Many questions have been received with regard to a recently published book titled “Hey! Who Am I Really?” Since many aspects in the book deal with fundamental beliefs, it was deemed necessary to explain the issues in detail in their proper perspective. The explanation will insha Allah be done in several parts.

This is Part One of the series.

Question: I read a book titled “Hey! Who Am I Really? and found it interesting. It was my intention to circulate it to family and friends but have now heard that there is some controversy over the book. Is it authentic and suitable to circulate to others?

Answer:  Firstly, it is fundamentally important to be very selective of who one acquires the knowledge of deen from. It is reported from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “Verily this knowledge (of the Quraan and sunnah) is deen. Hence beware of who you take your deen from.” (Jaami‘us Sagheer – Al-Mawaahibul Ladunniya, pg. 665). Therefore it is extremely important to “read” the author before one reads the book. Some of the most important aspects about those who one takes deen from are: Who were his teachers? Were they people of the correct ‘aqeedah? Did they adhere to the sunnah? etc. With regard to the author, his teacher in this book, from beginning to end, is Fadhlallah Haeri. The only thing that the readers learn about him from the book itself is that he worked in the petroleum industry and then set out in pursuit of spiritual knowledge. This hardly says anything much, hence it leaves the reader without any idea of whether the person is from among the Ahlus Sunnah or does he subscribe to something else? Nevertheless some of his statements quoted in the book make it clear that he has strayed from the path of deen.

Nevertheless the book in question is dedicated to “all seekers” who ask the following questions: “Who am I really? Why am I here? Where am I going? Which road do I take?” The most important question is “Which road do I ‘take’?” The one who understands which is the correct road and traverses that path will reach the destination of Jannah. Once he reaches Jannah safely, it does not really matter whether he understood the deeper philosophy of his reality and existence or not.

The road to take is simply “Siraatul Mustaqeem” – the Straight Path. Siraatul Mustaqeem is the path of the Quraan and sunnah. The first recipients of the Glorious Quraan and the instructions and explanations of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) were the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) – the noble companions of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). They understood the path clearly and traversed it with distinction. Hence the Quraan Shareef has declared the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) as the criterion. Allah Ta‘ala declares: “The forerunners (to Islam) among the Muhaajireen and the Ansaar and those who have followed them (the Sahaabah

[radhiyallahu ‘anhum]) with belief; Allah is well-pleased with them and they are well pleased with Allah; and He has prepared for them Gardens (of Jannah) beneath which flow rivers; they will remain therein forever” (Surah Taubah, v100).

While there are numerous verses of the Quraan which extoll the virtues of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), the above verse is very pertinent to the discussion. It clearly highlights the answer to the question of which road to take? It makes it manifestly clear that those who take the road of following the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) will reach the eternal gardens of Jannah. The same message is conveyed in the verse where the imaan of the Sahaabah is declared as the standard and the yardstick. Allah Ta‘ala says: “When it is said to them (the hypocrites), believe like the people have believed, they reply that should we believe like the fools have done?” (Surah Baqarah, v13). The commentators are unanimous that the word “an-naas” (the people) in this verse refers to the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) since they were the only Believers at the time of the revelation of the Quraan Shareef. The verse hence clearly establishes that the imaan of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) is the criterion and it is only the hypocrites who regard the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) as fools.

Thus when it is apparent in the light of the clear verses of the Quraan that the road to take is the road of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), it then begs the following question: Why, in the entire 235 pages of the book, NOT A SINGLE SAHAABI (RADHIYALLAHU ‘ANHU) has been mentioned???

Fundamental Error

This is the fundamental error of the author – that he has totally omitted the noble companions of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), from the equation. More than 200 verses of the Quraan have been quoted in the book. Many explanations have been given to the meanings of the verses, yet not a single exposition and tafseer of any Sahaabi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) has been mentioned.

The primary sources of tafseer of the Quraan Shareef are, firstly, the Quraan Shareef itself. Many verses of the Quraan are expounded by other verses. The second primary source is the explanations given by Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Thereafter, the tafseer of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) constitutes a primary source of elucidation, as they were the first recipients of the Quraan Shareef, they witnessed the occasions when the verses were revealed and they heard the explanations directly from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Some of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) who were especially distinguished in the tafseer of the Quraan were Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyllahu ‘anhu), Sayyiduna Ibnu ‘Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) and Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Yet not a single mention of any of these Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) or their expositions is to be found after any of the more than 200 verses quoted in the book! This glaring omission leaves one totally bewildered.

Let alone the mention of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) and the luminaries of Islam who followed them, barely a few ahaadeeth of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) have been mentioned in the book. Not a single hadeeth has been quoted on any key topic.

When no mention of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) is to be found anywhere in the entire book, it is then no surprise that none of the unanimously accepted great luminaries among the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa‘ah are mentioned in the book, nor are their views quoted on any issue. There is no mention of the great jurists of Islam, viz. Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah), Imaam Maalik (rahimahullah), Imaam Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah) and Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahimahullah); nor are any of the great Muhadditheen such as Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah), Imaam Muslim (rahimahullah) and others mentioned. Likewise, the giants and leaders in the field of Sufism, which the book purports to enlighten on, such as Imaam Ghazaali, Imaam Junaid Baghdaadi or Shaikh Abdul Qaadir Jailaani (rahimahumullah) have also been completely omitted. It is interesting to note though, that Darwin did get a line of positive mention (“Darwin recorded the amazing hierarchy between species”  pg. 60) and so did Einstein (pg. 120). These disbelievers have been mentioned but the great personalities of Islam have been totally left out. The glossary, which contains the meanings of 63 words and terms, including haqq and hisaab, baji and beta and even the meaning of masaala tea, however, the word or definition of Sahaabah did not feature anywhere in the glossary. The bibliography also does not list any of the classical sources of Islamic knowledge.

(To be continued, insha Allah)