By Shaykh Muhadith Nasir as-Sunnah Muhammad Nasir- Deen Al-Albaani
Translated by Abbas Abu Yahya
The Shaykh was asked:
Regarding refuting the book ‘Sunnah Nabaweeyah Bayn Ahl-ul-Fiqh wa Ahl-ul-Hadeeth’ [By Muhammad Ghazali] since there are flaws concerning the hadeeth, many of the scholars have refuted it. What is your opinion about the book? What’s your opinion about the refutations?
The Shaykh Answered:
‘This book is very dangerous to the Sunnah, and to the scholars of the Sunnah and the followers of the Sunnah.
There is no doubt that those who refuted it are united upon the truth, even though their methods may differ. From them are those who are strict, from them are those who are easy going and from them are those who are in the middle.
This man [Muhammad Ghazali] in addition to not being a critic, he is not established upon the knowledge of hadeeth nor upon the foundations of Fiqh principles, and along with that he adds to his use of evidence the opinions of others mockingly. This is not what someone does whose aim it is to advise the people, so because of this he exposed himself to many, many problems and he is deserving of these problems. It is sufficient that he attacked the Ahadeeth which are present in the ‘Saheeh’ without following the methodology of the scholars and critics as some of them did in the olden days like; Daraqutni, and the likes of Ibn Taymeeyah, and Ibn al-Qayyim, when they would critically examine some of the Ahadeeth. However, they would criticize with knowledge, piety and reflection. As for this man then he does not criticize except with his own desires from one direction, and with ignorance of hadeeth and its texts from another direction. Due to this the scope of refuting him is very extensive, so perhaps those who take part in refuting him with their different methods, they took part in that which was obligatory upon them in supporting hadeeth firstly, and the scholars of hadeeth and its followers. This is a brief answer according to what you mentioned.’
The Questioner continues:
‘Do you not see O noble Shaykh, regarding this topic that it is better for the current scholars of Islaam to schedule a meeting and a debate about this subject, this is from one direction. Also, do you not see that it is necessary for the noble scholars of Islaam, the likes of yourself to author a refutation against this man, since these great refutations have an effect upon the people. Also, do you not see that there should be more refutations against him, more than a lecture and gathering because he has affected the minds of many of the Muslims?’
The Shaykh responded:
‘This is true, with no doubt or suspicion, however the issue is, as has been said a long time ago:
‘Not everything a person wishes, can be achieved * A ship does not want a severe storm to blow’
I have many works, which unfortunately do not allow me the scope to undertake some of the other religious obligations, this is due to the many projects that I am connected to. However, perhaps those who have undertaken refuting this person, should form a committee to study these refutations and choose the best of them, then print them and distribute them to the people, to bring this refutation closer to all the people especially those who have been allured by the philosophy of this man and his tongue.
As for me personally, I am unable and cannot. I indeed held the opinion for example, of at least going to Afghanistan for calling to the Book and the Sunnah, at least amongst the different Arab nationalities, and I excused myself as you can see of my old age. Otherwise it is necessary to undertake refuting this man, and from those who refuted this person, the likes of our brother Dr. Rabia’ bin Hadi, the professor of the subject of hadeeth in the university, you may have come across his refutation, indeed he has more knowledge of hadeeth than other than him.
Anyway, as for your suggestion of forming a committee of scholars to debate this man, then I don’t think that there will be any benefit whatsoever, because you have been trialed before him with some of the Soofeeyah, who supported some Bida’ and the superstitious acts of the Soofeeyah. It was seen that he could be rectified and be debated but this did not benefit him whatsoever.
So perhaps, what is more advisable or better for rectification and beneficial is to form a small committee made up of some of the noble scholars and they choose the strongest and closest from these refutations in understanding, or that they choose from the collection of these refutations, issues which are stronger, and rewrite them with sentences which are clear and understandable for the general people. This is my opinion, and Allaah knows best.’
[Taken from the Audio Cassette: ‘Rihlaat an-Noor’ 1410 A.H. Tape 38]