An important principle of orthodox Sunni Islam is that we respect the four schools of law (Madhabs).
When matters of possible dispute arise – such as if something argued to be bidah or shirk – we examine what the fatwa positions of the four madhabs are on these issues. If we find that one of the madhab’s fatwa position is that the issue is NOT bidah nor shirk, we then know that there is leeway in the matter, and we cannot condemn others for the position they follow.
One of these issues is the raising of the hands in dua after the prayer, for which different viewpoints exist in Sunni law. For the young men of High Wycombe (and beyond) hasty in their rushing to judgement on this issue, we will share the following quotes from the Hanbali school. A Hanbali can follow the rulings below without any blame nor condemnation.
Imam Ibn Muflih al-Hanbali after mentioning it is desirable make dua after the prayer said in Al-Furu 1/401:
From the manners of dua is to spread out the hands and raise them to the level of the chest.
Shaykh Mansur al-Buhuti said in Kashaf al-Qina 1/36:
The Imam makes dua after the Fajr and Asr prayer due to the attendance of the angels, meaning the angels of the day and night at those times, and their saying ‘Amin’ to the dua. This makes the dua more likely to be answered, and likewise he should make dua after the other prayers, because from the times of prayer being answered is after the performance of the obligatory salat.
Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali said in Sharh al-Bukhari 5/236:
Qadi Abu Yaala said in Jami al-Kabir: The apparent meaning of the statement of [Imam] Ahmad is that it is Sunnah for the Imam to make dhikr and dua in a loud voice after the obligatory prayers, to the point that those praying behind him can hear, and he does not go beyond this.
The above is based on an answer given by the Saudi Hanbali scholar: Shaykh Salih al-Asmari
Yes, it does feel a little odd writing these words, a post in support of Shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s views on Shaykh Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahab!
Rumours of a Change: I had heard some months back from someone in America that there had been a seismic shift in Shaykh Yasir’s opinion regarding the revered Mujaddid (renewer) of the Salafi-Wahabi movement. This information was coupled with online extracts from an academic work where Shaykh Yasir was quoted regarding his change in views.
The Podcast: But, as the hadith states, “News of a matter is not like witnessing it directly….” It was, therefore, refreshing to hear him directly and courageously discussing this issue (albeit briefly) in his recent Mad Mamluks podcast along with an apology for some of his harsh statements regarding Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki (God have mercy on him). I must admit, it was amazing to hear some of his statements which echoed almost exactly the position of the landmark book on the movement recently authored by the Jordanian scholar: Shaykh Uthman al-Nablusi.
Furious Counter Response: As expected, a furious counter response is underway for this criticism of Shaykh Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahab. This is to be expected, as once the Mujaddid of a movement is proven to be an extremist, the whole foundation of the movement collapses.
His Reasoning: Shaykh Yasir did not detail in depth the reasons why he labelled Shaykh Ibn Abdul Wahab the ideological forefather of ISIS and a takfiri. We did, however, deliver a lecture this past Ramadan where we presented the quotes which Shaykh Yasir was alluding to. They can be found in the videos below which can be viewed as a defence for the statements made in the podcast.
To conclude: God bless Shaykh Yasir Qadhi and protect him. It takes courage to changes ones fundamental views and express them so openly. The orthodox Arab Sunni scholars may not agree with every point made in the podcast, but there is more than enough common ground presented in it to build bridges between communities and organisations. More importantly, we hope it is a turning point in the West to tackling the poisonous hate filled takfiri dawah contained in the works of the Najdi movement.
Falsity of Denials of Najdi Scholars Regarding their Extremism
Evidence of Being Takfiri
Takfir of Ottomans & Murder of Opponents
Extreme Fatwas of “Third Wave” Najdi Scholars
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Kind
Shaykh Muhammad Saeed Ramadan al-Buti, God have mercy on him, (1928-2013) was a notable Sunni Muslim scholar who was a revered authority of orthodox Sunni Islam across the Arab world and beyond. He was a prolific writer whose sermons were regularly broadcast on television and authored more than sixty books on various Islamic issues. He was considered an important scholar of the approach based on the four schools of Sunni Islam and the orthodox Ash’ari creed. He was assassinated in 2013 whilst giving a lesson in a Damascus mosque and was widely mourned across the Sunni world. His political stance of not supporting the Syrian uprising was controversial, however, with the passage of time he was proven to be accurate in his predictions of the anarchy and chaos that would result from protests.
Amongst Shaykh al-Buti’s most popular work was his acclaimed al-Lamadhhabiyya in which he tackled the Salafi movement and its approach to the issue of following schools of law (madhabs) and following qualified scholarship (taqlid). In this book he presented – without mentioning names – a discussion he had with a Salafi teacher on this issue, which was subsequently translated by Shaykh Nuh Keller and uploaded to Masud Khan’s website.
This translated article shortly thereafter received a response from a student of knowledge from the Wycombe Islamic Society (WISE) in which he identified this unnamed Salafi teacher as Shaykh Eid al-Abbasi and made the following comments based on Shaykh al-Abbasi’s book Bidah Tassub al-Madhabi:
- Shaykh al-Buti exaggerated the contents of the discussion and was a liar.
- The answers the Salafi teacher gave were astonishing and not credible.
- The Salafi teacher was made to look like a “fool”.
- A “beginner in Salafeeyah” would not have answered in this manner.
Who Was Accurate in Their Description of the Discussion?
We have two differing accounts of this discussion and lack a video or audio recording to be able verify the accuracy of the opposing accounts. Shaykh al-Buti, however, in his response to accusations of having exaggerated and lied about the discussion mentioned on page 133 of al-Lamadhhabiyya that there were close to ten witnesses who could verify the accuracy of his version of events.
Shaykh Eid al-Abbasi also mentioned witnesses in passing (p. 291) but did not name them nor cite their testimony which would have been the easiest course of action. Rather, he ignored collating witness testimony and instead challenged Shaykh al-Buti to a Mubahala (p.296) calling on Allah Taala for the swift death and punishment of the party who was lying. Readers should note that both parties lived for decades after this incident, Shaykh al-Buti gaining the lofty rank of a martyr (Shahid) and Shaykh Eid al-Abbasi is still living (as far as I know).
Readers will note that Shaykh al-Buti saw no need to engage in a cursing of himself when he had already mentioned the presence of several witnesses to verify his version of events.
Would a Salafi Scholar Make Such Statements?
We then come to the other aspect of this attack on Shaykh al-Buti, namely that, according to the Salafi translator, he was “astonished at some of the answers that this Salafee Teacher gave”. Were these responses far fetched and not befitting a Salafi scholar? We will leave it to readers to make up their mind based on passages from Shaykh Eid al-Abbasi’s very same book which we believe:
- Support the general meaning of Shaykh al-Buti’s testimony.
- Contain statements many scholars (including some Salafis) would find disturbing and regard as absurd, thereby undermining the claims of astonishment and a beginner not making such mistakes.
Note: We are only highlighting some issues here, a number of the central points were discussed in detail by Shaykh al-Buti in his book which can be referred to. Also note, Shaykh Eid al-Abbasi does cite some scholars to support his views, but these quotes are often grossly out of context, incomplete, misleading or from scholars who followed a minority view which was rejected by many Sunni scholars. An example of a minority viewpoint being a lay person must leave his madhab because he/she comes across an evidence which conflicts with their school, only a minority of scholars hold the view presented by Shaykh al-Abbasi.
Taqlid and Following the Evidence
Shaykh al-Abbasi stresses in a number of places that he and other Salafis permit a common person to make taqlid (follow qualified scholarship), and that the claim that they oblige everyone to deduce rulings by themselves is a lie against them. However, their position of permitting taqlid on closer examination still obliges the common man to grapple with Quran and Sunnah evidences and go against what they may have been taught, he said on page 40:
I have mentioned previously that the ignorant common person (Al-Ami al-Jahil) is permitted by the sacred law to make taqlid of the person whom he deems trustworthy in his knowledge and religion, and he is not obliged to study the shariah evidences and derive rulings from them. However we must highlight that this is on condition that this Muqallid (person who makes taqlid) has not received from a trustworthy scholar a noble verse or Sahih hadith which contradicts that which he is making taqlid of in some matters, thus if it reaches him he must abstain from making taqlid and follow what this scholar states.”
Point to note: It does not matter if a person is an ignorant common person, if a Salafi scholar presents an evidence to them they must leave their madhab and follow the evidence, even though they have no skills to understand what is being presented to them.
Unification of the Madhabs in to One
The clearest example of an absurd proposition from the book and clear contradiction within the space of one paragraph is the issue of creating a new fifth madhab. Shaykh Eid al-Abbasi starts by denying this claim against the Salafis for wishing to create a new fifth madhab but then within a few lines contradicts himself saying on page 61:
We in reality dislike division, difference and despise sectarianism and dispute, thus it would be absurd for us to strive to create a new fifth school – as our opponents claim. We find it troubling that Muslims are divided into four Madhabs, rather we are working to unify these madhabs in to one madhab as was the case at the time of the Salaf al-Salih.”
He goes on to say on page 66,
We now are at the start of a comprehensive revival and it behoves us to do that which was missed the people of the later generations, which is to produce for people a unified Islamic fiqh madhab based on the most authentic evidences and opinions of the Muslim schools of law, more specifically the four.”
Question: How is unifying the four madhabs in to one unified madhab not creating a fifth madhab?
Process for Creating the New Unified Madhab
Shaykh al-Abbasi then proceeds to suggest a process for formulating this new unified madhab including a name for it, he said on page 67,
Due to all of these mentioned reasons we suggest the following:
1. Form a committee consisting of the leading scholars of the Muslim world, including different specialities in the Shariah, their focus being the unification of the Islamic fiqh madhabs (madhahib fiqhiyyah islamiyyah) in to one.
2. This committee will work according to the following plan…
c. In the issues where there is a clear difference of opinion which conflict with each other the evidence of each madhab is examined and the strongest view in terms of evidence is taken without partisanship to any view.
d. For issues which it is difficult to give preference to any view and their evidences are equally strong, any of the views can be adopted and it is good to give preference to that which is for the public benefit of the Muslims…
4. This madhab will be called the madhab of the Kitab and Sunnah and all of the Imams (Kitab wal-Sunnah wa Jami al-Aimmah)”
The Majority of Sunni Scholarship is Misguided
Shaykh al-Abbasi gives little credence to the majority of mainstream Sunni scholars regarding the following of madhabs and argues the following on page 111,
We admit to that which al-Buti said that these madhahib which millions follow and adhere to, and books are filled with the names of scholars who follow them, we accept this, have seen it and have lived amongst this. We know that the vast majority of those who claim knowledge of the shariah are blind followers (muqallidun) and adhere to a madhab, and that those adhering to the sunnah and following the path of the Salaf are small in number in comparison to them. However al-Buti should not rejoice at these large numbers, for Allah the Exalted has stated that the followers of the truth are always small in number, and the followers of falsehood are always the majority, except at some very rare occasions in time.”
Salafi Scholars Tolerance of Madhab Followers & Straw Man Arguments
Shaykh al-Abbasi’s understanding of following a madhab was presented earlier, in this passage he explains the lack of understanding and tolerance he would promote of madhab followers trying to follow their school, along with a poorly constructed “straw man argument”. He said on page 121
Real Life Examples of the Difference Between the Callers to the Sunnah and their Opponents…It is relevant that we present to you some real life examples of this difference which we live in…
Between a Salafi and a Muqallid Maliki
One of the callers to the Sunnah meets one of the scholars…from the muqallidin (followers) of the madhab of Imam Malik for example and sees him praying with his hands by his side. So he asks him: Why do you place your hands by your side in the prayer?
