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Enthronement of the “Prophet”

– Allah bless and greet him –
(Iq`ad al-Nabi (Saws) `ala al-`Arsh)

by GF Haddad

NOTES (continued)

48Al-Tabari, Jami` al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur’an (Beirut: Dar al-Ma`arif,
1980, 8:98). The hadith of Abu Hurayra is narrated by Ahmad and
al-Tirmidhi with the same chain, and the latter declared it fair (hasan).
The chain is weak because of Dawud ibn Yazid but the hadith itself is
sound (sahīh). This is stated by Hamza Ahmad al-Zayn in his edition of
Ahmad’s Musnad (9:296 #9696, 9:415 #10152(m)) and by Nasir al-Albani in
his edition of Ibn Abi `Asim’s al-Sunna (p. 350 #784). The narration is
confirmed by the hadith of Ibn `Umar in al-Bukhari’s Sahih (book of
Tafsir) whereby “Intercession shall be given over to the Prophet – Allah
bless and greet him -, and that is the day when Allah shall raise him to
the Exalted Station.” Another confirmation is in the long hadith of the
Prophet’s – Allah bless and greet him – intercession from Abu Sa`id
al-Khudri in the last book of al-Bukhari’s Sahih. There is also the hadith
from Ka`b ibn Malik whereby the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him –
said: “People will be raised on the Day of Resurrection and I shall be, I
and my Community, on top of a hill; there, my Lord shall dress me with a
green garment and grant me His permission, whereupon I shall say whatever
it pleases Allah that I say: that is the Exalted Station.” Narrated by
Ahmad with a sound chain as stated by the editor of the Musnad (12:309-310
#15723) as well as by al-Tabarani in his Kabir (19:72 #142) with a sound
chain as indicated by al-Haythami (7:51, 10:377), and by Ibn Hibban
(14:399 #6479).

49Cf. Sulayman ibn `Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab’s words in
his al-Tawdih `an Tawhid al-Khallaq fi Jawab Ahl al-`Iraq (1319/1901, p.
34, and new ed. al-Riyad: Dar Tibah, 1984): “It is obligatory to declare
that Allah is separate (bā’in) from creation, established over His Throne
without modality or likeness or exemplariness. Allah was and there was no
place, then He created place and He is exalted as He was before He created
place.” See also our posting titled “Allah is Now as He Ever Was.”

50Abu Nu`aym narrates with his chain from `Ali in Hilya al-Awliya’ (1997
ed. 1:114 #227) in the chapter on `Ali ibn Abi Talib the latter’s saying
to the forty Jews who asked Him about Allah’s nature and description: “How
can even the most eloquent tongues describe Him Who did not exist among
things so that He could be said to be `separate from them’ (bā’in)?
Rather, He is described without modality, and He is (nearer to [man] than
his jugular vein( (50:16).” The report is also found in Kanz al-`Ummal.
See, on the meaning of bā’in, the explanation of “The Far” (al-Ba`īd) in
Ibn `Arabi’s `Aqida §163 (full text was posted on MSA-EC and SRI).

51An inappropriate phrasing to say the least, and who claims that the Lord
of Glory and Munificence would seat His Most Beloved on the ground? The
wording should have been, “it is equally the same whether He seats him –
Allah bless and greet him – on His Throne or anywhere else.” And Allah
knows best.

52These are the Hashwiyya or gross anthropomorphists, as indicated by
their statements.

53This analogy is of course false both in its premises and its

54See the discussion of this belief in Section 1 (“The Groaning of the

55The argument is based on the presupposition that there is nothing
created above the Throne, as Ibn Hazm stated in his al-Fisal fi al-Milal
wa al-Ahwa’ wa al-Nihal (2:125) when he defined istiwā’ as “an act
pertaining to the Throne, and that is the termination of His creation at
the Throne, for there is nothing beyond it.” According to this axiom, the
Throne is the separator between Creator and created, or Lordship and

56This is similar to Ibn Abi `Asim’s narration quoted in Section 6.

57The weakness of this reasoning is readily apparent to the reader.

58Once again a false premise and conclusion. Al-Tabari throughout does not
address the fundamental error that consists in attributing location and
other contingent attributes of the created to the Creator.

59Al-Tabari, Tafsir (8:97-100).

60`Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Hasan ibn `Ubayd, al-Qadi, Abu al-Qasim al-Asadi
al-Hamadhani (d. 352). A weak narrator. His narration from Ibn Dizil was
declared inauthentic by Salih ibn Ahmad al-Hamadhani, and he was accused
of lying by al-Qasim ibn Abi Salih, but al-Daraqutni narrated from him, as
did al-Hakim, Ibn Mandah, Ibn Marduyah, and Abu `Ali ibn Shadhan.
Al-Dhahabi, Mizan (2:556-557 #4852); al-Dhahabi, Siyar (12:194-195 #3201);
Ibn Hijar, Lisan (3:411-412).

61Ibrahim ibn al-Husayn ibn `Ali al-Hamadhani al-Kisa’i, known as Ibn
Dizil or Dayzil (d. 281), a trustworthy hadith master.

62Adam ibn Abi Iyas, Abu al-Hasan al-`Asqalani al-Khurasani (d. 220), a
trustworthy hadith master and one of al-Bukhari’s narrators.

63Warqa’ ibn `Umar, Abu Bishr al-Yashkari (d. ?), one of al-Bukhari’s

64Mujahid, Tafsir, ed. `Abd al-Rahman al-Tahir ibn Muhammad al-Suwarti
(Doha, Qatar: s.n., 1976), p. 369. Al-Bayhaqi in al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat
(2:209 #772) narrates from his shaykh al-Hakim with the same chain from
Mujahid the explanation of the verse (Lest any soul should say: Alas for
that I squandered of Allah’s flank!( (39:56) as: “What I wasted of His
commands.” Al-Bayhaqi in al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat (2:209 #772) narrates from
Mujahid the explanation of this verse as: “What I wasted of His commands.”
Al-Bukhari cited this explanation in his Sahih in the book of Jana’iz,
chapter on the merit of following a funeral. It is also the explanation
given for janb (“flank” or “side”) by al-Raghib al-Asfahani in his
Mufradat Alfaz al-Qur’an. Al-Dhahabi in the Siyar (13:368-369 #3988)
criticized the anthropomorphic understanding of the Maliki Abu `Umar
al-Talamanki (d. 429), who mentioned the verse in a chapter named “The
Side of Allah” in his book on doctrine: “I saw a book of his on the Sunna
in two volumes, most of which is good, but in some of which chapters is
found what none would ever agree with, for example: `Chapter on the Side
of Allah’ in which he mentioned: (Alas, my grief that I was unmindful of
the side of Allah(. This is a scholar’s slip.” The latter phrase alludes
to a hadith narrated from Abu al-Darda’ whereby the Prophet – Allah bless
and greet him – said: “I fear three things for my Community most of all:
the slip of the scholar, the disputation of a hypocrite about the Qur’an,
and those who deny Allah’s Foreordained Destiny.” Al-Haythami said in
Majma` al-Zawa’id: “Al-Tabarani narrates it in al-Kabir but its chain
contains Mu`awiya ibn Yahya al-Sadafi, who is weak.” There are several
other weak narrations for this hadith.

65Related by al-Suyuti in Tahdhir al-Khawass min Akadhib al-Qussas.
Frederik Kern cites this account in his introduction to his edition of
al-Tabari’s Ikhtilaf al-Fuqaha’ (Cairo, 1902).

66Cf. al-Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ (11:291-301 #2696).

67Muhammad ibn `Ali ibn `Amr ibn Mahdi, Abu Sa`id al-Asbahani al-Hanbali
al-Naqqash (d. 414). One of the major, trustworthy hadith masters of the
Hanbali school, he authored a book entitled Tabaqat al-Sufiyya
(“Biographical Layers of the Sufis”). Siyar (13:193-194 #3801).

68Sulayman ibn al-Ash`ath, Abu Dawud al-Sijistani (d. 275). One of the
major Imams of hadith, the author of the Sunan and a student of Imam

69This verse is the first proof cited by Imam al-Ash`ari in his Ibana for
the vision of Allah in the hereafter. Al-Bukhari devoted a chapter to the
verse in the book of doctrine (tawhid) at the end of his Sahih in which he
narrates from Jabr ibn `Abd Allah the hadith whereby the Prophet – Allah
bless and greet him – said: “You shall see Allah with your very eyes”
(innakum satarawna rabbakum `iyānan). It is a tenet of the doctrine of Ahl
al-Sunna around which there is agreement, as stated by Ibn Hajar in his
commentary on the chapter (#24) on the vision of Allah in the Hereafter in
Fath al-Bari. Hence Imam Ahmad’s statement: “Whoever denies the vision of
Allah in the hereafter is a disbeliever,” narrated respectively from Abu
Bakr al-Marwazi, Abu Dawud, and Abu Muhammad al-Barbahari by Ibn Abi Ya`la
in Tabaqat al-Hanabila (1:59, 1:161, 2:27). Mujahid’s interpretation of
the verse of the Vision is also cited by al-Suyuti in his Durr al-Manthur.

70Ibn `Abd al-Barr, al-Tamhid (7:157-158).

71Al-Qurtubi thus only sees impossibility in the addition of the terms
“with Him” to the phrase “Allah will seat him on the Throne,” because such
an addition presupposes two aberrations: (1) that Allah Most High sits on
the Throne; (2) that Allah Most High has a sitting-partner. Imam
al-Ash`ari said in the first words of his chapter on istiwā’ in his Ibana
(Sabbagh 1994 ed. p. 89; cf. `Uyun 1996 ed. p. 97): “Allah is elevated
over His Throne with an elevation that befits Him, without indwelling
(hulūl) nor settlement (istiqrār)” and again in the same chapter (Sabbagh
p. 95; `Uyun p. 102): “He is elevated over His Throne without modality
(kayfiyya) nor settlement (istiqrār).”

72See our posting, “Allah is now as He ever was.”

73See above, n. 51.

74Here al-Qurtubi proceeds to interpret as he had alluded that it should
be done when he said: “This is not to say that there is no such narration;
only that knowledge demands that it be interpreted figuratively.”

75Al-Qurtubi, al-Jami` li Ahkam al-Qur’an (verse 17:79).

76Al-Ash`ari, Maqalat al-Islamiyyin (1:284=p. 211).

77Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr ibn Sa`d, Shams al-Din Abu `Abd Allah al-Zur`i
al-Dimashqi al-Hanbali, known as Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (d. 751). A
specialist in Qur’anic commentary, hadith, fiqh and its principles, Arabic
philology and grammar, and the foremost disciple of Ibn Taymiyya whose
anthropomorphic and anti-madhhab teachings he helped perpetuate. Ibn
al-Qayyim’s “Book of the Soul” (Kitab al-Ruh) ranks among the best books
on the subject of the Islamic understanding of life after death according
to the Qur’an, the Sunna, and the doctrine of the Salaf and the Four
Imams, establishing without doubt that the dead hear the living and know
of them. Mumblings are sometimes heard about the authenticity of his
authorship of the book among the “Salafis.” However, the book is
undoubtedly by Ibn al-Qayyim and is attributed to him by over two dozen
scholars both in his time and after, such as al-Dhahabi, al-Safadi, Ibn
Kathir, Ibn Rajab, Ibn Nasir al-Din, Ibn Hajar, al-Biqa`i etc. It also
contains internal proofs of his authorship, such as his mention of his own
book – now lost – entitled Ma`rifa al-Ruh wa al-Nafs and his identifying
two of his direct teachers as Abu al-Hajjaj (al-Mizzi), and Ibn Taymiyya.
Another internal proof is Ibn al-Qayyim’s lapsing into excessive criticism
of Ash`aris and misattributions of spurious positions to them as is
typical of his school. Ibn al-Qayyim violently attacked imitation (taqlīd)
of the four schools of Law among traditional Sunni Muslims and voiced his
anti-madhhab stance in a two-volume work on the principles of the Law
entitled I`lam al-Muwaqqi`in. The Indian jurist and hadith scholar Habib
Ahmad al-Kiranawi blasted his theses in a 100-page epistle entitled al-Din
al-Qayyim, included in full in his Fawa’id fi `Ulum al-Fiqh in the second
volume of the general introduction to al-Tahanawi’s I`la’ al-Sunan
(2:1-99). (This epistle is probably the most comprehensive rebuttal of
“Salafi” anti-madhhabism). Ibn al-Qayyim also wrote extensively on
tasawwuf with which he evidently felt strong affinities. He wrote an
extensive commentary on al-Harawi al-Ansari’s slim Sufi manual entitled
Manazil al-Sa’irin ila al-Haqq which he named Madarij al-Salikin and in
which he says (2:307): “Religion is all moral character (khuluq), and
whoever bests you in moral character, bests you in Religion. It is the
same with tasawwuf. …. Tasawwuf is one of the cornerstones (zawāyā) of
true wayfaring (al-sulūk al-haqīqī) and the purification and disciplining
of the self (tazkiya al-nafs wa tahdhībuhā) so that it may prepare itself
for its journey to the company of the Highest Assembly and for being
together with its beloved.” His complete biographical notice was posted on

78This is Muhammad ibn al-Qadi Muhammad Abi Ya`la ibn al-Husayn, Al-Qadi
Abu al-Husayn al-Farra’, known as Ibn Abi Ya`la (d. 526), the author of
Tabaqat al-Hanabila (“Biographical Layers of the Hanbalis”). Al-Dhahabi
said of him: “He exaggerated concerning the Sunna and harped upon the
Attributes…. Al-Silafi said: `He showed fanaticism for his school and
criticized Ash`aris a lot without fearing any reproach; he composed books
pertaining to his school; he was devout, trustworthy, and well-established
as a narrator and we took hadith from him.’” Ibn Abi Ya`la’s father,
al-Qadi Abu Ya`la ibn al-Farra’ – Muhammad ibn al-Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn
Khalaf – (d. 458) was one of the major jurisprudent scholars of the
Hanbali school and also the author of attacks on Ash`aris such as his book
Ibtal al-Ta’wil (“The Invalidation of Figurative Interpretation”) in
which, al-Dhahabi in Mukhtasar al-`Uluw (p. 271) says, “he spoke at length
citing worthless narrations which are inappropriate for use to assert any
divine Attribute whatsoever.” Abu Ya`la is himself dismissed as an
anthropomorphist (mujassim) by the Maliki scholar Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi
in al-Qawasim wa al-`Awasim (2:283), the Shafi`i Ibn al-Athir, and his own
Hanbali colleagues such as Abu Muhammad al-Tamimi (d. 488) and Ibn
al-Jawzi, throughout the latter’s book Radd Shubah al-Tashbih. Main
sources: Siyar 14:481 #4749; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh 10:52
[year 458].

79Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hallaj, Abu Bakr al-Marrudhi or Marruzi or
Marwazi (d. 275). A trustworthy hadith master and the closest companion of
Imam Ahmad whom he washed and laid in his grave. He was celebrated for his
piety. Ibn Abi Ya`la relates that al-Marwazi said: “I asked Ahmad ibn
Hanbal about the hadiths which the Jahmis reject concerning the
Attributes, the vision of Allah [in the hereafter], the Prophet’s – Allah
bless and greet him – ascension [body and soul], and the story of the
Throne; he declared them sound and said: `The Community accepted them, and
these reports are taken exactly as they come’ [i.e. without one seeking to
explain them].” This all-too-vague reference to “the story of the Throne”
is the nearest thing to a reported position on Imam Ahmad’s part
concerning the Prophet’s – Allah bless and greet him – seating next to
Allah Most High on the Throne. Ibn Abi Ya`la, Tabaqat al-Hanabila (1:56).

80Ahmad ibn Asram al-Muzani (d. 285). He took hadith from Imam Ahmad and
others of the same biographical layer and is unanimously described as
trustworthy. He should not be confused with the great mujtahid imam and
student of al-Shafi`i, Yahya ibn Isma`il al-Muzani (d. 264).

81Yahya ibn Abi Talib Ja`far ibn al-Zabarqan al-Baghdadi (d. 275).
Al-Dhahabi related that al-Daraqutni declared him trustworthy (thiqa),
although Musa ibn Harun declared him a liar and Abu Dawud crossed out his
narrations. Al-Dhahabi, Mizan al-I`tidal (4:387) and al-Mughni fi
al-Du`afa’ (3:732).

82Abu Bakr ibn Hammad is unidentified. This may be the trustworthy hadith
master Abu Bakr al-Naysaburi, Muhammad ibn Hamdun ibn Khalid (d. 320). One
of Ibn Khuzayma’s shaykhs, he took hadith from the Hanbali scholars Abu
Zur`a, `Abbas al-Duri, Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Dhuhli, and their layer.
Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ (11:525 #2876).

83Abu Ja`far al-Dimashqi is unidentified. This may be Abu Ja`far
al-Wasiti, Ahmad ibn Sinan ibn Asad (d. 259?), author of the Musnad, from
whom narrated al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ibn Kuzayma, and
others. Among his sayings: “There is not in the world a person of
innovation except they hate the people of the hadith; and if a man
innovates, the sweetness of the hadith is removed from his heart.”
Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ (10:185 #2053).

84`Abbas ibn Muhammad ibn Hatim al-Duri (d. 271), one of the hadith
masters, he transmitted narrations to “the Four” – al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasa’i,
Abu Dawud, and Ibn Majah. The hadith master al-Sakhawi, in the
introduction to his biography of his teacher Ibn Hajar entitled al-Jawahir
wa al-Durar, narrates that Imam Ahmad wrote a letter of recommendation for
al-Duri in which he refused to call him a scholar of hadith, but called
him a student of hadith instead. Al-Dhahabi avers that this took place in
his youth, at the beginning of his career. Siyar (10:358 #2164).

85Ishaq ibn Ibrahim ibn Makhlad, known as Ishaq ibn Rahuyah or Rahawayh,
Abu Ya`qub al-Tamimi al-Marwazi al-Hanzali (d. 238), one of the major
hadith masters. Abu Qudama considered him greater than Imam Ahmad in
memorization of hadith, a remarkable assessment considering Ahmad’s
knowledge of 700,000 to a million narrations according to his son `Abd
Allah’s and Abu Zur`a al-Razi’s estimations. He once said of himself: “I
never wrote anything except I memorized it, and I can now see before me
more than 70,000 hadiths in my book”; “I know the place of 100,000 hadiths
as if I were looking at them, and I memorize 70,000 of them by heart – all
sound (sahīha) – and 4,000 falsified ones.” [Narrated by al-Khatib in
al-Jami` li Akhlaq al-Rawi (2:380-381 #1832-1833).] He did not reach the
same stature in fiqh. Al-Bayhaqi and others narrate that he unsuccessfully
debated al-Shafi`i on a legal question, as a result of which the latter
disapproved of his title as the “jurisprudent of Khurasan.” To a Jahmi
scholar who said: “I disbelieve in a Lord that descends from one heaven to
another heaven,” Ibn Rahuyah replied: “I believe in a Lord that does what
He wishes.” [Narrated by al-Dhahabi who identifies the scholar as Ibrahim
ibn (Hisham) Abi Salih in Mukhtasar al-`Uluw (p. 191 #234).] Al-Bayhaqi
comments: “Ishaq ibn Ibrahim al-Hanzali made it clear, in this report,
that he considers the Descent (al-nuzūl) one of the Attributes of Action
(min sifāt al-fi`l). Secondly, he spoke of a descent without `how’. This
proves he did not hold displacement (al-intiqāl) and movement from one
place to another (al-zawāl) concerning it.” [See our posting, “The
`Descent’ of Allah Most High.”] Sources: Ibn Abi Ya`la, Tabaqat
al-Hanabila (1:6, 1:184); al-Bayhaqi, Manaqib al-Shafi`i (1:213) and
al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat (2:375-376 #951); al-Dhahabi, Siyar (9:558 #1877);
Ibn al-Subki, Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra (2:89-90, 9:81).

86`Abd al-Wahhab ibn `Abd al-Hakam al-Warraq (d. 251), a devoted follower
of Imam Ahmad who considered him his successor. Abu Bakr al-Marwazi
narrated in his book al-Wara` [(p. 10) published under the name of Imam
Ahmad] that Ahmad was asked on his deathbed who would succeed him as the
imam of the school. He said: “Put all your questions to `Abd al-Wahhab.”
One of the students present, Fath ibn Abi al-Fath, said: “But he does not
have much learning!” Ahmad replied: “He is a saintly man (rajul sālih):
one such as him is granted success in speaking the truth.” [This is also
narrated by Ibn Abi Ya`la in his chapter on al-Warraq in Tabaqat
al-Hanabila (1:210-212).] Among the statements reported from al-Warraq by
Ibn Abi Ya`la: “Abu `Abd Allah [Imam Ahmad] is our Imam. He is one of
(those who are firmly grounded in knowledge( (3:7, 4:162). If I were to
stand tomorrow before Allah and He asked me: `Who did you follow?’ I would
say: `Ahmad ibn Hanbal.’” “When the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him –
said: `Defer the question [about the Qur’an] to the one who has knowledge
of it’, we deferred it to Ahmad ibn Hanbal.” This is a reference to the
hadith: “The Qur’an was revealed in seven dialects, and speculative
wrangling (al-mira’) about it is disbelief” – he said it three times –
“therefore whatever you understand of it, put it into practice, and
whatever you do not understand, defer it to the one who has knowledge of
it.” Narrated from Abu Hurayra by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad with a sound
chain, as stated by al-Haythami (7:151) and by Ahmad Shakir in the Musnad
(8:107 #7976).

87Ibrahim ibn Awrama al-Asbahani (d. 266), a contemporary of `Abbas
al-Duri and Abu Dawud. Al-Dhahabi said: “His narrations are not widespread
because he died before the age in which one narrates. He lived fifty-five
years.” By the words “the age in which one narrates” al-Dhahabi means “the
age in which one achieves renown as a narrator.” Ibn Hajar in Sharh
al-Nukhba (p. 143) sets at fifty years the age at which one normally
begins to narrate, and forty as the minimum Note that Imam Malik was an
exception, since he started his narrating career at age twenty. Siyar
(10:525 #2295).

88Ibrahim ibn Ishaq al-Harbi (d. 285), a prominent companion and student
of Imam Ahmad. He autored a Gharīb al-Hadith among other books. Al-Hakim
relates that he was pre-eminent in Baghdad for four traits: his
superlative manners, his knowledge of the Law, his knowledge of hadith,
and his asceticism (zuhd). Al-Daraqutni said that in all these respects he
compared to Imam Ahmad himself. Among his sayings: “Not every separation
is estrangement, nor is every reunion love; only the nearness of the
hearts is love.” “The stranger is the one who once lived among saintly
people who helped him when he ordered good and forbade evil, and supplied
him when he had some worldly need, then they died and left him alone.” “I
never wasted anything, nor ate twice in the same day.” He disapproved of
`Ali ibn al-Madini because he once saw him going to pray behind the Jahmi
judge and grand inquisitor of Ahl al-Sunna, Ahmad ibn Abi Du’ad (d. 240).
The latter was principally responsible for the 28-month-long jailing and
flogging of Imam Ahmad who had declared him a disbeliever (kāfir) for
holding that the Qur’an was created. This is related by al-Khatib in
Tarikh Baghdad (4:142-153 #1825), al-Dhahabi in the chapter on Imam Ahmad
in the Siyar, Ibn al-Subki in Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra (2:37-51),
and others. Al-Dhahabi relates that al-Harbi’s grave in Baghdad is a place
one visits for its blessings. Ibn al-Jawzi included himself in the number
of those who performed this visitation and relates that al-Harbi himself
used to say: “Ma`ruf al-Karkhi’s grave is proven medicine.” This is also
related by al-Dhahabi who comments: “The supplication of those in need is
answered at every blessed site.” Ibn al-Jawzi, Sifa al-Safwa (2:410,
2:214); Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ (10:668-674 #2391 and 8:219

89Harun ibn Ma`ruf al-Marwazi al-Baghdadi al-Khazzaz (d. 231), one of the
shaykhs of Imam Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Abu Hatim al-Razi, Abu Zur`a,
al-Dhuhli, and others. He took narrations from Hushaym next to whose house
he lived, al-Darawardi, Ibn al-Mubarak, Ibn `Uyayna, Ibn Wahb, and others.
He is related to have said: “Whoever claims that the Qur’an is created, it
is as if he worships al-Lat and al-`Uzza. And whoever claims that Allah
does not speak, he is an idol-worshipper.” Siyar (9:400 #1844).

90Muhammad ibn Isma`il ibn Yusuf Abu Isma`il al-Sulami al-Tirmidhi (d.
280), a student of Imam Ahmad and trustworthy narrator of hadith, which he
took from Abu Nu`aym among others, and from him narrated al-Tirmidhi,
al-Nasa’i, Ibn Abi al-Dunya, and al-Najjad. Al-Dhahabi called him al-imām,
al-hāfiz, al-thiqa while al-Khatib relates that he was famous for his
defense of the belief of Ahl al-Sunna. Tarikh Baghdad (2:42); Siyar
(10:592 #2341).

91Muhammad ibn Mus`ab, Abu Ja`far al-Da“a’ (d. 228), a student of Ibn
al-Mubarak, he is reported to have visited Imam Ahmad who said of him: “He
was a saintly man (rajulan sālihan), and he used to tell stories (yaqussu)
and supplicate Allah Most High standing up in the mosque… Among his
supplications he said: `O Allah, hide me under Your Throne!’” Al-Daraqutni
mentioned that he was trustworthy. Abu Bakr al-Marrudhi narrated that he
recited the verse (It may be that thy Lord will raise thee to a praised
estate( (17:79) and said: “Indeed, He shall seat him with Him on the
Throne!” Al-Dhahabi mentions this report then says: “There is no authentic
text to that effect other than a discarded narration” meaning Mujahid’s
report. Al-Da“a’ should not be confused with Muhammad ibn Mus`ab
al-Qarqasani (d. 208), a companion of Imam al-Awza`i whose narrations he
is said to have reported mostly with mistakes, as a result of which he was
declared weak by al-Nasa’i and others. There is also Muhammad ibn Mansur
Abu Ja`far al-`Abid al-Tusi (d. 254), a student of Sufyan ibn `Uyayna and
Imam Ahmad and a companion of Ma`ruf al-Karkhi, who gave him food after he
found him fasting uninterruptedly on the fourth consecutive day. He could
see the pilgrims on `Arafa through kashf. Sources: Ibn Abi Ya`la, Tabaqat
al-Hanabila (1:320-321 #449), al-Dhahabi, Mukhtasar al-`Uluw (p. 183)
[al-Da“a’]; Tabaqat al-Hanabila (1:318 #448) [al-`Abid]; al-Dhahabi,
Mizan al-I`tidal (4:42 #8180) [al-Qarqasani].

92Abu Bakr ibn Sadaqa is unidentified other than as one of al-Tabarani’s
narrators and a contemporary of Abu Zur`a al-Razi (d. 264 or 268), Ibrahim
ibn Awrama (d. 266) and Abu Dawud (d. 275). He is mentioned in Abu Dawud’s
chapter in al-Dhahabi’s Siyar. Al-Qari in al-Asrar al-Marfu`a (p. 209-210)
and al-`Ajluni in Kashf al-Khafa under the hadith ra’aytu rabbī yawma
al-nafr mention the forged narration: “I saw my Lord in the image of a
long-haired / beardless young man” and then cite Ibn Sadaqa’s narration of
Abu Zur`a’s statement whereby the latter said: “None but a Mu`tazili
denies this sound (sahīh) hadith.” However, al-Suyuti in al-La’ali’
al-Masnu`a (1:27-31) showed that Abu Zur`a’s statement actually referred
to the hadith of Ibn `Abbas whereby the Prophet – Allah bless and greet
him – said: “I saw my Lord,” which most scholars agreed is sound (sahīh).
On this hadith see our posting, “The Vision of Allah.”

93Muhammad ibn Bishr ibn Sharik al-Nakha`i al-Kufi, “One of the shaykhs of
Ibn `Uqda (d. 332). He is unreliable.” Al-Dhahabi, Mizan (3:491 #7273).

94Abu Qilaba is `Abd al-Malik ibn Muhammad al-Raqashi al-Basri (d. 276),
one of the shaykhs of Ibn Majah. He used to pray four hundred rak`a in
every twenty-four hours. He could narrate 60,000 hadiths from memory as a
result of which he committed many mistakes according to al-Daraqutni.
However, others praised him for his utmost reliability, such as al-Tabari,
Abu Dawud, Ibn Hibban, and others. He narrated from Ahmad the hadith
whereby the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “The worst two
tribes among the Arabs are Najran and Banu Taghlib.” Ahmad and al-Tabarani
narrate it with sound chains as indicated by al-Haythami in Majma`
al-Zawa’id. Ibn al-Athir in al-Nihaya fi Gharīb al-Hadith said: “Najran is
a well-known place between the Hijaz, al-Shām, and Yemen.” Sources: Ibn
Abi Ya`la, Tabaqat al-Hanabila (1:216 #283); al-Dhahabi, Siyar (10:549
#2322). The practice of narrating solely from memory was not current
except as a test of someone’s memorization. Hadith scholars narrated only
from their written records, as demonstrated by M.M. Azami and others. `Abd
Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: “I never saw my father narrate except
from a book, save less than a hundred hadiths.” In the Siyar (9:457). The
best sources on the proof-texts for writing among the Companions and early
generations are Ibn `Abd al-Barr’s chapter Dhikr al-Rukhsa fi Kitab
al-`Ilm in his Jami` Bayan al-`Ilm (1:298-338) and especially al-Khatib
al-Baghdadi’s book Taqyid al-`Ilm (“The Fettering of Knowledge”). This
title is taken from Anas’s saying: “Fetter knowledge with writing”
(qayyidū al-`ilma bi al-kitāb). Anas also said: “We would not consider as
knowledge the knowledge of those who did not write down their knowledge.”
Taqyid (p. 96-97). This is similar to the Tābi`ī Mu`awiya ibn Qurra’s
statement: “Whoever does not write down the Science, do not consider him
knowledgeable.” Narrated by al-Darimi in his Sunan, al-Khatib in his
Taqyid (p. 109), al-Ramahurmuzi in al-Muhaddith al-Fasil (p. 372), and Ibn
`Abd al-Barr in Jami` Bayan al-`Ilm (1:321-322). See also al-Hakim
al-Tirmidhi’s chapter entitled “Writing is the means to fetter knowledge
and preserve it from oblivion” in his Nawadir al-Usul (p. 39-41). When all
is said there remains al-Khalil ibn Ahmad’s injunction: “Faithfulness to
what is in your breast takes priority over memorization of what is in your
books.” Narrated by al-Khatib in al-Jami` li Akhlaq al-Rawi (1:670 #1048).

95`Ali ibn Sahl ibn al-Mughira, Abu al-Hasan al-Nasa’i al-Baghdadi
al-Bazzaz (d. 270), a student of Ahmad ibn Hanbal. He is truthful (sadūq)
according to Ibn Abi Hatim in al-Jarh wa al-Ta`dil (6:189). Tabaqat
al-Hanabila (1:225 #313).


97Al-Qasim ibn Sallam ibn `Abd Allah, Abu `Ubayd al-Harawi (d. 224), one
of the great early hadith masters and philologists, author of Gharīb
al-Hadith, Fada’il al-Qur’an, and many other works. A student of
al-Shafi`i, Hushaym, Ibn `Uyayna, Ghundar, Ibn al-Mubarak, Waki`, Ibn
Mahdi, and others. He was one of `Abbas al-Duri’s shaykhs. Ishaq ibn
Rahuyah said: “As Allah loves the truth, Abu `Ubayd is better versed and
more knowledgeable in the Law than I.” Ibrahim al-Harbi said: “Abu `Ubayd
was like a mountain into which the Spirit was breathed. He excelled in
everything, except that the hadith was the specialty of Ahmad [ibn Hanbal]
and Yahya [ibn Ma`in].” `Abbas al-Duri said: “I heard Abu `Ubayd al-Qasim
ibn Sallam mention the vision of Allah [in the hereafter], the kursī where
the two Feet are placed, our Lord’s laughter, and where He was [before
creation], then he said: `All these are sound (sahīh) narrations
transmitted by the scholars of hadith and fiqh one from another; we
consider them the truth and do not doubt them. But if it were asked: How
does He laugh? or: How does He place His Foot? We reply: We do not explain
this; nor did we ever hear anyone explain it.’” Among his sayings: “He who
follows the Sunna is like one who is grasping a hot coal. Such a day is,
to me, preferable to striking sword-blows in the way of Allah Almighty.”
“I am puzzled by those who leave the principles and study the branches.”
Narrated by al-Khatib in al-Jami` li Akhlaq al-Rawi (2:270 #1612). Shaykh
Muhammad `Ajaj al-Khatib said: “He meant by `principles’ the foundational
books (al-kutub al-ummahāt).” Abu `Ubayd must not be confused with his
contemporary and philologist namesake Abu `Ubayda who is Ma`mar ibn
al-Muthanna al-Taymi (d. ~210). He authored Majaz al-Qur’an [Published in
Cairo in two volumes edited by Fuad Sezgin (1955 and 1962)] and the lost
Gharib al-Hadith as well as historical and lexicographical works. He is
cited heavily in Qur’anic commentaries and al-Baghawi reports in his
commentary Ma`alim al-Tanzil (al-Manar ed. 3:488) that he explained istawā
as “He mounted” (sa`ida) in the verse (Then He established Himself over
the Throne( (32:4). Pickthall followed that sense in his translation of
the verse as “Then He mounted the Throne.” Sources: Ibn Abi Ya`la, Tabaqat
al-Hanabila (1:259-262 #369); Al-Dhahabi, Siyar (9:183-191 #1702,
8:287-289 #1482); Ibn `Abd al-Barr, al-Intiqa’ (p. 167).

98Al-Husayn ibn al-Fadl, Abu `Ali al-Bajali (d. 282), a commentator of the
Qur’an described by al-Hakim as the Imam of his time in tafsir. Al-Hakim
narrated from Ibrahim ibn Mudarib: “I heard my father say: `Al-Husayn ibn
al-Fadl’s knowledge of the meanings of the Qur’an was inspiration from
Allah, for he had gone beyond the limits of learning.’” Siyar (10:707

99Harun ibn al-`Abbas al-Hashimi is unidentified. This is possibly Harun
ibn `Abd Allah ibn Marwan, Abu Musa al-Bazzaz al-Baghdadi, known as Harun
al-Hammal (d. 243), from whom Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Nasa’i and others
narrated hadiths, and who took hadith from Muhammad ibn Bishr. He is
unanimously trustworthy (thiqa). If he is the same as the “Harun
al-Hashimi” mentioned in Tabaqat al-Hanabila, then it is established that
Abu Bakr al-Najjad narrated from him. Tabaqat al-Hanabila (2:7); Siyar


101Muhammad ibn `Imran al-Marzubani (d. 384), one of the rare Mu`tazili
scholars from whom hadith scholars took narrations and whom they
considered trustworthy in his transmission, though not unanimously. His
mention by Ibn Abi Ya`la and Ibn al-Qayyim among those who support their
view of the seating of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – on the
Throne shows that they tried to collect as exhaustive a list of
authorities as they could. Cf. Al-Dhahabi, Mizan (3:672).

102Muhammad ibn Yunus al-Basri al-Kudaymi (d. 286): a hadith master
accused of forgery. Al-Dhahabi, Mizan (4:74).

103`Abd Allah ibn Ahmad (ibn Muhammad) ibn Hanbal (d. 290). A hadith
master who compiled and transmitted the Musnad of his father Imam Ahmad
who praised his knowledge of hadith. Ibn Abi Ya`la narrates from `Abd
Allah that Imam Ahmad said: “Musa remained for forty nights such that
no-one could look at him without falling dead due to the light from the
Lord of the worlds.” Al-Suyuti cites it in al-Durr al-Manthur and says it
is narrated by Abu al-Shaykh, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim, and al-Hakim,
while al-Dhahabi declared its chain “soft” (layyin). A foundational book
of the Wahhabi creed entitled Kitab al-Sunna is attributed to `Abd Allah
ibn Ahmad. Its first edition was sponsored by King `Abd al-`Aziz ibn Sa`ud
and a Jedda businessman named Muhammad Nasif, who also financed the attack
on Imam al-Kawthari and the Hanafi School by `Abd al-Rahman al-Mu`allimi
al-Yamani (d. 1386) entitled al-Tankil li Ma Warada fi Ta’nib al-Kawthari
min al-Abatil, in which al-Mu`allimi declared: “Allah has a body unlike
bodies.” Kitab al-Sunna was published in Cairo in 1349/1930 by al-Matba`a
al-Salafiyya and received two recent 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
which counts relying on the Prophet’s – Allah bless and greet him –
intercession between oneself and Allah Most High among the “ten actions
that negate Islam.” Al-Kawthari lambasted Kitab al-Sunna as a collection
of anthropomorphist forgeries in his Maqalat (p. 355) and renamed it Kitab
al-Zaygh (“The Book of Deviation”). This book actually attributes to Imam
Ahmad the statement: “Allah spoke to Musa from His mouth (min fīhi), and
He handed him the Torah from His hand to his hand.” Al-Dhahabi
categorically rejects the authenticity of this narration in the Siyar
(9:503, 9:512) 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 comment.” See also
the comments of Shaykh Nuh Keller cited in his biographical notice in the
Reliance and at the website Sources: Ibn Abi
Ya`la, Tabaqat al-Hanabila (1:29, 1:184-186); al-Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam
al-Nubala’ (9:512).

104Bishr ibn al-Harith, Abu Nasr al-Khurasani al-Marwazi al-Baghdadi known
as Bishr al-Hafi (151-227), a disciple of Fudayl ibn `Iyad (d. 187) and
teacher of Sari al-Saqati whose grandfather was Zoroastrian, he took
hadith from Imam Malik, Ibn al-Mubarak, Hammad ibn Zayd, Sharik, Hushaym,
and others. Al-Daraqutni called him: zāhid jabal thiqa – “an ascetic who
is a mountain of knowledge and trustworthiness.” Among his sayings: “I do
not know anything better than the pursuit of hadith science for whoever
fears Allah and keeps a good intention in this activity; as for myself, I
ask forgiveness from Allah from having ever pursued it, and from every
single step I took in it.” Imam al-Sha`rani in al-Tabaqat al-Kubra (1:57)
explained that the reason Bishr abandoned the study of hadith is because
he considered it a conjectural science in comparison with the certitude in
belief imparted by frequenting Fudayl ibn `Iyad. Sufyan al-Thawri
similarly said: “Would that all my knowledge were erased from my breast!
How can I face being asked, tomorrow, about each single hadith I ever
narrated: `What was your purpose in narrating it?’” He also said: “Would
that my hand had been cut off and I never sought after a single hadith!”
Both reports cited by al-Dhahabi in the Siyar (al-Arna’ut ed. 7:255,
7:274). Bishr also said: “If talking pleases you, keep silent; and if
silence pleases you, then speak.” “O Allah! You know, above Your Throne,
that lowliness is more beloved to me than nobility. O Allah! You know,
above Your Throne, that poverty is more beloved to me than wealth. O
Allah! You know, above Your Throne, that I do not put anything before Your
love.” Also related from Bishr al-Hafi is the statement: “No-one
criticizes Abu Hanifa except an envier or an ignoramus.” Sources:
al-Dhahabi, Tarikh al-Islam (6:142), Manaqib Abi Hanifa (p. 32), and Siyar
A`lam al-Nubala’ (9:170-172 #1691).

105See our biographical notice on al-Tabari at

106`Ali ibn `Umar ibn Ahmad ibn Mahdi, Abu al-Hasan al-Daraqutni
al-Baghdadi al-Muqri’ al-Shafi`i (306-385), Amīr al-Mu’minīn in hadith –
the highest level of a hadith master – a major, trustworthy hadith master
named “the Imam, superexcellent hadith master, Shaykh al-Islam, emblem of
the giants of knowledge, one of the oceans of the Science and the Imams of
the world” by al-Dhahabi. He narrated and transmitted hadith from and to
countless major scholars of the science. He excelled in the knowledge of
the defects of narrators and hadith narrations, the canonical readings of
the Qur’an, fiqh and the differences of opinion among the jurists, the
Arabic language, and the historical disciplines. Raja’ ibn Muhammad
al-Mu`addil said to him: “Have you ever met anyone of your level?” He
replied: (Therefore justify not yourselves( (53:32). I insisted, whereupon
he said: “I never saw anyone who gathered together what I have gathered.”
Abu al-Fath ibn Abi al-Fawaris asked him one day about a certain hadith
and he answered him. Then he said to him: “O Abu al-Fath, there is not,
between the East and the West, anyone who knows this other than myself.”
Al-Hakim said: “I bear witness that he left no successor.” He considered
recommended the visitation to the graves of Prophets and the Friends of
Allah for the sake of obtaining blessing and intercession. Ibn al-Jawzi
relates that al-Daraqutni said: “We used to seek blessings from Abu
al-Fath al-Qawasi’s grave.” He narrated in his Sunan the Prophet’s –
Allah bless and greet him – hadith: “Whoever visits my grave, my
intercession will be guaranteed for him.” (a hasan narration = “fair”)
Sources: al-Dhahabi, Siyar (12:483-492 #3530); Ibn al-Jawzi, Sifa al-Safwa

107Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Bada’i` al-Fawa’id (1900 ed. 4:39-40, 1994 ed.

108Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh (8:213), year 317.

109Al-Hasan ibn `Ali ibn Khalaf, Abu Muhammad al-Barbahari (d. 329), a
hadith master. He accompanied Ahmad’s foremost companion Abu Bakr
al-Marwazi, as well as the Sufi master of his time, Sahl ibn `Abd Allah
al-Tustari. Ibn Abi Ya`la reports that al-Barbahari composed a Sharh Kitab
al-Sunna in which he said: “Whoever takes up arms against one of the Imams
of the Muslims [i.e. one of the Caliphs] is a Khāriji who has split the
unity [lit. `split the staff’] of Muslims and contravened the Prophetic
reports, and his death is a death in Jahiliyya.” He also said: “Know that
the Religion is nothing other than imitation (i`lam anna al-dīna innamā
huwa al-taqlīd), and I mean imitation of the Companions of the Prophet –
Allah bless and greet him – (wa al-taqlīdu li ashābi rasūlillah sallallāhu
`alayhi wa sallam).” This book was published in Madina at Maktaba
al-Ghuraba’ al-Athariyya (1993) and is popular among “Salafis.” Concerning
the Jahmis, al-Barbahari declared: “Whoever says that his pronunciation of
the Qur’an is created is a Jahmi, and whoever keeps uncommitted, saying
that it is neither created nor uncreated, is a Jahmi. This is what Ahmad
ibn Hanbal said.” Note that al-Bukhari considered the pronunciation of the
Qur’an created and was expelled from Bukhara by the Hanbalis for it, as
related in the Appendix entitled “The Controversy Over the Pronunciation
of the Qur’an” in our translation of Ibn `Abd al-Salam’s Belief of the
People of Truth. The group of Hanbalis led by Barbahari in Baghdad
considered themselves reformers and often took to the streets to “correct”
what they considered unacceptable contraventions of the Religion, injuring
or killing those they considered Jahmis, destroying taverns and musical
instruments, striking women singers, and so forth. In the year 320 in
Baghdad Barbahari was declared wanted by the authorities and the houses of
his followers were ransacked. He fled and remained in hiding until his
death nine years later. The worst controversy attached to al-Barbahari and
his group, however, was their anthropomorphist teaching on the bases of
weak narrations attributing limbs to Allah. Ibn al-Athir relates the
Caliph al-Radi’s edict against the Hanbalis in the year 323, in which he
said: “You mention the `hand’ and the `fingers’ and the `two feet’ and the
`two gilded sandals’ and the `short and curly hair’ and the `climbing’ to
heaven and the `descending’ to the world – Exalted is Allah far above what
the oppressors and rejecters say of Him! The Emir of the Believers swears
an oath before Allah by which he binds himself, that unless you put an end
to your vile belief and crooked way, to destroy you to the last man by
sword and by fire inside your very houses.” Sources: Ibn Abi Ya`la,
Tabaqat al-Hanabila (2:18-29 #588); Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh
(8:307-309, 8:378); al-Dhahabi, Siyar (11:543-45 #2899).

