In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.
Preface Note: ‘Hajar’ means ‘abandonment’ and refers to abandoning a misguided person or a sinner in order to avoid their evil, to seek rectification of their conduct, and as a form of rebuke towards their disobedience of Allah and His Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam).
The status of the general Muslim — or ʿāmmī — is well-known, and should not be misconstrued to score points against the Salafis. Whilst we recognise that in most places of the world the ʿaqīdah (creed) of the general Muslims runs contrary to the creed of the early Salaf and the imāms of guidance, it does not mean that we show them harshness or abandon them, or abandon inviting them to the truth. In reality, if they were invited to Islam with wisdom and kind admonition, many would turn to the truth.
The general Muslims who fall into sin or bidʿah through ignorance, who do not reject the truth and listen to admonition and sincere advice should be treated with gentleness, and kindness, and invited to the gatherings of knowledge. We do not turn them away or warn from them — rather they are the target audience of our daʿwah as mentioned by Ash-Shaikh Al-ʿAllāmah Rabīʿ Ibn Hādī Al-Madkhalī (hafidhahullāh):
“We do not make hajar (abandonment) of the masses — rather they are the site of our daʿwah; we call them to Allāh with wisdom and fair admonition. As for the heads of innovation and those who call to falsehood in their papers, magazines, books, recordings, sermons, admonitions, and websites — then these are to be waged war against, they are to be warned from, they are not to be sat with, they are not to be read to, and they are not to be sought benefit from.
As for their poor general folk who have been deluded, then we call them to Allāh with wisdom and fair admonition, and this speech is supported by the speech and interactions of many of the Imāms of the Sunnah. They would call the general folk to Allāh — the Blessed and Most High — and they would not make hajar of them as they would make hajar of the Imāms of evil, wickedness, and misguidance.
Understand this! So that none of you may understand that everyone who falls into Bidʿah is to be decisively abandoned — with no speaking to him, or no daʿwah, or anything else! Nay! The daʿwah is put forth even to the disbelievers and the Jews and the Christians, and the daʿwah is put forth to the People of Innovation also — but one should not become watered down such that he goes to them and forgets who they are, and becomes lost.”1Shaikh Rabīʿ Al-Madkhalī (2010). An Explanation of ‘The Creed of the Salaf and the People of Hadīth’. In Majmūʿ Kutub wa Rasā’il wa Fatāwā Ash-Shaikh Al-ʿAllāmah Rabīʿ Ibn Hādī ʿUmayr Al-Madkhalī (1st ed., Volume 2, pp. 351-352). Cairo, Egypt: Dar Alemam Ahmad.
The aforementioned quote of Imām Rabīʿ Ibn Hādī encapsulates brilliantly the approach of Ahlus-Sunnah as it relates to the different types of people. The general folk are categorically not to be prevented from the mosques as long as they do not cause harm to the other congregants and the rest of the community — and in fact, they should be encouraged and invited to the lessons and conferences of Ahlus-Sunnah.
And at the end of the quote, the Shaikh briefly makes reference to the fact that the person who gives Daʿwah to Ahlul-Bidʿah should not be negligent and should remain cautious. This entails not co-operating with their leaders and their proselytisers, and not listening to their innovated (bidʿī) thoughts and rhetoric, as it is possible that something may enter his heart and thereby be the barbed hook that the Shaitān uses to corrupt him. He may grow affection and love for those Callers to the Hellfire through spending time with them — as is natural for Mankind — and this love will blind him from seeing their misguidance, and he will duly be destroyed.
Allāh (ʿazza wa jall) mentions in Sūrah Al-Furqān the one who abandoned the truth due to the love of his friend, and then will lament and regret on the Day of Judgment:
وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ الظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي اتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ الرَّسُولِ سَبِيلًا • يَا وَيْلَتَىٰ لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًا • لَّقَدْ أَضَلَّنِي عَنِ الذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَنِي ۗ وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِلْإِنسَانِ خَذُولًا
“And on that Day; the Oppressor will bite his hands [in regret], and he will say: ‘Oh! Would that I had taken my path alongside the Messenger! Woe to me! Would that I had not taken that person as my friend! Verily he led me away from the Remembrance after it had come to me — and verily the Shaitan is ever a traitor to Man.’”
So when giving Daʿwah to the People of Innovation and the ʿAwām (common folk), it is necessary that one is firmly grounded in knowledge, and it is a must that one is careful not to listen to the Heads of the Innovators, and nor does one debate with them in futility. Rather, he speaks to those from the common folk who are open to listening, and who display a propensity for good and a desire to find the truth, and he guards himself at all times.
As for the stubborn rejectors, those “Callers to the Gates of the Hellfire”; then we abandon them and leave them to the major scholars to advise or refute according to their knowledge and wisdom.
The Shaikh, the ʿAllāmah, Rabīʿ Ibn Hādī Al-Madkhalī (may Allāh preserve him) was likewise asked: “Are the followers of an innovator abandoned as he is abandoned?”
“The one who is deceived from them is to be taught, my brothers. Do not be hasty. Teach them and clarify to them, for verily many of them want good — even some from those Sūfiyyah! By Allāh, if there was a concerted Salafī effort [in daʿwah], you would see them entering into Salafiyyah — in their droves and as individuals.
So do not let your principle be just ‘Hajar, Hajar, Hajar!’ (‘Abandonment, Abandonment, Abandonment!’)
The foundational origin is the guidance of the people, and the entry of the people into goodness.
The [affair of] abandonment (hajar) can be understood incorrectly: if you abandon all of the people, who will then enter the Sunnah?! If we place barriers and obstacles between us and them, and between them and the Sunnah — by way of your abandonment of them — when will they enter the Sunnah? That kind of abandonment — my brothers — was in the time of Imām Ahmad; when the Dunyā was filled with Salafis. So when Imām Ahmad would say: ‘So-and-so is an innovator’ — he would be cut off.
As for now, then you have Salafiyyah which is [as rare] as one white hair on a black bull; and so nobody is to be abandoned except for the obstinate, arrogant innovator. As for the ones who are deceived, then be patient, careful, and considerate with them. And they are to be invited to Allāh with wisdom and with a fair admonition — and perhaps then many of them will answer.
The foundational origin is the guidance of the people, and liberating them from falsehood and misguidance — so call them and become close to them, and present to the people beneficial books and treatises of knowledge, and recordings of knowledge. Use all the legislated means of Daʿwah, and from those are sermons and lectures — and then a lot of good will come about by way of this InshāAllāh, and the body of the Salafis will be increased if Allāh wills.
And the thing which causes you to lose many people [is the accusation]: ‘You hold everyone to be misguided — and you do not advise, nor clarify, nor anything else?!’
This is a mistake! This means the closing of the doors of good in the faces of the people — so do not allow yourselves to have only ‘Abandonment and more Abandonment.’
The foundational origin is the guidance of the people, their entrance into the Sunnah, and liberating them from misguidance. Let this be the principle with you. And be patient and be lenient and wise, and so on and so forth. And thereafter, whoever is obstinate after clear clarification, then [know that] the last resort in medicine is to cauterise — as for cauterisation from the start, then this is an error. May Allāh bless you all.
So O brothers, let the principle with you be to salvage the people — for, by Allāh, many of the people want good! They want Jannah, O brothers! They want good, so let your manners be wise! By Allāh! Those wise and merciful manners, whereby he feels that you are not aloof from him, and that you do not want to insult him — rather be humble with him, show him your gentle side, and be lenient with him.”
From a transcribed and thereafter published lecture entitled Verily Allāh Loves for you Three Things, and Hates for you Three Things — page 38.
Translated by Abdullāh Abdul-Wāhid Alam
Edition 1.0 — 21 May 2022
- 1Shaikh Rabīʿ Al-Madkhalī (2010). An Explanation of ‘The Creed of the Salaf and the People of Hadīth’. In Majmūʿ Kutub wa Rasā’il wa Fatāwā Ash-Shaikh Al-ʿAllāmah Rabīʿ Ibn Hādī ʿUmayr Al-Madkhalī (1st ed., Volume 2, pp. 351-352). Cairo, Egypt: Dar Alemam Ahmad.