The Sunni Articles Refuting Ibn Taymiyah

English Text By Nov 20, 2009

The Sunni Articles

by al-Hafiz Shaykh ‘Abdullah al-Harari as-Shaf‘i ar-Rifa’i,
may Allah preserve him.

(Part 1)


            Praise and thanks to Allah for the givings He granted without Him being obligated to do so, and we ask Allah to raise the status of the Prophet Muhammad and protect his Ummah from that which he fears for it.

We are putting this treatise in the hands of the reader to clarify the case of Ibn Taymiyyah to whoever does not know about it and to refute some of his numerous sayings in which he deviated from the belief and Ijma’ [The ‘Ijma’, one source of Islamic teachings, is defined as the unanimous agreement of the mujtahidun (top scholars) from among the followers of Prophet Muhammad, sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, upon a religious matter during a certain period of time.] of the Muslims, their Salaf and Khalaf [The Salaf are the Muslims who lived within the first three-hundred years A.H. [After Hijrah, the immigration of Prophet Muhammad (sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) from Mecca to Medina].  This includes the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet, i.e., persons who met with Prophet Muhammad (sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), believed in him, and died Muslim) and Tabi’un (Muslims who met with the Companions).  The Khalaf are the Muslims who lived afterwards.].  Additionally, this treatise is meant to be an extension to what has been said and composed of articles about Ibn Taymiyyah’s case, applying Ayah 110 of Al ‘Imran, which means: You are the best nation that were sent out to people, because you bid the obedience and forbid the disobedience.

            We ask Allah to grant us success and the best of intentions. Our goal is to obey Allah.

 Author’s Introduction

            The Muhaddith, Hafiz, Shaykh ‘Abdullah al-Harari [Muhaddith and Hafiz both refer to a knowledgeable person in the Science of Hadith, with the latter being more knowledgeable.  A Hafiz is also a person who memorizes the Holy Qur’an.  In this context, Shaykh is the title of a teacher of Islamic knowledge.] may Allah have mercy upon him, said:

Praise and thanks to Allah for the givings He granted without Him being obligated to do so.  May Allah raise the rank of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad and protect his Ummah from that which he fears for it.  May the mercy of Allah be upon the Al and Sahb of the Prophet.  [The Al of Prophet Muhammad (sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), includes his wives, Muslim kin, and the pious Muslims of his Ummah.  The Sahb or Sahabah of Prophet Muhammad (sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) are the people who met with him, believed in him, and died Muslim.]

Know that the reason for writing this treatise is that many people thought that attributing the hadd (limit) and the jismiyyah (bodily characteristics) to Allah, and prohibiting the tawassul (asking Allah for things by some good people or deeds) by the anbiya’ (prophets) and awliya’ (righteous Muslims) after their death, and the tabarruk (seeking the blessing of Allah) by visiting their graves are the beliefs and actions of the Salaf.

Since the situation is as such, the necessity called for showing that the truth of the matter is different from what is thought.  In other words, the Salaf had the belief that Allah is clear of the hadd, i.e., that Allah never had a hadd.  Moreover, Allah does not have a hadd according to His knowledge or to the knowledge of the creation.  Performing the tawassul by the anbiya’ and awliya’ after their death and the tabarruk by visiting their graves hoping for the fulfillment of their du’a’ (supplication, asking Allah) at their graves is the condition in which the Salaf were.  We wanted to show that Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal was different from what Ibn Taymiyyah innovated.  We saw that it is obligatory to expose this imposture by showing that the Ijma’ permits the tawassul by the anbiya’ and awliya’ after their death, that the going (of the Muslims) to the graves of those people with the purpose of tabarruk is not shirk (associating partners with Allah), and that touching the grave for tabarruk is permitted, has no shirk in it, and is not haram (prohibited, sinful).  This treatise is full of Islamic proofs.  The reader, by the will of Allah, will see them in detail.

I.The First Article

Ibn Taymiyyah’s Deviations from the Muslims

Know that, although Ibn Taymiyyah had many writings and a fame, he is as the Muhaddith, Hafiz, Faqih, Wali-ud-Din al-’Iraqi, the son of the Shaykh of Huffaz, Zayn-ud-Din al-’Iraqi, in his book “al-‘Ajwibat-ul-Mardiyyah” said about him: His knowledge is bigger than his mind.  He also said: He infringed the Ijma’ in many issues, which was said to be sixty issues, some of which are in the Usul and others in the Furu’ [Al-‘Usul is ‘Ilm-ut-Tawhid, the Science of the belief in Allah and His Messenger.  Al-Furu’ deals with the Islamic matters other than those of belief (Usul), such as Salah, Siyam, and dealings.]  After the Ijma’ has settled upon those issues, he violated it.  Some lay people and others followed him in this violation.  The scholars of his time hastened to refute him and charged him of bringing bid’ah [Bid’ah is innovation; something which is new some of which are Islamically acceptable and others are rejected.  Here it refers to the prohibited innovation.]  Among those was Imam, Hafiz, Taqi-ud-Din ‘Ali Ibn ‘Abd-il-Kafi as-Subki.  In “ad-Durrat-ul-Mudiyyah”, he said what means: Ibn Taymiyyah innovated the foul things in the Usul of belief and infringed the foundations of al-‘Islam, after he was covering himself with following the Book (the Qur’an) and Sunnah, showing outwardly that he is a caller to truth and a guide to the Jannah.  Consequently, he deviated from following the Book and Sunnah to innovation, and deviated from the Jama’ah of the Muslims [The Jama’ah is the Muslim group following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and his Sahabah.  The full name is Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah.  It constitutes the majority of the Muslims.] by infringing the Ijma’.  He said what leads to the jismiyyah and composition in the Holy Self of Allah and that it is not impossible that Allah needs a part.  He said that the Self of Allah contains hawadith (events, creations), that the Qur’an is muhdath (created) and Allah spoke it after it was not, that Allah speaks and stops speaking, and that wills happen in Him according to the creations.  He transgressed to say that the world did not have a beginning.  He adhered to his saying that there is no beginning for the creations, thereby saying of the existence of hawadith [Al-Hawadith, the plural of al-hadith, is a creation, i.e., something the existence of which started at some point in time and it may be annihilated any time later.  Al-Jannah (Paradise) and Jahannam (Hellfire), two creations of Allah, will never be annihilated because Allah has willed that for them.] without a beginning.  Hence, he confirmed that the eternal attribute (of Allah) is created and the created hadith is eternal.  No one has ever said both sayings in any religion.  He was not among the seventy-three groups into which the Muslim Ummah was divided.  In spite of all of this being horrible kufr (blasphemy), it is little compared to what he innovated in the Furu’.

Hafiz Abu Sa’id al-’Ala’i, the Shaykh of Hafiz al-’Iraqi, mentioned many of these issues.  This was reported by Muhaddith, Hafiz, and historian Shams-ud-Din Ibn Tulun in “Thakha’ir-ul-Qasr”.  Among what was reported about Ibn Taymiyyah, is his saying that Allah is the site of creations, that the world is eternal by kind and it always has been created with Allah, and some of which his saying of the jismiyyah, direction, and movement (of Allah).  Ibn Taymiyyah wrote a juz’ (section) that Allah’s knowledge does not pertain to what does not end, like the enjoyment of the people of Jannah, and that Allah does not know everything about the finite, that our prophet Muhammad, ‘alayh-is-salam, has no jah (status) and whoever performs tawassul by him is wrong.  He wrote many papers about that.  He said exaggeratedly that starting a trip to visit our prophet is a sin which invalidates shortening the Salah in it.  Before Ibn Taymiyyah, no Muslim had said what he said.  He said that the torture of the people of Hell stops and does not last forever.  He was ordered to repent many times, but he broke his promises and agreements every time until he was imprisoned as per the fatwa of the Four Judges [The full text of this fatwa will be mentioned, by the will of Allah, at the end of the book.]one of whom was a Shafi’i, the second Maliki, the third Hanafi, and the fourth Hanbali [A madhhab is a framework inferred by a mujtahid from the Qur’an, Sunnah, Ijma’, and Qiyas, by which he deduces the judgements on the practical matters of al-‘Islam such as the Taharah, Salah, Zakah, Siyam, and Hajj.  The Sunni madhhayb which are available today are four:  The Hanafi Madhhab, the Maliki Madhhab, the Shafi’i Madhhab, and the Hanbali Madhhab.  The respective founders of those madhhayb are: Imam Abu Hanifah (80-150 A.H.), Imam Malik (93-179 A.H.), Imam ash-Shafi’i (150-204 A.H.), and Imam Ibn Hanbal (164-241 A.H.)] They passed the ruling that he was a straying man, against whom it is obligatory to warn, as was said in “‘Uyun-ut-Tarikh” by Salah-ud-Din as-Safadi, who was a student of Ibn Taymiyyah and of Taqi as-Subki.  King Muhammad Ibn Qalawun issued a decree to be read on the manabir [Manabir is the plural of minbar which is a podium, an elevated platform for a speaker or the like.] in Egypt and ash-Sham (area including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine) to warn people against him and his followers.

Ath-Thahabi, a contemporary of Ibn Taymiyyah, had praised him first.  However, when his case was exposed to him, he said in his treatise, “Bayanu Zaghal-il-’Ilm wat-Talab”, page 17: By Allah, my eye has not fallen on a person who was more knowledgeable or more intelligent than a man called Ibn Taymiyyah.  He showed zuhd (disinterest) in food, clothing, and women.  He supported the truth and performed Jihad with every possible means.  I got tired in weighing and digging him out.  I got bored with that for long years.  I found that as a result of his arrogance, self deceipt, excessive love to be the head of the scholars, and disdain with great people, he was falling behind the people of Egypt and ash-Sham; they hated him, degraded him, and charged him with lying and kufr.  Look at the consequence of claim and love of appearance.  We ask Allah for forgiveness.  There are some people who are not more pious, knowledgeable, or zahid (careless about mundane matters) than he is.  However, they overlook the sins of their friends.  Allah did not empower those people over Ibn Taymiyyah by their piety and greatness, but by his sins.  What Allah warded off him and his followers is more; they only got some of what they deserve.  Have no doubt about it.  This treatise is confirmed about ath-Thahabi, because Hafiz as-Sakhawi reported this statement about him in his book “al-‘I’lam bit-Tawbikh” on page 77.

II. The Second Article

Ibn Taymiyyah’s Saying of Hawadith with No Beginning Existing Eternally with Allah

This issue is one of the ugliest issues in belief by which Ibn Taymiyyah dissented from the sound mind and the explicit tradition and Ijma’ of the Muslims.  He mentioned this belief in five of his books: “Minhaj-us-Sunnat-in-Nabawiyyah”, “Muwafaqatu Sarih-il-Ma’qul li Sahih-il-Manqul”, “Sharh Hadith-in-Nuzul”, “Sharh Hadith ‘Imran Ibn Husayn”, and “Naqdu Maratib-il-’Ijma’”.

           Ibn Taymiyyah’s statement in “Minhaj-us-Sunnat-in-Nabawiyyah”, Volume I, page 24 is: If you say to us: You said of the occurrence of the hawadith in Allah, we say to you: Yes, and this saying of ours is what the Shar’ and mind showed.

He replied to Ibn Hazm for reporting the Ijma’ that Allah existed eternally and no thing existed with Him, and that the disagreer with this is a kafir.  After these words, Ibn Taymiyyah said: What is stranger than that is his (Ibn Hazm’s) reporting the Ijma’ upon the kufr of whoever contended with the belief that Allah existed eternally by Himself and no thing existed with Him.

Ibn Taymiyyah’s statement in “Sharh Hadith ‘Imran Ibn Husayn”, page 193,: If the kind of the creations is assumed to be eternal with Allah, this companionship is not negated by the Shar’ or the mind, but it is of His perfection.  Allah, ta’ala, said that the One Who creates is not equal to whoever does not create.  Then Ibn Taymiyyah said: The creation existed eternally with Him.  Then he said: but many people confuse the self with the kind.

His statement in “Muwafaqatu Sarih-il-Ma’qul li Sahih-il-Manqul”, page 291 is: We said: we do not accept.  However, the daily hadith is preceded by hawadith without a beginning.

In the manuscript of “Tashnif-ul-Masami’”, page 342, Muhaddith, Usuli Badr-ud-Din az-Zarkashi reported the agreement of the Muslims upon the kufr of whoever says that the kind of the world is eternal.  After mentioning that the philosophers said the world is eternal by matter and shape, and that some said it is eternal by matter but its shape is muhdath (has a beginning), he said: and the Muslims charged them (the philosophers) with deviation and kufr.  Before that Hafiz Ibn Daqiq al-’Id, Qadi ‘Iyad, and Hafiz Ibn Hajar said the like in “Sharh al-Bukhari”.  Hafiz as-Subki confirmed this belief about Ibn Taymiyyah in his treatise “ad-Durrat-ul-Mudiyyah” and as said previously, Abu Sa’id al-’Ala’i did too.  This belief was reported also by al-Jalal-ud-Dawwani in “Sharh-ul-’Adudiyyah”.  He said: I saw in a writing of Abul-’Abbas Ibn Taymiyyah the saying that the kind of al-’Arsh is eternal.

The Hanafi ‘Allamah (very knowledgeable Islamic scholar) al-Bayyadi mentioned in his book “Isharat-ul-Maram”, page 197, after mentioning the proofs about the beginning of the world: Hence, what Ibn Taymiyyah thought of al-’Arsh being eternal, as reported in “Sharh-ul-’Adudiyyah”, is invalidated.

In his poem, which is famous even among the defenders of Ibn Taymiyyah, and which contained refuting al-Hilli then Ibn Taymiyyah, among of what as-Subki said: Ibn Taymiyyah has a refutation to what one of the rawafid (some deviant groups) said that was complete.  However, he mixed the truth with the hashw [The hashw is done by a group called al-Hashwiyyah.  It is a vile group with ignorant members attributing themselves to Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, who is clear of them.  They reported words about him which they misunderstood.  Then, they continued with their bad belief claiming to cling to the Hadith.  The best of the muhaddithun (pl. of muhaddith) in his time, Ibn ‘Asakir used to refrain from teaching them the Hadith and prevent them from attending his circle in Damascus.  This group did not have a head or someone to carry its invalid belief, except some scattered efforts which were foiled by the Muslims.  Then, around the end of the 700th Hijriyyah year, Ibn Taymiyyah advocated the invalid beliefs and ideas of this group.] whenever he could.  He says that there are hawadith with no beginning that occur in Allah.  Praise to Allah; He is clear of what he (Ibn Taymiyyah) thinks about Him.

III.  The Third Article

Ibn Taymiyyah’s Saying of the Hadd to the Self of Allah

           In the book written by Imam at-Tahawi [Ahmad Ibn Salamah at-Tahawi is a great Imam of the Salaf (229 – 321 A.H.).] which he called: “Mentioning the belief of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah, according to the Madhhab of the fuqaha’ (scholars) of al-‘Islam, Abu Hanifah an-Nu’man Ibn Thabit al-Kufi, Abu Yusuf Ya’qub Ibn Ibrahim al-‘Ansari, and Abu ‘Abdillah Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani” his two companions and others, Imam at-Tahawi negated the hadd about Allah by saying what means: He (Allah) is majestically above (He does not have) the hudud (plural of hadd) and ghayat (extensions in area, for example).

Ibn Taymiyyah confirmed attributing the hadd to Allah in his book “al-Muwafaqah”, Volume 2, page 33.  He said: The Muslims and non-Muslims agreed that Allah is in the sky and they limited Him to this.  On page 29, he said: He (Allah) does not have a hadd we know,  but He has a hadd that He knows.  What he claimed that both Muslims and non-Muslims agreed and had consensus that Allah has a hadd is strange.

           The negation of the hadd about Allah have been confirmed in reports by Abu Hanifah, others, and even those before him, namely Imam Zayn-ul-’Abidin ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn, radiyallahu ‘anhuma [Radiyallahu ‘anhuma  means: May Allah be pleased with both of them (here, Zayn-ul-’Abidin ‘Ali and his father al-Husayn).] in his treatise famously known as “As-Sahifat-us-Sajjadiyyah”.  In “Sharh Ihya’i ‘Ulum-id-Din”, Muhaddith, Hafiz Muhammad Murtada az-Zabidi, the explainer of “al-Qamus”, mentioned with a muttasil isnad (continuous chain of qualified relators) [A muttasil  Hadith is the Hadith heard by the relator from his shaykh and so on back to the Prophet or a Companion without any interruption in the chain of relators.] from him back to Zayn-ul-’Abidin the saying of Zayn-ul-’Abidin in his treatise: He (Allah) is not limited to have a hadd (limit).  He also mentioned his saying: No place surrounds Him.  The saying of ‘Ali, radiyallahu ‘anh: “not limited” is explicit that it is not consonent with Allah to be limited; He does not have a hadd, neither according to His knowledge nor to the knowledge of the creation.

Where is what Ibn Taymiyyah claimed of the agreement of the Muslims upon attributing the hadd to Allah?  The rest of the Salaf were negating the hadd about Allah, evidenced by the aforementioned saying of at-Tahawi.  He mentioned this as the madhhab of the Salaf; those four [The four great Salaf scholars mentioned above are: Abu Hanifah an-Nu’man Ibn Thabit al-Kufi, Abu Yusuf Ya’qub Ibn Ibrahim al-‘Ansari,  Abu ‘Abdillah Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani, Zayn-ul-’Abidin ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn.] are among the famous scholars of the Salaf.  This is the madhhab of all the Salaf as indicated by his sayings: “Mentioning the belief of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah”.

The deceipt of Ibn Taymiyyah has shown up and is exposed.  This is his habit.  He attributes the belief that he likes to the scholars of the Salaf to delude the weak-minded people that his madhhab is that of the Salaf.  This is far from what he thinks.

IV.  The Fourth Article

Ibn Taymiyyah’s Saying of the Sitting of Allah, Ta’ala

           Ibn Taymiyyah’s saying of Allah sitting is confirmed about him, although some of his followers negated this when they found it ugly.  He mentioned this in his book “Minhaj-us-Sunnat-in-Nabawiyyah” by sayings: The majority of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah say that Allah, tabaraka wa ta’ala, [Tabaraka wa ta’ala attributes the giving and perfection to Allah.] descends and al-’Arsh does not get void of Him.  He claimed that this was reported about Ishaq Ibn Rahawayh, Hammad Ibn Zayd, Imam Ahmad, and others.  He is a fabricator and great lier about that.

In his Tafsir named “an-Nahr”, the Grammarian Abu Hayyan al-‘Andalusi reported about Ibn Taymiyyah having this belief.  He said: In his handwriting, a book of Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah, who was contemporary with us, which he called “Kitab-ul-’Arsh”, I read: Allah sits on al-Kursi and has left a space for the Messenger of Allah to sit with Him.  At-Taj Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali Ibn ‘Abd-il-Haqq al-Baranbari pretended that he is a promoter of his ideas and tricked him, until he took it from him; we read that in it. [The author of “Kashf-uz-Zunun” reported that about him also in Volume 2, page 1438.]

This reporting of Abu Hayyan was omitted from the old printed copy.  However, the manuscript confirms it.  In his commentary on “as-Sayf-us-Saqil”, page 85, az-Zahid al-Kawthari said explaining the reason of omitting these statements of Ibn Taymiyyah: The editor of as-Sa’adah Printing House told me that he found it very ugly and he omitted it upon printing so that the enemies of al-‘Islam would not use it.  Then he requested that I record that here to catch up what he missed and out of sincerity to the Muslims.

In “al-Muwafaqah”, page 29, Ibn Taymiyyah said: Allah, ta’ala, has a hadd no one but Him knows it.  One should not imagine that hadd for a purpose in himself, but believe it and leave knowing about it to Allah.  His place has a hadd, which is on His ‘Arsh above His skies.  These are two limits.

In the twenty-fifth volume of “al-Kawakib-ud-Darari”, which is in the Library of az-Zahiriyyah in Damascus, Ibn Taymiyyah said: If Allah willed he would sit on a mosqito, which would carry Him by His power; how about on a large ‘Arsh!

V. The Fifth Article

Ibn Taymiyyah’s Prohibiting the Tawassul by the Anbiya’ and Awliya’ and the Tabarruk by them and their Traces

Among the most famous issues that were confirmed about Ibn Taymiyyah by the reporting of the scholars contemporary to him and others who came after them, are his prohibiting the tawassul by the anbiya’ and salihun (righteous Muslims) after their death and in their absence while alive and tabarruk by them and their traces, and his prohibiting to visit the grave of the Prophet, ‘alayh-is-salatu was-salam, for the purpose of tabarruk.  As was shown, he accuses the Muslim a’immah (pl. of imam) of treachery.  He disagreed with Imam Ahmad and Imam Ibrahim Ibn Ishaq al-Harbi.  He is, as Hafiz as-Subki said about him: No one among the Salaf and Khalaf preceded Ibn Taymiyyah to disapprove the tawassul.  He said what no scholar before him had ever said.

Ibn Taymiyyah and his followers accuse of kufr the people who perform the tawassul and istighathah (asking for help) by the Messenger of Allah and others of anbiya’ and awliya’.  What led them to this, is their ignorance of the meaning of ‘ibadah (worship) mentioned in the like of the ayah 5 of al-Fatihah, which means: We worship You (Allah) and we ask You for help and the ayah 3 of az-Zumar, which means: Those who worshipped the idols said: We do not worship them except to achieve a higher status by them from Allah.  The ‘ibadah in the language of the Arabs is what the linguists defined.  The famous linguist, Imam az-Zajjaj defined it by saying: The ‘ibadah in the language of the Arabs is obedience with subjugation.  In “Mufradat-ul-Qur’an” the Linguist, Imam Abul-Qasim ar-Raghib al-‘Asbahani said: The ‘ibadah is the ultimate humbleness.  Imam, Hafiz, Faqih, Linguist, and Mufassir (Explainer of the Qur’an) ‘Ali Ibn ‘Abd-il-Kafi as-Subki in his tafsir (explanation) of ayah 5 of al-Fatihah which means: We (Muslims) worship You (Allah) said: That is, we make our ‘ibadah (worship), which is the ultimate fear with subjugation, exclusive to You (Allah).  Those people (Ibn Taymiyyah and his followers were also ignorant of the meaning of the du’a’ mentioned in the Qur’an in many positions, like the ayah 13 of al-Hajj, which means: They perform du’a’ to (worship) those idols, the harm of which by being worshipped is closer than their benefit by being intercessors, or the ayah 5 of al-‘Ahqaf, which means: Who is more astray than the one who performs du’a’ to (worships) other than Allah, who will not answer his du’a’.  They thought that the meaning of du’a’ in these two ayat mean the mere nida’ (calling) and did not know that it is the ‘ibadah which is the ultimate humbleness.  The scholars of Tafsir have agreed that the du’a’ in those ayat is their ‘ibadah (worship) to other than Allah in this manner.  No linguist or scholar of Tafsir explained the du’a’ as the mere calling.  Consequently, those ignorant people started accusing of kufr whoever says: O Messenger of Allah, or O Abu Bakr, or O ‘Ali, or O Jilani, or the like in the absence of those people while alive or after their death thinking that this calling is an ‘ibadah to other than Allah.  This is far from what they think.  Did these not know that it is not permissible to explain the Qur’an and Hadith with what disagrees with the (Arabic) language?  What would these say about what al-Bukhari related in “al-‘Adab-ul-Mufrad” about Ibn ‘Umar that his leg was benumbed severly and he was told: Mention the name of the most beloved person to you.  Then he said (what means): O Muhammad.  The result was as if his leg was untied from a knot.  Would they accuse him of kufr for this calling or what would they do?  What would they say about al-Bukhari mentioning this incident?  Would they rule that he mentioned shirk in his book to be applied?

Among their suspicious matters is their quoting the Hadith of al-Bukhari and others: The du’a’ is the worship.  Al-Bukhari related it in “al-‘Adab-ul-Mufrad” and Ibn Hibban did.  They want to let the people believe that the tawassul by the anbiya’ and awliya’ after their death or in their absence if alive is shirk and ‘ibadah to other than Allah.  The answer is: The meaning of the Hadith is that the du’a’ which is imploring Allah, as the scholars of language defined the du’a’, is among the greatest types of worship, with the meaning of what is done to achieve a better status from Allah, because the Salah which, after the belief, is the best action to seek a better status from Allah includes the du’a’.  This is from the ‘ibadah which is one of the two meanings according to the norm of the scholars of the Religion.  It is like naming relief ‘ibadah.  The Messenger of Allah said: Awaiting the relief is an ‘ibadah (Ibn Hibban).  This naming stems from the general definition of ‘ibadah which is the ultimate humbleness, because when the slave (of Allah) performs du’a’, he implores Allah, ta’ala, since He is the Creator of benefit and harm, then he has humbled himself to Allah with the ultimate humbleness.  Our performance of obedience to Allah and our avoidance of disobedience to Allah is due to Allah’s help and protection, respectively.

Those negators of tawassul want, by mentioning this Hadith, to accuse of kufr whoever says: O Messenger of Allah, or O Messenger of Allah, help me, or the like, such as the saying of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar when his leg was benumbed: O Muhammad.  They are told: If the saying of someone upon calamity: O Muhammad or O Messenger of Allah is shirk according to you, then [would you] accuse of kufr the scholars of Hadith who put this in their writings, such as al-Bukhari and others!

Then it is known that the ‘ibadah is used Islamically by the carriers of the Shari’ah (Islamic Law) as whatever is done to seek a better status from Allah.  It was mentioned in the sahih (authentic) [A sahih Hadith is a Hadith which is related by an ‘adl from another ‘adl back to the Prophet or Sahabi, devoid of any shuthuth or defect.] Hadith to mean the hasanah, like the Prophet’s saying: Awaiting the relief is an ‘ibadah (Ibn Hibban), i.e., a hasanah by which one seeks a better status from Allah.  In this meaning, are the sadaqah (charity), Siyam (fasting), and doing obedience and the good things to people; this is very much widespread.

Among the proofs of the people of truth for the permissibility of tawassul by the Messenger of Allah in his life and after his death are:

           In his mu’jaman, al-Mu’jam-ul-Kabir and al-Mu’jam-us-Saghir [Al-Mu’jam is a book of Hadith in which the Ahadith are mentioned according to the alphabetical order of the shuyukh.  Al-Mu’jaman is the dual form of al-mu’jam.] at-Tabarani akhraj about ‘Uthman Ibn Hunayf that a man used to go to ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Affan who did not pay attention to him and did not look into his case.  He met ‘Uthman Ibn Hunayf and complained to him about it.  He said: Go to the wash place, perform Wudu’ and rak’atan, then say (what means): O Allah, I ask You and direct my request to You by our Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy.  O Muhammad, I direct my request to Allah by you to be fulfilled.  Then let us go together.  The man went and did what he was told.  Then he came to the gate of ‘Uthman.  The gateman came, took him by hand, admitted him to ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Affan, and seated him on his rug.  ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Affan asked him: What is your wish?  He mentioned his wish to him.  ‘Uthman fulfilled his wish and said: I did not remember your wish until this time.  Then the man left and met ‘Uthman Ibn Hunayf and said: May Allah reward you with good things.  He would not have looked into my wish had you not talked to him about me.  ‘Uthman Ibn Hunayf said: By Allah, I did not talk to him, but I witnessed a blind person who came to the Messenger of Allah complaining about losing his sight.  The Messenger of Allah said (what means): If you would be patient or else I will make a du’a’ for you.  He said: O Messenger of Allah, losing my sight is hard for me and I have no guide.  He said (what means): Go to the wash place, perform Wudu’, pray rak’atan, then say: O Allah, I ask You… to the end of the du’a’.  The man did what he was told.  By Allah, neither had we departed yet nor had the sitting lasted for long time, the man came to us sightful as if he had never had any problem.

In his Mu’jaman, at-Tabarani said that the Hadith is sahih.  According to the scholars of Hadith, the word Hadith is reserved to what has been marfu’ [Al-Marfu’ is a Hadith which is attributed to the Prophet by a Companion.] to the Prophet and to what is mawquf [Al-Mawquf is a Hadith which is attributed to a Companion, but not to the Prophet.] to the Sahabi, as it is established in the books of Istilah (Science of Hadith).  Imam Ahmad used the word Hadith for an athar [Al-‘Athar refers to the marfu’ and mawquf Hadith or to the mawquf Hadith only.] of ‘Umar about cheese brought by the Majus (fire worshippers) whose habit was to use the rennet of the maytah [Al-Maytah is an animal which was not slaughtered as per the rules of al-‘Islam.  It is a great sin to eat a maytah.].

 The Hadith of ‘Uthman Ibn Hunayf is an evidence for the permissibility of tawassul by the Messenger of Allah in his life and after his death, in his presence and his absence.  The matter is not like what Ibn Taymiyyah says: It is not allowed to perform tawassul except by the alive and present person.  Since al-‘Albani follows him, he discredited the portion of the Hadith which is mawquf by saying: The mawquf Hadith is munkar [Al-Munkar is the opposite of ma’ruf Hadith; it is a Hadith which is related by one person who has not reached a proper level of memory and trusworthiness.]. The source of the confusion of al-‘Albani is his going beyond his limit.  He did not stop at the statements of the scholars of the Hadith that whoever did not reach the level of Hafiz has no right to judge whether a Hadith is sahih, da’if [Ad-Da’if is a Hadith which lacks any of the requisites of the sahih or hasan Hadith.], or mawdu’ [Al-Mawdu’ is a Hadith which is fabricated upon the Prophet.].  This Hadith was related also by Hafiz as-Subki and Hafiz al-Bayhaqi.

Another proof is the Hadith: Whoever says when he goes out to the masjid (mosque): O Allah, I ask You by the right of the askers upon You and by the right of this walking of mine, because I did not go out discontentedly, or to be praised or for fame; I went out to avoid Your punishment and seek Your acceptance.  I ask You to save me from Hellfire, and to forgive my sins; no one forgives the sins except You, Allah accepts his du’a’ and 70,000 angels ask Allah to forgive him.  It is related by Ibn Majah.  Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani and Hafiz Abul-Hasan al-Maqdisi said: it is hasan [Al-Hasan is a Hadith, the relators of which are known for their trustworthiness and good memory.  Included is the Hadith which is related in more than one riwayah (rendition) all of which are devoid of any defect that blemishes its authenticity.  It is accepted by the scholars of al-‘Islam, and is used for inferring Islamic rulings.].  There is no attention to al-‘Albani’s tad’if of the Hadith after these Hafizan (dual of Hafiz) said it is sahih, because al-‘Albani is not at the level of Hafiz; he is far from it as far as the sky is from Earth.  Moreover, he admitted in some of his books that he did not reach the level of Hafiz.

The condition for considering a Hadith sahih, da’if, or mawdu’ is that it is not taken except from the words of a Hafiz as stated by as-Suyuti in “Tadrib-ur-Rawi”.  Is the daring of al-‘Albani to say about Hadith that it is sahih, da’if, or mawdu’ a result of his ignorance of the words of the people of the Mustalah (Science of Hadith)?  Or is it that he knew what they said, but his desires, and the love of showing up and claiming what is not his, thinking that he could fool the people if he said about Hadith that it is sahih, hasan, or da’if are the ones which dragged him?

Let us mention here the statement of Hafiz Ibn Hajar in summary, since this will remove any ambiguity that some people imagined for not differentiating between the Hadithan (dual of Hadith): the practical Hadith and the verbal Hadith.  The practical Hadith is the one which is da’if, but the verbal Hadith is thabit (confirmed).  Ibn Hajar said: The saying of an-Nawawi: We related in the book of Ibn as-Sunni from Bilal and by the previous sanad [Sanad or isnad refers to the chain of people relating a Hadith.] to Abu Bakr Ibn as-Sunni many times; ‘Abdullah Ibn Muhammad al-Baghawi told us al-Hasan Ibn ‘Arafah told us ‘Ali Ibn Thabit al-Jazari from al-Wazi’ Ibn Nafi’ from Abu Salamah Ibn ‘Abd-ir-Rahman from Jabir Ibn ‘Abdillah, ‘radiyallahu ‘anhuma, from Bilal, ‘radiyallahu ‘anh, [Radiyallahu ‘anh means: May Allah be pleased with him.] the mu’addhin of the Prophet, sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa ‘ala alihi wa sallam, [Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa ‘ala alihi wa sallam means: May Allah raise the rank of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad and his Ahlu-l-Bayt.] who said what means: When the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa ‘ala alihi wa sallam, went for Salah, he used to say: In the Name of Allah. I believe in Allah. I rely on Allah.  No one avoids disobeying Allah except with the protection of Allah and no one has the strength to obey Allah except with the help of Allah.  O Allah, I ask You by the right of the askers upon You and by the right of this going out of mine, because I did not go out discontentedly, or to be praised or for fame; I went out seeking Your acceptance and to avoid Your punishnent.  I ask You to protect me from Hellfire, and to admit me to Paradise.  This is a very da’if Hadith.  Ad-Daraqutni akhraj it in “al-‘Ifrad” from this way and said what means: Al-Wazi’ is the only relator of this Hadith.  The author reported that it is agreed that he is da’if and his Hadith is munkar.  I (Ibn Hajar) said: There is a tougher saying about him.  Yahya Ibn Mu’in and an-Nasa’i said: He is not a thiqah (trustworthy).  Abu Hatim and others said: His Hadith is matruk [Al-Matruk is a Hadith related by a da’if person, because, e.g., he is known to lie.  His Hadith is abandoned.].  Al-Hakim said: He related mawdu’ (fabricated) Ahadith.  Ibn ‘Adi said: All of his Ahadith are not mahfuz [Al-Mahfuz is a Hadith in which the addition of the relator of a sahih or hasan Hadith to its wording disagrees with what a more trustworthy person related.  The relating of the latter outweighs that of the former and is known as a mahfuz Hadith.  The outweighed Hadith is known as a shathth Hadith.]. I said: He committed idtirab [Al-‘Idtirab refers to the case when a person relates a Hadith in more than one version, such as adding more words in one version or changing the wording or meaning of the Hadith.  Additionally, the two versions are equally authentic, but neither one version outweighs the other nor it is possible to bring the two versions together.  The Hadith is called mudtrib.] in this Hadith.  In “al-Yawm wal-Laylah”, Abu Nu’aym akhraj it in another version from him.  He said: From Salim Ibn ‘Abdillah Ibn ‘Umar from his father from Bilal.  There is no other evidence to strengthen the Hadith.

His saying: And we related in the book of Ibn as-Sunni means from the riwayah (rendition) of ‘Atiyyah al-’Awfi from Abu Sa’id al-Khidri from the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa ‘ala alihi wa sallam.  ‘Atiyyah is da’if also.  I said: His da’f is due to his tashayyu’ (following the Shi’ah) and tadlis [At-Tadlis is relating a Hadith in a delusive manner so that people would accept the Hadith from one.  The tadlis is done by the relator, because, e.g., his shaykh is young or da’if, by dropping the name of his shaykh from the chain or mentioning him in such a way that people think that he is talking about another person.].  He himself is saduq (truthful).  Al-Bukhari akhraj for him in “al-‘Adab-ul-Mufrad” and Abu Dawud akhraj for him many Ahadith about which he kept silent.  At-Tirmithi said that many of his Ahadith were hasan, some of which are of his ifrad [ Al-‘Ifrad refers to the case when the relating of a Hadith is confined to one person or to one person from another person, or to a group of people from a certain area, for example.] .  So do not think that he is like al-Wazi’.

I read, in Damascus, under Fatimah Bint Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Uthman, the Dimashqiyyah (from Damascus) from Abul-Fadl Ibn Abu Tahir.  He said: Isma’il Ibn Zufr told us; Muhammad Ibn Abu Zayd told us; Mahmud Ibn Isma’il told us; Abul-Husayn Ibn Fathshah told us; at-Tabarani in the chapter on “Du’a'” told us; Bishr Ibn Musa told us; ‘Abdullah Ibn Salih, who is al-’Ajali, told us; Fudayl Ibn Marzuq told us from ‘Atiyyah from Abu Sa’id al-Khidri, radiyallahu ‘anh, who said: The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa ‘ala alihi wa sallam, said what means: If a man went out of his house for Salah and said: O Allah, I ask You by the right of the askers upon You and by the right of this walking of mine, because I did not go out discontentedly, or to be praised or for fame; I went out to avoid Your punishment and seeking Your acceptance.  I ask You to save me from Hellfire, and to forgive my sins; no one forgives the sins except You, Allah assigns 70,000 angels to ask Allah to forgive him and He accepts his du’a’ until he finishes his Salah.  This is a hasan Hadith which Ahmad akhraj from Zayd Ibn Harun from Fudayl Ibn Marzuq.  Ibn Majah akhraj it also from Muhammad Ibn Yazid Ibn Ibrahim at-Tustari from al-Fadl Ibn Muwaffaq.  Ibn Khuzaymah akhraj it also in the book “at-Tawhid” from the riwayah of Muhammad Ibn Fudayl Ibn Ghazwan and from the riwayah of Abu Khalid al-‘Ahmar.  Abu Nu’aym al-‘Asbahani akhraj it also.  All of them akhraj it from the riwayah of Abu Nu’aym al-Kufi from Fudayl Ibn Marzuq.  We related it in the chapter on as-Salah by Abu Nu’aym.  He said in his riwayah from Fudayl from ‘Atiyyah: He said: Abu Sa’id told me and he mentioned it but did not attribute it to a Sahabi.  Consequently, he was safe from the tadlis of ‘Atiyyah.

I was surprised by the Shaykh how he mentioned the riwayah of Bilal without Abu Sa’id and how he attributed the riwayah of Abu Sa’id to Ibn as-Sunni without Ibn Majah or others.  Allah is the One who gives success [This is the end of Ibn Hajar’s statement.].

In this Hadith, there is an evidence about the permissibility of performing the tawassul by the live and dead people, because the word ‘askers’ includes both of them, and the permissibility of tawassul by the good deed, which is the walking of the man to the masjid for the sake of Allah.  The Shar’ did not differentiate between the tawassul by the good selves and the good deed.  One may say: How would the tawassul by the self of the Messenger of Allah, who is the most honorable creation of Allah, not be permissible and it would be permissible to do that by the Salah, Siyam, and sadaqah of the slave?  Both are creations of Allah: the good selves are creations of Allah and the good deeds, which the slaves perform, are creations of Allah.  For what reason is the differentiation?

Most of the confusion which they adduce to prohibit the tawassul and visiting the grave of the Messenger are matters which are irrelevant to the tawassul, like the marfu’ Hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas and in it: If you ask, ask Allah and if you ask for help, ask Allah for help.  The answer is: This Hadith does not contain: Do not ask other than Allah or Do not ask other than Allah for help.  The Prophet meant: Allah is more worthy to be asked and His help is more worthy to be sought.  How do these people fabricate upon the Messenger of Allah and Ibn ‘Abbas to prove their claim of accusing of kufr the one who performs the tawassul and asks help from the Messenger?  This Hadith is like the saying of the Messenger of Allah in the Hadith related by Ibn Hibban: Do not accompany except a believer and let no one except a pious eat your food.  Does this Hadith contain that accompanying the non-Muslim is prohibited?  Would one understand from it that feeding the non-pious is prohibited?  In His Book (al-Qur’an), Allah permitted the Muslims to feed their kafir (non-Muslim) prisoner and praised it in al-‘Insan, 8: They feed the food out of their love for Allah to the needy who cannot earn, orphan, and the (non-Muslim) prisoner .

Among their suspicious actions is their adducing the Hadith of ‘Umar that he asked Allah for rain by al-’Abbas.  They claimed that ‘Umar performed the tawassul by al-’Abbas, because the Messenger had died.  The answer is: Did ‘Umar or al-’Abbas tell you that this tawassul was because the Messenger had died?  No!  Neither ‘Umar nor al-’Abbas said that or indicated it.  It is only out of your fabrications upon them to support your desire to accuse of kufr the one who performs the tawassul by the Prophet.

As one of their suspicious things, they may mention a Hadith, which is agreed that it is da’if: Abu Bakr said (what means): Let us perform istighathah by (ask for the help of) the Messenger of Allah against this hypocrite.  The Messenger of Allah said what means:  I am not someone by whom help is asked.  Allah is the only One Who is asked for help.  The answer to this suspicious matter is: Firstly, this Hadith has Ibn Lahay’ah among its relators, who is da’if.  Secondly, this Hadith is contradictory to the Hadith that al-Bukhari akhraj in his Sahih from the marfu’ Hadith of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar, and in it the sun approaches the heads of the people on the Day of Judgement.  While they are like that, they ask Adam for help.  How do they cling to an unconfirmed Hadith when it is opposed by the sahih Hadith.

In the book “Kashshaf-ul-Qina’”, Volume 2, page 68 is mentioned: As-Samiri and the author of at-Talkhis said (what means): There is no objection to perform the tawassul by the shuyukh (plural of shaykh) and the poius scholars.  In “al-Muthahhab” he said: It is permissible to ask Allah by performing the intercession by a righteous man, and it is said: it is mustahabb (liked) to do so.

In his Mansak which he wrote to al-Marwazi, Ahmad said: It is sunnah for the one who is asking Allah for rain to perform the tawassul (ask Him) by the Prophet.  He determined it in “al-Mustaw’ab” and others.  Then he said: Ibrahim al-Harbi said (what means): The du’a’ at the grave of Ma’ruf al-Kurakhi is the tested antidote.  Ibrahim al-Harbi [Ath-Thahabi said what means: He was born in the year 198 A.H.  He acquired the Fiqh under Ahmad and was one of his most respectable companions.  In “Tathkirat-ul-Huffaz”, ath-Thahabi said what means: As-Salami said (what means): I asked ad-Daraqutni about Ibrahim al-Harbi.  He said (what means): He used to be compared with Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in his zuhd, knowledge, and piety.] is one of the contemporaries of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal.  He died forty years after Ahmad.  He was one of the most respected and trustworthy scholars of Hadith.  The saying of Ibn Taymiyyah that it is an ugly innovation is refuted by the agreement of the a’immah.  The statement of Imam Ahmad and of Ibrahim al-Harbi, who was one of the respected scholars of Salaf, testify to the refutation.  Where is the agreement that Ibn Taymiyyah claims?

The meaning of what is mentioned about Abu Hanifah that he hated to say: I ask You by the right of Your anbiya’, is not prohibiting the tawassul in general in all of its forms and wordings.  Abu Hanifah hated this expression: by the right of Your anbiya’, as the people of his madhhab said, because it may seem to mean that the slaves have a right which is obligatory upon Allah (to fulfil).  The people of his madhhab are more aware of his words.  The followers of Abu Hanifah have been and are still performing tawassul by the anbiya’ of Allah and consider it something by which they seek a better status from Allah.

Concerning that he said (what means): Allah is not asked by other than Him, is far from being true.  How could it be true when it is confirmed in the Sahih that due to rain, three men took shelter in a cave. A rock fell and blocked the entrance of the cave and they could not exit.  Every one of them asked Allah by his good deed to relieve them of their calamity [; the rock moved away].  Al-Bukhari and others akhraj this Hadith.  How would one pay attention to this report about Abu Hanifah which contradicts the sahih?  Al-‘Albani mentioned in some of his circles: Abu Hanifah saved us the trouble concerning the tawassul, meaning that Abu Hanifah prohibits the tawassul in general as they do.  Let those prove, if they can, that Abu Hanifah said: it is prohibited to perform the tawassul by the Prophet after his death, or while alive in his absence as the followers of Ibn Taymiyyah claim in his saying: It is not permitted to perform the tawassul except by the alive and present person.

The tawassul, tawajjuh (directing oneself), and the istighathah (asking for help) lead to the same thing as Hafiz Taqi-ud-Din as-Subki said.  He is one of the linguists, as as-Suyuti said.  This is evident.  In the Ramadah Year, a companion went to the grave of the Messenger of Allah and said: O Messenger of Allah, ask Allah to give rain to your Ummah; they are close to perish.  It is correct to call what he did tawassul and istighathah, because he went to the grave of the Messenger asking him to save them from the calamity that hit them by him (the Messenger) asking Allah to give them rain.  Al-Bayhaqi and Ibn Kathir in his “Tarikh” said that this Hadith is sahih.  This occurring from Ibn Kathir is an evidence that he did not follow Ibn Taymiyyah in the issue of tawassul, because he did not find the evidence with him.

The negators of tawassul, the followers of Ibn Taymiyyah, say: Why do you make a wasitah (an intermediary) by your saying: O Allah, I ask you by your slave fulan? [Fulan is equivalent to John Doe in the USA.] Allah does not need a wasitah!  It is said to them:  The wasitah may come with the meaning of helper which is impossible for Allah to have.  However, the wasitah with the meaning of a means is not negated by the Shar’ or intellect.  Allah is the Creator of the means and their causes.  Allah is the Creator of medicines and the Creator of healing by them.  Also, Allah, ta’ala, made the tawassul by the anbiya’ and awliya’ a means to benefit those who are performing it.  Had the tawassul not been a means of benefit, the Messenger of Allah would not have taught the blind man the tawassul by him.  Additionally, Allah is the Creator of the tawassul and of the benefit that happens by it, by the will of Allah.  Performing the tawassul by the anbiya’ and awliya’ is of seeking the means, because the means are either necessary (essential) like eating and drinking, or unnecessary (non-essential) like the tawassul.  Each is among the means.  The believer who performs tawassul by the anbiya’ and awliya’ does not believe that their being wusata’ (intermediaries) between him and Allah means that Allah uses their help to get the benefit to the performer of tawassul or that He cannot do it by Himself.  They consider them as means made by Allah to achieve the benefit, by the will of Allah.

The goal of the performer of tawassul may or may not happen, as much as the one who takes medicine; he may or may not recover by it.  Also, Allah made the visit to the graves of the anbiya’ and awliya’ seeking blessing, with the hope of having one’s du’a’ fulfilled there, a means to achieve benefit.  This is known among Muslims, the lay ones and the scholars.  No one before Ibn Taymiyyah renounced it.  An example is the aforementioned story of the companion who visited the grave of the Prophet in the Ramadah Year.  Its authenticity was confirmed by al-Bayhaqi and Ibn Kathir.

The saying of the negators of tawassul: Why do you make wusata’ between you and Allah and why do you not ask Allah for your needs has no sense, because the Shar’ permitted the believer to ask for his need with or without the tawassul.  Whoever says: O Allah I ask You by Your Prophet or by the status of Your Prophet or the like, he has asked Allah.  Whoever says: O Allah I ask You for this and that, he has asked Allah.  Both matters comprise the slave asking his Lord.  Both are included in the Hadith: If you ask, ask Allah.

Taymiyyun (followers of Ibn Taymiyyah), the matter is not like what you claim.  You and your imam, Ibn Taymiyyah, will meet the consequences of what occurs from you, since he spread this invalid belief of considering the tawassul and visiting the graves for tabarruk as straying and kufr, because it goes under the Hadith: Whoever initiates in al-‘Islam a bad deed, he will carry its burden and the burden of everyone who acts in that way after him.

In another position, Ibn Taymiyyah declared that going to the grave to make du’a’ there is an ugly innovation.  Al-Buhuti, the author of “Kashshaf-ul-Qina’”, said reporting about the author of “al-Furu’”: Our shaykh- meaning Ibn Taymiyyah- said: one’s going to the grave for du’a’ hoping for its fulfillment there is an innovation and not something by which one seeks a better status from Allah by the agreement of the a’immah.  The author of “al-Furu’” is Shams-ud-Din Ibn Muflih, al-Hanbali and one of Ibn Taymiyyah’s students.  In another place in “Kashshaf-ul-Qina’”, he said: The shaykh- meaning Ibn Taymiyyah- said: By the agreement of the a’immah, it is prohibited to perform Tawaf around other than al-Bayt-ul-’Atiq (al-Ka’bah), then he said: They agreed that he does not kiss it or rub his body with it; it is of the shirk.  He said: Allah does not forgive the shirk even if it was the smaller shirk.  This is the statement which al-Buhuti reported about him.  In the folds of these words is accusing Abu Ayyub al-‘Ansari, about whom it was confirmed that he placed his forehead on the grave of the Prophet, of kufr.  Marwan Ibn al-Hakam saw him and held his neck.  Abu Ayyub turned his face towards him.  Marwan went away.  Abu Ayyub said: I did not come to the stone. I came to the Messenger of Allah.  I heard the Messenger of Allah say: Do not weep for al-‘Islam if the qualified people were in charge, but weep for it if it was under the charge of the unqualified.  Al-Hakim related it in “al-Mustadrak” and said it is sahih.  Ath-Thahabi agreed to his authentication.  If putting the face on the grave was not objected to by any of the Companions, what would Ibn Taymiyyah say?  Would he accuse Abu Ayyub of kufr or what would he do?  Then what would he do with the statement of Imam Ahmad reported by his son ‘Abdullah, which was mentioned previously in other than this article, that he said about kissing and touching the minbar and grave of the Prophet seeking the blessing and a better status from Allah: No objection to that.

Al-Buhuti said in “Kashshaf-ul-Qina’”: Ibrahim al-Harbi said: It is mustahabb (liked) to kiss the chamber of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.  Then al-Buhuti said: No objection to one’s touching it (the grave) with one’s hand.

Then he reported the words of Ibn Taymiyyah: Rubbing one’s body with, performing Salah at, and going to the grave (of the Prophet) believing that performing du’a’ there is better than elsewhere, or committing a nathr (oath) for it or the like, the shaykh -meaning Ibn Taymiyyah- said: This is not of the Religion of the Muslims, but is of what has been initiated of the ugly innovations which are of the branches of shirk.  In “al-‘Ikhtiyarat”, Ibn Taymiyyah said: The Salaf and a’immah agreed that whoever says salam to the Prophet or other prophets and righteous people does not rub his body with the grave or kiss it. They agreed that he does not hold or kiss except the Black Stone. The Yamani Rukn is held, but correctly is not kissed.  Then in response to Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Buhuti said: I said: But Ibrahim al-Harbi said: It is mustahabb (liked) to kiss the chamber of the Prophet.  Al-Buhuti is a Hanbali (follower of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal), but when he knew of the incorrectness of Ibn Taymiyyah’s words, he repelled his words, thereby refuting Ibn Taymiyyah’s claim about the agreement of the Salaf to prohibit the kissing of the grave.  He did not catch Ibn Taymiyyah; he died after the year 1000 A.H.

In “Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah”: Abu Bakr- meaning Ibn Abi Shaybah- told us; he said: Zayd Ibn Habbab told us; he said: Abu Mawdudah told me; he said: Yazid Ibn ‘Abd-il-Malik Ibn Qasit told me; he said: I saw a group of the Companions of the Prophet if the Masjid was free for them, they stood up and went to the free rummanah (knob) of the minbar, rubbed it, and made du’a’.  He said: and I saw Yazid do that.

Some followers of Ibn Hanbal, like Abul-Faraj Ibn al-Jawzi and his Shaykh Ibn ‘Aqil declared that it is makruh (disliked) to go to the grave for du’a’.  However, they did not prohibit it.  No one of the Salaf and Khalaf prohibited it.  What was cited about some scholars is the karahah (disliking) and not the tahrim (prohibiting).  However, Ibn Taymiyyah’s pen trespassed the limits; he deviated from the truth to accusing the Muslims of kufr for that.  Whoever tracked the biographies of the muhaddithun and ‘ulama’ finds in a lot of them that a fulan of the scholars of Hadith or the righteous was buried in a certain town; he is visited and the du’a’ is fulfilled there.  Among that is what Hafiz Ibn ‘Asakir mentioned in the biography of Hafiz ‘Abd-ul-Ghafir Ibn Isma’il al-Farisi.  He said: He was buried in Naysabur and his grave is visited and the du’a’ is fulfilled there.  It was mentioned previously that Ibrahim al-Harbi said:: The grave of Ma’ruf is the tested antidote.  This was mentioned in “Tarikh Baghdad” by Hafiz al-Baghdadi.  In his book “al-Hisn-ul-Hasin” and its summary “‘Uddat-ul-Hisn-il-Hasin”, Hafiz, Muhaddith, the Shaykh of the Qurra’ (Reciters of al-Qur’an) Shams-ud-Din Ibn al-Jazari mentioned that the graves of the righteous are among the places of having the du’a’ fulfilled.  He came after Ibn Taymiyyah and was a study mate of Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani.

How does Ibn Taymiyyah rule that this matter, which is mutawatir [A mutawatir Hadith is one related by a large number of Muslims in a way which was impossible for them to have agreed to lie about it, from the beginning of the chain of relators to the end.  They have seen or heard what they related and it was true, i.e., not misconstrued.  (The number of mutawatir Ahadith is around fifty.)] among the Muslims, is shirk.  Praise to You Allah; this is a foul fabrication.

By this, it is clear that Ibn Taymiyyah attributed the opinion of his which he desires to the a’immah and claimed their agreement upon it without any proof.  Let this be known to those who took Ibn Taymiyyah’s saying and ruled with kufr upon those who visited the grave of the Messenger and others for performing du’a’ there, that visiting the grave with this intention is shirk.  Let them be warned against it and let them quit the blind imitation.  The truth of the matter is what as-Subki said: It is preferred to perform the tawassul by the Prophet and no one of the Salaf or Khalaf objected to it, except Ibn Taymiyyah; he said what no scholar before him had said.

Their citation of ‘Umar’s cutting the tree of Bay’at-ur-Ridwan to support their prohibiting the tabarruk by the graves of the anbiya’ and salihin is of no value.  It is interpreted as that ‘Umar was worried that there will come a time when people would worship the tree.  He did not mean to prohibit the tabarruk with the traces of the Messenger.  Had it been like what they thought, his son ‘Abdullah would not have come to the tree of samur, under which the Messenger used to sit, seeking the tabarruk.  He used to water it so that it does not dry out.  Ibn Hibban related it and said it is sahih. There is no doubt that ‘Abdullah understood his father’s biography more than Ibn Taymiyyah and his followers did.

We challenge whoever is fanatic about Ibn Taymiyyah to bring forth a sahih report from the Salaf or Khalaf prohibiting visiting the grave of the Prophet for tabarruk or the tawassul by him in his life or after his death.  They will not find it.  That is why Ibn Kathir disagreed with his shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah in the issue of tawassul.  However, he followed him in the issue of divorce and was tortured for that.  Ibn Kathir declared in his Tafsir with the liking of tawassul by the Prophet after his death and asking help by him.  He mentioned it in his history book “al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah” in the biography of ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab.

As for their prohibiting the travel to visit the grave of the Prophet, inferrring from the Hadith [related by al-Bukhari]: There is no extra merit in packing luggage except to three masajid (mosques): al-Masjid-ul-Haram, al-Masjid-ul-‘Aqsa, and my Masjid (Masjid-ur-Rasul), the answer is the following:  No one of the Salaf understood what Ibn Taymiyyah understood.  Visiting the grave of the Messenger is sunnah whether with or without traveling as for the residents of Medina.  The Hanabilah stated, as others did, that the visit to the grave of the Prophet is sunnah, whether or not one meant to do it with traveling.

The meaning of the Hadith which the Salaf and Khalaf understood is: There is no extra merit in traveling to pray in a masjid except traveling to those three masajid, because the reward of Salah in them is multiplied up to 100,000 times in al-Masjid-ul-Haram, to 1000 times in Masjid-ur-Rasul, and to 500 times in al-Masjid-ul-‘Aqsa.  What is meant by the Hadith is: The traveling to perform Salah.  This is shown by what Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal related in his “Musnad” from the route of Shahr Ibn Hawshab, from the marfu’ Hadith of Abu Sa’id: Animals should not be ridden to a masjid in which Salah is sought, except to al-Masjid-ul-Haram, al-Masjid-ul-Aqsa, and my Masjid (al-Masjid-un-Nabawi).  Hafiz Ibn Hajar said that this Hadith is a hasan Hadith, and it shows the meaning of the previous Hadith.  Explaining the Hadith with another Hadith is better than the perversion of Ibn Taymiyyah.  In his Alfiyyah (Poem of about one-thousand lines) of the Mustalah of Hadith, al-’Iraqi said: The best way to explain a text (ayah or Hadith) is by another text (ayah or Hadith).

What felled Ibn Taymiyyah in this perversion is his ill-understanding.  He is as Hafiz Wali-ud-Din al-’Iraqi said about him: His knowledge is greater than his mind.  He mentioned that in his book “Al-‘Ajwibat-ul-Mardiyyah ‘alal-‘As’ilat-il-Makkiyyah”, which was mentioned previously.

 Important Note

From what was said, it is known that the calamity of those who accuse the performers of tawassul and istighathah by the anbiya’ and awliya’ after their death and in their absence while alive is their ill-understanding of the ayat and Ahadith which they use to support their view.  They thought that the meaning of ‘ibadah is the nida’ (calling someone), isti’anah (seeking help), khawf (fear), raja’ (hope), and istighathah (seeking help).  This, in their thinking, is the ‘ibadah that whoever directs it to other than Allah would become mushrik (person who commits shirk).  They also thought that whoever asks other than Allah for things which are not habitually asked becomes mushrik.

How was it justifiable to them to do that when it was confirmed that al-Harth Ibn Hassan al-Bakri, radiyallahu ‘anh, said: I ask refuge with Allah and His Messenger from being like the envoy of ‘Ad.  This is the Mashhur Hadith [Al-Mashhur is a Hadith related by more than two persons.  It can be sahih or otherwise.] that Imam Ahmad related in his “Musnad”, and Hafiz Ibn Hajar said that it is a hasan Hadith.  The evidence in it is that the Messenger did not say to al-Harth: You committed shirk for having said:  and His Messenger, since you asked refuge with me!

It was also confirmed that Ibn ‘Abbas related that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: Allah has angels, other than the Hafazah (angels who record man’s deeds) who roam (on Earth) writing what fall of tree leaves.  If any of you fell in a calamity in a desert let him call: O slaves of Allah help.  Hafiz Ibn Hajar related it in “al-‘Amali” and said that it is a hasan Hadith.

When their understanding was ill, they made those things ‘ibadah to other than Allah for their mere wordings.  They charged Muslims with kufr for a matter upon the permissibility of which, the Salaf and Khalaf agreed.  This is an evidence that they did not understand the meaning of the ‘ibadah mentioned in the Qur’an, according to the Arabic language rules.  The linguists stated the meaning very clearly and without any ambiguity.  Their definition of ‘ibadah as the ultimate humbleness was mentioned before.  How did the negators of tawassul rule that asking for what it is not the habit to ask is shirk and made it a rule, when the Companion Rabi’ah Ibn Ka’b al-‘Aslami asked the Messenger of Allah to be his companion in the Jannah.  The Messenger did not object to him and out of humbleness said to him: Do you want any thing else?  The Companion said: This is it.  He said to him: perform a lot of sujud (Muslim).

What would be shirk is when one asks a creation to do what Allah is the only One Who does, such as asking some one to create a thing, i.e., bring it from non-existence into existence, and to ask him for forgiveness of sins. Fatir, 3 means: Is there any Creator other than Allah (i.e., no one is the Creator except Allah). Ayah 135 of Al ‘Imran means: Who forgives the sins except Allah (i.e., no one forgives the sins except Allah). In Maryam, 19 it is mentioned that Jibril said to Maryam: (I was sent by Allah) to give you a pure boy.  Actually, the giver of the boy, who is ‘Isa, to Maryam is Allah, but Allah made Jibril a means and Jibril attributed the giving to himself.  Jibril’s case shows the excessive deviation of those who accuse of kufr the performers of tawassul and istighathah, just because they said: O Messenger of Allah I have no way out, O Messenger of Allah help me, and the like of these statements, which they say and do not mean by them that the Messenger of Allah creates, or deserves the ‘ibadah, which is the ultimate humbleness.  They mean that he is a wasitah, i.e., a means to obtain the intended matter and blessing from Allah.  They do not understand from the wasitah except the meaning of having a means even if they call it wasitah.  Allah made it the norm to relate the effects with the means.  Allah had the power to give Maryam that pure boy without having Jibril as a means for that.

How did they justify charging Muslims with kufr for the mere saying of: The nabi or the wali is a wasitah, meaning a means.  The shirk is to confirm the wasitah, i.e., say that there is something which helps Allah or that Allah cannot do that thing independently except through the nabi or the wali.  This is the shirk, if they [the Taymiun] would just understand.


This is an emphasis to what was mentioned before that the Muslim scholars used to deem the tawassul and istighathah by the Prophet after his death permissible and unobjectable.

Hafiz ‘Abd-ur-Rahman Ibn al-Jawzi mentioned in the book “Al-Wafa bi Ahwal-il-Mustafa” and Hafiz ad-Diya’ al-Maqdisi mentioned also: From Abu Bakr al-Minqari; he said: At-Tabarani, Abush-Shaykh, and I were in the Haram of the Messenger of Allah in a bad situation.  Hunger had affected us and we continued fasting that day.  When the time of ‘Isha’ came, I came to the grave of the Messenger of Allah and said: O Messenger of Allah, hunger, hunger; and I left.  Abush-Shaykh told me: Sit down, either there will be provision or death. Abu Bakr said: Abush-Shaykh and I slept, while at-Tabarani was sitting looking into something.  An ‘Alawi [a descendent of Prophet Muhammad (sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)] came and knocked the door.  He had two servants, each had a big straw bag full of things.  We sat, ate, and thought that the rest will be taken by the servant.  However, he departed and left the rest for us.  When we finished eating, the ‘Alawi said: O people, did you complain to the Messenger of Allah?  I saw the Messenger of Allah in the dream; he ordered me to carry something to you.

In this story, there is that those great people deemed the istighathah by the Messenger a good, permissible matter.  Then the scholars conveyed it in their writings, some of which were the Hanabilah and others.  In the eyes of the Muslims, those are muwahhidun (believers in Allah), not just that, but among the greatest muwahhidun.  However, in the eyes of the negators of the tawassul who followed Ibn Taymiyyah they have committed shirk, because whoever likes shirk commits kufr.  What is the answer of those people about the likes of this incident which if traced would come in a large volume.  Let those prepare an answer when they are asked on the Display-of-Deeds Day.

Among such incidents is what Hafiz Abu Bakr al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, about whom it was said: The writers of the books of Hadith dirayatan [Dirayatan means knowing about the related Hadith and its relator in the context of accepting or rejecting it.] are in need of him, said: Qadi Abu Muhammad al-Hasan Ibn al-Husayn Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ramin al-‘Istarbathi told us; he said: Ahmad Ibn Ja’far Ibn Hamdan al-Qati’i told us; he said: I heard al-Hasan Ibn Ibrahim, Abu ‘Ali al-Khallal say: Any time I had a problem, I went to the grave of Musa Ibn Ja’far and performed the tawassul by him; Allah made what I liked easy for me.

Isma’il Ibn Ahmad al-Hiri told us; he said: Muhammad Ibn al-Husayn as-Salami told us; he said: I heard Abul-Hasan Ibn Maqsam say: I heard Abu ‘Ali as-Saffar say: I heard Ibrahim al-Harbi say: The grave of Ma’ruf is the tested antidote.

Abu Ishaq Ibrahim Ibn ‘Umar al-Barmaki told me; he said: Abul-Fadl ‘Ubaydullah Ibn ‘Abd-ir-Rahman Ibn Muhammad az-Zuhri told us; he said: I heard my father say: The grave of Ma’ruf is tested for the fulfillment of needs.  Whoever said there : “Qul Huwallahu Ahad” one-hundred times and asked Allah, Ta’ala, what he wanted, Allah would fulfil his need.

Abu ‘Abdillah Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali Ibn ‘Abdillah as-Suwari told us; he said: I heard Abul-Husayn Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Jami’ say: I heard Abu ‘Abdillah Ibn al-Mahamili say: I have known the grave of Ma’ruf al-Kurakhi for seventy years.  Allah will relieve the distress of any person who comes to it.

Qadi Abu ‘Abdillah al-Husayn Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Muhammad as-Saymari told us; he said: ‘Umar Ibn Ibrahim al-Muqri told us; he said: ‘Umar Ibn Ishaq Ibn Ibrahim told us; he said: ‘Ali Ibn Maymun told us; he said: I heard ash-Shafi’i say: I  perform tabarruk by Abu Hanifah and come to his grave every day, i.e., visiting.  If I needed something, I would pray rak’atan, come to his grave, and ask Allah there.  It would not be too long before my need was fulfilled.

The Graveyard of Bab-ul-Burdan has a group of meritorious people.  At the Musalla prescribed for Salat-ul-’Id, there was a grave known as the Grave of Nuthur (pl. of nathr) [An-Nathr is an oath to Allah by which one commits oneself to do any good deed which is not obligatory, such as fasting a certain number of days or paying charity.  It is obligatory to fulfil one’s nathr.].  It is said that in it was buried a man who was a descendent of ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib.  People perform tabarruk by visiting him, and whoever had a need would come to him to have his need fulfilled.

Qadi Abul-Qasim ‘Ali Ibn al-Muhsin at-Tannukhi told me; he said: My father told me; he said: I was sitting in the presence of ‘Adud-ud-Dawlah while we were camping near the A’yad Musalla in the eastern part of the city of as-Salam aiming to go with him to Hamathan.  In the first day he attended the camp, his eye fell on the construction made on the Grave of Nuthur.  He said to me: What is this construction?  I said to him: This is the Mashhad (Grave) of Nuthur.  I did not say grave, because I knew his superstition of this.  He liked the wording and said: I knew this is the Grave of Nuthur, but I wanted its matter to be explained.  I said: This is a grave, it is said, of ‘Ubaydullah Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Umar Ibn ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib.  It is also said: It is the grave of ‘Ubaydullah Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Umar Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib.  It is said that one ruler wanted to have him killed secretly.  A ditch was made for him.  He was taken on it without him knowing and fell into it.  Then the sand was thrown over him while alive.  The grave was famous as the Grave of Nuthur, because every single nathr made for him was valid, the nathir (one who performs the nathr) achieved what he wanted and is obligated to fulfil his nathr.  I am one of those who made nathr for it many times that I cannot count for hard mattrers.  I achieved them; fulfilling the nathr became obligatory upon me and I did fulfil it.  He did not accept this saying and said what implicated that this occurred accidentally.  Then lay people marketed it magnified and spread false news about it.  I stopped talking.

Few days later while we were camping in our position, he sent after me in the afternoon.  He said: Ride with me to the Mashhad of Nuthur.  We rode along with some of his retinues until we reached to the place.  He entered and visited the Grave.  There, he prayed rak’atan after which he made a sujud in which he made a long du’a’ in a such a way that no one heard him.  Then we rode back to his tent and stayed for days.  Then we moved to Hamathan.  We reached it and stayed with him for months.  Then he sent after me and said: Do you remember what you told me about the Mashhad of Nuthur in Baghdad?  I said: Yes, I do.  He said: I addressed you with its meaning without that which was in me to have a good company with you.  What was in me is that all of what was said about the Grave was a lie.  A short time after that something occurred to me that I was afraid it would happen.  I worked hard to avoid its happening even if it amounted to spend all of what I had in my treasuries and employing my soldiers.  I could not find a way to that.  Then I remembered what you told me about the nathr for the Graveyard of Nuthur.  I said: Why do I not try that?  I performed a nathr that if Allah protected me from that matter, I would carry 10,000 full Darahim to the box of this Mashhad.  Today I got the news of being protected from that matter.  I told Abul-Qasim ‘Abd-ul-’Aziz Ibn Yusuf -his writer- to write to Abur-Rayyan, who was his delegated ruler in Baghdad to carry them to the Graveyard.  Then he looked at ‘Abd-ul-’Aziz who was present and said: Surely, I wrote that and the order in the letter was executed [This is the end of the statement by al-Khatib al-Baghdadi.].

In “al-Mi’yar”, Vol. 2 page 82, Abul-’Abbas Ahmad Ibn Yahya, al-Wansharisi, al-Maliki, who died in Fas in the year 914 A.H. said: Some villagers were asked about those who performed a nathr to visit the grave of a righteous Muslim or an alive righteous Muslim.  He answered: He is obligated to fulfil his nathr even if one rode an animal to get there.  Ibn ‘Abd-il-Barr said (what means): One is obligated to fulfil every act of worship, visit, ribat (guard post), or other acts of obedience other than Salah.  The Hadith which says: The animals are not ridden…[ Ahmad akhraj it in his Musnad.] is particular to Salah.  However, there is no difference about (the permissibility of) visiting the alive brothers and shuyukh and performing a nathr to do that and ribat, and the like.  The sunnah leads to this of visiting the brother in the Religion of Allah and ribat in the places of ribat.  Some people hesitated about visiting the graves and the traces of the righteous Muslims.  There should not be a hesitation about them, because they are of the acts of worship other than Salah, and because it is out of visiting and reminding for the saying of the Prophet: Visit the graves; they remind you of death [Al-Bayhaqi akhraj it in his Sunan.].  The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to go to Hira’ when he was in Mecca, and to Quba’ when in Medina.  The goodness is in following him and and his traces by word and action, especially those who showed obedience to him.

Let it be known that we do not say of the validity of the nuthur for the graves of the shuyukh and awliya’, with the belief that those places have piculiarities in bringing benefit or warding off harm without those people seeking a better status from Allah by paying charity on the behalf of the buried so that Allah fulfil their needs.  We say as al-‘Athru’i, may Allah’s mercy be upon him, said: Many of the nuthur of the laypeople for the graves are invalid and prohibited, because they mean that those places bring benefit and ward off harm by a peculiarity of theirs.  Allah, subhanahu wa Ta’ala, knows best.

What proves that the scholars of Hadith and others did not care about the deviation of Ibn Taymiyyah in prohibiting the tawassul by the Messenger after his death is that Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani performed the tawassul by the Prophet in his poems known as “an-Nayyirat-us-Sab’”.  Also his shaykh Zayn-ud-Din al-’Iraqi did that at the end of his poem in “Tafsiru Mufradat-il-Qur’an”.  This has been and is still the habit of the scholars of the Salaf and Khalaf.  No one avoided that except those who were deceived by Ibn Taymiyyah’s innovation, the great innovation of his prohibiting the tawassul by the Prophet who is dead or not present.

Among the innovations of the Mushabbihah (group of people who liken Allah to His creation) who followed Ibn Taymiyyah that they stipulate three things for the correctness of one’s Islam: Tawhid-ul-‘Uluhiyyah, Tawhid-ur-Rububiyyah, and Tawhid-ul-‘Af’al.  The answer for that is: Tawhid-ul-‘Uluhiyyah along with understanding the meaning is enough.  This is evidenced by what is sahih of the questioning in the grave.  The buried is asked: Who is your Lord?  What is your Religion?  Who is your Prophet?  Had the matter been like what this group of people say, the Hadith would have said: Who is your Lord?  Who is your God?  However, since the meaning is included, the Messenger of Allah was satisfied with mentioning: Who is your Lord?  What they take a long breath about is a refuted argument.  Where are those from the saying of the Prophet: I was ordered to fight people until they profess that no one is God but Allah, and that I am the Messenger of Allah?  It is a mashhur Hadith.  However, some scholars of Hadith said that it is mutawatir.

Among their confusing the Muslims is in the issue of the giving of the recitation to the dead people.  Let us be content with proving that by mentioning the Hadith of al-Bukhari that the Prophet said to ‘A’ishah: If that happened while I am alive, I would ask for forgiveness for you and I would make a du’a’ for you.  The evidence in the Hadith is his saying: ‘ I would make a du’a’ for you ‘.  These words include the du’a’ with [all of] its kinds.  Included in this is the du’a’ of the man after reciting some ayat of the Qur’an to deliver the reward to the dead person by saying the like of: O Allah, deliver the reward of my recitation to fulan.  What was famous about ash-Shafi’i of saying that recitation does not reach the dead is interpreted as the recitation that is without a du’a’ to deliver it and for the recitation which is done at other than the grave, or else ash-Shafi’i approved it.

 VI.  The Sixth Article

 Ibn Taymiyyah’s Disagreement with the Ijma’ of the Muslims in the Divorce Issue

Imam Muslim related from ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas his saying: During the time of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Abu Bakr, and the beginning of ‘Umar’s Khilafah (Caliphate) the divorce pronounced thrice was deemed pronounced once.  Then ‘Umar said what means: People have hastened in a matter with which they used to have patience.  We should carry this out upon them; he did that.  It is not permissible to act upon the seeming meaning of this Hadith [The correct meaning of the Hadith will be given soon.].  The answer for it is [twofold]:

1.      Either it is said that it is da’if by shuthuth [Ash-Shuthuth is the case when a Hadith is shathth (see mahfuz).] as Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal ruled it.  This was mentioned by Hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali in his refutation to whoever said that the three in one pronouncement are one.  It is also ruled to be da’if by shuthuth, because it disagrees with what was confirmed about ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas that he passed the judgement upon whoever pronounced the divorce thrice all at once that it is deemed three.  This was mutawatir about Ibn ‘Abbas.  Al-Bayhaqi mentioned in “as-Sunan-ul-Kubra” with his asanid (pl. of isnad) from eight of his trustworthy students that Ibn ‘Abbas ruled that.

2.      Or it is said: This is interpreted as that the meaning of the divorce three times was deemed one is that the battah divorce [A battah divorce is the three-time divorce when a man says to his wife: You are divorced the battah.  Consequently, the divorced woman cannot return to her exhusband (the man who divorced her) except after her iddah from this divorce has expired, another man marries and has sexual intercourse with her, then he divorces her , and her ‘iddah of the latter divorce has expired.] used to be used to emphasize the one-time divorce.  Then people started using it during the time of ‘Umar to mean the three-time divorce.  Consequently, ‘Umar carried out his ruling according to their intentions.  The explanation of this is that the saying of the people: “You are divorced the battah” was used with the intention of emphasizing the one-time divorce, then it became famous to indicate the three-time divorce.  Hence, the madhhayb of the scholars were different about it.  Some of them made the (word) battah and also the saying [of a man to his wife]: You are forbidden to me or you are ba’in [Ba’in refers to divorcing the wife three times, as much as a battah divorce is.] to indicate the three-time divorce.  Others made the battah according to the intentions.  What shows that the matter as mentioned above is what is in some of the copies of Imam Muslim’s Sahih of the Magharibah: During the time of the Messenger of Allah, Abu Bakr, and the beginning of ‘Umar’s Khilafah, the battah used to be one, as Hafiz Abu Bakr Ibn al-’Arabiy mentioned in his book: “al-Qabas ‘ala Muwatta’ Malik Ibn Anas”.

In his explanation of al-Bukhariy, in his last, vast discussion of the issue of combining the three pronouncements, Hafiz Ibn Hajar mentioned that this Hadith should not be used to oppose the Ijma’ upon deeming the three pronouncements three in the time of ‘Umar.  There is no disagreement in this issue.  The disagreement that comes after the Ijma’ is a negligible disagreement.  As for what Hafiz Ibn Hajar conveyed that a disagreement was related about ‘Ali and others, he did not convey it with determination.  He meant that some people said that about ‘Ali and others.  This does not contradict the Ijma’ which he stated at the end of the discussion.  Had he believed what was conveyed about ‘Ali and those who were mentioned with him confirmed, he would not have ended the discussion with his saying what means: There is Ijma’ upon the issue.

No disagreement was confirmed about any of the mujtahidun of Ahl-us-Sunnah in this issue.  Even Ibn Taymiyyah who brought up this disagreement had stated the Ijma’ and said that whoever disagreed with it was a kafir.  Hafiz Abu Sa’id al-’Ala’i related this about him.  Ibn Taymiyyah is not a mujtahid.  This disagreement of his is like his disagreement in the issue of the perpetuity of Hell.  In his book “Minhaj-us-Sunnat-in-Nabawiyyah”, Ibn Taymiyyah had mentioned the Ijma’ upon the perpetuity of Paradise and Hell, and that no one disagreed except Jahm Ibn Safwan and that he was charged with kufr.  Then he infringed this Ijma’ and said: The fire of Hell will vanish.

Also he said that the provisional divorce with the purpose of yamin [Al-Yamin is swearing by one of the Names or attributes of Allah.] does not occur when the provisional matter happens, and that only the kaffarah is due.  In this, he infringed the Ijma’ of the scholars of al-‘Islam that the provisional divorce occurs when the provisional matter happens, whether or not it was with the purpose of yamin.  Hafiz Abu Sa’id al-’Ala’i reported also that Ibn Taymiyyah had said that there had been Ijma’ upon this issue and whoever disagreed with it was a kafir.  Is it allowed after all of that to consider one like this man an imam and mujtahid and thereby take his saying which is his ijtihad?  The reporting about those people whom Ibn Taymiyyah related that they took his saying was not confirmed.  It was ascribed to them.  A saying would not be confirmed about an imam just because it was ascribed to him.

            We thank Allah that the Saudi courts discarded the opinion of Ibn Taymiyyah in divorce.  There is no justification for the Egyptian courts to agree with him (in this isssue), because this is a rejection of the Ijma’ of the four madhhayb and others.  The Saudi judges refused Ibn Taymiyyah’s opinion, because it is against the madhhab of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, in addition to its disagreement with the Ijma’.  Ahmad and all of his companions agree that Ahmad’s madhhab is that the three divorce pronouncements all at once are deemed three.

Whoever takes the seeming meaning of the Hadith accuses ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab and Ibn ‘Abbas with betrayal.  As for their accusing ‘Umar wih betrayal, it is their allegation that he ruled prohibiting the women, who were divorced three times by one pronouncement, upon their husbands except after they marry other men while he knew that the Messenger and Abu Bakr ruled differently.  Additionally, this entails accusing ‘Umar of kufr, because whoever perverts a ruling which he knows the Messenger of Allah enacted commits kufr.  Moreover, this entails accusing of betrayal the Companions who were at that time, like ‘Ali, radiyallahu ‘anh, for remaining silent, according to their claim, about the perversion of ‘Umar. ‘Umar said what means: We ask refuge with Allah of a problem without Abul-Hasan [Abul-Hasan is the kunyah of ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib.  The kunyah of a man is a name that starts with “Abu”, meaning the father of.  ‘Umar is praising ‘Ali’s intelligence and courage to solve problems.].  How is it appropriate with Abul-Hasan to be silent if he knew that it was different from the ruling of the Messenger.  Praise to You Allah; this is a foul fabrication.

This is different from what ‘Umar did concerning hitting the drinker of alcohol eighty times after he had been beaten forty times in the time of the Messenger and Abu Bakr, because this does not contain what the issue of the divorce had, as said by ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib: Whipping forty is a sunnah and whipping eighty is a sunnah (related by Muslim and others).  It is not permissible to make this similar to that, since what ‘Umar did in the issue of whipping does not entail annuling a ruling put by the Messenger of Allah, because the deed of the Messenger (whipping forty) does not include that other than this number is prohibited.

As for accusing Ibn ‘Abbas of betrayal, whoever of them said that Ibn ‘Abbas passed the judgement that the three pronouncements at one time are three in spite of his knowledge that the ruling of the Messenger of Allah is different than that [according to their claim], he attributed to him perverting the ruling of the Messenger of Allah intentionally.

The reason of changing the rules in the Egyptian courts that during our time, there was a judge who was infatuated with Ibn Taymiyyah.  He revived his deviation agreeing with the desires of the ignorant and hasty people in divorce.  He made them dare to pronounce the divorce thrice thinking that they could return these women.  This is according to one of the two sayings of Ibn Taymiyyah.  The other saying of his is that pronouncing the divorce thrice is nothing.  Whoever follows him in this saying returns to his woman who was divorced thrice without returning her to him or without renewal of marriage contract after she marries another man [If a woman is divorced once or twice by her husband, he can return her to him by saying: I return you to me.  This must be said before the expiration of three non-menstruating intervals of the woman, or else a new marriage contract is required.  For the woman who is divorced three times by her husband, see our footnote on the battah divorce.].

Whoever considered Ibn Taymiyyah among the mujtahidun who are allowed to be followed is far from being right.  How could it be so when Ibn Taymiyyah is the one who said that the world is eternal by kind, i.e., Allah did not precede in existence the kind of the world, but He preceded in existence the specific elements (individual members) only?  The Muslims have agreed to charge with kufr whoever says that the world is eternal with Allah, whether he made it eternal by kind only or by kind, constituents, and elements.  Ibn Taymiyyah stated that in five of his books as we mentioned previously.

How did these people infatuated with Ibn Taymiyyah dare to consider him a mujtahid when al-‘Islam is one of the prerequisites of a mujtahid, and whoever says those sayings is definitely kafir?

Let us mention what al-Mardawi said in “al-‘Insaf”Vol 9 page 4: His saying: If he said: You are divorced, or divorce is incumbent upon me and the like intending three times, the woman is divorced thrice.  However, there two renditions in case one did not intend anything or said: You are divorced and intended the three-time divorce.  Know that the correct saying in the madhhab that his saying: You are divorced, or divorce is incumbent upon me and the like is explicit in divorce, whether it was uncoditional, provisional, or sworn upon.  It is stated and most of the [Hanabilah] companions follow it and many of them affirmed it.  Whether it is explicit of being three or one will come later; it is said to be metonymical.  The author of “al-Qawa’id-ul-Fiqhiyyah” and followed it in “al-‘Usuliyyah” said what means: If one intended by it (the divorce statement) what is less than three, does what he intended specifically occur or does the three-time divorce occur by it, considering his statement an explicit statement of the three-time divorce?  There are two opinions in this issue for the companions [of the Hanbali madhhab].

Shaykh Taqi-ud-Din, may Allah have mercy upon him, mentioned that his saying: The divorce is incumbent upon me and the like is a yamin agrred upon by the wise people, nations, and fuqaha’.  He came with this opinion employing the statements of Imam Ahmad, may Allah have mercy upon him.  The author of al-Furu’ said what means: This [saying of Ibn Taymiyyah] is in disagreement with the explicit statements of Imam Ahmad.

Shaykh Taqi-ud-Din, may Allah have mercy upon him, said also what means: If one swore by it like [saying]: Divorce is incumbent upon me and intended the nathr with it, he fulfils a kaffarah according to Imam Ahmad, may Allah have mercy upon him.  The author of al-Furu’ mentioned about him in the chapter on al-‘Ayman and supported it in his book “A’lam-ul-Muwaqqi’in” along with the previous saying [The statement of al-Mardawi is ended.].

Ibn Taymiyyah’s claim of the agreement of the wise people, nations, and fuqaha’ that one’s saying: The divorce is incumbent upon me and the like is a yamin is refuted by the author of al-Furu’in his saying: This [saying of Ibn Taymiyyah] is in disagreement with the explicit statements of Imam Ahmad.  Surely, it appears that he claimed the consensus in a matter that Ahmad stated differently.  The purpose of Ibn Taymiyyah by doing that is to support his opinion, which is against ijma’, that the divorce pronounced in the manner of yamin does not occur; only a kaffarah is due.  It is clear that the goal of Ibn Taymiyyah in this is to support his desire.  In this exposition is another benefit that Ibn Taymiyyah and his student Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah attribute to Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said: Whoever claims Ijma’ is a lier.  Do you not see his haphazard talk in his claim of the agreement of the wise people, nations, and fuqaha’.  Moreover, the statements of Ahmad of Ijma’ in several issues were confirmed.

This issue of divorce in which Ibn Taymiyyah deviated is the same issue that Hafiz al-’Ala’i said: Ibn Taymiyyah reported the Ijma’ upon the occurrence of the three-time divorce by one pronouncement and the occurrence of the provisional divorce if the provision happened, then he infringed the Ijma’ in both matters.  Hafiz Shams-ud-Din Ibn Tulun related this about Hafiz al-’Ala’i in “Thakha’ir-ul-Qasr fi Tarajimi Nubala’-il-‘Asr”.