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    'Ulama Speak Regarding Pledges With 'Asha'rees, Maturidis and Sufis etc

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    Re: 'Ulama Speak Regarding Pledges With 'Asha'rees, Maturidis and Sufis etc

    Shaykh al-Albaanee on Uniting with the Ash'arees, Soofees and Maatureedees


    The noble muhaddith, Imaam Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaanee rahimahullaah clarifies the futility of those who want to unite the people of the Sunnah along with Soofees, Ash'arees and Maatureedees, with the argument that if we overlook our major differences, we will then be able to face the enemies of Islaam and the Muslims. As the Shaykh explains, such people want us to abolish the Sharee'ah of Allaah for the sake of this superficial and ill-conceived unity.

    http://sunnahpublishing.net/audio/unityasharee.wma

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    Re: 'Ulama Speak Regarding Pledges With 'Asha'rees, Maturidis and Sufis etc

    "Pledge of Mutual Respect and Co-operation" - the Scholars Clarify




    All praise is due to Allaah and may the Salaat and Salaam be upon the final Messenger of Allaah, his family and his companions.
    To proceed:
    Concerning the propagation of the recent "Pledge of Mutual Respect and Co-operation" that was signed by a number of callers of diverse theological backgrounds and students from the West, we thought it befitting that it be presented to some of the Scholars so that they may clarify the legislated stance towards such a pledge, and that the view point of the people of knowledge could be shared with the Muslim minorities in the West. We also present the translated copy of the pledge for those who would like to ascertain what is being presented to the people of knowledge and that no additions or subtractions were made that may affect their responses. Any issues that may arise concerning the accuracy of the translation can be sent to:
    ...and we will make the necessary changes, inshaa.-Allaah, if such changes affect the meanings of what is being presented.
    The first Scholar approached concerning the pledge was Shaykh `Alee Naasir Faqeehee (a lecturer at al-Masjid an-Nabawee and the Islaamic University of Madeenah, and Head of the Department of Knowledge Related Affairs at the King Fahd Qur.aan Printing Complex) on the 22nd of Ramadhaan 1428. We will continue to share the views of the people of knowledge concerning this pledge as we present it to them, and add their comments to this document with the permission of Allaah the Exalted.
    The Shaykh, may Allaah preserve him, mentioned a number of points which are worthy of reflecting upon - for all:
    After reading it, the Shaykh began by stating that: "This is not the first, second, tenth or even hundredth time that an attempt such as this has been made. For a long time efforts have been made in order to produce such a formula, the only thing that differs is the method and the wordings. It should be known that achieving the objectives of such a pledge is impossible; it is like shooting a stray bullet that will never reach its target. How can (a pledge such as) this be possible, bringing together people of different theological[1] backgrounds that are contradictory to each other?!"
    The Shaykh described the basis for such a pledge as proceeding from the principle of "let us co-operate amongst ourselves in the issues that we agree upon, and excuse one another in the issues that we disagree upon".
    In support of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, the Shaykh iterated: "Just because some of the co-signers (of "The Pledge") are graduates from the Islaamic University (of Madeenah) does not mean that the methodology of the University is at fault. Rather, the methodology of the University is correct, however, the University cannot guarantee that all the students who graduate from it are or will remain upon the same methodology".
    In reference to the claim that "The Pledge" is specific to issues pertaining to the West, the Shaykh vehemently rejected this by saying: "Their claim that this is a Western issue and that Major Scholars elsewhere do not need to be involved: We say to them that the same Islaam you have over there in the West is the same Islaam we have here. What is false and contradictory to Islaam over here is also false and contradictory to Islaam over there. Islaam is suitable for all times and places".
    The Shaykh advised that the pledge be taken to other scholars so that the legislated stance towards the falsehood that it consists of can be further elaborated on. Until that time, we would like to share the comments of Shaykh Ibn `Uthaymeen concerning the error of those who include other groups such as the Ashaai`rah and Maturidiyyah in the circle of Ahlus Sunnah, as occurs in the Shaykh`s Majmoo` al-Fataawa:
    "Therefore they are united upon the Sunnah, they are Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa`ah. It is understood from the author`s[2] words that those who disagree with them in their methodology are not included with them. So the Ashaa`irah and Maturidiyyah for example are not considered to be from Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa`ah because they are in opposition to what the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, and his companions were upon in terms of understanding and implementing the Attributes of Allaah the Elevated with their apparent meanings.
    Therefore, those who claim that Ahlus Sunnah are comprised of three groups; Salafiyoon, Ashaa`irah and Maturidiyyah, are erroneous. We say; how can all of them be from Ahlus Sunnah while they contradict each other? Is there anything after the truth except falsehood?! How could all of them be Ahlus Sunnah while each one refutes the other? This is impossible, it could only be possible if two opposites can be combined, if so then yes this would be possible.
    There is no doubt that only one of these groups alone are the Sunnis, so which one is it; the Ashaa`irah, Maturidiyyah or Salafiyyah? We say that whoever is in accord with the Sunnah is the Sunni (adherer to the Sunnah) and whoever is in opposition to the Sunnah is not a Sunni. We say that the Salaf, they are the ones who adhered to the Sunnah and they are the Jamaa`ah, and this label cannot be attributed to other than them. Never!
    Words are according to their meanings, so let`s look and see, how could we label those who oppose the Sunnah `Ahlus Sunnah` [or Sunnis for short]?! It is impossible, and how can we claim that three groups that differ with each other are united? Where is the unity?!
    Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa`ah are those who follow the Salaf in their `Aqeedah, including individuals from the latter [generations] until the Day of Resurrection. If an individual is upon the way of the Prophet,صلى الله عليه وسلم, and his companions, then indeed he is a Salafee."
    Madeenah.Com Administration,
    - revised and approved by:
    Abu Abdul Waahid Nadir Ahmad
    Abu Abdullaah Mohammed Akhtar Chaudhry
    Zulfiker Ibrahim al-Memoni al-Athari

