A new group has recently emerged with ambitious thoughts, and a variety of rulings. They are called Ahbash or Habashies (Ethiopians, or Abyssinians), not because they come from that land, but because their leader Abdullah AlHabashy hales from Harare in Somalia.
The Ahbash present their leader to the public as: " the new scholar, a role model for the researchers, and a representative of the scrutineers, the cream of the working scholars, the Imam who narrates traditions, the pious to extreme, the better worshipper, owner of majestic gifts, the elder Abu AbdelRahman Abdullah ben Muhammad ben Yousef ben Abdullah ben Jame' Alharary AlShiby, Al'Abdary the chief jurisprudent of Somalia, born in the city of Harare c 1339 ah / 1920 ad" (note1). However, those who do not follow the Ahbash say that he is Abdullah AlHabashy, comes from a country the inhabitants of which hate him to an extent that they began referring to him as the father of lies and divisiveness, as per the declaration of one of those related to him, his brother in law, Yousef ben AbdulRahman AlHarary who now resides in the Madina Almunawarra, in Saudi Arabia. He refers to him thus because of his big part in the rebellion of "Kulub" in Harare with support from Adis Ababa where he helped the enemies of the Muslims, in particular the governor of "Endragy" the brother in law of Hilasilasy, against the Muslim organisations working to the Holy Qur'an in Harare in 1367 ah / 1940 ad. (note 2)
The political analyst Walid Abdul-Baset says: "The Ahbash movement represents a man of religion who arrived in Beirut in 1950 whose name is Abdullah AlHarary, referred to as AlHabashy. AlHabashy was a jurisprudent in his country until he was banished by the Emperor Hilasilasy. He then came to Beirut and took residence in one of the areas in Musayteba. Initially AlHabashy would approach groups of children playing in the streets, he would play with them like a child, and during their periods of rest, he would converse with them on religion." (note 3)
The Ahbash have great loyalty for their leader AlHabashy, do not dispute with what he says, and they act on his rulings even where these differ with all the Islamic scholars. They argue profusely and infringe upon the scholars, they regularly engage Kalam (the blasphemy of discussing various attributes of God and trying to relate or explain these with reference to human experiences), describing this as the science of monotheism. The Ahbash first appeared in Beirut, Lebanon, then submerging into the various extremities of the community until they began to gradually multiply. They have many members outside of Lebanon, in places such as Syria, Denmark, America, France, Australia, Canada, and the Ukraine.
Since they first appeared the Ahbash have entered into many confrontations and disputes, and numerous debates with many of the scholars, students, and people in general. They continued in this fashion until their nefarious scheme was discovered, and their intentions became clear to every sane person, or anyone who hears or bears witness to their blasphemies.
In this treatise, we will put forward the thought of this group, their religious opinions, their creed, their statements in relations to the beautiful names and attributes of Allah, and their delving into Kalam. Then we will present their current political views, and their opinion concerning those who do not govern according to what Allah - the Exalted - has decreed (We have been particularly careful to use references from their own books, cassettes and the speeches of their elders, including page numbers and book names).
We will then follow up their words with a response from the book of Allah and the way of life of His messenger (peace and blessings upon him), and what the scholars who serve Allah have said concerning this, may Allah reward them on behalf of the rest of the Muslims with the best reward. These have stood as a strong dam against the torrents of passers by who have strayed from the true pass.
The Ahbash claim that they are the upholders of Ahlussunna and Jama'a (the way of life of the prophet (peace and blessings upon him)), and that they adhere to the Shafii school, and that the rulings of their leader do not depart from the schools accepted by the adherents of the Sunnah, and Jama'a. They have stated this in an interview with the AlMajalla magazine issue no 679 where they stated: "We make up an Islamic calling, upholding the way of the people of Sunnah and Jama'a, and in particular the school of Imam Shafii may Allah be pleased with him. From this outlook we represent a traditional calling as Imam Shafii was a pillar of the righteous Imams of past times." (note 4)
The Ahbash and the Qur'an
AlHabashy had divided the word of Allah into two categories: First, word which is not sound or letter. Second, which is the pronounced and written word, which says the word of Allah, but it is in reality composed by Gabrael. (Izharool Akidat AlSunnyah, pp58-59).
The Ahbash believe that Allah - the Exalted speaks in everlasting words which have no beginning or end, and are not composed of continuing letters or annunciations which are separated or combined. They believe it to be a self discussion in which God talked within Himself, because in their opinion the words of God are not a language, a letter, or a sound.
Whilst this argument is incoherent, and the Holy Qur'an from the moment of its revelation, had been composed of letters and parts, as also espoused in the words of our holy prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him): "Allah has divided the Qur'an into three parts" (note 5). AlHabashy has thus regarded the Qur'an as created, and it is called the word of God, whilst this was not really the case. As such, to them it "represents the word of God", meaning that it speaks of the word of God, whilst not being actually the word of God. (note 5)
He also said: "The self speech of God which is not a letter or a language is the true speech of God. However the Qur'an which is composed of letters and words, is created, but may be described as the word of God." (note 6)
These words differ from the beliefs of the people of Sunnah and Jama'a, and are not supported by them. This however, agrees with the words of the Jahmia and mu'tazila (cultists) who said that the Qur'an which is the word of God is created.
We Ask? and we have a right to question: Who amongst our righteous predecessors spoke in these terms, what has Shafii, Ahmad, Abu Hanifa, or Malek said??
In fact, the truth, evident as the sun at high noon is that the righteous predecessors differ with the Ahbash, Abdullah Ben Ahmad Ben Hanbal tells us that his father the Imam of the people of Sunnah - may Allah bless him - said: "Whoever narrates the traditions, or speaks of kalam, and refuses to deny that the Qur'an is created, is a Jahmy (cultist)." (note 7)
Imam Ahmad Al-Ghumran said that the righteous predecessors all say that the Qur'an is the word of God and is not created. The torture of Imam Ahmad - may Allah bless him - at the hand of AlMu'tamed for over ten years was purely for his insistence that the Qur'an is the word of God and is not created.
Abdullah Ben Ahmad Ben Hanbal has relayed many of the words of the righteous predecessors on this issue in his book on Sunnah , of whom are: AlNahfy, Sa'id Ben AlMusayyab, Muhammad Ben Ishaq AlSan'any, AlA'mash, Abdullah Ben AlMubarak, Waki' Ben AlJarrah, AlZahry, etc. (note 7)
This dangerous talk was innovated by a group of non Arabic origin scoundrels as narrated by Ibn AlJawzi: "A group of non Arabic origin seeking to spread mischief came to Bagdad, so they elevated themselves to the positions of preachers and teachers, and would say in their lessons that God did not have any words on this earth, and is the Qur'an but paper? They then said: "Which set of rules claim that the Qur'an is composed of letters and truth? It is only the word of Gabriel." (note8)
The position of Al-Jilany to the Word of Allah
Imam AbdulQader AlJilany - may Allah have mercy on him - said: "We believe that the Qur'an is composed of intelligible letters, and audible sounds, as through it the mute can see and speak, and whoever denies this only increases in ignominy, and blinds his vision. (note9)
Even the Ash'arys and the Mannarids, believed that the Qur'an is the word of Allah - the Exalted - , and the Imam Abul Makhas through the Imam AlTahhawy speaking with respect to the word of Allah said: "From him it started without a 'how'", and rebutting those who say that the speech of Allah has a single meaning which can not be heard, said: "I has been supported by the Ma'thury, that Allah - the Exalted - will speak if He wishes until He wishes, and how He wishes, and that the type of speech is old." (note 10)
Thus we see that the Ahbash have gone against the people of Sunna and Jama'a, and the righteous predecessors in saying that the Qur'an is not the word of Allah - the Exalted.
The Ahbash and Islamic Jurisprudence:
The Ahbash have departed from the consensus of the Scholars, and in particular the Shafii school in many of their religious rulings. Some of these rulings are illustrated below.
The permissibility of taking interest from the rejecters of faith in "state of war":
Abdullah AlHabashy has permitted the taking of interest from the rejecters of faith in a state of war, and said that Lebanon is a land of war, and that it was permissible to take interest there from non Muslims. He added that there are no people in a state of peace with Muslims today.
He also permitted Muslims to deposit their money in a bank which deals in interest on condition that the founders be non Muslims, and said "deposit it there and take interest on it, that is if you wish to take a benefit, if you are certain that you will benefit, then it becomes permissible." (note 11)
This has been taken out of context from words attributed to Imam Abu Hanifa which are not based on any authoritative tradition. The words attributed to Imam Abu Hanifa were: "There is no interest between a Muslim and a rejecter of faith in a state of war." This has been rebutted by Awza'i and others.
Imam Shafii may Allah bless him stated: "Abu Yousef said: "Abu Hanifa said this as some elders informed us on authority of Makhoul that the messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said: "No interest between people in a state of war (I think he said) and the Muslims." Imam Shafii said this statement is not verified, and can not be used for any authority." (note 12)
Abu Yousef correctly differed from Abu Hanifa may Allah bless them, and agreed with Awza'i saying: "what is correct is what Awza'i said, this (interest) is not permissible." (note 13)
We are not remiss of the words of Allah the Exalted: "Allah will obliterate interest and increase charity", and His words: "Allah has permitted trade and forbidden interest," and the statement of the messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) to the effect that: "Interest is 72 sins the least of which is equivalent to a man raping his own mother." (note 14)
The permissibility of robbing non Muslims:
AlHabashy has permitted his followers to steal from non Muslims. He was once asked concerning people who owned a farm, and their neighbours were non Muslims, if it was permissible to steal the non Muslims' cattle and produce? He permitted the enquirer to steal these on the condition that this does not lead to inequity . (note 15)
The undesirability of using the hand when douching with water:
Al-Habashy detests for a man to use his hand after answering the call of nature, and he sees this as a despicable act which he does not like. He feels similarly with respect to using water after toilet paper for cleanliness saying: "What some people do to clean their private parts when visiting the toilet by taking water with their left hand, and wiping clean the orifice is disgusting." (note 16)
He also claims that if some urine from an infant touches the hand of his mother when she is putting on his nappy amounts to a major sin on the part of the mother." (note 17) This led some of his disciples to wear gloves when changing the dirty nappies.
Their ruling concerning Zakat:
(obligatory charity, which is a right to the poor from the wealth of the rich, and purifies their wealth)
The Ahbash view paper currency such as what is used today as not requiring Zakat as this is not covered in the following words of Allah - Who is Exalted far above what they infer: "Those who hoard gold and silver". (note 16)
Abdullah AlHabashy said: "There is no zakat in wealth other than gold and silver." (note 16)
The ruling of wearing the crucifix purely for fear:
AlHabashy has made an unprecedented ruling in this respect, in that he has permitted those who visit the land of the rejecters of faith to wear a crucifix if they fear transgression from the disbelievers. (note 18)
The license to wear the cross is effective simply at the first suspicion of possible impending harm, and not when he is forced to wear it. Thus, he did not distinguish between compulsion to wear it and the mere suspicion of harm.
The Ahbash, Women and free mixing:
In an interview between the AlMajalla magazine and a number of Ahbash leaders - namely Nazar AlHalaby, Khaled AlZo'aby, and Usama AlSayyed - they were asked concerning their particular views towards womem, Their answer was: "We consider the woman to be one of the limbs of society, and the time has come for the woman to come out of her shell and face society on her own, and that it is not up to man to always look after her interest."
We would like to know what this shell (that houses the woman) is? Is it the Words of Allah: "And remain in your houses and do not wonder about as in the days of the first ignorance.", or His words: "So if you ask anything of them, ask it from behind a barrier." Or does he refer to the words of the prophet (peace and blessings upon him): "The prayer of a woman in her home is better than her prayer at the mosque."
Wearing of tight clothes by women:
The Ahbash have permitted the wearing of trousers by women even where these contour to and hug her figure, and falsely attributed this to the Hanafi school. One of them - Usama AlSayyed stated in their magazine 'Manar AlHuda': "The wearing of tight trousers by women is discouraged by the elder Abdullah AlHabashy, and some of Hanafis say that it is forbidden.
Their elder Nazar AlHalaby said in his speech to the Majall Magazine (issue 679): "We receive in our centres women who are not adherents. They say that our daughters wear Jeans, and we see no shame in this as we have reconciled fashion with covering the body." (note14)
An objective look at this ruling clearly shows that it is at odds with the words of Allah the Exalted: "O prophet, tell your wives, your daughters and the believing women to put on and extend their Jalbab..." (Ch 33:v 59)
In this verse Allah orders all believing women to lengthen their Jalbab, the Jalbab is known for its length, loose fit, and thickness so that it does not betray the shape and curvature of the body, and that it is not transparent so that the covered parts can not be seen, and not short so as not to reveal any part of the body or legs.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) differed with the Ahbash, in clarifying that there was nothing shameful or embarrassing about it, saying: "He who drags behind his clothing in arrogance and pride, Allah will not look towards him on the day of Judgement, Um Salama asked what women should do?, He replied: they should leave an extra hand span. She said that their feet would then be exposed, he then said that they should leave an extra yard and not go beyond that." narrated by Tirmizy.
The wisdom in the women going out of the house with scents and perfumes.
Al-Habashy said: "Know that a woman going out with perfume whilst decently attired is discouraged for purity, but is not forbidden, but would be a sin if the woman intends through this to entice men into disobedience. However, if she goes out perfumed or conspicuously attired whilst covering what she is required to cover of her body, without the indecent intention, then there would be no blame in that except the blemish for purity, that is, she is not disobeying." (note 16)
Their elder Nazar AlHalaby unashamedly declares this saying in the Muslimun newspaper issue no. 407 of 1992: Yes our girls wear perfume and wear jeans as we have combined body covering with fashion.".
We however, say:
Islam has permitted woman to leave her house to perform chores which no one else can do for her. It has also permitted her to go out in search of knowledge with her husbands permission, if she is unable to acquire this at home. Perhaps her prayer at the mosque may be the best thing that she can go out for, although her prayer at home is better than praying in the mosque. Still prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) has forbidden the women going to the mosque from wearing perfume saying: "If one of you goes to the mosque she should not touch any perfume." He also said: "Any woman who has taken a scent should not attend to the last prayer with us." (narrated by Muslim)
Ibn Daqiq Al'Eid said: " and in this is the impermissibility of perfume to the woman who intends to go to the mosque, due to what it does in stirring the lust of men." (note 19) Ibn Hajr AlHaytamy regards the going out of a woman who is wearing perfume to be of the grave sins, saying in his book 'Alzawajer 'an Iftiraq AlKaba'er' as the grave sin no. 279: "the going out of a woman with perfume and beautiful attire even if she has her husbands permission." (note 20)
Al-Ahbash and judging with other than what Allah has ordained
The Ahbash have taken a fearful and dangerous stance in their adversarial policy against the Muslim scholars who deal with Islamic politics. So they went attacking the scholars without fear of Allah - the Exalted. So they anathematised the Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyeh - may Allah bless him, and they cast false accusations and aspersions against him, and attributed words to him which he never spoke, and quoted references which have no basis.
We repeat some of the words of their elder concerning some of the righteous scholars:
Imam Zahaby: AlHabashy has said things concerning Imam Zahaby that would be rejected as false by all Muslims: "If Zahaby is described as conniving, then it is an accurate description." (note 21)
Then he complains concerning the Hafiz Ibn Hajr: "It is a wonder how the Hafiz has accepted Zahaby to be a man of Justice and piety."
AlAlbany: AlHabashy does not believe that AlAlbany will die as a Muslim, saying: "Him! if he dies a Muslim", because of a difference of opinion and AlHabashy's inability to present a valid argument on the issue of Sunnah. (note 22)
Sayed Sabeq: Al-Habashy has also opposed Imam Sayed Sabeq the author of Fiqhul Sunnah, describing him as "a Magian even if he claims to belong to the Umma of Muhammad." (note 23)
He has also misquoted Sayed Sabiq in his book "Baghiyatul Taleb". (He wrote a sort of parody to Fiqhul Sunnah)
Many other scholars have not been safe from his anathematising, just ponder why the Jurisprudent Hasan Khaled asked the prime minister of Lebanon not to permit Abdullah Al-Habashy entry into Lebanon when he was in that position.
Al-Ahbash and judging with other than what Allah has ordained
The Ahbash are not embarrassed with judging with other than what Allah has ordained, and they do not see leaving this to other than the Qur'an as rejection of faith or ignominy. Their representative Adnan Trabulsy clearly stated in a speech in the state sportsground in Beirut: "Fundamentalist does not describe the Arab leaders as rejecters of faith because they leave the Qur'an to judge with something else, without believing that that law is better than the Qur'an."
We wonder why a ruler would use a particular law when he believes that another law is better, and more just??
What right does a Muslim have to judge by a man made law, and cast aside the law of the Lord of mankind, who knows best the situation of mankind, as he created them?
Allah has decreed the lack of faith of those who turn to other than the book of God and the Sunnah: "No by your Lord they do not have faith until they give you to judge concerning what happens amongst them, and then find in your decision no doubt or hesitation, and accept it a good acceptance." (Ch6 ;v 65 )
The Exalted also said: "those who do not judge with what Allah has sent down, they are the rejecters of faith." (Ch 5 ;v 44 )
Shareh Al'Aqida AlTahawiye said: "From here there is an issue that we must take heed of, and it is, judging with other than what Allah has sent down is rejection of faith which would spread amongst the people, and that would depend on the situation with the ruler, if he believed that judging with what Allah has sent down is not necessary, and that he has a choice in the matter, or he was negligent concerning it despite his faith that it is the law of Allah, then it is great apostasy." (note 24)
The Hafiz Ibn Katheer says in his commentary to the words of the Exalted at: "Do they intend to have the law of the days of Ignorance? And who is better with judging other than Allah for a people who believe." (Ch Maida; v50)
"The Exalted rejects for people to leave behind his wise and just law which is a mercy and blessing for mankind while it forbids and safeguards them from all that is evil, and rises above opinions, whims, and laws which have been placed by men without any support from the law of Allah. This is what people in the days of ignorance did, with misguided laws and ignorance which they invented according to their whims and fancies. As did the Tartars judge with what was taken from their king Ghenghis Khan, who placed AlYaseq for them, which is a book he composed from laws he learnt from various faiths such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and others, and many other laws he placed based on his whims and fancies. This book became a law to be followed which they prefer to the book of Allah and the Sunnah of the messenger (peace and blessings upon him), whoever of them does this is a rejecter of faith, and must be fought until he returns to the law of Allah and His messenger, and agrees not judge with anything else in little or large matters." (Note 25)
The political danger of Ahbash
The Ahbash continue to struggle with all their efforts to reach the position of jurisprudence in Lebanon, this is their dream today, we have a right to question who will benefit from the murder of the chief jurisprudent in Lebanon, Imam Hasan Khaled, then the removal of the Jurisprudent for North Lebanon Imam Taha AlSabounjy?
Sa'duddin Khaled the Son of the Jurisprudent Hasan Khaled said: "The ground was laid easy for the like of these, and these events are not far removed from the Zionist plans, nor is it far removed from the conditions of war ..." He adds: "In this I have some doubt as to the origin of their allegiance, how else can they spread with such speed and force??
Rebutting this the Ahbash talking to the Majalla magazine issue no 679 say: "Our women have donated to us 28 Kilograms of gold ...".
We say that 28 kg of gold are valued at $280,000 if we say that each gram is worth $10.00, does this $280,000 suffice to build three schools for education, and a club for training to fight, and various centres in many parts of the world, where they welcome women who wear makeup and do not observe the Islamic code of dress. The welcome these women in the name of organised mixing, taking for excuse not to buy decent body covering or work in segregated areas, the oppressive inflation which is taking over Lebanon.
Not to mention their role in publications and their distribution, their magazine Manaar "AlHuda", and their radio station Nida` "AlEiman", and their "religious" musical group which is composed of hundreds of singers and instrument players..
Please note that the following references are quoted in the Arabic transliteration.
Note 1: "Izharool Aquidatisunniyah", first edition, p9, Abdullah AlHabashy. s
Note 2: "Al Habashi Shoothoothooho wa Akhtaooho, p7. s
Note 3: "An Nahar" newspaper, Wed 9, December, 1992 page2. s
Note 4: Magazine : "AlMajala", issue no. 679. s
Note 5: Narrated in Sahih Muslim. s
Note 6: "AnNahjool Salim", p 26. s
Note 7: "Assunnah", Imam Abdullah Bin Ahmad Bin Hanbal, p29. s
Note 8: "Saydul Khatir" p181, Imam AlJawzi. s
Note 9: AlGhounyah li Talibi Al Haq, p59. s
Note 10: Nathand Fawa'id, pp11-13. s
Note 11: Quoted from tape recorded from the Habashi, tape no. 3. s
Note 12: "Nusburayah" - Azzaylaih, Vol4, p44. s
Note 13: "Al Umm" Imam Shafii, Vol8, pp358-359. s
Note 14: "Al Awsat" Tabarani Hasan (good Hadith). s
Note 15: Tape3, (109) side B. s
Note 16: Boghyat Attalib, Alhabashi, p68, pp207-209 s
Note 17: Tape of Khalid Kena'n, 424, side A. s
Note 18: "AlNahgul Kawiim" p155, Al Habashi. s
Note 19: "Ihkam AlAhkam Bi Hashiat AlSan'any", vol2, pg179. s
Note 20: Azzawajiroo An Iktirafi Al Kaba'ir", vol7, pg 71. s
Note 21: Tape no 149, side A, voice of AlHabashi. s
Note 22: "Atta'aqob Al Hatheeth' p89. s
Note 23: Tape no 1, side A. s
Note 24: "Sharhol Aquidatih Attahawiya", pp663-664. s
Note 25: Tafsir Al-Qur'an Al Atheem", Ibn Kathir, Vol2, p77.