- Question: What are the books you recommend a young person that is starting out in his Islaamic studies to read?
Answer: If he is a novice, then from the books of Fiqh, we advise him to read "Fiqh As-Sunnah" of Sayyid Saabiq, while seeking assistance from some of its references, such as "Subul-us-Salaam" (of Imaam As-Sana'aanee, (رحمه الله)). And if he looks into "Tamaam-ul-Mannah" (of Al-Albaanee) then that will be stronger for him. And I advise him to read "Ar-Rawdat-un-Nadiyyah" (of Sideeq Hasan Khaan).
As for the subject of Tafseer, then he should habitually read from the book "Tafseer Al-Qur'aan-ul-'Adheem" of Ibn Katheer - even though it is somewhat long - for it is the most authentic from the books of Tafseer today.
Then, on the subject of religious exhortation and heart-softening narrations, he should read the book "Riyaad-us-Saaliheen" of Imaam An-Nawawee.
Then, with regard to the books related to Creed, I advise him to read the book "Sharh Al-'Aqeedat-ut-Tahaawiyyah" of Ibn Abee Al-'Izz Al-Hanafee. And he should seek assistance, also, from my comments and explanations to it.
Then, he should make it his customary practice to study from the books of Shaykh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah and his student Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, may Allaah have mercy on them. For I hold them to be from the rare and unique Muslim scholars that have treaded upon the methodology of the Salaf As-Saalih (righteous predecessors) in their understanding, while having Taqwaa and righteousness. And we do not purify anyone over Allaah. [Al-Asaalah, Issue #5]
- Question: What are the foundations by which the Islaamic world of today can be set anew?
Answer: I believe that what has been reported in the authentic hadeeth provides an explicit answer for this sort of question and its likes, which have become manifest in this present era. And it is his, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), saying:
"When you involve yourselves in interest bearing (business) transactions, and you hold on to the tails of cows, and you are pleased with agriculture (i.e. the land) and you abandon making Jihaad in the Way of Allaah, Allaah will send humiliation down upon you. And He will not remove it from you until you return back to your Religion."[/i] 
Thus, the principal foundation is returning back to Islaam.
This matter has also been indicated by Imaam Maalik (رحمه الله) in a reported saying of his that ought to be recorded in golden ink. And it is his saying:"Whosoever introduces into Islaam an innovation, which he deems is good, then he has claimed that Muhammad, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), has betrayed (the trust of conveying) the Message. Read the saying of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic: 'This day I have completed your Religion for you, and I have perfected My favor upon you, and I am pleased with Islaam as a Religion for you.' [Surat-ul-Maa'idah: 3] So whatever was not (part of) the Religion on that day, is not (part of) the Religion on this day. And the last part of this Ummah (nation) will not be rectified, except by that which rectified its first part."
This last sentence (from Imaam Maalik) is the main point with regard to presenting an answer to this question. This is such that he said: "The last part of this Ummah (nation) will not be rectified, except by that which rectified its first part."
So just as the condition of the Arabs during the Days of Ignorance (Jaahiliyyah) was not rectified except by the coming of their Prophet Muhammad, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), with revelation from the heavens - which aided them in this world and which will save them in the next - then the foundation that the good Islaamic well-being must be set upon in this time, is nothing else but the return to the Qur'aan and the Sunnah. In spite of this, this matter needs some elaboration, due to the vast number of Islaamic groups and parties that exist in the field (of Da'wah) and which claim for themselves to be upon the way by which Islaamic society and Muslim rule can be actualized.
We know from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), that the way towards actualizing this (goal) is only one - and it is that which Allaah has mentioned in His saying:
"And this is My straight Path, so follow it. And do not follow the (other) paths for they will separate you from His Path." [Surah Al-An'aam: 153]
The Messenger of Allaah, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), explained this to his Companions. Thus, one day he, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), drew a straight line for them on the ground and then drew short lines on the sides of it. Then, while his, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), noble finger moved up and down the straight line, he recited the afore-mentioned ayah. Then he pointed to the lines that were drawn on the sides of the straight line.
