Worshipping Personalities, Fanaticism Towards or Against a Particular Personality

Worshipping Personalities, Fanaticism Towards or Against a Particular Personality, Turning Away from Knowledge and Memorising the Quraan and Becoming Known for Saying, ‘‘This person is an innovator … this person is misguided … this person has such and such an issue …this one has this and that … and this one praises the people of innovation … and this one says such and such …’ | 1 |

Questioner: I want you to give some advice to some of the brothers, students of knowledge in Kuwait. The current situation will not be hidden from the Shaikh concerning the fitnah which is on-going one after the other with the youth of the awakening, from which is the fitnah of the brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [concerning] the brother Safar and Salmaan and so on and those who support what they are on in some issues which they speak about, this issue has reached us in our area in Kuwait and then, ya’ni, “…each group [is] rejoicing in its belief …” [Mu’minoon 23:53]

Al-Albaani: Allaahu Akbar.

Questioner: … and each person claims the love of Lailaa [i.e., each person claims that he is right] …

Al-Albaani: Yes, by Allaah.

Questioner: … every one of them says, ‘I am on the Straight Path …’

Al-Albaani: Yes.

Questioner: ‘… I am the one bearing the Banner … the Banner of Salafiyyah and I am defending it.’

Now something has come between the brothers who are, inshaa Allaah tabaaraka wa ta’aala, on the Salafi way because of these issues, and there is nothing for us except this issue [i.e., it has become the only thing that concerns them]: we have left seeking knowledge …

Al-Albaani: Yes, by Allaah.

Questioner: … we have left memorizing the Book of Allaah the Blessed and Most High, we have left many things and [instead] speak about this issue, such that many of our brothers, the youth, have no concern except this issue, speaking about this person’s honour or that.

And they have made this the vehicle for what? The vehicle for the Salafida’wah and for defending the Sunnah speaking by dishonouring so and so, and so and so, and so and so, and so and so [fulaan and fulaan and fulaan andfulaan], then the issue resulted in defaming [tajreeh] the people themselves and not the mistakes they have.

So now the youth, our youth who are at their prime, when someone comes … and I’ll give you one example, what we know about the Muslim Brotherhood when a youth starts practising Allaah’s Religion, taking up this way, they warn him against what? Against the Salafis.

Al-Albaani: Yes.

Questioner: [So] now as soon as this youth comes to practice the first thing they warn him against is the tape of so and so, and the cassette of so and so, and so and so.

This is the most important thing now, and this is what many of the youth talk about now until they have become identified with and known for [saying things like], ‘This person is an innovator … this person is misguided … this person has such and such an issue …’

Al-Albaani: Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaa billaah..

Questioner: ‘… this one has this and that … and this one praises the people of innovation … and this one says such and such …’ and if you were to say to this person that this person [who you’re talking about] …

I was asked one time, a person came to me and said, ‘What do you say about Shaikh [Sayyid] Qutb?’ I said, ‘Yaa akhi, I love him for the Sake of Allaah, he’s a Muslim, and I hate the mistakes that he has. I love him as a Muslim, the general love [a Muslim has for another], and I hate the mistakes that he has …’

Al-Albaani: Tamaam [i.e., perfect/right/fine].

Questioner: … so they started saying, ‘This person is praising the people of innovation! And he’s saying that they have this and that! … These people should be warned against! … Here the proof is available …’

Shaikh, your advice for these youth, may Allaah bless you.

Al-Albaani: By Allaah, Yaa akhi, my opinion is not to apply oneself to/turn to these people who are being praised or criticised today.

And in reality, on many nights questions come to me from Kuwait, the Emirates and elsewhere, [saying], ‘What is your opinion about so and so?’ from which it is obvious that he [i.e., the questioner] is either for that person [he is asking about] or against him.

So I repel him from such a question and say to him, ‘Ask, Yaa akhi, about that which will benefit you concerning those things connected to rectifying youraqidah, your worship, improving your manners. Don’t ask about Zaid, Bakr and Amr [i.e., Tom, Dick and Harry], because this question adds fire to fire.

The person asking might be with these people and against those, or with those and against these, so if you [i.e., I] praise this one you will have slandered that one, or if you praise that one you will have slandered this one, [and] so this, as we said, just increases the fire’s intensity.

For this reason, I advise [the youth] with a concise statement which [in fact] reminds me of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq’s statement when the Prophet عليه السلام passed away. He [i.e., the Prophet عليه السلام] is the one personality whose love all of the Muslims are united upon, whoever turns away from this love will have disbelieved, in contrast to their difference in their love for many of the Companions and their slander of some of them, in most cases this will be [regarded as] fisq and not disbelief.