The muqallid (follower) will say: I make taqlid of the Maliki madhab which states that hands are placed on the side.
The salafi says: However it is reported from the Imam of your madhab himself Malik (Allah have mercy on him) that he would place his right hand on the left in the prayer, and this is mentioned in his book al-Muwatta itself.
The muqallid says: However the later scholars from the Malikis stated the opposite to this.
The Salafi says to him: Is the view of the later scholars more correct and stronger than the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the view of the Imam of your madhab himself? The muqallid says: Perhaps they were aware something which I am not aware of.
The Salafi says to him: What is it that they were aware such that they give it precedence to the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the view of the Imam? The muqallid says: I do not know….
Is this behaviour acceptable from a Muslim who follows the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)…”
And the discussion goes on, with Shaykh al-Abbasi giving examples from the four madhabs where the follower could be confronted with evidence which they would not be able to answer. All of the scenarios are poorly written and constructed.
We Respect the Madhabs – Sort of
After proclaiming respect and appreciation for the madhabs and their work Shaykh al-Abbasi follows it with the following disclaimer on page 136,
We however also believe that there has occurred in the fiqh madhabs after the blessed three generation many deviations and significant mistakes and many negatives (uyub) have been associated with them, and they have in many matters gone in different directions to the directives of the Kitab, Sunnah and that which all of the Imams call to. We therefore believe that it is necessary to review them from anew and cleanse them of their mistakes, deviations and mistakes.”
Likening Madhab Followers to the People of the Book
Shaykh al-Abbasi explains his views of madhab followers further in the following passage saying on page 143,
Some may object and say: How can you liken the muqallids (followers) of the madhabs to the Jews and Christians? and how can you apply this verse to them when it was revealed regarding the People of the Book, whereas these (followers of madhabs) are Muslim and they (People of the Book) are non Muslim?
The answer is that we ask them: What was the reason for the misguidance of the People of the Book? Was it not turning away from the words of Allah and His Messenger and giving priority to the words of so and so from their notable figures? …”
Madhab Works Have Replaced the Quran and Sunnah
Shaykh al-Abbasi further criticizes the well known and respected works of the Sunni madhabs saying on page 160:
The book Ghayah wal-Taqrib and Manhaj [sic] for the Shafi’s, the book Maraqi al-Falah and Kanz for the Hanafis, the book Mukhtasar al-Khalil and al-Risalah al-Qayrawani according to the Malikis, and the book Zad al-Mustaqni according to the Hanbalis. These books are the first and last reference that each group from them refers back to if in dispute, and accept its ruling and are happy with it. These abridged works (mukhtasarat) have taken the place for them (the madhab followers) similar to that of the noble Quran and Sunnah…”
Do Not Teach the Above Madhab Works to the Young
Shaykh al-Abbasi said on page page 163
“We do not accept teaching the abridged texts (mutun al-mukhtasarah) to the young…rather we hold that teaching them should be done by means of the study of the evidence in a simplified way from the Book and the Sunnah, and there is no harm in choosing topics which they will be able to understand…”
The Classical Madhab Works Do Not Produce Real Scholars
Shaykh al-Abbasi continues his criticism further saying on page 164,
Whereas these mutun (textbooks of Islamic law) do not produce a single real scholar, all of whom they produce are blind followers (muqallidun) whom it is not correct to call Ulema except metaphorically as was accepted by al-Buti.”
We Follow Shaykh al-Albani and Not the Madhabs
Shaykh al-Abbasi makes this surprising admission in his book, clearly stating his preference for Shaykh al-Albani’s teachings over any of the four Sunni schools, he explained on page 258 saying,
“And from this is our preference for following our Shaykh Nasir al-Din al-Albani rather than following other from Imams, Mujtahids and scholars. This is because he has benefited from their efforts and extracted the finest of them, and his [Shaykh al-Albani’s] views are the most accurate and correct, even though the virtue in this returns back to the earlier scholars…but this does not mean that the ijtihad of our Shaykh are the final word on matters…and our method is not to accept the views of Shaykh Nasir without evidence or proof..”
