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MADHAB & SCHOOL OF THOUGHT.

 

1)         school of thought

2)         SCHOOL OF THOUGHT: BASIC CONCEPT

3)         FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAIN SECTS OF ISLAM

4)         FOUR IMAMS

5)         BRAYLWI SECT

6)         DEOBANDIS SECT

7)         Who are ahle-hadith?

8)         Wahabis & Sunnis

9)         WHO IS Mohammad Ibn Abd Al Wahhab

10)       SunnI & Shia’h

11)        DIFFERENCE BETWEEN Shiites and Sunnis

12)       Shia: Are Shia Muslims?

13)       BAHA'I FAITH

14)       QADYANI OR AHMADIS

15)       WHO ARE AHL-BAIT?

16)       WHO ARE THE SAVED GROUP?

17)       the saved group (al-firqah an-najiyah)

18)       Salafi   Movement

19)       SALAFIS & OTHER SCHOOL OF THOUGHT

20)       WHAT IS THE VIEW OF ISLAM ON SUFISM?

21)       Sufism

22)       TASAWWUF – SUFISM

23)       Sufism and wali allah

24)       Sufism: Degrees of knowledge and sufism

25)       SUFI TAREEQAHS AND THE RULING ON JOINING THEM

26)       Tablighi Jamaat

27)       Classes within a Muslim community

28)       WHICH School of thought YOU ARE?

29)       jammah islam that must be followed

30)       new muslim, which school of thought to follow

31)       choosing any madhab ruling, as convenient

32)       Nation of Islam

33)       WHY THERE ARE SO MANY RELIGIONS?

 

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1. Schools of thought

Question:

What is the Relation between the  four "Madhabs" and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessing be upon him)? Is it true if we follow any one of the above Madhabs?

Answer:

1. Muslims Should be United 

It is a fact that Muslims today, are divided amongst themselves. The tragedy is that such divisions are not endorsed by Islam at all. Islam believes in fostering unity amongst its followers.  The Glorious Quran says: 

"And hold fast, All together, by the rope Which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves;...." (Aale-Imran 3:103) 

Which is the rope of Allah that is being referred to in this verse? It is the Glorious Quran. The Quran is the rope of Allah which all Muslims should hold fast together. There is double emphasis in this verse. Besides saying ‘hold fast all together’ it also says, ‘be not divided’.  Quran further says:

"....Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger....."  (An-Nisa 4:59) 

All the Muslim should follow the Quran and authentic Ahadith and be not divided among themselves.

2. It is Prohibited to make sects and divisions in Islam

The Glorious Quran says:

"As for those who divide Their religion and break up Into sects, thou hast No part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end Tell them the truth Of all that they did." (Al-Anaam 6:159)

In this verse Allah (swt) says that one should disassociate oneself from those who divide their religion and break it up into sects. 
 
But when one asks a Muslim, "who are you?" The common answer is either ‘I am a Sunni, or ‘I am a Shia’. Some call themselves Hanafi, or Shafi or Maliki or Humbali. Some say ‘I am a Deobandi’, while some others say ‘I am a Barelvi’.

3. Our Prophet was a Muslim

One may ask such Muslims, "Who was our beloved prophet (pbuh)? Was he a Hanafi or a Shafi, or a Humbali or a Maliki?" No! He was a Muslim, like all the other prophets and messengers of Allah before him.  
 
It is mentioned in chapter 3 verse 52 of Al-Quran that Jesus (pbuh) was a Muslim.

“When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: "Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples: "We are Allah's helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims” (Aal ‘Imraan 3:52)

 Further, in chapter 3 verse 67, Al-Quran says that Ibrahim (pbuh) was not a Jew or a Christian but was a Muslim.

“Ibrahim was not a Jew nor a Christian but he was (an) upright (man), a Muslim, and he was not one of the polytheists”   (Aale-Imran 3:67) 

4. Quran says call yourselves Muslim

If anyone poses a Muslim the question who are you, he should say "I am a MUSLIM, not a Hanafi or a Shafi". Surah Fussilat chapter 41 verse 33 says:

"Who is better in speech Than one who calls (men) To Allah, works righteousness, And says, ‘I am of those Who bow in Islam (Muslim)?’ " (Fussalat 41:33)

The Quran says "Say I am of those who bow in Islam" (Fussalat 41:33). In other words, say, "I am a Muslim".

The Prophet (pbuh) dictated letters to non-Muslim kings and rulers inviting them to accept Islam. In these letters he mentioned the verse of the Quran from Surah Aale Imran chapter 3 verse 64:

”.... Say ye: Bear witness That we (at least) Are Muslims (bowing To Allah’s Will)." (Aale-Imran 3:64)

5. Respect all the Great Scholars of Islam

We must respect all the great scholars of Islam, including the four Imaams, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi, Imam Humbal and Imam Malik (may Allah be pleased with them all). They were great scholars and may Allah reward them for their research and hard work. One can have no objection if someone agrees with the views and research of Imam Abu Hanifa or Imam Shafi, etc. But when posed a question, ‘who are you?’, the reply should only be ‘I am a Muslim’. 

According to Tirmidhi Hadith No. 171, the prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said, "My Ummah will be fragmented into seventy-three sects, and all of them will be in Hell fire except one sect." The companions asked Allah’s messenger which group that would be. Where upon he replied, "It is the one to which I and my companions belong."

The Glorious Quran mentions in several verses, "Obey Allah and obey His Messenger". A true Muslim should only follow the Glorious Quran and the Sahih Hadith. He can agree with the views of any scholar as long as they conform to the teachings of the Quran and Sahih Hadith. If such views go against the Word of Allah, or the Sunnah of His Prophet, then they carry no weight, regardless of how learned the scholar might be. 

If only all Muslims read the Quran with understanding and adhere to Sahih Hadith, Inshallah most of these differences would be solved and we could be one united Muslim Ummah.

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2. SCHOOL OF THOUGHT: BASIC CONCEPT

Question :

What is the concept behind having four imams and four schools of thought? What is their status and importance in our religion? Back home, people tend to make a great deal of belonging to these four schools of thought. Sometimes loudspeakers in these mosques are misused. It is so difficult to decide who is right and who is wrong. Please explain.

Answer :

In reality, there are other scholars that of the same caliber of the Imams of the four schools of thought, like, Imams Ath-Thawri, Al-Aawza’i, Al-Layth ibn Sa’ad, At-Tabari and others. The four schools had the publicity because of the adoption of them by certain governments in the course of history. The ‘Abbasids adopted Abu Yusuf’s (the main student of Abu Hanifah) thought in their financial administration. The Ayyubi’s adopted the Shafi’i school. In vast areas of North Africa Imam Malik’s Fiqh was adopted. The Hanbali school is now adopted in Arabia. Other schools of thought faded away and didn’t have as many supporters, but their thoughts are still preserved in the important records and works of Islamic literature.

Each of the four scholars (Imam Malik, Imam Ahmed Bin Hambal, Imam Shafi, Imam Abu Hanifa), who founded the schools of thought known after them, is simply a great scholar. He does not aspire to any higher position. None of them has added anything to the religion of Islam. None has a special status. None has made a claim to be followed. They are simply scholars of great eminence. They lived in the early period of Islam, with Imam Malik and Imam Abu Hanifah living toward the end of the first century and the first half of the second century, followed by Imam Al-Shaf'ie who lived in the second half of the second century and passed away in the year 204 H., and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal being his contemporary and surviving him to live for some time. A school of thought is all about method of construction and deduction of rulings and verdicts from Quranic and Hadith statements.

Those four imams did not have the same frame of knowledge available to each one of them. They certainly learned the Quran properly, but their knowledge of Hadith differed and there were some differences in their approach to Hadith and how they deduced its meaning and applied it to practical situations. Each of them had students who became great scholars in their own right. This process was carried on, generation after generation. In each school of thought, you find scholars of great eminence who followed the same methods of construction and deduction, and applied them to problems and questions that arose in their own lifetimes. That gave each school of thought the sort of continuity which ensured a large following.

I would like to make two points clear. The first is that there is nothing special about their number 'four'. There were many other eminent scholars, some of whom were contemporaries to those four. A most notable example was Imam Al-Laith ibn Sa'ad who lived in Egypt. He was a contemporary of Imam Malik, and many scholars consider him to have been even of higher merit than Malik. However, Imam Al-Laith did not establish a school of his own, because there were few, if any, of his students who could achieve a degree of prominence in their own right. But if we find a ruling given by Imam Al-Laith which is supported by firm evidence from the Quran or the Sunnah, then we may adopt it in the same way as we follow a ruling by any of the four imams.

The second point is that in each of the four schools of thought we may find great scholars who differ on some specific questions with the founder of that school. There is no rigidity about following an imam in all questions and all matters. We may find a later scholar in a particular school of thought giving a different opinion from that of the founder of that school, and we find his opinion to be better supported. Therefore, we take that view without hesitation.

Anyhow the approach applied by each juristic Imam in reaching his opinion is based on the evidence deduced from the religious text, they are explained as follows:

The Method of Imam Abu Hanifah:

He resorts to seven sources to arrive at a certain opinion; these sources are:

1) The Glorious Quran.

2) The Prophetic Tradition (Sunnah)

3) The sayings of the Prophet's Companions. As regard this, Imam Abu Hanifah is reported to have said he used to rely on the saying of any Companion of the Prophet regardless of names, though he never sidestepped their opinions for others'. As for the views of Ibrahim, Shu`abi, Ibn Sirin and others, given that they adopted personal reasoning, he used to follow in their footsteps.

4)    Qiyas (analogical deduction).

5)    Istihsan (Juristic preference).

6)    Ijma` (scholarly consensus).

7)   `Urf (Custom).

The Method of Imam Malik:

The sources from which Imam Malik deduces the evidence are as follows:

1)  The Glorious Quran, the Sunnah of the Prophet, and the sayings of the Prophet's Companions.

2)   The custom followed by people of Madinah.

3)   Fatwa given by a Companion.

4)   Al-Masalih Al-Mursalah (public Interest).

5)   Istihsan (juristic preference).

6)   Sadd Adh-Dhara'i` (blocking the means to evil)

The Method of Imam Ash-Shafi`i:

He relies on the following sources:

In his book al-Umm (vol. 7), he states that there are various sources of knowledge, first of them is the Glorious Quran, then the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). The second is the consensus of Muslim scholars regarding the issue lacking textual proof in the Quran or Sunnah. The third is the agreed-upon sayings of some of the Companions regarding the issue in question. The fourth is the controversial views of the Companions. The fifth is the evidence deduced from analogy based on the Quran and Sunnah.

The Method of Imam Ahmad:

He relies on five sources:

1)  The Glorious Quran and Sunnah.

2)  Non-controversial fatwas delivered by the Prophet's Companions.

3) Should they issue any controversial views, the priority is given to the opinion which is in conformity with the Quran and Sunnah.

4) Making use of inauthentic and weak hadiths, if there is no other evidence; at least to him this is more preferable than the use of Qiyas.

5) Qiyas: This is the last source for Ibn Hanbal, and it is used only if there is no evidence in the previous sources. And in some cases he adopts cautious approach regarding issues lacking evidence or governed with contradictory evidence even if there are statements uttered by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions regarding those issues, but given that those statements are controversial he refrains from issuing fatwa concerning them.

A good example is the ruling given by Imam ibn Taimiyah, of the Hanbali school of thought, concerning divorce pronounced three times in the same session. He considers that as a single, revocable divorce, while Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the founder of that school, considers it as three divorces, which means that it is irrevocable. The family law in several Muslim countries has adopted the ruling given by Imam ibn Taimiyah which indeed relies on very strong evidence from the Sunnah.

It is not necessary that a Muslim should follow a single school of thought. Indeed, this does not happen in practice. The division caused in your home country, and indeed in other Muslim countries, is simply due to ignorance. Had any of these four imams been alive today, he would have fought it with all his might. They were the first to admit that they were liable to error, and indeed each of them has made mistakes. I can tell you something more. There is no need to follow any of the four schools of thought. Indeed, many Muslims do not. This is because they have enough knowledge of Islam to be able to weigh the evidence supporting the view of each school. They can choose always the view supported by stronger evidence, regardless of which school of thought advocates that opinion.


Our Dialogue (Source : Arab News - Jeddah )

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3. fundamental differences between MAin sects of Islam

Question:

I would be very grateful if you could advise me on the fundamental differences between the main sects of Islam, although I know that originally Islam was a unified religion. Thank you.

Answer: Praise be to Allah.

The answer to your question is lengthy and deserves a book to itself. We cannot answer in details here, but we can say the following in brief:

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told us beforehand that this Ummah would be divided as the previous nations were divided, as stated in the saheeh hadeeth:

Wahb ibn Baqiyyah told us from Khaalid from Muhammad ibn ‘Amr from Abu Salamah from Abu Hurayrah who said: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The Jews were divided into seventy-one or seventy-two sects, and the Christians were divided into seventy-one or seventy-two sects, and my Ummah will be divided into seventy-three sects.” This was narrated by Abu Dawood in his Sunan, Kitaab al-Sunnah, Baab Sharh al-Sunnah.

It was reported from ‘Awf ibn Maalik who said: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The Jews were divided into seventy-one sects, one of which is in Paradise and seventy are in the Fire. The Christians were divided into seventy-two sects, seventy-one of which are in the Fire and one is in Paradise. By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, my Ummah will be divided into seventy-three sects, one of which will be in Paradise and seventy-two will be in the Fire.” It was said, O Messenger of Allah, who are they? He said, “Al-Jamaa’ah.”    Sunan Ibn Maajah, no. 3982.

What is meant by al-Jamaa’ah is the ‘aqeedah and actions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his Companions.

Among are the sects that claim to belong to Islam, but are misguided with regard to the Unity of Allah (Tawheed) and His Names and Attributes; they say that everything that exists is Allah and that He is incarnate or present in His creation – glorified be He far above what they say. On the contrary, He is above His heavens, settled on His throne, distinct from His creation.

Others are misguided with regard to eeman (faith) and say that deeds are separate from faith and that faith does not increase or decrease. The correct view is that faith consists of words and deeds; it increases when one does acts of obedience to Allah and decreases when one commits sin.

Others are misguided by their declaring that the person who commits sin goes beyond the pale of Islam and is doomed to eternity in the Fire. The correct view is that the one who commits a major sin – apart from shirk and al-kufr al-akbar – does not go out of Islam.

Others are misguided with regard to the issue of al-qadaa’ wa’l-qadar (divine decree), and said that man has no choice in what he does. The correct view is that man has freedom of will on the basis of which he will be called to account and will bear the consequences of his deeds.

Others are misguided with regard to the Quran, and say that it is created. The correct view is that it is the words of Allah, revealed not created.

Others are misguided with regard to the Sahaabah, whom they revile and denounce as kaafirs even though they are the companions of the Prophet among whom the Wahy (Revelation) was revealed, and they are the most knowledgeable and the most devoted in worship among this Ummah, and they strove in jihaad for the sake of Allah and Allah supported this religion through them – may Allah be pleased with them all.

And there are other groups who deviated from the path of Islam and innovated matters in the religion of Allah; each of them rejoices in what they have, but they have followed the ways of the Shaytaan and gone against the words of Allah (interpretation of the meaning):

“And verily, this is My straight path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path. This He has ordained for you that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)”   (Al-An’aam 6:153)

We ask Allah to make us among the followers of the Sunnah who will be saved from the Fire, and to admit us to Paradise among the righteous. May Allah bless our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

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4. FOUR IMAMS

Question:

People believe in 4 imams. My confusion is which one of them is on right path and be followed?

Answer: Praise be to Allah.

Allah has made our worship based on His Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The right way is to understand the texts of sharee’ah as they were understood by the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and their followers among the scholars who are qualified and prominent mujtahids. This includes the imaams whose sincerity, fairness and leadership in religion, knowledge, virtue, goodness and righteousness is a matter of record.

The four imaams and founders of the schools of Islamic fiqh (Imaam Abu Haneefah, Imaam Maalik, Imaam al-Shaafa’i and Imaam Ahmad) – may Allah have mercy on them all – all followed the texts of the Sharee’ah and their efforts were all focused on teaching and spreading sound Islamic knowledge. All of them were on the right path, and all were devoted followers of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). If mistakes happened, then the Sahaabah made mistakes too.

The things to be followed in Sharee’ah are those for which evidence (daleel) is established. In some cases, some scholars may not have known of daleel whilst others did, but this does not mean that their knowledge and ability is to be discredited. All of them were seeking to find and propagate the truth. If a person wants to follow one of the Imaams and adopt his madhhab, then he should follow him in matters for which there is clear, sound daleel, for this is what is required in Islam, but he should not develop partisan or sectarian feelings towards anybody. It is not permissible for the Muslim to believe that he has to follow anybody in all that he says except the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

The person who is suitably qualified can examine what the scholars said and see what is supported by sound daleel. The “rank and file” Muslim who does not know how to examine the evidence and weigh it up should follow a scholar whose religious commitment and knowledge he trusts, and act according to his fatwas.

And Allah knows best.

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5. BRAYLWI SECT

Question :

What is the Braylwi sect and what is their belief?

Answer :  Praise be to Allah.

The Braylwi are a Soofee sect which was born in India at the time of the British rule there.

It's followers concern themselves in exceeding in their love and honour for the Prophets and the "saints" in general, and the Prophet (sal-Allah u `alayhe wa sallam) specifically.

It's founder was a man by the name of Ahmad Ridhaa Khan ibn Taqee 'Alee Khaan who was born in 1272 A.H. (1851 C.E.) and called himself Abdul-Mustafaa (slave/servant of Mustafaa, i.e. Muhammad (sal-Allah u `alayhe wa sallam)).

He was born in the city of Braylee in the province of Uttar Pradesh and was a student of al-Mirza Ghulaam Qaadir Begg who was the older (blood) brother of Mirza Ghulaam Ahmad al-Qaadiyaanee (founder of the Qaadiyaaniyyah sect).

He was of a slim build and known to be shrewd and clever, whilst also being ill-tempered and foul-mouthed. He used to suffer from chronic illnesses, and used to consistently complain of headaches and back pains.

He visited Makkah and studied under some of the scholars there in 1295 A.H. (1874 C.E.).

Amongst his "notable" books are: ((Anbaa. al-Mustafaa)) and ((Khaalis al-I'tiqaad)).

From the beliefs of this sect is that the Messenger of Allah  (sal-Allah u `alayhe wa sallam) has the ability/power to control the creation and all that occurs, and that the "saints" have the ability/power to influence the creation and all that occurs.

And they have exceeded in their belief with respect to the Prophet (sal-Allah u `alayhe wa sallam) such that they have ascended him to a rank close to that of worshipping him. And they have exceeded in their belief with respect to the Messenger of Allah  (sal-Allah u `alayhe wa sallam) such that they believe he has knowledge of the unseen, and they deny that he was a human being, rather that he was the light (noor) of Allah. And they also permit calling for assistance from the "saints" and the Prophets and other than them from the false beliefs.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Excerpted, with some modifications, from: http://islamqa.com/en/

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6. DEOBANDIS SECT

Question :

Are Deobandis part of Ahlus Sunnah? Are they within the folds of Islam?

Answer: Praise be to Allah.

The Deobandis are one of the groups of Muslims. This group is connected to and named after the University of Deoband – Dar al-Uloom – in India. It is an intellectual school of thought that is deeply rooted, and everyone who graduated from that university was influenced by its academic characteristics, so that they became known as Deobandis. 

The University of Deoband was founded by a group of Indian ‘ulamaa’ (scholars) after the British had put a stop to the Islamic revolution in India in 1857 CE. Its establishment was a strong reaction against western advancement and its materialistic civilization in the Indian Subcontinent, aimed at saving the Muslims from the dangers of these circumstances, especially when Delhi, the capital, had been destroyed following the revolution and the British had taken full control of it. The scholars feared that their religion might be assimilated, so Shaykh Imdaadullaah al-Muhaajir al-Makki and his student Shaykh Muhammad Qaasim al-Nanatuwi, and their companions, drew up a plan to protect Islam and its teachings. They thought that the solution was to establish religious schools and Islamic centers, thus al-Madrasah al-Islamiyyah al-Arabiyyah was established in Deoband as a center for Islam and Sharee’ah in India at the time of British rule. 

The most prominent figures of this intellectual school: 

1-    Muhammad Qaasim

2-    Rasheed Ahmad al-Kankoohi

3-    Husayn Ahmad al-Madani

4-    Muhammad Anwaar Shah al-Kashmiri

5-    Abu’l-Hasan al-Nadvi

6-    Al-Muhaddith Habeeb al-Rahmaan al-A’zami 

Thoughts and beliefs 

With regard to basic tenets of belief (‘aqeedah), they follow the madhhab of Abu Mansoor al-Maatreedi.

They follow the madhhab of Imaam Abu Haneefah with regard to fiqh and minor issues. 

They follow the Sufi tareeqahs of the Naqshbandiyyah, Chishtiyyah, Qaadiriyyah and Saharwardiyyah with regard to spiritual development. 

The thoughts and principles of the Deobandi school may be summed up as follows: 

-      Preserving the teachings of Islam and its strength and rituals.

-      Spreading Islam and resisting destructive schools of thought and missionary activity.

-      Spreading Islamic culture and resisting the invading British culture.

-      Paying attention to spreading the Arabic language because it is the means of benefiting from the sources of Islamic sharee’ah.

-      Combining reason and emotion, and knowledge and spirituality. 

See al-Mawsoo’ah al-Muyassarah fil Adyaan wal Madhaahib (1/308). 

Because the Deobandis follow the Maatreedi madhhab with regard to belief (‘aqeedah), we have to define what al-Maatreediyyah is: 

This is a philosophical (kalaami) group which is named after Abu Mansoor al-Maatreedi. It is based on using rational and philosophical proof and evidence in disputes with opponents from among the Mu’tazilah, Jahamiyyah and others to establish the truths of religion and Islamic ‘aqeedah (belief). With regard to sources, the Maatreediyyah divide the bases of religion into two categories depending on the source: 

1 – Divine or rational: these are matters which are established independently by reason and the reports follow that. This includes issues of Tawheed and the Divine attributes. 

2 – Legislative matters or transmitted reports, These are matters which reason states may or may not exist, but there is no way to prove rationally that they exist, such as Prophethood, the torment of the grave and issues of the Hereafter. It should be noted that some of them regarded Prophethood as coming under the heading of rational issues. 

It is obvious that this is contradictory to the methodology of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, because the Quran, Sunnah and consensus of the Sahaabah are the sources of guidance in their view. This is in addition to their bid’ah (innovation) of dividing the sources of religion into rational matters vs. transmitted reports, which was based on the false notion of the philosophers who assumed that the religious texts contradict reason, so they tried to mediate between reason and the transmitted reports. This led them to force reason into fields where it has no place, so they came up with false rulings which contradicted sharee’ah, and that led them to say that they did not know what the texts mean and that only Allah knows their meaning, or to misinterpret them altogether. In the view of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, on the other hand, there is no contradiction between sound reason and the sound transmitted reports. 

See al-Mawsoo’ah al-Muyassarah fi’l-Adyaan wa’l-Madhaahib al-Mu’aasirah, 1/99 

Attitude of Ahl al-Sunnah towards the Maatreediyyah 

It was narrated from the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that this ummah would split into seventy-three sects, all of which would be in the Fire apart from one. The Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explained that the saved group is the Jamaa’ah, which is the group that follows the same path as the Messenger SAWS (peace and blessings of Allah  be upon him) and his Companions. 

Undoubtedly Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, who adhere to the Quran  and Sunnah in terms of both knowledge and actions, are the saved group, and this description applies to them, i.e., they adhere to that which the Messenger SAWS (peace and blessings of Allah  be upon him) and his Companions adhered to in terms of knowledge and actions. 

It is not sufficient for an individual or group merely to claim to belong to the Sunnah whilst going against the methodology of the salaf, namely the Sahaabah and Taabi’een. Rather it is essential to adhere to their methodology in knowledge, action, approach and spiritual development. 

The Maatreediyyah are one of the groups whose opinions include true and false views, and some things that go against the Sunnah. It is known that these groups vary with regard to the truth, how near or far they are; the closer they are to the Sunnah, the closer they are to the truth and the right way. Among them are some who went against the Sunnah with regard to basic principles, and some who went against the Sunnah with regard to more subtle issues. There are some who refuted other groups who are farther away from the Sunnah, so they are to be praised with regard to their refutation of falsehood and what they have said of truth, but they have overstepped the mark in so far as they have rejected part of the truth and gone along with some falsehood. So they have refuted a serious bid’ah by means of a lesser bid’ah, and refuted falsehood with a lesser form of falsehood. This is the case with most of the philosophers (ahl al-kalaam) who claim to belong to Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah…”

(From the words of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, al-Fataawa, 1/348). 

There remains one important question to be answered, which is: what is our duty towards the Maatreediyyah and groups who hold similar beliefs such as the Deobandis and others? 

The answer varies according to differences in the persons involved. 

If someone is stubborn and propagates his bid’ah, then we must warn others about him and explain where he has gone wrong and deviated. But if he does not propagate his bid’ah and it is clear from his words and actions that he is seeking the truth and striving for that purpose, then we should advise him and explain to him what is wrong with this belief, and guide him in a manner that is better; perhaps Allah will bring him back to the truth. This advice is included in the words of the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “Religion is sincerity (or sincere advice).” We [the Sahabah] asked, “To whom?” He said, “To Allah and His Book, and His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.”   (Narrated by Muslim, 55).

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Excerpted, with some modifications, from: http://islamqa.com/en/

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7. Who are ahle-hadith?

Question :

Who are Ahle-Hadith?

Answer : Praise be to Allah.  

The phrase Ahl al-Hadeeth (people of hadeeth) refers to a group who venerate the Sunnah and seek to propagate it. They adhere to the ‘aqeedah (beliefs) of the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). In seeking to understand their religion, they refer to the Quran and Sunnah and the interpretation of the best generations, unlike others who adhere to beliefs other than the ‘aqeedah of the righteous salaf and refer to human reasoning, tastes and what they see in dreams. 

This group is the saved group, the victorious party, which many imams have stated is the group referred to in the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “A group of my ummah will continue to prevail, following the truth. They will not be harmed by those who humiliate them until the decree of Allah comes to pass when they are like that.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1920). 

The imams, in the past and more recently, have said a great deal describing this group. We may chose from among them the following: 

1 – Al-Haakim said: 

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal did well when he commented on this report by saying that the victorious group who will prevail until the Hour begins is “ashaab al-hadeeth” (the people of hadeeth). Who is more deserving of this description than people who follow the way of the righteous and follow in the footsteps of the salaf who came before us, and exposed the falsehood of the people of bid’ah (innovation) by basing their arguments on the Sunnahs of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)? 

Ma’rifat ‘Uloom al-Hadeeth, by al-Haakim al-Nisaboori, p. 2, 3 

2 – Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadi said: 

Allah has made these people – Ahl al-Hadeeth – the pillars of sharee’ah, and He has destroyed through them all abhorrent innovations. They are the trustees of Allah among His creation, the intermediaries between the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his ummah. They are the ones who are striving hard to protect his religion; their light is shining, their virtues are well known, the signs of their sincerity are obvious, their way is prevailing, and their evidence is supreme.

Every group has its own focal point which is based on whims and desires, apart from the people of hadeeth, whose reference point is the Quran, whose evidence is the Sunnah and whose leader is the Messenger to whom they belong; they do not pay any attention to whims and desires, and they do not care about personal opinions. They are content with what is narrated from the Messenger, and they are the ones who are entrusted with it and they take care of it.

They are the guardians and keepers of the faith, the vessels and bearers of knowledge. If there is a difference of opinion concerning a hadeeth, people refer to them, and what they rule is what is accepted and listened to. Among them are prominent faqeehs, great imams, ascetics who are well-known among their tribes, men who are known for their virtue, skilled reciters of Qur’aan and good speakers. They are the majority and their way is the right way. Every innovator pretends to be following their path, and cannot dare to claim any other way. Whoever opposes them, Allah will destroy him, and whoever goes against them, Allah will humiliate him. They are not harmed by those who forsake them, and those who stay away from them will not prosper. The one who cares for his religion needs their help, the one who looks down on them is a loser, and Allah is able to support them. 

Sharf Ashaab al-Hadeeth, p. 15

 3 – Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: 

Hence it is clear that the people who most deserve to be called the victorious group are “Ahl al-Hadeeth wa’l-Sunnah”, who have no leader to follow blindly apart from the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). They are the most knowledgeable of people concerning his words and deeds, the most able to distinguish between what is sound and what is not [of hadeeth]. Their imams have deep knowledge of that, they are the ones who understand its meanings and are the most sincere in following it. They accept it and believe in it, and act upon it. They show love to those who adopt it and they show enmity to those who oppose it.

They are the ones who measure any idea against that which is proven in the Quran and Sunnah, so they never adopt any idea and make it one of the basic principles of their religion unless it is proven in that which the Messenger brought. Rather they make that which the Messenger brought, the Quran and Sunnah, the foundation and basis of their beliefs. With regard to the issues concerning which people dispute, such as the attributes of Allah, the divine decree, the threat of Hell, the names of Allah and the principle of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, etc., they refer that to Allah and His Messenger. They examine the general ideas concerning which the different groups dispute, and whatever of these ideas is in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah, they approve of it, and whatever goes against the Quran and Sunnah, they reject it. They do not follow conjecture or whims and desires. For following conjecture is ignorance and following whims and desires without any guidance from Allah is wrongdoing. 

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 3/347, 348. 

We should note that Ahl al-Hadeeth includes everyone who follows the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and gives it precedence over all else, whether he is a scholar or an ordinary Muslim. 

Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] said: 

We do not mean by Ahl al-Hadeeth only those who study it, write it down or narrate it, rather we mean anyone who takes care to memorize it, understand it and follow it, both inwardly and outwardly. The same may be said of “Ahl al-Quran” (the people of the Quran). 

The basic quality of these people is their love of the Quran and hadeeth, referring to them and their meanings, and acting upon what they learn. 

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 4/95 

The imams have said a great deal on this matter. You can learn more by referring to the sources quoted above, as well as volume 4 of Majmoo’ Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah

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8. Wahabis & Sunnis

Question :

In countries of the Indian Subcontinent, there are two groups of Muslims who call themselves Wahabis and Sunnis. They are always engaged in vigorous arguments which may sometimes lead to fighting. Nevertheless, their worship is very similar. Please explain the difference between the two.

Answer :

No group actually calls itself Wahabis. However, people may call some of those who express certain views as Wahabis, which is a name supposed to refer to the followers of Imam Muhammad Ibn Abdulwahhab who was a great reformer and scholar. He lived in Najd over 200 years ago and worked hard to eradicate all innovations from Islamic worship. Such innovations had crept into the practices of Muslim communities due to ignorance and long periods of decline undergone by Muslim communities. He maintained that the example of the Prophet i.e. the Sunnah should be followed diligently.

There is no disagreement among scholars that this is required of every Muslim. It is unfortunate that some of the practices which Imam Muhammad Ibn Abdulwahhab spoke very strongly against still persist in some Muslim communities. These include such terrible practices as visiting the graves of supposedly saintly people and asking the dead to intervene with Allah on behalf of the visitor for any purpose. Such a practice Islam shuns, since it is a manifestation of associating partners with Allah. Imam Muhammad Ibn Abdulwahhab belonged to the Sunni Muslims who, by virtue of their name, should follow the Sunnah, or the example, set by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with diligence.

Hence, it is wrong to classify Muslims as Wahabis and Sunnis, since the followers of Imam Abdulwahhab belong to the Sunni group of Muslims. The vigorous arguments and fighting you have spoken of are certainly deplorable. This happens, nevertheless, because people are sometimes too rigid in their views. Those who insist on following the Sunnah of the Prophet diligently should have the patience to teach their fellow Muslims, with respect and compassion, that some of their practices are unacceptable from the Muslim point of view. Had they done so, they would find better response by other Muslims.


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )

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9. WHO IS Mohammad Ibn Abd Al Wahhab

Question :

Who is Mohammad Ibn Abd Al Wahhab and his philosophy?

Answer :

The movement of Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab

The movement of Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab (1115-1206 AH/ 1730-1793 CE) in the Arabian Peninsula was destined to abide and be well-accepted. It was the starting-point of a rightly-guided government which took it upon itself to apply the Islamic sharee’ah in totality and to seek the guidance of the Quran and Sunnah in all its dealings, so Allah granted it support and victory. From its first founding two centuries ago this government continued to remain strong in the face of opposing trends at both the sectarian and political levels. The call of the Shaykh went beyond the borders of the Arabian Peninsula and bore fruit in a number of Muslim lands, at the hands of rightly-guided callers and sincere shaykhs who were guided by its light. The movement was blessed, like a good tree whose roods are firm and whose branches reach the sky. Like any other reform movement, the shaykh’s movement was not spared attacks made against the personality, ‘aqeedah (beliefs) and books of the founder of this movement, starting with the label of “Wahhabism” – which soon became known far and wide and became a label by which the movement was known, even though it was not acceptable to its founder and followers – and ending with attacks against the state itself, with criticism which indicates hatred and the wish for evil on the part of the critics.

The number of books produced by the lovers of bid’ah and myths increased, and were confronted by scholars in all Muslim lands who refuted every lie with definitive proof and clear evidence so that the doubts of the stubborn became like dust in the air (were reduced to naught).

Because most of these books – for or against the movement – were written in Arabic, there is no need to quote them here. The author of this article is interested in looking at what has been written in English or Urdu, in order to quote relevant material whilst refuting all the doubts that are mentioned therein, in the light of what has been written by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab himself or by shaykhs in the Kingdom [Saudi Arabia] and people of virtue and knowledge in other Muslim lands who wrote in his defence.

It is not possible in this short article to discuss the topic from all aspects. I hope that readers will accept my apologies if they find any unintentional mistakes in this effort, and that they will pray for me to be granted strength and steadfastness if they gain any benefits from reading it. And Allah is the Guide to the Straight Path.

Firstly: what was written in the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, which is counted as one of the oldest and most comprehensive encyclopaedias of religion and sects in the English language, under the heading of “Wahhabism”: that their differences with Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah (the Sunnis) are limited to ten things. The author of this article was the famous Orientals Margoliouth, who said:

1-    They affirm that Allah has physical attributes, such as His Face, two Hands, etc.

2-    Reason plays no role in religious matters, which must be resolved in the light of the ahaadeeth.

3-    They do not accept ijmaa’ (scholarly consensus).

4-    They reject qiyaas (analogy).

5-   They believe that the opinions of the madhhabs are not evidence, and   that those who follow them are not Muslims.

6-    They think that everyone who does not join their group is a kaafir.

7-    They think that it is not permissible to seek the intercession of the Prophet or of a wali (“saint”).

8-    Visiting tombs and shrines is haraam in their view.

9-    Swearing by anything other than Allah is haraam.

10-  Making vows to anything other than Allah and offering sacrifices to the awliyaa’ (“saints”) at their tombs is haraam.

       He was not sure about attributing the fifth point to them, because the Wahhabis are followers of Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, one of the four Imaams. At the end of his article he mentions that al-Sayyid Ahmad ibn ‘Irfaan al-Shaheed (d. 1831 CE) brought the idea of Wahhabism back [to India] when he went to Hajj in 1824 CE and brought it from Makkah al-Mukarramah. (James Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, ed. by Hastings, Edinburgh, 12:660-661)

       Margoliouth, the author of this article, is held in high esteem by the orientalists. It is very strange indeed that he lists the views of the opponents of Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab (may Allah have mercy on him) and of the Wahhabis in general, but he does not find any of them to be false apart from the fifth point!

 Let us look at these doubts one by one and comment briefly on each of them.

 1 – The belief of Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab (may Allah have mercy on him) concerning the Attributes of Allah is like the belief of the salaf in all respects. They affirmed that Allah had all the attributes with which He described Himself, whether they were attributes which referred to His Essence, such as His Face, Hand or Eye, or attributes which referred to His actions, such as His pleasure, anger, coming down [to the first heaven] or rising above [the Throne], without asking how, denying any attributes or likening them to human attributes. Their evidence with regard to this matter was the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“....There is nothing like Him, and He is the All‑Hearer, the All‑Seer”  (Ash-Shoora 42:11)

Their view concerning the attributes of Allah is like their view concerning the Essence of Allah, which does not resemble the essence of His created beings. 

2 – Their notion that the followers of Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab lend no weight to reason is not correct. They say that reason should operate in the light of the Revelation, just as the eye needs light to work; for the eye cannot do its job unless there is also light from outside, whether it is the light of the sun, moon or stars, or artificial light. Similarly, reason needs and depends upon the light of Divine Revelation; if Revelation is not there, then it becomes confused in the darkness. For this reason, the mind of the thinker is different from the mind of the philosopher, and the mind of the historian is different from the mind of the mathematician. 

