Refutation of the Aḥbāsh

Imām Muḥammad Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī

A refutation of many of the hallmarks of the deviant ʿaqīdah perpetrated by the followers of ʿAbdullāh al-Ḥabashī.
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And when he found this gentleness in teaching he desired to increase in knowledge after he knew that he had erred in the Prayer. And he spoke whilst speech was not permissible for him. So he said, “O Messenger of Allāh, indeed there is from us people that make use of the direction of the flight of birds for good or bad omens.” He ﷺ said, “Then let not that bar you (don’t fall into seeking those things as means, that is as good or bad signs).” He said, “There is indeed some people that go to the soothsayer.” He ﷺ said, “Don’t go to them.” He said, “Indeed there are from us a people that draw lines in the sand (another type of fortunetelling).” – The striking of the sand is known even today regrettably – He ﷺ said, “There is indeed a Prophet from the Prophet’s of Allāh that used to draw lines, so he whose lines agreed with his lines then that is fine.” He said, “O Messenger of Allāh…” And the point comes right now and what has preceded requires a lecture, in fact even more than a lecture, however the point is what comes now. He said, “O Messenger of Allāh I have a slave girl, she shepherds some sheep for me in Uhud. So one day a wolf pounced on my sheep and I am a man and I get angry like humans get angry. So I slapped her severely and is it upon me the freeing of a slave.” So he ﷺ said, “Bring her.” So when she came he ﷺ said to her, “Where is Allāh?” she said, “Above the heavens.” He ﷺ said to her, “Who am I?” She said, “You are the Messenger of Allāh.” He ﷺ said to her master, “Free her for she is indeed a believer.”

This Ḥadīth, the Scholars of the Muslims have agreed upon it despite differences in their specialities. From the Scholars of Ḥadīth and this is their speciality and the Scholars of Tafsir (Exegeses of the Qurʾān) and the Scholars of Fiqh and the Scholars of al-Tawḥīd, all of them agreed upon the authenticity of this Ḥadīth except the “scholars” of Kʿalám (theological rhetoric) those that are stubborn and follow their desires and they are the ones that reject this Ḥadīth with their intellect, the intellect you have known that doesn’t have any value. This Ḥadīth has made Sunnah for us that it is permissible for us to ask the Ahbashīyīn (Habashīs) and the likes of them from the tails of the Muʿtazilah and of the Ibādiyyah, “Where is Allāh?” Then you will see them in a state of confusion and some of them come and say ‘this question is not permissible.’ And they are ignorant of the fact that the Prophet ﷺ he is the one that made this question Sunnah for his Ummah. So they (those who reject this question) in that case refute their Prophet ﷺ the one they claim they believed in him! Then the answer from the slave girl was “…Allāh is above the Heavens.” You might not believe this however the book is present. Some “scholars” of the present times they say ‘indeed the saying that Allāh is above the Heavens it is a pre-Islamic ignorance ʿAqīdah and is not from the ʿAqīdah of the Muslims! And that this statement that Allāh is above the Heavens, the Lord of the world narrated this from them in the Qurʾān.’ And Allāh said as you know from Sūrah al-Mulk,

“Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allāh), will not cause the earth to sink with you, then behold it shakes (as in an earthquake)? Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allāh), will not send against you a violent whirlwind? Then you shall know how (terrible) has been My Warning?” (Al-Mulk: 67: 16-17).

There is another type closer to guidance and further away from the misguidance of the first type. Those that said the saying that ‘Allāh is above Heavens’ is a Jahiliyyah saying they falsely interpret this verse with a ta’wīl (false interpretation). They say ‘who is above the Heavens’ means the Angels and this is from the calamity of what they call the ‘science of allegory’ (figurative speech). Indeed they tread the path of ‘science of allegory to make ta’tīl (denial) of the Divine Attributes. There comes here many Aḥadīth that falsify the likes of this ta’wīl (false interpretation) from that is the speech that is common place amongst the people of today, however most of the people don’t know, on the contrary they don’t what they are talking about. That Ḥadīth is, “The people that show mercy Allāh shows Mercy on them. Show mercy on he who is on the earth and the One who is above the Heavens will have Mercy on you.” “…Show mercy on he who is on the earth and the One who is above the Heavens will have Mercy on you.” Who is above the Heaven? It is Allāh. Who is on the earth? It is the creation of Allāh, from mankind, animals, riding beasts and so on. This Ḥadīth since it makes clear the intended meaning from the statement of Allāh the Most-High, “Above the Heavens…”

“Or Do you feel secure that He Who is over the Heavens (Allāh)…” (Al-Mulk: 67: 16)

And this is what I said before, maybe we should break down for you the clarification of the meaning of “Above the Heavens” because the preposition في “in” comes from the viewpoint of how it is used in al-ʿArabīc sometimes with the meaning of adverbial and sometimes it comes with another meaning from the preposition. So it comes with the meaning على “on/above.” So how evident is في here in this verse of the well known meaning that is the adverbial preposition? The answer is no. And from here the “scholars” of rhetoric they think that if they negate that Allāh is above the Heavens that they have made Allāh far removed from being likened to the creation. (However,) they have in reality made him far removed from being likened to the creation from their false understanding of the verse (āyah). However, they have refused to say as Allāh said, “Allāh above the Heavens…” So they were ignorant of the meaning of “Allāh above the Heavens.” That is He is ABOVE (على) the Heavens. And in this circumstance this verse moves with us in explaining the preceding Ḥadīth. “Show mercy on he who is in the earth and the One who is above the Heavens will have Mercy on you.” “who is in the earth?…” The intent is not he who is inside the earth from worms, bugs and so on. Rather the meaning is very clear i.e. who is ON (على) the Earth. Those who you deal with from the sons of the race of the humans or what Allāh has subjugated for you from the animals. “Show mercy on he who is on (على) the earth and the One who is Above (على) the Heavens will have Mercy on you.” That is He (Allāh) who is (على) Above the Heavens. Hence, this explanation which is clarified by this Ḥadīth goes perfectly hand in hand with all of the verses – that we mentioned some of them – and other Aḥadīth, that Allāh has the Attribute of Uluww upon His creation. So when we direct the question to those Ahbash (Habashīs) or other than them from those that are upon their way in deviance, “Where is Allāh?” It is incumbent that their answer be just as the slave girl says, “…Allāh is above the heavens.” However, not by their understanding that the في that is adverbial with the meaning “in”, nay! Rather with the understanding that the Ḥadīth makes clear firstly and that our righteous predecessors were upon. Secondly, that is Allāh is “fis-samā” that is “above the heavens,” that is upon the Throne because everything that is above then it is “heaven” so in that case all the avenues are blocked infront of those Ahbash (Habashīs) that think firstly that it is not permissible for a Muslim to ask where is Allāh and secondly they think it is not permissible to say, “Allāhu fis-samā” after it has been clarified for them that the Prophet ﷺ is the one that made this question Sunnah. That is, “Where is Allāh?”And he is the one that bore witness for the fact that the slave girl had īmān when she uttered with the statement of the Qurʾān, “Allāh is above the heavens.

And here is a lesson that is a must that I mention it and it is a must that it is made clear to us the difference between the life that the general populace of the Muslims were living in the time of the Prophet ﷺ even the slave girl that was herding sheep and between what this general populace of the Muslims live today and many of their elite because this question is directed to many of the elite and in it is many of the “big scholars” of al-Azhar that which is called “al-Azhar al-Sharīf” (“The honourable al-Azhar”). If this question is directed to them i.e. that is “Where is Allāh?” They would not answer with the answer of the slave girl! What is the difference between the big “scholars” of present times? They don’t answer the question of the Messenger ﷺ while the female herder of sheep knew the correct answer to this notable question. I say this is a proof that the Muslims in the first era they were all nurtured, there not being a difference between their elite and their common folk. They were all nurtured with the cultivation of the Prophet ﷺ in what is at least connected to the ʿAqīdah that every Muslim should be understanding of it firstly then a believer in it secondly. This slave girl, how did she know of this correct ʿAqīdah? The answer: we don’t visualise that the slave girl was able to be present at the circles of knowledge that most of the big Companions of the Prophet ﷺ & their elite were present in. While others did not attend the sittings of the Messenger ﷺ. If this affair of ʿUmar al-Khattāb رضي الله عنه when a Ḥadīth was conveyed to him from Abū Hurayrah رضي الله عنه he regretted then said, “bargaining in the markets has preoccupied us.” If this is ʿUmar what do we say of the other Companions and what do we say of the women, even more so what do we say lastly of the slave girl and about the female herder of sheep? I want [to say] by way of this introduction: How does this slave girl understand this correct ʿAqīdah that up until now some of the ‘elite’ from the people of knowledge have not understood it. Indeed she used to live in an environment of al-Tawḥīd that is by the correct understanding of al-Tawḥīd. There is no comparison to it at all in the dunyā (world) because of the presence of the Messenger ﷺ because of the presence of illumination in the midst of those Companions, from the men and women, from the elite and the common folk. This slave girl received this ʿAqīdah from her master, so her master hears the correct ʿAqīdah (Creed/Belief) even more so the legalistic rulings that is fiqh from the Prophet ﷺ, then he does not limit himself to preserving them, on the contrary he transmits it to those under his care, those who he spends on materially and spends on them knowledge-wise figuratively. From here we know why the slave girl knew this correct ʿAqīdah because she lived in that unique environment in its understanding of the correct concept of al-Tawḥīd. As for today then the Muslims live in varying environments as regards to ‘Aqāid (pl. of ʿAqīdah) that are different and conflicting to the limit conflicting can be.

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Published: June 15, 2007
Edited: January 6, 2022

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