New Khwarijism

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from “New Kharijism” by Dr. Jibril Fu’ad Haddad. 

Among the signs of the Hour mentioned by the Prophet (s.a.w.) in the well-known hadits of Jibril (a.s.), in Swahih al-Bukhari, is “when the destitute camel herders compete in building tall structures.”  Another version in Swahih al-Bukhari has, “when the barefoot and the naked are the heads of the people.” In Swahih Muslim, there is “you shall see the barefoot, naked, indigent shepherds compete in building tall structures.”  Another version in Swahih Muslim says, “when the naked and barefoot are the top leaders of the people.”  A third version in Swahih Muslim has, “when you see that the barefoot and naked, the deaf and dumb are the kings of the Earth.” 

Imam Shihab ad-Din Abu al-Fadhl Ahmad ibn ‘Ali ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.) wrote, in commenting this passage of the hadits in Fath al-Bari, “It was said that ‘barefoot and naked’, ‘deaf and dumb’, are their attributes by way of hyperbole, showing how coarse they are.  That is, they did not use their hearing or sight in anything concerning their religion even though they are of perfectly sound senses.  The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) words, ‘The heads of the people’ means the kings of the Earth.  Abu Farwah’s narration names the kings explicitly.  What is meant by them is the people of the desert country, as was made explicit in Sulayman at-Taymi’s and other narrations, ‘Who are the barefoot and naked?’ 

He answered, ‘The Bedouin Arabs.’  ath-Thabarani related through Abu Hamzah, on the authority of ibn ‘Abbas, from the Prophet (s.a.w.), that ‘one of the signs of the change of the religion is the affectation of eloquence by the rabble and their betaking to palaces in big cities.’ 

al-Qurthubi said, ‘What is meant here is the prediction of a reversal in society whereby the people of the desert country will take over the conduct of affairs and rule every region by force.  They will become extremely rich and their primary concern will be to erect tall buildings and take pride in them.’ 

We have witnessed this, in our time as well as the import of the hadits, ‘The Hour will not rise until the happiest man will be the depraved son of a depraved father,’ and ‘if the leadership is entrusted to those unfit for it, expect the Hour,’ both in the authentic collections.” 

As a consequence of this reversal of values in the perfect society which true Islam is designed to create, we now see wars of exclusion being waged everywhere in the name of Islam - doctrinal, political, and physical wars.  For violence is the most harmful legacy of this school to society while skepticism is its legacy to the individual.  These two phenomena: depraved leadership and exclusionism, are therefore the mainstays of New Kharijism in our time.  What clearer proof of this than what took place in Makkah on the 20th November 1979, when hundreds of armed men seized the Mosque under the 36-year-old Juhayman ibn Muhammad ibn Sayf al-‘Utaybi and proclaimed him as the new leader of the country.  They held it for two weeks during which they practiced worse than zina with the women they held captive and those they had brought with them.  The New York Times wrote, “There were hundreds of casualties on both sides before Saudi forces were able to drag out the last remnant of what by then was a bunch of filthy, bedraggled young men.”  al-‘Utaybi and sixty-three of the captured were later executed by public beheading without any protest from anyone.  Who taught these wild young people their ways?  Imam Yusuf ibn Isma’il an-Nabhani (q,s,) said, addressing the followers of ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Baz, said, “Your teacher was their teacher.” 

But before we speak of the modern phenomenon of New Kharijism it is important to define the principal constituents of Khwarij doctrines.  The sect of the Khwarij lived in the time of the Successors of the Companions.  They were a large group of several tens of thousands of Muslims comprising mostly Qur’an memorisers and devoted worshippers who prayed and fasted above the norm.  They declared the totality of the Companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and whoever of the Muslims were with them to be apostate disbelievers and took up arms against them.  Consequently, some of the ‘ulama of Ahl as-Sunnah argued that the Khwarij themselves had left Islam for committing such acts. 

Imam Abu Manswur ‘Abd al-Qahir ibn Thahir al-Baghdadi (r.a.) wrote, in the beginning of his Farq Bayn al-Firaq, “The Khwarij are considered legally to belong to the ummah in certain rulings such as burial in Muslim cemeteries, share in the spoils of war, praying in the masjids; and they are outside the ummah in other rulings, such as not being prayed upon after death, nor does one pray behind them in life, their dzabihah is haram not halal, their marriage with a Sunni woman is invalid, and a Sunni man is forbidden from marrying one of their women if she adheres to their doctrines. 

‘Ali ibn Abu Thalib said to the Khwarij, ‘Our responsibility towards you is threefold: we shall not initiate fighting with you; we will not prevent you from praying in the mosques of Allah in which His Name is remembered; we do not prevent you from your share in the spoils as long as you fight with us.’” 

Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ash-Shawkani (r.a.), in his Nayl al-Awthar min Asrar Muntaqa al-Akhyar, reported that there is disagreement whether the Khwarij are disbelievers or Muslims.  ibn al-‘Arabi al-Maliki said that the correct position is they are disbelievers on the basis of the hadiths of the Prophet, ‘They shall leave the religion’ and ‘I would kill them like the people of ‘Aad,’ while al-Khaththabi said they remain a Muslim sect despite their misguidance and that it is permitted to intermarry with them and eat their dzabihah, and that they are not declared kafir ‘as long as they adhere to the foundation of Islam.’”  Imam ibn Hajar (r.a.) related the above in his Fath al-Bari. 

It is known that Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) prayed behind the Khwarij.  However, Imam Taqi’ ad-Din Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali ibn ‘Abd al-Kafi’ as-Subki (r.a.) wrote, in his Fatawa as-Subki fi Furu’ al-Fiqh ash-Shafi’i, “It has been argued that the Khwarij and the extremists among the Rawafidh were disbelievers because of their takfir of the eminent Companions, since such an act entails disbelief of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) testimony that they are bound for Paradise, and I consider this position the sound one.” 

The practices of takfir, declaring the Muslims apostate; and baghi, armed action, against the central Muslim authority, the Caliphate, became and continue to remain the hallmark of the Khwarij past and present.  In our time, this baghi and takfir took place in Northeastern Arabia at the turn of the 19th Century CE as mentioned by the scholars of Islam.  The name, “Khwarij”, is applied to those who part ways with the Muslims and declare them disbelievers, as took place in our time with the followers of, Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab who came out of Najd and attacked the Two Noble Sanctuaries.  This is found in Imam Muhammad Amin ibn ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abidin’s (r.a.), Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala ad-Durr al-Mukhtar, Bab al-Bughat. 

The Khwarij altered the interpretation of the Qur’an and sunnah, on the strength of which they declared it lawful to kill and take the property of Muslims as may now be seen in their modern counterparts, namely, a sect in the Hijaz called the Wahhabis.  This is found in Imam Ahmad ibn Muhammad asw-Swawi al-Maliki’s (r.a.) Hashiyat ‘ala Tafsir al-Jalalayn. 

The above excerpts are nothing new.  The categorisation of the Wahhabis as Khwarij has been a leitmotiv of Sunni heresiography for the past 200 years.  Only now, has it become politically incorrect among the ‘ulama.  Since the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924, the only manifestation of Khwarij to remain is the declaring of Muslims apostate.  The exercise of takfir and tashrik are, therefore, the chief marks by which neo-Khwarij can be recognised in our time.  They are those who address the Muslims with the shouts and libels of “kafir”, “mushrik”, “kufr”, “bid’ah”, “shirk”, “haram”, without proof nor justification other than their own vain lusts - and without solution other than exclusionism and violence against anyone that disagrees with them. 

They satisfy their consciences that such charges may carry capital punishment in Islam and so make light of the sanctity of life and the honor of their brethren.  As Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya ibn Sharaf an-Nawawi (r.a.) wrote, in Sharh Swahih Muslim, “Extremists are fanatic zealots who exceed bounds in words and deeds”.  So, to perpetrate takfir of the Muslims today makes anyone a Khwarij, regardless whether they calls themselves “Sunni”, “Salafi”, “Ash’ari”, “Shi’ah”, “Sufi”, or “Ibadhi”. 

The chief brand of New Kharijism distinguishes itself by three main principles which we may call their Uswul ats-Tsalatsah ‘inda al-Khawarij al-Jadidah.  The first is tajsim al-ma’bud, attributing a body to the object of Islamic worship, anthropomorphism of Allah (s.w.t.).  The second is adza al-Muswthafa, harming the Prophet (s.a.w.) through disrespect of his noble person, Mosque, grave, vestiges, Family and Companions, those who visit, love, and praise him; and disparaging or disdaining his intercessor-status.  The third is tafkik madzahib al-a’immah, dismantlement of the schools and methods of the Sunni a’immah of the Muslims past and present.  The last includes the a’immah of Sunni ‘aqidah, theology, such as Imam Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Isma’il al-Ash’ari (r.a.) and Imam Abu Manswur Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Maturidi (r.a.), and their schools; the a’immah of Sunni fiqh, jurisprudence, such as Imam Abu Hanifah Nu’man ibn Tsabit (r.a.), Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Malik ibn Anas (r.a.), Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi’i (r.a.), Imam Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hanbal, and their madzahib, schools; and the a’immah of taswawwuf, the science of soul-purification, such as Imam Abu al-Qasim al-Junayd ibn Muhammad al-Baghdadi (q.s.), Shaykh Muhyi ad-Din Abu Muhammad ibn Abu Swalih ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.), Imam Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali ibn ‘Abdullah ash-Shadzili (q.s.), Imam Ahmad ibn ‘Ali ar-Rifa’i (q.s.), Khwaja Mu’in ad-Din Hasan Shishty (q.s.), Imam Dhiya’ ad-Din Abu an-Najib ‘Abd al-Qadir as-Suhrawardi (q.s.), Shah Baha’ ad-Din Muhammad an-Naqshband (q.s.), Shaykh Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad at-Tijani (q.s.), and their thuruq, paths. 

Since all sincere Muslims are hold that Allah (s.w.t.) is Tanzih, Transcendent, and are people who love their Prophet (s.a.w.) , it follows that this third principle - dismantlement of Sunni Schools - is by far the most harmful tenet of New Kharijism in our time and its most devastating achievement.  This dismantlement has polluted pure belief with nagging doubts in our pious Salaf asw-Swalih, Muslim Predecessors, and a general arrogant rejection of Islamic authority resulting in libeling whoever follows a madzhab a “blind follower”, whoever adheres to the Sunni Ash’ari creed a “Jahmi nullifier of the Divine Attributes”, and whoever follows a Sufi path, a “shaykh-worshipping grave-lover”. 

