Shaikh al-Albaani

Translations From His Works

Tag: innovator

When Can You Exclude Someone from Ahlus-Sunnah or Call Him an Innovator? | 1 | Someone Who Sincerely Seeks the Truth But Then is Mistaken, Even in Aqidah or Usool, is Excused and Receives One Reward


This sitting was concluded on the 22nd of Dhul-Qa’dah 1413 which corresponds to 12th May 1993.

Questioner: All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of the Worlds, and may prayers and peace be upon the Messenger of Allaah, his family, Companions and whoever followed him in good until the Day of Judgement.

Your eminence, Shaikh, may Allaah reward you with good. I have some issues which I and others from the people of Medinah have found to be problematic, if you could please and with thanks from us, may Allaah reward you with good, give us an answer, in the detail that we [have come to] expect from you.

From these issues is [the question]: when is a person emitted from Ahlus-Sunnah? Is it when he believes as creed something different to their creed? And when he does fall into things which oppose the Ahlus-Sunnah, is it allowed to declare him to be an innovator straight away or after establishing the proof against him? And if it is not easy to establish the proof against him, either due to the death of that person or because of it being such a long time ago, or because it is [just] not possible to meet him in order to establish the proof against him [what do we do?].

So advise us [of the answer], and we thank you [for that].

Al-Albaani: Your question, may Allaah bless you, contains many [different] questions. If you would split between one question and the next, or put the paper in front of me so I can give you the answers to these parts which make up that one question.

Questioner: Okay, O Shaikh, I will repeat it point by point.

Al-Albaani: Point by point.

Questioner: Okay.

Al-Albaani: The first question?

Questioner: The first question: when is a person emitted from Ahlus-Sunnah, is it when he believes a creed other than their creed or when he falls into a few things which oppose their creed?

Al-Albaani: Yes. I say, and I ask Allaah the Mighty and Majestic for success in being correct in what I say:

It has become common amongst the scholars of the past and those of today that when a Muslim makes a mistake in what the scholars call the subsidiary issues [furoo] he is excused, but that if he makes a mistake in the fundamentals [usool], in aqidah, he is not—we believe that, firstly, this differentiation does not have any proof in the Legislation, and that secondly, it is obligatory upon a Muslim to, always and forever, seek to know the truth in that which the people have differed, whether that is connected to the fundamentals or the subsidiary issues or in aqidah or in the ahkaam.

So if he expends all his effort to come to know the truth in that which the people have differed and is correct then he has two rewards and if he is mistaken then he has one, as is well-known from the hadith of the Prophet reported in the Sahih, “If a judge passes judgment and makes Ijtihad and he is right then he will have two rewards.  And if he makes a mistake he will have one,” this is the basis/foundation.

Secondly, if a Muslim was eager in wanting to know the truth yet made a mistake, even if it is in aqidah or the fundamentals, then, firstly, he is not held to account for that—rather he is rewarded one time for his mistake, and secondly, due to what was previously mentioned [just above].

This is confirmed by the saying of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم which occurs in the Saheeh from the hadith of Hudhaifah ibn al-Yamaan and other noble Companions, [where they reported] that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said, “Amongst the people preceding your age, there was a man who had never done any good. While he was on his death-bed, he called his sons and said, ‘What type of father have I been to you?’ They replied, ‘You have been a good father.’ He said, ‘I have sinned against my Lord and if Allaah has power over me, He will punish me severely. So when I die, burn me and scatter half of the resulting ashes in the sea and half in the wind.’ His sons did accordingly, but Allaah the Mighty and Majestic said, ‘Be so and so,’ and so he became a fully formed man. Then He said to him, ‘What made you do so?’ He replied, ‘Fear of you.’ So Allaah said, ‘I have forgiven you.’”

So Allaah the Mighty and Majestic forgave this person even though he had fallen into disbelief and shirk, [and he fell into this disbelief and shirk] through this will of his, which may not, amongst all of the wills that we have known or come across, have an equivalent in terms of its injustice and oppression. [But] Allaah did not take him to account, in fact He forgave him, because He knew that he didn’t leave that unjust will except out of [his] fear of Him.

