The Meaning of Biddah (good biddah, bad biddah)

>> Sunday, July 25, 2010

This article was written by Dr. Buti and I believe somes up the whole good biddah and bad biddah debate.

The Meaning of Bid ' a by Dr. al-Buti

The first innovation (bid'a) that took place after the Messenger of Allah 0. was satiety (al-shab`). - Aisha 40151
The lexical meaning of bid' a in the Arabic language is "novelty" while its technical meaning in Islam is a novelty begun after the time of the Tabi' in in contravention of the Qur'an and Sunna as defined variously by the authorities:
Al-Jurjani: "Whatever contrivance (1' latun) contradicts the Sunna, and it is named bid'a because whoever supports it innovated it without basis from an Imam. It consists in a novel matter which the Companions and Successors did not follow and which is unsupported by a legal proof."'
Imam Abu Shama and Imam al-Suyilti: "Everything invented without precedent" (kullu mukhtard in min ghayri aslin sabaq);'53
Imam al-Lacknawi: All that did not exist in the first three centuries and for which there is no basis among the Four Foundations of Islam" i.e., Qur'an, Sunna, , and Qiyas.'
Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami: "Bid'a in terms of the Law is everything innovated in contravention of the Lawgiver's command and the latter's specific and general proof's'
Ibn al-Jawzi: "Bid'a in legal convention is whatever is blameworthy in contravening the foundations of the Law."
Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-'Arabi: "Only the bid' a that contradicts the Sunna is blameworthy.'
All of this elucidates Imam al-Shafi's luminous subdivision of bid' a into two types, which we examine below. Thus, it is not enough for something to be novel to be a bid'a, contrary to the misunderstanding of those who use that term most vocally nowadays.
Some of the best works on the precise definition of bid` a are:
[1] Imam `Abd al-Hayy al-Lacknawi's Tuhfat al-Akhyar and
[2] the first part of his lqamat al-Hujja - both with a comment tary by Shaykh `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda;
[3] Al-Sayyid `Abd Allah Mahfuz al-Haddad's masterpiece alSunna wal-Bid` a;
[4] The most concise, most practical textbook on the topic to date. Kalimatun Ilmiyyatun Hadiyatun fil-Bid'ati wa-Ahkamiha by our beloved teacher Shaykh Wahbi Sulayman Ghawji al-Albani;
[5] Dr. Izzat `Atiyya's al-Bid` a: Tahdiduha wa-Mawqif minha;
[6] Al-Sayyid `Abd Allah ibn al-Siddiq al-Ghumarrs Itqan aiSun'a fi Tahqiq Ma' ria al-Bid` a ("Precise Handiwork in Ascertaining the Meaning of Innovation");
[7] Shaykh isa al-Himyari's two works, Daw' al-Sham` a fi T Ma' na al-Bid' a ("The Candlelight in Verifying the Meaning Bid' a") and
[8] al-Bid' atu al-Hasanatu Aslun min usul al-Tashri` ("The lent Innovation is One of the Sources of Islamic Legislation");

The fourth part of Sayyid Muhammad ibn 'Alawi's book haj
[Chapter 15 of al-Sayyid Abul-Hasanayn Abd Allah ashimi's al-Salafiyya al-Mu` asira and
1] his al-Ittiba' wal-lbtida' .158
ykh Muhammad Sa'id Ramadan al-Buti said:
There is no doubt that innovation (bid `a) is absolutely prohibited and that it is misguidance. [...] However, what is innovation? Innovation is "every matter that was innovated and injected into the Religion while it is not part of it (al-bid` atu kullu amrin ustuhditha wa-uqhima fit-dini wa-huwa laysa minh)." As much as the expressions of the Ulema differ in explaining bid' a and defining it, none of those various expressions differs from this comprehensive meaning: "every matter that was innovated; that is, it did not exist beforehand; "and injected into the Religion while it is not part of it." In this [specific] way, an innovation cannot be other than an innovation of misguidance.
An example of this [innovation of misguidance] is if a person should invent a prayer other than the five prayers which Allah Most High has made Law. Another example would be those invented additions pertaining to funerals, such as the supplications that are raised out loud at the forefront of funerals,' the adhan that was innovated upon lowering the deceased into his grave, and those invented states during dhikr such jumping [up and down] and what the jurists "dancing
call "dancing and
swaying from side to side" (al-rag wa1-tamayul)1 and the matters were innovated and injected into the Religion al-h they are not part of the Religion in any way whatsoever.
As for the matters that were innovated and were not existent re but were not injected into the Religion, the people iced them as habits and procedures in which they found lness for themselves, whether such were connected with worldly sphere or with their Religion. f...]
There are many, many examples of this type. We can give an ple for these many habits and procedures which the *ms have innovated after the death of the Messenger of
0, or even in his time. Among them are the innovations ected with food and drink. Also among them are the connections connected with dwellings, their decoration and their architecture. Among them also are the matters connected with ufacture, commerce, agriculture and the like. Among them are the matters connected with dress in all its variety. (...1
All of those are innovated matters but they were not injected
- o the Religion. That is, the people did not practice them as ifthey
were part of the Religion. Hence, the definition of the legal
[innovation does not apply to them.
No doubt, someone is bound to ask: "What does the Law sayabout
these innovations which entered like waves into the life
the Muslims?" Let us hear what the Messenger of Allah said in his authentic hadith: "Whoever institutes a good practice in Islam has its reward and the reward of all those who practice it until the Day of Judgment, and whoever institutes a Ind practice in Islam bears its onus and the onus of all those rwho practice it until the Day of Judgment"' which is part of a well-known longer hadith. Many are those who imagine a contradiction between the dith of the Messenger of Allah 0 "Every innovation is mis ance" and this hadith. They see a problem here and confused when in reality there is no problem at all.
Innovated matters that are injected into the Religion and not part of it are aptly described by his hadith 0, "Ev innovation is misguidance." As for innovated matters am habits and procedures that are connected to daily life in their varieties, without people intending them as Religion without their being injected into the Divine Law (such matt not being part of it): they fall under the [twofold] distincti mentioned by the Messenger of Allah ["Whoever institutes good practice.."]. We look at the results of these habits regimens. Whatever of them have a good effect on the life people or their Religion are classed under the "good sunna" which the Messenger of Allah 0 called. And whatever of thee leave bad effects on the Religion or on the worldly affairs people - for Allah Most High commanded people to take
of their religious and worldly interests - then such are cl under the "bad sunnas" against which the Messenger of Allah I warned. The Ulema of the Law have explained this at length and in great detail under the subheading of "matters of welfare" (masalih al-mursala).
When are such matters of public welfare lawful and notwithstanding their being "widespread" (mursala), since Book and the Sunna did not say anything about them? IN are such matters imaginary and corrupt, that is, part of the sunna? The Ulema of Islamic Law have clarified this. In
case, what the people innovated without injecting it into the Religion - of which it is not a part at all - is not part of meaning of the legal innovation which is always misguidance and always a forbidden practice.
The conferences which are held here and there are among those innovated matters. How are they assessed? We look at the types of these conferences and the effect they have. Whichever of them supports the Religion is classed among the good sunnas; whichever has a harmful effect is classed among the bad sunnas. All those universities which were innovated out of nonexistence; the various media, including publishing houses and all kinds of means for disseminating information; all these are innovated matters that did not exist before. This development which has touched the script of the Qur'an including dotting, vowelization, division into tenths, and so forth - and the chain of developments is endless - all these are among innovated matters. However, those that innovated them at no time claimed that they were part of the Religion or part of the Divine Law.
All of those matters are assessed on the basis of this scale of which the Messenger of Allah 0s informed us. Whatever part of that serves the Religion of Allah Most High or preserves the lawful worldly matters of public welfare for people is classed together with the good sunna and one is invited to practice it, and whoever does so with sincere intention toward Allah is rewarded. And whatever part of those newly innovated matters is harmful to the Religion or harmful to the lawful worldly matters of public welfare for people, is classed together with the bad sunna against which the Messenger of Allah warned.
People have this custom of celebrating the memory of their great personalities. They may do this on the occasion of the L birthday of one of them or on that of his death. This is among innovated matters; but no one ever said that they belong to the Religion. Nor has anyone ever said that they are an integral part of worship or of the Law which Allah Most High has commanded. They can only be described as cultural or social activities by which a certain goal is sought. We examine this .211 goal: if this goal is good and benefits the Muslims in thew Religion or in their lawful worldly matters, then it is a good sunna as the Messenger of Allah said. [...]
Let us now look at the people's celebration of the commemoration of the birth of the Messenger of Allah 4ia. Is it a 1 matter that was innovated and injected into the Religion and I then considered one of the types of worship that was made law I for us? If anyone celebrates this event to that intention then he I is an innovator! For this celebration is not an integral part of the Religion, that is, not one of the types of worship that was made law for us, nor a ruling from the Divine rulings that cane down in the Qur'an or came in the Sunna.
As for those that celebrate the commemoration of the birth of the Messenger of Allah after the model of those who organize conferences to publicize a legitimate principle or a cause or a right which Allah Most High ordered us to uphold, or to defend something which Allah Most High allows in His Lot this is a social activity by which good in the Religion is sought
This is exactly like those who organize conferences and seminars to commemorate one of their great personalities. I toil you once how I was invited to a conference in one of our dear Arab countries on the occasion of the passing of this or
many years after the death of Muhammad ibn Abd al-W
I am not among those that say that such activities are innovation or express disapproval and warn people them. This is because the brothers who organized this ference only did so as a social activity, like all conferences. did it on the basis of a benefit which they considered such activity would bring about. The criterion [of assessment] this is the same as that for information media or television channels - innovated matters by which is sought, When Muslims use them well, a spiritual or temporal benefit Allah has allowed in His Law. What is sought in all this is same good sought by those people who refined the writing of the Arabic language by developing the script of the Qur'an and including in it the dotting and vowelization and division into tenths which you can see, and of which all the Ulema approved. Is there any person who proceeds from a sound and meticulous basis of knowledge who will say: "A conference that is organized to commemorate the passing of this or that many years after the death of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab is a forbidden, innovative act?" I do not think so. Not at all. And since this is the case, then why is such an act [of commemoration] licit or even a good sunna when it is for the sake of Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab, Allah have mercy on him, but it becomes a "forbidden, innovative act" when the very same act is for the sake of Muhammad ibn `Abd Allah ?? There is no difference.' I believe that this discourse ends all noise and din over the issue.'


How to Read the Quran

>> Thursday, July 22, 2010


This is an article written by Tariq Ramadan on how to approach the Quran, in this he is mainly targeting non-Muslims but it offers some useful advice for Muslims. I hope, InshaAllah, that it benefits anyone who reads it.

January 6, 2008
Reading the Koran

For Muslims the Koran stands as the Text of reference, the source and the essence of the message transmitted to humanity by the creator. It is the last of a lengthy series of revelations addressed to humans down through history. It is the Word of God — but it is not God. The Koran makes known, reveals and guides: it is a light that responds to the quest for meaning. The Koran is remembrance of all previous messages, those of Noah and Abraham, of Moses and Jesus. Like them, it reminds and instructs our consciousness: life has meaning, facts are signs.

It is the Book of all Muslims the world over. But paradoxically, it is not the first book someone seeking to know Islam should read. (A life of the Prophet or any book presenting Islam would be a better introduction.) For it is both extremely simple and deeply complex. The nature of the spiritual, human, historical and social teachings to be drawn from it can be understood at different levels. The Text is one, but its readings are multiple.

For the woman or the man whose heart has made the message of Islam its own, the Koran speaks in a singular way. It is both the Voice and the Path. God speaks to one’s innermost being, to his consciousness, to his heart, and guides him onto the path that leads to knowledge of him, to the meeting with him: “This is the Book, about it there can be no doubt; it is a Path for those who are aware of God.” More than a mere text, it is a traveling companion to be chanted, to be sung or to be heard.

Throughout the Muslim world, in mosques, in homes and in the streets, one can hear magnificent voices reciting the divine Words. Here, there can be no distinction between religious scholars (ulema) and laymen. The Koran speaks to each in his language, accessibly, as if to match his intelligence, his heart, his questions, his joy as well as his pain. This is what the ulema have termed reading or listening as adoration. As Muslims read or hear the Text, they strive to suffuse themselves with the spiritual dimension of its message: beyond time, beyond history and the millions of beings who populate the earth, God is speaking to each of them, calling and reminding each of them, inviting, guiding, counseling and commanding. God responds, to her, to him, to the heart of each: with no intermediary, in the deepest intimacy.

No need for studies and diplomas, for masters and guides. Here, as we take our first steps, God beckons us with the simplicity of his closeness. The Koran belongs to everyone, free of distinction and of hierarchy. God responds to whoever comes to his Word. It is not rare to observe women and men, poor and rich, educated and illiterate, Eastern and Western, falling silent, staring into the distance, lost in thought, stepping back, weeping. The search for meaning has encountered the sacred, God is near: “Indeed, I am close at hand. I answer the call of him who calls me when s/he calls.”

A dialogue has begun. An intense, permanent, constantly renewed dialogue between a Book that speaks the infinite simplicity of the adoration of the One, and the heart that makes the intense effort necessary to liberate itself, to meet him. At the heart of every heart’s striving lies the Koran. It holds out peace and initiates into liberty.

Indeed, the Koran may be read at several levels, in quite distinct fields. But first, the reader must be aware of how the Text has been constructed. The Koran was revealed in sequences of varying length, sometimes as entire chapters (suras), over a span of 23 years. In its final form, the Text follows neither a chronological nor strictly thematic order. Two things initially strike the reader: the repetition of Prophetic stories, and the formulas and information that refer to specific historical situations that the Koran does not elucidate. Understanding, at this first level, calls for a twofold effort on the part of the reader: though repetition is, in a spiritual sense, a reminder and a revivification, in an intellectual sense it leads us to attempt to reconstruct. The stories of Eve and Adam, or of Moses, are repeated several times over with differing though noncontradictory elements: the task of human intelligence is to recompose the narrative structure, to bring together all the elements, allowing us to grasp the facts.

But we must also take into account the context to which these facts refer: all commentators, without distinction as to school of jurisprudence, agree that certain verses of the revealed Text (in particular, but not only, those that refer to war) speak of specific situations that had arisen at the moment of their revelation. Without taking historical contingency into account, it is impossible to obtain general information on this or that aspect of Islam. In such cases, our intelligence is invited to observe the facts, to study them in reference to a specific environment and to derive principles from them. It is a demanding task, which requires study, specialization and extreme caution. Or to put it differently, extreme intellectual modesty.

The second level is no less demanding. The Koranic text is, first and foremost, the promulgation of a message whose content has, above all, a moral dimension. On each page we behold the ethics, the underpinnings, the values and the hierarchy of Islam taking shape. In this light, a linear reading is likely to disorient the reader and to give rise to incoherence, even contradiction. It is appropriate, in our efforts to determine the moral message of Islam, to approach the Text from another angle. While the stories of the Prophets are drawn from repeated narrations, the study of ethical categories requires us, first, to approach the message in the broadest sense, then to derive the principles and values that make up the moral order. The methods to be applied at this second level are exactly the opposite of the first, but they complete it, making it possible for religious scholars to advance from the narration of a prophetic story to the codification of its spiritual and ethical teaching.

But there remains a third level, which demands full intellectual and spiritual immersion in the Text, and in the revealed message. Here, the task is to derive the Islamic prescriptions that govern matters of faith, of religious practice and of its fundamental precepts. In a broader sense, the task is to determine the laws and rules that will make it possible for all Muslims to have a frame of reference for the obligations, the prohibitions, the essential and secondary matters of religious practice, as well as those of the social sphere. A simple reading of the Koran does not suffice: not only is the study of Koranic science a necessity, but knowledge of segments of the prophetic tradition is essential. One cannot, on a simple reading of the Koran, learn how to pray. We must turn to authenticated prophetic tradition to determine the rules and the body movements of prayer.

As we can see, this third level requires singular knowledge and competence that can only be acquired by extensive, exhaustive study of the texts, their surrounding environment and, of course, intimate acquaintance with the classic and secular tradition of the Islamic sciences. It is not merely dangerous but fundamentally erroneous to generalize about what Muslims must and must not do based on a simple reading of the Koran. Some Muslims, taking a literalist or dogmatic approach, have become enmeshed in utterly false and unacceptable interpretations of the Koranic verses, which they possess neither the means, nor on occasion the intelligence, to place in the perspective of the overarching message. Some orientalists, sociologists and non-Muslim commentators follow their example by extracting from the Koran certain passages, which they then proceed to analyze in total disregard for the methodological tools employed by the ulema.

Above and beyond these distinct levels of reading, we must take into account the different interpretations put forward by the great Islamic classical tradition. It goes without saying that all Muslims consider the Koran to be the final divine revelation. But going back to the direct experience of the Companions of the Prophet, it has always been clear that the interpretation of its verses is plural in nature, and that there has always existed an accepted diversity of readings among Muslims.

Some have falsely claimed that because Muslims believe the Koran to be the word of God, interpretation and reform are impossible. This belief is then cited as the reason why a historical and critical approach cannot be applied to the revealed Text. The development of the sciences of the Koran — the methodological tools fashioned and wielded by the ulema and the history of Koranic commentary — prove such a conclusion baseless. Since the beginning, the three levels outlined above have led to a cautious approach to the texts, one that obligates whoever takes up the task to be in harmony with his era and to renew his comprehension. Dogmatic and often mummified, hidebound readings clearly reflect not upon the Author of the Text, but upon the intelligence and psychology of the person reading it. Just as we can read the work of a human author, from Marx to Keynes, in closed-minded and rigid fashion, we can approach divine revelation in a similar manner. Instead, we should be at once critical, open-minded and incisive. The history of Islamic civilization offers us ample proof of this.

When dealing with the Koran, it is neither appropriate nor helpful to draw lines of demarcation between approaches of the heart and of the mind. All the masters of Koranic studies without exception have emphasized the importance of the spiritual dimension as a necessary adjunct to the intellectual investigation of the meaning of the Koran. The heart possesses its own intelligence: “Have they not hearts with which to understand,” the Koran calls out to us, as if to point out that the light of intellect alone is not enough. The Muslim tradition, from the legal specialists to the Sufi mystics, has continuously oscillated between these two poles: the intelligence of the heart sheds the light by which the intelligence of the mind observes, perceives and derives meaning. As sacred word, the Text contains much that is apparent; it also contains the secrets and silences that nearness to the divine reveals to the humble, pious, contemplative intelligence. Reason opens the Book and reads it — but it does so in the company of the heart, of spirituality.

For the Muslim’s heart and conscience, the Koran is the mirror of the universe. What the first Western translators, influenced by the biblical vocabulary, rendered as “verse” means, literally, “sign” in Arabic. The revealed Book, the written Text, is made up of signs, in the same way that the universe, in the image of a text spread out before our eyes, abounds with these very signs. When the intelligence of the heart — and not analytical intelligence alone — reads the Koran and the world, the two speak to one another, echo one another; each one speaks of the other and of the Unique One. The signs remind us of meaning: of birth, of life, of feeling, of thought, of death.

But the echo is deeper still, and summons human intelligence to understand revelation, creation and their harmony. Just as the universe possesses its fundamental laws and its finely regulated order — which humans, wherever they may be, must respect when acting upon their environment — the Koran lays down laws, a moral code and a body of practice that Muslims must respect, whatever their era and their environment. These are the invariables of the universe, and of the Koran. Religious scholars use the term qat’i (“definitive,” “not subject to interpretation”) when they refer to the Koranic verses (or to the authenticated Prophetic tradition, ahadith) whose formulation is clear and explicit and offers no latitude for figurative interpretation. In like manner, creation itself rests upon universal laws that we cannot ignore. The consciousness of the believer likens the five pillars of Islam to the laws of gravitation: they constitute an earthly reality beyond space and time.

As the universe is in constant motion, rich in an infinite diversity of species, beings, civilizations, cultures and societies, so too is the Koran. In the latitude of interpretation offered by the majority of its verses, by the generality of the principles and actions that it promulgates with regard to social affairs, by the silences that run through it, the Koran allows human intelligence to grasp the evolution of history, the multiplicity of languages and cultures, and thus to insinuate itself into the windings of time and the landscapes of space.

Between the universe and the Koran, between these two realities, between these two texts, human intelligence must learn to distinguish fundamental and universal laws from circumstantial and historical models. This intelligence must display humility in the presence of the order, beauty and harmony of creation and of revelation. At the same time it must responsibly and creatively manage its own accomplishments or interpretations, which are sources of extraordinary success, but also of injustice, war and disorder. Between Text and context, the intelligence of the heart and that of the analytical faculty lay down norms, recognize an ethical structure, produce knowledge, nourish consciousness, and develop enterprise and creativity in all spheres of human activity.

Far from being a prison, or a constraint, revelation is an invitation to mankind to reconcile itself with its deepest essence, and to find there both the recognition of its limitations and the extraordinary potential of its intelligence and its imagination. To submit ourselves to the order of the Just One and of his eternity is to understand that we are free and fully authorized to reform the injustices that lie at the heart of the order or disorder of all that is temporally human.

The Koran is a book for both heart and mind. In nearness to it, a woman or a man who possesses a spark of faith knows the path to follow, knows her or his own inadequacies. No sheik is needed, no wise man, no confidant. Ultimately, the heart knows. This was what the Prophet answered when he was asked about moral feelings. In the light of the Book, he said, “Inquire of your heart.” And should our intelligence stray into the complexities of the different levels of reading, from applied ethics to the rules of practice, we must never forget to clothe ourselves in the intellectual modesty that alone can reveal the secrets of the Text. For “it is not the eyes that are blind, but the hearts within the breasts.” Such a heart, humble and alert, is the faithful friend of the Koran.

Tariq Ramadan is a professor of Islamic studies at Oxford and at Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

I'll put up academic articles/papers on a variety of subjects that interest me.


What is Knowledge

>> Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Alhamdulilah I am keeping on schedule posting on Wednesdays. However my room is going to be painted so I will be without a computer so I may be a little late next week. Also since the room is being prepared for being painted I will not be making a video because the room is mess.

InshAllah today's topic is on what is knowledge.


Knowledge Is not Memorization but a Light
Fiqh is the context of many statements of the Imams on know' ledge consisting in wisdom, benefit, deeds, and light rather than learning and memorization as we already mentioned. Malik said: `Wisdom and knowledge are a light by which Allah guides whomever He pleases; it does not consist in knowing many things:' Al-Shafi: "Knowledge is what benefits. Knowledge is not what one has memorized:'" Al-Dhahabi: " [Knowledge (a1-` ilm) is] not the profusion of narration, but a light which Allah casts into the heart. Its condition is followership (ittiba` ) and the flight away from egotism (haws) and innovation:'71
Al-Khatib in his brief lqtida al-` Ilm Amal ("Learning
Necessitates Deeds") narrates many statements to this effect from
Ibn Masud, Abu Hurayra, Abu al-Darda, Abu Qilaba, al-Zuhri,
al-Tustari, Ibn 'Uyayna, and others of the Salaf. This Islamic understanding of knowledge elucidates al-Hasan al-Basri's report that the Prophet it said: "The energy of the Ulema is care and help while the energy of fools is to quote" (himmat al-' ulama al-ri` aya wa-himmat al-sufaha al-riwaya) and the statement of the `Abbasi Caliph Abd Allah ibn al-Mu`tazz (249-296): "The learning of the hypocrite consists in his discourse while the learning of the Believer consists in his deed.'


The Meaning of Ahlul Sunnah

>> Wednesday, July 7, 2010

As promised I have finally posted this topic. InshAllah it will clear up a lot and benefit people. Please make dua for me I have an interview in two hours for Hartford Seminary to enter their Islamic Chaplaincy Program. While waiting for the interview I will be making my first video inshAllah!!

The Meaning of Ahlul Sunnah

The literal translation of the term Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jainci` a is "the people of the Prophetic Way and the Congregation of the Muslims!' The term denotes the people who follow the Prophetic Sunna and adhere to the largest mass of the Muslims beginning with the congregation of the Companions of the Prophet Aa. Its antonym is Ahl al-Bid` a wal-Daldla which means the people of innovation and misguidance, i.e. non-Sunni Muslims.
Muhammad ibn Sirin (d. 110) said: "We used to accept as true what we heard, then lies spread and we began to say: Name your transmitters. If they belonged to Ahl al-Sunna, their hadith would be accepted while Ahl al-Bida` were identified and their hadith was rejected."15 Confirming this is al-Hasan (d. 110) reaction to someone who requested his isnad: "0 man! I neither lie nor was ever called a liar!' Sufyan al-Thawri (d. 161) said: When certain narrators used lies, we used history against them,; " and Ibn al-Mubarak (d. 181) declared: "The isnad is an integral part of the Religion, otherwise anyone can say anything." All this is based on the saying of the Companions and Successors: "Truly, this knowledge is our Religion, therefore let each of you look carefully from whom he takes his Religion.'
The Prophet 41- said: "My Community shall divide into seventy-three sects, all of them in the Fire except one: [Those that follow] that which I and my Companions follow."20 Another version states: "My Community shall divide into seventy-three sects, all of them in the Fire except one: the Congregation (jama` a):,21
In the same sense, the Prophet- also said: "My Companions are trustees for my Community"22 and "Mankind makes up one portion (hayyiz) and I and my Companions make up one portion [counter-balancing it]:' The complete narration states:-When the verse {When comes the Help of Allah, and Victory} (110:1) was revealed, the Messenger of Allah recited it until he finished it and said: 'Mankind makes up one portion and 1 and my Companions make up one portion. And he said: 'There is no longer emigration (hijra) after victory but there remains jihad and intention (niyya) [for emigration]: 3
Any doubt that the majority is meant by the word jam'a is dispelled by the narrations elucidating jama' a to mean the largest mass or al-sawad zam. The basic sense of this massive majority is that forwarded by the Ulema first and last, beginning with the Sahaba.
To the claim that Ahl al-Sunna is a contested term that no more clearly defines an actual community than does the term -Muslim," the reply is that both are clear definers but with different emphases. A Muslim should feel at home in any Muslim house on the face of the globe, perhaps more so than in that of his own non-Muslim relatives. As for the defining sense of Ahl al-Samna, it depends on the doctrinal or juridical aspect being emphasized. Imam Abu Hanifa said: "Sunna and Jam' a are defined by giving preference to the Two Shaykhs [Abu Bakr and Umar as Caliphs], love of the Two Sons-in-Law [` Uthman and 'Ali], and [the permissibility of] wiping over leather socks [in ablution]."' Of course, Abu Hanifa considered that belief in Divine foreordained destiny (qadar), the vision of Allah in the hereafter, the intercession of the Prophet the uncreatedness of the Qur'an, etc. were also an inseparable part of Sunni doctrine.
Another defining aspect of the term Ahl al-Sunna for the near totality of Sunni Muslims is the fact of belonging to one of the Four Schools. Al-Qadi Ytisuf al-Nabhani said:
Know that to follow one of those Four Schools which the Umma of Muhammad has unanimously agreed upon accepting and following since their founders until now and for as long as Allah wishes, has exactly the same status as following the Book and the Sunna. For these Schools are explanations for the Book and the Sunna. Hence, when the expression Ahl alSunna wal-Jama` a is used in absolute terms - since one thousand years ago until the present day - what is understood is those Four Schools. Therefore, whoever leaves their compass (da'iratiha) is not counted among Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama` a. Nor does anyone leave it other than the people of vain lusts and innovations in every century until now."


Big Announcement

>> Sunday, July 4, 2010


I still have to post up the blog about what Ahlul Sunnah means and Alhamdulilah that is ready. For now on inshAllah (and please make dua) I will at least update this blog 4 times a month with a minimum of 3 excerpts from books and one original piece by me at the end of the month. All the updates inshAllah will be on Wednesdays. I have a new system where I complete all 4 posts at the beginning of the month so I have the rest of the month to start the posts for next month. Now this does not mean that I will not have mroe than four posts a month. It just means I will definitely (inshAllah) have 4.

Furthermore follow me on twitter for I will be updating that quiet often now. The link to my twitter is . Make sure to follow me on there and check out all of today's tweets where I talk about my visit to the Bronx zoo. I took pictures of almost everything I saw.

Now for the biggest announcement is that I will now start a youtube channel. It will be a book review blog. However the name is misleading because I will be reviewing not only Islamic books but also classes offered by Islamic institutes, Islamic conferences and Islamic media (such as the CD's scholars sell). The channel is . However it is not setup so just put it in your favorites and subscribe to it.

See you soon!! InshAllah