I receive questions on a daily basis and appreciate the confidence people have to ask me both deeply personal and also mundane questions. I desire to show the believers that support us in their charitable words or supplications that we do listen to them and do answer their questions whenever able.
Those that are without e-mail details are those that I was asked in interviews, on the radio, in person after workshops or lectures while those with the website tag I was asked by e-mail. It is good for believers to sometimes see that they are being heard and that they do matter. Below are the examples in this batch:
“I read the book, The Divine Texts. The biography of the author was quite remarkable. Could you tell us more about him besides what was mentioned in the book?”
Imam Mustafa ibn Ahmad ash-Shatti, may Allah have mercy on him, was one of the great Imams of the past. I will quote his biography written by a relative, Muhammad Jamil ash-Shatti:
The birth of my cousin Shaikh Mustafa Afandi-who I mentioned previously with his brothers-was in the year 1272. He grew up in the house of his father and uncle, reciting the Grand Qur’an to Shaikh Ahmad al-Qaddumi, whose biography we will mention shortly. He learned handwriting from Salim Afandi, who came from the Badrara’iyyah and joined the lectures of his father and uncle in the subjects of fiqh, inheritance and other sciences. Shaikh Mustafa read on the topic of grammar, syntax and subsciences to the two noble scholars of great knowledge, Shaikh Salim al-`Attar, Shaikh Bakri Al-`Attar, showing promise and excelling.
In the year 1294 he was given the position of preacher and expounder of law at the Madrasah al-Badra’iyyah, holding that post even un to this day. Once the year 1300 came, he wrote and taught law at the Court of Bazuriyyah for a short time before he made his two hajj trips, one in 1305 and another in 1308. In the year 1305, he attended a gathering of Shaikh Muhammad ad-Dandarawi, successor to the teacher, Ibrahim ar-Rashid, who was the successor to the noble master, Ahmad ibn Idris.
Shaikh Mustafa learned Tasawwuf from Shaikh ad-Dandarawi and would eventually become one of his successors in Sham. After that he would hold gatherings of dhikr in our Badra’iyyah Madrasah up until the year 1319 AH, as Shaikh ad-Dandarawi, who was in Makkah, ordered that the dhikr should not take place in the madrasah any longer once he was informed this was happening.
After this time, Shaikh Mustafa attended the gatherings of Shaikh Badr ud-Din al-Maghribi with great enthusiasm and both the laymen and scholars were active in attendance of his classes. Imam Mustafa was given at that time a great love for the Sufis, the People of Sole Existence, Direct Experience by their speech, and their way so that this became for him a methodology that he made use of, called to and taught this in the Madrasah. Students benefited from him in fiqh, grammar and other sciences. In the year 1316 AH he was given the responsibility of giving rulings in the land as his father had died and he was not long in that position before it was given to those that do not deserve it and what was meant to happen took place.
Once he went on his way, the Ottoman government in 1337 AH gave him the post of teaching and giving rulings as a Qadi in the city of Duma and he went into that position and remains so up until today and this is not anything new for the people of knowledge and virtue. He is a faqih, genius, noble, benevolent, even when having heated discussions and arguments into the night. He authored a book in refutation of the Wahhabi group and at the last part of it he wrote a research point on Tasawwuf that was printed in Beirut in the year 1330 and made some poetry as well. Some of this was sent to men in the Ottoman government, including statements like:
From you my hand his been planted in the tree of ihsan and this has led to the most majestic flowing of means
It is by your virtue and due to you that it grows, which is why gatherings are to be made.
Without this, the tree of faith becomes dry and not moist
Please see Mukhtasar Tabaqat il-Hanabilah, pp. 207-209
“Is it true that you graduated from the University of Utah?”
No, I’ve never been to Utah in either a recreational or educational capacity.
“Certain scholars on your scholars list I think are Salafi as I see them quoting them.”
One must be careful about levelling the charge of kufr against scholars, as the Salafi cult is a kafir organisation. Regarding the scholars and the claiming of Salafis, they also claim Imams Yahya an-Nawawi and Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani as one of their own. If you read their entire creed you will find they are not Salafi and what is more the Khawarij creed as we know it in today’s Salafi incarnation did not exist 900 years ago.
“I know a brother studying Al-Kafi fi Fiqh il-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal by Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah. Is this advised?”
Please remember that the four introductory fiqh books that Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah wrote were meant to be memorised in the following order:
If someone has jumped to teaching or learning Al-Kafi without memorisation, not only have the failed to follow the author’s directions at the beginning of each of the books in the series, they also do not have the knowledge that the author two build in the reader. They are merely “readers,” just like the academics produced in the universities on `alim courses and other things.
