In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Firstly, be warned against ambiguous terms. Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said: The basis of Banee Aadam’s misguidance is as a result of ‘General Terms’ and ‘Ambiguous Meanings’ [i.e. terms & meanings which can either be utilised for truth or falsehood when not explained in detail and distinguished], especially if they come in contact with a confused mind, then how about when [evil] desires and misguided enthusiasm is added to that? Therefore, ask the One Who keeps the hearts steadfast [i.e. Allaah] to keep your heart firm upon His Religion and not allow you to fall into this darkness. [An Excerpt from ‘As-Sawaa’iq Al-Mursalah Alal Jahmiyyah Wal Mu’attilah’ – Vol 3. page 927. slightly paraphrased]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim said, “It is obligated on you to give detail and make a distinction, because unrestricted and general [statements] without clarification has indeed corrupted this existence [i.e. the world], and misguided the intellects and views [of the people] in every era”. Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan said, “There has to be detail explanation. The one who is not proficient in giving detail should keep quiet, because benefit is not acquired from his speech. And every time error occurs, its cause is due to an absence of detail explanation regarding truth and falsehood. There has to be detail explanation and distinction and not to mix up [affairs]. Indeed, it may be that there is something of truth and falsehood in an opponent’s statement, so all of it is neither deemed to be false nor truth; rather there has to be a distinction between its truth and falsehood. All of it is neither rejected nor accepted; rather a distinction is made regarding the truth and what is correct and the falsehood and error in it. And if you are not proficient in giving detail, then you should not enter into this field”. [An Excerpt from At-Ta-leeqaat Al-Mukhtasar Alaa Al-Qaseedah an-Nooniyyah: Vol: 1 page: 216. Slightly paraphrased]
Secondly, be warned against those who seek to mix truth with falsehood. Allaah [The Most High] said: [وَلَا تَلْبِسُوا الْحَقَّ بِالْبَاطِلِ وَتَكْتُمُوا الْحَقَّ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ – And mix not truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth while you know (the truth)]. [2:42]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said: Allaah forbade us from mixing truth with falsehood, and thus leading to concealment of the truth. Mixing truth with false is by mixing the two until one of them is confused for the other. This is forgery and deceit by way of which what is made apparent is the opposite of what it is in reality. Likewise, when truth is confounded with falsehood, the culprit manifests falsehood in the image of truth and speaks with a statement that carries two meanings- a correct meaning and false meaning, so the listener is under the illusion that the speaker intends the correct meaning, whilst he intends the corrupt meaning. [An Excerpt from Badaa’i At-Tafseer Al-Jaami Limaa Fassarahu Al-Imaam Ibnul Qayyim’ Vol 1, page 124. slightly paraphrased]
Thirdly, what is ‘Controversy?’ It is simply ‘a serious argument about something that involves many people and continues for a long time’. So why would a person describe another person, saying, ‘He is a controversial personality?’ Obviously because they are the subject of intense public argument, disagreement or disapproval; however, a sensible person does not merely jump on the bandwagon, rather he examines – based on sound principles in the religion – whether this controversial personality or so-called controversial personality is upon truth or falsehood, because as soon as this is ascertained one knows that those who disapprove of him are either ignorant or followers of desires. Therefore, be warned against those who utilise this term ‘controversy’ in order to either attack the callers to truth or silence the callers to truth.
Fourthly, be warned against those who utilise Ahaadeeth to justify their sinful silence or weakness in the face of ahlul bidah – those who say that the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right”. [Reported by Imaam Abu Dawud (rahimahullaah). Hadeeth Number 4800. Declared Hasan By Imaam Albaani (rahimahullaah) in his checking of Abu Daawud. Publisher Maktabah Al-Ma’aarif]
Now, let us look at the clarifications of Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah) regarding this hadeeth! He [rahimahullaah] said: It may be that a person is in the right whilst arguing with another person about something that is not related to the religion, for example he says: “I saw such and such person in the market” and the other person says, “Rather I saw him in the Masjid”, and thus an argument occurs between them. This is the type of argument mentioned in the hadeeth (i.e. the one that should be abandoned by a person even if he is in the right). [Sharh Hilyah Taalib Al-Ilm page 245]
He [rahimahullaah] also said: O student of knowledge! Likewise, it is obligated on you to abandon [blameworthy] debate and argumentation, because indeed [blameworthy] debate and argumentation is a means to cutting off the path [that will lead to] what is correct. [That is] because [blameworthy] debate and argumentation makes a person speak [solely] to give the upper hand to himself. Even if the truth is made clear to him, you will find him either rejecting it or misconstruing the truth -out of disliking it- to give himself the upper hand and to compel his opponent to accept his statement. Therefore, if you notice [blameworthy] debate and argumentation from your brother when the truth is very clear, but he does not follow it, then flee from him like you would flee from a lion, and say, “I do not have anything other than the truth I have mentioned to you. [Source: Sharh Hilyati Taalibil Ilm’ page 26. paraphrased]
He [rahimahullaah] also said: Some people refrain from debating even if they are right and they site this hadeeth as evidence, “I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right”. So they abandon debate. The one who abandons debate in the religion might not be completely right in doing so, because this might obstruct the truth and lead to defeat. [NB: The Shaikh (rahimahullaah) stated on page 243 that many people argue based on falsehood and defeat a person who is upon truth, so we do not say that such a person gained the upper hand over the truth, rather he gained the upper hand over the person who is upon truth due to his inability to debate]
However, it may be that a person is in the right whilst arguing with another person about something that is not related to the religion, for example he says: “I saw such and such person in the market” and the other person says, “Rather I saw him in the Masjid”, and thus an argument occurs between them. This is the type of argument mentioned in the hadeeth (i.e. the one that should be abandoned by a person even if he is in the right). As for the one who abandons debate in the path of aiding the truth, then he is not completely right in doing so and this action of his is not sanctioned by the hadeeth. [Sharh Hilyati Taalibal Ilm. page 245]
The Shaikh [rahimahullaah] also spoke about the six distinguishing signs of beneficial knowledge, then he stated that the third of them is that a person increases in humility whenever his knowledge increases, so he does not become arrogant towards the people. Then the Shaikh [rahimahullaah] said: If there is a clash between humbling oneself to the truth and humbling oneself to the people, then one should give precedence to humbling himself to the truth. For example, if there is a person who curses [or abuses, reviles etc] the truth and rejoices due to his enmity against the one who acts upon the truth, then in this case one should not be humble in the presence of this person; rather one should humble himself to the truth and debates this man [i.e. the one who abuses the truth]; even if he belittles or speaks against you, do not give concern to what he says [or to him], because the truth must be aided. [End of quote: Sharh Hilyati Taalibil Ilm pages 253-254]
Therefore, abandoning argumentation or controversy must be understood based on the above detail clarification, otherwise whenever the people of Bidah wish to stop a person from frustrating their plots or whenever cowardice overwhelms people, they will either utilise this hadeeth or accuse a person – who is upon truth – of initiating controversy. Imaam Ibn Aqeel [rahimahullaah] said, “If the truthful ones were to keep silent and the falsifiers speak, then the creation would have relinquished what they have witnessed [of truth] and reject what they have not witnessed. So when the devout ones desire to revive the Sunnah, the people would reject it and think that it is bidah”. [Ref 1]
Shaikh Rabee Bin Haadi [hafidhahullaah] said: The trials and doubts are brought forth by Ahlul Bidah Wal Ahwaa [the people of religious innovation and desires]. And the call to Allaah-to the Book of Allaah, adherence to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah-is the call that will unite all the Ummah. All the trials, splitting and (blameworthy) differing came from the path of the people of falsehood and the people of trials. And they [i.e. the people of baatil and fitan] do not keep quiet- they spread their falsehoods in their newspapers, magazines and audio tapes, while wishing that the voice of truth should be silent. In their view, the voice of truth is what should be silent and the voice of falsehood should be raised and spread in the earth! Do they remain silent?! The people of falsehood do not remain silent-they neither abate nor slow down. They have [ خطط جهنمية -i.e. paths or footsteps leading to the hell fire] which they enforce and thereafter they demand silence from the people of truth!
So they approach the Salafi Manhaj and say to you, “This tear apart! This [causes] splits!” Rather, the Ahwaa [the bidah etc] and the Dalaalaat [affairs of misguidance] are what splits and tears the Ummah apart, which the people of falsehood are ardent in spreading in the internet -at present- and places of falsehood-in the newspapers, magazines and the schools. They spread their falsehood in every place, but the very thing that is difficult for them is to hear the voice of truth! [Ref 2]
Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baz-rahimahullaah said: The student of knowledge is very eager not to hide anything he knows. He is eager to clarify the truth and refute the opponents of the Religion of Islaam. He is neither lackadaisical nor does he seek to escape. He is always manifesting due to his endurance.
So when the opponents of Islaam appear with that which obscures and defames Islaam, he brings forth refutation against them by writing, and by word of mouth, and other than that. He is neither lackadaisical nor does he say, ”these affairs are for other than me”, rather he says, ”it is for me, it is for me”. Even if there are other scholars, he still fears that the affair will slip away.
So he is constantly salient and does not seek to escape, rather he comes forward at the appropriate time in order to aid the haqq, and refute the opponents of Islaam by writing and other than it…by means of the radio, or the newspapers, or TV, or through any means he can.
He also does not hide what he has of knowledge, rather he writes, gives khutbah and refutes the people of innovation and other than them from the opponents of Islaam, with what Allaah has bestowed upon him of strength, in accordance to his knowledge, and with that which Allaah has made easy for him of various capabilities. Allaah [The Exalted] said:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَا أَنزَلْنَا مِنْ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالْهُدَى مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا بَيَّنَّاهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِي الْكِتَابِ أُوْلَئِكَ يَلْعَنُهُمْ اللَّهُ وَيَلْعَنُهُمْ اللاَّعِنُونَ
إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ تَابُوا وَأَصْلَحُوا وَبَيَّنُوا فَأُوْلَئِكَ أَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَنَا التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which WE have sent down, after WE have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allaah and cursed by the cursers. Except those who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth which they concealed). These, I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful” (2:159-160) [Ref 3]
Shaikh Shamsuddeen Al-Afghaani [rahimahullaah] said: Ahlul Bidah are the ones who kindle trials and disorder. They are a chaotic people and are deprived of safety and security. They are a people of trials and disturbance as opposed to Ahlul Hadeeth Was-Sunan [i.e. those who steadfastly follow the authentic Ahaadeeth of the Prophet and his Sunnah]. Have they [i.e. the people of Sunnah] committed what the people of bidah and trials have committed?! The people of bidah trespass- alongside enmity and innovation- whilst Ahlus Sunnah respond and defend [the religion]. [Ref 4]
Question to Shaikh Rabee [hafidhahullaah]: What is your view regarding the statement of the one who says that indeed unity is a fundamental requirement, so if a person comes along to split that unity, it [is] obligatory to reject him, even if it is Tawheed he [propagates]?
Answer: Does Allaah [The Blessed and Exalted] merely intend unity, even if the Rawaafid, khawaarij, the Baatiniyyah, the grave worshippers and their ilk are part of this unity?! Is this the unity commanded by Allaah? Is this the meaning of Allaah’s [The Blessed and Exalted] statement: وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚ – And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allaah, and be not divided among yourselves]? [Surah Aal Imraan’ Aayah 103]
What is the Rope of Allaah? It is the Qur’aan and [authentic] Sunnah; therefore the bond of Tawheed between you has to be the Book of Allaah. Allaah [The Most High] said:[ إِنَّ هَٰذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُونِ – Truly! This, your Ummah is one Ummah, and I am your Lord, therefore worship Me [Alone]. [Surah Al-Anbiyaa’ Aayah 92]
This is the unity that Allaah wants- [unity] upon truth and the revelation- and obligated on us. On the other hand, what do we call these people [i.e. those who want to unite upon divergent beliefs and methodologies]? [They are either] enemies of the Prophets or foolish ignoramuses [who carry] political views that are in opposition to the methodology of the Prophets, the methodology of Muhammad, the Dawah that consolidates unity upon truth and does not split the religion [i.e. into divergent sects], just as Allaah [Glorified and Exalted be He] said: [إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا لَّسْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ ۚ إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُمْ إِلَى اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ – Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects [all kinds of religious sects] , you [O Muhammad] have no concern in them in the least. Their affair is only with Allah, Who then will tell them what they used to do]. [Surah Al-An’aam’ Aayah 159]
The sound Dawah [necessitates] that we unite the people upon the Book of Allaah and the [authentic] Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam], so whoever responds will enter – InshaaAllaah- in the shelter of the saved sect and victorious group, and whoever refuses, then indeed he has chosen to be from the destroyed sects- those whom Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] informed us about; because they [i.e. these sects] refuse to unite under the banner of Tawheed, the Qur’aan and the [authentic] Sunnah, therefore they follow nothing else but the paths which the devils amongst mankind and Jinn call to [Ref 1], and Allaah has not burdened any soul beyond what it can bear.
