The Al-Maghrib Institute teaches “The Light of Guidance: The Fundamentals of Faith 101”. This hyperlinked document shows that these course notes were made by Yasir Qadhi and taught by various teachers to Al-Maghrib Institute students. Note that the course notes are dated “February 2011,” which clearly indicates that this is a very recent and current course by Al-Maghrib Institute. True to their Wahhabi-Salafi colors, their attacks on orthodox Sunni Islam continue.
The following is a selection of strange quotes from the course that are contrary to orthodox Sunni Islam.
(1) The quote below in the Al-Maghrib Institute course notes states that Shaykh Abdal-Qadir Jilani was worshipped “more and more.” But by who? The notes are silent about this. What is being attacked here is not “worship” of the Shaykh, but the orthodox Sunni practice of tawassul which is not worship. The specific quote from the course:
“As with the people of Nūḥ, when [Shaykh Abdal-Qadir Jilani] died the people started to exalt him and worship him more and more. Now, his grave is found in twelve different lands in the world. The basis of shirk is to take a righteous person and put him higher than he deserves.” (p.89)
(2) The quote below in the Al-Maghrib Institute course notes states that it is not allowed for a Muslim to travel to a mosque with the intention of getting blessings. The course notes says:
“In Damascus, the Umayyad mosque is the oldest masjid, and it is Islāmically not allowed to travel to Damascus just to pray in that mosque thinking that it will give you blessings. You can go there to sight-see and visit the mosque, but you cannot think that you will get more reward by going there.” (p.96)
This is an echo of one of Ibn Taymiyah’s strange fatawa, which was soundly refuted by Ahl-al-Sunna scholars in a previous post in the section titled, “Yasir Qadhi Parrots Ibn Taymiyah’s Mistake.” What do Yasir Qadhi and the Al-Maghrib Institute have to say about the Sunni scholars’ unveiling of Ibn Taymiyah’s blunder regarding the matter? Curiously but unsurprisingly, the course notes are silent about this.
(3) The quote below in the Al-Maghrib Institute course notes states that there is “nothing holy” about the Prophet’s (peace & blessings be upon him) grave. The course says:
“Do not seek barakah from the [Prophet’s] grave. Ask Allāh to help you and make du‘ā. Do not seek blessings by kissing or touching the grave. Also, realize that the copper grailing was built 300 years ago and has nothing to do with the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). It was built by the Ottomans and there is nothing holy about it. If you think that the grave exudes barakah by some barakah osmosis, it has been 14 centuries, and the barakah would have reached Minnesota. This would mean that the carpets next to the grailing and the land around it are blessed. This is not the way our religion works, and we are not a superstitious religion. His body was blessed, but where he is buried now is not assumed to transfer the blessings to the whole world.” (p.97)
Typical of Wahhabis-Salafis, notice the disrespect and lack of adaab the Al-Maghrib Instiute has for our beloved Prophet (peace & blessings upon him) when they shamelessly said: “If you think that the grave exudes barakah by some barakah osmosis, it has been 14 centuries, and the barakah would have reached Minnesota.” Can a true orthodox Sunni ever be so disrespectful, sarcastic, and comfortable with such mockery?
(4) The quote below in the Al-Maghrib Institute course notes states that asking the Prophet (peace & blessings upon him) to make du’a for you is shirk. The course states:
“People make du‘ā to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) or ask the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to make du‘ā for them to Allāh….They are taking a prophet of God and making him into a god like the Christians. This is a clear manifestation of shirk.” (p.98)
However, the Sunna Foundation provides the specific evidence of a Companion of the Prophet (peace & blessings upon him) who went to the grave of the Prophet (peace & blessings upon him) and asked the Prophet (peace & blessings upon him) to ask Allah to give rain to the Ummah:
Al-Bayhaqi relates with a sound (sahih) chain: “It is related from Malik al-Dar, `Umar’s treasurer, that the people suffered a drought during the successorship of `Umar, whereupon a man came to the grave of the Prophet and said: “O Messenger of Allah, ask for rain for your Community, for verily they have but perished,” after which the Prophet appeared to him in a dream and told him: “Go to `Umar and give him my greeting, then tell him that they will be watered. Tell him: You must be clever, you must be clever!” The man went and told `Umar. The latter said: “O my Lord, I spare no effort except in what escapes my power!” Ibn Kathir cites it thus from Bayhaqi in al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya and says: isnaduhu sahih; Ibn Abi Shayba cites it in his Musannaf with a sound (sahih) chain as confirmed by Ibn Hajar who says: rawa Ibn Abi Shayba bi isnadin sahih and cites the hadith in Fath al-Bari. He identifies Malik al-Dar as `Umar’s treasurer (khazin `umar) and says that the man who visited and saw the Prophet in his dream is identified as the Companion Bilal ibn al-Harith, and he counts this hadith among the reasons for Bukhari’s naming of the chapter “The people’s request to their leader for rain if they suffer drought.” He also mentions it in al-Isaba, where he says that Ibn Abi Khaythama cited it.
