The Delusional Salafi

I have a question that I still can’t find the answer to. Since when did 1400 years of traditional Islamic scholarship, with a countless number of traditional Muslim scholars coming from as far east as China, and going as far west as Andalusia, have been reduced to 7 individuals? I’m speaking from a personal experience right now, and after having traveled to several cities and discussed this matter with people from literally all over the globe, I’ve realized that my experience may not be so personal after all. As I sit through the sermon on Fridays, the imam cannot mention the commentaries on Quran and prophetic tradition of anyone else but Imama Ibn Taymiyyah, Imam Ibn Katheer, Imam Ibn Al Qayyiem, Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen, Shaykh Bin Baz, and Shaykh Al Albani may God have mercy on all of them. There is literally no one else to be mentioned. Moreover, Since Imam Ibn Katheer and Imam Ibn Al Qayyiem were the students of Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, and they spent their lives for the most part after his passing basically reiterating what he said and mostly defending his positions on the issues he dealt with, one can take it down from 7 individuals to just 4. Here is another interesting bit as well; these 4 are all Hanbali scholars. What’s puzzling is the claim that the imam constantly makes, as well as those who follow suit in the path he’s on, that they’re on the way of the salaf, i.e. the pious predecessors. The talk is always about the saying of the Prophet peace be upon him as narrated in many of the Hadith books, including Musnad Imam Ahmed and others:

The best of generations are mine, then the one that follows us, then the one after them

خير القرون قرني ثم الذين يلونهم ثم الذين يلونهم

The question that begs itself is this: if these people who claim that they are on the way of the salaf are indeed true in their claim, why are the scholars they always mention when they speak or preach NOT from the salaf? The oldest one of them, Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, is from the 7th Islamic century. Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen, Shaykh Bin Bazz, and Shaykh Al Albani are all from within this century.

So now there are two common themes amongst these scholars to be taken note of; none of them are from the salaf, and they’re all from the Hanbali School. Interestingly enough, if you were to look into the books from the Islamic tradition that examine comparative jurisprudence (Al Fiqh Al Muqaran), you will find that up until around the 6th century there was not a recognized Hanbali School the way the Hanafi, Maliki, and Shafi’i Schools were. These older books only mention the opinions of the latter three schools and there is no mention of a Hanbali opinion. Reason for that is two folds: Imam Ahmed, although being an amazing scholar in many of the Islamic sciences and from the salaf, was mainly grouped with the scholars of Hadith; secondly, Imam Ahmed’s initial students did not do as the other three imams’ students had done, namely serve the school by authoring and spreading its teachings and opinions. In fact, it wasn’t until the 6th Islamic century that the Hanbali School really became a widely recognized 4th school of Islamic jurisprudence, which is generally attributed to be due to the efforts of Ibn Quddama Al Maqdisi may God have mercy on him, who served it like no other Hanbali scholar, especially with his authored work Al Mughni. Remarkably, even if you look nowadays, the Hanbali School has always had the smallest number of followers, who mainly come from the Arabian Peninsula with a few coming from the area around Syria as well.

I suddenly feel the need to clarify something before I continue writing here. This is not an attack on the Hanbali School, and it’s not an attack on any of the scholars I’ve mentioned. I’m strictly a student that holds nothing on par with any of these great people. It’s simply a questioning of the methodology being followed by some modern day followers of these scholars, who for some reason feel it is an obligation upon themselves to shove down the throats of every Muslim in their path their own brand of Islam, which they deem the most correct.

So back to what I was saying, we have 4 scholars, none of which are from the salaf, all of which are from the Hanbali School, representing a minority among Muslim scholars, and somehow they’re the bringers of “true” Islam to life. It would seem that before the 7th Islamic century and the advent of Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, the whole Muslim global community was in darkness and he was the “only” shining light that came to save it. Then after him the whole Muslim global community went into darkness again until Shyakh Bin Bazz, Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen, and Shaykh Al Albani showed up as the new “only” shining lights coming once again to save the Muslims from wandering in darkness with their stupidity and ignorance due to other misguided scholars. Here is a thought, this type of attitude can only be described as a bad assumption of God. To assume that God will leave all of the Muslims wandering in darkness for all these periods is not only ludicrous; it’s blasphemous in my estimation. Furthermore, since when did God intend for everyone to be exactly the same? Imam Malik, who is in fact from the salaf, and one of the only two imams of schools in Islamic jurisprudence (as far as I know) to have the Prophet peace be upon him foretell about in a saying (Imam Shafi’I is the other one), was asked by the Muslim ruler during his time about taking his book Al Muwatta’ and spreading it all over the Muslim world and enforcing it upon the people to follow. His response was simply: don’t do it, for knowledge has spread around and people know different things and they’ve been acting upon different realities (which all conform to Islamic teachings anyways). Here is a salafi imam doing the exact opposite of what of these modern day so-called salafi Muslims do.

Then there is the claim to be bringing people back to the truth and fixing the wrong and fighting innovation, all to purify Islam from all the ignorance that has taken it over:

Akhee, we want to be on the true path of Allah and it’s as Shaykh Al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said this and that, and as the saying of the Prophet PBUH that was authenticated by Shaykh Al Albani says, which is why Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen said…

It’s a very interesting claim indeed to make. Why don’t these people reflect on the verse from the Quran that says:

And when it is said to them, Do not make mischief in the land, they say: we are but peace-makers. Now surely they themselves are the mischief makers, but they do not perceive – Al Baqara (2:11-12)

وإذا قيل لهم لا تفسدوا في الارض قالوا إنما نحن مصلحون 11 ألا إنهم هم المفسدون ولكن لا يشعرون 12 – البقرة 11-12

Imam Al Qurtubi mentions towards the end of his commentary on these verses in his Al Jami’ Li Ah’kam Al Qur’an:

These people claiming to be fixing the conditions are only assuming so, while in reality they’re sowing corruption. Furthermore, the people of meaning say: “whoever makes a claim has lied”, which is true.

So the lesson here is to not make a claim for that is the first sign of one’s delusion.

The true practical test of Islam being a religion of truth is not restricted in one’s appearance and most definitely not in how intense they are in their devotional activities. It’s in how Islam is reflected in their lives and character. If Islam is truly the path of truth, and as some of these so-called salafi Muslims claim it to be “The Solution” to mankind’s problems, then what they offer has to be much better than any other way of living. Their character would be the best of character, and how they carry themselves in this world should on its own be a testament and attract people to want to be like them. They don’t even need to preach Islam using their tongues because it would be drowned by how loud their actions are being. A historical example of that is in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, where they have the greatest concentration of Muslims. Muslim merchants, mainly from Yemen, through their travels were the main cause behind the mass conversion of people in those lands to Islam, and the single most commonly cited reason was due to the character of these Muslim merchants and how they carried themselves. From my own personal observation, the majority of so-called salafis that I’ve come across have reduced Islam to an intellectual discourse, where they try to intellectually convince others. I can’t really say I’m surprised, because when it comes to the character and personal conduct and interaction department, most of those so-called salafis are quite bankrupt.

Quick pause, I’m not speaking about general masses and I’m definitely not saying that all these so-called salafis are the way I describe. I’ve met some wonderful individuals that ascribe themselves to wanting to follow the way of the salaf. I am saying that from my own personal interactions and travels the majority are in fact the way I’m putting it here.

What has this resulted in when it comes to the community at large is a testimony to the bankruptcy of the methodology these so-called salafis follow. One of their telltale signs is their emphasis on following the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet PBUH directly. While this sounds good on the surface, it’s an emotional plea that has no intellectual foundation. They feel that it’s the duty of every Muslim to investigate and look into every little detail about everything when it comes to Islamic teachings. As I heard one of them once say:

We’re all intelligent people here studying in university in the most difficult fields, and we can read the books and discern things for ourselves

This has resulted in what many of the Muslim scholars today call “al fawda ad’deenya”, (الفوضى الدينية), i.e. religious chaos. Even if we assume that every single Muslim out there is well versed in the Islamic sciences to the level of the great scholars of the past, they will still not arrive at similar conclusions from reading the same texts. How can they not, when aside from having different intellectual aptitudes, they also come from different backgrounds and cultures, as well as have different experiences growing up. To give a simple example, someone growing up as a single child will have a very different worldview and experience than another that grew up in a large family and another who had only sisters or brothers for siblings. While there are certain rigorous requirements and rules guiding how the tradition is approached, the simple possession of the tools is not a guarantee of arriving to the same conclusions on certain matters. If anyone thinks otherwise they can only be described as delusional. Need proof? Look at the great Imams in the Islamic tradition who have the 4 jurisprudential schools named after them; Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi’i, and Ibn Hanbal. They all achieved the highest level attainable in Islamic scholarship, and yet they arrived to different positions and disagreed in many of their religious rulings. Not only that, scholars from within each school had their own disagreements. In fact, Al Azhar scholars from Egypt went through and counted the number of jurisprudential rulings where there are differences in opinion amongst the scholars, and the final tally was one million two hundred thousand issues (1,200,000)!

What does this mean? It means that you can almost guarantee yourself, outside of clear-cut matters that are not open to any interpretation, if you think a certain matter is settled in jurisprudence, you’re simply ignorant of other opinions. The problem arises when you believe that what you think is the only way and the only right one. Since the so-called salafis assume that everyone can just look through the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet PBUH directly, without the need to refer to scholars, everyone in the community becomes the boss of themselves. The result of this is the constant argumentation about religious issues amongst Muslims, and sometimes fights that take place in the mosques because while one person thinks the ruling on a certain matter is one way, the other disagrees since they see it a different way, and it all becomes an ego trip. This eventually reflects in poor character and manners as everyone feels they’re an authority onto everyone else. As Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah had put it during the 2011 Deen Intensive Rihla in Turkey:

The crisis of the Muslim community is a crisis of adab, i.e. a crisis of character and manners

Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t have a problem with following the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet PBUH. The issue I have is: based on whose understanding? Based on yours? Based on mine? I don’t have the tools to approach the tradition and arrive to sound conclusions on my own, so I’ll constantly go back and refer to scholars and see what they said. Unlike the modern day so-called salafis I don’t rely on a single individual scholar or only a handful of them no matter how scholarly they are. I take after a full school that is 1300 years old, which started with an actual salafi imam, and has had that many years of formation and examination by a countless number of scholars, which got it to arrive to the rulings in jurisprudence that it has nowadays. I’m not a Hanbali, so what these so-called salafis have to offer when it comes to jurisprudence – with what Imam Ibn Taymiyyah or Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen or Shaykh Al Albani said – is none of my interests. Some of them may not like hearing this, but on certain issues, where they use the Qur’an and Hadith of the Prophet peace be upon him, and believe in their heart of hearts that it’s the majority opinion, it may be in fact the minority opinion because of other Qur’anic verses or other Hadiths they may not be aware of. Just because the Hanbalis have a ruling that is one way does NOT mean that it’s the only way. Islam is much bigger than this.

So here is an interesting fact to the so-called salafi; the way the Prophet peace be upon him used to recite the Quran was not how the great majority of Muslims recite it today. The most common recitation style heard today, including in Mecca and Medina is the recitation of Hafs from Asim. However, the recitation of the Prophet peace be upon him was similar to what is known as the recitation of Warsh from Nafi’. The accent of the tribe of Quraysh did not have the “hamza” letter when it came in the middle of the word. For example, they would say “moomin – مومن” not “mo’min – مؤمن” (believer). The styles of recitation were revealed for a couple of purposes. One is to encompass all possible rhetorical meanings in verses, which add to its miraculous nature. But the other was to accommodate the tribes in the Arabian Peninsula who did not pronounce words the same way the Quraysh tribe did. Furthermore, Imam Ahmed Ibn Hanbal was asked by his son Abdullah about which recitation he preferred, and he said Nafi’ because it was the language of Quraysh, but if not, then Asim would be the second choice. Imam Malik went further than that and considered the recitation of Nafi’ to be a sunnah because that’s how the Prophet peace be upon him recited Quran most of the time. Nowadays, the accommodation became the established basis that everyone recites in, and the foundation became the accommodation. My question to the so-called salafi is this: if your recitation of the Quran doesn’t even conform to how the Prophet PBUH recited, what else are you doing that you think is how the Prophet PBUH did it all the time, yet it was something he PBUH only did sometimes.

