I recently read your Fatwas regarding the Wahhabis where you have said that they are out of the folds of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah. I am a Hanafi and I follow the Ulama of Deoband. I completely agree that there are differences between us and them and I also agree with the justifications of our Ulama regarding their beliefs and practices. However, I do think that why not we just concentrate on the common points between us and them. I have read the Fatawas of famous Saudi scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Salih al Munajjid regarding issues such as growing of the beard, clothes above ankles, women’s niqab etc. They have the same opinion as us in these issues. Please do bear in mind that these are issues on which many Arab ulema don’t have the correct opinion like those of Egypt. I am sure there must be more issues also on which we agree. This way we will be able to build a better understanding of each other. What do you say about it? Secondly, by your Fatwas you don’t mean that they are not Muslims, do you? I mean they also pray 5 times a day, keep fasts, go for Hajj, pay Zakat etc. Most of their Ulama also have Sunnah attire. Kindly please answer these two questions. JazakAllah Khair
Being classified as part of the Ahlus sunnah wal Jama’ah or not, is not based on jurisprudence (Fiqh), it is on the basis of beliefs (Aqaaid). While in practice, the Wahabis are very similar to us, their completely incorrect beliefs demand that we highlight this to the public. As long as they aren’t actively opposing us or spreading their Bidah Beliefs, we do not oppose them, but rather try to keep a good relationship with them. The Ulama of Deoband as a whole always had good relationships with the Saudi Ulama, however as a result of the number of books being published by the Wahabis against the Ulama of Deoband as well as their increasing efforts in spreading their Bidah beliefs and their public classifying the beliefs of the Asharis and Maaturidis as misguidance and shirk, our Ulama have been forced to reconsider our relationship with them.
They remain in the fold of Islam, but are classified as Ahlul Bidah on account of their beliefs.
and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai