Monday, November 16, 2009

How Ahlus Sunnah need to be unified in their stance toward Ahlul Bid'ah

All Praise is due to Allaah, and may the peace and blessings be upon the Messenger, his family, his companions, and those who follow them til the Day of Judgment.

[The speaker is Abu Ramlah Aadam Lazarus, a graduate of Madeenah University who compiled this lecture from Shaikh Rabee' Ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee's tape al mawqif a sahih min ahlul bid'ah ("The Correct Position Against the People of Innovation") and from additional benefits by Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee and Shaikh Ubaid A-Jabiree.]

This [topic] is necessary because the people of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'ah in this time seem confused on this issue. As for the people of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'ah, they are the people who hold fast to the Qur'an and Sunnah, with the understanding of the sahaba (companions) and [the rest of] the salaf. And as for Ahlul Bid'ah, they are those who have innovated into Islam that which is not from it - from beliefs or actions - or they choose to understand the text of the Qur'an and Sunnah with their own desire, rather than basing their understanding on the understanding of the sahaba and [the rest of] the salaf.

Amma baa'd (To proceed):

It has indeed occurred in these times that some of our Salafi brothers are mixing and associating with some of those who oppose the Salafi methodology. And you find that the least of what the brother is affected by is that he has a leaning toward those ideologies that oppose the Salafi 'aqidah (creed), and hates or is put off when affairs of the manhaj (methodology) are mentioned to him. So he only wants to discuss general topics, and he doesn't want to be warned or to warn others against dangerous individuals or groups that oppose the Salafi methodology.

So I would like to clarify the danger of mixing and associating with these people by mentioning some proofs from the Qur'an and Sunnah, and [other] narrations from the salaf. I will also mention some examples from history when some of Ahlus Sunnah actually turned to bid'ah because of their mixing with the people of desires.

This is a very important issue and its affair is dangerous and, due to this, the Qur'an and Sunnah and the books of the Salaf paid much focus to it, specifically regarding 'aqidah and even more specifically regarding the correct stance toward the people of bid'ah and misguidance. And in what they have clarified is sufficient for whomever wants good for himself, and to live a life that is pleasing to his Lord and to keep [him] away from the hellfire.

The Salaf (may Allaah be pleased with them), who knew the most about the 'aqidah and manhaj of the shari'ah, paid such close attention to this topic that there is nothing for us to do except to follow in their path, and this is easy for whomever Allaah wants good for.

Allaah said in the Qur'an: It is He Who has sent down to you (Muhammad) the Book (this Qur'ân). In it are Verses that are entirely clear; they are the foundations of the Book; and others not entirely clear. So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation (from the truth), they follow that which is not entirely clear thereof, seeking Al-Fitnah (polytheism and trials, etc.), and seeking for its hidden meanings. But none knows its hidden meanings save Allâh. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in it; the whole of it (clear and unclear Verses) are from our Lord." And none receive admonition except men of understanding. (Aali 'Imran 3:7)

So Allaah clarifies in this verse the true condition of the people of deviance and desires, and that they intend for the Muslims evil and fitnah. This is because their intentions are not correct and their hearts are sick, and they want the people to be affected by the same poisons that are affecting them. So due to this, it is wajib (obligatory) that they are warned against to the full extent of our ability.

Verily, Allaah has informed us in this verse [7th verse of Surat Alee-'Imran] that those in whose hearts there is deviance seek those verses that are not entirely clear because they want fitnah. They want people to have fitnah in the religion, so they go astray from Allaah's true religion and end up in the same state of innovation, misguidance, doubts and confusion that those innovators themselves are in. And we ask Allaah that He saves them and us from this evil path and saves them from those things that can cause destruction. [Ameen.]

The Messenger (salallaahu 'alaihiwasallam) recited this verse and then said: "If you see those who seek the verses which are not entirely clear, then they are those whom Allaah has named, so beware of them."

So the people of deviance and desires seek to base their religion upon the verses that are not entirely clear. So the Prophet (salallaahu 'alaihiwasallam) meant it is wajib to warn the people from them, because they are astray and they lead the people astray. And this is how Ahlul Bid'ah are in every time and in every place, whatever type of bid'ah [they're upon]. You should never think of a bid'ah as something small or insignificant.

So ihsanu dhan, or having good thoughts, about the people of bid'ah and misguidance is in opposition to the manhaj of Allaah, The Most High. Rather it is necessary that we beware of them. So the Messenger (salallaahu 'alaihiwasallam) said, "If you see those who seek the verses which are not entirely clear, then they are the ones whom Allaah has named, so beware of them." And the Messenger (salallaahu 'alaihiwasallam) did not say "have good thoughts about them or make excuses for them."

In these times, many of the people of desires accuse the Salafis, saying, "You all speak about people's intentions." Or if you try to criticize somebody upon bid'ah, they try to defend them by saying, "Maybe his intention is good."

But we say back to them: "Brother, if we see you have a doubt or [deviance] with you, then we should be suspicious of you because Allaah has warned us about you, and the Messenger (salallaahu 'alaihiwasallam) has warned us about you. So how can we not warn against you? And how can we have good thoughts about you when Allaah, The Most High, has informed us of your evil intention, and the Messenger (salallaahu 'alaihiwasallam) has warned us against you?

So warning against Ahlul Bid'ah, and hating them, abandoning them, and boycotting them, this is the correct way to preserve and protect the healthy ones from Ahlus Sunnah from falling into the fitnah of Ahlul Bid'ah, or having good thoughts of them. And to have an inclination toward them is the beginning of the path to misguidance and going astray, as Allaah has warned us: And do not incline toward those who do wrong, lest the fire should touch you. (Hud: 11:113)

And who is more wrongdoing than Ahlul Bid'ah? They are more evil than the people of sin, due to this (following) fact: One of the great scholars of Basra, Salam ibn Abu Muti', said: It would be more beloved to me to meet Allaah with the deeds of Hajjaj than with the deeds of 'Amr ibn Ubaid. 'Amr ibn Ubaid was a devout worshipper who abstained from worldly luxuries, but he was an astray innovator. As for Hajjaj, he was a tyrannical sinner responsible for the deaths of many Muslims. So this imam preferred to meet Allaah with the deeds of the oppressive sinner. And why? Because this imam realized and understood the danger and ugliness of bid'ah. And it is sufficient for us that the Messenger (salallaahu 'alaihiwasallam) would describe bid'ah in all or most of his khutbas by saying it is sharrul umur, the worst of the affairs.

And Bid'ah is also included in Allaah's statement: Or do they have partners with Allaah who have legislated for them a religion that Allaah has not ordained? (Ash-Shura 42:21)

And this is the state of the followers of Ahlul Bid'ah. No matter what type of bid'ah they're upon, the meaning of these verses apply to them. And why do they apply to them? Because they give preferences to obeying their leaders over the obedience to Allaah and His Messenger (salallaahu 'alaihiwasallam). And many of (Ahlul Bid'ah) will meet Allaah with this statement: Our Lord, verily we obeyed our leaders and our great ones; they misled us from the right way. Our Lord, double their torment and curse them with a mighty curse. (Al-Ahzab 33:68) Many of those who will meet Allaah with this answer are those who follow their desires and fight the truth; they are pleased with falsehood and call to falsehood, like what we see among many of the people in these times, wearing the disguise of Islam and Salafiya, but they are the most severe in their battle against Salafiya and its people.

