The Concept of Justice

The Moral Code of the Daa'iya

By Sheikh Salman Al 'Awdah


Translated by Muhammad Buneef

(Edited translation)


        Al-'Adl, justice, is a general term that means "situation or position in the middle", or intermediateness. It is a characteristic of the Muslim and a characteristic of Ahl as Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah in all matters without exception.  It is giving each the right that he deserves. The concept of justice and its examples is very vast and is not easy to summarize. The following are some important types:

    1. Justice with enemies and friends
    2. Justice in evaluating books
    3. Justice in judging Da`wah groups and their activities
    4. Justice in looking at various Jihad and Da`wah efforts
    5. Justice in dealing with Shari`ah texts
    6. Justice in the general view of Islam
    7. Justice with reality
    8. Justice in dealing with differences of opinion

    1. Justice with the enemy and friend

        Quite often, if one's friends are mentioned to him he speaks well of them, even if he knows that they don't deserve such tribute.  Whereas when his enemies are mentioned to him, he sharply censures them even when he knows that what he is saying is false. Can the daai'ya point out defects that exist in his associates, those who may follow the same way and methodology as him!?  Or even his partner in any particular task?!  Can he truthfully show appreciation towards a person whom he disagrees with in some matters?  If he can do this, then he has fulfilled justice in this area.  But most people show injustice towards their antagonists by rebuking them for what cannot be ascribed to them.  On the other hand, they show injustice towards their friends by showing them appreciation that they do not deserve…and even if this appears to be a manifestation of love and appreciation, it is not.  For in reality it is degradation and tyranny.  Therefore when one shows you appreciation which you don't deserve, he has indeed humiliated you.  This is because if people who are expecting this quality from you cannot find it, then they are apt to censure you because you do not have it.  Allah ta`ala ordered us to behave justly, even with enemies. "... and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to Piety ..." (Translation of the meaning - Surah Al-Ma'ida 5:8)  Unfortunately, even if we admit this lesson in theory, we quickly forget it in practice.  We find ourselves neglecting a person, being unconcerned about him, paying no attention to him, and so often looking at his few bad qualities, while at the same time forgetting his many good qualities or vice-versa.  No, but the matter is even worse!  In fact more often we forget his many good qualities and capitalize on his few bad qualifies.  We forget the shari`ah rule, "If the water is two jugs worth, it does not hold impurity!" (From a hadeeth narrated by Ahmad and the compilers of the Sunan, and it was authenticated by al-Tahawi, and Ibn Khuzaima and Ibn Hibaan and al-Dhababi, Nawawi and Ibn Hajr. See Irwa at- Ghaleel)

    2. Justice in Evaluating Books

       When you evaluate a book it is not from justice to say that it contains, for example, fabricated or weak hadeeths, or eccentric opinions, mentioning only its dark aspect and neglecting its other positive aspect, which contains interesting beneficial instructions, or scholarly research. Surely, by mentioning half of the truth and disregarding the other half, you are not being just. For many, as soon as they see a mistake in a certain book they avoid it all together and warn against it just because it contains a weak hadeeth or a mistake concerning an issue. If we treat the people of knowledge accordingly then we won't have any more books. We should not mention defects in book, without mentioning its advantages if it has any.

    3. Justice in Judging the Dawah Groups and Their Activities

        Since the fall of the Islamic leadership, many dawah groups and movements have started in the Islamic World. Their objectives have been to renew the Islamic life as well as the Islamic government, or to continue the dawah among the non-Muslims, or to revive the Sunnah, or anything similar among these noble objectives. These dawah groups differ in methodology, groundworks, and objectives. Also, some are closer than others to the methodology of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Many speak about these dawah groups and study them from different angles, but what that is missing in many of these studies is justice. Many writers who belong to this dawah have a tendency to either admire its methodology and curriculum by attributing to it all kinds of high praise, or treat it unjustly by attributing to it all kinds of defects. Between the two the truth is lost.

Allah ta'ala loves justice and dislikes injustice. He who shows shortcomings in one area does not do so in all areas, and it is not proper that their many sins make you forget their few goods deeds. Sometimes you hear some people talk about a group calling to Allah, to the point that he transforms them into a group of shayateen and explains their statements of the shahadatain with an explanation that is void of the direct outward meaning of the statement; and he interprets their actions in a way that he might be truthful in some of it, but may not be in most of it. Therefore, speaking in general terms in this area is an error, rather it is necessary for one who approaches talking about dawah groups and their methodology to use detailed statements, precision, accuracy, and to mention positive areas besides negative ones. The imams of Ahl as Sunnah wal Jama'a used to mention the Ahl al Bida by rebuking them and warning of them, but they also mentioned their positions against those who were worse in innovation, or they also mentioned their dawah to the kufaar to embrace Islam, in a way that they turn away from being kaafirs to Muslim innovators, which is better than staying in clear kufr; or their positions against military attacks, or other good deeds that they did. So it is from justice that we should not ignore their innovation under the pretense that they did some good things, just as we should not ignore their good deeds under the pretense they are innovators, rather we combine between the two.

    4. Justice in Looking at Various Jihad and Da'wah Efforts

    There are some efforts in the field of dawah to Allah ta'ala that are not connected to any particular group. These Jihad or dawah efforts done by believers, or certain groups of them, are a humanitarian effort that may be correct or incorrect. That is why it is beneficial and helpful that these works be rectified correctly and moderately in order that one be able to realize, expand and deepen the benefit of what is positive, and avoid that which is negative - so that mistakes won't be repeated and Muslims won't have to start all over again. But this outward benefit could be lost between two factions:

One sees that this work is perfect, has no defect, so therefore, he throws the arrows of accusation and doubt at anybody who shows criticism and comment. And another sees only defects to the point that he doesn’t see anything beneficial from this work at all! Take for example the Afghani Jihad... a Jihad made up of no less than ten years of sweat, tears, blood, sacrifice, sleeplessness and hardship. You may find one who describes it as being free from mistakes, untained by defects, to the point that it is seen as the Jihad of the sahaaba, may Allah be pleased with them. He does not accept criticism or comment. On the other hand you find one who talks about the Mujahideen and accuses them with ignorance and innovation with no consideration or elaboration, using as a pretext that there are some of them who wear amulets, or that they have innovations in some of their masjids. One even went further than that when he declared, "These are idolators fighting atheists." I've read one of their aimless commentaries about a Salafi jama`ah that "whoever does not consider them as kufaar, he is a kaafir"! So if this is his judgement about a Salafi group, then how about others? From Allah we seek help. Where is the scale of justice that Allah ta'ala gave this Ummah? Is this true following of the teaching of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, who knew people's values, and did not lessen them? He used to show appreciation to people concerning their good deeds, even if they weren't free from defects! Didn't he show appreciation towards Najaashi and described him as "A king in whose presence none is treated unjustly", while he was still a kaafir? It is necessary for the du`aat to observe just judgments which hold the scale at the middle and to look with a moderate and balanced view that avoids being influenced positively or negatively by emotions, "... and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to Piety ..." (Translation of the meaning - Surah Al-Ma'ida 5:8)

    5. Justice in Dealing with Al-Nusoos (Shari'ah Texts)

        All of these accurate texts make up the deen, so we have to accept this Shari'ah, obey and believe in it, and nothing is rejected from it as long as it is accurate and not abrogated. Justice is to have balance in looking at these texts so that one avoids taking one category and neglecting another. Especially, (when dealing with different) texts related about one topic, or about two opposite subjects.

There are those who take texts of al- Wa'eed (threats) like the hadeeth, "He will not enter jannah who cuts off (his ties of kinship)." [Bukhari, Muslim, and Abu Dawud] or, "A slanderer will not enter al-Jannah." [Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi] or, "It is kufr for a person to withdraw himself from kinship even a little." Based on the outward appearance of these texts, he will attribute kufr to people, and forget other texts that are mentioned about al-Wa'du war-Rajaa' (promise and hope) like the hadeeth of 'Utbaan, "And surely Allah made the Hell Fire haraam for one who said Ia ilaha illa Allah seeking by that the Face of Allah." [Bukhari and Muslim] or, "He who bears witness that there is no deity but Allah and that Muhammad is the servant of Allah and His Messenger, and that `Isa is the servant of Allah and His Messenger, and His word which He placed into Maryam and a spirit from him, and that al-Jannah is true, and al-Nar is true, Allah will admit him into Jannah according to his deeds." [Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi]

On the other hand there are those who contradict the matter by taking texts of hope alone, and make people feel safe from Allah’s plan, neglecting texts of wa'eed (threats), "After them succeeded an (evil) generation: they inherited the Book, but they chose (for themselves) the vanities of this world, saying (for excuse): 'Everything will be forgiven us.' (Even so), if similar vanities came their way, they would (again) seize them" (Translation of the meaning - Surah Al-`Araf 7:169) Justice is to take from both this and that and put this in one scale, and that in the other, until they balance each other. Justice between legislative texts is justice between the minor and the major issues, because all of the deen is Allah's, there isn't anything that can make it of little importance, or worthy of neglect, or which can be ignored. This is why he, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, said after his answer to Jibreel about Iman, Islam, and lhsaan, "That was Jibreel who came to teach you about your religion..." [Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and Nisai] This is why if a person denies a known matter with a definite certainty he will be a kaafir due to that, even if the matter he denies is sunnah or fardh kifaaya, like the two raka`aats of fajr, the adhaan, etc. Therefore there are neither superficialities nor trivialities in the deen, as it pleases some of the hasty ones and attackers to speak without certainty or reflection. But there are principles, such as starting with matters of 'aqeedah and giving priority to major issues over minor ones. For instance, when you see a person with a host of mistakes, it is wise to start with major mistakes before minor ones, that is, it is not proper to reprimand someone about some of the adhkaar [plural of dhikr] that are sunnah while he is neglecting the waajibat (obligations) and basic elements of salaat. Likewise, it is not proper to start your advice by forbidding him from smoking while he is committing shirk. Graduation in dawa is confirmed in the recommendation of the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, to Mu`adh when he sent him to Yemen. He said, "You will come to a people of the Book so the first thing you will call them to is to testify that there is no deity but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, so if they obey that, then inform them that Allah has made for them five obligatory prayers in every day and night; if they obey that, then inform them that Allah has made for them an obligatory charity that is taken from their riches and given to their poor..." [Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nisai]. Giving priority to the most important issues is the legislation of the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam. This was part of his methodology in the practical dawa, and part of his instructions to his companions who are the bearers of his Message. Some sincere du`aat may direct their attention and care to a host of minor matters, which are important without a doubt, but there exists that which is more important than these. It is not the advisor's job to avert du`aats’ concern from those matters totally, nor to encourage them only with regards to those matters, but his job is to place them in their natural proper place, and put other major matters in their proper place as well.

         One day I was explaining a lesson to students from, "Bulugh al-Maraam". It was the hadeeth of Abi Saeed, may Allah be pleased with him, "If one of you comes to the masjid, let him look at his shoes, if he sees harm [impurity] on them, then let him wipe them and pray in them." [Abu Dawud] So I found it a suitable opportunity to explain the proper methodology using this hadeeth as an example. First of all, I mentioned the sunan that are related from the Messenger of Allah concerning the matter of praying in shoes, and they are five in general:

  1. He would take off his shoes intentionally in salaat as in the hadeeth of `Abdullah ibn Saaed, "I saw the Prophet a praying on the day of Fath [victory] and he put his shoes on his left." [Abu Dawud, Nisai]

  2. He prayed in his shoes, as in the hadeeth of Abi Saeed, and that narrated by Abu Muslima Saeed Ibn Yazeed al-Uzdiy, he said, "I asked Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, 'Did the Prophet used to pray in his shoes?' He said, 'Yes'." [Abu Dawud]

  3. He used to pray barefoot, as well as in shoes as in the hadeeth of `Amru bin Shu'aib from his father from his grandfather, "Sometimes like this, and sometimes like that." [Abu Dawud]

  4. Putting the shoes between the feet, neither on the right nor the left, even though there isn't anyone on his left side, as in the hadeeth of Abu Hurairah and others. [Abu Dawud]

  5. Commanding to pray in them as in the hadeeth of Shaddaad bin Awss, "Contradict the Jews, they don't pray in their shoes nor their slippers." [Abu Dawud, authenticated by Hakim and Adh-Dhahabi agreed]

Then I mentioned the opinions of the fuqahaa [concerning prayer with shoes on] which are three:

1. It is disliked, as reported from Ibn Umar and Abu Musa aI-Ash'ari.

 2. It is desirable, and this is the way of the majority like 'Umar, 'Uthmaan, 'Ali, Anas, ibn Mas'ud, Ataa'a, Mujahid, Taawus, Shareeh etc.

 3. It is acceptable if there is no impurity on them, as supported by al-Khataabi and Ibn Daqeeq al-'Eid, Ibn Butaal, Nawawi and others. That is, the salaat is not desirable in shoes according to them, and Ibn Daqeeq al-'Eid claims so because the shoes are in contact with the ground which contains many impurities which is sufficient to prove that it is desirable to take them off for salaat.

Then I gave preference to the opinion of praying in shoes because of the clear authentic proof, with the condition of taking into consideration three things:

  1. To look at them making sure that they are free from impurity or any harmful things as the Prophet commanded in the hadeeth of Abu Sa'eed.

  2. Provided that the act will not cause any debate or trouble. This refers to raising voices in the masjid during debate; giving up speaking to one another; having hate and aversion in the hearts; and plotting, or even abandoning the salat in congregation to express anger... all of which might be done by some people whose hearts need to be united. In some communities the enemies of dawa and the correct methodology are pleased with such behaviors, they take advantage of people's ignorance about the Sunnah, so that they would falsely accuse du`aat and push people away from them.

  3. The necessity of putting the fundamentals in order.

Therefore, we want to correct the people’s `aqeedah and make them aware of all different kinds of outward and inward shirk and avoid the forbidden, and we want to encourage them to stick to the sunan and the mustahabbaat (recommended deeds), to incite them to avoid the makroohaat (disliked deeds). It is not wise to persist in teaching people one of the sunan regardless of how much effort it will take, if the result will be rejecting this sunnah because of their ignorance, then rejecting those who invite them to it by accepting neither his effort nor his justice. The steps of the legislative fundamentals start with teaching the fundamentals of `aqeedah, then doing the obligatory things and avoiding the forbidden ones, then performing the sunan and avoiding the makruuhaat. Therefore it is like necessities, then commodities, then refinements.

We need to abolish the contradiction between the major concern and the minor concern, and to erase the false concept which claims that giving concern to the major issues leads to ignoring the minor, or vice-versa. We need to arrange the concerns of the du`aat in an order of priority that gives every issue the attention it deserves

There is nothing wrong for the daa`iya to study or teach these sunan which people deny, like shortening the clothing halfway the leg, or the posture of rest during the salaat, or moving the index finger in tashahhud. But these are issues which are dealt with in the texts of the shar` which a qualified person should have an opinion or ijtihaad over, under the condition that it won’t distract him from other issues. As well as that the young ones should be trained to apply it on themselves, and on the ones who accept and take it from them at the right times and the right places. They should leave it out, for Allah’s sake, when they see that there is a legislative intent in leaving it out. Not because of fearing people’s tongues and talk. Justice is not to write in a minor subject more than fourteen research papers, while we neglect the major occurrences and happenings in the ummah through which people walk unguided, and stumble with their personal opinions, or with their incomplete ijithaad which is void of the tools of correct ijtihaad. There are those who fall into the opposite error, by giving concern to the major matters, and lessen from the importance of the minor ones. One of them says for instance, "I am Salafi, and when I look at `Umar’s personality, I see an `Umar who spread justice among the people, an `Umar who used to say, ‘If a mule tripped in Iraq, I would feel that Allah will ask me about it, "Why didn’t you fix the road for it O `Umar?" ‘But I don’t look at `Umar’s personality as the one who shortens his clothing and lengthens his beard as some of these boys look at him!" Subhaan Allaah! Why do we divide `Umar’s personality into two. `Umar the just, the mujaahid, the bearer of the mule responsibility in Iraq; and `Umar the holder of the sunnah in his appearance, clothing and action? Far be it from `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, because surely he never believed in this dualism, or this separation. Here is the proof, when Uqba bin `Amir, may Allah be pleased with him, came to give him the good news about the victory over al-Shaam, after which he had ridden a whole week from Friday to Friday until he arrived to Madina, he (`Umar) made takbeer and the Muslims were happy with this courageous victory. Then `Umar looked at the khuff [leather shoes] of `Uqba and said to him "How long have you been wearing them?" He replied, "I’ve been wiping over them the whole week!" Then `Umar said, "That is the sunnah." [Bayhaqi] And it is authentic as Ibn Taymiyya and others said [al-Fatawa]. Therefore `Umar’s concern, may Allah be pleased with him, with the matter of conquests and subjugating the world to the Islamic rule did not prevent him from investigating a minor matter - minor in some people’s opinion - and illustrating the sunnah in it according to his opinion and ijtihaad.

