Shaykh Ibn Baz on Islamic unity, Sufi groups, spread of Bid'ahs and misguidance, and the duties of Ahl-us-Sunnah towards them

Al-Tadamun Al-Islami Magazine had the honor of making interview with His Excellency, Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Baz, Chairman of the Departments of Scholarly Research, Ifta’, Da’wah, and Guidance.

His Excellency, Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Baz was one of the scholars of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Ummah (nation based on one creed). He is a remarkable authority in Islamic education and one of the great figures of the Islamic thought in this age. Moreover, he exerted great efforts in promulgating the pure Islamic creed, removing the misconceptions, spreading the Islamic Da’wah (Call) all over the world.

His Excellency kindly answered the questions of the reporter of Al-Tadamun Al-Islami Magazine about many issues that concern the Islamic Ummah.

The issue of Al-Quds and Afghanistan:

Talking about the impact of Islamic conferences and meetings headed by his Excellency on the Islamic work, Islamic creed, and on particular the Islamic awakening, he said:

In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Allah’s Messenger, and upon all his family and Companions. We gather in these meetings with fellow Muslims working for the sake of Islam and Islamic scholars and intellectuals from all the countries of the world. Through these meetings, we wish welfare and prosperity for Muslims as such meetings are for the sake of Islam and its followers.

Among the most important of these meetings is that of the members of the founding council of the Muslim World League, which is being held these days for the sake of discussing the issues concerning the Muslims and exerting every possible effort in an attempt to illustrate and bring about sound solutions, in the hope that they might benefit the Muslims and solve their problems.

The most important issue that concerns the Muslims is the issue of the Middle East. It is a chronic issue and the issue of Palestine and Al-Quds (Jerusalem). The late events of Lebanon took place at the hands of the enemies of Allah from the Jews, and the struggle among the Lebanese themselves, made things even worse and aggravated the catastrophe.

The future is for the Mujahids:

The founding council of the Muslim World League pays great attention to these two issues, about which they issued resolutions and recommendations that they deemed appropriate. I ask Allah (Exalted be He) to benefit the Muslims through this.

Another issue that concerns the Muslims is that of the ongoing war between the Afghani Mujahids (those fighting in the Cause of Allah) and the hireling communist government in Kabul.

This Jihad (fighting or striving in the Cause of Allah) undoubtedly concerns all the Muslims. Thanks to Allah, the realities augur well and the victories of the Afghani Muslim Mujahids are successive, since their lands were occupied and they were oppressed in their religion. Thus, we wish victory for them and ask Allah to grant them good endings. All current good omens indicate that the future bodes well in favor of the Mujahids, and that Allah will grant them victory over their enemy and return them successful, triumphant and high-mettled to their countries. It also indicates that Allah will humiliate their hireling enemy and those who helped and assisted it.

We ask Allah (Exalted be He) to maintain His religion, elevate His Word, and improve the affairs of the Muslims everywhere, aid them with the truth, and maintain the truth through them.

Return to conciliation and to what is right:

Among the most important issues that concern the Muslims is the ongoing war between Iraq and Iran, as it has lasted for a long time and much bloodshed and destruction occurred. It also brought about evil consequences to both parties.

May Allah gather the two parties on the right and put an end to this war in a way that benefits the Muslims and harms their enemies. May Allah guide both parties to reason and rightness, and return to what brings about welfare and good outcome for them both.

Indeed, Muslims everywhere view that it is the duty of the government of Iran to return to rightness and to agree to the peaceful solution as did Iraq, since the continuity of war and non-compliance with well-meaning intercession are improper and impermissible. It is also obligatory to return to reconciliation as Allah (Exalted be He) says in His Glorious Book (the Qur’an): “And if two parties or groups among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both. But if one of them outrages against the other, then fight you (all) against the one that which outrages till it complies with the Command of Allâh. Then if it complies, then make reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Verily! Allâh loves those who are the equitable. The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islâmic religion). So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allâh, that you may receive mercy.” [al-Hujurat: 9-10]

The Islamic awakening

His Excellency also spoke about the obligations for Muslim scholars and thinkers in the Islamic Ummah (nation based on one creed) towards the contemporary Islamic awakening. He said:

“It is an obligation for Muslim scholars everywhere to advise the Muslims and exert efforts in guiding them to the means of salvation, and also to remind them of things against which Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) and His Messenger (peace be upon him) warned them, that is, the adverse consequences of disobedience to Allah, neglect of His Commands, and judgment by other than His Shari’ah (Law). They should also remind them that (true) happiness, salvation, and safety could by no means be achieved for them except through their holding fast - all of them together - to the Rope of Allah, their helping one another in righteousness and piety, their standing together against their enemies, their maintenance of Allah’s Command and their recourse for judgment to Allah’s Shari’ah.

This is the unswerving way and the straight path where lies their salvation, their glory, and their happiness in worldly life and in the Hereafter.

Holding fast to the Rope of Allah :

There is no way for their victory over their enemies and retrieval of their past glories and ravished honor except through this way and path, namely holding fast all of them together to the Rope of Allah, helping one another in righteousness and piety, standing together against falsehood and its followers, seeking the Help of Allah, adhering to His Religion, making ready all they can of power for Jihad in the Way of Allah, retrieval of past glories and stolen rights that had been seized by the enemies due to our disunity, negligence, and disobedience. Allah is the One sought for help.

Distraction of Sufi groups to Muslims

Question: At present, specifically these days, Islam is being exposed to detraction by way of some Sufi groups, charlatans, sorcery, mythologies, and superstitions. What is the way the Muslim scholars should adopt to encounter false claims and misleading Bid’ahs (innovations in the religion)?

Answer: Unfortunately, the enemies of Islam make use of those who ascribe themselves to Islam, such as superstitious people, Sufis, and others who follow Bid’ahs to propagate their falsehood and distract the Muslims by things that harm them and result in their disunity and disagreement, so as to fulfill their targets, seize the wealth of the countries, and disrupt the unity of the Muslims.

Resisting people of Bid’ahs and false beliefs:

The only means of safety against that danger is that qualified scholars, who are noted for their knowledge of Allah’s Religion and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him), should direct the Muslims towards adherence to the truth of their religion, and the abandonment of every Bid’ah, and superstitions of the different and various Sufi ways that contradict Allah’s Law and all newly-invented practices in religion that are propagated by many people. The Muslim scholars should also urge Muslims and assure them that there is no way for salvation and reunion except through holding fast to Allah’s Glorious Book and to the Sunnah of His trustworthy Prophet (peace be upon him), and also through abandonment of whatever opposes them of prejudices and innovations.

The way is one and the same:

Indeed, Allah has perfected the religion and completed His Favor. Thus, there is no need to adhere to anything that opposes it, fanatically persist in it, or engage in disagreement because of it.

Rather, the way should be one, namely, adherence to the Glorious Qur’an and the Purified Sunnah by associating no partners in worship with Allah (Exalted be He), sincerely worshipping Him, renouncing the worship of other than Him, abandoning excessive veneration of graves and the dead and refraining from invoking them, beseeching them for help, and so on.

Bid’ahs and aberrations are fallacies:

They fall under associating partners with Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) in worship, although worship is an Exclusive Right of Allah Alone. Allah (Exalted be He) says: “And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allâh, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him)” [al-Bayyinah: 5]

He (Glorified be He) also says: “So worship Allâh (Alone) by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allâh’s sake only. Surely the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allâh only.” [al-Zumar: 2-3]

Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said in the Hadith reported in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhary and Muslim) on the authority of Mu’adh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him): “The Right of Allah over His slaves is that they should worship Him and not associate anything with Him.1

It is an obligation for Muslim scholars to spread the Allah’s Religion and explain to the followers of Bid’ahs, Sufism, superstitions, and deviations the invalidity of the Bid’ahs that they adopt, illustrating the Honorable Sunnah and the clear-cut, tolerant way, supported with evidence from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and to warn them against their mistakes in a kind manner using the clear proof, conclusive evidence, irrefutable argument and unequivocal style without violence or harshness. Rather, they should address them in lucid expressions and argue in a good way so that they could consider the matter carefully and discard superstitions, polytheistic actions, and Bid’ahs which they follow without guidance or insight. Indeed, truth is the long-sought objective of the believer, which, whenever he finds it, he should accept it. Allah (Exalted be He) says: “And say: “Truth (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism or this Qur’ân or Jihâd against polytheists) has come and Bâtil (falsehood, i.e. Satan or polytheism) has vanished. Surely Bâtil is ever bound to vanish.” [al-Isra’: 81]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Anyone who does an action which is not in accordance with this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected.2

Bid’ahs must be renounced and fought against:

Every Bid’ah, aberration, and approach that opposes Allah’s Law must be discarded. All people should pursue the way that was trodden by the Prophet (peace be upon him) throughout his life and then assumed by his Companions and the rightly-guided Caliphs and later followed by the virtuous Imams and righteous Salaf (predecessors), who treaded in their steps on the right way and straight path.

This is the way that must be adopted, followed, and preached and whatever disagrees with it including Bid’ahs brought about by the people must be abandoned and repudiated through explanation and clarification, so that none (of those rejecting the faith) would be punished except after clear evidence.

The methodology of the Islamic unity

His Excellency also spoke about the methodology of the Islamic unity, saying:

Islamic unity can only be achieved through the unanimous agreement of the Muslim rulers on the Religion of Allah, their holding fast to the Rope of Allah (i.e. the Qur’an), and their helping one another in righteousness and piety. Their objective should be maintaining the truth, guiding human beings, and taking Allah’s Shari’ah (Law) as judge among people.

In this way, they would be united, as Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: “And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allâh (i.e. this Qur’ân), and be not divided among yourselves” [Aal Imran: 103]

He (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: “Then We have put you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) on a (plain) way of (Our) commandment [like the one which We commanded Our Messengers before you (i.e. legal ways and laws of the Islâmic Monotheism)]. So follow you that (Islâmic Monotheism and its laws), and follow not the desires of those who know not. (Tafsir At-Tabarî). Verily, they can avail you nothing against Allâh (if He wants to punish you).” [al-Jathiyyah: 18-19]

Holding fast to Allah’s Shari’ah:

Thus, the only means to achieve true Islamic unity and real union is through the unanimous agreement of the leaders to resort to Allah’s Religion, adhere to Allah’s Shari’ah, help one another in righteousness and piety, and take Allah’s Shari’ah as a judge, renouncing positive laws, manmade beliefs, and discarding imported theories that contradict Allah’s Shari’ah. There should be no judge except Allah’s Shari’ah which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), his Companions, and those who righteously followed him took as judge.

This is the only means to unify their word, bring them together, unite their lines, achieve victory over their enemy, retrieve their past glories, and honor that have been usurped by the enemy due to the existence of the causes of disunion, disruption, disagreement, combating and warring which have harmed and not benefited us.

The duty of scholars and the mass media:

His Excellency also spoke about the duty of scholars and religious specialists and mass media towards what those who ascribe themselves to religion and science in some Islamic countries and propagate Bid’ahs (innovations in the religion), superstitions, and aberrations. His Excellency said:

We are at the end of the time (worldly life). We are now in the fifteenth century of Hijrah, in which ignorance has spread and knowledge has diminished, as the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Time will pass rapidly, ignorance will prevail, and religious knowledge will decrease.3

There are only very few insightful scholars in Muslim countries, while there are many bad scholars and charlatans who make the false claim of having knowledge while they are not scholars. They falsely ascribe themselves to knowledge but they are insignificant and valueless due to their lack of knowledge of the truth and their failure to support it. After all, the argument of dissenters, innovators in religion, and astray people is weak; if not frail.

It is the duty of scholars who support the truth and whom Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) has guided through His Book and through the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him) and enlightened them on the truth until they learned the way of the Messenger (peace be upon him) and his Companions, and realized that victory undoubtedly comes through adherence to Allah’s Religion and carrying it out in precise manner, that they call people to it, fulfill the Sunnah of the Messenger (peace be upon him), adhere to the true religion, and espouse what was brought by the Messenger (peace be upon him) to propagate the Islamic Da’wah (Call) and refine the creed of Bid’ahs, aberrations and deviations.

Those are the scholars upon whom hopes are hung and should call people to the truth. Such scholars are required to patiently undergo hardships, and preach Allah’s Religion, and explain to the people the reality of Islam with which the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sent so that ignorance would be cleared, confusion dispelled, and truth would become manifest for those seeking it.

Return to the truth and the right path:

In consequence, the preachers of Bid’ahs and superstitions, such as the Sufis and others, would realize the falsity of their claims and thus, return to the right path and follow the truth, since many of them have been confused as regards the truth. If they perceive the truth, they would surely follow it and keep to its path.

Indeed, if the people endowed with knowledge, insight, and belief spread the truth, enlightened people on Allah’s Command and called to His Shari’ah and explained the evidence of this, then Allah would guide whoever He wills to guide. By following this way, the scholars of Islam would have be doing good to people and conveying to them what they are required to convey, and would thus fulfill their duty. Afterwards, whoever deliberately goes astray, his affair is left to Allah. Allah has promised to fill Hellfire and Paradise, as He (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: “Not upon you (Muhammad (peace be upon him)) is their guidance, but Allâh guides whom He wills” [al-Baqarah: 272]

Indeed, religious scholars are required to convey, explain, and corroborate the truth with evidence, enlighten the people on it, and patiently persevere in this. After all, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) guides whoever He wills to the truth.

Refinement of Islamic creed:

The mass media must propagate the pure Islamic creed that is clear of all stains of Bid’ahs, Shirk, and claims of sorcery, so that people would not go astray or be deceived by what the Sufis, preachers of Bid’ahs and superstitions say. Such is the duty of all mass media in order to serve the pure and clear creed and to propagate Islamic Da’wah. Allah is the One sought for help.

  1. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on Jihad and military expeditions, no. 2856; Muslim, Sahih, Book on faith, no. 30; Al-Tirmidhy, Sunan, Book on faith, no. 2643; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Book on asceticism, no. 4296; and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 5, p. 238. 

  2. Muslim, Sahih, Book on judicial decisions, no. 1718; and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 6, p. 256. 

  3. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on Friday, no. 1036; Muslim, Sahih, Book on knowledge, no. 157; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Book on trials and battles, no. 4255; and Ibn Majah, Sunan, Book on trials, no. 4052.