Enduring Myths of Orientalism

THE ORAL AND THE WRITTEN IN EARLY ISLAM. By Gregor Schoeler. Translated by Uwe Vegelpohl. Edited by James E. Montgomery. London and New York: Routledge, 2006. Pp. viii+248. ISBN10: 0-415-39495-3. ISBN13: 978-0-415-39495-6 (HB).    This is a translation of the following six German articles written by Gregor Schoeler, the chair of Islamic studies at the University of Basel, in the eighties and nineties and herein updated by the author through footnotes and addenda:

And I do not see any reason for Al-Albānī’s divergence from the adherence to the principles of hadīth other than stubbornness and following his whim to refute such as these kinds of ahādīth. And here I am going to add in connection to this hadīth, his (i.e, Al-Albānī’s) refutation of himself and his following, based on what has been established regarding the acceptance of mursal reports, the conditions of which have been expounded upon in their proper places in his own refutation of Shaykh Ismā’īl Al-Ansārī, whereby he stated. Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Haytamī was asked – may Allāh make us benefit from his knowledge – did Hasan al-Basrī hear the speech of ‘Alī karramAllāhu wajhuh directly?


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What is Meant When We Say Allah is Above What He Created

Know that when we say that Allah, Mighty and Majestic, is above what He has created that does not mean that He is above in terms of a physical place, or that He has risen above physical places by a certain distance and He supervises these places by applying Himself to something from them. Rather, our saying that He is above them carries two senses:

‘With respect to true tawḥīd and that which opposes it with respect to shirk, and knowing such shirk and cautioning against it, there is no absolute mention of it in their books of creed, and I don’t know where they have (addressed the issue)?  Is it in the books of furū? It is not in such books! Or have they abandoned this cause altogether? The latter is that of which I am certain’.

 Ibn `Umar radīallāhu `anhu  related that the Prophet sallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam said,  “I was given the keys to everything except five. Verily the knowledge of the last hour is with Allāh.
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Man and his Reality

A Muslim must know the following facts about man and his reality.  Then he must be certain of these facts within himself and upon them establish his faith in Allah, Mighty and Majestic.

  1. Man is the best and most noble of Allah’s creations.
  2. Man is created – as a species – from the element of earth, and procreation – as a source – begins with the first man, who is Adam, may peace and prayers be upon him.
  3. Man is created, from the first genesis, in the most perfect outward form and the best stature. He did not evolve as a species at any point in his history, gradually moving from one genus to another.

Let us now consider, in all clarity, these three facts separately.…

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On Ibn Rushd’s Affirmation of Direction for Allah

This is a very weakly-grounded argument, because he claimed that direction [jiha] does not necessitate place, and that place dose not necessitate corporeality – and this is false. The inherent link between direction and place is clarified by the theologians’ definition of place, for they say that a hayyiz (boundary) is a place and that a place is a conceptual void (farāgh) occupied by an extended substance.

As for direction, it is the relative connection of ‘where’ between two substances or two limited/bounded things; therefore it is an ascription. Thus it is not possible to imagine a thing in a direction that is not bounded/limited. This view is correct even according to the philosophers as we explained earlier.…

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The Disagreements between the Ash`aris & Maturidis

You should know that Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Ash‘ari is the Imam of Ahl al-Sunna and at their forefront, followed by Shaykh Abu al-Mansur al-Maturidi. Know also – as some of our Shaykhs have mentioned to us, may Allah have mercy upon them – that the companions of al-Shafi‘i and his followers follow him (Abu al-Hasan) in matters of doctrine, and follow al-Shafi‘i in matters of law. The companions of Abu Hanifa follow Shaykh Abū al-Mansur in doctrine and follow Abu Hanifa in law. This is what our Shaykhs have imparted to us.

And we beseech Allah, the Exalted, asking Him to grant these two noble Imams a generous reward for what they have expended of sincere advice to the Muslims. We beseech Allah, the Exalted, asking Him to include us among those perform the actions of those granted Divine success: those who traverse the path of the rightly-guided and realized ones; by His largess, bounty, and generosity – Amen! There is no contention between the two Shaykhs and their followers except in twelve issues.…

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