So [with regards to] the person who has respect for the manhaj of the Salaf and the 'aqidah of the Salaf, and has respect for the people of this manhaj, how can he still have good thoughts about Ahlul Bid'ah or have a leaning toward them? So we warn the Salafis against mixing with these people and following in their ways. And we should take benefit from what has happened in the past from those who were overconfident in themselves and felt that they could actually guide the people of misguidance. But the only result was that they themselves ended up being among Ahlul Bid'ah. And from these examples is 'Imran ibn Hattan, who was from Ahlus Sunnah but he had a liking for a woman from the Khawariij. He wanted to marry her and guide her to the Sunnah. He then married her, and she turned him to bid'ah. He wanted to guide her, but he went astray because of her.

Many of those who claim to be from Ahlus Sunnah say, "I'm going amongst Ahlul Bid'ah to guide them," but they just end up caught up in the ropes of Ahlul Bid'ah. So this 'Imran ibn Hattan and, also, Abdur-Rahman ibn Mulgim were both upon the Sunnah and then they became misguided by the ideology of the Khawariij. So Abdur-Rahman ibn Mulgim went on to kill 'Alee (may Allaah be pleased with him), and then 'Imran ibn Hattan, who married the Kharjii woman, went on to praise the murderer of 'Alee with lines of poetry.

And likewise, Abdur-Razzaq Ason'aini was from the imams of hadith, but he was deceived by the great worship and zuhd of Ja'far bin Sulaiman, so he became friendly with him and became trapped in some of the bid'ah of the Shi'a. Also Abu Dharr Al-Harrawii, from the imams of hadith, was misled by some praise he heard about Al-Baqilanni, who was from the "scholars" of the Ash'arees, those who have many bid'ah in regards to 'aqidah. So he himself became from the callers of the Ash'aree manhaj, so much so that the Ash'aree manhaj spread throughout Morocco because of him. And prior to that time, the people of Morocco did not know anything except Salafiya, the way of Ahlus Sunnah.

And in one of the ahadith, which shows how specifically dangerous this type of situation is, you'll find the statement of the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu 'alaihiwasallam): "Whosoever calls to guidance, then for him is the reward of all those who will act upon it, without diminishing in any way their reward. And whosoever calls to misguidance will shoulder its sin and the sins of all those who will act upon it til the Day of Judgment, without diminishing in any way their burden."

And l'll bring the example of Al-Hafidh Al-Bayhaqi, who was also misled by someone, and ended up in the manhaj of the Ash'arees regarding Allaah's Attributes. So after Shaikh Rabee' (may Allaah preserve him) mentioned these examples, he told his listeners directly: "You are ignorant, and you have too high thoughts of yourself, and you don't have with you any knowledge to protect you, so you are hundreds of times more likely to fall into bid'ah than these [once-]great scholars we have mentioned."

And even in this time now, there are many examples of those who were upon the manhaj as-Salafi, then mixed with Ahlul Bid'ah, then went astray. This is because Ahlul Bid'ah have many ways and methods of giving their da'wa that maybe the shayaatin of the past did not even know about. And from these new ways that they lead these people astray is that they say, "You can read any book and take and benefit from the truth contained in that book, and you just leave off the falsehood and don't accept it." But many of the youth do not know truth from falsehood, and are not able to clearly distinguish between the two.

So that reader or even someone listening to a lecture accepts the falsehood, thinking it is truth. And he rejects the truth, because he thinks its falsehood, and thus the affairs become confusing to him. And this is just as the companion of the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu 'alaihiwasallam), Hudhaifa bin Al Yaman, said: "Verily misguidance - all of misguidance - is that you reject what you used to approve of, and you approve of what you used to reject."

So we see this now, among the Salafis. You don't even realize until a weak one of them turns and starts to do battle against Ahlus Sunnah. In his view, this evil seems to be something good, and what the Salafis are upon looks to be something evil. So this is misguidance - all of misguidance. So we warn the Salafis from being deceived by Ahlul Bid'ah, or from being inclined toward them.

So the Shaikh (may Allaah preserve him) continued, "So I advise the Salafis to sit with and take knowledge from the good people, and that they beware of those who are evil for, verily, the noble Messenger of Allaah (salalaahu 'alaihiwasallam) presented a great example of the evil affects of having a bad companion, and the good effects of having a good companion. In his statement (salalaahu 'alaihiwasallam), "The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of a misk (perfume) salesman and a blacksmith. So the perfume salesman will either give you some of his perfume or he will sell you some of it, or at least you will smell his beautiful scent. As for the evil companion, then he is like the blacksmith who will either burn your clothes or you won't escape from his smoke."

So with the good companion, you are a winner, and you will always benefit and you will not find from him except good. And as for the bad companion, then he will bring harm to you, whether big or small. Some type of [his] evil will affect you. So if this is the case with bad companionship, then why do you strive to mix with them and sit with them? What proof do you have to claim it is permissible? If you claim the Qur'an is a proof, then [know] the Qur'an is a proof against you. If you claim the Sunnah is a proof, then [know] the Sunnah is a proof against you.

The Prophet (salalaahu 'alaihiwasallam) warned and clarified the great danger of having a bad companion. So what is your excuse? The imams of Islam warned and spread the guidance of the Qur'an and Sunnah in their books. With what proof do you oppose the methodology of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'ah, and threaten your brothers who want good for you, and fear you may fall into evil?

So the shaikh continued by saying, "So I advise the Salafis wherever they are to study the manhaj of the Salaf, and to come to know the greatness of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'ah. And to truly realize, that they are the people of advise and experience. And to realize that the majority of those who have opposed them have fallen into falsehood and evil. And whoever benefits from them is safe, and succeeds. And there is nothing that equals safety and success.

And if it was that the great ones from the Salaf, such as Ayyub as-Sakhtiani and Ibn Sireen and Mujahid and other than them, would not tolerate to listen to a word or even half a word from the people of falsehood, then they would not give you permission to debate with Ahlul Bid'ah, because debating with them would land you in fitnah and confusion. [And] those scholars were the people of experience and intelligence and advise.

So the Shaikh Rabee' continues by advising that we benefit from three things: 1- the book of Allaah, 2- the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (salalaahu 'alaihiwasallam), and 3- the guidance and the stances taken by the Salaf us-salih, beginning with the sahaba, because they were the best of generations. At the head of them [from the examples we will share here today] are: Umar ibn al-Khattab, 'Alee ibn Abi Talib, Abdullah ibn 'Abbas, Jaabir ibn Abdullah, and Abdullah ibn 'Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them).

As for Umar bin al-Khattab, then his story involving Sabeegh bin 'Asl is famous. Sabeegh was spreading doubts among the people regarding certain verses from the Qur'an. So 'Umar had him brought in so that he could hit him and put him in prison. Then 'Umar brought Sabeegh again, hit him, and sent him back to prison. And then, on the third time, Sabeegh said, "O leader of the believers. If you want to kill me then do it in a good way, and if you wanted to remove that which was in my head [evil], then by Allaah, they have left."

But 'Umar never felt completely safe with him, so after everything that happened, Sabeegh was exiled to 'Iraq, and it was ordered that he be abandoned. So this was the punishment for those doubts and confusion he was spreading amongst the people. Now, if you compare [that bid'ah] with people upon the least amount of bid'ah of our time, you will see the misguidance of the late comers is extremely worse and more dangerous, due to their many callers and many da'wa activities.

As for 'Alee ibn Abi Talib (may Allaah be pleased with him), then it is sufficient - as a stance against Ahlul Bid'ah - that he waged war against the Khawariij, those whom the Messenger of Allaah (salalaahu 'alaihiwasallam) described as "the worst of those under the sky." And in these times, the Khawariij have once again come out with terrible harshness and severity, and they have so many ways to threaten, destroy, and murder that only Allaah knows about and can protect us from their evil. And so how can any Muslim, who is truthful to those he loves, be friendly with these terrorists or protect them? How can a Muslim give any trust to someone with this type of ideology?

