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Dr. Hatem AHaj M.D Ph.D

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Why Fast on the day of ‘Ashuraa

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The Fasting On The Day Of ‘Ashuraa.

All praise be to Allah, and may his peace and blessings be on the last and best prophet and messenger, Muhammad and his purified household and honorable companions.

The following message on one of the e-mail groups was circulated:

“We are taught that we should fast on the day of Aashooraa because the Prophet SAWA saw the Jews do so; we are also taught that we should not visit the graves of Prophets because the Jews did so; which one should we do, fast because the Jews did or not visit Prophets graves because the Jews did? Not all Muslims agree with fasting the day of Aashooraa, the fatwas below come [from] Salafi Muslims only and many Muslims consider the “Sanad” for these narrations to be weak. May Allah show us all the right path.”

This is certainly not only a false claim, but a serious matter, for this message attempts to undermine the faith of the Muslims in their most authentic sources of the traditions of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him). I mean by these no less than the two authentic collections of al-Bukhari and Muslim that were unanimously acclaimed by Ahul-us-Sunnah.

For the reports rejected in the message here above are all narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim and almost all of the books of traditions.

The attempt to undermine such books of traditions aims primarily at the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) without which we would not be able to tell how to pray or give zakat or perform the vast majority of the prescribed acts of worship nor will we be able to practice the religion of Islam as we know it and as our ancestors knew it for fourteen centuries.

 

What I will attempt to do in the following few pages is:

To quote the authentic reports claimed to be weak in the statement here above and show that they are the highest in the degree of authenticity.

To show that there is no conflict as claimed in the statement between fasting ‘Ashuraa and the prohibition of building masjids upon graves.

To prove that there is no disagreement between Ahl-us-Sunnah on the recommendation of fasting on the day of ‘Ashuraa.

To explain why the statement inferring that only salafi Muslims recommend the fasting of ‘Ashuraa is both false and dangerous.

To emphasize that we, as Ahl-us-Sunnah must not accept insidious assaults on our religion and its fundamentals.

To clarify that the disagreement of scholars of sects other than Ahl-us-Sunnah is not a nullifier of the consensus and underline the devastating danger of entertaining opinions from other sects.

To invite myself and others to transparency and candidacy, for that is the way to mutual acceptance, tolerance and peaceful coexistence.

Let me first mention some of the reports contested by the statement here above.

 

(I) The reports regarding the building of masjids on the graves of the prophets and the position on visiting the graves of the Prophets.

 

1- في الصحيحين أن أم سلمة وأم حبيبة رضي الله عنهما ذكرتا لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كنيسة رأتاها بأرض الحبشة وما فيها من الصور فقال صلى الله عليه وسلم: ” أولئك إذا مات فيهم الرجل الصالح بنوا على قبره مسجدا وصوروا فيه تلك الصور أولئك شرار الخلق عند الله ” . (خ/ 427 ، م/ 528)

Umm Salamah and Umm Habeebah (may Allah be pleased with them) told the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) about a church that they had seen in the land of Abyssinia, and the images that were in it. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When a righteous man died among them, they would build a place of worship over his grave and put those images in it. They are the most evil of mankind before Allah.”

Al-Bukhari, (427); Muslim (528) and others.

2- عن جندب بن عبد الله رضي الله عنه قال: سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قبل أن يموت بخمس وهو يقول: ” إني أبرأ إلى الله أن يكون لي منكم خليل فإن الله قد اتخذني خليلا كما اتخذ إبراهيم خليلا ، ولو كنت متخذا من أمتي خليلا لاتخذت أبا بكر خليلا ، ألا وإن من كان قبلكم كانوا يتخذون قبور أنبيائهم وصالحيهم مساجد ألا فلا تتخذوا القبور مساجد فإني أنهاكم عن ذلك ” . مسلم (532)

Jundub ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: ‘I stand acquitted before Allah that I took anyone of you as a most intimate friend (khaleel), for Allah has taken me as His most intimate friend, as He took Ibraheem as His most intimate friend. Had I taken any one of my ummah as a most intimate friend, I would have taken Abu Bakr as one. Those who came before you used to take the graves of their Prophets and righteous men as places of worship, but you must not take graves as places of worship; I forbid you to do that.’ Muslim (532) and others.

It is clear from the previous reports that the Prophet forbade the building of masjids on the graves of the Prophets and taking their graves as a place of worship.