Afterward, he said:
"This is the Path of Allaah and these are the (other) paths. At the top of each of these (other) ways, there is a devil calling towards it." 
In another ayah, Allaah further supports what He stated in the previous ayah along with the Messenger of Allaah's, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), explanation for it in the afore-mentioned hadeeth. Thus He says:
"And whosoever opposes the Messenger after the guidance has been clearly explained to him, and follows a way other than the Way of the Believers, We will turn him to what he has chosen and land him in Hell - what an evil destination!" [Surah An-Nisaa: 115]
In this ayah there is profound and extensive wisdom, for Allaah, the Most Perfect, has connected the "Way of the Believers" to what the Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), came with. The Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), also indicated this point in the hadeeth about the splitting up of the Ummah into sects. So when he was asked concerning the saved sect, he, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), said:
"That which (adheres to what) I and my companions are upon today." 
So what then is the wisdom behind Allaah's mentioning of "the Way of Believers" in this ayah? And what is the significance in the Messenger of Allaah's linking of his Companions to himself in the previous hadeeth? The answer is: These noble companions were the ones who received the two revelations (i.e. the Qur'aan and Sunnah) from the Messenger of Allaah, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), having that explained to them by him, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), directly, without there being any intermediary. But what is the condition of those that came after them? There is no doubt that the matter is as the Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), said:
"Verily, the one who is present sees what the one who is absent does not see." 
This is why the Eemaan of the first Companions was much stronger then the Eemaan of those who came after them. And this is what Allaah's Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), alluded to in the mutawaatir hadeeth:
"The best of mankind is my generation, then those after them, then those after them." 
So based on this, a Muslim cannot depend solely on himself for obtaining the understanding of the Qur'aan and the Sunnah. Rather he must seek help to understand the two of them by returning back to the noble Companions, for they are the ones who received that from the Prophet, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), having it explained at times by his sayings, at other times by his actions, and at other times by his silent approval.
Therefore, from the great necessities is that we must link 1) the call to the Qur'aan and Sunnah with 2) Following the Way that the righteous predecessors (As-Salaf-us-Saalih) were upon, acting upon what has been stated previously in some ayaat and ahaadeeth. Such as when Allaah mentioned the "Way of the Believers" and when the noble Prophet, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), and his Companions indicated that the understanding of the Qur'aan and the Sunnah is based upon what our first predecessors (Salaf), from the Sahaabah and those who followed them in righteousness, were upon.
And here there occurs a very important question, which many of the Islaamic groups and parties have neglected. Indeed it is: "What is the way towards gaining knowledge of what his, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), Companions were upon from the understanding and practical application of this Sunnah?"
The answer is: There is no way towards finding that out, except by returning to the science of Hadeeth, the Science of Hadeeth Terminology, the Science of Al-Jarh wat-Ta'deel, and the application of it's principles and its terms. This is such that the scholars are able to know what is authentically reported on the Prophet, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), from that which is not authentically reported on him, (صلى الله علیه وسلم). In order to conclude this answer, we say - in words that are clearer - to the Muslims who strongly desire to return the glory, honor and rule back to Islaam, that you must realize two things:
As for the first, then it is that you must incorporate and return into the minds of the Muslims, the Religion of Islaam that is purified from all that has entered into it, which was not part of it on the day when Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, revealed His saying:
"This day I have completed your religion for you, and I have perfected My favor upon you and I am pleased with Islaam as a Religion for you." [Surah Al-Maa'idah: 3]
And returning to this matter, in this day - as it was during the first times - requires intense and extreme efforts on the part of the Muslim scholars in the different regions of the world.
The second thing is that: This persistent and serious work (to rectify the Ummah) must be joined with this purified knowledge. So the day that the Muslims return to the understanding of their Religion, as the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), understood it, and they then work hard to implement this pure Islaam, based on a knowledgeable and correct manner in every aspect of life, then it is on that day that the Muslims will celebrate the victory of Allaah.
