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Hisham Kabbani
  Exposing Kabbani 14 : Where is Allaah and the Hadith of the Slave Girl
Author: Abu Hudhayfah
Article ID : NDV070014  


 THE HADEETH OF THE SLAVE-GIRL: ‘WHERE IS ALLAAH?’

Kabbani says (p.149):

"Concerning the saying of the slave-girl when the Prophet asked her: 'Where is Allah?' (ayn Allah) And she said: 'In the heaven' (fi al-sama'): She belonged to a people who worshipped stones and denied the Maker. When she confirmed the existence of Allah, she became thereby a believer. If the Prophet had condemned her for this answer, it would have been established that she was disbelieving in the Maker. But as he said of her: 'She is a believer.' He understood from her gesture magnification of the Creator."

There are some important points that need to be made about the hadeeth referred to by Kabbani and his comments to it:

(i) The full text of the narration is: Mu’aawiyah ibn al-Hakam said: "I had a slave-girl who tended sheep for me in the direction of Uhud and Al-Jawaaniyaah and I came one day and found that a wolf had taken one of the sheep, and I am a man from the children of Aadam, I became angry as they do, but I hit her very hard. So I came to the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he made me aware of the seriousness of that, so I said: O Messenger of Allaah, shall I free her? He said: "Bring her." So I brought her and he said to her: "Where is Allaah?" She said: ‘Above the sky.’ He said: "Who am I?" She said: ‘You are Allaah’s Messenger.’ He said: "Free her for she is a Believer.""

(ii) The hadeeth establishes the unequivocal validity of asking the question: 'Where is Allaah?'

(iii) That the only acceptable answer from a Believer to the question 'Where is Allaah?' is to say 'In (above) the heaven' since the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam himself accepted this answer and did not criticise it in any way. To give an answer other than this would be to venture into the realms of speculation.

(iv) The word fee (in) does not mean Allaah is surrounded or bounded by the sky or anything else of His creation, rather it means above and over the sky, something which can be found correctly explained in Kabbani’s book (pp. 147-148).

(v) Kabbani's statement: "She belonged to a people who worshipped stones and denied the Maker" signifies a lack of knowledge of the state of the people to whom the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam was sent. They did, in fact, believe in the Maker (Allaah) but this did not deter them from directing a part of their worship to their stone idols. Allaah, the Most High, says about them:

"Say: Who is it that sustains you from the sky and from the earth? Who is it that has power over hearing and sight? Who is it that brings out the living from the dead and the dead from the living? And who is it that rules and regulates all affairs? They will soon say: 'Allaah'. Say: Will you not then show piety (to Him)?" (10:31)

"Indeed if you were to ask them who it is that sends down rain from the sky and gives life therewith to the earth after its death, they will certainly reply: 'Allaah'. Say: Praise be to Allaah. But most of them understand not." (29:63)

"If you were to ask them who created them, they will certainly say: 'Allaah'. How then are they deluded away (from the truth)?" (43:87)

(vi) Kabbani's statement: "When she confirmed the existence of Allah, she became thereby a believer." This unique definition of what causes someone to enter into belief completely disregards the verses mentioned above in which the idol worshippers from the era of the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam confirmed their belief in the existence of Allaah but this certainly was not sufficient to render them Believers. Furthermore, his definition would also render Shaytaan a Believer merely because he affirms the existence of Allaah! Also, Allaah, the Most High, says: "The Jews and Christians say we are the children of Allaah and His loved ones." (5:18) so does this mere affirmation of His existence make them Believers?

The slave-girl, it must be remembered, also confirmed the Messengership of Muhammad; this together with her correct belief in Allaah warranted that she be declared a Believer. Merely affirming one without the other is disbelief in both Allaah and His Messenger.

Kabbani's lackadaisical approach to this issue of defining belief, it seems, is inherited from his teachers. Nazim al-Qubrusi says:

"Our Grandsheikh says whoever is never saying ALLAH is a kafir, unbeliever. Anyone saying ALLAH, even in his own language, you must not say to him 'Kafir'. This is clear, our Grandsheikh is leaving this so wide, so open, not making conditions, all Prophets just came to make people, believing in their Lord, not in themselves. Anyone saying 'God' must be considered a believer. Even if a person says, as we do in English 'Oh my God', Allah is catching him."

(Nazim, Mercy Oceans Book 2, pp. 174-175, 1980)

So anyone who says 'Oh my God' is a Believer, there are no other conditions beyond this!

(vii) Kabbani says: "If the Prophet had condemned her for this answer, it would have been established that she was disbelieving in the Maker." Kabbani himself shows that it is unacceptable to condemn anyone who says that Allaah is in (above) the heavens.

(viii) Again, according to Kabbani, to say that Allaah is in the heavens is in fact equivalent to "magnification of the Creator." Why then does he criticise the Salafis for their 'magnification of the Creator' when they say that Allaah is in (above) the heavens? If, according to him, the Prophet understood this reply to mean praise of Allaah, why does Kabbani describe the belief that Allaah is in the heaven as being unnaceptable?

(ix) There are some who where perplexed by this hadeeth and the fact that it represents a decisive blow to the beliefs of the Jahmiyyah and the Ashariyyah. They simply took recourse to declaring it inauthentic or sought to cast doubt on its wording. From them, Zaahid al-Kawtharee and Hasan as-Saqqaaf. The former being described by Kabbani as the renewer of the religion of Islaam and the reading of the latter's books are openly encouraged by Kabbani (see Kabbani, pp. 81-83, 211 as well as Kabbani, The Doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna, pp. 11, 13, 57).

FURTHER PROOF FOR THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE HADEETH: ‘WHERE IS ALLAAH?’

Disregarding for the moment the rigorously authenticated recording of this hadeeth in Saheeh Muslim where the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam asked: "Where is Allaah?" and the slave-girl replied "In the heavens", presented below are other supporting routes of transmission for this narration taken from Imaam at-Tahaawee's Sharh Mushkil al-Athaar along with the analysis of Shaykh Shu'ayb al-Arna'oot (in which the wording 'Where is Allaah? In the heaven' is likewise preserved):

(a) at-Tahaawee says: ibn Abee Dawood reported to us, saying: 'Eesa ibn Ibraheem al-Birakee reported to us, saying: 'Abdul-'Azeez ibn Muslim al-Qasmalee reported to us, saying: Muhammad ibn 'Amr reported to us on the authority of Aboo Hurairah: (the hadeeth)

Shaykh Shu'ayb al-Arna'oot grades this chain of transmission to be hasan (vol. 12 / no.4991) and adds: "Reported by ibn Khuzaimah in at-Tawheed 1/283-284 (181) via the route of Ziyaad ibn ar-Rabee' on the authority of Muhammad ibn 'Amr ibn 'Alqamah with this (the above) chain of transmission."

(b) at-Tahaawee says: Yoonus reported to us, saying: ibn Wahb narrated to us that Maalik reported to him; and al-Muznee reported to us, saying: ash-Shaafi'ee reported to us, saying: Maalik reported to us on the authority of Hilaal ibn Usaamah, on the authority of 'Ataa ibn Yasaar, on the authority of 'Umar ibn al-Hakam (this should be Mu'aawiyah ibn al-Hakam as Imaam ash-Shaafi'ee points out in ar-Risaala p.242 and as does ibn 'Abdul-Barr in at-Tamheed 22/76): (the hadeeth)

Shaykh Shu'ayb al-Arna'oot grades this chain of transmission as being authentic to the standard of Imaam Muslim (vol. 12 / no.4992).

He adds that it is also recorded with this isnaad by ibn Khuzaimah in at-Tawheed 1/283 (180) on the authority of Yoonus ibn 'Abdul-'Alaa; by al-Bayhaqee 10/57 via Muhammad ibn 'Abdullaah ibn 'Abdul-Hakam on the authority of ibn Wahb with it; by Imaam ash-Shaafi'ee in ar-Risaala p.242; Imaam Maalik in al-Muwatta 2/776-777; an-Nasaa'ee in al-Kubra no.7756, and others.

(c) at-Tahaawee says: Yoonus narrated to us, saying: Bishr ibn Bakr narrated to us on the authority of al-Awzaa'ee, saying: Yahya ibn Abee Katheer reported to us, saying: Hilaal ibn Abee Maymoonah reported to us, saying: 'Ataa ibn Yasaar reported to us, saying: Mu'aawiyah ibn al-Hakam as-Sulamee narrated to me: (the hadeeth)

Shaykh Shu'ayb al-Arna'oot grades this chain of transmission as being saheeh (vol. 12 / no.4993).

(d) Additionally, the narration is recorded with their routes of transmission by: Ahmad 5/447-448, Aboo Dawood no.930 and 3282, al-Bukhaaree in al-Qiraa' Khalf al-Imaam no.70, ibn Hibbaan no.165 and 2247, ibn Abee Shaybah 11/19-20, at-Tayaalisee no.1105, al-Bayhaqee in al-Asmaa was-Sifaat pp.421-422, ibn al-Jarood no.212, ad-Daarimee 1/353, al-Laalikaa'ee no.652 and ibn Abee 'Aasim in as-Sunnah no.489.


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