Chapter 38: The One Who Shows Obedience to the Scholars and Rulers in Making Haram what Allah has made Halal or Making Halal what Allah has made Haram: They have taken them as Lords Besides Allah. Kitāb at-Tawhid of Imām Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhāb.

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In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.

Text: ʿAbdullah ibn ʿAbbās (radiyallāhu ʿanhumā) said: “I see that stones are about to fall upon you from the sky, that I say to you ‘Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said such-and-such’ and you say: ‘But Abu Bakr said and ʿUmar said.’”

Note: Cited by Ibn ʿAbdul-Barr in Jamiʿ Bayān al-ʿIlm wa Faḍlihi from ʿAbdur-Razzāq who said: Maʿmar narrated to us from Ayyoob that ʿUrwah said to Ibn ʿAbbās: ‘Do you not fear Allah that you allow the tamattuʿ (ʿUmrah before Hajj)?’ So, Ibn ʿAbbās said: ‘O ʿUrwah, ask your mother.’ ʿUrwah said: ‘But Abu Bakr and ʿUmar did not do that.’ So, Ibn ʿAbbās said to him: ‘By Allah, I do not see you stopping till Allah punishes you. I narrate to you from the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) yet after that you narrate to me from Abu Bakr and ‘Umar?!’ And then he mentioned the above narration. (Reported with this wording by Aḍ-Ḍiyā’ in Al-Mukhtārah, 357) Al-Khateeb al-Baghdādi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (1/378) regarding the speech of ʿUrwah Ibn az-Zubayr (rahimahullāh): “I say that Abu Bakr and ʿUmar were indeed upon what ʿUrwah described them with except that it is not allowed to blindly follow anyone, and thus abandon what is established in the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam).” Imām adh-Dhahabi (rahimahullāh) finds an excuse for ʿUrwah, saying: “ʿUrwah did not intend to contradict the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) by mentioning the two of them (Abu Bakr and ʿUmar), rather he thought that they would not have forbidden the ʿUmrah followed by the Hajj (i.e., Hajj Tamattuʿ) except that they held it to be abrogated.”

Text: Imām Ahmad (rahimahullāh) said: “I am astonished at a people who know the chain of narration and its authenticity, yet they still prefer the opinion of Sufyān (ath-Thawri), and Allah the Most High has said:

فَلْيَحْذَرِ الَّذِينَ يُخَالِفُونَ عَنْ أَمْرِهِ أَن تُصِيبَهُمْ فِتْنَةٌ أَوْ يُصِيبَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

‘And let those who oppose his (the Messenger’s) commandment beware, lest some fitnah should befall them, or a painful torment be inflicted on them.’” (Surah an-Nur 24:63) Imām Ahmad said: “Do you know what this fitnah is? It is shirk. Perhaps he rejects something of the words of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam), and something may enter his heart of deviation and thus he is destroyed.” (Reported by Ibn Battah in al-Ibānatul Kubrā 1/260)

Note: Imām Ahmad said: “I looked into the Mushaf, and I found in there the obedience to Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) being mentioned in 33 different places.’” Then he recited: ‘And let those who oppose his (the Messenger’s) commandment beware, lest some fitnah should befall them, or a painful torment be inflicted on them.’ And he recited the verse:

فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ

‘But no—by your Lord! They can have no faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them…” (Surah an-Nisa 4:65) Imām Ahmad said: “Whoever rejects the Hadeeth of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) then he is right on the precipice of destruction.”

Text: ʿAdiyy bin Hātim (radiyallāhu ʿanhu) said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) recite this verse:

اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ

‘They took their Rabbis and their Priests as Lords besides Allah…’ (Surah at-Tawbah 9:31)

So, ʿAdiyy said: “I said to the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam), ‘We did not used to worship them,’ so he (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said: ‘Did they not make harām that which Allah had made halāl so then you made it harām? And would they not make halāl that which Allah had made harām and you likewise would make it halāl?’ So, I said, ‘Of course, we did.’ So, he (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said: ‘So that was (your) worship of them.’ (Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi who declared it to be hasan, and Sheikh Al-Albāni also declared it to be hasan in as-Silsilah as-Saheehah, no. 3293)

Explanation

Obedience to the scholars and to the rulers in opposition to the command of Allah, such that that which Allah has made harām is made halāl, or that they make harām that which Allah has made halāl—this is considered to be worship of them besides Allah. That is because Allah has sent to us the Qur’ān, and we worship Allah by way of it, and He sent to us the Sunnah of His Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam), and we worship Allah by way of it. This is the religion that Allah (the Most High) has commanded that we act upon. Whoever obeys the scholars or the rulers in making halāl that which Allah has made harām or vice-versa, then this is to take them as legislators, and therefore as Lords, and Allah (the Most High) has said:

أَمْ لَهُمْ شُرَكَاؤُا شَرَعُوا لَهُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا لَمْ يَأْذَن بِهِ اللَّهُ ۚ

‘Or have they set up rivals unto Allah who legislate for them from the religion that which Allah has given no authority?’ (Surah ash-Shura 42:21).

For this reason, ʿAbdullah ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallāhu ʿanhumā) used to rebuke those to whom it was said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said such and such and legislated such and such,’ and they would say, ‘But Abu Bakr said such and such and ʿUmar said such and such.’

There was a difference of view between Ibn ʿAbbās and Abu Bakr and ʿUmar (radiyallāhu ʿanhum) in the issue of the Hajj Tamattuʿ. The Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) legislated Hajj Tamattuʿ ― where you come out of ihrām after performing ʿumrah and then re-enter ihrām on 8th Dhul Hijjah ― and he (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) commanded the one who did not bring a sacrificial animal to change their intention from Hajj to ʿumrah, and then to come out of ihrām after the ʿUmrah. This occurred at the mount of Marwa once they had completed the Saʿee.

The opinion of Abu Bakr and ʿUmar (radiyallāhu ʿanhumā) in this matter was that there should be a separate journey for each complete Hajj and ʿumrah. This was not due to opposing the command of the Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam), rather it was an ijtihād from themselves. Many of the people continued with this practice and began to speak against the tamattuʿ so Ibn ʿAbbās disputed with the people over this issue and warned them with his statement: “Stones are about to fall upon you from the sky: that I say to you ‘Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said’ and you say, ‘But Abu Bakr said and ʿUmar said.’”

A person may say that this is an issue of fiqh but in reality, the issue is regarding giving weight and precedence to the words of the Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) and following the Truth. This does not mean that we reject the statements of the ʿulema ― instead, it means is that if a Hadeeth comes from the ʿulema other than the ʿālim you are taking from, or an understanding of the Sahābah comes which is in accord with what the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said, then that is what a person holds onto. So, if something comes to you which is authentic from the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam), then you must leave the opinion that contradicts that, and you must follow the Hadeeth.

We need the ʿulema. The Salafi is one who looks to the scholars and their evidence and holds onto that which he knows from them. In some instances, he may not even know the evidence that the scholars bring because he does not have the ability to decipher and understand it ― in these cases, taqleed is permissible. Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullāh) said that sometimes a situation may arise where even an ʿālim makes taqleed. For example, an ʿālim who is away from his books and the only thing he can remember is the position of a particular scholar and so he clings to that. Allah the Most High has said:

فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

“So ask those who know (learned men), if you know not.” (Surah an-Nahl 16:43)

In explanation of the statement of Imām Ahmad Ibn Hanbal mentioned in the text of the chapter, Sheikh Ahmad an-Najmi stated that it is not permissible to oppose or contradict the Sunnah of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) with the opinion of any person, even if he is the most excellent of the creation after the Prophets (peace be upon them).

Likewise, Ahmad bin Hanbal rebuked people who know the isnād (the chain of narration) of a hadeeth, its authenticity and chain of transmission to the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) yet they still prefer the opinion of Sufyān ath-Thawri (d. 161 AH). So, Imām Ahmad rebuked them for heading to the opinion of Sufyān and for abandoning the Sunnah. Allah the Most High says:

فَلْيَحْذَرِ الَّذِينَ يُخَالِفُونَ عَنْ أَمْرِهِ أَن تُصِيبَهُمْ فِتْنَةٌ أَوْ يُصِيبَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

“And let those who oppose the Messenger’s commandment beware, lest some fitnah should befall them, or a painful torment be inflicted on them.” (Surah an-Nur 24:63)

We seek refuge in Allah from the tribulations and fitnah of the hearts, Our Lord! Do not cause our hearts to deviate after you have guided us, and grant us mercy from Yourself, indeed You are the bestower.

In this verse is a tremendous and severe warning upon the one who opposes the command of Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) by accepting the speech of another, and to abandon his Sunnah. He is warned of being tried by tribulations that will deviate his heart ― changing it from Eemān to something of hypocrisy. We ask Allah for safety and security from that. It is for this reason that Imām Ahmad said, ‘Do you know what the fitnah is? It is shirk.’

The root of fitnah is that it is a trial and a test. Perhaps Allah may test a servant to see if he puts the command of Allah first or something else first. If Allah wishes good for him, then He will cast Eemān into his heart and that person will thus leave the obedience of the people and he will give precedence to the obedience of Allah. Allah the Most High says:

 إِنِّي أَخَافُ إِنْ عَصَيْتُ رَبِّي عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ

“Indeed, if I disobey my Lord, I am afraid of the torment of a great Day.” (Surah az-Zumar 39:13) O Allah, we ask You for security, safety and wellbeing.

As for the statement of Allah the Most High, “Lest some fitnah should befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them,” ― this means that they will receive a painful torment because of what they put forward themselves, and Allah’s refuge is sought.

Imām Muhammad ibn ʿAbdul-Wahhāb (rahimahullāh) then mentioned the Hadeeth of ʿAdiyy Ibn Hātim (radiyallāhu ʿanhu) who said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) recite the Ayah:

اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ

‘They took their Rabbis and their Priests as Lords besides Allah…’ (Surah at-Tawbah 9:31)

So, ʿAdiyy said: “I said to the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam), ‘We did not used to worship them.’ So he (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “Did they not make harām that which Allah had made halāl so then you made it harām? And would they not make halāl that which Allah had made harām and you likewise would make it halāl?” So, I said, ‘Of course we did.’ He (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “That was your worship of them.”

Obedience to the creation in disobedience to Allah has something of shirk (associating partners) in it, even if it is the association that does not exit the person from the fold of Islām. For this reason, the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) called it ʿibādah (worship).

Many people make mistakes regarding this Hadeeth. They think that the obedience to the creation in disobedience to Allah is the kufr that takes a person outside of the religion, and this is a mistake on their part.

The matter actually depends on the type of obedience ― so the issue requires investigation. If we were to say that every instance of obedience to the creation in disobedience to the Creator was to be considered kufr, then this would necessitate declaring muslims to be disbelievers due to sins ― and this is not correct. Rather this affair is considered to be the lesser shirk that does not take a person outside the fold of Islām.

For example, if a wife asks her husband to purchase something for her which is harām and he agrees to it and buys it, does this now mean that he has exited the religion and taken her as a Lord besides Allah? No, because this obedience to his wife in disobedience to Allah is partial obedience to the creation, which does not necessitate kufr.

