Part 7: There is no Place for Analogy (Qiyās) and Reasoning in the ʿAqeedah―The Foundations of the Sunnah of Imām Ahmad Ibn Hanbal: From the Explanation of Shaikh An-Najmī

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There is no Place for Analogy and Reasoning in the ʿAqeedah.

The Imām of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d.241H) stated:

وليس في السنة قياس, ولا تضرب لها الأمثال, ولا تدرك بالعقول ولا الأهواء, إنما هو الاتباع وترك الهوى

“There is no analogy in the Sunnah (i.e., the ʿAqeedah). Likeness and examples cannot be made for it, nor can knowledge of it be reached by the intellects or desires. Indeed, it is only established by following [the Sunnah] and abandoning desires.


Imām Ahmad (rahimahullāh) prefaced his work Usool us-Sunnah with the statement, “The Foundations of the Sunnah with are… (أصول السنة عندنا)” He then went on to list the foundations of the Sunnah that the Salaf of this Ummah agreed upon.

So we do not use analogies, reason, and intellect when it comes to the ʿAqeedah. Qiyās (analogies) only enter into the fiqh regulations and branches of the religion, and not in the ʿAqeedah.

Abu Hurairah (d. 87 AH, radiyallāhu ʿanhu), ʿAbdur Rahmān bin Sakhr, the great preserver of the Hadeeth and the Religion, narrated a Hadeeth regarding wudoo after eating barbecued meat (cooked on a naked flame), wherein the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “Make wudu after eating what has been changed by cooking with fire.”

After hearing this, ʿAbdullah ibn ʿAbbās (radiyallāhu ʿanhumā) said, ’Will you not order them to make wudu from that which has been cooked using hot water?’ Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu ʿanhu) responded to him saying. ’O my brother! If I narrate to you a Hadeeth from Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) do not try to make other analogies for it.’ (Reported by at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Mājah, declared hasan by Sheikh al-Albāni in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Mājah). Sheikh ʿAbdul ʿAzeez bin Bāz (rahimahullāh) mentioned that the scholars said that this Hadeeth was abrogated for barbecued meat, but the ruling remained for camel meat.

This point mentioned by Imām Ahmad (rahimahuillāh), that there is no Qiyās (analogy) in ʿAqeedah, means that it is not allowed to set up similitudes and analogies when it is related to the foundations of our Belief.

Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) rebuked Hamal bin Nābighah al-Hudhalī when he contended with the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) over a fine that was imposed upon him. Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) gave his verdict regarding two women from the tribe of Hudhayl who fought each other. One of them hit the other with a stone in her belly thus killing her and her unborn child. The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) judged between them saying that compensation had to be paid for the unborn child. The guardian of the woman who was fined, Hamal bin Nābighah said, ’O Allah’s Messenger! How am I to pay a fine for a creature that has not drunk, nor eaten, nor spoken, nor has it cried, therefore the likes of this fine should be cancelled.’ The Prophet (salallāu ʿalaihi wasallam) said, ”He has rhymed like the rhyming of the fortune tellers,” and in another narration, “This one is one of the brothers of the fortune tellers.” (Bukhāri no. 6910, Muslim no. 1681).

He was rebuked because when Allah’s Judgement comes, there is no room or place for a person’s intellect or reasoning. He was using his reasoning to say that the child has not eaten or drunk or lived a normal life, therefore compensation need not be given. However, he was rebuked for saying that. We understand from this that it is not permissible to strike similitudes or use reasoning in the Sunnah in order to free yourself from its objectives or to avoid acting in accordance with it. When a Muslim hears a Hadeeth with an authentic chain of narration, then upon him is to believe in it and act according to it. He should not contradict it or try to use reasoning or his intellect or the opinions of men to oppose it. He should have Imān in that which has been revealed in the Qur’ān and the Sunnah, even if his own intellect, or his education, or that which is written in the secular books contradicts it.

Matters of the Unseen

In a Hadeeth reported by Imām Bukhāri (rahimahullah) in his Saheeh and also by Imām Muslim from Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu ʿanhu), that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said: “When the angel of death came to Moosa bin ʿImrān (ʿalaihis-salām) to take his soul, Moosa struck the angel of death in the eye thus taking it out. The angel returned to his Lord and said: ‘You sent me to a servant who does not want to die,’ so Allah restored the angel’s eye and said, ’Go and return to him and tell him to put his hand on the back of an ox, and for every hair that comes under his hand, he will be granted one year of life.’

When this reached Musa (ʿalaihis-salām) he said, ‘O Lord! What will happen after that?’ So Allah, the Most High replied, ‘Then there is death.’ So Musa said, ’Then let it come now.’ Musa then asked Allah to allow him to die near the Sacred Land (Jerusalem) such that he would be no more than a stone’s throw from it.”

Abu Hurairah (radiyallahu ʿanhu) added that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said, ‘If I was there with you, I would show you his grave below the red sand hill on the side of the path.’

Sheikh Ahmad an-Najmi said regarding the above Hadeeth that there might be some people who try and distance themselves from the likes of these narrations on the basis that they do not conform with their reason or intellect, so they reject these types of narrations, even though the Hadeeth is authentic (from Bukhāri and Muslim).

When a Hadeeth comes from Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam), the first thing that is upon a Muslim is to accept it and submit to it. There are many narrations about the Unseen (Ghayb) that we Muslims must believe in, for example, the Hadeeth of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) where he said that on the night of Isra and Miʿrāj he passed by the grave of Moosa (ʿalaihis-salām) and saw him praying in his grave. Also, the Hadeeth where the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said, ‘Indeed the bodies of the prophets are not consumed by the earth (i.e., they do not decompose).’

Those raised upon secular education, pseudoscience and the philosophies of the unbelievers, deny these narrations because they go against what they have been taught and indoctrinated with. We say: when modern-day theories, findings, philosophies and science contradict the Texts of the Book and the Sunnah, then they are rejected, and the Qur’ān and Sunnah with the understanding of the Salaf are embraced. This is the difference between a believer who is strong and steadfast in Iman and one who lives in doubt.

The Motion of the Sun Around the Earth

A Muslim should never allow that which he has read in science books and fanciful theoretical documentaries, which has been penned down by men, to contradict that which is in the Qur’ān and Sunnah. An example is the Hadeeth of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) regarding the motion of the Sun around the Earth. This is another arena where the people of our times fall into confusion and debate between themselves. In reality, this debate is only because they have allowed what they have learned from the disbelievers to confuse and deceive them. Regarding this, the strength of Imān of Sheikh ʿAbdul ʿAziz bin Bāz (rahimahullāh) is evident in his saying: “As for the motion of the earth and its rotation, indeed I reject it, and I have clarified the proofs regarding its futility, but I do not declare one who speaks with it to be an unbeliever. However, I do declare one to be an unbeliever who says: ‘The sun is fixed without motion because that goes against what is clear in the Noble Qur’ān and the authentic pure Sunnah.’” (Majmū Fatāwā Ibn Bāz 9/228)

Abu Dharr said: I asked the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) regarding the verse, “And the sun runs on its course to its settling place.” (Quran 36:38) He said, “Its settling place is underneath Allah’s Throne.” (Bukhari 7433)

Abu Dharr said: Once I was with the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) in the mosque at the time of sunset. The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “O Abu Dharr! Do you know where the sun sets?” I replied, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said, “It proceeds until it prostrates underneath Allah’s Throne. And that is Allah’s saying: ‘And the sun runs on its course to its settling place.’” (Quran 36:38) (Bukhari, 4802)

We know that every morning the Sun rises in the east, then it travels in the sky until it reaches its highest point at midday, then comes the time of Dhuhr, then the Sun continues until the shadows become longer and longer until it the shadow of an object is equal to its height which occurs at the time of ʿAsr. Then the shadows become longer until the Sun sets―this is when it prostrates under the Throne of Allah. Then it seeks permission to continue and then it rises again in the east in the morning. But a day will come when the Sun sets and its prostration will not be accepted, and it will not be permitted to go on its course. The Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “The Sun proceeds until it prostrates itself under the Throne and seeks permission to rise again, and it is permitted. Then a time will come when it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course but it will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return from where it has come and so it will rise in the West.” (Bukhari 3199)

In a narration, the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “The Prophet Yoosha’ (Joshua) carried out a military expedition and when he reached the town at the time or nearly at the time of the ‘Asr prayer, he said to the Sun, “O Sun! You are under Allah’s command and I am under Allah’s command. O Allah stop it from setting on us.” It was stopped until Allah made him victorious.” (Bukhari, 3124) Note that it was not the earth that stopped, rather it was the Sun.

From this narration, we note that the object that was prevented from moving was the Sun. Allah did not stop the Earth from rotating. If it was the case that it was the Earth that rotated causing day and night to appear, then the Hadeeth would have mentioned the Earth, however, Allah (the Most High) stopped the Sun from moving.

From Abu Hurairah, the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “The Sun was not held back for any human being except Joshua (Yooshaʿ) as he was marching to Jerusalem.” (Ahmad in Al-Musnad 2/325, Al-Hākim 2/130 – the narration is authentic to the conditions of Bukhari)

يوشع كان محتاجا إلى ذلك لأن القتال كان محرما عليهم بعد غروب الشمس؛ لأجل ما حرم الله عليهم من العمل ليلة السبت، فخاف يوشع عليه السلام.

Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullāh) stated: “Joshua was in need of that (i.e. the Sun being held back) because fighting was forbidden after sunset due to the prohibition of Allah upon them from engaging in work on the night before Saturday. So that is what Joshua feared.” (See Minhāj as-Sunnah 1/187)

So again we see that the object being stopped is the Sun, for the purpose of lengthening the day, so that they could become victorious over their enemies and march into Jerusalem.

These are just a handful of narrations that clearly show that when it comes to Allah’s Religion, the Most High, we should not allow what we have learned from scientists and modernists amongst the Muslims and Mu’tazilah who reject the authentic narrations when they contradict modern-day scientific theories, (i.e., the opinions and deductions of men) to cause us to reject what is established in the Book and the Sunnah. This is the meaning of the statement of Imām Ahmad: ‘Knowledge of (the ʿAqeedah) cannot be reached by the intellect, rather (it is known) by following the texts and abandoning desires.’

والحمد لله رب العالمين وصلى الله على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين.

سبحانك اللهم وبحمدك أشهد أن لا إله إلا أنت، أستغفرك وأتوب إليك

Abu Khadeejah Abdul-Wāhid.
Copyright 2023.

This article was transcribed by Umm Maryam (may Allah reward her) from the classes of Abu Khadeejah ( Please share it with others.

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