Saturday, 1 September 2018

Al-Dhahabi Disavowed Al-Uluw li al-Ali al-Ghaffar ?

" Al Dhahabi has himself disavowed his work later in his life.
The Famous hadith master Ibn Nasir al-Din al-Dimashqi (d.842H), the copyist of Al 'Uluw has narrated the following statement of Al Dhahabi,
"This book contains narrations against the unreliability of which I am cautioning the reader, and the statements of a number of people who spoke in outlandish terms. Neither do I subscribe to their terms, nor do I imitate them. May Allah forgive them! Nor will I ever consider myself bound by such terms. This is my belief, and I know that Allah – "There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him" (42:11)!"

This is present in the Original Manuscript  and was also photographically reproduced in Shaykh Hasan Ali Saqqaf edition of Al 'Uluw [1].

Al Dhahabi in his later life has clearly mentioned his beliefs on mushabi'at.

To quote, some of them are, He mentioned in his work, Siyar Al Alam, Vol 5, Pg 449[2]

Ibn Qasim said "Allah created Adam in his own image".
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم heard that and strongly refused it and forbade him to speak [on that matter. This is not only narrated from Ibn Ajlan and Abu Zanad but also from Shoaib bin Abi Hamza from Abi Zanad. It is also narrated from Qatadah from Abi Ayub Al Marghi from Abu Huraira.
Also narrated from Ibn lahiyah from Al Aa'raj from Abi Yunus from Abu Hurayrah.
Also narrated from Mua'mar from Hammam from Abi Hurayrah. The narration is Sahih on the conditions of Bukhari and Muslim.
(Hadith narrated in Musnad Imam Ahmad, Vol 2, Pg 244, Imam Bayhaqi, Al Asma wal  Sifaat, pg 341)

 Al Dhahabi commented, "We believe it, authorize and recognize it, not fighting over which does not concern us, we know that Allah is nothing like Him (Adam عليه سلام). He is the all seer".

He again writes under the biography of Layth ibn Sa'd, (giving his own view on how we should approach the attributes of Allah),

He writes, "Abu Ubayd in his book of strange ahadith has written many hadith on divine attributes. He further says, "There is no right to interpret those ahadith pertaining to attributes of Allah"
 (Siyar Al Alam, Vol 8, Pg 162) [3]

Imam Dhahabi writes elsewhere in his Siyar, "Many attributes of Allah like His speech can’t be interpretated which is the most important part of the religion. We  believe what was revealed to us and accept it silently without any interpretation and also accepting that only Allah knows its realities. The attributes of Allah cant  resemble the attributes of created beings and the creator himself does not resemble the animate creatures". (Siyar Al Alam, Vol 10, Pg 506). [4]

Imam Al-Dhahabi then mentions the quote of Ibn Khuzaimah: "Whoever doesn't acknowledge that Allah is above His throne, and has done Istiwa over His seven heavens, then he is a Kafir whose blood is permissible, and his wealth is booty".
After this quote of  Ibn Khuzaimah, Imam Al-Dhahabi explains the text by saying that whoever has Iman in Istiwa, and does TAFWEEDH (does not Interpret) of it's meaning to Allah and His Prophet , then he is a true believing Muslim. (Siyar Al Alam, Vol 14, Pg 373) .[5]

Iman Dhahabi again says, "Ibn al Zaughuni in his poem said "....and Allah on his High Throne Himself...".

 Al Dhahabi comments, "The word "self" does not have to be written as it creates confusion among the people and leave their [interpretation] first and Allah knows best. (Siyar Al Alam, Vol 19, Pg 607)[6]
Siyar Al Alam An Nubala was his last work which he wrote when he was around 68-69 years old. This unarguably proves that He had given up the anthropomorphic believes and returned to the righteous Ashari creed. 

Al Dhahabi also wrote a small epistle namely, "Al-Nasi'hat Al-Dhahabiyya li-Ibn Taymiyya" when he was around fifty-five years of age and addressed to Ibn Taymiyya near the end of his life.

In this brief but scathing epistle, the author distances himself from his contemporary and admonishes him without naming him, calling him ''an eloquent polemicist who neither rests nor sleeps."

The Nasiha contains the following prediction of Taymiyya followers in our time: 

"Oh! The disappointment of him who follows you!
For he is exposed to corruption in basic beliefs and to dissolution, particularly if he is short of learning and religion, a self-indulgent idler who does well for you by fighting on your behalf with his hand and tongue, while he is actually your enemy in his being and heart. What are your followers but dogmatic do-nothings of little intelligence, common liars with dull minds, silent outlanders strong in guile, or dryly righteous without understanding? If you do not believe it, just look at them and honestly assess them! [7]

[1] Al 'Uluw li Al Ali 'Al Ghaffar, Ed by Shaykh Hasan Ali Saqqaf, Pg 3-4.
[2] Siyar Al Alam  An Nubala, Vol 5, Pg 449.
[3] Siyar Al Alam  An Nubala, Vol 8, Pg 162.
[4] Siyar Al Alam  An Nubala, Vol 10, Pg 506.
[5] Siyar Al Alam  An Nubala, Vol 14, Pg 373.
[6] Siyar Al Alam  An Nubala, Vol 19, Pg 607.
[7] Al Nasi'hat Al Dhahabiyya li Ibn Taymiyya, Pg 33-34.
[8] Al Sakhawi (d.920H), Al Ilan Wal Tawbikh, Pg 77 and Pg 136
[9] Bashshar Awwad Ma'ruf Al Dhahabi Wa Manhajuhu (pg 146). Two extant manuscripts of the Nasiha are kept. One in Cairo at the Dar Al Kutub Al Misriyya (#B18823) copied by Ibn Qadi Shuhba and one in Damascus at the Zahiriyya Library (#1347).

[10] Al Sakhawi (d.920H), Al Ilan Wal Tawbikh, Pg 75.

Al-`Uluw li al-`Ali al-Ghaffar
 (“The Exaltation of the All-High and Most-Forgiving”), 

a book written under Ibn Taymiyya’s influence – as stated by al-Kawthari in his Maqalat 
when al-Dhahabi was twenty-five and which he later disavowed as related by its copyist the hadith master Ibn Nasir al-Din al-Dimashqi (d. 842):

Its author stated – as Allah is His witness – in his own hand-writing as I read it in the margin of the original manuscript written in the year 698 AH:

“This book contains narrations against the unreliability of which I am cautioning the reader, and the statements of a number of people who spoke in outlandish terms. Neither do I subscribe to their terms, nor do I imitate them. May Allah forgive them! Nor will I ever consider myself bound by such terms. This is my belief, and I know that Allah – “There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him” (42:11)!” 41

Al-Dhahabi (b.673AH - d. 748 AH) nevertheless commits several blunders in al-`Uluw, despite its small size, because of his evident search for evidence that supports the conception of Allah’s literal height so dear to his teacher. 

The most glaring of those mistakes are the inaccurate referencing of several narrations to al-Bukhari or Muslim or both when in fact they are not narrated by them.

For example:

1) He cites the hadith of `Imran ibn Husayn from the Prophet — Allah bless and greet him — with the wording: “Allah was on the Throne (kana Allah `ala al-`arsh), and He was before everything, and He wrote on the Tablet everything that shall ever be.” Then he says: “This is a sound hadith, al-Bukhari narrates it in several places.42

However, none of the versions al-Bukhari narrates in several places of his Sahih contains the words “Allah was on the Throne,” by which al-Dhahabi purports to support the anthropomorphist perspective of his book. Nor is this wording found in any authentic hadith in the first place, nor is it found in any book of hadith, whether authentic or forged43

2) He cites a hadith whereby Ibn `Abbas explains the verses “the heaven that He built, He raised the height thereof and ordered it” (79:28) to mean: “He created the earth two days before the heaven, then He turned to the heaven and ordered them in two other days, then He descended to the earth (thumma nazala ila al-ard) and spread it, its spreading meaning that He brought forth from it water and pasture.” Then al-Dhahabi said: “al-Bukhari narrated it from Yusuf ibn `Adi [twice], once with part of its chain.”44

However, nowhere in his Sahih does al-Bukhari mention the phrase “then He descended to the earth” upon which al-Dhahabi depends so as to include it as evidence for literal height. That phrase is only found in two very weak narrations outside al-Bukhari, one by al-Tabarani, the other by Abu al-Shaykh. 45

The sound narration found in al-Bukhari states that Ibn `Abbas said: “He created the earth in two days, then He created the heaven, then He turned to the heaven and ordered them in two other days, then He spread the earth, its spreading meaning that He brought forth from it water and pasture.”

3) He refers a hadith to al-Bukhari and Muslim thus: “It is narrated in the two Sahihs that the Prophet — Allah bless and greet him — supplicated Allah on behalf of a group of people saying: `May the pious eat from your food, may those who fast break their fast in your house, may the angels invoke blessings upon you, and may Allah mention you among those who are with Him.'”46

However, nowhere in the two Sahihs is the phrase “may Allah mention you among those who are with Him” found. It is a measure of al-Albani’s overall unreliability that he caught only one out of these three mistakes, confirming al-Dhahabi on (1) and (2) but correcting him on (3). 47

Al-Dhahabi defined knowledge in Islam (al-`ilm) as “Not the profusion of narration, but a light which Allah casts into the heart. Its condition is followership (ittiba`) and the flight away from egotism (hawa) and innovation.”48

At the mention of al-Harawi al-Ansari’s Sufi manual Manazil al-Sa’irin in the Siyar al-Dhahabi exclaims:
How beautiful was the tasawwuf of the Companions and Successors! They did not probe those phantasms and whisperings of the mind but worshipped Allah, humbling themselves and relying upon Him, in great awe and fear of Him, fiercely combating His enemies, hastening to obey Him, staying away from idle speech. Allah guides whomever He wills to the straight path. 49

41-Cited and photo-reproduced at the beginning of Shaykh Hasan `Ali al-Saqqaf’s edition of al-Dhahabi’s `Uluw (p. 3-4).
42-Al-Dhahabi, al-`Uluw (239-240 #112) and Mukhtasar al-`Uluw (p. 98 #40).
43-On the hadith of `Imran ibn Husayn see our post “Allah Is Now As He Ever Was.”
44-Al-Dhahabi, al-`Uluw (p. 216 #77) and Mukhtasar al-`Uluw (p. 94 #26).
45-Al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (10:245-246) with a chain containing Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hajjaj al-Misri, who Ibn `Adi said was accused of lying, as stated by al-Dhahabi himself in Mizan al-I`tidal (1:133 #538); Abu al-Shaykh, al-`Azama (3:1039) with a chain containing al-`Ala’ ibn Hilal ibn `Umar al-Bahili who is very weak as stated in Arna’ut and Ma`ruf’s al-Tahrir (3:132 #5259) and accused by some of forgery as stated by al-Dhahabi himself in al-Mizan (3:106 #5748) and in al-Tahrir.
46-Al-Dhahabi, al-`Uluw (p. 335 #225) and Mukhtasar al-`Uluw (p. 123 #84).
47- See Mukhtasar al-`Uluw (p. 98 #40, p. 94 #26, and p. 123 #84).
48 -Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ (10:642).
49- Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’(14:42).


(Edited by ADHM)