“Why is the forum down?”
The site is under construction due to the most recent attack, so slowly things are being repaired. If Allah wills, it should be posted back up soon.
“Why did you stop taking questions on the forum and close it?”
The main questions had been answered, which was the point. Further to that, people began coming onto the forum using profanity, planting viruses in the guest book (which had to subsequently be removed), so this demonstrated that we had not only completed our mission with it but also demonstrated the religion of those resorting to these nefarious activities.
“Would you consider doing lectures over the internet?”
If Allah wills and the time was right and the group of people were dedicated. If they will not memorise what is being taught, there is no point teaching them. Knowledge should be memorised.
“Did you used to be a Salafi?”
“Were you ever Jewish, because the website take had UKJEW on it?”
You have misread it. The tag was UKIEW. No, I was never Jewish.
“I wanted to study Hanbali fiqh and creed with authentic scholars. How could I get to do that?”
If you have not memorised most/all of the Qur’an and made a start on Arabic and Al-`Umdah or Al-Muqni` or its’ summary Zad ul-Mustaqni`, don’t bother even going, much less asking. One thing about teachers is that there are people who were waiting for years to sit and study with them. If you come and have to be taught you’re a,b,c’s, the teacher will not even waste his time. This should be done before you even leave. If that can’t be done, forget it.
“What if I wanted to study some subjects with you and really learn in depth?”
You would have to contact me personally, come to where I live, possibly live with me or nearby and memorise the text in question. If you are not ready to do that and memorise rote/verbatim, forget it. Others local to me have to memorise rote and no special treatment is to be given. Be ready when you arrive.
“Why is Imam Ahmad Rida Khan on your scholars list?”
He is a Shaikh ul-Islam, Renewer of the Faith according to two judges in the school of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. If this is the case, then there is nothing else I can say.
“I have seen on the website that some of the scholars in the list don’t have dates next to their names. I think you need to correct this matter.”
Thank you for your advice and may Allah reward you. Through the rigours of time and through other issues, we have seen that on the website are broken links and other matters that need attention. Please also remember we have had three serious virus attacks in the last three years. We are working on an overhaul and the moment it is complete, we are sure that you will be happy with it, if Allah wills.
“What are the next books that are coming?”
I cannot go into a lot of detail in that regard as the publishing has to be kept fairly low key. However, there is one book in creed and one in fiqh. The former is called Divine Lightning while the latter is called Illuminating Answers. Please keep us in your prayers.
“I find your style quite harsh and really abrasive.”
It is not really my point to go out of my way and be offensive; the religion is offensive enough in its’ purist form. My job is to try to present it as best I can with the responsibility I have been given. If the harshness is from me personally, please understand that the village people I come from are a harsh people and it takes time for rough edges to be smoothed out. As for harshness regarding faith issues, that is insoluble simply due to the fact that I know what must be said and done and there can be no compromise in that. Allah has revealed:
They would love for you to compromise, so they can compromise. Surat ul-Qalam (68), ayah 7.
“You and your people are nothing but a bunch of Jahmi, Ash`ari Sufis.”
Firstly, let me say that among the HTSPUB affiliates, the great majority of us hold the understanding of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah be pleased with him in fiqh and creed.
Regarding the expression Sufi, terms have to be defined. If we mean the Tasawwuf of Imam `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, may Allah be pleased with him, and his chain of students down to now, then we certainly do study that and hope to worship Allah as if we see Him, the point of Ihsan.
As for the Jahmiyyah, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah be pleased with him, called them unbelievers. Levelling the charge of kufr is severe, so please beware of these titles. It may be a good idea to try to read through the foundational and depended upon books of Ash`ari creed so that you might actually understand what you are discussing.
“Some people find you harsh.”
At this point in the game that Shaitan is playing with believers, the time for tact is long expired. Those who faint hearts have to step out of the way and know that Shaitan’s war is serious and the time is very near. The best thing I can do is pay someone the complement of being frank.
“When looking for a good teacher, what should I think about?”
What has he memorised. Why does it matter the size of your library if nothing is committed to memory. Everyone is a faqih when there is electricity, but once the lights are out the fuqaha disappear except for a few. Why? Their library is in front of them.
“Is there any information about yourself that you can provide to us to get a better picture of you as a person?”
Anything about me has been mentioned in the blog under an interview section. Keep checking as it should be present soon, if Allah wills.
“Do you consider yourself more closely aligned to Brelwi or Deobandi?”
I neither care about Asian issues nor the Urdu language so the question has no relevance.
