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The Legacy of Imām Ibn Bāz

A compilation that was put together at the death of Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Bāz (d. AH 1420).  It clears up many of the misconceptions that have crept into the reputation of this great Imām.

And then Ibn Bāz reminded King  of an oath he made before his ascension, saying “On this occasion I would like to remind you of your promise to the council in your letter of 16/7/1401 (May, 1981) of the determination of the government to set up an Islamic financial agency.

Taken from ‘A Question of Interest: the Paralysis of Saudi Banking’ by P.W. Wilson (pp.186-188):

The Asharq Al-Awsat article was just SAMA’s [Saudi al-ʿArabīan Monetary Agency] opening parry…the agency again tried to question Islamic banking by allowing one of its employees, [X], to question the ulema’s stand on interest and Islamic banking…..[X]’s paper…began with the provocative statement, “it is possible to say that there will not be Islamic strength without economic strength, and there will not be economic strength without banks, and there will not be banks without interest.”…[X]’s conclusion was that simple interest charged by banks had nothing to do with the riba mentioned in the Koran and therefore should not be banned…

….In December, 1986, ibn Baz and his allies wrote replies to [X]’s paper…Quoting sayings of the Prophet to prove that simple interest was indeed riba, ibn Baz thundered against [X]’s assertion that there would be no Islamic economic strength without banks and interest. “The experience of Muslims from the time of the Prophet until banks were established is evidence of the fallacy of his argument…the Muslim economy has been righteous…it has gone for more than 13 centuries without banks or riba (interest). Our wealth grew through righteous dealing….anyone with the narrowest vision knows that riba banks are against a sound economy and against the public interest and are among the greatest of reasons for the collapse, unemployment, the elimination of blessing and the rule of our enemies. We ask [Allāh] that He deliver Muslims from this and give them vision and uprighteousness.” ibn Baz then ended his letter with a blunt warning…”No one may make permissible something which [Allāh] has forbidden. We ask [Allāh]…to help the writer…to return to truth and repent for what he issued and to announce it to the community. Perhaps [Allāh] will forgive him.”

Proponents of Islamic banking didn’t rest there. In February, 1987, the Imam of the Grand Mosque at Mecca and the three judges of the Western Province Court of Appeals–four of the pillars of Saudi al-ʿArabīa’s ulema–wrote to ibn Baz expressing their horror at the spread of interest, and urged him to press the country’s leaders to do something about it. Heeding their call, ibn Baz addressed a letter to King Fahd the next month, renewing his appeal for the immediate creation of Islamic banking institutions “which Muslims could use instead of riba banks. With these, they could protect themselves against the wrath, vengeance and severe punishment of [Allāh] that threaten those who go against His orders and beyond His boundaries…it is feared that the economic recession and fall in incomes that has occurred in this country and others could be warning of the imminent consequences that could end for us our blessing and in their place bring misfortune, punishment and vengeance upon us…the path of [Allāh] cannot be exchanged or changed, and we are a people of His people bound by His path as are other people, except that [Allāh] covers us with His grace. Might we seek His forgiveness for the war we are waging upon Him and His Prophet, and cease dealing in riba in its various forms, to purify the country and its people from its filth and stain.”

And then ibn Baz reminded King Fahd of an oath he made before his ascension, saying “On this occasion I would like to remind you of your promise to the council in your letter of 16/7/1401 (May, 1981) of the determination of the government to set up an Islamic financial agency. I ask that an urgent royal decree be issued to finish the necessary studies to create this agency as soon as possible, along with the proposed Islamic banks, as an alternative to the present riba banks. The shaykhs are still receiving embarrassing written and oral inquiries which they are not able to answer on why there are no Islamic banks that don’t deal in interest in the Kingdom of Saudi al-ʿArabīa, which is at the forefront of the countries that fight riba.” [Author’s note: Taken from ibn Baz’ letter to King Fahd. All documents written by the cleric were supplied by lawyers.]

