The Harmer of the Prophet (SAWS)
by Dr. G.F. Haddad
Abu Bakr al-Jaza’iri is an Algerian who fled his country at the time Algeria was in the throes of jihad against the French occupants and settled in Saudi Arabia where he was promoted to the post of teacher in the Mosque of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – in Madina. There, he sat attacking the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him -, the Sufis and the Saints until his death in 1999, repeating and shouting at the top of his lungs, right next to al-Mustafa – Allah bless and greet him: “The father and mother of the Prophet are in hellfire! The father and mother of the Prophet are in hellfire!” For this act alone, al-Jaza’iri deserves to receive the title of Harmer of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him and his Family. He repeated this statement with relation to the father of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – in writing.1
This specific obsession of “Salafis” and Wahhabis against the two Noble Parents of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – is in direct violation of the injunction of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – himself as established by the following hadith:
A man from the Ansar insulted al-`Abbas’s father who lived in the Time of Ignorance, whereupon al-`Abbas slapped him. The man returned to his people who said: “By Allah, we shall slap him just as he slapped him,” and they girded their weapons. News of this reached the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – who ascended the pulpit and said: “O people! Who among the dwellers of the earth is deemed most honorable in the presence of Allah?” They said, “You.” He continued: “And al-`Abbas is part of me, and I am part of him. Do not insult our dead, thereby harming our living.” The people then came to the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – and said: “O Messenger of Allah! We seek refuge in Allah from your anger.”2
On the established position of the majority of Ahl al-Sunna and the totality of the Ash`ari school that the parents of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – are saved see the refutation of al-Jaza’iri by `Amrawi and Murad, Wa`iz Ghayr Mutta`iz (“A Heedless Admonisher”); al-Suyuti’s fatwas in Majmu` Tis` Rasa’il and al-Hawi li al-Fatawa; Kabbani, Encyclopedia (2:143-159); and al-Barzanji, Sadad al-Din wa Sidad al-Dayn fi Najat al-Abawayn al-Sharifayn.
Mulla `Ali al-Qari (d. 1014) did claim in his Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, Mu`taqad Abi Hanifa, and Sharh al-Shifa’ that the Maturidi position was the contrary. He was refuted harshly by the Friend of Allah and Faqih, Imam `Abd al-Qadir ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Tabari (d. 1022) during the latter’s lessons in the Makkan Sanctuary.3 Al-Qari died – also in Makka – a few days later from a bad fall – Allah have mercy on him and forgive him.
Al-Haytami in al-Fatawa al-Hadithiyya said that the reliable manuscripts of al-Fiqh al-Akbar do not contain the statement “The parents of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – died as disbelievers” and that therefore it should not be attributed to Imam Abu Hanifa. He also states that their salvation is asserted by Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn `Arabi, on the bases of narrations in the two Sahihs on istifâ’ and on the best of centuries. Al-Dhahabi in al-`Uluw attributes al-Fiqh al-Akbar to Abu Hanifa’s student, Abu Muti` al-Hakam ibn `Abd Allah al-Balkhi, as mentioned by Shaykh Shu`ayb al-Arna’ut in his edition of Aqawil al-Thiqat (p. 63).
Al-Qari’s strongest evidence is the hadith in Sahih Muslim whereby the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said, upon being asked by a man about the fate of his father: “Your father is in the Fire.” As the man was walking away the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – called him back and added: “Both my father and your father are in the Fire.”
However, Muslim cites three different wordings for this hadith, each with a different chain. Only one out of the three contains the words “My father” and its chain contains (a) Thabit al-Bunani from whom Ayyub al-Sakhtyani did not narrate – as mentioned by al-Dhahabi in his Mizan – and whom Ibn `Adi mentioned in his compendium of weak narrators because of some denounced narrations imputed not to him, but by weak narrators from him; and (b) Hammad ibn Salama because of whose memory lapses al-Bukhari did not retain his narrations, as mentioned by Ibn Hajar in his introduction to Fath al-Bari and by other Imams of hadith such as al-Bayhaqi and Ibn Rajab.4
Also in affirmation of the salvation of the two Noble Parents and in refutation of al-Qari there is the book by Imam al-Barzanji (d. 1103), Sadad al-Din, perhaps the most complete reference-work on the topic. Al-Barzanji states (p. 108-109) the same as al-Haytami, but in reference to al-Fiqh al-Absat. He cites (p. 80) from Ibn `Asakir’s Tarikh Dimashq the report that the rightly-guided Caliph, `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz ordered that a certain man be put to death for saying that the father of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – was a mushrik.
Al-Shawkani (d. 1250) in al-Badr al-Tali` defended al-Qari whom he characterized as a mujtahid persecuted for his independent views – an unmistakable reference to himself! The only school that still defends al-Qari’s hapless stand on the question today is the “Salafi”/Wahhabi school in the person of Mashhur Salman who recirculated al-Qari’s Mu`taqad, and the late Abu Bakr al-Jaza’iri.
Al-Jaza’iri’s books achieved fame as they are heavily marketed by his Wahhabi sponsors, and he was thus able to spread far and wide the usual anti-Ash`arism of the Wahhabi school as well as the type of deviant doctrine and dubious ethics illustrated by the following excerpts:
1. “Supplicating the saints (du`â’ al-sâlihîn) [sic], seeking their help (al-istighâtha bihim), and seeking means through their status (al-tawassul bi jâhihim) never ever constituted an act of drawing near to Allah in the Religion of Allah Most High nor a righteous deed which one might use as a means, but are only prohibited polytheism (shirk) in the worship of Allah, due to which their perpetrator leaves the Religion and must endure in Hellfire forever.”5
2. “And who is `Abd al-Salam ibn Mashish [al-Shadhili’s teacher]?? … if the import of his words were not pure disbelief, it is absurd and meaningless elucubration. … They [Sufis] take as their lead … the practice of the people of all misguidances (ahl al-dalâlât) and their sayings such as al-Nabahani, al-Sha`rani, Dahlan” etc.6
He attacked Sufis and tasawwuf as the reason why the Muslims lost in their struggle against European colonialism, although he himself took to his heels and did not lift a finger to fight it alongside his Algerian countrymen at the time of Algeria’s struggle for independence from the French! As for the worn out lie of anti-Sufis that tasawwuf is antithetical to Jihad, it has been once and for all disproved in the current resistance of Sufi Chechen fighters to the savage Russian offensive against Chechnya, the self-sacrificing resistance of the Sufi Shaykhs of Turkey to the arch-enemy of Islam, Mustafa Kamal, as well as countless books on the Sufi mujahidin of North and Central Africa, Central Asia and the Soviet Union as chronicled in As`ad al-Khatib’s al-Butula wa al-Fida’ `inda al-Sufiyya B.G. Martin’s Muslim Brotherhoods in Nineteenth Century Africa, Benningsen’s Mystics and Commissars for the role of Sufis in preserving Islam in the Soviet Union, and Lion of Daghestan.
In his book Wa Ja’u Yarkudun which he wrote in response to the reactions of the Ulema to the attack mounted against al-Maliki, al-Jaza’iri accused the Sufis of celebrating Mawlid “with entertainment, eating and drinking, with tens of heads of cattle slaughtered `in the name of the Sayyid’ and `over the Sayyid’ and `for the sake of the Sayyid’ with full mixing between the sexes, singing, dancing and wild affirmations.”7 Al-`Amrawi and Murad responded: “Not at all, O scrupulous and Godwary man, we do not permit what you claim we do. Nor do we practice it. Nor do we approve of it. We disapprove of it. Therefore, why do you accuse us of it? Have you seen it in any of our books? Have you seen us do it? Has someone told you that we did? “O believers! If a corrupt person comes to You with news, investigate it” (49:6).8
It is also reported that he once said, “The meat slaughtered for feeding people on the occasion of Mawlid is more haram than swine.” Such misguided fatwas are apt illustrations of the face of extremism.
Al-Jaza’iri wrote the book Ila al-Tasawwuf ya `Ibad Allah (“Run to Tasawwuf, O servants of Allah”) which he directed against the Tijani Tariqa and which was soundly refuted by Shaykh Ahmad al-Qat`ani with his 1992 al-Hujja al-Mu`tah fi al-Radd `ala Sahib Kitab ila al-Tasawwuf ya `Ibad Allah (“The Practical Demonstration in Refuting the Author of the Book `Run to Tasawwuf'”).
In his 1998 book Al-Gharaniq: Qissatun Dakhilatun `ala al-Sirati al-Nabawiyya (“The Cranes: A Story Interpolated into the Prophetic Sira”), Salih Ahmad al-Shami notes that al-Jaza’iri in his book Hadha al-Habib advocates the position that the story of the Cranes is absolutely authentic and that the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – was in fact misled by Satan to recite verses that not only do not belong to the Qur’an, but also call for the intercession of pagan divinities together with Allah Most High. It is noteworthy that among the early sects, the Kharijis were also known to attribute the possibility of major sins to Prophets.
Al-Jaza’iri was given the opportunity to make a commentary on the Qur’an that might be a substitute and rival to the celebrated Tafsir al-Jalalayn of al-Mahalli and al-Suyuti. The public was then misled to believe that they were one and the same book so as to ensure its propagation.
“Only those invent falsehood who believe not the revelations of Allah – and they are the liar” (16:105).
1Al-Jaza’iri, Wa Ja’u Yarkudun (p. 116).
2Narrated from Ibn `Abbas by Ahmad and al-Nasa’i with a sound chain according to al-`Iraqi in Takhrij Ahadith al-Ihya’.
3`Abd al-Qadir al-Tabari is mentioned in Khulasat al-Athar (2:456-457), al-A`lam (4:44), and the Hanafi compendium Tarb al-Amathil (p. 513 #255) although he was Shafi`i.
4Cf. Ibn Hajar in al-Taqrib and al-Arna’ut and Ma`ruf in Tahrir al-Taqrib (2:318-319 #1499).
5Al-Jaza’iri, `Aqidat al-Mu’min (p. 144).
6Al-Jaza’iri, Wa Ja’u Yarkudun (p. 51, 11).
7Al-Jaza’iri, Wa Ja’u Yarkudun (p. 130-131).
8`Amrawi and Murad, Wa`iz Ghayr Mutta`iz (p. 92-93).
© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America