These despicable labels are all the more ironic in light of the fact that it is usually those who apply them who are more aptly characterised by what they pretend to blame.  Thus, they accuse us of blind-following but are themselves immersed up to their necks in the blind-following of innovators such as Muhammad Naswir ad-Din al-Albani who confessed not having memorised the Book of Allah (s.w.t.) nor a single book of hadith; ibn Baz, the mufti of flip-flops, Thahir ibn Muhammad Swaliḥ al-Jaza’iri who decided who goes to Paradise and who goes to Hell, and countless others of those the Prophet (s.a.w.) warned us about in the hadits of “the minor scoundrels”. 

The hadits goes that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Just before the Anti-Christ there will be years of great deception in which people will disbelieve one who tells the truth and believe the liar.  They will distrust one who is trustworthy and trust one who is treacherous.  And the ruwaybidhah will speak.” 

They asked, “What is ar-ruwaybidhah?” 

He replied, “The minor scoundrel who will have his say in general affairs.” 

They accuse Muslims of worshipping shuyukh but they themselves enthrone, as their “Shaykh al-Islam”, Shaykh Taqi’ ad-Din Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Halim ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.). 

They accuse Muslims of Jahmism but follow the exact way of the Jahmiyyah, as described by their own idol, Hasan ibn ‘Ali al-Barbahari, in his Sharh Kitab as-Sunnah in that they consider licit the use of the sword against the ummah; contravene all those who came before them; investigate people with matters the Prophet (s.a.w.) never said nor any of his Companions; try to close mosques, humiliate Islam, and get rid of jihad; strive toward disunity; contradict the narrations of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and the Companions; argue on the basis of abrogated texts; use ambiguous texts as proofs; instill doubt in people over their religion; and argue concerning their Lord. 

Imam Yusuf an-Nabhani (q,s,) pointed out, they are the Mu’tazilah because they “concur with them in denying sainthood and saints.”  Some condemn the rendering “sainthood” and “saint” for “wilayah” and “wali” as Christian imports.  This is a specious objection as these are generic terms for holiness and holy persons while there is no confusion, for Muslims, over their specific referents in Islam, namely the reality of iman with taqwa’ and those who possess those qualities. 

Imam Abu al-Qasim ‘Abd al-Karim ibn Huzan al-Qushayri (r.a.) defined the wali as “one whose obedience attains permanence without interference of sin; whom Allah (s.w.t.) Preserves and Guards, in permanent fashion, from the failures of sin through the power of acts of obedience.”  This is found in Majmu’at Rasa’il ibn ‘Abidin of Imam ibn ‘Abidin (r.a.).  These are present in the ummah until the end of time, as stated by the Prophet (s.a.w.) in his mutawatir narration on the Victorious Group.  Yet the New Khwarijis in our time deny that they can be known. 

They also accuse Muslims of worshipping graves only because we insist on the sunnah of visiting the graves just as our Prophet (s.a.w.) insisted on it due to their reminder of the Hereafter.  It is an honour, therefore, to be taken to task for doing something which the Prophet (s.a.w.) loved to do and insisted upon.  When King Sa’ud ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz intervened with the Syrian government in the fifties to preserve the tombs of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) and Hafizh Abu al-Fida’ ‘Imad ad-Din Isma’il ibn ‘Umar ibn Katsir (r.a.) from obliteration at the time the University of Damascus was being built, why did no-one call him a quburi grave-lover? 

Another consequence of the dismantlement of the Sunni schools is the execration of fathers by sons as apostates and its hideous consequence on the fabric of traditional societies.  Africans tell the story of a young man sent to study shari’ah at great expense by his Sunni Muslim parents.  Upon his return a few years later he refused to eat a chicken slaughtered in his honour by his father on the grounds that “my father is a mushrik.”  What perverse trick or brain-washing is this, that turns a traditional Sunni Muslim sent by his pious parents to the fountainhead of Islam and the abode of the Last Prophet (s.a.w.) only for him to return as one who hates and despises his own parents - the greatest sin after polytheism?  Hardly anything can be uglier than a Muslim son declaring his Muslim father apostate after spending two or three years supposedly studying the Qur’an and the sunnah. 

Yet, uglier still is the further consequence of violence at the societal level wreaked by extremists on the Muslims of Syria, Egypt, Algeria, Afghanistan, Daghistan, Chechnya, and within the Indian Subcontinent.  The perpetrators are the graduates of Wahhabi thinkers such as the Egyptian ex-Socialist Sayyid Quthb Ibrahim Husayn, who considered that a Muslim is either a “revolutionist” or a disbeliever, in his book “World’s Peace and Islam”, and went so far as to declare all of the Islamic societies of his time apostate and fit to be overthrown before turning to the annihilation of non-Muslim states: “Islam is a force that runs to give freedom to all people on the Earth with no regard to the variety of their religious beliefs.  When this force meets with aberrant forces, it is its duty to struggle and annihilate them.”  This is found in “The Future is Islaam”.  In all this, no differences are tolerated for “Islam is a whole: its separated parts should be united and the differences removed,” just like the Khwarij of old.  This is found in “Social Justice in Islam”. 

