Title page of the maqalat

Powerful reminder from Imam al-Kawthari: Islamic belief does not change when people change

In his book Maqalat al-Kawthari, Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari said, on page 400, 2nd paragraph (Click here to read  the whole article in Arabic as a PDF ): “Now we are going to discuss the book [entitled] Kitab as-Sunnah, and this is a warning of the Muslims against what is inside [that book] in terms […]

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The Consensus of the founders of the four schools of Law on the fact that attributing a direction to God is blasphemy (as reported by Ibn Hajar al-Haytami)

In his book  al-Minhaj al-Qawim, p.224, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami said: “Know that  al-Qarafi and others have narrated from ash-Shaafi’i, Malik, Ahmad and Abu Hanifah, may Allah reward them, that those who say [about Allah] that He is in a direction  or that He has a body, have committed blasphemy (al-qaa’ileen bi j-jihat wa t-tajsim), and […]

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Title page of Ithaf al-Kainat

Fatwa of the scholars of al-Azhar on the one who believes that God is in a place

To read the whole fatwa in Arabic in PDF format click here. Here is the translation of this important fatwa which has been written by Imam Abu Muhammad Mahmud ibn Muhammad ibn Khattab as-Subki al-Azhari in his book: Ithaf al-Kaainaat bi-bayaan as-salaf wa l-khalaf fi-l mutashabihaat, page 2: READ CAREFULLY WHAT HE SAID IN 1931 […]

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Full List of the Website’s Articles

All the articles of the website

Excerpts from real books. Translations.  Ready to be downloaded, saved, and printed out.

And the list will keep on  increasing in sha Allah!

Latest additions to the website (as of August 4th, 2012):

Who among the scholars said that God exists without a place?

Who among the Sunni scholars said that believing otherwise is blasphemy?

Who among the Sunni scholars made interpretations of verses or hadith?

Other very important issues:

Cover page Fath al-Bari by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani

al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani explains how to understand Hadith an-Nuzul

Cover page Fath al-Bari by Ibn Hajar al-AsqalaniFath al-Bari interior title page volume 3Fath al-Bari by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani page 22Fath al-Bari by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani page 23Fath al-Bari by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani page 24

Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, while explaining one of the versions of the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, sometimes referred to as hadith an-Nuzul (and which would give the impression that God descends on Earth every night, in his book Fath al-Bari, volume 3, page 23 (you would find pages 22 and 24 scanned above, only so that you can read the full context if needed, but the passage translated below is contained in page 23):

As for his saying ‘Yanzilu Rabbuna ‘ila s-Samaa’i d-Dunya“, those who confirm a direction to Allah, have relied on this text and said that it is the direction of ‘above’ (al-uluww), and this has been refuted by the scholars (al-jumhur), because talking like that equals limiting Allaah, who is exempted from that.  Thereafter people have diverged about the meaning of an-nuzul: some took it according to its literal meaning and verily, these are the anthropomorphists (al-mushabbihah) , and Allaah is absolutely free (exempted) from what they say. Others have resorted to deny the truthfulness of all the hadiths which have been narrated in that regard: those are the Khawaarij and the Mu’tazilah, and these are really astonishing because on the one hand they interpret what has reached [us] in the Qur’an which is similar to this, and on the other hand they deny what has come from hadith, either due to ignorance, or to stubbornness. Others have read those texts as they were revealed, believing in them in general, while freeing Allaah from the manner [kayfiyyah] of the anthropomorphists, and these are the majority of the Salaf.   [On top of that], al-Bayhaqi and others have narrated from the four imams, from the two Sufyan, the two Hammad, al-Awza’i, from al-Layth and others, that they DID interpret this text according to what befits Allaah, and what is in use in the language of the Arabs. Some other ones went so far in their interpretation that it ended up being a  type of distortion. Others [still] made a difference between what is a ‘close’ interpretation’, i.e. in use in the language of the Arabs, and what would be a ‘far-fetched’ one, and as a result they have interpreted in some cases and  made tafweed [i.e. leaving the meaning to Allaah]  in some cases, and this has been narrated from imam Malik. It has been confirmed by Ibn Daqiq al-Id that al-Bayhaqi said that the safest [of all these methods] is to believe in those texts without a how (bila kayf) and to not speak about what is intended.”

Points to remember from this quote:

  • Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani died in 852 in the Hijri calendar, i.e. more than 500 years ago.
    His commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari, entitled “Fath al-Bari” is a book that no student in Islamic Studies or a proper scholar can do without.
  • In this extract,  he clearly says that those who take this hadith according to its literal meaning are anthropomorphists, i.e. those who make Allaah resemble His creations.  He also mentions that some interpretations have been narrated from scholars of the Salaf such as the founders of the four schools for example.
title page of Fath al-Bari

al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani interprets a hadith and confirms from Imam al-Khattabi that Allah is not in a place

Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani , in volume 13, page 414, of his book Fath l-Bari, while explaining a hadith relating the Mi’raj (ascension to the skies) of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:

Inside title page of volume 13 , Fath al Bari Page 414 of volume 13 Fath al Bari

“Al-Khattabi said that in this version there is another term narrated by Sharik which makes it different from the other [versions] and which has not been narrated by anyone else. It is [where it is said] : “fi’lan bihi, i.e. from Jibril to Allaah (al-Jabbaar) and  [Sharik] said : “wa huwa makaanuhu” [i.e. literally it would mean ‘and it is his place’], and [later on] the Prophet said  “O My Lord alleviate for us [the number of prayers]. He [i.e. al-Khattabi] said : a place cannot be attributed to Allaah, therefore here it is the place of the Prophet which is meant, i.e. that he returned where he was standing before leaving.’ End of quote.

Points to remember from this quote:

  • Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani died in 852 of the Hijri calendar, i.e.  more than 500 years ago.
  • His commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari, entitled  “Fath al-Bari”  is a must-have book for any serious student of Islamic studies, and for any scholar.
  • In this extract, he explains one of the various versions of the hadith which narrates the ascension of the Prophet sallallaahu ^alayhi wa sallam. The apparent meaning of this version would attribute a place to Allaah. Ibn Hajar narrates from al-Khattabi that the pronoun in (makaanuhu , i.e. ‘hu’) refers to the Prophet and his palce, not to Allaah as Allaah cannot be attributed with a place.

Imam an-Nasafi says that calling God a body or a cause is atheism

Inside title page of Tafsir al Khaazin wa n-Nasafi

Imam Abu l-Barakat Abdullah ibn Ahmad an-Nasafi, wrote on page 164, volume 2 of his Tafsir of the  Qur’an :

[About the following verse :

وَلِلّهِ الأَسْمَاء الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا وَذَرُواْ الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائه 

Walillaahi l-asmaa’u l-husna fa-d’uhu bihaa wa dharu l-ladheena yulhiduna fi asmaa-ihi

which means : “And ALLAAH has the perfect names, therefore invoke Him by these names, and stay away from those who are guilty of ilhaad [atheism] towards these names”. Surate al-A’raf verse 180].

It is atheism (ilhaad) to call ALLAAH

a ‘body’ (jism)

or an ‘elementary particle’  (jawhar)

or  a ‘mind/reason’ (‘aql)

or a ’cause’  (‘illah)’

Points  to remember:

  • Imam Abu l-Baratan-Nasafi  died in the year 710 of the Hijri calendar ,  i.e. about 700 years ago.
  • He was a  great exegete, i.e. a scholar specialised in the interpretation of the Qur’an. His Tafsir is famous. He is not to be confused with other great Hanafi scholars also named an-Nasafi, such as Najm ad-Din Abu Hafs an-Nasafi (.537 AH)  who wrote the book al-Aqaid, which has been commented by at-Taftazaani, and which a reference in terms of books of belief, or Maymun ibn Muhammad an-Nasafi, the theologian who wrote the book Tabsirat al-Adillah (d.508AH).
  • To explain what ‘ilhaad’ means in this verse, Imam an-Nasafi says that it is a type of atheism to call ALLAAH ‘jism’ or ‘illah’, i.e. ‘body’ or ’cause’ . Indeed, these two names are not among the names of Allaah narrated in the religious texts, and on top of that their meaning does not comply with Islamic teachings. ALLAAH is not a body, He is not composed of parts. And He is not a ’cause’ because this would equal saying that He does not have a will, and that is the reason why imam an-Nasafi has considered this naming as an act of blasphemy.

Imam Malik said ‘Istiwa is not unknown and the how is not conceivable’ (narrated by Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani)

Title page of Kitab al Jami by Ibn Abi Zayd al QayrawaniPage 123 of Kitab al Jami

Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani said in his book Kitab al-Jami fi s-sunan wa al-adab wa l-maghazi wa t-tarikh, p.123:

“A man asked Malik: « O Abu Abd Allah [he recited the verse:] ‘al-Rahman ‘ala ‘arshi stawa’: how ‘istawa’  ?”. Imam Malik answered:’Istiwa s not unknown, and its how [manner] is not conceivable al-istiwa ghayr majhul wa l-kayf ghayr ma’qul). To ask the question about this topic is an innovation, and to believe in it is an obligation; and I believe you are among the [bad] innovators” and he had him taken out”.

Points to remember:

  • Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani is a great Maliki scholar who passed away in 386 after the Hijrah i.e. more than 1000 years ago.
  • This version is the correct version of what Imam Malik said on the topic of Istiwa. 
  • To say that the istiwa of ALLAAH is without a how is therefore the correct way to follow Imam Malik as he said ‘The how is inconceivable’. It is not the same as saying ‘ we do not know how‘ . Imam Malik never said that.
  • There are several narrations of this event. However the one presented here is the most reliable one, as it is narrated from different people in the SAME way, and in different books. This version is authentic. Imam Malik never said al-istiwa ma’lum wa l-kayf majhul . He never said ‘the istiwa is known and its manner/how  is unknown’. Those who claim that he did say that do not have the beginning of a chain of narration for it. Rather he said ‘the how is not conceivable’, i.e. : there is no ‘how’, no manner to it.

al-Hafidh al-Bayhaqi confirms the belief that Allah exists without a place

Page title of al-Asma wa s-SifatPage 400 of al-Asma wa s-sifaat

Imam al-Bayhaqi, in his book al-Asma wa s-Sifat said, p.400:

“Some of our companions [i.e. other scholars] have used, as [another] proof to deny a place to ALLAH, the saying of the prophet  sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam which means: “You are adh-Dhaahir therefore nothing is above You, You are al-Baatin therefore nothing is beneath You”. Therefore, if there is nothing above Him and nothing below Him, it is the case that He is not in a place.

Points to remember:

  • Imam al-Bayhaqi died in 458 after the Hijrah, i.e. almost 1000 years ago!
  • He confirms the belief that God exists without a place.
  • Do remember his name. He was a great respected Hafidh in the hadith science, and his book al-Asma wa s-Sifat has become a reference in terms of the Muslims’ belief.