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.

Answers to Doubts over the ‘Aqidah of Imam Abu Hanifah

This issue of irja’ (literally: postponement) with respect to Imam Abu Hanifah – which has unfortunately become a common talking point for the denigrators of the Imam – was discussed in great detail by Imam ‘Abd al-Hayy al-Laknawi in his al-Raf’ wa l-Takmil (pp. 149-81).

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Narrations on the Piety and Character of Imam Abu Hanifah

Imam Abu Hanifah, despite his mastery in the Islamic sciences, was recognised for his piety (taqwa), scrupulousness (wara’) and worship (‘ibadah). In the following I will quote a few excerpts from Imam al-Khatib al-Baghdadi’s biographical dictionary Tarikh Baghdad, omitting the chains and relaying the editor’s, Dr Bashshar ‘Awwad Ma’ruf’s, gradings of the chains, as he graciously included his expert analysis on most of the narrations from Abu Hanifah’s biography in the footnotes.

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Examples of the Teachers and Disciples of Imam Abu Hanifah

One of the greatest indications that Imam Abu Hanifah’s opinions in fiqh were informed by an immense knowledge of hadiths, and related Islamic sciences, is the companionship with him of some of the most learned scholars of the salaf. In this respect, the following narrations should shed some light.

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