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Kitâb al-Tawh.îd al-Ladhî Huwa
H.aqqullâh ‘alâ al-‘Abîd

by Muh.ammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhâb

Translated into English by Unknown
Ryadh: Darussalam Publications, 1996.

Book review by GF Haddad

Muh.ammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhâb’s “inelegant book… containing the acceptable and the inacceptable” – according to al-Shawkânî’s student S.iddîq H.asan Khân al-Qinnawjî[1] – Kitâb al-Tawh.îd, has been raised, through the power of free distribution and “dumping” on the book market, to the perceived status of classic when it is in fact replete with strange statements and doctrinal errors such as the following:

– Calling the Ash‘arîs “Nullifiers of the Divine Attributes” (mu‘at.t.ila) [chapters 2, 16]

– Declaring the Lesser shirk an integral part of the Greater. [7]

– Deprecating the understanding of “the elite of people today” for tawh.îd. [15]

– Stating that Abu Jahl knows lâ ilâha illâ Allâh better than the Muslim Ulema. [18]

– Attributing the beginning of shirk on earth to the act of the people of knowledge and religion, caused by their love for saints. [19]

– Misinterpreting the h.adîth “do not make my grave an idol” to mean: do not pray even near it whereas the agreed-upon meaning is: Do not pray towards or on top of it. [20]

– Omitting the phrase “and that I am the Messenger of Allâh (swt) in quoting the h.adîth:
“When the Messenger of Allâh MHMD sent Mu‘âdh (ra) to Yemen, he said: ‘You will come upon the People of the Book, so call them first to testify that there is no God but Allâh (swt) – although this phrase is narrated by the totality of the h.adîth Masters except for one (al-Bayhaqî). [5]

– Misrepresenting a very gharîb narration as being narrated from the Prophet MHMD by T.âriq ibn Shihâb whereas it is a mawqûf report of the words of Salmân al-Fârisî narrated by T.âriq. [10] This blunder is due to the fact that Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhâb imitated the erroneous claim to that effect made by Ibn al-Qayyim in al-Jawâb al-Kâfî (p. 21) without checking the sources where this report is found such as Ibn Abî ‘Âs.im’s al-Zuhd, Abû Nu‘aym’s H.ilya, and al-Khat.îb’s Kifâya.
Worse, Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhâb references the report to “Ah.mad” (rawâhu Ah.mad), which means the Musnad of Imâm Ah.mad ibn H.anbal in h.adîth terminology; however, the report is not found in any of the works of Imâm Ah.mad, whether the Musnad, al-Zuhd, or others. It is true that the chain of the report comes through Ah.mad, but to reference the report to him is deception.

– Citing another weak narration that “a Companion” said: “Let us all go seek the help of the Messenger of Allâh MHMD (qûmû binâ nastaghîthu birasûlillah) against this hypocrite [‘Abd Allâh ibn Ubay ibn Salûl who challenged Abû Bakr to ask the Prophet MHMD for a major miracle],” whereupon the Prophet MHMD said: “Innahu lâ yustaghâthu bî innamâ yustaghâthu billâh“Help is not sought with me, it is sought only with Allâh.” Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhâb references it to al-T.abarânî. [10]

First, neither the wording "nastaghîthu birasûlillah" nor "innahu lâ yustaghâthu bî innamâ yustaghâthu billâh" is found in any book of h.adîth and there is no chain for them! The reference to “al-T.abarânî” shows blind imitation of Ibn Taymiyya’s incorrect referencing of these wordings to al-T.abarânî’s al-Mu‘jam al-Kabîr in al-Radd ‘alâ al-Bakrî and Majmû‘ al-Fatâwâ.

Second, the correct wording in Ibn Sa‘d’s T.abaqât, the Musnad, and al-Jâmi‘ al-S.aghîr states that Abû Bakr said: “Let us rise to the Messenger of Allâh MHMD to seek help (qûmû nastaghîthu ilâ rasûlillah) against this hypocrite” whereupon the Prophet MHMD replied: “Lâ yuqâmu lî innamâ yuqâmu lillâh – Not for me is redress sought but only for Allâh.” So the reply of the Prophet MHMD does not address the means but the motivation and purpose of the Companions against the hypocrite. This is confirmed by another report in which ‘Umar asks permission to kill ‘Abd Allâh ibn Ubay ibn Salûl, whereupon the Prophet MHMD said: “Leave him lest people say that Muh.ammad kills his companions!”[2]

Third, the chain of the report Lâ yuqâmu lî innamâ yuqâmu lillâh contains an unnamed narrator in addition to ‘Abd Allâh ibn Lahî‘a who is weak as indicated by al-Haythamî in Majma‘ al-Zawâ’id (8:40), so the report is weak and wholly unfit to be adduced in matters of belief!

Fourth, the report is not found other than in very few of the h.adîth compilations and is long-winded and quite improbable in its complete wording, hence Ibn Kathîr declared it “extremely strange” (gharîb jiddan) in his Tafsîr (3:174).

Fifth, the Companion in question is Abû Bakr (ra), which would be a proof in itself – if the report were authentic – that istighâtha from the Prophet MHMD cannot be shirk, since Abû Bakr was of the most knowledgeable and strictest of Companions in Tawh.îd!

Sixth, the meaning of personal redress meant in Abû Bakr’s phrase and the reply of the Prophet MHMD is confirmed by the extraordinary words Abû Bakr spoke to Rabî‘a al-Aslamî – the Prophet’s MHMD servant – whom he regretted having insulted: “You will insult me back [in fair requital] or else I will seek the help of the Messenger of Allâh MHMD against you! (aw la’asta‘diyanna ‘alayka Rasûlallâh).”[3]

– Stating verbatim: “The disbelievers who know their disbelief are better-guided than the believers.” (inna al-kuffâr al-ladhîna ya‘rifûna kufrahum ahdâ sabîlan min al-mu’minîn) [23]

– Stating: “Among the polytheists are those who love Allah with a tremendous love” [31].

– Stating: “The Muslim was named a worshipper of the dinar and dirham.” [37]

– Showing undisguised loathing of the Awliyâ, the Ulema, and the generality of the Believers: “Conditions decayed to the point that, among most, worshipping the monks is the best deed and is called sainthood (wilâya), while worshipping the doctors of the Law is ‘knowledge’ and ‘jurisprudence.’ Then conditions decayed further, until those who were not even saints were worshipped besides Allah, and, in the second rank, those who were ignorant.” [38]

– Stating that “the two opposites [belief and disbelief] can be found in a single heart” [41] in contradiction of the verse { Allâh has not assigned unto any man two hearts within his body } (33:4). This and the previous four concepts are fundamental to understand the Wahhâbî propagation of mutual suspicion among Muslims.

– Equating the poem al-Burda to setting up an equal to Allah (swt) [44].

– Assimilating the Islamic title qâd.î al-qud.ât, “Chief Judge,” to the prohibited title shâhân shâh, “King of kings.” [46]

– Citing Ibn H.azm to explain a verse on ‘aqîda, although Ibn H.azm is considered by them a Jahmî in ‘aqîda.[4] [50]

– Attributing shirk to Prophets “in name, not in reality.” [50]

– Stating that Allah (swt) is explicitly said to have two hands: the right holds the heaven and the other holds the earth, and the other is explicitly named the left hand. [67]

To Allâh we belong and to Him we shall return.

[1]In his Abjad al-‘Ulûm (3:198-199).

[2]Narrated from Jâbir by Ibn Bashkuwâl in Ghawâmid. al-Asmâ’ al-Mubhama (1:101).

[3]Narrated from Rabî‘a ibn Ka‘b ibn Mâlik by Ah.mad with a fair chain.

[4]Cf. al-Albânî’s unprecedented description of Ibn H.azm in his notes on al-Alûsî’s al-Âyât al-Bayyinât (p. 64) as “a staunch Jahmî on the Divine Names and Attributes.”







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