110Ahmad ibn Salman ibn al-Hasan, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Hanbali
al-Najjad (d. 348), eulogized by al-Dhahabi as “the imam, the hadith
scholar, the hadith master, the jurisprudent, the mufti, the shaykh of
Iraq.” The shaykh of al-Daraqutni, al-Hakim, al-Khattabi, Ibn Mandah,
al-Khiraqi, and others, he narrated from `Abd Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal
and was the last to narrate from Abu Dawud. He was reported to relate
narrations which were not consigned in his own records, perhaps due to the
loss of his sight.He used to fast every day of the year, and he would
break his fast every night with a loaf of bread of which he left aside one
mouthful. On the night of Jum`a he would give away his loaf as charity and
eat the mouthfuls he had put aside. Ibn Abi Ya`la, Tabaqat al-Hanabila
(2:7-8); al-Dhahabi, Siyar (12:137 #3132) and Mizan (1:101).

111`Ubayd Allah ibn Muhammad, Abu `Abd Allah al-`Ukbari, known as Ibn
Batta (d. 387), a student of al-Najjad and one of the main authorities in
doctrine and law in the Hanbali school, he was a pious scholar who never
left his house in forty years and fasted permanently, except on the two
`Ids. Al-Dhahabi declares him “an imam in the Sunna and an imam in fiqh,”
although he cites Abu al-Qasim al-Azhari’s verdict that “Ibn Batta is
extremely weak” (da`īf da`īf) while al-Khatib declares him a forger and
narrates from Abu Dharr al-Harawi and others that al-Daraqutni questioned
his truthfulness. Ibn Hajar states: “I discovered something in connection
with Ibn Batta which I found scandalous and hideous.” He then shows that
Ibn Batta may have added words to a hadith in order to give it an
anthropomorphic slant. The hadith in question is Ibn Mas`ud’s hadith of
the Burning Tree narrated by al-Tirmidhi with a weak chain, whereby the
Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “When Allah spoke to Musa, the
latter was wearing a robe of wool, a wool cloak, and a pair of sandals
made of untanned ox leather.” The addition cited by Ibn Hajar and
apparently forged by Ibn Batta reads: “He [Musa] said: `Who is that Hebrew
(al-`ibrānī) who is speaking from the tree?’ And Allah said: `I am
Allah.’” The position of Ahl al-Sunna is that Musa – peace upon him –
heard Allah without direction, as narrated from Ibrahim al-Nakha`i in
al-Tha`alibi’s Tafsir (4:117). al-Khatib, Tarikh Baghdad (10:371-374,
13:167); al-Dhahabi, Mizan al-I`tidal (3:15 #5394); Ibn Hajar, Lisan
al-Mizan (4:113-114 #231).

112On Ibn Taymiyya see

113Ibn Abi Ya`la, Tabaqat al-Hanabila (2:43).

114An unidentified narrator. Possibly Abu al-Hasan `Ali ibn `Amr
al-Harrani (d. 488), the companion of Ibn Abi Ya`la’s father. Between him
and Ibn Batta there is a narrator whose name is omitted. Cf. Ibn Rajab,
Dhayl Tabaqat al-Hanabila (1:86 #34).

Or: The hadith master Ibn al-Banna’, Abu `Ali al-Hasan ibn Ahmad ibn `Abd
Allah al-Baghdadi (d. 471) from whom it is established that Ibn Abi Ya`la
narrated. He lived eighty years and was known for his fanatic defense of
the Hanbali school. Al-Qifti reported in his Inbah al-Ruwat (1:276) that
he once said: “Would that al-Khatib had mentioned me in Tarikh Baghdad,
even among the liars.” Al-Qifti comments: “He [Ibn al-Banna’] was a
reference in the canonical readings (al-qirā’āt), philology (al-lugha),
and hadith, except that he was Hanbali in his belief (Hanbaliyyu
al-mu`taqad).” Al-Dhahabi cites it in the Siyar (13:653-654 #4258) and
comments: “He is truthful in himself (sadūq fi nafsih), and it is not a
blemish to be Hanbali, by Allah! However, the Mandah family and others did
say of him: `except that he was inclined to deprecate others’ (fīhi
tamash`ur).” Al-Dhahabi seems to have missed al-Qifti’s point that Ibn
al-Banna’ was Hanbali in his doctrine, not merely his school of law. There
is some irony in this as al-Dhahabi himself is Shafi`i in his legal school
and “Hanbali” in his school of doctrine, meaning anti-Ash`ari.

Or: Ibn al-Busri, Abu al-Qasim `Ali ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Baghdadi
al-Bundar (d. 474), a trustworthy hadith master who received a permission
to narrate from Ibn Batta as stated by al-Dhahabi in the Siyar (13:668

115Abu al-`Abbas Harun ibn al-`Abbas ibn `Isa al-Hashimi (d. 275), a
trustworthy (thiqa) narrator according to al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad

116Muhammad ibn Bishr ibn al-Farafisa, Abu `Abd Allah al-`Abdi al-Kufi (d.
203), an established hadith master and one of al-Bukhari and Muslim’s

117`Abd al-Rahman ibn Sharik ibn `Abd Allah al-Nakha`i al-Kufi (d. 227),
graded by Ibn Hajar in al-Taqrib (p. 342 #3893) as “a truthful but
sometimes mistaken narrator” (sadūq yukhti’) but al-Arna’ut and Ma`ruf in
Tahrir al-Taqrib (2:325 #3893) said: “Rather, he is weak (da`īf).” Abu
Hatim al-Razi classed him “flimsy in his narrations” (wāhi al-hadith) but
al-Bukhari narrated from him in al-Adab al-Mufrad. Cf. also al-Dhahabi,
Mizan (2:569 #4887).

118This is Sharik ibn `Abd Allah ibn Abi Sharik al-Nakh`i (d. 177), a
truthful narrator (sadūq) whose narrations are accepted in the Four books
of Sunan but Muslim used him only for narrations unrelated to legal
rulings (ahkām). Al-Daraqutni said: “Sharik is not strong in the
narrations which he alone reports.” Al-Dhahabi, Mizan (2:271 #3697); Ibn
Hajar, Taqrib (p. 266 #2787); Ma`ruf, Tahrir (2:113-114 #2787).

