In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
This is our call
A lecture given by Sheikh al-Albaani rahimahullaah
[Verily, all praises and thanks are due to Allah, we praise Him, seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evils of our souls and evils of our deeds. One whom Allah guides none can lead him astray, and one whom He misguides, none can guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad (SAAS) is His servant and His messenger.
"O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. (Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always), and die not except in a state of Islam [as Muslims (with complete submission to Allah)]." (Al-Qur‘aan 3:102 - interpretation of the meaning)
"O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you." (Al-Qur‘aan 4:1 - interpretation of the meaning)
"O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (SAAS) he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter Paradise)." (Al-Qur‘aan 33:70-71 - interpretation of the meaning)
Ammaa ba'd (as for what follows), the best of speech is the speech of Allah that is the Book of Allah. The best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (SAAS). Of all matters, the worst are innovations; and everything new is an innovation, and every innovation is a deviation, and every deviation leads to Hell-fire.] The text in brackets is our addition.
Ibrahim: In the Name of Allah, all praises and thanks be to Allah, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be on Allah's Messenger (SAAS). To proceed: Indeed, Allah ta'aalaa has bestowed on us the blessing of eemaan (Faith), and He has blessed the whole Muslim nation with the scholars – who are the ones whom Allah has honoured with knowledge - so that they can guide the people unto the way of Allah and unto the worship of Allah, 'azza wa jall. And they are the inheritors of the prophets without a doubt. The reason for our coming here, in shaa‘ Allah, is firstly to please Allah and secondly to seek knowledge, which will in turn lead us to Allah's being pleased with us. For by Allah, this is a joyous occasion – that we can gather with our Sheikh and our scholar and our great teacher, Sheikh Muhammad Nasir ad-Din al-Albaani. Firstly, on behalf of this community, we would like to welcome our noble Sheikh, and likewise on behalf of everyone listening, especially those students of knowledge, they also all send their welcome and they have the desire to gather today with our noble teacher. And no doubt, all of us have this same desire to listen to the knowledge and wisdom that he has. So let us listen to him in what Allah has blessed him with from knowledge. Then when our Sheikh decides to close the lecture, the forum for questions will open, but the questions must be written down, and paper is available and being dispersed, in shaa‘ Allah. We repeat again, this is a joyous occasion and we say, ahlan (welcome), to our noble Sheikh…
Sheikh: Ahlan bikum (welcome). Verily all praises and thanks are due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His assistance and we ask for His forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Him from the evils of our selves and the evils of our actions. Whoever Allah guides, no one can lead him astray and whoever is led astray, no one can guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, alone and with no partner. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. To Proceed: Indeed the best speech is the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (SAAS). And the worst of matters are those which are newly invented. And every newly invented matter is an innovation. And every innovation is a misguidance and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.
I thank the brother, ustaadh Ibrahim, for his words and for his praise… And I have nothing to say in response to that except to follow the example of the first caliph, Abu Bakr as-Seddiiq (RAA), who was the first true Caliph of Allah's Messenger (SAAS), with due right. But nevertheless, when he would hear someone praise him with something good and he believed that this praise, regardless of who it came from, was done in exaggeration - and this was while he was the caliph of Allah's Messenger and deserving of it - nevertheless - [some crying occurs] - nevertheless, he would say: "O Allah, do not hold me accountable for what they say (about me). And make me better than what they perceive (me to be). And forgive me for what they don't know (about me)."
This is what the great as-Seddiiq would say. So what should those of us who come after him say? I say, following his example: "O Allah, do not hold me accountable for what they say (about me). And make me better than what they perceive (me to be). And forgive me for what they don't know (about me)."
I will add to this by saying that I am not that person that was described in what you just heard previously from our noble brother Ibrahim. But rather I am only a student seeking knowledge, not anything else. And it is upon every student to abide by the hadiith of the Prophet (SAAS): "Convey from me even if it is only one verse. And narrate from the (stories) of the Tribe of Israel for there is no harm. And whoever lies on me intentionally, then let him find his seat in the Hellfire."
So based on this hadiith and complying with this great prophetic text, as well as other texts from the Book of Allah and the hadiith of Allah's Messenger (SAAS), we take on the task of conveying to the people what they lack knowledge of. But this does not mean that we have turned into something like that which is found in the good thoughts that (some of) our brothers hold for us. The matter is not such. This is the reality that I feel deep down in my heart. Whenever I hear this kind of talk, I am reminded of the old proverb, which is well known amongst the scholars:
"Verily, the small bird (bughaath) in our lands has now become an eagle."
