Bismillah Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem
As-Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatallahi wa-Barakatuhu
Are there Baseless Stories in the Fazaail Aamal that harm the Aqeedah (Beliefs)?
All praise is due to Allah Ta’ala who through his infinite mercy and wisdom revealed the glorious Qur’aan for the guidance of mankind. Peace and salutations be showered on Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) who was sent as a practical example of eternal success in this world as well as the hereafter.
It was always the system of Allah Ta’ala that he had chosen his special slaves in every era for the protection, spreading and upliftment of his Deen. Whilst the forces of Baatil (falsehood) would strive to mislead people, Allah Ta’ala chose the great Muhadditheen, Mufassireen and Ulama who would make an all out effort to shun away the evil of such misleading people. It is no surprise that even in our present day and age, there are many such people whose sole purpose and object is to confuse, complicate and puzzle the minds of the ordinary masses. They will make big claims and call themselves whatever they wish to, but alas! Their aim and target is to corrupt the beliefs of people, so as to leave them in utter bewilderment. Such beliefs which have been clearly and explicitly expounded by Allah Ta’ala in the Qur’aan and which have been explained to us in the Ahaadith by Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), but alas! Not only do they deny such beliefs, instead they wish to brainwash the minds of others to fall into the trap that they have been mislead into (may Allah Ta’ala guide and save us all, Aameen)
With regards to the specific question under discussion, there seems to have stemmed up a group of people who are trying to mislead everyone into believing that the book Fadhaail-e-Aamal entails ‘baseless stories’ and ‘corrupted beliefs’. Written by a great renown researched scholar and luminary of our recent times, this is not just an attack on the book itself, but more on us as Muslims and our beliefs.
In the relevant question at hand, the objector has extracted 4 quotations from the Kitaab, Fadhaail-e-Aamal. Thereafter, the objector, in essence has trounced upon 3 major beliefs, i.e. a) The existence of Abdaals, b) The reality of Kashf or Ilhaam, c) The inhabitants of the grave possessing the ability to see and hear the living. The objector wishes to deceive the public into believing that these are baseless and corrupt beliefs and it is hence deduced therefrom that Fadhaail-e-Aamal promotes misguidance and deviant stories.
Hereunder, we will discuss each one of these 3 beliefs in detail with proofs from the Qur’aan, Hadith and other sources to prove that these are beliefs which have been clearly expounded and supported by the Qur’aan, Hadith and the great Ulama and Muhadditheen.
We would also expose the fact that many such incidents and quotations have been recorded by other illustrious scholars so as to prove that it was due to ignorance that these objections were made. An Arabic proverb states, ‘A man always opposes something which he is ignorant of.’
THE EXISTENCE AND ABILITIES OF THE ABDAAL
After quoting an extract from the book, Fadhaail-e-Aamaal, the objector states:
‘Note: The Deobandi translator of Ikhmaalush Shiyaam defines Abdaal saying, Abdaal are a class of Awliyaa whose identities remain concealed. They possess miraculous powers and execute a variety of tasks under Divine command in various places of the world.’ (Ikhmaalush shiyaam Eng Trans p.59)”
The Writer in his ‘note’ here, has quoted the definition of the Abdaal and thereafter refuted it by saying the words, ‘Astaghfirullah’.
After realising his ignorance, perhaps, he should repeat the Istighfaar. The presence of the Abdaal, their extraordinary qualities and powers that Almighty Allah has availed to them is a fact that has been proven through various Ahaadith.
Hafiz Suyooti (RA) has written a complete treatise regarding this topic in which he mentions, “There are several narrations regarding them. Among those are the narrations of: 1) Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattaab, 2) Sayyiduna Ali, 3) Sayyiduna Hudhayfa, 4) Sayyiduna Anas, 5) Sayyiduna Ubaadah ibn Saamit, 6) Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Abbas, 7) Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar, 8) Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ood, 9) Sayyiduna Awf ibn Maalik, 10) Sayyiduna Mu’aadh ibn Jabal, 11) Sayyiduna Waathila ibn al-Asqaa, 12) Sayyiduna Abu-Sa’eed al-Khudriy, 13) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra, 14) Sayyiduna Abud-Dardaa, 15) Sayyidatuna Umm Salmah (Radhiallaahu Anhum ajma’ee) and many others which are impossible to be enumerated.” (al-Khabaru Daal vol.2 pg.455 of al-Haawi)
In fact, Hafiz Suyooti (RA) and others have accepted that the narrations concerning the Abdaal have reached the status of Tawaatur (highest form of authenticity). (refer Nazmul Mutanaathir minal hadithil mutaawatir pgs.231-232)
Hafiz ibn Hajar (RA) and others have also accepted the authenticity of some of the narrations in which the Abdaal are mentioned.
