Campaign debates and invertebrates

After laboring through the final debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I had a few observations I’d like to share. Trump says regarding Saudi Arabia and Qatar: “these are people that push gays off buildings”. Saudi Arabia? Qatar? He’s holding two Muslim nations culpable for what individuals from ISIS/ISIL did in Syria and Libya. Which shows that he makes no distinction between Muslims or Muslim nations. In his eyes and those of his followers, all Muslims collectively are ISIS and/or killers.

Clinton’s response to Trump’s interposition was just as bad if not worse when she said that the Muslim community is “the front line against terror” where she adopted his campaign pledge to use “vetting” to screen immigration. Which means every Muslim will be considered suspect once he applies for an entry visa to the US. What is wrong with that picture and what does it say about the current relationship with the Muslim world that has led to such rhetoric?

Yes, I saw her “Queens” remark to Trump and it’s double entendre whether intended or not. However, it brings up a much more serious issue. Namely, Orlando.

Orlando was a clear case of gay revenge yet politicians and the anti-Islam bandwagon (I don’t like using the word ‘Islamophobia’ or anything derived from it) continue to associate with Muslims, simply because the killer allegedly said he did it for ISIL.

Muslims need to show some backbone and make that point crystal clear! We are now being labeled as a community and as a faith with one of the largest mass shootings in US history and Muslims feebly go along with that false narrative.

Call a spade a spade. The reason politicians themselves have not shown backbone and accepted the fact of Orlando being gay revenge murder is because it would run counter to a pro-gay stance.

It is much simpler and far more convenient to label the Muslims who are themselves too frightened to say the truth in the face of falsehood. Now Muslim children and future generations will grow up thinking the false narrative is the truth all because we were silent Shayteen!

Related to that is the case of San Bernardino. Where are the security video tapes from that building? Where are the eyewitness accounts and interviews with the survivors and how come not a single reporter or network conducted an interview with them? Why is it that the majority of California Muslims refuse to accept the official narrative?

Are we as a community to be constantly and conveniently beaten from pillar to post and we willingly accept the lies and accusations as truth? If so then indeed certain hand picked Muslim spokespeople were picked well, and those who did the picking knew well in advance that scenarios like this would likely occur. WIth apologies to Boris Johnson, that since one cannot grant a backbone to supine protoplasmic jellys, the official narrative persists.

Reflections on Playboy and honor

This past week saw female Muslim journalist Nour Tagouri expressing ‘honor’ that Playboy magazine featured her (wearing a scarf of course). Her comments ignited a firestorm on social media. While others elaborated on why Muslims should not support her, I simply wish to pose some minor thoughts. Can one imagine the Prophet ﷺ, saying it was an honor for Quraish to offer him wealth, esteem and leadership? If the answer to that is unthinkable, then what of the suggestion some have made that since Ms. Tagouri felt ‘honored’ that Playboy magazine included her, then one should place copies of the magazine in local Masajid as ‘recommended reading’?

Nay, in the same way as honor was eternally granted to him ﷺ, for standing firm upon Tawheed and purity- dishonor and humiliation is promised to those who fail to do so. As Allah says:
ﻓَﺈِﻥْ ﺃَﻋْﺮَﺿُﻮا۟ ﻓَﻘُﻞْ ﺃَﻧﺬَﺭْﺗُﻜُﻢْ ﺻَٰﻌِﻘَﺔً ﻣِّﺜْﻞَ ﺻَٰﻌِﻘَﺔِ ﻋَﺎﺩٍ ﻭَﺛَﻤُﻮﺩ
“But if they turn away, then say: “I have warned you of a Sa’iqah (a destructive awful cry, torment, hit, a thunderbolt) like the Sa’iqah which overtook ‘Ad and Thamud.” (Fussilat 41:13)

When ‘Utbah Ibn Rabi’ah heard the Prophet ﷺ recite this verse, he panicked, placed his hand over the Prophet’s ﷺ mouth, saying “I beg you in the Name of Allah and the ties of kinship to stop lest the calamity should befall the people of Quraish.”

Now we find a Muslim woman is ‘honored’ to be featured by a magazine whose history is established on a foundation of fornication, licentiousness and objectification of women, and disseminating those ideas and principles globally. Indeed, it is ironic that Hillary Clinton once returned thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to the Muslims after the Jews excoriated her for accepting, ‘blood money’. The Muslim community on the other hand, said little about the matter.

In the end, the wise thing for Ms Tagouri, would be to settle the debate by retracting her words, returning the accolades and stand firm on the faith. And if that is asking too much…then Allah’s promise holds true.

Islam and the NOI- Is there a difference?

All praise is due to Allah and may prayers and peace be upon His final Prophet and Messenger to all the worlds- Muhammad ibn Abdullah. To proceed: Many people are unaware of the differences in faith and doctrine between Islam and the faith and  doctrines of the branches and offshoots of the Nation of Islam (NOI) and other contemporary American Batini (heterodox esoteric) groups.

Some maintain that the beliefs and practices of say, Louis Farrakhan, is no different from Muslims elsewhere in the world. The NOI custom of referring to themselves as ‘Muslims’, and adopting Muslim practices such as fasting, etc. has added to the confusion.

To settle this question, I have produced a unique chart covering fourteen different areas of Islamic belief and doctrine, contrasting them with the beliefs and doctrines of (1) the Nation of Islam under Elijah Muhammad, (2) the Nation of Islam under Louis Farrakhan, Silis Muhammad and John Muhammad (3) the 5% Nation (4) W. D. Mohammed, (5) the Qadianis (Ahmadiyya). The chart is extensively footnoted and referenced for each group and doctrine, thus facilitating future research. (see link below)

Some may find it controversial that I’ve included and contrasted the beliefs and doctrines of the late W.D. Mohammed with those of Islam. Many maintain that after 1975 W.D. abandoned the doctrines of his father Elijah Muhammad, and steered his followers toward orthodoxy.

However, W.D’s documented record tells a very different story. From the time of Elijah Muhammad’s death in February 1975, rather than abandoning Elijah’s doctrines, W.D. promoted an esoteric reinterpretation of NOI doctrines and maintained those doctrines until his death in 2008.

Indeed, in the same way as many of Elijah Muhammad’s doctrines were no more than Watchtower Society (Jehovah Witness) adaptations, the bulk of W.D’s personal doctrines are directly gleaned from the heretical Qadianis.

I’ve provided examples and references to primary sources proving W.D. as a heretical, esoteric Batini up until his demise. This is not to say, that the entirety of W.D.’s followers maintain W.D.’s ideas. Nevertheless, those who claim W.D. himself entirely rejected NOI heretical esoteric concepts and thus embraced orthodox Islam may find themselves in for a rude awakening.

May Allah accept this minor effort to purify the faith of Islam from those groups that claim Islam as their way, and may prayers and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad ibn Abdullah, his family, his Companions and all those who follow in their footsteps until the Day of Resurrection, ameen.

A brief outline of the differences

Ten Virtues of maintaining Salatul Fajr in congregation

البشائر العشر لمن حافظ على صلاة الفجر في جماعه

 

I don’t think one can read these Prophetic benefits and then sleep through Fajr, except one who is spiritually bereft.

 

The First Virtue:

عَنْ بُرَيْدَةَ الأَسْلَمِيِّ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ بَشِّرِ الْمَشَّائِينَ فِي الظُّلَمِ إِلَى الْمَسَاجِدِ بِالنُّورِ التَّامِّ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ‏”‏

Buraidah Al-Aslami narrated that:

The Prophet ﷺ said: “Give glad tidings to those who walk to the Masajid in the dark; of a complete light on the Day of Resurrection.”

[Authentically narrated by Abu Dawood and At-Tirmidhi]

 

The Second Virtue:

Two rakats of Sunnah prayer before Salatul Fajr, is better than the world and everything in it:

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رضي الله عنها ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ ﷺ قَالَ : ” رَكْعَتَا الْفَجْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا فِيهَا ”

‘A’isha reported Allah’s Messenger ﷺ as saying:

The two rak’ahs at dawn are better than this world and what it contains.

[Sahih Muslim]

 

The Third Virtue:

An increase in blessings for every step toward the Masjid at Fajr

عَنْ عُقْبَةَ بْنِ عَامِرٍ قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ : ” مَنْ خَرَجَ مِنْ بَيْتِهِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ كُتِبَ لَهُ بِكُلِّ خُطْوَةٍ يَخْطُوهَا عَشْرُ حَسَنَاتٍ، وَالْقَاعِدُ فِي الْمَسْجِد يَنْتَظِرُ الصَّلاَةَ كَالْقَانِتِ، وَيُكْتَبُ مِنَ الْمُصَلِّينَ، حَتَّى يَرْجِعَ إِلَى بَيْتِهِ

‘Uqbah ibn Amaar reported the Messenger ﷺ said, Whoever leaves his home for Salatul Fajr, ten blessings are recorded for him for each step he takes. And sitting in the masjid awaiting the salat is like one who has profound knowledge, he is recorded among the worshipers until he returns to his home.

[Narrated by Ahmed]

 

The Fourth Virtue:

The Angels bear witness:

Allah the Glorious and Most High says,

أَقِمِ الصَّلَوةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى غَسَقِ الَّيْلِ وَقُرْءَانَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْءَانَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا

“Perform the Salah from midday till the darkness of the night, and recite the Qur’an in the early dawn. Verily, the recitation of the Qur’an in the early dawn is ever witnessed.” [Al-Isra, 17:78]

 

The Fifth Virtue:

Protection from Hell:

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ : ” لَنْ يَلِجَ النَّارَ أَحَدٌ صَلَّى قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ غُرُوبِهَا “. -يَعْنِى الْفَجْرَ وَالْعَصْرَ-

Abu Zuhair ‘Umarah Ruwaibah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying: “He who performs Salat (prayers) before the rising of the sun and before its setting (i.e. fajr and asr), will not enter the Hell.” [Sahih Muslim]

 

The Sixth Virtue:

Allah Most High revealed,

وَحَدَّثَنَا زُهَيْرُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ، حَدَّثَنَا مَرْوَانُ بْنُ مُعَاوِيَةَ الْفَزَارِيُّ، أَخْبَرَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ بْنُ أَبِي خَالِدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا قَيْسُ بْنُ أَبِي حَازِمٍ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ جَرِيرَ بْنَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، وَهُوَ يَقُولُ كُنَّا جُلُوسًا عِنْدَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِذْ نَظَرَ إِلَى الْقَمَرِ لَيْلَةَ الْبَدْرِ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ أَمَا إِنَّكُمْ سَتَرَوْنَ رَبَّكُمْ كَمَا تَرَوْنَ هَذَا الْقَمَرَ لاَ تُضَامُّونَ فِي رُؤْيَتِهِ فَإِنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ أَنْ لاَ تُغْلَبُوا عَلَى صَلاَةٍ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ غُرُوبِهَا ‏”‏ ‏.‏ يَعْنِي الْعَصْرَ وَالْفَجْرَ ثُمَّ قَرَأَ جَرِيرٌ

‏{‏ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ غُرُوبِهَا‏}‏ ‏.‏

 

Jarir b. Abdullah is reported to have said:

We were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) that he looked at the full moon and observed: You shall see your Lord as you are seeing this moon, and you will not be harmed by seeing Him. So if you can, do not let -yourselves be overpowered in case of prayer observed before the rising of the sun and its setting, i. e. the ‘Asr prayer and the morning prayer. Jarir then recited it:” Celebrate the praise of thy Lord before the rising of the sun and before Its setting” (Taha 20:130)

[Bukhari & Muslim]

 

The Seventh Virtue

The Blessings of the Night Prayer

حَدَّثَنَا إِسْحَاقُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، أَخْبَرَنَا الْمُغِيرَةُ بْنُ سَلَمَةَ الْمَخْزُومِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْوَاحِدِ، – وَهُوَ ابْنُ زِيَادٍ – حَدَّثَنَا عُثْمَانُ بْنُ حَكِيمٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ أَبِي عَمْرَةَ، قَالَ دَخَلَ عُثْمَانُ بْنُ عَفَّانَ الْمَسْجِدَ بَعْدَ صَلاَةِ الْمَغْرِبِ فَقَعَدَ وَحْدَهُ فَقَعَدْتُ إِلَيْهِ فَقَالَ يَا ابْنَ أَخِي سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ مَنْ صَلَّى الْعِشَاءَ فِي جَمَاعَةٍ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَامَ نِصْفَ اللَّيْلِ وَمَنْ صَلَّى الصُّبْحَ فِي جَمَاعَةٍ فَكَأَنَّمَا صَلَّى اللَّيْلَ كُلَّهُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

 

‘Abd al-Rahman b. Abd ‘Amr reported:

‘Uthman b. ‘Affan (narrated the mosque after evening prayer and sat alone. I also sat alone with him, so he said: 0, son of my brother, I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: He who observed the ‘Isha’ prayer in congregation, it was as if he prayed up to midnight, and he who prayed the morning prayer in congregation, it was as if he prayed the whole night. [Sahih Muslim]

 

The Eighth Virtue

The Supplication of the Angels

سَمِعْتُ عَلِيًّا رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ ، يَقُولُ : سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ : ” مَنْ صَلَّى الْفَجْرَ ثُمَّ جَلَسَ فِي مُصَلَّاهُ ، صَلَّتْ عَلَيْهِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ ، وَصَلَاتُهُمْ عَلَيْهِ : اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لَهُ ، اللَّهُمَّ ارْحَمْهُ

Ali Ibn Abi Talib narrated that ‘I heard the Messenger say, “Whoever prays Salatul Fajr, and afterwards sits in the place where he prayed, the angels then pray for him, saying, Oh Allah forgive him, Oh Allah, have mercy on him.” [Narrated by Ahmed]

 

The Ninth Virtue

The benefit equaling Hajj and Umrah

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ رضي الله عنه قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ  : ” مَنْ صَلَّى الْغَدَاةَ  -الفجر- فِي جَمَاعَةٍ، ثُمَّ قَعَدَ يَذْكُرُ اللَّهَ حَتَّى تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ، ثُمَّ صَلَّى رَكْعَتَيْنِ، كَانَتْ لَهُ كَأَجْرِ حَجَّةٍ وَعُمْرَةٍ تَامَّةٍ تَامَّةٍ تَامَّةٍ “.

 

Anas bin Malik narrated that :

the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever prays Fajr in congregation, then sits remembering Allah until the sun has risen, then he prays two Rak’ah, then for him is the reward like that of a Hajj and Umrah.” He said: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Complete, complete, complete.'” [Sahih At-Tirmidhi]

 

The Tenth Virtue

Allah’s Safeguard and Protection

وَحَدَّثَنِيهِ يَعْقُوبُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الدَّوْرَقِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ، عَنْ خَالِدٍ، عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ سِيرِينَ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ جُنْدَبًا الْقَسْرِيَّ، يَقُولُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ مَنْ صَلَّى صَلاَةَ الصُّبْحِ فَهْوَ فِي ذِمَّةِ اللَّهِ فَلاَ يَطْلُبَنَّكُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ ذِمَّتِهِ بِشَىْءٍ فَإِنَّهُ مَنْ يَطْلُبْهُ مِنْ ذِمَّتِهِ بِشَىْءٍ يُدْرِكْهُ ثُمَّ يَكُبَّهُ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ ‏”‏ ‏

Anas b. Sirin reported:

I heard Jundab b. Qasri saying that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: He who observed the morning prayer (in congregation), he is in fact under the protection of Allah and it never happens that Allah should make a demand in connection with the protection (that He guarantees and should not get it) for when he asks for anything in relation to His protection, he definitely secures it. He (would not) then throw him flatly in the Hell-fire. [Sahih Muslim]

 

اللهمَّ إنا نعوذ بك من الشقاء والحرمان، آمين

Oh Allah, I seek refuge in You from misery and deprivation, ameen

Differences and Guidance in Giving Da’wah

Muhammad Ibn Saleh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (رحيمه الله)

Professor at the College of Shari’ah and Usool ud-Deen
Imaam Muhammad ibn Sa’ud Islamic University, ‘Unaizah, Al-Qaseem Saudi Arabia

 

Preface: Alhamdulillah wa salaat wa salaam alaa Rasoolillahi wa bad:

In the year 2000, a group of expatriate British and American Muslims had the great honor and privilege of meeting privately with the esteemed scholar Muhammad Ibn Saleh Ibn Al-Uthaimeen (رحيمه الله) after he graciously granted them exclusive time in his masjid office in ‘Unaizah, Saudi Arabia. What follows is a transcript of that meeting. After praising Allah and sending salaam upon His Final Messenger and Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) the shaykh began with a brief introduction emphasizing the great need for Muslims to be a unified as much as possible under the banner of pure Islam and that those who seek to impede the progress of Islam realize that disunity among Muslims and insertion of ideas among their ranks by their enemies to remove the Muslim’s insistence of standing firmly for Islam alone as the correct way for mankind is a key strategy. What follows are questions and answers from that meeting which although asked many years ago, are very relevant even today.

 

Questions and Answers

Q1: When two scholars give differing judgments on a personal issue, how do we decide upon which opinion to choose? Do we look at the specialization of the scholar, his age or just the evidence he brings?

Answer: It is well known and important that we know what is correct through the means of evidence. Yet it is upon him (the person seeking the truth) to follow whom he sees is closest to that which is correct. This is according to the scholar’s knowledge and the level of trust in him. As far as knowledge – there are indeed people who speak without knowledge. He may have some aspect of knowledge while having yet missed many other aspects. As far as trust – there are some people who have a lot of knowledge yet he looks to what the people desire and therefore becomes negligent and rules according to what suits the questioner. So if scholars disagree, look to who is closest to what is correct, just as two doctors may differ in diagnosis or treatment of an illness. You will follow the one whose diagnosis you see is deeper and more thorough.

 

Q2: If we choose one of the two scholars’ opinions about a person, group or issue, how do we treat those who choose an opinion different from us?

Answer: It is necessary that you cooperate in a manner that shows love and excusing them as long as they do not abandon or forsake (the correct) ‘aqeedah. Because the companions (radiallahu ‘anhum) differed in matters yet they agreed (in principle) and were in conformity. They were in agreement (muttafiqoon) that the aim was to reach the truth and what was correct, and they were in conformity (muwaafiqoon) with the shari’ah (Islam). Every person will not attain the same understanding as another. So if there is a difference upon an issue there is no need for dispute. We all agree to be on one line (i.e. the same ‘aqeedah) because I know that my companion (holding the other opinion) will not differ from me without following evidence and I likewise would not differ from him other than upon evidence. Our aim is the same. Then it is not permissible for one to have any hatred nor anger nor enmity towards the other. We have many examples of this. Among them is the matter of Bani Quraidhah. When the Prophet (ﷺ) returned from the battle of Al-Ahzaab and they had put down their preparations for war, Jibreel came to him and ordered him to go out to Bani Quraidhah in their homeland and fight them because they had broken the treaty (between them and the Muslims). So the Prophet (ﷺ) delegated his companions telling them not to pray Asr except in Bani Quraidhah, and it was far from Al-Medinah. They set out from Al-Medinah and the Asr prayer came in so some amongst them prayed saying that the Prophet (ﷺ) told us not to pray except in Bani Quraidhah only to urge us to hurry. Others said he (ﷺ) ordered us not to pray except in Bani Quraidhah so we won’t pray until we reach there even if the sun goes down. This reached the Prophet (ﷺ) and he did not blame or censure any of them nor did any of them find fault in the other. This is what is obligatory. If I know that my differing companion is well-intending and he would only differ from me due to evidence with him, it is necessary to know that it is not permitted for me to feel hatred toward him. Why (should I)? If I was to justify detesting him, it means that I am justifying to myself that I must be obeyed as though I am infallible. This is not permissible. His argument against me is like mine against him and he can say why don’t you obey me?

 

Q3: Does this apply as well if a scholar has criticized a person?

Answer: Yes. I do not like scholars to criticize one another, especially at this time. The youth have not reached this level[1]. It is my opinion that there should be respectfulness from the side of the scholars and whoever sees his fellow scholar as mistaken should speak to him privately and if it becomes clear that the truth is with one or the other it is then obligatory to follow him (i.e. the correct one) in it. And if the truth is not made clear then each one has his place. As far as harsh disputation, indeed outright partisanship and hotly taking sides reaching the level of enmity and hatred over differing over some person among the scholars, this is an error. A scholar may even die and Allah will account all and he may have been correct or in error. If I learn he has made an error in his words it is obligatory to leave that and not repeat it. And I should find an excuse for him, especially if I know the man was of good intention and should consider his making ijtihaad (i.e. attempting to arrive at the truth).

 

Q4: Who has a right to say someone has a bid’ah (religious innovation) or fallen into it or call someone a deviant or an innovator? And what is the meaning of the word ‘inhiraaf’?

Answer: Inhiraaf means to swerve from the straight path. It could be a complete inhiraaf that reaches the level of kufr (disbelief) or it could be an inhiraaf amounting to a shortcoming that does not lead to disbelief. The truth is we don’t just decide the matter of what is innovation. The scale upon which we weight the matter is the Kitaab and Sunnah. If this was not the case, then every issue in which there was a difference between scholars in fiqh – and how many there are – we would say that all those who differ are innovators (mubtadi’een) and everyone who differs from us are innovators and all the fuqahaa (scholars of fiqh i.e. jurisprudence) would be considered as having fallen into innovation! There are few issues where there is absolutely no difference.[2]

 

Q5: Then if inhiraaf (meaning deviation) is applied to a person, what is meant?

Answer: [The shaykh visually illustrated an example in the room saying…] Here is a straight path from here to the door, if one goes (away) from here then (what)? (The group responded: Inhiraaf?) Yes, it is inhiraaf. However, it may be slight and easy to return from or it could be major. And this is the example given by the Prophet (ﷺ) when he drew a straight line and then lines from both sides.

 

Q6: How can someone return if going off that path?

Answer: By Allah the way to get them back is to clarify the truth with kindness and compassion without assaulting a man a saying to him “You mubtadi’ (innovator), you are astray!” That may do nothing except cause him to hold more tightly to his opinion and at the least he will seek to defend himself or seek to support himself. However one should come to him with that which is better. Invite him to your home or go to him for a visit and say ‘this matter is causing a problem for me.’ He will say for sure it is a problem. However, decrease the dispute with him by approaching him humbly (almost as though you have the problem). Allah the Mighty and Majestic says: ‘Is Allah better or those who they ascribe as partners?’, knowing full well that Allah is indeed better but this was put for the sake of disputant (for the sake of argument). Go and say to him “We came to settle this problem. Your words were such and such. Please clarify to me so we can come to some understanding or agreement.” If one goes to this extent I believe the brother will humble himself and comply in the face of such leniency and kindness.

 

Q7: What do we do in a situation where some brothers say “We will not go to such and such a place because so-and-so will be there?” In other words what are the guidelines with regards to doing hijraan (boycott) in the matter of inhiraaf (deviation)?

Answer: First, know that it is not permissible against one who is a believer. Every believer is not permitted to be boycotted (i.e. absolutely) even if he is an adulterer or a thief a drinker or a killer because none of that takes him out of having imaan. As Allah stated:

وان طائفتان من المؤمنين اقتتلوا فاصلحوا بينهما فان بغت احداهما على الاخرى فقاتلوا التي تبغي حتى تفيء الى امر الله فان فاءت فاصلحوا بينهما بالعدل واقسطوا ان الله يحب المقسطين

If two parties among the believers fall into a quarrel, make ye peace between them: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other then fight you (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the command of Allah; but if they comply then make peace between them with justice and be fair: for Allah loves those who are fair (and just). [Al-Hujuraat, 9]

So it is not permitted that a believer be boycotted. It is not allowed for a man to boycott another believer for more than three days. If the two meet the best one is the one who initiates the salaam. Do you understand?  It is not permissible unless there is an overall benefit to the boycott. Namely, that it causes the person being boycotted to leave the sin he is being boycotted for. In this case the boycott is medicine. If such would be a cure for the illness then let it be so, but if not then stay away from it. Sometimes boycotting can be a cause for increase in the deviation and the loss of the person. If however, you give the greetings to the person and smile in his face, he will be softer and return to the truth. To boycott because he cuts his beard or smokes cigarettes or deals with riba is not correct. He is still a believer. The kaafir is one whom we do not initiate giving the salaam, but what if he greets us with salaam? We are obligated to return the greeting according to the statement of Allah ta’aala,

واذا حييتم بتحية فحيوا باحسن منها او ردوها ان الله كان على كل شيء حسيبا

When a (courteous) greeting is offered you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or (at least) of equal courtesy… An-Nisaa 86

We don’t stay away and such a person is a kaafir. These issues are in actuality very specific and ones in which it is not allowable for us to judge according to emotions. We must always return to the judge, namely return to the kitaab and the sunnah and the deeds of the righteous predecessors (as-Salaf as-Saalih).

 

Q8: Let us be more specific and ask one of the main issues in question, but without naming names or personalities. Suppose one of the scholars said a group was very bad or worse or more dangerous than the Jews and the Christians and someone else says we can’t generalize because there are so many people among them who are ignorant of this group’s problems and it is a greater wrong to make a general statement that will unduly hurt them. How do we treat that person?

Answer: Why doesn’t he (the scholar) say ‘the madhhab (way) of this group is more dangerous to Islam than the Jews and the Christians.’? This is more correct and safer without committing excess upon the members of the group. Let’s give an example of the Shi’ah. The extreme Shi’ah are more dangerous than the Jews and the Christians because they say their imaams control the universe, that their imaams are better than the Messenger. Then they curse the companions on the minbars and they curse the Mother of the Believers, ‘Aaishah (radiallahu ‘anhaa) – the one upon whose chest the Prophet (ﷺ) died and whose saliva was the last thing he tasted in this world, on her day, in her house. They would accuse her! Not even the Jews and the Christians say such a thing! On top of it is the problem that they say this is Islam! This is a problem. Look and read in Soorah Al-Munaafiqeen. What does Allah say about them? He says:

…عليهم هم العدو فاحذرهم …

“…they are the enemy so be on guard against them!” [Al-Munaafiqoon, 3]

This is a type of restrictive sentence so know its two parts. They are the enemy – so be on guard against them. Even with this, I don’t see a total rejection or dismissal of them saying such as “You Shi’ah are a bunch of kaafirs!” I say rather that madhhab and whoever follows its way is more dangerous to Islam than the Jews and the Christians. This is more correct. Is that clear?

 

Q9: How do we deal with a person who rejects saying that to these groups? We see him as mistaken or unaware of the truth of these groups. He says ‘Don’t make a general statement like that about them because there are pious and righteous people among them’ – not meaning the Shi’ah, while we see it as necessary to say so. Do we make the same blanket judgment about those among these groups who write on issues such as haakimiyyah and the like without complete knowledge and the leaders of these groups and the average person on the street who just follows the leaders sees them as good and who may have even been led to Islam by them? Do we say to him that such people are more dangerous to Islam than the Jews and the Christians?

Answer: It is as I mentioned at first. My opinion is to concentrate on the madhhab and the method not the person even if the person is astray, not to mention if he has knowledge, and may have made ijtihaad. There is no call for severity and vehemence towards him because some people gang up on a person just like that. However, if we concentrate on the method, this is beneficial. On this point, none of leaders of disbelief (Al-Quraish) is mentioned by name in the Qur’aan except one (i.e. Abu Lahab). We must follow this way and consider a person’s dignity. Even if the innovator comes to us about whom we say his bid’ah is greater than the danger of the Yehood (Jews) and Nasaara (Christians)…how will you convince him of your opinion? He will ask ‘Why is this not right?’ ‘[Say] This [i.e. such and such] is the way. If you follow this way, it is up to you, if you follow it, that is what we want.’

 

Q10: Suppose I see someone who has made a mistake in their religion, maybe in ‘aqeedah [beliefs], maybe in an action or in manhaj [manner of practice]. Is it permissible for me with little knowledge to advise him?

Answer: Has it not reached you that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Convey about me even if it be a single aayah.”? Enough?

Someone states: We love you for the sake of Allah Shaykh!

Shaykh Ibn Al-‘Uthaimeen: We love the One Who has caused you to love me. Allah has made us beloved to one another and made us of those who strive in His cause (awliyaa-ihi). Verily He is in control of all things. Remain firm and stick together!

 

Q11: Is it correct for a group of students of knowledge to make a ruling on an individual without going to him to speak with him or advise him first and instead go to others and warn them against this person?

Answer: No. No. Never! First if you hear something about a person and you see him as mistaken there are stages. The first stage is confirmation. The transmission about the person may or may not be correct. How many people transmit some statement about a person and they either misunderstand it or with the intention of causing enmity between the Muslims? So first is confirmation. And what could be better than the statement of Shaykh Al-Islam (Ibn Taymiyyah) in refutation of the Raafidhah (Shi’ah) in his book, The Way of the Sunnah about when a text is mentioned “the first thing demanded is verification of the transmission.” This is a rule and important.

Secondly, if the transmission is verified let us look. Is there an explanation for it that perhaps the transmitter did or did not understand? If we see that there is an explanation and the transmitter misunderstood, we say to the transmitter “Brother fear Allah! The man isn’t such and such!” or “The meaning is so and so.” Then we would be defending the truth and saving this man from slandering his brother (buhtaan).

Thirdly, if there is no explanation then it is obligatory that we go to whom the news is being said about and say “We heard such and such. Is it correct or not?” If he says yes then we should be polite and mannerly with him and not provoke or upset him and let him know there is a problem here. Did not Allah say such and such did not the Messenger say such and such? It is necessary that we return to the truth. He may have knowledge that is not with me and when I engage him he may point me to some knowledge and it would be obligatory to follow it.

 

Q12: Is it permissible to say to the person, “We saw you with so and so mubtadi’ as though you follow this innovating group?”

Answer: Never. You engage him as though you never heard a thing about it.

 

Q13: If a brother feels harmed or hurt by the actions of some other brothers and they have hidden themselves from that person and as a result he feels this hurt in his heart, how can he go about healing that or making some type of reconciliation in himself and how can those brothers perhaps be corrected if their actions indeed are wrong?

Answer: He should remember the statement of the Prophet (ﷺ): Allah showed mercy to my brother Musa who was harmed more than this and he was patient. Be patient and the end is for the pious.

تلك من انباء الغيب نوحيها اليك ما كنت تعلمها انت ولا قومك من قبل هذا فاصبر ان العاقبة للمتقين

This is of the knowledge of the unseen We have revealed to you. You were not aware of it nor were your people before you. Be patient for indeed the end is for the pious. [Hud, 49]

 

From a separate session:

Q: What is obligatory upon a Muslim, and in particular, those seeking knowledge and making Da’wah, in regards to befriending scholars capable of performing Ijtihaad – that is under the assumption that adhering to a group of scholars who are capable of Ijtihaad is one of the obligatory means of adhering to the Jama’ah?

Answer:

I say, the obligation of the general public of the Muslim community is to follow those scholars who are known to be abundant in knowledge, correct in the Aqeedah (belief), and sound in their Manhaj (methodology). This is because Allah says,

وما ارسلنا من قبلك الا رجالا نوحي اليهم فاسالوا اهل الذكر ان كنتم لا تعلمون

which means:

“And ask ahlu-thikr (people of knowledge) if you do not know” [An-Nahl, 43]

And the scholars which I have just described are the “those in authority” – those who have Allah mentioned about in the Qur’aan,

يا ايها الذين امنوا اطيعوا الله واطيعوا الرسول واولي الامر منكم

which means:

“O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you.” [

Because “those in authority” comprises two groups of people, the first group being the scholars, and they are the primary object in this aayah, and the second group are the rulers, those who implement the Shari’ah of Allah over the slaves of Allah. The scholars are the people of clarification, knowledge and guidance, and the rulers are the people of implementation and jurisdiction.

So if the public were to take every person as one to be followed, following him without investigating his knowledge, trust, manhaj and aqeedah, then they would split apart from one another and go astray. And this, meaning, this division is what Allah has forbidden in more than one aayah of the Qur’aan. Allah says,

شرع لكم من الدين ما وصى به نوحا والذي اوحينا اليك وما وصينا به ابراهيم وموسى وعيسى ان اقيموا الدين ولا تتفرقوا فيه كبر على المشركين ما تدعوهم اليه الله يجتبي اليه من يشاء ويهدي اليه من ينيب

which means:

“It has been legislated for you in the religion that Nuh (Noah) was ordered with, and that which We revealed to you, and what We ordered Ibrahim (Abraham) with and Musa (Moses) and ‘Eesaa (Jesus) – (the command) Establish the religion and do not divide therein.” [Ash-Shoorah, 13]

And Allah says,

واطيعوا الله ورسوله ولا تنازعوا فتفشلوا وتذهب ريحكم واصبروا ان الله مع الصابرين

which means:

And obey Allah and His Messenger. and fall into no disputes, Lest ye lose heart and your power depart; and be patient and persevering: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere. [Al-Anfaal, 46]

And Allah says,

ولا تكونوا كالذين تفرقوا واختلفوا من بعد ما جاءهم البينات واولئك لهم عذاب عظيم

which means:

“And do not be like those who divided and differed after the clear evidence came to them, for them is great punishment” [Aali ‘Imraan, 105]

And Allah says,

فبما رحمة من الله لنت لهم ولو كنت فظا غليظ القلب لانفضوا من حولك فاعف عنهم واستغفر لهم وشاورهم في الامر فاذا عزمت فتوكل على الله ان الله يحب المتوكلين

which means:

As for those who divide their Religion and break up into sects, you have no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah. He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did. [Al-Anfaal, 159]

To Allah belongs all Praise, the ways and means of communication have become many. So now it is possible for a person living in the East to call one in the West in just one second, and then ask him for whatever he needs. So the evidence has been established and the information has become clear. So beware, beware of division – and I say division, not differing – for there is no escape from differing because people have disagreed in understanding, knowledge, imaan and taqwa. So if the people disagreed in these four subjects then how much more so differing in opinions? The only thing which requires guarding against is differing of hearts, and the abandoning of each other, until the end result is that people accuse others of misguidance, and of innovation, so beware and be warned.

Translation by Abdul-Qaadir Abdul-Khaaliq


[1] i.e. of being able to properly criticize the opinions or positions of one another, much less that of scholars.

[2] Indeed there are many differences in Muslim practices and different rulings regarding them amongst scholars, even those within the same school of thought. Some differences may be viewed as very serious, nevertheless not every difference can be deemed sufficient grounds to justify making an Islamic ruling of innovator upon the scholar who holds a particular view that is at odds with others. You will be hard pressed to find complete unanimity on issues of fiqh in particular but also know that the ummah will never be in unanimity upon that which is astray or misguided, whereas one will find unanimity upon the truth.

Ten Points Of Advice

Special Session with a Group of American Muslims

Mina, Saudi Arabia 13/11/1416 – 5/5/1996

 

The following is part of a meeting with the eminent scholar, Muhammad Ibn Saleh Al-‘Uthaimeen (
رحيمه االله) who was gracious enough to meet with a group of us during Hajj. He made a special visit to us and it is a day few of us who were there will forget in shaa Allah. I took the additional step however of not only recording the meeting, but translating it for the benefit of others. May Allah accept it as done for His sake alone, aameen.

Abdul-Qaadir Abdul-Khaaliq

Washington, DC


I am very pleased on this day, Wednesday the thirteenth of Dhul-Hijjah 1416 Hijri, to meet this group of Muslim brethren here to perform Hajj from the United States of America. I thank Allah who has made it easy. I encourage you to thank Allah سبحانه وتعالى for making it easy for them to get to Bait Al-Haraam to perform their rites completely and correctly. I would like to advise our brothers on this happy occasion with the following:

First: Implement and realize fully the worship of Allah which cannot be done except through fulfilling two matters:

One: Doing it purely for Allah (Ikhlaas lillaahi);

Two: (Mutaabi’) Complete adherence to the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).

