The Albaani Site

Translation from the Works of the Reviver of this Century

Tag: innovation

Is it Allowed to Praise the People of Innovation?

In this post, the Shaikh refers to a, ‘… long answer,’ he gave just before this one was asked, that answer can be found here.


Questioner: Is it allowed to praise the people of innovation even if they claim to be serving Islaam and [say] that they are striving for that, like at-Turaabi and those like him?

Al-Albaani: The answer differs according to the circumstance.

If what is meant by praising a Muslim who we assume is an innovator, and we do not say that he is an innovator [and you will have understood this] by that long answer [I just gave, where I said that] we differentiate between the two things inshaa Allaah–so if what is intended by praising him is to defend him in the face of the disbelievers then this is obligatory.

But if what is meant by praising him is to beautify his methodology and to call the people to it, then this is not permissible.

Questioner: May Allaah reward you with good.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 666.

Differentiating Between Innovations

Questioner: Some people say that someone who innovates a type of innovation which can lead to disbelief [bid’ah ‘mukaffirah’] has left the Ahlus-Sunnah, [but that] someone who innovates a type which can lead to defiant disobedience [bid’ah ‘mufassiqah’] does not leave the Ahlus-Sunnah.  If the proof was established against him and he persisted in it would he [still] be regarded as being from the Ahlus-Sunnah then?

Al-Albaani: Repeat [your question].

Questioner: Some people say that someone who innovates a type of innovation which can lead to disbelief has left the Ahlus-Sunnah

Al-Albaani: Firstly, what is an innovation which can lead to disbelief and one which can lead to defiant disobedience?

Questioner: An innovation which can lead to disbelief and one which can lead to defiant disobedience.

Al-Albaani: What are they?

Questioner: An innovation which can lead to disbelief would be like if he were to innovate an innovation comprising disbelief like when some of them do not hold that Allaah the Most High rose above His Throne and so on. And an innovation which can lead to defiant disobedience would be like if he were to fall into an innovation connected to worship, like celebrating the Prophet’s birthday, for example.

Al-Albaani: This speech is incorrect, it emanates from [scholastic] theology [ilmul-kalaam].

Differentiating between innovations connected to fundamentals [usool], innovations in the subsidiary issues [furoo], innovations connected to rulings [ahkaam], innovations connected to worship–this differentiation is [in itself] an innovation.

Do you see if there were a man who approached a certain Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, like the Sunnah for the morning prayer, for example, and read four [instead of two] and insisted on that, which type of innovation would this be?  One which can lead to disbelief or defiant disobedience?

Questioner: According to the categorisation [I asked about] it would be an innovation which can lead to defiant disobedience.

Al-Albaani: This is false and futile speech.

From the things which later generations [khalaf] inherited from the Salaf–and by the term ‘Salaf’ here I don’t mean that technical meaning which we use it with [i.e., the Shaikh is saying that people have taken the incorrect understanding which he is going to mention in the next few sentences, from their fathers, forefathers, ancestors etc., and not from ‘the’ Salaf, i.e., the first three generations of Muslims and those upon their way, i.e., he’s using the term Salaf here with the linguistic meaning]–is to distinguish between mistakes in subsidiary issues [furoo’] and those in the fundamentals [usool], [saying that] mistakes in the subsidiary issues are forgiven while those committed concerning the fundamentals are not … and the authentic hadith, “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,” [Bukhari: 7352, Muslim: 1716] this is concerning the subsidiary issues [they say], but as for the fundamentals, mistakes made concerning them are not forgiven–this [saying of theirs] has no origin, not the Book nor the Sunnah, and nor from the statements of the Salaf as-Saalih. That which is found in the statements of the Salaf is a severe threat from all innovation, whether in aqidah or [matters of] worship.

In reality, just now I remembered, ‘Whoever declares a Muslim to be a disbeliever has disbelieved,’ and I add to it that whoever declares a Muslim to be an innovator … to the end.

Because the reality is that in my opinion there is no difference between disbelief and innovations. If a Muslim innovated something and his innovation was made clear to him but he still persisted in it, like the example I gave just now, like denying Allaah’s Ascendancy above His creation, or denying that the Quraan is His Speech or, or … etc., [then] there is no difference between these things at all, not in affirming or negating: i.e., affirming by saying, ‘This is disbelief,’ [is done] with the aforementioned condition, i.e., that the proof has been established … and negating, i.e., [saying] that he is not to be declared a disbeliever, is [also] not done except with the aforementioned condition [i.e., establishing the proof].

I say again that the Mu’tazilah and the Khawaarij are the same in some of their misguidance and different in other things. For example, the Khawaarij are the same as the Mu’tazilah in saying that the Quraan is created, and I just mentioned to you that the scholars of hadith do not declare the Khawaarij to be disbelievers, thus, in our minds how do we reconcile between [those who say that] someone who denies aqidah is a kaafir but someone who innovates something concerning worship is a faasiq [and not a kaafir, even though both have innovated]?

[How can we say this when ] we see that the Imaams of Hadith narrate from the Khawaarij and from the Mu’tazilah even though they oppose the correct aqidah in more than one issue?

So for example, these people who said that Allaah’s Speech is created also deny that Allaah will be seen in the Hereafter, this denial and the one before it cause our previous definition to apply to them, that it is disbelief but that not everyone who falls in to disbelief has the ruling of disbelief applied to them.

How do we reconcile between the fact that we find the Imaams of Hadith and the Imaams of the Salaf like Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim ruling that the Khawaarij and the Mu’tazilah are misguided no doubt, [and between the fact that] they do not declare them to be disbelievers who have apostatised from their religion? [This is so] because they hold that there is a possibility that, firstly, the issues was unclear to them and secondly that the proof was not established against them.

Let’s go back to the root of our first topic, that these people are innovators, but that we do not know whether they wilfully intended that innovation, [nor do we know if] the proof has been established against them … etc., this is the manhaj of the scholars–they declare the Mu’tazilah to be misguided, and the Khawaarij, and the Ash’aris, in more than one issue, but they do not declare them to be disbelievers, and nor do they declare them to be outside the fold of Islaam due to the possibility of what we just mentioned, which goes back to two things which I will remind you of: the first, that they did not intend to innovate or [fall into such] violations, and secondly, that we do not know if the proof was established against them or not.

Thus, their reckoning is with Allaah and we go by what is apparent from them–which is Islaam, and they died upon Islaam and were buried in the Muslim graveyards, and thus, they are Muslims.

So differentiating between innovations which can lead to disbelief [bid’ah ‘mukaffirah’] and innovations which can lead to defiant disobedience [bid’ah ‘mufassiqah’] is terminology which emanates from the scholars of theological rhetoric, and secondly, there is no proof for it whatsoever.

And I will finish this topic by reminding you [of the point I’m making] with a hadith which proves what I just mentioned: that not everyone who falls into disbelief becomes a disbeliever.

I’m referring to the hadith of Bukhaari reported by the two venerable Companions, Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri and Hudhaifah ibn al-Yamaan, who said that Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said, “A man used to do sinful deeds, and when death came to him, he said to his sons, ‘After my death, burn me and then crush me, and scatter the powder in the air, for by Allaah, if Allaah has control over me, He will give me such a punishment as He has never given to anyone else.’ When he died, his sons did accordingly. Allaah ordered the earth saying, ‘Collect what you hold of his particles.’ It did so, and behold! There he was (the man) standing. Allah asked (him), ‘What made you do what you did?’ He replied, ‘O my Lord! I was afraid of You.’ So Allah forgave him.”

So now let us ask, did this man disbelieve or not?

Questioner: He disbelieved.

Al-Albaani: He disbelieved? But Allaah forgave him?

Questioner: He didn’t disbelieve [then].

Al-Albaani: Didn’t you see what he said, ‘… if Allah has control over me …’ he didn’t disbelieve?

Questioner: According to this statement, [then] yes [he disbelieved].

Al-Albaani: I didn’t restrict it [to being based upon that statement alone], I said did he disbelieve or not?

We know from the Noble Quraan that Allaah does not forgive associating partners with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whoever He wills. How do we reconcile [between these two things]?

We do so based upon what we just said before: [that] Allaah does not forgive associating partners with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whoever He wills–He does not forgive someone who associates partners with Him intentionally and deliberately.

What do you think about this condition/stipulation?

Questioner: Good.

Al-Albaani: Good. But is it present in the aayah?

Questioner: It’s not.

Al-Albaani: Did we conjure it up based upon our desires?

Questioner: No.

Al-Albaani: This is how the Sharee’ah is, it is not taken from one aayah or one hadith, but rather from a group of what has been reported in the issue [at hand].

For this reason, it is not only in issues of fiqh that we must gather all the texts in order to know the abrogating from the abrogated, the general from the specific, the unrestricted from that which restricts/limits, and so on–rather aqidah has a greater priority in that by far, so when the scholars explain this aayah, “Indeed, Allaah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills …” [An-Nisaa 4:48] they normally do not mention such detail, but when problems and doubts occur, it is there that the scholar is compelled to make clear the knowledge that he has.

So this man left a will which I cannot picture there being an equivalent to, in its injustice, oppression and misguidance: [he told them to] burn him so that he could get away from His Lord, and Allaah says, “And he presents for Us an example and forgets his [own] creation. He says, “Who will give life to bones while they are disintegrated?” [Yaa Seen 36:78] yet despite that, our Lord forgave him, because disbelief had not taken root in this person’s heart.

He pictured his sins before Allaah the Mighty and Majestic and his fear of Him and the fact that when he reaches Him, the Mighty and Majestic, He would punish him severely, this inclination and dread blinded him from seeing the correct aqidah, and so he ordered that [that] wrongful will [be carried out], and the hadith is clear, ‘Go, for I have forgiven you.’

So for example, [although] we believe he did fall into Wahdatul-Wujood, it is not fitting for us to picture that Sayyid Qutb did so intentionally and that he firmly set his heart onto it–unlike Ibn Arabi, the one who misguided millions of Sufi Muslims. Maybe this Sufi ideology, occurred to him [i.e., Qutb] while he was imprisoned and he didn’t grasp the issue based upon knowledge, and so he wrote that phrase which I was one of the first to criticise.

We do not judge him to be a disbeliever, because we do not know if disbelief took root in his heart or not, or whether the proof was established against him, especially when he was in prison–how could it have been?

For this reason we do not connect the fact that a Muslim falls into disbelief with him being a disbeliever, we do not bind these two issues together, this is the first matter and it has been repeated in order to warn [you]. Secondly, we do not differentiate between innovations in aqidah or innovations in worship, both of them are either misguidance or disbelief.

And maybe in this much there is sufficiency, O Abu Abdur-Rahmaan.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 664.

Praying Behind the People of Innovation | 2 | The Ruling Concerning the Youth Boycotting Those Mosques in Which the Imaams Fall Short in Implementing the Sunnah

Questioner: There are some youth in Morocco and Poland and other countries who boycott the mosques of the innovators, for example, [those who perform innovations such as] sending salaah on the Prophet of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم in unison, reading the Quraan in one voice, they do not give due attention to the Prophet’s Sunnah صلى الله عليه وسلم …

Al-Albaani: Like?

Questioner: … straightening the rows during prayer, saying Aameen loudly, and they also recite the Quraan in unison [as I mentioned above] and other things too.

Al-Albaani: From the mistakes of these Imaams boycotted by that group [of youths] you are speaking about is that they [i.e., those Imaams] do not establish the Sunnah, correct? [i.e., that is what you’re asking, right]?

Questioner: Yes.

Al-Albaani: This [itself] is something which is considered to be in opposition to the Sunnah: i.e., boycotting a mosque because of the shortcomings of the Imaams of these mosques in implementing the Sharee’ah rulings and their lack of due concern for the Prophetic Sunnah does not make it permissible for those keen on following the Sunnah to boycott those mosques–except if it is to leave a mosque which has innovations like those [you mentioned] for another mosque which does not.

As for boycotting in the manner described in the question, i.e., a total boycotting of all mosques, then the example of that is like someone who builds a palace but destroys a whole country in doing so.

Since establishing the prayer, establishing the five prayers with the Muslim congregation in the mosques is an obligation, and it is not permissible for a Muslim to turn away from or to be complacent in carrying it out except for a legislated excuse.

It is no excuse whatsoever that mosques should be completely abandoned because some of those who pray there, even if it be the Imaam himself, oppose the Sunnah in many or a few matters–except if it is like what I just mentioned, that a person leaves a mosque which is close to him and goes to another because it is free of innovation, this is something obligatory on those who want to cling to the Sunnah.

This is because in this day and age, if a Muslim wanted to go into such fine detail with the Imaams of the mosques he would have to seclude himself from all of the people, because you will hardly ever find a mosque today which is established on the Sunnah from all angles, this is something impossible.

And that is because firstly, all of the mosques, or most of them, are built with tainted money, and are built in a manner which opposes the Sunnah. You will hardly find a mosque today except that it is decorated and embellished, even Makkah and Madinah, as you know.

So if these people don’t want to pray in a mosque which has an innovation in it, where will they go? They will have to leave all the congregations of the Muslims and will remain in the corners of their homes, praying there. And as such many hadiths would apply to them about the one who opposes the jamaa’ah dying the death of the days of ignorance.

For we find an excuse for a person who leaves a certain mosque to go to another which has less innovations, I do not say that this other mosque does not have any innovations, this does not exist today, but as was said of old, ‘Some evil is less than others [in severity].’

So it is possible that a Muslim can find a mosque close or far from him which establishes the prayer on the Sunnah, but [still] it will be full of engravings and decorations, but he has no say in that.

So today the Muslim [should be] as the Prophet عليه السلام said in some authentic hadiths, ‘Be moderate and aim to do good …’ [Sahih Muslim, no. 7117], as for trying to find the Prophet’s Mosque as it was in his time عليه السلام, then he will not find it today–so will a person then isolate himself from the people by staying in his house and severing his ties between himself and the Muslims in the most sacred and pure of Allaah’s places as is mentioned in an authentic hadith that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said about the best and worst of places, ‘The best places are the mosques and the worst are the markets.’

So if a Muslim wants a mosque which does not have a single breach of the Sharee’ah, it will mean that he will leave the best of places, i.e., the mosques–and this is not allowed, because as you know the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله سلم, and I will not prolong this too much, encouraged and stressed that one should pray with the Muslim congregation in the mosques, rather, Allaah the Mighty and Majestic ordered that in the Noble Quran when He said, “And establish prayer and give zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience].” [Baqarah 2:43]

Thus, these people who stay away from or who boycott praying in the mosques–they are not doing so based upon any knowledge, for if they were upon knowledge they would have known the principle that when a Muslim is presented with two evils, he chooses the lesser of the two.

So they either pray in these mosques which they have no control over, except for ordering the good and forbidding the evil, they can’t change the evil there with their hands but they can say a good word–so if they leave off praying in these mosques and do so in their houses it would mean that they would have left the legislated principle which [as I just mentioned is that] when a Muslim is presented with two evils, he chooses the lesser of the two.

But I [also] said that if there is a mosque which opposes the Sunnah less [than another] and a Muslim goes there leaving the one close to him, then this is something we order and encourage as far as we are able to do so.

It may be that one of these beginners in knowledge may have read, for example, the narration which occurs in Sunan Abee Dawud that Ibn Umar entered a mosque and heard a man calling out to the prayer, saying, ‘The prayer! The prayer!’ … in Syria after the call to prayer is given they open a window and [a person calls out and] his voice can be heard in the street, saying, ‘O worshippers, the prayer! O worshippers, the prayer!’–when the muezzin said, ‘Come to prayer! Come to success!’ was it in vain [such that this man now has to say these extra words after the call to prayer?] [Calling out with these extra words after the adhaan] is a correction of the One who laid down the Sharee’ah [i.e., Allaah], for this reason [going back to that narration of Ibn Umar], when he entered the mosque and heard that man calling out, he said, ‘This is a mosque which has an innovation in it,’ and he left it.

But this does not mean that one should leave all mosques, but rather that one should go to a mosque which does not have innovations [if he can find one], for this reason these people [mentioned in the question] were only overcome due to their lack of knowledge and their extremism in following the Sunnah and worship, and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, sincerely advising his Ummah, ‘Indeed, for every action there is some vigor, and each [instance of] vigor has a certain time, so whoever’s period [of vigor] is towards my Sunnah then he has been rightly guided, and whoever’s is towards an innovation, then he has gone astray.’

They flee from some innovations which they do not have the power to rectify and instead fall into a bigger innovation which they do have the power to change, and thus they fell into the madhhab of Abu Nawwaas who said, ‘And cure me with the disease [itself] …’

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, no. 574.

Knowledge is Light

This sitting was recorded on the 1st of Rabee’ul-Awwal 1414ah which corresponds to the 18th September 1993ce.

Questioner: In the Name of Allaah. May the Prayers and Peace of Allaah be upon the Messenger.

We have a lot of brothers who have a strong, strong, focus on al-Haakimiyyah [i.e., that judgement is for Allaah alone] and who are complacent about major shirk, shirk of the graves and mausoleums.

Interjection: And that is what our companion spoke about on the tape.

Questioner: And they call it unsophisticated, primitive shirk.

Al-Albaani: What do they call it?

Questioner: ‘Unsophisticated, primitive shirk,’ they took this from their callers. So they say that if the Prophets and the righteous people waged war against shirk which contradicts Laa ilaaha illallaah until the Day of Resurrection and which is only connected to the social customs [Ed. note: i.e., connected to shirk which is widespread amongst the people in tawheed Uluhiyyah] no one except a few would have confronted them or stood in their faces. What do you say, O Shaikh? [Ed. Note: he is trying to say that these people say that if you call to tawheed you will not face any hassle but if you call to haakimiyyah [i.e., that judgement is only for Allaah] you will face a lot of opposition and so this is what should be done].

Al-Albaani: My remarks are that it is not a goal in itself and is not an objective for the caller to [seek to] have the people oppose him. Rather the objective is to convey the da’wah to the people, and if they respond then how excellent and if not then that is the way of those who have passed before them.

This statement of theirs makes the listener feel as though the religion orders one to take it upon himself to clash with others, that if today, for example, you called to tawheed then no one will oppose you but if you got busy with politics then they will and will show you enmity … etc.

This is the biggest proof that this group like many of the individuals from the Ikhwaan al-Muslimoon talk at random about what they do not know.

I’ve been asked more than once that the head of the Ikhwaan al-Muslimoon in Algeria says that if the Prophet عليه السلام were alive today in this day and age he would have worn a jacket, trousers and a tie, “When a person speaks based upon ignorance then nothing comes before his ignorance.”

“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best.” [Nahl 16:125] This is the objective, “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allaah an excellent pattern …” [Ahzaab 33: 21] And Allaah’s Prophet was addressed with His Saying, “… so from their guidance take an example …” [An’aam 6:90 ] So all of the Messengers began with the call to tawheed, namely, these statements [which those people who say that haakimiyyah is more important make] … I say that Noah عليه السلام who, according to the Quraan, remained amongst his people for a thousand years less fifty, what did he do in those thousand years?

These people, what they say, if they actually knew what they were saying [and it was not upon ignorance] they would have disbelieved and left Islaam–because they are saying that the Prophets were wrong generally and Noah specifically عليه السلام because he was distinct amongst all of the Prophets because Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, blessed his life such that he remained amongst his people for nine hundred and fifty years.

We know that the sharee’ahs which came before that of Islaam did not have this expansive fiqh which encompasses all aspects of one’s life, it was a simple fiqh, and for this reason during Noah’s عليه السلام long, extended, blessed life his main concern was that the people worship Allaah and refrain from worshipping false deities.

This [i.e., what the Shaikh just said] negates what they say, and for this reason they are at the limit of ignorance, and now they follow the path of the Ikhwaan al-Muslimeen, who are those whom a generation will soon have passed by without them having put anything forward for Islaam except shouting and yelling like soldiers marching on the spot not moving forward at all.

For this reason no attention is paid to what these people say. And I am amazed at some of our brothers, students of knowledge, hardly will they have heard of some misguidance from any ignoramus than they will come to you and say, ‘What do you think of so and so … who are these … by Allaah we were sitting somewhere and …’

Questioner: O Shaikh, the problem is that very many people follow them who say the same thing, like al-Jazaa’iri, the one who said that if the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم were alive in our time he would be like this and that. So the one who said this statement was a very well-known caller who lots of people follow to such an extent that if you said to some of them, “So and so [i.e., the one they follow] made a mistake …” … he is ready for you to say that Umar made a mistake, ash-Shaafi’i made a mistake but if you say that so and so [i.e., the person they follow] made a mistake he will go all out on you and there will be no stopping him.

Al-Albaani: Okay …my brother, it is not for us except to call [the people to the truth] with that which is best.

Knowledge is light.

These people fall into such misguidance due to their ignorance of Islaam, for this reason we have to be kind to them and regard them as being ill and try to cure them with wisdom and beautiful preaching as much as we are able to.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 784.

Asking For Allaah’s Mercy For Those who Fell into Innovations Connected to Aqidah | End | If we open the door to boycotting, ostracising and declaring people to be innovators, we will have to go and live in the mountains.


Maybe it is pertinent on this occasion to mention the well-known narration from Imaam Maalik when a man came to him and said, ‘O Maalik! Allaah’s Ascendancy?’ He replied, ‘Al-Istiwaa is known. The ‘how’ is not and asking about it is an innovation. Remove the man for he is an innovator.’ So the man didn’t become an innovator just because he asked a question, he wanted to understand something but Imaam Maalik feared that as a result an objection to the Salafi Aqidah would occur, so he said, ‘Remove the man, for he is an innovator.’

Look now how the means differ, do you or me, or Bakr, or Umar or Zaid and so on think that … if we were to ask a person from the common folk of the Muslims let alone their elite a question like this … shall we give him the same answer that [Imaam] Maalik gave and put him in the same category as that man, saying, ‘Remove him for he is an innovator?’

No. Why?

Because the time [we live in] differs, the means which in those days were accepted are not acceptable today–because they harm more than they benefit. And this speech has a connection with the well-known principle of boycotting in Islaam, or ostracizing for the Sake of Allaah.

Many times I am asked that so and so is my friend and companion but he does not pray, he smokes, does such and such … and so on, shall I boycott him? I say [in answer]: do not boycott him, because you ostracizing him is what he wants. Your leaving him will not benefit him, on the contrary, it will make him happy and will [just] leave him in his misguidance.

And I remember on this occasion the example of that sinner, someone who had abandoned the prayer but who repented. He went to pray his first prayer at the mosque and lo and behold [when he gets there] he finds the door closed, and so says, ‘You’re closed and I have a day off [from praying]!’ [i.e., the first chance he got he went back to his old ways].

So this sinner which the [practicing] Muslim wants to boycott, it is as though from his behaviour he is saying [the same thing as the person in the example above], ‘You’re closed and I have a day off …’ [i.e., he wants the practicing Muslim to leave him so he can carry on as he is].

Because a righteous person accompanying a sinner hinders that sinner from committing his sins, and that sinner does not want that. So if a righteous person boycotts him, it is what the sinner wants. For this reason, boycotting is a legislated means through which the realization of a legislated benefit is desired, i.e., to educate/discipline the person being ostracized. So if the boycotting does not educate him, and in fact just causes him to increase in misguidance upon misguidance, then it is not applied.

Today we live in a time in which it is not right that we stick to the means that the Salaf used to use, because they were moving forth from a position where [the sunnah] was strong and [innovation was] weak.

Today, have a look at the state of the Muslims, they are weak in everything, not only in the governments, individuals [too], the state of affairs is as he عليه السلام said, “Indeed Islaam began as something strange and will return to being strange. So glad-tidings to the strangers.” They said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Who are the strangers?’ He replied, “They are the righteous few among the evil masses, those who disobey them are more than those obey them.”

So if we open the door to boycotting, ostracising and declaring people to be innovators–we will have to go and live in the mountains.

Rather it is obligatory on us today to, “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best.” [Nahl 16:125]

Questioner: As a completion of this discussion, O Shaikh, this issue as you have noticed is something which repeats itself often these days … in the following comments I wanted to point to something so that the benefit [from this discussion] will be complete, inshaa Allaah. And this is something which the brothers who adopt this stance mention.

They say that, “We say that mercy should not be sought for them [i.e., for those scholars] because asking for Allaah’s Mercy for them is permissible but not obligatory. We do not prevent nor declare to be forbidden the asking of Mercy for them but we refrain [from doing so] so that it does not show some form of praise, or recommendation, or commendation for the people of innovation.  We may say that these people are not innovators for example and are not from the major innovators, but we do not praise them or say they are scholars. For example, when mention is made of Al-Nawawi we do not say, ‘Imaam al-Nawawi,’” rather sometimes they refrain from and shun quoting from them or referring to them.

Such that in a talk one of our brothers was giving he quoted something from one of these, and the thing he quoted was quite frankly a Salafi quote which aided the manhaj, [but] they said to him, ‘How can you quote from these people?’ And by ‘these people’ I am not referring to those who our Shaikh [al-Albaani] mentioned, like Ibn Hajr or al-Nawawi, but let’s say, for example, Sayyid Qutb, Muhammad Qutb, so he [i.e., the people who say you should not ask for mercy] said, ‘How can you quote these people when they are known not to be Salafi, so when you, being a Salafi, quote from them, it is as though you are praising them and as a result the people will say that these people are Salafis. And this is a way of deceiving the people regarding them and maybe [as a result] they will become like them in innovations and deviance and being far from seriousness.”

So if you, O Shaikh, see fit to comment on this.

Al-Albaani: Firstly, I don’t think this is what their objective is, and secondly, if their objective [by not quoting from these scholars or asking for Allaah’s Mercy for them] is a way of warning then I say:

These people [i.e., the ones who hold the views mentioned above of not asking for Allaah’s Mercy] who you just alluded to, do they read Fathul-Baari [i.e., the explanation of Sahih Bukhaari by Ibn Hajr al-Asqalaani] or not?

Whichever of the two answers we assume, then it is a mistake in relation to them. If it is said they do not read it, then where do they understand Sahih al-Bukhaari from, its explanation, its understanding, the differences of opinion, the terminology, [things related to the] hadith and so on …

They will not find, in the whole world, explanations of Sahih Bukhaari that are entirely Salafi.

They will not find a [totally] Salafi explanation of Sahih Bukhaari like we want, and even if they did it would only have the main points [and wouldn’t be as detailed as Fathul-Baari]. As for this ocean replete with comprehensive knowledge, which Allaah granted to the author of Fath [ul-Baari] they will not find what it contains in any of the books that have taken up the task of explaining Sahih Bukhaari.

Thus, they will lose out on a huge amount of knowledge. So if they mean or what they say includes, amongst the things they warn against, preventing people from benefitting from what this Imaam [i.e., Ibn Hajr] says, then they will lose out on knowledge whereas it is possible for them to gather between taking the benefit and repelling the harm which is what the scholars do.

In the [whole] world now, not a scholar after al-Asqalaani and al-Nawawi can be found, to this day, who can do without benefitting from both of their explanations–this one’s [i.e., Ibn Hajr al-Asqalaani’s] explanation of Bukhaari and that one’s [i.e., Imaam al-Nawawi’s] explanation of Muslim.

Yet along with that, when they [i.e., the scholars] take benefits from both of their books, they know that in many issues they were Ash’aris and were contrary to the methodology of the Salaf as-Saalih [in those particular issues]. So with their knowledge and not with ignorance they [i.e., the scholars] were able to take the knowledge which benefits them from these two books or their authors, and turn away from what would harm them and not benefit them.

So I want to say that the thing I fear the most is that behind all of this [apparently] favourable but in reality false talk is a warning from benefitting from their books, and [that being the case] then there is a loss.

And if they say that we do benefit from both of their books and read them ourselves and to others too–if that is the case then what is the point of this procedure of refraining from asking for Allaah’s mercy for them when they are Muslims as we said at the beginning of this answer?

Additionally, what is the benefit or the fruit of their saying, “We do not say that it is not permissible to ask for Allaah’s Mercy for them, but we [personally] don’t, because he fell into innovation,” we just mentioned that not everyone who falls into innovation is called an innovator, not everyone who falls into disbelief is declared a disbeliever, the disbelief may have been unclear to this one and the innovation unclear to that one, we already said this.

Thus, there is no benefit from this cautiousness now. Thereafter, O my brother … the scholars who we inherited this good da’wah from–was their stance like this towards these Imaams? Was it like the stance of these new, novice, youngsters who claim Salafiyyah? They [i.e., those scholars] were like these [youngsters]? The opposite is the case. It is only natural that these [ignorant youth should try to] be like those who preceded us to this righteous da’wah.

Is there anything else?


Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 666.

Asking For Allaah’s Mercy For Those who Fell into Innovations Connected to Aqidah | 4 | If You Call Someone an Innovator Either He Really is or it Goes Back on You

And finally I want to remind you of a reality about which there is no difference but I wanted to add something else to it which many of our youth in this day and age do not ponder over.

This reality is the statement he عليه السلام made in many hadiths, “Whoever declares a Muslim to be a disbeliever has committed disbelief,” this is a reality about which there is no doubt, and the detailed explanation of this is well-known from some other hadiths, i.e., if the one he has declared to be a disbeliever is [in fact] a disbeliever then he is correct but if not then it goes back on him.

This does not require a discussion because the hadith about it is clear, but I wanted to add to it and say: whoever declares a Muslim to be an innovator then either that Muslim [who he declared to be an innovator really] is an innovator or if not then he [i.e., the one who accused the other of being an innovator] is the innovator.

And this is the reality which I mentioned to you just now: that our youth declare the scholars to be innovators and they are the ones who have fall into innovation whilst they know not, and they [i.e., these hasty youth] do not want to commit innovations in fact they fight them, but the saying of the poet applies to them:

Sa’d led the camels to water while being wrapped up
Not like this, O Sa’d, are the camels taken to drink

[Ed. Note: namely he led the camels to water while being wrapped up such that he could not take his hands out of his garment, and thus did not perform his duty of tending to the camels correctly, and it is an example used for someone who falls short in carrying out a matter.]

For this reason, I advise our youth to stick to acting upon the Book and the Sunnah within the limits of their knowledge and not to tower over others who they cannot match in either knowledge or understanding, and maybe even righteousness.

So people like [Imaam] An-Nawawi and Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr al-Asqalaani–give me someone in the [whole of the] Islamic world like these two men.

Leave Sayyid Qutb, he was a man we revere for his striving but he was no more than an author, a man of letters, a composer [of words]–but he was not a scholar so there is nothing odd about the fact that things and things and things emanated from him which opposed the correct methodology.

As for the ones who alongside him mention An-Nawawi and Ibn Hajr al-Asqalaani and others like them … it is oppression to say about them that they are from the people of innovation, I know that they were both Ash’aris but they both did not intend to [wilfully] oppose the Book and the Sunnah, they erred and thought two things about the Ash’ari aqidah that they inherited: firstly that Imaam al-Asha’ri held that view but he only did so in the earlier days because he came back from holding that opinion, and secondly, they were under the false impression that it was correct, but it is not.

[Addressing the questioner:] Bring what you have [i.e., mention what beneficial points of knowledge you have] …

Questioner: O Shaikh, from the manhaj of the Salaf was that they would not judge a man to be from Ahlus-Sunnah except when he would have the characteristics of the [Ahlus-]Sunnah, and that if he innovated or praised the people of innovation then he would be counted as one of them, as the Salaf would say for example, “Whoever says that Allaah is not above the Heavens then he is a Jahmee.

Al-Albaani: Some of that is present, but do not forget what I just said to you: this does not mean that he is not a Muslim, just as when the Prophet عليه السلام did not pray over the one who died whilst having a debt or the one who acted unfaithfully regarding the war booty or the one who killed someone [all of this] does not mean that such a person is not a Muslim.  This, O my brother, is to educate as we explained before, this is something else.

If the Salafi narrations are not complementing each other or unanimous [mutawaatir] then it is not fitting that a manhaj is based upon a saying from an individual from the Salaf. Thereafter this manhaj is in opposition to what is known from the Salaf themselves: that a Muslim does not leave the fold of Islaam simply by committing an act of disobedience or an innovation or a sin which he perpetrates. So when we find someone who differed with this principle we go back to explaining it as I just mentioned to you, that it is to reprimand and discipline/educate.

We have [an example] in Imaam Bukhaari, and what will explain to you what Imaam Bukhaari was? [i.e., how great a scholar he truly was] Some of the scholars of hadith left Imaam Bukhaari and would not narrate from him, why? Because Imaam Bukhaari differentiated between the one who says the Quraan is created–[for he regarded the one who said this as being] misguided, an innovator, a disbeliever, according to the terminology the scholars have used concerning such people–and the one who said, ‘My pronunciation of the Quraan is created.”

Imaam Ahmad stated that the one who said this statement, i.e., that my pronunciation of the Quraan is created, is a Jahmee, and based upon this ruling some of the people who came after Imaam Ahmad ruled that Imaam Bukhaari is not to be taken from because he has made a statement of the Jahmees. The Jahmiyyah do not say that only one’s pronunciation of the Quraan is created, they [in fact] say that the Quraan is not the Speech of Allaah but is just another part of Allaah’s creation.

So what is then said about [Imaam] al-Bukhaari who made the statement, ‘My pronunciation of the Quraan is created?’ and [what is said about] Imaam Ahmad who said that whoever makes that statement is a Jahmi?

It is not possible for us to reconcile between both issues except by interpreting it correctly in a way which corresponds to the principles … and before I continue, I think along with me, you [do] differentiate between the one who says the Quraan is created and the one who says that his pronunciation of the Quraan is created, don’t you?

Questioner: Yes.

Al-Albaani: So, how will we answer the statement of Imaam Ahmad that whoever says my pronunciation of the Quraan is created is a Jahmi? How do we answer this statement?

There is no answer except for what I mentioned to you, that it was to warn the Muslims from saying something which the people of innovation and misguidance, i.e., the Jahmiyyah, will take as a means [of calling the people to their falsehood]. So maybe someone, to try to make those around him fall into a problem they will have no way of escaping from, will say, ‘My pronunciation of the Quraan is created,’ but who [really] intends [that] the Quraan itself [is created] when he says that, but it is not necessary that everyone who says this statement intends that same evil meaning.

So now, Imaam Bukhaari has no need for anyone to claim that he is pure–for Allaah the Mighty and Majestic has shown him to be pure, since [right] after the Noble Quraan, Allaah made all of his book [i.e., Sahih Bukhari] accepted amongst the generality of Muslims despite the differences amongst those Muslims.

Thus, when he [i.e., Imaam Bukhaari] said, ‘My pronunciation of the Quraan is created,’ he meant something correct by it [and not the evil meaning intended by the innovators], but Imaam Ahmad feared [the outcome of this] and so said, ‘Whoever says that is such and such,’ to warn [the people] and not by way of believing that everyone who says that is truly a Jahmi, no.

For this reason when we find a ruling in the statements of some of the Salaf that whoever falls into innovation then he is an innovator it is to rebuke and not by way of believing [that everyone who does so is an innovator].


See here for the last part.

Asking For Allaah’s Mercy For Those who Fell into Innovations Connected to Aqidah | 3 | Practising Youth Falling into Innovations Themselves Without Even Realising, Slow Down


For this reason I say that one of the onerous mistakes of today is that the practising youth, the ones who think that they are clinging to the Book and the Sunnah, [actually] oppose the Book and the Sunnah without even realising it. And as a result, I have the right to, based upon their madhhab, call them innovators, because they have opposed the Book and the Sunnah–but I will not go against my madhhab [and call them innovators when the proof has not been established against them].

The foundation concerning these people [i.e., the youth mentioned above] is that they are Muslims and that they didn’t intend to commit any innovations and that they do not haughtily reject the truth and nor do they reject the evidence and proof. For this reason we say they wanted what was correct but made a mistake.

When we come to realise this reality we will be saved from a lot of the difficult issues of this time. One of them is the Jamaa’ah Al-Takfeer wal-Hijrah which used to be in Egypt and which had spread some of its ideology to Syria when I used to be there, then it reached here too.

We used to have some brothers on the Salafi methodology, the Book and the Sunnah, who were influenced by their false claims and who [as a result] stopped praying in congregation in the mosque, in fact, they stopped praying Jumu’ah [in the mosque] too. They would pray in their areas and houses, until the time we sat with them.

We held three sittings. The first was between maghrib and ishaa, [after this meeting] they refrained from praying behind us, i.e., from praying behind us Salafis, and I don’t want to just say myself … they used to say, ‘We rely on your books,’ but they still wouldn’t pray behind me, why? Because they [i.e., the Salafis] do not call those Muslims who they call disbelievers, to be disbelievers. So this was the first sitting.

The second was in their own house and it continued to midnight, but the glad tidings of their responding to the true call started to show, walhamdulillaah, such that we made the call to prayer and stood to pray and we prayed there just before midnight and they prayed behind us. This was the second sitting.

As for the third, then it continued from after ishaa prayer up until the adhaan of fajr, one [continual] sitting. And it was, alhamdulillaah, the death knell [of their false ideology]–to this day they are with us, and about twelve years have passed since this event, walhamdulillaah.

So they were only doubts that came over them due to their lack of understanding of the Book and the Sunnah. And maybe you know, O brother Khaalid, that understanding the Book and the Sunnah is not something easy [to achieve] today after we have inherited numerous madhhabs and [split into] very many groups in [issues] of creed [aqidah] and in Islamic jurisprudence [fiqh].

So the beginner student of knowledge cannot dive into this ocean of differences except after a very long, prolonged time of study in what today is called comparative fiqh [fiqh al-muqaarin] and a study of the proofs of the differing sides in usool and furoo, and in reality, [like I said] this, firstly, requires a long lifetime, and the tawfiq of the Lord of the Worlds, secondly, until Allaah will make true the Muslim’s supplication which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم made it a sunnah for him to say, which he would say as part of the supplications uttered during the night prayer, ‘O Allaah! Guide me concerning that which they differed in over the truth with Your Permission! Indeed, You guide whoever You want to [guide] to the Straight Path.’

For this reason, I advise our youth of today being brought up on the Book and the Sunnah to slow down and to be more reflective/patient and not to issue rulings which they base upon what is [just] apparent from the texts, because it is not for a Muslim to go by every [seemingly] apparent thing, for if not then in terms of knowledge he will live a life of chaos which has no end.

I think you know that the closest of the madhhabs to the Book and the Sunnah is the Ahlul-Hadith, and you also know that the Ahlul-Hadith relied on the narrating of the innovators if they were trustworthy, truthful and great memorisers. The meaning of this is that they did not include them amongst the disbelievers and neither did they include them amongst those for whom mercy is not sought.

Rather, you know that some of the Imaams who are followed today and whose being a Muslim no true Muslim scholar doubts, and not only [do they not doubt that those Imaams are Muslims] but [in fact they affirm that] they are scholars of excellence, yet along with that [these Imaams who are followed] may oppose the Book and the Sunnah and the Salaf as-Saalih in more than one issue.

By that I mean, for example, An-Nu’maan ibn Thaabit, Abu Hanifah, may Allaah have mercy on him, who used to say that eemaan does not increase or decrease and who used to say that it is not allowed for a Muslim to say, ‘I am a believer, ‘inshaa Allaah,’’ and that whoever does say, ‘inshaa Allaah’ [in that phrase] then he is not a Muslim. There is no doubt that this saying [of Imaam Abu Hanifah, may Allaah have mercy on him] is an innovation in the religion, because it opposes the Book and the Sunnah, but he didn’t intend to commit an innovation, he wanted the truth but made a mistake.

For this reason, opening this door of doubting the scholars of the Muslims whether they be from the Salaf or those who came later [khalaf] is an opposition to what the Muslims are upon. And our Lord, the Mighty and Majestic says in the Noble Quraan, “And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows other than the way of the believers–We will give him what he has taken and drive him into Hell, and evil it is as a destination.” Nisaa 4:115

See part four here.

The Shaikh’s Opinion About Those Who Do Not Ask For Allaah’s Mercy [e.g., by Saying, ‘May Allaah have mercy on so and so,’] For Those who Fell into Innovations Connected to Aqidah | 2 |


Thereafter, my brother, may Allaah bless you, these are just claims that the Salaf would not pray over the generality of innovators, or over all innovators, this is just a claim which is present in the minds of some good people who deal with issues based on zealousness and emotion that is not coupled with sound knowledge, [sound knowledge which is] based upon, ‘Allaah said … Allaah’s Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said.’

And I presented a reality to you which no two will differ over, which is that there is either a Muslim or a non-Muslim.  So the Muslim, whatever his state, is prayed over and inherits and is inherited from, is washed, shrouded and buried in the graveyard of the Muslims, and if he is not a Muslim … he is buried in the graveyard of the non-Muslims. We do not have an in-between.

But if a certain worshipper or a certain scholar does not pray over a certain Muslim, then that does not mean that praying over that Muslim is not permissible, it only means that he is aiming at some wisdom which may not by realised without that [action].

Like the hadiths which you must remember some of, where the Prophet عليه السلام said, ‘Pray over your companion.’ The Prophet never prayed over him.

Would you say that the Prophet not praying over a Muslim is more important or a Salafi scholar refusing to pray over a Muslim? Tell me, what is more important?

Questioner: The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم leaving [praying over a Muslim].

Al-Albaani: Good. So if the Prophet’s abstention from praying over a Muslim does not show that it is not permissible to pray over him, then it is even more correct that the abstention of a scholar from the Salaf from praying over an innovating Muslim does not show that he is not prayed over.

Thereafter, even if it did show that he is not prayed over, does that mean that supplications of mercy and forgiveness are not made for him, as long as we believe that he is a Muslim?

So, in short, the abstention of some of the Salaf from praying over some of the Muslims due to an innovation does not negate the legitimacy of praying over every Muslim because that [action of the Salaf] was to reprimand and chastise those people like him, as the Prophet عليه السلام did regarding the one he didn’t pray over and whose only sin was that he died whilst having a debt to clear, and the one who acted unfaithfully regarding war booty and so on.

Thus, this abstention, i.e., the abstention of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is more important than the abstention of some of the Salaf, and this and that [i.e., the abstention of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Salaf] do not prove that it is not permissible to pray over the Muslim innovator.

At this point something has to be researched/discussed: we have to know who an innovator is, exactly like we must understand who a disbeliever is. So here the question that presents itself, as they say these days, is: does everyone who falls into disbelief have [the ruling of] disbelief applied to him?[/Is everyone who falls into disbelief declared a disbeliever?], likewise, is everyone who falls into an innovation declared an innovator? Or is it not like that?

If the answer is that it is not like that then we can continue this topic, and if the answer is obscure then it must be clarified. I will repeat the question with some detail.

What is an innovation? It is a newly-invented matter which is in opposition to the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم and through which the person performing it wants to get closer to Allaah, the Blessed and Most High.

So is everyone who innovates an innovation an innovator?

I want to hear the answer in short, ‘No,’ [or] ‘Of course he is.’

Questioner: No.

Al-Albaani: So who is an innovator?

Questioner: The one whom the proof has been established against yet after that he still persists in his innovation?

Al-Albaani: Good. So these people [mentioned in the question] whom they say mercy should not be asked for: has the proof been established against them?

Allaah knows best.

I personally say Allaah knows best. As for you, what do you say … personally?

Questioner: The same answer as you, O Shaikh.

Al-Albaani: May Allaah reward you with good. So, what is the foundation of these people, Islaam or disbelief?

Questioner: Islaam.

Al-Albaani: Okay. Thus, the principle is that mercy is sought for them, isn’t that so?

Questioner: Yes.

Al-Albaani: Thus the issue is over.

So it is not allowed for us to build a fifth madhhab and say, ‘It is not permissible to ask for mercy for so and so and so and so,’ from the common folk of the Muslims, let alone their elite, let alone their scholars, for two reasons, and this is a summary of what has preceded:

  • The first reason: is that they are Muslims.
  • The second reason: is that if they are innovators we do not know if the proof was established against them and they [thereafter] continued in their innovations and their misguidance …


See part three here.

Celebrating the Prophet’s Birthday ﷺ

لا بركة في الجهل
“There is no blessing in ignorance.”

The PDF: Celebrating the Prophet’s Birthday.

The Imaam said: Celebrating the noble birthday of the Prophet ﷺ, is it good or evil?

Questioner: [It is] good.

Al-Albaani: Okay.  This good—were the Prophet ﷺ and his Companions ignorant of it?

Questioner: No.

Al-Albaani: I am not satisfied now with you [just] saying no.  Rather it is obligatory upon you to proceed and say, “It is impossible for this good—if it is good—or any other such good to be hidden from the Prophet ﷺ and his Companions specifically since we do not know Islaam except by way of Muhammad ﷺ,” so how do we know some good which he did not?!  This is impossible.

Questioner: Establishing the celebration of the Prophetic birthday is a revival of his remembrance ﷺ and in that is honour for him.

Al-Albaani: This philosophising is something we are acquainted with.  We hear it from many people and have read it in their books, but when the Prophet ﷺ called people did he call them to all of Islaam or to Tawhid?

Questioner: Tawhid.

Al-Albaani: The first thing he called them to was Tawhid, after that the prayers were made compulsory, after that fasting, then Hajj and so on.  Therefore, you [too] should proceed, step by step, according to this prescribed Sunnah.

We have now agreed that it is impossible that there can be some good with us which the Prophet ﷺ did not know, [since] we have come to know all good through him ﷺ. No two people will differ about this and no two rams will strike horns over it, and I believe that whoever doubts this then he is not a Muslim.  From the sayings of the Prophet ﷺ that support this is, “I have not left anything which will bring you closer to Allaah except that I have ordered you with it. [Reported by at-Tabaraani, authentic, refer to Asl Sifatis-Salaatin-Nabee, vol. 3, p. 942]

So if celebrating his birthday was good and was something which would bring us closer to Allaah then it is imperative that the Prophet ﷺ should have directed us to it.

Correct or not?

I do not want you to agree with me without being totally convinced about every letter I say.  And you have total freedom to say, “Please, I am not convinced with this point.”  So is there anything that you are not convinced with so far or are you with me?

Questioner: With you totally.

Al-Albaani: May Allaah reward you with good.  So [the Prophet ﷺ said], “I have not left anything which will bring you closer to Allaah except that I have ordered you with it.

We say to all those who claim that it is permissible to hold this celebration, “According to you this celebration is good, therefore either the Prophet ﷺ directed us to it or he did not direct us to it.” So if they say, “He directed us to it.” We say, “Bring your proof if you are truthful.”  And they will never ever find a way to be able to do that.  And we have read the writings of [the Sufi Muhammad ibn] Al-’Alawi [Al-Maaliki, see here for a refutation of him in Arabic] and others regarding this and they do not use as proof anything except the saying that, “This is a good innovation! [bidah hasanah]  This is a good innovation!”

All people, whether it is those who celebrate the birthday or those who denounce this celebration—all of them agree that this celebration was not present in the time of the Prophet ﷺ nor the time of the Noble Companions and nor the time of the eminent scholars.

But those who allow this celebration say, “And what is there that happens in this celebration?  It is a remembrance of the Prophet ﷺ and the sending of salutations upon him and so on!”

So we say, “If it was good they would have preceded us in it.”  You know the saying of the Prophet ﷺ, The best of people is my generation then the ones who follow them then the ones who follow them, this hadith is reported in the two Sahihs.

His generation ﷺ is the one he and his Companions lived in, then the ones who followed them are the Taabieen and those who followed them are the Atbaaut-Taabieen, there is also no disagreement about this.  So can you imagine that there is any good which we could have preceded them in, in both knowledge and action?  Is that possible?

Questioner: As for knowledge, if the Prophet ﷺ had said to anyone in his time that the Earth spins …

Al-Albaani: I’m sorry.  I would prefer you do not sidetrack.  Since I asked you about two things: knowledge and action …  and in reality, what you just said has benefitted me—since naturally when referring to knowledge I am referring to religious [sharee] knowledge not medicine, for example.

I can say that a doctor here is more knowledgeable than Ibn Sina was in his time, because he came generations later, and he has had much much more experience and practice, but this does not prove his virtue before Allaah and nor does it put him before the generations that were given witness to [in the above mentioned hadith].  But it does prove his virtue in the knowledge [i.e., field of expertise] which he knows.  And [in our current discussion] we are speaking about legislative [sharee] knowledge, may Allaah bless you.  So we must pay attention to this.

When I say to you, “Do you believe that it is possible that we can be more knowledgeable?” I am referring to religious [sharee] knowledge not knowledge gained through experience like geography, astronomy, chemistry or physics.  Suppose, for example, in this time there is a disbeliever in Allaah and His Messenger ﷺ but he is the most knowledgeable of all people in these sciences, will that bring him closer to Allaah?

Questioner: No.

Al-Albaani: Thus we are not talking now about knowledge in those fields but about that knowledge by which we want to get closer to Allaah, the Blessed and Most High.  And a short while ago we were talking about the celebration of the birthday of the Prophet ﷺ. So the question now returns, and I hope that I will obtain a clear answer without any side-tracking again.

So I say: do you believe, with what you have been given of intellect and understanding, that it is possible for us—and we are at the end of time—to be more knowledgeable than the Companions and the students of the Companions [Taabieen] and the Mujtahid Imaams in religious [sharee] knowledge, and that we can be faster in doing good actions and getting closer to Allaah than these righteous predecessors?

Questioner: By religious knowledge do you mean exegesis [tafsir] of the Quraan?

Al-Albaani: They are more knowledgeable than us regarding tafsir of the Quraan, they are more knowledgeable than us regarding explanations of the sayings of the Prophet ﷺ—at the end of the day they are more knowledgeable than us regarding the entire Shariah of Islaam.

Questioner: Regarding tafsir of the Quraan, maybe in this time it is more than in the time of the Prophet ﷺ. For example, the Quranic aayah:

وَتَرَى ٱلۡجِبَالَ تَحۡسَبُهَا جَامِدَةٗ وَهِيَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ ٱلسَّحَابِۚ صُنۡعَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّذِيٓ أَتۡقَنَ كُلَّ شَيۡءٍۚ إِنَّهُۥ خَبِيرُۢ بِمَا تَفۡعَلُونَ

And you will see the mountains and think them solid, but they shall pass away as the passing away of the clouds. The Work of Allaah, Who perfected all things. Verily! He is Well-Acquainted with what you do. [Naml: 27:88]

If the Prophet ﷺ had said to anyone in his time that the Earth spins on its axis would anyone have believed him?  No one would have believed him.

Al-Albaani: So, no offense, [but] you want us to record another sidetrack against you?  O my brother, I am asking about knowledge on the whole, not a part of that knowledge, we are asking a general question.

Islaam as a whole, who is more knowledgeable about it?

Questioner: Of course, the Prophet ﷺ and his Companions.

Al-Albaani: This is what we want from you, may Allaah bless you.  As for the tafsir you are referring to, it has no connection to action.  It has a connection with pondering and understanding.  And we have already spoken with you about the previous aayah and we have established for you that those who quote this aayah as a proof that the Earth spins are mistaken.  Because the aayah is referring to the Day of Judgement:

يَوۡمَ تُبَدَّلُ ٱلۡأَرۡضُ غَيۡرَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتُۖ وَبَرَزُواْ لِلَّهِ ٱلۡوَٰحِدِ ٱلۡقَهَّارِ

On the Day when the earth will be changed to another earth and so will be the heavens, and they will appear before Allaah, the One, the Irresistible. [Ibrahim: 14:48]

In any case, we are not talking about this subject.  For argument’s sake, let me agree with you that there could be a man from those who came after who has more scientific knowledge or more knowledge of the natural sciences than a Companion or a student of the Companion and so on.  But this has no connection to righteous actions.  Since today, for example, the disbelievers are more knowledgeable than us in astronomy and its like,

but what do they benefit from that?  Nothing.  So we do not want to delve into this thing now.  We want to talk about that which will bring us closer to Allaah.  We now want to talk about the noble birthday of the Prophet ﷺ.

And we had agreed that if it was good then our Pious Predecessors [As-Salaf As-Saalih] and at the head of them the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ would have been more knowledgeable about it than us and faster in acting upon it than us.  Is there any doubt in this?

Questioner: No, there is no doubt about that.

Al-Albaani: Then do not exceed this boundary now [by delving into] matters from experiential knowledge that have no connection with getting closer to Allaah, the Most High, with righteous actions.

This celebration was not present in the time of the Messenger ﷺ—by the agreement of all—so this ‘good’ was not present in the time of the Prophet ﷺ or the Companions or their students or the Imaams!  So how was this good hidden from them?!

We are forced to say either one of two things.

1) They knew this good like we know it even though they are more knowledgeable than us, or
2) they did not know it [and if they did not know it], then how do we know it?

So if [for argument’s sake] we were to say that they knew it—and this statement is closer and better for the ones who uphold the legitimacy of celebrating the birthday—then why didn’t they act upon it?  Are we closer to Allaah [than them]?

Why didn’t a single one of them make a mistake even once—a Companion, or a taabiee or a scholar from them or a worshipper—[why didn’t a single one make a mistake] and act upon this ‘good’!?

Does it enter your mind [that it is possible that] not a single one [of them] acted upon this good even though they were millions in number?!  And they were more knowledgeable than us and better than us and closer to Allaah?!

You know the saying of the Prophet ﷺ, Do not abuse my Companions.  For by the One who has Muhammads souls in His Hands, if one of you were to spend the like of Mount Uhud in gold, it would not equal a mudd of one of them or even half of it. [Reported by Bukhaari and Muslim]

Do you see the extent of the difference between us and them?

Because they strove in the Way of Allaah, the Most High, with the Messenger of Allaah , and they received knowledge from him fresh and new without all of these numerous intermediaries that are between us and him . As he ﷺ indicated in the authentic hadith, Whoever loves to read the Quran ghadan tariyaa then let him read according to the reading of Ibn Umm Abd, [Reported by Ibn Maajah, no. 138, authentic] namely, [by Ibn Umm ’Abd he was referring to] Ibn Mas’ood, [and], Ghadan tariyaa means fresh and new.

It is not possible for us to imagine that these Pious Predecessors and at the head of them the Companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, were ignorant of some good which would bring them closer to Allaah and [that] it is we [and not them] who have come to know it!  And if we say they did know like we know, then it is impossible for us to imagine that they neglected this good.

Maybe this has clarified the point that I am talking about, inshaa Allaah?

Questioner: Alhamdulillaah.

Al-Albaani: May Allaah reward you with good.  There is something else.  There are many verses and sayings of the Prophet ﷺ which clarify that Islaam has been completed, and I think this is a reality you are aware of and believe in.  There is no difference between a scholar, a student of knowledge or even a commoner on this point, which is that Islaam has been completed and that it is not like the religion of the Jews and the Christians which changes and is replaced daily.

And I remind you of the saying of Allaah, the Most High:

ٱلۡيَوۡمَ أَكۡمَلۡتُ لَكُمۡ دِينَكُمۡ وَأَتۡمَمۡتُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ نِعۡمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلۡإِسۡلَٰمَ دِينٗاۚ

This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion. [Maaidah: 5:3]

Now comes the question—and this is from another angle, different to what preceded, to show that celebrating the birthday is not good—and that is that if it were good they would have preceded us in it and they, namely the Pious Predecessors, are more knowledgeable than us and worshipped [Allaah] more than us.

This celebration of the Prophet’s birthday ﷺ if it is good then it is from Islaam.  So we say:  Do all of us, both those who deny this celebration and those who uphold it, are we all in agreement as we were on the previous point, that this celebration was not present in the time of the Prophet ﷺ—are we all [still] in agreement [on this second point?] That this celebration, if it is good, then it is from Islaam and that if it is not good it is not from Islaam?

And the day this aayah was revealed:

ٱلۡيَوۡمَ أَكۡمَلۡتُ لَكُمۡ دِينَكُمۡ
This day, I have perfected your religion for you …”

[The day it was revealed] there was no celebration of the Prophetic birthday.  So is it part of the religion according to you?!

I want you to be totally frank with me.  And do not think that I am from the Shaikhs who silence the students or even the common folk, saying, “Be quiet!  You do not know, you do not know!”  No, you are totally free, as though you are talking to a person like yourself or even less than you in age and knowledge.  If you are not convinced then say, “I am not convinced.”

So now, if the celebration is something good then it is from Islaam and if it is not good then it is not from Islaam.  When we agree that the celebration of the birthday was not present when the aforementioned aayah was revealed, then it is very logical [to say] that it is not from Islaam.

And I will confirm what I am saying with more from the Imaam of the place of Hijra [i.e., Madinah] Imaam Maalik ibn Anas, who said, “Whoever introduces an innovation into Islaam …” note how he said a single innovation not innovations, “… holding it as something good then he has assumed that Muhammad ﷺ betrayed Prophethood.” And this is a very dangerous affair—what is you proof O Imaam [Maalik]! Imaam Maalik said, “Read, if you wish, the saying of Allaah, the Most High:

ٱلۡيَوۡمَ أَكۡمَلۡتُ لَكُمۡ دِينَكُمۡ وَأَتۡمَمۡتُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ نِعۡمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلۡإِسۡلَٰمَ دِينٗاۚ

This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion. [Maaidah: 5:3]

So what was not religion that day is not religion today.”  End of his words.

When did Imaam Maalik say this?  In the second century after the hijrah—one of the generations that had been testified for as having good!  So what about now in the fourteenth century?

This is speech that should be written in gold.  But we are heedless of the Book of Allaah, the Most High, and the sayings of the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ and the sayings of the Imaams that we presume we are following, how very far, how very far [indeed].  And the difference between us and them in following [Islaam] is like the difference between the East and the West.

This is the Imaam of the place to which the Prophet ﷺ migrated saying in a clear Arabic tongue, “So what was not religion that day is not religion today.”

Today celebrating the Prophetic birthday is [regarded as] religion, and if it were not then this dispute would not be taking place between scholars clinging to the Sunnah and defending [the religion] against innovations.

How can this be religion when it was not present in the time of the Prophet ﷺ nor in the time of the Companions nor in the time of the Taabieen [and] nor in the time of the followers of the Taabieen?!

Imaam Maalik is from the followers of the Taabieen and he is from those mentioned in the hadith, The best of generations is my generation then those who follow them then those who follow them, [and he is saying], “So what was not religion that day is not religion today.  And the last of this nation will not be rectified except with that which rectified the first of it.”

What was the first of this nation rectified with?  By innovating matters into the religion and trying to get closer to Allaah, the Most High, with things that the Prophet ﷺ did not do?!

The Prophet ﷺ said, “I have not left anything that will bring you closer to Allaah except that I have ordered you with it.

Why didn’t Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ order us to celebrate his birthday?  This is a question and it has an answer.  There is [in fact] a [different] celebration of the prophetic birthday contrary to this unlegislated celebration. This legislated celebration was present in the time of Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ as opposed to the unlegislated one, along with the huge difference which also exists between the two.

The first of those differences is that the legislated celebration [which will soon be mentioned] is worship which is agreed upon by all of the Muslims.  Secondly, the legislated celebration reoccurs once every single week whereas their unlegislated celebration only occurs once a year.

These are the two distinguishing matters between the two birthday celebrations—namely, that the first is worship and reoccurs every week as opposed to the unlegislated one which is neither worship and nor does it reoccur every week.

And I am not just saying anything on a whim for which Allaah has revealed no authority.  Rather I will relay a saying of the Prophet ﷺ to you which is reported in Sahih Muslim, may Allaah have mercy upon him: from Abu Qatada Al-Ansari who said, “A man came to the Messenger ﷺ and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah!  What do you say about the fast of Monday?’  So he said, ‘That is the day on which I was born.  And the Quraan was revealed to me on it.’” [Reported by Abu Dawud, no. 2097, authentic, and others]

What is the meaning of this?  It is as though he ﷺ is saying: How can you ask me about it when Allaah brought me out to life on that day and also sent down revelation to me on it?  Namely, it is befitting that you fast on Mondays as thanks to Allaah, the Most High, for creating me on that day and for sending down revelation to me on it.

And this is similar to the fast of the Jews on the day of Aashoora, and maybe you know that before the obligation to fast the month of Ramadaan fasting on the day of Aashoora was the obligation on the Muslims.  And there occurs in some sayings of the Prophet ﷺ that when he migrated to Madinah he found the Jews fasting the Day of Aashoora.  So he asked them about that and they replied saying that this is the day that Allaah saved Moses and his people from Pharaoh, so we fast on it as thanks to Allaah.  So he ﷺ said, “We have more right to Moses than you. [Reported by Bukhaari and Muslim]

So he fasted that day and ordered fasting on it so it became obligatory until Allaah sent down His Saying:

شَهۡرُ رَمَضَانَ ٱلَّذِيٓ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانُ هُدٗى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَٰتٖ مِّنَ ٱلۡهُدَىٰ وَٱلۡفُرۡقَانِۚفَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ ٱلشَّهۡرَ فَلۡيَصُمۡهُۖ

The month of Ramadaan in which was revealed the Quraan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadaan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe fasts. [Baqarah: 2:185]

Thereafter fasting on the Day of Aashoora became a Sunnah and the obligation was abrogated.  The proof [taken] from this is that the Prophet ﷺ participated with the Jews in fasting the Day of Aashoora as thanks to Allaah, the Most High, that He saved Moses from Pharaoh.  So the door of thanks has also been opened for us by fasting on Mondays because it was the day on which Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ was born and it was the day when revelation came down upon him.

Now I ask you: these people who celebrate the [unlegislated] birthday which we know has no good in it—I know that a lot of these people fast on Mondays just as they fast on Thursdays.  But do you see most of the Muslims fasting on Mondays?

No, they do not fast on Mondays, however most of the Muslims celebrate the Prophetic birthday once every year!  Isn’t this a reversal of the reality?  The saying of Allaah, the Most High, to the Jews is true regarding these people:

أَتَسۡتَبۡدِلُونَ ٱلَّذِي هُوَ أَدۡنَىٰ بِٱلَّذِي هُوَ خَيۡرٌۚ

Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower? [Baqarah: 2:61]

This is good—i.e., fasting which is agreed upon by all of the Muslims—fasting on Mondays.  Yet, in spite of that, most of the Muslims do not fast it.  So now we turn our attention to the ones who do fast it [and ask]:

Do they know the secret behind fasting on that day?  No, they don’t know.

So where are the scholars who defend the [unlegislated] celebration—why don’t they tell the people that fasting on Mondays is the legislated celebration of the birthday and encourage them regarding it instead of defending the celebration that has not been prescribed?!

And Allaah, the Most High, spoke the truth:

أَتَسۡتَبۡدِلُونَ ٱلَّذِي هُوَ أَدۡنَىٰ بِٱلَّذِي هُوَ خَيۡرٌۚ

Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower? [Baqarah: 2:61]

And His Messenger ﷺ spoke the truth when he said, “Indeed you will follow the ways of those nations who came before you, span by span and cubit by cubit (i.e., inch by inch) so much so that even if they entered a hole of a lizard, you would follow them. [Reported by Bukhaari and Muslim] And in another narration, “… so much so that if there was someone from them who would have intercourse with his mother in the middle of the road there would be someone from you who would do that also. [Reported by ad-Dawlaabi and Haakim, declared hasan by al-Bazzaar and al-Albaani agreed with him, see Silsilah, no. 1348]

So we have followed the way of the Jews.  We exchanged that which was good for that which was base—we exchanged the celebration of the birthday which occurs once a year and has no basis [in the religion] with that which was good, which is the celebration every Monday. And that is a legislated celebration which you perform by fasting while bearing in mind the secret behind it which is that you fast it as thanks to Allaah, the Most High, that He created the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ on that day and sent down revelation on it.

And I will finish my speech by mentioning his saying ﷺ, Allaah refuses to accept the repentance of an innovator. [Reported by Ibn Maajah and Al-Albaani declared it to be weak but there is another hadith which he declared to be authentic with a similar meaning reported by Abush-Shaikh in Taarikh Asbahaan, p. 259, at-Tabaraani in al-Awsat, no. 4360, and others, that the Prophet ﷺ said, “Indeed Allaah has prevented the repentance of the companion of every innovation.” See As-Silisilah, vol. 4, p. 154, no. 1620]

And Allaah, the Most High, says:

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلرَّسُولُ بَلِّغۡ مَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡكَ مِن رَّبِّكَۖ وَإِن لَّمۡ تَفۡعَلۡ فَمَا بَلَّغۡتَ رِسَالَتَهُۥۚ وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡصِمُكَ مِنَ ٱلنَّاسِۗ

O Messenger! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent down to you from your Lord. And if you do not, then you have not conveyed His Message. Allaah will protect you from mankind. [Maaidah: 5:67]

And it has been reported in Sahih Muslim that one of the Taabieen came to ’Aaishah, may Allaah be pleased with her

Questioner: Reading the biography of the Prophet ﷺ is that [not] honouring him?

Al-Albaani: Yes.

Questioner: In it is reward, this is goodness from Allaah!

Al-Albaani: All goodness!  But you will not benefit anything from this question.  Therefore I will cut you off with a question: Does anyone prevent you from reading his biography?  I will now ask you another: if there is a legislated form of worship, but the Prophet ﷺ did not sanction a specific time for it and neither did he make a specific form for it, is it then allowed for us to designate—from ourselves—a specific time or a specific form/method?  Do you have an answer?

Questioner: No, I have no answer.

Al-Albaani: Allaah, the Most High, said:

أَمۡ لَهُمۡ شُرَكَٰٓؤُاْ شَرَعُواْ لَهُم مِّنَ ٱلدِّينِ مَا لَمۡ يَأۡذَنۢ بِهِ ٱللَّهُۚ

Or have they partners with Allaah (false gods), who have instituted for them a religion which Allaah has not allowed? [Shuraa: 42:21]

And He, the Most High, also said:

ٱتَّخَذُوٓاْ أَحۡبَارَهُمۡ وَرُهۡبَٰنَهُمۡ أَرۡبَابٗا مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡمَسِيحَ ٱبۡنَ مَرۡيَمَ وَمَآ أُمِرُوٓاْ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُوٓاْ إِلَٰهٗا وَٰحِدٗاۖ لَّآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَۚ سُبۡحَٰنَهُۥ عَمَّا يُشۡرِكُونَ

They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allaah and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God, there is no deity [worthy of worship] except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him. [Tawbah: 9:31]

When Adiyy ibn Haatim, may Allaah be pleased with him, heard this—and before he became a Muslim he was a Christian—it was difficult for him so he said, “We never used to worship them.”  So he ﷺ said, “Would they not forbid what Allaah made permissible and so you would make it forbidden; and [would they not] make lawful what Allaah had made forbidden, so you would make it lawful? So he said, “Of course.”  He ﷺ replied, “So that was your worship of them. [Reported by Tirmidhee (3095) and the Shaikh declared it to be hasan]

And this clarifies the danger of innovating in Allaah’s Religion.

Silsilatul-Hudaa wal-Noor, no. 1/94, transcribed with abridgement.

Bukhaari Volume 8, Book 76, Number 437(6065), Muslim (2533) Tirmidhee (3859) Ibn Maajah (2362).

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