Wednesday, 18 November 2015

AHADITH ON INTERPRETING THE HOLY QUR'AN WITHOUT SOUND KNOWLEDGE



AHADITH ON INTERPRETING THE HOLY QUR'AN

WITHOUT SOUND KNOWLEDGE


There are a number of Hadith related to the issue of interpreting the Holy Qur'an without sound knowledge. Two of them are found in the collection of Ahadith known as Mishkatul Masabih by Imam al-Tabrizi (ash-Shafi'i), one from Ibn Abbas and the other from Jundub (Allah be pleased with them):-
(A) Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) as saying: "He who speaks about the Qur'an on the basis of his personal opinion (only) would find his abode in Hell fire. In another version: He who speaks about the Qur'an without sound knowledge of it would find his abode in Hell fire." (Tirmidhi).
(B) Jundub (Allah be pleased with him) reported the Prophet (Peace  be upon him) as saying: "He who speaks about the Qur'an on the  basis of his personal opinion (by any accord) he commits an error,  even if he is right." (Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood). (See Mishkatul- Masabih, 1/234-235, English ed'n)
The above two Hadiths have also been quoted by Ahmad Ibn Taymiyya in  his Muqaddima fi usool al-Tafseer (English trans'n by M.A.H. Ansari  under the title: 'An Introduction to the Principles of Tafseer', pg.  60) where he said after quoting Jundub's (Allah be pleased with him)  version: "Al-Tirmidhi thinks that this Hadith is rare (gharib). Other  scholars of Hadith are not sure about the veraciousness of Suhayl ibn  Abi Hizaam, who is one of its transmitters (in the Sanad). However a number of scholars from the companions and others have been reported  to have condemned in the same vein the effort to explain the Qur'an  without knowledge." But in the footnotes on the same page of the  above book (no's 158 and 159) it was stated that al-Albani had declared  both Hadiths (A) and (B) above to be DAEEF in his checking of Mishkatul- Masabih.
I say: this is only one opinion out of many on the status of the above  Ahadith. It seems that even Ibn Taymiyya after quoting the Hadith  from Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) accepted it, (although he  had reservations about the Hadith from Jundub) since he kept quiet  about declaring it inauthentic; but Allah knows best.
In fact Imam al-Tirmidhi classified the Hadith reported from Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) to be Hasan Sahih (see Ulum al-Qur'an, pg. 132, fn. 20, by Ahmad Von Denffer) and the Hadith related from Jundub (Allah be pleased with him) was classified to be Hasan, by the great scholar of Hadith, Imam al-Suyuti (d. 911/1505; Rahimahullah) in his al-Jami al-Saghir. This classificaton was also said to be Hasan, by al-Imam Munawi (d. 1031/1622; Rahimahullah) in his checking and commentary of Imam Suyuti's above named book; due to the existence of other variant narrations that strengthen it. (vide: Fayd al-Qadir Sharh al-Jami l-Saghir, vol.6. pg. 191-92, by Imam al-Munawi). Other narrations on this issue are as follows:-
Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reported the Prophet (Peace be upon him) as saying three times: "Opinion based arguments (controverting) about the Qur'an are Kufr." Then he said: "What you know of it, act upon it; and what you are ignorant of, refer to one who knows (e.g. a qualified Mufassir)." (related by Imam's Ahmad and  Abu Ya'la; see also Sunan Abu Dawood, 3/4586; English ed'n for half of the narration)
Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) said: "I will give an exemplary punishment to any man brought to me who is not knowledgeable in Arabic yet interprets (tafsir) Allah's Book." (related by Imam al-Bayhaqi; see Hafiz al-Dhahabi's at-Tafsir wa'l Mufasiroon, vol. 1, pg. 274 )
Imam Mujahid (Rahimahullah) the disciple of the great Companion Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) said: "It is not permissible for anyone who believes in Allah and the last day to interpret Allah's Book if he is not knowledgeable in the Arabic language." (vide: Mabahith fi Uloom al-Qur'an, pg. 331, by M. al-Qattan)
I leave it to the noble reader to decide whose classification you would prefer! May be those ignorant people who go around interpreting the Holy Qur'an without the requisite qualifications (as amongst the generality of the "Salafiyya") in their 'study' circles, may take heed of the above Hadiths and their classifications by the great scholars of Hadith.


DA'EEF AHADITH AND THEIR APPLICABILITY TO ISLAMIC DECREES (FATAWA)


I now wish to convey to you the honourable reader, a short but  detailed explanation of what is a Daeef (weak) Hadith, and when they can be applied and practised by the dictates of Islamic  Jurisprudence. The reason for writing this account is simply due to a very common misunderstanding amongst many of the so called
"Salafiyya" and other ignorant people, who have not even scratched the surface of the Science of Hadith, and the way scholars rate Hadith (tasheeh), as well as differences of opinion (Ikhtilaf) in the final classification of Hadith; hence they are generally incapable of knowing when a Daeef Hadith can be used in Islamic rulings, even though many of the prominent Mujtahid Imams themselves used to do so in the absence of an authentic narration.
Instead many ignorant people have been causing an unjustifiable fitna (mischief), by accusing usually the ignorant believers of following "Daeef Ahadith", and I say, this is due to their ignorance of all the  available channels of transmission (Asanid) for a particular Hadith.  Since many a time a Hadith may be classified as being Daeef through  one particular Isnad, and just because of this, many of the ignorant members of the "Salafiyya" become absolutely convinced that whoever
follows, and practises this particular "Daeef" Hadith is an innovator (Mubtadi)! This I believe is the "wrong" approach to classifying  Ahadith, because other chains of transmission (Sanad) must be considered,  and if this is done, a singular Daeef Hadith through one Isnad could even eventually reach the level of Hasan li ghairihi (a good Hadith due to other narrations supporting and strengthening it). This is also the chief reason why the 'Salafiyya' and their "scholars of Hadith and Fiqh",
are trying to demolish the Taqleed of the Mujtahids. They claim that the followers of the four schools of Fiqh are "contradicting" the authentic Sunnah by following many Daeef Ahadith based rulings! Usually, what is found amongst such people who claim to be scholars of Hadith, is that they don't always try their utmost to find other supporting narrations to give a more realistic, and acceptable classification. For example, when I compared the list of Ahadith declared to be Daeef in the Riyadh us-Salihin (by Imam Nawawi), as checked by al-Albani and Shaykh Shu'ayb al-Arnaoot (from Amman, Jordan) separately; I noticed that Shaykh al-Arnaoot took greater pains to declare many Daeef Hadith to be Hasan Li Ghairihi, whereas al-Albani hardly bothered to raise the rank of a singular Daeef Hadith to Hasan Li Ghairihi by investigating other supporting routes of narration! Insha'Allah we should all follow the authentic Sunnah when it is definitely proven and cannot be explained away by other authentic interpretations and evidences.
The following discussion has been derived from the English translation of Umdat al-Salik wa Uddat al-Nasik (The Reliance of the Traveller and Tools of the Worshipper, by Shaykh Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri [d. 769/1368; Rahimahullah], trans. by Noah Ha Mim Keller, W48.0, pg. 954-957). NB- the abbreviations for the following quote are:-
A=Shaykh Abdal Wakil Durubi, N=Shaykh Nuh Ali Salman,
n=translators remark
"(A:) Weak (daeef) is a term for any Hadith with a chain of transmission containing a narrator whose memory was poor, one who has not trustworthy, not identified by name, or for other reasons. But weak cannot simply be equated with false. Were this the case , mere analysis of the transmitters would be the universal criterion for the acceptance or rejection of particular rulings based on hadiths. While scholars do use this measure in upgrading the work of preceding generations of legal authorities, they have not employed it as a simplistic expedient to eliminate every piece of legal information that is connected with a weak hadith, because of various considerations. One of these is that when a piece of information is received through a means of transmission that may or may not be trustworthy, we generally have doubts about it. But when one and the same piece of information reaches us through several completely different channels, even though each one may or may not be trustworthy, the logical probability of the information's falsity is much reduced. And if we receive the very same information from ten such channels, the possibility of its falsity does not usually even come to mind. This verificatory principle has two important implications, one being the obligatory nature of belief in Hadiths that are mutawatir, and the second being the weight that Hadith scholars give to multiple means of transmission, which can raise a Hadith from well authenticated (hasan) to rigorously authenticated (sahih), or from weak (daeef) to well authenticated, as described in the following account of a Hadith's reclassification by a major specialist in Hadith forgeries.
('Ali Qari:) The Hadith "I am the city of knowledge and 'Ali is its gate," was mentioned by Tirmidhi in his Jami', where he said it was unacknowledgeable. Bukhari also said this, and said that it was without legitimate claim to authenticity. Ibn Ma'in said that it was a baseless lie, as did Abu Hatim and Yahya ibn Sa'id. Ibn Jawzi recorded it in his book of Hadith forgeries, and was confirmed by Dhahabi, and others in this. Ibn Daqiq al-'Eid said, "This Hadith is not confirmed by scholars, and is held by some to be spurious." Daraqutni stated that it was uncorroborated. Ibn Hajar 'Asqalani was asked about it and answered that it was well authenticated (hasan), not rigorously authenticated (sahih), as Hakim had said, but not a forgery (mawdu'), as Ibn Jawzi had said. This was mentioned by Suyuti. The Hadith master (hafiz) Abu Sa'id 'Ala'i said, "The truth is that the Hadith is well authenticated (hasan), in view of its multiple means of transmission, being neither rigorously authenticated (sahih) nor weak (da'if), much less a forgery" (Risala al-mawdu'at, 26 ).
(A:) Thus, when the person who has related a Hadith is an Islamic scholar of the first rank, it is not enough for a student or popular writer to find one chain of transmission for the Hadith that is weak. There are a great many Hadiths with several chains of transmission, and adequate scholarly treatment of how these affect a Hadith's authenticity has been traditionally held to require a master (hafiz), those like Bukhari, Muslim, Dhahabi, Ibn Kathir, or Suyuti who have memorized at least 100,000 Hadiths - their texts, chains of transmission, and significance - to undertake the comparative study of the Hadith's various chains of transmission that cannot be accurately assessed without such knowledge. Today, when not one Hadith master (hafiz) remains in the Muslim Community, we do not accept the judgement of any would-be reclassifiers of Hadith, no matter how large their popular following, unless it is corroborated by the work of previous Hadith masters.
Another reason why weak cannot simply be equated with false is the fact that weak is an attribute of the Hadith's chain of transmission, while false is an attribute of the Hadith's text. These are two different things, and the relationship between their respective reliabilities is a probablistic expectation (istinbat) that is neither strictly casual, nor yet a necessary logical implication (lazim), there being four logical possibilities for any Hadith:
(1) A sound text and sound chain of transmission, as with well-authenticated (hasan) and rigorously authenticated (sahih) Hadiths;
(2) A sound text and an unsound chain of transmitters, reflecting the possibility that a transmitter with poor memory, or unknown to the person who recorded the Hadith, or one not trustworthy, is in principle capable of relating the Hadith correctly;
(3) An unsound text and unsound chain of transmitters, as with Hadiths that are forged (mawdu');
(4) or an unsound text and a sound chain of transmitters, reflecting the possibility that one of those who classify the personalities and reliability of various Hadith transmitters could in principle make an error in their ijtihad regarding a particular person.
Because of the distinction between text and transmission, forms of evidence other than the authenticity rating of the chain of narrators are sometimes admissible, as when there is a consensus of legal scholars who have received the Hadith with acceptance, which is an acknowledged form of corroboration for Hadith of the second type mentioned above.
(Isma'il Ansari:) Ibn Hajar 'Asqalani says: "Among the characteristics that necessitate acceptance is for scholars of Sacred Law to haveconcurred on applying implications of a Hadith. Such a Hadith isacceptable, even obligatory to apply, as a number of the Imams of fundamentals of Islam (usul) have explicitly stated. Shafi'i, for example, says, 'What I have said about water when its taste, odour, and colour change, has been related from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) through a channel of transmission that Hadith scholars do not confirm the like of, but it is the position of all scholars without a single dissenting voice I know of.' And he said of the Hadith, 'There is no bequest to an estate division heir' -'Scholars of Hadith do not corroborate it, but all scholars receive it with acceptance and apply it.'"

