THE HADEETH OF THE SLAVE-GIRL: ‘WHERE IS
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
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
(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)?"
(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