Some people are unaware of what is intended by this statement or by this proverb. Al-bughaath is a small bird that is worthless - but this small bird becomes like an eagle to the people - due to their ignorance…
This proverb is true about many of the people who call to Islam, whether upon truth and correctness or upon error and falsehood. But Allah knows that the entire Muslim world is void - except for very, very few individuals, whom it is correct to say about them that "So and so is a scholar." As is stated in the authentic hadiith, reported by imam al-Bukhari in his Sahiih, from the report of 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As (RAA), who said: Allah's Messenger (SAAS) said: "Verily, Allah does not take away the knowledge, by taking it away from (the hearts of) the people, but takes it away by the death of the religious learned men till when none of the (religious learned men) remains - this is the point - till when none of the (religious learned men) remains, people will take as their leaders ignorant persons who when consulted will give their verdict without knowledge. So they will go astray and will lead the people astray."
When Allah wants to take away the knowledge, He will not snatch it away from the hearts of the scholars, such that the scholar becomes like someone who never learned anything in the first place, no. This is not from the Sunnah (way) of Allah when dealing with His servants, especially His righteous servants - to take away the knowledge that they have acquired for the sake of Allah, 'azza wa jall ... Allah is just and fair in His rulings - He does not snatch the knowledge away from the hearts of the true scholars. But rather, it is from the Sunnah of Allah with His creation that He takes away the knowledge by taking away the scholars [i.e. causing them to die], as He did with the chief of all scholars and prophets and messengers, Muhammad (SAAS).
"…Till when none of the (religious learned men) remains, people will take as their leaders ignorant persons who when consulted will give their verdict without knowledge. So they will go astray and will lead the people astray."
This does not mean that Allah will leave the earth void of any scholar, through whom Allah's proof can be established upon His slaves, but rather it means that the more that time continues to pass, the more that knowledge decreases. And we will continue increasing in this condition of less and deficient knowledge, until there does not remain on the face of this earth, anyone who says: "Allah, Allah." You hear this hadiith many times, and it is an authentic hadiith: "The Hour will not be established while there remains someone on the face of the earth that says: 'Allah, Allah.'"
From the likes of those people who were mentioned in the last part of the hadiith: "Till when none of the (religious learned men) remains, people will take as their leaders ignorant persons" are those leaders who interpret al-Qur'aan and as-Sunnah with interpretations that are in contradiction to what the scholars - I will not say those of the past only, but also those of the present - were upon. For indeed they use this hadiith "Allah, Allah" as evidence for the permissibility, rather the recommendation of remembering Allah (making dhikr) with single words- Allah, Allah, Allah, and so on [as done by the Sufis]. So that no one remains deceived or unaware when they hear this hadiith with that misinterpretation, I think it's proper, even if incidentally, to remind our brothers here that this interpretation is false, firstly, because the hadiith's explanation is stated in another report from Allah's Messenger (SAAS). And secondly, if this interpretation were correct, there would be an indication of it in the actions of our Righteous Predecessors (as-Salaf-us-Saalih), may Allah be pleased with them. So if they did not do it - their rejection of acting on this interpretation indicates the falsehood of this kind of interpretation. So how will it be for you if the other report of the hadiith is added, and the gist of it, as is commonly said, is that Imam Ahmad rahimahullaah reported this hadiith in his Musnad with an authentic chain of narration, with the wording: "The Hour will not be established while there remains someone on the face of the earth that says: 'Laa ilaaha illa Allah.'"
So this is what was intended in the first hadiith, where the word "Allah" is shown in repetition. The point is that today, the world unfortunately is void of those scholars who used to fill the earth with their extensive knowledge and who would spread it amongst the people. So today it has become like the saying goes:
When they were counted they were so few
So we hope from Allah, 'azza wa jall, that He makes us from among the seekers of knowledge who truly take from the scholars' example and who honestly follow their way. This is what we hope from Allah 'azza wa jall - that He makes us from among those students who follow that way, about which the Messenger (SAAS) said: "…Whoever treads a path, by which he seeks knowledge, Allah will make a path for him to Paradise…"
This leads us into discussing the topic of this knowledge, which has been mentioned in al-Qur‘aan in many, many places, such as Allah's saying (interpretation of the meaning): "…Are those who know equal to those who know not?..." (Al-Qur‘aan 39:9)
And Allah's saying (interpretation of the meaning): "…Allah will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge…" (Al-Qur‘aan 58:11)
What is this knowledge for which Allah has given his praise to those who possess it and act on it and those who follow the way of these people? The answer is as the Imam ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah rahimahullaah, the student of Sheikh-ul-Islam ibn Taimiyah rahimahullaah, said:
"Knowledge is: (what) Allah said, (what) His Messenger said,
So we take the definition of knowledge from this statement and this poem, which we rarely hear among the verses of the poets, since the poetry of the scholars is not like the poetry of the poets. So this man (ibn al-Qayyim) was a scholar, and he also wrote good poetry. So he said: Knowledge is what Allah said, at the first level, then what Allah's Messenger said, at the second level, then what the companions said, at the third level. The words of ibn al-Qayyim remind us of a reality that is extremely important, and which is often neglected by a large majority of Callers who are spread throughout the lands today in the name of calling to Islam. What is this reality? What is well known to all of these callers is that Islam consists of: The Book of Allah and the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger (SAAS). This is the truth and there is no doubt about it, however it is deficient. And this deficiency was noted by ibn al-Qayyim in his lines of poetry, which we just mentioned. That is why after mentioning al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah, he mentions the companions. "Knowledge is: (what) Allah said, (what) His Messenger said, (and what) the companions said…"
Nowadays, it is very rare that we hear someone mention the companions when mentioning al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah. And as we all know, they are at the head of as-Salaf-us-Saalih (the Righteous Predecessors), of whom the Prophet (SAAS) spoke of in his saying, which has been reported by many companions: "The best of mankind is my generation…"
And do not say what many of the callers nowadays say: "The best of generations." This phrase "the best of generations" has no source in as-Sunnah. The authentic Sunnah, which is stated in the two Sahiih collections (of al-Bukhari and Muslim) and other hadiith references all report the hadiith with the wording: "The best of mankind is my generation, then those that come after them, then those that come after them."
Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah has connected these companions - who are at the head of the three generations that have received testimony for their excellence - to the Book and as-Sunnah. So was this connection that he made an opinion of his, or a scholarly deduction and conclusion, which are all prone to error. The answer is no, it is not from his scholarly deduction or his conclusions, of which it is possible that error can come into them, but rather it is based on the Book of Allah and the hadiith of Allah's Messenger (SAAS). As for al-Qur‘aan, then there is the saying of Allah, 'azza wa jall (interpretation of the meaning): "And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger [Muhammad (SAAS)] after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers' way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell - what an evil destination!" (Al-Qur‘aan 4:115)
"And follows other than the believers' way"- Our Lord did not stop short in this verse, and if He would have, the verse would still be correct and true. He did not say: "And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger [Muhammad (SAAS)] after the right path has been shown clearly to him, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell - what an evil destination!"
Instead, due to His infinite wisdom, He included: "And follows other than the believers' way" - and this is what we are focusing on explaining now.
"And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger [Muhammad (SAAS)] after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers' way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell - what an evil destination!"(Al-Qur‘aan 4:115 – interpretation of the meaning)
I hope that this verse becomes firmly grounded in your minds and in your hearts, and I hope that you don't forget it, because it is the truth. And through it, you will be saved from deviating by drifting away to the right or to the left and you will be saved - even in one aspect or some issue - from falling into one of the sects that are not saved, or one of the deviant sects. This is because the Prophet (SAAS) said, in the well-known hadiith, which I will abridge in order to get the part relevant to our discussion: "And my ummah will divide into seventy-three sects - all of them will be in the Hellfire, except one". They said: "Which one is it, O Messenger of Allah?" He said: "It is al-jamaa'ah."
Al-jamaa'ah here is the "the believers' way." So the hadiith - if it is not a direct revelation from Allah to the heart of the Prophet (SAAS), then it must be derived from the previously mentioned verse. "And follows other than the believers' way" So if a person who "contradicts and opposes the Messenger [Muhammad (SAAS)]" and who "follows other than the believers' way" is threatened with the Hellfire, then the opposite is also correct, so whoever does follow the "the believers' way", then he is promised Paradise, and there is no doubt about this. So when Allah's Messenger (SAAS) responded to the question about which group was the saved sect, he said: "Al-jamaa'ah." So then al-jamaa'ah refers to the group of Muslims. Then there is stated in another narration of this hadiith, what supports this understanding, in fact, it adds more clarification and explanation to it. The Prophet (SAAS) said: "It is that which I and my companions are upon."
So "my companions" is what is meant by the "the believers' way". So when ibn al-Qayyim mentioned the companions in his lines of poetry, which we stated before, he took that understanding from the verse we just stated and this hadiith. And there is also the well-known hadiith of al-'Irbad ibn Sariyah (RAA), which I will also shorten to mentioning only the part that is relevant to our discussion, so that we have enough time to take questions later. So he (SAAS) said: "So stick to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly-guided caliphs after me."
So here we find the same example as the hadiith we just mentioned before this one and also, the previous verse. The Messenger (SAAS) did not say "Stick to my Sunnah" only, but rather he connected to his Sunnah the Sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs. So here we say, especially in these times in which we find conflicting views, and ideologies and madhaahib (schools of thought), and in which there are many parties and groups, such that many of the Muslim youth have begun to live in confusion not knowing which group to ascribe themselves to. So here we have been given the answer from the verse and the two hadiith we just mentioned. [The answer is:] Follow the believers' way! - The way of those believers from present times? The answer is no, we mean the Believers from the past - the first era, the era of the companions - as-Salaf-us-Saalih (the Righteous Predecessors). These are the people whom we should take as our example and as the ones whom we follow. And there is absolutely no one equal to them on the face of the earth. Therefore, Our Call is based on three pillars:
So whoever claims that he follows al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah, and that he doesn't follow as-Salaf-us-Saalih, and he expresses in both words and actions: "They (i.e. the companions) are men and we are also men" [i.e. equal], then this person is in deviance and misguidance. Why? - Because he did not accept these texts, which we related to you just now. Did he follow the "the believers' way"? No. Did he follow the companions of Allah's Messenger? No. What did he follow? He followed his desire, and he followed his intellect. Is one's intellect infallible and free from error? The answer is no. So then, he is upon clear misguidance. I believe that the reason for the many inherited differences found in the well-known sects of the past and the differing that has just risen recently today is due to the lack of returning back to this third source, which is as-Salaf-us-Saalih.
So everyone claims to follow al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah, and how often have we heard this kind of talk from the youth who are in a state of confusion, when they say: "Yaa akhee (O my Brother), these people claim to follow al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah and those people claim to follow al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah." So what is the clear and decisive distinction? It is the Qur‘aan and the Sunnah and the methodology of as-Salaf-us-Saalih. So whoever follows al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah without following as-Salaf-us-Saalih, he in fact has not followed al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah, rather he has only followed his intellect, if not his desire…
I will present some examples to clarify this issue - rather this important point, which is (following) the methodology of as-Salaf-us-Saalih. There is a statement reported from al-Faarooq, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (RAA), in which he says: "If the people of innovation and desires debate you with al-Qur‘aan, then debate them with as-Sunnah…"
What led 'Umar (RAA) to make such a statement? It was due to Allah's saying, in which He is speaking to the Prophet (SAAS) (interpretation of the meaning): "…And We have also sent down unto you [O Muhammad (SAAS)] the Dhikr (reminder, as-Sunnah), that you may explain clearly to men what is sent down to them…" (Al-Qur‘aan 16:44)
Is a Muslim, who is firmly grounded in Arabic, knowing its rules and grammar, is this person able to understand al-Qur‘aan without using the way of our Messenger (SAAS)? The answer is no. And if this is not so, then Allah's saying "that you may explain clearly to men what is sent down to them" would have no significance. And Allah's Speech is void of having any insignificance in it. Therefore, whoever seeks to understand al-Qur‘aan through other than the way of the Messenger (SAAS), he has gone far astray.
Furthermore, is this same person (mentioned above) able to understand al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah through other than the way of the companions of Allah's Messenger (SAAS)? The answer is also no. This is since, they (the companions) are the ones who transmitted to us, firstly, the wording of al-Qur‘aan, which Allah revealed unto the heart of Muhammad (SAAS). And secondly, they transmitted to us, the Prophet's explanation (of it), which has been mentioned in the previously stated verse, as well his (SAAS) application of this Noble Qur‘aan.
The Prophet's explanation (of al-Qur‘aan) can be divided into three categories:
Who are the ones who transmitted his (SAAS) speech? - His companions. Who are the ones who transmitted his (SAAS) actions? - His companions. Who are the ones who transmitted his (SAAS) silent approvals? - His companions. So because of this, it is not possible for us to depend solely on our linguistic capacities for understanding al-Qur‘aan. Rather, we must seek assistance in understanding al-Qur‘aan. But this does not mean that we have no need for the (Arabic) language in this matter, no.
This is why we firmly believe that the non-Arabic speaking people, who have not mastered the Arabic language, fall into many, many errors. This is especially so, since they fall into this fundamental error of not returning back to as-Salaf-us-Saalih for understanding al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah. I do not mean by the words I stated before that we cannot rely on the (Arabic) language for explaining al-Qur‘aan. How can this be - for if we want to understand the words of the Arabs, then no doubt we must understand the Arabic language. Likewise, in order to understand al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah, one must know the Arabic language.
So we say that the Messenger's (SAAS) explanation, which was mentioned in the previous verse, is divided into three categories: sayings, actions and silent approvals. We will present an example, in order to comprehend that this division is an established fact, which cannot be disputed. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): "And (as for) the male thief and the female thief, cut off their hands…" (Al-Qur‘aan 5:38)
Look now at how it is not possible for us to explain al-Qur‘aan based on the language only. The thief according to the language is someone who steals property from some restricted place, regardless of whether this property has value or not. For example someone steals an egg or a loaf of bread - this according to the (Arabic) language is considered a thief. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): "And (as for) the male thief and the female thief, cut off their hands." Does everyone who steals have to have his hand cut off? The answer is no. Why? It is because the one who is explaining (i.e. the Prophet), who is in charge of explaining that thing which is being explained (i.e. al-Qur‘aan) has informed us those amongst the thieves whose hands are to be cut off. The one explaining is the Prophet and the thing being explained is al-Qur‘aan. He (SAAS) said: "Do not cut off the hand except for (someone who steals) a quarter of a dinar and what is beyond that." So anyone that steals something that is less than a quarter of a dinar, even if according to the language he is called a thief, he is not considered a thief according to the religious definition.
So here, we come upon a knowledge-based reality, which many students of knowledge are unaware of. On one side, we have an Arabic language, which has been passed down through the generations. And on the other side, we have a religious language, that Allah Himself has termed and defined, which the Arabs - who spoke the language of al-Qur‘aan (i.e. Arabic), which al-Qur‘aan was revealed in - were not aware of before. So if the thief is applied according to the (Arabic) language, it covers all of the thieves. But if the thief is mentioned according to the religious terminology, then not all thieves are included, but rather only those who steal what equals a quarter of a dinar and beyond that. So this is an actual example - it is not possible for us to depend solely on our knowledge of the Arabic language for understanding al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah. This is the mistake that many contemporary writers have fallen into nowadays. They place their knowledge of the Arabic language over the Koranic verses and the prophetic ahaadiith. So they interpret these religious texts and come up with innovated interpretations, which the Muslims never heard of in the past.
Due to this, we say, it is an obligation to understand that the true Call to Islam is based on three fundamental principles and foundations, which are:
Therefore the verse "And (as for) the male thief and the female thief" is not to be interpreted according to the linguistic requirements, but rather according to the requirements of the religious language, which states: "Do not cut off the hand except for (someone who steals) a quarter of a dinar and what is beyond that."
The remainder of the verse states: "Cut off their hands." What is a hand according to the language? All of this is considered the hand - from the fingertips to the armpit - all of this is the hand. So is the hand to be cut from here or from here or from here? Allah's Messenger (SAAS) has explained this to us with his actions [i.e. to be cut off from the wrist joint]. We don't have any authentic hadiith - like that one which confirmed which of the thieves is required to have his hand cut off - we don't have any hadiith that clearly defines the place from where we are supposed to cut, from the Messenger's explanation by speech. Instead, there was revealed his explanation by action - his physical application. How do we come to know of this application? From our as-Salaf-us-Saalih - the companions of the Prophet (SAAS). This is the second category, which is the explanation by action. The third category is the approval of Allah's Messenger for something, which he didn't reject or forbid. This approval is neither speech from him nor an action that came from him, rather it is an action that came from someone else, which he (SAAS) saw and approved of. So if the Messenger (SAAS) saw something and remained silent about it, approving of it, it becomes something approved of and permissible. But if he saw something and rejected it, even if this thing was done by some of his companions, yet it is authentically established in the texts that he forbade it, then this forbiddance takes precedence over that which he approved of. I will give an example for these two things, based on al-ahaadiith.
