Category Archives: Knowledge of the Deen

Yasir Qadhi and the Deobandis

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi was another person at the MLT conference in Denmark that I met. He is an intelligent and articulate young man and contributed quite positively to the event. I had never heard of him or his institute “al-Maghrib Institute” before, but it was apparent that he was a Salafi. There is a much touted discussion between him and Mona Eltahawi (journalist and commentator) that took place on the way to the MLT in Copenhagen, Denmark. It describes how they went to the same school in Saudi Arabia and have turned out poles apart, one being a hardcore Salafi (Yasir) and the other an ultra liberal (Mona), both extremists in the broad spectrum that is Islam. But are they really that different?

Both don’t have a problem with dispensing with traditional Islamic scholarship and a return to re-interpreting the Primary Sources of the deen and believe everyone is or should be personally responsible to draw conclusions from the Primary Sources. In Yasir’s case, if you come up with something other than the Salafist ideology (whatever that means with regards to the constantly mutating and sub-dividing nature of this sect!) then you are misguided/mushrik/mubtadi/kafir (take your pick!) depending on your conclusions, in Mona’s case you can do what you want, even an atheist can be a Muslim if s/he calls him/herself one, essentially, for her Islam is just a culture, is the impression I got when speaking to her. In fact I believe them to be two sides of the same coin, that of ideological/intellectual extremism.

Here is an excellent piece from another blog Contemplating Chisti, in fact a Deobandi Chisti. The piece in question warns fellow Deobandis to not be enamoured and taken by Salafi approaches of “Unity” with their “sugar coated speech” and to steer clear. I raised this very point in a discussion on Tablighi Jamat on DeenPort with regards to how Tablighi Jamat (and by extension Deobandis) always align themselves with Salafis/Wahhabis on university campuses and local communities. It is a strange and odd espousal as they are the oddest of bedfellows. I think that the Salafis insidiously take advantage of the Tablighi naivety for their own purposes. Salafis hate everyone, including the Deobandis (and each other as well!)

Whilst reading through this, I was thinking that many Barelwis would heartily agree with these positions and some Deobandis would be concerned to find that these are in fact Deobandi aqida positions. This is borne out by the comments section which has some irate Deobandis questioning some of the positions and the Deobandism of the author!

The article goes onto list many ideological and aqida differences between traditional Deobandism and Salafism and it is an uncloseable chasm between them. Yasir’s odious and slanderours comments about some of our Shayukh, such as Sayyid Maliki al-Makki, Shaykh Nuh Keller, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad and others are well known. At the conference he even suggested to me that some of the articles on my site should be removed for “the sake of unity”, a laughable suggestion when every other Salafist bookshop and website has books that rant on about madhhabs, Asharees and Soofees. I think may be Shaykh Yasir should start by cleansing his bookshops and websites of these unity threatening works, cleaning your own house first is a good idea before noticing the dirt in others otherwise it could be construed as hypocrisy.

Yasir Qadhi & The Deobandis: Unite With “Moderate” Sufis?

Alex Andalus’s Blog has some things to say on the matter as well.

Position of Feet in the Prayer, continued…

More on the position of feet…

Wa alaykum as-Salam,

This has been covered in the recently republished Fiqh al-Imam.

In addition to tacit approval not forming a Prophetic command:

1. An explicit Prophetic command mentions the shoulders touching. So
this should be given far more emphasis than the feet, not the reverse.

2. An explicit Prophetic command stipulates: “I`tadilu” when standing in
a prayer-row. I`tidal requires the proportional repose of the limbs
whereby if a person is standing in i`tidal he is at rest; if he bows
from that posture he would not look like a camel drinking and if he
started walking he would walk normally, not like a duck or a penguin.
This means that any touching of the neighbor’s feet must be within the
boundaries of i`tidal. Otherwise, touching is abandoned and i`tidal is

3. Even if it were hypothetically established that touching the
neighbor’s toes with one’s toes in the prayer-row were among the Sunan
of Salat, which no Madhhab has stated, nevertheless, since it has become
the slogan of Ahl al-Bid`a it should be left to them and not put into

The Hanbali madhhab says that an individual’s feet should be one shibr (hand-span) apart. It’s also the distance one typically keeps them when simply standing.

GF Haddad

Also in response to one of the comments that claimed that:

“Ibn Abidayn, one of the foremost scholars of the Hanafi madhab, said in his book Hashiyah: “As for what is reported, that they would cling ankle to ankle, the meaning by that is in congregation, that is – one stands next to the other, and it is like this in Fatawa Samiraqand”.

[From an Alim friend:] In reality someone who can’t read a text shouldn’t quote it. La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah.

Ibn Abidin is explicitly negating the literal understanding. Rather, he is
saying that those texts simple refer to straightening the lines. As for “Fatawa Samiraqand,” it is: Fatawa Samarqand.



Where’s your evidence ak-ee?

I went to perform salat al-Maghrib at our local masjid today. I noticed a Muslim man of West Indian origin pointing and chatting to some of the members of our community, it seemed that he was making a few points about certain things. I took very little notice of him but my Madhhabi-sense was tingling: “I bet he is a Salafi”. Anyway the iqama was read and we started to form the lines for the prayer, when I again noticed this same man instructing those next to him to join their feet to his and he seemed to make a big point of it.After the prayers, he pulled over one of the brothers and started to ask why people weren’t standing feet to feet, this was cue for me to join the fray. After a tiring week back at work I guess I was not my usual placid self, I am not prone to getting angry, but I have heard Wahhabis use this argument countless times and it annoys me to hear it again and again and to explain it again and again. The brother told us he was from High Wycombe and a “student” of the new Jordanian Imam at the WISE Centre there.

He started his conversation with me by saying “Akee, I see a lot of things here that I aint never seen before, I want to see evidence for what’s going on here” I asked him what he was talking about and he said “like people not standing shoulder to shoulder ankle to ankle”, I asked him for his evidence (knowing full well what it was) he replied “it’s in a hadeeth akee”, “what hadith?” I asked, “which collection?” I pressed. He couldn’t tell me as he didn’t know. I then said “You come here asking for evidence and proof and yet you offer none yourself”, “but it is in the hadeeth akee” he countered, I conceded, to see where he was going with his argument (again, knowing full well where he was taking this). He started demonstrating physically what the hadith meant and I noticed that he was not actually standing ankle to ankle but toe to toe. I pointed out that in actual fact what the hadith meant was not jam your foot or your ankle against the person next to you, rather you use the ankle as a guide to straighten the lines in the ranks and the hadith certainly doesn’t say anything about joining feet. I also pointed out to him that if he stood next to someone much taller than himself he would not actually be standing shoulder to shoulder but shoulder to arm. I then explained that in light of this, the hadith is not meant to be taken totally literally, since then the taller person would have to crouch or bend his knees to bring his shoulders to the lever of the shorter person. His reply was “then you would go and stand next to someone your own height”! How the heck he arrived at that conclusion I will never know, but that is certainly a new one on me! Do Salafis send converts to some training school to rehearse these arguments because the amount of times I have heard this it almost seems scripted.

What struck me most was when I asked him if he knew what the integrals of prayer were and what their rankings were such as Fardh, Wajib, Sunnah etc he had no idea! If you don’t know the integrals of salat then your salat is defective in the first place and there is little point arguing over the position of your feet; he didn’t seem to be concerned.

We argued about a few other things and it was clear to me that this brother was very ignorant of fiqh and scholarly difference as well as history of Islamic cultures, may Allah guide him and me. At the end it boiled down to him accusing me of racism and that the only reason I was arguing with against him was that he was black! SubhanAllah!