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Al-Naseeha Al-Thahabiyya: A Formal Investigation Using the Principles of the Laws of Evidence

Al-Naseeha Al-Thahabiyya: A Formal Investigation Using the Principles of the Laws of Evidence

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A personal research addressing the so called epistle, Al-Naseeha Al-Thahabiyya which is supposed to have been originated by Al-Thahabi to Ibn Taymiyya. The letter is extremely harsh, not what is abundantly known about Al-Thahabi. In this research, we deploy the Law of Evidence in order to determine the validity and authenticity of this letter.
A personal research addressing the so called epistle, Al-Naseeha Al-Thahabiyya which is supposed to have been originated by Al-Thahabi to Ibn Taymiyya. The letter is extremely harsh, not what is abundantly known about Al-Thahabi. In this research, we deploy the Law of Evidence in order to determine the validity and authenticity of this letter.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Abdalla S. A. Alothman on May 13, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/06/2011

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Introduction
Al-Naseeha Al-Thahabiyya is the letter that was supposedly sent by Al-Thahabi to his teacher Ibn Taymiyya. None, amongst late scholarsconsidered it authentic. The Sufis deceitfully claim that two late scholarsencountered it: One of them didn't reject it, while the other praised it –this deception will be discussed. Among recent scholars, only two amongthousands have considered it authentic.What should be the general ruling on this letter? It is
legally 
invalid. Payattention to
legally
, because in my approach I will resort to thefundamentals of Evidence Laws that exist in universal legal proceedingsfound in the Islamic Jurisprudence (I don't mean fiqh, here, but ratherqadhaa-a, as if the letter is presented to a Qadhi/Judge).The reason why I selected to legally inspect Al-Naseeha Al-Thahabiyya isbecause the Laws of Evidence are 100% in accord with common logic. If the Laws of Evidence are illogical there would simply be no justiceanywhere in the world. Since Al-Naseeha Al-Thahabiyya is supposed to bea written communication between two parties, it is a perfect candidate topass through legal inspection.However, at the end of this study, we will not only see that Al-Naseeha Al-Thahabiyya does not constitute to be a letter (or a message, or an epistle,or whatever flashy name the Sufis have used to describe Al-Naseeha), butthe evidence that will float while you are reading this paper will show thateven the Epistles of Paul are
more genuine and authentic
than Al-Naseeha.
Structure of the Available Manuscript
An image of the available manuscript of Al-Naseeha Al-Thahabiyya will beenclosed along with this document.The document consists of the following:
 
 2
 1. A statement from the last copier – Zahid Al-Kawthari (d. 1371 A.H.) –where he states: "This is what I found in the handwriting of Ibn QadhiShubah (d. 851 A.H.): 'A letter from Al-Thahabi (d. 748 A.H.) to IbnTaymiyya which I copied from the handwriting of Burhan Ad-Deen binJama'ah, who copied it from Abu Sa'eed bin Al-'Alaa-ee, who copied itfrom the handwriting of Al-Thahabi.' "2. Following the above is the contents of the document that includes nodates, no names, no signatures, or anything.3. After the document ends, the last copier immediately writes a couple of notes as if he was with Al-Thahabi when he supposedly wrote the letter.
The Reasons For Investigating the Letter
Attempting to prove that this message is genuine is – in my opinion –unnecessary, because it cannot be proven genuine and successfullyattributed to its supposed sender in the first place. In legal proceedings,the burden of proof lies on the claimant (Sufis, etc.). However, inspectingthe document is certainly a delightful experience to whoever enjoyswatching the Sufis getting more and more bankrupt, and to whoeverenjoys knowing how the Sufis tailor their deceptions.Analyzing the letter by Ahl Al-Sunnah has two purposes:
 
To defend Ibn Taymiyya
 
And defend Al-ThahabiAlthough it is supplementary, the defense of Ibn Taymiyya is takenseriously by Ahl Al-Sunnah because he operated on a lot of innovationsand deviated sects of today. However, the arguments and the richknowledge inherited from Ibn Taymiyya is considered separate from hispersona. Therefore, if the Sufis and the Ash'ariyya (and many others)discredit Ibn Taymiyya, the arguments he presented and the knowledgeinherited from him stand unshaken.As for Al-Thahabi, the Sufis do not care how he appears, because he is of no importance to them. What they consider important are the shaikhs whofly, walk on water, talk to horses, charm snakes, and such. Remember,Sufism is mysticism, it looks behind the text. People like Al-Thahabi andIbn Taymiyya stick to the text and do not exceed by approaching Sufi-likesuperstitions.Therefore the Sufis and their likes do not care if Imam Al-Thahabi appearsas an unstable scholar of Islam where he presents hundreds of pages fullwith text that praises Ibn Taymiyya and lists his qualities and virtues, andthen he writes nonsensical letters like Al-Naseeha about his shaikh.Also see the commentary preceding a biographical entry in the enclosedmaterials. 
 
 3
 
The Analytical Methods Used for Inspection
To sum up how this message is analyzed by Ahl Al-Sunnah, I noticed twopaths in discussing this message. I was guided by those two techniques toextract two methods: The
Elaborate Method 
and the
Formal Method 
.
The Elaborate Method
is an exhausting analysis of the message thatproposes numerous valid and controversial possibilities, it also traces themessage and its beholders: the sender and the receiver, and uses a lot of formal techniques when desired.The Elaborate Method also examines everything, from the title of theletter, (i.e., is Al-Thahabiyya a reference to Imam Al-Thahabi or is it wayto express the description of the letter? As to say: The Golden(thahabiyya) Advice (Naseeha)?) passes through it word by word,analyzing every statement and linking it with possible conclusions.Furthermore, the style of the expressions present in the letter (which arevery harsh, while Al-Thahabi was known in his writings to be very gentle)is compared with the originator's available style throughout his writings.
The Formal Method
relies on the formal given facts without suggestingany valid or invalid possibilities. The formal aspect of any writtencommunication consists of the usual elements found in a writtencommunication. Personally, I favor the Formal Method.Further, In the Formal Method, the content of the message is notinvestigated. Thus, we don't really care what the message talks about.Further, we don't delve into the personal details of the sender and thereceiver, because in this method they are nothing more than elements.The elements are necessary fields, such as:
From: Xyz Date: Jan 5, 2010.To: Abc[contents of the message][closing of the message]Xyz [Name / Signature / seal]
Thus, when we find this formality missing in Al-Naseeha – which issupposed to be a
 personal letter 
from Al-Thahabi – it would certainly beperplexing and more doubtful, especially when we keep in mind that Al-Thahabi is a highly learned scholar.This type of formality existed many centuries before Al-Thahabi wasknown, in fact we know for sure that it was a common norm in Islamseven centuries before Al-Thahabi appeared.

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