Friday, November 18, 2011

Question posed to the Imaam of the Sunnah, Shaykh Rabee’ ibn Haadee al Madkhalee (hafidahullah), regarding sticking to the elder scholars...

Question: We thank our esteemed Sheikh Rabee’(may Allaah preserve him) rectify his shortcomings, make us and him firm upon the truth, and bless us and him with a good end in this life.

Our sheikh, From those situations that we experience, and we only stand upon the methodology of the salaf and certainly we do not give any respect to the people of innovation of irjaa’, is that we sometimes attempt to get out of our dire situation independently, based upon a perception of some of us that they have reached a stage where they are able to put forth the required steps for success, according to our own estimation of what is necessary and appropriate for success. So can such an independent assessment and course of action sometimes be correct? Or is it always required that we give tremendous significance and weight to the statement of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaiyhi wa sallam), when he said: “Blessing is with your major (elder) ones.” And his statement, “The significant ones, the significant ones.” As well as the statement of Allaah, the Most Glorified and the Most Exalted, [So as the people of the Reminder if you do not know. – Surah al-Anbiyaa’:7]? Please benefit us through explaining the importance of the student always referring to those who are older than him, and more advanced than him in knowledge. And what effect this should have upon our present efforts and call. Especially since we unfortunately have many individuals who, with great regret, although they have spent a long time engaged in efforts of calling (da’wah), they neglect or overlook this important issue, with a truly startling heedlessness in this, may Allaah bless you.

Shaykh Rabee’s response:

My response to your question is contained within the lecture that I have just offered, may Allaah reward you with good. But in any case, the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaiyhi wa sallam) said, [Allaah does not take away the knowledge by taking it away from the hearts of the people, after having given it to them, the knowledge is taken away by the death of the religious scholars, until when none of the scholars remain, the people will take as their leaders ignorant people who, when asked, will give their rulings without knowledge. So they will go astray and will lead the people astray.]

Indeed, the scholars are very few in our time. And in some lands there are not any scholars at all – according to the true meaning of the word. As a result, the people take ignorant ones as their guides and leaders. These leaders of ignorance actually divert and defect the Ummah from turning to and taking from those scholars who do remain among us. But they are not even satisfied with that diversion; additionally they intentionally misrepresent and defame the scholars. This slander from the people of ignorance is from the most significant obstacles between the young Muslims and the true scholars. It is one of the most significant ways in which the intellects of the youth are being devastated in regard to the false beliefs and the methodologies that they are proceeding upon.

The true scholars are considered by those such as the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwaanul Muslimeen) organization as only spies and government workers and lackeys. They accuse me of having this affliction, of being infected and tainted by it. But this affliction, by Allaah, is surely within themselves. And Allaah has freed those scholars who follow the way of the first Muslims from these false accusations that these people throw at them. They defame the scholars in the various Muslim lands, especially the scholars of the land which we are from, Saudi Arabia, in preference to those distant Muslim lands. So the scholars have become those with no value or worth to them, such that many of the young renounce any connection to them at all. Consequently, when these true scholars come forward with an accurate and sound ruling regarding the issue of jihaad or in any other matter from the various affairs of Islaam, they disparage and dismiss it, as well as that scholar who issued it, or that group of scholars; and they speak against and malign them, and indeed may even declare them to be disbelievers.

They are aware that Sheikh Ibn Baaz, Sheikh Al-Albaanee, and Sheikh al-‘Uthaimeen gave the ruling of the permissibility of making a peace treaty with the Jewish state in light of the need for leniency due to the state of the Palestinian people and others. Yet those leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwaanul Muslimeen) organization pounced upon these scholars slandering them and defaming them because of it. While in reality it is clearly affirmed that the Messenger of Allaah also made a peace treaty with the Jews. And Allaah has said: [But if they incline to peace, then you also incline to it, and put your trust in Allaah. – Surah al-Anfaal:61] Historically, the famous Salaahuddeen, strove, and strove, and strove, and strove in jihaad; then after this struggling was still compelled to make a peace treaty with the European Crusaders. He had exhausted his army’s strength and resources, and perhaps some of the Muslims had forsaken him or abandoned him such that he was forced to negotiate a peace treaty. And this was the well known Salaahuddeen, the one who was a renowned warrior in jihaad and a champion, who dedicated himself to this matter for the sake of Allaah, may Allaah have mercy upon him.

Additionally, from such treaties which are held as legitimate in the Sharee’ah, is the treaty concluded by the Messenger of Allaah, upon him be Allaah’s praise and salutations, at Hudeybeeyah, the length of which was a number of years. He considered this treaty as something good for Islaam and the Muslims. Even when some of the people felt that it was contemptible and oppressive, as some of the Companions felt during the time when the treaty was first concluded. Yet this treaty was in true compliance with the Sharee’ah and the one who brought it, and it proceeded upon that methodology of Allaah and His Messenger. It contained tremendous blessing and good, and through it Allaah realized benefits for Islaam that had not been dreamed of or even conceived of.