Today, his spiritual children - such as the followers of Muhammad Taqi ad-Din ibn Ibrahim an-Nabhani, who are outlawed in most Muslim countries - tell us not to participate in government, not to sit on jury duty, nor vote, nor sit on interfaith terms, nor recite remembrance of Allah (s.w.t.) in collective gatherings of dzikr, nor commemorate the birthday of our Prophet (s.a.w.), neither the Mawlid, nor recite poetry in his honour, nor wear turbans and revive the vestimentary sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and the early Salaf, but to stay alone in our corner and plan destruction and hatred of all that is other than us. 

Our answer is that dzikrullah is the most excellent act of His servants and is stressed over a hundred times in the Qur’an.  It is the most praiseworthy work to earn His Pleasure, the most effective weapon to overcome the enemy, and the most deserving of deeds in Reward.  It is the flag of Islam, the polish of hearts, the essence of the science of faith, the immunisation against hypocrisy, the head of worship, and the key of all success.  Nor are there any restrictions on the modality, frequency, or timing of dhikr whatsoever.  The restrictions on modality pertain to certain specific obligatory acts which are not the issue here, such as swalah.  The shari’ah is clear and everyone knows what they have to do.  Indeed, the Prophet (s.a.w.) said that the People of Paradise will only regret one thing: not having made enough dzikr in the world. 

They want to convince traditional, moderate Muslims that “celebrating Mawlid does not earn you any reward in the Religion, you should mount fundraisers or media action alerts.”  But, as one sensible respondent said, Allah (s.w.t.) has Himself Promised to Give us Blessings for good works.  This could mean difficult things like being kind to one’s enemies or those who hurt us, a moderately easy thing like presenting a happy countenance to one’s spouse at all times, or even the simplest things like removing an obstacle from the thoroughfare.  In other words, all good deeds earn the doer blessings and merits from Allah (s.w.t.). 

Similarly, the propagators of the “Salafi” and Wahhabi movement and their sponsors are mounting a worldwide offensive to convince Muslims and the world that theirs is the only way on pains of sin and damnation.  To this end a vast campaign of publication has been under way since the early thirties, but whose efforts have redoubled since the eighties.  This campaign is waged on four fronts: Tampering of the motherbooks, “improving” on the motherbooks, reprinting of discredited and condemned Books, and publishing new books attacking Sufis and Ash’aris. 

A wanton, unethical manipulation of the great books of Islam has removed words or entire chapters from classical works by the great Imams such as al-Nawawi (r.a.), Imam asw-Swawi (r.a.), and Imam ibn ‘Abidin (r.a.), while Tafsir al-Jalalayn and Shaykh ‘Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali’s (r.a.) Tafsir have been reprinted with changes.  This corrupt tampering of the motherbooks has been documented at length. 

They publish unabashedly corrective comments on manuals whose contents have long since been established as normative in the scholarly Community of Islam.  For example, Swadr ad-Din Abu al-Ḥasan ‘Ali ibn Abu al-‘Izz’s (r.a.) commentary on Imam Abu Ja’far Ahmad ibn Muhammad ath-Thahawi’s (r.a.) ‘Aqidah ath-Thahawiyyah.  The latter is a normative classic of Islam, but ibn Abu al-‘Izz is an unknown, unacceptable as a source for Ahl al-Sunna teachings. Examples of his unreliability are his rejection of Imam ath-Thahawi’s (r.a.) Articles §35: “The Seeing of Allah by the People of the Garden is true, without their vision being all-encompassing and without the manner of their vision being known” and §38: “He is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having parts or limbs, nor is He contained by the six directions as all created things are”, by the statements, “Can any vision be rationally conceived without face-to-face encounter?  And in it there is a proof for His elevation over His creatures,” and “Whoever claims that Allah is seen without direction, let him verify his reason!”  This is found in in his Sharh al-‘Aqidah ath-Thahawiyyah.  There is also doubt as to ibn Abu al-‘Izz’s identity and authorship of this Sharh. 

al-Albani’s tiny supercommentary on ibn Abu al-‘Izz in which he attacks Imam ath-Thahawi’s (r.a.) preclusion of the concept of limbs and limits with relation to Allah (s.w.t.), and denies the authenticity of the manuscripts of the Thahawiyyah that carry the wording, “He Encompasses everything and all that is above the Throne],” affirming only the wording, “He Encompasses everything and is above it” on the proofless grounds that “there is nothing created above the Throne,” just like Imam Abu Muhammad ‘Ali ibn Ahmad ibn Hazm (r.a.) before him.   This is found in his Sharh wa Ta’liq al-‘Aqidah ath-Thahawiyyah. 