3 – Attributing rejection of ijmaa’ (scholarly consensus) to them is not correct either. Imaam Ahmad considered the ijmaa’ of the Sahaabah to be true ijmaa’, because their time is known from beginning to end; they witnessed the Revelation and learned the guidance of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) directly from him.

As Imaam Muhammad Abu Zahrah mentioned, ijmaa’ is of two types:  consensus on the basic obligatory duties, which is accepted by all, and consensus on other rulings, such as their consensus that apostates should be fought, etc. In the second case, there are different reports narrated from Ahmad, hence some of the scholars narrated that he said, “Whoever claims that there is consensus is a liar.” 

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The one who claims that there is consensus is lying, and it is not right to give ijmaa’ priority over proven hadeeth. ‘Abd-Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: I heard my father say: “Whoever claims that there is consensus is a liar. The people may have differed. How does he know that there was no one who expressed an opposing view? Let him say, we do not know of any opposing view.” From this we may conclude that Imaam Ahmad did not deny the principle of ijmaa’, but he denied the certainty of ijmaa’ taking place after the time of the Sahaabah. (Taareekh al-Madhaahib al-Islamiyyah by Muhammad Abu Zahrah, p. 532)

 4 – His comment that they reject qiyaas (analogy) is also not correct. Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab (may Allah have mercy on him) held the same view as the Hanbalis with regard to qiyaas.

       Abu Zahrah said: “It was narrated that Ahmad said that we cannot do without qiyaas, and that the Sahaabah used it. Because Ahmad had stated the principle of accepting qiyaas, the Hanbalis paid a great deal of attention to it and used it a great deal whenever they came across issues concerning which there  was no report narrated of any ruling from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or his Companions.” (Taareekh al-Madhaahib al-Islamiyyah by Muhammad Abu Zahrah, p. 532)

 5 – With regard to his notion that the opinions of the madhhabs are not evidence and that those who follow them are not Muslims …

 6 – … and his view that those who do not join them (the Wahhabis) are kaafirs. This is also an obvious lie. Shaykh ‘Abd-Allah ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab said, in a letter that he wrote when he joined al-Ameer Sa’ood ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez, when he took over Makkah on Saturday 8 Muharram 1218 AH: “Our madhhab with regard to the basic principles of religion is the madhhab of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah. Our way is the way of the salaf, and with regard to minor issues our madhhab is that of Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. We do not denounce those who follow any of the four imaams in exclusion to others, because the madhhabs of the others have not been codified.”

       Then he said: “Lies are told about us to conceal the truth and confuse the people, so that they will think that we want to undermine the status of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him),  and (that we say) that he has no power of intercession and that it is not recommended to visit him (his grave), and that we do not lend any weight to the views of the scholars, and that we denounce all people as kaafirs in, and that we forbid sending blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and that we do not respect the rights of Ahl al-Bayt (the members of the Prophet’s household). Our response to all of that is: Glory be to You, this is a grave lie! Whoever attributes anything of this sort to us is telling lies and uttering fabrications against us.”

(‘Ulamaa’ al-Najd Khilaal Sittat Quroon by ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Saalih al-Bassaam, 1/51)

 7 – His comment that they believe it is not permitted to seek the intercession of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or of a wali (“saint”) shows that he did not know the difference between the kind of intercession which the Shaykh rejected, which contains elements of shirk, and that which he acknowledged, which is the kind of intercession which will only happen with permission from Allah on the Day of Resurrection, where no intercession will be accepted except intercession made for those with whom He is pleased. (Kitaab al-Tawheed by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab, Baab al-Shafaa’ah).

       If what the critic meant was tawassul (seeking to draw closer to Allah) by means of the Prophets and awliyaa’, the fact is that many people are unaware of the view of Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal on this matter, and they attribute to him and to Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab things that they did not say.

       Imaam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “There was narrated from Ahmad ibn Hanbal in Mansik al-Marwadhi a report which indicated tawassul by means of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in his du’aa’, but other scholars forbade that. If what is meant is tawassul (drawing close to Allah) by believing in him, loving him, being loyal to him and obeying him, then there is no dispute between the two sides on this point. But if what is meant is tawassul by means of the person of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), then there is a dispute here, and what they dispute about should be referred to Allah and His Messenger.” (Majmoo’ Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam, 1/264)

 8 – With regard to visiting tombs and shrines, we will discuss this matter below when we comment on the writings of Goldziher.

 9 – With regard to their saying that swearing by anything other than Allah is haraam, the Shaykh also believes that, as stated in the saheeh hadeeth narrated by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab, according to which the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever swears by anything other than Allah has committed an act of kufr or shirk.” (Narrated and classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi; classed as saheeh by al-Haakim). Ibn Mas’ood said: “Swearing falsely by Allah is more liked by me than swearing sincerely by anything other than Allah.” (Kitaab al-Tawheed, Baab  Qawl Allah ta’aal ‘Fa laa taj’alu Lillaahi andaadan  wa antum ta’lamoon’)

 10 –They attribute to the Shaykh the view that it is haraam to make vows to anyone other than Allah or to offer sacrifices to the awliyaa’ (“saints) at their tombs. Undoubtedly this view is the religion of Allah which is followed by every Muslim who believes in Allah and His Messenger. Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab (may Allah have mercy on him) included in his great book Kitaab al-Tawheed a chapter entitled Laa yudhbah Lillaahi fi makaan yudhbaah li ghayr Allah (Sacrifices should not be offered to Allah in places where sacrifices are offered to anyone other than Allah). The following chapter is entitled, Min al-Shirk al-nadhr li ghayr Allah (It is shirk to make vows to anyone other than Allah). In these two chapters he quotes the evidence from the Qur’aan and Sunnah to prove that these two actions are invalid.

This book was published in two volumes, in German, in 1889/1890 CE, then it was translated into Arabic in 1967 CE. The author wrote an entire chapter, 96 pages long, entitled “Veneration of the ‘saints’ in Islam”, in which he discussed in detail the extremes to which the Muslims had gone in attributing miracles to the ‘saints’, both living and dead. He also quoted examples, from Islamic books and the actions of the masses, of the veneration of tombs and shrines, intending to show that there was no difference between Muslims and Christians in the matter of venerating saints. He also quoted ayaat and ahaadeeth which denounced and opposed this action.

       The author said: after this, there is no need to provide further proof that there is no room in the true Islamic religion for venerating ‘saints’, because this is a matter which was innovated and introduced later on. The Qur’aan denounces the veneration of saints and glorifying them to the extent of believing in rabbis and monks as lords besides Allah.

Then he quotes the comment of Carl Heis about the idea of awliyaa’ being an attempt to fulfil the need for shirk within the religion of Tawheed, in order to fill the huge gap between the people and their God. (Ignaz Goldziher, Muslim Studies, p. 259)

       After giving dozens of examples of how the masses venerated the saints and visited their tombs and shrines in order to fulfil their needs, the author lists examples of people who denounced any manifestation of shirk in the Muslims’ actions. Then he mentions the strict stance which Ibn Taymiyah took concerning the matter of tawassul and journeying to visit any mosques apart from the three mosques [in Makkah, Madeenah and al-Quds].

       Then he said: “All of this indicates that there were precedents to the Wahhabis with regard to this issue, and that the open demonstration of their belief was in fact an echo of the beliefs of Muslims in the past. In this regard it may be useful – in order to write the cultural and religious history of Islam – to compile a list of all phenomena and events which had come down from the times of Jaahiliyyah or had come in from the outside prior to the emergence of Wahhabism, which is considered to be a Tawheedi reaction against the manifestations of idolatry, and connect them to the societies in which they emerged.”

      Then he mentioned an incident which occurred in 1711 CE, before the emergence of Wahhabism, in the Mosque of al-Mu’ayyad in Cairo, where a young man stood up one night in Ramadaan and fiercely denounced those who venerated the saints and called for the destruction of the shrines which were build over the graves of the awliyaa’ and for an end to the Mevlevi and Bakhsiyyah traditions. He also called upon the dervishes to learn instead of dancing. This young man made this call for a number of nights, then he disappeared. The author of this report, the poet Hasan al-Hijaazi (d. 1131 AH) said: “The preacher fled, or it was said that he was killed.”

(Ignaz Goldziher, Muslim Studies, p. 334-335)

The point is that this German orientalist has saved us the job of refuring the accusations made against the Wahhabis that they destroyed the domes on the shrines and stopped people from visiting graves to call upon the dead for help. Islam as brought by Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) does not allow either of these things.

Al-Da’wa magazine, issue #1754, pp. 60-61

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10. SunnI & Shia’h

Question:

Tell us "divergence" of opinion or practices between Shite and Sunni Muslims.

Answer:

The main difference nowadays between the Ahle-Sunna (Sunnites) and the Shiites is the question of Imamate, or the religious leadership and authentic authority after the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). For the Ahle-Sunna (Sunnite) group, there is no specific religious source (in Quran or Hadith) regarding the leadership of the Caliphs who came after prophet Muhammad (pbuh), i.e., Abou Bakr, Omar, Othman, and Ali, (may Allah be pleased them all) etc., while for the Shiite group, there is Hadith mentioning the legitimate inheritance of leadership to Ali. And this is where the difference started.

Another difference is that the Ahle-Sunna believe that after the prophets, there is no person who is exempt from major sinful acts and selected by God, while for the Shiite, there is the belief that the first twelve Imams after prophet Muhammad who are descendants from his family, are exempt from these sins, they behave them like prophets but do not receive any revelations. There are of course other differences that are based on matters of ideology and on matters of Jurisprudence. If you need more info, consult a book that deals with this specific topic.

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11. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN Shiites and Sunnis

Question :

What are the differences between the two sects Shias and Sunnis?

Answer :

Linguistically speaking, the term Shia means followers or supporters. In a historical context, it means the supporters of Ali ibn Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased him), the Prophet's cousin, who became the fourth ruler of the Muslim state. When he took over, there was a split between him and other groups of Muslims over the question of dealing with those who mounted the rebellion against his predecessor, Uthman ibn Affan. At this time, there was no such sect as Shia. However, after he was assassinated, his supporters wanted his son, Al Hassan, to take over. They maintained that succession should remain among his descendants. The Shias continued to oppose the Ummayid and Abbasid governments for a very long time.

This lead to the provision of a religious backing to the political opposition. Hence, the rise of the Shiite school of thought which institutionalizes the role of the imam. Thus, we have the Jaafari or the Imami school of thought which lists 12 imams whom the Shia venerate. The Zaidi school of thought, which is largely concentrated in Yemen, lists only 7 imams.

The question of the role of the imam is the basic issue of difference between Shias and Sunnis. The Term "Sunni" on the other hand, means from linguistic point of view a follower of a method. In an Islamic sense, the term Sunnah means the method shown by the Prophet. Within our context, it refers to the majority of Muslims who gave allegiance to the Muslim state, starting with Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali and going through the Umayyids, the Abbasids, etc. They do not recognize the Shiite claim that Ali had a stronger claim to succeed the Prophet as the ruler of the Muslim state. They maintain that anyone has an equal claim provided that he meets the qualifications required for the post. In our day and age, it is more important to stress points of agreement rather than points of disagreement, because what unites Muslims is much greater than what disunites them. With the enemies of Islam trying hard to sow the seeds of discord among us, we should try our best to render their attempts futile.


Our Dialogue (Source : Arab News - Jeddah )

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12. Shia: Are Shia Muslims?

Question :

Are the Shiat Muslims? I know they believe in 12 Imams who will come in the future and save them. As a Sunni Muslim, I believe that Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is the last one. Will you please explain this to me?

Answer :

Shia'ts are Muslims because they meet the definition for a Muslim when they believe and testify that:

''There no god except Allah (S.W.T.), and Muhammad (PBUH) is His final Messenger.''

They also practice Salat, Zakat, Fasting and Hajj. As to believing in 12 Imams, not all Shia'ts do, but those who you are referring to they don't believe that the 12 Imams are going to come in the future to save them. The 12 Imams lived long time ago in the very early centuries of Islam. Shia'ts give the 12 Imams extra respect and regard, Sunnis do too!, but whoever goes to extreme in regard to the Imams to place them above the Prophets, we know that it is not good. There are clear differences between Shia'ts and Sunnis, but the differences are in the secondary issues not the basic beliefs. I hope this will answer your question.

The consensus among all of the Sunni scholars is that the Shiites are a Bidaa group (a group that has introduced innovation to Islam). Beyond this general agreement, the Sunni scholars differ among themselves: i.e., whether the Shiites are considered disbelievers (Kafirs) or not. The majority of the scholars doesn't consider them disbelievers but consider them extremely Fasiq (i.e., transgressors, rebellious, etc), especially for the fact that the Shiites don't respect the companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), they speak badly of them, they damn them, and they deny the legitimacy of the first three rightly guided Caliphs (Abou Bakr, Omar, and Uthman) who were brought to power by the consensus of the companions themselves.

The other group of Sunni scholars considers the Shiites as disbelievers (Kafirs) on the basis of many grounds, such as the Shiites' claim that the Imams are infallible (don't commit sins) like the prophets. The Shiites also argue that the Imam has the same duty and authority as the prophets, although he doesn't receive any revelations.

They also argue that the Imams are better than all previous prophets (except prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Hence, Ali bin Abi Taleb (may Allah be please with him) is considered to be better than prophets Ibrahim, Moses, Jesus (peace be upon all of them), which is a position that the Sunni scholars refute. In our day and age, it is more important to stress points of agreement rather than points of disagreement and to try to bring a bridge between the Sunnis and the Shiites without compromising any Islamic values, because what unites Muslims is much greater than what disunites them. With the enemies of Islam trying hard to sow the seeds of discord among us, we should try our best to render their attempts futile.

The book 'Bidayat al-Mujtahid' of Ibn Rushud (who follows Imam Malik) is considered as one of the greatest books in Fiqh or Islamic Jurisprudence. In the edition we are using, published by Dar al-Ma'arifa, Ibn Rushud mentions in Volume (2), (p.458): 'Most of the people of Bidaa (or innovations) are perceived Kafirs (non-believers) by al-Mi'aal. There are two opposing narrations attributed to Imam Malik about the issue of perceiving people Kafirs by Mi'aal.

The explanation of considering people as Kafirs by Mi'aal is that they don't state something that is in itself a disbelief in God (Kufr), but they state something that will essentially lead them to Kufr, although they don't believe in that connection' (end of quote of Ibn Rushud).

Now that the quote has been stated, let me clarify it to you. Ibn Rushud is saying that those who practice innovations (bidaa) can be considered Kafirs by a process called Mi'aal. Mi'aal means that a specific act is not in itself a disbelief in God, but it leads to the disbelief (or Kufr). However, what Ibn Rushud is also saying is that Imam Malik, on whom this statement was based, has had two opposing opinions on Mi'aal, i.e., one statement says that Mi'aal leads to Kufr, and another one states that Mi'aal doesn't lead to Kufr.

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13. BAHA’I FAITH

Question :          

I have been Muslim all my life, but as of late have been studying the Baha’i faith. What can you tell me about this faith, if anything, in its relationship to Islam? What is Islam's position regarding it as a valid and holy religion?

Answer :             

As regards the Baha’i sect and their faith and dogmas, Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, issued the following fatwa:

“Historically speaking, the Baha’iyyah is a Shiite sect that was named after one of its leaders, Husayn Nuri. This faith emerged as a Shiite sect that was led by some Shiites who totally deviated from Islam. It first started at the hands of Ahmad Al-Ahsani or Al-Bahrini, who was notable among scholars in Karbila’, An-Najaf, and Iran. He has authored some books based on which he was accused of worshipping `Ali ibn Abi Talib. He was also accused of denying the resurrection of humans’ bodies, claiming that it would be merely a spiritual resurrection. His followers were called “Ash-Shaykhiyyah” and he died during the twenties of the ninetieth century.


Kazim Ar-Rashti became leader after Al-Ahsani, and after his death in 1843 CE, there came Mirza `Ali Muhammad Ash-Shirazi, who was defied by the Iranian Government. After many debates between the Iranian Government and the Baha’i adherents, the former executed their leader then, Al-Bab, in 1850 CE, in Tabriz, then his corpse was carried to `Akka where he was buried.

Husayn Nuri (Al-Baha’), the one who came after Al-Bab, was very active in spreading the Baha’i faith and he wrote several books, foremost among them is al-Kitab al-Aqdas (The Most Holy Book). He died in `Akka, 1892 CE, where he was buried at the foot of Mount Carmel. His son, `Abbas Afandi, succeeded him in leading the sect and he died during the 1920s. Since then, the sect was divided into sub-sects and they no longer have a leader from the progeny of the founders. Instead, their affairs are maintained by one of the centers they established themselves.

Some Baha’i principles and beliefs:

1)  Incarnation: Al-Bab claimed that Allah was personified in him. Also, he claimed himself to be god after his claim to prophethood. The same was claimed by `Abbas Afandi.

2)  Inseparability of Allah from the world as claimed by some ancient philosophers.

3)  Denial of the Day of Judgment. They interpret Paradise as the spiritual life, and Fire as the spiritual death.

4)  Denial of the Prophets’ miracles and interpreting them as immaterial things, though they admit the possibility of prophethood. This shows the contradiction in their ideas and beliefs.

5)  Claiming that they receive Divine Revelation (wahy) and writing books they claim to be better than the Glorious Qur’an.

6)  The prophets were not sealed or finalized by Prophet Muhammad; the seal, to them, means the best, as claimed by the Qadyanis.

7)  Going so far in interpreting the Glorious Quran – which they do not completely adhere to, but still use – to propagate their beliefs and “innovations”. There are many of these deviant and odd interpretations in one of their propagators’ books (Abu Al-Fadl Al-Garfadqani), entitled Ad-Durar Al-Bahiyyah.

8)  There are many branches of their belief, foremost among which are the following:

a)  The divine nature of the number “19” which is a Jewish concept. To them, the year consists of 19 months, the month consists of 19 days.

b)  Lastly, they tried to interpret the Glorious Quran in the light of that “Divine” number. To them, prayer consists of 9 rak`ahs (i.e. prayer units). Their qiblah (i.e. direction of prayer) is where the Baha’ is. To them, it is a must to denounce Hajj and moreover, they should demolish the Sacred House when they are able to.

Based on the above, we conclude that Baha’ism is a mixture of various religions, sects and philosophies. It is vague and has nothing to do with reform. Instead, it is a movement meant to defy all religions that had been manipulated by international colonialism. It is similar to masonry in that both of them are anti-religion by using deceiving slogans, such as the service to humanity, and achieving international brotherhood and justice. `Abbas declared that he wanted to unite the Muslims, Christians and Jews and bring them together on the principles and Law of Moses (Musa) in whom they all believe. (Quoted from `Abd Al-Baha’ wal-Baha’iyyah, p. 87-93)

The detailed critical refutation of such deviant beliefs cannot be given within the limited scope of a fatwa. Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee issued a Fatwa that whosoever converts from Islam to Baha’iyyah is an apostate; his/her marriage will be invalid, even if he is married to a Baha’i just like himself.

