Imam Harb al-Karmani (d. 280 AH) – The Salafi Imam from Iran

The Kerman province is home to ethnic Persians, the absolute majority of whom were forced to convert to Shi’ism during the anti-Sunni Iranian Safavid reign. Today a minority (mainly Iranian Baloch) are Sunni in the Kerman province.

Important Muslim Sunni authorities and Imams in fiqh, aqidah, hadith, tafsir, and Arabic (grammar, poetry, etc.) came from Kerman. Even novice Talib al-‘Ilm (seeker of sacred knowledge ) is only too well aware of the numerous scholars who bear the nisbah “al-Karmani” (also “al-Kirmani”) and contributed greatly to the Islamic cause. From all over Sunni Persia once rose beacons of sacred Islamic knowledge. Kerman province is no exception. As for the post-Safavid province of Kerman in modern-day Iran, it has produced “ayatollahs” who do not even know the basic Qur’anic recitation (let alone internalizing and teaching its core message, i.e. Tawhid), figures like “Ayatollah” Rafsanjani and his ilk.

Harb al-Karmani said: “I said to Ishaq (Ibn Rahwayh, teacher of Bukhari): A man says to a mushrik that he is a very intelligent man. Ishaq said: “One should not say anything like that to them, because they have no intelligence at all.” [Ahkam Ahl al-Dhimmah, 3/325]

One of the most important scholars of the Ahl al-Sunnah originating from Kerman in Iran is Harb ibn Isma’il al-Karmani (may Allah have mercy upon him), a prominent student of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allah have mercy upon him) and one of the foremost compilers of his masa’il (as relayed by him in his Kitab al-Sunnah).

Imam al-Dhahabi (may Allah have mercy upon him) says in his Siyar A’lam al-Nubala about Imam Harb al-Karmani:

الإمام ، العلامة أبو محمد ، حرب بن إسماعيل الكرماني ، الفقيه ، تلميذ أحمد بن حنبل

The Imam, the ‘Allamah, Abu Muhammad Harb ibn Isma’il al-Karmani, the jurist, and student of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, traveled and sought knowledge.

قال الخلال : كان رجلا جليلا ، حثني المروذي على الخروج إليه

Abu Bakr al-Khallal al-Baghdadi said (about Harb al-Karmani): “A honourable (lofty) man. Abū Bakr al-Marrudhi encouraged me to travel to him. [Tabaqat al-Hanabilah, 1/388]

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy upon him) said in his Nooniyyah:

“And look at Harb and the consensus he cited. What an achievement from this youth of Karman [through Allah’s aid].” [al-Kafiyah al-Shafiyah, p. 116]

Imam al-Mardawi (may Allah have mercy upon him said:

“Harb is from the senior imams of hadith.” [al-Insaf, 2/523]

(click on the image for a full biography)

Imam Harb al-Karmani was one of the strongest students of the Imam of Ahl al-Sunnah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal al-Shaybani and transmitted a lot from him. He compiled a number of books, one of the most important being:

إجماع السلف في الإعتقاد كما حكاه الإمام حرب بن إسماعيل الكرماني

Ijma’ as-Salaf fi al-I’tiqad

It is a book relating the words of Imam al-Karmani which sets out points of belief on which the Salaf are unanimous. in some prints, the book is titled:

معتقد اهل السنة والجماعة كما نقله الامام حرب بن اسماعيل الكرماني

The Creed of Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah

قال الإمام حرب الكرماني -رحمه الله تعالى- : (( الرافضة أسوأ أثراً في الإسلام من أهل الكفر من أهل الحرب )) [ إجماع السلف ص84 ]

Imam Harb al-Karmani (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: “The Rafidah are more harmful to Islam than the Ahl al-Harb (kuffar who wage war against the Muslims).” [Ijma’ al-Salaf, p. 84]

Kitab al-Sunnah (English and German translation):

كتاب السنة من مسائل حرب بن إسماعيل الحنظلي الكرماني

Harb al-Karmani said in the beginning of his “Kitab al-Sunnah” before mentioning the beliefs of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah:

”So whoever opposed anything from these beliefs or speak evil of it, or criticises the one who says it, then he is a opposer, mubtadi’ (innovator), and he hasleft the Jama’ah and parted with the manhaj of Sunnah and the path of the Truth.” (Kitab al-Sunnah by Harb al-Karmani)

Today the hyenas of Qom have settled where the greatest minds in Islamic history once lived and taught.

May Allah make Kerman and all of Iran into a Sunni bastion once again, amin.