Translated by Ahmed Abu Turaab
Questioner: Nowadays with the situation we’re in, there are many [different] outlooks and the groups have become numerous in terms of [their] creed and interpretation and so on.
So here is the question: nowadays a Muslim brother will never give salaam or return salaam, or visit, or follow the funeral procession of a person who opposes his group, even though he is a Muslim just like him.
It also happens that a person will enumerate [the mistakes] of another, [saying], ‘This person is such and such,’ and he [will go on to] say this and this and that. And [when] we tell him [that], ‘This is backbiting. And that person is a Muslim, and you are mentioning his shortcomings and enumerating his flaws.’ He says, ‘This is hatred for the Sake of Allaah and a clarification of what that person is upon.’
So we want to know how to differentiate between hating for the Sake of Allaah and clarifying mistakes without falling into backbiting which the Prophet عليه الصلاة والسلام warned us about, [when they asked him], ‘Even if he had [those characteristics] that we are talking about, O Messenger of Allaah?’ [He replied,] ‘If he has that which you are speaking about then you have backbitten him.’
So what is your opinion about this?
Al-Albaani: I do not know/believe that a Muslim would not give salaam to his brother Muslim [whilst] knowing that he is a Muslim. And this is boycotting which is not allowed Islamically, and the fact that the Muslims differ is not new, but rather old. What is obligatory is for there to be an exchange of mutual advice between the Muslims and that they have harmony and mutual love for the Sake of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.
So harbouring mutual enmity and boycotting is something prohibited in Islaam and loving and hating for the Sake of Allaah is sought after in Islaam. But maybe some people do not know how to implement [this properly]. And many times I am asked about a Muslim cutting off from his brother Muslim for some reason …
Questioner: For nothing more than some difference over a fiqh issue …
Al-Albaani: So I say: Boycotting today–even if fundamentally it is something legislated–yet today is not the time for implementing it. Because if you wanted to boycott every Muslim who you criticise on a certain issue, you will be left on your own, [a] harsh [person].
So it is not for us today to deal upon the way of hating for the Sake of Allaah and boycotting for the Sake of Allaah.
Rather, the time for that is when the Muslims become stronger, stronger [also] in how they appear to deal with/treat each other–it is then that an individual who deviates from the Straight Path is boycotted–in such boycotting is a cure for him and an education. As for now, then this is not the time for boycotting.
In places like Syria and Jordan, the youth who abandon and are negligent about the prayer are numerous, and the questions about this situation are numerous too … a person will ask, ‘I have a friend who used to pray with us. Then he deviated and abandoned the prayer. I advised, admonished and reminded him but he does not take heed nor respond to the advice. Shall I boycott him?’
So I say, ‘No. Do not boycott him.’ For if you do, you would have aided him in the deviance and misguidance he is upon. And if you boycott him, his friends, those who cause corruption in the land, will meet him and his deviance will become stronger. So it is upon you to follow up and attend to him while supervising him by admonishing him from time to time, and maybe Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, will guide him.
Here in Syria we have a proverb, they say that a man who had abandoned the prayer repented. He came to the mosque for the first time wanting to pray but found that it was closed, so he said, ‘You’re closed and [so] I have a day off [from praying]!’
This man who boycotts, when he does so, he says to the one he is boycotting, ‘I don’t want to ever see you, don’t accompany me and I won’t accompany you!’
For this reason, in the present age it is not from wisdom at all that we boycott the people because of their deviation. Whether this deviation is ideological, [connected to] creed [aqidah], or a behavioural deviation. It is upon us to have patience in accompanying these people and that we do not declare people to be deviated/misguided and that we do not declare them to be disbelievers.
Because this declaration of someone to be a deviant/misguided or this declaration that someone is a disbeliever does not help us at all. Rather, it is upon us to remind, as He, the Mighty and Majestic, said, “And remind for verily, the reminding profits the believers.” [Adh-Dhaariyaat 51:55]
Questioner: It should be noted that the person who accompanies/associates with such people be someone who is confident about himself, [confident about the fact] that he will not be affected by the views and mannerisms of the deviated individual.
Al-Albaani: By Allaah, you have spoken the truth about this … this is something very important, yes.
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 80.