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doubts(Following is the summary of Maulana Thanwi’s talk at M.A.O. College Aligarh delivered in November 1909)

“The first of these deficiencies is that although religious doubts are spiritual ailments, yet you do not regard them as ailments. That is why you never dealt with them in the manner you deal with physical ailments. May Allah protect you from all harm, but whenever it so happens that you fall ill, you never wait for the official physician of the college to come down to your room[1] for himself in order to examine you and to treat you. When you were ill, you must rather have gone to his residence yourself and spoken to him about your illness. And if his treatment did you no good, you must have gone beyond the boundary of the college to the town, and seen the civil surgeon at the hospital.

And, in case even his treatment did no prove effective, you must have left even the town and made a journey to other cities, and must have spent quite a good sum of money in bearing the expenses of the journey, in paying the doctors and in buying medicines. In short, you had no peace of body or mind until you had fully regained your health. This being so, how is it that when you are affected with religious doubts, you just expect that the ulema themselves should attend you? Why do you not turn to them yourselves? And if, during this quest, one ‘alim fails to restore your health (either because his answer is not sufficient, or because it not to your taste), why do you not seek other ulema? Why do you jump to the conclusion that your problem is insoluble? You should at least have made a thorough search for its solutions. The expense it entails is almost nothing in comparison with what you spent on a physical cure. What could be simpler than to send a reply-paid post card to any religious scholar you choose, and to ask him whatever you like?

The second deficiency is that you too often have an absolute confidence in your own opinion and judgment, and assume that nothing can be wrong with your way of thinking. This is another reason why you never turn to any religious scholar (‘alim). This is itself a great error, if you seek a verification of your opinion from the ulema, you would soon be aware of the errors you commit.

The third deficiency is that, in religious matters, you are habitually reluctant to follow anyone. That is why you do not accept the authority of any expert in any religious matters, but always pry into explanations, reasons and arguments of everything, while the truth is that one who is not an expert cannot at all do without accepting the authority of an expert. This does not mean that scholars of the shariah do not possess any reasons or arguments. They do possess all that. But many things are beyond your understanding. Just as it is very difficult to explain a theorem of Euclid to a man who is ignorant of the first principles, definitions and other preliminaries necessary for a proper study of geometry in the same way there are certain sciences which serve as instruments and elementary principles for a study of the injunctions of the shariah. Anyone who wishes to understand them fully must necessarily acquire knowledge of these sciences to begin with. But the man who has not the time or the inclination to do so, cannot help accepting the authority of someone else.

I would, therefore, advise you to adopt this method. Whenever you have a doubt with regard to any religious matter, you should continue to put it before different ulema until it has been finally removed, and should in no case rely on your own judgment. If there is something which you are unable to understand perfectly, you had better admit your own short-coming, and then trust and follow those ulema who are experts in their own field. If you adopt this procedure, I do hope that Allah will help you, and you will soon be able to correct your errors.”

(Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi, Answer to Modernism, trans. by Prof. Hassan Askari, (Karachi: Maktaba Darul Uloom,, 1992) 6-8


[1] M.A.O. College was a boarding institute.

LoudSpeaker

Whenever the discussion on Islam and the modern world issues comes up we invariably hear a comment, “These mullahs are against any kind of advancement. When loudspeaker was invented they said it is haram to use it.” Having read the works of the “mullahs” I have known that it is wrong to say that at least the learned and well reputed among of the ulema were/are against technology. Actually what they are against is not the use of technology but the blind imitation of West in its culture in the name of advancement. (Suggested reading, Mufti Taqi Usmani’s “Islam and Modernism”)

In this backdrop what perplexed me the most was the suggestion that ulema once condemned the use of loudspeakers as haraam. I always wanted to know what really happened and why? How the fatwa was changed overtime? What do the scholars who were part of the process of the change in fatwa say? And how do they feel about their earlier verdict?

Lately, I found answer to all these questions and today I mean to share with you the same.

Yes, the fatwa declaring use of loudspeakers as haraam was given and it was given by a well-known scholar and jurist, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi. Three of his fatwas on the subject are given in the first volume of Imdad al-Fatawa- the collection of religious verdicts given by him. It was compiled by his student Mufti Muhammad Shafi’. Towards the end of the volume the compiler, Mufti Muhammad Shafi’, in an addendum, explains the background, basis and reasons for eventual change in the verdict. Following is its summary.

First fatwa on the subject was given in Ramadan 1346 AH (i.e.  Feb. 1928)[1] in which Maulana Thanwi opined that its usage is altogether haraam.  Shortly thereafter the same opinion was repeated in Zil Hijjah 1346 AH (May 1928 CE). According to Mufti Shafi’ this opinion was given in the early days of instrument’s introduction (in the subcontinent) when it was not widely known. The opinion was based on the presumption that it was something like Gramophone  that was then used almost exclusively for songs and music. Moreover, since the instrument was not generally used and was mostly unknown to the people no need was felt to seek to probe deeper into the details of it.

The basic premise for declaring it unlawful for use in acts of ritual worship was that confusion on the actual working of the instrument. Maulana Thanwi and other scholars were not clear whether it simply amplifies the sound or first records it and then transmits it and to this day scholars maintain that prayers are not valid with recorded sound[2]. (It is pertinent to mention that even when Maulana Thanwi gave this opinion Mualana Shabbir Ahmad Uthmani even at that stage did not agree that prayers are nullified with its use). They set to seek the help of different people they thought were well versed in these matters. The names and replies of those people are preserved in the footnotes in Imdad al-Fatawa vol.1 pp.685-687. The opinions on the working of the instrument were sought included:

1-  Syed Shabbir Ali, M.A., Professor Science Dept., Aligarh Muslim University

2-  Burj Nandar, B.A., BSc. Science Alexander High School, Bhopal

Names of others are not specifically mentioned.

Not to say that they were some real authorities but it does show the concern and attitude of Maulana towards the issue. He did take the trouble of asking the people who were in a better position to comment on the issue he faced. Mark the fact that opinion of a Hindu was also considered. However, the confusion persisted (considering the responses he got) and Maulana Thanwi then opined that even though ritual prayers cannot be out rightly declared null and void still one needs to avoid praying with the use of this instrument. (Imdad al-Fatawa, vol.1 p.685 n.2)

In Muharram 1357 AH (March 1938 CE) in response to a detailed question about some modern instruments in which their true nature and scope of use was brought to his notice Maulana Thanwi opined that it is permissible to use it in ordinary sermons and speeches. But he maintained that it was impermissible to use it in ritual prayers (salah) and ritual sermons (khutbas of Fridays and ‘Eid) and as a reference he referred to his fatwa of Zil Hijjah 1346 AH and wrote, “All this research is written as per personal information. If someone knows more and or something different he should follow his own research and if he intimates us he will be rewarded. And Allah knows best and His knowledge is most perfect and most sound.” (Imdad al-Fatawa, vol.1 p.691)

After the death of Maulana Thanwi his disciple and student Mufti Shafi’ continued to give verdict according to his opinion. However, after the creation of Pakistan he sent the same query to experts at Radio Pakistan. The unanimous response was that the sound transmitted was simply amplified and it was not first recorded. Mufti Shafi’ writes that this actually bulldozed the entire basis of the opinion of its impermissibility of its use in prayers. Thereafter he wrote his treatise on the subject of use of the loudspeaker in Sha’ban 1372 AH and it was revised later in 1382 AH.

Here it is critical to understand the position of a mufti. He is to give a very careful opinion and his words have implications not only for the people but most importantly for himself for in a way he is responsible for any outcome of his verdict. The issue most especially related to the validity of the prayers- the most important act of worship in Islam. Approach of ulema was very practical and careful for they forbade people from using something that could, considering the doubts in their minds, possibly affect the validity of prayers while they dwelt on seeking clarity. And as the things became clear they changed their opinion.

Points to note:

1- The first fatwa was based on limited and mistaken information and that too in the absence of any pressing need to probe in to what was then a little known device.

2- To clarify the details of the working of the instrument the very reasonable attitude of consulting the experts was adopted and they did not shy away from taking the input of a Hindu as well.

3- Once the nature of the instrument was clear the scholars stopped declaring its use unlawful for activities other than ritual worship (ibadat).

4- However, they continued to forbid its use in ibadat because details of its working were not clear and ibadat require extra care in following the original rules. Nevertheless, ulema were open to more insight and asked for help in bringing clarity to the issue.

5- Later, however when the experts gave the unanimous opinion that the instrument does not record and then transmit the voice rather it simply amplifies the sound, scholars did not shy away from revising the verdict.

 No matter how weird it now appears in the hindsight but putting one in their shoes one has to accept that the approach of ulema was very meticulous. They were careful but they were not stubborn and were open to new information and adopted the right course of consulting the experts to seek clarity on the actual working of the instrument and accordingly revised their opinion.

Unless one thinks with a borrowed brain and wants Muslims to adopt everything and anything new even when it relates to specific ritual ibadat one has to appreciate the approach adopted by the ulema.

Download Link for Imdad al-Fatawa vol.1


[1] The Gregorian dates corresponding to Hijri dates are given only by the way of approximation.

[2] See for instance Shaykh Faraz Rabbani fatwa, “Tahajjud Prayer: Listening to recorded recitation

Islamic Laws

In this age questioning and objecting to Islamic principles is the best pastime of the ‘educated’ yet intellectually impaired. They fail to understand Islam’s approach and vent the anger for their ignorance on the whoever they can – the idea or the people who stand for it.

1) Hudood (prescribed punishments) in Islam are indeed very strict and the mess other legal traditions have created after failing to check the crimes and dealing with the convicts supports the idea of having strict punishments. (the case of the rapist and serial killer Clifford Olson is a classical example of what confused legal traditions can lead to.)

2) Islamic law of witnesses is also very strict. This is especially true for cases involving sex offenses (in which case carrying out hudood requires 4 witnesses) as it relates to two sensitive issues simultaneously 1) Life 2) Honor.  In fact it won’t be out of place to say that punishment based on witnesses is extremely rare. When the skeptics say that having four witnesses is extremely difficult they make no revelation.

A classical jurist stated:

لم ينقل عن السلف ثبوت الزنا عند الإمام بالشهادة، إذ رؤية أربعة رجال عدول على الوصف المذكور كالميل في المكحلة كما في الكلاب في غاية الندرة

“Establishment of the proof of adultery in legal proceedings based on witnesses is not reported from the predecessors (salaf), because it is extremely rare for four trustworthy men to witness it in the required way of seeing it like collyrium stick in its case as it happens among dogs .”[1]

3) Islam by the virtue of its very nature of being a religion promising salvation in the Hereafter inspires people to confess the offenses committed so that they may be free of blame in the next world. This ensures some practical examples of the execution of the prescribed punishments (hudood) that duly serve the purpose of deterrence against crimes. The cases of Ghamidia and Ma’iz al-Aslami who were stoned to death by the Prophet ﷺ are perfect examples.[2]

4) In any case 2) does not entail an offender can go unpunished in the absence of 4 witnesses because the whole scheme of ta’zirat (discretionary punishments) is there. Such punishments can be given for any other evidence including lesser number of witnesses, DNA or any other circumstantial evidence that convinces a judge of the accused being a culprit.

If, for example, a person is accused of rape repeatedly and every time crime is proven through DNA and similar proofs alone, the judge -according to what I understand as the strongest opinion[3]– can even give him capital punishment (though it cannot be stoning to death). Or a judge may even go for such strict discretionary punishment as a deterrence when the frequency of the crime gets on the rise.

5) All this collectively make hudood the ultimate defense against social evils. If 2) and 3) are religiously observed no one will be punished unjustly and 4) will have to be invoked only rarely because seeing someone stoned to death or even lashed in public will tame the animal within most people. This is why the Prophet ﷺ said,

إقامة حد من حدود الله، خير من مطر أربعين ليلة في بلاد الله عز وجل

“Carrying out one of  the  legal  punishments prescribed by Allah  is better than forty nights of (blissful) rain in the lands of Allah.”[4]

References:

[1] al-Baabarti, Abu ‘Abdullah Akmal ad-Deen, al-‘Inayah Sharh al-Hidayah, (Beirut: Dar al-Fekr, n.d.) vol.5, 278

[2] Muslim bin Hajjaj, as-Sahih, (Riyadh: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, 2007) Hadith 4432 (23-1695)

[3] This is the opinion of the jurists of the Hanafi school (at least).

[4] Ibn Majah, as-Sunan, (Beirut: Dar al-Jeel, 1418 AH) Hadith 2537. Classified as Hasan by al-Albani.

Companions are Stars

It is often related that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said;

أصحابي كالنجوم، بأيهم اقتديتم اهتديتم

“My Companions are like the stars; whoever among them you follow, you will be guided.”

It is well know that all the various chains of narration for this hadith are weak. Shaykh al-Albani commented on these chains in Silsala al-Ahadith ad-Da’ifa, No.58-61

He went as far as grading the report as “Mawdu” (fabricated) though some scholars have opined that considering the multiple chains the hadith may be accepted as reliable. (For details, see Shaykh Abdul Hayy al-Lakunawi’s book “Iqamah al-Hujjah ‘ala anna a-Iksar fi  at-Ta’abbud Laisa bi Bid’ah” with annotations of Sh. Abdul Fattah Abu Ghoddah pp.48-52)

I am definitely not able to get into the details of this discussion however there is another hadith which suggests something similar to it.

In Sahih Muslim it is stated that Abu Musa al-‘Ashari related, Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

النجوم أمنة للسماء، فإذا ذهبت النجوم أتى السماء ما توعد، وأنا أمنة لأصحابي، فإذا ذهبت أتى أصحابي ما يوعدون، وأصحابي أمنة لأمتي، فإذا ذهب أصحابي أتى أمتي ما يوعدون

The stars are a source of security for the sky, and when the stars disappear, there will come to the sky what is promised. I am a source of security for my Companions, and when I am gone there will come to my Companions what they are promised. And my Companions are a source of security for my Ummah, and when my Companions are gone, there will come to my Ummah that they are promised.”
(Sahih Muslim, Hadith [6466]  207-(2531), Darussalam ed.)

Imam al-Bayhaqi (d. 458 AH) also narrated this hadith in al-‘Itiqad (1/318). Thereafter he referred to the the same famous ‘dubious’ report and then said:

والذي رويناه هاهنا من الحديث الصحيح يؤدي بعض معناه

“And the Sahih Hadith we narrated here supports some of its meanings.” (al-‘Itiqad, 1/318)

Ibn Amir Haj (d. 879 AH) in at-Taqrir wal Tahbir (3/99) and Mulla Ali al-Qari (d. 1014 AH) in his Mirqat al-Mafatih (9/3876, 3882) also mentioned this proximity of meanings.

Hafiz Ibn Hajr (d. 853 AH) commenting on al-Bayhaqi’s words said:

صدق البيهقي، هو يؤدي صحة التشبيه للصحابة بالنجوم خاصة، أما في الاقتداء فلا يظهر في حديث أبي موسى، نعم يمكن أن يتلمح ذلك من معنى الاهتداء بالنجوم

“al-Bayhaqi said the truth. It shows the reliability of the particular likeness of the companions with the stars. As to (proof of their) following it is not evident in the hadith of Abu Musa. But yes, it is possible that he found a hint for that in guidance with the stars (i.e. in the purpose the stars serve at night)”
(Talkhis al-Habir, 4/464)

Indeed, the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ are like the (guiding) Stars!

And Allah knows the best!

Ghamidi in Meezan - Zara Sochiye

1. Introduction

This is second part of the series. You may like to read the first part;

Putting Ghamidi in Meezan -1 (What is Deen?)

As promised in this post I will present a critique of his analysis of hadith reports on beard.

Even though beard is a juristic issue and has its place and importance but normally I do not like to get into a detailed discussion on this because the liberals and the secular in our society are quite allergic to it and lose all sense of objectivity on things like this. Today I have to dwell on it because in the first part of my critique on Mr. Ghamidi’s opinions I used the example of beard and to clarify my opinion further there is a need to address it. Also this tells a lot about Ghamidi’s intellectual honesty and attitude towards hadith. So again I pick on this beard issue to analyze his overall attitude towards hadith.

In this episode my critique will be focused on an audio clip (Titled: Dardhi ki Shari Hasiyat aur Ahadees Mubarka) of Mr. Javed Ahmed Ghamidi uploaded to YouTube.com HERE.[1]

2. Is Hadith not a primary and independent source of Law?

In the audio clip he says:

اصولی طور پر یہ بات جان لیجئے کہ جتنی بھی حلتیں اور حرمتیں ہیں ان کی شرح و وضاحت تو پیغمبر فرماتے ہیں لیکن ان کی بنیاد  اور اساس لازم ہے کہ قران مجید کے اندر موجود ہو . یہ چیز قطعی ہے اس کی وجہ یہ ہے کہ رسالت مآب نے جو کچھ  بھی دین بیان فرمایا ہے وہ اسی کتاب کی بنیاد پر  بیان فرمایا ہے. اس سے ہٹ کر وہ دین ہے کہ جو پہلے سے انبیا علیھم السلام کی سنت کے طور پر چلا آ رہا تھا اس کی آپ نے تجدید فرمائی اور اصلاح فرمائی اور بہت سے چیزیں پہلے سے دین کی حیثیت سے جاری تھیں آپ نے بھی ان کو جاری فرما دیا

In principle know that whatever are the permissions and prohibitions, while the Prophet explains and elucidates upon them it is a must that their basis in found in the Qur’an. This is an absolute must because whatever has the Prophet expounded on religion is based on this very book. Other than it, religion (deen) is what has been under practice as the way (sunnah) of the Prophets. The Holy Prophet revived the same, reformed it and he made current a lot of things already in vogue as such.
(Ghamidi, Dardhi ki Shari Hasiyat aur Ahadees Mubarka, Time Slice: 7:17 onwards)

Here is clearly saying that Hadith for itself is not a source of law. It is just an exponent of Qur’an and that if Hadith has some “dos and donts” on subjects about which Qur’an is silent then it is not a proof. This claim itself contradicts Qur’an’s plain rulings on the subject. Qur’an is very clear that the Blessed Prophet ﷺ has the dual role of

  1. the exponent of Qur’an, and also
  2. an authority of Law,

A simple and great evidence for this dual rule of the Prophet ﷺ is in the fact that there is not a single verse in the entire Holy Qur’an wherein ‘Obedience to Allah’ is mentioned without that of the Messenger ﷺ. On the other hand there are certain verses in which only ‘Obedience to the Messenger’ has been mentioned. Same is the case with the verses warning about disobedience.

To reiterate, this proves Qur’an cannot be understood without Hadith and Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ and that his Hadith and Sunnah is an independent authority for the purpose of legislation in cases when Qur’an is silent.

Consider the following verses;

الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الرَّسُولَ النَّبِيَّ الْأُمِّيَّ الَّذِي يَجِدُونَهُ مَكْتُوبًا عِنْدَهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالْإِنْجِيلِ يَأْمُرُهُمْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَاهُمْ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَالْأَغْلَالَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ فَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِهِ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَاتَّبَعُوا النُّورَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ مَعَهُ أُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُون

Those who follow the Messenger, the Ummiyy (unlettered) prophet whom they find written with them in the Torah and the Injil , and who bids them what is fair and forbids what is unfair, and makes lawful for them good things, and makes unlawful for them impure things, and relieves them of their burden, and of the shackles that were upon them. So, those who believe in him and support him, and help him and follow the light sent down with him, – those are the ones who are successful.
(Qur’an 7:157)

Here making lawful and declaring the unlawful is termed as an act of the Prophet ﷺ which proves independent authority of Hadith along with that of the Qur’an. It is important to note here that before the mention of declaring the lawful and the unlawful commanding and forbidding what is already so determined is mentioned separately. It is therefore clear beyond doubt that this verse proves Prophetic sayings are an independent authority of law.

Needless to say the Prophetic sayings are also based on revelation just like the Qur’an. For the Qur’anic proof for revelation to the Prophet ﷺ other than the Qur’an see the article, “Authority of Hadith in the Light of the Qur’an.”

Another verse reads:

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ تَعَالَوْاْ إِلَى مَا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ وَإِلَى الرَّسُولِ رَأَيْتَ الْمُنَافِقِينَ يَصُدُّونَ عَنكَ صُدُودًا

When it is said to them, Come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger,. you will see the hypocrites turning away from you in aversion.
(Qur’an 4:61)

Here “what Allah has revealed” definitely refers to Qur’an and we see the Messenger is mentioned separately. This is yet another proof that Messenger’s ﷺ sayings and deeds are an another primary authority of law along with what is there in the Qur’an.

In yet another verse Qur’an tells us:

وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you from, abstain (from it). And fear Allah. Indeed Allah is severe in punishment.
(Qur’an 59:7)

This verse is very plain and leaves nothing ambiguous. About the Prophetic authority proven from this verse is a very interesting and eye-opening incident of Prophet’s beloved companion ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud. Read HERE.

For more detailed arguments for the authority of hadith and repulsion of attacks of the enemies of sunnah, see

3. First Hadith about Beard

3.1 The narration

Ghamidi sb. says there are in essence three ahadith about beard even narrated by multiple people. Giving the first hadith he says:

ایک روایت وہ ہے جس میں  کسری کے سفراء رسالت مآب ﷺ سے ملنے  کے لئے اے تو انہوں نے کچھ اس طرح کی وضع بنا رکھی تھی کہ بڑی بڑی مونچھیں جس طرح  آپ نے دیکھا ہو گا ہمارے ہاں بھی بعض لوگ رکھتے ہیں . رکھ کے داڑھیاں منڈوائی ہوئیں گویا  گھٹی ہوئی داڑھیوں کے ساتھ چڑھی ہوئی مونچھیں  یہ ان کی وضع تھی . رسول الله  ﷺ نے اسے نآ  پسند فرمایا اور کہا یہ تم نے کیا اپنی  صورتیں بنا رکھی ہیں تو انہوں نے کہا ہمارے جو آقا ہیں انہوں یہ یہی صورت ہمارے لئے مقرر کی ہے  … حضور نے اس کو  نا پسند فرمایا اور کہا میرے الله نے جو میری فطرت بنائی ہے اور اس میں جو احکام رکھے ہیں اس میں تو یہ صورت کوئی پسندیدہ صورت نہیں

One narration is the one that mentions the emissaries of the Kasra [sic] (i.e. Emperor of Persia) coming to meet th Holy Prophet ﷺ and they had very long (and heavy) mustaches … they had trimmed beards and huge mustaches. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ disliked it and asked them as to what have they done to their facial appearance. They said their lord (i.e. the king) has specified such an appearance for them. The Prophet disliked it and said ‘In the nature (firah) that my Allah has made for me and in the instructions he has given me about it, this is not really a liked appearance.
(Ghamidi, Dardhi ki Shari Hasiyat aur Ahadees Mubarka, Time Slice: 12:08 — 12:57)

Firstly, let’s compare it with the actual wording of the report. .

Here is the wording from Tabqat al Kubra of Ibn Sa’d (d. 230 AH):

جاء مجوسي إلى رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – قد أعفى شاربه وأحفى لحيته فقال: من أمرك بهذا؟ قال: ربي. قال: لكن ربي أمرني أن أحفي شاربي وأعفي لحيتي

A Magian (majoosi) came to the Messenger of Allah  ﷺ. He had grown his whiskers and trimmed his beard. The Prophet asked him: “Who asked you to do this?” He replied, “My Lord.” The Prophet replied: “But my Lord ordered me to clip my mustaches and to grow my beard.”
(Muhammad bin Sa’d, Tabaqat al-Kubra, Dar al-Kotob al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, 1990 vol.1 p.347)

Same report is also given by at-Tabari (d. 310 AH) and it also clarifies to what extent they had trimmed their beards. His narration says that two Persians came to the Prophet ﷺ.

ودخلا على رسول الله ص وقد حلقا لحاهما، وأعفيا شواربهما، فكره النظر إليهما، ثم أقبل عليهما فقال: ويلكما! من أمركما بهذا؟ قالا: أمرنا بهذا ربنا- يعنيان كسرى- فقال رسول الله: لكن ربي قد أمرني بإعفاء لحيتي وقص شاربي

They both entered upon the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and they had shaved off their beards and grown whiskers. He (the Prophet) [at first] disliked looking at the two of them, then turned towards them and said: Woe unto you two! Who has ordered you to do this (shaving off of beard). They said, ‘Our lord i.e. Kisra (the Persian Emperor) ordered us to do this. The Messenger of Allah said: “But my Lord has ordered me to grow my beard and clip my mustaches.”
(at-Tabari, Tarikh al-Rusul wal Mulook,
Dar al-Tourath, Beirut, 1387 AH, vol.2 pp.655-656)

Firstly, there is no mention of fitrah here. Apparently he brings that in to confuse the report with his brainchild ideas on fitrah with relation to beard and things of the kind.

Now had Ghamidi sahib said this in response to a question after any general sitting and presented the hadith like this, one could still understand that it is not always possible to remember the exact wording but here Mr. Ghamidi was specifically commenting about the hadith reports on beard. In this case one expects verbatim and unadulterated narration but unfortunately it did not happen.

Perhaps this is what explains why he chose not to read the original text of this report as he did for others.

3.2 Authenticity of the report

یہ روایت تاریخی روایت ہے. محدثین نے اس روایت کو  سرے سے قبول ہی نہیں کیا. اور جو بات اس میں بیان ہوئی ہے وہ اتنی ہے جتنی میں کہتا ہوں یعنی یہ ایک پسندیدہ بات اور اللہ کے پیغمبر نے بھی  اس کو  نا پسند ہی فرمایا ہے کہ آدمی اس طرح کی وضع قطع بناۓ

This is a historical report. Scholars of hadith have not accepted this report at all. And what is mentioned in it is only what I say that growing beard is a good thing and the Prophet of Allah has also disliked that a person makes such  (i.e. beardless) appearance.
(Ghamidi, Dardhi ki Shari Hasiyat aur Ahadees Mubarka, Time Slice: 12:57 — 13:15)    

Now there are four things to consider here;

a) It is a historical report: Mr. Ghamidi perhaps means it  comes from the works that are primarily known for their historical nature. While this is true another fact is both Ibn Sa’d and at-Tabari has used the methodology of muhaddithin (scholars of hadith) and have given chains of narrators for whatever they report. And while a lot of their narrations are dubious there are many that are authentic as well.

b) Scholars of hadith have not accepted this report at all: This itself suggests two important things.

i) that Mr. Ghamidi is aware of some criticism on the report by some scholars of hadith . I wonder who those scholars are and in what works we can find that criticism. May be some reader, especially someone uneasy with idea of criticism on Mr. Ghamidi can help me on this.

ii) That there is severe criticism on the report, because Ghamidi sb says (سرے سے قبول ہی نہیں کیا ). I would love to know what is the problem with the report that makes it so weak that hadith scholars have altogether refused to accept it.

c) What scholars have actually said about it? Contrary to Mr. Ghamidi’s claim hadith scholars have actually accepted this report.

Shaykh Nasir ad-Deen al-Albani has categorically mentioned that the report is Hasan.

See, al-Albani, (Tahqiq) Fiqh as-Seerah li-Muhammad al-Ghazali, Dar al-Hadithiya, 1965 p.389

And likewise Shaykh Muhammad Tahir al-Barzinji and Shaykh Muhammad Subihi Hasan Hallaq who have categorized the reports of Tarikh at-Tabari as reliable or otherwise have also counted it as authentic.

See, al-Barzinji & Hallaq, Sahih Tarikh at-Tabari, Dar Ibn Kathir, Beirut, 2007 vol.2 pp.235-237

And before them Ibn al-Jawzi (in al-Muntazim fil Tarikh), Ibn Taymiyya (in al-Jawab as-Sahih), Ibn Kathir (in Sirat an-Nabawiyya) and Ibn Khaldun (in al-Tarikh) quoted it without any criticism.

d) What does this report imply? Ghamidi sahib says the report simply implies keeping bearding is a good thing and that shaving it off is disliked. He holds his ground that growing beard is not sunnah even after knowing this report. What is important to see is that Messenger of Allah ﷺ is saying “My Lord (i.e. Allah) has ordered me to grow beard and trim mustaches.” This is categorical instruction without any qualification whatsoever! And we know from other Hadith reports that the Prophet gave the same instruction to the ummah. (hadith 3 below)

As to the report saying only what Ghamidi sahib says, this may be the case when one reads it in the adulterated form he presents, otherwise the report as given in the original sources is an evidence against him and his ilk.

4. Second Hadith about Beard

Second hadith he mentions is the report of Sayyidah Aisha that I gave in first article of the series.

‘A’isha reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ  said: Ten are the acts according to fitrah: 1) clipping the mustaches, 2) letting the beard grow, 3) using the tooth-stick, 4) snuffing water in the nose, 5) cutting the nails, 6) washing the finger joints, 7) plucking the hair under the armpits, 8) shaving the pubes and 9) cleaning one’s private parts with water. The narrator said: I have forgotten the tenth, but it may have been 10) rinsing the mouth.
(Sahih Muslim, Hadith 502)

He brings up some issues with it.

1- That narrator forgot the tenth thing and this shows weakness of his report: This is a hallow criticism. While it is clear that narrator did forget the tenth thing we see his doubt was not about what is the subject of discussion here. And simply a doubt on the part of the narrator is no reason to make the whole report dubious. We know there are many reports in which much more praised and reliable narrators had some doubt on a certain point of the narration. In fact this shows what else is in the narration is free from any such doubt on the part of the narrator.  For more on this particular report see Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani’s Fath al-Bari (vol.10 p.337)

2- Another hadith enumerates the things from fitrah and counts circumcision instead of growing beard: While this is true but it cannot be used to question the hadith for a number of reasons;

a) It is another report and has nothing to do with the report of Sayyidah Aisha. What the compiler of Mishkat has mentioned is only by the way of describing a fact, he does not suggest a problem with report of Sayyidah Aisha for this reason. (See, point b. below)

b) Neither of the reports suggests it has the exclusive list of what all constitutes fitrah. Imam an-Nawawi points that the fact that fitrah is not limited to the ten given in the report of Aisha is proven from the fact that it says من الفطرة i.e. “from fitrah which implies fitrah is broader and things in it are greater in number and only ten of it have been mentioned in the particular report. All narrations are valid in their in own right as long as they do not say something is NOT from fitrah when is mentioned in other reports. One report not mentioning something is no issue at all no matter how important that thing may be.

So the implication is whatever different things are mentioned in various reports should all be counted and master list may be made considering various report. This is the way how muhaddithin have really dealt with this hadith e.g. at-Tahawi in his Mushkil al-Athar (vol.2 pp.165-168)

3. Moreover, this is not the only hadith on the subject. Another hadith mentions the same fact.

عن أبي هريرة، أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، قال: «إن فطرة الإسلام الغسل يوم الجمعة، والاستنان، وأخذ الشارب، وإعفاء اللحى

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “From the fitrah of Islam are taking bath on Friday, cleaning teeth (with tooth-stick), shortening the mustaches and growing beard.
(Sahih Ibn Hibban, Hadith 1219. Dar  Ba Wazir ed. Classified as Hasan by Albani)

3. Third Hadith on Beard

       یہ سیدنا عبد اللہ بن عمر کی روایت ہے. کم و بیش انہی الفاظ سے یہ روایت حضرت ابو ھریرہ سے بھی بیان ہوئی ہے اور انہی الفاظ میں یہ روایت حضرت ابو امامہ الباہلی سے بھی بیان ہوئی ہے. حضرت ابو ھریرہ  اور عبد اللہ بن عمر کی روایت سند کے اعتبار سے متفق علیہ روایت ہے اور حضرت ابو امامہ کی روایت صرف مسند احمد میں ہے اور اس  کی سند میں بھی کچھ کلام ہے

This is a report from Abdullah bin ‘Umar and with almost same wording it is also narrated from Abu Huraira and with the same wording it is narrated from Abu Umamah al-Bahili as well. The narration of Abdullah bin ‘Umar and Abu Huraira is Agreed Upon whereas the report of Abu Umamah is only in Musnad Ahmad and there is some criticism on its chain as well.
(Ghamidi, Dardhi ki Shari Hasiyat aur Ahadees Mubarka, Time Slice 17:54 — 18:20)

Here are the three narrations:

عن ابن عمر، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال:  خالفوا المشركين: وفروا اللحى، وأحفوا الشوارب

Ibn ‘Umar said, The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, Do the opposite of what the pagans (mushrikin) do. Keep the beards (lihya) and cut the mustaches short.’
(Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

 عن أبي هريرة، قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: «جزوا الشوارب، وأرخوا اللحى خالفوا المجوس

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Trim closely the mustaches, and grow beard (lihya), and thus act against the fire-worshipers.
(Sahih Muslim)

Unlike what Ghamidi says this report is not “Agreed Upon” (متفق علیہ ). It is found in Sahih Muslim and other hadith work but not in Sahih Bukhari.

 عن أبا أمامة يقول: خرج رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم على مشيخة من الأنصار بيض لحاهم فقال: ” يا معشر الأنصار حمروا وصفروا، وخالفوا أهل الكتاب “. قال: فقلنا: يا رسول الله، إن أهل الكتاب يتسرولون ولا يأتزرون فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: ” تسرولوا وائتزروا وخالفوا أهل الكتاب “. قال: فقلنا: يا رسول الله، إن أهل الكتاب يتخففون ولا ينتعلون. قال: فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: ” فتخففوا وانتعلوا وخالفوا أهل الكتاب “. قال: فقلنا: يا رسول الله إن أهل الكتاب يقصون عثانينهم ويوفرون سبالهم. قال: فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: ” قصوا سبالكم ووفروا عثانينكم وخالفوا أهل الكتاب

Abu Umamah said: The Prophet ﷺ (once) came to some old men from the  Ansar who had white beards. The Prophet said to them: ‘O People of Ansar dye your beards in red or golden colors and do opposite of the People of Book’. We said: ‘O Messenger of Allah these People of the Book do wear trousers and not loin cloths’. At this, the Prophet said: ‘Wear both trousers and loin cloths and do opposite of the People of Book’. We said: ‘O Messenger of Allah the People of the Book neither wear shoes nor socks (in prayers). The Prophet said: ‘Wear shoes and socks and do opposite of the People of Book’. We said: ‘O Messenger of Allah these People of the Book lengthen their mustaches and shorten their beards’.  The Prophet said: Shorten your mustaches (sibaaklukum) and lengthen your beards (athaninakum) and do opposite of the People of Book.’

3.1 Is there any difference between the reports of Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Huraira?

Thereafter Ghamidi suggests there is some difference the three ahadith. He says;

تینوں روایتوں میں صرف ایک چیز ہے جس میں فرق ہے وہ میں بیان کر دوں گا … باقی روایت وہی ہے البتہ تینوں راویوں نے. ایک  مشرکین ایک نے مجوس اور ایک نے اھل کتاب یہ بیان کیا ہے

There is just one difference between the three reports … [giving the reports] … rest of the report is same except that one narrator mentioned “mushrikin”, another mentioned “majoos” (fire-worshipers) and the third one mentioned “People of the Book.”
(Ghamidi, Dardhi ki Shari Hasiyat aur Ahadees Mubarka,Time Slice 18:21 — 19:06)

While it is true that there is difference between the report of Abu Umamah and other two Companions, it is wrong to suggest variance between the reports of Ibn Umar and Abu Huraira.

Actually by suggesting variance between the reports of Ibn Umar and Abu Huraira as well, he is implying that “mushrikin” in Ibn ‘Umar’s report refers to pagans/idolaters of Arabia. This is actually wrong for “mushrikin” in the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar refers to “majoos” and not the pagans/idolaters of Arabia. Here is the simple plain case for this;

1) “Majoos” (fire-worshipers) were also “mushrikin”

2) In Mustakhraj Abu ‘Awana and Sahih Ibn Hibban the report of Ibn ‘Umar itself uses the words “majoos” instead of “mushrikin”

Wording with Abu A’wana is:

عن ابن عمر قال: قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: خالفوا المجوس، أحفوا الشوارب وأعفوا اللحى

Ibn ‘Umar narrated: The Prophet ﷺ said: “Oppose the “majoos” (fire-worshipers), shorten the mustaches and let the beards grow.”
(Mustarkhraj Abu ‘Awana, Hadith 468)

Also see Sahih Ibn Hibban, Hadith 5476

Hadith scholars like Ibn Hajr and al-‘Ayni have thus explained the report of Ibn ‘Umar likewise.

3) Hadith says “Shorten the mustaches and grow the beard and thus oppose mushrikin.” Ghamidi himself says that shortening mustaches was practiced by Arabs and in the very same work he refers for mustaches thing  it is stated that they used to grow beards as well. With this known it makes absolutely no sense to say that “mushrikin” here refers to pagans of Arabia.

I see it as a dirty attempt to win brownie points over hadith by showing some supposed variance in the hadith.

4. Is the instruction no more valid?

Ghamidi says since the instruction was basically about opposing those disbelievers who removed their beards therefore it was only for a time being and is no more valid.

This is false for a number of reasons;

1) The companions who reported it from the Messenger ﷺ understood it as a general unqualified order and not a time bound instruction.

عن ابن عمر، أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أمرنا بإحفاء الشوارب وإعفاء اللحى

Ibn Umar said that Messenger of Allah ﷺ ordered us to shorten the mustaches and grow the beard.
(Jami’ at-Tirmidhi, Hadith 2764. Classified as Sahih by al-Albani)

2) This is why many times they reported the hadith without any mention of opposition of some disbelievers. This shows the narrators from the amongst the companions and later generations did not understand the instruction to mean ONLY to oppose certain people.

3) Moreover, question is have the disbelievers now started growing beards that there is no need to oppose them? While they still shave off their beards and go against what is commanded by Allah though His Messenger ﷺ, then there is no basis to restrict it a specific time. One thing that Ghamidi injects into the hadith is that it was only for that time. There is no basis for that.

Point to note here is that it was not a specific people that the Prophet asked to oppose. He asked to oppose whatever people he had known to shave/cut their beards.

4) Moreover, this is not the only reason for which shaving beard was forbidden. Here is another hadith.

عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما قال: لعن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم المتشبهين من الرجال بالنساء، والمتشبهات من النساء بالرجال

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: Allah’s Messenger ﷺ cursed those men who adopt similitude with women and those women who adopt similitude with men.
(Sahih Bukhari)

This hadith is very general and there is no way to exclude those who shave off their beards. Ibn Battal (d. 449 AH) quotes from at-Tabari (d. 310 AH) in commentary to this hadith:

أنه لا يجوز للرجال التشبه بالنساء فى اللباس والزينة التى هى للنساء خاصة، ولا يجوز للنساء التشبه بالرجال فيما كان ذلك للرجال خاصة

It is not permissible for men to adopt similitude of women in dressing and adornment and whatever is particular to women, and it is not permissible for women to adopt similitude with men in what is particular to them (in dressing and adornment).
(Ibn Battal, Sharh Sahih Bukhari, Maktaba ar-Rush, Riyadh, 2003, vol.9 p.140)

In another hadith reported by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin al-‘Aas, the wording is:

ليس منا من تشبه بالرجال من النساء، ولا من تشبه بالنساء من الرجال

A woman who adopts similitude of men and a man who adopts similitude of women is not from amongst us.
(Musnad Ahmad, Hadith 6875)

Commenting on the hadith …

نهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أن تحلق المرأة رأسها

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ forbade women to shave their heads.
(at-Tirmidhi and an-Nasai)

… Mullah Ali al-Qari (d. 1014 AH) writes:

فإن حلقها مثله كحلق اللحية للرجل

Her shaving of head is like a shaving of beard for a man.
(Ali al-Qari, al-Mirqat Sharh al-Mishkat, Dar al-Fekr, Beirut, 2002 Vol.5, 1832)

This shows how scholars of the ummah viewed beard.

5) All of Ghamidi’s arguments, if accepted, work for shortening mustaches as well. But then he counts shortening mustaches in his list of “sunnahs” but not beard? Why? If he says he does that for other reports about mustaches then how about the above quoted reports that do include adopting similitude of women by removing the beards?

Actually this inconsistency in dealing with with shortening the mustaches and growing beards is what is the real point.

5. Opinions of Early Scholars on Beard

Ghamidi then plays another gimmick by giving opinion of one scholar i.e. Qadi ‘Iyad (d. 544 AH) and says no one even before thought of it a big issue.

Let’s see what is the actual position.

Ibn Hazm (d. 456 AH) in his book about issues on which there is ijma (scholarly consensus) states:

واتفقوا أن حلق جميع اللحية مثلة لا تجوز

Scholars have agreed that removing the entire beard is mutilation, and it is not permissible.
(Ibn Hazm, Maratib al-Ijma, Dar al-Kotob al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, n.d. p.157)

In fact with the earliest of the scholars shaving the whole beard was never even a topic of discussion because its impressibility was established without any difference of opinion. The most they discussed was taking some part of the beard especially what exceeded length of a fist. This is clear from chapter headings in al-Musannaf of Ibn Abu Shaybah (d. 235 AH).

For this reason, Ibn ‘Abidin al-Shami (d. 1252 AH) states:

وأما الأخذ منها وهي دون ذلك كما يفعله بعض المغاربة، ومخنثة الرجال فلم يبحه أحد

As for cutting it shorter than that (i.e. a fist-length) – as is done by some people from the west and by the effeminate men- no one permits this.
(Ibn ‘Abidin al-Shami, ar-Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Drr al-Mukhtar, Dar al-Fekr, Beirut, 1992 vol.2 p.418)
By the way, the great Hanafi jurist Abu Bakr al-Kasani (d. 587 AH) also said:

أن حلق اللحية من باب المثلة؛

Shaving of beard is from the category of mutilation.
(al-Kasani, al-Badai’ wa as-Sanai’, Dar al-Kotob al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, 1986 vol.2 p.141)

6. Summary and Conclusion

.
1. Ghamidi does not believe in the authority of Hadith on issues where Qur’an is silent. This is in direct clash with the clear Qur’anic verses.
.
2- Ghamidi does not mind playing with the statements of the Prophet to make his point. That’s what he did with the “First hadith” by interpolating words to make the hadith fit with his theory on  fitrah vis-a-vis hadith and sunnah.
.
3- His criticism on Hadith of Sayyidah Aisha counting growing of beard as part of  fitrah is just a failed attempt to raise doubts about an authentic hadith. In fact what is stated therein is also proven from another narration.
.
4- All his fancy ideas about the “third hadith” equally effect the instruction of shortening the mustaches but he for not sensible reason maintains the difference between shortening mustaches and growing beard. If he is to say that there are hadith reports about mustaches without mention of opposing any party of disbeliever then surely reports about beard are also reported like that. In fact there are more reports that plainly imply removing beard is severely wrong.
.
Personally, I think Mr. Ghamidi should be happy that majority of his audience neither has an access to Arabic works nor any understanding of the language.
.
Indeed Allah knows the best!
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[1] If the links breaks up or video is removed, please intimate me through a comment and I will, in-sha’Allah, reproduce it online for record.
——————–

To those from Ghamidi’s fan club who would like to comment:

.
If you are uneasy for this criticism, and I know you are, then please find me answers to just two questions that are more about intellectual honesty and consistency than anything else.
.
1- Why did Ghamidi play with the wording of “First hadith”? From where did the fitrah thing come into it?
And remember this time he came prepared to address the issue so you cannot say he was just reading from memory or did not have exact wording with him. Perhaps you would like to reflect on the fact that it was the only hadith for which he did not read the actual text.
.
2- What is the basis for maintaining the difference between the nature of two instructions usually mentioned together; 1) shortening the mustaches, 2) growing beard?
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Please provide answers to either or both of these questions if you want to have your comments published.

Ghamidi in Meezan - Zara Sochiye

If you think I am going to capture Mr. Muhammad Shafique Kakkezai a.k.a. Javed Ahmed Ghamidi within the two bindings of his book titled Meezan like the genie of Aladdin’s lamp then sorry, I am going to disappoint you.

By ‘Meezan’ here I mean a balance i.e. tarazoo (Yes the very electoral symbol of Jamat e Islami of which Mr. Ghamidi was once a part but then … anyways!). I mean to present a critique of some of his ideas and weigh his arguments. This is episode no.1

Not long ago I decided to read Ghamidi’s book “Meezan.” You can download the latest version HERE. (Some day I shall share with the readers an account of some interesting developments over the various versions, in-sha’Allah)

In the very beginning of his book (p.13) he says that “deen” has reached us through two ways;

  1. Qur’an
  2. Sunnah

Thereafter he defines Qur’an and Sunnah. About Sunnah he says it is the reformed and organized form of the Abrahamic tradition handed down to us by the Holy Prophet ﷺ. At this point he undertakes a truly revolutionary task of tabulating the sunnah. (p.14) Lo and behold! Glad tidings! What you must have known till this day as total and ultimate guidance for every issue of human interest is now tabulated and can be counted on finger tips.

Five acts of worship, stipulations on two aspects of social conduct, a couple of rulings on diet, and seventeen ‘rituals and manners’. That’s it! (5+2+2+17 = 26) I am relieved! And you?

On p.15 he comments about hadith and draws some limits for hadith i.e. hadith’s scope is only about crystallizing the understanding of the Qur’an and  “sunnah” (already defined and tabulated by him).

Now what is interesting is that he is not saying a Hadith is not to be accepted on face value or even not to be accepted at all if it goes against one of the “sunnahs” or Qur’an, he is practically setting up a general limit for hadith for another reason which is nothing but his own brainchild.

The trouble with this idea is on multiple levels. We see this with an example from ‘rituals and manners’ category.

From p.639 onwards he gives the details of “rituals and manners” (rusoom o ‘ibadaat). He says most of them are from the Abrahamic tradition. Then he gives them no. wise and explains each in some detail. In this category he puts things like;

  1. Shortening of the mustaches
  2. Removing of the pubic hair
  3. Removing the hair in the armpits
  4. Trimming the nails
  5. Circumcision
  6. Cleaning the mouth, nose and teeth

Question is where did he get this from? There are only two possibilities I can think of seeing his citations or perhaps he got it from both.

  1. Hadith reports about what constitutes fitrah (pure human disposition)
  2. Knowledge of the Arabic customs possibly traceable back to Prophet Ibrahim.

In my study of this section I was amazed that he did not include beard for hadith reports about what all is from fitrah (pure human disposition) do mention beard along with the other things that Ghamidi does consider.

‘A’isha reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Ten are the acts according to fitrah: 1) clipping the mustaches, 2) letting the beard grow, 3) using the tooth-stick, 4) snuffing water in the nose, 5) cutting the nails, 6) washing the finger joints, 7) plucking the hair under the armpits, 8) shaving the pubes and 9) cleaning one’s private parts with water. The narrator said: I have forgotten the tenth, but it may have been 10) rinsing the mouth.[1]
(Sahih Muslim, Hadith 502)

As for the proofs from the Arabian culture, Ghamidi relies exclusively on Dr. Jawwad Ali’s book “al-Mufassal fi Tarikh al-‘Arab qabal al-Islam” (Detailed Account of the History of Arabs before Islam). Now in the very same book beard is categorically mentioned as one of the usual practices of the Arabs. In fact Jawwad Ali writes it was one of their important practices and was considered as a sign of respect. He says to the Arabs and even Semites as a whole scorning at the beard was considered one of worst forms of disrespect. This he supports even with reference to Bible (2-Samuel 10:4). Moreover, he plainly states that this respect for beard was understood as one of the “Sunnahs” of Prophet Ibrahim (وتنسب عادة إكرام اللحى إلى سنن إبراهيم).
See, Dr. Jawwad Ali, al-Mufassal fi Tarikh al-‘Arab qabal al-Islam, (Baghdad: Baghdad University, 1993) vol.4 pp.609-610

And we know that in many hadith reports it instructed to grow beard and trim the mustaches.

For instance, Ibn ‘Umar reports;

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “Trim closely the mustaches, and let the beard grow.”[2]
(Bukhari and Muslim)

Now see the contrast.

Both growing the beard and shortening the mustache are mentioned as parts of fitrah (pure human nature), the Prophet ﷺ  explicitly instructed the two, and the same was practiced by the Arabs before Islam and were both related to Prophet Ibrahim.

Ghamidi puts one in his ‘well worked out’ list of sunnahs and not only ommits the other, he even contends it in most unequivocal terms. Listen to the audio discussion about beard uploaded to YouTube HERE.[3]

Now, if you do take a bit of trouble to listen to his words, you will know that he does have an answer to this “alleged” anomaly.

He himself says it relates to what is the essence of his difference with the mainstream scholarship. Listen at time slice 37:40 — 38:40

I say this is the very reason he has divorced with the unanimous opinion of the ummah on the fundamentals. And this is where we get to the crux of the point at hand.

He says “deen” can only be something that serves one of the three purposes and what is from “deen” according to this definition alone can be raised to the level of sunnah by the Holy Prophet ﷺ .

