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Clearing Confusion about Shaykh Ibn Bāz

  Abū Khadījah

A reply to Abū Ḥāwiyah’s sorry defense of Safar and Salmān with regard to the fatwá́ that Imām Ibn Bāz issued to jail them so as to protect the society from their errors.

bismallah

  We say, as the Salaf say: That every opposition to the Sunnah whether large or small needs to be corrected, and if the mistake was made openly, then the correction is made openly.


Asalāmu ʿʿalaykum wa raḥmatullāhi wa barakātuhu

Praise be to Allāh, and may He send the blessings and peace upon the Messenger Muḥammad; and upon his family, Companions and followers.

The Following is a response to an email that was sent out recently that was trying to confuse the issue of Safar and Salmān and somehow indicate that Imām Ibn Bāz had only seven days after speaking against Safar and Salmān contraḍīcted himself and spoken in their favour. So here we will show that there is no contraḍīction between the two fatāwá. I will put the words of the one who has caused this confusion (namely our brother Abū Āliyah) in this affair between >>...<<. And we hope that he corrects his error.

Abū Āliyah said:

>>Recently, an e-mail was sent bearing the heading: "The Last Fatwá Of Imām Ibn Bāz (raḥimahullāh) on Safar & Salmān."

This particular posting quoted a letter sent by Shaykh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Bāz, may Allāh have mercy upon him and illuminate his grave, to the Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi al-ʿArabīa, concerning Shaykh Safar al-Ḥawālī and Shaykh Salmān al-'Awdah (may Allāh protect them). The letter was dated 3/4/1414H. The e-mail portrays this letter as being the final view of Shaykh Ibn Bāz towards the two above mentioned Shaykhs, and hence the title heading.<<

So firstly this 'second fatwá' needs to be verified. But assuming that it is true (for now) then we continue:

So here the brother Abū Āliyah mentions that we portrayed our posting of the fatwá of Imām Ibn Bāz as his "final view" - then yes we still maintain that it was, in fact, Shaykh Ibn Bāz's final view on Safar and Salmān.

Abū Āliyah said:

>>However, the claim of the person who wrote the e-mail is incorrect and in opposition to the reality. Indeed, just SEVEN DAYS AFTER sending the letter, Shaykh Ibn Bāz issued the following fatwá́ in response to a question.<<

We find this claim of the brother Abū Āliyah absolutely amazing! The brother alleges, "the claim of the person who wrote the e-mail is incorrect and in opposition to the reality". The second fatwá of the Shaykh Ibn Bāz is NOT in opposition to his first fatwá. The brother is making allegations not against us but rather against Shaykh Ibn Bāz that after just 'SEVEN DAYS' the Shaykh somehow did a U-turn on his position against Safar and Salmān. And Abū Āliyah doesn't even mention why Shaykh Ibn Bāz (seemingly) contraḍīcted himself !?! But the reality is that Shaykh Ibn Bāz did not contraḍīct himself! Rather brother Abū Āliyah is the one who has confused himself and confused others in the process. An analysis of both fatawa shows that there is no contraḍīction.

If brother Abū Āliyah had only done what every true student of knowledge does when he finds something difficult for him to decipher - That he takes it back to ahl al-ʿilm (the Scholars) and they would have explained the issue to him. In this manner one does not fall into the statement of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) when he said: ".. they will give rulings and they will lead themselves astray and lead others astray" (Bukhārī). Now, by his eagerness and impatience, he has thrown confusion into the hearts of many.

Anyway, let us analyse the fatwá that brother Abū Āliyah has sent out that may have caused confusion:

Shaykh Ibn Bāz says:

>>I received your letter in which you asked about listening to the cassettes, sermons, lecture, and [reading the] books of the callers and scholars; such as Shaykh 'Aayad al-Qarnee, Shaykh Salmān al-'Awdah, Shaykh Nāṣir al-ʿUmar, Shaykh Safar al-Ḥawālī and Shaykh ʿAbd al-Wahhāb at-Tareeree, and [whether] they are innovators and from those groups that have deviated, and [the claim] that they are not Salafīs, but are from the Khwaarij, as well as the ruling concerning backbiting them. May Allāh continue bestowing guidance upon you.<<

So this is the crux of the question.