We will leave readers with the above brief selections from the work of Shaykh Eid al-Abbasi to form their own conclusions about the discussion which was conveyed by Shaykh al-Buti, and the accusations of exaggeration and lying against him. To recap:
- Shaykh al-Buti mentions there were close to ten witnesses to the discussion who can affirm he was accurate in his conveying of it.
- There are numerous passages from the work of Shaykh Eid al-Abbasi which seem to support the general meaning of the discussion as conveyed by Shaykh al-Buti.
- There are numerous passages from the work of Shaykh al-Abbasi which are astonishing and deeply concerning, and would severely weaken the claim of the author of the article attacking Shaykh al-Buti that a Salafi scholar could not have made those comments.
Author: Saleh – Abu Hashim
It appears that referring to non Muslims who enter Islam as being “reverts” as opposed to “converts” is terminology unique to English speaking Muslims from the West.
The argument put forward by “revert” supporters is the hadith which states that all humans are born on Fitrah which is Islam and thereafter change their belief due to their respective upbringing. According to Shaykh Abd al-Fattah al-Yafi there are some Muslim scholars who hold this view.
As an aside – when did the phrase “Let me revert back to you” come in usage? Is it not supposed to be, “I will reply back to you?”
Coming back to the topic at hand, it is clear that numerous prominent Sunni scholars held the view that Fitrah (natural disposition) referred to in hadith is not Islam, and thus by extension for English speakers the term “convert” would be more accurate. One evidence of many is the following hadith recorded in Sahih Muslim 4/2048:
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: Every person is given birth to by their mother upon the Fitrah, thereafter their parents make them Jewish, Christians or Magians, and if the parents are Muslim then the person will be Muslim…
Imam al-Nawawi in his commentary said:
The strongest view is that the meaning is that every child is born with the natural disposition towards Islam.
Imam Ibn al-Athir said in Al-Nihayah (1/247):
The meaning of the hadith is that every child is born with a type of natural disposition which is the Fitrah of Allah Most High and that it inclines towards the acceptance of truth both naturally and in obedience.
Other scholars who supported this understanding are: Ibn Abd al-Barr, Ibn Atiyyah, al-Qurtubi, Ibn Qutaybah, Abu Shamah, al-Ayni and others, and Allah Taala knows best.
Source: Mawahib Karim al-Fattah of Shaykh Abd al-Fattah al-Yafi 1/531 onwards.
Please find below a supplicatory prayer I wrote a short time back based primarily (but not wholly) on a well known poem of Imam al-Haddad (see image above). Recitors will find that they should be able to sing this according to the tune of the Arabic version.
O Lord we have admitted
to sins we have committed
to You we have submitted
our hopes in Your Mercy
O Lord grant us repentance
coupled with Your acceptance
and free us from dependence
From all of the creation
O Lord grant us a veiling
which will protect us failing
a day of Your prevailing
upon all Your deniers
O Lord grant us admission
to blessings You have given
of health and wealth provision
raining upon your servants
O Lord protect our household
the elderly and young folk
for ever more our stronghold
and in Paradise unite us
O Lord grant Your protection
And ward off the affliction
With ease from all restriction
The homes of the believers
O Lord bestow Your favours
upon our friends and neighbours
and everyone who labours
to serve your creation
O Lord Your peace and blessings
Until the leaves and birds sing
Upon the light that guides us
Muhammad and companions
A short passage to reflect over and ponder, especially for those from an Indian Subcontinent background where matters are always presented as black and white.
Shaykh Yusuf al-Nabhani , the recent prominent Sunni theologian of Palestine wrote the following passage in his work Shawahid al-Haqq (p.62).