Further examples, include ibn Baz’s abortive comments on Imam ibn Hajr’s (r.a.) monumental Fath al-Bari, and Mashhur ibn Hasan as-Salman’s shameless audacity in authoring an entire book casting aspersions on the doctrine of Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.).  And then there is Muhammad Khalil Harras’ disparaging edition of Imam Abu al-Fadhl ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuthi’s (q.s.) classic on the immense merits of the Prophet (s.a.w.), Khaswa’isw al-Kubra, where he accused him of including forgeries and flimsy Israelite stories as well as “showing fanaticism for the Prophet that brings one out of Islam.”  Imagine, Imam as-Suyuthi (q.s.), a major hadits master of undisputed science, asceticism, and piety who reached mujtahid status, being called a fanatic apostate by a mediocre Azhar graduate derided even by his fellow “Salafis” for his ignorance of the science of hadits. 

Not content to fiddle with the motherbooks of the Ahl as-Sunnah, they also find fault with the minor books which they save from oblivion, publish, edit, and distribute far and wide even when it comes to gainsaying their own putative authorities.  The latter aspect is a patent illustration of the principle that each new generation of innovators rejects the previous one as too moderate. 

Muhammad Hamid al-Fiqqi objected apoplectically to Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) in his edition of the latter’s Iqtidha’ asw-Swirath al-Mustaqim, in the section, “Innovated festivities of time and place” for his saying “some people innovate a celebration out of love for the Prophet (s.a.w.). and to exalt him, and Allah (s.w.t.) may Reward them for this love and striving,” with a two-page footnote exclaiming, “How can they possibly obtain a reward for this?  What striving is in this?”  Mashhur as-Salman objected to Shaykh Shihab ad-Din Abu Shama Abu al-Kasim ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Isma’il al- Maqdisi (r.a.) with similar passion, in the edition of his Ba’its ‘ala Inkar al-Bid’ah wa al-Hawadits for his calling the celebration of Mawlid, “Truly a praiseworthy innovation and a blessed one.” 

This is exactly what is happening today with “Salafi” and Wahhabi books previously condemned by Ahl al-Sunnah as anthropomorphist and heretical, presently being recirculated by the combined efforts of heavy financing, deviant teaching, internet and book publishing, and biased editorship. Among those books are Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi’s Kitab al-Tawhid, which they have raised, through the power of free distribution and “dumping” on the book market, to the perceived status of classic when it is in fact replete with strange statements and doctrinal errors such as calling the Ash’aris “Nullifiers of the Divine Attributes”, declaring the lesser shirk an integral part of the greater shirk; deprecating the understanding of “the elite of people today” for tawhid; stating that Abu Jahl ‘Amr ibn Hisham al-Makhzumi knew “Laa ilaha illa Allah” better than the ‘ulama; attributing the beginning of shirk on Earth to the act of the people of knowledge and religion; caused by their love for saints; and misinterpreting the hadits “do not make my grave an idol” to mean, “do not even pray near it” whereas the agreed-upon meaning is, “Do not pray towards or on top of it”. 

He stated verbatim, “The disbelievers who know their disbelief are better-guided than the believers”.  He also stated, “Among the polytheists are those who love Allah with a tremendous love”; and, “The Muslim was named a worshipper of the dinar and dirham”.  He showed undisguised loathing of the awliya’, the ‘ulama, and the mass of the Muslims: “Conditions decayed to this extent, so that, among most, worshipping the monks is the best deed and is called wilayat, while worshipping the doctors of the Law is ‘knowledge’ and ‘jurisprudence.’  Then conditions decayed further, until those who were not even saints were worshipped besides Allah, and, in the second rank, those who were ignorant.” 

He also stated that belief and disbelief “can be found in a single heart”, in violation of the verse: 

سُوۡرَةُ الاٴحزَاب

مَّا جَعَلَ ٱللَّهُ لِرَجُلٍ۬ مِّن قَلۡبَيۡنِ فِى جَوۡفِهِۦ‌ۚ (٤) 

Allah has not made for any man two hearts in his (one) body … (Surah al-Ahzab:4) 

This and the previous four concepts are fundamental to understand their propagation of mutual suspicion among Muslims.  He also equated the Qaswidah al-Burdah to setting up an equal to Allah (s.w.t.).  He attributed shirk to prophets “in name, not in reality.”  He also stated explicitly that Allah (s.w.t.) has two hands: the right holds the Heavens and the other holds the Earth, and the other is explicitly named the left hand. 

Kitab as-Sunnah, allegedly by Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.), is a foundational book of the Wahhabi creed, and work of frank polytheism.  It was renamed ash-Shirk by Imam Fakhr ad-Din Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn ‘Umar ar-Razi (r.a.).  Imam Shu’ayb ibn Muharram al-Albani al-Arna’uthi (r.a.) said “at least half of the ahadits are weak or outright forgeries”.  Its edition was sponsored by ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abd ar-Rahman as-Sa’ud and a Jiddah businessman named Muhammad Naswif, in Cairo in 1349 AH / 1930 CE at al-Matba’ah as-Salafiyyah.  This was followed by two editions by Muhammad as-Sa’id Basyuni az-Zaghlul, who based his work on the 1930 edition; and by Muhammad al-Qahtani, an Umm al-Qurra’ University graduate and author of al-Wala’ wa al-Bara’, a book that counts relying on the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) intercession among the “ten actions that negate Islam” although denying his intercession constitutes apostasy.  Shaykh Muhammad Zahid Kawtsari al-Hanafi lambasted Kitab as-Sunnah as a collection of anthropomorphist forgeries in his Maqalat, and renamed it Kitab al-Zaygh, “Book of Deviation”. 

The book actually attributed to Imam Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hanbal (r.a.), the statement, “Allah spoke to Musa from His mouth, and He handed him the Torah from His hand to his hand.”  Imam Shams ad-Din Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ahmad adz-Dzahabi (r.a.) blasted this narration and exclaimed, “By Allah!  The Imam never said these things.  May Allah destroy the one who forged them!”  He continued, “Look at the ignorance of the hadits scholars, who narrate such nonsense without a thought.” 

The same Muhammad Naswif financed the attack on Imam al-Kawtsari (r.a.) and the Hanafi School by ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Mu’allimi al-Yamani, entitled Tankil li Ma Waradat fi Ta’nib al-Kawtsari min al-Abathil.  In this book, al-Mu’allimi declared, “Allah has a body unlike bodies.” 

The same Muhammad Naswif financed the reprinting of Mulla Nur ad-Din Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Sulthan Muhammad al-Hirawi al-Qari’s (r.a.) hapless fatwa that the parents of the Prophet (s.a.w.) are in hellfire.  Mashhur Salman once again reprinted it recently with additional poisonous comments.  The same Muhammad Naswif financed the dissemination, in India, of the derogatory part of Hafizh Khathib al-Baghdadi Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn ‘Ali ash-Shafi’i’s (r.a.) biography of Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.), from Tarikh al-Baghdadi, with an Urdu translation and the part of Imam Abu Bakr ‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Shaybah’s (r.a.) Muswannaf attacking the Imam, also with an Urdu translation. 

The Wahhabis are guilty of reviving and freely distributing the previously condemned works of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), such as the Fatwa al-Hamawiyyah, which was lambasted in his own lifetime by Imam Shihab ad-Din Ahmad ibn Jahbal al-Halabi (r.a.), whom Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) called “the mufti of the Muslims in his time”.  They published ‘Aqidah al-Wasithiyyah, which received an edition by Harras and another one by Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Swalih al-‘Utsaymin, and others of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) questionable books such as Sharh Hadits an-Nuzul li Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah, Furqan bayna Awliya’ ar-Rahman wa Awliya’ ash-Shaythan, Iqtidha’ asw-Swirath al-Mustaqim, Qa’idah Jalilah fi at-Tawassul wa al-Wasilah, Ziyarat al-Qubur wa al-Istinjad bi al-Maqbur, and others. 

The Wahhabis are also guilty of reviving and freely distributing the previously condemned of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) student, Imam Shams ad-Din Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (r.a.) that are chock-full of anthropomorphic notions, forged reports, and rabid hatred of the Ash’ari school, such as Qaswidah al-Nuniyyah and Ijtima’ al-Juyush al-Islamiyyah which cited such reports as, “Honour the cow, for it has not lifted its head to the sky since the golden calf was worshipped, out of shame before Allah,” a forgery apparently intended to encourage Muslims to believe that Allah (s.w.t.) is physically above the sky. 

The Wahhabis reprinted Khwaja Abu Isma’il ‘Abdullah al-Hirawi al-Answari’s (q.s.) Dzamm ‘Ilm al-Kalam wa Ahlihi.  This book was reviled by Imam ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani (q.s.), who forbade his students to read it and cited it as a prime example of bad writing.  This was related by his student, Imam Shams ad-Din Muhammad ibn ‘Abd ar-Rahman as-Sakhawi (r.a.), in Jawahir wa ad-Durar fi Tarjamat Shaykh al-Islam ibn Hajar.  The conservative scholars of the Hanbali school and the Atsari theology criticised Islamic theology’s engagement with the philosophical method, and criticised the use of manthiq, due to it is adoption of Aristotelian concepts.  Flooding the market with these books gave the ignorant the impression that these fringe positions were central part of scholarship. 

The Wahhabis reprinted Burhan ad-Din Ibrahim ibn ‘Umar al-Biqa’i’s takfîr of Shaykh Muhyi ad-Din Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘Arabi (q.s.), in his Masra’ at-Taswawwuf aw Tanbih al-Ghabi Ila Takfir ibn ‘Arabi  al-Biqa’i had been the object of contempt for this fatwa and for similar views about Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali (r.a.) and others, as revealed by Imam Shibab ad-Din Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hajr al-Haytsami (r.a.), in his Fatawa al-Haditsiyyah, and by al-Biqa’i’s own student, Imam as-Suyuthi (q.s.), who rebutted him with his fatwa, Tanbih al-Ghabi fi Takhtiyyat ibn ‘Arabi. 

Muhammad Ahmad ‘Abd as-Salam wrote a book attacking the Sufis for keeping the lesser-known sunan prayers such as swalah adh-dhuha’ and swalah al-awwabin, which Wahhabis reject as spurious despite solid proofs among the texts and the general agreement of the elite of this ummah.  His book was refuted by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir ‘Isa Diyyab’s (q.s.) Mizan al-‘Adil li Tamyiz al-Haqq min al-Bathil. 

Muhammad al-Shuqayri wrote Sunnah wa al-Mubtada’at, in which he violated the most elementary rules of language and displayed his terminal ignorance of sunnah and bid’ah, although the latter is their favorite topic.  He showed blind fanaticism and attacked the scholars of the ummah as innovators on the misconceived basis of the hadits.  He was refuted by Sayyid ‘Abdullah Mahfuzh al-Haddad’s Sunnah wa al-Bid’ah. 

