Hadiths reported by Sufis

The experts of hadith are weary of the hadith of sufis as highlighted by Imam Muslim. It should be noted that it is not the fact that they are sufi which makes them unreliable rather it is the manner in which they evaluate hadith.

By Muhaddith al-Asr Shaykh Muhammad Yunus Jawnpuri
al-Yawaqit al-Ghaliyah fi Tahqiq wa Takhrij al-Ahadith al-‘Aliyah
Translated by Ml. Muhammad Habib in Deoband – 4th April 2010

[This is a beneficial read to understand the rationale of Imam Muslim (may Allah almighty have mercy upon him) when he writes in his Muqaddimah that the hadith of the sufis are not to be relied upon. Also note that the term sufi in some parts sparks debate. Before embarking on a discussion first determine the definition of a sufi as it is not uniform. –Saif]

Scholars have not given credence to the [hadith] reports of Sufis, as these respected people, due to their preoccupation with acts of devotion (‘ibadat), are unable to fully dedicate themselves to [the seeking of] knowledge. This is why their reports are littered with errors and confusions. Likewise, their husn al-zann (good opinions regarding others) is to such a degree that they do not even make critical analysis and, consequently, accept any spoken word without investigation. This is why their reports contain weak, rejected and fabricated hadiths in abundance.

This becomes evident after seeing Abu Talib Makki’s Qut al-Qulub and the works of Imam al-Ghazali, Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami and others.

‘Allamah Taj al-Din al-Subki has compiled all those countless reports which Imam al-Ghazali has mentioned in Ihya’ al-‘Ulum, but are not found elsewhere. There are, however, many reports which do exist either in wording or meaning.

The truth is that every art has its connoisseurs. We gladly accept that the Sufis are worthy of veneration. However, that does not mean we also accept their word in those sciences in which they do not specialise.

Yahya al-Qattan says: ”We have not seen the pious (Sufis) more imprecise in anything as they are in hadith.” Another variation reads, “We have not seen the people of good (Sufis) more imprecise in anything as they are in hadith.”

Explaining this, Imam Muslim (pg. 14) writes: “Imprecision finds its way on to their tongues but they do not intend it.”

Imam al-Nawawi elaborates: ”This is so because of their non-possession of the skills employed by the people of hadith, and hence, error creeps into their reports without their knowledge and they tend to relate inaccurate reports not suspecting them to be false.”

However, no one has rejected the reports of those Sufis who have gained proficiency in this science. For example, Imam Abu Isma’il al-Ansari al-Harawi (d. 481 AH), the author of Manazil al-Sa’irin, was a Sufi as well as a hadith scholar. His work, Manazil al-Sa’irin, is a renowned work of tasawwuf, of which al-Hafiz Ibn al-Qayyim wrote an extremely detailed commentary, entitled Madarij al-Salikin.

Similarly, the student of Imam Muslim, Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Sufyan and his student Abu Ahmad al-Jaludi and others were all from amongst the ascetic Sufis, and people (hadith scholars) have accepted their reports.

The hadith scholar, Abu ‘Abd Allah Yunini, is from amongst the great Sufis. He attained the mantle of tasawwuf from the respected Shaykh ‘Abd Allah al-Bata’ihi, who is from the companions of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani. [Abu ‘Abd Allah] Yunini is also a renowned hafiz of hadith. Al-Hafiz al-Dhahabi has specifically mentioned him in Tadhkirat al-Huffaz (Vol. 4, p. 223).

Similarly ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Muhammad al-Dawudi (d. 467 AH) is a renowned Sufi. Al-Hafiz al-Sam’ani relates in Al-Ansab: ”He was a master in tasawwuf”, and he is from amongst the transmitters of [Sahih] al-Bukhari.

The likes of ‘Allamah Ibn Daqiq al-‘Id and Ibn al-Humam and others being Sufis is a known fact.

[Finally], all praise is due to Allah, most of our shaykhs of the Wali Allahi tradition were Sufis as well as imams of hadith.

That is the bounty of Allah, He grants to whom He wills.

Only Allah knows best.

The servant
Muhammad Yunus
(may Allah forgive him)
Monday 11th Rabi’ al-Thani 1391 AH.

Criticism of the Arab publishing houses

Avoid Darul Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, al-Fikr and Ihya al-Turath prints especially when they have been edited by Muhammad Hasan al-Shafi’i and Ahmed Izw Inayah.

By Mufti Husain Kadodia
Edited by Ml. Bilal Ali Ansari in at-Tahawi – 12 May 2009

To understand different criticisms and comments about Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, one would have to first understand how these publishers work.

In the past most of these publishers, eg. Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, Dar al-Fikr, etc., would just have a group of typists, with one “muhaqqiq” (research scholar).

The typist would type out the book, relying on some old print of it, the muhaqqiq would type out a half page biography of the author and all of a sudden you have you nice, sleek new print!

They then realized that customers were getting cleverer, and that they would only buy “Muhaqqaq” (researched, revised, and properly edited) prints. So they had to start outsourcing the tahqeeq. In other words, if al-‘Ilmiyyah decided they needed to print al-Mabsut of al-Sarakhsi, they would take the old reliable print, hand it over to their group of typists who in a few days would have it ready in a text document, complete with thousands of errors added free of charge. Of course, no re-checking, correction, etc… would take place.

It would then be handed over to a “Muhaqqiq”. In the case of al-Mabsut, ‘Muhammad Hasan ibn Ismail ash-Shafi’i” ! He would then make a long-drawn takhrij of every hadith in the book and also made takhrij of some of the fiqhi quotations. He wouldn’t touch or research the typed-out muharraf (changed) matan (text) except very rarely! Once he was finished with this, the book would then be handed back to al-‘Ilmiyyah, who would typeset it and print it as a “tab’ah jadidah muhaqqaqah mulawwanah, etc…” (New Critical Revised Colored Edition)

That was their old habit. For the last few years, however, they had to improvise a bit as they realized that customers checked the front of the book to see if the makhtutaat (the original manuscripts) were relied upon in the tahqiq. So what did they do now?

Well, they either openly lied by putting pictures of some makhtutaat at the beginning and saying we relied on these, or they would play with words and say “these are copies of the makhtutat of this book” without saying that they relied upon them, but instead giving you that impression!

Muhammad Hasan ash-Shafi’i is really famous for doing this. He has made tahqiq of dozens of books in this manner. Don’t ever buy a book with his name on the cover…

There are dozens of “poor muhaqqiqqs” in Egypt especially who work for al-‘Ilmiyyah in this manner. They get paid per book and are happy as they are earning a steady income, while al-‘Ilmiyyah is overjoyed with this relationship since they need pay them only a penny: about $200 for a one volume book on which they will make thousands of dollars!

Then you get the Maktabah at-Tahqiq. These guys realised that there is money in tijarati tahqiqqaat (revenue research). They rent a two-room flat, cram 15 graduates fresh out of a Jami’ah into it and start tahqiq. These muhaqiqin get paid about $100-$200 a month!

Because of their large numbers they can work on big books easily. Either they make tahqiq of a book for the first time from a makhtut (manuscript), in which they will only rely on one or two generally and most of the time they are full of errors (eg. Al-Muhit al-Burhani, the Ihya at-Turath print, or an-Nahr al-Fa‘iq, etc..), all done by another good friend, Ahmed Izw Inayah of Damascus (Shaykh Husain Kadodia is also friends with the previously mentioned Ustaadh Muhammad Hasan al-Shafi’i). Stay far from his tahqiqaat as well, unless there exists no other print, as is the case with an-Nahr and Uyun al-Madhahib of al-Kaki.

But most of the time these guys will take an already printed book and just type it out and add takhrij. This is what the Shaykhain of Tahrif , ‘Ali Muawwadh and ‘Adil ‘Abd al-Mawjud, are famous for.

What happens is that these guys don’t do the work, they just own the maktabah. So based on who did the work, the book would be good or terrible […]

These makatib then offer the competed book to different publishers. It is sold to the highest bidder.

So while the publishers like al-‘Ilmiyyah had nothing to do with the tahqiq in cases like this, they aren’t completely free of blame, as they deliberately buy these tijarati tahqiqaat.

Now the muhaqqiqs know that if they come out with a new book, never printed before, after a very little while other publishers like al-‘Ilmiyyah will steal it and type it out as their own tahqiq.

So the muhaqqiqs then got clever.

So from one maktabah of tahqiq, 3 of them would take the same book, just spread it out in a different number of volumes and with different muhaqqiqs on the cover, each to a different publisher. Generally al-‘Ilmiyyah, al-Fikr, and Ihya at-Turath.

They will then buy it- so the maktabah cashed in thrice- and thus you will find multiple prints of the same book coming onto the market at one time, with all the same mistakes.

If anyone compared the Ihya at-Turath copy of al-Muhit al-Burhani – 11 vols- with the al-‘Ilmiyyah one – 9 vols- he will understand what I am saying. Both are identical, yet the muhaqqiq – Ahmed Inayah- of course denied that he sold it to both. Rather, he says al-‘Ilmiyyah copied his one. And Allah knows best.

The class rules of Mufti Muzaffar Husayn

There are general etiquettes and then there are etiquettes particular to teachers. The following are some classroom rules stated by Mufti Muzaffar Husayn who was the hadith teacher and former principal of Mazahirul Uloom in India. Wait for the lesson to start inside the class; do not loiter outside. Attend class and consistently so. Do not leave the classroom unnecessarily. Focus! Do not doodle, text or distract others during lesson. Do not do anything which is unrelated to the current lesson during lesson time such as grooming or reading a novel. Come prepared; do not leave your books at home.

By Mufti Muzaffar Husayn Mazahiri
Taqrir Tirmidhi
Translated by Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami; Bulletin #150805501 – 19 Shawwal 1436

[There are general etiquettes and then there are etiquettes particular to teachers. The following are some classroom rules stated by Mufti Muzaffar Husayn who was the hadith teacher and former principal of Mazahirul Uloom in India. Wait for the lesson to start inside the class; do not loiter outside. Attend class and consistently so. Do not leave the classroom unnecessarily. Focus! Do not doodle, text or distract others during lesson. Do not do anything which is unrelated to the current lesson during lesson time such as grooming or reading a novel. Come prepared; do not leave your books at home. – Saif]

[Mufti Muzaffar Husayn Mazahiri (may Allah almighty have mercy upon him) states,]

It is a story through the year and I do not like fighting over and over either. In a lesson and especially so in a lesson of hadith, there are a few matters which must be given consideration […] The first is the general etiquettes of a lesson and the second is [specific] with each teacher who have particular approaches and some principles which want the students to fulfil.

First etiquette

The very first thing I want from you is that at the very least you are not standing here and there at lesson time. If you stand here and stand there, this is your first fight with me. When you stand here and there, I consider that in other words you have made a complaint about the teacher even if you have not made the complaint verbally […] Meaning complaint can be done with ‘قال’ (statement) as well as through ‘حال’ (conduct). This conduct of yours entails complaint. When the lesson time has started and the teacher has not arrived or came ten minutes late due to which you are standing here and there, you have announced that the teacher is not there yet. Is that not a complaint? When you complain about a teacher, it is apparent you cannot benefit from them. Even if there is not a clear fight, however, it is the ruling of Allah Almighty that when bitterness forms inside and the heart becomes constricted then one cannot benefit. Even if there are lots of lectures and everything else but the circumstance will be as I have mentioned that it is difficult to benefit. You should save yourself from this habit. At the very least let me tell you about myself that do not stand around in my lesson time. I should not see you standing. Rather sit for ten minutes and wait. I will send a message that there will be no lesson. It is my habit that if I am unable to teach the lesson, I inform but six or seven minutes late and not before.

Second etiquette

Let me mention to you another thing. In a few days something else starts which not being present in class. There are some who do not even bother to come here and sit in lesson. They are relaxing at lesson time even though it is mandatory upon them to be present and remain in lesson. If you start adopting this approach that you come sometimes and don’t come sometimes, I will start feeling dim and withdrawn, my lectures will become shallow and I would assume what is the point of in-depth speeches.

Let me mention another point. There are those who attend class (Masha-Allah). But the extent of their care is that if there is registration they will be present and if there is no registration they will be absent. Remember! In two or three days I will see your face (I will know who is what). After that I will be able to tell if you are not coming to lesson. Do not assume that if there was no register it is not known as to who did not come. […] This is a form of cheating with the lesson and the teacher […] Many are under the assumption that we have put one over [the teacher]; the teacher did not ask and so did not know. This is an error. This error should be removed as it is nothing and everything is known.

However, let me say that after the first, second or third occurrence, I may say that you are not consistent. Subsequently, after the third time I will assume that come or do not come, if after telling you, still you did not come, I will not ask why you did not come. The reason being, you are not children. Masha-Allah, you have intellect, are mature, have understanding, are able to lead the people, manage an organisation and all other thing. Even then if you are careless about what benefits and harms you, who can inform you. After the third time, as you would have read, even the Quran states, ‘This is a separation between me and you’. So up to three time the apology will be heard but after the third time it is not necessary. This is my personal stance or else the rule of the madrasah is different. Whether they expel you or keep you that is the madrasah’s matter, however, the special relationship that we have will definitely be different. Even if you do not call it a literal separation consider it is a figurative one. A figurative separation is when there is no connection between the teacher and student. So this separation is born. The point being, be consistent in you attendance.

Third etiquette

Some of our friends (viz. students) have adopted another form. Listen regarding it also. They arrive and are present, however, studying is not their objective. Their main purpose is to register their attendance. As soon as they have been marked in, they need to go toilet, they need to urinate, they have an extreme need, they have an illness and so they leave the class. Some will try to adopt this corner or that corner and thereafter when they feel like it, they leave, and when they feel like it, they return. They think we have fooled them and the teacher does not have a clue who left […] To inform or not to inform is a separate issue, however, to assume that it was not known, is not correct. It is definitely known but it is not my habit to say over and over; it is not appropriate either.

Fourth etiquette

There are some of our friends whose mind-set is that let us go to lesson and these poor souls come to lesson also as well as remain in lesson. However, whilst remaining some start doodling, sometimes sending a note here and sometime sending a note there, or thereafter they start to sign towards each other.

Fifth etiquette

Some fellows have gone to the limit, and this is my experience that someone is doing their moustache or reading a novel. The lesson of hadith is going on and the novel is open. It is a sad case! Think, the novel is open and hadith is being taught. Similarly, a scissors is in front or a pen and with these their exercise is done upon the book. These are experiences which I am telling. I am not merely saying but it is my experience. Now you let me how can such students gain anything.

Sixth etiquette

Similarly, some do not even bring their books such as today where some have come without their books. Meaning they are so well researched that they do not consider it necessary to lift so many books, and even if they pick, it is one or two important books which they will bring from their residence.

Listen! Those who find it burdensome to even carry books, it is clear what burden they will take to carry knowledge. I ask that if it is difficult to bring books for four lessons at once from the room, what would they be able to preserve of the lectures of four lessons? I want to ask to those whose state in regards to the respect of knowledge that they cannot even bring books and sit without books. This is my long experience and you will also see, this is their regular habit that they come without books and they impose on those who have brought their books. Think! What are they studying who cannot even bring books?

Summary

All these thing are causes for the deprivation, loss and deficiency in knowledge. Hence, if you want to study and teach properly, it should be learned in the right manner with full consideration of the etiquette of knowledge. The teacher should consider their station and student should realise their obligation. Thereafter, Allah almighty will very easily grant knowledge.

—————–

Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami (Translator)
19 Shawwal 1436
5 August 2015

Ml. Saharanpuri on Shami and Badai’

Ml.Khalil Ahmad Saharanpur advises that to create an affinity to fiqh one should read Shami (Radd al-Muhtar) and Badai’ al-Sanai’ comprehensively.

By Mawlana Ashiq Ilahi Mirati
Tazkirat al-Khalil pp. 351-352
Translated by Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami Bulletin #151228501 – 18 Rabi I 1437

When writing a fatwa, Hadrat [Ml. Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri] would often check Shami. If [Allm. Shami] would report a view [of an authority], he would consider it evidence but if it was the opinion of the author, he would not consider it evidence [in of itself]. Rather, he would critically analyse and research. He would say, ‘we are of one time –  they are men and we are men. His opinion is not evidence against us until his opinion is not supported by the view of the salaf’.

In his free time, he would often check Badai’. I have heard on many occasions Hadrat [Saharanpuri] make a lot of duas for its author [Allm. Kasani]. He would say, ‘For sure, this man is a faqih and Allah almighty has created him for fiqh’.

Ml. Zafar Ahmad Sahib once asked, Hadrat [Saharanpuri] to suggest a solution which will create an affinity to fiqh. He responded,

It is the habit of muftis that they revise the book only when a request for a fatwa is made. This is insufficient and results in the answer containing many errors. The reason being, they write an answer in a hurry after checking it in one place despite the fact that in this matter there is more detail in another place which changes the ruling for the given query. Hence, to create an affinity with fiqh one should read Shami and Badai’ comprehensively. Our Hadrat Gangohi read Shami fully multiple times but [then again] at that time Badai’ was not available in print. Now I consider it necessary to review also along with Shami. The reality is that Badai’ is an amazing book. Once he said, although Shami has more derivative edicts but the principles and the why of fiqh is more in Badai’. If one creates a familiarity to [Badai’], they will get to grips with fiqh.

The different temperaments of the pious

How would you have reacted in the given case? This is a useful exercise to connect with the ulama and the sahabah. Would Hadrat Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman (may Allah almighty be pleased with them) reacted alike considering what we know of their personality?

 

By Hakim al-Islam Qari Muhammad Tayyab Qasimi
Arwah Thalatha, p. 16
Translated by Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami; Bulletin #151225501 – 13 Rabi I 1437

Hadrat Amir Shah Khan Sahib relates that one man invited Shah Wali Allah Sahib (Muhaddith) Dihlawi, Mawlana Fakhr al-Din Sahib and Mirza Mazhar Jani Jana for food. He sat all three of them down and left. The man returned after midday. He placed one paisa (shilling) in each of their hand and said,

Hadrat, I left for some work and absolutely forgot about the invite given to you. Now there is no time to arrange the food, hence, keep this money for food.

Mawlana Fakhr al-Din Sahib thanked him and said,

Brother, even this is a favour because if we were to work from morning to now, we would have got a paisa and here you have sat us in comfort and gave us a paisa.  Shah Wali Allah accepted it silently and said nothing. However, Mirza Muhammad Jani Jana was offended and said,

You wasted the time of this honourable people. Shah Wali Allah Sahib would have taught hadith till now and Mawlana Fakhr al-Din Sahib would have benefited his adherents. (He did not say anything regarding himself as in what he would have done). However, you have stopped them from doing Islamic services. Be warned, never do that again.

Thereafter, the three got up and left. After stating the story, Amir Shah Khan Sahib said, Hadrat Haji Imdad Allah related this story to me as well as Hadrat Mawlana Qasim Sahib Nanotwi and Hadrat Mawlana Gangohi also.

Hadrat Haji Sahib after discussing this story said, Mawlana Rafi al-Din’s case is one of humility – it resonates of chistiyat. Hadrat Mawlana Qasim Sahib said, Shah Wali Allah’s case is higher in that his nafs was unfazed. Hadrat Gangohi used to say that Mirza Mazhar Jani Jana’s case is very high. Justice dictated here what Mirza Sahib said.

This highlights the differences of characters and opinions of our elders.

Hāfiż Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalānī’s day

By Shams al-Din al-Sakhawi
al-Jawāhir wa al-Durar, vol.3, pp.1050-1051
Translated by Ml. Muntasir Zaman in Ahadith Notes – 26 November 2015

In his early days, he (Allāh have mercy upon him) would perform the Fajr prayer at Jāmi‘ al-Hākim when it was still dark. Afterwards -perhaps after becoming a judge- he began performing it at Madrasah Mankūtamuriyyah when it [the sky] was bright. He would go to the Madrasah from the private quarters of his residence. When he completed his prayers, if anyone required his assistance, he would speak to them; otherwise, he would return home and engage in the morning adhkār and recitation of the Qur’ān. He would then engage in research and writing until the time of Salāt al-Duhā and then perform it [Salāt al-Duhā]. Thereafter, if there were people seeking permission to read hadith, he would attend to them. Thus, some would read with transmission and others with commentary; he would remain seated with them until shortly before the Zuhr prayer. He would then return home and rest for one-third of an hour, and perform the Zuhr prayer at his residence.

Thereafter, he would research and write until roughly two-thirds of an hour after the adhān of ‘Asr. Then he would go to the Madrasah and find the students and others waiting for him, so he would perform ‘Asr with them. After the prayer, he would sit to deliver lessons. By then, those who had prescribed invocations either finished them or had a small amount remaining. This is why he delayed slightly, intending wide spread benefit and considering the feelings of the students.

In between their recital to him, as well as in the morning session, he would write answers to Hadith and Fiqh related queries that were sent to him. Occasionally, a discussion would ensue between him and the students regarding some of the queries. Generally, this session would only terminate shortly before sunset. Thereafter, he would return home and eat dinner if he was not fasting; otherwise, he would wait for the adhān to eat and then pray.

He would engage in voluntary prayers or research until he heard the adhān for ‘Ishā’ during which he would make his way to the Madrasah, and upon his arrival, a group of students would be waiting for him. He would pray two raka’āt and then generally sit for dictation or mutual discussion for over an hour and then pray ‘Īshā’ in congregation. Thereafter, he would return home and perform the [post-‘Īshā’] Sunnah prayers. During the month of Ramadān, after the adhān, the prayer of ‘Īshā’ would commence once he appeared and the appointed Imām for the Tarāwīh prayer would go forward. For a lengthy period, the appointed Imām was al-Badr Hasan ibn ‘Abd Allah […] and after his demise, it was Nūr al-Dīn al-Samannūdī. Some nights I prayed with him. He would first pray ‘Īshā’ and then Tarāwīh. When the Imām would stand for the Witr prayer, he would generally remain seated and would engage in dhikr until its completion and then go home to rest. Thereafter, he would do as I described under the section “his night vigil prayer (tahajjud).”

This was his routine most of the time. When he had classes or official duties, however, his schedule would change slightly- as well as in Ramadān.

Mufti Shafi Usmani’s day

By Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
Nawhami Bulletin #120501501 – 9 Jumada II 1433 / 1 May 2012

The pious Ulama achieved greatness through dedication to Allah and maintenance of their duties to themselves and others for the sake of Allah. They made time for ibadat as well as fulfilling the rights of their body, family and meeting financial and social obligations. Here is a glimpse of one such man from the not too distant past.

In 24 Shawwal 1344 AH, the future grand Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani (d. 1399) wrote to Hakim al-Ummat Ml. Ashraf Ali Thanwi outlining his daily routine at the onset of the new academic year. He writes,

“As Hidayah generally goes unfinished during class hours I have planned to start teaching after the morning salah, an hour before the lesson, from Kitab al-Nikah and during lesson from the beginning [of the Kitab]. [I will teach] Hidayah in the first period, preparation of Hidayah in the second, exercise of Arabic writing in the third, and Maqamat in the fourth. After this, [I will spend] one and a half to two hours in business[1. He used to run a book store] and [then] an hour of rest (Qaylulah). After Zuhar Salah I will recite one juz of the Quran and thereafter write an article or thesis for an hour. [This will be] followed by one period of teaching Hammasa. After Asr I will go out for leisure. After Maghrib as per instruction Zikr of Allah’s name; to which now [I] adhere to for twelve Tasbihs and some times more. After Isha, the reading of books.”Hayat Mufti A’zam. (1415). Mufti Rafi Usmani. Idarat al-Ma’arif; Karachi, Pakistan. p. 60

Note how his timetable revolves around salah. After every salah there is a concrete action followed by a task that is flexible. The best actions are those that are measured and consistent.

 

Looking at a woman

It is prohibited to look at a woman’s face or hand with desire. This is undisputed. The same is the case if there is fear that it may lead to mischief. In the absence of desire or fear, the fuqaha are divided. The Hanafis and Malikis permit whilst the Shafi’is and Hanbalis still prohibit.

By Shaykh al-Islam Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani
Takmilah Fath al-Mulhim, vol. 4, pp. 225-234
Translated by Ml. Zameelur Rahman

As for the positions of the fuqaha on the permissibility of looking at the face of a woman and her hands, the fuqaha have agreed on the impermissibility when it is with the intention of gratification (taladhdhudh), or if there was a fear of temptation inviting the man to be alone with her. There is no dispute in the prohibition of looking at the face of a woman and her hands in this case. As for when the man is safe from temptation and does not desire gratification by looking there is disagreement over its permissibility. The position of the Hanafis and the Malikis is the permissibility of looking at the face and hands in this case and this is the position of many of the Shafi’is and few Hanbalis. However the preferred [view] according to the Shafi’is and the Hanbalis is absolute impermissibility even if safe from desire and temptation.

The Hanafi position

Shams al-A’immah al-Sarakhsi said in al-Mabsut (10:152), “It is permissible to look at the area of apparent adornment of women and not the hidden [adornment] due to His statement Most High, ‘they should not display their ornaments except what appear thereof’ (24:31). ‘Ali and Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with them) said, ‘what appears thereof’ is kohl and the ring. ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) said one of her two eyes and ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) said her shoes (khuff) and shroud (mula’ah) … The prohibition of looking is for fear of temptation and the greater part of her attractiveness is in her face, the fear of temptation in looking at her face is greater than it is when looking at other parts. ‘A’ishah reasoned similarly but she said, ‘if she finds no escape from walking on the road, then it is necessary that she opens her eye to see the road. So it is permissible for her to uncover one of her eyes due to this necessity, and what is established by necessity should not go beyond the scope of the necessity.’

“However, we [Hanafis] adopt the view of ‘Ali and Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with them) since reports have been transmitted giving a dispensation to look at her face and hands. From these reports is what was narrated that a woman offered herself [for marriage] to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), and he looked at her face and did not desire her.

“And when ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) said in his sermon, ‘Know that you may not go in excess in the dowries of women’ and a woman with flushed cheeks said, ‘Are you expressing [a view] using your [personal] opinion or did you hear this from Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), for indeed we find in the Book of Allah Most High the opposite of what you say…?’ Hence, the narrator mentioned that she had flushed cheeks, and this contains a clarification that her face was unveiled.

“And Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) saw the hand of a woman that was not dyed with henna and he asked, ‘is this the hand of a man?’

“And when Fatima (Allah be pleased with her) gave one of her two children to Bilal or Anas (Allah be pleased with them), Anas said, ‘I saw her hand and it appeared as if a half-moon.’

“It is thus proven that there is no harm in looking at the face and hands. Furthermore, the face is the site of kohl and the hand is the site of the ring … Moreover, there is no doubt that it is permissible to look at her garment, and fear of temptation is not considered in this, and looking at her face and hands is the same. Al-Hasan ibn Ziyad narrated from Abu Hanifah that it is permitted to look at her foot also, as was mentioned by al-Tahawi, because just as she is tried with showing her face in working with men and showing her hand in receiving and giving, she is tried with showing her feet when walking barefooted or wearing sandals, and she may not find shoes on every occasion [when she goes out]. It is mentioned in Jami’ al-Baramika, it was narrated from Abu Yusuf that it is permissible to look at her forearm also because in baking and washing clothes she is tried with showing her forearms also. It was said, ‘similarly, it is permitted to look at her front teeth also, because that appears from her when talking to men.’

“All of this is when looking is not with desire (shahwah). If one knows that if he looks, he will become desirous, then it is not permissible for him to look at any part of her because of his statement (Allah bless him and grant him peace), ‘whoever looks at the beauties of a foreign woman with desire, [melted] lead will be poured into his eyes on the Day of Resurrection’ and ‘Ali (Allah be pleased with him) said, ‘do not follow up a glance with another glance for indeed the first is [permissible] for you and the second is against you’, meaning by the second that one does it intentionally with desire … And similar is the case if his preponderant opinion is that if he looks he will become desirous, because preponderant opinion in that thing the reality of which cannot be known [with certainty] is just like certainty.”

The Maliki Position

As for the Malikis, their position is what was mentioned by al-Kharshi in his marginalia on Mukhtasar Khalil (1:347): “The ‘awrah of a free-woman before a foreign man is her entire body, even her loose hair and forelock, with the exception of the face and hands, the outside of them and their inside. Furthermore, looking at them (the face and hands) without gratification and without fear of temptation and without a reason, is permissible, even if it is a young woman. Malik said, ‘a woman may eat with a non-near-relative (ghayr dhi mahram) and with her male servant, and she may occasionally eat with her husband and others of those with whom he dines’. Ibn al-Qattan said, ‘this contains proof of the permissibility of the woman showing her face and hands to a foreign man, since it is not conceivable to eat except in this manner [i.e. by showing the face and hands].’” An equivalent [passage] is [found] in Sharh al-Muwaq of al-Hattab (1:499) in more detail.

‘Alish said in Minah al-Jalil (1:133), “Thus, it is permissible for her to uncover them [i.e. the face and hands] before a foreign man, and he may look at them if he does not fear temptation. If temptation is feared then Ibn Marzuq said, ‘the well-known position of the madhhab is the obligation to conceal them.’” An equivalent [passage] is [found] in Mawahib al-Jalil by al-Hattab (1:399, 500).

The Shafi’i Position

The position of the Shafi’is is what was mentioned by al-Nawawi in Kitab al-Nikah from al-Minhaj in his statement, “It is prohibited for a mature male to look at the ‘awrah of a mature foreign free woman, and similarly [it is prohibited to look at] her face and hands when one fears temptation, and also when safe from temptation according to the correct opinion.”

Al-Khatib al-Shirbini said below his statement, “according to the correct opinion”, “and Imam [al-Juwayni] reasoned that the Muslims are in agreement on banning women from emerging while their faces are unveiled, and [he reasoned] that looking is the act in which one would most expect temptation and the stirring of desire … And the second view is that it is not prohibited, and Imam [al-Juwayni] attributed this to the majority (jumhur) [of the Shafi’is] and the two shaykhs (al-Nawawi and al-Rafi’i) attributed it to most (aktharin).

“[Al-Isnawi] said in al-Muhimmat that: It is the correct view because most have adopted it. Al-Balqini said, ‘giving weight (tarjih) [to one opinion] depends on the strength of reason, and the verdict (fatwa) is given according to what is in al-Minhaj‘… That which the Imam transmitted regarding agreement on banning women, i.e. the rulers banning them, [from emerging while their faces are unveiled], conflicts with what al-Qadi ‘Iyad related from the ‘ulama that it is not obligatory on the woman to conceal her face along her path and that it is only a good practice (sunnah), and it is [obligatory] on men to lower their gaze from them because of the verse [i.e. 24:30]. The author (al-Nawawi) related this in Sharh Muslim and approved of it. One of the latter-day scholars said there is no conflict in that, rather their being banned from that is not because concealing [the face] is obligatory on them in its essence, rather because there is general benefit in it, and in leaving [the ban] is an infringement of honour (muru’ah). [Here] ends [the statement of al-Isnawi]. The outward purport of the statement of the two shaykhs is that concealing [the face] is obligatory in itself, so [the need for] this reconciliation does not arise, and the statement of al-Qadi is weak.” See Mughni al-Muhtaj (3:128, 129). An equivalent [passage] is [found] in Nihayat al-Muhtaj (6:184, 5).

The Hanbali Position

The position of the Hanbalis is what was mentioned by Ibn Qudamah in al-Mughni (6:558,9) in Kitab al-Nikah in his statement, “As for men looking at a foreign woman without a reason, it is prohibited entirely according to the apparent statement of Ahmad … and al-Qadi [Abu Ya’la] said, ‘it is prohibited for one to look at anything besides the face and hands because this is ‘awrah, and it is permitted for him to look at her with reprehensibility (karahah) when safe from temptation and the look is without desire. This is the position of al-Shafi’i … [In support] of our view is Allah’s statement Most High, “And when ye ask of them anything, ask it of them from behind a veil” (33:53) … As for the hadith of Asma, if it is authentic, it is possible that it was before the revelation of [the verses of] hijab, so we understand it as such.’”

Summary

By considering these four positions it is clear that they all agree on the prohibition of looking at the face of a woman with the intention of gratification or when there is fear of temptation. The preponderant view in the madhhab of the Shafi’is and the Hanbalis is its prohibition when safe from temptation also. The Hanafis and Malikis only allow it with the condition of safety from temptation and the intention of gratification. Meeting this condition is very difficult, particularly in our age in which corruption has become prevalent, to the degree that it has become a condition that almost cannot be met in most situations, and for this [reason] the latter-day scholars from the Hanafis prohibited it absolutely.

Its reprehensibility was transmitted in Al-Durr al-Mukhtar: “If one fears desire or has doubts, looking at her face is prohibited. Thus, the permissibility of looking is conditional on the absence of desire and otherwise it is prohibited. This was in their time. As for our time, Quhustani and others prohibited looking at [the face of] young girls except when looking is due to a need, like when a judge and a witness judge and witness over her…”

Al-Haskafi said in Shurut al-Salah, “and it is prohibited for a young woman to uncover the face among men, not because it is ‘awrah, but for fear of temptation.” And he said in Bab al-Ta’zir, “the master may reprimand his slave, and the husband his wife if she doesn’t beautify [herself]” to his statement “or she uncovers her face before a non-close-relative.”

Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas said in Ahkam al-Qur’an (4:458) under His statement Most High, “they should cast their jilbabs over their [persons]”, “in this verse is an indication that the young woman is commanded to conceal her face from foreign men and to display the concealment and modesty when going out so that suspicious people do not desire them.”

My father, ‘Allamah Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ (Allah have mercy on him), said in his Ahkam al-Qur’an (3:469), “and by this explanation we offered, the texts and narrations that are apparently contradictory are in agreement. As you know from what we cited to you of the verses and narrations that some of them allow uncovering the face and hands, either with certainty and conviction like the hadith of al-Fadl ibn ‘Abbas according to al-Bukhari and the hadith of Asma bint Abi Bakr in [Abu Dawud’s] al-Sunan and the hadith of the one who offered herself [for marriage] according to al-Bukhari and [other narrations] like them; and some [of the verses and narrations] allow it as a possible interpretation due to the disagreement that occurred between the Companions (Allah be pleased with them) in the explanation of His statement Most High ‘except what appear thereof’, the details of which have passed.

“And some [of the verses and narrations] prohibit uncovering the face and hands, and foreign men looking at them, like His statement Most High ‘and stay in your houses’ (33:33) … and His statement Most High ‘ask it of them from behind a veil’ (33:53) and His statement ‘they should cast their jilbabs over their [persons]’ (33:59) according to the explanation of the majority of the Companions and His statement Most High ‘except what appear thereof’ (24:31) according to the explanation of ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud …

“Thus, these texts of the Book and narrations of the Sunnah apparently conflict and contradict and in what we have mentioned to you, with the help of Allah Most High, this problem is resolved, for when you realise what we said, you will understand that all of these texts are in agreement in meaning, well-coordinated in the rulings, and all of them are in effect (muhkam) and are not abrogated, but a [particular] ruling is preconditioned by conditions, so wherever the conditions are met, it is made permissible, and wherever they are not, then it is not [permissible] …

“All of this is when the reality of the difference between the explanations of Ibn ‘Abbas and ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud is conceded. Our teacher, the noblest of teachers, Ashraf ‘Ali al-Thanawi (Allah illuminate his resting place), said in a volume devoted to this subject called Ilqa’ al-Sakinah fi Tahqiq Ibda’ al-Zinah that there is no difference between their explanations upon an in-depth and close examination, since the phrase ‘what appears’, although it was explained [by Ibn ‘Abbas] as the face and hands, but what is cited as the exception [in the verse] is on the [morphological] pattern of zuhur (passive appearance) not izhar (active showing). This clearly indicates that the objective [of the verse] is making an exception of what cannot be concealed. Rather, [it is an exception] when adornment appears upon exertion and work, without an intention to show it, because harm may be inflicted upon them by concealing [the face and hands] upon exertion and work. In this case, the exception would also be in accordance with the explanation of Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) which is the face and hands may appear due to a need, and this does not contradict the statement of ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him). I say: and this meaning is supported by what Ibn Kathir said in his explanation of His statement Most High, ‘they should not display their ornaments except what appear thereof’, ‘i.e. they should not reveal any part of their adornment to foreign men except what they are unable to conceal.’”

The upshot is that a woman is commanded in the Noble Qur’an to stay in her house and not emerge except when there is a need. Moreover, if she were to emerge due to a need, then she is commanded to conceal the face by donning the jilbab or burqa’ and in [a manner] that she does not unveil her face. Yes, there are two situations that are exceptions to this: first, the situation of needing to show the face because concealing it will inflict harm upon her as in a [large] crowd or for another need like providing testimony. Second, her face becomes exposed unintentionally during exertion and work. Men are commanded in these two situations to lower their gaze. And Allah Most High knows best.

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This translation was first published in Deoband.org on the 10th June 2010 entitled ” The Hijab of Women and its Boundaries”. The original translation has been split into two parts; (1) The boundaries of hijab and (2) Looking at a woman.

The boundaries of hijab

Hijab is prescribed in the shariah. This is a fact. However, the level of coverage differs depending on circumstance. This article highlights three boundaries which dictate the extent to which a woman must cover.

By Shaykh al-Islam Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani
Takmilah Fath al-Mulhim, vol. 4, pp. 225-234
Translated by Ml. Zameelur Rahman

Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah and Abu Kurayb narrated to us. They said: Abu Usamah narrated to us: from Hisham: from his father: from ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her): she said:

Sawdah (Allah he pleased with her) went out [in the fields] in order to relieve her need after the hijab had been prescribed upon her. She had been a bulky lady, physically taller than other women, and she could not conceal herself from one who had known her. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) saw her and said, ‘O Sawdah, by Allah, you cannot conceal [yourself] from us. Therefore, be careful when you go out.’” ‘A’isha said: “She turned back. Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was at that time in my house having his evening meal and there was a bone in his hand. Sawdah entered and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I went out and ‘Umar said to me so and so.’” ‘A’isha said: “Revelation came to him, then it was lifted from him and the bone was [still] in his hand and he had not put it [down]. He then said, ‘Permission has been granted to you that you may go out for your needs.’ (Sahih Muslim)

The subject of the hijab of women has, today, become a significant issue, on which discussion and debate has been ongoing, so we wish to produce an outline of the [correct] view on this [issue]. And Allah Most High gives success and is the Helper.

Writings on the topic of the veiling and unveiling of women have proliferated in our time. The best that I have seen on this subject is a treatise by my late father Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ (Allah have mercy on him) which he called Tafsil al-Khitab fi Tafsir Ayat al-Hijab, which is a section from his Ahkam al-Qur’an (3:393-483), in which he examined the verses and hadiths cited on the subject and exhausted the positions of the fuqaha (jurists) and the statements of the exegetes regarding the limits of hijab and its description. The sum of what he concluded after an extensive study is that the hijab that is legislated and commanded in the Book and the Sunnah has three levels, each above the other in hiddenness and concealment. All of them are mentioned in the Book and the Sunnah and none of them have been abrogated, but they have been prescribed for different circumstances.

They are:

[1] Hijab of the persons (ashkhas) of women in houses and walls, private quarters and howdahs, whereby foreign men do not see any part of their persons, garments or external or internal adornment, or any part of their body, including the face, the hands and the remainder of  the body.

[2] Hijab with burqa’ and jilbab, whereby nothing from the face and hands, the rest of the body and the clothing of adornment are shown, so nothing is seen besides their concealed persons from above the head to the foot.

[3] Hijab with jilbabs and items of clothing that resemble them, while exposing the face, the hands and the feet.

The first boundary

The default rule in the hijab of women is hijab of the first level which is that she is concealed in the house and does not emerge, except for a need, the explanation of which is to come. This is proven by the statement of Allah Most High, “and stay in your houses” (Qur’an 33:33). It is apparent that this command is not specific to the purified wives because none of the preceding and succeeding rules in this verse are specific to the Mothers of the Believers (Allah be pleased with them) by consensus. Likewise [this is proven by] His statement Most High, “And when ye ask of them anything, ask it of them from behind a veil” (Qur’an 33:53). This verse was revealed during the walimah (wedding feast) of Zaynab (Allah be pleased with her), whereupon a veil was drawn between her and the men.

Furthermore, this is proven by the following hadiths:

[1] It was narrated from ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “The woman is ‘awrah. When she emerges [from her house] Satan looks at her.” Al-Tirmidhi transmitted it and said, “The hadith is hasan sahih (sound and authentic), gharib (uncommon)”. Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibban transmitted it in their Sahihs with this wording and added, “and the closest that she is to the Face of Her Lord is when she is in the depth of her home.” See al-Targhib by al-Mundhiri (1:136).

[2] It was narrated from Jabir (Allah be pleased with him), he said: “Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “The woman advances in the shape of Satan and retires in the shape of Satan.” Muslim transmitted it (1:129).

[3] The hadith of the chapter transmitted by the compiler (Imam Muslim) as Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said therein, “permission has been granted to you that you may go out for your needs,” since this indicates that the permission to go out is restricted to [times] of need and in [times] other than need a woman stays in her house.

[4] It was narrated from ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “The prayer of a woman in her house is more virtuous than her prayer in her room and her prayer in her chamber is more virtuous than her prayer in her house.” Abu Dawud transmitted it and al-Hakim transmitted it in al-Mustadrak from Umm Salamah (Allah be pleased with her) as [mentioned] in Kanz al-‘Ummal (8:259). Ibn Khuzaymah transmitted it in his Sahih, as [mentioned] in al-Targhib by al-Mundhiri (1:135).

[5]  It was narrated from Umm Humayd, the wife of Abu Humayd al-Sa’idi, that she came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I love to pray with you.” He replied, “I know that you love to pray with me. However, your prayer in your storage room is better than your prayer in your bedroom; your prayer in your bedroom is better than your prayer in your courtyard; your prayer in your courtyard is better than your prayer in the mosque of your people; and your prayer in the mosque of your people is better than your prayer in my mosque.” [The sub-narrator] said, “She requested that a prayer area be built for her in the deepest and darkest part of her house, and she prayed therein until she met Allah Most High.” Ahmad transmitted it in his Musnad (6:371) and Ibn Hajar in al-Isabah attributed it to Ibn Abi Khaythamah through this route, and this is an authentic chain. Al-Shawkani transmitted in Nayl al-Awtar (3:161) from Ibn Hajar that he said, “Its chain is sound (hasan).” Al-Mundhiri mentioned it in al-Targhib (1:135) and said, “Ahmad narrated it, as did Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibban in their Sahihs”.

[6] It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with them both) in marfu’ form, “Women do not have a share in leaving [the home] except in [times of] need.” Al-Tabrani transmitted it as [mentioned] in Kanz al-‘Ummal (8:263).

These hadiths prove with clarity that the default rule for the woman is that she is hidden in her house, her person is concealed from foreign men and she does not leave her house except for a need.

The second boundary

However, a woman may need to emerge for her natural needs. It will then be permissible for her to emerge in these kinds of situations while concealed in a burqa’ and jilbab whereby no part of her body is shown. This is the second level of hijab, and indeed this level has been commanded in the Noble Qur’an where Allah Most High said, “O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their jilbabs over their [persons]” (33:59) and it is apparent that by casting the jilbab over the woman is meant concealing her entire body even her face.

Jilbab according to what was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with them both) is that which covers from top to bottom. Ibn Hazm said in al-Muhalla (3:217), “Jilbab in the language of the Arabs, in which Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) spoke, is that which covers the entire body, not a part of it.” Ibn Jarir, Ibn al-Mundhir and others transmitted from Muhammad ibn Sirin, he said: “I asked ‘Abidah al-Salmani about this verse ‘they should cast their jilbabs over their [persons]’ so he lifted the blanket [draped] around him, concealed his face with it and covered his entire head until it reached the eyebrows and covered his face, then he took out his left eye from the left side of his face”. This was [mentioned] in Ruh al-Ma’ani (22:89).

Ibn Jarir transmitted in his Tafsir (22:46) from Ibn ‘Abbas in the explanation of this verse, “Allah commanded the believing women [that] when they emerge from their houses for a need, they [must] cover their faces from above their heads with jilbabs and reveal [only] one eye.” It was also narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas and Qatadah, “[the woman] twists the jilbab above the forehead and tightens it, then she folds it unto the nose even if her eyes are exposed; nonetheless, she conceals the chest and most of the face.” Al-Alusi [mentioned] it in Ruh al-Ma’ani (22:89). In sum, this verse proves that the woman is commanded to cover her face when she emerges at her [time of] need.

Furthermore, this is proven by His statement Most High, “Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage, there is no [blame] on them if they lay down their garments” (24:60), since Allah Most High made it permissible for old women in this verse to lay down their garments and it is clear that the intended meaning of laying down the garments here is not laying down all clothes. The intended meaning of it is only to lay down the jilbab or shroud from the external garments, the laying down of which will not lead to exposing the ‘awrah. For this [reason] ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) explained garment in this verse as jilbab and shroud, and a similar [interpretation] was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn ‘Umar, Mujahid, Sa’id ibn Jubayr, Abu l-Sha’tha’, Ibrahim al-Nakha’i, al-Hasan, Qatadah, al-Zuhri, al-Awza’i and others as mentioned in Tafsir ibn Kathir. Hence, this verse proves that laying down the jilbab which necessitates exposing the face is specific to old women who have no prospect of marriage, and that it is not permissible for young women to lay down their jilbabs and expose their faces before foreign men.

It is clear that when the female Companions left for their needs they would go out concealed in jilbabs and hidden in shrouds and would not uncover their faces before foreign men. From the [narrations] that prove this are the following hadiths:

[1] Abu Dawud transmitted in Kitab al-Jihad, Bab Fadl Qital al-Rum from Qays ibn Shammas (Allah be pleased with him), he said: “A woman called Umm Khallad came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) while she was veiled (wearing a niqab) enquiring about her son who was killed. One of the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said to her, ‘You have come to ask about your son while you are veiled?’ She said, ‘If I am afflicted with the loss of my son I will never suffer the loss of my modesty.’ Then Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘He has the reward of two martyrs.’ She asked, ‘And why is that O Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘Because he was killed by the people of the book.’”

[2] It was narrated from Umm ‘Atiyyah that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) would bring out the unmarried women, old women, the women in the private quarters and the menstruating women in the two ‘Ids. As for menstruating women they would keep back from the place of prayer and would witness the supplication of the Muslims. One of them said, “O Messenger of Allah! If one does not have a jilbab?” He said, “Let her sister cover her with her jilbab.” This hadith was transmitted by a number of collectors of authentic [narrations], and this is the wording of al-Tirmidhi (no. 539), Bab Khuruj al-Nisa’ fi l-‘Idayn, and al-Tirmidhi said, “this hadith is hasan sahih.”

[3] Al-Bukhari transmitted [something] similar to it (no. 980 in Kitab al-‘Idayn) from Hafsah bint Sirin and its wording is: “so she said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, is there harm for any of us when she does not have jilbab that she not come out?’ He said, ‘Her companion should cover her with her jilbab.’”

[4] ‘Abd al-Razzaq and a group transmitted from Umm Salamah, she said, “When this verse ‘they should cast their jilbabs over their [persons]’ was revealed, the women of Ansar came out as if there were crows on their heads, from the tranquillity, and [draped] over them were black clothes that they would wear.”

[5] Ibn Mardawayh transmitted from ‘A’ishah, she said, “Allah Most High bless the women of the Ansar. When ‘O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women …’ was revealed they tore their thick outer garments and made veils from them, and they prayed behind Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) as if there were crows on their heads.” See Ruh al-Ma’ani (22:89) for the two narrations.

[6] It was narrated from ‘A’ishah, she said, “Riders would pass us when we accompanied the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) while we were in ihram. When they came by us, one of us would let down her jilbab from her head over her face, and when they had passed on, we would uncover our faces”. Abu Dawud transmitted it in Kitab al-Hajj (no. 1833).

These hadiths clarify that the female Companions (Allah’s pleasure be on them) would, after the revelation of the [verses of] hijab, adhere strictly to covering their bodies with jilbabs and draw them over their faces when going out. The last hadith proves that this importance of hiddenness does not cease to continue even in the state of ihram in which it is prohibited for a woman that a piece of clothing touches her face.

The third boundary

The third level of hijab which is that women go out concealing the bodies from head to foot while uncovering the face and hands, at the time of need, is with the condition of safety (amn) from temptation (fitnah). This is proven by His statement Most High in Surah al-Nur, “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their ornaments except what appears thereof.” The exegetes have differed over the explanation of “what appears thereof”. It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn ‘Umar and ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with them) that they explained it as the face and hands, and this is the view of ‘Ata’, ‘Ikrimah, Sa’id ibn Jubayr, Abu l-Sha’tha, al-Dahhak, Ibrahim al-Nakha’i and others. And it was narrated from ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) that he interpreted “what appears thereof” as the shroud and jilbab. Hence, the verse according to the first explanation proves that the woman can uncover her face and hands at the time of need and this is further supported by the following hadiths:

[1] It was narrated from ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) that Asma’ bint Abi Bakr (Allah be pleased with them both) entered upon the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) while wearing thin clothing, so he turned away from her and said, “O Asma! Indeed when a woman reaches [the age of] menstruation, it is not proper that anything should be shown except this and this”, and he pointed to his face and hands. Abu Dawud transmitted it, but Abu Dawud and Abu Hatim al-Razi said: “it is mursal, Khalid ibn Darik did not hear from ‘A’ishah”.

[2] It was narrated from ‘Ali (Allah be pleased with him) in the event of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) returning from al-Muzdalifah that he (Allah bless him and grant him peace) made al-Fadl ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) his riding companion. He came to the pillars to throw pebbles at them and then came to the place of sacrifice (manhar). It is mentioned therein: a young slave girl from Khath’am sought a verdict from him and said, “Indeed my father is an old man and the obligation to Allah to perform Hajj has reached him. Is it permissible for me to perform Hajj on his behalf?” He said, “Perform Hajj on your father’s behalf.” ‘Ali said: “he turned the neck of al-Fadl, and al-‘Abbas asked, ‘Why did you turn the neck of your cousin?’ He said, ‘I saw a young man and woman [in such a situation] that they are not safe from Satan.’” Al-Tirmidhi transmitted it in Bab ma Ja’a anna ‘Arafata kullaha Mawqif (no. 885).

Abu Ya’la transmitted from al-Fadl ibn ‘Abbas, he said: “I was riding behind Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and a Bedouin with whom was a beautiful daughter began presenting her to Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in the hope that he would marry her”. He said, “I began to glance at her, and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) took hold of my head and turned it.” Al-Haythami mentioned it in Kitab al-Nikah in Majma’ al-Zawa’id (4:277) and he said, “its narrators are the narrators of authentic [narrations].” Either this was another incident, or one of the narrators erred in the explanation that the girl belonged to a Bedouin. And the hadith of al-Tirmidhi is clear in that her father was not with her. And Allah knows best.

[Further] detail of this event was transmitted by al-Bukhari in Kitab al-Isti’dhan (no. 6228) from ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) and its wording is: Al-Fadl ibn ‘Abbas rode behind the Prophet as his companion rider on the back of his she-camel on the Day of Sacrifice (yawm al-nahr) and al-Fadl was a handsome man. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) stopped to give the people verdicts. In the meantime, a beautiful woman from the tribe of Khath’am came, asking the verdict of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). Al-Fadl started looking at her as her beauty attracted him. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) looked behind while al-Fadl was looking at her; so the Prophet held out his hand backwards and caught the chin of al-Fadl and turned his face to the other side in order that he should not gaze at her, [to the end of] the hadith.

This slave girl’s face was uncovered as is clear from the context of the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas since he said therein that she was beautiful and al-Fadl was attracted to her beauty. The hadith explains that the Prophet turned the face of al-Fadl away from glancing at her and he did not command the slave girl to cover her face because she was in the state of ihram, and he (Allah bless him and grant him peace) probably feared she would collapse or something else if she was required to conceal her face in such severe crowding, so he did not command her to [do] this. This is a proof that it is permissible for a woman to uncover her face according to a need when the rest of her body is concealed.

[3] It was narrated from Sahl ibn Sa’d that a woman came to Allah’s Messenger and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I have come to give you myself in marriage.” Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) looked at her. He looked at her carefully and fixed his glance on her and then lowered his head, to the end of the hadith. Al-Bukhari transmitted it in Bab al-Nazr ila l-Mar’ati qabla l-Tazwij (no. 5125). It is clear in this event that the woman’s face was uncovered at this time, and al-Sarakhsi adduced this as proof in al-Mabsut (10:152) that the face of a woman is not ‘awrah.

——
This translation was first published in Deoband.org on the 10th June 2010 entitled ” The Hijab of Women and its Boundaries”. The original translation has been split into two parts; (1) The boundaries of hijab and (2) Looking at a woman.

Hadith Musalsal bil Awwaliyat

The very first hadith that normally teachers teach is the hadith rahmah. This custom is known as Musalsal bil Awwaliyat.

By Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
Nawhami Bulletin #151218501 – 6 Rabi I 1437 / 18 December 2015

الحمد لله رب  العالمين. و الصلاة و السلام علي سيدنا و مولانا محمد خاتم النبيين، و علي اله و أصحابه أجمعين، و علي كل من تبعهم بإحسان إلي يوم الدين. أما بعد: قال النبي صلي الله عليه و سلم:  الراحمون يرحمهم الرحمن – تبارك و تعالي –ارحموا من في الأرض يرحمكم من في السماء. رواه أبو داود  و الترمذي و احمد عن عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص رضي الله عنهما

It is customary that the very first hadith that a teacher teaches be the hadith rahmah which is the following hadith:

الراحمون يرحمهم الرحمن، ارحموا من في الأرض يرحكمك من في السمآء

Trans: The prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Rahman has mercy upon those who show mercy. Have mercy upon those who are on the earth and He who is in the sky will have mercy upon you”.

The custom of starting with this hadith is called musalal bil awwaliyat. It has been done for many generations.

This was the very first hadith which I heard from the pre-eminent muhaddith of our time, Shaykh Yunus Jawnpuri (may Allah almighty raise his rank). The same was for him from his teacher and they from their teachers and so on and so forth. The chart below recounts one of the chains.

Sh. Yunus Jawnpuri الشيخ يونس الجونبوري
Sh. Zakariyyah Kandhalwi شيخ الحديث مولانا محمد زكريا كهاندلوي
Ml. Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri الشيخ مولانا خليل أحمد سهارنبوري
Ml. ‘Abd al-Qayyūm Badanwi مولانا عبد القيوم البدانوي
Sh. Ishaq Dehlawi الشاه اسحاق الدهلوي
Shah ‘Abd al-Aziz Dehlawi الشاه عبد العزيز الدهلوي
Shah Wali Allah Muhaddith Dehlawi الشاه ولي الله المحدث الدهلوي
Sayyid ‘Umar ibn Ahmad al-Saqqaf السيد عمر بن أحمد السقاف
Sh. ‘Abdullah b. Salim al-Basri الشيخ عبد الله بن سالم البصري
Sh. Yahya b. Muhammad al-Shawi الشيخ يحي بن محمد الشاوي
Sh. Sa’id b. Ibrahim al-Jazayiri الشيخ سعيد بن ابراهيم الجزائري
Sh. Sa’id b. Muhammad al-Maqqari الشيخ سعيد بن محمد المقري
Sh. Ahmad Haji al-Wahrani الشيخ أحمد حاجي الوهراني
Sh. Ibrahim al-Tazi الشيخ ابراهيم التازي
Sh. Muhammad b. Abi Bakr al-Maraghi الشيخ محمد بن أبي بكر المراغي
Hafidh Zayn al-Din al-Iraqi حافظ زين الدين العراقي
Sh. Muhammad b. Muhammad al-Bakri al-Maydumi الشيخ محمد بن محمد البكري الميدومي
Sh. ‘Abd al-Latif b. ‘Abd al-Mun’im al-Harrani الشيخ عبد اللطيف بن عبد المنعم الحراني
Hafidh Ibn al-Jawzi الحافظ ابن الجوزي
Sh. Isma’il b. Abi Salih al-Nayshaburi الشيخ إسماعيل بن أبي صالح النيشابوري
Sh. Abu Salih Ahmad b. ‘Abd al-Malik al-Mu’adhdhin الشيخ أبو صالح أحمد بن عبد المالك المؤذن
Sh. Muhammad b. Muhammad Mahmish al-Zabadi الشيخ محمد بن محمد المهمش الزبدي
Shaykh Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Bazzaz الشيخ أحمد بن محمد البزاز
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Bishr ibn al-Hakam الشيخ عبد الرحمن بن بشر بن حكم
Hadrat Sufyan b. ‘Uyaynah حضرت سفيان بن عيينة

This is where the custom terminates whereby the hadith rahmat was the very first hadith which was taught. After this point the hadith was taught but it was not the very first hadith learned.

Hadrat Amr b. Dinar عمر بن دينار
Hadrat Abu Qabus (the Mawla of Abd Allah b. Amr) أبو قابوس مولي عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص
Hadrat Abdullah b. Amr b. al-‘As (may Allah almighty be pleased with them) عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص رضي الله عنهما
The final prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم

The total of this chain is 29 generations. May Allah almighty have mercy upon them all. Shaykh Yunus relays this hadith with the same form from other teachers also.

Furthermore, the very first hadith I heard from Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Fazlur Rahman Azami (may Allah almighty raise his rank) was also this hadith.

I also heard this hadith from Shaykh al-Islam Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani as well as my esteemed teachers Shaykh al-Hadith Mufti Umar Faruq Lawharwi on numerous occasions and Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Yusuf Koti whilst studying Tirmidhi. However, it was not the very first hadith as I heard other ahadith from them before. May Allah almighty protect them and raise their ranks.

The custom is followed to initiate a bond between the teacher and student. To iterate that the din is acquired and preserved through person to person – it is not merely confined to the text. Allah almighty sent the Quran and along with it the prophet (peace be upon him) to explain, expound and demonstrate the Quran. Without the texts one will be lost and without the person one will become wretched.

The full explanation of the hadith is the subject of another lesson. Suffice it to say, be kind to others and Allah almighty will be kind to you. Indeed it is a great kindness that Allah almighty gave us intellect and knowledge. It is what differentiated Hadrat Adam (peace be upon him) from the others.  Allah almighty says,

الرَّحْمَـٰنُ – عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ – خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ – عَلَّمَهُ الْبَيَانَ

Trans: al-Rahman. He taught them the Quran. He created man. He taught them expression.

 

——–

Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
6 Rabi I 1437
18 December 2015