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(May Allah be well-pleased with him)

by Sh. G. F. Haddad

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Muhammad Zahid ibn Hasan al-Kawthari al-Hanafi al-Ashʿari (1296-1371), the adjunct to the last Shaykh al-Islam of the Ottoman Caliphate and a major Hanafi jurist praised by Imam Muhammad Abu Zahra as a Reviver (mujaddid) of the fourteenth Islamic century.1 down He studied under his father as well as the scholar of Qur'an and hadith Ibrahim Haqqi (d. 1345), Shaykh Zayn al-ʿAbidin al-Alsuni (d. 1336), Shaykh Muhammad Khalis al-Shirwani, al-Hasan al-Aztuwa'i, and others. When the Caliphate fell he moved to Cairo, then Sham, then Cairo again until his death, where the late Shaykhs ʿAbd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda and ʿAbd Allah al-Ghumari became his students. Following is his prestigious chain of transmission in fiqh:

Imam al-Kawthari (d. 1371) took fiqh from his father, and also from the hadith master Ibrahim Haqqi (d. 1345) and from Shaykh Zayn al-'Abidin al-Alsuni (d. 1336).
Al-Kawthari's father took fiqh from the hadith master Ahmad Dya' al-Din al-Kamushkhanawi al-Naqshbandi (d. 1311) the author of the hadith index Ramuz al-Ahadith.
who took fiqh from Sayyid Ahmad al-Arwadi (d. 1275)
who took fiqh from the hadith master Muhammad Amin, Ibn ʿAbidin (d. 1252),
whose chain is given elsewhere.
Both Haqqi and Alsuni took fiqh from the hadith master Ahmad Shakir (d. 1315)
who took fiqh from the hadith master Muhammad Ghalib (d. 1286)
who took fiqh from Sulayman ibn al-Hasan al-Kraydi (d. 1268)
who took fiqh from Ibrahim al-Akhiskhawi (d. 1232)
who took fiqh from Muhammad Munib al-'Aynatabi (d. 1238)
who took fiqh from Isma'il ibn Muhammad al-Qunawi (d. 1195)
who took fiqh from ʿAbd al-Karim al-Qunawi al-Amidi (d.1150)
who took fiqh from Muhammad al-Yamani al-Azhari (d. 1135)
who took fiqh from ʿAbd al-Hayy al-Shurunbulali
who took fiqh from Abu al-Ikhlas al-Hasan al-Shurunbulali (d. 1069)
who took fiqh from ʿAbd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Nuhrayri
and from Shams al-Din Muhammad al-Muhibbi al-Qahiri (d. 1041)
who both took fiqh from ʿAli al-Maqdisi (d. 1004)
who took fiqh from Ahmad ibn Yunus al-Shalabi (d. 948)
who took fiqh from ʿAbd al-Barr ibn al-Shahna (d. 921)
who took fiqh from Imam al-Kamal ibn al-Humam (d. 861)
who took fiqh from Siraj al-Din ʿUmar ibn ʿAli Qari' al-Hidaya (d. 829)
who took fiqh:
1) from ʿAla's al-Din al-Sirami (d. 790)
who took fiqh from Jalal al-Din al-Karlani
who took fiqh from ʿAbd al-'Aziz al-Bukhari (d. 730) [the author of Kashf
al-Asrar, a manual of Usul al-Fiqh]
who took fiqh from Hafiz al-Din Imam ʿAbd Allah ibn Ahmad al-Nasafi (d. 701)
who took fiqh from the Sun of Imams Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Sattar al-Kardari
2) from Akmal al-Din Muhammad al-Babarti (d. 796)
who took fiqh from Qawwam al-Din Muhammad al-Kaki (d. 749)
who took fiqh from al-Husayn al-Saghnaqi (d. 711)
who took fiqh from Hafiz al-Din al-Kabir Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Nasr al-Bukhari (d. 693)
who also took fiqh from Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Sattar al-Kardari (d. 642)
Al-Kardari took fiqh from the author of the Hidaya, Imam ʿAli ibn Abi Bakr al-Marghinani (d. 593)
who took fiqh from al-Najm Abu Hafs ʿUmar al-Nasafi (d. 537)
who took fiqh from the two Pazdawi brothers, Fakhr al-Islam (d. 482) and Sadr al-Islam (d. 493),
the first of whom took fiqh from the Sun of Imams al-Sarkhasi (d. 483) the author of the Mabsut,
who took fiqh from the Sun of Imams al-Halwa'i (d. 448)
who took fiqh from al-Husayn ibn Khidr al-Nasafi (d. 423)
who took fiqh from Muhammad ibn al-Fadl al-Bukhari (d. 381)
who took fiqh from ʿAbd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Harithi (d. 340)
who took fiqh from Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Hafs (d. 264)
who took fiqh from his father Abu Hafs al-Kabir (d. 217)
who took fiqh from the Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani (d. 189) the companion of Imam Abu Hanifa - Allah be well-pleased with him -,
while Sadr al-Islam took fiqh from Isma'il ibn ʿAbd al-Sadiq
who took fiqh from ʿAbd al-Karim al-Pazdawi (d. 390)
who took fiqh from the Imam of Guidance Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d. 333)
who took fiqh from Abu Bakr al-Jawjazani
who took fiqh from Abu Sulayman Musa ibn Sulayman al-Jawjazani
who also took fiqh from the Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani.
Al-Shaybani took fiqh from the founder of the madhhab Imam Abu Hanifa al-Nuʿman (d. 150)
who took fiqh from Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman (d. 120)
who took fiqh from Ibrahim ibn Yazid al-Nakhaʿi (d. 95)
who took fiqh from [1] ʿAlqama ibn Qays (d. 62), [2] al-Aswad ibn Yazid
(d. 75), and [3] Abu ʿAbd al-Rahman ʿAbd Allah ibn Hubayyib al-Sulami (d. 74 or 73)
ʿAlqama and al-Aswad took fiqh from ʿAbd Allah ibn Masʿud (d. 32) - Allah be well-pleased with him -,
while al-Sulami took fiqh from Sayyiduna ʿAli - Allah be well-pleased with him - who was martyred in Kufa in the month of Ramadan of the year 40.

Both Ibn Masʿud and Sayyiduna ʿAli took from the Seal of Prophets and Leader of the Radiant-faced ones, the Master of the First and the Last among angels, jinn, and human beings including Prophets and Messengers: who was taken to the Highest Company in the late morning of the Second Day of the week, the 13th of the month of Rabiʿ al-Awwal in the year 11, the blessings and greeting of Allah upon him, honor, generosity, and mercy, and upon his excellent and chaste Family as well as his pure and Godfearing Companions.2 down

A tireless scholar, there is apparently no field of the Islamic sciences in which al-Kawthari did not have a well-founded claim to authority. He edited and brought back into circulation countless classical books of fiqh, hadith, and usūl after he moved to Cairo. A staunch Ashʿari, he held an extremely critical view of anti-Ashʿaris, considering Ibn Taymiyya an unmitigated anthropomorphist. Among the books he authored as listed by his student Ahmad Khayri:

* Bulugh al-Amani fi Sira al-Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani, a biography of the foremost Hanafi authority after Imam Abu Hanifa.

* Al-Fara'id al-Wafiya [or: al-Fawa'id al-Kafiya] fi ʿIlmay al-ʿArud wa al-Qafya ("The Abundant Peerless Matters in the Two Sciences of Prosody and Rhyme"), published without the name of the author.

* Fiqh Ahl al-ʿIraq ("The Jurisprudence of the Iraqi Scholars"), less than a hundred pages in length, it is one of the great works on the remarkable character of Hanafi fiqh and its school and contains useful definitions of key concepts such as analogy (qiyās), scholarly exertion (ijtihād), and discretion (istihsān) as well as biographical notices on the most eminent figures of the Hanafi school. It was meticulously commented upon by Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda. Excerpts:

- (In praise of al-Zaylaʿi) "If the students of fiqh find one among the hadith masters who is profoundly learned and truly insightful without being taken over by vain lusts - let them hold onto him tooth and nail, for such a type is, among them, as rare as red sulphur."

