Seeking Knowledge is the Foundation for the Correctness of your Repentance – Shaykh Ahmad ash-Shihhee

The following is posted from : Magnificent Points of Advice for those who have turned to the Way of the Salaf – Abu ‘Abdillaah Ahmad bin Muhammad Ash-Shihhee. This book was read to Allaamaah Rabee’ al-Madkhalee who gave some good instructions regarding it.

AUTHOR: Abu ‘Abdillaah Ahmad bin Muhammad ash-Shihhee
SOURCE: His book “Al-Wasaayah as-Saniyyah Lit-Taa’ibeena ilaas-Salafiyyah” (pg. 34-39)
PRODUCED BY: Al-Ibaanah.com

The Second Advice: Seeking Knowledge is the Foundation for the Correctness of your Repentance

So knowledge is the foundation for the correctness of your repentance. This is due to two reasons:

First: For the most part, the misconceptions (you had prior to your repentance) will remain attached to your heart and your mind. So if you do not correct it with beneficial knowledge, you will find yourself accompanied by these misconceptions in your statements, actions and circumstances. Rather, you will find them mixed into your Da’wah (calling to the Way of Allaah), as is the condition of many of those who have leaped from (just) making their repentance to (being active in) the field of Da’wah. So they have begun calling to the Salafee Da’wah, however this call is mixed with the Ikhwaanee misconceptions of gathering people together (regardless of Creed) or the Qutubee misconceptions of making takfeer (declaring Muslims disbelievers) or the Surooree misconceptions of partisanship (hizbiyyah)! So the image displayed is Salafiyyah, but the taste and the smell derived from it is something else!

Therefore, their call turns into a Salafiyyah, which consists of particular standards that can have their roots traced back to the misconceptions they had propr to their repentance, which still accompany them and which they have not yet corrected. So you find this person calling to leadership in Da’wah (i.e. that there should be one leader for organizing all the Da’wah in a land).

And that one rejects some of the principles of the Salafee Da’wah, claiming that they cause the hearts to be hardened! Or that they cause the brotherly ties to be broken! And this one agrees with the Qutubee ideologies!

And that one calls to Hizbiyyah (partisanship)!

And this one carries ideas of instigation and provocation (of the masses)!

And that one pitches the tent for gathering the people together (regardless of differences)!

All of this is done using the name of Salafiyyah, so to Allaah we turn for help! Verily to Allaah we belong and to Him we will return.

Second: Or perhaps you are carried away by the strong current of a misconception, such that your path and road towards repenting to Salafiyyah has changed course. So now you have become confused on this road or you begin calling to it, thinking that it is the truth when it is in fact misguidance!

How many games do these individuals who claim to have knowledge and stand for Salafiyyah play with the youth who seek to repent to Allaah?

And this is due to nothing else except for their lack of seeking knowledge and their lack of asking questions from the people of knowledge from Ahlus-Sunnah walJamaa’ah.

So, O repentant brother, may Allaah grant you success, you must seek beneficial knowledge, because it is that which will correct your repentance and set your path straight. With knowledge, you will free yourself from the misconceptions and the dangers, and you will save yourself from the hunting nets and snares, by the Will and Permission of Allaah.

As for the evidences that indicate the virtue of knowledge and those who possess it, then they are many and well known. I will mention from them, for the purpose of reminding:

Allaah’s saying:

Allaah bears witness that there is none that has the right to be worshipped but He. And so do the angels, and those having knowledge. (He is always) maintaining His creation with Justice. None has the right to be worshipped but He, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” [Surah Aali ‘Imraan: 18]

And His saying:

It is only those who have knowledge amongst His slaves that fear Allaah.” [Surah Faatir: 28]

And His saying:

Allaah will raise in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been given knowledge.” [Surah Al-Mujaadilah: 11]

And Allaah’s saying, reminding of the blessing He bestowed on His Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) due to what He sent down to him from the Book (Qur’aan) and the Hikmah (Sunnah) and protecting him from people misleading him:

Had not the Grace of Allaah and His Mercy been upon you (O Muhammad), a party of them would certainly have made a decision to mislead you, but (in fact) they mislead none except their own selves, and no harm can they do to you in the least. Allaah has sent down to you the Book (Qur’aan) and the Hikmah (Sunnah), and taught you that which you knew not. And Ever Great is the Grace of Allaah unto you.” [Surah An-Nisaa: 113]

So, O repentant brother, when you come to know the importance and virtue of knowledge, and the danger of neglecting it, then know that the first thing you should start with from the various branches of knowledge is:

Begin by Learning the Fundamentals of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah

Praise and Thank Allaah for the Blessing of Guiding you to the Methodology of Salaf-us-Saalih – Ahmad ash-Shihhee

The following is posted from : Magnificent Points of Advice for those who have turned to the Way of the Salaf – Abu ‘Abdillaah Ahmad bin Muhammad Ash-Shihhee. This book was read to Allaamaah Rabee’ al-Madkhalee who gave some good instructions regarding it.

The First Advice: Praise and Thank Allaah for Granting you this Blessing

This is since it is indeed a tremendous blessing, which Allaah bestows on whom He wills from His servants. So act well in showing thanks for it and in using it. And remember:

How many people are there that are submerged in misconceptions? One misconception drives him to the east while another drives him to the west – he doesn’t know how to free himself from it.

And how many people are there that are immersed in vain desires, being imprisoned by them and not knowing when he will be set free?

So give thanks to Allaah, O repentant one, and know that this blessing comes from Allaah alone. You had no will or might in the matter, except due to Allaah, the Most Kind, the All Aware.

He was the One who was kind to you and guided you and did not cause you to die while you were immersed in misconceptions and vain desires. So to Him belongs the Praise in this world and in the Hereafter.

And He was the One who directed you and facilitated for you the way to those who directed you towards the methodology of the Salaf as-Saalih. So how numerous are the blessings He has bestowed upon you and me. Allaah says:

“And if you were to count the blessings of Allaah, you would never be able to account for all of them.” [Surah Ibraaheem: 34]

So beware, beware, O my brother who has repented, of falling into self-amazement and self-delusion, or of considering yourself above Allaah’s blessing. Allaah says: “You were the same before, until Allaah bestowed His blessing on you.” [Surah An-Nisaa: 94]

And beware, beware of ridiculing or mocking others, such as those who are afflicted with that which Allaah freed you from. Instead, praise Allaah that He saved you and did not test you with what He is testing them. And when you see one of these people who are afflicted (with misconceptions and vain desires) say:

“All praise be to Allaah who saved me from what you are being afflicted by and who blessed me over many of those whom He created.” [4]

Show compassion for them and be merciful to them. And present to them what Allaah has given you from good and guidance.

And know, may Allaah grant you success, that you must follow the means that will ensure the correctness of your repentance with seriousness, eagerness, honesty and sincerity.

[4] Reported by At-Tirmidhee in his Jaami’ from the narration of Abu Hurairah, radyAllaahu ‘anhu. In its chain of narration is found ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Umar al-‘Umaree, who is weak. However, the hadeeth has supporting witnesses (from other narrations), which strengthen it to the grade of “hasan, due to other narrations.

Do not take Knowledge except from one who is known to be upon the Sunnah – Ahmad Ash-Shihhee

The following is posted from : Magnificent Points of Advice for those who have turned to the Way of the Salaf – Abu ‘Abdillaah Ahmad bin Muhammad Ash-Shihhee. This book was read to Allaamaah Rabee’ al-Madkhalee who gave some good instructions regarding it.

The Fourth Advice: Do not take Knowledge except from one who is known to be upon the Sunnah

Imaam Muhammad bin Sireen (rahimahullaah) said:

Verily, this knowledge is Religion. So look into (i.e. investigate) whom you take your Religion from.”

