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Ibn Abdillah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori

Some of those who work for shaytaan are misguided scholars who call to bid'ah that can take people out of Islaam, such as belief that someone has hidden knowledge apart from Allaah (baatiniyyah), grave worship, slaughtering for other than Allaah, vowing for other than Allaah, cursing and blaspheming the Companions, sihr of different kinds and so on. Some these people work for shaytaan by calling to bid'ah of lesser grades. But the fact remains that all bid'ah (innovation) is misguidance and all misguidance is hell fire. May Allaah save us from this. 

No act of bid'ah should be underrated. In most cases, all acts of bid'ah start from something small, and if care is not taken, could lead to the main exit door. That is why the two category of persons illustrated by Imaam al-Barbahaaree رحمه الله should be feared. They should not be followed or given any consideration. But many people are ignorant of this matter. May Allaah grant us protection and safety.

Regarding the one who intentionally mislead people away from the path of Sunnah, Imam al-Barbahaaree رحمه الله said:

حقيق على من عرفه عن يحذر الناس منه, ويبين للناس قصته لئلا يقع في بدعته أحد فيهلك

It is the duty of a person who knows him to warn people about him and to explain his situation to them, so that no one falls into his innovation and get detroyed (like him) [Sharh us Sunnah, nuskhah of Sheikh Fawzaan, pg 46]

It is the duty of the scholars of sunnah to narrate the story of deviants of their time and expose all of their evils that they know, no matter how famous or widely accepted they (deviants) are in the society. This is in a bid to protect the deen against their distortions. It is also to rescue many ignorant people from falling into their traps. It is not from the manhaj of the People of Sunnah to be silent on evils. The scholars are enjoined in the Qur'an and Sunnah to speak boldly against every form of evil if they are capable of doing so. It is the responsibility of the people of knowledge to speak against evils of people of bid'ah and those who accommodate or pamper them in one way or the other, so that ignorant, negligent or nonchalant Muslims would not be carried away by the sweet tongues of scholars of misguidance (past and present). 

However, the speaker against evil must be very careful not to fall into another evil while trying to warn against an evil. Speaking against evil requires wisdom, patience and sincerity. In refuting evils, the refuter must be just and equitable in his submissions. The refutation must not be spiteful. The refuter should try as much as possible to avoid insults and derogatory words. The refuter should be careful not to fall into defamation (slandering and backbitting). The protection of the deen and the ummah should be his motive and utmost priority. The intention of a refuter must be to guide the erring individuals and those who are likely to be misguided by their errors. Allaah didn't just send the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to pass His message without giving him a mode of operation. That mode of operation is covered by His statement:

(ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجَادِلْهُمْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ ضَلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ ۖ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ)

Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided. [Surat An-Nahl 125]

It must however be noted, that da'wah is not always hot and it is not always cold. Sometimes, it might be cold and sometimes, it could be hot depending on the circumstance of each case. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, the Companions رضي الله عنهم and the Taabi'een رحمهم الله exemplified both methodologies without any confusion. This is what all callers to the path of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم must try to understand and emulate. 

A preacher is not supposed to be harsh where it is not necessary, and he is not expected to be soft where he is to be harsh. The circumstance of each case would determine the method to be used. For instance, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to be very harsh when it comes to shirk and bid'ah. He used to be harsh also in matters that deals with rights of Allaah (huduud). But in matters that are lesser than this, used to be soft in his manner of correction. 

On this matter, there are two (2) extreme ends; those who act as if all matters are to be treated with harshness, and those who act as if the salaf didn't even use harsh methods at all. We should try not to be part of these two (2) dangerous groups. The best group are those who examine situations and act as situation demands with sole intention to guide people to the right path.

Let us not fall for tricks of shaytaan, thereby neglecting the great responsibility of speaking against falsehood. Sheikh Saalih Fawzaan حفظه الله used more than a page to explain the need to always stand against falsehood and the obligation of refuting its people. He noted that it is dangerous to be silent about falsehood irrespective of where it emanates from. No matter how knowledgeable a person is, he can make mistake, and he can be refuted. This shouldn't be misunderstood to mean lack of mannerism. Any scholar who fails to refute falsehood could fall into the fitnah of hiding the truth. Allaah warns against this in Suratul Baqarah:

(إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَا أَنْزَلْنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالْهُدَىٰ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا بَيَّنَّاهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِي الْكِتَابِ ۙ أُولَٰئِكَ يَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّاعِنُونَ)

Verily, those who conceal the clear evidences and the guidance which We have revealed, after We have explained them to the people in this Book, these it is whom Allâh deprives of His mercy and also disapprove all those who can disapprove [Surat Al-Baqarah 159]

Lastly, Sheikh Fawzaan رحمه الله noted that the falsehood to be refuted is not restricted to that which comes from the People of Bid'ah alone. Even if the falsehood is from the People of Sunnah, it must be refuted. We should not be silent upon falsehood and allowed ignorant people to be misled. But our refutation must be constructive and not destructive. We should mean well for the refutee and the entirely Muslim ummah. Refutations should not be presented in a way that would suggest settlement of scores or superiority contest. The refutee too should toe the path of honour by embracing the truth, no matter how bitter. We shouldn't raise baseless and untenble allegations against anyone who refute us with clear texts. We should be humble enough to accept the truth always. May Allaah guide us aright. On what ought to be the motive of a refuter, Sheikh Fawzaan حفظه الله said and I quote:

نحن قصدنا الحق, ما قصدنا أن نجرح الناس أو نتكلم في الناس, القصد هو بيان الحق وهذه الأمانة حملها الله العلماء, فلا يجوز السكوت عن أمثال هؤلاء...

Our intention (is to protect) the truth, we do not intend to defame people or speak against people. Our intention is to explain the truth, and this is a trust Allaah has placed upon the scholars. It is not proper to be silent regarding those kind of people (People of Bid'ah) [Sharh us Sunnah, pg 48]

May Allaah guide us aright.

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