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Hisham Kabbani
  Exposing Kabbani 17 : Kabbani's Attempts to Ascribe Ta'wil to Imaam Ahmad
Author: Abu Hudhayfah
Article ID : NDV070017  [13755]  
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KABBANI’S ENDEAVOUR IN ASCRIBING FIGURATIVE INTERPRETATION OF THE ATTRIBUTES OF ALLAAH TO IMAAM AHMAD

Kabbani claims:

"As we mentioned already in the excerpt from Dr. Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan Buti’s al-Salafiyya, it is established that Imam Ahmad explained Allah’s ‘coming’ in the verse 2:210 as the coming of His order (amr) as related by Bayhaqi in his Manaqib Ahmad with a sound chain cited by ibn Kathir in his al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya... Similarly, Imam Ahmad explained verse 89:22 to mean Allah’s order according to Ibn Hazm in al-Fasl fi al-milal and Bayhaqi’s al-Asma’ wa al-sifat..."

(Kabbani, p.193, also pp.144-145)

Similarly, Nuh Ha Mim Keller said: "The hadeeth master Haafidh ibn Katheer reports in al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah that Imaam al-Bayhaqee related from Haakim, from Aboo ‘Amr ibn Sammaak, from Hanbal, the son of the brother of Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s father that, quote: ‘Ahmad ibn Hanbal figuratively interpreted the word of Allaah, Most High: "And your Lord shall come..." as meaning: His recompense shall come.’ Al-Bayhaqee said this chain of narrators has absolutely nothing wrong with it."

(From a taped lecture delivered at the Islamic Cultural Centre, London Central Mosque, 1995)

This presentation of Imaam Ahmad’s view is rejected for a number of reasons:

i. The chain of transmission of the narration which al-Bayhaqee mentions from Haakim from Aboo ‘Amr ibn as-Sammaak is weak. Adh-Dhahabee said in his Talkhees of al-Haakim’s al-Mustadrak (1/539) that Aboo ‘Amr ibn as-Sammaak is unknown.

ii. What is authentically related from Imaam Ahmad is that which al-Qaadee Aboo Ya’laa narrates in his book Ikhtilaaf ur-Riwaayatain (1/250) and also ibn al-Qayyim in Mukhtasar us-Sawaa’iq (p.386): "Hanbal said: I said to Aboo Abdullaah (Imaam Ahmad): ‘Allaah - the Mighty and Magnificent - descends to the lowest heaven?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ I said: ‘Is His descent by His Knowledge or what?’ He said to me: ‘Be quiet about this’, and he became very angry and said: ‘Pass on the hadeeth as it has come". And Abdullaah bin Ahmad said in his book as-Sunnah: "I asked my father: ‘Allaah descends to the lowest heaven. How is his descending, is it His knowledge or not?’ He said: ‘Be quiet or severe punishment shall afflict you!’ Then he said: ‘Pass on the hadeeth as it has come."

iii. Ibn Taymiyyah said: "There is no doubt that that which is reported in mutawaatir form from Ahmad opposes this narration (in which Imaam Ahmad is supposed to have resorted to ta’weel) and makes it clear that he does not say: ‘The Lord comes (meaning) His command comes and descends’, rather he rejects the one who says that." (ibn Taymiyyah, Sharh Hadeeth an-Nuzool, p.202)

iv. Ibn al-Qayyim wrote: "As for the narration reported from Imaam Ahmad - then his companions are divided into three groups regarding it. The first: That this is mistakenly attributed to him since the only one who spoke about it is Hanbal and he is one who has many opinions/reports which are in opposition to what is well known from the madhhab of Ahmad... However, what is correct is that it is a rejected narration (shaadh) which opposes the essence of his madhhab." Ibn al-Qayyim went on to say that a similar difference arose amongst the companions of Imaam Maalik: "Something similar to this difference occurred in the madhhab of Maalik. It is well known from him and from the Scholars of the Salaf to affirm the texts of the Attributes and the prohibition of resorting to ta’weel (interpolation). It has been reported from him (Maalik) that he interpolated the saying (of Allaah’s Messenger): "Our Lord descends…" with the meaning: His command descends. This report (from Maalik) has two chains of narration; the first: from Habeeb his scribe, and this Habeeb is not the actual Habeeb, rather he is a liar (kadhdhaab) and a forger (waddaa’) by unanimous agreement of all the Ahl ul-Jarh wat-Ta’deel and not a single one of the scholars depended upon him in his narration and in the isnaad. The second, in which there is an unknown person (majhool) whose condition is not known. Therefore, amongst his companions are some who affirm this narration and amongst them are those who do not because the most famous of his companions have not narrated anything like this from him." (ibn al-Qayyim, Mukhtasar us-Sawaa’iq al-Mursalah, 2/260-261)


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