It is very difficult to convince a prejudiced person on the strength of an argument. Therefore, we should not get bogged down in thinking why some people do not understand the simple logic behind truthful Islamic beliefs?
It is in Quran – ‘And if they believe not in this declaration (Islamic Testimony – Shahadah), it does not follow that you, O’Prophet (SAWS) should not vex yourself to death by going after them. (Al-Kahaf – 6).
Occurrence of faith is not a discretionary thing. By considera- tion and attention our minds get affected and we start believing. Faith is the name of certainty, and belief is its reaction. Meaning faith comes and we believe. In this process there cannot be a coercive influence or force that can make you believe.
It is in Quran – ‘ There is no compulsion in Islam. Truth and untruth is abundantly clear and distinct from each other. Now whoever wishes accepts the faith, whoever wishes rejects the faith, negate it ’. (Al-Baqra – 256).
Allah (SWT) created human beings with intelligence and provided them with knowledge and gave them the required free will. Therefore they are expected to use these faculties as per the commandments of Allah (SWT). If they act against this requirement, they will get punishment.
As far as religious intelligence and analytical skills are concerned, people can be divided into the following three categories.
Those who have elevated virtuous nature, pay attention towards their natural instincts and carry out good deeds easily and, as such, success and leadership is associated with them.
The nature of Prophets and Apostles is such that they have natural conformity with the spiritual world. It is in their natural disposition that they take from Allah (SWT) and give to His servants. They listen from the truthful Being (Allah –SWT) and transfer back to His creatures.
It is in Quran – Allah (SWT) knows it well who is capable for Apostleship’. ( An-A’am - 124).
Average intelligence persons achieve their virtuous objectives with a little effort and hard work under the guidance and leadership of Superior persons.
Virtuous souls like the family members of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS), his companions, Imams of various Islamic fields, and Shaikhs of Ihsan, who are described in Quran as ‘friends of Allah (SWT) reach to the elevated states in closeness of Allah (SWT) in the guidance and with assistance of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS).
Real Muslims achieve their objective of success in this world and salvation in Hereafter, under the guidance and following of the virtuous souls and friends of Allah (SWT) and Sufi Shaikhs of Ihsan.
Those who are with inferior nature, never come to the right path, even if they are explained repeatedly. They are blind and deaf from the beginning and remain petty minded throughout their lives.
Eternally wretched cannot be guided from the sermons of Awliya-Allah (friends of Allah- SWT) and Sufis. They cannot be guided even from the guiding light of the Prophets.
It is in Quran – ‘Deaf, dumb and blind, they will not return (to the right path). (Al-Baqara – 18).
It is in Quran ‘ You (O’ Mohammad) cannot guide everyone you like (to the desired objective), but Allah (SWT) guides whom He will. And He is Best Aware of those who walk aright (who can follow guidance). (Al-Qasas – 56).
Muslim community in the world has been divided into 73 sects and innumerable sub groups which are increasing by the day. As per the Hadith (Tirmizi), only one sect or sub group is on the right path while the rest are scheduled to be thrown into the fire.
Therefore, we know that out of the huge population of over 1.2 billion or more Muslims, very small fraction (about 0.04%) is on the right path. The remaining Muslims are likely to be in red who may probably be thrown into hell fire permanently.
In spite of knowing these details, everyone feels that he will be rewarded with Jannah. How could this be true as 996 people out of 1000 people who call themselves Muslims are under the looming danger of being rejected by Allah (SWT) in this world and in Hereafter.
What is wrong with Muslim community as only 4 out of 1000 people may probably be on the right path?
It looks 996 persons out of 1000 Muslims have passion for certain misguided beliefs. They are mistaking their passion as their Islamic faith. They do not realize that it is dangerous to replace faith with passion. Passion makes people adamant, inflexible, overzealous and militant.
The Makkans of Prophet Mohammad’s (SAWS) time had the passion for idol worship. This was the main cause that they could not understand Islamic teachings.
What happens when we try to instill truthful Islamic believes in the minds of passionate people? They feel hurt. Their hurt is exposed by their heated arguments. They have been brainwashed by their sect’s Emirs/preachers. They have been taught their sect’s interpretations of Quranic verses and Ahadith over a long period of time.
What happens when their arguments fail during religious debates?
They go back to their Emirs (local leaders) with the lists of questions they could not answer. The Emirs first try to convince them, re-instill their lost confidence and bring them back to their fold. But if they persist to know more, Emirs scare them and advise them not to go near that person again.
When this attempt also fails, all the local sects leaders sit together and invite their regional and country leaders and discuss this issue and decide to start a personal slander campaign against the person who is trying to teach the truthful believes.
His life history and his family's life history is studied. All his human weaknesses are gathered, like the size of his beard is checked, he goes to which mosque is checked, his family’s past record in locality is studied, his books, video tapes and all published information is gathered. Everything is studied meticulously in order to find faults with him. When all data is collected, they make CDs where his human weakness are glaringly portrayed and his statements are referred in ‘out of context’ fashion and he is maligned with this fabricated evidence. On the basis of this fabricated information, they issue Fatwas against him.
When the person refutes all charges in public and explains his innocence, they try to physically stop him from his campaign in collusion with local authorities using influence and money.
Who does this kind of things? Makkan disbelievers used to do such gimmicks against the Prophet (SAWS). These people follow the Makkan tradition. What will they achieve by misguiding people by such tricks? It is obvious, they want keep their leadership intact in this world.
It is advisable that persons should be judged on the strength of their explanation of truthfulness. It is important that we control our passions and be positive and keep our minds open for good counseling. Let us not close the door of truthful Islam on ourselves. Let us not become part of the sect/group who have gone astray.
It is in Bukhari, narrated by Hazrat Ali (RU) that he heard Prophet Mohammed (SAWS) saying that ‘towards the end (before resurrection – Qiyamah) a Jama’at (group) of young and ignorant people will rise who will talk about the religion, which will look good on the face of it, but Islamic beliefs will not go down their throats (meaning they will not understand them). They will go out of Islam as the arrow goes out of the bow’.
Salafis and their like minded groups say that blind following (taqleed) of the four Imams of Islamic Jurisprudence is not correct. Therefore, one should read Quran and the books of Hadith and independently deduce their meanings and act accordingly. Once a person agrees to this logic, they give him Salafi books and ask him to follow their interpretations.
Let us make it clear that the question of blind following does not arise in following of Imams. If Muslims were blind followers, they would not have had four schools of thought. They would have been following only one Imam. Where was the need for the other three? The fact that we have 4 different schools of thought is a testimony that Muslims are not blind followers.
Consensus is an important Islamic practice from the time of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS). The entire Muslim community jointly agreed that all four schools of thought are correct and people are independent in following any one of these.
When Imam Shafe’i ® differed in some issues from Imam Abu Hanifa ®, there was no dispute.
There was no problem when other two Imams gave their different opinions on various issues. These Imams were very popular in their countries. They had huge following during their life times. Many people follow them even after their deaths.
The question is why we see no major disputes in Islamic history on this issue when the four Imams were alive or even after their deaths?
The reason is they differed on issues which were not central to the basic faith of Islam and the respect of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) and his companions. In addition, they did not reject the opinions of other Imams en masse (outright). They did not denounce other Imams of other schools of thoughts. They did not ask people to go and read Quran and Hadith independently and deduce issues directly.
They realized the importance of studying Shariah under the watchful eyes of expert Ulema and Shaikhs. All Imams of Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) spent their life times under able teachers before venturing into the field of Islamic Jurisprudence. Their life histories are documented in detail. In view of this, the Muslim Community jointly agreed on the authenticity of their opinions in Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh).
As against the above, look at the life history of Ibn Taymiyyah, the founder of Salafism.
Al-Subki said, ‘He (Ibn Taymiyyah) memorized a lot and did not discipline himself with a Shaikh’.
What is the meaning of Al-Subki’s observation? It means that Ibn Taymiyyah was not taught by reliable Islamic Shaikhs or Ulama who were specialized in their fields. He received the knowledge mostly from books, understood it by himself and deduced what he wanted. He had not even completed his teen age ( before 19 years) he considered himself a big scholar of Islam, better than the 4 Imams of Islamic Jurisprudence, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafe’i, Hanbali and started giving fatwas against their established opinions.He rejected them en masse.
He seemed to have ignored the fact that the study of Shariah cannot be undertaken without the help of reliable Islamic teachers. Shariah cannot be perfected without practice and close contact with the experts. This is the reason he could not understand the wisdom of the four Imams of Islamic Fiqh and rejected them altogether. This is the reason our respected Ulama warned Muslims not to seek study and understand Quran through a person who has only memorized it without knowing its contents through an expert.
Salafis say that they follow Salaf ( the companions of Prophet Mohammad –SAWS and their first generation followers - taba’een). How far this is true?
The knowledge is gained through a teacher, rather than directly from a book. Why people go to Harvard University, London Business School, MIT, IIT, etc? Because in these institutions we get good teachers and if we study and learn under their guidance, follow their learning techniques and take advantage of their experience we stand to gain a lot by way of good employment and positions of power in the world.
Similarly, it is important that we look for truthful religious teachers, follow them and learn in their company? If we study and learn under their guidance, we stand to gain in this world and in Hereafter.
It is a known fact that education cannot be acquired by books. If this was the case, nobody would have gone to those prestigious Institutions. Certification from these Institutions are recognized world over.
Similarly, if we find an outstanding Shaikh of Ihsan and learn from his expertise, what is wrong in it? This practice is proved by innumerable Quranic verses and Prophet Mohammad’s (SAWS) traditions.
Salafis scare people from different interpretations of Prophet’s (SAWS) Ahadiths and claim that Shaikhs of Ihsan or Religious guides and Sufis take the pledge (ba’it) for submission of pupil to them and not to Allah (SWT) and His Apostle (SAWS). This is a blatant misrepresentation of facts. For argument sake, let us think that this is true with certain self proclaimed Shaikh who is taking advantage of people. But, Allah (SWT) has given us common sense. Why should we go to a person who is not worthy of guiding people. Nobody is forcing us to go to a person for guidance who is sure to exploit you. There are some dishonest people everywhere, in every society and we should be away from them. But taking this as an excuse and stopping people from this important Prophet’s (SAWS) tradition is an attempt to mislead people from truthful Islamic faith and practices.
Salafis encourage people to gain knowledge by reading Quran and Hadith books directly without any teacher. When you agree to it, they will give you their books which contain misinterpretations of the meanings of Quranic verses and Ahadith. This practice on their part is an attempt to legitimize their sects’ beliefs in the eyes of innocent people. Is it possible to learn religion directly from books? Can anyone become an engineer or doctor or scientist by just reading concerned books? If this was possible, then there was no need to have so many schools, colleges, universities and technological and scientific Institutions through out the world.
Ibn Taymiyyah was b0rn in 1263 AD. The time of the Companions of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) and their first generation followers – Taba’een ended around 750 AD. There is a gap of almost 550 years between Salaf (companions of Prophet Mohammad –SAWS and their first generation followers – Ta’abaeen) and Ibn Taymiyyah. How could Ibn Taymiyyah possibly follow the Salaf when they were unavailable physically to teach him Islam? He did that by reading their books. We know, we cannot get knowledge only by reading books. We need a physical teacher to explain sensitive issues of Shariah.
Development of knowledge and learning is a continuous process under able teachers. When you break this important link, you will not gain truthful knowledge. Rather you will be misguided by your independent study and wrong interpretation of these books. Thus, the claim of Salafis that they are following the ‘Salaf’ is unfounded.
Ibn Abdul Wahhab claimed that the faith and deeds of all Muslims till his time, after the period of Salaf (between 750 and 1750) were incorrect. He accused them of involvement in all kinds of polytheism and innovations. In other words he claimed that billions of Muslims who lived during 1000 years before him were not Muslims.
A prominent Islamic Scholar of Ibn Abdul Wahhab’s time, Muhammad Amin Ibn Abidin wrote in his celebrated work ‘Hashiyya Radd Al-Mukhtar’ (Vol. 3, Page 309).
QUOTE “In our time Ibn Abdul Wahhab Najdi appeared and attacked the two noble sanctuaries (Makkah and Madinah). He claimed to be a Hanbali, but his thinking was such that only he alone was a Muslim, and everyone else was a polytheist! Under this guise, he said that killing the Ahle Sunnah was permissible”. UNQUOTE
Apparently, the founders of Salafism did not understand the theory of evolution in the world. Their wrongful ideas of ‘religious innovation’ have now penetrated every single Muslim home around the Globe. They have extensively propagated the idea of deducing Shariah independently from reading books, magazines, newspapers and internet. The result is for everyone to see. The Muslim society is totally disintegrated and has lost its direction. Every individual thinks about Sharia as per his own mind and every home has become a battle ground for its residents who debate religious issue heatedly. Their passionate arguments create a permanent war like situation at homes and create discord among family members.