Quoting Your Adversary

In his essay titled, al-Qawl al-Mufhim li -man Ankara Maqâlah: Nusahhih wa Lâ Nahdim (trans. “The Irrefutable Statement to Whoever Censured the Principle of Correcting & Not Destroying”), Shaikh Abul-Hasan al-Ma’ribî states that “[i]n citation of an adversary’s expression are abundant utilities and important etiquettes, especially when some self-interests become obvious in the quarrel. In al-‘Awâsim,[1] Ibn al-Wazîr rebuked his adversary [for] not citing Ibn al-Wazîr’s words and heaped accusations against him. Due to the preciousness of these words, I am mentioning them in their entirety; and Allah is the accommodator for every good and sensible conduct.” He then brings a long and beneficial quote from Imam Muhammad bin Ibrâhîm al-Wazîr al-Yamânî (d. 840AH) where he states (with abridgement by myself, RG),

Sir,[2] may Allah aid him, has violated a great rule; it is the foundation of debate and the root of correspondence, i.e., the citation of the words of the adversary with his expression, firstly, then the undertaking of its criticism, secondly. This is something that no one from the people familiar with academics, engrossed in realities, and pursue intricacies, is unmindful of.

[O]ne [should] cite the adversary’s words with its text and rid himself of the accusation of its alteration and its omission. This is the satisfactory opinion with the emirs[3] of the theoretical sciences and the imams of the dialectical procedures; ‘Abdul-Hamîd bin Abil-Hadîd[4] had denounced the Chief Justice[5] for refuting the Sir’s[6] satisfactory words in correspondences that took place between them without mentioning his expression.

Know that leaving the adversary’s words is an obvious oppresion to him and a clear injustice against him, because certainly, he speaks his words in order to be a counterweight to his adversary’s words in the golden scale of the balance and as a parallel to them in the dialectical field; because the solitary weights more on the balance, even if light, and comes ahead in the field, even if weak. This, all of it, is if there were words preserved by the adversary and a selection is rightly refutable. From justice is clarification of his statement and mention of its expression. As for if he definitely did not have an opinion, and instead it was wrongly assumed about his opinion, and he was accused of what he did not speak of, then this is oppression upon oppression, and darknesses, some above others.

Source: as-Sulaimânî, Abul-Hasan Mustafâ bin Ismâ’îl. “al-Qawl al-Mufhim li -man Ankara Maqâlah: Nusahhih wa Lâ Nahdim.” ad-Difâ’ ‘an Ahl al-Ittibâ’: ar-Radd al-‘Ilmî ‘alash-Shaikh Rabî’ bin Hâdî al-Madkhalî (2nd ed.). Menoufia, Egypt: Dâr al-Ansâr, 2006. vol. 1, pg. 315.


[1] al-Wazîr, Muḥammad bin Ibrâhîm. al-‘Awâsim wal-Qawâsim fidh-Dhabb ‘an Sunnah Abil-Qâsim, vol. 1, pgs. 236-239. [t] Judging by the corresponding page numbers, I assume that al-Ma’ribî is quoting from Mu’asasah ar-Risâlah’s print, edited by Shaikh Shu’aib al-Arna’ūt; its 2nd edition being printed in 1992. All references I make to this book are to al-Arna’ūt’s edition.

[2] [t] Ar. sayyid (سَيِّد) – master; gentleman; Mister; Sir; lord, overlord; chief, chieftain; honorific used to denote sainthood (in Sufism) or nobility.

[3] [t] Ar. umarâ’ (أُمَرَاء) (pl. – sing. amîr (أَمٍير)) – commander; prince, emir; title of princes of a ruling house; tribal chief.

[4] [t] He is ‘Abdul-Hamîd bin Hibatillah bin Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Abil-Hadîd al-Madâ’inî, author of Sharh Nahj al-Balâghah al-Ghâlî fit-Tashayyu’. See al-‘Awâsim, vol. 1, pg. 236, footnote no. 2.

[5] [t] He is ‘Abdul-Jabbâr bin Ahmad bin ‘Abdil-Jabbâr al-Hamdhânî al-Asadâbâdî, Shaikh of the Mu’tazilah in his era and they addressed him as Chief Justice and did not apply this honorific to others. See al-‘Awâsim, vol. 1, pg. 236, footnote no. 3.

[6] [t] He is ‘Alî bin al-Husain bin Mūsâ al-‘Alawî. See al-‘Awâsim, vol. 1, pg. 237, footnote no. 1.


About Rasheed Gonzales
My name is Rasheed Gonzales. I’m a Muslim convert of Filipino descent. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, I was guided to Islam through one of my younger brothers and a couple of friends, all of whom had converted to Islam sometime before me (may Allah reward them greatly). I am married with four children (and the praise is Allah’s) and also a volunteer for the Qur'an & Sunnah Society of Canada, based in Toronto.

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