Rights of the Prophet

Khutbah on the rights of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم.

Link: https://app.box.com/s/98344bhxx7a2w08fqho9dp5uif00ai98

Advertisements

Breaking the Chains 5: Tabdee’ requires proof [The scholastic methodology]

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

This will be possibly the longest post in this series. However, it is essential to clarify it matter with copious evidences so that the reader, after having read it, wouldn’t have any doubt regarding the methodology of the ‘Ulama in Tabdee’.

And I proceed:

Abu Hakeem Bilal Davies (وفقه الله و هداه) said:

Doubt 1‘We do not accept the warnings of the scholars except with proof, because ‘We are people of evidence’

We start with this doubt, because this claim, though it appears fair seeming, the real intent behind it is an evil one. It seeks is to destroy the status of the people of knowledge, their statements and their guidance. This doubt has been used throughout time to cunningly belittle the people of knowledge in the mind of the unsuspecting innocent layperson, and to replace the people of knowledge with these individuals, who present themselves as people skilled in the knowledge of understanding strong or weak evidences. Thus reliance falls upon them.

By way of this statement of theirs, the statements of the people of knowledge have little worth, rather true worth is in the hands of this individual who will dictate who and what is to be taken from and who and what is to be rejected. This is particularly when it come to the affair of their statements against the people of deviation. As though the people of knowledge do not speak from a standpoint of taqwa and fear of Allah, but desire. As if the people of knowledge are fickle individuals who speak against people upon a whim. The Salaf of this Ummah would truly value the statements of the people of knowledge. Not so these unknowns.

Then they will use, in order to slight the statements of the Ulamā, statements of the Imaams that where mentioned in relation to affairs of rulings of the shariah, connected  to actions, dealings and ijtihād.

Such as the statement of Abu Hanīfah:

It is not permissible to take from my statements unless you know where I took

Or the statement of Imām Ash shāfi’i  “If you find my statement going against the book or the Sunnah throw my statements against the wall

These individuals regularly use statements and principles out of place or to oppose specific issues of methodology. it is well known that a principle in fiqh may not necessarily be a principle in aqidah and vice versa.

These aforementioned statements, are true statements that were mentioned to emphasise the importance of holding on to evidence in issues of shariah. But they are used by these individuals, to put doubt upon the statements, verdicts and advises of the Scholars, because when the scholars speak against someone and warns, often times the general person may not be acquainted with the reasons for the warning, and may not even understand the gravity of the issue, even if it were explained to them!

As Al Hasan Al Basri mentioned:

The fitna, when it appears, it is known by the Ulamā, and when its tail end appears (i.e. when it is over) it is known by every general person

That is to say when fitna arises it is spotted, detected and understood by the people of knowledge, how will the ignorant one perceive it, if it is intricate?

Based upon the statements of these ignoramuses, we should leave the general people to get engrossed in these issues, relying upon their own weak deficient understanding, possibly becoming unsatisfied with the evidence presented by those scholars, (since he (the layman) may be ignorant of the foundation that has been opposed) and thus go astray!

Knowledge of the men is in the hands of the people of Knowledge! (https://ah-sp.com/2017/08/22/doubts-around-the-dawah-part-2/)

From what is apparently understood in this passage Bilal Davies is of the opinion that:

  1. One of the doubts that the people of desires present is asking for evidences when individuals who are known for their adherence to the Sunnah are refuted.
  2. That the intent behind asking for evidences is to put doubt in the verdicts of the scholars.
  3. Asking for evidence is tantamount to vilifying the scholars and ignoring their statements.
  4. Adherence to the statements of the Imams regarding Taqleed is applicable in fiqh  but inapplicable in matters of Tabdee’.
  5. The people would not understand the evidences even if the evidences are presented to them.

Before venturing into the statements of Shaikh Rabee’ regarding this issue, an important principle to know is that those who blind-follow follow “their” scholars in the Furuu’ (subsidiary matters) but don’t follow them in the Usool (fundamentals). In other words, although they make Tabdee‘ of everyone who Shaikh Rabee’ has made Tabdee’ of , they indeed oppose the methodology of Shaikh Rabee’ in making Tabdee’ which is based upon scholarship. The following are excerpts from the Shaikh’s refutation of Falih Al Harbi:

Faalih Al Harbi was asked: Is it a condition to clarify the reasons for Jarh?

He then stated: It is not a condition that (asking for evidences). This is regarding the reasons for Jarh Wa Ta’deel in narrating and this does not enter into speaking about those who deviate in their methodology and their way.”

Faalih was also asked afterward: Because they say that a Shaikh may be disparaged for what isn’t taken into consideration as a Jarh by other than him.

He then stated: No, no, this is from their principles and I seek refuge in Allah. This is an oppressive principle that is innovated and led the Ummah astray.

The questioner then said: Then the general Jarh is sufficient

Falih said: From a scholar, this is not a Jarh, don’t say it’s a Jarh, it is not from Jarh in narrations. Maybe a scholar who speaks about the people of innovation and speaks about the methodology and speaks about the ‘Aqeedah and the religion is an Imam in this. And it is possible that his narration may not be accepted because he doesn’t fulfill the requirements… [Asilah ‘Ilmeeyah Muwajihah Ela Shaikh Faalih: pg1]

Note: Although Abu Hakeem has distanced himself regarding the speech of Faalih Al Harbi regarding the distinction between Jarh Wa Ta’deel and refuting the innovator, the principle of making the ruling of Tabdee‘ upon individuals without clarification and evidence still remains.

As for Shaikh Rabee’ his position regarding has been clarified in his statements published on his website.

He said to Faalih regarding his aforementioned answers:

“Verily you were asked regarding specific individuals who are known to the people for Salafeeyah and Da’wah toward it. From them are scholars according to the people and you have removed them from Salafeeyah and this removal is a severe Jarh which is in need of evidence. If you don’t come with evidence and reasons for this Jarh the people would think that you have oppressed them, transgressed upon them and spoke about their religion without any right. Therefore you would become accused in front of the people and would need to distance your religion and honour from this.

If you don’t do so the people would speak ill of you and neither yourself nor others would be pleased with this disparagement. Therefore trials and differences between the Salafis and accusations between parties would spread. And this wouldn’t stop until the reasons for this removal (from Salafeeyah) are presented and even you would request the reasons if someone disparaged you or removed you from Salafeeyah.

If there is a Jarh Mubham (disparagement without proof) and a Ta’deel then the strongest opinion is that it is a must to explain that Jarh Mubham. And being famous regarding the religion, Sunnah, Salafeeyah and Da’wah is stronger than a Ta’deel that comes from one or two scholars.

And speech regarding deviants in their methodology and what they traverse upon is from the most important matters that enter into Jarh because there is a binding factor between individuals and their methodology. Therefore those who speak ill of the methodology of a person speaks ill of him.

And for this reason you see that the Salaf presented the evidences showing the misguidance of the people of innovation and the deviance of their methodology. And they have books which can’t be enumerated. And some of them shall be mentioned and I have the opinion that there is no issue in mentioning the speech of the people of knowledge regarding the condition of explaining the Jarh Mubham and the rejecting of some of the Jarh. So I say:

Ibn Salaah said that the strongest opinion is that the Ta‘deel is accepted without clarifying the reason. As for Jarh, it is not accepted unless it is explained and the reasons are clear. This is because people differ regarding the reasons in what would be an acceptable Jarh and that which would not be acceptable. And it has been relayed from Al Khateeb that it is the Madhab of the Imams of Hadeeth and its criticizers the likes of Imam Al Bukhari and Muslim and other than them, And for this reason Bukhari narrated from a group who had been disparaged like ‘Ikrimah the Maula of Ibn Abbas and he mentioned others. Then he said: And Muslim narrated from Suwaid Ibn Sa’eed and a group who were known to have been disparaged and Abu Dawood As Sijistani did the same. And this shows that they had the opinion that Jarh is not accepted unless its reasons have been explained... [An Naseehah Al Akhawiyah: pg. 2]

From this it is crystal clear that Shaikh Rabee’s methodology regarding Tabdee’ is that clear evidences must be given to establish it. Hence, it is not upon anyone to make claims without backing these claims up with the reality. As the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:

The clarity is upon the claimant.” (Bukhari and Muslim).

Likewise it is the methodology of the scholars of Hadeeth and Usool Ul Fiqh who Shaikh Rabee’ followed in goodness. That which proceeds in the following paragraphs contains some of their many statements*:

Imam As Suyooti said: “And for this reason Bukhari accepted the narrations of individuals who were disparaged by other than them. The likes of ‘Ikrimah and ‘Amr Ibn Marzooq. And Muslim accepted the likes of Suwaid Ibn Sa’eed and other individuals who were known to have been disparaged. Likewise, this was the action of Abu Dawood. And this is an evidence that they were of the opinion that the disparagement was not established (upon an appraised individual) if it wasn’t explained. And this is also evidence that possibly the criticizer was asked and then mentioned that which would not constitute as a disparagement.” [Suyooti: 1/167]

Imam Muhammad Ameen Ash Shinqiti mentioned: “And for this reason (because the Jarh wasn’t explained) the two Shaikhs (Bukhari and Muslim) accepted the Hadeeth of those who were disparaged by other than them. For they didn’t accept the disparagement because the reason for the disparagement remained unexplained. And from the examples of this is Imam Bukhari narrated from ‘Ikrimah and ‘Umar Ibn Marzooq and Muslim narrating from Sa’eed Ibn Suwaid and other than him.” [Shinqiti:147]

Imam Ibn Salaah said in Siyanah Saheeh Muslim: “Section 8: Some of those find fault in [Imam] Muslim for narrating from a group of weak narrators or from those in the middle who are in the second section [of narrators] and do not fulfill the conditions of being in his book.