From the abovementioned narrations, the Hadith of Sayyiduna Anas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) has been classified as Hasan (sound) by Haafiz al-Haythami, the Hadith of Sayyiduna Ubaadah ibn Saamit (Radhiallaahu Anhu) and the Hadith of Sayyiduna ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) has been classified as Sahih (authentic) by Haafiz ibn Arraaq (RA), the Hadith of Awf ibn Maalik (Radhiallaahu Anhu) has been classified as Hasan (sound) by Hafiz ibn Arraaq. (Tanzihus-Sharee’ah vol.2 pg.307) and the Hadith of Sayyiduna Ali is Hasan (sound) according to Allaamah Suyuti (RA). (Al-la’aaliy vol.2 pg.332) and Hafiz Sakhaawi (RA) has regarded all its narrators as reliable. (al-Maqaasidul Hasanah pg.28)
The following is a list of some of those illustrious Ulama and Muhadditheen that were regarded to be Abdaals, by the scholars of the classical times: 1) Imaam Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Abi Haatim (Muqaddamah ibnus-salaah pg.421), 2) Imaam Abu-Muslim al-Khawlaaniy (Al-Jaami of Khaatib Baghdadi pg.382), 3) Imaam Shaafi’ee (Al-Maqaasidul Hasanah pg.28 and Taarikh Dimishq), 4) Yazeed ibn al-Aswad (Taarikh Dimishq vol.6 pg.112), 5) Imaam Jaabir ibn Marzooq (al-Aadaab of Imaam Bayhaqi pg.326 – Hadith985), 6) al-Qa’anabiy, 7) Hammaad ibn Salamah (Tahzeeb of Haafiz ibn Hajar vol.3 pg.13; Hadith1767), 8) Abdullah ibn Mubaarak (Tahzeeb of ibn Hajar)
From the abovementioned facts, it is firstly apparent that the existence of Abdaals are authentically proven by various illustrious Ulama, let alone in the numerous Ahaadith. Secondly, like the existence of the sun during broad daylight, similar is the case here with the Abdaals. However, this does not mean that these Abdaals are equal to the prophets (Alayhis salaam) as deduced by the objector from the story. The objector states:
‘This story makes this so called Abdaal equal to prophet Moosa (Alayhis salaam) and our messenger Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) who spoke directly to Allah.’
First of all, to be common in one aspect does not necessitate equality in everything. If a person dresses like a prophet, does this make both of them equal? Did any of the prophets fly planes? Today, so many people can fly planes. Does this make them better or more knowledgeable than the prophets? Secondly, there is a world of difference between the Abdaals and the prophets (Alayhis salaam) in this very same action of speaking directly to Allah Ta’ala. The manner in which the prophets (Alayhis salaam) speak to Allah Ta’ala is far much different from the one that is between the Abdaals and Allah Ta’ala. In fact, in the holy Qur’aan, Allah Ta’ala states, ‘And your Lord said to the Ant ….’ Would any person in his sane mind even dare to irrationally claim that this ant is equal to any of the messengers of Allah Ta’ala?
The details of this will be explained under the discussion of Kashf and Ilhaam.
In order to finally close the door on this discussion with regards to the Abdaal, we will suffice on quoting just one Hadith which will befittingly smash these objections into smitherings.
KASHF AND ILHAAM
The second belief which the objector has trounced upon is that of Kashf and Ilhaam. Kashf refers to divine manifestation whilst Ilhaam means a divine inspiration. These are two powers given by Allah Ta’ala to whosoever he desires. This is not within the capacity, ability or choice of any individual. This deviant group of people have trounced the belief of Kashf and Ilhaam claiming that knowledge of the unseen and of future events is something that can only be attributed to Allah Ta’ala Alone, not acknowledging the fact that sometimes, Allah Ta’ala can give certain of his special servants the power of foretelling and foreseeing some future events.
After quoting a story from the book, Fadhaail-e-Aamal, the objector and his group of followers state:
‘In this deviant story, the knowledge of the conditions of paradise and hell-fire and the knowledge of future events is claimed for the so-called ‘man of Kashf’. He is also aware of the matters between Allah and His slaves and therefore shows gratitude to Sheikh Qurtubi, even though Sheikh Qurtubi did it so secretly that nobody could know it, except the Almighty Allah.’
Hereunder, we will not only prove that the belief of Kash and Ilhaam and incidents of such nature appear in various other renown books (besides Fadhaail-e-Aamaal), but we shall also manifest that such incidents were experienced by many great people of the past proving it to be a reality that cannot be denied, but we will first establish the fact that this concept has been expounded clearly in Qur’aan and Hadith.
Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan, ‘(Allah Ta’ala is) the All-Knower of the unseen and he reveals not to anybody of his unseen. Except to a messenger whom he has chosen, then he makes a band of watching guards (angels) to march before him and behind him.’ (Surah Jinn Aayat27)
We will now look at a brief study of how this verse has been interpreted by the vast majority of renown Mufassireen. Almost all commentators of Qur’aan have supported, included and explained the belief of Kashf and Ilhaam under this verse.
1) Shaykh Allaamah Muhammad Fakhruddeen al-Raazi (RA), a renown scholar and commentator of the 6th century states in his famous ‘Tafseer Kabeer’ that this verse has a special and specific meaning. However, he does not deny the belief of Ilhaam. In fact, he openly promotes it where he states, ‘It must be carefully known that this verse does not mean that nobody else besides the prophet (Alayhis salaam) are given knowledge of the unseen. This can be supported from various realities (from amongst these realities, one of them as quoted by him is) we see this in the true Ilhaam of the Awliyaa (RA).’ (Tafseer Kabeer vol.15 pg.170; Darul Fikr)
Yet, under another verse of the Qur’aan, this very same great Mufassir clearly explains that ‘the meaning of angels befriending the believers is this that the angels cause Ta’seeraat (inspirations) in the souls of these (chosen) believers through Ilhaam and Kashf.’ Thereafter, he explicitly mentions that ‘this is a well known fact experienced by people of Kashf and Mushaahadaat.’ (Tafseer Kabeer vol.14 pg.124)
2) Allaamah Alauddin Ali ibn Muhammad Baghdaadiy (RA), yet another known commentator of the seventh century openly declares in his Tafseer Khaazin under the above mentioned verse: ‘It is the belief of the Ahlus sunnah Wal Jamaa that the miracles of Awliyaa (RA) are an established reality as opposed to by the Mu’tazila and that this is Jaaiz and possible. It is permissible and possible for Allah Ta’ala to give Ilhaam (inspire) to some of his Awliyaa about some future events.’ (Khaazin vol.4 pg.319; Fikr)
3) Shaykh Abul Hasan Ibraahim ibn Umar al-Biqaa’ee, a scholar and commentator of the eighth century and a student of Hafiz ibn Hajar al-Asqalaani (RA) interprets the relevant verse in his ‘Tafseer Nazmud-Durar’ as follows: ‘(knowledge of the unseen) is taken by an angel and given to whomsoever the angel has been permitted (to by Allah Ta’ala). Sometimes, in the form of Wahy (divine revelation) to the prophets (Alayhis salaam) and sometimes in the form of inspiration and Ilhaam to the Awliyaa.’ (Nazmud-Durar vol.8 pg.199; Ilmiya)
4) In the Tafseer of Muhyuddin Shaikhzaada which is an explanation to the famous and reknown ‘Tafseer Baydhaawi’. Allaamah Muhammad ibn Muslihuddeen Hanafi, a scholar of the ninth century writes, ‘The fact that this verse refers to Allah Ta’ala informing his chosen prophets (Alayhis salaam) of some of the unseen without the intervening of any angel does not deny Allah Ta’ala’s inspiring to the Awliyaa with regards to some of the unseen by means of Ilhaam.’ (Haashiya Shaykh Zadah vol.8 pg.371; Ilmiyah)
The above mentioned commentaries thus far and including the one given hereunder also refute the objectors claim where, after quoting another story from Fadhaail-e-Aamal, he states:
‘The deviant story promotes that the false belief that someone can receive knowledge directly from Allah without the mediation of the messenger (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and to receive knowledge from is something specific to the messengers.’
5) Allaamah Ahmad ibn Muhammad Saawi Maaliki, a commentator of the twelfth century, states in his famous and most widely accept Tafseer ‘Haashiyatus-Saawi’, an explanation to the great Tafseer Jalaalayn, ‘This verse does not defy the miracles performed by the Awliyaa through the power of Kashf. This verse relates to Allah Ta’ala’s informing the prophets through Wahy. This in turn (Wahy) is far more stronger than Allah Ta’ala’s informing his Awliyaa through Ilhaam.’ (Haashiyatus Saawi vol.6 pg.185; Ilmiyah)
6) And, if per chance the above mentioned commentaries happen to coincidentally seem ‘strange’, rare and unknown then who can deny the popularity of ‘Roohul Ma’aani’? Allaamah Sayyid Mahmood Aaloosi Baghdaadi (RA) renown Mufassir of the twelfth century clearly states that ‘this verse does not contradict miracles of the Awliyaa (RA) which take place by an angel inspiring knowledge of the unseen into the heart of the person.’ (Roohul Ma’ani vol.15 pg.108; Ilmiyah)
7) Qaadhi Shihaabuddin al-Khafaaji (RA), a commentator of the tenth century writes in his explanatory of Tafseer Baydhaawi named, ‘Hashiyatus-Shihaab’ under the verse wherein Allah Ta’ala says, ‘Allah will not disclose to you the secrets of the ghayb (unseen), but Allah chooses of his messengers whom he wishes.’ (Surah 3 Verse179)
He states, ‘Allah Ta’ala does not inform everyone but he chooses whomsoever he wishes and gives him knowledge of the unseen. This is one of the signs which can be achieved through Firaasat (keen and minute observation) and through divine inspiration (Ilhaam) for some people of Kashf.’ (Haashiyat-us-shihaab vol.3 pg.168; Ilmiyah)
These are 7 widely known and accepted commentaries of the Qur’aan written by great researchers and scholars. All of them unanimously support and establish the belief of Kashf and Ilhaam as can be clearly seen. We will now take a brief look at some Ahaadith of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) that support this belief.
1) This Hadith appears in Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Tirmidhi and Nasaaie, hence, nobody may dare question its authenticity.
Hadhrat Abu Hurayra (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reports that Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘Most certainly there existed amongst nations of the past such people who were Muhaddathoon’ (spoken to), if there had to be any such person in my nation, it certainly is Umar ibn Khattaab (Radhiallaahu Anhu).’ (Bukhari vol.1 pg.521 Qadeemi; Muslim vol.2 pg.276 Qadeemi; Tirmidhi vol.2 pg.210 Qadeemi)
The world needs no introduction to Allaamah Hafiz ibn Hajar al-Asqalaaniy (RA), neither can anybody deny the acceptance and popularity of his commentary ‘Fathul Baari’. Explaining the above Hadith and in particular the word ‘Muhaddathoon’, he writes,
‘There is a difference of opinion with regards to the interpretation of this word. Most scholars say it refers to Ilhaam. They further explain that it refers to such a person who is gifted with true and real thoughts. This means that such a person is inspired via the angels …’ (Fathul Bari vol.7 pg.62; Qadeemi)
In his commentary of Sahih Muslim, Imaam Nawawiy (RA) a world renown scholar of the past and present, states under the abovementioned Hadith:
‘There are different interpretations of this word ‘Muhaddathoon’. Ibn Wahb said it refers to Ilhaam. Some say it refers to such a person whose thinking is always correct. This means that when such a person thinks, it is as though somebody spoke to him, therefore, he thinks accordingly. Some say it means angels speak to them…’ (al-Minhaaj Sharh Nawawiy vol.15 pg.162; Hadith6154)
Imaam Tirmidhi (RA) after narrating the abovementioned Hadith quotes Sufyaan ibn Uyayna (RA) explaining the word ‘Muhaddathoon’ to mean ‘Mufahhamoon’ i.e. one who is made to understand. (Tirmidhi vol.2 pg.210; HM Saeed)
The author of the famous Tuhfatul Ahwazi, a commentary on Tirmidhi states under the abovementioned Hadith, ‘After concurring with the interpretation by Hafiz ibn Hajar (RA) as quoted earlier on’, he adds on further, ‘Some say it means that angels speak to such people. This can well be supported from a Hadith narrated by Abu Sa’eed Khudriy (Radhiallaahu Anhu) that Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) was asked, ‘How will such people (Muhaddathoon) be spoken to?’ he (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) replied, ‘Angels will speak from his tongue.’
It is clear from the abovementioned Hadith, looking at the various interpretations by worldly renown scholars that the belief of Kashf and Ilhaam is well established and that in particular, Hadhrat Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu), was bestowed with the power of Ilhaam by Allah Ta’ala.
We will now look at a few incidents during the glorious era of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and the Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum). These incidents bear ample testimony to the fact that the belief of Kashf and Ilhaam is not only well established, but moreso it is a reality and that some Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum) were given these powers.
1) Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) narrates that once a Sahaabi (Radhiallaahu Anhu) pitched up his tent on top of a grave, not realising that it was a grave. All of a sudden, this Sahaabi (Radhiallaahu Anhu) began to hear the voice of an inhabitant of that grave reading Suratul Mulk until he completed the entire Surah. Thereupon, Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) replied ‘Suratul Mulk is a barrier, it is a protector from the punishment of the grave.’ (Tirmidhi vol.2 pg.117; HM Saeed)
The apparent meaning of this Hadith is that this Sahaabi (Radhiallaahu Anhu) was blessed by Allah Ta’ala with the power of Kashf through which he was able to hear the inhabitant of the grave.
2) Abdullah ibn Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) narrates that once on the day of Jumu’ah, whilst Hadhrat Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) was delivering the Khutbah, he (swerved off the topic and) suddenly said, ‘O Saariya! Hasten towards the mountain.’ He said this three times and then continued with the Khutbah. The people were and astonished at this. Later on, when he was asked as to what had transpired, he said, ‘I could see that the Muslim army was about to be defeated and at that time, they were walking past a mountain. If they had passed the mountain, the enemy would have defeated them but if they took to the mountain, they would have had one side covered and only one way to fight. So, I called out to the Ameer (leader) of the army (Saaiya) that they should take the mountain. After one month, the army returned victorious explaining that they had heard the words of Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) on that very same day clearly. In other narrations, Hadhrat Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) is reported to have said, ‘I saw the army fighting near the mountain…’ Another narration mentioned that the distance between Hadhrat Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) and the army was the distance of one month’s journey.’ (Dalaailun nubuwwah of Abu Nu’aym vol.2 pg.579; Darun-Nafaais)
Hafiz ibn Hajar (RA) and Hafiz ibn Katheer (RA) have regarded these narrations as authentic refer al-Isaabah vol.3 pg.5 and Hayaatus-Sahaabah vol.3 pg.562-564
The abovementioned incident is a clear proof of Kashf. It explicitly shows that Allah Ta’ala had blessed Hadhrat Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) with the power of Kashf through which he was able to see and visualise the battlefield from a distance as far as a month’s journey.
3) Hadhrat Abu Dawood Maazni (RA), who was a Sahabi, that participated in Badr says, ‘On the day of Badr, I was chasing one of the enemy to kill him when all of a sudden, his head fell off even before I could reach him. I then realised that someone else (angels) killed him.’ (Dalaailun-Nubuwwah of Abu Nu’aym vol.2 pg.472; Darun Nafaais)
4) Hadhrat Sahl ibn Sa’ad (Radhiallaahu Anhu) narrates that Abu Usayd (Radhiallaahu Anhu) said to him after he had lost his eyesight, ‘Had you been with me now at Badr, and Allah Ta’ala restored my sight, I will certainly show you the mountain pass from where the angels came out so clearly without any doubt.’ (Majmauz-zawaid vol.6 pg.84; Maktaba Qudsi)
5) Hadhrat Irbaadh ibn Saariya was an elderly Sahaabi and he reached a stage where he yearned for death. He used to make the following Du’aa, ‘O Allah, I am old, my bones are weak so take my soul away.’ Thereafter, one day whilst sitting in the Musjid in Damascus (he says) a very handsome young man appeared wearing green robes. He asked me why are you making such a Du’aa? I replied, ‘how should I make Du’aa?’ he said, ‘Say, O Allah, make me do good (and continue to do good) until the appointed time comes.’ I asked him, ‘Who are you?’ he replied, ‘I am Ribaa’eel (the angel) who removes grief from the hearts of the believers.’ (Majmauz-zawaid vol.10 pg.184; Maktaba Qudsi)
The above are just a few of the various incidents from the lives of the Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhu) from which we can see clearly that they too, at times were blessed with the power of Kashf which enabled them to see the angels, which are a part of the unseen as well. In fact, the books of Hadith are full of such incidents where the Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum) saw angels fighting and capturing the enemy in Badr and helping them in Uhud and Khandaq. Hadhrat Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) and Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) saw Jibraaeel (Alayhis salaam). Angels used to make salaam to Hadhrat Imraan ibn Husain (Radhiallaahu Anhu). All these are clear indications that the belief of Kashf is a well established belief that is apparent not only in the Qur’aan and Hadith but in the lives of various Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhu) a reality that nobody can deny.
Finally, we will take a look at what the great renown Ulama of the past have to say about this belief.
1) Shaykhul Islam Allaamah Taqi-u-ddin Hafiz Ahmad ibn Taymiyah (RA). In his famous ‘Fataawa ibn Taymiyah’ he states, ‘miracles (of the Awliyaa) sometimes occur by a person hearing something that others can’t, sometimes a person sees something that others don’t whilst awake or in a dream, sometimes a person is given knowledge of something which others don’t know about through Wahy (revelation) or Ilhaam (inspiration)… this this is called Kashf and Mushahadaat..’ (Fataawa ibn Taymiyah vol.11 pg.173; Darul Wafaa)
2) Mulla Ali Qari (RA), a great scholar of the 10th century, who needs no introduction, writes in his famous commentary on ‘al-Fiqhul Akbar’, ‘There are 3 types of Firaasat (insight). The first type is ‘Imaani Firaasat’, this is a noor (special light) that Allah Ta’ala places in the heart of his chosen slave. (thereafter quoting Allaamah Abu Sulaiman Daaraani he says – this type of Firaasat is visualising of the unseen. This is a special status of Imaan.’) (Sharh Fiqhul Akbar pg.80; Qadeemi)
3) Hafiz Allaamah Jalaaluddin Suyyuti (RA) in his famous al-Haawi lil fataawa quotes many examples from the lives of the Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum), one of which was quoted ealier on, i.e. the story of Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) calling out to Hadhrat Saariyah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) and how Allah Ta’ala had blessed him with the power of Kashf. (al-Haawi vol.2 pg.482; Quds)
The above are 3 worldrenown scholars that have made indepth research and authored great works in almost every branch of knowledge. Suffice to take note of the fact here, that all 3 of them have openly and explicitly supported and promoted the belief of Kashf and Ilhaam.
The abovementioned facts bear ample testimony to this fact that the belief of Kashf and Ilhaam is something that has been clearly explained by and established in Qur’aan, Hadith and by the great Ulama and Muhadditheen of the past. Furthermore, numerous incidents of such nature have been recorded in various other books besides Fadhaail-e-Aamal, the details of which will be discussed towards the end of this treatise.
The third major belief which the objector has trounced upon is the belief that the inhabitants of the grave can see and hear the living. Thus, the objector quotes three stories from Fadhaail-e-Aamal, after which he makes the following deductions and claims:
‘These stories teach that the inhabitants of the grave can help the living. This belief forms the basis for grave worshipping. The Fadhaail-e-Aamal promotes all these erroneous beliefs under the guise of virtues and exhortation. Those who expose themselves to the teachings of Fadhaail-e-Aamal which include believing that the engraved can hear, see and help the living will undoubtedly weaken their Tawheed and establish hope in other than the one, who Alone has the power to benefit and harm.’
In essence, there are three parts to this, i.e. for the inhabitants of the grave to, a) See, b) Hear, and c) Help the living. We will discuss the first two parts here and thereafter, the third.
THE ABILITY OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE GRAVE TO SEE AND HEAR THE LIVING (THROUGH THE WILL OF ALLAH)
It is a fundamental belief of the vast majority of Ulamaa that the inhabitants of the grave are able to hear and see those that visit them. (Kitaab-ur-Rooh of ibn Qayyim pg.12)
Hereunder are but some of the authentic proofs that substantiate this viewpoint:
1. Sayyiduna Buraydah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) would teach the Sahaaba that, ‘When they enter the graveyard, they should address its inhabitants with the following words, ‘Peace Be upon you the believers among those in the graves, and surely through the will of Allah Ta’ala, we will soon join you. We ask Almighty Allah for eternal comfort for us and for you.’ (Sahih Muslim Hadith2254)
Hafiz ibn Qayyim (RA) (the famous student of Hafiz ibn Taymiyah) says, it is impossible that we be instructed to make salaam to things that cannot hear us … this is in fact a greeting and an address to something which can hear and perceive. (Kitaabur-Rooh pg.15)
Hafiz ibn Katheer (RA) has also mentioned this analogy in his Tafseer.
2. Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘Whenever any of you passes by the grave of his Muslim brother whom he knew in his lifetime, and you make Salaam to him, Allah then returns his soul to his body so that he may reply to the salaam.’ (Classified as Sahih by Haafiz ibn Abdul-Barr; ibn Katheer vol.3 pg.575 and Hafiz Abdul-Haqq al-Ishbeeli – refer al-Ahkaamul Wustaa vol2. pg.152)
3. Sayyiduna Abu-Talha (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reports that after the battle of Badr, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) addressed some of the disbelievers who were killed. The Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum) enquired as to how could some lifeless bodies hear what he was saying. At this, he remarked, ‘You are not hearing more than they are (i.e. they can hear just as you can).’
Imaam Qataadah (RA) – a famous Taabi’ee – says, ‘Allah gave them life so that they may hear what Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said’ (Sahih Bukhari Hadith3976)
4. Hafiz ibn Taymiyah (RA) states that, ‘The deceased are able to speak and at times even hear those that address them. This has been established authentically from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) that they can hear the footsteps of those who visit them.’ (Fataawa ibn Taymiyah vol.4 pg.168)
The Hadith that Hafiz ibn Taymiyah (RA) has referred to is recorded by Imaam Bukhari in his Sahih (vol.1 pg.178 Qadeemi; Hadith 1338)
In fact, Imaam Bukhari (RA) was also of the same view (that the deceased can hear the footsteps). He named a chapter in his Sahih as follows, ‘The Chapter on that the deceased can hear the footsteps (of those present).’ (Sahih Bukhari vol.1 pg.178 Qadeemi; Chapter No.67)
5. Imaam Abu-Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah (RA) has recorded from Sayyiduna Sa’d ibn Abi-Waqqas that when he used to pass by the graves of the martyrs, he would make salaam to them, then he would say to his companions, ‘Why don’t you make salaam to them so that they may reply to you.’ (Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah)
For various other narrations similar to these, refer to Ahwaalul Quboor of Haafiz ibn Rajab al-Hambali (pgs.141-146; 132-134) as well as Kitaabur-Rooh of Haafiz ibn Qayyim (pgs.11-26)
Based on the abovementioned traditions, it can be clearly understood that through the will and power of Almighty Allah, it is possible for the inhabitants of the grave to see or hear the living.
As mentioned earlier, this is accepted by the vast majority of the scholars such as: 1) Hafiz ibn Abdul-Barr (RA), 2) Hafiz ibn Kathir (RA), 3) Hafiz ibn Qayyim (RA), 4) Allaamah Shawkaani (RA) and others. It, thus, becomes abundantly clear that ignorance of the above proven fact had led to such baseless / irrational objections.
The third aspect is of the inhabitants of the grave helping the living
The objector, after quoting a few stories claims, ‘These stories teach that the inhabitants of the graves can help the living.’
Firstly, we would have to clear this point. It is not our belief, neither is it the author’s belief that the inhabitants of the grave can assist the living. Our belief, the belief of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa, the belief of the author of Fadhaail-e-Aamal is clear and that is, that undoubtedly the inhabitants of the grave cannot assist the living.
Secondly, the objector has made a tremendous blunder in making such an absurd claim. Nowhere in the entire book, Fadhaail-e-Aamal, did the author every say or support such a claim. The objector was being biased and hence he searched for a few stories here and there from which he quickly jumped to conclusions. Such irrational claims are of no avail in front of justice. If this was the case, then any person can make any deduction from any book to suit his own whims and desires. Let alone any book, even the Qur’aan. Take for example, the verse wherein Allah Ta’ala states, ‘Your wives are a tilt for you, so approach your tilt as you wish’. Speaking about how a husband may have intercourse with his wife. Now any person can quickly come to a deduction here that it is permissible for a husband to have annul intercourse with his wife, whereas this is prohibited and unlawful. Likewise, the objector’s claims were irrational. He did not understand the object of the story, hence, he took the meaning that suited his own desires, made a false allegation and wishes to mislead everyone else into believing his fabricated lie. We, thus, place on record that this allegation is a lie and that the author never said that, neither did he intend the false meaning that is being portrayed by the objector.
This brings us to end of the three major issues that were raised by the objector. The information mentioned above were all based on clear facts with references and explicit proofs from the Qur’aan, Hadith, incidents of the noble companions of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and the verdicts of the great Ulama and Muhadditheen of the past. The abovementioned facts and proofs are more than sufficient for one who reads with an open mind and does not have a biased attitude. However, we wish to further elucidate the fact that stories and incidents of this nature (as appears in Fadhaail-e-Aamaal) are replete with in other authentic and worldrenown books. Hereunder, we will mention but a few:
1. Hasan ibn Sufyaan Nasawi (RA) was once with his friends in Egypt out in search for Ahaadith. Their provisions became exhausted to such an extent that three days passed by without a morsel of food. They were forced to beg. Hence, they drew lots to see who from amongst them will go out to beg. Hasan ibn Sufyaan’s name came up and consequently, he took to one corner of the Musjid and performed two Rakaats of Salaat after which he made Du’aa and begging unto Allah Ta’ala. When he finished, he saw a young handsome man who had just entered the Musjid and remarked, ‘Where is Hasan ibn Sufyaan?’ he replied, ‘I am here’ The young man then said, ‘The King (Tooloon) conveys his salaams to you and he apologises for his shortcomings towards your service. Here is one hundred Dinaars for every one of you. when Hasan and his friends asked the young man as to how the King had come to know of them, the young man said, ‘The King saw a dream in which a rider flew to him in the air. The rider was holding a spear with which it entered his home and pierced the King in his hip and said – wake up! Go and see to Hasan ibn Sufyaan and his friends. Go! Wake up – Go. Wake up because they are starving for 3 days in the Musjid. The Kinf asked, ‘Who are you?’ the reply was, ‘I am Ridhwaan, the door-keeper of Jannat’ The King woke up and his hip was in severe pain. Thus, he sent these coins to you. (Siyaar aalamin nubalaa vol.14 pg.161; of Hafiz Dhahabi)
Now, look at the abovementioned incident. The objector quoted a similar incident from Fadhaail-e-Aamaal in which ibn Jalaa relates that he saw in a vision Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) giving him a piece of bread. He ate half of it and after he woke up, the other half was in his hand. The objector quotes this story and then (out of ignorance) boldly states that the book Fadhaail-e-Aamaal promotes erroneous beliefs. Yet, we see a similar incident quoted by Allaamah Dhahabi (RA)? Such a great scholar and Muhaddith who is world-renown and unanimously accepted for his indepth knowledge and research on Ahaadith – he has narrated this incident, has he deviated.
2. Abu Idrees Madeeni (RA) says that once a person from Madina by the name of Ziyaad came to us and joined us in a battle that we fought. We laid siege to one city and the 3 of us; myself (Abu Idrees), Ziyaad and another person were all together. One of us went to search for food whilst all of a sudden a caterpult was shot up which landed close to Ziyaad and injured him. He fell down unconscious. We gathered around him for the entire day, but he never moved an inch. Thereafter, all of a sudden he laughed to the extent that he opened his mouth wide enough for us to see his teeth. Then he cooled down. Then he began to cry until he even shed tears. Then he regained consciousness and sat up in bewilderment saying, ‘What am I doing here?’ We explained to him, ‘Don’t you remember the caterpult that hit you?’ He was quite . We asked him about what had transpired because of which he laughed. He said, ‘Let me tell you. after I lost my conscious, I was taken to a room made out of rubies and chrysolite and in there, I was taken to luxuries and comfortable bed which was steadily made from woven pearls of gold and rubies upon which lay the choicest of cushions. When I sat upon it, I heard the sound of jewellery from my right side. A beautiful young woman appeared before me, I do not know whether she was more beautiful or her robes or her jewellery. She welcomed me saying, ‘Welcome to the harsh person who never used to ask Allah for (great bounties like) us. We are not like his wife.’ When she said this, I smiled after which she came and sat next to me on my right side. I asked her, ‘Who are you?’ She said, ‘I am your young beautiful wife’. When I stretched my hand to touch her, she said, ‘Hold on! Not now, you will come to me at the time of Dhuhr.’ I cried until she finished speaking. Then I heard a sound to my left and the exact same thing happened. A young beautiful woman appeared and the same thing transpired between us, as previously. Abu Idrees Madeeni says that this person, Ziyaad, was sitting and talking to us. When the Muadhin called out the Dhuhr Adhaan, he passed away. (Man aasha ba’adal mawt of Hafiz ibn Abid-Dunyaa pg.82).
Now, look at the abovementioned incident. The objector quotes an incident from Fadhaail-e-Aamaal in which Shaykh Khayr Nurbaf knew the exact time of his death. The objector, after quoting the incident says that this story is deviant. Furthermore, the objector quotes other stories in which certain people saw paradise and hell after which he refutes Kashf. Here is a perfect example of both Kashf and also the fact that this person, Ziyaad, knew that he is going to die at the time of Dhuhr. This incident has been recorded in a book called Man Aasha ba’adal mawt, written by the great Muhaddith ibn Abid-Dunyaa (RA). He is a renown personality especially amongst all other great Muhadditheen. Will the objector say that his books too are promoting corrupt beliefs?
3. Another incident of a similar nature is mentioned in the very same book where once a person fell ill. He became so ill that he stopped all movement. So, the people shut his eyes and prepared him – took off his clothes, etc. so as to give him Ghusl. All of a sudden, he woke up and showed signs of movement. The people said, ‘Glory be to Allah, we thought you passed away!’ He said, ‘Yes I had passed away and I was taken to my grave at which I saw a handsome young man with a sweet smelling fragrance. He put me in my grave and covered me up with leaves. Therein, an ugly evil oudored woman appeared saying, ‘You did this and that and she counted a few things of which I was put to shame. I said, ‘I swear by Allah that you should leave me alone.’ She said, ‘Lets go, we will challenge you.’ We went to a wide spacious sweet smelling house at which there was an outdoor side bench made from silver. In one corner, stood a person performing Salaat. He was reciting Surah Nahl and he got stuck repeating the same verse over and over again. The woman then corrected the man.
Thereafter, the man then lifted up a pillow nearby under which lay a piece of paper which he removed. He looked at it but before he could say anything, the ugly woman spoke out, ‘This man did this and that’. The young handsome man said, ‘But he did this and this and this…’ enumerating all the good. The man said, ‘This is a servant who has wronged himself but Allah Ta’ala has forgiven him. His time is not yet up. He will die on Monday. This person then explained to the people around him – look – if I die on Monday, then I hope to get what I’ve seen and if I don’t die on Monday then these were just imaginary thoughts. The man passed away on Monday after Asr. (Man aasha ba’adal mawt pg.127). It is clear from this incident also that this person knew the time of his death and also had the power of Kashf which – obviously – was afforded to him by Allah Ta’ala alone.
4. Once during the era of Hadhrat Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) there was a drought. A person came to the grave of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and said, ‘O Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)! Seek rain for your Ummah because they are about to be destroyed.’ This person saw in a vision a voice telling him, ‘Go to Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu), convey salaams to him and inform him that very soon it will rain.’ Also, tell him to be alert and watchful. The man went to Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) and related this to him. Hadhrat Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) began to cry and thereafter he said, ‘O my Lord! I do not leave out except that which I am incapable of doing.’
Subhaanallah, look at the abovementioned incident. The objector has quoted various incidents of this nature from Fadhaail-e-Aamal and thereafter claims that this is ‘grave worship’ and further he claims, ‘Reading such stories from Fadhaail-e-Aamal to them will play havoc with their beliefs and further corrupt their religion.’ Will the objector then make his concocted deduction here too and say that this story promotes grave worship? look, this was done in the time of such a great Sahaabi like Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu). There were so many other Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum) around at that time. Even when this was brought to the awareness of Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu), neither himself nor anyone else had any objections. When Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhu) had no objections, who are we to do so?
Now, let us have a look at the source of this incident. Firstly, this incident is recorded in Dalaail-un-nubuwwah of Imaam Bayhaqi (vol.7 pg.47). This book is worldrenown and unanimously accepted. Imaam Bayhaqi needs no introduction, suffice to say that he has written great works on Ahaadith upon which the whole world is dependent upon. Will the objector lay his false blatant allegation of ‘grave worship’ on Imaam Bahyaqi, just because he mentioned such an incident in his book? Secondly, this incident is also recorded in Musnadul Faarooq by ibn Katheer (vol.1 pg.223). Thirdly, it has also been recorded by the worldrenown scholar Hafiz ibn Hajar (RA) in his al-Isaabah (vol.6 pg.216). One wonders how on earth would the objector lay such a foolish allegation of grave worship on these great scholars. What’s even better is this that the incident has also been recorded in Fath al-Baari (vol.2 pg.629; Qadeemi) - The most accepted commentary of the most authentic book after the Qur’aan – Saheeh al-Bukhari. That’s not all, Imaam Bukhari (RA) himself has made indication towards this incident in his Taareekh al-Kabeer (vol.7 pg.304). The objector should cover his face quickly out of shame because both ibn Katheer (RA) and ibn Hajar (RA) have classified this incident as authentic. (Musnadul Faarooq vol.1 pg.23; Fath al-Baari vol.2 pg.629). This clearly proves that the objector is being biased and wishes to attack the book Fadhaail-e-Aamal for no reason whatsoever. Why does the objector not lay his blatant lie against all these books – Dalaail-un-nubuwwah, Fath al-Baari, Isaabah, Taareekh al-Kabeer and Musnadul Faarooq? Why doesn’t he say that these books promote graveworship?
Like these, there are numerous other such incidents that have been authentically recorded by the illustrious scholars of Islam. This further establishes the fact that the objectors were led to these types of ignorant and baseless objections due to their lack of Islamic knowledge and the true understanding of Islam. The wise people have rightly stated, ‘Objecting is a sign of a man’s ignorance.’
Faculty of Specialty in Hadith Sciences
** www.alinaam.org.za/dappeal.htm **
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