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Old 10-08-2012, 10:59 PM   #1
shadilli
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Default Bleak House; Shaykh Asrar on Hamza Yusuf

Shaykh Asrar Rashid has issued a statement with respects to Hamza Yusuf's recent retraction/article entitled 'Sticks and Drones may break my bones but Fitna really hurts.'

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Old 10-08-2012, 11:22 PM   #2
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Abu al Mawahib posted on SunnaForum:
Orhan Gazi said:
We wait for a thorough refutation by the excellent and well informed young scholar Muhammad Danyal to some of the cunning used by Hamza. Take people in to a circular argument and keep them confused, this is the new style invented by Mr. Hamza.

In a nutshell, what Hamza wants people to take away from his article:

They are conducting themselves based upon some misguided adherence to their understanding of Islam. They are uncertain in themselves, and so they feel threatened by anyone who might differ with them; through fanaticism, they attempt to protect themselves from doubt but result in only obscuring their view.

Basically anyone who dares criticise Hamza for being misguided or ill-informed on certain issues is infact himself or herself misguided and a fanatic. Great, thanks Hamza!

Muhammad Danyaal has written a response entitled 'A Just Response to an Unjust Critic', in which he has refuted the accusations made against him and the Sunni Ulama of being Takfiris. He has demonstrated how to highlight a statement of Kufr does not necessitate the Takfir of an individual. Several other notions have also been dealt with.
http://adoptingorthodoxy.wordpress.com/
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:32 AM   #3
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Bleak House
By
Muhammad Asrar Rashid

I have a few observations [Mulahazat] regarding the recent retraction of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on mistakes which he has made.


A: Stating that an action or saying is Kufr [Disbelief] does not necessitate the Takfir [Anathematization] of the individual it has been ascribed to. This is the way of the Ahl al-Sunnah. Imam Taqi al-Din al-Subki in his refutation of the heresies of Ibn Taymiyyah entitled al-Durat al Mudiyah fi alRad a’la Ibn Taymiyyah refers to his positions as Kufr, but throughout the very same work refuses to make Takfir of Ibn Taymiyyah. In the same epistle he refers to the position of Ibn Taymiyyah as a rejection of consensus which is disbelief, but yet does not anathematize any specific individual.


By the same right, learned people have the right to point out positions that are heterodox and disbelief. Highlighting positions that are problematic and in opposition to the consensus does not make anyone an irresponsible Takfiri. Imam Nawawi, Imam Qadi Iyadh and Imam Rafi’i (amongst many others) have pointed out that a person who doubts the disbelief of Jews and Christians himself is a disbeliever. Would anyone have the audacity today to oppose these great Imams on their positions? If anyone were to cite these valid and relied upon positions today we cannot condemn them for doing so.


By the same token, if a Muslim cites the agreed upon position that the Qadiyani Sect, Lahori and other, are Kuffar and rejection of their Kufr is also Kufr, the Ulama of the Ahl al-Sunnah do not condemn him for doing so. In summary, propagating the agreed upon position of the Ahl al-Sunnah does not necessitate the Takfir of an individual unless the position explicit, thus moving from Luzum to Iltizam. The jurists have been more stringent in this regard compared to the theologians. Therefore the scholars have stipulated in this regard that taking the position of the theologians is safer. A clear example is where the jurists have declared anyone who insults the Shaykhayn [Abu Bakr and Umar] as disbelievers, yet the theologians have stated otherwise, however at the same time acknowledging that the latter positions is a heterodox position.


The scholars that I follow also take the position of the theologians over that of the jurists simply because it is the way of precaution. However this does not rule out that a particular position will be referred to as Kufr, yet this does not necessitate the disbelief of the individual. When looking at positions from the books of the scholars it is always necessary to see what the contemporary scholars of that age and later scholars have stated. This is the way of scholarly integrity and honesty. We will take the example of Imam Ghazali’s s passage in ‘Faysal al-Tafriqa’ which has been cited elsewhere by Shaykh Hamza and others. Imam Qadi Iyadh pointed out the mistake of this position and stated that anyone who moves away from the orthodox position on the salvation of the disbelievers has left the consensus and Islam. Yet Imam Khafaji explains in his commentary on the ‘Shifa’ of Qadi Iyadh that the passage from Imam Ghazali s has been taken out of context and the Imam himself has opposed the position ascribed to him. Imam Ibn Hajr al-Makki also exonerates Imam Ghazali by stating that these passages have been tampered and at the same time forwarding Imam Ghazali’s s real position. He does this in ‘al-Swaiq al-Muhriqah’ and ‘al-I’lam bi Qawati’ al-Islam’. Imam Muhammad bin Yusuf al Sanusi also clarifies Imam Ghazzali’s position in his ‘Sharh alMuqaddimat’.


B: Responsibility in an age of Irresponsibility

Fitna [Tribulation] and Bida’ [Heretical Innovation] are sometimes used as synonyms. In a Hadith narrated by al-Khatib and others, it is said “When dissension [Fitan] appears and my companions are cursed, then every learned one must reveal his knowledge. Whoever does not then upon him is the curse of Allah, the angels and Mankind. Allah will not accept any act of justice from him.” In another variation of the same narration the word ‘Fitan’ is exchanged by ‘Bida’’.


Today, we are living in an age where Fitna is rife and the companions are cursed on television, the internet and in literature. If the curse of Allah is upon those who conceal their knowledge, then what about those who spread Fitna [Innovation]? This is why in this age of irresponsibility our responsibilities as callers to Islam are more. Initially when the ‘Lahori Qadiyani’ debate ensued, some individuals aggressively defended the mistaken position. Now that Shaykh Hamza has retracted and acknowledged his mistake, and we commend him for doing so, where do these individuals stand? This is a time for introspection on how we formulate positions within our religion. Do we follow the consensus on a given position or do we follow the odd opinion of one individual without evaluating it with the consensus?

C: Taking Responsibility

When I first refuted Shaykh Hamza in a public lecture on the Dante issue, I referred to him as ‘Mark Hanson’. Some admirers of the Shaykh were offended, and from their perspective they had every right to be.


To me, however, someone teaching Dante’s ‘Inferno’ is as equivalent to teaching Rushdie’s ‘Satanic Verses’. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be Upon him) gave us guidelines with regard to such literature when he said:


“Should the stomach of anyone of you be filled with pus is better than it be filled with poetry in which I am reviled”



Similarly, I took great offence when Shaykh Hamza referred to our Master by his name without adding ‘Sayyiduna’ or saying ‘Salla Allahu alayhi wa Sallam’. In an age when we have Muslims placing the Quran on the floor when reciting it, stretching their feet out towards the Ka’bah, not acknowledging the special qualities of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) , calls for the destruction of the Green Dome in Madinah the Illuminated and destruction of our heritage at the hands of zealots, we need to teach books like the ‘Shifa’ of Qadi Iyadh and the works of Imam Yusuf al-Nabhani . It is not without reason that the author of ‘Dalail al-Khayrat’, Muhammad Ibn Sulayman al-Jazuli , states:


“Oh Allah! Grant us a death on the two testimonies of faith and the Sunnah wal Jama’ah.”

May Allah grant us this and make us responsible people.


Written by His sinful slave,
Asrar Rashid
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
To note that an individual may hold a position which is Kufr, need not necessitate that the individual is a Kafir. Rather, the maxim Man Shakka fi Kufrihi wa Azabihi faqad Kafar [Whoever doubts a Kafir’s kufr has too committed kufr] is followed. Therefore, to deny the Kufr of a Kafir causes to be a problem, not necessarily refraining from doing Takfir of a Heretic Sect.

Can someone please explain the above?

Does 'kufr' here imply 'luzumi'? Then would it be appropriate to call it 'kufr' in the first place?

What could be the reasons that would keep a person mu'min despite his holding belief/beliefs that are kufr? Is it merely the ambiguity and room for interpretation or something else? Then if a statement is categorized as definite kufr, why will takfir be witheld ? As in the following statement:

Quote:
We have categorically stated in the past and wish to re-iterate that we have NOT written that Hamza Yusuf is a Kafir, for we believe that is a task best left for the Muftis. We do however believe that he has blasphemed by defending Dante, praising him etc. And we do wish that he performs a proper public repentance and repeats his Shahadah.

So if he has to repeat the Shahadah, is it out of precaution rather than necessity? What opinion should a non-scholar/layperson hold of such an individual? If he refrains from calling him a kafir would he himself not fall under 'Man Shakka ......'?

The same questions also arise after reading Shaykh Asrar's response:
If Imam Subki et al. did consider the beliefs of ibn-taymiyyah to be kufr, then what made him withold takfir? If once classified as 'kufr', surely ambiguity/intention/interpretation could not be a reason? Was it the reports of his repentance? Or the weakness of the reports of his beliefs?

Ditto for Imam Ahmed Rida witholding from takfir of Dehlawi, it wasn't due to ambiguity but due reports of his repentance.

So what would be the bar in the case of Hanson?

Someone please take time to respond to these queries cause they are very important, especially in these times when a person keeps hearing of deviant opinions all the time: Should he teeter in every case? And what would be the ruling upon him if he did? Didn't Al-Qari say that a belief that violates the dharuriyat ad deen expels a person from islam, ignorance can't be an excuse?

Jazakallah. Wassalaam.
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:19 AM   #5
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one advice we receive as students of sacred law is to be patient; sometimes, we find explanations in unexpected places. and often, after a long wait.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:20 PM   #6
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Khalid Williams on deenport:

Quote:
"Also, nobody made takfir of Shaykh Hamza."

Nobody? I think a few people did.

