Shaykh Fowzaan on Frauds Who Pretend to Have Islamic Knowledge

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful…

The great scholar, Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan (may Allaah preserve him), was asked:

What is “ta’aalum”? And what is your advice to the youth who face trials due to people engaged in ta’aalum?

He replied:

Ta’aalum is to feign knowledge. Feigning knowledge. It is when a person claims knowledge, while he is not knowledgeable in reality. He has not taken any knowledge directly from the scholars. Rather, he merely learned some things from books, solely from reading. He lacks sound fundamentals to build upon; he just reads things in books and proceeds according to his own understanding, likely erring more than being correct. This is a person of ta’aalum. He is a danger to himself (firstly) and to everyone (at large), since he plays games with the religion of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.

If a man came out and said to the people, “I’m a physician, I’m a doctor, and I treat (the sick),” while he does not have any medical qualifications, no medical qualifications at all, would he be allowed to treat (the sick)? Would he be allowed to perform surgeries, opening patients up and performing heart operations? He would not be allowed to do that, because it would be harmful. So how can a person of ta’aalum be allowed to play with the religion?! Playing with the religion is more serious than meddling with people’s bodies!

So they must fear Allah and not speak about Allah without knowledge, for Allah has made speaking about Him without knowledge worse than shirk (polytheism)!

قل إنما حرم ربي الفواحش ما ظهر منها وما بطن والإثم والبغي بغير الحق وأن تشركوا بالله ما لم ينزل به سلطانا وأن تقولوا على الله ما لا تعلمون
Say, “My Lord has only forbidden immoralities, what is apparent of them and what is concealed, sin, oppression without right, that you associate partners with Allaah which He has sent down no authority for, and that you say about Allaah what you do not have knowledge of.” (Al A’raaf 7:33)

Such people must fear Allaah and get an education before speaking.

Source: This recorded question and answer (audio), as transcribed here (in Arabic).

Translation: Adil ibn Arif

29 thoughts on “Shaykh Fowzaan on Frauds Who Pretend to Have Islamic Knowledge

  1. Assalam Alaikum, Wow what a amazing response by the shaykh (may Allah preserve him) . Moosa is this question to the shaykh have anything to do with the brother in America that had been causing problems in the ranks of the salafi dawah for the last 15 or so years?

    • Wa ‘alaykas-Salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. I do not really know who you are referring to, but the shaykh generally answers questions based on the wording of the questions. Shaykh Fowzaan stresses the importance of learning knowledge from the people of knowledge (not from books) very highly. People involved in teaching who are not recognized for their knowledge by the scholars they studied under should be looked at very carefully.

  2. Na’am. I was referring to ### #########. That brother Abu Muhammad Al magribe warned us of. I apologize for not clarifying myself.

    • The one you are asking about is as Abu Muhammad said: unfit. It was a mistake in my opinion that he got a platform anywhere in the first place. And Allaah knows best.

  3. Asalaamualaikum warahmatullahiwabarakatuhu.
    Does this question and answer pertain to only religious matters or is it also in regards to individuals who have learned the Arabic language and/or Tajweed and teach others, who aren’t or weren’t able to learn, what they learned in school?

  4. Salaamualaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu

    This comment is in regards to the work and articles you have cited about Yusuf Estes. JazakhAllah khair very insightful and also a point to add to his comments about the Qur’an not being “Kitab” perhaps he should refer to the first ayah of surah zumar : 1.The revelation of this Book (the Qur’an) is from Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.

    And in the same surah :
    23. Allah has sent down the Best Statment, a Book (this Quran ), it’s parts resembling each other (in goodness and truth ) (and) oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they hear it or recite it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the rememberance of Allah. That is the guidance of Allah. He guides therewith whom He wils; and whomever Allah sends astray, for him there is no guide.

    Using Muhsin Khan translation.

    Walhamdulilah the truth is clear for those who look for it.

  5. Asslam o alaikum

    a clarification is required in this regard….
    i am not a student of knowledge…. just a common man
    what about those who have listened to recordings of duroos of the likes of sh bin baz sh albani etc…… or read the books e.g. explanation of nullifiers of islam by sh fawzan and their likes…. can such people do amr bil maruf in their community??

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. Whoever has knowledge of something in Allaah’s Deen, based on Quran & Sunnah upon the understanding of the Companions, then he is required to implement it, which includes inviting others based on it. He orders what is obligatory when able, recommends what is optional when able, discourages what is disliked when able, and forbids what is impermissible when able. And Allaah knows best.

  6. assaulamu alaikum waramatullahi wahbarakatuh Br Richardson how is a individual who is trying to stay away from the fitna of… [comment abridged by admin]

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. May Allaah give you success, and keep you from all fitnah. Dear brother, be diligent in studying the ‘Aqeedah and the Methodology of the Salaf from the scholars of Islaam. Stick to reliable students of knowledge and recognized callers to Islaam in your area, the likes of Abu Muhammad al-Maghribee, Abul-Hasan Maalik, Hasan As-Somali, and those they recommend. They are not only effective teachers, but they are beneficial advisors as well. This is what is apparent, while Allaah is their true Reckoner, and I do not praise anyone claiming it to be binding upon Him. Be diligent and learn from them what will keep you from straying or being affected by fitnah by the Permission of Allaah. May Allaah bless you and increase you in good.

  7. On Aug. 21, 2015 I posted a question regarding my position as ‘ta’aalum’. My query remained on this site for 3 days and asking me to wait for response. Now when today Aug 25, I opened your site neither my question was there nor the response. Whether this attitude falls under the category of ‘munafiqat’ or ‘khianat’.

    • You are a muta’aalim if you pretend to have a level of knowledge you do not possess. This is usually manifest in people who believe they understand Islam, yet they have never studied under scholars, and thus no scholar ever advised them to teach. They have just assumed they are qualified to spread Islamic knowledge. They may believe very passionately that they have a solid understanding, yet they are very dangerous to our Ummah. And Allaah knows best. I cannot speak about you specifically, because I do not know you.

      • What is your advice to the people who takes knowledge only from the books & audios …as they are unable to take knowledge from the scholars..

        In their locality no ulama’s as well as no students of knowledge there. This is their only means to take ilm.

  8. Assalaamualaikum, in context to the ayaah quoted in the end, may I know how is speaking about Allaah without knowledge is a greater sin than Shirk

    • Wa ‘alayk as-salaamu wa rahmatullaah.

      A) A man worships other than Allaah by himself in private, saying nothing, telling no one.

      B) A man tells others that Allaah can be worshipped by calling upon His righteous “saints” (an act of shirk).

      In Scenario A, the man has committed shirk (personally) and his actions are null and void. In Scenario B, the man has led others into shirk and shall be fully accountable for every shirk committed by all of those who heard him speak about Allaah without knowledge. And Allaah knows best.

  9. Assalaamu ‘Alaikum,

    I have read a great amount of books and gained a lot of knowledge and clarification from them. But, does that mean I shouldn’t preach what I read? If I preach what I read, even though it may be that reading is the only knowledge I’ve gained on a specific topic, am I making Ta’leem ta’aalum if I preach what I read? I’m confused.

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Its like this, Yousef: For sure, you believe you have understood what you’ve read. But when you read and rely on your assessment of your own self, that is where the potential for real danger lies. Many people do this, and many people assume so well of themselves, that they have understood and they are ready to teach or invite others, yet they do not understand, nor do they even allow the possibility of their self-assessment to be flawed. How easily they pass their own self-evaluations with flying colors! Our Salaf used to say: The one who learns from books will have many mistakes. They knew about this knowledge and this Deen, and those who know from the later generations testify that their warning was indeed the reality of most people who engage in large amounts of self-study!

      The solution: Attend lessons of a scholar, seeking out opportunities to answer questions and check your level of understanding through them. If Allaah blesses you with a private sitting with a scholar or a grounded student of knowledge, tell him you believe you have understood such-and-such science, and ask him to assess your understanding. And Allaah knows best.

      • Ikhlāṣ is to know our levels of ignorance, and to be honest with ourselves especially in this regard. This is what I have taken from the advice (ref: of our teacher, Abul-Abbās Mūsā Richardson, to those seeking knowledge, that our fear of Allaah is skewed, that our intentions are skewed as beginners, and we must understand this carefully. Allaah Subḥānahu wa Ta’āla says:
        {انما يخشى الله من عباده العلماء}
        “The only people who fear Allaah are the scholars.” سورة فاطر، ٢٨
        So we must exercise due patience and discipline with our own ignorance, and acknowledge that there are carries of this Religion that have preceded us in ēmān and ‘ilm, scholars that Allaah chose for the Muslims, as well as their grounded students. In the West, it is the students of knowledge that are our connection to the scholars and their works, and if we attend their classes of those books, we have the opportunity to have our understanding of certain passages checked by them!

        People have preceded us in ēmān and ‘ilm, we are not the first; people will come after us, we are not the last.

        We ask Allaah to make us sincere in our intentions, in our statements, in our actions and in our entire being, sincerely for Allaah Subḥānahu wa Ta’āla alone.

  10. Assalaamu alaykum,

    I understand about the danger of seeking knowledge from books only but how should the women seek knowledge as we can’t sit with a (male) scholar? I have heard of some female students who have studied under the likes of shaykh al-Uthaymeen but I always wondered how they did that whilst avoiding ikhtilaat.

    Jazaaka Allaahu khayran.

  11. Asalamu alaykum,

    Is every book to be studied under a teacher or are there some we can read ourselves without teachers? For example, the short books by the likes of Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Jawzee (May Allaah have mercy on them). BarakAllaahu feek.

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. A grounded student who has gained his foundations from the people of knowledge enters into research, using the books and principles he has learned about from his scholars. Yet, as he begins to research, he brings his findings back to his scholars to ensure he has understood correctly.

  12. ############ in Miami ,Florida said good Christians and good jews could go to Jannah, I was there. [Message edited by admin]

    • If he means “true Christians”, those who truly follow the message of Jesus, and thus accept Islam when it comes to them, as described in the Quran (5:83-84), then these are “good Christians” and no fear shall overtake them, nor shall they grieve (as in 5:69). However, if they worship others along with Allaah, taking Jesus as an object of worship, and when called to the worship of their Lord alone, they refuse and reject, then they are evil Christians, polytheist pagans, and disbelievers as described in 5:72-81. All of that is from Soorah al-Maa’idah alone, subhaan Allaah. If he means the latter group of Jews or Christians will go to Paradise, polytheists from the people of the Book, then he has rejected towheed, the basic message of all Prophets that only Allaah deserves worship, and he has rejected the Quran (see 5:72 for example), and he has left the fold of Islaam upon clarity, and Allaah’s refuge is sought. And Allaah knows best.

  13. Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu I read many of disputes on western preachers from you and other salafi brothers’ sites. And Alhamdulillah I stopped listening those preachers and learned the danger of what those people are upon. Now I have true happiness through learning about real beneficial knowledge such as tawhid and aqeedah from scholars classes translated by noble salafi brothers. Alhamdulillah Allah allowed me to do hijrah to Saudi recently and sit in the scholars classes too though I am a starter of learning arabic so cant understand fully yet… [message truncated by admin]

  14. Salamalaikum
    Brother Moosa (May Allaah Protect you). People are studying Islam in […] institutions and using the lable Mufti with their names. To be a Mufti needs just this 14 yrs. What is the reality? Please reply in detail. Thank You [Question slightly abridged by admin]

    • Wa ‘alayk as-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. The “muftee” is the one referred to by the scholars of Islam as a muftee, one who is grounded enough to analyze specific situations and apply Allaah’s Rulings to them. Studying for a set number of years does not qualify anyone to be a muftee. Rather, firmly grounded knowledge and a working understanding of Islamic Law is required. This is a favor from Allaah that He bestows upon whomever He chooses. Studying for 14 years is certainly an accomplishment, yet that does not guarantee that Allaah will grant a person knowledge and understanding, rather that is for whomever Allaah wants good for specifically, and not just every person who studies.

      We face a serious calamity today: people with certificates who believe they have attained great levels of understanding, yet they are merely good test takers who memorize information for university tests. They are the last people to accept that they really have not gained a solid working understanding of Islamic Rulings, and thus they push themselves forward into positions that harm them and others. And Allaah knows best.

  15. Salamalikum
    Thanks for clarification. May Allaah increase you in knowledge and wisdom. I happened to listen to your Audio about possibly 28 days fasting, then Idd, then making up 1 day for the missed out Ramadhan Fasting. It was great, Alhamdulillah. I did’nt know that it also happened before, even at the time of Umar (Raziallahu anhu) and other times. I felt satisfaction that People are strictly following Rasuallah ( Sallallahu alyhi wa sallam) uninterruptedly, without bothering about any outcries from science or trouble mongers.

  16. As Salaamu ‘Alaykum

    I ask Allaah to give me a great and sound understanding of the Deen, such that I possess a high level of scholarship. And in the same du’aa, I ask Allaah to make me a devoutly righteous and sincere worshipper. Is this du’aa okay? If so, how can I say it in arabic so I can make this du’aa in my sujood? May Allaah bless you.

    • Wa ‘alayk as-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. This is a permissible supplication, rough translation: اللهم فقهني في الدين واجعلني عبدًا مخلصا لك صالحا

      If you wanted better supplications, wordings from the Quran, try: رب زدني علما

      رب أوزعني أن أشكر نعمتك التي أنعمت علي وعلى والدي وأن أعمل صالحا ترضاه وأدخلني برحمتك في عبادك الصالحين
      27:19 from the du’aa of Sulaymaan

      رب أوزعني أن أشكر نعمتك التي أنعمت علي وعلى والدي وأن أعمل صالحا ترضاه وأصلح لي في ذريتي إني تبت إليك وإني من المسلمين
      46:15 similar

      ربنا هب لنا من أزواجنا وذرياتنا قرة أعين واجعلنا للمتقين إماما

      And Allaah knows best.

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