Question 1: “I find it very distasteful when we speak and warn against the other sects, it is as if we are speaking about Hindus and so on. So yes, we know about the errors of those like ISIS and the Shīʿah but as for the others, we as Muslims should all come together under the banner of the Shahādah.”
Al-hamdu lillaahi Rabbil ‘ālamīn, was-salātu was-salāmu ‘alā ashrafil mursalīn, wa ‘alā ālihī wa sahbibi ajma’īn, ammā ba’d.
Then, the questioner has asked a question that we’re asked very often, and that is regarding the refutation of Ahlul-Bid’ah and disparagement against Ahlul-Bid’ah and warning against them.
Many of the people who are not well-versed with the methodology of the Salaf (the Pious Predecessors of the Muslims) – they can find it distasteful that Muslims are warning against other Muslims. But in reality, what they fail to understand is the following: those who oppose the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and the path and methodology of the Sahābah (radhiyallāhu ‘anhum) are the ones who are violating the rights due to Allāh. And warning against Ahlul-Bid’ah is something that is established from the earliest of generations till now. Of-course, this discussion is a lengthy one, and we don’t have the time here to discuss that, but I wish to highlight to the respected listeners some of the statements of the Salaf and some of the positions that the earliest of the Muslims had towards the people of Bid’ah.
From them, is that which has been compiled by al-Imām al-Hāfidh, Abu ‘Abdillāh Ibn Battah (rahimahullāh) who died in the year 397 after the Hijrah, over a thousand years ago. The great scholars of those early times are the ones who warned against Ahlul-Bid’ah and before them the Sahābah (radhiyallāhu ‘anhum) and before them the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). And that’s why we will beginning with the statement of the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) where he said: “Whoever innovates or gives protection to an innovator therein, upon him is the curse of Allah, of the angels and of all the people.” This is a hadīth reported by Muslim (1371).
Ibnu Battah (rahimahullāh) has a chapter heading in his tremendous work “al-Ibānah” which is entitled: “A warning from associating with the people who sicken the heart and corrupt the Īmān”. And in this chapter he mentions nearly two hundred narrations, from about narration number 359 up until number 524 – so the Sahābah, the Tābi’īn, the Atbā’ut-Tābi’īn, and from the great Imāms of the early Salaf. They warn against the people of Bid’ah. So, for example, he reports the narration from Abu Qilābah, who died in the year 104 after the Hijrah, and he was a great Tābi’i. He said: “Do not sit with the people of desires”, meaning the people of Bid’ah, “for indeed, I fear that they will immerse you in their misguidance, or they will deceive you concerning some of that which you know to be the truth.”
He narrates from ‘Amr ibn Qays (rahimahullāh) who said: “It used to be said in the past: ‘Do not sit with the person of deviation, for he would deviate your heart.’”
‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās, the Sahābi (radhiyallāhu ‘anhumā) who died in the year 68 said: “Do not sit with the people of desires, for their gatherings are a sickness for the hearts.”
And al-Hasan al Basri (rahimahullāh), the great Imām from the Tābi’īn who he was raised in the house of Umm Salamah, the wife of the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). He said (rahimahullāhu ta’ālā): “Do not sit with the people of deviation/innovation, for their gatherings are a sickness for the hearts.”
Ibn Battah reports from Muhammad ibn Sirīn (rahimahumullāh) who died in the year 110H, and he was a Tābi’ī that he said: “Do not sit with the people of desires, and do not argue with them, and do not listen to their narrations from them.”
And I could continue, to be honest, all night citing narration after narration regarding the Salaf of this Ummah, the earlier generations, how they used to warn against the people of Bid’ah.
The questioner stated that he understands why we warn against the Shī’ah and ISIS (Khawārij), but as for the rest, why can’t we just work under the banner of the Shahādah?
Do you think that ISIS doesn’t say “Lā ilāha illa Allāh”? Because, if your argument is that we should unite with anyone who says “Lā ilāha illa Allāh”, the Shahādah, then ISIS utter the Shahādah. So why don’t we unite with them? We don’t unite with them, not because we are afraid of the recriminations of the kuffār, or because your government commands you not to unite with them. No, rather we do not unite with them because they are Ahlul Bid’ah, because they are people of innovation, and people of deviation, callers to Hell. They oppose the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and they did not oppose the Sunnah yesterday or the day before. Rather, the Khawārij, and ISIS are from the Khawārij, have been opposing the Sunnah from the time of the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) up until this day.
So, the establishment of the refutation against Ahlul-Bid’ah is a matter that is established in the Book and Sunnah and by Ijmā’ (consensus), not because they deny the Shahādah but because they oppose and contradict the Sunnah and commands of Allah’s Messenger, who said, “Whoever innovates into this affair (religion) that which is not from it, will have it rejected.” (Muslim 1718).
Sufyān ath-Thawri (rahimahullāhu ta’ālā) would to warn against them. I’ll read for you a narration from the work of Ibn Battah, just to conclude this particular aspect of the question. When Sufyān ath-Thawri, who died in the year 161, entered Basrah he started to look into the affair of a person known as Rabī’ bin Subayh and his station with the people. So, he said to the people: “What’s his ‘Aqīdah, what is he upon?” The people said: “We only know him to be upon the Sunnah.” Then he asked them: “Who are his associates?” The people said: “His associates are not but the deniers of the Pre-Decree.” These are the Qadariyyah, they are Ahlul-Bid’ah. So he said to them: “In that case, he is a Qadari.”
You can see this great Imām, a man of piety, a worshipper, upholder of the correct ‘Aqīdah, methodology, Sunnah, Qur’ān, Tafsīr and Hadīth. Look how they judged the people and look how stern they were against those who oppose the Sunnah of Allāh’s Messenger (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
Likewise (bārakallāhu fīkum) the scholars of today warn against Ahlul-Bid’ah. Shaykhul-Islām ‘Abdul ‘Azīz ibnu Bāz (rahimahullāhu ta’ālā) was asked a question regarding a person who mixes and accompanies the people of Bid’ah, do we consider him to be along with them? He said, “Yes.” This is because of the hadīth of the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) wherein he said: “A man is alongside the one whom he loves.” (Bukhāri 6168, Muslim 2640) And he (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “A man is upon the religion of his friend.” (Ahmad 8028, Abu Dawūd 4833)
It is not an acceptable position that we say that we are Salafis, but then we hold that a Salafi can sit with these Ahlul-Bid’ah, and then you draw the line at the Shī’ah and ISIS!? Where did this division come from? Why have you excluded the Qadariyyah, the Jabriyyah, the Murji’ah, Jamā’at at-Tablīgh, Ikhwānul-Muslimīn, the Mu’tazilah, the Ashā’irah, the Jahmiyyah and so on? Why have you limited boycotting and warning the people to just the Shī’ah and ISIS, when the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Every innovation is a misguidance and every misguidance is in the Hell-Fire.” He did not say “every innovation”, but really only intended the Shī’ah and ISIS!!
Imām Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (rahimahullāh) said in the beginning of his Usool as-Sunnah: “Do not sit with the people of desires (deviation), and do not argue with them or debate with them.” This is Ahmad ibn Hanbal in the third century, he died in the year 241 after the Hijrah.
Likewise, it is not a correct position for those who then think to themselves: “Well, in that case, I’ll sit with the people of Sunnah, and I’ll sit with the people of Bid’ah.” The Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not command you to sit with them, rather he said that they are in the Hell-Fire. All of the seventy-two deviated sects, and their offshoots are in Hell for a time determined by Allāh. The Prophet never commanded sitting with them or taking knowledge from them.
When one of the Sahābah, Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamān asked the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) about the times of evil, the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) informed him that “there will be callers at the gates of the Hell-Fire”, they’ll be standing there, calling you to it and, “whosoever answers their call, he will throw him into the Hell-Fire.” The Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) described them for Hudhayfah: “They are from our skin, and that they will speak our tongue”, meaning that they are Muslims, and that they’ll speak our language. The Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) never said to Hudhayfah (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) that he should sit with them, or unite with them because they utter the Shahādah!! Rather, the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) warned him from them. At the end of the hadīth he (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) commanded him to “abandon all those sects, even if you have to bite onto the roots of a tree and death reaches whilst you are in that state.” This hadīth has been collected by Muslim and others.
So, likewise, the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) never asked you to join with them or to mix with them. Yes, give them da’wah, invite them to the truth; the door to the truth is not closed whilst they are alive and whilst the sun keeps rising in the East and setting in the West. The door of repentance and truth remains open to them in that time span.
We don’t close the door to the truth to them, but rather what we say is that we’ll not sit with you or take knowledge from you. And we will not cooperate with you whilst you are upon your innovation. And we will continue to refute the innovation that you’re upon because this is what the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was upon and what he ordered.
Mubasshir bin Isma’īl al-Hubuli said about Imām al-Awzā’ī, who was from great Imāms and he died in the year 157 after the Hijrah. It was said to Imām al-Awzā’ī that a man says: “I will sit with Ahlus-Sunnah, and I will sit with Ahlul-Bid’ah.” Imām al-Awzā’ī said in response to that: “This man wishes to unite between truth and falsehood.” Ibn Battah commented upon this statement of Imām al-Awzā’ī, and he said: “This man [who sits with Ahlus-Sunnah and Ahlul-Bid’ah] does not know truth from falsehood, nor does he know Kufr from Īmān.”
When the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) mentioned the hadīth wherein the Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects, he never said to his Companions (or to Ahlus-Sunnah after them) in any of those narrations “go and sit with them, go and join them – cooperate with each other, ignore your different beliefs and methodologies.” Instead he (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that all of them are in Hell-Fire except for one, and “they are upon what I and my Companions are upon.” In a narration, he said, “And they are the Jamā’ah [in truth].” And in the narration of Hudhayfah, he said, “Abandon all those sects, even if you have to bite onto the roots of a tree and death reaches whilst you are in that state.”
In a narration, the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that desires will run through their bodies just like rabies flows through the blood, or through the body of its victim, not leaving a vein and not leaving a joint. This is how the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) described them, that they are in the Hell-Fire, and that desires will flow through them, just like rabies flows through its victim, not leaving a vein and not leaving a joint.
So be careful of these doubts that these people throw at you. Yes, we love to teach the truth, and we love to teach the ‘Aqīdah, and we love to teach good manners, and good habits and conduct. And we love to teach brotherhood, and the rules of marriage, and the rules of the new-born child, and the cultivation of our children and families. But at the same time, we will protect our communities from those who wish to corrupt it with innovation and misguidance. And from the ways that we do it is by warning against Bid’ah and those who call to it, so that the Muslims are warned from the misguidance of those who wish to misguide us away from the Sunnah into destruction – just as the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that: There will be callers standing at the gates of Jahannam, calling the people to misguidance. And as the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: All of them (the sects) are in the Hell-Fire except for one. And when they asked who they are, he (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “That which I and my Companions are upon today.”
(Based on a transcription by Umm Hidāyah from a question and answer session with Masjid Abdullāh Ibn ‘Abbās, Tobago (Mpubs) in the Caribbean, Ramadān 1439H, June 2018CE)