One final pause for those who think I’m lowering the status of a recitation of the Quran. That is not my intention here. I’m just making a point that the Beloved peace be upon him recited most of the time in one style and only sometimes in the others. If the so-called salafi truly wants to emulate the Prophet peace be upon him as he was in most of what he did, why don’t they start with the Quran? I say this because I’ve yet to meet one so-called salafi who recites in any other recitation other than Hafs from Asim. Many don’t even know how the Warsh recitation even sounds like let alone be able to do it themselves.

Typically, and this is my own conclusions to this matter here, those who spend their time trying to get everyone to do things their way are doing so out of insecurity. It’s quite understandable as it is part of human nature to seek approval, and one of the ways to do so is by having others conform to what one does. It’s much more comfortable to walk around dressed in a certain way if everyone else is dressed similarly, because otherwise it looks odd. However, those without insecurity issues don’t seem to bother much with what others might think of them. They do not need anyone else to see things the way they do if they truly believe with conviction that they’re right. They might discuss it with others and present arguments for their vision in trying to convince them to see it in their way. But they definitely will not shove it down anyone’s throat the way some of the modern day overzealous so-called salafi Muslims do. It’s narrated that a man came to Imam Malik and was trying to argue about a certain matter. Imam Malik quickly responded with:

As for me, I’m in a state of certainty from my Lord about what I’m doing. As for you, you’re in doubt, so go find someone else in doubt like yourself to argue with

So all in all, may God have mercy on the souls of Imam Ibn Taymiyya, Shaykh Bin Baz, Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen, and Shaykh Al Albani, and elevate their status for serving the Hanbali School. But to the so-called salafi is a quick reminder: I’m not a Hanbali and so are not most Muslims, these great scholars are not from the salaf that the Prophet peace be upon him talked about in the Hadith (even though they tried their best to walk in the salaf’s path) despite how high of a status they achieved in knowledge and piety, and you most certainly need to let go of trying to make everyone else like you.

Mohamed Ghilan

Graduate Student

UVic Cellular Neuroscience

23 thoughts on “The Delusional Salafi

  1. Brother, there is one important thing I have to tell you, that is: even Ibn Taymiyyah, Imam Hambali, and Ibnul Qoyyim Al Jawziyyah did not refuse tasawwuf, tabarruk, nor tawassul, they are all following the other Imams, even Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab, which is mostly quoted by Salafis, did not mention in his single word of takfir or tabdi’ (calling people disbeliever or heretical), but their followers who are fanatic to literal understandings of Quranic and Sunnah texts, they who had hidden the words of these scholars, making everyone thinks that these scholars were opposed to tabbaruk, tawassul or tasawwuf… you can read the book written by Imam Allamah Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Sayyid Alawi Al Maliki Al Hasani titled Mafahim Yajib An Tusahhah, where he – rahimahullah – quoted so many words from Ibn Taymiyya or Muhammad Ibn Abdil Wahhab explaining that they never did the takfir or tabdi’ or they even did not hold any responsible for the lying done upon their names…..even Ibnul Qoyyim Al Jawziyyah is one of the biggest sufi of his time…. wallahu a’lam….

    • I had a friend of mine actually confirm a saying of the Prophet PBUH foretelling the coming of Imam Abu Hanifa as well, making it three imams instead of two.

      Hadith about Imam Abu Hanifa: “If knowledge was suspended from Pleiades and the Arabs are unable to reach it, then a man from the sons of Persia will be able to reach it.”

      Hadith about Imam Malik: “A time is about to come when people will mount their camels in travel seeking knowledge and they will not find a more knowledgeable man than the scholar of Medina”

      Hadith about Imam Shafi’i: ” A time is coming when the knowledge from the kid of Quraysh will be about to encompass the horizons”

      Several scholars have commented on these sayings of the Prophet PBUH and attributed them to each of those imams.

      That and God knows best

  2. Islam teaches us moderation in everything. Therefore, if you find yourself adhering strongly to anything (with the exception of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet ASWS) you should take a step back and critically ponder what it is you are upon. To state that the Malaki “school of thought” is better than any other is quite a strong statement. In fact, it is exactly these thoughts that will lead to the 73 sects mentioned in the hadith, only one of which will enter Jannah.

