who understands what was between the sayings of the believers of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa`ah and the Jahmiyyah." [Ibid (1/443)]

    Then ibn Taymiyyah discusses the statements of those from the salaf who negated the usage of the word hadd, and those who used it, and explains that in reality both groups were saying the same thing, and the difference was merely one of wording not of meaning:

    "If the understood meaning of this word is that Allaah is in any way enclosed by His creation, then Allaah is Greater and more Mighty, rather His Kursi is as the expanse of the Heavens and the earth…and if what is meant by this word is that he is distinct from His creation, then He is as the Imaams of Ahlus Sunnah said about Him: over His Heavens, above His Throne, distinct from creation." [‘at-Tadmuriyyah’ (pg.46)of ibn Taymiyyah, see also for further detail, ‘Talbees al-Jahmiyyah’ (2/163)]

    So after all this, it becomes clear that ibn Taymiyyah did not hold Allaah to be subject to limitation, and it becomes clear that the word hadd was used by some of the Salaf with the meaning: distinguishing characteristics, when it became necessary to do so to refute the various deviant groups at that time.

    4.The Accusation that ibn Taymiyyah held Allaah subject to movement (Harakah)

    The basis of this accusation is that, like the Salaf, ibn Taymiyyah believed that Allaah descends to the Lowest Heaven in the last third of the night, and that He has the Attribute of Coming (Majee`). So the opponents adduced against him that he held Allaah to move from one place to another, and this resembles Allaah to His creation.

    A glimpse at the belief of the Salaf to do with Descent:

    Imaam al-Aajurree (d.360) says in his exposition on Aqueedah, under the chapter ‘to have faith and trust that Allaah descends to the lowest heaven every night.’

    "Faith in this is obligatory, and it is not allowed for the intelligent Muslim to say, ‘how does he descend?’ - and none would answer this except the Mu`tazila. [For example the saying of some, that His command descends, and the saying of others that His angels descend etc.] As for the people of truth, then they say, ‘faith in this is obligatory without asking how. Because the narrations are authentic to the Messenger (SAW) - that Allaah descends to the lowest heaven every night - and the ones who transmitted this narration to us are the ones that transmitted the rules of the lawful and prohibited, the knowledge of salaah, zakaah, fasting, hajj, and jihaad. So just as the scholars accepted these from them then like this they accepted from them these Sunan. They said, ‘the one who opposed these is horribly misguided’ - warning him and warning against him."
    [ ‘ash-Sharee`ah’ (pg. 272)]

    Then he goes on to mention the ahaadeeth that occur on this subject.

    The great hadeeth master, ibn Khuzaymah brings a chapter heading in his work ‘at-Tawheed’, "mentioning the narrations of Descent," in which he mentions many ahaadeeth to do with this Attribute.

    al-Laalikaa`ee (d.414) brings a chapter heading in his encyclopaedic work on aqueedah - Sharh Usul I`tiqaad - , "what is related about the Descent of the Lord, Blessed and Exalted, is He"

    He states that the ahaadeeth that Allaah descends to the lowest heaven have been reported by twenty companions and then....

    "775) Fudail bin Ayaad (Taabi`ee) said, ‘when you hear the Jahmi say, "I disbelieve in a Lord Who descends"- say - "I believe in a Lord Who does what He wills"’

    776) Yahya bin Ma`een said, ‘when you hear the Jahmi say, "I disbelieve in a Lord Who descends", then say, ‘I believe in a Lord Who does what He desires."’

    777) Imaam Ahmad said, ‘He descends as He wills, according to His Knowledge and Power and Greatness. He encompasses everything with His Knowledge.’

    Similar narrations occur in Khalq Af`aal al-Ebaad of Imaam al-Bukhaaree and ‘Ghunya at-Taalibeen’ of Abdul Qaadir Jeelaanee.
    Imaam Abdullaah bin Ahmad narrates in his work ‘as-Sunnah’,

    "508) After mentioning the hadeeth of Descent the people said to Shareek, ‘verily there are a people who reject these ahaadeeth.’ He said, ‘what do they say?’

    They said, ‘they abuse these ahaadeeth.’

    He replied, ‘Those who brought (i.e. Companions) these ahaadeeth, are those who brought the Qur`aan, and that the prayers are five, and the Hajj to the House, and the fast of Ramadaan. And we do not know Allaah except by these ahaadeeth.’

    509) Abaad bin al-Awaam said, Shareek bin Abdullaah came to us about fifty years ago. He said (Abaad), ‘I said, "O Abu Abdullaah, verily there is a people with us from the Mu`tazila who reject these ahaadeeth."’

    He said, ‘so he narrated to me about ten ahaadeeth to do with this (i.e. the Descent of Allaah) and said, "as for us we take our religion from the taabi`een from the companions of the Messenger (SAW), from where do they take theirs?"’"

