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Archive for January, 2013

Read and reflect on the following narration;

عن جبير بن نفير قال: جلسنا إلى المقداد بن الأسود يوما، فمر به رجل، فقال: طوبى لهاتين العينين اللتين رأتا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، والله! لوددنا أنا رأينا ما رأيت، وشهدنا ما شهدت، فاستغضب، فجعلت أعجب، ما قال إلا خيرا! ثم أقبل عليه فقال: “ما يحمل الرجل على أن يتمنى محضرا غيبه الله عنه؟ لا يدري لو شهده كيف يكون فيه؟ والله! لقد حضر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أقوام كبهم الله على مناخرهم في جهنم؛ لم يجيبوه ولم يصدقوه! أولا تحمدون الله عز وجل إذ أخرجكم لا تعرفون إلا ربكم، فتصدقون بما جاء به نبيكم صلى الله عليه وسلم، قد كفيتم البلاء بغيركم. والله لقد بعث النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم على أشد حال بعث عليها نبي قط، في فترة وجاهلية، ما يرون أن دينا أفضل من عبادة الأوثان! فجاء بفرقان فرق به بين الحق والباطل، وفرق به بين الوالد وولده، حتى إن كان الرجل ليرى والده أو ولده أو أخاه كافرا، وقد فتح الله قفل قلبه بالإيمان ويعلم أنه إن هلك دخل النار، فلا تقر عينه، وهو يعلم أن حبيبه في النار، وأنها للتي قال: الله عز وجل: {والذين يقولون ربنا هب لنا من أزواجنا وذرياتنا قرة أعين} – الفرقان: 74

Jubayr ibn Nufayr said, “One day we were sitting when al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad when a man passed us. The man said, ‘Blessing be to those two eyes which saw the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. By Allah, I wish that I had seen what you have seen and witnessed what you have witnessed!’ This angered al-Miqdad and that surprised me as the man had said nothing but good things. Then he turned to them and said, ‘What made the man desire to summon back what Allah has taken away? Does he not realise what his situation would be if he had seen him? By Allah, if certain people had been with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, Allah would have thrown them on their faces into Hellfire since they would neither have answered nor confirmed him? Do you not praise Allah Almighty since He brought you forth and you only know your Lord and confirm what your Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, brought? You see enough affliction in other people. By Allah, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was sent in the harshest state in which any Prophet was ever sent – in a gap (in the line of prophethood) and the time of Ignorance. They did not believe that the deen was better than worshiping idols. He brought the Discrimination by which it is possible to discriminate between the true and false, and which can part a father from his child. Then a man will think of his father, child or brother as an unbeliever. Allah has loosened the locks of his heart by faith and he knows that the other person will be destroyed in the Fire. Therefore his eye is not cool since he knows that the one he loves will be in the Fire. It is what Allah says, “Those who say, ‘Our Lord, give us joy in our wives and children.” (25:74)'”

See, Imam al-Bukhari’s al-Adab al-Mufrad, Hadith 87 – Translated by Ustadha Aisha Bewley. Classified as Sahih by Shaykh Albani

It is also reported  by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (Hadith 23810, Al-Resalah ed.), Shaykh Shu’aib Arnaut also classified it as Sahih.

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After waiting for years at last, a few days back, I got hold of a copy of Yvonne Ridley‘s wonderful book, “In the Hands of the Taliban.” It was published in 2001 by Robson Books, London just weeks after her captivity in Taliban’s Afghanistan came to end.

This is not supposed to be a book review. I am just sharing a few excerpts that I found interesting.

Speaking of 9/11 and its impact on the Americans she wrote:

I love America and, on the whole, most Americans. I love places where I don’t have to queue for fast food and where service is instant – which rules out most of London. However, I don’t think Americans are as resilient as the British and they must be amazed that anyone outside their country could or would dislike them. The Brits have developed quite a thick skin over the centuries. Well, you would, wouldn’t you, charging into people’s countries with a bible in one hand and a sword in the other? While we have lived with terrorism for thirty years and have developed a sort of devil-may-care attitude, I don’t think the average American will ever recover from this. (p.10)

I have no idea what the author now thinks about Americans and what actually is their current situation. However, it is clear they are doing exactly what, in the view of the author, lead to Brits developing the ‘devil-may-care’ attitude.

Her planned visit to Afghanistan was limited only to a village named Kama. Recollecting her trip she noted:

Although burka-clad Afghan women give the impression of servility, the women from Kama were strong, spirited and resilient. One woman, who has the most amazing almond-shaped, hazel eyes and magnificent cheekbones, gently mocked me when she asked if I had any children and I said ‘one’.

Putting her hands on a fine pair of child-bearing hips she mocked: ‘Only one? Ha! You British and American women can only produce one or two children but I can have fifteen, and when you run out of your boy soldiers to send to war we still have many replacements. Our children are born with guns in their hands. They are fighters and will die fighting. It is part of our life and our struggle. If I have to fight I will and so will she,’ she said, pointing her long, bony fingers at an old woman whose tiny, crumpled frame and toothless smile radiated great wisdom.

I was told she was a hundred years old and that she had seen many wars. She shouted something at me and everyone laughed. She had said of course she would fight the American soldiers and said no one could conquer the Afghan people. I was then reminded of a famous saying, which goes, ‘Anyone can rent an Afghani but no one can own one.’

But this time the woman with the hazel eyes had taken centre stage and through the young translator she said, ‘We heard about what happened in New York and we are sorry so many innocent people died. I hope the Americans think twice before trying to bomb us but whatever happens we are not afraid.’ (pp.101-102)

Talking of her captivity lead to by a dramatic event when she was about to cross the border back to Pakistan, she mentions three men from Taliban who came to interrogate her. They were accompanied by Hamid, the translator. Besides the actual interrogation, of those three men she writes;

They couldn’t even look me in the face and would stare blankly at some other spot on the ceiling. I discovered later that in Afghan culture this was sign of respect. Hamid, on the other hand, barked several times at me, ‘Look at me when I am talking to you.’ He tried to get angry and aggressive but it made me laugh because I felt he was playing out of character. (p.125)

She also reproduces in her book some notes that she managed to ingenuously write “on the inside of a toothpaste carton.” Entry of Sunday, September 30, 2001 continues:

Hamid says everyone is very bothered that I am not eating and asks if there’s something wrong with the food, if I have special diet or would I prefer hotel food. They constantly refer to me as their guest and say they are sad if I am sad. I can’t believe it. The Taliban are trying to kill me with their kindness.

These people are in many ways like the Gurkhas. They are mild-mannered, gentle and considerate yet when it comes to fighting they are among the most fearsome warriors in the world. I wish everyone knew how I am being treated because then I could perhaps relax. I bet people think I’m being tortured, beaten and sexually abused. Instead I am being treated with kindness and respect. It is unbelievable.

Damn. I’ve somehow managed to break the radio so I still don’t know if the world knows of my plight. I did hear a bulletin about eight Christians who have been locked up in Kabul for trying to convert Muslims to their faith. (p.127)

Another diary, undated in the book, reads;

Hamid knocked on the door and said someone had come to see me. I think he said he was a Maulana [someone who is learned in Persian or Arabic] and I could tell by the expression on his face all was not well. A tall, slender cleric with flawless skin and narrow brown eyes entered the room and, counting his worry beads in a calculated fashion, he asked me what was my religion and what did I think of Islam. My mouth went dry as I told him I was a Christian and he wanted to know what sort so I replied Protestant.

He smiled in a such a sinister way I felt I was being led into a trap. I then continued that I thought Islam was a fascinating religion and admired the way its followers held such a great passion and belief. I added that I would make it my business to look into the religion further on my return to London. Another smile followed and then he asked me if I wanted to convert then and there.

I panicked thinking if I said ‘yes’ he would think I was fickle and order that I be stoned. On the other hand I could risk execution just by saying ‘no’. I thanked him for the offer but said I could not make such an important life-changing decision while I was in such turmoil and confusion. I thanked him again and waited for his next question. He responded with another smile and got up and left. (pp.137-138)

In the narrative of her release and crossing back into Pakistan, she wrote:

As I stepped out I was suddenly hit by the glare of television lights shining into my face. I could not see a thing and was momentarily dazzled. A voice shouted out, ‘How did the Taliban treat you?’ All the memories and mind games of the last ten days flowed through my head and I replied, ‘With courtesy and respect.’ (p.171)

She writes about her conversation with Paul Ashford, Editorial Director of Express Newspapers;

He asked me what I really thought of the Taliban and I said, ‘It’s very difficult because we know they’re brutal and yet they treated me with kindness and respect. People won’t like but I have to tell the truth.’

He agreed, adding, ‘No, people won’t like it, but I have to say they were honourable. They gave an undertaking that you would be released and they stuck to their word. They came across having their own kind of integrity. Richard [Desmond] gave me an open cheque to get you out but I knew right from the start that offering them money could cause  great offence.’ (p.185)

In the same vein she recounted;

Then I remembered a conversation I’d had with the retired Labour MP for Chesterfield, Tony Benn, after the BBC’s Breakfast with Frost show. He had read my account of my time in Afghanistan in the Sunday Express and said it was a good piece of journalism.

You’ve put a human face to the Afghans while the West has spent weeks trying to demonise these people,’ he told me. ‘It’s much easier to drop bombs on an evil regime. You have done very well.’ (p.208)

Another interesting memory she shared goes as;

… after 10 days of being treated with respect and courtesy by my captors I was shocked when I got a black cab in London, The East End driver recognized me.

