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Yasir Qadhi: Do Not Outsource Scholarship – Insource It!

Al-ʿAllāmah Ṣāliḥ ibn Fawzān al-Fawzān, Shaykh Mūsá Richardson

A response to Yasir Qadhi’s call to abandonment of the Scholars, to enter a new epoch of localised Western scholarship, a modernity of Islām prefaced on a renaissance guided by al-Maghrib Institute.

Almost a year ago (March 2013) we published the audio benefit: Yasir Qadhi Will Separate You From the Scholars.  The audio clip was a prelude of what was to come in the evolution of Yasir Qadhi’s quest to sever all connections between his followers and the Scholars of Islām (the inheritors of the prophets). Cunningly, he employs rhetoric and rationale to persuade his listeners of the need for a new epoch of scholarship, ‘the local scholar for the local Muslim’. As far back as 15 yrs ago, the likes of Yahya Ibrahim (an associate of Qadhi), Muḥammad Syed Adly, Abū Muslimah, Walīd Basyouni (now an al-Maghrib instructor) and others were dropping poison into the pristine water stream of the Salafīs by inferring communities not rush to the likes of Shaykh Rabīʿ al-Madkhalī or Shaykh ʿʿUbayd al-Jābirī for guidance (i.e. Saudi Scholars). In those days, no one was bold enough to suggest cutting them off or replacing them. In the year 1999, the desire of Muḥammad Syed Adly and Abū Muslimah to create a base of leadership (scholarship) in the West was debunked by the famous lecture There are No Scholars in the West by the late Abū ʿUways (raḥimahullāh) – the lecture caused much rectification and called the Muslims to turn to the scholars for guidance, the antithesis on Qadhi’s current quest. Flash forward, after 15 yrs of attempts to water down the Prophetic methodology, signing pledges of cooperation with groups of innovation, all culminating now with the bold, haughty and overt attempt to permanently fixate the idea of abandoning the Salafī scholars in the minds of the Muslims. 

For many years, the Salafī Duʿāʾt in the West have been warning the Muslims in communities across the West of the desire of Yasir Qadhi and those like him to disconnect the Muslims from the Scholars, to change the psyché of the Muslims to one of interdependence and not one of following the people of knowledge, to broaden (distort) the horizon of scholarship to a more inclusive realm of Ashʿarī, Ṣūfī, Kharajee and other factions. They made this warning – in spite of opposition, constant slagging and belittlement – with patience and forbearance, never wavering, continuously teaching the books of the scholars and arranging telephone links to the scholars. So after this long journey of opposition and years of building the claim for self-scholarship (the al-Maghrib Institute being the academia du jour), Yasir Qadhi seeks to openly challenge the sources of scholarship, unsheathing his sword against the scholars of Saudi al-ʿArabīa and beyond in favour of a multiplicity of self-proclaimed scholars including figureheads of innovation (Yusuf al-Qardawi, Salman al-Ouda etc.). His opening praise of the early Ikhwān al-Muslimūn, a not-so-discrete foreshadow of what was to come in his miseducation of his audience.This is Yasir Qadhi, full-circle, after fifteen or more years of building, he has set his crosshairs directly on the Scholars of Islām, open and for all to see.

Yasir Qadhi mentions: 

“Chose a scholar who is living your life, in your land, in your culture…we outsource our fatwás to back home…as if those scholars are the only ones who know our situation…you cannot get a fatwá about living in secular democracy from someone who never lived in a secular democracy, you cannot get a fatwá about your homosexual neighbour from someone who has never met a homosexual in his life, there has to be a human element….Wisdom, most of it comes from life, not books…so my advice to you – look local…there are scholars here in Detroit.”

“We really do need to insource our fatāwá not outsource them…you should not go for fatwá search engines in other lands, go to your local community aalims, go to people who have studied and trained in al-Azhar, in Madīnah, in Timbuktu, wherever…bring in someone who knows your culture, your civilisation…when you outsource, they (scholars) don’t have the context, don’t outsource to Bangalore or to Timbuktu or to Saudi al-ʿArabīa, find people who understand your situation”

“There is an Ālim that I disagree with in so many issues, but wAllāhi as Allāh is my witness, I find him to be from the main people we look up to and that is Shaykh Yusuf al-Qardawi…I admire the guy as a towering intellectual genius…as an Ālim, I don’t think anyone can rival that type of scholarship…your job: find the Ālim you feel comfortable  with…look locally, don’t outsource back home.”

[Source: December 7, 2013 lecture in Detroit entitled “Looking Back as We Look Forward”]

Consider the words of Qadhi…and now weigh them upon the scale against a true Scholar, Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān, when he was asked about such claims:

The noble scholar, Shaykh Ṣāliḥ ibn Fawzān al-Fawzān was asked:

Virtuous shaykh -may Allāh give you success- there is a questioner from America who asks: There is a person in America who always says that the scholars in this land do not know the situation of the Muslims in America. Accordingly, we do not accept their verdicts. He repeats this often. What is your advice about this and what instructions do you offer?

He replied:

They (the scholars) possess the knowledge that Allāh sent down, and they give verdicts about the ḥalāl and the ḥarām, the ḥalāl and the ḥarām in America and elsewhere, everywhere on earth. Ḥarām matters are impermissible in every place, and ḥalāl matters are permissible in every place.

A scholar gives verdicts to anyone in the world, with beneficial knowledge.

This is takh-theel (leading the people into forsaking the scholars). The one who says this kind of speech is leading the people into forsaking (the scholars). He wants to separate you from your scholars! Yes! So do not accept this speech from him.

[Above translation by Mūsá Richardson]

Abū al-ʿAbbās Mūsá Richardson comments:

“With these abundantly clear words coming from a major scholar of the Muslim Ummah like Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān (may Allāh preserve him), we pray that our brothers and sisters in Islām who have been caught up in the Al-Maghrib Institute trap can face the reality of what they have been involved in. We pray they will seek Allāh’s Assistance and remove themselves from harm’s way before the deal is sealed and they end up pinched off entirely from the scholars, and as a result, from the rest of the Ummah, and from the Islamic knowledge that they claim to seek after as well.

May Allāh save us and our brothers and sisters in Islām from the schemes of Shayṭān and his allies. And Allāh knows best.

May Allāh raise the rank of our Messenger Muḥammad and grant him and his family and Companions peace.”

Further reading:

Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān on the Reality of Yasir Qadhi

Once They Replace Our Scholars, Where Will They Take Us

Published: January 24, 2014
Edited: July 28, 2022

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