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Al-Qadi Abd al-Wahhaab al-Malikee (d. 422H) Explains the Aqidah of Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani on al-Uluww Bil-Dhaat
Filed under: The Later Scholars
Friday, August 26 2011 - by AboveTheThrone.Com
Key topics: Al-Qadi Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Maliki Al-Istiwaa Al-Uluwww Ibn Abi Zayd Al-Qayrawani

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The Imaam of the Maalikees of his time, Abd Allaah Abu Muhammad bin Abi Zayd al-Qayrawaanee (d. 386H), he was the Shaykh of the Maalikees in al-Maghreb, he was granted vast knowledge, of great memorization, and learned in the narrations and their undertanding, and he was a follower of the way of the Salaf, calling to it with the pen, word and deed. He has a famous tract on creed called the Muqaddimah, which is a short treatise on creed. He as amongst the first to write down the use of the word "bi dhaatihi" in relation to Allaah's uluww, meaning that Allaah is Himself, with His essence, above His Throne, above His creation. This creed found in his book, which is the creed of the Salaf regarding Allaah's uluww, grieved the enemies of Allaah, the Jahmites, and they have never ceased to this day, trying to explain away this particular statement of al-Qayrawaanee in a manner that negates the uluww of Allaah, the Exalted.

So in this article we are going to quote from another Maalikee scholar who was contemporary to Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawaanee and who wrote an explanation of the muqaddimah of Ibn Abi Zayd (printed version cover is pictured above) and he is: the Imaam, and Shaykh of the Maalikiyyah Abu Muhammad Abd al-Wahhaab in Alee ibn Nasr bin Ahmad bin Husayn bin Harun bni Amir al-Arab Malik bin Tuq al-Taghlabi al-Iraqee (d. 422H) the Maliki jurist, and al-Dhahabi mentions in al-Siyar (17/429) that "he has a book of acquaintance in explanation of the risaalah". In his book "al-Asnaa Fee Sharh Asmaa Allaah il-Husnaa", Abu Abdullaah Muhammad bin Ahmad al-Qurtubi (and he is the mufassir, author of al-Jaami' Li Ahkaam il-Qur'aan) says, when discussing the numerous opinions held on the issue of Allaah's istiwaa (ascending) over the Throne (Volume 2, page 123), he mentions al-Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab al-Maalikee:

And the sixth: The saying of at-Tabaree, Ibn Abee Zayd, al-Qaadee Abdul-Wahhaab and a group (jamaa'ah) of shuyook (scholars) of hadeeth and fiqh (jurisprudence) and it is apparent (from) some of the books of the qaadee, Abu Bakr [al-Baqillani] - may Allaah be pleased with Him, and [also] Abul-Hasan [al-Ash'ari]. And al-Qaadee Abd ul-Wahhaab quoted this from him, I mean from al-Qaadee Abu Bakr, textually - which is that He, the Sublime, ascends over His Throne with His Essence (bi dhaatihi) - and in some places they applied (the words) "above His Throne (fawqa arshihi)".

The Imaam, Abu Bakr (Muhammad bin al-Hasan al-Hadramee al-Qayrawaanee) said: "And that which I say is [what is] correct [i.e. Allaah being above the Throne, making istiwaa with His Essence], without confinement, nor fixing in a place, nor being inside of it, and without touching".

I [al-Qurtubi] say: This is the saying of al-Qaadee Abu Bakr in the book of his "Tamheed ul-Awaa'il". And we have mentioned it. And this has also been said by the teacher, Abu Bakr bin Fawrak in "Sharh Awaa'il il-Adillah", and it is the saying of Ibn Abdul-Barr, and at-Talamankee and others from amongst the Andulusians, and [also] al-Khattaabi in the book "Shi'aar ud-Deen", and that has already preceded.

It is this Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab and his sharh (explanation) of the risaalah (muqaddimah) of Ibn Abi Zayd that we are going to quote from here. One should also note that like al-Baqillani (d. 403H) (also a Maliki) and other early Ash'arites, Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab was affected by the Kullaabiyyah and had something of kalaam with him, as was the case with others from the Hanbalis like al-Qadi Abu Ya'laa (d. 458H) from that same era. All of these Scholars who were influenced by the school of Ibn Kullaab are different from the later Ash'arites who tended to the views of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah in the topic of al-Uluww and the Sifat Khabariyyah. Thus, we will see kalaam influenced language in the writings of these Scholars and a particular angle when it comes to the main hall-mark of the Kullaabi school, which is negation of Allaah's chosen actions (sifaat fi'liyyah, af'aal ikhtiyaariyyah), a matter inherited from the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah to which Ibn Kullaab, the founder of this doctrinal school, was unable to refute for the lack of his grounding in the Sunnah and aathaar, even though he refuted them vehemently on the matter of al-Uluww and the Sifat Khabariyyah Dhaatiyyah (like face, hands, eyes).

Al-Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab al-Maalikee Explains Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawanee's Statements on the Uluww of Allaah the Exalted - A Lightning Strike Against the Jahmiyyah Claiming Association with Ibn Kullaab and Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari

This passage is from the 1st edition print (Dar Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1423H, pp.25-26):

He [Ibn Abi Zayd] (rahimahullaah) said:

And that He is above His Glorious Throne with His essence, and is in every place with His knowledge. He created man and He knows what his soul whispers to him, and He is closer to him (in knowledge) than his jugular vein, "And no leaf falls except that He knows it, and there is no seed in the darknesses of the earth, and nor anything fresh or dry except that it is in a manifest book." (6:59). Upon (alaa) the Throne did He make istiwaa and the dominion (of His creation) has He encompassed.

Al-Qaadee Abu Muhaammad Abd al-Wahhaab bin Alee bin Nasr (rahimahullaah) said: This last expression which is his saying, "Upon (alaa) the Throne" is more beloved to me than the first one (he said earlier) which is his saying, "And that He is above (fawq) His Glorious Throne with His essence..." even though the meaning is one and the same, and the intent behind mentioning "above" (fawq) in in this place is that it is with the meaning of "upon" (alaa), except that that which agrees with the (revealed) text (in this instance) is more befitting to be used (i.e. 'alaa instead of fawq). Once, this has been established, then that which indicates the correctness of what he (rahimahullaah) has mentioned in that He is upon His Throne as opposed to (being in) every place is that the text has related this in numerous places, from them is His saying, "The Most Merciful made istiwaa over the Throne" (20:5), and this prevents from that He is described as upon (alaa) other than it (the Throne). And His saying, the Exalted, "To Him ascends the goodly word, and the righteous action raises it (the goodly word)..." (35:10), and His saying, the Exalted, "He made istiwaa over the Throne" (7:54) and His saying, the Exalted, "Do you feel secure that He who is above the heaven will not cause the earth to sink with you..." (67:16). And in the famous hadeeth about the man who wanted to free a slave-girl as expiation, he came with her to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and he said to her, "Who am I?" She said, "The Messenger of Allaah." Then he said, "Where is Allaah?" She said, "Above the heaven" and he did not show rejection to her, and judged faith for her. And the consensus of the Ummah is that we worship with supplication by raising our hands in the direction of above (uluww) as opposed to below, and as opposed to the right and the left and all the other directions, and this negates that He is in every place, and this does not clash with His, the Exalted's saying, "He is in the heaven an ilaah (a deity) and upon the earth a deity" (43:84) because he is a diety (worshipped) in both places (in the heaven and earth) and this does not mean that He is in every place in which He is worshipped...


First: This contains an unveiling and exposition of intellectual fraudsters from today's Jahmiyyah. People like GF Haddaad, Faqir and others who are operative on the web pushing the deen of the Jahmites upon the common-folk, have long been using deception, lies and fraud in trying deceive people that just because a number of scholars (like al-Dhahabi) have disliked the use of the word "bi dhaatihi" the uluww of Allaah, with His essence, is somehow negated and disproven(!) in their feeble attempts to pull the wool over the eyes of the common Muslims. Pretending not to realise that these scholars (and al-Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab, from the most prominent of the Maalikees of the fifth century hijrah is one of them), affirmed the meaning that Allaah is indeed over His Throne, with His essence, but they simply preferred to stick to the Qur'anic text, since the use of the word "bi dhaatihi" or "fawq" (in relation to the verse of al-Istiwaa in particular) is redundant in their view, because the actual intent is to say Allaah (himself) is "alaa" (upon, over) the Throne.

Second: Note the saying of al-Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab, "even though the meaning is one and the same, and the intent behind mentioning "above" (fawq) in in this place is that it is with the meaning of "upon" (alaa, over)..." and this is a thorn in the throats of the Jahmiyyah...

Third: Al-Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab's refutation of the Jahmiyyah through making the point that since Allaah stated His istiwaa is over the Throne (as in Himself, bi dhaatihi), then He cannot be in every place. And when it is known that it is consensus amongst Ahl al-Sunnah and factions of Ahl al-Kalaam or those influenced by it, that the Throne is a true and real entity with an actual existence, then the false necessity the Ahl al-Kalaam tried to impose that "if you say Allaah is over, above His Throne you have now confined him to a space" is rejected and invalidated and this is not binding upon Ahl al-Sunnah and nor upon those factions of Kalaam who were upon the doctrines of Ibn Kullaab, because Ibn Kullaab, al-Ash'ari and the early Kullaabi Ash'aris never considered the proof of huduth al-ajsaam - [the proof for demonstrating the universe is originated] - they never considered it to be the ultimate truth, just simply a method amongst others, and as a result they did not see a clash between the uluww of Allaah (with His essence) and this proof, so they had no problem in affirming it and refuting the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah with respect to it. This is documented in detail at Asharis.Com, and this is what Ibn Kullaab and following him, al-Ashari were upon. However, the later Ash'aris took the way of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah in this matter (considering the proof of huduth al-ajsaam to be the ultimate truth and the only way to prove the universe has a creator), and thus denied al-Uluww for Allaah (because it clashed with the proof), thereby opposing their Kullabi forerunners and the entirety of the Salaf and agreeing instead with the enemies of Allaah, the Jahmiyyah and the Philosophers like Ibn Sinaa.

Fourth: Al-Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab uses all the proofs of Ahl al-Sunnah for affirmation of the uluww of Allaah, with His essence, over His creation, the greatest of which is the Glorious Throne. So he used the verses of the Qur'aan, the hadeeth of the slave-girl and also he continued to mention the proof through raising of the hands in supplication. Then he addressed some doubts about Allaah being an ilaah (deity, worshipped) in both the heaven and the earth, and also about Allaah being "with (ma'a)" the Believers, and the meaning of "He is in every place with His knowledge" - because these were all doubts raised by the Jahmiyyah, so he dealth with them over the next full page.

Al-Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab al-Maalikee on Not Delving Into the Kaifiyyah of al-Istiwaa

Al-Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab said a little later (p. 28):

Know that the description for Allaah with al-Istiwaa is (out of) following the text, submission to the Shariah, and believing in what Allaah described Himself with. It is not permissible for kaifiyyah to be established for it, because the Shariah has not related that, and nor did the Prophet (alayhis salaam) inform of anything about it, and nor did the Companions ask about it. And because that (kaifiyyah) returns back to transportation (tanaqqul), change (tahawwul), occupation (ishghaal) of a void (hayyiz) and need for places (amaakin), and this then leads to tajseem and to the eternity of bodies, and this is disbelief to all the people of Islaam. And Imaam Maalik (rahimahullaah) gave a beautiful response to the question of the one who asked him, "The Most Merciful made istiwaa over the Throne, how did He ascend?", so he said, "Al-Istiwaa from Him is not unknown, the kayf (how) is not fathomable, asking about it is an innovation," then he ordered the man to be expelled.

There are a number of points here:

First: Refutation of those who claim this is not a sifah (attribute) of Allaah, the Exalted, since al-Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab said, "Know that the description for Allaah with al-Istiwaa is (out of) following the text, submission to the Shariah, and believing in what Allaah described Himself with..." hence, this is a description He gave to Himself.

Second: In this commentary al-Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab has spoken with the position of Ahl al-Sunnah in negating knowledge of the kaifiyyah since no text has come concerning it, this knowledge was not given to us. This is because affirming and describing a kaifiyyah could only be in terms of what we see taking place in this world and this would mean giving a kaifiyyah that would be like that found in the creation. Here, al-Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab employed the language of Ahl al-Kalaam (al-ajsaam wal-a'raad) which is not from the way of the Salaf, as this speech is alien to them and they condemned any speech involving this in matters pertaining to Allaah's attributes. But as we said, many of the followers of the madhaahib and scholars of hadeeth in the fifth century came under the influencce of some of this kalaam and it found its way into their writings. In any case, the kaifiyyah is not entered into and the best way is affirmation of the text, leaving it upon its dhaahir, and relegating its kaifiyyah to Allaah, the Exalted, as explained by al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee (see here):

فمذهب السلف رضوان الله عليهم إثباتها وإجراؤها على ظواهرها ، ونفي الكيفية والتشبيه عنها

... the madhhab of the Salaf - may Allaah be pleased with them all - is to affirm them, and to carry them upon their apparent meanings (alaa dhawaahirihaa) and to deny [knowledge of] their kaifiyyah (their true reality) and to negate tashbeeh (resemblance) for them.

Note that al-Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab does not make tafweed of the meaning, but of the kaifiyyah, that is what is denied. Ibn Taymiyyah states something similar in relation to al-Nuzool in his book, Sharh Hadeeth al-Nuzool (p. 459) - (see this article for arabic quote):

And that which it is obligatory [to speak with] definitively: Is that Allaah, there is nothing that is a likeness to Him in everything that He has described Himself with. Thus, anyone who describes Him with the likeness of the attributes of the creation in anything from amongst the things, then he is errant, definitively, absolutely. Such as the one who says, "He descends, undergoing motion and movement (yataharrak, yantaqil) just like a person descends from the roof to the lowest part of the house" and like the saying of the one who says, "His Throne becomes unoccupied of Him, and so His descent is vacating one space and occupying another", and this is baatil (false), it is obligatory to free the Lord from this, as has preceded.

Thus, giving a kaifiyyah for the meanings of the Attributes found in the Book and the Sunnah is not from the way of Ahl al-Sunnah, and if you are confused about separating the meaning from the kaifiyyah and affirming the first but denying the second, there is an explanation of this matter from the foundations laid down by al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee regarding the attributes - see this article. And it is no different to the Ash'arites affirming the meanings of life, hearing, seeing, yet at the same time able to deny that these meanings (ma'aanee) for Allaah are like the realities (haqaa'iq) and forms (kaifiyyaat) for these meanings found in the creation, and the Salaf never distinguished between any of what Allaah is described with in this regard (names, attributes and actions).

Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawaanee's and al-Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab al-Maalikee's Refutation of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah Claiming Istiwaa is Isteelaa

On the same page (p. 28) al-Qaadee Abd al-Wahhaab comments upon the saying of Ibn Abi Zayd, "...and the dominion (of His creation) has He encompassed

And his saying, "...and the dominion (of His creation) has He encompassed..." returns back to the meaning of qudrah (power) and quwwah (strength) and that there is no King except He, and no one powerful over every thing except He, and similar to this is the saying of the Muslims, "The dominion (mulk) belongs to Allaah", absolutely, they intend the negation of dominion for anyone besides Him, this is (from) the understanding of the language (linguistic perspective), and it is not from the evidence of discourse at all, and this is because the linguist when he wants to inform of something that is specified with a meaning [as opposed to others], he enters the definite article which is for defining an entire species, and then he annexes it that which it is annexed and thus as a result, through what is understood by the discourse, he negates anyone else sharing with him in that thing...

Many of the Scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah, from them Ibn Abi Zayd, made a point that when they affirmed al-Istiwaa, they made a separate additional statement to the effect that "He also owns the entire dominion (mulk)" specifically to rebut the falsehood of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah who were trying to claim that al-Istiwaa is al-isteelaa (conquering the throne, which they said was a metaphor for the dominion). This indicates also that those pretending to be followers of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari in our times are but followers of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah in opposition to and in enmity to Ahl al-Sunnah and even some of the factions of Ahl al-Kalaam, such as Ibn Kullaab and the early Kulllaabi Ash'aris, or those who came under that influence in their language and speech in the matters of the attributes of Allaah.

Notes and Conclusions

Alhamdulillaah, through this citation we have further corroboration that the belief of the Muslims is that Allaah himself, with His essence, is above the Throne, there is nothing wrong with this statement, it expresses the belief of the Muslims, except that some Scholars, while acknowledging its meaning is the absolute truth, preferred sticking to the wording of the verse or hadeeth in whatever it relates to.

We also learn that those affected by the principles of the Kullaabiyyah (and they were many and from different schools, including the Malikees, Hanbalis, and Shafi'is) - [which were to negate Allaah's chosen actions, as in actions performed through His will and power, like speaking when He wills, or becoming angry or pleased] - they actually affirmed al-uluww for Allaah and they also affirmed al-Istiwaa although they took a certain approach to it in order to negate from it what relates to it being an action performed by Allaaah, the Exalted. This was the general approach of Ibn Kullaab to all such attributes and it was from this perspective also that he innovated the "kalaam nafsee" doctrine in the subject of Allaah's speech and the Qur'an. This was in the face of the inability to refute the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah sufficiently on these matters, so he innovated these doctrines as a means of treading a middle ground between Ahl al-Sunnah and the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, and thus it became the hallmark of the Kullaabi creed to deny Allaah's chosen actions (sifaat fi'liyyah, af'aal ikhtiyaariyyah), whilst affirming everything else. As for al-Uluww and the Sifaat Khabariyyah, then he and the early Kullaabi Ash'aris refuted the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah very strongly on these issues.

Further Important Reading to Augment This Article:

The following articles constitute important reading if you want to grasp historical realities and see through the smoke and mirrors of todays Jahmites posing as followers of Ibn Kullab and al-Ash'ari.

  • Understanding the Splinter Groups of the Kullaabiyyah: The Ash'ariyyah and the Saalimiyyah - (see here)
  • Jahmite Intellectual Fraudster Abdullah Ali al-Amin (Nur uz-Zaman Institute, Philadelphia) Refuted by al-Baqillani, al-Bayhaqi and Early Kullaabi Ash'aris - (see here)
  • The Top Intellectual Frauds Perpetrated by Today's Jahmiyyah Posing as Followers of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari - Part 2: Regarding Ibn Kullaab al-Qattaan al-Basri - (see here)
  • Imaam adh-Dhahabee on Abdullaah bin Sa'eed bin Kullaab (d. 240H): The Founder of the Creed That Became Popularized Through Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari and the Early Ash'aris, Then Jahmified By the Later Ones - (see here)
  • Abdul-Malik al-Juwaynee (d. 478H): Ibn Kullaab Is From Amongst Our Associates - (see here)
  • Requesting Marifah Staff (And All Contemporary Jahmiyyah Posing as 'Ash'arites' in Every Corner of the World) To Announce Their Repentance For Lying Against Allaah and His Religion and For Reviling the Deen of the Early Kullaabi Ash'arites - (see here)
  • The Six Stages In The Evolution Of the Doctrines of the 'Qur'an Creationists' - The Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah and Kullaabiyyah Ash'ariyyah - (see here)
  • Ibn Battah (d. 387H) on the Jahmite Origins of the Kullaabi Ash'ari Doctrine That This Qur'an That is With Us, Present on This Earth, In Letter and Word, Recited, Memorized, Heard and Written, is Created - (see here)
  • The Ash'ari Clinic: 2nd Case Study of 'Ash'ari Burnout' - Concerning Ibn Hajr, Imaam Bukhaaree, The Kullaabiyyah and the Pronunciation of the Qur'an - (see here)
  • Abdul-Kareem Ash-Shahrastani, Sixth Century Ash'ari (d. 548H): Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari United With the Kullaabis After Leaving the Mu'tazilah - (see here)
  • The Psychology of Denial, Ash'ari Burnout, and the Differences Between the Creed of the Early (Kullaabi) Ash'aris and the Later (Mu'tazili, Jahmee) Ash'aris - (see here)
  • Understanding the Battle Between the Philosophers (Aristotle, Ibn Sina, al-Farabi) and the Mutakallimoon (Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Kullaabiyyah, Ash'ariyyah, Maturidiyyah) Initiated By Jahm bin Safwaan - (see here)
  • The American Chestnut Tree, The Willow Tree, Jahm Bin Safwan, The Mu'tazilah, Ibn Kullaab and the Early and Later Ash'aris - An Illustration - (see here)
  • A Historical Outline of the Deen of the Jahmites, Mu'tazilah, Kullaabiyyah, Karraamiyyah and the Early and Later Ash'aris on Allaah's Uluww and Istiwaa - (see here)
  • Abu Mansur Abdul-Qahir al-Baghdadi (d. 429): Abdullah bin Sa'eed bin Kullaab (True Author of the Early Ash'ari Creed) Held Allaah to be Above the Throne, With His Essence - (see here)
  • Concerning the Creed of the Ash'arites Regarding Allaah's Pleasure (Ridhaa) and Anger (Ghadab) Courtesy of Ibn Kullaab al-Qattan al-Basri and Their Rejection of These Attributes With The Claim That They Are Hawaadith (Occurrences) - (see here)
  • Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari: On the Creed of Ibn Kullaab al-Qattaan al-Basri (the True Author of the Creed of the Early Ash'aris) on Allaah Being Above His Creation, Above His Throne - (see here)
  • Ibn Kullaab (d. 240H), Real Author of the Ash'ari Creed: Allaah is Above the Throne, With His Essence, Without That Necessitating Jismiyyah And His Refutation of Jahm bin Safwan's Rejection of the Question 'Where is Allaah?' - (see here)

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The Hadeeth of Abu Hurairah: Firdaws Is The Highest Place in Paradise and the Throne of ar-Rahmaan is Above It
Ayyub as-Sakhtiyaanee (d. 131H): The Central Axis of the Mu'tazilah Is That They Want to Say 'There is Nothing Above the Heaven'

aa'ishah aasim bin alee abbaad bin al-awaam abdul-maalik al-asma'ee abdul-qaadir al-jeelaanee abdullaah bin abee ja'far ar-raazee abdur-rahmaan al-awzaa'ee abdur-rahmaan bin mahdee abu al-hasan al-ash'aree abu hurairah abu ma'mar al-qatee'ee abu sa'eed al-khudree abu sulayman al-khattabi ad-dahhaak ahmad bin hanbal aicp al-asma'ee al-istiwaa al-muzanee al-muzani al-qa'nabee al-qadi abd al-wahhab al-maliki al-uluwww anas bin maalik at-tahaawi at-tahawi ayyub as-sakhityaanee firdaws habashites hammaad bin zayd hishaam bin ubaydullaah ar-raazee hudooth ul-ajsaam ibn abbaas ibn abee shaybah ibn abi zayd al-qayrawani ibn jurayj ishaaq bin raahawaih ismaa'eel bin yahyaa al-muzanee jahmee doubts jareer ad-dabbee ka'b al-ahbaar khalid bin abdullah al-qasree khalid bin abdullah al-qusaree khalid bin abdulllah al-qusaree maalik bin anas masrooq muhammad bin mus'ab al-aabid muhammad bin yusuf al-firyaabee muqaatil bin hayyaan qutayban bin sa'eed sa'eed bin aamir ad-dab'ee six directions sulaymaan at-taymee sunayd bin daawood al-maseesee sunni answers tahawi wahb bin jareer yazeed bin haaroon zakariyyaa as-saajee zaynab bint jahsh

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