Shaykh Dr. Muḥammad b. Hādī Al-Madkhalī continued:
And let it be known that it is obligatory to be stern in the criticism of a person who contradicts an authentic, unequivocal text which has nothing to abrogate it and for which there is no counter-evidence. [Again,] the Prophetic texts (ḥadīth) which are:
- authentic – this is the first condition
- unequivocal – i.e. that resolve the issue in question and explicitly prove the point, and which…
- have nothing to abrogate them – i.e. they are ratified and…
- have no counter-evidence – the fourth condition
It is obligatory to harshly criticise a person who contradicts such texts – whoever he is.
This is the manner in which the Salaf – Allāh have mercy on them – spoke, their language was strong and harsh [in this regard]. By this they sought to reprimand anyone who respects other men at the expense of leaving the Sunnah of the Prophet – Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him.
One of the first examples of this is the statement of Ibn ʿAbbās – Allāh be pleased with them – in regards to Ḥajj Tamaṭṭuʿ:
I say to you:Allāh’s Messenger said…and you say:But Abū Bakr and ʿUmar said (something else)?!
Yā Allāh, what a statement! And we echo it ourselves. Who is Abū Bakr – Allāh be pleased with him? He is the leader of this Ummah after the Messenger of Allāh – peace and blessings be upon him. And who is ʿUmar? He is the one upon whose
tongue and heart Allāh put the truth – as Allāh’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, himself said. Despite this, Ibn ʿAbbās said this statement – Allāh be pleased with him. He said it about what? About the contradiction [of the Sunnah] in this issue.
By Allāh, what if today a person said:
I say to you:Allāh’s Messenger said…and you say:But Ibn Bāz said…?!
If you said that, they would rise against you from the East to the West. But your point was to esteem the Sunnah.
Shaykh ʿAbdul-ʿAzīz [b. Bāz] – Allāh have mercy on him – was our shaykh and the shaykh of our shaykhs, and he is the Imām of this era. By Allāh he was amongst us like Imām Aḥmad (in his time), Allāh have mercy on him. But I am giving you an example. The ignoramus will attack you and say:
You are belittling the Shaykh. In that case, Ibn ʿAbbās was belittling Abū Bakr and ʿUmar.
You are belittling the Shaykh! So Ibn ʿAbbās was belittling Abū Bakr and ʿUmar? No, he was respecting the Sunnah, and showing that it is greater than any great person! Likewise:
I say to you:Allāh’s Messenger said…and you say:But Al-Albānī said…?!
You said this about an issue in which he was mistaken. Likewise:
I say to you:Allāh’s Messenger said…and you say:But Shaykh Ibn ʿUthaymīn said…?!
This does not mean you are belittling or disrespecting these [scholars]. This is evidenced by looking at the praise of Ibn ʿAbbās for Abū Bakr and ʿUmar – Allāh be pleased with them all. And at the same time, in our time, look at the praise of the Salafīs, followers of the Book and Sunnah, for Shaykh ʿAbdul-ʿAzīz, and their defence of him, and rightly so; and Shaykh Ibn ʿUthaymīn – Allāh have mercy on him, rightly so; and Shaykh Al-Albānī – Allāh have mercy on him; rightly so. For they were the pillars of following the Sunnah in this time. They governed themselves, in speech and action, by the Sunnah. So they deserve to be defended in front of those afflicted [with the disease] of attacking and disparaging them.
We do find such people, and all of you know this. But I am illustrating a point. I know that tomorrow a person in whose heart there is a sickness will come and say
Shaykh Muḥammad disparages Ibn Bāz! I know this. No problem.
The point is: if a scholar contradicts a text from the Sunnah, because he was unaware of it, or because his personal scholarly judgement (ijtihād) was mistaken in this case, then as Imām Mālik – Allāh have mercy on him – said:
There is not one of us except his [position] can be accepted or rejected…
So if a scholar makes such a mistake, we say to the person who tries to respect and esteem him in the face of an authentic unequivocal text:
We say to you Allāh’s Messenger said something and you say:
But Shaykh Ibn Bāz said…?! You say:
But Shaykh Ibn ʿUthaymīn?! Shaykh Al-Albānī?!
And likewise the rest of the scholars of the Sunnah. As for Ahl Al-Bidʿah (heretics), they do not count.
The point of all this is to esteem the Sunnah of the Prophet – Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him.
And know, may Allāh protect you all, that a man is ennobled and becomes great through his respect and esteem for this Prophet – Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him, and through respect and esteem for his Sunnah, and through not giving precedence to the views of other men over it.
Sadly, these days, if you come to some students of knowledge with an authentic, unequivocal text, and say:
this is what Allāh’s Messenger said, they will reply:
But Shaykh so-and-so says… After having studied for sixteen years, graduating from university, becoming a PhD, he throws it all away and reverts to blind-following (taqlīd)!
There is no difference between the blind-follower (muqallid) and the cattle,
that follows wherever it is lead …
There is a consensus amongst scholars that the muqallid is not a student of knowledge, let alone a scholar. He is not a student of knowledge; he is like a total commoner. And the total commoner is no different than a cow, stumbling around.
This is the strange thing these days. You come to him with texts from Allāh and His Messenger, and he says:
Shaykh so-and-so said! Is this a proof? This is the proof of the weak and bankrupt. As for proof, proof is in the words of Allāh and His Messenger.
So Mālik, Al-Shāfiʿī, Aḥmad, Al-Awzāʿī, the two Sufyāns, the two Ḥammāds, all [such scholars] – Allāh have mercy on them, their words are taken from and sometimes not taken from,
there is not one of us except his [position] can be accepted or rejected, except the occupant of that grave (the Prophet), Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him.
When the Muslim takes this approach, that of respecting and esteeming the Sunnah of the Prophet – Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him, then let him have the glad tidings of success and right guidance:
And if you obey him (the Prophet) you will be guided…
Meaning of Qurān 24:54