The Trial of Takfir: A Problem for Some Sunnis Too

Figure 1A: There is a particular brand of Islam that is increasingly falling out of favour with common believes, yet it still clings on to the edge of relevance by its’ fingernails.

After a public meeting this last Saturday morning after Salat ul-`Isha,’ I realise that the translation of The Divine Lightning: The Decisive Speech from the Lord of Lords, the Words of the Messenger of the King, the Bestower, the Statements of the People of Wisdom in Answer to Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab is the most significant matter in the last decade or perhaps two. I don’t say this matter lightly either.

We normally see that takfir is an issue that is the hallmark of the cults and their followers; but it is also becoming a recent trend for some Sunnis to pick up the baton of takfir when they dislike someone or when someone will not see their way of thinking…and all without the consent of the Qadis and judges.

In the tiny hub of Nottingham, Salafiyyah, Shi`ah and Ahmadiyyah cults run riot in the local area, founding and funding charitable projects, places of worship and also centres of study of children and adults.

As with every other location when cults appear, it produces extremes within some of the body of the Sunnis that try to repel it. The typical example is to fight fire with fire. “What…? You called me a kafir? No! You’re a kafir!”

All of this behaviour is not unique to Nottingham but rather exists in areas where the tribulation of Salafiyyah or other cults exists. Some elders in the local community, in an attempt to hold on to the youth, have used takfir and hiding behind the Urdu language as tools for securing the trust and continued patronage of their masjids (after all, someone must pay the lightbill, right?).

When the Divine Lightning was published, I felt a wave of relief that the three year odyssey of translation, collation and publishing delays had finally ended. Now the matter was complete and this would be a magnum opus of the theology of Muslim Orthodoxy and a warning to laymen indulging in takfir.

The mammoth of machine gun takfir had already been creeping and lurking in the shadows before the publishing of the book at the hands of a zealous youth in the local area who had as much association with true knowledge of Islam as I do ancient Turkish shamanism.

He had gathered around him a number of fresh faced youths, stumbling and bumbling in their pronunciation of Surat ul-Fatihah; but they were certain in the knowledge that a waiting list of Muslims were now unbelievers based upon the statement of their shaykh or mawlana.

Curiously, I had the opportunity to make hajj the previous year and some of these individuals had come with me. As a testament to their truly surface and often insultingly pathetic knowledge of Islam, they were woefully ignorant of most of the issues pertaining to Hajj and even questioned the knowledge and motives of our Hajj guide.

This blew over after some time, but then they continued in their folly, refusing to pray in Masjid ul-Haram and praying in stairwells; all of this being substantiated by the “knowledge” that all the imams in the Sacred Masjid were cultists (this seems strange as at one point among the senior scholars there – before his removal – was Shaikh Muhammad `Alawi al-Maliki; but I digress).

I stood in disgust as Muslim brothers intentionally avoided being in the most sacred masjid on Earth for the five prayers and preferred to loaf around their hotels like the unemployed. What are these people doing?

Just as the fitnah had come it was over as we had completed Hajj, our visit to Madinah and then travelled back to the UK. I was now safely in a different area and away from the fitnah of the takfir.

This fitnah rose its’ head again recently when I found my name on a list of some perhaps 9 other people who had received takfir. I felt honoured to have been mentioned in the same breathe as some great scholars but angered that it was only in the capacity of takfir.

The deafening sound of animosity, hatred and revenge was growing as brother after brother came to me. When the number hit 10 I knew it was an issue and decided that the individual must be contacted.

Numerous attempts to speak with him failed, two attempts at face to face contact never happened as he ducked meeting me. I wondered what type of man I must be facing who would call someone a kafir behind his back but then not defend his ideas and suppositions in private.

When we realised that the second arranged meeting would not happen, we left from our local masjid to go home. While at the house, I received a riotous phone call with brothers arguing and one of them explaining that now the pint sized “mufti of the mortals” had arrived, in all of his hate filled regalia; but he was still not prepared to meet. Then after some ducking and dodging he came on the phone.

Evasive and his voice quaking, he seemed agitated. My point was simple. We need to meet regarding this takfir on laymen, teachers, scholars and such and if he did not arrange it in one week, I would have to take steps to meet him every day at his lecture until the matter was resolved.

He spoke very wearily and hung up the phone. This had been ten days after meeting with two Salafis who had a rank hatred for what I had translated in the Divine Texts and statements I had made about Salafiyyah.

I heard nothing for four days and then received a call from a colleague close to our Sunni zealot. He had explained over the phone in soft and delicate language that he wanted to speak privately just between a few of us and that they wanted to clarify some issues.

My exact statement over the phone was that I will not be coming for a debate or any discussion, only to clarify the fact that the charges of kufr that were being thrown around are incorrect, that he is not one of the People of Knowledge, in word or deed.

After the call, the date was set. I would have to meet them after sunset, Friday going into Saturday after 9pm. I decided that I would bring some witnesses and record it as I knew that what I was going to say had far reaching consequences and I wanted there to be no misunderstanding in the issue.

The day rolled around and I knew that the believers were gathering. I was now present in the masjid and the people began to file in; unfortunately, as I suspected the individual on the phone did not bring the small amount of people that he said he was going to bring.

Half of the elder leadership in the city (perhaps half of whom were not literate in Arabic) came in and sat down across from me (most of whom without giving salam), thus already these geriatric men were setting the standard that they wanted this to be a battle.

Before I knew it, more of the witnesses arrived with the brothers that had brought me to the masjid. There were now some 25 people present. The organisers did not want to have witnesses for their actions. The brother of takfir or “the mawlana” appeared but was cowering and glowering behind the jalabiyyahs of two other people.

He hid and avoided eye contact consistently and did not want to even look any of the people in the face. I made it clear and told the organisers that I would not allow the crowd of now 30 people to interrupt the discussion and that I wanted them to be present as since the takfir was public, the gathering must be public.

A flurry of Urdu began, which I answered in Arabic, stating that I do not care what anyone had to say in their language and that the language of Islam is Arabic. We will not be hiding behind Urdu tonight. After a 15 minute delay, I was allowed to speak.

I began, translating my statements from Arabic to English as I discussed that apostasy is what happens when a Muslim disbelieves and that takfir is to be given to such a one by a scholar or panel of them and not laymen.

From there I went into the three conditions of takfir, the 6 impediments of takfir and the four types of takfir delivered by the scholars. Once this was done, I finally rounded the matter out that takfir and dispute in it has nothing to do with the foundation of faith

(translation: if there is an individual that has done kufr and then two scholars make their ruling, one saying he is an unbeliever and another saying otherwise, they are not to resort to calling eachother unbelievers).

After I completed my opening statement, there was a barrage of questions brought forward by one of the shaykhs that our companion of takfir had brought with him. It seems that although wearing clerical robes and murmuring pious platitudes with his eyes rolling back in his head, he could not defend himself in English, let alone the Arabic of Islamic thought.

The first question asked of me was whether or not I was Deobandi. My answer was that if someone could find a single Pakistani or Indian in my family I would pay that person as such a thing was far fetched indeed. Asian faces looked rigid and so did mine. I had little time for their games.

I had no interest in the Deoband/Jama`ah Ahle Sunnat issue. My main issue was to cut the takfir issue off at the head. Due to the fact that I was “sometimes seen with Deobandis,” the shaykh brought to speak for the takfir mawlana saw this as a question mark over my head.

I stated that I had not taken an oath of allegiance to any Deobandis (which for some reason was being circulated) nor did I have any Deobandis as a spiritual guide.

However, I continued, there were brothers from the jama`ah that I held in high regard. I went about, referring to my opening statements on takfir, stating that Riyadh ul-Haq and Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari could not be called unbelievers as the conditions, impediments and forms of takfir could not be satisfied.

I further when on to mention that the second of the two Imams had learned the creed from Shaikh Muhammad `Abdul Latif Al-Farfur,  so was the Hanafi Grand Mufti of Damascus kafir for associated with someone believed to be a kafir?

The next question that came on the tongue of one of the mouthpieces of the takfir machine brother was why I had written in the Divine Lightning the expression, “may Allah be pleased with him,” after the name of Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah.

My reply is that I had not written it, but that the author of the work, Shaikh Sulaiman ibn `Abdul Wahhab, had written it. A few swallows and gasps went around the room so I opened the plastic bag I had brought and pulled out the oldest manuscript of the book. If they even asked for it, they were going to get it. They saw my ready hand and left the matter.

Instead they asked me what my position was on Imam Ibn Taymiyyah. I asked… which Ibn Taymiyyah? Majd ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah? Shihab ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah? Fakhr ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah? `Abdullah ibn Taymiyyah?

Which Ibn Taymiyyah? (the reason I did this was break the audience and the three mouthpieces and their takfir machine out of the funk in some people’s minds that when you hear Ibn Taymiyyah you were meant to have a knee jerk reaction).

He failed to mention Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah but instead said that he was referring to the one called astray by Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haitami (with his living some 200 years after the events of the life of Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah, it is difficult to understand why someone who is supposed to be a scholar would quote tertiary sources rather than primary and secondary).

The crowd was building as more brothers came into the room from outside. It looked like the room had about 40-45 people in it. It was like another jumu`ah prayer was in session.

My statement was to quote the fact that the scholars did differ about Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah and the 11 main masa’il of dispute between them. The chosen shaykh for the night was not happy with the answer and continued to ask what I said about him, to which my reply is that I don’t say anything as I quote the scholars and their positions, not pass rulings.

In a fury, he asked that if he was called astray by Imam Al-Haitami, how could the Imam put a statement of mercy in the book? My statement was that there were even some who did make takfir, but this had nothing to do with the foundation of the religion.

Thus two scholars could hold diametrically opposed positions about one individual without both of them having to be called unbelievers. This was the nature of Takfir bil-Mu`ayyin (Engl. The takfir of the individual).

I translated back into English the questions asked and also the statements but the said shaykh was not happy and hit out again, asking what I say if they say he is deviant. I knew at this point that I was being asked a question that would define my faith.

Based on one individual, it would be decided if I was going to be Muslim or not, a game I refused to play. Instead I asked the group mufti if he would consider making takfir on Imams Ibn Kathir, Adh-Dhahabi and others, as they not only asked for mercy on Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah but referred to him as Shaikh ul-Islam.

He would not answer the question (really, who would want to make takfir on these Imams?) and I could see a disturbing picture emerge. The group mufti was the trigger man for the takfir machine cowering behind the group.

It also needs to be mentioned that many of the people in the time of Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah that made takfir or called him astray were the very ones who prayed on him along with other Muslims when he died. The shaykh did not accept this point.

He also had no understanding of Takfir bil-Mu`ayyin; this would not be the only frightening issue for that evening. I was further asked regarding my statement that most claimants to Shaikh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani today are inauthentic to which I held to it and quoted the issue and even the book where it had come through.

It seems someone had shown shaykh sahib my Our Failure is Our Loss on the topic and he was steamed (I have reproduced the text under the same heading that you have read this article under and do so proudly and unapologetically and still defy anyone to come with otherwise).

The Shaikh had three khulafa’, Imams Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah (d. 620 AH), `Abdur-Rahman ibn Al-Jawzi (d. 597 AH) and `Abdul Ghani ibn `Abdul Wahid al-Maqdisi (d. 600 AH) and according to some accounts one more. There were no successors that the Imam gave license and permission to in order to pass on his Tariqah that were not Hanbalis.

We know who these people were and they were the very ones that handed down his books to us. We have a huge amount of information about him, but it is through these men that we received it.

I did not say that there were no murids from other madhhabs, as some historians claim that Imam Mu`in ud-Din Chishti met him; but again, we have no sanad, thabat or chain of transmission in Tariqah to him or any other non-Hanbalis.

So where did they get this knowledge? Well, it is a claim at best until it is proven. The mufti of the group was angered by this but more so when I cross examined him and asked if he drank coffee, tea, slept on the floor or covered his head as a compulsory act at all times during his waking hours.

It had not been my attempt to offend him but one thing was for sure; we are not going to redact our position back on one of the Imams of my madhhab.

Shaikh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, may Allah be pleased with him, did not do the dhikr that was attributed to him, celebrate banquets in his own honour or his own birthday and death anniversary throughout the year and such (how could he when he was alive? To celebrate his own death anniversary would be quite bizarre and his three or four successors didn’t do it either).

The dispute in this matter was left and it was brought back around to the topic of Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah, with the group mufti saying that the creed of Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah is the same as that of Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab.

I realised at that point that he had no knowledge of history, Salafiyyah or the Imams of the School of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. I had asked before if anyone had a problem with the creed of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah be pleased with him and if they were upon his creed or not?

They claimed they were upon his creed. I then said that this meant they had to listen to everything that I said and not make takfir and then hold that other people had to do the same thing.

This situation carried on for some length until he asked me if I make takfir on the Salafiyyah cult and the Deobandis who had Salafiyyah within them. At that point, I had to be very clear and careful.

I began with the statement that firstly Deoband is not a cult and that Shaikh Ahmad Rida Khan knew of them and respected them before some of them studied with members of Salafiyyah so their beginning and foundation was not as a cult.

Deoband has two sets within them: those who are connected with the Salafiyyah of Lucknow, which is Salafiyyah and has the sixteen masa’il of Salafiyyah with few distinctions.

Then there are those of Deoband who may have some of the masa’il and do not know that they have borrowed them. Some of the Deoband members that have left their confines and studied in more depth have moved outside of its’ strictures and received much benefit.

As for Salafiyyah, yes it is a cult; but the takfir upon it is general. Thus when the scholars say that, “Salafis are kuffar, they are followers of Musailimah…their teacher and head is a false prophet…” this is a general statement without saying that each and every Salafi is a kafir.

This is the Takfir Ta’ifat ul-Kufr: the takfir of a group. This takfir of a group is without saying each and every one is an unbeliever. Those that have been named by the scholars have takfir ul-mu`ayyin but without saying each and any.

The chosen shaykh was furious with this and began to ask how someone could doubt that their kuffar, that Ahmadiyyah are kuffar and so forth. I stated that the kufr is not the issue but whether each and every single individual was an unbeliever.

He asked me about Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab and I informed him of the statements of the scholars regarding him, his sons and grandsons. He asked me about Salafiyyah of India and I gave the same statement.

Finally, in his anger, he asked me if I made takfir on the individuals that he named. I stated that I accept the statement of the scholars but I do not state that whoever did not make takfir on them is an unbeliever because none of the scholars ever had this attitude with any of the forms of takfir except the one that involves someone mentioned by name in the Qur’an.

I watched as the shaykh pulled out a copy of Imam Ahmad Rida Khan’s Hussam ul-Haramain. He asked if I had heard of the document and I affirmed that I indeed knew of the text. What happened next was most curious indeed.

The shaykh for the takfir mawlana then asked if I agreed with the takfir that had been made by the author (Imam Ahmad Rida Khan) and also the Imams of Makkah, Madinah and other locations that had affirmed the fatwa. When I affirmed the same, the shaykh became elated and asked if I would make takfir by name on the individuals mentioned.

I answered in the negative, stating that I held the takfir of the Imams of the Holy Sanctuaries, in that the actions were kufr and the Takfir bil-Ijtihad was their right and office. As for the Takfir bil-Mu`ayyin, I do not make that ruling or the one of ijtihad, but merely affirm them.

He insisted however that I affirm them and make takfir on the individuals in the book by name. Why would I not myself make takfir on Ghulam Ahmad and other figures, to which my reply was that the Qadis who sentence on others make takfir while we affirm the generalities and what they had mentioned.

The shaykh of the night would not have this and insisted that whoever did not call them kuffar or doubted in the kufr of any one of them was a kafir. When I heard this, I queried about whether every single and all of the masses of Deobandis and Salafis, Ahmadis and the like were unbelievers, which he readily admitted.

When he did this, I informed him that he had just made takfir on the children, women, old men and ignorant people among them. Furthermore, I stated that neither the author of the work nor the scholars that agreed said that anyone who did not agree or doubted in the kufr of those individuals was an unbeliever.

I further stated that in this issue he was actually in agreement with Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab. The shaykh vigorously disagreed and said he was not Salafi in this issue and would show me the proofs. The crowd waited while the pages of Hussam ul-Haramain were flicked back and form.

It must be here somewhere, I could see his raised eyebrows saying. As the minutes clocked by I knew he would not find it. I had read the book cover to cover along with the one against Nadwat ul-`Ulama and no such ruling had been brought into place.

While the shaykh was busy ruminating over his statements, others jumped in to try to catch me out on Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah, the Qadiris and other issues, which were revisited again.

The old shaykh did not find the point, but still stick to his guns in spite of the absence of such a ruling in the text. I calmly submitted to him that we are reading the same book but coming to radically different positions.

He again re-iterated that whoever did not call them kafir was himself a kafir and the same for the one who doubted it. I decided to cut to the chase and narrated an incident. Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf ath-Thaqafi was one of the great murderers of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, and there were two positions regarding him.

Sayyiduna `Abdullah ibn az-Zubair, may Allah be pleased with him, as a mujtahid, made takfir bil-Mu`ayyin and said he was an unbeliever; but Sayyiduna Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, held a position with Takfir bil-Ijtihad and condemned the actions.

Did either of these two make takfir on the other? No they did not, I insisted to the shaykh. The reason for this was the issue of takfir bil-Mu`ayyin has nothing to do with the foundation of faith, so because we differ over this issue of takfir, we do not call one another kuffar.

I saw the shaykh recline back and he was not able to formulate any response in this regard. I translated to the crowd while I heard them speak in very noisy Urdu. A dear brother of mine, Qari `Imran, jumped from the crowd and came over to my side to explain what was going on in Urdu.

I was brought up to date and informed that they were not accurately telling the other Urdu speaking only people there what was going on or translating into English. Unfortunately, this really did nothing but make an argument for an advocate for Darwinism that there is a link between the human race and a reptilian ancestor.

The end result that these three men came to was that I was not from Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah. The reason for this was that I refused to make takfir on the people mentioned. I asked the shaykh which group I was seeing that I was not from Muslim Orthodoxy and my ticket had been revoked.

But there would be no answer…Urdu would be used and hidden behind…no challenge…be quiet or we’ll make takfir on you…no questions allowed.

I then said to the crowd, “So now you can see that the shaykh here does not believe that interpretation is one of the impediments of takfir, he believes takfir is from the foundation of the faith and does not know the conditions, impediments and forms of takfir.”

I said the same to the shaykh, but he was not interested. I then further stated that I had accomplished what I had come to do. I had advised against the takfir mawlana, I had stated that in this issue he is upon the creed of the Khawarij and that the people around him don’t know proper Islam but they know that other people are unbelievers.

There was a great deal of crowd interaction and things were wrapped up very quickly. People young and old were able to see that they had no impediments of takfir in any systematic context and that they would use it against any perceived enemies.

Many brothers had been shocked at the virulent and wholly unscholarly display by the takfir mawlana’s team. I had been patient, spoken about what I meant to and controlled the direction throughout. I had accomplished my goal, defended people from the unacceptable brush of domino takfir and also kept to the Consensus of the Scholars that not every cultist was a kafir.

I quickly informed his people that the takfir mawlana should be stripped of all speaking posts and should relearn his creed, fiqh and other knowledge (if he had truly acquired any) in its’ entirety. Whether this would happen or not is something in the Knowledge of Allah.

I had felt the weight of Muslim Orthodoxy and thousands of years on my back; my only hope is that I had done those ancient worthies proud and silenced takfir.

I felt that I had basically summarised The Divine Lightning in the whole 2 hrs and 9min discussion that had occurred. The scholars, the inheritors, the lamps of the Ummah and their understanding, had been defended by a miserable slave of Allah, but nonetheless defended.

The takfir mawlana left the same way he had come and how he had been throughout my whole presentation: silent. This is what I had wanted. I desired nothing from him but silence.

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Book Review: A God Who Hates

Figure 1A: A God Who Hates, offered in Hebrew translation.
Figure 1A: A God Who Hates, offered in Hebrew translation.

The reader would say from the outset that it was very difficult to get through this particular work; this was not due to the title or any saucy (or original) material prepared by the writer of the work.

No…instead it was how mechanical and boring it read. One who found himself reading through this book could only complete such a work after making a firm oath to do so or perhaps being threatened with rendition.

I believed that I would read about an author who prayed, fasted and then some tragic or severe event in her life began to re-shape her world view. Is she not the same Wafa Sultan described as “being raised in a devout Muslim family?”

Someone would expect this reading from someone casting herself as an authority and being held in esteem by others for her unique inside knowledge of Islam.

Any reader will be sorely disappointed once the dust jacket is cracked up and the words inside are read. Wafa Sultan memorably states, “Baniyas’s proximity to the sea had made it accessible to European tourism and kept it comparatively free of the constraints of Islamic law, which shackled the lives of the inhabitants of Aleppo.” A God Who Hates, pp. 22-23

If this was free of Islamic law, then how did the author grow up to be a devout Muslim? Further confusion comes from the fact that there is no mention in any of the pages of this work regarding her worship, hijab, wudu’ or any of the other external and cultured signs of Islam that someone would expect from a “devout Muslim family.”

The only thing we are able to put together is that there was a second marriage in the family to produce a son who would be his heir, Sultan’s mother was beaten mercilessly and other things that leave the reader wondering how this all ties in as a polemic against Islam.

Also balance this against the fact that Syria is ruled the Alawi Shi`ah cult and the legal system is pulled from French (primarily), American and British legal codes. There are a few tumbleweeds of Revealed Law in a few family matters like custody and some other things, but how Islam plays an over arching role in a Syrians life is humorous at best when remembering this Ba`athist regime.

We then have Morad, the husband of Wafa Sultan, who abandoned his own wife to go to the United States, knowing that she had little or no chance of getting out of the place without his written consent. (A God Who Hates, pp. 93-94;)

She stated in another section of her book, “I am a Muslim woman. Yes, I think of myself as a Muslim, whether or not I believe in Islam. I did not choose to be a Muslim, but it is not within my power to make myself anything else.” (A God Who Hates, pp. 113-114).

It is in works like this (which I affectionately call Professional Apostate Literature or PAL) that we often find an author claiming that they are still Muslim although they are atheists, strident homosexuals or any other manner of clear rebellion. Not only am I Muslim, but I don’t accept revelation, the Revealed Law, the Lord who revealed it; but I am still Muslim.

Let us be clear here…no you’re not. This is not Judaism where one can be just like Albert Einstein or Sigmund Freud and claim Judaism although rejecting their Lord. Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and other secular Jews are making reference to the fact that although they reject the religion of their family, they are still racially Hebrew (if their claims to Hebrew stock are to be believed although we have yet to get any independent data on their Semititude) or “Jew” for shorthand.

Thus they may have rejected the religion of their race, but they still identify with the struggles and emancipation of their perspective ethnic group. The same could be said of a Black man in the United States who rejects his Christian religious faith (which is still so integral in Black culture to be almost inseparable) but is still dedicated to Black emancipation. The same could be said for the one who rejects his Hindu faith but as an Indian is still heavily involved in Asian issues.

This works for these groups as no formal and uniform definition has been given for someone who is to belong to their faith; but this did not occur with the Muslims. Islam is not a race but a revealed religion. Most Arabs today (and 52% of Palestinians, 22% of Egyptians and some 15% or more of “Jordanians”) are Christians and not Muslims. We have a definition of what Islam is and what it means as defined by its’ Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

The Companion Ibn `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saying, ‘Islam is built on five: the testimony of there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the prayer, discharging the Zakah, making Hajj and fasting Ramadan.’[1]

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, also said, “When you have subdued the people of a city or a fortress, if they testify that there is no god but Allah, they have the same rights as you and they have the same laws against them as what you have.” [2]

Al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that he said one day, “Messenger of Allah, What would you say if I met a man from the idol worshippers and he fought me. He struck one of my hands with the sword and cut it off.

He ran away from me to a tree and then he said, ‘I have submitted to Allah. I am Muslim.’ Shall I then kill him, Messenger of Allah, after he said it?” He said, “Do not kill him.”

So I said, “Messenger of Allah, he has cut off one of my hands! He only said those words after he cut my hand! So should I kill him?” He said, “Do not kill him. If you killed him then he would have been a Muslim like you before you killed him. After you killed him, you would have been an unbeliever like him before he had submitted.” [3]

Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, related that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Whoever prays as we do, becomes Muslim and faces the Qiblah as we do, eats of our sacrifices, then this is a Muslim to whom Allah and His Messenger have granted protection. So do not betray Allah in His Protection that was granted to him.” [4]

`Ubaidullah ibn `Adi ibn al-Khiyar, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that a man from the Helpers spoke of someone who had come to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in a gathering and then sought permission to kill a man from the hypocrites.

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, spoke up and said, “Does he not bear witness that there is no god but Allah?” The man said, “Yes, but there is no testimony for him.” He then asked, “Does he pray?” He said, “Yes, but there is no prayer for him.” He said, “These are the people whom Allah has forbidden from being killed.” [5]

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “Whoever is pleased with Allah as Lord, Islam as religion and Muhammad as Prophet has tasted the sweetness of faith.” [6]

`Ubadah as-Samit, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated from the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, who said, “Whoever bears witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, Allah has made the Fire impermissible for him.” [7]

Thus we were not told, “Whoever said he was Muslim no matter what and rejected revelation shall go to the Paradise.” No! Whoever believed that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah shall go to Paradise.

This is not the only contradiction that Wafa Sultan offers us. She often questions polygamy (for some reason the people who have never been fully involved in it or raised in it have the most to say about it) and asks what responsibility men hold for what is in her opinion a dastardly crime. (A God Who Hates, pp. 120-131)

Nevermind the fact that the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, took care of all of his wives and maintained them until the day that he died and the Muslim community later maintained them. It is of no consequence that these “products of men who have let their desires run free” have produced some of the greatest minds, scientists and upright people of history.

Are we able to say that the prophets Ibrahim, Isma`il, Ishaq, Ya`qub, Imams Ahmad ibn Hanbal,  `Ali ibn Abi Talib, `Abdur-Rahman ibn Al-Jawzi, my grandfather and father did not take care of their responsibilities.

I, as a product of polygamy, can see first hand that I was pushed hard in education and speak more than one language. Members of my family were and are polyglots for the most part due to globetrotting, expulsion from countries in the Middle Ages and so forth.

If we should look at the country that she fled to – the United States – which is supposed to be a bastion of monogamy, what have they accomplished? With 5,000 children dead from gang violence between the years of 1988-1992 from monogamy or “strong women who did it themselves,” I have not seen the success.

If the Muslims were so sexually depraved, why is it that every 60 seconds a woman is raped and a child is molested according to US crime statistics? This would not seem like a country that fosters love and unity.

A careful read in the book with also reveal the starry eyed lies of this writer when during her whole time on the West Coast of the United States – the gang capital of the planet – she stays safely nestled away in the hills and other areas, pretending to be part of the American dream.

One will find no mention of her visits to Compton, Inglewood, Watts, San Francisco’s Hunter’s Point, West Covina Pacoima and other places that are not fit for human habitation.

Her visits in Long Beach are unsurprisingly short and limited to a tiny tip of the city that is sometimes not even counted as Long Beach, California. In the very epicentre of gang banging by Arab youths in LA, no mention is made of this fact.

She makes the same error as people in the United States make when referring to the niqab as the burqa` (A God Who Hates, pp. 148-149). This leads me to cast further doubt upon her knowledge of Arabic or Islam when she does not know the difference between the niqab and the burqa`.

My doubts are further augmented when she said that Islam forbids the translation of the Qur’an into other languages besides the original Arabic, (A God Who Forbids, pp. 165-166).

If this was the case, then why did Salman Al-Farisi, may Allah be pleased with him, translate extracts to his people in Farsi. Further, why were sections of it translated when it was sent to Muqawqis (a Coptic speaking Orthodox Christian), Negus (Amharic speaking Orthodox Christian)?

In fact, the entire dialogue between the great theologian Ja`far ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, and the Negus was done through translators and the verses translated.

Muslims theologians have never said the Qur’an cannot be translated. The theologians have said that a translation of the Qur’an is not the Qur’an as that is not what was revealed on 27 Ramadan 12 BH.

One cannot read the Qur’an in English and derive rulings for juristic matters and legal foundations although they can derive devotional benefits from reading a translation. The English translation of the Qur’an does not require the reader to have wudu’ before touching it as the English or translation is not the revelation.

Sultan proves herself wrong yet again on the topic of disliking of the language used by the Holy One in describing the unbelievers (A God Who Hates, pp.169-170), the prohibition of usury and the imagery that the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, utilises to drive home the point of how severe a sin usury is in its’ affect on society (A God Who Hates, pp. 171-172) and numerous other issues.

Someone looking into the affair will find that her problems range from everything from what Allah revealed all the way to sexuality and ethics. Much of her opinions expressed sound borderline psychotic (which perhaps for a secular Arab from a Ba`ath regime that studied American psychology intensively in the gang and serial killer capital of the world doesn’t sound so out of place or bizarre) when looked at in normal circumstances.

Consider statements from Wafa Sultan such as: If Pakistani mothers raised their children better, Pakistan would be the Switzerland of the Middle East (A God Who Hates, pp. 144-145), when her son Mazen’s hearing returned after medical treatment, she chanted to her husband, “Long Live America” (A God Who Hates, pp. 98-99), when a teacher by the name of Mr. Wilson brought her son to her in order to pick up the hearing aid that had been lost, Sultan made a link to `Umar ibn Al-Khattab and stated, “Long Live Mr Wilson and everlasting death to Omar ibn al-Khattab!” (A God Who Hates, pp. 100-101).

