Tamperings of the Salafis
by Dr. G.F. Haddad
In attempting to affirm that their false beliefs are supported by the Scholars of the Salaf, the modern-day pseudo-Salafis go to great lengths, either using weak or false hadiths or in actually distorting the meanings and wordings (tahrif) of statements of scholars of the Salaf and the Khalaf.
Among their beliefs are the following:
We believe that Allah is well above His creatures in His Person and His Attributes, because He says: “He is the High, the Great” (2:22); “He is Supreme over His servants, and He is the Wise, the All-aware” (6:18 ).
We believe that He “created the Heavens and the Earth in six days, then He settled Himself on the throne; He manages everything” (10:3). His “settling on the throne” means that He is sitting in person on His throne in a way that is becoming to His majesty and greatness. Nobody except He knows exactly how He is sitting.
We believe that He is with His creatures while He is still on His throne. He knows their conditions, hears their sayings, sees their deeds, and manages their affairs. He provides for the poor and the broken.”
[The Muslim’s Belief by Shaikh Muhammad as-Saleh Al-‘Uthaimin]
In an article entitled “Shaykh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah)” prepared by Abu Rumaysah the following statement is made:
- <<“Abu Haneefah (RH) said, when asked of his opinion of the one who says, ‘I do not know whether Allaah is above the heavens or on the earth.’ – “He has disbelieved, because Allaah says, “The Most Merciful rose above the Throne.” , and His Throne is above His seven heavens.’ He was then asked , ‘what if he said that Allaah is above His Throne but he does not know whether the Throne is in the heavens or on the earth?’ He said, ‘He has disbelieved, because He has denied that He is above the heavens, And whosoever denied that He is above the heavens has disbelieved.” [‘al-Uluww’ of adh- Dhahabee, also ‘Sharh Aqueedah at-Tahaawiyyah’ of ibn Abee al-Izz al-Hanafee]”>>
In fact this statement attributed to Imam Abu Hanifah is mawdu` and a lie in its attribution to the Imam. Al-Dhahabi himself states [Mukhtasar p. 136 #118; al-`Uluw p. 391 #327] that everything above was reported from the Imam by Abu Muti` al-Hakam ibn `Abd Allah al-Balkhi who is DISCARDED as a narrator according to Imam Ahmad, Ibn `Adi, Abu Dawud, a liar according to Abu Hatim, and a forger according to al-Dhahabi himself as reported by Ibn Hajar in Lisan al-Mizan (2:407)!.
Even so, the text mentioned by the Hanafi authorities is: “Whoever says, ‘I do not know whether my Lord is in the heaven or on earth’ is a disbeliever and, similarly, whoever says, ‘He is on the Throne and I do not know whether the Throne is in the heaven or on earth ‘ is a disbeliever.”
As to its meaning: al-Bayadi said in Ishaaraat al-Maraam: “This is because he implies that the Creator has a direction and a boundary, and anything that possesses direction and boundary is necessarily created. So this statement explicitly attributes imperfection to Allah Most High. The believer in [divine] corporeality and direction is someone who denies the existence of anything other than objects that can be pointed to with the senses. They deny the Essence of the Deity that is transcendent beyond that. This makes them positively guilty of disbelief.” As quoted in al-Kawthari, “Khuturat al-Qawl bi al-Jiha” (“The Gravity of the Doctrine That Attributes Direction [to Allah Most High]”) in his _Maqalat_ (p. 368-369).
Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi states something similar in Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, and others.
A Condemned Report attributed to Imâm Mâlik
Another report used by the Salafis to buttress their anthropomorphist claims is the following:
<<“Abdullah bin Nafi’ reported: Malik bin Anas said: ‘Allah is above the heavens, but His knowledge encompasses everything. Nothing escapes His knowledge.'” [Abdullah bin Ahmad, as-Sunnah, and others. ]>> This report is not authentic from Imam Malik.
From Mutarrif ibn ‘Abd Allâh – al-Bukhârî’s shaykh – and Habib ibn Abî Habib on the hadîth of descent (“Our blessed Lord descends in the late third of the night”): “It is our Blessed and Exalted Lord’s command which descends <every pre-dawn (kullu sahar)>1; as for Him, He is eternally the same, He does not move or go to and fro.”2 Ibn Rushd in Sharh al-‘Utbiyya – a commentary on an early work of Mâlikî jurisprudence by Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-‘Utbî al-Qurtubî (d. 254) – stated that Mâlik’s position is: “The Throne is not Allâh’s location of settledness (mawdi’ istiqrâr Allâh).”3 The report attributing to Imâm Mâlik the words: “Allâh is in the heaven and His knowledge is in every place” is a condemned (munkar), anomalous (shâdhdh) report of questionable authenticity narrated through Ahmad ibn Hanbal from Surayj ibn al-Nu’mân al-Lu’lu’I4 from ‘Abd Allâh ibn Nâfi’ al-Sa’igh from Mâlik.5 Imâm Ahmad himself declared ‘Abd Allâh ibn Nâfi’ al-Sa’igh weak (da’îf), Abû Zur’a frowned at his name and declared him “condemned” (munkar), al-Bukhârî questioned his memorization, and Ibn ‘Adi stated that he transmitted oddities (gharâ’ib) from Mâlik.6 As for the content of the report, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abû Ghudda noted in his commentary on Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr’s al-Intiqa’ that it is contradicted by what is firmly established in mass-transmitted narrations from Mâlik and by al-Sa’igh’s other report from Mâlik omitting the above words.7 The report is made further dubious by the fact that Mâlik was well-known to condemn any statements about the Essence and Attributes of Allâh Most High other than sound reports, particularly statements that suggest anthropomorphism.8 Al-Awzâ’î said: “Whoever holds on to the rare and unusual positions of the scholars has left Islâm.”9
3. <<Imaam adh-Dhahabee said in the final lines of his most excellent work, ‘al-Uluww lil-‘Aliyyil-Ghaffaar’ (pp.286-287):>>
I have this edition in front of me and the title is incorrectly reported. The actual title is: Mukhtasar al-`Uluw i.e. the abridgment – in 300 pages – edited by the chief innovator of our time, Nasir Albani. The complete edition is not that of Albani but that of Hasan al-Saqqaf – in over 600 pages – which I also have.
Now, if it was a “most excellent work” then why did al-Dhahabi disclaim it later in his adult career (he wrote the book as a young man)? He wrote on its manuscript with his own hand:
“I have realized it [this book] contains baseless narrations and statements by many people that spoke loosely, and so I neither subscribe to those expressions nor follow those people in them – may Allah forgive them – nor do I consider them binding upon me as long as I live, and this is my firm conviction, and I know that Allah – there is nothing whatsoever like Him.”10
Falsification of Imam Qurtubi’s Position on Anthropomorphism
<<“Al-Qurtubee said concerning the saying of Allaah, the Most High, “Then he ascended (istawaa) the Throne”, We have explained the sayings of the Scholars regarding this issue in the book ‘al-Asnaa fee Sharh al-Asmaa al-Husnaa’ and we mentioned fourteen different sayings therein”>>
I have that book also and al-Qurtubi in it makes abundantly clear that he is against the position of the anthropomorphists!
<<up until he said, “And the Salaf of the very first times – may Allaah be pleased with them all – never used to negate direction (al-jihah) for Allaah and nor did they used to express this (negation). Rather, they, and all of the others, used to speak with its affirmation for Allaah, the Most High just as His Book has spoken about it and just as His Messengers informed of it. And not a single one of the Salaf denied that his ascending (istawaa) the Throne was real and true (haqeeqah) (as opposed to metaphorical,majaaz).”>>
The continuation of al-Qurtubi’s words quoted in Mukhtasar al-`Uluw (p. 286) states:
“And He mentioned His Throne specifically because it is the greatest of His creations. However, they actually did not know the modality or howness of his Istiwa’ for the reality of its modality cannot be known.”
The original in al-Dhahabi’s `Uluw [full edition, 600 pages edited by Hasan al-Saqqaf] here states (p. 574): “for its reality cannot be known.” This is also what is found in al-Qurtubi’s Tafsir. This tampering is one among many examples of the mendacity of al-Albani and his followers! The reason for this particular tahrif is that when the Salafiyya were faced with the reality of Tafwid among the Salaf, they invented the subdivision of Tafwid al-Kayfiyya so as to deny that the Salaf actually practiced Tafwidal-Ma`na. So when proof to the latter comes up, they deny it or manipulate it, as in this case.
THEN al-Qurtubi continues, in his Tafsir:
“I SAY: the `Uluw [exaltation] of Allah Most High and His irtifa` [elevation] are an expression of the `uluw of His Majesty, Attributes, and Dominion. Meaning: There is nothing above Him whatsoever in the sense of Majesty and its qualities, nor with Him as a partner. Rather, He is the Most High in absolute and unconditional terms – exalted is He!”
See the introduction and appendices to our translation of Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa`i’s Nasiha to the Ulema of Najd for many more examples of their tampering and misreprentations of the Ulema of Islam and their books.
As for the Ghunya: it is not an integrally preserved text and the copies we have today are corrupt. As for the book Ijtima` al-Juyush al-Islamiyya it is crammed with forgeries – like al-Sunna by `Abd Allah ibn Ahmad – and Ibn al-Qayyim is a notorious Mujassim.
Those who call themselves Salafiyyah do not mind lying about the Ulema they quote; make up their own definitions of tafwid and ta’wil; and generally have no idea of the accurate positions of the Salaf and the latter are innocent of them. Allah is our refuge from their bid`a and dalala.
And Allah knows best.
2Narrated from Mutarrif by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr in al-Tamhîd (7:143) with a weak chain because of Jâmi’ ibn Sawada as per al-Dâraqut.nî in Ibn Hajar’s Lisân (2:93). Also narrated from Salih ibn Ayyûb from Habib ibn Abî Habib – who is very weak – by al-Dhahabî in Siyar A’lâm al-Nubalâ’ (8:418). The latter reported in his Mîzân (1:452) from Ibn ‘Adi’s Kamil (2″818) the opinion that all of Ibn Abî Habib’s narrations are forged but this is an extreme statement in light of three factors:
(a) Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr in al-Tamhîd (24:177) mentioned Habib as merely weak, adding: “His reports from Mâlik are full of mistakes and condemned matters”;
(b) Salih ibn Ayyûb said: “I mentioned this report to Yahyâ ibn Bukayr and he said: “Excellent, by Allâh! and I did not hear it from Mâlik.” Narrated by al-Dhahabî who describes Ibn Bukayr in Tadhkirat al-Huffâz. (2:420) as “the muhaddith of Egypt, the Imâm and trustworthy hadîth Master… one of the vessels of knowledge together with truthfulness and complete reliability… Where is the like of Ibn Bukayr in his leadership in the Religion, his insight in fatwâ, and the abundance of his learning?”
(c) Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr in al-Tamhîd (7:143) also narrates this report from Habib, then goes on to narrate it from Mutarrif, adding: “It is possible that the matter be as Mâlik said, and Allâh knows best.” It is established that Jâmi’ did narrate from Mutarrif, as stated by al-Mizzî in Tahdhîb al-Kamâl (28:71).
4Misspelt Shurayh in al-Saqqâf’s edition of al-‘Uluw (p. 396 #340) and al-Mahdî’s edition of al-Shari’a (p. 293 #663-664). Shurayh ibn al-Nu’mân al-Sa’idi al-Kûfî is a Tâbi’î who died before al-Sa’igh was born.
6Al-Dhahabî, Mîzân (2:513-514 #4647); al-‘Uqayli, al-Du’afa’ (2:311), Ibn ‘Adi, al-Kamil (4:242 #1070=4:1556); Abû Hatim, al-Jarh wa al-Ta’dil (5:183); Ibn Hajar, Tahdhîb al-Tahdhîb (6:46-47 #99). Dr. Nur al-Dîn ‘Itr, however, states in his margins on al-Dhahabî’s al-Mughnî fî al-Du’afa’ (1:513 #3396) that al-Sa’igh is very reliable when narrating from Mâlik and that Ibn Hajar declared him trustworthy (thiqa) in al-Taqrîb. Yet, the latter grading was downgraded to “truthful” (sadûq) by al-Arna’ût and Ma’rûf in al-Tahrir (2:277 #3659). Al-Albânî in his notes in Mukhtasar al-‘Uluw (p. 140) criticized al-Kawthari for citing al-Sa’igh as weak in his introduction to al-Bayhaqî’s al-Asmâ’ wa al-Sifat (p. Ø), but he himself cites him as weak in al-Silsila al-Da’ifa (2:231-232) as pointed out by Shaykh Hasan al-Saqqâf in his edition of al-‘Uluw (p. 397 n. 708)!
Shaykh Gibril Haddad