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Excerpt from al-Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa`i's recent epistle, *Advice to Our Brothers the Ulema of Najd* (Nasiha li-Ikhwanina `Ulama' Najd):

49 - Contempt of the Ulema

The Four Madhâhib had pulpits in the Meccan Sanctuary - you destroyed them1 - and teaching chairs - you banned them. Among the last to date was that of Dr. Muhammad ibn `Alawi al-Maliki who succeeded his father and grandfather. But your eyes could not bear to see him there, so you accused him of misguidance and sheer disbelief in your book al-Hiwar [Hiwar ma` al-Maliki by Muhammad ibn Mani`]. Had Allah not prompted me to defend him with my book al-Radd al-Mani` and others of the people of learning with theirs,2 and if King Fahd, the Custodian of the Two Sanctuaries, had not interfered to protect him, he would be ancient history today.

There used to be Ulema also in the Noble Prophetic Sanctuary, teaching the Four Schools of Law. The last one was Shaykh `Abd al-Rahman al-Juhani al-Shafi`i - the author of the manual Qatf al-Thimar fi Ahkam al-Hajj wa al-I`timar - whom you prevented from teaching "until he obtain a permit from Shaykh Ibn Baz." The permit was never issued and so he was stopped from teaching. Another was the scrupulous, erudite scholar and mufti, Shaykh `Abd Allah Sa`id al-Lahji al-Shafi`i - rahimahullâh! One of your spies stopped him from teaching and all requests to Ibn Baz to return him to teaching failed. As a result, the students were deprived of the benefit of his valuable lessons. Before him the verifying, erudite scholar, Shaykh Isma`il `Uthman al-Zayn al-Shafi`i - rahimahullâh! - was also stopped and harrassed. Allah is the One Who shall take accounts of you!

Thus was the gate of teaching in the Four Madhahib closed shut after such teaching had lived on uninterruptedly since the earliest ages of Islam - the days of the Tâbi`în and their Successors from the best, praised Islamic centuries and even in the time of your predecessors when they penetrated the Hijaz. Yet you gave full opportunity there to [Abu Bakr] al-Jaza'iri and his ilk, such as his in-law, to repeat and shout at the top of his lungs, right next to al-Mustafa : "The father and mother of the Prophet are in hellfire! The father and mother of the Prophet are in hellfire!"3 Truly we belong to Allah and to Him is our return, there is no change nor power except with Allah, sufficient for us is Allah, and what a wonderful reliance!

All this is in the balance of your deeds and under your responsibility in the presence of our Almighty Lord, without fear nor trembling on your part before Allah Most High Who said: {Lo! those who malign Allah and His messenger, Allah has cursed them in the world and the Hereafter and prepared for them the doom of the disdained} (33:57) and {Those who vex the messenger of Allah, for them there is a painful doom} (9:61).

NOTES

1 These pulpits can be seen represented around the Ka`ba in pre-Wahhabi drawings and pictures of Makka.

2 Adilla Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a aw al-Radd al-Muhkam al-Mani` `ala Munkarat wa Shubuhat Ibn Mani` fi Tahajjumihi `ala al-Sayyid Muhammad `Alawi al-Maliki al-Makki ("The Evidences of the Sunni Community, or, The Unassailably Proficient Rebuttal of the Blameworthy and Doubtful Points of Ibn Mani` in His Assault on al-Maliki"), which he published in 1984 in response to a contemporary's attack on Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Sayyid `Alawi al-Maliki for the latter's having contradicted the tenets of the Wahhabi sect on a number of questions in his book Mafahim Yajib an Tusahhah ("The Necessary Correction of Certain Misconceptions"), published ca. 1983 and now in its 10th printing, perhaps the most important contemporary statement of Ahl al-Sunna on Wahhabi/"Salafi" teachings.
Other rebuttals: `Abd al-Hayy al-`Amrawi & `Abd al-Karim Murad, al-Tahdhir min al-Ightirar bi ma Ja'a fi Kitab al-Hiwar min al-Manakir ("Warning Against Being Fooled by the Reprehensible Contents of the Book [by Ibn Mani`] `A Debate with al-Maliki'");
Shaykh Rashid ibn Ibrahim al-Marikhi of Bahrayn, Raf` al-Astar `an Shubuhat wa Dala-lat Sahib al-Hiwar ("Exposing the Insinuations and Aber-rations of the Author of the `Debate with al-Maliki'");
al-Sayyid `Abd Allah ibn Mahfuz al-Haddad Ba `Alawi al-Hadrami, al-Sunna wa al-Bid`a. Etc.

3 On the parents of the Prophet being saved see the refutation of al-Jaza'iri by `Amrawi and Murad, Wa`iz Ghayr Mutta`iz ("A Heedless Admonisher");
al-Suyuti's fatwas in Majmu` Tis` Rasa'il and al-Hawi li al-Fatawa;
Kabbani, Encyclopedia (2:143-159); and al-Barzanji, Sadad al-Din wa Sidad al-Dayn fi Najat al-Abawayn al-Sharifayn.

GF Haddad ©
[2000-6-29]

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