'Abdullah ibn 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (RAA) said: "We used to drink while standing and eat while walking during the lifetime of the Prophet (SAAS)."
So in this hadiith, 'Abdullah has informed us of two things: 1) drinking while standing and 2) eating while walking. And he stated that these were two things that were done at the time of the Prophet (SAAS). So what is the religious ruling regarding these two matters: drinking while standing and eating while walking?
If we apply the points we mentioned earlier, we are able to derive the ruling - of course - with a required addition to it, which is that someone knows about what the Messenger of Allah (SAAS) has forbidden, through speech, action and (silent) approval.
So if we refer back to the authentic Sunnah, concerning what is related to the first matter (drinking while standing), which many of the Muslims, if not the majority of them, are being tested with today. And that is opposing the saying of Allah's Messenger (SAAS) by drinking while standing. They drink while standing, they (i.e. the men) wear gold and silk. These are facts that no one can deny. But did the Prophet (SAAS) agree with all of this? The answer is that he forbade some of it and he approved some of it. So whatever he forbade then it falls into the bounds of evil (munkar) and whatever he approved, then it falls into the bounds of good (ma'roof). So he forbade drinking while standing in many ahaadiith. And I do not want to go deep in mentioning all of them - so that firstly, we don't divert from the time that we have restricted ourselves to discuss this topic so we can take questions at the end, and secondly, this issue requires a special sitting in itself.
But it is sufficient to present one authentic hadiith, which has been reported by Imam Muslim in his Sahiih, from the report of Anas ibn Malik (RAA) who said: "The Messenger of Allah (SAAS) forbade drinking while standing."
And in another narration [of the hadiith], he said: "The Messenger of Allah (SAAS) restricted (others) from drinking while standing."
Therefore, this thing which used to be done during the time of Allah's Messenger (SAAS), as has been testified to in the report of ibn 'Umar, was forsaken and restricted. So that thing, which they used to do became forbidden, based on the Prophet's (SAAS) forbiddance of it. But the second part of the hadiith (of ibn 'Umar), which states that they used to eat while walking; we did not receive any report that Allah's Messenger (SAAS) forbade this. So we derive from this (silent) approval, a religious ruling. So up to here, we have come to realize the strong need for relying on the way of as-Salaf-us-Saalih for understanding al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah, and that no one can rely on his own knowledge, if not to say his ignorance, to understand al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah.
After making clear this important condition of "upon the methodology of as-Salaf-us-Saalih", I must give you some examples. In the past, the Muslims split up into many sects. You hear about al-Mu'tazilah, you hear about al-Murji‘ah, you hear about al-Khawaarij, you hear about az-Zaidiyyah, not to mention the Shia and ar-Raafidah and so on. There is no one amongst these groups, no matter how deep in misguidance they are, that does not share the same saying as the rest of the Muslims, which is that: "We are on al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah."
No one amongst them says: "We don't follow al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah." And if one of them were to say that, he would completely leave the fold of Islam. So then why did they split up so long as all of them rely on al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah - and I bear witness that they do rely on al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah for support. But how is this relying done? It is done without relying on the third foundation, which is what as-Salaf-us-Saalih were upon.
And there is another additional point that must be noted here - and it is that as-Sunnah differs completely from the Noble Qur‘aan in the sense that the Noble Qur‘aan is preserved between the two covers of the mushaf, as is well known to everyone. But as for as-Sunnah, then for the most part, it is spread out in hundreds, if not thousands of books, amongst which there is a very large portion of them that remain in the hidden world - the world of non-printed manuscripts.
Furthermore, even these books from them that are in print today, there are those ahaadiith that are authentic and those that are weak. So those who rely on as-Sunnah for support, whether they are from those who ascribe themselves to Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah and the methodology of as-Salaf-us-Saalih or they are from the other groups - many of them are not able to distinguish the authentic Sunnah from the weak Sunnah. So they fall into contradicting and opposing al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah due to their relying on weak and fabricated ahaadiith. The point is that some of these groups that we just mentioned reject literal meanings stated in al-Qur‘aan and the prophetic hadiith, in the past and also in present days. [For example] the Noble Qur‘aan affirms and gives the good tidings to the believers of a very great blessing they will receive in Paradise, which is that the Lord of the Worlds will reveal Himself to them and they will see Him. As one Salafi scholar stated: "The Believers will see Him, (we believe this) without saying how it will be done or making comparisons to that, or giving examples of it."
The textual evidences from al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah indicate this. So how can some of these past and present-day sects deny this great blessing? As for those groups in the past that rejected this seeing (of Allah), then there was al-Mu'tazilah. Today, according to what I know, there is not found any group on the face of this earth that says: "We are Mu'tazilah. We are following the beliefs of al-Mu'tazilah." However, I did see a foolish man who announced publicly that he was Mu'tazili. And he rejects many established facts from the Religion, because he acts rashly. So these Mu'tazilah reject this great blessing and they say with their weak intellects: "It is impossible that Allah can be seen!" So what did they do? Did they reject al-Qur‘aan? Allah says in al-Qur‘aan (interpretation of the meaning): "Some faces that Day shall be naaderah (shining and radiant), looking at their Lord (Allah)." (Al-Qur‘aan 75:22-23)
Did they reject this verse? No, they didn't reject it nor did they disbelieve or apostate. Up to today, the true Ahl-us-Sunnah rule that al-Mu'tazilah are upon deviance but they do not take them out of the fold of Islam. This is because they do not reject this verse, but rather they reject its true meaning, of which its explanation has been stated in as-Sunnah, if we recall. Allah says about the believers who will enter Paradise: "Some faces that Day shall be naaderah (shining and radiant), looking at their Lord (Allah)." So they changed its meaning - they believe in the verse's wording but they disbelieve in its meaning. And the wording, as the scholars say, is the mould of the meaning. So if we believe in the wording but disbelieve in the meaning, then this belief (eemaan) neither nourishes nor avails against hunger [i.e. is of no benefit].
So why did these people reject this seeing of Allah? Their minds are constricted from imagining and conceptualizing that this slave ('abd), that is created and limited is able to see Allah openly, similar to the case when the Jews requested from Moses (to see Allah), so Allah prevented them, as is found in that well known story (see al-Qur‘aan: 2:55-59). Allah said to Moses (interpretation of the meaning): "…Look upon the mountain; if it stands still in its place then you shall see Me…" (Al-Qur‘aan 7:143)
Their intellects were narrowed so they felt obliged to play with the Koranic text and change its meaning. Why? - Because their eemaan (faith) in the Unseen is weak and their faith in their intellect is stronger than their faith in the Unseen, which they were commanded to have faith in, in the beginning of suurat-ul-Baqarah (interpretation of the meaning): "Alif-laam-miim. This is the Book (al-Qur‘aan), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are al-muttaqoon [the pious believers of Islamic Monotheism who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)]. Who believe in the ghaib…" (Al-Qur‘aan 2:1-3)
Allah is ghaib, so whenever our Lord talks about Himself, we must affirm that it is the truth and we must believe in it, because our intellects are very limited. Al-Mu'tazilah did not acknowledge this point, so that is why they denied and rejected many of the facts established in the Religion, such as Allah's saying (interpretation of the meaning): "Some faces that Day shall be naaderah (shining and radiant), looking at their Lord (Allah)." (Al-Qur‘aan 75:22-23)
This goes the same for the other verse, which is more obscure to these people than the first verse, and it is the saying of Allah (interpretation of the meaning): "For those who have done good is al-husnaa (the best reward) and ziyaadah (even more)…" (Al-Qur‘aan 10:26)
Al-husnaa here refers to Paradise, and ziyaadah here means, seeing Allah in the Hereafter. This is what is stated in a hadiith reported in Sahiih Muslim, with an authentic chain of narration from Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqaas (RAA) who said: Allah's Messenger (SAAS) said: "'For those people who do good, they will receive al-husnaa' - (means) Paradise - 'and ziyaadah' - (means) seeing Allah."
Al-Mu'tazilah and also the Shia, who are Mu'tazilah in their Creed, reject that Allah will be seen, which is affirmed in the first verse and explained by the Messenger of Allah in (the explanation of) the second verse. And there are many ahaadiith (reaching the level of mutawaatir) from the Prophet (SAAS) about this. So their ta‘wiil (distorting the true meaning) of al-Qur‘aan brought them to reject the authentic ahaadiith of Allah's Messenger (SAAS). So they left from the realm of being considered the Saved Sect - "That which I and my companions are upon." Allah's Messenger believed and had firm faith that the believers would see their Lord, because it is reported in the two Sahiih collections from the narration of a large group of companions, such as Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, Anas ibn Malik - and outside of the Sahiih collections - there was Abu Bakr as-Seddiiq and so on.
The Prophet (SAAS) said: "…Indeed you will see your Lord on the Day of Judgement, just as you see the moon on a (clear) night in which there is a full moon - you have no problem in seeing it…"
What is meant by this, is that you will not have any problem seeing Allah just as there is no problem in seeing the moon on a clear night of in which there is a full moon, with no clouds. They reject these ahaadiith based on their intellects, so they have weak eemaan (faith).
This is one example of the things that some sects of the past fell into, and also some sects of the present, such as al-Khawaarij, believe in this too. From their ranks are al-Ibaadeyyah who nowadays have become active in calling people to their misguidance. They have articles and treatises that they are spreading and distributing, by which they revive the many deviations, which al-Khawaarij were known for (doing) in the past, such as their rejecting that Allah will be seen in Paradise.
Now we will present you with a present day example, which is al-Qaadiyaaniyyoon. Maybe you heard of them. These people say as we say: "I bear witness that there is no god that has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger." They pray the five daily prayers, they establish al-jumu'ah prayer and they make hajj and 'umrah to Allah's sacred house. There is no difference between us and between them - they are like the Muslims. However, they differ with us in many aspects of the Creed, such as their belief that the prophethood did not end. They believe that prophets will come after Muhammad and they claim that one of them came already to Qadian, a land in India. So (they say that) anyone that doesn't believe in this prophet that came to them, then he is a disbeliever. How can they say this when the verse is clear (interpretation of the meaning): "Muhammad (SAAS) is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and khaatam (the last i.e. end) of the prophets..." (Al-Qur‘aan 33:40)
How can they say this, when the ahaadiith have reached the level of tawaatur, (stating): "There is no prophet after me." So they changed the meaning of al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah and they did not interpret al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah as as-Salaf-us-Saalih interpreted them. So the Muslims also followed them in that without any disagreement occurring amongst them, until there came this deviant and misguided person, named Mirza Ghulaam Ahmad al-Qadiani who claimed to be a prophet. And he has a long story, which is not the focus of our subject now. So he deceived many people who don't have knowledge of these facts, which preserves the Muslim from deviating, just as these Qaadiyaaniyyoon deviated with this dajjaal (a liar, quack, deceiver etc.) who claimed prophethood for himself.
What did they do with Allah's saying (interpretation of the meaning): "But he is the Messenger of Allah and khaatam (the last i.e. end) of the prophets"? They said that it does not mean that there is no prophet after him, but rather the word khaatam refers to the Prophet's adornment. So just as the khaatam (seal or ring) is the adornment of the finger, then likewise, Muhammad is the adornment of the prophets. So then they did not disbelieve in the verse. They did not say that Allah didn't reveal this verse unto the heart of Muhammad (SAAS). Rather, they disbelieved in its true meaning. So what good is having faith in the wording if there is no faith in the true meaning. If you have no doubt about this fact, then what is the way of coming to known the meanings of al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah. You already know the way. It is not for us to rely on our knowledge of the Arabic language, nor to interpret al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah with our desires or our traditions, or our blind following or our madhaahib or our (Sufi) orders, but rather, the only way is - as is commonly said, and I will close my speech with this:
"And every good is in following those who came before (Salaf),
We hope that this serves as a "reminder for him who has a heart or gives ear while he is heedful." (Al-Qur‘aan 50:37 - interpretation of the meaning)
Added to our page on Thursday the 4th of Muharram, 1427/the 2nd of January, 2006