بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Allah the Sublime and Exalted says:
و الذِينَ يُؤذُون المؤمنين و المؤمناتِ بغيرِ ما اكتسبوا فقدِ احْتَمَلُوا بهتاناً و إثمًا مبينًا
“And those who harm believing men and women undeservedly, they surely bear (the crime of) slander and a clear sin.” [Al-Ahzab: 58]
Ibn Kathir said: “Meaning; attributing to them that which they are free of, they neither enact nor do such. “..they surely bear (the crime of) slander and a clear sin” and this is a tremendous slander to report or convey something about a believing man and woman that which they do not do, from the perspective of fault and disparagement. And who is more plentiful in entering this threat than the disbelievers in Allah and His Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa sallam-, then the Shiite those who disparage the companions and find fault in them with that which Allah has freed them of, likewise they describe them with that which is opposite to what Allah has informed us of concerning them.”
This despicable characteristic is that which one does not expect to find in a salafi, let alone a student of knowledge who is known to frequent the circles of knowledge. As the scholars constantly warn against repugnant behavior, blameworthy statements and actions, and going beyond bounds with respect to the honor of another. As this is something firmly established in the prophetic traditions, as the Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- said, “whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day let him speak good or keep quiet.”
In light of this, it is very unfortunate to find that a student has criticized me with statements that one would expect to be uttered by an ignoramus or brazen enemy of the dawah. As my critic said about me “he’s all over youtube” referring to the audio and video lectures and sermons uploaded to youtube. My critic used this as his bases to substantiate 3 vicious accusations.
- I’m seeking leadership.
- I have a lack of ikhlaas.
- I’m putting myself forward. As it was conveyed to me that he said “why is he putting himself forward?”
Unfortunately my critic, by way of his reason and the conclusion he has drawn, has consequently opposed truth and guidance from that which has been learned and taught by our scholars. Thus it is not befitting for any salafi to fall into such, let alone a student of knowledge. As a result I intend, by Allah’s permission, to clarify in detail the opposition that my critic has fallen into, hoping that it be a source of benefit for all that it reaches. May Allah bless us with steadfastness upon the Sunnah, and protect us from transgressing His set boundaries.
الحكم على النَّاسِ بما ظَهَرَ لنا من أعمالهم و نَدَعُ السرائر إلى الله
The ruling upon the people is based on what is made apparent to us from their actions, and we leave what they conceal inwardly to Allah
Umar Ibn Al Khattaab said, “Verily people were taken to account based on revelation during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa sallam-, but revelation is now cut off, so now we hold you all to account based on what is apparent to us of your actions. So whoever displays good then we trust him and allow him to come close, and there is nothing upon us, as it relates to what he conceals inwardly. Allah will bring him to account regarding that. And whoever displays evil (outwardly) we do not trust nor believe him, even if he says that his intent is good.” Collected by Al Bukhari.
The meaning of the second khaleefah’s statement is very explicit and self explanatory. It teaches us that the apparent actions of an individual, whether they be praiseworthy or blameworthy, is what is judged and purity or corruption of intent is not for us to determine. For this reason when Abdullah Jibreen attempted to defend Hasan Al Banna (founder of the Ikhwaanul Muslimeen movement) by alleging that he was one with pure intentions in pleasing Allah (a mukhlis); sheikh Ahmad An Najmi responded by saying “as for him being a mukhlis no one knows this except Allah, as ikhlaas is a hidden matter that no one knows except Allah.”(1) The sheikh was not concerned with Al Banna’s intent, on the contrary he judged him based on the apparent blameworthiness of his actions.
This understanding of Umar and the scholars of Sunnah after him is firmly established and supported by the text of the Quran and Sunnah, and with Allah’s aid I’d like to present some of these textual evidence.
ثُمَّ قفَّينا على ءاثارهم برُسُلنا و قفَّينا بعيسى ابنِ مريمَ و ءاتيناه الإنجيلَ و جعلنا في قلوب الذين اتَّبعوه رأفةً و رحمةً و رهبانية ابتدعوها ما كتبناها عليهم إلا ابْتغاءَ رضوان الله فما رعوها حقَّ رعايتها
“Then We sent after them our messengers, and We sent Esa son of Maryam, and We gave him the Injeel. And We placed in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy. (However) the monasticism which they invented, We did not prescribe for them, they (implemented it) seeking Allah’s pleasure but did not observe it with proper observance…” [Al Hadeed: 27]
Ibn Kathir said: “And His statement -they (implemented it) seeking Allah’s pleasure- has two interpretations. The first is that they intended by way of it obtaining Allah’s pleasure. Saeed ibn Jubair and Qataadah both stated this. The other interpretation is We did not prescribe this for them We only prescribed seeking Allah’s pleasure.”
Based on the first interpretation we see clearly their intent, however the actions they put forth were not legislated by Allah, on the contrary it was that which they obliged upon themselves, thus the criticism is based on the apparent of what they did. And this is the condition of the people of innovation. As they labor hard by putting forth acts of worship that they devote to Allah, however the actions they put forth, despite their intent, are judged to be misguidance. This reality is illustrated in Allah’s Book.
قُلْ هل ننبّئُكم بالأخسرين أعمالاً – الذين ضلّ سعيهم في الحياة الدنيا و هم يَحسبون أنَّهم يُحسنون صنعًا
“Say: Shall We not inform you about the greatest losers with respect to actions? Those whose efforts are wasted in this worldly life while they thought that they were achieving good by their actions.” [Al-Kahf: 103-104]
For this reason Imaam Sufyaan Ath-Thawri said: “Innovation is more beloved to iblees than sins, due to innovation not being repented from, in contradiction to sins wherein repentance is sought.” [التحفة العراقية في الأعمال القلبية]
In addition there are examples of this tremendous principle found in the Sunnah.
1: The Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- said: “I have been commanded to fight the people until they bear witness that there is no deity in truth except Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, establish the prayer, and pay the zakah. If they do this, their blood and wealth are protected except with regards to the right of Islam, and their reckoning is with Allah.” Collected by both Al Bukhari and Muslim upon the authority of Ibn Umar.
Ibn Rajab said while explaining the statement –and their reckoning is with Allah-: “This was used as a proof by those who hold the opinion concerning accepting the repentance of the zindeeq, who is the hypocrite, when he outwardly displays the returning to Islam. They do not view the killing of him by merely the appearance of his hypocrisy, just as the Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- interacted with the hypocrites and conducted himself with them according to the rulings applied publicly to Muslims, even though he knew about the hypocrisy of some of them inwardly.” [جامع العلوم و الحكم]
Sheikh Saalih Alish-Sheikh said: “That is due to what came first from whoever publicly utters the testimony, performs the prayer, and pays the zakah. Thus we say that we accept the apparent of him and entrust his intentions to Allah, similar to the hypocrites’ circumstance. Indeed we know the hypocrites are disbelievers, however their blood and wealth are protected on account of what they make visible (of obedience to Allah and submission to His legislation), yet their reckoning is with Allah.” [شرح الأربعين النووية]
2: Usamah Ibn Zaid said: “Allah’s Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- sent us to Al Huraqah of Juhainah. We attacked them in the morning hours and defeated them. Meanwhile me and a man from the Ansar (pursued and) caught a man among them, when we approached him he said ‘there is no deity in truth except Allah’. (At that point) the Ansari spared him, whereas I struck him with my spear consequently killing him. When we returned news of this incident had already reached the Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam. So he said to me, “O Usamah! Did you kill him after he said: There is no deity in truth except Allah?” I replied, “O Messenger of Allah! He only did that as a means of shelter.” He said, “Did you kill him after he said: There is no deity in truth except Allah? He did not cease repeating this to me until I wished that I had not accepted Islam before that day.”
Imam An Nawawi said, while explaining an addition to this narration in another chain of transmission: The Prophet’s -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- statement –Did you not break through (his chest) to (reach) his heart in order to know if it said it or not!?– The doer in his statement –it said it or not– is the heart. The meaning is that you are only burdened with the apparent action and whatever the tongue utters. As for the heart there is no path for ascertaining awareness of what is in it.” [شرح صحيح مسلم]
Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al Uthaymin said: “Whoever displays good publicly, then we embrace him based on what he displayed publicly, even if he hides evil (intent). Whoever displays evil, we adopt a position with him based on his evil even if he conceals a pure intent, due to us not being burdened with anything except the apparent. This is Allah’s favor upon us that we do not judge except with what is apparent, because judging what is hidden is from the most difficult matters, and Allah does not burden a soul except with that which it can bear.
Therefore whoever manifests good we interact with him based on the good he manifests to us. Likewise whoever manifests evil we interact with him based on the evil he manifests to us, and we have no responsibility concerning his intent. As the intent is entrusted to the Lord of all that exist, He who knows what the souls of men whisper.” [شرح رياض الصالحين]
Hence the evidence concerning this subject, and the statements of the scholars are in abundance. In light of this, I find it baffling that a student would make statements of this nature that totally contradict this principle and its multitude of proofs. Especially since the apparent of my actions are considered to be praiseworthy in our religion. Dawah is a praiseworthy action that necessitates supporting the one who undertakes this task, it does not necessitate the type of foolishness emanated from my critic. Allah says:
و من أحسن قولاً ممن دعا إلى الله و عمل صالحًا و قال إنني من المسلمين
“And who is better in speech than he who calls (invites people) to Allah, does righteous deeds, and says: “Indeed I am from the Muslims!” [Al-Fussilat: 33]
Imam Ash-Shawkani said: “Meaning, he calls them to the tawheed of Allah and His obedience. Al-Hasan said: He is a believer who responded to Allah’s invitation, and he calls the people to that with which he responded to Allah as it pertains to obeying Him.” [فتح القدير]
Thus the question posed to my critic is; is this standard of yours applied to all involved in dawah, or is it specific to me?
There are numerous brothers involved in dawah by way of classes and lecture series whose lectures are recorded and circulated through various forums on social media. I witnessed, while in Los Angeles, our brother Fareed Abdullah allow his lectures to be recorded. I witnessed, while visiting Pittsburgh, our brother Moosa Richardson carrying a recorder shaped like a microphone which he used to record his khutbah and classes. I witnessed our brother Abu Abdis Salaam Al Juyaani record not only himself but our brother Abu Yususf Khaleefah at a lecture series that took place in Atlanta a few years back. And there are numerous brothers that do or allow this to be done. In fact our scholars conduct classes, lectures, and participate in seminars and allow their talks to be recorded.
So are we to draw the same conclusion as my critic and say none of the aforementioned are sincere? Or are we to say that all of them, in reality, are seeking leadership? Or are we to judge the action based on the apparent, that being the giving of dawah and the utilization of whatever means available to spread that dawah in an attempt to guide as many people as possible? Anyone with a sound intellect knows the correct answers to these questions, as the standard of my critic wouldn’t deem anyone involved in dawah to be a mukhlis, regardless if it’s a scholar or student of knowledge.
Another question; what traits have you seen in me to validate the claim of seeking leadership?
Ibn Abdil Barr transmits a statement of Fudayl ibn Iyyaad where he said: “There is no one that loves leadership except that he envies (others), maltreats (others), trails after the faults of people, and he hates that anyone is mentioned with good.” [جامع بيان العلم و فضله]
In addition the people of knowledge have mentioned a number of characteristics that indicate love of leadership, status, and fame from them are:
Compromising the truth to the extent that one calls to falsehood while being fully aware that it is falsehood.
Sheikh Rabee stated: “Indeed some people desire superiority (elevated status) and corruption, but Allah has made paradise for he who does not desire superiority throughout the land nor corruption and the good end is for the pious. Loving fame and superiority is a rampant disease present today in an abundance of groups and parties due to the fact that these groups, and their direction (in which they steer themselves), if the proofs were established against their misguidance and deviance, they would not retract from their falsehood. They are the most similar of people to whom Allah addresses:
و لو أنَّنَا نزّلْنا إليهم الملائكة و كلَّمهم الموتى و حشرنا عليهم كلَّ شيءٍ قبلاً ما كانوا ليُؤمنوا
“And if We had sent down to them angels, and the dead spoke to them, and if We had gathered all things in front of them they would not have believed…” [Al-An’am: 111]
و لئن أتَيتَ الذين أُوتوا الكتابَ بكلِّ آيةٍ ما تبعوا قِبْلتك
“And if you had come to those that received the scripture with every sign they would not follow your prayer direction…” [Al Baqarah: 145]
The people of the book with them was rebelliousness, pride, envy, self aggrandizement, and the loving of corruption throughout the earth, they placed these things between themselves and Allah’s invitation.
فائن لم يستجيبوا لك فاعْلم أنَّما يتَّبعون أهواءهم و من أضل ممنِ اتَّبع هواه بغير هُدى من الله
“If they do not respond to you, then know that they only follow their desires. And who is more astray than he who follows his desires without guidance from Allah…” [Al-Qasas: 50]
By Allah we have written to plenty who we thought would accept the truth. We established the proofs and evidence, us and others besides us, but we did not see anything except fallacy, obstinacy, haughtiness, self aggrandizement, perseverance in extolling the most astray of Allah’s creation, and perseverance in the belittling of the people of truth along with oppression and transgression against them.” [فتاوى فضيلة الشيخ العلامة ربيع بن هادي عمير المدخلي]
Interacts with people arrogantly, displaying repugnant and snobbish behavior with them due to looking down upon them.
Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al Uthaymin said: “Arrogance (الكِبْر) is haughtiness and a person believing about himself that he is magnificent. Also (he believes) that he is above the people, and that he possesses some virtue over them.Self amazement (الإعجاب) is a person looking at his own works and being amazed by them, he regards it as great and abundant.
Self amazement is in action while arrogance pertains to the self both are blameworthy creations. Arrogance has two types; arrogance with respect to the truth, and arrogance with respect to the creation. The Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- made this clear in his statement “arrogance is being discontent with the truth and looking down at people.” So being discontent with the truth is to reject and shun it, and to not accept it. Looking down at the people is to have a low opinion of and disrespect for them. Also to not view the people as anything, but views himself above them.” [شرح رياض الصالحين]
Literally requesting or asking to be put in a position of leadership.
Abu Musa said: I enter upon the Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- along with two men from my people. One of them said, “O Messenger of Allah, give us governorship.” The second said the exact thing, so the Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- said: “We do not give authority to whomever asks for it, nor to he who aspires after it.” Collected by Al Bukhari and Muslim.
Belittling the accomplishments of others.
Sheikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah said: “The blameworthy differing of two parties, its cause, at times results from corruption of intent, due to what is within the soul from transgression, envy, desiring superiority throughout the land and similar to that. Hence he loves, as a result of what is within, to censure the speech of others, their actions (and whatsoever is accomplished by their actions), and gaining prominence in order to be distinguished from him. In another manner, he loves the statement of whoever agrees with him pertaining to lineage, thought (ideology), country, friendship, and whatever is similar to that due to its outcome of obtaining distinction and leadership. And how abundant this is within the descendants of Adam, this is (without doubt) oppression.” [اقتضاء الصراط المستقيم]
Seeking nearness to people of status, virtue, and authority and avoiding those with lesser class and or status.
In light of this no criticism of this sort should be accepted from anyone, regardless of their status, unless it is backed by factual observations to support the conclusion drawn. No one is free from following the guidelines and protocols found in our dawah, I emphasize ‘no one’ thus when a criticism against another comes (from a student) devoid of any proof it should be dismissed and the critic should be reminded to fear Allah. As Ibn Abbas said: “There is no one except that some of his speech is taken and some are abandoned except the Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam.” Collected by At-Tabaraani [المعجم الكبير]. This was also stated by Mujaahid and most notably by Imam Malik.
Furthermore, what is it that would lead a person to criticize another in this manner for merely being involved in dawah? What causes him to have discontent for the caller for merely conducting classes, being consistent therein, and seeing the people accept his dawah? What causes him to view the actions of the caller as insignificant to the point he gives no support to the caller even if it be by speaking good of him based on the apparent of his actions? How is it that one that calls to Tawheed and the Sunnah, and warns against what contradicts it (in his specific locality) be maltreated in this manner?
What is feared for such an individual (the critic) is that he may have fallen into that of which he accuses his brother. Thus I advise my critic and those like him to fear Allah, the only reason why a Muslim puts forth a criticism against another is for Allah’s sake, being in accordance with His command, and seeking His reward. Whatever contradicts that is a source of failure and a means of separation between two brothers. Anas Ibn Malik narrated the statement of Allah’s Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa sallam-: “No two individuals love each other for Allah’s sake, then (suddenly) there’s a split between them except that it’s due to a sin one committed (against the other).” [الأداب المفرد]
My critic’s statement: “Why is he putting himself forward?”
Here my critic sarcastically criticized my conducting classes. The question has negative connotations that illustration the shamelessness of the critic by putting forth this criticism while he knows nothing of the condition of the people to whom I teach. The people in this community are plagued with ignorance, to the extent that the community would give juice as zakat-ul- fitr. There are errors in the etiquette and dress code concerning the prayer with both men and women that, in some cases, can affect the validity of the act, and other errors of this nature. So if this is the case with these issues, one can imagine the errors with respect to the fundamentals of the religion.
The rampant ignorance in this community has been witnessed by our brothers Abdur Rahman Al Afriki, Abu Yusuf Khaleefah, and Abu Muhammad Al Jamaiki, as all three have visited in order to help the situation here. So despite my critic’s preference in having me do nothing, I would ask how I correlate his feelings with the following guidance found in the Quran and Sunnah?
إنّ الذين يُكْتمون ما أنْزلْنا من البيِّناتِ و الهدى من بعد ما بينّاه للناس في الكتاب أُولائك يَلْعنهم الله و يلعنهم اللاعنون
“Indeed those that conceal what We have sent down from clarity and guidance, after We made it clear for the people, they are those whom Allah curse and are cursed by those who curse.” [Al Baqarah: 159]
In addition, we have the statement of Abu Huraira who said: “If it were not for two verses in Allah’s book I would not have narrated from him (the Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam) anything ever.” He then quoted verses 174 and 175 of Al Baqarah.
