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Guard Yourselves from the Two Extremes

Al-ʿAllāmah Ḥasan ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Banná

During the Toronto seminar, Bulūgh al-Marām: Chapter of Purification, in January 2017, our noble and respected Shaykh delivered a very important lecture concerning the importance of clinging to the Qurʾān and the Sunnah and the methodology of the Salaf, and the importance of staying away from the two extremes of exaggeration and falling short. Instead, one should maintain a balanced path of understanding, which can only be attained through seeking knowledge.

The Shaykh (ḥafiẓahullāh) began by mentioning some āyāt from the Qurʾān which highlight and clarify to us the methodology of Ahl al-Sunnah and who they are. Indeed, we are in a time where it is a calamity that the Muslims are split to such a degree that they are even killing one another, and the reason for all of this is due to the consequences of either exaggeration in the religion or falling short, rather than a balanced path of understanding. From those who have exaggerated in the dīn are the Khawārij who make takfīr of the Muslims, and this is no doubt because they misinterpret the āyāt of the Qurʾān and do not understand them as they should be understood, thus they are misguided in their understanding. On the other end of the spectrum, you have the Murjiʿah, and they are from those who have fallen short in the religion through abandoning the legislated acts of worship, claiming that one’s īmān is not affected if these actions are abandoned, and this again is a clear misguidance from them.

So the people have differed and split due to exaggeration in either their understanding of the affairs of the religion or shortcomings in their understanding and the only path which will lead to the salvation of the Muslims from this misunderstanding and misguidance is through understanding the āyāt of the Qurʾān and the Sunnah with the correct understanding. Allāh (subḥānahu wa-taʾāla) says in the Qurʾān,

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ‎﴿٣١﴾‏

Say [O Muḥammad to mankind]: “If you [really] love Allāh then follow me [i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qurʾān and the Sunnah], Allāh will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allāh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
[Sūrah Āl-Imrān, 3: 31]

and similarly,

 قُلْ أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ ۖ ‎﴿٣٢﴾‏

Say [O Muḥammad]: “Obey Allāh and the Messenger [Muḥammad].”
[Sūrah Āl-Imrān, 3: 32]

Today the people all claim to love the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) but in reality, it is merely a claim that is not accompanied by action, and this is because sticking to the Qurʾān and the Sunnah, in reality, can only be done through knowledge. Allāh has advised the believers when they differ over an affair to refer the matter back to Allāh and His Messenger, and that is to return back to the Qurʾān and the Sunnah; however, this cannot be attained except upon the clear knowledge of that which is written in the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah of His Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam). Within the Qurʾān and Sunnah lie the keys to that knowledge which will teach you how to worship Allāh, how to interact with your wife and children and educate them, how to interact and behave with your neighbours, and so on. However, the Muslims today staunchly adhere to and blindly follow their own mashāyikh, and the habits and customs of the people, rather than acquiring certain knowledge, and as a consequence, their criteria have become warped, because they are not using the Islamic criteria to help determine their affairs. This is something which clearly leads them astray.

Indeed, Allāh raises those who cling to this religion and seek and acquire knowledge and implement this knowledge. However, sadly the people today are more concerned with their worldly affairs and luxuries, and this is far from the way of the Salaf. It is incumbent upon the Muslim, the Salafī, to follow the methodology of the Salaf and cling to their way; for indeed, in this lies salvation and rectification.

The people of knowledge are of varying degrees, at the forefront of which are those whom Allāh has chosen to defend this religion against the people of innovation in every time and era, the righteous scholars who will rebuke, refute and extinguish the innovations as they appear, clarifying and defending the religion from their many distortions. Verily, if you tread upon this methodology and seek knowledge and you love it and desire to be upon it, then in shāʾ Allāh you will be from those people who are defenders of the religion. This requires that you strive and travel to the scholars, whether they be in Saudi Arabia or other countries, and you learn from them and come back and teach the people. The students in the West should cooperate with one another and have good communication and relations with the Salafīyūn. For you are like representatives of the scholars, teaching the people that which you have learnt from ahl al-ʿilm. Upon you, Ahl al-Sunnah, is to cooperate and have mutual love between one another and to stay away from splitting and differing, as this is an action which is not beloved to Allāh. As for other types of behaviours such as demonstrations and uprisings against the rulers which the people engage in, then these affairs are not from the methodology of the Salaf; rather, this is from the Shayṭān. You should obey the rulers.

Look to your youth and do not leave them to wander the streets; rather, nurture them with the correct tarbīyyah, and nurture your families upon good cultivation, and teach them, and do not leave them to learn the ways of the disbelievers. Failure to do this will result in the Muslims splitting, and in this manner, nobody will be united, or give importance to this dīn. Rather, you all should be united upon the correct ʿaqīdah, and methodology, and seek knowledge of the affairs which may lead you to misguidance from the innovations and the innovators and keep away from them. The pillars of īmān and Islām must be given importance and acted upon. Do not give in to the pressures of this corrupt society in free mixing, and abandoning the correct tarbiyyah for your families and yourselves.

The people of innovation went astray due to their giving precedence to their minds and intellects over the texts: the Qurʾan and the Sunnah. When you study the Qurʾān and the Sunnah you will find all that is needed to learn about your Lord and your religion, and the believer believes in all of it as a part of the testimony. It is to obey that which Allāh and His Messenger has commanded, to stay away from that which has been prohibited and believe in that which we have been informed of, and that you do not worship anything besides Allāh, and you worship Him only in the manner which has been legislated.

And it is due to this, the āyah,

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ‎﴿٣١﴾‏

Say [O Muḥammad to mankind]: “If you [really] love Allāh then follow me [i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qurʾān and the Sunnah], Allāh will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allāh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
[Sūrah Āl-Imrān, 3: 31]

It is known as the āyah of examination, the āyah which tests the people regarding their claim of loving Allāh and His Messenger, and whether they truly do follow them in reality, and if not, then this claim is mere words without substance.

The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) has mentioned in a narration that this Ummah will divide into 73 sects, all in the Fire except one. The Companions asked, “And who is that one, O Messenger of Allāh?” He replied, “That which I and my Companions are upon.” All of the other sects are in the Fire because they did not follow the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) and they opposed the Sunnah, and blindly followed their mashāyikh, giving precedence to their intellects over the legislated texts, and indeed this is the way of ḥizbīyyah.

Rather, be upon the way of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) and his Companions, for indeed this is the Saved Sect. So a sign of somebody loving Allāh and His Messenger can be seen in the way in which they follow and adhere to the Qurʾān and the Sunnah and the methodology of the Salaf, and in doing so this is a means by which Allāh will forgive you your sins. So guard over your religion, and thank Allāh for guiding you to Islām and the Sunnah, and preserve it and adhere to it when you give daʿwah and eventually the people you call to will listen to you.

Published: March 4, 2017
Edited: May 20, 2022


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