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.

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