Islam Is Free From Extremism
Shaykh ‘Abdullaah bin Saalih al-Ubaylaan
Source: A lecture given by the Shaykh at Call to Islam,
It is apparent to all that the Muslim Ummah today is not in the same state or is not on the same religion as in the time of Prophet Muhammad (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and as in the time of his companions or even in the time of the best generations, the first 3 generations.
The Muslim Ummah today is not standing up firmly for the commandments of Allaah and the Sharee’ah of Islam. And by saying the Muslim Ummah, I am referring to the majority of the Muslim Ummah today. So the majority of the Muslims today or the vast majority of the Muslims today are not supporting, propagating and implementing the religion of Islam properly in terms of ‘aqeedah, in terms of worship, in terms of implementing the Sharee’ah, and in terms of manners and behaviour.
On the other hand, the vast majority of the Muslim Ummah today are not announcing or not proclaiming kufr (disbelief) which is on the other side. And the main reason that they are living in this time of weakness and this time of fitnah is that they are ignorant of the true religion that Allaah sent Muhammad (sall- Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) with, the other reason is the presence and abundance of Imaams and leaders who call the people to other than what the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came with.
And this stage of the history of the Muslim Ummah is referred to by the people of knowledge as the stage of fitan, the stage of trials. And it is the stage to which we find a lot of reference to in the Qur’aan and in the Sunnah of the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and in the statements of the companions. So we find in the Sunnah of the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) many warnings
against this stage and that it is going to be a time of fitnah and he warned us against it and he directed us how to deal with this stage of fitnah so that the Muslim can protect himself from the fitnah.
It is an obligation upon us to learn that the Muslims today are split and have differed and many trials and ordeals have hit them, and they have become parties and sects and groups. And amongst them have appeared desires, indecencies and sins. As a result, they are not qualified to fight; they are not qualified to perform the legislated and the proper jihaad in Islam. They are not prepared physically and militarily, and they are not prepared in terms of Eemaan and in terms of knowledge. So they are far away from the saying of Allaah ta’aala:
“And prepare for them whatever you can from power and horses and equipment in order to cast terror and fear into their hearts of the
enemies of Allaah and your enemies.” (8:60)
It is well known that the Muslims today are completely dependent upon their enemies when it comes to their military power. So the obligation upon the callers of Islam, the obligation upon the du’aat today, rather it is the obligation upon the whole Ummah is that they should keep away and refrain from extremism in the religion and they should keep away from stubbornness which leads to destruction
and brings more corruption to the Ummah and it is condemned in the Sharee’ah as the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Do not go to extremes, or do not make the religion hard for yourselves, lest Allaah will make it hard on you.” (Abu Daawood & others)
As this kind of stubbornness and extremism and making the religion hard for ourselves will always cause the people to turn away and to hate the truth and to hate accepting it.
The main objective and the ultimate goal and duty that this Ummah is entrusted with by Allaah ta’aala and his Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is that this Ummah should carry on the task of spreading and propagating this religion as Muhammad (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) propagated it. This is the main duty upon the Muslim Ummah which is to propagate this da’wah in that manner. Allaah ta’aala addressed Muhammad (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) by saying:
“O Muhammad (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), convey that which was sent to you by your Lord, and if you don’t do so then you have not conveyed the message.” (5:67)
And the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said in a hadeeth:
“Convey from me even if it is one ayah.” (Saheeh al-Bukhaaree)
But the Muslim Ummah today is not qualified to convey the true message of Islam, although this is one of the main reasons, or the main causes that will bring the Ummah to honour, to victory and to prosperity and to bring it back to the true religion of al-Islam that Allaah ta’aala referred to by saying:
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (5:3)
The Ummah should go back and should refer back to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as it was narrated to us and conveyed to us from the companions of the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and according to their understanding.
So the main reason behind jihaad and behind performing jihaad is to achieve tawheed and to call to the true testimony that nothing is worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is the Messenger of Allaah, and as the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“I was ordered to fight the people until they testify that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allaah.” (Saheeh al-Bukhaaree & Saheeh Muslim)
So the main reason behind fighting and behind jihaad is to bring the people to the religion of al-Islam and in the light of the situation of the Muslim Ummah today, as it is a weak Ummah, it is not befitting for someone who has put himself in the position of propagating Islam and giving da’wah, it is not befitting for him to use means and methodologies in calling to Islam which are not approved and consented to by Allaah and by His Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), as such methodologies and such means will only deter the people away from the religion of Islam, and even deter many of the Muslims themselves from the true message of Islam.
The following of such deviant methodologies or innovated means has led to and has created some kind of Islam and some kind of understanding that Islam is the religion of violence, of terror, of killing and shedding blood when in reality it is clearly the opposite. Al-Madeenah an-Nabawiya was not conquered by fighting; rather the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came to al-Madeenah with knowledge and with light. And the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) remained in Makkah for more than 10 years without fighting anyone, rather calling to the religion of Islam.
And the outcome of fighting or attacking the non-Muslims today while the Muslim Ummah is so weak is that it will only bring more weakness for the Ummah, more splitting and fitnah, as the Ummah is not qualified and is not equipped and is not ready to fight its enemies. Rather it is so weak to do that. So any kind of opposition or any kind of fighting the non-Muslims and fighting the enemies of the Muslims will be under the general rule or the Sunnah of Allaah ta’aala with his creation where he said:
“And had it not been for the fact that Allaah would make the people fight amongst themselves, then the earth would have become corrupt.” (2:251)
So as we have stated regarding the Ummah today, then, the ‘aqeedah is not really implemented and is not instilled and established in the hearts of the Muslims, the Sharee’ah of Muhammad (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is not acted upon and the Muslims are not embracing it inwardly and outwardly, nor are they calling to it, so in this case fighting the kuffar will be under the norms which Allaah has set in this world or the Sunnah of Allaah ta’aala with his creation, and that is, victory will be by the strongest or to the stronger.