Likewise, if a person claims to be from the ʿulema and the callers to Islām however he is afflicted with partisanship (hizbiyyah) such that he is an Ikhwāni or Qutubi or with Hizb ut-Tahrir, and he says to a person (who is disinclined towards being part of these groups), ‘these groups and parties are something good, and that joining them will motivate you to do good deeds etc.’ Then if the man obeys the one calling him to hizbiyyah and to join a particular sect, do we say that he has committed kufr by obeying that ‘mufti’ who called him to join that group? No ― we do not say this ― even if that misguided mufti is considered to be like the Rabbis and Priests mentioned in the verse, and he obeyed him in disobedience to Allah.

Likewise, the one who obeys his own soul when it commands him to disobey Allah such that he may be quarreling with his brother and in his anger he spills his blood. Has he committed major unbelief by doing this? No, he has not.

Many of the people who declare muslims to be kuffār due to their sins do so due to this false interpretation. Had it been the case that obeying others in disobedience to Allah was kufr that exits a person from the religion, then there would not remain any muslim upon Islām ― rather it is as is said in the proverb: ‘The religion is corrupted by half a scholar and the bodies are corrupted by half a doctor.’

For further clarification of this point, we find that Allah the Most High refers to the killer as a brother, in His saying:

فَمَنْ عُفِيَ لَهُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ شَيْءٌ فَاتِّبَاعٌ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَأَدَاءٌ إِلَيْهِ بِإِحْسَانٍ ۗ

“But if the killer is forgiven by his brother against blood money, then adhering to it in fairness and payment of the blood money to the heir should be made in fairness.” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:178)

So, Allah here mentions the pardoning of the killer. Likewise, in Surah Hujurāt Allah the Most High says:

وَإِن طَائِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا ۖ فَإِن بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الْأُخْرَىٰ فَقَاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي حَتَّىٰ تَفِيءَ إِلَىٰ أَمْرِ اللَّهِ ۚ فَإِن فَاءَتْ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا بِالْعَدْلِ وَأَقْسِطُوا ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ. إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

“And if two parties among the believers fight each other, then make peace between them both. But if one of them rebels against the other, then fight you (all) against the one which rebels till it complies with the command of Allah. Then if it complies, then make reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Verily Allah loves those who are equitable. The believers are nothing else than brothers, so make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.” (Surah al-Hujurāt 49:9-10)

So, here Allah the Most High refers to both groups fighting each other as ‘believers,’ and as ‘brothers,’ therefore this proves clearly that they do not exit Islām due to their fighting against each other, although it is sin and transgression. This also shows the error of the Khawārij, the Muʿtazilah, ISIS and their like ― those who declare Muslims to be kuffār due to committing major sins.

If a person was to say to us: ‘How do we respond to the one who says that the cultivation of the youth on respect for the ʿulema and not censuring them when they are mistaken in their ijtihād, that this is a type of major shirk?’ Sheikh Ahmad an-Najmi answered: This saying of theirs is false because the cultivation that the scholars give to their students on having respect for the ʿulema does not necessitate at all remaining silent when the ʿālim makes a mistake, rather what they say is that it is a must for the one who corrects a scholar, that he corrects him in a good manner, and with gentleness and leniency. This can be done either by discussing with the scholar the affair that he has erred in, or by asking him a question in order to notify him of the error, without being confrontational. To say to him, ‘You are wrong, O Sheikh!’ Then this contains something of belittlement and bad manners. Whoever says that when the Salafiyyeen command their students with respect of the scholars, that this is shirk akbar, then this saying is false. What is well known from the Salafis is that they command with giving advice in a refined and tactful manner without mockery and belittlement.

سبحانك اللهم وبحمدك أشهد أن لا إله إلا أنت، أستغفرك وأتوب إليك

From Al-ʿAllāmah Shaikh Ahmad Ibn Yahyā An-Najmi’s (rahimahullāh) explanation with added notes from Abu Khadeejah.

الحمد لله رب العالمين وصلى الله على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم

End.

This article was transcribed by Umm Maryam (may Allah reward her) from the classes of Abu Khadeejah (SalafiSounds.com). Please share it with others.


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