    Abul Hasan al-Ash`aree (d.294) said, "and we believe in all the narrations that the People of Transmission have established about the Descent to the lowest heaven and that the Lord says, ‘is there one who is asking? Is there one who is seeking forgiveness?’ And in the generality of what they transmit and establish, at odds to what the people of deviancy and misguidance say." [‘al-Ibaanah’ (pg. 60) of Abu Hasan al-Ash’aree]

    He also said, "and we believe in the ahaadeeth that have come from the Messenger (SAW) that Allaah descends to the lowest Heaven and says, ‘is there one who is seeking forgiveness?’" [‘al-Maqaalaat’ (pg. 224) of Abu Hasan al-Ash’aree]

    So we say yet again, if by ibn Taymiyyah’s affirmation of this Attribute, that Allaah indeed Descends to the lowest heaven as befits His Majesty, is misguidance then so are all of the above scholars, and in fact Ahlus Sunnah itself misguided! And so is the very Imaam that the accusers claim to follow misguided, Abu Hasan al-Ash`aree!

    Ibn Taymiyyah says, while discussing the use of the word ‘harakah’,

    "…like Harb al-Kirmaanee, and Uthmaan bin Sa`eed ad-Daarimee and others. Indeed these clearly used the word harakah and they made clear that this was the madhab of the Imaams of Ahlus Sunnah and Hadeeth from the early and the later.

    Harb al-Kirmaanee mentioned that this was the saying of the Imaams of Ahlus Sunnah that he had met, like Ahmad bin Hanbal, and Ishaaq bin Raahawiyyah, and Abdullaah bin Zubair al-Humaidee and Sa`eed bin Mansur.

    Sa`eed bin Mansoor and others said: indeed harakah (movement) is from the necessary qualities of life and every living thing moves. They made out that denying this was from the saying of the Jahmiyyah upon whom Ahlus Sunnah are agreed with respect to their misguidance and innovation.

    Another group from the Salaf, like Nu`aym bin Hammad al-Khazaa`ee, and Bukhaaree the author of the ‘Saheeh’, and Abu Bakr ibn Khuzaymah, and others like Abu Umar bin Abd al-Barr, affirmed the meaning of what they (the first group) affirmed but they named it Actions (of Allaah). From these were those that forbade the use of the word harakah due to its not being narrated." [‘Dar at-Ta`aarud’ (7/2)]

    He said, "the word harakah was affirmed by a group from Ahlus Sunnah and Hadeeth and this is what was mentioned by Harb bin Ismaa`eel al-Kirmaanee in his ‘Sunnah’ which he relates from a group of Imaams that he met like al-Humaidee and Ahmad bin Hanbal….

    Some groups of Ahlus Sunnah negated the usage of the word harakah like Abu al-Hasan at-Taymee and Abu Sulaymaan al-Khattaabee….

    What is narrated from Imaam Ahmad is the rejection of the one that negates movement but neither is the usage of the word harakah established from him, even though he may have affirmed some types (of Attributes and Actions) that the affirmer (of the word harakah) would have placed within the ranks of the word harakah. For when he heard someone narrating the hadeeth of Descent and saying, ‘He Descends without movement and transmission, and without change.’ So Imaam Ahmad rejected this and said, ‘say as the Messenger (SAW) said, for he was more shy of His Lord than you.’" [‘al-Istiqaamah’ (1/70)]

    So from this we learn that:
    1.From the salaf were those who negated the usage of the word harakah because it did not occur in the Qur`aan and Sunnah when describing Allaah, but they affirmed the Attributes of Descent, Coming etc.

    2.From the salaf were those who affirmed the word harakah meaning that Allaah Comes, and Descends etc. and it is not like the movement of the Creation but rather as it befits His Majesty.

    3.Shaykh al-Islaam quotes the two sayings stating that in meaning that they are the same and that there is no resembling Allaah to His creation in this. He himself only affirms the Attributes of Allaah without adding anything further.

    Finally ibn Taymiyyah belonged to the first group above. So with all of this, the fourth accusation is cleared and all praise is due to Allaah.

    5) The Accusation that ibn Taymiyyah held the Hellfire to come to an end:

    Another accusation by which the opponents declared ibn Taymiyyah to be misguided due to his contradicting the ‘consensus’ on this issue. Yet nowhere in the works of ibn Taymiyyah does he say this, in fact what we find from him is the exact opposite, and we challenge anybody who accuses ibn Taymiyyah of this to bring his proof.

