Response to Critics
Questioner: Is it true what we hear that (one should) boycott in these times, or should that not be implemented?
Shaykh al-Albaanee: He means to say it is preferable not to be implemented. What is correct is that boycotting is not implemented because the innovators and the corrupt are the majority. It would be better to say it is preferably not implemented. Perhaps the questioner intended myself. Whether he intended myself or not, I say yes, that is the case. IT IS BETTER THAT IT IS NOT IMPLEMENTED. AND I ALREADY SAID SO IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS PREVIOUSLY WHEN I GAVE THE SHAAMI SAYING.
Questioner: If there did come into existence an environment in which the majority of those in it were from Ahlus Sunnah, and there were some elements who innovated in Allaah’s religion for example, should boycotting be implemented or should it not be in this circumstance?
Shaykh al-Albaanee: It is obligatory that we use wisdom in dealing with the situation. The faction which has the upper hand and is strong, if they boycott the faction which has deviated from the community, will that benefit the faction that is holding on firmly to the truth? Or will it harm them? Now that is relative to them. Secondly, will those who have been boycotted by the main group, will that benefit them or will it harm them? That has been previously answered. It is not appropriate or suitable that we take these issues emotionally or enthusiastically. Instead it should be done cautiously and with wisdom. For example, one of them goes off and holds a position contradictory to the rest of the group. The others quickly say this is gheeratul Allaah (i.e. being jealous about Allaah’s laws that they not be broken), so we will boycott him. It is better to be kind and gentle with him, try to guide him, advise him, etc. Be his companion for some time. Then if you give up hope and there does not seem to be any hope for him to change, first and foremost, and then it is feared that his sickness will spread to Zayd and Bakr (i.e. to others), at this point, he would be boycotted if it seems most likely that boycotting him would be the best treatment. And as it is said, the last method of treatment is isolation. TODAY, I DO NOT ADVISE OR ENCOURAGE THE YOUTHS TO BOYCOTT BECAUSE IT HURTS AND HARMS MUCH MORE THAN IT BENEFITS. The biggest evidence of it is the fitnah which is presently existing in al-Hijaaz. They’re all brought together by the call to tawheed, the call to the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. But some of them have their own unique activities, either in politics or in some other ideas which were not known before from any of the people of knowledge. [These ideas] could be erroneous or they could be correct, but we’re not able to bear to hear anything which is new; especially if it is an affair which is rejected in our opinion. And immediately, we begin to fight him. This is a mistake, brother. “You wish a friend who has no faults. But does sandalwood burn without smoke?” We wish if only the Ikhwaan al-Muslimeen will be with us on the principle of tawheed so that we would be with them. But they are not pleased with us even in the issues of ‘aqeedah. And they say that mentioning the differences has split up the group. These brothers, from whom some group has split off or they’ve split off from some group, and Allaah knows best, they are with us all along the way with regards to the Qur’aan and the Sunnah and the methodology of the righteous predecessors. But they have brought something new in reality, some of which is in error and some of which is correct. So why should we spread division amongst ourselves and factionalism and fanaticism when before we were one unit? So we then became two. After being two groupings, we then became three. They became “fashariyyoon” and “surooriyyoon”, etc. Allaahu Akbar! And they were not split up for anything which deserves splitting up for. There is no difference in the great issues that it could not be conceived that the salafees would differ in. We all know well that the sahaabah had differences in some issues, but their methodology was one. Thus, if one was to imagine that a group from Ahlus Sunnah wal jamaa‘ah and from the victorious group (at-Taa’ifah al-Mansoorah) has split off, we should take a hold of them with kindness and gentleness, brother, and we try to keep them with the jamaa‘ah. And we do not boycott them and cut them off except if we fear from them. And that will not become apparent immediately. It is not that simply when somebody expresses an opinion, in which he goes against the opinion or position of the group that it is appropriate for us to immediately boycott that individual. It should be done with patience, until it becomes clear to us that perhaps Allaah will guide his heart or it becomes evident to us that cutting him off is the best.”
Furthermore, Shaykh al-Albaanee gives conditions before a person can be referred to as being from among Ahlul-Bid’ah. Not only that, but he was known to give people the benefit of the doubt and make excuses for them, rather than being quick to judge them. For example he said on the same tape:
“From here, there is a necessary research that needs to be done. It is just as necessary for us to know who the innovator (al-mubtadi‘) is as it is for us to know who the disbeliever is. There is a question which must be asked at this point. Does anyone who falls into disbelief through actions become a disbeliever? Likewise, does the label of “innovator” in its totality apply to anyone who falls into an act of innovation, or is that not the case? If the answer is that it is not the case, then we can continue to look into the subject. And if it is not clear, then it needs to be clarified. I will repeat the issue involved in this question with additional detail. What is an innovation? A new affair or a new action which contradicts the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). The one who does it does so desiring to increase his or her closeness to Allaah, may He be Blessed and Exalted. Does everyone who commits an innovation become an innovator?
Shaykh al-Albaanee: Who then is the innovator?
Questioner: One to whom clear and convincing evidence has been brought and he insists on continuing to practice the innovation which he has committed.
Shaykh al-Albaanee: Good. So those about whom it was stated that mercy should not be asked for them, was clear evidence brought to them? Allaah knows best. What then is the foundational principle regarding them; that they are Muslims or disbelievers? It is that they are Muslims. Therefore, it is permissible for one to seek for Allaah’s mercy to be on them. The foundational principle, again, is that we should be able to seek forgiveness or mercy for them. Isn’t that the case? Then the issue has ended.”
Questioner: Is there anything necessary besides establishing the proof on the disbeliever for them to be classified a disbeliever, or an innovator for them to be classified an innovator, or the sinful, like convincing or removing the doubts?
Shaykh al-Albaanee: No. This is not a necessity, but what is necessary is knowledge. It is the knowledge by which the proof is established. HE (I.E. THE ONE ESTABLISHING THE PROOF) SHOULD BE AN INHERITOR OF THE PROPHET (pbuh) (I.E. A SCHOLAR) AND NOT ANY INDIVIDUAL AMONG THE VARIOUS INDIVIDUALS.
He further said:
“I want to remind you of a reality on which there is no difference, and then I want to add to it something which the young people of our times are not thinking about. The reality is the statement of the Prophet (pbuh) mentioned in a number of hadeeths: “Whovever declares a Muslim to be a disbeleiver has himself disbelieved.” This is a reality in which there is no doubt. The well-known additional clarification of this hadeeth is found in some of the other narrations. That is, if it is that the one who has been declared a disbeliever is in fact a disbeliever, then he is correct. Otherwise, it goes back to him. This does not require any research because the hadeeth is very clear. However, I would like to add to it saying that in the case of someone who declares a Muslim to be an innovator, it is either that the labeled Muslim is in fact an innovator, or the one who made the declaration is himself an innovator. This is the reality which I had said to you earlier: that our young people are declaring our scholars to be innovators and they are the ones who themselves have fallen into innovation. However, they do not know; they do not intend to commit innovation. In fact, they fight innovation. The following saying of the past applies to them: “Awrada Sa’dun wa Sa’dun mushtamil, maa haakatha yaa S’adu, tooradul ibil (While sitting cross-legged, Sa’d let them take water; O Sa’d, that isn’t the way to water camels).” Because of that, we advise our youths to hold fast to acting according to the Qur’aan and the Sunnah within the bounds of their knowledge, and not to have the audacity to accuse others whose knowledge they cannot compare their knowledge to. Nor can they compare their understanding to these people, nor perhaps even their righteousness; that is, people like an-Nawawee and Haafith ibn Hajar al-‘Askalaanee. Who in the Muslim world today in anywhere near these two? Leave Sayyid Qutb, because he is a regular individual. We praise him for his efforts, his jihaad, but this does not in any way change the fact that he was really only a writer. He had literary skills, but he was not a scholar. So there is no surprise that a number of things would come from him which contradict the correct methodology. As for those who were mentioned along with him, like an-Nawawee and ibn Hajar, it is wrong and oppressive to refer to them as being among the people of innovation. I know that they were amongst the Ash‘arites, but they did not intend to contradict the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. It is only that they mistakenly thought two things regarding the ‘aqeedah which they had inherited from the Ash‘arites. The first is that Imaam al-Ash‘aree actually held that position, when in fact, that was only his early position because he recanted his statement. And secondly, they mistakenly thought it to be correct, when it is in fact incorrect.”
Further on he said, regarding Sayyid Qutb’s deviant statement of wahdatul wujood:
“Therefore, it is not suitable for us to imagine that Sayyid Qutb had fallen into wahdatil wujood (monism) as Ibn ‘Arabee, for example, had; that he, meaning Sayyid Qutb, intended it and his heart was set on it like Ibn ‘Arabee who misguided millions of Sufi Muslims. Perhaps it was only a left over of some Sufi thought which came to his mind or to his heart while he was a prisoner, and he had not developed complete knowledge about the issue. And he wrote that statement which I was the first to criticize.”
And on numerous occasions, where people came to him with, “So and so made such and such a (deviant) statement. What do you think, Shaykh?” His first response would be, “I don’t think So and so would say that! And IF he did say that, I don’t think he knew what he was saying. Did you ask him what he meant by that statement?” This was the way of the noble Shaykh, giving his Muslim brothers the benefit of the doubt and avoiding passing false judgments based on a few statements. And it is far different from what some of our brothers are currently involved in. And this is not based on five or even ten tapes I happened to hear, but Allaah is my witness, on a few hundred.
POINT SIX: Regarding the statement in my book The Fundamentals of Tawheed (written some 18 years ago and first published 10 years ago), which implies that people should speak out against the rulers who rule by other than the Sharee’ah, as well as another (which was not pointed out to me by the brothers but by my wife) in Tafseer Soorah al-Hujuraat (written more than twenty-one years ago), which encourages plotting against Muslim governments not implementing Sharee’ah, I have abandoned such false beliefs long ago and unfortunately, was not aware that some remained in my old books. I openly retract those statements, and had someone bothered to inform me of them and advise me, I would have changed them immediately. They will be changed with the next publications inshaa’Allaah, and I will further retract these statements on my web page and state the correct view regarding the rulers, inshaa’Allaah.
I have never had a problem accepting a mistake once proof comes to the contrary and changing it. But did these brothers ever sit with me and sincerely advise me about these “many mistakes”? Did they ask to meet with me, which I would have done gladly, and say, ‘In such and such a book, you made such and such an erroneous statement. The following evidence is to the contrary’, etc.? That would have been much appreciated.
Furthermore, in my meeting with Shaykh ‘Alee Hasan and Shaykh Saleem, some brothers tried to bring to them an issue in one of my old books, and Shaykh ‘Alee told them that they cannot take a person’s ‘aqeedah from his old books, instead it should be taken from his recent books. So the brothers should not merely take a statement written in my oldest books and ignore all my explicit statements in my recent lectures and books wherein I speak out in no uncertain terms against making takfeer of Muslim rulers and others, speak out against revolt against rulers and all the takfeeree movements. In my book, Usool at-Tafseer, I spoke about the importance of accepting the Sahaabah’s understanding of the Qur’aan, and as one of my examples, I quoted the verse, “And whoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed is a kaafir.” Then followed it by Ibn ‘Abbaas’ statement, “It is a form of kufr less than real kufr.” Then I put in my footnote that the position of scholars is that when the ruler believes that man-made laws are better than or as good as the Sharee’ah, or that it is permissible to rule by them, then is a kaafir. Whereas if he applies man-made laws while believing that it is sinful to do so, then he is a major sinner but does not leave the fold of Islaam. I ended the footnote asking the reader to refer to at-Tah-theer min Fitnah at-Takfeer by Shaykh al-Albaanee, who, as I wrote, “provides copious documentation from the statements of classical and modern salafee scholars to support his position.” (p. 38) In my book Tafseer Soorah al-Mulk, which is complete and on the way to being published inshaa’Allaah, I included the entire section on the categories of kufr from Shaykh Khaalid al-‘Anbaree’s book The Fundamentals of Takfeer. And I again made clear statements there opposing takfeer and revolt against the rulers. And my position is and has been that of Shaykh al-Albaanee’s and the other scholars, the position of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa‘ah: that one cannot claim someone to be a kaafir due to a major sin he has committed, and that we cannot make takfeer on Muslim rulers if they do not rule by Sharee‘ah, for the ruler’s aqeedah as to whether or not it is permissible for him to rule by man-made laws or whether or not man-made laws are better, is something which only he and Allaah know the reality of. So we take him to be a Muslim, and the Prophet (pbuh) clearly forbade revolt against Muslim rulers in many ahaadeeth, and ordered that they be obeyed in other than disobedience to Allaah. Furthermore, Muslims should not publicly and openly speak out against the Muslim rulers and governments as it only creates fitnah and incites the masses of Muslims to act upon emotion and ignorance by creating chaos or plotting revolt against rulers. In addition, the only way for the Muslims to attain their honor and glory once again, and reach the level wherein the Muslim world can rule totally according to Sharee’ah, free of all forms of shirk, bid’ah, or oppression, is, as Shaykh al-Albaane spent his life teaching, by tasfiyah and tarbiyah. That is, that the deen be purified from all forms of shirk, bid’ah, hizbiyyah, blind-following, the use of inauthentic hadeeths, etc., and it be understood and practiced in the pristine form it was revealed in, according to the understanding of the righteous salaf, the Sahaabah primarily and the next two generations. Their way, in all affairs (aqeedah, methodology, fiqh, manners, understanding, etc.) is superior to all those who came after them. Then we must educate ourselves, families, then everyone else upon this purified religion.
There are my positions in black and white before anyone who reads this, so as not to attribute to me to an ‘aqeedah and minhaj that I am in fact innocent of.
POINT SEVEN: The scholars have spoken out against the methodology of searching for people’s mistakes to try and broadcast them or hold something against them. The following are examples of some of these statements published in al-Huda and other internet sites:
Advices from Shaykh Muhammad Nassiruddeen Al –Albaanee:
“Listen my brother. I sincerely advise you and other youths like you, who stand upon a type of deviation –as it seems to us- and Allah (aw) knows best – do not waste your time in refuting each other, saying that such and such has this in him, and such and such has that in him. This is because, firstly: there is no knowledge at all in this, and secondly: this mannerism only breeds enmity and hatred in the hearts, and causes contempt and rancor to develop in the hearts. So it is upon you to seek knowledge. It is knowledge that will make clear to you the reality of the speech which is in praise of a particular person having many mistakes, and whether he is deserving of being labeled as an innovator.
Yet why do we wish to delve into such issues. Indeed I advise you not to delve into such issues. The reality is that we complain about this splitting which has occurred between those who ascribe themselves to the da’wah to the Book and the Sunnah. The greatest cause of this splitting, and Allah (aw) knows best, is the following of whims and desires and the evil dictates of one’s soul. It is not due to the presence of differences in thoughts and ideas. So this is my sincere advice.”
[Silsilatul Hudaa wan-Noor (784/1), dated the 1st of Rabi’al Awwal 1414H, (9-12-1993)]
Advices from Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Bin Baaz:
“What has become common in this age, is that many of those who ascribe themselves to knowledge and calling to good, fall into belittling many of their brothers who are well known daa’ees, and speaking against the honor of the students of knowledge and the daa’ees. This is done sometimes secretly in their circles, sometimes on cassettes which are then circulated amongst the people, or sometimes publicly mentioned in their gatherings in the mosques. And this manner opposes the command of Allah (aw) and His Messenger (saaw) from a number of angles.
So I sincerely advise those brothers who have fallen into slandering and maligning the daa’ees, that they should repent to Allah (aw), for what they have written with their own hands, and what they have said with their own tongues; which may have been a cause for corrupting the hearts of some of the youths; filling their hearts with hatred and malice, and preoccupying them away from acquiring beneficial knowledge and calling to Allah (aw), because of being preoccupied with qeel and qaal (“It is said,” and “He said”, i.e. rumor mongering), and with speech about this person and that person, and with hunting for the mistakes of people, and burdening them with this. Likewise, I sincerely advise them that they should redress whatever they have done, and declare themselves free from the likes of those actions through writing or methods other than this. They should remove whatever may have entered the minds and thoughts of those who listened to them, and they should take to doing those fruitful actions that will draw them closer to Allah (aw), and which will be of benefit to the worshippers. They should beware of being hasty in pronouncing takfeer (declaring one a kaafir), tafseeq (declaring one a corrupt sinner), or tabdee‘ (declaring one an innovator) upon people, without the truth being explained, and without the proofs being established. The Prophet (saaw) said: “Whoseover says to his brother:’O unbeliever’ then it will return to one of them.” (Bukhaaree & Muslim) [Majmoo’ Fatawa wa Maqalat Mutanawwi’ah (7/311-314), abridged.]
Advices from Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al-‘Uthaymeen:
“It is essential for a student of knowledge to safeguard his time from being wasted. And time wasting occurs in a number of ways:
Firstly: That one leaves committing to memory and revising what one has read.
Secondly: That one sits with his friends and indulges in vain and idle talk which contains no benefit.
Thirdly, and this is the most harmful of them upon a student of knowledge: That he has no concern except pursuing people’s statements with “It is said that” and “he said that” (maa qeela wa maa qaala) and with what has occurred and what is currently taking place regarding an issue that is of no concern to him.
And there is no doubt that this is from a weakness of [his] Islaam, since the Prophet (saaw) said: <Part of a person’s good Islaam is to leave alone that which does not concern him.> (Tirmithee).
Busying oneself with qeela and qaala and excessive questioning are time-wasters. And it is, in reality, a disease which, when it comes into a man – we ask Allah for well-being- it becomes his greatest concern. Due to this, he may even sometimes show enmity (‘adaa) to one who does not deserve enmity, or show alliance (walaa) to one who does not deserve alliance, because of concerning himself with these issues which pre-occupy him away from knowledge, under the pretext of “championing the truth”, whilst this is not the case! Rather, this is part of pre-occupying oneself with an issue that does not concern him.
If, however, a report comes to you without you having pursued or sought it, then everyone who receives the news should not busy themselves with it, nor should they make it their greatest concern. This is because this (practice) pre-occupies the student of knowledge, corrupts his affair, and opens up for the Ummah the door of bigoted partisanship (hizbiyyah) which then splits the Ummah.” [Kitaabul ‘Ilm (204-205)]
Advices from Shaykh ‘Abdullaah Al-Ghunaymaan:
“Amongst the consequences of the actions of these individuals is that they have confused the thoughts of many of the youth. Thus, as a result, some youths have strayed from the path of guidance and have begun to follow the path drawn up for them by those who criticize others, and who have stood in the path of da’wah and blocked the path of Allah. As a result of those individuals who criticize others, some of the youth now sense a great gap between them and the scholars, and now harbor great misgivings, causing them to stray from the scholars.
Some have begun to categorize people according to what he hears from these people, saying: so and so is from the Ikhwaan, because he talks, visits, or sits with a person from the Ikhwaan; or that such and such a person is from the Suroorees; or such and such is from the profiteers (i.e. those who wish to please everybody, even at the expense of the truth), etc. The amazing thing is that these people imagine that by doing so, they are applying the methodology of al-jarh wat-ta’deel.
Response to Critics (Further on the tape)
However, they have adopted in this action, ignorant leaders who are misguided and who misguide others. Thus, it is upon the Muslim to fear Allah (aw) regarding himself and those poor souls who are not even a quarter, or a tenth of the learned.
There occurs in the authentic hadeeth: <That Allah guides through you even a single person, is better than the choicest of camels> [Bukharee (2942)].
Likewise, whosoever misguides even a single person, will bear a great burden; as Allah (aw) said, after mentioning the story of one of the Aadam’s children killing his brother: <<Because of that, We ordained for the Children of Isra’eel that whosover unjustly kills a person, or to spread corruption in the earth, it is as if he has killed the whole of mankind….>> (Al Maa’dah 5:32)
Thus, to send someone astray in his religion is far greater than killing him. So statements regarding matters of religion must be stated along with their proofs from either Allah’s Book, or the Sunnah of His Messenger (saaw), and that when making such statements one should seek by that the Face of Allah Alone, and also one should ascertain if the harm resulting from such speech is not greater than the benefit, or that one’s intention is not due to envy of a particular individual, or due to the following of one’s desires.
[Al Hawaa wa Atharuhu fil Khilaaf (33-34)]
POINT EIGHT: As regards my statement concerning pictures, Abu Khadeejah is correct that Sh Uthaymeen considered photographs haraam, though he did not consider the act of making photographs with an instamatic camera included under the forbidden forms of picture making mentioned in the hadeeths. He did however consider the action haraam for other than necessity because the means to a forbidden thing is haraam. I personally did consider the taking of photos permissible in the past as the evidence for its prohibition was not clear to me. However, I now hold that it is prohibited based on the opinion of the majority of the Salafee scholars of our time.
CONCLUSION: And as I stated in the beginning, this is the first and last response I intend to write, and our brothers can fight a one-sided battle if they so choose. I chose to respond due to the urging of many people who stressed to me that my silence was being taken as acceptance of Aboo Khadeejah’s attack as being fully based on truth. In closing, I pray Allaah softens the hearts and guides all of us and unites the hearts of those dedicated to spreading the Salafee Da’wah.
Monday, 13 November 2006