I would like to ask these questions with the Niyyah of getting ultimate Hidaya and not of inciting Fitna.
a) Is it allowed for us to read books written by misguided scholars; e.g Fazail A’maal, Muntaqab Ahaadith, Hayaatu Sahaaba. I ask this because they are more distributed and read especially here in Uganda, East Africa. When we advise people to avoid them, they say that these books have only Hadiths and Ayaats, the same we find in major books like Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidh etc.
b) Are we (Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat) allowed to attend Ijtemas of Tablighi Jamaat? Are we permitted to join them if we have good and sound intentions of making the Dawah?
Please help me with some reply to this question since it is very sensitive, especially here in Uganda, East Africa. Please I kindly beg for a quick and detailed answer to these problems of ours here in Uganda.
وَإِذَا رَأَيْتَ الَّذِينَ يَخُوضُونَ فِي آيَاتِنَا فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَخُوضُوا فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ ۚ وَإِمَّا يُنسِيَنَّكَ الشَّيْطَانُ فَلَا تَقْعُدْ بَعْدَ الذِّكْرَىٰ مَعَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ
“When thou seest men engaged in vain discourse about Our signs, turn away from them unless they turn to a different theme. If Satan ever makes thee forget, then after recollection, sit not thou in the company of those who do wrong.”
[Surah Al-An’am 6:68]
Allāh, Most High, has commanded whenever individuals engage in idol talk concerning the signs of Allāh, then move away from them. The fact is that these people are from amongst the wrongdoers. The deviants have built an argument for their beliefs based on incorrect understanding of the interpretation of the Qur’ān and Hadith. These people who are claimants of the authentic teachings of the Qur’ān are in actual fact misguided. Regarding them Allāh says:-
يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا ۚ وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلَّا الْفَاسِقِينَ
“By it (the Qur’ān and the similitudes presented therein) He (Allāh) causes many to stray, and many He leads into the right path; but He causes not to stray, except those who forsake (the path).”
[Surah al-Baqarah 2:26]
These people are of fisq and Allāh emphatically warns those who associate in the Qur’ān ul Kareem:-
وَقَدْ نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الْكِتَابِ أَنْ إِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ يُكْفَرُ بِهَا وَيُسْتَهْزَأُ بِهَا فَلَا تَقْعُدُوا مَعَهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَخُوضُوا فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ ۚ إِنَّكُمْ إِذًا مِّثْلُهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ جَامِعُ الْمُنَافِقِينَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ فِي جَهَنَّمَ جَمِيعًا
“And it has already been revealed to you in the Book (this Quran) that when you hear the verses of Allah being denied and mocked at, then sit not with them, until they engage in a talk other than that; (but if you stayed with them) certainly in that case you would be like them. Surely, Allah will collect the hypocrites and disbelievers all together in Hell.”
[Surah An-Nisā’ 4:140]
Entertaining and remaining in dialogue, sitting and associating with such people will categorically make you part of them.
Who are these people? These people are found in every era, today they are those individuals who speak on matters of religion with little or no knowledge claiming to have derived their understanding from the Qur’ān. These are those people who attribute polytheism to the masses of Muslims and overlook fourteen centuries of scholarship laying claim that they alone have an understanding of the Qur’ān and traditions which is sound. They blame the Muslims for what is unanimously agreed upon by the scholars to be polytheism and innovation and what was mentioned by the Prophet of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) and his companions as innovation. They attribute a body and direction to Allāh, claiming He sits on a throne. Whilst others make a mockery of the attributes and actions of Allāh by saying there exists the possibility of Him lying or creating another Prophet just like the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم). Their destination is the fire of hell and those who associate with such individuals are from amongst them. As the Prophet of Allāh said:-
الرَّجُلُ عَلَى دِينِ خَلِيلِهِ فَلْيَنْظُرْ أَحَدُكُمْ مَنْ يُخَالِلُ
“A man is upon the religion of his friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.”
[Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2378]
And regarding friends, the ones you associate with Allāh Most Exalted has said in the Qur’ān ul Kareem:-
الْأَخِلَّاءُ يَوْمَئِذٍ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا الْمُتَّقِينَ
“Close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other, except for the righteous.”
[Surat Az-Zukhruf 43:67]
The al-muttaqun are those who find their guidance from the Qur’ān within which is no doubt. The people of desires and innovation are not from the mattaqun. Even if the exterior seems beneficial these people will bring no benefit but only harm as the Prophet of Allāh said:-
مَثَلُ الْجَلِيسِ الصَّالِحِ وَالْجَلِيسِ السَّوْءِ كَمَثَلِ صَاحِبِ الْمِسْكِ، وَكِيرِ الْحَدَّادِ، لاَ يَعْدَمُكَ مِنْ صَاحِبِ الْمِسْكِ إِمَّا تَشْتَرِيهِ، أَوْ تَجِدُ رِيحَهُ، وَكِيرُ الْحَدَّادِ يُحْرِقُ بَدَنَكَ أَوْ ثَوْبَكَ أَوْ تَجِدُ مِنْهُ رِيحًا خَبِيثَةً
“The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is one like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari 2101]
The filth which is in these peoples mind will affect you directly or indirectly thus it is necessary to disassociate with these people and seek scholars of ahlus sunnah wal jama’at for guidance. If there are no scholars in the province then it is necessary that you become proactive whereby either going yourself or sending people from your community to learn the authentic teachings of Islām under Sunni scholars. These trained scholars can then return and actively propagate the truth and eradicate the falsehood. It is also vital to invite scholars of ahlus sunnah and help them build foundations to propagate the truth and vanquish the falsehood.
It is necessary to be strong against these people and not attempt to associate with them or compromise in any matters.
أَنَّ ابْنَ عُمَرَ، جَاءَهُ رَجُلٌ فَقَالَ إِنَّ فُلاَنًا يَقْرَأُ عَلَيْكَ السَّلاَمَ فَقَالَ لَهُ إِنَّهُ بَلَغَنِي أَنَّهُ قَدْ أَحْدَثَ فَإِنْ كَانَ قَدْ أَحْدَثَ فَلاَ تُقْرِئْهُ مِنِّي السَّلاَمَ
Nafi’ narrated that a man came to Ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) and said:”So-and-so conveys his Salam to you.” So he said: “It has been conveyed to me that he has innovated, so if he has indeed innovated, then do not convey my Salam to him.”
[Jami` at-Tirmidhi Vol. 4, Book 6, Hadith 2152]
The Sahabah would not even return the salaam of such people. This is not extremism but necessary and as aforementioned disassociation from such people is the command of Allāh lest we become part of them and the sunnah of the Prophet of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) and his companions.
The great Imaam of Ahlus-Sunnah, Sufyaan al-Thawree (رضي الله عنه) said:
“Whoever sits with a person of innovation cannot escape one of three things:
(1) He is a trial and tribulation for others, (2) something may fall into his heart that remains with him and causes him to enter the Hellfire or (3) he will say, ‘By Allaah, I do not care about what they say and I have full confidence in myself.’”
Such people will lose their faith.The aforementioned suffices to conclude association with these people whether it is attending their ijtema, gashd or going to do tableegh with them is a source of misguidance and not guidance.
It is of tremendous importance to be careful where one takes one’s knowledge from. Imam Muslim relates that Ibn Sirin (رضي الله عنه) said, “Verily, this matter is your religion (din), so be very careful as to whom you take your religion from.”
Thus, one should be careful in the event that there is no Sunni books to utilise, a student of knowledge may use the books of these people to learn fundamental knowledge of Islām only and that under the watchful eye of a Sunni scholar.
The claims of these deviants that the barelwi maslak followers are spreading bida’ats is unfounded as all the practices of the barelwi maslak have existed before there existed Muslims in India. The teachings of Ala Hazrat are no different to the masses of rightly guided scholars who preceded him. Teachings which are rooted in the Qur’ān and Hadith through honour and respect of the Prophet of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم).
Allah knows best.