Khutbah on the rights of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم.
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.
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah
My dear Muslim brothers and sisters, some false principles regarding establishing Tabdee’ were put forward by Abu Hakeem Bilal Davies, may Allah guide him and us, which is in reality a re-establishment of the Usool (principles) of Faalih Al Harbi. He postulates, without any fear or reservation, that when a scholar makes Tabdee’ (calling someone an innovator) upon an individual that evidences should not be requested. Furthermore, he goes on to accuse those who request evidence of the following:
- Having an evil intent
- Following the methodology of Abu Hasan Al Ma’ribi
- Destroying the status of the people of knowledge. (see: https://ah-sp.com/2017/08/22/doubts-around-the-dawah-part-2/
This is similar this to the statements of Faalih Al Harbi who said, after being asked if clarifying the reasons for Jarh (disparagement) is a condition for its acceptance:
It is not a condition (asking for evidences). This is regarding the reasons for Jarh Wa Ta’deel (disparagement and appraisal) in narrating and this does not enter into speaking about those who deviate in their methodology and their way.
It was said to him 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.
With the intention to be as brief as possible I will simply mention an excerpt from the advice of Sh. Rabee’ to Faalih Al Harbi which shows the falsehood of Abu Hakeem’s principle. Shaikh Rabee’ said after citing the aforementioned statements of Faalih Al Harbi:
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 (disparagement) 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 such speech. Therefore trials and separation between the Salafis and accusations between groups would become common. 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 (unexplained criticism) and a Ta’deel (appraisal) then the strongest opinion is that it is an obligation to explain that Jarh Mubham. And being known regarding the religion, Sunnah, Salafeeyah and Da’wah is stronger than a Ta’deel that comes from one or two scholars.
And speech regarding those who have deviated in their methodology and what they traverse upon is from the most important matters that enter into the issue of disparagement 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 present 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 (of the scholars). 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 deemed an acceptable Jarh and that which would be unacceptable. And it has been relayed from Al Khateeb Al Baghdaadi (the famous scholar oh Hadeeth) that it is the Madhab (path) of the Imams of Hadeeth and its criticizers the likes of Imam Al Bukhari , Muslim and other than them. For this reason Bukhari narrated from a group who had been disparaged like ‘Ikrimah the Maula of Ibn Abbas and he (Ibn Salaah) 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 demonstrates that they had the opinion that Jarh is not accepted unless its reasons have been explained...
[Excerpt from the book: Naseehah Al Akhaweeyah Ela Al Akh Shaikh Faalih Al Harbi: 1-2]
As for the accusation that asking for evidences regarding Tabdee’ is the Madhab of Ma’ribi Sh Rabee’ said to Faalih:
Yes the Da’wah of Abi Hasan toward not blind-following the scholars it was a statement of truth wanting by it falsehood. He wanted by it to belittle the scholars and their statements and rulings that came with evidences and clarity...[Ibid:20]
This has been further clarified in my e-book: Who are the extremists? (من هم الغلاة) and all praise is due to Allah. Furthermore, I would like to ask two simple questions to Abu Hakeem Bilal Davies and affiliates:
When scholars such as Shaikh Waseeyullah Al ‘Abbas and Shaikh Saalih As Suhaimi disparaged you and Abu Khadeejah should the Salafis:
- Ask for evidences and do research regarding the matter? Or..
- Accept their statements automatically?
و صلى الله على نبينا محمد و على اله و صحبه و سلم
Recently, a post was written by Abu Hakeem Bilal Davies regarding Doubts about the Da’wah and in it was a displeasing statement. At this juncture I shall not comment on it extensively. Rather, at this juncture, I shall leave the words of Shaikh Saalih As Suhaimi for the reader to reflect upon and conpare it with the speech of the aforementioned individual.
Abu Hakeem Bilal Davies said in his post 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.”
Compare this with the speech of Shaikh Suhaimi, a scholar who is known for his strength in ‘Aqeedah and his clarity in Manhaj:
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 benefitted 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 out to be asked about the methodology and individuals would not be pleased with such an oppressive ruling made on the rest of the scholars, and likewise 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 being ignorant of current affairs. 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]
May Allah open our hearts to the truth.
Those who don’t learn are doomed to repeat their error.
This is simply a follow up to my previous post. It is unfortunate that some have not reflected upon what I said and have become disturbed by my comments. It is indeed a saddening day when one who defends the honour of these great Imaams is vilified and told to keep silent regarding this clear travesty. However, those who truly love these scholars would not mind being vilified and find it contemptuous to remain quiet while their status as luminaries in this modern time is being questioned.
I had three more points I wanted to bring to the attention of the audience to bring further clarity:
1. Sh. Ibn ‘Uthaimeen made the famous statement that error in methodology leads to errors in ‘Aqeedah. Hence, if these Imaams had errors in their methodology it would lead to errors in their ‘Aqeedah and this would have been manifest in their books and…
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History is repeated by those who don’t take the admonition.