MR's post is entirely correct - he says that Asrar's followers go around making takfir of Shaykh Nuh, and my golly they certainly do. Even I know this from a thousand miles away. So such language is unfortunate because the followers will jump on it and take it to further extremes than the shaykh himself does. I find this ironic because it is exactly what Shaykh Hamza is being accused of doing - as Shaykh Danyal says, "we must take utmost caution when we speak; both in small groups and when addressing large audiences." That goes both ways.

As for the Dante business, I do not think it is difficult to see why people would object, especially the Muslims who have been inspired by the movement towards traditional scholarship in which Shaykh Hamza has played a leading role. To put it simply, I don't think someone like Qadi Iyad would be moved by this 'nuanced language' argument (although I certainly am, let me make that clear; and no, that doesn't mean I'm holding myself above Qadi Iyad - it's not a question of that at all). Yes Shaykh Hamza was speaking to a roomful of mostly non-Muslims, but he is a hugely respected Muslim leader seen by many as a kind of Hujjat al-Islam, and his words are recorded and broadcast to a global English-speaking Muslims audience hungry to hear everything he says because of their love and respect for him. Dante is a huge literary figure to be sure, but I'm also sure that there were other literary figures one could choose to focus on who didn't put those things in their books. I came across a website the other day called 'Shaykh Hamza's recommended books' or something, and one of the recommended books on it was Dante's Inferno, without any kind of caveat or warning as to what it contains. Clearly this site was made by a diehard fan of Shaykh Hamza's. This is one of the trade-offs of having a mass following (regardless of whether you sought that following or not, which I don't believe Shaykh Hamza did): you can't say whatever you want any more without there being unintended consequences.

When it comes to Shaykh Hamza's explanation (or 'defence'), for some it is easy enough to understand: Dante didn't really know who he was talking about, his information was incomplete, he was speaking of names without knowing the realities behind them, and so on. That's all well and good, but (1) not everyone's mind works that way, and (2) no one put a gun to anyone's head and told them to teach from Dante's book; this could have been avoided by the exercising of a little tact. The reaction was entirely to be expected - and the manner of the reaction was exactly the sort that would be expected by people who were inspired by Shaykh Hamza's push for a return to traditional Islamic scholarship in the first place: they wrote to several scholars asking their opinions, published the fatwas of these scholars, and wrote scholarly refutations of their own. That's what the scholars of Islam have been doing for centuries. Did some other people jump all over these responses and use them as an excuse for some old-fashioned mudslinging? Yes, to be sure. But that doesn't change the fact that there is some substance in all of this. If there wasn't, Shaykh Hamza would not have replied at all.

All in all I think it boils down to the problem of having connections to different worlds and social spheres and trying to balance them. There's a fine line between speaking to people 'as their minds can bear' as Imam Ali put it, and being outright self-contradictory - even if you manage to achieve the former, some people will always accuse you of being guilty of the latter.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:22 PM   #7
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Faisal Raja refuting a comment:

Quote:
"I feel that Shaykh Hamza is like an open window--he really embraces the spirit of Islam and knows how to understand the Hadiths and words of the scholars in their proper context."

Unless you're a scholar yourself, how are you able to discern this? Is it because you feel his interpretation is more acceptable to the nafs?

I disagree - when it comes to the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, we need to be clear as daylight. Which is the same reason why Sayyid Muhammad al-Yaqoubi picked up upon the statements made by the Mufti of Syria. We know what the Mufti intended, but by his words, he insulted the Best of Creation.
Faisal Raja

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Old 10-09-2012, 12:28 PM   #8
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Faisal:

Quote:
well judging by the responses, you're wrong. Danyaal has clearly commended Shaykh Hamza for clarifying the issue on the Lahoris.

Khalid Williams:

Quote:
In the interest of balance (and since I haven't been particularly enamoured of either side of this debate), I'd like to say that the responses to this article made by Shaykhs Muhammad Danyal and Asrar Rashid have been measured and scholarly, and that they both took pains to say that they had not anathematized Shaykh Hamza, a point which seemed to have been lost on many of their laymen followers (and which was admittedly not helped by the constant references to him as 'Mark Hanson'). I do not think either of these men are 'stupid', not by a long chalk.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:46 PM   #9
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@Unbeknown:

Once the kufr becomes Iltizam, then the rule of 'man shakka fi kufrihi wa azabihi', and this is pointed out in the above article:

Quote:
In summary, propagating the agreed upon position of the Ahl al-Sunnah does not necessitate the Takfir of an individual unless the position explicit, thus moving from Luzum to Iltizam.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:58 PM   #10
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Mohammed Shakil:

Quote:
Shaykh Sayyid Irfan Shah Mashadi is not the teacher of Shaykh Asrar. Shaykh Mashadi has given an explanation. Maybe you could write a refutation?

For your information Shaykh Asrar has responded.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube_gdat a_player&v=5jcnFTExlq0

For the sake of fairness as both Shaykh Danyaal and Shaykh Asrar are being discussed here it should be known both of them have written on Shaykh Hamza's post on Sandala. The links can be found on the Masabih forums.
Mohammed Shakil

That is in response to a Nuh Keller murid,
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