In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
The Most Important Characteristic of The One Who Teaches You
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “We add trustworthiness as an additional characteristic alongside proficiency, because proficiency is a strength and it has to be accompanied by trustworthiness. Allaah said: [ إِنَّ خَيۡرَ مَنِ ٱسۡتَـٔۡجَرۡتَ ٱلۡقَوِىُّ ٱلۡأَمِينُ – Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.] [Surah Al-Qasas. Aayah 26]
It may be that a scholar is proficient and vast in knowledge, able to derive and explain subsidiary issues from fundamental principles, as well as categorise, distinguish and place different subject matters in their appropriate place, but he is not trustworthy and might misguide you from where you do not know”. (1)
Ponder upon the above statement of the Imaam and then give complete precedence to your wellbeing. Keep away from those who have taken teaching positions but are shelterers of innovators, such as those who shelter the innovators(Abul Hasan Al-Maribi, Ali Al-Halabi, Muhammad Al-Maghraawi, Yahyah Al-Hajuri etc). As for the elder students at Salafipublications and those who teach in the well-known Maraakiz of Salafiyyah, you will not find them sheltering a single innovator in religious affair nor those who support and defend such person. That is because a man is upon the religion of his companion.
The poet said, “Do not ask about a man, but ask about his companion, because every person guides himself by his companion”. [Al-Ibaanah 2/439] Translated by Spubs
Ibn Mas’ood said, “Indeed, a person walks along & accompanies the one whom he loves & who is like him”. [Al-Ibaanah 2/476] Translated by Spubs
Abu Dardaa said, “It is from the Fiqh (understanding of a person) that he (chooses) those whom he walks with, whom he enters upon (visits) & whom he sits with”. [Al-Ibaanah 2/477] Translated by Spubs
Al-A’mash said, “The Salaf did not used to ask anything more about a person after having asked three affairs: Who he walks with, who he enters upon (visits) & who he associates with amongst the people”. [al-Ibaanah 2/478] Translated by Spubs
Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood said, “Make consideration of the (regions of the) earth by the names given to them & make consideration of a person by his companion”. [al-Ibaanah 2/479] Translated by Spubs
Mu’aadh Bin Mu’aadh said to Yahyah Bin Sa’eed, O Abu Sa’eed! A person may hide his viewpoint from us, but will not be able to hide that in his son, or his friend or in one whom he sits with”. [Al-Ibaanah 2/437] Translated by Spubs
Does a Certificate Automatically Necessitate Superiority In Knowledge and Understanding?
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated whilst discussing the affair of certificates: “If one were to find a scholar who is good in various affairs of knowledge but has no certificate, it will not be possible for him to teach even in high school and this is the reality. And you will find that the one lesser in knowledge than this scholar will be accepted (as a teacher) at a university as long as he has a certificate”. (2)
The Imaam also said: It maybe that a person come long (whilst) holding the certification of a doctorate (PhD), and take up the position of teaching in the faculties and universities, yet he is the most ignorant of people. And if a secondary grade student came, he would be better than him (in understanding and knowledge). This is witnessed. At present, there is to be found one who has a doctorate certificate, but he does not know anything of knowledge- either he succeeded by cheating or succeeded by a superficial success that did not establish knowledge in his mind (and heart), but he is employed because he has a doctorate. A person comes along – a good student of knowledge, from the best of people and better than this one with a doctoral degree a thousand times, but he is neither employed nor teaches at a faculty; why? Because he doesn’t have a doctorate. (3)
The Goal Behind Knowledge
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: If one says: Through what can sincerity in seeking knowledge be [present or attained]? We say: Sincerity in seeking knowledge can be [present or attained] by making an intention for the following:
[a] The fulfilment of Allaah’s command because Allaah [The Most High] commanded it (i.e. to seek knowledge). Allaah said: [فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنبِكَ- So know (O Muhammad) that La ilaha ill-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), and ask forgiveness for your sin’’ (Surah Muhammad Ayah19)]
So Allaah [Glorified and Exalted be He] strongly urged (a person) towards acquiring knowledge. And strongly urging (someone) towards something necessitates having love for it; being pleased with it and commanding [one] to do it.
[b] To preserve Allaah’s Sharee’ah. That is because preserving Allaah’s Sharee’ah can be done by way of learning, memorization and writing.
[c] To protect and defend the Sharee’ah. That is because had it not been for the scholars no one would have protected or defended the Sharee’ah. And due to this we find the likes of Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah and other than him amongst the people of knowledge repelling ahlul bidah and clarifying the falsity of their innovations. We see that they reached a lot of good.
[d] To follow Muhammad’s [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] Sharee’ah. That is because it is not possible for you to follow his Sharee’ah until you learn about it. (4)
Ponder upon the statement of Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh regarding one of the goals behind seeking knowledge: “To protect and defend the Sharee’ah. That is because had it not been for the scholars no one would have protected or defended the Sharee’ah. And due to this we find the likes of Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah and other than him amongst the people of knowledge repelling ahlul bidah and clarifying the falsity of their innovations. We see that they reached a lot of good”. [end of quote]
Do Mubtadi’ah protect the Sharee’ah?!
Allaah [The Most High] said: [ أَفَمَن زُيِّنَ لَهُ سُوءُ عَمَلِهِ فَرَآهُ حَسَنًا – Is he, then, to whom the evil of his deeds made fair seeming, so that he considers it as good (equal to one who is rightly guided)?] [Surah Faatir. Aayah 8] Sa’eed Bin Jubair [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “This was revealed concerning the people of bidah and desires”. [Tafseer Al-Baghawi 3/689]
Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi Al-Madkhalee [may Allaah preserve him] said, “The upright jurist of Basra and the most intelligent of them- Salaam Bin Abee Mutee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] – said, “It is more beloved to me that I meet Allaah with the scroll of Hajjaaj than meet Him with the scroll of Amr Ibn Ubaid”. Amr Ibn Ubaid was a Zaahid (see footnote a) and a worshipper Maashaa-Allaah, but he was an innovator in religious affairs and a misguided one, and Hajjaaj was an evil doer, a blood shedder and a criminal. He [Salaam Bin Abee Mutee] held that if he were to make a choice between meeting Allaah with the scroll of Hajjaaj and that of Amr Ibn Ubaid, he would choose to meet Allaah with the scroll of Hajjaaj-the blood shedder and oppressive evil doer. And why is this? (That is) due to his realization regarding the danger and ugliness of bidah. And it is sufficient for us that the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] described (bidah) in his khutbah as the worst of all affairs, as reported in the Hadeeth of Jaabir [may Allaah be pleased with him]”. (5)
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Being distanced from Allaah is of various levels and some are more severe than others. Being distanced from (Allaah) through disobedience is greater than being distanced from (Allaah) through thoughtlessness; being distanced from (Allaah) through Bidah is greater than being distanced from (Allaah) through disobedience, and being distanced from (Allaah) through hypocrisy and shirk is greater than all of that”. (6)
He also said, “The trial initiated by a Mubtadi (interferes) with the very foundation of the religions, wheras the trial initiated by a sinner is related to forbidden desires. Unlike the sinner, the Mubtadi blocks people’s path towards the straight path, hinders them from it, nullifies the message brought by the Messenger and cuts off the path to (reward) in the Afterlife, whereas a sinner’s path to (attaining reward) is slowed due to his sin”. (7)
Ali Ibn Shaqeeq [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “I heard Abdullaah Ibnul Mubaarak [may Allaah have mercy upon him] saying in the midst of the people, ‘Abandon the narrations of the Amr Bin Thaabit because he used to revile the pious predecessors”. [Muslim 1/16]
Shaikh Jamaal Bin Fareehaan [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “How about if Ibnul Mubaarak was to appear amongst us; what would he say about those who speak ill of the companions of the Messenger, such as the likes of Mawdoodi, Sayyid Qutb, Taariq Suwaydaan, Hasan bin Farhaan al-Maaliki, Abul Hasan al-Maribi al-Misri and those who defend these people or keep silent about them!” (8)
Two Types of Bidah- Bida’atul Mukaffirah and Bida’atul Mufassiqah: Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee [may Allaah preserve him] was asked whether there is a difference between Bidah Al-Mukaffirah and Bidah Al-Mufassiqah; so he replied that there is Bidah Mukaffirah, such as rejecting the Ruyah (i.e. denying that the believers will see Allaah in the afterlife); rejecting Allaah’s Uluww [i.e. denying that Allaah is above his creation –Allaah ascended over the Throne in a way that benefits his majesty)]; invoking other than Allaah; offering slaughtered sacrifice (i.e. animals) to other than Allaah etc. These are affairs of Bidah Al-Mukaffirah (the bidah that is tantamount to disbelief); but we do not make Takfeer of the people who commit this type of Bidah until we establish the proofs against them. That is because some of them (i.e. the people who fall into these affairs) carry doubts and are far away from the era of Prophethood and its light (i.e. guidance). So they fall into the likes these innovations. Rejecting the Ruyah is disbelief; rejecting Allaah’s Uluww is disbelief; the saying that the Qur’aan is created is disbelief-major disbelief; but this person -[who testifies that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allaah, and he prays, observes fasting, wants paradise and believes in that] -received the doubts of the people of falsehood, so he falls into the likes of these affairs (i.e. these innovations that are tantamount to disbelief). So we say to him, “You have fallen into disbelief and the evidence is this and this, and we clarify for him”. So if Allaah grants him Tawfeeq [i.e. blesses him with knowledge and to act] and he returns to the truth, then all praise is due to Allaah; but if not, we declare him a disbeliever after establishing the proofs against him. As for Bidah Al-Mufassiqah it is other than this (i.e. it is not at the level of that which is tantamount to disbelief)…[ http://www.rabee.net/ar/questions.php?cat=26&id=484 .paraphrased] NB: Takfeer: [i.e. expelling a Muslim from the foldnof Islam] is the job of the upright scholars of Islaam. Read here about the Principles of Takfir: http://www.salafipublications.com/sps/sp.cfm?secID=MNJ&subsecID=MNJ09&loadpage=displaysubsection.cfm
Stance Towards Those Who Defend Personalities to Be Warned Against and Boycotted
This includes Shaikh Muhammad Bin Haadi, who has persisted on error and those who defend him such as Shaikh Sulaymaan Ar-Ruhaylee. Listen to clarification By Shaikh Abu Iyaad beginning at 52 mins: https://mixlr.com/albaseerah/showreel/narration-from-the-salaf-regarding-creed-and-methodology
Therefore, the sensible person is not duped by those who present certificates and then either defend Mubtadi’ah or those who persist upon error. May Allaah protect us from misguidance and error Aameen.
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Sharh Hilyati Taalibal Ilm. page 79. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2: An Excerpt from Sharh Hilyati Taalibal Ilm. page 22. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 3: An Excerpt from Sharh Riyaadus Saaliheen. Audio number 74a]
[Ref 4: An Excerpt from Sharh Hilyati Taalibal Ilm. pages 16- 17. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 5: An Excerpt from Al-Mawqif As-Saheeh Min Ahlil Bidah. page 12. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 6: An Excerpt from ‘Ad-Daa’u Wad-Dawaa’u’ page 119-120’. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 7: An Excerpt from Ad-Daa’u Wad- Dawaa. page 206]
[Ref 8: لم الدر المنثور .page 143]