He also narrated the statement of Allah’s Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa sallam: “There is no man that memorizes knowledge then conceals it except that he will be brought on the Day of Resurrection bridled by reins from the fire.” Collected by Ibn Maajah.
Imam Ash-Shawkani said: His statement -“Indeed those that conceal”– to the end of the verse, therein is notification that whoever conceals such is cursed. The scholars differed as it relates to its intent. Thus it is said that it refers to the Jewish rabbis and the Christian priests who concealed the affair of Muhammad -sallahu alayhi wa sallam. Likewise it is said that it refers to all who conceal the truth and abandon clarifying whatsoever Allah has made binding to be clarified. And that is the more sound position, because the consideration is in the generality of the speech and not the specific reason (for which it was revealed), as is established in the fundamental principles (of tafsir).
So assuming that the descending of the verse was due to what occurred from the Jews and Christians with regards to concealing the truth, that does not negate the including within this verse of everyone that conceals the truth.” [فتح القدير]
Furthermore we have our Messenger’s -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- statement: “Convey from me even if it be one verse, narrate from the descendants of Israel as there is no harm (in doing such), and whoever lies on me intentionally let him be settled in his seat from the fire.” Collected by Al Bukhari.
Sheikh Al Uthaymin said: “Convey to the people what I say and do. Moreover (convey) all of his sunnah. “Convey from me even if it be one verse” from Allah’s book, and the “even if” here is for minimization. It means that no one should say that I can’t convey unless I am a major scholar, no! A person only conveys, even if it’s a verse, with the condition that he has knowledge of it, and that (he knows) it is the speech of the Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa sallam.” [شرح رياض الصالحين]
In summary, there is no relevant correlation between my critic’s speech and these prophetic directives, in fact the previously mentioned evidence illustrates the fact that my critic’s speech is wallowed in ignorance, stupidity, and narrow mindedness to say the least.
I advise my critic (and whomsoever falls into the same foolishness as him) to have taqwa of Allah, and to be conscious of Allah before uttering statements of this nature against anyone. Consultation and direction was sought from sheikh Rabee concerning differing that occurs among the salafis, in order to do away with these types of conflicts, the sheikh started his response by saying: “This emanates from a weakness in taqwa, steadfastness, and being upright. If there was steadfastness and uprightness upon the true command of Allah you would not find these sorts of things. This is nothing more than personal issues..” [من الشريط: النصائح و التوجيهات تعين على الثبات]
So fear Allah, and seek refuge with Him from being overtaken by the whispers of shaytan, for indeed it is the shaytan that loves discord between brothers. The Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- said: “Surely the shaytan has fallen into despair, regarding those devoted to prayer, worshiping him in the Arabian Peninsula, however (he strives for) discord between you.” Collected by Muslim.
Fear oppressing your brothers, Allah’s Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- said: “Fear oppression for indeed oppression is darkness on the day of resurrection.“(2) Likewise he said: “Fear the invocation of the oppressed, for indeed there is no veil between it and Allah.“(3) He also said “The bankrupt person from my nation will come on the day of resurrection with prayers, fasting, and charity, along with that he shall come with having insulted this person, accusing this person, misappropriating the wealth of this person, spilling the blood of this person, and striking this person. Thus this one and that one will be given from his good deeds. If his good deeds become depleted before the completion of what is upon him, then their (those oppressed by him) sins will be taken and hurled upon him, then he will be flung into the fire.” Collected by Muslim.
I remind my critic about the sanctity of the Muslim, as Allah’s Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- said: “Prohibited upon the Muslim is the blood, wealth, and honor of another Muslim.“(4) He also said during the Hajj: “Indeed your blood and honor are forbidden, like this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this land of yours…” Collected by Al Bukhari and Muslim.
Ahlus Sunnah are the foremost among the Muslims in implementation of these prophetic directives, thus it is hoped that my critic (and whomsoever falls into the same foolishness as him) strongly reflect and ponder on these statements of our Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- in order to protect themselves from falling into opposition to his guidance in this regard, and with Allah is success.
Written by Abu Abdil Waahid Najeeb Ibn Yusuf Al Anjelesi.
1: رد الجواب على من طلب مني عدم طبع الكتاب
2: Sahih Muslim 2578 and 2579
3: Sahih Al Bukhari 1395 and 1458. Sahih Muslim 19
4: Sahih Muslim 2564