The meaning of worship of Allah with Ikhlaas is for the person to worship his Rabb exclusively and not any angel, messenger, president, minister, king or any powerful person or anything besides Allah, the Mighty and Majestic. Worship is made purely for Allah and none are to be worshiped besides Him.

The meaning of mutaabi’ of the messenger of Allah ﷺ is to not worship Allah except in the manner shown by Muhammad ﷺ. This is according to the word of Allah تعالى “And they were not ordered except to worship Allah purely, for Him is the Deen….” and “Worship Allah purely, for Him is the deen.” As far as following or adhering to the sunnah, Allah says [to Muhammad]“Say: If you love Allah then follow me and He will love you.” [Al-Imran, 31] Also “Believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered prophet who believes in Allah and His words and follow him.” Also there are the words of the Prophet ﷺ which he narrates from his Rabb [hadeeth qudsi]: Ana aghnaa shurakaa’i anish-shirk man ‘amila ‘amalan ashraka feehi ma’eya ghairee taraktuhu wa shirkahu [I am the most self-sufficient of those who you associate partners with so whoever does any deed for the sake of any partners other than Me, I will leave him and his shirk] Also the words of the Messenger ﷺ: “Whoever performs a deed which is not from our affair then it is rejected” meaning not accepted by Allah.

Second: Fear Allah in every circumstance, every crisis, every place so that you will take as many chances possible during life for ‘ibaadah [to worship] for in truth a person’s life should be spent in obedience of Allah. Every hour that passes in which there is no ‘ibaadah is a definite loss.

Third: Act well among the people when giving da’wa to Allah using gentleness and ease. According to Allah’s statement about His Messenger (ﷺ) It is only due to the mercy from Allah to you that you were tender with the people for were you to be harsh or hard-hearted they would have gone away from you. [Al-Imran, 159]

For this reason, it is not fitting for us when calling others to Islam to do so harshly because harshness destroys more than it builds.

Fourth: To show others through good deeds which make clear that the deen of Islam is ‘ibaadah and action. They (the Muslims) deal with people honestly, sincerely and clearly. For example, if one is selling goods and that item has a defect in it, he (the Muslim) must make that defect known to the buyer so that he will decide to make the purchase based upon clear knowledge. Even if the one you are dealing with is not a Muslim you must be honest and sincere.

Fifth: Giving full rights to relatives; the first of which is good treatment of parents even if they are not Muslims. This is according to the words of Allah تعالى: We advise man to be kind to parents – his mother carried him in hardship upon hardship and weaned him in two years – and thank Me and your parents, to me is your return. If they argue to force you to make shirk in that which you have no knowledge, do not obey them yet keep kind company with them in this life. It may be that through your kind treatment you may be a cause for them to accept Islam. You would then be the reason for their guidance to Islam and this would be the greatest gift and the best treatment of them that you could give. It is likewise important to maintain family ties. Showing them Islaam in an easy manner and by behaving well with parents is a part of kindness to them and keeping family ties.

Sixth: Giving the rights to neighbors. Our Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day let him be generous and kind to his neighbor.” And “When you cook a broth add more to it so that you may be able to give some to your neighbors.” It is my belief that if a person is mindful of his non-Muslim neighbors rights it will be the strongest type of invitation to Islam.

Seventh: To encourage the wives and children to be obedient to Allah whether forcefully or through education. As Allah states: Oh you who believe save yourselves and your families from the Fire whose fuel is men and stones.. [At-Tahreem, 6] Also, there is the saying of the Prophet (ﷺ): “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock.” And “Teach your children the salaat at the the age of seven and beat them (for not doing it) at the age of ten.”

Eighth: Those among you who were in religions other than Islam; and have been guided to Islam and who are well educated and able to write well, should write comparisons based upon rational and textual proofs between the religion of Islam and the religion which you left behind until the truth can be clearly discerned from falsehood.

Ninth: Avoid enmity and animosity towards others without justification. This means that, if you see one of the kuffaar practicing or displaying some religious symbol, it is not your place to do anything against him as long as the government has an agreement between you and them to preserve order. For example, you do not believe in the cross but you find some person wearing the cross. Of course he is wrong and his belief is false. However, it is not possible that you correct it by beating the person or killing them because there is an agreement between you and the government that you all live within the country under its order.

Tenth: Make contact with the educational attaché of Saudi Arabia within your country because it is my belief – and I say this without boastfulness or nationalistic feeling – that there is no other nation representing or supporting Islam to the degree that this nation is. I say to you that another country can’t be found – without exception – that represents Islam to the degree of this nation and for this reason it must be a source and fear Allah as much as you are able. I say that, believing that Allah will ask me about what I am testifying to. However, I will be prepared, if Allah wills, with the answer based on what I know of the countries claiming to be Islamic in the world today.

One more piece of advice that I would like to add to the ten given previously is to remain together so that you may be strong because when you are divided it is a cause of failure. Finally, I say all praise and thanks is due to Allah the Rabb of all the worlds.

This is Perrenialism

A critical analysis of Martin Lings’ Biography Of The Prophet ﷺ

 

©  1437/2016 webearwitness.com

 

INTRODUCTION

All praise is due to Allah; we praise Him and seek His aid and His forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Allah from the evils of our own selves and from our evil deeds. Whomsoever is guided by Allah, there is none to misguide him. And whomsoever He misguides, there is none to guide him. And we bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, Who is alone, without any partner. And we bear witness that Muhammad ibn Abdullah is his slave/servant and His Messenger. May Allah Almighty bestow His peace and blessings upon him, his family, his Companions, and upon all those who strive in their footsteps until the Day of Judgment. Verily the best of speech is the speech of Allah, and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. Indeed the evilest of things in religion are those which are invented; and every religious invention is an innovation, and every innovation is a misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

To proceed:

Martin Lings’ Life of Muhammad (ﷺ) from the Earliest Sources has gained wide popularity over recent years, and it continues to be sold and recommended unabated. This current essay is a collection of three letters exposing the fraudulent sources used by Mr. Lings and moreover, his adherence to the doctrine he calls “the Perennial Philosophy.”

The letters are reprinted from the February and March 1989 issues of Saudi Gazette newspaper, where they appeared in the column Questions of Faith. The first letter was written by the late Shaykh Abu Bilal Mustafa Al-Kanadi (raHimhuAllaah), the second being Mr. Martin Lings’ reply and the third letter comes from Shaykh Abu Bilal as a counter-reply. Mr. Lings could send no further response after the counter-reply. The letters appear as they originally had been published, only with minor spelling and printing corrections.

It is hoped that a reading of these letters will Insha’Allah, help Muslims see for themselves the false beliefs and values expounded by the adherents of Perennialism, who ostensibly claim to uphold the banner of Islam yet are far removed from Islam’s pure teachings.

And to warn against the usage and application of weak or rejectable and forged hadeeths [traditions], which have marred the beauty of Islam and have prevented Muslims from real progress and success in realizing their faith. May Allah establish our feet firmly in the path of our Messenger Muhammad (ﷺ) and protect us from ever willingly exchanging truth for falsehood, Ameen.

Editorial update: In 1991, JIMAS in Ipswich, Suffolk, UK printed this series in book format under the title, “Letters against Martin Lings’ Biography Of The Prophet”. Later in 1995 the now defunct Society for Adherence to the Sunnah (SAS), slated it for US publication and retitled it “Perrenialist Poison- Exposed In Martin Lings’ Biography Of The Prophet”. However, due to financial constraints at the time, it was never printed. A pirated copy was made from the SAS re-titled version and later made its way to the internet. This current re-titled version is from the original SAS copy.


 

PART ONE:

SHAYKH ABU BILAL’S CRITICAL ADVICE

Sir, Congratulations on the opening of a religious section in your newspaper, entitled The Message. I trust it will be of great service disseminating valuable information regarding various aspects of the Islamic faith.

However, I must admit that I was dismayed to see that you have begun a serial of excerpts from Martin Lings’ biography of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The reason for this is that the book–although its language is graceful and its style enticing–is not a dependable historical document of the Prophet’s life as portrayed in the Glorious Quran and the authentic Sunnah.

I would like to draw your attention to a few facts which I trust will clarify my point. Mr. Lings draws heavily on sources which, although ancient, are not fully trustworthy; eg. Al-Waagidi’s Maghaazi, and Al-Azragi’s Akhbaar Makkah. The former is replete with forged and weak traditions, and its author, Al-Waagidi has been unanimously assessed by critics of hadeeth literature to be rejected as a narrator of traditions. This heavy dependence of Mr. Lings upon spurious sources for his narrative renders his biography unreliable as an exposition of the impeccable life and times of the Prophet of Islam. There are in fact quite a number of examples in the book which clearly indicate certain gross errors as well as distorted views of the author; however, lack of space permits me to mention only a few, in brief.

At the beginning of his treatise (p. 1-2), Lings chooses to quote from the distorted texts of the Bible’s Book of Genesis (ch. 15, v. 5), rather than rely on authentic narrations of the Prophet Muhammad regarding the story of Abraham and how he settled his wife Hagar and son Ishmael at Makkah. The Biblical account put Ishmael’s age at 13, whereas the traditions of Al-Bukhari indicate that he was a suckling babe at the time of their arrival in Makkah. It could be said, with justification, that the age difference is of minor significance–and this can be readily conceded–however, there is a vital issue at stake here; viz., Mr. Lings’ view of what is to be regarded as dependable source material for his writing.

When he was justifiably criticised for his quoting from the Bible instead of Islamic sources in an article entitled “Unscrupulous writing about the Prophet” in a local newspaper, Mr. Lings later replied: “I myself am more prepared to accept what Divine Revelation tells us than what was handed down in Arabia by word of mouth from generation to generation.”

He further labels the authentically established Islamic version of the story as traditions of the Arabs. Thus he considers the interpolated and distorted text of the Bible “Divine Revelation”, whereas the authentic narrations of the Prophet related to us on the authority of Al-Bukhari are mere “traditions of the Arabs”, and therefore–it is assumed–unreliable. The Prophet has said: “Verily I have been given the Quran and that which is like unto it, along with it,” i.e., the Prophetic Sunnah which we are obliged to accept as another aspect of the final Divine Revelation; if it has been verified to be transmitted to us in a dependable manner.

The second example is Mr. Lings’ rendering of the relationship between the Prophet and Zaynab, for this creates the impression of a passionate romantic love affair between them. He paints a picture of Zaynab at her house who–being lightly clad–upon hearing of the Prophet’s arrival at her door, was so eager to greet him that “she leapt to her feet and ran to the door, to invite him to stay until her husband Zayd returned” (p. 213). That is, she was improperly dressed, and the Prophet was overcome with passion, amazed at her beauty. Mr. Lings borrowed his “story” from certain forged narrations of Al-Waagidi et. al., and these were aptly described by some critics as “proper material for a Hollywood film”. Obviously, such material is absolutely unacceptable for such a sacred subject as the life of the Prophet Muhammad, his virtuous wives and righteous companions.

The final example I will mention–and perhaps the most detrimental –which clearly points to gross misconceptions and distortions of the Prophet’s Seerah by Mr. Lings is the incident of the Prophet’s entry into Makkah on the Day of Victory. It is well known that he was commissioned by Almighty Allah to purify the Ka‘bah of all signs of polytheism, by ridding it of all the idols surrounding it. Furthermore, the Prophet ordered his companions to destroy and efface everything which remained inside the Ka‘bah by way of painting or sculpture, and to remove such before he entered inside to pray. This has been authentically related in the compilation of Al-Bukhari, et. al.

Lings on the contrary, relates another “story” (see p. 300) gleaned from the forged narratives contained in his so-called “dependable ancient sources” (i.e., Al-Waagidi, Al-Azragi et. al.). This “story” totally contradicts what has been authentically related regarding this incident and contradicts the essential principle of towheed (unicity of Godhood) for Lings writes the following: “Apart from the icon of the Virgin Mary and the child Jesus and a painting of an old man said to be Abraham, the walls inside (the Ka‘bah) had been covered with pictures of pagan deities. Placing his hand protectively over the icon, the Prophet told ‘Uthman to see that all other paintings, except that of Abraham, were effaced.”

I ask: Can it be believed that the Prophet (pbuh) would protect such icons of Mary, Jesus and Abraham in this manner, and that he would allow these idols to be left intact inside the sacred Ka‘bah, the very symbol of pure unadulterated towheed?! The answer should be quite obvious to anyone possessing firm faith and good sense, for if such a story were true–and it certainly isn’t–then it follows that the Prophet affirmed the very symbols of polytheism and by implication, it indicates that he approved of the distorted existing versions of the previously revealed religions of Christianity and Judaism, symbolised by his protection of their two respective icons.

And that is precisely the aim of Lings’ mentioning this forged tale, since it is consistent with the false doctrine and philosophy to which he adheres and which he avidly propounds in his other writings, namely, The Perennial Philosophy. The principal theme of Perennialism is that all religions are in reality one, and mutually supportive and acceptable; it is merely their “outer” manifestations which appear to differ! (See Lings’ book The Eleventh Hour, p. 71, 74, 77, 80). He furthermore believes in reincarnation (p. 26-29) and the pagan theory of pantheistic monism, i.e., the union of man and God (p. 104, 106).

Needless to say, such aberrant doctrines and tenets are totally contrary to the pure and unadulterated teachings of Islam as contained and preserved in the Gracious Quran and the authentic Prophetic Sunnah; the sole criteria for distinguishing truth from error and falsehood.

From what has preceded by way of this brief expose regarding the aforementioned biography of Muhammad, and in light of Mr. Lings’ distorted views on Islam, I strongly recommend that the intended serial of quotations from his book be immediately discontinued and replaced by dependable literature on the life of Muhammad (pbuh).

Sincerely,

Abu Bilal Mustafa Al-Kanadi

Imam, Medical City Mosque,

King Khalid Nat. Guard Hospital,

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


 

PART TWO:

MARTIN LINGS’ RESPONSE

Sir,

Having discussed my life of the Prophet as unreliable, Mr. Kanadi goes on to say that ‘lack of space permits him to mention only a few examples of the gross errors as well as distorted views of the author’. In fact only three are mentioned but we may assume that there are the worst, that is, the grossest and most distorted. Let us examine them.

The first is now out of date, because in the latest edition of my book, the Biblical statement that Ishmael was 13 when he came to Makkah has been omitted and replaced by what is generally believed by Muslims, namely that he was a babe in arms. Mr. Kanadi may be unaware of this; but in any case he has no right to accuse me of labelling traditions of the Prophet as traditions of the Arabs. If I had found recorded any statement by the Prophet himself that Ishmael was a babe at that time, I would have immediately accepted it without bothering to consult Genesis in the first place. When I say traditions of the Arabs I mean ‘pre-Islamic’ traditions. But on reflection I think it is almost certain that the Prophet accepted these traditions as regards Ishmael, and so I have conformed to them, while retaining my other references to Genesis in order to remind Christian and Jewish readers of the promises which their Bible records as having been made by God to Abraham on behalf of Ishmael.

As to the second example of my gross errors and distorted views, it has to do with what led up to the Prophet’s marriage with Zaynab. Let your readers look at p. 213 and they will find that like the rest of my book it is full of the greatest veneration for the Prophet. He is portrayed as a man in total domination of his desires, a man who is not prepared to let his own individual feelings sway his behavior from the norm in any respect. The incident in question has, for all men, a great spiritual value, which is, to say the least, not characteristic of Hollywood films! The account of the Prophet’s visit to the house of Zaynab and of his sudden consciousness of his love for Zaynab is given not only by Ibn Sa‘d in his Tabaqat from which I have taken it, but also by Tabari, Baydawi, the Jalalyn and others of the great Qur’an commentators. The Prophet’s exclamation upon his first awareness of the love in question is quoted throughout Islamic literature: Glory be to God, the Infinite! Glory to Him who disposeth men’s hearts! These words have become a precious part of our Islamic heritage, and they are indeed worthy of meditation, for the lesson they teach us is profound. We have here a supreme example of true spiritual objectivity which does not allow the strongest emotional impact to divert it from the remembrance of God, Allah. It is also highly significant that it was God who put this love into his heart. But as to our critic, he glosses my words amazed at her beauty by overcome with passion; and since I and my sources have been at such pains to show precisely that the Prophet was not overcome–indeed, that is the main point of the page in question and no reader could be in doubt about it–Mr. Kanadi is here guilty of no less than a serious calumny against me and those whom I have followed.

As to the third example of my gross errors and distorted views, it has to do with an icon of the Virgin and Child which a Christian had painted on an inside wall of the Ka‘aba. According to all authorities,on the day of the Victory of Makkah the Prophet entered the Holy House and ordered the effacement of the paintings on its walls. Some accounts do not mention any exceptions; according to others the Prophet placed a protective hand over the icon while ordering that the other paintings should be effaced except one of Abraham. In my book I mention both accounts; the reader can take his choice. But the authorities for the exception are good; al-Wagidi quotes Ibn Shihab Az-Zuhri; and Al-Azraqui quotes Ibn Ishaq which shows that the incident must have been related in the now lost complete Sirah of Ibn Ishaq before it was abridged by Ibn Hisham. I wished to mention it because it is particularly pleasing to Western readers. But as to exactly what happened on that occasion God knows best, Allahu a‘lam. Our critic would do well to ponder these last words instead of claiming to have absolute certainty that the men who believed this incident to be true are wrong and that he is right, men who lived incomparably nearer the time of the Prophet than we do and who were no less set than we are on recording the truth.

Moreover, we must remember that the Prophet was bent on destroying the pagan idols and the paintings of the deities which the Quraysh and the other Arabs worshipped. The icon was in a different category, not pagan and not worshipped by Quraysh who were even accustomed to laughing at the mention of Jesus (Quran, 43, 57). How can anyone claim to be absolutely certain that at the moment in question the Prophet was not moved to make a gesture of adab towards a brother Messenger? Allahu a‘lam. But Mr. Kanadi writes: ‘If such a story were true–and it certainly isn’t–then it follows that the Prophet affirmed the very symbols of polytheism and by implication it indicates that he approved of the distorted versions of the previously revealed religions of Christianity and Judaism. Our critic is here on very unsafe ground; for whatever the truth of the above story may be, no one doubts that after the Victory of Makkah the Prophet made treaties with various Christian communities and these pacts bound him to protect their churches, all of which contained icons similar to this painting in the Ka‘aba. Moreover he expressly invited a delegation of Christians from Najran to make use of his mosque in Madina for the performance of their Christian rites. But Mr. Kanadi comes dangerously close to criticising the Prophet, for what is implied in the story which he says is false is also implied in the undisputed act of spiritual generosity which we have just mentioned. It is likewise implied by the pacts, for to protect icons is a positive gesture, wherever they may be, it means allowance if not approval. Moreover and above all, by identifying the existing versions of Christianity and Judaism with polytheism, Mr. Kanadi thereby reflects the clear distinction made by God between polytheism, which Islam absolutely forbids, and Christianity and Judaism which He compels Islam to allow and to protect until the end of time.

Having said his say about my life of the Prophet he adds, in case his readers are not yet shuddering at my gross errors and distorted views, three calumnies in correction with my other books. Firstly he says that Lings has mentioned “this forged tale since it is consistent with the false doctrine and philosophy to which he adheres and which he propounds in his other writings, namely the Perennial Philosophy. The principal theme of Perennialism is that all religions are really one, and mutually supporting and acceptable.”

That is not correct: he should have said “That all true religion is in reality one.” The Qur’an defines the Perennial Religion in the words Verily religion with God is Islam. But we have to understand the word Islam here in its wider sense for the Qur’an affirms that Jesus and his companions were Muslims and it says the same of every messenger of religion and his first followers. Perennial Philosophy is not in the least concerned with pseudo-religion, nor is it concerned with the various distortions and deviations from true religion. Mr. Kanadi should not write about what he does not understand. Then he accuses me of believing in reincarnation, a charge which is the opposite of the truth since reincarnation is one of the false beliefs which my writings continually refute. Thirdly he says that I believe in the theory of pantheistic monism, i.e., the union of man and God. No, I do not believe in pantheistic monism; but I do believe in a blessing which is greater than Paradise (see Qur’an, 9:72) namely Ridwan, and which was defined by God on the tongue of His Prophet in a hadith qudusi in terms of which suggest a certain measure of union: “My slave ceases not to draw near to Me with devotions of his free will (nawafil) until I love him; and when I love him I am the hearing with which he hears, the sight with which he sees, the hand with which he grasps and the foot on which he walks,” (Bukhari, LXXXI, 37).

Now let me put to your readers the following question. How is it that this book which since its publication in 1982 has been so highly praised by Muslim scholars all over the world, and has been awarded first prize in a competition for the best life of the Prophet by a panel of Sirah experts specially chosen by the Ministry of Religious Affairs in Pakistan–how is it that it should be dismissed as unreliable by a relatively new convert to Islam who has certainly not had the time to acquire the qualifications of the eminent authorities just referred to? Moreover it was not merely a question of a prize: Such was the enthusiasm of these authorities that the government of Pakistan decided to distribute copies of my book free of charge amongst members of their armed forces, and they produced a special edition of 15,000 copies to be printed in Lahore for the purpose. Quite independently of this, a scholar from the Muslim community of Cape Town writes in his review of the book: “This work should be translated into Arabic so that the whole of the Arab world may drink from it. It should be the prescribed text on the Nabawi period in all institutions of learning everywhere, in madaris, colleges, institutes and universities, as well as in all libraries, local, municipal, institutional, mosque and personal.”

The chief criticism made by Mr. Kanadi is that I have drawn heavily on Kitab al Maghazi which “is replete with forged and weak traditions and its author al-Waqidi has been unanimously assessed by critics of hadeeth literature to be rejected as a narrator of traditions.” Our readers will by now have come to realise that the words gross and distorted, so persistently used by Mr. Kanadi of me, are in this case something of a boomerang. The truth of the matter in question is that there are certain books, including al-Waqidi’s which are precious and almost indispensable mines of information about the early years of Islam and which are consequently to be found in every self-respecting library throughout Dar-al-Islam. Within this venerable class of books some scholars have judged that Kitab al-Maghazi, contains more weak hadith than, for example, the works of Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Sa‘d.  Not one of them would say that al-Waqidi’s masterpiece is ‘replete with forged traditions’, because in the first place only God–and the forger–can know whether a tradition is forged. On the other hand, it is universally admitted that many so called “weak traditions” may in fact be true. In any case, in drawing upon all my sources, I have been at great pains to be selective.

Mr. Kanadi and I are both of Western and non-Islamic extraction. One of the great differences between us is that I am more than 80 years old and I entered Islam over 50 years ago. I have had therefore more time to learn something about Islamic ways and in particular about Islamic adab. I am also old enough to have learnt that there is a margin where different opinions are bound to exist and where no one has the right to insist that his opinion alone is correct. If Mr. Kanadi had written to the Saudi Gazette and said, ‘Since you have begun a series of excerpts from Martin Lings’ biography of the Prophet (pbuh), might I suggest that you do not include pp. 213 and 300 (he might have wished to mention other pages also) because they contain information which in the opinion of some authorities may not be accurate’–if he had written this, I would have found his intervention altogether admissible.

Is it not somewhat ironical that while he is pouring abuse on me and my book, the publishers are being besieged by Muslim organisations from all over the world with requests to make my book more easily available inasmuch as it is the perfect antidote to the poison of the present attacks which are now being made against Islam and the Prophet (pbuh).

Abu Bakr Siraj ad-Din

known as Martin Lings

London


 

PART THREE:

SHAYKH ABU BILAL’S REPLY & REFUTATION

Having read Martin Lings’ response (Saudi Gazette March 10) to my previous criticism of his biography of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), as well as his adherence to the Perennial Philosophy, and finding it untenable, I am obliged to reply by–way of counsel (naseehah)–for the sake of Allah, His Messenger and the ummah of believers.

First, I must commend Mr. Lings on his ability to admit at least some of his errors, and for his willingness to correct them; for reversion to the truth is a virtue, as it is rightly said. On the other hand, it distresses me greatly to see him struggling under the influence of certain unfortunate misconceived notions about Islam in general, and the Prophetic Sunnah, in particular.

Take for example, Mr. Lings’ insistence on retaining his romantic account of the Prophet’s falling in love with Zaynab as recorded in Ibn Sa‘d and the commentaries of At-Tabari, Al-Baydaawi, and others whom he designates authorities–as if they were somehow infallible. I reiterate that these narrations have been assessed by the scholars of Hadeeth criticism to be rejected (mardoodah) due to the weakness of the narrators and the disconnection of the chains of transmission; a fact which renders them unacceptable for the purpose of application in matters of deen. That is the reason given by Ibn Katheer, the hadeeth scholar and commentator, for his refusal to include them in his famous tafseer which is an abridged version of At-Tabari’s commentary. (See Tafseer Al-Quran Adheem, V.6, p.420)

Another example is Mr. Lings’ facile attempt to defend the fabricated story of the Prophet (on the Day of Victory over Makkah) which has him placing his hands protectively over icons of Jesus, Mary and Abraham inside the Ka‘abah, and leaving them intact instead of having them effaced. Frankly, I am amazed at Mr. Lings’ obvious lack of familiarity with the noble Hadeeth sciences, especially Hadeeth criticism which deals with the assessment of the degree of veracity of Prophetic traditions. It is a thoroughly precise and exacting science which is the exclusive property of the Muslim Ummah as no other peoples possess anything remotely near to its thoroughness and precision. Such a noble science protects our faith from the invasion of blameworthy innovations and inventions, for nothing is accepted in matters of deen unless it is related on the authority of an acceptable isnaad (chain of transmitters).

In light of the above, let us look at a few of Mr. Lings’ untenable pronouncements relating to some aspects of Hadeeth criticism. Take, for example, his outlandish statement regarding Al-Waaqidi’s Al-Maghaazi: “Not one of (the scholars) would say that Al-Waaqidi’s masterpiece is replete with forged traditions’, because in the first place only God–and the forger–can know whether a tradition is forged”!! Now the truth of the matter is that the eminent specialists in the branch of Hadeeth sciences known as Ilm ar-Rijaal have unanimously rejected Al-Waaqidi as a narrator of prophetic traditions. A cursory glance at their ruling regarding him will be enough to refute Lings’ totally erroneous claim. The great Hadeeth critic Ibn Hajar relates that Al-Imam Ash-Shaafi‘ee has said of Al-Waaqidi’s books: “They are all lies.” An-Nisaai states that “Al-Waaqidi was well known for his fabrications of prophetic traditions.” Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Ahmad call him “a liar whose narrations are to be rejected.” Abu Dawood emphatically says of him: “I’d never record or relate his Hadeeths; I have no doubt at all that he used to forge traditions.” Other eminent Hadeeth scholars have variously described him as a liar, forger, counterfeiter, rejected, etc. (For details, see Ibn Hajar’s Tad-dheeb At-tah-dheeb, V.9, pp.363-68)

So much for Mr. Lings’ bold claim that “not one of the scholars would say Al-Waaqidi’s masterpiece is replete with forged traditions’.” I agree with Mr. Lings; truly Al-Maghaazi is a masterpiece–in forgery that is! As for the latter part of his claim that “only God–and the forger–can know whether a tradition is forged”, it is like saying: “Only God–and the forger–can know whether a certain bank note is forged.” Surely he must realise that Hadeeth scholars employ a meticulous scientific system of research with exacting standards; they can tell a forged hadeeth as accurately as an expert on counterfeiting tells a phony bill from an authentic one. Moreover, I wonder whether Mr. Lings realises the ramifications of his statement, for it necessarily follows that we cannot in certainty say that any hadeeth is forged–since only God and the forger can know for sure–and by extension, why not use these hadeeths freely as Mr. Lings does in his books; and as is the common practice by the various adherents to the various  deviated sects and cults.

The other gross and baseless generalisation made by Mr. Lings is that “it is universally admitted that many so-called ‘weak traditions’ may in fact be true.” Firstly it must be emphatically stressed that there is no such universal admittance as claimed. Secondly, the theoretical possibility that a certain weak tradition may be true, is not at all the point at issue here. The fact of the matter is that once a hadeeth has been assessed to have the degree of weakness–after taxing research and scrutiny–it is no longer permissible–by consensus–to apply it in matters of deen. Mr. Lings’ usage of certain previously-mentioned weak and forged traditions–along with others I have not mentioned for the sake of brevity–calls into question the author’s claimed “scrupulous and exhaustive fidelity to authentic and reliable sources.” (back cover, 1986 edition). After including weak and forged hadeeths in his seerah, can Mr. Lings really claim that he has been “at great pains to be selective?”

Now to return to the claimed story of the Prophet’s protection of the icons and Mr. Lings’ attempts at fanciful sophistry in explaining how such a forged story might be possible. He claims that the icons of Jesus, Mary and Abraham were in a different category than the other idols, “not pagan and not worshipped by Quraysh” and other Arabs. Does Mr. Lings think that these statues, icons and paintings were placed inside the Ka‘aba solely for the purpose of decoration?! Obviously they were placed there to be worshiped along with Allah, as is related in the Quran wherein the pagan Arabs are quoted as saying about their idols: “We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allah.” Such polytheists would not have had the least compunction about worshiping a few more idols such as the three icons mentioned, since they hoped that all of these might bring them near to Allah!

As for Mr. Lings’ question: “How can anyone claim to be absolutely certain that at that moment in question the Prophet was not moved to make a gesture of adab towards a brother Messenger?,” the reply is from two points of view. Firstly, there is to be found in the compilation of Ibn Khuzaymah, et.al. an authentic hadeeth which serves as a devastating reply to Mr. Lings’ untenable suggestion of adab. It is related that the Prophet also was shown the statues of Abraham and Ishmael, the former depicted clasping divining arrows, whereupon he ordered for them to be turned out of the Ka‘aba and toppled upon their faces, resulting in their being smashed to pieces. Would Mr. Lings suggest that the Prophet has shown “poor” adab to his brother Messengers here by having their images toppled on their faces and destroyed? Such a “gesture of adab” as suggested by Mr. Lings is obviously totally erroneous in light of the preceding hadeeth. Secondly, it must be asked: would such an alleged act of “protecting” the icons of Jesus, Mary and Abraham not be considered a gesture of bad adab towards Allah the Exalted and His inviolable House, the very symbol of towheed?

Mr. Lings then goes on to claim that the story of the Prophet’s supposed protection of the icons in the Ka‘aba is supported by his “spiritual generosity” for he allowed Christians to make use of his mosque; and by the pacts and treaties which allowed them to have icons in their churches. The reply to this argument may be phrased in the following questions: Does Mr. Lings wish to imply that the Prophet allowed them to set up their icons in his mosque for the performance of their Christian rites? If the answer is an emphatic “no!”–which I trust it must be–then the analogy presented bears no weight whatsoever. The same may be said regarding the treaties for the mere fact that dhimmis are allowed to have icons in their churches in no way constitutes the slightest “proof” for Mr. Lings’ opinion that such icons could be “protected” by the Prophet and left inside the House of Allah which was dedicated to His sole worship.

Furthermore, since it has been unconditionally established that the story of the icons is a fabrication transmitted by way of certain known forgers of traditions, and it is contradicted by authentic narrations of Al-Bukhari which consistently verify the Prophet’s having completely destroyed and/or effaced all of the idols, paintings and icons inside as well as outside of the Ka‘aba, it is a gross error that one draw upon this concocted story and then claim anything is validly implied therein.

Moreover, Mr. Lings unwittingly comes dangerously close to committing a grave transgression against the Prophet of Islam (pbuh), by upholding this forged tradition, for it necessarily follows from his untenable rendition of the auspicious event of the Conquest of Makkah that the Prophet failed to carry out the Divine Order to purify the most sacred House of its defilement caused by the presence of various idols. This amounts to an accusation of negligence on his part, or even contravention of the Divine Command.

However, this is only “the tip of the iceberg” regarding Mr. Lings’ various misleading pronouncements on Islam in particular and religion in general. Despite his outright denial (in his letter) of a belief in pantheistic monism (i.e., the unity of man and God), he admits to it in the same breath since he opines (wrongly, of course) that the hadith qudsi he quoted “suggests a certain measure of union.” Obviously, any “measure” whatsoever of union constitutes union. Furthermore, he clearly espouses the doctrine in his book The Eleventh Hour. For example, on p.10 he says: “The Kingdom of heaven is within you. This truth is the basis of esoterism, the science and discipline of inwardness, and the aspiration of the esoterist goes beyond salvation to sanctification, which in its highest sense is deification, that is, union (the Hindu yoga) with the Absolute Infinite Perfection of the Divine Essence. This extinction of all relativity is the nirvana of Buddhism; and in Islamic mysticism the saying that ‘the Sufi is not created’ testifies to the same ultimate Reality.” In another pronouncement on this subject Mr. Lings quotes from the master and veritable “High Priest” of Perennialism, Frithjof Schuon who claims that “On the one hand, space together with time, then the existence of things, and then their qualities, ‘prove’ God; on the other hand, they ‘are’ God, but seen through the veil of ‘Outwardness’ or of ‘Distance’” (p.107) In fact, this statement indicates adherence to a belief in the essential union between the rest of creation and God! The doctrine of “union” with God is rejected by Islam which maintains a clear distinction between the created and the Creator.

As far as reincarnation is concerned, I stand by my claim that Mr. Lings subscribes to this concept precisely according to the definition of the term, which is: “Rebirth in new bodies or forms of life” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, p.722). True, Mr. Lings does not subscribe to the theory that a human (or other being) can be reborn into the same world twice. As for being reborn into a number of other worlds and existences, he confirms that such a thing–in his view–is the real state of affairs as is witnessed from the following quotations from his Eleventh Hour: “But a man can, after death, ‘become an ape’ in the sense that he can pass on into another state of existence in which, having lost his centrality, he might occupy a position analogous to that of an ape in this world; and ape could ‘become a man’ in the sense that through some mysterious workings of Divine Grace he might, after his death in this world, be born at the centre of the world that comes ‘next’ to it on the rim of the samsara, the great wheel of universal existence.” (p.26)

After explaining the doctrine of the samsara, Mr. Lings boldly avers: “But truth has its rights, and nothing less than the full doctrine of the samsara is capable of giving a concept of the universe adequate to what contemplative intelligence demands as a symbolic basis for meditating on the Divine Infinitude.” (pp.27-28) Again on p.28 Mr. Lings clearly reaffirms his belief in continuous rebirths by posing the following question: “If beings had no existence previous to this life, how can we explain the birth of thousands of souls day after day into conditions spiritually so unfavourable as to offer no apparent hope of salvation? But if one is aware that our position in this state was ‘earned’ in our previous state upon the great round of existences, the problem no longer looms so large. The state of those countless people in the modern world who do not seem to have been given ‘a fair chance’ can only be the result of their  having already developed a centrifugal impetus in one of the samsara’s other worlds.” (p.28-29) Islam of course, includes no such belief in previous existences.

Finally, Mr. Lings claims that I don’t understand the true nature of his Perennial Philosophy since I said that its principal theme is that all religions are really one, mutually supportive and acceptable. He opines that I should have said: “All true religion is in reality one.” However, this playing with semantics is something of a boomerang for it follows that there must be other “true” religions besides our present Islam! However, since Islam (as taught by the final Prophet and Messenger Muhammad) supersedes all previous divine revelations and religions, the fact is that the only existing true religion is one–as contained in the Message of Muhammad (pbuh). In spite of this truism, Mr. Lings makes it clear in his other writings that he considers all present day “traditional” religions to be equally valid forms of worship.