    Footnotes:
    [1] The term used by the Shaykh was "Aqeedah" which is translated into creed, but being that the term "theology" was used for creed in the pledge, it was retained for consistency.
    [2] Shaykhul-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him.
    [3] As an added benefit, Ibn `Uthaymeen states in his explanation of al-`Aqeedah as-Safariniyyah:
    “Who are Ahlul Athar? They are the people who adhered to the narrations, they adhered to the Book and the Sunnah and the statements of the Sahaabah, may Allaah be pleased with them. This label cannot be applied upon any group or sect except the Salafees, those who adhere to the methodology of the Salaf.”


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    Re: 'Ulama Speak Regarding Pledges With 'Asha'rees, Maturidis and Sufis etc



    While I respect the views of ulaama of Madeenah University, I feel that the original pledge, which has been posted on the Muslim Matters blog, should be posted here... If the mods feel otherwise, then khair. The pledge is at the bottom of this

    In the Name of Allah, the Ever-Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
    All Praise is due to Allah, and may the salutations of Allah be upon the Beloved Messenger.

    Alhamdulillah, a very blessed and important step was recently taken by a number of du`aat and students of knowledge in the Western world. This was done in order to achieve a more cooperative spirit and foster a greater degree of harmony amongst Sunni Muslims. A mention of this momentous event was made in another MM post here.

    The attached ‘Pledge of Mutual Respect and Cooperation’, signed by people of diverse theological backgrounds, all of whom have historically used the label of Ahl al-Sunnah (or ‘Sunni’ for short), is intended to be a guideline for mutual interaction (a modus vivendi of sorts), primarily for themselves, and also for those who might look to them for guidance.

    Primarily, it states that:

    - The fundamental issues of creed, as embodied in the famous Hadeeth of Jibreel, are simple, and it is not a requirement of Islam that every single Muslim be cognizant of the more abstruse issues of theology.

    - The situation and times we live in warrants an even more concerted effort to achieve unity amongst Muslims, and avoid splintering to the greatest extent possible.

    - Disputations of more complex issues of theology need to be conducted by people who are trained in these sciences, and not by lay-Muslims. Additionally, even when such discussions take place, they should be done in accordance with proper Islamic etiquette.

    - No charges of takfeer should be labeled against other Sunni groups or scholars, and neither should the motives or character of those who profess alternate theologies within Sunni Islam be impugned due to their allegiance to that theology.

    - Individual Muslims should, to the greatest extent possible, respect the local scholars of the community, and not engage in rash actions that might polarize the community or lead to further strife. There are proper ways of handling differences of opinion – even theological ones.

    - Lay-Muslims, especially the youth (i.e., college level) should avoid getting passionately involved in intra-Sunni polemics, whether on campus or online, as this inevitably leads to the splintering of an already fragile local community.

    - At an individual level, all Muslims should strive to come closer to Allah through increased acts of worship, and at a community level they should come together in order to counter any and all negative and false images of Islam.

