Answers to doubts over the ‘Aqidah of Imam Abu Hanifah

An Explanation of the Irja’ of Imam Abu Hanifah


This issue of irja’ (literally: postponement) with respect to Imam Abu Hanifah – which has unforunately become a common talking point for the denigrators of the Imam – was discussed in great detail by Imam ‘Abd al-Hayy al-Laknawi in his al-Raf’ wa l-Takmil (pp. 149-81). When the term “irja” was applied to Imam Abu Hanifah, his shuyukh and his students, it was from two groups:

1. The first are the Mu’tazilah and the Khawarij who used this term for them because they actively opposed the Mu’tazilah and the Khawarij in their belief that a major sin takes one out of faith (iman). Imam al-Shahrastani (d. 548) wrote in his work al-Milal wa l-Nihal, “[Abu Hanifah] would oppose the Qadariyyah and the Mu‘tazilah who appeared in the early period, and the Mu‘tazilah would designate all who opposed them with regards to faith “murji’”.” (quoted in al-Raf’ p. 155) The Mu’tazili and Khariji belief is that a believing perpetrator of a major sin who does not repent will forever be punished in the Fire, and this belief is opposed by the Ahl al-Sunnah.

Imam al-Shahrastani also said: “The men of the murji’ah [i.e. the famous personalities who believed in irja’], as transmitted, are: al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Sa‘id ibn Jubayr, Talq ibn Habib, ‘Amr ibn Murrah, Muharib ibn Dithar, Muqatil ibn Sulayman, Dharr, ‘Amr ibn Dharr, Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman, Abu Hanifah, Abu Yusuf, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan and Qudayd ibn Ja‘far. These are all imams of hadith. They did not declare the perpetrators of major sins disbelievers due to a major sin, and they did not make a judgement that they abide eternally in the Fire, as distinguished from the Khawarij and the Qadariyyah.” (quoted in al-Raf’ p. 164)

Similarly al-Taftazani said in Sharh al-Maqasid: “It is well-known regarding the madhhab of the Mu‘tazilah that the perpetrator of a major sin without repentance will be made to stay eternally in the Fire, even if he lived for a hundred years upon faith and obedience. They do not distinguish between the major sin being one or many, and [whether] it occurred before the acts of obedience, after them or between them. They deem [the position of] uncertainty about punishment, and consigning the matter to Allah, forgiving if He wishes and punishing if He wishes, which is the madhhab of the people of truth, irja’, in the sense that it is postponement of the matter and uncertainty of punishment and reward. By this consideration, Abu Hanifah and others were placed amongst the murji’ah.” (quoted in al-Raf’ p. 158)

2. The second group who referred to Abu Hanifah and other fuqaha as “murji’” are the muhaddithun, like Imam al-Bukhari, who believed that works/deeds (‘amal) are included in the definition of iman and iman increases and decreases, so they referred to those who said works are not included in the definition of iman and that it does not increase and decrease in its essence “murji’ah.” Al-Laknawi offers a number of quotes from the books of Rijal to prove this, including the following: Al-’Asqalani narrated in Lisan al-Mizan in the biography of Muhammad ibn al-Hasan:

Ibn ‘Adi transmitted from Ishaq ibn Rahwayh: I heard Yahya ibn Adam say: Sharik would not permit the testimony of the murji’ah. Muhammad ibn al-Hasan bore testimony before him and he rejected his testimony. He was asked about this, and he said: “I do not permit the testimony of one who says prayers are not from faith!” (quoted in al-Raf’ pp. 162-3) This is clear in showing that the muhaddithun regarded those who believed works are not included in the definition of iman as murji’ah.

It is clear, therefore, that the reason Imam Abu Hanifah, his students and his teachers, were called“murji’ah” by the Mu’tazilah firstly and the muhaddithun later, is their belief in the following:

1. Works are not included in the definition of the essence of faith (iman)
2. Faith (iman) does not increase or decrease
3. The believing man who perpetrates a major sin and does not repent may be punished and he may be forgiven

The latter is the belief of all of the Ahl al-Sunnah. The first two is the belief of the ‘aqidah-scholars including Imam al-Tahawi (in his al-Aqidat al-Tahawiyyah), al-Maturidi, Abu Hanifah, and others, with the hadith-scholars disagreeing. However, this is only a semantic dispute as concluded by the verifying scholars, because although the muhaddithun include works in the definition of iman, if a man has no works and he is sinful, they still accept that he may be a believer (mu’min) which implies that the absence of works does not necessarily imply even according to them the absence of faith (iman). Therefore, works, in this sense, even according to the muhaddithin, are not included in iman, whereas confirmation with the heart (tasdiq bi l-qalb) is universally accepted as being fundamental to the nature and essence of iman.

Regarding the second point, it is as articulated by al-Tahawi, “Iman is confession with the tongue and confirmation with the heart, and that everything that was revealed by Allah in the Qur’an and everything that is authentic from the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) regarding the Shari’a and explanation [of the Qur’an] is all true. Iman is one and its adherents are in its essence the same, and the superiority [of some over others] is due to taqwa and opposing desires.” (al-’Aqidat al-Tahawiyyah)

Again, the dispute with the muhaddithun on this issue is a semantic dispute as all agree the believers vary, but Abu Hanifah, al-Tahawi and others say this variation is not in the essence of iman but in its branches, while others say this variation is in iman itself.

There is no doubt, therefore, that the murji’ah are two types: those of the Ahl al-Sunnah and those deviants who claimed that sins do not harm a believer and faith is sufficient for salvation, both of which Abu Hanifah rejected. This division of the murji’ah was explicitly mentioned by some of the scholars, including al-Shahrastani, Abu Shakur al-Salimi (d. 1077), and al-Birgivi (d. 981). It was even reported from Imam Abu Hanifah in his letter to ‘Uthman al-Batti.

Regarding a commonly quoted passage from Ghunyat al-Talibin by Imam ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani in which he includes the “Hanafiyya,” subscribers to the doctrine of irja’ amongst the deviant groups, al-Laknawi discusses this at great length on pages 166-81. He shows that at best this is a contradiction from al-Jilani (who is not infallible), since he refers to Imam Abu Hanifah as “Imam” and quotes his opinions as valid fiqhi opinions. Examples of this are given in page 169 of al-Raf’ wa l-Takmil. This shows al-Jilani did not believe Abu Hanifah was a deviant.

Then, al-Laknawi offers a number of responses to this text from Ghunyat al-Talibin, and he favours the following: Al-Shahrastani, while listing the murji’ah, included the sect called “Ghassaniyyah” which he describes as “the Ghassaniyyah, the companions of Ghassan ibn Aban al-Kufi who believed that faith is knowledge of Allah and His Messenger and acceptance of all that the Messenger brought, and that if a speaker were to say “I know that Allah made Hajj to the Ka‘bah obligatory but I do not know where the Ka‘bah is, and it may be in India, he is a believer.”” (quoted in al-Raf’ p. 153)

In Ghunyat al-Talibin, al-Jilani uses almost the exact same description of the beliefs of “Hanafiyya” when describing their irja: “As for the Hanafiyyah, they are the companions of Abu Hanifah al-Nu‘man ibn Thabit. They believe that faith is knowledge and acceptance of Allah and His Messenger and all that he brought from His presence.” (quoted in al-Raf’ p. 167)

Al-Jilani, while listing the groups of murji’ah, did not mention the Ghassaniyyah and it is known Ghassan would falsely attribute his madhhab to Abu Hanifah: Al-Shahrastani said, “It is strange that Ghassan would narrate his madhhab from Abu Hanifah and he counted him amongst the murji’ah. This is most probably a slander against him.” (quoted in al-Raf’ p. 155)

Ibn Hajar al-Makki said something similar. Al-Jilani, therefore, by “Hanafiyyah” and the “companions of Abu Hanifah” most probably meant the Ghassaniyyah who claimed to follow Abu Hanifah. It is also well-known that many of those who followed Abu Hanifah in the peripheral matters of jurisprudence were Mu’tazili in creed or followed another deviant creed. Al-Jilani’s statement is therefore best understood not as referring to Abu Hanifah and his true companions/followers, but this deviant sect called the Ghassaniyyah who claimed to be followers of Abu Hanifah.


Abu Hanifah lived at a time when many new deviations were emerging, like Rafidism, Jahmism and Muqatilism, and he stood fast on the beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunnah, and condemned them in strong terms. For example, Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi narrates: al-Khallal reported to us: al-Hariri reported to us that ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Nakha‘i narrated to them: Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn Mukram narrated to us: Bishr ibn al-Walid narrated to us: I heard Abu Yusuf say: Abu Hanifah said: “Two groups of the worst of people are from Khurasan: the Jahmiyyah and the Mushabbihah(antropomorphists),” and he probably said [instead of “Mushabbihah”] “Muqatiliyyah (followers of Muqatil ibn Sulayman (d. 150 H)).” (Tarikh Baghdad 15:514-15) Dr. Bashshar ‘Awwad Ma‘ruf said: “Its isnad is sahih, its narrators are trustworthy (thiqat).”

With the same chain, al-Khatib narrates: al-Nakha‘i said: Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘Affan narrated to us: Yahya ibn ‘Abd al-Hamid ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Himmani narrated to us from his father: I heard Abu Hanifah say: “Jahm ibn Safwan is a kafir.” (Tarikh Baghdad 15:515) Dr. Bashshar ‘Awwad Ma‘ruf said: “Its isnad is hasan.”

Imam Abu Hanifah’s opinion on Jahm is in fact quoted in the books of Rijal. Al-’Asqalani said inTahdhib al-Tahdhib (vol 10:281): “Muhammad ibn Sima’ah (who is thiqah according al-Saymari and saduq according to al-’Asqalani in al-Taqrib) narrated from Abu Yusuf from Abu Hanifah that he said: ‘Jahm went overboard in negation until he said: He [i.e. Allah] is nothing, and Muqatil went overboard in affirmation until He deemed Allah to be like His creation.’” Al-’Asqalani also quotes him saying: “Two disgusting opinions came to us from the east: Jahm the negator [of Allah’s attributes] and Muqatil the anthropomorphist.”