This is what I was able to say in this short time and I ask Allaah for us as well as for all the Muslims, that He gives us the correct understanding of Islaam based in light of His Book, the authentic Sunnah of His Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), and that which our righteous predecessors (As-Salaf-us-Saalih) were upon. And we ask that He grants us the ability to act upon that. Verily He is the One who hears and responds. [Al-Asaalah, Issue #11]
- Question: Is that which in present days is known as a "military coup" against the ruler, mentioned in the Religion or is it an innovation?
Answer: There is no basis for these actions in Islaam. And it is in opposition to the Islaamic methodology with regard to establishing the da'wah (Call to Islaam) and creating the right atmosphere for it. Rather, it is only an innovation introduced by the disbelievers, which has influenced some Muslims. This is what I stated in my notes and explanation to Al-'Aqeedah At-Tahaawiyyah. [Al-Asaalah, Issue #10]
- Question: What is the correct opinion concerning Al-Hajaaj Ibn Yoosuf Ath-Thaqafee? Is he a disbeliever?
Answer: We bear witness that Al-Hajaaj was an evildoer, an oppressor. However, we do not know from him that he rejected any of those aspects from the Religion, which one is required to know by necessity. Therefore, it is not permissible to declare him a disbeliever just on the basis that he used to commit evil, oppress others and kill innocent Muslims. [Al-Asaalah, Issue #1]
- Question: To what degree is a Muslim to be concerned with politics today, within it's Islaamic guidelines?
Answer: If what is intended by "politics" is the administering of the Ummah, then the reality is that politics is not from the acts of one individual from the people of the Ummah, but rather, it is from the duties of the Muslim State. This is if the objective behind politics, as we stated before, is the administering of the Ummah and the managing of its concerns in order to rectify what is in it from its religious and worldly affairs. So if this is what is intended by "politics", then this is fard kifaayah (a collective obligation). However, it is not for those people who are not in control of the state or of the rule, nor for those who can neither produce benefit nor cause harm.
As for obtaining the news to be aware of the state of affairs and the weakness the Muslims are in, and in order to avoid this outcome, then as we say, this is from the tasfiyah (purification) and the tarbiyah (educating) - purifying Islaam from what has entered into it and focusing on educating the Muslims and bringing them up on this purified Islam. So knowing these general circumstances, which encompass the Muslims, is a must for the matter is as the old Arab poet has stated, taking his meaning from an authentic hadeeth:"I learned evil not for the sake of evil, but to avoid it. And whoever doesn't know good from evil, he will fall into it."
This is derived from a hadeeth - and I mean by it, the hadeeth of Hudhaifah Ibn Al-Yamaan, (رضي الله عنهما), which is reported in the Saheehs of Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim. He, (رضي الله عنهما), said:"The people used to ask Allaah's Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), about the good, but I used to ask him about the evil for fear of it reaching me."
So being aware of what the Muslims are upon from humiliation and weakness in order to turn them away from that towards using the means of knowledge, strength and power, this is an obligation from the many obligations.
As for engaging at length in obtaining news, knowledge of battles and western politics, then this is from the aspect of: "Knowledge of something is better than being ignorant of it." This is something that we do not forsake. However, at the same time, we must not be very enthusiastic and fanatical about it. This is since the Prophet, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), did not establish the affair of his Companions on knowing and following precisely, the news of his enemies to the same extent as he, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), used to focus on teaching his Companions from one perspective and cultivating them on Allaah's command from another perspective. This is our belief concerning politics based on their two categories, which we have mentioned previously. [Al-Asaalah, Issue #18]
- Question: Why use the name Salafee? Is it a call towards a party or a group or a madh-hab (school of thought)? Or is it a new sect in Islaam?
Answer: Indeed, the word Salaf is well known in the Arabic language as well as in the religious terminology. But what concerns us here, is its discussion from the religious standpoint. Thus, it has authentically been reported on the Prophet, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), that during the sickness from which he died from, he said to Faatimah, (رضي الله عنها):
"...So fear Allaah and have patience. And I am the best Salaf (predecessor) for you." 
Furthermore, the scholars have used this word "Salaf" many times, such that it would be too abundant to number and take into account. Sufficient for us, is one example, and it was that which they have used in their battle against innovations:"And every good lies in following he who has preceded (man salaf) while every evil lies in the innovating of he who came after (man khalaf)."
However, there are from those who claim to have knowledge, some people who reject this ascription, claiming that there is no basis for it! And so they say: "It is not permissible for a Muslim to say: 'I am Salafee.'"
So it is as if he is saying that it is not permissible for a Muslim to say: "I am following the Salaf As-Saalih (the Pious Predecessors) in what they were upon from beliefs, worship and methodology"! There is no doubt that such a rejection - if that is what he intended - necessitates that one free himself from the correct Islaam, which the righteous predecessors were upon, at the head of whom was the Prophet, (صلى الله علیه وسلم). This is as is indicated in the mutawaatir hadeeth found in the two Saheehs and other than them, that he, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), said:
"The best of mankind is my generation, then those that come after them, then those that come after them."
So it is not permissible for a Muslim to absolve himself from this ascription to the righteous predecessors, whereas, if he were to absolve himself from any other ascription, the scholars would not be able to ascribe him with disbelief or sinfulness.
As for the one who rejects this name from himself, will you not see him ascribing himself to one of the madh-habs?! Regardless of whether this madh-hab is related to 'Aqeedah (Creed) or Fiqh (Jurisprudence)? So he is either Ash'aree or Matureedee. Or perhaps he is from the people of Hadeeth or Hanafee, or Shaafi'ee or Maalikee or Hanbalee or whatever else enters into the title of "Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah." But in spite of this, the one who ascribes himself to the Ash'aree madh-hab or to one of the four madh-habs is in fact ascribing himself to individuals that are not infallible, without a doubt, even if there were scholars among them who were correct (in their verdicts). I wish I knew - why doesn't he reject the likes of these ascriptions to individuals who are not free from error?
But as for the one who ascribes himself to the Salaf As-Saalih (righteous predecessors), then he indeed ascribes himself to infallibility ('ismah), in the general sense. The Prophet, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), has mentioned that one of the signs of the Saved Sect is that they will cling tightly onto what the Messenger of Allaah, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), was upon and what his Companions were upon. So whosoever holds tightly onto them, then he is certainly upon the guidance from his Lord.
And furthermore, it is an ascription that brings honor to the one that ascribes himself to it, and one that facilitates for him the way of the Saved Sect. And these matters do not apply to anyone that ascribes himself to any other ascription, since they are not free from one of two things. Either it is an ascription to a specific individual that is not infallible or it is an ascription to a group of people who follow the methodology of this individual who is not infallible. So there is no infallibility (in their ascriptions) either way. On the opposite of this, there is the infallibility of the Companions of the Prophet, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), (as a whole). And it is that which we have been commanded to hold tightly onto, from his Sunnah and the Sunnah of his Companions after him.
And we must persist and strongly emphasize that our understanding of Allaah's Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), must be in accordance with the methodology of his, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), Companions. This is so that we can be upon infallibility, as opposed to inclining away towards the right or the left, or deviating with an understanding that comes solely from ourselves, of which there is not found in the Book of Allaah or the Sunnah of His Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), that which provides evidence for it.
Furthermore, why is it not sufficient for us to ascribe ourselves to (just) the Qur'aan and the Sunnah? The reason goes back to two matters, the first of which is related to the religious texts, and the second of which is due to the existence of numerous Islaamic groups.
With regard to the first reason, then we find in the religious texts, a command to obey something else in connection with the Qur'aan and the Sunnah, as is found in Allaah's saying:
"O you who believe! Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger and those in authority amongst you."
So if there were someone in authority, who was given the oath of allegiance by the Muslims, it would be obligatory to obey him just as it would be obligatory to obey the Qur'aan and the Sunnah. So even if he or those around him commit errors, it would be obligatory to obey him in order to repel the harm of differences of opinions. But this is with the well-known condition:
"There is no obedience to a creation (if it involves) disobeying the Creator." 
And Allaah, may He be Exalted, says:
"And whosoever opposes the Messenger after the guidance has been clearly explained to him, and follows a way other than the Way of the Believers, We will turn him to what he has chosen and burn him in Hell - what an evil destination." [Surah An-Nisaa: 115]
Indeed, Allaah, Mighty and Sublime, is free and far removed from all imperfections and defects. And there is no doubt or uncertainty that His mentioning of "the Way of the Believers" here, is only due to an immense and comprehensive wisdom and benefit. So it indicates that there is an important obligation - and it is that our following of the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), must be in accordance with what the first Muslims were upon. And they are the Companions of Allaah's Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), then those who came after them, then those who came after them. And this is what the da'wat-us-salafiyyah (The Salafee Call) invites and calls to. And it is that which is its main priority in the foundation of its call and the methodology of its educating process.
Indeed, the Salafee Call truly unites the Ummah, while any other call only causes division to the Ummah. Allaah, Mighty and Sublime, says:
"O you who believe, fear Allaah, and be with the truthful." [Surah At-Tawbah: 119]
So anyone that distinguishes between the Book and the Sunnah on one side and the Salaf As-Saalih (Righteous Predecessors) on the other side, then he can never be truthful.
As for with regard to the second reason, then the groups and parties of today do not direct at all towards the following of "the Way of the Believers", which has been mentioned in the ayah. And there are some ahaadeeth, which further confirm and support that ayah, such as the hadeeth of the seventy-three sects. All of them will be in the Hellfire except one. The Messenger of Allaah, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), described them as:
"The one which is upon the same thing that I and my companions are upon today." 
This hadeeth resembles that ayah which mentions the "Way of the Believers". Also, there is the hadeeth of Al-'Irbaad Ibn Saariyah, (رضي الله عنه), in which he, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), said:
"So stick to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly-guided Khaleefahs after me." 
So therefore, there are two Sunnahs: The Sunnah of the Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), and the Sunnah of the righteous Khaleefahs.
So there is no doubt that we - who come in a later time - must return back to the Qur'aan, the Sunnah and "the Way of the Believers." And it is not permissible for us to say: "We can understand the Qur'aan and the Sunnah by themselves, without turning towards what the righteous predecessors were upon." And there must be an ascription in this time that distinguishes and is detailed. So it is not sufficient for us to say, "I am a Muslim" only! Or "My madh-hab is Islaam"! For every sect says that! - the Raafidee, the Ibaadee, the Qadyianee, as well as other sectarians!! So what is it that distinguishes you from them?
And if you were to say, "I am a Muslim who is upon the Qur'aan and the Sunnah", this would also not be sufficient. This is because, the members of these sects - of the Ash'arees and the Matureedees and the Hizbees - they all claim to follow these two sources also. So there is no doubt that the clear, plain, distinctive and decisive classification is to say, "I am a Muslim who is upon the Qur'aan and the Sunnah and upon the methodology of the Salaf As-Saalih (Pious Predecessors). And that can be said in short by saying, "I am a Salafee." So based on this, indeed the truth which is unavoidable, is that it is not enough to rely on the Qur'aan and the Sunnah without the methodology of the Salaf, for it explains these two with regard to understanding and concept, knowledge and action, and da'wah (calling) and Jihaad.
And we know that they (the Sahaabah), may Allaah be pleased with them, did not used to fanatically cling onto one specific madh-hab or to one specific individual. So there was not found amongst them he who was Bakree (a follower of Abu Bakr), or 'Umaree (a follower of 'Umar), or 'Uthmaanee (a follower of 'Uthmaan) or 'Alawee (a follower of 'Alee). Rather, if it were more easy for one of them to ask Abu Bakr or 'Umar or Abu Hurairah, he would ask any of them. This is because they believed that it was not permissible to have total and unrestricted devotion in following, except to one individual.
Indeed, he was the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم), the one who did not speak from his own desire, rather it was only revelation revealed to him.
And if we were to submit to these criticizers, for the sake of argument, that we would name ourselves "Muslims" only, without ascribing ourselves to the Salaf - in spite of it being an honorable and correct ascription. Would they abandon classifying themselves with the names of their parties or their madh-habs or their ways - based on the fact that they are not prescribed in the Religion nor are they correct?"So this contrast between us is enough for you
And every container becomes wet due to what is in it."