This is only expected from the religion of Islam that came to purify the human conscience from all forms of idolatry and promote the direct bond between the creator and his creations.

With regards to the visiting of the graves of the Prophets and righteous people, there is no disagreement that it is permissible to visit them to give them salam and make Du’a’ for them or perform the funeral prayer by the grave if it was missed at the masjid. The disagreement is regarding traveling to visit a grave or the details of what could and could not be done by the grave. However, what they agree upon is the authenticity of the reports here above and their minimal basic and core meaning. The discussion of the details of this disagreement is beyond the scope of this paper.

If the statement pertains to the grave of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him), then there is even less disagreement between Ahlu-us-Sunnah when it comes to the ruling of traveling to it, for they only differ on the intention of the visitor of the Madinah. Does he intend to travel to visit the masjid of our most beloved (blessings and peace be upon him) and subsequently, do like the companions did, and give greetings to the Prophet and his two most honorable companions, or he intends to visit the grave? The details of this disagreement are also beyond the scope of this discussion, but this difference is eventually not one upon which action (aside from the intention) will be based.

 

(II) The reports about ‘Ashuraa

1- عن عبد اللَّه بن عباس رضي اللَّه عنهما قال: ” قدم رسول اللَّه صلى الله عليه وسلم المدينة فرأى اليهود تصوم يوم عاشوراء، فقال: ما هذا؟ قالوا: هذا يوم صالح، نجّى اللَّه فيه موسى وبني إسرائيل من عدوهم، فصامه، فقال: أنا أحق بموسى منكم فصامه وأمر بصيامه”أخرجه البخاري (4/244)، ومسلم (1130)، وأبو داود (2/426) ، وابن ماجه (1/552) ، والبيهقي (4/286).

In a Hadeeth related by Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) “when the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) came to Madinah, he found the Jews fasting the day of ‘Ashuraa. He inquired why they did so. They replied that it was a good day, the day which Allah delivered Prophet Moosa (blessings and peace be upon him) and the children of Israel from their enemy. As gratitude Moosa (blessings and peace be upon him) fasted that day. The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) responded: “I have more right to Moosa than you.” He fasted the day and commanded the believers to fast.”

Reported by al-Bukhari (4/244); Muslim (1130); Abu Dawood (2/426); Ibn Majah (1/552) and al-Bayhaqi (4/286).

2- وعن أبي قتادة رضي اللَّه عنه ، أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: ” صيام يوم عاشوراء، أحتسب على اللَّه أن يكفر السنة التي قبله” . أخرجه مسلم (1162)، وأبو داود (2/321)، والترمذي (2/115) ، وابن ماجة (1/553) ، وأحمد (5/308)، والبيهقي (4/286).

Abu Qatadah reported that the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said: “Fasting the day of ‘Arafah I hope Allah will expiate thereby for the year before it and the year after it, and fasting the day of ‘Ashuraa I hope Allah will expiate thereby for the year that came before it.”

Narrated by Muslim (1162); Abu Dawood (2/321); at-Tirmidhi (2/115); Ibn Majah (1/553); Ahmad (5/308) and al-Bayhaqi (4/286).

3- عن عبد اللَّه بن أبي يزيد أنه سمع ابن عباس رضي اللَّه عنهما وسئل عن صيام يوم عاشوراء؟ فقال: ” ما علمت أن رسول اللَّه صلى الله عليه وسلم صام يوماً يطلب فضله على الأيام إلا هذا اليوم، ولا شهراً إلا هذا الشهر – يعني رمضان -”.

أخرجه البخاري (4/245)، ومسلم (1132) ، والنسائي (4/204)، وأحمد (1/367) ، وابن خزيمة (2086)، والبيهقي في “شعب الإيمان” (3779)، وفي “السنن الكبرى” (4/286)، والطبراني (1254).

Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I never saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) so keen to make sure he fasted any day and preferring it over another except this day, the day of ‘Ashuraa, and this month – meaning Ramadan.

Narrated by al-Bukhari (4/245); Muslim (1132); an-Nasaeey (4/204); Ahmad (1/367); Ibn Khuzaimah (2086); al-Bayhaqi in ash-Shu’ab (3779) and in as-Sunan (4/286) and at-Tabarani (1254).

4- وعن الرُّبيع بنت معوِّذ رضي اللَّه عنها قالت: “أرسل رسول اللَّه صلى الله عليه وسلم غداة عاشوراء إلى قرى الأنصار التي حول المدينة : من كان أصبح صائماً فليتم صومه، ومن كان مفطراً فليتم بقية يومه، فكنّا بعد ذلك نصومه، ونصوِّمه صبياننا الصغار، ونذهب إلى المسجد، فنجعل لهم اللعبة من العهن، فإذا بكى أحدهم أعطيناها إياه، حتى يكون الإفطار” .

أخرجه البخاري (4/200) ، ومسلم (1136) ، وأحمد (6/359) ، وابن حبان (8/385) ، والطبراني (24/275) ، والبيهقي (4/288).

Al-Rubaye’ bint Mu’awwedh (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) sent to the villages of the ansaar surrounding al-Madinah to tell them: “whoever of you woke up fasting, let him complete his fasting and whoever woke up and broke his fasting let him finish the day fasting.” Al-Rubaey’: we used thereafter to fast on it and make our children fast and we would go to the masjid and make them a stuffed toy of wool and if one of them cried we would give it to them until it is time to break the fast. Reported by al-Bukhari (4/200); Muslim (1136); Ahmad (6/359); Ibn Hibban (8/385); at-Tabarani (24/275) and al-Bayhaqi (4/288)

It is thus clear that all or almost all of the books of traditions, including the two most authentic ones – that are not venerated by the “salafis” only, but by Ahlu-us-Sunnah in their entirety – have narrated these reports

As for the claimed conflict between the two positions, there is no such conflict but rather a lack of understanding on the part of the person who claimed it.

It is not surprising to me that he failed to see the relationship between Islam and the previous religions like the Orientalists did.

The Orientalists claimed that much of Islam is drawn from the Bible when they saw many similarities between the Bible and the Quran and others claimed that Islam is but a modified form of the paganistic religion of Quraish when they saw that the Prophet upheld many of the habits and rituals practiced by them.

To all, we would like to explain that Islam did not ever claim to be different from the religions revealed from God before it.

 

Allah says to His Messenger:

“قُلْ مَا كُنتُ بِدْعاً مِّنْ الرُّسُلِ وَمَا أَدْرِي مَا يُفْعَلُ بِي وَلَا بِكُمْ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَى إِلَيَّ وَمَا أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ.”

Say: “I am no bringer of new doctrine among the apostles, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I follow but that which is revealed to me by inspiration; I am but a Warner open and clear.” (Al-Ahqaf:9)

But, one may ask: isn’t Islam a distinct religion that aims to distinguish itself from the ways of the followers of the previous religions?

That is absolutely true and there are countless reports in which the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) commanded the Muslims to disagree on multitudes of issues with the people of the book, including the growing of the beard and praying in one’s shoes and delaying the suhoor and many others.

Then, how do we reconcile between all of these positions?

The way of the people of the book and the disbelievers of Quraish was:

1- Part that is consistent with the wahy (the revelation) and that part is to be accepted and confirmed, and there is no one to tell us what it is of their religions that is vitreous and to be upheld better than the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) who told us that fasting on the tenth of Muharram is of that part as well as many other things. In fact it is known that he (blessings and peace be upon him) used to quote the prophets before him, and he (blessings and peace be upon him) would say: “The best fasting is that of my brother Dawood and the best qeyam (night vigils) is that of my brother Dawood.”

Also, Quraish used to uphold some of the remains of the religion of Ibraheem and Isma’eel (blessings and peace be upon them) like the performing of hajj and the practice of circumcision…etc such virtues and acts of devotion were upheld by Islam.

2- Part that is in conflict with the wahy, and that part we must distance ourselves from and reject. The clear example here is their building of masjids (places of worship) on top of their prophets’ graves amongst many others known to all Muslims.

3- Part that is neither consistent with the revelation nor is it in conflict with it, and that is classified into matters that pertain to the religion and ones that do not.

a. As for the matters that pertain to the religious practices and rites, we must not follow them in this regard for we only worship Allah according to what he legislated for us in the Quran and the sunnah of the final Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) who was sent with the message that confirmed parts of the previous ones and abrogated others. (Abrogation applies only to laws, but the creeds revealed by God and the vitreous manners condoned by Him do not differ from one religion to the next and if there is any difference, it is because of the manipulation of the previous doctrines by the followers of such religions.)

b. And, if it is a matter that pertains to this life, such as the dress code…etc, then we look to see if it is a sign on a particular religion, then we distance ourselves from it. But, if it was a shared human heritage, then we are not ordained to abandon such customs.

The formula is clear; Allah said:

“وَأَنْـزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ…”

“And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher/judge over it…” (5/48)

So, part is confirmed and part is made clear that it was manipulated by the priests and rabbis and part was abrogated.

We are to avoid imitating them in the part we were told they innovated and the part we have no knowledge about, but to follow them in the part that has been confirmed by our religion.

And let us see from the reports regarding ‘Ashuraa what the Prophet intended by fasting on that day and intending to fast on the ninth as well.

He said, “We are closer to Moosa than you.”

The idea here is clear. It is to underline the continuity of God’s messages to man and the affinity amongst His messengers and to show that religious devotion is a constant flow from one generation of prophets and disciples to another. It also indicates that the Prophet was in complete agreement with our beloved, the great prophet, Moosa (blessings and peace be upon him and our prophet) and to caution the Muslims who may be harmed by some or all of the Jews to distinguish between Moosa (blessings and peace be upon him) and those who claim to follow him. How great was he (blessings and peace be upon him, his purified household and honorable companions)!

Yet, the believers still wondered about this fasting and whether it would make them look like they are imitating the Jews, for their teacher (blessings and peace be upon him) taught them to avoid that. And our most beloved (blessings and peace be upon him) responded to their unease by intending to differ from the Jews by fasting the ninth, so read the following hadeeth:

عن ابن عباس رضي اللَّه عنهما قال: ” حين صام رسول اللَّه صلى الله عليه وسلم يوم عاشوراء، وأمر بصيامه، قالوا: يا رسول اللَّه إنه يوم تعظّمه اليهود والنصارى؟ فقال رسول اللَّه صلى الله عليه وسلم : فإذا كان العام القابل – إن شاء اللَّه – صمنا اليوم التاسع، قال: فلم يأت العام المقبل، حتى توفي رسول اللَّه صلى الله عليه وسلم ” .

أخرجه مسلم (1134) ، وأبو داود (2/327)، وأحمد (1/236)، وابن أبي شيبة (2/314)، والطحاوي (2/78)، والطبراني (11/16)، والبيهقي (4/287).

Ibn Abbas related: ” when Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace be upon him) observed the day of ‘Ashuraa and commanded his followers to observe it, they asked him: “O Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) this is the day the Jews, and Christians respect and honor… The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) promised them that ‘Next year Allah willing, we shall fast the ninth, tasuu’aa, along with the tenth.” By the next Muharram, the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) had already passed away.

Muslim (1134); Abu Dawood (2/327); Ahmad (1/236); Ibn Abi Shaibah (2/314); at-Tahawi (2/78); at-Tabarani (11/16) and al-Bayhaqi (4/287).

So, basically the desire was to honor prophet Moosa without emulating the Jews.

That is what you find when you also read the following hadeeth

عن أبي موسى الأشعري رضي اللَّه عنه قال: “كان يوم عاشوراء يوماً تعظّمه اليهود، وتتخذه عيداً، فقال رسول اللَّه صلى الله عليه وسلم : “صوموه أنتم” .

وفي رواية لمسلم: ” كان أهل خيبر يصومون يوم عاشوراء، يتخذونه عيداً، ويلبسون نساءهم فيه حليهم وشارتهم، فقال رسول اللَّه صلى الله عليه وسلم : فصوموه أنتم”.

أخرجه البخاري (ح2005) ، ومسلم (1131).

It was reported from Abu Moosa al-Ash’arey that he said: “The day of ‘Ashuraa was a day glorified and celebrated by the Jews, so the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said: “Then, you fast it.”

Reported by al-Bukhari (4/244) and Muslim (1311) who added that the people of Khaibar used to fast on the day of ‘Ashuraa and celebrate it as a feast, and have their women wear on it their jewelry and their best clothes. So, the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said: “then, you fast it.”

So, the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) and his companions fasted the day but they did not take it for a feast and make special foods and wear new clothes like some misguided people used to do.

Again, He disagreed with them with regards to what is done on that day.

As for his statement: “the fatwas below come [from] Salafi Muslims only.” This is both false and dangerous.

1- False:

The recommendation of fasting on the day ‘Ashuraa as quoted here above was reported by all of the books of sunnah and no Muslim has the right to contest what is related to him authentically from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him).

Based on that, it is the agreement of Ahlu-us-Sunnah that fasting the day of ‘Ashuraa is recommended.

And here are examples of the statements of the most reliable sources within the madhahib:

Our honorable hanafi masters:

In Fath al-Qadeer, 2/304:

” والمسنون عاشوراء مع التاسع , والمندوب : صوم ثلاثة من كل شهر ويندب فيها كونها الأيام البيض , وكل صوم ثبت بالسنة طلبه والوعد عليه كصوم داود عليه الصلاة والسلام ونحوه .

“And what is sunnah is [the fasting of] ‘Ashura and the ninth [of Muharram] and what is recommended is the fasting of three days of every month…”

Our honorable maliki masters:

In Minah al-Jaleel Sharh Mukhtasar Khaleel, 2/120:

“و ندب صوم تاسوعاء … وقدم عاشوراء ; لأنه أفضل , ولأنه يكفر سنة.”

“And it is recommended to fast the ninth of Muharram… and ‘Ashura is better for it expiates the sins of a whole year.”

Our honorable shafe’ee masters:

In Al-Majmoo’ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab, 6/382:

” يكفر [صوم عرفة] كل الذنوب الصغائر، وتقديره يغفر ذنوبه كلها إلا الكبائر… صوم يوم عرفة كفارة سنتين، ويوم عاشوراء كفارة سنة…”

“Fasting the day of ‘Arafah expiates for all minor sins, in other words this brings forgiveness for all sins except for major sins.

Fasting the day of ‘Arafah is an expiation for two years, and the day of ‘Ashuraa is an expiation for one year…”

Our honorable hanbali masters:

In Matalib Uli an-Nuha Sharh Ghayat al-Muntaha, 2/216:

“و سن صوم المحرم , وهو أفضل الصيام بعد صيام شهر رمضان… وأفضله: عاشوراء”

“And it is recommended to fast in the month of Muharram and it is the best fasting after Ramadan. …and the best of it [Muharram] is ‘Ashuaa…”

A benefit from Imam Ibn Taymeah of the hanbali school (may Allah bestow mercy on him): (al-Fatawa al-Kubra 4/428)

” وتكفير الطهارة، والصلاة وصيام رمضان، وعرفة، وعاشوراء للصغائر فقط”

“The expiation of purification, prayer, and fasting Ramadan, ‘Arafah and ‘Ashuraa applies to minor sins only.”

As for the contemporary scholars, there is not a single scholar of Ahlu-us-Sunnah – that I know of – who rejects the virtue of fasting on the day of the tenth of Muharram (‘Ashuraa).

2- Dangerous:

The statement aims at creating dissension between Ahl-us-Sunnah.

The word salafi means pertaining to the salaf, who are the righteous predecessors, primarily the companions of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). In this case, all of Ahl-us-Sunnah to some degree or another are salafis, or followers of the salaf, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and ‘Aly (may Allah be pleased with them) and the rest of the household and companions of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him).

It is important, however, for Ahl-us-Sunnah to avoid any labels that might divide them, so it is recommended to not call any group salafis, but rather make it an ideal and principal that all of us have to hold onto or at least aspire to do so.

After all, the Islam of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), the aforementioned khaleefas and the rest of the companions is the one that is accepted by Allah. So, let us all hold onto the way of the salaf without labels, partisanship or cultish practices.

As for his statement: “many Muslims consider the “Sanad” for these narrations to be weak.”

If the contender means by those many Muslims sects other than Ahl-us-Sunnah, then he should be candid, forthcoming and transparent and simply say that. If he means otherwise, then I hope the aforementioned proofs and quotations are sufficient to answer him.

As for the other sects, it is true that the shi’a do not fast on this day, and some of them engage in slapping one’s face, tearing one’s clothes, using swords to cut their skin and flesh and other forms of blood-shedding and many other acts that are seen on TVs across the world. Such practices are widely accepted within the shi’a communities and traditional scholars, but rejected by some reformists, such as the late shi’a scholar Muhammah Mahdi Shams-ud-Deen of Lebanon.

The reason why they do this is because our master, the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) al-Hussain (may Allah be pleased with him and his honorable family) was killed on that day. The tragic death of the Prophet’s grandson and the master of the youth of paradise does not change the ruling of the day, nor is the day itself responsible for this tragedy. In fact, it adds to the honor of al-Hussain (may Allah be pleased with him) to have ended his life as a martyr on a blessed day.

It is to be known, however, that some of the nawasib (a historic group that showed enmity to some of the honorable members of the Prophet’s household during the fitnah) used to celebrate on this day and cook large amounts of food and wear their best clothes and moreover, they tried to introduce fabricated reports from the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) in that regard. The scholars of the traditions, however, and with the help of Allah who promised to preserve the revelation, were able to identify such falsehood readily. Imam Ibn Taymeah (may Allah bestow mercy on him) said in Majmoo’ al-Fatawa that none of these reports are authentic and they are all lies against the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) and so confirmed the scholars of traditions.

Are we open to all opinions from all sects?

No, and we as Ahlu-us-Sunnah must not accept such remarks that constitute an insidious assault on our religion and its fundamentals.

The fact that some people from other sects disagreed would not change our convictions, as stated by the scholars of the past and present, who did not consider the disagreement of people of other sects a nullifier of the consensus. They always said in the various books of fiqh and other disciplines: “No one disagreed except some of those whose disagreement does not matter.”

If we consider the disagreement of other sects, we will be entertaining positions like those that consider Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and ‘Aly disbelievers, whether this comes from the shi’a or some of them or the ibadeyah or some of them or others.

We will also be entertaining positions that do not acknowledge the books of al-Bukhari and Muslim, and most certainly the other books of traditions, as reliable sources for the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him).

We will also be entertaining positions that consider the Quran that we posses a corrupted book. And that is described by some shi’a scholars like the author of Fasl al-khitaab fi ithbat tahreef kitab rabb al-arbaab. (Translated Title: The Decisive Speech in Proving the Alteration of the Book of the Lord of Lords) as a consensus of their scholars.

Then, what would we have left of our faith and our yaqeen (certainty)?

Is this a call to intolerance?

Absolutely not! On the contrary, we call for peaceful coexistence between the various peoples and we do recognize the need for peace within the Muslim lands and between the various Islamic sects for the ummah to rise and for its enemies to not have means to divide and conquer us by using some disenfranchised groups.

But, we must protect our religion at the same time and not allow the other to cause our own dissension or shake our own faith in our creed and practices.

A quick scan of the books of Ahl-us-Sunnah and many authors from other sects shows that Ahl-us-Sunnah were never focused on the refutation of the positions of the other sects except in some specialized books that aimed to document the differences between Ahl-us-Sunnah and others and clarify the truth from the sunni perspective. That is, unfortunately, not true for many authors of other sects, whose energy was directed at refuting the position of Ahl-us-Sunnah.

So, while Ahl-us-Sunnah were busy constructing the house of Islam, many others were busy deconstructing the house of Ahl-us-Sunnah.

This resulted in the naivety of the public of Ahl-us-Sunnah with regards to the other sects. And that is being used nowadays to destabilize their faith and shake their convictions.

It is imperative, therefore, that we engage in an intellectual struggle to protect the minds and hearts of the public of Ahl-us-Sunnah, and I hope this rebuttal is a small contribution to this end. Simultaneously, we must engage in an intellectual dialogue with the moderate shi’as to look for ways to bring peace and justice for all to our communities and our ummah at large.

Our call to tolerance does not mean that we will tolerate the chronic and recurrent and insidious and subtle infusion of doubts and suspicions in the minds and hearts of our public regarding our religious creed and practices. Nor, will we tolerate ridiculing our scholars and theology through the claim of conflict between our teachings by people who lack understanding of such transcendent teachings.

We do recognize people’s rights in representing their religions and even proselytizing others, but there are many other ways – I think – to do so more candidly and transparently.

Refuting the arguments of the opponents is never an invitation to intolerance, otherwise the prophets of God would have been the most intolerant for their entire legacy was but to convince the people of their wrong convictions and doings and invite them to the truth.

And as for his statement: ” May Allah show us all the right path.”

That seems to be the only statement of the contender upon which I agree with him.

This rebuttal is what I felt obliged to compose to defend my religion and convictions and please Allah. It is not – I hope – to win over anyone for there is no benefit in this except the loss of time and effort in exchange for the delusion of victory. May Allah protect us all from seeking anything but His pleasure.

And all praise be to Allah, and may his peace and blessings be on the last and best prophet and messenger, Muhammad and his purified household and honorable companions.

 

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Dr. Hatem was born in Cairo, Egypt and currently resides in the United States of America. He was granted his PhD in Comparative Fiqh from al-Jinan University, Tripoli, Lebanon and his Master’s Degree in Islamic law from the American Open University. He graduated top of his class with a summa cum laude grade. He is also a board certificated in Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics. He has a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (M.B., CH.B.). He graduated with honors from Alexandria University Medical School, Alexandria, Egypt.


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Guest Friday, 14 December 2018