    Ibn Taymiyyah says,
    "The Salaf of this nation, its Imaams, and the whole Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa`ah are agreed that there are some things from the creation that will not come to an end in their entirety like Paradise, Hellfire, the Throne, and others. No one believed that all of the creation would come to an end except for a group from the People of innovated speech (Ahl al-Kalaam) and those who agreed with them from amongst the Mu`tazila and their likes. This is an invalid opinion which contradicts the Book of Allaah, the Sunnah of His Messenger and the consensus of the nation and its Imaams." [‘Bayaan Talbees al-Jahmiyyah’ (1/851)]

    This is from one perspective, as for the other than it is over the issue of the Punishment of the Hellfire coming to an end. This is an issue over which there is a difference of opinion emanating from the Salaf themselves as the reader of the Tafseers of at-Tabari, as-Suyuti and others can see under the verse 11:107 and 6:128. It is possible to explain these narrations in two ways: the first being that the saying of some of the Companions and Taabi`een that, ‘their will come a time when there will be no-one in Hellfire’ is to be taken literally. The second is that it is to be taken to refer only to the Muslims in the Hellfire.

    No matter how we take it, to rule someone’s deviancy or unbelief based on this is not possible, for only one who contradicts a consensus that is firmly established to exist, and unequivocal in it’s meaning can be ruled to be a deviant or a disbeliever. This is not the case here despite the efforts of some scholars to make it seem so. Even if it were so, then neither ibn Taymiyyah or ibn al-Qayyim held this view, so do not be deceived by what the likes of as-Subki writes in his ‘al-I`tibaar bi Baqaa al-Jannah wa an-Naar’ (forming part of his ‘Risaa`il’).

    As-Subki says, in the course of his discussion on this point,

    "…I came across the aforementioned book and he mentioned in it three opinions over the Hellfire coming to an end. 1) both Paradise and Hell will end and he said that no one from the salaf held this opinion. 2) that both are eternal. 3) that Paradise remains and Hellfire will come to an end. And he inclined to this position and said that this was the madhab of the Salaf." [‘al-I’tibaar’ (pg. 201)]

    The opponents who read this book, thought that as-Subki was referring to ibn Taymiyyah and hence the origin of this accusation against ibn Taymiyyah. But in reality this is from the words of ibn al-Qayyim and it seems that as-Subki did not even fully read what this Imaam had to say!"
    Ibn al-Qayyim says: ‘Al-Haadee al-Arwaah’ (pg. 429+),
    "And this is an issue over which the latter people differed over, falling into three opinions:

    1.That both Paradise and Hell will come to an end and are not eternal, rather just as all created things they will come to an end.
    2.That both will remain, never coming to an end.
    3.That Paradise is eternal, and the Hellfire will come to an end.

    We will mention these opinions and their proponents along with their evidences, and we will reject what contradicts the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger.

    1) As for the first saying, then it was said by Jahm bin Safwaan, the Imaam of the Jahmiyyah, and he did not any precedent in this from the Salaf - neither in the Companions, nor the Taabi`een, nor any of the Imaams of Islaam, or indeed anyone from Ahlus Sunnah. Rather this saying was one that was rejected by the Imaams and they declared the unbelief of the ones that held to it, as is mentioned in ‘as-Sunnah’ of Abdullaah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal reporting from Khaarijah bin Mus`ab that he said, "I declare the Jahmiyyah to be unbelievers due to three verses from the Book of Allaah, Azza wa Jall, ‘its (Paradise) provision and food is eternal’ and they say it will end. ‘Verily this is Our provision which will never finish’, and they say they will. ‘Whatever is with you will pass away, and what is with Allaah will remain’"…

    2) As for the saying that the Hellfire is eternal, then Shaykh al-Islaam said, "there are two famous opinions from the Salaf and Khalaf and this difference is known to exist amongst the Taabi`een." I say: and here are seven opinions on this:

    a.That the one entering it will never leave, this being the saying of the Khawaarij and Mu`tazila.

    b.That it’s inhabitants will be punished for a time but then this punishment will be changed for them and they will live in a normal manner, gaining pleasure from the Fire, due to its being in conformity to their nature. This is the saying of the Imaam of the Ittihaadiyyah (anthropomorphists) ibn Arabee at-Taa`ee…

    c.That its inhabitants will be punished for a time, then they will be removed from it, and another creation placed in Hell. This opinion was one that the Jews related to the Messenger (SAW) and he declared them liars due to it as did Allaah by saying, "and they (the Jews) say: the Fire will not touch us but for a few days. Say: have you taken a covenant from Allaah, so that Allaah will not break His Covenant? Or is it that you say of Allaah what you know not. And those who believe and do righteous deeds, they are dwellers of Paradise, they will dwell therein forever." This saying is then the saying of the enemies of Allaah, the Jews, and they are the shaykhs of its proponents. The Qur`aan, Sunnah, and the consensus of the Sahaabah and the Taabi`een and the Imaams indicate this opinions invalidity. Allaah says, ‘and they will not leave it’….

