Praying Behind the People of Innovation | 4 | Al-Albaani Asked About Praying Behind the Quburis [People Who Fall Into Shirk Connected to the Graves]
Questioner: Another cassette reached us which had some of your statements regarding the fighting in Afghanistan and your fatwa about the permissibility of praying behind the grave-worshippers [Qaburis], so the people differed [after hearing this fatwa of yours], O Shaikh.
Al-Albaani: “… and they will not cease to differ, except whom your Lord has given mercy …” [Hud 118-119], this is the text of the Noble Quraan, “And if your Lord had willed, He could have made mankind one community; but they will not cease to differ, except whom your Lord has given mercy.” [Hud 118-119]
So differing is something very normal and there is no escape nor deliverance from it except by sticking to the Book and the Sunnah, for this reason, if some differing does occur then two things are obligatory on those who have differed:
The first is that this differing should not be a cause for disunity [and that it should not be] differing which leads to disunion/separation.
The second thing is that they should return to Allaah and His Messenger in that [issue], as Allaah the Mighty and Majestic said in the Quraan, “… and if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allaah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allaah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.” [Nisaa 4:59] And I believe that in many issues [people either] go too far or fall short.
In many issues there is excessiveness and negligence. Many of our brothers who cling to the Sunnah hold that one should not pray behind innovators but I say: these innovators, in our ruling about them based upon what is apparent to us, are either disbelievers or Muslims. So if they are disbelievers then praying behind them is not correct unanimously. And if they are Muslims then the prayer behind them is correct even if they are from the innovators or are misguided in some issues which they have left the Sunnah in.
And we have a hadith in Sahih Bukhari from Abu Hurairah, may Allaah the Most High be pleased with him, where he said that Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said concerning the Imaams, “If they lead the prayer correctly then they and you will receive the rewards, but if they make a mistake, then you will receive the reward for the prayer and the sin will be theirs.” [Bukhaari, no. 694].
And another hadith also from Sahih Bukhari that a ruler in one of the cities, I think it was Medinah, during the time of the Amawis, his name was Uqbah ibn al-Walid as far as I recall, led the people in the morning prayer one day with four rak’ahs [instead of two]–because he was drunk, having drunk alcohol, so he didn’t know what he had prayed, and from his misguidance was that after he gave salaam to end the prayer he said [to the people], ‘Shall I give you some more [i.e., make it even longer]?’ He prayed four rak’ahs for fajr and yet along with that he said, ‘Shall I give you some more?’
The hadith is in Sahih Bukhari, [and Imaam Bukhaari is] the one who narrates the hadiths exactly as they are, and he didn’t relate to us that those Salaf repeated the prayer which that man led them in as four rak’ahs, why? Because of that first hadith [I mentioned to you, i.e.,], “If they lead the prayer correctly then they and you will receive the rewards, but if they make a mistake, then you will receive the reward for the prayer and the sin will be theirs.”
This is from one angle. The other angle is that there is no doubt that many of these innovators wanted what was correct but missed it, for this reason our obligation is to try to direct and guide them and not to take them as our opponents and enemies. And this issue is contingent upon what I mentioned just now: that as long as they are Muslims then they have the same rights as us and the same responsibilities.
And if they leave the fold of Islaam and become disbelievers like those who believe in Wahdatul-Wujood, for example, then it is not correct to pray behind them, but such people are not called innovators. The innovators are those like the Khawaarij, the Mu’tazilah, the Murji’ah–the Imaams of Hadith used to report hadith from them with the condition that they be truthful in that which they were reporting and had memorised their narrations and they did not declare them to be outside the fold of Islaam but gave them the ruling they deserved which was that they had left the Sunnah.
For this reason we do not become enthusiastic in warning the people from praying behind innovators, rather, many times I am asked openly, ‘Imaam so and so seeks intercession with the Awliyaa and the righteous, should we pray behind him?’ I say: yes, has he left the fold of Islaam through that … [tape cuts off here] …
And through this method, in my view, it is possible to bring together the views and differences [found] amongst the Muslims. As for if we were to pass the judgement that the one who innovated one innovation or many in Islaam has left Islaam then the distance [caused by] differing will increase between us and the Muslims, and this, without doubt is not allowed.
This is my opinion concerning praying behind the innovators, I don’t know if you have any comments that we can listen to and benefit from?
Questioner: May Allaah reward you with good, O Shaikh.
Al-Albaani: And you.
Questioner: Because … your old or previous stance … and it was a stance which … ya’ni, was strong concerning them, this became the foundation of those youth with us, it became a foundation which is difficult for them to leave.
Al-Albaani: The previous stance? What was it?
Questioner: Shaikh it was the categorical stance towards the innovators, even with us our stance regarding the innovators [became such] that everyone who seeks intercession is an innovator, everyone who seeks succour [with the Awliyaa] is an innovator, in fact, it reached such an extent that everyone who doesn’t move his finger in tashahhud [is an innovator] … i.e., a stance which was not good in this affair …
Questioner: So it has become, O Shaikh, ya’ni, the foundation of the youth’s stance is that there should be severity towards the grave-worshippers, towards those who seek intercession [through the righteous etc.], total severity.
Because frankly, O Shaikh, the situation of the grave-worshippers where we are is clear and manifest, and their seeking aid from other than Allaah is clear and none of them hide it, in fact they show enmity to the Ahlus-Sunnah through that, indeed they sometimes plot against the Ahlus-Sunnah, as is present now, and this has resulted in problems, so when they [i.e., those youth] heard this fatwa [of yours], the reality was that some of them were looking left and right [not knowing what to do], except that, alhamdulillaah, the stance of the people of knowledge with us was clear and they understood what you meant, O Shaikh, so alhamdulillaah, they clarified the situation.
Al-Albaani: Whatever the case, may Allaah bless you. What you mention concerning your country is in all countries, i.e., that the people of innovation fight the Ahlus-Sunnah.
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 337.