Yusuf ben Alawi was a brave scholar, who lived in Mecca and had a remarkable study circle of scholars and intellectuals. The Saudi political statesmen held him in great esteem. He passed away recently and a tide of grief and remorse filled the whole region.
He called himself a servant of the sacred knowledge in the Holy City and was a follower of the Maleki creed. He was an offspring of Zahra(‘as), the daughter of Prophet Muhammed (S) and proudly adorned his name with the title Al-Hosna1.
His study circle in Masjid-ul-Haram was one of the most crowded study circles of the Mosque, and he also authored many books on Islamic sciences. He was strictly against the extreme, fanatic Wahhabis and he eventually wrote the book "The Concepts That Need to be Rectified"2 criticising their thoughts and beliefs.
He criticized the most important ideological foundations of this extremist group in a very scholarly and polite manner and relied commonly on the Quranic Verses and the Traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) narrated by the authentic sources of the Sunnis. He drew on books and sources, the authenticity of whose content, even the extremist Wahhabis were not able to deny.
He came on stage on the premise that there existed a series of concepts in the minds of this group that needed to be corrected because they declared Muslims to be infidels and made their lives and wealth permissible, and destroyed the unity of Muslims. Thanks to his endless efforts, he managed to deal with the matter very well.
This book is unique for certain reasons:
1) This book was republished ten times in a period of only ten years. In just one year this book was published four times and it aroused great interest among the people in most Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia!
2) A great number of prominent scholars of the Sunnah in Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, Bahrain, Pakistan, the Emirates and other countries wrote approving reviews on this book praising his courage in presenting his thoughts in this book, of which 23 reviews covering 70 pages precede his manuscript. This reveals the consensus on its content, and even these reviews themselves make fascinating reading.
3) This book was published in "Dubai" and despite the harsh censorship that the fanatic Salafis imposed on the book market in the Saudi kingdom where they allowed no book criticising their ideas to enter this country, this book was openly being sold in the markets of Mecca from where we purchased it. This shows that the new class of Wahhabis do not support the thoughts of the fanatic Salafis, and regard it necessary to reconsider them.
Here are only three reviews that were written on this book by famous scholars, to show what the Islamic world thinks of the fanatic class of Wahhabis:
1) Dr. Abdul Fattah Barakah, the secretary general of the Assembly of Islamic Discourse writes in his review:
"In this precious book a very great attempt and effort is made on behalf of a conscientious scholar and Islamic intellectual to unify the disarrayed Muslims and remove all signs of fanaticism from minor affairs and individual judgements, in accusing Muslims of polytheism and blasphemy, regarding the issue of intercession, pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Holy Prophet (S), and other substantial issues.
It is hoped that this valuable book will help in unifying the Muslims and remove the grounds of dispute."3
2) Shaikh Ahmad Al-Ewadh, the head of the Assembly of Religious Decree in Sudan writes in his review:
"Fortunately, I was informed of the book written by the honorable intellectual Ben Alawī Mālekī Makkī Hasanī - the servant of knowledge in the Two Holy Shrines – titled The Concepts That Need to be Rectified.
This book speaks of rectifying the fallacious concepts that are related to three affairs:
"The first is the ideological debate where he proves through logical reasoning and justifications that the standards chosen for blasphemy and deviation by a group (of Wahhabis) are corrupt.
The second is the discourse related to the Holy Prophet of Islam (S) and the reality of prophethood.With firm reasons, he has proved the concept of acquiring blessings from the Prophet (S) as correct and its subsequent effects.
The third discussion is related to the intermediary world4, and the legitimacy of the visit to the Shrine of the Prophet (S) and other related issues. This scholar has carefully and successfully rectified misleading thoughts." 5
3) Abdul-Salām Jobrān, the head of the Regional Scientific Assembly in Morocco, alongwith the members of that Assembly, has jointly written a comprehensive review of this book. A section of that review is as follows:
"When this book was offered to the informed scholars, they all endorsed it and praised the author for fulfilling this obligation before God, the Holy Prophet (S) and the Islamic nation, it being the responsibility of all scholars… Thus the members of the Scientific Assembly of Morocco under the guardianship of the head of that Assembly, after being informed of the book, read it and announced their approval of the entire book, expressed their gratitude to the great author, and congratulated him for undertaking this vital task." 6
Furthermore, in praising this book, sensational and moving verses were composed by great poets, of which we will touch upon only three couplets.
These three couplets are from the poem that Shaikh Muhammad Salem Adood, the former head of the High Judicial Court in Mauritania and a member of the Jurisprudential Assembly of the Islamic World Association7 composed in Mecca:
Confusing, mistaken and ambiguous
Concepts are clarified by him for us
Deception, absurdity and falsehood take flight
When reasoning pure and evidence delight
How Alawi clears those concepts with ease
This book has criticized the beliefs of extremist Wahhabis in three main areas and clarified their weaknesses by means of referring to Quranic Verses and authentic Traditions.
Issues related to belief and disbelief. He clarifies:
"Many people (the fanatic Salafis), may Allah rectify them, have gone astray in understanding the principle which excommunicates somebody from Islam, to the extent that whoever disagrees with them, that is, almost all the Muslims on earth – except their small minority – are regarded by them as disbelievers!!"
He believes that the leader of this faith was not in favour of such extremism. He refers to the famous Prophetic tradition: Revilement of Muslims is debauchery and their killing is disbelief10, and censures the vilification and prosecution of Muslims; gives sufficient reasons to clarify the borders between belief and disbelief, and, thenceforth, points out their faulty reasoning which has led to their mistaken concepts.
It is interesting to note that his tone against the Salafis is, at times harsh and, occasionally, furious at the contemptuous terminology used by them.
For instance, he quotes from their works:"At times people request things from the Prophets and other Saints that no one except Almighty is capable of giving, and this is Polytheism (and disbelief)."
In reply he asserts: "This saying results from inadequate knowledge and understanding of a practice that has existed among Muslims since the beginning. People entreated those gracious individuals to pray to God and ask for His Glory to resolve an irresolvable problem, and countless cases of these pleadings to the Prophets are seen in authentic Islamic traditions; such as, the treatment of cureless maladies, the falling of rain, the gushing of spring water from the fingers of the Prophet (S), the sufficiency in a small quantity of food to feed and satiate a large crowd, and similar cases."
At the end he suggests: "Do they understand the meaning of Tawheed (monotheism) and Kufr (disbelief) better than the Prophet(S)? This is something that no ignorant Muslim, let alone scholars, could dare to imagine." 11
His tone is polite throughout, but his language is harsh against their anathemas, accusations of debauchery and insulting statements.
In this section, Alawi clarifies the high status of the Prophet of Islam (S) according to the Quran and Islamic traditions. He then explains the concept of acquiring blessings from the traces of the Holy Prophet (S) and how this has nothing to do with polytheism, Thereafter, he recounts the many incidents mentioned in the traditions and statements of scholars concerning the permissibility of acquiring blessings by kissing the Prophet's (S) hand, gaining blessings from the container that he used to drink water from, gaining blessings from his Glorious House, from his Holy Rostrum and Noble Grave, and sanctifying the traces of the Holy Saints and the past Prophets (‘as). He quotes his evidence mainly from the famous books of the Sunni orthodoxy so that there remains no room for any doubt, and then he names the companions that acquired blessings from the traces of the Messenger of God (S).
He wonders why despite all these manifest traditions and authentic evidence, a group with ears and eyes folded, denies this fact and condemns it as a type of ignorance and demagogy. 12
This section of the book deals with many controversies, the most important one being the recommendation of visiting the Holy Shrine of the Prophet (S) and supplicating besides that Sacred Monument, and acquiring blessings from his (S) traces. He supports his case with reference to many quotes of the great accepted scholars of the past.
In the end he clarifies a point strongly opposed by the extremist Wahhabis, which is, commemorating the birth of the Prophet (S), the day of migration, the occasion of being delegated as a Prophet, the descent of the Quran, the victory of the Muslims in the battle of Badr (the first battle of the Prophet (S)), and the night of mid-Sha'ban.
The extremist Wahhabis believe that all these acts are forbidden innovations and thus savagely prevent the performance of ceremonies and commemorations.
In a simple, common sense, logical response, Ben Alawi tells them that these commemorations are conventional affairs, and nobody performs them as a religious ruling and, therefore, they have nothing to do with innovation and non-innovation. But they certainly involve crucial side-effects that shouldn’t be overlooked. The message of Islam at all costs should be conveyed to people in these glorious gatherings. He concludes: these gatherings are, in reality, very precious occasions, which must be guarded and taken advantage of in the best manner, and those who oppose them and strive for their elimination, are ignorant and narrow-minded. 13
The aim of presenting abstracts from the book is to suggest that the foundation of his statements which are interwined with reason, logic, grace and bravery are factual and welcomed by a large faction of the great Islamic scholars of different countries, including the Saudi kingdom.
It seems that the fanatic Wahhabis have exhausted their term, considering the fact that a book which is exclusively engaged in censuring extremist Wahhabism is getting such applause from the Islamic world.
However, Ben Alawi in return for this great gift to the Islamic world and even to the moderate Wahhabis, received his reward. Books were published by that same crowd of fanatics, in which the same old and coarse method of excommunication was employed and the decree for his infidelity was issued. (Books by the name "Discourse with Maleki" and "Refutation to Maleki on his Misguidance and Indecency")
Not only were these books condemned by readers but were regarded, by a collection of the scholars of Al-Azhar, as of service to the Zionists and an attack upon Islamic unity. Ben Alawi was still very much respected by the people of Saudi Arabia, and tens of thousands of people participated in his funeral procession, and the Saudi leaders visited his house several times to condole with his family.
