Azizi Khalid

March 26, 2021

Disagreeing Respectfully

"Azizi, what do you think about Sheikh Nasiruddin al-Albani?"

I get this kind of question quite often. What do you think about this sheikh vs this sheikh.

First and foremost, Sheikh Al-Albani is a hadith scholar who has done great works in modern hadith scholarship.

"But, Sheikh Al-Ghummari and Sheikh Al-Buti said this and that about him. Is he a real scholar?"

Yes, those Sheikhs disagreed strongly with Sheikh Al-Albani. But they are scholars. They have the academic credentials to disagree with Al-Albani. I don't have such credentials. Al-Albani is a much greater scholar than I am. What research have I done to criticise Al-Albani?

"So you agree with Al-Albani in hadith, aqidah, fiqh?"

Not criticising Al-Albani doesn't mean that I have to agree with him on everything. I may follow the opinions of Sheikh Al-Buti, but I don't need to hate Al-Albani. I can follow the Ghummari brothers without the need to criticise or worse, hate, Al-Albani.

"But those sheikhs strongly criticised Al-Albani."

And Al-Albani strongly criticised them. Yes, they can do that as they have the qualifications to do so. I don't. I am a layman who barely have enough knowledge for my daily practice. When you reach the level of the Ghummari brothers or Dr al-Buti, then you have earned the right to join the discussions.

It is like a primary school student just learning about science trying to criticise Stephen Hawking about his opinions on a black hole. 

You can discuss these matters in academic circles. But not on public avenues as it brings little benefit to our iman. We need to learn to be respectful when we disagree. The way I look at it is, that not that I disagree with Al-Albani, but I choose to follow the opinion of a great scholar over another great scholar. And some others may choose to follow another scholar over my choice of scholar - and that is fine.

We do not learn Islamic knowledge to win debates. We learn to practice Islam and purify our souls. Focus on that.

Azizi Khalid
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Towards the Middle Path