Ibn al-Qayyim, in his I'lam al-muwaqqi'in, when discussing the Hadith of Mu'adh about judgements (A: in which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) asked Mu'adh ibn Jabal when dispatching him to Yemen how he would judge, to which Mu'adh replied that he would judge first by the Koran, then the Sunna, and then by his own reasoning (ijtihad)), says, "Legal scholars accept it and employ it as evidence, from which we learn that they hold it to be rigorously authenticated (sahih), just as we learn of the Prophet's saying (Allah bless him and give him peace):
(1) "'There is no bequest to an estate division heir.'
(2) "'[The Hadith about the sea,] Its water is purifying.'
(3) "'When buyer and seller differ about the price they have agreed upon and the merchandise still exists, each swears [N: that his side of the story is correct] and [N: they cannot agree] they cancel the sale.'
(4) "'The killer's extended family is responsible for the indemnity.'
"Even if these Hadiths are unauthenticated in their chains of transmission, since virtually all scholars have related them, the Hadiths' authenticity, which they accept, eliminates their need to verify the channels of transmission, and so it is too with the Hadith of Mu'adh: the fact that all scholars have adduced it as evidence
eliminates the need for their checking its means of transmission."
And Ibn 'Abd al-Barr says in al-Istidhkar, concerning Tirmidhi's having related that Bukhari said of the Hadith of the sea "Its water is purifying" that it was rigorously authenticated (sahih)- "Hadith scholars do not consider Hadiths with the like of its chain of transmission to be rigorously authenticated (sahih), though I hold it to be so, because scholars have received it with acceptance" (al-Isaba fi nusra al-Khulafa' al-Rashidin wa al-Sahaba, 11. 8-9 ).
(A:) Among the primary textual evidence for the admissibility of such Hadiths is the word of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace):
"Allah will never make my Community concur upon misguidance, and Allah's hand is over the group." (This is a Sahih Hadith related by Imam al-Hakim).
So it is inadequate for someone who proposes to annul a ruling of Sacred Law to adduce that the Hadith supporting it has a weak chain of transmission, unless he can establish both that there are not a number of similar variants or alternate channels of transmission that strengthen it, confirming this by means of a text by a Hadith master(hafiz); and that the meaning of the Hadith has not been received with acceptance by the scholars of the Muslim Community. "
Let me now quote the opinion of one the foremost Shaykh's of the "Salafiyya", Taqi ad-Deen Ahmad ibn Taymiyya. He said in his recently translated book "Muqqaddima fi Usool al-Tafseer" ('An Introduction to The Principles of Tafseer', trans. by Muhammad Abdul Haq Ansari, pg. 38): "The point we are making is that multiple means of transmission, without prior discussion or agreement between the reporters usually guarantee the validity of the content of the Hadith transmitted. However, those who are acquainted with the lives of transmitters can make better use of the Hadith. They can also use the Ahadith which are reported by transmitters who are not well known or who are quite weak in their memory, as well as the Ahadith which are mursal (a Hadith where the name of the Companion is missing, but attributed to the Prophet by a disciple of a Companion). Many scholars have noted down Ahadith of this type. They think that even though by themselves these Ahadith do not prove anything, they can nonetheless be used to strengthen other Ahadith." Then Ibn Taymiyya said later on the same page: "The scholars of Hadith often use a Hadith which suffers from error caused by weakness of memory as supporting evidence. They have even considered some Ahadith reported by reliable (thiqah), true (sideeq) and correct narrators (al-dhabt) to be weak in which they are able to find out some defects. The science that discusses these reasons is called 'ilm ilal al-Hadith, the science of the hidden defects of Hadith, which is one of their noblest disciplines...."
Insha'Allah the above discussion may help to alleviate the great misunderstanding amongst the non-specialists of the Science of Hadith. Is it not true that: "Only a fool speaks about a subject without knowledge; leading himself astray, and those who listen to his false decrees even further astray?" May Allah keep us on the Straight Path!

IJTIHAD, TAQLEED AND THE "SALAFIYYA" SECT


I would now like to briefly explain some grave misconceptions surrounding the important Islamic concepts of Ijtihad and Taqleed,and the people who are in  position to the very concept of Taqleed, namely this new movement called the "Salafiyya". They are also known by the names, 'Wahhabi', (one group of the Wahhabi's also
claim to follow the Hanbali Madhhab; see later) 'La-Madhhabiyya', 'Ghayr-Muqallidin' or 'Ahl al-Hadith' (this name has been adopted by them from the original and authentic group of the pious predecessors of Islam) by the opposition as well as themselves occasionally. Let it be known that the above names are all usually representative of the samething in beliefs (with some minor discrepancies and different interpretations with in their fold), concepts, and usually the practise as well, although they have no coherent jurisprudence; all this has led to divisions and subdivisions within them. This is usually derived from the works and beliefs of Ibn Taymiyya and his disciple Ibn al- Qayyim al-Jawziyyah when it suits their mode! Before I delve into the actual subject matter, I feel it is wise to define what is Ijtihad
and Taqleed respectively, and who do they apply to in principle and practise.
According to the divine law of Islam, Taqleed is the acceptance of a statement or juristic ruling of an Imam (Mujtahid) of the highest calibre, intelligence, learning, as well as piety, on the conviction that the accepted statement has been derived in accordance with hard facts, and proofs from the fundamental sources (Usool) of Islam; namely the Holy Qur'an, Sunnah, Ijma (consensus; of which there are various types) or even Qiyas (analogical deduction). In short it is the following of qualified and verified scholarship of an absolute (Mutlaq) Mujtahid, as well as the opinions derived by the scholars within the Madhhab (school of Islamic jurisprudence) of the Mujtahid Mutlaq. Hence one who follows the opinions of a particular Madhhab and its scholars is known as a Muqallid.
The scholars have said that it is not necessary for the common (ammi) Muslim to have to ask or know the proofs of things that are prescribed by the Shari'ah in terms of practise (Amal), but no scholar has said that it is forbidden to know the proofs (dalil) of a qualified scholar or authoritative books if one wishes to do so. What I have just described applies to one category of Muqallids, and that is the lot of the common Muslim who has not gained the requisite qualifications to
follow an independent method of deriving laws from the sources of the Shari'ah (see the quotes from scholars later). The other type of Muqallid is one who is still a follower of a particular school of jurisprudence, but he acquaints himself with the evidences used by the Mujtahids of his Madhhab as far as possible; hence he is known as a Muqallid Muttabi'a. The Muqallid Muttabi'a is usually a man of knowledge ('Alim) who is qualified in his own right to convey the rules and laws of Islam, but he is not yet qualified to derive new laws from the sources of the Shari'ah independently, i.e. he is not a Mujtahid.  The scholars have said that Taqleed is only permissible in things that are to be practised (Amal) according to the divine Shari'ah, but it is impermissible (haram) in the facts that need to be believed in, thus one must know the fundamental beliefs of Islam (Aqeedah, I'tiqad or Iman). For example, Shaykh Ahmad al-Sirhindi (d. 1034/1624; Rahimahullah) said in his Maktubat (vol. 2, 67th letter):
"Among the 73 sects, only the Madhhab of the Ahl-as-Sunnah wa'l Jama'ah will be saved from Hell. Each Muslim has to learn the belief of the Ahl as-Sunnah and correct his Iman accordingly. The majority of Muslims who have spread over the world for centuries have been in the Ahl as-Sunnah Madhhab." It is the Taqleed
of wrong beliefs (Aqa'eed) which has been condemned by the Qur'an and the Sunnah; and this may lead one to the fire of hell, even if one claims to be a believer. Let it be known that the vast majority of believers amongst the pious predecessors (Salaf as-Saliheen), scholars after them and even ordinary folk, have had the correct beliefs held by what is regarded as the saved sect from Qur'anic and Hadith based evidence; and that is only the sect of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa'l Jama'ah. The question that may be asked by an inquisitive reader is, "Who are the Ahl al-Sunnah wa'l Jama'ah (Sunni Muslims)?" For the answer and the characteristics of the saved sect (Firqat an-Najiyyah) please see later for the scholarly opinions.
Now, the opposite of a Muqallid is one who is known as a Mujtahid. A Mujtahid is a scholar of the highest rank, piety and learning, who has gained the requisite qualifications to independently strive, derive, and extract the laws of Islam from the fundamental bases (namely the Qur'an, Sunnah, Ijma and Qiyas); and this process is known as Ijtihad (independent reasoning). In doing so, the absolute Mujtahid does not usually follow the opinions of others without knowing their evidences, as well as their justifications. In fact some scholars have said that it is forbidden (haram) for a qualified Mujtahid to make Taqleed of others (see below).
Let me now give you just four quotes from some well known scholars, and their declarations on Taqleed and Ijtihad:
(A) It was stated in the book: "Imam Abu Hanifah: Life and Work", by the well known Historian of India, Allamah Shibli Numani (pg. 117): "The word Mujtahid has been defined as follows by scholars of Hadith like Baghawi (d. 510/1117), Rafi'i (d. 623/1226), Nawawi (d. 676/1277) and others; thus: "A Mujtahid is one well versed in the Qur'an, Hadith, the early schools of law (Madhhabs), lexicology and analogical reasoning (Qiyas), that is to say, one who knows all or practically all Qur'anic passages, established Traditions (Ahadith) from the Prophet (peace be upon him) and sayings of the early generations pertaining to legal problems, has the necessary lexical learning and is acquainted with all the methods of analogical reasoning (this is only a summary of the actual requirements). If a man is deficient in any of these things, he cannot be called a Mujtahid and should conform to one or other of the recognised schools of law (i.e; only the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i or Hanbali
schools today)."
(B) Imam Abdal Ghani an-Nablusi (d. 1143/1733, he was an author of nearly 500 works; Rahimahullah) said in his well known book, Khulasat-ut-Tahqiq: "A Muslim has either become a Mujtahid or has not reached the grade of Ijtihad. A Mujtahid is either Mutlaq (absolute) or Muqayyad (belonging to a Madhhab). It is not permissible for a Mutlaq Mujtahid to follow another Mujtahid (i.e; he does not make Taqleed); he has to follow his own Ijtihad. However, a Muqayyad Mujtahid follows his own Ijtihad which he employs in accordance with the methods of the Madhhab of the Mutlaq Mujtahid. The one who is not a Mujtahid should follow whichever he likes of the four Madhhabs; and when doing an Ibada (worship) in accordance with a certain Madhhab, he has to fulfil all the conditions required by that Madhhab for it to be Sahih (correct). If he does not fulfil one of these conditions, his Ibada will not be Sahih. It has been informed unanimously by the Ulama (Ijma-al-Ulama) that such an Ibada will be in vain (ba'til). Though it is not a must for him to believe that his Madhhab is superior (rather they are all equal), it will be good if he believes so. Talfiq, that is, to do any Ibada or any deed in accordance with those words of the four Madhhabs that disagree with one another means to go out of the four Madhhabs and to make up a fifth Madhhab. This Ibada of his will be in vain, and he will have made a game out of Islam, because this Ibada will not  be Sahih according to any of the four Madhhabs."
(C) Imam Abdal Wahhab ash-Sha'rani (d. 973/1565; Rahimahullah) said in his book, al-Mizan al-Kubra: "An 'alim in the grade of Ijtihad, that is, a scholar who can infer rules from the sources (of the Shari'ah), is not permitted to follow somebody else. However, according to the Ulama, it is Wajib (incumbent) for the ordinary Muslim to follow a Mujtahid. They said that if a non-Mujtahid Muslim did not follow a Mujtahid, he would deviate from the right path. All Mujtahids inferred rules from the documentary evidences they found in Islam. No Mujtahid has ever talked out of his own opinion on the religion of Allahu ta'ala. Each Madhhab is like a tissue woven with the threads of the Book (of Allah) and the Sunnah. Anybody who is not in the grade enabling him to employ Ijtihad has to choose and follow any one he likes of the four Madhhabs, because they all show the way leading to Paradise. A person who speaks ill of any of the A'immat al-Madhahib (founders of the Madhhabs) shows his ignorance (and this is common amongst the ignorant members of the La-Madhhabi groups today)."
(D) Shaykh Sulayman ibn Abdal Wahhab, rahimahullah (he was the brother of Muhammad ibn Abdal Wahhab, the founder of the "Wahhabi" sect) said in his book, As-Sawa'iq al-Ilahiyya fi'r raddi ala'l-Wahhabiyya, after mentioning the qualifications of a Mujtahid: "Only such a personage who has all these excellences can be followed (Taqleed) and can issue Fatwas. If he lacks one of these qualities, he cannot be a Mujtahid and may not be followed. He himself should follow a Mujtahid.  Hence, a Muslim is either a Mujtahid or a Muqallid. There is not a third one. It is necessary for Muqallids to follow a Mujtahid. This has been said unanimously. Even Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya (d.751/1350) whom the Wahhabi's praise as an allamah (very knowledgeable scholar), whose every word is a document, said in his I'lam al-Muwaqqi'in, 'A person who does not fulfil the requirements of Ijtihad is not permitted to draw any conclusion from the Qur'an al--Karim or the Hadith ash-Sharif.' (If this statement is authentic; then it clearly demolishes the way of the modern day "Salafiyya", who are experimenting with their own Ijtihads without being qualified to do so!). The men of the present age regard as scholars those who recite Ayats and Hadiths, and who give meanings to them in accord with their points of view. They do not listen to those who quote Ahl as-Sunnah scholars in their speeches and books. Ignorant and heretical people who do not fulfil even a single requirement of Ijtihad are taken to be men of religious authority today. May Allahu ta'ala protect Muslims against their calamity! Amin!"


