Muhammad AlShareef’s Tap Dance Around Wahhabism.

-ASKING THE WRONG QUESTION-

Someone with the nickname “ahmemon”  in the Al-Maghrib Institute forum asked a legitimate question regarding the “brand” of Islam taught by the Al-Maghrib Institute. The subject in “ahmemon’s” message was “why r all scholars from madinah univ?” Imagine what was going on in the minds of Al-Maghrib Institute’s Salafi instructors! The entire message by ahmemnon, in full, is stated below:

Assalamu Alaikum,

I’m trying to help bring AlMaghrib to Irvine (my ‘hood), but some people here are having objections.

They are suspecting AlMaghrib of having a “salafi agenda” (whatever that exactly is, what is it?) and point out how all scholars that teach here are exclusively from madinah university. They are basically saying that we don’t want such a strong overwhelming ‘salafi’ or ‘sufi’ (not that almaghrib is suspected of being sufi) influence.

… and honestly, this has always seemed fishy to me, on the one hand AlMaghrib advertised to bring all muslims together under the shahada, but yet there is such a strong bias towards one flavor of scholarship — a flavor that is, at least stereotypically, on one far side of the spectrum.

How do AlMaghrib scholars feel about the Saudi government? (i don’t know too much about the saudi govt but this is one issue of controvercy that I am encountering)

I’ve listened to A LOT of Ust. Muhammad AlShareef stuff, and I love it, don’t get me wrong… I just want to know how to get over this issue.

Do these concerns have validity? has anybody else encountered such obstacles when bringing almaghrib to their area? How do I overcome such obstacles, are they overcome-able?

jazzakAllah Khair

(Source: http://forums.almaghrib.org/showthread.php?t=5816&page=1&pp=10&highlight=wahhabi)

The intention of the asker seemed genuine. It is clear that all “ahmemon” was asking for were straight answers to what he had rightly heard regarding the Salafi painted agenda of the Al-Maghrib Institute. Many responded to his message with a wide manifestation of utter ignorance. Who at first silently watched this ignorance and slyly chose to remain silent? The founder of Al-Maghrib Institute himself: Muhammad AlShareef
 
-MUHAMMAD ALSHAREEF’S TAP-DANCE AROUND WAHHABISM-
 
Muhammad AlShareef at first kept quiet as he observed the ignorant responses from his followers. But “ahmemon” was on the mark with his concern and questions. Muhammad AlShareef obviously knew about this which explains his initial silence.
He chose to keep silent because of the truthful and sensitive nature of the question. He was surely pondering over how he could masterfully evade point-blank answers to the point-blank questions that would have clearly exposed Al-Maghrib Institute, including himself. His first response was a childish one that attempted to deflect the legitimate concerns with poor humor.
Finally, however, came the serious ‘Muhammad AlShareef tap-dance’ around Wahhabism. His response, in full, was as follows:
“For the record, the premise of this whole discussion is false and inaccurate: Mohammad Faqeeh did NOT study a single day in Madinah University. He is not a Madinah graduate. Does it get any more clearer?

[My parents are from Egypt, Yasir from Palestine, Yaser Q from Pakistan, AbdulBary Vietnam, M Faqeeh east Africa ~ I don’t think there is a more diverse instructor background program at this level.]

Never in a single day did I say, “Hmm..let me hire ‘only’ Madinah grads. Believe me, there are hundreds of grads accross the USA and Canada, had that been the case, we would have anyone teaching.

Nay, my focus was: Who has strong knowledge, good command of the English language, a higher education degree, has upright character, and is able to adjust to AlMaghrib’s teaching style. Those were the only filters in my mind.

In sha Allah, therefore I think there should be another topic for those who want to disccuss the topic: “Is it Haram and a conspiracy when Saudi Arabia tries to educate Muslims?”

(wAllahi, I’m fine with discussing it, I just got my issues with false accusations. And in sha Allah I would request that this issue be dis-associated from AlMaghrib, especially from us who are supposed to know our institute. Us just carrying on just adds to the misconception.)

wAllahu ‘alam.

Barak Allahu feekum.

PS: Did anyone notice that almost all the Ameers are Desi IT people? Except Mostafa (who is coincidentally in IT)? No one said, “Hey, is this a conspiracy to make people eat Biryani while checking their email?”

In sha Allah, let’s move on. If you’d like to continue a related discussion, you are welcome to open a new thread.”

 –
 
– 
-ANALYZING MUHAMMAD ALSHAREEF’S TAP-DANCE- 
 
It’s unfortunate that instead of being honest, Muhammad AlShareef chose to dodge the question and swamp the questioner with irrelevance. Instead of clarifying the matter to the questioner, Muhammad AlShareef buried the entire matter. This tap-dance has to be explained in more detail so others like ahmemon don’t get deceived.
(1) Muhammad AlShareef said:
“For the record, the premise of this whole discussion is false and inaccurate: Mohammad Faqeeh did NOT study a single day in Madinah University. He is not a Madinah graduate. Does it get any more clearer?”
Muhammad AlShareef refuted the premise of the questioner, i.e. why are all scholars from Madinah University? By refuting the premise and proving that not all instructors graduated from Madinah University, he thought he made his point very clearly. End of discussion.
The problem is he never addressed the heart of the real discussion at all. What Muhammad AlShareef ignored was the fact that even though “all” al-Maghrib instuctors didn’t graduate from Madinah University, MANY al-Maghrib instructors DID indeed graduate from Madinah University. Namely, the following instructors: himself, Yasir Qadhi, Yaser Birjas, AbdulBary Yahya, Shpendim Nadzaku, Navaid Aziz, Ahsan Hanif, and — the latest addition — Abdullah Hakim Quick.

Refuting the premise doesn’t change the fact that Madinah University education is an integral part of al-Maghrib’s instructors’ profile. This was the questioner’s concern that Muhammad AlShareef evaded. Even if all instructors didn’t graduate from Madinah University, they still have strong links to Saudi Arabia’s educational institutions, within the country and abroad, that teach Wahhabism.
Therefore, the concern remains. But Muhammad AlShareef chose to tap-dance instead. He said Mohammed Faqeeh didn’t graduate from Madinah University. But Mohammed Faqeeh did graduate from King Abdul Azeez University in Saudi Arabia in ‘Quranic Recitation and Memorization’. Moreover, Mohammed Faqeeh completed a B.A. degree  in ‘Islamic Studies’ from the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in the United States — which was affiliated with the Al-Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Saudi Arabia. Why did Muhammad AlShareef deceptively conceal this essential information from the questioner who was, as clearly illustrated, sincere in his question? 
Apart from Mohammed Faqeeh’s Saudi connection, al-Maghrib instructor Ali Shehata’s teacher, Muhammad S. Adly, used to teach at Masjid al-Harram, and Waleed Basyouni received a Bachelor’s degree in ‘Islamic Sciences’ from Al-Imam Muhammad University — both obviously in Saudi Arabia. 
Anyone want to guess who “Al-Imam Muhammad” is? He is Muhammad ibn Abdal-Wahhab — founder of the Wahhabi movement! I’m ahead of myself. But you surely understand the point. Now let’s complete untapping Muhammad AlShareef’s tap-dance.

(2) Muhammad AlShareef said:

“[My parents are from Egypt, Yasir from Palestine, Yaser Q from Pakistan, AbdulBary Vietnam, M Faqeeh east Africa ~ I don’t think there is a more diverse instructor background program at this level.]”

This is a response of irrelevance. Whether al-Maghrib Institute has a “diverse instructor background” or not is a digression of the matter and unrelated to the question and concerns of the questioner. By discussing ‘instructor diversity’, Muhammad AlShareef tries to impress the questioner as a tactic to fudge the real issue at hand and escape the responsibility of explaining it. But showering al-Maghrib Institute with irrelevant praise doesn’t change the concerns of the questioner: ‘Diversity’ is NOT the issue here. Wahhabi-Salafi ‘commonality’ is. And that’s what Muhammad AlShareef has been evading. 
–  


(3) Muhammad AlShareef later explains his criteria for selecting al-Maghrib’s instructors:

“Nay, my focus was: Who has strong knowledge, good command of the English language, a higher education degree, has upright character, and is able to adjust to AlMaghrib’s teaching style. Those were the only filters in my mind.”

Quite a miracle, isn’t it? I mean, what are the odds of choosing an instructor with “strong knowledge, good command of the English language, a higher education degree,” who “has upright character”, and “is able to adjust to AlMaghrib’s teaching style” — and yet have ALL of them follow and teach Wahhabi-Salafi Islam? A coincidence? Sorry, I’m not trying to insult your intelligence like Muhammad AlShareef is.

It is as clear as daylight that the common denominator that cuts across all al-Maghrib instructors is their unorthodox Wahhabism. Because Saudi educational institutions teach Wahhabism, and because most (if not all) al-Maghrib instructors graduated from these institutions, this logically makes al-Maghrib Institute a Wahhabi organization. And a Wahhabi organization, by definition, rejects all other interpretations of Islam — including the Islam that most Muslims have been following through the generations since the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace & blessings upon him). 

Make no mistake about it. Muhammad AlShareef concealed the Wahhabi issue from the questioner for a reason. Countless Sunni scholars have opposed Wahhabism from all four Sunni schools of jurisprudence in matters of `aqeedah and `ibadat. Because Muhammad AlShareef didn’t want the questioner to know about this makes him, at least, ingenuine to his questioner, and a hideous promoter of the Wahhabi agenda.     


(4) Muhammad AlShareef then broaches the issue of Saudi Arabia:

“In sha Allah, therefore I think there should be another topic for those who want to disccuss the topic: “Is it Haram and a conspiracy when Saudi Arabia tries to educate Muslims?””

You ask, “Is it Haram and a conspiracy when Saudi Arabia tries to educate Muslims?” Well, the problem is that Saudi Arabia educates its Muslims in only ‘one’ brand of Islam: Wahhabism.

It isn’t a “conspiracy” by Saudi Arabia but a deliberate and, must I say, organized and financially effective effort to spread a version of Islam that was, and still is, rejected by all genuine Sunni scholars who follow the Ash’ari, Maturidi, and Athari creeds and Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, and Hanbali schools of jurisprudence. 

You ask, is it “Haram”? If someone asked you if it was “Haram” to teach a Khawarij-like Islam that was rejected by masses of Muslims in their time, what would you say?   

(5) Muhammad AlShareef then says:

“(wAllahi, I’m fine with discussing it, I just got my issues with false accusations. And in sha Allah I would request that this issue be dis-associated from AlMaghrib, especially from us who are supposed to know our institute. Us just carrying on just adds to the misconception.)”

You said “wAllahi” you are fine with discussing the Saudi connection to al-Maghrib Institute. But then you contradicted yourself in the very next line by saying you “request that this issue be dis-associated from AlMaghrib” and that “Us just carrying on just adds to the misconception”.  “Wallahi”? In reality you are really NOT fine with discussing the issue. Your tap-dancing around the issue the entire time makes that crystal clear.    

(6) After Muhammad AlShareef dodges the crux of the matter, and leaves the questioner hanging and surely dumbfounded, he then says:

“PS: Did anyone notice that almost all the Ameers are Desi IT people? Except Mostafa (who is coincidentally in IT)? No one said, “Hey, is this a conspiracy to make people eat Biryani while checking their email?””

Your obfuscation of truth has no bounds, Muhammad AlShareef. Youngsters aren’t fools as you wish them to be, and your misleading analogies are not going to make them stop asking the important questions. Muslims, and especially our young ones, deserve more respect than you give them. They deserve honesty. They deserve the truth, and the FULL truth. They don’t want a tap dance and they don’t ask for unnecessary digressions. Now that your tap-dance has been untapped, you can say the truth now  —  no-holds-barred. 

Muhammad AlShareef, if you are the true Islamic model you wish to be, it is time to be honest with ahemom and other Muslims about the matter by saying:
“As the founder of al-Maghrib Institute, I say: Yes, al-Maghrib Institute is a Salafi-Wahhabi Institute. My criteria for selecting instructors is primarily because of their acceptance of Wahhabi teachings. That’s why most of them come from Saudi educational institutions. Saudi Arabia’s policy obligates these insitutions to teach Wahhabism, whether it is Madinah University, Imam al-Muhammad University, King Abul Azeez University, or any other university in Saudi Arabia. They are paid to teach Wahhabism and condemn all other understandings of Islam as heresy, bid’ah, and shirk. This includes what the majority of Muslims follow. It includes Ash’aris and Maturidis. It includes the sawad al-azam, or mass of Muslims who have adhered to and followed one of the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence. We are indeed a minority group of Muslims and we give our allegiance to Muhammad ibn Abdal-Wahhab, whether the Saudi government sincerely does so or not. This is the “Biryani” al-Maghrib Institute is made of. And this is the “Biryani” you and all other students of al-Maghrib will eat — like it or not. Sincerely – Muhammad AlShareef.”
Ya Allah! Please Guide us through the scholars of knowledge! Save us from the scholars of misguidance who lead themselves and those who follow them astray! Aaaameen! Ya Rabbil `Aalameen!!
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8 responses to “Muhammad AlShareef’s Tap Dance Around Wahhabism.

  1. I was a childhood friend of Mr. Al-Shareef’s; I remember when he left for, first, the Qur’an school in Cornwall Ontario, where many criminal Muslim elements bred and were loosed on the world. He was taught in this very very rough environment. He then left for Medina, fully knowing and acknowledging the Wahhabi bent of the Univ. He came back, and began to make *A LOT* of money first by teaching qur’an and then starting up this ideological device called al-Maghrib Institute. But more than an ideological device, it is a money making machine. I think this is the aspect that is ignored in most discussions. He began by making a killing with this “institute” and then used it to feed his own programs on financial issues, empowerment, etc. He always did have a vision of being the Muslim Tony Robins. Anyway, al-Maghrib Institute is both clearly Wahhabi (something celebrated by the young al-Shareef); and a big money maker for him and his family.

  2. you brought many points linking Muhammad AlShareef to getting his education from Saudi Arabia and other instructors as well, such is fine, but where is your proof that the schools they went to teach wahhabism, my knowledge on this issue maybe limit, but your argument is lack that fact to make it valid to me. please bring forth some proof on your calm that the school they went teach wahhabism. By no means am I depending anyone, I am very neural, I just want facts and they shall speak for themselves.

    • All legal educational institutions in Saudi Arabia that teach any aspect of Islam teach only Wahhabism. This is a fact. Please read the history of Saudi Arabia and the strong relations between the Al-Sa’ud and the family of Muhammad ibn Abdal-Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabism.

      Wassalam,
      Sunni1

  3. Salams Bro , ive been to a couple of there courses they seem alright ive lisented to M shareefs lectures , should i just keep away or take the god and leave the bad ?

    please advise. as i am not a fan of wahabis

    • Walaykumsalaam dear brother,

      Basic principles of doing good, helping the poor, etc. — the very basics that every Muslim should learn and follow, and which have absolutely no controveresy, can be learned. All Muslim groups are one and the same in them.

      However, do not learn fiqh (jurisprudence) from al-Maghrib Institute. Do not learn how to pray from them, how to do wudhu, how to fast, etc. They will mix the right with the wrong and contradict the 4 schools of Sunni jurisprudence time and again. For most laypeople, it is very difficult o distinguish between what is truly Sunni and what is not. Many laypeople unknowingly defend the wrong with the right when learning from Wahhabis/Salafis. Therefore, it is best to avoid confusion and uncertainty and instead learn from reputable Sunni educational sources like sunnipath.com or seekersguidance.org.

      Moreoever, do not learn `Aqeedah (creed) from al-Maghrib Institute either. This is what really separates them from the Jama’ah (vast majority of Muslims). Their bi-categorization of creed has no basis in the Qur’an, Sunnah, or the pious Salaf us-Salih, and is used to ostracize and condemn the vast majority of Muslms in Islam’s history as being out of Islam’s fold.

      May Allah Guide them and all of us, keep us away from innovation, and away from the arrogant minority who condemn Islam’s ‘Heirs of the Prophets’. Aaameen.

