Skip to main content

The Evil Implications of the Ikhwānī Slogan:“We Cooperate with One Another Regarding That Which We Agree Upon, and Forgive One Another in That Which We Differ Concerning.”

Imām Muḥammad Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī, Imām Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn

Demolishing the political melting pot slogan and golden principle of the Ikhwānī movement.

[Q]: What are the true implications of the phrase: “We cooperate with one another regarding that which we agree upon, and forgive one another in that which we differ concerning.”

Shaykh Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī [d. 1420 AH] answers:

[A]: Yes, some of the callers to the religion of Islām repeat this phrase often. Our opinion regarding them is that they are general callers to the religion of Islām—general Islām.

As for the callers to Islām whose point of reference is the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah, upon the methodology of the pious predecessors—we do not know of a group that calls to this way of truth except that they announce to the people identifying themselves as the people of ḥadīth, or as defenders of the Sunnah, or followers of the pious predecessors. As for these other groups, they do not make such announcements. Rather, they suffice in saying: We are in agreement with you insofar as the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah is concerned. Even these are words that they find themselves unable to implement fully and completely. This is because they have only studied a very small proportion of this sharīʿah in light of the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah.

Thus, they say: “We cooperate with one another regarding that which we agree upon, and forgive one another in that which we differ concerning.” This sentence is grammatically correct, if a caveat is placed on it. As for the first part, there is no problem with regards to it: “We cooperate with one another regarding that which we agree upon”, but the second part requires some review: “We forgive one another in that which we differ concerning”. This second part may be understood correctly with the condition which is: “We forgive one another in that which we differ concerning after offering the obligatory, sincere advice:” [The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:] “This religion is sincere advice; this religion is sincere advice; this religion is sincere advice.” We replied: “To whom?” He replied: “To Allāh, His books, the Imāms of the Muslims, and their general populace.”1

Thus, if we [the generality of the Muslims] find ourselves differing with one another, even if be in the testification: “There is nothing worshipped in truth except for Allāh,” then it is most unbefitting that we leave such differences under the guise of this statement: “We forgive one another in that which we differ concerning.”

Rather, it is obligatory upon us to seek a ruling and judgement from the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and that we all attempt to come as close to this practice, adopting its way. We are unable to simply be satisfied with this difference, especially if it is related to our creed. This is because creed is a matter that does not accept differences of opinion.

This is contrary to issues that are collectively termed masāʾil farʿiyyah [branching issues or off-shoots]. These branches may have some differences of opinion. However, even with regards to them, sincere advice is still obligatory. If sincere advice is given regarding these issues, but both parties remain on the opinion they had originally adopted, then at that point we may use this statement: “We forgive one another in that which we differ concerning.”

As for simply allowing a difference of opinion and opposition to exist as is, under the guise of “we forgive one another”, without ever attempting to quell this difference as much as we are able, then this negates the āyāt and aḥādīth that command our ranks to be united. From among the greatest methodologies used to accomplish a united front and united ranks is, as the Most High said:

فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا

“(And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allāh and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), if you believe in Allāh and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.”

We know well that the ones who often say this statement believe differences of opinion to be a part of this sharīʿah and that they must undoubtedly occur. However, we oppose them in this stance with great severity. We say: We must seek judgments—always and forever—from the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم). If, after this, there still exists some differences among us [in matters not related to creed], we shall not be divided because of it, or turn our backs on one another.

In this point, we have the example set by the companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). For they used to struggle with another in pursuit of the truth. They refused to be silent, even if they found their khalīfah opposing an established ruling. Rather, they would object to this opposition. If their ruler then continued upon the same opinion, they would not revolt against him, or show enmity towards him. They would reply to him with questions [concerning his actions]. Then, if he ordered them to wage war in the way of Allāh [at its appointed time], they would all fight in the way of Allāh [alongside him], even though they had some differences of opinion amongst them.

From among the well-known examples of this is when ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (رضي الله عنه) forbade the people to perform ʿUmrah and Ḥajj together. He had a famous opinion on this issue which permitted him to issue such a ruling. However, the other companions differed with him in this matter. Even though this opinion was then adopted by the khalīfah who came after him—ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān (رضي الله عنه). Even considering this, we find in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim that ʿAlī (رضي الله عنه) came to ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān saying: “Why have you forbade the people from performing Tamattuʿ—combining Ḥajj and ʿUmrah [in one trip]?” He replied: “Leave me with it,’ that is, he did not have any evidence to support this view. He [ʿAlī (رضي الله عنه)] replied: “I will not leave you. O Allāh! I come in answer to you for the performance of Ḥajj and ʿUmrah [together].’ He opposed him with the Sunnah which he knew from the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم). As ʿAlī (رضي الله عنه) was in Yemen at the time the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) performed his final pilgrimage. Of course, when the news reached him that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was making preparations for Ḥajj to the Holy House of Allāh, ʿAlī (رضي الله عنه) left Yemen with the intention of performing Ḥajj. When he then met the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in Makkah, he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) asked him: “What did you say when you declared your intention?” He replied: “With whatever the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has declared.” That is, he left it open-ended without saying “O Allāh I am coming in answer to you for Ḥajj,” or “for ʿUmrah,” or “for Ḥajj and ʿUmrah.” Rather, he said: O Allāh! I come in answer to you to perform the Ḥajj the same as that of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم).” He (صلى الله عليه وسلم) replied: “Indeed, I am Qārin [combining Ḥajj and ʿUmrah without removing the iḥram]. Thus, ʿAlī (رضي الله عنه) knew that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was Qārin.2