Other pearls of wisdom include the old canard about “women being the majority of the people of the Fire” (A God Who Hates, pp. 137-138), quoting a false hadith that “a man has a right to expect his wife, if his nose runs with blood, mucus or pus, to lick it up with her tongue” (A God Who Hates, pp. 138-139), Muslims living in the West are hypocrites (A God Who Hates, pp. 145-146), by holding a Qur’an memorising contest in Anaheim, California, American troops and the US government interests in Iraq were being put in harms way (A God Who Hates, pp. 150-151).

Of course there is more, but every intelligent person that can read these quotes in context can be sure of one thing. There is something wrong with Wafa Sultan that was there before she had her problem with Islam. The early chapters of her book describe how her toxic and diseased attitude toward men developed.

In her boasting about her appearance on Al-Jazeera, she left out (and most rightly for someone trying to save her credibility) her seemingly being cornered by an Algerian professor (Ahmad bin Muhammad, Professor of Religious Politics, Algiers) on the fact that she has sided with a country (the United States) that has the blood of millions of Native Americans, Blacks, Latinos and others on its’ hands domestically and not just internally.

As an immigrant to the United States and perhaps not knowing English very well (she’s only been there over 20 years, give her time!), she might have forgot this part. Rather than admit that she might need more study, or simply state, “I will look into this matter but until further notice, I hold to my aforementioned position,” she stepped into strange waters.

She brazenly pursed her lips and shouted towards her opponent, “Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. America was founded in 1776, approximately 300 years later. You cannot blame America – as a constitution, regime and a state – for killing the Indians.”

I had to watch this twice to be sure that Mrs Sultan was not under the influence of hallucinogenic products. Professor Muhammad was not referring to Christopher Columbus’s landing in 1492 (although much could be said for his 1493 return to Hispaniola on behalf of the crown to exterminate the Carib peoples and make room for expansion), but rather the establishment of the United States.

Unless you work for the Smithsonian Institute or the Waffen SS 21st century, those who access history and know the sources texts are aware that upon arrival of American settlers and the founding of the United States, there were close to 100 million people in what is now the continental United States.

Part of the Aztec Empire stretched into the southwestern states that make the West Coast of the United States and of course the dirty matter of the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Between 60-100 million people just up and disappeared from the African continent and strangely found their way in the United States where they still reside in ghetto/internment camp circumstances for the most part.

If one would like to know more about the slaughterhouse enacted by the United States government, referring to the works of Russell Means, Ward Churchill (with a bibliography of 500 sources for one book alone), as well as articles penned by the Muckleshoot, Lummi, Onandaga and numerous other reports.

The writer, upon completing this Herculean task of finishing Wafa Sultan’s book was left with one thought: if she apostated, then it is better for the Muslim world. We need no such people in our ranks. Let these countries have our theological ranks.

Although it is not a fair trade I will gladly take the intellectuals that have come into our ranks from the unbelievers from the unbelievers. When your intelligentsia deserts you, the next thing is the collapse of your civilisation.

As long as we keep receiving the Abdul Hakim Murads, Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthalls, Malcolm Xs and so many others, let us gladly give up a Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Bilquis Sheikh. Let’s make room for a smarter, sharper and more helpful member in the Ummah.

We don’t want people who are Muslim when life is in your favour. We want the people who came in when it is not advantageous. We should welcome the Makkan Muslim and keep the Madani on the far wing. Remember that 500 Makkan Muslims were tortured and it didn’t shake their faith.

It took a change of address to Madinah and the first hypocrites to appear in that city. Perhaps we have too many old Madanis that need to be discarded for more Makkans. I welcome them and their contribution…and this is why I can safely and confidently say goodbye to Wafa Sultan and her poorly written mumblings.

[1] Collected by Imams Muhammad ibn Isma`il al-Bukhari in his Al-Jami` us-Sahih, Book of Iman under the chapter, Your Supplication is YourFaith; Muslim ibn Al-Hajjaj in his Al-Jami` us-Sahih, Book of Faith, under the chapter, Explanation of Islam, Iman and Ihsan, the Necessity of Faith in what Allah, Glorified and Exalted has Destined and Decisive Evidence on Rebuking Whoever Does not Believe it, and classed by both of them as authentic.

[2] Collected by Imams Muslim ibn Al-Hajjaj in Al-Jami` us-Sahih, Book of Jihad under the chapter of the Permissibility of Making War Against the Unbelievers who Have Been Sent the Call of Islam and That They Do Not Have to be Informed of the Approaching March and classed by him as authentic.

[3] Collected by Imams Muhammad ibn Isma`il al-Bukhari in Al-Jami` us-Sahih, Book of Battles under the Subchapter; Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj in Al-Jami` us-Sahih, Book of Faith under the chapter of the Impermissibility of Killing the Unbeliever who said that there is no god but Allah and classed by both of them as authentic.

[4] Collected by Imam Al-Bukhari in Al-Jami` us-Sahih, Book of Prayer under the chapter of Facing the Qiblah and classed by him as authentic.

[5] Collected by Imam Malik ibn Anas in Al-Muwatta’, pp. 131-132 and classed by him as authentic

[6] Collected by Imam Muslim ibn Al-Hajjaj in Al-Jami` us-Sahih, Book of Faith under the chapter of the Evidence that Whoever is Pleased with Allah as Lord, Islam as Religion and Muhammad as Messenger is a Believer, Even if He Does Major Sins and classed by him as authentic.

[7] Collected by Imam Muslim ibn Al-Hajjaj in Al-Jami` us-Sahih, Book of Faith under the chapter of the Evidence that Whoever Dies on Tawhid Will Enter the Paradise and classed by him as authentic.

New Release


Figure 1A: The earliest work against Salafiyyah is now in English for the first time with accompanying notes.
Figure 1A: The earliest work against Salafiyyah is now in English for the first time with accompanying notes.

as-Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah,

We praise Allah for His Favours as He has blessed us with another release. It is our hope that this will be the mainstay and most authoritative work on Salafiyyah from the great responsa literature of Muslim Orthodoxy.


brother in Islam,

Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far al-Hanbali

Q and A with Feedback: Hanbalis of Egypt?

Figure 1A: One of Imam Mansur Al-Buhuti’s (d. 1051 AH) many books, Kash-shaf ul-Qina`.

As-Salaamu Alaikum, Al-Hajj.

I have a question regarding something I heard recently. There was a statement made by someone in a gathering that the Hambalee madhhab has not been taught at Al-Azhar for some 900 years. After that, disparaging remarks were then mentioned about Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah. Please clarify this issue.

Wa-Alaikum us-Salaamu wa Rahmatullah,

Noble brother,

Thank you for the question and may Allah reward you. Let it be understood that the spelling for the madhhab of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal is Hanbali (or Hanbalee) and not Hambalee. Although it is pronounced this way, it is not spelled in this fashion. One will not see Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s name spelled in this way.

1) As for the question regarding the individual making the claim, it would be enough to quote a number of scholars from the school that were teaching there to show this individual (who is supposed to have some affiliation to Al-Azhar) to be a liar.

Imam Muhammad ibn Muhammad as-Sa`di (d. 900 AH/AD 1495), may Allah have mercy on him, attended Al-Azhar and was also teaching there and was also an advisor.

Imam Taqi ud-Din Al-Futuhi (d. 972 AH/AD 1565), may Allah be pleased with him, also taught people at the veranda of Al-Azhar and was among the greatest scholars in Egypt. Imam Mansur al-Buhuti (d. 1051 AH/AD1656), may Allah be pleased with him, at one point taught there and was at the veranda teaching the people.

The first scholar to pass a fatwa against the selling of land to European Jews invading Sham was none other than Imam Muhammad `Abdul Latif as-Subki (d. 1391 AH/AD 1970), Azhari scholar and also head of judiciary. He is also the first to write a detailed refutation of Sayyid Qutb.

`Abdul Karim as-Subki, may Allah preserve him, also taught there in the early sixties and seventies for tajwid. Even today, the writer knows two people that are at the level of mufti and faqih and teach on the grounds of Al-Azhar.

This is only some of what makes it sufficient to brand such a person a liar, not to mention the fact that Imam `Abdullah al-Qaddumi (1331 AH/AD 1919) and others from Nablus had either passed through or were on post there and teaching.

Perhaps a few things should be kept in mind,

  1. Most of the great Hanbali scholars did not affix the title “Al-Azhari” to their name. One of the reasons for this is that (especially recently) how closely Al-Azhar is associated with the government (which is socialist) and limits the speaking and movement of the scholars by government appointments.
  2. Hanbalis throughout history have always remained politically independent to avoid the fiqh and the madhhab itself from becoming distorted.
  3. There has not been a Hanbali “Shaikh ul-Azhar” in history as far as I have researched. Some of the reasons for this are the following: 1) Hanbalis could not and have never accepted the Ash`ari creed as the sole representative creed of Muslim Orthodoxy, a position advanced by some Azhar Imams; 2) Since the socialist takeover, Azhar heads have been mostly government appointed and Hanbalis despise big government (as can be seen in Tabaqat ul-Hanabilah and all the violence between governments and Hanbali Imams) and high authority and would not give up their autonomy; 3) the fact that the University was a Shi`a haven (and is starting to become one again ever since Mahmud Shaltut declared them from Muslim Orthodoxy) in times past is also a reason why they would be concerned.
  4. The Hanbali Imams at the veranda of Al-Azhar – then and now – have been able to remain autonomous and free from the government and its’ tentacles.
  5. Think: when was the last time a Hanbali told Muslim students in France (as the Shafi`ii Sayyid at-Tantawi distorted his madhhab) that removing their khimar was compulsory and protecting the welfare of Muslims is more important?
  6. When was the last time a Hanbali Imam told followers (as the Hanafi Yusuf al-Qardawi) that their Imam was backward in many ways? When was the last time a Hanbali Imam stood (as the Hanafi Mu`tazilah Mahmud Shaltut did) and said that the Prophet `Isa, peace be upon him, was dead and will not return and also riba is permitted? The closer one is to government, the more dangerous it is to their faith and it will have an impact on the rulings.

Al-Qadi Abu Ya`la the Elder thought rightly when he answered the khalifah of his time when requested to be chief Qadi after Ibn Makula. He gave him a number of conditions, one of which was that he could not be prevented, rebuked or prosecuted for what he would say or influenced by any officials.

When the khalifah agreed, he basically made Al-Qadi Abu Ya`la head over the khilafah but without being responsible to the bureaucracy or the khalifah himself. This is the benefit of staying independent.

2) Regarding the same one disparaging Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d. 751 AH/AD 1350), may Allah have mercy on him, this is to be expected. There were some 11 masa’il that he differed with Muslim Orthodoxy on in creed/fiqh and some other peripheral issues. However some have used this as a reason to disparage him as an Imam altogether; this has then graduated to people vandalising his grave and the grave of Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (the people I overhead bragging about it mentioned urinating on their graves).

Both of these Imams were at the level of mujtahid murajjih and despite those divergences should still be respected for that. They did not found a cult, a religion and never believed that they were outside of the madhhab of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah be pleased with him.

At times they wrote as if they believed themselves to be outside of many of the parameters of taqlid (but Fakhr ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah did the same thing and was chided for his statements), however this had to do with their ijtihad and insight.

When speaking with Imam `Ata’ullah al-Iskandari, Imam Ibn Taymiyyah was referred to as a faqih. They are not mu`tamad, rajih or a first fatwa in the school of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, but they are respected.

The most I can say to you is to stay away from these people, as with sweeping statements and self exaltation they are not ready to guide you or mentor you. These are entertainers, only interested in tickling the ears of the ten people in the room with them. If they are a small footnote at the bottom of the last page of history, that will be too good for them.

And with Allah is every success,


Brother in Islam,

Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far al-Hanbali

Book Review: Standing Alone In Mecca

When I first picked up the book, I truly believed that this was a Hindu woman attacking Islam and poking fun at its’ theology. It was not until I opened the cover and read the dust jacket that I realised that Asra Nomani seriously claims Islam.

Claiming lineage to Shibli Nomani (is that good?), Asra Nomani used part of her lineage to leap frog her way into legitimacy when discussing Islam. The tone of her discussion smacks of such clear deception as to be obscene.

We find no one claiming to be a carpenter after reading Bob Villa’s handy workmanship guides; no one claims to be a doctor and to remove that troublesome appendix after reading JAMA Magazine;

no one claims to be an aviator or capable operator of an F-16 after viewing the film Top Gun and humming the soundtrack.

Yet with Nomani, because she was born into a family from Pakistan, had a Muslim name and happens to have lived around brown people a significant period of  her life, she somehow has a unique authority to discuss the legal principles of the religion of Islam and the foundational precepts that undergird the theology.

Someone reading the words of this journalist turned DIY theologian and mujtahid will ultimately have to come to the following conclusion: Asra Nomani is a truly shattered woman who has no idea would she is taking about and should not be on the public stage in any sort of manner.

Her problems may have begun when she met a Lutheran boyfriend who was willing to become Muslim to marry her but her family stopped her and roped her into a dead end marriage that led to a nervous breakdown (Standing Alone in Mecca, pp. 12-15).

Perhaps it was when she fornicated with her next boyfriend after the collapse of her marriage and upon revealing her pregnancy to him, she was promptly discarded:

“A pregnancy test confirmed my suspicion. I was shocked. I had never gotten pregnant before. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t wear a wedding ring, but I didn’t feel as if I had done something wrong.

I had loved my boyfriend deeply and surrendered myself to him. Even if my assumptions had been wrong, I loved him when I made this baby.

He had abandoned me, but that was not because of my failure. It was because of his fears. I called my boyfriend and asked him to visit me. He arrived that night, and I took him to my bedroom. ‘I am carrying your baby,’ I told him, sitting on the edge of my bed.

He looked at me stunned. In a pause that I filled with so many dreams he sucked his breath in hard and said, ‘I have to go.’” (Standing Alone in Mecca pp.19-20)

After having thrown caution to the winds and decided that her relationship had to be right and being unrepentant, she was shocked to be reduced to nothing but a plaything (one has to wonder what effect this had on the liberal Nomani’s democratic psyche.

Much dirt has been thrown at Muslims regarding our situation, but in majority Muslim countries, we still feel obligated to take care of our children; and also to be married before conceiving them).

Sadly, Nomani did not learn from this tragedy. Not only was she unrepentant but admittedly and unashamedly in gross violation of the Revealed Law:

“I knew of what he spoke. I didn’t pretend to be a model Muslim according to Islamic standards for rituals and external appearances. I didn’t pray the requisite five prayers a day. I didn’t cover my hair. And, yes, with my baby as evidence, I had sex outside of marriage.

Although I had a firm faith in a divine force, I didn’t invoke the name of a God who judges, punishes, and rewards. I tried simply to live as a good Muslim with humanitarian values, in the same spirit as a good Christian, Jew, Hindu, or Buddhist. I didn’t lie. I didn’t cheat. I tried not to hurt others.” Standing Alone in Mecca, pp.22-23

Her faith continued to dissolve in her claim that the chief god of Makkah was Hubal or al-Lah (Standing Alone in Mecca, pp. 58-59). Conflating between Allah and Hubal contravenes all historical evidence that we possess on the topic (please see As-Sirat un-Nabawiyyah, vol.1, pp.71-81)

Finally, Nomani reached rock bottom when she uttered, “In my heart, I felt fear and loathing for my religion. Could I remain in a religion from which so many people sprang spewing hate? Could I find speace in my religion for my kind of woman? Could I remain a Muslim? (Standing Alone in Mecca, pp. 21-22).”

This was particularly frustrated when dealing with a religion whose adherents brought us streetlights, skylighting, indoor plumbing (English people were still using chamber pots in the 1960s!), hospitals (70 built in Baghdad by AD 1000), immunisations (free and universal in the Muslim world by AD 1651),

the artificial heart valve (thanks to a fatwa by two great scholars, one Hanbali and one Maliki), the only successful operation where a parasitic cephalic infant was removed and the surviving child lived for two years (again, a fatwa from one of the great Hanbali scholars delivered in AD 1992).

Besides the Green River Killer, Charles Manson, the nuclear bomb, serial killers, Cap’n Crunch, Pop Tarts, NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association), Jehovah’s Witnesses, the LDS Church, live BBQs with lynchings, pickled Japanese penises sold in the South Pacific during WWII

(someone attempted to sell one of these trinkets to my grandfather at a 2 for 1 when he was fighting the Americans and the Nazis near the Phillipines), what on Earth has the United States ever given her or any of us?!

As a single mother, the author of  Standing Alone in Mecca, is bitter and also looking for some way to justify herself. Read her statement: “But my internal reality was very much in sync with what I knew about Hajar.

I felt such compassionate empathy with her. I had made a choice, like her, to raise my son alone, contrary to the traditions of our cultures (Standing Alone in Mecca, pp. 65-66).”

Let us understand something very clear. Our Mother Hajar, peace be upon her, was married when she conceived her son, not alone with no ring, commitment or sacramental marriage.

Our Mother Hajar, peace be upon him, was left as she was to raise her son, who was a prophet, and from his lineage would come the Final Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

Not even the Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, is spared Asra’s wrath when she ignorantly jots down in her yellow journalism style: “In today’s society, Abraham’s abandonment of mother and child in the desert would make him a deadbeat dad, sacrilegious as that sounds.

He didn’t wire Western Union child support payments to the desert. In my home state of West Virginia, social workers would have moved to dock his paycheck. I felt angry at Abraham and wondered if I could ever forgive him and feel compassion for him (Standing Alone in Mecca, pp. 65-66).”

No…The Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, was commanded by the Lord to take his family there and have them set their lives afresh there. It should be remembered that he visited them frequently and even was responsible for rebuilding the Ka`bah with his son, peace be upon both of them.

So there is no way this can be reconciled for a woman who “submitted herself” to a man who was not even committed enough to pop the question before receiving all the sacred aspects of a married life.

This should really be of no surprise, however. If the reader should scan the next line, the picture becomes even clearer: “According to the Qur’an, Allah ordered Abraham, in a test of faith, to take Hajar and Ishmael to the parched desert in the valley of Mecca.

Then called Bakkah. Hajar placed Ishmael on the same ground that now lies beneath the marble floors of the Sacred Mosque in Mecca. Abraham walked away from her after placing a bag of dates and a skin full of water beside Ishmael (Standing Alone in Mecca, pp.60-61).”

Those with an inkling of the knowledge regarding the history of the Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, and the Ka`bah, will know that the historical information surrounding Hajar and her leaving to the desert with her son are found nowhere within the Qur’an. It is actually mentioned on the hadith and tarikh literature.

Yet in spite of this Asra Nomani receives accolades from other spiritually dead activists like herself, without cross examining her on her claims (this is similar to the now discredited Amina Wadud, complete with Fatihah recitation riddled with errors while leading a mixed prayer in NYC. These things happen for a reason).

Upon comparison, I much prefer Ayan Hirsi Ali’s abrasive but openly hostile writing style. Hirsi (or perhaps Magan, depending upon which story she uses when she travels) is atheistic, does not claim to belong to the religion and is bold in her rebellion.

Nomani for some bizarre and sociopathic reason still claims Islam although by her own admission she wants nothing to do with it, does not believe it and does not respect it. Yet she made the Hajj?

In closing, I advise that we should pray for Asra Nomani to be guided. Yes, pray for her…before the time comes when someone has to pray over her. If she dies in this state, there will be nothing that we can do.

Book Review: What I Believe

I would classify Tariq Ramadan’s work as perhaps part of the Capitulation Series. These types of works are not designed to alert Muslims to the present dangers facing them and then begin the work of renewal;

but rather these works are designed to push their readers to reconcile with the world rather than try to reform and change it; pray for change, as long as it hurts no one; talk about peace and justice as long as it changes nothing; campaign for peace as long as it changes nothing.

Ramadan offers a number of anecdotes regarding his life, the theological and spiritual changes that he has undergone but nothing practical that will radically change the world around him.

His programme for change is summarised in what he calls the seven “Cs”: confidence, consistency, contribution, creativity, communication, contestation and compassion.