When we see these four names the first word that comes to mind is Imaam, meaning scholars who are followed in righteousness in this time and are an example for those who come in the future. These four scholars were mountains who clarified to this Ummah the ‘Aqeedah (belief) of Ahlus Sunnah and the Manhaj (methodology) of Ahlus Sunnah and there is not a Salafi in this time except that he is in need of their books, their rulings and their tapes regarding these issues.
Hence, I find it strange that there are those who have indicated that the methodology of these four Imams was deficient and not up to standard. Furthermore, I am amazed at those who keep silent when the methodology of these Imams, the true Salafi methodology, is being attacked and vilified. And the evidence is as follows:
1. It was said that Shaikh Muqbil was from…
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Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah,
My dear brothers and sisters who have respect for the Salafi Da’wah,
For many years we have been hearing the words “Salafeeyah”, “Sunnah”, “Manhaj”, “Jarh Wa Ta’deel” and “The ‘Ulama” by many callers in the west. Unfortunately, behind these terms there has been a sinister agenda by some da’ees [callers] to foster Taqleed [blind-following] within Salafi communities. This Taqleed has been centered around specific scholars who the aforementioned da’ees have utilized to keep those who see and speak out about their wrongdoing in check.
Without doubt there is always need for the scholars who are the inheritors of the Prophets. Likewise it is impossible to understand the religion without scholarly guidance. However, the phenomenon of: “The Shaikh said this” & “the Shaikh said that” has been presented as answers instead of Allah and his Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) have said. Therefore, instead of making the statements of the scholars as an extension or branch of the evidences they have made the evidences a branch of what the scholars have said.
Their methods mirror that of the methods of the Hardcore Madhabists. When one asks for evidences they are told the following:
- Do you know better than the Shaikhs and the noble elders?
- Are you a scholar?
- So and so scholar is the flag bearer of Jarh Wa Ta’deel. [disparagement and appraisal]
- The noble brothers have been giving Da’wah for years!
- The scholars recommend these brothers.
- You have no right to ask for evidences you just have to follow.
All these futile arguments are utilized in order to steer the questioner away from seeking evidences. Afterwards, shackles are placed upon their minds to the point that they are blind, deaf and speechless toward clear guidance and evidence.
Trinidad and Tobago is no different from Barbados, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and other western countries. This concept of blind loyalty to particular scholars and personalities has been planted, nurtured and harvested into ultimate havoc, chaos and recklessness to the point that there are youths who involve themselves in speaking about the Muslims who don’t have the necessary knowledge to live their lives as functional Muslims.
Oh those who respect Salafeeyah, reflect and ask:
- Why can’t I ask for evidences?
- Isn’t the way of the Salaf based on Allah, the Messenger and the Companions said?
- Why do I have to follow statements which clearly contradict the reality?
The heart, which is the receptacle of the intellect, must be used to ponder and submit to the Verses in the book of Allah and the Ahadeeth in the Sunnah of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم). As for the statements of the scholars or “noble brothers” they are weighed according to the two sources of revelation and can be either accepted or rejected.
An argument may follow when the specific scholars, who they return to, appraise and disparage individuals it must be accepted without question.
My dear brothers and sisters this is a false notion that has been used to secure control of many worldwide. Although I have written in a treatise of mine regarding this matter. I would like to re-iterate that not all Jarh [disparagements] are accepted even if they are Imams of the Sunnah. For this reason Imam Ibn Katheer said in his books the Summary of the Sciences of Hadeeth :
“And some of them have spoken about other than him and it wasn’t taken into account because of what they had between them from known animosity. And we have mentioned examples of this: The speech of Muhammad Ibn Ishaaq about Imam Malik and likewise the speech of Malik regarding him. And As Suhaili has spoken extensively about this. And likewise the speech of Imam An Nasai regarding Ahmad Ibn Saalih Al Misri when the latter prevented him from sitting in his classes.”
Lastly, I would like the Muslims to reflect upon the following statement which I told my former colleague before he climbed on the bandwagon:
“If you think that Shaikh Rabee’ is free from error regarding Jarh Wa Ta’deel this means that you perceive him to be greater than the scholars of the Salaf in this area from the likes of Imam Shu’bah Ibn Hajaaj.”
Hence, how could great Imams of Jarh Wa Ta’deel from the Salaf such as Shu’bah, Malik and An Nasa’ee be considered as mistaken regarding some individuals yet stating that Shaikh Rabee’ was mistaken is tantamount to vilifying Salafeeyah and the Salafi methodology?
These are questions that each individual who truly loves and respects Salafeeyah and its knowledge based principles have to ask themselves. May Allah ta’ala bring us to the freedom of following evidences and principles and remove us from the prison of taqleed and blind partisanship.
Link to my previous treatise: Who are the extremists: