On The Difference Between the Dialogue that Takes Place Between Ahlus-Sunnah Among Themselves and the Speech Directed From Ahlus-Sunnah to the People of Innovation
Questioner: The first question, are there differences between the discussions that take place between Ahlus-Sunnah and the addresses that are directed from a Sunni to an innovator? And what are they?
Al-Albaani: Are there differences …
Questioner: Yes …
Al-Albaani: Are there differences between what goes on between Ahlus-Sunnah …
Questioner: … between the discussions that take place between Ahlus-Sunnah and the addresses that are directed at an innovator from a Sunni? And what are they?
Al-Albaani: Without doubt the differences may sometimes exist and the difference is clear between the dialogue and discussions that go on between Ahlus-Sunnah themselves and what goes on between Ahlus-Sunnah on one hand and the innovators on the other, [and] that is that the discussions, dialogues and refutations between Ahlus-Sunnah themselves are only done based upon statements of His, the Blessed and Most High, like:
“By time. Verily, mankind is in loss. Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” [Asr 103:1-3]
So the starting point of any discussion or dialogue that goes on between Ahlus-Sunnah must spring forth from aayahs like this:
“… and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.”
And the issue should be likewise between Ahlus-Sunnah on one hand and those who oppose them in the Sunnah, and they are the innovators, on the other. But the method [employed] between Ahlus-Sunnah amongst themselves and between Ahlus-Sunnah on one hand and the innovators on the other may differ.
And that is because when a debate takes place between Ahlus-Sunnah themselves they are supposed to bear His Statement, the Most High, in mind, [a statement] which He characterised the Muslims in general with:
“… merciful among themselves …” [Fath 48:29]
As for when a debate takes place between these Muslims from Ahlus-Sunnah and the people of innovation then there may be some harshness and severity in the method [employed] which is appropriate to the persistence of the people of innovation in their innovations—this is the distinguishing factor between Ahlus-Sunnah among themselves on one hand and Ahlus-Sunnah when they debate or refute the people of innovations on the other.
But it is fitting that in both these [people] and those we take note of an issue [which is that] we do not vindicate one group over another with it, or slander one group instead of another, the reason for this being that [doing so] is a breach of the principle [laid down] in His Saying, the Blessed and Most High:
“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best.” [Nahl 16:125]
Thus many times when a Sunni responds to another Sunni it so happens that the wisdom [as mentioned in the aayah] was not stuck to in the rebuttal—in fact, that which is even more important than that is not adhered to which is what our Lord, the Mighty and Majestic indicated in His Statement, the Blessed and Most High:
“… and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just—be just, that is nearer to righteousness.” [Maa’idah 5:8]
So, many times what happens firstly is evil/bad methods are used when a Sunni refutes/responds to another—and even more than that: not observing trustworthiness and truthfulness in rebutting each other.
So unfortunately this occurred in the past and is becoming obvious now in this present time anew in a form which we had hoped we would not see occurring in the Sunni community, the one we call the Salafi community.
This is what has presented itself to me as an answer to this question.
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 698. [2/6/274]