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Taking Graves as Mosques … 2

The Shaikh continued, “Yet despite the fact that I did not repay their transgressions and lies in kind, the treatise, as far as academic style was concerned, was a direct refutation of them. As such there may be some sternness and harshness in its manner in the opinion of some who make apparent their resentment of refuting the opposers and liars, wishing that they be left alone without being called to account about their ignorance and their accusations against innocent people, under the false impression that being silent about them is the tolerance mentioned in the Most High’s saying, “… and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness.” [Furqaan 25:63]. And they forget, or they choose purposefully to forget, that such an approach is what aids such people in their continuance upon [their own] misguidance and their misguidance of others, and Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, says, “… but do not help one another in sin and transgression …” [al-Maa’idah 5:2].

Which sin and transgression is worse than accusing a Muslim of something which is not true about him rather something which is in total opposition to what he is upon?! Indeed if some of these who make apparent what we have mentioned were afflicted with enmity less than what was thrown at us, they would have rushed to refute, so it is as though they seem to say,

“Nay, let no-one behave ignorantly towards us!
For then we will behave ignorantly over and above
the level of the ignorant ones.”

Yet despite this I say: there is not much benefit in reprinting this book based upon its first edition; as such there are points that had to be removed along with a slight change in some forms of expression which would refine its style and suit its second edition without taking away from its academic value and its key research.

In the introduction to the first edition I had written that the subject of the book centres around two very important matters:

The first: the ruling concerning building mosques on top of graves.
The second: the ruling concerning praying in these mosques.

I chose to research these two topics since some people had delved into them without any knowledge, saying that which no scholar before them had uttered. Especially when most people have no knowledge of this matter whatsoever, being under a cover of heedlessness, ignorant of the truth, being supported in that by the silence of the scholars–except for the ones whom Allaah wills to speak out, and how few they are–being afraid of the masses or just wanting to pay lip service to them in order to preserve their honour and standing among them, pretending to have forgotten the saying of Allaah, the Blessed and Most High, “Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by the cursers,” [Al-Baqarah 2:159] and his, صلى الله عليه وسلم, saying, “Whoever conceals knowledge will be bridled by Allaah with reins of fire on the Day of Resurrection.” [A hasan hadith, reported by Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh, no. 296 and al-Haakim (1/102) and he declared it to be authentic and adh-Dhahabi agreed with him.]

The result of this silence and that ignorance was that many from the masses ended up committing that which Allaah, the Most High, forbade and the perpetrator of which He cursed, a mention of this will follow later–and if only the problem ended there! Rather some of them started to seek closeness to Allaah, the Most High, through that! So you will see lots of those who love good and are in charge of maintaining the mosques spending huge amounts of money to build a mosque for the sake of Allaah–but at the same time he prepares a grave inside it, stating in his will that he be buried in it after he passes away!

Another example I know of this, and maybe it will be the last, if Allaah so wills, is that mosque which is at the top of Baghdad Street at the western side in Damascus, known as, “The Mosque of the Donkey,”–the grave of the donkey is inside it. It had reached us that the Ministry of Religious Endowments had initially forbidden its burial in it, but we do not know the true reasons that came between it and the forbiddance it had wanted and so ‘a donkey’ was buried in it, indeed in the direction of prayer! So to Allaah we belong and to Him we shall return and His Aid is sought to rid us of these abominations and their like!

A few days ago a mufti from the Shaafi’ees passed away and his relatives wanted to have him buried in one of the old mosques in the eastern part of Damascus but the Ministry of Religious Endowments prevented them from doing so and thus he was not buried there. And we thank the Ministry of Religious Endowments for this praiseworthy stance and its eagerness to prevent burials inside the mosques, hoping from Allaah, the Blessed and Most High, that what leads them to prevent such things is a desire to seek the Pleasure of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, and to follow His Legislation and that it is not due to political, social or other such considerations. [Also hoping that] this is a promising start from it on the road towards purifying the mosques from the innovations and detestable affairs that have swarmed them! Especially when the minister of Religious Endowments, his eminence Shaikh al-Baquri has made honourable stances in fighting against many of these detestable matters especially concerning building mosques over graves. In this regard he has some beneficial words which will be related in the appropriate place if Allaah, the Most High, wills.

That which is truly upsetting for every believer is that many mosques in Syria and other than it are not free from the presence of one grave or more, as though Allaah, the Blessed and Most High, ordered it and did not curse the ones who do such an act! How good an act it would be if, with wisdom, the Ministry tried to cleanse the mosques from such graves. I do not doubt that it is not from wisdom at all to shock general opinion whilst doing that, but rather that before everything else it has to make known the fact that, ‘… graves and mosques do not go together in the religion of Islaam …’ as some of the illustrious scholars have said and a mention of which will follow, and that if they do gather together then it negates making tawhid and worship purely and sincerely for Allaah, the Blessed and Most High, alone–that sincerity in pursuit of which mosques are built [in the first place], as the Most High said, And the mosques are for Allah (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allah.” Al-Jinn 72:18.

I believe that making this declaration is obligatory and something which cannot be avoided, and maybe I have been given the success by Allaah to carry it out through this book. For in it I have gathered mutawaatir hadith showing the prohibition of this act, followed by a mention of the schools of thought of the scholars and their established sayings concerning this topic and that they prove such a prohibition. While at the same time bearing witness to the fact that the Imaams, may Allaah be pleased with them, were the most compliant and eager of people to follow the Sunnah and in calling the people to follow it, and warning them against opposing it. But [alas] Allaah, the Most Great, spoke the Truth when He said, “Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up the prayers and have followed lusts–so they will be thrown into Hell.” Maryam 19:59.

Here are the chapters of the book:

Chapter One: A Mention of the Sayings of the Prophet which prohibit taking graves as mosques.
Chapter Two: The Meaning of taking a grave as a mosque.
Chapter Three: That taking graves as mosques is regarded as a major sin.
Chapter Four: Doubts and their clarifications.
Chapter Five: The wisdom behind prohibiting the building of mosques over graves.
Chapter Six: The hatred of praying in mosques which are built on graves.
Chapter Seven: That the previous ruling [mentioned in Chapter Six] applies to all mosques except that of the Prophet’s Mosque [in Medinah].

In the footnotes there are other important sub-chapters which contain important benefits, if Allaah, the Most High, wills.

And I have named it, “Warning the One who Prostrates from Taking Graves as Mosques.”

That is what I had written in the introduction to the first edition.

And I ask Allaah, the Blessed and Most High, to benefit the Muslims with this edition more than its previous one, and that He accepts it from me along with all of my righteous actions with a goodly acceptance and that He reward the one who published it well.

23rd of Jumaada al-Oolaa, 1392
[Wednesday 5th July 1972ce]

Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani.”

The Shaikh’s Life in his Own Words … 17

Al-Albaani and Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah

“I first met Shaikh Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah in his city, Aleppo, more than twenty years ago approximately.  I realised that he was a man who was bigoted towards the Hanafi madhhab such that he blindly followed it when in his mosque in Aleppo he agreed to the permissibility of treating someone with alcohol under the supervision of a skilled, Muslim doctor.

So I said to him, “This is not enough.  The doctor must also be well-acquainted with the Sunnah.  For in the Sunnah, for example, alcohol has been described as being a disease and not a cure.  So how can a Muslim doctor who knows the Sharee’ah prescribe a cure which the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, described as being a disease?!”

So he said, “Perhaps the hadith is weak or not authentic!”  I replied, “How can it be when it is in Sahih Muslim?”  So he said, “We will go back and check it to make sure.”

So one of the people who was present and he was a friend to both parties in the debate said, “So when you do check and find out that it is authentic, will you act upon it or what the madhhab says?”

So he replied, “The madhhab!

Al-Albaani and the Preacher [Khateeb]

An incident regarding a khateeb is funny and yet will make one cry at the same time, it is befitting that it is mentioned due to the lesson that can be learnt from it.

A few years ago one of the khateebs from a mosque in Damascus came to me, and he was an exhorter and preacher who would travel to different places [to admonish and remind the people].  He mentioned to me that he had written a book in which he had gathered hadiths that he had taken from the books of the Sunnah and that he had requested an affluent brother to assist him in getting the book printed.  That brother said to him “If Ustaadh Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani agrees that the book should be printed then I will help you.”  Then this preacher asked for my agreement but I refused saying I would not do so until I had a taken look at the book.  So he sent the book to me.

When I went through it I found things in it that were strange and deplorable.  From this was that he attributed the saying of Eesaa, عليه السلام, which Maalik mentioned to Sahih Muslim saying it was from the narrations of Abu Hurairah attributed back to the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, that he, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said, “Eesaa said …”!

When I saw this I was extremely astonished since I was sure that no such hadith even existed in the Sahih of Imaam Muslim nor in any of the other six books–except for the first sentence from it which is reported in Sunan at-Tirmidhee from the hadith of Ibn Umar with a weak chain of narration, as I have clarified in Silsilah al-Ahaadith ad-Da’eefah, no. 924 or after that.

So I phoned him and told him my opinion about the book and the criticisms and faults that were in it, the strongest being the attribution of the narration of Eesaa, عليه السلام, to the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم.  Then I asked him, “Where did you get this from?”  So he went quiet for a moment and then said, “Wait for a second until I bring the book.”  Then he said to me, and how shocking and alarming what he said was, “Imaam Maalik is the one who attributed the hadith to Sahih Muslim in the book of Virtue and Maintaining Ties of Kinship …” and so on.  So I said to him, “What is this O Shaikh!  Don’t you know that there is a huge gap between Muslim and Maalik, that Muslim came after Maalik; that from the Shaikhs of Muslim is Imaam Ahmad, and from the Shaikhs of Imaam Ahmad is Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee and from the Shaikhs of ash-Shaafi’ee is Maalik?  So how can Maalik attribute this hadith to Muslim when he passed away years before him?!”

So he went quiet in bewilderment and said some words from which I understood that he was saying that Maalik made this statement in his book Al-Muwatta!  I said, “This is impossible and I will study the issue and clarify the reality to you, if Allaah, the Most High, so wills.”

So I went to Al-Maktabah adh-Dhaahiriyyah and reviewed [Imaam Maalik’s book] Al-Muwatta with the checking of Muhammad Fu’aad Abdul-Baaqi and it was then that the reason for this foul mistake was uncovered which bred a mistake worse than it!  Due to the ignorance of people regarding hadith and their lack of diligence and caution concerning it even in the schools and colleges of Sharee’ah.

Al-Albaani and Those Envious of Him

So there is nothing for me but to seek refuge from their evil just as our Lord has ordered us in His Book, “Say: ‘I seek refuge with the Lord of the daybreak.  From the evil of what He has created.  And from the evil of the darkening (night) as it comes with its darkness; (or the moon as it sets or goes away).  And from the evil of the blowers in knots [i.e., those who practice magic].  And from the evil of the envier when he envies.’”  And I hope for my reward from Allaah for this calamity which these transgressing oppressors brought my way.  Allaah’s Aid is sought, and there is neither might nor power except with the Permission of Allaah, Allah Alone is Sufficient for me, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs..

His Lack of Concern at what the People say if he knew the Truth was on his side

The obligation of transmitting knowledge and the forbiddance of hiding it is what leads me not to care whether the people are pleased or outraged.

The Harm he came across in Amman

My house was raided by the secret services and searched extensively for seven hours or more.  They seized approximately sixty letters that were from different Islamic countries and others.  They also seized a number of cassettes of mine and of other students of knowledge on the grounds that they were looking for weapons and explosives!  And Allaah’s Aid is sought.

Hayaatul-Allaamah al-Albaani, rahimahullaah, bi qalamihi, pp. 38-41.

Shaikh al-Albaani on blind following

The First Question

Is it permissible for the student of knowledge to suffice with the declarations of the scholars of the past as to whether a saying of the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, is weak or authentic? For example, he reads the checking of Haafidh al-Iraaqi where he says, “This hadith is authentic.” So is it permissible for him to suffice with that and the same with Imaam Ahmad or other than him?

Shaikh al-Albaani: “This matter resembles blind following in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). It is sufficient for the student of knowledge to listen to and act upon an opinion of one of the Imaams who are followed, and by that I do not only mean the four [famous ones], since there are more, by the Grace of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.

We say: [This is so] since it is not possible for all students of knowledge to be on the same level of ability in discerning the truth in those matters where the people have differed. So it is enough for the student of knowledge to implement the aayah, “So ask those who know the Scripture if you know not.” [Surah an-Nahl (16): 43]

So if there are people of knowledge who are alive then he should ask them and embrace their answer, and if there is not a scholar who is alive for him to question, and he knows that a certain scholar from those who are followed has a certain opinion then he can follow him. And in this he is safe from any reproach or blame even if in reality the opinion that he followed is a mistake because he has implemented what was mentioned in the aayah as being obligatory upon him, “So ask those who know the Scripture if you know not.”

But this is based upon certain premises–there is one condition to this, which is that it is not evident to him that the opinion he is following is a mistake. And knowing whether the opinion he is following is incorrect or not can be done by the student doing some personal research if he has the capability of doing so, or it can become known by the direction of another scholar whom he trusts and in whose knowledge he trusts. What is important is that it is permissible for the student of knowledge to blindly follow a scholar if the mistake [in that opinion] is not clear to him and he himself is not capable of clarifying whether [the chosen opinion] is correct or incorrect …” [1]

[[1] Footnote here by Amr Abdul-Mun’im Salim the one who compiled and explained the book the question is taken from, he said, “In other words, that he should not take this blind following to be religion. Rather whenever the mistake of the scholar or the Imaam becomes clear to him, it is obligatory for him to shun the opinion in which he is mistaken, whether it is with regard to matters of rulings or the creed, or that which is particular to declaring hadiths to be authentic or weak. And Shaikh al-Albaani has another very important religious verdict [fatwaa] concerning this topic in the book, Fataawaa Madinah, no., 32 on pages 42-43 …”] [it has been translated and can be read below after this answer].

Shaikh al-Albaani continues, “Likewise, totally, is the answer regarding the student of knowledge, he finds an Imaam from the Imaams of the Muslims or a preserver of hadith who authenticates hadith and declares others to be weak, then it is sufficient for this student of knowledge to follow this verifier [who declares hadiths to be authentic or weak] as long as two conditions are met, just as we have mentioned regarding the issue of [blind following] in fiqh:

1) The first condition: That he does not know it to be a mistake, since what is intended by this condition–whether it is hadith or fiqh–is that he does not follow his desires and thus say, “So and so gave me this religious verdict and the matter is closed …” [even though while saying this in reality] he feels some uneasiness in his soul, and the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said, “Question your heart even if the mufti gives you his fatwa.” [2]

[[2] Footnote of Amr Abdul-Mun’im Salim, “Reported through different paths of narration the most authentic of which is the one reported by Imaam Ahmad (17922) with an authentic chain of narration from the hadith of Waabisah ibn Ma’bad, may Allaah be pleased with him, and the relevant part of that hadith is, “Righteousness is that which gives delight to your heart and sin is that which wavers in your heart, even if the people give you religious verdicts [fatwaas] concerning it.” ]

Shaikh al-Albaani continues, “This is the first condition, i.e., that he does not know that the opinion is a mistake–whether it is regarding the declaration of a hadith to be authentic or weak, or whether it is regarding the permissibility of something or its forbiddance.

2) the second condition: That he himself is not capable of verifying the authenticity or inauthenticity of the particular hadith in question, so this is something permissible–since we cannot burden all of the people [by saying that they must] become capable of reaching the level of ijtihaad or that they become scholars.” [3]

[[3] Footnote here by Amr Abdul-Mun’im Salim who said, “That is because if someone reaches the level of being capable of making ijtihaad and he acquires the tools of this knowledge, then it is not permissible for him to blindly follow anyone rather it is then obligatory upon him to make ijtihaad in the declaring of hadiths to be authentic or weak, but it is permissible for him to look at the rulings of the Imaams and the criticisers of hadith to pick from them that which is in accordance with the truth, so that he does not isolate himself with his opinion from their opinion.”]


The Second Question

“What is the proof concerning the forbiddance of blind following?”

Shaikh al-Albaani said, “I do not know of any proof that states that blind following is haraam, rather blind following is a necessity for the one who has no knowledge. And Allaah, the one free from all defects and the Most High, said, “So ask those who know the Scripture if you know not.” Therefore, this aayah placed the Muslims into two categories as regards knowledge:

i) the scholar and it made obligatory upon him to answer the questioner
ii) those who do not know, and it made asking the scholars obligatory upon them.

So if a person from the common folk came to a scholar and asked him about something and the scholar answered him, then this man has implemented the aayah.

And maybe what is intended is something other than what was mentioned in the question [directed to me] and that is the forbiddance of actively splitting into sects and groups; i.e., that a person take his religion from one of schools of thought that are followed and then he totally [refuses] to look at what the other schools of thought might say or at what the sayings of other scholars are–so it is this blind following of schools of thought which is then taken as religion that is not permitted because it opposes the proofs from the Book and the Sunnah.

And the people of knowledge place the people into three categories:

1) the mujtahid
2) the follower on clear proof and insight and
3) the blind follower, and it is this category that most of the people fall into.

As such we cannot say that, “Blind following is haraam,” [that] is only when blind following is taken as religion, as for blind following in general then it is not permissible to declare it to be forbidden.” [1]

[[1] Footnote here by Amr Abdul-Mun’im Salim who said, “And what has been said here is also said concerning taking the opinion of a scholar concerning the declaration of a hadith to be weak or authentic, with the condition that the status/rank of that scholar in relation to that knowledge be borne in mind. So such declarations of whether a hadith is authentic or weak are not taken from a scholar of fiqh who does not know [the science of] hadith criticism. Just as the declaration of whether a hadith is authentic cannot be relied upon when it comes from someone among the scholars of hadith or the hadith preservers who is known as being lenient; just as it is not possible to take the declaration that a hadith is weak from someone is known as being overly-strict. In fact this is a correct rule [established] by those known for their moderation and justice along with their knowledge of the principles of this profession and who are known for their practise of it which established their ability to exercise their judgement in arriving at a religious ruling [ijtihaad] concerning the criticism and chains of narration and their texts.”]

Taken from Al-Fataawaa al-Kuwaitiyyah, compiled by Amr Abdul-Mun’im Saleem, pp. 81-83.

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