Friday, July 1, 2011

Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim Al Kattani on loving Ahlul Bayt (Part 1)


Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim Al Kattani
1st July 2011
Kuala Lumpur
Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. On the eve of 1st Shaaban, we're blessed to have sat before the honorable Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim Al Kattani who concluded his tausiyah saying: "It's not easy to find people who love knowledge especially in this time that we live in. I see that you are all keen on acquiring knowledge. May Allah facilitate you in your search for knowledge. May Allah make us love the ahlul bayt. What is most important is that we are being granted barakah from this sitting."

Shaykh Muhammad was referring to a booklet containing a collection of 40 hadith on ahlul bayt (families/descendants of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w).

He said:
"Alhamdulillah, this kitab was from my shaykh, Muhammad bin Jaafar Al Kattani. He was a prominent Sufi, a foremost beacon of ahlul bayt who propagate what was entrusted to him. This kitab is about ahlul bayt. Mind the difference of the terms, it is not aali bayt but ahlul bayt. We have employed the right term as used in the Quran where Allah makes a reference to ahlul bayt. This kitab is about their special ranking and those people who honor them.

Some of us are afraid to openly express their love for ahlul bayt for fear that they might be labelled as a shi'ah. Our iktikad (religious standing) on this matter is very clear. We are ahlul sunnah wal jamaah. We are not the same as those who belong with mahzab shi'ah for they are known to dismiss the sahabah and wives of the Prophet. On the other hand, we love Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, his family and companions. Don't be afraid to admit your love for ahlul bayt. Imam Shafie once said: "I do not care if my love for ahlul bayt make them accuse me of becoming ahli rofizi. Truly, I love the ahlul bayt."

We cannot afford to talk about all 40 hadith so we shall pick a few. [Making reference to the first hadith on page 11 of the kitab which I shall attempt to loosely translate below]:

"As narrated by Ahmad in his kitab al-Musnad, Al Hakim in his kitab al-Kunni, Abu Nuaim in his kitab al- Dalail, Ibn Asakir in his kitab al-Tarikh, Al Thabarani in his kitab al-Ausath and all others, from Aishah in hadith marfu' (a hadith that is attributed to the sayings and acts of Rasulullah s.a.w through his companions):  'Jibril said to me: I roamed to the East and the West and I found none who is better than Muhammad; and I roamed to the East and the West and I found not a better heir than the son of Bani Hashim.'

Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim said: "Take note of  the term qollabtu used in this hadith, Jibril roamed, as in he had walked and made a thorough search."

"Each man and woman ought to have a religious stand (iktikad) that Muhammad s.a.w was not only the best of man that was ever created but he was [or rather] is, the best of creation (makhluk). That means he is even more honorable than the angels."

"We are not like the Muktazilah who believed that Prophet Muhammad was superior to all the angels except Jibril. They tried to prove their points by making reference to an ayah of the Quran where Jibril was said to have taught the Prophet. The truth is that Jibril had merely conveyed the messages of Allah. He was only a middle man, he was not a teacher. There is a difference between 'allama (to teach) and akbara (to inform/convey).

As far as the ahlul sunnah wal jamaah is concerned, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w is more afdal (superior) to Jibril. Furthermore, if we were to make a hujjah based on our akal (intellectual discerning) that if it is true that teachers are better than students, we should not forget that Jibril was once taught by Prophet Adam a.s.

Allah s.w.t had ordered Adam to teach all the names in the Heavens to all the angels including Jibril. Does that mean that Adam is superior to Jibril, while they claimed that Jibril is superior to Muhammad? This order of superiority is clearly an error.

Some scholars thought it's wrong to say that Prophet Muhammad is more afdal than all other prophets (anbiya) because in the Quran, Allah says He does not make any distinctions among the Rasul. There is also a hadith where Prophet Muhammad said 'Do not consider me better than Musa.'

Our answer to that is: we say Prophet Muhammad s.a.w is more afdal than anbiya because Allah says so. But Prophet Muhammad s.a.w out of his tawaduk (humility) character said: 'do not say I am superior to anbiya.' The fact remains that Allah has given Prophet Muhammad a supreme ranking.

Those scholars were referring to a verse in Surah Baqarah where Allah said He does not distinguish between the anbiya. Our answer to that is Allah does not distinguish the iman of the anbiya. If you are kufur [meaning you disbelieve/reject] towards one prophet, you are considered as being kufur to all the prophets (anbiya).

The anbiya have their own unique level. We learned from the Quran the parables of the people of Nuh. They had rejected Prophet Nuh, therefore, in doing so, they were in fact rejecting all the prophets.

We noted several hadith where Prophet Muhammad cautioned us not to compare him with the other prophets. He was actually referring to the anbiya (the prophets) and not Rasul. As an ordinary human being, we are not in the position to make a comparison among them. But by Allah, their levels (martabat) are different and we do not have the appropriate yardstick to discern their true rankings.

We are not saying this because we are overly attached (taksub) to Prophet Muhammad because we are his ummah.  We are saying this based on our knowledge from the Quran and hadith.

We must know the asbabul urud of the hadith just as we try to understand the asbabun nuzul of the Quranic verses. We must study the situations that have brought about a particular hadith.

One day, a man from the Ansar tribe was walking by a market. He saw a Jew announcing to the crowd: 'By the Essence who created Musa, he was the most supreme prophet of all the prophets.' The sahabi heard that and had gotten furious. He slapped the Jew on his face and took him to Prophet Muhammad.

Rasulullah, being the humble man that he was, then said 'Do not say I am better than Musa.' He had said that out of humility and politeness towards the Jew. Prophet Muhammad was never known to be showy. He had said what he said out of respect for all the other prophets for they were his relatives.

In regards to another hadith where Prophet Muhammad said: 'I'm the the first one who will be resurrected while I see Musa being there already. I'm not sure if Musa is not made to die for the second time or that he's resurrected earlier.'

Be mindful of the subtlety of this hadith where Prophet Muhammad had said it with hikmah. He was being humble in showing us how we should guard the dignity of the other prophets. He also said: 'Do not say I am more afdal than Yunus.' even though the Qur'an says do not be like Yunus. Prophet Muhammad was in fact trying to tell us not to belittle Nabi Yunus. Our iktikad is correct, Prophet Muhammad is the most superior of all the anbiya, yet we cannot underestimate the other prophets.

Now let's go back to the hadith in discussion where Jibril said he looked to the East and West and found none better than the family of Hashim. Truly, Allah has gathered in Fatimah all the honors of the Prophet's heir. Rasulullah was reported to have spoken on mimbar making a declaration that: 'in akhirah, all nasab shall be broken except mine and I am the father of Fatimah.'

The ahlul bayt are certainly special due to their roots and some of them are even more special because they inherit the Prophet in matters of knowledge, dakwah, so on and so forth.

The second hadith in the kitab says:
"As reported by Muslim and al-Tarmizi, from Wathilah bin al-Aqsa': 'Truly Allah has chosen the Kinanah tribe from the children of Ismail, and chosen Quraish over Kinanah, and chosen Bani Hashim from the Quraish and chosen me from Bani Hashim.'

The term istofa used in this hadith means 'a special selection' and not just an ordinary choice (ikhtiar). It shows how Allah has chosen the best from the best. Prophet Muhammad also said: 'I am the leader of all the children of Adam in akhirah.' We all know that Prophet Adam is our forefather, so when Prophet Muhammad said what he said in that hadith, he was saying that he would be a leader to Prophet Adam himself.

All the prophets are descendants of Prophet Ibrahim who had two sons - Ismail and Ishak. Many prophets came through Yaakub, the son of Ishak. Yet Prophet Muhammad as the sole heir of Prophet Ismail surpass all the other prophets in stature and supremacy.
Wallahu 'alam. May I be forgiven for any errors or omissions in my notes.

Booklet on a collection of 40 hadith on ahlul bayt
by Al Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Jaafar Al Kattani
qaddasallahu sirruh
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  1. "This kitab is about ahlul bayt. Mind the difference of the terms, it is not ahlil bayt but ahlul bayt."

    Correctin: it is not aali bayt (آل) but ahlulbait (أهل البيت)

  2. Salam, thank you for pointing out the error. Correction done.
    Thanks again.