The answer is – as Allaah has clarified in his statement:
Whatever you differ in – then the judgment is for Allaah. [42:10]
So the One referred back to is Allaah. And He the Most High said:
If you differ in anything then return it back to Allaah and the Messenger, if you truly believe in Allaah and the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for the final determination. [4:59]
So if we follow this way, then no differing will remain between us. And I mean – that no differing will remain between our hearts. As for peoples’ opinions then (differing) will occur, because differing occurred even between the Companions, but their hearts did not differ. And that which harms people nowadays in this religious issue, is that they follow their desires, meaning that a group of them follow their desires – such that differences in opinion lead to differing between the hearts and conflict between the hearts and enmity and hatred and insulting and [word unclear]. And by Allaah this pleases the enemies, and this fragments the da’wah (call) to Islaam.
So what is obligatory is that the hearts should not differ, even if opinions differ. And whoever wants his statement or opinion to be the point of reference when there is differing, then he is claiming for himself that he is at the level of the Prophet. So if he wants this, then those who oppose him want their statements and opinions to be the ones referred back to, so neither of these two will be free of error. And it is not possible to force people to comply with our opinions. Rather it is binding upon us that we should take from that which the Qur’aan and Sunnah indicate, even if this goes against what one’s forefathers were upon and one’s family. Just as you heard in the two aayaat which I recited earlier. Based on this, it is obligatory that we do not make differing in issues of fiqh (Islaamic jurisprudence), that we do not make these a cause for splitting, argumentation or hatred. Rather it is obligatory that we refer back to the Book and the Sunnah for judgment, and that we follow that which the Book and Sunnah indicate.
This does not mean that there should be differing between the hearts – for differing in opinions occurred between the Sahaabah radiyAllaahu’anhum, due to differing understandings of the daleel (evidence). When the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam returned from the Battle of the Ahzaab (factions) which was in the 5th year of the Hijrah (emigration) during the month of Shawwaal, Jibreel came to him, and ordered him to set out (to attack) Banoo Qurayzah, the last tribe of the Jews which had broken their covenant in Madeenah. So the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam sent a delegation of his Companions, and said:
“None of you should pray ‘asr except at Banoo Qurayzah“
They set off. The time for the prayer came upon them, so they were split into two groups. So from them, some said, ‘We will pray the prayer at its correct time, even if we haven’t reached Banoo Qurayzah.‘ And others said, ‘We will delay the prayer up until we reach Banoo Qurayzah.’ Which of these two groups were correct? Answer …
(Some people in the audience said, ‘Both of them’.)
It is not possible that both of them were correct, because that which is correct is one (of the two options) – due to the statement of the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam:
“When a judge makes a judgment, and he strives to make the correct judgment and he is correct then he gets two rewards; and if he is mistaken (in his judgment) then he gets one reward.”
Therefore, which of them was closer to being correct? Those who were closer to being correct were those who prayed at the proper time, and they said ‘Indeed the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam commanded us that we should only pray at Banoo Qurayzah because he wanted us to hasten in setting off, not so that we delay the prayer from its proper time’. And the others followed the literal wording and said, ‘We will only pray at Banoo Qurayzah, even if the sun has set’. So this reached the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam, so he did not criticize either of the two groups, because all of them were mujtahid (qualified to make judgments). And did this differing regarding the ‘asr prayer, the best of the prayers, did this lead to differing between the hearts? The answer – absolutely not. It did not lead to any differing between the hearts. So the hearts remained upon love and being close.
In some of the madhaahib-ul-fiqhiyyah (schools of Jurisprudence) there is differing. Eating camel meat breaks ones wudoo’. And some of the scholars hold that it does not break it. So should someone who has eaten camel meat without having performed wudoo’ lead the prayer, while there are other people behind him who consider making wudoo’ to obligatory (after eating camel meat)? The answer is yes. So this one who does not consider that he has to make wudoo’ as a result of eating camel’s meat ends up being my Imaam (in the prayer), while I consider that it is obligatory upon him (to make wudoo’), and I see that he has eaten (camel meat) and not made wudoo’. I pray (behind him) and there is no problem. Why? Because I consider that this man has prayed, and his prayer is valid as far as he is concerned. It is true that I must fear (Allaah) in this matter and follow that which the Qur’aan and Sunnah indicate. However for me to not pray behind him because he has eaten camel meat without performing wudoo’, this would reach the level of not being permissible.
So the religion of Islaam wants its people to have togetherness, not to differ, so that they be one Ummah (Nation). And listen to Allaah the Most High’s statement:
And hold fast all of you to the Rope of Allaah, and do not be divided, and remember Allaah’s favour upon you, that you were enemies and He gathered between your hearts, so that through His favour you became brothers, and that you were on the brink of a pit of Fire and He saved you from it. So does Allaah clarify His aayaat (Signs) to you in order that you might be guided. [3:103]
It is upon us to hold fast to the Rope of Allaah and not be divided.
And indeed that which is saddening nowadays is that some of the youth have taken some of the ‘ulemaa (scholars) to be figureheads. They follow them, and ally themselves with anyone who is allied to them, and they oppose anyone who opposes them, even if the one who opposes them is correct, and the one who is allied to them is incorrect. And they end up disputing between themselves (saying), “What do you say about this person, what do you say about that person?” Why?
I say that this person could either be making a mistake or he could be correct. If he has made a mistake whilst being a mujtahid (someone who is qualified to make judgments), then his mistake is forgiven, and if he is correct, then he gets two rewards. As for allying oneself with anyone who is allied to him (this scholar) and opposing anyone who is against him, then this is not permissible.
For this reason I ask the youth, my children, that they should not preoccupy themselves with this, nor should they focus on this. Their goal should be the truth, wherever it comes from.
Listen to Allaah the Mighty and Majestic’s statement:
And when they commit an indecent act they say, ‘We found our fathers upon this, and Allaah commanded us with this.’ Say: ‘Indeed Allaah does not command with indecency.’ [7:28]
So they brought two points to support their argument: firstly, that, ‘we found our fathers upon this’; and secondly, ‘Allaah commanded us with this.’ So Allaah the Mighty and Majestic said:
Say: ‘Indeed Allaah does not command with indecency.’ [7:28]
and He was silent about the first proof (which they brought). Why? Because the second proof was false and futile, and Allaah negated it. And the first proof was correct, so Allaah remained silent about it, and accepted it, even though it had come from the mushrikeen (the people of shirk).
And listen also to that which is authentically reported from the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam, that when a Jewish Rabbi came to him and said:
‘O Muhammad, indeed we hold that Allaah will put the heavens on one Finger, the earths on one Finger, …’ So the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam laughed until one could see his molar teeth, confirming what the Rabbi said. Then he recited:
How perfect Allaah is, and exalted above that which they associate with Him. So here, did the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam reject the truth because the one speaking it was not upon correctness, or not? Rather he agreed with it, even though this person was a Jew.
Even more clear-cut than this – that the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam asked Aboo Hurairah radiyAllaahu’anhu to guard the sadaqat-ul-fitr (charity for ‘Eid-ul-Fitr) – i.e. he told him to keep watch over it. Someone, apparently in the form of a human came one night and took from the food. So Aboo Hurairah took hold of him, and said, ‘I’m definitely going to take you to the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam.‘ However the man said that he was poor and asked to be excused, so Aboo Hurairah felt sorry for him, and let him go. Then he went to the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam. So he said to him, “What did the person you caught do last night?” So he said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, he said that he was poor, so I felt sorry for him and I let him go.’ So he said, “Indeed he lied, and he will come again.” (“He lied”, meaning he told you something untrue, “and he will come again.”) So I felt sure that he would come again due to the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwasallam saying, “and he will come again.” So he kept an eye out for him on the second night, and he came and took from the food, and he claimed that he had dependents and was poor, so he let him go. (Because the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam, when he said, “He will come again”, he didn’t say, ‘Detain him’, or, ‘Keep hold of him.’) Then Aboo Hurairah went to the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam and he told him what happened, so he said, “He lied, and he will come again.” So he came on the third night, so Aboo Hurairah took hold of him, and said, ‘I must take you to the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam.’ So this person said to him, ‘Should I not tell you about an aayah from the Book of Allaah, if you recite it then a protector from Allaah will remain with you (overnight) and shaytaan will not be able to approach you until morning.’ So he let him go. So he went to the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam and told him what happened, so he said, “He told you the truth, even though he is a liar.” (What did he mean by saying that, “He told you the truth”? – i.e. he told you something truthful, meaning that if you recite aayat-ul-kursee, then a protector from Allaah will remain with you and shaytaan will not be able to approach you until morning). Then he said, “Do you know who you were talking to over these last three nights?” He said, ‘I don’t know, O Messenger of Allaah. He said, “That was shaytaan“.
So look how the Prophet sallAllaahu’alaihiwa’alaa.aalihiwasallam accepted the truth from whom? From shaytaan.
So one should desire the truth. And men are known by the truth, and the truth is not known by men.
Translated by Adnaan ibn Salman