Kalaam and tasawwuf

October 4, 2009

I was sent a message the other day about sufis attacking kalaam. This is the world we live in. A lot of things will be clear if one just asks: what is sufism? What is kalaam? Do we all understand the same thing from these words? Can we reasonably assume that when a scholar of the past criticized “kalaam” that he understood what people understand today? (Assuming people today have even stopped to think about what it means – and that is a big assumption.) Can we reasonably assume that he meant that learning the proofs of Islam that pertain to certain knowledge is bidˆah or a source of confusion, or the like? I don’t think so.

To me tasawwuf is to live and think according to the belief that there is only One Creator that is not like creation, and all that bears in it of obeying Him, and relying on Him and loving Him more than anything. It is about directing all your thought and actions towards this. It is being absorbed by the belief in Allaah. Is this what is meant when some scholars criticize sufism? I don’t think so either. Anyway, my brief answer was as follows:

Kalaam without sufism is heartless.
Sufism without kalaam is mindless.

And no, I don’t mean that Sufis need to read Sanuusiyyah Kubraa, or Ar-Raaziyy’s Arbaˆiin, or Al-Iijiyy’s Mawaaqif. They need to know what is enough for the situation they are in, the things they are exposed to inside and outside of themselves. Kalaam is only there to protect the faith. Your own faith, and for those that are qualified, that of other Muslims. Once that is achieved, Kalaam serves no purpose. In fact, it can indeed be harmful. Why bring up questions you’ll never think of otherwise? This is the essential criticism As-Sanuusiyy and others had for Ar-Raaziyy, may Allaah please him. As Maalik said, “we are all criticizing, and criticized, except the man in this grave,” i.e. the Prophet’s in his grave is not criticized, (صلى الله عليه وسلم). One should get to work instead, once one knows enough about beliefs and their proofs to be satisfied and protected from the ultimate of disasters: deviance in belief.

Hints to the meanings Of Tawhiid In Throwing The Pebbles In Hajj by Ibn ˆArabiyy

September 16, 2009


Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy (898-973 AH/ 1493-1565 AD), ˆAbdulWahhaab ibn ‘Aĥmad ibn ˆAliyy Al-Ĥanafiyy (as he is a descendant of Muĥammad ibn Al-Ĥanafiyyah) was a scholar among the Sufis. He was born in Qalqasħandah in Egypt, and died in Cairo. (Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002), 4/180) Among his many books authored are Lawaaqiĥu-l-‘Anwaari-l-Qudsiyyah Fii Bayaani-l-ˆUhuud Al-Muĥammadiyyah, hereby referred to as Al-ˆUhuud Al-Muĥammadiyyah.

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy’s considerable knowledge and piety made him many envious enemies, to the extent that his books were perverted in his own time. He had to defend himself by showing the original manuscripts of his books to show his innocence. In the introduction to his book quoted below, he speaks of such an incident and explains that he started mentioning ĥadiitħs as proofs for everything he said to make them more difficult to pervert. After all, he argued, if the claims stated blatantly contradict the ĥadiitħ mentioned it would be easier for the reader to discover that there is something fishy going on! (Al-ˆUhuud Al-Muĥammadiyyah, 6)

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy is among the scholars that defended Muĥyiddiin Ibn ˆArabiyy and explained some of his strange expressions in a manner that agrees with the sayings of Ahlu-s-Sunnah. Note, however, that some of the expressions found in the latter’s books are perversions. Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy said:

Asħ-Sħaykħ Abuu Ţaahir Al-Muzaniyy Asħ-Sħaadħiliyy told me that all of what is in Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin’s books of things that contradicts blatant Islamic Law is forged, because he is a complete man by the consensus of authenticators." (Al-Yawaaqiitu wa-l-Jawaahir, 3)

In any case, this is all history, and what we are mainly concerned with here is belief in itself, not what particular non-prophets believe in particular. The following narration of Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy, however, shows Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin’s strong knowledge of, and adherence to, Sunni kalaam. First, however, let us see briefly what Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy’s attitude is, and where his loyalty lies.

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy is a mainstream Sunni i.e. an Asħˆariyy

He said with regard to his loyalty to Ahlu-s-Sunnah:

…. And know that what is meant by "Ahlu-s-Sunnah wa-l-Jamaaˆah" in the customary expressions of people today is Abu-l-Ĥasan Al-Asħˆariyy and whomsoever was prior to him, such as Al-Maaturiidiyy and others…. (because of Al-Asħˆariyy’s fame, however)…. people started saying "this man’s belief is correct and Asħˆariyy," but they do not mean that those who are not are necessarily wrong absolutely,… and there is no significant difference between Asħˆariyys and Maaturiidiyys in the sense that they accuse each other of bad innovation in the religion….

…. and know, dear brother, that whomsoever follows Ahlu-s-Sunnah wa-l-Jamaaˆah must have his heart full of content with following them, and against whomsoever disagrees with them. (Al-Yawaaqiitu wa-l-Jawaahir, 2)

With regard to ambiguous expressions found in books of sufis in general and Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin, he said:

I advise all those who are not capable of reaching the understanding of what the people of illumination to stand firm by the apparent decrees of the scholars of kalaam, and not go beyond that….. (Al-Yawaaqiitu wa-l-Jawaahir, 2)

Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin on the pebbles thrown in Ĥajj pilgrimage

(إشارات الشيخ محيي الدين للتوحيد في رمي الحصى بالحج) قال الشعراني في لواقع الأنوار القدسية: ذكر الشيخ محيي الدين في باب الحج من “الفتوحات”ما نصه: إنما كان حصى الرمي سبعا لأن الشيطان يأتي الرامي هناك بسبع خواطر، لا بد من ذلك فيرمي كل خاطر بحصاة ومعنى التكبير عند رمي كل حصاة: الله أكبر من هذه النسبة التي أتانا بها الشيطان وأطال في ذلك ثم قال:

Asħ-Sħaˆaraaniyy said: “Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin mentioned in the chapter on Ĥajj in Al-Futuuĥaat the following: ‘The pebbles we are throwing are seven, because the Satan always comes to the thrower there with seven seeds-of-doubt (misgivings). So, the thrower throws a pebble at each of these satanic suggestions. And the meaning of saying, " Allaahu-Akbar," with every thrown pebble is that Aļļaah is greater than what the Satan brought.’ He (Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin) explained this at length, then he said:”

The first pebble

إذا أتاك بخاطر الشبهة من إنكار الذات، فارمه بحصاة الافتقار إلى المرجح وهو أنه واجب الوجود لنفسه.

"If he comes to you with the satanic suggestion that Allah Himself does not exist, then throw at him the pebble that represents the absolute need of anything intrinsically possible-in-existence to have its possibility of non-existence outweighed by the One that makes it so (otherwise it would be non-existent); which means that He (Aļļaah) is intrinsically necessary in existence (so He does not need a creator as His existence is a must, and not a possibility).”

Background for understanding the meaning of the first pebble.

The actual existence of something can only be either intrinsically necessary to it or intrinsically possible. There is no third alternative. The intrinsically necessary to itself must exist, and its non-existence would be impossible. The intrinsically possible to itself might exist and it might not. The benefit of realizing this is that:

If something has a beginning it is only possible in existence.

If we can establish that something can cease to exist, or has a beginning, we can establish that it is possible in existence. Why is this true? Because its non-existence would then be possible, and hence its existence is not a must, but only intrinsically possible.

If something has an end, or could have an end, then it is only possible in existence.

This is because it’s non-existence is possible, and this means that its existence is not intrinsic to it.

The beginninglessly eternal does not accept non-existence.

This is because it is then clear that its existence is dependent on something else, and not intrinsic to it.

Moreover, if it accepted non-existence, then its period of existence would need to be specified. This means that it would then be only intrinsically possible in existence, because it depends on the specification of something else. This again means it would have a beginning, and it was assumed that it was beginningless, so this is a contradiction.

The beginninglessly eternal cannot be intrinsically possible in existence, so it must be necessary.

If we establish something as beginninglessly eternal, we can know that its existence is necessary. How is that? Well, because if you said it is without a beginning, you would have said that it does not need something else to specify its existence.  This means that it must exist, and that its existence is intrinsic to itself.

The possible in existence must have a beginning.

That is, if something is possible in existence, it needs to be specified by something other than itself. After all, something that has many possible and alternative aspects to its existence, needs to have one alternative specified over another, such as the period of existence relative to other possible things. This other must be precedent to its existence to specify it, and it must be brought into existence according to this specification. This means that the possible cannot be beginningless, because it must have been brought into existence.

Moreover, if someone suggested that something possible in existence was beginningless, then he is saying that its existence is without prior non-existence. If it has no prior non-existence, however, then it would not be needing something else to exist. This means that its existence is intrinsic to it. Accordingly, it is self-contradictory to claim that something possible could be beginningless.

If something must exist due to something else, then it is intrinsically possible in existence.

If we say that something must exist, then this is either because of something else, or not. If it is because of something preceding it, then it is possible in existence. If it is not, then it is necessary in existence. This means that what must exist and is necessary in existence cannot end, because that would mean that its existence is not a must.

Clarifying what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin is saying

He is saying that our minds tells us that the world is not intrinsically necessary in existence, but needs to be brought into existence. The reason for this is that it changes all the time by moving, being still, changing in shape and color, changing in composition, and so on. To clarify, these changes entail the cessation of one characteristic and the emergence of another, which tells us that the attribute was only possible in existence, and not necessary.

This means again that the world needs specification for how it is at any point in time. This specification either comes from something else that is possible in existence, namely a cause that occurs, or from something necessary in existence. The latter is what we believe. It cannot come from something possible in the final analysis, because all intrinsically possible things have a beginning.

If one said that there was an eternal series of possibly existent things in the past, leading up to the existence of what exists today, then this is contradictory. The contradiction is that one would have to say that an infinite series of beginnings came to pass before today. This is a contradiction, because infinity cannot pass, that is, infinity cannot finish.

We know then, that this world must have been brought into existence by a being that is necessary in existence. The idea that Aļļaah does not exist is thereby refuted by “the absolute need of anything intrinsically possible-in-existence to have its possibility of non-existence outweighed by the One that makes it so.”

The second pebble

وإن أتاك بأنه جوهر فارمه بالحصاة الثانية. وهو الدليل على الافتقار للتحيز والوجود بالغير.

"And if he comes to you suggesting that Allah is an essence, then throw at him with the second pebble; which is the proof that any essence is in absolute need of space existing in dependence on something else.”

The categories of the intrinsically possible existence.

Existence is either said to be only possible or necessary or impossible. The necessarily existent is Allah; whereas the possibly existent is anything that could exist and depends on its existence on being created, as we have explained previously. The possibly existent is either going to be something that exists in itself or in something else.

1. If it exists in itself (not in something else), then it is either going to be in a place or not.

i. If it is not, then this is what is called the stripped essence (الجوهر المجرد), which was affirmed as existent by the Greek philosophers, but the vast majority of scholars denied its existence; as there is no proof of it.

ii. If it is in a place, it is called the indivisible particle Al-Jawhar Al-Fard (not to be confused with the atom because the atom is divisible into electrons, protons, etc…).

Note that what the two essences have in common is that they depend on others in their existence, because their existence in only intrinsically possible.

2. If it exists in something else, then this is incidental characteristics (al-ˆarađ)

Clarifying what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin is saying regarding the second pebble

He is saying that Aļļaah cannot be an essence, because essences are dependent in their existence, and therefore only possible. They need to be brought into existence by something else. For something in a space this is clear, because the position of the space and the amount of space can only be something possible. After all, if something is in a particular position, then it could just as well have been in another, which means that the position is possible. Likewise, the amount of space it occupies is possible, because it could be bigger and it could be smaller depending on its specification.

Even if it was hypothesized to be a stripped essence, that is, without space, it would still have to be created. This is because it is impossible that there should be two or more that are all intrinsically necessary in existence. The reason is that they would either be completely identical or different. They cannot be completely identical, because this would mean that they would not be different at all, which would mean that they are not more than one in the first place. If they were different, then they would need specification in terms of which one should have which eternal attribute to distinguish it, which would make them both in need of specification and therefore possible in existence.

The third pebble

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy continues his narration from Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin:

وإن أتاك بخاطر الجسمية، فارمه بحصاة الافتقار إلى الأداة والتركيب والأبعاض.

"So, if he comes to you with the suggestion of anthropomorphism (believing that Allah has bodily characteristics), then throw at him the pebble of (all bodies) need for instruments, composition and parts.”

Clarifying what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin is saying regarding the third pebble

He is saying that a body is intrinsically dependent in its existence on having instruments, being composed and having parts coming together. This necessitates specification, which means it is only possible in existence, and Aļļaah’s existence must be necessary, or it would not be eternal. Note that it does not matter whether these parts of claimed to be inseparable or not, because having a tangible border necessitates specification of this border, which means that anything with a tangible border is only possible in existence.

Moreover, bodies or particles are either moving or still. First, a body that is moving, must have a beginning, because being in a place at a point of time has a before and an after. The beginninglessly eternal cannot be something that reaches a point which has a before and an after, because any such hypothetical point will have beginningless eternity ending before it, and this is contradictory. Moreover, if it was eternally moving, then its movement would be infinite in distance, and moving across an infinite distance cannot be concluded, which means that no existing body could have been eternally moving. Furthermore, if movement was an eternal attribute, then it would be necessary, and could never end, and we know without a doubt that movements can end.

If it is argued that a body could be still in eternity and not moving, then this would mean that it could never move; because it would mean that stillness is an eternal attribute without a beginning; that it is “beginninglessly still.”We know, however, that any object in a particular position could be in another one. This means that it must be possible, and not necessary, and therefore not eternal.

The fourth pebble

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy continues his narration:

وإن أتاك بالعرضية فارمه بحصاة الافتقار إلى المحل والحدوث بعد أن لم يكن.

"And if he comes to you with the suggestion of incidental/temporal characteristics then throw at him the pebble of need of something to exist in, and that of existence after non-existence.”

Clarifying what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin is saying regarding the fourth pebble

Incidental characteristics are attributes of essences, like taking a place, movement, color, shape, odor, softness, sound, ideas, sequence, feelings, emotions, drives, needs, change, etc… These all need an essence to exist in, and essences can only be possible in existence, as they need to have their incidental characteristics specified.

The fifth pebble

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy continues his narration:

وإن أتاك بالعِلّية، فارمه بالحصاة الخامسة وهي كان الله ولا شيء معه.

"If he comes to you with the suggestion of ‘cause’, (which is the satanic suggestion that the effect is eternal with Him in existence,) then throw at him the fifth pebble, which is the affirmation that Allah existed and there was nothing else existing with Him.”

Clarifying what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin is saying regarding the fifth pebble.

The Greek philosophers believed that Allah is the cause of the world’s existence not by choice (i.e. He did not create by choice, according to them). This meant that they believed one or more creations to be eternal. Similarly, Ibn Taymiyyah believed that the world (i.e. other than Aļļaah) is eternal, even though no particular creation is eternal. He says:

It is a necessity of Aļļaah’s self to act, but not an act in particular, and not having something done in particular, so there is no eternal object in the world, and He is not eternally a complete influencer for anything (to exist) in the world, but He has in beginningless eternity always been a complete influencer for something (to exist), one after another…[1] (Aş-Şafadiyyah, 2/97)

Note that his statement “It is a necessity of Aļļaah’s self to act, but not an act in particular,” means that Aļļaah has no choice but to create something. This is a plain ascription of flaw to the Creator, and the one that has such a belief is light years away from being anything that can be called a Muslim. All Muslims must believe that Aļļaah does not need to, and is not compelled to, or obligated to, create at all, and does not achieve more perfection by it.

These claims of the philosophers and Ibn Taymiyyah then, contradict the Islamic belief. This is as indicated by the Qur’aan:

"وهُوَ الأَوَّلُ",

Meaning: "He is Al-Awwal[2].” (Al-Ĥadiid, 03)." This means that He existed before everything else, and that He was not preceded by non-existence or the existence of something else . Al-Bukħaariyy[3] narrated that the Prophet Muĥammad r said:

"كان الله ولم يَكُنْ شَيْءٌ غَيْرُهُ"

"Aļļaah existed and there was nothing else" (Bukħaariyy No. 3019) Aļļaah’s existence then, does not resemble the existence of created things. It is a beginning-less, eternal and necessary existence, and is not affected by anything, or shared with anything. This is what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin meant by “the affirmation that Allah existed and there was nothing else existing with Him.”

One important point needs to be stressed: Beginningless Eternity is not a past time. Rather, it is an expression by which we mean the existence of Aļļaah with the non-existence of time, place and all creation. Our minds naturally want to know what this precedence of the Creator with respect to His creation is. It is not in time, however, because time is possible in existence, as it is parts (moments) following each other in sequence, and these parts are definitely not eternal. The whole of time then, is made up of possible parts, and is therefore only possible in existence. Accordingly, the precedence of its Creator cannot be in time, not the least because that would make Him both in time and not in time, which is self-contradictory.

The reality of this, however, is not something the mind can grasp, because anything that enters the mind is in a situation of time. That is why Aļļaah being precedent is known by us in general, but not in detail or comprehensively.

وَرَبُّكَ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيَخْتَارُ [القصص : 68]

Meaning: “Your Lord creates what He wills and chooses what He wills; nothing obligates Him and nothing prevents Him[4].” (Al-Qişaş, 68) (Tafsiir Al-Bayđaawiyy, 4/301)

The sixth pebble

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy continues his narration:

وإن أتاك بالطبيعة فارمه بالحصاة السادسة وهي دليل نسبة الكثرة إليه، وافتقار كل واحد من آحاد الطبيعة إلى الأمر الآخر في الاجتماع به إلى إيجاد الأجسام الطبيعية، فإن الطبيعة مجموع فاعلين ومفعولين حرارة وبرودة؛ ورطوبة ويبوسة، ولا يصح اجتماعها لذاتها ولا افتراقها لذاتها ولا وجود لها إلا في عين الحار والبارد والرطب واليابس.

"And if he comes to you with suggesting ‘nature’, then throw at him with the sixth pebble; which is the proof that (possible) multitude is dependent on Him in existence, and the need of each one of the natural elements for something else to join with in order to (hypothetically) bring natural bodies into existence.

For verily, nature is a collection of things that are actors and acted upon; respectively, heat and cold vs. moisture and dryness. And it is not correct that they get together (by intrinsic necessity) in themselves, nor that they separate by themselves (because these are possibilities in need of specification, and not necessities.) And they don’t exist except in the thing that is hot or cold, or moist or dry.”

Clarifying what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin is saying regarding the sixth pebble

He is saying that since nature (the tempers: heat, cold, moisture, dryness, movement, etc.) are all possible in themselves. Moreover, they can’t exist without an essence to be in, which brings us back to the second proof which is that any essence needs a creator (because such an essence is only possible in existence). What he says here applies to modern atheists as well, who speaks of “natural laws,” such as gravity, as there is no gravity without bodies, and bodies cannot be eternal.

The seventh pebble

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy continues his narration:

وإن أتاك بالعدم وقال لك فإذا لم يكن الحق هذا ولا هذا من جميع ما تقدم فما ثمّ شيء، فارمه بالحصاة السابعة وهي دليل آثاره في الممكن، ومعلوم أن العدم لا تأثير له، وهو كلام نفيس.

"And if he comes to you suggesting ‘non-existence’ and says to you, ‘if Allah is not this and not that of all the things that have been mentioned previously, then there is nothing existing left!’ Then throw at him the seventh pebble, which is the proof of His influence on the possibly existing, and it is well known that what is non-existing cannot influence anything.”(Al-ˆUhuud Al-Muĥammadiyyah, 188)

Clarifying what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin is saying regarding the seventh pebble

We know that Allah exists because this world can only be possible in existence, and therefore needs a Creator. This Creator then, definitely exists. He is not, however, anything like what we have perceived by our senses in this life. If He was, then He Himself would only be possible in existence and in need of a Creator. That is why Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin denied Aļļaah being an essence, anthropomorphism, being or having incidental/temporal characteristics, being a cause or nature. Human nature, however, is to imagine the reality of something it has not perceived, in terms of what has been seen. For this reason, denying that Aļļaah is like anything one knows, the feeble minded may jump to the conclusion that He is non-existent. This is fallacious, because it assumes that anything existing must be like what one has experienced, and this is completely unfounded.

Instead, as Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin indicates, one knows that Aļļaah exists by the existence of possible things, and rejects likeness to creation for the same reason, namely that anything like creation would itself need a creator. This is as narrated authentically by Ibn Ĥajar in Fatĥu-l-Baarii[5] from Ibn ˆAbbaas[6],

“تفكروا في كل شيء ولا تفكروا في ذات الله”

"Ponder about everything, but do not ponder about the Self of Aļļaah." (Fatĥu-l-Baarii, 13/383) .

He said this because such dwelling leads one to draw analogies between the Creator and the created, which is blasphemy. Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy said:

هذا ذكر بيان عقيدة أهل السنة والجماعة…. ومن وصف الله بمعنى من معاني البشر فقد كفر…. وتعالى الله عن الحدود والغايات والأركان والأعضاء والأدوات…. لا تحويه الجهات الست كسائر المبتدعات…. ولا نخوض في الله

This is a detailed remembrance of the belief of the People of the Sunnah and (following) the Jamaaˆah…. Whoever attributed to Aļļaah an attribute that has a meaning among the meanings that apply to humans has committed blasphemy…. Aļļaah is clear of and above having limits, extremes, corners, limbs or instruments…. The six directions (up, down, front, back, left and right) do not contain Him unlike all created things…. We do not engross ourselves in (thinking about the reality of) Aļļaah.

This completes the discussion on what Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy narrated from Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin regarding the pebbles, wa laa quwwata illaa billaah.


Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002). Az-Zirikliyy. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar El-Ilm Lil-Malayeen, 1423.

Al-Yawaaqiitu wa-l-Jawaahir. ˆAbdulWahhaab Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy (898-973 AH/ 1493-1565 AD). Egypt: Al-Maba’ah al-Maymanyah. 12 Sep 2009 <http://www.archive.org/details/alyawqtwaaljawhi00sharuoft&gt;.

Aş-Şafadiyyah. Aĥmad Ibn Taymiyyah (728 AH) Al-Ĥarraaniyy. Egypt: Maktabah Ibn Taymiyyah, 1406.

Fatĥu-l-Baarii Sħarĥu Şaĥiiĥi-l-Bukħaariyy. Ibn Ĥajar Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Marefah, 1379.

Lawaaqiĥu-l-‘Anwaari-l-Qudsiyyah Fii Bayaani-l-ˆUhuud Al-Muĥammadiyyah. ˆAbdulWahhab Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy (898-973 AH/ 1493-1565 AD). Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Kotob Al-ilmiya, 2005.

Tafsiir Al-Bayđaawiyy. Al-Bayđaawiyy (685 AH/ 1286 AD), NaşirudDiin. Beirut, Lebanon: Daar Al-Fikr.

[1]قال ابن تيمية في الصفدية (2 / 97): وحينئذ فالذي هو من لوازم ذاته نوع الفعل لا فعل معين ولا مفعول معين فلا يكون في العالم شيء قديم وحينئذ لا يكون في الأزل مؤثرا تاما في شيء من العالم ولكن لم يزل مؤثرا تاما في شيء بعد شيء وكل أثر يوجد عند حصول كمال التأثير فيه.

[2]The word "awwal" in Arabic means "first", but its meaning when referring to Aļļaah is as stated.

[3]Muĥammad ibn Ismaaˆiil ibn Ibraahiim ibn al-Mugħiirah Al-Bukħaariyy (194 h. – 256 h.) is the author of the famous ĥadiitħ book “Şaĥiiĥ Al-Bukħaariyy”, which is recognized as the most authentic ĥadiitħ collection of all.

[4]تفسير البيضاوى (4 / 301): وربك يخلق ما يشاء ويختار ( لا موجب عليه ولا مانع له )

[5]Fatĥu-l-Baarii is the most important of all commentaries on Al-Bukħaariyy’s ĥadiitħ collection. It is written by Ibn Ĥajar Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy, who said that this narration from Ibn ˆAbbaas is good. Ibn Ĥajar is Aĥmad ibn ˆAliyy ibn Muĥammad Al-Kinaaniyy, Abuu Al-Fađl, SħihaabudDiin, Ibn Ĥajar (773-852 AH / 1372-1449 AD). He was the greatest scholar of ĥadiitħ in his time. He was also a great historian, linguist and poet. He was born in ˆAsqalaan in Palestine, but died and is buried in Cairo where he was a judge for many years. He wrote many valuable works in the ĥadiitħ sciences that are widely used, but the greatest of them is his commentary on Şaĥiiĥ Al-Bukħaariyy called Fatĥu-l-Baari’. He was also appointed as head judge of Egypt in his time.

[6]Ibn ˆAbbaas was the son of the Prophet’s r paternal uncle Al-ˆAbbaas. The Prophet r asked Aļļaah to make him a great scholar, and so he became at an early age. The companions of the Prophet r called him “Turjumaan Al-Qur’aan” – the Translator of the Qur’aan.

Q&A: Mushirks on a sinking ship II

May 12, 2009

As a follow up on Mushirks on a sinking ship; we were asked the following:

Someone asked: _I need the to know the specific(not general) reason for revelation of these verses.  Why is the act of mushriks on a sinking ship specifically mentioned in several verses ?

Comment: Some mention that it was a habit of the Arabs to bring idols with them on their boats, and then if the going got tough, they would do as described. As they say,”there is no atheist on a sinking ship.” There seems to be something about sinking ships that makes it a solid reality call. Anyone who has been on the ocean in bad weather knows what I am speaking of. I guess the best way to describe it is: “A enormous unpredictable deathtrap not under any creature’s apparent control.” Ponder that.

Someone asked:_did the mushriks believe that only Allah can help in distress?  did the mushriks call other gods beside Allah when in distress?

Comment: They knew that Allaah is the true Creator, but the worshiped other than Him still. They believed that this was something that would make Allaah accept them. Note that we are speaking of actual worship here, not merely asking for help or intercession. The latter is based on the acknowledgment that some worshipers are more likely to have their prayers answered than others, and to be blessed in what they do. The former, however, is based on thinking that other than Allaah deserves worship. The difference between them is enormous.

Someone asked:_do you have any book/quote from sunni scholars on the mushrikeen belief of Allah/god?

Comment: Sure, there are many. For example, under the kinds of shirk, As-Sanuusiyy (895 AH) mentions 6 types of shirk. The 2nd and 3rd kinds mentioned are: “(2) Shirk of making close, which is to worship other than Aļļaah to (according to those who do it) get closer to Aļļaah (i.e His acceptance), such as the shirk of the predecessors of the Arabs of the Jaahiliyyah period. (3) Shirk of immitation, which is to worship other than Aļļaah because others are doing it, like the later generations of the Jaahiliyyah.” (Sħarĥu-l-Muqaddimaat, P. 46)

Ibn Al-Qayyim argues for the validity of calling the dead

September 17, 2008
Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah (691-751AH/ 1292-1350 AD), the second in command after the Grand Sħaykħ of Anthropomorphism (falsely believing Aļļaah is in a place or direction, like created things), Aĥmad Ibn Taymiyyah (661-728 AH/ 1263-1328 AD), makes an astonishing defense for someone that calls a dead person, in his book Ar-Ruuĥ (The Soul). This is astonishing, because it is him and his sħaykh that invented the saying that calling a person is shirk (worship of other than Aļļaah) unless he is alive and present. The following are some quotes from the book:After mentioning that one should fee shy from the dead when visiting the graveyard, because the dead perceive their visitor, he says:

“Even further than that; the dead knows about the works of the living among his relatives and brothers (P. 7).” Then he states:

“On this issue there are many narrations from the companions, and some of the relatives of ˆAbduļļaah ibn Rawaaĥah used to say, ‘O Aļļaah, verily I seek your protection from doing anything that I will be brought in shame for in the eyes of ˆAbduļļaah ibn Rawaaĥah.’ He (they) used to say this after the martyrdom of ˆAbduļļaah.

It is enough evidence regarding all this that the Muslim that visits the dead is called ‘visitor’, for if they did not perceive him, then if would be invalid to call him ‘visitor’. This is because the visited, if they do not know of the visit of the person visiting, then you cannot say, ‘he visited him.’ This is what is understood from ‘visiting’ by all nations. The same is the case for ‘greeting’, for greeting a person that has no perception, and does not know the greeter is impossible, and the Prophet taught his nation that if they visit graves, they should say ‘salaam ˆalaykum (Aļļaah’s peace be upon you) O People of the abodes that are Muslims, and verily we are by the will of Aļļaah catching up with you. May Aļļaah give mercy to those among us and you who go in advance and those that go later. We ask Aļļaah for safety for you and us.‘ In this there is greeting, addressing and calling of something existing that hears, addresses and understands and responds, even if the Muslim does not hear the response. Moreover, if the person prays nearby, then they witness this, know about his prayer, and wish they could do the same….” (Because the life of accountability has ended for them.)

Another place in the book, after mentioning a ĥadiitħ he states:”This ĥadiitħ expresses the speed of the dead’s soul’s movement from the Throne to the Earth, and then from the Earth (back) to its place, and for this Maalik and other imams said ‘the soul is set free, and goes wherever it wishes.‘ Furthermore, what people see of dead peoples’ souls and their coming to them from far away places is something known by people in general, and they do not doubt it…. and Aļļaah knows best.

As for the salam greeting to the people in their graves, and speaking to them; this does not mean that the souls are not in Paradise, and that they are in the graves (only), for the master of Humankind, whose soul is in the highest of places, in the care of Aļļaah; He is (also) in his grave and answers the salam greeting of a muslim. Moreover, Umar (the second kħaliifah, or ruler of all muslims), may Aļļaah give him mercy, agreed that the souls of the martyrs are in Paradise, and yet they are greeted at their graves, just like other people who have passed away. Similarly, the Prophet taught us to greet them, and the companions used to greet the martyrs of the battle of Uĥud. Moreover, it has been firmly established that their souls are in Paradise, going wherever they please, as mentioned earlier.

Your mind should not be so narrow as to not accept that the soul is in Paradise going wherever it pleases, and yet hears the greeting of a Muslim to him at his grave, and then goes down to answer it. The soul is another matter than the body (Ar-Ruuĥ, P. 101-102).”

Then he says:
“Among the things that one should know is that what we have mentioned regarding the soul is relative to the individual souls’ power, weakness, bigness, and smallness. So the great and large soul has among what we have mentioned what the lesser soul does not have, and you can see how the rules of the souls differ greatly in this world according to the souls’ differences in modality, power, slowness, speed and getting help…….. This is how it was while captivated in its body, so how would it be if it became independent and departed from the body, and its powers were gathered, and it was at the outset a lofty, pure and big soul with high sense of purpose??? This soul has after the departure a whole other importance and other actions. In this regard dreams have been collaboratively mass narrated among human kind about the actions of souls after their death, actions they were not able to do while in their bodies, such as one, two or a few souls defeating entire armies and the like. Very many people have seen the Prophet with Abu Bakr and ˆUmar in their sleep having defeated the armies of kufr and injustice, and then their armies are overwhelmed and crushed despite large numbers, and the weakness and small numbers of the Muslims (Ar-Ruuĥ, P. 102-103).”

So if this is what Ibn Al-Qayyim believes, then where is the shirk in calling a dead person for help? After all, as the author states, the great soul is even more able to help after death, than before death, and has perception of hearing all the way from Paradise to his grave. Even more so, who in his right mind will claim, after believing all this, that traveling to visit the Prophet’s grave is forbidden???

قال المؤلف :
-حدثنى محمد حدثنى أحمد بن سهل حدثنى رشد بن سعد عن رجل عن يزيد بن أبى حبيب ان سليم بن عمير مر على مقبرة وهو حاقن قد غلبه البول فقال له بعض أصحابه لو نزلت إلى هذه المقابر فبلت في بعض حفرها فبكى ثم قال سبحان الله والله إنى لأستحي من الأموات كما استحي من الأحياء ولولا أن الميت يشعر بذلك لما استحيا منه
-وأبلغ من ذلك أن الميت يعلم بعمل الحى من أقاربه وإخوانه
الروح  ج 1   ص 7-وهذا باب في آثار كثيرة عن الصحابة وكان بعض الأنصار من أقارب عبد الله بن رواحة يقول اللهم إنى أعوذ بك من عمل أخزى به عند عبد الله بن رواحة كان يقول ذلك بعد أن استشهد عبد الله ويكفي في هذا تسمية المسلم عليهم زائرا ولولا أنهم يشعرون به لما صح تسميته زائرا فإن المزور إن لم يعلم بزيارة من زاره لم يصح أن يقال زاره هذا هو المعقول من الزيارة عند جميع الأمم وكذلك السلام عليهم أيضا فإن السلام على من لا يشعر ولا يعلم بالمسلم محال وقد علم النبي أمته إذا زاروا القبور أن يقولوا سلام عليكم أهل الديار من المؤمنين والمسلمين وإنا إن شاء الله بكم لاحقون يرحم الله المستقدمين منا ومنكم والمستأخرين نسأل الله لنا ولكم العافية وهذا السلام والخطاب والنداء لموجود يسمع ويخاطب ويعقل ويردو إن لم يسمع المسلم الرد وإذا صلى الرجل قريبا منهم شاهدوه وعلموا صلاته وغبطوه على ذلك
الروح  ج 1   ص 8
-ففي هذا الحديث بيان سرعة انتقال أرواحهم من العرش إلى الثرى ثم انتقالها من الثرى إلى مكانها ولهذا قال مالك وغيره من الأئمة أن الروح مرسلة تذهب حيث شاءت وما يراه الناس من أرواح الموتى ومجيئهم إليهم من المكان البعيد أمر يعلمه عامة الناس ولا يشكون فيه والله أعلم

وأما السلام على أهل القبور وخطابهم فلا يدل على أن أرواحهم ليست في الجنة وأنها على أفنية القبور فهذا سيد ولد آدم الذي روحه في أعلى عليين مع الرفيق الأعلى عند قبره ويرد سلام المسلم عليه وقد وافق أبو عمر رحمه الله على أن أرواح الشهداء في الجنة ويسلم عليهم عند قبورهم كما يسلم على غيرهم كما علمنا النبي أن نسلم عليهم وكما كان الصحابة يسلمون على شهداء أحد وقد ثبت أن أرواحهم في الجنة تسرح حيث شاءت كما تقدم ولا يضيق عقلك عن كون الروح في الملأ الأعلى تسرح في الجنة حيث شاءت وتسمع سلام المسلم عليها عند قبرها وتدنو حتى ترد عليه السلام وللروح شأن آخر غير شأن البدن

