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Translation from the Works of the Reviver of this Century

When Can You Exclude Someone from Ahlus-Sunnah or Call Him an Innovator? | End | Someone Who Sincerely Seeks the Truth But Then is Mistaken, Even in Aqidah or Usool, is Excused and Receives One Reward

Continuing from the first post.

Questioner: Yes, we said, ‘When is a man excluded from Ahlus-Sunnah? Is it when he believes in a creed other than theirs? And if he falls into some opposition to what Ahlus-Sunnah were upon even if it is only in one subsidiary issue, is he called an innovator?

Al-Albaani: This is an important question. It is possible to understand its answer in light of the answer to the previous question. So we say:

If he sought the truth and that which was correct but missed it then it is not permissible to say that, ‘He is not from Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah,’ just because he fell into a mistake even if we were to say that he fell into innovation, as occurs in your question.

Many, as the students of knowledge will know let alone the people of knowledge, many scholars fell into that which was haraam, but did they wilfully intend it? Far be it! So are they sinful in that? The answer is: no.

Thus, there is no difference between a scholar who falls into declaring halaal something which Allaah has made haraam and for which he is [still] rewarded [one time] and between another scholar who fell into an innovation unintentionally, he was aiming for the Sunnah but missed it, there is no difference between these two.

For this reason, we complain now about this new revolution which has erupted in Saudi between Ahlus-Sunnah themselves, whereby those whom it is thought have opposed Ahlus-Sunnah in some issues have appeared and so they [i.e., other people] declared them to be innovators and excluded them from Ahlus-Sunnah. It would have been enough for them to have said, ‘He is mistaken,’ firstly, then it was upon them to establish the proof from the Book and the Sunnah and what the Salaf as-Saalih were upon, secondly.

As for increasing the disunity with even more splitting and differences, then this is not from the practice of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, ever.

For this reason, it is not permissible to throw out someone who may have made a mistake in an issue, in accordance with the detail [I] previously mentioned: no matter whether that mistake was in the fundamentals [usool], or the subsidiary issues [furoo], or in aqidah or in fiqh–it is not permissible to declare him to be misguided, but rather he should be dealt with in a manner that is best.

What else?

Questioner: And if the Ahlus-Sunnah are able to bring that person and establish the proof against him in that which he has opposed the manhaj of Ahlus-Sunnah in, and despite that he still refuses to return to what they are upon, is he [then] declared to be an innovator or not?

Al-Albaani: The answer to this is also understood. If he stubbornly resists and persists then he is declared to be an innovator.

But if he says, ‘I do not see the correct stance to be in what you are saying,’’ in fact, he flips it back on them and in turn says that they are mistaken, then the issue remains one of a difference between him and them and it is not fitting that we believe that we know that in his heart he [really] believes the opposite of what he disclosed on his tongue and that he is thus a hypocrite.

We are not, as the Prophet عليه السلام indicated in the authentic hadith, ‘Why didn’t you split his heart open?’ [in the story] where that polytheist had fallen under the sword of a Muslim and so said, ‘Laa ilaaha illallaah,’ so he didn’t pay any attention to it and killed him, and the story is well-known, so he عليه السلام said, ‘Where were you in relation to the statement, ‘Laa ilaaha illallaah?

He said, ‘He only said it out of deception and the fear of being killed.’ So he عليه السلام said, ‘Why didn’t you split his heart open?’

And that person was a mushrik, and what is apparent makes one feel no doubt that he said it out of the fear of being killed, so [then] what is the matter with us regarding a Muslim who testifies that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah and that Muhammad is His Messenger and he stands by the Book and the Sunnah and the manhaj of the Salaf as-Saalih but who made a mistake in an issue and the proof was [then] established against him–and we say this [i.e., we say that the proof was established against him] with some reservation, because not everyone who argues is upon knowledge, but we will assume [in this example] that the proof really was established against him by a noble scholar or scholars, but he [still] was not convinced—then Allaah is the one who will judge him, and it is not permissible for us to give precedence to a mistake or mistakes [made by that person] over a multitude of that which [he] is correct [in].

The issue in this knowledge-based matter is exactly like that which is connected to righteousness or wickedness: it is not possible for a Muslim not to fall into some opposition to the Sharee’ah, i.e., he will definitely commit a sin or make a mistake, and each one of us errs as we all know. So, when we see a person has made a certain mistake or committed a certain sin, do we say that, ‘He is a disobedient sinner [faasiq],’ do we say that, ‘He is a criminal [faajir]?’ Or do we go by what is predominate? [We go] by that which is predominate—likewise the knowledge-based issue [we are discussing] is the same [i.e., just as you can’t call someone who falls into a sin a faasiq or a faajir you similarly cannot call someone an innovator based upon one mistake].

Questioner: The Shaikh of Islaam [Ibn Taymiyyah], may Allaah the Most High have mercy on him, mentioned in [his book], Iqtidaa as-Siraatal-Mustaqeem fee Mukhaalafati Ahlil-Jaheem that a man might attend an occasion like the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday or another such innovation and be rewarded for it due to his good intention and his lack of knowledge about the fact that the occasion he attended is something in opposition to what has come from Allaah and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم, what do you say about that?

Al-Albaani: There is no doubt that this speech is that of a man who is a scholar, and it is enough for you that the one who said it is the Shaikh of Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, he says, ‘… and he doesn’t know,’ so do we say, ‘He has to know everything?’ [i.e., do we expect a person to know absolutely everything such that he will never make a mistake?]

But I will say something else: it is permissible for a Muslim to attend a place like these [where such things are happening], and which he knows are newly-invented matters and are not legislated, not doing so to flatter [those who are performing that innovation] and nor to be seen [out of hypocrisy] but in order to inform [the people] about its lack of being something legislated.

Or if he is not able to … or the general situation does not enable him to renounce the origin/basis of this innovation, then he renounces that which may occur in that matter, which, if he does renounce, will not lead to a harm that is greater than the good which he is informing and reminding the people about.

And this, of course, is according to the well-known fiqh principle with the people of knowledge that bringing about the good takes precedence over repelling the harm and the opposite is true totally when the harm which is assumed will take place, is more than the benefit which he seeks … and we know that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to attend the meeting places of the polytheists, and there is no doubt that much, very much wrongdoing would occur there … and which one of us doesn’t know that when the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم was praying in the Masjid al-Haraam he used to be harmed and amnion and dust and unclean things would be placed on his back صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم, whilst he was praying, but he would attend the[ir] gatherings in order to perform the obligatory duty of calling them to tawheed as is known from his biography عليه الصلاة والسلام.

But in addition to this when Allaah gave him the conquest of Makkah and he entered and prayed inside the Ka’bah and Aai’ishah, may Allaah the Most High be pleased with her wanted to follow the example of her Prophet and husband by praying inside the Ka’bah [too], he عليه السلام said to her, ‘Pray in the hijr [the area at the side of the Ka’bah within the semi-circular wall], for it is from the Ka’bah and when your people’s funds ran short they removed the hijr from the Ka’bah,’ he said عليه السلام and here is the point we are proving, ‘Were it not for the fact that your people just left shirk I would have demolished the Ka’bah and built it upon Ibrahim’s foundation عليه السلام and would have made two doors for it on the ground. A door for them to enter from and a door for them to exit from.’

So, he عليه السلام left the Ka’bah with the deficiency that the Arabs rebuilt it upon in the Days of Ignorance, why? He said, ‘Were it not for the fact that your people just left shirk I would have demolished the Ka’bah …’ he feared عليه الصلاة والسلام that when those who had just recently embraced Islaam would see the Prophet عليه الصلاة والسلام demolishing the Ka’bah [they would have said], ‘He never left anything of ours, he even demolished Allaah’s Forbidden Sanctuary!’ So the Prophet عليه السلام established as a Sunnah the wisdom behind enjoining the good and forbidding the evil with such good words.

So if a man attended an event or place where there were wrong acts and newly-invented affairs in order to rectify them then he is rewarded for that, but if he does not know that it is a wrongful act or a newly-invented matter then there is nothing against him, [the affair rests upon] him and his intention, as the Shaikh of Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy on him, said.

I think you have obtained your answer, and more.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 734.

When Can You Exclude Someone from Ahlus-Sunnah or Call Him an Innovator? | 1 | Someone Who Sincerely Seeks the Truth But Then is Mistaken, Even in Aqidah or Usool, is Excused and Receives One Reward

This sitting was concluded on the 22nd of Dhul-Qa’dah 1413 which corresponds to 12th May 1993.

Questioner: All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of the Worlds, and may prayers and peace be upon the Messenger of Allaah, his family, Companions and whoever followed him in good until the Day of Judgement.

Your eminence, Shaikh, may Allaah reward you with good. I have some issues which I and others from the people of Medinah have found to be problematic, if you could please and with thanks from us, may Allaah reward you with good, give us an answer, in the detail that we [have come to] expect from you.

From these issues is [the question]: when is a person emitted from Ahlus-Sunnah? Is it when he believes as creed something different to their creed? And when he does fall into things which oppose the Ahlus-Sunnah, is it allowed to declare him to be an innovator straight away or after establishing the proof against him? And if it is not easy to establish the proof against him, either due to the death of that person or because of it being such a long time ago, or because it is [just] not possible to meet him in order to establish the proof against him [what do we do?].

So advise us [of the answer], and we thank you [for that].

Al-Albaani: Your question, may Allaah bless you, contains many [different] questions. If you would split between one question and the next, or put the paper in front of me so I can give you the answers to these parts which make up that one question.

Questioner: Okay, O Shaikh, I will repeat it point by point.

Al-Albaani: Point by point.

Questioner: Okay.

Al-Albaani: The first question?

Questioner: The first question: when is a person emitted from Ahlus-Sunnah, is it when he believes a creed other than their creed or when he falls into a few things which oppose their creed?

Al-Albaani: Yes. I say, and I ask Allaah the Mighty and Majestic for success in being correct in what I say:

It has become common amongst the scholars of the past and those of today that when a Muslim makes a mistake in what the scholars call the subsidiary issues [furoo] he is excused, but that if he makes a mistake in the fundamentals [usool], in aqidah, he is not—we believe that, firstly, this differentiation does not have any proof in the Legislation, and that secondly, it is obligatory upon a Muslim to, always and forever, seek to know the truth in that which the people have differed, whether that is connected to the fundamentals or the subsidiary issues or in aqidah or in the ahkaam.

So if he expends all his effort to come to know the truth in that which the people have differed and is correct then he has two rewards and if he is mistaken then he has one, as is well-known from the hadith of the Prophet reported in the Sahih, “If a judge passes judgment and makes Ijtihad and he is right then he will have two rewards.  And if he makes a mistake he will have one,” this is the basis/foundation.

Secondly, if a Muslim was eager in wanting to know the truth yet made a mistake, even if it is in aqidah or the fundamentals, then, firstly, he is not held to account for that—rather he is rewarded one time for his mistake, and secondly, due to what was previously mentioned [just above].

This is confirmed by the saying of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم which occurs in the Saheeh from the hadith of Hudhaifah ibn al-Yamaan and other noble Companions, [where they reported] that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said, “Amongst the people preceding your age, there was a man who had never done any good. While he was on his death-bed, he called his sons and said, ‘What type of father have I been to you?’ They replied, ‘You have been a good father.’ He said, ‘I have sinned against my Lord and if Allaah has power over me, He will punish me severely. So when I die, burn me and scatter half of the resulting ashes in the sea and half in the wind.’ His sons did accordingly, but Allaah the Mighty and Majestic said, ‘Be so and so,’ and so he became a fully formed man. Then He said to him, ‘What made you do so?’ He replied, ‘Fear of you.’ So Allaah said, ‘I have forgiven you.’”

So Allaah the Mighty and Majestic forgave this person even though he had fallen into disbelief and shirk, [and he fell into this disbelief and shirk] through this will of his, which may not, amongst all of the wills that we have known or come across, have an equivalent in terms of its injustice and oppression. [But] Allaah did not take him to account, in fact He forgave him, because He knew that he didn’t leave that unjust will except out of [his] fear of Him.

Thus, the Muslim … [and] now comes the summary of the answer … when a Muslim seeks Allaah the Mighty and Majestic’s Face in all that he holds as religion before Him and takes as creed concerning Him, but then misses the truth, then there is no doubt that Allaah the Mighty and Majestic will forgive his mistake—in fact he will be rewarded for it one time.

This is what we hold as religion before Allaah and this is the fatwa we give–always and forever.

And the summary of that is: that it [i.e., believing otherwise] is in opposition to the foundation and principle that Allaah does not hold a person to be accountable for what he is mistaken in but only for that which he wilfully intended, and secondly, due to [the reasons given when explaining] this authentic hadith [mentioned above].

What’s next?

Questioner: Next is that the Shaikh of Islaam [Ibn Taymiyyah] may Allaah have mercy on him, mentioned in [his book], Al-Iqtidaa, he mentioned that a man may be rewarded for his presence at the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday or for an innovation depending on his purpose and intention, what do you say about that?

Al-Albaani: This is not a question … this wasn’t read out just now, you read a question which included many others.

Questioner: Yes …

Al-Albaani:So maybe you have taken a leap like that of a gazelle!

Questioner: Yes, I leapt.

Al-Albaani: Why did you jump?

Someone else: Go back to the first.

Questioner: Shall we go back to the first?

Al-Albaani: We said that your first question was composed of [many different] questions, so just now you repeated the first part of it and I gave you the answer, because you based many questions upon the first which was whether he leaves the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah

Questioner: Okay.

Al-Albaani: Yes?

Questioner: Now … would you like me to …

Al-Albaani: Ya’ni, there are things you jumped over …

Questioner: Yes, O Shaikh.

Al-Albaani: I don’t know, maybe if you are not in need of them then that is up to you, but I feel as though you are in need of the rest of the answers.

Questioner: Yes, we said, ‘When is a man …

The Elite of the Elite from the People of Knowledge are The Ones who can Deal Justly Between Two Disputants Those Students of Knowledge or Common Muslims Less Than Them Should Stay Out of It

Questioner: What do you advise us with Shaikh, what do you advise concerning this issue, i.e., [that] some of the brothers abroad regard books like these … they do not examine them closely, books will come out and they’ll start looking at the title only, and [then] they’ll try to judge some of their brothers from the title alone, without close examination. So what is your advice in terms of [explaining the correct] da’wah and in terms of help and so on, may Allaah bless you.

Al-Albaani: I think that along with the answer for the previous question, it is possible for us to get an answer for this one.

Questioner: Yes.

Al-Albaani: Now, without doubt, we are living through a very big problem. Where, in recent times, disunity between the groups that affiliate themselves to the Book and the Sunnah has surfaced. So, from one angle, we advise the students of knowledge and especially the general masses of Muslims not to raise their heads towards such differences as these and from the other that they not be with one group against another.

Because firstly, it is not easy, ever, to distinguish what is correct from an error or the truth from falsehood. And secondly, and this is very important, not every person can judge with justice and fairness and stand by His Saying, the Most High, “… and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just–that is nearer to righteousness. [Maa’idah 5:8]

Carrying out justice between two disputants, especially when a person’s desire is with one of the two, is very, very difficult. And from the authentic Sunnah we know that when the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم sent Ali as a judge to Yemen he said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah! You’re sending me to a people and I do not know how to judge?’ So he عليه السلام struck his chest and said to him, ‘Do not judge between two people until you have heard from both of them.’

Actualising this text in such differences which you referred to [in your question] and a part of which I have [already] explained, achieving justice, in fact, actualising the truth before justice—none except the most elite of the elite from the people of knowledge are capable of it.

Because they are the ones who have the capability to familiarise themselves with what these [disputants] say and what those others say and then compare the statement of this [group of people] with that, and then extract the correct from the two statements.

And sometimes there may be no [actual] difference between the two parties or statements except for, as the scholars say concerning some matters of dispute, that it is a, ‘Difference in wording.’

No one can do this except for a few individuals from the elite.

And [yet] there are people from the elite who cannot judge with justice–he knows where the truth is concerning the two parties, [he knows] whether there is a difference between them or not, [but still even] if there is a difference between them, the truth may be with the side which he does not feel affection for—and so he swerves away from justice, and for this reason He, the Most High, said, “… and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just–that is nearer to righteousness.

For this reason, we advise the students of knowledge, let alone those less than them, not to delve into [such matters] in this way, and that they not take a stance except for the truth that they know before this problem occurs or before these differences appear.

Questioner: May Allaah bless you.

Al-Albaani: And you.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 674.

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