This clearly illustrates Imam Abu Hanifah’s greatness in the eyes of the scholars of Rijal, and the fact Imam Abu Hanifah stood against the distortions in ‘aqidah, of ta’til (negating Allah’s attributes) and tashbih (comparing Allah to creation) in this early period. Some of his expressions in ‘aqidah were recorded by his students, and the most famous statement on the creed of Abu Hanifah is Imam al-Tahawi’s Bayanu ‘Aqidati Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah which is probably the most well-known and accepted formulae on Muslim creed throughout the history of Sunni Islam.


Imam Abu Hanifah on the Uncreatedness of the Qur’an


Because some of the students of the companions of Imam Abu Hanifah supported and propogated the Mu’tazili doctrine of the createdness of the Qur’an, and campaigned for it during the infamous mihnah which began under the reign of caliph Abu al-’Abbas al-Ma’mun (170 – 218), some began to suspect that this was the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah himself. In fact, in Orientalist circles, this view is still current, that Abu Hanifah originated the doctrine of the createdness of the Qur’an! But, Imam Abu Hanifah, is innocent of this heresy. In examining a few narrations from al-Khatib al-Baghdadi’s  biography of the Imam, I will show that the preponderant view amongst the companions of Abu Hanifah was that of the uncreatedness of the Qur’an, and this is in fact traced authentically to the Imam himself, while a few followers of his school strayed and adopted the Mu’tazili and Jahmi doctrine.

1. Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi narrated with his chain to al-Hakam ibn Bashir that he said: “I heard Sufyan ibn Sa‘id al-Thawri and al-Nu‘man ibn Thabit say: ‘The Qur’an is the uncreated speech of Allah.’” (al-Qur’an kalam Allah ghayr makhluq) (Tarikh Baghdad 15:517) Dr. Bashshar ‘Awwad Ma‘ruf comments: “Its isnad is hasan.”

This is, therefore, an authentic report establishing that Imam Abu Hanifah believed in the uncreatedness of the Qur’an in accordance with the position of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah. This is further corroborated by Imam al-Tahawi’s transmission of the beliefs of Imam Abu Hanifah in his famous creedal formula known as al-’Aqidat al-Tahawiyyah, and by al-Fiqh al-Akbar which is either the work of Imam Abu Hanifah himself or at least accurately represents his views based on an early account from him – both of which state that the Qur’an is the uncreated speech of Allah.

2. Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi narrated with a chain of trustworthy narrators, besides one narrator who is unknown, that Ibn al-Mubarak came to Abu Hanifah and Abu Hanifah said to him: “What is this thing that has crept amongst you [i.e. the people of Khurasan]?” He said to him: “A man called Jahm.” He said: “What does he say?” He said: “He says the Qur’an is created.” Thereupon, Abu Hanifah said [quoting the Qur’an]: “Grave is the word that comes out of their mouths! (Qur’an 18:5).” (Tarikh Baghdad 15:517)

Although there is some question over the authenticity of this report due to the unidentifiable narrator in the chain, it is known that Abu Hanifah opposed Jahm on the issue of the attributes of Allah and he also declared him a disbeliever as shown above, so it is probable he addressed this false belief of Jahm also.

3. Al-Khatib narrated with his chain to Abu Bakr al-Marrudhi that he said: “I heard Abu ‘Abd Allah Ahmad ibn Hanbal say: ‘It is not authentic according to us that Abu Hanifah would say the Qur’an is created.’” (Tarikh Baghdad 15:517) Dr. Bashshar ‘Awwad Ma‘ruf comments: “Its isnad is sahih.”

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was the champion of the Ahl al-Sunnah during the period of the mihnah, and his major enemies besides the ruling elite were some scholars of the Hanafi school, in particular the judge Ahmad ibn Abi Dawud; and even as the charge that Abu Hanifah supported the state doctrine was being propogated, Imam Ahmad did not buy into this false propaganda and defended the Imam.

4. Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi narrated with his chain to al-Nakha‘i that he said: Muhammad ibn Shadhan al-Jawhari narrated to us: He said: I heard Sulayman al-Juzjani and Mu‘alla ibn Mansur al-Razi say: “Abu Hanifah did not speak about [the createdness of] the Qur’an, nor Abu Yusuf, nor Zufar, nor Muhammad, nor any of their companions. Only Bishr al-Marisi and Ibn Abi Dawud spoke about [the createdness of] the Qur’an, so they tarnished [the good beliefs of] the companions of Abu Hanifah.” (Tarikh Baghdad 15:518). Dr Bashshar says: “Its isnad is sahih.”

The scholars who are quoted in this report, Abu Sulayman al-Juzjani and Mu‘alla ibn Mansur, were major scholars of Hanafi jurisprudence, as known to muftis of the Hanafi school. They were authors of some Nawadir literature, and fatawa. They were also amongst the few scholars who openly opposed the view of the createdness of the Qur’an, although this was before al-Ma’mun’s inquisition.

Mu‘alla ibn Mansur al-Razi, Abu Ya‘la (150 – 211), is a narrator of hadith found in all the six famous collections of hadith. He narrated from the famous hadith-scholar Hammad ibn Zayd (98-179) as found in Sahih al-Bukhari, and he also narrated from ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak, Malik ibn Anas, al-Layth ibn Sa‘d, and from the students of Imam Abu Hanifah, Yahya ibn Zakariyya ibn Abi Za’idah, Qadi Abu Yusuf, ‘Ali ibn Mushir and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani. Abu Zur‘ah al-Razi said: “Al-Mu‘alla was the best of the group – meaning, the champions of juristic opinion (ashab al-ra’y) – according to the people of knowledge. That was because he was ardent in his search for knowledge and he travelled and gave attention [to it]…al-Mu‘alla is reliable.” Yahya ibn Ma‘in said he is trustworthy. Yahya ibn Ma‘in narrated: “Al-Mu‘alla ibn Mansur al-Razi was one day praying, when his head was stung by a wasp, and he did not move until he completed his salah. When they looked, his head had become extremely swollen.” Al-‘Ijli said: “Trustworthy, a champion of sunnah. He was noble. They asked him to take the position of judge and he refused multiple times.” Ya‘qub ibn Shaybah said: “Trustworthy…proficeint, reliable, a jurist.” Ibn Sa‘d said: “He resided in Baghdad, sought hadith, and he was reliable, a master of hadith, opinion and jurisprudence.” Abu Hatim al-Razi said: “He was reliable in hadith and a champion of juristic opinion.” Ahmad ibn Kamil al-Qadi said: “Mu‘alla ibn Mansur was from the senior companions of Abu Yusuf and Muhammad, and from their trustworthy ones in transmission and narration.” Abu Ahmad ibn ‘Adi said: “I hope there is no harm in him because I did not find any objectionable hadith from him.” It was narrated from him that he said: “Whoever says the Qur’an is created is according to me a disbeliever.” Al-Khatib said: “He was a jurist from the champions of opinion. He took from Qadi Abu Yusuf and he was trustworthy.” (Tahdhib al-Kamal 28:291-7) Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani wrote in al-Taqrib, “Mu’alla ibn Mansur al-Razi, Abu Ya’la, a resident of Baghdad, a trustworthy Sunni jurist, he was asked to become judge and he refused, those who claimed Ahmad accused him of lying erred.”

Regarding Abu Sulayman al-Juzjani, al-Dhahabi says: “‘Allamah Imam Abu Sulayman Musa ibn Sulayman al-Juzjani al-Hanafi, the companion of Abu Yusuf and Muhammad. He narrated from them and from Ibn al-Mubarak. Qadi Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Birti, Bishr ibn Musa, Abu Hatim al-Razi and others narrated from him. He was reliable (saduq) and dear to the scholars of hadith. Ibn Abi Hatim said: “He would anathematise those who held the Qur’an was created.” (al-Jarh wa al-Ta‘dil 8:145) It was said that al-Ma’mun offered him the position of judge and he refused, and he gave the excuse that he is not qualified for it so he excused him. He became noble in the eyes of the people due to his refusal. He authored books.” (Siyar A’lam al-Nubala 10:194 )

Al-Khatib described him as: “Musa ibn Sulayman, Abu Sulayman al-Juzjani. He heard ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak, ‘Amr ibn Jumay‘ and Abu Yusuf and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, the two companions of Abu Hanifah. He was a faqih with insight into juristic opinion. He adopted the methodology of the Sunnah regarding the Qur’an [i.e. that it is uncreated]. He lived in Baghdad and narrated therein. ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Hasan al-Hashimi, Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Isa al-Birti and Bishr ibn Musa al-Asadi narrated from him. Ibn Abi Hatim said: ‘My father wrote from him and he said he was reliable.’” (Tarikh Baghdad 15:26-7)

Abu Sulayman al-Juzjani and Mu’alla ibn Mansur were of course more aware of the views of their teachers and their grand-teacher than others.

Therefore, although Bishr ibn Ghiyath al-Marisi (140 – 218) and Ahmad ibn Abi Dawud (full name: Ahmad ibn Faraj ibn Hariz) (160 – 240) stood as proponents of the Mu’tazili doctrine while claiming to belong to the Hanafi school, true followers of the madhhab opposed them, and clarified the position of their teachers and the teacher of their teachers. “Bishr” in Arabic means “joy” and “Ahmad” means “the most praised.” Based on this, Imam al-Dhahabi wrote under the biography of Bishr al-Marisi: “He was the bishr (joy) of evil while Bishr [ibn al-Harith] al-Hafi [the famous ascetic] (152 – 227) was the bishr of goodness, just as Ahmad ibn Hanbal was the ahmad (the most praised one) in the Sunnah and Ahmad ibn Abi Dawud was the ahmad in bid’ah.” (Siyar A’lam al-Nubala 10:202)


Striking Necks: It Must Be the Kharijites!

wahhabi history repeats it selfTo paraphrase an aphorism coined by a 20th century philosopher,those who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them until they learn them.

The earliest strain of extremism in Islamic history emerged in the late 7th century with the Kharijites, a sect that scholars have said will continue until the end of the Ummah’s time. In other words, as long as there are Muslims, the pathology of extreme sectarianism and anathematization of fellow Muslims will persist in segments of the community.

British wahhabi JihadiIt is imperative that the Muslim community, especially the youth, be made aware of the dangers inherent in extremism. To do this, we must understand the mentality of extremist sectarianism, its etiology, and its outward signs and symptoms, which will help us to counter it when confronted by it.


Evil KharijiteThe most problematic aspect of the Kharijites and their ilkis that they are often cloaked in religiosity and may even exhibit intense devotional practices, especially prayer, Qur’an memorization, and its recitation. This display of puritanical piety often leads many Muslims to deem them rightly guided.

young evil wahhabi KhawarijBelow is a translation of a narration given by Imam al-Dhahabi, in his magisterial Biographies of Noble Notables (Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’), concerning Wahab b. Munabbih’s insights into the pathology of sectarianism and its degenerative effects if left unchecked.

Wahab b. Munabbih was a Yemeni scholar and transmitter of hadith. He is sometimes described in the biographical literature as a Jewish convert to Islam due to his vast knowledge of the Torah and Talmudic stories, but other scholars mention that he was actually of mixed descent, his father being a Persian aristocrat and his mother a Himyarite Yemeni, though not Jewish. In any case, he was born during the Caliph ‘Uthman’s reign, in year 34 after Hijrah.

Wahab b. Munabbih was a student of several notable companions, including Ibn ‘Abbas and Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah, from whom he narrates one of the earliest hadith collections.

The vast majority of hadith scholars considered Wahab b. Munabbih a sound narrator: both imams al-Bukhari and Muslim narrate his transmissions. Imam al-Nasa’i, who has some of the strictest requisites for narrating hadith, considers him absolutely reliable.

Ibn Hajar said that Wahab b. Munabbih was “trustworthy” (thiqah). Unfortunately of late, he has come under attack from some modern redactors of Islam because he narrated what are known as Isra’iliyat or Jewish stories, and they accuse him of introducing unsound Jewish traditions into Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir).

These attacks are in spite of the Prophet’s permission to “Relate the stories of the people of the Bible, but neither assert nor negate their veracity.” (It is permitted to use our own sources to assert or negate them; scholars negate them if they clearly contradict our sources, especially those narrations that put prophets in a bad light, such as the story of Bathsheba and Uriah with David, or that of Noah and his daughters).

The following story illustrates the dangers of sectarian pathology in the social body of Islam and why it is imperative that scholars and advanced students of knowledge warn simple believers, especially those among the youth who may fall prey to such seductively simplistic yet ultimately destructive distortions of Islam.

Imam al-Dhahabi relates the following in his section on Wahab b. Munabbih in his work, Biographies of Noble Notables (Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’):

Dawud ibn Qays narrates the following story about Wahab b. Munabbih:

I had a friend who was called Abu Shamir Dhu Khawlan. I departed from Sana’a to visit him in his village. As I approached his village, I stumbled upon a letter addressed to Abu Shamir. Upon my arrival, I found him disconsolate and depressed. When I inquired as to why, he explained, “A postman from Sana’a came to deliver a letter from some friends I have there but confessed that he had lost it.”
“No worries, I found it!” I said.
He cried, “Praise be to Allah!” He then opened its seal and read it silently.
“Why don’t you read it to me?” I asked.
He replied, “I consider you a little too young.”
So I asked him, “What is in it?”
He said, “The striking of necks!”
I then said, “Maybe some people from among the Haruris[Kharijites] have written it.” 1

Nonplussed, he asked, “How did you know that?”

“Because my friends and I sit with Wahab b. Munabbih,” I replied, “and he always says to us, ‘Beware all of you young and inexperienced ones from these extremists: don’t you let them pull you into their deviant views. Indeed, they are an evil that has afflicted this Ummah.’”

At this point, Dhu Khawlan tossed the letter to me, and I read the following in it:
“Peace be upon you. We praise Allah to you and counsel you to piety. Verily, the religion of Allah is discrimination and guidance. Surely this religion is obedience to Allah and disobedience to whoever disobeys the way of His Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings upon him. When our letter arrives, ponder deeply, in sha Allah, whom you fulfill your zakat obligation through. By doing so, you will earn a close place with Allah and the protection of His allies” [i.e. the Kharijites].

I then said to him, “I prohibit you from associating with them.”
To this, he replied, “Tell me why I should follow your opinion and abandon one from those older than you.”

I then suggested to him, “How about if I take you for an audience with Wahab so that you can hear his counsel?”

He agreed, so we set out for Sana’a, and I took him to Wahab b. Munabbih.
At that time, Mas’ud b. ‘Auf was the governor of Yemenappointed by ‘Urwah b. Muhammad. When we arrived, we found a group of people sitting with Wahab. One of them said, “Who is this elder with you?”
I said, “He has a problem that needs addressing.”
The group stood up, and Wahab said, “What is your need, Dhu Khawlan?” 2
On hearing his name [from one he had never met], he was rendered mute from fright. Wahab turned to me and said, “Speak on his behalf.”

I said, “He is a man of Qur’an and virtue, as far as I know, but Allah knows his inner state. He told me that some Kharijiteshad appealed to him and said that his poor-tax paid to the rulers was invalid because they do not distribute it to its rightful recipients. They said to him it was valid only if paid to them. Given that, I thought it appropriate to bring him to you, O Abu ‘Abd Allah Wahab b. Munabbih, knowing that your words would have more of a healing effect on him than mine.”

At this, Wahab said to Dhu Khawlan,
Is it your wont to become an extremist at this late age of yours, Dhu Khawlan? Do you want to testify that those better than you are astray? Tell me, what will you say to Allah tomorrow when He has you stand on the Day of Judgment with those you have condemned as disbelievers? Allah testifies to their belief, and yet you claim they are disbelievers! Allah declares they are guided, and yet you claim they are astray! Where will you end up if your opinion contradicts Allah’s decree and your testimony belies His testimony? Tell me, Dhu Khawlan, what are these extremists saying to you?

Now able to speak, Dhu Khawlan said to Wahab, “They demand that I give charity only to those who follow their opinion and that I should ask forgiveness for them alone.”

Wahab responded:
Yes, what you say is correct: this is their calamitous, deceitful sedition. As for their claim about charity, it reached me that the Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings upon him, said that a woman from Yemen was punished for locking up a cat [and starving it to death].
Is a human being who is free of idolatry and worships Allah declaring His oneness closer to Allah or is that cat? Isn’t this person who worships Allah free of idolatry more worthy to be relieved of his hunger than that cat?
Allah says, “They give food out of love of Allah to the destitute, the orphan, and the prisoner.” As for their saying that none should seek forgiveness for others except for those who are like him, are they better or the angels? About the angels, Allah says, “They ask forgiveness for whoever is in the earth.” By Allah, the angels are doing only what Allah commanded them to do, as He tells us, “They don’t do anything before they hear the word from Allah, and they do what they are told to do.” It has been made clear in the verse, “They ask forgiveness for those who believe.

Dhu Khawlan, I saw the beginning of Islam. By Allah, this group of Kharijites and all others like them did not appear except that Allah scattered them due to the evil of their states. And none of them puts forward their opinions except that eventually Allah destroys him. Had Allah allowed their views to spread and flourish, corruption would fill the earth, and you would see no security on the roads or even for those on the Hajj, and this religion of Islam would become an ignorant and zealous affair (jahiliyyah). And then every group will declare their caliphate, each one fighting the other.Every group of ten thousand will fight all the others, each group accusing the others of disbelief, until the believer is afraid for his life, his religion, his blood, and his wealth and doesn’t know who to be with. Allah says, “Had not some protected others, the whole earth would be corrupt,” and “We will give victory to Our messengers and those who believe.” If they were true believers, they would be given victory, as Allah says, “Our soldiers will have victory.

Dhu Khawlan, does not Noah’s response to the idolaters of his time suffice you in responding to these extreme Muslims today? The idolaters challenged him about the believers following him, saying,“Should we believe like these lowly outcasts believe?” [Noah merely responded, “And what knowledge have I of what they did? Their reckoning is only with Allah, and I am not going to drive away the believers. I am but a plain warner.”] 3

Dhu Khawlan then said, “What do you tell me I should do?”
Wahab replied, “Give your zakat to those who Allah has put over us. Dominion is Allah’s alone. It is in His hand, and He gives it to whomever He pleases. If you give it to whoever is in charge, you are absolved of your obligation. If anything remains, give it to your next of kin, those in your employ, your neighbors, and your guests.”
At this point, Dhu Khawlan declared, “Bear witness all of you that I no longer follow the deviant opinions of theextremists!” 4

It is worth pondering the lesson of this story from the early years of Islamic history, given that history does indeed repeat itself, and once again we are faced with a strain of extremism first embodied by the Kharijites.

Wahab b. Munabbih’s remarkable concluding statement should be a reminder to many modern Muslims, especially the extremists, who have lost sight of this truth: Dominion is Allah’s alone. It is in His Hand, and He gives it to whomever He pleases.

Constantinople The Caliphate 2015 HDWhen Muslims prove themselves worthy of being caretakers of power through moral rectitude, Allah will restore once again our glory, but as long as we are in the inglorious condition that we find ourselves in, the destructive and corrupting danger of power is best kept from us. Many of the Prophets in the Qur’an were oppressed, but they were always exemplary in their response to oppression.

The SunnahImam al-Ghazali, who witnessed the collapse of the Seljuk state and the advent of civil strife during that period after the assassination of Malikshah, knew that states collapse but that the righteous man, if purified and protected, does not collapse. Politics invariably fails us, but piety never fails us. “And whoever is pious, Allah will prepare for him a way out and provide for him from where he least expects.

 Imam al-Ghazali then set out to record a roadmap for the traveller who lives in this world of instability and uncertainty. That roadmap is always available – in times of light and in times of darkness. It begins with knowledge and ends with death.

  1. The Haruris were Kharijites from Harura’ near Kufa in Iraq. They are the very first innovators in Islamic tradition, and this was their base. When they opposed Imam ‘Ali, their headquarters was inHarura’, and so they came to be known as Haruriyyah. It is essentially synonymous with Kharijite or extremist. In a sound hadith, ‘A’ishah was asked why women have to make up fasting from menstruation but not prayers. She replied, “Are you a Haruriyyah?” It is interesting to note that upon merely hearing his cryptic phrase “the striking of necks,” Dawud b. Qays suspected that it was from the Kharijites.
  2. Wahab knew the man’s name without previously knowing him or being told his name, which frightened the man leaving him unable to speak. This is known as kashf and can occur among the deeply righteous whereby they know something that is not possible for them to know by ordinary means. Usually the righteous hide this gift, but sometimes it is necessary for them to reveal it, as it can help their words to penetrate the heart of the one they are trying to guide. I have witnessed this many times with my own teachers, so it does not strike me as contrived, which is generally how orientalists, unfamiliar with this phenomenon, view such narrations. Kashf can also occur without the one at whose hands it occurs being aware of it, but the one hearing it will know clearly that Allah inspired that person. This is due to the veil that many of the righteous have concerning their own state with Allah.
  3. Wahab knew this man was a man of Qur’an, so he quoted only the first part of the story. The verses are in the chapter entitled “The Poets.” The disbelievers challenged Noah, peace be upon him, concerning those who followed him, saying they were lowly and insignificant people, so why should they, in their stature, follow along with these lowly ones? Noah’s reply is what Wahab is telling this man to follow – that it is not our business to judge people who follow or claim to follow prophets. Allah will judge them. In judging them ourselves, we will end up driving away true believers, which is exactly what the Kharijites and their ilk amongfanatical and sectarian Muslims do to other Muslims: they drive them out of Islam.

  4. Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’, Volume 4, 554-557.


(Edited by ADHM)

Ibn Asakir reported: Wahb ibn Munabbih said, “I knew the early period of Islam. By Allah, the Kharijites never had a group except that Allah caused it to split due to their evil condition.

Never did one of them proclaim his opinion except that Allah caused his neck to be struck.

Never did the Muslim nation unite upon a man from the Kharijites.

If Allah had allowed the opinion of the Kharijites to take root, the earth would have been corrupted, the roadways would have been cut off, the Hajj pilgrimage to the sacred house of Allah would have been cut off, and the affair of Islam would have returned to ignorance until the people would seek refuge in the mountains as they had done in the time of ignorance.

If there were to arise among them ten or twenty men, there would not be a man among them except that he would claim the Caliphate for himself.

With each man among them would be ten thousand others, all of them fighting each other and charging each other with unbelief until even the believer would fear for himself, his religion, his life, his family, his wealth, and he would not know where to travel or with whom he should be.” Source: [Ta’reekh Dimshaq, 69290]

عن ابن عساكر قال وهب بن منبه أني قد أدركت صدر الإسلام فوالله ما كانت للخوارج جماعة قط إلا فرقها اللَّه على شر حالاتهم وما أظهر أحد منهم رأيه قط إلا ضرب اللَّه عنقه وما اجتمعت الأمة على رجل قط من الخوارج ولو أمكن اللَّه الخوارج من رأيهم لفسدت الأرض وقطعت السبل وقطع الحج من بيت اللَّه الحرام وإذا لعاد أمر الإسلام جاهلية حتى يعود الناس يستغيثون برءوس الجبال كما كانوا في الجاهلية وإذا لقام أكثر من عشرة أو عشرين رجلا ليس منهم رجل إلا وهو يدعو إلى نفسه بالخلافة ومع كل رجل منهم أكثر من عشرة آلاف يقاتل بعضهم بعضا ويشهد بعضهم على بعض بالكفر حتى يصبح الرجل المؤمن خائفا على نفسه ودينه ودمه وأهله وماله لا يدري أين يسلك أو مع من يكون

69290 تاريخ دمشق لابن عساكر حرف الواو ذكر من اسمه وهب

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, say, “Verily, the majority of hypocrites in my nation are among its reciters.”

Source: Musnad Ahmad 27909- Grade: Hasan (fair) according to Al-Haythami

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِي قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ إِنَّ أَكْثَرَ مُنَافِقِي أُمَّتِي قُرَّاؤُهَا

27909 مسند أحمد مُسْنَدُ الْمُكْثِرِينَ مِنَ الصَّحَابَةِ إن أكثر منافقي أمتي قراؤها

المحدث الهيثمي خلاصة حكم المحدث أحد أسانيد أحمد ثقات أثبات

Hazrat Abdullah ibn Umar رضي الله تعالیٰ عنه narrates The Holy Prophet صلى الله تعالیٰ عليه وآله و سلم said: “People will appear who recite the Quran but it will not go beyond their throats. Every time a faction emerges it will be cut off (Killed) I heard the Beloved Prophet صلى اللهتعالیٰ عليه وآله و سلم say this more than ten times until he said “Dajjal will appear in their midst

Sunan ibn Majah, Kitab ul Fitn, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Fil Musnad and others

Adi’ Al-Kindi reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, say, “Verily, Allah the Exalted will not punish a community for the sins of a few unless they see evil appear among themselves and they are able to condemn it but they do not. If they do that, then Allah will punish the community along with the sinners.”

Source: Musnad Ahmad 17627

عن عدي الكندي سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَا يُعَذِّبُ الْعَامَّةَ بِعَمَلِ الْخَاصَّةِ حَتَّى يَرَوْا الْمُنْكَرَ بَيْنَ ظَهْرَانَيْهِمْ وَهُمْ قَادِرُونَ عَلَى أَنْ يُنْكِرُوهُ فَلَا يُنْكِرُوهُ فَإِذَا فَعَلُوا ذَلِكَ عَذَّبَ اللَّهُ الْخَاصَّةَ وَالْعَامَّةَ

17627 مسند أحمد مُسْنَدُ الشَّامِيِّينَ إن الله عز وجل لا يعذب العامة بعمل الخاصة حتى يروا المنكر بين ظهرانيهم وهم قادرون على أن ينكروه فلا ينكروه

المحدث ابن حجر العسقلاني خلاصة حكم المحدث إسناده حسن وله شاهد

Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said,

“There will come a people from the east who recite the Quran but it does not go beyond their throats. They will go out of the religion just as an arrow pierces its target and they will not return to it just as the arrow does not return to the bow.” It was said, “What will be their sign?” The Prophet said, “Their sign is shaving.” Or he said, “It is shearing.”

Sahih Bukhari

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ يَخْرُجُ نَاسٌ مِنْ قِبَلِ الْمَشْرِقِ وَيَقْرَءُونَ الْقُرْآنَ لَا يُجَاوِزُ تَرَاقِيَهُمْ يَمْرُقُونَ مِنْ الدِّينِ كَمَا يَمْرُقُ السَّهْمُ مِنْ الرَّمِيَّةِ ثُمَّ لَا يَعُودُونَ فِيهِ حَتَّى يَعُودَ السَّهْمُ إِلَى فُوقِهِ قِيلَ مَا سِيمَاهُمْ قَالَ سِيمَاهُمْ التَّحْلِيقُ أَوْ قَالَ التَّسْبِيدُ

7123 صحيح البخاري كِتَاب التَّوْحِيدِ تلك الكلمة من الحق يخطفها الجني فيقرقرها في أذن وليه

Hudhaifa reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, I fear for you that a man will recite the Quran until his delight is seen and he takes Islam as a cloak. Then, he changes to whatever Allah wills for him, such that it is stripped from him and he throws it behind his back, assaulting his neighbor with the sword and accusing him of idolatry.” I said, “O Prophet of Allah, which one is closer to idolatry? The accused or the accuser?” The Prophet said, “Rather it is the accuser.” Source: Sahih Ibn Hibban 81

عن حذيفة قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى الِلَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ مَا أَتَخَوَّفُ عَلَيْكُمْ رَجُلٌ قَرَأَ الْقُرْآنَ حَتَّى رُئِيَتْ بَهْجَتُهُ عَلَيْهِ وَكَانَ رِدْئًا لِلإِسْلامِ غَيَّرَهُ إِلَى مَا شَاءَ الِلَّهِ فَانْسَلَخَ مِنْهُ وَنَبَذَهُ وَرَاءَ ظَهْرِهِ وَسَعَى عَلَى جَارِهِ بِالسَّيْفِ وَرَمَاهُ بِالشِّرْكِ قَالَ قُلْتُ يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ أَيُّهُمَا أَوْلَى بِالشِّرْكِ الْمَرْمِيُّ أَمِ الرَّامِي قَالَ بَلِ الرَّامِي

81 صحيح ابن حبان كتاب العلم باب الزجر عن كتبة المرء السنن

المحدث ابن كثير خلاصة حكم المحدث إسناده جيد

Aisha (RA) reported: A man came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, by Allah I love you more than myself. I love you more than my family and wealth. You are more beloved to me than my children. I would be in my house and I would remember you until I cannot be patient until I meet you. When I remember my death and your death, I know you will enter Paradise with the status of the prophets, but if I enterParadise I am afraid I will not see you.” The Prophet did not answer him until Gabriel, peace be upon him, was sent with the verse, “Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, they will be with those whom Allah has blessed among the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs, and the righteous.” (4:69)

Source: Mu’jam As-Sagheer 51

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ قَالَتْ جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهِ إِنَّكَ لَأَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِنْ نَفْسِي وَإِنَّكَ لَأَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِنْ أَهْلِي وَمَالِي وَأَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِنْ وَلَدِي وَإِنِّي لَأَكُونُ فِي الْبَيْتِ فَأَذْكُرُكَ فَمَا أَصْبِرُ حَتَّى آتِيَكَ فَأَنْظُرَ إِلَيْكَ وَإِذَا ذَكَرْتُ مَوْتِي وَمَوْتَكَ عَرَفْتُ أَنَّكَ إِذَا دَخَلْتَ الْجَنَّةَ رُفِعَتْ مَعَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَإِنِّي إِذَا دَخَلْتُ الْجَنَّةَ خَشِيتُ أَنْ لَا أَرَاكَ فَلَمْ يَرُدَّ عَلَيْهِ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ شَيْئًا حَتَّى نَزَلَ جِبْرِيلُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ بِهَذِهِ الْآيَةِ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُولَئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ

51 المعجم الصغير للطبراني باب الألف من اسمه أحمد

المحدث أحمد شاكر خلاصة حكم المحدث صحيح لغيره


source: Salafi Aqeeda







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