And the answer: This is for one of the following reasons and there is no fault in him for doing such.

This occurred with an individual who was weak according to others and trustworthy according to him. And it is not said in this instance that the disparagement takes precedence over the appraisal and that this is making the appraisal take precedence over the disparagement. This is because that which we have mentioned takes precedence over the disparagement that is unexplained and this [the disparagement] is not acted upon. And I have clarified in the book Ma’rifah Uloom Ul Hadeeth that which Al Khateeb stated regarding those narrators who both Bukhari and Muslim have relied upon, as well as Abu Dawood and other than them with a group that were disparaged from other than them. And from the angle that the criticizer has mentioned the reason and Muslim clarified that it was false.” [Ibn Salaah: 10]

Ibn Hajar said: “If the one who has been disparaged in a general manner has been deemed trustworthy by one of the scholars the criticism is not accepted from whoever it may be except if it is detailed. Because him being trustworthy has been established and this is not removed except by a clear matter. And this is taken from the statement of Imam Ahmad: “Whoever’s uprightness has been established the criticisms on him are not accepted from anyone until he clarifies it upon him with evidence that would not carry by it except disparagement.” [Amr Ibn ‘Abdul Lateef: 40]

Al Luknawi mentioned after clarifying that the disparagement of an appraised individual is not accepted except that it is explained: “And Ibn Salaah has sufficed with the first opinion amongst others in his introduction. And he said: Al Khateeb mentioned that this is the Madhab of the Imams who are the memorizers of Hadeeth and its criticizers the likes of Bukhari and Muslim. And for this reason Bukhari used the narrations of a group who were criticized by other than him. The likes of ‘Ikrimah, Isma’eel Ibn Abee Uwais, ‘Aasim Ibn ‘Ali, ‘Amr Ibn Marzooq and other than him. And Muslim utilized the narrations of Suwaid Ibn Sa’eed and a group who were known to have been disparaged. Abu Dawood As Sijistani also did this. This is evidence that they had the opinion that a disparagement is not established except if the reasons for it have been clarified.” [Luknawi: 34]

Imam Al Mu’alimi mentioned: “And many individuals have not been granted safety from the speech of some people against them. From what has been mentioned about Ibraheem speaking about Ash Sha’bi and Sha’bi speaking about ‘Ikrimah and those before them and the interpretation of some of them (to speak about) the individuals and their honour. This is not taken into consideration by the people of knowledge except with clarification and evidence, and their uprightness is not removed except with clarification and evidence.” [Mu’alimi: 1/75]

From these quotes it is clear that there are times when the unexplained criticism of a scholar is not always accepted. Rather, the acceptance or rejection of the detailed criticism depends on the condition of the one being criticized. To reiterate, if the one being criticized is unknown then the criticism is accepted from a scholar who has knowledge regarding the reasons for Jarh and Ta’deel. However, if the one being criticized has been appraised by the scholars it is a must that the criticizer present evidence and clarification for his stance. If this principle was abandoned then some of the authentic Hadeeth in Bukhari and Muslim would have to be removed.

Likewise in the case of Tabdee’, if the uprightness of an individual has been well established then it is legislatively and intellectually unfeasible to remove his/her uprightness except with clear proofs and evidences based upon the book of Allah, the Sunnah of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and the Ijmaa’ (consensus) of the scholars.

And Allah knows best.

* Soon I will be writing a small treatise entitled: “A Clarification of the scholarly methodology in categorizing someone to be upon innovation.”

 

 

Breaking the chains 4: (Tabdee’: Those who make the ruling)

Just to Re-iterate some of the statements of Abu Hakeem Bilal Davies in his post: Doubts around the Da’wah 1: https://ah-sp.com/2017/08/19/doubts-around-the-dawah-part-1/

Thus seeking knowledge does not necessitate that a person will gain correct detailed knowledge of the methodology of the salaf, just as being from the people of knowledge does not, by default, necessitate that this scholar is skilled in the field of the intricasies of the methodology, since being knowledgable concerning good, does not automatically necessitate detailed knowledge of evil.

And the statement

This methodology is inherited from those who possess it (i.e. the people of knowledge), it is not based upon guesswork or conjecture, nor acting upon what we deem to be ‘obvious’. Neither should it be presumed that everyone referred to as an ‘Ālim’ must, by necessity be knowledgeable concerning it. Such that if one ‘took from the scholars’ they too must be knowledgeable and aware of it.

I have dealt with this in a previous post with the speech of Shaikh Saalih As Suhaimi here: https://musamills.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/removing-a-doubt-for-the-doubtful/

However, I would like to further analyze the issue of establishing a ruling regarding Tabdee’ (calling a person an innovator) . For the ruling of Tabdee’ to be established three things must be taken into consideration:

  • The one who makes the ruling.
  • The one who the ruling is being made upon
  • The evidences for Tabdee’

In this post I shall deal with the first point i.e the one who makes the ruling of Tabdee’. As for the second and third issue I shall be dealing with it in the next post.

As stated in the books of Jarh Wa Ta’deel (disparagement and appraisal) the one who is establishing the Jarh must be knowledgeable of the reasons for the Jarh in addition to being cautious, just and fearful of Allah ta’ala. Ibn Hajar Al ‘Asqalani said:

The Jarh of the one who goes extreme in it (by disparaging someone who doesn’t deserve it) is not accepted as this would lead to disparaging someone for that which the narrator’s Hadeeth wouldn’t be rejected for.” (Nuzhah An Nadhr: 401)

He also said:

And if one disparages without caution, he would have spoken ill of a Muslim who is distant from it (the Jarh).” (Nuzhah An Nadhr: 402)

If we apply this to Tabdee’ we would look at the following:

  • Does the individual know the reasons and conditions for Tabdee’?
  • Is the individual equipped to make the ruling of Tabdee‘?
  • Can the individual establish the evidences of Tabdee’ on a particular person?

As for the last point, the evidences have to be established to the point that it is clear and goes in according to the reality. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said regarding Takfeer (calling someone Kaafir) that it must be clear Kufr which can be established by the revelation. And as the scholars clarified, Tabdee’ is the sister of Takfeer.

Regarding the Hukm (ruling) of Tabdee’, the individual who does so must have the aforementioned attributes in the points presented from the quotations of Imam Ibn Hajar Al ‘Asqalani. Once the individual has the characteristics mentioned above i.e of scholarship, knowledge of the principles and evidences, piety and caution then he/she has the ability to make Tabdee’.

However, it is amazing to witness that there are those who claim that some scholars who are known for their correct ‘Aqeedah, sound Manhaj and have the aforementioned attributes do not fit the requirements to make judgments upon individuals. Additionally,  no precise criteria has been laid out as to why their select few are the exception from these many scholars.*

We must realize that uttering such bold statements without understanding its implications and consequences is indeed unwise and is tantamount to disrespecting many of the known Salafi scholars worldwide. As Shaikh Saalih As Suhaimi mentioned,when some of them say that the scholars are not strong in the affairs of Manhaj, it is similar to the statement of the political activists when they said that the scholars don’t have knowledge regarding current affairs.

May Allah aid us in recognizing the status of our ‘Ulama.

*From what is apparent, the criteria of Abu Hakeem Bilal Davies regarding this affair is that he should have an intrinsic knowledge of the Manhaj. Although I agree with Abu Hakeem on this point, I beg the following questions:

  1. What is meant by knowledge of the intricacies of the Manhaj?
  2. What is it that excludes scholars, other than their select few, from having knowledge regarding the intricacies of the Manhaj? In other words what are the criteria for having intricate knowledge, or being a scholar of the Manhaj?

Since Islam is a religion based upon clarity the vague statements of Abu Hakeem must be explained. May Allah guide us all.

 

 

Breaking the chains: Part 3: Knowledge and the scholars.

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah,

This is part three of Breaking the Chains. May Allah make it beneficial for those who read and spread it. And to proceed:

As aforementioned, respect, love and adherence to the methodology of the scholars is from the ‘Aqeedah of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. However, bearing this in mind, many scholars may only be known or may specialize in some Islamic sciences while having sufficient knowledge that is required for him/ her in other fields of Islamic scholarship. Hence, a scholar may be a Faqeeh (scholar in Fiqh) but not a Muhaddith (scholar of Hadeeth). He/ She may be a scholar of Tafseer (Qur’anic explanation) but not a scholar of Usool Ul Fiqh (the methodology of deriving Fiqh)

Upon this premise, without a shadow of a doubt it is a must that we return to the specialist scholars in every subject as it relates to detailed and intrinsic matters regarding their fields of study. Additionally, in this juncture of Islamic history it is difficult to find scholars who are experts in every field (an example being Shaikh Ul Islam Ibn Taymeeyah). Although this is the case, Allah has still been merciful to the Muslims who have specialists in Fiqh, the Arabic Language, Hadeeth, Qur’anic recitation, ‘Aqeedah, refuting the innovators etc. At the same instance we must bear the following principles in mind:

1. The statements of the scholar must still be weighed against evidences and principles as aforementioned.

2. Although a scholar may be most prominent in a field it neither excludes other scholars from having knowledge or even expertise in the same field. Nor does it grant the scholar infallibility in the science he specializes in.  

Hence, although Shaikh Rabee’, who is from the scholars of this time, specializes in refuting the opponents of the Salafi Da’wah this does not mean that other eminent scholars are excluded from participating in refuting the innovators. From those who have died include:

 Shaikh Ahmad An Najmi

Shaikh Zaid Al Madkhali

 Shaikh Muqbil Ibn Haadi

Shaikh ‘Abdul ‘Azeez Ibn Baaz and

Shaikh Naasir Ud Deen Al Albani.

And from those who are currently alive are Shaikh Saalih Ibn Fawzaan Al Fawzaan whose verdicts and lectures on the Salafi Manhaj have been written in quite a number of volumes. Likewise, Shaikh Saalih Ibn Sa’ad As Suhaimi, and Shaikh Yahya Ibn ‘Ali Al Haajoori whose statements are plentiful regarding the opponents to Da’wah Salafeeyah.

Secondly, being a specialist in a field does not necessitate immunity from mistakes. And if another scholar, who may be a specialist yet isn’t prominent, makes a statement that contradicts the former, the point of return is the principles and evidences not the personality. Unfortunately, there are some of those who claim to be vanguards and defenders of Da’wah As Salafeeyah who perceive that the point of return is the specialist rather than the principles. Such a principle is concocted and has no precedence whatsoever in Da’wah As Salafeeyah.

Thirdly, although scholars may be known for prominence in a particular field of study it doesn’t necessitate that these scholars aren’t specialists in other fields in the Islamic sciences. From those current examples are:

  • Shaikh Muqbil was a scholar of Hadeeth who specialized in Jarh Wa Ta’deel and scruitinizing the chains of narration however he was also a grammarian.
  • Shaikh Ibn Baaz was known for his scholarship in Fiqh but few know that he was also a Muhaddith (scholar in Hadeeth).
  • Shaikh Abdul Muhsin Al ‘Abbad is known for his specialization in the 6 books of Hadeeth but he is also a specialist in Fiqh.Hence, to exclude scholars from having extensive knowledge in a particular science without investigating or contemplating upon their statements, written or spoken, is indeed tantamount to oppressing them. Shaikh Saalih Ibn Sa’d As Suhaimi said:

One of them said on some websites that the two noble scholars: Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al ‘Uthaimeen and Shaikh ‘Abdul Muhsin Al ‘Abbad are two great scholars who can be benefited from in regards to Hadeeth, Fiqh and the Sunnah. However, they are not to be asked about the methodology and individuals with the claim that each science has its men. And that there are those from the scholars who don’t have strong understanding regarding the methodology of the Salaf and refuting the deviant methodologies. And that this is the specialty of so and so individual.

And I think that the scholars who he pointed toward should be asked about the methodology and individuals would not be pleased with such an oppressive ruling made on the rest of the scholars and they would not agree with this idea.

And this reminds me of a statement of one of the partisan leaders here before twenty years ago when he described the scholars as not knowing the reality and that the modern day groups are those who know about the condition of the Muslims and the plans of the enemies and that this is specific to them... [Tanbeeh:16]

Unfortunately, this type of extremism, which Shaikh Suhaimi mentioned,  resembles the following statements of Abu Hakeem Bilal Davies when he said in part 1 of his posts: “Doubts around the Da’wah Part 1.”

This methodology is inherited from those who possess it (i.e. the people of knowledge), it is not based upon guesswork or conjecture, nor acting upon what we deem to be ‘obvious’. Neither should it be presumed that everyone referred to as an ‘Ālim’ must, by necessity be knowledgeable concerning it. Such that if one ‘took from the scholars’ they too must be knowledgeable and aware of it.”

He also said:

Thus seeking knowledge does not necessitate that a person will gain correct detailed knowledge of the methodology of the salaf, just as being from the people of knowledge does not, by default, necessitate that this scholar is skilled in the field of the intricasies of the methodology, since being knowledgable concerning good, does not automatically necessitate detailed knowledge of evil.”

 Regarding these arguments of Bilal Davies the following two questions must be considered since there is need for clarification rather than insinuation:

  1. Are the scholars who specialize in ‘Aqeedah, knowledgeable regarding Bid’ah; its conditions and its prohibitions, unqualified to make a ruling as to whether a person is an innovator or not? Or are such rulings made only by those who specialize in the field of Jarh Wa Ta’deel?
  2.  What is the basis of disqualifying a scholar from refuting the innovators or disqualifying a statement of  scholar? Is such premise based upon concrete evidences and principles or is it based upon other than that?

Lastly, it is very important for the readers to know that refuting the people of innovation is one of the several aspects of Jarh Wa Ta’deel and it is where the science of ‘Aqeedah,  colludes with Jarh Wa Ta’deel.. Hence, the scholar of Jarh Wa Ta’deel has to know about Bid’ah, the different groups and the premises by which one declares a narrator to be a Mubtadi’ (innovator). Likewise, the scholar of ‘Aqeedah who refutes groups and individuals from the people of innovation as well as the Qaadi (judge) both participate in Jarh Wa Ta’deel in this limited sense.*

In conclusion the following is clear to the reader:

  • Being a specialist doesn’t bestow infallibility as the statements of the specialists still have to be weighed on the scale of evidences and principles.
  • Being a specialist in a science doesn’t exclude others from specializing and participating in the same science.
  • It is not a necessity for a scholar to be a specialist in Jarh Wa Ta’deel in order to refute the innovator.  Rather, the scholar of ‘Aqeedah who refutes the innovators as well as the Qaadi may also do so providing that they fit the requirements.

And Allah knows best.

* The scope of the Qaadi in Jarh Wa Ta’deel is wider than the scope of the scholar of ‘Aqeedah.

Breaking the Chains (Part 2: Respecting and following the scholars)

Assalamu Alaikum

Principle No.2: Respecting the Scholars. 

Indeed, from the lofty principles of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah is to respect and follow both the scholars of the past and scholars of the present. Regarding the nobility of the scholars it suffices the reader to know the verse where Allah said:

“Allah raises those who believe among you. Those who possess knowledge in levels.” [Qur’an: 58:11]

And the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) has said:

“Verily the virtue of the scholar over the worshiper is similar to the virtue of the moon over the rest of the stars.” [Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi]

Likewise, regarding this principle Imam As Sa’di elaborated on it saying the following:

“The greatest of rights to be bestowed upon individuals after the Messenger are the rights of the scholars who are an intermediary between the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and his Ummah in relaying (Allah’s) religion, and clarifying his legislation. Those who if it weren’t for them the people would have been similar to animals. Their rights upon the Ummah (nation) is greater than the rights of one’s parents because they have nurtured the souls of the servants with beneficial knowledge and correct understanding…” (Nurul Basair Wa Albaab: 64)

Additionally, the sign of the people of deviance is that they speak ill of Ahlus Sunnah, the head of them being the scholars of this religion. Abu Haatim Ar Raazi said:

The sign of the people of innovation is that they speak ill of the people of narrations.”

Furthermore, Imam At Tahawi said in his famous treatise on ‘Aqeedah:

“And the scholars of the Salaf who preceded and those after them from the Tabi’een are people of good and (from those who) hold firm to the narrations, and the people of understanding and research. They are not to be mentioned except with good and whoever mentions them with evil then he is not upon the correct path.”

Hence, one of the means to gauge one’s adherence to the Sunnah is to look at his stance toward the scholars who are known to adhere to the Prophetic Sunnah and the narrations of the Sahabah.

Bearing in mind this established Sunni principle, it is incumbent to realize that although Ahlus Sunnah hold the scholars in such high esteem, our respect for them and their statements should never lead us to transgress beyond the limits of the Islamic legislation. Allah has said in his noble book regarding the Jews and Christians :

“They have taken their scholars and worshippers as Gods with Allah and ‘Isa the son of Mary and they were not ordered except with worshipping one God…” [Quran: 9:31]

This is because they made lawful the unlawful and vice-versa based upon the statements of their leaders and scholars. They therefore made their leaders the criterion for truth and falsehood rather than evidences and established principles.

As aforementioned, Ahlus Sunnah love, respect and follow the scholars. However, the criterion according to Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah are the evidences and established principles. The statements of the scholars are then weighed according to these evidences and principles and are accepted and rejected accordingly. Ali Ibn Abee Taalib said to Al Haarith Ibn Hawt:

Verily the truth is not known by the men, know the truth then you would know its men.” [Talbees Iblees: 77]

Likewise, Ibn Rajab Al Hanbali said:

“Verily the truth is not known by the men but rather men are known by the truth.”

Shaikh Rabee’ wrote to Faalih Al Harbi regarding the issue of Taqleed:

“And you know that the Imams of Islam have forbidden the people to blind-follow them and that there are those who say that it is unlawful to take my statement until you know where I took it from.

Imam Ash Shafi’ee said: “If my statement opposes the statement of the Messenger of Allah throw my statement against the wall.”

And Imam Ahmad said: “Don’t blind-follow me or Malik or Awza’ee but rather take where they took from.

And our scholars from the Imams of Ahlus Sunnah have established the known principle which is ascribed to Malik: “Everyone’s statement is either accepted or rejected except the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم).” [Naseehah Akhawiyah: Pg. 21] *

Hence, even if a scholar is a specialist in his field it this doesn’t exempt his statements from being examined according to evidences and principles. Rather, the proficiency and scholarship of an individual in a particular field becomes widespread because of their strict adherence to the principles and not in-spite of it. And even if the scholar is most famous in a particular field it doesn’t necessitate that he is free from error. Imam Al Mu’alimi said:

“And the Imams of Hadeeth are known who have deep knowledge of the science and are aware (of the reasons for Jarh Wa Ta’deel) take the utmost precautions from making mistakes however they are at different levels in this. And whichever effort a Haakim (a Hadeeth master) makes in being cautions it may not reach to the extent that all his judgments go according to the same reality.” [Tankeel: 1/55]

This is why Islam was and will continue to be the religion of truth. In this noble religion the scholars and likewise individuals who are held in high esteem are those who have adhered to evidences and principles. Unlike other religions which are based upon Taqleed, desires and whim this religion requires accountability, submission and adherence to that which has been revealed from Allah to his noble Messenger Muhammad.

The prominence of a scholar in his field therefore doesn’t necessitate that principles and evidences are forsaken for the sake. Nor does weighing the statements of the scholar necessitate vilifying the scholar and the methodology of the Salaf. Rather, by following the evidences and principles, one follows the scholars, respects their methodology and truly adheres to their statements. The scholars, past and present have forbade others from blind-following them and have stated that evidences and principles are the point of return.

Furthermore, although studying a science consists of knowing and mentioning the specialists in that field none of the scholars of these different Islamic sciences have ever placed personalities above principles. When one delves into the scholarly works regarding the science of Hadeeth, and other sciences, one would realize that the scholars who have authored those books placed knowledge based principles as the criterion for the acceptance or rejection of statements and actions irregardless of the status of their teachers.

 

To be continued…

* Abu Hakeem Bilal Davies insinuated on his website that using the statements of the Imams of Fiqh regarding Taqleed is  inappropriate for Jarh Wa Ta’deel. He said in his post, Doubts around the Da’wah (Part 2) :

Then they will use, in order to slight the statements of the Ulamā, statements of the Imaams that where mentioned in relation to affairs of rulings of the shariah, connected  to actions, dealings and ijtihād.

Such as the statement of Abu Hanīfah:

It is not permissible to take from my statements unless you know where I took

Or the statement of Imām Ash shāfi’i  “If you find my statement going against the book or the Sunnah throw my statements against the wall

These individuals regularly use statements and principles out of place or to oppose specific issues of methodology. it is well known that a principle in fiqh may not necessarily be a principle in aqidah and vice versa.

This is although Shaikh Rabee’ himself used the same statements, which Abu Hakeem deemed to be inappropriate, to clarify the errors of Faalih regarding Jarh Wa Ta’deel!

Secondly, and most importantly, returning to textual evidences and scholarly principles is the methodology of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah in every science including Jarh Wa Ta’deel. Even the acceptance or rejection of the statements of the Imams of Hadeeth regarding narrators are governed by principles laid out in books such as Al Jarh Wa Ta’deel by ِAbdur Rahman Ibn Abee Haatim Ar Raazi, Ar Raf’ Wat Takmeel by Imam Al Luknaawi, Dhawabit Jarh Wa Ta’deel written by ‘Amr Ibn ‘Abdul Lateef  and the introduction of At Tankeel by Imam Al Mu’alimi.

May Allah bless our Imams of the past and present for preserving this religion, its evidences and principles.

Breaking the Chains (Pt. 1: Returning the affairs to the scholars)

Assalamu Alaikum,

This series called Breaking the Chains is an attempt to appeal those who have respect and love for Da’wah As Salafeeyah to adhere to its noble principles. May Allah bring benefit through it.

Principle Number 1: The importance of returning to the ‘Ulama.

Without doubt referring to the scholars in issues that are not clear in the Qur’an, Sunnah and Ijma’ (consensus) is obligatory. They are the inheritors of the Prophet, the leaders of this Da‘wah and a point of return for the Ummah. Allah has said:

“And when a matter of safety or fear comes to them they spread it. And if they were to return it to the Messenger and the people of authority (the scholars and the rulers) they would know who would be able to extract the matter…” [4:83]

Shaikh Saalih As Suhaimi said regarding the aforementioned verse:

“Verily the scholars are the signposts of guidance and the lamps in the darkness. Whoever deviates from their way and doesn’t return to them regarding the contentious matters of the Ummah will be astray and lead others astray.” [Tanbeeh Thawil Afhaam:34]

Imam Muqbil Ibn Haadi Al Waadi’ee said regarding the remedy for problems between the Salafis:

“And from it (the remedies) is to return to the people of knowledge from Ahlus Sunnah. Allah has said: “Ask the people of knowledge if you don’t know.” [16:43] But some students of knowledge are pleased with what they have from knowledge and argue with everyone who opposes them. And this is from the reasons of separation and differences…” [Naseehati Li Ahlis Sunnah: 11-12]

Unfortunately, there are those who pontificate that the “senior brothers” are to be adhered to based upon their interpretation of the statement of a scholar.. The following statement was said by one of their followers:

“The Salafi scholars recognise our brothers at Maktaba Salafeeyah to be the seniors and representatives of the Dawa in the west. It is upon the Salafi youth to adhere to these senior brothers…”

Indeed some scholars do recognize them based upon their perceptions. However, there are four matters surrounding this issue:

  1. Seniority is primarily based upon knowledge. Imam Al Khateeb Al Baghdaadi said:

    “The people will remain upon good once their scholars are elderly and once they are not young. Because the enjoyment, hastiness and foolishness of youth has left him…” [Sharf Ashaabul Hadeeth Wa Naseehatu Ashaabil Hadeeth: 243]

    Note: However, this doesn’t mean that one can’t take from those who are younger as some of the scholars such as Ibn ‘Abbas, Mu’aadh Ibn Jabal, Imam Malik, Imam Bukhari and Shaikh Ul Islam Ibn Taymeeyah were barely beyond their teenage years when they began to teach, give rulings and da’wah.

