What do ‘tafsîr’ and ‘hadîth’ mean? Who is called Islamic savant?



 An answer to a letter, this letter by Sayyid ’Abdulhakîm Arwasî, a true religious savant with perfect knowledge, explains Tafsîr and Hadîths, and praises religious savants.

Sir! At the beginning of your valuable letter you refer to religious savants. Knowledge which Muslims have to learn is called ’Ulûm-i Islâmiyya. This knowledge, which Islam commands, was divided into two sections by Rasûlullah ‘sall- Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’; he said: “Al-’ilm-ul-îmân, ’ilm-ulabdân wa ’ilm-ul-adyân.” He said that the former is ’Ulûm-i aqliyya, which is scientific knowledge, and the latter is ’Ulûm-i naqliyya, which is religious knowledge.

[In order to mislead youngsters, enemies of Islam say: “Religions are man-made. First totemism, then polytheism, and lastly monotheism were made up; thus, religions deterred science and civilization.” Spreading atrocious slanders they denigrate Islam. They sever scientific knowledge and intellectual knowledge from Islam’s nature. They misrepresent Islam in such a way as to make it appear as if it were different from and contrary to intellectual knowledge. They strive to spread the conviction that mind’s learning scientific knowledge depends on its giving up Islam. Vigilant people who have read books teaching the elements of religion and realized how much importance Islam places on intellectual knowledge and science, will certainly not believe such lies.]

Religious knowledge is knowledge that brings peace and happiness in this world and the next. It is divided into two parts: ’Ulûm-i ’âliyya, i.e. advanced religious knowledge and ’Ulûm-i ibtidâiyya, i.e. elementary knowledge. Branches of advanced religious knowledge are eight:

1— The knowledge of Tafsîr (explanation, expounding).

2— The knowledge of Usûl-i kalâm. This is the branch of knowledge that explains how the knowledge of Kalâm is derived from âyats and hadîths. This branch of knowledge is explained clearly in al-Hadîqa.

3— The knowledge of Kalâm. This is the branch of knowledge that explains the Kalimat ash-shahâdat and the six tenets of îmân related to it.

4— The knowledge of Usûl-i hadîth. This is the branch of knowledge that explains the different kinds of hadîths.

5— ’Ilm-i hadîth relates and explains Rasûlullah’s ‘sall- Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ behaviors, utterances and manners.

6— The knowledge of Usûl-i fiqh. It explains how learnings of Fiqh are derived from âyats and hadîths. A book of usûl entitled Manâr is well-known.

7— The knowledge of Fiqh explains the af’âl-i mukallafîn. That is, it explains the commands, the prohibitions and the permissible things that must be done or avoided physically. The knowledge of Fiqh is divided into four divisions: ’Ibâdâd, Munâkahât, Mu’âmalât, and ’Uqûbât.[1]

8— ’Ilm-i tasawwuf explains the things to be done or avoided with the heart, and the ways to purify the heart and soul. This is also called ’Ilm-i akhlâq or ’Ilm-i ikhlâs.

Of these eight branches of knowledge, it is fard-i ’ayn for every Muslim to learn the subjects of Kalâm, Fiqh and Akhlâq as much as necessary and to teach them to his household. Those who do not learn them and those who do not teach them to their household are gravely sinful. They will go to Hell to be tormented. And he who does not even think it is necessary to learn them and who slights them becomes a kâfir; his îmân goes away. It is fard-i kifâya to learn more than personally needed amounts of these three branches of knowledge or the other five branches, i.e. the advanced religious knowledge, or the ’ulûm-i ’aqliyya. It is written in Bezzâziyya: “After memorizing some parts of the Qur’ân al-kerîm, it is necessary to learn Fiqh. For, it is fard-i kifâya to memorize the entire Qur’ân al-kerîm. But it is fard-i ’ayn to learn the indispensable subjects of Fiqh. Muhammad bin Hasan Sheybânî ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’ says: [1] These four sub-branches deal with, 1) acts of worship; 2) social dealings, such as marriages, etc.; 3) People’s dealing with one another; 4) penal codes, respectively. Fard (or farz) means an act or a belief or conduct which Allâhu ta’âlâ commands Muslims. Fard-i-’ayn is a command which every individual Muslim has to observe or perform. Fard-i-kifâya is a command which has to be observed or performed by at least one of the people making up a certain society or congregation or group of Muslims. Every Muslim has to learn the two hundred thousand branches of knowledge of Fiqh teaching harâms and halâls. After the fard, the most valuable worship is to learn knowledge and Fiqh.