And he said: “They (the Sahaabah) did not used to ask concerning the isnaad (chain of narration), but when the fitnah occurred, they began saying: ‘Name your men for us.’ So the People of the Sunnah would be looked to and so their hadeeth would be accepted. And the People of Innovation would be looked to and so their hadeeth would not be accepted.” [8]

So when one of these repentant individuals neglects these principles and guidelines, he becomes an open target for these misconceptions and he becomes a play object for many of those who (falsely) ascribe themselves to knowledge and Salafiyyah. So all it takes is for a person to claim knowledge or manifest his connection to the scholars from Ahlus-Sunnah, and you will find the repentant youth flocking around him, without thoroughly examining the reality of his condition and without looking into his history (i.e. background). But When he sees that his followers have become many and those who love him have become engrossed with him, he begins to reveal what he was concealing and what (way) he really inclined to. So now you see him calling to (holding) leadership in the field of Da’wah and pitching a tent for gathering everyone (i.e. regardless of beliefs). Or you see him doing other things that are in opposition to the principles of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah.

This is the point where the repentant individuals begin to become confused and divided into two or even three categories – those who agree, those who are against and those who are neutral. This confusion only comes about due to two things:

First: The repentant individual’s lack of devoting attention to beneficial knowledge, especially knowledge of the Fundamentals of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah, since Knowledge protects the one who has it from deviations.

Did you not see how knowledge protected Abu Bakrah (rady Alllaahu ‘anhu) in the Campaign of the Camel (Jamal),[9] when the people put the Mother of the Believers, ‘Aa’ishah (rady Allaahu ‘anhaa) forth (for the campaign). So what protected Abu Bakrah (rady Allaahu anhu) was a hadeeth he heard from Allaah’s Messenger, who said when news reached him of the death of Kisraa and the appointment of his daughter (as the leader): “A people that leave their affairs to be governed by a woman will never prosper.”

So When the fitnah occurred, Abu Bakrah remembered this hadeeth and it protected him from that, such that he said: “Allaah protected me with something that I heard from the Messenger of Allaah When Kisraa died. He (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: Who did they put to succeed her?’ They said: ‘Her daughter.’ So he (sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘A people that leave their affairs to be governed by a woman Will never prosper.’ So when ‘Aa’ishah approached, i.e. Basrah, I remembered the statement of Allaah’s Messenger and so Allaah protected me by it.” [10]

Second: A lack or returning to the People Of Knowledge, Since the most deserving to be asked are the People of Knowledge and their students from Ahlus-Sunnah wal- Jamaa’ah, those who have knowledge of this individual whom the people seek to study under. so this person Should be enquired into:

Is he from the Salafee students of knowledge or not?

And did he undergo valid educational studies, Such that he has the right to be sought knowledge from or no?

SO if the answer is in the negative, then the issue comes to an end, all praise be to Allaah. And if the answer is positive, then he can be Studied under and benefited from, but without going to extremes in that matter. Rather, he should be given his due place and status.

This is an important point, which is: Differentiating between the enlightened Scholars, those Who are referred to in issues related to knowledge and current events, such as the two Imaams, Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albaanee and ‘AbduI-‘Azeez bin ‘Abdillaah bin Baaz (rahimahumaAllaa) and those enlightened scholars Who remained after them, such as the Mashaayikh, Muhammad bin Saalih Al-‘Uthaymeen, Saalih bin Fawzaan Al-Fawzaan, Rabee’ bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee, our Shaikh, Muqbil bin Haadee Al-Waadi’ee and others who are at their level amongst the people Of knowledge and fatwaa from AhlusSunnah waI-Jamaa’ah. So these individuals have their own level and position…

And between the prominent students of knowledge, whose knowIedge is known and whose following of the Sunnah is apparent by way of their books and the commendations of the scholars for them. SO these individuals also have their own level and position…

And between those who are less than them, from the students of knowledge, Whose Salafiyyah is Known and Whose ability to teach is recognized.

Footnotes :

[8] These last two narrations were reported by Imaam Muslim in his Introduction to his Saheeh

[9] Translator’s Note: The Campaign of the Camel occurred after the murder of Uthmaan, radyAlllaahu ‘anhu. when there was much turmoil amongst the Muslims. ‘Alee bin Abee Taalib radullaahu ‘anhu was given the bav’ah (oath of allegiance) as the succeeding Khaleefih and he decided to wait for the turmoil to simmer down before seeking revenge from the assassin of ‘Uthmaan. So the Muslims Were divided into those who were With him on this decision and those Who wanted justice for his murder right away. A group was formed to go and voice their case to ‘Alee and they rallied several of the Sahaabah including ‘Aa‘isha radhi Allaahu ‘anhaa‘ So she participated in the campaign riding on a camel (hence the name Jamal). When the parties at Basrah, a peaceful agreement was decided, yet due to some misunderstanding and confusion battle broke out and many lives were lost. And Allaah knows best.

[10] Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (7099), An-Nasaa‘ee (5403) and At-Tirmidhee (2365), and the wording mentioned here belongs to him.

Read the full e-Book: Magnificent Points of Advice for those who have turned to the Way of the Salaf – Abu ‘Abdillaah Ahmad bin Muhammad Ash-Shihhee

Magnificent Points of Advice for those who have turned to the Way of the Salaf – Ahmad Ash-Shihhee

AUTHOR: Abu ‘Abdillaah Ahmad bin Muhammad Ash-Shihhee
TRANSLATED: Isma’eel Alarcon
PRODUCED BY: Al-Ibaanah.com

Magnificent Points of Advice for those who have turned to the Way of the Salaf

 [Download PDF Book Here]

The following articles are extracted from the above eBook

Praise and Thank Allaah for the Blessing of Guiding you to the Methodology of Salaf-us-Saalih – Ahmad ash-Shihhee

Seeking Knowledge is the Foundation for the Correctness of your Repentance – Shaykh Ahmad ash-Shihhee

Do not take Knowledge except from one who is known to be upon the Sunnah – Ahmad Ash-Shihhee

The Need for Returning to the Senior Scholars with regard to the Important Issues – Ahmad ash-Shihhee

Begin by Learning the Fundamentals of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah

The Need for Returning to the Senior Scholars with regard to the Important Issues – Ahmad ash-Shihhee

The following is posted from : Magnificent Points of Advice for those who have turned to the Way of the Salaf – Abu ‘Abdillaah Ahmad bin Muhammad Ash-Shihhee. This book was read to Allaamaah Rabee’ al-Madkhalee who gave some good instructions regarding it.

AUTHOR: Abu ‘Abdillaah Ahmad bin Muhammad ash-Shihhee
SOURCE: His book “Al-Wasaayah as-Saniyyah Lit-Taa’ibeena ilaas-Salafiyyah” (pg. 34-39)
PRODUCED BY: Al-Ibaanah.com

The scholars are the ones to be referred to and turned to regarding the important issues, especially in matters that concern the welfare of the Muslim ummah. If you look at the condition of the first generations from the Salaf as-Saalih, you would find that they were strict with regard to returning back to the senior scholars that were alive in their time, especially in getting rulings that resulted in making tabdee’ (declaring someone an innovator) or takfeer (declaring someone a disbeliever). [1]

Look at the example of Yahyaa bin Ya’mar Al-Basree and Humaid bin ‘Abdir-Rahmaan Al-Himayree Al-Basree, when the Qadariyyah appeared in their time and they began to manifest contradictions to the Fundamentals of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, which necessitated that they be declared disbelievers or that they be pronounced innovators and removed from the fold of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. However, they did not rush into making a ruling against them. Rather, they went to those who held the position of being referred to with regard to issues of knowledge, from the scholars. And he was ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (radyAllaahu ‘anhumaa). So they informed him of what occurred to them and he issued a ruling to them stating the misguidance and deviation of (this group of) the Qadariyyah.

Yahyaa bin Ya’mar said: “The first person who spoke (deviant views) with regard to Al-Qadar in Basrah was Ma’bad Al-Juhnee. Humaid bin ‘Abdir-Rahmaan Al-Himayree and I set out to make Hajj or ‘Umrah, and we said to each other: “If only we could meet one of the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger so that we could ask him about what these people are saying about Al-Qadar. So Allaah granted us that ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (radyAllaahu ‘anhumaa) enter the masjid So I and my companion gathered around him – one of us on his right and the other on his left. I felt as if my companion entrusted me with speaking to him, so I said:

“Abu ‘Abdur-Rahmaan, a people have appeared in our land that recite the Qur’aan and pursue knowledge…[and he mentioned some other points about them]…and they claim that there is no such thing as Al-Qadar (Divine Pre-Decree) and that it is rejected.”

He responded: “If you meet these people, inform them that I am free from them and thy are free from me. By the One whom ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Umar swears by, if one of them had the likes of Mount Uhud in gold and he were to give it away in charity, Allaah would not accept it from him, until he believes in Al-Qadar.“ Then he said: “My father reported to me…” [2]

And look at the example of Zubayd ibn Al-Haarith Al-Yaamee when the Murji’ah appeared in his time and he saw that they had oppositions to the Fundamentals of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, which necessitated that they be ousted from the fold of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. Yet, he did not rush into making a ruling against them. Instead, he went to one who had the position of being referenced in religious matters in his time from the people of knowledge and fatwaa, those who took their knowledge from the Seniors amongst the Companions, who in this case was Abu Waa’il Shaqeeq bin Salamah Al-Asadee Al-Koofee (rahimahullaah).

So Zubayd went to him informing him of what had occurred, and Abu Waa’il issued a fatwaa to him based on a text from Allaah’s Messenger, which indicated the falsehood of the misconceptions of the Murji’ah and their deviating from Ahlus-Sunnah. Zubayd said: “When the Murji’ah appeared, I went to Abu Waa’il and mentioned that to him, so he said: ’Abdullaah narrated to me that the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Reviling a Muslim is sinfulness and fighting against him is disbelief.’” [3]

So if you were to compare between the condition of these people with regard to how they looked toward the people of knowledge in their time and between the condition of many of those who have become unstable in their repentance in this time of ours, you would find a huge difference between the two examples.

Those people (in the first example) strove hard to implement this rule, and they did not rush to make a ruling against those people of their time whose deviation become apparent, until they first presented their case to the people of knowledge, those capable of issuing rulings (fatwaa) from Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. So when they heard the ruling, they bit onto it with their molar teeth and distanced themselves from those deviants who were in opposition to Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah.

But as for today, then it is very rare that you can find those who strive hard to implement this rule. Rather, you will find those who have no concern for the words of the people of knowledge and fatwaa with regard to warning against the people of desires and innovation. So they wage war against the fataawaa (religious rulings) of the scholars and they distort their (intended) meanings. We ask Allaah to save and protect us!

Footnotes:

[1] This does not mean that a student of knowledge is not to rule on issues altogether. What is meant here is that he should not rule on issues related to current occurrences, from the outset, especially those that are ambiguous from it. As for the clear issues, which are not ambiguous, then he is not required to refer to them (i.e. the scholars).

[2] Saheeh Muslim (no. 93)

[3] Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (48) and Muslim (218)


Published: July 23, 2004 | Modified: July 23, 2004

Begin by Learning the Fundamentals of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah

Author:Ahmad bin Muhammad ash-Shihhee
Source:His book Al-Wasaayah as-Saniyyah (pg. 17-27)
Translator:abu maryam

From the Book : Magnificent Points of Advice for those who have turned to the Way of the Salaf – Ahmad Ash-Shihhee

Know, may Allaah grant you the ability to obey Him, that I do not mean by “Fundamentals” , the three categories of Tawheed only. Rather I intended that first, and secondly I meant by it, the other fundamentals, which Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah have agreed on and due to which they have separated themselves from the people of innovation and sects, such as the (the principles of):

Showing al-Walaa wal-Baraa (Loyalty and Disavowment), commanding the good and forbidding the evil, the (correct) stance towards the Sahaabah (Companions) – respecting and defending them, the position with respect to the Leaders, the stance with regard to the transgressors and sinners, and the position towards the People of Innovation – speaking against them and dealing with them.

This goes as well for all the other fundamentals that Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah have agreed upon and which they have put in their books on Creed, in order to clarify the truth and separate themselves from the people of deviation, calamities, vain desires and division – even though the source for some of these principles may be related to actions and not Creed. [1]

So if you have gotten a firm grasp in understanding these points and fundamentals, then, by the Will of Allaah, you will be fortified against many of the misconceptions that are gushing throughout the Islamic world.

But when many of those who have repented become negligent in this matter and do not initiate their repentance by learning the fundamentals and methodology of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, they become confused and lost with just the slightest of misconceptions! We ask Allaah to save and protect us!

Whoever reflects on the condition of these people, will find many instances and examples for this confusion and shakiness, amongst which are:

The First Example:

You find the person who has turned to the Way of the Salaf, in the beginning, strict and determined to keep far away from the people of innovation and sects. This lasts for some time, but then he is presented a misconception from one who clothes himself in the garb of Salafiyyah, which in brief is:

“Staying away from the people of innovation and not sitting or mixing with them is not correct.”

“This causes many benefits to be missed out on.”

“There is no one after Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that is infallible. Even the Sahaabah made mistakes…”

And he does not hear these doubt-raising arguments except that you see his heart become diseased. And you see him drinking (from) this misconception faster than he drinks water. And lo and behold, thereafter, he begins to mix and associate with the people of innovation, becoming soft and easy-going with the principles of Salafiyyah, while doing this in the name of Salafiyyah!

This confusion only came about due to his failure to engage in learning the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, according to the understanding of the Salaf (Predecessors) of this ummah. And it was due to his failure to study the Fundamentals of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. This is since if he were to have devoted time to seeking of knowledge, he would have known that this misconception is false and at variance with the position of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah towards the people of desires and innovation, in the past and present.

And he would have known that the statement of this false-claimer (to Salafiyyah): “There is no one after Allaah’s Messenger that is infallible” and “everyone make mistakes” are words of truth, but by which falsehood is intended. This is because when anyone amongst Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah – from the Sahaabah and those who followed after them in goodness – made an error, their error did not come as a result of following desires, or failing to follow the narrations or distorting the texts or chasing after what is unclear and ambiguous from these texts, as is the case with the people of innovation. Rather, their error would come due to one of them not being aware of the proof for it or his knowing about it yet not considering it to be authentic, or any of the other reasons for which they have an excuse.

The following saying of Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was revealed concerning them and concerning those who follow them in goodness: “When the judge issues a ruling, making Ijtihaad in the matter and is correct, he gets two rewards. And if he gives a ruling, making Ijtihaad in the matter, and is mistaken, he gets (only) one reward.” [2]

This is contrary to the People of Innovation and Sects, since they do not have any concern for the narrations, and they give precedence to their intellects over the texts from the Book and the Sunnah! Rather, they establish principles that are in opposition to the principles of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah! So these kinds of people are not to be sought excuses for, as that false-claimer (to Salafiyyah) had made excuses for them. And no one includes them in the same row as that of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah except for someone who is ignorant or an arrogant innovator! Another example is:

The Second Example:

You find the person who has repented, in the beginning, enthusiastic and eager to criticize the people of innovation, but without any guidelines or knowledge. So he remains in this state for some period of time. Then he hears the misconceptions from those who claim to be upon Salafiyyah, saying that:

“Criticizing others is not from the way of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah!”

And that “It hardens the hearts!” [3]

And that “So and so person used to criticize the groups (jamaa’aat), but then he reverted (i.e. went back to his old ways) as a result of that!”

So these doubts are not presented to him except that he turns around in his heels, and begins to reject this grand principle (of criticizing), which the Religion is established upon. Rather, perhaps you may even find him, after that, calling the people to abandon this principle, claiming that it hardens the hearts!

The truth with regard to this matter is that Criticizing is a grand principle, which the pure Religion is established upon. It is a strong aspect in safeguarding the methodology of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah from distortions. And it is a magnificent form of worship and a noble way of seeking nearness to Allaah, which causes the Muslim’s Eemaan to increase. However, this is only if it is implemented upon its proper conditions, such as having sincerity (i.e. not doing it except to please Allaah) and other conditions. So its state is the same as the state of any other act of worship, it increases one’s Eemaan.

So the discrepancies are not in the principle, but rather they are in the person who implements this principle (of criticizing and refuting) without any (proper) guidelines. So when the misconception is met with acceptance in his heart, he finds fault with the principle (of criticizing) instead of finding fault in himself for his lack of applying the principle in a good manner.

This is why we see in the Imaams of guidance – from the Sahaabah, the Taabi’een, and those who followed them in goodness –abstinence (zuhd), dutifulness to Allaah (taqwaa), fear of Him (khashya) and a soft heart along with their excessive criticism and talk concerning individuals and groups.

Look at ‘Abdullaah Ibn Al-Mubaarak and Ahmad bin Hanbal.

And look at Yahyaa bin Ma’een and ‘Alee Ibn Al-Madeenee.

And look at Abu Haatim Ar-Raazee and Al-Bukhaaree.

The biographies of all of these scholars are filled with examples of their piety, fear and dutifulness to Allaah. So this confusion and instability is due to this repentant individual’s lack of sincerity and honesty in repenting to Allaah. And it is due to his lack of giving attention to learning the principles of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah from the beginning.

Because of this, my repentant brother, you must beware of this kind of dangerous trap. And you must know that there is no way for you to be saved from these contagious misconceptions and these destructive traps unless Allaah grants you success (in that) and you begin by (first) learning the Fundamentals of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. So be firm in this aspect, with earnestness and enthusiasm and strong determination, as Allaah says: “Hold onto that which We have given you with might (i.e. determination).” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 63]

And you must be truthful and have sincerity: “As for those who strive hard with regard to Us (i.e. Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allaah’s Religion). Verily, Allaah is with the good doers.” [Surah Al-‘Ankaboot: 69]

And have certainty in the saying of Allaah: “And if We had ordered them (saying): ‘Kill yourselves (i.e. the innocent ones kill the guilty ones)’ or ‘Leave your homes’, very few of them would have done it. But if they had done what they were told, it would have been better for them, and it would have strengthened their Faith (Eemaan). And indeed We would have then bestowed on them a great reward from Ourselves. And indeed We would have guided them to a Straight Way.” [Surah An-Nisaa: 66]

And beware of losing heart and being weak and of yielding to that which befalls you in the Way of Allaah (i.e. in your path to repentance). Do not forget Allaah’s saying: “But they never lost heart for that which befell them in Allaah’s Way, nor did they weaken or degrade themselves. And Allaah loves the patient ones.” [Surah Aali Imraan: 146]

Footnotes:

[1] Translator’s Note: An example of this point would be the inclusion of the issue of wiping over the socks for ablution. The source for this issue stems from action, yet many of the scholars of the past, including Ahmad bin Hanbal, put it in their books on Creed, since by it they distinguished themselves from the people of desires and innovation, who rejected this aspect of the Sunnah based on it not conforming to their intellects.

[2] Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim

[3] This is one of their outlandish claims! – Since the hardening of one’s heart can only occur due to opposing the Commandments of Allaah and His Messenger, not by following them. How can the heart of a person who forbids the evil, especially innovations and deviant beliefs, become hardened?

“Calamities will be presented to the hearts just like a reed mat is woven stick by stick. So any heart that is immersed with them will have a black mark put on it, and any heart that rejects them will have a white mark put on it, to the point that there will become two types of hearts: A white heart that is like a stone, no fitnah (calamity) will be able to cause harm to it, so long as the heavens and the earth exist. And the other is a black heart, which is dust-colored like a vessel that is upturned, not enjoining what is good and not forbidding what is evil, except for that which it is immersed in from vain desires.” [Saheeh Muslim:  (Eng.) 1/267]