Then, when the rightly guided khālif, ʿUthmān, forbade that Ḥajj and ʿUmrah be combined, he [ʿAli (رضي الله عنه)] opposed and differed with him saying: “O Allāh! I come in answer to you to perform Ḥajj and ʿUmrah together.”

Even in consideration of this, there did not exist any alienation between them nor animosity. Rather, their ranks remained tight. This is how the Muslims will return to that golden age.

All goodness is present in following the pious predecessors and only evil is found in the innovations of the latter generations.3

[Q]: Honourable shaykh! It is well-known that the Shīʿah and the Murjiʾah have great differences with Ahl al-Sunnah. There is a rule that some of the “scholars” have which they named ‘the golden rule’: “We cooperate with one another in that which we agree upon and forgive one another in that which we disagree concerning.” How can we ever forgive these Shīʿah?

Shaykh Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn answered:

[A]: This ‘golden rule’ is not golden, nor does not it deserve the title of a ‘rule.’ Rather, it is from the blessings of Allāh—the Exalted in Might—that we find agreement on certain matters. Agreement is better than dissension and division. As for that which we have differed with one another regarding, we may forgive the one who opposes us or we may not. If the matter of difference is related to that which is permissible for there to be a difference of opinion, then there is nothing wrong with this. As the Imams continue to differ with one another, just as Imām Aḥmad, Shāfiʿī, Mālik, and Abū Ḥanīfah differed with one another [in matters of jurisprudence].

However, if the matter is one wherein a difference of opinion is not forgiven like that of creed, then we shall not forgive one another in that. Rather, it is obligatory in these matters to return to the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah. Thus, it is obligatory on the Murjiʾah, the Shīʿah, and every innovator to return to the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah without any sort of forgiveness [if they choose not to]. This rule is, therefore, not a golden rule. It is more befitting to be called a wooden rule if anything.

You should know now the matters in which it is permissible for there to exist ijtihād [scholarly effort in pursuit of the truth in a judicial issue]. As for the issues that are not accepting of ijtihād like matters of creed which people choose to oppose the pious predecessors concerning, they cannot be forgiven.4

He (رحمه الله) also said:

This statement is false in both its parts. As for the sentence ‘we forgive one another in that which we differ concerning,’ it is like the saying of some of the jurists: ‘There is no objection in issues of ijtihād.’ This is a famous statement with the jurists. It is an incorrect statement if left in this encompassing fashion. This is because, concerning matters of difference, if the truth has not been clarified to the extent that the opponent’s ignorance of it cannot be forgiven, then here we may forgive the opposition. As, in this situation, he has an opinion and we have our opinion. However, if the truth is plainly evident, then here we do not excuse the opposition. Thus, this statement when left in this encompassing fashion is incorrect.

As for the second part: ‘we cooperate with one another in that which we agree upon,’ this is also incorrect. This is because if we agree upon that which is falsehood, it would then be impermissible for us to cooperate with one another with regards to it. Rather, we should forbid one another from engaging in this falsehood instead. So this statement, when left in this encompassing fashion, is also incorrect. It may be that the one who considers this part correct [like Shaykh al-Albānī as aforementioned] is referring only to the matters that are not from falsehood or contrary to the sharīʿah.

The first sentence is used by groups who have deviance in their creed and methodology but still fall under the umbrella of Islām. So they say: We should all seek shade under the umbrella of Islām, even if we differ with one another. It is for this reason that you find them allowing into their congregations clear, rebellious, sinners like those who shave their beards, or smoke cigarettes, or are careless regarding ṣalāh, and the likeness of such traits. Conversely, those who wish for all of the people to be completely righteous in every minor and major aspect of their lives otherwise they are not our brothers, this is also a mistake.5

[1] Authentic: narrated by Muslim: 55, Abū Dāwūd: 4944 and Nasāʾī: 4235.
[2] Authentic: narrated by Muslim, the occurrences mentioned here are an amalgamation of the hadiths: 141, 158, 159.
[3] Source: Jāmiʿ Turāth al-ʿAllāmah al-Albānī 3:75.
[4] Source: Liqāʾ al-Bāb al-Maftūḥ 25: 75.
[5] Source: Tafsīr al-Uthaymīn 2:15.

Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: February 29, 2024
Edited: March 1, 2024


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Most Popular: Last 30 Days