At present, we experience the end results of these Da’waat [i.e. calls of the deviated sects] on the face of the earth! What is taking place at present in Afghanistan between the people of these calls? What took place after Kabul was liberated [i.e. from the Russians]? Did the people of these calls not start to quarrel and kill one another for sake of position?! At present we’ve seen divisions [amongst the groups], except the Dawah of the Imaam – The Mujaddid – Muhammad Bin Abdil Wahhaab [rahimahullaah]. The [upright] scholars of this Dawah have not differed up to this era – no differing in Manhaj, Aqeedah or politics has occurred between them, because indeed it is a Dawah based on: “Allaah said and Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] said”, however others besides them have become [divergent] groups – Jamaa’atut Takfeer [i.e. the Takfeeri Group], Jamaa’atul Jihaad [i.e. the Jihaadi Takfeeris], groups based on splitting and schism, [the emergence] of group after group, without an end…and one cannot find anything to protect them from splitting, [because] that which will protect [this Ummah] from splitting is the Qur’aan [i.e. sound understanding of the Qur’aan based on the understanding of the Sahaabah] and unity upon that. This is why the affair of the sincere ones has been prolonged and amongst those sincere ones are the people upon the Da’wah of Imaam Muhammad Bin Abdil Wahhaab [rahimahullaah], and you will find the [upright] scholars of this Da’wah upon [true and sound] brotherhood- neither differing in Methodology and Creed nor does politics [i.e. innovated political activity] exist amongst them. [Ref 5]
Shaikh Abdullaah Al-Bukhaari [may Alaah preserve him] said: And from which the people of knowledge have affirmed is that this religion is established on two affairs: Clarification of the truth and refuting falsehood and its people. The affirmation of this (affair) becomes manifest to the one who contemplates on the statement of Tawheed [لا إله إلا الله] with clarification and by way of explanation. The saying of the slave (i.e. the Muslim) لا إله is a refutation against falsehood and its people-those who deify others besides Allaah. And the statement إلا الله is an affirmation of truth and a clarification of it. And it (means) that Allaah alone has the right to be worshipped and He has no partner. Likewise, the statement محمد رسول الله is an affirmation of the Messengership of the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and a refutation against the one who gives him a status above that and thus deifies him; or lowers the rank of his Prophethood and Messengership. [Ref 6]
As for leniency and toughness, then here is a beautiful statement of Imaam Ash-Shanqeetee [rahimahullaah], “It is idiocy and an offence to (apply) harshness in a place where leniency is to be (applied), and it is weakness and apathy to apply leniency in a place where harshness is to be applied. If it is said, ‘Be lenient’, say, ‘Leniency should be in its place, because the leniency of a young man in other than its place is ignorance’”. [Al-Islaam Deenu Kaamilu’ page 7]
[Ref 1: Shifaa As-Sudoor Fee Ziyaaratil Mashaahid Wal-Quboor page: 148]
[Ref 2: Source: Question number 16. Page 28-29 in الإجابات الجلية عن القضايا المنهجية – Note: This particular excerpt is found in the second section of the book, titled: كشف الستار عما تحمله بعض الدعوات من أخطار ]
[Ref 3: The Responsibilities of the Student of Knowledge. page: 15-16]
[Ref 4: Source: عداء الماتريدية للعقيدة السلفية -1/26-27]
[Ref 5: Source: An Excerpt from ‘Majmoo Kutub Wa-Rasaa’il Wa-Fataawaa Fadheelatish Shaikh Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadee Umayr Al-Mad-khalee’ Vol 1. Pages 36 – 39. (slightly paraphrased). Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood[radiyallaahu-anhu] drew a straight line and drew lines to its right and to its left and then said: The Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) drew just like this, and he said about the straight line: This is the path of Allaah and about the lines to its right and left he said: These are different ways, upon each of these ways is a devil calling to it.” Allaah the Exalted said: “And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and do not follow other paths.”[Al-An–aam 6:153].
[Ref 6: Source:المقالات الشرعيّة page 14-15]
Read more here:
The False Claim “You Salafis Are Too Harsh’’.
Is the Presence of Differing a Proof for the People of Innovation to Remain and be Steadfast upon their Falsehood and Misguidance?! – Shaykh Rabee ibn Haadi