By Abu Khadeejah ʿAbdul-Wāhid
This audio (voice of Shaikh ʿAbdul-ʿAzeez Ibn Bāz) uses AI voice manipulation software and shows the real possibility of fabricating statements and ascribing them to scholars, shaikhs and students of knowledge.
Fabricating hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the āthār (narrations) of the Salaf is not (of course) a new phenomenon, neither is ascribing statements to the scholars that they never uttered. Today, however, the technology allows for more sophisticated methods of lying and deception.
So, I enjoin upon you to verify recordings that come from untrustworthy or unknown social media accounts (even if they claim to be upon Salafiyyah). Speak to the scholars and shaikhs before accepting speech, or forwarding their [supposed] words, and refer to their books and printed fatāwā. Present statements from unknown sources to those who know. Imām al-Awzāʿee (died 157 AH) said:
“We would hear a hadeeth and then present it to our scholars just as one presents a counterfeit coin (dirham) to a teller—so what they accepted, we accepted and what they rejected, we rejected.” (See al-Jarh wat-Taʿdeel, 2/21)
YouTube: YouTube should not be taken as a source of knowledge. However, if one wishes to benefit from audios (or videos) uploaded to YouTube, take from only known and trusted channels that have tazkiyāt from Salafi scholars and shaikhs. Do not take risks with your religion. Get into the habit now, and prepare yourselves for the upcoming era of misinformation.
Take your knowledge from authentic verifiable sites. For example Shaikh Ibn Bāz’s, Shaikh Ibn ʿUthaymeen’s, Shaikh Al-Fawzān’s, Shaikh Rabee’s, Shaikh ʿAbdul-Muhsin’s (etc.) official websites and social media accounts, those run by known Salafi shaikhs and students. Let’s bring to an end the era of random surfing and sharing affairs related to our Deen.
Salafi Publications has its own audio site (salafisounds.com) where our classes are uploaded—we cannot guarantee the authenticity of sound clips shared outside this site by unknown individuals and accounts. The same would apply to material ascribed to Salafi centres and mosques in the West such as the US and Canada―follow the official social media accounts of these centres. There have been haters throughout history who have pretended to be upon the Sunnah and Salafiyyah in order to infiltrate and cause confusion and dissension in the ranks of Ahlus-Sunnah.
Alhamdulillāh, in our times, we have authentic (verified and protected) social media accounts and websites run by Salafi shaikhs, mosques, centres, and duʿāt. Stick to them, and follow them—and unfollow all unknown, unverified social-media accounts and YouTube Channels that are connected to Islam. Simple rule of thumb: if they are not recommended, don’t follow them.
By taking this approach, we are actually going back to the original methodology of verification through chains of transmission as close as possible to the source.
Know that liars and imposters appeared early on in the Ummah. Abu Hātim ibn Hibbān, the great scholar of hadeeth (d. 354 AH) said in his Kitāb Al-Majrooheen minal-Muhadditheen (The Book of the Abandoned Ones from the Narrators of Hadeeth): “I heard Abdullāh ibn ʿAli Al-Jabuli say: I heard Abdullah ibn Yazeed Al-Muqree say: ‘A man from Ahlul-Bidʿah who recanted from his innovation said: ‘Investigate from whom you take the hadeeth, for indeed if we took an opinion, we would invent a hadeeth to support it.’”
Muhammad Ibn Seereen (d. 110 AH) mentioned the importance of sourcing the narrations. He said: “…but when the conflict and discord occurred, they (Ahlus-Sunnah) would ask: ‘Name to us your men’. So Ahl us-Sunnah would be considered and their narrations accepted—and Ahlul-Biʿdah would be considered and their narrations not accepted.” (Saheeh Muslim, Al-Muqaddimah: 27)
Furthermore, ʿAbdullāh Ibn Mubārak (d. 181 AH) said: “The isnād (chain of narration) is from the Religion—were it not for the isnād, anyone could say whatever he wanted to say.” (Saheeh Muslim, Al-Muqaddimah: 32)
This shows that the narrations of people would not be accepted except after knowing them, and knowing their isnād (chain of narration)—so, let us return back to the methodology of the Salaf. Today’s equivalent in the world of social media and the internet would be to follow and take from known scholars, shaikhs, students of knowledge and duʿāt whose integrity, trustworthiness, truthfulness, adherence to the Sunnah and the Manhaj of the Salaf is established through recommendations.
Abu Khadeejah ʿAbdul-Wāhid Alam (Wed. 6th Sept. 2023 / 21st Safar 1445 AH)