Beliefs & Methodology
Typography

Imam Al-Awza'i

Abu 'Abdullah al-Hakim [1] said: Muhammad ibn 'Ali al-Jawhari [2] related to me, saying: Ibrahim ibn Al-Haytham [3] narrated to me, saying: Muhammad Ibn Kathir al-Misisi [4] said: I heard Al-Awza'i [5] say:

"We would say whilst the Successors (Tabi'in) were numerous: Certainly, Allah is above (fawq) His Throne, and we believe in what occurs in the Sunnah regarding His Attributes."

Recorded by Adh-Dhahabi in Siyar A'lam al-Nubala' (7:121), Tadhkirah al-Huffadh (1:181-182), Kitab al-'Uluw (2:334 = #121 of Mukhtasar al-'Uluw), and in Al-Arba'in fi's-Sifat (#13); by Al-Bayhaqi in Al-Asma' wa's-Sifat (2/p.150); Ibn Taymiyyah in Darr at-Ta'arud (2:262); Ibn Al-Qayyim in Ijtima' al-Juyush (p.106) and Tahdhib Sunan Abu Dawud (#1688); Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (13:406); and in 'Awn al-Ma'bud (#3277 & #4717) of Shams al-Haqq al-'Azim Abadi [6].

Adh-Dhahabi said its chain is "sahih" (Tadhkirah al-Huffadh 1:181-182), as did Ibn Taymiyyah in Darr at-Ta'arud (2:262), whilst Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (13:406) called the chain "jayyid" (good) with the latter's grading repeated by Al-'Azim Abadi in 'Awn al-Ma'bud (#4717).

And Allah knows best.

Abu Hudhayfah

Further commentary

1. Al-Hakim Abu 'Abdullah al-Naysaburi, one of the hadith Masters, author of Al-Mustadrak 'ala As-Sahihayn and works on hadith science. Adh-Dhahabi says of him: "The Imam, hafidh, the analyst, Al-'Allama, Shaykh of the hadith scholars." (ibid 17:162). Al-Bayhaqi, who relates the above narration from him in his Kitab al-Asma' wa's-Sifat, was one of his foremost pupils. He died 405H.

2. 'Abdullah ibn Salih al-Burak, in his two volume edition of Adh-Dhahabi's Al-'Uluw (Dar al-Watan, Riyadh: 1999, 2:334), states that he didn't find biographical details for Muhammad ibn 'Ali al-Jawhari. It is probable that he is Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn 'Ali ibn Mukhlid Abu 'Abdullah al-Baghdadi al-Jawhari, known as Ibn Al-Muhrim, who reports from Ibrahim ibn Al-Haytham as per the chain under discussion. Adh-Dhahabi includes him in Siyar A'lam al-Nubala' (16:62). Ad-Daraqutni and Muhammad ibn Abi'l-Fawaris said he is "weak", Al-Barqani said: "There is no harm in him [as a narrator]." (Adh-Dhahabi, Mizan al-I'tidal 3:7164). Ibn Hajar adds: "He was a scholar of fiqh and one of the students of Ibn Jarir [at-Tabari]." (Lisan al-Mizan #7045). Al-Hakim cites him as his authority - with the name Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn Mukhlid al-Jawhari - in a number of places in Al-Mustadrak (e.g. 1:83) with chains that also go through Ibrahim ibn Al-Haytham, from Muhammad ibn Kathir al-Misisi, from Al-Awza'i. He died 357H.

3. He is Ibrahim ibn Al-Haytham al-Baladi (d. 278H). Adh-Dhahabi calls him: "The hadith scholar (al-muhaddith)." (Siyar A'lam al-Nubala' 13:413). Declared "Thiqah (trustworthy)" by Ad-Daraqutni and Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi. Ibn 'Adi said his hadith are sound with the exception of one objectionable report but this criticism was rejected by Al-Baghdadi who retorted: "Ibrahim ibn Al-Haytham with us is trustworthy, established, there being no difference among our shayukh over this. As for what Ibn 'Adi relates in repudiation of him, I have not seen a single one of our scholars being aware of it, and even if it were established this does not degrade him for a group of those who have preceded had objectionable reports against them yet this did not prevent them being used as proof." (Cf. Tarikh Baghdad 6:3263; Lisan al-Mizan #379; Mizan al-I'tidal 1:245 & Al-Mughni fi'd-Du'afa 1:202).

4. Muhammad ibn Kathir al-Misisi (d. 216H), one of Al-Awza'i's companions. Adh-Dhahabi called him: "The Imam, the scholar of hadith ... Al-Hasan ibn Al-Rabi' said: 'This day Muhammad ibn Kathir al-Misisi is the most trustworthy of people.' [In Tahdhib al-Kamal it adds: 'It is imperative for one who seeks hadith for Allah's sake to go visit him.']" (Siyar A'lam 10:382); Adh-Dhahabi also said: "Reliable (saduq), became confused in later life." (Al-Kashif #5126) [Note: One can ascertain from their respective dates of death that it was during the earlier part of his life that Al-Misisi accompanied Al-Awza'i. He survived Al-Awza'i by 58 years]; Ibn Hajar said: "Reliable, makes many mistakes." (At-Taqrib #6251); Imam Ahmad called him "very weak" and "rejected in hadith" and that he relates objectionable reports that have no basis, Ibn 'Adi said he has a number of unsupported reports from Al-Awza'i, Al-Bukhari said: "Extremely feeble in hadith", An-Nasa'i: "He is not strong", Ibn Ma'in graded him "Reliable" and in one report "Trustworthy (thiqah)", Ibn Sa'ad said: "He is trustworthy, they mention that he became confused towards the end of his life." (Cf. Al-Mizzi, Tadhdib al-Kamal #6899; Mizan al-I'tidal 4:8100 & Al-Mughni fi'd-Du'afa #5929); Al-Mundhiri said: "Reliable, except he makes many mistakes." ('Awn al-Ma'bud #3616); Al-Haythami: "Severely weak" (Majma' az-Zawa'id 1:357); Ibn Al-'Imad said: "A hadith scholar, hasan (fair) in hadith." (Shadharat adh-Dhahab); Al-Hakim said: "Reliable" (Al-Mustadrak 1:591) and in at least two places elsewhere in Al-Mustadrak (3:5528 & 4:8298) he grades chains containing Muhammad ibn Kathir al-Misisi as "sahih".

5. 'Abdur-Rahman ibn 'Amr al-Awza'i. Shaykh ul-Islam, hafidh, mujtahid, the Imam of his time and scholar of the people of Sham. He was born during the era of the Companions, may Allah be well-pleased with them all. Imam Malik, Az-Zuhri, Sufyan ath-Thawri, 'Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak and other eminent scholars narrated from him. Isma'il ibn 'Ayyash said: "I heard the people in the year 140 saying: 'This day Al-Awza'i is the scholar of the [entire] ummah.' " (Cf. Adh-Dhahabi, Siyar A'lam al-Nubala' 7:108). He died 158H.

6. Al-'Azim Abadi cites Al-Awza'i's report in his aforementioned commentary on Sunan Abu Dawud whilst looking at the well-known hadith: "Where is Allah?". He goes on to say:

"It confirms that Allah, Blessed and Most-High, is above the heavens (fi's-sama'). Adh-Dhahabi said in [his] book Al-'Uluw with his chain to Abu Muti' al-Hakam ibn 'Abdullah al-Balkhi [Note: A very weak narrator], the author (sahib) of Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, that he said: 'I asked Abu Hanifah about one who says that I don't know whether my Lord is above the heavens or on earth?' He said: 'He has disbelieved since Allah, Most-High, has said {The Most-Merciful rose over the Throne} and His Throne is above (fawq) the heavens.' I said: 'He states that He has risen over the Throne, however, he says he does not know whether the Throne is above the heavens or on earth?' He said: 'He has disbelieved if he rejects that He is above the heavens.' Al-Awza'i said: 'We would say whilst the Successors (Tabi'in) were numerous: Certainly, Allah is above (fawq) His Throne, and we believe in what occurs in the Sunnah regarding His Attributes.' Al-Bayhaqi recorded it in Kitab al-Asma' wa's-Sifat. 'Abdullah [ibn] Ahmad ibn Hanbal said in the refutation of the Jahmiyyah: My father narrated to me, saying: Shurayh [should be: Surayj] ibn Al-Nu'man narrated to us on the authority of 'Abdullah ibn Nafi' who said: Malik ibn Anas said: 'Allah is above the heavens and His Knowledge is in every place, nothing is hidden from Him.' "

In discussing another hadith (#4717), he continues:

"This hadith is proof that Allah, Most-High, is above (fawq) the Throne, and this is the truth as evidenced by Qur'anic verses and Prophetic hadith, and it is the way (madhhab) of the pious predecessors from the Companions, the Successors and others from the people of knowledge, may Allah be well-pleased with them all. They said: 'Certainly, Allah, Most-High, has risen over the Throne, without modality, resemblance, divestment, and [that] istiwa is known (ma'lum) and the how of it is unknown (majhul).' The Jahmiyyah object to the Throne and that Allah is above it, saying that He is in every place, and they have some repugnant, futile sayings [in this respect]. If you wish to be aware of the proofs for the way of the Salaf and the knowledge of refuting the false Jahmi discourses, take to Kitab al-Asma' wa's-Sifat of Al-Bayhaqi, Kitab Af'al al-'Ibad of Al-Bukhari, Kitab al-'Uluw of Adh-Dhahabi and Qasida an-Nuniyya of Ibn al-Qayyim and [his] Juyush al-Islamiyyah, may Allah have mercy on them."

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