    d.That its inhabitants will leave it and the Fire will remain, being empty, this is related by Shaykh al-Islaam (ibn Taymiyyah). And this opinion is also refuted by the Qur’aan and Sunnah as has preceded.

    e.That it will come to an end due to its being created. It is impossible for anything that is created to remain forever, this is the saying of Jahm bin Safwaan, and he does not distinguish in this between the Fire and Paradise.

    f.That its inhabitants will die and lose movement and remain in there as inanimate things, and they will not be affected by pain. This is the saying of Abu al-Hudhail al-Alaaf, the Imaam of the Mu`tazila, and in this ruling he does distinguish between Paradise and Hell.

    g.That its Creator and Lord will cause it to come to an end, for He has given it a limited period.

    Shaykh al-Islaam said, "this (last) saying was related from Umar, ibn Mas`ud, Abu Hurayrah, Abu Sa`eed and others." Abd bin Humaid related - and he is from the most noble of the scholars of hadeeth - in his famous tafseer, ‘Sulaymaan bin Harb reported to us, from Salma, from Thaabit from Hasan who said, "Umar said: if the people of Hell were to remain in the Fire to the extent of the stones in a mountain there would be a day that they would leave it."’

    And he said, ‘Hajaaj bin Minhaal, from Hammaad bin Salma, from Humaid from Hasan that Umar bin al-Khattaab said, "if the People of the Fire were to remain in the Fire to the extent of the stones in a mountain there would be a day that they would leave it.’" He mentioned this in the tafseer of His saying, "they will stay in there for periods" (Naba`a: 23).

    So Abd, who is from the Imaams of the Huffaadh and scholars of Sunnah relates from these two noble personalities: Sulaymaan bin Harb and Hajjaaj bin Minhaal, who in turn narrate from Hammad bin Salma, and he narrates from Thaabit and Humaid, and these two from Hasan. And this is sufficient to show the excellence of this isnaad.

    And Hasan, even if he did not hear anything from Umar, relates this also from some of the Taabi`een. If this was not authentic from Umar, according to him, then why did he narrate it and designate his narration with certainty by saying, "Umar said"? And why did those Imaams narrate it from him without rejection or refutation when it is known that they rejected anything that contradicted the Sunnah and refuted matters less than this? So if this saying was from those that contradicted the Qur’aan and Sunnah and ijmaa of the Imaams then they would have been the first to reject it.

    There is no doubt that the one who sticks to this opinion of Umar, and narrates it from him means a portion/type of the inhabitants of the Fire. For the people (i.e. Muslims) that are punished due to their sins, then these people would leave it and they would not stay in it the extent of the stones in a mountain. And the word, ‘People of the Fire’ is not specific to the believers in the Oneness of Allaah, rather it is specific to their enemies, as the Prophet (SAW) said, "as for the People of the Fire who are it’s inhabitants, then they will neither live or die in their." [Saheeh Muslim]What has preceded does not contradict His saying, ‘they will remain in their forever’ and His saying, ‘and they will never leave it’."…
    …Ibn Mas`ud said, "there will come a time in which there will be no-one in the Fire and that is after they have remained in there for periods." The likes of this is related from Abu Hurayrah, both being reported by al-Baghawee in his tafseer. Then he says after this, "and the meaning of these according to Ahlus Sunnah, if they are established, is that no one of the People of faith will remain in there."…." [‘al-Haadee al-Arwaah’ (pp. 429 +)]

    So with this it is clear that both ibn Taymiyyah and his student did not hold the Hellfire to come to an end or that the punishment would cease for the unbelievers. Were it not for the fear of lengthening the discussion beyond what is necessary, we would quote from the tafseer of ibn Taymiyyah in which he makes clear that certain types of people would remain in the Hellfire forever, for example, Pharaoh.


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    Jan 2007


    The Life and Times of Malik ibn Anas

    Hassan Ahmad

    A scholar of Hadeeth and Fiqh and the renowned Imam of the Madinah

    © Al Jumuah 11/9

    Abu Abdullah, Malik ibn Anas ibn Malik ibn Amer al-Asbahee was born in Madinah in the year 93 AH (714 CE). His ancestral home was in Yemen, but his grandfather settled in Madinah after embracing Islam.

    Malik became the Imam of the Madinah, and one of the most renowned Imams of Islam.

    He received his education in was the most important seat of Islamic learning, Madinah, and where lived the immediate descendants and the followers of the companions of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, were living.

    Born into a well-to-do family, Malik did not need to work for a living. He was highly attracted to the study of Islam, and ended up devoting his entire life to the study of Fiqh. It is said that he sought out over three hundred Tabi'een or those who saw and followed the companions of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam. Malik held the hadeeth of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, in such reverence that he never narrated, taught any hadeeth or given a fatwa without being in a state of ritual purity, ghusl. Ismael ibn abi Uwaiss said, "I asked my uncle -Malik- about something. He had me sit, made ablution, then said,"la hawla wala quwata illa billah." He did not give any fatwa without saying it first." Also, Malik saw fatwa as a sensitive, precise, and important action that can have far reaching results, and used to be extremely careful about giving it to the extent that if he was not sure about a matter, he would not dare to talk. Al-Haytham said, "I once was with Malik when he was asked more than forty questions and I heard him reply, 'I do not know,' to thirty two of them." Yet, he was the man about whom ash-Shafi'ee said, "When scholars are mentioned, Malik is like the star among them." Malik said that he did not sit to give fatwa, before seventy of the Madinah scholars first witnessed to his competence in doing so.

    He is the author of al-Muwatta' ("The Approved"), formed of the sound narrations from the Prophet together with the sayings of his companions, their followers, and those after them. Malik said, "I showed my book to seventy scholars of Madinah, and every single one of them approved it for me (kulluhum wata-ani alayh), so I named it 'The Approved'." Imam Bukhari said that the soundest of all chains of transmission was "Malik, from Nafi, from Ibn Umar." The scholars of hadeeth call it the Golden Chain, and there are eighty narrations with this chain in the Muwatta. Malik composed al-Muwatta in the course of forty years, having started with ten thousand narrations until he reduced them to their present number of fewer than 2,000.

    Like all scholars of Islam, Malik was famous for his piety and integrity. He courageously stood up, and was prepared to suffer, for his convictions. When the governor of Madinah demanded and forced people to take the oath of allegiance to Khalifah al-Mansour, Imam Malik issued a fatwa that such an oath was not binding because it was given under coercion. He based this opinion of the hadeeth, "The divorce of the coerced does not take effect" (laysa ala mustakrahin talaq). This resulted in many people finding courage to express their opposition, but the Imam was arrested, found guilty of defiance, and publicly flogged.

    Malik's followers and disciples developed a Fiqh school, Math-hab, based on his Ijtihad which came to be known as the Maliki Madh-hab. This Madh-hab apread in North Africa, al-Andalus, much of Egypt, and some of al-Sham, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, and Khurasan. Today, Malikis are mostly found in North and West Africa, Egypt, Sudan and the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. Imam Malik died in the year (179 AH) 796 CE at Madinah and is buried in the famous al-Baqie cemetery in Madinah.

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    (Died 803 C.E.)

    Jabir Ibn Haiyan, the alchemist Geber of the Middle Ages, is generally known as the father of chemistry. Abu Musa Jabir Ibn Hayyan, sometimes called al-Harrani and al-Sufi, was the son of the druggist (Attar). The precise date of his birth is the subject of some discussion, but it is established that he practised medicine and alchemy in Kufa around 776 C.E. He is reported to have studied under Imam Ja'far Sadiq and the Ummayed prince Khalid Ibn Yazid. In his early days, he practised medicine and was under the patronage of the Barmaki Vizir during the Abbssid Caliphate of Haroon al-Rashid. He shared some of the effects of the downfall of the Barmakis and was placed under house arrest in Kufa, where he died in 803 C.E.

    Jabir's major contribution was in the field of chemistry. He introduced experimental investigation into alchemy, which rapidly changed its character into modern chemistry. On the ruins of his well-known laboratory remained after centuries, but his fame rests on over 100 monumental treatises, of which 22 relate to chemistry and alchemy. His contribution of fundamental importance to chemistry includes perfection of scientific techniques such as crystalization, distillation, calcination, sublimation and evaporation and development of several instruments for the same. The fact of early development of chemistry as a distinct branch of science by the Arabs, instead of the earlier vague ideas, is well-established and the very name chemistry is derived from the Arabic word al-Kimya, which was studied and developed extensively by the Muslim scientists.

    Perhaps Jabir's major practical achievement was the discovery of mineral and others acids, which he prepared for the first time in his alembic (Anbique). Apart from several contributions of basic nature to alchemy, involving largely the preparation of new compounds and development of chemical methods, he also developed a number of applied chemical processes, thus becoming a pioneer in the field of applied science. His achievements in this field include preparation of various metals, development of steel, dyeing of cloth and tanning of leather, varnishing of water-proof cloth, use of manganese dioxide in glass-making, prevention of rusting, letterring in gold, identification of paints, greases, etc. During the course of these practical endeavours, he also developed aqua regia to dissolve gold. The alembic is his great invention, which made easy and systematic the process of distillation. Jabir laid great stress on experimentation and accuracy in his work.

    Based on their properties, he has described three distinct types of substances. First, spirits i.e. those which vaporise on heating, like camphor, arsenic and ammonium chloride; secondly, metals, for example, gold, silver, lead, copper, iron, and thirdly, the category of compounds which can be converted into powders. He thus paved the way for such later classification as metals, non-metals and volatile substances.
    Although known as an alchemist, he did not seem to have seriously pursued the preparation of noble metals as an alchemist; instead he devoted his effort to the development of basic chemical methods and study of mechanisms of chemical reactions in themselves and thus helped evolve chemistry as a science from the legends of alchemy. He emphasised that, in chemical reactions, definite quantities of various substances are involved and thus can be said to have paved the way for the law of constant proportions.

    A large number of books are included in his corpus. Apart from chemistry, he also contributed to other sciences such as medicine and astronomy. His books on chemistry, including his Kitab-al-Kimya, and Kitab al-Sab'een were translated into Latin and various European languages. These translations were popular in Europe for several centuries and have influenced the evolution of modern chemistry. Several technical terms devised by Jabir, such as alkali, are today found in various European languages and have become part of scientific vocabulary. Only a few of his books have been edited and published, while several others preserved in Arabic have yet to be annotated and published.

    Doubts have been expressed as to whether all the voluminous work included in the corpus is his own contribution or it contains later commentaries/additions by his followers. According to Sarton, the true worth of his work would only be known when all his books have been edited and published. His religious views and philosophical concepts embodied in the corpus have been criticised but, apart from the question of their authenticity, it is to be emphasised that the major contribution of Jabir lies in the field of chemistry and not in religion. His various breakthroughs e.g., preparation of acids for the first time, notably nitric, hydrochloric, citric and tartaric acids, and emphasis on systematic experimentation are outstanding and it is on the basis of such work that he can justly be regarded as the father of modern chemistry. In the words of Max Mayerhaff, the development of chemistry in Europe can be traced directly to Jabir Ibn Haiyan.

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    (Died 840 C.E.)

    Abu Abdullah Mohammad Ibn Musa al-Khawarizmi was born at Khawarizm (Kheva), south of Aral sea. Very little is known about his early life, except for the fact that his parents had migrated to a place south of Baghdad. The exact dates of his birth and death are also not known, but it is established that he flourished under Al- Mamun at Baghdad through 813-833 and probably died around 840 C.E.

    Khawarizmi was a mathematician, astronomer and geographer. He was perhaps one of the greatest mathematicians who ever lived, as, in fact, he was the founder of several branches and basic concepts of mathematics. In the words of Phillip Hitti, he influenced mathematical thought to a greater extent than any other medieval writer. His work on algebra was outstanding, as he not only initiated the subject in a systematic form but he also developed it to the extent of giving analytical solutions of linear and quadratic equations, which established him as the founder of Algebra. The very name Algebra has been derived from his famous book Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah. His arithmetic synthesised Greek and Hindu knowledge and also contained his own contribution of fundamental importance to mathematics and science. Thus, he explained the use of zero, a numeral of fundamental importance developed by the Arabs. Similarly, he developed the decimal system so that the overall system of numerals, 'algorithm' or 'algorizm' is named after him. In addition to introducting the Indian system of numerals (now generally known as Arabic numerals), he developed at length several arithmetical procedures, including operations on fractions. It was through his work that the system of numerals was first introduced to Arabs and later to Europe, through its translations in European languages. He developed in detail trigonometric tables containing the sine functions, which were probably extrapolated to tangent functions by Maslama. He also perfected the geometric representation of conic sections and developed the calculus of two errors, which practically led him to the concept of differentiation. He is also reported to have collaborated in the degree measurements ordered by Mamun al-Rashid were aimed at measuring of volume and circumference of the earth.

    The development of astronomical tables by him was a significant contribution to the science of astronomy, on which he also wrote a book. The contribution of Khawarizmi to geography is also outstanding, in that not only did he revise Ptolemy's views on geography, but also corrected them in detail as well as his map of the world. His other contributions include original work related to clocks, sundials and astrolabes.

    Several of his books were translated into Latin in the early 12th century. In fact, his book on arithmetic, Kitab al-Jam'a wal- Tafreeq bil Hisab al-Hindi, was lost in Arabic but survived in a Latin translation. His book on algebra, Al-Maqala fi Hisab-al Jabr wa-al- Muqabilah, was also translated into Latin in the 12th century, and it was this translation which introduced this new science to the West "completely unknown till then". He astronomical tables were also translated into European languages and, later, into Chinese. His geography captioned Kitab Surat-al-Ard, together with its maps, was also translated. In addition, he wrote a book on the Jewish calendar Istikhraj Tarikh al-Yahud, and two books on the astrolabe. He also wrote Kitab al-Tarikh and his book on sun-dials was captioned Kitab al-Rukhmat, but both of them have been lost.