So Shaykh Ibn Bāz says (according to Abū Āliyah):

>>The reply: Their cassettes are beneficial and they are not from the innovators, nor from the Khawārij. It is not permissible to backbite them, rather it is obligatory to defend them; just like others from the people of knowledge from Ahl al-Sunnah wa-al-Jamāʿah.<<

>>The reply: Their cassettes are beneficial and they are not from the innovators, nor from the Khawārij. It is not permissible to backbite them, rather it is obligatory to defend them; just like others from the people of knowledge from Ahl al-Sunnah wa-al-Jamāʿah.<<

In the first fatwá we posted, Shaykh Ibn Bāz says, "The two aforementioned (Safar and Salmān) are to be faced with their errors that were presented before the Committee - along with other errors forwarded by the Government, and in which two of the people of knowledge are to participate - to be chosen by his excellency the Minister for Islamic Affairs, Awqaaf, daʿwah and Irshād. So if the two of them excuse themselves from their transgressions and agree to comply with not returning to any of them, nor to the like of them, then all praise is for Allāh, and that is sufficient."

So from what is apparent and well known is that Safar and Salmān had not YET been faced with 'their errors'. So Shaykh Ibn Bāz knows that this is not the time to speak against them especially since the committee has agreed that they are first to be faced. So Shaykh Ibn Bāz is correct in his statement at that time, i.e. that they are NOT 'from the innovators, nor from the Khawārij. It is not permissible to backbite them'. Why? Because the proof has not yet been established upon them by the committee that Shaykh Ibn Bāz has mentioned. So Shaykh Ibn Bāz is right from his viewpoint meaning that it is not permissible to speak against them until the proof is established - that Safar and Salmān know that they are upon clear error and are given a chance to return. BUT this is no longer the case as now the issues have been made clear to both of them, as will follow towards the end of this mail.

Then Shaykh Ibn Bāz says (according to Abū Āliyah) in the second fatwá:

>>None from amongst them is infallible, as is the case for others from the people of knowledge. Rather, each person can be correct or mistaken; so whatever from their saying is correct and is the truth, is to be taken, whereas whatever opposes the truth is to be left. Their [statements] are to be carried upon the best possible meaning, as far as the believer is able to do so, out of harbouring good thoughts for the brothers and [out of] viewing them in the best light.<<

Here again, we see the Shaykh's nobility and his wishing for them good. He also here acknowledges again that they have erred - But he is mild

here. Why? Because the first fatwá is secret and is in the hands of the ministry so as not to push Safar and Salmān away. And to let them feel that they have erred but we know that anyone can err. Read the top of the first fatwá: "No. 951/2 Dated: 3/4/1414 H Addenda: 18 + a copy of a book. SECRET..." - This clearly shows that the first fatwá was a private and secret letter talking of the intentions of the Committee of Major scholars and their plans of bringing Safar and Salmān back to the correct way.

So Shaykh Ibn Bāz says (according to Abū Āliyah) in the second fatwá:

>>It has been authentically reported from the Prophet ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam that he said: "All the children of Ādam commit mistakes and the best of those who make mistakes are those who repent."

It is also authentically reported from him sallāllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallām that he said: "If a judge strives and is correct (in his judgement), he receives two rewards. If he strives and errs, he receives a single reward."<<

Here the Shaykh again strongly indicates that Safar, Salmān etc., have erred and are mistaken. But since this fatwá is open to the people, the Shaykh has not detailed the errors, otherwise that would oppose what he has agreed with the Committee of Major Scholars a week earlier that, "The two aforementioned (Safar and Salmān) are to be faced with their errors that were presented before the Committee - along with other errors forwarded by the Government, and in which two of the people of knowledge are to participate - to be chosen by his excellency the Minister for Islamic Affairs, Awqaaf, daʿwah and Irshād."