- "There is no jurisprudence without juridical opinion" (lā fiqh bidūn ra'ī).

- "Ra'ī in this sense is a positive term for the quality of every jurisprudent and refers to perspicuity and complete insight. This is why you find Ibn Qutayba in al-Maʿarif mentioning the fuqahā' under the heading, ʿThe People of Juridical Opinion' (ashāb al-ra'ī), counting among them al-Awzaʿi, Sufyan al-Thawri, and Malik ibn Anas. So does the hadith master Muhammad ibn al-Harith al-Khushani in his Qudat Qurtuba refer to Malik's companions as ʿThe People of Juridical Opinion.' So does the hadith master Abu al-Walid ibn al-Faradi in his Tarikh ʿUlama' al-Andalus. So does the hadith master Abu al-Walid al-Baji in his commentary on al-Malik's Muwatta'."3 down

"What is found in the words of Ibrahim al-Nakhaʿi and those of his biographical layer to the effect that ʿthe people of ra'ī are the enemies of the Sunan'4 down is in the sense of the ra'ī that contradicts the Sunna that is transmitted concerning doctrine.
They meant by it the Khawārij, the Qadariyya, the Mushabbiha, and similar innovators. They did not mean ra'ī in the sense of scholarly exertion (ijtihād) in the branches of the Law that concern legal rulings. To give this any other sense is to tamper with their wording. How can it be otherwise when al-Nakhaʿi himself and Ibn al-Musayyib himself are among those who express personal juridical opinion in the branches, in spite of those who cannot picture them doing so?" Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr mentioned the same explanation.5 down

* Hanin al-Mutafajjiʿ wa Anin al-Mutawajjiʿ, a poem on the horrors of the First World War.

* Al-Hawi fi Sira al-Imam Abi Jaʿfar al-Tahawi, a biography of one of the foremost authorities in the early Hanafi school in which he states:

The ʿAqida Tahawiyya received several commentaries, among them that of Najm al-Din Abu Shujaʿ Bakbars al-Nasiri al-Baghdadi - one of Sharaf al-Din al-Dimyati's shaykhs -, that of Siraj al-Din ʿUmar ibn Ishaq al-Ghaznawi al-Misri, that of Mahmud ibn Ahmad ibn Masʿud al-Qunawi, that of Sharh al-Sadr ʿAli ibn Muhammad al-Adhraʿi, and others. A commentary was published, authored by an unknown ["Ibn Abi al-ʿIzz"] spuriously affiliated with the Hanafi school, but whose handiwork proclaims his ignorance of this discipline and the fact that he is an anthropomorphist who has lost his compass.6 down

* Husn al-Taqadi fi Sira al-Imam Abi Yusuf al-Qadi, a biography of the second foremost Hanafi authority after Imam Abu Hanifa.

* Ibda' Wujuh al-Taʿaddi fi Kamil Ibn ʿAdi ("Exposing the Different Sides of Enmity Found in Ibn ʿAdi's al-Kamil fi Duʿafa' al-Rijal") in which al-Kawthari demonstrated the many flaws of the reports adduced by Ibn ʿAdi whereby Abu Hanifa was supposedly criticized by Sufyan al-Thawri, Malik, and Ibn Maʿin. Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda said in his annotations of al-Lacknawi's al-Rafʿ wa al-Takmil that al-Kawthari refuted Ibn ʿAdi's excesses against Abu Hanifa in three works: Ta'nib al-Khatib, al-Imtaʿ bi Sirat al-Imamayn, and the unpublished Ibdaʿ. Ibn ʿAdi shows enmity to Abu Hanifa as he reports nothing but criticism, relying entirely on weak and inauthentic reports. Al-Kawthari said in his introduction to Nasb al-Raya and in Fiqh Ahl al-ʿIraq, "Among the defects of Ibn ʿAdi's Kamil is his relentless criticism of Abu Hanifa with reports that are all from the narration of Abba' ibn Jaʿfar al-Najirami, one of Ibn ʿAdi's shaykhs, and the latter tries to stick what al-Najirami has directly to Abu Hanifa, and this is injustice and enmity, as is the rest of his criticism. The way to expose such cases is through the chain of transmission."

* Al-Ifsah ʿan Hukm al-Ikrah fi al-Talaq wa al-Nikah ("The Eloquent Proclamation of the Ruling Concerning Forced Divorce or Marriage").

* Ihqaq al-Haqq bi Ibtal al-Batil fi Mughith al-Khalq, a refutation of Imam al-Haramayn's pamphlet entitled Mughith al-Khalq fi Tarjih al-Qawl al-Haqq proclaiming the superiority of the Shafiʿi school to the Hanafi and Maliki schools. He followed it up with a tract titled Aqwam al-Masalik fi Bahth Riwayati Malik ʿan Abi Hanifa wa Riwayati Abi Hanifa ʿan Malik in which he cited narrations showing that Imam Malik had narrated from Imam Abu Hanifa and vice-versa - may Allah have mercy on both of them.

* Al-Imtaʿ bi Sirat al-Imamayn al-Hasan ibn Ziyad (al-Lu'lu'i d. 204) wa Sahibihi Muhammad ibn Shujaʿ (al-Thalji d. 266), a biography of two great figures of the Hanafi school.

* Isʿad al-Raqi ʿala al-Maraqi on Hanafi fiqh, in which he documented the hadiths of al-Shurunbulali's Maraqi al-Falah.7 down

* Al-Ishfaq ʿala Ahkam al-Talaq fi al-Radd ʿala Man Yaqul Inna al-Thalatha Wahida, a refutation of Ibn Taymiyya's position on divorce in which the latter dissented from the Consensus of the scholars.

* Al-Istibsar fi al-Tahadduth ʿan al-Jabr wa al-Ikhtiyar ("The Obtainment of Insight Concerning Determinism and Freedom of Choice").

* Izaha Shubha al-Muʿammam ʿan ʿIbara al-Muharram, resolving the ambiguity of a certain expression used by a shaykh named al-Muharram in his supercommentary on al-Jami's commentary on Ibn al-Hajib's al-Kafiya in Arabic grammar.

* Al-Jawab al-Wafi fi al-Radd ʿala al-Waʿiz al-Awfi. An extemporaneous 20-page reply to a preacher from the town of Awf (on the shore of the Black Sea) who had attacked Sufis.

* Lamahat al-Nazar fi Sira al-Imam Zufar, a biography of the third foremost Hanafi authority after Imam Abu Hanifa.

* Mahq al-Taqawwul fi Mas'ala al-Tawassul, a refutation of those who deny the validity of using the Prophet ﷺ and the righteous as means in supplicating Allah Most High.

* Maqalat al-Kawthari, a collection of important articles written in Egypt in the thirties and fourties on a variety of contemporary issues and ranging from two to twenty pages. Among them:

* Bidʿa al-Sawtiyya Hawl al-Qur'an ("The Innovation of Asserting Pre-Existence for Qur'an-Recitation") in which he states: "It is a fact that the Qur'an as found on the Tablet, on Gibril's tongue and that of the Prophet ﷺ, as well as the tongue of all those who recite it, their hearts, and their tablets, is created, originated, and necessarily brought to be. Whoever denies this is a sophist who is unworthy of being heard. The pre-existent is only the concept that subsists in Allah Most High in the sense of Allah's own self-discourse (al-kalām al-nafsī) within His Knowledge, as expressed by Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Ibn Hazm."8 down

* Hadith Man Tashabbaha bi Qawmin fa Huwa Minhum ("The Hadith: ʿWhoever Outwardly Imitates A People, He is One of Them'")9 down in which he says: "This hadith is one of the pithy statements of the Prophet ﷺ. Al-Najm al-Ghazzi - one of the great Shafiʿi scholars of the eleventh century - authored a large volume titled Husn al-Tanabbuh li Ahkam al-Tashabbuh ("The Excellent Awakening to the Rulings That Pertain to Outward Imitation") in which he examines at length the rulings inferred from this hadith. This volume is in Damascus' Zahiriyya library and deserves to be published."10 down In the corollary article entitled Mansha' Ilzam Ahl al-Dhimma bi Shiʿarin Khassin wa Hukmu Talabbus al-Muslimi bihi ʿInda al-Fuqaha' ("The Origin of the Imposition of a Distinctive Vestimentary Sign on Non-Muslim Citizens and the Juridical Status of Its Donning by a Muslim") - written in response to Muhammad ʿAbduh's fatwa permitting the donning of fedoras and top hats by Muslims - he cites the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ: "Dye your white hair and do not imitate the Jews"11 down and mentions that Ibn Taymiyya adduced it as evidence that tashabbuh may take place passively on our part and without specific intention.12 down This is a proof against beardless Muslims that wear a suit and tie "without intending to imitate non-Muslims" let alone those who endorse their fashions.

* Hijab al-Mar'a ("Woman's Veil") in which he adduced the report of Ibn ʿAbbas and ʿAli's companion ʿAbida al-Salmani - narrated by al-Tabari in his Tafsir - whereby the meaning of the verse {they [women] should cast their outer garments (jalābīb) over their persons} (33:59) included the face but for one eye.13 down Ibn Rushd said that this verse has been adduced as proof that all of woman's body constitutes nakedness14 down while al-Qurtubi in his commentary on the verse said that the jilbāb is the cloak that conceals all of the body including the head. Another verse states {And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their headcovers (khumūrihinna) over their bosoms} (24:31), "only that which is apparent" meaning their face and hands according to most jurists, provided they pose no risk of enticement.15 down The Hanbalis include the hands and face among the limbs that must be covered, as they read the above verses in the light of the Prophet's ﷺ statement: "Woman is nakedness (al-mar'atu ʿawra), so when she goes out the devil is facing her, and the nearest she is to her Lord's countenance is in the privacy of her house."16 down ʿA'isha defined the headcover as follows:

"When a woman reaches puberty she must cover whatever her mother and grandmother must cover,"17 down their khimār being "nothing short of what covers both the hair and skin,"18 down "without transparency."19 down She also said: "By Allah, I never saw any better women than the women of the Ansar nor stronger in their confirmation of the book of Allah! When Sura al-Nur was revealed {and to draw their khumūr over their bosoms} (24:31) - their men went back to them reciting to them what Allah had revealed to them in that [sura or verse], each man reciting it to his wife, daughter, sister, and relative. Not one woman among them remained except she got up on the spot, tore up her waist-wrap and covered herself from head to toe (iʿjtajarat) with it. They prayed the very next dawn prayer covered from head to toe (muʿtajirāt)."20 down
The two interpretations of the order to {draw their headcovers over their bosoms} among the women of the Companions and the generation that immediately succeeded them - on which are based the two views of the Four Schools, to cover everything or leave out the face and hands - stem from the fact that some women drew from the top down, some from the sides and over. The result for the first category was to cover the face, while the second category left the face uncovered.21 down

* Khutura al-Qawl bi al-Jiha ("The Gravity of the Doctrine That Attributes Direction [to Allah Most High]") in which he reports al-Bayadi's explanation of Imam Abu Hanifa's statement: "Whoever says, ʿI do not know whether my Lord is in the heaven or on earth' is a disbeliever and, similarly, whoever says, ʿHe is on the Throne and I do not know whether the Throne is in the heaven or on earth' is a disbeliever." Al-Bayadi said in Isharat al-Maram: "This is because he implies that the Creator has a direction and a boundary, and anything that possesses direction and boundary is necessarily created. So this statement explicitly attributes imperfection to Allah Most High. The believer in [divine] corporeality and direction is someone who denies the existence of anything other than objects that can be pointed to with the senses. They deny the Essence of the Deity that is transcendent beyond that. This makes them positively guilty of disbelief."22 down

* Al-Lamadhhabiyya Qantaratu al-Ladiniyya ("Anti-Madhhabism is the Archway of Atheism").23 down

* Layla al-Nisf Min Shaʿban ("The Night of Mid-Shaʿban") in which he cites the hadith whereby the Prophet ﷺ said: "The night of mid-Shaʿban let all of you spend in prayer and its day in fasting, for Allah descends to the nearest heaven during that night beginning with sunset and says:
ʿIs there no-one asking forgiveness that I may forgive them? Is there no-one asking sustenance that I may grant them sustenance? Is there no one under duress that I may relieve them? Is there not such-and-such, is there not such-and-such, and so forth until until dawn rises.'"24 down Al-Kawthari commented: "The meaning of descent is His opening the gate of response to His servants, and this is true Arabic usage. As for explaining it as His displacement from top to bottom, it is ignorance of what is permissible and impermissible to apply to Allah Most High. Therefore, one has to explain it metaphorically as Allah's sending down a herald sounding out this call, as indicated by al-Nasa'i's narration; or, also metaphorically, as His ʿturning toward' (yuqbilu ʿalā) those who ask forgiveness etc. as related from Hammad ibn Zayd25 down and others. Also, sunset and the last third of the night differ for each region, so both go on continuously according to each different region of the world. It cannot be imagined that a sensory descending is meant in all the formulations of the hadith of descent, and the hadith of mid-Shaʿban is in the same category."26 down

* Ma Hiya al-Ahruf al-Sabʿa? ("What Are the Seven Wordings?") in which he expressed the positions that the ahruf al-sabʿa were not dialects but synonyms, most of which were either abrogated or retained in their known current form.27 down

* Mahq al-Taqawwul fi Mas'ala al-Tawassul ("The Eradication of Gossip Concerning the Use of Intermediaries"), a seminal article on the question.28 down

* Tahdhir al-Umma Min Duʿat al-Wathaniyya ("Warning the Community About Those Who Call to Idol-Worship"), written in 1942, in which he lambasts al-Azhar for allowing the publication of ʿUthman ibn Saʿid al-Darimi's al-Radd ʿala al-Jahmiyya which contains phrases like "[Allah Most High] moves if He wishes, descends and ascends if He wishes... stands and sits if He wishes"; "Allah Most High has a limit... and His place also has a limit, as He is on His Throne above His heavens, and these are two limits"; "if He wished, He would have settled on the back of a gnat" and other enormities.29 down This is identical to Ibn Karram's doctrine whereby "Allah has a body unlike bodies, and a limit."30 down Yet Ibn Taymiyya ardently defends al-Darimi's views,31 down citing them time and again in his attack on Fakhr al-Din al-Razi's Asas al-Taqdis - a refutation of anthropomorphism - entitled al-Ta'sis Radd Asas al-Taqdis,32 down even claiming that Imam Ahmad upheld the doctrine of that Allah Most High possesses a limit.33 down

At the same time he admits that Ahl al-Sunna did hold the opposite view: "The position that He is above the Throne but has no limit (hadd) nor dimension nor body is that of many of the upholders of the Divine Attributes (al-sifātiyya) among the followers of Ibn Kullab and the Ashʿari Imams including their early authorities and whoever agrees with them among the jurists ... and the hadith scholars and the Sufis... among them Abu Hatim, Ibn Hibban, and Abu Sulayman al-Khattabi."34 down Then he states: "Al-Qadi [Abu Yaʿla] said that Ahmad asserts in absolute terms that Allah Most High had a limit but he negates it in Hanbal's narration, saying: ʿWe believe that Allah is on the Throne in the manner He wishes and however He wishes, without limit nor description anyone could give or define Him by.' So he negated the limit that pertains to the description he mentioned, meaning the limit known by creatures... And that is the meaning of Ahmad's statement: ʿAllah Most High has a limit that only He knows.'"35 down The latter is in blatant contradiction of what is authentically reported from Imam Ahmad by the major authorities of his school.36 down

* Naqd Kitab al-Duʿafa' li al-ʿUqayli ("Critique of al-ʿUqayli's Duʿafa"), in which al-Kawthari denounced the Hanbali al-ʿUqayli's excessive anti-Hanafi bias in his book of discredited narrators titled Kitab al-Duʿafa'. Possibly the most fanatic and least reliable of narrator-criticism authorities, his notice on Imam Abu Hanifa is a collection of weak and fabricated reports but he also attacked the likes of Thabit al-Bunani, Ibn al-Madini, al-Bukhari, ʿAbd al-Razzaq, Ibn Abi Shayba, ʿAffan ibn Muslim, and others, for which he earned al-Dhahabi's strong reprimand.37 down Al-Kawthari said: "We find in al-ʿUqayli's Duʿafa' and Ibn ʿAdi's Kamil much idle talk against our masters, the Imams of jurisprudence, because of the former's anthropomorphist creed and the latter's partisanship for his [Shafiʿi] school, together with his questionable creed."38 down

* Al-Naqd al-Tammi ʿala al-ʿIqd al-Nami ʿala Sharh al-Jami, a supercommentary on the Turkish Shaykh Muhammad Rahmi al-Akini's commentary titled al-ʿIqd al-Nami on ʿAbd al-Rahman al-Jami's al-Fawa'id al-Diya'iyya Sharh al-Kafiya in grammar.

* Al-Nazm al-ʿAtid fi Tawassul al-Murid ("Poem on the Means Sought by the Student"), after which came its commentary entitled Irgham al-Murid fi Sharh al-Nazm al-ʿAtid.

* Nazm ʿAwamil al-Iʿrab ("Poem on Declensions"), in Persian, his first work.

* Nazra ʿAbira fi Mazaʿim Man Yankur Nuzul ʿIsa ʿAlyhi al-Salam Qabla al-Akhira ("A Cursory Look at the Claims of Those Who Deny ʿIsa's Descent Before the Next Life"), a 67-page epistle similar to Shaykh ʿAbd Allah al-Ghumari's subsequent ʿAqida Ahl al-Islam fi Nuzul ʿIsa ʿAlayhi al-Salam ("The Doctrine of the Muslims Concerning the Descent of ʿIsa - peace upon him -") which lists all the authentic evidence to that effect and which al-Kawthari prefaced. Both works were written in refutation of a strange fatwa by Shaykh Mahmud Shaltut of al-Azhar.

* Al-Nukat al-Tarifa fi al-Tahadduth ʿan Rudud Ibn Abi Shayba ʿala Abi Hanifa, a commentary on Ibn Abi Shayba's attack on Abu Hanifa in his Musannaf.

* Qawaʿid ʿAqa'id al-Batiniyya ("The Foundations of the Doctrines of the Esoterics").

* Qurra al-Nawazir fi Adab al-Munazir, a treatise on debate translated from the original Turkish of Jawdat Basha.

* Rafʿ al-Ishtibah ʿan Hukm Kashf al-Ra's wa Labs al-Niʿal fi al-Salat ("The Removal of Doubt Concerning the Status of Praying Bare-Headed and Wearing Shoes"), a fatwa - also included in the Maqalat - which denounces the then new "Salafi" fashion of praying "in the appearance of the lowborn."39 down

* Al-Suhuf al-Munshara fi Sharh al-Usul al-ʿAshara li Najm al-Din Kubra, an explanation of the "Ten Principles" by the Sufi master Najm al-Din Kubra.

* Tadrib al-Tullab ʿala Qawaʿid al-Iʿrab, a manual for training in grammatical analysis.

* Tadrib al-Wasif ʿala Qawaʿid al-Taswif.

* Tafrih al-Bal bi Hall Tarikh Ibn al-Kamal, on the way to solve the riddles contained in the history of the Ottomans entitled Tarikh Al ʿUthman by Shams al-Din Ahmad ibn Sulayman ibn Kamal Basha (d. 940).

* Ta'nib al-Khatib ʿala Ma Saqahu fi Tarjimati Abi Hanifata Min al-Akadhib ("Rebuking al-Khatib for Citing Lies in His Biography of Abu Hanifa") to which the "Salafi" scholar ʿAbd al-Rahman ibn Yahya al-Muʿallimi al-Yamani (1313-1386) responded with his two-volume al-Tankil Lima Warada fi Ta'nib al-Kawthari min al-Abatil ("Repelling the Falsehoods Cited in al-Kawthari's Ta'nib"). The Tankil contains a wicked attack on the early Hanafi school engulfing Ashʿaris and giving free vent to the author's anti-madhhabi and anthropomorphist views, to the point that he states: "To negate [from Allah] the corporeality that is necessarily forbidden some said: ʿAllah has a body unlike bodies.'"40 down Al-Kawthari countered with al-Tarhib bi Naqd al-Ta'nib41 down in which he revealed that the publication of al-Muʿallimi's critique was financed by Muhammad Nasif, the same wealthy Jeddah patron who had financed the printing of al-Qari's hapless fatwa that the parents of the Prophet ﷺ were in hellfire, the dissemination in India of the derogatory part of al-Khatib's biography of Imam Abu Hanifa with an Urdu translation, and the publication of the anthropomorphist Kitab al-Sunna attributed to ʿAbd Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal, concerning which book Shaykh Shuʿayb al-Arna'ut said that "at least 50 percent of the hadiths in it are weak or outright forgeries."42 down Al-Kawthari also revealed that al-Muʿallimi's editor, Muhammad ʿAbd al-Razzaq Hamza, collaborated on the publication of ʿUthman ibn Saʿid al-Darimi's Naqd al-Jahmiyya, which contains similar Israelite reports, anthropomorphist forgeries and other enormities.

* Tarwid al-Qariha bi Mawazin al-Fikr al-Sahiha, a treatise on logic translated from the original Turkish of Jawdat Basha.

Among the books al-Kawthari edited or forwarded:

* Al-Bayadi's Isharat al-Maram min ʿIbarat al-Imam, on Imam Abu Hanifa's positions in kalām and the terminologies he used.

* Al-Bayhaqi's al-Asma' wa al-Sifat.43 down

* Al-Ghaznawi's (d. 773) al-Ghurra al-Munifa fi Tahqiq Baʿd Masa'il al-Imam Abi Hanifa, a work of comparative fiqh between the Hanafi and Shafiʿi schools similar to al-Bayhaqi's al-Khilafiyyat, written by request of the scholarly emir Sirghatmish al-Misri in refutation of al-Razi's al-Tariqa al-Baha'iyya fi al-Khilaf, a treatise on the differences of the jurists advocating the supremacy of the Shafiʿi position. Al-Ghaznawi translated al-Razi's work into Arabic from the original Persian in the process.

* Ibn ʿAsakir's Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari ʿala Abi al-Hasan al-Ashʿari, a biography of the Imam of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jamaʿa containing a statement of his doctrine and a refutation of positions falsely attributed to him.

* Ibn Qutayba's Al-Ikhtilaf fi al Lafz wa al-Radd ʿala al-Jahmiyya wa al-Mushabbiha ("The Difference of Opinion Concerning the Pronunciation [of the Qur'an] and the Refutation of the Jahmis and the Anthropomorphists").44 down

* Ibn Qatlubagha's (d. 879) Munyat al-Almaʿi fima Fata min Takhrij Ahadith al-Hidaya li al-Zaylaʿi, a continuation of al-Zaylaʿi's Nasb al-Raya in the documentation of

* Al-Nabulusi's (d. 1143) Kashf al-Satr ʿan Fardiyya al-Watr ("The Disclosure of the Obligatory Nature of the Witr Prayer"), in which the author adduces the proofs of the Hanafi school on this topic. Al-Kawthari mentioned in his introduction the sayings of the great Imams on this prayer, notably the rejection of the legal testimony of one who did not pray witr by Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad, and the saying of Imam al-Shafiʿi in al-Umm: "Whoever leaves the Sunna of fajr or Salat al-Witr, is in a worse state than if he had left all the supererogatory prayers."45 down

* Al-Qaysarani's, Shurut al-A'imma al-Sitta ("The Criteria [of Hadith Authentication] According to the Six Imams: al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah") together with al-Hazimi's Shurut al-A'imma al-Khamsa ("The Criteria [of Hadith Authentication] According to the Five Imams: al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi, and al-Nasa'i").

* Al-Shafiʿi's Musnad and his Ahkam al-Qur'an.

* Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi's al-Intisar wa al-Tarjih li al-Madhhab al-Sahih ("The Defense and Advocacy of the True School of Law") in praise of Abu Hanifa and his school.

* Al-Tahawi's ʿAqida.

* Ibn al-Jawzi's Dafʿ Shubah al-Tashbih ("The Repelling of the Insinuations of Anthropomorphism at the Hands of Divine Transcendence") in which al-Kawthari collected many of the most insightful explanations of the Sunni scholars on the verses and hadiths misquoted by the anthropomorphists to support their ideas.

* Tabdid al-Zalam, al-Kawthari's commentary on al-Subki's refutation of Ibn Qayyim entitled al-Sayf al-Saqil fi al-Radd ʿala Ibn Zafil.

Al-Kawthari is criticized for what is perceived by some as excessive partisanship for the Hanafi school and a contentious style in refuting or attacking opponents. Shaykh ʿAbd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn al-Siddiq al-Ghumari (1328-1413) wrote in Bidaʿ al-Tafasir (p. 180-181):

"We admired al-Kawthari for his knowledge, wide reading, and modesty, just as we hated his bias for the Hanafis. This bias of his exceeded al-Zamakshari's bias for the Muʿtazili school to the point that my brother, the hadith master Abu al-Fayd [Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Siddiq al-Ghumari] used to call him "Abu Hanifa's madman!" (majnūn Abi Hanifa).

"When he offered me his espitle entitled Ihqaq al-Haqq [bi Ibtal al-Batil fi Mughith al-Khalq] ("Making Truth Prevail in Exposing the Falsehoods of Mughith al-Khalq"), a refutation of Imam al-Haramayn's [Abu al-Maʿali ʿAbd al-Malik ibn ʿAbd Allah ibn al-Juwayni] epistle on the preferability of the Shafiʿi school [entitled Mughith al-Khalq fi Tarjih al-Qawl al-Haqq in which the Imam attacked the Hanafi and Maliki schools], I found him casting aspersions [cf. Ihqaq p. 19-20] on the [Qurayshi] lineage of Imam al-Shafiʿi, citing [the trustworthy hadith master Zakariyya ibn Yahya ibn Dawud] al-Saji's statement [in his book Manaqib al-Shafiʿi].46 down I criticized him for this aspersion and said to him: "Questioning lineages does not constitute a scholarly refutation." He replied: "A sectarian refuting a sectarian." He said this verbatim, so he acknowledges his sectarianism.

"I visited him in his house once, together with the noble Sharīf, al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Baqir al-Kattani, and as we discussed certain scholarly issues the name of the hadith master Ibn Hajar came up. Al-Sayyid al-Baqir showed his admiration of Ibn Hajar's memorization and his commentary on al-Bukhari, and I echoed his opinion. Whereupon he deprecated that commentary and said: "Ibn Hajar used to depend upon hadith indexes (al-atrāf) when collating the different routes of the hadith," which is untrue. Then he said that he - Ibn Hajar - used to follow women in the streets and make passes at them, at one time following a woman thinking that she was beautiful, until she arrived at her house with him in her tracks; when she removed her face-veil (burquʿ), she turned out to be an ugly black woman, so he turned back, frustrated.

"Now, the reason behind this attack, is that al-Hafiz used to assail some of the Hanafis in his books of biography, such as al-Durar al-Kamina and Rafʿ al-Isr [ʿan Qudat Misr].47 down He said of the Hanafi al-ʿAyni that he used to take the manuscript pages of Fath al-Bari from one of his students and use them in his commentary [on Sahih al-Bukhari, entitled ʿUmdat al-Qari]. When al-Hafiz found out, he prevented the distribution of these pages to students.

"Worse than this, al-Kawthari imputed senility to Anas bin Malik - Allah be well-pleased with him - for relating a hadith that contradicts the school of Abu Hanifa.48 down Worse yet is his attempt to pass a fabricated hadith as authentic because it might imply the tidings of Abu Hanifa, namely, the hadith: "Were knowledge (al-ʿilm) to be found at the Pleiades, certain men from among the Persians would go there to obtain it." The hadith is in the two Sahihs with the word "belief" ["Were belief (al-īmān) to be found at the Pleiades, a man from those people would go there to obtain it"49 down ], and when the Prophet ﷺ said it he put his hand on the shoulder of Salman al-Farisi - Allah be well-pleased with him -.

Some forger then changed the word "belief" to "knowledge" as pointed out by my brother, the hadith master Abu al-Fayd, in al-Mathnuni wa al-Battar, who said: "Even if it were authentic there would not be in it any reference to Abu Hanifa but to the hadith masters who came out of Persia, such as Abu al-Shaykh and Abu Nuʿaym, for ʿilm in the terminology of Islamic law means the Book and the Sunna, not juridical opinion (ra'ī) and analogy (qiyās)."50 down Al-Kawthari took him to task in Ta'nib al-Khatib for saying this and replied to him with some harsh words, whereupon my brother wrote a reply to him in which he collected his scholarly blunders and the self-contradictions caused by his odious fanaticism, with some harshness, at the same time acknowledging his knowledge and learning. That reply was not submitted for publication out of deference for their friendship.The difference of opinion between two scholars does not break up their friendship and, like two lawyers differing in a court of justice, they meet as friends outside of it.... May Allah have mercy on my brother and on al-Kawthari, the two major scholars of their time without contest, and may Allah gather us with them in the Abode of His Mercy."51 down

Following is Imam Abu Zahra's eulogy of al-Kawthari after the latter's death:

"Islam has lost one of the Imams of the Muslims, who worked alone far from the trivialities of this life, devoting themselves to knowledge with the devotion of a believer in the worship of his Lord. That is because he knew that knowledge is part of the acts of worship whereby the scholar seeks the pleasure of Allah and none besides Him. He does not seek thereby a lofty station on the earth, nor corruption, nor influence on account of distinction and reputation. Nor does he seek any of the fleeting things of this world. He seeks only to bring victory to the truth, in order to please the True One - Most High and Exalted. That is Imam al-Kawthari. May Allah make his resting place pleasant, be pleased with him and make him pleased.

"I do not know of any scholar who has departed and left his position vacant these past years such as the position Imam al-Kawthari has left vacant. He was the Remnant of the Pious Predecessors, who did not take knowledge as a source of income, nor as a stepping-stone to a worldly goal.

"He was - Allah be well-pleased with him! - a scholar of learning who personified the transmitted report, "The ulamas are the inheritors of the Prophets."52 down He did not consider this inheritance a mere title of honor by which to pride himself and dominate others. Rather, he considered it a jihad for the purpose of announcing Islam, showing its truths, and banishing the illusions that conceal its essence. He would show it to people pristine and radiant so that they rose to its light and were well-directed by its guidance. He considered such an inheritance demand of the scholar that he strive just as the Prophets strove, standing firm against hardships and tribulations just as they did, remaining patient like them when faced by the stubbornness of those he called to the truth and guidance. Such inheritance is not an honor except to those who practice the means that lead to it, give it its due rights, and know the duties that come with it. Imam al-Kawthari did all of the above.

"That distinguished Imam was not an adherent of a new school of thought, nor was he an inviter to a novel matter with no precedent, nor was he one of those whom people label nowadays as reformers. Nay, he used to shy from that, for he was a follower (muttabiʿ) and not an innovator. Yet, in spite of that, I say that he was one of the Renewers (al-mujaddidīn) in the true sense of Renewal. For Renewal is not what people today commonly think, namely, casting off the noose and a return to the beginnings of Prophecy;53 down rather, it consists in returning to the religion its splendor and dispelling the confusions that were cast over it, so that it will be shown to people in the purity of its essence and in its original pristine state. Renewal consists in giving life to the Sunna, causing innovation to die, and for the column of Religion to stand among mankind.

"That is real and true Renewal and, indeed, Imam al-Kawthari undertook the revival of the Prophetic Sunna. He uncovered what had lain hidden in the alcoves of history out of the books of the Sunna; clarified the methods of its narrators; and made known to the people the Sunna of the Prophet ﷺ in its sayings, its deeds, and its tacit rulings through his epistles and his books. Then he devoted himself entirely to the efforts of the past ulamas who upheld the Sunna and gave it its due right. He published the books in which they compiled their works for the purpose of reviving the Sunna at a time when souls were imbued with love of the Religion, hearts had not yet been corrupted, and the scholars were not swayed by the world away from the hereafter nor spent time at the beck and call of rulers.

"Imam al-Kawthari was a true scholar; the scholars knew his knowledge. I knew him years before meeting him. I knew him through his writings in which the light of truth shone forth. I knew him through his commentary of manuscripts which he undertook to publish. By Allah! My amazement at the manuscript did not match my amazement at the commentary of the editor. Even when the original manuscript was a brief epistle, yet the Imam's commentary on it would turn it into a major work that should be read. Truly one's insight and wide erudition show plainly in such commentaries. All this he did with an elegant style, subtle allusions, forceful analysis, accomplished accuracy, and total mastery over his own thought and writing technique. It could not occur to the mind of the reader that he was a non-Arab writer and not patently Arab. ... Yet it is not really astonishing, for he was Turkish in ancestry, education, and everyday life at the time he lived in Istanbul (al-Astana) but his scholarly life was purely Arabic, for he read nothing but Arabic, and nothing filled his head but the shining light of Muhammadan Arabic. ...

"He came from a Caucasus family, as reflected in his vigor, strength, handsome body and spirit, and the quality and depth of his thought. His father moved to Istanbul where he was born in surroundings of guidance and truth. He studied the Islamic sciences until he attained the highest rank in them at around twenty-eight years of age. Then he ascended the ladder of teaching positions until he reached their highest level quite early. He reached the point when he was confronted by those who wanted to separate the world from religion in order to rule the world by other than what Allah has revealed, but he stood in ambush for them despite the fact that he was yet without experience, with everything that a young man at the beginning of his career could hope for. But he chose his Religion over their world. He chose to defend what is still left of Islam rather than have a pleasant life. He preferred to face continuous enmity while obtaining the good pleasure of Allah Most High rather than pleasure and comfort amidst people's approval and the good pleasure of those who held the keys of the lower world. Obtaining the good pleasure of Allah is truly the goal of faith.

"He fought the promoters of atheism (al-ilhādiyyīn) in power when they tried to shorten the period of study for the religious curriculum when he saw that to shorten it would jeopardize its preliminary and final parts, so he left no stone unturned until he did away with their wish and even lengthened the period that they were trying to cut short, so that students would be able to absorb and digest all the disciplines they needed, especially for non-natives learning in a patent Arabic tongue. ...

"He strove with all his might and effort - may Allah be well-pleased with him - on the loftiest paths until he became Deputy of the Office of Shaykh al-Islam in [Ottoman] Turkey. He was among those known to give such a post its due. He never exceeded bounds so as to please someone high-placed, no matter how great their power over him, eventually preferring to be expelled from his position for the sake of upholding the public good. It is better to be expelled for the sake of truth than to implement falsehood. ...

"Then the lofty-minded, abnegating, Godwary scholar was put to the severest test when he saw his dear country - the Great Land of Islam, the pivot of his strength, the locus of hopes for Muslims - overshadowed by atheism and taken over by those who do not wish any honor for this Religion. The one who clings to his Religion in such a place soon becomes like one clasping a burning coal. Then he finds himself targeted by persecution so that unless he escaped, he would be thrown into some forlorn prisons and blocked from all that is knowledge and teaching. At that point, the Imam faced three choices. Either to remain a prisoner in chains, his knowledge put out in the deep gaol; a harsh fate for a scholar of learning accustomed to teach and guide others, extracting the treasures of the Religion and bringing them to light for the benefit of humankind. Or grovel and flatter and kowtow, short of which he would remain in fetters or even risk losing his life. Or emigrate - and vast are the lands of Allah. He remembered the saying of Allah, {Was not the earth of Allah spacious that you could have migrated therein?} (4:97).

"So he emigrated to Egypt then moved to Syria. He then returned to Cairo, then went back to Damascus again, until he finally settled in Cairo.

"During his trips to Sham and his residence in Cairo he was a beacon of light. His residence expanded into a school to which flocked the students of true knowledge - not the students of schoolish knowledge. Those students were guided to the sources of knowledge through the books that were written when the marketplace of the Islamic sciences was vibrant and the souls of the ulamas thriving with Islam. He coached the minds of those searching students with those sources and directed them to them. At the same time he would explain whatever they found obscure and pour out the abundance of his learning and share the fruits of his thought. ...

"I bear witness that I have heard the praise of eminent personalities and scholars, but I never prided myself with any of it as much as I prided myself with the praise of this magnificent shaykh - for such is a scholarly badge from someone who is truly able to give it. ...

"That noble man who suffered many trials and overcame them, was also afflicted with the loss of loved ones, for he lost his children during his own lifetime, death taking them one after the other. By virtue of his knowledge, he was able to be patient, uttering the statement of the Prophet Yaʿqub - peace upon him -, {Patience is beautiful, and the help of Allah must be entreated} (12:18). ... He passed on to his Lord, patient, thankful and praiseful, as the sincere and righteous pass on. May Allah be pleased with him and make him pleased!"54 down



Related texts
link-inThose Who Attack Al-Kawthari
link-in List of Scholars

1 Al-Qinnawji, Abjad al-ʿUlum (3:96).up

2 Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam (9:213); Ibn al-Najjar, Dhayl Tarikh Baghdad (1:173).up

3 As asserted by his son Ibn Abi Yaʿla in Tabaqat al-Hanabila (2:204).up

4 Cf. Ibn al-Mubarak's saying: "If you want to make sure your narrations are authentic, confront them with one another." Narrated by al-Khatib in al-Jamiʿ (p. 452 #1973), cf. al-Hakim in Maʿrifa ʿUlum al-Hadith (p. 112f.).up

5 Al-Khatib, al-Jamiʿ li Akhlaq al-Rawi (2:422 #1914).up

6 The entire bracketed passage is omitted by al-Dhahabi in his citation of al-Khatib's text in his youthful work al-ʿUluw [cf. Mukhtasar al-ʿUluw (p. 272 #332)] but it is mentioned in the mature Siyar and the Tadhkira.up

7 Narrated by al-Dhahabi with his chain from Muhammad ibn Marzuq al-Zaʿfarani in Siyar Aʿlam al-Nubala' (13:598) and Tadhkira al-Huffaz (3:1142-1143) from al-Khatib's epistle al-Sifat.up

8 ʿItr, introduction to al-Khatib's Rihla (p. 48).up

9 Ibn Marduyah states that even during the time that Abu Nuʿaym walked home from his mosque gatherings, a student would be reading a volume of hadith to him on the way. The philologist imam Thaʿlab (200-291) died one day after he was hit by a running horse while walking and reading at the same time as narrated by al-ʿAskari in al-Hathth ʿala Talab al-ʿIlm (p. 77). Al-Qifti narrated in Inbah al-Ruwat ʿala Anbah al-Nuhat (3:79) in the biographical notice on the Egyptian philologist Muhammad al-Saʿidi ibn Barakat (d. 520) that the latter saw, when a boy, Abu Yusuf Yaʿqub ibn Khurrazad al-Najirami, "a swarthy shaykh with a long beard and round turban, holding a book in his hand which he was reading while walking." Ibn Rajan narrated in Dhayl Tabaqat al-Hanabila (2:249-252) that Majd al-Din ibn Taymiyya (the grandfather) had a book read to him even when he entered the latrine! Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda related all these anecdotes in his priceless book Qimat al-Zaman ʿind al-ʿUlama' (p. 40-41, 48, 51, 52, 68-69).up

10 In al-Khatib, al-Jamiʿ li Akhlaq al-Rawi (2:178). Cf. al-Dhahabi, Siyar (Arna'ut ed. 11:458). The same is related about the Maliki jurist and hadith scholar Ibn Suhnun by Qadi ʿIyad in Tartib al-Madarik (4:217), and something similar about al-Mundhiri by al-Nawawi in Bustan al-ʿArifin (1985 ed. p. 191).up

11 This report is also found in the chapter on spiritual energy (himma) in al-Qasimi's Qawaʿid al-Tahdith.up

12 Al-Isnawi, Tabaqat al-Shafiʿiyya (1:99 #174).up

13 Al-Dhahabi, Syar (14:120).up

14 Narrated from Jabir by Ahmad in his Musnad, Ibn Majah in his Sunan, Ibn Abi Shayba, al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad (3:179, 10:166) and al-Bayhaqi with a good chain as stated by al-ʿAjluni (hasan lighayrih) in Kashf al-Khafa; from Ibn ʿAbbas by al-Hakim (1:473=1990 ed. 1:646) and al-Daraqutni in his Sunan (2:289 #238); from ʿAbd Allah ibn ʿAmr by al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (5:148); and from Muʿawiya by al-Fakihi in Akhbar Makka. Al-Busiri in Zawa'id ibn Majah and al-Nawawi declared its chain weak but a number of other hadith masters said it is a fair (hasan) narration due to the number of its chains and definitely sahīh as a mursal narration, among them Ibn al-Qayyim and Ibn Hajar as reported by al-Suyuti in al-Durar al-Muntathira (p. 243-244 #383) and al-Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir (5:404), while al-Mundhiri, al-Dimyati (in al-Suyuti's Tadrib al-Rawi [Faryabi ed. 1:158=ʿAbd al-Latif ed. 1:145=1:80] and Ziyada al-Jamiʿ al-Saghir), and al-Suyuti (in al-Sindi's edition of Ibn Majah, cf. al-Durar) declared the hadith sahīh. Al-Sindi added: "The people of knowledge have experienced its veracity." See also al-Shawkani, Nayl al-Awtar, book of Manasik, chapter on Zamzam water. Ibn Hajar in Talkhis al-Habir (2:268) cites al-Dinawari's narration: "We were with Sufyan ibn ʿUyayna when a man came and asked him: ʿO Abu Muhammad! Is the hadith you told us about Zamzam water true?' He replied yes. The man said: ʿI just drank it for the purpose that you narrate to me a hundred hadiths.' Ibn ʿUyayna said to him: ʿSit' and he narrated to him a hundred hadiths.up

15 Siyar (13:599-600). Dr. ʿItr comments in his introduction to al-Khatib's Rihla (p. 42): "Perhaps as a divine reward for al-Turaythithi, Allah lengthened his life and he lived thirty years after this episode - Allah Almighty have mercy on him!"up

16 As per Dr. Yusuf al-ʿIshsh's recension in his al-Khatib al-Baghdadi Mu'arrikh Baghdad wa Muhaddithuha (p. 120-137).up

17 Al-Khatib, Iqtida' al-ʿIlm al-ʿAmal (p. 15-16).up

18The Jamiʿ has received two recent editions: by Shaykh Muhammad ʿAjaj al-Khatib (Beirut: Mu'assasa al-Risala, 1991) and by Mahmud al-Tahhan (Ryad: Maktaba al-Maʿarif, 1983).up

19 As a rule, the shorter the chain, the better, since the probability of error is reduced.up

20 Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (hasan), Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud - al-ʿIraqi said: "with a fair (hasan) chain" in al-Zabidi's Ithaf (6:280) -, Ahmad, Ibn Saʿd (4:145), and al-Nahhas in al-Nasikh wa al-Mansukh (p. 185 without mention of the kissing of the hand), all with a weak chain because of Yazid ibn Abi Zyad according to al-Arna'ut in the Musnad (9:281-282 #5384), also by al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad (p. 388), al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (7:101 #13352), and Ibn Abi Shayba (6:541). Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1989 ed. 11:67) cited it in his list of the narrations providing evidence for kissing the hand and he did not weaken it.up

21Narrated by Ibn al-Muqri' in al-Rukhsa (p. 58 #2) with a chain Ibn Hajar graded as "strong" (sanaduhu qawī) in Fath al-Bari (1989 ed. 11:67) and he listed it among the "good" (jayyid) narrations of Ibn al-Muqri' on the topic. Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi (hasan sahīh), Ibn Majah, Ahmad and al-Hakim (4:399, sahīh) all narrated it without mention of the kiss unlike al-Bayhaqi who cited it in Branch 15 of his Shuʿab al-Iman (2:200 #1528) entitled: "The Fifteenth Branch of Faith, Namely A Chapter On Rendering Honor To The Prophet, Declaring His High Rank, And Revering Him."up

22 Narrated by al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad (#973), al-Mizzi in Tahdhib al-Kamal (17:92), al-Tabarani in al-Awsat (#661), and Ahmad with a chain of sound narrators according to al-Haythami (8:42) and Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1989 ed. 11:57). On the assumption that ʿAbd al-Rahman is Ibn Razin rather than ibn ʿAbd Allah ibn Kaʿb the chain would be "probably fair" according al-Arna'ut in the Musnad (27:83 #16551). Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda emphasized the lawfulness of kissing the hand of people of merit and eminence in Islam and its wide use among the Salaf, cf. his book al-ʿUlama' al-ʿUzzab (p. 47) and his notes on Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr's al-Intiqa' (p. 83 n. 1) as well as the monograph by his teacher Shaykh ʿAbd Allah al-Ghumari, Iʿlam al-Nabil bi Jawaz al-Taqbil. See also the hadith master Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn al-Muqri's monograph al-Rukhsa fi Taqbil al-Yad; the hadith master Ibn al-Aʿrabi's monograph al-Qubal wa al-Muʿanaqa wa al-Musafaha; and Ibn Hajar's vast documentation in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 11:56-57, Isti'dhān, chapter titled Bāb al-Akhdh bi al-Yad).up

23 See Imam Malik's remarks on the turban in the biographical notice on him posted at the website http://sunnah.org/history/Default.htm.up

24 Hadith Dictation Sessions could count over 100,000 attendants all listening to a single hadith master by way of repeaters: al-Khatib, al-Jamiʿ (2:58-62 #1171-1178).up

25 In al-Khatib, al-Jamiʿ li Akhlaq al-Rawi (2:402 #1874 and n.). In Western antiquity and late antiquity silent reading was unheard of, as shown by Augustine of Hippo's (late 4th century CE) astonishment (in the Confessions) at glimpsing Ambrose the Bishop of Milan "moving his lips in silent reading" of his book. Dr. al-Khatib's remarks on mnemonics are reminiscent of the Roman orator Cicero's method of not only reading his speeches outloud to himself in order to memorize them, but also pacing from one room of his house to another to create a mental reminder of each different section of his text.up

26 In al-Khatib, al-Jamiʿ (2:402-416 #1875-1877, #1880-1889, #1899, #1904).up

27 This is Abu Zurʿa al-Razi of Ray, ʿUbayd Allah ibn ʿAbd al-Karim ibn Yazid (d. 264 or 268), "the master of hadith masters" (al-Dhahabi), concerning whom Ahmad ibn Hanbal said that he had memorized 700,000 hadiths. Siyar (10:470-483 #2266).up

28 Al-Khatib, al-Jamiʿ (2:474 #1999).up

29 In Tarikh Baghdad (11:359).up

30 Dr. Nur al-Din ʿItr, Manhaj al-Naqd (p. 63-64). The Kifaya was published by Dr. Ahmad ʿUmar Hashim (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-ʿArabi, 1986) and by Abu ʿAbd Allah al-Sawraqi and Ibrahim Hamdi al-Madani (Madina: al-Maktaba al-ʿIlmiyya, n.d.).up

31 Also published by Nasr Abu ʿAtaya in al-Nasa'i, Majmuʿa Rasa'il (p. 137-238).up

32 ʿItr, preface to al-Khatib, al-Rihla (p. 9). In his twenty-four page introduction titled "The Infinite Scholarly Challenge of Prophethood" (Iʿjaz al-Nubuwwa al-ʿIlmi), ʿItr gives a valuable overview of hadith science in Islam and puts to rest the claims of Goldziher et al. whereby hadith travel began in Umayyad times and was motivated by politics.up

33 2nd ed. Ed. Mahmud Saʿid Mamduh (Beirut: Dar al-Basha'ir al-Islamiyya, 1988).up

34 Ibn al-Salah, Fatawa wa Masa'il (1:235). See also Ibn Hajar's Ajwiba (1:538-549) and al-Shawkani, al-Fawa'id al-Majmuʿa (p. 57).up

35 Al-Khatib, Sharaf Ashab al-Hadith (p. 52 #106).up

36 Narrated from Ibn Masʿud by al-Tirmidhi (hasan gharīb), Abu Yaʿla in his Musnad (8:428, 9:15), al-Bukhari in al-Tarikh al-Kabir (5:177), Ibn Abi Shayba (11:505), al-Baghawi in Sharh al-Sunna (#686), al-Bayhaqi in Shuʿab al-Iman (2:212), al-Haythami in Mawarid al-Zam'an (p. 594), al-Khatib in al-Fasl li al-Wasl (2:770-773) and Sharaf (p. 34-35 #63) and Ibn Hibban all with weak chains according to al-Arna'ut (3:192 #911) because of Musa ibn Yaʿqub al-Zamʿi and ʿAbd Allah ibn Kaysan (cf. al-Mizzi, Tahdhib al-Kamal [15:482], Ibn ʿAdi, al-Kamil [6:2342], al-Daraqutni, al-ʿIlal [5:112], Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib [5:326]). However, it has a witnessing narration whereby the Prophet ﷺ said: "Invoke abundant blessings upon me on the day of Jumʿa for my Community's salāt is shown to me [especially] on every Jumʿa, therefore, whoever among them invokes blessings upon me the most, is nearest to me in station." Narrated from Abu Umama by al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan (3:249 #5785) and Hayat al-Anbiya' (p. 11) with a fair chain according to al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (1994 ed. 2:390 #2519=1997 ed. 2:328=3:303) "except that it is said Makhul did not hear from Abu Umama directly," while Ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 11:167): "There is no harm in its chain." Ibn al-Sakan included Ibn Masʿud's hadith among the sound narrations in his Sihah according to Ibn al-Mulaqqin in Tuhfa al-Muhtaj (1:527).up

37 Narrated from ʿUmar by al-Bazzar in his Musnad (1:413) with a fair chain as stated by al-Haythami (10:65), al-Khatib, Sharaf (p. 33-34 #62), al-Hakim (4:85-86) with a weak chain because of Muhammad ibn Abi Humayd as indicated by al-Dhahabi, Abu Yaʿla in his Musnad (1:147) with a weak chain according to Shaykh Husayn Asad, and from Ibn ʿAbbas by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (12:87) and al-Tahawi in Sharh Mushkil al-Athar (6:269-270 #2472) with the statement "Those are my brothers" instead of the last sentence, with a chain of sound narrators except for ʿAta' ibn al-Sa'ib whose narrations are confused.up

38 Narrated from Anas by al-Khatib in Sharaf (p. 56-57 #113).up

39 Al-Hudhli narrated that al-Zuhri asked him: "O Hudhli! Does hadith please you?" Al-Hudhli said yes. Al-Zuhri continued: "Truly, it pleases the virile among men, while the effeminate among them hate it." Al-Khatib, Sharaf (p. 70 #150).up

40 This is a notable example of the use of al-nās to mean the major ulema of the Sunna, as in ʿAbd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi's statement: "The People (al-nās) in their time were four: Hammad ibn Zayd in al-Basra, al-Thawri in al-Kufa, Malik in al-Hijaz, and al-Awzaʿi in al-Shām."up

41 In al-Tirmidhi.up

42 In Ibn Majah.up

43 In al-Darimi's Sunan, Abu Hatim al-Razi, al-Jarh wa al-Taʿdil (2:12), and others: Abu Saʿid al-Khudri - Allah be well-pleased with him - used to say, whenever he saw the young Tābiʿī students of hadith: "Welcome to the beneficiaries (wasiyya) of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ while al-Ramahurmuzi's narration in al-Muhaddith al-Fasil (p. 175) adds: "who ordered us to make you memorize the hadith and make room for you in gatherings."up

44 Narrated from Abu Saʿid al-Khudri by al-Hakim (1:88=1990 ed. 1:164) who declared it sound, and al-Dhahabi concurred. The hadith master Mughaltay also declared it sound according to al-Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir (2:400), while it remains a fair (hasan) narration according to al-Zuhayri and al-Suyuti. Also narrated from Abu Saʿid by Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr in his Jamiʿ (1:578 #991), al-Khatib in his (1991 ed. 1:305-306 #360=1983 ed. 1:202), Ibn Wahb in his Musnad (8:167), and ʿAbd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi in al-ʿIlm (1:50), all with weak chains because of Layth ibn Abi Sulaym; and by al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, ʿAbd al-Razzaq (11:252), Tammam al-Razi in his Fawa'id (1:64, 1:69), al-Baghawi in Sharh al-Sunna (1:286), and al-Ramahurmuzi in al-Muhaddith al-Fasil (p. 176), all with very weak chains because of Abu Harun al-ʿAbdi (ʿAmara ibn Juwayn) who is discarded as a narrator (cf. Ibn ʿAdi, al-Kamil [5:77] and Ibn Hajar's Taqrib).up

45 Published in 1949 with an excellent introduction by Yusuf al-ʿIshsh (Repr. Dar Ihya' al-Sunna al-Nabawiyya, 1974).up

46 Dr. Yusuf al-ʿIshsh gave an extensive description of this work in his al-Khatib al-Baghdadi Mu'arrikh Baghdad wa Muhaddithuha. See also Dr. Akram Dya' al-ʿUmari, Mawarid al-Khatib al-Baghdadi fi Tarikh Baghdad. Dr. Khaldun al-Ahdab provided a thorough authentication of those hadiths in his Zawa'id Tarikh Baghdad.up

47 Al-Sahm is also known as al-Tahqiq fi Ahadith al-Taʿliq.up

48 Al-Dhahabi himself deliberately refrained from narrating a single report detrimental to one of the great Imams of fiqh in his Mughni fi al-Duʿafa', Diwan al-Duʿafa' wa al-Matrukin, and Mizan al-Iʿtidal, as he explained in the introduction to the latter: "I did not mention in my book any of the Imams that are followed in the branches of the Law due to their immense standing in Islam and their greatness in the minds of people: such as Abu Hanifa, al-Shafiʿi, and al-Bukhari." Al-Dhahabi, Mizan al-Iʿtidal (1:3). Abu Ghudda and others have shown that the disparaging notices on Abu Hanifa found in today's editions of al-Dhahabi's works are interpolations. See the exhaustive documentation of this issue in Shaykh Hisham Kabbani's Encyclopedia (7:149-187).up

49 Respectively in the introduction to al-Khatib's al-Rihla (p. 52) and al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (p. 263-301). See also Shaykh Wahbi Sulayman Ghawiji al-Albani's book Abu Hanifa (p. 205-277).up

50 Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam (8:266, 9:214).up

51 This is a common distinction, as established by the remarks of the scholars cited in our notice on al-Tabari at the website http://sunnah.org/history/Default.htm.up

52 When al-Karabisi heard that Imam Ahmad had declared his statement an innovation whereby the pronunciation of the Qur'an was created, he said: "Pronunciation means other than the thing pronounced" (talaffuzuka yaʿnī ghayra al-malfūz). Then he said of Ahmad: "What shall we do with this boy? If we say ʿcreated' he says bidʿa, and if we say ʿnot created' he says bidʿa." Narrated by al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad (8:65).up

53 Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam (8:267).up

54 Cf. al-Ahdab, Zawa'id (1:104).up

55 Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam (8:143, 8:266).

56 Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam (8:268). Cf. al-Ahdal, Zawa'id Tarikh Baghdad (1: 86).


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