[Video]: Advice for Al-Manhaj Kenya | Shaykh Muḥammad Ṣaghīr ʿAkkūr
Advice for Al-Manhaj Kenya | Shaykh Muḥammad Ṣaghīr ʿAkkūr
The Questioner: “In the name of Allāh, the Most Merciful Bestower of Mercy. May Allāh reward you with good, our Shaykh; the brother Abū Bakr Ṣalāḥ al-Tamīmī al-Kīnī who is one of the moderators of the al-Manhaj Kenya group is requesting from you that you might honor them with a word of instruction for the Muslims in Kenya and specifically the students of knowledge from among them regarding the importance of placing emphasis upon seeking knowledge and the importance of taking knowledge from its people and exactly how people should gradually be called to the correct creed in opposition to the calls which oppose Salafiyyah in Kenya like the call of the Ṣūfīs, the Twelver Shiites as well as the call of Muslim Brethren (al-Ikhwān) and the Tablīgh in addition to other than them?”
Shaykh Muḥammad Ṣaghīr ʿAkkūr: “All praise is due to Allāh the Lord of creation and may the prayers of peace and blessings of Allāh be upon the most distinguished of the prophets and messengers; our Prophet Muḥammad as well as his family and all of his companions. As to what follows, then certainly this question consists of several sections and each specific section requires time and preparation. However, I ask Allāh the Magnificent and Exalted to make it easy to derive benefit from whatever it might produce of usefulness and that it might eliminate harm according to the situation, ability and time.
So then I say and with Allāh is true success. Firstly, [as it relates to] how knowledge should be sought, then what is intended by knowledge (al-ʿIlm) is the knowledge of Islāmic legislation (al-ʿIlm al-Sharʾī). And when the term knowledge (al-ʿIlm) is used, what immediately comes to mind is that knowledge involves modern science like industrial science or the science associated with inventions or whatever advancements have occurred in medicine; and this is a mistake.
Rather, whenever the term knowledge (al-ʿIlm) is used, then what is intended is the knowledge of Islāmic legislation (al-ʿIlm al-Sharʾī); the knowledge of the Book (the Qurʾān) and the Sunnah. This is the knowledge that whenever it is mentioned along with the definite article (al-) then what is meant by it is knowledge of the Book of Allāh (the Qurʾān) and the Sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ).
And it is this type of knowledge for which seeking it is a specific obligation (farḍ ʿayn) on every Muslim male and female; and (from which) no one is excused for remaining ignorant of it because the acceptance of actions depends upon it (al-ʿIlm) as is the case with the prayer, fasting, zakāh, and Ḥajj as well as jihād and remaining dutiful and maintaining relations in addition to interactions, behavior and character. If an individual remains ignorant of these affairs, then the action remains unacceptable. So it is obligatory upon every believing male and female to strive hard to acquire this knowledge (al-ʿIlm) through which actions are accepted.
As for the manner in which it should be sought, then an individual should pursue it gradually beginning with the smaller issues like how the servant can know of his Lord, his religion and his Prophet with evidences. And in this manner he is in need of someone who can clarify for him whatever might be difficult for him to understand because as it relates to seeking knowledge, then it is not possible to learn the intricacies of some issues and whatever might be hidden or obscured except by way of a teacher who can clarify this for him.
And here we say that it is obligatory upon the seeker of knowledge, that he selects a teacher who he is safe with and whose methodology is Salafī and who is free from religious innovations (bidaʿ), superstitions, and manifestations of associationism (shirkiyāt) so that his pursuit of knowledge might be beneficial and so that he might safely avoid the things that might undermine his pursuit of knowledge.
So he looks for a teacher, and if this is easy for him, then all praise is due to Allāh. And if not then he looks for books; books of the Salaf, books of the scholars of this community like the four Imāms, the Shaykhs of Islām like Shaykh al-Islām Aḥmad ibn ʿAbdul-Ḥalīm ibn Taymiyyah and his student Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah and the scholars of Qurʾānic exegesis (tafsīr) and scholars of Islāmic jurisprudence (al-fiqh al-Islāmī) and likewise contemporary Shaykhs of Islām like those closer to this time of ours like Shaykh al-Islām Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdul-Wahhāb and his children and grandchildren.
And likewise Shaykh ʿAbdul-ʿAzīz ibn Bāz and the Imām and distinguished scholar Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn and the distinguished scholar Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān –may Allāh preserve him- and the distinguished scholar, specialist in ḥadīth and narrator of ḥadīth along with their respective chains of narration (musnid) Shaykh Aḥmad ibn Yaḥyá al-Najmī and the distinguished scholar Zayd ibn Muḥammad al-Madkhalī and the distinguished scholar Shaykh Rabīʿ ibn Hādī al-Madkhalī and the distinguished scholar Shaykh Muḥammad ibn Hādī al-Madkhalī and the distinguished scholar Shaykh ʿUbayd al-Jābirī and other than them from those whose knowledge has spread in a manner which is pure and whose knowledge has been accepted by the Muslim community and thus Allāh has caused it to be a source of benefit.
An individual should acquire the books of these scholars as well as their lectures and lessons and study them and take from them. And in our time, and all praise is due to Allāh, the means of doing so are plentiful. So, it is just upon an individual to take advantage of the means that Allāh has blessed us with and he may (for example) visit a website that contains these books and these beneficial sciences.
And in this way he has protected himself with what might assist him in the worship of Allāh and protect him from: religious innovations (bidaʿ), superstitions, manifestations of associationism (shirkiyāt), desires (ahwāʾ) or misguided methodologies. In this manner, the seeker of knowledge has acquired in the way of knowledge what might aid him in obeying Allāh the Magnificent and Exalted and he ensures for himself the correctness of his methodology and belief.
And for this, there is no limit and no end. Knowledge should be sought with whatever means is available. If an individual is able to seek knowledge directly from a shaykh, then this is more complete and better. However, if a person is unable to do this due to the passing of a shaykh then books are available. What is most important though is that in his pursuit of knowledge and seeking of knowledge he is very far removed from taking knowledge from the books of the people of religious innovations (mubtadiʿah) and the misguided people of desires from the leaders of the people of partisanship and their organizers.
In this way an individual should acquire a good portion of knowledge and everything that a person might be able to increase himself in [as it relates to knowledge] will increase him in humility and submissiveness before Allāh in addition to his connection with Him and his desire for what is with Allāh and his forsaking of the worldly life and its vanities.
The second section…”
The Questioner: “He means how should calling… ”
Shaykh Muḥammad Ṣaghīr ʿAkkūr: “If this is the situation and Allāh granted him knowledge, it is obligatory upon him to act because our pursuit of knowledge should not occur except to act upon it. And if an individual seeks knowledge without acting upon it, then there is no good in this pursuit of knowledge. Rather, it is an argument against the student of knowledge who doesn’t act upon it. And when an individual learns and acts upon it (knowledge); it becomes obligatory upon him to call to what he knows and acts upon.
So, he calls just as he has been commanded to in the statement of the Mighty One who said while addressing His Prophet (ﷺ): “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good admonition and debate them in a manner which is best.” [Sūrah al-Naḥl 16:125] So calling to Allāh the Magnificent and Exalted should occur with wisdom; meaning with knowledge of the Book (the Qurʾān) and the Sunnah. And the call must be to the way of Allāh the Mighty and Majestic and not for the sake of one’s self or ego or for so & so or such & such methodology. It is obligatory that the call is for the sake of Allāh the Mighty and Majestic as Allāh has commanded in this noble verse.
And it should be accompanied by wisdom such that [the caller] knows the situation of those who he is addressing. What is their condition? Are they from the people of the Sunnah? Are they lacking in knowledge? Or are they ignorant regarding certain issues in Islāmic jurisprudence (fiqh) and knowledge. This is one aspect. Or is the situation of those who are being called that they have manifestations of associationism (shirkiyāt) that they are unaware of? So he should clarify for them that they are in danger. And he should caution them against continuing upon that path and he should clarify for them the obligation of purifying the creed from the impurities of major and minor associationism (shirk) as well as showing off (riyāʾ).
And if those who are being called have been affected by something from the imported methodologies and misguided ideologies then it is upon him to clarify for them the [correct] methodology and it is incumbent upon an individual to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet (ﷺ) who said: “It is upon you to adhere to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided Caliphs after me. Cling on to it with your molar teeth and beware of newly invented matters since surely every newly invented matter is a religious innovation (bidʿah) and every religious innovation (bidʿah) is misguidance.”
So, it is a must that the caller understands the situation of those who he is calling and he should address them in a manner that is appropriate for their condition. So the call should involve wisdom and a good admonition; a type of admonition that consists of mercy and gentleness towards those who are being called. It doesn’t involve condescension or the feeling amongst those being called that the caller thinks of himself as superior.
For this reason the call of the Prophet (ﷺ) was characterized by this wonderful description; that his call involved mercy. His call involved gentleness. And his call involved leniency until he could clarify the argument and the truth. Then if those who are being called remain in opposition to the call and remain haughty, the caller may resort to another technique. In any event, the caller must know the situation of those who he is addressing so that he might use the technique which is appropriate for the people he is addressing. He does not begin with harshness in his call for the majority of those who he is addressing. But rather instead he begins by clarifying the issues with gentleness and an acceptable technique which is based upon mercy.
However, if those being addressed are staunch in their opposition and drive others away from the path of Allāh, then for these individuals there must be an approach that involves a compelling argument and evidences that prevent them (those who are staunch in their opposition) from misguiding the people and that drive them away from opposing the path of Allāh. And it is for this reason that the Magnificent and Exalted says regarding calling: “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good admonition and debate them in a manner which is best.” [Sūrah al-Naḥl 16:125] Meaning engage the one who has a doubt; the one who has a compelling argument should engage this individual with the Book (the Qurʾān) and the Sunnah until you clarify for him the perspective of the truth and the viewpoint which is correct.
And your goal in your call should be to deliver those you are appealing to from darkness; from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge and true faith. It should not be that the goal of the caller to Allāh is to make himself prevail [over the people], never is this the case; this is in no way considered calling (to Allāh). His emphasis should be presenting the argument to those who he is addressing and establishing the proofs against them with evidence and clarifying the perspective of the truth concerning whatever he is calling to. And this requires that a person has knowledge regarding whatever he is calling to and that a person has the ability to engage the opponent with the evidence that will convince him.
And from what is known is that it is not appropriate for an individual to call to Allāh while he is ignorant regarding whatever he is calling to. Rather, he must have knowledge concerning whatever he is calling to so that whoever he is addressing will accept what he is saying and benefit and so that this caller doesn’t misrepresent Islām by representing it in a weak state. If he is unable to clarify the perspective of the truth with evidence, then he misrepresents Islām by presenting it in a weak state. It is not appropriate to debate the opponent except with knowledge and evidence from the Book (the Qurʾān) and the Sunnah and the consensus of the community. Yes.
The third section…
And it might be, that from the circumstances surrounding those who are being called, from among them are people of desires like the Ṣūfīs for example and the Shīʿah or whatever is similar to that from the other methodologies. And what we have presented previously has already addressed this matter. And it is upon an individual to arm himself with knowledge for whomever he might encounter from the various types of individuals whom he may meet from those who he appeals to.
So if those who he is calling reject the messages of the prophets, or claim infallibility for the one they follow, like the leaders of the Ṣūfīs who hold that their awliyāʾ are better than the prophets and messengers; for this individual the evidence should be clarified along with the truth until his religious innovation (bidʿah) and misguided approach is subdued.
Likewise is the case with the Shīʿah and whoever follows their path. It should be clarified for them that the Sunnah is the judge in the community of Muḥammad (ﷺ); and not men or desires which cause people to stray from the path of the truth. It should be clarified for them that the Prophet (ﷺ) commanded with following his Sunnah and the Sunnah of his rightly guided Caliphs after him. And the [Muslim] community has proceeded upon this way.
And when the Twelver Shiites or other than them from the sects of the Shīʿah stray, it should be clarified for them [the matter of] loving the companions and being pleased with them and that their order of superiority is similar to their order in assuming the Caliphate, and it is not permissible to find faults in any one of them or to insult them or attribute disbelief to one of them as is done by the extremists from among the Shīʿah and the extremists from among the Rāfiḍah. “May Allāh fight them; how deceptive they are.” [Sūrah al-Munāfiqūn 63:4]
And their intent in this is to nullify the chain of narration associated with Islām. Islām has reached the Muslim community by way of the companions, so if they attack the chain, Islām becomes baseless and their religion which they would like to present to the Muslim community would be legitimized. And for them there is no religion except associationism (shirk) and calling upon the dead as well as the living and the magnification of tombs and circumambulating (making ṭawwāf) around them and traveling to visit them and claiming infallibility for other than the prophets and messengers. This is the condition of the Shīʿah and Rawāfiḍ.
So, it is upon the one who engages them or opposes them with the truth that he must be strengthened by evidence as was Ibn ʿAbbās (رضي الله عنهما) when he engaged the Khawārij who rebelled against ʿAlī (رضي الله عنه); so he debated them with the truth and verses [of the Qurʾān] and his intellect only after the texts until those who left them (from the Khawārij) did so acknowledging that they were upon error.
And ʿAlī (رضي الله عنه) fought against those who remained from amongst them until he killed a large number of them. And those who survived from among them remained, until it was said to him [ʿAlī (رضي الله عنه)], you have encountered the last of them, he replied: “Rather, by the one in whose hand is my soul, certainly they will remain in the loins of men and in the wombs of women and the last of them will appear with the Dajjāl.” Or as he is reported to have said (رضي الله عنه).
What is important here is that seeking knowledge must occur based upon knowledge and foresight and in this manner an individual intends with his pursuit of knowledge to remove himself from ignorance and benefit other than himself through calling [others] to the path of Allāh the Exalted with wisdom and good admonition and to debate them in a manner which is best.
And we ask that Allāh the Exalted grants us success and correctness and sincerity in our speech and actions and that He makes us from those who when they hear a statement they follow the best of it and the last of our appeals is that all praise is due to the Lord of creation and may the prayers of peace and blessings of Allāh be upon our Prophet Muḥammad as well as his family and all of his companions.”
Translated by: Abul-Layth Qasim Mutiva