The Albaani Site

Translation from the Works of the Reviver of this Century

Praying Behind the People of Innovation | 4 | Al-Albaani Asked About Praying Behind the Quburis [People Who Fall Into Shirk Connected to the Graves]


Questioner: Another cassette reached us which had some of your statements regarding the fighting in Afghanistan and your fatwa about the permissibility of praying behind the grave-worshippers [Qaburis], so the people differed [after hearing this fatwa of yours], O Shaikh.

Al-Albaani: “… and they will not cease to differ, except whom your Lord has given mercy …” [Hud 118-119], this is the text of the Noble Quraan, “And if your Lord had willed, He could have made mankind one community; but they will not cease to differ, except whom your Lord has given mercy.” [Hud 118-119]

So differing is something very normal and there is no escape nor deliverance from it except by sticking to the Book and the Sunnah, for this reason, if some differing does occur then two things are obligatory on those who have differed:

The first is that this differing should not be a cause for disunity [and that it should not be] differing which leads to disunion/separation.

The second thing is that they should return to Allaah and His Messenger in that [issue], as Allaah the Mighty and Majestic said in the Quraan, “… and if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allaah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allaah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.” [Nisaa 4:59] And I believe that in many issues [people either] go too far or fall short.

In many issues there is excessiveness and negligence. Many of our brothers who cling to the Sunnah hold that one should not pray behind innovators but I say: these innovators, in our ruling about them based upon what is apparent to us, are either disbelievers or Muslims. So if they are disbelievers then praying behind them is not correct unanimously. And if they are Muslims then the prayer behind them is correct even if they are from the innovators or are misguided in some issues which they have left the Sunnah in.

And we have a hadith in Sahih Bukhari from Abu Hurairah, may Allaah the Most High be pleased with him, where he said that Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said concerning the Imaams, “If they lead the prayer correctly then they and you will receive the rewards, but if they make a mistake, then you will receive the reward for the prayer and the sin will be theirs.” [Bukhaari, no. 694].

And another hadith also from Sahih Bukhari that a ruler in one of the cities, I think it was Medinah, during the time of the Amawis, his name was Uqbah ibn al-Walid as far as I recall, led the people in the morning prayer one day with four rak’ahs [instead of two]–because he was drunk, having drunk alcohol, so he didn’t know what he had prayed, and from his misguidance was that after he gave salaam to end the prayer he said [to the people], ‘Shall I give you some more [i.e., make it even longer]?’ He prayed four rak’ahs for fajr and yet along with that he said, ‘Shall I give you some more?’

The hadith is in Sahih Bukhari, [and Imaam Bukhaari is] the one who narrates the hadiths exactly as they are, and he didn’t relate to us that those Salaf repeated the prayer which that man led them in as four rak’ahs, why? Because of that first hadith [I mentioned to you, i.e.,], “If they lead the prayer correctly then they and you will receive the rewards, but if they make a mistake, then you will receive the reward for the prayer and the sin will be theirs.”

This is from one angle. The other angle is that there is no doubt that many of these innovators wanted what was correct but missed it, for this reason our obligation is to try to direct and guide them and not to take them as our opponents and enemies. And this issue is contingent upon what I mentioned just now: that as long as they are Muslims then they have the same rights as us and the same responsibilities.

And if they leave the fold of Islaam and become disbelievers like those who believe in Wahdatul-Wujood, for example, then it is not correct to pray behind them, but such people are not called innovators. The innovators are those like the Khawaarij, the Mu’tazilah, the Murji’ah–the Imaams of Hadith used to report hadith from them with the condition that they be truthful in that which they were reporting and had memorised their narrations and they did not declare them to be outside the fold of Islaam but gave them the ruling they deserved which was that they had left the Sunnah.

For this reason we do not become enthusiastic in warning the people from praying behind innovators, rather, many times I am asked openly, ‘Imaam so and so seeks intercession with the Awliyaa and the righteous, should we pray behind him?’ I say: yes, has he left the fold of Islaam through that … [tape cuts off here] …

And through this method, in my view, it is possible to bring together the views and differences [found] amongst the Muslims. As for if we were to pass the judgement that the one who innovated one innovation or many in Islaam has left Islaam then the distance [caused by] differing will increase between us and the Muslims, and this, without doubt is not allowed.

This is my opinion concerning praying behind the innovators, I don’t know if you have any comments that we can listen to and benefit from?

Questioner: May Allaah reward you with good, O Shaikh.

Al-Albaani: And you.

Questioner: Because … your old or previous stance … and it was a stance which … ya’ni, was strong concerning them, this became the foundation of those youth with us, it became a foundation which is difficult for them to leave.

Al-Albaani: The previous stance? What was it?

Questioner: Shaikh it was the categorical stance towards the innovators, even with us our stance regarding the innovators [became such] that everyone who seeks intercession is an innovator, everyone who seeks succour [with the Awliyaa] is an innovator, in fact, it reached such an extent that everyone who doesn’t move his finger in tashahhud [is an innovator] … i.e., a stance which was not good in this affair …

Al-Albaani: Yes.

Questioner: So it has become, O Shaikh, ya’ni, the foundation of the youth’s stance is that there should be severity towards the grave-worshippers, towards those who seek intercession [through the righteous etc.], total severity.

Because frankly, O Shaikh, the situation of the grave-worshippers where we are is clear and manifest, and their seeking aid from other than Allaah is clear and none of them hide it, in fact they show enmity to the Ahlus-Sunnah through that, indeed they sometimes plot against the Ahlus-Sunnah, as is present now, and this has resulted in problems, so when they [i.e., those youth] heard this fatwa [of yours], the reality was that some of them were looking left and right [not knowing what to do], except that, alhamdulillaah, the stance of the people of knowledge with us was clear and they understood what you meant, O Shaikh, so alhamdulillaah, they clarified the situation.

Al-Albaani: Whatever the case, may Allaah bless you. What you mention concerning your country is in all countries, i.e., that the people of innovation fight the Ahlus-Sunnah.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 337.

When Can a Person Say, ‘I have established the proof against so and so?’

Questioner: When can I say, ‘I have established the proof against a certain person?’

Al-Albaani: Firstly, it is obligatory here that both people are taken into consideration, the one establishing the proof and the one it is being established against. If the one establishing the proof really is a scholar of the Book and the Sunnah, then this is the first condition.

The second is that he be eloquent and clear in what he says such that he is able to present the knowledge that he has to the people in a clear Arabic tongue, if he is an Arab, and if he is a non-Arab then similarly the situation does not go beyond what we mentioned of being capable of clarifying [what is required], as the Quraan indicated in His Saying, “And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them …” [Ibraaheem 14:4] i.e., if the one establishing the proof has been granted eloquence and clarity in his language or in the language of his people and as we mentioned before has knowledge, it is then that he is able to say, ‘I have established the proof,’ [but] this is [only] regarding that which is in relation to him–the other side remains.

[Namely,] does the other person [against whom the proof is being established] have the understanding and perception and mental preparedness to accept–sorry, I made a mistake, [let me say this] so that you understand it clearly–is he mentally prepared to understand and not [just] accept, because the proof may be clear and plain, but is still not accepted by the one who turns away, or the mushrik, the kaafir.

But I want to repeat what I mean to say again, so: if he has the ability to understand the proof, then if the first condition is met in that person who is trying to establish/clarify the proof, and thereafter it becomes evident to this person that the one against whom the proof is being established has grasped the topic through his proofs and his clarification, at that time it is possible that he can say, ‘I have established the proof against so and so.’

I personally find it difficult to picture that the statement of a person that, ‘I have established the proof against so and so,’ is in agreement with reality, it is difficult for me to picture this situation. Because I don’t find–rather I can hardly imagine that the conditions [I mentioned earlier] be met in the one establishing the proof and the one it is being established against, for the issue may be defective on one of the two sides, and thus it is not correct to say, ‘I have established the proof against so and so,’ this is from one aspect.

The other aspect is [to ask] what is the point of the saying of the one who claims that, ‘I have established the proof against so and so?’ Is it to declare him to be a disbeliever? Declaring him to be a disbeliever … nothing will be the decisive boundary between him and disbelief except the sword, so if he chooses disbelief over the sword then he is a kaafir without any doubt, but as for us where today we live in a state of confusion and freedom which has no bounds, and a person is free to say and do whatever he wants, so we say what is the purpose behind saying, ‘I have established the proof against someone?’ is it to declare him to be a disbeliever? You can’t say that, ‘I have established the proof against him and so he is a disbeliever,’ because what we just mentioned stands in the way of that.

Thus, nothing remains except to entrust this person’s affair to Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, for He is the One who knows the reality of the one establishing the proof and the one it is being established against, i.e., [He is the One who knows] whether the proof has been established against the person or not. And your Lord is the One who knows what is in the breast of man and so He is his judge.

As for us, then we go by what is apparent from any Muslim who declares that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah and that Muhammad is His Messenger.

Only in an extremely rare case can I picture that [on one side] there is a real scholar of the Book and the Sunnah and that on the other there is the one who the proof is being established against and who has actually had the affair conveyed to him and has understood it but who then opposes it and disbelieves, such a person would be the one concerning whom it would be possible to say, ‘He has disbelieved.’  Even though in our society there is no major benefit which comes about through this, because the Sharee’ah laws are not implemented, this is what I have.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 24.

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