Let’s hear what Mr. Lings himself say on this subject. Drawing upon the writings of the Perennial master Frithjof Schuon once again, Mr. Lings avers that “the dogma that there is only one valid religion, namely ‘ours’, may serve as an example of an argument that is psychologically somewhat outworn…Modern man cannot help having a broad view of the world than his ancestors had…This broader view may enable him to be impressed by religions other than his own, and at the very least it compels him to see that their existence makes the worldwide spread of his own religion impossible (!) If other religions were false, what of the glory of Him who allowed them to establish themselves, with their millenial roots, over so vast an area?” (p.68, The Eleventh Hour)

And in speaking about esoterism (the so-called “inner” path of mysticism) Lings mentions what the Hindus call jnana-marga, the why of knowledge or gnosis. He points out that “The mention of jnana does not mean, in this context, a movement towards Hinduism. For each seeker the way in question could be, in principle, any one of the orthodox esoteric paths which are now operative.” (p.77) That is, any one of the established “orthodox” paths of esoterism (e.g. esoteric Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam etc.) is acceptable as a means to spiritual guidance!

While expounding the works of another of the venerable Sufi masters, Mr. Lings borrows extensively from the writings of René Guénon which claim Hinduism as another valid way of worship. On p.80 of his Eleventh Hour Mr. Lings states that ‘Another advantage of Hinduism as a basis for the exposition of universal truth is the comprehensive breadth of its structure…Hinduism’s breadth of structure is matched by its unequalled length of span across the centuries as a fully valid way of worship, by reason of its providential escape from the degeneracy which other religions of its own age suffered in the normal course…To make this most ancient religion the basis of a doctrinal exposition is thus to offer the Western world for those few who are capable of taking it, a mysterious and purely positive  renaissance of relatively primordial heritage which has long been out of reach.”

Lings further says of René Guénon: “A note which is sounded in all his writings is the need for orthodoxy, a term which has become, in academic use, almost a synonym for narrow and fanatical esoterism, but which Guénon re-establishes in its true sense, while extending its guarantee of rightness beyond the limits of one religion only. In his perspective it takes on a vast significance to include, for all seekers of religious truth, every form of worship that has its origin in Divine intervention and has been faithfully transmitted from generation to generation by an uninterrupted process of tradition.”

From the above statements it is clear that Mr. Lings agrees to the concept of “orthodoxy” as expounded by Guénon, who extends its guarantee of “rightness” beyond the limits of one religion only, to include every form of worship claiming to “divine intervention” and a faithfully transmitted “tradition.” It must be questioned at this point: Which religion is not claimed by its followers to have been instigated by “divine intervention” and to have been “faithfully” transmitted generation after generation? On the basis of such claims it follows that every such “religion” must be accepted as “orthodox”, and therefore valid, as an effective approach to God!

Mr. Lings hoped to escape from the realities of this thorny issue by claiming I don’t “understand” the Perennial Philosophy. Let us say–for the sake of argument–that I don’t understand. But what about his colleagues and supporters of the Perennial movement–do they also not understand, Mr. Lings? Take for example, Mr. Gai Eaton, your fellow Perennialist and a prolific expounder of the Perennialist Religion’s false doctrines. In his book Islam and the Destiny of Man, Mr. Eaton–while expounding on the unity and acceptability of religions–states: “Are we to suppose that God mocks sanctity when it is achieved by methods other than our own?…To rest one’s faith upon such suppositions is, in the words of Martin Lings, ‘to think ill of Providence’.” (p.37) According to this statement, sanctity–a higher stage than mere salvation–can be achieved through religions other than Islam; to think otherwise is–according to Mr. Lings–to think ill of Divine Providence. Dear readers, do you think that Mr. Eaton, an eminent Perennialist in his own right, has also not “understood” where his colleague and co-perennialist is really at?

And what of Mrs. Aisha Gouverneur, an ardent supporter of Perennialism and industrious purveyor of Perennial literature including The Eleventh Hour, through her so-called “Islamic Texts Society.” Does she also not understand the Perennial Philosophy as conveyed in the writings of Mr. Lings, Gai Eaton, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, et. al? Listen to what she “understands” about Perennial doctrine as indicated by recorded statements made by herself during a lecture before an audience of Western lady converts at Jeddah on January 7, 1989: “How can you believe that God would send to Hell people who are sincerely practising their religions?” In the following lecture (Jan. 7, 1989) she insisted: “All religions are alike; they are like the spokes of a wheel going to a central hub. It doesn’t matter which one you take, as long as it takes you where you’re going.” (i.e., to God) Now let’s just compare this to the following quotations (p.71) from Mr. Lings Eleventh Hour: “Religions in their outermost aspects have often been represented as different points on the circumference of a circle, the centre of which is the Divine Truth. Every such point is connected to the centre by a radius which stands for the esoterism of the religion in question.” (p.71). I ask: did Mrs. Gouverneur the perennialist devotee not understand the writings of such Perennial heavyweights as Martin Lings, Gai Eaton et. al.? I dare say that the answer must be quite obvious to the reader.

From the preceding brief exposition, it should be apparent that I have indeed understood what I’m writing about. Mark my words: There is no attempt at calumny here against Mr. Lings; it is he alone who has reaped blame and censure upon his own person and reputation by insisting on following the perilous path of Perennialism rather than adhering to the straight path of unadulterated Islam as contained in its inviolable sources of infallible Revelation, about which the Prophet has said: “I have left you two things; you will never go astray so long as you hold firmly to them: Allah’s Book and my Sunnah.”

Abu Bilal Mustafa Al-Kanadi

Jeddah


About Mustafa Al-Kanadi

Abu Bilal Mustafa Al-Kanadi was born in Italy on July 4, 1950. At the age of four he emigrated with his family to the Lakes District of northern British Columbia where he spent his childhood and early teens. His family then moved in 1965 to Vancouver B.C. where he completed his secondary education.

In 1968 he embarked on the B.A. program at the University of British Columbia, and he graduated in 1972 from the Faculty of Arts with a major in English Literature. After a year’s social work, he entered the Professional Development Program of the Education Faculty at Simon Fraser University. Having concentrated in the field of Special Education, he graduated with honors in the summer of 1974.

During his final semester at S.F.U. he embraced Islam. After living in the Muslim community of Vancouver for a year, he realized the need to further his Islamic education. With this objective in mind, he traveled to Makkah during Ramadaan of 1976 in order to perform Hajj and to apply for admission to a program of Arabic and Islamic studies. He entered the Arabic Language Institute at Umm Al-Qura University and completed the language program in two and a half years.

He then applied and was accepted to the College of Shari’ah and Islamic Studies where he undertook a concentration in the field of Quraanic and Hadeeth Sciences. He graduated with honors in 1983.
In May 1989, he obtained a Master’s Degree in Quraanic Sciences from Umm Al-Qura University. A few weeks later, he passed away at the age of 39, leaving behind five beautiful children. During his short life, he wrote a number of tretises on various Islamic topics, and was actively engaged in writing, translating and daw’ah work.

Adolescence and Maturity in Islam

A Reply To Various Religious Questions Posed Regarding Issues Facing Certain Muslim Societies Of North America

By Abu Bilal Mustafa Al-Kanadi

©  1437/2016 Webearwitness.com

All Rights Reserved

Introduction:

This paper represents a brief reply to questions regarding various problems faced by Muslim societies in North America; particularly in reference to the subject of adolescence, marriage, and related issues.

As some of the questions were repetitive, they have been synthesized into a few comprehensive topics which will be discussed shortly. The issues have been arranged in a “question and answer” format as follows hereafter. I hope that our American Brethren, parents and children, may gain benefit from what is contained herein, and I pray that Allah guides them to the path wherein they may realize the true success of this life and the Hereafter.

The questions and their reply:

  1. According to Islam, at what age does a boy and girl become a man and woman respectively?

Answer: According to the Islamic Shari’ah (the Divinely-revealed Law), a child (male or female) is considered an adult upon reaching maturity, termed buloogh in Arabic/Islamic terminology. Buloogh means literally, ‘to have arrived’; i.e. to have arrived at the age or period of life wherein one is considered to have reached the stage of manhood or womanhood, whereby the individual is fully responsible for his or her acts and deeds, and upon whom certain duties (like ritual prayer, fasting, etc.) become mandatory (waajib). Now buloogh or maturity is determined in the human male or female through various signs or occurrences as designated in the texts of the Shari’ah, and these will be discussed shortly.

Naturally, the age of maturity (or the point in one’s life) at which one reaches adulthood varies from person to person, sex to sex, climatic region to climatic region; from race to race, and from social environment to social environment. For example, it has been observed that children of hot climates generally reach maturity much earlier than their counterparts from the very cold climates. Thus, it is not unusual for girls of arid and desert regions to achieve puberty[1] between the ages of seven and nine, whereas in the cold or frozen areas of the globe, girls may not reach puberty until eighteen or nineteen years of age. No doubt one’s social/cultural environment, economic conditions, and one’s particular upbringing are factors which may affect the child’s reaching puberty early or late in life also. In short, maturity is achieved in different persons at different ages.

Thus, to arbitrarily “set” any specific age as the age when one reaches maturity is an incorrect and untenable position in my view, even though this has been done by many of the famous Muslim jurists. Thus it is related that certain jurisprudents (Fuqahaa), such as Imam Ash-Shafi’ee, Al-Awzaa’ee, Abu Yoosuf, Muhammad[2] and Imam Ahmad –among others–claimed that a child reaches maturity at the age of fifteen (according to the lunar calendar).[3] The view of the Maaliki school (not Imam Maalik himself) is that the age of maturity is seventeen or eighteen years old.

As for Abu Haneefah, there are two narrations related regarding his view in reference to the male, either seventeen or eighteen years of age. As for the female, she would reach maturity at the age of seventeen. These various ‘ages’ suggested here by the mentioned jurists are not the only, nor are they the ‘real’ or ‘actual’ (al-haqeeqy) determiners of maturity. Let us leave this issue of the age factor at this point, as we will return to it later on.

The scholars of the Islamic Shari’ah generally agree on four verifiable signs/occurrences (other than reaching a specific age), two of which are shared by male and female, and two of which are particular to the female only. The first of the two verifiable signs of having reached maturity common to both sexes is the ability to have a sexual climax and descension of sperm (inzaal) in the male and female person. Such a sign may be evident through a ‘wet dream’ (ihtilaam) whereby the person finds the evidence of having reached sexual climax in the presence of wet (or dried) sperm on his underclothing. Such a thing occurs in the female as well. It may be discovered or known in other ways also, such as masturbation or fornication (legal or otherwise–Allah forbid). The proof for this has been established from the Quraanic verse:

﴿وَإِذَا بَلَغَ الاٌّطْفَالُ مِنكُمُ الْحُلُمَ فَلْيَسْتَأْذِنُواْ كَمَا اسْتَأْذَنَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ﴾

In this and preceding Quraanic verses of this Soorah, Allah, the Exalted and Mighty gives guidance to the Believers regarding the required etiquette and rules of privacy; thus permission to enter into an adult’s private chambers must be sought by children[4] (who have reached the age of puberty); at all times. The verse may be translated:

And when the children about you have reached the age of puberty (al-hulum) let them seek permission (to enter into one’s privacy), just as those before them[5] have done. [An-Nur 24:59]

This is further proved by the authentic tradition related by the Compilers of Hadeeth, and one such narration follows:

قَالَ أَوَمَا تَذْكُرُ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ رُفِعَ الْقَلَمُ عَنْ ثَلاَثَةٍ عَنِ الْمَجْنُونِ الْمَغْلُوبِ عَلَى عَقْلِهِ حَتَّى يُفِيقَ وَعَنِ النَّائِمِ حَتَّى يَسْتَيْقِظَ وَعَنِ الصَّبِيِّ حَتَّى يَحْتَلِمَ

We translate the hadeeth thus:

“Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said: The pen (with which one’s deeds are recording) is raised and held from recording the deeds of three (types of) persons: the insane–until he regains his (full) senses; the sleeping person–until he awakes; and the immature child–until he/she reaches puberty (yahtalim).”[6]

There is no difference amongst scholars of the Islamic Shari’ah that the ability to reach sexual climax in the male and female young person is a definite proof of their having become adults.

The second of the two verifiable signs of reaching maturity common to both sexes is the presence of thick stiff (khashin) pubic hair around the male and female private parts. The hair must be hard and stiff, not the mere ‘fuzz’ (zagab); a light soft downy hair which is found on young children and does not constitute that type of pubic hair which indicates having reached maturity. The proof of this sign is to be found in a number of authentic traditions where it is indicated that the presence of such stiff (khashin) pubic hair was used by Muslim authorities to determine whether certain persons were mature adults or immature children. The first text is as follows:

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ لَمَّا نَزَلَتْ بَنُو قُرَيْظَةَ عَلَى حُكْمِ سَعْدٍ ـ هُوَ ابْنُ مُعَاذٍ ـ بَعَثَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم، وَكَانَ قَرِيبًا مِنْهُ، فَجَاءَ عَلَى حِمَارٍ، فَلَمَّا دَنَا قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ قُومُوا إِلَى سَيِّدِكُمْ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَجَاءَ فَجَلَسَ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ لَهُ ‏”‏ إِنَّ هَؤُلاَءِ نَزَلُوا عَلَى حُكْمِكَ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ فَإِنِّي أَحْكُمُ أَنْ تُقْتَلَ الْمُقَاتِلَةُ، وَأَنْ تُسْبَى الذُّرِّيَّةُ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ لَقَدْ حَكَمْتَ فِيهِمْ بِحُكْمِ الْمَلِكِ

Regarding this tradition, it is related that the tribe of Jews known as Bani Quraydhah broke their covenant with the Prophet ﷺ by traitorously and deceptively siding with the enemy against the Believers. Because of this treachery of these Jews, the Prophet marched to their lands to do battle with them. The Prophet and his companions of warriors surrounded the tribe and the Prophet asked S‘ad bin Mu‘adh to give a ruling as to what should be done with this tribe of traitorous Jews. S‘ad replied that their men should be executed and their women and children enslaved, while their wealth was to be distributed amongst the Muslims.[7]

Which brings us back to our above-quoted tradition in which one of the youths of that tribe of Bani Quraydhah (whose name was `Ateeyyah Al-Quradhi) later reports that on that day when the men of Bani Quraydhah were to be executed, Allah’s Messenger ﷺ ordered that their youths were to be checked to see if they were to be executed. ‘Ateeyah then comments that he was one of those youths who had no pubic hair and that he was brought before the Prophet ﷺ, who freed him from execution. Naturally, those under the age of maturity were absolved of blame from the treachery of the men of the tribe.

From this hadeeth the majority of the Islamic scholars say that the growth of pubic hair is also a clear sign of the young person[8] having arriving at maturity. As for the two signs of maturity which are particular to the female only, they are as follows:

The first of these is the onset of menstruation, which constitutes a discharging of blood, secretions and tissue debris from the uterus. There is no difference between the scholars regarding this point. Amongst its proofs from the sunnah is the following authentic hadeeth related by Abu Dawood, Al-Haakim, and others:

لاَ يَقْبَلُ اللَّهُ صَلاَةَ حَائِضٍ إِلاَّ بِخِمَارٍ

`Aaishah related that Allah’s Messenger said: Allah does not accept the salaah (ritual prayer) of the female who has reached her menses, unless she wears a head veil.[9]

The second of the two signs of maturity which are particular to the female is her becoming pregnant, because offspring is created from the male and female fluid (i.e. sperm), as has been mentioned in various authentic hadeeths narrated by Imam Muslim and others. In short then, maturity (buloogh) is determined by four signs; two are shared by male and female; viz.,

(1) Achieving climax with a flow of semen, and

(2) The presence of stiff pubic hair;

And another two are particular to the female:

(3) The onset of menses, and

(4) The presence of pregnancy. These are definite, unequivocal signs.

As for the fifth sign (alluded to in the early part of this essay) which was to assign a certain age as the age of reaching maturity, such is not a clear or definite nor a ‘real’ determiner of maturity. Rather it is arbitrary and is applied by its proponents in the absence of the other real or actual (haqeeqy) four signs mentioned above. Thus, in some Islamic states the Qaadi (Islamic judge) might rule in the case of a young boy or girl who lacks the definite aforementioned signs of maturity but who has reached the age of fifteen,[10] for example, that such a young person is ‘mature’ for certain legal purposes.

The proof of those scholars who maintain that the age of fifteen is one of the determiners of buloogh (maturity) is based on certain traditions[11] which relate that Ibn `Umar at the age of fourteen was brought before the Prophet for permission to go for jihaad (Islamic holy war) in the Battle of Uhud,[12] but he wasn’t allowed, whereas he was allowed to participate in the Battle of the Trench when Ibn `Umar was fifteen years old. In one narration, whose text follows:

عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، قَالَ عُرِضْتُ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَوْمَ أُحُدٍ وَأَنَا ابْنُ أَرْبَعَ عَشْرَةَ سَنَةً فَلَمْ يُجِزْنِي وَعُرِضْتُ عَلَيْهِ يَوْمَ الْخَنْدَقِ وَأَنَا ابْنُ خَمْسَ عَشْرَةَ سَنَةً فَأَجَازَنِي

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar says: “I was brought before the Prophet (as a prospective warrior for battle) on the Day of Uhud at which time I was fourteen years old, and he rejected me, as he considered me as not having reached the age of maturity (“wa lam yaraani balagtu”). Then I was brought before him again during the Year of the Trench[13] when I was fifteen and he allowed me (to join in the battle),”[14]

Now Ibn ‘Umar’s saying that the Prophet ﷺ rejected him the first time (when he was fourteen) was due to the Prophet’s ﷺ not considering him to have reached maturity (buloogh); this was taken by some scholars to be a proof that once one arrives at the age of fifteen he/she is mature. However, this conclusion on their part is untenable for a number of reasons, the most important of which is that the Prophet ﷺ did not himself inform us that the reason for allowing Ibn ‘Umar at the age of fifteen and rejecting him at fourteen was because a child becomes mature at fifteen. Rather, there are a number of other possibilities which are more acceptable as interpretations of these traditions as follows:

Firstly, it is most probable that in the particular case of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar he personally happened to reach puberty at the age of fifteen, and was in fact mature at the time when he was brought before the Prophet ﷺ(during the Battle of the Trench). This made Ibn ‘Umar think that the reason for his rejection the first time (at the Battle of Uhud) was due to him not being mature (baaligh). However, a careful analysis and synthesis of the various traditions relating to this incident clearly indicates that the reasons for the Prophet’s ﷺ rejection of Ibn ‘Umar the first time was that the Battle of Uhud was to take place outside of Madeenah under harsh conditions of war against the enemy, so he only allowed seasoned warriors who were skilled fighters and marksmen. As for the second time Ibn ‘Umar sought permission, this was during the Battle of the Trench, within Madeenah itself, for a great ditch was dug around the whole city, thus there was relative safety in using youths for firing rocks or spears or other missiles upon the enemy.