And Allaah is the Guide to the Right Path. And He, free is He from all defects, is the One in whom we seek assistance. [Al-Asaalah, Issue #9]
- Question: Are there any differences between (1) the disputes that take place between Ahl-us-Sunnah themselves and (2) the talk that is directed from a person of Ahl-us-Sunnah to an innovator? And what are they?
Answer: There is no doubt that there are differences between the two at times and at other times there aren't any. The area of distinction between what occurs amongst the Ahl-us-Sunnah themselves from disputes and debates and between what occurs amongst Ahl-us-Sunnah on one side and the innovators on the other side, is clear and evident. This is because the obligation is that when there occurs a debate and refutation between the Ahl-us-Sunnah themselves, then it must be from the aspect of Allaah's saying:
"By the time. Verily, mankind is truly at loss. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds and enjoin one another towards the truth and enjoin one another towards patience." [Surah Al-'Asr: 1-3]
So any debate or dispute that occurs between the Ahl-us-Sunnah, then it must be based on the likes of this part of the verse:
"And they enjoin one another towards the truth and they enjoin one another towards patience."
This is also how it must be when the Ahl-us-Sunnah debate from one side and those who oppose them with regard to the Sunnah - and they are the innovators - debate from the other side. However, the manners of conduct may differ between the Ahl-us-Sunnah versus themselves and between the Ahl-us-Sunnah versus the innovators. So what is obligatory when there occurs a dispute between the Ahl-us-Sunnah themselves, is that they take into account the saying of Allaah: "Merciful to one another" [Surah Al-Fat'h: 29] when doing that. As for when there occurs a dispute between these Muslims from Ahl-us-Sunnah and the people of innovation, then there may be some harshness and severity in the manners of conduct, which is suitable for this innovation and goes well against their innovation. This is one difference between Ahl-us-Sunnah versus themselves from one perspective and Ahl-us-Sunnah when they are debating or refuting the innovators from another perspective.
However, we must consider something with regard to each side, by which we do not exalt one group over another nor criticize one group over another, and it is that we do not violate the principle found in Allaah's saying: "Call unto the Way of your Lord with wisdom."
So many times when a person of the Sunnah refutes another person of the Sunnah, the refutation does not just require wisdom, but rather it requires what is more important than that, from what has been stated in the likes of Allaah's saying:
"And do not let your hatred of a people cause you to be unjust. Be just! That is closer to Taqwaa." [Surah Al-Maa'idah: 8]
But many times, there occurs vile manners when they are refuting one other. And unfortunately, this has now become manifest recently in current times in such a way as we would love for it not to be present within the Sunni community, which we call the Salafee community. This is what I was able to say in response to this question. [Al-Asaalah, Issue #18]
- Question: What is your view on the book Tafseer Al-Manaar of Sayyid Rasheed Ridaa?
Answer: The book Tafseer-ul-Manaar is a good tafseer (Qur'aanic Commentary), in the general sense, and it deals with many of the problems the Muslims are facing today. It has sections of research on sociological, political and historical issues that are not found in the books of Tafseer that are well known from the past. Rather, these sections of research cannot even be found in the books of contemporary authors. This is since Sayyid Rasheed Ridaa was a big scholar as well as a Muslim politician. However, at the same time, the book contains some deviations from the Sunnah in many places, such as the ahaadeeth of 'Eesaa, the Dajjaal and the Mahdee. Likewise, it has some fataawa (legal rulings) of his that he issued in early years, which are in contradiction to the truth. However, he excused himself from some of them afterwards. [Al-Asaalah, Issue #2]
- Question: Do you hold that the basis of the concept of "collective work" today is an innovation and haraam (forbidden), or does your criticism (of it) include (only) the errors made in its implementation?
Answer: No, there are no grounds for condemning collective work, so long as it is not accompanied by tahazzub (partisanship, i.e. to that group). Working collectively is comprised in numerous verses of the Qur'aan:
"O you who believe, fear Allaah and be with the truthful." [Surah Tawbah: 119]
"Nor do they urge one another in feeding the needy." [Surah Al-Fajr: 18] and:
"Help one another in goodness (birr) and fear of Allaah (taqwaa)." [Surah Al-Maa'idah: 2]
So this type of collective cooperation (mentioned in the above verse) cannot be forsaken in the general sense, for Islaam is based on this type of cooperation. However, the phenomenon that has appeared in present days, in which there is a deviation away from this goal of helping one another in goodness and fearing of Allaah, is that much tahazzub (partisanship) and ta'assub (fanaticism) has mixed into it.
And this is to the point that it has become something tolerated and readily accepted by many of the callers, such as piling up and amassing all in the name of partisanship. We know that Allaah, in many Qur'aanic verses, has forbidden holding partisanship and fanaticism to a (specific) group or a party that has its own specific agenda and methodology. And if this agenda and this methodology are not in conformity with the Sunnah, from every aspect, the partisanship, in these days, becomes a sect, which represents what the Prophet, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), warned of in some ahaadeeth regarded as his explanation and an elaboration of Allaah's saying:
"And be not from among the polytheists - from those who divided their Religion and became sects - every group being pleased with what it has with it." [Surah Room: 31-32]
It is well known to every Muslims the vast amount of groups that are spread all over the Islaamic world today. And that each group has its own agenda and methodology. And these groups are in conflict with one another and hold hatred and enmity for one another. This is contrary to the objective of working and coming together in Islaam. Each group has its own methodology and its own leader.
And every group has its own followers. All of these groups do not come together with one another. Without a doubt, this (understanding) is what is contained in the generality of the previous verse:
"And be not from among the polytheists - from those who divided their Religion and became sects - every group being pleased with what it has with it." [Surah Aali 'Imraan: 31-32]
To summarize: Joining together and working together, in working for the Islaam that the Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), was upon, is an obligatory matter. No two people will disagree in this regard, nor will two goats ram into one another over it, as it is commonly said. Rather, the foundation of the Muslims will never be established nor will the (true) Islaamic society ever become a reality, nor will the Islaamic state ever be founded, except with the likes of this collective effort and working together. However, its condition is that it must not be done with fanaticism to one particular individual or group apart from another. Rather, the fanaticism and enthusiasm should be for Allaah with regard to what has been reported on Allaah and His Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), and it should be done upon the methodology of the Salaf As-Saalih (righteous predecessors). [Al-Asaalah, Issue #18]
- Question: Do you hold that the means (wasaa'il) for da'wah (call to Islaam) are tawqeefiyyah (dependent upon revelation) just like the prayer, fasting and all the other acts of worship? Or do you hold that da'wah is mainly an act of Ijtihaadiyyah worship (dependent upon ones own investigation and deduction) based on the understanding of the textual evidences and religious benefits, which are considered and called for by the means, such as having knowledge and commanding the good?
Answer: Yes. I believe that the means (for giving da'wah) vary from time and place. And this is something that no Faqeeh or scholar of the Book and the Sunnah will dispute.
The means differ from time and place, however proceeding towards applying these means requires knowledge of what the Prophet, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), was upon from his guidance and Sunnah. The general rule for this is that: It is not permissible to turn away from the means that the Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), has handed down to us with the excuse that "The times have changed." So if there exists some type of means, by which that which the Prophet, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), was upon can be supported, such as the means we use today - such as tape-recording and book printing and the easy means of distribution - in order to bring the knowledge to distant places, then no one can forsake this.
However, we know that many callers to Islaam today have accepted some types of means that the Divine Legislation has not prescribed. Rather, they are the means that the Divine Legislation has ordered us to oppose! I think that the cause for the acceptance of these means on their part is due to (their) ignorance of Islaam. And we don't need to give examples, but instead we say that most of the times there cannot be found any scholars, knowledgeable of the Qur'aan and Sunnah, in these Islaamic groups and parties that exist today. The majority of the people who run these groups are from the enthusiastic youth who are zealous for Islaam, then from those who do not exert themselves to study Islaam, by way of the Qur'aan and the Sunnah upon the methodology of the Salaf As-Saalih.
Talk concerning this topic will only lengthen and prolong. So we will now give an example of a dispute that broke out during the close of one Ramadaan between one state and another, such that some states fasted 29 days, and the other land completed 30 days! So in some of the western lands, such as America, there were some Islaamic Callers (i.e. people of Da'wah) who announced that their method for confirming the crescent at the beginning and end of the month was based on astronomy.
Either they were ignorant of the truth or they disregarded it and pretended to be ignorant about it. And as it is said: "The sweeter of the two is (still) bitter."
The Prophet, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), said:
"We are an illiterate nation. We do not record nor do we estimate. A month is like this, like this and like this - [or he (صلى الله علیه وسلم) gestured with his hands three time like this, and this and this, meaning thirty days]."
Then he, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), said:
"A month is like this, this and this [meaning twenty nine days]."
And in some of the authentic narrations, he, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), said:
"And if it becomes too cloudy, then complete the month as thirty days."
In many of the lands in which the people give rulings according to their own way, some astronomers confirm the crescent for Ramadaan by astronomical estimations and calculations. And the Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), has nullified this type of means. Even if it is a means based on knowledge, then only a few people in some lands are aware of this knowledge. Whereas the prescribed means that the Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), has made as a proof for the beginning of the new month or the termination of the current month is the innate natural and human means of physical sighting. And it is not the scientific sighting, which we are not able to share knowledge of to all people.
Based on this, it is not permissible to cast off this type of means, which Islaam has brought, by claiming that times have advanced and changed. So it has become clear from by previous explanation that it is not proper today to take a means that the Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), was able to take (during his time, but which he didn't). The discussion on this topic will prolong severely. Ibn Taymiyyah has a very beneficial section in his book Iqtidaa As-Siraat-il-Mustaqeem Mukhaalafatu Ashaab-il-Jaheem dealing with this matter. I will abridge what I can from the words of Ibn Taymiyyah:
The means that are introduced in a time and a place are divided into two categories:
1. A means of which a need for using it existed during the time of Allaah's Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), but he did not use it. So introducing it is an innovation.
2. A means of which there did not exist a need to use it during the time of Allaah's Messenger, (صلى الله علیه وسلم). He (رحمه الله) said:"So it should be examined. If the need for introducing this means and using it is to make the Muslims refrain and lessen in their application of the rulings of the Religion, then it is not permissible to use them. And if this is not the case, then it is permissible."
And Allaah is the One who grants success. [Al-Asaalah, Issue #18]
- Question: There is a book called Mi'raaj Ibn 'Abbaas. Is it correct to attribute it to Ibn 'Abbaas, (رضي الله عنهما)?
Answer: It is not correct to attribute this book to Ibn 'Abbaas, (رضي الله عنهما). I have spoken about Mi'raaj Ibn 'Abbaas in my refutation of Doctor Al-Bootee, which is circulated under the title: "Defending the Prophetic Hadeeth and Biography." [Al-Asaalah, Issue #17]
- Question: What do you say with regard to the two tafseer books Fath-ul-Bayaan and Tafseer Al-Manaar?
Answer: The tafseer book "Al-Manaar" is more beneficial than Fath-ul-Bayaan. And it deals with many of the problems the Muslims are facing today. It has sections of research on sociological, political and historical issues that are not found in the books of Tafseer that are well known from the past. Rather, they cannot even be found in the books of contemporary authors. This is because Sayyid Rasheed Ridaa was a big scholar as well as an enlightened Muslim politician. However, at the same time, the book contains some aversions from the Sunnah in many places, such as the reports of 'Eesaa, the Dajjaal and the Mahdee. Likewise, it has some fataawa (legal rulings) of his concerning wearing European hats and clothes, which he issued in his early years, but from which he excused himself (some time afterward). [Al-Asaalah, Issue #10]
 See Silsilat-ul-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah (no. 11).
 A saheeh hadeeth as was graded in Dhilaal-ul-Jannah fee Takhreej-is-Sunnah (16-17).
 See Silsilat-ul-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah (no. 203)
 See Saheeh Al-Jaami' (no. 1641)
 Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree
 Saheeh Muslim: no. 2450.
 See Silsilat-ul-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah: no. 179.
 See Silsilat-ul-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah (no. 203 & 1492)
 See Irwaa-ul-Ghaleel (no. 2455).