So the ones who have power they will prevail and they will have victory, and there well be no assistance to the Muslims from Allaah ta’aala as they failed to establish the right ‘aqeedah and to implement the Sharee’ah, rather what will happen is what Allaah ta’aala said in the Qur’aan, and these are those days or this is that time, at a different time there will be different people, victorious people, according to their power and according to their military power.
The question is put forth, what is the methodology, what is the madhhab to be followed by the Muslim in dealings or in dealing with the current situation of the Muslims. The answer is the saying of Allaah ta’aala:
“O you who believe! Take care of your ownselves, [do righteous deeds, fear Allaah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allaah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)]. If you follow the right guidance and enjoin what is right (Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbid what is wrong (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden) no hurt can come to you from those who are in error.” (5:105)
Shaykh-ul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah said: “In this ayah there are five points of benefit.” And he mentioned the statement and then said: “The Muslims will live during some times of hawa and of implementing the guidance of the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and there will be a lot of goodness in the Ummah,
and there will be times of weakness.” And this is mentioned in the hadeeth where the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“If you see that the people follow their sense of being stingy and people follow their desires and that everyone is happy about his own opinion, then take to the benefit or pay attention to your own benefit as an individual and leave the others.”
(Abu Daawood, at-Tirmidhee & Ibn Maajah)
So what is the methodology that the Muslim is supposed to follow in such times, theoretically and practically? This is what Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned by mentioning 5 points of benefit that are in this verse.
2) The Muslim should not feel sorry for them and he should not feel pity for them as they have brought their destruction upon themselves by means of their disobedience and by means of sin. And as long as one keeps himself on guidance, then he should not worry about those who go astray. And this is in the hadeeth of the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and it is in the aayah where Allaah ta’aala says: “And be patient and stick to patience and perseverance, and verily your patience is by the help of Allaah. And do not feel sorry and do not be sad. They are misguided and do not feel pain for them if they turn away from the guidance.” (16:127)
3) The Muslim should not lean towards the kuffar and should not be attracted to them and should not be attached to the pleasures of this life that they possess. This is what Allaah ta’aala addressed His Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) about and He said: “And strain not your eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to various groups of them (polytheists and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allaah), the splendour of the life of this world that We may test them thereby. But the provision (good reward in the Hereafter) of your Lord is better and more lasting.” ( 20:131)
4) The Muslim should not transgress against the people of sin and against the munafiqeen and against the Kuffar, whether in admonishing them or abandoning them or in forbidding their evil or even in fighting. Rather as what Allaah ta’aala says: “Pay attention to your own benefit or seek your own benefit and don’t be harmed by those who go astray.” (5:105) And as in the aayah in where Allaah ta’aala says: “And let not the oppression of others upon you lead you to transgress.” (5:8) And in the aayah where Allaah ta’aala addresses the believers by saying: “And fight those that fight you, and do not fall into transgression. Verily Allaah does not like those who transgress.” (2:190) And in another ayah Allaah ta’aala says: “And if the Kuffar give up fighting you, then you should stop fighting them.” (4:90)
Shaykh-ul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah carries on saying that: “Many of those who enjoin the good and forbid the evil, those who perform ‘amal bil ma’roof and nahy ‘anil munkar, many of them transgress against the boundaries that Allaah ta’aala has set and this is all due to either their ignorance or their own transgression. And this should not be the case with the Muslim, rather the Muslim should be just when he deals with the Kuffar, when he forbids the evil, whether they are kuffar or munafiqeen or faasiqeen.”
So these are five beneficial points that can be derived from the aayah in terms of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. And the meaning in the aayah is apparent that the person should only pay attention and be so keen to attain his own benefit in terms of his religion and in terms of this life with regards to knowledge, with regards to action, and with regards to turning away from anything that doesn’t benefit him. And this is the meaning of the hadeeth of the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam):
“From the perfection of a person’s Islam is that he turns away from that which does not concern him.” (At-Tirmidhee, Ibn Maajah & others)
And curiosity which is not necessary, which does not benefit a person in this life and with regards to his religion will always bring destruction upon him and it is caused mainly by desires and by love of leadership, and many of those who admonish others, many of those who pretend to enjoin the good and forbid the evil they only do that out of love of leadership, out of love of being known an pointed to as people who enjoin the good and forbid the evil. And it is always one of the traps of shaytaan, it is how he dupes the people by making it seem to them as if their enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is for the sake of Allaah while they are doing it for their own desires and for their own benefit and it is not really done according to the Sharee’ah of Islam, rather it is only transgression against the people.
So we should always contemplate and ponder upon this aayah and understand its meaning. It is a very beneficial way to understand how to give da’wah and then Shaykh-ul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah himself concludes this passage or this comment on the aayah by saying that:
“Many of the disputes and the rebukes that take place amongst the scholars, amongst the leaders, amongst the people of authority and among the common people, all this or most of this actually happens with the motive of personal issues and desires and personal inclinations, and all this leads to transgression. And the person might justify this by misinterpreting verses from the Qur’aan and hadeeth from the Sunnah of the Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).”