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Wednesday, November 06, 2013

What’s wrong with being a Wahabi/Selefi?

Someone said this to me a few days ago. It was a peculiar statement to make and at the same time illogical. I would like to write about this here in an effort to explain why anyone who thinks like this should stop and reconsider. Know we are not writing out of hatred rather we are writing out of care that people remain on the right path.

Climate that the confused find themselves in

Being Sunni in this current time is seen as being narrow minded by some. Many are, unfortunately, like that but there are many who are not. But those who are narrow minded are also those who know how to propagate themselves well. This is especially true of the indo pak Sunni’s who, it is very sad to say, some of the most narrow minded individuals that one many hope to meet. Sunni’s of other backgrounds are not like this.

There is an understanding, rightly or wrongly, that there is corruption in the masjids. Added to this is the fact that local masjids cater for the elderly and male members and seemingly disregard the needs of the females in their respective communities.

Knowledge and teaching of Islam is extremely limited and those Sunni’s who do not like the ‘look’ of someone will make sure sufficient slander is being spread about certain teachers. Thus making sure no one studies with them. 

These types of situations make people think that there must be another way and that Islam was made to cater for all people not just the elderly. People must understand that the masjids were set up in absence of anyone knowledgeable about Islam. The elders in their communities set these places up, we are grateful they did, but now the next step must be the spreading of knowledge in the masjids. Which, as a whole, is not happening but there are pockets here and there. 

They meet Sufis who have taken a spiritual path but are unrighteous. It could be because their Sheikh is that way but in most cases it’s because they themselves do not adhere to their paths correctly.

You also have cultural forms or understandings of how Islam should be. 

So given all these factors would you not run from Pakistani Sunni Islam? Well many have. We were lucky because there was an emergence of English speaking Sunni scholars in the 1990’s which helped us see that there was another way. You are familiar with their names or you are if you are reading this blog!
Yet there were those who wandered further and they came across wahabi/selefi version of Islam. Thanks to their good brand placement and image, they managed to make many in-roads in Sunni communities. For a number of reasons which we will go into now.


The Wahabis/Selefi’s came across as a purer version of Islam without any cultural dross and without any of the above mentioned points. So they filled in the gaps of what the Sunni’s had neglected, as a whole. Their funding is from Saudi who are only interested in spreading a puritanical type of extremism. How can I say that? Well they consider everyone else as polytheists because they are grave worshippers or so they falsely claim. This is the true nature of a sect and breaking off into sects is unlawful/haram.

Thanks to the huge amount of petrol dollars being poured into Saudi they spread their ill gotten gains across the globe by funding masjids, madrasa’s and preachers of their ilk. Lovely petrol dollars allowed them to bankroll books accusing Muslims of falsehood then the market were flooded with books of this group.

The main accusation that the wahabi’s lanched continuously at everyone else especially the Sunni’s is innovation/Bida’. They claim that the Sunni’s have lost their way because they have become embroiled in innovation. Innovation is a serious accusation and is tantamount to heresy. The wahabi’s/selefis are essentially what the inquisition was to Christianity. They accuse us of polytheism/shirk which means accusing someone of disbelief.

So to an untrained mind their arguments may seem valid but if you examine them with a fresh mind then you see how badly flawed their statements are. One such shocking statement made by one of the wahabi   ‘scholar’ was that he said saying bismillah before entering McDonalds means all of it is halal/lawful. This is rejected by every sound thinking scholar on the planet. As the wahabi has made the consumption of pork halal which means this opinion is disbelief/kufr. The list of absurd opinions goes on and on.  It is not strange that they accuse others of disbelief yet do even worse themselves!

The other slogan is that they follow Quran and Sunnah and nothing else. This is just a flawed argument against one thousand and four hundred years of Islamic scholarship. No one can accuse the majority of Islamic scholars to be all incorrect and this small minority to be right. No one group has the monopoly of truth that had escaped 1400’s years of scholarship had missed and this small group found out. There is a good reason why many scholars have said not to read anything written in the last two hundred years because this is when all the differences occurred.

Even though both groups have different routes their objective is the same. Also they are Arabic-centric in their thought which is a reason why they have been very effective in spreading in the lands of the Arabs. Islam relies on Arabic as a core language but Islam does not rely on a single background of people.

Breaking down their arguments

The first point we would like to make is that no group that was founded on the murder and massacre of the inhabitants of Mekkah and Medinah (twice) could ever be right. More on can be read in our previous post.

Second point no ‘new’ group has monopoly of the truth. Sunni Islam has existed since the time of the companions and up until this day and it did not suddenly appear in Arabia two hundred years ago. Nor any modern group of in the last two hundred years.

Three, the Wahabis/selefi’s were part of the products of colonisation. British foreign policy in the countries that it ruled as to undermine the power and the power was with the religion. So they used and funded (de)formers such as M.Abdhu, Aghani, M. Ibn Wahabi, Rashid Rida and many others. Their role was to actively undermine dominate Sunni presence in their respective regions. It worked on many but there was a core of scholars who rejected their opinions. Wahabis/ Selefis were seeds of British foreign policy which became poisoned fruit with American.

Four, the correct group of Islamic scholarship began in time of the companions and continues to this day which is the majority of scholars are correct and the minority are not. The Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said,
لا يزال طائفة الظاهرين على الحق لا يضرهم من خذلهم حتى يأتي أمر الله و هم كذلك

البخاري 10ظ293

“A group will remain manifest on the truth; those who forsake them will not harm them until the command of Allah comes and they are likewise.” Bukhari

This can only be the Sunni’s because all other groups broke away from the Sunni mainstream. When I mean Sunni I mean the Hanafis, Shafi’s, Malikis and Hanbali’s. These are the Sunnis and those who are not part of this group I do not consider as part of mainstream Sunni Islam. They also have to adhere to one of the following groups of Islamic belief which are Maturidi’s or Ashari’s. This is Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Jammah and others that are excluded are Shia, Khawarij, Mutazilities and Wahabis etc. 

Five, you cannot claim to be Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Jammah and not follow the above guidelines! Then actively undermine the groups that they claim to be from!

Six, accusing all Muslims of innovation/bida’ is slander of the highest order.

Seven, you cannot claim to be a period of time like I cannot claim to be Tudor. How can I? When I am not from their time! How can one claim to be part of the rightly guided generation of the Salaf which ended in third century Islam? Although the manners of the salaf did not die out until a few hundred years later. It can now be described as extreme asceticism which in itself is Tasawwaf. So the only way they could be a Salefi was if they were born in that time period. If they werent then they have no right to claim they are a Selefi.

Eight, someone cannot recite the Quran unless they learn all the articulation points and the correct manner of pronunciation. So no average person can recite the Quran without it learning these rules. So if this is just to recite the Quran, without understanding its meaning, how foolish would it be to follow self made scholars who open the Quran and interpret translations? Without any background in the Arabic language! Or those who study Islam in western universities? Or those who go to Medinah University and spend years with their backs to the light? All they do is open a book and they are a scholar! No need for spending years studying! How can you be when you cannot even recite the Quran correctly! Would you trust me to do open heart surgery on you because I’ve just read a book about it? No sane person would so why then would you trust such people with your religion. Something much more precious.

Nine, Muslims do not worship graves. We go and pay our respects to the deceased. Note the Muslim grave of a Wali or scholar is illuminated place of lights. Prostration is two kinds: one of worship and one of respect. The latter is what the angels did to Adam (upon him peace). It is only disbelief if someone prostrates as an act of worship. Prostration of respect is disliked now because of the harm it will cause. So there is no disbelief going on here and this is a baseless accusation.

Ten, the companions did not need madhabs why do I? Well if you are a companion then you had great people such as Ibn Mas’ud, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them all) and their ilk to ask questions. You do not have this great blessing as you and me need someone to explain this hence the Sunni schools of thought who were set up in the time of the companions! On whose influence Islam remains to this day.

Eleven, nor can you follow a group without a valid chain of transmission/sanad or isnad. Why? Because you will know the correct position and this religion is passed on from chest to chest not from book to book.Or fabricated on the spot! The Chain of transmission/Ijaza is permission given to a teacher by his teacher and this system reaches back to the companions and the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him). No one but the Sunni Islam have this system.

Twelve, we follow Quran and Sunnah. This is also another baseless claim because all the four Sunni schools are based on Quran and Sunnah. The only difference being that we follow trusted scholarship through Abu Hanifa and his students. The Hanifa’s, Shafi’s, Maliki’s and Hanabalis are based on the Quran and Sunnah. In opposition to the selefis who follow their self- fis which means they follow whatever whim comes to them. They take a text in isolation without understanding and speak for hours based on a misunderstanding.

Thirteen, the reject attaining blessings/barakah from relics even though they have a museum of Ibn Saud where all of his items are preserved! They go, visit and pay homage but according to themselves this is shirk! This is the height of hypocrisy.