119Abu Yahya al-Qattat al-Kinani al-Kufi (d. ~130), known as Zadhan,
declared weak by Sharik ibn `Abd Allah according to Ahmad ibn Hanbal.
However, his narrations from Mujahid are found in al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud,
Ibn Majah, and Ahmad as indicated by al-Mizzi in Tahdhib al-Kamal
(34:402), al-Dhahabi in al-Kashif (2:471) and Ibn Hajar in al-Taqrib (p.
684) and Tahdhib al-Tahdhib (12:303). The latter graded Zadhan “soft”
(layyin), as confirmed by al-Arna’ut and Ma`ruf in al-Tahrir (4:295
#8444). Muslim said in al-Kuna wa al-Asma’ (1:905), under Abu Yahya Muslim
al-Qattat: “Al-A`mash, al-Thawri, and Isra’il narrated from him.”119 Ibn
Ma`in did say of Zadhan that he was thiqa according to `Uthman ibn Sa`id
al-Darimi, but according to `Abbas al-Duri he also said: “There is some
weakness in his narration” (fī hadīthihi du`f). Zadhan was also declared
weak by al-Nasa’i, Ahmad, Ibn Sa`d, Ibn Hibban, and others. Shaykh Ahmad
Shakir declares him trustworthy (thiqa) on the basis of Ibn Ma`in’s
declaration to that effect and al-Bukhari’s silence in his notice on
Zadhan in al-Tarikh al-Kabir (2:1 #400=3:438 Nadwi ed.). Cf. Ahmad’s
Musnad (3:133-134 #2493). He should not be confused with Abu `Umar
al-Kindi al-Bazzaz, who is trustworthy (thiqa) and one of Muslim’s
narrators in the latter’s Sahih. Al-Dhahabi, Mizan (4:586 #10729); Ibn
Hajar, Taqrib (p. 684 #8444).

120Mu`adh ibn al-Muthanna (d. 288), declared trustworthy by al-Dhahabi. He
was one of Imam Ahmad’s companions and related from him that he said:
“Whoever abandons the witr prayer deliberately is an evil-doer who is
abandoning a Sunna of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him -, and he is
no longer considered an upright person (sāqitu al-`adāla).” Tabaqat
al-Hanabila (1:339 #489); Siyar (11:69 #2477). Cf. al-Shafi`i: “Whoever
leaves either the Sunna of fajr or Salat al-Witr, is in a worse state than
if he had left all the supererogatory prayers.” Narrated from al-Rabi` in
al-Umm (1:142).

121Khallad ibn Aslam, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (d. 249), one of al-Tirmidhi’s
and al-Nasa’i’s shaykhs, unanimously considered trustworthy as a narrator.

122This is actually Muhammad ibn Fudayl.

123This is the same as al-Tabari’s and Ibn Abi `Asim’s narrations of
Mujahid’s hadith through their chains in Section 5 above. Both Ibn Abi
Ya`la’s chains cited here are weak due to Ibn Batta, in addition to the
possibility of a missing link between `Ali and Ibn Batta. The second chain
is weak due to Layth ibn Abi Sulaym. Both chains contain undecisive
transmission terminology (`an`ana), which makes them weaker, especially if
al-Haythami’s grading of Layth as a “concealer” (mudallis) is correct (see
his note). Finally, even if these chains were considered good until
Mujahid, the chain remains severed at his level (maqtu`), and the hadith
itself remains “condemned” (munkar) as stated by al-Dhahabi.

124Abu Yahya al-Naqid is unidentified, possibly Ahmad ibn `Isam ibn `Abd
al-Majid Abu Yahya al-Ansari (d. 272), who narrated hadith from Abu Dawud
al-Tayalisi and from whom narrated Ibn Abi Dawud al-Sijistani. His rank as
a narrator is trustworthy (thiqa) according to Ibn Hayyan in Tabaqat
al-Muhaddithin fi Asbahan (3:43) and “truthful” (sādiq) according to
al-Dhahabi in the Siyar (10:452 #2243).

125Ya`qub ibn Yusuf ibn Ayyub, Abu Bakr al-Mutawwa`i al-Baghdadi (d. 287),
one of Imam Ahmad’s students. Ja`far al-Khaldi said: “I heard Abu Bakr
al-Mutawwa`i say: `My daily devotion (wird) in my youth consisted in
reading Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad 31,000 or 41,000 times – Ja`far was unsure –
in every twenty-four hours.’” Al-Daraqutni said he is trustworthy. Ibn Abi
Ya`la, Tabaqat al-Hanabila (1:417 #545).

126Abu al-Hasan al-`Attar is unidentified.

127See Sections 6-7 above.

128In fact, there is not a single narration actually traced back up to the
Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – himself mentioning his seating next
to Allah on the Throne, whether with an interrupted or uninterrupted
chain. Al-Najjad’s claim seems based on his assumption that Mujahid’s and
`Abd Allah ibn Salam’s reports have the status of marfū`, which was never

129See Section 4 for the hadith of Ibn `Abbas. Other than that, what
al-Najjad attributes to Ibn `Abbas was apparently never reported from him.

130Here al-Najjad moves from an apologetic and descriptive stance
concerned primarily with the evidence at hand to an aggressive stance
aiming at the persons of those who question it. Towards the end of the
passage he once more modifies his attack so as to represent any
disputation of Mujahid’s narration as an attack on the Prophet – Allah
bless and greet him – himself.

131This could be either Ibn Abi al-Dunya – `Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn
`Ubayd, Abu Bakr al-Qurashi al-Baghdadi (d. 281), or Abu Bakr al-Khallal.
Both of them were prolific writers and narrated from Abu Dawud. It is,
moreover, established that al-Najjad narrated from Ibn Abi al-Dunya but
not that he narrated from al-Khallal. However, it is more likely that the
latter is meant since in his book al-Sunna he insisted heavily on the
statement that Allah literally sits on the Throne and that Jahmis alone
deny it, whereas no such extremism is known from Ibn Abi al-Dunya.
Furthermore, the accusation of Jahmism is typical of al-Khallal and of
Hanbalis of his period to that of Ibn Abi Ya`la in general.

132Note that al-Qurtubi relates a different wording from Abu Dawud. Cf.
Section 8.


134Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, Abu Ja`far al-Daqiqi (d. 266), a
truthful narrator (sadūq) from whom Ibn Majah and Abu Dawud took three
hadiths in all. The latter said of him that “he had little insight”.
Al-Dhahabi, Mizan (3:632 #7893).

135This is Muhammad ibn Isma`il al-Sulami.

136Here al-Najjad again rephrases his argument to read like a condemnation
of those who deny the pre-eminence of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet
him -. His rhetoric is much enhanced by the fact that such a denial
unanimously amounts to disbelief. However, al-Tirmidhi only rejected the
authenticity of Mujahid’s report! Cf. al-Khallal’s Sunna (p. 232).

137Abu Bakr al-Najjad in Ibn Abi Ya`la’s Tabaqat al-Hanabila (2:9-12).

138See Sections 2 and 3 for the narrations of Ibn `Umar.

139Ibn Batta, al-Sharh wa al-Ibana (p. 61).

140Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu` al-Fatawa (Mufassal al-I`tiqad – “Specifics of
Belief” – 4:374).

141Hajji Khalifa, Kashf al-Zunun (2:1438). This has been removed from the
printed edition of both Abu Hayyan’s commentaries al-Bahr al-Muhit and
al-Nahr al-Madd min al-Bahr [passage on ayat al-Kursi] by their Cairo
publisher as the latter acknowledged it himself. See al-Kawthari’s note in
his commentary on Ibn al-Subki’s al-Sayf al-Saqil (p. 96-97) and
al-Ghumari’s Bida` al-Tafasir (p. 156).

Wal-Hamdu lillahi Rabbi-l-`Alamin.

GF Haddad

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