    The influence of Khawarizmi on the growth of science, in general, and mathematics, astronomy and geography in particular, is well established in history. Several of his books were readily translated into a number of other languages, and, in fact, constituted the university textbooks till the 16th century. His approach was systematic and logical, and not only did he bring together the then prevailing knowledge on various branches of science, particularly mathematics, but also enriched it through his original contribution. No doubt he has been held in high repute throughout the centuries since then.

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    (800-873 C.E.)

    Abu Yousuf Yaqub Ibn Ishaq al-Kindi was born at Kufa around 800 C.E. His father was an official of Haroon al-Rashid. Al-Kindi was a contemporary of al-Mamun, al-Mu'tasim and al-Mutawakkil and flourished largely at Baghdad. He vas formally employed by Mutawakkil as a calligrapher. On account of his philosophical views, Mutawakkil was annoyed with him and confiscated all his books. These were, however, returned later on. He died in 873 C.E. during the reign of al-M'utamid.

    Al-Kindi was a philosopher, mathematician, physicist, astronomer, physician, geographer and even an expert in music. It is surprising that he made original contributions to all of these fields. On account of his work he became known as the philosopher of the Arabs.

    In mathematics, he wrote four books on the number system and laid the foundation of a large part of modern arithmetic. No doubt the Arabic system of numerals was largely developed by al- Khawarizmi, but al-Kindi also made rich contributions to it. He also contributed to spherical geometry to assist him in astronomical studies.

    In chemistry, he opposed the idea that base metals can be converted to precious metals. In contrast to prevailing alchemical views, he was emphatic that chemical reactions cannot bring about the transformation of elements. In physics, he made rich contributions to geometrical optics and wrote a book on it. This book later on provided guidance and inspiration to such eminent scientists as Roger Bacon.

    In medicine, his chief contribution comprises the fact that he was the first to systematically determine the doses to be adminis- tered of all the drugs known at his time. This resolved the conflic- ting views prevailing among physicians on the dosage that caused difficulties in writing recipes.
    Very little was known on the scientific aspects of music in his time. He pointed out that the various notes that combine to produce harmony, have a specific pitch each. Thus, notes with too low or too high a pitch are non-pleatant. The degree of harmony depends on the frequency of notes, etc. He also pointed out the fact that when a sound is produced, it generates waves in the air which strike the ear-drum. His work contains a notation on the determination of pitch.

    He was a prolific writer, the total number of books written by him was 241, the prominent among which were divided as follows:

    Astronomy 16, Arithmetic 11, Geometry 32, Medicine 22,
    Physics 12, Philosophy 22, Logic 9, Psychology 5, ar,d Music 7.

    In addition, various monographs written by him concern tides, astronomical instruments, rocks, precious stones, etc. He was also an early translator of Greek works into Arabic, but this fact has largely been over-shadowed by his numerous original writings. It is unfortunate that most of his books are no longer extant, but those existing speak very high of his standard of scholarship and contribution. He was known as Alkindus in Latin and a large number of his books were translated into Latin by Gherard of Cremona. His books that were translated into Latin during the Middle Ages comprise Risalah dar Tanjim, Ikhtiyarat al-Ayyam, Ilahyat-e-Aristu, al-Mosiqa, Mad-o-Jazr, and Aduiyah Murakkaba.

    Al-Kindi's influence on development of science and philosophy was significant in the revival of sciences in that period. In the Middle Ages, Cardano considered him as one of the twelve greatest minds. His works, in fact, lead to further development of various subjects for centuries, notably physics, mathematics, medicine and music.

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    (836-901 C.E.)

    Thabit Ibn Qurra Ibn Marwan al-Sabi al-Harrani was born in the year 836 C.E. at Harran (present Turkey). As the name indicates he was basically a member of the Sabian sect, but the great Muslim mathematician Muhammad Ibn Musa Ibn Shakir, impressed by his knowledge of languages, and realising his potential for a scientific career, selected him to join the scientific group at Baghdad that was being patronised by the Abbasid Caliphs. There, he studied under the famous Banu Musa brothers. It was in this setting that Thabit contributed to several branches of science, notably mathematics, astronomy and mechanics, in addition to translating a large number of works from Greek to Arabic. Later, he was patronised by the Abbasid Caliph al-M'utadid. After a long career of scholarship, Thabit died at Baghdad in 901 C.E.

    Thabit's major contribution lies in mathematics and astronomy. He was instrumental in extending the concept of traditional geometry to geometrical algebra and proposed several theories that led to the development of non-Euclidean geometry, spherical trigonometry, integral calculus and real numbers. He criticised a number of theorems of Euclid's elements and proposed important improvements. He applied arithmetical terminology to geometrical quantities, and studied several aspects of conic sections, notably those of parabola and ellipse. A number of his computations aimed at determining the surfaces and volumes of different types of bodies and constitute, in fact, the processes of integral calculus, as developed later.

