The Problem with Group Think

Figure 1A: Is this how you lead your life? If so, then you need to really take a much more careful standard.
Figure 1A: Is this how you lead your life? If so, then you need to really take a much more careful standard.

Having received a recent e-mail and publishing it on the blog, I believed that the matter would be resolved by the individual who had asked the question. Instead, what occurred was a classic case of group think.

This worrying trend is one that is often observable in exclusive groups, whether this be cults (Salafiyyah and all of its’ offshoots, Ahmadiyyah – both Lahori and Qadiani forms, Shi`ah, Mu`tazilah, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Ikhwan ul-Musliminin, etc) or aberrant groups among the ranks of Muslim Orthodoxy (the great bulk of Bareilwis, some Deobandis, etc).

Group think is very easily identifiable. There will usually be a group of people polarised around a particular understanding that they have derived and they thus become the in-group. That in-group then anathematises the out-group.

In-group members are often told not to read other literature, associate with out-group members as well as utilising clever euphemisms and side-bar polemics for their adversaries. This works fine until the rank and file member encounters new information.

This new information (i.e. every piece of literature outside of the group) will often be glaringly and grotesquely contradictory to the in-group core beliefs in its’ nature, which in turn leads to cognitive dissonance.

This situation comes about as the member finds a contradiction that is unsettling in the mind. This leads to two possible conclusions:

1) Taking on the information and testing it by way of research and independent query. This is one of the reasons why some of the most brilliant members caught in group think usually find their way out after a relatively short period of time (e.g. Abul Hasan Al-Ash`ari (d. 325 AH), the Shaikh of Muslim Orthodoxy springs to mind).

They notice and follow the logic to its’ complete conclusion, coming to the realisation that the information that they had previously utilised is either reconcilable or not. In the case of realising that it is no longer possible to intellectually invest in the organisation… they leave.

The immediate result of such a move is for the establishment preachers and cognitive gnomes to put forth the conclusion that the “unchurched” man or woman was never really faithful in the first place. Then there begins the long process of besmirching every good gesture ever committed by the former member.

People come forward, remembering almost on cue that, “I knew there was something not right about that guy/girl.” Other tid bits include, “He never was that serious.” Sometimes you even find, “I remember that he used to always be unsure and not on the truth.”

2) this is the most concerning, as it involves compartmentalizing two separate personalities or worlds, that of reality and that of the group think. This is known as rationalisation. Group think members may redact history, alter facts or quotes, resort to petty personal attacks or at the pinnacle commit bodily harm (most often murder).

I would like for the reader to digest the words of one of the great marja` people of the past, who diagnosed this sickness before an actual term was applied to it in Western psychology. It is the statement of Imam Sulaiman ibn `Abdul Wahhab (d. 1209 AH):

In this day and age, humanity has been tested by those who claim to be going by the Book and the Sunnah and they attempt to extract rulings from its’ sciences, and they do not care who opposes them.

When I tell him to take his statements to the People of Knowledge, he does not do so, but he does the contrary. He proceeds to make it compulsory that the people should go by and follow his statements and understanding, and when there is someone who opposes him, according to him he is an unbeliever while the individual in question does not have even one characteristic of the people of ijtihad.

By Allah, indeed he does not possess one tenth while he is opening his mouth and speaking a great deal of ignorance. To Allah we belong and to Him we return.

The entire Ummah speaks with one voice and when this individual is not able to refute them with one word, he declares them all unbelievers or grossly ignorant. The Divine Lightning, pp. 77-78.

When the rank and file encounter contradictory information in this second example, they are not encouraged to research and ask questions on the back of their research. No. Instead, they are encouraged to report back, even if the individual is the one being directly addressed.

The original e-mail that was referred to at the beginning of this article was sent to the brother in question in the original form, which I will now reproduce below in full. One can see that in the e-mail, I have referenced my statements and advised him to pick up the documentation.

Rather than do this, the brother fell back into group think, reverted to original model and asked for his organisation to give him the answer that is already a well settled conclusion in his mind.

I made a number of assertions along with stating the origins of where I took them from and I hope that the reader will take this on board. As said previously, I have enclosed the e-mail, but also put a few links under the misunderstandings of the GHQ (General Head Quarters)

or of the organisation attempting to keep doctrinal mainline and avoid cognitive dissonance that would result in the abandonment of the organisation, loss of funding and the collapse of the institutions that live off the blind faith of the followers that at the end of everything else are the bill payers.

Please examine carefully below and notice that the questions the brother asked I specifically answered and then invited him to do research and examine the affair:

Jan 23 at 9:04 PM

Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatu respected brother

wa `Alaikum us-Salaamu wa Rahmatullah, 

Noble brother, 

Alhumduillah I have benefitted from many of your talks via youtube & I pray that my Allahu Ta’ala accept your works & efforts.

I understand. 

By the Grace of Allahu Ta’ala I also hav a youtube channel (AfwaunMumeen) where I was able to also take some of your talks & re-upload it for the benefit of the Ummat.

As long as they are left in their original full format, I have no issue with this but if they are cut and sectioned in a way in which they convey misinformation, then this is wrong. 

Respected brother, my reason for contacting you is to insha’Allah enlighten you with regards to certain aspects of the Ummat you may not be aware of. I came across a talk where you likened the Deobandi Jamaat to the Wahaabis while the Barelvi Jamaat were likened to the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah based on some misinformation that was forwarded to the honorable Ulama of the Hijaaz.

No, I did not. Rather, what I said in the 13 centuries lecture is that some Deobandis do have 5 or 6 of the sixteen masa’il of Salafiyyah, and this is error. Not all of them have these errors. I further said that the book Taqwiyat ul-Iman is a re-load or poor copy of Kitab ut-Tawheed by Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab. It has the exact same errors in it and the same false conclusions, such as “shirk in one’s daily chores,” that the Quraish and previous nations believed that Allah was the only creator (when at the same time they denied the Resurrection, which is part of believing that He is the only Lord, thus constituting a major theological error in Salafiyyah and Deobandis that hold that position).

In addition to this, the article, Takfir: A Problem for Some Sunnis Too, I pointed out that Imam Ahmad Rida Khan is from Muslim Orthodoxy (Ar. Ahl us-Sunnah Wal-Jama`ah). The reason for this is two of the great Hanbali mujaddids of the time praised his works and said noble things of him regarding his texts. 

As for the Muhannad, I have a copy of this that was actually signed and given to me by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam Al-Kawthari. I have made reference to it a number of times in other lectures; but this does not address the particular issues in question to which I was making reference, namely the 5 or 6 masa’il of Salafiyyah. None of those questions were answered in that text

This isn’t your fault but if it’ll please my Allahu Ta’ala, I’d like to forward you something concerning the honorable Ulama of the Hijaaz retracting their statements of kufr & deviation placed on the Ulama-e-Deoband.

As for the fatwa from the scholars of the Hijaz, I have the original Arabic and no text of kufr from the scholars of my madhhab and to the best of my knowledge any other was every placed upon Deoband as a group or specific individuals. No one in the text was referred to as an unbeliever.

I know this as I have the original rulings of Imams Muhammad ibn Humaid An-Najdi (d. 1295 AH), who was also a teacher of Ahmad Rida’ Khan. No statement that they were unbelievers was every made by him or the grand judge Imam Hasan Ash-Shatti (d.1275 AH) or the son of Imam Ibn Humaid. 

What you will need to do is look at those rulings again and you will see that the rulings were given in a general sense: “Whoever believes this, then that is kufr.” Another example: “Whoever says this, then he is a kafir.”

This does not mean a said individual is a kafir. They do not know that individual. So they cannot say a specific person is a kafir, “Due to my previous fatwa, YOU are a kafir,” as they do not know the condition of people living miles away from them that they cannot assess for the impediments, conditions and other matters related to takfir.

So speaking in general terms is permitted and perfectly fine. Again, as for the Muhannad, this does not solve things for the Deoband people that have Salafi masa’il in their ranks.

There is a statement from Imam Mustafa Ash-Shatti (d. 1348 AH), whose works I have already translated. He gives a rather cautious statement on the text due to the fact that again, he does not know the Deoband or its’ people. Not only this, I would advise you to read the works of Imam Mustafa Ash-Shatti and see if you still think that this is someone you would like to go to as a source of the Deoband being upon right guidance. 

In his text, he discusses making intercession at the gravesites, when the deceased are absent and using them in one’s supplication as well as the position that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, can be seen in a wakeful state in his natural form. If all of deoband adheres to this, along with the Salafis in general being Kuffar and Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab being upon the same level as Musailimah the Liar, then this is perfectly fine. 

