Al-Nabahani's Creed: Part 3 - The Mu'tazili, Ash'ari Doctrine That The Akhbaar al-Aahaad Are Not Proof in Beliefs (Aqaa'id)
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Wednesday, April, 18 2012 and filed under Al-Nabahani


Taqi ud-Din an-Nabahani (1909-1977CE) is the founder of the group "Hizb ut-Tahrir", the picture on the right - taken in his early years - indicates the traditional Azhari, Ash'ari early upbringing. He was an Ash'ari in aqidah (mixed with some of usool of the Mu'tazilah, Murji'ah and Qadariyyah). He is of Palestinian origin, coming from a Sufi family background. His maternal grandfather was Yusuf bin Ismaa'eel an-Nabahani, a fervent adherent of Tasawwuf and one who authored a book, "Shawaahid ul-Haqq fil-Istighaathah bi Sayyid il-Khalq", arguing for the justification of seeking and calling upon the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) for rescue from calamity in those things in which only Allaah has power and ability. Given this family background (Ash'ari Sufi with Mu'tazili, Qadariyy usool) it is not surprising to see that in all the books of Taqi ud-Din an-Nabahani, the grandson, the discussion of Tawhid barely extends further than merely affirming Allaah's existence and around nine or ten attributes (which is not the Tawhid that the Messengers came to establish).

In this series we will be highlighting the (deviant) creed of an-Nabahani, indicating his remoteness from the aqidah of Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah and his agreement with the usool of the Jahmiyyah, the Mu'tazilah, the Ash'ariyyah and his wallowing in the bid'ah of al-Qadr, that of the Qadariyyah, alongside other instances of profound ignorance of the aqidah of the Righteous Salaf (the Companions and their followers). Here are scans of cover pages for two of his (numerous) books which were alluded to earlier:

They are the 6th edition of "ash-Shakhsiyyah al-Islaaamiyyah" (Dar ul-Ummah, Beirut, 2003CE) and "Nidhaam ul-Islaam" (6th edition, 2001CE).

The Ahl al-Hadeeth and Khabar al-Aahaad

The view of all of Ahl al-Hadeeth without exception, in opposition to the straying, wandering Mu'tazilah, Jahmiyyah, Khawaarij and Raafidah is:

خبر الواحد العدل الضابط المتلقى بالقبول تصديقاً به وعملاً بموجبه يفيد العلم ويوجب العمل

The narration of one individual (to another) who has integrity (truthfulness in word and character) and precision (in memory) and which has been met with acceptance (by the Muslims) in (terms of) both tasdeeq (believing it) and acting (upon its requirements), then this affords knowledge and necessitates action.

The khabar ul-aahaad refers to the hadeeth which is not mutawaatir (definition will come later) and the bulk of the Sunnah, the vast majority of it, and whatever is in the Saheeh's of al-Bukhari, Muslim, and the Sunan of Abi Dawud, at-Tirmidhee, Ibn Maajah, an-Nasaa'ee and other compilations of hadeeth, then the majority of it is khabar ul-aahaad. On its own, as in a khabar al-waahid in principle, amounts to dhann (speculation, and uncertain knowledge). However, when the adalaah (integrity) and dabt (precision in memory) is established for those narrating (in any khabar al-waahid), and further, when the Ummah has taken those narrations with acceptance (such as what is in al-Bukhari and Muslim), then these narrations amount to certain knowledge, and are no longer in the realm of dhann. So the scholars of hadeeth hold that this amounts to ilm al-yaqeeni (certain knowledge) and others from them say it amounts to ilm al-nadhari (that which has been proven theoreticallly to amount to knowledge) It is here where the battle lies between Ahl al-Sunnah and the Innovators from the Mu'tazilah, Raafidah and Khawaarij, all of whom have ulterior motives for casting doubt upon the Sunnah of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and who deny the validity of the khabar al-waahid (in matters of creed). Examples of the beliefs established by the khabar al-aahaad include, by way of example only:

  • Affirmation of Allaah's attributes (sifaat khabariyyah)
  • The superiority of the Prophet Muhammad (alayhis salaam) over all other Prophets and Messengers
  • Affirmation of the intercession of the Prophet (alayhis salaam) on the Day of Judgement and the intercession for the people of major sin
  • The miracles of the Prophet (alayhis salaam)
  • Information regarding the beginning of creation, the attributes of the Angels, the Jinn, and the characteristics of Paradise, Hellfire
  • Virtues of the Companions and those companions granted Paradise
  • Faith in the scales (that will weight the good deeds) and its description
  • Faith in the Hawd (pool) of the Prophet (alayhis salaam) from which the believers will drink
  • Faith in the Pen (al-Qalam) which wrote everything to occur from Allaah's decree
  • Faith that Allaah prohibited the earth from consuming the bodies of the Prophets
  • Faith in the Mahdee
  • Faith in the Dajjaal
  • Faith in the descent of Eesaa (alayhis salaam)
  • Faith in the ascension of the Prophet (alayhis salaam) with all its particular details
  • Faith in the punishment of the grave
  • Faith in the questioning by Munkar and Nakeer
  • Faith in everything that has come regarding the Day of Judgement
  • Faith in all the descriptions of Paradise and Hellfire

As you can see many of these issues are matters of contention between Ahl al-Sunnah, the Righteous Salaf, and the Mu'tazilah, Raafidah and Khawaarij. The issue of differentiating between beliefs (aqaa'id) and rulings, acts of worship (ahkaam, ibaadaat) with respect to acceptance of reports was an innovated principle employed by these sects who strayed from the path to fight against Ahl al-Sunnah.

The Mu'tazilah Innovated the Principle of Rejecting Aahaad Ahaadeeth in Matters of Creed

Rejecting the khabar al-aahaad in beliefs (i'itqaad, aqidah) was innovated by the Mu'tazilah because they were paupers in the science of hadeeth, and they could not challenge the Imaams of the Sunnah, as their ignorance and dim-wittedness in that regard was made apparent very quickly. Being influenced by the worldly investigative scientific principles of the Greeks (whose books they were studying), they invented the principle of rejecting those ahaadeeth which did not reach the level of tawaatur by claiming they were speculative. However, the Book of Allaah was revealed containing the principle of accepting, as knowledge, the report of the one who is established to be trustworthy, and the Scholars of Hadeeth use the verses (9:22), where the word (طائفة) in Arabic can mean a single person and likewise (49:6), where the report of a trustworthy, truthful person is accepted. From a Shari'ah point of view, a khabar (report) of a person who is honest and truthful is accepted. Upon this, the Scholars of Hadeeth hold that when we have narrations from the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that are reported through those whose adaalah (trustworthiness, truthfulness) and precision in memory (dabt ul-hifz) is established, and especially when the whole Ummah has taken such narrations with acceptance, then they amount to certain knowledge.

So the Mu'tazilah invented their principle as a means to gain ascendancy over Ahl al-Sunnah, since the Sunnah was a destructive barrier against their innovation. The Raafidah and the Khawaarij also took utility in this innovation because they too were held at bay by the Sunnah. As for the heads of the Mu'tazilah, then al-Qaadee Abdul-Jabbaar writes in the Mu'tazili textbook, "Sharh Usool il-Khamsah", (p. 769), and this is after he has explained that that akhbaar (reports) are of three types, a) those who truthfulness is known by necessity, and these require at least five narrators, and these are the mutawaatir b) those whose falsehood is known, and c) those about which is not known that they are truth or falsehood and these are the akhbaar ul-aahaad - so he says:

As for that about which it is not known that it is truth or falsehood, then it is like the akhbaar al-aahaad (solitary narrations) and whatever takes on this route, [then] it is permissible to act by it, when it is transmitted with it's (required conditions), but as for accepting it (the khabar al-waahid) in that whose route is beliefs (i'tiqaadaat), then no.

And in this topic, there is also difference [of opinion] (i.e. regarding the permissibility of acting upon what is like the akhbaar ul-aahaad), for amongst the people are those who permit the performance of worship upon (what is narrated through) the khabar ul-waahid, and amongst them are those who reject, the affirmation of worship through it (the khabar ul-waahid).

What al-Qaadee Abdul-Jabbaar has discussed here is the Mu'tazili precursor for what an-Nabahani popularized in the 20th century amongst ignorant cult followers, which is making a distinction between ahkaam (rulings) and aqaa'id (beliefs) with respect to the khabar al-waahid (the solitary narration), such that where these narrations contain rulings it is permissible to act upon them, and where these narrations contain beliefs, it is haraam to affirm such beliefs as one's aqidah.

Taqi ad-Din an-Nabahani: The Khabar ul-Aahaad is Not a Proof in Beliefs (Aqaa'id)

And an-Nabahani says in "ash-Shakhsiyyah" (1/191), and this is under a chapter heading titled (خبر الآحاد ليس بحجة في العقائد), "The Khabar ul-Aahaad Is Not a Proof in Beliefs", the following:

Because that which is dhannee (speculative) it is impossible for it to bring about resoluteness (certainty), thus it is not appropriate as evidence for (bringing about) resoluteness. For this reason, the khabar al-aahaad is not befitting as an evidence for the aqidah because it is dhannee, and it is obligatory that the aqidah be certain.

Then he brings verses in the Qur'an in which Allaah rebukes those who follow dhann (speculation), amongst the pagans and disbelievers, using these verses as proof that khabar ul-aahaad are not to be used in aqidah. These verses are in relation to those who follow their desires and whims, and not what Allaah revealed. Further there are other verses in the Qur'an in which taking knowledge from one person is established (9:122, 49:6) and wihch the Scholars of hadeeth have used to establish the acceptability of the narration of one person and that it amounts to knowledge (see later below).

Then he (an-Nabahani) continues a little later saying:

And the khabar al-aahaad is dhannee (speculative, indecisive) and thus seeking evidence through it for aqidah, is following dhann (speculation) in beliefs. And there is explicit rebuke for this in the Qur'an. So the Sharee'ah evidence (i.e. the verses quoted) and the reality of aqidah, all of that indicates that seeking evidence through a speculative (piece) of evidence for beliefs (aqaa'id) does not obligate belief in what has come in this evidence. And upon this, then the khabar al-aahaad is not a proof (hujjah) in beliefs.

From this we see that an-Nabahani has guided himself not by the likes of Imaam Ahmad, Imaam ash-Shaafi'ee, Imaam al-Bukhaaree, Imaam Muslim, and the great mountains of knowledge, the great scholars of Islam and the Sunnah, but the wandering strayers amongst the Mu'tazilah, and from their leading figureheads, those who put the Ummah to trial in the second and third centuries with the innovations and deviations. The affirmation of this principle of the Mu'tazilah is scattered throughout an-Nabahani's books, and is well known from him.

Regarding the Khabar ul-Aahaad

So regarding an-Nabahani's Mu'tazili heritage, there are a number of points:

ONE: The khabar al-aahaad is the narration that does not reach the level of mutawaatir, and the mutawaatir is whatever has been successively narrated by such a number of people at each level of its transmission that it would be impossible for them to have concurred together upon a lie, and which provides what amounts to knowledge to its listener . And there is no precise agreed upon number as to the minimum number of narrators there must be for a narration to be mutawaatir, is it three, five, eleven, twenty, seventy? However, an-Nabahani, elsewhere in his books indicates that it must be five or more (which means that an-Nabahani would have to reject verses of the Qur'aan too - more on this later). This classification of the authentic (saheeh) ahaadeeth (into mutawaatir and aahaad) was mentioned by the likes of al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, however al-Khatib al-Bagdhadi was Salafi in his aqidah, and he did not raise this issue from the angle of the Mutakallimeen (the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah) to reject issues of belief, it was raised purely as a technical detail and classification. To deny the khabar ul-aahaad in aqidah was a matter unheard of in the Ummah until the Mutakallimoon (speculative theologians) came along. It was mentioned by other scholars thereafter, such as Ibn as-Salah, but it had no connection to the issue of aqidah, since the Ummah was united in the first generations of accepting the narrations of the trustworthy and precise in memory, and the overwhelming majority of the Prophetic Sunnah is in the form of akhbaar ul-aahaad.

TWO: The later ones who were tainted with ilm al-kalaam, the doctrines of the Mutakallimeen (Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah), they took up this issue and laid it down as a foundation and then entered it in the realm of aqidah, using it as a support of their madhhab. This is because most of them were paupers when it came to knowledge of the hadeeth, and knowing their inability regarding this art (by their own admission). They attempted to bolster their aqidah and counter the aqidah of Ahl us-Sunnah through innovated principles to allow them to cast doubt upon the proofs of Ahl us-Sunnah against them, because they knew they could not rival Ahl us-Sunnah in their firm-grounding in the ahaadeeth of the Prophet (alayhis salaam).

THREE: The intent of the Mu'tazilah and the Ahl ul-Kalaam was to reject the bulk of the Sunnah in order to give ascendancy to their own views and opinions from their intellects which they deemed to be decisive and definitive (qat'ee), and this was because they considered the foundation of the entire religion to be dependent up a corrupt rational proof called "hudooth ul-ajsaam" (a philosophical way of arguing that there must be a creator and the universe is created). When they made this (corrupt proof) to be the supreme truth upon which the veracity of Islam itself depends, they then sought ways to deal with the Prophetic ahaadeeth which clashed with their proof that itself was based upon the language and terminology of the Greek Philosophers, such as Aristotle. Thus, they raised and employed this issue (khabar al-aahaad and aqidah) within the domain of beliefs (aqaa'id), something unknown and unheard of with the Imaams of the religion, and thereafter all the Mutakallimeen (Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah, Maturidiyyah) took this as their way. And it is these deviants that an-Nabahani is guiding himself by.

FOUR: This false distinction is demolished with just one simple observation that is made the by the Scholars of the Sunnah, which is that each of the rulings (ahkaam) that have come in the Sunnah that are akhbaar ul-aahaad, then each of these must be preceded with the belief (i'tiqaad) that indeed Allaah has legislated this matter. So every hadeeth that contains a ruling also requires i'tiqaad (belief) that Allaah legislated this matter, and thus distinguishing between beliefs (aqaa'id) and rulings (ahkaam) is a false and baseless matter, since all action that pertains to the religion (rulings, worship), can never by isolated and separated from belief (i'tiqaad).

FIVE: Further to the last point, this principle of the Mu'tazilah is itself a belief (i.e. khabar ul-waahid is haraam to be taken in aqidah), this itself is an aqidah (belief) for which a definitive proof must be provided, which is definitive in its authenticity, and definitive in its meaning, and the only thing brought are the verses that relate to not following "dhann" (speculation). However, this is circulare reasoning, since these verses can only be used with the prior assumption that the khabar ul-waahid amounts to dhann. These verses in and of themselves do not prove that the khabar ul-waahid is "dhann", that has to be proven separately and independently. And what we find on the contrary, that the Qur'an, the Sunnah, the consensus of the Sahaabah and the entire Ummah - with the exception of the likes of an-Nabahani and the Mutakallimeen, and those affected by them - is that the khabar ul-waahid amounts to knowledge in all affairs of the religion. So they have no qat'ee daleel (definitive evidence) for this aqidah of theirs.

SIX: Cult followers of an-Nabahani should realize that in order for them to accept any information from an-Nabahani regarding aqidah, it would have to be qat'ee (definitive) according to an-Nabahani's principle, and since everything they are taking from an-Nabahani is from the khabar ul-waahid (the solitary narration), since an-Nabahani is only a single individual, then it is haraam for them to take aqidah from an-Nabahani since it would be, upon that Mu'tazili principle, indecisive.

SEVEN: When you look into the early books of aqidah authored by the Imaams of the Sunnah against these deviants, that they mention that from the usool (foundations) of the religion, is to accept the narrations of the reliable and trustworthy in the affairs pertaining to belief in Allaah, such as those that relate to Allaah's attributes.

The Imaam of the Sunnah, Ahmad bin Hanbal (d. 241H) said (Sharh Usool ul-I'tiqaad of al-Laalikaa'ee, no. 777) regarding the ahaadeeth of the Sifaat (Allaah's Attributes):

We have faith in them, we affirm them and we do not reject a single one of them if they are with chains of narration containing reliable and trustworthy reporters (asaaneed sihaah).

He also said (Sharh Usool ul-I'tiqaad of al-Laalikaa'ee, no. 889) about the ahaadeeth of the Ru'yah (the Believer's seeing of Allaah on the Day of Judgement):

They are ahaadeeth of reliable and trustworthy narrators (ahaadeeth sihaah), we have faith in them and we establish [ourselves upon them]. And whenever [a hadeeth] is reported from the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) with good chains of narration we have faith in it and establish ourselves upon it.

Sufyaan ibn Uyainah (d. 197H) said (Sharh Usool ul-I'tiqaad no. 877 and as-Sunnah of Abdullah bin Ahmad no.40) about the ahaadeeth of the Ru'yah (seeing Allaah in the Hereafter):

They are true. We report them in the manner we have heard them from those in whom we place our trust and are pleased with.

Muhammad bin al-Hasan ash-Shaybaanee (d. 189H) was asked about some of the ahaadeeth mentioning the Attributes of Allaah so he said (Sharh Usool ul-I'tiqaad no. 741):

Verily, these ahaadeeth - the reliable and trustworthy narrators have reported them.

Abu Ubaid [al-Qaasim bin Sallaam] (d. 224H) said about some of the ahaadeeth mentioning the Attributes of Allah (Sharh Usool ul-I'tiqaad no. 928):

These ahaadeeth in our estimation are true, the trustworthy and reliable reporters have narrated them, one from another [and so on].

Muhammad bin al-Hasan ash-Shaybaanee (d. 189H), the companion of Abu Haneefah said (Sharh Usool ul-I'tiqaad 3/432):

All the Fuqahaa , from the east to the west are agreed upon: [The obligation of] having faith in the Qur'aan and the ahaadeeth which the reliable and trustworthy narrators have come with from the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) - in describing the Lord, the Mighty and the Majestic - without explaining them (tafseer) or likening them to the creation (tashbeeh). So whoever explains anything from them today, then he has departed from that which the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) and his Companions were upon for verily, they did not explain them but they gave verdicts with whatever is in the Book and the Sunnah and then they remained quiet. So whoever speaks with the saying of Jahm [bin Safwaan] then he has separated from the Jamaa'ah since he [Jahm] describes Him [Allah] with nothingness.

And Abdullah bin al-Awwaam said (in as-Sunnah, 1/66, of Abdullah bin Ahmad bin Hanbal):

Shareek bin Abdullaah (d. 177H) came to us and we said: There are a people who reject these ahaadeeth: "Verily, Allaah descends to the lowest heaven", the [hadeeth] of the Vision and others similar to these ahaadeeth. So he said: "Indeed, the one who came with the Sunnah in the prayer, the zakaah, and the Hajj is the one who came with these ahaadeeth and indeed, we know of Allaah through these ahaadeeth.

This is just a selection from the Imaams of the Sunnah from the second and third centuries after hijrah who clarified the truth from the misguidance of those deviants (Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah) who became prominent at this time, and who began to cast doubt upon the bulk of the Sunnah using this principle that an-Nabahani is promoting in the 20th century.

EIGHT: It is not permissible for the followers of al-Nabahani to use any ahaadeeth where one Companion may be correcting or rejecting the saying of another, because all of these ahaadeeth are aahaad(!) and aahaad hadeeth to the Nabahani followers cannot be used to establish beliefs, and to reject aahaad hadeeth in matters of creed is itself a firm belief (aqidah) to them. Further, just because one Companion may have rejected the saying of another Companion does not invalidate the principle of affirming the report of a trustworthy person, because that rejection will have an illah (explanatory reason) behind it (these affairs are discussed by Imaam al-Shaafi'ee in al-Risaalah), and is thus explained from other angles, which in themselves do not clash with the acceptance of the khabar al-waahid.


Whilst this is not the place to provide a detailed refutation of the Mu'tazilah and Ash'ariyyah on this issue and to bring detailed proofs for the affirmation that the khabar al-aahaad amounts to knowledge in both beliefs (aqaa'id) and rulings (ahkaam), the aim of the article was to demonstrate that an-Nabahani is simply following the wandering strayers and misguided deviants that were the Mu'tazilah. And as we have already seen, he shows such sympathy and clemency to these deviants, the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah and Qadariyyah, by claiming their doctrines to be from the "Islamic aqidah", despite their divergence and mutal contradiction (see this article)! And thus, with what has preceded in this series and what is yet to come inshaa'Allaah, upon the saying and methodology of the Imaams of Ahl us-Sunnah, it is haraam to study the books of the likes of an-Nabahani, who are no more than the tail ends of the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Qadariyyah, Mutasawwifah in the modern era.