Imam ‛Abū Yūsuf’s Powerful Memory & Profound Intellect

By Shaykh Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari
Translated by Abu Dawud Mahbub ibn ‘Abd al-Karim

Translator’s Preface: The following is an article on the memory of the Qadi, Imam Abu Yusuf Ya’qub ibn Ibrahim al-Ansari (d.182AH), the student of Imam Abu Hanifa (d.150AH). It is a translation of a chapter from Husn al-Taqadi fi Sirat Abi Yusuf al-Qadi (pp.14-17) by Shaykh Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari (d.1371AH). The Maktaba al-Azhariyya li al-Turath edition was utilised for this translation – which contains numerous typographical errors due to which the original Arabic quotes have been checked and typed up from their primary sources and have been referenced in the footnotes. This article was translated as a response to some people who have attacked Imam Abu Yusuf’s status in the field of hadith, and more broadly, they attack the Hanafi school of Law as well as the Imams of the madhab and its adherents, accusing them of being weak in hadith.

حافظته القوية وذكاؤه البالغ

Imam Abu Yusuf’s Powerful Memory & Profound Intellect

Abu al-Faraj Ibn al-Jawzi, in a work of his, mentions Abu Yusuf as one of the hundred extraordinary individuals among the huffaz (prolific memorisers) of this ummah and mentions him in a manner of all-round strength in retention without restricting him merely to memorisation of hadith. He says that Abu Yusuf would memorise fifty-sixty hadith by hearing them only once and would then narrate them [from memory] along with their chains of transmission. This work [by Ibn al-Jawzi] is entitled Akhbar al-Huffaz and [the manuscript] is located in the Zahiriyya Library in Damascus, [it is complete] except that it is missing its first page.

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Muftī Khānpūrī: Clarity on the issue of photography

By Mufti Ahmad Khanpuri
Translated By: Mufti Saleem Khan

A great and terrible fitna of this time is picture taking. Nowadays the sickness of taking photos is very common in social gatherings, conferences and even in the Haramain Sharifayn. This fitna has become so common that no matter how much one tries to save himself from it, he cannot. This sin has become so common that people do not even consider it a sin anymore. This time of fitna has made the bad appear as good.

In Islam, aside from a dire need, photography is prohibited. In the hadith shareef, those that take photos have been severely condemned and upon such people is Allah’s curse. Such people will be severely punished on the Day of Judgment [Qiyamah]

Some people have a certain soft spot for pictures of the elders and pious people. Some also keep them close as a source of tabarruk. استغفر الله ، لاحول ولا قوة الا بالله

Remember! It is haram to take and possess photos regardless of whose photos they are and what tool was used to take them. Nowadays using mobile phone cameras has become extremely common. People use their phones to take pictures (of animate things) then send then to one another via WhatsApp. This is a major sin.

Now reverting to the issue at hand.

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The Pleasure and Enthusiasm of Seeking Knowledge

By Mawlānā Muhammad Salīm Dhorāt
Translated by Mawlānā Mahomed Mahomedy

‛Allāmah Zamakhsharī rahimahullāh says:

سَهَرِيْ لِتَنْقِيْحِ الْعُلُوْمِ أَلَذُّ لِيْ – مِنْ وَصْلِ غَانِيَةٍ وَطِيْبِ عِنَاقِ وَتَمَايُلِيْ طَرَبًا لحَِلِّ عُوَيْصَةٍ – أَشْهٰى وَأَحْلٰى مِنْ مُدَامَةِ سَاقِ

Remaining awake at night to research and investigate the different sciences is more enjoyable to me than meeting a beautiful singer and her sweet embrace. My swaying from side to side out of joy for having solved a difficulty is more desirable to me and sweeter than the drink which is offered by a waiter.

وَصَرِيْرُ أَقْلَامِيْ عَلٰى أَوْرَاقِهَا – أَحْلٰى مِنَ الدَّوْكَاءِ وَالْعشَُّاقِ وَأَلَذُّ مِنْ نَقْرِ الْفَتَاةِ لِدُفِّهَا – نقَْرِيْ لِأَلْقَى الرَّمَلَ عَنْ أَوْرَاقِيْ(صفحات من صبر العلماء، ص ١٣)

The sound made by my pen as it writes across the page is sweeter to me than daukā’ and ‛ushshāq. The sound of dusting off the dust from the pages of my books is more enjoyable to me than the sound made by a young girl as she is playing her tambourine.

Hadrat Imām Muhammad rahimahullāh said:

لَذَّاتُ الْأَفْكَارِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ لَذَّاتِ الْأَبْكَارِ (حدائق الحنفية، ص ١٥)

To ponder and reflect over academic issues is more enjoyable than the pleasure which is provided by a virgin woman.

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The teachers of Hadith at Deoband and Saharanpur

By Maulana Muḥammad ʿĀshiq Ilāhī al-Barni al-Maẓāhiri
Translated by Shoaib A. Rasheed

Translation of an excerpt from the original Arabic book al-ʿAnāqīd al-Ghāliyah min al-Asānīd al-ʿĀliyah, Maktabat al-Shaykh: Karachi, 1987, Chapter 2


The Dār al-ʿUlūm college in Deoband was founded on the fifteenth of the sacred month of Muḥarram in the year 1283/1866. This occurred in the aftermath of the revolution of the Indians against the British in 1857. Playing a major role in that jihād was Quṭub al-ʿĀrifīn al-Ḥāj Imdādullāh al-Thānawi th. al-Muhājir al-Makki, along with his two beloved companions, Ḥujjat al-Islām Maulana Muḥammad Qāsim al-Nānautawi and the most-revered shaykh, Hadith scholar, and jurist, Maulana Rashīd Aḥmad al-Gangōhi. Ḥāfiẓ Ḍāmin al-Thānawi also participated and was martyred therein (May Allah sanctify their secrets). Their desire in participating was solely the pursuit of the pleasure of Allah (Glorified and Exalted Be He).

When the people of India were defeated in that revolution, these leaders (akābir) and their supporters saw that they did not have the strength that day to resist the British and oust them from India by military force. They also realized the need for a strong institution that could act as a sturdy fortress to protect the Muslims from the venom of deviation and heterodoxy – which the British agents were spewing forth – and to distance them from the tantalizations of Western culture that were drawing the Muslims towards admiration for the British and renunciation of the rulings of Islam.

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Brief analysis of the achievements of the Mughal Empire

By Abu Juwairiya Hamad Khan

It was in 1206, approximately eight hundred years ago, India produced its first major Muslim ruler for several generations. It was the beginning of the longest reign of any religion, empire, civilization, ethnic group, dynasty, political administration or government in the last millennium on the Indian subcontinent.

Muslim rule was to last six hundred and fifty one years, four empires and six strong and powerful rulers. Muslim rulers included Qutubudeen Aibak and Razia Sultana and were among the earliest monarchs before the Mughal Empire. Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb stand out as the most prominent Mughal kings.

The Indian- Ethiopian king Malik Ambar and the most successful Muslim adventurer of 18th century India, Haidar Ali and his son Tipu Sultan are among the possessors of smaller kingdoms that flourished in later years.

Famous monuments built during those seven centuries by Muslim rulers include Qutb Minar and the Taj Mahal.

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ʻAllāmah Anwar Shāh Kashmīrī on learning of English and secular sciences

By Mawlānā Dr. Yunus ʻUthmān

Foreword: The author, Mawlānā Dr. Yunus ʻUthmān, is a graduate of Dār al-Ulūm Karachi. He taught at at Dār al-Ulūm Newcastle (South Africa) for 12 years. During that time he also completed B.A and B.A (Hons) degrees (majoring in Arabic and Science of Religion) at the University of South Africa. In 1994, he was awarded an M.A degree in Islamic studies from the University of Durban-Westville. In 2002, he graduated with a D.Phil degree in Islamic studies at the same University. He continues to serve on various Islamic Trust Boards of a number of Muslim organisation and Islamic seminaries within South Africa. He is also an author of many articles and books. The following article is taken from his thesis, on the life and works of ʻAllāmah Anwar Shāh Kashmīrī, which was submitted in fulfillment of the D.Phil degree in 2001. We hope to publish more edited extracts from this thesis in the near future. This article also follows up on articles which we have published in the past concerning the teaching of secular education in 19th Century India (see “Related article(s)” below). Mawlānā Dr. Yunus ʻUthmān writes:

The influence of the western world was first felt in the Muslim world when the Europeans colonised their countries in the early 19th Century. Thus, prior to the arrival of the Colonialists, all aspects of Muslim life were governed by the Sharīʿah. The Colonialists subsequently imposed their own man-made laws upon the Muslims against their will.

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Opinion: Which country, geography and race has the best Scholars?

By Shaykh Ismā’īl Ibrāhīm Patel


No body of Muslim scholars deserves elevation over others along the lines of geography or race. It should be every Muslim’s policy to keep scholars of all racial and geographical orientations on one equal pedestal, and respect each as much as the other. That especially includes scholars one has not studied under – students may feel biased to their teachers but that shouldn’t be the norm.

I personally haven’t studied under the scholarly bodies of North Africa, Turkey, Yemen, Levant, Central Asia – the list goes on – but I’ve made it my aim never to let my feelings dictate to me that they are inferior to the Indians or the Hijazis, under whom I have studied for short periods. (And with Allah is Tawfiq)

Apart from one’s own racial bias, and alma mater bias, there can be two scenarios that can lead to the development a superiority complex for certain scholars:

1. One might feel some scholars are closer to the Sunnah than others.

The reality is that scholars from every geography have faults that others do not possess, so the superiority complex shouldn’t ever apply.

So if one feels Egyptians not having beards is deeply obnoxious, then the Indo-Paks aren’t any better when it comes to consuming/allowing paan. And if one finds the Turks’ indifference to certain dodgy Sufi practices to be objectionable, then the Saudis are not in a better position when it comes to their affairs with the rulers. Generally speaking.

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Concerning slanderous statements against ʼAbū Sufyān: The stance of the ʼAhl al-Sunnah clarified

By Mawlānā Sulaymān al-Kindī

Foreword: The following article attempts to answer and clarify certain comments that we have noticed are in vogue in recent times amongst the Sunnī community. These issues concern mainly on the level of Islām of those who came after the Conquest of Makkah such as ʼAbū Sufyān, the status of individuals such as Muʻāwiyah and the general fitna that gripped the ʼUmmah following the assasination of ʻUthmān. We hope that the response provided by Mawlānā Sulaymān al-Kindī, who is an expert researcher; author; translator and academic, will be sufficient to bring about with clarity the stance of the ʼAhl al-Sunnah with regards to these often controversial and highly emotional issues. May Allāh bless the author and keep the ʼUmmah on the straight path. ʼĀmīn! Mawlānā Sulaymān al-Kindī begins by quoting a sample of comments that he received by mail:

Mail sent to me:

Here is a post of a XXXXX scholar – XXXXXX- who is both provocative and controversial. He denies being Shi’i or Zaydi:

“KNOW YOUR HISTORY: The night before the Conquest of Makkah, the leader of the Kuffar of Quraysh, head of the Umayyad Clan and chief enemy of Islam Abu-Sufyan was brought to the Tent of the Prophet (SAW) under the protection of al-Abbas (RA). When Umar (RA) saw him, he continuously tried to kill him, but the Prophet (SAW) prevented Umar (RA) from that due to the protection granted by his uncle al-Abbas (RA). Thereafter, the Prophet said to Abu-Sufyan: “Isn’t it high time you testified that there is no God but Allah?”. Abu-Sufyan replied: “I guessed if there was another God, he would have helped me by now!”. Then the Prophet (SAW) said: “Isn’t it high time you testified that I am the Messenger of Allah?”. Abu-Sufyan replied: “My heart is still doubtful of that”. Then al-Abbas (RA) looked at Abu-Sufyan and said: “WOE UNTO YOU! TESTIFY OR I WILL CHOP YOUR HEAD OFF”. So Abu-Sufyan proclaimed the Shahadah.” (سيرة ابن هشام و تاريخ الطبري و سيرة ابن كثير)

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Did ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah curse or order the cursing of ʻAlī

By Shaykh Mumtāz al-Ḥaqq Mālik
Edited byʻAbd Allāh al-Afrīqī 

Shīʻahs [and many amongst the Sunnī’s] are led to believe that ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) started the despicable innovation of cursing and ordering the cursing of ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) – Allāh forbid!

There is absolutely no authentic proof found in Sunnī sources to support this idea. This is purely a Shīʻah accusation against a noble Companion of Rasūl Allāh (ṣalla Allāhu ʻalay-hi wa-sallam), a scribe of revelation (way), the uncle of believers, ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu).

The only Ṣāḥīḥ narration in Sunnī literature is that by Saʻd ibn ʼAbī Waqqaṣ (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu), one of the ʻAsharah Mubasharah, as reported in aī Muslim. Shīʻahs often misquote this ḥadīth to prove their point. The actual ḥadīth is,

حَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، وَمُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبَّادٍ، – وَتَقَارَبَا فِي اللَّفْظِ – قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا حَاتِمٌ، – وَهُوَ ابْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ – عَنْ بُكَيْرِ بْنِ مِسْمَارٍ، عَنْ عَامِرِ بْنِ سَعْدِ بْنِ أَبِي وَقَّاصٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ أَمَرَ مُعَاوِيَةُ بْنُ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ سَعْدًا فَقَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَنْ تَسُبَّ أَبَا التُّرَابِ فَقَالَ أَمَّا مَا ذَكَرْتُ ثَلاَثًا قَالَهُنَّ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَلَنْ أَسُبَّهُ لأَنْ تَكُونَ لِي وَاحِدَةٌ مِنْهُنَّ أَحَبُّ إِلَىَّ مِنْ حُمْرِ النَّعَمِ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ لَهُ خَلَّفَهُ فِي بَعْضِ مَغَازِيهِ فَقَالَ لَهُ عَلِيٌّ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ خَلَّفْتَنِي مَعَ النِّسَاءِ وَالصِّبْيَانِ فَقَالَ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ أَمَا تَرْضَى أَنْ تَكُونَ مِنِّي بِمَنْزِلَةِ هَارُونَ مِنْ مُوسَى إِلاَّ أَنَّهُ لاَ نُبُوَّةَ بَعْدِي ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَسَمِعْتُهُ يَقُولُ يَوْمَ خَيْبَرَ ‏”‏ لأُعْطِيَنَّ الرَّايَةَ رَجُلاً يُحِبُّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيُحِبُّهُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَتَطَاوَلْنَا لَهَا فَقَالَ ‏”‏ ادْعُوا لِي عَلِيًّا ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَأُتِيَ بِهِ أَرْمَدَ فَبَصَقَ فِي عَيْنِهِ وَدَفَعَ الرَّايَةَ إِلَيْهِ فَفَتَحَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَمَّا نَزَلَتْ هَذِهِ الآيَة{‏ فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْا نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءَنَا وَأَبْنَاءَكُمْ‏}‏ دَعَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَلِيًّا وَفَاطِمَةَ وَحَسَنًا وَحُسَيْنًا فَقَالَ ‏”‏ اللَّهُمَّ هَؤُلاَءِ أَهْلِي ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Saʻd ibn ʼAbī Waqqaṣ (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) said, “Muʻāwiyah ibn ʼAbī Sufyān said (to him) , “What prevents you from making sabb of ʼAbū Turāb (ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu))?” So He (Saʻd) said, “Because I remember three things Rasūl Allāh (ṣalla Allāhu ʻalay-hi wa-sallam) said about him. So I will never make sabb of him. Even one of those things would have been more dear to me than red camels…” to the end. (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)

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Concerning the avoidance of “English Education” in 19th century Muslim India

By Sayyid Mahbūb Rizwī
Translated by Prof. Murtaz Ḥusayn F. Qurayshī

This blame has gained notoriety against the ulema of India, particularly against the ulema of Deoband, that, by issuing a fetwa against the acquirement of the English education, they prevented the Muslims from acquiring it, wherefore the Muslims lagged behind other communities in in the field of worldly progress. But this blame is baseless, because the ulema were against only that curriculum which might lead the Muslims towards atheism and irreligion. This danger was being felt in Aligarh itself. Accordingly, to obviate it, an independent Department of Theology was established there, and when Maulana Muhammad Qasim’s son-in-law, Maulana Abd Allah Ansari, was invited to head it, the Dar al-Ulum promptly accepted this invitation. Maulana Abd Allah Ansari graced this post till the end of his life and after him, his son, Maulana Ahmed Mian Ansari, was appointed on this post. He was also a graduate of the Dar al- Ulum. It is, therefore, obvious that in case of opposition to the English system of education, this thing was not possible.

As regards those students who, after graduating from the Arabic schools, wished to enter government schools, Hazrat Maulana Nanautavi, in his speech delivered in a function of prize-distribution held in 1290/1873, had encouraged such students in the following words :—

“If the students of this madrasah join government schools to acquire the modern sciences, this acquirement would more shore up their accomplishment”.  (Rūdād Dār al-Ulūm Deoband, 1290 AH, p. 16)

Replying to the objection of certain people as to why modern sciences were not included in the syllabus of the Dar al-Ulum, he said :—

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