Dangers of speaking without knowledge

In recent times, with the use of social media being heavily prevalent, allowing ease to spread mass amounts of misinformation as one may desire & texts being easily accessible to those who don’t possess the knowledge required, very imprecise & mindless information can be spread amongst the Muslims. This can lead to & open up many doors to Shubuhāt (doubts), & even worse – may Allāh protect us from this – cause one to leave Islām.

Unfortunately, this is already taking place & is happening rapidly. The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ prophesied this issue transmitted in a Ḥadīth in the Ṣaḥīḥ of Imām Muslim:

Verily, Allāh does not withhold knowledge by snatching it away from His servants, but rather He withholds knowledge by taking the souls of scholars, until no scholar remains and people follow ignorant leaders. They are asked and they issue judgments without knowledge. Thus, they are astray and lead others astray.

Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim #2673

All of this is due to one not speaking without knowledge, & this could be because of three circumstances, they are either:

  1. Lazy in research
  2. Doing so solely out of desire
  3. Unafraid of Allāh.

With that being said, it is a must, especially within these times, to research & analyze what is being presented to you, be aware of if what your posting is reliable, & educate yourself with the harms of being one who shares false & misleading material amongst the Ummah.

The error of being one who willingly relays false information is severely condemned within the religion of Islām, & we’ll be looking into some of those texts to proceed.

Shaykh al-Islām ibn Taymīyyah رحمه الله (d. 728 AH/1328 CE) wrote in his book Iqtidā’ a-Ṣirāṭ al-Mustaqīm: “If his opinion is contrary to the truth, then he is afflicted with complicated ignorance. If he utters other than the truth despite knowing the truth or being ignorant thereof, he is also ignorant.” – 1/225-227

ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyyah رحمه الله (d. 751 AH/1350 CE) said in his book al-Fawāʼid: “After a long period of time passed, most people adopted suspicious ideas, false thoughts, and concepts as if they were the core of knowledge, about which they wrote several books, leaving no stone unturned in such initiatives, to the extent that they wasted a lot of time in accumulating papers and darkening the hearts of man. They went beyond all limits by claiming that no knowledge is found in The Glorious Qurʾān and the Sunnah, assuming that their proofs are literal, while the truth is that they were lacking in knowledge and conviction. Page 170

Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān حفظه الله within his book ʿAqīdah at-Tawḥīd, he speaks extensively on this matter. He starts: “Law making is the prerogative (exclusive right) of Allāh, The Most High. What is intended by Law making is that Allāh sends down for His slaves the methodology upon which they shall base their beliefs, their interactions, and so on. Amongst this, is legislating the lawfulness and unlawfulness of a thing. No one has the right to make lawful except that which Allāh has made lawful, or make unlawful except that which Allāh has made unlawful.

Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān حفظه الله then brings ʾĀyāt of The Qurʾān:

وَلَا تَقُولُواْ لِمَا تَصِفُ أَلۡسِنَتُكُمُ ٱلۡكَذِبَ هَٰذَا حَلَٰلٞ وَهَٰذَا حَرَامٞ لِّتَفۡتَرُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡكَذِبَۚ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَفۡتَرُونَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡكَذِبَ لَا
يُفۡلِحُونَ
And do not say about what your tongues assert of untruth, “This is lawful and this is unlawful”, to invent falsehood about Allāh. Indeed, those who invent falsehood about Allāh will not succeed.
– Sūrah an-Nahl, ʾĀyah 116

قُلۡ أَرَءَيۡتُم مَّآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ لَكُم مِّن رِّزۡقٖ فَجَعَلۡتُم مِّنۡهُ حَرَامٗا وَحَلَٰلٗا قُلۡ ءَآللَّهُ أَذِنَ لَكُمۡۖ أَمۡ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ تَفۡتَرُونَ
Say, “Have you seen what Allāh has sent down to you of provision of which you have made [some] lawful and [some] unlawful?” Say, “Has Allāh permitted you [to do so], or do you invent [something] about Allāh?
– Sūrah Yūnus, ʾĀyah 59

Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān حفظه الله continues: “Allāh has prohibited making something lawful or unlawful, without evidence from The Qurʾān and Sunnah, and He informed that such is tantamount to inventing lies against Allāh. He also informed that, whoever makes anything lawful or unlawful without evidence (from Qurʾān & Sunnah), has set himself up as a partner to Allāh regarding a matter that is His sole prerogative, which is legislation.

Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān حفظه الله then brings the ʾĀyah:

أَمۡ لَهُمۡ شُرَكَٰٓؤُاْ شَرَعُواْ لَهُم مِّنَ ٱلدِّينِ مَا لَمۡ يَأۡذَنۢ بِهِ ٱللَّهُۚ وَلَوۡلَا كَلِمَةُ ٱلۡفَصۡلِ لَقُضِيَ بَيۡنَهُمۡۗ وَإِنَّ ٱلظَّٰلِمِينَ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٞ
Or have they other deities who have ordained for them a religion to which Allāh has not consented? But if not for the decisive word, it would have been concluded between them. And indeed, the wrongdoers will have a painful punishment.
– Sūrah ash-Shūrā, ʾĀyah 21

To add, Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān حفظه الله says that whoever sees & is aware of someone inventing lies about Allāh, but then willingly follows that person, is deemed a polytheist. He says: “So, whoever obeys the one making laws besides Allāh, while being aware and agrees with his action, has associated a partner with Allāh.

Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān حفظه الله then brings the ʾĀyah to support his statement:

وَلَا تَأۡكُلُواْ مِمَّا لَمۡ يُذۡكَرِ ٱسۡمُ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡهِ وَإِنَّهُۥ لَفِسۡقٞۗ وَإِنَّ ٱلشَّيَٰطِينَ لَيُوحُونَ إِلَىٰٓ أَوۡلِيَآئِهِمۡ لِيُجَٰدِلُوكُمۡۖ وَإِنۡ أَطَعۡتُمُوهُمۡ إِنَّكُمۡ
لَمُشۡرِكُونَ
And do not eat of that upon which the name of Allāh has not been mentioned, for indeed, it is grave disobedience. And indeed do the devils inspire their allies [among men] to dispute with you. And if you were to obey them, indeed, you would be associators [of others with Him].
– Sūrah al-Anʿām, ʾĀyah 121

Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān حفظه الله then says: “This means that whosoever obeys those who make dead animals lawful, is a polytheist. Similarly, Allāh, Glorified is He, informed that whosoever obeys the monks and Rabbis in their making lawful that which Allāh has made unlawful, and making unlawful that which Allāh has made lawful, has taken them as lords besides Allāh.

Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān حفظه الله then brings the ʾĀyah to further strengthen his statement:

ٱتَّخَذُوٓاْ أَحۡبَارَهُمۡ وَرُهۡبَٰنَهُمۡ أَرۡبَابٗا مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡمَسِيحَ ٱبۡنَ مَرۡيَمَ وَمَآ أُمِرُوٓاْ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُوٓاْ إِلَٰهٗا وَٰحِدٗاۖ لَّآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَۚ سُبۡحَٰنَهُۥ عَمَّا
يُشۡرِكُونَ
They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allāh, and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God [Allāh]; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him.
– Sūrah at-Tawbah, ʾĀyah 31

Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān حفظه الله concludes: “Several people fall into this as a result of those they blindly follow, by not giving regard to the evidence whenever it conflicts with the (opinion of the) one they follow. This is Shirk.

By the grace of Allāh, it has been made evident the severe dangers of speaking without knowledge & willingly following those who do so. For reasons such as this, it is why it has been mentioned in the introduction of al-Uṣūl ath-Thalāthah that it is obligatory to first possess knowledge whilst acting upon it, and then after, call to it.

I ask Allāh to keep us firm upon The Qurʾān & Sunnah, protect us from spreading falsehood, & falling into Shubuhāt.

May Allāh protect Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān, & May Allāh have abundant mercy upon ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyyah & Shaykh al-Islām ibn Taymīyyah.

All praise is due to Allāh, may His peace & blessings be upon our final Prophet Muḥammad, his family, his companions, & all those who follow him in guidance.

Sources:
Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (صحيح مسلم) by Imām Muslim | Ḥadīth #2673
al-Fawāʼid (الفوائد) by ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyyah | Page 170

Iqtidā’ a-Ṣirāṭ al-Mustaqīm (اقتضاء الصراط المستقيم) by Shaykh al-Islām ibn Taymīyyah | Volume 1, Pages 225-227
ʿAqīdah at-Tawḥīd (عقيدة التوحيد) by Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān
| Pages 83-86

Ṣafīullāh Labīb ibn Salīm ʿAbd al-Malik
19th of Dhū al-Hijjah 1443 – 18th of July 2022

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