For further elaboration, read my books Dirasat Islamiyyah li ahamm al-Qadayah al-Mu`asirah (Islamic Studies of the Most Important Contemporary Issues), and Al-Babiyyya wa al-Baha’iyya: Tarikhan wa Madhhaban (Al-Babiyyya and al-Baha’iyya: History and Doctrine).”

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net

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14. QADYANI OR AHMADIS

Question :          

Would you please shed some light on the Ahmadiyyah or Qadyaniyyah movement?

Answer:                                                                                                    

Regarding the question you posed, we quote for you the fatwa issued by Islamic Fiqh Academy on Qadyaniyyah, with slight additions from other sources. It goes as follows:

Definition:

Qadyaniyyah (also known as Ahmadiyyah) is an Indian-based movement that was established under the patronage of the British colonial powers in 1900 for the aim of driving Muslims away from their religion and, most definitely, the religious duty of Jihad, which, they feared, might be used to stage rebellion against the British occupation. The founder for this movement, Ghulam Ahmed, from the village of Qadiyan in Punjab, claimed to be the messenger of Allah. The mouthpiece of the movement was Religions, a magazine that was issued in English at that time.

Dogmas and Ideology:

Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the movement, began his activities as an Islamic caller to attract as many supporters as he could. Later, he claimed himself a reformer and a divinely-inspired man. Afterwards, he said that he was the awaited Mahdi. Later on, he claimed prophethood and even said that his prophethood was much better than that of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.

Because of this claim, he was considered by the 'Ulama of Islam unanimously as a non-Believer. Some of his followers still believe that he was the messenger although they say that he was not the full messenger, but a subsidiary messenger (tabaa'). They misinterpret the ayah from surat al Ahzab where Allah says, "Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the Last of the Prophets (SAAWS) ….."  (Al-Ahzab 33:40)

They claim that the word "khatam an-nabiyyin" doesn't mean the last Prophet, but the best Prophet. According to them, Prophet Muhammad was the best Prophet, but it is possible to have lesser or minor Prophets. However, this is obviously a wrong interpretation because there are many other ayats and ahadith that indicate that Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) was sent as a Prophet of Allah for all people "kaffatan lin-nas" and there are many authentic ahadith of which the Prophet (SAAWS) said that there would be no Prophet after him (SAAWS).

The followers of this group believe that Allah, Glorified be He, performs some acts befitting the mortals, like fasting, praying, sleeping, and even committing mistakes. But Allah Almighty is Far Exalted above what they say!

A Qadyani believes that his lord is English as he speaks to him in English. He also believes that Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, is not the seal of Prophets and that Allah Almighty sends new prophets according to time and need, and that Ghulam Ahmad is the greatest prophet. The followers of this sect also believe that Angel Gabriel used to come to Ghulam Ahmad and convey revelations to him. In addition, they say that the only accepted book is the book presented by Ghulam Ahmad, his words are the only accepted words and that all prophets stand under his control. Furthermore, they believe that their book, known as Al-Mubeen is a heavenly-revealed one.

They continue spreading their false ideas by saying that they have a new religion totally different from all other religions and that the companions of Ghulam Ahmad are like the Prophet’s Companions. Moreover, they say that Qadyan, their leader’s place of birth, is like, or even better than, Makkah and Madinah, so they take it as their prayer direction and a center of pilgrimage. They call for ignoring Jihad and showing complete obedience to the British empire, because it represents the ruler to whom obedience is due. To them, every Muslim is a Kafir (disbeliever) until he converts to their belief, and that anyone who marries a non-Qadyani is considered an unbeliever. They also allow wine, opium, intoxicants and drugs.

In 1914 the followers of Ghulam Ahmad were divided into two groups. The overwhelming majority of his followers belong to the first group known as Qadyanis and were headed by Bashiruddin Mahmud, the second successor of Ghulam Ahmad. The second group known as Lahori, and founded by Muhammad ‘Ali Lahori, is a minority among the followers of Ghulam Ahmad. The second group have a less striking tone of their principles by claiming that they do not believe in Ghulam Ahmad as a prophet in the real sense of the term but as Mujaddid (a renovator). However, they still believe him to be true in all other claims, which led Muslims to regard them also as outside the pale of Islam.

Their thought and beliefs

Ghulam Ahmad began his activities as an Islamic daa’iyah (caller to Islam) so that he could gather followers around him, then he claimed to be a mujaddid inspired by Allaah. Then he took a further step and claimed to be the Awaited Mahdi and the Promised Messiah. Then he claimed to be a Prophet and that his prophethood was higher than that of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

The Qadianis believe that Allah fasts, prays, sleeps, wakes up, writes, makes mistakes and has intercourse – exalted be Allah far above all that they say.

The Qadiani believes that his god is English because he speaks to him in English.

The Qadianis believe that Prophethood did not end with Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), but that it is ongoing, and that Allah sends a messenger when there is a need, and that Ghulam Ahmad is the best of all the Prophets.

They believe that Jibreel used to come down to Ghulam Ahmad and that he used to bring revelation to him, and that his inspirations are like the Qur’aan.

They say that there is no Quran other than what the “Promised Messiah” (Ghulam Ahmad) brought, and no hadeeth except what is in accordance with his teachings, and no Prophet except under the leadership of Ghulam Ahmad.

They believe that their book was revealed. Its name is al-Kitaab al-Mubeen and it is different from the Holy Quran.

They believe that they are followers of a new and independent religion and an independent Sharee’ah, and that the friends of Ghulam are like the Sahaabah.

They believe that Qadian is like Madeenah and Makkah, if not better than them, and that its land is sacred. It is their Qiblah and the place they make hajj to.

They called for the abolition of jihaad and blind obedience to the British government because, as they claimed, the British were “those in authority” as stated in the Quran.

In their view every Muslim is a Kaafir unless he becomes a Qadiani, and everyone who married a non-Qadiani is also a kaafir.

They allow alcohol, opium, drugs and intoxicants.

Reasons for declaring Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as Kafir

Among the factors that make Mirza Ghulam Ahmad an obvious Kaafir are the following:

·        His claim to be a Prophet.

·        His abolition of the duty of jihaad, to serve the interests of the colonialists.

·        His saying that people should no longer go on Hajj to Makkah, and his substitution of Qadian as the place of pilgrimage.

·        His anthropomorphism or likening Allah to human beings.

·        His belief in the transmigration of souls and incarnation.

·        His attributing a son to Allah and his claim to be the son of God.

·        His denying that Prophethood ended with Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his regarding the door of Prophethood to be open to “any Tom, Dick or Harry”.

The Qadianis have strong ties with Israel. Israel has opened centres and schools for them, and helped them to publish a magazine which is their mouthpiece, to print books and publications for distribution worldwide.

The fact that they are influenced by Judaism, Christianity and al-Baatiniyyah is clear from their beliefs and practices, even though they claim to be Muslims.

Their spread and positions of influence

Most of the Qadianis nowadays live in India and Pakistan, with a few in Israel and the Arab world. They are trying, with the help of the colonialists, to obtain sensitive positions in all the places where they live.

The Qadianis are very active in Africa and in some western countries. In Africa they have more than 5,000 teachers and dai’yahs working full-time to call people to Qadianiyyah. Their wide-spread activity proves that they have the support of the colonialists.

The British government is also supporting this movement and making it easy for their followers to get positions in world governments, corporate administration and consulates. Some of them are also high-ranking officers in the secret services.

In calling people to their beliefs, the Qadianis use all kinds of methods, especially educational means, because they are highly-educated and there are many scientists, engineers and doctors in their ranks. In Britain there is a satellite TV channel called Islamic TV which is run by the Qadianis.

Qadianiyah in the Eyes of Muslims:

Qadianiyyah is a misguided group, which is not part of Islam at all. Its beliefs are completely contradictory to Islam, so Muslims should beware of their activities, since the ‘Ulama’ (scholars) of Islam have stated that they are Kaafirs.

On the month of Rabi` Al-Awwal 1394 A.H. (April 1974 A.C.) a large conference was held in the Muslim World League headquarters in Makkah and was attended by many representatives of international Islamic organizations. The communiqué issued by this conference branded this group as Kafirs (unbelievers). It also recommended that all Muslims should stand to face this group and never deal with its members and not to bury them in Muslim cemeteries.

The following statement was published by the Islamic Fiqh Council (Majma’ al-Fiqh al-Islami):

After discussing the question put to the Islamic Fiqh Council in Cape Town, South Africa, concerning the ruling on the Qadianis and their off-shoot which is known as Lahoriyyah, and whether they should be counted as Muslims or not, and whether a non-Muslim is qualified to examine an issue of this nature:

In the light of research and documents presented to the members of the council concerning Mirza Ghulam Ahmad al-Qadiani, who emerged in India in the last century and to whom is attributed the Qadiani and Lahori movements, and after pondering the information presented on these two groups, and after confirming that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be a prophet who received revelation, a claim which is documented in his own writings and speeches, some of which he claimed to have received as revelation, a claim which he propagated all his life and asked people to believe in, just as it is also well-known that he denied many other things which are proven to be essential elements of the religion of Islam

Council issued the following statement:

Firstly: the claims of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be a prophet or a messenger and to receive revelation are clearly a rejection of proven and essential elements of Islam, which unequivocally states that Prophethood ended with Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and that no revelation will come to anyone after him. This claim made by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad makes him and anyone who agrees with him an apostate who is beyond the pale of Islam. As for the Lahoriyyah, they are like the Qadianiyyah: the same ruling of apostasy applies to them despite the fact that they described Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a shadow and manifestation of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

Secondly: it is not appropriate for a non-Muslim court or judge to give a ruling on who is a Muslim and who is an apostate, especially when this goes against the consensus of the scholars and organizations of the Muslim Ummah. Rulings of this nature are not acceptable unless they are issued by a Muslim scholar who knows all the requirements for being considered a Muslim, who knows when a person may be deemed to have overstepped the mark and become an apostate, who understands the realities of Islam and kufr, and who has comprehensive knowledge of what is stated in the Quran, Sunnah and scholarly consensus. The ruling of a court of that nature is invalid. And Allah knows best.

Conclusion:

Based on the above-mentioned facts, we can say that Qadyaniyyah is a deviant group that has nothing to do with Islam. Muslims are to be aware of them especially after they have been branded as Kafirs by all scholars.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net   And

from: http://islamqa.com/en/

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15. WHO ARE AHL-BAIT?

Question :

Who are Ahl al-Bayt (the members of the Prophet’s family)? Hadith ethakalayn stated that fatima, Ali, Hassan & Hussein are Ahl Bayt arrasoul?

Answer :  Praise be to Allah.

There are several views among the scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) concerning the definition of Ahl al-Bayt. Some said that the members of the Prophet’s family are his wives, his children, Banu Haashim, Banu ‘Abd al-Muttalib and their freed slaves. Some said that his wives were not part of the Ahl al-Bayt. Some said that the Ahl al-Bayt are Quraysh; some said that the family of Muhammad are the pious among his ummah; and some said that they are all of the ummah of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

With regard to the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the most correct view is that they are included among the members of the family of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), because Allah says, after commanding the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to observe hijaab (interpretation of the meaning):

“…. Allah wishes only to remove Ar-Rijs (evil deeds and sins) from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet), and to purify you with a thorough purification”  (Al-Ahzaab 33:33)

And the angels said to Saarah the wife of Ibraaheem (peace be upon him) (interpretation of the meaning):

“…. The Mercy of Allah and His Blessings be on you, O the family [of Ibraaheem (Abraham)] …”  (Hood 11:73)

 And because Allah excluded the wife of Loot from the family of Loot (peace be upon him) with regard to survival, when He said (interpretation of the meaning):

“(All) except the family of Loot. Them all we are surely, going to save (from destruction) (59) Except his wife…”  (Al-Hijr  15:59-60)

This indicates that the wife is part of the family.

With regard to the family of al-Muttalib, it was stated in a report from Imaam  Ahmad that they are among them [among the Ahl al-Bayt]. This is also the view of Imaam al-Shaafa'i. Imaam Abu Haneefah and Imaam Maalik were of the view that the family of Muttalib are not included in the family of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); there is also a report to this effect from Ahmad. The correct view is that Banu ‘Abd al-Muttalib are among the Ahl al-Bayt. The evidence for that is the report narrated from Jubayr ibn Mut’im (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: “ ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan and I went to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, you have given to Banu’l-Muttalib and not to us, but we and they are the same in status with regard to you.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Banu’l-Muttalib and Banu Haashim are the same thing.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 2907; al-Nasaa’i, 4067; and others).

Included among the Ahl al-Bayt are Banu Haashim ibn ‘Abd Manaaf, who are the family of ‘Ali, the family of ‘Abbaas, the family of Ja’far, the family of ‘Aqeel and the family of al-Haarith ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib. This was stated in the report narrated by Imaam Ahmad from Zayd ibn Arqam (may Allah be pleased with him), in which he said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stood up and addressed us one day at a well called Khum, between Makkah and Madeenah. He praised Allah and exhorted and reminded us. Then he said: ‘O people, I am a human being; soon the messenger of my Lord [i.e., the Angel of death] will come to me and I will answer his call. I am leaving among you two important things: the first of which is the Book of Allah, in which there is guidance and light, so adhere to it and follow it’ – and he urged us to adhere to the Book of Allah, then he said: ‘And the people of my household (ahl bayti). I remind you of Allah with regard to the people of my household, I remind you of Allah with regard to the people of my household, I remind you of Allah with regard to the people of my household.’”

Husayn said to him (Zayd), “Who are the people of his household, O Zayd? Are not his wives among the people of his household?” Zayd said: “His wives are among the people of his household, but the people of his household are those who are forbidden to receive sadaqah (charity) after his death.” He (Husayn) said: “Who are they?” He said: “They are the family of ‘Ali, the family of ‘Aqeel, the family of Ja’far and the family of ‘Abbaas.” Husayn said: “Are all of these forbidden to receive sadaqah?” Zayd said, “Yes.”  (Narrated by Ahmad, no. 18464)

  With regard to the freed slaves, it was narrated that Mihraan the freed slave of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said; “We are the family of Muhammad: the sadaqah is not permissible for us, and the freed slave of a people is one of them.” (Narrated by Ahmad, no. 15152).

So the family of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) are: his wives, his children, and Banu Haashim, Banu ‘Abd al-Muttalib and their freed slaves. And Allah knows best.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Excerpted, with some modifications, from: http://islamqa.com/en/

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16.  WHO ARE THE SAVED GROUP?

Question :

Please clarify how to differentiate between the groups that claim they are following the right path. We know that Ahlul Sunnah wal jama’ah is the group that follows the straight path. But there are many Muslims do not know the ruling on the other groups, which started to be widely spread these days as the prophet (PBUH) said. As he said what means that there will be many groups 73 sects, Allah knows best how many, and that only one is following the straight path.

How can we differentiate between all these groups? How to refute them? Shall we avoid them and their behaviours?

I wish you provide evidences from Quran and Hadeeth for the great importance of the matter, as the majority do not know, and we fear for the new converts to get lost amongst all these groups. 
I found a related question on the site but I need more clarification.

Answer:  Praise be to Allah.

Firstly:

Division and differences among this ummah is something inevitable, to which history bears witness, as do the texts of the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). 

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever among you lives after I am gone will see a great deal of dissent.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (4067); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.  

Dissent has occurred in the political field, as well as in the fields of thought and ‘aqeedah, which is represented in the appearance of different sects at the end of the era of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, such as the Murji’is, Shi’ah and Khawaarij.

But by His mercy, Allah decreed that this division should happen when some groups drifted away from the way of the main body of the Muslims and developed their own different approach, and they were distinguished by their own names and character. So the ‘aqeedah of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, and the ‘aqeedah of the majority of Muslims, was not confused even for a day with that of the other, misguided sects, so that those sects would not dare to call themselves Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, rather they are called after the bid’ah (innovation) that they introduced, or the person who founded the sect. You can see that when you examine the names of all the sects.

The famous hadeeth about the ummah splitting into seventy-three sects bears witness to that. 

It was narrated from Mu’aawiyah ibn Abi Sufyaan (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stood among us and said: “Those who came before you of the people of the Book split into seventy-two sects, and this ummah will split into seventy-three: seventy-two in Hell and one in Paradise, and that is the jamaa’ah (main body of Muslims).”

Narrated by Abu Dawood (4597) and others; classed as saheeh by al-Haakim (1/128), who said: it is an important hadeeth that represents a basic principle. It was classed as hasan by Ibn Hajar in Takhreej al-Kashshaaf (63). It was classed as saheeh by Ibn Taymiyah in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (3/345), al-Shaatibi in al-I’tisaam (1/430), and al-‘Iraaqi in Takhreej al-Ihya’ (9/133). It is mentioned frequently and often quoted as evidence by the scholars in the books of Sunnah, and it was narrated from a number of the Sahaabah via many isnaads, most of the soundest of which specify the number of sects as being seventy-three. 

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) described the saved group as the jamaa’ah, i.e., the consensus of the Muslim scholars. In other reports he also described them as “the vast multitude”, as in the hadeeth of Abu Umaamah and others which is recorded by Ibn Abi ‘Aasim in al-Sunnah (1/34) and al-Tabaraani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer (8/321), with an isnaad that is hasan li ghayrihi (hasan because of corroborating evidence).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also described them in the following terms: “My ummah will split into seventy-three sects, all of whom will be in Hell except one group.” They said: Who are they, O Messenger of Allah? He said: “(Those who follow) that which I and my companions follow.” This is mentioned in the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr which was recorded and classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi (2641). It was also classed as hasan by al-‘Iraaqi in Ahkaam al-Qur’aan (3/432), al-‘Iraaqi in Takhreej al-Ihya’ (3/284) and al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi

This is the clearest sign that the Muslim can use to determine what is the saved group, so he should follow the way of the majority of scholars, those whom all the people testify are trustworthy and religiously-committed, and he should follow the way of the earlier scholars among the Sahaabah, Taabi’een and the four Imams and other scholars, and he should beware of every sect that differs from the main body of Muslims (jamaa’ah) by following innovation (bid’ah). 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:  

The sign of the people of bid’ah is that they do not follow the salaf. End quote from Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (4/155).  

He also said (3/346): The sign of these groups – i.e., the seventy-two groups that go against Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah – is that they forsake the Qur’aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus. The one who follows the Qur’aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus is one of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah. End quote. 

It is not permissible for anyone to imagine after this that the Shi’ah, for example, are the saved group, or that the deviant Sufis, Khawaarij or Habashis are the saved group. Rather these are innovated groups which only follow invented ideas, that are denounced by the scholars and the majority of Muslims, who feel repulsion in their hearts towards them. Their ideas were never believed in for a day by Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthmaan or ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with them), or by Imam Abu Haneefah, Maalik, al-Shaafa’i or Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Would any wise person think that a belief that these imams were unaware of could be correct?

Think about it. There is the greatest and most obvious difference between Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah (the saved group) and other, misguided groups. 

Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) says: 

Hence the saved group is described as Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, and they are the greater majority and the vast multitude. As for the other groups, they are followers of weird ideas, division, innovation and whims and desires, and none of these groups reached anywhere close to the size of the saved group, let alone being equal to them, rather some of these groups are very small in number. The sign of these groups is that they go against the Qur'aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus. The one who follows the Qur’aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus is one of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah.

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (3/346).

Al-Shaatibi has mentioned many names of the doomed groups in al-I’tisaam (1/453-460). 

Secondly:

The scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah have stated in their books that the other sects are among the misguided and doomed innovated groups, and that they deserve to enter Hell because of the reprehensible ideas and grave innovations that they have introduced into the religion of Allah. But in most cases they are not regarded as kaafirs, rather they are regarded as Muslim sects. 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

Similarly, with the other seventy-two groups, those that are hypocrites are inwardly kaafirs, and those that are not hypocrites but rather believe inwardly in Allah and His Messenger are not inwardly kaafirs, even though they are mistaken in their interpretations, regardless of what that mistake may be. Some of them may have some of the branches of hypocrisy, or they may not have the kind of hypocrisy that dooms a man to the lowest depths of Hell. 

The one who says that each of the seventy-two sects is guilty of kufr that puts one beyond the pale of Islam is going against the Qur’aan and Sunnah and the consensus of the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them all), and the consensus of the four imams and others. None of them regarded any of the seventy-two sects as kaafirs, rather they regard one another as kaafirs. 

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (7/218). 

This does not mean that every sect that calls itself Muslim is actually Muslim, rather they may be kaafirs and apostates, such as the extreme Raafidis, the extreme Sufis and the baatini sects such as the Druze, Nusayris and others. These are all beyond the pale of Islam and are not regarded as being among the sects mentioned in the hadeeth.

Thirdly:

The cause of difference and division among these groups mentioned in the hadeeth has to do with fundamental matters of religion and basic issues of ‘aqeedah, not differences of opinion regarding fiqh. 

Al-Shaatibi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

These are regarded as sects because they differ from the saved group with regard to some fundamental issues of religion and basic rules of sharee’ah, not with regard to minor issues, because differences with regard to minor issues does not lead to division and factionalism, rather factionalism occurs when there are differences concerning fundamental issues of Islam. 

Al-I’tisaam (1/439). 

If some Muslim groups stand out from others because of a specific method of da’wa and working for Islam, but they do not go against Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah in their ‘aqeedah, then they are not to be regarded as doomed groups, rather they are among the saved group in sha Allah, if they follow the way of the Sahaabah and Taabi’een in ‘aqeedah and action. 

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17. THE SAVED GROUP (AL-FIRQAH AN-NAJIYAH)

Question :          

Would you comment on and explain the issue of the Saved Group (Al-Firqah an-Najiyah,) mentioned in the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), as some Muslims have claimed that they are this group and that all other Muslims are destined to ultimate failure.

Answer :             

In response to the question in point, the European Council for Fatwa and Research issued the following fatwa:

"The hadith in question is the one that was narrated by Mu`awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan, who reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "The People of the Book divided in their religion into seventy-two groups and this Ummah will divide into seventy-three groups, all of which are destined for hell-fire but one, which is the Group (al-Jama`ah)." (Narrated by Ahmad and Abu Dawud)

Other companions also narrated hadiths carrying the same meaning but varying in the use of certain terms. Some did not mention the phrase "all of which are destined for hell-fire but one". The scholars of hadith differed on the authenticity of this hadith and our response in regards to its meaning for those who considered it to be an authentic hadith is as follows:

The hadith stated the number of groups which this nation will divide into, but did not specify or name any one of those groups. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also clearly stated that all those groups are from his Ummah, as though he (peace and blessings be upon him) aimed to warn his Ummah from dividing among themselves and to hold on to the Jama`ah, thus his warning, "all of which are in hell-fire". It is important to understand that this warning, and other similar warnings in other hadiths, comes as a result of a Muslim committing a sin but by no means implies that the Muslim will remain in hell-fire for eternity as do the infidels. Rather, they (Muslims) enter hell-fire as sinful believers and are subject to the appeal of a prophet, angel or the believers. They may also have good deeds or have suffered great trials in the worldly life, which would result in the punishment of hell-fire being withheld. Above all, Allah may choose to forgive them and bestow upon them His mercies and blessings, particularly if those individuals had sincerely tried to find the true path but lost their way in that effort.

It is important to note in this context that it is totally wrong to attach the warning of hell-fire to a particular group of Muslims, as the hadith did not mention any specific group. It is also unlawful to specify a particular group to be the one that will be saved on the Day of Judgment.

The implication of the hadith is for Muslims to beware of all routes and channels that may lead to divisions, differences and conflicts arising among them. Muslims are to act and behave as brothers of one another, as decreed by Allah, and must aim to perfect their religion according to the Qur'an and Sunnah, and must also give true advice to all Muslims.

It is haram (unlawful) for anyone to use this hadith as a vehicle to create conflicts and hatred among Muslims, as the Qur'an and the Sunnah are both clear as to the obligation of allegiance to and love for all Muslims. To leave this undeniable matter and cling on to a misunderstanding of the previously mentioned hadith would be a tremendously dangerous and unlawful thing to do. Allah Almighty states in the Holy Qur'an: "Who is better in speech than one who calls to God, works righteousness and says: I am one of those who submit in Islam?" (Fussilat 14: 33)

Moreover, the prominent Muslim scholar, Dr. Muhammad Abu Laylah, professor of the Islamic Studies & Comparative Religions at Al-Azhar University adds:

"The hadith you have referred to is reported by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad. But most of the scholars, however, doubt the authenticity of the end of this hadith, i.e., his saying "all of which are destined for hell-fire but one".

Nevertheless, you should keep in mind that adherence to the Qur'an and the Purified Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is the assured means for salvation in the Hereafter. So, it is your duty to firmly stick to the Glorious Quran and the teachings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)."

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net

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18. Salafi   Movement

Question:

Some people are calling themselves salafees and are propagating that one who does not follow this movement is astray. Please comment on this movement. Am I in dalaala all these years? Were those righteous people before us in dalaala?

Answer:

The Salafi movement is a group that calls the Muslims to go back and learn from the Salaf, or the companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and their followers who lived during the early times of Islam and understood the religion in its pure form. The Salafi movement rejects the traditional forms of Islamic mysticism (Sufism) and the veneration of human beings. It rejects the customs of magic, faith in holy men, and saints. It also encourages the purification of the heart from sins, wickedness, and vices.

However, you should always be careful from any group that calls other groups to be deviant unless there is substantive proof for their claims. It is wrong to say such claims about all of the non-Salafis because people from different schools of thoughts (Maliki, Shafii, Hanafi, Hanbali, etc) do care about Islam and follow it CORRECTLY even if they do have differences with the Salafi movement. Therefore, if you were a follower of one of the credible schools of thought (such as one of the four mentioned above), then, you were not misguided.

Please note that a Muslim does not have to follow a specific mazhab but he/she is allowed to follow which one finds close to what sahabas practicing. However, if a person follows several mazhabs and is a knowledgeable person who is aware of the intricacies of halal and haram, then it is permissible for him to choose the opinion that suits him best under the condition that he is not selecting all of the opinions based on desire, ease, and leniency. However, if he is not knowledgeable enough nor aware of the opinions of the scholars, then he is better off to ask a qualified person who will give him the correct and appropriate answer.

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19. SALAFIS & OTHER SCHOOL OF THOUGHTS

Question:

I know you have already explained the fact that the way to find the real jammah is one which follows hadith and sunna, as these people cannot go astray.

I was with eh-le hadith (Saudi salafis) until lately I have received so much information from hanafi's and also shaikh Faisal too. They criticize the salafs so much and of course with hadith, which I can’t really reject. So I put these arguments forward to the salaf and they quoted hadith too and they were equally persuasive, so I can’t really reject them too.

I can’t leave the salafs because they are the only sound jammah in my little (unnoticed town) where no other organizations are present, apart from the grave, peer worshippers.

And if I do follow them, it would constitute me blind following the salafs because as the Hanafi say we must follow only one imam?  
To sum up all what is the best solution? Why majority of these groups or sects, always quote hadith and then say it has saheeh sanad, but they contradict other hadith? So how can they be authentic? So what is to be done?

Answer: Praise be to Allah.  

We have discussed in many of our answers the standard by which the Muslim can judge the groups, sects and parties that go against Islam. We will explain it in more detail here: 

With regard to differences which you see between the Muslim nowadays, Allah has not left the people confused and unable to distinguish the true from the false, rather Allah has created signs by which the truth and those who are sincere may be known, and He has created clear evidence and proof for the correct path, from which no one deviates but he is doomed. 

When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) spoke of the ummah splitting into seventy-three groups, he said that they would all be in Hell apart from one, the one which follows the same path as him and his companions.

This is the standard, so we have no choice but follow in the footsteps of the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them all). It is not sufficient for a person to quote a hadeeth and say that it is saheeh, then use that as evidence to support his madhhab or his point of view according to his own understanding of that hadeeth; rather what he should do is to research whether the Sahaabah understood this hadeeth in this manner or not. 

This is the criterion which divides those who really follow the truth from others. This means referring the interpretation of Islam to our righteous forebears, the Sahaabah and those who followed them in truth, for they are the best and most knowledgeable of this ummah, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said. 

Anyone who examines the groups that have deviated from the Straight Path will see that they have confused the people by quoting a verse or a hadeeth out of context, so that people think that they are following the Quran and Sunnah, but they cannot prove that this is the way in which the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them) understood these texts. 

Those who distort the attributes of Allah, those who worship graves and circumambulate them, those who dance in dhikr, those who deny the divine will and decree (al-qadar), those who say that the Quran was created, and other deviant beliefs and ways, none of them claim that his belief is the same as the belief of the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH).

Even if they claim that they have a verse or hadeeth to support them, they cannot prove that their interpretation is the same as that of those who witnessed the revelations and heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), namely the Sahaabah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon all). 

This is an important and precise standard by means of which a person can know whether what he hears and reads of beliefs and ways whose proponents say is true guidance is in fact true or false.  

If you follow what the Salafi scholars tell you of Tawheed, fiqh and hadeeth, this is following true Islam, which Allah wants for all people. The Shaytaan may come and tell you and whisper to you that this is taqleed (blind imitation) and is not permissible; undoubtedly that is the first step towards deviation from the right path. Allah has enjoined upon the ordinary Muslim to ask the scholars and to follow their opinions and fatwas. You know that the closest of them to the right path and the truth are those who follow the path of the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH) in their understanding of the Quran and Sunnah; they are the followers of the righteous Salaf. 

The Muslim who has some measure of Islamic knowledge can find out for himself whether what he hears or reads is sound or not, by studying and comparing it with that which has been proven from the righteous salaf. 

There is no reason why the one who goes against the way of the Salaf should not be right in some cases, but no way or madhhab can be sound apart from the way of the salaf or first generations of this ummah, the Sahaabah and Taabi’een and those who follow them in truth. 

Everything quoted by the Salafi scholars is the view of the Sahaabah and of Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib, al-Zuhri, Mujaahid, ‘Ata’, Maalik, Hammaad ibn Zayd, Hammaad ibn Salamah, al-Shaafa’i, Ahmad, al-Bukhaari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, and other prominent scholars. 

You will find that the innovators quote that which they think supports their view, and ignore that which clearly proves that they are wrong. You will find them mentioning things in their books that goes against the Sunnah, and rejecting the Sunnah because it goes against their books, distorting that which is stated clearly in the Quran, describing as da’eef that which is clearly stated in the Sunnah because it goes against their opinions and their whims and desires, and so on. For this reason they are called ahl al-ahwa’ (people of whims and desires). 

With regard to Ahl al-Sunnah, they are more objective, they look at the Sunnah without any bias or preconceptions, and they give the Sunnah – if it is saheeh – precedence over everything else. They do not have any whims and desires that they follow to the extent that they reject a hadeeth or distort a verse for their sake. 

In fact there is no contradiction between the texts of the revelation, rather there may appear to be a contradiction in some cases. Every field of knowledge has specialized scholars, so in the field of hadeeth there are scholars who can explain what is saheeh (sound) and what is not, and can explain what is meant and dispel confusion, and reconcile between reports which seem to contradict one another. 

To sum up:

The best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and the people with the most knowledge of this guidance are the scholars of hadeeth, namely the righteous salaf. Those who follow them will be saved and those who go against them will be doomed. 

So you must adhere to this path and ask Allah for guidance and steadfastness. 

With regard to the questioner saying that Ahl al-Hadeeth are the “Saudi salafis”, this restriction is not correct. 

Ahl al-hadeeth are not restricted to a particular country or to certain people, rather Ahl al-hadeeth includes everyone who follows the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and understands it correctly in accordance with the understanding of the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them) and those who follow them in truth. 

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20. WHAT IS THE VIEW OF ISLAM ON SUFISM?

Question :

What is the view of Islam on Sufism?

Answer :  Praise be to Allah.

Tasawuf (sufism) is a subject of the greatest dispute and debate among Muslims. Many Muslim scholars went to the extreme in denouncing it to the extent that they considered it as bid’ah (unauthentic acts of worship, which were not in Qur’an or sunna(example of the Prophet (pbuh)). To these scholars, tasawuf has no root in the Nobel Qur’an or in the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh). On the other hand, a large number of renowned scholars defended tasawuf and considered it as one of the important disciplines of Islamic teachings. One can find countless opinions, which consider sufis as kafirs (non-believers) or mubtade’een (those who apply bid’ah) and not part of the Muslim ummah (nation). On the other end, one can also find countless opinions stating that tasawuf is the right path for self- purification (tazkiya).

I personally adhere to the opinion of Ibn Taymiyah on this matter, which states: “A great dispute occurred regarding sufism. A group of Muslims extremely denounced sufis and sufism and said sufis are mubtade’een and are out of the sunna (the traditions) of the Prophet (pbuh). This opinion was adopted by a large number of imams (Islamic scholars) and transmitted later by people of fiqh (law) and people of ‘ilmu al-kalam (theology). Another group went too far in defending sufis and sufism. They claimed that sufis are the best among people and the most complete after prophets and messengers.

Both extreme opinions should not be acceptable. The right opinion should be that sufis are Muslims whom are striving hard to obey Allah (swt) like other Muslims who strive to obey Allah (swt) as well. Among the sufis there are those who are foremost in their good deeds, through their striving, and are near Allah and those who follow a middle course of striving. Also, among the two kinds of sufis there are those who do right and those who do wrong, and among them those who commit sin and repent, and those who commit sin and do not repent.

And it happened that some people claimed affiliation with sufism who were innovators and deviant Muslims. These people, al-Hallaj for instance, are rejected and denounced by the renowned scholars of sufism such as Al-Junaid Ibn Muhammad, the master of the sufis, and others.” (Refer to Majmu’atu al-Fatawa of Ibn Taymiyah, Vol. 11)

This was the opinion of Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah about sufism, which I believe is the most reasonable and logical opinion about this subject matter. Moreover, all scholars, sufis and non-sufis, agreed that any religious practice that contradicts or has no root in the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) is not acceptable, according to Islam. Also, they agreed that the only sufism, which is acceptable is the one that is guided and fits within the right ‘aqidah (creed) of Islam. Sufism in this sense means a hard striving in purifying the soul and a hard striving to win the blessing of Allah (swt).

Among many scholars, including sufi scholars, the only acceptable sufism is the one that is continuously guided by the right ‘aqidah (creed), aims to purify one’s soul (tazkiyah), and adheres to the teachings of the shari’a (Islamic law). This type of sufism is not only acceptable, but encouraged by many well known scholars.

It was reported that Imam Malik once said: ‘He who practice tasawuf (sufism) without learning shari’a corrupts his deen (faith), while he who learns shari’a without practicing tasawuf corrupts himself. Only he who combines the two proves true.

Allah knows best.

Excerpted, with some modifications, from: www.readingislam.com/

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21. Sufism

Question:

I have recently been introduced to Sufism. From my little reading from it I feel it can help me tremendously to get closer to Allah. The problem is, there is just too many literature on Sufism written by great Sufists like Imam al-Ghazali, Syaikh Abdul Kadir al-Jailani, etc, etc. Where do I start? What are the 'must-reads'? Please advise on a 'structure' of approaching Sufism so that this 'encounter' can be 'optimized' and I gain God's pleasure at the end of it.

The question is why some of the honorable scholars of Islam original went into Sufism. What is the difference between today's Sufi and the past, or if there is no difference?

Answer:

If you want to gain God's pleasure and want to get close to him, then you should follow His instructions and not the man-made ways of getting close to Allah. No Sufi leader or any Muslim scholars or Imam in the world is more pious than prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and therefore, follow the authentic practices of prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and not the innovations that have been introduced to the religion. Therefore, we advice you NOT to get involved with any Sufi group and instead, to stay with mainstream Islam. There are many ways you can get close to Allah by following the great and respected Imams such as Imams Abu Hanifa, Shafii, Malik and Ahmad who have documented the correct way of being close to Allah. While Islam reminds people not to get attached to the materialistic world, "Islamic Mysticism”, which Sufi groups preach, is not allowed.

The word “Sufi” or “Tawaswuf” is not mentioned in the Quran or the Sunnah. It came into use towards the second century of the Hijra calendar. There were people who used to observe Zuhd (abstinence). They used to do more Nawafil and Zakat. Some of these people were great preachers, who used to preach in the Masjid and tell the people the stories of the Life of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him and his companions, may Allah be pleased with them all. These preachers attracted many people, especially those who were not happy with the worldly and luxurious life style of some Abbsid Caliphs and those who were associated with them. This distinct movement of spirituality developed in Islam. The people who followed this way of life, were known as “Sufis” and their way of life was know as “Tawaswuf”.

Among the Sufi, there were many pious and righteous people, with the availability of many philosophical and theological text. With many neo-Platonists and Gnostic text as well as the Hindu and Buddhist Philosophy, which came and a new Sufism emerged. This Sufis was very different from earlier spiritual Sufism. The Philosophical Sufism indulged into what is known as pantheism or Whadil-wujud, this was alien to Islam. Another thing that happened in Sufism was the emergence of Tariqa, in the 5th or 6th century of the Hijrah, Sufi orders began. Each order had a Sheikh or a Pier and they had their particular Tariqahs and some times zabias or khanqah, which is something similar to a Christian monasticism.  

Sufi’s started living like monks; this was another issue foreign to Islam. Many Scholars, such as Imam Ghazzali, tries reform Sufism and tried to take it back to original pious state. And this is the situation, which we have today. There are some who follow the spiritual path, through piety, Nawafil and zuhd and there are others who get involved in philosophy pantheism or cult practices. Some have made special cults of saints, they have special robes, turbans, various colors, have special zikr halaqas and have made an Islam that dose not have much to do with the Quran and the sunnah.

There are many scholars and Musliheeb in the 19th and 20th century who criticized these innovations and wanted that the Muslims should go back to the original spirituality of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his companions, May Allah be pleased with them all.

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22. TASAWWUF – SUFISM

01 - Tasawwuf – An Explanation

011→ Sufism ( tasawwuf ) is a knowledge through which one knows the states of the human soul, praiseworthy or blameworthy, how to purify it from the blameworthy and ennoble it by acquiring the praiseworthy [qualities], and to journey and proceed to Allah Most High, fleeing unto Him [by taking a spiritual path - tarîq ].

Its fruits are the heart's development, knowledge of God - Allah - through direct experience and ecstasy [ie. true experience of the Divine], salvation in the next world, triumph through gaining Allah's pleasure, the attainment of eternal happiness, and illuminating and purifying the heart so that noble matters disclose themselves, extraordinary states are revealed, and one perceives what the insight of others is blind to.  

Muhammad Amin Kurdi [ icd_e ]

012→ The substance of Sufism is the Truth (al-Haqq, one of Allah's names) and  the definition of Sufism is the selfless experiencing and actualization of the Truth.

02 - Principles Of Tasawwuf

021→ All the authentic principles of tasawwuf are to be found in the Qur'an and ahadîth.

022→ He who dies without having entered into this knowledge of ours dies insisting upon his grave sins (kaba'ir) without realizing it. [ Al-Shadhili ]

023→ Reaching substantial, true belief in Divine Oneness and living in accordance with its demands. [ 10 principles of Tasawwuf ]

03 - Tasawwuf - The Way Of The Sufis

031→ The reality of tasawwuf is defined by truthful self-orientation (sidq al-tawajjuh) to Allah Most High. (10 items:) [ What is Sufism? ]

032→ Know that tasawwuf is two things:
Truthfulness with Allah Almighty and good conduct with people. Anyone who practices these two things is a Sufi...
[ Imam Al-Ghazali ]

04 - The Foundations Of Our Path

041→ These foundations are 5 :
* taqwâ (godfearingness, mindfulness of Allah), privately and publicly,
* Adherence to the Sunna in word and deed,
* Indifference to whether others accept or reject one,
* Contentment with Allah Most High both in times of hardship and ease.
* Turning to Allah in prosperity and adversity (in happiness or affliction).

042→ The principles of treating the illnesses of the soul are also 5 :
* lightening the stomach by diminishing one's food and drink,
* taking refuge in Allah Most High from the unforeseen when it befalls,
* shunning situations that involve what one fears to fall victim to,
* continually asking for Allah's forgiveness and His blessings upon the Prophet MHMD
  (Allah bless him and give him peace) night and day with full presence of mind,
* and keeping the company of him who guides one to Allah.
[exL: Al-Nawawi]

05 - Texts On Tasawwuf

051→ Briefly put, 'sufi' is a second-century name applied to a type of Muslim earlier known as 'zahid.' The lexical root of sufi is variously traced to ...
G F Haddad
[ Sufism in Islam ]

052→ The Tarîqah or Spiritual Path which is usually known as Tasawwuf or Sufism is the inner and esoteric dimension of Islam and like the Sharî`ah has its roots in the Quran and prophetic practice.
S H Nasr:
[ Sharî`ah, Tarîqah And Haqîqah ]

053→ We seek the Sufism that addresses the ailments of the heart, plugs the holes through which Satan can steal into hearts, and resists the desires of the human soul ...
Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi
[ On Tasawwuf ]

06 - Concerning The Opponents of Tasawwuf

061→ Certain opponents of tasawwuf adduce two reports, one chainless and one weak-chained, originating in a man from the city of Naseebeen (Iraq) who has been critiqued as munkar al-hadith or 'disclaimed in his narrations' to claim that Imam Malik derided group dhikr ... GF Haddad [ Imam Malik and the Sufis ]

062→ When you detect the slightest whiff of disrespect for (the schools of tasawwuf), you have been given the first sign that you are in the presence of a disconnected, unbeneficial person ... GF Haddad [ Sunnism is respect ]

063→ As for the statement "being a sufi, he is from among those who have gone astray in the history of Islam" it would be fair to say that this statement constitutes kufr because it attributes misguidance to the massive majority of the elite of this Umma ... GF Haddad [ Mawlana Jalal al-Din ar-Rumi 'misguided'? ]

064→ Remember Imam Ghazali's advice in al-Munqidh min al-Dalal: "Think good thoughts (about Sufis) and do not harbor doubts in your heart"; and of Ibn Hajar al-Haytami's fatwa concerning critics of those who respect tasawwuf and believe in awliya': "Bad thoughts about them (Sufis) is the death of the heart." ...
GFH [Those Who Attack Al-Ghazali]

065→ Although there is no evidence that the word “Tasawwuf” (the Arabic word for “Sufism”) was used by the Prophet (peace be upon him), he certainly used the word ‘Ihsan’ or spiritual sincerity. Sufi Shaykhs have said that Sufism itself is nothing other than this sincerity, or the perfect following of the way of Muhammad, both inner and outer. [exL: Sufism and the Sunnah]

07 - Sufism Is Self-Purification

071→ Hadith of the Prophet on the heart:

“... truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it be whole, all the body is whole and which, if it be diseased, all of it is diseased. Truly it is the heart.” (narrated by Bukhari and Muslim) [link]

 

072→ The process of self-purification means that a Muslim undertakes to rid himself of repellant characteristics and acquire praiseworthy ones, so that he perfects his worship of his Lord and attains His nearness.


073→ The Sufi is that muslim whose inner and outer behaviour are in harmony with the Shari`ah (Divine Law), so that he realizes (thqq*; tahqîq) his iman, islam and ihsan.

08 - Famous Quotes On Sufism

081→ Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said about the Sufis: “I don't know people better than them.” Someone said to him: "They listen to music and they reach states of ecstasy." He said: “Do you prevent them from enjoying an hour with Allah?” [exL]


082→ Imam al- Shafi`i said: “Be both a faqih and a sufi: do not be only one of them! Verily, by Allah's truth, I am advising you sincerely.
[L]


083→ Imam Malik said: “He who practices tasawwuf without learning Sacred Law corrupts his faith, while he who learns Sacred Law without practicing tasawwuf corrupts himself. Only he who combines the two proves true.”
[Sufism in Islam]


Excerpted, with some modifications, from:

http://www.livingislam.org/tsw.html

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23. Sufism and wali allah

Question:

I would like to ask the Imaam, do you believe in SUFISM? What does the Quran mean by WALI – ALLAH? I would like to tell the Imaam that before portraying anything against sufis they should make sure they know 100% on the topic. HAZRAT QARNI AWAIS (RTA) were a sufi in the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) time and the prophet said to his companions to go them in Yemen and ask him to do dua for my ummah forgiveness. This was SUFI in the time of Prophet Muhmmad (saw) (pbuh). I agree there are some corrupt peer/ saints which gives sufi a bad reputation, but we only go to them to seek to be a true servant of ALLAH (SWT)

Answer:

The eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, states:  
 
“Sufism is a form of practicing an ascetic way of life. Such an act of worship is recognized by all religions though the way of practicing it differs from one religion to another.

For instance, in India, the Hindus’ lower class tend to go to extremes by inflicting tortures on themselves just with the aim of reaching an exalted level of spirituality. The same applies to Christianity, especially to celibacy.

Also in Persia, there is a sect known as Manism, while in Greece there is another sect known as "Ar-Ruwakiyeen" (People who reject life luxuries). In fact, in many other countries, there are similar groups who are somehow extremist in their beliefs. In a sharp contrast to all this, Islam came with a moderate approach to life and man’s relation with his Lord. It views man as a human being of mind, soul and body, and it has made it clear that all these components need a special care.  
 
This is what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) made clear to one of his Companions, `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`Aaas, who took to extremes in worshipping Allah, to the extent that he gave up eating, sleeping and even his conjugal right. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) warned him against that saying:
“...Your eyes have a right on you, and your body and your family (i.e. wife) have a right on you. Give everyone his due right.”

Also some Companions went to the Prophet’s house to ask his wife how he used to observe acts of worship. Upon being told the details of his acts of worship they found theirs falling behind those of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). They deemed themselves falling short of the required standard of being a true believer. Besides, they saw no reason why they shouldn’t do like or even exceed him in worship, for he actually had been forgiven all his sins. Therefore, they started making vows of getting down to an extensive act of worship. One of them vowed to start observing a non-stop fasting (without breaking it at all), the other vowed to abandon his conjugal right, while the third said that he would observe supererogatory prayers for all nights without sleeping. Upon being told of this, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gathered them and admonished them saying: “By Allah, I am more submissive to Allah and more afraid of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion, is not from me (not one of my followers).” This shows that Islam maintains moderation in everything.

However, people tend to practice Sufism as a means of rescuing themselves from the throes of materialism that has taken its toll on them, thanks to the abundance of property and economic boom in which people found themselves. All this has made them enslaved by life’s luxuries in addition to being governed by baseless ideologies. Thus, religious beliefs have been attributed to the dictates of philosophy and theology, and this led to frenzied argument that completely made people neglect spiritual aspects of life.

Meanwhile, those who engaged themselves in Islamic jurisprudence failed to go deeper in it; instead of trying to understand the spiritual aspect of worship, they merely stuck to its physical aspects. This gave birth to a religious group known as Sufis who came to fill the gap left by theologians and jurists; as I've just said, the latter failed to transform people spiritually.

The Sufis give a great concern to analyzing man in terms of what he feels inside, not what he really does; they focus on psychological matters, with the inward rather than the outward. Their main objective is to reshape man’s manners in order to help him achieve spiritual grace. One of the Sufis is quoted to have said: “Good manners are what make a good Sufi.”

Actually, the early Sufis set a good example by sticking to the teachings of Islam as conveyed by the Glorious Quran and the Prophetic Tradition. Besides, they did their best in propagating Islam. In fact, many people were converted to Islam by these great Sufis who left no stone unturned in waging war against heresy, atheism and polytheism.
 
On the other hand, history also recorded bad examples laid down by some Sufis who formulated ideas that have no basis in Islam. Part of these ideas is the difference between reality and perception, in the sense that man should not be judged by his apparent acts (i.e. by what we perceive of him), rather he should be judged by the state of his mind (i.e. by what he really feels inside). Through this one may find some excuses for his misdemeanor.

They also say that the inner feelings of a Sufi are his source of guidance; through them he knows the lawful and the forbidden. That is why they always find faults with the scholars of Hadith who always say "So-and-so quotes so-and-so as saying…" They find such narration as inauthentic. Rather, a genuine statement, approved of by the Sufis, should begin with: “I was inspired by my Lord that”

They also used to mock the scholars of Hadith saying: “You are fond of narrating statements from mortals. But we, Sufis, narrate our statements from Allah, the Everlasting Lord.” With this they claim to have a direct link with heavens. All such baseless ideas led the Sufis to take their students as worthless figures; they say: “In front of their Sufi masters, students are just like a helpless corpse at the control of those who wash it.” Not only that, they even deprive the students of the right of seeking more information from masters; they consider such act as a starting point of failure.

To say the fact, such a perverted attitude of this group of Sufis has taken its toll on today’s youth who are driven by ignorance to take all that they hear for granted. Such exaggeration results in weakening the character of the Sufi under the authority of his Sheikh, as the Sufi becomes so helpless like a dead between the hands of his undertaker or the one who washes him. Thus, they develop a negative and passive attitude towards oppression and injustice, thanks to what their Sufi masters tell them that “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and let the Lord of man take care of man.”
 
However, as a spot of light seen at the end of the tunnel, some Sunni scholars as well as early virtuous Muslims (Salaf) have tried their best to reform many Sufi ideas with the teachings of the Quran and the Prophetic Tradition.

One of the great scholars whose efforts are undeniable in this respect is Ibn Al-Qayyim who wrote a book entitled Madarij As-Salikin ila Manazil As-Sa’irin. This book is written purposefully to explain the book written by Sheikh Isma`il Al-Harwi Al-Hanbali, entitled: Manazil As-Sa’irin ila Maqamat Iyyaka Na`budu Waiyyaka Nasta`in. The book is in three volumes, one can resort to it to coordinate between the Sufi ideas and the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah.

By and large, we should try to take from Sufi ideas what corresponds to the teachings of Islam, such as the one that calls to noble values of mutual love, as well as one that teaches one how to get rid of psychological ailments and to attain spiritual grace.

In fact, there are some examples of good Sufis, with some minor exceptions, from whom one can understand better this form of worship. Imam al-Ghazali is one of such moderate Sufi figures whose ideas go in line with the teachings of Islam. Really speaking, they don't get involved in any political or economic activities related to Islam.

The propagation of Islam is the duty of all Muslims. Hence, the idea of this organization is sound. To go from one place to another in order to explain Islam to people and to call on Muslims to be more conscious in the fulfillment of their Islamic duties is commendable. However, they lack Islamic knowledge in the proper way of spreading Islam. We don't recommend that you join them officially, yet at the same time, you may extend help to them and to other such groups that you know don’t have hidden agendas whenever they come to your local Islamic center. Instead, learn about Islam with your local mosque and do dawah in your local community/family and friends.

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24. Sufism: Degrees of knowledge and sufism

Question :

May I know what is meant by "tareeqah", "ma'rifah" and "haqeeqah". Some people suggest that in addition to normal and statutory prayers, there are other prayers which bring a person in closer communication with Allah. The practice, according to them, was taught by the Prophet to his cousin Ali, who imparted the knowledge to certain selected persons and the tradition has been kept among those who make an effort to maintain it with diligence. They neither desire the life of this world nor that of the life to come, except the company of Allah Himself and the Prophet. It is said that they experience amazing things and do hear the reply of their salutation to the Prophet. Please comment.

Answer :

The word tareeqah means "way or method", while "ma'rifah" means "knowledge" and "haqeeqah" means "truth". Those who follow some sufi trends make much of these terms and try to establish a division between them and the ordinary acts of worship which are applicable to all of us. They claim that the ultimate goal is to arrive at the truth, through the proper knowledge of Allah, which is attainable only by following the correct method of worshipping Allah and remembering Him. While this is acceptable in absolute terms, it is certainly far from acceptable when taken within the framework of the practices of sufism.

Let us examine what you have mentioned about "secret" teachings imparted by the Prophet to his cousin Ali. If this has been done by the Prophet on instructions from Allah, it means that Allah has selected a section of His servants for a special favor which He has chosen not to grant to others. Far be it from Allah, the Most Just, to make such an arbitrary distinction. The fact is that Allah has created us all with the same susceptibility to accepting the faith, regardless of our origin, race, or education.

When the message of the truth, i.e. submission to Allah is put to us, we can all respond to it and accept it without hesitation, once we free ourselves of the shackles of our circumstances or position or desires or any other type of pressure. It is needless to say that an intellectual person who has received good education is able to understand the message of Islam much better than one who has not been so privileged. But the two may have an equal strength of faith. We should not forget that Allah puts all to account on the day of judgment and He gives us the same type of reward for our good deeds, while we may incur the same type of punishment for our sins.

It follows, considering Allah's absolute justice, that we should have the same susceptibility to accepting the message of the truth if we have to face the same reckoning. In view of the foregoing, it simply does not fit with Allah's justice that he gives secret knowledge to a section of the people, no matter who may be in that section. Moreover the Prophet has been required to convey Allah's message to mankind. Allah describes the Prophet who has been "sent as a mercy to all worlds." The Prophet fulfilled his task in a most exemplary way, requesting his companions and all Muslims to impart the knowledge he has given them to the rest of mankind. Allah has guaranteed that the message of Islam will remain preserved for all time so that it remains accessible to people.

To suggest that the Prophet advised or taught any particular knowledge to his cousin in a secret manner is most objectionable because it means that he has favored a certain group of people or a certain individual with important knowledge which he withheld from others. Far be it from the last messenger of Allah to do so. Why should he? And why should there be any group of people who is more favored than the rest of us? That certainly does not fit with the Divine Justice. The truth is that Allah has revealed Islam as a message to all mankind. It is addressed to every single one of us and Allah tells us in the Quran that implementing Islam is the sure and only way to get the maximum reward in the hereafter, namely, admission into heaven.

Allah says in the Quran:

"Whosoever obeys Allah and the messenger shall be those on whom Allah has bestowed His grace of Prophets, saints, martyrs and righteous people. Good company are these indeed"  (An-Nisa 4:69).

As is clear from this verse, the highest company to which any person can aspire is to join prophets and righteous people in heaven. For this reason, every good believer prays Allah all the time to grant him the greatest privilege of all, namely admission into heaven. These people suggest that there are two grades of reward. The first is that of heaven and the other is something superior. They claim this to be communion or company with Allah and the Prophet. But when the Prophet speaks of the highest grade which may be achieved by anyone, he says

"Whoever brings up well two girls until they have grown up shall be my companion in heaven."

This Hadith tells us that the Prophet shall be in heaven. How will these people want to go any higher? What support do they have for their aspiration? Where do they get their information from? They claim to hear the answer to the greetings they offer to the Prophet. What nonsense. Where does it come from? How can they recognize whose voice it is? This is simply an exercise in self-delusion. The Prophet has not told us about anything like this. Therefore, we cannot accept it from anyone. What the Prophet has not told us about is simply untrue.

Therefore, the claims of these people are certainly untrue. I realize that some people will tell me that there is a Hadith which says that the Prophet answers the greetings of all people. Yes, there is such a Hadith and this is a special privilege Allah has granted to the Prophet. But the Hadith does not tell us that we hear him answer these greetings, nor does the Hadith tell us how the answer is given. It is simply a matter of the spirit, the knowledge of which Allah has chosen to keep for Himself. Therefore, we do not try to determine how it is done, because we cannot have any certain knowledge about it. It is sufficient for us to know that the Prophet has been granted the privilege of answering our greetings.


Our Dialogue (Source : Arab News - Jeddah )

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25. SUFI TAREEQAHS AND THE RULING ON JOINING THEM

Question :

In the sufis thariqa' there was a term call syari'a, thariqa', haqiqa' and ma'rifah. Is this term really have been taught by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to his companion according to the definition by the thariqa' it self.

Answer: Praise be to Allah.

We must understand that the word al-soofiyyah (Sufism) refers to wearing woollen clothes [the Arabic word soof means “wool”] and nothing else. 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah  have mercy on him) said: 

The word al-soofiyyah (Sufism) refers to wearing woollen clothes; this is the correct meaning. It was said that it comes from the word safwat al-fuqaha’ (the elite of the fuqaha’) or from Soofah ibn Add ibn Taanijah, an Arab tribe that was known for its asceticism, or from Ahl al-Suffah (poor Muslims in Madeenah at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who used to stay in the mosque), or from al-Safa (the mountain in Makkah), or from the word al-safwah (meaning elite), or from the phrase al-saff al-muqaddam bayna yaday Allah  (the foremost rank before Allah ). All of these views are weak (da’eef); if any of them were true then the word would be saffi or safaa’i or safawi, not sufi. 

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 11/195 

Sufism (tasawwuf) did not appear until after the first three generations which the Messenger of Allah  (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) praised when he said, “The best of mankind is my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them…” (narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2652; Muslim, 2533; from the hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood). 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

With regard to the word soofiyyah (Sufism), it was not known during the first three generations, rather it became known after that. 

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 11/5 

This tareeqah and its like are among the innovated ways that go against the Quran and Sunnah and the way followed by the best generations. All the shaykhs of these tareeqahs have made up their own wirds (phrases to be uttered as dhikr), hizb (books of du’aa’ to be read daily by their followers) and ways of worship by which each of them may be distinguished from the others; this goes against sharee’ah and divides the ummah. 

Allah has blessed this ummah by perfecting its religion and completing His Favour upon it, so everyone who comes up with an act of worship or a way that was not brought by sharee’ah is effectively rejecting what Allah  has said and accusing the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah  be upon him) of betraying the trust. 

Along with this innovation of theirs, they may also be lying by claiming that they received their tareeqah from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), or that they are following the path and guidance of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs (al-khulafa’ al raashideen). 

The scholars of the Standing Committee were asked: 

Is there any such thing in Islam as the numerous tareeqahs like the Shaadhilyyah, Khalwatiyyah etc? If there is such a thing, what is the evidence for that? What is the meaning of the verses in which Allah  says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And verily, this is My straight path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path. This He has ordained for you that you may become Al‑Muttaqoon (the pious)”   (Al-An’aam 6:153) 

“And upon Allah  is the responsibility to explain the Straight Path. But there are ways that turn aside (such as Paganism, Judaism, Christianity). And had He willed, He would have guided you all (mankind)”  (Al-Nahl 16:9) 

What are the ways that separate people from the path of Allah, and what is the way of Allah? What is the meaning of the hadeeth narrated by Ibn Mas’ood, according to which the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) drew a line and said, “This is the path of guidance,” then he drew lines to its right and another to its left and said, “These are other paths and on each path there is a devil calling people to it” 

They answered: 

There is no such thing in Islam as the tareeqahs that you mentioned, or anything else like them. What there is in Islam is what is indicated by the two verses and the hadeeth that you quoted, and what was indicated by the hadeeth in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The Jews split into seventy-one sects, and the Christians split into seventy-two sects. My ummah will split into seventy-three sects, all of which will be in Hell except one.” It was asked, “Who are they, O Messenger of Allah ?” He said, “Those who follow the same path as I and my companions are on today.”

And he (peace and blessings of Allah  be upon him) said, “A group among my ummah will continue to follow the truth and to be victorious, and they will not be harmed by those who forsake them or oppose them, until the command of Allah  comes to pass when they are like that.” The truth lies in following the Quran and the saheeh, unambiguous Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah  be upon him). This is the path of Allah, this is the Straight Path. This is the straight line mentioned in the hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood, and this is what was followed by the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) (may Allah  be pleased with them and with their followers among the early generations (salaf) of this ummah, and with those who follow their path). All other tareeqahs or groups are the paths mentioned in the verse (interpretation of the meaning): 

“… and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path…”   (Al-An’aam 6:153) 

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 2/283, 284 

And Allah  knows best.

Excerpted, with some modifications, from: http://islamqa.com/en/

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26. Tablighi Jamaat (JAMAA'AH AT-TABLEEGH)

Question:

Is the Tablighi Jamaat movement based on bid'ah (innovations)? Is it all right to join them? I understand that this question may lead to a controversial answer and may conflict with opinions.

Answer:

The da'wah of the Tablighi Jamaat or Jamaa'ah at-Tableegh is based upon spreading the merits of Islaam to everyone they are able to reach. This entails it's adherents to give up some of their time to go out and spread and propagate the  da'wah keeping well away from political and partisan issues.

It's members are compelled into going out (khurooj) to give da'wah and mix with the Muslims in their masaajid, houses and businesses and give words of advice and encourage them to come out with them to give da'wah.

They advise that no members should get themselves involved in any quarrels with the Muslims or the government.

Foundation and major personalities

- The founder was called Shaykh Muhammad Ilyaas al-Kaandahlawee who was born in Kaandahlah, a village in the region of Sahaaranpoor in India in 1303 A.H. (1887 C.E.) (died 1364 A.H. / 1948 C.E.).

Initially, he sought knowledge in this village, then later travelled to Delhi where he completed his studies at the Madrasah Deoband which is amongst the biggest Hanafee schools in the Indian sub-continent, which was setup in the year 1283 A.H. (1867 C.E.).

He also sought knowledge under the guardianship of his older brother, Shaykh Muhammad Yahya, who was a teacher at the Madrasah Mathaahir al-'Uloom in Sahaaranpoor.

Later, he studied under Shaykh Ashraf Thanwee (1280 A.H. (1863 C.E.) - 1364 A.H. (1943 C.E.)), who was known to them as ((Hakeem al-Ummah)).

Likewise, he also studied under Shaykh Mahmood Hasan (1268 A.H. (1851 C.E.) - 1339 A.H. (1920 C.E.)) who was amongst the major scholars of the Madrasah Deoband and the Jamaa'ah at-Tableegh.

As for Shaykh Rasheed Ahmad al-Kankoowee, born in 1829 C.E. (died 1905 C.E.); Shaykh Muhammad Ilyaas actually gave bay'ah (oath of allegiance) to him in 1315 A.H. (1899 C.E.).

He later renewed his bay'ah (oath of allegiance) to Shaykh Khaleel Ahmad as-Sahaaranpooree who was one of the scholars of the Deobandiyyah group.

- Shaykh 'Abdur-Raheem Shaah ad-Deobandee at-Tableeghee spent alot of time in organising the affaris of the Jamaa'ah at-Tableegh along with Muhammad Ilyaas and his son Shaykh Muhammad Yoosuf after him.

Thoughts and beliefs

The founder stipulated six maxims which he established as the fundamentals of his da'wah, with all members taking care to memorise them and propagate them in their da'wah efforts:

1) Al-Kalimah at-Tayyibah [declaration of faith - (Laa ilaaha il-Allah  Muhammad Rasool-Allah )] ;

2) Al-Khushoo' fis-salaah (offering prayers with full concentration);

3) Al-'Ilm wadh-Dhikr (knowledge and remembrance);

4) Ikraam al-Muslimeen (honouring the Muslims);

5) Al-Ikhlaas (sincerity);

6) Al-Khurooj fee sabeel-Allah  (going out in the path of Allah ).

Their manner of propagating their da'wah is as follows:

A group from amongst them is designated to go to a particular area/town/country, whereby each member of the group takes with them basic means upon which to sleep and other basic items which shall suffice.

When they arrive at their destination, they organise themselves in a manner whereby some of them begin cleaning the place where they shall be resting during their stay in the area; Whilst others amongst them will go out to the market places and the like remembering Allah  and calling the people to listen to their talk (bayaan - as they call it).

When the time for the bayaan arrives, they all gather together to listen to it. And after the bayaan has finished, they request members of the gathering to come out with them in the path of Allah. And after Salaat al-Fajr, they divide the group of people who are present into groups where a group leader is appointed for each group. Then the group leader undertakes the responsibility of teaching his group members Soorah al-Faatihah and other small Soorah's of the Quraan. They continue in this way day in day out.

Before their period of stay is over, they encourage the people of the area to come out with them to spread their da'wah, such that some people volunteer to join them for three days or a week or a month. Each one according to his ability and circumstances, their giving up their time in accordance with the saying of Allah:

You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind ….” (Aal-'Imraan 3:110).

And the preferred time for going out is a day in a week, and three days in a month and 40 days in a year and 4 months in a lifetime.

- They refuse invitations to attend social functions made by the people of the area they have settled in for their period of da'wah; their intention being not to busy themselves with anything other than issues of da'wah and remembrance, and that their actions are solely for the sake of Allah .

- They do not interfere in issues of forbidding the evil, believing they are at the stage of establishing an appropriate climate for Islamic living, and that if they were to involve themselves in such issues, then this would place obstacles in their way and turn the people away from their da'wah.

- They believe that if they correct their individuals (members) one-by-one then the evil will be automatically eradicated from amongst the masses.

- That going out and propagating their da'wah to the people, helps in nurturing the da'ee and cultivating his actions, such that he feels he is an example for others to follow and that he adheres to that which he is calling the people to.

- They believe that blind following a madhhab is obligatory, and they do not permit ijtihaad, believing that the conditions of a mujtahid (one who is qualified to make ijtihaad) are not present amongst the scholars of this time.

- They have been affected by the ways of the Soofiyyah, whose da'wah is widespread in the Indian sub-continent. For example:

- It is imperative for every member of the Jamaa'ah at-Tableegh to have a Shaykh to whom he makes bay'ah (oath of allegiance) to, and whoever was to die whilst not having made bay'ah, then he has died the death of those in pre-Islam. And often is the case that the bay'ah takes place in a public gathering so as to encourage all present to do likewise and give them all an impression that they are all in this together as one group. And the same is done amongst the women also.

- Excessive love and respect is shown to the Shaykh to whom bay'ah has been given, as is excessive love shown to the Messenger of Allah  (sal-Allah u `alayhe wa sallam), that which often takes them out of the fold of displaying appropriate respect to the Prophet (sal-Allah u `alayhe wa sallam).

- Their belief that the way of the Soofiyyah is the closest way to taste the sweetness of eemaan in the heart.

- Their being taught the names of the major personalities of the Soofiyyah such as 'Abdul-Qaadir al-Jeelaanee, who was born in Jeelaan in 470 A.H., and also as-Sahrooree, and Abu Mansoor al-Maatureedee who died in 332 A.H., and Jalaal ad-Deen ar-Roomee who was born in 604 A.H., who wrote the book al-Mathnawee.

- They have been affected by the way of the Soofiyyah, in particular the Chishtiyyah, the Qaadiriyyah, the Naqshbandiyyah and the Sahrwordiyyah in India.

- There are some members who claim to have adopted the thoughts of the Jamaa'ah an-Noor of Turkey.

- Their da'wah is based upon the arousal of interest and intimidation combined, and thereby causing emotive and affective feelings. They have, thereby managed to enlist in the name of eemaan, many who have immersed themselves into sins and desires, and have directed them to worship and remembrance.

- They do not speak about political issues, and discourage their members from getting involved in these problematic issues, criticizing those who do get involved. They say that politics is to leave politics.

- They misinterpret the ahaadeeth pertaining to jihaad, claiming it means to go out and give da'wah, this being to such an extent that their members quite possibly have forgotten about the real meaning of jihaad in the path of Allah.

- They are very lenient when it comes to narrating weak ahaadeeth.

- Their main points of reference appear to be the Quraan and the Sunnah, however, in terms of 'aqeedah, they turn to the understandings of their founding Shaykhs of the Indian sub-continent, and that being the 'aqeedah of the Maatureediyyah upon the Hanafee madhhab.

- In the Arab lands they make a point of referring to Imaam an-Nawawee's Riyaadh as-Saaliheen, whereas in non-Arab lands they refer to the Tableeghee Nisaab (Tablighi Nisab) and Hayaah as-Sahaabah (Hayat Al-Sahabah), and this being full of incorrect information and weak ahaadeeth.

Their da'wah began in India, and then spread to Pakistan and Bangladesh, then later spreading to the rest of the Islamic world, even in Arabia - such that they now have followers in Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

They also have followers in Europe, America, Asia and Africa.

Their worldwide headquarters is in Nizaamuddeen in Delhi, where they administer their da'wah affairs worldwide. Their headquarters in the western world is in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, UK.

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27. Classes within a Muslim community

Question :

In my country, people are classified as either sayed or sheikh or pathan. There are restrictions on intermarriages between these groups which would prevent, for example, the marriage of a sayed girl to a pathan man. It is also said that sayeds are not allowed to receive zakah. Could you please comment on these classifications?

Answer :

In the Quran we read: "Mankind, we have created you out of one male and one female and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may get to know each other. The most noble among you in Allah's view is the most God-fearing..." (Al-Hujrat 49:13)

This verse establishes the basic Islamic principle that all human beings are equal, since they descend from the same man and woman. Over the centuries, they have formed different nations and numerous tribes. When they get to know each other, they stand to enrich human life. The only recognized field of excellence in which it is possible to distinguish any one person or group of them over the rest is fearing Allah, a quality which does not fail to bring out the best in every human being.

The division you have mentioned in your country is alien to the basic principles of Islam. You speak of an automatic blockage of the marriage of a man from one group with a woman from another. How could this be justified when Allah says in the Qur'an: "Believers are but brothers...." (Al-Hujrat 49:10)

The possibility of objecting to a marriage is limited to such a situation as when a woman feels that marrying a particular person will not give her the sort of life to which she is used to. In other words, the marriage will mean a downgrading of her. Otherwise, the guiding principle in sanctioning a marriage is the Hadith which tells all Muslim parents and guardians: "If a man whose strength of faith and honesty are of acceptable standard, comes to you with a proposal of marriage, then accept his proposal. If you do not, you will cause friction and a great deal of corruption in the land."

Let us look briefly at the class known as 'sayed'. A 'sayed' has come to refer in many parts of the Islamic world to a person who claims to be a descendant of the Prophet. I can tell you that many who claim to be 'sayed' cannot substantiate their claims. However, even if the claim is correct, it does not confer any particular status to the person concerned. He is still required to do his Islamic duties as everyone else. He will be rewarded in the same manner and his sins will be taken against him in the same way. He will either be forgiven or punished by Allah as He, in his sole discretion, determines. His descent does not give him any immunity. Nor does it give him any special status in society. Let us remember what the Prophet said to his own daughter: "Fatimah, work for your future life because I shall avail you nothing (if Allah is not pleased with you)." This is a clear instruction by the Prophet to his own daughter that her own actions are the only factor which determine her standing in the life to come. If this applies to Fatimah, who can say that his [being] descendent gives him any privileges whatsoever.

It is true that the Prophet has made it clear that zakah is not to be paid to him, his household and descendants. They have, however, different sources of income from the Islamic state, such as a share of what the Muslim state may gain in the fighting. However, many scholars are of the view that it is permissible to give zakah to descendants of the Prophet if they are poor, particularly because the other sources from which they would have benefited are largely unavailable.


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )

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28. WHICH school of thought YOU ARE?

Question :  

Salam, can you tell me what school of thought you follow i.e Hanifee, shafe etc ?

Answer :

As-Salaamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuh.  In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, Most Merciful All praise is due to Allah and peace be upon His messenger.

We would like to state the following points: 

1. Muslims Should be United. It is a fact that Muslims today, are divided amongst themselves. The tragedy is that such divisions are not endorsed by Islam at all. Islam believes in fostering unity amongst its followers. The Glorious Qur'an says:

"And hold fast altogether, by the rope Which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves …." (Aale-Imran 3:103) 
 
Which is the rope of Allah that is being referred to in this verse? It is the Glorious Qur'an. The Glorious Qur'an is the rope of Allah which all Muslims should hold fast together. There is double emphasis in this verse. Besides saying 'hold fast all together' it also says, 'be not divided'. 
 
"Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger …" (An-Nisa 4:59) 
 
All the Muslim should follow the Qur'an and authentic Ahadith and be not divided among themselves.

2. It is Prohibited to make sects and divisions in Islam The Glorious Qur'an says:

"As for those who divide Their religion and break up Into sects, thou hast No part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end Tell them the truth Of all that they did." 
(Al-An’aam
6:159)

In this verse Allah (swt) says that one should disassociate oneself from those who divide their religion and break it up into sects. 
 
But when one asks a Muslim, "who are you?",  the common answer is either 'I am a Sunni, or 'I am a Shia'. Some call themselves Hanafi, or Shafi or Maliki or Humbali. Some say 'I am a Deobandi', while some others say 'I am a Barelvi'. 

3. Our Prophet was a Muslim.

One may ask such Muslims, "Who was our beloved prophet (pbuh)? Was he a Hanafi or a Shafi, or a Humbali or a Maliki?" No! He was a Muslim, like all the other prophets and messengers of Allah before him.  
 
It is mentioned in chapter 3 verse 52 of Al-Qur'an that Jesus (pbuh) was a Muslim.

Further, in chapter 3 verse 67, Al-Qur'an says that Ibrahim (pbuh) was not a Jew or a Christian but was a Muslim.

4. Qur'an says call yourselves Muslim’

If anyone poses a Muslim the question who are you, he should say "I am a MUSLIM, not a Hanafi or a Shafi". Quran says: 

"Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) To Allah, works righteousness, And says, 'I am of those who bow in Islam (Muslim)?" (Fussilat 41:33) 

"Say I am of those who bow in Islam". In other words, say, "I am a Muslim". 

The Prophet (pbuh) dictated letters to non-Muslim kings and rulers inviting them to accept Islam. In these letters he mentioned the verse of the Qur'an from Surah Aale-Imran : 

 “… Say ye: Bear witness That we (at least) Are Muslims (bowing To Allah's Will)."  (Aale-Imran 3:64)

 5. Respect all the Great Scholars of Islam.

We must respect all the great scholars of Islam, including the four Imaams, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi, Imam Humbal and Imam Malik (may Allah be pleased with them all). They were great scholars and may Allah reward them for their research and hard work. One can have no objection if someone agrees with the views and research of Imam Abu Hanifa or Imam Shafi, etc. But when posed a question, 'who are you?', the reply should only be 'I am a Muslim'. 
 
The Glorious Qur'an mentions in several verses,
"Obey Allah and obey His Messenger". A true Muslim should only follow the Glorious Qur'an and the Sahih Hadith. He can agree with the views of any scholar as long as they conform to the teachings of the Qur'an and Sahih Hadith. If such views go against the Word of Allah, or the Sunnah of His Prophet, then they carry no weight, regardless of how learned the scholar might be.

If only all Muslims read the Qur'an with understanding and adhere to Sahih Hadith, Insha Allah most of these differences would be solved and we could be one united Muslim Ummah.

May Almighty enlighten our hearts with Islam. 

 Excerpted, with some modifications, from: http://islamicity.com/

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29. jamaah Islam that must BE followED

Question :

Can you tell me the characteristic of Jamaah Islam that we must follow?

Answer: Praise be to Allah.

It is the Muslim’s duty to follow the truth and to join the victorious group, the people of Sunnah and Jamaa’ah (Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah) who are followers of the pious predecessors (al-salaf al-saalih), loving them for the sake of Allah whether they are in his own country or elsewhere, and cooperating with them in righteousness.

The attributes of the victorious group are related in a number of saheeh ahaadeeth, for example:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “My ummah is an ummah which carries out the commands of Allah; those who let them down or differ from them do not harm them and they will keep adhering to this path until the Day of Judgement.”

Mu‘aawiyah and ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with them) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘A group of my ummah will continue victoriously adhering to the truth until the Last Hour begins.’”

Al-Mugheerah ibn Shu‘bah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: “Some people of my ummah will remain victorious over the people until the decree of Allah reaches them.”

‘Imraan ibn Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A group of my ummah will continue fighting for the truth, and will prevail over those who oppose them, until the last of them will kill al-Maseekh al-Dajjaal (the Liar or Anti-Christ).”

From these ahaadeeth we may understand the following:

(1)   The Prophet’s words “A group of my ummah will continue . . .” indicate that this is a section of the ummah, not the entire ummah. This also indicates that there will be other groups and sects.

(2)   His words “those who oppose them will not harm them” indicate that there will be other groups who oppose the victorious group in the way they practice the religion. This also concurs with the hadeeth which describes the ummah being divided into seventy-two groups or sects who oppose the one group that is following the truth.

(3)   Both ahaadeeth offer glad tidings to the people who are following the truth. The hadeeth that speaks of the victorious group speaks of their victory in this world.

(4)   The words “until the decree of Allah reaches them” refer to the wind or breeze that will come and take the soul of every believing man and woman. This does not contradict the hadeeth “A group of my ummah will remain victoriously supporting the truth until the Day of Resurrection,” because that hadeeth means that they will continue to follow the truth until that gentle breeze takes their souls just before the Day of Resurrection, when many other Signs of the Last Hour have already manifested themselves.

The characteristics of the victorious group

From the ahaadeeth quoted above, and other reports, we can derive the following characteristics of the victorious group:

(1) They follow the truth. They are described variously as “following the truth,” “following the commandments of Allah,” “following the true religion,” etc.

All of these phrases indicate that they are adhering to the true religion with which Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent.

(2) They obey the commandments of Allah, which means:

(a) They are distinguished from the rest of mankind by carrying the banner of Da’wa towards Allah.

(b) They undertake the mission of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil.

(3) They will be victorious until the Last Hour.

The ahaadeeth say that “they will be victorious until the decree of Allah comes,” “they victoriously support the truth,” or “they will be victorious over those who oppose them.”

This victory includes:

a)  Being open and not hiding: they are well-known and prominent and have the upper hand.

b)  Adherence to true religion, righteousness, following Allah’s commands and fighting against His enemies in jihaad

c)  Victory by defeating others

d)  They are patient and resist others with patience.

Abu Tha‘labah al-Khashani (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “After you there will come days of patience, in which the patience required will be like having to hold a burning coal in one’s hand.”

Who are the people of the victorious sect?

Al-Bukhaari said: “They are the people of knowledge (the scholars).”

Many scholars said that the victorious group is the scholars of hadeeth.

Al-Nawawi said: “It is possible that this group is scattered among all types of believers. Some may be brave fighters, or fuqahaa’, or scholars of hadeeth, or ascetics, or people who enjoin good and forbid evil, and other types of good people.”

Al-Nawawi also said: “It could be a group of different types of believers, including those who are brave and skilled in warfare, faqeehs, scholars of hadeeth, Quranic commentators (mufassireen), those who enjoin good and forbid evil, ascetics and devoted worshippers.”

Ibn Hajar, may Allah have mercy on him, explained the matter as follows: “They do not have to all be in one city; they could be gathered in one country or dispersed across the world. They may be gathered in one city or in a part of it. It is possible that one group may exist, then disappear, then be replaced by another group, and so on, until the Day of Judgement, when all will disappear except for one group in one city, who will disappear when the breeze decreed by Allah comes.”

The scholars’ discussion of this group does not specify one type of people, or one city or country, except for the last group, which will be in al-Shaam (the territory comprising modern-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine) and will fight the Dajjaal, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said.

No doubt those who are involved with the sciences of sharee’ah – ‘aqeedah, fiqh, hadeeth and tafseer, studying and teaching – are the people who are most qualified to be called the Victorious Group, and they should be at the forefront of da’wa and jihaad, and enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and refuting the people of bid’ah, all of which must be accompanied with sound knowledge based on the Wahy (Revelation).

We ask Allah to make us among them.

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 30. NEW MUSLIM, WHICH SCHOOL OF THOUGHT TO FOLLOW

Question:                                                                                                                      

Do newly converts, men and women, have to abide by a certain school of the well-known Juristic Schools: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i, Hanbali schools? If yes, can he/she choose his/her own Madhhab according to his/her free will? What about a woman, should she abide by the same Juristic School (Madhhab) of her husband?

Answer:

It is to be noted above all that Islam compels neither the newly converts nor anyone else to follow a certain Madhhab (Juristic School). Every Muslim is free to choose any of the well-known authoritative Sunni Madhahib. Following any of these Madhahib (sing. Madhhab) does not mean that one has to insist on such a Madhhab or force the others to abide by it. In other words, if the husband follows a certain Madhhab, this does not mean that his wife should abide by the same Madhhab.

Actually, it’s not easy for a layman to choose between different Juristic opinions, and who knows not the judgment pertaining to a certain issue should consult a trusted scholar or a knowledgeable person and abide by the Madhhab of that scholar or person.

Given the fact that there are many Madhahib that provide facility for people, the newly converts are in no way obliged to follow a certain Madhhab.

Shedding more light on the issue, the Fatwa of the European Council for Fatwa and Research goes as follow:

Abiding by a certain Madhhab is not a religious obligation. Neither Allah nor His Messenger oblige us to abide by Hanafi, Maliki school or otherwise. Muslims are to abide by the Quran and the Sunnah. These are the two authentic, perfect, infallible sources, whereas every individual judgment is subject to acceptance and rejection. The renowned Imams themselves forbade others to unquestionably adopt their opinions.

Muslim jurists, however, agree that there is no specific Madhhab for the layman, he should abide by the Madhhab of the one who is capable of giving him a Fatwa.

The term ‘layman’ here refers to the person who cannot study the proofs of every ruling and give priority to a ruling over another. Such a person should have no Madhhab. Choosing a certain Juristic School entails giving priority and preference to certain proofs over others; this is the job for only erudite scholars. As for a commoner, he should follow the opinion of the scholar who gives him Fatwa. Whenever he has a certain problem, he can consult an Imam or a Sheikh and follow his Fatwa. Almighty Allah says: “…. Ask the followers of the Remembrance if ye know not!” (An-Nahl 16:43) And the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said concerning some people: “Why don’t they inquire if they know not, verily inquiry is the cure of ignorance.”

If an ordinary Muslim lives in a country in which all of its jurists follow a certain Madhhab, then he can follow the Madhhab adopted in his country. In fact, the common Muslim should follow the Jurists of his country and their Madhhab. But he should not insist on abiding by his Madhhabor belittle the other Madhahib. If it appears to him that the judgment pertaining to his Madhhab is weak in a certain issue, he should follow the judgment of the strong and sound Madhhab. A true Muslim always seeks the sound evidence and abides by it wherever it might be.

Imam Abu Hanifah is quoted to have said: “This is our opinion and we are ready to listen to him who brings a better opinion.” Imam Malik said: “Everyone’s opinion could be accepted or rejected except that of the one buried in this grave (pointing to the grave of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him). Ash-Shafi`i also said: “If a Hadith proves to be authentic (regarding a certain issue), then accept it and reject whatever religious opinion I may utter (regarding the same issue).”

Every Muslim is free to choose the better and sound Madhahib. It is not an obligation for the son to follow his father or for the wife to follow the same Madhahib of her husband.

Thus, we can say that the most appropriate ruling for the newly converts is not to abide by a certain Madhahib, for this places many restrictions and inflicts hardship on them. Those newly converts are welcome to Islam, a religion that has a treasure of religious texts and great objectives. While a certain Madhahib may prove to be difficult, another can provide facility and easiness. We, Muslims are commanded to make things easy for people, and give them glad tidings specially newly converts.

In short, the newly converts, men and women, are not obliged to follow a certain Madhahib. If a husband follows a certain Madhab, for some reason or another, it is not obligatory for his wife to abide by the same Madhahib.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net

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31. CHOOSING ANY MADHAB RULING, AS CONVENIENT

Question:                                                                                                 

Is a person allowed to use one madhab for one thing and another for something else? Basically pick and choose whichever madhab is most convenient for him?

Answer:                                                                                                                        
First and foremost, we’d like to make it clear that the religion of Islam seeks not to cause any hardship to its adherents or burden them beyond their capabilities. Easiness and facilitation are among the main characteristics of Islam. Almighty Allah says:
Allah would not place a burden on you, but He would purify you and would perfect His grace upon you, that ye may give thanks”  (Al-Ma’idah 5:6)

Abiding by a certain madhhab (school of jurisprudence) is not a religious obligation. Neither Allah nor His Messenger obliges us to abide by the Hanafi or Maliki School or any other. Muslims are to abide by the Quran and the Sunnah.

When there are two opinions and they both are based on sound evidence, then there is nothing wrong in following either of them or what you find easy. It is reported that when there were two opinions, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to take whatever was easy as long as it was not a sin. However, the intention of a Muslim should not be to follow whatever he finds easy without paying attention to what is closer to the Quran and Sunnah. The intention should to follow the opinion that you find closer to the Quran and Sunnah. If you see that one scholar’s position on a particular issue is closer to the letter and spirit of the Quran and Sunnah, and another scholar’s position is closer to the Quran and Sunnah on another issue, then you can follow both of them. You do not have to stick to one person’s opinion on every issue. A Muslim’s loyalty and commitment should always be to the Quran and Sunnah, not to any particular scholar or madhhab.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net

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32. Nation of Islam

Question:

What distinguishes the Nation of Islam from traditional Islam? Why do they worship Elijah Muhammad? Who is he?

Answer:

Islam and the so called "Nation of Islam (NOI)" are two different religions. NOI is more of a political organization since its members are not limited to a single faith. Muslims consider this group to be
just one of many cults using the name of Islam for their own gain. The only thing common between them is the jargon, the language used by both. "The Nation of Islam" is a misnomer; this religion should be called Farrakhanism, after the name of its propagator, Louis Farrakhan.

Islam and Farakhanism differ in many fundamental ways. For example, Farakhan followers believe in racism and that the 'black man' was the original man and therefore superior, while in Islam there is no racism and everyone is considered equal in the sight of God, the only difference being in one's piety.

There are many other theological examples that show the NOI's teachings have little to do with true Islam. The followers of the Nation Of Islam believe in (all quotes taken from their homepage or their publications):

...one God (Allah) and that Allah (God) appeared in the Person of Master W. Fard Muhammad, July, 1930; the long awaited 'Messiah' of the Christians and the 'Mahdi' of the Muslims...

However, the Qur'an states in Surah An-Nisa 4, verse 36, "Serve Allah, and join not Any partners with Him; ... ". And according to a hadith narrated by Masruq, in Sahih Bukhari, 'Aisha said, "If anyone tells you that Muhammad has seen his Lord, he is a liar, for Allah says : 'No vision can grasp Him.'...".  (Al-An’aam 6:103) 

The followers of the Nation Of Islam further believe "in the resurrection of the dead--not in physical resurrection--but in mental resurrection. We also believe that the so-called Negroes are most in need of mental resurrection; therefore, they will be resurrected first."

But the Qur`an states in Surah Taha 20, verse 55, "From it (the earth) did We Create you, and into it Shall We return you, and from it shall We bring you out once again." Even more pointedly, the Qur'an also states in 64:7,

The Unbelievers think that they will not be raised up (for Judgement). Say: "Yea, by my Lord, Ye shall surely be Raised up: then shall ye Be told (the truth) of All that ye did. And that is easy for Allah."   (At-Taghabun 64:7) 

Besides the above two differences, the followers of the Nation of Islam also believe in other things contrary to Islam as defined in the Qur'an and Sunnah, such as:

[We, the Black Muslims, believe] "in the truth of the Bible, but we believe that it has been tampered with and must be reinterpreted so that mankind will not be snared by the falsehoods that have been added to it".

The problem with this belief: The true Prophet of Islam ordered Muslims to neither accept the Bible nor reject it - certainly there was no mention of reinterpretation.

"That we who declare ourselves to be righteous Muslims, should not participate in wars which take the lives of humans. We do not believe this nation should force us to take part in such wars, for we have nothing to gain from it unless America agrees to give us the necessary territory wherein we may have something to fight for".

The problem with this belief: The Qur'an and Sunnah are crystal clear on the necessity of going to war when the situation demands it.

Any serious student of Islam has a duty to investigate and find the true Islam. The only two authentic sources which bind every Muslim are

1) The Quran and

2) Authentic or sound Hadith.

Any teachings under the label of "Islam" which contradict or at variance with the direct understanding of fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam form the Quran and authentic Hadith should be rejected and such a religion should be considered a Pseudo-Islamic Cult. In America there are many pseudo-Islamic cults, Farrakhanism being one of them. An honest attitude on the part of such cults should be not to call themselves Muslims and their religion Islam, such an example of honesty is Bahaism which is an off-shoot of Islam but Bahais do not call themselves Muslims nor their religion, Islam. In fact Bahaism is not Islam just as Farrakhanism is not Islam.

The teachings of the Nation of Islam are extremely far from mainstream Islam in all matters, including those of doctrine. For example, Wallace Fard (known as Master Wali Farrad Muhammad) who organized the Nation of Islam in Detroit, claimed to be a prophet from Allah to the African American population.

Elijah Mohammad, who took leadership after Farrd disappeared, preached racism, stated that whites are an inferior race. There is a lot that can be said about the difference between the Nation of Islam and mainstream Islam. What we can tell you is that many African Americans who joined the Nation of Islam learned about the correct Islamic teachings and have joined the ranks of mainstream Muslims of all colors and races.

In Islam, it has to be blieved that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was the last prophet and his teaching along with Quran are final. Somebody not believing on this is a Non Muslim.

Excerpted, with some modifications, from:

http://www.missionislam.com/ 

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33. Why THERE ARE so Many Religions?

Question:

If there is only one God, then why are there so many religions?

Answer:

All religions originated with Allah and then people began to add or take away from the teachings so as to take control over each other. Allah says in Quran:

"…. This day are those who disbelieve in despair of (even harming) your religion ; so fear them not, fear Me! This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you, and have chosen for you as religion AL-ISLAM …."  (Al-Maeda 5:3)

Allah does not force anyone to submit to Him. He has laid out a clear path and then made it known to them the two ways (Heaven or Hell). The person is always free to make his or her own choice.

There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower. (256)  Allah is the Wali (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their Auliya (supporters and helpers) are Taghut [false deities and false leaders, etc.], they bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the Fire, and they will abide therein forever” (Al-Baqarah 2:256-257)

There is no compulsion in the way of "Islam." Whoever chooses to worship Allah without partners and is devoted to Him and is obeying His commands as much as possible, has grasped the firm handhold that will never break. Whoever denies God and chooses some other way to worship or not to believe at all, for them there is an eternal punishment that is most horrible (Hell).

People began to separate into different groups due to their rejection of truth and denial of clear proofs becoming evident to them from their Lord. 

And the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) differed not amongst themselves until after clear evidence came to them.

“And the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) differed not until after there came to them clear evidence (4) And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practice regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight”  (Al-Bayyanah  98:4-5)

Allah warns the Muslims not to fall into the same trap as the people before them, by disputing with each other and separating into different religious groups:

“And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them …”    (105) “On the Day when some faces will be (lit up with) white, and some faces will be (in the gloom of) black: To those whose faces will be black, (will be said): "Did ye reject Faith after accepting it? Taste then the penalty for rejecting Faith"  (Aale-Imran 3:105-106)

People lied about the revelations, changed their scriptures and abused and even murdered the prophets whom Allah sent to them.

“And verily, among them is a party who distort the Book with their tongues (as they read), so that you may think it is from the Book, but it is not from the Book, and they say: "This is from Allah," but it is not from Allah; and they speak a lie against Allah while they know it. (78) It is not (possible) for any human being to whom Allah has given the Book and Al-Hukma (the knowledge and understanding of the laws of religion, etc.) and Prophethood to say to the people: "Be my worshippers rather than Allah's." On the contrary (he would say): "Be you Rabbaniyun (learned men of religion who practice what they know and also preach others), because you are teaching the Book, and you are studying it."  (Aale-Imran 3:78-79) 

“Nor would he (a messenger of Allah) order you to take angels and Prophets for lords (gods). Would he order you to disbelieve after you have submitted to Allah's Will?”  (Aale-Imran 3:80) 

Man made religions are an abomination before the Lord and will never be accepted.

“Do they seek other than the religious way of life of Allah (the true Islamic Monotheism worshipping none but Allah Alone), while to Him submitted all creatures in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly. And to Him shall they all be returned”   (Aale-Imran 3:83) 

Allah will only accept true submission, obedience and in purity and peace to His commandments.

“And whoever seeks a Way of life other than submission and surrender to Allah's Will (Islam), it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers”    (Aale-Imran 3:85) 

To believe in Allah and follow His Commandments has been the message of all prophets of monotheism.

And Allah knows The Best

 Excerpted with slight modifications from: www.godallah.com/

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