    Unfortunately, the seniority of these individuals in the Da’wah is based upon age rather than sound knowledge. It must be known that knowledge of the religion is the main criteria for entrance into the field of Da’wah. Therefore, being elderly in the Da’wah while lacking firm knowledge based upon principles and evidence doesn’t benefit. For this reason one may observe that such individuals violate some of the fundamentals of ‘Aqeedah and the methodology of the Salaf while perceiving that they are upon guidance.

  2. It is incomprehensible to perceive that what Shaikh Hasan Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab Al Banna (who is one from many scholars) meant by this and other statements was to bestow unrestricted leadership of the Salafi Da’wah in the West to Salafi Publications. In other words, some are interpreting the Shaikh’s speech to mean that they have been given the green light to disparage, appraise, approve and disapprove of individuals with full unrestricted authority. Without doubt such an interpretation is indeed farfetched.
  3. As aforementioned, returning to scholarly guidance is from the principles of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. Therefore they are the ones who are adhered to because placing such immense responsibility in the hands of other than the people of knowledge would lead to immense catastrophe.
  4. The phrase “Salafi scholars” is used in an unrestricted fashion when in this case (if we were to follow their line of reasoning in point number two) it was Shaikh Hassan Al Banna who said such. Therefore, this is not something known to the Lajnah Ad Daaimah who include the Grand Mufti and Shaikh Fawzaan. Likewise, most of the scholars of Makkah, Madeenah and Riyadh are not privy to this declaration. Hence in lieu of the phrase “Salafi Scholars” the name Shaikh Hassan Al Banna should be inserted.

To conclude, the Salafi adheres to the Qur’an, the Sunnah, the understanding of the Salaf and the scholars of this era who are the leaders of Da’wah As Salafeeyah. As for adhering to the du’aat (callers), preachers, students of knowledge and translators this is absolutely inappropriate when dealing with major affairs such as Takfeer (calling a person a Kaafir), Tabdee’ (calling a person an innovator) and Tafseeq (calling an individual a sinner). Shaikh Saalih Al Fawzan said:

“And from here it is obligatory for those who take these names [Tabdee’, Tafseeq and Takfeer] and they don’t understand them to learn before they speak. And to fear Allah because speaking without knowledge, especially in these matters, is a great evil. And it is also from speaking about Allah without knowledge which is greater than Shirk...” [Majmoo’ah Rasail Da’weeyah Wa Manhajeeyah: 148]

To be continued…

Removing the doubts for the doubtful (Part 2).

My dear Muslim brothers and sisters,

I would like to inform all of those who respect the Salafi Manhaj that there is a false principle being posited based upon the statement of Abu Hatim Ar Razi:

“The sign of the people of innovation is their speaking ill of the people of narrations.”

The innovators speak about those who adhere to the Sunnah and Manhaj of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) because it opposes their innovations and principles. However, it is unfortunate that the above statement of truth is used to propagate manifest falsehood by some who claim to follow Salafeeyah.

To put it in a very simple format, the following sentences demonstrate what seems to constitute the logic and thought process of Abu Hakeem Bilal Davis from his audio (perhaps he doesn’t have time to write anymore) regarding doubts surrounding the Da’wah (Part 3):

  1. The people of innovation speak ill of the people of narrations.
  2. SPUBS and their affiliates/ satellites who number in the tens of thousands are from the people of narrations.
  3. Therefore those who speak ill of/ criticize SPUBS/MPUBS and others are innovators.

Based upon this line of reasoning I would like to ask the following:

i. Are the people of narrations the people who follow the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the way of the Salaf in their speech, actions and beliefs or do they ONLY constitute SPUBS and their worldwide affiliates?

ii. Is someone deemed a Salafi ONLY due to their association to SPUBS?

iii. If someone criticizes SPUBS or their affiliates due to clear opposition to established religious principles , are they deemed as people of innovation?

iv. Are all the scholars who criticized SPUBS deemed as innovators?

v. Is the outcry against SPUBS based upon the former’s disdain and opposition to the evidences and principles of the Salafi Manhaj? Or is it due to SPUBS opposing clear principles of the Manhaj especially in regards to making Tabdee’?

May Allah ta’ala guide us all.