[So] what I want to say is that even though the Prophet عليه السلام is the Chief of Mankind, and every Muslim’s beloved, when Umar stood up fervently against the one who reported the news that the Prophet had passed away, you know the story, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq proceeded to say, ‘Whoever used to worship Muhammad, then Muhammad has died, and whoever used to worship Allaah, then Allaah is Living, Eternal, and does not die.’

So I do not hold that each one of these factions should be partisan to so and so against so and so or vice versa. Rather I advocate the statement of the Lord of the Worlds, ‘And be with the truthful,’ [Tawbah 9:119], so these youth you pointed out [in the question] are most deserving of [listening to] this statement, it is upon these people who get all worked up to correct theiraqidah, their worship, their behaviour, and not to become bigoted for one of these individuals or against him.

Because such fanaticism, firstly, is just like worshipping people/personalities, the type of worship which Abu Bakr as-Siddiq warned against in his previous statement, ‘Whoever used to worship Muhammad, then Muhammad has died, and whoever used to worship Allaah, then Allaah is Living and does not die.’

So becoming enthused towards these people is to become enthused over those who are not infallible, and the issue is as Imaam Maalik, the Imaam of the place of migration, said, ‘There is none from us except that he rejects and is rejected, except for the companion of this grave,’ and he pointed to the Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم grave.

So any person who becomes fanatical for another, [whether that person be] a scholar or a caller, then he will find mistakes in him, and [any person who] becomes fanatical against another will soon find that he [i.e., the person he is against] will have something correct and will soon find some good in him …


For this reason, before everything we advise these people who have differed and who were the cause of the youth around them splitting into two factions or more, we advise these people who are at odds with each other in some issues, and I praise Allaah that this difference, in my opinion, is not a difference in aqidah but in some issues which maybe we can call, in the terminology of those who came later, subsidiary issues not fundamentals or the core of the matter–so if the scholars differ then it is not fitting that those people around them split due to the division of the scholars, because the issue is as he عليه الصلاة والسلام said, “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.”

So we advise these scholars or callers who have differed not to discriminate/be prejudiced against each other and to deal with each based upon his saying عليه الصلاة والسلام, ‘Beware of suspicion, for truly,suspicion is the most false of speech.

So if some person, [let’s say he’s called] Zaid, makes a mistake then it is upon us to clarify his mistake to him in the best manner and not the worst, and all of those who differ [should] tread this path, because we all claim that we are Salafis, i.e., that we follow the guidance, manhaj and behaviour the Salaf as-Saalih were upon.  And we know that they did differ in many issues but this difference [of opinion] was never a cause for them to split or for them to treat each other as enemies.

There are some statements which have been authentically reported from some of the Salaf as-Saalih which if today someone were to mistakenly adopt because it has no angle from which it is correct, a great furore would arise against him, but such a huge furore did not arise against that Companion who, in a certain opinion or ruling, parted with an anomalous stance from the ruling which the other [Companions] had adopted: Umar ibn al-Khattaab, may Allaah the Most High be pleased with him, used to prohibit performing the tamattu type of Hajj and after him Uthmaan ibn Affaan, may Allaah be pleased with him, followed him in this prohibition.  When Uthmaan performed Hajj during his caliphate he also prohibited the pilgrims from performing the tamattu type of Hajj. 

So Ali ibn Abi Taalib, may Allaah the Most High be pleased with him, stood in his face, an individual from the Ummah, and he would be theKhalifah after him, [he stood in his face and] said to him, ‘Why do you prohibit something which we did in the time of Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم! [And then he announced the talbiyyah for the tamattu type ofHajj] Here I am, O Allaah, performing Umrah with Hajj!’

That person [i.e., Uthmaan] was prohibiting performing the Umrah withHajj [called Hajj tamattu] and this person [i.e., Ali ibn Abi Taalib] is declaring [his intention to do it] in his face, [saying] that the Sunnah is like this–despite that the people did not split around them, on the contrary they continued to respect each one’s opinion, and they [i.e., the people] may have leaned towards the Khalifah’s opinion [more than the other], because he was the Khalifah of the Muslims etc., [but] why [did the [people not split?]

Because when a dispute breaks out between the scholars it is fitting that it remains confined to them and that the dispute’s infection is not transmitted to the population, because the people do not have the composure, the impregnability and the mind to prevent them from going to extremes in the dispute.

