Ruling on the Nusayri/Alawi Sect

What follows is Imam ibn Taymiyyah’s, may Allah have mercy on him, answer to a question posed to him about the sect called an-Nusayriyyah (in English they are also known as Alawis/Alawite sect).

The question is very long, as it mentions many Nusayri beliefs and practices, and most of it is not translated for the sake of brevity.

Those who want to see the question in full, they can refer to Ibn Taymiyyah’s Fatawa 35/145. In summary, the questioner mentioned, among other things their legalization of intoxicants, belief in reincarnation; disbelief in resurrection, Paradise and Hellfire; belief that “Five Prayers” (as-Salawat al-Khams) is an expression referring to five names: “`Ali, Hasan, Husayn, Muhsin and Fatimah”, and that mentioning these five names suffices one instead of making ghusl from major impurity, or ablution, or fulfilling other conditions and obligatory actions of the five daily prayers; that `Ali is the creator of the heavens and the earth, and that he is their god in heavens and imam on the earth etc.

What follows is the end of the question and Ibn Tayiyyah’s answer.

Question:

“…Is it permissible for a Muslim (man or woman) to marry them (Nusayris)? Is it permissible to eat the meat of cattle they slaughter? What is the ruling on eating the cheese made from the rennet of their sacrificed animals? What is the ruling on using their dishes and clothes? Is it permissible to bury them with Muslims? Is it permissible to employ them in Muslim ports and handing the ports over to them? Or is it obligatory upon the ruler to cut them off and employ others from among qualified Muslim men; and is there a sin in delaying their explusion?”

Answer:

All Praise is for Allah, Lord of all worlds. These people named “Al-Nusayriyyah”, and other groups from among the Qaraamitah and Baatiniyyah, are greater disbelievers than the Jews and Christians. Nay, they are greater disbelievers than most of the mushrikeen (polytheists from other than Ahl ul-Kitab), and their harm to the Ummah of Muhammad, sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, is greater than the harm of the disbelievers who are in war with Muslims, such as at-Tatar, disbelieving Europeans and others.

For they present themselves in front of ignorant Muslims as supporters and advocates of Ahl ul Bayt, while in reality they do not believe in Allah, or the Messenger, or the Book, or [Allah’s] orders, or prohibitions, or reward, or punishment, or Paradise, or Fire, or in one of the Messengers before Muhammad, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, or in a religion from among previous religions. Rather, they take the words of Allah and His Messenger, known to the scholars of Muslims, and they interpret them based on their fabrications, claiming that their interpretations are “hidden knowledge (“ilm `ul-baatin”), such as what the questioner mentioned and more. They have no limit in their unbelief with regards to Allah’s Names, His verses, and their distortion of the Speech of Allah, the Most High, and His Messenger from their proper places [usages]. Their aim is repudiation of Islamic Beliefs and Laws in every possible way, trying to make it appear that these matters have realities that they know, like those mentioned by the questioner and others, such as that “five prayers” means knowledge of their secrets, “obligatory fast” hiding of their secrets, and “pilgrimage to Bayt al-`Atiq” visit to their shaikhs, and that the two hands of Abu Lahab represent Abu Bakr and Umar, and that “the great news and the manifest imam” (an naba’ul `adheem wal imaamul mubin) is `Ali ibn Abi Talib.

There are well known incidents and books they have written with regards to their enmity to Islam and its people. When they have an opportunity, they spill the blood of Muslims, such as when they once killed pilgrims and threw them into the well of Zamzam. Once they took the black stone and it stayed with them for a period of time, and they have killed so many Muslim scholars and elders that only Allah knows their number. They wrote many books, such as what the questioner mentioned, and others.

Muslim scholars have written books, unveiling their secrets, exposing their veils, explaining what they are upon from disbelief, infidelity and atheism, by which they are greater disbelievers than the Jews, Christians, and Indian idol-worshipping Brahmans.

What the questioner mentioned as their description is a little from a great deal that is known to the scholars regarding their characteristics. It is known to us that the coast of Sham was only taken over by the Christians from their (Nusayri) side. And also that they are always on the side of every enemy against Muslims, so [you find that] they are with Christians against Muslims.

