NEW! Yasir Qadhi Insults Famous Sunni Scholars of Theology, Including Imam Ghazzali

Yasir Qadhi said:

The greatest figures of kalaam, starting with Ibn Furak, al-Baqillani, Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi, al-Juwani, al-Ghazali, and then ending with the main seal, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi – all of them had very minimal knowledge of hadeeth and the sciences of hadeeth. Al-Ghazali unabashedly admits this in his Ihya, and this is not just a claim shrouded in modesty, but rather the truth, as any student of hadeeth knows. The mere quantity of fabricated and extremely weak (wahi and batil) ahadeeth in this work are enough of an indication to the veracity of his claim. Additionally, he has no works on the sciences of hadeeth or shurooh of the books of hadeeth, yet he wrote numerous works on mysticim, pure philsophy (read his Miskhat al-Anwar – and much can be said about this work, which is perhaps wiser not to say in public!), and kalaam.

It is a amazing that Yasir Qadhi has chosen to slander the greatest scholars Islam has ever produced. It is through them that our Religion was defended from pseudo-Sunni and other heretics, and it is through them that correct knowledge of Islam has reached us.

Shaykh Gabriel Fouad Haddad responds to insults against Hujjat al-Islam, Imam Ghazzali:

Those Who Attack Imam Ghazali
by Sh. G. F. Haddad

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem
was-salaat was-salaam `alaa Rasul-illah wa ‘alaa alihi wa sahbihi wa sallam

Today’s “Salafis” have revived a particularly bad trait of some naysayers of the past, which consists in attacking Imam Ghazali and belittling those who read his works and cite them to illustrate their opinions. This concerns especially his major book Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din, because it is a landmark of tasawwuf whose immense success and readership the enemies of tasawwuf find particularly galling. Some go so far as to claim that Ghazali was mad when he wrote it, others misconstrue Ghazali’s deathbed reading of Imam Bukhari as a renunciation of tasawwuf, others yet bring up the condemnations of the book by a handful of scholars known for their anti-sufi bias. Yet Allah has allowed the book to tower high above the clamor of its few detractors, and its translations keep increasing in number and quality. The following is intended to provide readers with reliable references concerning his life and works so as to protect ourselves, with Allah’s help, against the slurs of ignorance and envy.

Salah al-Din al-Safadi (d. 764), Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi’s student, relates in his great biographical dictionary entitled al-Wafi — which contains over 14,000 biographies:

Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Ahmad, the Proof of Islam, the Ornament of the Faith, Abu Hamid al-Tusi (al-Ghazali), the Shafi`i jurist, was in his later years without rival.

In 488 he gave up the entirety of his worldly estate (and his professorship at the Nizamiyya, where he had taught since 484) and followed the way of renunciation and solitude. He made the Pilgrimage, and, upon his return, directed his steps to Syria, where he abided a while in the city of Damascus, giving instruction in the mosque retreat (zawiyat al-jami`) which now bears his name in the Western quarter. He then voyaged to Jerusalem, exerting himself greatly in worship and in visiting the holy sites and places. Next he travelled to Egypt, remaining for a while at Alexandria…

He returned to his native city of Tus (shortly before 492). Here he compiled a number of valuable books [among them the Ihya’] before returning to Nisabur, where he was obliged to give lessons at the Nizamiyya (499). He subsequently forsook this and made his way back to his home city, where he assumed the directorship of a retreat (khaniqah) for the Sufis and that of a neighboring college for those occupied with learning. He divided his time among good works such as reciting through the Qur’an and holding lessons for the People of Hearts (the Sufis)…

It is among the noblest and greatest of books, to the extent that it was said concerning it: If all books of Islam were lost except the Ihya’, it would suffice for what was lost… They disapproved of him for including in it hadiths which were not established to be authentic, but such inclusion is permitted in works of encouraging good and discouraging evil (al-targhib wa al- tarhib). The book remains extremely valuable. Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi used to say: “It was as if Allah gathered all sciences under a dome, and showed them to al-Ghazali,” or something to this effect. He passed away… in 505 at Tabaran… the citadel of Tus, where he was interred.(1)

The above clearly refutes the fabrication by some that Ghazali disavowed tasawwuf towards the end of his life. Let us turn to the fabrication of those who try to separate between the Ghazali of usul al- fiqh and the Ghazali of tasawwuf. When they are told that Imam Ghazali’s books on the methodology and foundations of Islamic law are considered required reading in the field — such as his Mustasfa and Mankhul and Shifa’ al-ghalil — they say that he wrote them before his period of seclusion during which he adopted tasawwuf. In reality, the greatest and most comprehensive of the four books he wrote on Usul al-fiqh (Principles of law) was composed in the last period of his life as stated by Dr. Taha al-`Alwani in his book Usul al-fiqh al-islami:

Al Imam al-Ghazali’s Encyclopedia of Shari`a Source Methodology, his fourth book on the subject, and his last word, was al- Mustasfa, which has been printed several times in Egypt and elsewhere. Indeed, this is the work he wrote after coming out of his period of meditation and seclusion.(2)

The notice on Ghazali in the Reliance states:

In Damascus he lived in seclusion for some ten years, engaged in spiritual struggle and the remembrance of Allah, at the end of which he emerged to produce his masterpiece Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din [Giving Life to the Religious Sciences], a classic among the books of the Muslims about internalizing godfearingness (taqwa) in one’s dealings with Allah, illuminating the soul through obedience to Him, and the levels of believers’ attainment therein. The work shows how deeply Ghazali personally realized what he wrote about, and his masterly treatment of hundreds of questions dealing with the inner life that no-one had previously discussed or solved is a performance of sustained excellence that shows its author’s well- disciplined intellect and profound appreciation of human psychology. He also wrote nearly two hundred other works, on the theory of government, Sacred Law, refutations of philosophers, tenets of faith, Sufism, Koranic exegesis, scholastic theology, and bases of Islamic jurisprudence.(3)

What about Ghazali’s scholarly critics? The most vocal, Ibn al- Jawzi — a detractor of Sufis — dismisses the Ihya’ in four of his works: I`lam al-ahya’ bi aghlat al-Ihya’ (Informing the living about the mistakes of the Ihya’), Talbis Iblis, Kitab al-qussas,(4)and his history al-Muntazam fi tarikh al-muluk wal-umam.(5)His views influenced Ibn Taymiyya and his student Dhahabi. The basis of their position was Ghazali’s use of weak hadiths, a list of which is provided by Taj al-Din al-Subki in his Tabaqat. Is their criticism justified or an exaggeration? Most likely the latter, in view of the fact that both the hafiz al-`Iraqi (d. 806) and the hafiz al-Zabidi (d. 1205) after him documented every single hadith in the Ihya and never questioned its usefulness as a whole. Rather, they accepted its immense standing among Muslims and contributed to its embellishment and spread as a manual for spiritual progress. As Subki stressed, Ghazali never excelled in the field of hadith.(6)

More importantly, the majority of hadith masters hold it permissible to use weak hadiths in other than the derivation of legal rulings, such as in the encouragement to good and discouragement from evil (al-targhib wa al-tarhib), as countless hadith masters have indicated as well as other scholars, such as al-Safadi himself.(7)It must be understood that Ghazali incorporated all the material which he judged of use to his didactic purposes on the bases of content rather than origin or chain of transmission; that most of the Ihya consists in quotations from Qur’an, hadith, and the sayings of other than Ghazali, his own prose accounting for less than 35% of the work;(8)and that most of the huge number of hadiths cited are authentic in origin.

In conclusion, we say as al-Safadi that the Ihya’ ranks as a work of targhib or ethics, which is the principal business of tasawwuf. Criteria of authenticity for evidence cited in such works are less rigorous than for works of `aqida and fiqh according to the majority of the scholars, as the next section shows. To hold works of tasawwuf to the criteria of the latter works is to blame apples for not being oranges. Consequently, as al-Safadi correctly indicated, the criticism of Ihya’ `ulum al-din by some on the basis of weak hadiths does not stand, nor does similar criticim of like works, for example Dhahabi’s criticism of Abu Talik al-Makki’s Qut al-qulub and others. Those who cling to such criticism while ignoring the massive endorsement of tasawwuf and its books by the Muslim scholars cling to their own prejudice rather than sound knowledge. Our advice to these brethren is: We remind you of al-Dhahabi’s advice in his biographical notice on Ibn all-Farid in Mizan al-i`tidal: “Do not hasten to judge, rather, keep the best opinion of Sufis”;(9)of Imam Ghazali’s advice in al-Munqidh min al-dalal: “Think good thoughts (about Sufis) and do not harbor doubts in your heart”;(10)and of Ibn Hajar al-Haytami’s fatwa concerning critics of those who respect tasawwuf and believe in awliya’: “Bad thoughts about them (Sufis) is the death of the heart.”(11)Take the great good that is in each of the works of the Sufis in the proper manner, respect the masters of tasawwuf, the least among whom towers high above you in knowledge, do not search out the disagreements of scholars, and stick to humbleness and respect before those who speak about Allah from Whom comes all success.

(1) Salah al-Din Khalil ibn Aybak al-Safadi, al-Wafi bi al-wafayat (Wiesbaden, 1962-1984) 1:274-277 (#176).
(2) Taha Jaber al-`Alwani, Usul al-fiqh al-islami: Source Methodology in Islamic Jurisprudence, ed.Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo (Herndon, VA: IIIT, 1411/1990) p. 50
(3) Reliance of the Traveller p. 1048.
(4) Ibn al-Jawzi, Kitab al-qussas wa al-mudhakkirin p. 201.
(5) Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam 9:169.
(6) Taqi al-Din al-Subki, Tabaqat al-shafi`iyya 4:179-182.
(7) See al-Hakim, al-madkhal li `ilm al-hadith” (beginning), al- Bayhaqi Dala’il al-nubuwwa (introduction), Nawawi, al-Tibyan fi `ulum al-qur’an p. 17. The latter says: “The scholars are in agreement on the legitimacy of using weak hadiths in the realm of virtous works.” Al- Sakhawi stated the view of the scholarly consensus on this question in the Epilogue of of his al-Qawl al-badi` fi al-salat `ala al-habib al- shafi` (The admirable doctrine concerning the invocation of blessings upon the beloved intercessor) (Beirut: dar al-kutub al-`ilmiyya, 1407/ 1987) p. 245-246.
(8) T.J. Winter, trans. Ghazali’s “Remembrance of Death” (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1989), Introduction, p. xxix n. 63.
(9) al-Dhahabi, Mizan al-i`tidal 3:214.
(10) al-Ghazali, al-Munqidh min al-dalal (Damascus 1956) p. 40.
(11) Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, Fatawa hadithiyya (Cairo: al-Halabi, 1970) p. 331.

Reproduced with permission from Shaykh M. Hisham Kabbani’s _The Repudiation of “Salafi” Innovations_ (Kazi, 1996) p. 326-330.

Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

GF Haddad ©
[7 Sep 1996]

(Source: http://www.livingislam.org/n/atgz_e.html)

May Allah Protect us from Yasir Qadhi’s bigotry and his efforts to divide the Sunnis. 

NEW! Yasir Qadhi Questions the Creed of the Majority of Muslim Scholars

A question was asked by a student of al-Maghrib Institute to Yasir Qadhi about the creed of the majority of Sunni scholars on if it is true that the majority of Sunni Muslim scholars in the Islamic Community are Ash’aris. 

Islamic tradition has established that Ash’ari, Maturidi, and correct Athari creeds represent Ahl al-Sunna wa’al Jama’ah. This has been noted by distinguished Islamic scholars of every era for the past 1,000+ years. Yet, Yasir Qadhi begs to differ and casts suspicion on Ash’ari creed (and by extension Maturidi creed which is almost the same) which has been followed by the majority of Islam’s scholars. This is a well established fact. It is as if Yasir Qadhi claims he knows better than the scholars of past (who lived closer to the time of the salaf us-salih).

The question and Yasir Qadhi’s response are provided below. May Allah Guide us from heterodoxy and pseudo-Sunni “scholars” like Yasir Qadhi who are leading Muslims away from Sunni orthodoxy.

QUESTION

Is it true that today the majority of Sunni Muslim SCHOLARS in the Ummah are Ash’arite?

Yasir Qadhi’s response:

“It’s difficult to state with certainty. Large generalizations are made, for example, since ‘this particular school’ is Ashari in theology, then all of its hundreds and thousands of graduates must also be so. However, in my personal experience, if you were to interview the vast majority (yes, the VAST majority) of the graduates of these schools, they have only a cursory understanding of theology in the first place. If you know what to ask (for example, are Allah’s actions characterized as being the wisest?), it is very possible to ‘trick’ them into giving response that are pure Sunni, despite the fact that they might verbally claim allegiance to kalaam theology.”

Yasir Qadhi later says:

Hence, it is rather tricky to claim that the majority of scholars are this or that; I would say that the majority are upon the fitrah, even if they might be influenced by kalaam in some specific issues (for example, the issue of istiwaa).

Yasir Qadhi continues:

Now, I do believe there were certain moments and places in history where Asharites were indeed a majority of scholars, such as in middle Mamluk Egypt and Syria (the time and era when Ibn Taymiyyah lived), but how about the rest of the Muslim world at that time? The Muslim empire spanned half of the globe and was not limited to Damascus or Cairo. Has their been any exhausitve research or substantiated proof that the majority of scholars of the entire earth were of this or that theology?

Yasir Qadhi concludes by saying:

So, to conclude this point, although 1) the Nizamiyah College, 2) the Ayyubid Dynasty after it and the University it founded, and, 3) the Muwahidoon, are the three primary factors for the sudden resurgence of kalaam theology in post 5th century hijrah, I am a bit more suspicious of the claims that, even from that time, it represented the majority of the Ummah.

Shaykh Muhammad ‘Alawi Maliki, the late great Sunni giant of Islam and considered to be a renewer (mujaddid) of his century said in his article, “The Ash’aris”:

“Many sons/daughters of Muslims are ignorant of the Ash’ari School, whom it represents, and its positions on the tenets of the Islamic faith (aqidah), and yet some of them are not God-fearing enough to refrain from accusing it of deviance, departure from the religion of Islam, and heresy about the attributes of Allah. The ignorance of the Ash’ari school is a cause of rendering the unity of the Ahl al-Sunnah dispersing its ranks. Some have gone as far as to consider the Ash’aris among the categories of heretical sects, though it is beyond me how believers can be linked with misbelievers, or how Sunni Muslims can be considered equal with the most extreme faction of the Mu’tazilites, the Jahmites.  

“Shall We deal with Muslims as We do criminals? How is it that you judge?” [Qur’an 68:35-36] 

The Ash’aris are the Imams of the distinguished figures of guidance among the scholars of the Muslims, whose knowledge has filled the world from east to west, and whom people have unanimously concurred upon their excellence, scholarship, and religiousness. They include the first rank of Sunni scholars and the most brilliant of their luminaries, who stood in the face of the excesses commited by the Mu’tazilites, and who constitute whole sections of the foremost Imams of Hadith, Sacred Law, Quranic exegesis. Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad ibn Hajar ‘Asqalani (d. 852/1449; Rahimullah), the mentor of Hadith scholars and author of the book “Fath al-Bari bi sharh Sahih al-Bukhari“, which not a single Islamic scholar can dispense with, was Ash’ari. The shaykh of the scholars of Sunni Islam, Imam Nawawi (d. 676/1277; Rahimullah), author of “Sharh Sahih Muslim” and many other famous works, was Ash’ari. The master of Qur’anic exegetes, Imam Qurtubi (d. 671/1273; Rahimullah), author of “al-Jami’ li ahkan al-Qur’an“, was Ash’ari. Shaykh al-Islam ibn Hajar Haytami (d. 974/1567; Rahimullah), who wrote “al-Zawajir ‘an iqtiraf al-kaba’ir“, was Ash’ari. The Shaykh of Sacred Law and Hadith, the conclusive definitive Zakariyya Ansari (d. 926/1520; Rahimullah), was Ash’ari. Imam Abu Bakr Baqillani (d. 403/1013; Rahimullah), Imam ‘Asqalani; Imam Nasafi (d. 710/1310; Rahimullah); Imam Shirbini (d. 977/1570; Rahimullah); Abu Hayyan Tawhidi, author of the Qur’anic commentary “al-Bahr al-muhit“; Imam ibn Juzayy (d. 741/1340; Rahimullah); author of “al-Tashil fi ‘ulum al-Tanzil“; and others – all of these were Imams of the Ash’aris. If we wanted to name all of the top scholars of Hadith, Qur’anic exegesis, and Sacred Law who were Imams of the Ash’aris, we would be hard put to do so and would require volumes merely to list these illustrious figures whose wisdom has filled the earth from east to west. And it is incumbent upon us to give credit where credit is due, recognising the merit of those of knowledge and virtue who have served the Sacred Law of the Greatest Messengers (Allah bless him and grant him peace). What good is to be hoped for us if we impugn our foremost scholars and righteous forbearers with charges of aberrancy and misguidance? Or how should Allah give us the benefit of their scholarship if we believe it is deviance and departure from the way of Islam? I ask you, is there a single Islamic scholar of the present day, among all the PhD.’s and geniuses, who has done what Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalani or Imam Nawawi have, of the service rendered by these two noble Imams (May Allah enfold them in His mercy and bliss) to the pure Prophetic Sunnah? How should we charge them and all Ash’aris with abberancy when it is we who are in need of their scholarship? Or how can we take knowledge from them if they were in error? For as Imam Zuhri (d. 124/742; rahimullah) says, “This knowledge is religion, so look well to whom you are taking your religion from.”  

Is it not sufficient for someone opposed to the Ash’aris to say, “Allah have mercy on them, they used reasoning (ijtihad) in figuratively interpreting the divine attributes, which it would have been fitter for them not to do”; instead of accusing them of deviance and misguidance, or displaying anger towards whoever considers them to be of the Sunni Community? If Imams Nawawi, ‘Asqalani, Qurtubi, Baqillani, al-Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Haytami, Zakariyyah Ansari, and many others were not among the most brilliant scholars and illustrious geniuses, or of the Sunni Community, then who are the Sunnis?  

I sincerely entreat all who call others to this religion or who work in the field of propagating Islam to fear Allah respecting the honour of the Community of Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is possessed of goodness until the Final Hour, we are bereft of any if we fail to acknowledge the worth and excellence of our learned.”  

In conclusion, the Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah are the true followers of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his Companions (Allah be pleased with them all), followed by by those who trod their path for the last 1400 years. It is in summary the followers of Imam Abu’l Hasan al-Ash’ari (Rahimullah) and Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (Rahimullah) in Aqeedah, and this saved sect is represented by the adherents of one of the four schools – Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali today. This is the sect which has had the largest following throughout Islamic history as-Sawad al-Az’am) as confirmed by the Qur’anic and Ahadith based evidence and it will remain dominant until the Hour is established, inshaAllah.

(Source:http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/misc/ashari.htm)

Does Yasir Qadhi dare question the creed of Ahl al-Sunna wa’al Jama’ah? Does Yasir Qadhi dare question the creed of our illustrious scholars like Imam Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, Imam Nawawi, Imam Qurtubi, and many other well-known Ash’ari scholars? If they were not on the correct Islamic creed, then would Yasir Qadhi care to tell us who had the correct Islamic creed in each of the generations that have passed?

For more of Yasir Qadhi’s insults against the Ash’aris, one may refer to this previous post.

May Allah protect us from Yasir Qadhi and his followers who are propagaters of pseudo-Sunni  misguidance, and who try to separate Muslims from the great mass of Muslims. May Allah keep all of us in the fold of the Ash’aris, Maturidis, and correct non-anthropomorphic Atharis who comprise the vast majority of Muslims in Islam’s history.

I end with a list of FAMOUS ASH’ARI SCHOLARS:

  • Abu Ishaq al-Isfarayini
  • The hafidh: Abu Nuaym al-Asbahani, the author of the book, Hilyat al-Awliya’
  • Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Juwayni , who was the one whose hand lit up after he died, because he had written so many authentic religious judgments (fatwas);
  • Abdul-Malik Abul-Ma’ali al-Juwayni , who is the son of Abu Muhammad al-Juwayni and the famous Imam of the Haramayn, the Haram of Makkah and the Haram of al-Madinah;
  • Abu Mansur at-Tamimi, the author of Al-Farqu Baynal-Firaq and ‘Usul ud-Din;
  • The hafidh: al-Isma’ili, who authored the book: Al-Mustakhraj ‘Ala Sahih al-Bukhari;
  • The famous hafidh: al-Bayhaqi;
  • The hafidh: ad-Daraqutni ; who was among the giants of the hafidhs of hadith;
  • The hafidh:, al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, who authored the famous book, The History of Baghdad;
  • The ustadh: Abul-Qasim al-Qushayri, the author of Ar-Risalah al-Qushayriah, a famous book in Sufism;
  • His son, known as Abun-Nasr;
  • The shaykh: Abu Ishaq ash-Shirazi , who was a famous Shafi’i scholar who authored At-Tanbih, Al-Muhadhdhab, and Al-Luma’;
  • The famous Shafi’i faqih: Nasr al-Maqdisi;
  • Imamal-Ghazali;
  • Abul-Wafa’ Ibn ‘Aqil al-Hanbali;
  • The Hanafi judge: ad-Damghani, who was the judge of all judges in his era;
  • Imam Abul-Walid al-Baji, a famous Maliki scholar;
  • The Imam, the Master: Ahmad ar-Rifa’i;
  • The hafidh: Abul-Qasim Ibn ‘Asakir;
  • Ibnus-Sam’ani, who acquired the knowledge through about 1000 shaykhs and authored the book: Al-Ansab;
  • Al-Qadi ‘Iyad al-Malikiyy, the author of Ash-Shifa;
  • Imam Nawawi;
  • Imam Fakhrud-Din ar-Razi, the author of the famous book of interpretation;
  • Al-Qurtubi, who is also famous for his book of interpretation;
  • The Shafi’i shaykh: ‘Izzud-Din Ibnu ‘Abdis-Salam, who was known for being strict in bidding that which Allah made lawful and forbidding that which Allah made unlawful;
  • The Maliki scholar, linguist, and faqih: Abu ‘Amr Ibnul-Hajib;
  • Al-Qadi Ibn Daqiq al-‘Id, who, according to some sayings, reached the level of ijtihad;
  • Imam ‘Ala’ud-Din al-Baji, a famous Maliki scholar;
  • The judge of the judges: Taqiyyuddin as-Subki;
  • The hafidh of Jerusalem: al-‘Ala’i;
  • The hafidh: Zaynud-Din al-Iraqi, and his son, the hafidh, AbuZur’ah;
  • The Seal of the hafidhs: Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani;
  • The seal of the linguists, Imam Murtada az-Zabidi, who was a follower of the school (madhhab) of Imam Abu Hanifah;
  • The judge of the judges, the famous later Shafi’i scholar: Zakariyya al-Ansari;
  • The Sufi shaykh: Baha’ud-Din ar-Rawwas;
  • The Mufti of the city of Makkah: Ahmad Ibn Zayni Dahlan , who authored a famous book: The History of Islamic States;
  • The famous Indian scholar: Waliyyullah ad-Dahlawi;
  • The Mufti of Egypt, the shaykh: Muhammad ‘Ulaysh al-Maliki;
  • The shaykh of the Azhar Mosque in Egypt, who lived about 100 years ago: Shaykh ‘Abdullah ash-Sharqawi;
  • The famous shaykh from Tripoli: Abul Mahasin al-Qawuqji, who died less than 100 years ago in Egypt. Much of the narration which has reached us today was narrated through him;
  • Imam Husayn al-Jisr at-Tarabulsi of Tripoli, who is known for his books: Ar-Risalah al-Hamidiyyah and Al-Husun al-Hamidiyyah, both authored to defend the Religion of Islam against the atheists at the time of the Ottoman Sultan, AbdulHamid II;