  1. Purification of body
  2. Purification of dietary conduct
  3. Purification of morals and spiritual self

(Other comments by him suggest he believes this is for other than ibadaat – acts of ritual worship)

Now towards the end of the clip he says while trimming the mustache serves one of these purposes, beard does not and one can find no rationale for it. (Time slice 41:21 — 42:21)

While one can easily contend with him by alluding to what some say with reference to recent researches that beard is indeed helpful for facial skin and protects against harmful rays of Sun, or his argument may simply be brushed aside because at best it is an ‘Argument from Ignorance‘, I say why even get into this.

Ghamidi in the same clip (time slice 45:27 — 45:50) says he has based these points on his study of Islam as a whole. And this is the point of real debate. He is suggesting that any Tom, Dick or Harry can enumerate some points based on his subjective understanding and claim of a comprehensive study and use it as a criteria to judge on Prophetic narrations. Isn’t it making one’s self rise above the Prophet in religious authority? This is especially important for the fact that he is not even saying that suggesting a legal grading for growing beard contradicts some other injunctions or anything of that nature. He is just concocting/fabricating some stipulations and using them as a judge (hakam) over hadith.

Reason says if you get to some such ideas and then come across a Prophetic saying that apparently does not go with your good beliefs and understanding then take a deep breath and reconsider your own views instead of making the axe fall on authentic hadith reports.

Mr. Ghamidi should make his intellect submit to wisdom and authority of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ rather than making it a judge over the Prophet’s ﷺ  words.

This is the real point of difference between Ghamidi/Ghamidites and Followers of Sunnah. One raises itself to the position of judging over the Prophetic sayings for his own subjective reasoning having not even a shred of evidence to the contrary while the other group submits itself to commands of Lawgiver ﷺ.

His problem is he makes a cob-web of pointless sophisticated looking ideas. The “deen” is simply what is from Qur’an and the proven as a command and stressed practice of the Prophet . When Allah makes legislation about the what is lawful or otherwise the believer must be concerned primarily about the ruling and not the reasoning for it.  In the beginning of Surah al-Ma’idah Allah says;

يا أيها الذين آمنوا أوفوا بالعقود أحلت لكم بهيمة الأنعام إلا ما يتلى عليكم غير محلي الصيد وأنتم حرم إن الله يحكم ما يريد

O you who believe, fulfill the contracts. The animals from the cattle have been made lawful for you, except that which shall be read over to you, provided that you do not treat hunting as lawful while you are in Ihram. Surely, Allah ordains what He wills.
(Qur’an 5:1)

Point to note here is that Qur’an makes this statement with regards commandments that are not from ritual ibadaat category.

Commenting to it Maulana Mawdudi writes:

“God is the absolute sovereign and has absolute authority to issue whatever command He might will. His creatures do not have the right to complain about any of these orders. Even though wisdom (hikmah) underlies the ordinances of God, a true believer does not obey them because he considers them either appropriate or conducive to his best interests. He obeys them simply because they are the ordinances of his Lord. He holds unlawful all that God has declared unlawful, because God has so decreed it; whatever He has declared lawful is regarded as such for no other reason than that God, the Lord of all, has allowed His servants the use of it. Hence the Qur’an establishes very firmly the principle that nothing except permission from the Lord – or lack of it – is to be taken into consideration in deciding what is lawful and what is not.”

Also see Imam ar-Razi’s commentary to this verse and likewise short Urdu commentary notes by Mufti Taqi Usmani.

And certainly the same applies to the instructions in Hadith as they also rest on the divine authority.

Point is that one may like to look deeper and try to reach out to what are the various benefits of a ruling but while he is unable to grasp it, this is no warrant to defer belief or practice on the commandments.

At another place Qur’an says:

وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُّبِينًا

It is not open for a believing man or a believing woman, once Allah and His messenger have decided a thing, that they should have a choice about their matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His messenger, he indeed gets off the track, falling into an open error.
(Qur’an 33:39)

So, the question is; what is “deen”? Submitting one’s self to whatever has come down to us on the authority of the Prophet ﷺ or becoming a judge over it for whatever subjective nonsense reasons? Let me tell you in later case it may be a good compilation of “cool” and  pseudo-rational ideas but it is not Islam – peacefully submitting to Allah and His Messenger ﷺ .

This is the simple principle of “deen”, what else Ghamidi spills out only reminds me of Iqbal.

ذرا سی بات تھی ، اندیشہ عجم نے اسے
بڑھا دیا ہے فقط زیب داستاں کے لیے

.

Indeed Allah knows the best!

[1], [2]: I am fully aware of Ghamidi’s position on these hadith reports. In the next episode I will present a critique of his analysis of these reports, in-sha’Allah.

[3] If the links breaks up or video is removed, please intimate me through a comment and I will, in-sha’Allah, reproduce it online for record.

There are certain media outlets who have fair number of mental retards among their writing crews.

Saroop Ijaz’s latest attack on reason “War on Reason” is an interesting read. He brings up some examples of unscientific views from the classical scholarship and links it to CII’s latest opinion that DNA is not acceptable as primary evidence in rape cases. I will comment on the DNA as primary evidence issue and its relation to what he mentioned regarding the classical jurists sometimes soon in-sha’Allah. Here I would only like to share an insight into what he mentioned regarding jurists’ opinions on maximum gestation period. He wrote;

… the intention today is to draw attention to something else. Imam Abu Hanifa believed that the maximum period a woman can remain pregnant (gestation period) with a child was two years; Imam Malik, Imam Shaafaee and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal believed it to be four. We now know that to be medically impossible.

Though he himself clarified that, “the scientific facts we hold to be self-evident today were not completely established or, at least, known to them at the time”, the very tone in which he put up the entire thing has a good potential to get the ordinary skeptics excited.

Firstly, it needs to be seen as to what formed the basis of these opinions. The answer simply is that they thought it was actually possible. In fact they based their opinions on what they had learnt as real happenings in/by their time. It’s only that that best possible they could know about this back then was not really true in the light of what is now known to us.

For, some details on the basis of these opinion see, Dr. Abdul Azeez bin Alee Al-Ghaamdee, Minimum and Maximum Periods of Pregnancy between Jurisprudence and Medicine and their Effect on the Inheritance of the Fetus, Quarterly al-Adl, Ministry of Justice, KSA, issue 43, pp.202-203

The paper tells us precisely as to why the classical jurists could not get the thing scientifically correct;

Therefore, physicians term the events of prolonged periods of pregnancy mentioned by jurists, assuming they were true, as false pregnancy (pseudo pregnancy). A woman may remain falsely believing to be pregnant for one year or more because she has the symptoms of pregnancy like the cease of the menstruation, vomiting, pains and big abdomen. She may have a real pregnancy after that and thus she thinks to have pregnancy from the time she falsely believed to be so. In modern times, it is easy to  diagnose such a case by ultrasound which was not available in old days. (p.209)

Next I’ll, in-sha’Allah, write on Saroop’s failure on the account of reason in commenting about something he, it appears from his write up, is “certainly not equipped to” i.e. the issue of acceptability of DNA as primary evidence in rape cases.