In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Arab News stated: Al-Issa indicated that congratulating non-Muslims on their holidays “is an apparent interest that serves the reputation of Islam”. “The purpose of these greetings is to promote coexistence and harmony in a world that is in dire need of that”, he said. [End of quote]
Response to The Above
Firstly: If this transmission by Arab News is exactly what Dr. Mohammed Al Assa stated, then indeed the detail distinction between truth and falsehood in this affair can be found in this link Greeting and Interacting with the Jews, Christians and Pagans- Even if they are oppressive – By Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him]: https://abukhadeejah.com/how-to-conduct-oneself-with-the-jews-christians-others-even-if-they-be-tyrants/
Secondly: We remind the wannabe reformists at Arab news that it is extremely dangerous to issue verdicts in the pure religion ordained by Allaah without sound knowledge. Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: And when it is case that the true followers of the Prophets [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon them] are people of knowledge and justice, therefore the speech of the people of Islaam and the true adherents to the Prophetic Sunnah regarding the unbelievers and the proponents of religious innovations has to be based on knowledge and justice, and not conjecture and what the soul desires. And due to this the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said: “The judges are three: one will go to Paradise and two to Hell. A man who knows the truth and judges with it will enter paradise; a man who knows the truth but judges with the opposite of it will enter the fire, and a man who judges for the people based on ignorance will enter the fire”. [Reported by Imaam Abu Dawud 3573]
And when it is the case that the one who judges between the people in (affairs) of wealth, blood (i.e. murder cases, physical violence etc) and honour will enter the hell fire if he is not a just scholar, then how about the one who passes judgements – without knowledge and justice – on creeds, religions, the fundamentals of belief, divine knowledge and the general fundamental principles related to different subject matters, as is the case with ahlul bidah wal ahwaa [the people of religious innovations and desires]- those who follow the ambiguous doubtful matters, abandon those explicitly clear texts that have transmitted by the Prophets [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon them], cling to affairs that share an ambiguous similarity through mere analogy and opinions, and then present affairs whose differences can neither be reconciled nor equated, just as is the case with the unbelievers and all the proponents of religious innovation and followers of desires… (1)
Amr bin Al-Aas [may Allaah be pleased with him] narrated that he heard Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, ‘’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]
A Mujtahid is not deprived of reward. The judgement of a non-Mujtahid is different from that of a Mujtahid. Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah stated 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, because 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. A Mujtahid can be correct or mistaken. (2)
Thirdly: Arab News is reminded of the fact opposition to the Sunnah cannot be tolerated. The Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “Indeed the one who lives long amongst you will see differences; so upon you is to (adhere) to my Sunnah”. Imaam Abu Haatim [may allaah have mercy upon him] said, “This is clear evidence that the Messenger commanded his Ummah to know the weak narrators amongst them and (distinguish) them from the reliable narrators. That is because the Sunnah cannot be adhered to alongside the lies and falsehood mixed with it, except by way of knowing the weak narrators and (distinguishing them) from the reliable narrators”. (3)
Finally: The wannabe reformists at Arab News are reminded of the fact that merely desiring good is not enough, and that promoting tolerance, moderation and peace coexistence can neither be based on that which opposes the pure Creed, acts of worship, methodology, behaviour and personality approved by Allaah and His Messenger nor based on that which opposes the understanding of the Sahaabah. Misguidance is not tolerated, even if a person says that he or she desires good. Imaam Barbahaaree [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: “Know that leaving the correct path occurs in two ways. Firstly: that a man strays from the correct path intending nothing but good, so his error is not to be followed since it leads to destruction. Secondly, a man who deliberately opposes the truth and acts contrary to the Pious ones who came before him, he is astray, leading others astray, a rebellious devil within the Ummah. It is a duty upon those who know of him to warn the people against him and to explain his condition to them so that no one falls into his innovation and is destroyed”.
Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] commented on the above statement of Imaam Barbahaaree [may Allaah have mercy upon him] saying: After the Shaikh [i.e. Imaam Barbahaaree] described the correct path in his previous statement-the correct path that is obligated on the Muslim to follow in his (sound) Creed and Religion- he then mentioned that the one who leaves the correct path is one of two men: The First Man: it is the one who leaves the [correct path] without the intention [to do so], rather he intended good but followed other than the path of good. Striving [alone] is not sufficient, and even if the person has a righteous intention and a good aim, then that must be upon the correct path. Therefore, this [person] is considered mistaken and whoever agrees with him upon that and follows with him upon error will be destroyed; because this is a path of destruction even though the [person] did not intend leaving [the correct path]; rather his quest was [to reach something] good. This is the state of many of those who initiate newly invented affairs -from themselves – in the knowledge of Aqeedah (Creed). This affair is not permissible, and they should not adhere to it. The person [upon this path] is not upon correctness. Allah [The Mighty and Majestic] said: [ وَأَنَّ هَٰذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ – And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path]. [6:153]
So we reject any path that exits us from the Straight Path even if the one who [calls] to it aims for good and has a good intention. We do not follow him upon that whilst he continues upon his error, eventually leading to destruction; because whoever abandons the correct path in his journey and takes a path of ruin will be destroyed.
As For the Second Person: It is the one who intends to leave [the correct path]. He knows the truth and that what he embarks upon is falsehood, but he intends to leave the truth with the intention of misguiding the people. So the intention of the first [person] is to bring about benefit for the people, but he did not follow the correct path.
The second [person] intended to misguide the people and to turn them away from the correct path. So this one [i.e. the one who intends misguidance for the people] is a devil, because the devils take the people away from the Straight Path. [Allaah informed us that] Iblees said:
[لَأَقْعُدَنَّ لَهُمْ صِرَاطَكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ -Surely, I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path]. [7:16] So he intends to turn them away from it [i.e. the straight path] and [direct them] towards the deviated paths. The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] gave us an example when he drew a straight line and drew other lines on its sides, he then said about the straight line: ‘This is the path of Allaah’ and he said about the other lines, ‘These are the other paths, and on each path is a devil calling to it.’ This is a clear example that agrees to that which the Shaikh [i.e. Imaam Barbahaaree] has mentioned here. So the one who takes the people away from the Straight Path [and direct them] to the innovated paths of the innovators is not one who intends good for them; rather he intends destruction for them. He is a devil, be it that he is a devil from amongst the Jinn or the People. It is obligated on us to be more careful of this [second] than the first one [i.e. the person who intends good but was mistaken]; because this one [i.e. the intentionally deviated one] intends to misguide the people.
And regarding the statement of Imaam Barbahaaree: “He is astray, leading others astray, a rebellious devil”, Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan commented on the above statement, saying: He is misguided and misguiding others. He is a rebellious devil, a rebel intending to turn the people from the Straight Path. And regarding the statement of Imaam Barbahaaree:” It is a duty upon those who know of him to warn the people against him and to explain his condition to them so that no one falls into his innovation and is destroyed.’ Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan commented on the above statement, saying: It is not permissible to keep quiet about this one who leaves the truth intentionally; rather it is obligatory to unveil his affair and uncover his vileness until the people are warned about him. And it is not to be said that the people are free to hold views, freedom of speech and respecting the views of others, as say present with regards to [having] respect for the views of others. The affair is not about views; [rather] the affair is about Ittibaa [i.e. following the authentic proofs narrated from the Messenger accompanied with the understanding of the pious predecessors]. Allah has outlined a clear path for us, and He told us to adhere to it, when He [Glorified be He] stated: [وَأَنَّ هَٰذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ] ‘And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it’ [6:153]
So any person comes to us and wants us to leave this straight path, then firstly we reject his statement. Secondly, we clarify and warn the people against him and we do not keep quiet about him; because if we keep quiet about him, the people will be deceived by him, especially if he is an eloquent person, [with] good speech, [skilful] writing and is educated; for indeed the people will be deceived by him and will say, ”this one is competent, this one is from the thinkers,” as is taking place today.
So, the affair is very dangerous and regarding this is a reason to refute the one in opposition, as opposed to what those ones say: [that]” Abandon the refutations, leave the people, everyone has his own views and have respect for him.” By way of this [having] respect for the views and freedom of speech the Ummah will be destroyed. The Salaf (pious predecessors) did not keep quiet about the likes of these people; rather they exposed and refuted them due to their knowledge of their danger upon Ummah. We do not keep quiet about their evil; rather that which Allaah has revealed must be clarified. And unless [we do that], we will be from those who conceal the truth-those whom Allah spoke of (saying):
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَا أَنْزَلْنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالْهُدَىٰ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا بَيَّنَّاهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِي الْكِتَابِ ۙ أُولَٰئِكَ يَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّاعِنُونَ
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.'[2:159] And the affair is not limited to the innovator, rather it is extended to the one who keeps quiet about him, for indeed rebuke and punishment is extended to him; because it is obligatory to clarify and made clear for the people…..up until the Sheikh said: So our intention is to clarify the truth. Our intention is not to [merely] disparage the people or to speak about the people. The intent is to clarify the truth, and this is a trust entrusted upon the Scholars. It is not permissible to keep quiet about these people.
To be continued….InShaaAllaah
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Al-Jawaabus Saheeh Liman Baddala Deenul Maseeh. 1/26-30]
[Ref 2: Al-Arba’oona Hadeethaa Fee Usoolil Fiqh. pages 32-33]
[Ref 3: Muqaddimah Kitaab Al-Majrooheem Minal Muhadditheen. Page 66]
[Ref 4: An Excerpt from It-haaful Qaaree Bitta’liqaat Alaa Sharhis Sunnah Lil Imaam Barbahaaree, Vol 1, page: 110-115. slightly paraphrased]