Cover page Rawdat at-Taalibeen

Imam an-Nawawi explains that delaying the embracing of Islam of a non-Muslim is blasphemy

Cover page Rawdat at-TaalibeenInterior title of Rawdat at-Taalibeen by an-Nawawi page 7Nawawi Riddah Rawdat at-Taalibeen page 289

Imam an-Nawawi said, in his book Rawdat at-Taalibeen, volume 7 page 289:

If a non-Muslim asks a Muslim to be invited into Islam, and that [Muslim] says  ‘We’ll see’, or ‘Wait until tomorrow‘, or if this non-Muslim asks a person delivering a speech to be invited to Islam, and that person answers ‘Sit until the end of the gathering‘, he came out of Islam.

Points à retenir de cette citation:

  • Imam an-Nawawi died in 676 after Hijrah, i.e. more than 700 years ago.  He was from Nawa, a village approximately 80km away from Damascus. He was a Shafi‘ i scholar and wrote several  jurisprudence manuals in this school.  The book Rawdat at-Taalibeen, from which this quote is taken, is one of those fiqh books. It comprises 8 volumes. The chapter dealing with apostasy (i.e. what takes a person out of Islam) spans 21 pages, from page 283 till 304.
  • He is the author of “The Gardens of the Righteous” (Riyaad as-Saaliheen) and the collection of 40 hadiths which is so well-known nowadays. He has always been considered as a great scholar.
  • Here he explains that  delaying the embracing of Islam of a non-Muslim, for example by asking him to come back the following day, or even by asking him to wait until the end of a speech because the person is busy, is blasphemy (kufr).
  • Therefore beware of those who, nowadays, send back home the non-Muslims who come to the Mosque to embrace Islam, by telling them for example that the imam is away, or that they need to take a bath beforehand, or that they need to fetch witnesses, or to take time out to reflect some more time first, wa l-iyaadhu billaahCan any of us imagine that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, would have sent back home a non-Muslim who has expressedly say he wants to embrace Islam but who does not know how to do it? By saying things like ‘Are you sure?’, or ‘Go read such and such book first, or ‘Wait a minute I’m busy right now’? Those who do so do the exact OPPOSITE  of why Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam was sent, and that is why this makes them come out of Islam. Thus, if you know someone who says to you ‘I want to embrace Islam, what should I do?’, then it becomes compulsory to order that person to utter the testifications of Faith, i.e. ‘I testify that no one is god except God, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God’.
  • Here we are talking about the one who want to EMBRACE Islam, we are not talking about someone who only wants some information on Islam, or who says ‘Im interested in knowing more about Islam’, as for if you say to such a person ‘Let’s me later on this evening for a class on Islam it would not take you out of Islam. Rather, we are talking about the one who has clearly expressed to us his desire to EMBRACE Islam but does not know how to go about it. This person we MUST ask him/her to testify without any delay.
Title page of daf shubah at-Tashbih by Ibn al-Jawzi

Ibn al-Jawzi explains the actual meaning of Hadith ad-Dahak (whose apparent meaning would be that God would have laughed)

Title page of daf shubah at-Tashbih by Ibn al-JawziPage 41 Daf Shubah at-tashbih by Ibn al-Jawzi explaining hadith addahak

In his book  Daf’ Shubah at-Tashbih against those who claim to be Hanbalis but who have deviated beliefs, Ibn al-Jawzi said, page 41:

‘Know that the term ‘Dahak‘ [literally ‘laugh’ ) has a certain number of meanings which are linked to ‘clarification’ and ‘to expose’. When someone exposes something that was hidden, it is said about him ‘Dahaka‘ [literally it woud mean ‘he laughed’ but obviously here it is in the meaning that he ‘exposed’]. For example, we say :’the Earth dahakat [literally, the Earth ‘laughed’], when vegetation starts to show on it, and it gives flowers. It is the same thing when it is said: ‘The sky cried’.  The poet said: ‘Every day the Earth ‘laughed’ (dahakat) with a new daisy/ From the crying of the sky.

The ‘laughter’ that seizes people is only a reference to the fact that when someone laughs, the teeth, which are usually hidden in the mouth, get exposed, shown. But this is impossible to Allah, may He be exalted. Therefore, it is obligatory to consider this hadith as meaning ‘Allah manifested His generosity and His bounty.

At the end of his explanation on this issue, on the following page (page 42), here is how he comments the judgement of those who went as far as attributing a molar tooth to Allah:

Page 42 Daf Shubah at-tashbih by Ibn al-Jawzi explaining hadith addahak
We are very surprised [i.e. he is]. He has attributed an attribute to Allah on the  basis of a hadith with only one narrator [‘aahaad] and whose wording is not even correct! He confirmed a molar tooth to Allah! This one, he  has nothing to do with Islam!

Points à retenir de cette citation:

  • Imam Ibn al-Jawzi died in 597 after the Hijrah i.e. more than 800 years ago!
  • He wrote this book specifically against those who claim to be Hanbalis but who misunderstood the religious texts. Note that his book is in Arabic and is meant to be read by a public which is fluent in Arabic.
  • Here he explains that ‘laughter’ in Arabic is called dahaka because dahaka has a root meaning of exposing/showing. When one laughs, one exposes one’s teeth. Obviously this is not a suitable meaning for Allah. Therefore he proves that in Arabic dahaka  is also used for other meanings which are closer to its root meaning of exposing, and he concludes by saying that in this hadith it shows that the meaning is that Allah showed mercy to the people mentioned, not that He laughed at them wa l-iyaadhu billaah!
  • A the end of the book he declares that the people he denounces in his book are not Muslim (article available here).
Cover page of al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya volume 2

al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah mention clearly that the one who says Allah fis-samaa aiming at a place has committed blasphemy

Cover page of al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya volume 2Page 359 volume 2 of al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya

In this collection of fatwas considered authoritative in the Hanafi madh-hab in India and elsewhere, it is mentioned, volume 2 , page 359:

And if he says: ‘Allah fis-samaa” [there are two cases]: if he was aiming at merely repeating what has reached [us] apprently in the texts, he does not commit blasphemy, but if he was aiming  at the place, he commits blasphemy.’

