Islamic Scholars confirm Allah has two feet, what about Hands and Face?


On an Islamic QA website, a questioner asked, ‘whether Allah has two feet or one’, to which the panel of Islamic scholars, using authentic Hadith and other canonical scriptures of Islam answered that Allah has a foot. I urge other Muslim friends to ask their respective scholars, whether Allah too has hands, face, eyes etc. or not? Below is the question asked with answer, but anyways thanks to Islamic clerics for confirming that Allah has feet like his prophet Muhammad:

Question:

I am a seeker of knowledge and I am confused: do we affirm that Allah has two feet, as is mentioned in the mawqoof hadeeth the isnaad of which ends with Ibn ‘Abbaas, “The kursiy (foot stool) is the place of the feet”? Or do we affirm that Allah has one foot, as it says in the hadeeth: “… until the Lord of Glory places His foot in it (Hell)” (or, according to another report, “… His foot on it…”)? If Allah has two feet, will Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, place both of His feet on Hell, taking into account the fact that the words of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) “His foot” appears in the genitive (or possessive) and as we know, the genitive singular isgeneral in meaning?

Answer (Source):

Praise be to Allah.

One of the confirmed attributes of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, is the foot.

The evidence for that is the report narrated by al-Bukhaari (6661) and Muslim (2848) from Anas ibn Maalik, according to which the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Hell will keep saying, ‘Are there any more (to come)?’ until the Lord of Glory, may He be blessed and exalted, places His foot on it, then it will say, ‘Enough, enough, by Your glory!’ And all its parts will be integrated together.

Al-Bukhaari (4850) and Muslim (2847) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Hell and Paradise disputed, and Hell said: ‘I have beenfavoured with the arrogant and proud.’ Paradise said: ‘What is the matter with me, that no one will enter me except the weak, humble and downtrodden?’ Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, said to Paradise: ‘You are My mercy by which I will show mercy to whomsoever I will of My slaves.’ And He said to Hell: ‘You are My punishment with which I will punish whomsoever I will of My slaves. And each of you will be full.’ As for Hell, it will not be full until Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, places His foot on it and it says, ‘Enough, enough.’ Then it will be full and all its parts will be integrated together, and Allah will not treat any of His creation unjustly. As for Paradise, Allah will create a creation just for it.”

This indicates that it is confirmed that Allah, may He be exalted, has a foot.

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Kursiy (foot stool) is the place of the two feet, and the size of Throne cannot be known.”

This was narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah in at-Tawheed, 1/248, no. 154; Ibn Abi Shaybah in al-‘Arsh, 61; ad-Daarimi in ar-Radd ‘ala al-Muraysi; ‘Abdullah ibn al-Imam Ahmad in as-Sunnah; and al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak, 2/282 – he classed it as saheeh according to the conditions of the two shaykhs (al-Bukhaari and Muslim), and adh-Dhahabi agreed with him. It was also classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Mukhtasar al-‘Uluw, p. 102; and by Ahmad Shaakir in ‘Umdat at-Tafseer, 2/163.

Abu Moosa al-Ash‘ari (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Kursiy is the place for the two feet, and it creaks as a saddle creaks.

Narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn al-Imam Ahmad in as-Sunnah; Ibn Abu Shaybah in al-‘Arsh, 60; and by Ibn Jareer, al-Bayhaqi and others. Its isnaad was classed as saheeh in al-Fath, 8/47 and by al-Albaani in Mukhtasar al-‘Uluw, p. 123-124

These two reports confirm that Allah, may He be exalted, has two feet, and this is the belief of Ahl as-Sunnah.

Imam Abu ‘Ubayd al-Qaasim ibn Salaam (may Allah have mercy on him) said: These hadeeths which say that our Lord smiles at the despair of His slaves when things will soon change, and that Hell will not be filled until your Lord places His foot on it, and that the Kursiy is the place for the two feet – these hadeeths, as narrated, are true in our opinion; they were narrated from trustworthy narrators to other trustworthy narrators. But if we are asked about their meaning, we do not explain them, and we have never seen any scholar discuss their meanings.