“Know that the belief I hold regarding Ibn Taymiyyah and his two students – Ibn al-Qayyim and Ibn Abd al-Hadi – is that they are from the Imams of the religion and from the prominent (akabir) Muslim scholars. They have greatly benefitted the Muhammadan community with their knowledge, even though they made serious errors regarding the issues of visitation and istighatha as a result which they caused significant harm to Islam and the Muslims. I swear by Allah to Magnificent! Before my coming across their statements regarding these issues regarding the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) I did not believe that a Muslim could venture to say such a thing. I have now for a number of months been reflecting over citing their statements but cannot venture to do so even for the sake of refuting them out of fear that I might be a means of increasing their circulation such is their ugliness. May Allah forgive them and have mercy on them according to their intentions and not deprive us from seeking mercy for them and benefitting from their knowledge.”
I came across the following short extract when looking for material regarding a description of wrestling at the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) 1500 years ago. It seems clear – to me at least – that the wrestling referred to in Muslim sources is closer in spirit to the stand up (Tachi-Waza) throwing techniques of Judo than the ground grappling focus of BJJ.
The great Moroccan sholar Shaykh Abd al-Hayy al-Kattani mentions the following in his work Taratib al-Idariyyah:
Ibn Ishaq amongst others mentions in his Sirah that in Mecca there was a person of immense strength who was skilled in wrestling. People would come from other places to wrestle him and he would defeat them. One day when he was in one of the valleys of Mecca he met the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) who said to him, ‘O Rukanah, are you not conscious of Allah and accept that which I call you to?’ Rukanah replied, ‘O Muhammad, do you have anything as proof of your truthfulness?’ He replied, ‘Yes, if I was to defeat you in wrestling would you have faith in Allah and His Messenger?’
Rukanah replied, ‘Yes O Muhammad, prepare for a wrestling match!’
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘I am ready,’ at which point the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) drew closer to Rukanah and threw him down.
Rukanah was astonished at this and asked for another match, and he was defeated for a second and then a third time. Rukanah stood up amazed and said, ‘Your matter is astonishing.’
This was narrated by Abu Nuaym and al-Bayhaqi from Abu Umamah from two routes of transmission, one Marfu and the other Mursal.
The Rukanah who has been mentioned here is Ibn Abd Yazid bin Hisham bin al-Muttalib bin Abd Manaf, al-Qurashi, a Meccan companion who entered in to Islam in the year of the Meccan conquest. He died in Medina during the caliphate of Muawiyah in the year 42. Rukanah was fearsome, well built, strong and well known for his wrestling skills, such that no one had ever defeated him in wrestling nor had his skin ever touched the ground in defeat.
It is authentically reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) wrestled him and defeated him, as was stated by al-Khafaji in al-Nasim.
In Ibn al-Tayyib al-Fasi’s notes on the Qamus it is mentioned regarding Rukanah, ‘His story is well known, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) defeating him is from his great miracles, for Rukanah was the most skilled wrestler of his age. His strength was such that he would stand on a piece of camel skin of a good flexible quality which would be pulled by ten men without his being moved from his spot, this was stated in the commentaries of the Shifa, al-Mawahib and other works.'”
The author then discussed some scholars who highlighted some weakness in the chain for this incident as well as it not being authentically established that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) wrestled Abu Jahl. It would however appear that the incident above with Rukanah does have a number of chains of transmission. Shaykh Abd al-Hayy al-Kattani continued:
I have in my possession a short work by Hafiz al-Suyuti named Al-Musarah ila al-Musarah in which he mentioned the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) wrestling with Abu Rukanah via a number of chains of transmission, likewise the younger companions wrestling amongst themselves to gain permission for military service. He also mentioned that Meccans were skilled in wrestling and defeated all others…and narrated via routes of transmission that Hasan and Hussain (Upon both of them be peace) wrestled in the presence of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).”
Note: I have been informed that the short treatise of Imam al-Suyuti referenced above has been translated and will inshAllah be published soon.