Written by: Aboo Aamir Ishaaq b. AbdirRaheem
First Published: Dhul Qa’dah, 1439 (August, 2018)
In the Name of Allaah the Most Compassionate the Most Merciful
Allaah the Mighty says in His Mighty Book:
وَالشُّعَرَاءُ يَتَّبِعُهُمُ الْغَاوُونَ أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّهُمْ فِي كُلِّ وَادٍ يَهِيمُونَ وَأَنَّهُمْ يَقُولُونَ مَا لَا يَفْعَلُونَ
"As for the poets, the erring follow them, See you not that they speak about every subject (praising others right or wrong) in their poetry?And that they say what they do not do." [Suurah: Shu’araa: 224-226]
Al-Imaam al-Auzaa’ee – may Allaah bestow mercy on him – said:
كان هذا العلم كريما، يتلاقاه الرجال بينهم، فلما دخل في الكتب، دخل فيه غير أهله
‘This knowledge was then honourable, when men used to take it from one another, but when it entered into books, those who were not qualified joined it.’
Abdullaah bn Mubaarak – may Allaah bestow mercy on him – then warned:
إن هذا العلم من الدين فلينظر أحدكم عمن يأخذ دينه
‘Indeed this knowledge is from the deen, everyone should be wary of where he takes his deen.’
Our era is that of many speakers [and perhaps few actors with knowledge]. With the profound and massive technological advancement, many voiceless people have been given voices.
Today, anybody can sit in his one-room apartment with his wife and two kids, and make a ‘powerful’ recording of an ‘emotional’ talk for the world, all he needs is a smartphone with the necessary app, there he goes, the latest Shaykh in town. The term ‘Shaykh’ seems to be easily acquirable today. Just some miserable Arabic, wretched skimming of Islamic texts and mastering of cotemporary masaail one becomes a shaykh, Shaykhul-Islaam even!
Many do not seek to learn before they become something today. If becoming a Shaykh has become increasingly ‘easy,’ being a Ustaadh is far-spent. There are tens of Shaykhs now and hundreds of ustaadhs.
Alhamdulillah that Salafiyyah has almost become the bride of all. It is seemingly an anathema now to speak against it, at least, not openly.
Expectedly, many people have thronged it. Genuinely and otherwise, many folks have pitched their tents with it. The former foes have become its allies, ‘vigorously’ calling to it. The party partisans – such as the people in TMC circles, and the inept (or waning) MSSN, are silently rooting for it. They have come to realize that calling to other than Salafiyyah seems to be unsellable these days. Some of them will hesitantly mutter ‘I am also a Salafee’ whenever he is boxed into a corner.
Sadly too, some people have come to Salafiyyah for mundane reasons – source of income, fame and position. Therefore, for a meal ticket of a sort. For this reason, and others, there has been an upsurge in those ascribing to Salafiyyah.
While it is a desired prayer that the number of people of Sunnah should increase [not like the thought of the moribund Jabtawee enclave which takes joy in seeing many people marching to Janannam] but there must be a caution as to how we – the ascribers and claimants to this Sunnah – handle the soaring crowd. We need a crowd control mechanism which is the pivot of this piece.
One, we need to take the knowledge acquisition more seriously. If we are very serious about this fact, we will talk less. Talking too much is a pointer to Jahl – ignorance.
وَاغْضُضْ مِنْ صَوْتِكَ إِنَّ أَنْكَرَ الأصْوَاتِ لَصَوْتُ الْحَمِيرِ
"And lower your voice. Verily, the harshest of all voices is the voice (braying) of the ass." [Luqman: 19]
A knowledgeable person makes less noise. Therefore let us learn the will to kill the wish to talk or to be heard. Jundub, a Companion of the Messenger of Allaah – sallaLlaahu alayhi wa sallam reported from him – that he said:
مَنْ سَمَّعَ سَمَّعَ اللَّهُ بِهِ وَمَنْ يُرَائِي يُرَائِي اللَّهُ بِهِ
‘Whoever speaks to be heard (that is, for fame), Allaah will do the same for him (on the Day of Reckoning); whoever shows off, Allaah will do the same for him.’ [Recorded by Al-Bukhaaree and others].
The enthusiasm for Sunnah in this part of Africa is strong no doubt, but the enthusiasm for the knowledge to really safeguard the Sunnah is very lacking. The problem however is that many of us do not know. There is this usual self-delusion that we know. By Allaah, most of us are not qualified to sit in the sittings of some scholars. If per chance we bump at such sittings; they will just send us away.
Al-Imaam Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee recorded in his al-Jaami Li-Akhlaaqir-Raawee Wa Aadaabis-Saami [no 81] that Waleed bn Muslim said: ‘Whenever al-Auzaa’ee sat with us and saw a chap among us, he would say: ‘O young man, have you memorized the Qur’aan?’ If he replied in the affirmative he would say: recite: Yuusikumullaahu fee aulaadikum…,’ if the lad said no, he would say: ‘Leave, go and learn the Qur’aan before you take knowledge.’
So let that be a litmus test for all of us. While we have failed to really pursue the knowledge of this Sunnah we claim, we have all become free speakers about the same Sunnah with no bridle. Some of us even freely pass Fatawa with no recourse to the statements of the people of knowledge. At-Tasaddur [presenting oneself as something] is the trend now. The social media especially the WhatsApp has become the major conduit for the spread of all kinds of speech – good or bad. While Facebook and Twitter mainly aid free writing, WhatsApp aids it and aids free talking. The teachers [who are speakers] are enormous today. One will even wonder who are the students. Everybody wants to become a teacher [speaker] by all means. By Allaah, this is a sad reality.
Therefore there is a need to call our attention to the fact that we need to be careful, and be on our guard before we are caught off guards. The sad news is that many ill-intended people have hidden under the façade of Salafiyyah to wreck havoc from within. The Jabata School is the brazen example we can cite here. Alhamdulillah that the School is collapsing at a fast rate. Indeed, it has harmed Salafiyyah than the combination of the well-known people of desires.
So be careful of whom you lend your gift of hearing.
وَلا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولا
"And follow not (O man i.e., say not, or do not or witness not, etc.) that of which you have no knowledge. Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those you will be questioned (by Allâh). [Al-Israa: 36]
We have been warned to always be wary of the people we found ourselves with but whom we don’t really know. Al-Imaam Bar’bahaaree said in Shar’us-Sunnah: ‘Be careful, be careful of the people of your time most especially, watch who he sits with, whom he listens to, who does he go out with; it is as if the people have disbelieved except whom Allaah has protected among them.’
And we should not be beguiled with the ornamental Sunnah. The Aqeedah and Manhaj is the standard. Al-Imaam Bar’bahaaree said again: ‘It is not permissible for a Muslim to say this person is a person of Sunnah until he knows that all the ingredients of Sunnah have met in him…’
Ash-Shaykh Fawzaan - may Allaah preserve him on goodness - explains: ‘The ingredients of Sunnah are found in the Aqeedah, the knowledge, acting with knowledge, following the way of the Salaf Saalih. But to say a man does not have anything but an ingredient of Sunnah, do not judge him to be from among the people of Sunnah because of that single ingredient…what about someone who does not even have a trace of the Sunnah?’
How many how those whom today the people celebrate on the social media?
Caveat: The piece has been written in a broader view, and as a caution, as said. No particular person has been, or group of persons has been, intended [Allaah knows this you can never know].
So those who have been placed over the affairs of the Muslims on the path of the Sunnah should be on guard.
We thank Allaah for the general spread of Sunnah in the region; we pray He sustains it for the Ummah. We recognize the efforts of the well-known maraakiz, madaaris and halaqaat in the spread of Sunnah. May Allaah continue to assist all.
Special appreciation and recognition to many of our teachers, closer and farther, that have imparted knowledge on us and continue to do so. By Allaah, Allaah has used them to bring light to the region. May Allaah continue to use them for the cause and may He safeguard them from all evil and harm.
The warning once again is that we must be watchful, we must not sleep. The Da’wah has been infiltrated. The hope and joy however is that Allaah knows how He sieves all dirt from His Straight Path.
مَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيَذَرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَى مَا أَنْتُمْ عَلَيْهِ حَهِ حَتَّى يَمِيزَ الْخَبِيثَ مِنَ الطَّيِّبِ
"Allaah will not leave the believers upon what you are until He removes the dirt from the pure". [Aal-Imraan: 179].
The last of it is alhamdulillaahir rabbil ‘aalameen.