Fahd’s response has never been published. However, shortly thereafter, several events occurred that suggest that Fahd had bowed to their wishes. First, the country’s fledgling stock exchange was closed after religious leaders reportedly complained that traḍīng was in the hands of the unIslamic banks…

Taken from ‘Al-Istiqāmah’ magazine (Issue No.1, pp.3-4) being translated from Shaykh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Bāz’s Majmūʿ Fatāwá wa Maqālāt Mutanawwi’ah (3/348-350):

The status of the Muslim woman in Islām is a very noble and lofty one, and her effect is very great in the life of every Muslim. Indeed, the Muslim woman is the initial teacher in the building of a righteous society, providing she follows the guidance from the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah of His Prophet (ﷺ). Since adherence to the Qurʾān and the Sunnah distances every Muslim – male or female – from being misguided in any matter…

The secret of her importance lies in the tremendous burden and responsibility that is placed upon her, and the difficulties that she has to shoulder – responsibilities and difficulties some of which not even a man bears. This is why the most important obligation upon a person is to show gratitude to the mother, kindness, and good companionship with her. And in this matter, she is to be given precedence over and above the father…

A man came to Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) and said: O Messenger of Allāh! Who from amongst mankind warrants the best companionship from me? He replied: “Your mother.” The man asked: Then who? So he replied: “Your mother.” The man then asked: Then who? So the Prophet replied again: “Your mother.” The man then asked: Then who? So he replied: “Then your father.” [Related by al-Bukhārī (no.5971) and Muslim (7/2),from Abū Hurayrah raḍīAllāhu ʿanhu]. So this necessitates that the mother is given three times the like of kindness and good treatment than the father.

As regards the wife, then her status and her effect in making the soul tranquil and serene has been clearly shown in the noble āyah (verse), in His – the Most High’s – saying:

“And from amongst His Signs is this: That He created for you wives from amongst yourselves, so that you may find serenity and tranquility in them. And He has put between you love and compassion. Indeed, in this are signs for those who reflect.”
[Sūrah Room 30:21].

….And do not forget about ‘Aaishah – raḍīAllāhu ʿanhā – and her great effect. Since even the great Ṣaḥābah (Companions) used to take knowledge of Ḥadīth from her, and many of the Sahaabiyaat (female Companions) learned the various rulings pertaining to women’s issues from her…

And I have no doubt that my mother – may Allāh shower His mercy upon her -had a tremendous effect upon me, in encouraging me to study; and she assisted me in it. May Allāh greatly increase her reward and reward her with the best of rewards for what she did for me.

And there is no doubt also, that the house in which there is kindness, gentleness, love, and care, along with the correct Islamic tarbiyah (education and cultivation) will greatly affect the man. So he will become- if Allāh wills – successful in his affairs and in any matter – whether it be seeking knowledge, traḍīng, earning a living, or other than this. So it is Allāh alone that I ask to grant success and to guide us all to that which He loves and is pleased with. And may the prayers and peace of Allāh be upon our Prophet Muḥammad, and upon his Family, his Companions and his followers.

Taken from ‘Knowledge’ by Shaykh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn ʿAbdullāh ibn Bāz and translated by ‘Ahmar ibn Muḥammad Iqbal (p.5):

‘…It is very clear that the merits and virtues of knowledge vary depending on the extent of one’s adherence to it. The greatest and most excellent knowledge is that which pertains to Allāh, His names, and His attributes, and this knowledge is known as ʿaqīdah (belief). Indeed to Allāh, the Exalted and Supreme, belongs the best example which is the highest description in every aspect of His essence, names, attributes and actions.

Following this is that which is related to Allāh’s right over His creation, what He has prescribed upon them. Following this is what supports and bonds it in understanding such as knowledge of the principles of Arabic, Islamic terminology, principles of fiqh, ḥadīth methodology and other sciences which are connected to this knowledge, which assist it in both understanding and precision.

The biography of the Prophet (ﷺ), Islamic history, biography of the narrators of ḥadīth and of the scholars of Islām are also part of this knowledge.’

Ibid. (pp.10-11):

‘…So this shows us the great excellence of the students of knowledge. For whoever corrects his intention in seeking knowledge and desires only His Face, he is on a road to salvation (from the Fire) and happiness (in Paradise).

Knowledge should be sought for the right reasons and for its implementation (acting according to the knowledge) not for the sake of ostentation (riyā’), fame, or for the sake of any other gain from the ephemeral gains of this world; rather, he learns it to be acquainted with his Dīn, to have insight into what Allāh has made incumbent upon him, to strive to take the people out of darkness and into the light, so he seeks knowledge and acts upon it and teaches others about the good that a Muslim is ordered to do.

