The New Kharijism

Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani

[From Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani’s “200 Years of New Kharijism and the Ongoing Revision of Islam”, his introduction to Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa`i’s Advice to Our Brothers the Scholars of Najd (Nasiha li Ikhwanina `Ulama’ Najd – Complete) & Sayyid Alawi ibn Ahmad al-Haddad’s Refutation of the Innovator from Najd (Misbah al-Anam fi Radd Shubah al-Najdi al-Bid`i al-Lati Adalla biha al-`Awamm – Introduction) lxxxvi p. + 393 p. Translation, notes, and appendices by GF Haddad ©.]

All praise belongs to Allah Most High Who guards His Religion from tampering through the watchful Righteous in every succeeding generation, who carry this knowledge in turn, repealing from it the distortions of the extremists, the misinterpretations of the ignorant, and the pretenses of the liars, as He declared: {And say: Truth has come and falsehood perished. Lo! falsehood is ever bound to perish} (17:81). May Allah send blessings and greetings of peace on our Master Muhammad the Seal of Prophets, who said: “Halaka al-mutanatti`ûn – Extremists shall most certainly perish,” repeating it three times. [Sahih Muslim]

To proceed: We live in a time when the enemies of Islam are attempting to destroy if from within in the guise of a purist leadership advocating the ways of extremism. The unwary observer is fooled by this image of Islam eagerly picked up by the media, when, in fact, its proponents are on the margins or, rather, outside true Islam. “The Religion of Allah,” al-Khatib said, “lies between the extremist and the laxist.”1

The criteria for leadership and characteristics exhibited by these extremists were actually detailed for us by way of warning in the authentic narrations of our Master Muhammad and his Family and Companions .

Among the signs of the Hour mentioned by the Noble Messenger of Allah in the well-known hadith of Gibril in Sahih al-Bukhari is “when the destitute camelherds compete in building tall structures.” Another version in al-Bukhari has: “when the barefoot and the naked are the heads of the people.” In Muslim: “you shall see the barefoot, naked, indigent shepherds compete in building tall structures.” Another version in Muslim says: “when the naked and barefoot are the top leaders of the people.” A third version in Muslim has: “when you see that the barefoot and naked, the deaf and dumb are the kings of the earth.”

Ibn Hajar said in commenting this passage of the hadith in Fath al-Bari:

It was said that “barefoot and naked,” “deaf and dumb” are their attributes by way of hyperbole, showing how coarse they are. That is, they did not use their hearing or sight in anything concerning their Religion even though they are of perfectly sound senses. The Prophet’s words : “The heads of the people” means the kings of the earth. Abu Farwa’s narration names the kings explicitly. What is meant by them is the people of the desert country, as was made explicit in Sulayman al-Taymi’s and other narrations: “Who are the barefoot and naked?” He answered: “The Bedouin Arabs.” Al-Tabarani relates through Abu Hamza, on the authority of Ibn `Abbas from the Prophet , that “one of the signs of the change of the Religion is the affectation of eloquence by the rabble and their betaking to palaces in big cities.” Al-Qurtubi said: “What is meant here is the prediction of a reversal in society whereby the people of the desert country will take over the conduct of affairs and rule every region by force. They will become extremely rich and their primary concern will be to erect tall buildings and take pride in them. We have witnessed this in our time as well as the import of the hadith: ‘The Hour will not rise until the happiest man will be the depraved son of a depraved father (lukka` ibn lukka`),’ and ‘if the leadership is entrusted to those unfit for it, expect the Hour,’ both in the authentic collections.”

As a consequence of this reversal of values in the perfect society which true Islam is designed to create, we now see wars of exclusion being waged everywhere in the name of Islam – doctrinal, political, and physical wars. For violence is the most harmful legacy of this school to society while skepticism is its legacy to the individual.

These two phenomena: depraved leadership and exclusionism, are therefore the mainstays of New Kharijism in our time. What clearer proof of this than what took place in Makka on November 20, 1979, when hundreds of armed men seized the Mosque under the 36-year old Juhayman ibn Muhammad ibn Sayf al-`Utaybi and proclaimed him as the new leader of the country. They held it for two weeks during which they practiced worse than zinâ with the women they held captive and those they had brought with them! The New York Times wrote, “There were hundreds of casualties on both sides before Saudi forces were able to drag out the last remnant of what by then was a bunch of filthy, bedraggled young men.” Al-`Utaybi and sixty-three of the captured were later executed by public beheading without any protest from anyone. Who taught these wild young people their ways? As Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa`i said, addressing the followers of Ibn Baz: “Your teacher was [their] teacher.”

But before we speak of the modern phenomenon of New Kharijism it is important to define the principal constituents of Khariji doctrines.

The sect of the Kharijis or Khawârij lived in the time of the Successors of the Companions. They were a large group of several tens of thousands of Muslims comprising mostly Qur’an memorizers and devoted worshippers who prayed and fasted above the norm. They declared the totality of the Companions of the Prophet and whoever of the Muslims were with them to be apostate disbelievers and took up arms against them. Consequently, some of the `Ulama of Ahl al-Sunna argued that the Khawarij themselves had left Islam for committing such acts.

Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi said in the beginning of his al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq (p. 11):

The Khawarij are considered legally to belong to the Umma in certain rulings such as burial in Muslim cemeteries, share in the spoils of war, praying in the masjids; and they are outside the Umma in other rulings, such as not being prayed upon after death, nor does one pray behind them in life,2  their dhabîha is harâm not halâl, their marriage with a Sunni woman is invalid, and a Sunni man is forbidden from marrying one of their women if she adheres to their doctrines. `Ali ibn Abi Talib said to the Khawarij: “Our responsibility towards you is threefold: we shall not initiate fighting with you; we will not prevent you from praying in the mosques of Allah in which His name is remembered; we do not prevent you from your share in the spoils (fay’) as long as you fight with us.” And Allah knows best.

Al-Shawkani in Nayl al-Awtar (7:167-268) reports that there is disagreement whether the Khawarij are disbelievers or Muslims. Ibn al-`Arabi al-Maliki said that the correct position is they are disbelievers on the basis of the hadiths of the Prophet : “They shall leave the Religion” and “I would kill them [if I met them] like the people of `Ad,” while al-Khattabi said they remain a Muslim sect (firqa) despite their misguidance (dalâla) and that it is permitted to intermarry with them and eat their dhâbiha, and that they are not declared kâfir “as long as they adhere to the foundation of Islam.” Ibn Hajar related the above in Fath al-Bari (12:253).

It is known that Ibn `Umar prayed behind the Khawarij. However, Taqi al-Din al-Subki said in his Fatawa: “It has been argued that the Khawarij and the extremists among the Rawâfid were disbelievers because of their takfîr of the eminent Companions, since such an act entails disbelief of the Prophet’s testimony that they are bound for Paradise, and I consider this position the sound one.” And Allah knows best.

The practices of declaring the Muslims apostate (takfîr / tashrîk) and armed action (baghî) against the central Muslim authority – the Caliphate – became and continue to remain the hallmark of the Khawarij past and present. In our time, this baghî and takfîr took place in Northeastern Arabia at the turn of the 19th Century CE as mentioned by the scholars of Islam:

The name of Khawârij is applied to those who part ways with the Muslims and declare them disbelievers, as took place in our time with the followers of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab who came out of Najd and attacked the Two Noble Sanctuaries.3

The Khawârij altered the interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunna, on the strength of which they declared it lawful to kill and take the property of Muslims as may now be seen in their modern counterparts, namely, a sect in the Hijaz called Wahhabis.4

The above excerpts are nothing new. The categorization of the Wahhabis as Kharijis has been a leitmotiv of Sunni heresiography for the past 200 years. Only now, has it become politically incorrect among the `Ulama.

Since the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924, the only manifestation of Kharijism to remain is the declaring of Muslims apostate. The exercise of takfîr and tashrîk are therefore the chief marks by which neo-Kharijis can be recognized in our time. They are those who address the Muslims with the shouts and libels of kâfir! mushrik! kufr! bid`a! shirk! harâm! (“apostate,” “polytheist,” “unbelief,” “innovation,” “idolatry,” “forbidden”) without proof nor justification other than their own vain lusts – and without solution other than exclusionism and violence against anyone that disagrees with them.

They satisfy their consciences that such charges may carry capital punishment in Islam and so make light of the sanctity of life and the honor of their brethren. As Shaykh al-Islam said: “Extremists are fanatic zealots who exceed bounds in words and deeds” and “bigots.”5

So, to perpetrate takfîr of the Muslims today makes one a Khariji, regardless whether one calls oneself Sunni, “Salafi,” Ash`ari, Shi`i, Sufi, or Ibadi.

The chief brand of New Kharijism distinguishes itself by three main principles which we may call their Usul al-Thalatha `inda al-Khawarij al-Jadida:

1.) Tajsîm al-Ma`bûd: Attributing a body to the object of Islamic worship, i.e. anthropomorphism of the Deity.

2.) Adhâ al-Mustafâ: Harming the Prophet through disrespect of his noble person, Mosque, grave, vestiges, Family and Companions, those who visit, love, and praise him; and disparaging or disdaining his intercessor-status.

3.) Tafkîk Madhâhib al-A’imma: Dismantlement of the Schools and methods of the Sunni Imams of the Muslims past and present including:

(a) The Imams of Sunni doctrine (`aqîda): al-Ash`ari and al-Maturidi, and their Schools. (b) The Imams of Sunni jurisprudence (fiqh): Abu Hanifa, Malik, al-Shafi`i, Ahmad, and their Schools or madhâhib, sing. madhhab. (c) The Imams of Sunni morals (akhlâq) known as the Poles (aqtâb, sing. qutb) of the science of soul-purification (tasawwuf): al-Junayd, al-Gilani, al-Shadhili, al-Rifa`i, al-Chishti, al-Suhrawardi, Shah Naqshband, al-Tijani, and their Schools, known as Paths (turuq, sing. tarîqa).

Since all sincere Muslims are “People Who Hold That Allah is Transcendent” (Ahl al-Tanzîh) and are people who love their Prophet , it follows that this third principle – dismantlement of Sunni Schools – is by far the most harmful tenet of New Kharijism in our time and its most devastating achievement.

This dismantlement has polluted pure belief with nagging doubts in our pious Muslim Predecessors (al-Salaf al-Sâlih) and a general arrogant rejection of Islamic authority resulting in libeling whoever follows a madhhab a “blind follower” (muqallid a`mâ), whoever adheres to the Sunni Ash`ari creed a “Jahmi nullifier of the Divine Attributes” (mu`attil), and whoever follows a Sufi path, a “shaykh-worshipping grave-lover” (turuqî qubûrî)!

These despicable labels are all the more ironic in light of the fact that it is usually those who apply them who are more aptly characterized by what they pretend to blame. Thus, they accuse us of blind-following but are themselves immersed up to their necks in the blind-following of innovators such as al-Albani who confessed not having memorized the Book of Allah nor a single book of hadith; Ibn Baz the mufti of flip-flops, al-Jaza’iri who decided who goes to Paradise and who goes to Hell, and countless others of those the Prophet warned us about in the hadith of “the minor scoundrels”!6

They accuse us of worshipping Shaykhs but they themselves enthrone as their “Shaykh al-Islam” Ibn Taymiyya who believed, like Jahm ibn Safwan, that Hellfire would come to an end – as revealed by his close student Ibn al-Qayyim7 – in absolute contradiction to the Imams of the Salaf! Who, then, is the real “Shaykh-worshipper”?

They accuse us of Jahmism but follow the exact way of Jahmis literally and step-by-step as described by their own idol al-Barbahari in his Sharh Kitab al-Sunna in that they “consider licit the use of the sword against the Community of the Prophet ; contrave all those who came before them; investigate people with matters the Prophet never said nor any of his Companions; try to close mosques, humiliate Islam, and get rid of jihad; strive toward disunity; contradict the narrations of the Prophet and the Companions; argue on the basis of abrogated texts; use ambiguous texts as proofs; instill doubt in people over their Religion; and argue concerning their Lord [i.e. His Attributes]!8

Therefore, not only are they the Jahmis and not we, but also, as Sayyid Yusuf pointed out, they are the Mu`tazila because they “concur with them in denying sainthood and saints.”9 Al-Qushayri defined the walî as “One whose obedience attains permanence without interference of sin; whom Allah Most High preserves and guards, in permanent fashion, from the failures of sin through the power of acts of obedience.”10  These are present in the Umma until the end of time, as stated by the Prophet in his mass-transmitted (mutawatir) narration on the Victorious Group. Yet the New Kharijis in our time deny that they can be known!

They also accuse us of worshipping graves only because we insist on the Sunna of visiting the graves just as our Prophet insisted on it due to their reminder of the Hereafter. It is an honor, therefore, to be taken to task for doing something which the Prophet loved to do and insisted upon. Here we wish to ask our critics a question: When His Highness King Sa`ud ibn `Abd al-`Aziz intervened with the Syrian government in the fifties to preserve the tombs of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Kathir from obliteration at the time the University of Damascus was being built, why did no-one call him a qubûrî grave-lover?

Another consequence of the dismantlement of the Sunni Schools is the execration of fathers by sons as apostates (takfîr al-âbâ’) and its hideous consequence on the fabric of traditional societies. Africans tell the story of a young man sent to study Shari`a at great expense by his Sunni Muslim parents. Upon his return a few years later he refused to eat a chicken slaughtered in his honor by his father on the grounds that “my father is a mushrik.”

What perverse trick or brain-washing is this, that turns a traditional Sunni Muslim sent by his pious parents to the fountainhead of Islam and the abode of the Last Prophet only for him to return as one who hates and despises his own parents – the greatest sin after polytheism? Hardly anything can be uglier than a Muslim son declaring his Muslim father apostate after spending two or three years supposedly studying the Qur’an and the Sunna, which are Light upon Light brought to humanity by the Mercy to the worlds !

Yet, uglier still is the further consequence of violence at the societal level wreaked by extremists on the Muslims of Syria, Egypt, Algeria, Afghanistan, Daghistan, Chechnya, and within the Indian Subcontinent. The perpetrators are the graduates of Wahhabi thinkers such as the Egyptian ex-Socialist Sayyid Qutb, who considered that a Muslim is either a “revolutionist” (thawrî) or a disbeliever,11  and went so far as to declare all of the Islamic societies of his time apostate and fit to be overthrown before turning to the annihilation of non-Muslim states: “Islam is a force that runs to give freedom to all people on the earth with no regard to the variety of their religious beliefs. When this force meets with aberrant forces, it is its duty to struggle and annihilate them.”12  In all this, no differences are tolerated for “Islam is a whole: its separated parts should be united and the differences removed,”13 just like the Kharijis of old.

Today his spiritual children – such as the followers of Taqi al-Din al-Nabahani, who are outlawed in most Muslim countries – tell us not to participate in government, not to sit on jury duty, nor vote, nor sit on interfaith terms, nor recite remembrance of Allah Most High in collective gatherings of dhikr, nor commemorate the birthday of our Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – (mawlid) nor recite poetry in his honor, nor wear turbans and revive the vestimentary Sunna of the Prophet and the early Salaf, nor be strong and thoughtful Muslims in the society, but to stay alone in our corner and plan destruction and hatred of all that is other than us.

Our answer is that Dhikr of Allah is the most excellent act of His servants and is stressed over a hundred times in the Holy Qur’an! It is the most praiseworthy work to earn His pleasure, the most effective weapon to overcome the enemy, and the most deserving of deeds in reward. It is the flag of Islam, the polish of hearts, the essence of the science of faith, the immunization against hypocrisy, the head of worship, and the key of all success. Nor are there any restrictions on the modality, frequency, or timing of dhikr whatsoever. The restrictions on modality pertain to certain specific obligatory acts which are not the issue here, such as Salât. The Shari`a is clear and everyone knows what they have to do! Indeed, the Prophet said that the People of Paradise will only regret one thing: not having made enough dhikr in the world! Are not those who are making up reasons to discourage others from making dhikr afraid of Allah in this tremendous matter?

They want to convince traditional, moderate Muslims that “celebrating Mawlid does not earn you any reward in the Religion, you should mount fundraisers or media action alerts.” But, as one sensible respondant said, Allah Most High has Himself promised to give us blessings for doing good works. This could mean difficult things like being kind to one’s enemies or those who hurt you, a moderately easy thing like presenting a happy countenance to one’s spouse at all times, or even the simplest things like removing an obstacle from the thoroughfare. In other words, all good deeds earn the doer blessings and merits from Allah Most High. Are you now saying that making du`â for the added honor of the Prophet , or commemorating his noble deeds and magnificent character in order to firm the hearts of the believers (as happens in most mawlid celebrations), ranks even lower than any of the examples I gave above? Glory to my Lord Most High! May Allah grant this Community respite from such extreme and narrow-minded folk.


1 In al-Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ (1997 ed. 13:598).

2 Or must repeat the prayer after praying behind them.

3 Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (3:309), Bab al-Bughat [Chapter on Rebels].

4 Al-Sawi, Hashiya `ala Tafsir al-Jalalayn (v. 58:18-19) in the Cairo, 1939 al-Mashhad al-Husayni edition (3:307-8) repr. Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-`Arabi in Beirut.

5 Al-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim (16:220 and 7:214).

6 “Just before the Anti-Christ there will be years of great deception in which people will disbelieve one who tells the truth and believe the liar. They will distrust one who is trustworthy and trust one who is treacherous. And the ruwaybida will speak.” They asked: “What is the ruwaybida?” He said: “The minor scoundrel (al-fuwaysiq) who will have his say in general affairs.” Narrated from Anas by Ahmad (21:24-25 #13298) and Abu Ya`la (6:379) in their Musnads, the latter with a chain of trustworthy narrators according to Shaykh Husayn Asad; and from Abu Hurayra by Ibn Majah and Ahmad with al-tâfih (“the worthless man”) and al-safîh (“the impudent fool”) instead of fuwaysiq. Both narrations are fair (hasan) according to Shaykh Shu`ayb al-Arna’ut. Note that the term fuwaysiq also denotes the gecko, which the Prophet ordered to kill due to its harm.

7 In Hadi al-Arwah (p. 249 and 253).

8 Al-Barbahari in Sharh Kitab al-Sunna, as cited by Ibn Abi Ya`la in Tabaqat al-Hanabila (2:30).

9 Some condemn the rendering ‘sainthood’ and ‘saint’ for wilâya and walî as Christian imports. This is a specious objection as these are – like ‘Religion’ (dîn), `Believer’ (mu’min), ‘prayer’ (salât), etc. – generic terms for holiness and holy persons while there is no confusion, for Muslims, over their specific referents in Islam, namely: the reality of îmân with Godwariness and those who possess those qualities.

10 In Ibn `Abidin, Rasa’il (2:277).

11 In his book World’s Peace and Islam.

12 The Future is Islaam (p. 203).

13 Social Justice in Islam (p. 35).


The “Salafi” campaign of publication

Similarly, the propagators of the “Salafi” and Wahhabi movement and their sponsors are mounting a worldwide offensive to convince Muslims and the world that theirs is the only way on pains of sin and damnation.

To this end a vast campaign of publication has been under way since the early thirties, but whose efforts have redoubled since the eighties. This campaign is waged on four fronts:

1. Tampering of the Motherbooks
2. “Improving” on the Motherbooks
3. Reprint of Discredited and Condemned Books
4. New Books Attacking Sufis and Ash`aris

1. Tampering of the Motherbooks

A wanton, unethical manipulation of the great books of Islam has removed words or entire chapters from classical works by the great Imams such as al-Nawawi, al-Sawi, and Ibn `Abidin, while Tafsir al-Jalalayn and `Abd Allah Yusuf `Ali’s Tafsirs have been reprinted with changes. This corrupt tampering of the motherbooks has been documented at length.1

2. “Improving” on the Motherbooks

They publish unabashedly corrective comments on manuals whose contents have long since been established as normative in the scholarly Community of Islam. For example:

2.1 Ibn Abi al-`Izz’s commentary on al-Tahawi’s `Aqida. The latter is a normative classic of Islam but Ibn Abi al-`Izz is an unknown, unacceptable as a source for Ahl al-Sunna teachings. Examples of his unreliability are his rejection of al-Tahawi’s articles §35 (“The Seeing of Allah by the People of the Garden is true, without their vision being all-encompassing and without the manner of their vision being known”) and §38 (“He is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having parts or limbs, nor is He contained by the six directions as all created things are”) by the statements, “Can any vision be rationally conceived without face-to-face encounter? And in it there is a proof for His elevation (`uluw) over His creatures,” and “Whoever claims that Allah is seen without direction, let him verify his reason!”2 He also endorses Ibn Taymiyya’s view of the finality of Hellfire3 in flat contradiction of the al-Tahawi’s statement, §83. “The Garden and the Fire are created and shall never be extinguished nor come to an end.” There is also doubt as to Ibn Abi al-`Izz’s identity and authorship of this Sharh (cf. 4.1.3).

2.2 Al-Albani’s tiny supercommentary on Ibn Abi al-`Izz in which he attacks al-Tahawi’s preclusion of the concept of limbs and limits with relation to the Deity and denies the authenticity of the manuscripts of the Tahawiyya that carry the wording “He [Allah] encompasses everything and all that is above it [the Throne],” affirming only the wording, “He encompasses everything and is above it” on the proofless grounds that “there is nothing created above the Throne,” just like Ibn Hazm before him!4

2.3 Ibn Baz’s abortive comments on Ibn Hajar’s monumental Fath al-Bari. This has been analyzed elsewhere.5

2.4 Mashhur Salman’s shameless audacity in authoring an entire book casting aspersions on the doctrine of Imam al-Nawawi as described elsewhere.6

2.5 Khalil Harras’ disparaging edition of al-Suyuti’s classic on the Immense Merits of the Prophet titled al-Khasa’is al-Kubra, where he accused him of including forgeries and flimsy Israelite stories as well as “showing fanaticism [for the Prophet ] that brings one out of Islam.” Imagine al-Suyuti – Allah have mercy on him – a major hadith master of undisputed science, asceticism, and piety who reached mujtahid status, being called a fanatic apostate by a mediocre Azhar graduate derided even by his fellow “Salafis” for his ignorance of the science of hadith!7

2a. “Improving” Even on Their Own Sources

Not content to fiddle with the motherbooks of Ahl al-Sunna, they also find fault with the minor books which they save from oblivion, publish, edit, and distribute far and wide even when it comes to gainsaying their own putative authorities. The latter aspect is a patent illustration of the principle that each new generation of innovators rejects the previous one as too moderate:

2.6 Muhammad Hamid al-Fiqqi objects apoplectically to Ibn Taymiyya in his edition of the latter’s Iqtida’ al-Sirat al-Mustaqim in the section entitled: “Innovated festivities of time and place” for his saying that “some people innovate a celebration out of love for the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – and to exalt him, and Allah Most High may reward them for this love and striving,” with a two-page footnote exclaiming: “How can they possibly obtain a reward for this?! What striving is in this?!”

2.7 Mashhur Salman objects to Abu Shama with similar passion in the edition of his al-Ba`ith `ala Inkar al-Bida` wa al-Hawadith for his calling the celebration of Mawlid “Truly a praiseworthy innovation and a blessed one.” And so it is, just as Abu Shama said. Mashhur Salman, by the way, is the same person who ranked among the Mu`attila or “nullifiers of the Divine Attributes” – the chief label of the Jahmis – anyone that interprets the “Laughter” of Allah ( as divine good pleasure, including al-Bukhari, al-Qadi `Iyad, and al-Nawawi!8

3. Reprint of Discredited and Condemned Books

Imagine that a few generations from now a new school of thought will appear and gain such political ascendency that it will be able to convert a vast number of the Muslim youth and some of their elders that Muhammad Haykal’s Life of Muhammad is the best book of Sira that every Muslim home can have, although previously denounced as heretical.

This is exactly what is happening today with “Salafi” and Wahhabi books previously condemned by Ahl al-Sunna as anthropomorphist and heretical, presently being recirculated by the combined efforts of heavy financing, deviant teaching, internet and book publishing, and biased editorship. Among those books:

3.1 Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab’s “inelegant book… containing the acceptable and the inacceptable” – according to al-Shawkani’s student Siddiq Hasan Khan al-Qinnawji9  – Kitab al-Tawhid, which they have raised, through the power of free distribution and “dumping” on the book market, to the perceived status of classic when it is in fact replete with strange statements and doctrinal errors such as the following:

– Calling the Ash`aris “Nullifiers of the Divine Attributes” (mu`attila) [chapters 2, 16]
– Declaring the Lesser shirk an integral part of the Greater. [7]
– Deprecating the understanding of “the elite of people today” for tawhîd. [15]
– Stating that Abu Jahl knows lâ ilâha illâ Allâh better than the Muslim `Ulama. [18]
– Attributing the beginning of shirk on earth to the act of the people of knowledge and religion, caused by their love for saints. [19]
– Misinterpreting the hadith “do not make my grave an idol” to mean: do not even pray near it whereas the agreed-upon meaning is: Do not pray towards or on top of it. [20]
– Stating verbatim: “The disbelievers who know their disbelief are better-guided than the believers.” (inna al-kuffâr al-ladhîna ya`rifûna kufrahum ahdâ sabîlan min al-mu’minîn) [23]
– Stating: “Among the polytheists are those who love Allah with a tremendous love” [31].
– Stating: “The Muslim was named a worshipper of the dinar and dirham.” [37]
– Showing undisguised loathing of the Awliyâ, the `Ulama, and the mass of the Muslims: “Conditions decayed to this extent, so that, among most, worshipping the monks is the best deed and is called sainthood (wilâya), while worshipping the doctors of the Law is `knowledge’ and `jurisprudence.’ Then conditions decayed further, until those who were not even saints were worshipped besides Allah, and, in the second rank, those who were ignorant.” [38]
– Stating that “the two opposites [belief and disbelief] can be found in a single heart” [41] in violation of the verse {Allah has not assigned unto any man two hearts within his body} (33:4). This and the previous four concepts are fundamental to understand their propagation of mutual suspicion among Muslims.
– Equating the poem al-Burda to setting up an equal to Allah Most High [44].
– Assimilating the Islamic title qâdî al-qudât, “Judge of judges,” to the prohibited title shâhân shâh, “King of kings.” [46]
– Citing Ibn Hazm to explain a verse on `aqîda, although Ibn Hazm is considered by them a Jahmi in `aqîda.10 [50]
– Attributing shirk to Prophets “in name, not in reality.” [50]
– Stating that Allah ( is explicitly said to have two hands: the right holds the heaven and the other holds the earth, and the other is explicitly named the left hand. [67]

3.2 `Abd Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s al-Sunna, a foundational book of the Wahhabi creed and work of frank polytheism renamed al-Shirk by Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi in which “at least 50 percent of the hadiths are weak or outright forgeries” according to Shu`ayb al-Arna’ut! Its edition was sponsored by His Highness King `Abd al-`Aziz and a Jedda businessman named Muhammad Nasif in Cairo in 1349/1930 at al-Matba`a al-Salafiyya followed by two editions: by Muhammad Basyuni Zaghlul who based his work on the 1930 edition; and by Muhammad al-Qahtani, an Umm al-Qura University graduate and author of al-Wala’ wa al-Bara’ – a book that counts relying on the Prophet’s intercession among the “ten actions that negate Islam” although denying his intercession constitutes apostasy! Al-Kawthari lambasted Kitab al-Sunna as a collection of anthropomorphist forgeries in his Maqalat and renamed it Kitab al-Zaygh (“Book of Deviation”). The book actually attributes to Imam Ahmad the statement: “Allah spoke to Musa from His mouth (min fîh), and He handed him the Torah from His hand to his hand.” Al-Dhahabi blasts this narration and exclaims: “By Allah! the Imam never said these things. May Allah destroy the one who forged them!… Look at the ignorance of the hadith scholars, who narrate such nonsense without a peep.”11 Kitab al-Sunna was analyzed elsewhere.12

3.3 The same Muhammad Nasif financed the attack on Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari and the Hanafi School by `Abd al-Rahman al-Mu`allimi al-Yamani (d. 1386 AH) entitled al-Tankil li Ma Warada fi Ta’nib al-Kawthari min al-Abatil and in which al-Mu`allimi declared: “Allah has a body unlike bodies.”

3.4 The same Muhammad Nasif financed the reprinting of al-Qari’s hapless fatwa that the parents of the Prophet are in hellfire, and Mashhur Salman once again reprinted it recently with additional poisonous comments. The open “Salafi”/Wahhabi campaign against the family of the Best of creation is examined elsewhere.13

3.5 The same Muhammad Nasif financed the dissemination in India of the derogatory part of al-Khatib’s biography of Imam Abu Hanifa from Tarikh Baghdad with an Urdu translation and the part of Ibn Abi Shayba’s Musannaf attacking the Imam, also with an Urdu translation.

3.6 Reviving and freely distributing the previously condemned works of Ibn Taymiyya, such as the Fatwa Hamawiyya which was lambasted in his own lifetime by Ibn Jahbal al-Halabi “the Mufti of the Muslims in his time” according to Ibn Kathir; the `Aqida Wasitiyya which received an edition by Harras and another one by `Uthaymin; and others of his questionable books such as Hadith al-Nuzul, Awliya’ al-Shaytan, Iqtida’ al-Sirat al-Mustaqim, Qa`ida fi al-Tawassul, Ziyarat al-Qubur, etc.

3.7 Reviving and freely distributing the previously condemned works of his student Ibn al-Qayyim that are chock-full of anthropomorphic notions, forged reports, and rabid hatred of the Ash`ari School, such as al-Qasida al-Nuniyya and Ijtima` al-Juyush al-Islamiyya which cites such reports as: “Honor the cow, for it has not lifted its head to the sky since the [golden] calf was worshipped, out of shame before Allah,” a forgery apparently intended to encourage Muslims to believe that Allah is physically above the sky.14

3.8 Reprint of al-Harawi’s Dhamm `Ilm al-Kalam wa Ahlih when this book has been reviled by no less than Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani who forbade his students to read it and cited it as a prime example of bad writing as related by his student al-Sakhawi in al-Jawahir wa al-Durar.

3.9 Reprint of al-Biqa`i’s takfîr of Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn `Arabi – may Allah have mercy on him – in his book Masra` al-Tasawwuf, aw, Tanbih Al-Ghabi Ila Takfir Ibn `Arabi, ed. `Abd al-Rahman al-Wakil (Bilbis: Dar al-Taqwa, <1989>) when this Biqa`i has been the object of contempt for this fatwa and similar views about al-Ghazzali and others as revealed by Ibn Hajar al-Haytami in his Fatawa Hadithiyya and by al-Biqa`i’s own student, al-Suyuti, who rebutted him with his fatwa Tanbih Al-Ghabi Fi Takhti’a Ibn `Arabi, ed. `Abd al-Rahman Hasan Mahmud (Cairo: Maktaba al-Adab, 1990)!

4. Nobodies & Khariji-Leaning Hacks Who Attack Sufis and Ash`aris

4.1 In Arabic:

4.1.1 Muhammad Ahmad `Abd al-Salam wrote a book attacking the Sufis for keeping the lesser-known Sunan of prayer such as Salât al-Duhâ and Salât al-Awwâbin, which “Salafi” Wahhabis reject as spurious despite solid proofs not only among the texts but also in the general agreement of the elite of this Umma! His book was refuted by Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir `Isa Diab’s al-Mizan al-`Adil li-Tamyiz al-Haqq min al-Batil.

4.1.2 Muhammad al-Shuqayri who wrote his book al-Sunna wa al-Mubtada`at in which he violated the most elementary rules of language and displayed his terminal ignorance of Sunna and bid`a – although the latter is their favorite topic! He showed blind fanaticism and attacked the scholars of the Community as innovators on the misconceived basis of the hadith of the Prophet as diagnosed by Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa`i.15  He was refuted by Sayyid `Abd Allah Mahfuz al-Haddad’s al-Sunna wa al-Bid`a in which the latter adduces more than three hundred and fifty narrations of the Prophet and the Companions ( in refutation of “Salafis.”

4.1.3 Ibn Abi al-`Izz (cf. 2.1): Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari said: “A commentary was published [on the `Aqida Tahawiyya], authored by an Unknown spuriously affiliated with the Hanafi school, but whose handiwork proclaims his ignorance of this discipline and the fact that he is an anthropomorphist who has lost his compass.”16  The late Imam of hadith and usûl of Damascus, Sayyid Ibrahim al-Ya`qubi, suspected that “Ibn Abi al-`Izz” of being a pseudonym for Ibn al-Qayyim given away by the author’s systematic abandonment of the Maturidi – and even Sunni – position on not one but several key points in favor of Ibn Taymiyya’s innovations, as confirmed in the following lines.

Al-Qari said in Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar (p. 180): “One must not pay any attention to what the innovators imagine on rational bases. The commentator of al-Tahawi’s `Aqida [Ibn Abi al-`Izz in Sharh al-`Aqida al-Tahawiyya (p. 195)] committed a mistake in this regard when he said: `Can any vision be rationally conceived without face-to-face encounter? And in it there is a proof for His elevation (`uluw) over His creatures.’ It seems that he applies the upward direction to his Lord, whereas the doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a is that He – exalted is He – is not seen in any direction! The Prophet’s saying: ‘You shall see your Lord just as you see the moon on the night it is full’ [from Abu Hurayra by al-Tirmidhi (hasan gharîb) and Abu Hanifa in his Musnad and, in a slightly different wording, from Jarir ibn `Abd Allah al-Bajali by al-Bukhari and Muslim] is a simile (tashbîh) between two types of sightings generally speaking, not a simile between two objects of vision from every perspective.”

Ibn Abi al-`Izz also said in his Sharh (p. 195): “Whoever claims that Allah is seen without direction, let him verify his reason!” Note his casual dismissal of – and deviation from – Imam al-Tahawi’s position in the `Aqida (§35. “The Seeing of Allah by the People of the Garden is true, without their vision being all-encompassing and without the manner of their vision being known.” §38 “He is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having parts or limbs. Nor is He contained by the six directions as all created things are”) and Imam Abu Hanifa’s position in al-Wasiyya (p. 3-4): “The meeting (liqâ’) of Allah ( with the dwellers of Paradise is without modality, nor simile, nor direction.” (Liqâ’ Allâh ta`âlâ li ahl al-janna bi al-ru’ya al-basariyya bilâ kayf wa lâ tashbîh wa lâ jiha), cited by al-Qari in Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar (p. 176-177). Imam al-Haramayn said in al-Irshad (p. 167): “Among their [the Mu`tazila’s] insinuations are claims that stem, in fact, from pure speculation, such as their saying: `one who sees must be facing opposite what he sees, or virtually facing’ (al-râ’î yajib an yakûna muqâbilan li al-mar’î aw fî hukm al-muqâbil). We say to them: Do you know for certain what you are claiming, or do you know it on speculative bases? If they claim that they know it for certain and accuse whoever disagrees with them of denial, their credibility collapses and their untruth becomes manifest. The same reasoning applies to the anthropomorphists…. And the Creator sees His creation without direction, therefore it is possible that He be seen without direction.”

Ibn Taymiyya’s doctrine that Hellfire is of finite duration and shall come to an end was endorsed by Ibn Abi al-`Izz in his commentary on al-Tahawi in flat contradiction of the latter’s statement, §83. “The Garden and the Fire are created and shall never be extinguished nor come to an end,” cf. Sharh (p. 427-430). Ibn Taymiyya was refuted by Shaykh al-Islam al-Subki in his al-Durra al-Mudiyya fi al-Radd `ala Ibn Taymiyya and by Muhammad ibn Isma`il al-San`ani in his Raf` al-Astar li-Ibtal Adilla al-Qa’ilin bi-Fana al-Nar (“Exposing the Nullity of the Proofs of Those Who Claim That Hell-Fire Shall Pass Away”).17

Ibn Abi al-`Izz also adopts Ibn Taymiyya’s famous invention of three tawhîds: one for Godhead (tawhîd al-ulûhiyya), one for Lordship (tawhîd al-rubûbiyya), and one for the Divine Names and Attributes (tawhîd al-asmâ’ wa al-sifât).18 To our knowledge, this is found in no other commentary of the Tahawiyya, not even the “Salafi” commentary by Hasan al-Busnawi, although the latter does follow Ibn Abi al-`Izz in other matters. Abu Hamid ibn Marzuq’s critique of Ibn Taymiyya’s trinitarian monotheism has been translated and published.19

Finally, Ibn Abi al-`Izz subscribes, exactly like Ibn Taymiyya, to the philosophy that contingencies subsist (qiyâm al-hawâdith) in the Godhead; that the world is “generically pre-existent” (qadîmun bil-naw`); that Allah ( speaks with letters and sounds; and that He has “limits which He alone knows” although he himself reports: “The Salaf all agree that human beings have no knowledge of any limit for Allah, and they do not give any of His Attributes any limits. Abu Dawud al-Tayalisi said: `Sufyan, Shu`ba, Hammad ibn Zayd, Hammad ibn Salama, Sharik, and Abu `Awana did not attribute any limits [to Allah], nor any likeness, nor any simile'”!20

4.1.4 Muhammad Khalil Harras (cf. 2.5) wrote a commentary on Ibn Taymiyya’s `Aqida Wasitiyya – distributed for free in the Arab world – in which he follows Ibn Abi al-`Izz and the latter’s sources in positively asserting altitude (`uluw) and direction (jiha) to the Creator. In it he said: “It is necessary for something seen, to be in the direction of the seer” (p. 73) whereas Imam al-Ash`ari said, “the vision of Allah entails neither direction, nor place, nor form, nor face-to-face encounter, neither by impingement of rays nor by impression, all of which are impossible.”21  he also said: “How can the ‘hand’ [of Allah Most High] be interpreted to mean power when the text proves mentioning of palm, fingers, right and left, closing, opening, etc. which can happen only in the case of a real hand”! (p. 44). He brought out a reprint of Ibn Khuzayma’s infamous Kitab al-Tawhid, in which he gave proofs of ignorance compounded with stupidity as illustrated by his commenting upon Ibn Khuzayma’s narration of the hadith of the Prophet : “I passed by Musa as he was praying in his grave”: “This report is not authentically raised up to the Prophet but was narrated mawqûf, and Anas narrated it from one the Companions once, which makes it a jumble-chained (mudtarib) report”!22  Aside from the utterly faulty takhrîj of this sahîh hadith found in Sahih Muslim, how could anyone possibly say of a report stating “I saw the Prophet Musa (” that it is a Companion-report? unless that Companion is al-Khidr! Not surprisingly, Harras is considered even by his admirer Albani to “lack sufficient skill in this matter” – as stated by the latter in his introduction to Ibn `Abd al-Salam’s Bidaya al-Sul – and was further lambasted for his countless errors in his edition of al-Suyuti’s Khasa’is al-Kubra by the Moroccan hadith scholar `Abd Allah al-Talidi in the introduction to his Tahdhib al-Khasa’is al-Kubra.

4.1.5 Al-Albani the watchmaker turned scholar concerning whom Imam Mashhur al-Haddad predicted that he would die an apostate. Indeed, his innovations and blunders culminated in his fatwa that Muslims must exit en masse from Palestine and his demanding in four or five of his books that the Noble Grave be brought out of the Mosque in Madina and its Green Dome destroyed.

He also gave the fatwa that if anyone invokes blessings on the Prophet when he hears the khatîb recite {Lo! Allah and His angels make salât upon the Prophet. O you who believe! Make salât upon him and salute him with a worthy salutation} (33:56), his Jumu`a is invalid.23

4.1.6 `Abd al-Rahman `Abd al-Khaliq, al-Albani’s student and deputy in Kuwait, he assaulted the host of the Friends of Allah and Saints in his book al-Fikr al-Sufi (“Sufi Thought”) which he followed up with its abridgment Fada’ih al-Sufiyya (“The Disgraces of the Sufis”), a book Dr. Sa`id al-Buti called an exercise in calumny.24  In it he considers all Sufis to be free-thinking heretics (zanâdiqa) and lawless esotericists (bâtiniyyîn) astray in misguidance, even if among them are those eulogized by Ibn Taymiyya (on whom he wrote a book), Ibn Rajab, al-Dhahabi, and the rest of his Imams and putative authorities. He came up with more of the same in books such as al-Bida` wa al-Mubtadi`a, and al-Mawlid al-Nabawi. He was praised and encouraged by `Abd al-`Aziz ibn Baz upon the publication of his doctrine modestly titled al-Sirat.

4.1.7 `Abd al-Rahman Dimashqiyya, a Wahhabi-funded Lebanese author of dubious scholarship who published a few books, one apologizing for Ibn Taymiyya; another attacking Naqshbandi Sufis by culling through cut-and-paste the classic masterpieces of their Shuyukh; another attacking Ash`aris by culling the anti-Ash`ari passages of Ibn Hazm’s infamous work al-Fasl fi al-Milal wa al-Nihal, for which Ibn Hazm became synonymous with crass extremism and abject manners among the scholars of Islam.

4.1.8 Mahmud `Abd al-Ra’uf al-Qasim al-Madkhali, like Dimashqiyya an unknown whose claim to fame is a 1993 attack against Sufis which he titled al-Kashf `an Haqiqat al-Sufiyya (“Unveiling the Reality of the Sufis”). The book was soundly refuted by Dr. `Abd al-Qadir `Isa in his 700-page Haqa’iq `an al-Tasawwuf

4.1.9 Al-Tuwayjiri (Hamd ibn `Abd al-Muhsin): with due respect to his person, he demanded that women caught driving in Saudi Arabia be labeled as prostitutes in the lawcourts. In his introduction to his edition of Ibn Taymiyya’s anthropomorphist manifesto – the Fatwa Hamawiyya – he states: “The proponents of the Ash`ari school have named it, falsely and slanderously, the school of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a.” He mutters similar aspersions in his introduction to al-Harawi’s Dhamm `Ilm al-Kalam. This man also wrote a separate book declaring Maturidis heretics.

4.1.10 Al-Jaza’iri (Abu Bakr), the harmer of the Prophet who used to shout in the middle of the Sanctuary of Madina: “The father and mother of the Prophet are in hellfire! The father and mother of the Prophet are in hellfire!” His other exploits are analyzed elsewhere.25

4.1.11 Al-Wadi`i (Muqbil ibn Hadi), a student of Hammad al-Ansari known for his propensity to insult the `Ulama of Islam and the Sufis, he attacked Imam Abu Hanifa – Allah be well-pleased with him – in a 1997 book he titled Nashr al-Sahifa fi Dhikr al-Sahih min Aqwal A’immat al-Jarh wa al-Ta`dil fi Abi Hanifa. In another book titled Riyad al-Janna fi al-Radd `ala A`da’ al-Sunna: wa-ma`ahu al-Tali`a fi al-Radd `ala Ghulat al-Shi`a: Hawla al-Qubba al-Mabniyya `ala Qabr al-Rasul published in 1981 at Matba`a al-Taqaddum in Cairo, he openly asks for the Green Dome in Madina to be demolished and for the grave of the Prophet to be brought out of his Mosque. His latest work (1999) is typically titled Fada’ih (“Disgraces”).


1 Cf. Appendix, “Albani and Company,” par. on Ibn Baz.
This corrupt tampering of the motherbooks has been documented at length:
< See at living islam : islamic tradition: “Salafi” forgeries/manipulations >

2 Ibn Abi al-`Izz, Sharh al-`Aqida al-Tahawiyya (p. 195).

3 Ibid. (p. 427-430).

4 Al-Albani, al-`Aqida al-Tahawiyya, Sharh wa Ta`liq (p. 46, 56).

5 Cf. Appendix, “Albani and Company,” par. on Ibn Baz.

6 Cf. section “Dwarves on the Shoulders of Giants” in Shaykh Kabbani’s Encyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine (1:174-177) Islamic Beliefs and Doctrine (p. 204-208) and below, appendix “Al-Albani and Company.”

7 See below, par. 4.1.4.

8 Al-Rudud (p. 133).

9 In his Abjad al-`Ulum (3:198-199).

10 Cf. al-Albani’s unprecedented description of Ibn Hazm in his notes on al-Alusi’s al-Ayat al-Bayyinat (p. 64) as “a staunch Jahmi on the Divine Names and Attributes.”

11 Siyar (1997 ed. 9:503, 9:512).

12 Cf. section “The Sources of Ibn Taymiyya’s Ideas” in Shaykh Kabbani’s, Encyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine (1:85-86) Islamic Beliefs and Doctrine (p. 90-91) and Nuh Keller: < The Re-Formers of Islam >

13Cf. Appendix “Albani and Company” par. on al-Jaza’iri.

14 Nuh Keller: < Literalism and the Attributes of Allah >

15 See Advice #4, “Calling the Muslims: `Innovators’.”

16 Al-Kawthari, al-Hawi fi Sira al-Imam al-Tahawi (p. 38).

17 Ed. Albani (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1984).

18 In his Fatawa (1:219, 2:275); Minhaj al-Sunna (2: 62); Risala Ahl al-Suffa (p.34).

19 See notice on Ibn Taymiyya.

20 Ibn Abi al-`Izz, Sharh al-`Aqida al-Tahawiyya (1391/ 1971 ed. p. 239).

21 In al-Shahrastani, “Muslim Sects and Divisions” (p. 85).

22 Kitab al-Tawhid li Ibn Khuzayma (p. 376).

23 See Appendix, “Albani and Company.”

24 “I could easily compile in a book the abundant and reliable information I have and call it Fada’ih Ahl Najd but that would be slander on my part.” Al-Buti, Lesson 610 on Riyad al-Salihin: al-ghîba wa al-buhtân, Damascus, 1996.

25 See Appendix, “Albani and Company.”


4.1 In English

4.1.1 A glossy tract by Ibn Baz was published under the title Sunnah and Caution against Innovation in which the author prohibits the celebration of the birthday of the Prophet (mawlid) when the Consensus of the scholars has explicitly stated that whatever is subject to a difference of opinions among the Ulama can no longer be declared prohibited! Imam al-Nawawi and even Ibn Taymiyya said: “Scholars only protest against that which musters unanimous consensus; as for what does not muster unanimous consensus, then there is NO PERMISSION TO PROTEST.”1

4.1.2 An anonymous tract entitled A Brief Introduction to the Salafi Da`wah opens with the words: “The Salafi is not of the Ash`aris, who deny the Attributes of Allah.”2 This crass lie shows ignorance of the Salaf, ignorance of the Ash`aris, ignorance of the Divine Attributes, and blind imitation of Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab (cf. 3.1).

4.1.3 A complete unknown by the name of Muhammad Ma`soomee al-Khajnadee (d. 1961 CE) – former collaborator to Muhammad Rashid Rida and contributor to his periodical al-Manar – wrote a tract in which he accuses the Ash`aris of the same deviation. Translated and printed under the title Blind Following of Madhhabs (Birmingham: al-Hidaayah Publishing, 1993), its complete refutation is available at the site