Al-Shaykh Abdal Rahman Ba'alawi (d. 1251/1835; Rahimahullah) said in his Bughyat al-mustarshidin fi talkhis fatawa ba'd al-a'imma min al- muta'akhkhirin (The  Goal of guidance-seekers: a summary of the formal legal opinions of certain later Imams), pg. 8: "Ibn Salah (d.643/1245; a scholar of Hadith, Rahimahullah) reports that there is scholarly consensus (Ijma) on its being unlawful to follow rulings from schools other than those of the four Imams, meaning in one's personal works, let  alone give court verdicts or formal opinions to people from them, because of the untrustworthiness of the ascription of such rulings to the scholars who reportedly gave them, there being no channels of transmission (asanid) which obviate the possibility of textual corruption and spurious substitutions. The Zaydis, for example, who trace themselves to Zayd ibn Ali ibn Hussain (son of Ali and Fatima), the beatitude of Allah be upon them, despite the fact that Zayd was one of the Imams of the religion and a renowned figure well qualified to give guidance to those seeking it, his followers identify him with extreme permissiveness on many questions,
ascriptions based on failure to check as to what his positions actually were (by naming the intermediate transmitters and establishing their reliability). It is quite otherwise with the four schools, whose Imams (Allah reward them) have spent themselves in checking the positions of their schools, explaining what could be rigorously authenticated (Sahih) as the position of the person it was attributed to, and what could not be. Their scholars have thus achieved safety from textual corruption and have been able to discern the genuine from the poorly authenticated (and this is in complete contradistinction to today's "Salafi's"). [Translation taken from The Reliance of the Traveller, pg. 25-6, by N.H.M. Keller].
Today we live in an age where the very concept of Taqleed has been made "haram" by the ignorant non-scholars of Islam, as well as some people who are regarded as scholars. It has become a source of heated debate and repudiation by many a "man of knowledge", as well as like minded non-scholars who act and behave as absolute Mujtahids, even though they have not acquired an iota's worth of Islamic knowledge. It is these very people who are calling for the abandonment of  Taqleed of the four existing schools of Islamic jurisprudence (The Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali), and in return are calling for everyone to derive one's own rulings from the divine sources of Islam (viz. Qur'an and Sunnah). Thus they have embarked upon the path of performing Ijtihad without the requisite qualifications set down by the well known scholars of Islam; hence many of them behave as though they are absolute Mujtahid's (may Allah protect us from their fallacious  nterpretations)!
It is these very people who claim to be on the path of the pious  redecessors of the first three generations of Islam (Salaf as-Salihin) in terms of Aqeedah, methodology and practise. But in reality they are clinging on to the Aqeedah and Fatawa of Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Hazm al-Zahiri, Ibn Abdal Wahhab, ash-Shawkani, Ibn Ba'z, al-Albani and the like minded people when it suits their whims and desires. Hence, they claim to be the followers of the pious predecessors, but in reality they have formed an incoherent Fiqh called the "Salafiyya Madhhab", even though this very name was unknown to the original Salaf as-Salihin!

The President of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, Taha Jabir al-Alwani, said with regards to the "Salafiyya" in his recently published book, The Ethics of Disagreement in Islam, (pg. 119): "In retrospect, we can see that the leading scholars of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence had reasons to justify their differences of opinion and lessen their impact. The master perpetrators of disagreement in our own times, however, do not have a single plausible basis for justifying their differences. They are not Mujtahidun or persons capable of independent reasoning or analytical thought. They are, rather, unthinking followers (muqallidun) of those among them who raise their voices to proclaim that they are not in fact 'followers' nor do they believe in the 'duty to follow.' They claim that they derive their rulings and opinions directly from the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace be on him. In reality, they cling to some books of Hadith and follow in the footsteps of  their authors in all matters pertaining to the authenticity of a Hadith and the trustworthiness and reliability of its narrators (I say: this is exactly what is done by the followers of al-Albani, and other like minded people; and this is also Taqleed, no matter how much one may deny it). Some of them claim knowledge of the science which studies the biographies of Hadith reporters and the extent of their reliability. On the basis of studying a single book on this vast subject, a person cannot justifiably elevate himself to the position of a Mujtahid (as is usually found amongst the members of the "Salafiyya" who derive rulings from the Qur'an and Sunnah without sound scholarship)."
The South African based Majlis al-Ulama, said with regards to the Islamic concept of Taqleed (The Majlis, vol. 7 No.10, pg. 7 ):
"Taqleed, the Islamic concept of following the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen (the highest class of Fuqaha-Islamic Jurists) is being subjected to much scorn, ridicule and rejection by modernist Muslims schooled in the liberal culture of the West while being largely uneducated in terms of the Shari'ah. There exists also another group apart from the modernists, which has likewise considered it fashionable to argue away the vital Shar'i requirement of Taqleed. This group comes in the group of Ulama of Islam. They have adopted a similar attitude of rejecting Taqleed by virtue of external un-Islamic influences which they have acquired as a result of them deviating from the Path of the Sunnah. Western liberalism has undoubtedly captured their minds, hence they labour to create some kind of harmony between the rigid demands of Islam and the so-called rational dictates of modern reason. Such modern learned men operating under the designation of Ulama and occasionally donning even the external garments of Ulama to create a deceptive appearance of piety, pose the greatest danger to the Imaan of untainted laymen. Most of the "Islamic" colleges in the Middle Eastern countries and some of such Madrasahs in other parts of the world pour out members of this hybrid class of "Ulama" who find it difficult to distinguish between right and left. They are saddled with the problem of harmonizing Islam with modernism and in the process of their evil pursuit they are constrained to abandon any Islamic demand which thwarts or impedes their ungodly mission. One of the greatest impediments in the endeavour to modernise Islam to conform to western standards of reason is the Shar'i demand of Taqleed. Taqleed is a thorn in their flesh and it has to be eliminated for the attainment of their pernicious goal.
Self-conceit and self opinion are the products of western liberalism and materialism. These diseases, gripping many Muslims in this age, have lamentably disturbed the equilibrium of Muslim intelligence. The ailing Muslim intelligence of these times has been so drastically jarred, that it is incapable of discerning the dangerous abyss  that it  is slipping into by shunning the vital and compulsory injunction of Taqleed. It fails to understand that the ultimate consequence of admut-Taqleed (abandonment of Taqleed) is the abdication of Imaan. Those who shun Taqleed hover on the brink of kufr (then some evidences were provided in favour of Taqleed  rom the Qur'an, but I have decided not to give the documentary proofs and arguments at the moment since it is not really part of the aims of this work;  what is really required is a comprehensive book of its own to explain the reality of Taqleed and its proofs).
Those who seek to abandon Taqleed are dwelling in self-deception. They deceive themselves into believing that they possess adequate ability and qualification to embark on the process of deducting Shar'i Masaa'il (legal problems of the Shari'ah). But, they grope lamentably in darkness. There is not a single rule which they are capable of deducting without resorting to the works of this or that Imam. If it is a matter of Fiqh, they are constrained to refer to the works of Fuqaha (scholars of  Islamic Jurisprudence). If it is about Tafseer, they have to refer to some work of the Mufassireen (commentators of the Qur'an). If it is a question pertaining to Hadith, they have no option other than making Taqleed of the Hadith Kitaabs (books) of such Ulama who themselves were Muqallideen (followers of Imams). In order to ascertain the authenticity of a Hadith, there is no alternative other than making Taqleed of the Aimmah-e-Hadith (Imams of Hadith). At no stage can anyone be independent of Taqleed (unless one is a Mujtahid). But, the negators of Taqleed dupe themselves by seeking to satisfy their desires in flitting from Madhhab to Madhhab, in picking and choosing rules and opinions which conform to their whimsical desires and fancies.
The votaries of admut Taqleed (abandonment of Taqleed) consider it below their dignity to be hitched to any specific Madhhab of the Shari'ah; they advocate a policy of picking and choosing from the various Madhhabs, when it suits them they accept a mas'alah from the Hanafi Madhhab; when a mas'alah in the Shafi'i Madhhab appears more in consonance with laxity and desire, they switch over to that Madhhab, when something more appeasing is discerned in the Maliki Madhhab, they opt for that mas'alah. They wonder aimlessly in this deception, deluding themselves. They fail to understand that even in their unlawful policy of talfeeq (this is the taking of the easy rulings of all the Madhhabs), they have to follow the Aimmah-e- Mujtahideen. Indispensability of the Fuqaha is accepted by the  opponents of the Imams, albeit in an implied and subtle way. They are totally incapable of formulating a single mas'alah without resorting to aid from the illustrious authorities among the Fuqaha, Muhaddithin and Mufassireen. But, they childishly trumpet the bugle of the validity of talfeeq, a concept which is unanimously  unlawful." Here ends the quote.

In his "refutation" against the Taqleed of the four schools of Fiqh, al-Albani quoted some sayings from the four main Mujtahid Imams apparently "forbidding" Taqleed; and this at first seems to be strong proof in defence of his case (see Sifah Salah an-Nabee, pp. viii-xiv). But the learned reader should know that these quotations are out of context and garbled! The greatest proof in favour of my statement, is that nearly every scholar who was supposed to have quoted these apparently Taqleed "forbidding" statements as given in the footnotes of al-Albani's above mentioned book, was himself affiliated and in the process of promulgating  ne of the four Madhhabs themselves! Is this not a great deception on al-Albani's part? This is a great shame on those who fight against Taqleed, but on the other  and  blindly" accepted al-Albani's suppositions and claims without research; as well as the so called independent methodology they claim to be clinging on to!

Recently, I came across a book entitled: "Blind Following of Madhhabs," by one of the late Shaykh's of the "Salafiyya", Muhammad Sultaan al-Ma'soomee  l-Khajnadee; edited by one of al- Albani's foremost students (Saleem al-Hilaalee). In the above named book, al-Khajnadee tried his best to refute Taqleed, but in  reality he  failed quite miserably in his refutation of what he calls "Blind Following!" After reading this book of garbled interpretations, slanders, and even lies, I came to the conclusion that al-Khajnadee seemed to have been a confused and contradicting personality! Now, let me elaborate my claim by quoting and commenting on  just a few selected pages from the actual book.
It seems that the translation of the whole book was incomplete, since the editor, Abu Usaamah Saleem al-Hilaalee said on pg. iii, "I also noticed some places  containing that which was superfluous, so I left it out." I wonder what these 'superfluous' statements were?
On page ix of the above named book, it was written that al-Khajnadee met, "Shaykh Muhammad Rasheed Ridaa. He helped with al-Manaar magazine  (this was edited by the last named person), and bought all of its back issues and the works of Shaykh Muhammad Abdah and likewise what had been printed from the works of Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah and his student Ibn ul-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah." From this last quote, those of us who have heard and read what the people of knowledge have said about the above named Shaykh's, will realize straight away that all four of them had corrupt beliefs (Aqeedah) on certain controversial points, like the attributes of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, as well as being famous for erring on many legal points of the Shari'ah!
It is a well known fact that Muhammad Rashid Rida (d. 1935) and his teacher Muhammad Abduh (he was the Mufti of Egypt in his day, d. 1905) were both Freemasons, who strove to reinterpret the Shari'ah with their own whims and desires by claiming to "reform" Islam from "impurities", and this led to their call for the abandonment of Taqleed; hence the need for the abolishment of the four schools of Fiqh. These two enemies of Islam strove hard in their Freemasonic plot to "reform" Islam, but in reality they fought against Islam from within; this was realized by many scholars with in their day as well as after them by examining their "Fatwa's" and speeches. Hence, many a man of knowledge (e.g. Shaykh Muhammad Bakhit al-Muti'i - the grand Mufti of Egypt and one of the leading Hanafi scholars of his time, d. 1354/1935; Rahimahullah) exposed them for what they were, as well as warning the sincere believers to be on their guard from their "sweet poison" (refer to The Evolution of Fiqh, pg. 114, by A.A. Bilal Philips). Thus, it is not hard to realise that al-Khajnadee himself may have been strongly influenced by the above named Freemasons, after imbibing 'knowledge' from their sweet poisoned chalice! As for Ibn Taymiyya and his loyal disciple Ibn al-Qayyim, please see later for the scholarly judgements on their views and ideas.
Saleem al-Hilaalee said on page 13, "For example, the Maalikees leave their arms at their side, during the Salaah and read Qunoot in Fajr, whereas we find Maalik-rahimahullaah-quotes in al-Muwatta; "Chapter: placing the two hands; one upon the other in Prayer... But the later Maalikees use as evidence that Maalik used to pray with his hands hanging at his side, this is ignorance with regard to the madhhab which they follow. Since Ja'far ibn Sulaymaan, the governor of  Al-Madeenah lashed the Imaam in the year 146H and stretched out his arms until his hands became dislocated and so he was not able to place his hands one over  the other in Prayer...."
The above statement by al-Hilaalee claimed that those who follow the Maliki Madhhab only left their hands unfolded in Salah, since Imam Malik (Rahimahullah) had to leave his arms unfolded after being lashed!! He also claims that this is "ignorance with regard to the madhhab which they follow." But in reality, it is he who has fallen into the abyss of ignorance on this issue by 'blind' supposition! Although Imam Malik (Rahimahullah) related two Hadiths supporting the folding of the right hand on the left in Salah in his al-Muwatta, this does not mean that Imam Malik (Rahimahullah) himself always folded his hands in Salah. As you may have read in the section on "The Placing of Hands in Prayer", I quoted the most authoritative position of the Maliki madhhab, as well as what Imam Malik himself said about placing the hands in Salah. Here is the quote again for good measure; and for the displacement of ignorant claims: "In al- Mudawwanah (vol. 1, pg. 75-76), Imam Malik has been recorded to have said, 'Putting the right hand on the left in salah, I have no knowledge of it in the compulsory (Fard) prayer, it is thus disliked (Makrooh). But in the supererogatory (Nafl) prayer their is no harm (in folding the hands), it is left to the individual to decide.' Please ask yourselves who is ignorant, al-Hilaalee or the Maliki scholars?!

Al-Khajnadee claimed on page 47, that the book al-Mudawwanah was by Imam Malik! In fact, as I have said on more than one occasion previously, al-Mudawwanah is the compilation of Qadi Sahnoon! It is strange how al-Hilaalee did not correct al-Khajnadee in his editorial footnotes; do they want us to accept their claims 'blindly'?

On page 22, al-Khajnadee quoted the well known Hadith from Irbaad ibn Saariyah (Allah be pleased with him) where the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) ordered us to, "Keep to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly-Guided Khulafaa, cling to that with your teeth." Thus it is incumbent to cling to the rightly guided Khulafaa; and they are Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali (may Allah be pleased with them all).  But, as is the habit of men of his ilk, he contradicts himself by sayingon the very next page: "Neither, Imaam Abu Haneefah or Maalik said, 'Keep to my saying' or 'Follow my madhhab', not even Abu Bakr or 'Umar-radiallaahu'anhum- rather they all forbade that." Thus, is he saying that we should not keep to the sayings of Abu Bakr or Umar (Allah be pleased with them) even though it is a command of the Prophet (Peace be upon him)?
In fact al-Albani himself quoted two statements in "Sifah Salah-an- Nabee", from Imams Abu Hanifah and Malik (Allah's mercy be upon them) which permitted Taqleed of their views, so long as they agreed with the Qur'an and Sunnah! On page ix Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahimahullah) has been quoted as saying, "When I say something contradicting the Book of Allah the Exalted or what is narrated from the Messenger (peace be upon him), then ignore my saying." Does this not mean that if any of Imam Abu Hanifah's Fatwa's does not contradict the Qur'an and the Sunnah, may be taken by way of Taqleed; after the research scholars within the Hanafi  school had shown that it had a basis?
Similarly, Imam Malik (Rahimahullah) was quoted by al-Albani to have said (see 'Sifah', pg. x): "Truly I am only a mortal: I make mistakes (sometimes) and I am correct (sometimes). Therefore, look into my opinions: all that agrees with the Sunnah, accept it; and all that does not agree with the Book and the Sunnah, ignore it." Again, Imam Malik has given us the right to take his opinions, so long as they agree with the Qur'an and Sunnah; Is this not in favour of Taqleed after the verifying scholars of the Maliki Madhhab proved which verdicts of Imam Malik were in harmony with the Shari'ah?
Also, al-Albani quoted Imam al-Shafi'i (see 'Sifah', pg. xi) as saying; "If you find in my writings something different to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim), then speak on the basis of the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), and leave what I have said." Hence, whatever contradicts the authentic Sunnah in Imam al-Shafi'i's writings was carefully examined by the research scholars within the Shafi'i Madhhab. This means that whatever did not contradict the Sunnah in Shafi'i's writings may be taken by way of Taqleed; does it not?
On page 33, al-Khajnadee said, "Taqleed in the Sharee'ah is referring back to someone's saying for which there is no proof and that is prohibited in the Sharee'ah. Ittibaa is that for which the proof is established. Taqleed in Allah's deen is not correct and ittiba is binding." This statement shows that al-Khajnadee did not even know what the correct definition of Taqleed was! He has definitely confused the meanings of the two words Taqleed and Ittiba. As I had said at the beginning of this section, Taqleed is the acceptance of a Mujtahids fatwa for which the proof has been established! How could it ever be said that Taqleed is the referring back to a "saying for which there is no proof?" Surely, this is not Taqleed but the following of mere opinion. What al-Khajnadee said about Ittiba is in reality the true extent of Taqleed! So, please beware of this cunning deception my dear brothers and sisters.
On page 37, al-Khajnadee made a blatantly false statement by saying nonsensically, "If you look into the matter carefully it will be clear to you that these madhhabs  were spread, promoted and made attractive by the enemies of Islam in order to split the Muslims and cause discord amongst them. Or they were started by the  ignorant in conformity with the Jews and Christians and in imitation of them, as they do in many matters." By Allah, this is a grave calumniation, a highly nefarious aspersion and a blatant misrepresentation of historical facts! Only one who lacks a speck of analytical deduction and investigation into historical facts could say such a crass thing! In reality, these madhhabs were spread by the founders of these very schools, and especially by those amongst their disciples, and then those who succeeded them.... So that eventually a full chain of transmission (Isnad) was built up and recorded by the succeeding scholars in their works, just as in the science of Hadith. Even today, some scholars have an unbroken chain going back to the scholars of Hadith and Fiqh of the first generations of Islam!
The great scholar of Islam, Qadi Iyad (d. 544/1149 Rahimahullah), has quite beautifully and eloquently explained how the Madhhabs arose, and why one should make Taqleed of them. He said: "This Ijtihad and the handing down of rules and Shari'ah, on the basis of it-there are very few, very few who have the capacity. Indeed they are fewer than the few after the first generation (of Muslims), the upright Salihun, and the first three praiseworthy generations. Now since this is the nature of the matter, any human being burdened with the moral responsibility to obey Allah, but not having attained the status of being able to know the Shari'ah, on his own, is necessarily required to get that knowledge from someone else.
He must take the knowledge of every act of worship he has been commanded to do-every application of the Shari'ah that has been made responsible for him to perform directly, from that man who can give it to him straight from the source and who will make him know exactly what to do. That man must be the staff by which he stands in his own transmission to others, in the knowledge he acquires, and in the Shari'ah parameters by which he lives. This is Taqleed. And this is precisely the position of the ordinary people, indeed the vast majority of all people. Since this is the case, what is required of you is that in all such matters, you do Taqleed of the 'alim in whom you have complete trust. If such Ulama are many, then follow that one who is most knowledgeable. This is the portion of Ijtihad which falls to the lot of the Muqallid with regard to his deen. And it is not fitting that the Muqallid should abandon the most knowledgeable (Mujtahidun) in favour of someone else, even though that other person is also busy with knowledge. The Muqallid must therefore ask at that time about those things which he does not know until he has knowledge of them, just as Allah, Glory be to Him, has said, 'Then ask the people of Remembrance if you do not know.' (Qur'an 16:43 and 21:7)
And the one upon whom we ask Allah's blessings and peace  commanded the Khalifs after him and his Companions be emulated. The one upon whom we ask blessings and peace also sent his Companions out among the people to give them understanding in the deen, to teach them what had been made incumbent on them, and Allah urged on the entirety of them to go out, 'From every group among you let there be a group who will develop understanding of the deen and who will give warning to their people when they return to them.'  Now since this matter is something necessary, and there is no way around it, and since they who most deserve to be followed by the uniformed ordinary man, the beginner, who has taken it on himself to worship, or the student seeking right guidance and knowledge of Fiqh in the deen of Allah, and those who have the greatest right to be followed are the Fuqaha of the Sahaba of Rasulullah (Peace be upon him), they are those who took their knowledge directly from him, who knew the circumstances of the Revelation, of the commands and prohibitions, the various prophecies, of the different aspects of the Shari'ah, the exact pronunciation of the Prophet's words, may Allah bless him and give him peace, who themselves witnessed the accompanying circumstances of these ayats, who spoke to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, directly, about most of it, who asked him about it despite the extensive knowledge from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) which they themselves already had, and their knowledge of the meanings of Arabic speech, the illumination of their hearts, and the openness and receptivity of their hearts, such that they were, without the least contention, the most knowledgeable of Imams, and they were those of the Imams most worthy of being followed by Taqleed.
Nevertheless, they only spoke about a few of the problematic events that happened among them, and large numbers of answers to Shari'ah questions did not branch out from them in detail. They did not speak about the Shari'ah, except with regard to the basic teachings, and certain things that actually happened. Most of their  pre-occupation was with the putting into practise of what they knew and the active defence of the entire deen, the laying down of the firm foundation of the Shari'ah of the Muslims. There was among them a degree of difference of opinion in some of the things which they discussed which could keep the Muqallid in a perpetual state of confusion, and require of him the kind of reflection and review for which he is not yet prepared. And indeed the full elaboration of questions, resolving of problems, and setting out the discussions, only came about in response to those matters, the appearance of which had been anticipated after the Sahaba were gone.
Consequently, the Tabi'in, the Followers (like Imam's Abu Hanifah,  an-Nakhai, Hammad, al-Zuhri, Hasan al-Basri, Sha'bi...), came and reflected on the differences of opinions of the Companions, and built on the foundations which they had laid down. Then after them came the Ulama from among the Followers of the Followers (like Imam's Malik, Shafi'i, Ibn Hanbal, Dawood al-Zahiri...). By that time, the occurrences which had happened already became many and the problematic events had already occurred, while Fatwas regarding all of this had branched out into many details. Therefore they gathered together the opinion of them all, and they  ommitted their Fiqh to memory.
They sought out differences of opinion of the earlier generations as well as their areas of agreement, but they were cautious about the matter of this disagreement spreading and of its getting out of control. Therefore they did Ijtihad regarding all these parts of the Sunnah, and of the precise articulation of fundamental principles. They asked questions and they got answers. They built up the foundations of the basic precepts and they made accessible the basic principles. Upon them were delineated the solutions to problems and events and they were put down in writing for the people, and organised. Each of them worked on the basis of the inspiration he was given and the accomplishment to which Allah had guided them. So they became the ultimate in the science of Usool and of the specific details of the Shari'ah in the matters of agreement and disagreement. And on the basis of this knowledge which had come to them, they made Qiyas, analogy, according to the indications, and the similarities that they had got. May Allah be pleased with all of them and may He give them the full extent of the reward of their Ijtihad.

Therefore it is an individual obligation that falls on the ordinary Muqallid and the student of knowledge in his beginning stages, to take recourse in his Taqleed to these great men, or the explicit texts regarding the problems and events that befall him. Recourse must be had to them regarding all of these matters which are problematic because of the fact that they were immersed in knowledge of the  Shari'ah and it literally revolved around them. They alone have precise understanding of the schools, of who had gone before, and the earlier generations, and that knowledge is enough for all who have come after them in later generations. Nevertheless, it is simply not possible that all of these earlier Fuqaha can be simultaneous objects of Taqleed regarding the most difficult problems and the majority of questions, because of their differences among themselves  caused by conflicting opinions about the fundamental principles upon which they built. Moreover, it is not valid for the Muqallid to do  Taqleed of any among them merely on the basis of personal whim, or chance that he has come upon a decision on the basis of what he happened to find the people of his region doing, or his family doing (and this is quite common today; is it not?)

Again therefore, the portion of Ijtihad that falls to his lot in this  case, is that he seek to discover by reflection which of them was the most knowledgeable, and come to know which of them is most worthy of being an object of Taqleed from among all of them, so that in his practise and his Fatwas, the ordinary man can trust him and rely on him and trust that in his acts of worship, he had taken on himself  only what the Mujtahid had and discerned as correct. The ordinary man therefore must give to the most knowledgeable (scholars) among  the adherents to the schools of these earlier Fuqaha, the status which by right, he deserves. It is not permissible for him that he go beyond them in his seeking of Fatwas to one who does not follow the opinion of  his school (NB-There are certain conditions which need to be fulfilled  before one can take opinions from other schools, these principles have been explained by scholars like Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami).

For as some of the Shaykhs have said, 'The Imam is with regard to one  who adheres to his school, to his way, like the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, is with regard to his Ummah.' It is not permissible for him to go against his Imam (unless one has become a Mujtahid within the school or in specific issues). This has been expressed quite correctly, and the correct way will become clear to those who have insight, and eyes with which to see, on the basis of what we have elaborated and  the stipulations we have laid down." (quoted from Root Islamic Education, pp. 82-7, by Shaykh Abdalqadir al-Murabit ).
So please ask yourselves, "Were these great scholars the enemies of  Islam (Allah forbid), who imitated the ways of corrupt Christians and Jews?" I say, never could these madhhabs have ever existed if the well known scholars did not spread them; is this not the basic and fundamental truth?

One of the most well known scholars of Hadith in our time,  Shaykh Shu'ayb al-Arnaoot (b. 1928 in Albania, presently residing in  Amman, Jordan), said with regard to Taqleed and the founders of the  madhhabs, "They are explainers, not popes; but in each of their schools there afterwards followed a hundred or more scholars who refined and added to their work, men whose stature in Islamic knowledge was like mountains, any one of whom could put fifteen of  the scholars available today in his pocket."

Another imbecilic statement was made by al-Khajnadee on page 56,  where he said, "They have taken a path opposite to that of the people  of knowledge, their late-comers have inverted the way of the Salaf  and turned the foundations of the Deen upside down. So they  declare the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of His Messenger (Peace be  upon him), the sayings of his Khulafaa and the rest of the Companions-radiallaahu 'anhum-to be false." Again, he made a  wicked declaration by claiming that the followers of these madhhabs  declared the, "Book of Allah, the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be  upon him), the sayings of his Khulafaa and the rest of the  Companions-radiallahu 'anhum-TO BE FALSE." I ask you which  scholar within the four madhhabs, let alone the 'blind followers'  declared it "To be false?" Would it not be true, that if one declared  the above sources to be "false" he or she may automatically go out of  the fold of Islam (especially the first two sources), let alone be a  follower of a Madhhab (and only Allah knows best)? How could the 'blind followers' declare something to be false, when the great  scholars have said that it is impermissible to take the "Ijtihad" of  non-Mujtahid's as documentary proof? May Allah guide the people who  believe in what al-Khajnadee proclaimed!
There are many other vile statements made by al-Khajnadee in his  above named book, but this is not the time and place to outline them  in detail; rather a well grounded scholar could easily refute his  nonsensical slanders and lies by way of logical proofs from the  sources of the Shari'ah. This book of his was meant to be "sound"  advice for some prospective Japanese converts to Islam. It seems al- Khajnadee wanted his Japanese readers (not to mention the generality  of the Muslim readership) to accept everything he said "blindly" and  without research; thus he may not have been advising the Japanese  questioners, but instead confusing them even more deeply by not  explaining the meanings of many of the statements and their  ramifications, let alone the Shari'ah terminology he had used!

Besides that, he as well as his friend al-Albani (in his 'Sifah Salah  an-Nabee'), failed to tell their readers that nearly every scholar they  quoted from were the adherents of one of the four existing schools!  This is a great trick of the most knowledgeable of "Salafi" scholars;  they seem to deceive themselves as well as their readers when it  comes to proclaiming this undeniable fact!
Rather, al-Khajnadee and al-Albani should have tried to disprove  the evidences used by the scholars within the Madhhabs (from the  Qur'an, Sunnah and even the Ijma), which documents and allows  Taqleed to all non-Mujtahids! The following is a list of some of the  scholars quoted by al-Albani and al-Khajnadee in their books, and the  Madhhab they were in:
THE HANAFI SCHOLARS
Imam Ibn Abidin (d. 1252/1836; al-A'lam, 6.42 [viii,15,22]), Hafiz  Ibn al-Humam (d. 861/1457; al-A'lam, 6.255 [viii,22,32]), Imam Ibn  al-Shahnah al-Kabeer [viii], Imam Zufar (d. 158 AH [viii]), Imam Abu  Yusoof (d. 182/798; al-A'lam, 8.193 [viii,14]), Imam Muhammad al-  Shaybani (d. 189/804; al-A'lam, 6.80 [ix,14]), Imam al-Tahawi (d. 321  AH, [5]), Imam ibn Abi al-Izz al-Hanafi [17], Imam ibn Nujaim al-  Misri (d. 970 AH [34]), Shaykh Ali al-Qari (d. 1014/1606; al-A'lam,  5.12 [35]), Shaykh Abd al-Haqq Dehlawi (d. 1052 AH [36]), Allamah  Abdal Hayy al-Lucknawi (d. 1304 AH; also known as Abul Hasanat  [ix]), Shaykh Abul Hasan as-Sindee al-Hanafi [5], Shaykh Aafiyyah  ibn Yazeed [viii].
THE MALIKI SCHOLARS
Hafiz Ibn Abd al-Barr (d. 463/1071; al-A'lam, 8.240 [x,5]), Imam  Ibn Wahb (d. 197/812 [x]), Imam Abdullah ibn Abee Zaid al-Qairwanee  al-Maliki (d. 389 AH [16]).
THE SHAFI'I SCHOLARS
Imam al-Bayhaqi (d. 458/1066; al-A'lam, 1.116 [xi,6]), Shaykh Abu  Yusoof al-Buweeti [xii], Shaykh Abul Qasim ad-Daariki [xii], Hafiz Ibn  as-Salah (d. 643/1245; Tabaqat al-Shafi'iya, 8.326 [xii]), Imam Taqi  ad-Deen al-Subki (d. 756/1355; al-Fatawa al-Hadithiyya, 114 [xii,14]),  Imam Abu Nu'aym (d. 430/1038; Tabaqat al-Shafi'iya, 4.18 [xii,52]),  Imam al-Bukhari (d. 256/870; Tabaqat al-Shafi'iya, 2.212-14 [6]), Imam  Muslim (d. 261/875; Siyar a'lam al-nubala, 12.557-61 [6]), Imam Abu
Dawood (d. 275/889; Tabaqat al-Shafi'iya, 2.293 [xiii,14]), Imam Nisai  (d. 309/915; Tabaqat al-Shafi'iya, 3.14-16 [6]), Imam Tirmidhi (d.  279/892; Siyar a'lam, 13.270-73 [6]), Imam ibn Majah (d. 209/824; al-  A'lam, 7.144 [6]), Imam al-Suyuti (d. 911/1505; al-A'lam, 3.301-2 [5]),  Hafiz Ibn Khuzaymah (d. 311/924; Tabaqat al-Shafi'iya, 3.109 [16]),  Imam ash-Sha'rani (d. 973/1565; al-A'lam, 4.180-1 [viii,35]), Imam  Hakim (d. 405/1014; Tabaqat al-Shafi'iya, 4.155 [xi,39]), Imam ibn  Asakir (d. 571 AH [xi]), Hafiz Khateeb al-Baghdadi (d. 463/1072;  Tabaqat al-Shafi'iya, 4.29 [xi,52]), Hafiz al-Dhahabi (d. 748/1348;  Tabaqat al-Shafi'iya, 9.100 [18]), Hafiz al-Iraqi (d. 806/1404; al-A'lam,  3.344 [18]), Imam al-Tabarani (d. 360/971; Siyar a'lam, 16.119-23 [18]),  Imam al-Izz ibn Abdas Salam (d. 660/1262; al-A'lam, 4.21 [27]), Imam  ibn Hibban (d. 354/965; Tabaqat al-Shafi'iya, 3.131 [39]), Hafiz Ibn  Hajar al-Asqalani (d. 852/1449; al-A'lam, 1.178 [39]), Hafiz al-  Haythami (d. 807/1405; al-A'lam, 4.266 [40]), Imam al-Haramayn (d.  478/1085; Tabaqat al-Shafi'iya, 5.165 [41]), Imam Abul Qasim al-  Qushayri (d. 465/1072; Tabaqat al-Shafi'iya, 5.153 [50]), Imam al-Razi  (d. 606/1210; Tabaqat al-Shafi'iya, 8.81-89 [59]), Imam al-Baghawi (d.  510/1117; al-A'lam, 2.259 [59]), Imam Abu Shamah (d. 665 AH [78]),  Imam al-Nawawi (d. 676/1277; al-A'lam, 8.149 [xi,15]).
THE HANBALI SCHOLARS
Hafiz ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328; al-A'lam, 1.144 [30]), Hafiz ibn  al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d. 751/1350; Siyar a'lam, 7.202 [xiii,42]),  Hafiz ibn al-Jawzi (d. 508/1114; al-A'lam, 3.316 [xii,53]), Hafiz  ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (d. 795/1393, [xiv]).
NB- The contents in the brackets (after the names of the above  scholars), stand for the following abbreviations:-  (i) 'd.'- the year of the scholars death, usually in Hijri and Christian  dates.
(ii) 'al-A'lam'- This is a well known biographical dictionary by Khayr  al-Deen al-Zirikly (see bibliography for full details).
(iii) 'Tabaqat al-Shafi'iya'- This is a very well known dictionary listing  all the famous Shafi'i scholars uptill the death of its author-Imam Taj  al-Deen al-Subki (rahimahullah).
(iv) 'Siyar a'lam al-nubala'- This is a biographical dictionary by the  famous scholar of Hadith-al-Hafiz Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Dhahabi  (rahimahullah).
(v) 'al-Fatawa al-Hadithiyya'- This is a well known collection by the  great scholar of Islam-Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami  (rahimahullah).
(vi) Whatever appears in square brackets- [ ], refers to the page  number in al-Albani's 'Sifah Salah an-Nabee' (only in roman  numerals) and al-Khajnadee's 'Blind Following of Madhhabs.'
So now my dear reader, you should be asking yourselves the  simple question: "Why did the above named scholars adhere to one   of the four schools, but today people like al-Albani etc; are calling  for the abandonment of the Taqleed of the four schools?" Even two of  the most prominent Imams of the neo-"Salafiyya", Ibn Taymiyya and  Ibn al-Qayyim were Hanbali in Fiqh (but their Aqeedah has been questioned by many scholars). One may have also noticed that not  one of the 6 main Imams of Hadith (al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood,  Tirmidhi, an-Nisai and Ibn Majah) were out of the four schools; and  this fact may astonish the so called "Salafiyya" who claim to be on  the path of the scholars of Hadith! If this fact seems unconvincing  to the lay reader, then one should read their biographies in the above named dictionaries, or their actual books! Thus, without even writing  a refutation against the likes of al-Albani and al-Khajnadee, the above  named scholars (not to mention thousands of other scholars) stand as a  witness against their false claims on the Islamic concept of Taqleed.


The "Salafiyya" claim to be on the path of the scholars of Hadith; but  I ask you, who were the scholars of Hadith? The answer to this question  may be found in their biographies; but just for the record, one should  never forget that the vast majority of the scholars of Hadith were usually  in one of the four schools of Fiqh after their founding; and this may be  called the way of the traditional and classical scholars, indifference to  the modern day "Salafiyya". I ask you now, what is there to stop one from adhering to one of the four schools, when so many great scholars did so?
Al-Albani and many of the other "Salafiyya" Shaykhs try to refute  Taqleed by quoting statements coming directly from the four Imams  themselves, which apparently 'forbid' Taqleed of their Fatwa's! In  fact the scholars have explained each one of these apparently Taqleed  forbidding statements quite explicitly. The bottom line of these  statements has lead the scholars to conclude, that these statements  refer to the forbiddance of one Mujtahid taking the Ijtihad of another Mujtahid without knowing his documentary evidence (refer to the  previous pages for some statements on this issue); but not the  forbiddance of non-Mujtahids taking the Ijtihads of the Mujtahids,  and this is precisely Taqleed of the allowable type. If Allah wills,  the true meanings of these statements may be collated and annotated by way of reference to the classical scholars of Islam; instead of receiving  garbled and incontextual quotations from the four Mujtahids (Allah's  mercy be upon them) by the likes of al-Albani. Now, I have explained briefly what is Taqleed, and who it applies  to. The question now remains on who are the "Salafiyya"? To  answer this question in brief, I feel that it is incumbent to give a  biography of the Imams of the "Salafiyya", what the scholars said  about these persons, and most importantly the creed they are clinging  onto (aqeedah). The last one of which is very important, since it is  the creed of a believer (as well as the actions) which will lead one to  the gardens of Paradise or to the pits of Hell in the hereafter! The  modern day "Salafiyya" claim to take their name from the famous  Hadith of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him); where he said:
"The best of people are my generation, thereafter those who follow  them, thereafter those who will follow them. Then will come such  people that one's testimony will outrun his oath, and one's oath, his  testimony." (Vide: Sahih al-Bukhari, pg. 18-9, Trans. by M. Asad;  also see Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, pg. 1345-7, English ed'n).
These three  generations of the true believers are known as the Salaf-as-Salihin  (the pious predecessors); hence they have derived an epithet from  this Hadith to call themselves "Salafi's" or the "Salafiyya".  Shaykh Ustad ibn Khalifa Alawi, said in his book 'Aqidat as-Salafi  wa'l-Khalaf': "As Allamah Abu Zahra (d.1974; he was a famous  scholar from al-Azhar University, Egypt; Rahimahullah) writes in his  book 'Tarikh al-Madhahibi'l Islamiyya', some people who dissented  from the Hanbali Madhhab, named themselves 'Salafiyyin'. Abu'l  Faraj ibn al-Jawzi (d.508/1114) and other scholars in the Hanbali  Madhhab, too, by proclaiming that those "Salafi's" were not the  followers of the Salaf-as-Salihin but were the owners of bid'ah  (heretical innovations), belonging to the group of Mujassima (a  deviant sect who believed that Allah was a material body; we seek  refuge in Allah), prevented this mischief from spreading. In the  seventh century (after Hijri) Ibn Taymiyya waged this fitna (mischief)  again." Let me now give you a biography of Ibn al-Qayyim al- Jawziyya, and his teacher Ibn Taymiyya; as well as what the great  scholars of Islam said about them and their Aqeedah.
Hafiz Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya
(may Allah have mercy on him and forgive him)
Ibn al-Qayyim is Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr ibn Ayyub ibn Sa'd,  Abu Abdullah al-Zura'i Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, born in Damascus in  691/1292. He was a Hanbali Hadith scholar and author who wrote a  number of works, among them Zad al-ma'ad [The provision for the  return] in Hadith, and I'lam al-mawaqqi'in [The instruction for those  who sign formal legal opinions] in fundamentals of Islamic law. His  most significant contribution however, was his editing and preparing  for publication the writings of Ibn Taymiyya, whose devoted pupil he  was. He went to prison with his Shaykh in the citadel of Damascus  and suffered with him until Ibn Taymiyya's death in 728/1328, when  he was released. He thereafter worked to spread and popularize the  master's ideas, as dedicated to him after his death as he had been in  life, supporting him in what was right and what was wrong. A  specimen of the latter is Ibn al-Qayyim's al-Qasida al-nuniyya (Ode  rhyming in the letter n ), a lengthy poem on tenets of faith (aqeedah)  that is filled with corrupt suggestions about the attributes of Allah,  which Imam Taqi al-Din al-Subki (d.756/1355, Shaykh al-Islam Ibn  Hajar al-Haytami described him as being 'the Mujtahid Imam whose  Imamate, greatness, and having reached the level of Ijtihad are  agreed upon'; Rahimahullah) analyses in detail in his al-Sayf al-saqil  [The burnished sword], giving the verdict that the poem's  anthropomorphisms of the Divinity are beyond the pale of Islam.
The  poem could not be openly circulated in Ibn al-Qayyim's lifetime but  only secretly, and it seems that he never abandoned it (it is still used  as a reference by the 'Salafi' scholars today), for the Hanbali historian  and biographer Ibn Rajab heard it from its author in the year of his  death.
A second unfortunate peculiarity the poem shares with some of Ibn  al-Qayyim's other works on Islamic faith is that it presents the reader  with a false dilemma, namely that one must either believe that Allah  has eyes, hands, a descending motion, and so forth, in a literal  (haqiqi) sense, or else one has nullified ('attala) or negated (nafa)  these attributes.And this is erroneous, for the literal is that which corresponds to an expression's primary lexical sense as ordinarily  used in a language by the people who speak it, while the above  words are clearly intended otherwise, in accordance with the  Qur'anic verse, 'There is nothing whatsoever like unto him' (Qur'an  42:11), for if the above were intended literally, there would be innumerable things like unto Him (Allah) in such respects as having  eyes, hands, motion, and so forth, in the literal meaning of these  terms. The would-be dilemma is also far from the practise of the  early Muslims, who used to only accept such Qur'anic verses and  Hadiths as they have come, consigning the knowledge of what is  meant by them-while affirming Allah's absolute transcendence above  any resemblance to created things-to Allah Most High alone, without  trying to determinately specify how they are meant (bi la Kayf), let  alone suggesting people understand them literally (haqiqatan) as Ibn  al-Qayyim tried to do.
While granting that his other scholarly achievements are not  necessarily compromised by his extreme aberrances in tenets of faith  (aqeedah), it should not be forgotten that depicting the latter as a  'reform' or 'return to early Islam' represents a blameworthy  innovation (bid'ah) on his part that appeared more than seven centuries after the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him  peace) and his Companions (Sahaba). A particularly unsavoury  aspect of it is that in his attempts to vindicate the doctrine, Ibn al-  Qayyim casts aspersions upon the Islam of anyone who does not  subscribe to it, at their forefront the Ash'ari school, whom his books castigate as 'Jahmiyya' or 'Mu'attila,' implying, by equating them  with the most extreme factions of the Mu'tazilites, that they deny any  significance to the divine attributes, a misrepresentation that has seen  a lamentable recrudescence in parts of the Muslim world today.

Whether such views are called 'fundamentalism' or some other name,  the scholars of the Muslims remember history, and that it was Abu  Hanifah (Rahimahullah) who first observed, 'Two depraved opinions  have reached us from the East, those of Jahm, the nullifier of the  divine attributes, and those of Muqatil (ibn Sulayman al-Balkhi, d.  150 AH), the likener of Allah to his creation.' To make of these two an either-or for Muslims, or depict the latter as 'Sunnah' when it has  been counted among heresies and rejected by the Muslim Community  for the first seven centuries of Islam that preceded Ibn al-Qayyim and  his mentor Ibn Taymiyya, is to say the least difficult to accept, and it  would seem fitter to simply acknowledge that Ibn al-Qayyim was a  talented author in fundamentals of law, Hadith, and other fields, but unfortunately enamoured with his teacher to the extent of following  him in innovations (bid'ah) in tenets of faith (aqeedah) and  misrepresenting the positions of those who opposed them. He died  in Damascus in 751/1350. (vide: al-A'lam, 6.56, by al-Zirikly; al-Sayf  al-saqil, 2-192, by Imam Taqi ad-Din al-Subki; Sharh al-Qasida al-  nuniyya, 1.268-88, by H.M. Khalil; Siyar a'lam al-nubala, 7.202, by
Hafiz al-Dhahabi, taken from The Reliance of the Traveller, pp. 1058-  9, Trans. by N.H.M. Keller).
Hafiz Ahmad Ibn Taymiyya
(may Allah have mercy on him and forgive him)
Ibn Taymiyya is Ahmad ibn Abd al-Halim ibn Abd al-Salam ibn  Abdullah, Abu al-Abbas Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya al-Harrani, born in  Harran, east of Damascus, in 661/1263. A famous Hanbali scholar in  Qur'anic exegesis, Hadith, and jurisprudence, Ibn Taymiyya was a  voracious reader and author of great personal courage who was  endowed with a compelling writing style and a keen memory.

Dhahabi wrote of him, 'I never saw anyone faster at recalling the  Qur'anic verses dealing with subjects he was discussing, or anyone  who could remember Hadith texts more vividly.' Dhahabi estimates  that his legal opinions on various subjects amount to three-hundred  or more volumes.
He was imprisoned during much of his life in Cairo, Alexandria,  and Damascus for his writings, scholars of his time accusing him of  believing Allah to be a corporeal entity (a body) because of what he  mentioned in his al-Aqeedah al-Hamawiyya, and al-Wasitiyya and  other works, such that Allah's 'hand', 'foot', 'shin', and 'face', are literal (haqiqi) attributes, and that He is upon the Throne in person.

The error in this, as mentioned above, is that suggesting such  attributes are literal is an innovation and unjustifiable inference from  the Qur'anic and Hadith texts that mention them, for the way of the  early Muslims was mere acceptance of such expressions on faith  without saying how they are meant, and without additions, subtractions, or substituting meanings imagined to be synonyms,  while acknowledging Allah's absolute transcendence beyond the  characteristics of created things, in conformity with the Qur'anic  verse, 'There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him' (Qur'an 42:11;  also Allah says: 'Walam yakul-la Huu kufu wan 'ahad: And there is  none comparable unto Him', Qur'an 112:4). As for figurative interpretations that preserve the divine transcendence, scholars of  tenets of faith have only had recourse to them in times when men of  reprehensible innovations (bid'ah), quoting Hadiths and Qur'anic  verses, have caused confusion in the minds of common Muslims as to  whether Allah has attributes like those of His creation or whether He  is transcendently beyond any image conceivable to the minds of men.

Scholars firmness in condemning those who have raised such  confusions has traditionally been very uncompromising, and this is  no doubt the reason that a number of the Imams of the Shafi'i school,  among them Taqi al-Din Subki, Ibn Hajar Haytami, and al-'Izz Ibn  Jama'a, gave formal legal opinions that Ibn Taymiyya was misguided  and misguiding in tenets of faith, and warned people from accepting his theories. The Hanafi scholar Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari has  written, "Whoever thinks that all the scholars of his time joined in a  single conspiracy against him from personal envy should rather  impugn their own intelligence and understanding, after studying the  repugnance of his deviations in belief and works, for which he was  asked to repent time after time and moved from prison to prison until  he passed on to what he'd sent ahead."
While few deny that Ibn Taymiyya was a copious and eloquent  writer and Hadith scholar, his career, like that of others,  demonstrates that a man may be outstanding in one field and yet  suffer from radical deficiencies in another, the most reliable index of  which is how a field's Imams regard his work in it. By this measure,  indeed, by the standards of all previous Ahl al-Sunnah scholars, it is  clear that despite a voluminous and influential written legacy, Ibn  Taymiyya cannot be considered an authority on tenets of faith  (aqeedah), a field in which he made mistakes profoundly  incompatible with the beliefs of Islam, as also with a number of his  legal views that violated the scholarly consensus (Ijma) of Sunni  Muslims. It should be remembered that such matters are not the  province of personal reasoning (Ijtihad), whether Ibn Taymiyya  considered them to be out of sincere conviction, or whether simply  because, as Imam Subki said, 'His learning exceeded his intelligence.'  He died in 728/1328. (vide: al-A'lam, 1.144, by al-Zirikly; al-Durar al-   Kamina, 1.144-55, by Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani; al-Rasa'il al-  Subkiyya, 151-52, edited by K.Y. al-Hut; al-Sayf al-saqil, 6, by Imam  al-Subki; Shaykh Hasan Saqqaf; taken from The Reliance of the  Traveller, pp. 1059-60, Trans. by N.H.M. Keller).
There are many quotes available to us today coming from the  works of many well known scholars, in their refutation of Ibn  Taymiyya's beliefs, legal opinions and his very personality! As I have  indicated earlier, today's "Salafi's" and other like minded people have  come to the conclusion that he is the Imam to be "followed" in terms of Aqeedah; since the Aqeedah that one clings to determines which sect of Islam one is adhering to, and the "Salafiyya" claim that the  Aqeedah of Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn al-Qayyim etc; is the Aqeedah of the  'Firqat an-Najiyyah' (The Saved Sect as described in the Ahadith),  and that alone is the Aqeedah of the 'Ahl al-Sunnah wa'l Jama'ah' to  them! I wish to convey to the honourable reader some of the  opinions held by the great scholars on Ibn Taymiyya, and in  particular what his disciple al-Hafiz al-Dhahabi said about him; since  he had first hand contact with Ibn Taymiyya which can be relied  upon very highly. The quote from Shaykh Ibn Battuta (see below) is  quite significant, since it clearly demonstrates the anthropomorphic  ideas that Ibn Taymiyya had with regards to Allah's attributes!
(1) Al-Imam Taqi ad-Din al-Subki (d. 756/1355; Rahimahullah)
Imam al-Subki wrote tracts refuting Ibn Taymiyya's Aqeedah and  works, for example Al-Durra al-Mudiyya fi al-Radd 'ala Ibn Taymiyya  (edited by Shaykh al-Kawthari) and al-Rasa'il al-Subkiyya fi al-Radd  'ala Ibn Taymiyya wa tilmidhihi Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (edited by  Shaykh Kamal al-Hut). Besides these refutations, he admitted that  Ibn Taymiyya was a deeply knowledgeable scholar in his own right.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (Rahimahullah) has recorded  the following letter written by Imam al-Subki to Hafiz al-Dhahabi, the  eminent disciple of Ibn Taymiyya, in his al-Durar al-kamina fi a'yan  al-mi'a al-thamina (1, 169): "As for what you say with regard to al-  Shaykh Taqi al-Din (Ibn Taymiyya), 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  exertions and his attainments, all of which surpass description. I  have always held this opinion. Personally, my admiration is even  greater for the asceticism, piety, and religiosity with which Allah has  endowed him, for his selfless championship of the truth, his adherence to the path of our forebears, his pursuit of perfection..."  Some people may call this an over exaggeration on Imam Subki's  part, since he has been noted to have said that Ibn Taymiyya was 'a  Khawarij (the first extreme sect which seceded from Islam during the  Sahaba's time) from Islam!' As well as saying that 'his learning  exceeded his intelligence'. But Allah knows best.
(2) Al-Hafiz a-Dhahabi (d. 748/1348; Rahimahullah)
Hafiz al-Dhahabi was a special case when it came to giving his opinions on his teacher Ibn Taymiyya. His praise of Ibn Taymiyya is  routinely eulogistic in nature, but it is invariably filled with strong  and some what harsh criticisms as well. Imam al-Subki had criticized  al-Dhahabi for being influenced by Ibn Taymiyya, when he said: "The  group comprised of al-Mizzi, al-Dhahabi, al-Birzali, and many of their  followers were clearly harmed by Abu al-Abbas ibn Taymiyya, who  led them to gross acts of no little consequence and drew them to  things that they should have avoided..." (vide: Tabaqat al-Shafi'iyya  al-Kubra, 6, 254). Anyhow, al-Dhahabi himself seemed to have had  mixed feelings for Ibn Taymiyya, as we shall see in the next few  paragraphs. The most explicit criticism of Ibn Taymiyya as a  scholarly figure may have come in an epistle entitled al-Nasiha al-  Dhahabiyya li-Ibn Taymiyya (al-Dhahabi's advice to Ibn Taymiyya);  apparently from the pen of Hafiz al-Dhahabi. Some people have  doubted the authenticity of this document in its ascription to Hafiz al-  Dhahabi; but even if it was not by al-Dhahabi we may assume that it was a blistering attack by some 'unknown' scholar! The document   has been preserved in the Bayan Zaghal al-'Ilm (edited by Shaykh  Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari, pp. 31-34).

Here are a few excerpts from this document (pg 32): "Blessed is he  whose fault diverts him from the faults of others! Damned is he  whom others divert from his own faults! How long will you look at  the motes in the eye of your brother, forgetting the stumps in your  own? How long will you praise yourself and your prattling phrases while disparaging the Ulama and pursuing other people's  weaknesses? (Pg. 32-33): By Allah, you must leave us alone! You  are contentious and are endowed with a learned tongue which does  not pause or rest! Beware of captious questions in religions... Too  much talk without proof hardens hearts.... (pg 33) By Allah, we have become the laughing stock of creation! How long will you dig up  intricate philosophical blasphemies for us refute with our brains? You  have repeatedly swallowed the poison of the philosophers and their  works; the body becomes addicted to the frequent use of poison so  that is secreted, by Allah, in the very bones. Your followers help you  and fight for you in word and deed but are your secret enemies in  their hearts! Are not most of your disciples crippled and bound, of  facile intelligence or blind, liars, stupid, strange, crafty, or dessicated,  virtuous without understanding? If you don't believe me, inspect  them, weigh them with justice... (Pg. 34): I do not expect you to  accept my words or hearken to my admonition; instead you will  strive to produce volumes in refutation of this one page. You will  snip off the tails of my words relentlessly, until I retreat into absolute silence! If this is your attitude towards me - someone who regards  you with love and affection - how will you treat your enemies, among  whom, by Allah, are righteous men, intelligent and virtuous...? I will  be content if you curse me in public as long as you heed my words in  private."

The Muhaddith, Hafiz al-Sakhawi (d. 902/1497; Rahimahullah), said  that he had seen the above work attributed to al-Dhahabi.  Nevertheless, al-Sakhawi quotes, without identifying, another treatise  in which al-Dhahabi criticised Ibn Taymiyya in the following words:  "Though I have spent long years considering and investigating Ibn  Taymiyya, I have found that the only reasons why the Egyptians and  Syrians hated him, scorned him, and called him a liar or even an  unbeliever, were his pride, his vanity, and his pretensions, his  passion to head his fellow Shaykhs, his contempt for the great, and  his love of publicity." (vide: Al-I'lan bi al-Tawbikh li-Man Dhamma al-Ta'rikh, pg. 136).
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (d. 852/1449; Rahimahullah)  recorded al-Dhahabi as saying in his al-Durar al-Kamina (1,161):  "People who know him well sometimes accuse me of failing to do  justice; his opponents sometimes charge me with puffery. I have  been abused by both parties-his supporters and his adversaries. (His  hair and beard were salt-and pepper coloured, containing little grey,  his hair reaching his ear lobes. His eyes were like eloquent tongues.  Of medium height, he was broad shouldered and had a loud,  expressive voice and was quick of speech). Though anger would  sometimes grip him, he would conquer it with forbearance. I have  not seen his like for supplications and appeals and for his abundant  concern for others. But I do not believe him to be infallible; indeed, I disagree with him on both basic and secondary issues. For, despite  his vast learning, his extreme courage, his fluid mind, and his regard  for the sanctities of religion, he was but a man." Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-  Asqalani also recorded al-Dhahabi as saying in al-Durar al-Kamina  (1,161): "In discussion he would be possessed by rage, anger, and  hostility against his adversaries, which implanted enmity in their spirits. If he had only treated his antagonists with civility, they  would have been reconciled with him, for the most notable of them  deferred to his learning, acknowledged his ardent zeal, and agreed  that his lapses were few."
(3) Imam Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuti (d. 911/1505; Rahimahullah)
Imam as-Suyuti wrote in his book Kam' al-mu'arid : "Ibn  Taymiyya was arrogant. He was self conceited. It was his habit to  represent himself as superior to everybody, to slight the person  whom he talked to and to make fun of great Muslims."
(4) Hafiz al-Sakhawi (d. 902/1497; Rahimahullah)
Hafiz al-Sakhawi (a student of Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani) stated  in his al-I'lan (English translation in 'A History of Muslim  Historiography', pg. 284, by F. Rosenthal): "There are also those  scholars of great learning, austerity, and asceticism whom people  avoided and whose knowledge they were careful not to utilize, because of their loose tongue and lack of tact, which caused them to talk and criticize excessively. Such men were Ibn Hazm and Ibn  Taymiyya."
(5) Shaykh Muhammad Ali Beg (Rahimahullah)
Shaykh al-Beg from Damascus wrote in his book Hittat ash-Sham :  "Ibn Taymiyya and the (Christian) Priest Luther's aims were alike.  While the Christian reformer was successful, the reformer of Islam  was unsuccessful."
(6) Shaykh Muhammad Ziyaullah (Rahimahullah)
Shaykh Ziyaullah from Siyalkut, Pakistan, wrote in his work The  Truth of Wahhabism : "Mawlana Abd al-Hayy Lucknawi (d.1304 A.H;  al-Albani has quoted from him in his 'Sifah Salah an-Nabee'), the  great alim of India and the author of hundreds of invaluable books  known to the world, said in his book Ghais al-ghamam, 'Like the predecessor Ibn Taymiyya al-Harrani, the successor ash-Shawkani  (d.1250/1834; see later for his views) was very learned but less  intelligent. The latter was exactly alike, even more inferior than the  former.'"
(7) Imam al-Safadi (d.764/1363; Rahimahullah)
Imam al-Safadi has preserved an anecdote on Ibn Taymiyya's  childhood in his al-Wafi bi al-Wafayat (vol. 7, pg. 17-8). When he was  studying with members of another prominent Hanbali family of  Damascus, Ibn Taymiyya inadvertently shows us that the violent  temper and the presumptuousness noticed by al-Dhahabi was evident  at an early age: "When Ibn Taymiyya was a little boy, studying with the Banu Munajja, they supported something that he denied,  whereupon they produced the text. When he had read it, he threw it  down in fury. They said, 'How bold you are to cast from your hand  a volume that contains knowledge!' He quickly replied, 'Who is  better, Moses or I?' 'Moses', they said. And which is better-this book or the tablets on which the ten commandments were inscribed?'  'The tablets', they replied. Ibn Taymiyya said, in words to this effect,  'Well when Moses became angry, he threw down tablets.'" Another  anecdote from al-Safadi serves to confirm al-Dhahabi's observation  that Ibn Taymiyya was oblivious to his worldly surroundings. This  one tells how once Ibn Taymiyya consumed, without complaint, a squash which his mother had discarded because it was too bitter to eat!
What seems to be more indicative of Ibn Taymiyya's complete  absorption in his religious cause, is his profession of indifference to  the various forms of punishment which might be inflicted upon him;  as has been recorded by the Hanbali historian Hafiz Ibn Rajab (d.  795/1393; Rahimahullah), in his al-Dhayl 'ala Tabaqat al-Hanabila  (2,402): "What can my enemies do to me? My Garden is in my heart; wherever I go, it goes with me. My prison is solitude! My death is  martyrdom! Exile is a journey"!  (8) Ibn Battuta (d.779/1377; Rahimahullah)
The well known travelling scholar of Islam, Ibn Battuta, has judged  Ibn Taymiyya in the following words: "Among the chief Hanbali  fuqaha in Damascus was Taqi al-Din ibn Taymiyya who, although he  enjoyed great prestige and could discourse on the scholarly  disciplines, had a screw loose (illa anna fi 'aqlihi shay'an). The  people of Damascus held him in extreme respect. He used to preach  to them from the minbar and once had discoursed in a manner which  the fuqaha found reprehensible, so they reported him to Malik al-  Nasir, who ordered him to be sent to Cairo. There the qadis and  fuqaha were convoked in the sultan's council chamber, where they  were addressed by Sharaf al-Din al-Zuwawi, who said, 'This man  said such-and-such', spelling out the reprehensible statements of Ibn  Taymiyya and producing depositions to that effect which were placed  before the chief qadi. When the latter asked for Ibn Taymiyya's  reply, he said, 'There is no Allah but Allah', responding in a like  manner when the qadi repeated the question. Al-Malik al-Nasir  ordered him to be put into prison, where he remained for some years  and wrote a book of Qur'anic commentary which he entitled al-Bahr  al-Muhit in almost forty volumes. Later, his mother complained  before al-Malik al-Nasir, and he ordered his release. But then the  same thing happened again while I was in Damascus. I was in  attendance on a Friday when he was preaching to the people and  exhorting them from the minbar of the cathedral mosque. In the  course of his speech he said, 'Allah comes down to the sky of this  world just as I came down now', and he descended one step of the minbar. A Maliki faqih known as Ibn al-Zahra remonstrated with  him and denounced what he had said, whereupon the congregation  rose against this faqih, striking him with their hands and shoes until;  his turban fell off, exposing a silk skullcap on his head. They  rebuked him for wearing this and bore him to the house of Izz al-Din ibn Musallam, the qadi of the Hanbali's, who ordered him to be  imprisoned and then flogged. But the Maliki and the Shafi'i fuqaha  denounced this punishment and carried the matter to Malik al-Umara  Sayf al-Din Tankiz, one of the good and virtuous amirs, who wrote to  al-Malik al-Nasir about the matter and sent a legal deposition against  Ibn Taymiyya on such reprehensible matters as the following: 'He  who pronounces triple divorce with one phrase is bound only by one  divorce'; 'The traveller who sets out to visit the Hallowed Tomb  (may Allah increase its perfume) may not reduce his prayers'; and  the like. He sent the deposition to al-Malik al-Nasir, who ordered Ibn  Taymiyya to be imprisoned in the citadel. There he remained until  he died." (vide: Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa, 1325-1354 C.E; pp. 67-8, 1929 edn; The Travels of Ibn Battuta, 1325-1354 C.E; 1,  135-36, by H. Gibb; Tuhfat an-nuzzar, pg.9, by Ibn Jazi; also quoted  in Jawahir al-bihar, by Shaykh Yusuf an-Nabahani, d. 1350/1932).  The above account given by Ibn Battuta has been discounted by  certain people; especially by Ibn Taymiyya's supporters, simply  because they believe that Ibn Taymiyya would never have made the  anthropomorphic statement, 'Allah comes down to the sky of this  world just as I came down now', and then he allegedly took a step  down the pulpit to demonstrate how Allah descends (nuzul). Even if  one was to denounce Ibn Battuta's account as being a false and  fabricated statement, one may wish to know that the greatest scholar  of Hadith in his time, Shaykh al-Islam al-Hafiz Ahmad ibn Hajar al-  Asqalani (Rahimahullah) has reported an incident in al-Durar al-  kamina (1, 164) where again Ibn Taymiyya descended the steps of the  minbar in order to illustrate his understanding of how Allah descends  (nuzul) as early as the year 705/1305 AH (some 21 years before Ibn  Battuta's account). Hafiz Ibn Hajar's source for this incident was one  of Ibn Taymiyya's own disciples by the name Sulayman Najm al-Din  al-Tufi al-Hanbali (d. 716/1316). Besides these incidents involving Ibn  Taymiyya's views on Allah's attributes, other statements regarding  Ibn Taymiyya's views on this topic have been recorded by Ibn Abd  al-Hadi (d. 744/1343-44) in his Uqud al-Durriyya min Manaqib Shaykh  al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya (pp.198-232) and Hafiz Ibn Kathir (d. 774/1373)  in his Bidaya (14, 38).
(9) Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami al-Makki (d.974/1567; R. A.)
The Shafi'i Imam of his time, al-Hafiz ibn Hajar al-Haytami gave an  official Fatwa on the heresy of Ibn Taymiyya in his book al-Fatawa al-  Hadithiyya: "Allahu ta'ala made Ibn Taymiyya lapse into heresy and  perdition. He made him deaf and blind. Many scholars have  informed that his deeds were corrupt and his words were false, and  they proved it with documents. Those who read the books of the  great Islamic scholar Abu'l Hasan as-Subki and his son Taj ad-din as-  Subki and the books of Imam al-Izz ibn Jama'a, and those who study  the statements said and written in response to him by the Shafi'i,  Maliki and Hanafi Ulama living in his time, will see that we are  right.. As well, Ibn Taymiyya slandered and cast nefarious  aspersions upon the great scholars of the Sufi path. And further!  He did not hesitate to attack Sayyidina Umar (Allah be pleased with  him) and Sayyidina Ali (Allah be pleased with him), Islam's  archstones. His words overflowed the measure and the rules of  decorum, and he threw arrows even at steep cliffs. He stigmatized  the scholars of the right way as innovators, heretics and  ignoramuses...
A letter written to Ibn Taymiyya in 705/1305 C.E; says: 'O my  Muslim brother, who considers himself to be a great scholar and the  Imam of his time! I loved you for Allah's sake. I disapproved the  scholars who were against you. But hearing your words unbecoming  to love has puzzled me. Does a wise person doubt that the night  begins when the sun sets? You said that you were in the right way  and that you were enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. Allah  ta'ala knows what your purposes and intentions are. But sincerity  will be seen in a person's deeds. Your deeds have torn off the cover  from your words. In the wake of those who follow their inner  desires and whose words are unreliable, you have not only defamed  those living in your time but also stigmatized the deceased as  disbelievers. In addition to attacking the successors of the Salaf as-  salihin (the first three pious Muslim generations), you have slandered  the Sahaba, especially the greatest ones. Can't you imagine in what  situation you will be in when those great people ask their rights on  the day of Resurrection? On the pulpit of the Jami al-jabal in the  Salihiyya city you said that Umar (ibn al-Khattab; Allah be pleased  with him) had had some wrong statements and disasters. What were  these disasters? Which of these disasters did the Salaf as-salihin tell  you about? You say that Ali (ibn Abi Talib; Allah be pleased with  him) had more than 300 hundred errors! Supposing the case had  been with Sayyidina Ali, could you have one right word then? Now  I am beginning to act against you. I shall try to protect Muslims  against your villainy. For, you have overflowed the measure. Your  torture has reached the living and the dead. Believers must shun  your evils.'
Taj ad-Din as-Subki (Rahimahullah) states that Ibn Taymiyya  disagrees with the Salaf as-salihin in the following matters:
(1) He said, 'Talaq (divorce) does not become actual; (in case it  happens) it is necessary to pay kaffara (equal to that which is paid)  for an oath.' None of the Islamic scholars that came before him said  that kaffarat must be paid.
(2) He said, 'Talaq given to a menstruating woman does not become  actual, nor does Talaq given during the time of her purity become  actual.'
(3) He said, 'It is not necessary to make up (qada) for a Salah omitted  deliberately.' (This is definitely true; it was also the view of Ibn al-  Qayyim and Ibn Hazm al-Zahiri).
(4) He said, 'It is permissible (mubah) for a menstruating woman to  go around the Ka'ba. (If she does so) she will not have to pay any  kaffara.'
(5) He said, 'One Talaq given in the name of three Talaq's is still one  Talaq.' Whereas, before saying so, he repeatedly said for many years  that the consensus of the Muslims was not so.
(6) He said, 'Taxes incompatible with Islam are halal to those who  demand them.'
(7) He said, 'When taxes are collected from tradesman, they stand for  Zakah (charity) even if they do not intend (for zakah).'
(8) He said, 'Water does not become impure when a mouse or the  like dies in it.'
(9) He said, 'It is permissible for a sexually defiled (junub) person to  perform supererogatory Salah without making ghusl (bath) at night.'
(10) He said, 'Conditions stipulated by the waqif (person who devotes  property to a pious foundation) are not taken into consideration. Something devoted for Shafi'is is spent for Hanafi's.'
(11) He said, 'A person who disagrees with the Ijma al-Ummah  (consensus of the Muslim community) does not become a disbeliever  or a sinner.'
(12) He said, 'Allah ta'ala is mahall-i hawadith. He is made up of  particles coming together.'
(13) He said, 'The Qur'an al-Karim was created in the Dhat (essence,  person) of Allahu ta'ala.'
(14) He said, 'The 'alam, that is, all creatures are eternal with their  kinds.'
(15) He said, 'Allahu ta'ala has to create good things.'
(16) He said, 'Allahu ta'ala has a body and directions; he changes His  place and is as big as the Arsh (throne).'
(17) He said, 'Hell is not eternal; it will go out at last.'
(18) He denied the fact that Prophet's (Peace be upon them all) are  impeccable.
(19) He said, 'Rasulullah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) is no  different from other people. It is not permissible to pray through his  intercession (tawassul).'
(20) He said, 'It is sinful to go to Madinah with the intention of  visiting (the grave of) Rasulullah (Peace be upon him).'
(21) He also said, 'It is haram to go there to ask for intercession  (shafa'a).'
(22) He said, 'The Tawra and the Injil (two former revelations) did  not change in vocabulary but in meaning.'
Some scholars said that most of the above quoted statements did  not belong to Ibn Taymiyya, but none of them denied that he had  said, 'Allah had directions and is a composition of particles coming  together.' However, it was declared by consensus that he was rich in  Ilm, jalala and in diyana. A person who has Fiqh, knowledge, justice  and reason must first observe a matter and then decide about it with  prudence. Especially, judging a Muslim's disbelief, apostasy, heresy  or that he must be killed requires very minute observations and utter  circumspection."
It was written in the book Aqeedah wa'l Islam (pg. 78, author  unknown): "Before those two people (Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn al-  Qayyim), there was not a Madhhab called 'Salafiyya', nor even the  word 'Salafiyya'; how could they have said to have tried to enrich the  Madhhab of the Salaf as-salihin, which was named Ahl as-Sunnah  wa'l Jama'ah? Ibn Taymiyya tried to distort this right Madhhab and  invented many bid'ahs (bad innovations). The source of the books,  words and heretical, corrupt thoughts of today's la-Madhhabi (anti-  Madhhabites) people and religion reformers is only the bid'ahs  invented by Ibn Taymiyya. In order to deceive Muslims and to  convince the youth that they are on the right path, these heretics  devised a horrible stratagem; they forged the name 'Salafiyya' from  the term 'Salaf as-salihin' so that they may justify Ibn Taymiyya's  bid'ahs, corrupt ideas and drift the youth into his wake. They  attached the stigmas of philosophy and bid'ah to Islamic scholars,  who are the successors of the Salaf as-salihin, and blamed them for  dissenting from their invented name 'Salafiyya'. They put forward  Ibn Taymiyya as a Mujtahid, as a hero that resuscitated the  'Salafiyya'. Actually, the Ulama of the Ahl al-Sunnah, who are the  successors of the Salaf as-salihin, defended the teachings with respect  to I'tiqad (belief) of the Ahl al-Sunnah, which was the Madhhab of  the Salaf as-salihin; in the books which they have written up to our  time and which they are still writing today, they inform that Ibn  Taymiyya, ash-Shawkani and the like have dissented from the way of  the Salaf as-salihin and have been drifting Muslims towards perdition  and Hell."


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