Pluralism: Early Caliphas’ Guidance vs. Tyrants’ Guidance

It is known that the greatest obstacle to our Arab and Islamic nation is the entrenchment of political and social fads in misrepresentative religious speech. So the caller of political prophetic sunnah becomes today an example of what Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said, that if heresy originates in you and the young grow older on it and little children are raised on it, then if it’s changed, it is said that the sunnah changed.

And in order not to evade while we announce that we are following our ancestor’s approach, in accordance with the holy Quran and prophetic sunnah, we must put the lamp of sunnah and Quran in the bottle of the prophetic and rashidi and the niche of human scientific facts and application of nature, and this is a general rule and it’s a fundamentalist rule referred to by Ibn Taymyeh, and this is an attempt to adjust the splitting of sharia civil law. A second rule is the splitting of sharia civil law where the religious texts are seen as a reminder, not as a way to establish sharia, because its morals have been known to mankind since ancient times. So how do we understand the Quran and sunnah in the shadow of the teachings of the caliphs?

First, we’ll talk about the people of Qibla. Who are they? “The people of Qibla” is a term taken from his words (peace be upon him): “Whoever prays our prayer and receives our Qibla and eats our sacrifice is recognized as Muslim and has what we have and what is on him is on us,” Bukhari said. The hadith shows that whoever announces any big or small innovation or fad should not be disbelieved, even if it is possible to disbelieve his work and words, because only Allah can judge him.

The caliphs, and those who follow them by kindness toward capricious people or teams like Shia or Twelvers and outsiders and the like, and all those around them, said and all of us claim that we follow the good ancestors (as I pointed out, when the path’s confused, people return to the first stop so that the travelers do not get lost), so how do we prove the sincerity of that?

Ibn Qayyem has two useful verses in this aspect:

Of Science, Allah said, and his prophet companions said, they are the ones who interpret the knowledge.

The science didn’t cause your ignorance or the disagreement…between the prophet and someone’s opinion.

We all yell “faith”…all around faith croons, so who do we believe? Believe in the lamp of sunnah and Quran in the bottle of the prophetic and rashidi and the niche of human scientific facts and nature. So if we find a situation where what a scientist says is consistent with what rashidi says, we consider this as proof of this scientist’s words or the salafi approach in this or that matter. Consider as a model what occurred during the reign of Ali Ibn Abi Talib, with the outsiders. What is the reason for the outsiders’ extremism? As Ibn Hzim said, they were Arabs so they read the Quran before they were educated in the fixed sunnahs of the prophet (peace be upon him), so there were no jurists among them, and in the manifestation of their extremism they considered anyone who infringed on the Quran in an act or opinion and was mistaken, was a sinner, and that anyone who sinned was an unbeliever as Ibn Taymyeh said in his fatwa… Based on this introduction, they rejected Othman and Ali and the camel owners and the two referees who were pleased with the arbitration, as our Sheikh al Balaihi mentioned, and as narrated by al-Baghdadi in the outsider groups.

Remember, they reject Ali and Othman and all who were pleased with the arbitration, and they allowed the killing of those who disagreed with them, so how did Ali deal with them?

He said to them, I have three conditions for you: if you didn’t accompany us, we don’t prevent you from entering Allah`s mosques and saying his name; and we don’t prevent you fay [booty taken from a country that submits to Islam without resistance, as opposed to ghanimah, which is booty taken in battle] as long as your hands are with ours; and we don’t fight you till you start fighting, as Tabari mentioned in his history.

His companion said: Are they hypocrites? He said: Hypocrites don’t remember Allah—only slightly.

They said: Are they then disbelievers? He said: From disbelief they escaped.

They said: Then who are they? He said: Our brothers become unrestricted or tyrannical to us.

Ali caliph applied the salafi curriculum to the disbelieving…and the outsiders. As Imam Ahmad mentioned, most Qibla people were extremists, but that didn’t make them unbelievers, although they disbelieved most of their companions. And the outsiders didn’t deny the Quran and the sunnah but rather they interpreted them, and there is a difference between those who disbelieve as interpreters and those who disbelieve as denial. And all who interpreted didn’t get out of Islam. And he didn’t repress them or prohibit their civil rights and their right in exchequer. And this application by Imam Ali was like the sun in strength and light, as revealed by the following considerations:

1. Visibly they disbelieved Ali and cursed him and graveled him while he was in the pulpit, and he acknowledged their right to their opposition when he was in a situation of conflict and dispute that weakened the ability to be fair.

2. They received correct hadiths that they passed from religion as the arrow passes from the bow, as in the hadith narrated by Bukhari and Malik, and Ali says that their disbelief is small and not a big disbelief that would put them outside the pale of Islam.

3. Ali is the second of the biggest four among the companions Omar and Ali and Ibn Mas’ud and Ibn Abas, who emerged in the legal and general jurisprudence.

4. Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was the state governor who realized the relation between text and application, and wasn’t just a jurist who issued a fatwa without taking into account the legitimate politics.

5. Ali had the longest practical experience among caliphs, as he lived with the caliphs under the shadows of the revelation and application of the prophet (peace be upon him), and he was a consultant for the three caliphs who came before him, and the scholars adopted Ali`s work. As Ibn Taymyeh said in the messages, we shall not disbelieve a Muslim or cast guilt, which is similar to the issues that the Qibla people disputed. And Ibn Taymyeh said that the passing outsiders weren’t disbelieved by Ali, Ibn Abi Talib, Saed Bin Abi Wqas, or others among the companions; instead the outsiders were considered Muslims, and Ali didn’t fight them till they killed people with no guilt. Then he fought them to prevent their tyranny and iniquity, and not because they were disbelievers. Similarly, Ibn Qudamah said in the Al Mughni: Outsiders disbelieve Ali and Othman and Talha and Al Zubair and many among the companions, and kill Muslims with no guilt and take their money; and the scholars say that the latecomers are oppressive and their judgment is oppressive; and this is also what Abu Honifa and Al Shafi and many hadith people say. And Ibn Taymyeh said that if these were the ones who had gone astray, as proven in the text and by consensus, but they didn’t disbelieve in Allah and his prophet in their disagreements, what about the different sects who were suspected to be more right than mistaken in the issues?

And it is not permissible for one of these denominations to disbelieve the others.

And Omar Bin Abd Al Aziz retraced the caliphs, and his words and acts emanate from the teachings of Islam in justice and fairness and tolerance, and show that he was a shuri [“one who makes decisions in consultation with those who will be affected by them”] governor. And he changed the repressive policy of the Bani Umayah, so he tended toward forgiveness, which he saw as being capable of solving problems and unifying the word. He dialogued with the outsiders and succeeded in persuading their messengers, but he died early. The Bani Umayah were cursing Ali on tribunes in Jumma [“Friday”] sermons, so when Omar Bin Abd Al Aziz took over, he prevented the cursing and wrote to his deputies to prevent it, and he read instead that Allah commands justice and charity, as Suyooti mentioned in his history; and therefore Azza praised him a lot, saying:

You took over and didn’t curse Ali and didn’t fear any human… and didn’t follow what any murderers said.

You said what was right but…you know the right verses in speaking.

So Omar said we did succeed; and Al Shareef Al Radi praised him with poems of appreciation for what he did.

Speakers and scholars have applied Ali`s standard in the issue of disbelief by Qibla`s people, as they narrated many hadiths about dozens of created denominations and didn’t have any doubt in their minds about either the honesty of those denominations or their Islam. Even when finding in them the lowest obsession, the scholars took precautionary measures, which meant not accepting the narration of the innovators, while still considering heresy a matter of discretion in opinion, which did not trigger injustice. If they saw debauchery in religion or debauchery by others, then they honored the talk of Allah`s messenger to be one in support of his innovating evildoers. Al Bukhari narrated from Abad Bin Yaqoub Al Rojani as Ibn Hajir Al Rafidi Mashhour; Ibn Hyan said about Rafidi, he was a lay reader; and Saleh Bin Muhammad was cursing Othman (Allah be pleased with him), as Ibn Hijr said in the introduction of Fatih Al Bari in chapter 9 and Al Bukhari narrated from Umran Bin Hattan, one of the outsiders’ famous leaders and speakers. And Umran was, as Ibn Hijr said, a lay reader to his doctrine, and he is the one who lamented Abd Al Rahman Bin Miljim and the one who fought Ali with those ugly, bad verses. And Muslim and Bukhari narrated from Abd Al Hamid Bin Abd Al Rahman Al Homani, who was one of the Al Morj`a team’s lay readers, and thus narrated about innovators and people of fads and about their lay readers and their rulers—and if anyone wants to confirm that, they will find it in the introduction of Fatih Al Bari, which Al Bukhari cited when he spoke about which was the correct book after the Quran.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and others also narrated from the fad people, and for that Ibn Taymyeh mentioned the advances and fatwa imams, like Abi Hunaifa and Al Shafi and Al Thawri and Dawood Bin Ali, and said they were not sinning against diligence if they were mistaken in fundamentalist or subsidiary matters in addition to disbelieving or debauching, and that was said by Ibn Hazim too. Ibn Taymyeh added the reasoning that Ibn Hunaifa and Shafi` were correcting the prayers of the people of whims  afterward and accepting their testimony, except for the shi’at team Al Khitabyeh, because they permitted perjury by their followers against those who disagreed with this team. And Ibn Taymyeh said that this is known about the companions and those who followed them in truth: they did not disbelieve and disobey any of the diligents. He added that they said the difference between principles of jurisprudence and branch matters comes from the words of the fad people, speaking of the Al Mu`tazila and Al Jahmyeh and those who walk their road, and these words moved to people who talked about this in jurisprudence—which means people from Sunni and Al Jma`a—and he reasoned that they didn’t know the truth of this opinion or its deepness, as Al Hulaibi mentioned in his book about innovators, quoting from sunnah curriculum.

Ibn Taymyeh reasoned that there was no sin or guilt by a diligent if he made a mistake in fundamentalist or subsidiary issues; not every diligent is able to know the truth and no one deserves a commination except those who are enjoined to leave or who commit acts that are prohibited. He added that this is what the scholars say and what is known about the nation’s ancestors, and it was also narrated by Al Juini in his proof. One scholar said to him that Shiite rejecters have a higher ratio of disbelievers than Jews and Christians, but it wasn’t proven that Ibn Taymyeh said this about one of the Islamic teams and Ibn Al Qayyem didn’t separate them. So I asked Ibn Taymyeh, and he said that Ibn Al Qayyem’s verses seemingly disbelieved them and Ibn Al Qayyem’s poems mixed with Ibn Al Qahtani’s. Ibn Taymyeh mentioned that what was related to the imams about disbelieving didn’t mean major disbelief that strays outside of Islam, but it’s as Al Khatabi said, to sunnah people disbelieving came as toughening, which meant keeping with the fundamentalist rule as in the Islamic texts—called attracting and frightening hadith because they do not take at seemingly value it rebukes what’s prohibited or urges what’s good. Therefore, if the speakers considered that heresy is debauchery or breach of justice, then they didn’t sit with the innovators and speak to them from Allah`s prophet hadith (peace be upon him), and they didn’t agree with those who said: I eat with a Jew or Christian and don’t eat with an innovator. Al Ghazali said (may Allah have mercy him) that in the criterion for differentiating between Islam and heresy there is a fundamentalism; “The origins of faith are three: faith in God and His Messenger, faith in the day of resurrection, and faith in what else branches—and know that there is no disbelief in the branches.” And Ibn Hzim said, “A Muslim shouldn’t disbelieve or debauch another Muslim in his or her opinion or fatwa, and everyone whose diligent approximate acre will be rewarded. If what he says is right, then he is rewarded for all; however, if he was right, he should have two rewards, and if mistaken, one reward.” Ibn Hzim further strengthened this by relating it to what many scholars said, including Ibn Abi Laila and Abi Hunaifa and Shafi` and Ibn Sufian Al Thawri (Allah be pleased with them). But it is a big mistake to deny that the groups we consider innovators, like Al Mu`tazila and Imami Shia`, have favor and struggle; even Imam Ibn Taymyeh, who lived in struggle with Imami Shia` and Al Juhmiah, admitted that they have favor, saying, “Many Muslims innovators from among the rejecters and Al Juhamia went to the countries of disbelievers, and many became Muslims and benefited from that.” These situations are central to the salafi trend because it is consistent with the rule that if we find or understand better things or applications that disagree with this rule, then it’s not the fundamental rule—and Mohammed Bin Abd Al Wahab said, “We don’t disbelieve anyone except those whom scientists unanimously agree to disbelieve.”

So if he or others disagreed with this rule in application or detail, we do not take it as truth, because it comes from human opinion and human opinion needs to have proof. For that we should choose either the common jurisprudence of the Abbasi era in the criminalization of heresy—and kill and repress its advocates—or choose the caliph’s rules and follow the approach of Omar Bin Abd Al Aziz and Ahmad Bin Hanbal and the speakers on the issues of freedom of opinion and expression, pluralism and tolerance. The acceptance of two opposite ideas when each of them is sunnah will cause intellectual confusion and all the “i’s” need to be dotted in order to elucidate the legitimate standard and invoke it. There is a schism because many of us mix between two level of shari`a, and as the human opinion is exposed to error and right and therefore has schisms, we shouldn’t be committed to it, but the prophetic intimation or Divine revelation is an absolute right that must be adhered to. Many conservatives today have shrunken the Abbasi wording and read isolated Abbasi thoughts from the linguistic or social context, so they fall into generating new stumbling blocks from snatches of old text employing corrupt or remote exegesis or interpolation or duplication or fixation. They then consider their opinion is salafi, and in this way citations and interpretations for sunnah and the Quran are adjusted in the shari`a courts in the shadow of rashidi application—the bottle that illuminates. Then the pluralism becomes a legitimate fundamentalism, so the repressions don’t seem to be salafi more the rashidi.

Let’s assume that to some Qibla people disbelieving shia’ is correct. In that case, is not forgiveness and pluralism one of Islam’s fundamentals? They will debate us with the “brought out the disbelievers from the Arab Peninsula” hadith. Right at the beginning we agree that this hadith is correct, as the prophet said it (peace be upon him) when he was on the deathbed, and Bukhari and Muslim narrated the hadith. Also, many hadiths give witness that these words are correct and have the same meaning, such as “brought out Christians and Jews from the Arab Peninsula,” till there will only be the Muslims narrated by Muslim. Another hadith said, “brought out Al Hijaz and Najran people from the Arab Peninsula, and know the most evil people take their prophets as mosques for them; they like asking for favor from their graves or just want happiness from them.” This was narrated by Ahmad and corrected by Al Albani, and the intended meaning of “from the Arab Peninsula” in these hadiths is the whole Arab Peninsula, which is surrounded by the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean and ends in the north in parts of Levant and Iraq. Here we pointed to the lamp in a bottle rule because the sunnah and Quran can’t be understood except in the rashidi and prophetic application; that is, because the Quran is an absolute text, each person understands it as he or she wants, which is how the outsiders understand it, and this creates confusion. The Quran will then become a rack for many different aspects, opinions, and descriptions, so the text should be put in the rashidi and prophetic application to clarify its meaning. And here is a fundamental rule: it’s prohibited to look over text for its relevance in view of the validity only, as thought by some fundamentalists; it must be linked to the context so we don’t go astray, as the young jihadist went astray and allowed the killing of non-Muslims in the Arab Peninsula. Using the argument of hadiths like those above, they may kill Islamic groups that they disbelieve.

Who has the priority in applying this hadith—contemporaries or the first generation of rashidi? How did the generation who heard this hadith and understood it from Allah`s messenger (peace be upon him) understand it? They understood it as the proverb “give the arrow to the one who can use it,” and I found on the Internet a very valuable  explanation by Abd Al Wahab Al Tariri of this hadith. He said, “Abu Bakir and Jews took over the caliphate on Khaybar of 180 km distance, on Al Madinah and Najran Christians in Najran and Yemen Jews in Yemen and Ihsa`a Majos in Ihsa`a, and Allah was pleased with him and considered him one of the greatest people for obeying Allah’s orders and commands and respecting the command of the Prophet (peace be upon him).” But he didn’t understand the meaning well enough to apply it. Instead he did things like marching Osama’s army to Levant and fighting apostates. Then he drew the armies to Iraq and Levant, and he died while his armies were fighting Persians and Romans and disbelievers who stayed in the Arab peninsula, and no one said anything about taking them out. After that, Omar took over and drew armies to Persia and Levant and Egypt and Cyprus, so the caliph’s armies were fighting in Asia and Africa, but the disbelievers didn’t get out of the Arab Peninsula. And Omar didn’t bring the Christians out of Najran till they broke the peace condition, which was to cease usury; and the Khaybar Jews didn’t get out till they broke the covenant and infringed on a Muslim, Abdullah Bin Omar; and the Yemen Jews stayed till now; and the Ihsa`a Jews stayed till they became Muslims and mixed with Muslims. We can learn more from Ahkam Ahl Al Thimma by Ibn Al Qayyem. They understood that the prohibition was not against the existence of Christians and Jews in the Arab Peninsula, but against their strength and injustice to Muslims. Omar was murdered by a Majosi man because they were allowing the existence of non-Muslim slaves, and no one ever said that any Muslim dared to bring Jews or Christians out or argued that they should be taken out of the Arabian Peninsula. And the prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Bring  the disbelievers out of the Arabian Peninsula,” and he is the one who said, “Whoever kills a confederate will not smell the fragrance of Paradise, and the fragrance of it will be away from him for the march of forty years” and no one raised an issue, even Saudi Arabian scholars such as Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Abdul Rahman bin Saadi, Abdullah bin Hamid, and Abdul Rahman Al Dosari (may Allah have mercy on us and them). Imam Ahmad has said the intended of the Arabian Peninsula—al Madinah and its allies and Shafi`—are prohibited from Hijaz and the grand mosque in it. And the owners, (or temporary residents), like workers, are prohibited from establishing their own role in worship. This pluralistic, harmonious society—intellectually, culturally and socially—and this appropriate verse, “We sent you as a mercy for worlds,” show that whoever buries pluralism follows the model of outsiders and Hajaj, and not the good advances, and doesn’t rule according to what Allah said. If the rules of freedom and pluralism are stabilized then we will reach shura and become strong and firm and achieve good advances, which is expressed by Allah the almighty saying, “And their matters are shura between them.

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