The Doctrine of the Ahl al-Sunna-
Versus the "Salafi" Movement, New,
*[A5] Paperback - 119 pages,
by Shaykh Jamal Effendi al-Iraqi al-Zahawi [d.1355h],
Transl. by Shaykh M. Hisham Kabbani,
Edited by Gibril Fouad al-Haddad,
Published by As-Sunna Foundation.
Back in Stock October 2023
This brief but excellent book by the Iraqi scholar Shaykh Jamal Effendi al-Zahawi, may Allah have mercy upon him
, (1863-1936) is published in English for the first time, by Allah's grace, to give our Muslim brother in the West the necessary historical background on important questions of belief and methodology which are currently under attack from certain quarters of our Community. It is a companion volume to our two books entitled 'Islamic Doctrine and Beliefs According to Ahl al-Sunna
Islam, in our understanding and that of the majority of Muslims, both scholars and non-scholars, is the Islam of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a
-- The People of the Way of the Prophet,
?, and the Community of Muslims. Chief and foremost among them are the true Salaf
of Islam: the Companions, the Successors, and their Successors according to the Prophet's,
?, sound hadith
in Muslim: "The best century is my century, then the one following it, then the one following that."
All the scholars understood by that hadith
that the true Salaf
were the models of human behaviour and correct belief for us Muslims and for all mankind, that to follow them was to follow the Prophet,
?, and that to follow the Prophet,
?, was to achieve salvation according to Allah's order: "Whoever obeys the Prophet,
obeys Allah" (4:80).
In our time, however, the name Salaf has been usurped by a movement which seeks to impose its own narrow interpretation of Religion towards a re-fashioning of the teachings of Islam. The adherents of this movement call themselves "Salafi." Such an appellation is baseless since the true Salaf knew no such school as the "Salafi" school nor even called themselves by that name; the only general name they recognised for themselves was that of Muslim. As an eminent scholar has stated, the Salafiyya is not a recognised school of thought in Islam, rather, it refers to a blessed historical period of our glorious past
Imam al-Zahawi, rahimahullah,
displays a profound mastery of the proofs of Ahl al-Sunna
which he presents in a clear and systematic style. The book is divided into concise sections tracing the origins of the Wahhabi
movement and the teachings that this movement promotes in isolation of the doctrine of the majority of Muslims.
After a brief historical overview of the bloody origins of Wahhabism
and the "Salafi
" creed, the author turns to investigate the foundations of the shari`a
which have been targeted by the Wahhabi
movement for revision, namely: the Wahhabi
tampering of the doctrine of the pious Salaf
concerning Allah's essence and attributes, and his freedom from body, size, or direction; their rejection of ijma`
(scholarly consensus) and qiyas
(analogy); their rejection of the sources and methodological foundations of ijtihad
(deriving qualified judgment) and taqlid
(following qualified judgment).
The Prophet, ?, said :
"My Community will split into seventy-three sects.
All of them will be in the fire except one group."
They asked: "Who are they, O Messenger of Allah?"
He said: "Those that follow my way and that of my companions."
The author then narrows down on the Wahhabi
practice of takfir
, which is their declaring Muslims unbelievers, according to criteria not followed by the pious Salaf
but devised by modern-day "Salafis
." The author shows that the "Salafis
" went out of bounds in condemning the Umma
(Muslim Community) on the question of taqlid
, declaring unbelievers all those who practice taqlid
, that is, the majority of Muslims.Finally, the author turns to the linchpin of "Salafi
" philosophy: leaving the ijma`
of the true Salaf
in declaring unbelievers all Muslims who use the Prophet Muhammad's intercession, Peace & Blessings be upon him
, as a wasila
or means of blessing.
Imam al-Zahawi's brilliant style, his acute sense of balance and moderation, and his luminous logic and concision gave this brief book an undisputed place of honour among modern works of heresiology.
About the Author :
Al-Shaykh Jamil Effendi al-Sidqi al-Zahawi was the son of the Mufti of Iraq and a descendant of the noble Companion; Sayyiduna Khalid ibn al-Walid, may Allah be pleased with him. He was educated in the Islamic sciences chiefly by his father and, besides going on to become the greatest Arabic and Persian poet of modern Iraq, was also a literary master in the other two Islamic languages of the time: Turkish and Kurdish. Shaykh al-Zahawi gave early proofs of his scholarly talents.
By the age of forty he had served on the board of education in Baghdad, as the director of the state printing office, as editor of the chief state publication, al-Zawra', and as a member of the Baghdad court of appeal. The second half of his life was devoted to writing, journalism, and teaching. He taught philosophy and Arabic literature in Istanbul and law in Baghdad. A prolific writer, at one point he declined the office of court poet and historian of Iraq offered him by King Faysal.
In addition to the above he was scientifically inclined and wrote papers on various scientific topics such as electricity and the power of repulsion, all this despite a chronic disease of the spine which had crippled him from his twenty-fifth year. At the turn of the century Arabia had witnessed the return of the Wahhabis to power and the open rebellion of their forces against the Caliph of the Islamic community. What was worse, the Wahhabi heresy was knocking at the gates of Baghdad, and the scholars of Ahl al-Sunna spoke out in order to stem its rising tide.
In 1905 at the age of 42 and upon the request of his father Shaykh al-Zahawi published this eloquent indictment of the sect's innovations in doctrine and jurisprudence, refuting its tenets one by one. He named the book, of which the present work forms the major part, al-Fajr al-sadiq fi al-radd `ala munkiri al-tawassul wa al-khawariq ("The True Dawn: A Refutation of Those Who Deny The Validity of Using Means to Allah and the Miracles of Saints"). The title indicates Shaykh al-Zahawi's opinion, reminiscent of that of other scholars who wrote similar refutations, that the Wahhabi position on tawassul represents the essence of their deviation from the beliefs of Ahl al-Sunna, although it is but one of their many divergences with Sunni Muslims.
*Dimensions : 21.5 x 14cm.