From the greatest afflictions that have befallen them are Muslims’ opening conquest of the coast (of Sham) and defeat of the Christians. Nay, one of the greatest afflictions that has befallen them is Muslims’ victory over Tatar, and from the greatest holidays for them is the Christians conquest – and refuge is sought with Allah the Most High – of Muslim ports.

They don’t admit that this world has a Creator that created it, or that He has a religion that he orders with, or that He has a place with which He will reward people for their deeds, other than this place (in this world).

[Majmoo` al-Faatwaa 35/145]

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The hadeeth “Whoever visits my grave after I die, it is as if he visited me when I was still alive”

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said in al-Tawassul wa’l-Waseelah (p. 134) about this hadeeth: “It is obviously a lie that goes against Islam. Anyone who visited him during his lifetime and believed in him, was one of his Companions, especially if he was among those who migrated to join him or fought alongside him. It is proven that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Do not slander my Companions, for by the One in Whose hand is my soul, if any one of you were to spend gold equal to the size of Uhud, it would not equal the deeds of one of them, not even half of it.’ [Reported by al-Bukhaari and Muslim]. Anyone who comes after the Sahaabah cannot be like the Sahaabah by doing obligatory duties such as Hajj, jihaad, the five daily prayers and sending blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so how can he become equal to them by doing something that is not obligatory according to the consensus of the Muslims? We are not even supposed to travel for this purpose, in fact it is forbidden to do so. However, travelling to the [Prophet’s] Mosque, and to al-Masjid al-Aqsaa [in Jerusalem], for the purpose of praying there, is mustahabb (encouraged), and travelling to the Ka’bah for Hajj is waajib (obligatory). If a person who undertakes a journey that is waajib or mustahabb still cannot be like one of the Sahaabah who travelled to visit the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) during his lifetime, how can they achieve this by undertaking a journey that is not allowed?”

Issues Regarding Supplicating In the Prayer

“…and what is commonly narrated from Ahmad is that one should not supplicate in the prayer except with those supplications that are specifically legislated and narrated from the Prophet, as al-Athram said:

“I asked Ahmad: “With what should I supplicate after the tashahhud?” So, Ahmad said: “With what is narrated.” So, I said to him: “Did the Messenger of Allah not say: “…then let him choose from the supplications whatever he wishes…”?” Ahmad said: “He chooses from the narrated supplications whatever he wishes,”” – and this is the meaning of the words of Ahmad.

And I have previously clarified some of the principles regarding this, because of His Saying: {“Verily, Allah does not love the transgressors…”} [al-A’raf; 55], and because not all forms supplication are allowed. Rather, from the supplications are those that constitute excessiveness and transgression, and are forbidden, and the supplications which are legislated contain no transgression. Transgression in supplication can sometimes be in the form of excessive wording, and can sometimes be in regards to the meaning, just as one of the Companions explained to his son when some said: ‘O Allah! I ask You for a white palace in the right section of Paradise if I enter it,’ and another said: ‘I ask You for the Paradise, its palaces, and its rivers, and I seek refuge with You from the Fire, its chains, and its shackles.’ So, the man said to his son: “My son! Just ask Allah for Paradise, and seek refuge with Him from the Fire, as I heard the Messenger of Allah say: “There will be in this nation those who are excessive in supplication and purification.”“

And transgression can occur in regards to worship and zuhd, and the statement of Ahmad regarding limiting oneself to the narrated supplications is a good one, as the point is to make a supplication that is loved by Allah, not just supplicating for the sake of supplicating, as from the supplications are those that are forbidden.

So, if it is said that the supplications that are allowed outside of prayer are also allowed during the prayer – such as one asking for a house, or a beautiful slave girl – it is then asked: who even said that such types of supplications are legislated outside of the prayer, and that such wordings do not constitute transgression and excessiveness? Here, it should be said that the supplication that is mustahabb is that which is legislated, as istihbab of a particular act is determined by the Legislator. So, whatever He has not specifically legislated is not mustahabb. Rather, it constitutes legislating in the Religion that which Allah did not allow, and supplication is the greatest aspect of this religion.

However, if one supplicates with something that he does not know is mustahabb, or knows that it is allowed without being mustahabb, his prayer is not invalidated due to this, as prayer is invalidated due to the speech of the people, and supplication is not from the speech of the people. Rather, it is just as if one were to praise Allah in a wording that was not specifically legislated, and this was reported from some of the Companions during the time of the Prophet, and he did not reprimand them for praising Allah in a manner that was not legislated at that time. Rather, one would only be deprived of the reward if they were to supplicate like this.

And from the supplication is that which is makruh without invalidating the prayer, as well as that which would invalidate the prayer, and supplications can be divided into five types:

– those that are legislated, and these include the wajib and mustahabb;
– those that are mubah (allowed) and are not mustahabb, and these do not invalidate the prayer;
– those that are makruh, and these do not invalidate the prayer, and are like if one were to turn his face in the prayer, say the tashahhud during the standing, or recite the Qur’an during the sitting;
– those that are forbidden, and these invalidate the prayer, as they are considered to be human speech;

So, this is an analysis of the statement of Ahmad, as the prayer is not invalidated by making a supplication that is not narrated from the Prophet. However, it is not mustahabb to do so, as nothing can be mustahabb that is not legislated. He also clarified that the choice given is from those supplications that are legislated, and that the legislated supplications can be in the form of the exact wording, or they can be in the form of the general meaning, provided that the Prophet did not restrict the supplication to just one wording, as in the case of the Qur’an.”

[‘Majmu’ al-Fatawa’; 22/231-232]

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Ruling on Christmas & New Year

Praise be to Allaah.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his commentary on the aayah (interpretation of the meaning), “And those who do not witness falsehood [al-zoor]…” [al-Furqaan 25:72]

As regards the festivals of the mushrikeen: they combine confusion, physical desires and falsehood, there is nothing in them that is of any religious benefit, and the instant gratification involved in them only ends up in pain. Thus they are falsehood, and witnessing them means attending them.

This aaayah itself praises and commends (those who do not witness falsehood), which has the meaning of urging people to avoid taking part in their festivals and other kinds of falsehood. We understand that it is bad to attend their festivals because they are called al- zoor (falsehood).

It indicates that it is haraam to do this for many reasons, because Allaah has called it al-zoor. Allaah condemns the one who speaks falsehood [al-zoor] even if no-one else is harmed by it, as in the aayah forbidding zihaar [a form of divorce in which the man says to his wife

“You are to me like the back of my mother”], where He says (interpretation of the meaning): “… And verily, they utter an ill word and a lie [zooran]…” [al-Mujaadilah 58:2].

And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… So shun the abomination of idols, and shun lying speech (false statements) [al- zoor].” [al-Hajj 22:30].

So the one who does al-zoor is condemned in this fashion. In the Sunnah: Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came [to Madeenah] and they had two days in which they would (relax and) play. He said, “What are these two days?” They said, “We used to play (on these two days) during the Jaahiliyyah.”

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has given you something better instead of them: Yawm al-Duhaa [Eid al-Adha] and Yawm al-Fitr [Eid al-Fitr].” (Reported by Abu Dawood).

This indicates clearly that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) definitely forbade his ummah to celebrate the festivals of the kuffaar, and he strove to wipe them out by all possible means. The fact that the religion of the People of the Book is accepted does not mean that their festivals are approved of or should be preserved by the ummah, just as the rest of their kufr and sins are not approved of. Indeed, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went to great lengths to command his ummah to be different from them in many issues that are mubaah (permitted) and in many ways of worship, lest that lead them to be like them in other matters too. This being different was to be a barrier in all aspects, because the more different you are from the people of Hell, the less likely you are to do the acts of the people of Hell.

The first of them is: The hadeeth

“Every people has its festival, and this is our festival” implies exclusivity, that every people has its own festival, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“For every nation there is a direction to which they face (in their prayers)…” [al-Baqarah 2:148] and “… To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way…” [al-Maa’idah 5:48].

This implies that each nation has its own ways. The laam in li-kulli [“for every”, “to each”] implies exclusivity. So if the Jews have a festival and the Christians have a festival, it is just for them, and we should not have any part in it, just as we do not share their qiblah (direction of prayer) or their laws.

The second of them is: one of the conditions set out by ‘Umar ibn al- Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) and agreed upon by the Sahaabah and by all the Fuqaha’ after them is: that those of the People of the Book who have agreed to live under Islamic rule (ahl al-dhimmah) should not celebrate their festivals openly in Daar al- Islam (lands under Islamic rule). If the Muslims have agreed to prevent them from celebrating openly, how could it be right for the Muslims to celebrate them? If a Muslim celebrates them, is that not worse than if a kaafir does so openly?

The only reason that we forbade them to celebrate their festivals openly is because of the corruption involved in them, because of the sin or symbols of sin. In either case, the Muslim is forbidden from sin or the symbols of sin. Even if there was no evil involved apart from the kaafir feeling encouraged to celebrate openly because of the Muslim’s actions, how can a Muslim do that? The evil involved (in their festivals) will be explained below, in sha Allaah.

Al-Bayhaqi reported with a saheeh isnaad in Baab karaahiyat al- dukhool ‘ala ahl al-dhimmah fi kanaa’isihim wa’l-tashabbuh bihim yawmi nawroozihim wa maharjaanihim (Chapter on the abhorrence of entering the churches of ahl al-dhimmah on the occasion of their New Year and other celebrations): From Sufyaan al-Thawri from Thawr ibn Yazeed from ‘Ata’ ibn Deenaar who said: ‘Umar said: “Do not learn the language of the non-Arabs, do not enter upon the mushrikeen in their churches on their feast-days, for the wrath (of Allaah) is descending upon them.”

‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: “Avoid the enemies of Allaah on their festivals.”

It was reported with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Usaamah: ‘Awn told us from Abu’l-Mugheerah from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr: “Whoever lives in the land of the non-Arabs and celebrates their New Year and their festivals, and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.”

‘Umar forbade learning their languages, and even entering their churches on the day of their festival, so how about doing some of the things they do on those days, or doing things that are a part of their religion? Is not going along with their actions worse than learning their language? Is not doing some of the things they do on their festival worse than just entering upon them? If divine wrath is descending upon them on the day of their festival because of what they do, then is not the one who does what they do, or a part of it, also exposed to the same punishment? Do not the words “Avoid the enemies of Allaah on their festivals” mean that we should not meet them or join them on those days? So how about the one who actually celebrates their festivals? ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr clearly stated:

“Whoever lives in the land of the non-Arabs and celebrates their New Year and their festivals, and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.”

This implies that the one who joins in with them in all of these matters is a kaafir, or that doing this is one of the major sins (kabaa’ir) that will doom one to Hell; the former meaning is what is apparent from the wording.

He mentioned – and Allaah knows best – the one who lives in their land, because at the time of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr and the other Sahaabah, they used to forbid open celebration of kaafir festivals in the Muslim lands, and none of the Muslims imitated them in their festivals; that was possible only when living in the lands of the kaafirs.

‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) refused to even acknowledge the name of their festivals which were exclusively theirs, so how about actually celebrating them?

Ahmad mentioned the meaning of the reports narrated from ‘Umar and ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with them) on this topic, and his companions discussed the matter of festivals. Imaam Abu’l-Hasan al-Aamidi said: the one who is known as Ibn al- Baghdaadi said in his book ‘Umdat al-Haadir wa Kifaayat al-Musaafir: “It is not permitted to attend the festivals of the Christians and Jews. Ahmad stated this in the report of Muhannaa, and his evidence for that is the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And those who do not witness falsehood [al-zoor]…’ [al-Furqaan 25:72].

He said: (This is) al-Sha’aaneen and their festivals. He said: The Muslims are to be prevented from entering upon them in their synagogues and churches.”

From Iqtida’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem Mukhaalifat Ashaab al-Jaheem by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, p. 183.