LEVELS IN UNDERSTANDING ISLAMIC ISSUES
بِسم الله الرحمنِ الرحيم
الحمد لله رب العالمين ، والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين
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 – فَلَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ إِن لَّمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهَـٰذَا الْحَدِيثِ أَسَفًا [And if they believe not in this declaration (Islamic Testimony – Shahadah), it does not follow that you, O’Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) should not vex yourself to death by going after them.] (Al-Kahaf – 6).
Occurrence of faith is not a discretionary thing. By consideration and attention the minds get affected and people start believing. Faith is the name of certainty, and belief is its reaction. 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 – لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ ۖ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ ۚ فَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىٰ لَا انفِصَامَ لَهَا [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 (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) 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 (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ). If they act against this requirement, they will get punishment.
It is an interesting book that deals with the understanding capacities of people in understanding the signs of their creator in this Cosmos. We hope people will benefit from its reading.
CATEGORIES OF PEOPLE
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 (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) and give to His servants. They listen from the truthful Being (Allah - عَزَّ وَجَلَّ)) and transfer back to His creatures.
It is in Quran – اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ حَيْثُ يَجْعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُ [Allah knows it well who is capable for Apostleship’. ( An-A’am - 124).
Average intelligent persons achieve their virtuous objectives with a little effort and hard work under the guidance and leadership of Superior persons.
Virtuous people like the family members of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم), his companions, Imams and Shuyookh of Ihsan who are described in Quran as ‘friends of Allah (أولياء الله) reach to the elevated states with the guidance and assistance of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم).
Muslims achieve their objective of success in this world and salvation in Hereafter under the guidance and following of the virtuous Sahih-ul-Aqeedah Scholars and Sufi Shuyookh of Ihsan.
Those who are with inferior nature, never come to the right path, even if they are explained repeatedly. They are spiritually blind and deaf from the beginning and remain so throughout their lives. Eternally wretched cannot be guided from the sermons of Awliya Allah and Sufi Shuyookh. They cannot be guided even from the guiding light of the Prophets.
It is in Quran – صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لَا يَرْجِعُونَ [ Deaf, dumb and blind, they will not return (to the right path). (Al-Baqara – 18).
It is in Quran - إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ [ You (O’ Prophet ﷺ) cannot guide everyone you like (to the desired objective), but Allah 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.
It is in Hadith - It is narrated on the authority of Abdullaah ibn Amr (ru) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said that the (Muslim) Ummah will divide into seventy-three groups; all of them will enter Hell except one, namely, the one that follows the way of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) , and that of his companions. (Tirmidhi).
As per the above Hadith, only one group is on the right path while the rest are scheduled to be thrown into Hell fire. Therefore, we know that out of the huge population of Muslims, very small fraction is on the right path. The remaining people who call themselves Muslims are likely to be in red on the Judgement Day.
In spite of knowing these details, everyone feels that he will be rewarded with Paradise. How could this be true?
What is wrong with the majority who are apparently having passion for their wrongful beliefs claiming them to be true?
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 (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) time believed in one God, but they had the passion for idol worship. This was the 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 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 religious leaders with the lists of questions they could not answer. Their scholars first try to convince them, re-instill their lost confidence and bring them back to their fold. But if they persist to know more, they 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 and even if they do not find anything tangible, the try to misinterpret his statements in his books, take out of context sentences and try to spread fabricated information and issue fatawas to misguide their followers. 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 pagans used to do such gimmicks against the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). These people follow that tradition. What will they achieve by misguiding people by such tricks? It is obvious, they want to keep their leadership intact in this world.
It is in Quran - أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُا الضَّلَالَةَ بِالْهُدَىٰ فَمَا رَبِحَت تِّجَارَتُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُوا مُهْتَدِينَ [ These are the people who bought misguidance at the cost of guidance, and their deal neither resulted in any (kind of) gain nor it could lead them to the right path (of Islam).] (Al-Baqara - 16)
It is advisable that persons should be judged on the strength of their explanation and 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 Hadhrat Ali (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) that he heard Prophet Mohammed (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) 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’.
MISLEADING ARGUMENTS OF SALAFIS AND THEIR LIKE MINDED GROUPS
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 Imams, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Abdul Wahhab and others.
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 (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). 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 certain 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 (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) and his companions. In addition, they did not reject the opinions of other Imams en masse (outright). They did not denounce other Imams or 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 Shuyookh. 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 Shuyookh 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 teenS ( 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 fatawas 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 claim that they follow Salaf (the companions of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) 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 Universities? Because in these institutions they get good teachers and if they study and learn under their guidance, follow their learning techniques and take advantage of their experience, they 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 (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) traditions.
Salafis scare people from different interpretations of Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) Ahadiths and claim that Shaikhs of Ihsan or Religious guides and Sufi Shuyookh take the pledge (ba’it) for submission of pupil to them and not to Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) and His Apostle (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). 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 (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) has given us common sense. Why should we go to a person who is not worthy of guiding people. Nobody is forcing you 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 (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) tradition is an attempt to mislead people from truthful Islamic faith and practices.
As we have described above, Salafis ask 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.
Ibn Taymiyyah was born in 1263 AD. The time of the Companions of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) 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 ﷺ and their first generation followers) 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 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 spurious.
Ibn Abdul Wahhab claimed that the faith and deeds of all Muslims till his time, after the period of Salaf (between 750-1750) 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) as follows.
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
Salafis' wrongful ideas of ‘religious innovation’ have penetrated every single Muslim home around the world. 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. This has to change if Muslims want respect in this world and salvation in Hereafter. They have to shun the misleading beliefs of deviant sects and come back to Sahih Iman. There is no other way for their respectful survival in this world and salvation in Hereafter.