Similarly, Uthmaan ibn Affaan used to hold the opinion that if a man has intercourse with his wife but does not emit any semen then it is enough for him to perform wudoo instead of ghusl, although this contradicts the authentic, clear hadith‘When the circumcised part meets the circumcised part ghusl becomes obligatory whether there is ejaculation or not,’despite this, no fitnah and no discord occurred between him and, for example, Aaishah who is the one who narrated the hadith opposing Uthmaan’s statement, may Allaah be pleased with him.

There are many examples, and even stranger than all of this, and the intent [here] is just to give an example and to bring [what I am trying to convey] closer, is that Umar al-Khattaab used to forbid the traveller who could not find any water from performing tayammum, [saying that] he should carry on as he is without praying until he comes across some water, even though the aayah is clear in its apparent meaning, “… and find no water, then seek clean earth …” [Nisaa 4:43]

And it reached Umar ibn al-Khattab that Abu Musa al-Ash’ari used to give a verdict based upon the apparent meaning of the aayah: that when a traveller does not find water he performs tayammum, so Umar sent for him and said, ‘It has reached me that you say such and such?’ He said, ‘Yes, O Chief of the Believers! Don’t you remember that we were on a journey and we became junub [i.e., entered a state of ritual impurity], and so you and I rolled about in the dust and then when we came to the Prophet عليه السلام and told him the news he said, ‘It would have been enough for you to strike the earth with your palms one time and wipe over your face and hands.’

Okay, [so he said], ‘Don’t you remember that the Prophet عليه السلام said, ‘It would have been enough for you to strike the earth with your palms one time and wipe over your face and hands.’ He replied, ‘I don’t remember.’ So Abu Musa al-Ash’ari said, ‘Shall I cease giving the fatwa?’ Umar said, ‘No, we leave you to that which you have chosen …’ i.e., as they say today, ‘[It’s] under your responsibility, under your guarantee, [since] I don’t remember this story.’ [He i.e., Umar ibn al-Khattaab too was] a man, you are not the only one who forgets, here is the Chief of the Believers who forgot.

Questioner: … what was Umar’s proof … what was Umar’s proof that when [a person is on a journey and doesn’t find water he should wait and not pray until he does so] …

Al-Albaani: His proof was the basis/foundation [al-asl], the basis [in the ruling] is water …

Questioner: … the basis …

Al-Albaani: The basis is water … the important thing is that this dispute and many, many other such disputes were not the cause for the splitting of the Muslim nation, because knowledge takes its course and theummah stays behind its scholars: whoever is content with this opinion then he is upon guidance and whoever is content with that opinion is upon guidance.

We make a statement regarding this which should be penned down and spread [and which is]: just as when, “… 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,” then likewise the one who follows amujtahid comes under the ruling which applies to the mujtahid, i.e., someone who follows a correct opinion, the Mujtahid Imaam was correct [in a ruling he made] and so he has two rewards–so this person who followed him in this correct [judgement] is also rewarded twice, of course [the extent of] the reward differs, but [still he gets] two rewards. The other person who follows another Imaam who was mistaken, then such an Imaam is rewarded once, and likewise is the one following him.

So when a dispute between the scholars occurs, it is not fitting, firstly, that it should be taken as a cause for splitting amongst them [i.e., amongst the scholars themselves] and secondly, it is not fitting that it should be a cause for a split amongst the people because they are all rewarded, whether he is right or wrong.

This is how our Salaf as-Saalih were–and we think that we are treading upon their manhaj and their way.

Rather I say with profound regret that many of us make this claim and do implement it to a large extent but have deviated in some of its implementation to a very dangerous extent–and here are its effects manifesting themselves now and in a people who we used to think would be an example for others in collecting and bringing them together upon adherence to [the way of] the Salaf as-Saalih, following the Book and theSunnah upon the methodology of the Salaf as-Saalih.

With regret, some disunity has occurred and thus just as we advise the very people who have differed from amongst the callers or the scholars or the students of knowledge not to be enemies [one to another] but rather to love each other and to make excuses for each other whilst sticking to reminding and advising [each other] with that which is best, then in the same way we advise those of the Ummah–with all their [differing] levels–who are not scholars or students of knowledge but are from the general [mass of] Muslims, also not to be influenced by such differences which they see occurring between the callers.

Because in the Noble Quraan we read that separation in the religion is not from the makeup of the Muslims but rather is a characteristic of the polytheists, “… and be not of the polytheists, of those who split up their religion and became sects, each sect rejoicing in that which is with it.” [Rum 30:31-32]

Silsilatul-Hudaa wan-Noor, tape no. 799

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