I needed this on my blog:
The practice of refutation can be very toxic to the Muslim community, and to one’s own self, and unfortunately is used by many unqualified people. We must be very very careful labeling others as innovators, deviants, or speaking against others messages. It seems this has become widespread, and left untamed has the ability to destroy communities, families and the hearts of those propagating it.
Allah says in the Quran [49:11] “O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.”
If someone finds a fault in another, they should treat it first as if they did not understand them properly. Speak to them with respect, and assume we have misunderstood, or misheard them. Find out what they actually mean. Have sabr with them and verify it is true if it is told from one person to another.
Allah says in the Quran [49:6] “O ye who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done.”
Do not immediately jump to ridicule, scoff, or laugh at them as Allah warns.
If it is a matter of differences of opinions, then so long as they have done proper ijtihad, with evidences to support their position, then insha’allah, they will be rewarded with 2 rewards if they are correct by Allah’s standards, and 1 if they are wrong.
Rasulullah (SAWS) said “Whoever performs ijtihad and errs will receive one reward. Whoever performs ijtihad and arrives at the correct answer gets double the reward.”
If what they actually mean is not in accordance with Quran and Sunnah, then give Naseeha with a good intention.
Tameem ad-Dari(RA) said: “The Prophet(SAW) said, (three times), “The Religion is naseeha (sincerity and sincere advice).” We said, “To whom?” He said, “To Allaah, His Book, His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and the general people.” [Saheeh Muslim No.55]
If it is a matter of bidah, or a matter of false information, it should be corrected in the correct manner. Not with anger, or hostility, or boastfulness, it should be private and with kindness, and with the true intention of helping your brother.
Rasulullah (SAWS) said “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”[Reported by Al-Bukhari]. Especially if the person is an elder we need to be even softer with the naseeha. After this, if they persist in speaking against Quran and Sunnah, then we should leave them, and continue to making dua for their guidance. Without the good intention within our hearts, what are we really doing it for? This is a question we need to answer for ourselves.
To call another person a Kafir, innovator, and call others to stay away from them is a very serious allegation and should not be taken lightly. If we don’t have enough knowledge to make this judgement call, then we need to keep ourselves away from this practice of refutation.
Rasulullah (SAWS) said “Whenever a man accuses another of being a kafir or wrong-doer, this accusation will rebound on him if the one accused is not in reality a kafir or wrong-doer.” (Bukhari)
Rasulullah (SAWS) said “The man who calls another kafir or enemy of God, and the latter was not such, this charge will indeed turn back upon the accused.” (Muslim)
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves. The titles and names to which mathhab, or minhaj you ascribe to. We should be asking ourselves, are we adhering to Quran and Sunnah, or not?
Anything I have said that is wrong is from myself, and I pray Allah forgives me. Anything I’ve said that is good is from Allah. Alhamdulillah.
May Allah guide us all insha’allah to the truth. Ameen.