Go right ahead. But if not or in consideration, I really suggest you read the works of Mustafa Ash-Shatti here. 

And those of Muhammad ibn Humaid An-Najdi (d. 1295 AH). Even read the works of the great Hanbali sages before Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab’s appearance and you will find them making intercession with the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, after every prayer in supplication. I am not talking about making intercession with your IMAN in him, I mean making intercession with HIM, HIMSELF in every supplication after every compulsory prayer and addressing him as if he is present. Using him as part of the supplication

If the deoband is fine with this, then this should be no problem and should be made public so the people know the truth. If this is not the case, you have a lot of reading to do and some studying as well. I am not interested in the Deobandi/Barelwi conflict as most of this has come in the aftermath of the death of Ahmad Rida’ Khan. Rather, I compared them both to Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, his students and scholars after and the theology passed down by their luminaries. 

Measuring both Deoband and the Barelwi against the school of Imam Ahmad, both are defective and without complete merit and missing the complete truth. However, Barelwi his some aspects of that truth and Deoband has some aspects of truth. Abandoning both is the truth, the true path. Thank you for your time. 

was-Salaam, 

Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali

 Insha’Allahu Ta’ala you find it of great benefit & may my Allah Ta’ala bestow upon you the ability to remember me in your Duaas

Wasallam

Af’WauN Al-HaNaFi (NYC)

Now after this comes the reply of the brother (who was directly addressed in the e-mail and requested to research) who then using his phone forwarded it onto someone in South Africa that may have some authority in his eyes (please note that this individual is not marja`, thus no universal jurisdiction and therefore none of his pronouncements are binding) without including the original link to Imam Mustafa Ash-Shatti that I enclosed for perusal.

Please observe the group think at work and also the attacks on an individual and not the principle, the ignoring of context and the desperation to preserve the social construct created for the group:

Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:
From: “The Mujlisul Ulama of South Africa M.U.S.A” <mujlisul.ulama@gmail.com>
Date: February 23, 2015, 2:52:25 AM EST
To: “Mister HANAFI Mu’Meen” <mr.mumeens@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Al Muhannad ‘ala Al-Mufannad
Assalamu Alaykum respected brother, our conversation was forwarded to my respected Sheikh (Mufti Ahmad Sadiq Desai) & his reply is produced below:

 

ASSALAMU ALAIKUM
29 Rabiuth Thaani 1436 (20 February 2015)Mister Hanafi,

Your e-mail dated 6 February 2015 refers.

With respect, your English language is quite poor, hence the method in which you have expressed yourself is ambiguous and confusing in some aspects. I shall, therefore, appreciate clarity before I pursue the subject further.

(1)  You state:  “Some Deobandis do have 5 or 6 of the sixteen masail of the Salafiyyah, and this is error.”

 

Please enumerate these “5 or 6 masail”, and also  who are the
Deobandis who subscribe to them?

(2) You said that the book “Taqwiyatul Imaan “is a re-load or poor copy of Kitab-ut-Tawheed by Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab. It has the exact same errors in it and the same false conclusions.”

Please enumerate these errors and the false conclusions to enable me to  pursue the dialogue further.

(3) One of the supposed ‘errors’ you mention is  “shirk in one’s daily chores”. Kindly expound the ‘error’. You mention that this is an error. In which way is it an ‘error’? What did you understand by “shirk in one’s daily chores.”?

(4) You made an extremely poor attempt, possibly because of
deficiency in your English, to explain the one supposed ‘error’ you have mentioned. You explain it as follows: “…..that the Quraish and previous nations believed that Allah was
the only creator (when at the same time they denied the Resurrection, which is part of believing that He is the only Lord, thus constituting a major  theological error in Salafiyyah and Deobandis that hold that
position).”

This statement is utterly confusing. What are you trying to say? Please explain clearly. From the statement, I have understood that according to you it is erroneous to say that the mushrikeen despite worshipping idols believed in One Creator.  Have I understood your ambiguity correctly? If yes, then what is the error in the contention?
If I have not understood your ambiguity correctly, then please
elaborate.

(2)

(5)  You are  attempting to sidetrack the issue.  You mention: “Whoever believes this, then that is kufr.”, Whoever say  this, then he is a kafir,”  Please elaborate to which specific statements  of the
Ulama of Deoband were these ‘general’ comments directed.  This general statement, “does not mean  a said individual is a kafir”, is NOT the issue. The issue is”; What is that statement of the Ulama of Deoband
which evoked the general statement of kufr and kafir? If you elaborate, then we could further discuss the specific statements of kufr.