    In astronomy he was one of the early reformers of Ptolemic views. He analysed several. problems related to the movements of sun and moon and wrote treatises on sun-dials.

    In the fields of mechanics and physics he may be recognised as the founder of statics. He examined conditions of equilibrium of bodies, beams and levers.

    In addition to translating a large number of books himself, he founded a school of translation and supervised the translation of a further large number of books from Greek to Arabic.

    Among Thabit's writings a large number have survived, while several are not extant. Most of the books are on mathematics, followed by astronomy and medicine. The books have been written in Arabic but some are in Syriac. In the Middle Ages, some of his books were translated into Latin by Gherard of Cremona. In recent centuries, a number of his books have been translated into European languages and published.

    He carried further the work of the Banu Musa brothers and later his son and grandson continued in this tradition, together with the other members of the group. His original books as well as his translations accomplished in the 9th century exerted a positive influence on the development of subsequent scientific research.

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    (838-870 C.E.)

    This accomplished Hakim was the tutor of the unparalleled physician Zakariya al-Razi. Luck favoured the disciple more than the teacher in terms of celebrity. As compared to Razi people know very little about his teacher Ali.

    Ali Bin Rabban's surname was Abu al-Hasan, the full name being Abu al-Hasan Ali Bin Sahl Rabban al-Tabari. Born in 838 C.E. his father Sahl hailed from a respectable Jew family. The nobility and sympathy inherent in his very nature soon endeared him to his countrymen so much so that they used to call him Rabban which implies "my leader".

    Professionally Sahl was an extremely successful physician. He had command over the art of calligraphy too. Besides he had a deep insight into the disciplines of Astronomy, Philosophy, Mathematics and Literature. Some complicated articles of Batlemus's book al-Mijasti came to be resolved by way of Sahl's scholarly expertise, translators preceding him had failed to solve the mystery.

    Ali received his education in the disciplines of Medical science and calligraphy from his able father Sahl and attained perfection in these fields. He had also mastered Syriac and Greek languages to a high degree of proficiency.

    Ali hailed from a Israelite family. Since he had embraced Islam, he is classified amongst Muslirn Scholars. This family belonged to Tabristan's famous city Marv.

    The fame acquired by Ali Bin Rabban did not simply account for the reason that a physician of the stature of Zakariya al-Razi was amongst his disciple. In fact the main cause behind his exalta- tion lies in his world-renowned treatise Firdous al-Hikmat.

    Spread over seven parts, Firdous al-Hikmat is the first ever Medical encyclopaedia which incorporates all the branches of medical science in its folds. This work has been published in this century (20th century) only. Prior to this publication only five of his manuscripts were to be found scattered in libraries the world over. Dr. Mohammed Zubair Siddiqui compared and edited the manuscripts. In his preface he has provided extremely useful information regarding the book and the author and, wherever felt necessary, explanatory notes have been written to facilitate publication of this work on modern publishing standards.

    Later on this unique work was published with the cooperation of English and German institutions. Following are the details of its all seven parts:

    1. Part one: Kulliyat-e-Tibb. This part throws light on contempo- rary ideology of medical science. In that era these principles formed the basis of medical science.

    2. Part two: Elucidation of the organs of the human body, rules for keeping good health and comprehensive account of certain muscular diseases.

    3. Part three: Description of diet to be taken in conditions of health and disease.

    4. Part four: All diseases right from head to toe. This part is of profound significance in the whole book and comprises twelve papers:

    i) General causes relating to eruption of diseases. ii) Diseases of the head and the brain. iii) Diseases relating to the eye, nose, ear, mouth and the teeth. iv) Muscular diseases (paralysis and spasm). v) Diseases of the regions of the chest, throat and the lungs. vi) Diseases of the abdomen. vii) Diseases of the liver. viii) Diseases of gallbladder and spleen. ix) Intestinal diseases. x) Different kinds of fever. xi) Miscellaneous diseases- brief explanation of organs of the body. xii) Examination of pulse and urine. This part is the largest in the book and is almost half the size of the whole book.

    5. Part five: Description of flavour, taste and colour.
    6. Part six: Drugs and poison.
    7. Part seven: Deals with diverse topics. Discusses climate and astronomy. Also contains a brief mention of Indian medicine.

    Though he wrote Firdous al-Hikmat in Arabic but he simultaneously translated it into Syriac. He has two more compilations to his credit namely Deen-o-Doulat and Hifdh al-Sehhat. The latter is available in manuscript-form in the library of Oxford University. Besides Medical science, he was also a master of Philosophy, Mathematics and Astronomy. He breathed his last around 870 C.E.


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