Relatively seven years ago that which I first heard his lectures on Peace TV and I was benevolently admiring his speech and logic. As a student in Ateneo de Davao University, I also took a minor-degree in Philosophy, and maybe for such reason I have found his relative arguments convincing.
I only knew a few things about him, (1) I believed him as a scholar of Islaam, who graduated with a degree in usul al-hadeeth in the Islamic University of Madina who founded Muslim Matters website and their group in New Orleans, USA. And (2) that he is currently taking up his Doctorate Degree in Yale University. I admired his articles, his lectures, and his manner of approach in many contemporary issues our Ummah is facing today. If you didn’t know much about him like I did, you would have admired him as much as well. True, he is indeed one who has quite an astonishing intelligence and brilliance, cognitively speaking.
It was two years ago that I learned about Salafiyyah, it was something new to me. As a student of both this religion and school-based curricula, I was never a person who immediately accepts one thing without discourse. Expect that I would be dwelling much of my time in one matter especially if it claims to be the truth. The typical rationale of truth is it is always perfect of contradictions and errors. Truth can never be two different opposing matters – it could either be that one is true and the other is false or neither of them is true at the same time. Salafiyyah was one of which that was overbearing in many aspects. As a methodological approach, it is one that fits the truth. And like all other definitions of truth, all other opposite to salafiyyah is false.
From that which I discovered within the Salafi Methodology are many things that reason and philosophy could not argue. One thing for sure, in Islaam, we do not adopt any other philosophy aside from the manner of philosophy the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wassallam) taught us, and that is, the Qur’aan, the Sunnah, along with the best generations he (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wassallam) described are the key to our success and we unarguably cast away that which opposes them. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (radiyallahu ‘anhu), the Prophet’s (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wassallam) best friend, the first Caliph of Islaam fits the best description of how we should enact our creed and faith in Allaah and the Prophet. He undoubtedly believed the words of the Qur’aan to be true and whatever comes from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wassallam) are to be taken and should cling to. That, among other companions of the best generation in Islaam, should be our manner, attitude and behaviour towards our deen. However, today we see many long threads of which opposes this nature. And they themselves call towards deviancy and illusionary exemplifications of truth whereas it is baatil.
Dr. Yasir Qadhi, along with his colleagues are among the many of who constantly attacks salafiyyah in many aspects. Fair enough he does praise salafiyyah in one or two occasions but many a time he praises other groups as well. And we boil back to the simple rationale before, the truth can never be of two matters with opposite directions. And this is where Dr. Yasir Qadhi falls. His belief that there is no existing firqah (group) that is true towards the call of Islaam. That all we have today are a fraction of truths divided along with the different groups that claim to be Islaam. That in order to be within the truth, one must take a mixture of Sufism, Ash’ariyyah, Deobandiyyah, Tablighiyyah, Shi’ism, and all other different groups in order to become close to the truth.
This reminds us of a particular Filipino delicacy during summer, the “halo-halo”, a mixture of different sweet ingredients potted on one long glass poured with milk. But Islaam is not a delicacy, nor is the Sunnah a food that we eat. If Islaam was a mixture of everything in the world, then it should have not been any different with other religions existing, then how come should we apply such philosophy in our belief? There are a number of Prophetic narrations that explains that there will be ‘one’ group that shall be the truth which he described as the ‘firqatun naajiyah’. Unfortunately, Dr. Yasir Qadhi believes that this group should be the mixture of all other groups – our ‘halo-halo glass’.
On this perspective personal philosophy of Dr. Yasir Qadhi, we put our Ummah in grave danger. In many areas, one can immediately put forth an argument that if a person is undoubtedly new to Islaam (a revert), he is neither one of many things. How will he be able to identify the truth if he will be taking lectures and lessons from different groups teaching different creed and conviction? Yes it is true that in the school of jurisprudence (madhaab) there are differences, but such differences are null and void because each proponent of this school of jurisprudence disclaimed that if any of their ijtihaad in concluding an Islamic Ruling should be thrown away if and only if there is a better opinion in such matter. This applies in rules of fiqh and not in conviction and creed. The ever popular reciting of the basmalah before wudhu is an issue of Fiqh and not an issue of creed. This is an example wherein it does not nullify a person’s faith in the religion, whereas the conviction and creed puts a different scenario. If one person believes that the Qur’aan is a “makhluq” then this is an issue of creed and conviction. It endangers the person’s belief in Islaam and may put forth a severe reality that he may have committed kufur. This is an example of what Dr. Yasir Qadhi wants us to exemplify which is very dangerous for each and every Muslim – to pick parts and parcel of different beliefs in creed and conviction from different groups claiming to be Islaam.
How will one then distinguish the truth from all other parties who claim to be true? Dr. Yasir Qadhi implies that one should stick to the Qur’aan and the Sunnah to answer such question. This is true indeed but not everyone has an ability to understand the Qur’aan without the tafsir, much more if it is in Arabic. Not one is able to understand the hadeeth without the explanations of the scholars, much more if it is in Arabic. By such token, we have one common denominator in these scenarios, we run back to the scholars for help in understanding of our religion. But Dr. Yasir Qadhi has a problem with this for he does not wish for us to cling to the Scholars of the deen except that he wishes us to distance ourselves from them. It is not within one occasion where he criticised the likes of Sheikh Salih al-Fawzan (hafidhahullaah) on their fatawa as he believes that they (these scholars) does not have any full knowledge of our dilemma. Profoundly it was never in one case wherein he was reprimanded by the scholars, even when he was still a student in the Islamic University of Madina where his teachers have asked him to abandon his beliefs and rationale on many Islamic issues. There was even one occasion where one of his teachers have openly told everyone that he (Dr. Yasir Qadhi) was no less than a hizbee! Far indeed we are compared to the scholars, and for such we go back to these authentic scholars who have served their life learning about this religion and continuously study our society. It is but strange to ask for a baker the process of building a mechanical engine for your car. How much more would it be if you ask a person about Islaam whereas he is sufficiently unsuited to explain this deen?
Again, one major anchor of salafiyyah or the salafi methodology is to listen and adhere to the scholars of this deen. How many of our Muslims wish to go to the Islamic University of Madinah to Study? Or to Ummul Qura’ in Makkah? Would it be not deserving to listen to the teachers themselves of these institutions? Those who have doctorate degrees from these Jami’ah? Who have been known to be scholars with great grasp of this religion? Or would you rather choose not too because of your personal philosophies or because you know your persona as a “scholar” or “preacher” would not be fully ratified? The Qur’aan have already spoken on to whom we should seek questions to. And the hadeeth of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wassallam) has identified the victorious group. And this group is not one who is a mixture of many things but those who cling to the Qur’aan and the Sunnah of this deen.
Thus, for those who say, like Dr. Yasir Qadhi is saying that we should be another “halo-halo” Muslims, then I ask you to look back and see for yourself. Is it not that these “halo-halo” mixture of creed and conviction one of the reasons of the fall of Christianity and Catholicism? Do you wish to like so? Then what difference do we have from them within?
Nas’alullaahu liljami’it tawfeeq wal hidaya.
*This article is a reaction to the article made by Dr. Yasir Qadhi entitled “On Salafi Islam” published in his website Muslim Matters dated April 22, 2014.
Any part of this article written may be reproduced without alteration of any part within and should be accredited back to the writer as it his responsibility to address both negative and positive responses.
For whatever goodness and benefit you take from this article is from the goodness of Allaah and whatever mistakes and errors herewith are mine due to my shortcomings and limitations of ‘ilm upon this deen.
Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh.