Jazakallah ker for your response concerning the Ahl-e-Hadith.
However, there were some concerns that I had with the response. You had stated that for the most part you felt that they were close to the Qur’an and Sunnah in their practices. However, although they may have been utilizing the Qur’an and Sunnah to point out the polytheistic practices of the time, they were hardly using the directives of the Qur’an and the Sunnah to rectify the situation amongst their own Muslim brethren.
In my opinion this deviation from the Qur’an and Sunnah are quite serious considering that God directed Moses to speak in a “gentle” manner with the supreme polytheist Pharaoh. There are various other examples that you yourself have pointed out to me. Although I do not think that they should be shunned, since they are still my brothers, groups like them, the Khawarij and Salafis are detrimental to the promotion of brotherhood in our community.
In the United States especially I have witnessed first hand how their lack of understanding and tolerance has caused division amongst the Muslims. The question then is whether harshly forbidding the polytheistic practices is more important than addressing the evils while maintaining unity.
I do agree with you that harshness and rigidity could be very harmful in promoting unity and tolerance among the different schools of Muslim thought as well as promoting the Islamic thought among non-Muslims. What I mentioned in my earlier response was that the Ahl-e-Hadith, in their beliefs and practices, are generally quite coherent with the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. This did not imply that I fully agree with all their practices and methodologies. Actually, I had pointed out my reservations regarding their techniques and methods of propagation. Although it is a very sad affair, but we must admit, for honesty and justice require us to do so, that the Qur’anic directive of “Call to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious” has generally been ignored by all Muslims, whether ascribing to the Ahl-e-Hadith school or any other school. Yes, we may say that some have ignored this directive to a greater degree, but I really do not think there is much of a difference in them in this case.
My dear brother, I fully agree with you that wrong and undue harshness in attitude could do more harm than benefit to the cause of propagation. But then, people who have adopted these wrong attitudes, as you have very correctly pointed out, are also our addressees in the propagation of true Islamic ideals, and thus they too deserve our full attention, time and sympathies.
May the Almighty help us in understanding His true guidance and living our lives accordingly.
30th December 1998