    As a self-proclaimed student of knowledge, you should know that the scholars (yes, the scholars themselves!) when they used to visit the Masajid of other scholars, they used to follow the opinions of those scholars and not their own. This was done as a sign of respect and to avoid fitnah. To make the statement that you made, you are essentially denying the validity of those seven scholars mentioned because of the short period of time that they have been around (or the length of time that has passed since the time of the Prophet ASWS). Do you think that those scholars have brought a new Islam that was not around before? Do you not think that they learned from all of the pious predecessors?

    And fyi, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal had access to many, many more ahadith than the scholars before him.

    Lastly, the “madhab” of ALL of the scholars is not Hanbali or Malki or whatever other names there are; it is Muhammadi, if anything.

  3. to concerned:

    to your last point: It’s like saying there is no difference between Yale and Harvard. Can one ever reach a conclusion on which school produces better lawyers? Do certain legal courts only accept Yale graduates vs. Harvard? More so, can either Yale or Harvard really be the only law schools in America? How funny would it be if Harvard, Yale, Stanford all combined forces to become known as “Law School” sans any other name? It’d probably be a really bad idea. But they all aim for a JD and get it at the end.

    You can say that is almost the same extent of difference between the different schools of thought (madhahib). What works for one doesn’t work for another. So long as we understand there will be people who will disagree with us, and maybe practice Islam a little differently than us, and that is 100% okay, and we are all still within the folds of Islam, alhamdulillah – and thats what gets us to our destination.

    (also its like having the never-ending Mac vs. PC debate. They are different products for different people. But in the end they are just computers that get the work done, and that’s what matters. alhamdulillah. 🙂

    • To add to your example about the different universities, do you see how the extent of the rivalry between the Ivy League schools? Is this something that we should have in Islam? It is exactly these kinds of thoughts that lead to disunity in the Muslim Ummah. Each will try to blindly (yes, blindly!) adhere to their respect school while disregarding the rest. Some may even go so far as to say that it is ONLY their school that is correct. Yes, I have witnessed this personally and I am not just making a conjecture.

      Furthermore, you cannot assume that people will understand and accept (read: acknowledge) the different schools. Almost everyone that I have met who associate themselves with a certain madhab absolutely refuse to abide by the opinion of another madhab. Whether it is an issue of taraweeh prayer, or the position of the hands in prayer or any other issue, they are absolutely adamant that their belief is correct. Add to that the misconceptions that have been attributed to the different schools of thought and you have a stubborn individual who says “this is what I was taught and this is my madhab.” Does this not sound familiar? Doesn’t Allah SWT tell us in the Quran about those who have come before us and what they responded with to His messengers? “That is the religion of our fathers!”

      The strict, blind adherence to the madhab is -as I have mentioned earlier- what will, and has already, lead to the different sects of which only ONE will lead to Paradise.

      By all means, follow the rulings of a certain scholar but do not elevate his status to Prophet. All scholars are humans and all humans err. All ideas can be taken or discarded except the Quran and the Sunnah.

  4. “if you were to look into the books from the Islamic tradition that examine comparative jurisprudence (Al Fiqh Al Muqaran), you will find that up until around the 6th century there was not a recognized Hanbali School the way the Hanafi, Maliki, and Shafi’i Schools were” ..Well being a Hanbali Fiqh student myself, I can tell you that this assertion you made is extremely inaccurate. The Hanbali school was fully formed and recognised as an independent school during the era from the mid 4th to the early 5th century at the hands of the Imams Al-Kheraqi & Ghulam Al-Khallal. One of the reasons why the Madhab didn’t have the privilege of having as many followers opposed to the other schools, was the fact that it was not historically adopted by any Muslim state, which of course is a decisive factor in spreading any Madhab.

    • While I could be wrong, I don’t think it’s “extremely inaccurate” to say that the Hanbali school did not have the weight the other schools had for it to swing it as they did with its jurisprudential opinions until around the 6th century. It might have been recognized as an independent school as you say from the mid 4th to the early 5th century. But as far as I’ve been exposed to from several different teachers of different schools and my own personal readings, I believe that my statement about the Hanbali opinions being put up consistently with the other 3 schools didn’t happen until around the 6th century is accurate.

      At the end of the day it’s history of formation that is up for contention and doesn’t really affect the validity of the great tradition the Hanbali school has and its position as one of the four Sunni schools that we have today.

      • There is no denying that the so-called Salafis are much, and above all, influenced by the Hanbali School in Fiqh matters, but it must also be pointed out that they have gone against the Madhab in so many positions. As a matter of fact, they have even gone against some of the opinions of Sheikh Ibn Taymiyyah himself. I guess what I am trying to emphasise here is that although many of the Imams the Salafis quote are Hanbalis, they’re not one and the same.

  5. An interesting and thought-provoking article. The reason that the Hanbali school took so long to be established is that Imam Ahmad forbade his students from recording his fiqhi opinions. He did not want to establish another madhab and was mainly concerned with ahadith. It was the students of his students that started to do so. Hence, you find a wide disparity between opinions ascribed to him in which later scholars, especially Ibn Qudamah, tried to make tarjih. Nevertheless, it is a great school, with great scholars, and is dear to my heart (I study it along with the Shafi’i school).

    The Hanbali school is very similar to the (old) Shafi’i school (Ahmad being one of the preservers of the Madhab al-Qadim in Iraq, having the book, Kitab al-Hujjah) and some of our scholars actually consider Ahmad to be a Shafi’i (see the Tabaqat works). Ibn Khuzaymah said, ‘what was imam Ahmad, except a student of imam al-Shafi’i!’ Some scholars even argued that Imam Ahmad was not a Mujtahid Mutlaq. This was stated clearly by Ibn Jarir, inferred by Ibn Abdul Barr in his book “Al-Intiqa’ fi Fada’il A’immat Al-Thalathat al-Fuqaha.” Yet his ikhlas was rewarded and great khidmah was given to him by having some outstanding followers. Do you know that many of Ahmad’s usuli principles correlate with Malik’s?

    Many ‘Salafis’ today actually resemble Zahiris and follow shadh opinions from Ibn Hazm and Abu Dawud al-Zahiri. Al-Albani, may Allah have mercy on him, was not a Hanbali and his fiqhi opinions are generally rejected due to his weakness in usul al-fiqh. He is mainly referenced as a muhaqqiq in hadith, but his stature is falling. Ibn Uthaymin, on the other hand, has great standing in the madhab and will be recorded among its scholars due to his wonderful sharh on Zad al-Mustaqni’. Bin Baz was considered an expert on aqidah more than anything else.

    You are aware, of course, that Qalun also narrates from Nafi’? And that Qalun recites the hamza in mu’min? I do have to disagree with you on the statement that the way the Prophet, peace be upon him, recited is not how the majority recite today. Hafs ‘an ‘Asim is authentically ascribed as one of the several ways in which the Prophet, peace be upon him, recited. You are right in that ‘Salafis’ wouldn’t know any of this, having taken knowledge from books (and even worse – the internet) rather than at the feet of scholars with ijazah. I can imagine their faces now watching you leading Fajr, with your hands at your sides, reciting in Warsh ‘an Nafi’!

    • Mashallah and jazak Allah khair for your comment. Quite an interesting input on the Hanbali school. I always appreciate it when students of other schools correct some of my information about their schools and/or add to what I’ve learned.

      Just a note about the different recitations business, because some have misunderstood what I said. I never said that the Hafs recitation is not an authentic or not one of the multiple-transmitted recitations. I simply pointed to the fact that out of all the recitations, the Prophet peace be upon him recited the Quran mostly in what is currently known as the Warsh from Nafi’ recitation. It is known among the scholars of Quranic Recitations that the accent of the people of Quraysh in how they spoke Arabic omitted the hamza letter from the middle of words such as in the example I’ve given above. Interestingly enough, Imam Qaloon was deaf and there are two narrations regarding how he learnt how to recite from Imam Nafi’. One says that although he was deaf, he could hear the Quran, and that was a karama (miracle) given to him from God. The other says that he learnt how to recite by copying lip movement. Either way, he was honored by God to be one of the two recitations related from Nafi’, which today is the one recited in Libya. So while the Quran was revealed in multiple different recitations styles, which aside from accommodating the different Arab tribes’ accents, also served to complete the meanings and miraculous rhetorical nature of the Quran, it was just the simple fact that what we know today as the recitation of Warsh from Nafi’ was how the Prophet peace be upon him recited the Quran most of the time. That’s not to say that he did recite in the other styles on some occasions. I was using this example to show that for someone to claim that they are the true preservers of the Sunnah while everyone else is either an innovator or one who abandoned it, the least they could do is start with themselves and recite the Quran in the most favorable recitation to Imam Ahmed, which was considered a Sunnah by Imam Malik.

      And about me leading the prayers, I’ve actually had someone come up and attempt to “correct” my recitation at the end, and was shocked when told that how I recited was a valid recitation! The ignorance of those who fallaciously claim to be on the way of the salaf is mind-blowing.

      May God guide us all to what pleases Him.

  6. Jazak Allahu khayran for the clarification. I misread what you meant and after reading again can see what you intended.

    That’s a very interesting perspective about Qalun and reading lips. I knew the story about him being deaf and the karama that he could only hear al-Qur’an, but the lip reading account does explain some things. One of the reasons we love Qalun because Imam al-Hudhayfi recites it all the time in Masjid al-Nabawi and he is beloved to our hearts.

    Someone told me that one reason Hafs ‘an ‘Asim is so widespread today is due to the famous Egyptian Qaris, and it may have roots in the spread of the Ottoman Empire. Wallah ‘alim. Either way, I accept your argument that Warsh ‘an Nafi’ is probably the most authentic recitation. Nafi’ is afterall the student of Abdullah b. Umar (part of the Golden Chain). May Allah grant us all the blessing of mastering al-Shatibiyah and all the authentic recitations. Ameen!

  7. Masha Allah sidi, very well written.
    May Allah bless you and grant you the best in both abodes.

  8. salafi’s are morons. no wonder their ‘shuyukh’ get banned from north american islamic conferences and are under the close watch of security all around the world. its because their methods of ‘shoving it down the mouth’ has become quite violent and their militant attitude and mindset needs to be put to rest or else they will cause (or have already) more fitnah to the Ummah.

  9. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    The claim that Ibn Kathir was “a student of Ibn Taymiyyah” exaggerates the latter’s influence: he was one of many, many scholars that Ibn Kathir took knowledge from. Sh Nuh Keller said that Ibn Kathir was a hafiz of hadeeth, which Ibn Taymiyyah was not, and that Ibn Kathir had a long and fruitful career that continued for 46 years after Ibn Taymiyyah died.

  10. Assalamualaikum w.b.t

    Can you please clarify what did you mean when writing this:

    Imam Malik, who is in fact from the salaf, and one of the only two imams of schools in Islamic jurisprudence (as far as I know) to have the Prophet peace be upon him foretell about in a saying (Imam Shafi’I is the other one)

    As far as I know, there is no such authentic hadeeth which mentioned any names of any imam of 4 mazahib.

    • Wa’alykoum As’Salam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Baraktu

      The Hadith about Imam Malik is narrated in Al Mustadrak by Imam Malik and was authenticated by Imam Muslim, and it says what can be translated to mean “A time will soon come when people will strike the sides of camels searching for knowledge, and they will not find a more knowledgeable person than the scholar of Medina”. Imam Malik is taken to be that scholar because during his time no one travelled to any other scholar than Imam Malik.

      The Hadith about Imam Shafi’i is narrated in Musnad Imam Ahmed and by Al Bayhaqi and others, and it says what can be translated to mean “the knowledge of the scholar from Quraysh will encompass the planet”. Imam Shafi’i is a descendent of the Quraysh lineage and this Hadith has been taken to be about him because truly his knowledge has encompassed the planet.

      Some brothers have tried to bring up Shaykh Al Albani as having considered these Hadiths weak, but that can be easily responded to from two angles. One is the most obvious one, which is the experienced reality of these Hadiths. The other angle is more technical, and it has to do with which chains of transmission Shaykh Al Albani was able to get axis to. These Hadiths have been narrated through several chains by many scholars, so Shaykh Al Albani might have only seen weak chains of transmission through his research. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he exhausted all the available chains of transmission. After all, he is only one person going against many other Hadith scholars who narrated this Hadith as authentic in their opinion and not weak.

      That and Allah knows best!

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