Islamic Themes

Defending Islam and the Sunnah: Imam al-Haddad




ACTION : What Muslims cannot do is keep silent.

Point: Protecting the Sunnah and upholding the Shari`ah is a sign (`alamah) of the love for the Prophet (SAW): Imam al-Qadi `Iyad mentions in the Shifa:[1]

و منها بغض من أبغض الله و رسوله و معاداة من عاداه و مجانبةُ من خالف سنته و ابتدع في دينه و استثقــــاله كل أمر يخالف شريعته…

Another sign is hatred for anyone who hates Allah and His Messenger; having enmity towards those who have enmity towards him; avoiding all those who oppose his Sunnah and introduce innovations (bid`ah) into his din and avoiding those who find everything contrary to his Shari`ah burdensome.

Imam Qadi `Iyad then continues to mention that one of the fruits (thamarat) of love for the Prophet is when one of them said:[2]

و قال بعضهم محبة الرسول إعتقاد نصرته والذب عن سنته و الإنقياد لها و هيبة مخالفته…

…Love for the Prophet is to firmly believe in his victory; protecting and safeguarding his Sunnah, obeying it and fearing any opposition to it…

Point 2: Our inability to defend Islam may stem from a number of factors such as:

  • Threat to life. = pressure from oppressive regimes, governments; detentions
  • Distress and exasperation. = the feeling of being assaulted; helpless to defend the religion; or overwhelmed by the pressures, etc.
  • Health. = frailty of health; weakness; actual physical inability, etc.

Two factors however are very common:

a. A general lack of knowledge about the din. This is natural but would mean learning about its thoughts (afkar) such as the creedal thoughts (`aqidah), i.e. why it is rational and not irrational. It would also mean learning the Islamic rulings (ahkam shar`iyyah) and how they arise out of a response to a particular situation and hence provide the solution for that problem. Increasing our knowledge gives rise to knowing:

  • The superior wisdom of the Islamic teachings;
  • The urgent need for Islamic values and ethics for today;
  • The strength of the Islamic viewpoint and creed itself;
  • How Islam answers and speaks for itself;
  • How our noble scholars in the past understood and defended the din.

b. Fear of people, such as friends, neighbours or even family members. This perhaps is slightly more serious in that it is sign of weakness in our belief (iman). Imam `Abd Allah b. `Alawi al-Haddad[3] (RA) mentions in his book Risalat al-Mudhakarah[4] that some of the weaknesses of iman include:

و أما ضعف الإيمان ، فهو بلية عظيـــــمة ، و خصلة ذميــــــــــمة . تنشأ عنها أمور مذمومـــــة ، مثل: 1. ترك العمل بالعلم . 2. و ترك الأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر . 3. والأماني في المغفرة بلا سعي لها. 4 . الإهتمام بالرزق . 5. و خوف الخلق .


  • Knowingly leaving actions (tark al-`amal bi’l-`ilm);
  • Leaving the act of commanding the right and forbidding the wrong (tark al-amr bi’l-ma`ruf wa ’l-nahy `an al-munkar);
  • Feeling secure, safe or free from seeking forgiveness without hastening to it (al-amani fi’l-maghfirah bi-la sa`y laha);
  • Anxieties over the Provision given by Allah (al-ihtimam bi ’l-rizq) and
  • Fear of creation, i.e. people (khawf al-khalq) = fearing the people and their reprisal, condemnation and disapproval. What they say should not overshadow or drown what Allah and His Messenger say or demand.

Imam al-Haddad continues elsewhere[5] and says to an aspiring student:

وأجتهد أيها المريد في تنزيه قلبك من خوف الخلق و من الطمع فيــــــــهم . فإن ذلك يحمل على السكوت على الباطل و على المداهنة في الديـــــــــن و على ترك الأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر و كفى به ذًلا لصاحبه لأن المؤمن عزيـــــز بربه لا يخاف ولا يرجو أحدا سواه .

“Exert utmost effort o student in eliminating your heart from fear of the people as well as any ambitions, expectations etc. they may have. For that leads to silence over what is false and leads to treachery in the Religion and leads also to abandoning the act of commanding the right and forbidding the wrong[6] and that is enough to humiliate a person because the believer is dear, beloved and precious to his Lord neither fearing nor hoping for any one other than Him [SWT]…”

And with Allah alone is true success.



[1] See al-Qadi `Iyad, al-Shifa fi Ta`rif Huquq al-Mustafa, p.389.

[2] See Ibid., p.390.

[3] A Sufi saint from Tarim in the Hadramaut valley between Oman and Yemen. He was a descendent of the Prophet and widely considered the mujaddid (renewer) of the 12th century Hijri. He was of the tariqa of the Ba`alawi sayyids and spent a lot of his time inKenya andSaudi Arabia.

[4] See Imam al-Haddad, Risalat al-Mudhakarah, p.30.

[5] In his Risalat Adab Suluk al-Muridin, p.44.

[6] Incidentally, Jihad is one of the most important aspects commanding right and forbidding wrong. Imam al-Haddad states:

…لأن الجهاد من أقسام الأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر، و هو أعلاها و أشرفها و أفضلها لأنه أمر برأس المعروف الذي هو التوحيد والإسلام و نهي عن أفحش المنكرات والآثام الذي هو الكفر و الإشراك بالله .

“… because Jihad is one of the types of commanding right and forbidding wrong. It is its highest, noblest and most excellent type in that it is the most important good which is tawhid and Islam and forbidding the worst type of munkar and sins which is disbelief and doing shirk with Allah…”
See his al-Nasa’ih al-Diniyyah, p.261.



One thought on “Defending Islam and the Sunnah: Imam al-Haddad

  1. Pingback: Woolwich Killing – Outlines and Reflections… | دار نيـقـوسـيــا

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