(6)  Please explain which are the “Salafi masail in the ranks of the Deobandis” which are erroneous?

(7) There is no need for me to go to Mustafa Ash-Shati for
ascertaining the  Haqq of the Ulama of Deoband.  If I am in any need regarding their views, beliefs and practices, then I shall go directly to them.

(8) The second paragraph on page 2 of your letter  is atrociously phrased. I don’t know what you are exactly saying. Please state with
clarity your beliefs regarding intercession (Tawassul) of  the Ambiya and Auliya. What error do you find in the belief of the Ulama of Deoband regarding Tawassul? While Salafis negate and deny the validity of Tawassul, the Deobandis  subscribe to Tawassul minus the shirki beliefs which Barelis attach to it. I don’t know your concept of Tawassul.

(9) You say: “If deoband is fine with this, then this should be no
problem and should be made public so the people no the truth.”

Fine with what? Everything – belief and practice – of Deoband is public. People are aware of the beliefs and practices of the Ulama of Deoband. There is no hidden dimension to the Deen propagated and practiced by the Ulama of Deoband. They are the staunchest followers
of the Hanafi Math-hab. They ascribe to Tasawwuf. Most of them being of the Chishti Silsilah. They are anti-Bid’ah, hence the Barelwis and
perhaps people such as you  detest them. They are followers of the Sunnah. Now what needs to be made public?  What is the kufr that you are attributing to them for which they should issue public clarification?  Perhaps you have been duped by someone to understand
that the Ulama of Deoband subscribe to kufr. Therefore,  state what you believe regarding the kufr beliefs of the Ulama of Deoband.

(10) Your contention: “….most of this (i.e. Deobandi-Barelwi conflict) has come in the aftermath of the death of Ahmad Rida Khan.”, portrays
your unawareness of the conflict. The conflict did NOT come into existence after the death of Ahmad Radha Khan. The conflict was ignited by him. He was the worst  kaafir-making machine in India.  He had intransigently and venomously assailed the Ulama of deoband. The conflict was at its highest during his very lifetime.

(11) For your edification, if the Ulama of Deoband differ with the Hanaabilah in some aspects, then such difference is perfectly valid. You overlook the fact that they are Ahnaaf. They are not the muqallideen of Imaam Ahmad (rahmatullah alayh). You have no right to
slate any official position of the Hanafi Math-hab. In so doing, you will be portraying bigotry and narrow mindedness.

We suggest that you write to him as above.

Was-salaam

A.S.Desai

For

Mujlisul Ulama of S.A.
.
On 06/02/2015, Mister HANAFI Mu’Meen <mr.mumeens@yahoo.com> wrote:

Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatu my honorable Maulana

13 Rabi’uth Thani 1436 AH  (2/4/2015)

Alhumduillah my Allahu Ta’ala has deemed me fit to continue propagating the Haq utilizing different Internet forums as the medium.

By the Grace of Allah Ta’ala, there’s a website called “Youtube” where one

can upload videos & post it for all & sundry to view. I also have a Youtube

Channel (AfwaunMuMeen) where I’ve uploaded the “audio” of Sheikhs in order to benefit the Ummat. I’ve came across a “Hanbali” Sheikh by

the name of “Abu Jafar Al-Hanbali” who’s also been utilizing the “Youtube”

Website to refute the Deviate Wahaabi movement. I enjoyed his bayaans

UNTIL I came across a comment he made likening the Deobandis to the Wahaabis.

He’s also made comments where he referred to Ahmad Raza Khan of the Ahle

BID’AH a “Mujahid”. Since it was more then obvious he was misinformed I decided

to email him while also forwarding him a downloadable copy of “Al

Muhannad ‘ala

Al-Mufannad” & Alhumduillah he replied right away. Due to my limited knowledge

I decided not to refute his email thus making a fool of myself but instead refer this

matter “to those who know”.

Insha’Allah the conversation is produced verbatim word for word without adding or

deleting a dot. Whatever I stated is written regular & his “reply” is written in BOLD letters in order for you to differentiate between the two.