When the `Amir of the Believers was dying on his bed, the anxiety of leadership after him was troubling him, as well as the companions of the Messenger of Allah, for the affair of the leadership is a concrete and important matter affecting all. But in spite of its importance, it did not prevent `Umar from researching and understanding minor issues. After he was stabbed, a boy from the Ansaar came to see him, and show his appreciation. When he was leaving, `Umar saw the length of his clothing, and said, "Bring the boy back to me!!" When the boy was brought back to him, he said, "O son of my brother! Pull up your izar, surely it is cleaner for your clothing and has more taqwa to your Lord!" [Bukhari, from the hadeeth of `Amr bin Maymun] After a few minutes he turned towards his companions around him and said, "What do you have to say about the issue of inheritance of the grandfather with the brothers" So they spoke, then `Umar said, "I had an opinion about the grandfather, so if you what to follow it, then follow it!" Then `Uthmaan, may Allaah be pleased with him said, "If we follow your opinion, it is righteous, and if we follow the opinion of the shaykh before you, then they are both excellent." [Darimi from Marwan bin al-Hakam] This is `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him. To him the major issues are in comfortable harmony with the minor ones, one color does not dominate the other; one taste does not dominate the other, all complete a structure, one thing depends upon the other.

    6.  Justice in the general view of Islam

        That is, the deen came to rule all worldly affairs, on the individual and collective level, as well as in the social, economical, political, and instructional areas. Allah ta`ala has reprimanded Bani Israel and reproached them as He said, "... but they forgot a good part of the message that was sent them: so We estranged them, with enmity and hatred between the one and the other, to the Day of Judgement ... portion of what they were reminded of, therefore We excited among them enmity and hatred till the Day of resurrection..." (Translation of the meaning - Surah Al-Ma'ida 5:14). Clinging to one part of the deen and forgetting the other is one of the characteristics of the doomed nations, and one of the greatest causes of division and conflict among du`aat. You find a group of Muslims giving concern to the worship area of Islam; giving concern to the night prayer, a multitude of dhikr, and maybe adding to that some other related acts which have no basis in the shari'ah. Perhaps they even commit some of the tasawwuf that alienates them to the point that one of them spoke to me in an excited tone and told me that a western spy sat down with them for a long while, then wrote that they were harmless, because all that they ever talked about was that which is beneath the earth and above the sky!! Blessed is Allah!! About the grave, death, chastisement, Allah's bounty, angels and the Hereafter! But that which is on the earth they have no concern about! And you find another group giving concern to the political arena of Islam. Their jihad is about forming political parties, assembling followers, obtaining votes, participating in administrative gatherings and parliaments and raising the youth for the political Jihad. You find a third group giving concern to the area of knowledge in Islam, occupying themselves with showing it's authentic from it's weak, warning people from the narrations of weak and fabricated hadeeths.

To these I say:

1.    Islam contains each of these three aspects as well as others. It is a religion that came to relate the servant to his Lord by means of worship, hope and fear, and from there the rituals of worship have come. It is a religion that came to administer people's life and direct their affairs. It is neither priesthood nor monasticism, nor is it isolation from the reality of life. And politics is a part that cannot be separated from Islam, so Jihad in this domain with every permissible means must be a concern of the daai'ya.

2.    It is also a religion that came to regulate the worship, to regulate advancement in life by means of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. There is no room in it for useless emotions, nor personal opinions, that is; it is necessary to have knowledge from the Book and the Sunnah in order to correct our worship and deeds, All these aspects are what the deen came to invite to and urge on. Limited energy, if it is directed to one thing neglects another, and since the nature of people, their views, and concerns are constituted this way, one has a tendency to lean with his own nature toward one of these matters. For instance, a person may be full of zuhd and piety, but he might not have the tool of knowledge of the shar' because he is not qualified for it. Here we say: Every person knows his inclination, and everyone is prepared for what he was created for, and among the companions of Muhammad - there was the brave fighter Khalid bin Waleed; the great scholars diligent in matters of fiqh like Ibn Abbaas and lbn Mas'ud, and the pious and mutazahhid who called the people by word and deed, "Do not place your compliance in the worldly life," Abu Dharr, may Allah be pleased with him. From all of these personalities and others the complete Islamic structure is constituted. There even may have existed some that possessed all of these virtues and more among the earlier companions, such as Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with them all.

3.    We have to complete one another. The diversity of concerns should not be the cause of conflict, antagonism, insult and accusation of each other. One accuses the other with ignorance, the other accuses this one with excessiveness in minor researches and neglect of the actual reality, and a third accuses the others with harshness and dullness, relying on the worldly life etc. But every believer should be able to tell his brother that he completed his shortcomings and covered his gaps in the area of the obligations of al-kifaaya and he should make du`a for him in his absence, and protect his back from slanderers. Therefore, we do not take side with one part of the deen and fight one who gives concern to another part. But if we have shortcomings in one matter, we should thank the one who completes it for us. There is a big difference between the two.

4.    We should not become occupied with vows that we have made, knowledge, worship, political jihad etc... and neglect other areas. The daai'ya can not ignore that which is obligatory on every Muslim to learn, as is learning the correct 'aqeedah of al-wudhu, salaat and fasting etc., and knowing that which is needed in his practical life such as the etiquette of marital relations, and the ahkaam [legal rulings] concerning zakaat, and business for those who possess money. Likewise, the ahkaam concerning professoinal work, such as in medicine or architecture etc. This protects one, by the grace of Allah, from giving all of his concern to worship only. For without correct knowledge of the shari`ah based on the evidence from the Book and the Sunnah, he may be lead to fall in the ditch of tasawwuf. One who is concerned with da`wa while not possessing a correct understanding of the texts and the process of attaining knowledge, may end up leading people to innovation or gathering them upon absolutely nothing.

    7. Justice with Reality

        Some of the duaat live in this era as if they were in the fifth century of al-Hijra! They are ignorant of their era, and do not know what is going on around them. A speaker in one of the villages gave a speech from a book, and at the end of the speech, he prayed for the leader of the believers, the Ottoman Sultan, asking Allah to prolong his reign, and support his royalty! The speaker was unaware that the leader had been dead for a long time! This screaming picture of unconsciousness may not repeat itself often, but there are enough examples that are less horrible that are repeated constantly. One of the youth asked me about the "Ba`th [resurrection] party", "What is the Ba`th party? What are their beliefs other than disbelieving in the resurrection?" My brother thought that the reason for calling them the resurrection, or the Ba`th party, is because they disbelieve in the resurrection, just as the Qadariyya were named so because they disbelieved in the Qadar! Surely the Muslim is aware of his community, conscious of the current of thinking and political directions, and strives to find correct solutions to new events, to fighting, and he strives to correct deviations after he becomes aware of them and is conscious of their roots. He who is not conscious about the roots, circumstances and starting point of western intellectual methodology cannot refute it. It is not necessary that every daai'ya becomes familiar with it, but a group of them must. On the opposite side of those who are alienated from reality, there is one who embraces reality defeated, searching for justifications and excuses to say that what people are doing does conform to Islam, or he tries to abandon some of the shari'ah matters as a flattery to reality, or in submission to the pressure of his nafs. Justice is acquaintance with reality, then fortifying it with Islam, and correcting deviations according to one’s capability.

    8. Justice in Dealing with Differences of Opinion

        Difference of opinion is one of mankind's natures, "If thy Lord had so willed, He could have made mankind one people: but they will not cease to dispute. Except those on whom thy Lord hath bestowed His Mercy..." (Translation of the meaning - Surah Hud 11:118-119). Doubtlessly, differences in opinion occur due to differences in intentions and purposes, differences in the strength of minds and perceptions, and differences in knowledge. Dealing with these differences requires a firm footing in the shar'.

Some duaat invite to the unity of the rank and file in order to forget conflict, without defining as to whom to unify with and who to be separated from due to misguidance and deviations. On the other hand, there is one who exaggerates about the conditions, to the point that he wants people to agree with him in everything, even in his personnal ijtihad and his own opinions. And if anybody disagrees with him, he turns away from him, takes the attitude of resistance towards him, and becomes careless and disrespectful to him! Justice is accepting the difference in that in which difference is permissible. Like the means of dawah, secondary matters, those rulings in which scholars of the past differed..., that which is based on the shari'ah ijtihad in understanding of the texts, not simply on desires. As for leniency towards the people of innovation concerning 'aqeedah, and fundamental deviations under the pretext of unifying the ranks, this is a false procedure that does not relate to reason nor to the shar'. As for asking people to agree in everything, and not to differ in anything at all, this is impossible and unreal.                                                                                                                                               


About the Author

Sheikh Salman Al 'Alwah

The Mujahid

Sheikh Salman was born in the village of Al-Basr near the city of Buraida in 1375 A.H. / 1955 A.D to a rich family which was known for its nobility and good name.

The Sheikh became known for his intelligence at an early age. After completing his secondary studies, Sheikh Salman enrolled in the Arabic language faculty at the university of Imam Muhammad Bin Saud in Ryad. He studied there for two years before transferring to the Sharia Faculty where he obtained his degree.

On receiving his degree, Sheikh Salman returned to Al-Qaseem where he studied at the Academic Institute at Buraida. He then transferred to the Sharia and Usuludin Faculty at the Imam Bin Saud Islamic University - Qaseem Campus, where he worked as a lecturer and continued his university studies. He received his Masters degree with a thesis on "The Estrangeness of Islam".

Sheikh Salman is a father of six children. His pupils and friends have known him as a generous man, confident in himself and his treatises, distinguished with his eloquence, good character, and awe. These attributes were translated into a popular reality which went beyond the area where he lived.

In the field of Study and Call to Islam

Sheikh Salman is a multi talented individual, distinguished in Jurisprudence, Hadith, Tafsir, and Creed. If he was to talk about contemporary issues, you would wish that he would not stop. When he talks, he raises elaborate issues and deep analysis through eloquent speech the equal of which is difficult to find. He is distinguished by his talent as an educator, his daily program would begin after the Fajr prayer, then he would go to his lectures in the University halls where he worked as a lecturer -before his sacking- until midday, he would then rest for a little time, and then take questions over the telephone, he would receive people after Magrib prayer if he did not have any lectures in that evening. He was a frequent traveler as he would not reject an invitation irrespective of its origin. Sheikh Salman presented his masters thesis before the Gulf war on the estrangeness of this religion; in this thesis, he offered a comparison between the predecessors and the contemporaries in a study which was first of its kind and first in its style, depth, and relevance. His book "a quiet dialogue with Sheikh Al-Gazaly" is fit to be an intellectual and practical model for discussing differences with those holding conflicting views.

Sheikh Salman boldly confronted the American presence in the Peninsula; he regarded this presence as a catastrophe which befell the Muslim land. After the end of the Gulf war, Sheikh Salman immersed himself in the program of reform with all his powers. He held lectures, workshops, demonstrations and made a call for reform and to fight the spread of corruption. His voice was high, and his star raised in the heavens, the first few years after the Gulf war were full of effort in the quiet revolution of reform which ended with Sheikh Salman and his brother Sheikh Safar Al-Hawaly in prison. However, this revolution set the element of reform which would no longer be satisfied with sitting idly in its own niche.

The Arrest

Sunday 6/4/1415 (11/9/1994) Sheikh Salman was called to the Qaseem principality. He was asked to sign an undertaking that he would not talk, give sermons, or verdicts... etc at any place or time. Sheikh Salman refused to sign this undertaking which interfered in his personal affairs. He offered his point of view to the governor saying: "you have one of three choices, either give the word of Islam its freedom, or permit me to travel to another country, or put me in prison." After this, Sheikh Salman returned to his home with a number of his students. He found a large gathering at the Mosque which was near his house. There were about seven thousand people gathered inside the Mosque and in its courtyard. There was a speech where Sheikh Muhammad Al-Dikhy, Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Bayan, Sheikh Ali Al-Khadir, Sheikh Sulayman Al-Rashudy, and some others said a few words. After this, Sheikh Salman gave a sermon for about one and a half hour where he gave his point of view with respect to the excesses of the regime and its confinement of the word of Islam and those who call to it; he also talked about the state of the economy and some other issues. All this is available on video and audio tapes which people can view or hear. Then on the morning of Tuesday 8/4/1415 (13/9/1994) around 6:00 am, the area containing Sheikh Salman's residence was surrounded by about 1000 security personnel, and the Sheikh was arrested.

The obstinacy of the regime from one aspect and their fear from another would not tolerate the presence of free people who confront corruption with Truth as did our Sheikh the Mujahid, may Allah grant him his freedom.

The story of Sheikh Salman was taken from the book "Al-Mashru' Al-Islahy Fil Saudia, Qissat Al-Hawaly Wal-'Awdah"
(The Islamic Reformative Program in Saudi Arabia, the Story of Al-Hawaly and Al-Awdah), By Mahmoud Al-Rifa'i.

This article was published in the 21st issue of Nida'ul Islam magazine (, December-January 1997-1998

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