Yet again, of the seven “Cs,” not one of them is control, caliphate, command or any other mechanism that would lead to ruling by the Revealed Law once again. At heart a secularist, Ramadan offers one of the most frightening defences for secularism that I have read from someone claiming the testimony of faith…

“Moreover, their perception of the meaning and fundamentals of secularism stemmed from a historical misunderstanding: for North Africans, Middle East Arabs, Asians, and Turks, secularization meant an imported system imposed by colonists or implemented by such heads of state as Kamal Ataturk, Habib Bourguiba, Hafiz al-Assad, or Saddam Hussein through dictatorial policies.

Secularism and religious neutrality have mainly been perceived as processes of “de-Islamization,” or opposition to religion, entailing repressive measures: it was historically and factually impossible to associate “secularism” or “religious neutrality” with freedom and democratization.

When arriving in the West, the first generations carried with them those perceptions and that negative burden (and they often still do). [What I Believe, pp. 30-31]

Thus secularism has been accepted. It is not to be resisted but embraced. The foundational theology of secularism – its’ torchbearer being the United States – has not been sufficiently tackled by Tariq Ramadan and one often gets the impression that he is confused about how to deal with the process of renewal among the Muslims.

As per usual, he blames common Muslims for much of the world’s woes, castigates them, calls their culture in whole as not bearing fruit, in addition to claiming that a moratorium on the judicial laws of the Revealed Law is timely and necessary.

After all the ripping and tearing at all the things holy in Islam, the question to ask is…what’s left? Well, nothing. A Western, English or American Islam is being built. Let the reader cross reference this with another work: To Be A European Muslim.

Islam or Muslim as an adjective seems to be the core aim of Ramadan in the pages of his book. Citizenship is the noun, the basis, while someone may merely “happen to be a Muslim” or just happens to have been “born in a Muslim household.” What is important is national identity and contrived and written declarations on values clarification.

Tariq Ramadan states, “I have since been calling for a strict implementation of France’s 1905 law on secularism, both in letter and spirit, equally for all citizens be they Muslim or not.” (What I Believe, pp. 97-98)

Be sure to also compare this with his daring and outlandish insistence on recognition of homosexuality as a valid expression of love among Muslims (What I Believe, pp. 102-103). Even bringing this to the table for dialogue is not only dangerous but irresponsible in the great cultural war that the Muslims are engaged in with the forces of darkness.

What I Believe is not a defence of Islam against all the wicked peddlers of pornography, avarice and vice, the droppers of daisy-cutters on common believers throughout the world; rather it is a surrender.

What I Believe is nothing short of a desire to tell the bullied to stop resisting the bully, the rape to desist with struggling against the rapist.

Readers of What I Believe will find nothing new if they have read Sayyid Qutb, Maududi on the radical right fringe or Irshad Manji, Sayyid At-Tantawi, Mahmud Shaltut and Muhammad `Abduh on the radical left fringe.

The only difference is Tariq Ramadan claims that secularism and Islam are synonymous. We ask that the Lord save us from digesting such poison.

Book Review: Inside the Gender Jihad

The Worst Book I Read this Summer

I know that this title is very ominous for the reader. However I had many choices to make regarding the worst book I could have read in one summer. It was either this or the medley of lukewarm wafflings by Tariq Ramadan.

Inside the Gender Jihad’s author, Amina Wadud, is yet another disgruntled laymen who rather than looking within at all the dryrot, simply must recast Islam for all that she sees without.

As per usual with religious relativists, she starts out by stating that Allah and Islam are ultimately unknowable. By doing this, there is no Ultimate Truth, only truths. There is no authority, just opinions, the best of which agrees with what one opines as right.

She states,

Neither their “Islam” nor my “Islam” has ultimate privilege. We are all part of a complex whole, in constant motion and manifestation throughout history of multifaceted but tally human constructions of “Islam.” Inside the Gender Islam, pp. 5-6

Besides the ecumenical ‘there are only ideas and opinions about Islam’ jargon, I could not even begin to dissect the flowery nothings written in this document that reads like mere yellow journalism.

I read carefully through the work, skimming through it the final and third time before writing this review that you read. Wadud proudly claims that she has studied Islam, but tells us nothing of her credentials, what she has memorised, who she has studied with and what foundational knowledge she has acquired.

We are merely left to read that she studied Islam and then subjected to all of her secular prowess and degrees/doctorates or sub-sciences that she learned in the university (as a point of note, a phD does not merit any qualification in the Revealed Law but just as Roman Candle fireworks bring awe from German shepherds so too do these measly scraps draw respect from some Muslims).

Further to this, she explains to us that she has never felt honour in Islam as mentioned in the Revelation (Inside the Gender Jihad, pp. 58-59). As our eyes scanned over the pages and the yawning began, I took my dosage of race-gender politics that I had to be subjected to and a quick but terse lesson in Black Power history with the patience of a young boy receiving his first vaccination.

Cataloguing her life from birth, her political radicalism and self-justification for undermining Muslim authority (Chapter 4: A New Hajar Paradigm), Amina Wadud takes us on an odyssey of bizarre self justifications that reach their crescendo in leading a Jumu`ah prayer of intermingled congregants, complete with mistakes in Arabic, tajwid errors that would nullify their prayer and all the fanfare you would need (Chapter 7: Stories from the Trenches).

The Conclusion of the work opens with a quote from that great chaste and scholarly reference point, Tina Turner. Later reference is made by her that continue to undermine the patriarchal family system, at one point referring to it as a prison for her mother when she was pampered by her father (ibid., pp. 256-257).

Although it was a labour of duty that carried me through this most sickening of reading endeavours, she made my work easier by closing on the most important note of the work: her indebtedness to Christian heretic Paul Tillich. She describes his effect upon her as “profound.” (ibid., pp. 258-259).

Anyone who does a careful study of Tillich and then cross-references Wadud will find that she is a late age carbon copy of this theological charlatan; the only difference being that Tillich had credentials in his religion by learning from reputable scholars and then deviated later. Wadud’s manifest error was not long after her beginning. Her stubborn refusal to step outside of the racial paradigm and into what Allah revealed made her the sole interpreter of revelation.

Her lack of finding female sources of knowledge in Islam (although the last volume of as-Suhub ul-Wabilah has a large number of them along with Ibn Sa`d’s Tabaqat and Ibn al-Jawzi’s Safat us-Safwah) is either dishonest (in which case she is hiding information that she would know is there) or compound ignorance and laziness (in which case this was already confirmed in her writing this book and those before this one).

The end result of the work leaves the reader with the following results:

1)      There is no way to know Islam at its’ core to know where the truth lies in the midst of all the voices who claim to speak for the religion.

2)      Christians, Buddhists and others are just as pious and godly as Muslims.

3)      Allah is in all of us and everywhere, in all places.

4)      A form of Islam specifically shaped from the African American experience can/should be built and brought forward.

5)      Islam’s foundational principles can be updated and those who do the updating may decide by their conscience.

I would not have even picked up this rage except for one fact: believers in English are reading it and bringing it to my attention. The believer who would read such swill is to keep a pen nearby to mark errors that are so many in number that volumes would be needed to address them.

This is just another reason why Muslims in the English speaking countries require true scholarship and not just academics. We’ve already seen what they can do.

A Blatant Example of Proof Texting

Figure 1A: Muslim “thinkers” doing what appears to be group worship with the pope. The Mardin travesty is another rung in the latter of religious relativism.

I recently had the unfortunate opportunity of being subjected to the “Mardin Fatwa” and read its’ contents. The article and what it is being used to propagate is one of the worst forms of proof texting that one could commit.

It is normally the case that when people seek to lead a wide swath of people astray, they will even use the writings of those who are their opponents as if they had somehow become allies.

I would like to begin first by discussing the danger of proof texting. When looking in the Qur’an, Sunnah or the practice of the first three generations, one will find that when a scholar is confronted with an issue, he will seek to find the answer to the question in the Qu’ran, then the Sunnah, then the Consensus, then the practice of the first three generation and so forth.

This will continue until the point that if the answer is not found explicitly, he will result to the divinely sanctioned act of ijtihad.

Thus in the case of IV fertilisation the scholar will look for examples, explicit/implicit or analogous and proceed from there. He would not begin with the principle that it was impermissible/permissible unless there was some previous Consensus that justified such an approach. This principle of looking for the answer is exegesis.

Its’ evil twin is isogesis or proof texting; in the case of isogesis, someone will have already decided on a matter before approaching the texts. We will continue the example of IV fertilisation. Someone employing proof texting will already assume that the answer is negative.

He will then work back from that point, looking for texts to fit around his world view. The problem is the only way that the texts would render such a meaning would be if someone already approached the matter with the preconceived mind set.

I do not want to go any further but to introduce the reader to the blatant and crass example of proof texting found in the “Mardin Fatwa.” I will firstly quote the text in its’ full context and the intended meaning of the author.

Next, we will look at the proof texting of those involved and you will be able to see that the only way the text could be read in this fashion would be if you already had the notion as your position.

وسئل رحمه الله عن بلد ‏[‏ماردين‏]‏ هل هي بلد حرب أم بلد سلم‏؟‏ وهل يجب على المسلم المقيم بها الهجرة إلى بلاد الإسلام أم لا‏؟‏ وإذا وجبت عليه الهجرة ولم يهاجر، وساعد أعداء المسلمين بنفسه أو ماله، هل يأثم في ذلك‏؟‏ وهل يأثم من رماه بالنفاق وسبه به أم لا‏؟‏ فأجاب‏:‏ الحمد لله‏.‏ دماء المسلمين وأموالهم محرمة حيث كانوا في ‏[‏ماردين‏]‏ أو غيرها‏.‏ وإعانة الخارجين عن شريعة دين الإسلام محرمة، سواء كانوا أهل ‏[‏ماردين‏]‏، أو غيرهم‏.‏ والمقيم بها إن كان عاجزًا عن إقامة دينه، وجبت الهجرة عليه‏.‏ وإلا استحبت ولم تجب‏.

‏ ومساعدتهم لعدو المسلمين بالأنفس والأموال محرمة عليهم، ويجب عليهم الامتناع من ذلك، بأي طريق أمكنهم، من تغيب، أو تعريض، أو مصانعة‏.‏ فإذا لم يمكن إلا بالهجرة، تعينت‏.‏ ولا يحل سبهم عمومًا ورميهم بالنفاق، بل السب والرمي بالنفاق يقع على الصفات المذكورة في الكتاب والسنة، فيدخل فيها بعض      أهل ‏[‏ماردين‏]‏ وغيرهم‏.‏ وأما كونها دار حرب أو سلم، فهي مركبة‏:‏ فيها المعنيان، ليست بمنزلة دار السلم التي تجري عليها أحكام الإسلام، لكون جندها مسلمين‏.‏ ولا بمنزلة دار الحرب التي أهلها كفار، بل هي قسم ثالث يعامل المسلم فيها بما يستحقه، ويقاتل الخارج عن شريعة الإسلام بما يستحقه‏.‏

Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah (661-728 AH), may Allah have mercy upon him, was asked about the city of Mardin.

Is this a land of war or a land of peace? Is it compulsory for the Muslim resident there to make hijrah to a land of Islam or not?

In the case that hijrah is compulsory for him and he does not do it and he helps the enemies of the Muslims with his person or his wealth, is he sinning in that matter? Is the one who would curse such a person or say he is guilty of nifaq committing a sin or not?

Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah her mercy on him, answered the following:

“Praise be to Allah, the blood and wealth of the Muslims is considered sacred whether they are in the city of Mardin or somewhere else. Assisting those rebelling against the Revealed Law of the Religion of Islam is not permissible, whether it is the people of Mardin or someone else besides them. The one that is a resident there and unable to manifest his religion is required to make hijrah while if he cannot it is praiseworthy but not compulsory.


Their assisting the enemies of the Muslims with themselves or their wealth is not permissible and it is compulsory for them to prevent that by any means possible for them, whether it be staying away, rejection or stratagem related to it;

So in the event that there is no other option but hijrah, then that one is obliged to do so; but it is not permissible for someone to curse them or accuse them of nifaq in totality. The reason for this is that cursing and nifaq are present in the Book and the Sunnah according to specifically mentioned principles. Some of the people of Mardin and others fall within that ruling.

As far as it being Dar ul-Harb or Dar ul-Islam, it has a plurality in which it possesses both rulings. It is not Dar ul-Islam in which the rulings of Islam are to be held over that city as its’ army are Muslims; but it is also not Dar ul-Harb in which its’ people are unbelievers. The city belongs to the third category. The Muslim is dealt with according to what he deserves and the one who rebels and goes out of the Revealed Law of Islam is fought according to what he deserves.”

Majmu`a Fatawa, vol.28, pp. 240-241.

This is the actual text of the fatwa. Imam Ibn Muflih, may Allah be pleased with him, who was a student of Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, quoted the same statement from his teacher. However he also quoted in context regarding the discussion regarding Dar ul-Islam or Dar ul-Kufr. Look at what the Imam said,

“Every abode in which the laws of the Muslims are dominant over it is known as Dar ul-Islam; and if the laws of the unbelievers are dominant over a land, then it is Dar ul-Kufr and there is no other abode besides these mentioned. Shaikh Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah was asked about the city of Mardin: ‘Is it a Dar ul-Harb or a Dar ul-Islam?’

He replied, ‘There is a plurality and it possesses some of both rulings. It is not Dar ul-Islam in which the lows of Islam are over it although the army there is Muslim; but it is also not Dar ul-Harb in which the people are unbelievers. It belongs to a third category.

The Muslim is dealt with according to what he deserves and the one who has rebelled and gone out of the Revealed Law of Islam is dealt with according to what he deserves.’ The predominant position is the first one which was mentioned by Al-Qadi Abu Ya`la and the other companions in the school. And Allah knows best.” Al-Adab ush-Shar`iyyah wal-Minah il-Mar`iyyah, vol.1, pp. 191-192.

After looking at the full text of the ruling by Imam Ibn Taymiyyah and the understanding of one of his students, you should now read the “Mardin fatwa” proof texting which is available

The first thing one will notice is that the original fatwa is not read out in full nor the extracts quoting in their original context in the Arabic or the pidgin English that is being passed over to the believers of Muslim Orthodoxy.

A number of glaring errors have been made:

1. The fatwa was supposedly corrupted by Salafis and is a launching point for these groups that now infest the Muslim world. The corruption, supposedly in 1915 was reproduced by Ibn Qasim in his edition.

2. The most severe problem with this is that the outrages and pogroms launched by Salafiyyah were long before 1915 and the supposed corruption. The main books used for distortion after the Qur’an and Sunnah were the rulings in Majmu`a Fatawa for sure; but the Mardin statement was not adduced as evidence for that

3. Even if the statement was indeed corrupted, it would not change the ruling that was made by Imam Ibn Taymiyyah that the person going out/rebelling against the Revealed Law of Islam should be ‘dealt with’ which in other parts of his Majmu`a Fatawa is reference to fighting the person.

4. The fatwa contains a ruling inside of it that actual cancels the first part of this circus labelled as a conference in the first place. The whole point of trying to quote this statement out of context was to give legitimacy to calling the rest of the world a type of Dar ul-Islam and that Hijrah and many of the issues surrounding it are no longer relevant.

5. Imam Ibn Taymiyyah in his ruling states that the area cannot be called Dar ul-Harb as its’ people are believers and not unbelievers. This destroys the entire argument of the “Mardin fatwa” committee who are making petty distinctions about the verb used for what they thought was an unbeliever in the text.

6. No unbelievers are being referred to in the text. Read the entire ruling again.

7. Imam Ibn Muflih side-stepped the ruling and stated the mu`tamad of the Hanbali madhhab again. The ruling made by Imam Ibn Taymiyyah is not mu`tamad, rajih and is a qawl. One does not resort to these types of qawl when the mu`tamad and rajih is present and zahir.

Thus one would not look at the fatwa of Al-Qadi Abu Ya`ala the Elder in which he stated that the five prayers are only valid if prayed in congregation in the masjid when the mu`tamad is otherwise and is clearly available.

Finally, before closing this article I would like to reclaim one of the scholars of the madhhab from these so-called admirers (who only as recent as 1999 had called the Hanbali madhhab insignificant on the Zaytuna website and did not remove it after myself and others rebuked them for it numerous times.

It was finally moved in their site revamp some time later). It is these same smooth tongued people that have referred to the original and majority creed of the Muslims as ‘anthropomorphist,’ and the like, these same ones who have not studied comparative creed (these same geniuses only recently came to know of Imam as-Saffarini and the use of the word Athari, but even then wrongly mentioned it, thus continuing to wrongly propagate their false ideas and agenda. They were better off leaving the insulting article on the Zaytuna website).

I would like to leave the reader with the following points about this “Mardin fatwa” chicanery:

1)      These people need to study the madhhab properly if they want to understand it. They are either purposely lying in the quotes or being wilfully obtuse; in either capacity they are people of tribulation.

2)      If these people love Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, what on earth are they doing sitting in the middle of the city he mentioned 800 years ago and doing nothing? If you look at the actual text of the Mardin fatwa, maybe it applies to these people. Who is going out of the Revealed Law today and telling people to leave necessities of the religion?

3)      When Imam Ibn Taymiyyah wrote that ruling, he had already been to jail and fought in wars and such. The question is of those on the roster for the “Mardin fatwa,” what hardships have they suffered for Muslim Orthodoxy to prove that they mean business? None of them have been to jail, suffered severe hardship or pain of death for this religion. Indeed they have put the laity in that situation. Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah has told us, “Whenever the scholar follows the rule of the leader and leaves his knowledge in opposition to the Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger, then this person is an unbeliever who deserves to be punished in this life and the Hereafter. This rule can be applied as well to a group of scholars that quickly went to the Mongols out of fear of them. They sought to take benefit from the Mongols. These people made the excuse that some of the Mongols were stating the testimony of faith and that they are Muslims.” Majmu`a Fatawa, vol.35, pp. 371-373.

The said Imam said further, “Even if the scholar is captured, put behind bars and tortured in order to abandon what Allah is taught him from His Book, he is to be patient with his situation. If he leaves what he was taught and follows the ruler, then he is doomed by Allah.” Majmu`a Fatawa, vol.35, pp. 371-373.

These people command us as if they are our leaders but where are the leading. Ask yourself: what real sacrifices have they made like what the Imam mentioned?

4)      These government sponsored people would do well to study their own madhhab first before quoting someone else’s and making glaring errors. Didn’t their own Imam Al-Qurtubi, may Allah be pleased with him, tell these rebels, “The scholars have mentioned that whoever is an imam for an oppressive ruler, then prayer is not to be made behind him unless he reveals his excuse or the reason why or he repents from it.” Jami` ul-Ahkam il-Fiqhiyyah, vol.2, pp.225-227

5)      Why don’t they resist the cults? Imam Ibn Taymiyyah fought the cults (physically at times) and did not hold seminars. How do they admire him? Imam Ibn Kathir, the great Ash`ari and Shafi`ii, mentioned him destroying the Twelver Shi`a sites and taking some of the prisoners along with other scholars from the FOUR MADHHABS. Please see Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah, vol.14, pp. 28-31. Why don’t they fight Salafiyyah?

6)      Imam Ibn Taymiyyah was uncompromising in his call for truth and even told the people to kill him if he was among the ranks of the unbelievers while warfare resulted. Is he not the same one who said, “If you see me among the Tatars, even if I have the Qur’an on my head, kill me!” Imam Ibn Kathir quoted this in Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah, vol.14, pp. 18-21 Perhaps those at the table in Mardin would have had a hasty funeral atleast for their treachery.

7)      Why are these government scholars (yes some of them are scholars, but they were/are prime ministers as well) not following the example of another scholar: Shaikh Muhammad al-Ya`qubi? If these spokesmen for Islam are genuine, why don’t they take a risk? Allah preserved the aforementioned Shaikh who really was risking torture and the like, yet he did his job. How does cowardice justify longevity?

No more ecumenism. These people doing this need to be boycotted not congratulated. They do not deserve to be patted on the back unless it is with a closed fist in an iron glove. The matter must be dealt with in perspective!

At every turn, when these individuals speak, I advise you to read a few pages before the relevant quote, translate it, post the Arabic and you will find them wrong (whether wilfully/accidentally I cannot comment in every part as this is an unseen matter). It is time to stop looking for a vicar and a pope and to take responsibility.

These same people who claim Imams `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali and Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah as their alumni would not be allowed into their presence without being obliged to make tawbah in front of the people for their egregious proof texting.

If the reader doubts this, I would suggest directing fake Qadiris or supposed traditionalists to their doctrinal and purification works. If we will not take responsibility, how can be blame unbelievers for their distortions and the new Muslims for their confusion about authority in Islam?

And with Allah is every success,

brother in Islam,

al-Hajj Abu Ja`far al-Hanbali

A Hajj Journal-12/13 Dhul Hijjah

Figure 1A: Tawaf ul-Wada`

I was up and out of bed early again and praising Allah for another opportunity to be alive again in this Sacred Land. I knew that my time was limited and if I lived to leave it the sadness would be great.

I often used to roam around at night and marvel at the calm that there was among believers. Among seven million people that I did not know, I had not an issue or problem with them and we prayed together.

In the United States on the west coast, I had watched people get murdered for wearing the wrong colour in the wrong neighbourhood and the cars would whiz by, lights off and in neutral with the shooters suited up.

The comparison could not be avoided. Seven million Muslims together, minimal issues with crime. Seven million unbelievers together: 700 dead every year in LA County alone. I’ll let the reader do the math.

Once again, it was down to myself, `Irfan, Saghir, Mumtaz, Khan Sahib and some other slaves of Allah that we were blessed to enjoy their company. We set out at 11am in order to try to make it to Masjid al-Khaif and pray Zuhr and then do the stoning one last time before departure.

The crowds were so massive the guards told us, “There is no way we’re going to let you go! The masjid will probably be doubly full as normal. No way!” So we had been rebuffed. It looks like Imam al-Buhuti’s ruling would be carried out.

Up the escalators we went at the site of the Jamarat all seven flights (there was some creaking but you have to do tawakkul as there is nothing else you can do).

Once we had reached the top floor and did our stonings, my jalabiyyah was ripped for the second time but I saw this as nothing but barakah for all the effort and trouble. So it got ripped, I thought. Better that gets ripped than a bleeding forehead or crushed skull.

Some people were praying Zuhr on the side but brother `Irfan and I thought better considering all the stones flecking from here and there that laser guided mini-missiles. “No buses here…Let’s walk and get the barakah.”

So it began. Along with millions of other people, honking, grinning, waving and asking for us to pray for them we walked the long strip to Al-Masjid ul-Haram.

Every time we made a turn we felt it as the crowd pulled in close and I watched brother `Irfan’s eyes almost pop out of his head and his glasses nearly come off. I must admit that I hid behind him and let him take most of the punishment from the crowd.

“Boy, I’m sure glad I have a shield in this sacred land,” I grinned at him. “I know what you’re doing,” he turned back and looked at me. We passed by one of the masjids on the way but the crowds were too great and the cliff too formidable so we walked on.

After passing one of the cliffs, we met some Nigerian sisters selling Shandi and other soft drinks at a bargain price of 10 riyals each. “Are you kidding! Give us five!” We bought them and drank them with relish and then continued our walk.

We had to make it through the Makkah tunnel and then we would be only yards from Al-Masjid ul-Haram. The fans used to keep oxygen through the tunnel hissed at us and thundered along the way.

Buses, ’77 Chevrolet Caprices lowered due to numerous occupants, Volvos, Jeeps, Winnebagos and all other manner of vehicle was in the tunnel with us. We stayed on either the left or the right and the centre was for all the vehicles.

`Irfan was busy taking snaps of the people and the festive atmosphere. We came out of the tunnel and an Afghani man at about 5’2’’ passed my way with a sparkling white `imamah and nice jalabiyyah. “Anta min?” “Masr.” I knew he was interested in what race I was and not that I came in on British Airways.

He mentioned that he was from Herat in Afghanistan. We had a few words in common but that was enough. I mentioned Imam Abu Isma`il al-Ansari and his face lit up quickly. “Sawa.’ Sawa.’ ” He kept telling me they were the same, the exact same. I think he means the city, I wondered.

“Madhhab. Sawa’.” Subhanallah, I thought. We had a Herati Hanbali here in the flesh. So they had reached that far. History books had told us that they had reached Jalalabad and some other provinces but that the madhhab still had a foothold there was interesting.

We traded a few more pleasantries and he was delighted when I confirmed my rite was the same as his own. He was turning in the other direction to go with his group and squeezed my hand affectionately before giving salam and disappearing into the crowd.

Another tunnel and we were yards from Al-Masjid ul-Haram. It was 2:45pm and we had made good time. The brothers were headed to the masjid to pray and then back to the hotel. I headed to the hotel and would combine and shorten and then crash out for a while.

I lay back on the bed and thought about my next obligation. It was now compulsory for me to do Tawaf ul-Wada`. If I lived to complete this the Hajj was finished for me in terms of all the rites being complete.

At 3:47am I did the final tawaf and looked at the people. As normal, Makkah was thunderously bright but the light was soft. I realised then that I did not have a right to be here, but Allah had given me the privilege.

As the clock hit 5:20am I had finished Tawaf al-Wada`. I stood gazing at the Noble House, 4,000 years of history facing me head on. Tomorrow we would be headed out to Madinah. This would be the last time I would gaze at the entire Sanctuary.

I respectfully backed away from her and continued to, only stopping to go up the steps and then continue on. I was able to hold myself from blubbering like a child but it was hard. I thought of how many people that I loved had not made it.

I remember brothers who fell on battlefields in Bosnia, Chechnya, Afghanistan and asked that Allah bless them. I thought particularly of Abul Hasan, the black-bearded brother who acted as an older brother to me after I had lost my own flesh and blood brother.

The story of his bravery from other brothers was legendary. A proud Maliki and unapologetic Ash`ari, his philosophical arguments made me laugh at times.

“Before looking at any matter, we always have to remember Shar`,” he would begin thoughtfully, stroking his beard and then taking a swig of goat milk. He had told me that I should make Hajj one day. If his statement had been du`aa, then I feel that Allah answered it.

My last night in Makkah I spent up talking to the other believers, laughing with Uwais at his numerous predicaments and napping in between discussions with the other Muslims. Makkah was every bit and more holy than I had envisaged. I wanted to leave as soon as possible. This was not as I did not like the city.

Rather, I had thus far not done anything egregious and so now that my rites were complete I did not want to be given a spare moment to do or say something stupid. Let me leave before I offend the holiness of the sanctuary, I pleaded in my heart. Now I would have to wait for that time to come.

A Hajj Journal-12 Dhul Hijjah

Figure 1A: Jamarat and the crowds.

Brother Tanweer woke me up gently so that we could begin our day at about 10am. I made wudu’, waited for Zuhr, combined and shortened and then set out for the jamarat after Zuhr. We left at 2pm.

A the jamarat, we completed all of what Allah asked us to do as best we could. My favourite jalabiyyah was ripped in the process of leaving the jamarat area and someone stepped on it by accident.

Although shorter than myself, I used brother `Irfan as a shield while we ran forward to get out of the firing line of the stones. We arrived back at the camp for 4:45pm. Fortunately we did not get lost and the trip back was ideal.

The people of hajj are the most humble on the planet and also the most patient. Between 4-7 million registered and unregistered people were present and they flowed easily. A Muslim brother handed me a cup of water which I was grateful for and I thanked him a great deal.

People in the United States fight in line at McDonalds so how on Earth could someone put the finger at the believers of Muslim Orthodoxy? Time at the camp flew by and I waited eagerly for Maghrib prayer.

Masjid Hujjaj il-Birr bi Mina, better known as Masjid Kuwait, was my destination with our amir, Mumtaz, and some of the other Slaves of Allah.

The prayer of Maghrib was decent but right after we had to hear about the takfir of the Ummah, how most of us don’t have a valid Hajj, and how intercession is not viable.

I just wanted to go and the sign on the wall claiming it as impermissible to offer Jumu`ah prayer at the Masajid Masha`ir as the people are not resident. They have stopped people who might validly want to make Jumu`ah.

We quickly went back to the camp and that was the end of it. Annoyed at the takfir and time wasting we were subjected to with Salafiyyah, reading a qualified text by a qualified scholar took the sour taste from my mouth left by the divinely cursed and wretched Salafi movement.

All the believers slept fitfully at the camp. I woke up at 3am unaided and took a shower. We were about to pray fajr when Al-Hajj `Ismah had a heart attack. The walking he should not have done the night before had caught up with him.

Pandemonium ensued as everyone was talking at once over the collapsed body of the senior most of our camp. One brother did CPR while I and a Moroccan brother did translation work to the emergency services of the situation.

Al-Hajj `Ismah was taken to the camp clinic, which had more confusion, with one of the doctors telling Dr. Tanweer, another believer with us and a doctor, “I’m going to kill you.” No you’re not, I thought while I blocked the way. We broke up the situation and calm was restored.

When the ambulance arrived, they were still too slow. Brother Khubaib and his cousin commandeered the keys from the driver and assistant (and left them standing there looking puzzled) and took the ailing al-Hajj `Ismah themselves to the hospital at the end of the camp. This was called al-Wada Hospital.

Fajr went on after that but it was very worrying what the fate of our senior member would be at the hospital. The rest of the day passed without incident and I prepared to get ready to go later as the following day we had to be gone before Maghrib or you would have to do the other day at Mina.

My decision was to do the stoning before Zuhr. “But is that valid in all the fiqh, brother,” a worried brother in our group asked. “I don’t know but it’s valid in mine. If Imam Al-Buhuti says that’s the end of the discussion.”

And so it was the case. The plan was for the next morning we would arise and head to the jamarat and then make our way back to Makkah. There we would complete the final rite of Hajj: The Farewell Tawaf.

If this was done, then all the rites of Hajj had been completed. Whether Allah accepted it was something else.

Sham, Iraq, Egypt: the Authoritiesٍ