The story of the wine and vinegar–and this is the calamity of this time–and researching this reality will take a long time … especially when some of the scholars permit reporting what is even more dangerous than this narration where [it was mentioned that] this person called upon Allaah to transform forbidden wine into permissible vinegar.
But what do you think then–and [such] stories are numerous indeed–of a person who drinks wine and is rebuked and he answers by saying, ‘He is drinking from the wine of Paradise. It has nothing whatsoever to do with your [wordly] wine!’
And another one is selling hashish and when he is refuted he says, ‘You think I’m selling hashish, the drug? I’m selling hashish that is the antidote to that hashish. And every person who buys this hashish from me is able to quit his addiction to [that other harmful] hashish.’
And through such means they paralysed people’s intellects and dispensed with the Sharee’ah. And enough for you [in this regard] is their saying, ‘There is the Sharee’ah and then there is the reality.’ And the reality contradicts the Sharee’ah, and they have other extremely dangerous sentences [too].
And maybe it is fitting that I mention a story that happened to me personally.
As was my habit, I [once] travelled to go to my brothers in Aleppo. On the way we got a house to spend the night in, in a town about twenty kilometres from Damascus, called Deer Atiyyah.
While we were chatting at night, having stayed up, instead of the door [of the house] being knocked–and the house was a single floor [i.e., like a bungalow, no upstairs]–instead of the door being knocked, the window was.
So the landlord went out to see who this strange night comer, knocking in an odd manner, was. [Like I said] instead of knocking the door he’s knocking the window. So we were all taken aback by the loud welcoming cries of the landlord for this night visitor, ‘Welcome so and so!’
We craned our necks to try and see this noble guest to whom the landlord had given such a hearty reception.
This guest enters [the house] and I was surprised when I saw him just as he was when he saw me.
He was a man given to taking hashish, one who had left praying, wouldn’t fast in Ramadaan, would smoke in Ramadaan while leaning back on one of the outside corner walls of the mosque, with his yellow eyes gazing and fixed in a stare due to the effect of the hashish.
I was surprised as to why this landlord with whom we were guests was welcoming [someone who was] a hashish addict, was disobedient [faasiq] and a criminal [faajir]–if not a disbeliever.
He was surprised to see me because he was my neighbour.
My shop was next to that mosque [where this druggie would sit], so every time I left for prayer he would be taking his hashish, smoking and naturally it had hashish in it. Every time he would see me he would sit far away from me and act as though he was overcome, i.e., captivated, in a [sufi] state of haal, i.e., he would start bowing and prostrating saying things which in Syria we call broken speech, i.e., in Arabic it is called an incomplete sentence, like, ‘Tomoatoes, hashish, eggs, aubergine.’ It’s not a sentence, it’s incomplete.
It was then that I realized that the landlord believed that this person was from the major Allies of Allaah [Awliyaa’ul-Allaah]. So I started to speak at the spur of the moment and opened what I said with the aayah, “Behold! Verily on the friends of Allaah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve. Those who believe and fear Allaah much. For them are glad tidings, in the life of the present and in the Hereafter …” [Yunus 10:62-64]. What is taqwaa? What is eemaan, we spoke in this vein.
Then we spoke about the likes of this Dajjaal [i.e., the stranger].
That this was nothing to do with Islaam at all. That the honour of the Muslim was only through his faith in Allaah and his taqwaa of Him. And that this was all there was to it, whether a miracle occurred at his hands or not. One of the Shaikhs with us in Damascus said:
When you see a person who may fly
And on the ocean does walk
Yet does not stop at the limits of the Legislation
Then an innovator is he
Being lead to destruction progressively
I don’t recall [exactly] what we said in this regard but we spoke about the fact that the landlord believed that this man, a disobedient sinner and criminal, who makes out as though he is someone who is so overcome with the remembrance of Allaah that he does not know what is going on around him, is from the major Allies of Allaah.
And then the landlord said, ‘O Shaikh, by Allaah, in this town we …’–and herein lies the lesson–‘… in this town we used to be as you said. [We used to hold] that eemaan and taqwaa is what Islaam is about. But then Shaikh so and so came to us, and he had studied in Azhar University for twenty years, he left his town for twenty years, and then he came, warning the people and teaching them in the mosque at night. More than once we would hear him say that Allaah has special, chosen people in [certain] places and times … common phrases [oft-repeated by innovators].
And that the jewel that doesn’t impress you will harm you. The jewel that doesn’t impress you will harm you: if you see a person who is drinking wine, taking hashish, it is possible that he is one of the major Allies [of Allaah] from the righteous people. Just don’t ever, don’t ever criticise him or else you will fall into problems with this righteous ally [of Allaah!].’
Then [the landlord said that] the [Azhari] Shaikh reported the following story to them …