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Questioner
What your opinion regarding a person who badmouths Shaykh Rabī` and says about him, “he wants to impose his authority on the people in the West so that they follow his desires?”
Shaykh Muḥammad Bāzmūl
Shaykh Rabī` is a man of knowledge, and a man who is extremely protective of the Sunnah and its community and concerned for the youth that they conform to the Salafī methodology. To this effect, he spreads knowledge of the Sunnah, teaching it to the people and warning them against heresy (bida`), and he teaches the youth the Islamic legal position in relation to heretical sects. We do not know Shaykh Rabī` – may Allāh protect him and his brotherhood of scholars – we do not know them to exploit the youth or know them to be – as some people say – “dictators”.
No. Shaykh Rabī` has a high regard for the Sunnah and calls for having a high regard for the Sunnah. He calls for people to conform to the Sunnah and that they embrace it and beware of heresies and their adherents. The fact that Shaykh Rabī` and his brotherhood of scholars warn against those with unorthodox practices, and may in some instances name them and warn the youth against associating with them, giving them ear or reading their books does not mean that the Shaykh controls the youth.
Rather, it means that the Shaykh wants to safeguard the youth from heresy and misguidance and he wants to keep them from falling into violations of the Islamic law that will divert them from the path that every Muslim must strive to adhere to. Allāh says,
“And if anyone opposes the Messenger after the correct guidance is clear to him and follows anything other than the path of the believers, we will leave him to the path he has chosen and cast him into Hell, and what an evil destination!” [Q 4:115]
I say, this verse clearly shows that a Muslim must follow the path of the believers, so the fact that Shaykh Rabī` is anxious for the youth to follow the path of the believers, is anxious for them to follow the Salafī methodology, and warns them against heresy and those who practise it and against misguidance and those who follow it is something that he and his brotherhood of scholars should be praised for, and not blamed for.
This has nothing to do with the idea of enforcing one’s opinions. This is simply a matter of concern for what is best and cooperating with one another to achieve it, and concern for the Sunnah and its proper implementation. May Allāh make us people who guide and are guided and not people who misguide and are misguided.