[Expatiating on the harmful branches of knowledge which Islam prohibits, the book al-Hadîqa states: It is fard-i ’ayn to study the knowledge of Kalâm enough to learn the belief taught by the savants of Ahl as-sunnat wal-jamâ’at, to prove it by religious and scientific knowledge, and to explain it to heretical or irreligious people. To learn more is necessary only for savants, but not permissible for others. It is fard-i kifâya to learn more for the purpose of serving Islam, yet it is permissible only for an intelligient man of religion who works only to please Allâhu ta’âlâ. If others learn more they may swerve into wrong paths. [They may become zindiqs, that is, insidious enemies of religion.] Al-imâm ash-Shâfi’î said: “When compared with dealing with ’Ilm-i kalâm and swerving, committing grave sins is venial.” After being advised about the ’Ilm-i kalâm of the time of al-imâm ash-Shâfi’î, we should consider the danger and the degree of prohibition involved in reading those religious books that are now being written by the short-sighted, visionary people who are quite unlearned in Islam. Al-imâm ash-Shâfi’î, again, said: “If it were known how harmful it is to deal with the knowledge of Kalâm before learning the Ahl as-sunnat belief well, you would avoid dealing with the knowledge of Kalâm more than you would avoid a lion.” Now there has been an increase in the number of those who write their own thoughts and opinions in the name of books on ’Ilm-i kalâm. Their books teem with polytheism and heresy. Al-imâm Abû Yûsuf said: “It is not permissible for those who deal with ’Ilm-i kalâm to be imâms.”[1] It is stated in the fatwâ of Bezzâziyya: “Most of people who deal with ’ilm-i kalâm become zindiqs.” As for dealing with the knowledge of Fiqh, that is, learning the fards and the harâms; it is fard-i ’ayn for every Muslim. And to learn it more than needed is fard-i kifâya; it brings much thawâb; there is no harm in it. Here we end our translation from Hadîqa. Writing religious books based on insufficient background of knowledge and heretical sentiments has had a great vogue among today’s people. Giving these books of theirs such titles as (The Qur’ân’s Translation) and (Facts Of The Qur’ân), they offer them to younger generations. Telling them that they should read these books only, they hinder them from learning the religious knowledge communicated by the savants of Ahl as-sunnat. They drift Muslims into heresy and perdition. To be true Muslims, we must read books of ’Ilm-i hâl written by pious Muslims.]

Learning these eight branches of advanced religious knowledge requires learning twelve elementary branches of knowledge, which are termed auxiliary teachings and which are Sarf, Ishtiqâq, Nahw, Kitâbat, Ishtiqâq-i kebîr, Lughat, Matn-i lughat, Bayân, Ma’ânî, Badî, Balâghat, and Inshâ. These are written in the three hundred and twenty-eighth (328) page of the book entitled Hadîqa, and in the three hundred and twentyninth (329) page of the book entitled Berîqa. Accordingly, branches of Islamic knowledge are twenty.

To be a religious savant it is necessary to learn the eight branches of advanced religious knowledge together with all their subtle particulars, and to be as well learned as necessary in scientific knowledge. There are two groups of Islamic savants: The first group are the religious imâms, who are the Mufassirîn-i ’izâm, the Muhaddithîn-i kirâm, the Mutakallimîn, the Mutasawwifîn, and the Fuqahâ-i fihâm ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaihim ajma’în’. Everything they state is an explanation of Qur’ân al-kerîm and hadîth-i sherîfs. Everything they say is unchangeable and absolutely true.

Mufassir does not mean a person who writes books of Tafsîr. Mufassir is a person who understands what Allâhu ta’âlâ means by His Word. Tafsîr is only the information that comes from Rasûlullah’s ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ blessed speech to the Sahâba ‘ridwânullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaihim ajma’în’, thence to the Tâbi’ûn, thence to the Taba-i tâbi’ûn, and thence, through the communication of such reliable and valuable people, to writers of books of tafsîr; to be more exact, to savants of Fiqh and Kalâm. Any information other than this cannot be called tafsîr; it is called ta’wîl. Correctness of ta’wîls is assessed by measuring them with tafsîrs. If a ta’wîl contradicts a tafsîr, it is discarded. If it agrees, it can be accepted. Islamic scholars have said so. Those who wrote books of tafsîr accepted the sections that were tafsîrs as tafsîrs and the sections that were ta’wîls as tafsîrs again because they agreed with a tafsîr.

Some books of tafsîr that are other than these convey the ta’wîls of Qur’ân al-kerîm. That is, they are not tafsîrs. They do not state what Allâhu ta’âlâ means. The tafsîr by Shaikh-i Akbar and the tafsîr of Najmaddîn ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaihimâ’ are books of ta’wîl. They cannot be documents for the knowledge of Kalâm or for the knowledge of Fiqh, which are the basic branches of religious knowledge.

The second group of Islamic savants are those who are other than the abovementioned savants of Tafsîr, Hadîth, Kalâm, Tasawwuf and Fiqh. They are not admitted as mujtahids in Islam. Their words cannot be dependable as documents or sources, for or against.

Those who explain the essentials, the fundamentals of the Islamic religion are the savants of the first group. They acquired all their knowledge from the Qur’ân and hadîths. They learned the meanings of the Qur’ân and hadîths from the Sahâba. They did not express anything from their own minds. Being followers of the Sahâba, they have been called the Ahl as-sunnat wa-ljamâ’at.

The owners of Madhhabs in Fiqh are the four imâms. In their Madhhabs there are people who have reached the high grade of mujtahid-i fi-l Madhhab. They are al-imâm Muhammad and alimâm Abû Yûsuf, in Hanafî; al-imâm an-Nawawî and al-imâm ar-Râfi’î and al-imâm al Ghazâlî, in Shâfi’î; and others. Ijtihâds that (appear to) belong to others are in actual fact these scholars’ ijtihâds. In other words, they will be accepted if they agree with their ijtihâds. If otherwise, they will be adapted to their ijtihâds if possible. If they cannot be adapted, religious matters cannot be based upon them. Those who are to do this, that is, those who are to see if they can be adapted, are only those who have higher knowledge and a deeper understanding than the owners of those new ijtihâds; they are Islamic savants educated by those great imâms, that is, they are scholars who love and watch over their faith, and each of them is known to be exalted all over the world. Shamsaddîn Sahâwî,[2] whose name is mentioned in your letter, is, of course, outside this circle. And the book entitled al-Maqâsidul- Hasana is not considered to be among the authentic religious books. Its gauge is the valuable Islamic books. If it agrees with them it will be admitted. If it does not, the utmost will be done to adapt it to them. If it cannot be adapted, the book will be given up, and the responsibility will be left to its author. The Tafsîrs that have established the basis of Islam cannot be refused or criticized with such books. Therefore, his saying that there are very few hadîths about Malâhima [great war, combat] and Murtaqiba and Muntazira [both mean to watch, to wait. These three scientific branches teach the methods of pre-estimating the results of a war] appeals for deliberation. It is not important if the hadîths are many or few. When it is discovered that there is a hadîth, one hadîth will do as well. For, any information coming from the Mukhbîr-i sâdiq (the Prophet) is to be believed. A standard of comparison is needed to determine whether a certain number is too low or high enough. What will be the standard of comparison to decide whether they are too few, or numerous enough? Valuable books of hadîth contain more hadîths about these matters than about other matters.

Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ intimated to Huzayfat-ibnu Yemân many facts that must remain secret. This exalted person and Abû Hurayra ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anhumâ’ stated: “Sarwar-i ’âlam ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ intimated to us all the things that have happened and will happen from the creation of all beings till the day on which all will be annihilated. We have narrated those which we were permitted to disclose. We did not disclose those which were to be concealed. We kept them secret.” Maybe not all of those which they disclosed have reached us. Hadîths that have not reached us cannot be said to be nonexistent. Furthermore, books of Malâhima are not among the books forming the basis of the religion. They teach the acts to be avoided. These books contain exaggerations, which wages the act of heeding a warning. Islam’s soundness does not depend upon the correctness of books of Malâhima; then why should Islam be blamed for the incorrectness of these books? These books are like history books. Certainly, history books will be like that.

You write that Sahâwî says: “Imâm-i Ahmad has said that the three books do not have a foundation”! That Ahmad must not be Imâm-i Ahmad Ibni Hanbal. Such a great imâm would not say, “The three books do not have a foundation,” with one stroke of the pen. Those great savants would separate the doubtful parts. They would not say that a book is altogether wrong. However, because the books Malâhim and Maghâzî [war history] are not Islam’s valuable books, the statement, “It does not accept any true hadîths,” about Malâhim, is of no value. We would like to add that not to admit something does not show that it is nonexistent. Things that are nonexistent cannot be proved. For, no evidence can be found to prove nonexistence.

According to Sahâwî, “Imâm-i Ahmad has said that Tafsîr-i Kelbî is thoroughly incorrect.” As we have stated above, Tafsîr-i Kelbî is not a basic book of Islam. Nor is Tafsîr-i Muqâtil.

You write that Shawkânî has said: “The tafsîrs of the Sôfiyya, such as Tafsîr-i Haqâiq [Sulamî], are not tafsîrs.” The abovegiven information about tafsîrs includes this tafsîr, too. We will point out also that the superiors of Sôfiyya-i ’aliyya did not write anything in the name of Tafsîr. They wrote what they called ta’wîls. It has been said that the inspirations that came to their pure brains might be the information willed by Allâhu ta’âlâ. Their statements depend upon conscience. It is left to owners of conscience to believe them. They cannot be proofs for others. That is, they do not prove the facts to be believed, nor can they indicate deeds or worships. Those who know them understand their states, and only those who have reached their high grades know them. Such people as Shawkânî are very far below these grades. Shawkânî’s statement cannot be a proof against them. You say, “They have many bâtinî tafsîrs.” If the word ‘bâtin’ is used to mean the group of Bâtiniyya, it is an already known fact that that group deviated from the right way. But if it means the savants of bâtin, the statement must be thrown back into the teeth of the person who has made it.

[The book Milel-Nihal, by Shihristânî, was published in Arabic in Egypt, in India, and in London, and was translated into Latin, into English, and into other languages. It was translated into Turkish by Nûh bin Mustafâ. It is written on its forty-third page: “The Shi’î sect consists of twenty groups. The eighteenth group is the group of Ismâ’îlî. This group is also called Bâtiniyya. For, they say, “‘The Qur’ân has a bâtinî [secret, interior] meaning as well as a zâhirî [overt] meaning. Its bâtinî meaning is necessary, and its zâhirî meaning is unnecessary.” This is kufr, ilhâd, that is, deviation from the right way. For, they do not believe a word of the Islamic scholars.” They are not called Shi’î. The most widespread group of Shi’îs in Iran and India today is the Imâmiyya group, who call themselves Ja’ferî. Today, when the word Shi’î is mentioned it means the Imâmiyya group.]

At one place in your letter you write that Shawkânî[3] has said: “The tafsîr of Ibni ’Abbâs is not a tafsîr at all.” There is not a book in the name of the tafsîr of Ibni ’Abbâs. ’Abdullah Ibni ’Abbâs did not write books. Having attended Rasûlullah’s ‘sall- Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ valuable sohbats, having seen Hadrat Jabrâîl, and having been known as one of the most deeply learned of the Sahâba ‘alaihimurridwân’, he expounded upon some âyats as well as on some hadîths. Making use of his exalted explanations, our savants of Tafsîr enriched their tafsîrs. Islamic savants admit with consensus that these tafsîrs are at a very high level. Shawkânî’s statement needs to be corrected. And correcting it requires knowing the subtle rules of the knowledge of usûl-i hadîth, which is very high. However, it is not known whether or not Shawkânî reached those grades. For, if he had reached those grades he would not have said anything incompatible with the methods of great savants.

Concerning the tafsîr of Sa’labî, that is, the tafsîr entitled Kashf-u bayân, we should keep the abovementioned explanation in view. So is the case with the Tafsîr-i Wâhidî.

Zemahsharî[4] belonged to the Mu’tazila group. For this reason, to understand the divine meanings in the tafsîr of Kashshâf, the abovementioned explanation, again, should be kept in consideration. However, because Zemahsharî occupied the highest grade of the savants of the knowledge of balâghat, which is an essential factor to prove that the Qur’ân al-kerîm is mu’jiz, the Sunnî savants of Tafsîr quoted from his tafsîr in describing the balâghat of the Qur’ân al-kerîm.

As for Qâdî Beydâwî[5] ‘bayyad-Allâhu wajhah’ [may Allâhu ta’âlâ make his face luminous]; he is exalted enough to deserve his name and the prayer (attached to his name). He is loved and honoured above all by mufassirs. He reached the highest grade in the knowledge of Tafsîr. He was an authority in every branch. He was a leader in every Madhhab. He was a guide in every thought.

He was skilled in every science, he was an authority in every usûl, and was known as authentic, firm and was praised by the early savants as well as by later ones. It is so daring to say that there are mawdû’ hadîths in such a profound savant’s tafsîr; it is identical with tearing a deep gap in the religion. It would be fit if the tongue that uttered such words, the heart that believed them, and the ears that listened to them caught fire. Was that greatly learned sage unable to distinguish mawdû’ hadîths from sahîh ones? What should we call people who would say, “Yes, he was”? Or, did he lack religious faith or fear of Allah to such an extent as to make up hadîths or disignore the heavy punishments which our Prophet had reported about those who would do so? It would be very base, very heinous to say he did. Because the meanings in these hadîths are too vast for the narrow comprehension and the thick head of the person who says so, he will look for a way out; then, finding no other way, he calls them mawdû’. For this reason, it will be pertinent here to explain mawdû’ hadîths.

The word (mawdû’) has one lexical meaning and one istilâh (technical) meaning, [that is, a different meaning peculiar to the concerned branch of knowledge.] In other words, it has a meaning given by the knowledge of Usûl-i hadîth. In the dictionary, mawdû’ means that which has been put somewhere afterwards, that is, made-up. That is, it was not uttered by the blessed mouth of the Sarwar-i ’âlam ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ but was introduced in the name of a hadîth by a zindiq, by a munâfiq, or by a liar, for slanderous purposes. There are two ways to determine it. The first way is with a statement from Fakhr-i Rusul ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’, who is the owner of the hadîth: “This is not my hadîth.” In other words, his saying that he did not utter it. The second way is with the absence of this mawdû’ hadîth among the hadîths that were recorded by those who were with our master Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ from the first day of his prophethood until he honoured the Hereafter with his presence. This second way requires some conditions to be fulfilled. For instance, the people involved (in the recording of the so-called hadîths) must have paid strict attention to each and every statement made by the Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa salam’ and they must have observed closely all his blessed manners and habits. Accordingly, this second way also is impracticable. Then, how could a hadîth ever be called mawdû’ in this sense? No one would pay heed to an assertion of this sort.

From the beginning of Sarwar-i ’âlam’s ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ prophethood until his death, every word uttered by his blessed mouth, every silent moment and every action, became a hadîth. In describing the knowledge of Hadîth they said, “It is the science that deals with his utterances and manners.”

The science of Usûl-i hadîth contains another science through whose methods and ways, kinds and classes of hadîths are distinguished. Different and detailed explanations, definitons and specifications of numerous kinds of hadîths, such as Mutawâtir, Mashhûr, Sahîh, Hasan, Marfû’, Musnad, Mursal, Da’îf and Mawdû’, fill volumes of books. Each hadîth has conditions and references. This vast information is peculiar only to those great savants who have reached the grade of ijtihâd in the science of Usûl-i hadîth.

The knowledge of Hadîth is completely different. When a savant who is a mujtahid in the science of Usûl-i hadîth proves that a certain hadîth is mawdû’, all the other savants of this science will not necessarily have to say that it is mawdû’. For, a mujtahid who says mawdû’ about a hadîth which does not fulfill the conditions which he considers indispensable for a hadîth to be sahîh means to say, “It is mawdû’ according to the rules of the usûl of my Madhhab.” He does not mean that it is not an utterance of Rasûlullah’s. In other words, he means to say, “This statement is said to be a hadîth-i sherîf, but I have not come to the same conclusion.” Its not being a hadîth according to this savant does not prove that it is not a hadîth in actual fact. As a matter of fact, when another mujtahid in the science of Usûl-i hadîth finds in this utterance the conditions which he requires of a hadîth to be sahîh, he may say that it is a hadîth and not mawdû’. Then, Shawkânî’s statement, “The hadîths in some of the tafsîrs are mawdû’,” does not make them mawdû’. If we were to suppose that Shawkânî were a mujtahid in the science of Usûl-i hadîth, then we would know that it has not been understood clearly that it is a hadîth according to the rules of the (science of Usûl-i hadîth) of his Madhhab; but how dare he say that it is a mawdû’ hadîth? The ugliness of casting such aspersions on religious superiors is quite conspicuous. As the existence of differences between the well-known four Madhhabs does not mean that there are incorrect teachings in them, likewise, you could apply the same reasoning to hadîths! Since such things are a matter of ijtihâd, it does not have to be mawdû’ in actual fact only because a mujtahid says that it is mawdû’.

Tafsîr-i Abussu’ûd was derived from the tafsîrs of Baydâwî and Zemahsharî and from Tafsîr-i kebîr. Your highness did not mention Tafsîr-i kebîr. [Tafsîr-i kebîr is also called Mafâtih-ul- Ghayb. It consists of thirteen volumes. It was written by Fakhruddîn-i Râdî.[6]]

The statement, “The tafsîrs reported from the Salaf-i sâlihîn are not dependable,” is not true at all. The proof, the evidence which he puts forward in order to explain that some hadîths are mawdû’ exposes his own faux pas according to the science of Munâzara (debate). Especially, his saying mawdû’ about those hadîths that relate the virtue and the value of sûras is answerable in no way except by saying, “Lâ hawla…”

Yes, zindiqs fabricated some statements in the name of hadîth. The savants of Ahl as-sunnat identified and discarded them. Now our religious books do not contain any of them.

Tafsîr-i Khâzin, —which is entitled Lubâb-ut-ta’wîl fî ma’ân-ittanzîl and was written by Alâ’uddîn-i Baghdâdî—,[7] and the tafsîr of Rûh-ul-bayân are more of preaching books. The hadîths they contain may be da’îf hadîths at the most. Da’îf hadîths can be valuable in terms of informing us about the virtues and thawâbs in worships. Basic religious information is not derived from such tafsîrs. Such books are not sources for the essentials of Islam. Books of preaches and khutbas and books of people who are in the low grades of Tasawwuf are like speeches and conferences. You do not look up evidence or proofs in such books. Therefore they may contain any kind of hadîth besides mawdû’ hadîths. But in books of Kalâm, which are the basis of the religion, only sound hadîths can be proofs and documents. And in books of Fiqh and worship, hadîths other than âhâd, da’îf and mawdû’ hadîths are proofs and witnesses. Acts of worship that are reported by da’îf hadîths to have much thawâb in them can be done. It is written in Ibni ’Âbidîn ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’, in the section dealing with prayers of ablution, that it is harâm, perhaps kufr, to substantiate acts of worship with mawdû’ hadîths.

Jalâladdîn-i Suyûti, author of the books Jâmî’-us-saghîr and Jâmî’ul-kebîr [which are great hadîth books], reached the grade of Imâm in the science of Hadîth. There are no mawdû’ hadîths in his books, nor are there any in al-Imâm-i Muhammad Ghazâlî’s books.

A person who says that a hadîth is mawdû, first of all has to be a mujtahid in the science of Usûl-i hadîth. If such a mujtahid proves that a hadîth is mawdû’ according to the rules of the science of Usûl-i hadîth, it is mawdû’ only in his Madhhab. It does not have to be mawdû’ in the Madhhabs of other savants who are mujtahids in the science of Usûl-i-hadîth. Those savants recorded such hadîths as sahîh in their books. And Muslims know them as hadîths.

Muhammad Damîrî is the author of the book Hayât-ulhaywân. Books such as Qisâs-i Anbiyâ [by Imâm-i ’Alî bin Hamza Kisâî], Mustatraf [written by Muhammad bin Ahmad ’Abshîhî and entitled Mustatraf fî kulli fanni Muztazraf], Enîsuljelîs [written by ’Alî bin Hasan Hullî], Khazînat-ul-asrâr [written by Muhammad Haqqî], Tuhfat-ul-ikhwân [which deals with how to read the Qur’ân al-kerîm and was written by Khalîl bin ’Uthmân], and Makârim-i akhlâq [written by Ibni Abiddunyâ] are not books that form the basis of the religion. However, since the authors of these books are great, hadîths that are mawdû’ in their Madhhabs must not exist in them. Even if they were mawdû’ in the Madhhabs of those who would say they were mawdû’, we would not have to downgrade something minutely observed by savants, by saying that it is mawdû’. Nor could Islam be denigrated with the extraneous sophisms of such outsiders. To say that a hadîth is mawdû’, a person would have to be able to take the hadîth and prove with evidence and documents that it is mawdû’.

[People who belong to the seventy-two groups who will go to Hell, munâfiqs, zindiqs, Wahhâbîs, and Jews disguised as Muslims said mawdû’ about many hadîths in order to break the Ahl as-sunnat into groups and camouflage their own vices. And some people who are known to be Sunnîs were deceived by the books of these enemies, and looked on many sahîh hadîths as mawdû’. One of those who, being unable to see the greatness of the Ahl as-sunnat savants or comprehend their books, were deceived by the enemies, is Aliyy-ul-qârî. Although he wrote many books and revised valuable ones, he calls sahîh hadîths mawdû’ in his book Ahâdith-ul-mawdû’ât. People who believe the enemies of religion and say mawdû’ about the sahîh hadîths in the most valuable books are thereby helping the enemies of religion to demolish Islam.]

I will never believe that a book entitled Tahzîr-ul-muslimîn is true; I understand that it is one of the behind-the-scenes lies fibbed in order to demolish the religion.

The books listed at the end of the first page of your letter are not the basic books of Islam. [One of these books is Durrat-unnâsikhîn, written by ’Uthmân Hopawî.] Another one is the hadîth book entitled Attarghîb-wattarhîb, by Ismâ’îl Isfahânî. ’Abd-ul’azîm wrote another hadîth book with the same title; hadrat Imâm-i Rabbânî praises this book. Another one is the book entitled Ajâ’ib-ul-Qur’ân, written by Mahmûd-i Kermânî. The Islamic religion does not defend these books, for neither they themselves nor their authors have been deemed great by religious savants. Nevertheless, neither all nor a few of the hadîths they contain can be said to be mawdû’. Each hadîth has to be proven to be mawdû’ separately. Even if there were mawdû’ hadîths it would not make any difference. The fundamentals of the religion have not been based upon these books. Faults and defects belong to the authors of the books. And since their authors are not religious authorities or superior persons, criticisms leveled against them would not defame the religion.

If people who say mawdû’ about the hadîths reported by men of Tasawwuf intend to contradict the reports of the superiors of Tasawwuf, their words have no value and are not worth answering. Every religious fact reported by those great people is true, dependable, and documented. But if their statements are intended against false dervish convents and false men of Tasawwuf, they may say as much as they wish; we will not defend the latter.

Hadrat Muhammed Emîn-i Tokâdî quotes the hadîth: “One jadhba of the jadhbas of Rahmân is like the thawâbs of all people and genies” in his booklet Sulûk. The booklet occupies number 169 of section Dâr-ül-mesnevî in the library of Süleymâniyye, Istanbul. It is written in the 386th page of Ma’rifatnâma as well that it is a hadîth. The hadîth: “He who knows his nafs will know his Rabb (Allah)” is written in the eleventh page of Kunûz-uddaqâiq, which also informs us that it exists in Daylamî. (The – 103 – book) Latâif-ul-minan says that Shaikh Abul ’Abbâs Mursî stated that this is a hadîth-i-sherîf, and quotes his lengthy explanation (of the hadîth). The first page of Kashf-un-nûr and also Salât-i Mas’ûdî clearly write that this is a hadîth-i sherîf and explain its meaning as follows: “He who is aware of his incapability will recognize his Rabb’s greatness.” Ibni Taymiyya’s and Zerkeshî’s and Ibni Samânî’s saying that it is only a statement made by Yahyâ bin Mu’âdh-i Râdî is not based upon any foundation. Persian commentary of Fiqh-i Ghîdânî states that it is written in the thirteenth chapter of Salât-i Mas’ûdî that it is a hadîth.

“Love of the world is the origin of all sins” is a hadîth. [Imâm-i Manâwî and Bayhakî report that it is a hadîth.] Those who do not know what “world” means will not admit this fact.[8]

It is written at the end of Sharh-i mawâqif that the hadîth, “My Ummat will part into seventy-three groups. Only one of them will enter Paradise, and the rest will go to Hell,” is sahîh. It is stated in the translation of the book Milel-Nihal that the four imâms who wrote the books of hadîth named the Sunan quoted this hadîth from Abû Hurayra ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’. Great Islamic savant Shaikh-ul-islâm Ahmad Nâmiqî Jâmî ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’ quotes this hadîth in his books Miftâh-un-najât and Unsut- tâlibîn. Also, such mujtahids as Imâm-i Rabbânî and Imâm-i Ghazâlî quote this hadîth. Any person who would say that this hadîth is mawdû’ would also try to daub the sun with sticky mud, for this hadîth would be denied only by the adversaries of the Ahl as-sunnat.

While explaining the value of knowledge in his book Nashr-ulmahâsin, Imâm-i Yâfi’î states that the utterance, “The scholars of my Ummat are like the Israelite Prophets,” is a hadîth. This is written clearly in many books, particularly in the 268th, 294th and 121st letters of the third volume of Hadrat Imâm-i Rabbânî’s Maktûbât,[9] and at the beginning of the book Latâif-ul-minan.[10]

Also, it is written in the book al-Hâmilu fil-fulk, by ’Abd-ul- Ghanî Nablusî. This book exists in the library of Süleymâniyye, Istanbul, in section Es’ad efendi, number 3606.

“Worships of the abrâr are sins for the muqarrabs” is a hadîth. [This hadîth-i-sherîf should not be confused with the statement, “The riyâ of ’ârifs is better than the ikhlâs of murîds,” by Abû Sa’îd-i Harrâz.] “What remains from a Believer’s food or drink is a curative,” is a hadîth. “The world is a field (to be tilled) for the next world,” is a hadîth. [Imâm-i Manâwî and Daylamî state that this is a sahîh hadîth.] A person who does not know their meanings will find no other way than to contradict them. Mathnawî states that the utterance, “Love of one’s country originates from one’s îmân,” is a hadîth. It is written in Maktûbât and in “Kanz-i makhfî” that “Kuntu kanzan makhfiyyan…” is a hadîth-i qudsî, and it is written in the seventy-sixth letter of the second volume of Maktûbat that “Lâ yase’unî ardî…” is a hadîth-i qudsî. (Please see the twenty-first chapter of the sixth fascicle of Endless Bliss.)


All the hadîths reported by those who occupy high grades of Tasawwuf are sahîh. Delâil-ul-khayrât is not a book of hadîths, but a book of prayers. I cannot guess what it could mean for a prayer to be mawdû’.

If the book Ihyâ-ul-’ulûm by Imâm-i Ghazâli[11] is meant by the word Ihyâ, well, the book is correct and exalted according to the consensus of savants. If a non-Muslim turned its pages with good will he would be honoured with becoming a Muslim.

The book Qût-ul-qulûb [written by Abû Tâlib-i Mekkî] and the book Bahjat-ul-asrâr fî manâqib-il-akhyâr [written by ’Alî bin Yûsuf, and consists of the biographies of the superiors of Tasawwuf] do not teach the basic facts of the religion; I therefore shall not defend them.

To say mawdû’ about the hadîths describing the creation of the world would mean to pelt the unknown with stones. Knowing whether a hadîth is sahîh requires lengthy observation. Whether or not it is compatible with mind is of no importance. Our religion is based upon communication. When what is communicated is true it is necessary to believe it.

The hadîth about the wives of Ibrâhîm ‘’alaihis-salâm’ is not mawdû’. It is true that our Prophet’s ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ blessed heart was taken out and cleansed. When he was born it was seen that he had been circumcised. So were all the other Prophets ‘’alaihimussalâm’. It is true that he had a seal of Prophethood. [Information about Ashûra is given in the fiftyeighth chapter of the third fascicle of Endless Bliss.]

If the referred book, Asnalmatâlib, is the one which was written by Ibni Hajar-i Mekkî, it is beyond question, absolutely true, documentary, and very dependable. If it is one of the others it is of no importance.

The hadîth about the fifteenth night of the month of Sha’bân is sahîh. So is the case with the virtue of the month of Rajab. Mi’râj is a truth. But it is not definitely known what night it is. [How Mi’râj happened is explained in detail in the fifty-eighth chapter of the third fascicle of Endless Bliss. Also, see the book Belief and Islam.]

[Muhammad Rebhâmî says in his Persian book, Riyâd-unnâsikhîn: “There are many groups of those who deny Mi’râj:

“Jahmiyya, who are the second group of the Jabriyya sect, and Kâ’biyya, who are the twelfth group of the Mu’tazila sect, stated that Mi’râj was untrue. The Mu’tazila group stated that Mi’râj was a dream. Recently the number of people following the Mu’tazila example has been on the increase. The Bâhilî group said that Mi’râj happened as far as Jerusalem, and that it did not continue to heavens.

“Groups Hashawiyya and Mushabbiha, two of those groups who assert that Allâhu ta’âlâ is an object, said that Mi’râj lasted one night, that that night was as long as three hundred years, and that all people remained asleep in the course of that time. The group called Ibâhâtî, or Ismâ’îlî, stated that Mi’râj happened spiritually, and that the body did not leave its place.

“Savants of Ahl as-sunnat wa-l-jamâ’at stated that during the Mi’râj the soul and the body together were taken from Mekka to Jerusalem, thence to the seven skies, thence to the place named Sidra, and thence to the rank of Qâba Qawsayn while awake, and thence they were taken back within one moment during the night. They said that Allâhu ta’âlâ created this, and they proved it in many ways.” He experienced other mi’râjs, too, which happened spiritually.]

The hadîth describing the namâz of tarâwih is sahîh. The fact that the Arab is the best of mankind, together with the superior merits of Qouraishîs and Hâshimîs, is written in hadîths, [which exist in the fifty-seventh chapter of the first fascicle.]

[Some sahîh hadîths are written in the book Basîrat-ussâlikîn, where it is added at the same time that Suyûtî said that they were unfounded. However, Ibni ’Âbidîn, while explaining fasting on a yawm-i shak (doubtful day), stated: “If the hadîth scholars say unfounded for a hadîth, it means not the hadîth itself is unfounded but its being a marfû’[12] hadîth is unfounded and this hadîth is mawqûf.[13]”]

If the statements in the booklet Râbita-i sherîfa were read with due attention, you would solve your other questions! People who deny râbita are those who do not know what râbita is. Most of the savants of the Hanafî Madhhab of the recent thousand years describe râbita in their books.[14] To deny this means to deny the savants of the Hanafî Madhhab. Objecting against them would require not only being a mujtahid but also being one as exalted as they are. Not everybody could derive meanings from âyats and hadîths; one would have to be a mujtahid. Ignorant people’s approving or disapproving the facts will have no effect on them.

Men’s helping one another will be possible only by shafâ’at (intercession). Asking for help from souls has become a custom among all Muslims and all people.

Sir! Due to it being the month of Ramadân, I have been able to write only this much. Anyone who would like more detailed information would need a long interview on a favorable day. Yet it would be necessary to be reasonable and educated, for it is not possible to talk with an obstinate person. To understand why Hadrat ’Alî ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ did not help Hadrat Hasan and Hadrat Husayn ‘radiy-Allâu ’anhumâ’ we have to meet and converse. I beg you to excuse me.

28th Ramadân 1347 [1929] ’Abdulhakîm Arwâsî


In this garden there are no roses or tulips for me;

This market involves no buying or selling; nor money;

No power, no disposal, no estate; nor property;

No sorrows, no pleasures, no antidotes; nor injury.

Would I knew: What am I here, and what belongs to me?


Existence is a Lutf-i-Ilâhî and life is Rahmat-i-Kerîm!

Mouth is ’Atiyya-i-Rahmân; speech,

Fadl-i-Qadîm! Body: binâ-i-Hudâ; soul:

Nefha-i-Tekrîm! Strength: Ihsân-i-Qudrat; senses:

Wadh’i-Hakîm! Would I knew:

What am I here, and what belongs to me?


In this world I have no property, definitely;

Whatever is there, all existence is His only;

To come or not to the world is something beyond me;

I have no evidence of title to property.

Would I knew: What am I here, and what belongs to me?


My existence: A mere vision; my soul: a trust!

To say, “I,” before Him, is an act one should disgust!

For the slave to obey the proprietor is a ‘must’!

He says that I am ‘His slave’: like ascribing honour to dust!

Would I knew: What am I here, and what belongs to me?


I am poor and needy, wealth and grace belong to Haqq;

‘Nil’ is my sole assets, existence does belong to Haqq;

Eternity, Past and future, and wrath belong to Haqq;

All that is seen in this world and the next belongs to Haqq.

Would I knew: What am I here, and what belongs to me? 


[1] In other words, they cannot conduct namâz in jamâ’at, which is explained in detail in the twentieth chapter of the fourth fascicle of Endless Bliss.

[2] Shams-ud-dîn Sahâwî ‘rahmatullâhi ’alaih’, (830 [1427], Sahâ, Egypt – 902 [1496], Medîna.)

[3] Qâdî Muhammad bin Alî Shawkânî (1173 [1759], Shawkân, San’a – 1250 [1834], San’a, central Yemen).

[4] Allâma Abul-Qâsim Mahmûd Jârullah bin ’Umar, (467 [1074], Zemahshar, Hâradhm – 538 [1144] Jurjâniyya.) He is said to have made tawba (for his former heresy) as he was dying.

[5] Qâdî ’Abdullah bin ’Umar ‘rahmatullâhi ’alaih’, (d.685 [1286], Beydâ, Shîrâz, Iran – Tabrîz.)

[6] Muhammad bin ’Umar ‘rahmatullâhi ’alaih’, 544 [1149], Rey – 606 [1209], Herat).

[7] Alâ’uddîn-i Baghdâdî ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’, (678, Baghdâd – 741 [1340], Aleppo, Syria).

[8] Please see chapter 7.

[9] The hundred and twenty-first letter occupies the thirty-ninth chapter of the sixth fascicle of Endless Bliss.

[10] Written by Tâj-ud-dîn Iskenderî ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’ (d. 709 [1309 A.D.], Egypt). This book, and also the book entitled Miftâh-ulfalâh, by the same blessed author, occupies the page margins of the book entitled Mîzân-ul-kubrâ and written by ’Abd-ul-Wahhâb Sha’rânî ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’ (d. 973 [1565 A.D.]).

[11] Muhammad bin Muhammad Ghazâlî ‘rahmatullâhi ’alaih’, (450 [1058] – 505 [1111], Ghazâl, Mashhad, N.E. Iran).

[12] Please see par. 5 in the following chapter.

[13] Please see par. 8 in the following chapter. [14] Please see the sixtieth chapter of the first fascicle, the twenty-fifth chapter of the fourth fascicle, and the twenty-fifth chapter of the sixth fascicle, of Endless Bliss.


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