Wahhabism in light of Hanbali school of Sunni Islam

Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (d. 241H) on taking barakah from the Kaabah

Imam Ahmed on barakah from Kaaba

In the book “Zad al Musafir” by the Hanbali scholar,  Abu Bakr Abd al-Aziz, also known as Ghulam al-Khallal (d. 363H), the following report is related,

وقال في رواية حنبل: إذا أراد أن يَستَشفِيَ بشيء مِن طِيبِ الكعبة، لا يأخُذ مِن طِيبِ البيت شيئًا، ولكن يأتي بطِيبٍ مِن عندِهِ فيُلْزِقُه على البيت ثم يأخُذُه.

Rough translation:

It was reported from Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal that he said: If one wanted to seek cure with some ointment/perfume from the Kaaba, one does not take from the ointment that is on the (Sacred) House, but instead one comes with his own ointment and pastes it on the (Sacred) House and then takes it.

Source: https://twitter.com/balag40/status/816493326065160196/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Tafwid of Imam Mujir ad-Din al Hanbali (d. 927H)

Imam Mujir ad-Din al Ulaymi al Hanbali (d. 927H) comes from a notable family of Hanbali scholars as well as a descendant of Amirul Mu’mineen Umar bin al-Khattab (rad). Born in Ramla, the capital of Palestine in those days, he later moved to Bayt al Maqdis (Jerusalem) where he served as the Chief Hanbali Qadi.

Below quoted are few of his interpretations of the Quran from his tafsir work فتح الرحمن في تفسير القرآن , from which it will be clear to see the methodology of tafwid that he adopts with regards to that which is attributed to Allah, and its difference with modern day pseudo-Salafi sects or the Tayymiyun.

On Istawa

In commentary to the verse {ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ} [Q 7:54], he explains,

{ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ} استواءً يليقُ بعظمتِه بِلا كيفٍ، وهذا من المشكِلِ الذي يجبُ عندَ أهل السُّنَّةِ على الإنسانِ الإيمانُ به، ويَكِلُ العلمَ فيه إلى الله عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، وسُئِلَ الإمامُ مالكٌ رضي الله عنه عن الاستواءِ فقالَ: “الاستواءُ معلومٌ؛ يعني: في اللغة، والكيفُ مجهولٌ، والإيمانُ بهِ واجبٌ، والسؤالُ عنهُ بِدْعَةٌ” ، وسُئِل الإمامُ أحمدُ رضي الله عنه عن قوله تعالى: {الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى} [طه: 5]، فقال: “هُوَ كما أخبرَ، لا كما يخطرُ للبشَرِ” ، والعرشُ في اللغة: هو السريرُ، وخُصَّ العرشُ بالذكرِ تشريفًا له؛ إذ هو أعظمُ المخلوقات.

http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-14404/page-3835#page-1089

Rough translation:

” (ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ) Istawa that befits His Majesty without Howness, and in this intricacy/ambiguity it is necessary with Ahlus Sunnah for the people to have Iman in it, and relegate knowledge of it to Allah. Imam Malik said when asked about Istawa: “Istawa is known, meaning: in the language, and Howness in unknown, faith in it is obligatory, and questioning about this is an innovation. And Imam Ahmed said about the saying of Allah {الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى} [طه: 5]: “As He informed, (and) not what crosses the mind of humans”. And the (meaning of ) Arsh (throne) in the language: It is bed/couch, and the Arsh has been singled out in mentioning as a honor to Himself, because it the greatest of creation.”

and it gets even more clear, in commentary to the verse {الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى}[Q 20:5],

{عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى} استواء يليق بعظمته بلا كيف، وهذا من متشابه القرآن، نؤمن به، ولا نتعرض لمعناه، وقال الإمام مالك بن أنس رضي الله عنه لرجل مسألة عن الاستواء، فقال له مالك: “الاستواء معلوم -يعني: في اللغة-، والكيف مجهول، والسؤال عنه بدعة، وأظنك رجل سوء، أخرجوه عني”، فأدبر الرجل وهو يقول: يا أبا عبد الله لقد سألت فيها أهل العراق وأهل الشام، فما وفق فيها أحد توفيقك (1).
وسئل الإمام أحمد بن حنبل رضي الله عنه عن قوله: {الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى} فقال: “هو كما أخبر، لا كما يخطر للبشر”.
وتقدم الكلام على ذلك مستوفىً (2) في سورة الأعراف.

http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-14404/page-1965#page-1965

“{عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى} Istawa that befits His Majesty without Howness. This is from the Mutashabiha (unclear/ambiguous verses) of the Quran, we believe in it, (however) we are not exposed to its meaning”.  After which he quotes the same above saying of Imam Malik and Imam Ahmed.

We see here how the methodology of Hanbali scholars with regards to such verses is no different to the Tafwid methodology that is adopted by Ashari & Maturidi schools. Also note how the saying of Imam Malik is interpreted in that when it said “its meaning is known” it means that the meaning is known in the language and not that the real meaning of the verse or when attributed to Allah is known. Rather, it is from the Mutashabiha verses.

On the verse {Do you feel secure (from) who (is) in the heaven}[Q 67:16]

{مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ} وهذا المحل من المتشابه الذي استأثر الله بعلمه، نؤمن به ولا نتعرض إلى معناه، ونكل العلم فيه إلى الله، قال ابن عباس: “أأمنتم عَذَابَ مَنْ في السماء إن عصيتموه”

http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-14404/page-3489#page-3489

“This is from the ambiguous/unclear (mutashabih) whose knowledge is with Allah alone, We believe in it and we are not exposed to its meaning, and we relegate its knowledge to Allah. Ibn Abbas said: “Do you feel secure of the torment from in the sky…”

Here again, the verse is explicitly stated as from the mutashabih.  Further more despite this tafwid the Imam also quotes a tawil from Ibn Abbas (rad.). That is, being on tafwid does not mean an absolute rejection of tawil and the scholars using tafwid had validated tawil when they found enough basis for it.

On the verse {Do they await but that Allah should come to them in covers of clouds} [Q 2:210]

والأَوْلى في هذه الآيةِ وفي ما شاكَلَها أن يؤمنَ الإنسانُ بها، ويُمِرَّها كما جاءت بلا كيفٍ، ويَكِلَ علمَها إلى الله سبحانه، وهو مذهبُ أئمةِ السلف وعلماءِ السنة، قال سفيانُ بنُ عُيينةَ: كلُّ ما وصف الله تعالى به نفسَه في كتابه، فتفسيرهُ قراءتُه، والسكوتُ عنهُ، ليسَ لأحدٍ أن يفسِّرَهُ إلا اللهُ ورسولهُ .

http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-14404/#page-358

“Firstly in this verse and what is similar is for people to have faith in it, and to pass it as it has come without howness, and relegate knowledge of it to Allah, and this is the madhab of the Imams of the Salaf and scholars of Sunnah. Sufyan al-Thawri said: All that which Allah attributed to Himself in His book, its tafsir is its recitation, and silence about it, for no one can explain that except Allah and His Messenger.”

We see knowledge of the verse is relegated to Allah and His Messenger. If these verses and its meaning was no different to any other verse in the Quran as the neo-Salafis claim, then there would be no need specifically relegate meaning to Allah in this verse only.

On the verse {And your Lord has come}[Q 89:22]

{وَجَاءَ رَبُّكَ} [قال الإمام أحمد: معناه: جاء أمرُ ربك]

http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-14404/#page-3736

{And your Lord has come} Imam Ahmed said: meaning: command of your lord has come.

On the verse {Rather, both His hands are extended}[Q 5:64]

{بَلْ يَدَاهُ مَبْسُوطَتَانِ} وليسَ المرادُ حقيقةَ الجارحةِ المتركِّبَةِ؛ لأنه تعالى منزَّهٌ عن التركيبِ، وإنَّما هي صفةٌ من صفاتِ ذاتِه؛ كالسمعِ والبصرِ، قالَ جلَّ ذكرُه: {لِمَا خَلَقْتُ بِيَدَيَّ} [ص: 75] , وقال – صلى الله عليه وسلم -: “كِلْتَا يَدَيْهِ يَمِينٌ”، واللهُ أعلمُ بصفاته، فعلى العبادِ فيها الإيمانُ والتسليمُ، وأَنْ يُمِرُّوها كما جاءتْ بلا كيفٍ؟

http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-14404/page-879#page-879

“{Rather, both His hands are extended} It does not mean in reality (Allah has) a limb superimposed because Allah is far above from being a composition. It is an attribute from the Attribute of His Self (Dhat), like His Hearing and Seeing. Allah said “Whom we created with both hands”[Q 38:75] and the Prophet said “both His hands are right”. And Allah knows best His attributes, what is required of (us) slaves is belief and acceptance, and to pass it as it has come without Howness”

On the verse {the heavens will be folded in His right hand}[Q 39:67]

{قَبْضَتُهُ} أي: في تصرفه، والمراد: الأرضون السبع؛ لقوله: (جَمِيعًا).  {يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَالسَّمَاوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ} أي: مجموعات بقدرته.

http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-14404/page-2895

“{in His Grip} that is: in His disposition, …….{on the Day of the Resurrection and the heavens will be folded in His Right Hand} that is: collected with His Power.”

On the verse {the hand of Allah is over their hands}[Q 48:10]

{يَدُ اللَّهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيهِمْ} أي: حولُه وقُوَّتُه فوق حولهم وقوتهم؛ أي: في نصرك ونصرهم، وهذا تعديد نعمة عليهم مستقبَلة مخبر بها.

http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-14404/page-3145

“{the hands of Allah is over their hands}: That is: His Might and His Power is above their might and their power, that is: in help and victory. This is the mentioning of blessing on them…”

On the verse {bounty is in the hand of Allah} [Q 57:29]

{وَأَنَّ الْفَضْلَ بِيَدِ اللَّهِ} في تصرفه وملكه

http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-14404/#page-3356

“{and that the bounty is in the hand of Allah} in His disposal and His possession”

On the verse {Sailing under Our eyes} [Q 54:10]

{تَجْرِي بِأَعْيُنِنَا} أي: بحفظنا وحمايتنا

http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-14404/page-3270#page-3270

“{Sailing under Our eyes} That is: under our guarding and protection”

On the verse {The Day the shin will be uncovered}[Q 68:42]

{يُكْشَفُ عَنْ سَاقٍ} أي: يشتد الأمر، قال ابن عباس: “هو أشدُّ ساعة في القيامة”، يقال: كشفت الحرب عن ساقها؛ أي: شدتها.

http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-14404/page-3509

“{The Day the shin will be uncovered} that is: command intensifies. Ibn Abbas said: It is the most intense hour in Resurrection. ….”

Allah is not a body

In commentary to the verse {Allah-us-Samad}[Q 112:2] he says:

لأنّه تعالى ليس بجسم ولا مركب

http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-14404/page-3835#page-3835

“The Most High is not a body nor a composite”

 

Imam al-Samiri al-Hanbali (d. 661H) on tawassul

Imam Nasrruddin Muhammad ibn Abdullah al-Samiri al-Hanbali (d. 616H), whom Imam al-Dhahabi described as “Shaykh of the Hanbalis” and “from the senior jurists”, mentions in his book “al-Mustawab” in the chapter “Book of Hajj” section “Chapter in visitation of grave of Prophet of Allah” that as part of the supplication one should say:

“O Allah you have said in your book about the Prophet salatonmassenger {And if, when they wronged themselves, they had come to you, [O Muhammad], and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Accepting of repentance and Merciful} and I have come to you seeking forgiveness, hence I ask You, to obligate forgiveness for me as you have made it an obligation for those who came to him during his lifetime”

after which he mentions the famous supplication of tawassul that was taught by the Prophet salatonmassenger:

“O Allah, I ask You and turn to You through our Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy; O Muhammad, I turn through you to my Lord, that He may fulfill my need”

samirii-hanbali-on-ziyarah-1  samirii-hanbali-on-ziyarah-3

Taken from: https://twitter.com/balag40/status/777752082245939200

Imam Sulayman ibn Ali, father of Muhammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab, recommends tawassul

Imam Sulayman ibn Ali ibn Musharraf al-Tamimi al-Najdi al-Hanbali was the father of the founder of Wahhabi movement Muhammed bin Abdul Wahhab. He was a prominent scholar of Hanbali school and comes from a prominent family of scholars.

In his book ” كـتـاب مـصـبـاح الـسـالـك في أحـكـام الـمـنـاسـك  Kitāb Miṣbaḥ al-salik fī aḥkam al-manasik” he writes in the section dealing with Visitation of the tomb of Prophet salatonmassenger  that one should say as part of the supplication:

O Allah (swt)! You said, and Your saying is truthful: {And had they, when they were unjust to themselves, come to you and asked forgiveness of Allah (swt) and the Messenger (saw) had (also) asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah (swt) Oft-returning (to mercy), Merciful,} and I have come to you seeking forgiveness for my sins, seeking intercession through you to my Lord, hence I ask You (O Lord) to obligate forgiveness for me as you have made it an obligation for those who came to him during his lifetime.

 

father-of-miaw-on-tawassul-1father-of-miaw-on-tawassul-2

 

Taken from: https://twitter.com/balag40/status/776674757471244288

Imam Abu Ali Al Hashimi al-Hanbali (d.428 H) on Istawa

old-bagdad

Imam Al Sharif Al Qadi Abu Ali bin Abi Musa Al Hashimi (345-428H), was among the early Hanbali scholars of Baghdad. As from his name “Al Hashimi” he comes from the family of the Prophet. He was born before Qadi Abu Yala (380-458H) and he lived during the reign of the Abbasid Caliph Al Qadir. He was one of the teachers of the Ashari scholars Imam Abu Ishaq ash-Shirazi and Imam al-Khatib al Baghdadi.

