TROID: Now I'll answer your question. Who am I to declare...etc. Firstly, when was introduced to Islam I was told Islam the Religion of proof. As Allah says "Produce your proof if you are truthful." (Qur'an 2:111) And in Bukhari, The Prophet(SAW) said "The burden of proof lies on the claimant." Simply put, if you wanted to pray 4 rakat for Fajr and say it was pleasing to Allah, you would have to bring proof, yes or no? Do you need qualifications to determine when an action or belief is not supported by authentic texts? Listen, Bill Clinton is not a Muslim. Do you need to ask a qualified person, yes or no? And if someone said he was a Muslim, he would have to bring proof of some witnesses, or Clinton would have to say it publicly correct? I don't need qualifications to say Madonna is not a Chinese jet pilot do I? It's funny that when we become Muslims people xpect us to no longer ask for proofs. If I didn't ask for proof I could be a Rafffidee or a Qadiyyani for that matter.>>

STAFF: This is the difference between the learned and the unlearned. One is a Scholar and the other is not. If there was no need for Scholars, then we can see there is no reason to ask qualified individuals. But according to Allah, the difference between ordinary people and the Scholars is like the difference between the Sun and the Moon in brightness. Allah says:

1. "Say are those who know and those who don't know equal?" 39:9 2. " Allah raises those who believe and those who have been given knowledge whole degrees" 58:11 3. "Ask the people of Dhikr [the Scholars] if you don't know" 16:43

and other verses and our Prophet [saw] had said:

1. " Whoever Allah [swt] wishes well, He gives knowledge of Religion." 2. "The superiority of a learned Muslim over a devotee is as my superiority over the least of you." 3. "He who calls others to guidance shall receive the like of the reward of those who follow him without diminishing their reward in the slightest." 4. "The Scholars of my Nation are like the Prophets [saw] of Israel." and many more sayings from Him (saw).

If one were to contemplate the above proofs about the degrees of the Scholars as compared to the ordinary people, one would leave discussions relating to the matters of fiqh to those who are qualified for it. A person should ask himself, " "Do I know all the various laws of Deen? Am I capable of extracting and deriving the laws pertaining to wudu' (what are the Faraa`id and what are the Sunnan), salaah (what are the Mafruudh and the Masnuun of it), zakaah, etc. directly from the Qur'an and Hadith? Do I know which Hadith or the Quranic Verse (Mansoukh) that has abrogation in them? Do I have the ability to reconcile between the various Ahadith which apparently contradict each other out of their 35 different grades? Do I know which verses of the Qur'an are general in their application and which verses are qualified by other texts and how to apply them to certain citations?

This is why Allah says, "Ask those of knowledge if you do not know." The to the Great Maliki Scholar Imaam `Uthman Dan Fodio in his book Fat`hu Baseerah (The Opening of Insight) : "Realize that the division of the Muslims in this Community of Muhammad (saw) with regard to thier rank in researched insight (tabasara) are six :

  1. The Mujtahid of the principles
  2. The Mujtahid of the Branches
  3. The Mujtahid of the more weighty opinion
  4. The Scholar
  5. The Intermediate (Al-Mutawwsit ) between the Scholar and the common person
  6. The common person.*

And for each of them there are designated characteristics which distinguish each from the other."

* ( Note: Most people are of the first 2 categories and they are fewer as the levels get higher. )

And He says further in his `Ihya s-Sunnah, "Al-Ghazali said (ra) `It is incumbent upon the Muslims to be occupied with his worship and his livelihood and to leave knowledge to the scholars.` I say: what he meant here is that the common Muslim should need the knowledge to the Scholars regarding discussion and disputes, but not regarding seeking knowledge."

So we say and believe that qualifications speaks for themselves and we leave the matters over to them when there are issues. We would be only fooling ourselves into thinking that every person has the qualifications of taking ruling from the Quran and the Sunnah on their own whims. Because of the Prophet had warned us in relation to what you said above

TROID:<< "Do you need qualifications to determine when an action or belief is not supported by authentic texts?" (and) "Do you need to ask a qualified person, yes or no? And if someone said he was a Muslim, he would have to bring proof of some witnesses,….">>,

STAFF: in His (saw) sayings:

1. "He who speaks about the Quran on the basis of his own person opinion (only) will find his abode in Hell" (Tirmidhi). In another version He (saw) said," He who speaks about the Quran without sound knowledge of it would find his abode in hell. 2. " He who speaks about the Quran on the basis of his own personal opinion (by any accord) he commits an error, even if he is right (Tirmidhi and Dawwud).

Anas Ibn Malik said, " I will give an exemplary punishment to any man brought to me who is not knowledgeable in Arabic yet (tafsir) interprets the Allah`s book." Bayhaqi and Dhahabi in At-Tafseer wa`l Musaafiruun Vol.1

And in the Mubahith fi `Uluum AL-Quran, Imaam Mujtahid said, " It is not permissable for anyone who believes in Allah and the Last day to interpret Allah`s book if he is not knowledgeable in the Arabic Language."

These are the above reasons again, why qualifications have more of a right with us, to be followed and respected. And Allah Knows Best.

Now I see you are dropping Madonna's name quite frequently. Next time chose someone more appropriate for an Islamic discussion.

TROID: 2b) We are "dropping" scholars names to indicate the importance of proofs and research. I couldn't care the slightest if you were impressed or not. As for what we believe, We believe in the Qur'an and Authenticated Sunnah and understood and practised by the Sahaba and the next 2 generations who are th e best of humanity. We can go into proofs and evidences if you want, but I don't like to debate with people who call me a donkey! Hey! You new Muslims are donkeys with books piled on you!!! What's that?

STAFF: I got one for you, (I'll type in English so we don't have difficulty with transliterating) "And recite (O Muhammad(SAW)) to them the story of him who We gave Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, etc.), but he threw them away, so Satan followed him up and he became of those who went astray. >And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith BUT HE CLUNG TO THE EARTH AND FOLLOWED HIS OWN VAIN DESIRE. So his description is the description of a dog: if you drive him away, he lolls his tongue out, or if you leave him alone, he still lolls his tongue out." Qur'an 7:175-176 

Though this is already answered in the above response, now you can see the reason for the expression of `donkeys carrying books` i.e. carrying books while not possessing the knowledge of them (Quran and the Sunnah). For Shaykh AbduLLah Ad-Daghestani said, " Oh Scholars, you burden by carrying your books on your backs, but Our Knowledge carries Us". This is the difference of carrying books and using them as a Vehicle.

Zayd ibn Hudayr reported that `Umar [ra] said, 'Do you know what can destroy Islam?' I said, 'no.' He said, 'it is destroyed by the errors of the scholar s, the argument of the hypocrites about the book and the opinions of the misguided ones.' [ Mishkat Masabih]

Imaam Ghazalli said in his `Ihya:

"Allah says: The hypocrites will remain in the lowest abyss of Hell [ 4-145] as they refused to accept truth after they have acquired knowledge. "

and also in this book he said, "Some learned men will suffer such intense agonies of torture that the inmates of Hell will seek refuge on seeing their tortures.

And Allah Knows Best.

TROID 3) I guess Allah sent this Qur'an and Sunnah in everybody's mailbox to read it and say, I know what it means, I'm not an idiot! If I gave you a scalpel and asked you to perform a lobotomy on me, could you? Even if you had all the tools? Of-course not, you would need to study with someone who had successfully performed that operation. Allah says in qualifying The Messenger of Allah (SAW)'s Companions "So if they believe in the like of that which You believe they are rightly guided." (Qur'an 2:137)

STAFF: You say <<" If I gave you a scalpel and asked you to perform a lobotomy on me, could you? Even if you had all the tools? Of-course not, you would need to study with someone who had successfully performed that operation.">> This is what we are saying, those who are qualified has more of a right to speak. But for a better parable

"Both a Butcher and a Surgeon uses knives, but they cut differently". Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani

Use the contrast.

TROID: << Who were the Muslims at the time this verse was revealed? Did they believe they would get nearer to Allah by doing things like celebrating the Prophets(SAW)' Birthday like the Christians? "And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been clearly shown to him, and follows other than the way of the BELIEVERS. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen and burn him in the Hellfire-what an evil destination." (Qur'an 4:115)>>

STAFF: We would suppose that you are not aware what your own `Salafi` scholars had to say about this like when Ibn Taymiyya's say about Mawlid in Majma` , Vol. 23, p. 163 and his Iqtida' al-sirat al-mustaqim, p. 294-295, Section entitled: "The innovated festivities of time and place" (ma uhditha min al-a`yad al-zamaniyya wa al-makaniyya):

"And similarly what some people innovate by analogy with the Christians who celebrate the birth of Jesus, or out of love for the Prophet and to exalt him, and Allah may reward them for this love and effort, not on the fact that it is an innovation... To celebrate and to honor the birth of the Prophet and to take it as an honored season, as some of the people are doing, is good and in it there is a great reward, because of their good intentions in honoring the Prophet."

TROID: <<Who were >the believers at the time this verse was revealed? Think about it. Knowledge of the Qur'an and Sunnah must be extracted using a methodology. Do you read a Stephen Hawkings (Theoretical physicist) book and understand things like "Quantam Gravity" and "Tensor" Calculus? I don't think so. If you can show me where we don't follow the Qur'an and Sunnah and where we reject authentic scholars I'll do a cartwheel, maybe I'll buy a Madonna album. As for this point it was already addressed in our last letter point # 7. I suggest you re-read it & write me back if you still don't get it.

STAFF: The only thing you ask for is the text. And we prefer those who have knowledge of the texts. Not someone who just reads it and the next day they're correcting Mujtahids. This is where many incorrect fatwas passed by unqualified individuals.

As for Hawkings, Fermi, Einstein, Gooding, Michelson or any other unbelieving scientist, they in no way qualify as examples as they haven't got what we have: namely belief. Taqwa is the burhan of the believer and will be a source of light for his guidance. For them everything originates from a dark singularity in non-existence and returns to darkness--the darkness of a massive black hole swallowing all light and finally swallowing itself. Such is the example of those whose hearts are not adorned with Dhikrullah. Therefore your asaas is off base in bringing them as exemplars, why not bring the true exemplars, al-Biruni, al-Khwarizmi, al-Ghazzali...the names are endless

TROID: Lastly, none of us here wanted to even get into this with you or your group, we just sent you the article about your tareeqah to illustrate shirk and what would be coming in the future. Al-Hassan Al-Basree (d.110H) said "Do not sit with the people of innovation and desires, nor argue with them, nor listen to them" (Ad-Daarimee in his Sunan 1/121 and al-Laalikaa'ee, #240) Al-Hamdullilah we are pretty strong in this community and that Baatil in our area will be wiped out soon. (InshAllah).

STAFF: We are aware that Imaam Hasan al-Basri is an exceptional Scholar and it seems that you are aware of this. Also you must acknowledge his practice and His acceptance about tasawwuf is well known. But this shows how some refer to the practice of picking and choosing what best fits their own desires. And in this way they become worse than the Muqalliduun.

Finally, argument extinguishes the light of the heart, so I bid farewell to this discussion. If you wish to provide something that is a blessing and not a curse we can continue in that line...

sall-Allahu `alayk Ya Sayyidee Ya Rasulullah Ya Rahmatan lil-`Aalameen! Peace and Blessing upon Muhammad and His Family and His Companions. Ameen.

was-salaam,

ASFA STAFF