A Sunnah of Immense Reward: 4 Rak‘āt after the Farḍ of ‘Ishā’

Imām al-Ṭabarānī (260 – 360 H) narrates in his al-Mu‘jam al-Awsaṭ:

حدثنا محمد بن الفضل السقطي، قال: نا مهدي بن حفص، قال: نا إسحاق الأزرق عن أبي حنيفة عن محارب بن دثار عن ابن عمر قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم

من صلى العشاء في جماعة، وصلى أربع ركعات قبل أن يخرج من المسجد كان كعدل ليلة القدر

Muḥammad ibn al-Faḍl al-Saqaṭī narrated to us: He said: Mahdī ibn Ḥafṣ narrated to us: He said: Isḥāq al-Azraq narrated to us from Abū Ḥanīfah from Muḥārib ibn Dithār from Ibn ‘Umar: He said: The Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) said:

Whoever prays ‘Ishā’ in congregation, and prays four rak‘āt before leaving the masjid*, it will be equal to [praying them on] Laylat al-Qadr.” (al-Mu‘jam al-Awsaṭ, 5:254) Continue Reading

An Explanation of Tasawwuf and its Practices

The following article is a translation of a section from the Urdu work, Tasawwuf Kiyā He, by Mawlānā Manzūr Nu’mānī. It comprises of a group of essays written by the author on his observations on Tasawwuf and, in particular, the practices (ashghāl) prescribed by the Sūfī guides (mashāyikh). He offers a strong argument for the need for Tasawwuf and a rationale for the specific practices designed by the scholars of Tasawwuf for spiritual reform. Although the original work comprises of essays by other authors, only those by Mawlānā Manzūr Nu’mānī are presented in this translation. His discussion and analysis is concerned mostly with the practical dimensions of Tasawwuf as they have been observed throughout history amongst its orthodox champions and handed down to its true inheritors in the present time. The other essays (which are not included in this translation) deal with Tasawwuf from its historical and academic/philosophical dimensions also. Continue Reading

Imām al-Bayhaqī’s Letter to ‘Amīd al-Mulk on Imām Abu l-Hasan al-Ash‘arī

In his comprehensive hagio-biography of Imām Abu l-Hasan al-Ash‘arī (260 – 324 H) Tabyīn Kadhib al-Muftarī, Hāfiz Ibn ‘Asākir (499 – 571 H) quotes a lengthy letter written by Imām al-Bayhaqī (384 – 458 H) to the grand vizier of the Seljuk Empire, ‘Amīd al-Mulk (415 – 456 H), on his views about the personality and theology of Imām al-Ash‘arī. Tāj al-Dīn al-Subkī reproduces most of the letter in his Tabaqāt al-Shāfi‘iyyah al-Kubrā[1] with his chain via Ibn ‘Asākir.

Below we present a translation of the letter, which demonstrates Imām al-Bayhaqī’s great respect for Imām al-Ash‘arī and his appreciation of the efforts he made to defend the ‘aqīdah of Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah. Continue Reading

The Divine Attributes: Ahlus Sunnah vs. Mujassimah

The following introductory essay delineates the basic creedal differences between Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jamā’ah and the contemporary Salafiyyah on the subject of the divine attributes. It further seeks to support the position of Ahlus Sunnah from the Qur’ān and the statements of the pious Salaf from the first three generations of scholars, including Imāms Abū Hanīfah, Shu’bah, Sharīk, Abū ‘Awānah, Sufyān al-Thawrī, Mālik, Sufyān ibn ‘Uyaynah, Hammād ibn Salamah, Hammād ibn Zayd, Abū Yūsuf al-Qādī and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybānī (may Allāh have mercy on them all).

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The Meaning of Iman

Muftī Rashīd Ahmad Ludhyānwī

Question:

In a public gathering, Gandhi stated these words while delivering a speech: “I do not understand why I should not recite the kalimah? Why should I not praise Allāh? Why should I not accept Muhammad as His messenger? I have faith in the saints and the prophets of all religions.” Can Gandhi be called a Muslim for saying the aforementioned words? Please attend to the reply quickly, because I have need for it for a religious publication. Explain with proof, may the Most Merciful reward you. Continue Reading

Imām al-Bayhaqī on Evidence for the Existence of the Creator

Below we present a translation from Imām al-Bayhaqī’s celebrated work on Sunnī ‘aqīdah, al-I‘tiqād wa l-Hidāyah ilā Sabīl al-Rashād. In this passage, al-Bayhaqī (may Allāh have mercy on him) discusses the evidential basis on which a Muslim premises his faith. He discusses two basic types of thought processes (nazar) that lead one to believe in Allāh:

  1. First, deliberating on the created order, the heavens, the earth and the wonders of one’s own creation, and deducing from that the presence of a Powerful, Intelligent, Conscious, Wise and All-Knowing Creator and Fashioner.
  2. And second, reasoning from the miracles produced at the hands of the prophets – peace be upon them – and deducing thereby their honesty and integrity in everything they relate about the unseen realm, including the existence of the Creator and His eternal attributes. Continue Reading

The Hadiths Cited by the Early Hanafi Fuqaha

Some people have the misunderstanding that the early Hanafī scholars whose books are in wide use today, like Shams al-A’immah al-Sarakhsī (d. 490 H), Malik al-‘Ulamā’ al-Kāsānī (d. 587 H) and Burhān al-Dīn al-Marghīnānī (d. 593), were unacquainted with hadīth. They base this on the absence of many hadīths quoted in their works in the available hadīth collections or their apparent weakness. These early scholars, however, took hadīths not only from the well-known collections, but also from the works of the earlier Hanafī ‘ulamā’, many of which have not reached us today. The narrations are found in these earlier works generally with their full chains of transmission. Hence, one may not dismiss the hadīths mentioned in al-Hidāyah, al-Mabsūt, al-Badā‘i’ etc. as baseless or forged merely on the grounds that they are not found in the available collections of hadīth. Continue Reading

A Reply to the Essay, “Perspective on Trimming/Shaving beard”

Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm

In the following, we will address a 9-page essay authored by Sheikh Hategekimana Hassan of Botswana called, “Perspective on Trimming/Shaving beard.”[1] Sheikh Hategekimana attempts to show that growing the beard is not a precept of religion or Sharī‘ah, but merely a recommended cultural practice inherited from Rasūlullāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). He further argues that there is no sin in shaving the beard, and the widely-held notion that a person who shaves his beard should not be appointed an imam is an innovation in Islamic thought with no basis in earlier jurisprudential writings. Continue Reading

The Obligation of Adhering to a Single Madhhab in all its Rulings

If the obligation of a non-mujtahid is only to follow, or make taqlid, of qualified mujtahids, why do scholars insist on the added obligation of restricting one’s taqlid to a single madhhab?

The paper linked below addresses this question, providing a detailed explanation for the necessity of adhering to a single madhhab in all its rulings.

The obligation and its legal basis are supported by statements and opinions from major early authorities across the recognised schools of jurisprudence. It is argued that this ruling is not only more sound in the present context, but is also supported by strong positions from within each of the four madhhabs, with some of the early scholars having quoted consensus.