I recently posted an add on a well known Dutch islamic forum (www.ontdekislam.nl) about a lecture in our mosque that was given by a good – masha’Allah – brother (topic: “Imam al-Ghazali on knowledge”) and as soon as I posted it someone reacted to my post with the question: “What is his ‘aqidah“? Subhanallah, what kind of a question is this I thought to myself, although knowing it came from a (pseudo -) “Salafi”? The thought went through my mind of replying to the brother if he happened to be from the [‘aqidah – police or customs] so to speak or the [‘aqidah – inquisition] but I refrained from doing that and I decently answered him the brother is a (Sunni) muslim and that that should suffice. He didn’t respond anymore.
This reminded me of something that is going on in our ummah, on the internet and outside the internet as well, namely the so called or what I’d call [‘aqidah – wars] between mainly Salafis and those who ascribe to one of the 3 Sunni schools / madhahib of ‘aqidah: the Ash’aa-irah, the Maturidiyyah and the Athariyyah / Ahl ul-Hadeeth (which are not the nowadays Salafiyyah). Yes, the Ash’aa-irah and the Maturidiyyah belong to Ahl us-Sunnah wa’l-Jama’ah, this is even confirmed by what one could call Salafi scholars like Yusuf al-Qardawi and Muhammad Hassan ad-Dido.
Several websites can be mentioned in this regard to get a good grip of what exactly is going on, namely:
1.) Marifah and their forum: http://www.marifah.net/forums/ which is mainly Ash’ari and Maturidi, as opposed to:
2.) the Multaqa Ahl al Hadeeth forum: http://www.ahlalhdeeth.com/vbe/index.php which is mainly Salafi.
3.) Next to these two main sites there are 2 more Salafi sites which are really fighting the stances on the Marifah site:
– Asharis.com: http://www.asharis.com/creed/ On this site they speak about “Ash’ari burnout” as opposed to the so called “Salafi burnout” (see this link: http://salafiburnout.wordpress.com/ – which is suspended but one can read about that phenomenon on several websites) and they have – lol – a clinic to treat Ash’ aris who have a burnout. They also call the Marifah site “Knowledge and Realisation through Intellectual Fraud” subhanallah.
– Above the Throne: http://www.abovethethrone.com/arsh/
Both these sites seem to be from the same group of people behind it, stemming from apparently Philadelphia in the United States. There seems to be a heavy battle fought in Philadelphia. This website is representing the opposite view: http://www.nuruzzamaaninstitute.org/Nur_uz-Zamaan_Home_Page.html and they have a whole series on the ‘aqidah of imam al-Ash’ari on YouTube.
Also from another side or angle the Ahbash / Habashis attack the Salafis, see for example: http://www.aicp.org/home-mainmenu-1
What are the issues they are fighting each other over? I came to realize several things after much reading and researching:
1.) the issue of tawassul and tabarruk
2.) the Sifaat of Allah
3.) the division of tawheed in ar-Rububiyyah, al-Uluhiyyah and al-Asmaa wa’s-Sifaat
4.) the status of scholars like Ibn Taymiyyah and Muhammad ibn ‘Abd ul-Wahhaab
5.) saying “Ya Muhammad” or “Ya Rasulullah”
and several other issues.
A lot of these issues have to do with the interpretation of verses of the Qur’an, whether they are muhkam or mutashabbih, this is very important. Nex to this the strength of ahadith in matters of ‘aqidah and also fiqh, the difference between ahad ahadith and mutawatir ahadith and also, close to this the question whether a proof / dalil is qati’ or dhanni. If one understands this one gets a clearer picture of what exactly is going on and who is right. I’m leaving you to judge.
The brother who gave the lecture in our mosque explained the Mukhtasar Minhaj al-Qasidin by Ibn Qudamah and gave some examples with the regards to these issues and adviced us not busy ourselves with theses issues because they don’t bring any benefit. What benefit is there to argue about the meaning of the يد (which has 25 meanings according to Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani) of Allah? He mentioned that once a shaykh in Syria had two visitors, a Salafi scholar and a Ash’ari scholar and they were arguing with each other about the hadith which says that Allah descends to the lowest heaven in the last 3rd of the night to see if He can answer the du’as of the believers who are awake at that time and they couldn’t agree. Then the shaykh asked them who of them actually makes du’a in that part of the night and they both answered they didn’t. He made clear to them they completely missed the importance of that hadith. This is the stance we should take when trying to practice our faith insha’Allah, look at the real meanings instead of arguing with each other over secondary issues. May Allah make us of al-Qasidin.