Fourteen, accusing anyone of innovation is slander. There are two types of innovation blameworthy and praiseworthy. Blameworthy is a new action without previous precedence. Praiseworthy innovation is a new action but has some roots in Islam. Like the compilation of Quran into one book. There were no orders for this to be done but it was done by the companions in order to preserve the written word and allow others to learn it. As well as praying twenty units of Tarawiah prayer which was confirmed by Umar Ibn Al-Khattab and confirmed by the silent consensus of the companions (may Allah be pleased with them). Silent consensus of the companions is when the ruling was given by Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) and no one opposed him. Only a fool would disobey the companions and claim to follow them!

Fifteen, the founders of the four school were all in born in the blessed generation of the real Salaf: 1st to 3rd century Islam. We are the true followers of the Salaf not they as they claim. Which trusted mujtahid do they follow? Their salaf were born a few decades ago so how can they be salaf? Also the word salaf that is mentioned in hadith means one who lives after you have passed and it does not mean that the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) is a salaf. Yes that was one of the strange things someone sent to me! They claim to follow the salaf but do not follow the four madhabs which were set up the real salaf. Yet they do not follow them but claim to!

Sixteen, the four imams did not have all the hadiths? This is a rather strange claim of the wahabi/selefis because they claim that none of the four imams had all the hadiths. This can be easily refuted by the following points:

1. None of the collections of the following hadiths never claimed to have all the hadiths: Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood, Muwatta Imam Malik, Imam Ahmad, Muwatta Imam Muhammad, Ibn Hibban, Al-Hakim, and so on.

2. The Wahabis/selefis do not know or study most hadith books themselves! So their accusation that the four imams did not have all the hadiths is false seen as they did not even study all the hadiths on these collections. 

How can the Wahabis/selefis accuse others of not having all the hadiths when they do not look up the hadiths except Bukhari and Bukhari is not all of the hadiths!

Most of the collectors of hadiths followed a process or criteria for accepting hadith. They collected hadith over many years and then sifted through them bases on their own principles and then compiled them. Some of these collections took tens of years. 

Imam Bukhari said he knew 100,000 authentic hadiths and 200,000 weak hadiths, but how many of those 100,000 ended up in his collection 7563. Imam Ahmad had 27647 hadiths in his works even though he knew half a million by memory and had written 1 million by hand! (Manual of Islam p.134 Imam Nawawi trans Sheikh Nuh Keller)

Some hadiths were not widely transmitted because they were not acted upon, and so on. Some hadith are repetitions, some hadith have additions in other collections and so on. 

No one has claimed to have all the hadiths, not a single jurist, not a single hadith expert and not a single scholar. The insinuation is that the wahabi/selefis have all the hadiths and this is baseless too because they do not look at the books present in our time!

The way out

Look to trusted names and people who are part of the Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Jammah and avoid some rabid Shia groups who also have lots of suspicious funding. Look at the scholars who do not curse or attack people continuously, this is a good sign. Those who adhere to goodness in their students as well as practicing themselves.

Following wahabi scholarship is like getting a child to build to car engine. Do not expect anything to work but expect a few tantrums! If you follow their arguments it will take a lot to break them down. To the layman these make a lot of sense but to the scholar it’s the same as baby writing a book on Islam. They did not expect anything but scribbles!

So what is wrong with being a wahabi/selefi? Well you putting the most precious thing you have, your religion, into the hands of those untrained individuals. Those who have killed thousands of Muslims and yet claim to be on the right path! Those who are killing innocents are lairs and cheats.

The problem with being a Wahabi is like seeing all types of water as the same but some has other mixed in it and others are purer. Drinking wahabi/selefi water is like drinking water that’s been mixed with petrol, so do not expect to be healthy! The Sunni water is fresher and has no petrol!

Do not be fooled by people who make lots of noise because empty things make lots of noise. A lot of their scholars are empty and make lots of noise!

We have not written this with the intention that you attack others, no, this is pointless. Use this as a means of self defence if you are attacked. Most of all whichever group you belong to do not declare another Muslim as a disbeliever. If you adhere to a school then do not force it onto others as this causes tribulation. If you want to learn about the rights of a Muslim then read this 40 hadith about the rights of Muslims click here.

Most of all we ask for guidance for you and for us; as we are all in need of the guidance of Allah (Exalted is He).

Those who want to look deeper into this then find the books Notions that need correcting by Sheikh Muhammad Al-Maliki Al-Makki and Realities of Sufism by Sheikh AbdulQadir Isa. Both of them are published by Sunni pubs.


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