The Kunya: Cowardice & Principles

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

It seems like, no matter the topic, posts online are eventually invaded by the rude comments of Abu so-and-so or Umm so-and-so.  In Arabic, “Abu” means “Father of” and “Umm” means “Mother of.”  This form of naming convention is a tetronym called a kunya in Arabic.  A quick background search on these people reveals everything from lion pictures, jihad flags, superheroes and even pictures of the forbidden.  In short, often times, these people are using a kunya to hide their identity.

Here are two axioms related to the use of a kunya that Ustadz Suhaib Webb heard from his teachers.

Firstly, if a person tries to act like a scholar or speak from a position of authority, using a kunya to hide his identity, then he is considered majhul, unknown, and his critiques or statements about faith rejected.

Secondly, and he heard this verbatim from his teacher in ahadits, Shaykh S’ad Jawish ash-Shafi’i: “An unknown critic is ignored.”

For that reason, the Maliki madzhab does not allow books written by unknown sources for religious guidance and fatawa  to be relied upon, and scholars of ahadits reject the criticism of an unknown person.  People who comment with a kunya, hiding their identity so they can critique, intimidate others or claim religious authority, are not only contradicting the faith they claim to love, but should be called out for their cowardice and ignored.  The same for those who post blogs that attack others, hiding their identity.  For those who use a kunya sincerely with the intention to follow the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.), this post does not apply to them.

So, the next time an unknown bully tries to intimidate us, or take over our comments section, please feel free to send this their way.


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