Know that departing from the correct path occurs in one of two ways – Dawud Burbank [Audio|En]

Sharhu Sunnah : Lesson 11 : Point 07
Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]

The author Imam Barbahaaree rahimahullaah said,

And know that departing from the correct path occurs in one of two ways. As for one of them, then it is that a man strays from the correct path, intending nothing but good. So he is not to be followed upon his error, because he is heading towards destruction. And (secondly) a man who deliberately opposes the Truth and acts contrary to the pious ones who came before him, then he is astray, leading others astray. He is a rebellious devil within this nation. It is a duty upon those who are aware 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.

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The Explanation (Transcription of above Audio):

The Shaykh rahimahullaah having explained in the preceding speech the correct path which it is obligatory upon the Muslim to proceed upon in his `aqeedah (creed and belief and his Religion. He then mentioned that one who departs from this path will be one two men.

The first man: is one who departs from it, not doing so deliberately, rather intending good. However he follows a path other than the path of good. And personal deduction will not be sufficient, even if the person’s intention was righteous and his intent was good, but along with that he must be upon the correct path. This person is counted as being one who has erred. Whoever agrees with him upon that and proceeds with him upon error, and he knows that it is error, then he is destroyed, because this is a path leading to destruction. Even though the person (original person), did not intend to depart from it, rather he was only seeking after good. And this is the condition of many of those people who introduce new ideas from themselves in the matter of knowledge of `aqeedah (creed and belief). So this is a matter which is not permissible and they are not to be followed upon it and the person is not upon correctness.

Allaah the Majestic and Most High says,

And this is my Straight Path so follow it, and do not follow the divergent paths which will separate you away from His path (Allaah’s path) (Sooratul-An`aam (6), aayah 153)

So whichever path will take us away from the Straight Path, then we reject it. Even if the person upon it is intending good and his intention is good, then still we do not following him upon that. And he, if he continues upon his error, he will go on to destruction, because whoever leaves the correct path on his journey and takes a path leading to ruin, then he will be destroyed. [01]

As for the second man: then he is the one who exits deliberately. He is aware of the Truth. And he knows that what he is gone out to is baatil (false and futile). However, he deliberately exits from the Truth with the intent of misleading the people.

So the first person, his intention was to rectify the people. However he did not proceed upon the correct path. Whereas the second person, his intention is to misguide the people and to turn them away from the correct path. So this one is a shaytaan (a devil), because the devils take the people away from the Straight Path. Iblees said to his Lord, the Mighty and Majestic,

“I shall lie in wait for them and lead them astray from Your Straight Path”(Sooratul-A`raaf (7), aayah 16)

He meant that he would turn them away from it, towards the deviant paths. And the Prophet, sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam, struck an example for this, when he drew a straight line and he drew around it other lines. He said with regard to the straight path,

“This is the path of Allaah,”

And he said with regard to the other paths,

“and these are the other paths, upon every path from them there is a devil calling the people to it.” [02]

This is a clear illustration, and what the Shaykh (Imaam Al-Barbahaaree) mentioned here is consistent with it. Since the person who takes the people from the Straight Path, taking them to new and innovated paths, does not want good for them. Rather he wants for them destruction and he is a devil. Whether he be from the devils of the jinn or from the devils of mankind. So it is upon us to beware of this even more than we are wary of the first one, because this one deliberately tries to misguide the people.

His saying, “So he is astray, leading others astray. He is a rebellious devil.” He is misguided himself, misguiding other people and he is a rebellious, defiant devil. He wants the people turn away from the Straight Path.

His saying, “It is a duty upon whoever knows of him that he should warn the people against him and make clear his condition to the people so that no one falls into his innovation and is destroyed.” This person who has departed from the Truth deliberately, it is not permissible to remain silent about him. Rather it is obligatory to disclose his affair and to expose his shameful state, so that the people can beware of him. It should not be said, “The people are free to have their own opinions,” “The people should have freedom of speech,” or “There should be respect for the opinions of others,” as they constantly say these days, with regard to respecting the other person’s opinion. So the matter is not a matter of opinions, the matter is a question of ittibaa` (following the Truth). So for us, Allaah has laid down and described a clear path and He has told us to proceed upon it when He said,

“And this is my straight path, so follow it.” (Sooratul- An`aam (6), aayah 153)

So whichever person comes to us and wants us to depart from this path then, firstly, we reject his saying, and secondly, we make his affair clear and we warn the people against him. And it is not allowable to remain silent about him, because if we remain silent about him, then the people will be fooled by him. Especially if he is a person of eloquence, one who can speak and write well, and a person of culture, then the people will be fooled by him. They will say, “This is a qualified person” “This person is from the thinkers,” as occurs at present. So the matter is very dangerous.

And this shows that it is obligatory to refute the one who opposes. Opposite to those people who say, “Leave off refutations,” “Leave the people,” “Let everyone have his own opinion and have his own respect and have freedom of thought and the freedom to speak.” In this way this nation will be destroyed. The Salaf (Predecessors), were not silent about the like of those people. Rather they exposed them and refuted them, because they knew of their danger to this nation. So we have no scope for remaining silent about their evil. Rather we must make clear that which Allaah send down. Otherwise we will be people hiding the Truth from those whom about Allaah has said,

Those who conceal that which Allaah sent down from the clear signs and the guidance after we have made it clear to the people in the Book; those people Allaah curses them and those who curse, curse them. (Sooratul-Baqarah (2), aayah 159)

So the affair is not restricted to the mubtadi’ (innovator). Rather the matter involves those who remain silent about him, because blame and punishment include him as well, because what is obligatory is to clarify and clearly explain to the people. This is the role of the knowledge based refutations (rudood), which are to be found plentifully in Islaamic book shops today. All of them defending the Straight Path and warning against those people. So no one promotes these ideas, the idea of the freedom to hold any opinion, or the freedom of speech and respecting others, except for one who strives to misguide and who conceals the Truth.

So we, our intention is the Truth. We do not intend just to defame the people or to just speak against the people. The intent is to make the Truth clear. This is an amaanah (trust and responsibility) which Allaah has placed upon the scholars. So it is not permissible to remain silent about the like of those people. However, unfortunately, when a scholar comes and refutes the like of those people, then they say, “He is just one who is speaking in haste,” to the rest of the evil whisperings. So such a person should not betray the People of Knowledge for their clarifying the evil of the callers to misguidance to the people. He should not betray and let them down. [03] [04]

Points discussed by Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan and Shaykh Saalih as-Suhaymee hafizahumAllaah:

leaving the correct path occurs in one of two ways:

  • The first is one who leaves the correct path but only intends good
    1. He did not seek knowledge from the correct place and is heading for destruction
    2. Following him in his error knowingly is a path leading to destruction
    3. He should be advised privately (if he is not calling to his error)
  • The second one leaves the correct path deliberately, obstinately and knowing the Truth
    1. He wishes to mislead the people and he is a devil
    2. The devil misleads people from the Straight Path (aayah and hadeeth mentioned as proof)
    3. It is obligatory to warn against this person otherwise he will fool the people
    4. This is the role of the knowledge-based refutations, rudood
    5. Clarifying the Truth is a trust and responsibility Allaah placed upon the scholars
    6. Remaining silent about those who mislead the people is hiding the Truth


[01] Translator’s side point: With regard to the wording, “ Innahu Haalaka” this person who intended good but strayed away from the true path, strayed into innovation, then literally ‘he is destroyed’, Shaykh Ahmad an-Najmee rahimahullaah said, “I say, if the author rahimahullaah, had restricted this wording and the judgement concerning it, such that he had said, ‘he is destroyed, if he dies upon it and does not repent’ (it would be better). And I say also, that intending good will not benefit a person, that he just intends what is good, but he does not adhere to the Straight Path which came from Allaah and from His Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam.” Then the Shaykh, mentioned the long incident of those people who were counting the stones in the masjid (reported by ad-Daarimee in his Sunan) the narration concerning `Abdullaah ibn Mas`ood radiyAllaahu `anh. When they were criticized by `Abdullaah ibn Mas`ood radiyAllaahu `anh, that they made their excuse and they said, “By Allaah, O Aboo `Abdur-Rahmaan, we only intended good.” Ibn Mas`ood radiyAllaahu `anh, responded to them, “And how many people intend good, but do not attain it.”

[02] Reported by at-Tayaalisee in his Musnad, Imaam Ahmad in his Musnad, Sa`eed ibn Mansoor in his Sunan, ad-Daarimee, an-Nasaa·ee in (Sunan) al-Kubraa and a number of other references besides. All of them say as a narration of `Abdullaah ibn Mas`ood. It was declared authentic by Ibn Hibbaan and al-Haakim, agreed to by ath-Thahabee and declared saheeh (authentic) by others from the people of knowledge.

Translator’s side point: In addition Shaykh al-Albaanee, in his checking of al-Mishkaat, declared this narration to have a hasan (good) chain of narration.

[03] Translators side point: Shaykh Ahmad an-Najmee rahimahullaah said, “What is obligatory upon everyone who is aware of the Truth is that he should aid it.” After some speech he said, “And whoever claims that refuting the people of innovation causes splits in this nation and it disunites this nation, then he is misguided also, because he wants this nation to unite upon falsehood. This is a matter which Islaam does not consent to.”

[04] Translators side point: From the taped explanation of Shaykh Saalih ibn Sa`d as-Suhaymee hafizahullaah. With regard to this point that the people who depart from the Truth are one of two people, he said, “Yes, this is a precise categorisation from the Shaykh, rahimahullaah. The innovators are indeed of two categories, because the Shaykh, as you know, throughout his whole book, his focus is upon the innovators. And from them there is a category who actually want the Truth, but he does not attain it. Just like the people of thikr who we mentioned a short while ago (the same incident of those people in the masjid who were doing an innovated form of thikr which `Abdullaah ibn Mas`ood criticised). Those who said to Ibn Mas`ood, radiyAllaahu’anh, ‘We only intend the Truth.’ However, how many people there are who intend the Truth, but do not attain it.

“Whoever intends the Truth, he should seek it from its correct place. And the Truth does not come about through venerating individuals, nor through flashy words, nor by having a majority. It only comes about through ittibaa`, following the Truth, following the first generations, the generations of the Companions and the Taabi`een and proceeding upon their methodology. So the like of this person (the first person, he strays into innovation but he only intends the Truth) is destroyed if he does not come back and seek the Truth with its proof from the correct place. However his danger is less than the danger of the second category of the people. And perhaps his harm will be restricted to himself, meaning the one who intends the Truth but he seeks it not in the correct way. So he slips and innovates and falls into innovation, and the judgement upon him will be in the light of how severe his innovations are. It may be of the level of something less or it may be something major or it may be something which takes him out of Islaam, but his danger will be less. And your advising him should be between you and him, if you know that he is not a caller to innovation and that he does not propagate innovation. Then you should come to him privately and you make clear to him the correct path, so that he can follow it. You make clear to him the methodology of the Ahlus-Sunnah walJamaa`ah. You don’t make his affair open. You don’t mention him upon the minbars. You don’t mention him as being a person with criticism. Rather you direct him and give him sincere advice. So if this type of person is how he is, then maybe be one day, by the permission of Allaah, he will turn back. And even if he stays upon his innovation, then he does not represent a great danger to the people (he doesn’t call to this innovation). However what is obligatory is that you strive to give him advice and clarify and give him correct, constructive direction.

“As for the second category of people, those who are obstinate, those who do so deliberately with pride, they commit innovation, obstinately, deliberately. The more you forbid him, the more he increases in his error until he becomes a caller to innovation. Therefore the Salaf used to reject the narrations of an innovator, who was a caller to innovation and not accept them, rather they would reject them and warn against him and against his innovation. So the like of this person, you must make his affair clear and warn against him. And if he has written a book, he is refuted with a book. If he has a tape, he is refuted with a tape. If he gives speeches, he is refuted in speeches. The people are warned against his evil. ”

Then the Shaykh went on to mention further examples in that regard: this is not backbiting; this is correct; this is one of the examples that Imaam An-Nawawee in his book Riyaadus-Saaliheen mentioned are an exception. This is a case where it is obligatory to speak against that person and it cannot be said, “This is backbiting, this is forbidden.” This is not the case. Then after some speech the Shaykh said finishing, “So this second type, who is indicated by the author here, he is the most dangerous of people for this nation. Therefore it is obligatory to warn the people against him and to draw attention to their evil and to warn the nation against their evil. ”

Transcribed by Fawad Abu Zaid Al Afghaani. Download PDF of Lesson 10

Ithaaful-Qaaree bit-Ta`leeqaat `alaa Sharhis-Sunnah
by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood Burbank, rahimahullaah

Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah

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