      Wassalam,
      Sunni1

  4. Salam Brother,
    Excellent analysis. The “tap-dancing” around the answer is so evident, it’s mind numbing how anyone could not see through it and understand that nothing about the brothers question was addressed.
    He could have simply said the likes of “this is the institution I am from and familiar with, and felt confident hiring graduates from it.” While indeed the wahhabi/salafi issue would still be a standing, it would have been a legitimate explanation. People hire grads from the same university all the time.
    I believe that it is quite possible that while Muhammad Shareef did evade the question, he may genuinely be unknowing of the wahhabi/salafi reality of his education. If one attends an institution which presents a one-size-fits-all type of Islam, where there is only one right way, then one is trapped in their own closed reality. Educated to be ignorant beyond the scope of their education, everything beyond the boundaries of one’s knowledge is either false or irrelevant, with no possibility of being right. Perhaps the words wahhabi and salafi were never even used. And thus he would be an innocent pawn, used to propagate an agenda only known by those higher than him, which he gladly propagates, motivated by the false mantras they present which he bought, perhaps innocently.
    I think in the end we’re just dealing with ignorance. As Shaykh Nuh once said, they (the Wahhabis) are giving Muslims tajheel (teaching of ignorance) and not ta’leem (teaching of knowledge). It’s the ignorant teaching the ignorant. In many ways, they prey on the ignorant, because that’s the only way they can propagate their teachings. I think with time and proper avenues this can be countered. But with petro-dollars and a slick ad campaign, and the ease with which our youth can be caught up on idealized pitches of “grabbing sacred knowledge” it will be difficult.
    But Allah (swt) makes things easy. And we put out trust in Him.

    Wa Salam,

    Ian

    • Walaykum-salaam-wa-Rehmatullahi wa-Barakatuh dear brother Ian,

      BarakAllahu-feekum for your nice words and interesting thoughts.

      The Wahhabi educational system emphasizes what it believes to be “correct” based on maligning the “other”. The “other” in this case is the majority of Muslims who have believed in particular understandings of creed (Ash’ari-Maturidi) and practices in worship.

      While Muslims have generally accepted the Ahl al-bid’ah in the fold of Islam in spite of their heterodox practices, Wahhabis have ostracized all other Muslims as “polytheists”, promoters of “shirk”, “worshippers of saints”, and similar repugnant accusations of takfeer reminiscient of the Khawarij who only believed ‘they’ were the only Muslims, much less the ‘right’ Muslims.

      It would be hard to believe that Muhammad AlShareef and his colleagues at the Al-Maghrib Institute and MuslimMatters are unaware that they are a minority and are going against masses of Muslims.

      The reason is because they have been confronted time and again with specific evidence by orthodox Sunnis, and have mastered the deceptive art of manipulating, misinterpreting, weakening narrators in ahadeeth, amd mischaracterizing/maligning orthodox Sunni scholars of the highest caliber to promote their Wahhabism.

      The reasons they resort to deception while claiming to uphold the highground in Islam can be many — from blindly following traditions of their parents, to being influenced by Muslims who surrounded them when they were young, to preventing a guilty conscience from opposing what their Wahhabi mentors (and parents) have taught them, to retaining a sense of self-worth and psycho-social security.

      In other words, their whole existence (who they ‘are’) and investment in molding such an existence is too much to lose. Their “great” status in the eyes of many unknowing Muslims, their livelihoods, their family’s social support networks, their entire environment — all collectively keep them in the Wahhabi circle and prevent them from stepping out.

      When they see truth, they twist it to conform with their Wahhabi mindframe and with the position they have worked hard to attain for much of their lives. Rooting for the real Truth may be a sacrifice too much to bear for them. Why discard it all when you have so much? -they surely ask.

      Irrespective of whether they are aware of their ignorance or not still makes them dangerous to our youth, and to Muslims in general. The ignorant feeding on ignorant youth, or, more likely, Machiavellian Wahhabis feeding on ignorant youth, both produce the same ugly, anti-Sunni result and disunity. Therefore, we must warn Muslims from them.

      At the end of the day, Allah Guides whom He Wills. No matter how much evidence they see or intellectual discussions they face, they will remain the same. We should thank Allah Azza Wajal for His Guidance and for keeping us on the Path of the Muslim majority.

      May Allah Guide all of us to the Path that Pleases Him Most, and save us from those who are astray. Aaameen.

      Wassalam,
      Sunni1/Muhammad

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