Therefore my brothers, it is upon you to respect the scholars, not those scholars who are rightly called scholars of evil, but those who are scholars in truth – upon the truth. Those who illuminate their lives with the guidance they offer and the footsteps they proceed upon – from the Book of Allaah, from the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah, and from the methodology of the righteous predecessors. As Allaah has said, [When there comes to them some matter touching public safety or fear, they make it known among the people; if only they had referred it to the Messenger or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have understood it from them directly – Surah an-Nisa:83] As such, any major occurrences, events, or problems regarding security from fear are to be returned to those truthful holders of authority among the Muslims, and the sincere truthful scholars. They are the ones who have the ability to derive matters correctly within the religion of Allaah, reaching their proper understandings, from what is occurring around them from current events. They guide to the proper positions both in situations of peace and security as well as in those of fear and unrest, may Allaah bless you all. They are the ones who make that informed assessment of the current state of affairs and ask the question, do we understake jihaad at this point or not? They make that determination after they have correctly understood the situation and the general condition of the Ummah, as well as there being present a capable steadfast Muslim army through which Allaah could realize our victory.

A support or evidence of this understanding, is that the matters related to general belief, and those related to governance, are generally, to be undertaken and handled by His Messenger, as well as those scholars who adhere to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah, upon him be Allaah’s praise and salutations. If the Ummah properly honoured and respected their scholars and referred to them in the various difficult situations and dilemmas that occur, they would receive tremendous benefit. However, through these ways of turning away from, disdaining and belittling scholars, the people are only directed further towards increasing evil. But why is this the case? Because Allaah has said, [So ask the people of the Reminder if you do not know. – Surah al-Anbiyaa’:7] and in the verse after it [When there comes to them some matter touching public safety or fear, they make it known among the people. – Surah an-Nisa’:83] These indicate and call for properly working collectively and jointly in managing our affairs. But this matter has been turned upside down by the Muslims, due to which evil – not good – reaches the from directions which they cannot comprehend. So indeed, we ask Allaah for well being.

Likewise, it is established in the practice of the first distinguished generations, they did not rush to precede others in issuing rulings. For example, those scholars like Imaam Maalik, and Imaam Sha’afee and so forth were well aware of who were the most competent ones from among their capable scholars. And that so and so or so and so had the capability to put forth lessons, teach, present their views, give rulings on matters, and similar responsibilities. So they placed this responsibility with those individuals, may Allaah bless you. Similarly, they stood as those scholars who were the best in their manners, and from their excellent manners was that if you were yourself someone of knowledge or scholar of hadeeth, yet within your land and there were those who were greater and more knowledgeable than you, then from good manners was that you did not rush ahead of them to issue a ruling.

When it was the practice of this Ummah to honour its scholars, it stood in a state of goodness, honour, and contentment, and when they began to undervalue and slight the scholars, they began to likewise have a diminished view of the value of what had been revealed to them of divine knowledge, and what had been revealed to them of the truth. When they began to have disdain for the scholars then a state of evil fell upon them, affairs of misguidance and innovations in the religion in the religion began to proliferate among them, they encountered deviation in aspects of politics and governance, and so on of matters that we have come to recognize and witness among us. Similarly, this was also caused by their distance from the Book of Allaah, their distance from both knowledge and the people of knowledge, and by their discrediting and defamation of the scholars.

You have among you today people who have called themselves “Islamists.” Do they listen to the statements of the scholars and take from their advice? No, rather they adhere to their desires and their blind enthusiasm, may Allaah bless you all; they do not return to the scholars or others, except when their own efforts come to nothing and they fail. And we seek refuge with Allaah from this.

In any case and in conclusion, the proper Islamic manners and character are something desired from every Muslim. As Allaah says regarding his Messenger, [And verily, you (O Muhammad) are on an exalted standard of character. – Surah al-Qalam:4] And the Messenger said, [Indeed, I have been sent to perfect the beneficial character.] So what is the type of character that one stands upon – who disrespects and disdains the scholars, who mocks them, and defames them? Those people who do not consider it obligatory upon them to refer to the people of knowledge, when Allaah Himself made that an obligation upon them.

For that reason in those simple or clear cut matters which are well understood by the student of knowledge, it is upon him to teach them and convey the rulings related to them, and to make clear their supporting evidences. But as for newly arising incidents, situations, problems, or dilemmas, then these areas are not to be approached and delved into except for those individuals who are well qualified, as is stated in the verse, […those proper investigators would have understood it from them directly.] What is essential to understand is that when the people honoured and held in esteem their scholars, they obtained tremendous good. And when they disregarded and belittled them, and we seek refuge from Allaah from this, then by Allaah, they came to turn away from their true religion, taking as leaders the Shayateen from among men and jinn. These leaders, and we seek refuge Allaah from this, are those leaders of ignorance who are astray and lead others astray.

We ask Allaah for ourselves and your guidance, and preservation and protection from evil and tribulations. And that He grant us success through guiding us to correctly honour the Book of our Lord and Sunnah of our Prophet, and honour our scholars. Indeed He is the one who hears supplications. Prayers and salutations be upon our chief Muhammad and upon his household, and his Companions.

Source: [Sahab internet forums translated by Abu Sukhailah Khalil Ibn-Abelahyi Al-Amreekee & can be found in the book entitled "A Lighthouse of Knowledge From a Guardian of the Sunnah on pages 206 - 210]