This popular response demonstrated the general opinion of the people against the extremist Wahhabis and their weapon of excommunication and anathemisation!
However, the chief justice of Mecca summoned him to court in Riyadh and pronounced him guilty. He defended his writings for a few hours and at last he said: This is my personal judgement. At most, you are a Muslim jurist and I too am a Muslim jurist and no jurist can impose his opinion on any other jurist. The court acquitted him!
What is decaying is the fanatic, bigoted and dangerous Wahhabi group which considers all Muslims but itself as polytheists, but a more moderate class is emerging and materializing. This class consists of the educated youth, and some university lecturers in cooperation with some great scholars. They demonstrate the following characteristics:
1) They respect other people's beliefs, don’t accuse Muslims of polytheism, blasphemy and forbidden innovation, and are weary of bloodshed.
2) They welcome dialogue and logical discourse among Islamic creeds and have ears for what other people say, and read other people's books.
3) They don’t consider forbidden the new positive maninfestations of contemporary lifestyle whilst there is no reason for their prohibition, and they do not object to commemorating the great saints of religion, nor confuse the religious with traditions.
4) They allow women, to receive education and take part in social constructive activities, provided they observe their Islamic covering and the standards of chastity.
5) They are ready to collaborate with the other Islamic sects and their hatred is focused on those who aim to obliterate Muslims. They will gradually displace the extremely coarse fanatic Salafis. The expansion of this group is evident in the scientific and cultural encounters during pilgrimage and its impact is noticed in the recently published books.
We believe that the elimination of that group and emergence of this, can help to sketch an appropriate image of Islam in the world, and reimburse this chaste faith which has been endangered by the dogmatic and aggressive beliefs of the past Salafis, and God willing, prepare the ground for entering Allah's religion in throngs14, and set the stage for Islam to find its real place in the world.
The Muslims of the world welcome the emergence of such a crowd, and consider it as an important factor in stabilizing the pillars of Islamic brotherhood and unifying the Muslims against the enemies who are striving to emasculate and affront Muslims. The commentaries that a mass of Islamic scholars wrote on Alawi’s book, is another witness to this fact.
It is upon the Saudi leaders to promote this progress by opening their closed borders to Islamic books and the writings of other Muslim countries, prepare the grounds for dialogue between the Islamic creeds and encourage interaction between the scholars of these countries. This will be beneficial both for them and the Islamic world!
B) The danger of Extremists15
One of the factors leading to the extremist Wahhabi thought are a throng of Muslims, ignorant and illiterate individuals who exaggerate about the Saints of religion and raise them from the level of servitude to divinity and partner them with God. Without a doubt their threat is not and has never been less than the threat of the extremist Wahhabis and if it wasn’t for them, there was no excuse for the Wahhabis. Expressions that are not in harmony with the spirit of Islamic monotheism and have never been mentioned in Scripture and Tradition, such as "Creator of the Heavens and Earth", "Most Compassionate of the compassionate" and other similar attributes specific to Almighty God, should not be used for God's Saints as neither are they satisfied by this nor is this in accordance with Islamic teachings.
The insistence of some ignorant people on these matters has caused a group who are similar to the Extremist group in ignorance, to stand in opposition and declare that the Holy Prophet (S) (God forbid) is powerless to do anything after his demise, including intercession and prayer for the believers and even going to visit His (S)Tomb is forbidden innovation and so prohibited.
And this is what the Master of the faithful, Imam Ali (‘as) states: "Two kinds of people will be damned on my account: The friends who form exaggerated opinions about me and the malevolent enemies who under-estimate me" 16
The Khavarej and the Nasebies set the grounds for the existence of the Extremists17, and the Extremists in turn promoted the Khavarej. It is the duty of the Islamic scholars to make every effort to guide the Extremists and on the other they should answer the sophistries of the hard-line Wahhabis. It is difficult to keep the solidarity of the less learned masses of people in such affairs, but even harder at times when some apparently learned ones stumble onto either side. "May Allah the Almighty keep us away from extremism and guide us towards the right path."
The book, A Missionary and not a Prophet18, is a critical appraisal by a leader of the Wahhabi creed on the issue of excommunication and declaring others as kafirs, published lately and its fame has spread all over the Hijaz (Saudi Arabia) and other countries.
The unique features of this book are the following:
1. The author of the book, Shaikh Hasan bin Farhan Maleki, is a famous intellectual of the Sunnis of Saudi Arabia and a follower of the Maleki creed who calls himself a moderate Wahhabi.
He respects the leader of the Wahhabis, Shaikh Mohammad bin Abdul-Wahhab, but he strongly criticizes his declarations, especially on the issue of excommunication19 of the Muslims. He states expressly:
‘Even though I respect him, yet not only have I found him fallible, but I believe he has committed many mistakes.’
2. His method of criticism is very polite and logical, but when it comes to criticising the themes of the leader of Wahhabis, he is not concerned with anything at all; he even neglects the many threats that intimidate him on behalf of the Extremist Wahhabis, as he calls them 20.
3. He is well-versed in Islamic faith and religious sources, and he is especially good at employing the terms used by the opposite side against them, and he has amusingly dedicated a part of his book to “the contradictions and inconsistencies in the statements of Muhammed bin Abdul-Wahhab”.
4. He believes that the Extremist Wahhabis who regard the life, wealth and reputation of the non-Wahhabi Muslims permissible, are ensnared by fanaticism and are a threat to Islam, Muslims and the region.
5. He has focused most of his criticism on the two books "Kashf-o-Shobahat"21 and "Kitab-o-Tawheed"22 by Muhammed bin Abdul-Wahhab, and he addresses the sources of many of his accounts to the book, "Al-Dorar-o-Seniyah"23.
Al-Dorar-o-Seniyah is compiled by Abdul-Rahman bin Muhammed bin Qasim Al-Hanbali, who has compiled the set of books, articles and letters by Muhammed bin Abdul-Wahhab and a group of Wahhabi chiefs from the time of the Shaikh till today. He died in the year 1392 AH. Ben Baz, a famous Wahhabi Jurist who died recently, used it as a text book to teach from. This book of ten volumes is a very good source of information about Wahhabism.
6. The author of "A Missionary not a Prophet!" did not remain safe from the threats and pressures of the extremist Wahhabis and the verdict of his ex-communication has been issued, as done to Ben Alawi Maleki, and it is not clear what sort of destiny is awaiting him. However, he has done Islam a great favour through this book and proven that bloodshed and anathemisations are alien to Islam and are the result of mistaken interpretations of Islamic instructions.
7. He states in the introductory discussions to his book: "The truth is that I prepared this new reading of the books by Muhammad ben Abdulwahhab prior to September the eleventh, and after that event I was not very keen to publish it (as it might cause accusations against Muslims in the course of this event), but as I watched the extremist Wahhabis constantly holding seminars and conferences to acquit the leader of this creed, Sheikh Muhammad, and declare him innocent of any fault, I saw it necessary to unveil the truth so that they deal even-handedly with the matter and admit the mistakes made by the Sheikh in issuing verdicts of ex-communication. "24
8. He starts off by saying: Mohammad ben Abdulwahhab was a reformer not a prophet!
He then clarifies: ‘We are situated in the middle of two extremist groups; some regard him as an infidel, and others treat his sayings and speeches as prophetic phrases which no one can censure; both are mistaken.
9. In another part of his speech he says, "The Sheikh was not unique in speaking or summoning" he suggests: "Some followers of the Sheikh reckon him as unique in knowledge and erudition, and condemn all the Islamic countries who did not accept the call of Wahhabism as territories of infidelity and polytheism, and furthermore, reckon all the scholars in those countries to be ignorant individuals who know nothing of Islam!!" 25
He then adds: "Unfortunately, I found the origins of ex-communicating Muslims and the basis for regarding their countries as the countries of infidelity and all their scholars as infidels, in the words of Sheikh himself, and I will shortly mention the sources for that."
He then asserts: "Certainly, the Sheikh and his adherents have not pursued the right path in this doctrine. Some of the mistakes that the Sheikh and a number of his followers committed, especially with regard to the ex-communication of Muslims, entrapped many admirers of knowledge – either due to extremism or imitation – and as a result many abrasive acts were recently carried out, (in different parts of the world) and a group, by exploiting the same reasoning used by the Sheikh created terrifying events (and embarked upon horrendous killings and still does so!)"
10. Mentioning the blunders of the Sheikh by any scholar in the Saudi kingdom inevitably resulted in indignity and disgrace. Thus criticising these beliefs became an imperative duty and made me enter this discussion.
It is obligatory for every scholar and every citizen in the country (of Saudi Arabia) to do what they can to liberate us from these aggressions and ex-communications, and abstain from promoting what will only harm our country and people in the long-term, although (some might think) it might have short-term benefits. We must cleanse our country and our religion from the filth of oppressive ex-communication and the shedding of innocent blood.
At this moment in time, there is not one day that we don’t receive atrocious news of horrendous aggressions committed in Iraq. Every day tens, and at times, even hundreds of people are hunted down through car bombings, and in most cases you notice suicidal motives behind these operations which reveals that it is the job of those who regard themselves as Muslims and the rest as infidels whose life and wealth are permissible to them.
This is the end product of the teachings of the school of the Sheikh who migrated from the Hejaz to Jordan and from there to Iraq. In his footnotes at some stage in this chapter the author proposes that the Westerners, especially the Americans, through destructive political, martial and economic policies and multi –lateral aids to the tyrant Israel, have been the originators of these oppressions. In another section of his sayings he goes on to explain where this unruly ex-communication, which is causing chaos, even inside Saudi Arabia, has originated from?! And finally he arrives at the conclusion that the teachings of the Sheikh and his school of thought are the main causes of these aggressions.
All that violence; ranging from the aggressions by the Ikhwan group in the Najd region and thereafter in the sacred city of Mecca, to other aggressive operations and bombings elsewhere in different regions of Saudi Arabia, are the products of the Sheikh's teachings.
He then adds: "Since those who created these aggressions and bombings, are not foreigners who have migrated to the Hejaz from other countries, if we claim they have all received aspirations from the Sheikh's culture and teachings, we are not far from the truth, and if one refers to their statements one would surely confess to this fact."
Hasan Ibn Farhan Maleki, in his book, "A Missionary, not a Prophet!" is mainly concerned with criticising the sayings and beliefs of the leader of the Wahhabis on the issue of ex-communication of Muslims and declaring those who have rejected their sayings, as polytheists and infidels.
In the first chapter he sets off criticising the book "Kashf ul-Shubahat" in a very lucid manner.
In the second chapter he criticisies his other books on the issues of Tawheed and Polytheism.
In the third chapter he goes on to the most important issue of ex-communicating the Muslims. He then reveals a great piece of his contradictions in a scientific manner.
In the fourth chapter he discusses whether his followers followed him in excommunicating Muslims with ears and eyes shut, or did they engage in criticising the Sheikh's thoughts?
And finally in the fifth chapter he criticizing the ideas of those opposing the Sheikh and separates the extremists from the moderates and aligns himself with the moderates.
And amazingly he states at the end: "The summary of the discussions is that the Sheikh has gone the wrong way on the issue of ex-communication. Confessing this matter, in the face of the reasons that we possess, is an easy task for the fair-minded. Neither is Islam destroyed by this confession nor does the sun rise from the West, (its just that a fallible human commited a mistake)." 26
This criticism will certainly purify this creed from the horrendous and inhuman aggressions they have been committing in the name of Islam. The least that will happen is that it will settle the moderate Wahhbis in place of the extremist Wahhabis.
Kashf ul-Shubahat stands amongst the most popular books by the Sheikh. Ibn Farhan finds thirty three significant objections to it and criticizes them, especially those regarding the issue of ex-communication. He expresses his amazement as to how the Wahhabi scholars disregard all these huge mistakes voiced by the Sheikh and pass by it so easily.
He then adds: ‘If only some of them had questioned just a few of his mistakes, I wouldn’t have seen the necessity for writing this book, but what should I do when everybody kept quiet’.
Mohammed ben Abdulwahhab states in the outset of the book Kashf ul-Shubahat: "Monotheism (Tawheed) is the religion of the prophets whom Allah has sent to His servants, the first amongst them is Noah (‘as) the Almighty sent him to his nation at the time when they had exaggerated about the Saints."
Thereafter Ibn Farhan remarks: The opening to this assertion is correct. However, it ends erroneously and it is perhaps a prelude to ex-communication! The Almighty sent Noah (‘a), to summon people towards the unitary God and to abandon polytheism, because they worshipped idols called Wadd and Sowa' and so on…Their problem was not confined to just exaggerating about the Saints. Exaggeration and overstatement can be the cause for polytheism (or disbelief), but indeed not every overstatement is polytheism nor does anyone have the right to shed Muslim blood based on this excuse!
He then goes on to say: ‘I do not claim that the exaggerations made about Saints and the great ones of religion or some superstitious rituals are correct, I claim they are wrong but cannot be termed as blasphemy’.
Some people criticized the Sheikh saying that those whom he ex-communicated and went to war against and killed, were Muslims who established prayer, fasted and performed the pilgrimage. He responded that since they exaggerate about the dignitaries of religion they are all disbelievers and are even worse than the polytheists of the era of paganism. 27
Ibn Farhan is astounded that the opposers of exaggeration, are themselves given to unbelievable exaggeration about Sheikh Mohammad ben Abdulwahhab by regarding him pure from making any mistake, calling him "the patriarch of existence", 28 a term that they don’t even allow to be used for the Holy Prophet (S).
And in the last critique (the thirty-third critique), he addresses the Sheikh and states that on page 70 of his book, the only exception that he has made on the issue of blasphemy (or ex-communication) is of those who are "reluctant" (unwilling), meaning those who are forced to make a blasphemous statement. He has then referred to the Qur'anic verse "Except he who was compelled". Ibn Farhan mentions another party mentioned in the Quran, who rose in denial of some religious matters (while they believed in the fundamentals of Islam), due to unawareness and ignorance, or as a result of incorrect understanding of the Qu'anic verses and narrated traditions. Those people, according to the Quran and traditions, are excused and are not considered as disbelievers.
He then concludes: ‘One of the shortcomings of the Sheikh's methodology lies in his procedure of taking hold of one Qur'anic verse or a single tradition and leaving aside the rest of the verses and traditions, and this is a very grave mistake.'
