Scientific Proof to the Existence of God – part of the Weekend Class series of eight lectures by Al-Marhum Bro. Muhammad Al’Mahdi at the Khalifah Institute in 2004.



Here is the recording of a lecture by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad during the Crisis of Modern Consciousness workshop organised by HAKIM at Masjid Negara, Kuala Lumpur, 27 March 2010.

And the Q&A session:

Khutoot Al Areedah

An Exposition and Refutation of the Sources of Shi’ism

Table of Contents









(So-called Suratul-wilaayah) 12

[fatwa against companions] 12























With the advent of Islam in Arabia, the polytheists, Jews and Christians had to retreat as they could not withstand the challenge thrown by Islam to accept the reality of monotheism. These forces particularly the Jews were most vociferous in their opposition to Islam. As they were not in a position to challenge Islam openly, they resorted to strike from within. It was Abdullah bin Saba, a Jew, who pretending to be a Muslim coined and propagated the Divine right of Ali Bin Abi Talib, May Allah be pleased with him, to the Caliphate as the successor to the prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu alaihi wa sallim), by virtue of his position as the son in law of the prophet(SALL ALLAHU ALAIHI WASALLIM). By and by the idea was turned in to a doctrine and those professing it called themselves as Shi’ites. This doctrine was based upon the contempt and animosity towards the pious caliphs particularly Abu Bakr and Umar (May Allah be pleased with them). Since its very inception this break away group has been playing a negative role in the Muslim World and has brought untold miseries to the Ummah. The annals, of the Islamic history bear testimony to the above fact. The assassin movement of Hasan bin Sabbah and the role played by Ibn-e-Alqami in the devastation of Baghdad by Holagu are some of the instances of the past Islamic history. The upsurge of Khomenieism in Iran is also the part of the old game of the Shi’ite history. Khomenieism has assumed a new and most dangerous dimension which has surpassed all the previous dangers. The uncompromising attitude in the ruinous war with Iraq, the turmoil at Mecca during the last year Haj pilgrimage, the mischievous move to internationalize the control of the holy cities of Islam and the sinister propaganda against the government of Saudi Arabia has exposed the Khomeini regime.

This book Al-Khutoot Al-Areedah gives a vivid picture of the Shi’ite belief and faith. The reader will come across with some painful truths and horrible facts.

Abul Kalam Azad Islamic Awakening Centre, New Delhi is indebted to brother Mahmood Murad, translator of the book, who very kindly granted pe mission to publish it, when the undersigned had the privilege to meet him at the International Conference of the Sacred Cities of Islam, held on 1st & 2nd

April 1988 at California, Los Angeles, U.S.A.

Unfortunately both the illustrious author of this book Muhibbuddeen Khateeb and his son Oussay expired recently. May Allah, the most merciful forgive their sins and admit them to the paradise.

Abul Kalam Azad Islamic Awakening Centre has a promising program to bring out books on various Islamic subjects to facilitate the Muslims to understand the pristine teachings of Islam. May Allah help us in our efforts.

Date: 2.5.1988

Abdul Hameed Rahmani President Abul Kalam Azad Islamic Awakening Centre



In the name of Allah. the Beneficent, the Merciful All praise is due to the Almighty God, Allah. We praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Allah from the evils of our own selves and from our wicked deeds. Whosoever has been guided by Allah, there is none to misguide him. And whosoever has been misguided by Allah, none can guide him. And I bear witness that there is no other god except Allah, alone, without partner or associate. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger. May Allah the Exalted bestow His peace and blessings on the Prophet Muhammad, upon his good and pure family as well as upon all of the noble Companions and upon those who followed them in righteousness until the Day of Judgment.

It is intended through this translation of Al-Khutoot Al-‘Areedah to present to readers of English, both Muslims and non-Muslims accurate information about the faith and tenets of the Shi’ite sect known asthe Twelve Imamers or Ja’faris.

It is essential for the Sunni Muslim to know the fact of the Shi’ite deviation from the straight path of Islam taught by the Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu alaihi wa sallim) and his noble Companions (r.a.a.). Al-Khutoot Al-‘Areedah clearly and briefly presents the actual teachings of the Shi’ites in general, and the Twelve Imamers in particular. The reader will derive from the text an unequivocal understanding of the Shi’ite sect and will distance himself from them and their beliefs. He will realize that there can be no reconciliation nor reunification of the Sunnis and the schismatic Shi’ites until and unless the latter renounce their perverse tenets. They must return to the pure unadulterated teachings of Islam held and maintained by Ahlus-Sunnah wal-lama’ah (the Sunnis).

Unfortunately, it is a common view in the West that the Irani Shi’ites and their so-called Islamic” revolution with all its attendant turmoil, injustice and barbarism, are representatives of Islam. It is hoped that the non-Muslim reader of this work will come to perceive the abyss which separates the Shi’ites from the Muslim majority, and that he will no longer condemn all Muslims for the activities of one de- iant sect.


The existence of numerous sects, the majority of which are de- viant, is a predetermined fact referred to in the Glorious Qur’an:

And if your Lord [Allah] had so willed, He could have made mankind a single unified community, but they will not cease to dispute and differ; except those upon whom your Lord has bestowed His mercy. And for this did He create them, and the word of your Lord will be fulfilled: l will fill Hell with jinns and men altogether. (11-118, 119)

Furthermore, Allah’s Prophet (Sall Allahu alaihi waSallim) had said: “Verily this nation [of Muslims] will divide into seventy-three sects”, and in another narration: “All of them [these sects] will be in the Fire except one.’ When asked which it was, the Prophet replied: “The one which adheres to my Sunnah (way of life) and the Sunnah of my Companions.’(1)

Thus, it was incumbent upon us to bring to light the stark differences among the sects so that it may be perfectly clear what each sect believes in and adheres to that Allah s proof against His slaves may be established:

But that Allah might accomplish a matter already ordained [in His knowledge]; so that those who were destroyed [by rejecting faith] might be destroyed after a clear sign [had been. given] and those who live [i.e. believers] might live after a clear sign [had been given]. And surely Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower. (8:42)

Shi’ism originated in the first century of Islam as an exaggerated affection for and partisanship of Ahlul-Bait (the family and descendants of the Prophet Muhammad [Sall Allahu alaihi waSallim]). Later on, it developed into a set of misbeliefs and erroneous concepts which ultimately constituted a new religion; a religion other than that which was taught by the Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu alaihi waSallim), and by his Companions after him.

The Shi’ites claim to have a Qur’an other than the one which is unanimously recognized by all Muslims throughout the history of Islam. Furthermore, they reject the authentic compilations of the sacred traditions, such as those of the two great imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim. They consider all but a few-of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad to be apostates, while they elevate their Imams to a position comparable o that of the gods of ancient mythology

Unfortunately, some naive or simple-minded Muslims are inclined to believe that the Shi’ites of today have abandoned their de- viant tenets and have reverted to the right path. Grounds for such a belief are yet to be found.

A detailed exposition of the Shi’ite distortions and misconceptions will follow in this treatise, but at this point I will briefly touch on some of the views of the contemporary Shi’ite religious elite; the ayatullahs and mullahs whose commands are obeyed and slavishly adhered to by the ordinary Shi’ite.

In a treatise entitled Tuhfatul-Awaam Maqbool, published recent- ly, there appeared an invocation (2) endorsed by six of the most respected contemporary Shi’ite imams including Khomeini and Shariat-Madari. In that invocation, Abu Bakr and `Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, are accused of altering the Qur’an. Those two illustrious caliphs, along with their two daughters, who were the noble and pure wives of the Prophet (Sall Allahu alaihi waSallim) were cursed and reviled by the Shi’ites of today.

Khomeini, in his book Al-Hukoomatul-lslamiyyah (the Islamic government), claims that the Twelve Imams are infallible, and he raises them to a level above the heavenly angels and the commissioned prophets of Allah; he stresses: “Certainly, the Imam commands a noble station and lofty position; a creative vicegerency to who’s rule and power submit the very atoms of all creation[!] And an essential tenet of our Shi’ite sect is that the Imams have a position which is reached neither by the angels [in the highest heaven] nor by any commissioned messenger of God (3).” He further stated: “The teachings and directives of the Imams are just like those of the Qur’an, it is compulsory on one to follow them and carry them out.”(4)

In short, Khomeini and his fellow clergymen adhere to all of the perverse tenets of the Shi’ite faith as laid out in detail in Al-Kaafi. Khomeini clearly admits this in his book Al-Huloomatul-islamiah: “Do you think that it is enough for us, with respect to-our religion, to collect its rulings and directives in Al-Kaafi, then put it on a shelf and neglect it?”

Al-Khutoot Al-‘Areedah, provides some details from Al-Kaafi, a foundation stone of the Shi’ite religion, so that the naive good-hearted Muslims may have a second thought before cherishing the idea that the Shi’ites of today are different from those of the past.

Abu Bilal Mustafa Al-Kanadi, Mecca and Vancouver Ramadan-Dhul-Qa’dah 1403 A.H. /1983 C.E.


Bringing Muslims closer to each other in their thoughts, convictions and aims is one of the greatest objectives of Islam, and a most vital means of achieving Muslim unity, power, revival and reconstruction. When the call to such a purpose is free from ulterior motives and is likely to yield more benefit than harm, then it becomes incumbent on all Muslims to respond to it and to co-operate with each other to make it a success.

Discussion of this call had increased in recent years, and had such a pronounced effect that it attracted the attention of Al-Azhar University, one of the greatest religious institutions of those who adhere to the four schools of jurisprudence of Ahlus-Sunnahs (Sunni Muslims). Al- Azhar fully adopted the idea of bringing Muslim groups together and pursued it beyond the limits of its authority which had been established in the time of Salahuddin and maintained up until the present. Al- Azhar overstepped its bounds in its desire to explore and to accommodate various schools of thought, the foremost of which is the school of the Shi’ite Twelve lmamers.(5)

Al-Azhar is, at this point, in the early stages of this mission.(6) Therefore, this topic is timely and worthy of research, study and ex- position by every Muslim who has knowledge of the issue, in all its details and with all its ramifications. Since religious issues tend to be controversial in nature, they should be handled with wisdom, insight and straightforwardness. The researcher must also be enlightened by Allah’s guidance and be impartial in his judgment in order that his research may achieve its claimed objectives and yield satisfactory results, if it be so willed by Allah.

It may be remarked that with any contentious issue involving more than one party, chances for its successful resolution are cor- related-to the responsiveness of the parties involved. With respect to the question of bringing Ahlus-Sunnah and the Shi’ites closer to each other, it has been noticed that a centre was established for this purpose in Egypt, financed by the government of a Shi’ite country. This open-handed Shi’ite government has honored us with its generosity while it deprived itself and the adherents of its own school of thought of its governmental bounty It has also been noticed that it did not build such a lavish establishment for the call to “reconciliation” in Tehran, Qum, Najaf, Jabal `Aamil, or any other centre known for its propagation of the Shi’ite school of thought.’

These Shi’ite propaganda centres published during the past years books that make one’s skin crawl and one’s body tremble from the shock of what is written therein. Reading them utterly destroys any idea we may have entertained of developing mutual understanding and closeness with their Shi’ite authors and the like of them. Among these publications is a book entitled Az-Zahraa, by Shi’ite scholars of Najaf, in which they alleged that Amirul Mu’mineen `Umar ibnu Khattaab, the second caliph, was plagued with a disease curable only by the water of men (i.e., semen)! This filthy slander was noted by the scholar Al-Basheer Al-lbrahimi, the Sheikh of the Algerian `ulamaa, during his first visit to Iraq. A filthy soul which produces such wickedness is in a greater need of the call to understanding and reconciliation than we are.

The fundamental difference between them and us is rooted in their claim that they are more loyal to AhlulBait, and in the fact that they hide from us their malice towards and grudge against the Companions of the Prophet, on whose shoulders Islam was established. Their hatred reached such a point that they can utter the filthy words against `Umar ibnul-Khattaab that were noted above.

Is it not fair to say that they should have restrained their malice and hatred against the first Imams of Islam. and that they should have appreciated the noble stand of ahlus-Sunnah toward ahlulBait, that stand which never fell short in offering due homage and reverence to the family of the Prophet? Or do they consider us to be remiss in not taking the family of the Prophet as gods to be worshipped along with Allah, as they do?

Without a doubt, responsiveness to each other is essential if two parties are to achieve a mutual “coming together”, reconciliation and understanding. This mutual responsiveness can only come about if there are sincere efforts on both sides to achieve it.

As stated above, there is a “reconciliation” centre in Egypt, a Sunni country; there are also propaganda offices which wage hostile campaigns against those who do not favour such centres. One might well question the absence of such centres or their like in any Shi’ite country. One also may question why Al-Azhar University has included instruction in the Shi’ite school of thought, while the Sunni schools of thought are still locked out of the Shi’ite educational institutions. If the call to reconciliation is restricted to one of the concerned parties alone, then the efforts spent on such a call will be futile.

Finally, one may question the value of beginning the process of reconciliation by attending to differences of a minor or secondary nature, while fundamental differences have not yet been addressed.(7)


The jurisprudence of the Sunnis differs from that of the Shi’ites even in the fundamentals upon which the law is based. Yet unless and until the fundamentals are understood and endorsed by both parties, and until there is a favorable response to this from the religious institutions of both sides, it would be useless to waste time dealing with issues of a minor or secondary nature.

In fact, it is not merely in the fundamentals of jurisprudence that there are differences, but also, and more importantly, in the fun- damental articles of faith of each party, even in their deepest roots and origins. 6 THE QUESTION OF TAQIYYAH

One of the main obstacle to their receiving a positive response from us is their tenet of taqiyyah (deception), by the application of which, they reveal to us other than what they have in their hearts. The simple-minded Sunni is deceived by their pretentious display of `the desire to overcome our differences and reach a common under- standing between us and them. In fact, they neither want such a thing nor approve of it. They do not strive for it, but rather leave it to the other party to come the full distance to their position, without exerting an effort to make any move from their side. Even if those Shi’ites who practice taqiyyah were to convince us that they have moved a few steps in our direction, then the multitude of Shi’ites, be they ordinary people or the scholarly elite, would stand apart from those who adopted the ruse of objectivity towards us, and they would not recognize them as their representatives; this because their actual belief does not permit them to reconcile themselves with us.


The Qur’an should be the comprehensive reference for both Sunnis and Shi’ites, and a means of bringing about unity and mutual understanding, but it has been misinterpreted by the Shi’ites and given a meaning other than that which was understood by the noble Com- panions who received it directly from the Prophet, and other than that which was understood by the Imams of Islam who received it from the very generation amongst whom the Qur’an descended by way of Divine Revelation.

One of the most famous and respected Shi’ite scholars, from Najaf, Mirza Husain bin Muhammad Taqi An-Nawari At-Tabarsi, wrote in 1292 A.H. the book faslul-Khitaab fee Ithbatti Tahreefi Kitaab Rabbil-Arbaab (The Decisive Say on the Proof of Alteration of the Book of the Lord of Lords). In this book he compiled hundreds of texts written by Shi’ite scholars in different eras alleging that the Qur’an has been tampered with, that there have been both additions to it and omissions from it.

At-Tabarsi’s book was printed in Iran, in 1298 A.H., and its appearance attracted much attention, frustrating the intention of cer- tain Shi’ites that their doubts about the authenticity of the Qur’an should be restricted to the elite of religious scholars and personalities. They preferred that these allegations not be brought together in a single volume, and widely disseminated, as it could be used as a proof against them by their opponents. When the scholars made public their criticism, At-Tabarsi responded with another book entitled Raddu ba’dush-Shubahaati `an Faslil-Khitaabi fee Ithbatti Tahreefi Kitaabi Rabbil-Arbaab (Refutation of Some Specious Arguments Regarding the Decisive Say on the Proof of Alteration of the Book of the Lord of the Lords). He wrote this defense of his original book two years before his death. In order to show their appreciation of his contribution to the at- tempt to prove that the Qur’an had been altered, the Shi’ites buried him in one of their most prominent religious shrines, at Najaf.

Among the proofs offered by At-Tabarsi in his attempt to show that the Qur’an had been altered, was a quotation from what the Shi’ites consider to be a missing part of the Qur’an, called by them Suratul-Wilaayah (see below). It mentions the granting of wilaayah (sovereignty) to `Ali(8) as follows: “O believers, believe in the Prophet and the wali, the two whom We sent to guide you to the straight path…”[suratul-Wilayyah]

(So-called Suratul-wilaayah)

Photocopy of the so-called Suratul-wilaaya h which the Shi’ites accuse the Sunni Muslims of deleting it along with other suras from the original text of the Holy Qur’an. It reads:

O’ you who believe, believe in the prophet and the wali, the two whom we sent to guide you to the straight path. A prophet and wali who are of each other. and celebrate the praise of your Lord, and Ali is among the witnesses.

[fatwa against companions]

Photocopy of the original fatwa (religious verdict) encouraging the Shi’ite masses to curse the two Caliphs Abu Bakr and `Umar. signed by six of the con- temporary Shi’ite scholars and clergy among them Khomeini and Shariat Madari The trustworthy scholar Muhammad `Ali Sa’oodi, chief consultant to the Egyptian Ministry of Justice, and one of Sheikh Muhammad Abduh’s special students, managed to examine an Iranian manuscript copy of the Qur’an owned by the orientalist Brown. He was able to make a photocopy of Surat-ul-Wilaayah with its Persian translation. Its existence was affirmed by At-Tabarsi in his book faslul-Khitaab, and by Muhsin Faani Al-ashmeeri in his book Dabisan Madhaahib. This book, written in Persian, was printed several times in Iran. The chapter (Surat)-ul-Wilaayah) which is falsely attributed to Allah’s revelation, was also quoted by the famous orientalist Noeldeke in his book History of the Copies of the Qur’an(9). It also appeared in the Asian-French Newspaper in 1842 C.E.

At-Tabarsi also quoted a tradition from Al-Kaafi, which is to the Shi’ites what Sahih-ul-Bukhari is to the Sunni Muslims. It reads:

A number of our associates narrated by way of Sahl bin Ziyaad through Muhammad bin Sulaiman that some of his friends reported Abul-Hasan Ath-Thaani `Ali bin Mioosa Ar-Rida as saying `May I be your ransom! We hear verses of the Qur’an different from those we have with us and we are not capable of reading them according to your reading which has reached us. Do we commit a sin thereby He replied, “No, read the Qur’an as you have learned it; someone will come to you to teach you.

Without a doubt, this conversation is fabricated by the Shi’ites and is falsely attributed to the Imam `Ali bin Moosa Ar-Rida; however, the statement is taken by the Shi’ites as a legal ruling in this matter. Its implication is that while one of them commits no sin by reciting the Qur’an the way Muslims have learned according to `Uthman’s unanimously accepted text, the privileged class of Shi’ite clergy and scholars will teach each other a version other than the accepted one, a version which they claim came to their Imams from AhlulBait.

It was the urge to strike a comparison between the Shi’ite “Qur’an” (which they secretly confide to one another, while hiding it from the general public as an act of taqiyyah”) and the known and officially accepted `Uthmani Edition of the Qur’an, which motivated At-Tabarsi to write his book faslul-Khitaab.

Although the Shi’ites pretended to disown At-Tabarsi’s book, as an act of taqiyyah, the glar- ing fact that it-includes hundreds of quotations from the recognized works of their scholars clearly confirms their adherence to the tenet of alteration of the Qur’an. Of course, they do not want a clamor to be raised over this perverse article of faith of theirs

The intended result of their claim is to leave us with the impres- sion that there are two Qur’ans: one, the `Uthmani version accepted by the Sunni Muslims; the other, the allegedly hidden version of the Shi’ites, part of which is Surat-ul-Wilaayah. They are well aware that they fabricated the statement they attributed to the Imam `Ali bin Moosa Ar-Rida: “… read [the Qur’an] as you have learned it; someone will come to you to teach you.” The Shi’ites also claim that a verse was deleted from the Qur’an from Surat-ul-lnshiraah. The alleged deletion is “and we made `Ali your son-in-law.” Have they no shame in making such an allegation, when it is a well-known fact that this particular surah was revealed in Mecca at a time when `Ali was not yet the son-in-law of the Prophet, Allah’s blessing and peace be upon him. His only son-in-law a that time was Al-‘Ass Ibnur-Rabee’al-Ummawi. As for the fact that `Ali was a son-in-law of the Prophet, it should be pointed out that Allah also made `Uthman bin `Affaan the son-in-law of the Prophet through his marriage to two of the Prophet’s daughters. Upon the death of the second of `Uthman’s wives (the second of the two daughters), the Prophet said to him, “If we had a third one, we would have given her to you in marriage.”

Another of the Shi’ite scholars, Abu Mansoor Ahmad bin `Ali At- Tabarsi, in his book Al-lhtijaaj `ala Ahlil-Lajaaj (Argumentation with the Contentious Folk) claimed that `Ali said to one of the zanaadiqah,(10)whose name At-Tabarsi neglected to mention, “As for your belligerent disagreement with me(11), it shows your feigned ignorance of Allah’s statement, `And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphans, then marry of the women who seem good to you…”‘ At- Tabarsi then went on to say, by way of explanation as to why this verse was quoted by `Ali in his argumentation with his opponents:

Now doing justice to orphans does not resemble the marrying of women, and not all women are

orphans; thus, this verse is an exam- ple of what I have presented earlier in the book Al-Ihtijaaj; regarding the deletion of parts of the Qur’an by the hypocrites’,(12) that deletion being between the statement about justice to orphans, and that which follows it, about the marrying of women. This deletion consists of addresses and stories, and amounts to more than a third of the Qur’an,


The foregoing is an example of the Shi’ite lies which were at- tributed `Ali may Allah be pleased with him). That it is A slanderous fabrication is proven by the fact that `Ali never declared, during the whole period of his caliphate, that a third of the Qur’an was missing from the section mentioned above. He did not command the Muslims to record this “missing” portion, nor to seek guidance from it, nor to apply jurisprudential rulings derived from it.


Upon the publication of the book Faslul-Khitaab over eighty years ago, there was great rejoicing amongst the enemies of Islam, in par- ticular, the missionaries and orientalists. They liked the book so much that they decided to translate it into their own languages. It is no wonder, since it contained hundreds of lies such as those mentioned above, along with slanderous fabrications against Allah and the choicest of His creation, the Holy Prophet of Islam (upon whom be peace), and against the venerable Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all).(13)

There are two clear texts from Al-Kaafi of Al-Kulaini, which elucidate the Shi’ites’ perverse position regarding the Qur’an. The first reads:

I heard Abu Jafar (upon whom be peace) say: “None of the people has claimed that he collected the Quran completely as it was reveal- ed except a liar. No one collected and memorized the Qur’an as it was revealed except `Ali bin Abi Taalib and the Imams after him.(14)

Every Shi’ite is required to believe in this text from Al-Kaafi as an article of their faith. As for us, Ahlus-Sunnah, we say that in fact the Shi’ites have false- ly attributed the above text to Al-Baaqir Abu Ja’far. The proof of our position is that `Ali, during the period of his caliphate in Kufah, never resorted to or applied any version of the Qur’an other than that with which Allah had favored the Caliph `Uthman by the distinction of its collection, publication and popularization and by its legal application in all Islamic lands for all time up to the Day of Judgment. If it were true that `Ali had a different version of the Qur’an he surely would have ap- plied it in making legal rulings, and he would have commanded the Muslims to abide by its injunctions and guidance. Clearly, since he was the supreme ruler, none would have challenged his authority to do this.

Furthermore, if indeed `Ali had a different version of the Qur’an and concealed it from the Muslims, then he would have betrayed Allah, His Messenger and the religion of Islam by so doing. As for Jaabir Al-Ju’fi who claims that he heard that blasphemous conversation from the Imam Abi la’far Muhammad Al-Baaqir, it must be noted that although the Shi’ites consider him a trustworthy narrator of traditions, the fact is that he is well known in the Sunni schools of theology as a liar and forger of traditions. Abu Yahya Al-Hammani reported that he heard the Imam Abu Hanifa saying, “Ataa’ is the best i.e., the most truthful and precise in reporting from amongst those I have come across in the field of transmitting traditions, while Jaabir Al-Ju’fi is the greatest liar I have come across amongst them.”(15)

The second of the two texts from Al-Kaafi mentioned above, is attributed to the son of Ja’far

As-Saadiq. It reads:

It is related that Abu Baser said: “I entered upon Abu `Abdullah [Ja’far As-Sadiq]… [Who] said `Verily we have with us the Qur’an of Fatimah (upon whom be peace).’ I said: `What is the Qur’an of Fatimah?’ He replied: `It contains three times as much as this Qur’an of yours. By Allah, it does not contain one single letter of your Qur’an’ .(16)

These fabricated Shi’ite texts which are falsely attributed to the Imams of Ahlul-Bait are of fairly early date. They were recorded by Muhammed bin Ya’qoob Al-Kulaini Ar-Razi in the book Al-Kaafi over a thousand years ago, and they are from before his time, because they were narrated on the authority of his ancestors, the master engineers of the false foundations of Shi’ism. During the time when Spain was under the reign of Arab Muslims, the Imam Abu Muhammad bin Hazam used to debate with Spain’s priests regarding the texts of their sacred books. He used to bring forth proofs which established their having been tampered with, and altered so much that their authentic origins had been lost. Those priests used to argue with Ibn Hazam that the Shi’ites had asserted that the Qur’an also had been altered. Ibn Hazam refuted their argument by replying that the allegation of the Shi’ites is not a proof against the Qur’an, nor against the Muslims, because Shi’ites are not Muslims.(17) 10 SHI’ITE VIEWS ON THE MUSLIM RULERS

The attention of the governments of all Muslim nations must be drawn to the dangerous and distorted views of the (So-called) Shi’ite Twelve Imams, or Ja’fari sect. It is their view that all governments from the death of the Prophet-until now are illegitimate, except for that of `Ali bin Abi Taalib. It is therefore not permissible for any Shi’ite to be loyal to- those governments or sincere in dealing with them. Indeed, they must engage in flattery and hypocrisy, in accordance with their tenet of taqiyyah. They consider all past, present, and future governments in the Muslim world to be established by forcible seizure, and therefore illegal. According to them, the only legitimate rulers are the Twelve Imams, whether they ruled directly or indirectly, and all other rulers, from the time of Abu Bakr and `Umar until the present time, are con- sidered usurpers, and oppressors of the people. The Shi’ites tenaciously hold this perverse view of the Muslim rulers regardless of the great services they have rendered to the noble cause of Islam, and to humanity in general.


The Shi’ites curse Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman (may Allah be pleased with them), along with all the rulers of the Islamic Nation, with the exception of `Ali. They fabricated a lie and attributed it to the Imam Abul Hasan `Ali bin Muhammad bin `Ali bin Moosa, claiming that he approved of his followers calling Abu Bakr and `Umar “Al-jibt wat- Taaghoot”.(18) This claim was made in one of their most extensive works on the science of the ascertation of the veracity and competence of the narrators of Prophetic Traditions, Tanqeehul-Maqaal fee Ahwaalir- Rijaal, by a sheikh of the Ja’fari sect Allama Ath-Thani Ayatullah Al- Mamqaani.’(19)

Al-Mamqaani referred to the scholar Ash-Sheikh Muhammad bin Idrees Al-Hilli’s book As-Saraa’ir, in which Al-Hilli cited the work Massaa’ilur-aijaal wa Mukaatabaatihim ila Mowlaana Abil-Hasan `Ali bin Muhammad bin `Ali bin Moosa, the subject of which is questions and letters directed to Abil Hasan `Ali bin Muhammad. Among them is a question from Muhammad bin `Ali, who is quoted as saying:

I wrote to him asking about ar-naasib [one who is hostile to Ahlil-Bait]. I asked him whether I needed proof of his hostility towards Ahlil-Bait other than his recognition of Al-jibt wat-Taaghoot i.e. Abu Bakr and `Umar] as the rightful holders of the office of imam [leader of the Muslim community].

His reply was that anyone whose condition was like that just described, was adequately shown to be a naasib.

Thus, any person would be counted as an enemy of the Prophet’s family merely by his giving precedence of rank to Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq and `Umar Al-Farooq, and by his acknowledging their positions as imams. The expression “Al-Jibt wat-Taaghoot” is used by the Shi’ites in the prayer of imprecation which they call “Du’aa Sanamay Quraish” (imprecation against the two idols of the Quraish). They mean by these expressions, the two caliphs Abu Bakr and `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them). This vicious Shi’ite prayer of imprecation is mentioned in their book Miftahul-Jinaan; it reads: “O Allah, bestow Your blessings upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad and upon his family, and curse the two idols of the Quraish, their Al-Jibt wat-Taaghoot, as well as their two daughters…” They are referring to the two Mothers of the Believers, Aa’ishah and Hafsah, the pure and noble wives of the Pro- phet (may Allah be pleased with them).


The hatred the Shi’ites have for the Caliph `Umar reached such a pitch that they gave his murderer Abu Lu’lu’ah Al-Majoosi the title `’Baba Shujaa’ud-Din” (the one who is brave in the cause of religion).

`Ali bin Mathahir, a Shi’ite narrator of traditions, reported that Ahmad bin Ishaq Al-Qummi Al-Ahwas, a sheikh of the Shi’ites, said: “Verily the day ` Umar was murdered- is the greatest day of celebration, the day of pride and honour, the day of the great purification and the day of blessing and consolation.”

In the history of Islam there have been many great personalities, men like the two Caliphs Abu Bakr and `Umar and the great warrior Salahuddin Al-Ayyoobi, who ruled for the sake of Islam, and who

conquered various lands and peoples and brought them into the fold of Islam. Yet these great men, and indeed all of the great rulers of Islam, past and present, are believed by the Shi’ites to be overpowering tyrants and illegal rulers and consequently, are considered to be in habitants of Hell-Fire. Among the Shi’ites’ most important tenets is the belief that when their Twelfth Imam, the awaited Mahdi, rises and comes forth after his long absence of over eleven hundred years, and brings his revolution, then Allah will resurrect for him and for his forefathers, the past and present Muslim rulers, including the two noble Caliphs Abu Bakr and `Umar. Those Muslim rulers will then be tried for having illegally seized the reins of government from the Mahdi and his ancestors, the first eleven Imams of the Shi’ite religion. This, as they believe, is because government is the God-given right of the Shi’ites alone, from the time of the Prophet Muhammad’ death until the Final Hour!

After the trial of those “tyrannous usurpers”, this awaited Mahdi will awaken himself by ordering their execution. Five hundred of them at a time will be killed until their number reaches three thousand. this; being the total of all who ruled during the various eras of the history of Islam!

All of this is supposed to occur just before the final revival of mankind on the Day of Resurrection! It is a prelude, as it were, to that final great gathering and resurrection, the result of which is either Paradise or Hell-Fire; Paradise for Ahlul-Bait and the Shi’ites, and the Fire for everyone who is not a Shi’ite!

The Shi’ites call this resurrection of the Muslim rulers, and the subsequent trial and execution, “Ar-Raj’ah” (the return). This belief is one of the fundamental tenets of their faith, which no common Shi’ite doubts at all. I have met a number of naive and simple-minded people who claim that the Shi’ites have departed from such tenets as these in recent times; however, this is a gross error on their part as is evident from the actual state of affairs. 13 DESIRE FOR REVENGE AND DESTRUCTION

In Al-lrshaad fee Taarikhi Hujajillahi `alal-‘lbaad (Instruction in the History of God’s Proofs Against His Slaves), Abu `Abdullah Muham- mad An-Nu’man, known to the Shi’ites by the title `’Ash-Sheikhul- Mufeed”, quoted several of their “traditions” about “Ar-Raj’ah”: Al Fadl bin Sha’thaan reported that Muhammad bin `Ali Al-Koofi related that Wahab bin Hafs narrated through Abi Baseer that Abu `Abdullah [Ja’far As-Saadiq] said: “The Mahdi will be called upon on the Twenty-third night by the name `The Risen One’ . He will arise, and that rising up will be on the day of `ashooraa.(20)It is as if I am there with him on that tenth day of the month of Muharram. He is standing between the comer of the Ka’bah containing the black stone, and the maqaam [place of prayer] of the Prophet Abraham. The Angle Gabriel is standing to his right calling out, `The pledge of allegiance to the Mahdi] is for the sake d Allah!’ Then the Shi’ites will march towards the Mahdi to give him the pledge, from all corners of the earth. that having been made easy for them to achieve. There has come lo us the report that the Mahdi will ravel from Macca until he arrives al Koota and settles in our [Shi’ite] holy city of Najaf. Then he will dispatch armies from there to the various lands.”

It was also reported, by Al-Hajjaal from Thlaha via Abu Bakr Al- Hadrami that Abu Ja’far [Muhammad Al-Baaqir] said: “It-is as if I am with the Risen One at the city of Najaf, in Al-Koofa

which he had marched to from Mecca, in the company of five thousand angels, with Gabriel on his right side, and Michael on his left, and the believers in front of him, while he dispatches armies to the various countries.”

So too, it is narrated that `Abdul-Kareem Al-Ju’fi reported: “I said to Abu `Abdullah [Ja’far As-Saadiq]: `How long will the Risen One’s reign last?’ ;Seven years,’ he replied. He elaborated: `The days will grow longer, till a year of his reign equals ten of your years. His reign will last for seventy years of your reckoning.’ Upon this, Abu Baseer said to him [i.e., to Ja’far As-Saadiq]: `May I be your ransom! How will Allah make the years longer?’ The reply was: `Allah will command the celestial spheres to decrease in their speed of movement, and the days and years will consequently become longer. When the time of his rising up arrives, rain will fall during the last month of Jumada and for ten days of Rajab, a rain which the world has never seen before. Allah shall cause the flesh of believers and their bodies to come to life in their graves. It is as if I am seeing the resurrected ones coming for- ward, shaking the soil out of their hair.”

`Abdullah bin Al-Mugheera narrated that Abu `Abdullah [Ja’far As- Saadiq] said: “If the awaited Mahdi from the family of Muhammad rises, he will cause to be raised up five hundred members of Quraish, and their necks would be struck by the sword. They would be follow- ed by another set of five hundred, and yet another, until that recurred six times.” “Would they reach that great number?” I asked. [His astonishment upon hearing that great number was due to the fact that the rightly-guided Caliphs, the Umayyad rulers and those of the Ab- basi era, along with all the Muslim rulers up until the time of Ja’far As- Saadiq do not amount to a hundredth of that number.] Ja’far As- Saadiq replied: “Yes; it includes the rulers and their supporters.”

And in another narration: “Verily, our state is the last of the states. There would be no dynasty but that which has had its turn before us, so that there may be none to witness our reign and say: If we were to rule we would follow their path.”

Jaabir Al-Ju’fi reported that Abu `Abdullah [Ja’far As-Saadiq] said: “When the risen Mahdi from the family of Muhammad comes forth he will pitch pavilions to teach therein the Qur’an just as it was revealed.(21)

It will be most difficult then for the one who has memoriz- ed [that which is memorized] today.” [i.e., it would be difficult for the one who memorized the official `Uthmani edition which was extant at the time of Ja’far As-Saadiq, because it would differ from the version which the Mahdi supposedly will bring.] Al-Mufaddal bin `Umar narrated that Abu `Abdullah said: Along ,with the Risen One shall come twenty-seven men from the people of the Prophet Moses, seven from the people of the cave, and Joshua, Solomon Abu Dujaanal Al-Ansaari, Al-Miqdaad and Maalik Al-Ashtar. These will be in the company of the Mahdi as helpers and judges in his service.”

These fabricated “traditions” from the book of “Ash-Sheikhul- Mufeed”, have been quoted meticulously, complete with their con- cocted chains of transmission. They have been falsely attributed to the family of the Prophet, whose greatest misfortune is to have such liars pretending to be their only partisans.

Of course, since the belief in Ar-Raj’ah and the trial of the Muslim rulers is an important part of Shi’ite doctrine, it is commonly mention- ed in the works of Shi’ite scholars and clergy. One example is AI-Masail An-Naasiriya, by As-Sawid Al-Murtadaa, in which is to be found the following: “Verily Abu Bakr and `Umar shall be crucified upon a tree in the time of Al-Mahdi… That tree would be green and tender before the crucifixion and would turn parched after the crucifixion.”


The Shi’ite scholars and clergy throughout the span of Islamic history have taken a disgraceful stand against the two Companions and appointed ministers of Allah’s Prophet, Abu Bakr and `Umar, and against other great Islamic personalities such as the Caliphs, governors, generals, and warriors in the sacred cause of Islam. Now we have heard their propagandist, who was responsible for Darut-Taqreeb (the centre for the promotion of “reconciliation” and a “coming together” of Sunnis and Shi’ites), claiming before those who were unable to critically study these issues themselves, that these beliefs were held in the old days, and that the situation now is different. This claim is plainly false and misleading, because the books which are taught in all of their educational institutions contain all of these tenets and hold them as essential and rudimentary elements of their faith. Furthermore, the books presently being published by the scholars of Iran, Najaf and Mount `Aamil are even more evil than the older Shi’ite publications, and more detrimental to the cause of reconciliation and mutual understanding.

To further clarify this we mention as an example one person amongst them who never ceases announcing day and night that he is a proponent of unity and reconciliation, Muhammad bin Muhammad Mahdi Al-Khaalisi. He is known to have many friends in Egypt and elsewhere who broadcast the same call for taqreeb, and who work for it among the Ahlus-Sunnah. This supposed advocate of “unity and understanding” goes so far as to deny that Abu Bakr and `Umar possessed the grace of Iman (faith). In his book Ihyaa’ush-Sharia fee Madhhabish-Shi’ah (Revival of the Law in the Shi’ite School of Thought), he says:

Even if they [Sunnis] argue that Abu Bakr and `Umar were among the people of Bai’atur- Ridwan(22) with whom Allah was pleased, as shown by the reference made to them in the Qur’an: “Verily Allah was pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you (Muhammad) beneath the tree”,(23) we say that if Allah had said: “Verily Allah was pleased with those who swore allegiance to you beneath the tree”, then the verse would indicate that Allah’s pleasure included everyone who made the pledge of allegiance. Since the verse says: “Verily Allah was pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance.. . “, there is therefore no proof in this verse that Allah is pleased with anyone except those who have acquired pure iman.

Al-Khaalisi is insinuating by this that Abu Bakr and `Umar were of those who had not acquired iman-and were excluded from the pleasure of Allah.(24)


Al-Murtadaa and Al-Khaalisi are modern Shi’ite scholars who boldly claim to belong to the echelon of those who are zealous in struggling for the sake of Islam and Muslims, and who have the keenest interest in upholding the rights of Muslims and maintaining their well- being. Having seen, however, what they have written about Abu Bakr and `Umar, who are among the best of Muslims next to the Prophet, ordinary people like ourselves must wonder what hope there can be of our reaching a common understanding and reconciliation with people such as them.

While on the one hand the Shi’ites shamelessly defame the Com-panions of the Messenger of Allah, and those who followed them in piety, and succeeded them as rulers, on the other hand we find them ascribing to their Imams attributes of such extravagant description, that the Imams themselves would wish to declare their innocence of them.

Al-Kulaini recorded in his book Al-Kaafi attributes and descrip- tions of the Twelve Imams such as would imply their elevation from the human level to that of the gods of the ancient Greek pagans. To quote all such fables from Al-Kaafi and other books would require a large volume. By way of illustration, it will suffice to list some of the chapter headings from Al-Kaafi:

* “The Imams possess all the knowledge granted to angels, prophets and messengers”(25) * “The Imams know when they will die, and they do not die except by their own choice”(26) * “The Imams have knowledge of whatever occurred in the past and whatever will happen in the future, and nothing is concealed from them”(27) * The Imams have knowledge of all the revealed books, regardless of the languages in which they were revealed”(28) * “No one compiled the Qur’an completely except the Imams, and they encompass all of its knowledge’(29) * “Signs of the prophets are possessed by the Imams”(30) * “When the Imams’ time comes, they will rule in accordance with the ruling of the Prophet David and his dynasty. These Imams will not need to ask for presentation of evidence before passing their judgments”(31) * “There is not a single truth possessed by a people save that which originated with the Imams, and everything which did not proceed from them is false” 35 * “All of the earth belongs to the Imams”(32) 16 THE SHI’ITES PLACE THEIR IMAMS ABOVE THE MESSENGER

While the Shi’ites claim for the Twelve Imams the superhuman power of knowledge that encompasses the realm of the unseen, they deny the Prophet’s knowledge of unseen things granted him by Allah, things such as the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the description of Paradise and Hell-Fire.

This blasphemy was stated in the magazine Risalatul-lslam (The Message of. Islam), published by Darut-Taqreeb. In an article entitled Min Ijtihaadati Shi’a Al-lmamia (Some Independent Shi’ite Opinions), the head of the Shi’ite supreme court in Lebanon quoted the Mujtahid scholar Muhammad Hasan Al-lshtiyani: If the Prophet made a stipulation regarding the divine legal rulings on what invalidates ablution, or the rulings pertaining to menstruation and post-natal bleeding, it is imperative to believe him, and the application of these rulings is binding upon us. But if the Prophet made a statement regarding the unseen, for example on the creation of the heavens and earth, or the virgins of Paradise and its palaces, then it is not incumbent or binding upon one, even when it is known of a surety that the statement has proceeded from the Prophet.

How strange, that they should falsely attribute to their Imams knowledge of the unseen, and that they should adhere to that falsehood although they have not a single proof to establish its verity.

Meanwhile they consider that they are not bound to accept the revela- tions of the unseen mentioned in verses of the Qur’an and authentic traditions, and thereby conclusively proven. Add to all this that everything which has been verified to issue from the Prophet is nothing other than “revelation revealed” to him; and truly the Prophet does not speak from his own desires.

He who makes a comparison between what the Shi’ites ascribe to their Imams and what is authentically attributed to the Prophet regar- ding matters of the unseen comes to the conclusion that what can be verified to issue from the Prophet regarding the unseen, as mentioned in the Qur’an and the authentic, authoritative traditions does not even constitute a fraction of the multitude of fabricated reports of knowledge of the unseen which are attributed to the Twelve Imams; and this in spite of the indisputable fact that divine revelation had totally ceased upon the death of the Prophet.

As for those who attributed this knowledge of the unseen to the Twelve Imams, it suffices to say that they are well known to the Sunni scholars of hadith (prophetic traditions) as liars, and forgers of hadeth literature. The Shi’ite partisans of those narrators are indifferent to this, however, and blindly accept the accounts of the unseen which are im- puted to their Imams. They also gladly accept the claim that acceptance of what had been authentically attributed to the Prophet with regard to the unseen is not binding upon them. In fact, it pleases them to limit the scope of the mission of the Messenger of Allah to matters of a secondary juristical nature, such as those mentioned by Al-lshtiyani (see above).

Since they elevate the status of their Imams, in regard to knowledge of the unseen, above that of the Messenger of Allah (even though it was he who received the revelation; their Imams did not claim it for themselves), we do not know how there could develop, after such blasphemy, any reconciliation between us and them.


The stance of most Shi’ites, scholars and laymen alike, towards the Islamic governments throughout history has been, if the govern- ment was powerful and well-established, to honour its leaders in con- sonance with their tenet of taqiyah, for the purpose of material gain. If, however, the government is weak, or is under attack by enemies, they side with its enemies against it. This is precisely what they did during the last days of the Umayyad dynasty when the Abbasids revolted, under the instigation of the Shi’ites of that era. ln a later time, they took the same criminal stand against the Abbasids who were threatened by the raids of Hulago and his pagan Mongol followers against the Caliphate of Islam and its glorious capital of science and civilization . An example of this is seen in the behavior of the Shi’ite philosopher and scholar An-Naseer At-Toosi. He composed poetry in praise of Al-Musta’sim, the Abbasid Caliph, then in 65 A.H. executed a complete turn about, instigating revolution against his patron, thereby hastening the catastrophe which befell Islam in Baghdad, where he headed the butcher Hulago’s blood-letting procession. In fact he personally supervised the slaughter of Muslims, sparing none, not even women, children, or the aged. This same At-Toosi also approved of wholesale dumping of valuable texts of Islamic literature in the Tigris River; its waters ran black for days from the ink of the innumerable manuscripts. Thus vanished a great treasure of the Islamic heritage consisting of works in history, literature, language and poetry, not to mention those in the Islamic religious sciences, which had been pass- ed down from the pious of the first generation of Muslims, and which could be found in abundance until that time when they were destroyed in a cultural holocaust the like of which had never been seen before.


This sheikh of the Shi’ites, An-Naseer At-Toosi, was assisted in this great treachery by two of his cohorts, Muhammad bin Ahmad Al-‘AI- qami, a Shi’ite minister of state, and `Abdul-Hameed bin Abil-Hadeed, a Mu’tazilite author and extremist Shi’ite.(33) He was Al-‘Alqami’s right- hand man and proved to be a bitter enemy of the Companions of he Messenger of Allah, as is evident from his malicious commentary on the book Nahjul-Balaaha, which he filled with lies in order to distort Islamic history.

Unfortunately, a number of our distinguished figures and authors continue to be deceived by such lies due to their ignorance of the essential facts of Islamic history. Al-‘Alqami responded to Caliph Al-Musta’sim’s kindness and generosity in making him his minister, with deception and treachery. Shi’ites to this day maliciously rejoice at Hulago’s vicious campaign of slaughter and destruction, out of sheer animosity towards Islam. Anyone who wishes can read about the life of An-Naseer At-Toosi in any Shi’ite book of biographies, the latest of which is Rowdaatul- lannaat by Al-Khuwansari. It is full of praise for the treacherous murderers, and reflects the Shi’ites’ malicious rejoicing al that disastrous massacre of Muslim men, women and children. It was a monstrous act which even the worst of enemies and the most hard- hearted beasts would be ashamed to show pleasure in.


The exposition has become somewhat lengthy although great care has been taken to restrict the subject matter wholly to quotations selected from the Shi’ites’ most authentic and dependable publications. We would like to conclude with a quotation pertaining to the subject of at-taqreeb (reconciliation of the followers of the various schools and sects), in order to clarify for every Muslim what the actual possibilities for success are regarding such an endeavor, especially in regard to the Shi’ites who have expressed their own frank acknowledgment of the impossibility of such an attempt at reconciliation.

In his book Rowdaat lannaat, the Shi’ite historian Al- Khuwansari wrote of the “elegant and truthful utterances” of An- Naseer At-Toosi, “this source of truth and verification”, and quoted his statement identifying the one and only sect of the seventy-three Muslim sects(34) that, according to prophecy, would achieve salvation:

I have considered all the sects and scrutinized them closely, only to find that all, save the Imamers, subscribe to the same general condi- tions of iman, while they differ only on some related issues. I discovered that the Imamer sect differs from and is opposed to all the others. If any sect other than the Imamers is considered “saved” then they all must be so considered. This indicates to me that the one sect which is to achieve salvation is none other than the Imamers.


Al-Khuwansari also related that As-Sayyid Ni’matullah Al- Moosawi said:

All of the sects unanimously agree that bearing witness to one’s faith by recitation of the two articles of faith is the only way to salvation, as proved by the statement of Allah’s Messenger: `Whoever bears witness that there is no God but Allah enters Paradise.” But as for the Imamer sect they unanimously agree that salvation is attained only by granting allegiance and entrusting the government to Ahlil-Bait, the last of whom is the Twelve Imam, and by disowning their enemies [ie., Abu Bakr, `Umar and all non-Shi’ites, whether they were rulers or subjects]. Thereby Shi’ites differ entirely from all the other sects with regards to the nature and prerequisites of iman, upon which the issue of salvation devolves.


At-Toosi, Al-Moosa and Al-Khuwansari have both told the truth, and lied. They have told the truth in saying that all the Muslim sects are close to each other in fundamentals while they differ on secondary issues. Thus mutual understanding and a “coming together” are possible among those sects which are fundamentally akin to each other. On the other hand it is impossible to achieve such a mutual understanding with the Shi’ite Imamers because they are in opposition to the fundamentals of all other Muslims. They will never be pleased with the Muslims unless they curse “Al-jibt wat-Taaghoot” (Abu Bakr and `Umar), and those who came after them up until the present time.

Another condition they would impose on Muslims is that they disown all non-Shi’ites, and even those members of the family of the Prophet who were given in marriage to them, such as the two daughters of the Prophet who married the Caliph `Uthman bin `Affaan. They further stipulate that Muslims must also disown the Imam Zaid, son of `Ali Zain-ul `Abideen (the son of Al-Husain, son of `Ali bin Abi Taalib) along with the rest of the family of the Prophet who did not enter the ranks under the banner of the Rafidites(35) , and who did not accept their deviated tenets. Amongst these perverse tenets is their claim that the Qur’an has been tampered with, a doctrine fanatically adhere-l to by all classes of the Shi’ite society throughout the ages, as their own astute scholar At-Tabirsi has so boldly recorded in his book hslul-Khitaabi fee Ithbatti Tahreefi Kitaab Rabbil-Arbaab.

The Shi’ites would like to force upon us as a precondition to reaching a mutual understanding with them, and to please them, for the purpose of “coming closer” to them, that we curse along with them the Companions of Allah’s Messenger, and that we disown everyone who does not adhere to the doctrines of the Shi’ite faith. They even expect us to disown the daughters of Allah’s Messenger, and his blessed descendants, the foremost of whom is Zaid bin Zain-ul `Abideen, along with anyone who followed in his footsteps in rejecting the abominations of the Rafidites.

The above is the truthful part of what the Shi’ite spokesmen said, and no Shi’ite would deny it, whether he openly practiced taqiyyah, or concealed it.

As for the false part of what they say, it is that non-Shi’ite Muslims agree that upon simple utterance of the two Shahaadas(36)‘ rests the issue of salvation in the Hereafter. If the Shi’ites had the slightest sense or knowledge they would have known that the two Shahaadas are to Sun ni Muslims the mere sign of entry into Islam. If one uttered these two Shahaadas, even if he were in the ranks of the enemy battling against Muslims, his life and wealth would become inviolable. As for salvation in the Hereafter, it is attained only by coupling the utterance of testification with iman, and iman, according to the great and pious caliph `Umar bin Abdul-‘Azeez, consists of obligatory duties, and religious rites, ordinances and practices. He who fulfills these com- pletes the prerequisites of iman, and whosoever does not fulfill them does not complete his iman. As for the Shi’ite belief in the existence of their Twelfth Imam, it is not in any way a prerequisite of iman. In fact, this Twelfth Imam is an imaginary character falsely identified as the son of Al-Hasan Al-‘Askari (who died without offspring). His brother la’far settled and distributed the inheritance left by Al-Hasan Al-‘Askari on the basis that he left no children to inherit.

The truth of the matter is that when the Shi’ites came to know that Al-Hasan Al-‘Askari died leaving no male successor, and saw that this meant the end of the chain of Imamer succession, they realized that their sectarian school would cease to exist with the death of Al-Hasan Al-‘Askari. They would no longer be Imamers because there was no Imam to succeed al-‘Askari to the Imamate.


Upon this, one of them, Muhammad bin Nusair, a protege of the tribe of Numair, invented the idea that Al-Hasan had a son who was hidden in the tunnels of his father’s residence. The impetus for such a fabrication came from his desire, and that of his accomplices, to deceive the Shi’ite public, especially the affluent among them, to collect zakaah(37) from them in the name of an existing Imam. They also wished to continue claiming that they were sincere Imamers. This Muhammad bin Nusair wanted himself to be the “door” to the imaginary tunnel between the invented Imam and his followers, in order to take charge of all zakaah funds. His accomplices disagreed with him in this plot and insisted on appointing as the “door” a grocer whose shop was adjacent to the entrance of Al-Hasan Al-‘Askari’s house. Hasan’s father and family used to purchase from this grocer their household needs.

After this, Muhammad Nusair broke away from his former com- rades and established the Nusairiyyah sect, which takes its name and impetus from him(38). In the meantime, his former accomplices were. devising a stratagem whereby they could bring forth their supposed Imam; they wanted him to marry and have sons who would succeed him to the office of the Imamate. This in turn would ensure that their Imamer sect would live on.

It became evident, however, that his appearance would be denied by the heads of the Alawi clans as well as their followers and their cousins, the Abbasid rulers and royalty. They therefore alleged that the Twelfth.lmam remained in the tunnel; that his minor absence was followed by a major one; and so carried on with such fables as were never heard before, even among the ancient Greeks. They expect all Muslims, whom Allah blessed with the grace of sound reason, to believe in such blatant lies in order that there may be a reconciliation between them and the Shi’ites. This preposterous idea could only be realized if the whole Islamic world were to turn into a Lunatic asylum. Praise be to Allah for the gift of reason, for indeed it is the faculty upon which the responsibility for one’s actions depends. It is the most precious and sublime of graces after that of sound iman .


Muslims entrust the position of leadership and the government to any mu’min (believer) with correct iman.–Thus they would pledge allegiance to all pious members of Ahlil-Bait, without any restriction as to their number or persons. Amongst the foremost of the believers to whom they would entrust the reins of leadership were the ten Compa- nions who were given the glad tidings of their abode in Paradise. If there were no other factor by reason of which the Shi’ites acquired the designation of kaafirs (disbelievers), then their contradiction and denial of the Prophet’s designation of those ten Companions as inhabitants of Paradise would have sufficed.(39)

The Muslims also would entrust the rest of the Companions with leadership, and would grant them full support and allegiance, for it was these noble personages upon whose shoulders was erected Islam and the Islamic world, and truth and goodness sprang forth from the soil of the Islamic nation which had been nourished by their precious blood. These are the Companions whom the Shi’ites claimed were enemies of `Ali and his sons, while actually they lived with `Ali as loving, cooperative brothers and died as such. What could be greater proof of this than the description Allah gives of them in Suratul Fath, from His book which falsehood cannot approach from before or behind He, the Almighty, said regarding the Companions, that they are “severe with the disbelievers, merciful amongst themselves.” Allah also says about them, in Suratul Hadeed, “Unto Allah belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth. Those of your companions] who spent [For the sake of Allah] and fought [in His cause] before the Victory are not on the same level [as the rest of you. Such are greater in rank than those who spent and fought afterwards. Unto each Allah has promised good.”

And does Allah ever break His promise? In Suratu Aali-lmraan Allah the Exalted referred to the Companions as `the best of peoples raised up for mankind”, i.e., as an example to be followed.


Due to the love and respect which the commander of the Faithful Ali bin Abi Taalib held for his three brethren caliphs, he named three of his sons after them. He also gave his eldest daughter Umm Kulthoom in marriage to `Umar IbnulKhattaab. In addition, we se that `Abdullah bin la’hr bin Abi Taalib ,’ Ali’s nephew) named one of his sons Abu Bakr, and the other one Mu’aawiyah. Mu’aawiyah bin `Abdullah named his son after Yazeed bin Mu’aawiyah bin Abu Sufyaan, who was considered to be of good repute, according to the testimony of Muhammad bin Al-Hanafiyyah bin `Ali bin Abu Taalib.


If the repudiation and denunciation which Shi’ites are now asking of us, as the price for reconciliation between us and them, includes those whom they have demanded it include (Abu Bakr, `Umar, etc.) then he whom they consider to be their first Imam, `Ali bin Abi Taalib, should be considered blameworthy by them, by virtue of his naming his sons after Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman, and by his giving his daughters in marriage to `Umar and `Uthman. Furthermore, they must consider Muhammad bin Al-Hanafiyyah a liar when he testified to the good character of Yazeed, if they accept the claim of `Abdullah bin Mutee, a supporter of Ibnuz-Zubair, that Yazeed drank liquor and neglected prayer, and exceeded the bounds established by Allah’s Book. Muhammad bin Al-Hanafiyyah defended Yazeed, saying have not witnessed what you mention. I visited him and stayed with him. He was regular in observing prayers and in performing good deeds, seeking religious knowledge and adhering to the sunnah.” Ibn Mutee and those accompanying him replied that Yazeed’s behavior was out of pretense in his presence. Muhammad bin Al-Hanafiyyah re- joined: “What was it that he feared or hoped from me that he should appear before me in such a state of piety and humility?” He continued, “Did he confide in you that which you mention regarding his drinking of wine If he did so then you are his accomplices. And if he did not, then it is unlawful for you to bear witness to that of which you have no knowledge.” They replied that although they did not see him drinking, yet “we believe that to be the truth.” Muhammad’s reply to them was that Allah rejects this kind of testimony from Muslims, for He says in His Book: “… except those who bear witness to the truth and with full knowledge.”(40) Muhammad concluded, “Therefore, I have nothing to do with this affair…”(41)

Since the foregoing is what the son of `Ali bin Abi Taalib has testified to in favor of Yazeed bin Mu’aawiyah, then where does his fit in relation to the position the Shi’ites want us to adopt with them against Yazeed’s father, Mu’aawiyah, and against those who are better than him and better than the whole creation(42), that is, Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, Talha, Az-Zubair, Amr ubn ul-‘Aws, along with the rest of the great Companions who memorized and preserved for us Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger, and who were the architects of the Islamic world.

The price demanded of us by the Shi’ites for a reconciliation with them is exorbitant. We lose everything by agreeing to it, while we gain nothing in return. It is only a fool who would deal with someone whom he knows would expect him to accept a losing bargain! The two concepts of walaayah (granting of allegiance) and baraa (repudiation and denunciation) upon which the Shi’ite religion is based, according to what has been affirmed by An-Naseer At-Toosi and confirmed by Ni’matullah Al-Moosawi and Al-Khuwansari, mean nothing except a complete alteration of the religion of Islam. This complete change would require of us enmity towards those upon whose shoulders was erected the very structure of Islam.

The Shi’ites have lied when they said that their sect is the only one to be granted salvation, the one whose condition and state differs from all of the rest, by virtue of which they alone would be saved.

The fact is that the impossibility of reconciliation between the Sunni sects on one side and Shi’ites on the other is due to the latter’s disagreement with and contradiction of the rest of the Muslims in the very fundamentals of faith, as we have seen from the declarations of the Shi’ite scholars, and as can be seen from the beliefs and practices of every Shi’ite. This was the state of affairs in the past, and it is the state of affairs at the present time.


Without any doubt the Shi’ite Imamers themselves do not want taqreeb, which is why they have made many sacrifices and suffered great pains in propagating the call for reconciliation and elimination of differences in our Sunni countries, while forbidding that such a call be raised, or allowed to proceed at all, in the Shi’ite countries. Nor do we see a hint of the influence of such a call on their educational institutions. In other words, the call to reconciliation has been restricted to one side, and as a result, every effort towards this cause will be futile, and a mere frivolous mockery, unless and until the Shi’ites categorically refrain from cursing and abusing Abu Bakr and `Umar; unless they cease repudiation and denunciation of anyone who was not, or is no presently, a Shi’ite partisan; and unless they rid themselves totally of their perverse concept of raising the pious Imams of the Prophet’s family from the level of human beings to that of the gods of the pagan Greeks.

All of this is no less than an outrageous injustice against Islam and a diversion of it from the path and the goal to which it was directed by the Prophet to whom was entrusted the Islamic shari’ah (divinely revealed law), and by his noble Companions amongst whom were `Ali bin Abi Taalib and his offspring. If the Shi’ites do not totally abandon such an outrage against Islam and its articles of faith, and its history, then they are doomed to remain isolated from and rejected by all of the Muslims(43)



The upheaval of Baabism and its offshoot, Bahaism, struck Iran over a hundred years ago.Muhammad `Ali Ash-Shiraazi had begun by claiming that he was the Baab (precursor) to the awaited Mahdi. He later claimed that he himself was the Mahdi, and in time he gained a sizable group of followers. The Iranian government chose to exile him to Azerbaijan, the home of Sunnis of the Hanafi school of jurisprudence. Being strict Sunnis, they were considered immune to the influence of such fabulous nonsense. It was, however, only logical to fear that Shi’ites would respond to Ash-Shiraazi’s call, since his invention was derived from Shi’ism. For that reason, he was not exiled to a Shi’ite area, whose inhabitants would be only too willing to accept such fables. In spite of such precautions, a large number of shi’ites became Ash-Shiraazi’s followers, and thus there developed and ever-widening circle of commotion and disorder.


Just as the Shi’ite fables and myths were a factor in the appearance and spread of Babism andBahaism in the past century. So now they can be seen to be a cause of the rejection of Shi’ism by some of the educated Shi’ite youth, in favour of communism. They have awakened to the realization that many Shi’ite beliefs are too ridiculous to he credible, and as a result they have utterly rejected them. Many were drawn to various communist organizations, with their energetic propagandists, books in various languages, and efficiently run centres. These young people were an easy prey, and fell readily into the trap. Had they known the religion of Islam in its original pure state, and acquired a proper knowledge of it, they would have been protected from such a fate. Instead, we find that communism has thrived, especially in lran and in the Shi’ite areas of Iraq. More communists are to be found in those communities than can be found in any other Muslim community.

This concludes what circumstances have allowed me to present by way of fulfilling the covenant which Allah has taken from the Muslims, by which we pledge to give good counsel and a word of caution to all Muslims, solely for the sake of Allah.

Allah protects and preserves His religion, His nation of believers, and our great Islamic identity and existence.


1. Related by Abu Dawood and others with an authentic chain of narrators.

2. The invocation is called Du’aa Sanamay Quraish the invocation against the two idols of Quraish, by which the Shi’ites mean the two caliphs of Allah’s Messenger, Abu Bakr and `Umar!.

3. Khomeini, Al-Hukoomat ul-lslamiyyah, pp. 52-53.

4. What Khomeini means here, is that he not only affirms and believes all that is in the Shi’ite book Al-Kaafi, but he also sees it as obligatory to adhere to it and put its rulings and directives into effect in the Shi’ite state.

5. The two terms `’Ahlus-Sunnah (Sunnis) and `’Shi’ah” (Shi’ites) need to be defined at this point. Ahlus-Sunnah means literally “people of the established way or path”. It refers to the majority of Muslims, who follow the sunnah (way) of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, the Almighty. The term Shi’ah is from the phrase shi’atul `Ali (adherents to or company of `Ali), by which this sect is known for reason of its attachment to the idea of the pre-eminence of `Ali ibni Abi Taalib and his descendants.

6. The author’s reference to Azhar University’s being in the beginning stage of its “mission” requires some comment, as this treatise was written over thirty years ago. Since that time, Al-Azhar has incorporated the study of the Shi’ite “Twelve Imamers” school as a required pan of its curriculum in Islamic Studies. This, along with its call for reconciliation of the various sects and schools of thought, might create the impression of acceptance of the misguided sects such as the Shi’ite Twelve Imamers and the Ismailis. In fact, the only legitimate reason for studying such sects and movements is the hope that such a study will bring to light their real natures, and that consequently, their false doc- trines and perverse ideology may be refuted by reference to the authentic sources of Islam, the Holy Qur’an, the authentic Sunnah, and the example of the Companions of the Prophet (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him).

7. This kind of “favoritism” has been repeated throughout different eras. It was due to the sending of propagandists claiming such lofty goals of reconciliation that Iraq was converted from a Sunni country containing a Shi’ite minority to a state which is predominantly Shi’ite.

8. “Wali” has several meanings, the relevant ones in this context being “the closest friend and associate” and “the one upon whom has been conferred legal authority to rule; vicegerent”. The person intended by this term in the quoted passage is ob- viously `Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet’s cousin and the fourth caliph. By forging such a verse the Shi’ite are attempting to give credence to their perverse view that the only legal caliph was `Ali and that the right to the caliphate belongs to Ahlil-Bait (the members of the Prophet’s family) alone. This they tried to do by claiming divine revelation as a source of this belief of theirs, so it was expedient to forge a Qur’anic verse, in order to support their false position.

9. Noeldeke, History of Copies of the Qur’an, Vol. 2, p. 102.

10. Zanaadiq is the plural of zindeeq. a Persian word meaning one who speaks heresy, or who has deviated from the truth. It is also applied to disbelievers or atheists or free-thinkers. (cf., Lisanul-Arab Vol. 10. p. 147).

11. The meaning of this statement, allegedly made by ‘Ali in the course of an argument with an unnamed zindeeq. is obscure, to say the least. We may surmise from the context that a discussion or dispute had been taking place between them, ‘Ali having been attacked in repudiation of his supposed insistence that he possessed that missing one third of the Qur’an, which according to Shi’ite belief was deleted by the Companions of the Prophet. This is a concoction of the Shi’ites, falsely attributed to ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), in order to bolster their attempt to prove the alteration of the Qur’an. As for the verse cited as proof of deletion from the Qur’an, there is unanimous agreement among the Sunni commentators on the Qur’an that, after a careful analysis of the structure of the verse and its context, it may be paraphrased as follows: “If any of you has an orphan girl under his guardianship and he fears that he may not do her justice by granting her an appropriate dowry if he were to marry her, then let him marry other women of his choice.” For further details see Ibn Katheer Tafseerul Qur’an al-‘Adheem. Vol. 1, p. 449.

12. By the ‘hypocrites”, Abu Mansoor At-Tabarsi means the Companions of Allah’s Messenger (Allah’s blessing and peace be upon him), for it was they who collected the Qur’an, the ‘Uthmani version which was adhered to and applied by ‘Ali during the period of his caliphate. If the statement attributed to ‘Ali in At-Tabarsi’s Al-lhtijaaj had really come from him, it would have been treachery against Islam on his part, to possess and conceal some missing portion of the Qur’an and not make it public, nor apply its principles, nor, circulate it amongst his subjects during the period of his caliphate. Clearly At-Tabarsi has insulted and defamed ‘Ali, since what he has written actually implies treachery and deception on ‘Ali’s part.

13. Muhammad Mahdi Al-Asfahani Al-Kaathini, Ahsanul-Wadee’ah, Vol 2, p. 90.

14. Al-Kulaini, Al-Kaafi, 1278 A.H., p. 54

15. Al Azhar Maazine, 1372 A.H., p. 307.

16. Al-Kulaini, Al-Kaafi, 1278 A.H., p. 75

17. Al-Hazarn, Al Fisal fil Millal wan-Niha1, Vol. 2, p. 78 and Vol. 4, p. 182.

18. Jibt means an idol or a sorcerer, or one who claims to tell the future. Taaghoot is a name applied to any object or person worshipped apart from the one God, Allah.

19. Al-Mamqaani, lanqeehul-Maqaal fee Ahwaalir-Rijaal, 1352 A.H.,Vo. 1,p207.

20. The day of ‘Ashooraa is the tenth day of Muharram of the Muslim lunar calendar. and it has Great significance for the Shi’ites. It is the culmination of long days of bitter grieving and vicious self-inflicted pain which they observe annually in commemoration of he death of Hadhrat Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Sall Allahu alaihi wasallim. who was martyred at Karbala in Iraq.

21. One naturally questions here why his grandfather Hadhrat ‘Ali bin Abi Taalib did not do just that during the period of his rule. Is his twelfth generation descendant more sincere than Hadhrat ‘Ali in his service of the Qur’an and Islam?

22. Bai’at ur-Ridwaan is the pledge of allegiance and support by the Companions to the Prophet, with which Allah was well pleased, as is clearly indicated by the verse revealed regarding it. The pledge was given to the Prophet by a group of approximately fourteen hundred Companions (amongst them Abu Bakr and ‘Umar) who had headed out with him towards the Holy City of Mecca, unarmed and intending to perform the rites of the minor pilgrimage to Allah’s sacred house, the Ka’bah, in the sixth year of the Hijrah (emigration of the Prophet and his Companions from Mecca to Medina). When they arrived at Hudaibia, a small village near Mecca, the tribe of Quraish forbade them entrance to the city and news spread that they had slain the emissary the Holy Prophet had sent to them. Upon this the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) took the pledge of allegiance to his cause and for the defense of Islam against the disbelievers in case war should have to be resorted to. See t-Tabari’s Tareekhur-Rasul wal-Mulook, Vol.

4, pp. 72-81.

23. Qur’an, 48:18.

24. Al-Khaalisi has somehow reasoned that by using the word “believers” in this verse, Allah is implying that some of those who swore allegiance were not believers. Al- Khaalisi concludes from this that the Sunnis are mistaken in using this verse to prove that all those who gave the pledge were believers, and that Allah was pleased with them. In fact, the only way Al-Khaalisi’s interpretation would be credible is if the text read: “… Allah was pleased with the believers among them, when they swore allegiance to you…”

25. Al-Kulaini, Al-Kaafi,

26. Ibid

27. Ibid

28. Ibid

29. Ibid

30. Ibid

31. Ibid

32. Ibid

33. The Mu’tazilaite sect introduced speculative dogmatics into Islam

34. The concept of the Muslim nation separating into seventy-three sects, is taken from authentic traditions such as the following related by Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him): “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘The Jews separated into seventy-one sects, and the Christians into seventy-two, and my nation will divide into seventy-three sects.” This was recorded in the compilations of Abi-Dawood, Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and others, with an authentic chain of transmitters. There is also narrated, in the compilations of Abi Dawood, Ad-Darimi, Ahmad and others the statement: “Seventy-two [of the seventy-three sects of the Muslim nation] will be in the fire, and one only will be in Paradise; it is the Jama’ah [i.e. Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama’ah].” In yet another narration the, final statement is: “All of these [sects] will be in the fire except one; it is the Jama’ah.” Finally, there is another narration which states: “The Companions asked: ‘Which sect will triumph [i.e., achieve salvation]?’ The Prophet replied: ‘The sect which adheres to that [set of beliefs and practices] which I and my Companions adhere to.”‘ It should be clear from these traditions that the one sect, out of the seventy-three, which is to gain salvation, is the Ahlus-Sunnah, the only segment of the Muslim community which strictly adheres to that which the Holy Prophet and his noble Companions adhered to.

35. The name “Rawaafid” (Rafidites) is applied generally, to all the various sects of the Shi’ites, the first of which appeared during ‘Ali’s time. Among them are the A-Saba’eeah who told ‘Ali that he was God, as a result of which he ordered them to be burned to death. Others followed, amongst them the Zaidiah, the Imamiah, and the Keesaaniah. They differ from each other greatly and often we find one denying the iman of the other. The term rawaafid means literally rejectors, and was first used when the followers of Zaid son of ‘Ali Zain-ul-‘Abideen, the son of Al-Husain son of ‘Ali bin Abi Taalib, demanded that he disown the two caliphs Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. Upon hearing their demand Zaid said: “They were both ministers of my grandfather of the ProphetMuhammad], therefore I will not disown them.” Hearing this, the followers of Zaid rejected him and parted from him, hence the name Rawaafid (rejectors). It later came todenote all the Shi’ah, who claimed to be partisans of the family of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him).

36. The two shahaadas are the two testifications of faith which are as follows: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

37. Zakaah is the obligatory alms-tax assessed on accumulated wealth, and distributed among the poor.

38. The Nusairis (also known as ‘Alawis) are a Shi’ite sect that has a particularly fanatic devotion to ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him). They hold that Allah appears in the form of certain persons on the earth, and since there were no persons after the Prophet of Allah better than ‘Ali and his sons, Allah manifested Himself in them and spoke with their tongues.

39. Abdul Qaahir Al-Baghdaadi states the Sunni position in Al-Farqu bainal-Firaq: “They unanimously agreed that the ruling of disbelief must be made regarding a person who has called a kaafir any of the ten Companions whom the Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) testified would be among the inhabitants of Paradise.” He also said that it is waajib (compulsory) to give a verdict of kufr (heretical disbelief) in the case of anyone who considers any of the Companions to be disbelievers.

40. Qur’an 43:86

41. Ibn Katheer. Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah Vol. 8. p. 233

42. The Companions of Muhammad are considered the best of creation after the Prophets and Messengers of Allah.

43. It is a Shi’ite tradition that Taqiyyah is my faith and the faith of my forefathers. They also say that whosoever does not practice taqiyyah. he has no faith. ‘ Further. it is mentioned in Al-lslamu Sabeelus-sa’aadah was-salaam that “If a person expected harm to befall him or his wealth in the general public order. it is incumbent upon him to abandon the order of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. This ruling is one of the peculiarities specific to the Shi’ites, and is called at-taqiyyah.” Clearly. if this were to be followed to the letter, even jihad (holy war for the sake of Allah) could be abandoned. and this would be definitely in contradiction to the command of Allah the Exalted.

Prof Hashim Kamali’s Religious Pluralism Reconsidered


Muhammad ‘Uthman El-Muhammady (a student of Islamic Thought)

In Hashim Kamali’s essay “Islam’s Religious Pluralism in Context” (NST 8 Feb 2011) a number of points was raised, hence the following response from this student of Islamic thought. Firstly it is stated that “whether Islam accepts religious pluralism as opposed to mere religious plurality…[m]uch depends, it seems, on how one understands religious pluralism and then the three Quranic verses that chatacterise Islam”. The three verses cited by him are: the verse meaning “surely the religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His will) (3:19)”; and the verse “whoever seeks other than Islam as a religion, it will not be accepted from him (3:85)”; and “this day I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour to you, and chose Islam to be your faith (5:3)”. These are often cited as evidence that Islam is the only true religion and only those who follow Islam shall be saved.

As a student of Islamic thought the present writer notices that Prof Hashim Kamali does not note the position of the classical commentators concerning those verses as well as the position of ijma’ or the consensus of the scholars on the matter of the finality of Islam in sacred history; he also does not mention the position of the Prophetic Traditions on the matter.

Secondly, he goes on to state that “Mainstream Quran commentaries consider Islam in these verses to be the exclusive name for the religion revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. But Islam is also the primal religion of submission preached by Adam to all his posterity who accepted God as their Lord, as in the divine invocation: “Am I not your Lord? They said: yes we do testify (7:172).”

Then he states “All humankind then, before time began, professed Islam in its widest sense of submission. Understood in this way, the verses recognize the validity of every religion that requires submission to God’s will. This understanding of Islam also tallies with the essence of universality that Islam manifests in its own messages, values and objectives”.

The question which emerges from such position is: is it valid to conclude (as being done by Prof Kamali) from the primordial situation of “[a]ll mankind then, before time began, professed Islam in its widest sense of submission” that “the verses recognize the validity of every religion that requires submission to God’s will” without qualification? It is necessary for Prof. Kamali to provide support for such a position from Muslim classical scholarship so as to make this in line with the mainstream position of the scholars of sacred scholarship of the umma; otherwise that will be presenting highly personal position resting only on personal credibility of Prof. Kamali as an individual, plus the untold spiritual risks with all that this implies.

Then related to this are a number of issues like:what about the mainstream position of the naskh or abrogation of dispensations with the advent of the Qur’anic revelation, apart from those elements endorsed therein? And are the Qur’anic critiques of those other dispensations count for nothing assuming that all come under that which ‘requires submission to God’s will’? It is a very challenging conclusion indeed coming from Prof. Kamali.

Third, then Prof Kamali goes on to mention the position of Toshiko Izutsu who, to him, “has convincingly demonstrated that in several Quranic verses Islam can be taken to present every previous revelation as a way of submitting, and that such verses present Islam as a universal religion. The first to declare himself a Muslim in the Quran is the Prophet Noah: “I was commanded to be among the submitters (muslimin) (10:72).” Concerning Abraham: “His Lord said to Abraham: submit. He said I submit to the Lord of the worlds” (2:31). The succeeding verse recounts that both Abraham and Jacob advised their sons: “Allah has chosen the religion for you. So do not die except in a state of submission (muslimun).”

The question is: does the mention of the verses about Noah, Abraham, and Jacob being involved in ‘previous revelation as a way of submitting’ (and the relevant verses manifesting Islam ‘as a universal religion’ validate those dispensations after the advent of the Qur’anic revelation? Granted the spiritual validity of the dispensations of those prophets (in mainstream position they are Muslims, bringing Islam in their times) but again, in line with progressive revelation, each prophet with his ummah and time, yet, again, what about the doctrine of the naskh , as stated before this, or abrogation of dispensations after the coming of Islam brought by Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)?

Further, other related issues are: what about the position of the Qur’an as muhaiminan ‘alaihi (5:51) ‘guarding it [the meanings in religions] in safety [so that religions do not swerve away from the correct position]’- and hence its critiques of certain positions among the People of the Book?

And next, related to the above position, what about the Muslims, the people of the Qur’an who are to be witnesses unto mankind just as the Messenger is witness for Muslims? (2:143; 22:78) So Muslims have to stand by their guidance in the Qur’an and ‘give testimony’ in case others swerve from the true path? If Muslims advocate pluralism in Prof Kamali’s sense, they cannot be witnesses anymore; they become the camp-followers of others. Answers to such questions will suggest spiritual and intellectual ‘inadequacy’ of the position of religious pluralism.

The position taken by the Dalai Lama in relation to this issue is sincere and laudable. He says for him the truth is Buddhism for the Muslim it is Islam, for the Christian it is Christianity; but he is on excellent terms with all with respect (and cooperation wherever there are avenues for this as is shown by his activities).

Fourth, Prof Kamali further observes “Every prophet of the Judaeo-Christian tradition has thus taught a different mode of submission to God. If Islam is taken to mean submission in the Quran rather than an institutionalised creed, it would pave the way for “a very eloquent understanding of religious pluralism, one wherein all revelations throughout history are seen as different ways of giving to God that which is most difficult to give — our very selves”.

The question which emerges from the above is if every prophet ‘of the Judaeo-Christian tradition’ (to the Qur’an they are prophets and they are Muslims) ‘taught a different mode of submission to God’, yet they taught tauhid, with no elements of departure therefrom, with only certain differences in the sacred law, and they are spiritually valid in their cycles of prophecy, how can it be concluded that the Islam which they brought ‘would pave the way for ‘a very eloquent understanding of religious pluralism, one wherein all revelations throughout history are seen as different ways of giving to God that which is most difficult to give – our very selves”? Then, again, can we separate that ‘submission’ with the institutionalized creed? Do we separate the ‘submission to God’ from the institutionalized creed of the religion? In Islam, is the ‘institutionalized creed’ wrong? If we apply this to mainstream Islam, is the ‘institutionalized creed’ of Ash’ari wrong or if not wrong at least not in keeping with the submission to God? Is the institutionalized (as happened in history) understanding of the sacred law of the four schools ‘wrong’? It is helpful if Prof.Kamali clarifies these points for the sake of clarity for readers.

Prof Kamali further observes that “ imaan (faith) which rests at the heart of Islam occupies a much larger space in the Quran, occurring hundreds of times, whereas Islam occurs on only eight occasions. Imaan consists of a state of mind, manifested in the testimonial of the faith (kalimah shahadah), whereas Islam consists mainly of conduct — as in the Five Pillars of the faith”.

Fifth, this is followed by Prof Kamali with his observation: “Submission is sometimes said to be the very first step, but perhaps a shallow one if it is not espoused by imaan — as indicated in the following verse: “The Bedouin say: we believe (aamanna); say to them ‘you do not believe’. Rather say ‘we have surrendered (aslamna), for imaan has not permeated your hearts… (49:14).”

To the present writer, it is alright that the issue is although iman ‘occupies a much larger space’ and ‘Islam consists mainly of conduct’ yet both must be in the believer; the iman again must be in conformity with the established creed, not merely vague personal belief about something supernatural, but the belief which has been established in this community, as found expressions in the works of the scholars of sacred scholarship, and also Islam has already been established; history has shown that Islam as the institutionalized religion has been recognized as valid, until the end of time. There has been no accepted view in this religion that pluralism has valid space for it. Personal opinions cannot be a substitute for the position which has been taken by ijma’ after the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Sixth, finally the theological position of Prof Kamali does not reflect authentically the mainstream Sunni discourse. He observes: “In the context of theology, religious pluralism is treated under the three headings of exclusivist, inclusivist and pluralist. The exclusivists believe that only their faith is true and all others are false; the inclusivists hold that their faith is true and others are included in it in some sense. The pluralists maintain that all faiths are true and show different paths to the same reality.” To say with the pluralists that all faiths without qualifications are true is unQur’anic and a highly personal statement. The Islamic position, that of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, is that the religions of the prophets are all true and valid for their cycles of prophecy, and with the advent of the shari’a of Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him they are superseded by his shari’a. That is the Quranic meaning of the statement of him coming as the ‘seal of the prophets’(33:40) acknowledging them and the validity of their dispensations. Other positions are Qur’anically indefensible. To disseminate this would open the floodgates of infidelity. God forbid.

Then seventh, Prof Kamali observes what he states as ‘the Quran is clearly expressive of the inclusivist impulse of Islam: Say, we believe in God and that which has been sent down to us and to Abraham and Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob… to Moses, Jesus and the Prophets from their Lord; we make no distinction whatsoever between them, surrendering as we do unto Him (lahu muslimun) (3:84). But he does not provide the authoritative commentators’ view on the meaning of the verse, and is satisfied with his personal view on the meaning of the verse. If he keeps that to himself, may be there are understandable reasons for such a position; but to express this for the Muslim public, that is something alarming indeed.

Then, eighth, the next observation of Prof. Kamali is laudable. He states “If the essence of religious pluralism is recognition, coexistence and cooperation with people of different religious persuasions within the same society, then Islam is pluralist. Lexicological accuracies apart, no civilisation in history has in fact demonstrated a more resolute commitment to pluralism than Islam.”

So also the following statement from him: ‘For not only the Quran but also the renowned constitution of Madinah are affirmative on religious pluralism. Article 25 of this document proclaimed the “Migrants, the Helpers-Muhajirun, Ansar and the Jews as one ummah”, and left open the possibility for others to join them in the spirit of unity and goodwill.

To him this is: “categorical evidence of Islam’s inclusivity and openness — also illustrating the Prophet’s judicious pragmatism at the expense almost of semantic accuracy. For ummah by definition signifies unity in faith, yet the Prophet went beyond that in the interest evidently of social harmony and cohesion.” Yet, to the present writer, it is necessary to add that ‘the ummah’ in the document, as found in the Sirah of ibn Ishaq, is used to mean the collectivity of people in the city-state of Madinah under the Prophet (peace be upon him) and not the theological meaning of the term. So the Madinah document is not about ‘religious pluralism’ in the sense understanding “of different paths leading to one reality” but about plurality of religions in Madinah.

Then, ninth, concerning the Quran recognizing the existence of other faith systems, including the worship of idols there is the verse in surah al-Kafirun (109:6) meaning: “to you is your religion and to me, my religion”. As for salvation in the Quran it is granted to Muslims, and all those who believe in God and do good deeds when they accept the prophets and finally Muhammad with his advent (2:4; 2:62; 5:69). It is necessary for us to state the authentic position of the religion of Islam and then promote cooperation among people of goodwill and practice the ethics of differences (including linguistic ethics) and not to sweep differences under the carpet. This will avoid spiritual confusion and serve genuine understanding.


Yang benar

Muhammad Uthman El-Muhammady (27 Feb 11)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

نحمده ونصلي على رسوله الكريم

Sufism in Malay Tradition:[1]


Muhammad ‘Uthman El-Muhammady[2]

Seeing Islam in the Malay-Indonesian world means seeing that fiqh teaches man a life of worship, obedience to God and work within the context of the sacred law, with five ahkam, the world as place for getting rewards, avoiding sins. We can see Islamic mainstream theology teaching how life is seen as place for getting evidences about God, His Attributes and Acts, for cultivating strong faith, ending in good and virtuous deeds; then most inwardly, we can discern sufism teaching man about God, His Nature, Attributes, and how man approaches Him, getting proximity unto Him, seeing in the universe manifestation of His Names and Attributes, seeing man as it were ‘imbued with the Divine attributes’;  -in fact in Sufism man understands to the fullest what it is to live a life for the cultivation of purity up to the highest level, realizing the ‘Adamic’ nature, for the blessed ones, realizing the Abrahamic prayer about ‘purifying’  the soul  in life. These are among the major dimensions of Islam and their interactions in the life of people in the Malay-Indonesian World.

Sufism has given the Malay World metaphysics in the vision of understanding the Divine Presences in the cosmic order, Spiritual Psychology, together with spiritual alchemy on curing the maladies of the soul, spiritual ethics, spiritual cosmology, profound understanding of spiritual symbolism, the notion and reality of the Muhammadan Light, daily life with methodical spiritual discipline, making life ‘alive’,  not just  ‘dry’ with a legalistic  view of things, about the permissible and the forbidden. It provides the beautiful spiritual image of the Adamic man and not man as the perfected being from evolutionary process on the horizontal material plane.It has influenced thought, spirituality, art, literature, even the ‘nashid’,  and the daily life of the believer withn his litanies and prayers, from the most educated ones, to the simple man in the street.

In this  short lecture it is not possible to deal with the history of Sufism, its  discourse among the major scholars ranging from Nur al-Din al-Raniri, Hamzah Fansuri,  ‘Abd al-Ra’uf Fansuri,  ‘Abd al-Samad al-Falimbani, Arshad al-Banjari, Muhammad Nafis al-Banjari, Shaykh Yusuf of Makasar (who passed away in South Africa), Shaikh Daud al-Fatani, and the rest, the issues therein, and the impact among the people  in general, as well as the influence of the various major spiritual fraternities like the Naqshabandiyyah, the Khalwatiyyah and the Ahmadiyyah. It will just provide a general view of the place of Sufism in certain traditional scholars on certain issues touched in their works.

First  we can recollect  the view in the Malay world with its civilizational dictum: Life is established in accordance  with customs, customs are established in accordance the sacred Law, the sacred Law is established in accordance with the revealed book Book’(Hidup bersendikan adat, adat bersendikan Syara’, Syara’ bersendikan Kitabullah): therein  there is a combination and integration of revelation, prophecy, human reason and experience in civilization. The notion of ‘customs’ as found in the writings of Tenas Effendy on traditional sayings on Malay Wisdom is akin to the Khaldunian notion of ‘adab’ or ‘awa’id’  which characterizes a civilized collectivity of people.

In the ‘Muqaddimah’ under ‘scientific instruction is a craft’, on the  role ‘awa’id’  in civilization he says:

“Sedentary people observe (a) particular (code of) manners in everything they undertake and do or do not do, and they thus acquire certain ways of making a living, finding dwellings, building houses, and handling their religious and worldly matters, including their customary affairs, their dealings with others, and all the rest of their activities. These manners constitute a kind of limitation which may not be transgressed, and, at the same time, they are crafts that (later) generations take over from the earlier ones. No doubt, each craft that has its proper place within the arrangement of the crafts, influences the soul and causes it to acquire an additional intelligence, which prepares the soul for accepting still other crafts. The intellect is thus conditioned for a quick reception of knowledge.”

So in the total context of ‘adat’  in the most general  notion in the Malay-Indonesian civilization, we can clearly discern the reality and role of Sufism until contemporary times.

Just to recollect on the position of Sufism in mainstream discourse as summarized by ‘Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi, the theologian of Baghdad in his ‘al-Farq bain al-Firaq’ , we can find him saying:

‘The sixth group of those Muslims are ‘the ascetic amongt the Sufis those possessing sharp spiritual vision, those who control themselves, those who who test themselves in spiritual life, then they get spiritual lessons and the reality, they were pleased and resigned with the Divine governance, contented   with little, …and  their words were couched in two ways: those with evident expressions and those with spiritual allusions in the way of the traditionists…”

and so on mentioning  the spiritual virtues of the elite. (al-Farq baiun al-Firaq, pp 242-243) (Dar al-Kutub    Lubnan, n.d).

Ibn Khaldun in chapter 6 of the Muqaddimah, under the  subject of ‘tasawwuf’ has given an accurate view of the position of this sacred science in Islam, he states:

This science belongs to the sciences of the religious law that originated in Islam. Sufism is based on (the assumption) that the method of those people (who later on came to be called Sufis) had always been considered by the important early Muslims, the men around Muhammad and the men of the second generation, as well as those who came after them, as the path of truth and right guidance. The (Sufi) approach is based upon constant application to divine worship, complete devotion to God, aversion to the false splendor of the world, abstinence from the pleasure, property, and position to which the great mass aspires, and retirement from the world into solitude for divine worship. These things were general among the men around Muhammad and the early Muslims.

(The Muqaddimah, tr.F.Rosenthal, vol.3, p.76)

The position of Sufism in Islam and its history is  summarized by al-Hafiz al-Sayyid Muhammad Siddiq al-Ghumari when asked about Sufism replied:

Concerning the one who initiated the foundation of the spiritual path , then know that

The foundation of the spiritual path (or way) is grounded in the celestial revelation being in the  sum-total of the religion brought by Prophet Muhammad , since there is no doubt that the station of the supreme  spiritual excellence is one of the three of the pillars of the faith, after elucidating one by one of them in his statement: This is Gibril on him be peace   coming to teach you your religion.(tradition in Muslim, narrated by  ‘Umar bin al-Khattab rd).

Shaykh  Daud  al-Fatani  (d.1847) with Minhaj al-‘Abidin and other works (always combining the three sacred sciences together in his various works: usul al-din, fiqh and Sufism) always presents Sufism as an integral part of Islamic sacred sciences beginning from the small work ‘Kifayah al-Mubtadi’  to that large work ‘Hidayatul Muta’allim’.

In the ‘Minhaj al-‘Abidin’ –being his translation of Ghazali’s work of the  same title- he speaks of the  seven stages to be passed by the spiritual traveler with discipline of the self, called the steep spiritual paths (‘aqabat): that of knowledge, repentance, steep path of the factors of  prevention, the steep path of hindrance, then the path of the factors of motivation, the steep path of spiritual wounding (‘qawadih’) of acts , and finally that steep path of praise and gratitude. All these have to be passed before one can be a real believer and a person of virtuous deeds. (edition of Mustafa al-Babi al-Halabi, Cairo, 1343). This text is very well-known in the Malay world and usually studied before ‘Hikam’ of ibn ‘Ata’illah is studied under the teacher.

In the ‘Kanz al-Minan Sharah Hikam Abu Madyan’ (Matba’ah al-Miriyyah, Makkah, 1328) on the  real sterling spiritual merits of people, he says: ‘When you see a person emanating from whom extraordinary  happenings against the ordinary customary  ways of life, you should not incline yourself unto him, rather you should observe him how is he in relation  to carrying out the (Divine) command and prohibitions’.(p. 96). In commenting on the attitude of the common man usually being attracted to extraordinary happenings in an individual, then relying on that person, he comments that ‘…this is fatal poison; a person of gnosis and knowledge does not  depend on extraordinary happenings and events  which go against the customary ways of nature, truly they rely on the quality [of anyone] following the way of the Prophet –peace and blessings be upon him- in his  sayings and acts, in accordance  with (Divine) commands and prohibitions…’ (p.96). Yet we can find that this is taking place even in contemporary times in which people are usually attracted to individuals by reason of some extraordinary events happening in relation to them.

In relation to the effectiveness of remembrance in the spiritual transformation of the sincere spiritual traveler-apart from the obligatory prayers and other obligations- he  says, quoting Abu Madyan: ’Whenever Allah wants goodness to be in a servant, then He makes him intimate with His remembrance and guides him to be in the state of gratitude unto Him’. He says commenting on this ‘When Allah wants goodness to be in a servant He will make him intimate with His remembrance dan make him grateful unto Him; this is  so because when a person  performs remembrance of Allah, with real remembrance, realizing its reality, then in that process he will forget all other things , and Allah will preserve  him [from being astray] by all other things, and he becomes  most loyal unto  Allah, away from other things.The messenger of Allah says, in the sacred tradition, that ‘Whoever is busy with remembrance of Me so that he is prevented from making requests unto Me, I will grant unto him that which is better than the one which I give to the one who asks it of Me’.So when God has made a servant intimate with Him with His remembrance, that will be made easy for him while he is alone or with people. And man is granted the sweetness of His paradise ; and where else is there such goodness, and where else [apart from remembrance] can there be sweetness other than this, and where else is the bounty greater than this, especially if this is coupled and enhanced with the virtue of gratitude, making all the organs of the person carry out the commands and avoiding the prohibitions’. This is the pinnacle of happiness  which is not granted except  as a boon from Him…”(p.95).

Concerning the performance of the obligatory prayer and its impact on the spiritual alchemy of a person and his spiritual transmutation, he says while quoting Shaykh Abu Madyan al-Maghribi(p.94):”…In the [Prophet’s ] saying  :make us be in restfulness with it O Bilal’ said the one on whom ‘absence’  from Him is most burdensome; the Prophet saw said make us be in restfulness with it O Bilal,  that is the one on whom ‘absence [from remembrance] is most burdensome; [know that] the reality of prayer is that you turn away from all [other than He],  and you only concentrate your [spiritual focus] on the Lord, that is the reality of ‘There is no godf but Allah ‘; so the person who prays turns himself away from all the creation (akwan) and he is established in the station of supreme  spiritual excellence (ihsan), experiencing annihilation in the Overpowering Majesty of the Lord the Owner of Supreme Majesty and Honour, in his bowing-down, and more enhanced in his experience of annihilation, gaining utmost proximity in his prostration, until he is lost,  just like what is in the prayer, and the servant is granted higher form of ‘presence’  with his Lord, with heart filled with joy and happiness, and all the burdensome elements going together with of ‘absence’ are all gone by reason of this ‘presence’. That is [the Prophet]  asked [Bilal] to get ready for being in restfulness…’(p.94).

While speaking of the fundamental link between the body, the spirit and the ego or soul from the point of spiritual development of man,   quoting Shaykh Abu Madyan, Shaikh Daud says:

‘The Shaykh said ‘bodies are like pens, spirits are like  tablet [for writing on], souls [or the human ego] are like goblets’.

Then he comments: “[your] body is your pen, your spirit is your tablet, your soul (or ego) is your goblet for your drink. That is your bodies are as pens because they are like pens standing and walking in obedience towards the Owner of the Worlds Most Knowing, and evident therein the marks like prayer, fasting, [and so on] just like those evident on paper of  the impact of letters consisting of the aspirations, and spirits are as tablets,  because it is the locus where the Divine Effusion comes, locus of the  writings of the secrets from the Divine; so whoever makes good his pen, he writes well on the tablet, so whoever makes his body good [in its works], in obedience , then God grants him large degree of Divine Gifts, and he becomes the locus of secrets  for the spirit, and the soul or the ego becomes the  goblet for keeping the drink  for those who are good in their relations with God, so whoever does not drink with it will not arrive at the station of the people of spiritual striving (ahl al-mujahadat), because the one who does not stand in this way he does not sit therein” (p.92).  And so on.

There is a work of translation of the poems of ibn Bint al-Mailaq  by Syeikh Ismail al-Khalidi of Minangkabau, together with very clear commentary on the verses.

In the  work ‘Mawahib Rabbil-Falaq’ being commentary on the Qasidah of ibn Bint al-Mailaq’ (see al-A’lam of al-Zirikili, vol.6, 188 –through al-mausu’ah al-shamilah) Shaikh Isma’il bin ‘Abdullah al-Naqshabandi al-Khalidi (Matba’ah Islamiah, 1348) gives very illuminating explanations on the spiritual qasidahs of the writer. He gives straight away  the commentary of the beginning lines ‘Whoever tastes the drink of the people [of Sufism] will know it; whoever knows it [in the real sense, with ‘spiritual tasting] will purchase it with his soul.’ (Some informations in Malay on this Shaykh and his books, including some data about the commentary of the qasidah by Shaykh Ismail  are mentioned in the site

Then he goes on with it using the commentary of ibn ‘Allan, the famous commentator of the qasidah, ‘whoever possess the qualities of the sufi people, by following their spiritual path, along with the science of the external order and the science of the inner order , meaning that their outward life being conducted in accordance with the sacred Law, and their inward life following the spiritual path, then lights of spiritual realities (nur haqiqat) will illuminate him, then the stations of the people of Sufism and their states will be like food for him” and he will be cured of various spiritual maladies (p.2).

The on the lines ‘And a drop of it is sufficient for the  whole creation if they taste it; they will swoon in front of the creation in wonderment’ Quoting Shaykh Ahmad bin ‘Allan in his commentary he says ‘A drop of the drink of the people of Sufism called the drink of reality (minuman haqiqah), even if taken by all creation, that will be sufficient for them all, making them drunk, making them go out from their imaginary existence (wujud wahmi) into  real existence (wujud haqiqi); their faces and hearts will be illuminated by lights from the Divine, and the darkness of bodily existence will be eliminated; they will be in a swoon in relation to this world in puzzlement, immersed therein in the ocean of supreme spiritual excellence, with Divine gifts, from the Lord Most High and Most Great.” (p.4).

He says further that this level of spiritual experience is called ‘the station of being together’ (maqam al-jam’), and ‘a person of  this station will not see except only the Reality of God Most High, and he is annihilated in relation to all creation, even he is not aware of himself; and the more perfect station is that he returns to the station of separation (farq)  after reaching the station of ‘being together’ (jam’), and that is called the station of abiding (maqam al-baqa), the station of the people of firmness (maqam al-tamkin), the station of those who give guidance (maqam al-irshad) and this is the station of the prophets on whom be blessings and peace’.(pp.4-5).

Then he goes to the lines ‘And those who posses the great yearning, even though they are given to drink according to the number, of all breaths [of creation] and all this in one goblet,  will not satisfy them’. He says , quoting ibn ‘Allan ‘those who possess such great yearning are drowned in the ocean of this yearning,  and if they are given drink in accordance with the number of breaths and the   whole world as it were were one goblet, they will not be  satisfied’. (p.5). This is a figurative expression to mean that this experience is unending;  the expressions of the people of Sufism are given  to show the idea of the reality of the drink for the understanding of people,  and this drink is not tasted except by those who have been granted the privilege by God by virtue of their following of the discipline and coming to the station of the supreme spiritual excellence . (pp.6-7).

It is interesting that on page 7 of the  work there is allusion to the spiritual personality of ‘Ainul-Qudah al-Hamadani.The  story is mentioned thus :” ’Ainul-Qudah al-Hamadhani  has learned the rational and the traditional sacred sciences, while he was eighteen years old, then he  said that he looked at himself,  after having studied such branches of knowledge: then I find that I have not found in my heart except the feeling of being scattered; I studied all the books of Imam Ghazali for forty years, until I noted down the explanations and meanings of all the difficult points, and I understood them, thinking that I have achieved the objective. Suddenly there comes Imam Ahmad al-Ghazali [the younger brother of al-Ghazali] and I kept myself in his company for twenty days, then he illuminated for me all states, and so the matter became clear to me that even if I were to seek for them  with difficulties  for a thousand years  I would not have achieved the objective, and all the more so when I am not like such a person; what is being sought by the people of Sufism  is  Allah Himself, the Truth the Most High, and they were not seeking for name, and description…” (p.7-8).

Concerning the lines ‘To him the manifest word becomes the  word of the invisible, and the  world of the invisible becomes unto him the world of the manifest’, he gives the commentary, quoting from the explanations of ibn ‘Allan. He says: “The man in spiritual travel who has taken the drink of the people of Sufism , drink so clear, and drowned is he in the sea of love towards his Lord, the  manifest world …becomes the world invisible, and the invisible becomes unto him …the world of the manifest.” (p.25). He explains that ‘the one who travels spiritually turns away from that which is other than God, and he focuses the attention of his heart  towards Allah the Most High,  by cutting himself away from those which turns him away –whether those which are clear and manifest and those which belong to the inward, focusing himself on the remembrance of Allah, which has been taught by his teacher, who is made by him as the ‘rabitah’ –link- while keeping all the spiritual propriety in the remembrance’.(p.25)

“So the person is annihilated in relation to world of the manifest, the ‘alam al-mulk’, or ‘alam al-khalq’, …and this  manifest world is invisible unto him, and he enters the realm of the invisible, and the  world of the spiritual kingdom (al-malakut), ‘alam al-amr’ (the world of command), …[the  world of the realm of ] the spirits, angels, the jinn,  and others, seeing this realm invisible with the eye of the heart (mata hati), the vision being clearer than the one seen with the physical eyes. This is  termed as the first annihilation (‘fana’), while the spiritual traveler practices his remembrance, and litanies, without stop, day and night, in his travel, experiencing his  elevation, without stopping in the realm of the invisible” (pp 25-26).

Further he states that ‘When the spiritual traveler passes by the realm of the invisible with his constant adherence in following the Shari’ah, he will be brought into the realm of the Divine Dominion (‘alam jabarut), being the realm of spirits, and that is also the realm of the invisible, in relation to the realm of the malakut, so the ‘alam al-malakut becomes the realm invisible to it, and the realm of the jabarut becomes the realm of the manifest for it, just like before; this is the beginning of the second annihilation, and the spiritual traveler should focus on the Lord  until he is brought to the realm of the Lahut, being the realm of the secret. This is the completion of the  second annihilation, being called the annihilation of the annihilation. He is annihilated in relation to creation and in relation to his annihilation. This is the last stage of  travel of the traveler. That is pure annihilation.” (pp.26-27). From here the traveler would go the realm of  abiding or perpetuity (‘alam al-baqa’) and the station of separation and at this stage he is spiritually fit to be the spiritual guide or murshid.”(p.27).

He also gives the commentary of the lines ‘And you take away your two sandles in the manner of the one realizing the truth;  void is he from desiring [the glory of] the world and the afterworld in his quest.’  (p.26). Sandles stand for the  world and the hereafter.

Concerning the  often misunderstood dictum the Shaykh gives his clear explanations. The dictum is : The Gnostics reach the station in which  the various obligations  are dropped from  them.(p.78). He explains  this in the  following way: ”’The meaning of this dictum is not as understood by the antinomians  and the heretics (ahl al-ibahiyyah wa al-zandaqah) –God forbid-the real meaning is that they do not feel burdened or face difficulty and pain  in carrying out big responsibilities in the devotions because such matters have become customary for them, in fact more than customary but have become matters which are so desired by passion if understood in relation to others  [others do things because of passion, for them it is as if they perform the devotions because of passion], just like the remembrance of God for the inmates of paradise, being like breathing for them,  and thus is the case for the gnostics with other spiritual devotions-may Allah sanctify their  secrets. That is the reason why the chief of the Messengers and the Prophets does not abandon spiritual devotions [with his most lofty spiritual station]-peace and blessings of God be upon him, he keeps doing the night prayers, until his feet were  swollen;’ and when he was asked why does he do  that [to such an extent],  whereas his past and coming sins are already forgiven , he replied : Should not I be a grateful servant [of Allah]?…(pp 78).

And he goes on to mention the case of the saint Junaid al-Baghdadi the leader of the people of Sufism –may God sanctify his secret-  ‘who did not abandon his spiritual litanies even while he was  almost going to give up his life  while saying that this is the moment in which I am most in need for reciting my litanies because all the record of my acts has been  folded up, and so he did not stop  from his spiritual excercises even while he was dying.’(p.79).

He mentions the case then on other occasions people asked the saint for his view about the claim of someone that he has reached  a lofty station of gnosis so much so that he he in a position in which the   obligations of the sacred Law are no more binding; to  which  Junaid replied, yes, [he is] in hell. Further he adds that whoever says that the obligatory duties are no more binding on the person  and he believes that as article of faith, then he is out of the pale of the faith just as strands of hair is out of the flour.And he warns believers not to be deluded with sayings of people that they have arrived at the supreme spiritual realities in their knowledge (ilmu haqa’iq) from books, such words are words of heresy and antinomianism and unbelief (berkata-kata ia dengan zandaqah dan ilhad)(p.79).

Then  we can recollect the very detailed Sufism of the ‘mu’amalah’ aspect of the eighteenth century learned divine of Sumatra, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Samad al-Falimbani in his magisterial ‘Sayr al-Salikin’ or ‘Siyar al-Salikin’ dealing with this sacred science in the manner that was done in the Ihya’ six centuries before him by al-Ghazali covering the aspects of devotions, customary life usages, the spiritual vices, and finally the virtues; in fact he has translated substantial portions of the Ihya’ in his voluminous four volume work, with much additional materials of his own. What is of significant interest here is that he has seen Sufism into the three levels, the mubtadi, the beginning, the intermediate, mutawassit, and the  peak, muntahi. For the various stages there are texts suitable to be studied for guidance and actual practice as well as aids in spiritual realization. This work represents the Ghazalian presence in the Malay-Indonesian World.

Apart from that, in a random manner we can refresh our memory with the classical  case of the position of Siti Jenar among the ‘Nine Saints of Java’  on the question of gnosis,  spiritual realization,  and adherence to the Syariah as sacred law of the Community, which reminds us of the case of al-Hallaj in Baghdad centuries before.

There is the case of the conflict of Hamzah al-Fansuri with other scholars who was accused of holding  wrongful notion of the wihdatul-wujud, later explained by  Syeikh ‘Abd al-Rauf al-Fansuri .

There is the classisification of the correct theological position given by Arshad al-Banjari in Tuhfah al-Raghibin, while giving some useful informations about the various deviant groups and their unorthodox views.There is in this  work the notion of the two categories of the Wujudiyyah in  the Malay tradition the  wujududiyyah of the mulhidin, the heretics, and the correct  wujudiyyah of the muwahhid.

Then there are still a number of issues to be addressed effectively: the  misunderstanding about Sufism in whole epistemology of Islam, because of  certain intellectual tendencies in the so-called modern movements and their off-shoots in Muslim societies. The issue of some making Sufism as independent entity free from  the structure of Islam as a living sacred Tradition, thereby mutilating it, making it unable to provide adequate guidance for man lost in the present anti-spiritual cultural environment.There is the issue  of seeing Sufism as unnecessary for the modern man busy  with modern development and consumerist culture; the issue of the positive role which Sufism has to play in preserving  the spiritual identity and meaning of the Adamic human being in relation to his spiritual blessedness and being; the issue of understanding the contemplative and spiritual intelligence developed in Sufism  with the rational and analytical intelligence of science and the philosophical path and method and how the two can be integrated so that once again the human intelligence can regain its wholeness and legitimacy in the Islamic spiritual context.

There are also other issues which are to be addressed concerning the role and function of Sufism in the development of the human holistic capital, so that this spiritual tradition is benefited in a positive way; then there is the necessity of the psychologist to ‘know’ Sufism just as there is also, in a secondary way, there is the necessity for the man of Sufism to ‘know’ psychology; then  there is  still the wrongful notion of the  identification of wahdatul wujud with philosophical speculation called pantheism while definitely it is not accurately so; and of course there is still the  confusion between what constitutes spiritual  witnessing of the gnostic (mushahadah)  with the  theological position of the theologian, leading to charges of heresy, with the attending consequences against  the portrayal of the gnostic’s authentic experience. Also  there is the spiritual and intellectual necessity to see the legitimacy of the religion of the prophets as they are in their forms and substance, compared to the  position of ‘perennialism’.

Finally there is the present writer’s  humble view, for truth and intellectual stability and homogeneity, of the necessity of maintaining and enhancing the four intellectual and spiritual poles of Islam: the teological (Ash’ari-Maturidi discourse, with the necessary additions),  the legal discourse of the mujtahids and (in the Malay World the Shafi’ite) with the necessary additions for contemporary times,   the spiritual, ethical and philosophical discourse like that of the school of al-Ghazali and his like, with the necessary additional   relevant discourse, and  the cultural and civilizational discourse like ibn Khaldun and others of the same relevance. Sufism has already operated  within this total context of such Islamic discourse. We further hope that within this intellectual, epistemological and spiritual context we can see once again  successful  flowering of Sufism with its guidance and Divine grace operating successfully among  believers and mankind in contemporary times and the future. Wallahu a’lam.

[1] Presented as key-note address in the International Conference in Mystical Elements in Islamic Art and Literature, ISTAC, IIUM,   21 Julay 2010, at the ISTAC Conference Hall.

[2] Very Distinguished Academic Fellow , ISTAC, IIUM, Adjunct Professor at Petronas University, Tronoh, Perak, and member of the board of directors, IIM.

The theologian is considered more significant within Islam than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He tells Tom Peck why he converted

It was the sight of peach juice dripping from the chin of a teenage French female nudist that led a Cambridgeshire public schoolboy to convert to Islam. Thirty-five years later, Timothy Winter – or Sheikh Abdul-Hakim Murad, as he is known to his colleagues – has been named one of the world’s most influential Muslims.

The hitherto unnoticed Mr Winter, who has an office in Cambridge University’s Divinity Faculty, where he is the Shaykh Zayed Lecturer of Islamic Studies, has been listed ahead of the presidents of Iran and Egypt, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Mahmoud Abbas. “Strange bedfellows,” he concedes.

Tall, bookish, fair-skinned and flaxen-haired, a wiry beard is his only obvious stylistic concession to the Islamic faith.

To the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISSC), which is based at the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in the Jordanian capital, Amman, Winter is “one of the most well-respected Western theologians” and “his accomplishments place him amongst the most significant Muslims in the world”. Winter is also the secretary of the Muslim Academic Trust, director of The Anglo-Muslim Fellowship for Eastern Europe, and director of the Sunna Project, which has published the most respected versions of the major Sunni Hadith collections, the most important texts in Islam after the Qur’an.

He has also written extensively on the origins of suicidal terrorism.

According to the RISSC, the list highlights “leaders and change-agents who have shaped social development and global movements”. Winter is included because “[his] work impacts all fields of work and particularly, the religious endeavors of the Muslim world”.

In the 500 Most Influential Muslims 2010, Mr Winter is below the King of Saudi Arabia – who comes in at number one – but ahead of many more chronicled figures. He is ranked in an unspecified position between 51st and 60th, considerably higher than the three other British people who make the list – the Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi; the UK’s first Muslim life peer, Lord Nazir Ahmed, who was briefly jailed last year for dangerous driving; and Dr Anas Al Shaikh Ali, director of the

International Institute of Islamic Thought – making him, at least in the eyes of the RISSC, Britain’s most influential Muslim.

“I think that’s very unlikely,” says Winter, seated in front of his crowded bookshelves. “I’m an academic

observer who descends occcasionally from my ivory tower and visits the real world. If you stop most people in the street they’ve never heard of me. In terms of saying anything that makes any kind of sense to the average British Muslim I think they have no need of my ideas at all.”

The son of an architect and an artist, he attended the elite Westminster School in the 1970s before graduating from Cambridge with a double first in Arabic in 1983. His younger brother is the football correspondent Henry Winter. Tim says: “I was always the clever, successful one. Henry just wanted to play football with his mates. I used to tell him, ‘I’m going to make loads of money, and you’ll still be playing football with your mates.’ Now he’s living in a house with 10 bedrooms and married to a Bond girl.” (Brother Henry insists on the telephone later: “She was only in the opening credits. And it’s not as many as 10.”)

If this seems an improbable background for a leading Muslim academic, his Damascene moment on a Corsican beach is unlikelier still.

“In my teens I was sent off by my parents to a cottage in Corsica on an exchange with a very vigorous French Jewish family with four daughters,” Winter recalls. “They turned out to be enthusiastic nudists.

“I remember being on the beach and seeing conjured up before my adolescent eyes every 15-year-old boy’s most fervent fantasy. There was a moment when I saw peach juice running off the chin of one of these bathing beauties and I had a moment of realisation: the world is not just the consequence of material forces. Beauty is not something that can be explained away just as an aspect of brain function.”

It had quite an effect on him: “That was the first time I became remotely interested in anything beyond the material world. It was an unpromising beginning, you might say.

“In a Christian context, sexuality is traditionally seen as a consequence of the Fall, but for Muslims, it is an anticipation of paradise. So I can say, I think, that I was validly converted to Islam by a teenage French Jewish nudist.”

After graduating, Winter studied at the University of al-Azhar in Egypt and worked in Jeddahat before returned to England in the late eighties to study Turkish and Persian. He says he has no difficulty reconciling the world he grew up in with the one he now inhabits. “Despite all the stereotypes of Islam being the paradigmatic opposite to life in the west, the feeling of conversion is not that one has migrated but that one has come home.

“I feel that I more authentically inhabit my old identity now that I operate within Islamic boundaries than I did when I was part of a teenage generation growing up in the 70s who were told there shouldn’t be any boundaries.”

The challenge, he feels, is much harder now for young Muslims trying to integrate with British life.

“Your average British Asian Muslim on the streets of Bradford or Small Heath in Birmingham is told he has to integrate more fully with the society around him. The society he tends to see around him is extreme spectacles of binge drinking on Saturday nights, scratchcards, and other forms of addiction apparently rampant, credit card debt crushing lives, collapsing relationships and mushrooming proportions of single lives, a drug epidemic. It doesn’t look very nice.

“That is why one of the largest issues over the next 50 years is whether these new Muslim communities can be mobilised to deal with those issues. Islam is tailor-made precisely for all those social prolems. It is the ultimate cold turkey. You don’t drink at all. You don’t sleep around. You don’t do scratchcards. Or whether a kind of increasing polarisation, whereby Muslims look at the degenerating society around them and decide ‘You can keep it’.”

It is not this, though, that contributes to some young Muslim British men’s radicalism, he says, since their numbers are often made up of “the more integrated sections”.

“The principle reason, which Whitehall cannot admit, is that people are incensed by foreign policy. Iraq is a smoking ruin in the Iranian orbit. Those who are from a Muslim background are disgusted by the hypocrisy. It was never about WMD. It was about oil, about Israel and evangelical christianity in the White House. That makes people incandescent with anger. What is required first of all is an act of public contrition. Tony Blair must go down on his knees and admit he has been responsible for almost unimaginable human suffering and despair.”

He adds: “The West must realise it must stop being the world’s police. Why is there no Islamic represenation on the UN Security Council? Why does the so-called Quartet [on the Middle East] not have a Muslim representative? The American GI in his goggles driving his landrover through Kabul pointing his gun at everything that moves, that is the image that enrages people.”

Is there a similar antagonistic symbolism in the construction of a mosque at Ground Zero?

“If the mosque represented an invading power they would have every right. Muslims in America are there as legitimate citizens with their green cards, with jobs, trying to get by. They are there in humble mode.

“Would you oppose the construction of Shinto Shrines at Pearl Harbour, of which there a number? How long must the Muslims of lower Manhattan have to wait to get a place to pray five times a day? With Islam there are certain liturgical requirements. It’s not like a church that you can build on the top of a hill and say, we’ve only got to go once a week and it looks nice up there. Muslims need to pray five times a day, they can’t get the subway out and back. It should be seen as a symbol of reconciliation not antagonism.”

Last year Winter helped set up the Cambridge Muslim College, which offers trained imams a one year diploma in Islamic studies and leadership, designed to help trained imams to better implement their knowledge and training in 21st-century Britain. This year’s first graduating class have recently returned from a trip to Rome where they had an open audience with the Pope.

In an increasingly secular Britain, sociologists suggest with regularity that “football is the new religion”. Winter understands the comparison. “Football has everything that is important to religion,” he says. “Solidarity, skill, ritual, the outward form of what looks like a sacred congregation. Except it’s not about anything.” Just don’t tell his brother.

Converts to Islam

Muhammad Ali

Cassius Clay, widely considered to be one of the greatest boxers, shocked America when he revealed in 1964 that he had converted to the Nation of Islam (becoming a Sunni 11 years later) to discard the name of his ancestors’ enslavement.

Yusuf Islam

Born Steven Demetre Georgiou in London, the singer, best known as Cat Stevens, converted to Islam at the height of his fame in 1977. Two years later he auctioned all his guitars for charity and left his music career to devote himself to educational and philanthropic causes.

Yvonne Ridley

The British journalist was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan in September 2001 having crossed the border anonymously in a burqa. After her release 11 days later, she explained that she had promised one of her captors that she would read the Koran and it changed her life. She converted to Islam in the summer of 2003.

Alexander Litvinenko

The ex-Russian agent, who fled to London, fell ill in November 2006 after being poisoned by radioactive polonium-210. Two days before his death on 23 November he told his father he had converted to Islam.

article from:

This is the recording of a public lecture given by Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad during the Fundraising Event for Cambridge Mosque Project and Islamic Outreach ABIM Charitable activities and the Launch of “The Traveling Light Series” at the auditorium of Dewan Jubli Perak, Bangunan Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri Shah Alam, Malaysia on 27th March 2010.

Part 1 of 6:

Part 2 of 6:

Part 3 of 6:

Part 4 of 6:

Part 5 of 6:

Part 6 of 6:

Here is the recording of the talk given by brother Shaikh Abdal Hakim Murad during his trip to Kuala Lumpur recently. I recorded three of the talks given. This is the last talk (after maghrib) he gave at Masjid Taman TAR (Ampang) just before he left back to UK on 29th March 2010.

The two other talks … inshaAllah. Please check again in the next few days.

Part 1/5:

Part 2/5:

Part 3/5:

Part 4/5

and Part 5/5

Note: I have to apologise for the background noise coming from the strong aircond blower. I need to learn how to do noise reduction!


I, ya Rasulullah!” Such were the words of the great Companion, Abu Hurayrah (radhiAllahu anhu) in acceptance of the request of his beloved, when he asked, “Who among you will accept of me the following words and adopt and execute their meaning or teach someone to adopt them and act according to them?”

Then, as Abu Hurayrah recalls; “So he held my hand and counted five things according to my five fingers as follows.” Upon pondering over this sentence, one can rightfully assume that this act of the Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) of teaching Abu Hurayrah in such a personal manner – one by one, on the fingers of his hand – was a significant step in the effort to keep these words etched in his heart. In fact, it was a method of aiding him in fulfilling the responsibility to which he agreed to moments earlier.

So, what were these teachings that numbered the fingers of Abu Hurayrah’s hand?

عن أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رضي الله عنه ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ :
( مَنْ يَأْخُذُ عَنِّي هَؤُلاَءِ الكَلِمَاتِ فَيَعْمَلُ بِهِنَّ أَوْ يُعَلِّمُ مَنْ يَعْمَلُ بِهِنَّ ؟ فَقَالَ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ : فَقُلْتُ : أَنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ !
فَأَخَذَ بِيَدِي فَعَدَّ خَمْسًا وَقَالَ :
اتَّقِ الْمَحَارِمَ تَكُنْ أَعْبَدَ النَّاسِ ، وَارْضَ بِمَا قَسَمَ اللَّهُ لَكَ تَكُنْ أَغْنَى النَّاسِ ، وَأَحْسِنْ إِلَى جَارِكَ تَكُنْ مُؤْمِنًا ، وَأَحِبَّ لِلنَّاسِ مَا تُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِكَ تَكُنْ مُسْلِمًا ، وَلاَ تُكْثِرِ الضَّحِكَ ، فَإِنَّ كَثْرَةَ الضَّحِكِ تُمِيتُ القَلْبَ ) .
رواه أحمد والترمذي والطبراني في الأوسط

Keep away from prohibited things and you will be the best of worshippers.
Be content with what Allah has given you, and you will be the richest of people.
Be good to your neighbor and you will be a true believer.
Love for other people what you love for yourself and you will be a (perfect) Muslim.
Do not laugh too much, for excessive laughter deadens the heart.
(Recorded by Ahmad and al-Tirmidhi)

“Keep away from prohibited things and you will be the best of worshippers.”

In such concise words, our Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) taught us that worship is not only in bringing forth good deeds, but also in abstaining from the prohibited. Extra prayers, fasting and charity are praiseworthy, but inclusive in worship is to be able to place boundaries between yourself and that which is haram. This is of particular importance to those sins that we may have become desensitized to, and as a result are prone to falling into them regularly.

Yusuf, (alayhe asallam), was in a situation with the wife of Al-Aziz, where there were many reasons available for him to easily fall into the haram. Yet he proved to be among the “best of worshippers” when she invited him to the forbidden, and he proclaimed; “I seek refuge in Allah (or Allah forbid)!” (Yusuf 12:23). In fact, his ardent will to stay away from the prohibited led him to prefer the life of prison; “O my Lord! Prison is dearer to me than that to which they invite me. Unless You turn away their plot from me, I will feel inclined towards them and be one (of those who commit sin and deserve blame or those who do deeds) of the ignorant.” (Yusuf 12:33).

To establish our personal level of ubudiyyah (worship) to Allah (subhanahu wata’ala), we should turn to our situation in cases where a sin is of easy access to us. Are we able to give our wealth in charity, yet weak when the desire to lie or indulge in ill-talk arises? Or perhaps it is easy for a person to perfect their conduct, yet they have fallen into the desire of not paying heed to acquiring their wealth from only the purest and halal of sources? The examples are many, and each of us can relate, on a personal level, which of the haram actions we are prone to slipping into.

In a hadeeth narrated by Thawban, the Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) warned against this when he described the situation of those who fall into the prohibited when they are far from the eyes of others. He (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) said:

“I certainly know people of my ummah who will come on the Day of Resurrection with good deeds like the mountains of Tihaamah, but Allah will make them like scattered dust.” Thawbaan said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, describe them to us and tell us more, so that we will not become of them unknowingly.’ He said: “They are your brothers and from your race, worshipping at night as you do, but they will be people who, when they are alone, transgress the sacred limits of Allah.” (Ibn Majah).

The Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) himself was the utmost example of protecting himself from the haram. Anas narrated that the Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) passed a date fallen on the way and said, “Were I not afraid that it may be from a sadaqa (charitable gifts), I would have eaten it.” (Bukhari).

So while we undergo efforts to increase our good deeds, we should also pay heed to those evil deeds, whether they are actions of the heart, tongue or limbs, which bar us from reaching this status. This is particularly to those ones which come about in daily life, such as evil talk or letting our gazes roam. Let us become more aware of our actions and work on building a barrier that stands between us and Allah’s prohibitions, thus serving as a step in the path of earning this title of the “best of worshippers.”

“Be content with what Allah has given you, and you will be the richest of people.”

This beautiful part of the hadeeth, if truly and sincerely applied, can relieve heavy burdens off the most slender of shoulders. How many times have we allowed ourselves to be overcome by worries whose main source was not being fully content with what Allah has granted us?

We have laid forth excuses and placed barriers to our achievements, many of which arise from not being content. We tell ourselves, “If I lived in such and such place, I would be able to do such and such. And if I had what so and so had, I would….” The list is endless. It is true that perhaps we did not always openly proclaim such sentences, but we know that at times they have at least crossed our mind and deceived us into believing that our state of failure to achieve is unchangeable.

Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) says, (interpretation of the meaning) “And do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given enjoyment to [some] categories of them, [its being but] the splendor of worldly life by which We test them. And the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring.” (Ta-ha 20:131).

In order to fulfill this command, we should remember that whatever Allah decrees for the believers is better for them, and this is only for the believers. We should also avoid looking towards those who have been given more than us in matters of this dunya and divert our attention to the state of those who have been given less; who are deprived of blessings that we forget in ourselves. Think of the poor laborer who is able to fall fast asleep in the middle of his busy workplace, and the wealthy businessman who is deprived of sleep in the softest of beds. Think particularly of those who have lost both; their dunya due to an unhappy life of misery and lost their akhira (Hereafter) due to being deprived of the blessing of Islam. You will surely feel that you are among the richest of creation. Our Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) said,

“Successful is the one who has entered the fold of Islam and is provided with sustenance which is sufficient for his needs, and Allah makes him content with what He has bestowed upon him.” (Muslim).

Another aspect of contentment is keeping oneself from asking from others and avoiding being dependent on them. An example of such character is that of the Companions of the Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam), who if they dropped their whip while mounted on their riding animal, would not ask someone to retrieve it for them, although it would have been easier. Rather they would dismount and pick it up themselves, because they did not want to be dependent on others.

The meaning of contentment is not to be stretched to the matters of the Hereafter, as it is only praiseworthy in application to matters of this world. As for increasing virtuous deeds, then ‘greed’ is more befitting since the Muslim should always be in search of more. Allah says, (interpretation of the meaning) “Race toward forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden whose width is like the width of the heavens and earth.” (Al-Hadeed 57:21).

Allah says, (interpretation of the meaning) “And your Lord creates what He wills and chooses; not for them was the choice.” (Al-Qasas 28:68). A man may be poor, yet healthy. Another may be wealthy, yet he wishes for good health more than wealth.  Be pleased with what Allah has given you, and you will be the richest of people. Through this principle, we are able to overcome Shaytaan’s technique of making us feel sorry for ourselves as well as purify our hearts of diseases, such as envy. Such a teaching is in fact a key to one’s very own gate to riches that even those with much gold and silver have not been able to unlock.

“Be good to your neighbor and you will be a true believer.”

After focusing on points pertaining to strengthening our own souls, the Prophet’s (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) third piece of advice relates to strengthening one’s belief through the fulfillment of the rights of those around us.  A wonderful opportunity is present everyday to try and strengthen our bond with our neighbors. It is one of the most virtuous of deeds; the Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) said,

“Jibreel kept advising me of the rights of neighbors so much that I thought he would make them my heirs.” (Agreed upon).

Whether it is through a smile, a kind word or a simple gift, all of these kind actions have an effect on the hearts and are of the best forms of silent da’wah. The sign of the true mu’min is that he is good to his neighbors; perhaps it may be such a simple deed for some, but the reward is great.

“Love for other people what you love for yourself and you will be a (perfect) Muslim.”

This advice from the Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) is repeated often in gatherings, lectures and articles. Although it may be easy to say, this much-needed characteristic that strengthens community bonds and raises our status as Muslims, actually requires effort in achieving. This is because we sometimes limit the application of this characteristic to our hearts only and do not extend it practically in our lives. So, if for example, we love that we have knowledge, we should love that others have access to this knowledge as well. If we love that our acts of worship are done in a correct manner, likewise should this love stretch forth so that we may teach those whose worship may be contrary to the Shari’ah while they know not. When you have knowledge that what they are doing is incorrect and would not like for yourself to be left in the darkness if you were in their place, try to gently correct them and teach them what is right. Passing on knowledge is one example; by reflecting and asking ourselves the question of ‘would I like this for myself?’ before many acts and words is a step in the path of applying this principle in everyday life.

An extraordinary example of putting this teaching into practice is that of some of our righteous predecessors. Ibrahim al-Nakha’ee (rahimahullah) was a’war al-‘ayn (blind in one eye), and his student Sulayman ibn Mihran suffered from weak eyesight (a’mash al-‘ayn). Ibn al-Jawzi related a story about them in his book Al-Muntathim that they were walking in the streets of Al-Kufah headed to the masjid.

As they were walking, Imam Al-Nakha’ee said, “Sulayman, can you take one road and I take another? For I fear that if we were to pass together by the foolish people, they would say, ‘A’war – one eyed – is leading an a’mash – bleary eyed- (through the road) and they would then have backbitten us and fallen into sins.”

So Sulayman replied, “O Abu ‘Imran! What is wrong then when we are rewarded while they are sinful?”

Ibrahim al-Nakha’ee replied, “SubhanaAllah! Bal naslam wa yaslamun! Rather, that we be safe (from their backbiting) and they be safe (of sin) is better than if we are rewarded and they are sinful!” (al-Muntathim fee Tareekh al Muluk wal Umam).

Their application of this principle reached heights that perhaps we never even thought it could reach. Such were the hearts that understood the meaning of the one who wished good for his people even after he died in the ayah (interpretation of the meaning); “It was said, “Enter Paradise.” He said, “I wish my people could know of how my Lord has forgiven me and placed me among the honored.” (Yaa-Seen 36:26,27)

“Do not laugh too much, for excessive laughter deadens the heart.”

For every believer who wishes to keep the heart alive with faith, the Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) taught in the final advice of this hadeeth that excessive laughter is a cause for a dead heart. Let no believer assume that this implies he or she must wear a frown in order to keep the heart alive with faith, for the Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) had the most cheerful countenance and taught us that to smile was a rewarded act of sadaqa.

Hence, if we are among those who have trouble keeping a cheerful face, this is not an opportunity to prove the virtue of such an expression, rather it is a chance to rethink and realize that while excessive laughter is denounced, a smile is praised and written as a good deed. Such a simple change in expression, will surely lead us to see notable change in our hearts towards others and in their character towards us.

The Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) used to make his Companions laugh and his Companions would make him laugh. But he taught us not to be excessive in laughter for it will cause a dead heart and dry eyes. Let us not be among those who only keep the company of those who make us laugh and find anyone else “boring.” Or those who only attend lectures of those who have the highest sense of humor. Or those who read only that which makes them laugh and watch only those programs that make them laugh. Rather, even in laughter, our religion teaches moderation. It is possible to forget this, and that is why our Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) did not forget to remind us; so that we may pay attention to the weight laughter carries in our everyday lives.

Such concise words, amounting to the fingers of one hand, yet beautiful in meaning and  comprehensive in application. With the same enthusiasm of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with Him, who took upon himself the task of taking care of them until they reached us, let us work on remembering them, applying them and letting them affect our lives. Perhaps now, you will look at your fingers and view them from a different perspective, as you count on them 5 steps towards a more noble life.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

نحمده ونصلى على رسوله الكريم

A Learning Society: Issues and Challenges to Learners, Educators and Planners – an Islamic Perspective

Muhammad `Uthman El-Muhammady

[this article was first published in our previous website at Geocities in September 2004]

This paper- God willing- will argue for the successful implementation of a knowledge and learning society and also life of quality in the holistic sense and not only in certain aspects of both, because Islam as a tauhidic  ‘weltanschauung’ stands for the realization of total human needs, seeing man in terms of, firstly his theomorphism, and then secondly  his social , collective and civilizational needs.

Firstly we should be clear about  our understanding of the notion of knowledge society as it is understood in current cultural discourse. What is “knowledge society”?

As an example concerning one part of the Muslim World, in a recent report about developing ‘a knowledge society’  in the Arab world, it is stated in the Arab Human development report 2003: building knowledge society 2003

[means that] the Arab states should also encourage greater interaction with other nations, cultures and regions of the world, [urging] “[o]penness, interaction, assimilation, absorption, revision, criticism and examination cannot but prompt creative knowledge  production in Arab societies.[this report done ] by a group of distinguished Arab scholars and opinion leaders, is at once descriptive and perspective, with bold recommendations for change and analysis of the current state of education, scientific research, the media, the publishing industry, culture encompassing religion, intellectual heritage and the Arabic language, and other building blocks of a “knowledge society” in the Arab states.

It is observed that The Arab Human Development report 2003 (AHDR2003 ) which is the second of a planned four-part series which will also cover the issues of freedoms and political institutions, and gender imbalance and the empowerment of women in the 22 Arab states. The first Report (AHDR 2002 ), issued a year ago, outlined the most important development challenges facing the Arab states at the beginning of the third Millennium. The Egyptian renowned journalist Muhammad Hassanain Haikal said AHDR 2002 signaled the region’s “last chance to join the trip to the future.”(2)

There are a number of important points in the report touching upon “information society”.

The report is observed as: “Written into every line is the unwavering conviction that reform efforts, which genuinely serve the region’s interests must be initiated and launched from within.” Yet the construction of a viable “knowledge society” requires effective economic, social and political institutions, Khalaf emphasizing “The missing links are.. smothered by ideologies, societal structures and values that inhabit critical thinking, cut Arabs off from their knowledge rich heritage and block the free flow of ideas and learning”

It goes on to describe it: ” The report proposes a strategic vision that could support a creative renaissance buttressed by the “five pillars” of an Arab Knowledge society guaranteeing the key freedoms of opinion, and assembly through good governance bounded by the law.” A climate of freedom is an essential prerequisite of the knowledge society,” affirms the report and argues that “It is also imperative to end an era of administrative control and the grip of security agencies over the production and dissemination of knowledge and the various forms of creative activity that are the foundations for the knowledge society in Arab states.”(3)

In one international; conference last year (2003) dealing with the topic of engineering ‘knowledge society’ the organizers noted that:

«Engineering the Knowledge Society» (EKS)[involve] «Information technology supporting human development» Information Technology (or Information and Communication Technology) cannot be seen as a separate entity. Its application should support human development and this application has to be engineered.

What has to be taken into account when engineering the Knowledge Society? The Conference will address:

Lifelong Learning and education, e-inclusion, ethics and social impact, engineering profession, developing e-society, economy and e-Society.

o       What actions have to be undertaken to realize a human centered Knowledge Society? The presentations in this World Summit parallel event will reflect the active stance towards human development supported by ICT expressed in its title. A Round Table session will provide concrete proposals for action.(4)

In the Forum on «Engineering the Knowledge Society»  the topics covered are:

o       Education

Lifelong Learning in the Knowledge Society

Collective intelligence and Capacity building in the Information Society – Social Engineering of the Knowledge Society

  • The e-Society Repository: An Open Tool to Build a Human Information Society
  • Preserving Information – Orality, Writing and Memory in a Human Society
  • Towards an indigenous Vision for the Information Society
  • Vulnerabilities of Information Technologies and their impact on the Information Society
  • Professional Deontology [i.e.theory on duties], self regulation and Ethics in the Information Society
  • Development in the Field Software Engineering Professionalism, standards and Best Practice
  • The Role of Professional Society in the Information Age
  • Managing ICT Skills Profiles
  • Enabling ICT Adoption in Developing e-Societies
  • Sustainable Development and Information Society (From Rio to Geneva
  • Impact of Future Technology on Society
  • Telemedicine for medical Capacity Building in Developing Countries:Experiences and Lessons Learned in Mali
  • Understanding and interpreting the Drivers of the Knowledge Economy
  • Networked Economy – Effects on organizational Development and the Role of Education
  • Beyond Information Society: the Revolution of non-tangible Assets Social Engineering of the Internet in Developing Areas

Recently it is observed, in relation to the term: “knowledge society” or “information society” or whatever; it is stated that:

“We in Western Europe can probably agree that we have left the industrial society. What, then, have we entered instead? Information society, service society or knowledge society are, I guess, the most commonly used designations for the stage we currently are in. What designation we think is right very likely depends on where we are.”(5)

And, further, it is observed :

“Journalists would say information society; McDonald’s would say service society. “Where you stand depends on where you sit,” as the British are fond of saying. It is a question of what you value the most, for none of them – information, service or knowledge – are anything new. They have always existed and will probably always exist; but other phenomena – agriculture, industry – have tended to dominate the interpretation of reality.”


“Hence it is not so much a matter of objective truth as of what interpretation is the most fulfilling when we have to choose the designation for the current conditions. Knowledge society can be a very suitable designation for most societies in Western Europe. It is naturally a matter of definition when a society has become a knowledge society. The easiest criterion is perhaps the price per pound of a nation’s export. The higher it is, the more knowledge there is in the product.”

It is also stated : “Calling Western Europe a knowledge society the fact that we don’t want to compete with the 3rd world – at least not on the 3rd world’s premises – and it assumes an increasing amount of knowledge in the products. We don’t even have to go very far. If there are to be room for the new EU members, we must necessarily ‘escape’ into a higher knowledge content in our products”. (6)

The we come to the question of what is “a learning society”?  It is seen in a number of perspectives. Among others it is seen as: Notions of the learning society gained considerable currency in policy debates in a number of countries since the appearance of Learning to Be:

If learning involves all of one’s life, in the sense of both time-span and diversity, and all of society, including its social and economic as well as its educational resources, then we must go even further than the necessary overhaul of ‘educational systems’ until we reach the stage of a learning society. (Faure et al 1972: xxxiii)

The notion has subsequently been wrapped up with the emergence of so called ‘post-industrial’ or ‘post-Fordist’ societies and linked to other notions such as lifelong learning and ‘the learning organization’ (see, in particular, the seminal work or Argyris and Schon 1978). It is an extra-ordinarily elastic term that provides politicians and policymakers with something that can seem profound, but on close inspection is largely vacuous. All societies need to be charactized by learning or else they will die!( in ” the theory and rhetoric of the learning society” in )

The writer Donald Schon concerning what is called  the loss of the stable state stated his views in his work  providing an early view on the matter, defining it, giving his contribution  (1963, 1967, 1973). He provided a theoretical framework linking the experience of living in a situation of an increasing change with the need for learning.

“The loss of the stable state means that our society and all of its institutions are in continuous processes of transformation. We cannot expect new stable states that will endure for our own lifetimes.

“We must learn to understand, guide, influence and manage these transformations. We must make the capacity for undertaking them integral to ourselves and to our institutions.

“We must, in other words, become adept at learning. We must become able not only to transform our institutions, in response to changing situations and requirements; we must invent and develop institutions which are ‘learning systems’, that is to say, systems capable of bringing about their own continuing transformation. (Schon 1973: 28)

One of his  innovations was to explore the extent to which companies, social movements and governments were learning systems – and how those systems could be enhanced. He suggests that the movement toward learning systems is, of necessity, ‘a groping and inductive process for which there is no adequate theoretical basis’ (ibid.: 57). The business firm, according to Donald Schon’s argument , was a striking example of a learning system. He charted how firms moved from being organized around products toward integration around ‘business systems’ (ibid.: 64). He made the case that many companies no longer have a stable base in the technologies of particular products or the systems build around them.

Then he  went on with Chris Argyris to develop a number of important concepts with regard to organizational learning. Of particular importance for later developments was their interest in feedback and single- and double-loop learning.

However, as Griffin and Brownhill (2001) have pointed out three other earlier conceptions of the learning society also repay attention.

Another writer to be noted  is Robert M. Hutchins writing on  the learning society. Hutchins, in a book first published in 1968, argued that a ‘learning society’ had become necessary. Education systems were no longer able to respond to the demands made upon them. Instead it was necessary to look toward the idea that learning was at the heart of change. ‘The two essential facts are… the increasing proportion of free time and the rapidity of change. The latter requires continuous education; the former makes it possible (1970: 130). He looked to ancient Athens for a model. There:

education was not a segregated activity, conducted for certain hours, in certain places, at a certain time of life. It was the aim of the society. The city educated the man. The Athenian was educated by culture, by paideia. (Hutchins 1970: 133)

Slavery made this possible – releasing citizens to participate in the life of the city. Hutchins’ argument was that ‘machines can do for modern man what slavery did for the fortunate few in Athens’ (op. cit.).

To the writer of this present paper, in the perspective of the Islamic tradition we can see the madinan prophetic model as representing every  clear example of this module of education not being a segregated activity but rather integrated into the very rhythm of life, and then further making it sacred as struggle in the path of Allah, and those who die in its path they die as martyrs in the path of Allah. (See the Chapter on Book of Knowledge of Ihya of al-Ghazali rd).

Torsten Husén, technology and the learning society. Torsten Husén argued that it would be necessary for states to become ‘learning societies’ – where knowledge and information lay at the heart of their activities.( ibid)

In relation to this concept of the “learning society” there is also the phenomenon of what is called  ‘knowledge explosion’. It is stated that ;”Among all the ‘explosions’ that have come into use as labels to describe rapidly changing Western society, the term ‘knowledge explosion’ is one of the most appropriate. Reference is often made to the ‘knowledge industry’, meaning both the producers of knowledge, such as research institutes, and its distributors, e.g. schools, mass media, book publishers, libraries and so on. What we have been witnessing since the mid-1960s in the field of distribution technology may well have begun to revolutionize the communication of knowledge within another ten years of so. (Husén 1974: 239)(ibid).

We can observe that Husén’s approach was futurological (where Hutchins was essentially based on classical humanism). The organizing principles of Husén’s vision of a relevant educational system have been summarized by Stewart Ranson (1998) and included:

Education as something becoming a lifelong process.

The big issue is that education will not have any fixed points of entry and ‘cut-off’ exits. It will become a more continuous process within formal education and in its role within other functions of human life.

It  will take on a more informal character as it becomes accessible to more and more individuals. In addition to ‘learning centers’, facilities will be provided for learning at home and at the workplace, for example by the provision of computer terminals apart from the conventional media available in the society.

In this new scenario formal education will become more meaningful and relevant in its application in life and work.

It is stated ‘[t]o an ever-increasing extent, the education system will become dependent on large supporting organizations or supporting systems… to produce teaching aids, systems of information processing and multi-media instructional materials’ (Husén 1974: 198-9)

Husén’s vision was based ‘upon projections from current trends in communications technology and the likely consequences of these for knowledge, information and production’ (Griffin and Brownhill 2001: 58. Significantly, these predictions have largely come true.(ibid)

Roger Boshier, adult education and the learning society. Boshier argued for an integrated model of education that allowed for participation throughout a person’s lifetime. Influenced by more radical and democratic writers like Freire, Illich and Goodman, and his appreciation of economic and social change, Boshier looked to the democratic possibilities of a learning society.

When we turn to current explorations of the learning society it is possible to discern the various strands developed by these writers: technological, cultural and democratic. (The philosophical underpinning of these models is discussed by Griffin and Brownhill 2001). However, it is the technological that appears to have become dominant in many policy documents.

There are a number of salient points which can be taken into consideration about the current models of the learning society. Among these points are (ibid):

The learning society can be seen  as an aspiration and as a description It is seen as something that is necessary if states and regions are to remain competitive within an increasingly globalized economy.
It may be sought after as a means of improving individual and communal well-being.-with  three key strands in  discourses around the notion of a learning society in which there is a shift from a focus on the provision of learning opportunities to one on learning.
The first is portrayed as a product of modernism,
the third as exhibiting a typically post-modern orientation.
The second strand, with its emphasis on markets, economic imperatives and individual achievement, has been argued as something which  currently dominates the scenario.
an educated society, committed to active citizenship, liberal democracy and equal opportunities.
supports lifelong learning within the social policy frameworks of post-Second World War social democracies. The aim is to provide learning opportunities to educate adults to meet the challenges of change and citizenship. This has happened in Europe.
A learning society is a learning market, enabling institutions to provide services for individuals as a condition for supporting the competitiveness of the economy.
This supports lifelong learning within the economic policy framework should be adopted by  governments
The aim being a market in learning opportunities to be developed to meet the demands of individuals and employers for the updating of skills and competences.
Support for this conception has to come also from employers’ bodies and modernizing policy think-tanks  in response to economic uncertainty. The usefulness or performativity of education and training becomes a guiding criterion.
learning society is one in which learners adopt a learning approach to life, drawing on a wide range of resources to enable them to support their lifestyle practices. This supports lifelong learning as a condition of individuals in the contemporary period to which policy needs to respond. This conception of a learning society formulates the latter as a series of overlapping learning networks…  and is implicit to much of the writing on post-modernity with its emphasis on the contingent, the ephemeral and heterogeneity.
It can be  argued that the  learning society idea can provide us with a helpful way of making sense of the shifts required in the context of the profound changes associated with globalization and other dynamics of social and economic change of the present scenario in human affairs.(ibid).

The above features concerning a learning society are in harmony with the Islam ideal and tradition, and they provide opportunities as well as challenges –whichever way we look at them- to learners, educators, and polici makers.

In the talk entitled : “Knowledge Work and Knowledge Society The Social Transformations of this Century” Peter F. Drucker, with whose important name  this term ‘knowledge society” is closely linked, on May 4, 1994(7) made a number of important observations.

In talking about the emergence of the “knowledge workers”, and hence from the “the knowledge society”, Peter Drucker observes:

“These are unprecedented developments, profoundly affecting social structure, community, government, economics and politics. What is even more astonishing and even less precedented is the rise of the group which is fast replacing both history’s traditional groups and the groups of industrial society; the group which is fast becoming the center of gravity of the working population; the group, incidentally, which is fast becoming the largest single group (though by no means a majority) in the work force and population of post-industrial society and in every developed country: knowledge workers.

Concerning the emergence of ‘knowledge society’ he says:

“Knowledge workers, even though only a large minority of the work force, already give the emerging knowledge society its character, its leadership, its central challenges and its social profile. They may not be the ruling class of the knowledge society, but they already are its leading class. In their characteristics, their social positions, their values and their expectations, they differ fundamentally from any group in history that has ever occupied the leading, let along the dominant position.

“In the first place, the knowledge worker gains access to  work, job and social position through formal education.

[In stressing the importance of formal education for access to work and social position he states]“A great deal of knowledge work will require high manual skill and substantial work with one’s hands. An extreme example is the neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon’s performance capacity rests on formal education and theoretical knowledge. Absence of manual skill disqualifies one for work as a neurosurgeon. Manual skill alone, no matter how advanced, will never enable anyone to be a neurosurgeon. The formal education that is required for knowledge work is education that can only be acquired in and through formal schooling. It cannot be acquired through apprenticeship.

He continues speaking in the same vein about the strong points of such a society with the necessary preparations in knowledge and the infrastructure: first implication of this is that education will become the center of the knowledge society and schooling its key institution. What knowledge mix is required for everyone? What is quality in learning and teaching? All these will, of necessity, become central concerns of the knowledge society and central political issues. In fact, it may not be too fanciful to anticipate that the acquisition and distribution of formal knowledge will come to occupy the place in the politics of the knowledge society which acquisition and distribution of property and income have occupied in the two or three centuries which we have come to call the Age of Capitalism.

He goes on giving his observations on this issue:

“Paradoxically, this may not necessarily mean that the school as we know it will become more important. For, in the knowledge society, clearly more and more of knowledge, and especially of advanced knowledge, will be acquired well past the age of formal schooling, and increasingly, perhaps, in and through educational processes which do not center on the traditional school, e.g. systematic continuing education offered at the place of employment. But, at the same time, there is very little doubt that the performance of the schools and the basic values of the schools will increasingly become of concern to society as a whole, rather than be considered professional matters that can be left to the educator.

And then concerning the image and character of the educated person in the “knowledge society” he observes:”We can also predict with high probability that we will redefine what it means to be an educated person. Traditionally and especially during the last two hundred years at least in the West (and since about that time in Japan as well) an educated person was someone who shared a common stock of formal knowledge what the Germans called Allgemeine Bildung and the English ( and following them, the nineteenth- century Americans) called the liberal arts. Increasingly, an educated person, will be someone who has learned how to learn, and throughout his or her lifetime continues to learn, especially in and out of formal education.

And concerning the dangers in the concept of the educated person as previously understood he observes: “There are obvious dangers to this. Society can easily degenerate into one in which the emphasis is on formal degrees rather than on performance capacity. It can easily degenerate into one of totally sterile, Confucian-type Mandarins a danger to which the American university, particularly, is singularly susceptible. It can, on the other hand, also fall prey to overvaluing immediately usable, practical knowledge, and underrate the importance of fundamentals and of wisdom altogether.

And considering the possible danger of new class conflict in the new scenario he states: “This society, in which knowledge workers dominate, is in danger of a new class conflict: the conflict between the large minority of knowledge workers and the majority of people who will make their living through traditional ways, either by manual work, whether skilled or unskilled, or by services work, whether skilled or unskilled. The productivity of knowledge work still abysmally low will predictably become the economic challenge of the knowledge society. On it will depend the competitive position of every country, industry and institution within society. The productivity of the non- knowledge services worker will increasingly become the social challenge to the knowledge society. On it will depend the ability of the knowledge society to give decent incomes and with them dignity and status to non-knowledge people.

He observes that  in the past no earlier society  faced such challenges as mentioned above.

Concerning the new opportunities in the new society open to all , he states:”Equally new are the opportunities of the knowledge society. In the knowledge society, for the first time in history, access to leadership is open to all.

“Equally, access to the acquisition of knowledge will no longer be dependent on obtaining a prescribed education at any given age. Learning will become the tool of the individual available to him or her at any age if only because so much of skill and knowledge can be acquired by means of the new learning technologies.

And further:

“Another implication is that the performance of an individual, an organization, an industry or a country in acquiring and applying knowledge will increasingly become the key competitive factor for career and earnings opportunities of individuals; for the performance, if not the survival of the individual organization; or of an industry, and for a country. The knowledge society will inevitably become far more competitive than any society we have yet known for the simple reason that with knowledge being universally accessible there are no excuses for nonperformance. There will be no poor countries. There will only be ignorant countries.

He continues giving his observations on the new developed society with the challenges and opportunities as follows:

“The same will be true for individual companies, individual industries, and individual organizations of any kind. It will be true for the individual, too. In fact, developed societies have already become infinitely more competitive for the individual than were the societies of the early twentieth century let alone earlier societies, those of the nineteenth or eighteenth centuries. Then most people had no opportunity to rise out of the class into which they were born, with most individuals following their fathers in their work and in their station in life.

He would like too use the term ‘knowledges’ for the new phenomenon in this new development in human culture. He says:“I have been speaking of knowledge. But the proper term is knowledges. For the knowledge of the knowledge society is fundamentally different from what was considered knowledge in earlier societies, and, in fact, from what is still widely considered knowledge. The knowledge of the German Allgemeine Bildung or of the Anglo-American liberal arts had little to do with one s life work. It focused on the person and the person s development, rather than on any application both nineteenth-century Allgemeine Bildung and liberal arts prided themselves on having no utility whatsoever. In the knowledge society, knowledge basically exists only in application.

And arguing for the new form of knowledge in terms of application, he observes:”Knowledge in application is, by definition, highly specialized which was why Plato s Socrates some 2500 years ago, refused to accept it as knowledge and considered it mere techne, that is, mere skill.

And concerning some knowledge requiring a limited amount of knowledge compared to others, he observes:

“Some knowledge work requires a fairly limited amount of knowledge examples are some paramedical technologists, the X-ray technologist, the technologist in the clinical laboratory, or the pulmonary technologist. Other knowledge work requires far more advanced theoretical knowledge, e.g., most of the knowledge work required in business, whether in market research; in product planning; in designing manufacturing systems; in advertising and promotion; in purchasing. In some areas the knowledge base is vast indeed, as in neurosurgery and in a good many areas of management, e.g., managing a major hospital, a big and complex university, or a multinational enterprise.

“Whatever the base, knowledge in application is specialized. It is always specific, and therefore not applicable to anything else. Nothing the X-ray technician needs to know can be applied to market research, for instance, or to teaching medieval history.

Concerning the central work-force in  the knowledge society, he observes:

“The central work force in the knowledge society will, therefore, consist of highly specialized people. In fact, it is a mistake to speak of generalists. What we mean by that term, increasingly, will be people who have learned how to acquire additional specialties, and especially to acquire rapidly the specialized knowledge needed for them to move from one kind of work and job to another, e.g., from being a market researcher into general management, or from being a nurse in a hospital into hospital administration. But generalists in the sense in which we used to talk of them are becoming dilettantes rather than educated people.

“This too is new. Historically, workers were generalists. They did whatever had to be done on the farm, in the household and in the craftsman s shop. This was true of the industrial worker as well. Manufacturing industry only expanded and became dominant when it learned to take the specialized skill out of the work. This was when it converted the skilled craftsmen of preindustrial times into the semiskilled or unskilled machine operator of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Concerning knowledge workers as specialists, he states:

“But knowledge workers, whether their knowledge be primitive or advanced, whether there be a little of it or a great deal, will, by definition, be specialized. Knowledge in application is effective only when it is specialized. Indeed, it is more effective the more highly specialized it is. This goes for the technicians, e.g., the person who services a computer, an X-ray machine or the engine of a fighter plan.1 But it equally applies to work that requires the most advanced knowledge, whether research into genetics or astrophysics or putting on the first performance of a new opera.

“As said before: the shift from knowledge to knowledges offers tremendous opportunities to the individual. It makes possible a career as a knowledge worker. But it equally presents a great many new problems and challenges. It demands for the first time in history that people with knowledge take responsibility for making themselves understood by people who do not have the same knowledge base. It requires that people learn and preferably early how to assimilate into their own work specialized knowledges from other areas and other disciplines.

“This is particularly important as innovation in any one knowledge area tends to originate outside the area itself. This is true in respect to products and processes where, in sharp contrast to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, innovations now tend to arise outside the industry or process itself. It is true just as much in scientific knowledge and in scholarship. The new approaches to the study of history have, for instance, come out of economics, psychology and archeology all disciplines that historians never considered relevant to their field and to which they had rarely before been exposed.


Concerning this he observes:”That the knowledge in the knowledge society has to be highly specialized to be productive implies two new requirements: 1. knowledge workers work in teams; and 2. knowledge workers have to have access to an organization which, in most cases, means that knowledge workers have to be employees of an organization.

“There is a great deal of talk these days about teams and team work. Most of it starts out with the wrong assumption, namely, that we never before worked in teams. Actually, people have always worked in teams very few people ever could work effectively by themselves. The farmer had to have a wife, and the farm wife had to have a husband. The two worked as a team. Both worked as a team with their employees, the hired hands. The craftsman also had to have a wife, with whom he worked as a team he took care of the craft work, she took care of the customers and the business altogether. Both worked as a team with the journeymen and apprentices. The present discussion also assumes that there is only one kind of team. Actually there are quite a few.2 But until now the emphasis has been on the individual worker and not on the team. With knowledge work being the more effective the more specialized it is, teams become the actual work unit rather than the individual himself.

Concerning the importance of team-work in the new society and the importance of new kinds of teams for various kinds of work he states: “The team that is being touted now as the team I call it the jazz combo team is only one kind of team. It is actually the most difficult kind of team, and the team that requires the longest time to gain performance capacity.

“We will have to learn to use different kinds of teams for different purposes. We will have to learn to understand teams and this is something to which, so far, very little attention has been paid. The understanding of teams, the performance capacities of different kinds of teams; their strengths; their limitations; the trade-offs between various kinds of teams, thus, increasingly, will become central concerns in the performance of people.

And in this new scenario the individual knowledge worker has got to learn the capability to be able to switch over to new kinds of teams :“The individual knowledge worker will also have to learn something that today practically no one has learned: how to switch from one kind of team to another; how to integrate one s self into a team; what to expect of a team; and, in turn, what to contribute to a team.

“The ability to diagnose what kind of team a certain kind of knowledge work requires for full effectiveness, and the ability, then, to organize such a team and integrate oneself into it, will increasingly become a requirement for effectiveness as a knowledge worker. So far, it is not taught or learned anywhere (except in a few research labs). So far, very few executives in any kind of organization even realize that it is their job, to a large extent, to decide what kind of team is needed for a given job, how to organize it and how to make it effective. We are now in the very early stages of work on teams, their characteristics, their specifications, their performance characteristics and their appraisal.

“Equally important is the second implication of the fact that knowledge workers are, of necessity, specialists: the need for them to work as members of an organization. It is only the organization that can provide the basic continuity which knowledge workers need to be effective. It is only the organization that can convert the specialized knowledge of the knowledge worker into performance.

“By itself, specialized knowledge yields no performance. The surgeon is not effective unless there is a diagnosis, which, by and large, is not the surgeon s task and not even within the surgeon s competence. Market researchers, by themselves, produce only data. To convert the data into information, let alone to make them effective in knowledge action, requires marketing people, sales people, production people and service people. As a loner in research and writing, the historian can be very effective. However, to produce the education of students, a great many other specialists have to contribute people whose specialty may be literature, mathematics or other areas of history. This requires the specialist to have access to an organization.

“This access may be as a consultant. It may be as a provider of specialized services. For the overwhelming majority of knowledge workers it will be as employees of an organization full-time or part-time whether it be a government agency, a hospital, a university, a business, a labor union or hundreds of other types of organizations. In the knowledge society, it is not the individual who performs. The individual is a cost center rather than a performance center. It is the organization that performs. The individual physician may have a great deal of knowledge. But the physician is impotent without the knowledge provided by a host of other scientific disciplines, i.e., physics, chemistry, genetics, etc. The physician cannot function without the test results produced by a host of diagnosticians that run the imaging machines whether X-ray or ultrasound, making and interpreting blood tests, administering brain scans, etc. The hospital is the lifeline to the physician. It administers the services to critically ill patients, and provides the physical and/or psychiatric rehabilitation without which there would be no full recovery. To provide any of these services, whether the electrocardiogram, the analysis of the blood samples, the magnetic resonance imaging or the exercises of the physical therapist, physicians need access to the organization of the hospital, that is, to a highly structured enterprise, organized to operate in perpetuity.

Then concerning what he calls the ‘employee society’ he observes:

“The knowledge society is an employee society. Traditional society, or, society before the rise of the manufacturing enterprise and the blue-collar manufacturing worker, was not a society of independents. Thomas Jefferson s society of independent, small farmers each being the owner of his own family farm and farming it without any help except that of his wife and his children, was never much more than a fantasy. Most people in history were dependents. But they did not work for an organization. They were working for an owner, as slaves, as serfs, as hired hands on the farm; as journeymen and apprentices in the craftsmen s shops; as shop assistants and salespeople for a merchant; as domestic servants, free or unfree, and so on. They worked for a master. When blue-collar work in manufacturing first arose they still worked for a master.

“In Dickens s great 1854 novel of a bitter labor conflict in a cotton mill (Hard Times), the workers worked for an owner. They did not work for the factory. Only late in the nineteenth century did the factory rather than the owner become the employer. And only in the twentieth century did the corporation, rather than the factory, then become the employer. Only in this century has the master been replaced by a boss, who, himself, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, is an employee and has a boss himself.

“Knowledge workers will be both employees who have a boss, and bosses who have employees. Organizations were not known to yesterday s social science, and are, by and large, not yet known to today s social science. The great German sociologist, Ferdinand Toennies (1855-1936), in his 1888 book Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (Community and Society) classified the known forms of human organization as being either community, which is organic, and fate, or society, which is a structure and very largely under social control. He never talked of organization. Nor did any of the other sociologists of the nineteenth or early twentieth century. But organization is neither community nor society, although it partakes of some characteristics of each. It is not fate. Membership in an organization is always freely chosen. One joins a company or a government agency or the teaching staff of a university. One is not born into it. And one can always leave one could only emigrate from traditional communities. It is not society, either, especially as it does not embrace the totality of its members. The director of market research in a company is also a member of half a dozen other organizations. She may belong to a church, to a tennis club, and may well spend especially if an American five hours a week as a volunteer for a local nonprofit organization, e.g., as a leader of a Girl Scout troop. Organizations, in other words, are not true collectives. They are tools, i.e., means to an end.

“There have been earlier organizations. The professional military as it arose after the seventeenth century was an organization; it was neither a society nor a community. The modern university, as it emerged after the foundation of the University of Berlin in 1809, was an organization.

“Faculty members freely joined and could always leave. The same can be said for the Civil Service as it arose in the eighteenth century, first in France, then on the European continent, and finally in late nineteenth century in Great Britain and Meiji, Japan (though not until 1933 or World War II in the United States). But these earlier organizations were still seen as exceptions. The first organization in the modern sense, the first that was seen as being prototypical rather than exceptional, was surely the modern business enterprise as it emerged after 1870 which is the reason why, to this day, most people think of management, that is of the organi-zation s specific organ, as being business management.

With the appearance of the knowledge society and the society becoming a society of organizations he observes:“With the emergence of the knowledge society, society has become a society of organizations. Most of us work in and for an organization, and we are dependent for our effectiveness and equally for our living on access to an organization whether as an organization s employee or as a provider of services to an organization, as a lawyer, for instance, or a freight forwarder. More and more of these supporting services to organizations are, themselves, organized as organizations. The first law firm was organized in the U.S. a little over a century ago until then lawyers practiced as individuals. In Europe there were no law firms to speak of until after World War II. Today, the practice of law is increasingly done in larger and larger partnerships. It is also true, especially in the U.S., of the practice of medicine. The knowledge society is a society of organizations in which practically every single task is being performed in and through an organization.

Concerning the question what is an employee, he  remarks as follows:

“Most knowledge workers will spend most if not all of their working life as employees. The meaning of the term is different from what it has been, traditionally and not only in English but in German, Spanish, or Japanese as well.

“Individually, knowledge workers are dependent on the job. They receive a wage or salary. They are being hired and can be fired. Legally, each is an employee, but, collectively, they are the only capitalists. Increasingly, through their pension funds and through their other savings (e.g., in the U.S. through mutual funds), the employees own the means of production. In traditional economics and by no means only in Marxist economics there is a sharp distinction between the wage fund all of which goes into consumption and the capital fund. Most social theory of industrial society is based, one way or another, on the relationship between the two, whether in conflict or in necessary and beneficial cooperation and balance. In the knowledge society, the two merge. The pension fund is deferred wage and, as such, a wage fund. It is also increasingly the main source of capital, if not the only source of capital, for the knowledge society.

“Equally important, perhaps more important: in the knowledge society the employees, that is knowledge workers, again own the tools of production. Marx s great insight was the realization that the factory worker does not and cannot own the tools of production and therefore has to be alienated. There was no way, Marx pointed out, for the worker to own the steam engine and to be able to take the steam engine with himself when moving from one job to another. The capitalist had to own the steam engine and had to control it. Increasingly, the true investment in the knowledge society is not in machines and tools. It is in the knowledge of the knowledge worker. Without it, the machines, no matter how advanced and sophisticated, are unproductive.

“The market researcher needs a computer. But increasingly this is the researcher s own personal computer, and a cheap tool the market researcher takes along wherever he or she goes. And the true capital equipment of market research is the knowledge of markets, of statistics, and of the application of market research to business strategy, which is lodged between the researchers ears and is their exclusive and inalienable property. The surgeon needs the operating room of the hospital and all of its expensive capital equipment. But the surgeon s true capital investment is the twelve or fifteen years of training and the resulting knowledge which the surgeon takes from one hospital to the next. Without that knowledge, the hospital s expensive operating rooms are so much waste and scrap.

“This is true whether the knowledge worker commands advanced knowledge like the surgeon, or simple and fairly elementary knowledge like the junior accountant. In either case, it is the knowledge investment that determines whether the employee is productive or not, rather than the tools, machines and capital the organization furnishes. The industrial worker needed the capitalist infinitely more than the capitalist needed the industrial worker the basis for Marx s assertion that there would always be a surplus of industrial workers, and an industrial reserve army which would make sure that wages could not possibly rise above the subsistence level (probably Marx s most egregious error). In the knowledge society the most probable assumption and certainly the assumption on which all organizations have to conduct their affairs is that they need the knowledge worker far more than the knowledge worker needs them. It is the organization s job to market its knowledge jobs so as to obtain knowledge workers in adequate quantity and superior quality. The relationship increasingly is one of interdependence, with the knowledge worker having to learn what the organization needs, but with the organization also having to learn what the knowledge workers needs, requires and expects.

“Because its work is based on knowledge, the knowledge organization is altogether not one of superiors and subordinates.

Using the symphony orchestra as the prototype for the new situation, he remarks:“The prototype is the symphony orchestra. The first violin may be the most important in the orchestra. But the first violinist is not the superior of the harp player. He is a colleague. The harp part is the harp player s part and not delegated to her by either the conductor or the first violinist.

“There was endless debate in the Middle Ages about the hierarchy of knowledges, with philosophy claiming to be the queen of knowledges. We long ago gave up that moot argument. There is no higher knowledge and no lower knowledge. When the patient s complaint is an ingrown toenail the podiatrist s knowledge controls, and not that of the brain surgeon even though the brain surgeon represents many more years of training and gets a much larger fee. Conversely, if an executive is posted to a foreign country, the knowledge he or she needs, and in a hurry, is the fairly low skill of acquiring fluency in a foreign language something every native of that country has mastered by age two without any great investment. The knowledge of the knowledge society, precisely because it is knowledge only when applied in action, derives its rank and standing from the situation and not from its knowledge content. What is knowledge, in other words, in one situation, e.g., the knowledge of Korean for the American executive posted to Seoul, is only information, and not very relevant information at that, when the same executive a few years later has to think through his company s market strategy for Korea. This, too, is new. Knowledges were always seen as fixed stars, so to speak, each occupying its own position in the universe of knowledge. In the knowledge society, knowledges are tools and, as such, dependent for their importance and position on the task to be performed.

“One final conclusion: Because the knowledge society perforce has to be a society of organizations, its central and distinctive organ is management.

“When we first began to talk of management, the term meant business management for large-scale business was the first of the new organizations to become visible. But we have learned in this last half-century that management is the distinctive organ of all organizations. All of them require management whether they use the term or not. All managers do the same things whatever the business of their organization. All of them have to bring people each of them possessing a different knowledge together for joint performance. All of them have to make human strengths productive in performance and human weaknesses irrelevant.

“All of them have to think through what are results in the organization and all of them have to define objectives. All of them are responsible to think through what I call the theory of the business, that is, the assumptions on which the organization bases its performance and actions, and equally, the assumptions on which organizations decide what things not to do.

“All of them require an organ that thinks through strategies, that is, the means through which the goals of the organization become performance. All of them have to define the values of the organization, its system of rewards and punishments, and its spirit and its culture. In all of them, managers need both the knowledge of management as work and discipline, and the knowledge and understanding of the organization itself, its purposes, its values, its environment and markets, its core competencies.

“Management as a practice is very old. The most successful executive in all history was surely that Egyptian who, 4,000 years or more ago, first conceived the pyramid without any precedent designed and built it, and did so in record time. Unlike any other work of man, that first pyramid still stands. But as a discipline, management is barely fifty years old. It was first dimly perceived around the time of World War I. It did not emerge until World War II, and then primarily in the United States. Since then, it has been the fastest growing new function, and its study the fastest growing new discipline. No function in history has emerged as fast as management and managers have done so in the last fifty to sixty years, and surely none has had such worldwide sweep in such a short period. Management, in most business schools, is still taught as a bundle of techniques, e.g., budgeting or organization development. To be sure, management, like any other work, has its own tools, and its own techniques. But just as the essence of medicine is not the urine analysis, the essence of management is not technique or procedure. The essence of management is to make knowledges productive. Management, in other words, is a social function. And, in its practice, management is truly a liberal art.

Without going further, we can mention  a number of points about the understanding of this knowledge society. Among these are:

  • the discovery and the intensive use of the new technology, the information and communication technology (ICT)
  • the necessity for greater interaction with other nations, cultures and regions of the world
  • the necessity for an attitude of openness, interaction, assimilation, absorption, revision, criticism and examination which will prompt creative knowledge  production in  societies
  • the attitude of society characterized by being descriptive and perspective, with readiness for positive change and  involving  analysis of the current state of education, scientific research, the media, the publishing industry, culture encompassing religion, intellectual heritage and the use of the national  language, and other building blocks of a “knowledge society”
  • people should be educated to be concerned about construction of a viable “knowledge society” which in turn requires effective economic, social and political institutions, involving solutions for negative attitudes and situations related to ideologies, societal structures and values that inhabit critical thinking, which cut off Muslims and others from their knowledge rich heritage and block the free flow of ideas and learning
  • People should be trained and educated so that they will be involved actively in the production and dissemination of knowledge and the various forms of creative activity that are the foundations for the knowledge society in the country..
  • the discussion about knowledge will involve  “engineering the ‘knowledge society’,  which may involve the issue of   Information technology supporting human development , since,  Information Technology (or Information and Communication Technology) cannot be seen as a separate phenomenon in human culture; it should be seen as a tool for helping human development and has  be taken into account when engineering the Knowledge Society.
  • This will involve  issues of life-long learning,   e-inclusion, ethics and social impact, engineering profession, developing

e-society, economy and e-Society.

And the question: What actions have to be undertaken to realize a human centered Knowledge Society? Is of utmost importance for the realization of the objective.

In relation to quality of life, we can begin to see this issue in relation to concept of knowledge which is of collective obligation (fard kifayah). Imam al-Ghazali  observes in the ‘Ihya’ as follows:((8)


Know, 0 dear readers, that learning about the duties are divided into two categories – those which are connected with religion and those which are not so connected. The religions learning are those which came from the Holy Prophets and in which there is no question of intellect, and the learnings that are not connected with the religion are Mathematics, Medicine etc. They are of three kinds – praiseworthy, blameworthy and permissible. The sciences which are necessary for progress in the world are praiseworthy, such as Medicine, Mathematics etc. These are Farz Kifayah or binding on the community as a whole. Fard Kifayah is such compulsory duty without which no nation can go on in this world. If a man at least acquires such learning or science in a town or locality, all other people in the town or locality get absolved from its sin. If, however nobody learns it, all will be transgressors. The sciences which should be learnt for agriculture, administration, industry, horticulture, weaving etc. are Fard Kifayah. To be expert in such learnings is not Fard Kifayah. The learnings which are blameworthy are sorcery, talismanic science juggling, gambling and the like. The branches of knowledge which are permissible are poetry, history, geography, biology etc.

All learning connected with the religion is praiseworthy, but when any other learning is mixed with any of them, it  becomes sometimes blameworthy. The praiseworthy branches of learning comprise sources and branches helpful and supplementary to those disciplines of learning. They are therefore of four kinds.

1) Sources of religious learning are four in number (a) the Book of God, the Sunnah or usages of the Holy Prophet, the unanimous opinions of Muslim jurists (Ijma) and the sayings of companions. Ijma is the third source of Islam as it shows the path towards the usages of the Prophet. The first source is the Quran and the second is the Sunnah. The fourth source is the sayings of the companions because they saw the Prophet, witnessed the coming down to revelations and they saw what others did not see through their association with the Prophet.

2) Branches of learning of religion are drawn from the sources not according to the literal meaning but according to the meaning adduced by the mind, thereby writing the understanding as indicated by the following Hadith: A judge shall not sit in judgment when angry. This means that he shall not pass judgment when he is pressed by calls of nature, hunger and disease. The last thing is of two kinds. One kind relates to the activities of the world, such as the books of law and is entrusted to the lawyers and jurisprudent; and the other kind relates to the activities of the hereafter. The latter is the science of the conditions of the heart and of its praiseworthy virtues and blameworthy evils.

3) The third is the sciences helpful to the praiseworthy sciences such as the science of language and grammar which are necessary to know the Quran and Sunnah. They are not themselves religious education. They were not necessary for the Holy Prophet as he was illiterate.

4) The fourth kind is the supplementary sciences and is connected with pronunciation of words and different readings and meanings, such as tafsir, knowledge of revocation of verses, books on authoritative transmission, biographies of illustrious companions and narrators of traditions.

These are the religious learning and are praiseworthy and as such Fard Kifayah or binding on the community as a whole.(9)

In discussing the importance of knowledge in relation to human life, al-Ghazali states in the Ihya’ as follows:

“The affairs of this world do not become orderly except through activities, but the human activities are divided into three categories. 1) The first category includes four fundamental activities without which the world can not go on in order. (i) Agriculture for raising food stuffs for maintaining lives, weaving for manufacturing clothes, architecture for building houses and government for regulating human relations for living in peace and harmony. 2) The second category includes such activities as are helpful to the above mentioned activities, such as iron crafts or ploughs for cultivation, instruments for spinning and weaving clothes and other implements. 3) The third category includes such activities as are supplementary to the principal industries previously mentioned, such as eating, drinking, making dresses, sewing clothes.
”These activities are necessary for human habitation just as the various organs of the body are necessary for up-keep of the human body. The organs of the body also are divided into three categories – 1) The fundamental organs, such as heart, liver and brain. 2) What is helpful to these principal organs are stomach, veins, and back-bone without which they can not function. 3) What is supplementary to the above two categories for perfection are nails, fingers, eye brows etc. Out of these three categories, the most noble are the fundamental things, out of which the most noble is government on account of which peaceful habitation becomes possible. For this reason, experienced and expert men are necessary to run the government.

Administration is divided into four classes.

  1. The first class is the highest as it is the government of the prophets and their jurisdiction spread over the public and private matters of the people.
  2. Next is the administration of temporal rulers over the public matters of the people and not their private matters.
  3. Next is the administration of the learned and the wise over the people in the matter of the religion of God as they are the heirs of the prophets. It involves thoughts of the privileged few.
  4. Next is the administration of the preachers which involves the thoughts of the common men. After the administration of the prophets, the most noble is the diffusion of knowledge whereby the people are saved from evil and destructive habits and are led towards fortune and constructive virtues.

This is the goal of knowledge and education.

Intellectual activities are more excellent than the other activities, because the excellence of an activity is known by three things –

  1. by examining the natural qualities of a man by the help of which an activity is recognised. For instance, acquisition of knowledge is better than learning a language as knowledge can be acquired by intellect, while language can be learnt through the sense of hearing. As intellect is better than the sense of hearing, so knowledge is better than language.
  2. By examining the extent of human usefulness, for instance, agriculture is superior to the craft of a goldsmith.
  3. By observing the excellence of a business, for instance, the business of a goldsmith is better than that of tanning hides.

Knowledge also has got the above three qualities.”

The inculcation of the various useful sciences will lead to the preservation of which will be instrumental in the preservation of the fundamentals of human life in the Islamic discourse on philosophy of law or jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh).

In discussing the five necessities in human life which are considered as the five aims preserved by the sacred law are  termed as the al-kulliyat al-khamsah or also termed as the daruriyyat al-Shatibi mentions religion, self,  intellect, progeny, wealth.In the al-Muwafaqat (I.38,II.10, IV.27)  the author mentions the necessities in the following order:  religion, life (nafs), progeny, wealth, and intellect.  In the al-I’tisam (II.179 and al-Muwafaqat II.299)  the mention is in the following order: religion, life, progeny, wealth, and intellect.Al-Zarkashi mentions these in the following order: life, wealth, progeny, religion, and intellect.Al-Ghazali in the al-Mustashfa, I.258 mentions these in the order: religion, life, intellect, progeny, and wealth.Al-Ghazali’s  opinion seems to be more acceptable. Whatever the order is, the issue of progeny and its importance is accepted by scholars of Islamic jurisprudence. Abdullah Darraz in his commentary of the al-Muwafaqat II.153 mentions that the view of al-Ghazali is adopted  by most scholars. Hence, in the matter of these daruriyyat the matter of religion is the first, then life, then the intellect, then progeny, then wealth.

Therefore we can state that these are the necessities of life determined by Islamic discourse in its philosophy of law.

In relation to this, we can find reformulation of such needs in the duties of the caliph in the Sunni  theory of the caliphate.This is clear  the Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyyah of al-Mawardi.(10)

These duties include: the preservation of the religion according to the original principles;  carrying out justice between parties involved in litigations in the state; the implementation of the laws and regulations of the religion  including punishments for crimes;  preserving the security of life for women in families so that people can carry out their business of looking for livelihood in peace; safeguarding the boundaries of the country so that people are secured; collecting revenue for the state according to the proper rules and regulations; putting proper people in charge of their duties in the state so that proper functioning of the  administration is maintained; paying of salaries in the proper time neither too late nor too early; carrying out the jihad in cases where situations demand; and inspecting the administration so that all run smoothly.

To these can be added the other duties of the state which are for the welfare of the subjects.

Then concerning “human rights” which constitute the essential aspect of human quality of life in Islam, there are several observations which can be made. Among these are as follows:

We can begin with several basic concepts of the Islamic worldview. Since God is the absolute and the sole master of men and the universe, and since He has given each man human dignity and honor, and breathed into him something of His own spirit, it follows that men are essentially the same. In fact, the only differences between them are such artificial ones as nationality, color, or race. Thus, all human beings are equal and form one universal community that is united in its submission and obedience to God.

And we can observe that at the centre of this universal brotherhood is the Islamic confession of the oneness of God and that, by extension, includes the oneness and brotherhood of humanity and hence an Islamic state may be established anywhere. While the state is geographically limited, the human rights and privileges granted to humanity by God are not. The Qur’an states that these are universal and fundamental, and that all individuals are to enjoy and observe them under all circumstances-including war-regardless of whether he is living in the geographical confines of an Islamic state or not:

The Qur’an asserts clearly:

O believers, be you securers of justice, witness for God. Let not detestation for a people move you not to be equitable; be equitable-that is nearer to God-fearing.(11) (5:8)

And then from  the last sermon of the Prophet in the Farewell pilgrimage in the year before his demise we can learn a number of important matters; among these are:human blood is sacred in any case and cannot be spilled without justification. Violating this rule is equivalent to killing all of humanity.

The text of the sermon is as follows:

After praising, and thanking Allah (The One True God) the Prophet began with the words:

“O People! lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore, listen carefully to what I am saying and Take These Words to Those Who Could Not Be Present Here Today.

“O People! just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that he will indeed reckon your deeds.

“Allah has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligations shall henceforth be waived. Your capital is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has Judged that there shall be no interest and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib (Prophet’s uncle) be waived.

“Every right arising out of homicide in pre-Islamic days is henceforth waived and the first such right that I waive is that arising from the murder of Rabiah ibn al-Harithiah.

“O Men! the unbelievers indulge in tampering with the calender in order to make permissible that which Allah forbade, and to prohibit which Allah has made permissible. With Allah the months are twelve in number. Four of them are holy, three of these are successive and one occurs singly between the months of Jumada and Shaban.

“Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope of that he will be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

“O People! it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.

“O People! listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers, fast during month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat (obligatory charity). Perform Hajj if you can afford to.

“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.

“Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

“O People! No Prophet or Apostle Will Come after Me and No New Faith Will Be Born. Reason well, therefore, O People! and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur’an and my Sunnah (i.e., sayings, deeds, and approvals) and if you follow these you will never go astray.

“All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly.

“Be my witness O Allah, that I have conveyed your message to your people.”

As part of this sermon, the Prophet recited them a Revelation from Allah which he had just received and which completed the Qur’an, for it was the last passage to be revealed:

This day the disbelievers despair of prevailing against your religion, so fear them not, but fear Me (Allah)! This day have I perfected for you your religion and fulfilled My favor unto you, and it hath been My good pleasure to choose Islam for you as your religion (Surah 5, Ayah 3).

The sermon was repeated sentence by sentence by Safwan’s brother Rabiah (RA), who had a powerful voice, at the request of the Prophet and he faithfully proclaimed to over ten thousand gathered on the occasion. Toward the end of his sermon, the Prophet asked “O people, have I faithfully delivered unto you my message?” A powerful murmur of assent “O Allah, yes!”, arose from thousands of pilgrims and the vibrant words “Allahumma na’m” rolled like thunder throughout the valley. The Prophet raised his forefinger and said: “Be my witness O Allah, that I have conveyed your message to your people.”(12)

Then again the Qur’an states to the effect:

Whose slays a soul not to retaliate for a soul slain, nor for corruption done in the land, should be as if he had slain mankind altogether.(13)

It is not permissible to oppress women, children, old people, the sick or the wounded. Women’s honor and chastity are to be respected under all circumstances. The hungry must be fed, the naked clothed, and the wounded or diseased given medical treatment regardless of their pro- or anti-Muslim sentiments and activities.

In Islam, human rights are granted by God, not by kings or legislative assemblies, and therefore they can never be taken away or changed, even temporarily, for any reason. They are meant to be put into practice and lived, not to stay on paper or in the realm of unenforceable philosophical concepts or United Nation declarations. Every Muslim is required to accept them and recognize the people’s right to have them enforced and obeyed. The Qur’an states that: Those who do not judge by what God has sent [while denying its validity] down are the disbelievers (14)

Human Rights in an Islamic State

Concerning the security of life and property, we have seen in the Prophet’s address during his final pilgrimage,that  he had proclaimed: “Your lives and properties are forbidden to one another till you meet your Lord on the Day of Resurrection.” He also had stated : “One who kills a man under covenant (i.e., a non Muslim citizen of a Muslim land) will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise.”

Concerning the protection of honour, the Qur’an does not allow one’s personal honor to be abused:; the Qur’an clearly states: “O You who believe, do not let one set of people make fun of another set. Do not defame one another Do not insult by using nicknames. Do not backbite or spear? ill of one another” (15)

And concerning sanctity and security of human privacy, the Qur’an guarantees this right.It says:” Avoid having suspicion, for some suspicion is  a sin.And do not spy on one another  and let not some of you  backbite others…” (16)(49.12)and “do not enter  houses which are not yours’  until you have asked for the permission thereto  and given greetings of peace to the inmates. “(17)

As for personal freedom, Islam guarantees this, and it prohibits the imprisonment of any individual before his guilt has been proven before a public court. This means that the accused has the right to defend himself and to expect fair and impartial treatment from the court.

The Qur’an also prohibits tyranny against people through the spread of their misdeeds to others. This is mentioned clearly in the Qur’an: God does not love evil talk in public unless it is by some one who has been injured thereby. In Islam, as has been stated earlier, an individual’s power and authority is a trust from God. This is an awesome responsibility for a person, for he must use this trust in a way that is acceptable to God or else suffer the consequences.

The heavy responsibility involving power and authority has been  acknowledged by Abu Bakr, who said in his very first address when he was made the first caliph of Islam: “Cooperate with me when I am right, and correct me when I commit error. Obey me so long as I follow the commandments of Allah and His Prophet, but turn away from me when I deviate.”

Concerning freedom of expression , we can observe that Islam allows complete freedom of thought and expression, provided that it does not involve spreading that which is harmful to individuals and the society at large. For example, the use of abusive or offensive language in the name of criticism is not allowed. In the days of the Prophet, the Muslims used to ask him about certain matters. If he had received no revelation on that particular issue, they were free to express their personal opinions.

Freedom of Association:

The formation of associations, parties, and organizations is allowed, on the understanding that they abide by certain general rules.

Freedom of Conscience and Conviction:

The Qur’an states: There should be no coercion in the matter of faith. Totalitarian societies of all ages have tried to deprive individuals of their freedom by subordinating them to state authority This condition is equivalent to slavery, the only difference being that physical slavery has been replaced by mechanisms of control that allow the individual no freedom of choice Islam forbids such a practice.

Protection of Religious Sentiments:

Along with the freedom of conviction and freedom of conscience, Islam guarantees to the individual that his religious sentiments will be given due respect and the nothing will be said or done which may encroach upon his right.

Protection from Arbitrary Imprisonment:

Islam states that each individual is responsible only for his own actions. Therefore, he cannot be arrested and imprisoned for the offenses of someone else. We read in the Qur’an: “No bearer of burdens shall be made to bear the burden of another”.

The Right to Basic Necessities of Life:

Islam recognizes the right of the needy to demand help from those who are more fortunate: And in their wealth there is acknowledge right for the needy and the destitute.

Equality Before the Law:

Islam gives its citizens the right to absolute and complete equality in the eyes of the law.

Rulers Are Not Above the Law:

According to the Islamic concept of justice, absolutely no one is above the law, for all men are equal. This point was made in a very dramatic fashion by the Prophet himself. One day, a woman belonging to a high and noble family was arrested in connection with a theft. The case was brought to the Prophet with the recommendation that she be spared the mandated punishment for theft (amputation of the hand). The Prophet replied: “The nations that lived before you were destroyed by God because they punished the common man for their offenses and let their dignitaries go unpunished for their crimes. I swear by Him Who holds my life in His hand that even if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, had committed this crime, I would have amputated her hand.”

The Right to Participate in the Affairs of State:

In the Qur’an, we find the statement And their business is (conducted) through consultation among themselves (18).This procedure is known as shura, which is usually translated as “consultation.” In practice, it means that the executive head of the government and the members of the assembly should be elected by free and independent choice of the people. However, the leader is not bound to follow the decision that results from this deliberation.

Lastly, Islam seeks to achieve the above-mentioned human rights and many others through the provision of certain legal safeguards, but primarily through calling upon individuals to transcend their lower animal-like instincts so that they can go beyond mere ties fostered by the kinship of blood, racial superiority, linguistic arrogance, and economic privilege Islam urges man to move on to a plane of existence where, by reason of his inner excellence, he can realize the ideal of the brotherhood of man(19)

Concerning “ knowledge society” there are a number of observations which can be made. These are:

  • Muslims should understand accurately  the nature, characteristics and objectives of “knowledge society”  in the current cultural discourse.
  • They should take stock of the situation and see where they stand and understand what are their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Muslims should prepare themselves so that they can perform their task in the new “knowledge society” making the best use of the tools available in the new information and communication technology, with the internet, the intra-net, the e-mail, and whatever is available.
  • They should master the secrets of the trade in the new technology so that they are not duped. The Prophet s.a.w. has said that a person who knows the language of another people he cannot be fooled by them. The knowledge of the tongue of a people does not merely mean langiuage of communication in the ordin ary se4nse, but the present writer would like to suggest even the most up-to-date technical  and scientific language and  philosophy,  so that we are not duped in any way.Imam al-Ghazali rd says in the ‘al-Munqid’ that a person who can evaluate one form of knowledge is one who understands that knowledge, and goes beyond that knowledge so that, if he is knowledgable enough, he is capable of giving a    critique of that knowledge or an aspect of it.
  • And the government has prepared infrastructure  for this venture and is encouraging and supporting development in this arena.
  • Of course knowledge society for us is not merely society promoting  skills in commerce, economics, and administration, [including for war for defending the nation and the ummah], but also for understanding about God, his doctrines and rules in human life, as well as understanding and preserving our identity as  Muslims, Malays, Malaysians, in Asean, in the world community , within the matrix of the ummah.
  • Knowledge for us comprises of Divine and Prophetic Wisdom for our guidance, then the knowledge from human experience and the intellect, supported by evidences from the human senses and wisdom from collective history.

Concerning quality of life, we can observe a number of points, among others, as the following:

  • Life quality must relate to the human body, spirit, and intellect. Hence in Islam the basic necessities of life preserved by Islam are; life, religion, intellect, wealth, progeny, wealth, and honour.
  • Hence shelter, food and drink, clothing, family life, communal  and societal life.
  • The state have certain functions relating to: life, intellect, religion, wealth, progeny, wealth and honour, relating to facilities in health, education, law, economic planning, the implementation of law, guaranteeing rights, and cultural milieu, including the media. All these are reflected in the administration of the state with the various ministries and departments, and government related organizations and bodies.
  • In the present cultural setting this is aided by the non-governmental organizations
  • The integrity of the nation should be monitored  by the National Integrity Board.
  • Life quality  includes within its purview, apart from matters relating to education and cultural matters, the provision of good roads, power supply, water supply, and now supply of broadband access to the electronic superhighway for informations, data, systematic knowledge, communication, and we can say,  within the balanced perspective, even   wisdom.
  • Of course, we cannot forget the question of national security and integrity.
  • Finally the quality of life in Islam is determined by the three categories of needs of man: the absolute necessities (al-daruriyyat), the important needs (al-hajjiyyat), and the ones which make life pleasant (al-tahsinat) which has been well explained by Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi.(20) Wallahu a’lam.




(2) ibid.

(3) ibid.


(5) of

(6) ibid.




(10)Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyyah,chapter on the contract of the imamah and other categories of duties concerning the administeration of the State.Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyyah, of al-Mawardi, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Libnan, 1985, p.18.See also in

(11) (5:8)

(12) ( )

(13) (5.32).

(14) (5:44).

(15) ( 49: 1 1-121.)

(16) (49.12)

(17) (24.27).

(18) (42:38).

(19) (

(20) In his Fiqh al-Awwaliyyat.

Concerning the neglect of the fiqh of priorities, Dr Yusuf writes:

The Neglect of the fiqh of Priorities Among many Muslims

The problem with many groups of the Islamic Awakening advocates is that the fiqh of priorities is nonexistent to them, as they often seek the secondary before paying attention to the principal, try to examine the particulars before grasping the generalities, and hold to the controversial before familiarizing themselves with the established. It is a pity that we ask for instance about the blood of a gnat, and do not care about the shedding of Al-Hussein’s blood, or fight for nafila, while the. people have wasted the faridas, or quarrel over a form, regardless of the content.

This is the situation today for Muslims in general. I see millions making the umra [minor pilgrimage] every year in Ramadan and other months and others making hajj for the tenth or even the twentieth time: if they saved the money they spent on these nafilas, they would accumulate thousands of millions of dollars. We have been running around for years trying to collect one thousand million dollars for the Islamic Philanthropic Institution, but have not collected a tenth, or even one- twentieth or one-thirtieth, of that amount. If you ask those performers of supererogatory umra and hajj to give you what they would spend on their voluntary journeys so that you may direct it to resisting Christianization or communism in Asia and Africa, or to combating famine here or there, they will not give you anything. This is a long-time ailment that no heart doctor has ever been able to cure.

The fiqh of priorities requires that we know which issue is more worthy of attention, so that we may give it more effort and time than we give others. The fiqh of priorities also requires us to know which enemy is more deserving of directing our forces and concentrating our attack against him, and which battle is more worthy of waging, for people are divided into several kinds in Islam’s eye, as follows:

There are the Muslims, the unbelievers and the hypocrites.

Unbelievers have in their ranks the pacifists and the militant. They also include those who only did not believe, and those who did not believe and also blocked the path to Allah [before those who believed].

Hypocrites include those of the lesser hypocrisy and those of the greater hypocrisy.

With whom do we start, then? Which area is more worthy of work? Which issue is more deserving of attention?

The fiqh of priorities requires that we know the time-limited duty so that we may treat it properly and not delay it and thus waste a chance that may not present itself again until after a long time, if it ever does.

A poet admonishes us about the value of time by saying: “Avail the chance, for a chance, If unavailable, becomes a grief. Our Arabic adage also says: “Do not put off today’s work till tomorrow”.

When Omar Ibn Abdel-Aziz was once advised to postpone some chore to the next day, he replied, “I am already tasked by a day’s work, how will I feel if I have two days work to do tomorrow? ”

A wise saying by Ibn-Ata is “There are certain duties with plenty of time given for their fulfillment, so they could be cautioned within the time-limit, but there are, besides, time-limited duties that, if out of time, are irredeemable, for with every new time there is a new duty and a new task demanded by Allah”!

Imam Al-Ghazali and the fiqh of Priorities

In his book “Al Ihiya”‘, Imam Al-Ghazali criticized those who were content with worship and did not pay attention to the | ranks of deeds. He said: “Another group is keen on nafilas but not as keen on faridas. We see some of them very pleased with the duha [forenoon optional] prayer and tahajjud “nighttime optional prayer] and other nafilas, but they find no pleasure in the farida’s, nor are they as keen on performing the farida prayers early in their time. They forget what the Prophet narrated from the Qudsi hadith [inspired by Allah the Almighty to His Messenger]: “Nothing that my slaves shall do to bring themselves closer to me shall be better than doing what I have ordered them to perform [as faridas]” (Al-Bukhari). Neglecting the order of prominence in good deeds falls under evil conduct. An individual may even find himself obliged to do only one of two compulsory things, or forced to do two things with a very limited time for one and ample time for the other: if he does not preserve their order, then he is deceived. “The similar instances are countless, for obedience and disobedience [of the commands of Allah] are both obvious. What is really ambiguous is giving precedence to some forms of obedience over others, such as giving prominence to faridas over nafilas; to individual duties over collective duties to a collective duty with no one to fulfill it over that fulfilled by other people; to the more important individual duties over those which have a lesser importance, to what cannot be postponed over what can be postponed; and to the needs of one’s mother over those of one’s father. The Prophet was asked, “Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?” He replied, “Your mother”. And the man said, “Who is next?”, and the Prophet said, “Your mother”. And the man asked again, “And who is next”? and the Prophet said, “Your mother”. And the man asked for the fourth time, “And who is next?” and the Prophet said, “Your father”. And the man further asked, “And who is next?” and the Prophet replied, “The closest and then the closer of your relatives.”). A person should devote his companionship by the closeness of relationship. If two of his kins are of the same degree of relation, then he should help the one who needs help more, and if they need help equally then he should help the more pious of them.

“Similarly, if someone cannot meet the Costs of spending on his parents and making a pilgrimage at the same time, he should not make the pilgrimage because if he does, he would be acting in ignorance, for he should give the rights of his parents precedence over pilgrimage. In this case, he will be giving prominence to a religious duty over another religious duty that is of a lower rank.

Moreover, if someone has an appointment and the time for jumua [Friday congregational prayer] comes upon him, then he has to go to the prayer. If he goes to his appointment, he will be committing an act of disobedience [to Allah], even though the fulfillment of the appointment is, as such, an act of obedience.

Someone may also find some najasa [impurities] on his garment and speak roughly to his parents on that account. While najasa is unacceptable, hurting the parents is also unacceptable, and caring to avoid hurting the parents is more important than caring to avoid najasa.

“The examples of the combination of tabooed deeds and of compulsory duties are countless. He who neglects the order of Priorities in any of them is certainly deceived”



*Originally a paper, now with additions and modifications, to be tabled in the conference organized by UPM on 30th September, 2004, which was  previously presented in the Seminar organized by Sultan Iskandar Institute of Johor on the 19th of May 2004, Kuala Lumpur (11th Leadership Seminar of the Southeast Asian Centre of Enviromental and Urban Management (SEACEUM), Hotel Istana, Kuala Lumpur.)

The writer is currently Very Distinguished Academic Fellow, ISTAC, IIUM.