It also may be said that in the light of the extreme danger of the Battle of the Trench (with the presence of so many enemy forces united against the Muslims) the Prophet ﷺ saw fit to use all the help he could muster in both the digging of the trench as well as in the actual defence of the city.

Furthermore, no doubt the Prophet ﷺ saw a greater physical development and fighting prowess in Ibn ‘Umar the second time he sought to join the battle. This latter point is supported by similar incidents of other youths seeking to join in jihaad, for it is related in Ibn Hishaam’s biography of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ that two youths (Samurah bin Jundub and Raafi’ bin Khadeej) were both fifteen years old at the time of the Battle of Uhud, and yet the Prophet ﷺ rejected them. Then it was related to the Prophet ﷺ that Raafi’ was a good marksman, whereupon he gave his consent. It was further mentioned that Samurah was stronger than Raafi’ and could outwrestle him, whereupon the Prophet ﷺ also permitted him in joining the battle.

If the age of fifteen alone was a determiner of maturity as claimed by the proponents of that view, then the Prophet ﷺ would not have rejected those two youths the first time they sought permission. Furthermore, we see that permission was given to them both, on the basis of their strength and fighting skills and prowess, not merely because they were fifteen as has been mistakenly claimed.

Finally, it should be mentioned that the advocates of the view that one’s age (i.e., fifteen years) is a determiner of maturity (buloogh) sometimes quote a prophetic tradition to support their position whose text follows:

It may be translated thus:

“Anas reported that the Prophet said: When the child reaches fifteen years of age, what is for or against him (by way of deeds) is recorded, and legal punishments will be carried out respecting him.[15]

Now had this tradition been authentic, it would indeed have been a proof in their favor. However, it is weak (da’eef) and therefore, of no consequence in establishing rulings of the Shariah, as the condition for such rulings is that they be based on authentic texts. In short, mere ‘age’ in itself is not a determiner of buloogh in itself; rather, the four clear signs previously mentioned are the real determiners of maturity. This leads us to our second question whose text follows:

  1. At what age is a boy or girl allowed to be married according to Islamic Law; must they be mature (baaligh) to be married?

Answer: Naturally, the most ideal time for a boy and girl to be married is upon their reaching puberty (buloogh), as defined above; regardless of their respective ages. With the onset of puberty young people are basically sexually active and can potentially produce children, therefore they are to be encouraged to be married in order to legally channel their sexual impulses and needs. If they don’t–Allah forbid–they may turn to illegal and harmful means of satisfying their sexual needs. For this reason the Prophet ﷺ encouraged youth to marry young–as soon as they were capable of doing so, as is related in the following narration from Al-Bukhaari:

يَا مَعْشَرَ الشَّبَابِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ الْبَاءَةَ فَلْيَتَزَوَّجْ، فَإِنَّهُ أَغَضُّ لِلْبَصَرِ، وَأَحْصَنُ لِلْفَرْجِ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَعَلَيْهِ بِالصَّوْمِ، فَإِنَّهُ لَهُ وِجَاءٌ

The Prophet addressed a multitude of youths saying: O youths, whosoever of you is capable (sexually, or otherwise)[16] of marriage then let him do so. And whoever is not capable, then let him fast (regularly),[17] for that lowers his sexual passions.

Thus, for example, if a certain boy reaches manhood at say, thirteen, he could theoretically marry a girl who reached her womanhood at say, nine years of age. However, in reality, there is no ‘lower limit’, legally, according to Islamic Law, when a boy or girl may be married, even if he/she has not reached maturity.

In other words, it is possible legally, and it could be advantageous in certain individual circumstances, to have a boy and girl of equal or differing age, both married to each other while both or one of them (usually the girl) has not yet achieved maturity. This may be done for certain social and/or psychological purposes which are beneficial to the parties involved and which contribute to the spiritual and social health and welfare of the Muslim community.

This is supported by the example of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ himself for it is authentically reported that he married ‘Aaishah (may Allah be pleased with her) when she was six, then consummated[18] the marriage when she was nine, after her reaching puberty.

If an immature girl is legally married to a mature male (young or older), he has the right to fondle her and play with her[19] if she is physically large and appears capable of handling it, the male may also have sexual intercourse with the immature female. It is beneficial in some circumstances, in certain Muslim communities to marry certain children to each other one of who or both of whom are not yet mature, if sexual activity is known or feared from them. Abnormal sexual activity such as lesbianism, homosexuality, bestiality etc. is well nigh prevented by early marriages as is illegal sexual play or intercourse with other Muslim or non-Muslim peers.

In short, there is no restriction in Islam on the age level at which young people may be married, even if either of the two sexes (male or female) or both of them are not mature (baaligh). Obviously however, the normal, ideal age for them to be married is for them to at least have reached their puberty (buloogh), since it is at this age when sexual union is most likely, and when they are able to procreate, and fully enjoy the benefits of a healthy, conjugal relationship.

This leads to our final question in respect of this subject:

  1. This question pertains to certain problems affecting Muslim Youth in some North American communities regarding the issue of marriage. It is incumbent–at this point–to lay down some background information to the issues involved and to clarify the circumstances which prompted these questions to be asked by concerned persons.

The situation described by the questioner is that many of the youths (male and female) in particular communities who are mature (approximately between the ages of 12-18) have been displaying certain behavioural problems. It is claimed that these young people attend school regularly; they fast and pray–in short, they practice Islam to the best of their ability. However, there are certain social problems as follows:

For example, a Muslim youth likes a Muslim young lady and vice versa. The youth seeks permission to see the young lady and the father of the young lady refuses. The result is that the youth calls the young lady’s house without the father’s permission. It is feared that the two youths may not be able to stay from each other. As for marriage, some of the parents react negatively saying such things as ‘they’re too young to be married’ or ‘the Brother (i.e., the youth just mentioned) isn’t able to maintain the young lady economically.’ Etc.

There is a great concern on the part of North American parents and other responsible Muslims that such situations could lead to very negative results (As has happened already in fact, in other communities of North America and Canada which have similar societies).

With this background in mind the questioner asks the following questions in order to know just what rights and obligations exist for each of the parties concerned; namely, the parents of the Muslim youths and the youths themselves.

(A) Do they need their parents’ permission to be married?

(B) If the young couple are still in school, can’t they be married and stay with either of the parents, in their home, until the youth is able to finish school or find a job?

Answer: Firstly it should be made clear that people in a Muslim society are not allowed to ‘see each other’ privately, without the presence of the lady’s walee, or any deputized person in his stead who is a mahram[20] of the said lady. There is no such thing as ‘pre-marital dating’ in Islam –a period during which the young couple can ‘get to know each other’ before they tie the marriage knot!!

In Islamic practice, if a young person (male or female) likes another then he or she should seek the proper method for informing the respective authorities his/her intentions. Thus a young man should seek the permission of the girl’s father or walee to be married to the girl. If she wants to be married to a particular Muslim youth, she should inform her parents (more specifically, her father, as he holds the right to grant permission) and an arrangement for a meeting of the parties concerned should be made.

No such private meetings between unmarried couples are allowed, such as walking in the park, shopping, going to an event, etc. No doubt to let such a couple see each other is prohibited, as it can only lead to a sexual expression of their affection for each other, i.e., fornication. It is the duty of parents and other responsible Muslims to arrange for legal marriage in such circumstances and not to let such a situation be left until it result in evil consequences. Now to proceed to the other questions, the first of which is:

Do they need their parent’s permission to be married?

The answer to this question is that if they are both immature, they both must have the express consent of their respective walee, i.e., the legal guardian. The walee or legal guardian is usually the father (if he is alive), otherwise the oldest brother of the child, and so on, according to a certain order. This is the legal father’s sole right, unless he deputizes someone else in his stead (i.e. his wakeel or deputy).

If the two youths are mature then the female must have the permission of her legal guardian (walee), regardless of her age; even if she is older, for the Prophet ﷺ has said in the authentic tradition that there is no legal marriage without the consent of the lady’s walee and two upright (male) witnesses.

As for the mature male, he does not require the consent of his father (or other walee); however, in keeping with proper Islamic manners and in order to be a respectful upright son, it is appropriate that he consult with his parents on the matter, and that he seek their advice and blessing in the affair. If his father should disagree to his marriage and refuses his consent without presenting Islamically–valid reasons, the mature male may marry the lady of his choice, as that is his right.

This is the ruling in terms of the Islamic Shari’ah; however, parents living in the West (due to such factors as ignorance, stubbornness, etc.), often resort to the legal system in those countries, and it may be that by law (in a certain country) the child (male or female) must have the written consent of one or both of the parents before they can be married, especially if they are below a certain age level (e.g. sixteen years of age).

Therefore, such problems should be straightened out between the parties concerned, and all members should be sincere in attempting to do that which is pleasing to Allah and most healthy for the religious, social and psychological well being of the Muslim individual and community.

The second question is: Whether or not one of the parents can’t take the young newly-married couple into their home temporarily; until the lad finishes school, gets a job, etc.?

Of course, this is one possible solution to the problem of youths’ need to be married, in case they do not have the financial ability to carry on as a separate family unit. It is a temporary solution to the problem of the lad not being able to maintain the wife because he wishes to finish school, or due to lack of sufficient full-time work, etc.

In many Eastern and/or Islamic countries, such a situation is fairly common and not at all frowned upon. Even in Europe it is quite prevalent. In these societies family ties are much stronger than in North America. Even in Saudi Arabia there are cases where a young lad of sixteen (or younger) is completing his high schooling while his wife is also a young lady completing her schooling in a girls’ school. They both live together with the boy’s parents and family.

Needless to say, the free and loose environment of western societies tends to stimulate and drive young people to some form of ‘love relationship’, and–as a result–illegal fornication. No doubt the sexual urge and the need to be married occurs early in many Muslim youths. It is the duty of Muslim parents to help facilitate legal Islamic marriage between their young mature children, who have reached puberty, in order to prevent illegal fornication between those children who have a strong sexual urge and desire for marriage. With some of these children this urge is so strong they had better be married Islamically (legally), otherwise they are going to fornicate (illegally, of course).

At this point, some words of advice and good counsel are in order, for as the Prophet ﷺ has said:

الدِّينُ النَّصِيحَةُ.

i.e., Verily deen (religion) is none other than the giving of good counsel.[21]

With that in mind I say:

Parents should keep in mind that the Islamic order of things and its way of life is not to be confused with Western values, ideals and concepts, which are usually materialistic, selfish, and most often immoral; they are the result of human thought, by way of trial and error. Certainly, they are not determined by that perfect divine wisdom which is contained in the system of the revealed Shari’ah.

Allah the Creator, has fashioned man in all of his intricate details, and He, the Exalted knows exactly what is most beneficial for mankind and what is harmful. For that reason, Allah in His infinite wisdom and mercy, has seen fit to give man guidance and direction through a legal code which clearly delineates for him a complete way of life. The result of adherence to that divine legal code and heavenly guidance is peace and contentment in this earthly existence, and everlasting bliss in the Hereafter. Whosoever goes against that divine code and refuses guidance suffers in this life and in the next, Allah forbid!

In the light of the above, it is advised that Muslim parents carefully assess their children’s real needs–physical, moral, and social–in consultation with them. Parents are bound to familiarize themselves with their children’s problems, and to help solve these difficulties in a manner which is in accordance with the Islamic Shari’ah, and which is in the Muslim child’s best interests–spiritually or otherwise.

Muslim parents should not look at the values, customs, mores and other arbitrary standards of the disbelieving society, and then blindly imitate that, thinking it to be ‘the right way.’

The spiritual and psychological well-being of our children are a sacred trust; we are responsible for every aspect of their well-being. So too, we must help them fulfill their physical, spiritual and social needs. Thus the solution to these problems lies with Muslim parents, in consultation with their children. If parents do not give their utmost consideration and effort in order to help solve their children’s difficulties, they will be to blame for the sins committed by their offspring, and for the dreadful consequences. May Allah guide Muslims to see the light, and to submit to the guidance of Islam in order to achieve success in this life and in the Hereafter.

  1. It is common amongst certain sisters from some of the Arab countries such as Syria and Lebanon that they wear a long coat down to the knee (along with their headscarf) but from the knee down they merely wear stockings so one can clearly see the shape and size of their legs. Is such a thing acceptable to the Islamic Shari’ah?

Answer: The wearing of such stockings below the knee down, including the foot is not acceptable to the conditions of the Islamic Shari’ah for correct hijaab, or Muslim women’s dress. I have dealt with this subject in detail in my book, “The Islamic Ruling Regarding Women’s Dress according to the Qur-aan and Sunnah.” A copy should be given to those sisters who are unfortunately labouring under this obvious misconception of theirs that such apparel suffices; for without a doubt it does not, and such a woman who wears it is a sinner and disobedient to Allah and His Prophet ﷺ.

In my booklet, p. 27, I draw your attention to the title: THE THIRD CONDITION, which is one of seven vital conditions of the hijaab in order to be acceptable and complete according to the divine Shari’ah, i.e., Al-Qur-aan and the authentic Sunnah. That condition is that a woman’s clothing must not be tight fitting such that it shows the shape and size of the limbs. This is proven by the following hadeeth and its translation as reproduced from the book below:

“Usaama bin Zaid said: Allah’s Messenger , gave me a gift of thick Coptian cloth which he had previously received as a gift from Dahiah Al-Kalby, so I gave it to my wife to use for her clothing. The Prophet (later) asked me: “What’s with you that you don’t wear the Coptian cloth?” I replied: I gave it to my wife to wear. The Prophet then said: “Order her to wear a gown under the Coptian cloth, for verily I fear that it might reveal the size and shape of her body parts.”

Clearly the Prophet ﷺ ordered Usaamah to tell his wife to wear a gown under the Coptian cloth because–and I quote– “for verily I fear that it might reveal the size and shape of her body parts or members (hajm idhaamiha).” This is precisely what the wearing of stockings does–it reveals the shape, size and form of the woman’s legs, which is without doubt an invitation to men and an attraction, whereas the purpose of hijab or women’s Islamic dress) is to reduce the attraction and to hide the woman’s body from onlookers.

There is no doubt about this condition amongst the scholars of Islam for they are in complete agreement regarding this portion of the body, i.e., between the knee and the foot. As for the foot, it too must be covered as is clearly proved on page 20, footnote 19 of the same said booklet. If the wearing of tight-fitting stockings were allowed, then the woman should be allowed to go out in public wearing a skin tight exercise suit with leotards and a headscarf, because if such a thing is allowed below the knee, it is allowed above the knee, and anywhere else on the woman’s body.

Now would any of these women go out on the street in leotards and a small jacket and scarf?!! Fear Allah and use your good senses my brethren; strict adherence to the divinely–revealed Shari’ah is our only escape from the evils of our selves and from our weaknesses and evil deeds. As for the excuse of some of these people that Imam Ash-Shaafi’ee or Imam Abu Haneefah or “so-and-so” said this or that, I reply in the following way:

None of the Imams have allowed the wearing of stockings between the knee and the foot, open to view. Whosoever claims such a thing regarding the Imams is asked to bring the proof of what they say, as the Qur-aan says:

قُلْ هَاتُواْ بُرْهَـنَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـدِقِينَ

“Present your proof (of what you claim) if, indeed, you are truthful.” [Al-Baqarah, 2:111]

Let us have the name of the book and page number wherein such a statement is authentically related up to one of the Imams. Whosoever does not bring such a proof carries the rumors and hearsay of the common folk, and would be guilty of slander, Allah forbid!

Even for the sake of argument, we were to say that one of the Imams did say such a thing, then even so we must realize that they were mere human beings, they were prone to error in matters of deen as all human beings are–except for the true chosen Messengers of Allah who are protected by Allah from making any error in conveying the Revelation and Law. As for the four famous Imams and other scholars, they sometimes erred and they sometimes were right. We are not bound to blindly imitate them. We are ordered by numerous texts of the Quraan and Sunnah to follow the Quraan and authentic Sunnah in order to be rightly guided, as is conveyed in the following authentic hadeeth of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ:

وعنه أيضا [ يعني ابن عباس ] :
…إني قد تركت فيكم ما إن اعتصمتم به فلن تضلوا أبدا كتاب الله وسنة نبيه الحديث
رواه الحاكم وقال : صحيح الإسناد احتج البخاري بعكرمة واحتج مسلم بأبي أويس وله أصل في الصحيح
( صحيح الترغيب و الترهيب للالباني)

“I have left with you (Muslims) two things, you would never go astray so long as you would adhere to them: Allah’s Book and my Sunnah.”[22]

Nowhere in the Quraan or Sunnah are we ordered to follow or blindly imitate of the Imams or Scholars. “Taqleed”, or blind imitation of one of the Imams and adherence to his school (madhhab) was prohibited by those very Imams themselves, for they knew that they were prone to error and that their knowledge of hadeeths and hadeeth criticism, etc., was limited in their early era.

