Ruling on studying and lecturing in the Masaajid of the innovators

بســـم اللــه الرحــمــن الـرحـــيــم

▪️Ruling on studying and lecturing in the Masaajid of the innovators▪️

Our Shaykh, Muhammad Ibn Hizaam – may Allaah preserve him – was asked the following question

? Question:

What is the ruling on studying with innovators as well as establishing lessons and lectures in their Masaajid?


The Prophet ﷺ said:

((مثل الجليس الصالح وجليس السوء، كحامل المسك، ونافخ الكير، فحامل المسك، إما أن يحذيك، وإما أن تبتاع منه، وإما أن تجد منه ريحًا طيبة، ونافخ الكير، إما أن يحرق ثيابك ، وإما أن تجد منه ريحًا منتنة‏))

“The example of a good and bad companion is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith; as for the musk seller, he will either gift you some or you will buy some off him, or atleast you will find a good smell from him, on the other hand, the blacksmith may either burn your clothes or you will find a nasty smell from him.”

Therefore, one must not study with the innovators and bigoted partisans (Hizbees), because they are bad company.

A Muslim must preserve his religion and safeguard his ‘Aqeedah (creed). He must stay far from accompanying the innovators. The Prophet ﷺ said:

((فإن كل محدثة بدعة وكل بدعة ضلالة وكل ضلالة في النار))

“Every newly introduced affair is an innovation, and every innovation is a misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.”

This is a severe warning from innovation, since innovations lead to misguidance, and misguidance leads to the Hellfire, and we seek refuge with Allaah.

Likewise, Allaah -subhanahu wa ta’aala- said:

وَإِذَا رَأَيْتَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَخُوضُونَ فِىٓ ءَايَٰتِنَا فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَخُوضُوا۟ فِى حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِۦ ۚ وَإِمَّا يُنسِيَنَّكَ ٱلشَّيْطَٰنُ فَلَا تَقْعُدْ بَعْدَ ٱلذِّكْرَىٰ مَعَ ٱلْقَوْمِ ٱلظَّٰلِمِينَ

“And when you come across those who ridicule Our revelations, do not sit with them unless they engage in a different topic. Should Satan make you forget, then once you remember, do not ˹continue to˺ sit with the wrongdoing people.” [Al-An’aam:68]

The Prophet ﷺ has also said:

((المرء على دين خليل فلينظر أحدكم من يخالل))

“A man is on the same religion as his friend, so look to whom you take as a friend.”

Moreover, some of the Sunni scholars, including Qurtubi, Baghawi and Shawkaani, have all relayed a consensus concerning the prohibition of accompanying the innovators, as well as remaining distant from them and refraining from speaking and sitting with them.

It has been authentically narrated from ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Abbaas -may Allaah be pleased with him- that he said:

(لا تجالس أهل الأهواء فإن مجالستهم ممرضة)

“Do not sit with the people of desires, because sitting with them will leave one sick.” [Reported by Daarimi with an authentic chain of narration]

Similarly, Abu Qilaabah -may Allaah have mercy on him- said:

(لا تجالسوا أهل الأهواء ولا تجادلوهم فإني لا آمن عليكم أن يغمسوكم في ضلالتهم أو يلبسوا عليكم بعض ما كنتم تعلمون)

“Do not accompany the people of desires and do not debate with them, for I fear they will submerse you in their misguidance or cause you to doubt in that which you had sure knowledge of.”

And the Aathar (reports) of the Salaf in this regard are plentiful.

What’s more, Allaah -subhaanahu wa ta’aala- said:

وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ ٱلظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَٰلَيْتَنِى ٱتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ ٱلرَّسُولِ سَبِيلًۭا (٢٧) يَٰوَيْلَتَىٰ لَيْتَنِى لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًۭا (٢٨) لَّقَدْ أَضَلَّنِى عَنِ ٱلذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَآءَنِى ۗ وَكَانَ ٱلشَّيْطَٰنُ لِلْإِنسَٰنِ خَذُولًا (٢٩) [الفرقان٢٧:٢٩]

27. “On that Day the evildoer will bite his own hand and say, ‘If only I had taken the same path as the Messenger.’

28. “Woe to me! I wish I had never taken so-and-so as a friend.”

29. “He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (this Quran) after it had come to me. And Shaitan (Satan) is ever a deserter to man in the hour of need.”

[Al-Furqaan: 27-29]

He will feel regret at a time when regret will not benefit him.

Hence, it is incumbent upon a Muslim to distance himself from accompanying the innovators as well as reading their books, visiting them and sitting with them. He must be careful not to visit their Masaajid, because increasing the ranks of the innovators is not from the methodology of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah, nor is sitting with them and visiting their Masaajid to deliver lectures alongside them. This is not from the methodology of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah!

It is not permissible to encourage evil upon the Muslims and visiting and lecturing with the innovators is something which brings about much harm; for the person himself, the innovators, as well as the rest of the people.

If a Sunni were to visit the innovators and the people witness this, they would assume he is one of them, as the Prophet ﷺ said:

((المرء على دين خليل فلينظر أحدكم من يخالل))

“A man is on the religion of his friend, so let one of you look to whom he takes as a friend.”

Thus him sitting and lecturing with them in their Masaajid will only tarnish his reputation.

Al-Awzaa’ee -may Allaah have mercy on him- said:

(من خفيت علينا بدعته لم تخف علينا ألفته)

“Whoever’s innovation is hidden from us, then his friendship is not hidden from us.”

Likewise Muhammed bin ‘Ubaydullaah Al-Ghulaabi states, as it comes in ‘Al-Ibaanah’:

(يتكاتم أهل الأهواء في كل شيء إلا الألفة)

“The people of desires keep everything hidden, except their friendship.”

Meaning, they cannot hide their friendship; their condition is manifested in their choice of friends.

It is therefore not permissible to lecture in the Masaajid of the hizbiyoon (the bigoted partisans) and the innovators:

Firstly because: he is harming himself through this, because this shows that he is with them and for them. In fact, a number of the Salaf have stated that, whoever accompanies the innovators is considered one of them.

So this is the methodology of the Salaf; that a person’s condition is recognised through his choice of friends .

A few days ago we read some lines of poetry by ‘Ali bin Abi Taalib -may Allaah be pleased with him- concerning friends, in the book ‘ Rawdahtul ‘Uqalaa’ by Ibn Hibaan. He -may Allaah be pleased with him- said:

فلا تصحب أخا الجهل * وإياك وإياهُ

Do not accompany a ignoramus, beware, and let him also beware.

فكم من جاهلٍ أردی * حليماً حين آخاهُ

For how many times has an ignoramus caused an upright man to become misguided after befriending him

يُقَاسُ المَرۡءُ بالمَرۡءِ * إذا ما هُوَ ماشاهُ

A man is judged according to the company he keeps

يقاسُ من الشيء * مقاييس وأشباهُ

Similarities are drawn between matters which bear resemblance

وقياس النعل بالنعلِ * إذا ما هو حاذاه

[Like] the resemblance of a pair of shoe, sitting side by side

وللقلب علی القلب * دَلِيلٌ حينَ يَلۡقَاهُ

In the same way, the attachment one heart has to another is made clear when the two hearts meet

These lines of poetry can also be found in the book ‘Aadaab Ash-Shar’iyyah’ of Ibn Muflih, as well as ‘Al-Bidaayah wan Nihaayah’ of Ibn Katheer.

Visiting the Masaajid of the Hizbees contains great harms, and lecturing with them likewise contains harms. Firstly, these harms have an effect on the one who actually visits them, as you have heard; in terms of them welcoming him; this will effect him and may perhaps be a reason for him to have love for them and consequently become like them in their beliefs and misguidance, especially the grander the hospitality and the more honour that is displayed.

The innovators will also be very pleased with this. They become overly pleased whenever a Sunni visits them. They firstly try to get him to visit, then they seek to draw him into their ranks and into their misguidance. They have a keen interest in targeting the knowledgeable ones. This is something that pleases them greatly, we ask Allaah for safety.

So the harms of visiting and lecturing in the Masaajid of the innovators effects both the one visiting and the host, as well as the common folks.

The evil effects of this upon the one who visits them has already preceded.

As for the innovator, then it will only increase him in evil and he will be further distanced from the truth; he will say “so and so from the students of knowledge visited me, or so and so from the scholars visited me”. What’s worse is if the one visiting is a person of knowledge. If he is lax in this regard and visits the innovators, the harms are great.

This visit is harmful for the host in that it will increase him in wrongdoing and adherence to his innovation. It will make him more obstinate. He will hold onto his misguidance in a more stubborn and arrogant manner and it will empower him to spread it between the people.

Hence you would only be helping him upon his misguidance if you were to visit and give lectures with him in his masjid. You would only be reinforcing him and encouraging him to hold firmly to the misguidance and innovation that he is upon.

Furthermore, it is also harmful for the common folks and the attendees, because they will think highly of the host when they witness a distinguished Sunni personality visiting him. This will put people to trial as they would assume the host is also a Sunni, and that his masjid is in accordance with the Sunnah. As a result, people will begin frequenting this masjid, seeking knowledge and attending the Friday Khutbah therein, heeding the so called advices and directions given by him. So all of these evils are caused by you merely visiting them, which is why it’s so important to be cautious about this.

This will put people to trial because they may end up having love for this innovator, who you’ve visited and lectured with, and who welcomed you with such hospitality. This is why you find that some of the salaf said:

(من وقر صاحب بدعة فقد أعانه على هدم الإسلام)

‘Whoever venerates an innovator has aided him in destroying Islaam.’

The people will love this man that you visited. They will think highly of him and take from him his innovation, and more than likely, he will utilise this visit by announcing among the people that ‘so and so (has visited us)’, someone who is well recognised and loved. Consequently, this becomes a trial for many of the righteous. So there are numerous harms. Allah -the Most High- said:

{وَتَذُوقُوا۟ ٱلسُّوٓءَ بِمَا صَدَدتُّمْ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ۖ وَلَكُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ}

“Then you will taste the evil ˹consequences˺ of hindering ˹others˺ from the Way of Allah, and you will suffer a tremendous punishment.” [An-Nahl : 94]

With that being said, a Muslim must not be careless, a Sunni must not be careless as to visiting the innovators and attending and participating in their classes and conferences hosted in their Masaajid. Beware, beware of this!!!

However, it’s crucial to note -as there are some who do not perceive things clearly- that, there are cases where the Imaam of a masjid may be a layman who is unable to determine the correct stance in matters of differences, he is unable to recognise who is an innovator and who isn’t, nonetheless he is known for his love of Ahlus-Sunnah and he invites them over to come and visit him in his Masjid. In this case, it’s not appropriate to label this masjid as being a masjid of innovation, nor is it befitting to deprive the common folks from benefitting from the visits of Ahlus-Sunnah and from the call of Ahlus-Sunnah. Rather, before this (i.e. Before labelling a Masjid as being a masjid of innovation), the masjid has to be known to be associated with innovators, it has to be one which promotes innovators and one run by them.


Translated by:

Abu ‘Abdirrahman ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmad Ash-Shingaani

Click the link to subscribe:

Original Fatwa: