Part A – Warning Against the Fitnah of Takfeer
By the Muhadith, Allaama, Ash-Shaykh
Muhammad Nasir ud-Deen al-Albaani
Abbas Abu Yahya
Indeed all Praise belongs to Allaah, we praise Him, we seek His aid, and we seek His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Him from the evil of our selves, and the evil of our actions. Whom ever Allaah guides, there is none to misguide him, and who ever Allaah leaves astray then there is none that can guide him.
I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah Azza wa Jal, Alone without any partner, and I testify that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Indeed the issue of Takfeer generally, is not only for the rulers, but it is also for the ruled. It is an old and extensive fitnah that was germinated by a sect from the Islaamic sects of old who were known as the khawaarij.
It is with great sadness that – some of the callers to the Deen or those who are too enthusiastic – have fallen outside the realm of the Book and the Sunnah! But in the name of the Book and the Sunnah!
The reason for this goes back to two points:
The first reason is them being shallow in knowledge.
The second reason is – and this point is very important – that they never understood the regulations of the Sharia’. The Sharia’ is the foundation of the Authentic Islaamic Dawah. All those who are outside the Authentic Islaamic Dawah are regarded as being from the deviated sects away from the Jamaa’aah which the Messenger of Allaah – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – praised in more than one hadeeth.
Regarding this Jamaa’aah which even our Lord Azza wa Jal mentioned, and explained that whomsoever went outside this Jamaa’aah has indeed broken away from Allaah and His Messenger. That is the saying of Allaah: <<And whosoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been clearly shown to him and follows other than the path of the believers. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination. >>[i]
So indeed Allaah Ta’ala, in a matter, that has a very clear command according to the people of knowledge – did not summarize His statement by saying: << And whosoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been clearly shown to him . . . We shall keep him in the path . . . >>
The clearest evidence here is that Allaah associated contradicting and opposing the Messenger with following a way other than the believers’ path. So, He said: <<And whosoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been clearly shown to him and follows other than the path of the believers. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination. >>
The Principle of Understanding the Book & the Sunnah
Therefore, following or not following the path of the Believers is a very important matter in relation to complying or denying that path. So whosoever follows the path of the Believers, then he is successful with the Lord of the worlds and whosoever differs from the path of the Believers, then Hell is sufficient for him – and what an evil destination.
From this point, numerous groups, old and new deviated because they never sufficed themselves to adhering to the path of the Believers. Instead, they rode on their own intelligence. Instead, they followed their own desires in trying to understand the Book and the Sunnah. Then they built upon their desires, their very dangerous results, and with that they left what the Salaf-As-Saalih – may Allaah be pleased with all of them– were upon.
The Messenger – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – emphasized this section of the noble Ayah: <<……follows other than the path of the believers ….>>
He – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – emphasized it by using an eloquent emphasis, in more than just one authentic prophetic ahadeeth. These ahadeeth, which I will indicate to and mention some of, are known amongst the general Muslims, let alone the scholars of the Muslims. But what is unknown about these ahadeeth, is that they direct one towards the obligation and necessity of adhering to the path of the Believers in their understanding of the Book and Sunnah.
This point has been forgotten – and its importance and its necessity have been forgotten by many of the specific people, not to speak of those who have become known – in these modern times – as ‘Jama’at Al– Takfeer ‘! Or by some of those kinds of groups who ascribe themselves to Jihaad, whereas in reality they are the scattered, defeated remnants of Takfeer! !
From amongst these types of people, there may be some who may very well in the depths of their hearts be righteous and sincere people. However, this alone is not sufficient for its possessor to be successful and for one to prosper with Allaah Azza wa Jal.
Due to this it is necessary for the Muslim to combine two points:
· Having truthful sincerity in ones intention, with Allaah Azza wa Jal.
· Following correctly what the Prophet – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – was upon.
It is not only sufficient for a Muslim to be sincere and serious in respect to acting with the Book and the Sunnah and calling towards it. But, in addition to this, his methodology should be correct, good and upright; and his methodology cannot be complete in itself except by following what the righteous Salaf of this Ummah were upon – may Allaah be pleased with them all.
From these well known and established ahadeeth – that build a foundation for what I have said – as I indicated previously it is the hadeeth of the 73 sects, and it is none other than the saying of the Messenger – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam:
“The Jews had split up in to 71 sects and the Christians had split up into 72 sects, and my nation will split up into 73 sects all of whom will be in the fire except one. The Companions asked, ‘Which one O Messenger of Allaah?’ He replied: The Jamaa’aah.” In another narration: “What I am upon and my Companions are upon.”
So we find the Prophet’s answer, agreeing perfectly with the previous Ayah: <<……follows other than the path of the Believers……>>
Therefore, those who primarily enter into the generality of this Ayah are: the Companions of the Messenger – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam, since the Messenger – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – was not content in this hadeeth with just saying: “What I am upon…..”
Perhaps this would actually be sufficient for the Muslim who truly understands the Book and the Sunnah. But he – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – adapted practically Allaah’s saying, when Allaah characterized His Prophet that he was: <<…. for the Believers he is full of pity, kindness, and mercy>>[ii]
It is from his – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – perfect kindness and his complete mercy for his Companions and his followers, that he – sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – clearly illustrated for them the distinction of the saved sect. Which implies that the are people and companions of the saved sect are upon what the Messenger – sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – was also upon, and what his Companions were upon after him.
Therefore, it is not allowed – for the Muslims generally and the callers to Islaam specifically – to be content with just understanding the Book and Sunnah using the means of understanding which are well known. Such as knowledge of the Arabic language, the knowledge of abrogated and abrogative texts and other such rules. But it is necessary, primarily to return in all of this back to what the Companions of the Prophet – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam -were upon, because they were – which is clear from their traditions and their biographies – the most sincere to Allaah Azza wa Jal in worship. They had more of an understanding of the Book and the Sunnah than us, and many other praise worthy characteristics with which they were shaped, and cultivated with its exquisite manners.
What resembles this hadeeth perfectly – in respect to its fruits and benefits – is the hadeeth of the Rightly Guided Khulafaah, which is narrated in the books of as-Sunnan from the narration of al-Irbaad bin Saireeyah – may Allaah be pleased with him. He said that the Messenger of Allaah – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam -gave us an admonition which caused hearts to tremble, and eyes to shed tears.
So we said, “It is as if this is a farewell speech, so advise us O Messenger of Allaah!”
He said: “I advise you to hear and obey, even if an African slave rules over you, and indeed whomsoever from you lives will see many differences, so hold on to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Khulafaah after me, bite on to it with your molar teeth……………….” To the end of the hadeeth.
The proof from this hadeeth is also the same evidence from the answer of the Messenger – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam -about the previous question (about the 73 sects). In as much as he compelled his nation to follow the characteristics of his Companions due to their adherence to his Sunnah, and he did not limit it to just that, but rather he said: “……And the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Khulafaah after me.”
Therefore, it is necessary for us – and this being our situation – to constantly repeat always and forever this fundamental principle. If we intend to understand our Aqeedah, understand our worship, and understand our manners and behavior.
It is necessary for us to return to our Salaf-us-Saalih to understand all these matters, which are necessary for a Muslim, so that he can actualize in himself – with sincerity – that he is from the Saved Sect.
From this point many of the sects of old and new have deviated, when they did not pay heed to the evidence in the previous Ayah, and to the significance of the hadeeth of the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Khulafaah, and likewise the hadeeth of the splitting of the Ummah. Therefore, it was completely natural that they deviated like those who deviated previously from the Book of Allaah, and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – and the manhaj of the Salaf-us-Saalih.
From those who deviated were the Khawaarij of old and of recent times!
Indeed the foundation of the fitnah of Takfeer in this era – rather, since a long time – is surrounding the Ayah, which they themselves always keep mentioning, which is none other than His Ta’alaa saying: <<And whosoever does not judge with what Allaah has revealed are the kuffaar>>
So they take this Ayah without a deep understanding, and they present it without detailed knowledge.
We know that this noble Ayah has been repeated and ends with three different wordings: << . . . so they are kuffaar>> <<. . so they are oppressors>> << . . .so they are transgressors/sinners>>
It is from complete ignorance that those who reason with just this Ayah with its first wording which is : <<. . . so they are kuffaar>> that they have not become acquainted with – at the very least – with some of the other texts of the Sharia’, whether from the Qur’aan or the Sunnah, in which the word (al-kufr ) is mentioned. Instead they have taken it – without any understanding to mean exiting from the Deen, and that there is no difference between the one who fell into kufr, and between those mushrikeen from the Jews and the Christians and followers of the other faiths outside the faith of Islaam.
Whereas the word al-kufr in the language of the Book and the Sunnah does not – always – carry this meaning, which they constantly repeat, and attempt to impose their wrong and erroneous understanding.
The matter of this word (al-kufr ) whereas it does not direct to one meaning, is also the matter of the other two words << the oppressors>> and <<the transgressors/sinners>>. Just like the one who is characterized as an oppressor or sinner does not necessarily mean that he is someone who has apostated from the Deen, so the same goes for the one characterized that he is a kaafir, that it does not necessarily mean that he is someone who has apostated from the Deen.
This diversity in the meaning of one word, that is indicated by the language, and the Sharia’ came with the Arabic language; the language of the Noble Qur’aan. Due to this, it is obligatory on those who want to issue judgment on the Muslims; – regardless if it is the ruler or the ruled – that they be upon knowledge of the Book and Sunnah and in the light of the Salaf Saalih.
It is not possible to understand the Book and the Sunnah – and also what is contained within it- except with the path of the Arabic language and its literature, knowing it specifically and precisely. If the student of knowledge has a deficiency in the understanding of the language, what will help him in rectifying this deficiency is returning to the understanding of the scholars before him. Especially if they are the people from the first three generations that have been certified with goodness.