And likewise, Ibn 'Umar, when he was informed of those who deny Allaah's Qadr, said: "Inform them, I am free from them and they are free from me." So the Salaf have understood from the text of the Qur'an and Sunnah the correct and safe stance toward the people of bid'ah and misguidance, and they have compiled that in their books. And they have said that there is no harm in backbiting an innovator to warn the people from him, as it is wajib to warn against him. Ahlul Bid'ah are worse and more dangerous than any other evildoers, because they corrupt the religion of Allaah directly.

A sinner is not as dangerous because he admits he is astray and that what he's doing is not from Islam, and he intends to repent for what he's doing wrong. As for an innovator, he corrupts the religion and he corrupts the people, and he rarely repents from bid'ah, because he has made his bid'ah part of his religion. It is due to this difference between the innovator and the sinner that Allaah, The Most High, dispraised and refuted the evil scholars from the previous nations more than He dispraised the evil, oppressive rulers of those nations. And that was because the corruption of those rulers was known and apparent to the people. But as for those evil scholars, they used to hide the truth with falsehood, like Allaah, The Most High, said in the Qur'an: Why do you cover the truth with falsehood and you hide the truth while you know it? (Alee-'Imran 3:71)

And this is the state and condition of Ahlul Bid'ah, that they hide the truth. Their other deceptive path is they have something from misguidance and they mix it with something from the truth, so they can spread it without the people realizing that there is falsehood mixed in with the truth. So you see in the Qur'an how much blaming, and warning against, and refuting [there is against] those misguided scholars of those previous nations. Why? Because they are those ones who corrupted Allaah's religion, and Ahlul Bid'ah are upon the same affair. And they also have a share of the blame that Allaah mentioned regarding those previous nations. And the proof for this is the statement of Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihiwasallam), "Indeed, you shall follow in the ways of those who came before you, imitating them exactly. Even if they were to enter a lizard's hole, you would enter it also."

So Ahlul Bid'ah have fallen into this evil, and have followed the previous nations in regards to altering the meanings of text, and lying and spreading falsehood. So there is a great similarity between Ahlul Bid'ah and those people. And the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihiwasallam) had already informed us that they would follow them.

So then Shaikh Rabee' (may Allaah preserve him) concludes by saying, "After all we have mentioned, we advise the Salafis to turn toward seeking beneficial knowledge and strive toward accompanying only the righteous while abandoning the people of bid'ah, doubts and fitnah. And may Allaah benefit us, and make us from those who implement obedience to Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihiwasallam) and following him in every aspect of our lives. Verily, Allaah is the Hearer of supplications, and may Allaah's peace and blessings be upon Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihiwasallam), and his family and companions.

Now that we have finished this beautiful speech of Shaikh Rabee' (May Allaah preserve him), I would like to mention and conclude the sitting with a few extra benefits regarding some related issues.

So firstly, Shaikh Muhammad ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee (May Allaah preserve him) has explained the correct methodology of doing hajr (boycotting), and this involves how to correctly weigh up the benefits and harms that would result from the hajr, and how the hajr would affect both the person doing the hajr and the one being abandoned and boycotted.

For those who don't know, hajr is abandonment or boycotting in Islam, for which there are many different situations and rulings that apply to situations. But what we're dealing with now is hajr or abandonment of Ahlul Bid'ah. So the shaikh clarified this, because many people don't clearly differentiate between the types of hajr, as it relates to sins and bid'ah.

As for the sinner from Ahlus Sunnah, then he is the one at whose first affair we must look and judge whether or not hajr will benefit him. So hajr is recommended if we feel the sinner will become upright and leave his sins. But if we feel that abandoning the sinner will drive him further astray, then we should not abandon him - unless we fear that his sins will bring a greater evil unto us. Again, this is all in the case of a sinner from Ahlus Sunnah.

And as for someone from Ahlul Bid'ah, then our main concern is about protecting our own selves and our religion from his evil. And if he benefits from this hajr, then that's good. But our main concern is to protect ourselves. So it is by ijma', or consensus of agreement by the Salaf, that people of bid'ah are to be boycotted forever until they repent. So this agreement of the Salaf has been clearly narrated by Imam Al-Baghawee in the tremendous book Sharh Us-Sunnah and other than him from the imams of Islam.

So know that if someone claims, generally, that we must take into consideration whether the person [of bid'ah] we are considering boycotting will benefit, then this is wrong. This is not the way of the Salaf. And the only exception regarding the boycotting of Ahlul Bid'ah is [if] they are in a state of power and the people of the Sunnah fear that even more harm would come upon themselves if they were to abandon this person. So in this, it is permissible to not do the hajr.

As for other times, then it is not as some people claim that it is only if you fear for yourself, then it is permissible to do hajr. Rather we say: it's obligatory to make hajr of Ahlul Bid'ah. The noble Shaikh Muhammad ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee (May Allaah preserve him) has also brought clarity to many issues relating to warning against those who oppose the Sunnah.

So he has refuted the claims that are common among many people in our times. And from those doubts that are heard in these times is that a refutation upon someone who opposes the Sunnah must come from a scholar whose foot is firmly embedded in the field of knowledge. And the shaikh (may Allaah preserve him) has explained this condition is not correct. Rather, as long as the Salafi doing the refutation has sound knowledge of that issue, then it is not necessary that he be from the scholars.

Another claim that people make in these times is that refutations should not be spread in the lands, where the people are not familiar with that specific bid'ah being refuted. These people even go as far as saying the refutation should not be spread among the group of unknowing people, even if they are in the same land or locality as that bid'ah. So shaikh Muhammad (may Allaah preserve him) refutes this doubt by saying, "How can you know whether some of the people have heard about this bid'ah before?" So there is always a chance that some people have already been affected, even if it's not apparent.

Also, warning the people before the harm comes to them is better and more beneficial, because it's a protection and fortress for them - rather than waiting until after the bid'ah enters their heart, because then it could be too late.

Also, we find the books of the Salaf full of the mention of specific bid'ah, along with the refutations of them. Another claim people make these days is that if someone opposes the Salafis repents, and returns back to the way of Ahlus Sunnah, that it is not permissible to speak about him.

So shaikh Muhammad (may Allaah preserve him) clarified this doubt by saying, "If the person's mistakes were written or recorded or if there are people who still don't know that he repented, then we must continue to refute his mistakes, even after his death." And this is due to the chance of his old speech falling into the hands of the people.

A clear example was when Ibn 'Aqeel, from the Mu'tazila (a group that has many innovations regarding 'aqidah), repented from his bid'ah of being upon the Mu'tazila 'aqidah and returned back to Ahlus Sunnah. But even after his repentance, Ibn Qudama Al Maqdasi (rahimahullaah) - a great Salafi scholar of his time - wrote a whole book explaining ibn 'Aqeel's repentance and refuting all [ibn 'Aqeel's] mistakes from his other books. So we see Imam Ibn Qudama Al Maqdasi still wrote an entire book, refuting ibn 'Aqeel, even after he repented from his bid'ah of i'tizal.

Also, when someone is known to have had mistakes, then we should not be hasty and quick to push him in front of the da'wa. Rather, we should wait and watch him to see if his speech and actions actually prove his claim of repentance.

And a clear example of this was regarding Abu Hassan Al-Ash'aree (rahimahullaah), who was known for innovations in 'aqidah. He eventually claimed that he repented from his bid'ah to return to the way of the Sunnah. However, Imam Barbaharee and other than him did not accept this from Abu Hassan Al'Ash'aree. So we find that the imams of his time did not praise him and did not advise the people to benefit from him. Even the book, which he (Abu Hassan Al'Ash'aree) wrote to clarify his repentance never became widespread amongst the people until after his death. And this truly shows us how careful the Salaf were in dealing with this type of individual.

And may Allaah's peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and all his companions.

An audio of this lecture can be found here: