In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Al-Wasatiyyah – [The Middle Path]
It is widely known amongst some of the people that ٱلۡوُسۡطَ is only that which occupies the middle position between two things, and they do not take note of the other meaning of this term, as mentioned in the Magnificent Qur’aan and the [authentic] Prophetic Sunnah.
[ٱلۡوُسۡطَ ] in the Islamic legislation is that which is ‘Superior.’ [Allaah (The Most High)] said: [حَـٰفِظُواْ عَلَى ٱلصَّلَوَٲتِ وَٱلصَّلَوٰةِ ٱلۡوُسۡطَىٰ – Guard strictly (five obligatory) As-Salawaat (the prayers) especially the Salatul Wustaa (the Asr prayer)]’’. [Surah Al-Baqarah. Aayah 238] [ٱلۡوُسۡطَىٰ]- Meaning: The best, more excellent etc.
And [Allaah (The Most High)] said: [مِنۡ أَوۡسَطِ مَا تُطۡعِمُونَ أَهۡلِيكُمۡ (On the scale) of the average of that which you feed your own families].’’ [Surah Al-Maa’idah. Aayah 89] [مِنۡ أَوۡسَطِ ] – Meaning: The best and most just.
And [Allaah (The Most High)] said: [وَكَذَٲلِكَ جَعَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ أُمَّةً۬ وَسَطً۬ا – Thus We have made you أُمَّةً۬ وَسَطً۬ا]- Meaning: The best and most upright Ummah.
The intent behind all this is to understand that [الوسطية] in the context of the Religion is that which is ‘best’ and the ‘Justice of the Religion’, [and that is] to follow that which Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] has commanded and keep away from that which He has forbidden. As for the explanation of [الوسطية] in the religious context with a meaning other than this meaning, then it is [something founded upon a foundation] ready to crumble – a mirage which the thirsty one considers water [i.e. an illusion]. [Ref 1]
Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said:
All the praises and thanks be to Allaah- the Lord of the worlds- and may peace and blessings [of Allaah] be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions. To proceed: Islamic Awakening did not [only] occur in these times or this era, rather it began from that time [in which] Allaah sent His Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] with the Religion of Islaam and the people embraced it in crowds and groups. Good – and all the praises and thanks be to Allaah – has not ceased to continue in this Ummah, as the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said: ‘’There will not cease to be a group amongst my Ummah manifest [upon the truth]. They will neither be harmed by those who forsake them nor by those who oppose them until the command of Allaah come to pass [i.e. the day of judgement] whilst they are upon that.’’
Although the struggle between truth and falsehood continues, there has not ceased to be callers to the truth and its helpers- [those who] follow the correct methodology and stand up to call to it. The Ummah has not – in [any] era [during] the various eras- been all asleep or misguided to the extent that a group arose giving itself a name or a name other than it [such as] ‘Islamic Awakening’, because the meaning of this is that all the Islamic World was misguided before these people [began] the awakening.
This opposes the statement of his [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam]: ‘’There will not cease to be a group amongst my Ummah manifest upon the truth’’, and his statement, ‘’My Ummah will never unite upon misguidance.’’
Indeed, this [Islamic Awakening] is commended and safe from criticism when carried out upon the methodology of the righteous callers and that of the pious predecessors- based on the Book of Allaah, the [authentic] Sunnah and that which the pious predecessors of this Ummah were upon, and far removed from affiliations that are in opposition to the methodology of the pious predecessors.
Its aim should be acquaintance with the truth- to act and call to it; acquaintance with falsehood- to avoid and warn against it. Its aim cannot be for seeking leadership or ascendancy in the earth, revolt against the Ja’maa’ah of the Muslims and disobedience to [the Muslim Rulers]. Indeed, this is neither the correct methodology of Dawah nor is it that of the pious predecessors; rather it is the methodology of the Khawaarij and the Mutazilah-those who have deviated from the methodology of the Book, the [authentic] Sunnah and that which the pious predecessors were upon. Indeed, [these deviants] were a disgrace in Islamic History and a wound in the body of the Ummah. We ask Allaah to guide the misguided Muslims to correctness. [Ref 2]
Islamic Idea or Islamic Thought
Islaam is not a set of ideas [or thoughts], rather it is a divine revelation sent down – by the Lord of universe – in the Magnificent Qur’aan and the [authentic] Sunnah of the noble Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] – the Messenger who never speaks based on his desires, rather [إِنۡ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحۡىٌ۬ يُوحَىٰ – It [i.e. the Qur’aan and the authentic Sunnah conveyed by the Messenger (sallal laahu alayhi wasallam) is nothing else but a revelation that is inspired]. As for an idea [or thought], it can be [rejected, disapproved etc] and debated [or presented for discussion], and it may be correct or incorrect. Therefore, it is not permissible to associate Islam with the term ‘Idea [or thought] because it [idea or thought] is something specifically attributed to the creation [i.e. humankind and Jinn], because an idea [or a thought] can either be correct or wrong. As for the Sharee’ah [i.e. the sound divine law, creed, acts of worship conveyed by the final Messenger (sallal laahu alayhi wasallam) from the Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah], it is infallible. Likewise, it is not to be said, “Islamic idea [or thought], because the scholar who has reached the level of Ijtihaad is restricted by the pure Sharee’ah, so he is not allowed to contemplate [outside the confines of the sound divine revelation] and then legislate; rather he searches and follows the legislated Islamic path of [sound] Ijtihaad in order to derive rulings. Yes, in this era of ours the term ‘Islamic thinker’ is used and what is intended by it is a person who is able to derive [sound rulings] and spread the virtues of Islaam, therefore in this case one is excused for utilising such a term; however it is better to avoid it. [Ref 3]
Imaam Ahmad [rahimahullaah] said: ‘’I am neither a person of philosophical rhetoric nor do I recognize philosophical rhetoric in anything. [I only recognize] that which is found in the Book of Allaah or in the Sunnah of His Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam]’’. [Ref 4]
Imaam Ahmad [rahimahullaah] said: ‘’Do not sit with ahlul kalaam [people of philosophical rhetoric] even if they defend the Sunnah’’. [Ref 5]
Al-Haafidh Ibn Abdul Barr [rahimahullaah] said: ‘’The people upon the correct understanding of the religion and those who cling to the [authentic] narrations of the [Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and that of the pious predecessors] in all the regions are agreed that the people of philosophical rhetoric are people of Bidah and deviation. [All the scholars of the authentic Sunnah] do not consider them to be from those who have been given sound understanding in the religion; rather the scholars are those who adhere to the [authentic] narrations of the [Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and that of the pious predecessors] and they have been given sound understanding in that.’’ [Ref 6]
Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [rahimahullaah] said: ‘’There are no philosophers upon right guidance” [Ref 7]
Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [rahimahullaah] said: ‘’Philosophy is like the flesh of a camel at the top of a mountain; it is not easy to climb the mountain nor is the flesh good enough to justify climbing, nor is the path leading to it easy to follow.’’ He [rahimahullaah] also said: ‘’Islaam does not have philosophers’’. [Ref 8]
Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami [rahimahullaah] said about the term Islamic Philosopher: This term is blindly utilised, therefore do not be deceived by it. If you hear the term Islamic Philosopher, then know that there is no such thing as Islamic Philosopher. The well-known Raazi [rahimahullaah] was a doctor, but all of them [i.e. him and those like him] were not saved from Philosophy. However, he is not regarded to be from the senior Philosophers, rather he is regarded to be from the scholars of Ilmul Kalaam [i.e. those who sought to establish the Islamic creed based on logical and intellectual arguments and not simply restricting themselves to the Qur’aan, the authentic Sunnah and the understanding of the companions] and regreted following this path at the end of his life. And even though his repentance is not explicit, however he was from those who expressed regret and regret is a type of repentance. [Ref 9]
He is Mujtahid
Amr bin Al-Aas [radiyallaahu anhu] narrated that he heard Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] saying, ‘’If a Mujtahid gives a verdict according to the best of his knowledge and his verdict is correct, he will receive a double reward, and if he gives a verdict according to the best of his knowledge and his verdict is wrong, even then he will get a reward.’’ [Bukhari Number 7352]
Few Masaa’il From This Hadeeth
[a] A Mujtahid is not deprived of reward. [b] The judgement of a non-Mujtahid is different from that of a Mujtahid. Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [rahimahullaah] said that the one who speaks about the religion without knowledge and out of ignorance [is guilty of] lying and sinning. The one who intentionally speaks to oppose the truth is threatened with entry into the fire of hell, as opposed to the affair of the one who speaks based on permissible Ijtihaad, for indeed he strives, fears Allaah as much as he is able, desires to seek knowledge as much as he was able, speaks for the sake of Allaah, knows the stronger proof and speaks based on that. This person is given two rewards if he is correct; but if he is mistaken, he receives one reward. [c] A Mujtahid can be correct or mistaken. [Ref 10]
Shaikh Rabee Bin Haadee [hafidha-hullaah] said: ”We do not say that there are people of ijtihaad amongst ahlul bidah because they are followers of desires, and Allaah and His Messenger have testified to this. The misguided innovator stirs up discord and errs, and then says to you, ‘This is ijtihaad’. When Hikmatiyaar and the misguided parties [in Afghanistan] murdered Shaikh Jameel Ur-Rahmaan, they said: ‘This is ijtihaad.’ They [ahlul bidah] do not fall into an affair of misguidance or a calamity except that they say, “This is ijtihaad.” This is [tantamount] to diluting Islaam, falsehood, misguidance, bidah and confounding truth with falsehood, when the mistakes of the [true and qualified scholars of ijtihaad]- for which they are rewarded- are placed at the same level with innovation, about which the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] declared to be destined for the hell fire. [Ref 11]
The Manhaj of The Salaf Is Not Suitable In This Era
Question to Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him]: “Some of the people claim that the manhaj of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah is not suitable for this time, and they sight (as proof for their argument) that the precise regulations of the Sharee’ah held by Ahlus Sunnah cannot be actualized in this present era”.
Answer: The one who holds that the manhaj of the Salafus Saalih is not suitable for the rectification of the (affairs) in this time is one to be considered misguided and misguiding others because the manhaj of the Salafus Saalih is what Allaah has commanded us to follow till the establishment of the hour. He (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ”’Verily those of you who live long after me will see a lot of differences, so hold fast to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Khulafaah after me. Cling to it tightly and bite unto it with your molar teeth”
This is an address to the ummah till the establishment of the hour. It demonstrates that the Manhaj of the Salaf must be followed and that it is suitable for rectifying the (affairs) in every time and place. Allaah (subhaanah) said:
وَٱلسَّـٰبِقُونَ ٱلۡأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُهَـٰجِرِينَ وَٱلۡأَنصَارِ وَٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّبَعُوهُم بِـإِحۡسَـٰنٍ۬ رَّضِىَ ٱللَّهُ عَنۡہُمۡ وَرَضُواْ عَنۡهُ
‘And the first to embrace Islaam of the Muhaajroon (those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah) and the Ansaar (the citizens of Al-Madinah who helped and gave aid to the Muhaajiroon) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allaah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him.”
[وَٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّبَعُوهُم بِـإِحۡسَـٰنٍ۬ -And also those who followed them exactly (in faith)]: this includes the entire ummah till the establishment of the hour. Therefore, it is obligatory upon the ummah to follow the manhaj of the Muhaajiroon and the Ansaar. Imaam Maalik (rahimahullaah) said: ‘The later part of this ummah will not be rectified except by that which rectified its earlier part.’
The one who wishes to isolate the ummah from the Salafus Saalih is one who wishes evil for the Muslims. He is one who wishes to change Islaam and he is one who wishes to initiate innovations and Mukhaalafaat (things that are in opposition to the pure Religion). It is obligatory to reject this one, cut off his argument and warn against his evil because the Manhaj of the Salaf must be followed and the Salaf must be taken as examples. The Manhaj of the Salaf must be followed and that is what is in the Book of Allaah and in the Sunnah of His Messenger as we have mentioned. The one who wishes to cut off the Khalaf of the Ummah from its Salaf is one who works corruption in the earth. It is obligatory to reject, refute his statement and warn against him. The shee’ah and those in agreement with them are the ones known for uttering such statements, so they are not be to be given any consideration. [Ref 12]
[Ref 1]: An Excerpt from Al Haqeeqatus Shar-iyyah Fee Tafseeril Qur’aanil Adheem Was-Sunnatin Nabawiyyati page: 186. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2]: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Bayaan Li-akhtaa’i Badil Kuttaab pages: 29-30. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 3]: An Excerpt from ‘Mu’jam Al-Manaahiy Lil-Laf’dhiyyah’. pages 430-431. Slightly paraphrased. Publisher: Daarul Aasimah. 3rd Edition 1417 AH (1996)]
[Ref 4: An-Nahjul Aqwaa. Introduction by Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan and Shaikh Abdul Azeez Aala Shaikh. page: 126]
[Ref 5: An-Nahjul Aqwaa’ with the introduction of Shaikh Fawzaan and Shaikh Abdul Azeez Aala Shaikh. Page: 127]
[Ref 6: An-Nahjul Aqwaa’ with the introduction of Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan and Shaikh Abdul Azeez Aala Shaikh: Page: 127]
[Ref 7: Naseehat Ahl- Eeman Fee Radd Alaa Mantiq Al Yunaan’ page 157]
[Ref 8: Naseehat Ahl Eemaan Fee Radd alaa Mantiq al Yunaan. page:157]
[Ref 9: Source: Sharh Tajreed At-Tawheed Al-Mufeed: cassette 1]
[Ref 10: Al-Arba’oona Hadeethaa Fee Usoolil Fiqh. pages 32-33. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 11: An Excerpt from ‘Ajwibatul Allaamatush Shaikh Rabee Bin Haadee Al Madkhalee Alaa As-ilah Abee Rawaaha Al-Manhajiyyah page: 20]
[Ref 12]: Al-Muntaqaa Min Fataawaa Ash-Shaikh Saaleh Al Fawzaan: page:11-12