What is the ruling on opening an Islamic bookstore to sell books, Islamic tapes and Mus-hafs, if I sell tapes by some shaykhs who make mistakes in many of their words and deeds, such as not wearing a beard and telling the masses not to let their beards grow?
What is the ruling on selling such tapes, knowing that they have helped many to become committed Muslims?.
One of the good characteristics of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah is that they know the right path and show compassion towards people, so they love to speak with knowledge and fairness, and they hate wrongdoing and ignorance, because they follow the Book of Allaah whenever He commands them to treat people with fairness and to judge them on the basis of knowledge and truth.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allaah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin”
“…and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice”
“And whenever you give your word (i.e. judge between men or give evidence), say the truth”
The human soul can only reach this level when it works for the sake of Allaah free from any ego or worldly interests, and when it is aware that Allaah can see into the depths of the conscience and what is hidden in the heart. According to the hadeeth: “Those who are fair and just will be on thrones of light.” Narrated by Muslim, 2827.
One of the du’aa’s of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was: “I ask You to (make me speak) the word of truth at times of anger and at times of contentment.” Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 1305; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i.
If you think about the divinely-ordained method by means of which Allaah raised people to the pinnacle of self-control, tolerance and speaking the word of truth even if it goes against one’s self, one’s parents or one’s relatives, you will understand that many of the daa’iyahs who are involved in the field of contemporary Islamic da’wah, who have some good qualities and a great deal of influences among the masses, are doing well in the aspects in which they excel, and in the aspects in which they are falling short they are either striving to reach the right conclusion by means of their own ijtihaad, in which case they will receive either one reward or two, or they are falling short in some aspects but we hope, in sha Allaah, that their good deeds will make up for their bad deeds, especially in the case of those who have influenced the people and led to them becoming righteous. Depriving the people of access to their call, when there is no effective alternative, is a method that is not approved of in Islam, for one of the basic principles of sharee’ah is to reduce evils and promote good among the people.
The good that is achieved by these daa’iyahs, such as guiding the youth, encouraging girls to observe hijab and encouraging people to pray regularly are important matters that are among the greatest aims of sharee’ah.
The shortcomings that you mention, meaning that some daa’iyahs fall short in some aspects, should not be allowed to overshadow the benefits mentioned, especially since they have to do with minor issues and are limited to the individual, whereas the benefits are great and reach many people.
Hence there is no reason why you should not sell tapes by these daa’iyahs, so long as they are following the way of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah. If any of them make a mistake with regard to some matter, the way of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah is to advise them by getting in touch with them or writing to them.
Whoever thinks about the daa’iyahs who deliver khutbahs and lectures or broadcast on TV and radio etc, will notice that they are of different types:
Some of them are following the path of the salaf in their methodology, moderation and action. We should listen to these daa’iyahs and encourage people to listen to them.
Some of them are correct in most of what they say, but they fall somewhat short in the field of action. They should be listened to, because their shortcomings are usually limited only to themselves.
Some of them mix right and wrong but in general they follow the Sunnah and do not adopt any ideas of bid’ah (innovation) and do not promote it, so we should not put people off from listening to them altogether, rather we should correct their mistakes and speak about their errors in a just and fair manner, whilst also praising their good points.
Some of them are people of bid’ah and shirk, which they spread and promote. We should not listen to them and we should warn others against them, and not praise their good points, because that means we are praising them when they have committed major sins which cancel out any good deeds.
The above has to do with the daa’iyahs.
On the other hand, there are people who speak of the daa’iyahs in a just manner, and others who speak of them in an unfair manner.
Among the latter there are some who are unjust and unfair; they accuse some daa’iyahs of bid’ah when in fact they do not follow bid’ah, and warn others against them, when it is more appropriate to warn people against these unfair critics, because they are unfair and wrongdoers. No attention should be paid to their warnings because of their unfairness and wrongdoing.
Hence we must know how to distinguish between sin, bid’ah, error and mistakes with regard to the basic tenets of ‘aqeedah.
We will give some examples:
If there is a daa’iyah who calls people to the path of the salaf, but he is extreme and harsh, then he should be praised for his methodology but he should be given advice with regard to his harshness.
If there is a preacher who quotes da’eef and munkar (weak and unsound) ahaadeeth, but there is also a lot of truth in what he says, then he should be praised for his preaching, but he should be told of the error of his quoting weak and fabricated ahaadeeth and taking them as evidence.
If there is someone who reminds the people and teaches them about proper morals, etiquette and virtues, but he shaves his beard, for example, or sits in mixed gatherings, then he should be praised for his good qualities but should be told of the rulings regarding the matters where he goes against the Sunnah. If he calls for abandoning some of the obligatory or mustahabb Sunnahs, then that view should also be refuted.
If there is someone who teaches the people bid’ah (innovations) and encourages them to associate others with Allaah, such as seeking the help of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), dead “saints” (awliya’) or occupants of graves, or encourages them to pray to them and ask of them, then we should warn others against him and explain the falseness of his belief and shirk. We should tell the people not to listen to anything that he says because it involves dangerous and harmful ideas.
If there is someone who mixes truth and falsehood, Sunnah and bid’ah, we should not encourage the people to listen to him; rather we should point out the error of his ways. When he starts to propagate his wrong ideas, then the should be advised and requested to retract these ideas publicly. If he does not do that, then his mistakes should be announced in the same gathering where he promoted his mistaken ideas.
And Allaah is the Source of strength.