Every path that he takes in search of knowledge is a way to Paradise; this is true for every path, literal or otherwise: his journey from one country to another; going from one circle of knowledge to another; and from one mosque to another for the sole intention of seeking knowledge, likewise memorizing and studying Islamic books of knowledge, perusal, and writing are also from the ways of seeking knowledge.

A proper student is concerned with all these paths that lead to knowledge. He seeks it, desiring the Face of His Lord, the Mighty and the Majestic. He wants to seek Allāh’s pleasure and a home in Paradise; he wants to understand and reflect upon His Dīn; he wants to know what Allāh has made incumbent upon him and what He has prohibited him from, then acts accordingly; he wants to know his Lord with insight and cognizance; he wants to rescue people (from the Fire of Hell); he wants to be amongst the guided callers striving for the truth, and he wants to guide people to Allāh through knowledge. So wherever he turns he is in great excellence with these correct intentions…’

Ibid. (pp.20-22):

‘…The student of knowledge should take great care about being lazy about what Allāh has made obligatory and from falling into that which He has forbidden – for others will follow him in it. Likewise, he should not be neglectful of the sunnah [Tr.note: …Here Shaykh Ibn Bāz uses the word sunnah to mean the recommended deeds…] and the makrūhāt. If he becomes lazy others will also become lazy. It is important that he takes care in reviving the Sunnah, even though a particular act may not be compulsory, in order to encourage the people to follow it, and to be an example for them. He (the student of knowledge) must keep away from the makrūhāt and doubtful matters so that the people do not imitate him.

The student of knowledge has great significance and the people of knowledge are the select amongst the creation. Upon them are obligations and responsibilities over and above everyone else. The Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Everyone is a shepherd, and is responsible for his flock.” [Bukhārī] The people of knowledge are shepherds and guides. They should be concerned about society as it is their flock…’

Taken from ‘Al-Ibānah’ magazine (Vol 1, No.2, pp.7-8), being a translation of Ad-daʿwah IlAllāh wa Akhlāqud-Duʿāʾt (pp.37-43) by ShaykhʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Bāz:

So it is obligatory upon the dāʿī (caller) to have ikhlās (sincerity and purity of intentions and actions) for Allāh – the Mighty and Majestic -neither desiring to show-off, nor desiring reputation, nor desiring the praises and the accolades of the people. Rather, the dāʿī should only call to Allāh, seeking the Face of Allāh…and this is the most important etiquette and the greatest quality…

….call the people to Allāh upon ‘ilm (knowledge), and not ignorance…so beware of calling to Allāh based upon ignorance, and beware of speaking without due knowledge. Indeed, ignorance destroys, it does not build; and it causes corruption, not reformation and correction…

From the akhlāq that it is necessary to have – O dāʿī – is to be mild and forbearing in your daʿwah, and being gentle and patient in it, as were all the Messengers ʿalayhimus-ṣalātu was-salām. Beware of being hasty, harsh and strict in your daʿwah, rather be patient, mild and gentle…

Do not turn the people away from the Dīn due to your harshness, ignorance, or other such behaviour. On the contrary, be mild, forbearing and patient; and be soft and pleasant in speech, so your words may have an effect upon the heart of your brother, or that it may have an effect upon the one you are addressing the call to. Then the people will better appreciate your call and invitation. So undue strictness causes people to become distant, not close; and it causes separation, not unity. Therefore, it is a must to be gentle, as the Messenger ʿalayhis-ṣalātu was-salām said: “Indeed gentleness does not enter into anything except it beautifies it, nor is it removed from anything except that it disfigures it.” [Muslim 12/212]. And he ʿalayhis-ṣalātu was-salām also said: “Whosoever is prevented from gentleness, is actually prevented from all good and excellence.” [Muslim16/145].

From the necessary – or rather obligatory – etiquettes and qualities that a dāʿī must possess is acting in accordance to what he is calling to, and being a righteous example of what is being called to. He should not call to do something and then not do it himself, nor call to leave something, whilst engaging in it himself. This is the condition of the losers – we seek Allāh’s refuge in this!

