This book ‘Kitab At-Tauhid’ (The Book of Monotheism) by Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab was gifted to me by some of my friends . Giving book as gift is one of my favorite and preferred act, so I am really thankful to all my friends who instead of giving any thing else chose to give me a book. It was a collection of seven books, of which I happened to read only one yet. It is the English translation done by some Dar-us-salam publication in Saudi Arabia. This book contains immense quotes from Quran and variety of Hadiths and since I am not expert in the field of Islamic theology, I have taken the meanings and translation as same as it is done in this book.
Why I am writing this review.
I am compelled to write down my opinion about this book due to various reasons I observed and felt while reading this book, but before that, one very generic reason which could have cropped in the minds of many many Muslims across the globe, hit my mind also. And I would really appreciate if any body can answer this question. This book is about Tuahid (Monotheism) and the writer and the publication house all belong to the land of Suadi Arabia. The meaning of this word “Saudi Arab” is the Saud’s Arab.( This piece of land called Arab belongs to some Saud) and then it has the national flag which has kalema-e-Shahadat on its top. Now Kalema-e Shahadat can not belong to any Saud of the world that is for sure, then how the land can, which is getting represented by this flag belongs to any Saud or Dawood etc. This piece of land where Muhammad (PBUH) was born can either belong to Muhammad (PBUH) or to Allah, directly. Now my question to the writer, every publisher, seller, reader and propagator of this book is that is it not the biggest possible violation of basic principal of Tauhid . So does anybody who writes the book on Tauhid, publishes, sells, buys, gifts or propagate has ever questioned this to kingdom of Saud. Let us leave this question here only.
Positive points of this book
The best part of this book is that it has abundance of quotes from Quran and all possible varieties of hadiths. Using such a large number verses from Quran and quotes from Muhammad (PBUH) really add value to this book. And I truly appreciate writer’s stress upon Tauhid. Mr Abdul Wahhab has addressed the most significant part of Islamic thought and way of life. This is a very fragile but the most relevant subject of the Islamic era. The writer deserves congratulations for his hard work and its impact in contemporary society.
The way Mr Wahhab has addressed different issues of Islamic Monotheism, is very effective and concrete. I don’t think the writer has even missed a single verse or a part of any verse from The Holy Quran; irrespective of its context to be use to glorify tauhid in his own way.
Since, I was referring to the English translation of Kitab At Tauhid (Translated by some Dar-us- Salam publication). I have observed certain discrepancies and ideological conflicts in writing, fallacies in thoughts and bankruptcy in social approach in this book so I thought to pen them down.
1.As an ideology, Mr Wahhab appears to be against the system of intercession, as concluded by him on page number 73(Chapter 17) without solid proof , but then right on chapter 1, page 22 he validates imparting knowledge selectively to someone and not to others. Here he takes support from a very authentic Hadith from Bukhari and Muslim.
Question is how you can maintain the balance as explained in above referred hadith without having system of intercession. You can never stop books/blogs/websites from being accessed by anybody. You can only do it when you have valid system of transferring knowledge from a teacher to a student and henceforth. Then what else, if not intercession?
2.On page # 30, Chapter-3, writer himself says Allah praised all those Auliya for they did not make anyone with him as partner. Can anyone answer a simple question, if Allah himself praises so what is wrong if His slaves also praise the same? And the second part of this same question is what about those slaves of Allah, who do not praise those Auliya whom Allah praises. Can anybody answer which collection of slaves is better?
3. On Page# 37, chapter 5 writer accepts the superiority of Hazrat Ali quoting the hadith from Bukhari 1389/1425 and Muslim. This is related to battle of Khaibar. But writer missed/skipped to mention the superiority of Ali over whom? I would request readers to please investigate who all participated in Battle of Khaibar.
4. On page # 38 of same chapter Mr. Writer outlines as general rule called “Calling to Islam before waging war”. He failed to understand that it was a situational act by all companions of Muhammad (PBUH) and can not be practiced in all situations unless the specific one occurs. And the misguided people in today’s scenario are a trailing the writer only so when they call to Islam and then they lose the war, it is not that certain people lost the war. It is the Islam lost the war and then the winners continue history writing from there only.
5. In chapter 6, Mr. Abdul Wahhab takes help from The holy Quran (17:57, 42:26-28, 9:31) and the a hadith from Muslim to conclude that just like Jews and Christian, they forgot the teachings of their prophets and started worshipping the righteous ones in their religion as the time passed, we Muslims (or as per writer, certain section of Muslims) are also at the same risk.
I would like to argue with absolute humbleness with writer’s point of view that one point difference between any other religion on earth and Islam, that till that, no matter what subset of Islam one follows, is that the true and the very exact scriptures are preserved with us, which does not hold reality for any other religion as promised and protected by Allah itself. In that case, is it fair to speculate something out of nothing that those few Muslims are going away from the true message of Islam?
Writer feels they are just praising and glorifying the so called righteous religious personalities without knowing the fact about them. If we go little more rational on the scale of time and technology, it is always likely to be misinformed about what happened in the year of 600 than what has happened in the year of 1200. Please read the chapter 6 to feel the ambiguity of writer’s opinion.
6. On page number 43, chapter 7, writer quotes verses from The Holy Quran (39:38) and then jumps to hadith from Imam Ahmed bin Hambal
Imran bin Husain (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated:
The Prophet (May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) once saw a man with a brass ring on his hand and asked him, "What is this?" The man replied, "To overcome the weakness of old age." He said, "Remove it, for, it can only add to your weakness. Should death overtake you while you are wearing it, you would never succeed?"
And then after taking support from few more hadiths, writer concludes the strict forbiddance from using rings and amulets. I guess writer was a great scholar of Islam, so it must be by mistake that he missed to ponder right in the same above hadith that instead of asking the man to remove the ring from his finger, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) first 1. Investigated about his intention and then 2. Instructed him to remove and then 3.Informed him about harmful effect of the ring. Well, why I am stressing upon the intention in this scenario can be answered in following one hadith which I am quoting from Sunan Abu Dawood, and then I won’t have to answer any thing.
Book 029- Chapter: Fashioning a seal in the form of a ring.
Hadith Number 4206.
Narated By Ibn 'Umar : The Apostle of Allah (pbuh) took a signet-ring of gold, and put the stone next the palm of his hand. He engraved on it "Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah." The people then took signet-rings of gold. When he saw that they had taken them (like his ring), he threw it away and said: I shall never wear it. He then fashioned a silver ring and engraved on it "Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah." Then Abu Bakr wore it after him, then 'Umar wore it after Abu Bakr, and then 'Uthman wore it after 'Umar till it fell down in a well called Aris.
Abu Dawud said: The people did not disagree on 'Uthman till the signet-ring fell down from his hand.
Then either the conclusion from Mr Wahab is wrong or the three caliphs of rushd committed sin/shirk? (The above hadith and more related hadiths from Abu Dawood is available in all books of Hadiths. Please refer to any of them. I have just provided book and Hadith number for reader‘s convenience.)
7. I failed to understand how come the same writer declares on page # 45(Chapter7) whoever wears an amulet has committed shirk, then on page# 48(Chapter8) he says Ulema have different opinions about using the amulets containing the verses of Quran.
First you compare a superset with the most heinous crime of mankind i.e. shirk and then you dilute your own statement by putting uncertainty on one of its subset.
8.Let us come to page 61(Chapter14) , Writer is a very great scholar of Islam so he picks up in very accurate quantity the verses from Quran and Hadiths and then declares attaching supplication or invocation with seeking assistance through conjunction as shirk.
9. Also on page 64 and 65 (Chapter 15) writer picks hadiths very efficiently and quotes them, but if you read the pages, the question would come in your mind that does writer want to prove that there is not use of dua? No Supplication and no invocation at all because it may interfere with Allah’s will or the supplicator or invocator is snooping into Allah’s will?
Now please read below the Hadiths from Sunan Abu Dawood
Book 014, Hadith Number 3215.
Narated By Uthman ibn Affan : Whenever the Prophet (pbuh) became free from burying the dead, he used to stay at him (i.e. his grave) and say: Seek forgiveness for your brother, and beg steadfastness for him, for he will be questioned now.
Can writer answer how can any body seek forgiveness and beg steadfastness for his brother without supplication or invocation? (Maaz- Allah), intention of writer appears as if he is proving Apostle of Allah was advocating for some kind of shirk. (Please correct me if being a primary school student of this field, my understanding of writer’s point of view is wrong)
10. The contradiction in Writer’s approach can again be observed, when on page number 73(Chapter 17) he out rightly rejects the Intercession comparing it with Shirk in his approach, but then in the same book and same chapter at Page 72, he quotes the Holy Quran at 34:22, 23 which clearly mentions with out any ambiguity that “… Intercession with Him profits not, except for him whom He permits” .
At 21:28 “They will not be able to intercede except for him with whom He is pleased”
So what makes writer to denounce and refuse Intercession in total when Allah himself declares that there are people whom He permits for Intercession? On page 73, Mr Wahhab is bounded to accept that Intercession is allowed if it does not violate the principle of Tauhid.
My comment: I don’t understand what this writer wants to prove in this whole book by comparing every act of human life with shirk? On the other hand, it can be observed in above example that Mr. Writer himself is concluding something which is going against The holy Quran.
11. Page 77, the writer very categorically applauds for the concluiosn about the harm of over praising ancestors and important personalities. Because as per him it leads to polytheism. My question is even if leads to polytheism, can one discourage any act if the Muhammad (PBUH) says Allah wants and does the same job.
As below hadith
Sunan AbuDawood : Book 035, Hadith Number 4735.
…My servant has spoken the truth, so spread a bed for him from Paradise, clothe him from Paradise, and open a door for him into Paradise. So some of its air and perfume will come to him, and a space will be made for him as far as the eye can see……
12.On page 80 (Chapter 19) writers has taken help of The Holy Quran and some very authentic hadiths to discard any kind of exaggeration in loving righteous people. I think there is nothing new into this. Every righteous person has always advised and practiced this important thing. When I am referring to righteous person, I am referring all those four founders of sufi Islamic streams. Internet is full of their biographies and their original books and literatures. I personally challenge any reader of this review page, if any of these personalities have ever crossed the limit of exaggeration in loving righteous persons in the light of Quran and Hadiths.
The Holy Qur'an explicitly mentions that the Believers have "levels" (darajaat), and that "He raises" (yarfa`u) some of the Believers above others, and that "above every knowledgeable one there is one more knowledgeable," and that "those whom Allah has particularly graced" are defined as "the Prophets, the Siddiqs, the Shuhada', and the Righteous" in that order, and that some Prophets were exalted above others. So we must all agree that there is a hierarchy of Believers in general, and hierarchies of Awliya and Prophets in particular.
As for a specific terminology for the Awliya. The Prophet (PBUH) did use certain terms such as Abdal (substitutes), or certain qualifications of intercession such as the hadiths in which he refers to certain arch-intercessors such as our liege lords `Uthman ibn `Affan and Uways al-Qarani. Ibn `Asakir in his Tarikh (51:282) narrates with his chain that when Imam al-Shafi`i finished memorizing the Qur'an he said to himself: "You have obtained the Qutb al-A`zam" i.e. the greatest axis or authority around which the Religion revolves.
Well, why I emphasized this point, is that writer appears very biased in this book in entirety while denouncing love and respect for righteous people, or the people whom ummah has always looked at with gratitude and source of knowledge and spiritual uplift. While on the other hand no where in this book writer has tried to balance his one sided assessment of our regards for Auliya –e- Allah.
The callousness of writer is even vivid on page # 112(Chapter 32) In the translation of the verse from The Holy Quran (3:175) he intentionally did not translate the word Auliya – as friend but left it as Auliya when it is referred to friends of Satan. Else everywhere, writer translated the word Auliya as friends whenever it is referred to friends of Allah. (As a matter of fact, we only use the term Auliya when we talk about Aulya-e-Allah, and for all other scenarios we simply use the word in the very language we write)
Writer appears to be great scholar of Islam, because he understands and translate each verse of the holy Quran very wittingly.
13. Let us come to page 89 Chapter 22 now. Mister so called Sheikh ul Islam again concludes a very ambiguously by saying “The Prophet (PBUH) forbade visiting his grave in a certain manner” and then he says “, though visiting his is grave is among the best of deeds.” Now he again conditions the deed which he himself assumes the best. I don’t see any thing new in his part because he appears to be very prejudiced for the act of visiting graves in total through out this book. However just to add to his knowledge and to provide little insight to the readers of this paper that it is Imam Bukhari who writes in his preface to the book Sahi - Bukhari that I started the work of compiling Sahi Bukahri from Masjid-e- Haram and I am finishing this work after 16 years at the grave of Prophet Muhammad. Imam Bukhari did not use the term like “Masjid-e- Nabavi” or Shahar-e- Medina. He clearly uses the term “Qabr-e- Anwar” or grave of Prophet Muhammad. If he had any doubt in his mind about this act, he must have avoided referring to the place as grave. Then how can Mr Wahab get right to condition this deed.
14. On the same page and chapter, Mr writer quotes a hadith from Imam Al-Maqdasi quoting from Ali, that Prophet Muhammad mentioned “ Do not take my grave as place of celebration, not your homes as graves, make salat upon me for your salutation conveyed to me from wherever you are” – Al Mukhtarah. (Same hadith is mentioned in Abu Dawood)
And then he concludes prophet forbade us making excessive visits to his grave.
Well I think excess of anything is wrong except the formal acts of worship for us .Excess of obeying your parents can go wrong. Excess of caring your kids can be wrong. Excess of loving your spouse can be wrong. Excess of loving your home and property can be wrong. Excess of charity can be wrong. And all these are wrong to the extent that they will lead to shirk. But the lack in the depth of understanding of the above hadith from writer’s part is as follow. (Please correct me if I am wrong.)
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) very clearly says that do not make his grave as place of worship. Here prophet is very particular about his grave and in the second part of this hadith; he gives a general statement for all graves that don’t make your homes as graves. The only question I have from Mr Writer is who give him right to compare the prophet’s grave with graves of any other Muslims in the world. Prophet Muhammad himself gives two opposite guidance for two different categories of graves, where one category has only one grave of Prophet Muhammad and other category has the graves of all other Muslims. Although it is very and very clear that there must be two sub categories in the above second category also. One category of graves of Auliya’e Allah and the rest category for rest all Muslims. Source of this categorization is also the same The Holy Quran and Hadiths. (For any doubts please refer to Suraha Fatiha from The Holy Quran, which says
1:7 صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِمْ غَيرِ المَغضُوبِ عَلَيهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّين
Sirā tal-lazīna an'amta 'alayhim ġayril maġdūbi 'alayhim walād dāllīn
The path of those on whom You have bestowed your grace, not of those who have earned Your anger, nor of those who go astray.
15.On page 115, chapter 31, writer quotes from Al-Bukahri and Muslim, narrated by Anas(RAA) “ Whoever possess the following three qualities will have the sweetness of faith. 1. The one to whom Allah and His Messenger are more beloved than anything. 2. The one who loves another only for Allah’s sake 3. The one who hates to convert to disbelief after Allah has rescued him from it, as he hates to be thrown into the fire.
Similar hadith, writer quotes from Ibn Abbas also.
Now I ask a very simple question why we love Hazrat Abu Bakar and hate Abu Jahal?
Answer lies in above hadiths. Right?
Now next question, why we love Imam Zain Ul Abedeen and Imam Jafer Sadiq and why we hate Yazeed?
Again answer lies in above hadiths. Right?
In general, from Sahaba to Tabayeen and Tab-e- tabayeen to all true muslims, we love only because of the above hadith.
Then why Mr Writer lacks motivation in encouraging today’s Muslims to love their teachers and mentors when it will add sweetness of their faith?
I don’t see Writer has scarcity of support in this regard, but writer’s approach toward this hadith itself is very questionable, because Mr .writer is propagating to remove the cancer patients (ideologically') rather than to remove the cancer.
16. Let us come to page 158 (Chapter 50), writer himself acknowledges that “The pious predecessors made a distinction between Shirk in obedience and Shirk in worship.”
17. Now just have look at one objection that Mr. Writer has on page 144(Chapter 45) for a piece of lines which somebody wrote as per his love and respect that “ O noblest of the creatures, there is none for me but you to seek refuge in distress” I am quoting writer’s words. He says how condemnable the poet is while he said this.
My question to Mr Wahab in support of this innocent poet is, the poet clearly mentions the noblest of creatures, and so what is wrong into it. Was prophet Muhammad not the noblest of all possible creatures in this whole universe? What is wrong in seeking his help and guidance from him, if he is the messenger of Allah itself.
We have to understand the difference between Iblees and Gabriele. In Surah Al Baqrah- Allah tells us that when he orders to bow down to humans, Iblees denied and Gabriele did. So when Angels are bound to bow down to humans in general, what is wrong even to slightest possible extent if anybody seeks Allah’s messenger’s help, guidance, support, refuge. Now please read the below lines and think about writer’s intention behind writing this book.
The holy Quran (Al –Araf/7:56) “And do not mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order…”
One hadith from Bukahri: “You should preach to the people in a way that they can easily understand. Would you like that Allah and His Messenger be denied?”
This all completes my review and opinion about this book as written by My Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahhab.
But I still have some thing to conclude.
This book begins with a biographical description of the writer. When I was going through this short biography, I guess probably written by translator/ or somebody from publication house. No name mentioned. But I could feel as if (Na-u-zobillaha) writer of this biography had biography of Prophet Muhammad in his hand, and he just kept on replacing (Istaghferullah) Allah’s apostle’s name with this writer’s name and then claiming him as reviver and reformer. I will provide you the link to this book if available on line, and request each one of you to read it to realize the junkness of this whole idea.
This writer (Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi (1703–1792)) is declared as reviver and reformer. And on page 15, the biographer mentions as “Thus a thorough revival of the complete religion came into existence.” And then he says after his expiry, “his sons, grandsons, disciples and supporters continued the work of Dawah and Jihad in the way of Allah.” And on the same page, at previous paragraph, Mr. Biographer says “Peace and Tranquility prevailed everywhere, in towns as well as in villages. People became safe even in deserts and on lonely ways”
I don’t deny with biographer, that it might be possible to establish such kind of peace at that time for a town or a small province, the ideology of Mr. Wahhab was not to establish peace across the world, rather his insistence was to establish uniformity, by treating humans as a factory made products, devoid of human feelings and cultures. And conclusively this terribly uniformed peace resulted in loss of unity between Muslims and Muslims and also between Muslims and non Muslims. And the worst out come of this loss of unity is what Muslims are suffering all over the world today. We are the least liked community on this earth. It is only because we failed to learn how to co exist and live cordially with other humans which are not Muslims. The greatest contribution of this monotheism propagated, practiced and pried by Mr. Abdul Wahhab from Najd.
Let us see the real part of this so called “reviver and reformer”.
It is said that this self proclaimed “reviver and reformer” came when Muslims were going away from their religion and goal. Please find below the list of top 13 Muslim personalities, who worked for Muslims’ spiritual, material and institutional upliftment before Mr. Writer was born, manifesting the truth that the Muslim world was never free from true Islamic scholars, thinkers and leaders . And this “reviver and reformer” not only reaped their crops but also consumed them for his ambitions. Following is the list of some very, very prominent Islamic scholars and leaders, who not only served for Islam but also were greatly successful in preserving Muslims dignity, respect, values and pride in the view of contemporary non Muslim world.
1. Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani(1077 - 1166 )
2. Abū Hamīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm (1145),
3. Shahāb ad-Dīn" Yaḥyá ibn Ḥabash as-Suhrawardī (1155 -1191)
4. Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki -(1173 C.E)
5. Hazrat Bābā Farīduddīn Mas'ūd Ganjshakar (1173 -1280)
6. Abu Yahya Zakariya' ibn Muhammad al-Qazwini (1203 -1283),
7. Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī (1207 – 1273),
8. Hazrat Nasiruddin Mahmud Chirag-e-Delhi(1274-1356)
9. Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya (1238 -1325)
10. Hazrat Khwaja Banda Nawaz Gesu Daraz (1321 -1422),
11. Bin Muḥammad bin Khaldūn Al-Hadrami, (1332 -1406)
12. Imam-e-Rabbani Mujaddid Alf Sani Shaykh Ahmad al-Farooqi Sirhindi (1564–1624)
13. Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlavi (1703 -1762)
Mr Abdul Wahhab stressed for Jihad (Jihad bi-saif) to defeat the enemy, whosoever it may be. However he failed to do the bigger Jihad (Jihad bi-nafs) with himself else he would not have been the person with following traits
-The man who disrespected graves of families of prophet Muhammad
-The man who declared all Muslims as kafir till date including the above mentioned personalities. (However to add to reader’s knowledge, Mr.Abdul Wahhab was a Hambali and also Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani was.)
-The man whose own father and brother warned other Muslims against him
-The man who was declared as British spy
-The man who was famous for his opportunism at times in order to acquire power and positions
-The man who forced uniformity over unity at the cost of human’s sufferings
-The man who had 20 wives
Now I ask this question from every reader to this page, is it still fair to consider this person as “reviver and reformer”.
Now at the last section of my write up, I would again quote for this book only.
On page 100, chapter 25, writer quotes a hadith from Muslim and Bukahri, reported by Ibn Umar (RAA) that prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said “Some eloquens can be sorcery”.
I leave upon readers to guess my intentions behind quoting this hadith here now.
Please find below the link to this book.
I am adding freely available link of this book to all readers of this blog so that they can judge my comments in relation with the content of this book line by line. Page numbers may vary from this book slightly because I referred to the Hard copy therefore without a single exception I made sure to mention the chapter number while I referred to page. Your comments and opinions and suggestions are more than welcome in true spirit of exploring the Islamic Monotheism. May Allah bless all of us with His guidance and support. (Ameen)