Ibn Taymiyyah’s Discussion on the Genuine Nature of the Prophet – The Deduction of An-Najaashi & Waraqah bin Nawfal (2/3)

الحمد لله رب العالمين، وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين،  أما بعد

 

Continuing in his discussion of the true or false nature of the one that claims Prophethood, Shaikh ul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) cites the way in which the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was identified as a true Prophet by the contemporary ruler of Abyssinia An-Najaashi[1] and by Waraqah bin Nawfal[2] (radhiyallaahu ‘anhumaa) in the first of two methods of deducing true Prophethood.

He said (rahimahullaah):

“The First: the method which is relative or specific to the nature or type of thing:

It is that which was utilized as proof by An-Najaashi regarding his Prophethood. For when he enquired from them of that which he informs them of; and when he asked them to recite from the Qur’aan and they recited it to him; he said: ‘Indeed this; and that which Moosaa came with emanate from the same lamp.’[3]

Likewise before him was Waraqah bin Nawfal, when the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) informed him of that which he saw – and Waraqah had adopted Christianity and would copy out the Gospel into Hebrew. So Khadeejah said to him: ‘O son of my uncle! Listen to the son of your brother as to what he says.’ So the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) informed him, whereupon he said:

‘This is the Naamoos that used to come to Moosaa,[4] and indeed your people are going to drive you out.’ So the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:

((Are they going to drive me out?))

 

So he said: ‘yes; since no one ever came with that which you have come with except that he was treated with hostility, and if I were to remain alive till your day (of open proclamation), then I would aid you with courageous support.’[5] Then Waraqah did not remain long thereafter except that he died.”[6]/[7]

 

In relation to this and the reason why both An-Najaashi and Waraqah made their statements and mentioned Moosaa (‘alaihis salaam) rather than ‘Eesaa (‘alaihis salaam) despite both of them being Christians; Shaikh ul Islaam said:

“Allaah has indeed informed in the Qur’aan that ‘Eesaa said to them:

وَلِأُحِلَّ لَكُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي حُرِّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ

((And that I may make lawful for you some of that which was forbidden upon you.)) (Aal-‘Imraan: 50)

 

Hence it is known that he made permissible some things in contrast to all. He likewise informed regarding the Maseeh (the Messiah), He taught him the Torah and the Gospel in His saying:

وَيُعَلِّمُهُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَالتَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنجِيلَ

((And He will teach him the Book and the wisdom [underlying legislations] and the Torah and the Gospel.)) (Aal-‘Imraan: 48)

 

It is known that were it not that he was following some of that which was in the Torah, then his learning of it would have no benefit. Do you not see that we are not commanded to memorise the Torah and the Gospel, even if it be that many of the legislations of the two books agree with the legislation of the Qur’aan – for this and other than it makes clear that which the scholars of the Muslims stated with regard to the fact that the Gospel does not contain except a few legal regulations. Whilst the majority of the legal regulations within it follow in compliance with that which is found in the Torah; and so with this there occurs the contrast between the two legislations.

For this reason the Christians are in agreement over the memorization of the Torah and of its recital – just as they memorize the Gospel. Due to this; when An-Najaashi heard the Qur’aan; he said: ‘Indeed this; and that which Moosaa came with emanate from the same lamp.’ Likewise Waraqah bin Nawfal said to the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) when the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) informed him of what comes to him whereupon he said: ‘This is the Naamoos that used to come to Moosaa.’

Likewise the Jinn said:

إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا كِتَابًا أُنزِلَ مِن بَعْدِ مُوسَىٰ

((Indeed we have heard a Book revealed after Moosaa)) (Al-Ahqaaf: 30)

 

So this and its like in that which there is a connection of the Torah with the Qur’aan, as well as its particularization in mention makes clear what they stated in regards to the Torah being the origin and the Gospel following it in compliance in many legal rulings, even if it be that it is in variation to some of it.”[8]

Shaikh ul Islaam said also:

“Therefore when Waraqah bin Nawfal and An-Najaashi and other than them heard the Qur’aan; Waraqah bin Nawfal said: ‘This is the Naamoos that used to come to Moosaa.’ Whilst An-Najaashi said: ‘Indeed this; and that which Moosaa came with emanate from the same lamp.’

Since they had with them knowledge of that which Moosaa came with – and so they took that into consideration, and were it not for that; they would not have known this.”[9]

Shaikh ul Islaam said likewise:

“The Qur’aan is an original source – as is the Torah, even if it be that it (the Qur’aan) is greater than it. Due to this the scholars of the Christians make an associated comparison between Moosaa (‘alaihis salaam) and Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), just as An-Najaashi; the king of the Christians – when he heard the Qur’aan, he said: ‘Indeed this; and that which Moosaa came with emanate from the same lamp.’ Likewise Waraqah bin Nawfal – and he was from the religiously learned men of the Arab Christians, when he heard the speech of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), he said to him: ‘This is the Naamoos that used to come to Moosaa.’

Due to this, He, The Glorified makes an associated comparison between the Torah and the Qur’aan in the like of His saying:

فَلَمَّا جَاءَهُمُ الْحَقُّ مِنْ عِندِنَا قَالُوا لَوْلَا أُوتِيَ مِثْلَ مَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ ۚ أَوَلَمْ يَكْفُرُوا بِمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ مِن قَبْلُ ۖ قَالُوا سِحْرَانِ تَظَاهَرَا

((So when the truth came to them from Us, they said: “Why was he not given the like of what was given to Moosaa?” Did they not disbelieve in that which was given to Moosaa before? They said: “[They are] two works of magic supporting each other.”)) (Al-Qasas: 48)

 

Meaning: the Torah and the Qur’aan, and in another mode of recitation: ((They said: “[They are] two magicians”))[10] Meaning: Muhammad and Moosaa.”[11]

 

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[1] An-Najaashi or Negus was a title denoting the rulers of Abyssinia; such as the title of Qaisar or Caesar for the ruler of the Romans and Kisra or Khosrau as the title of the ruler of the Persians. The ruler referred to as An-Najaashi here was: Asmahah bin Abhar who accepted Islaam during the lifetime of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and showed excellence and good conduct to the Muslims who had migrated to his country in order to escape the persecution of the polytheists of Makkah at the time. The incident regarding the Makkans demanding that those who migrated be returned to them and his refusal to do so is well known and documented. He died in his country before the conquest of Makkah and the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) prayed the funeral prayer in abstentia over him though he and his companions were in Madeenah. (See: Al-Isaabah vol 1 p.117 & Siyar A’laam An-Nubalaa vol 1 p.428-443.)

[2] He was: Waraqah bin Nawfal Al-Asadee, the son of the uncle of Khadeejah bint Khuwailid (radhiyallaahu ‘anhaa). Though he lived in Makkah; he disliked the worship of idols and refused to eat sacrificial offerings made by the polytheists, so he and Zaid bin ‘Amr bin Nufail traveled to Ash-Shaam and other than it enquiring into religion. Waraqah was then attracted to the religion of the Christians; and so he became a Christian and he would meet with some of the remaining monks who were upon the religion of ‘Eesaa and had not changed. Due to this; he informed of the significance of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and of his tidings along with other than that which the people of alterations later changed. He encountered the very beginnings of the Prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) but did not remain to see the open call and proclamation as is understood by the hadeeth in Al-Bukhaaree. He died twelve years before the hijrah. (See: Al-Isaabah vol 3 p.597 & Fathul Baaree vol1 p.34)

[3] Part of the lengthy hadeeth reported by Ahmad in his Musnad (no.1740) and Al-Haithamee in Al-Majma’ Az-Zawaa-id (6/24-27) wherein Al-Haithamee said: “It is reported by Ahmad and its men (in its chain of narration) are the men of the Saheeh except for (Muhammad) Ibn Ishaaq, but he has explicitly stated his having heard it.” Shaikh Al-Albaanee discussed the chains of narration pertaining to the incident of the Hijrah to Abyssinia in his Saheeh As-Seerah An-Nabawiyyah (p.164-187) and mentioned in specific during his comment of the above hadeeth on p.180: “Its chain of narration is hasan (sound) and its men (in its chain of transmission) are the men of the two Shaikhs (i.e. Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim). Al-Haithamee said (6/27): ‘It is reported by Ahmad and its men (in its chain of narration) are the men of the Saheeh except for (Muhammad) Ibn Ishaaq, but he has explicitly stated his having heard it.’”

[4] Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar (rahimahullaah) said: “the An-Naamoos is the secret associate of good and the intent behind An-Naamoos here is: the Angel Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam). His saying: ‘upon Moosaa’ and yet he did not say ‘Eesaa despite the fact that he was a Christian, this is because the book of Moosaa (‘alaihis salaam) is comprised of more rulings – contrary to ‘Eesaa.” (See: Fathul Baaree vol 1 p.35)

[5] Point of benefit: Regarding the reason Khadeejah took the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) to see Waraqah in specific is explained by Shaikh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) who said: “This portion (of the hadeeth) mentions that when the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) related to Khadeejah that which he related, she took him to Waraqah bin Nawfal, this is because he possessed knowledge of the book as he had become a Christian – meaning that he had entered into the religion of the Christians. The religion of the Christians at that time did not have the distortions which took place within it after the sending of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). This is because that which took place after the sending of the Messenger were major distortions which they continued with in rejection of the Prophethood of Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) – despite the fact that it is established in the Gospel.” (See: Sharh Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree vol 1 p.31) Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen said likewise: “Some of the scholars have stated that Waraqah bin Nawfal was the first to believe in the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) from the men – and this is correct. However; he was the first to believe in him from the men before the Messengership, since the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) at the time of the revelation of Soorah ‘Iqrah’ was not a Messenger – rather he was a Prophet. So as for the first to believe in him after the Messengership – then it was Aboo Bakr (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu)” (See: Sharh Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree vol 1 p.31)

[6] The actual wording of this portion of the hadeeth as it is found in Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree is as follows: ((Khadeejah then accompanied him until she arrived with him to Waraqah bin Nawfal bin Asad bin ‘Abdil ‘Uzza, the son of the uncle of Khadeejah who, during the times of pre-Islamic ignorance had become a Christian and used to write in Hebrew. So he would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allaah wished him to write and he was an old man who had lost his eyesight. So Khadeejah said to Waraqah; “O son of my uncle, listen to what the son of your brother has to say” Waraqah asked, “O son of my brother, what have you seen?” So the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) informed of that which he had seen. Whereupon Waraqah said; “This is the Naamoos that Allaah revealed upon Moosaa, I wish I could have been young, I wish I could be alive when your people drive you out.” So the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: ((Are they going to drive me out?)) he said: “Yes, for no man ever came with the like of what you have come with, except that he was treated with hostility. If I were to remain alive till your day (of open proclamation), then I would aid you with courageous support.” Then Waraqah did not remain long thereafter except that he died, and the revelation was paused for a while.)) See: Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree (no.3) and Muslim (no.401) – note: in part 1/3 of this article series this hadeeth was referenced as hadeeth number 4 in Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree; it is in actuality hadeeth number 3.

[7] Sharh Al-Asbahaaniyyah p.548-550.

[8] Abridged from Majmu’ Fatawaa vol 16 p.43-45.

[9] An-Nubuwaat vol 1 p.200-201.

[10] Refer to the Tafseer of this aayah in: Tafseer At-Tabaree for further detail of this.

[11] Abridged from: Al-Jawaab As-Saheeh vol 1 p.116-118.

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