The legal inference here is not from the dream, because although the dream of seeing the Prophet is truthful, a dream cannot be used to establish a ruling (hukm) due to the possibility that the person who saw it makes an error in its wording. Rather, the inference from this hadith is based on the action of the Companion Bilal ibn al-Harith. The fact that Bilal came to the grave of the Prophet, called out to him, and asked him to ask for rain is a proof that these actions are permitted. These actions fall under the rubric of asking the Prophet for help (istighatha), seeking him as a means (tawassul), and using his intermediary (tashaffu`), and none of the Companions reprimanded him, and therefore it was understood that such actions are among the greatest acts of drawing near to Allah.
In his edition of Ibn Hajar, the Wahhabi scholar Ibn Baz rejects the hadith as a valid source for seeking rain through the Prophet, and brazenly condemns the act of the Companion who came to the grave, calling it munkar (aberrant) and wasila ila al-shirk (a means to associating partners to Allah). We seek protection from Allah from ignorance and error.
According to al-Maghrib Institute’s neo-Wahhabi logic, this would make the Companion Bilal ibn al-Harith guilty of shirk ul-akbar. May Allah protect us from such perverted accusations against the beloved Companions of our beloved Prophet (peace & blessings upon him)!
(5) The Al-Maghrib Institute course states that tabarruk (or the act of asking Allah for things using objects associated with holy people) should not be done because there is no way of knowing what is and what is not authentic that belongs to the Prophet (peace & blessings upon him). But what if authentic possessions of the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) did exist, and Muslims did tabarruk with them? The course notes below do not explicitly answer this question, though they imply that it is permissible. The reason is because, the course notes state, that: “Theoretically, the remnants of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) will always exude barakah.” The course says:
“What about seeking barakah from the Prophet’s hair and clothes and shoes in our times? What about seeking barakah from the remnants of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)? Theoretically, the remnants of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) will always exude barakah. The problem that arises is that we have no way of knowing that this item was in fact the item of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). By and large, we can guarantee that this is a forgery and fabrication. There are at least 12 shoes on display around the world from China to places in Africa that claim to be shoes of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) even though he only had one pair of shoes in his life….A little common sense will tell you that this is not real. We don’t have a single item on the face of the earth that we know belonged to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), even those in museums. There is nothing on the face of the earth that we know for sure that belonged to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam).” (p.99)
The above, however, contradicts what is quoted from the notes in #7 below.
(6) The course says below: “The stones of the Ka’bah are not even blessed,” and “The Ka’bah itself is not holy.” The only comment is that I ask Allah to protect us from such perfidious, anti-Sunni statements. The course says:
“It is not that uncommon to get a small piece of the cloth of the Ka‘bah. There is nothing that is blessed about the cloth of the Ka‘bah. The stones of the Ka‘bah are not even blessed. Only al-ḥajar al-aswad is blessed. We are not polytheists and pagans and idol worshippers. The Ka‘bah itself is not holy. It is the area and land and environment that is holy but not the physical structure.” (p.100)
(7) Recall from #5 above that Al-Maghrib Institute attempted to forbid tabarruk through the Prophet’s (peace & blessings upon him) possessions by saying there is no way of knowing what the authentic possessions of the Prophet (peace & blessings be upon him) are. Also, remember that Al-Maghrib Institute said that “Theoretically, the remnants of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) will always exude barakah” (p.99). Now, the course says:
“In contrast, if a person is asking for blessings from an object he think (sic) Allāh has blessed, then this is bid‘ah and not shirk.” (p.101)
This is a contradiction. In #5 above, al-Maghrib Institute stated that in theory the Prophet’s (peace & blessings upon him) things will always exude barakah, and implied that tabarruk would be permissible if we knew those possessions authentically belonged to Prophet Muhammad (peace & blessings upon him). But now we know from the quote above that even if authentic possessions of Prophet Muhammad (peace & blessings upon him), or of any genuine saint, did exist, it would still be “bid’ah” to ask Allah for things using those possessions. How can an act be both “theoretically” correct, but “bid’ah” if actually practiced? It sounds a bit like Al-Maghrib Institute’s contradictory stand on Mawleed.
Though repulsive, however, it is good to know that al-Maghrib Institute has shifted its position from “shirk” to “bid’ah” in regards to tabarruk. One day I hope the position will change from “bid’ah” to halaal in line with orthodox Sunni tradition.
(8) Now to tawassul. It is well-known that Wahhabis of all varieties (including the al-Maghrib Institute variety) forbid the act of tawassul in the form of asking Allah for things using a pious intermediary who is living the life of barzakh in the grave. Even more interesting is the recognition and admission by Al-Maghrib Institute that famous Islamic scholars allowed this form of tawassul that al-Maghrib Institute is against! The course says:
“It is true that many famous scholars starting from medieval Islām such as An-Nawawi, Ibn Ḥajar, Al-Shawkāni and Al-Suyūṭī clearly allowed this type of tawassul. Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Al-Qayyim, Ibn Kathīr agree with us.” (p.135)
This is proof that al-Maghrib Institute picks and chooses from scholars, instead of choosing to follow the great majority of Muslims on the matter. They prefer to adhere to controversial individuals rather than fully established and uncontroversial scholars (though Shawkani is rather strange in some aspects from a truly Sunni perspective). It is to be noted, however, that Ibn Kathir did not express any outright condemnation of this form of tawassul. And neither was he influenced by Ibn Taymiyah’s strange understanding of creed (`aqeedah).
(9) Of the Ash’aris and Maturidis — both of which represent the Ahl al-Sunna wa’al Jama’ah — the al-Maghrib Institute class notes state:
“These groups are our theological cousins. Their book definition of tawḥīd is incorrect. Ulūhiyyah is missing from their definition. It is not a coincidence that where this group became dominant, shirk in ulūhiyyah also increased. When you make du‘ā to a dead saint, according to this group you are not committing shirk. They define tawḥīd in rubūbiyyah and do not accept ulūhiyyah as a part of tawḥīd. For us, ulūhiyyah is tawḥīd because what is lā ilāha illa Allāh except ulūhiyyah. At the end of the day, these people are not bad people. They just have incorrect ideas. They are our brothers in Islām and we love the good in them and try to correct the bad in them. They are the closest group to pure Sunni Islām. Ibn Taymiyyah said we include them in the general, broad sense Sunni Islām. At the end of the day, what combines us is more than what separates us.” (p.169-170)
Note the accusation of shirk when the notes state, “It is not a coincidence that where this group became dominant, shirk in ulūhiyyah also increased.” However, in the same breath the notes state, “At the end of the day, these people are not bad people” and “They are the closest group to pure Sunni Islam“? How can people who have been accused of committing “shirk in uluhiyyah” be the “closest group to pure Sunni Islam”? Especially when the same notes state in page-158 that “Worshipping other than Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta’āla) is kufr. Shirk definitely is a type of kufr.”
Is it perhaps because Yasir Qadhi knows that the vast majority of Hanafis are Maturidi and the vast majority of Shafi’is and Malikis are Ash’ari? In other words, 99% of Muslims have been Ash’ari and Maturidi — and Yasir Qadhi and his entourage have the audacity to claim that they have committed “shirk in uluhiyyah”? Some famous Ash’ari scholars are Imam Nawawi, Imam Baihaqi, Imam Ghazzali, Imam Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, Imam al-Qurtubi, Qadi `Iyad al-Maliki, Shaykh al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Imam Fakhrud-Din ar-Razi, and many others. Even Salahhad-deen al-Ayoobi was Ash’ari. Can any Muslim in their correct state of mind accuse these Muslims of “shirk in uluhiyyah”? Is this perhaps why Yasir Qadhi in the same breath says Ash’aris and Maturidis are not bad people? We seek refuge in Allah from such extremist accusations and belittling of our great `ulema.
May Allah Guide all of us to the path of the Muslim majority — not the minority splinter groups that the Al-Maghrib Institute diehardly propagates.