Monday, 30 April 2012

'Abdullah Quillam

Liverpool (England): On a bleak, wet and windy day in Liverpool the old Georgian, white-stoned building which once housed England’s first registered mosque looks quite dull.

The property on Brougham Terrace is just a few miles from Liverpool city centre but, in stark contrast to the newer council building next door to it, the paint is peeling off the front walls and the windows are boarded up, after years of vandalism.

The house, one of three adjoining properties, was once owned by William Abdullah Quilliam, a solicitor and son of a Methodist preacher. In 1887, he became the first Christian to convert to Islam in Victorian England.

Born William Henry Quilliam, he turned to the religion after a trip to Morocco, and adopted the name Abdullah.

Two years later he opened the Liverpool Muslim Institute at 8 Brougham Terrace, as a mosque and hub for the growing Muslim community. He also opened a boys and girls school and an orphanage.

Professor Ron Geaves is author of the book Islam in Victorian Times. He gave the first Abdullah Quilliam Lecture at the Pakistan Community Centre in Liverpool earlier this month.

“William Abdullah Quilliam was brought up as a devout Christian and was part of the Temperance Movement which promoted abstinence from alcohol. One of the reasons he was attracted to Islam was that alcohol is forbidden for Muslims. He also had theological concerns about Trinitarian Christianity,” he said.

Quilliam gained national and international recognition through his many writings and lectures about Islam and Muslims. Part of his house was converted into a publishing house for this purpose.

In 1894 the title of Sheikh-ul-Islam, leader of Muslims in the British Isles, was conferred on him by the last Ottoman caliph, Sultan Abdul Hamid II. He was also appointed Vice Consul of Persia by the Shah.

Prof Geaves said: “He was a royalist and was also recognised by Queen Victoria. He had sent her one of his books about Islam, apparently. She then ordered several copies for her children.”

At the time of her son King Edward VII’s coronation, Quilliam was widely recognised as a leader of Muslims in the British Isles.

Prof Geaves recounts an occasion when Quilliam, as Sheikh-ul-Islam, dressed in his long robes and turban, accompanied the Lord Mayor to greet foreign dignitaries arriving in England through the port at Liverpool. They included maharajas, royalty and world leaders.

“Hundreds of guests had gathered in the Great Hall, in the Empire building, including foreign troops. When they saw him the whole regiment rose and offered him not the British military salute but the Islamic ‘Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar’. (God is great).”

Quilliam had been responsible for the spread of Islam in England in the Victorian era. He helped to convert about 600 people. They included the wealthy landowner, Lord Stanley of Alderley, in Cheshire, the first Muslim peer in the House of Lords. This also proved controversial.

Prof Geaves: “At the time of his (Lord Stanley’s) death some Christians questioned if he was a Muslim. They said that he had built churches on his land and therefore could not be one.

“Quilliam then intervened and told them that, as a landowner, he could provide places of worship for his Christian workers.”

Despite the controversy, Lord Stanley had a Muslim burial with Quilliam leading the Islamic funeral prayers at the mosque he had established in Brougham Terrace.

After Quilliam’s death in 1932, the property housing the mosque was sold, and later used as a register office where records of births, deaths and marriages were kept. These included records of the marriage of John Lennon and his first wife, Cynthia.

Behind the door of 8 Brougham Terrace today lies what could be described as an empty shell. The old prayer hall has holes in the walls where doors and windows once stood.

A group of Muslims from Merseyside set up the Abdullah Quilliam Society in 1999 in order to preserve Quilliam’s legacy. In 2000 they took over responsibility for the building, which is now recognised as part of British Heritage.

The society wants to reopen the mosque and publishing house as a museum and heritage centre.

Its chairman, Ghalib Khan, said: “It is the birthplace of Islam in the UK. We need to raise £3.8m to return it to its former glory.

“Several hundred Muslims used to gather here to listen to the Sheikh. There was also a piano at the back of the prayer hall. He was known for rewriting Christian hymns so that they had an Islamic slant to them.”

Work to restore the mosque has been slow. So far, they have only raised about £300,000 which was used to reroof the property and for the treatment of dry rot.

Khan said: “We wanted to complete the project by 2008. However this wasn’t possible. We are now looking to carry out the work in several phases but times are hard, everyone is short of money.

“We’ve got some people who give us a pound a month or a week but we are optimistic that we can raise £100,000 so at least the prayer hall can be renovated before the summer and Ramadan, which starts in July.”

The Abdullah Quilliam Society is trying to raise the profile of the Sheikh-ul-Islam. It recently held its first annual lecture in his honour, at the Liverpool Pakistan Community centre.

It also plans to hold an awards ceremony to recognise people who promote Islam and who work to foster good links with other faiths.

The lecture was attended by some of the Sheikh’s descendants. Jonathon Quilliam and other members of his family had travelled to Liverpool from Stafford.

“I think I’m related through my dad’s side. It’s very interesting to know that someone from the Isle of Man originally, where we still have relatives, and then from Liverpool, was responsible for the rise of Islam in this country, absolutely fascinating.”

Some of the British Muslims attending the lecture were impressed by Quilliam’s courage and strength of purpose.

Mohammed Afzal, who is in his late 20s, said: “It’s important because a lot of stigma is attached to Islam, but Quilliam spoke out about it openly even though it was against the status quo.”

Shaheena Anjum said: “In this day and age, people find things difficult, but he came from a Christian, Methodist background.

“I think what he did require a lot of determination and courage.”

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Taqleed & Taqleed Rejecters - II

Taqlid during the Prophet’s (saw) era:
Narrated Al-Aswad bin Yazid: Mu'adh bin Jabal came to us in Yemen as a teacher and a governor, and we (the people of Yemen) asked him about (the distribution of the property of ) a man who had died leaving a daughter and a sister. Mu'adh gave the daughter one-half of the property and gave the sister the other half. 
Bukhari, Kitab al-Fara'id, Volume 8, Book 80, Number 726.
The version in Abu Dawood adds, "This was in the Prophet's (saw) lifetime."
We learn from this hadith that taqleed was in vogue during the blessed era of the Prophet (saw). The questioner did not ask for proof. He accepted the fatwa of Hadrat Mu’adh purely on the basis of the latter’s integrity. This is taqleed. Then there is no evidence of the Prophet (saw) disagreeing with the fatwa or its implementation. Nor for that matter is any difference or rejection recorded. Thus, permissibility of taqleed and its freely open practice during the Messenger’s (saw) lifetime is established.
Yahya related to me from Malik that Yahya ibn Sa'eed said that Sulayman ibn Yasar told him that Abu Ayyub al-Ansari once set off to do hajj and then, when he reached an-Naziya, on the road to Makka, his riding beasts strayed. He reached Umar ibn al-Khattab on the day of sacrifice and told him what had happened and Umar said, "Do what someone doing Umra would do, and then you can leave ihram, and then when the hajj next comes upon you, do it and sacrifice whatever animal is easy for you."
Muwatta’ Malik, Hajj, chapter 20, hadith 162.
From this hadith we learn that those Companions who could not make Ijtihad would make taqleed of the Mujtahideen Sahaba. Hadrat Abu Ayyub was also a Companion and he did not ask Hadrat ‘Umar for evidence of his fatwa.
Incidents of this nature among the Companions and even during the blessed era of Allah’s Messenger (saw) and fataawa without references and proofs among the Sahaba or among the Tabi’un and Companions have been documented with such abundance that it is a difficult task to compile them all. Those who are versed in hadith literature are well aware of this.
Following a particular Imam or School:
Hadrat Hudhayfa (ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said: “ I don’t know how long I will be with you people. Therefore, follow these two after me.” The Messenger (saw) indicated Abu Bakr (ra) and ‘Umar (ra).
Jame’ Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad(5/399), “Fadha’il al-Sahaba” (479), Tahawi in “Sharh Al-Mushkil” (1233), Ibn Hibban (6902), Ibn Sa’d (2/334).
Also Imam Tirmidhi narrated, "Hudhaifa (ra) said: The Prophet (saw) said, “Follow those after me: Abu Bakr and Umar.”
Jame' Tirmidhi, Al Manaaqib, hadith 3662.
The meaning of “after me” is; during their Caliphate. So, the order is to follow them during their respective terms of Caliphate. Obviously, the Caliph is a single person. The conclusion is to follow Hadrat Abu Bakr (ra) and Hadrat ‘Umar (ra) during their Caliphates.
So, the Prophet (saw) instructed that one particular person be followed for a specific time. Nowhere did he say that proof for Ahkaam should also be enquired. Nor was it a standard practice for ascertaining the proof for every mas’ala. This is nothing but following an Imam or Madhhab.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Taqleed And Taqleed-Rejectors.


Taqleed means to accept someone’s statement on the basis of a favorable opinion about him in the confidence that he speaks on the basis of proof without asking him for it (the evidence).
The objective of Taqleed is ease in following the Qur’an and Hadith.
The rejectors of taqleed whose flag is shakily held by the group that calls itself the Salafiyyoon/Salafiyyah insolently dub taqleed as “blind following”.

‘Blind’ bears the following connotations*:

  • Without foresight, discernment, intellectual perception or adequate information
  • Not governed by purpose or reason
  • Reckless

The very nature of taqleed demands discernment, intellectual perception and adequate information because developing a favorable opinion that a certain Mujtahid Imam is qualified in the Islamic sciences and worthy of being followed is dependent on these factors. Taqleed can, therefore, never be blind following in this sense.

The objective and purpose of taqleed have been clarified earlier. The accusation of taqleed being blind following in the sense of not being governed by reason or purpose is therefore palpably false.
When the Muqallid(Follower or person who makes taqleed) follows an Imam or Madhhab he understands it to be a trustworthy guide and the safest course to obedience to the commands of Allah (swt) and the teachings or Sunna of the Messenger (saw). He concedes his lack of competence in understanding the Qur’an and hadith. Resorting to a self-study of the Book and the Hadith and forming his own opinion is akin to bartering away his faith. He thus opts for the safest and surest way to the obedience and pleasure of Allah and his Messenger (saw) which is Taqleed. Is this being reckless? Is this blind following? May Allah save us from the deception of Satan and the evil schemes of the Nafs. Amin.

When none of the connotations of ‘blind’ portray the true (meaning of) taqleed, the usage of this word in relation to the same is crass ignorance or malicious obstinacy. May Allah save us from the evils of the tongue and the Nafs.

The taqleed of taqleed-rejectors:
As far as the taqleed rejectors are concerned, it should be understood that according to their own principle (of taqleed being haram) it is impossible for them to practise on the hadith. This is because practising on hadith is only possible through taqleed of the scholars in the issue of the traditions being rigorously authenticated (sahih), weak (da’if), imperative for following (wajib al-‘amal), Mustahab (allowed) or impermissible. 

And it is obvious that this is strict taqleed in the laws of the Shari’ah. Doubtless, the question of a hadith being incumbent for practice or vice versa or disallowed for practice or vice versa is an issue pertaining to ahkaam. It is for this reason that the jurists discuss the various laws governing the Sunna – its acceptance, rejection, employment, relaxation and the rules pertaining to the narrators – in Fiqh and Usul al-Fiqh; these issues being elements of Ahkaam (Laws).

When the rejectors reject taqleed then what gives them the right to make taqleed of the hadith scholars in these issues and on what basis do they declare the views and juristic reasoning of the traditionists in the field of hadith classification to be a conclusive evidence in the Shari’ah?

*Reader’s digest Oxford complete word-finder.

Corrected and taken from 'Taqleed and Salafism' by Jami'at al-'Ulama, Gauteng.

Safety In Religion

Al Salamu `Alaykum.
Qadi Bishr ibn Walid said, "We would be with Sufyan ibn 'Uyayna when a problematic juristic question would be raised. He (Imam Sufyan) would ask, 'Is there someone from the Companions (Ashab) of Imam Abu Hanifa here?' My name would be taken. He would say to me, 'Answer!' I would then answer. He would then remark, 'Safety in religion is to refer to the jurists (Fuqaha').'"
Qawa'id fi 'Ulum al-Hadith, pg.330.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Did the Prophet(saws) raise his hands till he met Allah?

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.
Al Shawkani said in Nayl al-Awtar: 
It is established from the Hadith of ‘Umar according to al-Bayhaqi that he said after mentioning the Messenger of Allah would raise his hands upon the opening takbir and upon bowing and straightening. “And this remained his Salah until he met Allah (Exalted is He).” (Nayl al-Awtar, 2: 68)
And he said after transmitting the Hadith with the wording of al-Bukhari and Muslim without the addition of “and this remained his Salah until he met Allah (Exalted is He)”:
The Hadith was transmitted by al-Bayhaqi with the addition, “And this remained his Salah until he met Allah (Exalted is He).” Ibn al Madini said; “This Hadith according to me is a proof for all the creation. All who hear it must act upon it, because there is nothing (problematic) in its chain.” (Nayl al-Awtar, 2:67)
This gives the impression apparently that Ibn al Madini strengthened it with this addition which Bayhaqi narrated, and that it is established from Allah’s Messenger as such and there is nothing wrong with its chain. This is an error. Rather the speech of Ibn al Madini refers to the Hadith with the wording transmitted by the two Shaykhs and there is no doubt in the authenticity of its chain and its being free from any defect. Yet, we have criticism of it from the perspective of [its] comprehension due to the narrations from Ibn ‘Umar being contradictory on this [matter] as we discussed earlier.
As for the one with the addition that al Bayhaqi narrated, it is not sahih at all. Rather it appears tio be fabricated, since Zayla’i mentioned its chain and said:
Shaykh [Ibn Daqiq al Id] said in al Imam: This doubt, I,e, the claim of abrogation through the route of al-Hassan ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Hamdan al-Raqqi; ‘Ismah ibn Muhammad al-Ansari narrated to us; Musa ibn ‘Uqbah narrated to us from Nafe’ from Ibn ‘Umar that Allah’s Messenger would when beginning Salah raise his hands and when bowing and raising the head from bowing and he would not do this during prostration, and this remained his Salah until  he met Allah( Exalted Is He). He narrated it from Abu ‘Abdullah al-Hafiz  [ ie.] from Ja’far ibn Muhammad al Nasr, from ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Quraysh ibn Khuzaymah al-Harawi from ‘Abdullah ibn Ahmad al-Dajmashi from al-Hasan with it.” (Nasb al-Rayah)

Abdul Rahman ibn Quraysh was accused by al Sulaymani of fabricating Hadith as mentioned in LIsan al Mizan (3:425), and no one declared him trustworthy. 
As for ‘Ismah ibn Muhammad al Ansari;
 Abu Hatim said, “He is not strong,”
 Yahya ibn Ma’in said, “An excessive liar fabricating hadith” 
al-‘Uqayli said, “He narrates falsehoods from trustworthy narrators,” 
al-Daraqutni and others said, “Abandoned,” 
Ibn ‘Adi said, “’Ismah ibn Muhammad ibn Fudalah ibn ‘Ubayd al-Ansari the Medinan. None of his hadiths is recorded. (Lisan al-Mizan, 3:170)

Hence there is no proof therein and the claim of abrogation is not repelled thereby at all, so be wary of this for indeed many people were misled by this addition.
Taken from 'Ila al Sunan by Imam Zafar Ahmad al-'Uthmani Thanwi.
Wa'laykum Salam.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Ibn 'Uthaymin On Taqlid.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.
Shaykh Ibn al 'Uthaymin (rah) writes in his book, "Al Usul min 'ilm al-Usul" in the chapter on taqlid:
"Taqlid takes place in two places; the first is that the person doing taqlid be a layman, incapable of discerning the ruling by himself, so his duty (Farduhu) is to do taqlid due to the statement of Allah (swt): "Ask the  people of Remembrance if you know not (Sura al Nahl:43)." p.68.
In his recorded lectures of this same text, Ibn 'Uthaymin adds that for the average Muslim to try to delve into the Holy Qur`an and Sunna in order to deduce rulings is like a person who has not learnt swimming trying to swim at sea. It will only lead to his destruction.
Taken from "Understanding Taqlid: Following one of the four great Imams" by Mufti Muhammad Sajaad, pg. 45.

SHAYKH MUHAMMAD IBN SAALIH AL-UTHAYMEEN was asked: When encountering a difficult issue, do you advise the student of knowledge not to stick to a madhhab, or [do you advise] to turn to a particular madhhab?
The Shaykh, hafidhahullaah, responded: If what is intended by sticking to a madhhab is that a person sticks to that madhhab, and turns away from everything else; whether the correct view lies in his madhhab or another madhhab - then this is not permissible, and is from the blameworthy and bigotted partisanship. But if a person ascribes to a particular madhhab in order to benefit from its principles and guidelines, but he refers it back to the Book and the Sunnah; [such that] if it becomes clear to him that the preferred view lies in another madhhab, he then adopts that view - then there is no problem with this. [Note: this is for a student of knowledge, not the common muslim].
Maktabatul Uthaymeen - Guidelines for Following Madhhabs

Wa Salam.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Thou Hast Led People Astray, O Ibn 'Abbas!

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

In this belated era, one often hears questions about the need to follow an Imam or a Madhhab. The ear-catching slogan of “DIRECTLY” following the Qur`an and Hadith is heard more frequently. The answer to such questions and the reality behind these slogans is highlighted by the following eye-opening incident, which has been reported by Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal and Imam Tahaawi (rahmatullahi `alayhima). Once `Urwah bin Zubair (rah) addressed `Abdullah bin `Abbas (ra) thus:
“You have led the people astray, O Ibn `Abbas!”
When `Abdullah bin `Abbas (radhiyallahu `anhuma) inquired about the reason, `Urwa (rahmatullahi `alayhi) mentioned a ruling pertaining to the laws of Hajj which `Abdullah bin `Abbas (radhiyallahu `anhuma) had issued contrary to the ruling of Abu Bakr and `Umar (radhiyallahu `anhuma). `Abdullah bin `Abbaas (radhiyallahu `anhuma) replied: “This is the exact reason why you have been led astray. I am narrating from Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam and you are opposing it with the view of Abu Bakr and `Umar (radhiyallahu `anhuma).” `Urwah (rahmatullahi `alayh) said to Ibn `Abbaas (radhiyallahu `anhuma):
“Indeed Abu Bakr and `Umar (radhiyallahu `anhuma) were more knowledgeable about the Sunnah of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam than you."
(Musnad Ahmad, vol. 4, pg. 132, No. 2277, Sharh Ma`aani al Aathar, vol. 1, pg. 423).
In a narration of Tabarani the same incident has been recorded with a slight difference. According to this version, when `Urwah (rahmatullahi `alayh) objected, Ibn `Abbaas (radiyallahu `anhuma) said to him: “Woe unto you! Do you give preference to Abu Bakr and `Umar (radhiyallahu `anhuma) over the book of Allaah and the Sunnah of Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam.” Upon this `Urwah (rahmatullahi `alayh) replied: “They were more knowledgeable about the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam than you and I.” Ibn Abi Mulayka, the narrator of this incident comments: “Ibn `Abbaas (radhiyallahu `anhuma) did not have any answer for this.” (Al-Mu`jamul Awsat, vol. 1, pg. 42, No. 21).
The answer of `Urwah (rahmatullahi `alayh) is exactly the answer to those who raise objections such as: What is the need to follow an Imam? Is it better to follow Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam or to follow Abu Hanifah, Malik, Shaafi`ee and Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahmatullaahi alayhim)? In reply to these objections Shaykh Muhammad `Awwaama writes: “We say to them: We are not pleased to have you as a substitute for these Imams, as they were more knowledgeable about Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam than you.” In fact, when we say “more knowledgeable” we do not mean to draw a comparison, because there is absolutely no comparison between you and them in knowledge. And it is our ardent desire to cling onto the way of Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam that drives us to follow their understanding of the pure Sunnah.” (Atharul Hadith al Sharif, pg. 101).
The crux of these answers is that one does not follow an Imam in OPPOSITION to the Quraan and Sunnah. Instead, the following of an Imam is based purely on the intention to follow the Quran and Sunnah, and they were far more knowledgeable of the Quraan and Sunnah than anyone in this era.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Funeral Prayer in Absentia: Mawlana Ameen Safdar.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.
This is the completed translation of the chapter on Funeral Prayer in Absentia from Mawlana Ameen Safdar's (rah), "Tajalliyat-e-Safdar". Thanks to brother MajlisRaipuri again for putting up scans of the book on SF. It is a beautiful clarification of the Hanafi stand on the issue and also simultaneously brings forth the dangers of judging issues with insufficient knowledge and understanding. The Urdu in the original is quite flowery and intricate and as is usual in the Indian subcontinent, titles of respect and honor are added whenever the names of the Salaf are taken. In places, I have dropped them in order to maintain continuity and smoothness of flow. Also, the Shaykh has given detailed references to the sources in the original but I have sufficed with the name of the book. Those who wish to see the detailed reference can view the original book or the scans on SF. Any mistakes in translation are from me. They can be brought to my notice by putting up a comment to the article or on Sunni Forum. May Allah accept. Peace and Blessings upon the Final Prophet and his Companions.

Ghaaibana Namaz-e-Janaaza.

Funeral Prayer in absentia.

In the name of Allah, most Beneficent, most Merciful.
Nowadays people must be wondering at seeing announcements of Funeral prayers in absentia alongside advertisements of religious programs pasted on the building walls of many cities. This word (ghaaibana) has become common in the market-places but even on intensive searching is not to be found in the Qur’an and Hadith literature along with the term “Salat al Janaaza”. Also, the use of this term is not to be found amongst the Companions (Sahaaba-e-Kiraam), the Sub-Companions (Tabi’in-e-‘Azzam or Followers) or the Sub-Followers (Tab-Tabi’in ‘Allam).
‘Allama ibn Qayyim (rah) writes, “Many Muslims passed away when they were far from the Prophet (saws) but he did not offer the Funeral prayer in absentia for any of them.
(Zaad al Ma’ad)
Similarly many recitor (Qaari) Sahaba were martyred while fighting against Musaylima al Kadhhab and the other apostates during the blessed Caliphate of Hadrat Abu Bakr (ra). Many other major Sahaba died in cities other than Madinah but the Caliph of Rasullah(saws) without doubt, Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (ra) and the other Sahaba did not offer Funeral prayers in absentia for them.
The era of the Leader of the Just, the rightly guided Caliph, Hadrat ‘Umar Faruq is known as the Golden Era of Muslim conquests. Many Companions were killed in far flung provinces and countries and many passed away outside the city of the Prophet (saws). But during the entire Farooqi era, not once was Funeral prayer in absentia announced or performed. So, the Funeral prayer in absentia was not read over anyone who died outside Madinah. (And neither during the reign of Hadrat Abu Bakr)
Then came the Caliphate of the Chief of the Faithful, the Possessor of the two lights (Dhu’n Noorayn), our Master ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (ra). The borders of the Islamic State were reaching for the stars. Many Companions were martyred and many died but Hadrat ‘Uthman Ghani (ra) did not offer the Funeral prayer in absentia for even one of them. Hadrat ‘Uthman himself was martyred in a state of great oppression and suffering. We searched the pages of the books of Hadith and history to see if Funeral prayers in absentia were held for the oppressed martyr in Makka or Kufa or in Basra. But in this period, even the name of the Funeral prayer in absentia is not to be found.
After this came the Caliphate of the Lion of Allah, the Victorious, our Master Hadrat ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib. In no Islamic book will one find a note that he offered the Funeral prayer in absentia for anyone or that any person in any city offered the same for him after his martyrdom.
We have repeated this challenge in many debates; “Bring evidence that any of the rightly guided Caliphs offered this prayer or such a prayer was offered for any one of them”. Till today, no one has brought forward any evidence for the same and till the dawn of the Final Day no one will be able to do so, Allah willing,
Janaaza-e-Najjashi (Funeral Prayer of Negus):
A man said, “The Holy Prophet (saws) and the Companions offered the Funeral prayer in absentia for Negus (King of Abyssinia at that time). We have not recited the Kalima of the 4 rightly guided Caliphs but of the Prophet (saws). If they did not act on it, then we will act on the Hadith of Nabi (saws).”
I asked him whether he really believed like the Rafidis do that the four Caliphs opposed the Sunnah of the Messenger (saws) or at least were so careless and carefree about it and that the desire and enthusiasm to act upon and establish the Sunna was so deficient in them that even the non conformists (Ghayr Muqallidin) of the 15th Century had more of it?
He said, “I will not fall for your tricks. The two principles of the Ahl Hadith school, ‘Obey Allah and obey his Rasool’.”
I answered, “Allah (swt) says in Surah Noor that the mission of the Caliphs was the same – that they would establish the beloved Deen of Allah firmly on this earth and the Prophet (saws) also declared the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs as something binding. (Abu Dawud, Al Nasa’i, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah) By refusing to follow the Caliphs you have opposed the command of “Obey Allah” and “Obey the Messenger” too.
He said, “When these 4 Caliphs did not act upon the Hadith, then we also do not follow them.”
I said that people used to believe earlier on that you do not follow (any of) the four Imams. Hence you are “smaller Rafidis”. But it seems that you even reject the rightly guided Caliphs now and have graduated to “bigger Rafidis”.
He answered, “We do not follow the Imam of Kufa. We are of Madinah.”
I said, “The Imam of Madina (Imam Malik) has included this Hadith in Muwatta’ Malik in the chapter, “Bab Takbir ‘al al Janaa’iz”. Neither has he included a section on Funeral prayer in absentia nor is he inclined to this opinion.
He responded, “He (Imam Malik) has narrated a Hadith from Hadrat Abu Hurayra (ra) that the Prophet (saws) led the funeral prayer for Al Najjashi and it contained four takbirs.”
I asked him, “When did Hadrat (Najjashi) die?”
He answered, “I do not know.”
I said, “It is written in the super commentary of Muwatta’ that it was on a Thursday in Rajab, 09 H.” Then I further asked, “When did Hadrat Abu Hurayra (ra) pass away?”
He answered, “I do not know.”
I said, “59 H. This shows that Abu Hurayra (ra) lived for 50 years after this incident. Now you prove to me that Hadrat Abu Hurayra offered the Funeral prayer in absentia for even one man in this period.”
I said, “59 H. This shows that Abu Hurayra (ra) lived for 50 years after this incident. Now you prove to me that Hadrat Abu Hurayra offered the Funeral prayer in absentia for even one man in this duration.”
 Infuriated, he answered, “If Abu Hurayra (ra) does not act upon a Hadith, then should we also abandon it?”
I responded, “It seems as if your understanding of Hadith and acting upon Hadith, both are superior to Hadrat Abu Hurayra.”
He said, “Imam Bukhari (rah) was such a great Muhaddith. He has written a chapter based on this Hadith on Funeral prayer in absentia.”
 I said, “Absolutely untrue. Imam Bukhari has not written a chapter on this.” I presented him with Bukhari Sharif and said, “See! Where is it written?”
He said, “I had heard this from my teachers”. Then he added that this Hadith is also narrated by Hadrat Jabir (ra) besides Abu Hurayra.
I said, “Very true. This Hadith is in Sahih Muslim and Hadrat Jabir passed way in Madina 70 years after this incident in 79H. During this long period of 70 years, can you prove that Hadrat Jabir offered Funeral prayer in absentia for even one person?
He said, “What if he failed to understand the purport of the Hadith?”
I asked, “And no Sahabi explained to him either?”
If Sir (the non conformist) had been around at that time, then he could have taught the meanings of Hadith to the Sahaba.
He said, “This Hadith is narrated by Hadrat ‘Imran ibn Husayn (ra) also.”
I said, “Absolutely true. Hadrat ‘Imran ibn Husayn lived for 43 years after this incident. He was Qadi of Kufa and passed away in 54H in Basra. In those 43 years, even he did not offer Funeral prayers in absentia for anyone.”
He said, “O Allah! How strange that these people who were Companions did not act upon the Hadith.”
I answered, “This way of thinking is leading you astray. The truth is that the Sahaba had a proper understanding of the Hadith because they knew the complete issue at hand.
Hadrat ‘Imran ibn Husayn (ra) clarified the matter:
‘We did not imagine other than that the bier was in front of the Prophet (saws).’ (Ahmad)
In Ibn Hibban, ‘The Sahaba did not imagine except that the bier was in front of the Prophet (saws).’
 In Abu ‘Awana the words are as follows: “We did not look except that the bier was in front of us.’
So, we understand that the Sahaba did not offer the funeral prayer of Al Najjashi believing it to be ghaaib, rather they believed that it was in front of Rasulullah (saws) and some Sahaba saw it too. This is because the bier was present and the Companions also considered it so. That is why they never offered Funeral Prayer in absentia.
He asked, “How is it possible that the funeral bier was in Abyssinia and was seen here by the Prophet (saws) and some Companions?”
I answered, “This is Kashf (unveiling) that Allah can show whenever He wishes. The Prophet (saws) was in Madina and was seeing the battle of Mawta by Kashf and saying, ‘The flag was taken by Zaid (ra) and he was martyred. Then Ja’far (ra) took it and he was martyred. Then ‘Abdullah ibn Rawaha (ra) took it and he was also martyred.’ While he was saying this, tears were flowing from his eyes. Then he said, ‘The flag was taken by Khalid ibn al Walid (ra) and victory was ours.’ (Bukhari) And the Prophet (saws) was in Makka Mukarramah and the Bayt al Muqaddas was shown to him and he looked on and answered the questions of the disbelievers. (Bukhari) Abyssinia, Mawta and Bayt al Muqaddas are places on this earth. The Prophet (saws) was (even) shown Heaven and Hell while he was in Madinah. (Bukhari)
The man said, “After all, what was so special after the funeral of Negus that this particular incident took place for him?”
I said, “That is not necessary for us to know. Imam Tirmidhi and Imam Ibn Majah have labeled the chapter with this Hadith as follows: “Bab Salat al Nabi ‘al an-Najjashi” which goes on to show that this prayer over the Negus was specific to the Prophet (saws). The grand-teacher of Imam Bukhari, Imam Muhammad says, “Do they not see that the Prophet led the funeral prayer for Najjashi in Madina? This prayer was full of purity and barakah and was unlike the prayers of others. This is the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifa.” (Muwatta’ Muhammad) However Imam Abu Dawud has named a chapter on this Hadith as follows:
“Chapter on praying for Muslims who have died in the cities (of the people) of Shirk.”
In his commentary on this, ‘Allama Khattabi says, “He (Negus) was a Muslim. He believed in the Prophet (saws) but hid his faith. And when a Muslim dies, then it is compulsory for his fellow Muslims to read his funeral prayer. Since Negus lived in the land of the disbelievers and there was no one to pray over him, it became necessary for the Messenger to do so. This was because he was his Prophet (saws) and held a greater right to offer the prayer than other people. This is the real reason (Allah knows Best) that the Prophet (saws) asked others (also) to offer the Funeral prayer.”
(Ma’alim al Sunan)
And this is why the bier was placed in front of the Prophet (saws) by Kashf.
Now do all the people for whom Salat al Janaza is offered die in Dar al Kufr and no Muslim offers their funeral prayer? And those who offer this Salah, do they get Kashf of the bier everywhere, every time?
He answered, “We have other evidences also for Funeral prayer in absentia. I will research and return.”
He returned after preparing and said, “The Prophet (saws) offered the funeral prayer in absentia of Hadrat Mua’wiya ibn Mua’wiya (ra). This Hadith has been narrated by Ibn Hajar (rah) in Al-Isabah.”
I said, “This incident is in Al-Isabah and its narrator is (the noble Sahabi) Hadrat Anas (ra). Hadrat Mua’wiya ibn Mua’wiya passed away in 09H. He died in Madinah while the Prophet (saws) was in Tabuk as narrated by Hadrat Anas who expired about 85 years after this incident in 93H. In that time, thousands of Companions passed away but Anas (ra) did not offer the funeral prayer in absentia for any of them. Secondly, this Hadith cannot be used as evidence because none of its chains is authentic. Hafiz Ibn Kathir (rah) says that all chains of this narration are da’eef (weak). (Tafsir ibn Kathir) And Imam Ibn `Abdul Barr says that the chains of this tradition are not strong. None of these (chains) can be used as evidence to derive a command.” (Al –Isti’ab). It is obvious that the issue at hand is of Ahkaam (commandments). Then how can this be used as conclusive proof (Hujjah)?”
Now let us look at this Hadith, “Jibril (as) asked Huzur (saws), ‘Would you like to offer the funeral prayer of Mua’wiya ibn Mua’wiya (ra)?’ The Prophet (saws) said, ‘Yes.’
Then Jibril (as) placed his right wing on the hills and they were flattened to such an extent that Madinah became visible for us.”
It follows that if funeral prayer in absentia was allowed then there was no need for Jibril (as) to descend and ask the Prophet (saws) and also to use his wings to show Madinah to him. Obviously, once visible, it is no longer hidden. This is why Hafiz ibn Hajar (rah) states that it is impermissible to use this incident as evidence for funeral prayer in absentia because when the veil is lifted, then the bier is present and no longer hidden. (Al-Isabah)
Then the narration goes on to say that the Prophet (saws) asked Jibril (as) as to why this specific distinction was granted to this Janaaza. Jibril (as) said, “Due to (his) love for Surah al Ikhlas. He used to recite, ‘Qul huwa…’ in every state, walking, standing and sitting.”
I (further) said that funeral prayer in absentia is an ‘amal that is unsupported by the continuous practice of the (Muslims) of the best of times (Khayr al Quroon).
He retorted, “You are a strange man. No Muslim can deny funeral prayer in absentia.”
I asked, “Why?”
He said, “All Muslims recite the words, ‘shahidna wa ghaaibana..’ in funeral prayers. This shows that the funeral prayer of the absent is also allowed as the funeral prayer of the present is allowed.”
 I answered, “Before those words, they recite, “hayyina wa mayyitina…’. So do these wordings mean that the funeral prayer for the living is also allowed in the same fashion as the funeral prayer for the dead? Let us announce that your funeral prayer is about to be held so that people collect. Then we can offer it.”
He became very vexed at this.
I said, “When undeserving people like you start giving verdicts, then Qiyama will break over this Deen. That is why the Prophet (saws) said, “When the matter is handed over to the undeserving, then consider that the last Day has broken over you.” Bukhari.
He said, “Truly! The unknowledgeable should not offer verdicts.”
 I asked, “When they cannot derive evidence, then how will they act upon the Deen?”
He said, “By asking those who know.”
 I answered, “This is that Taqlid that you call Shirk.”
He then said, “We do not offer funeral prayers in absentia for everyone, only for the martyrs.”
I said, “According to you, the Prophet read the funeral prayer (in absentia) for Najjashi and Mua’wiya ibn Mua’wiya (rah). (But) neither of them was a martyr. Strange that the Prophet (saws) never read it for the martyrs and offered it for the non martyrs while you offer it for the martyrs and never for the non martyrs. This is open opposition to the practice of the Prophet (saws).”
In the end, he said, “If Funeral prayer in absentia is not proven from the Qur’an and Hadith, then it is allowed in the school of Imam Shafi’ (rah). Come, we offer it in taqlid of him.”
I asked, “Does taqlid mean to follow or to oppose?”
He said, “To follow”.
 I said, “You oppose Imam Shafi’i and call it taqlid!”
 He asked, “How so?”
I said, “There is no funeral prayer in Imam Shafi’is school for the martyr unless the body is placed in front of the people. Prove that Imam Shafi’ (rah) ever read the funeral prayer in absentia for any martyr.”
 He said, “I will look into this and return.”
 After waiting for one week, I went and met him and reminded him that he had promised to return but didn’t.
He said, “One of our scholars passed away in Rawalpindi and I had gone to attend his funeral.”
 I asked, “What was the need to go there? Why did you not offer his funeral prayer in absentia from here? You would have saved time, money and effort and moreover the common people would have realized that there is no need to go to another village or town to read the funeral prayer, or even to go to the graveyard because funeral prayer in absentia is allowed.”
He said, “In this way no one will attend the funeral prayer and the entire system will go haywire.”
I said, “Your movement is (designed) to destroy the religion (Islam). Then I asked, “You were supposed to bring evidence that Imam Shafi’ led or offered the funeral prayer of a martyr even once in his life. “
 He said, “I could not find evidence of this.”
So I said, “When there is no evidence for this in the Qur’an and Hadith or in the Shafi’e school, then why do you offer the funeral prayer in absentia for the martyrs?”
He answered, “ We who are called the Ahl Hadith are not so named because all of us, the young and old, men and women are aware of the chains of transmission of Hadith and the Sunnahs, rather our opinion is that opposing the Fuqaha’ is the (equivalent) of following the Qur’an and Hadith. We read that according to the Hanafiyya, funeral prayer in absentia is not allowed. Now, we call this as the masa’il of the fuqaha and opposing it is the same as following the Qur’an and Sunnah whether we find an ayat or Hadith supporting (our opinion) or not. Following this opinion (Hanafi) is the name of taqlid for us and opposing it is tahqiq (research) and the fact is that we hate fiqh.”
I said, “From this conversation, it is clear that your understanding of the Qur’an and Hadith is absolutely null and void and your following your Nafs ‘Ammara ( The Nafs that urges one onto evil) is such that leave the 4 Mujtahid Imams aside, you don’t even take the rightly guided Caliphs into consideration. And the fear of Allah and fear of the Hereafter has not even passed by you.”
 He said, “Your understanding is 100% right. We call being self-opinionated and following the Nafs as following the Hadith.
I said, “When this realization has struck you, then Allah is All Forgiving & Merciful and the doors of repentance are still open. The delay is from your side. There will be no delay (in acceptance) from that side.”
He said, “I make a heartfelt repentance to Allah and pray that Allah gives me firmness.”