Points to remember:

  • al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya is a collection of fatwas from Hanafi scholars from the Asian continent (especially India) which gathers alomost all the sayings of the school and which is a reference until present daysin terms of Hanafi judgements. It has been written more than 300 years ago.
  • It has been said that 500 scholars of the Indian sub-continent worked on this collection of fatwas, each group of scholars from a given Indian state being in charge of a specific chapter), and a fatwa would only get written if no one else would challenge it.
  • Here, these scholars are saying that even if the person says ‘Allah  fis-samaa’, depending on what he is aiming at it can be blasphemy. Therefore one should not think that this is only an issue of translation. It is a question of understanding. The one who utters phrases in Arabic, while understanding that Allah is limited, it is blasphemy.
  • The original title of this collection is Fatawa-e-Alamgiri, in Persian, from the name of  the sultan Aurangzeb (d.1707 CE) who helped the Hanafi scholars to produce this work. They have very quickly been nicknamed ‘al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya’ in Arabic.
Title page of biography of Imam Ahmad

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal interprets the verse ‘Wa ja’a Rabbuka’ (narrated by as-Saidi)

Title page of biography of Imam Ahmad al-Jawhar al-Muhsal

In his biography of Imam Ahmad entitled al-Jawhar al-Muhsal, the Hanbali scholar as-Sa’idi narrates, in the chapter of the belief of Imam Ahmad, the following story:

‘He was a follower of the madh-hab of the Salaf, by declaring Allah exempted [from any resemblance to the Creation] and by the negation of any anthropomorphism. It even happened that he interpreted in some situations. Hanbal (the son of the paternal uncle of Imam Ahmad) said: ‘One day, I heard the son of my uncle say: ‘They [the mu’tazilah] have used as a proof against me, the day of the great debate, [the following hadith whose apparent meaning is]: ‘On the day of judgement, Surat al-Baqarah will come, and Surat Tabaaraka will come!’

[Explanation: the Mu’tazilah, a misguided group, based themselves on this hadith to maintain that teh Qur’an is created and therefore implied that Allah does not have the attribute of al-Kalam, which is a blasphemous belief. Imam Ahmad did not accept to utter this statement, and on the day of the trial of Imam Ahmad, they tried to use this hadith as a proof by saying that if it mentioned that these 2 Surahs will come, therefore it could only mean according to them, that these surahs have been created, as they will move from one place to another]

I said to them ‘It is the reward [that will come’], [indeed] it is the manifestation of His power that will come [qudratuhu]. The Qur’an is full of metaphors, exhortations, commandments, prohibitions and others’.

[Explanation:  this means that Imam Ahmad answered to them that the Qur’an says ‘Wa jaa’a Rabbuka’ too, so are you going to say that this means that Allah will come too and move? (Imam Ahmad knew that even though they had other wrong beliefs, they did not use to say that God moves or that He is created. It is as if he had told them : ‘you and I know that this is not the meaning referred to here. On top of that he explained that when it is mentioned int the hadith that these Surahs will come, truly what is meant is that the rewards due to reading these Surahs will come.]

Points to remember:

  • Imam as-Sa’idi died in 900 after the Hijrah, i.e. more than 500 years ago. He was a hanbalite, and this book is specifically dedicated to the life of Imam Ahmad.
  • Imam as-Sa’idi starts the chapter of the belief of Imam Ahmad by explaining the belief of the Salaf, and by mentioning the fact that Imam Ahmad did happen to perform interpretations.
  • We also learn that Imam Ahmad only performed an interpretation because there was a need, i.e. he needed an argument to prove a misguided group wrong, and this forced him to demosntrates how he understood the verse ‘wa jaa’a Rabbuka’. In other situations, the scholars of the Salaf did not use to make detailed interpretation, but they were performing a ‘general’ interpretations by saying that the apparent meaning is not to be taken into account.
  • this interpretation is also narrated by Ibn Kathir (in this website), who quotes al-Bayhaqi who said that the chain of transmission of this event cannot be contested
Page title of Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari by Ibn Asakir to defend al-Ashari

Imam Ibn Asakir explains the belief of Imam Ashari: God exists without a place

Page 150 de TabyinTanzih Ashari Tabyin Ibn Asakir page 150

In his book dedicated to Imam al-Ashari and entitled Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari fima nusiba ila l-imam al-Ash’ari, Imam Ibn Asakir said, p.150:

Also, the ‘Najjariyyah’ say that the Creator, may He be exalted, is in all places without being diffused and without a direction, whereas the ‘Hashawiyyah’ and the ‘Mujassimah’ say that He is present on the Throne, that the Throne is His place, and that He is sitting on it. As for him [i.e. al-Ash’ari], he chose a middle way between the two, and he said that Allah existed and there was no place, then He created the Throne and the Kursi’, He does not need a place, and He is, after having created the places, as He has always been before He created them.

Points to remember:

  • Imam Ibn Asakir died in 571 after the Hijrah, i.e. more than 800 years ago.
  • He explains here that the belief of Imam al-Ash’ari is that Allah does not need places.