‘You’re that bird that got locked up by them Taliban people aren’t you?’ I nodded and he continued. ‘Did they rape you?’ I shook my head and then he added. ‘It’s hard to believe. If I’d been out there I’d have given you a go.’

I couldn’t believe it. I think he thought he was giving me a compliment. ‘Welcome back to civilization, Yvonne,’ I thought. (p.204)

During captivity she had no clue about her guides for mission into Afghanistan. Later Pasha, the man who facilitated her in Pakistan and arranged for her trip to Afghanistan, informed her on call about their release.

Then in the book once again we find the mention of Kama, the Afghan village she went to:

… American bombs blasted the tiny village of Kama, in the Kama district, off the face of the earth. I will never forget that feeling when I heard the words, ‘Madam, I have bad news for you. The Americans have bombed your village. Kama has gone and some of the people you met have been killed.’

Naively, I told him they must have been stray bombs that had accidentally hit civilian targets. ‘But madam,’ he protested, ‘then they have accidentally bombed Kama three days running.’

I closed the line and a great aching sob erupted deep from within me. The woman who had sung ‘Rule Britannia’ so triumphantly on the night Kabul was hammered was now cursing the war. I had been to Kama and it had no military or strategic significance at all.

I called my mother and sobbed: ‘Those bastards have bombed my village. Kama has been wasted, it no longer exists.’ I called my news editor Jim and anyone else who would listen. I was grief-stricken. (p.214)

And towards the end she sums up her thoughts and feelings about Afghanistan;

I have fallen in love with many countries and cities around the world and it has always been easy to explain why: New York is exciting; Rome and its cuisine are divine; Venice is breathtaking; Paris is so chic.

However, my heart has been stolen by Afghanistan, a wild, unforgiving country whose contrasts of people are reflected in stormy history, politics and geography. (p.215)

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In one of his articles Prof. Israr Ahmad Ahmad, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), in what is practically a bid to subject Hadith to subjective analysis of ordinary people vis-a-vis its relation with Qur’an clearly departs from established scholarly morals.

He tries to amass references from scholars for the said purpose. Among the scholars he refers to is Imam al-Shafi’i. He alleges;

Muhammad ibn  Idris al-Shafi‘ i (d.204 A.H.) observed  in  his  masterpiece, al-Umm  that if  a  Hadith  was  in  contrast  with  the  Qur’ an,  it  could  not be  from  the Prophet  (s.a.w.), even  though  it  was  narrated  by  authentic  narrators.  For  that  matter  he  quoted  a Hadith of the Prophet  (s.a.w.):

Hadith  will,  indeed,  spread  far  and  wide  in  my  name; whatever  thereof  is  in  conformity  with  the  Qur’an  is  genuinely  mine;  and  whatever  thereof  clashes  with  the Qur’ an  is certainly not from me.

In his notes, he gives the following reference for this;

Al-Dumayni,  Misfir  Ghuram  Allah,  Maqayis  Naqd  Mutun  al -Sunnah  (Self published by the  author, Riyadh, 1403 A.H.), p. 297.

See, “The Qur’an as a Criterion for Hadith-Text Examination”, Islamic Perspectives – [Journal of ] Center for Sociological Studies, London Academy of Iranian Studies, vol. 4 2010 p.287, 308

This appears nice however it is cunningly deceitful for two reasons;

1) Imam al-Shafi’i has himself clarified that the report is not sahih

2) The work he cites itself clarifies this was not the final opinion of Imam al-Shafi’i and therefore it is wrong to attribute it to him anymore.

1) Imam al-Shafi’i himself clarified this report is not authentic

Following is the excerpt from al-Risala the well known work of Imam al-Shafi’i;

It is a part of a dialogue between Imam al-Shafi’i and some other person;

He (the other person) said: … can you give me an evidence against those who related a saying on the authority of the Prophet which runs as follows:

Compare whatever is related on my authority with the Book of God; if it agrees with it, I have said it, but if it does not agree, I have not said it.[7]

[Shafi’i] replied: This tradition was not related by one whose authority on any matter, significant or insignificant, has been recognized so as to constitute a proof for what he related. Besides this is an interrupted transmission from an unknown person and is unacceptable to us.

[7] This tradition has been transmitted in a variety of forms and is regarded as weak. For a critical evaluation, see Ibn Hazm, Kitab al-Ihkam fi Usul al-Ahkam, Vol. II. pp.76-82

See, Al-Risala fi Usool al-Fiqh- Treatise on the Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence. Translated by Majid Khadduri, Islamic Texts Society, Cambridge, 1993 pp.186-187

2) Prof. Israr A. Khan’s intellectual dishonesty

The Prof. gives the narration from al-Shafi’i’s work citing another book i.e. Al-Dumayni’s Maqayis Naqd Mutun al-Sunnah. On page 297 of Al-Dumayni’s work we do find what Prof. writes however, Al-Dumayni clarifies on the very next page i.e. p.298 that though earlier Imam al-Shafi’i did mention the narration in his work al-Umm but in later work al-Risalah (as quoted above) he recanted from his view of testing every hadith against Qur’an because a sahih Hadith can never contradict Qur’an even if someone short of brains people thinks it does.

Al-Dumayni then writes;

وعلى هذا يكون القول بعدم العرض هو الراجح عنه، أو: هو القول الأخير له فى المسألة

“And for this reason the word about not presenting a hadith (against Qur’an for testing) is the more solid thing proved from him. Or (we may say): It is the last of his opinions on the issue.” (p.298)

This makes it very clear that Imam al-Shafi’i did not hold what the Prof. alleged. The learned Professor of Department of Qur’an and Sunnah wonderfully deceives his readers. Interestingly the well known and final opinion of Imam al-Shafi’i is mentioned even on p.296 of Al-Dumayni’s work. So both before and after what the Prof. quotes the clarification is given but he signally fails to share the truth.

Download al-Dumayni’s work HERE and see for yourself.

Had the professor quoted from al-Umm directly it would have not been too serious an issue because it is possible that a person reads one book and doesn’t know if some later work has a different thing though true scholarship doesn’t warrant that as well. But the fact that Prof. Khan quoted from a secondary source and that secondary source in very categorical terms clarifies against what he cherry-picks raises serious questions. It is next to impossible to take it as an honest mistake.

May Allah help us have see through the things and preserve our ‘iman from tricks of the opponents of sunnah.

Indeed Allah knows the best!

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Imam Al-Shafi’i (d. 204 AH) is reported to have said:

إذا صح الحديث خلاف قولي فاعملوا بالحديث واتركوا قولي أو قال فهو مذهبي

“When there is a Sahih Hadith opposed to my opinion, act upon the hadith and leave my word.” Or he said, “then it (i.e. that hadith, itself) is my opinion.”

Imam al-Nawawi (d.676 AH) after giving the well-known statement of al-Shafi’i, our Imam, in the above mentioned words says that scholars of the Shafi’i school have ruled in difference to the opinion of Al-Shafi’i on some issues. He then says:

وهذا الذي قاله الشافعي ليس معناه ان كل أحد رأى حديثا صحيحا قال هذا مذهب الشافعي وعمل بظاهره: وإنما هذا فيمن له رتبة الاجتهاد في المذهب على ما تقدم من صفته أو قريب منه: وشرطه أن يغلب على ظنه أن الشافعي رحمه الله لم يقف على هذا الحديث أو لم يعلم صحته: وهذا إنما يكون بعد مطالعة كتب الشافعي كلها ونحوها من كتب أصحابه الآخذين عنه وما أشبهها وهذا شرط صعب قل من يتصف به: وإنما اشترطوا ما ذكرنا لأن الشافعي رحمه الله ترك العمل بظاهر أحاديث كثيرة رآها وعلمها لكن قام الدليل عنده على طعن فيها أو نسخها أو تخصيصها أو تأويلها أو نحو ذلك: قال الشيخ أبو عمرو رحمه الله ليس العمل بظاهر ما قاله الشافعي بالهين فليس كل فقيه يسوغ له أن يستقل بالعمل بما يراه حجة من الحديث

“And as to this saying of al-Shafi’i, it does not mean that anyone who sees a sahih hadith should say, “This is the opinion (mazhab) of al-Shafi’i” and starts following it. In fact this is for the one who has the status (and ability) of ijtihad in the mazhab … And the condition for this is he must be fairly convinced that al-Shafi’i, may Allah have mercy on him, did not know that hadith or (at least) he did not know of its authenticity. And this is possible (only) after studying all the books of al-Shafi’i and likewise of his students who gained knowledge from him and whatever relates to it. And this is a very tough condition. There are very few who have this capacity. And these conditions we mentioned are put because in many cases Al-Shafi’i, may Allah have mercy on him, did not act according to the apparent import of ahadith after having known them. This is because according to him there was evidence for some problem for (each) such hadith, or for its abrogation, or limitation of its scope or for some interpretation (ta’wil) of it or anything of the kind. Abu ‘Amr (i.e. Ibn Salah), may Allah have mercy on him, said: Following the apparent meanings of what al-Shafi’i said is not easy for not every faqih is able to establish his practice on what he sees as evidence from hadith.

(Al-Majmu’ Sharh Al-Muhazzab, Maktaba’ Al-Irshad, Jeddah  vol.1 p.105)

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