My reason for forwarding you this conversation is NOT because I have any doubts regarding our illustrious elders who came from the Portals of Deoband,

NOR do I have any doubts regarding the Bid’ah of the Ahle Baatil BUT the Sheikh has went public with the “private” email that I sent him

which can be found

Via the link

(https://jurjis.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/the-trial-of-takfir-reloaded/).

At the link Provided, one will see the opening words of the Sheikh as follows:

“Below is a useful and edifying message from a Muslim brother on a

re-occurring problem among

some of the ranks of the Muslims. My response immediately follows:”

Insha’Allah the Haqq can be confirmed while the brains of whatever baatil was spewed

can be smashed because what was once a private issue has been made public

Wasallam

Abdul’Kareem Al-Hanifiyya

      NYC

PS: You’re forever in our Duaas, please continue to keep my Ustaadhs &

Masjid (myself included)

in your Noble Duaas

The conversation is below:

 

It is my hope that this is of some benefit to believers. I say, praise be to Allah who did not make me Deobandi, Barelwi or any of these other groups. I follow the main body of the Muslims and follow the Maraji` ut-Taqlid wal-Ittiba`, (“Those who are sources of imitation and may be followed”).

No one else deserves this authority. And may Allah keep myself and all believers on the main body of the Muslims. Islam is not 250 years old or less. It is ancient…as ancient as Az-Zaitunah, Al-Qarawiyyin, Al-Azhar, The Umayyad Central Masjid, Al-Mustansiriyyah, Al-Muzaffari and this is the leadership of the religion.

Until next time,

Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali

Real Learning, Real History: Al-Muzaffar Central Masjid

Figure 1A: The Al-Muzaffar Central Masjid. This institution represents 900 years and more of learning and teaching. It has many names and appellations.
Figure 1A: The Al-Muzaffar Central Masjid. This institution represents 900 years and more of learning and teaching. It has many names and appellations.

This institution represents 900 years and more of learning and teaching. It has many names and appellations. Imam Ibn Al-Mabrid (d. 900 AH) said that this complex has four main names:

1) The Central Masjid of Al-Muzaffar. This name was given on account of the Sultan, Muzaffar ud-Din Kawkaburi – the governor of Irbil and husband of the sister of the venerable hero and legend, Salah ud-Din Al-Ayyubi – who completed the building of the structure. This is one of the most well known names that was used by historians.

2) The Central Masjid of the Mountain as it is not far from the great mountain Qasiyun.

3) The Central Hanbali Masjid. This title was given as it was an endowment set by a Hanbali marja`.

4) The Central Masjid of the Pious Ones.

Figure 2A: The courtyard of the Central Masjid along with the Arabic columns, western facing gate and fountain.
Figure 2A: The courtyard of the Central Masjid along with the Arabic columns, western facing gate and fountain.

Particular Features of the Central Masjid and What is Said of the Structure

The Central Masjid is the very first large central Masjid built and established in Damascus after the Umayyah Family Central Masjid. Ibn `Abdul Hadi remarked, “The Al-Muzaffar Central Masjid is the first place built in the Salihiyyah neighbourhood and the `Umariyyah School came not long after.”

Ibn Kannan said of these two structures, “They are set apart by making mention of what is in them of blessings for every one. This is due to the fact that much of what happens in them is the preoccupation with lectures and places of memorisers of texts and hadith sciences. The gatherings in these places is not like the gatherings of other places.”

Figure 1B: An inside view of the complex that shows its' exalted beginning and the care of its' builders.
Figure 1B: An inside view of the complex that shows its’ exalted beginning and the care of its’ builders.

The Building of the Central Masjid

Historical documents indicate and all point to that the laying of the foundation of the Al-Muzaffar Central Masjid was begun by the Imam Abu `Umar Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi. He had emigrated with his family to the area from Palestine in the year 550 AH (AD 1155).

He was settled in the Salihiyyah neighbourhood area of Damascus and started the project of building the Central Masjid in the year 598 AH (AD 1202) after first building the hostel for the Hanbali scholars and making it an open place with a courtyard in order for people to gather.

A man by the name of Abu Dawud Al-Fami, who was a merchant, donated some money towards building the structure and expended his wealth in the process. When this happened, the building came to a halt and it did not go forward and this news reached the king, Al-Muzaffar Kawkaburi who was in Irbil.

Upon hearing of the situation, Al-Muzaffar sent 3,000 dinar to them in order for the completion of the project just the same way as money was put forward by Imam Abu `Umar Al-Maqdisi to excavate a well and the building was declared an endowment.

The building projected was completed on 17 Rajab 610 AH. It was mentioned that the one given the post of maintaining the Al-Muzaffar Central Masjid and starting classes and projects was the Shaikh, Ahmad ibn Yunus ibn Hasan Al-Maqdisi Al-Mardawi (d. 622 AH). This was another Imam who had emigrated to the area from Jerusalem in Palestine.

Figure 2B: A view of the grounds of the Al-Muzaffar. One can already see the greatness of the structure even through the pictures.
Figure 2B: A view of the grounds of the Al-Muzaffar. One can already see the greatness of the structure even through the pictures.

A Description of the Central Masjid and its’ Grounds

At first glance, the grounds of the Central Masjid, in terms of its’ measurements, appearance and general layout was originally intended to be similar to those of the Umayyah Family Central Masjid. The Al-Muzaffar Central Masjid has an Arabic overhanging arch that has within it the Great Western Gate that opens onto the enclosed courtyard which has in its’ centre an enclosed water fountain.

Figure 3B: Another picture of the outside grounds of the Al-Muzaffar complex.
Figure 3B: Another picture of the outside grounds of the Al-Muzaffar complex.

The Masjid area also has another western facing gate. Now just as the south wall of the Central Masjid has a mihrab mounted as part of the new construction, there are also whicte pillars that are decked out and go to the right of the mihrab and there is the mimbar made of wood. This is a great sign of construction and building and was a gift from the king Kawkaburi. This area was beautified with places of trees and vegetation and engineering that is numbered among the wonders of Islamic engineering sciences.

The history books point to the issue that the mimbar of the masjid in the beginning of its’ building resembled exactly that of the mimbar in the Masjid of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in Al-Madinah. This mimbar had three steps up until the construction was complete in the year 604 AH.

1C: This is the inside of the Al-Muzaffar complex. On the left, one can see the ornamented mihrab indicated the direction of prayer. On the right is the mimbar, patterned after the mimbar in Al-Madinah.
1C: This is the inside of the Al-Muzaffar complex. On the left, one can see the ornamented mihrab indicated the direction of prayer. On the right is the mimbar, patterned after the mimbar in Al-Madinah.

In summary, the Central Masjid is one of the wonders of Damascus in terms of its’ layout, unique embellishments and the structure was also renovated in the 1970s of the Gregorian calendar. One can see in it moderns works of engineering but they always make it a point to preserve the original measurements and older structure and keep with the vast majority of the external structure and form.

2C: the walls of the Al-Muzaffar near the prayer area. The workmanship is clearly amazing.
2C: the walls of the Al-Muzaffar near the prayer area. The workmanship is clearly amazing.

A Historical Account of the Central Masjid and the Knowledge Disseminated

A historical account of the knowledge disseminated in the Al-Muzaffar Central Masjid brought about a general knowledge renaissance spearheaded by those who had emigrated from Jerusalem in Palestine to the Salihiyyah neighbourhood and when they made their children hear the knowledge from their youth.

These children also used to head out to speak with and learn from the senior scholars from the habitations of Damascus and made their way there and met up in the Al-Muzaffar which had a large group of scholars there teaching lessons. It is not possible to list all of their names in this place, so the most well known of those who lived in the Salihiyyah area, heard knowledge, made other people hear by teaching and dictation include the following:

1. Ahmad ibn `Ubaidullah ibn Ahmad Al-Maqdisi (d. 613 AH)

2. Al-`Imad ibn `Abdul Wahid Al-Maqdisi (d. 614 AH)

3. `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Abdul Jabbar Al-Maqdisi (d. 635 AH)

4. Ahmad ibn `Ali ibn Al-Hasan Al-Jazari (d. 743 AH)

5. Yusuf ibn Muhammad ibn `Abdullah Al-Mardawi (769 AH)

6. Muhammad ibn `Ali ibn Tulun Ad-Dimashqi (d. 953 AH)

3C: An old photo of the inside of the Al-Muzaffar
3C: An old photo of the inside of the Al-Muzaffar

Congregational gatherings for listening to the knowledge was widespread in the Al-Muzaffar Central Masjid and an abundant number of shaikhs shared the area and it maybe that some of them also shared the area with the female shaikhs in one gathering so that they could hear some of the books of hadith and this way was unique and a symbol of excellence that the scholars of the Salihiyyah possessed.

The Central Masjid was a bright star in the constellation of scholars and memorisers that spread knowledge far and wide in the world and they heard the hadith collections therein and some of the most popular students who attended were:

1. Ahmad ibn `Abdul Halim ibn `Abdus-Salam Ibn Taymiyyah Al-Harrani (d. 728 AH). This same scholar had learned in the Sakriyyah and Hanbaliyyah schools and heard from his shaikh, the Imam `Abdur-Rahim ibn `Abdul Malik Al-Maqdisi, Isma`il ibn Abi `Abdullah Al-`Asqalani in the year 675 AH. There is a text of dictation and reading by gathering that was found in his handwriting recently.

2. Isma`il ibn `Umar Ibn Kathir Ad-Dimashqi (d. 774 AH). He was the Imam, the Mufti, the well grounded scholar of hadith and author of Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah history text. He heard Ahadith by dictation and reading from Abul Hussain ibn Al-Muzaffar with his shaikh Ahmad ibn Al-Muhibb in the year 730 AH while in attendance at the Central Masjid.

3. Ahmad ibn `Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalani (d. 852 AH). He is the author of the well known commentary on Al-Jami` us-Sahih by Imam Muhammad ibn Isma`il Al-Bukhari entitled, Al-Fath ul-Bari bi-Sharh Sahih il-Bukhari. He was the seal of the memorisers, the chief Qadi.

He was resident in the Salihiyyah neighbourhood for 100 days and he heard 100 parts of the major books of hadith. He was present in a gathering in which the teacher was the Imam, Ibrahim ibn Muflih Al-Hanbali in the Al-Muzaffar Central Masjid.

Figure 4C: A close up of the prayer area of the Al-Muzaffar.
Figure 4C: A close up of the prayer area of the Al-Muzaffar.

It is has become clear to us according to that which followed previously the exalted standard which this Central Masjid belongs to and the role it played in the religious renaissance in the land of Sham when the senior scholars came together and exerted their brilliance. This was taken from the website of the maraji` and translated with only slight modifications.

It is my intent to make this part of a much larger post in the future about intellectual history and how the preservation of institutions protects one from colonisation. If someone controls your learning, they control you without firing a cannon ball, rifle or wielding a knife. It is my hopeful intention to put forward this example for the readers.

Until next time,

brother in Islam,

Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali

Bruce Jenner and Transgender Issues

Figure 1A: Walt Heyer in transition and after having returned to being a man. His knowledge of sex change operations is experiential and not just clinical.
Figure 1A: Walt Heyer in transition and after having returned to being a man. His knowledge of sex change operations is experiential and not just clinical.

An article was recently posted by Breitbart regarding a man who had completed a sex change operation, regretted and then transitioned back to the life of a man from a “woman.” He is now married and has started his own website as well as a blog to field questions.

The man, Walt Heyer, compared the after effect of a sex change to a “hangover” in a CNN interview on Tuesday, stating that, “It’s sort of like, you know, going down to the bar and you’re having a good time and you drink it up good and then, you know, you wake up with a hangover.”

What is particularly interesting about this man’s testimony – if one could call it such – is the underlying supposition that people have to come to grips with, namely that people are not born in the wrong bodies. The sheer imbecility of comparing race to transgender struggles is clearly amplified by Heyer.

For example, I have caramel coloured skin with a red tint. I have always had this skin as well as the culture and other issues that go with this point. One looks at my pineal gland and can see that it is not calcified, it is supple and there are high concentrations of melanin in my blood stream, brain and lodged even in my bone marrow. It is clear that someone can see what I am and there is no dispute on this affair.

There is also a review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transgenders carried out in the UK in 2004 found “no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically

It is not just offensive but an error in analogy to compare race to someone who “feels” that they are a woman; something that they have no experiential knowledge of at all. Feelings are the response to external stimulus, not objective but subjective. I hope that these articles in the links trigger as much mature and measured discussion as Mr Heyer did.

The Month of Sha`ban is Upon Us

Figure 1A: Sha`ban represents the fact that the ninth month of the lunar calendar, Ramadan, is some 14 or fifteen days away.
Figure 1A: Sha`ban represents the fact that the ninth month of the lunar calendar, Ramadan, is some 14 or fifteen days away.

We are now midway through Sha`ban. It is my hope that those preparing for Ramadan will use these remaining days for much needed reflection and utilisation of time. If someone should think through the last year, he or she will know that repentance and betterment are the order of the day. This is our hope and desire.

I have also added the link on the original Sha`ban article published before along with some other details I believe readers will find uplifting.

And with Allah is every success.

Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali

If You Will Not Clean Up Your Mess…

Figure 1A: Armed Americans outside a Muslim place of worship in Phoenix that was host to two of the attackers that were shot dead later at a "Draw Muhammad event."
Figure 1A: Armed Americans outside a Muslim place of worship in Phoenix that was host to two of the attackers that were shot dead later at a “Draw Muhammad event.”

I had said before that the white man is no different to any other race when threatened or when protecting his own interests. In Europe, English are still made to feel as if they stole something from the local 7-11 if they protest against the large scale molestation of adolescent and prepubescent English females and severe acts of violence on the streets disproportionately coming from such a small minority.

In the United States, such guilt is not found. White men have taken to the streets are now doing what they think is best to arrest a problem that we can all see. Breitbart has posted two eye opening articles on the topic that are more than worthy of reading and reflection. One covers the armed protesters and their thoughts while another talks about a rising leader among them, namely Jon Ritzheimer, who said it is time to start rising up.

Ritzheimer, a former marine, made a number of really edifying statements regarding Muslims cleaning up their act. One of them was the following:

People want to start talking about what Christians and Jews have done in history…the Christians I see are building hospitals and going good. How many Christian hospitals do we have out here okay? They’re out doin’ good. I haven’t seen any Muslim hospitals. Until I start to see them police their own and rein each other in – rather than us having to do it – then we will shake the finger at them and say, “Nuh Ah.” More rallies will keep poppin’ up and more patriots will come out.

 

Figure 2A: Portrait of the Vigilante: Jon Ritzheimer outside the Phoenix complex. The former marine felt he had to resort to this behaviour when he failed to see action from local Muslims.
Figure 2A: Portrait of the Vigilante: Jon Ritzheimer outside the Phoenix, Arizona complex. The former marine felt he had to resort to this behaviour when he failed to see action from local Muslims.

This is a clear statement regarding Muslims at these large institutions and the trophy convert culture. What is going on at these places? This is the question that the average unbeliever wants to know. Due to the fact that they do not see any policing of the man on the street by leaders, they are taking matters into their own hands.

If Muslims will not clean up and police their own followers on a local level, then vigilantes will appear and take matters into their own hands. Keep in mind the fact that what is occurring in Europe would not and is not allowed to get anywhere hear that far in the United States.

The United States will not tolerate – as the United Kingdom has and form a Scotland Yard section dealing exclusively with forced marriages and recovering girls that have been kidnapped and flown to Pakistan and other South Asian destinations for forced marriage – such actions and just stand by. Before things even get to that level, they will just as soon arrest a large amount of people and lock them up or do large scale deportations.

Whether justified or not, looking at the internment of Japanese during World War 2 should be enough to make you pause and understand that the United States is not the place you want to be caught out in when culture wars occur. It is my sincere hope that those who would call themselves “Spokesmen for Islam in the West” would take real steps now…because someone else already has for them.

Until next time,

Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali

It is Not Just the Mosque…

Figure 1A: Police were called out in response to a chair throwing, profanity slinging battle in a centre that is supposed to be used for political and religious aims.
Figure 1A: Police were called out in response to a chair throwing, profanity slinging battle in a centre that is supposed to be used for political and religious aims.

Recently – what appears to be some sort of political gang fight – broke out at the Bangladeshi Community Centre is in the Roundhay Road in the Harehills area, just north-east of Leeds City Centre. The fight took place 30 May 2015 and police were called out around 12:30pm to break up the scuffle in the English city. This violence was between rival political factions within the Bangladeshi community.

Figure 2A: Police at the Bangladeshi Centre, Roundhay Road, Harehills Leeds, this morning.
Figure 2A: Police at the Bangladeshi Centre, Roundhay Road, Harehills Leeds, this morning.

This was not the first time violence has erupted in this community. In 2013, the Yorkshire Post reported violence during `Eid celebrations at the same venue (even the police dogs got to see some action!). As I have said before, this disease of disorganisation and resorting to violence when unable to articulate is not just at the local men’s club (read mosque), rather it is at any function or venue where infrastructure and leadership is required. Again, this is just a reinforcement of Post-Masjidism and how it will no doubt be a factor in the future for the youth that see these grotesque scenes.