Narrated by al-Bayhaqi in al-Asma’ wa’s-Sifaat, 2/198; Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr in at-Tamheed, 7/149

In Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah (2/376) it says: What we must do is affirm that which Allah has affirmed for Himself, such as two hands, two feet, fingers and other attributes that are mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah, in a manner that is befitting to Allah, may He be glorified, without distorting the meaning, discussing how, likening Him to His creation or denying any of His attributes, because He, may He be glorified, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him)): “He is Allah, (the) One.

Allah-us-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks).

He begets not, nor was He begotten;

And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.”

[al-Ikhlaas 112:1-3] 

“There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer”

[ash-Shoora 42:11].

So we take these (attributes) as true in a real sense, not metaphorical. As for going to extremes in affirming attributes that are not mentioned in the Qur’an or sunnah, we have to refrain from doing so.

Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas

Bakr Abu Zayd, ‘Abd al-‘Azeez Aal ash-Shaykh, Saalih al-Fawzaan, ‘Abdullah ibn Ghadyaan, ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Baaz. End quote.

Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan al-Barraak (may Allah preserve him) said: This hadeeth confirms that Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, has a foot. Ahl as-Sunnah affirm that Allah has what is mentioned in this hadeeth in a true sense, as they affirm all other divine attributes, as they affirm that He has two hands and two eyes, and they say that He, may He be exalted, has two feet, as is mentioned in the well-known report from Ibn ‘Abbaas that describes the Kursiy (footstool) and says that it is the place for the feet – i.e., the feet of the Lord, may He be glorified and exalted.

The view about the feet and hands is the same, and there is no room for differentiation.

End quote from Sharh al-Waasitah, p. 172

What is proven is that Allah, may He be exalted, will place His foot on Hell. We believe in this but we stop at this point and refrain from going further (in discussion). We do not say that He will place both of His feet on it, just as we do not say that He wrote the Torah with His two hands. Rather we adhere to what has been narrated, because with regard to the divine attributes, the matter is based on tawqeef (i.e., limiting it only to what has been narrated in sound texts).

And Allah knows best.

 

2 thoughts on “Islamic Scholars confirm Allah has two feet, what about Hands and Face?

  1. “Verily, Allah is One, Unique, nothing is like Him, He is Eternal;
    Hearing, Seeing, Omniscient, Living, Omnipotent, above every need. He
    cannot be described in terms of substance, nor body, nor form, nor
    accident, nor line, nor surface, nor heaviness, nor lightness, nor
    color, nor movement, nor rest, nor time, nor space. He is above all
    the descriptions which can be applied to His creatures. He is away
    from both extremes: Neither He is just a non-entity (as atheists and
    in a lesser degree Mutazilites implied), nor He is just like other
    things. He is Existent, not like other existing things.”

    Shi’i reference: Shi’ite Creed (al-Itqadat al-Imamiyyah), by Shaykh Saduq.

    • YO SHI’ITE,

      SUNNI MUSLIMS DON’T ACCEPT SHIITES AS TRUE MUSLIMS!

      Saudi Arabia’s Curriculum of Intolerance

      With Excerpts from Saudi Ministry of Education Textbooks for Islamic Studies
      Center for Religious Freedom of the Hudson Institute
      WITH THE INSTITUTE FOR GULF AFFAIRS
      2008

      SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

      This report compares textbooks from the Saudi Ministry of Education, which are posted on its website as this is issued, with those analyzed in our 2006 study, Saudi Arabia’s Curriculum of Intolerance, and shows that the same violent and intolerant teachings against other religious believers noted in 2006 remain in the current texts. All of these textbooks have been reissued at least once and all but two of them reissued twice, yet overall the changes to the passages in question have been minimal, and the degree of substantive change has been negligible. Taken together, the revisions that have been made amount to moving around the furniture, not cleaning the house. This analysis is issued as the deadline nears for the removal of intolerant teachings from all Saudi textbooks. This commitment stems from the Saudi government’s “confirmation” of policies that were publicly announced and lauded as “significant developments” by the U.S. State Department in July 2006, and are to be implemented in full by the start of the 2008-2009 school year.

      In May 2006, the Center for Religious Freedom, with the Institute for Gulf Affairs, released a ground-breaking report that analyzed excerpts from a dozen textbooks published by the Saudi Ministry of Education and used at that time in the Saudi public school curriculum. Saudi Arabia also disseminated these texts internationally, including to some 19 academies founded by Saudi Arabia and chaired by the local Saudi ambassadors in or near major foreign cities, one of which is the Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA) outside Washington, D.C.

      The 2006 report concluded:

      “The Saudi public school religious curriculum continues to propagate an ideology of hate toward the ‘unbeliever,’ that is, Christians, Jews, Shiites, Sufis, and Sunni Muslims who do not follow Wahhabi doctrine, Hindus, atheists, and others. This ideology is introduced in a religion textbook in the first grade and reinforced and developed in following years of the public education system, culminating in the twelfth grade, where a text instructs students that it is a religious obligation to do ‘battle’ against infidels in order to spread the faith.”

      This new analysis takes as markers for comparison twelve key points contained in a summarized list in the 2006 analysis. They cover Saudi government lessons on other religious groups, both non-Muslim and Muslim, and on non-believers, as well as a passage on jihad. This analysis finds that all these concerns remain valid in the updated books used in the 2007-2008 curriculum and currently found on the Saudi government’s website. In the new books, only the text relevant to marker four, described below, has been rewritten, but even in this case the lesson remains the same; it teaches its readers to “hate the infidels.” Moreover, in the passage quoted in marker four, the injunction not to treat the unbeliever “unjustly,” wording that was touted as a reform in 2006 by the then Saudi ambassador, has been removed from the current texts.

      See the section “Comparing Saudi Textbooks: 2006-2008,” below, for further discussion of the comparisons.

      The twelve point list below is taken directly from the 2006 report and applies equally to the Saudi textbooks for the 2007-2008 year that are currently posted on the website of the Saudi Education Ministry (http://www2.moe.gov.sa/ebooks/index.htm). The changed wording, affecting only marker four, is noted in italics:

      Regarding Sunni, Shiite, Sufi and other non-Wahhabi or non-Salafi Muslims, the textbooks:

      1. Condemn the majority of Sunni Muslims around the world as “bad successors” of “bad predecessors.”19

      2. Condemn and denigrate Shiite and Sufi Muslims’ beliefs and practices as heretical and call them “polytheists.”20

      3. Denounce Muslims who do not interpret the Qur’an “literally.”21

      Regarding Christians, Jews, Polytheists (including Muslims who are not followers of Wahhabism) and other infidels, the books:
      4.

      Command Muslims to “hate” Christians, Jews, polytheists, and other “unbelievers,” including non-Wahhabi Muslims, though, incongruously, not to treat them “unjustly.”
      22

      Now teaches that a true believer “worships God alone, loves the believers, and hates the infidels.”

      5. Teach that the Crusades never ended and identify the American Universities in Beirut and in Cairo, other Western and Christian social service providers, media outlets, centers for academic studies of Orientalism, and campaigns for women’s rights as part of the modern phase of the Crusades.23

      6. Teach that “the Jews and the Christians are enemies of the [Muslim] believers”24 and that “the clash”25 between the two realms “continues until the Day of Resurrection.”26

      7. Instruct students not to “greet,”27 “imitate,”28 “show loyalty to,”29 “be courteous to”30 or “respect”31 non-believers.

      8. Define jihad to include “wrestling with the infidels by calling them to the faith and battling against them”32 and assert that the spread of Islam through jihad is a “religious obligation.”33 [The word qital, translated here as “battle,” is derived from the verb qatala, “to kill,” and is virtually never used metaphorically.]

      Regarding Anti-Semitism, they:

      9. Instruct that “the struggle between Muslims and Jews”34 will continue “until the hour [of judgment],”35 that “Muslims will triumph because they are right,” and that “he who is right is always victorious.”36

      10. Cite a selective teaching of violence against Jews, while, in the same lesson, ignore the passages of the Qur’an and hadiths [narratives of the life of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad] that counsel tolerance.37

      11. Teach the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as historical fact and relate modern events to it.38

      12. Discuss Jews in violent terms, blaming them for virtually all the “sedition” and wars of the modern world.39

      The more extensive excerpts from which these twelve markers are taken have undergone some additional wording changes and reformatting over the past two years, but the Saudi government has not removed the objectionable message of these lessons. Any improvements that may have been made to those Saudi textbooks we did not review would be undercut or negated by these teachings in the ones we did. As in 2006, the Saudi Ministry of Education religion textbooks reviewed in this report teach bigotry and violence and deplore tolerance. (These more extensive excerpts, for both the 2005-2006 and the 2007-2008 academic years, and brief discussions of the changes in them are included in Appendix C; side by side Arabic and English translation versions of these lessons can be found on the Center’s website: http://www.hudson.org/religion.)

      In addition, we verified that the currently posted 2007-2008 textbooks also contain the same passages that were found last month in ISA textbooks by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).40 The Commission assessed these passages as “overt exhortations to violence” and “promot[ing] intolerance.” They include assertions that it is permissible for a Muslim to kill an “apostate,” an “adulterer,” and those practicing “major polytheism.” One lesson states that “it is not permissible to violate the blood, property, or honor of the unbeliever who makes a compact with the Muslims,” but is pointedly silent on whether security guarantees are extended to non-Muslims without such a compact. One very brief passage discusses jihad. With no further guidance or clarification of the ambiguities it raises, this passage asserts jihad is the “pinnacle of Islam,” exalts “force and victory over the enemies,” and glorifies “martyrdom” as a “noble life-force.” Other lessons demonize members of the Baha’i and Ahmadiyya faiths and blame “the Jews” for having “conspired against Islam.” (See, Appendix D.)

      There is also a lesson from a tenth grade text on Jurisprudence now posted on the Saudi Ministry of Education website that sanctions the killing of homosexuals and discusses methods for doing so. Burning with fire, stoning, or throwing from a high place are methods that are mentioned. Though the lesson quotes a traditional scholar saying the Prophet Muhammad made no judgment on homosexuality, it presents the Saudi sharia ruling that homosexuals should be killed as definitive. (See, Appendix E:
      Appendix E

      Tenth Grade (Lesson 16) Jurisprudence (Fiqh) pp. 76-77 Arabic, 2006-2007

      Tenth Grade, Jurisprudence, p. 76

      Tenth Grade, Jurisprudence, p. 77

      [PAGE 76]

      Lesson 16: Homosexuality
      Homosexuality is one of the most disgusting sins and greatest crimes. God did not afflict any people with this before [He afflicted] the folk of Lot, and He punished them as He punished no one else. It is a vile perversion that goes against sound nature, and it is one of the most corrupting and hideous sins.
      Definition
      Homosexuality is intercourse in which the penis enters the anus.

      The Ruling
      Homosexuality is forbidden. It is a great sin. The Qur’an and the majority opinion [of scholars] confirm the prohibition on it. The Qur’an states: “We also (sent) Lut: he said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practise your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.” [7:80-81] God the Most High said about His prophet, Lut: And to Lut, too, We gave Judgment and Knowledge, and We saved him from the town which practised abominations: truly they were a people given to Evil, a rebellious people. [21:74]
      Muslims have been unanimous in prohibiting this practice.

      Punishment
      The punishment for homosexuality is death. Both the active and passive participants_ are to be killed whether or not they have previously had sexual intercourse in the context of a lawful marriage. The Qur’an and the unanimous opinion of the Prophet’s companions show this.
      [PAGE 77]

      In the Qur’an we read: “When Our decree issued, We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer. Marked as from thy Lord: nor are they ever far from those who do wrong!” [11:82-83]
      God the Most High punished the people of Lut as he had not punished anyone else. He subjected them to various torments, and then He said that this punishment awaits those who do as they did.

      Ibn al-Qayyim said, “It has not been confirmed that the Prophet made any judgment on homosexuality, for this was unknown to the Arabs and did not rise to His attention.”239
      The companions of the Prophet were unanimously agreed upon killing [those who commit this sin]. Ibn Qudamah said, “The companions of the Prophet were unanimous on killing, although they differed in the description, that is, in the manner of killing.”240
      Some of the companions of the Prophet stated that [the perpetrator] is to be burned with fire. It has also been said that he should be stoned, or thrown from a high place. Other things have also been said.

      These texts teach students that there exist two incompatible realms – one consisting of true believers in Islam, the monotheists, and the other of infidels or unbelievers – and that these realms never coexist in peace. They assert that unbelievers, such as Christians, Jews, and Muslims who do not share Wahhabi beliefs and practices, are hated “enemies,” and that true believers should aid and show loyalty only to other true believers. These texts teach that

      Christians, Jews, and others have united in a war against Islam that will ultimately end in the complete destruction of these infidels. The books promote global jihad as an “effort to wage war against the unbelievers.” In these lessons, no argument is made that such references to jihad mean only spiritual struggle and defensive warfare. Some Saudis themselves have linked the Kingdom’s educational curriculum to patterns of violence in young Saudi men.

      In the lessons examined in this report, the Saudi government discounts or ignores passages in the Qur’an and in the accounts of the life of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad that support tolerance. This is in striking contrast to the Saudi government’s invocation of just such passages when it addresses Western audiences. In the international arena, the Saudi government argues that there is no religious coercion in Islam and that the Islamic tradition supports “inalienable human rights” and the peaceful coexistence of Muslims with other religious believers. These are the types of arguments that the Saudi government needs to make in its own textbooks and educational materials in place of lessons that sanction and promote violence and extreme intolerance.

      Saudi Arabia’s religious legitimacy, through the custodianship of the two Islamic holy shrines, and its vast oil wealth enable it to exert unprecedented influence within the Muslim world. Saudi religious texts are being disseminated worldwide through the internet and other means. This means that millions of Muslim students are being indoctrinated from textbooks that some Saudis themselves have linked to religious violence. Largely due to such educational materials, Saudi Wahhabi extremism threatens to become a mainstream or even the dominant expression of Islam among the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims. While the Saudi state has recently initiated a program to re-educate some Islamic terrorists, it appears to be educating even greater numbers with a religious curriculum that legitimizes, as some Saudi scholars wrote, the “violent repression” and “physical elimination” of the other.

      Simultaneously, the Saudi King has assumed a leading role on the international stage in initiatives for both intrafaith and interfaith dialogue. The Saudi Ministry of Education’s continued teaching of hatred and violence against other religious believers, however, raises the concern that the King’s overtures will be of greater benefit to the Saudi public relations campaign to counter growing world discontent about soaring oil prices, than to finding common ground.

      A key test of the Saudi government’s commitment to tolerance and pluralism will be whether it cleans up its textbooks before the start of the next school year, in September 2008. The government of Saudi Arabia is bound to respect religious freedom and not discriminate on the basis of religion under the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other international instruments. It also specifically confirmed to the United States it would reform its textbooks and do so by the start of the 2008-2009 school year. In 2006, following protracted bilateral discussions with the Saudi Foreign Ministry, the State Department publicized that Saudi Arabia confirmed it would revise its textbooks and make other related reforms within two years. Relying on the Saudi “confirmation,” the Secretary of State waived taking action against Saudi Arabia, as required under the International Religious Freedom Act. Whether this will prove to be an historic turning point or simply a public relations maneuver by Saudi Arabia remains to be seen. This analysis documents that thorough textbook reform has not yet occurred. It is in
      American interests that the U.S. Government, in this administration and the next, hold Saudi Arabia to its obligations.

      19 Monotheism, Tenth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426¬1427; 2005-2006, p. 67; Monotheism, Tenth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1427-1428; 2006-2007, p. 67.

      20 13 Monotheism, Tenth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426¬1427; 2005-2006, p. 67;
      Monotheism, Tenth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1427-1428; 2006-2007, p. 67.

      21 Monotheism, Tenth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426¬1427; 2005-2006, p. 66. Monotheism, Tenth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1427-1428; 2006-2007, p. 66.

      22 Monotheism and Jurisprudence, Fourth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1425-1426; 2004-2005, p. 49.

      23 Hadith and Islamic Culture: Management, Social Studies, Physical Sciences, and Technical Fields (Boys), Eleventh Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426-1427; 2005-2006, pp. 117-120. Hadith and Islamic Culture: Shari’a and Arabic Studies Section, Eleventh Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007-2008, pp. 185-187.

      24 Hadith, Ninth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426-1427; 2005-2006, p. 149. Hadith, Ninth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007¬2008, p. 149.

      25 Hadith, Ninth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426-1427; 2005-2006, p. 148. Hadith, Ninth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007¬2008, p. 148.

      26 Hadith and Islamic Culture: Management, Social Studies, Natural History, and Technical Studies (Boys), Twelfth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426-1427; 2005-2006, p. 59. Hadith and Islamic Culture: Management, Social Studies, Physical Sciences, and Technical Fields Section, Twelfth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007-2008, p. 63.

      27 Hadith and Islamic Culture: Management, Social Studies, Physical Sciences, and Technical Fields (Boys), Eleventh Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426-1427; 2005-2006,
      p. 66. Hadith and Islamic Culture, Shari’a and Arabic Studies Section, Eleventh Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007-2008, p. 94.

      28 Monotheism, Eighth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426¬1427; 2005-2006; p. 45. Monotheism, Eighth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007-2008, p. 45.

      29 Monotheism, Hadith, Jurisprudence, and Qur’anic Recitation, Fifth Grade, First Semester. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1425-1426; 2004-2005, p. 14. Monotheism, Hadith, Jurisprudence, and Qur’anic Recitation, Fifth Grade, First Semester. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007-2008, p. 15.

      30 Hadith and Islamic Culture: Management, Social Studies, Physical Sciences, and Technical Fields (Boys), Eleventh Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426-1427; 2005-2006,

      p. 66. Hadith and Islamic Culture, Shari’a and Arabic Studies Section, Eleventh Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007-2008, p. 94.

      31 Hadith and Islamic Culture: Management, Social Studies, Physical Sciences, and Technical Fields (Boys), Eleventh Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426-1427; 2005-2006, p. 66. Hadith and Islamic Culture, Shari’a and Arabic Studies Section, Eleventh Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007-2008, p. 94.

      32 Hadith and Islamic Culture: Management, Social Studies, Natural History, and Technical Studies (Boys), Twelfth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426-1427; 2005-2006, p. 57. Hadith and Islamic Culture: Management, Social Studies, Physical Sciences, and Technical Fields Section, Twelfth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007-2008, p. 61.

      33 Hadith and Islamic Culture: Management, Social Studies, Natural History, and Technical Studies (Boys), Twelfth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426-1427; 2005-2006, p. 58.
      Hadith and Islamic Culture: Management, Social Studies, Physical Sciences, and Technical Fields Section, Twelfth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007-2008, p. 62.

      34 Hadith, Ninth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426-1427; 2005-2006, p. 148. Hadith, Ninth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429, p. 148.

      35 Hadith, Ninth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426-1427; 2005-2006, p. 148. Hadith, Ninth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007¬2008, p. 148.

      36 Hadith, Ninth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426-1427; 2005-2006, p. 149. Hadith, Ninth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007¬2008, p. 149.

      37 Hadith, Ninth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426-1427; 2005-2006, p. 148. Hadith, Ninth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007¬2008, p. 148.

      38 Hadith and Islamic Culture, Tenth Grade (Boys). Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426-1427; 2005-2006, pp. 103-104. Hadith and Islamic Culture, Tenth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007-2008, pp. 104-105.

      39 Hadith and Islamic Culture, Tenth Grade (Boys). Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1426-1427; 2005-2006, p. 104-105. Hadith and Islamic Culture, Tenth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007-2008; pp. 105-106.

      A MUSLIM CASE FOR SAUDI TOLERANCE

      Within worldwide Sunni Islam, followers of Wahhabism and other hard-line movements are a distinct minority. This is evident from the many Muslims who have chosen to make America their home and are upstanding, law-abiding citizens and neighbors. It was just such concerned Muslims who first brought world attention to the pernicious content of Saudi textbooks and decried the Wahhabi doctrine they promoted as foreign to the toleration contained in Islam and its injunction against coercion in religion.

      These Muslims believe they would be forbidden to practice the faith of their ancestors in today’s Saudi Arabia and value religious freedom. They affirm the importance of respecting non-Muslims as well, pointing to verses in the Qur’an that speak with kindness about non-Muslims. They raise examples of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad visiting his sick Jewish neighbor, standing in deference at a Jew’s funeral procession, settling a dispute in favor of a truthful Jew over a dishonest person who was a Muslim, and forming alliances with Jews and polytheists, among others. They criticize the Wahhabis for distorting and even altering the text of the Qur’an in support of their bigotry.41 They say that in their tradition jihad is applicable only in defense of Islam and Muslims.

      Abdurrahman Wahid,42 the former President of Indonesia and former head of the world’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, and Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani,43 the Lebanese-American Chairman of the Michigan-based Islamic Supreme Council of America, are two Muslim world leaders who have courageously spoken out and written about the threats posed by Wahhabi ideology and its global expansion. Saudi expert Ali Al-Ahmed, Director of the Washington-based Gulf Institute, published his first evaluation of Saudi textbooks in January 2001.44 Ali Alyami of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia,45 scholar Sheikh Ahmed Subhy Mansour,46 and authors Stephen Schwartz47 and Mai Yamani48 are among other Muslim leaders and intellectuals who, from outside the Kingdom, write strong and persuasive human rights critiques of Saudi education.

      Even within Saudi Arabia, some are beginning, despite intimidation, to make these points publicly. A notable example is Dr. Hamza Al-Maziani, a linguistics professor at King Saud University,49 who was charged by a colleague with describing Islamic textbooks used at the University as “radical.” He had written several pieces on problems in Saudi universities, including an article in the Al-Watan daily that criticized the deteriorating quality of education at King Saud University. He argued that the dominance of radical Islamists over university culture had harmed the quality of cultural programs.50 For speaking out, he was sued for defamation and insult by a Saudi professor of Islamic culture. In March 2005, a sharia court found Al-Maziani guilty of “mocking religion” and sentenced him to be flogged and imprisoned.51 The sentence was annulled by the King and his case transferred to an administrative panel within the Ministry of Information, which ordered him to pay a fine in May 2006.52 Despite this ordeal, Al-Maziani continued to advocate educational reform, and, while giving an address on this issue in September 2006, he was assaulted by a group of young men who called him an infidel.53
      In the schoolbook lessons examined in this report, the Saudi government discounts or ignores passages supporting tolerance in the Qur’an and in the stories of the life of the Muslim Prophet

      Muhammad. Yet, in addressing Western audiences, the Saudi government invokes just such passages. In the international arena, the Saudi government recognizes and employs the argument that there can be found support within Islamic tradition for “inalienable human rights,” and the peaceful coexistence of Muslims with other religious believers.
      For example, in its 1970 memorandum to the United Nations (Appendix F), the Saudi government quoted extensively from Islamic sacred texts to argue that “the dignity of a human person” would be “protected by us without any distinction between one man and another under the impetus of the divine Islamic creed and not by the material law.” The Saudi government cited numerous Qur’anic and other passages to establish that Islam ensures basic human rights, including religious freedom. It wrote as follows:
      The dignity of man, in conformity with the Koranic verse which says: “We have honoured the sons of Adam”. (XVI1, 70).

      No distinctions in dignity and fundamental rights between one man and another as race, sex, blood relations or wealth, in accordance with the Saying of the Prophet of Islam: “There is no advantage for an Arab over a non-Arab, or for a white man over a black man excepting by piety,” and in his saying: “Women are partners to men”.

      The call for the unity of the human race. The persons most favoured by God are those who are most beneficial to mankind, in accordance with the Saying of the Prophet of Islam: “Human creatures are the families of God and the ones who are most loved by Him are those who are most useful to their families.”

      The call for acquaintance and cooperation for the common good as well as for the performance of all kinds of righteous deeds towards all human beings regardless of their citizenship or religion, in conformity with the Koranic verse: “O mankind we created you from a single pair of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is he who is the most righteous of you.” (XLIX, 13). The same theme is repeated in the following Koranic verse: “God forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: For God loveth those who are just.” (LX, 8).

      Religious freedom to every one and prohibition of any exercise of force in this respect, in response to God’s Sayings in the Glorious Koran: “Let there be no compulsion in religion,” (II, 256) and “Wilt thou then compel mankind against their will to believe!” (X, 99). These sayings show how the use of pressure on man’s religious freedom is denounced.

      Prohibition of any attack on the property or the life of a man as expressed in the Saying of the Muslim Prophet: “You are forbidden to attack the property or the lives of others.”
      House immunity for the protection of man’s freedom as mentioned in the following Koranic Saying: “O ye who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until ye have asked permission and saluted those in them; that is best for you, in order that ye may heed (what is seemly).” (XXIV, 27).

      … There are countless other Islamic religious laws for the protection of those rights which are referred to above. They explain, on the whole, the basic inalienable Human Rights. They also deal in a comprehensive way with man’s economic, social and cultural rights from the humanitarian and idealistic aspects which do not make any distinction or allow for any kind of distinction between one human being and another, particularly concerning the things provided for in the International Human Rights Declaration, namely sex or colour or language or religion or opinion or national or social origin or wealth or country. We also go farther than that and add things that were not recognized by the Drafting Body of Human Rights, such as those that appear in the following Koranic Verse: “O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for God, as witness to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety; and fear God, for God is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” (V 8). We can infer from these holy words that no discrimination in human rights ought to be made because of hatreds or animosities.

      These are the types of arguments that the Saudi government needs to make in its own textbooks and educational materials in place of lessons that sanction and promote violence and extreme intolerance, including those examples highlighted in this report.

      41 Schwartz, Stephen, “Rewriting the Koran,” Weekly Standard Vol 10, Issue 3, September 27, 2004.

      42 Wahid, Abdurrahman, “Right Islam vs. Wrong Islam,” Wall Street Journal, December 30, 2005.

      43 Simon, Mafoot, “A Sufi Muslim Takes on Wahhabism,” Sunday Straits Times, 12 December 2004.

      44 Institute for Gulf Affairs, http://www.gulfinstitute.org.

      45 Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, http://www.cdhr.info.

      46 International Quranic Center, http://www.ahl-alquran.com/English/main.php.

      47 Schwartz, Stephen, The Two Faces of Islam (New York: Doubleday, 2002).

      48 Yamani, Mai, Cradle of Islam (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2004).

      49 “Saudi academic sentenced to 200 lashes for ‘mocking long beards,’” AFP, March 20, 2005.

      50 Qusti, Raid, “Crown Prince Quashes Jail Term of Saudi Writer,” Arab News, March 22, 2005, available at http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=60829&d=22&m=3&y=2005 (accessed June 26, 2008).

      51 “Saudi academic sentenced to 200 lashes for ‘mocking long beards,’” AFP, March 20, 2005; Human Rights Watch Memorandum to the Government of Saudi Arabia on Human Rights Priorities in the Kingdom, February 7, 2006, available at http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/02/07/saudia12622.htm (accessed June 26, 2008).

      Saudi Arabia’s Curriculum of Intolerance
      With Excerpts from Saudi Ministry of Education Textbooks for Islamic Studies
      Center for Religious Freedom of the Hudson Institute
      WITH THE INSTITUTE FOR GULF AFFAIRS
      2008

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