In the second chapter of the book, he questions the Sheikh's views in Al-Dorar ul-Sonniyah and points out forty mistakes, including the statement in this book29: ‘none of the scholars of Najd nor the judges of that region know the meaning of "لا إله إلا الله" (There is no God but Allah), and they cannot distinguish between the religion brought by Mohammad (S) and the religion of Amr ibn Lahi (the famous idol worshipper of the era of paganism); they consider the religion of Amr ibn Lahi superior and even the right religion’. As a result, he declares all scholars, Jurists and Judges of that region polytheists and infidels.
Ibn Farhan then cites the books written about the scholars and the jurists of this region to show that Sheikh Mohammad was heading in the wrong direction when ex-communicating Muslims. Amongst the cases that he raised concerning exaggeration in ex-communication by this extremist Wahhabi group, are the following two cases:
1) Ex-communication of the Shi'a: Sheikh Mohammad ben Abdulwahhab suggests that whoever doubts the infidelity of the Shia is an infidel. 30 Ibn Farhan goes on to say: ‘This is while Ibn Taymiah, with all his exaggerations and hostilities towards the Shia regards them as Mulsims (even though he considers Shias as the people of forbidden innovations), but says explicitly that they are not infidels (disbelievrs).’ 31
The author then suggests: ‘It was only after these inhuman and un-Islamic fatwas that the killing of the Shia, who were the ones who actually laid the foundations for the most developed doctrine of Tawheed (monotheism) in Islam, began and continues to this day.
2. The Sheikh states: ‘Whoever curses a companion of the Holy Prophet (whoever it may be) is an infidel! 32
Ibn Farhan Maleki states clearly, ‘Mo`awiyah according to the explicit text of Sahih Muslim33 commanded his people to curse Imam Ali (‘as) (and for decades, from the pulpits, speakers cursed Imam Ali (‘as). In spite of this, did the Shaikh call Mo'awiyah an infidel? 34
This Maleki Sunni scholar states: ‘It has been seen that Sheikh Mohammad, defends himself thus: "The enemies claim that I ex-communicate individuals upon suspicion, I regard ignorant individuals who haven’t been provided with proof as infidels. This is a great calumny. They intend to break up people from the religion of God and His Messenger." 35
Ibn Farhan states: ‘This very claim by the Sheikh is an implicit ex-communication in relation to those who have not embraced Wahhabism, since he means that the religion of God and His Messenger, that they intend to distance the people from, is the creed of Wahhabism. Therefore, those opposing Wahhabism, disbelieve the religion of God and His Messenger.’ 36
Ibn Farhan refers to other explicit sayings of the Shaikh and states: ‘There are many faults and errors imputed to the Sheikh which he wards off himself, while most of them exist in his sayings! He then mentions twenty-five cases of these imputations with reference to their source and evidence, including what the Sheikh denies regarding the following:
He considers the fourfold creeds of the Sunnah as void!
Whoever implores the Saints is an infidel!
1) If he finds the power and ability he will demolish the Tomb and the Holy Shrine of the Prophet (S)! (And akin to the shrines of the Imams of the household and other dignitaries in Baqee, he will level it to the ground.)
He regards the visit to the sepulchre of the Prophet (S) as forbidden!
He regards everybody as infidels, except those who follow him!
He has denied many other statements similar to these, while they are either found explicitly in his books or heard in his speeches, and this amazing contradiction surprises anyone who goes through his work with an open mind.
Hasan Ibn Farhan Maleki, in the third chapter of his book states: ‘Unfortunately the students and the followers of the Sheikh followed his path of ex-communication, and decreed many Arab and non-Arab tribes, many followers of the Islamic creeds, and a group of famous Muslim scholars, as infidels. 37
They decreed the following:
1) Stating blatantly that all the people of Mecca and Medina are infidels (who at that time had not embraced the creed of Wahhabism). 38
2) Whoever has accepted the call of Mohammad Ibn Abdulwahhab but still believes that his father passed away as a Muslim, is an infidel! He must be forced to repent. Whoever refuses to repent, must be beheaded! His wealth will be confiscated by the Islamic government's state treasury! If he has performed Hajj (pilgrimage) prior to this he must repeat his Hajj, since it was before accepting Wahhabism and he was then still a polytheist, 39
3) The entire Ottoman Empire was infidel, and whoever did not consider that government as infidel was an infidel. 40
5) The withholder of alms (compulsory purifying tax) was an infidel. 43
6) Those who employed non-Muslims in their offices and homes, those who neglected many religious obligations and performed many of the religious prohibitions, knew nothing of the two testimonies except for its pronunciation, were all infidels and apostates! 44
Hasan Ibn Farhan after mentioning the twenty seven errors that the students of the Sheikh and his followers had made in ex-communicating the Muslims, continues to say: "After all this overindulgence in the matter of ex-communication whose like you wouldn’t find anywhere, a group of the Wahhabi scholars pointed their aggressive ex-communicative attacks towards Sayid Qutb, Mawduodi, Ikhwan ul-Muslimeen and Hizb ul-Tahrir. It is true that they were afflicted by immoderation in the political field, but their immoderation did not by any means reach the immoderation of Wahhabis in all aspects, be it political, theological, jurisprudential, cultural or social; fairness is indeed lacking here." 45
He then adds: "Thinking about the previous statements, is there anything left of the so called 'holy struggle' programme (and the attack against Muslims) that the Wahhabis have forgotten to mention?" 46
And at the end of this discussion he points out that after Mohammad Ibn Abdulwahhab the surge of ex-communication overtook the Wahhabis themselves, where by some ex-communicated others and captured their women! He then mentions several of these incidents with reference to the book Al-Dorar ul-Sonniyah.47
He ends this chapter on a hopeful note and states: ‘The son of the founder of the Wahhabi creed, Abdullah Ibn Mohammad, moved to Egypt after the collapse of "Darieyah" (a town in the Hejaz), and was transferred from that closed fanatical environment to a more open environment where he attained some new awareness, resorted to the school of moderation, denied the decree of ex-communicating different groups of Muslims due to religious innovations that his father believed in, and declared that no one could be ex-communicated unless he or she denied one of the necessities of religion or acted upon a deed which according to Muslim consensus is a cause for ex-communication. 48 49
In the fourth chapter he speaks of the opponents of the Sheikh who ex-communicated him (Sheikh) and all the Wahhabis. He then goes on to justify their case and states: these kinds of ex-communications are of no value, they must only be admitted as their fallacy (especially regarding their ex-communications).
In this chapter, he names twenty two people among the Sunni scholars most of whom were from Najd and Mecca, and some of the scholars of Damascus, Iraq, Tunis and Morocco, who all stood against the Sheikh, and some even wrote books denying the sayings of Mohammad ibn Abdulwahhab. 50 By doing so, he shows that most of his opposition rose from his own region or were his own relatives!
Ibn Farhan summarizes the main criticism levelled against the Sheikh by the prominent Sunni scholars, in four main points:
• Ex-communication of Muslims
• Claiming prophet hood (indirectly not specifically)
• Believing in assimilation in God and in Him being an object,
• Denying the miraculous deeds of the Saints and great ones of religion
He then says: ‘The main allegation is the first one which nobody can deny.’
Thereafter, he quotes from the famous author of the book "Da'wa al-munawe'in" (دعوی المناوئين), Sheikh Ahmed Zaini Dahlan, that: "The Wahhabis regard no one as monotheist, except he who follows every single word of their sayings!" 51
He quotes another famous scholar, Zahawi, who said if somebody asked him what the Wahhabi creed was and what its objective was, he would say in reply to both questions: "Ruling all Muslims in the world as infidels! This short answer is sufficient for these kinds of questions."
Hasan Ibn Farhan tries to acquit Sheikh of the other three accusations. However, the first accusation which he has accepted is not at all a minor accusation, considering the fact that the holy Quran strictly prohibits accusing other Muslims of infidelity including those who only pretend to be Muslims:
"Do not say to someone who offers you peace 'you are not a believer' so as to attain the worldly life's enjoyable accessories [and to take possession of his property]."52
Considering the explicitness of this Holy Verse, is there any room left for ex-communicating Muslims?!
The Almighty states in another place:
"Should anyone kill a believer intentionally, his requital shall be hell to remain in it [forever]; Allah shall be wrathful at him and curse him and He shall prepare for him a great punishment."53
This verse sends a shiver down the spine of any true believer; intimidated by the fire of hell, and it being an eternal punishment combined with Divine wrath and vengeance, is a description that has not been mentioned for any of the great sins – except for homicide.
Describing the Divine punishment as eternal – in view of the point that this great punishment is specifically for dis-believers – shows that the killers of Muslims will definitely die faithless, and their eternal stay in hell is certain.
Now think of the status of those who murdered, on baseless excuses, the believers who established prayer and fasted and performed all the Islamic rituals, then captured their women and plundered their belongings. Not one person, but hundreds or even thousands of people including men, women, infants, old and young were devastated. And they call it the religion of Islam and the Mohammadi Tawheed and consider themselves to be the rescuers! "We seek refuge in Allah." Whereas they are the referent of this Holy Verse:
"And Satan has made their deeds seem decorous to them thus he has barred them from the way [of Allah], so they are not guided." 54
Fortunately, many of the followers of this creed have recently noticed their mistake and now regard the ex-communication of Muslims as a great sin, even if they are according to them, the people of innovation. Hopefully, this will cleanse Islam of aggression and terror.
At the end – for a hopeful ending – we will go over a very important declaration which was recently written and published by a group of scholars, jurists and traditionists of Saudi Arabia: This declaration was published in numerous newspapers, but we quote it from the book "معجم طبقات المتکلمين" (The glossary of the rankings of theologians).
- 1. – The beauty.
- 2. –مفاهيم يجب أن تصحّح" ".
- 3. –مفاهيم يجب أن تصحّح" ": "Concepts that Need to be Rectified" pages 29 & 30 (with slight summarization).
- 4. – Isthmus period between death and resurrection.
- 5. –مفاهيم يجب أن تصحّح" ": "Concepts that Need to be Rectified" page 37.
- 6. –مفاهيم يجب أن تصحّح" ": "Concepts that Need to be Rectified" page 68.
- 7. –المجمع الفقهی رابطة العالم الاسلامی .
- 8. – صحّة مفاهيم کان الناس قد هاموا فيها وزائلها لبس و ابهام.
بحث دقيق لا يقوم له خبط و خلط و تدليس و ابهام
أبدی به العلوی المالکی لنا ما لم تنله من الحذاق أفهام
- 9. –مفاهيم يجب أن تصحّح" ": "Concepts that Need to be Rectified" page 55.
- 10. –سباب المسلم فسوق و قتاله کفر
- 11. –مفاهيم يجب أن تصحّح" ": "Concepts that Need to be Rectified" page 181.
- 12. – Summaries from مفاهيم يجب أن تصحّح" ": "Concepts that need to be Rectified" pages 194-242.
- 13. – Summaries from the third part of the book مفاهيم يجب أن تصحّح" ": "Concepts that need to be Rectified" pages 243-318.
- 14. – يَدخُلونَ فـــي دينِ اللهِ أَفواجَاً.
- 15. – غلاة.
- 16. – هلکَ فيَّ رجلان: مُحِبٌّ غالٍ و مُبغِضٌ قالٍ – Nahjul-Balaghah, short saying 117.
- 17. – غلاة.
- 18. – داعية و ليس نبياً.
- 19. – تکفير.
- 20. – غلاة وهابي.
- 21. – کشف الشبهات.
- 22. – کتاب التوحيد.
- 23. – الدررالسنية.
- 24. – داعية و ليس نبياً page 28.
- 25. – داعية و ليس نبياً page 13.
- 26. – "A Missionary not a Prophet!" pages 28 and 29.
- 27. – "A Missionary not a Prophet!" page 33 (with summations).
- 28. – "A Missionary not a Prophet!" page 14.
- 29. – "A l-Dorar ul-Sonniyah" Volume 10, page 51.
- 30. – "A l-Dorar ul-Sonniyah" Volume 10, page 369.
- 31. – "A Missionary not a Prophet!" page 86.
- 32. – "A l-Dorar ul-Sonniyah" Volume 10, page 369.
- 33. – He asked Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas, ‘How come (in spite of my command) you don’t curse Ali (’as)? Sa'd answered: ‘Because of three sentences that I heard of the Holy Prophet (S) regarding the magnificence of Ali (‘as). (He then mentions the three sentences) mentioned in 'Sahih Muslim' in the section on 'The Virtues of the Companions', in the chapter on 'The virtues of Ali ibn Abi-Talib', as the third tradition. For more information on cursing and damning Imam Ali (‘as) by Mo'awiyah refer to: تاريخ طبری volume 4, pages 52 and 188….
- 34. – "A Missionary not a Prophet!" page 86.
- 35. – "A l-Dorar ul-Sonniyah" Volume 10, page 113.
- 36. – "A missionary not a prophet!" page 86.
- 37. – In other words they frequently decreed to the infidelity of others, and dragged down all Muslims under the blade of infidelity.
- 38. – "A l-Dorar ul-Sonniyah" Volume 9, page 285.
- 39. – "A l-Dorar ul-Sonniyah" Volume 10, pages 138, 143.
- 40. – "A l-Dorar ul-Sonniyah" Volume 10, page 429.
- 41. – "A l-Dorar ul-Sonniyah" Volume 1, page 364.
- 42. – "A l-Dorar ul-Sonniyah" Volume 1, page 357.
- 43. – "A l-Dorar ul-Sonniyah" Volume 10, page 177.
- 44. – "A l-Dorar ul-Sonniyah" Volume 15, page 486.
- 45. – "A Missionary not a Prophet!" page 117.
- 46. – "A Missionary not a Prophet!" page 117.
- 47. – "A Missionary not a Prophet!" page 123 onwards.
- 48. – "Al-Dorar ul-Sonniyah", Volume 10 page 244.
- 49. – "A missionary not a prophet!" page 125.
- 50. – "A missionary not a prophet!" page 127-133.
- 51. – "Da'wa al-munawe'in" page 166.
- 52. –Surah AL-Nisa 4:94.
- 53. – Surah AL-Nisa 4:93.
- 54. – Surah AL-Naml 27:24.