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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sheikh Yahya Rhodus,

Zaytuna Release
Disciplining the Soul, Session 1

Part two tomorrow in sha Allah

Sheikh Shahidullah Faridi

The Meaning of Tasawwuf
Shaikh Shahidullah Faridi (r.a)

[The writer (1915-1978) was an English convert to Islam who became a Shaykh of the Tariqa Chishtiyya, living a life of simplicity in Karachi, Pakistan, where his holiness gained him the love and devotion of thousands of Muslims from all walks of life. May Allah show him His mercy, and grant him light in his grave. Amin.]

Tasawwuf can be called the inwardness of Islam. Islam, like most other faiths to a greater or lesser extent, consists firstly of certain beliefs, such as the existence of God, and the coming of the Judgement, and reward and punishment in the next life, and the outward expression of these beliefs in forms of worship, such as prayer and fasting, all of which concern man’s relationship with God; and secondly, a system of morality, which concerns man’s relationship with man, and has its outward expression in certain social institutions and laws, such as marriage, inheritance, and civil and criminal laws. But it is obvious that the basis of this faith, the spirit that gives it life, is man’s relationship with God. Forms of worship are simply the physical vehicles of this relationship, and it is this relationship again which is responsible for the origin, the significance and the ultimate sanction of the principles of morality and their formulation into a specific social and legal system. If the interior converse with the Supreme Being and inspiration from Him are present, then they are comparable to the soul within the body of the exterior religion; if they die away, or in proportion to the extent that they wither or become feeble, the outward form of the faith becomes like a soulless body, which by the inexorable law of nature swiftly succumbs to corruption. It is therefore man’s direct relationship with his Maker which is the breath and life of religion, and it is the study and cultivation of this relationship that the word tasawwuf connotes.

It may be wondered why the words ‘Sufi’, which means ‘woollen-clothed’, and ‘Tasawwuf’, which means the path of the Sufis, i.e. the woollen-clothed ones, should have become so universal in order to denote something which belongs properly to the realm of the spirit. This name is symbolic rather than descriptive. To be a Sufi does not require a person literally to wear woollen clothes, but presumes an inner quality which was at one time characteristic of those who wore them. In the early generations of Islam, through the closeness to the time of the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) and the illumination of his incomparable spirituality, which encompassed so completely the inner and the outer, the comprehension of the inwardness of Islam enwrapped in its outward expressions was so general that no group of people who devoted themselves specially to this aspect of the faith was distinguishable. It was only when the inevitable course of development of human affairs began to run and the original trunk of universality began to throw out branches of specialisation, that Islamic knowledge was progressively divided into the interior and the exterior, and the general word ilm (knowledge) began to denote more the academic study of the Qur’an, Hadith and Fiqh than their spiritual content, contrary to its Qur’anic use in the sense of ‘knowledge of Allah’. At this stage that body of Muslims who devoted themselves more particularly to the cultivation of the spiritual heritage of their Prophet (peace be upon him), began to use the term Ma‘rifat (Recognition of Allah) and arif (One who recognises Allah) to denote this inward aspect of knowledge, and indeed still do to the present day. So it was possible that instead of being termed Sufis they might have been called Ahl-i Ma‘rifat, or Arifin. But not every aspirant to spiritual development is an Arif, and the average human mind seeks more the outward badge than the inner reality, which in this case is anyway difficult to describe, so the habit observed in certain Godly persons (in reaction to the excessive luxury of the times) of wearing coarse woollen clothes, which were then the mark of extreme poverty, was taken as the symbol of all those who sought the inner life; and this term’s convenience and simplicity has withstood all the vagaries of time and place throughout the Islamic world.

The visible formulations of Islam are therefore both enlivened by the spiritual and moral force behind them, and so they are the manifestations of this force, and at the same time they are the means of attaining these spiritual and moral qualities; this can be said to constitute their main purpose. Thus these two aspects of Islam are mutually generative, each one producing the other. It can be seen from the Word of Allah, the Qur’an, that wherever something concerning man’s outward actions is decreed, its inward content and purpose is also stressed. Take Prayer for instance; Allah says ‘Observe Prayer for My remembrance’ (20:14); or ‘The believers have attained success; who are humble in their prayers’ (32:1), emphasising that the object of Prayer is not the mere outward performance, but to remember Him with a humble heart. In the case of fasting, Allah says, ‘Fasting has been decreed for you, as it was decreed for those who came before you, that you may be God-fearing.’ (2:183) Regarding sacrifice on the occasion of Pilgrimage, He says: ‘It is not their blood or their flesh which reaches Him, but the devotion from you.’ (22:37) On the subject of marriage: ‘It is one of His signs that He has made for you mates of your own kind that you may find peace in them, and He has created affection and kindness between you.’ (30:24) On spending for the poor: ‘They (the righteous) give food to the needy, the orphan and the prisoner, for the love of Him; they say: We feed for the sake of Allah only, and desire no reward or thanks from you.’ (76:8,9) If we reflect on these and other similar indications in the Qur’an, we are led to the conclusion that if it is necessary to observe the outward ordinances of our faith, it is equally necessary to develop within ourselves those qualities which are their soul; that these two are complementary and one cannot exist in a sound state without the other. When the word ‘Shari‘at’ is used, one immediately calls to mind the basic beliefs of Islam, without which a person cannot be reckoned a Muslim, and the external decrees comprising forms of worship, rules of behaviour, and civil and criminal laws. In short, it is the outwardness of Islam which is normally referred to by this term. But we have seen that within this outer Shari‘at there exists an inner Shari‘at of equal importance, which constitutes both its inspiration and its goal. Like the word ‘ilm’ (Knowledge) which originally comprised both the inward realisation of divine truths as well as outward knowledge of Islamic tenets, the term ‘Shari‘at’ (the road) should really include the devotion of the heart to Allah as well as the specific beliefs, and the attainment of moral excellence as well as submission to the law. But just as ‘ilm’ came to mean only book-knowledge, so ‘Shari‘at’ came to mean only the law; as a result, the Sufis, the devotees of the spirit of Islam, began to use the word ‘Ma‘rifat’ for the inner relationship with God, and in place of the word ‘Shari‘at’, they chose the word ‘tariqat’ (the Path) to denote the way to spiritual perfection. Just as the outer shari‘at consists of two parts, belief and practice, so also does this inner shari‘at manifest itself in two main fields.

The first is man’s attitude to his Maker. From the Qur’an and the teachings of the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) we learn that this attitude should be inspired by love, hope, fear, gratitude, patience, trust, self-sacrifice and complete devotion; and that He should be felt to be constantly near. This is the inwardness of belief. The second is man’s attitude to his fellow men: Allah and his Prophet (peace be upon him) have taught us that this should be inspired by sympathy, justice, kindness, unselfishness, generosity, sternness on matters of principle, leniency wherever possible, and that we must avoid pride, jealousy, malice, greed, selfishness, miserliness and ill-nature. These qualities will not be found explained in the books of Fiqh; it required a group of people distinct from the jurists to determine and develop the science of the soul. Of these two parts of the inner Shari‘at, it is the first, i.e. man’s relationship with God, which is the root, the moral attitude of man towards his fellows being derived from it. It is the realisation that all men are creatures of the One God, and that He wishes us to treat them with mercy and kindness, and at times justice, which should reflect His own sublime qualities, and that if we succeed in this we shall win His pleasure, that is the real basis of morality. Some have made the mistake of imagining that morality can exist by itself without the foundation of religion, and have tried to promulgate a non-religious ethical code as a substitute for faith. This is nothing but a mental illusion. It comes about in this way: through the medium of religious teaching, a certain moral outlook permeates a whole society, and colours not only the specifically religious life, but education and social customs and habits of thinking and acting. When at a later stage some people take to agnosticism and rebel against the established faith, they are unable to separate themselves from this moral attitude which has now become the very stuff of their mental being. Without realising the origin of their morality, they fall into the error of considering it self-existent, and imagine that they can reform society by simply calling upon people to be ethical. But it is a matter of observation that such inherited moral attitudes, when cut off from the tree of religion to which they owe their being, very quickly decay, and it is not long before the very basis of morality is questioned and finally denied, and non-moral philosophies are openly proclaimed. By contrast, the morality based on faith in God, derived from a revealed Book and given life by the consciousness of Divine pleasure, has in it the seeds not of decay but of growth and fruition.

That it is man’s inner relationship with Allah which gives meaning and value to his outward expression of belief and the performance of his religious duties is asserted most pointedly in one of the most famous sayings of the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him). The following incident is reported by Omar, the second Khalifa.

‘We were sitting with the Messenger of Allah one day when a man appeared with very white clothes and very black hair, with no signs of travel upon him. None of us recognised him. He came and sat before the Prophet (peace be upon him) with his knees touching his knees, and his hands placed on his thighs. He then said: ‘O Muhammad, tell me, what is Islam?’ The Prophet replied: ‘Islam is that you testify that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and that you establish prayer, and Zakat, fast the month of Ramadan, and make the pilgrimage to the House of Allah if you are able.’ The man said: ‘You are right’, and we wondered that he both asked and confirmed the answer. Then he said: ‘what is Iman?’ The Prophet replied: ‘Iman is that you believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers and the Last Day, and that you believe in the predestination of good and evil.’ The man said: ‘You are right. Now tell me what is Ihsan (good performance)?’ The Prophet replied: ‘That you worship Allah as if you are seeing Him and if you do not see Him, He surely sees you.’’

Then after asking about the Last Day, the man left, and the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) informed his companions that this was the Angel Gabriel who came to teach them their religion.

Here the word Ihsan, which means to perform something in the best manner, is explained as ‘the worship of Allah as if you are seeing Him, and if you do not see Him, He surely sees you.’ This means that the consciousness of the presence of Allah, and the feeling of Love and awe which accompany it, must permeate both our faith and practice (Iman and Islam) and it is in proportion to this consciousness that our excellence in religion can be judged. Clearly this sense of presence is not to be confined only to worship, but to all our actions (one version of the above incident, in fact, has ‘to work for Allah as if you are seeing Him’). It is precisely this awareness of the nearness and presence of Allah that the Sufis have as their ultimate goal in all their activities.

So far we have been speaking of the Muslims’ relationship with Allah in a general way. But Tasawwuf has a more specific content, that is to say, it aims at bringing the novice to the direct spiritual experience. The fountainhead of Islam (a fact which is often forgotten) is the direct spiritual experience of the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) by means of which the message of God was conveyed to man. This spiritual experience had many forms, and was continuous throughout the period of the Prophet’s prophethood, starting from the initial vision of the Angel when the call to the divine mission was sounded, and persisting throughout the inspiration of the Divine Book, with other manifestations such as Hadith Qudsi (Divine inspirations apart from the Qur’an itself) and revelations of the next world. It is illustrated particularly in the Mi‘raj (the Ascension), which culminates in the vision of the Supreme Reality. When the essence of prophethood is the spiritual experience, it would be strange indeed if some portion of this aspect of the prophetic life were not inherited by the Prophet’s companions and those who followed them. So we find a tradition of spiritual experience alongside that of the more obvious branches of religious teaching concerned with beliefs and practices. In the early stages it was not considered proper to publish such experiences and considerable reticence was observed; it was thought sufficient only to hint at them. As time passed, reticence was lessened and gradually the science of Tasawwuf was outwardly formulated, although the very nature of these most inward matters makes some reticence inevitable at all times.

Abu Huraira, one of the intimate companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to say: ‘I acquired two vessels from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), one of which I published; but if I published the other my throat would be cut.’ This is an interesting allusion to the danger of making a show of spiritual experience before those who do not understand them. If the experiences are believed, then some people out of ignorance are inclined to raise the one who is spiritually gifted almost to divinity, if not to make him into God Himself. If they are disbelieved, the doubters become guilty of denying what is true, and deprive themselves of certain special benefits which it is the Will of God that they should have. This is the reason why ‘sufis’ have always counselled great caution in the matter of describing some of their spiritual states in detail as these can only be appreciated in the tasting, and not in the description. In spite of the obvious references in the Qur’an, the Hadiths and the lives of the companions, some have tried to deny this spiritual heritage of the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) and claim that the early Muslims were only ‘ascetics’ and not ‘mystics’. But to perceive spirituality where it exists is not given to everyone, even to perceive it at all; let it suffice to say that the extraordinary dedication to Allah and His Prophet (peace be upon him) and their commands by the leading companions and followers would be inexplicable without a profound spiritual experience.

I have said that in the early period the outer and the inner aspects of Islam, that is, the outward observance and its spiritual content, were not divided but formed a homogeneous whole, but as time passed and specialised knowledge increased, it became necessary and inevitable that a body of Muslims should devote themselves more particularly to the inwardness of Islam which came to be known as Tasawwuf. If we consider the development of Tasawwuf as a science, that is the science of the soul, we find that it provides a close comparison with the development of other sciences based on the principle of the Divine Book and the life of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). To take the science of Hadith as an example, we find that during the first century, which was the time of the Companions and the followers, things remained very much in the original form of personal teaching from those who sat in the company of the Great Ones, with little sign of elaboration and formalisation. During the second century we begin to find a more or less comprehensive collection and criticism, which culminate in the third century in critical recensions based on now thoroughly elaborated and determined principles. In the case of Fiqh we find a similar process; after the first century of the direct and practical teaching of the companions and followers, the second century produces elaborate compendia of legal decisions and the formulation of principles of jurisprudence which again by the third century had been built up into a relatively independent science. Tasawwuf, too, was constructed into a spiritual science on the firm foundations of the spiritual heritage of the Prophet of God; here again, the elaboration begins in the second century in the recorded sayings and treatises and books of the early Sufis, and in the third century Tasawwuf appears as a fully developed and formulated spiritual science. It is just as gratuitous to talk critically of later innovation in the matter of Tasawwuf as it is in the matter of Fiqh, Hadith and Tafsir. There is a world of difference between elaborations and innovations, which people with muddled minds find difficult to distinguish.

Although the development of Tasawwuf can be historically compared with that of the other sciences, there is an intrinsic superiority in Tasawwuf which should be well remembered. This superiority lies in that the expansion of the science of spiritual development is based on experience and direct observation confirmed in its broad pattern by thousands of travellers on the upward path of the soul, whereas the other sciences mainly owe their formulation to reason and conjecture. All, of course, are founded on tradition, that is, the Qur’an and its living commentary by the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers, but the process of later elaboration has this fundamental difference. It cannot be contested that direct experience, especially when it is common to large numbers of people, is a vastly more authoritative source of knowledge than rational speculation. For instance, after the data provided by revelation and tradition the chief instrument in the development of Fiqh is Qiyas (analogy) or Ra’y (opinion). The main pillar of the science of Hadith is Jarh and Ta‘dil, which means the critical examination of the reliability of the reporters of a certain Hadith in addition to its subject matter. Obviously these processes are rational and speculative. The development of Tasawwuf, however, has consisted in the progressively more detailed expounding of the spiritual experience constituting the inner heritage of the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) and has no content of conjecture and opinion. This vital element has resulted in a remarkable unanimity among the proponents of this science throughout the ages, and whatever differences that exist are those of emphasis or mode of expression and do not show any real cleavage in the essential unity.

We have already alluded to the function of Tasawwuf, which is to perfect the relationship of man first with his God, and secondly with his fellow men. Now it is obvious that only very few people have the call to devote themselves entirely to spirituality and become, as it were, specialists in the inner life. This appears to be the result of some innate urge which so drives those who possess it as not to allow them to follow any other vocation. This is not to say that even these specially gifted few entirely abandon all usual worldly activities. On the contrary, we find in Islam, in distinction from other religious communities, that its greatest scientists of the soul were mostly married, had children and conducted their household and similar affairs like other men. It is another matter that during the period of training for spiritual development a certain retirement, either total or partial, is usually required, as indeed it is during the acquirement of other branches of specialist learning. It is also true that even after reaching expertness many of the Islamic spiritualists paid very little attention to the earning of their livelihood and spent their whole time in teaching and giving solace, help and encouragement to the common people. Their physical wants were looked after by their pupils and admirers, as was the practice until recently even in the case of those who taught children how to read and write. In this deliberate neglect of their own material needs in order to devote themselves more unhamperedly to their mission, they observed the utmost selflessness and resignation to Allah, and never expressly or by implication gave any sign of the poverty or even hunger which they often had to undergo. If they neglected the world, it was only as far as their own wants were concerned; they never neglected the wants of those who came to them for spiritual nourishment, or even for physical nourishment if they had any to spare, for in addition to being at the service of those who were hungry for the things of the soul, they often conducted public kitchens for the feeding of the poor, and engaged themselves in the healing of the sick in body as well as those who were sick in spirit, as is well-known to those who have studied their lives.

Just as spiritual specialists are few by the nature of things, so also the number of the pupils who shape their lives in close conformity to those of their masters is also very small. These selected followers are those who, having the inner call, are later charged with the duty of carrying on the work of teaching and exhortation in a new generation. But the majority of those who visit these inheritors of the more inward traditions of Islam are those who, while engaged in their daily vocations, wish to refresh themselves from the toils of the world at the pure springs of sincerity and devotion which they find so abundant with the Sufis. It is here that we see the influence of the Sufis working and giving new life to the whole wide land of the community. The ordinary men and women who spend a part of their time with the Sufis acquire some measure of inspiration for their spiritual and moral betterment, and to this measure their whole lives are affected. It is the spiritual orientation and the moral attitude which constitute the fountain-head of human thought, and so of human action. Events in man’s history, and the growth, flourishing, and decay of peoples, can always be traced back to these inner sources. The contact of people of the world with the Sufis, whether they be kings, princes, captains, merchants, administrators, artisans or peasants, indirectly affects the whole movement of the nation along the uneven road of time. It is from these most intimate wells of inspiration that a certain quality is given to the thought and life of a whole culture; what a pity that some superficial intellects are unable to perceive these undercurrents of history. Economics, politics, and social life are all controlled by the mental processes of man; he can only ignore at his peril these deep directive forces from which his mental processes emerge. The apparent obscurity and detachment of the Sufi conceal an activity of radical importance to the whole Muslim nation.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ibn Khaldun

Ibn Khaldun the father of Economics
Ibrahim M. Oweiss

In his Prolegomena (The Muqaddimah), 'Abd al-Rahman Ibn Muhammad Ibn Khaldun al-Hadrami of Tunis (A.D. 1332-1406), commonly known as Ibn Khaldun, laid down the foundations of different fields of knowledge, in particular the science of civilization (al-'umran). His significant contributions to economics, however, should place him in the history of economic thought as a major forerunner, if not the "father," of economics, a title which has been given to Adam Smith, whose great works were published some three hundred and seventy years after Ibn Khaldun's death. Not only did Ibn Khaldun plant the germinating seeds of classical economics, whether in production, supply, or cost, but he also pioneered in consumption, demand, and utility, the cornerstones of modern economic theory.

Before Ibn Khaldun, Plato and his contemporary Xenophon presented, probably for the first time In writing, a crude account of the specialization and division of labor. On a non-theoretical level, the ancient Egyptians used the techniques of specialization, particularly in the era of the Eighteenth Dynasty, in order to save time and to produce more work per hour. Following Plato, Aristotle proposed a definition of economics and considered the use of money in his analysis of exchange. His example of the use of a shoe for wear and for its use in exchange was later presented by Adam Smith as the value in use and the value in exchange. Another aspect of economic thought before Ibn Khaldun was that of the Scholastics and of the Canonites, who proposed placing economics within the framework of laws based on religious and moral perceptions for the good of all human beings. Therefore all economic activities were to be undertaken in accordance with such laws.

Ibn Khaldun was cognizant of these ideas, including the one relating to religious and moral perceptions. The relationship between moral and religious principles on one hand and good government on the other is effectively expounded in his citation and discussion of Tahir Ibn al-Husayn's (A.D. 775-822) famous letter to his son 'Abdallah, who ruled Khurasan with his descendants until A.D. 872.1 From the rudimentary thoughts of Tahir2 he developed a theory of taxation which has affected modern economic thought and even economic policies in the United States and elsewhere.

This paper attempts to give Ibn Khaldun his forgotten and long overdue credit and to place him properly within the history of economic thought. He was preceded by a variety of economic but elemental ideas to which he gave substance and depth. Centuries later these same ideas were developed by the Mercantilists, the commercial capitalists of the seventeenth century-Sir William Petty (A.D. 1623-1687), Adam Smith (A.D. 1723-1790), David Ricardo (A.D. 1772-1823), Thomas R. Malthus (A.D. 1766-1834), Karl Marx (A.D. 1818-1883), and John Maynard Keynes (A.D. 1883-1946), to name only a few-and finally by contemporary economic theorists.

Labor Theory of Value, Economics of Labor, Labor as the Source of Growth and Capital Accumulation

With the exception of Joseph A. Schumpeter, who discovered Ibn Khaldun's writings only a few months before his death,3 Joseph J. Spengler,4 and Charles Issawi, major Western economists trace the theory of value to Adam Smith and David Ricardo because they attempted to find a reasonable explanation for the paradox of value. According to Adam Smith and as further developed by David Ricardo, the exchange value of objects is to be equal to the labor time used in its production. On the basis of this concept, Karl Marx concluded that "wages of labour must equal the production of labour"5 and introduced his revolutionary term surplus value signifying the unjustifiable reward given to capitalists, who exploit the efforts of the labor class, or the proletariat. Yet it was Ibn Khaldun, a believer in the free market economy, who first introduced the labor theory of value without the extensions of Karl Marx.

According to Ibn Khaldun, labor is the source of value. He gave a detailed account of his labor theory of value, presenting it for the first time in history. It is worth noting that Ibn Khaldun never called it a "theory," but had skillfully presented it (in volume 2 of Rosenthal translation) in his analysis of labor and its efforts.6 Ibn Khaldun's contribution was later picked up by David Hume in his Political Discourses, published in 1752: "Everything in the world is purchased by labour."7 This quotation was even used by Adam Smith as a footnote. "What is bought with money or with goods is purchased by labour, as much as what we acquire by the toil of our body. That money or those goods indeed save us this toil. They contain the value of a certain quantity of labour which we exchange for what is supposed at the time to contain the value of an equal quantity. The value of any commodity, therefore, to the person who possesses it, and who means not to use or consume it himself, but to exchange it for other commodities, is equal to the quantity of labour which it enables him to purchase or command. Labour, therefore, is the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities."8 If this passage which was published in A.D. 1776 in Adam Smith's major work, is carefully analyzed, one can find its seeds in Ibn Khaldun's Prolegomena (The Muqaddimah). According to Ibn Khaldun, labor is the source of value. It is necessary for all earnings and capital accumulation. This is obvious in the case of craft. Even if earning "results from something other than a craft, the value of the resulting profit and acquired (capital) must (also) include the value of the labor by which it was obtained. Without labor, it would not have been acquired."9

Ibn Khaldun divided all earnings into two categories, ribh (gross earning) and kasb (earning a living). Ribh is earned when a man works for himself and sells his objects to others; here the value must include the cost of raw material and natural resources. Kasb is earned when a man works for himself. Most translators of Ibn Khaldun have made a common mistake in their understanding of ribh. Ribh may either mean a profit or a gross earning, depending upon the context. In this instance, ribh means gross earning because the cost of raw material and natural resources are included in the sale price of an object.

Whether ribh or kasb, all earnings are value realized from human labor, that is, obtained through human effort. Even though the value of objects includes the cost of other inputs of raw material and natural resources, it is through labor and its efforts that value increases and wealth expands, according to Ibn Khaldun. With less human effort, a reversal to an opposite direction may occur. Ibn Khaldun placed a great emphasis on the role of "extra effort," which later became known as "marginal productivity," in the prosperity of a society. His labor effort theory gave a reason for the rise of cities, which, as his insightful analysis of history indicated, were the focal points of civilizations.

Whereas labor may be interpreted from Ibn Khaldun's ideas as both necessary and sufficient conditions for earnings and profit, natural resources are only necessary. Labor and its effort lead to production, which is in turn used for an exchange through barter or through the use of money, that is, gold and silver. The process therefore creates incomes and profits which a man derives from a craft as the value of his labor after having deducted the cost of raw material. Long before David Ricardo published his significant contribution to the field of economics in 1817, The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, Ibn Khaldun gave the original explanation for the reasons behind the differences in labor earnings. They may be attributed to differences in skills, size of markets, location, craftsmanship or occupation, and the extent to which the ruler and his governors purchase the final product. As a certain type of labor becomes more precious, that is, if the demand for it exceeds its available supply, its earnings must rise.

High earnings in one craft attract others to it, a dynamic phenomenon which will eventually lead to an increase in its available supply and consequently lower profits. This principle explains Ibn Khaldun's original and insightful analysis of long-term adjustments within occupations and between one occupation and another. However, this point of view was attacked by John Maynard Keynes in his famous statement that in the long run we are all dead. Nevertheless, Ibn Khaldun's analysis has not only proved to be historically correct but has also constituted the core thinking of classical economists.10

Ibn Khaldun succinctly observed, explained, and analyzed how earnings in one place may be different from another, even for the same profession. Earnings of judges, craftsmen, and even beggars, for example, are directly related to each town's degree of affluence and standard of living, which in themselves are to be achieved through the fruits of labor and the crystallization of productive communities. Adam Smith explained differences in labor earnings by comparing them in England and in Bengal11 along the same lines of reasoning given by Ibn Khaldun four centuries earlier as he compared earnings in Fez with those of Tlemcen.12 It was Ibn Khaldun, not Adam Smith, who first presented the contribution of labor as a means of building up the wealth of a nation, stating that labor effort, increase in productivity, and exchange of products in large markets are the main reasons behind a country's wealth and prosperity. Inversely, a decline in productivity could lead to the deterioration of an economy and the earnings of its people. "A large civilization yields large profits [earnings] because of' the large amount of [available] labor which is the cause of [profit]."13

It was also Ibn Khaldun, long before Adam Smith, who made a strong case for a free economy and for freedom of choice.

Among the most oppressive measures, and the ones most deeply harming society, is the compelling of subjects to perform forced work unjustly. For labour is a commodity, as we shall show later, in as much as incomes and profits represent value of labour of their recipients...nay most men have no source of income other than their labour. If, therefore, they should be forced to do work other than that for which they have been trained, or made to do forced work in their own occupation, they would lose the fruit of their labour and be deprived of the greater part, nay of the whole, of their income.14

To maximize both earnings and levels of satisfaction, a man should be free to perform whatever his gifted talents and skilled abilities dictate. Through natural talents and acquired skills, man can freely produce objects of' high quality, and, often, more units of labor per hour.

Demand, Supply, Prices, and Profits

In addition to his original contribution to the economics of labor, Ibn Khaldun introduced and ingeniously analyzed the interplay of several tools of economic analysis, such is demand, supply, prices, and profits.

Demand for an object is based on the utility of acquiring it and not necessarily the need for it. Utility is therefore the motive force behind demand. It creates the incentives for consumer spending in the marketplace. Ibn Khaldun had therefore planted the first seed of modern demand theory, which since been developed and expanded by Thomas Robert Malthus, Alfred Marshall, John Hicks, and others. As a commodity in demand attracts increased consumer spending, both the price and the quantity sold are increased. Similarly, if the demand for a certain craft decreases, its sales fall and consequently its price is reduced.

Demand for a certain commodity also depends upon the extent to which it will be purchased by the state. The king and his ruling class purchase much larger quantities than any single private individual is capable of purchasing. A craft flourishes when the state buys its product. With his ingenious analytical mind, Ibn Khaldun had further discovered the concept known in modern economic literature as "derived demand." "Crafts improve and increase when the demand for their products increases."15 Demand for a craftsman is therefore derived from the demand for his product in the marketplace.

As is commonly known, modern price theory states that cost is the backbone of supply theory. It was Ibn Khaldun who first examined analytically the role of the cost of production on supply and prices. In observing the differences between the price of foodstuffs produced in fertile land and of that produced in poor soils, he traced them mainly to the disparity in the cost of production.

[In] the coastal and hilly regions, whose soil is unfit for agriculture, (inhabitants) were forced to apply themselves to improving the conditions of those fields and plantations. This they did by applying valuable work and manure and other costly materials. All this raised the cost of agricultural production, which costs they took into account when fixing their price for selling. And ever since that time Andalusia has been noted for its high prices ....The position is just the reverse in the land of the Berbers. Their land is so rich and fertile that they do not have to incur any expenses in agriculture; hence in that country foodstuffs are cheap.16

Besides individual and state demand and cost of production, Ibn Khaldun introduced other factors which affect the price of goods or services, namely, the degree of affluence and the prosperity of districts, the degree of concentration of the wealthy, and the degree of customs duties being levied on middlemen and traders. The direct functional relationship between income and consumption as presented by Ibn Khaldun paved the road to the theory of consumption function as a cornerstone of Keynesian economics.17

Ibn Khaldun also made an original contribution in his concept of profits. In economic literature, a theory of profit as a reward for undertaking risk in a future of uncertainties is generally attributed to Frank Knight, who published his ideas in 1921.18 There is no doubt that Frank Knight substantially advanced a well-established theory of profit. Nevertheless, it was Ibn Khaldun, not Frank Knight, who originally planted the seed of this theory: "Commerce means the buying of merchandise and goods, storing them, and waiting until fluctuation of the market brings about an increase in the prices of (these goods). This is called profit (ribh)."19 In another context, Ibn Khaldun stated again the same idea: "Intelligent and experienced people in the cities know that it is inauspicious to hoard grain and to wait for high prices, and that the profit (expected) may be spoiled or lost through (hoarding)."20 Profit is therefore a reward for undertaking a risk. In the face of future uncertainties, a risk-bearer may very well lose instead of gain. Similarly, profits or losses may accrue as a result of speculation which is carried out by profit-seekers in the marketplace. To maximize profits, Ibn Khaldun introduced a gospel for traders, "Buy cheap and sell dear,"21 which has been widely quoted ever since. In his translation of the Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun, Franz Rosenthal stated in a footnote, "In 1952 a book by Frank V. Fischer appeared, entitled Buy LowSell High: Guidance for the General Reader in Sound Investment Methods and Wise Trade Techniques."22

If Ibn Khaldun's gospel is applied to cost analysis, it becomes obvious that profit may be increased, even for a given price of a final product, when one reduces the cost of raw material and other inputs used in production by buying them at a discount or, in general, at a low price even from distant markets, as he indicated in his account of benefits of foreign trade. Nevertheless, Ibn Khaldun concluded that both excessively low prices and excessively high prices are disruptive to markets. It is therefore advisable that states not hold prices artificially low through subsidies or other methods of market intervention. Such policies are economically disastrous because the low-priced goods will disappear from the market and there will be no incentive for suppliers to produce and sell whenever their profits are adversely affected. Ibn Khaldun also concluded that excessively high prices will not be compatible with market expansion. As the high-priced goods sell less in the market, the policy of excessively high pricing becomes counterproductive and disrupts the flow of goods in markets. Ibn Khaldun had thus laid down the foundations of ideas which later led to the formulation of disequilibrium analysis. He also cited several factors affecting the upward general price level, such as increase in demand, restrictions of supply, and increase in the cost of production, which includes a sales tax as one of the components of a total cost. After his analysis of what stimulates overall demand in it growing economy, Ibn Khaldun stated the following:

Because of the demand for (luxury articles), they become customary, and thus come to be necessities. In addition, all labor becomes precious in the city, and the conveniences become expensive, because there are many purposes for which then, are in demand in view of the prevailing luxury and because the government makes levies on market and business transactions. This is reflected in the sales prices. Conveniences, foodstuffs, and labor thus become very expensive. As a result, the expenditures of the inhabitants increase tremendously in proportion to the civilization of (the city). A great deal of money is spent. Under these circumstances, (people) need a great deal of money for expenditures, to procure the necessities of life for themselves and their families, as well as all other requirements.21

As to the impact of restricted supply on the price level, Ibn Khaldun summed it up thus: "When goods are few and rare, their prices go up."24

By carefully reading the above two passages, it becomes obvious that Ibn Khaldun discovered what is now known as cost-push and demand-pull causes of inflationary pressures. In fact, he was the first philosopher in history who systematically identified factors affecting either the price of a good or the general price level.

Macroeconomics, Growth, Taxes, Role of Governments, and Money

In macroeconomics, Ibn Khaldun laid the foundations of what John Maynard Keynes called "aggregate effective demand," the multiplier effect and the equality of income and expenditure.25 When there is more total demand as population increases, there is more production, profits, customs, and taxes. The upward cycle of growth continues as civilization flourishes and a new wave of total demand is created for the crafts and luxury products. "The value realized from them increases, and, as a result, profits are again multiplied in the town. Production there is thriving even more than before. And so it goes with the second and third increase."26 People's "wealth, therefore, increases and their riches grow, The customs and ways of luxury multiply, and all the various kinds of crafts are firmly established among them."27 The concept of the multiplier was later developed and expanded by several economists, in particular by John Maynard Keynes. However, it was discovered for the first time in history by Ibn Khaldun.

Modern national income accounts were also developed and expanded using the equality of income and expenditures. Expenditures of one citizen are income to others; therefore total expenditures are equal to total incomes. This equality was first discovered by Ibn Khaldun. In fact, he used both terms as synonymous to one another after having established the equality between them.28 "Income and expenditure balance each other in every city. If the income is large, the expenditure is large, and vice versa. And if both income and expenditure are large, the inhabitants become more favourably situated, and the city grows."29

Ibn Khaldun introduced the pioneering theory of growth based on capital accumulation through man's efforts.

(Man) obtains (some profits) through no efforts of his own, as, for instance, through rain that makes the fields thrive, and similar things. However, these things are only contributory. His own efforts must be combined with them, as will be mentioned. (His) profits will constitute his livelihood, if they correspond to his necessities and needs. They will be capital accumulation it they are greater than (his needs)."30

Ibn Khaldun gave his account of the stages of economic development, from nomadic to agricultural to more "cooperation in economic matters" which occur through an expansion of a town to a city, where demand increases and skilled labor congregates and expands production both ill quantity and in "refinement." Economic growth continues so long as there is an extra effort which creates capital accumulation, which in turn, combined with effort, leads to more production and the development of crafts in the cities. As was presented earlier, wealth expands through labor and its efforts, whereas with less human effort there may occur a reversal to stagnation, followed by a downward trend in people's standard of living.

Governments play an important role in growth and in the country's economy in general through their purchases of goods and services and through their fiscal policy of taxation and expenditures. Governments may also provide an environment of incentives for work and prosperity or, inversely, a system of oppression which is ultimately self-defeating. Even though Ibn Khaldun regards governments as inefficient, "not so much calculation" is carried out by them of what is contemporarily known as cost and benefit, they still play an important role in the country's economy through their big purchases. Government expenditures stimulate the economy by increasing incomes, which are further hiked through a multiplier effect. However, if the king hoards the amount he collects in taxes, business slackens and the economic activities of the state are adversely affected through the multiplier effect.31 In addition to its welfare program for the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the blind, provided there is no overburden for the treasury, the government should spend its tax revenue wisely to improve conditions of its "subjects, to safeguard their rights and to preserve them from harm."32

Ibn Khaldun was the first major contributor to tax theory in history. He is the philosopher who shaped the minds of several rulers throughout history. More recently his impact was evident on John F. Kennedy and later on Ronald Reagan. "Our true choice is not between tax reduction on the one hand and avoidance of large federal deficits on the other. An economy stilled by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget, just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits." John F. Kennedy said that back in 1962, when he was asking for a tax decrease, a cut in tax rates across the board. But when John Kennedy said those words, he was echoing the words of Ibn Khaldun, a Muslim philosopher back in the fourteenth century, who said the following: "At the beginning of the dynasty taxation yields large revenues from small assessments. At the end of the dynasty taxation yields small revenue from large assessments….This is why we had to have the tax program as well as the budget cuts, because budget cuts, yes, would reduce government spending."33

According to Ibn Khaldun, tax revenues of the ruling dynasty increase because of business prosperity, which flourishes with easy, not excessive taxes. He was therefore the first in history to lay the foundation of a theory for the optimum rate of taxation, a theory which has even affected contemporary leading advocates of supply-side economics such as Arthur Laffer and others. The well-known Laffer curve is nothing but a graphical presentation of the theory of taxation developed by Ibn Khaldun in the fourteenth century.34

"When tax assessments and imposts upon the subjects are low, the latter have the energy and desire to do things. Cultural enterprises grow and increase, because the low taxes bring satisfaction. When cultural enterprises grow, the number of individual imposts and assessments mount. In consequence, the tax revenue, which is the sum total of the individual assessments, increases";35 whereas with large tax assessments, incomes and profits are adversely affected, resulting, in the final analysis, in a decline in tax revenue. Ibn Khaldun made a strong case against any government attempt to confiscate or otherwise affect private property. Governments' arbitrary interferences in man's property result in loss of incentives, which could eventually lead to a weakening of the state. Expropriation is self-defeating for any government because it is a form of oppression, and oppression ruins society.

In macroeconomics Ibn Khaldun also contributed to the theory of money. According to him, money is not a real form of wealth but a vehicle through which it can be acquired. He was the first to present the major functions of money as a measure of value, a store of value and a "numeraire." "The two mineral 'stones,' gold and silver as the (measure of) value for all capital accumulations . . . [are] considered treasure and property. Even if under certain circumstances, other things are acquired, it only for the purpose of ultimately obtaining [them]. All other things are subject to market fluctuations from which (gold and silver) are exempt. They are the basis of profit, property and treasure."36 The real form of wealth is not money, however; wealth is rather created or otherwise transformed through labor in the form of capital accumulation in real terms. It was, therefore, Ibn Khaldun who first distinguished between money and real wealth, even though he reali7ed that the latter may he acquired by the former. Yet money plays a much more efficient role than barter in business transactions in a society where man exchanges the fruits of his labor, whether in the form of goods or of services, with another to satisfy the needs which he cannot fulfill alone on his own. Money also facilitates the flow of goods from one market to another, even across the border of countries.

Foreign Trade

Ibn Khaldun also contributed to the field of international economics. Through his perceptive observations and his analytical mind, he undoubtedly shed light on the advantages of trade among nations. Through foreign trade, according to Ibn Khaldun, people's satisfaction, merchants' profits, and countries' wealth are all increased.

The merchant who knows his business will travel only with such goods as are generally needed by rich and poor, rulers and commoners alike. (General need) makes for a large demand for his is more advantageous and more profitable for the merchants' enterprise... (that he will be able to take advantage of) market fluctuations, if he brings goods from a country that is far away...merchandise becomes more valuable when merchants transport it from one country to another.37

The italicized word, valuable, indicates Ibn Khaldun's perception of the gains of trade. If a good becomes more valuable by being transported from country A to country B and still sells at a profit in B after the cost of transportation and all other costs are taken into account, then it is (1) cheaper than the same good produced internally, (2) of better quality, or (3) a totally new product. If the foreign good is cheaper than that produced internally, foreign trade will serve to economize labor and other resources by having them diverted from the high-cost good which cannot face competition to other low-cost products. The resources which are saved from this process of diversion may be used to produce other goods or may add another layer of capital accumulation. Foreign trade may therefore contribute positively to the country's level of income as well as to its level of growth and prosperity. If the foreign good is of a better quality than that produced internally, the imported good will add to the level of satisfaction of those who purchase it. In the meantime, internal producers facing the competitive high-quality product must attempt to improve their production or accept a reduction in their sales and revenues. There will be a welfare gain in either case: a rise in the quality of internal products or a diversion of resources from the production of a high-cost good to a low-cost good, as in the first case. In the last case, when the imported good is a totally new product, the welfare gain from foreign trade may be expressed in terms of an increase in the level of satisfaction of those who purchase it or in terms of an increase in quantity or quality of production of other goods if the imported item is a new tool or a modification of an existing one. Furthermore, an introduction of a totally new product through foreign trade may attract internal producers, if it is feasible, to produce it once they are capable to compete with the foreign product.

Ibn Khaldun was conscious of what was later termed the "opportunity cost." Applying valuable labor to improving poor soils means that the labor could have. been better used in the production of other goods. Resources in general should be put to the best possible use. Otherwise there will be a cost which will surface in a loss in value. Foreign trade provides further incentives in the attempts to optimize the use of labor and other natural resources.

Ibn Khaldun's originality in his perceptive observations and analysis of foreign trade deserves proper recognition in the field of international economics. The subject of gains from trade has been substantially developed and expanded, in particular, since the publication of Political Discourses by David Hume in 1752. But the first original seed of the subject was planted by Ibn Khaldun four centuries earlier.

Ibn Khaldun and Adam Smith

In spite of Ibn Khaldun's overall contribution to the field of economics, it is Adam Smith who has been widely called the "father of economics." Schumpeter's view of Smith's economics is more critical than admiring.38 "Personally, I do not share such a view, for I still consider Adam Smith one of the great philosophers who has significantly contributed to the field of economics even by having been a mere collector of previous economic thoughts. He eloquently presented these ideas in detail in an excellent new form and style. Nevertheless, by comparison, Ibn Khaldun was far more original than Adam Smith, in spite of the fact that the former had also restructured and built upon foundations laid down before him, such as Plato's account of specialization, Aristotle's analysis of money, and Tahir Ibn al-Husayn's treatment of government's role. Still, it was Ibn Khaldun who founded the original ideas in numerous areas of economic thought.

Despite Ibn Khaldun's contributions, some economic ideas as well as some economic philosophy of the freedom of choice, as presented above, were later attributed to Adam Smith without giving due credit to the original thinker Ibn Khaldun. "Smith's great economic treatise contains both his 'preaching' of the 'gospel' of economic liberalism, i.e., economic freedom for all individuals."39 Since there is such a striking similarity in the economic thought of Ibn Khaldun and of Adam Smith, it must be left to the economic historian to ascertain direct or indirect links between these two great thinkers who were four centuries apart. However, I would like to suggest some possible and likely points of contact. Even though Adam Smith did not explicitly refer to Ibn Khaldun's contributions, it may well be argued that there were several channels through which he may have encountered the latter's pioneering and original economic thought.

Adam Smith graduated from Glasgow University, where he was influenced by his teacher Francis Hutcheson, who was in turn affected by Antony Ashley Cooper,40 known as Lord Shaftesbury in the late seventeenth century and early eighteenth century, and other philosophers who were concerned with "liberal enlightenment," all of whom may have been directly or indirectly affected by Ibn Khaldun's thought. After his graduation, Adam Smith devoted six years to research at Oxford University's library, where he may have been exposed to Ibn Khaldun's contributions even without having been aware of the author's name. It was not uncommon in early times that ideas were circulated, discussed, and delivered from one generation to another without the name of an author. Furthermore, ever since the Crusades, which lasted from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries, most Western philosophers attempted to discount the impact of Muslim scholars through a multiplicity of approaches, which included using Muslim ideas without mentioning the name of a Muslim author. The protracted war waged by the Crusaders to capture the Holy Land from the Muslims created a strong antagonistic feeling, well embedded in the Western mind, from which Western scholars were not immune and which lasted for centuries, probably until modern times. Another possible channel through which Adam Smith may have been directly or indirectly exposed to Ibn Khaldun's economic thought was through his tour of Europe. During this tour he encountered Quesnsay, other Physiocrats in Paris, and other European intellectuals who may have been influenced by Ibn Khaldun in one way or another.

Adam Smith could also have been exposed to the economic contributions of Ibn Khaldun through the dominant influence of the Ottoman Empire. Ever since the Ottoman Empire rose in the fourteenth century-and vastly extended its boundaries at its peak in the sixteenth century to include much of southeast Europe, southwest Asia, and northern Africa-a new bridge was erected linking intellectuals in the Continent with their counterparts in the vast territories of the empire, of which Egypt became a part in 1517. It was in Egypt that Ibn Khaldun spent the latter part of his life revising manuscripts of his works which he had originally completed in Tunis in November of 1377. His thoughts were then transmitted from one generation to another, from one century to another, and from one country to another. Influenced by Ibn Khaldun's idea that craftsmen and industrialists play a significant role in a country's growth, prosperity, and power, Sultan Selim 1, after having successfully extended his domain of influence over Egypt in 1517, took back with him from Cairo to Constantinople the best-known artisans at that time. In modern terminology, this was a case of a "transfer of technology."

The impact of Ibn Khaldun was extensive and profound, not only in the minds of some rulers and statesmen, but also among intellectuals and educators long before his books were even translated into other languages, In response to great interest in his works, his books were finally translated to the Turkish language in 1730,41 exactly forty-six years before the publication of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations.

Concluding Remarks

Even if Adam Smith was not directly exposed to Ibn Khaldun's economic thoughts, the fact remains that they were the original seeds of classical economics and even modern economic theory. Ibn Khaldun had not only been well established as the father of the field of sociology, but he had also been well recognized in the field of history, as the following passage from Arnold Toynbee indicates:

In his chosen field of intellectual activity [Ibn Khaldun] appears to have been inspired by no predecessors ... and yet, in the Prolegomena ... to his Universal History he has conceived and formulated a philosophy of history which is undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has yet been created by any mind in any time or place.42

Through his great sense and knowledge of history, together with his microscopic observations of men, times, and places, Ibn Khaldun used an insightful empirical investigation to analyze and produce original economic thought. He left a wealth of contributions for the first time in history in the field of economics. He clearly demonstrated breadth and depth in his coverage of value and its relationship to labor; his analysis of his theory of capital accumulation and its relationship to the rise and fall of dynasties; his perceptions of the dynamics of demand, supply, prices, and profits; his treatment of the subjects of money and the role of governments; his remarkable theory of taxation, and other economic subjects. His unprecedented contributions to the overall field of economics should make him, Ibn Khaldun, the father of economics.


1 Charles Issawi, An Arab Philosophy of History, Selections from the Prolegomena of Ibn Khaldun of Tunis (1332-1406) (London: John Murray, 1950), p. 80.
2 Ibid., p. 89. The letter appears in the third chapter, section 50, of the Prolegomena. See Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, an Introduction to History, tr. by Franz Rosenthal, 3 vols., 2nd ed. (Published for the Bollingen Foundation by Princeton University Press, 1967); hereafter, The Muqaddimah.
3 Joseph A. Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis, edited from manuscript by Elizabeth B. Schumpeter and published after his death (New York: Oxford University Press, 1954), pp. 136, 788.
4 Joseph J. Spengler, "Economic Thought in Islam: Ibn Khaldun," Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 6, no. 3 (April 1964).
5 Karl Marx, Zur Kritik der Politischen Ökonomie, p. 45, as quoted in Erik Roll, A History of Economic Thought, 4th ed. (London: Faber and Faber, 1978), p. 266.
6 The Muqaddimah, 2:311ff.
7 David Hume, Political Discourses (Edinburg: Printed by R. Fleming for Kincaid, 1752), p. 12.
8 Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. by Edwin Cannan (New York: Random House, 1937), p. 30.
9 The Muqaddimah, 2:313.
10 Iohn Maynard Kevnes, General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1936), pp. 4-22.
11 Adam Smith, An Inquiry, pp. 67-73.
12 The Muqaddimah, 2:273-274.
13 Ibid., p. 282.
14 Ibn Khaldun, An Arab Philosophy of History, (Issawi's translation), p. 85.
15 Ibid., p. 72.
16 Ibid., pp. 73-74.
17 Cf. Milton Friedman, A Theory of Consumption Function (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957).
18 1 8. Frank H. Knight, Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1921).
19 The Muqaddimah, 2:340.
20 Ibid., 2:339.
21 Ibid., 2:337.
22 Ibid., 2:337 (see footnote 52).
23 Ibid., 2:279-280.
24 Ibid., 2:338.
25 Keynes, General Theory, pp. 23-34, 113-131, 52-61.
26 7he Muqaddimah, 2:273.
27 Ibid., 2:297.
28 Ibid., 2:274.
29 Ibid., 2:275.
30 Ibid., 2:311-12.
31 The Muqaddimah, 2:92.
32 Ibn Khaldun was mostly influenced in government expenditures by the letter of Tahir Ibn al-Husayn. See Issawi, Arab Philosophy, p. 89. See also The Muqaddimah, 2:140-141.
33 President Reagan quoted Ibn Khaldun twice, on September 2, 1981, and on October 1, the same year. See Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Ronald Reagan (Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1981), pp. 745, 871.
34 Arthur B. Laffer and Marc A. Miles, International Economics in an Integrated World (New York and London: Scott, Foresman and Co., 1982), pp. 157-158.
35 The Muqaddimah, 2:89-90.
36 Ibid., 2:313.
37 Ibid., 2:337-338.
38 Joseph A. Schumpeter, History. pp. 185-94, 474.
39 Overton H. Taylor, A History of Economic Thought (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1960), p. 78.
40 Antony Ashley Cooper (3rd Earl of Shaftesbury), Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions and Times, vol. 2, Inquiry Concerning Virtue and Merit, 6th ed. (London: J. Purser, 1737).
41 Spengler, "Economic Thought," p. 305.
42 Arnold J. Toynbee, A Study of History (London: Oxford University Press, 1935) 3:322.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ibn Khaldun

The Mahdi
From the Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun

Section 51 (of the Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun) On the matter of the Fatimi (The Mahdi) and the position people take concerning him, removing the veil from all of that.

Know that it has been commonly accepted ( mashhour ) among the masses ( al-kaffah ) of the people of Islam throughout the ages that there must be at the end of time the appearance of a man from the People of the House who will help the deen and make justice triumphant and whom the Muslims will follow and who will gain control over the Islamic lands, and who will be called the Mahdi. The appearance of the Dajjal and what comes after him of the preconditions of the Hour which are firmly established in the Sahih (literature) will be right after him. 'Isa, peace be upon him, will descend after him and will kill the Dajjal or he will descend at the same time as he (appears) and will help him to kill him and then he will follow the Mahdi as his Imam in prayer. They argue in favour of this matter using hadith which the Imams published. Those who deny (the Mahdi) discussed them (those hadith) and opposed them with some other traditions.

The later Sufis have another path with respect to this Fatimi and a way of drawing indications and they probably rely in that upon the unveiling which is the source of their paths.

Here we will now mention the hadith which are narrated about this matter and what matters those who deny them have which would invalidate them, and what hadiths with isnads they have with which to oppose them, which we will follow with mention of the Sufis' words so that the sound and authentic of them may become clear to you, insha'Allah ta'ala.

We say a group of the Imams narrated the hadith about the Mahdi, of whom are at-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, al-Bazzar, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim, at-Tabarani, and Abu Ya'ala al-Mawsili, and they ascribed them to a group of the companions, for example, 'Ali, Ibn 'Abbas, Ibn 'Umar, Talhah, Ibn Mas'ud, Abu Hurairah, Anas, Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, Umm Habibah, Umm Salamah, Thawban, Qurrah ibn Iyas, 'Ali al-Hilali and 'Abdullah ibn al-Harith ibn Jaz' with isnads which those who deny (the Mahdi) object to, as we shall mention, except that it is well known to the people of hadith that (the factors which cause the) invalidation (of a hadith narrator) take precedence over the (the factors which result in the) attribution of veracity (to him), so that when we find a flaw in some of the men in the isnads because of carelessness, bad memory, weakness or a bad view that will find a way (to affect) the soundness of the hadith and will weaken it. Do not say, "Similar things may affect the soundness of the men of the two Sahih volumes," because the consensus of the Ummah has been reached on accepting both of them and acting upon the contents of both of them, and in consensus there is the greatest and best protection. Books other than the two Sahihs do not have the same degree of agreement in that respect. You will find an opportunity to discuss their isnads in what has been transmitted from the Imams of hadith about that.

Abu Bakr ibn Abi Khaythamah went excessively far, according to that which as-Suhaili transmitted from him, in his collecting the hadith which have been related concerning the Mahdi, so he said, "One of the strangest of them in isnad is that which Abu Bakr al-Iskaf mentioned in his Fawa'id al-Akhbar with an isnad to Malik ibn Anas from Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir from Jabir that he said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Whoever denies the Mahdi has become a kafir, and whoever denies the Dajjal has become a liar'." And he said, "In The Rising of the Sun from its Place of Setting is the like of it, I think," and this is enough for excessive behaviour, and Allah knows best about the soundness of its path to Malik ibn Anas, because Abu Bakr al-Iskaf is suspected of forgery by them (the scholars of hadith).

As for at-Tirmidhi, he and Abu Dawud published, with their two isnads to Ibn 'Abbas by way of 'Asim ibn Abi an-Nujud, one of 'The Seven' Qur'an reciters, to Zirr ibn Hubaysh from 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "If there did not remain of the world anything but one day, Allah would lengthen that day until Allah would send in it a man from me, or from the people of my house, whose name coincides with my name and whose father's name coincides with my father's name." This is the wording of Abu Dawud, and he remained silent about it, and he said in his famous letter/treatise, "What he was silent about in his book is correct." The wording of at-Tirmidhi is, "The world will not depart until a man of my house will take control of the Arabs, whose name coincides with my name," and in another wording, "...until a man from the people of my house rules..." and both of them are good sound hadiths, and he related them also by a path which stops short at Abu Hurairah. Al-Hakim said, "Ath-Thawri, Shu'bah, Za'idah and other Imams of the Muslims narrated it from 'Asim." He said, "The paths of 'Asim from Zirr from 'Abdullah are all sound according to what ???? of deriving a proof from the traditions of 'Asim since he is one of the Imams of the Muslims." (What these Imams have said is) finished (here). However, Ahmad ibn Hanbal said about him ('Asim), "He was a right-acting man, reciting the Qur'an, good and trustworthy, and al-'Amash has a better memory than him, and Shu'bah used to choose al-'Amash over him if he was trying to make sure of a hadith, and al-'Ijli said, 'They used to disagree about him concerning his narration from Zirr and Abu Wa'il,' indicating by that the weakness of his narration from the two of them." Muhammad ibn Sa'd said, "He was trustworthy except that he made a lot of mistakes in his hadith." Ya'qub ibn Sufyan said, "There is some disquiet about his hadith." 'Abdarrahman ibn Abi Hatim said, "I said to my father, 'Abu Zar'ah says that 'Asim is trustworthy.' He said, 'That is not his place. Ibn 'Ulayyah spoke about him and said, "Everyone whose name is 'Asim has a bad memory".' Abu Hatim said, 'His standing with me is a standing of truthfulness, with good hadith, and yet, by that, he is not a memoriser of hadith (a hafidh).'" There are different statements from an-Nasa'i about him. Ibn Harrash said, "In his hadith there is an indefiniteness." Abu Ja'far al-'Aqeeli said, "He had nothing (said against him) but (that he had) a bad memory." Ad-Daraqutni said, "There was something about his memorisation." Yahya al-Qattan said, "I have not found a man whose name was 'Asim but that I found him to have a weak memory." He also said, "I heard Shu'bah say, 'Asim ibn Abu an-Nujud narrated to us, and in people is what is in it/her.'" Adh-Dhahabi said, "(He was) Firm (trustworthy) in recitation and good in hadith (i.e. less than his rank in recitation), and if any argues with us saying that the two Shaykhs (Bukhari and Muslim) narrated from him then we say, 'They narrated from him coupling (his hadith) with another's, not as a source (in himself) and Allah knows best.'"

Abu Dawud published in the chapter (of hadith on the Mahdi) from 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, from the narration of Qatan ibn Khalifah from al-Qasim ibn Abi Murrah from Abu at-Tufail from 'Ali from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that he said, "Even if nothing remained of time but one day, Allah would send a man from the people of my house who would fill it with justice just as it has been filled with injustice." And even if Ahmad, Yahya ibn al-Qattan, Ibn Mu'in, an-Nasa'i and others found Qatan ibn Khalifah trustworthy, yet al-'Ijli said, "He has good hadith but there is a little bit of shi'ah in him." Ibn Mu'in once said, "A shi'ah trustworthy." Ahmad ibn Abdullah ibn Yunus said, "We used to pass by Qatan and he was rejected; we would not write down (hadith) from him." He said once, "I used to pass by him and leave him alone like a dog." Ad-Daraqutni said, "He may not be used in proof." Abu Bakr ibn 'Ayyash said, "I did not abandon narrating from him except because of the evil of his school." Al-Jurjani said, "A deviant who is untrustworthy."

Abu Dawud also published with his isnad to Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, from Marwan ibn al-Mughirah from 'Umar ibn Abi Qays from Shu'ayb ibn Abi Khalid from Abu Ishaq an-Nasafi, that 'Ali said while looking at his son al-Hasan, "This son of mine is a lord as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, named him; a man will come from his loins who will be named with the name of your Prophet, salla'llahu 'alaihi wa sallam; he will resemble him in disposition but he will not resemble him in appearance; he will fill the earth with justice." Harun said, "Umar ibn Abi Qays narrated to us from Mutarfif ibn Tarif from Abu'l-Hasan from Hilal ibn 'Umar, 'I heard 'Ali saying, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'A man will come out from beyond the river who will be known as al-Harith, in advance of whom will be a man known as Mansur, who will facilitate or establish things for the family of Muhammad as Quraysh established things for the Messenger of Allah, salla'llahu 'alaihi wa sallam; it is obligatory on every believer to help him' or he said, ' respond to him'."'" Abu Dawud was silent about it. He said in another place, "Harun is one of the offspring of the shi'ah." And as-Sulaymani said, "There is an opinion about him." Abu Dawud said about 'Umar ibn Abi Qays, "No harm. And in his hadith there is a mistake." Adh-Dhahabi said, "Straight (as a spear)! He has suppositions." As for Abu Ishaq the shi'ah, even if he has been narrated from in the two Sahih books it is established that he mixed things up towards the end of his life, and his narration from 'Ali is interrupted, and similarly the narration of Abu Dawud from Harun ibn al-Mughirah. As for the second isnad, Abu'l-Hasan and Hilal ibn 'Umar in it are unknown and Abu'l-Hasan is not known except in Mutarrif ibn Tarif's narration from him.

Abu Dawud also published from Umm Salamah, radiya'llahu 'anha, that she said, "I heard..." and in Al-Mustadrak by way of 'Ali ibn Nufayl from Sa'eed ibn al-Musayyab from Umm Salamah that she said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saying, 'The Mahdi is one of the descendants of Fatimah'." The wording of al-Hakim is, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, mentioning the Mahdi and then he said, 'Yes, he is real, and he is one of the descendants of Fatimah'." And he (al-Hakim) did not speak about it as being sahih or anything else, and Abu Ja'far al-'Aqeeli declared it weak. He said, "'Ali ibn Nufayl is not to be followed over it, and it is unknown except from him."

Abu Dawud also published from Umm Salamah by way of Salih Abu'l-Khaleel from a companion of his from Umm Salamah, that he said, "There will be disagreement at the death of a khalifah, so a man from Madinah will come out fleeing to Makkah, and the people of Makkah will come to him and bring him out (as a claimant for the khalifate) against his will and swear allegiance to him between the Corner (of the Ka'bah in which the Black Stone is) and the Station (of Ibrahim). An expeditionary force will sent against him from Sham (Syria) and the earth will swallow them up in the waterless desert between Makkah and Madinah. When people see that, the Abdal of the people of Sham will come to him and the companies of the people of Iraq and they will swear allegiance to him. Then a man of Quraysh will arise (in rebellion) whose maternal uncles are (the tribe of) Kalb, and an expeditionary force will be sent against them and they will conquer them, and that is the expeditionary force of Kalb, and there is disappointment for whoever does not attend (the division of) the spoils of Kalb. So he will divide up the wealth, and he will act among people according to their Prophet's Sunnah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he will throw Islam by its neck on the earth. He will remain seven years." One of them said, "Nine years." Moreover, Abu Dawud narrated it from the narration of Abu'l-Khaleel from 'Abdullah ibn al-Harith from Umm Salamah, which will make clear to you the unnamed person in the former isnad, and its men are men of the two Sahihs against whom there are no allegations or cause for slander. It has been said that it is one of the narrations of Qatadah from Abu'l-Khaleel, and Qatadah was a mudallis (who neglected to mention an intermediary in the isnad between him and the first man in the isnad, perhaps because the intermediary was less well trusted than the first name in the isnad) and he narrated his hadith using the terminology "from so-and-so from so-and-so" (to avoid saying "I heard it from so-and-so who heard it from so-and-so" and thus having to give the name of the less trusted intermediary) and the hadith of a mudallis is not to be accepted unless he declares unequivocally that he heard it (directly from the first person he mentions in his isnad who heard it directly from his transmitter, and so on). Along with that, there is no mention of the Mahdi by name in the hadith. Yes, though, Abu Dawud mentioned it in his chapters (on the Mahdi).

Abu Dawud also published, and al-Hakim followed him in it, from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri that he said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'The Mahdi is from me, clear-browed, crook-nosed, he will fill the earth with equity and justice as it was filled with wrongdoing and injustice; he will have seven years'." This is the wording of Abu Dawud and he was silent about it. The wording of al-Hakim is, "The Mahdi is from us, the people of the house, proud-nosed, hooked, clear (browed), he will fill the earth with equity and justice just as it was filled with tyranny and injustice; he will live like this,' and he spread out (the fingers of) his left hand and two fingers of his right hand, the index finger and the thumb, and he bent down (the other) three (fingers)." Al-Hakim said, "This is a sahih hadith according to the conditions of Muslim, and the two of them (Bukhari and Muslim) did not publish it." There is disagreement about seeking to prove something by means of 'Amran al-Quttan. Bukhari only published from as an extra evidence not as a primary source. Yahya al-Qattan would not narrate from him and Yahya ibn Mu'in said, "He is not strong," and he said one time, "He is not anything." Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, "I would hope that he would be (a) good (source) of hadith." Yazid ibn Zurai' said, "He was a Haruri, and he held the view that the sword could be used against the people of the Qiblah." An-Nasa'i said, "Weak." Abu 'Ubaidah al-Ajiri said, "I asked Abu Dawud about him and he said, '(He was) One of the companions of al-Hasan (al-Basri) and I have not heard anything but good about him.' Another time I heard him mention him and he said, 'Weak. He gave a severe fatwa about Ibrahim ibn 'Abdullah ibn Hasan (who contended for the Khalifate and took up arms against the Abbasids and was killed), in which there was spilling of blood'."

At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and al-Hakim all published from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri by way of Zayd al-'Ammi from Abu Sadeeq an-Naji from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri that he said, "We were afraid that things might happen, so we asked the Prophet of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ...

'In my Ummah there will be the Mahdi; he will come out and live five, seven or nine,'" Zayd was the one who was not sure. He said, "We said, 'What is that?' He said, 'Years.' He said, 'So he will come to him and say, "O Mahdi, give me!" He said, 'So he will spread his garment for him as open as he can to carry it (what the Mahdi will give him)'." The wording is that of at-Tirmidhi, and he said, "This is a good hadith," and he narrated it in more than one way from Abu Sa'id from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The wording of Ibn Majah and al-Hakim is, "There will be in my Ummah the Mahdi; if it is shortened then seven, and if not, then nine, and my Ummah will be blessed in him with a blessing the like of which they will have never heard. The earth will give its produce and nothing of it will be stored, and wealth on that day will be in heaps, so that a man will stand up and say, 'Mahdi, give me!' and he will say, 'Take'." (As for) Zayd al-'Ammi, even if ad-Daraqutni, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Yahya ibn Mu'in said about him that he was right-acting, and Ahmad said moreover that he was above Yazid ar-Rafashi and Fadl ibn 'Isa, yet Abu Hatim said about him, "(He was) Weak. He used to write his hadith and he is not used as a proof." Yahya ibn Mu'in said in another narration, "No thing," and he said one time, "He writes his hadith and he is weak." Al-Jurjani said, "One who holds on strongly." Abu Zar'ah said, "He is not strong, baseless hadith, weak." Abu Hatim said, "He is not that, and Shu'bah narrated from him." An-Nasa'i said, "Weak." Ibn 'Adi said, "The mass of what he narrates and those from whom it was narrated are weak, except that Shu'bah narrated from him, and perhaps Shu'bah narrated from nobody weaker than him." It has been said, "The hadith of at-Tirmidhi came about as a commentary for that which Muslim narrated in his Sahih of the hadith of Jabir. He said, 'The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There will be at the end of my Ummah a Khalifah who will pour out wealth without counting it." And also the hadith of Abu Sa'id that he said, "Of your khulafa there will be a khalifah who will pour out wealth," and by another way from the two of them that he said, "There will be at the end of time a khalifah who will apportion out wealth and he will not count it'."'"

In the ahadith of Muslim, there is no mention of the Mahdi and there is no indication which would establish that he was intended by them.

Al-Hakim also narrated it by way of al-'Awf al-A'rabi from Abu as-Sadeeq an-Naji from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri that he said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'The Hour will not arise until the earth is filled with tyranny, injustice and enmity, and then a man will come out from the people of my house who will fill it with equity and justice just as it was filled with injustice and enmity'." Al-Hakim said about it, "It is sahih according to the conditions of the two shaykhs, and they did not publish it." Al-Hakim also narrated it by way of Sulayman ibn 'Ubaid from Abu as-Sadeeq an-Naji from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that he said, "The Mahdi will come out at the end of my Ummah, and Allah will give him the rain to drink, and the land will produce its plants and he will give wealth free from defect, cattle will be plentiful, and the Ummah will be vast. He will live seven, or eight," meaning years. Al-Hakim said about it, "It is a hadith whose isnad is sahih, and the two of them did not publish it," although none of the six published anything from Sulayman ibn 'Ubaid, but Ibn Hibban mentioned him among the trustworthy and he did not relate that anyone had said anything (negative) about him. Moreover, al-Hakim narrated it by way of Asad ibn Musa from Hamad ibn Salamah from Matar al-Warraq and Abu Harun al-'Abdi from Abu as-Sadeeq an-Naji from Abu Sa'id that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The earth will be filled with tyranny and injustice, then a man from my offspring will come out and he will have seven or nine, and the earth will be filled with justice and equity as much as it was filled with tyranny and injustice." Al-Hakim said about it, "This is a sahih hadith according to the condition of Muslim since it was published from Hamad ibn Salamah and from his shaykh, Matar al-Warraq," but as for his other shaykh, Abu Harun al-'Abdi he did not publish anything from him and he is extremely weak and suspected of lying, and there is no need to publish the sayings of the Imams in which they expose his weakness. As for the one who narrated to him from Hamad ibn Salamah, Asad ibn Musa who was nicknamed Asad as-Sunnah (The Lion of the Sunnah), even if al-Bukhari said, "His hadith are well-known," and he used him as evidence in his Sahih, and Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i sought to use him in proof, yet he said about him another time, "(He is) trustworthy; if only he did not compile (hadith) it would be better for him." Muhammad ibn Hazm said about him, "(His) hadith are rejected."

At-Tabarani narrated it in his al-Mu'jam al-Awsat in the narration of Abu al-Wasil ibn 'Abd al-Hamid ibn Wasil from Abu as-Sadeeq an-Naji from al-Hasan ibn Yazid as-Sa'di one of Bani Bahdalah from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri that he said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saying, 'A man from my Ummah will come out speaking by my Sunnah. Allah, mighty and majestic is He, will send down the rain for him from the sky and the earth will bring out its blessing and the earth will be filled because of him with equity and justice as it had been filled with tyranny and injustice. He will rule over this Ummah seven years and he will dwell at the Bayt al-Maqdis'." At-Tabarani said about it, "A group narrated it from Abu as-Sadeeq and none of them entered anyone between him and between Abu Sa'id except for Abu al-Wasil, for he narrated it from al-Hasan ibn Yazid from Abu Sa'id." Abu Hatim mentioned this al-Hasan ibn Yazid and he did not make him known for anything more than is in this isnad of his narration from Abu Sa'id, and Abu as-Sadeeq's narration from him. Adh-Dhahabi said, in al-Mizan, "He is unknown." However, Ibn Hibban mentioned him among the trustworthy. As for Abu al-Wasil who narrated it from Abu as-Sadeeq none of the six narrated from him, but Ibn Hibban mentioned him among the trustworthy of the second rank, and said about him, "He narrated from Anas and Shu'bah and 'Itab ibn Bushr narrated from him."

Ibn Majah published in the book as-Sunan from 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud by way of Yazid ibn Abi Ziyad from Ibrahim ibn* from 'Alqamah from 'Abdullah that he said, "While we were with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, some men of Banu Hashim came up. When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saw them his eyes flowed and his complexion changed colour." He said, "I said, 'We still see something in your face which we dislike.' Then he said, 'We, the people of the house, Allah has chosen the next life for us over the world, and the people of my house after me will receive trial, dispersal and expulsion until a people come from the direction of the east with whom there are black banners, and they will ask for news and will not be given it, and so they will fight and be given victory and be given what they asked, but they will not accept it until they give it to a man from the people of my house, and he will fill it (the earth) with equity as much as they had filled it with tyranny. Whoever of you reaches that let him come to them even if it were crawling on the snow." This hadith is known among the scholars of hadith as the "hadith of the banners". Shu'bah said about its narrator, Yazid ibn Abi Ziyad, "He used to be a raffa'", meaning that he would raise unknown hadith (by ascribing them to the Prophet, salla'llahu 'alaihi wa sallam). Muhammad ibn al-Fadeel said, "One of the great Imams of the Shi'ah." Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, "He was not a hafidh (memoriser of the hadith)," and he said one time, "His hadith is not that." Yahya ibn Mu'in said, "Weak." Al-'Ijli said, "His hadith are permissible, and he used at his end to yulaqqinu* *." Abu Zar'ah said, "Soft; he writes his hadith, and a proof cannot be made by him." Abu Hatim said, "He is not strong." Al-Jurjani said, "I heard them declaring his hadith to be weak." Abu Dawud said, "I don't know of anybody who abandoned his hadith, and (anyone) other than him is preferable to me." Ibn 'Adi said, "He is one of the shi'ah of the people of Kufah, and along with his weakness he writes his hadith." Muslim did narrate from him except coupled with others (not as an independent source). In sum, most people hold him to be weak, and the Imams have openly declared the weakness of this hadith which he narrated from Ibrahim from 'Alqamah from 'Abdullah, which is the 'hadith of the banners'. Wakee' ibn al-Jarrah said about it, "It is not anything," and Ahmad ibn Hanbal said the same. Abu Qudamah said, "I heard Abu Usamah saying about the hadith of Yazid from Ibrahim on the banners, 'Even if Usamah were to swear fifty oaths in my presence I would not believe it. Is this the madhhab of Ibrahim? Is this the madhhab of 'Alqamah? Is this the madhhab of 'Abdullah?'" Al-'Aqeeli narrated this hadith among the weak, and adh-Dhahabi said, "It is not sahih."

Ibn Majah narrated from 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, by the narration of Yasin al-'Ijli from Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al-Hanafiyyah from his father from his grandfather ('Ali) that he said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, 'The Mahdi is from us, the people of the house. Allah will put things right by him in one night'." Even if Ibn Mu'in said about Yasin al-'Ijli, "There is nothing wrong with him," yet al-Bukhari had said, "There is an opinion about him," and this expression is one of his technical terms which very strongly expresses his view of him as being weak. Ibn 'Adi narrated this hadith from him in al-Kamil and adh-Dhahabi in al-Mizan as a way of rejecting it, and said, "He is well known for it."

At-Tabarani published in his al-Mu'jam al-Awsat from 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "Is the Mahdi from us or from other than us, Messenger of Allah?" So he said, "No, he is from us. With us will Allah conclude, as with us He began. With us they will rescue from shirk* * and by us Allah will unite their hearts after clear enmity, just as by us He united their hearts after the enmity of shirk. " 'Ali said, "Believers or disbelievers?" He said, "One who is tried and a disbeliever." In it there is 'Abdullah ibn Luhay'ah who is weak, whose state is known. In it there is 'Umar ibn Jabir al-Hadrami who is weaker than him. Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, "Many things which are to be rejected are narrated from Jabir and it has reached us that he used to lie." An-Nasa'i said, "He is not trustworthy." He said, "Ibn Luhay'ah was a foolish old man, weak of intellect. He used to say, 'Ali is in the clouds', and he would sit with us and, seeing a cloud, he would say, 'This is 'Ali who has passed in the clouds'."

At-Tabarani published from 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There will be a trial at the end of time in which men will be extracted as gold is extracted from the mines, so do not curse the people of Syria, but curse their worst ones, because among them are the Abdal. Soon a rain-cloud from the sky will be sent against the people of Syria which will divide up their community, so much so that if foxes were to fight them they would conquer them. At that time one of the people of my house will come out with three banners; the one who estimates (their number) high would say, 'They have fifteen thousand,' and the one who estimates low would say, 'They have twelve thousand,' and their mark is 'Amit! [Kill!] Amit!' They will cast seven banners, underneath each of those banners a man seeking kingship. Allah will kill all of them and Allah will return to the Muslims their union, their blessing, their distance and their view." In it is 'Abdullah ibn Luhay'ah who is weak, and whose state is well known. Al-Hakim narrated it in al-Mustadrak and said, "A sahih isnad and the two of them (al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not narrate it." In his narration of it there is, "Then later the Hashimi will appear and Allah will return people to their union." Ibn Luhay'ah is not in this isnad, and it is a sahih isnad as he mentioned.

Al-Hakim published in al-Mustadrak from 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, from the narration of Abu at-Tufail from Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah that he said, "We were with 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, and a man asked him about the Mahdi. He said to him 'How remote from the truth!' Then he counted with his hand seven, and said, 'That one will come out at the end of time, when if a man says, "Allah, Allah," he will be killed. Allah will unite around him a wispy people like the wisps of the clouds, and Allah will unite their hearts so that they do not need anyone and do not rejoice in anyone who joins them. Their number will be as the number of the people of Badr Ð the first ones will not outrace them and the last ones will not reach them and as the number of Talut's companions who crossed the river with him.'" Abu at-Tufail said, "Ibn al-Hanafiyyah said, 'Do you want it?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'He will come out from between these two rugged mountains.' I said, 'By Allah, I will not leave it until I die.'" And he died in it, i.e. Makkah. Al-Hakim said, "This is a sahih hadith according to the conditions of the two shaykhs." And it is only on the condition of Muslim, because 'Ammar adh-Dhahabi, Yunus ibn Abi Ishaq are in it, and al-Bukhari did not narrate from the two of them. 'Amr ibn Muhammad al-'Abqari is in it, and al-Bukhari never narrated from him as a proof but only as extra evidence, as well as what connects to that of the Shi'ah inclinations of 'Amr adh-Dhahbabi. Even if Ahmad, Ibn Mu'in, Abu Hatim, an-Nasa'i and others regarded him as trustworthy, 'Ali ibn al-Madani said from Sufyan that Bushr ibn Marwan cut his Achilles tendons. I said, "For what reason?" He said, "For his becoming a shi'ah."

Ibn Majah published from Anas ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, in the narration of Sa'd ibn 'Abd al-Hamid ibn Ja'far from 'Ali ibn Ziyad al-Yamami from 'Ikrimah ibn 'Ammar from Ishaq ibn 'Abdullah from Anas that he said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saying, 'We, the descendants of 'Abd al-Muttalib, are the lords of the people of the Garden: I, Hamzah, 'Ali, Ja'far, al-Hasan, al-Husein and al-Mahdi.'" Even if Muslim published from 'Ikrimah ibn 'Ammar, yet he only did so in following (on from someone else already having published the hadith); some did declare him to be weak and others declared him trustworthy. Abu Hatim ar-Razi said, "He was a mudallis (i.e. he covered up gaps in his isnads by not mentioning missing persons or by saying so-and-so "from" so-and-so rather than the more explicit so-and-so "heard" it from so-and-so), and he is not accepted until he declares that 'Ali ibn Ziyad heard (the hadith directly)." Adh-Dhahabi said in al-Mizan, "We don't know who he was," then he said, "The correct statement concerning him 'Abdullah ibn Ziyad and Sa'd ibn 'Abd al-Hamid even if Ya'qub ibn Abi Shaybah declared him to be trustworthy."** Yahya ibn Mu'in said about him, "There is no harm in him." Ath-Thawri spoke against him, they say because he saw him giving fatwas on some issues and making mistakes in them. Ibn Hibban said, "He was one of those whose giving was excessive, so no proof can be derived from him." Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, "Sa'id ibn 'Abd al-Hamid claims that he heard the review of the books of Malik, and people reject that, and here he is in Baghdad and no-one takes him as a proof, so how could he have heard them?" Adh-Dhahabi regarded him as one of those whom the words of those who talk against him do not injure. Al-Hakim published in al-Mustadrak in the narration of Mujahid from Ibn 'Abbas stopping short at him, that Mujahid said, "Ibn 'Abbas said to me, 'If I had not heard that you are like the people of the house I would not have told you this hadith.'" He said, "Mujahid said, 'Then it is in a veil and I will not mention it to whoever dislikes it'." He said, "Ibn 'Abbas said, 'From us, the people of the house, there are four: there is as-Saffah, there is al-Mundhir, there is al-Mansur, and from us there is the Mahdi.'" He said, "Mujahid said, 'Explain to me these four.' Ibn 'Abbas said, 'As for as-Saffah, most likely he will kill his friends and pardon his enemies. As for al-Mundhir,' I think that he said, 'He will give away much wealth and will not become exalted in himself, and he will withhold a little which is his own right. As for al-Mansur, he will be given half of the victory over his enemy which the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was given, for his enemy feared from the distance of a two month's journey, and al-Mansur's enemy will fear him from the distance of a month's journey. As for al-Mahdi, he will fill the earth with justice as it was filled with tyranny, and (in his time) the wild beasts will be secure, and the earth will cast out the pieces of its liver.' He said, "I said, 'And what are the pieces of its liver.' He said, 'The likes of columns of gold and silver.'" Al-Hakim said, "This hadith has a sound isnad, and the two of them (al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not publish it," and it is one of the narrations of Isma'il ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhajir from his father, and Isma'il is weak. As for Ibrahim, his father, even if Muslim related from him, most people regard him as weak.

Ibn Majah published from Thawban that he said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Three will fight at the moment of your pride, each one the son of a khalifah, then it will not go to any one of them, then the black banners will rise from the direction of the east and they will kill them with a killing which a people have not killed with,' then he mentioned a thing which I have forgotten, and said, 'So when you see him, pledge allegiance to him, even if it must be crawling on snow, for he is the Khalifah of Allah, the Mahdi.'" The men of it are the men of the two Sahihs except that in it there is Abu Qalabah al-Jarmi, and adh-Dhahabi and others mentioned that he was a mudallis, and in it there is Sufyan ath-Thawri who is famous for being a mudallis, and both of them narrated "from" so-and-so "from" so-and-so, and did not clearly state that they had heard it, so that it is not accepted. In it there is 'Abd ar-Razzaq ibn Hammam who was well-known for his being a shi'ah, and he became blind at the end of his life, and became confused. Ibn 'Adi said, "He narrated hadith about the excellent qualities about which no-one agrees with him, and which they ascribed to his espousal of shi'ism."

Ibn Majah also published from 'Abdullah ibn al-Harith ibn Jaz', az-Zabeedi by way of Ibn Luhay'ah from Abu Zar'ah from 'Umar ibn Jabir al-Hadrami from 'Abdullah ibn al-Harith ibn Jaz' that he said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'A people will come from the east and they will facilitate things for the Mahdi, meaning for his authority.'" At-Tabarani said, "It is unique to Ibn Luhay'ah," and we have previously seen, in respect of the hadith of 'Ali which at-Tabarani narrated in his al-Mu'jam al-Awsat, that Ibn Luhay'ah is weak, and that his shaykh 'Umar ibn Jabir is weaker than him.

Al-Bazzar narrated in his Musnad and at-Tabarani in his a l-Mu'jam al-Awsat, and the wording is that of at-Tabarani, from Abu Hurairah from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that he said, "The Mahdi will be among my Ummah, if only for a little (time) then seven, and if not then eight, and if not then nine, in which my Ummah will be blessed with a blessing the like of which they will not have been blessed, the sky will be loosed upon them with abundant rain and the earth will not store up (and withhold) anything of its plants, and wealth will be plentiful (piled up in heaps). The man will stand and say, 'Mahdi! Give me!' and he will say, 'Take!'" At-Tabarani and al-Bazzar said, "It is unique to Muhammad ibn Marwan al-'Ijli." Al-Bazzar added, "And we do not know of anyone following him in it." Even if Abu Dawud declared him to be trustworthy and Ibn Hibban, inasmuch as he counted him among the trustworthy, and Yahya ibn Mu'in said about him, "Right acting," and he said one time, "There is nothing wrong with him," yet they disagreed about him. Abu Zar'ah said, "He is not, in my view, that (i.e. right-acting or trustworthy)." 'Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, "I saw Muhammad ibn Marwan al-'Ijli narrating hadith when I was present and we did not write them down. I intentionally abandoned them, and some of our company wrote them down from him," as if he were declaring that he was weak.

Abu Ya'la al-Mawsili published in his Musnad from Abu Hurairah, and he said, "My close friend ( khaleel ) Abu'l-Qasim, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, told me. He said, 'The Hour will not rise until a man from the people of my house comes out against them and strikes them until they return to the truth.'" He said, "I said, 'How many (years) will he possess?' He said, 'Five plus two.'" He said, "I said, 'What are five plus two?' He said, 'I don't know.'" This isnad is not used in argument or proof. Even if Basheer ibn Naheek spoke about him, and Abu Hatim said about him, "He is not used in adducing a proof," yet the two Shaykhs adduced proofs by him, and people regarded him as being trustworthy, and they didn't turn to the statement of Abu Hatim that a proof could not be adduced by him, except that Raja' ibn Abi Raja' al-Yashkuri said about him, "And there is disagreement about him." Abu Zar'ah said, "Trustworthy." Yahya ibn Mu'in said, "Weak." Abu Dawud said, "Weak," and he said one time, "Right-acting." Al-Bukhari attached to him in his Sahih one hadith.

Abu Bakr al-Bazzar published in his Musnad, and at-Tabarani in his al-Mu'jam al-Kabir and al-Awsat from Qurrah ibn Iyas, that he said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'The earth will definitely be filled with tyranny and injustice, then when it is full of tyranny and injustice, Allah will send a man from my Ummah whose name is my name and whose father's name is my father's name. He will fill it with justice and equity, just as it was filled with tyranny and injustice. The sky will not hold back anything of its rain, and the earth will not store anything of its plants. He will remain among you seven, or eight or nine,' meaning years." In it there is Dawud ibn al-Muhibbi ibn al-Muhrim from his father, and they are both extremely weak.

At-Tabarani published in his al-Mu'jam al-Awsat from Ibn 'Umar that he said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was in a group of the Muhajirun and the Ansar, and 'Ali ibn Abi Talib was on his left, and al-'Abbas on his right, when al-'Abbas and a man of the Ansar quarrelled, and the Ansari became tough on al-'Abbas. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, took hold of al-'Abbas's hand and 'Ali's hand, and said, 'There will come out of the loins of this one until the earth is filled with tyranny and injustice, and there will come out of the loins of this one until he fills the earth with equity and justice. When you see that, you must take yourselves to the Tamimi youth, because he will come from the direction of the east, and he is the owner of the Mahdi's banner.'" In it there is 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar and 'Abdullah ibn Luhay'ah and they are both weak.

At-Tabarani published in his al-Mu'jam al-Awsat from Talhah ibn 'Abdullah (perhaps Talhah ibn 'Ubaidillah) from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that he said, "There will be a trial from which, if one side will be at peace another side will break out in dispute, until a crier from the heaven announces, 'Your Amir is so-and-so.'" In it there is al-Muthanna ibn as-Sabah who is extremely weak, and there is no clear open mention of the Mahdi in the hadith, but they only mentioned it in his chapters and in his anticipatory biographical notice.

This is the sum total of the hadith which the Imams related concerning the Mahdi and his appearance at the end of time. As you see they are not free of criticism except for a few which are the very least of them.

Those who reject his business probably seize hold of that which Muhammad ibn Khalid al-Jundi related from Aban ibn Salih ibn Abi 'Ayyash from al-Hasan al-Basri from Anas ibn Malik from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that he said, "There is no Mahdi but 'Isa ibn Maryam." Yahya ibn Mu'in said of Muhammad ibn Khalid, "He is trustworthy." Al-Baihaqi said, "Only Muhammad ibn Khalid had it (narrated it)." Al-Hakim said about him, "He is an unknown man." There is disagreement about its isnad, so that sometimes they narrate it as above, and that is ascribed to Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi'i, and sometimes they narrate it from Muhammad ibn Khalid from Abban from al-Hasan from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as a mursal (hadith). Al-Baihaqi said, "So, it (this second isnad as well as the first) returns to the narration of Muhammad ibn Khalid and he is unknown, from Abban ibn Abi 'Ayyash and he is one (whose hadith are) abandoned, from al-Hasan from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, so that its narration is interrupted. In summation then the hadith is weak and disquieting." It has been said, "There is no Mahdi but 'Isa ibn Maryam," i.e. there is none who will speak in the cradle ( mahd ) except for 'Isa, trying through this interpretation (ta'weel) to refute the line of argumentation utilising it, or to synthesise between it and the (other) hadith, and it is rebutted by the hadith of Juraij and the like of it of the extraordinary (hadith).

As for the Sufis, the early generations did not plunge into anything of this. Their speech was only about struggling with the nafs ( mujahadah ) in actions and what results from that of ecstasies and states. The talk of the Imamiyyah and the Rafidah (i.e. "rejecters" of the Khalifates of the first three Companions) of the Shi'ah used to be on the superiority of 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, and about his Imamate and their claim of his having been bequeathed that by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and their declaring themselves free of the two Shaykhs (Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Umar, radiya'llahu 'anhuma) as we mentioned previously about their madhhabs. Then after that they began to talk about the 'Infallible (ma'sum) Imam', and there grew to be a great number of compilations in their madhhabs. Then, of them, there came the Isma'iliyyah claiming the divinity of the Imam with a type of incarnation and others claiming the return of Imams who had died with a type of metempsychosis and there are others who are awaiting the coming of one of them who was cut off by his death. There are others who are awaiting the return of authority to the People of the House seeking an indication of that in those hadith on the Mahdi we have mentioned already and others.

Then there also occurred among later Sufis some talk about unveiling and what lies behind the sensory realm. Many of them began to talk unqualifiedly about incarnation and unity, in which they shared with the Imamiyyah and Rafidah because of their saying about the divinity of the Imams and the incarnation of God in them. They also began to talk about the Qutb and the Abdal, which was as if in imitation of the madhhab of the Rafidah in respect to the 'Imam' and his nuqaba (chiefs). They were made to imbibe the sayings of the Shi'ah. They advanced further into the sect with their madhhabs so much so that they made the support of their path, in respect of the wearing of the Khirqah (patched robe), that 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, had robed al-Hasan al-Basri in it and had taken a promise from him on that occasion to stick to the path, and that had continued from them until al-Junaid, one of their Shaykhs. This is not known of 'Ali in any sound and authentic manner, nor was this path something particularly to do with 'Ali, may Allah ennoble his face, rather all of the Companions are models on the path of guidance, and to single out Ali apart from them reeks of Shi'ism, from which it is known, and from other things which come from the people, their entrance into Shi'ism and their entrance into its community. They also began to speak about the Qutb and the books of the Isma'iliyyah from among the Rafidah, and the books of the later Sufis are full of the like of this about the awaited Fatimi. Some of them have dictated it to others and some have been instructed in it by others, and it is as if it is built on feeble foundations by both parties. Probably some of them try to seek evidence in the words of the astrologers on the conjunctions which is like the type of talk about massacres, about which we will talk in the chapter which follows this.

The ones, of these later Sufis, who most talked about the matter of the Fatimi was Ibn al-Arabi al-Hatimi in his book ' Unqa al-Maghrib (The Phoenix of the West), and Ibn Qissi in the book Khal' an-Na'layn (Removal of the Sandals) and 'Abdalhaqq ibn Sab'een and Ibn Abi Wasil his pupil in his commentary on the book Khal' an-Na'layn . Most of their discussion of his affair is enigmas and metaphors, and probably they, or the commentators on their words, speak clearly the least. The upshot of their madhhab on him, according to what Ibn Abi Wasil says, is that by prophethood truth and guidance appeared after error and blindness, and that Khilafah followed it and then later kingship followed Khilafah which then later returned to the condition of tyranny and arrogance and falsehood. They said, that since it is well known of the Sunnah of Allah that affairs must return to what they were, it became neccessary that the matter of prophethood and the truth must live in wilayah then later in its khilafah, then later in deceit in place of the kingship and authority, then later kufr itself returned, indicating by this that which happened of prophethood and the khalifate after it, and the kingship after khilafah, which are three degrees. Similarly the wilayah of this Fatimi and the deceit after that, alluding to the coming out of the Dajjal right after him, and then the kufr after that, and they are three degrees in accordance with the above three degrees. They said, since the affair of Khilafah belongs to Quraysh by a Sharia'h judgement which is unanimously agreed upon with a unanimity which is not weakened by the denial of one who did not apply himself to its study, then it is necessary that the Imamate should belong to a group which is more select to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, than Quraysh, either outwardly such as Bani Abd al-Muttalib or inwardly from among whoever was of the reality of the Family, and the Family is whoever, when he is present he does not give a title to whomever is his family**. Ibn al-Arabi al-Hatimi named him, in his book 'Unqa al-Maghrib from among his authorship, the Seal of the Awliya, and nicknamed him the Brick of Silver indicating the hadith of al-Bukhari in the chapter of the "Seal of the Prophets". He said, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "My likeness with respect to whoever was before me of the prophets is like a man who built a house and completed it until there only remained the place for one brick, and I am that one brick," and they interpret the Seal of the Prophets as the Brick, "until I complete the building." Its meaning is the Prophet who received complete prophethood, and they liken wilayah with its different degrees to prophethood, and they make the possessor of perfection in it to be the Seal of the Awliya, i.e. the one who obtains the rank which is the seal of wilayah just as the Seal of the Prophets obtained the rank which is the seal of prophethood, the commentator alluding to this concluding rank as the brick of the house in the aforementioned hadith. They are based on one relationship between them, so there is one brick in representation. In prophethood it is the brick of gold and in wilayah the brick of silver according to the difference in degree which is as the difference between gold and silver. They make the brick of gold an allusion to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the brick of silver an allusion to this awaited Fatimi wali. That one is the Seal of the Prophets, and this one is the Seal of the Awliya. Ibn al-Arabi said, in that which Ibn Abi Wasil narrated from him, "This awaited Imam is from the Family of the House from the descendants of Fatimah, and his appearance will be after the passing of kha faa jeem after the Hijrah", and he symbolised it with three letters, meaning its number (the number of years) by the arithmetic of using letters of the alphabet according to their numerical value, which is the kha with one dot above, which is 600, the fa which is the sister of the qaf which is eighty, and the jeem with one dot beneath, which is three. That is 683, which is at the end of the seventh century. When that time had passed and he had not appeared, then some of their followers took that to mean that what was meant was his birth, and they took his 'appearance' to be an expression indicating his birth, and that his uprising would be after 710AH, and he is the Imam who will appear from the direction of the Maghrib. He said*, if his birth is as Ibn al-Arabi claimed 683AH, then his age at his uprising would be twenty-six years. He said*, and they claimed that the uprising of the Dajjal would be 743 years after the Muhammadan day, and the Muhammadan day begins according to them from the day of the death of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, up until the completion of a thousand years. Ibn Abi Wasil said in his commentary on the book Khal' an-Na'layn, "The awaited wali who undertakes the command of Allah and who is indicated by Muhammad al-Mahdi and the Seal of the Awliya, and he is not a prophet, but he is only a wali whose ruh and whose beloved dispatched him. He said, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, 'The man of knowledge among his people is like the prophet among his Ummah,' and he said, 'The men of knowledge of my Ummah are like the prophets of Bani Isra'il.' The good tidings never ceased to follow about him in succession from the beginning of the Muhammadan Day to just shortly before 500 [years], which is a half of the Day, and it was emphasised and compounded by the Shaykhs bringing the good tidings of the closeness of his time and the approach of his age since it came to an end, and so on. He said, "And al-Kindi mentioned that this Wali is the one who will lead the people in praying Salat adh-Dhuhr adn he will renew Islam, and make justice manifest and he will conquer the Andalusian peninsula and reach Rome and conquer it, and travel to the east and conquer it and conquer Constantinople, and the kingdom of the earth will become his, the Muslims will become strong, Islam will be exalted and the deen of the Hanif will be purified, for from Salat adh-Dhuhr to Salat al-'Asr is a time for prayer. He said, 'alaihi's-salatu wa's-salam, 'What is in between these two [prayers] is a time.' Al-Kindi also said, "The undotted Arabic letters, meaning those with which the Surahs of the Qur'an open, the sum of their numbers is seven hundred and forty three, [perhaps there is something missing here] and seven are Dajjali in nature, and then later 'Isa will descend at the time of al-'Asr, and he will reform the world, and the sheep will walk with the wolf. Then the extent of the kingdom of the non-Arabs after their acceptance of Islam with 'Isa will be one hundred and sixty years according to the number of the dotted letters, which are Qaf, Ya, Nun, of which the just state will be forty years." Ibn Abi Wasil said, "That which is narrated of his saying 'There is no Mahdi except for 'Isa,' means that there is no Mahdi whose guidance will equal his ['Isa's] guidance, and it has been said that no one will speak in the cradle [ mahd ] except for 'Isa, and this is refuted by the hadith of Jurayj and others.

It has been narrated in the Sahih [hadith] that, "This matter will continue to stand until the Hour rises or there will have been [in command] over them twelve khalifahs" meaning from Quraysh, and existence has given that of them there are some who were at the beginning of Islam, and of them some who will be at the end of it. He said, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "The Khalifate after me will be thirty, or thirty-one or thirty six" and it ended during the Khalifate of al-Hasan and in the beginning of the Khalifate of Mu'awiyyah, so that the beginning of Mu'awiyyah's affair was a khalifate, taking by the beginnings of the names, so he is the sixth of the khulafah. As for the seventh of the khulafa, he was 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Azeez, and of the rest, five are from the Ahl al-Bayt from the descendants of 'Ali, which is supported by his saying, "You are the possessor of two of its horns [or generations]," meaning the Ummah, i.e. "You are the khalifah at its beginning and your descendants at its end." It is very probable that those who assert the return of 'Ali seek to prove it by this hadith. So the first, according to them, is the one indicated by the rising of the sun from its place of setting.

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When Khosrau perishes there will be no Khosrau after him, and when Caeser perishes there will be no Caesar after him. By the One in Whose hand my self is! You will spend their treasures in the way of Allah," and 'Umar ibn al-Khattab spend the treasures of Khosrau in the way of Allah. The one who will destroy Caesar and who will spend his treasures in the way of Allah is this awaited one when he conquers Constantinople, so blessed is its Amir and blessed is that army, and in that manner spoke the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the extent of his rule will be several [years] and 'several' is from three up to nine, and it has been said ten. Forty has been mentioned and in some narrations seventy. As for forty it is extent of he himself (his rule) and of the four khulafa remaining from his family who undertake his affair after him, peace be upon all of them. He said, "And the astrologers mention that the extent of the duration of his affair and [the affair] of his family after him is 159 years. The affair will be in the form of the khilafah and justice for forty or seventy, then conditions will change, and it will become a kingdom." This is the end of what Ibn Abi Wasil said.

He said in another place, "The descent of 'Isa will be at the time of Salat al-'Asr of the Muhammadan Day when three quarters of it has passed." He said, "Al-Kindi Ya'qoub ibn Ishaq mentioned in the book al-Jafr in which he mentioned astrological conjunctions that when the Qur'an reaches Taurus at the beginning of "da ha" with the two letters, 'dad' with the diacritical point and the 'ha' without a diacritical point, meaning 698 after the Hijrah, the Messiah will descend and will rule over the earth as long as Allah ta'ala wills." He said, "And it has been narrated in the hadith that 'Isa will descend at the white minaret to the east of Damascus


1 It is impossible that this should be the Companion 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, for no-one has ever said that he is weak. Al-Bukhari's golden silsilah, i.e. the best of all possible isnads, was Malik from Nafi' from 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Some people said that the Golden silsilah was ash-Shafi'i from Malik from Nafi' from 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, because of the honour of each person in the silsilah.

2 A pre-Islamic Christian Wali accused of having made a young girl pregnant. The baby spoke and exonerated him. The baby was the only other baby, apart from 'Isa, 'alaihi's-salam, who spoke in the cradle.