Shaykh Ibn Bāz continues (according to Abū Āliyah) in the second fatwá:
>>Such is also the case for the scholars; whoever amongst them is correct, receives two rewards, whereas whoever amongst them errs, receives a single reward - if they are from the people of knowledge of Allāh's Sacred law and have the utmost sincerity in acting for Allāh.<<

>>Such is also the case for the scholars; whoever amongst them is correct, receives two rewards, whereas whoever amongst them errs, receives a single reward - if they are from the people of knowledge of Allāh's Sacred law and have the utmost sincerity in acting for Allāh.<<

Again, and may Allāh shower Shaykh Ibn Bāz with his Mercy, we see the wisdom of Shaykh Ibn Bāz that he giving Safar, Salmān and the others a clear indication that they have erred and we see in this second fatwá how the Shaykh keeps hinting that they have erred.

So Shaykh Ibn Bāz continues (according to Abū Āliyah) in the second fatwá:

>>I ask Allāh that He grants tawfīq to everyone in that which is pleasing to Him, and that He grants benefit to His servants along with granting safety from misleading trials. Indeed, He is the One Who hears, the One Who is near.<<

And the Shaykh here makes duʿāʾʾʾ for correct behaviour and guidance. And this is the end of the second fatwá.

So then brother Abū Āliyah adds the following misleading notes:

>>Points to Consider:<<

So let us consider:

Abū Āliyah says:
>>1 - The letter to the Minister of Interior was written one week before the above fatwá́, and therefore it is certainly not: "The Last Fatwaa Of Imām Ibn Bāz (raḥimahullāh) on Safar & Salmān." Indeed, Shaykh Ibn Bāz also addressed a letter to Shaykh Safar requesting him to write a reply to as-Saqqaaf and the Ashʾarīs, due to his specialization in this field. This letter was dated 6/1/1415H - eight months after the letter to the Minister of Interior.<<

But you yourself Abū Āliyah have mentioned above and agreed that the intent of our posting was as you mentioned: "The e-mail portrays this letter as being the final view of Shaykh Ibn Bāz towards the two above mentioned Shaykhs"... so since you agree that the intent was his "final view", then why now recall it as if it was the final words and he never mentioned anything again. Yes, I agree, we should have used the term 'final mawqif' or 'final position' - but at least you Abū Āliyah clearly understood the intent, and it will teach us to take more care in the future. And we know that were other occasions when Shaykh Ibn Bāz implicitly spoke against Salmān al-Awdah - For example when Salmān made a distinction between the Taa'ifatul-Manoorah (the Victorious Group) and Firqatun-Naajiyah (the Saved Sect) and Shaykh Ibn Bāz mentioned that this distinction was incorrect... and there were other manhaj issues apart from this. So our intent was final position of Shaykh Ibn Bāz - and it is still clear that it was his final position as Shaykh Ibn Bāz said in the first fatwá, "But if they will not comply, then they are to be prevented from giving lectures, seminars, khuṭbahs, public lessons, and from making cassettes - in order to protect the society from their errors: may Allāh guide them both, and direct them both to right conduct."

As for you Abū Āliyah saying "Ibn Bāz also addressed a letter to Shaykh Safar requesting him to write a reply to as-Saqqaaf and the Ashʾarīs" - then we have no problem with this (if it is true) since the issue is NOT about us accusing him of being a Ṣūfī or Ashʾarī but rather it is concerned with his manhaj of how he deals with the rulers and political issues and his ideas of reforming the ummah. So when Shaykh Ibn Bāz is criticizing Safar and Salmān, it is not the Shaykh's criticism of their understanding of Asmāʾa wa-al-Ṣifāt but rather their stances on the issues I have mentioned in the previous sentence.

Abū Āliyah says:

>>2 - Making such a definitive claim, and then ascriibng it to Shaykh Ibn Bāz (or any other scholar for that matter) is not permitted, except with a proof. Otherwise, upon what basis are such definitive statements being made?! Furthermore, is the view that the writer[s] is so decisively affirming for Shaykh Ibn Bāz, concerning the two shaykhs, one which the committee of senior scholars of the kingdom - those who were known to have worked closely with Shaykh Ibn Bāz - also affirm for Shaykh Ibn Bāz?<<

Here Abū Āliyah, you are just repeating what you have already said and I have answered it above. i.e. that we say it is the Shaykh's final mawqif (position) on Safar and Salmān. And we have shown that this second fatwá does not contraḍīct the first.

Abū Āliyah says:

>>3 - Unfortunately the writer[s] of the e-mail has used the letter of Ibn Bāz to create an impression that Shaykh Ibn Bāz was against Shaykhs Safar and Salmān, and along with other scholars, had: "spoken out against them." It would be useful to cite such a proof of Ibn Bāz's 'speaking out against them.' Rather, as can be seen from the above fatwá́, this would appear to be a misrepresentation of the truth.<<

The first fatwá clearly shows Shaykh Ibn Bāz's disapproval of the behaviour and statements and writings of Safar and Salmān to the point that the whole Committee agreed, "then they are to be prevented ....in order to protect the society from their errors". So what led Shaykh Ibn Bāz and the committee to make these statements. And again we say that the errors of these two are not in every issue of their religion, but just those that have mentioned by the Scholars like Shaykh al-Albānī, Shaykh Rabīʿ, Shaykh ʿAbd al-Muḥsin al-Abbaad etc.. The second fatwá of the Shaykh acknowledges their errors but calls for mildness. Why? Because Safar and Salmān had still yet to be faced with their errors as agreed. But this is no longer the case 6 years later.

Abū Āliyah says:

>>On a similar note, the letter to the Minister of Interior is a sufficient 
proof that Shaykh Ibn Bāz did not fully agree with all the views of Shaykh Safar and Salmān - a point that is sometimes contested by some who show undue partisanship towards them.<<

At the time it was written, the intent of the first fatwá (which was a secret letter) was to agree amongst themselves that Safar and Salmān had erred, that they need to be faced, asked to correct themselves and that society needs to be protected from their errors. And the intent of the second fatwá was only to inform the general people that, yes, they have erred but let's be mild.

Abū Āliyah says:

>>But did the Shaykh intend that this letter then be used to backbite and vilify Shaykhs Safar and Salmān, may Allāh protect them, let alone to denigrate their position as people of knowledge?<<

We say, as the Salaf say: That every opposition to the Sunnah whether large or small needs to be corrected and if the mistake was made openly, then the correction is made openly. Shaykh-ul-Islām Ibn Taymīyyahh (raḥimahullāh) said in his tafsīr of Allāh’s statement:

"The woman and the man guilty of fornication, lash each one of them a hundred times. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allāh, if you believe in Allāh and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment."(Surah al-Nūr: 2)

"Thus Allāh has commanded that they be recompensed and punished while in the presence of a group from the believers. This may be achieved by the event bearing witness to itself or the believers’ bearing witness to it. The reason behind this is since if the act of disobedience is done openly, then its punishment must be done openly. This is as is stated in one narration: ‘Whosoever sins while in secrecy, let him repent in secrecy. And whosoever sins in public, then let him repent in public.’ It does not fall under the category of being concealed, such as the concealing that Allāh loves, as occurs in the ḥadīth: ‘Whosoever conceals (the faults) of a Muslim, Allāh will conceal him (i.e. his faults).’ Rather, if that (public) misdeed were to be concealed, it would be the same as agreeing with an open evil. In a ḥadīth it states: ‘Verily, when a sin is kept hidden it doesn’t cause harm, except to the one who has committed it. And when it is done publicly and not repelled, it harms the masses of people.’

So had the mistakes of Safar and Salmān been private and hidden from the people, then the Scholars would not have mentioned them. But since their mistakes are open and affect the society, then they must be rebutted.

And as we know and keep being told by the Qutubee brothers that Salmān and Safar have been repeatedly asked to correct themselves and return to that which is correct and they both continually refuse. These Suroorees even distributed a letter from 'Behind the Bars' by Salmān al-Awdah where he refuses to change his erroneous and misguided position. So Shaykh Ibn Bāz's fatwá́ stands.

So, my brother Abū Āliyah, the issue is not one of vilification - and why do you make it sound as if they are being victimized... Even if you want to use the second fatwá of Shaykh Ibn Bāz where he is mild upon them. Then we can say that Shaykh al-Albānī has said that in this area with regard to Safar al-Ḥawālī:

When asked about the Book of ʿIrjā authored by Safar al-Ḥawālī, the Shaykh Muḥammad Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī said:

"Kitābul-ʿIrjā [Safar al-Ḥawālī's book]? Yes I have seen it. When I was in the Jāmiʿ'ah in Medinah approximately 30 years ago, there occurred [some words] from me - and I was asked in a gathering about my opinion concerning Jamaa'at ut-Tableegh. I said on that day [about them] 'The Ṣūfīyyah of the Era' (Ṣūfīyyah ʿAṣriyyah). And there is no danger if I say in relation to this Jamāʿah - those who have emerged at the present times and who have OPPOSED the Salaf - I say here in conformity with the words of al-Ḥāfiẓ al-Dhahabī that they have OPPOSED the Salaf in much of their manāhij (issues of methodology) therefore it is acceptable and obvious to me that I name them: The Khawārij of the Era (Khārijiyyat al-ʿAṣriyyah)." [17th Dhu al-Ḥijjah 1417]

So Abū Āliyah, do you accuse Shaykh al-Albānī of backbiting and vilification? Did not Shaykh al-Albānī read the book of Safar? Or was he just backbiting and eating the ḥarām flesh of Safar?

On another occassion Shaykh al-Albānī clearly states that Salmān al-Awdah is upon the methodology of Ikhwānil-Muslimīn. (see our website). So was Shaykh al-Albānī vilifying Salmān and backbiting him?

Rather I will tell you! This is something permissible and rather an obligation upon them, both Ibn Bāz and al-Albānī as Ibn Taymīyyah said: "Rather, if that (public) misdeed were to be concealed, it would be the same as agreeing with an open evil." And as Imām Ḥasan al-Baṣrī said: "Backbiting is permissible upon three... (and he mentions) against an innovator", and this is agreed upon amongst the Ahl al-Sunnah. I do not say by this that Safar and Salmān are mubtadiʿeen, but we do say as the Scholars say that in this area of their manhaj, they have agreed with the innovators.

So we find here Shaykh Ibn Bāz in his first fatwá́ speaking strongly against Safar and Salmān - Seven days later, he still speaks of their errors, but states that he does not hold them to be innovators and calls for mildness and respect. Then we find Shaykh al-Albānī (may Allāh preserve him) speaking strongly against both Safar and Salmān.

Finally, on the point of vilifying people of knowledge, I know that you Abū Āliyah have spoken ill of the people of knowledge for not a single issue of manhaj that you have proven till this day. What issue of uṣūl did Shaykh Abū Anas Hamad al-Uthmān oppose or Shaykh Al-Anjaree or Shaykh Ali Ḥasan or Shaykh Saleem al-Hilālee that caused you to speak ill of them? May Allāh guide you.

Abū Āliyah says:

>>4 - The writer mentioned that many people claim to love Shaykh Ibn Bāz, may Allāh sanctify his soul, and to follow his manhaj, and that if such people are true in their claim, then they should except the letter. Likewise, if the writer[s] is true in his claim, then it is befitting that he should accept the above fatwá́ and circulate it with the same zeal he did with the e-mail.<<

And I hope you spread this email with the same zeal and confidence that you spread the last.

Abū Āliyah says:

>>5 - There have been a number of tele-conferences with Shaykh Ibn Bāz that have been recorded on cassette. The manhaj of the Shaykh in daʿwah, fatwá́, and cultivating the ummah is very evident from those tapes. As far as I am aware, not a single one of them warns against Shaykh Safar or Salmān. Rather they contain beautiful and sound advice from one whom Allāh gave great insight to with regards to knowledge and correct cultivation. We would do well with benefiting from them, learning and spreading beneficial knowledge and leaving-off this hate-mongering and invective mannerism.<<

The Shaykh, may Allāh's mercy be upon him, has already spoken about Safar and Salmān. So, yes let us, "do well with benefiting from them, learning and spreading beneficial knowledge". And part of spreading beneficial knowledge is warning people from the evil as well as teaching them the good. As Hudhayfah ibn Yamān said: "The people used to ask the Messenger about the good, I asked him about the evil out of fear of falling into it..." (Bukhārī).

As for the ill manners that you mentioned, then one would do well to look towards one's own affairs first before advising others ... Allāhu al-mustaʿān.

Abū Āliyah says:

>>Indeed Shaykh Ibn Bāz was - as mentioned by the noble Shaykh ʿAbd al-Muḥsin al-ʿAbād - the Imām of our time without any equal, and the reviver of the fifteenth Islamic century.<<

So we say: That Shaykh ʿAbd al-Muḥsin is a true example of the one who has benefitted from Imām Ibn Bāz and his teachings and he is a just, honest and truthful scholar. So what does he say about Safar and Salmān - Please, tell me. And please read the introduction of Madaarikun-Nadhr fis-Siyaasah of Shaykh ʿAbd al-Mālik Al-Ramaḍānī and you will see what Shaykh ʿAbd al-Muḥsin says and thinks of Safar and Salmān and their manhaj or is he too "vilifying and backbiting" these two. And what of Shaykh Ṣālīḥ al-Suḥaymī, Shaykh Rabīʿ ibn Hādī, Shaykh Muqbil ibn Hādī, Shaykh Muḥammad al-Jāmī (raḥimahullāh), Shaykh Muḥammad ibn Hādī, and also Shaykh Saleem al-Hilālee, Shaykh Ali al-Ḥalabī, Shaykh Abū al-Ḥasan al-Maʿribī al-Miṣrī, Shaykh Muḥammad Al-Imām, Shaykh Abū Anas Hamad Al-Uthmān..... (etc, etc, etc,) - All of these and with that Shaykh al-Albānī have backbitten and vilified Safar and Salmān?..... Allāhu Akbar!

Finally, Abū Āliyah, you are aware of the situation over the internet and you are fully aware of how the Suroorees/Qutubees have maligned the honours of the scholars unjustly. Such as, for example, calling Shaykh al-Muḥaddith Allāmah al-Albānī an "extreme Murjīyy... the like of Jahm ibn Ṣafwān". They have mentioned the regime of Saudi al-ʿArabīa as being upon "the Yasiq of Fahad" (i.e. major disbelief). They have mentioned Allāmah Shaykh Rabīʿ ibn Hādī as being a spy for the regime. They have called the students of Allāmah al-Albānī of being "liars", "murijiyah", - they accused Shaykh Ali Ḥasan al-Ḥalabī and Shaykh Salīm al-Hilālī of being rejectors of jihād. They have called Ash-Shaykh Al-Muhaddith Muqbil ibn Hādī of being "a Juhaymānī" - And the list is endless of the curses they have thrown against the Scholars and they continue to throw - they accuse the Scholars of "reinventing Salafīyyah" and of lying... So Abū Āliyah, I know that you fully aware of some of these accusations they throw at the protectors of the Dīn, those whom Allāh has favoured, those who are the Saved Sect, the Victorious Group, al-Jamāʿah in this era.... So we have not known you to defend the true scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah wa-al-Jamāʿah over the net - And these people of knowledge of more worthy of being defended.

Abū Āliyah says:

>>More could be written, but I hope that this much suffices.<<

Likewise...

May Allāh guide us all.

Wassallāmu ʿalaykum wa rahmatullāh


[Courtesy of Salafī Publications, www.spubs.com]

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