….the dāʿī should have an excellent character and praiseworthy conduct, being patient and inviting to patience. The dāʿī should be sincere in his daʿwah and strive in spreading goodness to the people and keeping them away from falsehood. At the same time the dāʿī should supplicate for the guidance of others, saying: “O Allāh! Guide him, and grant him the ability to accept the truth.” So from the excellent manners of the dāʿī is supplicating, guiding and being patient with the harms that come with this daʿwah.

When the Prophet ʿalayhis-ṣalātu was-salām was informed that the tribe of Daws had become disobedient he said: “O Allāh! Guide Daws and bring them.”[Bukhārī 6/105]. So the dāʿī should…not despair, nor feel hopeless, nor say anything except good. He should not be harsh and strict, nor should he say a word that may cause aversion to the truth. However, if anyone commits aggression and oppression, then a different treatment is to be afforded to such people…if possible such a person should be imprisoned, or something similar to that – depending upon the nature of his opposition to the daʿwah. However, as long as he causes no harm, then it is upon you to be patient and self-evaluate and to debate with him in ways that are best. If any personal harm was caused by such a person, then such harm should be borne with patience – as did the Messengers and those who followed them in goodness and righteousness, patiently bear such harms.

I ask Allāh to grant us all the well-being and the ability to convey this daʿwah in a wise manner, that He corrects our hearts and our actions, and that He grants to us the understanding of the Dīn and firmness upon it -making us of those who are guided and guiding others, righteous and teaching others righteousness. Indeed He is the Most Majestic, the Supreme, the Most Generous.

Taken from ‘Words of Advice Regarding daʿwah’ from Shaykh ʿAbd al ʿAzīz ibn ʿAbdullāh ibn Bāz, compiled by Ziyād ibn Muḥammad as-Sa’doon and translated by ibn Feroz Dīn & ibn ‘Abd al-Ghafūr (pp.66-68):

….Among the characteristics and morals which the dāʿī must possess is acting upon his own daʿwah, and he must be a good example of what he is called to. He shouldn’t be someone who calls to something and then leaves that thing himself. Nor should he be someone who forbids an action and then does that action himself. This is the condition of the losers, and we seek refuge with Allāh from this.

As for the successful believers they call to the truth, act upon it, eagerly seek it, and hasten towards it. They also keep away from those things that they themselves forbid.

Allāh, the Most High, says in the Qurʾān,

O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do. Most hateful it is with Allāh that you say that which you do not do.
[Sūrah as-Saff (61):2-3]

“And who is better in speech than he who invites (men) to Allāh, the Most High, and does righteous deeds and says I am one of the Muslims.”
[Sūrah al-Fuṣṣilat 41:33]

This magnificent verse clarifies to us that the dāʿī must be one that acts righteously calling to Allāh, the Most High, with his tongue as well as with his actions as it is specified in the Qurʾān, “…and (the one who) does righteous deeds.”

So the dāʿī must call the people with his tongue and with his actions, and there is no one better in speech than these types of people. They are those who call and direct the people to Allāh through their pure speech, actions, and whole conduct which make them become righteous examples.

Similarly, the Prophets, ʿalayhimus-salām, gave daʿwah through their speech as well as their actions and indeed through their whole way of life. Thus many of those who were being called benefitted more from their conduct than from what they actually said, especially the general people and those deficient in knowledge. So these people derived benefit from this virtuous lifestyle, and their behaviour and their actions, to a greater extent than from mere speech which they may not necessarily have understood.

So truly the most important task for the dāʿī is that he must have a righteous lifestyle, he must be righteous in his actions and possess a righteous character so that he can be emulated in his words and actions…

Taken from ‘Al-Istiqāmah’ magazine (Issue No.4, p.3) being a translation of some of the wasāyah given by Shaykh Ibn al-’Uthaymīn to the brothers in England:

….O my brothers, daʿwah (calling to Islām) is to be done by your actions, as you are commanded to do it with your speech. However, daʿwah through actions will be more effective than daʿwah which is merely done with speech. So I say again, that those who practice Islām in a wrong manner, they will create a false understanding of Islām in people’s view. Allāh -the Most High – has said about those who invite to what is correct, but do not practice themselves:

“O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do. It is most hateful to Allāh that you say that which you do not do.”
[Sūrah as-Saff 61:2-3]

Taken from ‘Words of Advice Regarding daʿwah’ from Shaykh ʿAbd al ʿAzīz ibn ʿAbdullāh ibn Bāz, compiled by Ziyād ibn Muḥammad as-Sa’doon and translated by ibn Feroz Dīn & ibn ‘Abd al-Ghafūr (variously from pp.80-113):

….The youth in any nation are the backbone which form the element of movement and vitality in society. They have the energy to bring about effective results…Usually, a nation is never revived except due to the awareness and continuous enthusiasm of the youth. However, over-enthusiasm of the youth must be guided through the wisdom of the old. The youth must contemplate and look into the experiences of the old, they shouldn’t leave one for the other, but rather must preserve both of these qualities…

….The leaders and the scholars should exert efforts to enlighten and direct the population of Muslims and combat the efforts of the enemies of Islām, by retaliating with their own efforts…The Muslim Ummah is an Ummah that has been entrusted with this religion and has the responsibility of conveying it. If we are careful to arm our boys and girls in Islamic societies, with knowledge, understanding and comprehension of Islamic Jurisprudence and accustom them to apply these things from a small age, then we will not fear, by the permission of Allāh, the Most High, as long as they continue holding onto the dīn of Allāh, glorifying it, following its laws, and fighting that which contraḍīcts it. And indeed, their enemies will fear them…There are many verses in the Qurʾān which convey this message. The most important factor for us in fighting against the efforts of our enemies is raising and preparing a generation that knows the reality of Islām. This can be achieved through guidance, taking care of the house and family, the method of educating them, the media and improvement of the society…In addition to this is the role of steering and guiding which needs to be taken by the Muslim leadership, persevering in beneficial work and continually reminding the people that which will benefit them and make the belief within them grow and flourish…

We have read and heard in the news much about our Muslim brothers in communities where the majority of the population is non-Muslim. They are under authorities which impose restrictions on them, in practising their Religion and establishing their rites of worship, in order to distance them from their religion through compulsion and in other ways. We ask Allāh to firmly establish these Muslim minorities, and indeed all the Muslims upon Islām and keep them safe from the plots of the enemies.

There is no doubt that they are in a seriously vulnerable situation. Because of this situation, these Islamic minorities need all the help, co-operation and assistance, from the political sphere and this is especially from the Islamic governments from the Arab world as well as others that have special concern for Islām. They have relations with these nations through sending delegates, dispatching messages and urging their embassies to act, or any other similar methods that will help their brothers in these regions. This will raise the morale of the minorities and make the (oppressing) nations realise that these minorities have brothers from the same faith, who are concerned about their situation and who follow their news. If Allāh, the Most High wills, the injustice and oppression will then be lifted from the Muslims when these oppressing nations and others begin to realise that behind the minority of Muslims is a nation which feels their pain and is interested in their affairs. As a result, they will give into their requests and will raise their hand from oppressing them, especially when the majority of these nations need Islamic countries for their economic and other affairs.

There is no doubt that the minority of Muslims everywhere are in urgent need of moral support and material help and resources to build mosques and schools that will help them in their Islamic work…So therefore, it is obligatory upon every Muslim to help in accordance with his ability…

Finally, I advise my Muslim brothers and sisters in Islām, to have taqwá (fear) of Allāh in all matters and to be firmly established on His dīn. They should fear Him wherever they are and be heedful of Him. They should take account of themselves, and be careful not to leave what Allāh has made obligatory upon them, nor to commit a sin.

I advise them to co-operate upon Birr and Taqwá and to be sincere to each other and advise each other with truth and patience wherever they are. I also advise them to gain a deep and good understanding of the dīn and attend circles of knowledge and question the scholars…

I ask Allāh to make those in charge of the Muslims and their leaders, upright and honest and to guide everyone to the straight path. I ask Him to make their leaders and their aides successful, and all their people to rule by the Islamic laws and rulings. And to be ruled by them, to be firmly established upon them, and to advise each other upon them, and to beware of and forbid that which contraḍīcts them…

Praise be to Allāh, the Most High, and peace and blessings upon our Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ) and upon his family and his companions.

Published: June 5, 2007
Edited: August 26, 2022


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