When Can You Exclude Someone from Ahlus-Sunnah or Call Him an Innovator? | End | Someone Who Sincerely Seeks the Truth But Then is Mistaken, Even in Aqidah or Usool, is Excused and Receives One Reward
by The Albaani Blog
Continuing from the first post.
Questioner: Yes, we said, ‘When is a man excluded from Ahlus-Sunnah? Is it when he believes in a creed other than theirs? And if he falls into some opposition to what Ahlus-Sunnah were upon even if it is only in one subsidiary issue, is he called an innovator?
Al-Albaani: This is an important question. It is possible to understand its answer in light of the answer to the previous question. So we say:
If he sought the truth and that which was correct but missed it then it is not permissible to say that, ‘He is not from Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah,’ just because he fell into a mistake even if we were to say that he fell into innovation, as occurs in your question.
Many, as the students of knowledge will know let alone the people of knowledge, many scholars fell into that which was haraam, but did they wilfully intend it? Far be it! So are they sinful in that? The answer is: no.
Thus, there is no difference between a scholar who falls into declaring halaal something which Allaah has made haraam and for which he is [still] rewarded [one time] and between another scholar who fell into an innovation unintentionally, he was aiming for the Sunnah but missed it, there is no difference between these two.
For this reason, we complain now about this new revolution which has erupted in Saudi between Ahlus-Sunnah themselves, whereby those whom it is thought have opposed Ahlus-Sunnah in some issues have appeared and so they [i.e., other people] declared them to be innovators and excluded them from Ahlus-Sunnah. It would have been enough for them to have said, ‘He is mistaken,’ firstly, then it was upon them to establish the proof from the Book and the Sunnah and what the Salaf as-Saalih were upon, secondly.
As for increasing the disunity with even more splitting and differences, then this is not from the practice of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, ever.
For this reason, it is not permissible to throw out someone who may have made a mistake in an issue, in accordance with the detail [I] previously mentioned: no matter whether that mistake was in the fundamentals [usool], or the subsidiary issues [furoo], or in aqidah or in fiqh–it is not permissible to declare him to be misguided, but rather he should be dealt with in a manner that is best.
Questioner: And if the Ahlus-Sunnah are able to bring that person and establish the proof against him in that which he has opposed the manhaj of Ahlus-Sunnah in, and despite that he still refuses to return to what they are upon, is he [then] declared to be an innovator or not?
Al-Albaani: The answer to this is also understood. If he stubbornly resists and persists then he is declared to be an innovator.
But if he says, ‘I do not see the correct stance to be in what you are saying,’’ in fact, he flips it back on them and in turn says that they are mistaken, then the issue remains one of a difference between him and them and it is not fitting that we believe that we know that in his heart he [really] believes the opposite of what he disclosed on his tongue and that he is thus a hypocrite.
We are not, as the Prophet عليه السلام indicated in the authentic hadith, ‘Why didn’t you split his heart open?’ [in the story] where that polytheist had fallen under the sword of a Muslim and so said, ‘Laa ilaaha illallaah,’ so he didn’t pay any attention to it and killed him, and the story is well-known, so he عليه السلام said, ‘Where were you in relation to the statement, ‘Laa ilaaha illallaah?’
He said, ‘He only said it out of deception and the fear of being killed.’ So he عليه السلام said, ‘Why didn’t you split his heart open?’
And that person was a mushrik, and what is apparent makes one feel no doubt that he said it out of the fear of being killed, so [then] what is the matter with us regarding a Muslim who testifies that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah and that Muhammad is His Messenger and he stands by the Book and the Sunnah and the manhaj of the Salaf as-Saalih but who made a mistake in an issue and the proof was [then] established against him–and we say this [i.e., we say that the proof was established against him] with some reservation, because not everyone who argues is upon knowledge, but we will assume [in this example] that the proof really was established against him by a noble scholar or scholars, but he [still] was not convinced—then Allaah is the one who will judge him, and it is not permissible for us to give precedence to a mistake or mistakes [made by that person] over a multitude of that which [he] is correct [in].
The issue in this knowledge-based matter is exactly like that which is connected to righteousness or wickedness: it is not possible for a Muslim not to fall into some opposition to the Sharee’ah, i.e., he will definitely commit a sin or make a mistake, and each one of us errs as we all know. So, when we see a person has made a certain mistake or committed a certain sin, do we say that, ‘He is a disobedient sinner [faasiq],’ do we say that, ‘He is a criminal [faajir]?’ Or do we go by what is predominate? [We go] by that which is predominate—likewise the knowledge-based issue [we are discussing] is the same [i.e., just as you can’t call someone who falls into a sin a faasiq or a faajir you similarly cannot call someone an innovator based upon one mistake].
Questioner: The Shaikh of Islaam [Ibn Taymiyyah], may Allaah the Most High have mercy on him, mentioned in [his book], Iqtidaa as-Siraatal-Mustaqeem fee Mukhaalafati Ahlil-Jaheem that a man might attend an occasion like the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday or another such innovation and be rewarded for it due to his good intention and his lack of knowledge about the fact that the occasion he attended is something in opposition to what has come from Allaah and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم, what do you say about that?
Al-Albaani: There is no doubt that this speech is that of a man who is a scholar, and it is enough for you that the one who said it is the Shaikh of Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, he says, ‘… and he doesn’t know,’ so do we say, ‘He has to know everything?’ [i.e., do we expect a person to know absolutely everything such that he will never make a mistake?]
But I will say something else: it is permissible for a Muslim to attend a place like these [where such things are happening], and which he knows are newly-invented matters and are not legislated, not doing so to flatter [those who are performing that innovation] and nor to be seen [out of hypocrisy] but in order to inform [the people] about its lack of being something legislated.
Or if he is not able to … or the general situation does not enable him to renounce the origin/basis of this innovation, then he renounces that which may occur in that matter, which, if he does renounce, will not lead to a harm that is greater than the good which he is informing and reminding the people about.
And this, of course, is according to the well-known fiqh principle with the people of knowledge that bringing about the good takes precedence over repelling the harm and the opposite is true totally when the harm which is assumed will take place, is more than the benefit which he seeks … and we know that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to attend the meeting places of the polytheists, and there is no doubt that much, very much wrongdoing would occur there … and which one of us doesn’t know that when the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم was praying in the Masjid al-Haraam he used to be harmed and amnion and dust and unclean things would be placed on his back صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم, whilst he was praying, but he would attend the[ir] gatherings in order to perform the obligatory duty of calling them to tawheed as is known from his biography عليه الصلاة والسلام.
But in addition to this when Allaah gave him the conquest of Makkah and he entered and prayed inside the Ka’bah and Aai’ishah, may Allaah the Most High be pleased with her wanted to follow the example of her Prophet and husband by praying inside the Ka’bah [too], he عليه السلام said to her, ‘Pray in the hijr [the area at the side of the Ka’bah within the semi-circular wall], for it is from the Ka’bah and when your people’s funds ran short they removed the hijr from the Ka’bah,’ he said عليه السلام and here is the point we are proving, ‘Were it not for the fact that your people just left shirk I would have demolished the Ka’bah and built it upon Ibrahim’s foundation عليه السلام and would have made two doors for it on the ground. A door for them to enter from and a door for them to exit from.’
So, he عليه السلام left the Ka’bah with the deficiency that the Arabs rebuilt it upon in the Days of Ignorance, why? He said, ‘Were it not for the fact that your people just left shirk I would have demolished the Ka’bah …’ he feared عليه الصلاة والسلام that when those who had just recently embraced Islaam would see the Prophet عليه الصلاة والسلام demolishing the Ka’bah [they would have said], ‘He never left anything of ours, he even demolished Allaah’s Forbidden Sanctuary!’ So the Prophet عليه السلام established as a Sunnah the wisdom behind enjoining the good and forbidding the evil with such good words.
So if a man attended an event or place where there were wrong acts and newly-invented affairs in order to rectify them then he is rewarded for that, but if he does not know that it is a wrongful act or a newly-invented matter then there is nothing against him, [the affair rests upon] him and his intention, as the Shaikh of Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy on him, said.
I think you have obtained your answer, and more.
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 734.