-Speaks on World Muslim Conference in Turkey, his presentation on “The Role of Dialogue in Amending the Relationships of the Muslims” and other mind-boggling issues such as terrorism, suicide bombing and differences of opinions among scholars.
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
This just-concluded conference was clearly different from the previous ones we attended in the past, due to its uniqueness. Firstly, it was a global conference which was attended by over 1500 internationally renowned scholars, who converged in Turkey to discuss promoting the understanding of Islam in the light of the Noble Qur’an and Sunnah.
For example, its theme was “Al Islaah Wal Maslaha”, meaning fostering good relationships between two quarrelling Muslim individuals or two Muslim nations, so as to understand each other and return to the Qur’an and Sunnah, and such that every hatred and enmity will be erased.
It is true that Allah said “wa laa yazaaluuna mukhtalifeen”. There will continue to be differences, but we don’t want the differences that break the Islamic brotherhood. That is why Muslims must not resort to insults and unguarded utterances over issues of divergent opinions. If this happens, they will give the enemy opportunities to break through their ranks, since this is the main interest of the enemy.
Our unity makes us stronger and prevents the enemy from breaking through our ranks. Should that happen, then our power will be depleted. Allah says in Qur’an 8: 46: “Wa la tanazauu, fa tafshalu, Wa tadh-aba riihukum”, “…and do not quarrel for then you will be weak in heart and your power will depart”. If that happens, we will be captured and finished individually and collectively.
Hence, the conference brought together almost 1,500 international scholars to deliberate on the way forward for social reconstruction and improving mutual understanding, despite having differences of opinion on matters. It was indeed a unique experience, the memories of which would linger on.
We don’t agree that Salafis were not in attendance
Firstly, all of us who attended the conference do not agree that Salafis were not represented. Apart from the Ahmadiyyahs and Shia, all ‘Anaasiru (branches) from which misconceptions and disagreements could arise from – with “Hujjatu Nazar” (argument of consideration) – be they Salafiyyah, Ikhwaniyyah and other scholars who have the knowledge that our unity gives us strength were there.
It would be impossible for those who did not attend to know what transpired there. That is why I am disappointed at some of the Nigerian Muslim youths who talk in an unguarded manner on social media. Honestly, we really have problems in Nigeria and worldwide. The problem with Nigeria is that people take knowledge from sources whose establishers and proponents they don’t know the circumstances of.
If anyone knows more about Saudi Arabia than I know, then he would have tried, because I grew up and was trained there. So, if anyone wants to talk about Saudi Arabia, I cannot be a bystander. It is important to be close to everyone to know their imperfections. Allah created us as imperfect beings. Only the prophets were perfect, and this was what the conference was about.
It was neither an Ikhwanee nor a Qaradawi conference
The conference was not about Sheikh Qaradawi or Sheikh Qaradaghi. If you were there, you would see that it was reiterated that the conference was not an Ikhwanee or a Salafi conference, but a conference of the entire Ummah who believe in “Laa ilaaha illa Allah, Muhammadu RasuuluLlahi”, so we can know where our lapses are.
If tomorrow, another set of people stage another conference, we will be there, as long as it is in the interest of the Ummah, such as the one we just attended. We will be there to gather our thoughts over what will eventually benefit the Ummah. This is part of what is desired.
Also if your argument is about countering the Turkey conference, it was still part of the conference discourse that we need to sit and have a converging look at issues. All those making negative remarks about the conference on social media are also needed. They are also an important section of the Muslim community. We need to let them see that our positions also exist in the Qur’an and Sunnah, just like theirs.
The thrust of my presentation
AlhamduliLlah, I was honoured to make a presentation on the topic: Daoru Hiwar Fi Muslahi – l Muslimeen”, meaning, “The Role of Dialogue in Amending the Relationships of the Muslims”. First, it is pertinent for us (all Ahlu-Sunnah, irrespective of the sect or denomination) to sit and have a talk; a sitting of knowledge where we dialogue based on the evidences and views presented by all sides. We must not condemn people just because they hold other views. They might have evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah. We should not judge them yet until we hear from them.
I cited a lot of examples. It is compulsory that we dialogue, even regarding the non-Muslims. The Qur’an enjoined us to call them to dialogue, starting from the Christians and Jews. Allah says in Qur’an 3: 64: “Say! (Oh Muhammad), Oh you People of the Book, come let us come to agreement between us and you. That we shall not worship other deities except Allah, nor shall we associate partners with Him….”
So, we have to agree on that which binds us, after which we then consider what is left. Also, in the glorious Quran, Suratul Kahf (Chapter 18) that we read on Fridays, there is an analogy about a Muslim and a disbeliever who had a dialogue. The Prophet (SAW) had dialogues with the disbelievers. Uqbah ibn Rabia, the head of the Quraysh in Makkah, went to the Prophet to appease him, with wealth and promising him prestige, not to belittle their gods again.
The Prophet did listen to him till he completed his messages, and asked, “Are you through, Oh father of Waleed?” He said, “Yes, what do you have to say to this?” and the Prophet read only a portion of the Qur’an to him. He waited, listened and said, “Let me convey this message to those who sent me”.
Had the Prophet not listened to them, he would not have benefitted from the Qur’an and known that his problem was not money or prestige but calling to the worship of Allah alone. When the entire Quraysh saw Uqbah emerge from afar and saw that his facial look was different from how he left to meet the Prophet, they said, “Muhammad has bewitched this one again”.
On getting there, he narrated: “What I met was different from your thought. In fact, it was Allah who sent him”. Thus, he accepted Islam. If the Prophet had sent him away, calling him Kafir as many youths do today, that would not have materialised.
Our situation warrants that we should sit together and dialogue, and we should never believe that our sitting together can never be productive or we must win all the time. If we truly are acting for Allah, we must have Ikhlas (sincerity) and do Hujjatu Nazar. We should be firm with Allah and know that there is nothing preventing us from dropping whatever position we have taken that does not suit our present situation, since we are for Allah.
The problems with today’s Muslim youth
The problem is that majority of the youth are not working for Allah. Everyone takes a leader among the people, and says: “Whatever he says and wants is what I want”. This is not for Allah’s sake, but from their personal prejudices. Okay, an Ikhwanee does something, put it down, ask him for his reference to back his claim. If it goes in line with the Qur’an and Sunnah, why should anyone say no?
Why should it be that if a scholar says something we think is correct and in line with the Sunnah, we praise it? People will shout Allahu Akbar, accept that position and start to cite it, but immediately they are told that it was actually an Ikhwanee who said what the scholar cited, they then turn back and reject it? Why?
Immediately you mention it is Qaradawi, they turn back, “No, we can’t accept it”. Is that Islam? We take from all scholars and reject from them depending on whether what they say is in line with the Shari’iah or not. Qaradawi is not a Prophet. He will make mistakes, likewise did our father Ibn Baz make mistakes. Al Albani, Uthaymeen and others made mistakes too sometimes and got corrected.
What we do not want is to take one of them as a god and others as nonentities. All of them are scholars, they have tried their best and it is we who should look into our contributions. Whatever they say, we place it beside the Qur’an and Sunnah. In the Shari’iah, we have “Thawaabit” (constants) and “Mutaghayiraat” (variables).
Whatever we call Thawaabit, no one can change it. If anyone does, he is a Kafir according to major scholars. Examples are Salah and Zakat; no scholar can alter them or reduce them. No! Or has Qaradawi said we should not observe Salah or pay Zakat? Why the needless and unnecessary distractions?
Every one of us is trying, but we should not base our life on finding faults in people. I am fearful about a lot of my brothers because what they will meet in Qiyamah might be very hard. The time we waste on social media finding other people’s faults can be used for more rewarding acts, including spending time with and taking care of our families. Some of us have serious moral and religious challenges in our families, yet they only fight over Qaradawi while neglecting their homes. Just look at what may become of them in the Qiyamah.
If not for time constraints, I would have cited examples of statements attributed to some of the scholars whose words they only cherry-picked. If I say to them, “It was Ibn Baz that made this statement”, they would not believe it. They would totally disagree because they wouldn’t have believed he would say it. Maybe in the future, there will be an opportunity to cite examples, but there is something we call Mutaghayiraat, meaning something that can change. Most times, it may not be suitable for some people, but it will be suitable for other people’s condition. An example of such is suicide bombing.
On permissibility and impermissibility of suicide bombing
The status is that there is something called Fiqh Miizaan, meaning “measuring each thing appropriately” or “understanding of scale”. Allahu Akbar! In Surah Al-Hadid (Qur’an 57), Allah says: “We have sent iron… (Iron means swords and weapons used in wars).” He also says: “Wherein is great military might and benefits for the people. Allah spoke about iron, very hard weapons used in wars to injure or kill. At the same time, He also talks about benefits (in making worldly ornaments good for mankind). That is Miizaan, so that man can measure the balance.
How can I explain it to you so that you can understand it better? Ok, to be balanced is to measure each thing, such that it may be good in this situation, and bad in the other. Isn’t it bad to kill ourselves? It is bad to use iron in that situation, but there are other times when it is good to use iron. Fataawah change with conditions and time in the Mutaghayiraat, not the Thawaabit.
Our people need to learn what are Mutaghayiraat and Thawaabit. Sometimes, I just sit and laugh at our situation. We have been engrossed in problems that we should not be busy with. There was a time they came with “No second Jamah”. It got to a point that they went violent on innocent Muslims who missed the first Jamah and wanted to assemble for the second Jamah. Later, they came with another argument that I’tikaf can only be observed in three mosques.
They just create unnecessary problems for the Muslim community. Sometimes ago, they also claimed there is no Jama’ah (Muslim organisations). They called themselves “La Jama’ah”. All these have vanished into thin air, AlhamduliLlah. But I am worried, when do we really want to start worshiping Allah? I have to come back to the question you asked about suicide bombing.
In Nigeria, where there is no problem or unrest, can people be told to tie bombs? Why did he (Qaradawi) oppose Boko Haram? Or don’t they know that he denounces Boko Haram and their nefarious activities such as suicide bombing? He (Qaradawi) even passed fatwah that negates Osama bin Laden. He described Bin Laden as a transgressor. Didn’t they hear that?
But in some situations, it is important that they use it. The fatwah of Qaradawi on the permissibility of suicide bombing concerned only the Palestine situation. He said that it was the only alternative for them to fight the Zionist soldiers who didn’t only kill them but confiscated their lands. Qaradawi’s fatwah on this issue (suicide bombing) was about liberation of Quds. It is for the Palestinians alone.
Okay, some occupation forces came to someone’s house, killed everyone, and usurped their lands. Are you listening to me? You go to someone’s house, demolish the house, killed everyone (father and mother, everyone). You came, only to discover that your family had been killed. They could have killed you if they met you at home. What would you do?
The Zionists disregard international law. They have violated all UN resolutions on Palestine. But the boy decided to defend himself, after all, he too would be killed if he had been around. So, instead of being killed like his helpless family, he decided to carry explosives and kill about 5, 6 or 10 occupation soldiers, for example. What he achieved was to reduce their numbers and deplete their power.
What’s your fatwah on that? So, what’s the difference between someone who had shot you and your family one by one and you also had a gun and shot each other during battle before he died? What’s the difference between that and trying to find an explosive, since they already wished to kill you too?
If we listen to people’s views and reasons for actions, we will understand them better, but if we are only concerned about picking mistakes, we will always find pleasure in distortions. Back then, Sheikh Qaradawi approved suicide bombing for the people of Palestine with two conditions, firstly, that person has seen surely that he can’t escape death and he should also be sure that the bombing will kill his killers or the enemy. I hope you got that?
This is Fiqh Miizaan. If the people criticising Qaradawi’s fatwa witness the same situation Palestinians are faced with, they will change their stand and accept Qaradawi’s. But he has since retracted the fatwa because the Palestinians now have some military might to defend themselves from Israeli aggression. He said that suicide bombing for Palestinians is not allowed anymore. So, why is he a terrorist?
Did Qaradawi tell them to tie bombs and explode them in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia or Egypt? Even in the US, whose government has been supporting Israel’s heinous crimes, have you heard anyone commit suicide bombing?
Do you really know what the Palestinians are going through? Because you drive big cars and live in air conditioned houses, you’re less concerned about the plights of others? That was the reason Qaradawi okayed suicide bombings for Palestinians back then, but he has since retracted that fatwa because Palestinians can now defend themselves without resorting to suicide bombing.
On calling for Gaddaffi’s death, those who said same before Qaradawi…
What I will present as evidence will be too powerful concerning the aspect they are digging into. If they want facts on Gaddafi, we need to sit down. This is not the best avenue to talk about it comprehensively.
Before Sheikh Qaradawi’s verdict on Gaddaffi, many scholars have said the same thing in the past, even before Qaradawi. Many of the scholars they pick from had voiced similar fataawah about Gaddaffi in the past, but let us leave that till another day.
If truly they want to learn, we need to sit down. They should come with all their evidences and I am very certain, by Allah, those who want to learn will have a change of thought after the dialogue.
To err is human
Imam Nawawi made mistakes, but we did not because of that reject all his books, and he remains revered within our ranks. Imam Ghazali wrote books (Ihyau ‘Uloomud Deen for example). In the fifth volume of the book, he talked about Tasawwuf. He made mistakes there, but there is no one that can condemn the book and say it is not beneficial.
Ibn Taymiyyah wrote something in his book and Sheikh Ibn Baz later disagreed with him. Shaykh Uthaymeen also disagreed with Ibn Baz and a lot of them. If this is what you understand by mistakes, then there are opportunities to talk about them. That is Ijtihaad, but if it is Thawaabit, it can’t be changed.
We all agree on that. It doesn’t mean we should take from anyone and whatever such a person says is accepted, even if they are surely not perfect. Just like the question you asked me, it is the youth that should learn to put matters where they belong, and that can only happen when they make research about things that they are supposed to do carefully before taking stands.
Some people take to Shaykh Al Albani to such an extent that if anyone speaks to them and hasn’t mentioned that Albani said did this and that, they become his enemy. Some people have decided they will only read the books of Shaykh Ibn Baz, so if anyone tells them another scholar also has a different opinion, they will fight him. Other people say it is only Qaradawi’s books they want to read. If anyone then says something different, they will fight him.
All these are mistakes. Let us know that what is right is that whatever Qaradawi, Ibn Baz, Uthaymeen say, let us check such against the Qur’an and Sunnah. If it agrees with both, then we are fine with it, but if not, we remove it, likewise positions of other Mashaayikh.
So, it is not that because someone did 10 things and got only two wrong, we start condemning him. We should know that he made efforts but he made mistakes in some areas. This is what we should say to all the youth.
Of all our scholars who have knowledge, apart from us the students (laughs) who followed them, you can never see any of them speaking badly about the people of knowledge. It is only people without teachers that abuse and rain curses on scholars. Find out, you will discover they have no teacher at all, and as such, they will follow whatever their whims and desires dictate.
The evil of hurling abusive words on scholars
The evil is that the Prophet (SAW) said: “When matters are left to people who are not worth it to decide, then expect the appointed time”.
There are problems in the Muslim world and the ignorants are the ones parading themselves as scholars. They go to the extent of tagging the real and honoured scholars with horrible appellations. Someone who cannot perform surgery grabs a knife or scissors, calling on sick people. Won’t he kill the patients? This is the similitude.
Majority of them talking about the religion do not understand it well. That is why if they listened to us and decided to go and study better and wider, they will agree with us, but what people hold onto is “so so so said this” and continue to carry it along.
That is why before you form opinions of people, you must have read about the person they are talking about, not just someone telling you that Sheikh so and so is bad and you start saying it.
You have to use your brain. Do not see their bad and their good indifferently. When they do good, support them and when they do bad, don’t partake in it.
Tell every one of them to bring their reference and first ask them on the issue of “is this an issue of the Mutaghayiraat or Thawaabit?” If it is Mutaghayiraat and the scholar made a mistake, we condemn only the mistakes and not all he has said in his entire life.
That is why if you see scholars who are scholars because of Allah alone, you won’t see them doing all these, because to open their mouth and abuse scholars/callers will be difficult for them. After all, such scholars know the challenges and problems they underwent before acquiring the knowledge with them. So, they won’t just do that. No, they won’t!
In case you missed Sheikh DhikruLlahi Shafi’i’s interview about the conference, read HERE. Watch out for Sheikh Thaoban Adam Al-Ilory’s interview, only on Muslim News.
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