الروح  ج 1   ص 101-102
-فصل ومما ينبغي أن يعلم أن ما ذكرنا من شأن الروح يختلف بحسب  حال الأرواح من القوة والضعف والكبر والصغر فللروح العظيمة الكبيرة من ذلك ما ليس لمن هو دونها وأنت ترى أحكام الأرواح في الدنيا كيف تتفاوت أعظم تفاوت بحسب تفارق الأرواح في كيفياتها وقواها وإبطائها وإسراعها والمعاونة لها فللروح المطلقة من أسر البدن وعلائقه وعوائقه من التصرف والقوة والنفاذ والهمة وسرعة الصعود إلى الله والتعلق بالله ما ليس للروح المهينة المحبوسة في علائق البدن وعوائقه فذا كان هذا وهي محبوسة في بدنها فكيف إذا تجردت وفارقته واجتمعت فيها قواها وكانت في أصل شأنها روحا علية زكيه كبيرة ذات همة عالية فهذه لها بعد مفارقة البدن شأن آخر وفعل آخر   وقد تواترت الرؤيا في أصناف بنى آدم على فعل الأرواح بعد موتها ما لا تقدر على مثله حال اتصالها بالبدن من هزيمة الجيوش الكثيرة بالواحد والاثنين والعدد القليل ونحو ذلك وكم قد رئى النبي ومعه أبو بكر وعمر في النوم قد هزمت أرواحهم عساكر الكفر والظلم فإذا بجيوشهم مغلوبة مكسورة مع كثرة عددهم وعددهم وضعف المؤمنين وقلتهم
الروح  ج 1   ص 102-103

–الروح في الكلام على أرواح الأموات والأحياء بالدلائل من الكتاب والسنة ، اسم المؤلف:  أبو عبد الله شمس الدين محمد بن أبي بكر بن أيوب بن سعد الزرعي الدمشقي الوفاة: 751 هـ ، دار النشر : دار الكتب العلمية – بيروت – 1395 – 1975

مرقاة المفاتيح ج8/ص216 : وفي شرح الشمائل لابن حجر قال ابن القيم عن شيخه ابن تيمية   أنه ذكر شيئاً بديعاً وهو أنه لما رأى ربه واضعاً يده بين كتفيه أكرم ذلك الموضع بالعذبة   قال العراقي لم نجد لذلك أصلاً يعني من السنة وقال ابن حجر بل هذا من قبل رأيهما وضلالهما إذ هو مبني على ما ذهبا إليه وأطالا في الاستدلال له والحط على أهل السنة في نفيهم له وهو إثبات الجهة والجسمية لله تعالى ولهما في هذا المقام من القبائح وسوء الاعتقاد ما تصم عنه الآذان ويقضي عليه بالزور والبهتان قبحهما الله وقبح من قال بقولهما
مرقاة المفاتيح شرح مشكاة المصابيح ، اسم المؤلف:  علي بن سلطان محمد القاري الوفاة: 1014هـ ، دار النشر : دار الكتب العلمية – لبنان/ بيروت – 1422هـ – 2001م ، الطبعة : الأولى ، تحقيق : جمال عيتاني

Q & A: A Few Questions Related to Tasawwuf

June 14, 2008

Someone asked: In the book “Muhammad: The Messenger of Islam” by Hajjah Amina Adil mentions a Hadith thats says Allah created the light of Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam from HIS OWN LIGHT. What does this mean? This can’t mean that Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallim is a part of God or that God took a part of Himself and made His Messenger which is a kufr concept, so what does this hadith really mean?

This hadith is of mysterious origins and not authenticated. To put it mildly: it cannot be used as a proof in Aqidah matters or to interpret plain statements in the Quran or sound hadiths. That being said, the phrase that was translated as “HIS OWN LIGHT” is a genitive (possessive) construction to indicate the importance of that light, like when someone says “Allah’s house” meaning the Ka`bah, not that Allah is in a place, because Allah existed before place and He did not change after it became existent.

Someone asked: And what do you say when some Sufis say that the Arabic words AHAD and AHMED are the same and the only difference is the Arabic letter Meem in AHMED which presents Muhammad, Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallim, so what do they mean by this, isn’t this sort of leading or implying shirk?

Imaginary talk without a linguistic basis.

Someone asked: And how do you make tawassul, what do you say when for example you want to make tawassul through Imam Nawawi for example? Do you raise your hands while calling on Imam Nawawi? Do you say “O Nawawi please ask Allah to cure me of a sickness.” How do you exactly do it?

The phrase: “O Nawawi please ask Allah to cure me of a sickness” is fine, as it is plain in being a mere request for intercession.

Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

Wahhabi Contentions: (1) Asharism and Sufism were Separate and Merged and (2) Calling to Other Than Allah is Shirk

May 25, 2008


assalamu ‘alaykum

Yasir Qadi says:

“The permissibility to make du`a to the dead is of course an import of (late) Sufism, and not pure Ash`ari thought. Although, of course, in our times the two movements (which, once upon a time, were distinct and separate), are now one. I have written and am presently writing a number of papers on the merging of these two movements. Basically, this issue goes back to the Ash`ari definition of ilah, which, as al-Razi and others state, means ‘the one who can independently create?’ Hence, if you don’t believe your dead Shaykh can create life or give you sustenance himself, but rather does so by a power given to him by Allah, this would not be shirk according to that definition. As we proved in our class ‘Light of Guidance,’ the Arabs of old also believe their idols were given powers by Allah, and did not claim they had independent powers. Additionally, our definition of shirk is taken from the Quran, and is ‘to give the rights of Allah to other than Allah,’ and du`a is a sole right of Allah. But all of this is a separate topic, meant for another article!”