Hanbali Text Society: Ash\’ari Hanbali Scholars
Could you confirm for me whether there have been any Ash’ari Hanbali scholars. I don’t mean scholars such as Imam Ibn Al-Jawzi, rahimahullah and others who had a creed that was similar, but actual scholars who were confirmed as Asharis. May Allah reward you.
Re: Hanbali Text Society: Ash\’ari Hanbali Scholars
Saturday, 10 October 2009 23:21
From: “SOCSS Org” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
as-Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah,
Thank you for your e-mail and may Allah reward you. Please accept my apology for the length of time in the reply but there were priorities and other pressing obligations that diverted me. It is only for prioritising that the question you gave was delayed.
As for your question regarding Hanbalis that were confirmed Ash`ari in their creed and not merely resembling or agreeing with them in some areas, this does deserve a fair consideration. There were Hanbalis historically that were Ash`ari in their creed, but this is quite the minority (similar to the Hanbalis who were Naqshabandi in Tariqah, one of the few being Imam Dawud ibn Jurjis Al-`Ani). The writer himself adheres to the vast majority of the Hanbali scholars that were not.
Imam Najm ud-Din At-Tufi (d. 716 AH) described himself by saying, “Hanbali, Ash`ari Rafidi you say? These are but one of the expressions used.” Dhail Tabaqat ul-Hanabilah, vol.2, pp. 302-303.
He was roundly denounced by Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (d. 795 AH), may Allah be pleased with him, not for his being an Ash`ari, but for his consistently showing Shi`i tendencies in his early scholarly career. This can be seen by looking at the entire biography of the Imam in Dhail Tabaqat ul-Hanabilah, vol.2, pp. 302-306 by Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali. Fortunately, he left these shi`i tendencies in his middle age according to historical testimony; but there is no listing of his renouncing his Ash`ari beliefs.
He was also one of the students of Imam Taqi ud-Din Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 AH) and a witness to some of the theological statements made by the aforementioned. Imam at-Tufi, being one of the great scholars of Usul ul-Fiqh is quoted constantly among Hanbalis in Usul il-Fiqh by Imams such as Taqi ud-Din al-Futuhi (d. 972 AH), `Ala’ ud-Din al-Mardawi (d. 885 AH), so his being Ash`ari was never used against him nor his books destroyed or left. In fact, you will have a hard time studying Usul ul-Fiqh in the school of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and his name does not come up. He is probably the most famous Ash`ari in the school.
The second most famous is Imam Muhammad ibn Muhammad as-Sa`di (d. 900 AH). This man was a giant in theology, fiqh but more well known in history. His being an Ash`ari is proven from the fact that is only sources for theology were Imams Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani (Shafi`ii Ash`ari), `Ala’ ud-Din Qalqashandi, while in Egypt and also his interpreting one hadith and an ayah on the Attributes of Allah in a way known only to Ash`aris in his Al-Jawhar ul-Muhassal fi Manaqib il-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, pp. 6-7 introductory remarks; 57-58. He is given five pages of special mention by Imam Muhammad ibn Humaid an-Najdi in his As-Suhub ul-Wabilah `ala Dara’ih il-Hanabilah, vol.3, pp.1041-1045
Finally, would you mind if I put your question on the q&a section coming up on the website in the next month? We are merely doing this to show the public that we are listening and have not forgotten. The common Muslims are the backbone of our work.If you would like your name removed and just the question, I will do that.
May Allah reward you and richly bless you.
brother in Islam,
Abu Ja`far al-Hanbali
I am a friend of brother Adamo who has adviced me to contact you regarding a Abu Muhammad Ibraheem al-Hanbali, the admin of the facebook groups Lumat ul Itiqad and Usul us-Sunnah. I am wondering if you know anything about him? who is he and is he traditional?
All i know at the moment is that you are both in Nottingham. Maybe you can shed some light as to who he is? Thank you
Thursday, 24 September, 2009 9:02
From: “SOCSS Org” <email@example.com>
as-Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah,
Thank you for your e-mail and may Allah reward you. The only other person that I know of properly teaching the school of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal in English is Musa Furber of Boston, MA in the US who is now in the Gulf. Outside of this, I know of no one else qualified that has learned from anyone in the school to teach it much less discuss it. So outside of the one aforementioned and what work I might do, I know of no one else that is really settled upon any real knowledge regarding the topic or the memorisation of texts needed to speak with any authority.
As for the one mentioned, I have never heard of any such person so I apologise that I cannot help you in this regard.
brother in Islam,
Abu Ja`far al-Hanbali