Thus, the Muslim … [and] now comes the summary of the answer … when a Muslim seeks Allaah the Mighty and Majestic’s Face in all that he holds as religion before Him and takes as creed concerning Him, but then misses the truth, then there is no doubt that Allaah the Mighty and Majestic will forgive his mistake—in fact he will be rewarded for it one time.

This is what we hold as religion before Allaah and this is the fatwa we give–always and forever.

And the summary of that is: that it [i.e., believing otherwise] is in opposition to the foundation and principle that Allaah does not hold a person to be accountable for what he is mistaken in but only for that which he wilfully intended, and secondly, due to [the reasons given when explaining] this authentic hadith [mentioned above].

What’s next?

Questioner: Next is that the Shaikh of Islaam [Ibn Taymiyyah] may Allaah have mercy on him, mentioned in [his book], Al-Iqtidaa, he mentioned that a man may be rewarded for his presence at the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday or for an innovation depending on his purpose and intention, what do you say about that?

Al-Albaani: This is not a question … this wasn’t read out just now, you read a question which included many others.

Questioner: Yes …

Al-Albaani:So maybe you have taken a leap like that of a gazelle!

Questioner: Yes, I leapt.

Al-Albaani: Why did you jump?

Someone else: Go back to the first.

Questioner: Shall we go back to the first?

Al-Albaani: We said that your first question was composed of [many different] questions, so just now you repeated the first part of it and I gave you the answer, because you based many questions upon the first which was whether he leaves the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah

Questioner: Okay.

Al-Albaani: Yes?

Questioner: Now … would you like me to …

Al-Albaani: Ya’ni, there are things you jumped over …

Questioner: Yes, O Shaikh.

Al-Albaani: I don’t know, maybe if you are not in need of them then that is up to you, but I feel as though you are in need of the rest of the answers.

Questioner: Yes, we said, ‘When is a man …

Principles Concerning Declaring Others to be Disbelievers, Innovators or Open Sinners [Faasiqs] | 1 |


Questioner: I have a number of questions, may Allaah reward you with good. The first: is establishing the proof against someone a requirement for declaring him to be an innovator or a faasiq?

Al-Albaani: Wallaahi, the answer differs according to the differences found in the countries [the people live in] and in the differences amongst the residents in terms of the presence of scholars who uphold the obligation of educating and da’wah.

Let us give a clear and concise example of that: there is a very big difference between someone who is in the lands of disbelief, a group of people [there] who have newly embraced Islaam, there is no doubt, naturally, that it is not allowed to go ahead and declare such people to be disbelievers or open sinners [faasiqs] or innovators straight away, because they live in an environment where they are new to Islaam and Islamic rulings, this is on one side. [So there is a very big difference between such people and those on] the other side [where there] is a clear Islamic environment, an unadulterated Islamic environment which does not require the proof to be established, because the issue is [already] established by the very nature of this learned, Islamic environment.

These are two totally contrastive examples. So between these two situations there is no doubt that there are a great many examples, some of which will be closer to the first example and others closer to the second, and so on.

So the point of giving this example is to show that it is not allowed to make a statement, whether positive or negative, about that question, so it should not be said that, ‘[The proof] has to be established,’ and nor that, ‘It doesn’t have to be established.’ The answer differs according to the differing states of the people he wants to declare to be disbelievers or faasiqs or innovators.

And the foundational principle here is that it is not allowed to declare Muslims to be disbelievers, and following on from that, [it is not allowed] to declare them to be faasiqs, and following on from that, [it is not allowed] to declare them to be innovators except after the proof has been established due to the well-known aayah and authentic hadiths which have a similar meaning, the well-known aayah being, “… And never would We punish until We sent a messenger …” [Israa 17:15] “… that I may warn you thereby and whomever it reaches,” [An’aam 6:19] likewise is his saying عليه الصلاة والسلام, which Imaam Muslim reported in his Sahih from the hadith of Abu Hurairah, may Allaah the Most High be pleased with him, who said, “Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم said, ‘There is no man from this Ummah, Jew or Christian, who hears of me and then does not believe in me except that he will enter the Fire.’

So I say: the foundational principle is that the proof be established [before delivering a verdict] against these three types of people [i.e., the three types being, declaring someone to be a disbeliever, or innovator or open sinner], this is what the ruling centres around. After [understanding] the examples we have given the issue is that whoever knows or is certain that the proof has been established against such and such a person then based upon that it is permissible to declare him to be a disbeliever, or a faasiq or an innovator, and if that is not the case then it is not permissible. This is the answer.

Questioner: Okay, O Shaikh, if a Muslim scholar established the proof against a person, whether that be declaring him to be a disbeliever, or an innovator or a faasiq, is it then obligatory upon a person to follow that scholar or does he have the option of establishing the proof himself?

Al-Albaani: It’s not a condition [that he has to establish the proof himself], rather what is obligatory is that he be convinced that the proof has been established on the person who is to be declared a disbeliever, or innovator …

[The second part of this series of questions has already been translated and can be found here: Al-Albaani Destroys, ‘If You’re Not With Us You’re Against Us.’]

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 778.

Al-Albaani Destroys, “If You’re Not With Us, You’re Against Us.”


Here’s the PDF: IfYou’reNotWithUSYou’re AgainstUs.

Questioner: There are principles, O Shaikh, which some of the youth act upon, from these rules is, ‘Whoever does not declare a disbeliever to be a disbeliever then he is a disbeliever.  Whoever does not declare an innovator to be an innovator then he is an innovator,’ and another rule, ‘Whoever is not with us, then he is against us.’

What is your opinion about these rules, O Shaikh?

Al-Albaani: And where have these rules come from?! And who laid them down?!

This reminds me of a joke that is told in my motherland, Albania, my father, may Allaah have mercy on him, related it in a sitting. In the story he said that a scholar visited a friend of his at his house and then when he left he declared his friend to be a disbeliever.

He was asked why …

In our country we have a custom, and I think it is [something] uniform in the countries of non-Arabs, they glorify and respect, and revere the scholars with some customs and habits which differ from country to country. From these is that when a scholar enters a house, visiting someone, upon leaving his shoes are supposed to be turned around so that the scholar will not have to burden himself by turning around—he should just find the shoes are ready for him to slide his feet into.

So when this scholar visited his friend and then went to leave he found that his shoes were just as he had left them, i.e., the host had not respected the Shaikh and had just left them as they were.

So ‘the scholar’ said that this is disbelief.

Why? Because the host had not respected the scholar, and the one who has not respected a scholar has not respected knowledge, and the one who does not respect knowledge does not respect the one who brought the knowledge—and the one who brought the knowledge is Muhammad عليه السلام and he carried on in this way until he got to Jibreel and then the Lord of the Worlds, and thus the host is a kaafir.

This question [of yours], this rule [you mentioned], reminded me of this fable!

It is not a condition at all that someone who has declared a person to be a disbeliever or has established the proof against someone, that [as a result of that] all of the people have to be with him in that judgement of takfir, because he [i.e., the person’s situation] may be open to interpretation and [thus] another scholar may hold that it is not permissible to declare that individual to be a disbeliever, and the same goes for declaring someone to be a faasiq or an innovator.

This reality is from the trials of the present day, and from the hastiness of some youth who falsely claim knowledge. So the point is that this chain [of deduction] or making this binding is not incumbent at all.

This is an open/expansive issue, one scholar may hold something to be obligatory and the other may hold that it is not. And the scholars of before and those who came later never differed except due to the fact that the door of ijtihaad does not make it incumbent on others to take his opinion, ‘that others have to take his opinion.’ It is only the blind-follower [muqallid] who has no knowledge who has to blindly-follow [yuqallid].

The scholar, who sees another declare an individual to be a disbeliever, or a faasiq or an innovator, but does not agree with his opinion—it is not incumbent upon him at all to follow that [other] scholar.

And this is a calamity which, inshaa Allaah, has not spread from your country to others?

Questioner: By Allaah, O Shaikh, it is present in our country, the issue of declaring people to be innovators and declaring them to be disbelievers.

Al-Albaani: As for the Jamaa’atut-Takfeer then it is well-known that it is a group that started in Egypt and their fitnah was here in Ammaan before I settled here, i.e., about fourteen years ago. But Allaah the Mighty and Majestic guided them and they became upright on the Sunnah with us. Likewise some of them came to Damascus before I came here, and they tried to spread the fitnah of declaring other people to be disbelievers there, but again, our Lord did not give them success and they returned empty-handed. As for this misguidance, it is still present in Egypt and I fear that some of it may have reached the students of knowledge, and Allaah’s Aid is sought.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 778.

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