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 A Correction Of Misunderstandings Part 1

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PostSubject: A Correction Of Misunderstandings Part 1   A Correction Of Misunderstandings Part 1 Icon_minitimeTue Oct 02, 2007 2:49 pm

A Correction Of Misunderstandings Found In Non-Arabic Sources About
The Movement Of Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab

Correction Of Misunderstandings Found In Non-Arabic Sources About

Movement Of Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahha

by Shaykh Suhayb Hasan
'Abdul Ghaffaar


All Praise belongs to Allah
Almighty, Creator of the worlds. Peace and salutations be upon the Prophet
Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.

The revivalist movement begun by Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab (1115AH -
1206AH / 1703AD - 1792AD) in the Arabian Peninsula was destined to take root
and become widely accepted. It sowed the seeds for a wise leadership which
pledged upon itself the implementation of Islamic Shariah in its totality,
using the Book of Allah and the Sunnah to enlighten all its activities. It was
honoured with victory and success from Allah, the Almighty, and so has
remained a potent force since its inception two centuries ago, despite
severely hostile attacks on both religious and political levels. The movement
exceeded the boundaries of the Arabian Peninsula and bore fruit in a number of
other countries in the hands of many sincere scholars and propagators of Islam
who were inspired by its teachings and guided by its example. It was a blessed
movement, like a good tree, the root of which is firm, and the branches of
which stand tall in the sky.

But like any reformatory movement, it too faced an onslaught of arrows, thrown
both at the founder of the movement and at his beliefs and teachings. For a
start, it was given the derogatory title of Wahhabism which, although
unacceptable to its founder and followers, was nevertheless widely accepted
and adopted. Worse still, the State was subjected to strong criticisms and
dreadful slanders in the most vulgar language, which exposed the measure of
animosity felt by its opponents. Such critical writings had a great appeal
among those fond of innovations and superstitions, but a host of knowledgeable
people from various Muslim countries stood up to refute each and every
allegation, using convincing proofs and evidences, and fragmenting all the
attacks into particles of scattered dust. As most of these writings, whether
positive or hostile, are extant in Arabic works, it was felt that there was no
need to repeat them here. So the author of this paper searched for other
writings on the subject in English or Urdu, and chose a few of them to mention
in this paper. He has endeavoured to refute all the doubts which were raised
in the books in question in the light of the writings of Sheikh Muhammad bin
Abdul Wahhab and all the scholars who defended him at home and abroad..

In the confines of this paper it was not possible to cover all the different
ramifications of this extensive subject, so the author hopes that readers will
accept his apologies for any shortcomings (unintentional as they are) and will
pray for him for Allah's guidance and rewards if they benefit from this humble

Indeed Allah is the One Who Guides to the Right Way..


We begin this discussion with
writings from the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. This work is considered
to be among the oldest and most exhaustive reference works to discuss religion
in the English language.

William Margoliouth, author of the chapter on 'Wahhabism', writes that
Wahhabis differ from Ahl us Sunnah wal Jama'ah in ten areas:

  1. They attribute to Allah
    physical characteristics such as a Face and Hands

  2. Reasoning has no place in
    religious questions, which must be settled solely on tradition

  3. Consensus is rejected

  4. Analogy is rejected

  5. The Imam's of Madhahib have
    no authority and those who follow them are not Muslims

  6. Those who do not join them
    (the 'Wahhabis' are also not Muslims

  7. Neither the Prophet (SAS)
    nor a saint will be allowed to intercede

  8. Visiting the graves is

  9. To take an oath in the name
    of other than Allah (SWT) is prohibited

  10. To offer an vow for other
    than Allah (SWT) and to slaughter besides the graves in the names of the
    saints are not allowed

However he acknowledges
that there is a doubt concerning the authenticity of point no.5 which has been
attributed to Wahhabism, as they are the followers of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal,
himself one of the four Imams. Morgoliouth ends his article with the
observation that Imam Ahmad ash Shaheed (d. 1831) introduced Wahhabism to
India following a pilgrimage to Makkah in 1824 [1] . What is strange is that
an eminent orientalist like W. Morgoliouth finds plenty of quotations from the
opponents of Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab, yet nothing to defend him
except for point no. 5.

So let us remedy this by discussing the list and including our refutation
where necessary.

1- The belief of Sheikh Ibn Al Wahhab regarding the Attributes of Allah
is the same belief of the Salaf, our pious predecessors. They said that Allah
Almighty has all the attributes which He has declared for Himself. These
include Attributes related to his own self, such as the Face, Hands and Eye,
and Attributes of action, such as His Pleasure, Anger, Being on. the Throne
and Descending from it. They accept all such descriptions without Takyeeef
(asking how they happen), Ta'teel (negating them altogether) or Tashbeeh
(anthropomorphic analogy). The basis of this belief is the statement of Allah,
'Nothing is similar unto Him, and He Listens and Sees.' [2] Just as Allah's
Attributes do not resemble in any way the attributes of human beings, so His
Being does not resemble the being of humans.

2- The criticism that the followers of Sheikh Muhammad ibn al Wahhab
have no regard for intellectual reasoning is a total fabrication. What we do
say is that reason cannot be independent of revelation. If we take the analogy
of the eye and light, we know that the eye needs light to function. This can
be natural light from the sun, moon or stars, or artificial light. In the same
way, the human intellect is enlightened by and functions within divine
revelation, which makes it trustworthy. If it lacks divine revelation, it will
go astray in the darkness of ignorance. Human intellect varies and differs;
the reasoning of a thinker will be different from the reasoning of a
philosopher; the reasoning of a historian will be different from the reasoning
of a mathmetician.

3- They have claimed that the Wahhabis rejected the concept of Ijma'
Consensus. This too is untrue. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal considered the true Ijma'
to be that of the Companions. The time of the Companions is a specific period,
known for its beginning and end. The Companions witnessed revelation and
accepted the message of the Messenger of Allah at first-hand.

Imam Muhammad Abu Zahra said in this issue that Ijma' is of two types: Ijma'
on the basic obligatory actions, which is recognised by all. And Ijma' on
other rulings of Shariah, such as fighting apostates. A difference of opinion
regarding the second type has been attributed to Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal. Some
scholars have reported the following from him:

'Any person who claims the existence of Ijma' is a liar.'

Imam Ibn al Qayyim has said, 'The person who claims Ijma' has lied,'
and he did not like giving preference to Ijma' over an authentic Hadith.

Abdullah, son of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, said, "I heard my father say,
'Whenever a man claims al Ijma', he is a liar. It may have been the case that
difference of opinion occurred among the people, but he did not know about it.
At the most he should say: We do not know anyone who opposed."

This statement shows that Imam Ahmad did not deny the principle of Ijma', but
denied knowledge of its occurrence after the period of the Sahabah. [3]
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