Before Yasir Qadi posts his articles, my question is: Were the Sufis really a ‘separate’ movement than the Ash`aris. Is such an idea being spread out by the so called ‘Maliki-in-Fiqh-Salafi-in-Creed’ scholars of Mauritania? I am not aware of such from the Islamic Sunni institutions of Morocco.

jazak Allahi khayr


Yasir Qadi is merely a demagogue that uses rhetorical tricks rather than proofs, and knows how to manipulate his audience with a shipload of hidden assumptions. He likes to use words like “obviously,” “of course,” “everybody that is reasonable knows,” “we have proved elsewhere,” or “will prove in the future,” and the like, to dodge the fact that he cannot prove what he is saying. (I have highlighted them below for your amusement). And of course he is far too busy to engage in a proper dialogue. I have made some brief comments on what he said below:

Yasir Qadi says: The permissibility to make du`a to the dead is of course an import of (late) Sufism and not pure Ash`ari thought;

The issue here is what does he mean by du`a? If he means prayer, then no Muslim will disagree that it is kufr to make du`a to the dead. If, however, the meaning of du`a here is simply calling, without any sense of worship to the person called, then this is another matter.

Should someone claim that every du’a is worship then how would they understand the following verse in the Holy Qur’an:

لاَّ تَجْعَلُواْ دُعَآءَ الرَّسُولِ بَيْنَكُمْ كَدُعَآءِ بَعْضِكُمْ بَعْضاً
“Make not the addressing (du’a’) of the Prophet among you like your addressing one another…”

So basically we cannot interpret du`a to mean worship in every context. A call without worshiping the called upon is just a call, and it is not shirk. Moreover, calling a person who has died is done every day in every single one of the 5 daily prayers, where a Muslim says, “Ya Ayyuhan-Nabi,” i.e. “O Prophet!” Clearly then, calling a person who has died is not an import of late Sufism.

Yasir Qadi says: Although, of course, in our times the two movements (which, once upon a time, were distinct and separate), are now one. I have written and am presently writing a number of papers on the merging of these two movements.

Wahabism is a movement. It started about 200 years ago under the guidance of the books of Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Al-Qayyim, who were both chief heretics in their time. By playing the games of the Batiniyyah sects, hiding and lying about their real beliefs, they managed to preserve their necks, though there were a few close calls.

The Ash`ari school is not a movement, it is the school of the Sunni belief system. Its name comes from Abu Al-Hasan Al-Ash`ari, not because he made up the school’s belief, but because he defended, detailed and systematized the belief of Sunnis to the extent that most Sunni scholars after him cannot but admit that he is their imam. That is, either him, or Abu Mansur Al-Maturidi, who did the same thing as Ash`ari did at approximately the same time, but in another location.

Likewise Sufism has been around since the beginning, whether it went by that name or not. Sufism is simply the art of following Sunni Islam, while trying to distance oneself from the desires and vanities of this life. It is the science of applying Islam to one’s life to the fullest extent, especially on the inside.

Yasir Qadi says: Basically, this issue goes back to the Ash`ari definition of ilah, which, as al-Razi and others state, means ‘the one who can independently create’. Hence, if you don’t believe your dead Shaykh can create life or give you sustenance himself, but rather does so by a power given to him by Allah, this would not be shirk according to that definition.

This is a fallacious argument. How does saying that the word ‘ilah’ means ‘the one who can independently create’ also mean that something other than Allah can create? The definition does not say that there can be a ‘dependent creator.’ It simply says that Allah creates independently of anything or anyone. In fact, when you say that Allah creates independently, you are saying that Allah does not create through an agent, so it is implied that no one and nothing other than Allah creates, i.e. it is not possible that someone be given a power to create.

A person who believes that his dead Shaykh can create life and give sustenance by a power given to him by Allah is indeed a blasphemer. No Muslim believes that, and Sunni Sufis certainly do not believe that. Ash`aris do not believe that other than Allah can create. There is only one creator.

Note that by “create” we mean to bring into existence, or to have independent influence on events.

Yasir Qadi says: As we proved in our class ‘Light of Guidance’, the Arabs of old also believe their idols were given powers by Allah, and did not claim they had independent powers. Additionally, our definition of shirk is taken from the Quran, and is ‘to give the rights of Allah to other than Allah’, and du`a is a sole right of Allah. But all of this is a separate topic, meant for another article!

The du`a that is prayer, i.e. worship, is only for Allah. However, merely calling is not only for Allah. As usual the Wahabis have a great preoccupation with words, with an incredible blindness to the ranges of meaning behind them.

His definition of shirk is not very clear. What does he mean by ‘give the rights?’ For example, if I give Zakaat to an official collector, then it is Allah’s right that this money is given to the poor. So if the collector takes the money for himself (and he is rich), has he committed shirk according to Yasir? It is a strange definition.

A better definition of shirk is ‘to attribute to Allah a partner, part or a likeness to creation.’ This is because the belief in Allah’s Oneness is the belief that ‘He does not have a partner, part or a likeness to creation.’

Questioner says: Before Yasir Qadi posts his articles, my question is: Were the Sufis really a “separate” movement than the Ash’aris. Is such an idea being spread out by the so called ‘Maliki-in Fiqh-Salafi-in-Creed’ scholars of Mauritania? I am not aware of such from the Islamic Sunni institutions of Morocco.

Sufism is really just a branch of the Islamic sciences that a person focuses more or less on. It is not really a movement, although there are of course Sufi movements. So there is no separation between Sufism and Ash`arism. However, like in all the sciences, some scholars are more famous for one thing than the other. Then we also find those unique individuals that master them all. For example Al-Qushayri is a famous imam of both Ash`ari creed and Sufism.

The problem that Wahabis have with merely calling the name of a dead person comes from their belief that Allah is a kind of creature. This makes it difficult for them to come up with a way of thinking of themselves as monotheists. After all, since what they worship and call Allah (but isn’t actually Allah), is simply another physical thing, all physical things become potential rivals. This leads to paranoid delusions, such as thinking that calling the name of a dead person is shirk.

For a Muslim, however, the basis for monotheism is clear. It is the belief that Allah does not have a partner, parts or a likeness to creation. As long as one believes this, one has not committed shirk by calling a dead person, because one does not believe that the dead person has any power to create at all, but is merely a creation, whose calling may or may not correlate with a desired effect created by Allah.

Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji