RE: Accusations on Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
Answered by Shaykh Gibril Haddad

There are many things being spread about Shaykh Hamza Yusuf by the opposite parties saying he interprets Quran wrongly , shows daeef ahadith .. condemns suicide bombers to hell fire and calls the fire fighters who saved people from world trade centre as Jihadis and destined to paradise !! then Hamza Yusuf saying that in the Quran the word Jihad is not even used once to present the military form of Jihad .. could you please shed some light on this as I read some emails by Shaykh Yusuf Estes bashing him in his long emails.

Wa `alaykum as-Salam:

Yusuf Estes is not qualified to say anything but good about Sidi Hamza as Estes only stands to learn from him. Estes belongs to a group of persons that speak in the name of Islam while openly admitting that they "do not follow any schools of thought" i.e. they are misguided cf. http://adly.net/Association/WebsiteArticles.html  They also hold the Awliya' of Allah in contempt -- may Allah Almighty give them their just deserts.

Whatever one's position on the issue, it remains that the condemnation of suicide bombers of civilians to hell fire is not new nor exclusive to Shaykh Hamza but I have heard it from the Ba `Alawi Shuyukh as per Shaykh Abu Bakr al-`Attas at the Muhammad Fatih Institute in Beirut. It is also the position of al-Albani as cited by Yusuf Estes' Salafite director, Muhammad Adly at http://laila.aresworld.net/suicidebomb.html 

And whoever saves one life it is as if he saved all humankind. As for jihad not being military HY is right with respect to all the Makkan Suras; I heard this from Dr. Sa`id al-Buti in one of his Jumu`a sermons. Allah Most High said:

{And whosoever STRIVES (JAAHADA), STRIVES (YUJAAHIDU) only for himself} (29:6). {As for those who STRIVE (JAHADU) in Us (the cause of Allah), We surely guide them to Our paths, and lo! Allah is with the good doers.} (29:69) This is a Meccan Sura and the two verses refer to Jihad al-Nafs. There was no military jihad then.

Also, jihad is not based on a murderous heart but a cleansed heart. Without jihad of the nafs, fighting leads to Hellfire.

Allah Most High said:

{WA NAFSIN WA MAA SAWAAHA, FA-ALHAMAHA FUJURAHA WA TAQWAHA. QAD AFLAHA MAN ZAKAAHA WA QAD KHAABA MAN DAS-SAAHA} "By the nafs and the proportion and order given to it, and its inspiration as to its wrong and its right; Truly he succeeds who purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it" (91:7-10). This is also a Meccan Sura.

Without purification, the nafs remains a "soul that enjoins evil" (al-nafs al-ammara bil-su') until it surrenders itself in total obedience to the call of animal passions and shaytan.

Allah Most High said:

{Have you seen the one who chooses for his god his own lust?} (25:43). {He followed his own lust. Therefore his likeness is as the likeness of a dog; if you attack him he pants with his tongue out and if you leave him he pants with his tongue out} (7:176). These are both also Meccan Suras.

About the person who controlled the passion of his ego Allah says: {But as for him who feared to stand before his Lord and restrained his soul from lust, Lo! The garden will be his home} (79:40-41). This is also a Meccan Sura.

The above are among the many Meccan verses and Suras enjoining jihad al-nafs. One that denies that there was/is such a Divine command commits kufr. Such a command cannot mean military jihad, as there was no permission - much less an order - for such a jihad until the Madinan period.

>another question is that Sufis use 2 ahadith very often > when they talk about Jihad and those are...... The best > Jihad is to fight against your nafs

This is firmly established as true from the glorious Qur'an.

Further, the Prophet said, upon him peace:

1. <<The mujahid is he who makes jihad against his nafs (ego) for the sake of obeying Allah.>> - Ibn Hibban (#1624, 2519): Authentic; - Shu`ayb al-Arna'ut (Commentary on Ibn Hibban): authentic; - al-Hakim: sahih; - `Iraqi confirms him; - it is also in Tirmidhi, Ahmad, and Tabarani; - Albani included it in the "Sahiha".

2. "`A'isha, Allah be well-pleased with her, asked: 'Messenger of Allah, we see jihad as the best of deeds, so shouldn't we join it?' He replied, 'But the best jihad is a perfect Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah).'" (Sahih Al-Bukhari #2784)

3. On another occasion, a man asked: "Should I join the jihad?" The Prophet asked, upon him peace, "Do you have parents?" The man said yes. The Prophet said: "Then do jihad by serving them!" (Sahih Al-Bukhari #5972)

4. Another man asked: "What kind of jihad is better?" The Prophet replied, upon him peace: "A word of truth spoken in front of an oppressive ruler." (Sunan Al-Nasa'i #4209)

5. The Prophet also said, upon him peace: <<The strong one is not the one who overcomes people, the strong one is he who overcomes his nafs [ego].>> Al-Haythami declared it authentic in Majma` al-Zawa'id.

6. The Prophet, upon him peace, said to Abu Sa`id al-Khudri: "Even if one strikes unbelievers and idolaters with his sword until it breaks, and he is *completely* dyed with their blood, the Rememberers of Allah are above him one degree."

and the second hadith > of Rasul Ullah coming back from a battle and saying we >are coming back from Jihad e Asghar to Jihad e Akbar .. >its said that both these ahadith are extremely weak ,

Let them complain of Ibn al-Qayyim who writes page after page about the jihad of the ego as the greatest jihad in his book al-Fawa'id.

Even if a hadith is very weak it does not mean it is forged. As for these particular hadiths, it is incorrect to say they are very weak for various reasons (see below).

>Please give me exact references of these ahadith and the > classical scholars who authenticated them

The "greater jihad" hadith is narrated variously thus:

1. As a saying of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, from Jabir - Allah be well-pleased with him - in the wording:

<<When the Prophet - upon him blessings and peace - came back from one his expeditions he said: "You have come with the best coming! You have come from the smaller jihad to the greater jihad. They asked: "What is the greater jihad? He said: "The servant's struggle against his lust.">>

Narrated with a very weak chain containing Yahya ibn al-`Ala' al-Bajali al-Razi (who is accused of forgery) by al-Bayhaqi in al-Zuhd al-Kabir (p. 165 §373=p. 198 §374) and al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad (13:493=13:523) cf. al-Ahdab, Zawa'id Tarikh Baghdad (9:309-311 §2077). This is the narration cited by Imam al-Ghazzali in the Ihya' and thus sourced by al-`Iraqi in his documentation.

However, even if the wording is inauthentic, the meaning of the last phrase i.e. that the greater jihad is the struggle against hawa/nafs IS CONFIRMED AS SAHIH by the verses quoted above and by the narrations of the previous section: 1, 5, and 6.

2. As a saying of the Companions `Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As as cited by Ibn Rajab in his Sharh Hadith Labbayk (p. 128).

3. As a saying of the Tabi`i Ibrahim ibn Abi `Abla narrated by al-Nasa'i in his Kuna in the wording:

"You have come back from the smaller jihad; what about the greater one?" They asked, "What is the greater jihad?" He [Ibn Abi `Abla] replied: "The jihad of the heart."

Al-Qari said in al-Asrar al-Marfu`a: al-`Asqalani in Tasdid al-Qaws ("Adjusting the Bow") said, "This report is famous and widespread but these are the words of Ibrahim ibn Abi `Abla as narrated in al-Nasa'i's Kuna."

4. As a saying of Ibrahim ibn Ad-ham as narrated by al-Bayhaqi in al-Zuhd (p. 152).

5. As a saying of Abu Hatim al-Asamm as narrated by al-Bayhaqi in al-Zuhd (p. 286).

See also: al-Mizzi, Tahdhib al-Kamal (2:144); Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib (1:142), al-Kafi al-Shafi fi Takhrij Ahadith al-Kashshaf (p. 114), and Tasdid al-Qaws (cf. al-`Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa'); and al-Zayla`i, Takhrij al-Ahadith wal-Athar al-Waqi`a fi Tafsir al-Kashshaf (2:395-396 §825).

Hajj Gibril

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