Thursday, April 24, 2008


It is striking that not one of the great muhaddiths, mufassirs, grammarians, historians, or legists of Islam has emerged from the region known as Najd, despite the extraordinary and blessed profusion of such people in other Muslim lands. This essay offers to Muslims with open minds an explanation of this remarkable fact.

The Hadith of Najd: a correction

The land of Najd, which for two centuries has been the crucible of the Wahhabi doctrine, is the subject of a body of interesting hadiths and early narrations which repay close analysis. Among the best-known of these hadiths is the relation of Imam al-Bukhari in which Ibn Umar said: ‘The Prophet (s.w.s.) mentioned: “O Allah, give us baraka in our Syria, O Allah, give us baraka in our Yemen.” They said: “And in our Najd?” and he said: “O Allah, give us baraka in our Syria, O Allah, give us baraka in our Yemen.” They said: “And in our Najd?” and I believe that he said the third time: “In that place are earthquakes, and seditions, and in that place shall rise the devil’s horn [qarn al-shaytan].”’

This hadith is clearly unpalatable to the Najdites themselves, some of whom to this day strive to persuade Muslims from more reputable districts that the hadith does not mean what it clearly says. One device used by such apologists is to utilise a definition which includes Iraq in the frontiers of Najd. By this manoeuvre, the Najdis draw the conclusion that the part of Najd which is condemned so strongly in this hadith is in fact Iraq, and that Najd proper is excluded. Medieval Islamic geographers contest this inherently strange thesis (see for instance Ibn Khurradadhbih, al-Masalik wa’l-mamalik [Leiden, 1887], 125; Ibn Hawqal, Kitab Surat al-ard [Beirut, 1968],18); and limit the northern extent of Najd at Wadi al-Rumma, or to the deserts to the south of al-Mada’in. There is no indication that the places in which the second wave of sedition arose, such as Kufa and Basra, were associated in the mind of the first Muslims with the term ‘Najd’. On the contrary, these places are in every case identified as lying within the land of Iraq.

The evasion of this early understanding of the term in order to exclude Najd, as usually understood, from the purport of the hadith of Najd, has required considerable ingenuity from pro-Najdi writers in the present day. Some apologists attempt to conflate this hadith with a group of other hadiths which associate the ‘devil’s horn’ with ‘the East’, which is supposedly a generic reference to Iraq. While it is true that some late-medieval commentaries also incline to this view, modern geographical knowledge clearly rules it out. Even the briefest glimpse at a modern atlas will show that a straight line drawn to the east of al-Madina al-Munawwara does not pass anywhere near Iraq, but passes some distance to the south of Riyadh; that is to say, through the exact centre of Najd. The hadiths which speak of ‘the East’ in this context hence support the view that Najd is indicated, not Iraq.

On occasion the pro-Najdi apologists also cite the etymological sense of the Arabic word najd, which means ‘high ground’. Again, a brief consultation of an atlas resolves this matter decisively. With the exception of present-day northern Iraq, which was not considered part of Iraq by any Muslim until the present century (it was called ‘al-Jazira’), Iraq is notably flat and low-lying, much of it even today being marshland, while the remainder, up to and well to the north of Baghdad, is flat, low desert or agricultural land. Najd, by contrast, is mostly plateau, culminating in peaks such as Jabal Tayyi’ (1300 metres), in the Jabal Shammar range. It is hard to see how the Arabs could have routinely applied a topographic term meaning ‘upland’ to the flat terrain of southern Iraq (the same territory which proved so suitable for tank warfare during the 1991 ‘Gulf War’, that notorious source of dispute between Riyadh’s ‘Cavaliers’ and ‘Roundheads’).

Confirmation of this identification is easily located in the hadith literature, which contains numerous references to Najd, all of which clearly denote Central Arabia. To take a few examples out of many dozens: there is the hadith narrated by Abu Daud (Salat al-Safar, 15), which runs: ‘We went out to Najd with Allah’s Messenger (s.w.s.) until we arrived at Dhat al-Riqa‘, where he met a group from Ghatafan [a Najdite tribe].’ In Tirmidhi (Hajj, 57), there is the record of an encounter between the Messenger (s.w.s.) and a Najdi delegation which he received at Arafa (see also Ibn Maja, Manasik, 57). In no such case does the Sunna indicate that Iraq was somehow included in the Prophetic definition of ‘Najd’.

Further evidence can be cited from the cluster of hadiths which identify the miqat points for pilgrims. In a hadith narrated by Imam Nasa’i (Manasik al-Hajj, 22), ‘A’isha (r.a.) declared that ‘Allah’s Messenger (s.w.s.) established the miqat for the people of Madina at Dhu’l-Hulayfa, for the people of Syria and Egypt at al-Juhfa, for the people of Iraq at Dhat Irq, and for the people of Najd at Qarn, and for the Yemenis at Yalamlam.’ Imam Muslim (Hajj, 2) narrates a similar hadith: ‘for the people of Madina it is Dhu’l-Hulayfa - while on the other road it is al-Juhfa - for the people of Iraq it is Dhat Irq, for the people of Najd it is Qarn, and for the people of Yemen it is Yalamlam.’

These texts constitute unarguable proof that the Prophet (s.w.s.) distinguished between Najd and Iraq, so much so that he appointed two separate miqat points for the inhabitants of each. For him, clearly, Najd did not include Iraq.

Najd in the Hadith

There are many hadiths in which the Messenger (s.w.s.) praised particular lands. It is significant that although Najd is the closest of lands to Makka and Madina, it is not praised by any one of these hadiths. The first hadith cited above shows the Messenger’s willingness to pray for Syria and Yemen, and his insistent refusal to pray for Najd. And wherever Najd is mentioned, it is clearly seen as a problematic territory. Consider, for instance, the following noble hadith:

Amr ibn Abasa said: ‘Allah’s Messenger (s.w.s.) was one day reviewing the horses, in the company of Uyayna ibn Hisn ibn Badr al-Fazari. [...] Uyayna remarked: “The best of men are those who bear their swords on their shoulders, and carry their lances in the woven stocks of their horses, wearing cloaks, and are the people of the Najd.” But Allah’s Messenger (s.w.s.) replied: “You lie! Rather, the best of men are the men of the Yemen. Faith is a Yemeni, the Yemen of [the tribes of] Lakhm and Judham and Amila. [...] Hadramawt is better than the tribe of Harith; one tribe is better than another; another is worse [...] My Lord commanded me to curse Quraysh, and I cursed them, but he then commanded me to bless them twice, and I did so [...] Aslam and Ghifar, and their associates of Juhaina, are better than Asad and Tamim and Ghatafan and Hawazin, in the sight of Allah on the Day of Rising. [...] The most numerous tribe in the Garden shall be [the Yemeni tribes of] Madhhij and Ma’kul.’ (Ahmad ibn Hanbal and al-Tabarani, by sound narrators. Cited in Ali ibn Abu Bakr al-Haythami, Majma‘ al-zawa’id wa manba‘ al-fawa’id [Cairo, 1352], X, 43).

The Messenger says ‘You lie!’ to a man who praises Najd. Nowhere does he extol Najd - quite the contrary. But other hadiths in praise of other lands abound. For instance:

Umm Salama narrated that Allah’s Messenger (s.w.s.) gave the following counsel on his deathbed: ‘By Allah, I adjure you by Him, concerning the Egyptians, for you shall be victorious over them, and they will be a support for you and helpers in Allah’s path.’ (Tabarani, classed by al-Haythami as sahih [Majma‘, X, 63].) (For more on the merit of the Egyptians see Sahih Muslim, commentary by Imam al-Nawawi [Cairo, 1347], XVI, 96-7.)

Qays ibn Sa‘d narrated that Allah’s Messenger (s.w.s.) said: ‘Were faith to be suspended from the Pleiades, men from the sons of Faris [south-central Iran] would reach it.’ (Narrated in the Musnads of both Abu Ya‘la and al-Bazzar, classified as Sahih by al-Haythami. Majma‘, X, 64-5. See further Nawawi’s commentary to Sahih Muslim, XVI, 100.)

Allah’s Messenger said: ‘Tranquillity (sakina) is in the people of the Hijaz.’ (al-Bazzar, cited in Haythami, X, 53.)

On the authority of Abu’l-Darda (r.a.), the Messenger of Allah (s.w.s.) said: ‘You will find armies. An army in Syria, in Egypt, in Iraq and in the Yemen.’ (Bazzar and Tabarani, classified as sahih: al-Haythami, Majma‘, X, 58.) This constitutes praise for these lands as homes of jihad volunteers.

‘The angels of the All-Compassionate spread their wings over Syria.’ (Tabarani, classed as sahih: Majma‘, X, 60. See also Tirmidhi, commentary of Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Mubarakfuri: Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi bi-sharh Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi, X, 454; who confirms it as hasan sahih.)

Abu Hurayra narrated that Allah’s Messenger (s) said: ‘The people of Yemen have come to you. They are tenderer of heart, and more delicate of soul. Faith is a Yemeni, and wisdom is a Yemeni.’ (Tirmidhi, Fi fadl al-Yaman, no.4028. Mubarakfuri, X, 435, 437: hadith hasan sahih. On page 436 Imam Mubarakfuri points out that the ancestors of the Ansar were from the Yemen.)

‘The people of the Yemen are the best people on earth’. (Abu Ya‘la and Bazzar, classified as sahih. Haythami, X, 54-5.)

Allah’s Messenger (s) sent a man to one of the clans of the Arabs, but they insulted and beat him. He came to Allah’s Messenger (s.w.s.) and told him what had occurred. And the Messenger (s) said, ‘Had you gone to the people of Oman, they would not have insulted or beaten you.’ (Muslim, Fada’il al-Sahaba, 57. See Nawawi’s commentary, XVI, 98: ‘this indicates praise for them, and their merit.’)

The above hadiths are culled from a substantial corpus of material which records the Messenger (s.w.s.) praising neighbouring regions. Again, it is striking that although Najd was closer than any other, hadiths in praise of it are completely absent.

This fact is generally known, although not publicised, by Najdites themselves. It is clear that if there existed a single hadith that names and praises Najd, they would let the Umma know. In an attempt to circumvent or neutralise the explicit and implicit Prophetic condemnation of their province, some refuse to consider that the territorial hadiths might be in any way worthy of attention, and focus their comments on the tribal groupings who dwell in Najd.

The Tribe of Tamim

The best-known tribe of Central Arabia are the Banu Tamim. There are hadiths which praise virtually all of the major Arab tribal groups, and to indicate the extent of this praise a few examples are listed here:

Allah’s Messenger (s) said: ‘O Allah, bless [the tribe of] Ahmas and its horses and its men sevenfold.’ (Ibn Hanbal, in Haythami, Majma‘, X, 49. According to al-Haythami its narrators are all trustworthy.)

Ghalib b. Abjur said: ‘I mentioned Qays in the presence of Allah’s Messenger (s) and he said, “May Allah show His mercy to Qays.” He was asked, “O Messenger of God! Are you asking for His mercy for Qays?” and he replied, “Yes. He followed the religion of our father Ismail b. Ibrahim, Allah’s Friend. Qays! Salute our Yemen! Yemen! Salute our Qays! Qays are Allah’s cavalry upon the earth.”’ (Tabarani, declared sahih by al-Haythami, X, 49.)

Abu Hurayra narrated that Allah’s Messenger (s) said: ‘How excellent a people are Azd, sweet-mouthed, honouring their vows, and pure of heart!’ (Ibn Hanbal via a good (hasan) isnad, according to Haythami, X, 49.)

Anas b. Malik said: ‘If we are not from Azd, we are not from the human race.’ (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 72; confirmed by Mubarakfuri, X, 439 as hasan gharib sahih.)

Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud said: ‘I witnessed Allah’s Messenger (s.w.s.) praying for this clan of Nakh‘.’ Or he said: ‘He praised them until I wished that I was one of them.’ (Ibn Hanbal, with a sound isnad. Haythami, X, 51.)

On the authority of Abdallah ibn Amr ibn al-As, who said: ‘I heard Allah’s Messenger (s.w.s.) saying: “This command [the Caliphate] shall be in Quraysh. No-one shall oppose them without being cast down on his face by Allah, for as long as they establish the religion.”’ (Bukhari, Manaqib, 2.)

The hadith which appears to praise Tamim is hence not exceptional, and can by no stretch of the imagination be employed to indicate Tamim’s superiority over other tribes. In fact, out of this vast literature on the merits of the tribes, only one significant account praises Tamim. This runs as follows: Abu Hurayra said: ‘I have continued to love Banu Tamim after I heard three things concerning them from Allah’s Messenger (s.w.s.). “They will be the sternest of my Umma against the Dajjal; one of them was a captive owned by ‘A’isha, and he said: ‘Free her, for she is a descendent of Ismail;’ and when their zakat came, he said: ‘This is the zakat of a people,’ or ‘of my people’.”’ (Bukhari, Maghazi, 68.)

This hadith clearly indicates that the rigour of the Tamimites will be used for, and not against, Islam in the final culminating battle against the Dajjal; and this is unquestionably a merit. The second point is less significant, since all the Arabs are descendents of Ismail; while the variant readings of the third point make it difficult to establish its significance in an unambiguous way. Even the most positive interpretation, however, allows us to conclude no more than that the Messenger (s.w.s.) was pleased with that tribe at the moment it paid its zakat. As we shall see, its payment of zakat proved to be short-lived.

Far more numerous are the hadiths which explicitly critique the Tamimites. These hadiths are usually disregarded by pro-Najdite apologists; but traditional Islamic scholarship demands that all, not merely some, of the evidence be mustered and taken as a whole before a verdict can be reached. And a consideration of the abundant critical material on Tamim demonstrates beyond any doubt that this tribe was regarded by the Messenger (s.w.s.) and by the Salaf as deeply problematic.

An early indication of the nature of the Tamimites is given by Allah himself in Sura al-Hujurat. In aya 4 of this sura, He says: ‘Those who call you from behind the chambers: most of them have no sense.’ The occasion for revelation (sabab al-nuzul) here was as follows:

‘The “chambers” (hujurat) were spaces enclosed by walls. Each of the wives of Allah’s Messenger (s.w.s.) had one of them. The aya was revealed in connection with the delegation of the Banu Tamim who came to the Prophet (s.w.s.). They entered the mosque, and approached the chambers of his wives. They stood outside them and called: “Muhammad! Come out to us!” an action which expressed a good deal of harshness, crudeness and disrespect. Allah’s Messenger (s.w.s.) waited a while, and then came out to them. One of them, known as al-Aqra‘ ibn Habis, said: “Muhammad! My praise is an ornament, and my denunciation brings shame!” And the Messenger (s.w.s.) replied: “Woe betide you! That is the due of Allah.”’ (Imam Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Juzayy, al-Tashil [Beirut, 1403], p.702. See also the other tafsir works; also Ibn Hazm, Jamharat ansab al-‘Arab [Cairo, 1382], 208, in the chapter on Tamim.)

In addition to this Qur’anic critique, abundant hadiths also furnish the Umma with advice about this tribe. Since the tacit acceptance of the Prophet (s.w.s.) constitutes a hadith, we may begin with the following incident.

This relates to a famous poem by Hassan ibn Thabit (r.a.). The Tamimites were late converts to Islam, joining the religion, after much resistance, only in the Year of Delegations (‘am al-wufud), which was the ninth year of the Hijra. They hence miss the virtue of sabiqa, of precedence in Islam. Coming at last to the Prophet (s.w.s.), the Tamim insisted on a public debate against him, and he appointed Hassan to reply to the Tamimites’ vain boasting about their tribe. Hassan’s ode, which completely defeated and humiliated them by describing the low status of their tribe, can be considered evidence for the Prophet’s (s.w.s.) own view of Tamim, since the condemnation was given in his presence, and there is no record of his criticising it. (Diwan Hassan ibn Thabit [Beirut, 1966], p.440; for full details of the incident see Barquqi’s commentary in the same volume. See also Ibn Hisham, Sira [Guillaume translation], p.631.)

A further hadith concerning Tamim runs as follows:

On the authority of Imran ibn Husayn (r.a.): ‘A group of Tamimites came to the Prophet (s.w.s.), and he said: “O tribe of Tamim! Receive good news!” “You promise us good news, so give us something [money]!” they replied. And his face changed. Then some Yemenis came, and he said: “O people of Yemen! Accept good news, even though the tribe of Tamim have not accepted it!” And they said: “We accept.” And the Prophet (s.w.s.) began to speak about the beginning of creation, and about the Throne.’ (Bukhari, Bad’ al-Khalq, 1.)

The harsh waywardness of the Tamimi mentality documented in the Qur’an and Hadith casts an interesting light on the personality of Abu Jahl, the arch-pagan leader of Quraysh. Abu Jahl, with his fanatical hatred of the Prophet (s.w.s.), must have been shaped by the Tamimi ethic in his childhood. His mother, Asma’ bint Mukharriba, was of the tribe of Tamim. (al-Jumahi, Tabaqat Fuhul al-Shu‘ara, ed. Mahmud Shakir [Cairo, 1952], p.123.) He also married the daughter of ‘Umayr ibn Ma‘bad al-Tamimi, by whom he had his son, predictably named Tamim. (Mus‘ab ibn Abdallah, Nasab Quraysh [Cairo, 1953], p.312.)
An attribute recurrently ascribed to the Tamimites in the hadith literature is that of misplaced zeal. When they finally enter Islam, they are associated with a fanatical form of piety that demands simple and rigid adherence, rather than understanding; and which frequently defies the established authorities of the religion. Imam Muslim records a narration from Abdallah ibn Shaqiq which runs: ‘Ibn Abbas once preached to us after the asr prayer, until the sun set and the stars appeared, and people began to say: “The prayer! The prayer!” A man of the Banu Tamim came up to him and said, constantly and insistently: “The prayer! The prayer!” And Ibn Abbas replied: “Are you teaching me the sunna, you wretch?”’ (Muslim, Salat al-Musafirin, 6.)

Banu Tamim and the Khawarij

Perhaps the best-known of any hadith about a Tamimite, which again draws our attention to their misplaced zeal, is the hadith of Dhu’l-Khuwaysira:

Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri (r.a.) said: ‘We were once in the presence of Allah’s Messenger (s.w.s.) while he was dividing the spoils of war. Dhu’l-Khuwaysira, a man of the Tamim tribe, came up to him and said: “Messenger of Allah, be fair!” He replied: “Woe betide you! Who will be fair if I am not? You are lost and disappointed if I am not fair!” And Umar (r.a.) said, “Messenger of Allah! Give me permission to deal with him, so that I can cut off his head!” But he said: “Let him be. And he has companions. One of you would despise his prayer in their company, and his fast in their company. They recite the Qur’an but it goes no further than their collarbones. They pass through religion as an arrow passes through its target.”’ Abu Sa‘id continued: ‘I swear that I was present when Ali ibn Abi Talib fought against them. He ordered that that man be sought out, and he was brought to us.’ (Bukhari, Manaqib, 25. For the ‘passing through’ see Abu’l-Abbas al-Mubarrad, al-Kamil, chapter on ‘Akhbar al-Khawarij’ published separately by Dar al-Fikr al-Hadith [Beirut, n.d.], pp.23-4: ‘usually when this happens none of the target’s blood remains upon it’.)

This hadith is taken by the exegetes as a prophecy, and a warning, about the nature of the Kharijites. There is a certain type of believing zealot who goes into religion so hard that he comes out the other side, with little or nothing of it remaining with him. One expert who confirms this is the Hanbali scholar Ibn al-Jawzi, well-known for his hagiographies of Ma‘ruf al-Karkhi and Rabi‘a al-Adawiya. In his book Talbis Iblis. (Beirut, 1403, p.88) under the chapter heading ‘A Mention of the Devil’s Delusion upon the Kharijites’ he narrates the hadith, and then writes: ‘This man was called Dhu’l-Khuwaysira al-Tamimi. [...] He was the first Kharijite in Islam. His fault was to be satisfied with his own view; had he paused he would have realised that there is no view superior to that of Allah’s Messenger (s.w.s.).’

Ibn al-Jawzi goes on to document the development of the Kharijite movement, and the central role played by the tribe of Tamim in it. Hence (p.89) ‘The commander of the fight [against the Sunnis, at Harura] was Shabib ibn Rab‘i al-Tamimi’; also (p.92) ‘Amr ibn Bakr al-Tamimi agreed to murder Umar’. All this even though their camp sounded like a beehive, so assiduously were they reciting the Qur’an (p.91).

The Kharijite movement proper commenced at the Siffin arbitration, when the first dissenters left the army of the khalifa Ali (k.A.w.). One of them was Abu Bilal Mirdas, a member of the tribe of Tamim (Ibn Hazm, 223), who despite his constant worship and recitation of the Qur’an became one of the most brutal of the Kharijite zealots. He is remembered as the first who said the Tahkim - the formula ‘The judgment is Allah’s alone’ - on the Day of Siffin, which became the slogan of the later Kharijite da‘wa.

In his long analysis of the Kharijite movement, Imam Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi also describes the intimate involvement of Tamimites, and of Central Arabians generally, noting that the tribes of Yemen and Hijaz contributed hardly anyone to the Kharijite forces. He gives an account of Dhu’l-Khuwaysira’s later Kharijite activities. Appearing before Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (k.A.w.) he says: ‘Ibn Abi Talib! I am only fighting you for the sake of Allah and the Hereafter!’ to which Imam Ali replies: ‘Nay, you are like those of whom Allah says, “Shall I inform you who are the ones whose works are most in loss? It is they whose efforts are astray in the life of this world, but who think that they are doing good!” [Kahf, 103].’ (Imam Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi, al-Farq bayn al-firaq [Cairo, n.d.], 80; see the note to p.76 for the full identification of Dhu’l-Khuwaysira.)

As Imam Abd al-Qahir gives his account of the early Kharijite rebellions, replete with appalling massacres of innocent Muslim civilians, he makes it clear that the leaders of each of the significant Kharijite movements hailed from Najd. For instance, the Azariqa, one of the most vicious and widespread Khariji movements, were led by Nafi‘ ibn al-Azraq, who was from the Central Arabian tribe of Banu Hanifa (Abd al-Qahir, 82). As the Imam records, ‘Nafi and his followers considered the territory of those who opposed them to be Dar al-Kufr, in which one could slaughter their women and children. [...] They used to say: “Our opponents are mushriks, and hence we are not obliged to return anything we hold in trust to them.’ (Abd al-Qahir, 84.) After his death in battle, ‘the Azariqa pledged their allegiance to Ubaydallah ibn Ma’mun al-Tamimi. Al-Muhallab then fought them at Ahwaz, where Ubaidallah ibn Ma’mun himself died, along with his brother Uthman ibn Ma’mun and three hundred of the most fanatical of the Azariqa. The remainder retreated to Aydaj, where they pledged their allegiance to Qatari ibn al-Fuja’a, whom they called Amir al-Mu’minin.’ (Abd al-Qahir, 85-6.) The commentator to Abd al-Qahir’s text reminds us that Ibn Fuja’a was also of Tamim (p.86).

The Azariqa, who massacred countless tens of thousands of Muslims who refused to accept their views, had a rival in the Najdiyya faction of the Kharijites. These were named after Najda ibn Amir, a member of the tribe of Hanifa whose homeland is Najd; Najda himself maintained his army in Yamama, which is part of Najd. (Abd al-Qahir, 87.)

As is the way with Kharijism in all ages, the Najdiyya fragmented amid heated arguments generated by their intolerance of any dissent. The causes of this schism included the Kharijite attack on Madina, which came away with many captives; and different Kharijite ijtihads over sexual relations with Muslim women who, not being Kharijites, they had enslaved. Three major factions emerged from this split, the most dangerous of which was led by Atiyya ibn al-Aswad, again of the tribe of Hanifa. Following Najda’s death, his own faction split, again into three, one of which left Najd to raid the vicinity of Basra (Abd al-Qahir, 90-1).

The last major Kharijite sect was the Ibadiyya, which, in a gentler and much attenuated form, retains a presence even today in Zanzibar, southern Algeria, and Oman. The movement was founded by Abdallah ibn Ibad, another Tamimi. Its best-known doctrine is that non-Ibadis are kuffar: they are not mu’mins, but they are not mushriks either. ‘They forbid secret assassinations [of non-Ibadis], but allow open battles. They allow marriages [with non-Ibadis], and inheritance from them. They claim that all this is to aid them in their war for Allah and His Messenger.’ (Abd al-Qahir, 103.)

The best-known woman among the Kharijites was Qutam bint ‘Alqama, a member of the Tamimite tribe. She is remembered as the one who told her bridegroom, Ibn Muljam, that ‘I will only accept you as my husband at a dowry which I myself must name, which is three thousand dirhams, a male and a female slave, and the murder of Ali!’ He asked, ‘You shall have all that, but how may I accomplish it?’ and she replied, ‘Take him by surprise. If you escape, you will have rescued the people from evil, and will live with your wife; while if you die in the attempt, you will go on to the Garden and a delight that shall never end!’ (Mubarrad, 27.) As is generally known, Ibn Muljam was executed after he stabbed imam Ali (k.A.w.) to death outside the mosque in Kufa.

Muslims anxious not to repeat the tragic errors of the past will wish to reflect deeply upon this pattern of events. Tens of thousands of Muslims, fervently committed to the faith and outstanding for their practical piety, nonetheless fell prey to the Kharijite temptation. The ulema trace the origins of that temptation back to the incident of Dhu’l-Khuwaysira, who considered himself a better Muslim than the Prophet himself (s.w.s.). And he, like the overwhelming majority of the Kharijite leaders who followed in his footsteps, was a Tamimi. Of the non-Tamimi Kharijites, almost all were from Najd.

The Ridda: the First Fitna

There is a further issue which Muslims will wish to consider when forming their view of Najd. This is the attitude of the Najdis following the death of the Messenger (s.w.s.). The historians affirm that the great majority of the rebellions against the payment of zakat which broke out during the khilafa of Abu Bakr (r.a.) took place among Najdis. Moreoever, and even more significantly, many of the the Najdi rebellions were grounded in a strange anti-Islamic ideology. The best-known of these was led by Musaylima, who claimed to be a prophet, and who established a rival shari‘a which included quasi-Muslim rituals such as forms of fasting and dietary rules. He followed the Islamic prayer rules, but abolished the Fajr and the Isha prayers. One of his so-called ‘revelations’ ran:

Banu Tamim is a tribe of purity,
a free people, with no fault in them,
neither do they pay a tribute.
We shall be their allies of protection,
good to them for as long as we live!
We shall protect them from everyone,
and when we die, their affair is with al-Rahman.

(Imam al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Rusul wa’l-Muluk [Beirut, 1407], II, 276).

Musaylima was a forceful speaker, and soon gained a huge following in Central Arabia. However the historians record that when he tried to imitate the miracles of the Prophet (s.a.w.) disaster would result. Children brought to him for cures would become sicker. When his wudu water was poured over crops, the land would turn sterile. Wells that he had used would turn salty. However the power of tribalism caused many to pay no attention.

Talha al-Namari came to Najd and said: ‘Where is Musaylima?’ At this the people said: ‘Careful! Call him the Messenger of Allah!’ So he replied: ‘No, not until I have seen him.’ So when he came to him he said: ‘You are Musaylima,’ and he replied, ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘Who comes to you?’ and he replied: ‘Al-Rahman’. He asked: ‘Does he come in light or darkness?’ ‘In darkness.’ Whereupon he said: ‘I bear witness that you are a liar and that Muhammad tells the truth, but a liar of your tribe is dearer to me than a truth-teller of his.’ So he joined Musaylima until he was killed at the Battle of Aqraba. (Tabari, II, 277).

Incidents like this are revealing in two ways. Firstly, they show the characteristic feature of Musaylima’s aqeedah: Allah resembles a physical being who can ‘come’. Secondly, they reveal the immense, blind power of Arabian tribalism as this still existed in Najd.

As leader of a rival religion, he and his Najdi enthusiasts were in a state of baghy, heretical revolt against due caliphal authority, and Abu Bakr (r.a.) sent an army against them under Khalid ibn al-Walid. In the year 12 of the Hijra Khalid defeated the Najdis at the Battle of al-Aqraba, a bloody clash that centred on a walled garden which is known to our historians as the Garden of Death, because hundreds of great Companions lost their lives there at the hands of the Najdis. The battle ranged the egalitarian spirit of Islam against the old Arab tribalism, as was shown by the fact that the banner of the Muhajirun was held by a freed Persian slave, Salim, while the banner of the Ansar was held high by Thabit b. Qays. The Muslim battle-cry was not the invocation of a tribe or an ancestor, instead it was, ‘Ya Muhammad!’ (Tabari, 281.) The pseudo-prophet was killed by Wahshi, the Ethiopian slave who, even though he had killed Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib, had made good his Islam, and was now an honored member of the community. The killing of the prophet of Najdi pride by a man of such humble origins was a powerful symbol of the principles that were at stake. (See Abdallah ibn Muslim Ibn Qutayba, Kitab al-Ma‘arif [Cairo, 1960], p.206; Ahmad ibn Yahya al-Baladhuri, Futuh al-buldan [repr. Beirut, n.d., p.86.])

Devotion to Musaylima lingered on in Central Arabia, however. An indication of the continuity of Najdi religious life is given by the non-Muslim traveller Palgrave, who as late as 1862 found that some Najdi tribesmen continued to revere Musaylima as a prophet. (W. Palgrave, Narrative of a year’s journey through Central and Eastern Arabia [London, 1865], I, 382.)

The other ringleader of Najdi rebellion against the khilafa was a woman known as Sajah, whose full name was Umm Sadir bint Aws, and who belonged to the tribe of Tamim. She made claims to prophethood in the name of a rabb who was ‘in the clouds’, and who gave her revelations by which she succeeded in uniting sections of the Tamim who had argued among themselves over the extent to which they should reject the authority of Madina. Leading several campaigns against tribes who remained loyal to Islam, the Najdi prophetess is said to have thrown in her lot with Musaylima. Other than this, little is known of her fate. (Ibn Qutayba, Ma‘arif, p.405; Baladhuri, Futuh, pp.99-100.)

Recent Najdi Tendencies

It is well-known that the Najdi reformer, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, was a Tamimi. The violence and takfir associated with the movement which carries his name surely bears more than a coincidental resemblance to the policies and mindset of the Tamimi Kharijites of ancient Najd. Consider, for instance, the following massacre, of the Shi‘a of Karbala in April 1801, as described by a Wahhabi historian:

Saud made for Karbala with his victorious army, famous pedigree horses, and all the settled people and bedouin of Najd [...] The Muslims (i.e. the Wahhabis) surrounded Karbala and took it by storm. They killed most of the people in the markets and houses. One cannot count their spoils. They stayed there for just one morning, and left after midday, taking away all the possessions. Nearly two thousand people were killed in Karbala. (Uthman ibn Bishr, Unwan al-Majd fi Tarikh Najd [Makka, 1349], 1, 121-122.)

It is hard to distinguish this raid, and the brutality of its accomplishment, from the Khariji raids from Najd into the same region a thousand years earlier.
Muhammad Finati, an Italian revert to Islam who served with the Caliphal army which defeated the Wahhabis, wrote a long first-hand account of the extreme barbarism of the Najdi hordes. For instance:

Such among us as fell alive into the hands of these cruel fanatics, were wantonly mutilated by the cutting off of their arms and legs, and left to perish in that state, some of whom, in the course of our retreat, I myself actually saw, who had no greater favour to ask than that we would put them to death. (G. Finati, Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Giovanni Finati [London, 1830], I, 287.)

It is sometimes claimed that the days when ‘all the settled people and bedouin of Najd’ would happily commit such mass murder are long gone, and that Wahhabism has become more moderate. But another, more recent example, shows otherwise. In 1924, the Wahhabi army entered the city of Ta’if, plundering it for three days. The chief qadi and the ulema were dragged from their houses and slaughtered, while several hundred other civilians lost their lives. (Ibn Hizlul, Tarikh Muluk Al Sa‘ud [Riyadh, 1961], pp.151-3.) After giving the the Sunni population of the Hijaz this terrorist lesson, ‘Ibn Saud occupied Mecca with Britain’s tacit blessing’ (Alexei Vassiliev, A History of Saudi Arabia [London, 1998], p.264).


A good deal of material concerning Najd and Tamim has been preserved from the time of the Salaf. If we reject the method of some Najdi apologists, a method based on the highly selective quotation of hadiths coupled with the blind imitation of opinions expressed by late-medieval commentary writers, we may reach some reasonably settled and authoritative conclusions regarding Central Arabia and its people. The Qur’an, the sound Hadith, and the experience of the Salaf overwhelmingly concur that Central Arabia is a region of fitna. The first of all fitnas in Islam emerged from that place, notably the arrogance of Dhu’l-Khuwaysira and his like, and also the apostasy and fondness for false prophets which caused such difficulty for Abu Bakr (r.a.). Subsequently, the Kharijite heresy, overwhelmingly Najdi in its roots, cast a long shadow over the early history of Islam, dividing the Muslims, distracting their armies from the task of conquering Byzantium, and injecting rancour, suspicion, and bitterness among the very earliest generations of Muslims. Only the most determined, blinkered and irresponsible Najdi sympathiser could ignore this evidence, transmitted so reliably from the pure Salaf, and persist in the delusion that Najd and the misguided, literalistic rigorism which it recurrently produces, is somehow an area favoured by Allah.

And Allah knows best. May He unite the Umma through love for the early Muslims who refused bigotry, and may He preserve us from the trap of Kharijism and those who are attracted to its mindset in our time. Ameen.


Many a times we meet ignorant wahabis in life who say that NAJD is Iraq. This statement ensures that the person has been reading Wahabi FABRICATED materials and has been brain washed by the wahabi speakers.

If one does not have interest in reading , please analyse these evidence.

First Proof

Click that link and see it yourself.


The etymological sense of the Arabic word najd, which means ‘high ground’. Again, a brief consultation of an atlas resolves this matter decisively. With the exception of present-day northern Iraq, which was not considered part of Iraq by any Muslim until the present century (it was called ‘al-Jazira’), Iraq is notably flat and low-lying, much of it even today being marshland, while the remainder, up to and well to the north of Baghdad, is flat, low desert or agricultural land. Najd, by contrast, is mostly plateau, culminating in peaks such as Jabal Tayyi’ (1300 metres), in the Jabal Shammar range.


Medieval Islamic geographers contest this inherently strange thesis (see for instance Ibn Khurradadhbih, al-Masalik wa’l-mamalik [Leiden, 1887], 125; Ibn Hawqal, Kitab Surat al-ard [Beirut, 1968],18); and limit the northern extent of Najd at Wadi al-Rumma, or to the deserts to the south of al-Mada’in. There is no indication that the places in which the second wave of sedition arose, such as Kufa and Basra, were associated in the mind of the first Muslims with the term ‘Najd’. On the contrary, these places are in every case identified as lying within the land of Iraq.


Even the briefest glimpse at a modern atlas will show that a straight line drawn to the east of al-Madina al-Munawwara does not pass anywhere near Iraq, but passes some distance to the south of Riyadh; that is to say, through the exact centre of Najd. The hadiths which speak of ‘the East’ in this context hence support the view that Najd is indicated, not Iraq.


Here is a clear proof that our beloved prophet CLEARLY meant , knew and told that NAJD is DIFFERENT FROM IRAQ. Please Analyse this

Further evidence can be cited from the cluster of hadiths which identify the miqat points for pilgrims. In a hadith narrated by Imam Nasa’i (Manasik al-Hajj, 22), ‘A’isha (r.a.) declared that ‘Allah’s Messenger (s.w.s.) established the miqat for the people of Madina at Dhu’l-Hulayfa, for the people of Syria and Egypt at al-Juhfa, for the people of Iraq at Dhat Irq, and for the people of Najd at Qarn, and for the Yemenis at Yalamlam.’ Imam Muslim (Hajj, 2) narrates a similar hadith: ‘for the people of Madina it is Dhu’l-Hulayfa - while on the other road it is al-Juhfa - for the people of Iraq it is Dhat Irq, for the people of Najd it is Qarn, and for the people of Yemen it is Yalamlam.’


Book 007, Number 2666: Sahih Muslim

Abu Zubair heard Jabir b. 'Abdullah (Allah be pleased with them) as saying as he was asked about (the place for entering upon the) state of Ihram: I heard (and I think he carried it directly to the Apostle of Allah) him saying: For the people of Medina Dhu'l-Hulaifa is the place for entering upon the state of Ihram, and for (the people coming through the other way, i. e. Syria) it is Juhfa; for the people of Iraq it is Dbat al-'Irq; for the people uf Najd it is Qarn (al-Manazil) and for the people of Yemen it is Yalamlam.

These texts constitute unarguable proof that the Prophet (s.w.s.) distinguished between Najd and Iraq, so much so that he appointed two separate miqat points for the inhabitants of each. For him, clearly, Najd did not include Iraq.



Narrated Ibn 'Umar: (The Prophet) said, "O Allah! Bless our Sham and our yemen." People said, "Our Najd as well." The Prophet again said, "O Allah! Bless our Sham and yemen." They said again, "Our Najd as well." On that the Prophet said, "There will appear earthquakes and afflictions, and from there will come out the side of the head of Satan." (Book #17, Hadith #147, Bukhari)

It can be deduced from the above Hadith that Najd is neither blessed nor a good place but one of Fitna and Evil. Najd has been deprived of the prayers of the Holy Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) and therefore Najd has the seal of misery and misfortune and hoping for any good from there is going against the Will of Allah.

The Arabic word used in the above Hadith is Qarnush Shaitaan, which normally means the horn of Shaitaan. But the 'Misbahul Lughaat', a dictionary printed in Deoband has the following meaning: "One who follows the advice of Shaitaan." (Misbahul Lughaat, pp/663). Thus we learn that a Najdi/Wahhabi group will emerge, as pointed out by Rasoolullah (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) and this group will follow the advice of Shaitaan (Shaitaan refuses to respect Prophets and Saints, remember his refusal to bow to Hazrat Adam (Alayhi Salaam) is mentioned in the Quran. It will create havoc in the Muslim world. We are now witnessing the emergence of the Wahhabis who, with the assistance of petrodollars, are sweeping the Muslim world and are bribing them into accepting Wahhabism as the official version of Islam.

Wahhabism is a disease but so many are misled into believing that it is curing the Ummah of Shirk, Kufr and Bidah. It is being portrayed as a revivalist movement. This is against the Ahadith. Looking at the geographical position of Najd, it lies to the East of Medina. The Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) pointed towards the East and said:
"There, that is the direction from where Fitna will emerge


It is reported in SAHIH BUKHARI from Hazrat Abu Said Khudri (Radiallhu Anhu) who narrates that:
Once we were in the presence and company of the Holy Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam). He was distributing booties (Spoils of War) when a person named Zul-Khawaisara, who was from the tribe of Bani Tamim addressed the Holy Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) "Oh Muhammad Be Just!" ". The Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied: "A Great pity that you have doubts, if I am unjust then who will be just, you are a loser and a failure." Zul-Khawaisara's attitude infuriated Hazrat Umar (Radiallhu Anhu) and he pleaded with the Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) to permit him to slay Zul-Khawaisara. The Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) remarked: "Leave him, as his slaying will serve no good purpose, as he is not the only individual but there are a host of others like him and if you compare their prayers and fasting to that of yours, you yourself will feel ashamed. These are the people who will recite the Quran but it will not go beyond their throats, with all these apparent virtues they will leave the fold of Deen just like the arrow leaves the bow.


The previous Hadith has also been narrated as follows: "A person with eyes protruding, with a long beard and head clean-shaven came to the Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) and declared: 'O Muhammad! (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) fear Allah. "' The Prophet(Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied: "If I disobey Allah, then who else will obey Him? I am obedient to Allah at all times and never disobedient. Allah has sent me as Amin(Honest for the entire world, but you don't accept me as an honest man?' A Sahabi (Companion) became infuriated and sought permission to remove him from the presence of the Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam). The Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) prevented the Sahabi from doing so After the person had left, the Holy Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "From his progeny will rise a Group who will recite the Holy Quran but it will not go below their throats. They will leave the Deen just as an arrow leaves the bowstring. They will kill the Muslims but spar the idolaters. If I ever confronted these people I would slaughter them just as the people of Aad had been destroyed" (Mishkat Shareef, pp/535)


Hazrat Ali (Radiallhu Anhu) once narrated: "I swear by Allah that to fall from the sky to the Earth is very simple for me, but to utter one false word in reference to the Holy Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) is a very difficult and impossible task for me."

Hazrat Ali(Radiallhu Anhu) then narrated as follows:

"I heard the Holy Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) as saying that as the Day of Qiyamah approaches there will appear a group of youths with a low mental capacity and understanding, apparently they will talk of good but their Imaan will not go beyond their throat and they will leave the true Deen like an arrow leaves the prey. Wherever you find them, you should make Jihaad with them. ( Bukhari)


From the above hadith it is clear that these killers of Muslim will be from the Region of Najd , from the tribe of Bani Tamim ( prophet made both the prohecy) and they would recite quran ,but will not go below their throat , it means they will SHOW OFF in their ibadah and would consider muslims as inferior to them.

If one does a simple analysis of history you will find that there was only one such man upon whom all this fits with no doubt. This man was IBN ABDUL WAHAB NAJDI AL TAMIMI.

Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab belonged to the Bani Tamim tribe. He was born in Uyayna village near the town of Huraimila in the Najd Desert in 1111 A.H. (1699) and died in 1206 (1792).

If some one wants to see how this man killed muslims , took their property and made a new sect called WAHABSIM , one must read the below linked article in detail


Zul Khuwaisra - the man who showed so much disrespect to the Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) was from the tribe of Bani Tamim. The Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) foretold that the Wahhabi group who will cause much fitna, will be the off-springs of the above Munaafiq. Allama Dahlaan, the celebrated Historian of our era writes: "Zul Khuwaira was of the Banu Tamim tribe and so was Ibne Abdul Wahab Najdi." (Addarus Sunniah, pp/51). These Ahadith certainly do not fit the Kharajees because they were not the off-springs of Bani Tamim


The menace of Wahhabism

Fitnatul Wahhabiyyah - The menace of Wahhabism

Mawlana Shaykhu-l-Islam Ahmad Zayni Dahlan
al-Makki ash-Shafi'i
(Chief Mufti of Mecca al-Mukarramah).
May Allah be pleased with him


During the reign of Sultan Salim III (1204-1222 AH) many tribulations took place. One was the tribulation of the Wahhabiyyah which started in the area of al-Hijaz(1) where they captured al-Haramayn(2), and prevented Muslims coming from ash-Sham(3) and Egypt from reaching their destination to perform Pilgrimage (Hajj). Another tribulation is that of the French who controlled Egypt from 1213 A.H. until 1216 A.H. Let us here speak briefly about the two adversities(4), because each was mentioned in detail in the books of history and in separate treatises.

Background On The Tribulations Of The Wahhabis

The fighting started between the Wahhabis and the Prince of Mecca, Mawlana Sharif Ghalib Ibn Bu Sa'id, who had been appointed by the honored Muslim Sultan as his ruling representative over the areas of al-Hijaz. This was in 1205 AH during the time of Sultan Salim III, the son of Sultan Mustafa III, the son of Ahmad. Previous to the outbreak of fighting, the Wahhabis began to build power and gain followers in their areas. As their territories expanded, their evil and harm increased They killed countless numbers of Muslims, legitimated confiscating their money and possessions, and captured their women. The founder of their wicked doctrine was Muhammad Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab, who originated from eastern Arabia, from the tribe of Banu Tamim. He lived a long life, about one-hundred years. He was born in 1111 AH and died in 1200 AH. His history was narrated as follows:

Muhammad Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab started as a student of knowledge in the city of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: Medina al-Munawwarah. Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab's father was a good, pious man among the people of knowledge as was his brother, Shaykh Sulayman. His father, his brother, and his shaykhs (teachers of religion) had the foresight Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab would innovate a great deal of deviation and misguidance, because of their observance of his sayings, actions, and inclinations concerning many issues. They used to reprimand him and warn people against him.

Some Of The Beliefs Of Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab

What Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab's father, brother, and shaykhs speculated about him came true-by the Will of Allah, Ta'ala. Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab innovated deviant and misleading ways and beliefs and managed to allure some ignorant people to follow him. His deviant and misleading ways and beliefs disagreed with the sayings of the scholars of the Religion. His deviant beliefs led him to label the believers as blasphemers! He falsely claimed visiting the grave of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and performing the tawassul(5) by him as shirk(6). Additionally, he falsely claimed visiting the graves of other prophets and righteous Muslims (awliya’) and performing tawassul by them was shirk as well. He added to this by saying, "To call upon the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, when performing tawassul by the Prophet is shirk." He passed the same judgment of shirk on the ones who call upon other prophets and righteous Muslims (awliya’) in performing tawassul by them.

In an effort to give credibility to his innovations Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab embellished his sayings by quotations which he selected from Islamic sources, i.e., quotations which are used as proofs for many issues but not the issues which Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab was attempting to support. He brought false statements and tried to beautify them for the laymen until they followed him. He wrote treatises for them until they believed that most of the People of Tawhid(7) were blasphemers.

Alliance With The Saudi Family

Moreover, Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab called upon the princes of eastern Arabia and the people of ad-Dar'iyyah(8) to support him. They carried his doctrine and made this endeavor a means to strengthen and expand their kingdom. They worked together to suppress the Bedouins of the deserts until they overcame them and those Bedouins followed them and became foot-soldiers for them without pay. After that, these masses started to believe that whoever does not believe in what Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab said is a blasphemer, and it is Islamically lawful (halal) to shed his blood and plunder his money.

The matter of Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab started to evidence itself in 1143 A.H. and began spreading after 1150 A.H. Subsequently, the scholars--even his brother, Shaykh Sulayman and the rest of his shaykhs-- authored many treatises to refute him. But Muhammad Ibn Su'ud, the Prince of ad-Dar'iyyah in eastern Arabia, supported him and worked to spread his ideology. Ibn Su'ud was from Banu Hanifah, the people of Musaylimah al-Kadhdhab(9). When Muhammad Ibn Su'ud died, his son 'Abdul-'Aziz Ibn Muhammad Ibn Su'ud took over the responsibility of fulfilling the vile task of spreading the Wahhabi beliefs.

Many of the shaykhs of Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab in Medina used to say, "He will be misguided, and he will misguide those for whom Allah willed the misguidance." Things took place as per the speculation of the scholars. Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab claimed his intention behind the madhhab he invented was "to purify the Tawhid" and "repudiate the shirk." He also claimed people had been following the shirk for six-hundred years and he revived their Religion for them!!

The Methodology of Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab

Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab took the verses revealed to speak about the blasphemers and applied them to the Muslims. The following examples from the Qur'an illustrate this point. Allah, ta'ala, said in Surat al-Ahqaf, Ayah 5:

Who is more astray than the one who performs supplication (du'a') to [worship] other than Allah; the one other than Allah he supplicates to will not answer his du'a'.

Allah, ta'ala said in Surat Yunus, Ayah 106 :

"Do not perform supplication (du'a') to [worship] other than Allah; the one other than Allah you supplicate to will not benefit you and will not harm you"

The verses in the Qur'an similar to these ones are numerous. Muhammad Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab gravely misinterpreted the previously cited verses and said: "The Muslim who asks help from the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, other prophets, or the righteous people (salihun), or who calls or asks any of them for intercession is like those blasphemers mentioned in the Qur'an." According to the false claim of Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab, the Muslims who do these things are blasphemers.

He also considered visiting the grave of Prophet Muhammad and the graves of other prophets and righteous Muslims for blessings as blasphemy. Allah revealed Ayah 3 of Surat az-Zumar in reference to the mushrikun:

Those who worship the idols said: "We do not worship them except to achieve a higher status from Allah Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab falsely stated: "Those who perform tawassul (asking Allah by the prophets, for example) are similar to those blasphemers mentioned in Surat az-Zumar, Ayah 3, who claim they do not worship the idols except to achieve a higher status from Allah." He said: "The blasphemers did not believe the idols create anything; they believed Allah is the Creator." He gave his version of proof from the Qur'an by citing Surat Luqman, Ayah 25 and Surat az-Zumar, Ayah 38, in which Allah said: If you ask them, `Who created the heavens and earth?' They will say, `Allah'. In Surat az-Zukhruf, Ayah 87, Allah said:

If you ask them, `Who created them?' They will say,’Allah’. Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab falsely concluded from these verses that the Muslims who perform tawassul are similar to those blasphemers.

The Scholars refute Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab

In their writings to refute Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab's sayings, the scholars said his deduction was false. The believers did not consider the prophets or the awliya’ as gods and they did not deem them partners to Allah. Instead, they correctly believe the prophets and awliya’ are good slaves and creations of Allah, and they do not deserve to be worshipped.

The blasphemers intended in these verses believed their idols deserved Godhood. They exalted them as one would exalt his Creator, even though they believed the idols did not create the heavens and the earth. The believers, on the other hand, do not believe the prophets or righteous Muslims (awliya’) deserve to be worshipped, nor do they deserve to be attributed with Godhood, nor do they exalt them as one would exalt God. They believe these people are good slaves of Allah, His beloved ones whom He chose, and by their blessings (barakah) Allah grants His mercy to His creation. Hence, when the slaves of Allah seek the blessings (barakah) of the prophets and righteous Muslims (awliya’) they are seeking these blessings as a mercy from Allah.

There are many proofs and examples from the Qur'an and Sunnah about this basic belief of the Muslims. Muslims believe Allah is the Creator, the One Who grants benefit and inflicts harm, and the only One Who deserves to be worshipped. Muslims believe that no one other than Allah has the power to affect the creation. The prophets and righteous people do not create anything. They do not possess the power to bestow benefit or inflict harm on others, but Allah is the One Who bestows the mercy upon the slaves by the righteous Muslims' blessings.

Hence, the belief of the blasphemers, i.e., the belief their idols deserve to be worshipped and have Godhood, is what makes them fall into blasphemy. This saying of the blasphemers, as previously cited in Surat az-Zumar, Ayah 3, was said in an effort to justify their belief when they were disproved and shown idols do not deserve to be worshipped.

How can Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab and those who follow him find it permissible to equate the believers, who believed in Tawhid, to those blasphemers, who believed in the Godhood of the idols? All the previously cited verses and the verses which are similar to them are specific to the blasphemers who associate partners with Allah--none of the believers are included.

Al-Bukhari narrated by the route of Ibn 'Umar, may Allah raise their ranks, that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, described the Khawarij as those who took the verses revealed about the blasphemers and attributed them to the believers! In the narration by the route of Ibn 'Umar the Prophet said:

"What I fear most for my nation is a man who mis-explains the Qur'an and takes it out of context."

Proofs For Tawassul - The Permissibility of Asking Allah for things by some of His Creation.

If performing tawassul had been blasphemy, then the believers, i.e., the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his Companions, and the Salaf and Khalaf of this nation would not have done it. Yet it is mentioned in the sahih hadith of the Prophet that the Prophet used to ask Allah by saying:

"O Allah, I ask You by the status of those who ask You.(10) "

Without doubt, this is tawassul. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to teach this supplication (du'a') to his Companions and order them to say it. This issue was expounded upon in different books and treatises refuting Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab.

There is a hadith related by al-Hakim that mentions after Adam ate from the tree, he performed tawassul by our Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He did that, because he saw the name of the Prophet written on the 'Arsh, Adam said: "O Allah, by the dignity of this son [Muhammad], forgive this father [Adam]."

It was also related by Ibn Hibban, that upon the death of Fatimah Bint Asad, may Allah raise her rank, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, with his own honorable hands, put her in her grave and said:

"O Allah, forgive my mother(11), Fatimah Binti Asad, and widen her place by the status of Your Prophet and the prophets who came before me. You are the most Merciful."

There is a hadith classified as sahih(12), that a blind man asked the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, to make a supplication (du'a') to Allah to return his sight. The Prophet ordered him to make ablution (wudu') and pray two rak'ahs and then say:

"O Allah, I ask You and direct myself to You by Your Prophet, Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. O Muhammad, I ask Allah by you to fulfill my need. O Allah, enable him to intercede for me."

The blind man did what the Prophet taught him to do(13) and Allah brought his sight back. Moreover, as related by at-Tabarani, the tawassul made by the blind man was used by the Companions and Salaf after the death of the Prophet.

'Umar Ibn al-Khattab performed the tawassul by al-'Abbas (the uncle of the Prophet), may Allah reward their deeds, when he prayed the Salah of 'Istisqa'(14) with the people. There are other proofs mentioned in the books of the Islamic scholars but we will not recount them at length here.

The one who pursues the saying of the Companions and their followers will find a great deal of proof about the validity of calling the prophet by saying "O Muhammad" in his presence as well as in his absence and in his life as well as after his death. In fact, many texts include the phrase which means, "O Muhammad". Calling the name of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is permissible. An example is the saying of the Companion, Bilal Ibn al-Harith, may Allah reward his deeds, when he went to the grave of the Prophet. He said: "O Messenger of Allah, ask Allah to send rain to your Nation." His saying contains this format(15).

Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Sulayman al-Kurdi(16) was among the authors who wrote refuting Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab. He was Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab's own shaykh. Among what he said is as follows:

O Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab, I advise you, for the sake of Allah, ta'ala, to hold your tongue regarding the Muslims. If you hear from anyone who asks for help from other than Allah that one has the power to effect things without the Will of Allah, then teach him the right thing about this issue, and show him the proofs which state no one other than Allah brings things from non-existence into existence. The one who rejects that is blasphemous. You have no right to label the majority of the Muslims as blasphemers(17) while you are deviant from the majority of the Muslims. In fact, it is more reasonable to consider the one who deviates from the majority of the Muslims as a blasphemer then to consider the Muslims as a nation as blasphemers--because the deviant one has followed a path other than the path of the believers. In Surat an-Nisa', Ayah 15, Allah said:

Whomever contends with the Messenger after the right path was exposed to him and follows other than the way of the believers, Allah will leave him to whatever he followed and put him in Hell (Jahannam)].

The Permissibility Of Visiting The Grave Of The Prophet

Visiting the grave of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was performed by the Companions and the Salaf and Khalaf who came after them. Many hadiths cite the benefit of this deed and the scholars of Islam have written books about this matter(18).

Calling On Someone Other Than Allah

Among of what was mentioned concerning calling on someone other than Allah, whether that one is present, absent, dead or alive, is the saying of the Prophet:

"If the animal of anyone of you went out of control in the wilderness, then call: `O slaves of Allah, help me'", since there are slaves of Allah [i.e. the angels] who will respond to him.

There is another hadith related by al-Bazzar in which the Prophet said:

" If one of you lost something or needs help while in an open land, then let him say:
"O slaves of Allah, help me."

Another narration says, "Rescue me, because Allah has created slaves whom you do not see." When traveling at nightfall the Prophet, sallallahu 'alyhi wa sallam, used to say:" O earth, my Lord and your Lord is Allah." When the Prophet visited the grave of Muslims, he used to say:"O people of the graves, peace be upon you."

In the Tashahhud in as-Salah the Muslim says: "O Prophet of Allah, may Allah protect you from infirmities, and have mercy and blessings on you."

There is no harm in calling on and performing tawassul by someone unless one believes that someone other than Allah actually creates things. Hence, as long as one believes that only Allah creates them, there is no harm in performing tawassul. Likewise, attributing a certain doing to other than Allah does not harm unless one believes this doer actually creates. So once it is established the person does not believe the creating is for other than Allah then attributing a doing to other than Allah is understood in its proper context. When one says: "This medicine benefited me," or "This particular righteous Muslim benefited me," he is merely exposing the created reason of the benefit. These statements are also similar to when one says: "This food satisfied my hunger," or "This water quenched my thirst," or "This medicine cured me." When Muslims say such statements, they understand them in their proper context, i.e., food, water, and medicine are only reasons, and Allah is the Creator of their benefit.

The general proofs mentioned in this summary are enough to refute Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab. The scholars of Islam have expounded on this issue in several treatises.


1 Al-Hijaz refers to the western part of Arabia which includes Mecca and Medina.

2 Al-Haramayn refers to Mecca and Medina.

3 Ash-Sham refers to the area that includes Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine.

4 Only the first adversity will be presented in this booklet.

5 Tawassul is asking Allah for goodness by a prophet, righteous believer, etc.
6 Shirk refers to associating partners to Allah.

7 The People of Tawhid refers to the Muslims.

8 Ad-Dar'iyyah is a region north of the city of Riyad, Saudi Arabia.

9 Musaylimah al-Kadhdhab was a blasphemous man who claimed the status of prophethood for 10 himself after the death of Prophet Muhammad. He was killed by the Muslims during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, may Allah raise his rank.

10 Ibn Majah and others related this hadith and the-Hafidh, Ibn Hajar, deemed it a strong hadith

11 The Prophet called her `my mother' out of likening her to his real mother.

12 Sixteen hafidhs of hadith classified this hadith as sahih, including at-Tirmidhi, at-Tabarani, al-Bayhaqi, as-Subki, among others.

13 It is clear in the narrations of this hadith, the blind man was not in the session of the Prophet when he did as the Prophet ordered him.

14 Salah of 'Istisqa' refers to performing a specific prayer which includes making supplication for rain.

15 Al-Bayhaqi related this hadith and classified it as sahih.
16 Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Sulaym al-Kurdi was the one who wrote al-Hashiyah on the explanation of Ibn Hajar to the text of Bafadl.

17 It is mentioned in a hadith it is easier for the devil to trick the lonely person who is away from other Muslims. The Prophet, sallallahu al 'alayhi wa sallam, while encouraging the Muslims to perform the prayers in congregation said: "Moreover, the wolf will eat the lonely lamb."

18 Among these hadiths is the one related by ad-Daraqutni that the Prophet said: "On the Day of Judgment, I will intercede for the one who visits my grave with the good intention."


For Interested readers on this topic , they can 'google search " , Massacre in Taif

to learn more about this. Also please try to ivestigate how did the name ' arabia' changed into SAUDI ARABIA

Those who cannot google search , can read ANY book on the history of Arab for the period between 1700 to 1950 .

For detail history of this killing of innocent muslim men and women by Wahabis ,please read here


The Debate with Ibn Taymiyya

One of the great sufi imams who was also known as a muhaddith, preacher, and Maliki jurist, Abu al-Fadl Ibn `Ata Allah al-Iskandari (d. 709) is the author of al-Hikam (Aphorisms), Miftah al-falah (The key to success), al-Qasd al-mujarrad fi ma`rifat al-ism al-mufrad (The pure goal concerning knowledge of the Unique Name), Taj al-`arus al-hawi li tadhhib al-nufus (The bride's crown containing the discipline of souls), `Unwan al-tawfiq fi adab al-tariq (The sign of success concerning the discipline of the path), the biographical al-Lata'if fi manaqib Abi al-`Abbas al-Mursi wa shaykhihi Abi al-Hasan (The subtle blessings in the saintly lives of Abu al-`Abbas al-Mursi and his master Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili), and others. He was Abu al-`Abbas al-Mursi's (d. 686) student and the second successor of the Sufi founder, Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili.

Ibn `Ata' Allah was one of those who confronted Ibn Taymiyya for his excesses in attacking those of the Sufis with whom he disagreed. He never refers to Ibn Taymiyya by name in his works, but it is clearly of him that he speaks when he says, in his Lata'if, that Allah has put the Sufis to the test through what he terms "the scholars of external learning."1 In the pages below are the first English translation of a historical account which took place between the two.

Text of the Debate

From Usul al-Wusulby Muhammad Zaki Ibrahim Ibn Kathir, Ibn al-Athir, and other authors of biographical dictionaries and biographies have transmitted to us this authentic historical debate.2 It gives an idea of the ethics of debate among the people of learning. It documents the controversy between a pivotal personality in tasawwuf, Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Ata' Allah al-Iskandari, and an equally important person of the so-called "Salafi" movement, Shaykh Ahmad Ibn `Abd al-Halim Ibn Taymiyya during the Mamluke era in Egypt under the reign of the Sultan Muhammad Ibn Qalawun (al-Malik al-Nasir).

The Testimony of Ibn Taymiyya to Ibn `Ata' Allah: Shaykh Ibn Taymiyya had been imprisoned in Alexandria. When the Sultan pardoned him, he came back to Cairo. At the time of the evening prayer he went to al-Azhar mosque where salat al-maghrib was being led by Shaykh Ahmad Ibn `Ata Allah al-Iskandari. Following the prayer, Ibn `Ata' Allah was surprised to discover that Ibn Taymiyya had been praying behind him. Greeting him with a smile, the Sufi shaykh cordially welcomed Ibn Taymiyya's arrival to Cairo, saying: "as-Salamu alaykum". Then Ibn `Ata' Allah started to talk with the learned visitor.

Ibn `Ata' Allah: "Ordinarily, I pray the evening prayer in the Mosque of Imam Husayn and the night prayer here. But look how the Divine plan works itself out! Allah has ordained that I should be the first one to greet you (after your return to Cairo). Tell me, O faqih, do you blame me for what happened?

Ibn Taymiyya: "I know you intended me no harm, but our differences of opinion still stand. In any case, whoever has harmed me in any way, from this day on I hereby exonerate and free him from any blame in the matter."

Ibn `Ata' Allah: "What is it you know about me, Shaykh Ibn Taymiyya?"

Ibn Taymiyya:
"I know you to be a man of scrupulous piety, abundant learning, integrity and truthfulness in speech. I bear witness that I have seen no one like you either in Egypt or Syria who loves Allah more nor who is more self-effacing in Him nor who is more obedient in carrying out what He has commanded and in refraining from what He has forbidden. Nevertheless, we have our differences. What do you know about me? Are you claiming that I am misguided when I deny the validity of calling on anyone save Allah for aid (istighatha)?"

Ibn `Ata' Allah:
"Surely, my dear colleague, you know that istighatha or calling for help is the same as tawassul or seeking a means and asking for intercession (shafa`a); and that the Messenger, on him be peace, is the one whose help is sought since he is our means and he the one whose intercession we seek."

Ibn Taymiyya: "In this matter, I follow what the Prophet's Sunna has laid down in the Shari`a. For it has been transmitted in a sound hadith: "I have been granted the power of intercession."3 I have also collected the sayings on the Qur'anic verse: "It may be that thy Lord will raise thee (O Prophet) to a praised estate" (17:79) to the effect that the "praised estate" is intercession. Moreover, when the mother of the Commander of the Faithful `Ali died, the Prophet prayed to Allah at her grave and said:O Allah who lives and never dies, who quickens and puts to death, forgive the sins of my mother Fatima bint Asad, make wide the place wherein she enters through the intercession of me, Thy Prophet, and the Prophets who came before me. For Thou art the most merciful of those capable of having mercy.4

This is the intercession that belongs to the Prophet, on him be peace. As for seeking the help of someone other than Allah, it smacks of idolatry; for the Prophet commanded his cousin `Abd Allah ibn `Abbas not to ask of anyone to help him other than Allah."5

Ibn `Ata' Allah:
May Allah cause you to prosper, O faqih! As for the advice which the Prophet -- on him be peace -- gave to his cousin Ibn Abbas, he wanted him to draw near to Allah not through his familial relationship to the Prophet but through his knowledge. With regard to your understanding of istighatha as being seeking the aid of someone other than Allah which is idolatry, I ask you: Is there any Muslim possessed of real faith and believing in Allah and His Prophet who thinks there is someone other than Allah who has autonomous power over events and who is able to carry out what He has willed with regard to them? Is there any true believer who believes that there is someone who can reward him for his good deeds and punish him for his bad ones other than Allah?

Besides this, we must consider that there are expressions which should not be taken just in their literal sense. This is not because of fear of associating a partner with Allah and in order to block the means to idolatry. For whoever seeks help from the Prophet only seeks his power of intercession with Allah as when you yourself say: "This food satisfies my appetite." Does the food itself satisfy your appetite? Or is it the case that it is Allah who satisfies your appetite through the food?

As for your statement that Allah has forbidden Muslims to call upon anyone other than Himself in seeking help, have you actually seen any Muslim calling on someone other than Allah? The verse you cite from the Qur'an was revealed concerning the idolaters and those who used to call on their false gods and ignore Allah. Whereas, the only way Muslims seek the help of the Prophet is in the sense of tawassul or seeking a means, by virtue of the privilege he has received from Allah (bi haqqihi `inda Allah), and tashaffu` or seeking intercession, by virtue of the power of intercession which Allah has bestowed on him.

As for your pronouncement that istighatha or seeking help is forbidden in the Shari`a because it can lead to idolatry, if this is the case, then we ought also to prohibit grapes because they are means to making wine, and to castrate unmarried men because not to do so leaves in the world a means to commit fornication and adultery."

At the latter comment both the shaykhs laughed. Ibn `Ata Allah continued: "I am acquainted with the all-inclusiveness and foresight of the legal school founded by your Shaykh, Imam Ahmad, and know the comprehensiveness of your own legal theory and about its principle of blocking the means to evil (sadd al-dhara'i`) as well as the sense of moral obligation a man of your proficiency in Islamic jurisprudence and integrity must feel. But I realize also that your knowledge of language demands that you search out the hidden meanings of words which are often shrouded behind their obvious senses. As for the Sufis, meaning for them is like a spirit, and the words themselves are like its body. You must penetrate deeply into what is behind the verbal body in order to seize the deeper reality of the word's spirit.

Now you have found a basis in your ruling against Ibn `Arabi in the Fusus al-hikam, the text of which has been tampered with by his opponents not only with things he did not say, but with statements he could not even have intended saying (given the character of his Islam). When Shaykh al-Islam al-`Izz ibn `Abd al-Salam understood what Shaykh Ibn `Arabi had actually said and analyzed, grasped and comprehended the real meaning of his symbolic utterances, he asked Allah's pardon for his former opinion about the Shaykh and acknowledged that Muhyiddin ibn `Arabi was an Imam of Islam.6

As for the statement of al-Shadhili against Ibn Arabi, you should know that Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili is not the person who said it but one of the students of the Shadhiliyya. Furthermore, in making this statement that student was talking about some of the followers of Shadhili. Thus, his words were taken in a fashion he himself never intended.

"What do you think about the Commander of the Faithful, Sayyidina `Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him?"

Ibn Taymiyya: In the hadith the Prophet, on him be peace, said: "I am the city of knowledge and `Ali is its door."7 Sayyidina `Ali is the one mujahid who never went out to battle except to return victoriously. What scholar or jurist who came after him struggled for the sake of Allah using tongue, pen and sword at the same time? He was a most accomplished Companion of the Prophet -- may Allah honor his countenance. His words are a radiant lamp which have illumined me during the entire course of my life after the Qur'an and Sunna. Ah! one who is ever short of provision and long in his journeying.

Ibn `Ata' Allah: Now, did Imam `Ali ask anyone to take his side in a faction? For this faction has claimed that the Angel Gabriel made a mistake and delivered the revelation to Muhammad -- on him be peace instead of `Ali! Or did he ask them to claim that Allah had become incarnate in his body and the Imam had become divine? Or did he not fight and slay them and give a fatwa (legal opinion) that they should be killed wherever they were found?

Ibn Taymiyya: "On the basis of this very fatwa, I went out to fight them in the mountains of Syria for more than ten years.

Ibn `Ata' Allah: And Imam Ahmad -- may Allah be pleased with him -- questioned the actions of some of his followers who were in the habit of going on patrols, breaking open casks of wine (in the shops of their Christian vendors or wherever they find them), spilling their contents on the floor, beating up singing girls, and confronting people in the street. All of this they did in the name of enjoining good and prohibiting what is forbidden. However, the Imam had not given any fatwa that they should censure or rebuke all those people. Consequently, these followers of his were flogged, thrown into jail, and paraded mounted on assback facing the tail.

Now, is Imam Ahmad himself responsible for the bad behavior which the worst and most vicious Hanbalis continue to perpetrate right down to our own day, in the name of enjoining good and prohibiting what is forbidden?

All this is to say that Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn `Arabi is innocent with respect to what those of his followers do who absolve people of legal and moral obligations set down by the religion and from committing deeds that are prohibited. Do you not see this?

Ibn Taymiyya
: "But where do they stand with respect to Allah? Among you Sufis are those who assert that when the Prophet -- on him be peace -- gave glad tidings to the poor and said that they would enter paradise before the rich, the poor fell into ecstasy and began to tear their garments into pieces; that at that moment the Angel Gabriel descended from heaven and said to the Prophet that Allah had sought his rightful portion from among these torn garments; and that the Angel Jibril carried one of them and hung it on Allah's throne. For this reason, they claim, Sufis wear patchworked garments and call themselves fuqara' or the "poor"!

Ibn `Ata' Allah: "Not all Sufis wear patchworked vests and clothing. Here I am before you: what do you disapprove of in my appearance?"

Ibn Taymiyya
: "You are from the men of Shari`a and teach in al-Azhar."

Ibn `Ata' Allah: "al-Ghazali was equally an Imam both in Shari`a and tasawwuf. He treated legal rulings, the Sunna, and the Shari'a with the spirit of the Sufi. And by applying this method he was able to revive the religious sciences. We know that tasawwuf recognizes that what is sullied has no part in religion and that cleanliness has the character of faith. The true and sincere sufi must cultivate in his heart the faith recognized by the Ahl al-Sunna.

Two centuries ago the very phenomena of pseudo-Sufis appeared which you yourself criticize and reject. There were persons who sought to diminish the performance of worship and religious obligations, lighten fasting and belittle the five daily prayers. They ran wild into the vast arenas of sloth and heedlessness, claiming that they had been liberated from the shackles of the slavery of divine worship. Not satisfied with their own vile deeds until they have claimed intimations of the most extravagent realities and mystical states just as Imam al-Qushayri himself described in his well-known Risala, which he directed against them. He also set down in detail what constituted the true path to Allah, which consists in taking a firm hold upon the Qur'an and the Sunna. The Imams of tasawwuf desire to arrive at the true reality not only by means of rational evidences thought up by the human mind which are capable of being false as well as true, but by means of purifying the heart and purging the ego through a course of spiritual exercises. They cast aside concerns for the life of this world inasmuch as the true servant of Allah does not busy himself with anything else except love of Allah and His Prophet. This is a high order of business and one which makes a servant pious and healthy and prosperous. It is an occupation that reforms those things that corrupt the human creature, such as love of money and ambition for personal standing in society. However, it is an order of business which is constituted by nothing less than spiritual warfare for the sake of Allah.

My learned friend, interpreting texts according to their literal meanings can sometimes land a person in error. Literalism is what has caused your judgments about Ibn `Arabi who is one of the Imams of our faith known for his scrupulous piety. You have understood what he wrote in a superficial fashion; whereas sufis are masters of literary figures which intimate much deeper meanings, hyperbolic language that indicates heightened spiritual awareness and words which convey secrets concerning the realm of the unseen."

Ibn Taymiyya: "This argument is against you, not in your favor. For when Imam al-Qushayri saw his followers deviating from the path to Allah he took steps to improve them. What do the sufi shaykhs in our day do? I only ask that Sufis follow the path of the Sunna of these great and pious ancestors of our faith (Salaf): the ascetics (zuhhad) among the Companions, the generation which suceeded them, and the generation that followed in their footsteps to their best! Whoever acts in this way I esteem him highly and consider him to be an Imam of the religion. As for unwarranted innovation and the insertion of the ideas of idolaters such as the Greek philosophers and the Indian Buddhists, or like the idea that man can incarnate Allah (hulul) or attain unity with Him (ittihad), or the theory that all existence is one in being (wahdat al-wujud) and other such things to which your Shaykh summons people: this is clearly godlessness and unbelief."

Ibn `Ata' Allah: "Ibn `Arabi was one of the greatest of the jurists who followed the school of Dawud al-Zahiri after Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi, who is close to your methodology in Islamic law, O Hanbalis! But although Ibn `Arabi was a Zahiri (i.e. a literalist in matters of Islamic law), the method he applied to understand ultimate reality (al-haqiqa) was to search out the hidden, spiritual meaning (tariq al-batin), that is, to purify the inward self (tathir al-batin).8 However, not all followers of the hidden are alike. In order that you not err or forget, repeat your reading of Ibn `Arabi with fresh understanding of his symbols and inspirations. You will find him to be very much like al-Qushayri. He has taken his path in tasawwuf under the umbrella of the Qur'an and Sunna just like the Proof of Islam, Shaykh al-Ghazali, who carried on debates about doctrinal differences in matters of creed and issues of worship but considered them occupations lacking in real value and benefit. He invited people to see that the love of Allah is the way of a proper servant of Allah with respect to faith.

Do you have anything to object to in this, O faqih? Or do you love the disputations of Islamic jurists? Imam Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, exercised extreme caution about such wrangling in matters of creed and used to say: "Whenever a man enters into arguing about issues of creed it diminishes his faith." Similarly al-Ghazali said: The quickest means of drawing near to Allah is through the heart, not the body. I do not mean by heart this fleshy thing palpable to seeing, hearing, sight and touch. Rather, I have in mind the inner most secret of Allah himself the Exalted and Great which is imperceptible to sight or touch. Indeed, the Ahl al-Sunna are the very ones who named the Sufi shaykh al-Ghazali: "the Proof of Islam,"9 and there is no-one to gainsay his opinions even if one of the scholars has been excessive in praising his book when he said: "The Ihya' `ulum al-din was almost a Qur'an."10

The carrying out of religious obligation (taklif) in the view of Ibn `Arabi and Ibn al-Farid is a worship whose mihrab, or prayer-niche indicating the orientation of prayer, is its inward aspect, not merely its external ritual. For what is the good of you standing and sitting in prayer if your heart is preoccupied with something other than Allah. Allah praises people when He says in the Qur'an: "Those who are humble in their prayer" (23:2) and He blames peoples when He says: "Those who are heedless in their prayer" (107:5). This is what Ibn `Arabi means when he says: "Worship is the mihrab of the heart, that is, the inward aspect of prayer not the outward."

The Muslim is unable to arrive at the knowledge of certitude (`ilm al-yaqin) nor at certitude itself (`ayn al-yaqin) of which the Qur'an speaks unless he evacuates his heart from whatever distracts it in the way of wordly cravings and center himself on inward contemplation. Then the outpourings of Divine reality will fill his heart, and from there will spring his sustenance. The real sufi is not the one who derives his sustenace from asking and begging people for alms. The only one who is sincere is he who rouses his heart and spirit to self-obliteration in Allah by obedience to Allah. Perhaps Ibn `Arabi caused the jurists to rise up against him because of his contempt of their preoccupation with arguing and wrangling about credal matters, actual legal cases, and hypothetical legal situations, since he saw how much it distracted them from purifying the heart. He named them "the jurists of women's menses." May Allah grant you refuge from being among them! Have you read Ibn `Arabi's statement that: "Whoever builds his faith exclusively on demonstrative proofs and deductive arguments, builds a faith on which it is impossible to rely. For he is affected by the negativities of constant objections. Certainty (al-yaqin) does not derive from the evidences of the mind but pours out from the depths of the heart." Have you ever read talk as pure and sweet as this?"

Ibn Taymiyya: "You have spoken well if only your master were as you say, for he would then be as far as possible from unbelief. But what he has said cannot sustain the meanings that you have given in my view."11


1 Ibn `Ata Allah, Lata'if al-minan fi manaqib Abi al-`Abbas.on the margins of Sha`rani's Lata'if al-minan wa al-akhlaq (Cairo, 1357) 2:17-18.

2 See Ibn al-`Imad, Shadharat al-dhahab (1350/1931) 6:20f.; al- Zirikly, al-A`lam (1405/1984) 1:221; Ibn Hajar, al-Durar al-kamina (1348/1929) 1:148-273; Al-Maqrizi, Kitab al-suluk (1934-1958) 2:40-94; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya (1351/1932) 14:45; Subki, Tabaqat al-shafi`iyya (1324/1906) 5:177f. and 9:23f.; Suyuti, Husn al-muhadara fi akhbar misr wa al-qahira (1299/) 1:301; al-Dawadari, al-Durr al-fakhir fi sirat al-malik al-Nasir (1960) p. 200f.; al-Yafi`i, Mir'at al-janan (1337/1918) 4:246; Sha`rani, al-Tabaqat al-kubra (1355/1936) 2:19f.; al-Nabahani, Jami` karamat al-awliya' (1381/1962) 2:25f.

3 Bukhari and Muslim, hadith of Jabir: "I have been given five things which no prophet was given before me..."

4 al-Tabarani relates it in al-Kabir. Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim declare it sound. Ibn Abi Shayba on the authority of Jabir relates a similar narrative. Similar also is what Ibn `Abd Al-Barr on the authority of Ibn `Abbas and Abu Nu`aym in his Hilya on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik relate, as al-Hafiz al-Suyuti mentioned in the Jami` al-Kabir. Haythami says in Majma` al-zawa'id: "Tabarani's chain contains Rawh ibn Salah who has some weakness but Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim declared him trustworthy. The rest of its sub-narrators are the men of sound hadith." This Fatima is `Ali's mother, who raised the Prophet.

5 Hadith: "O young man... if you have need to ask, ask of Allah. If you must seek help, seek help from Allah..." (ya ghulam ala u`allimuka...): Tirmidhi (#2516 hasan sahih); Bayhaqi in Asma' wa al-sifat p. 75-76 and Shu`ab al-iman 2:27-28 (#1074-1075) and 7:203 (#10000); Ahmad 1:307; Tabarani; Ibn Hibban; Abu Dawud; al-Hakim; Nawawi included it in his 40 Hadiths (#19) but Ibn al-Jawzi placed it among the forgeries.

6 See al-`Izz ibn `Abd al-Salam al-Maqdisi's Zabad khulasat al-tasawwuf (The quintessence of self-purification) (Tanta: al-matba`a al-yusufiyya). Published under the title Hall al-rumuz wa-mafatih al-kunuz (The explanation of symbols and the keys to treasures) (Cairo: al-maktab al-fanni li al-nashr, 1961). Note that this is a different author than Shaykh al-Islam al-`Izz ibn `Abd al-Salam al-Sulami.

7 From the Reliance of the Traveller p. 954-957: "(`Ali Qari:) The Hadith "I am the city of knowledge and `Ali is its gate" was mentioned by Tirmidhi... [who] said it was unacknowledgeable. Bukhari also said this, and said that it was without legitimate claim to authenticity. Ibn Ma`in said that it was a baseless lie, as did Abu Hatim and Yahya ibn Sa`id. Ibn Jawzi recorded it in his book of Hadith forgeries, and was confirmed by Dhahabi, and others in this. Ibn Daqiq al-`Eid said, "This Hadith is not confirmed by scholars, and is held by some to be spurious." Daraqutni stated that it was uncorroborated. Ibn Hajar `Asqalani was asked about it and answered that it was well authenticated (hasan), not rigorously authenticated (sahih), as Hakim had said, but not a forgery (mawdu`), as Ibn Jawzi had said. This was mentioned by Suyuti. The Hadith master (hafiz) Abu Sa`id `Ala'i said, "The truth is that the Hadith is well authenticated (hasan), in view of its multiple means of transmission, being neither rigorously authenticated (sahih) nor weak (da`if), much less a forgery" (Risala al-mawdu`at, 26)."

8 This is a key equivalence in Ibn `Ata Allah's Hikam, for example #205: "Sometimes lights come upon you and find the heart stuffed with forms of created things, so they go back from whence they descended." Ibn `Ata' Allah, Sufi Aphorisms (Kitab al-hikam), trans. Victor Danner (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1984) p. 53.

9 As illustrated by Salah al-Din al-Safadi for Ghazali's entry in his biographical dictionary: "Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad, the Proof of Islam, the Ornament of the Faith, Abu Hamid al-Tusi..." al-Safadi, al-Wafi bi al-wafayat 1:274.

10 Ironically, a similar kind of praise on Ibn `Ata' Allah's own book al-Hikam is related on the authority of the great shaykh Mawlay al-`Arabi al-Darqawi by Ibn `Ajiba in Iqaz al-himam (p. 3-4): "I heard the jurist al-Bannani say: "The Hikam of Ibn `Ata' is almost a revelation (wahy). Were it permitted to recite the daily prayer without the Qur'an, the words of the Hikam would be allowed." He meant by this that there is nothing in the Hikam except what proceeds from the Qur'an and points back to it again, and Allah knows best.

11 In Muhammad Zaki Ibrahim, Usul al-wusul (Cairo: 1404/ 1984) 299-310.

Fatwa of Deviancy on Ibn Taymiah

Ibn Taymiyah: the Wahhabi founder’s role model

It is worth giving an overview of a man named Ahmed Ibn Taymiyah (1263-1328) who lived a few hundred years before Muhammad ibn `Abdul-Wahhab. The Wahhabi founder admired him as a role model and embraced many of his pseudo-Sunni positions. Who exactly was Ibn Taymiyah and what did orthodox Sunni scholars say about him? Muslim scholars had mixed opinions about him depending on his interpretation of various issues. His straying from mainstream Sunni Islam on particular issues of creed (`aqeedah) and worship (`ibadat) made him an extremely controversial figure in the Muslim community.

Ibn Taymiya has won the reputation of being the true bearer of the early pious Muslims, especially among reformist revolutionaries, while the majority of orthodox Sunnis have accused him of reprehensible bid’ah (reprehenisible innovation), some accusing him of kufr (unbelief).

It behooves one to ask why Ibn Taymiyah had received so much opposition from reputable Sunni scholars who were known for their asceticism, trustworthiness, and piety. Some of Ibn Taymiyah’s anti-Sunni and controversial positions include:

(1) His claim that Allah’s Attributes are “literal”, thereby attributing God with created attributes and becoming an anthropomorphist;

(2) His claim that created things existed eternally with Allah;

(3) His opposition to the scholarly consensus on the divorce issue;

(4) His opposition to the orthodox Sunni practice of tawassul (asking Allah for things using a deceased pious individual as an intermediary);

(5) His saying that starting a trip to visit the Prophet Muhammad’s (s) invalidates the shortening of prayer;

(6) His saying that the torture of the people of Hell stops and doesn’t last forever;

(7) His saying that Allah has a limit (hadd) that only He Knows;

(8) His saying that Allah literally sits on the Throne (al-Kursi) and has left space for Prophet Muhammad (s) to sit next to Him;

(9) His claim that touching the grave of Prophet Muhammad (s) is polytheism (shirk);

(10) His claim that that making supplication at the Prophet Muhammad’s grave to seek a better status from Allah is a reprehensible innovation;

(11) His claim that Allah descends and comparing Allah’s “descent” with his, as he stepped down from a minbar while giving a sermon (khutba) to Muslims;

(12) His classifying of oneness in worship of Allah (tawheed) into two parts: Tawhid al-rububiyya and Tawhid al-uluhiyya, which was never done by pious adherents of the salaf.

Although Ibn Taymiyah’s unorthodox, pseudo-Sunni positions were kept away from the public in Syria and Egypt due to the consensus of orthodox Sunni scholars of his deviance, his teachings were nevertheless circulating in hiding. An orthodox Sunni scholar says:

Indeed, when a wealthy trader from Jeddah brought to life the long-dead ‘aqida [creed] of Ibn Taymiya at the beginning of this century by financing the printing in Egypt of Ibn Taymiya’s Minhaj al-sunna al-nabawiyya [italics mine] and other works, the Mufti of Egypt Muhammad Bakhit al-Muti‘i, faced with new questions about the validity of anthropomorphism, wrote: "It was a fitna (strife) that was sleeping; may Allah curse him who awakened it."

It is important to emphasize that although many of the positions of Ibn Taymiyah and Wahhabis are identical, they nonetheless contradict each other in some positions. While Ibn Taymiyah accepts Sufism (Tasawwuf) as a legitimate science of Islam (as all orthodox Sunni Muslims do), Wahhabis reject it wholesale as an ugly innovation in the religion. While Ibn Taymiyah accepts the legitimacy of commemorating Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (Mawlid) – accepted by orthodox Sunni Muslims as legitimate – Wahhabis reject it as a reprehensible innovation that is to be repudiated.

Ibn Taymiyah is an inspiration to Islamist groups that call for revolution. Kepel says, “Ibn Taymiyya (1268-1323) – a primary reference for the Sunni Islamist movement – would be abundantly quoted to justify the assassination of Sadat in 1981…and even to condemn the Saudi leadership and call for its overthrow in the mid-1990s".

Sivan says that only six months before Sadat was assassinated, the weekly Mayo singled out Ibn Taymiyya as “the most pervasive and deleterious influence upon Egyptian youth.” Sivan further says that Mayo concluded that “the proliferating Muslim associations at the [Egyptian] universities, where Ibn Taymiyya’s views prevail, have been spawning various terrorist groups.” Indeed, a book entitled The Absent Precept, by `Abd al-Salam Faraj – the "spiritual" leader of Sadat’s assassins who was tried and executed by the Egyptian government – strongly refers to Ibn Taymiyya’s and some of his disciples’ writings. Three of four of Sadat’s assassins willingly read a lot of Ibn Taymiyya’s works on their own.

Ibn Taymiyah is also noted to be a favorite of other Salafi extremists, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Syed Qutb. Ibn Taymiyyah’s student, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, is also frequently cited by Salafis of all colors.

Ibn Taymiyah’s “fatwa” of jihad against Muslims

What is also well-known about Ibn Taymiyah is that he lived in turbulent times when the Mongols had sacked Baghdad and conquered the Abassid Empire in 1258. In 1303, he was ordered by the Mamluk Sultan to give a fatwa (religious edict) legalizing jihad against the Mongols. Waging a holy war on the Mongols for the purpose of eliminating any threat to Mamluk power was no easy matter. The Mongol Khan Mahmoud Ghazan had converted to Islam in 1295. Although they were Muslims who did not adhere to Islamic Law in practice, and also supported the Yasa Mongol of code of law, they were deemed apostates by the edict of Ibn Taymiyah. To Ibn Taymiyah, Islamic Law was not only rejected by Mongols because of their lack of wholesale adherence, but the “infidel” Yasa code of law made them legal targets of extermination. The so-called jihad ensued and the Mongol threat to Syria was exterminated. Wahhabis and other Salafis to this day brand the Mongol Mahmoud Ghazan as a kafir (disbeliever). Orthodox Sunni Muslims, however, have praised Mahmoud Ghazan as a Muslim. Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani writes:

In fact, Ghazan Khan was a firm believer in Islam. Al-Dhahabi relates that he became a Muslim at the hands of the Sufi shaykh Sadr al-Din Abu al-Majami’ Ibrahim al-Juwayni (d.720), one of Dhahabi’s own shaykhs of hadith….During his rule he had a huge mosque built in Tabriz in addition to twelve Islamic schools (madrasa), numerous hostels (khaniqa), forts (ribat), a school for the secular sciences, and an observatory. He supplied Mecca and Medina with many gifts. He followed one of the schools (madhahib) of the Ahl al-Sunna [who are the orthodox Sunnis] and was respectful of religious scholars. He had the descendants of the Prophet mentioned before the princes and princesses of his house in the state records, and he introduced the turban as the court headgear.[7]

Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhab would later follow Ibn Taymiyah’s footsteps and slaughter thousands of Muslims in Arabia.

Orthodox Sunni scholars who refuted Ibn Taymiyah’s pseudo-Sunni positions

Ibn Taymiyah was imprisoned by a fatwa (religious edict) signed by four orthodox Sunni judges in the year 726 A.H for his deviant and unorthodox positions. Note that each of the four judges represents the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence that Sunni Muslims belong to today. This illustrates that Ibn Taymiyah did not adhere to the authentic teachings of orthodox Sunni Islam as represented by the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence. There is no evidence to indicate that there was a “conspiracy” against Ibn Taymiyyah to condemn him, as Wahhabis and other Salafis purport in his defense. The names of the four judges are: Qadi [Judge] Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim Ibn Jama’ah, ash-Shafi’i, Qadi [Judge] Muhammad Ibn al-Hariri, al-`Ansari, al-Hanafi, Qadi [Judge] Muhammad Ibn Abi Bakr, al-Maliki, and Qadi [Judge] Ahmad Ibn `Umar, al-Maqdisi, al-Hanbali.

Some orthodox Sunni scholars who refuted Ibn Taymiyya for his deviances and opposition to the positions of orthodox Sunni Islam include:

Taqiyy-ud-Din as-Subkiyy, Faqih Muhammad Ibn `Umar Ibn Makkiyy, Hafiz Salah-ud-Din al-`Ala’i, Qadi, Mufassir Badr-ud-Din Ibn Jama’ah, Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Yahya al-Kilabi al-Halabi, Hafiz Ibn Daqiq al-`Id, Qadi Kamal-ud-Din az-Zamalkani, Qadi Safi-ud-Din al-Hindi, Faqih and Muhaddith `Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Baji ash-Shafi’i, the historian al-Fakhr Ibn al-Mu`allim al-Qurashi, Hafiz Dhahabi, Mufassir Abu Hayyan al-`Andalusi, and Faqih and voyager Ibn Batutah.


Wahhabis attribute a place and direction to Allah

While accusing the masses of Muslims of being polytheists, Wahhabis themselves have differentiated themselves from other Muslims in their understanding of creed. Due to the Wahhabis’ adherence to an unorthodox, grossly flawed literal understanding of God’s Attributes, they comfortably believe that Allah has created or human attributes, and then attempt to hide their anthropomorphism by saying that they don’t know ‘how’ Allah has such attributes. For example, Bilal Philips, a Wahhabi author says:

He has neither corporeal body nor is He a formless spirit. He has a form befitting His majesty [italics mine], the like of which no man has ever seen or conceived, and which will only be seen (to the degree of man’s finite limitations) by the people of paradise.

Discussing each part of his statement will shed light into his anthropomorphic mind. Bilal Philips says that “Allah has a form befitting His majesty…” What he confirms in his mind is that Allah definitely has a form. He even specifies the kind of form by saying: “He [Allah] has neither corporeal body…” meaning that Allah has a form that is not like the forms of creation, and then says, “nor is He a formless spirit. Then he says, “He has a form befitting His majesty…” The problem with such statements to a Muslim is that they express blatant anthropomorphism. What Bilal Philips is doing here is foolishly attributing a “form” to God that, in his mind, nobody has ever seen. Therefore, Bilal Philips believes that God has some type of form, or non-corporeal body. No orthodox Sunni Muslim scholar has ever said such a perfidious thing.

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, one of the greatest mujtahid Sunni imams ever to have lived, refuted such anthropomorphic statements over a thousand years before Bilal Philips was born. The great Sunni Ash`ari scholar, Imam al-Bayhaqi, in his Manaqib Ahmad relates with an authentic chain that Imam Ahmed said:

A person commits an act of disbelief (kufr) if he says Allah is a body, even if he says: Allah is a body but not like other bodies.

Imam Ahmad continues:

The expressions are taken from language and from Islam, and linguists applied ‘body’ to a thing that has length, width, thickness, form, structure, and components. The expression has not been handed down in Shari’ah. Therefore, it is invalid and cannot be used.

Imam Ahmed is a pious adherer of the time period of the Salaf that was praised by Prophet Muhammad (s). How can Bilal Philips claim to represent the pious forefathers of the Salaf? He not only contradicts them but is vehemently refuted by them. The great pious predecessors had refuted ignoramuses like Bilal Philips in their times long ago.

Blatant anthropomorphism is also illustrated by the Wahhabi Ibn Baz’s commentary on the great work of Imam Abu Ja’afar at-Tahawi called “Aqeedah at-Tahawiyyah” (The Creed of Tahawi), a work that has been praised by the orthodox Sunni community as being representative of Sunni orthodoxy. The now deceased Ibn Baz was Saudi Arabia’s grand Mufti.

Article #38 of Imam Tahawi’s work states:

He is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having parts or limbs. Nor is He contained by the six directions as all created entities are.

Ibn Baz, in a footnote, comments:

Allah is beyond limits that we know but has limits He knows.

In another footnote, he says:

By hudood (limits) the author [referring to Imam Tahawi] means [limits] such as known by humans since no one except Allah Almighty knows His limits.

Ibn Baz deceptively attempts to represent the noble Sunni Imam al-Tahawi as an anthropomorphist by putting his own anthropomorphic interpretation of Imam Tahawi’s words in his mouth. It must be emphasized that not a single orthodox Sunni scholar understood Imam Tahawi’s statement as Ibn Baz did.

Ibn Baz’s also shows anthropomorphism in a commentary by the great Sunni scholar Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani. Ibn Baz says:

As for Ahl ul-Sunna – and these are the Companions and those who followed them in excellence – they assert a direction for Allah, and that is the direction of elevation, believing that the Exalted is above the Throne without giving an example and without entering into modality.

Another now deceased Wahhabi scholar, Muhammad Saleh al-Uthaymeen, blatantly expresses his anthropomorphism. He says:

Allah’s establishment on the throne means that He is sitting ‘in person’ on His Throne.

The great Sunni Hanbali scholar, Ibn al-Jawzi, had refuted anthropomorphists who were saying that Allah’s establishment is ‘in person’ hundreds of years ago:

Whoever says: He is established on the Throne ‘in person’ (bi dhatihi), has diverted the sense of the verse to that of sensory perception. Such a person must not neglect that the principle is established by the mind, by which we have come to know Allah, and have attributed pre-eternity to Him decisively. If you said: We read the hadiths and keep quiet, no one would criticize you; it is only your taking them in the external sense which is hideous. Therefore do not bring into the school of this pious man of the Salaf – Imam Ahmad [Ibn Hanbal] – what does not belong in it. You have clothed this madhab [or school of jurisprudence] with an ugly deed, so that it is no longer said ‘Hanbali’ except in the sense of ‘anthropomorphist’

Sulayman ibn `Abdul Allah ibn Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab, the grandson of the Wahhabi movement’s founder, says:

Whoever believes or says: Allah is in person (bi dhatihi) in every place, or in one place: he is a disbeliever (kafir). It is obligatory to declare that Allah is distinct from His creation, established over His Throne without modality or likeness or exemplarity. Allah was and there was no place, then He created place and He is exalted as He was before He created place

Just as Bilal Philips affirms a form to Allah in his mind, and Ibn Baz confirms limits to Allah in his mind, al-Uthaymeen confirms that Allah is literally sitting ‘in person’ on the Throne in his mind. All of them have loyally followed the footsteps of Ibn Taymiyyah and Muhammad ibn `Abdul-Wahhab – the two arch-heretics who were instrumental in causing tribulation (fitna) and division among the Muslim masses because of their reprehensible, unorthodox interpretations of the Islamic sources.

Wahhabi anthropomorphists say: Allah is in a direction, Allah has limits, Allah is literally above the Throne, and that Allah is sitting ‘in person’ on the Throne. To a Muslim, the fact is that the Throne is located in a particular direction and a certain place. By understanding Allah to be above the Throne literally as the Wahhabis do, they are attributing Allah with created attributes and, as a result, are implying that a part of the creation was eternal with Allah. This opposes what the the Qur’an and the following hadith authentically related by al-Bukhari says:

Allah existed eternally and there was nothing else [italics mine].

Sunni orthodoxy clears Allah of all directions and places. To a Sunni, Allah has always existed without the need of a place, and He did not take a place for Himself after creating it. Orthodox Sunni scholars have said exactly what was understood by Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Companions (ra). Imam Abu Hanifah, the great mujtahid Imam who lived in the time period of the Salaf said: “Allah has no limits…”, period. And this is what Sunni orthodoxy represents.