Reviewed by Abū al-Ḥasan Mālik al-Akhḍar
17 Rabīʿ al Awwal 1437 AH | December 28, 2015
FOR DECADES, the deviant sect known as the Ḥabashis (al-Aḥbāsh) has been a fountainhead of heretical beliefs and innovations worldwide. Their negation and metaphorical interpretations of Allāh’s Attributes, hatred for the Salafi scholars, whom they excommunicate from the religion, and erroneous religious verdicts have spread by way of their callers and writers. In our city of Philadelphia alone, we have witnessed their dogged attempt to propagate the corrupt ideology of their founder and namesake, ʿAbdullah al-Ḥabashī, to mosques, Islamic centers, institutions of learning, as well as inside the local prison system. To confront this, and praise is for Allāh, the Salafi callers have picked up the pen and the microphone to repudiate them and to cut off their tentacles wherever they reach. And we are ever thankful to Allāh, the Most High, for a new addition to the longstanding struggle against this sect: the translation and publication of a treatise by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Committee for Knowledge-Based Research and Religious Verdicts entitled The Misguidance of the Ḥabashi Sect.
This concise treatise exposes the group’s myriad errors, heresies, and contradictions, sharply contrasting their thought with that of the Salaf. Concerning the Salaf, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) stated: “The best of mankind is my generation, then those who follow them, then those who follow them.” Thus, in the introduction to this treatise, the Permanent Committee writes,
From the most important characteristics by which these praiseworthy generations are distinguished and as a result excelled the rest of the people in goodness is that they implemented the Book and the Sunnah in all affairs and gave them precedence over the statements of everyone, no matter who it was. (Misguidance of the Ḥabashi Sect, 6)
Thus, this treatise sets out to disclaim the ideology and methodology of the Ḥabashis, which clearly opposes the way of the Believers. The first of those contradictions addressed in the opening chapter is their allowance of seeking refuge and aid “with the dead, and supplicating to them besides Allāh” (Misguidance of the Ḥabashi Sect, 9). The Permanent Committee clarifies that this type of Shirk, which they document from several of ʿAbdullah Ḥabashi’s works, was the religion of the early polytheists of Quraysh. Refuting this, they cite [the meaning of] Allāh’s Statement: “And they worship besides Allāh things that neither hurt them nor profit them, and they say, ‘These are our intercessors with Allāh’” (Yunus: 11:18). High is Allāh above that which they ascribe to Him.
In the second chapter, they refute this sect’s distortions of Allāh’s Perfect Attributes:
They believe that it is obligatory to metaphorically explain away the texts reported in the Book and the Sunnah regarding the attributes of Allāh, the Exalted and High. This opposes what the Muslims have agreed upon from the time of the companions and the Tābi’ūn and those who tread up on their way until this day of ours. (Misguidance of the Ḥabashi Sect, 13)
This section is replete with texts evincing the Sublime Attributes of Allāh: His Face, Two Hands, Two Eyes, His Hearing and Seeing, Shin, Love, and Anger. The denial and metaphorical interpretations of this misguided sect shrink away to nothing from the very outset of the chapter.
Following this, the third chapter covers the Ḥabashis’ heresy that “the Qur’an is not the true Speech of Allāh” (Misguidance of the Ḥabashi Sect, 25). The Permanent Committee again refutes this erroneous belief with several verses from Allāh’s Book.
Perhaps no other innovation has defined the Ḥabashis over the years more than their denial of Allāh’s ʿUlu (Highness) above His creation, for the evil and patently false statement “Allāh exists without a place” is one that immediately comes to mind at the mere mention of this schism. The Permanent Committee, in the fourth chapter of the treatise, cites several ayāt from the Qur’an to rebut this falsehood, along with the well-known narration of the slave girl who the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) asked, “Where is Allāh?” She responded, “Above the heavens.” And it was due to her answer that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) testified to her belief.
The fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters respectively show that the Ḥabashis have fallen into the innovations of several deviant groups: the Irja of the Mur’jiah, as it relates to Imān (belief), the misguidance of the Rifaʿīyah and Naqshabandiyyah Sufi orders, and the defamation of some of the Prophet’s noble companions, thus resembling the Rāfiḍah.
The eighth chapter outlines the Ḥabashis adoption of several misguided religious verdicts that oppose the Book and Sunnah: gambling with the disbelievers, stealing their crops and animals, indulging in usury with them, and allowing the needy to buy unlawful lottery tickets. In addition to this, they allow men to gaze upon women who are not their wives or relatives, along with the free mixing of the sexes.
In the ninth and final chapter, we read of the Ḥabashis enmity and animosity for some of the scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah, most specifically Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, and the reviver of the call to al-Tawḥīd Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb:
No doubt, the hatred this group carries towards these blessed, elite scholars of the Ummah, from those whom we did and did not mention, is only a proof of the hatred and rancor their hearts hide towards every caller to the Tawḥīd of Allāh and [the abhorrence they have] to holding fast to what the (three) praiseworthy generations were upon in belief and in action. It also shows how distant they are from the true Islam in its essence. (Misguidance of the Ḥabashi Sect, 41)
They go on in this chapter to refute the misnomer “Wahhabiyyah,” which they clarify is merely a term invented by the grave worshippers from the Sufis to block people from the call to worship Allāh Alone and to level their mausoleums.
Lastly, in the treatise’s conclusion, the Permanent Committee gives a final warning to the Ummah as it relates to this deviant party:
The Ḥabashi sect is a misguided sect, outside of the main body of the Muslims (Ahl al-Sunnah)…It is upon the Muslims everywhere to be cautious and to warn from this misguided group, the Ḥabashi sect, and not to fall into their traps, whatever name, slogan, organization or center they may be under; and not to cooperate with them in any sense of cooperation (Misguidance of the Ḥabashi Sect, 45 and 46).
We ask Allāh to make this treatise a guiding lamp to the Straight Path, far away from the crooked path of the Ḥabashi call. Indeed, He is the Most High, the Hearer of supplication.
The Misguidance of the Ḥabashi Sect
By the Permanent Committee for
Knowledge-Based Research and Religious
Verdicts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Translator: Anwar Wright
46 pp. IIN Publications. $5