Warning against Rashad Khalifa's denial of the Purified Sunnah
All praise be to Allah. May peace and blessings be upon His Messenger and upon his family, Companions, and those who followed him.
The reason for this speech is the latest events in city of Toussaint, an affiliate of the state of Arizona, America. There is a person called Rashad Khalifah, an American-Egyptian citizen who denies the Sunnah, reviles the status of the Messenger (peace be upon him), and distorts the Words of Allah to conform with his deviated opinions.
The said person has no knowledge of the principles of the Islamic Shari`ah (Islamic Law), as his field of study in which he holds his Ph.D is agricultural engineering. Thereby, he is not eligible to the duty of calling to Allah in a right manner. Furthermore, he managed by means of illusive ways to misguide new Muslims to believe in his opinions which he propagates pretentiously and falsely in the name of Islam which he antagonizes by his denial of the Sunnah along with those who equally deny the Prophet’s words and deeds. During his visit to Libya in 1399 A.H., a professor at the Libyan University asked him just before he boarded the airplane about his opinion concerning the Prophet’s Hadiths, he said quickly due to the lack of time, “these Hadiths are Satanic.” Among his sayings which expose his denial of Sunnah and allegorically interpreting the Qur’an on whimsical basis the following:
- He says that stoning the male or female adulterers, married or not, is not permissible, for this was not revealed in the Qur’an.
- His arrogant stand when citing the Hadith: Do not write down anything from me except the Qur’an that this proves the impermissibility of writing down the Hadiths.
- He argues that there is no need for the Sunnah or the Prophet’s explanation of the Qur’an by quoting Allah’s saying: “We have neglected nothing in the Book” [al-An’am: 38] and His saying: “…and your Lord is never forgetful” [Maryam: 64]
- He claims that adhering to the Sunnah, writing down, and collecting the Hadiths that took place in the second and third centuries A.H. Was behind the downfall of the Islamic state.
- He questions the truthfulness of the incident of Al- Mi`raj (Ascension to Heaven) and that the Messenger (peace be upon him) was not the first to teach Muslims the manner by which they offer their Salah (Prayer), as Arabs have known this way of performing Salah since their ancestor Ibrahim [Abraham] (peace be upon him).
- He has certain interpretations regarding the writing of the Separated Letters mentioned at the beginning of Surahs (chapters) as he claims that the way they are written is not true. According to his opinion, the Separated Letters: A. L. M. Which are combined as one word in the `Uthmany calligraphy, should be separately written, i.e. “Alif Lam Mim”. Likewise, Allah’s saying: “Nûn. [These letters (Nûn, etc.) are one of the miracles of the Qur’ân, and none but Allâh (Alone) knows their meanings].” [al-Qalam: 1] Should be written as “Nun” etc. Of the delusive and deviant opinions which disperse the unity of Muslims in addition to bearing clear opposition to Allah and His Messenger.
Therefore, I deemed it necessary to disclose his claims and expose his reality before Muslims lest any of them should fall victim to his deceptions and deviant opinions. So all may know the Remarkable Status of the purified Sunnah. Every Muslim should know that the Prophet’s Sunnah (peace be upon him) is the second source of legislation. This is unanimously agreed upon by the Salaf (righteous predecessors) of the Ummah (nations) and the esteemed scholars. Allah has preserved the Sunnah of His Prophet (peace be upon him) as He preserved His Book (the Qur’an) and dedicated to that duty sincere men and trustworthy scholars who devoted their utmost efforts and deep knowledge to serve, scrutinize, and transmit the Sunnah honestly and truthfully to later generations as reported from the Prophet (peace be upon himself) without any distortion of Hadiths with relation to meaning or wording.
The knowledgeable people amongst the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) and those who came after them still believed and revered that great source and resorted to it seeking the evidence concerning the legal rulings. They also sought to teach the Sunnah and sciences related to it to the Ummah and regarded it as an indispensable means to the explanation of the Qur’an. Accordingly, many voluminous books were compiled in the Science of Hadith and its principles as well as judging the authenticity of the texts and narrators. All this was made clear in the books of Fiqh (jurisprudence) and juristic percept.
Moreover, Allah’s command in His Book to follow the Messenger and obey him until the Day of Resurrection, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) with his dedications and deeds clarified thoroughly what was generally expressed in the Qur’an. Had it not been for the Sunnah, Muslims would have not come to know the number of Rak`ahs (unit of Prayer) of Salah, how they should be offered, defending the cause of Allah, enjoining that which is good and forbidding that which is evil. Nor were they to know the rulings of transactions or the forbidden acts for which Allah ordained Hudud and punishments.
There are many Ayahs stressing this meaning: “And obey Allâh and the Messenger (Muhammad (peace be upon him)) that you may obtain mercy.” [Aal Imran: 132]”
Allah (Exalted be He) also says in Surah Al-Nisa’: “O you who believe! Obey Allâh and obey the Messenger (Muhammad (peace be upon him)), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allâh and His Messenger (peace be upon him), if you believe in Allâh and in the Last Day.” [an-Nisa: 59]
Allah (Praised be He) further states: “He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad (peace be upon him), has indeed obeyed Allâh, but he who turns away, then we have not sent you (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)) as a watcher over them.” [an-Nisa: 80]
He (Exalted be He) says: “Say: “Obey Allâh and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away, he (Messenger Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) is only responsible for the duty placed on him (i.e. To convey Allâh’s Message) and you for that placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on the right guidance. The Messenger’s duty is only to convey (the message) in a clear way (i.e. To preach in a plain way).” [an-Nur: 54]
Allah also says: “And perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and give Zakât and obey the Messenger (Muhammad (peace be upon him)) that you may receive mercy (from Allâh).” [an-Nur: 56]
These Ayahs and others have made it clear that the obligation of obeying the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) completes the obedience of Allah. All guidance and mercy lie in adhering to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and holding fast to his guidance. This utterly contradicts the denial of the Sunnah and questions its validity.
Whatever was said by Rashad Khalifah of denying the Sunnah and that there is no need for it is disbelief and apostasy from Islam, because denying the Sunnah implies the denial of the Qur’an and whoever does that is a kafir (disbeliever) according to the Ijma` (consensus) of Muslims and he should be, along with those advocating the same opinions, abandoned and declared a disbeliever and deviant in every occasion until he openly repents to Allah, for Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: “Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidence and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allâh and cursed by the cursers. Except those who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth which they concealed). These, I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.” [al-Baqarah: 159-160]
Imam Al-Suyuti (may Allah be merciful to him) in his book, “Muftah Al-Jannah Fi Al-Ehtijaj bil Sunnah” deemed as kafir whoever denies the Sunnah, as he said: “You should know (may Allah show mercy upon you) that whoever denies the authority of the Prophet’s Hadiths whether a statement or an act, is a Kafir and is out of the fold of Islam and will be gathered on the Day of Resurrection with the Jews and Christians, or with any disbelieving sects according to the Will of Allah.” End of Quote.
That is what I want to make clear and highlight to advise the Ummah and fulfill the due responsibility of scholars. May Allah guide us to His Straight Path, protect all Muslims from deviance after guidance, and from Kufr after Iman (Faith). I ask Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) to grant victory to His Religion, make His word supreme, and to grant Muslims victory over their enemies. He is the One Who is Capable of doing so. May peace and blessings be upon His Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions, and those who followed him righteously until the Last Day.
Date: Dhul-Qa'dah 27, 1441 AH
Source: Majmu' Fatawa Shaykh Ibn Baz 2/400
Shaykh ibn Baz