In the tafsir of the Hanbali scholar Imam Izz ad-Din Abu Muhammed ar-Rasani al Hanbali (d. 661 H), in commentary to the verse Quran 7:54, he says:

مذهب أهل الحق في هذه الآية وأمثالها من آيات الصفات وأخبار الصفات: الإقرار والإيراد، من غير تشبيه ولا تمثيل ولا تأويل ولا تعطيل. وإلى هذا وأمثاله أشار النبي بقوله: ” وسكت عن أشياء رحمة لكم فلا تبحثوا عنها “.

(Rough translation) the way of the people of truth with regards to this verse and similar from the verses and reports regarding attributes (is to) acknowledge it and accept it, without comparison nor likening, nor tawil nor negation. And regarding this is the saying of the Prophet , “(Allah) has kept silent about things out of mercy for you so do not search them out”.

Later on he quotes Imam al-Thalabi (d. 427H):

قال الأستاذ أبو إسحاق الثعلبي رحمه الله: قال أهل الحق من المتكلمين: أحدث الله فعلاً سمّاه: استواء، وهو كالإتيان والمجيء والنزول، كلها من صفات أفعاله.

“Abu Ishaq al-Thalabi said: The people of truth among the mutakalimin say……Istawa is like His Itiyan and Majee (coming), Nuzul (descent), all of them are  from His Sifat al-Af’al (Attribute of Acts).”

and also:

قال الثعلبي: وبلغني أن رجلاً سأل إسحاق بن إبراهيم الحنظلي فقال: كيف استوى على العرش؟ أقائم هو أم قاعد؟ فقال: يا هذا إنما يقعد من يملّ القيام، ويقوم من يملّ القعود، وغير هذا أولى بك أن تسأل عنه.

“Al-Thalabi said: I heard a man ask Ishaq bin Ibrahim (d. 238H): “How did He Istawa over the Arsh ? Standing or sitting ?” He said: O You only those sit who are tired of standing and those stand who are tired of sitting, and this is not firstly what you should ask about Him.”

After which he quotes the saying of Imam Abu Ali Al Hashimi al-Hanbali on Istawa:


قال الشريف القاضي أبو علي بن أبي موسى الهاشمي -من علمائنا- رضي الله عنه: اختلف أصحابنا هل الاستواء من صفات الذات أو من صفات الفعل؟ على طريقين:
منهم: من قال إنه من صفات الفعل، غير أنه لا يعلم كيفيته، ولا نقول أنه انتقال من مكان إلى مكان، ولكنا نسلمه ونقول فيه كما نقول في حديث النزول.
ومنهم من قال: إنه من صفات الذات، لم يزل مستوياً قبل خلق العرش من غير تكييف.

ومن أصحابنا من تأول الاستواء على معنى الارتفاع.قال الشريف رحمه الله: فأنا لا أقول في ذلك إلا ما قال أبو عبدالله أحمد بن محمد بن حنبل رضي الله عنه: استوى كما قال، بلا حَدٍّ ولا كيف.

قلت: وعلى هذا القول الذي قاله الشريف وارتضاه، وجدت علماءنا وأشياخنا الذين بالشام والعراق، وله نعتقد، وعليه نعتمد، وبه نقول.

http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=111&tSoraNo=7&tAyahNo=54&tDisplay=yes&Page=3&Size=1&LanguageId=1

“Al Sharif Al Qadhi Abu Ali bin Abi Musa Al Hashimi – from our ulema – may Allah be pleased with him, said: There is difference among our companions whether Istawa is from the attribute of His Self or of His Acts. The two ways are:

Of them:  who say,  it is an attribute of His Acts, however we do not have knowledge of its howness, nor do we say it is a movement from place to place, instead we acknowledge it and we say as we say about the hadith of Nuzul (descent)

Of those who say: It is from the Attribute of His Self, and He was Mustawian before the creation of the throne, without any likeness.

And from of our companions are those who interpreted (tawil) Istawa as Irtifaa (elevation).

Al Sharif said: We do not say except what Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal said: “Istawa as He said, without limit, without howness”.

I (Imam Izz ad-Din ar-Rasani) say: Based on this saying of Al Sharif which he favored,  I found the ulema and shaykhs of Sham and Iraq, hold this belief, and we adopt this,  and we say as this.” End

Points to note:

  • The interpretation accepted by the Hanbalis was not monolithic.
  • Their negation of tasbih was explicit such as negations of Standing, Sitting, movement from place to place, limits.
  • The view of Imam Ahmed and much of the Hanbalis was restricted to saying “Istawa As He Wills” while at the same time explicit negation of limit and howness.
  • Despite this standard view of non-interpretation, some of the Hanbalis also did tawil/interpret Istawa as Irtifaa. And this is the meaning that was related in Sahih al Bukhari, and which Imam al-Tabari (d. 310H) said “The meaning of istiwa’ in this verse is height (uluw) and elevation (Irtifaa)… but if one claims that this means displacement for Allah, tell him: He is high and elevated over the heaven with the height of sovereignty and power, not the height of displacement and movement to and fro.”

Imam Abu Ali Al Hashimi al-Hanbali in his book الإرشاد إلى سبيل الرش, begins with a chapter on the creed of Ahlu Sunnah wal Jamah, among which is:

ولا تخطر كيفيتُهُ ببال ولا يدخل في الأمثال والأشكال صفاته كذاته ليس بجسم في صفاته جل أن يُشبّه بمبتدعاته أو يضاف إلى مصنوعاته (ليس كمثله شي وهو السميع البصير) الشورى 11)

“One cannot imagine his Howness, nor is is there any similarity or form to His Attributes & Self, nor is He attributed with a body (jism)……”

and also,

وأن القران كلام الله وصفة من صفات ذاته وأنه غير محدث ولا مخلوق كلام رب العالمين في صدور الحافظين وعلى ألسن الناطقين وفي أسماع السامعين وبأكف الكاتبين وبملاحظة الناظرين برهانه ظاهر وحكمة قاهر ومعجزة باهر

http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-13571#page-5

“The Quran is the Speech of Allah and His Attribute of Self, and is not temporal (Muhdath) nor created (Makhluq)…..”


 

Note:

In commentary to the verse:

{And if, when they wronged themselves, they had come to you, [O Muhammad], and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Accepting of repentance and Merciful.}[Quran 4:64]

Imam Izz ad-Din ar-Rasani al-Hanbali, quotes the famous narration (translated many times elsewhere on this site) of a Bedouin Arab seeking intercession at the tomb of Prophet Muhammed  :

وقد روى الإمام أبو الفرج ابن الجوزي رضي الله عنه في مواضع من كتبه بإسناده عن محمد بن حرب الهلالي، قال: دخلت المدينة، فأتيت قبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فجاء أعرابي فَزارَهُ، ثم قال: يا خير الرسل! إن الله عز وجل أنزل عليك كتاباً صادقاً، قال فيه: { وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذ ظَّلَمُوۤاْ أَنْفُسَهُمْ جَآءُوكَ فَٱسْتَغْفَرُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ ٱلرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُواْ ٱللَّهَ تَوَّاباً رَّحِيماً } ، وإني جئتك مستغفراً إلى ربك من ذنوبي، مستشفعاً بك، ثم بكى وأنشأ يقول:
يَا خَيْرَ مَنْ دُفِنَتْ بالقَاعِ أَعْظُمُهُ طَابَ مِنْ طِيبهِنَّ القَاعُ وَالأَكُمُ
نَفْسِي الفِدَاءُ لِقَبْرٍ أَنْتَ سَاكِنُهُ فيهِ العَفَافُ وَفيهِ الجُودُ وَالكَرَمُ
ثم استغفر [الله] وانصرف، فرقدت، فرأيت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في نومي وهو يقول: الحَق الرَّجُل فبشِّره أن الله تعالى قد غَفَرَ له بشفاعتي.

The Other Side: Hanbalis who permitted Ilm al-Kalam

Of all scholarly groupings, the outright rejection of kalam is usually associated with the Hanbalis. Now as prevalent as this notion is, by no means is it the entire story. Ibn Hamdan, one of the leading Hanbali authorities of his age, explained: ‘The science of blameworthy kalam (‘ilm al-kalam al-madhmum) is when the articles of faith (usul al-din) are spoken about using only reason, or contravene clear-cut textual proofs. But if it is spoken about using textual proofs alone, or textual proofs accompanied by reason which supports them, then this is the [true] usul al-din and the path of ahl al-sunnah and its adherents.’[ Kitab Sifat al-Mufti wa’l-Mustafti (Saudi Arabia: Dar al-Sumay‘i, 2015)] Ibn Muflih, another towering authority of the school, discussed the Hanbali school’s stance on kalam at some length. After quoting an imposing salvo of reports from Imam Ahmad in terms of his dhamm al-kalam, or ‘censure of kalam’,the pro-kalam arguments are then made. Here, Ibn Muflih cites Ibn Abi Ya‘la saying that ‘the correct view in the madhhab is that the science of discursive theology (‘ilm al-kalam) is prescribed and sanctioned’ so as to refute the innovators. Such was the view of a party of the school’s verificationsists (muhaqqiqun), including Qadi Abu Ya‘la and al-Tamimi. He noted how Imam Ahmad himself wrote, al-Radd ‘ala’l-Zanadiqah wa’l-Qadariyyah, ‘in which he relied upon rational arguments’ to demolish the false ideas of the deviants. Ibn Abi Ya‘la then says: ‘What the earlier scholars held to of Ahmad’s words were abrogated. Ahmad said, as reported by Hanbal: “We used to order silence. But when we were called to the affair, it was incumbent for us to defend it and clarify the matter.” [Ibn Muflih, al-Adab al-Shar‘iyyah (Beirut: Mu’assasah al-Risalah, 1996), 1:219-29. As for the pro-kalam arguments, they commence on p.226]

Source: https://thehumblei.com/2016/05/01/pilgrimage-of-reason-proofs-for-gods-existence-12/

Sunni Scholars gather and reaffirm who are Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamah

Senior Muslim Scholars from around the world met in Grozny, Chechnya for 3 days. Final Conference Statement was issued in which they reaffirmed “Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamah” or “Sunnis” are the Asharis and Maturidis in Belief, people of Four schools in Jurisprudence, and the people of Tassawuf, purification, morals on the way of Imam Junaid al Baghdadi and pursue on the methodology of the Guided Imams.

Full Statement in Arabic here: http://www.naseemalsham.com/ar/Pages.php?page=readviestor&pg_id=55821&page1=1

 

 

Add 03/09/2016:

The conference and final statement as expected brought flak from certain crowds, namely Salafi, Ikhwani, Hizb ut Tahrir and so on.

Islam of Ikhwani, Hizb ut-Tahrir being about politics, their complains were directed at the venue and also that it does not speak about Syria. Which is silly as most of them do not recognize any country in the Muslim or Non-Muslim world to begin with (except maybe one where the government is hand in glove with them) and consider them all tyrants, taghut or crusaders, so no matter which venue they will have something to complain about. Moreover the subject of the conference was not about Syria that they are supposed to talk about Syria. Its one of those arguments where if a scholar gives a lesson on Wudu, a person comes along proudly denouncing it with “why isn’t he speaking about the oppression of Muslims”. 

Conference in Grozny was organized in tandem with ulema of Chechenya. This is a place with rich and long tradition of Ahlu Sunnah. This is also the place where Sunni ulema initiated Jihad against Russian occupation but after the jihad was hijacked and distorted by the Wahhabiya/Khawarij, they had to take a different approach to the conflict. 52 or more scholars of Ahlus Sunnah were killed by the Khawarij there. And hence the conference is also relevant to the Muslims of Chechnya in conveying who are Ahlus Sunnah and being firm on this path, as well as ofcourse in dealing with larger problem of takfiris who have hijacked Sunni Islam and Jihad all over the world.

The Najd based Wahhabism in addition to this also complain that “Ahlu Hadith” were not included as Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamah. Now this “Ahlu Hadith” is not a clear defined group or school in the same way of Asharis or Maturidis. Ahlu Hadith is a terminology used by certain scholars more like a synonym to Ahlu Sunnah. Are we to say that the scholars of Asharis and Maturidis are not people of hadith when giants of hadith scholars come from them ? This is similar to usage of “Salaf” which will be used in certain context to identify but cannot be used as though Asharis and Maturidis are different from the Salaf. If the classification is to be made based on usage of Ilm al-Kalam, then this is not a different school of belief but only a method of defending and exposition of the belief of Ahlu Sunnah. There are scholars who are specialist in Ilm al Kalam within the school of Asharis/Maturidis while others being a specialist in hadith, tafsir,  usool and so on. Moreover, even scholars that Salafiyya rely on like Qadi Abu Yala and Ibn Taymiyya would be considered a mutakkalim because of their heavy use of Kalam. In reality, Ashari/Maturidis are the inheritors of the school of righteous Salaf & Ahlu hadith, and the differences with some of the righteous Hanbali scholars in Aqeeda are minor similar to differences between Imam al-Bukhari (rah.) and Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (rah.) and such minor differences will exist even within Asharis and Maturidi scholars as much as differences exist within Hanabli scholars themselves. The creed of Ashari and Maturidi school encompasses creed of all righteous Salaf and Imams of Ahlus Sunnah including Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal and the Hanbalis. This is because when the Muatazilite and Karramites were in power, it was the Asharis and Maturidis that came along and defended the creed of Salaf & Ahlu Hadith and emerged victorious and hence the Ahlu Sunnah schools came to be represented by them and carried forward by them differentiating them from the others. This is not to say that usage of “Ahlu Hadith” is wrong if used by any scholar but that many Imams of the past defined Ahlu Sunnah as Ashari and Maturidi schools in Aqeeda and this is the usage continued in this conference and there is nothing wrong with such usage.

As for the importance of clarifying who are the Sunnis, its because of the fact that majority of Sunni Muslim world have always been Asharis/Maturids in creed, and followed one of the four schools in Fiqh and adopted schools of Tassawuf. It has been the schools adopted by nearly all the Muslim caliphates of the past, the schools of all the major Islamic institutions from Far East to Far West in past and present. Despite this being the fact, we the majority are being classed as “Sufis” as though it is an offshoot of Sunnism while in reality we are the first who should be classified as Sunnis. And moreover we today have groups who do not follow the schools of Ahlus Sunnah being called as “Sunnis” like the la madhabis in fiqh, or anthropomorphists or many takfiri creeds or those waging war against tassawuf, that have risen in our time who do not follow and are deviated from the Aqeeda, Fiqh and methodology of Ahlu Sunnah.  As a result we see takfiris as deviant as Daesh being labelled as “Sunni Jihadis” and it is pertinent in this context that Sunnis reclaim what is Sunnism and that our difference with takfiris are not reduced to legality of burning prisoners of war, but start from the foundations of Aqeeda & Jurisprudence. In the backdrop of all these fitna are also Libertine or Muatazili oriented groups adding fitna with their own innovations whether in Aqeeda or Fiqh or spirituality. Like fitnas of the past we are likely to see more deviant sects emerge in these times divergent from Ahlu Sunnah. The conference has shed focus on a foundational aspect of Sunnis with input from several senior scholars, uniting on this subject, cooperating between them on this basis and continue to be a subject of focus and perspective tomorrow. Let those who disagree with the definition gather their own whether Ikhwani, Takfiri, Madhkali, La-Madhabi, Hizb Ut Tahrir, Qaeda or whoever and release their own statement. That statement or their inability to do so will speak for itself.

Add 15/09/2016:

fatwas-of-al-lajnah-on-twitter-shaykh-saalih-al-fawzaan-asharee-s-say-we-re-ahlus-sunnah-but-that-s-not-true-rather-they-were-never-upon-the-manhaj-of-ahlus-sunnah

In apparent response to conference, a senior Salafi Najdi scholar and member of their biggest fatwa body and recognized by all Salafis, comes out to lay bare his belief that Asharis are not Ahlus Sunnah. In other words, the vast majority of the Ummah and Imams of Sunni Islam are not Ahlus Sunnah. Let those crying crocodile tears of “sectarianism” about this conference, see where sectarianism really emerges from.

Imam Abdal Qadir al-Jilani al Hanbali (d. 561H) on the Anthropomorphists

CONCERNING THE THEOLOGICAL DOCTRINE OF THE MUSHABBIHA [ANTHROPOMORPHISTS]

Concerning the doctrine of the Anthropomorphists [al-Mushabbiha], we have three subsects to consider: The Hishamiyya, the Muqatiliyya and the Wasimiyya.

The point on which all three of these subsects are in unanimous agreement is that Allah (Exalted is He) is a physical body [jism], and that it is impossible to conceive of that which exists [al-mawjud] in anything other than strictly physical terms. They were persuaded to adopt the anthropomorphic doctrine [tashbih] under the influence of the sects known as the Rawafid and the Karramiyya.

The author who compiled their text books was a certain Hisham ibn al-Hakam, whose works include a book on the proof of the reality of the physical body [fi ithbat al-jism].

The Mushabbiha

1. The Hishamiyya trace their name and origin to Hisham ibn al-Hakam, who maintained that Allah (Exalted is He) is a physical body with the dimensions of length, breadth and depth [jism tawil ‘arid ‘amiq]; a brilliant light [nur sati’]; having a definite, measurable quantity [qadr mina’l-aqdar], like a pure ingot; capable of moving and of being at rest, of standing up and of sitting down.

According to a story that has been told about him, he once said: “The best of all measurements would be seven spans.”

When someone asked him: “Is your Lord Supreme [A’zam], or One [Ahad]?” he replied: “My Lord is Supreme.”

2. The Muqatiliyya trace their name and origin to Muqatil ibn Sulaiman. He is reported as having said that Allah (Exalted is He) is a physical substance; that He is a body [juththa] in the form of a human being-flesh and blood; that He has limbs and organs, such as a head, a tongue and a neck; and yet in all of the above He does not bear any resemblance to things [la yushbihu’l-ashya’], nor do they resemble him.