In fact all of them have ordered us to follow the Quraan and Sunnah and to reject their positions if they contradict the two sources of the Divine Shari’ah. I will quote just one statement from each of the four Imams in order to make this point absolutely clear to the reader:

Imam Maalik (Allah’s mercy be upon him) has said: “I am a human; I may err and I may be right (in arriving at a legal ruling after exercising personal opinion). So scrutinize my views; and whatever you find therein to be in accordance with Allah’s Book and the Sunnah, accept it. And whatever you find of my opinions to be in contradiction to the Book and the Sunnah, abandon it.”[23]

Imam Ash-Shaafi’ee (May Allah be pleased with him), said: “No one is exempt from the fact that a Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ may escape his memory or otherwise elude him. so whatever I have expressed of my views (or legal opinions), there may exist a sunnah from the Messenger of Allah which contradicts what I have said. Thus the dependable “saying” (position) is that which has been stated by Allah’s Messenger ﷺ. And the Prophet’s statement (as expressed in the Sunnah) is truly my own view.”[24]

In another statement by Ash-Shaafi’ee he said: “There is unanimous agreement amongst the Muslims that whoever becomes aware of a Prophetic sunnah, it is not permissible for him to abandon it for the saying of someone else.”[25] If you find in my works that which is contrary to the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger, then abide by the Sunnah, and abandon whatever I have said.”[26]

Imam Abu Haneefah (may Allah be pleased with him), said: “It is not lawful for anyone to adopt our position (or opinion, on jurisprudential issues): unless he knows the source from which we derived that opinion.”[27] Finally, Abu Haneefah ordered his disciples in the following way regarding the issue of his statements contradicting the Divine Shari’ah: “If I have expressed a view which contradicts Allah’s Book and the traditions of the Messenger, then abandon my view.”[28]

As for Imam Ahmad (may Allah be pleased with him), he is authentically reported by the great Hanbali scholar Ibnul-Qayyim[29] as saying: “Do not imitate me, and don’t imitate Maalik either, nor Ash-Shaafi’ee, nor Al-Awzaa’ee, nor Ath-Thowri; but rather, refer to the sources from which they have derived their views, and take from those sources yourself.”

He also said: “The opinion of Al-Awzaa’ee and of Maalik and Abu Haneefah–all of it is equal in my eyes. However, the proof is in the narrations (from the Prophet, ﷺ) and his Companions.

 

About the Author

Abu Bilal Mustafa Al-Kanadi was born in Italy on July 4, 1950. At the age of four he emigrated with his family to the Lakes District of northern British Columbia where he spent his childhood and early teens. His family then moved in 1965 to Vancouver B.C. where he completed his secondary education.

In 1968 he embarked on the B.A. program at the University of British Columbia, and he graduated in 1972 from the Faculty of Arts with a major in English Literature. After a year’s social work, he entered the Professional Development Program of the Education Faculty at Simon Fraser University. Having concentrated in the field of Special Education, he graduated with honors in the summer of 1974.

During his final semester at S.F.U. he embraced Islam. After living in the Muslim community of Vancouver for a year, he realized the need to further his Islamic education. With this objective in mind, he traveled to Makkah during Ramadaan of 1976 in order to perform Hajj and to apply for admission to a program of Arabic and Islamic studies. He entered the Arabic Language Institute at Umm Al-Qura University and completed the language program in two and a half years.

He then applied and was accepted to the College of Shari’ah and Islamic Studies where he undertook a concentration in the field of Quraanic and Hadeeth Sciences. He graduated with honors in 1983.

In May 1989, he obtained a Master’s Degree in Quraanic Sciences from Umm Al-Qura University. A few weeks later, he passed away at the age of 39, leaving behind five beautiful children. During his short life, he wrote a number of treatises on various Islamic topics, and was actively engaged in writing, translating and daw’ah work

 


 

[1] Defined as the condition or the period of becoming first capable of reproducing sexually.

[2] Abu Yoosuf and Muhammad Ibnul-Hasan were the two closest disciples of Imam Abu Haneefah.

[3] The lunar calendar consisting of 12 months, each being 29-30 days in length.

[4] Even by one’s own children.

[5] By “Those before them” is meant other children who reached puberty before them and who are now their seniors. All of them are bound to it.

[6] Authentically related by Al-Bukhaari and the authors of the Sunan.

[7] Sahih al-Bukhari 3043 Book 56, Hadith 249 (English) reference: Vol. 4, Book 52, Hadith 280

[8] Male or female.

[9] That is, once she has menses she is a full adult responsible for all her adult duties such as salaah, fasting, etc., except that prayer would not be accepted from her unless she wears a proper head veil such that only her face may be exposed, as her covering must cover her head and also her body, except her hands up to the wrist bone.

[10] In other states it might be seventeen, eighteen, and so on depending on the opinion of a particular school of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) followed in that particular state. According to Ibn Hazm, the maximum age for maturity is nineteen.

[11] Authentically related by Al-Bukhaari and others.

[12] That is, the Battle of Uhud, and the Battle of the Trench (Al-Khandaq) respectively.

[13] i.e., the Battle of the Trench (Al-Khandaq).

[14] Sunan Ibn Majah, English reference: Vol. 3, Book 20, Hadith 2543; Arabic reference: Book 20, Hadith 2640

[15] Related by Al-Bayhaqy with a weak chain of narration.

[16] That is, whoever is sexually capable, and able to maintain a wife by supplying the very basic needs of food, clothing and a shelter over her head, should do so.

[17] Fasting on a regular basis helps to control physical passions or desires for certain mundane things as sex, food, etc. However, it must be done on a regular unbroken pattern such as every second day (if possible) or every third or fourth day. It is not as effective if it is done irregularly and not often like once or twice a week.

[18] That is, he had sexual intercourse with her at nine, when she menstruated, thereby reaching full maturity.

[19] It is said that such fondling of the breasts and privates tends to help bring on the girl’s maturity at a faster rate than normal. Thus, in marriage such fondling promotes intimacy, stimulates her sexual organs and speeds her growth to puberty.

[20] Like her brother, uncle, and so on according to the rulings established by the texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah. Editor’s note: The Prophet ﷺ said, أَلاَ لاَ يَخْلُوَنَّ رَجُلٌ بِامْرَأَةٍ إِلاَّ كَانَ ثَالِثَهُمَا الشَّيْطَانُ “Behold! A man is not alone with a woman but the third of them is Ash-Shaitan.” (Sahih At-Tirmidhi)

[21] Sahih Muslim.

[22] Sahih Al-Hakim

[23] This statement of Maalik’s was authentically related by the great Maaliki scholar Ibn ‘Abdul-Baar in his Al-Jaami’, vol. 2, p. 32.

[24] Authentically reported by Al-Haakim as mentioned in Ibn ‘Asaakin’s Taareekh Dimeshq, Manuscript

[25] Related by Ibnul Qayyim in Al-I’laam, vol.2, p. 361 & Al-Fullaanee in Al-Eeqaadh, p. 68.

[26] Related by Al-Khayeeb in Al-Ihtijaaj Bish-Shaafi’ee (MS. No.8/2) and An-Nawawi in Al-Majmoo’ vol. 6, P. 63.

[27] Related by Ibn ‘Abideen in the Haashiyah, vol. 6, p. 309, etc.

[28] Related by Al-Fullaanee in Al- Eeqaadh, p. 50.

[29] In his celebrated work, Al-I’laam, vol.2, p. 302.

Retelling our history as a Tall Tale

American folklore has its share of tall tales. Paul Bunyan and his Ox Babe, John Henry and his hammer, etc. All are retold as first person narratives, even though each has wild exaggeration and unbelievable elements. Quite recently I was forwarded an academic essay on “The Salafis in America” by Shadee Elmasry. While I never met the author, the fact that his resources include people known as fabricators and apostates, indicates he’s off to a bad start. Reading it, I was so taken aback by its litany of half-truths, outlandish fantasy and outright lies, that I felt the author was writing fiction masquerading as academic research. I will in spite of this, give him the benefit of the doubt and say that his essay is at best, poorly researched.

Indeed, I find it surprising given his relative young age (35), for him to be expounding about people and events that took place as if he were an eyewitness, when at the time he was no more than a toddler. But then, such is the essence of tall tales and political myth.

Take for example, his claims at the beginning of his essay, where he elaborates on the start of Al-Hijra magazine. “The theology was outlined quite clearly for English readers in Al-Hijra magazine in 1983. Syrian businessman Abdullah Makkawi began circulating this publication on the East Coast with the title: “Tawhid, Ittiba’, & Tazkiyya”…

As a former editor of Al-Hijra, I can say Elmasry’s claims are filled with fantasy and half-truth. Elmasry makes up factoids based entirely on what he gleans from dubious sources, who had little if any interaction or familiarity with Al-Hijra’s history and staff. Abdullah Mekkoui was not a ‘Syrian businessman’ as Elmasy alleges. Abdullah Mekkoui was a Lebanese chemical engineer who along with a group of Arab students in Syracuse NY, helped start the original Arabic Al-Hijra magazine in approximately 1983.

It was not until 1985 when Al-Hijra adopted an English language format who’s staff included, Abdullah Mekkoui, Jamil Pavlin, Abdul Rahman Congreve and Umar Treziez. I and Imraan Hossein (not the sufi one) joined the editorial staff in 1986, by which time Al-Hijra had moved from Syracuse to first Elizabeth and later to Newark, NJ where it was the official organ of Dar Al-Hadeeth. By the time Elmasry was seven years old, Al-Hijra had become a respected, multi-page journal with a global readership.

Alhijra
Al-Hijra magazine

Elmasry’s claims regarding the title is also inaccurate. The title was always Al-Hijra, with the subtitle, “Dawah for tawheed – ittibaa’ – tazkeyah”. Why didn’t Elmasry, a NJ native, simply taken the time to consult with Dr. Jamil Pavlin himself at Rutgers, who would have provided Elmasry with the facts? Indeed, I find it very revealing that he didn’t consult with Dr. Jamil Pavlin and chose instead sources known as unreliable. Esmasry cites forty-six references in his footnotes, yet the bulk of his narrations come down to two people, both with unreliable reputations.

Elmasry states that Bilal Philips was “the first Westerner to enroll at the University of Medina” and that Abdullah Hakim Quick was “the first American graduate, 1979.”  While Elmasry did interview Abdullah Hakim Quick, he apparently failed to inquire or pursue those Westerners who studied in Medina and elsewhere before Bilal Philips’ time. Umar Abdul Hakim and Sh. Khalid Yasin from NY were two of them. Likewise, this could have been verified simply by consulting Sh. Khalid, Dr. Bilal or Dr. Abdullah themselves. Elmasry further claims that “applicants needed to have some experience with the Arabic language and have a leaning towards Salafiyya”. This is simply not true. Many students came to Medina with little to no experience with the Arabic language or exposure to Salafiah. The blame here of course is with Elmasry’s unreliable chain of narrators.

Elmasry’s reliance on third-hand sources (one of whom has a reputation as a fabricator and another who apostatized from Islam in 2013, only to return a month later) for much of his information results in both insulting as well as hilarious errors. For instance, Elmasry claims that I “now run the Al-Huda School in Maryland”. Absolutely false. I’m sure Al-Huda’s staff will find Elmasry’s claim eye-opening when they see it. He also claims I was in Medina, “for two years.” Do the math, I was there from 1986-1989 and have the documents to prove it. He then claims that Khidr Lawrence “stayed fifteen years studying at the College of Hadith.” Had Elmasry simply made the effort to consult with Sh. Khidr himself or others from the same college (like Abu Salman Eberly), he would have seen that the alleged “fifteen years” is a tall tale exaggeration. Elmasry also repeatedly misspells various prominent names, which further suggests reliance on third-hand information. Hardly the cornerstone of scholarship.

He later refers to the now defunct IIASA (Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America) as “a University of Madina satellite school.” Wrong. First, he incorrectly uses the word ‘Studies’ instead of ‘Sciences’, in explaining the IIASA acronym. Secondly, the IIASA was never a satellite of the Islamic University of Medina, but rather was a branch of Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud University in Riyadh. Elmasry’s error is akin to someone mistaking USC for Harvard.

Additionally according to Elmasry, Dr. Jafar Idris founded SAS (the Society for Adherence to the Sunnah) and Ali Al-Timimi (who’s name Elmasry repeatedly misspells) founded Dar Al Arqam! Again Elmasry relies on third parties for details. Dr. Jaafar had little to do with founding SAS while Dar Al-Arqam was founded by several different people. He then alleges, “The communities of East Orange, New Jersey and the Virginia/DC area were the “Mecca and Medina” of Salafiyya in America.” How on earth does he reach such a conclusion?

Indeed, his conclusion is an oversimplification and unjust half-truth. He makes no mention of the individuals, organizations nor communities in Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Boston to name a few, not to mention Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean! Based on his essay, one would assume that the bulk of American Salafis are either in East Orange, NJ or Northern Virginia!

Elmasry also makes a claim that due to what he calls a “civil war” between NJ Salafis, “the Salafi da‘wa was hijacked and broken for good.” He is apparently referring here to the neo-Murjia fitnah imported mostly from the UK in the late 1990s, that affected some inner city Muslims.

Yet more importantly, he makes no reference to the sweeping nationwide jailing, persecution and deportation of daiees in the aftermath of 9/11. Nor does he say anything about the systematic shutting down of various Islamic organizations who adhered to the Quran and the Sunnah, while subsequently replacing the organizations and leaders with people labeled “traditionalist”, “moderate” and “mainstream” (as if Salafiah is somehow NOT traditionalist, moderate and mainstream). All this strongly contributed to the resulting landscape one currently finds in America. Why did he not mention it?

Of course such details are not likely to be mentioned since they underscore the reasons why Sufi, modernist and even heterodox elements were overnight transformed from fringe groups to ‘mainstream Islam.’

In the end, the saddest part of this is that Shadee Elmasry’s essay appears in an academic journal. Meaning it will be used as a recurring reference for scholarly research. Imagine if you will, the National Enquirer and the Onion being used as references for a scholarly essay? Who would believe it and what types of mythical conclusions would result?

You don’t have to imagine such an outlandish possibility. It already exists. We’re not talking the tall tales of Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill or John Henry. The tall tale is entitled, “The Salafis in America: The Rise, Decline and Prospects for a Sunni Muslim Movement among African-Americans”.

wa salam

The Art of Response in Similarities

فن الرد على الشبه

Wisdom in Giving Da’wah

A brief essay by Sh. Muhammad Saleh Al-Munnajid

Translated by A. Idris Palmer

 

A non-Muslim offered a Muslim some grapes, and the Muslim ate them.

He then offered him some wine and the Muslim refused it.

The non-Muslim then responded, ‘Both of these are essentially the same. Yet you eat the grapes and you turn away the wine, even though wine is made from grapes.’ The Muslim then asked him, ‘Do you have a wife?’ The non-Muslim  replied, ‘yes.’ He asked him further, ‘Do you have a daughter?’ The non-Muslim replied, ‘yes.’ The Muslim then asked, ‘Why is it then that you allow yourself relations with your wife and not with your daughter, even though your daughter is from your wife?’ The non-Muslim realized his error and thus became a Muslim.

 

Has Siraj Wahhaj become an NOI PR man?

The long-anticipated moment finally arrived. The chance to ask Siraj Wahhaj questions that have lingered for years- regarding his continued association with Louis Farrakhan. Thus myself and another brother (who requested his name not be mentioned in this essay) spoke with Siraj Wahhaj at length during a September 7, 2014 fundraiser for Al-Huda School. The meeting was a surreal eye-opener. We approached Siraj during a lull in the evening’s events, in a cordial and brotherly manner, praising him for his dawah efforts. Thereafter, we cut straight to the chase. We queried him about the purpose of his repeated NOI overtures, specifically his presence at their Philadelphia fundraiser just two days earlier. He replied by repeating the same mantra he’s stated countless times before, that Farrakhan ‘is coming to Islam’, how the NOI has adopted Ramadan in its proper time, how he himself refused to participate in Farrakhan’s 1995 Million Man March, and that Farrakhan is bringing 10,000 followers on Hajj, etc.
However when Siraj saw our deadpan response, he immediately knew we were not the usual starstruck autograph seekers who gobble up any gibberish a celebrity speaks. Visibly caught off guard, he suddenly became awkwardly defensive and instantly changed his strategy to name-dropping. He claimed for instance that NOI member Carlos Muhammad, is one of Farrakhan’s staff who is supposedly “adopting the Sunnah.” Little did Siraj know that I had met Carlos some months before and I told him so. Siraj was stunned. Indeed, Siraj’s claim is light years from the truth, as Carlos is well-known as a staunch Farrakhan propagandist and official ‘NOI archivist’ who is on record as publicly defending the false prophet, Elijah Muhammad. I suddenly had the eerie feeling that Siraj has elsewhere faced similar questions, as his verbal responses and body language abruptly became unnatural and canned, as if rehearsed. He then repeated the same responses that he has given to audiences in numerous YouTube videos, only this time his responses didn’t elicit so much as a flinch from us.
Nathari's original tweet.
Nathari’s original tweet.

We then dropped the bombshell revelation on him, about what Amin Nathari reported on Twitter, that during Siraj’s Sept. 5, 2014 Philadelphia Jumuah khutbah, Siraj himself praised false prophet Elijah Muhammad and said the Muslim world needs to appreciate Elijah. Instead of denying Nathari’s report, Siraj looked befuddled and asked who posted it, which we instantly found revealing, since Siraj himself was the first person Amin Nathari CC’d on the post! What made Siraj’s surprise appear even more disingenuous, is the fact that had Nathari’s report been inaccurate, then why didn’t Siraj himself tweet a response and clarification? Why instead was he silent? And why was he asking us for the name of the person when he himself was the first recipient of the post? His astonishment thus appeared entirely feigned.

Nevertheless, we kept the pressure on Siraj, asking him to explain why is it that in spite of over 40 years of excuses and waiting, the NOI still insists on their website and elsewhere on ‘Point #12’, claiming Allah is a man? Why is it, that in spite of their adoption of Sunni practices on any given day, the NOI negates it all in the same breath by insisting Elijah is the last Messenger of Allah? We told Siraj that the single consistent thing in which the NOI has succeeded, is unprecedented total inversion of the shahadah, where they routinely cast out the concept of negation and by doing so, issues of aqeedah (belief) become in their view, issues of fiqh (jurisprudence) worthy of endless debate! Siraj’s line of reasoning then entirely fell apart and he started contradicting himself. For example, he said that he has given up hope on Farrakhan ever changing, thus he is now focusing on Farrakhan’s followers (!) and that some of them were salafis (as if we were going to desist, back off and say, mashallah!) Why even make such a claim? I agree with Siraj, there ARE salafis in the NOI. In kufr that is!
وَقُلْ جَاءَ الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ ۚ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا
The brother with me then reminded Siraj that the late Sultan Muhammad (Sultan Rahman’s father) made takfeer of Elijah and prior to his death in 1990, Sultan authorized specific people to preach tawheed and the principles of wala wal bara in Masjid Muhammad in DC. Siraj was also told that he himself is not getting younger, and that if he is sincere in his claims of ‘bringing the NOI to Islam’, he should then make a clear written, public statement making bara’ from the NOI’s false teachings.
To this, Siraj gave only a barely audible, muttered response before excusing himself from our presence. Thus what I fear is that Siraj is shaping to be a willing partner in the entire NOI ruse. An official NOI public relations man. Which raises a more serious question: does Siraj Wahhaj himself somehow believe that NOI beliefs are Islamically acceptable? Siraj realized that his usual excuses and explanations weren’t working this time, and he seemed to scramble for an ethereal exit door looking for a way out. What underscored this, was his refusal later that same evening during the same fundraiser, when he and Dr. Abdullah Idris made rounds to each guest table to encourage guests to contribute to the fundraiser, how Siraj deliberately passed the table where the brother and I sat, going to peripheral guest tables instead. Again, his non-verbal actions spoke volumes.
Quite frankly, I regret to say that I have not felt what I felt that night since May 14, 1993, when in Manchester, England, W.D. Mohammed publicly refused under similar questioning, to retract his numerous heretical claims. In each instance, one in the UK in 1993 and the other in the US in 2014, we witnessed the brains of falsehood smashed, and I can say this time that if what I sense is true, then inshallah it is only a matter of time before everyone witnesses the house of cards’ collapse. May Allah speed their collapse.

Farrakhan hovers over the Breakfast Club

Louis Farrakhan: A vociferous race baiter who knows little about Islam

 

On Friday morning, June 5, 2015, NOI leader Louis Farrakhan spoke with NY hip-hop radio station 105.1, ‘Breakfast Club.’ The following is a brief Islamic critique of the interview.

At 2:13 of the interview Farrakhan says regarding contemporary youth, ‘Our young people represent the strongest and the best generation that we’ve ever had’

 

Contradiction:

Farrakhan’s statement is an appeasement to his current fan base, not to mention a direct contradiction of a well-known Islamic principle. Namely, that the first generation of Muslims have been the yardstick of measurement of moral, spiritual and social guidance for all succeeding generations. Allah says: كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ

You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind… (Al-Imraan, 110)

This verse was revealed concerning the Muslims, specifically the generation of Companions of Muhammad (ﷺ), the overwhelming majority of whom were youth. Allah granted them this status as Ibn Kathir says they were, ‘the most righteous and beneficial nation for mankind.’ Indeed, according to Al-Bukhari, their example is, ‘the best of peoples for the people.’

Moreover, Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Al-Hakim relate that Hakim bin Mu`awiyah bin Haydah narrated that his father said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«أَنْتُمْ تُوَفُّون سَبْعِينَ أُمَّةً، أَنْتُمْ خَيْرُهَا، وَأَنْتُمْ أَكْرَمُ عَلَى اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَل»

‘You are the final of seventy nations, you are the best and most honored among them to Allah.’

To imply as Farrakhan does, that the young entertainers, rappers and musicians he serenades are equal to or superior than the righteousness of the youthful Companions, is absolutely unthinkable.

Likewise, at (5:34) Farrakhan states, “Elijah Muhammad said that God was a man, and when I heard Malcolm, I said ‘baby, this is he.”

Here he admits to his belief in Elijah’s doctrine of the black man being Allah.

Additionally, Farrakhan calls the Palestinians of Gaza ‘brothers’ (13:21), and speaks of their slaughter, yet in the same breath (17:11) criticizes Palestinians and Koreans who own businesses in American black communities.

At the 20:04 mark however, he goes into theatrics: “Just a minute brother (pause) By the way, I didn’t know that my spirit would be like this (laughter) I’m not lying” His hand trembles momentarily before the camera, he then continues, “I’m speaking now, but there’s another power driving me (he gazes upward) to say these things because it is time that they be said.”

https://youtu.be/yJLBe9aU9DM?t=19m58s

 

His upward gaze, hand trembling before the camera while saying the above is a disturbing implication that he deems himself at that moment, a recipient of divine revelation. While the solitary moment by itself may not suffice as a definite proof, when taken with his numerous claims of having a supernatural connection with Elijah and an orbiting mothership, not to mention his numerous self-comparisons to Jesus, it all fits in.

Later at (1:07:52) he states, “Ain’t no such thing as training a racist mind to love you better.” No comment is really necessary here since his standard message is always clothed in race baiting.

For example, he states that in 1956 Elijah Muhammad debated with KKK Imperial Wizard, J.B. Stoner. He claims that “Mr Muhammad was tearing him up”. Farrakhan makes it appear as if this alleged “debate” were a live, attended event that Elijah was clearly winning.

The fact of the matter is (a) the ‘debate’ never took place, but was instead an Elijah Muhammad auditorium soliloquy responding to two J. B. Stoner letters.

At the time, Elijah wrote a rambling response to the second letter and then delivered his soliloquy before his own followers in response to the first letter. Rather than make an embarrassing display of his poor reading skills, Elijah calls on one of his followers to read out Stoner’s letter. Elijah then responds. He then states before his followers that he wished he and Stoner had the opportunity to debate their views before an audience via “national telephone hookup”. So much for Farrakhan’s claim of a ‘debate.’

Moreover, what Farrakhan calls ‘tearing up’ Stoner is anything but, as it is no more than fighting fire with fire, or more accurately the pot calling the kettle black. Stoner’s racist ramblings are countered by Elijah’s equally racist, pseudo-Islamic ramblings. In fact, their exchange is so silly that it is reminiscent of the classic Saturday Night Live comedic skit between Chevy Chase and Richard Pryor. Chase would say a racial slur like ‘jungle bunny’ and Pryor would counter with ‘peckerwood’.

(b) Farrakhan’s racial grandstanding and deliberate misportrayal of the event. “And then in the next round, Mr. Stoner said, ‘one day soon, we won’t be wearing this robe, and this little dunce hat, he said, we’ll be in the police department, we’ll be judges, we’ll be prosecutors, we’ll be bankers, but we’ll all have the same mind that we have with these uniforms on.”

Here he claims Stoner was making a future prediction by responding with the above statement. It is a claim Farrakhan also puts forth on his website: http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/Minister_Louis_Farrakhan_9/article_100852.shtml

However, the documented record tells a very different story. In Elijah Muhammad’s book, Message to the Blackman, p. 330-341, the personal Stoner letter sent to Elijah Muhammad, and its rebuttal are reprinted verbatim. See https://theafrikanvoice.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/kkks-j-b-stoners-letter-to-elijah-muhammad-of-the-noi/ See also, https://youtu.be/HM0H5OMoKGs?t=4m12s

Stoner’s alleged words that Farrakhan claims, are nowhere to be found, neither in the personal letter to Elijah Muhammad nor in Elijah’s recorded speech about the letter shared between Stoner and New York Police commissioner Steven P Kennedy. Thus Farrakhan’s historical embellishment to make himself appear as a sage, only works with two types of people: those gullible enough to fall for his sophistry, or those who suffer from historical amnesia.

Yet the most glaring aspect of Farrakhan’s entire 85-minute-speech boils down to two factors: As is standard Farrakhan, he makes little to no reference to anything Islamic, much less Islamic beliefs. Secondly, the atrocious job the three show hosts did. Rather than pressing him with serious and relevant questions, they all sit starstruck while Farrakhan enchants them with his rambling and persistent red herrings and serpentine logic. At no time do they even dare challenge him, or even make an attempt to fact check his claims. At the very least, why no Mothership questions? Didn’t he publicly declare in 1995 that his celestial  teleportation to a mountaintop UFO was his original motivation for the Million Man March? Oh but I forgot, the hosts lost their chance when he gazed skyward at the 20 minute mark.

Farrakhan winds up his speech by giving a convoluted synopsis of Martin Luther King’s final words while throwing in not so subtle hints of encouragement to attend his planned, 20th anniversary Million Man March. My, my. Perhaps by then we’ll understand how he consorts with the great orbiting UFO.

 

“I Subscribe to Every Word”

Louis Farrakhan’s consistent pattern of shirk

A collection demonstrating Louis Farrakhan’s allegiance to NOI beliefs in opposition to Islam.

1975: “I will never renounce the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.” (Washington, DC, October 9, 1975).

Al-Islam: The Islamic Movement Journal
Al-Islam: The Islamic Movement Journal

1997: In April, NBC journalist Tim Russert interviewed Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan on Meet the Press. Farrakhan responded to Russert asking if Farrakhan still maintained the NOI doctrine of ‘Yakub’s History.’ TR: Last year you gave an interview to Henry Louis Gates, a professor from Harvard, in New Yorker magazine where he asked you whether you still subscribe to the teachings of Elijah Muhammad on Yakub, a Black scientist who 6,600 years ago created the white man, and that by the end of the 20th century, a spaceship will come and rain down upon white people and people who don’t embrace Islam. Do you subscribe to the teachings of Yakub, that Yakub, the black scientist, created the white man?

MLF: I subscribe to every word that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us. You know, it’s not unreal to believe that white people-who genetically cannot produce yellow, brown or black-had a Black origin. The scholars and scientists of this world agree that the origin of man and mankind started in Africa and that the first parent of the world was black. The Qur’an says that God created Adam out of black mud and fashioned him into shape. So if white people came from the original people, the black people, what is the process by which you came to life? That is not a silly question. That is a scientific question with a scientific answer. It doesn’t suggest that we are superior or that you are inferior. It suggests, however, that your birth or your origin is from the black people of this earth; superiority and inferiority is determined by our righteousness and not by our color. See http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/Perspectives_1/Tim_Russert_s_interview_with_Minister_Louis_Farrak_4842.shtml

2000: “I am a student of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and I could never thank Allah enough for His intervention in our affairs in sending among us one in the person of Master Fard Muhammad, to whom praise is due, for searching among us and finding among us someone to lead, teach and guide us, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad…[35:56] ‘It’s wonderful that you know the Arabic language, I wish I knew it. One day I will learn it. I can’t read Arabic, I can’t write Arabic. (Chicago, February 27, 2000) See http://youtu.be/5WgpmCD_54E [1]

2000: “Three generations after me will no longer be of me” ‘I’m not an Arabic scholar at all. I can’t really read it, and I can’t write it. But Allah never raised anybody except that he speaks the language of those to whom he is sent. And so (applause) my brothers and sister don’t know Arabic either. But that doesn’t mean I’m disqualified in representing Allah, even if I’m ignorant, unlearned in the Arabic language. It means I should learn it; I should learn it. And maybe Allah will bless me one day to learn it. But since you know it and I don’t, some of you, then you tell me if my English is not in harmony with your understanding of Arabic.” (Chicago, April, 16, 2000) See http://youtu.be/4ZlmPshVbsg (24:32)

2011: “And thank you to those who talked about the reality of God- that He’s not a spook, somewhere, out there, somewhere. He made man in His image and His likeness. He is like we are.” (Chicago, Feb. 28, 2011) See http://youtu.be/_Iygl0zfbPE

2012: “I am a student of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and I could never thank Allah enough for His merciful intervention in our affairs in the person of Master W. Fard Muhammad, the great Mahdi who came among us and found one worthy to deliver His Message, first to us, the lost people, the lost sheep, then to the entire world- the Honorable Elijah Muhammad…’

“Why are we here? We are here because we come to honor a man that most of world does not know. Every year around the 26th of February, we celebrate the birth of Master Fard Muhammad. Yes, and that’s exactly why we are here. This man was born in the Holy city of Mecca, Arabia this very day, February 26, 1877. He made himself known to us on July 4th 1930. We, the members of the Nation of Islam, are witnesses of Him. Though he came not just for us alone.”

‘The real truth is, that we were to be the illuminating reflection and proof that we have had a visitation from God. Because of the transformation brought about in our lives through His Messiah, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He (Fard) was born from two people, his father a black man, his mother a Caucasian from the Caucasus region of Europe.” (Chicago, Feb 26, 2012) See http://youtu.be/rMudDRqQc8U

2013: “Today is Saviours Day for us in the Nation of Islam. It is the celebration of the birth of one who was born February 26, 1877 in the holy city of Mecca in Arabia. He made himself manifest to us on July 4th 1930, and began to teach among us fulfilling what is written in the scriptures of the coming of God under the name, ‘the Son of Man who would come out of the East into the West seeking that which was lost.’ The Great Mahdi, the long expected Guide, by the Muslims and Messiah long expected by the Christians and the Jews.

We believe that this was fulfilled in the coming of this Great One, who came under disguise looking like a Caucasian. And that would allow him to move easily among Caucasians to get to his people, the black people of America fulfilling what is written in the scriptures. He came in sinful flesh, to condemn sin in the flesh. He came as a thief in the night while the people were under the darkness of ignorance, He came. He was a light that shined in the darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not.

People saw a man, people heard a man and he did a great work. He was a holy man coming under the cover of darkness which is symbolized in the Bible as the Holy Ghost that came under darkness and came upon Mary, a virgin. A people, who were a virgin people, who had never had an intercourse relationship with God that out of them would come a Messenger of God. But today, today, today, we have had that relationship and now we have a direct connection with the Lord of the Worlds. (applause).

And after being with us, for three years and four months, in that time of intercourse or relationship, out of it came a human being- the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, as His Messenger; Messiah. But NOW, the Exalted Christ that the whole world is looking for. I stand to represent them to you as a teacher and guide and as a warner to America, Her people and the nations of the earth.” (Chicago, Feb 24, 2013) See http://youtu.be/t3fd5QBof8w

2014: “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, we give Him praise and thanks for his coming in the person of Master Fard Muhammad to whom praise is due forever, the Great Mahdi. We thank Him for His coming, for the start of the Nation of Islam in this great city of Detroit. We thank Him for the work that he did, under disguise. Most of the people that saw him did not know who he was.

We thank him for coming to Detroit, to black bottom Detroit. It’s like that parable in the Bible, that a man saw a field, but in that field was a pearl of great price. And he gave all that he had to acquire that field, because in that field was a pearl of great price. Black people of Detroit, black people of America, black people of the world, you are a very, very special people. And you would not think that you were so special that God would not send you a prophet but that He would come Himself to see after you as it is written of Him. That pearl of great price is that He found here in Detroit, is the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, His Messenger Messiah, the Exalted Christ.” (Detroit, Feb 23, 2014) See http://youtu.be/Rj_RHucitEU

“I thank Allah (God) from the depth of my soul for His merciful intervention in our affairs in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, to Whom Praise is due forever. For were it not for His coming, were it not for His visit among us and His love for us, and His search among us for one who would carry a weighty word that would bring us onto a path, an evolutionary path of growth and development; a journey that would bring us from a state of spiritual, mental, moral, economic and political death to The Path of Life, that on this journey we could strive to attain “the goal”—and the best of goals—and that is to be “at one with our Lord and our Creator.” (Chicago, July 28, 2014) See http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/Minister_Louis_Farrakhan_9/article_101655.shtml

 2015: “Today I’m going to weave all the scriptures together, and in that process weave us together…Dear pastors, listen carefully: God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever would believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (Christ University Temple, Chicago, Illinois, February 22, 2015)

“I am a student of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and I could never thank Allah enough for His Merciful intervention in our affairs in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad the Great Mahdi, who is in the world and is championing the liberation struggle of our people, particularly in the United States of America…” (20th Anniversary Million Man March, Washington, DC, October 10, 2015)

2016: “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, we give Him praise and thanks for his Mercy to us and His intervention in our affairs, in the Person of Master W. Fard Muhammad, the long-awaited Mahdi of the Muslims. And we thank Him for his Coming to guide us out of the darkness of ignorance to a Straight Path of righteousness and decency that we might be successful. We thank Him for coming to this great city of Detroit and making Himself known to us, July 4th, 1930. He came to this city, the Mecca of industrialization. But it became the Mecca, the place the where knowledge and wisdom of the Original Man first started in this country when the black man and woman in America who was lost, was now found. We thank Allah for searching among us and finding among us the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.”

“In this great city, of Detroit, the Muhammad family which was known before as Poole, now known as Muhammad, would become the foundational stone of the rise of Islam in North America bringing up a light out of the West that would shine back toward the East that is now in darkness. We thank Allah for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, for the Muhammad family, who endured much so Islam could be established in America…we thank Allah for Mother Clara Muhammad, the beloved wife of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. (‘Divine Instructions and Commands for 2016’, Saviours’ Day Address, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan, February 21, 2016). See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKR7ZEdbqe4

 


 

[1] Following Farrakhan’s recovery from cancer surgery in 1999, ISNA and other Muslim leaders officially accepted him, claiming he expressed an ‘intent to alter the group’s orientation’ and that the NOI was shedding ‘its traditional racist ideology.’ See Islamic Horizons, March/April 2000, p. 10. However, since that time he and the Nation of Islam have maintained the same ideas and message as before.