And then we have the case of ibn Abu al-‘Izz.  Shaykh al-Kawtsari (r.a.) said, “A commentary was published [on ‘Aqidah ath-Thahawiyyah], authored by an unknown spuriously affiliated with the Hanafi school, but whose handiwork proclaims his ignorance of this discipline and the fact that he is an anthropomorphist who has lost his compass.”  Shaykh Ibrahim ibn Isma’il al-Ya’qubi (q.s.) suspected that “ibn Abu al-‘Izz” was the pseudonym for Imam ibn al-Qayyim (r.a.), given away by the author’s systematic abandonment of the Maturidi position on not one but several key points in favour of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) innovations. 

Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari (r.a.) wrote, in Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, “One must not pay any attention to what the innovators imagine on rational bases.  The commentator of ath-Thahawi’s ‘Aqidah committed a mistake in this regard when he said, ‘Can any vision be rationally conceived without face-to-face encounter?  And in it there is a proof for His Elevation over His creatures.’  It seems that he applies the upward direction to his Lord, whereas the doctrine of Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah is that He is not seen in any direction.  The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) saying, ‘You shall see your Lord just as you see the Moon on the night it is full’ is a simile between two types of sightings generally speaking, not a simile between two objects of vision from every perspective.” 

ibn Abu al-‘Izz also wrote, in his Sharh ‘Aqidah ath-Thahawiyyah, “Whoever claims that Allah is seen without direction, let him verify his reason!”  Note his casual dismissal of, and deviation from, Imam ath-Thahawi’s (r.a.) position in the ‘Aqidah: “The Seeing of Allah by the People of the Garden is true, without their vision being all-encompassing and without the manner of their vision being known”; and “He is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having parts or limbs, nor is He contained by the six directions as all created things are.” 

This is also a dismissal of Imam Abu Hanifah’s (r.a.) position in al-Waswiyyah, where he wrote, “The meeting of Allah with the dwellers of Paradise is without modality, nor simile, nor direction.”  This was cited by Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari (r.a.) in Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar. 

Imam al-Haramayn Dhiya’ ad-Din ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Yusuf al-Juwayni (r.a.) wrote, in al-Irshad, “Among their [the Mu’tazilah’s] insinuations are claims that stem, in fact, from pure speculation, such as their saying, ‘one who sees must be facing opposite what he sees, or virtually facing’.  We say to them, do you know for certain what you are claiming, or do you know it on speculative bases?  If they claim that they know it for certain and accuse whoever disagrees with them of denial, their credibility collapses and their untruth becomes manifest.  The same reasoning applies to the anthropomorphists ...  And the Creator Sees His Creation without direction, therefore it is possible that He be seen without direction.” 

ibn Abu al-‘Izz also adopted Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) famous invention of three levels of tawhid: one for Godhead, tawhid al-uluhiyyah; one for Lordship, tawhid ar-rububiyyah; and one for the Divine Names and Attributes, tawhid al-Asma’ wa asw-Swifat.  To our knowledge, this is found in no other commentary of the Thahawiyyah, not even the “Salafi” commentary by Hasan al-Busnawi, although the latter did follow ibn Abu al-‘Izz in other matters.  Shaykh Abu Hamid Ibn Marzuq al-Makki’s (r.a.) published a critique of ibn Taymiyyah’s trinitarian monotheism. 

Finally, ibn Abu al-‘Izz subscribed, exactly like Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), to the philosophy that qiyam al-hawadits, contingencies, subsist in the Godhead; that the world is qadimun bi an-naw, generically pre-existent; that Allah (s.w.t.) speaks with letters and sounds; and that He has “limits which He alone knows” although he himself reported, “The Salaf all agree that human beings have no knowledge of any limit for Allah, and they do not give any of His Attributes any limits.” 

Muhammad Khalil Harras wrote a commentary on Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) ‘Aqidah Wasithiyyah, which is distributed for free in the Arab world.  In it, he follows ibn Abu al-‘Izz and the latter’s sources in positively asserting altitude and direction to the Creator.  He wrote, “It is necessary for something seen, to be in the direction of the one seeing.”   In contrast, Imam al-Ash’ari (r.a.) said, “the vision of Allah entails neither direction, nor place, nor form, nor face-to-face encounter, neither by impingement of rays nor by impression, all of which are impossible.” 

Muhammad Khalil Harras also wrote, “How can the ‘Hand’ be interpreted to mean power when the text proves mentioning of palm, fingers, right and left, closing, opening, and so forth, which can happen only in the case of a real hand?”  He was further lambasted for his countless errors in his edition of Imam as-Suyuthi’s (q.s.) Khaswa’isw al-Kubra by Shaykh Abu al-Futuh ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abd al-Qadir at-Talidi (r.a.), in the introduction to his Tahdzib al-Khaswa’isw al-Kubra’. 

Habib Ahmad Mashhur ibn Thaha al-Haddad predicted that al-Albani, the watchmaker turned scholar, would die an apostate.  Indeed, his innovations and blunders culminated in his fatwa that Muslims must exit en masse from Palestine, and he demanded in four or five of his books that the Noble Grave be brought out of the Mosque in Madina and its Green Dome destroyed. 

He also gave the fatwa that the swalah jumu’ah is invalid if anyone invokes blessings on the Prophet (s.a.w.) when he hears the khatib recite this: 

سُوۡرَةُ الاٴحزَاب

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَمَلَـٰٓٮِٕڪَتَهُ ۥ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى ٱلنَّبِىِّۚ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيۡهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسۡلِيمًا (٥٦) 

Allah and His angels, Send blessings on the Prophet: O you that believe!  Send you blessings on him and salute him, with all respect. (Surah al-Ahzab:56) 

‘Abd ar-Rahman ‘Abd al-Khaliq, al-Albani’s student and deputy in Kuwait, insulted the awliya’ in his Fikr asw-Swufi, “Sufi Thought”, which he followed up with its abridgment, Fadha’ih asw-Swufiyyah, “The Disgrace of the Sufis”, a book Imam Muhammad Sa’id ibn Muhammad Ramadhan al-Buwthi (r.a.) called an exercise in calumny.  In it, ‘Abd ar-Rahman ‘Abd al-Khaliq considered all Sufis to be free-thinking heretics and lawless esotericists, astray in misguidance, even if among them are those eulogised by Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), Imam Zayn ad-Din Abu al-Faraj ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Ahmad ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (r.a.), Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.), and the rest of his a’immah and putative authorities.  He came up with more of the same in books such as Bid’ah wa al-Mubtadiyyah, and Mawlid an-Nabawi.  He was praised and encouraged by ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz upon the publication of his doctrine modestly titled asw-Swirath. 

‘Abd ar-Rahman ad-Dimashqiyyah, a Wahhabi-funded Lebanese author of dubious scholarship, who published a few books, one apologising for Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.); another attacking Naqshbandi Sufis by culling through cut-and-paste extracts of the classic masterpieces of their shuyukh; another attacking Ash’aris by culling the anti-Ash’ari passages of Imam ibn Hazm’s (r.a.) infamous work Faswl fi al-Milal wa an-Nihal, for which Imam ibn Hazm (r.a.) became synonymous with crass extremism and abject manners among the scholars of Islam. 

Mahmud ‘Abd ar-Ra’uf al-Qasim al-Madkhali, like ‘Abd ar-Rahman ad-Dimashqiyyah, was an unknown whose claim to fame is a 1993 attack against Sufis which he titled Kashf ‘an Haqiqat asw-Swufiyyah, “Unveiling the Reality of the Sufis”.  The book was soundly refuted by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir ‘Isa (q.s.) in his 700-page Haqa’iq ‘an at-Taswawwuf. 

Hamd ibn ‘Abd al-Muhsin at-Tuwayjiri demanded that women caught driving in Saudi Arabia be labeled as prostitutes in the lawcourts.  In his introduction to his edition of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) anthropomorphist manifesto, Fatawa al-Hamawiyyah, he stated, “The proponents of the Ash’ari school have named it, falsely and slanderously, the school of the Ahl as-Sunna wa al-Jama’ah.”  He uttered similar aspersions in his introduction to Khwaja Abu Isma’il al-Hirawi’s (q.s.) Dzamm ‘Ilm al-Kalam wa Ahlihi.  This man also wrote a separate book declaring Maturidis heretics. 

Abu Bakr Jabir ibn Musa al-Jaza’iri, who used to shout in the middle of the Sanctuary of Madina, “The father and mother of the Prophet are in hellfire!  The father and mother of the Prophet are in hellfire!” 

Muqbil ibn Hadi al-Wadi’i was a student of Hammad ibn Muhammad al-Answari known for his propensity to insult the ‘ulama of Islam and the Sufis;  He attacked Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.), in a 1997 book, Nashr al-Swahifah fi Dzikr asw-Swahih min Aqwal A’immat al-Jarh wa at-Ta’dil fi Abu Hanifah.  In another book, Riyadh al-Jannah fi ar-Radd ‘ala A’da’ as-Sunnah wa-Ma’ahu at-Tali’at fi ar-Radd ‘ala Ghulat ash-Shi’ah Hawlah al-Qubbah al-Mabniyyah ‘ala Qabr ar-Rasul, published in 1981 at Matba’ah at-Taqaddum in Cairo, he openly asked for the Green Dome in Madina to be demolished and for the grave of the Prophet (s.a.w.) to be brought out of his Mosque.  His latest work was typically titled Fadha’ih, “Disgrace”. 

A glossy tract by ibn Baz was published under the title “Sunnah and Caution against Innovation” in which the author prohibited the celebration of Mawlid, when the consensus of the scholars has explicitly stated that whatever is subject to a difference of opinions among the ‘ulama can no longer be declared prohibited.  Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) and even Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) said, “Scholars only protest against that which musters unanimous consensus; as for what does not muster unanimous consensus, then there is no permission to protest.” 

An anonymous tract entitled “A Brief Introduction to Salafi Da’wah” opened with the words, “The Salafi is not of the Ash’aris, who deny the Attributes of Allah.”  This crass lie demonstrates ignorance of the position of the Salaf, ignorance of the position of the Ash’aris, ignorance of the Divine Attributes, and blind imitation of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab.


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