[from his book al-Ghunya li-Talibi Tariq al-Haqq]

Source: http://www.sunnah.org/aqida/ghunya/Default.htm

Ibn Taymiyya’s divergence from the Hanbali School

Some of the followers of the Wahhabi sect who claim to be upon the Hanbali school, use the narrative that Ibn Abdul Wahhab was only following the pure Hanbali school and that Ibn Taymiyya was also upon the pure Hanbali school and Ibn Taymiyya’s disagreements with ulema of his time was one in which the majority was with Ibn Taymiyya while those against him were few influential ruling class ulema and not the masses. They even go to the extent of claiming that this which they are upon today is the only pure madhab of Hanbalism without later corrupting influences compared to Shafis, Malikis, Hanafis who were all corrupted.

While this is what their imagination has pictured, the reality is otherwise which Ibn Taymiyya himself admitted:

Ibn Taymiyya mentions in his Majmu’at al-Fatawa (6/258) regarding the issue of non-eternal attributes subsisting in Allah’s essence:

However, this issue, the issue of visitation [to the grave of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] and other issues besides these have emanated from the later scholars (muta’akh’khirun) and there is a lot of confusion therein. At first, even myself and others were upon the way of our forefathers in this – we used to advocate the doctrine of the innovators. Then when it became clear to us what the Messenger [sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] has brought, the matter became one of either following what Allah has revealed or following what we found our forefathers upon, and what was necessary (wajib) is following the Messenger [sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam].

https://taymiyyun.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/everyone-is-misguided-except-for-me-ibn-taymiyya-ibn-abd-al-wahhab/

As one can see, Ibn Taymiyya strayed away from the madhab that was handed down to him and hence the Hanbalis of his time and couple of generations before him in the least, were not upon his opinion. Moreover, he claimed to be following his personal interpretation of the religion, implying his opinion was not derived even from the early generation of scholars. While one can argue over his ability as a mujtahid to do so, this is not what matters here as the ijthihad of one Mujtahid scholar from the 7th century is not an obligation upon the Muslim Ummah, especially when almost the entirety of scholars even after Ibn Taymiyya rejected his opinions. What matters is his honest admission that his opinions were a divergence from the Jamah and predecessors and instead his own personal ijthihad. The extent of fanaticism and extremism of the Wahhabi sect is that they took these lone opinions of one man and imposed it upon the Ummah at the point of sword declaring Muslims who disagree as apostates, heretics & hell bound innovators.

Ibn Taymiyyah on who are the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamah

Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah (661-728 AH) writes:

“Those who take hold of the pure and unadulterated Islam – free from deviation and crookedness – they are Muslim Orthodoxy; within them are the righteous and upright holy ones (Ar. As-Siddiqun), the martyrs (Ar. Ash-Shuhada’), the pious (Ar. As-Salihun) – and from them are the great luminaries of guidance (Ar. A`lam ul-Huda), the lamps of goodness (Ar. Masabih ud-Duja) who possess numerous virtues and favours that have and could be mentioned.

Now within this group are the High Ranking Saints (Ar. Al-Abdal) – and within them are the Imams of the Religion (Ar. A’immat ud-Din) that the Muslims have made Consensus on their being upon right guidance – and these are the Victorious Group and Aided Group (Ar. At-Ta’ifat ul-Mansurah)  who the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said of them,

‘There will always be a group from my Ummah, upon the truth and manifest with it. Those who oppose them or abandon them will not harm them until the Hour comes.’

We ask Allah that He makes us from them and that He make our hearts not slip after He guided us and bestowed on us mercy from Himself. Indeed He is the Bestower and Allah knows best.”

Matn ul-`Aqidat il-Wasitiyyah (Ar.), pp. 30-31.

[As translated by Usthad Abu Jafar al-Hanbali here]

As one can see, Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamah or Muslim Orthodoxy is not defined simply as “Quran and Sunnah” nor restricted to “Salaf” nor a cult formed on self proclaimed notions of “mujahideen and caliphate”. Muslim Orthodoxy is a comprehensive congregation, and a majority congregation as mentioned in the hadiths, within which are all of the personalities listed above.  It is not a congregation that is isolated or a congregation that got hidden or lost and rediscovered by reading a book. It is a continuously living congregation that has been victorious from the time of the sahabah. The criteria of one rightfully being a part of the Muslim Orthodoxy is when the religion one follows is upon the same belief, understanding and methodology of Islam as these righteous predecessors that have continually existed from the Salaf till today.