    The last paragraph is also an important disclaimer. All of the parties that have signed on to this document identify themselves as being from the tradition of Sunni Islam. And it is an undeniable historical reality that this label has been used by a number of diverse, and at times contradictory, theological groups, for the last thousand years of Islam. I personally have no qualms considering these groups within the broad fold of Sunni Islam. What combines these various strands (for example, the veneration of all of the Companions of the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and a sincere attempt to understand and implement the Prophetic Sunnah as preserved in the Sunni canonical traditions such as the Saheehs al-Bukhari and Muslim, amongst other issues) is much greater than what disunites them, especially vis-à-vis other groups. That being said, there are indeed, as the document states, some serious and legitimate differences within these various strands. And it is my personal conviction that the purest theology is that of the first three generations of Islam; it is these generations that we should seek to emulate. The pious predecessors of these generations freed themselves from the dialectic theology known as the science of kalaam, and from the theological positions that were derived from this science. And this is something that I too hold to, and consider Sunni Islam at that pure and blessed stage to have been nothing other than the beliefs of these pious predecessors. It is important to stress, however, that the purpose of this pledge is not to vindicate or justify one ideology over another. These differences have existed within Sunni Islam (in the broad sense of the term) for the last twelve centuries, and the fact of the matter is that, barring some sort of Divine Intervention, it does not appear that these difference will leave us any time soon. Therefore there needs to be a more pragmatic and realistic attempt at cooperation, one that retains our traditionalisms and respects our historical traditions, yet at the same time takes into account the context of our current political and social situation.

    No doubt there will be those who will find fault with this agreement. Some might read in phrases or ideas that are not present. Others will not be satisfied with the wording of the document, viewing it as either too liberal and encompassing, or too narrow and strict. But it is not meant to satisfy everyone, for that is not its purpose (and nor is it a feasible goal!). Rather, the document is nothing more than an expression of a shared conviction that all the signatories feel very strongly about. Those who disagree have the right to do so – it is not being forced on anyone. But it is hoped from those who look up to some of the signatories and take knowledge from them, that they might take an example from this collective stance and be more proactive with other groups and organizations. Having said that, there will always be extremisms on all sides, especially amongst over-zealous, under-experienced youth. What is desired, though, is that such extremism not find a voice amongst authentic and respected scholarship.

    On a personal note, I am very happy that Allah blessed me to be a part of this process from its very inception. Although I am very passionate about the specific theological doctrines that I hold to be correct (and all those whom I’ve had the privilege to teach can attest to that), I believe that there is a time, a place, an audience and a methodology for dealing with such issues. And I also believe that such issues need to be put into perspective, taking into account our local, national, and international situation. Even if I disagree with some specific theological doctrines of other signatories, I am proud to call all of them my brothers in faith; I am always honored to be in their company; I am eager to further my relationship with them; I sense a genuine spiritof Islamic brotherhood whilst amongst them; I wish the best for them and their da`wah; I am desirous to benefit from their wisdom and knowledge; and I consider myself the least amongst them in piety and taqwa.

    In this blessed month of Ramadhan, I pray that this pledge helps in bringing about a renewed sense of optimism, and fosters greater unity, amongst us all. No doubt other steps need to be taken, but insha Allah this is a blessed and necessary first step.

    Yasir Qadhi

    Download document - Pledge of Mutual Respect and Cooperation (pdf)
    'Ulama Speak Regarding Pledges With 'Asha'rees, Maturidis and Sufis etc

    "...You are my Walî in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die as a Muslim, and join me with the righteous." [Surah Yusuf 101]

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    Re: 'Ulama Speak Regarding Pledges With 'Asha'rees, Maturidis and Sufis etc



    In addition to the above... Sheikh Yasir Qadhi had this final thing to say, for those who cannot be bothered to read through all the comments on the blog. It's long, but worth it.

    Basically it appears that words are being distorted and intentions read in; unfortunately what this means is that the worse possible meanings are being derived, and then extrapolated to the most evil scenario, when such intentions simply do not exist, on EITHER side. I must confess that while it is saddening to see such an attitude, I accept that this is a fact of life, and there will always be people who do this, and insha Allah those who are doing it on this page are sincere (even if, in my judgment, their overzealousness is misplaced).

    - What is ironic is that while some of our brothers are so concerned that this pledge will somehow infringe on ‘our’ rights to preach the truth, this issue (of preaching the truth and expressing one’s own theological opinion and refuting other opinions) was EXPLICITLY brought up by me in the meeting that took place in Wales, where most of the signatories were physically present. I stated that of course what this pledge means is that such discussions and refutations will be done in a proper manner by all of us, and not that it will close the door for debate and teaching our respective theologies. And the main signatory from another camp - whose name has been mentioned on this page already - completely agreed and said, “Of course. It is understood that you might prefer to teach from Kitab al-Tawheed [a Salafi creed] and tell others to take from it, and wouldn’t be telling them to go to Sharh Jawharat al-Tawheed [an Asharite creed], whereas I would do the opposite.” Therefore this fear is completely unfounded – it was expressly dismissed by us in our meeting. - Also, the pledge does not state that average Muslims should stop talking about theology; it states that ‘unproductive and divisive discussions’ should be avoided. Surely if an average Muslim sees something that he thinks is wrong, he should at least verbally try to give advice. What I don’t want to see is that differences between Salafis and Asharis lead to actual physical divisions (or worse) in, say, campus MSAs ,or that such debate causes disunity amongst us vis-à-vis others. There are numerous cases of such occurrences all over North America, where the level of animosity and hatred reached ridiculous bounds. This fact was one of the motivational factors that caused us to come together. Many of our youth go to extremes in these matters, even though each side is just as muqallid to their ‘shuyookh’ as the other side is!

    - With regards to my not verbalizing that the Asharis are not within the specific fold of Sunni Islam but rather within the general fold, this has absolutely nothing to do with the pledge. If you had asked me the same question on the internet two weeks ago, or two months ago, I would have felt just as much consternation. The reason is that I just don’t believe it’s wise to talk about these differences blatantly on such a public forum in such a harsh tone. Rather, if you were to attend an intensive halaqa, or an Al-Maghrib or Al-Kauthar class (both of which are public) the situation is different, and we can build up to that level, with proper proofs and in an academic environment, conforming to the proper etiquette. But to come barging in on a website, ‘guns-a-blazing’ (Texan style!), is, in my opinion, counterproductive. In any case, this is my opinion, based on my personal experience, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the document, contrary to what was assumed above.

    - Although this point has been mentioned by me and many others in the comments above, once again I reiterate: this document does not in the slightest hint that all of our differences are trivial, or that ‘they’ or ‘us’ are guided or misguided. Those who are reading this in are using their imaginations. The document does not at all state that we are all one and the same. Rather, what it states is that such disagreement needs to be kept in perspective, and dealt with wisely.

    - Light upon Light will continue to be taught, as it is, untouched and unchanged. Some cities will get both weekends, others only the first half. Those cities that get the one weekend course will, insha Allah, get its part two some time later down the line. Its just a question of logistics, nothing to do with this pledge. (One more example of how some facts have been twisted and presented in a negative light).

    - The question of why other groups haven’t been added is a relevant one. However, I think it is simply unfair to equate Asharis with Shi’ahs and Qadianis . There is a much closer bond, theologically and historically, between the Ahl al-Hadeeth and the Asharis – their scholars are (for the most part) our scholars, and (again for the most part) vice versa. We pray behind each other; in the ‘real’ world we build masjids and Islamic schools together; we interact on a very personal level with each other. Again in the ‘real’ world, Muslims who ascribe themselves to Sunnism study under both types of scholars, many times not even realizing which specific school their teacher belongs to - by this I mean the awaam of Sunnis do not and cannot differentiate between the two. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that the average Muslim in N. America would not even be aware that there are theological differences between these two groups and the institutions that represent them. The same cannot be said of other groups – even the most ignorant Muslim is aware if the Masjid he prays in is Sunni or Shia. Of course cooperation is done with ALL people in good and taqwa, but those groups that are closest to us deserve more of our walaa than other groups.

    - As for the claim that this document creates disunity, I think this charge is simply unfair and totally baseless. For some reason, people are assuming that ‘we’ somehow represent Salafiyyah (I have even come across comments such as ‘What gives him the right to represent my view point?’). This is something that I have never claimed, nor could ever have the right to do so, and in fact no alim, regardless of how great he is, can have that right. Once again I state: this is a non-binding agreement upon others! If you are inspired by it, alhamdulillah, and if not, Alhamdulillah. In my eyes you are no less of a Muslim if you strongly feel that this pledge is a mistake. I won’t treat you any differently, and nor will those who signed it (and yes, in this point, I can speak on their behalf as I know all of them personally). If you wish to treat me or other signatories differently, that is your decision. But I am not going to label and divide people into camps of those who agree versus those who don’t, nor will I go around asking others which camp they wish to be in! I never expected all ‘Salafis’ or ‘Sufis’ to agree to this; it’s a personal matter between the signatories and whoever *chooses* to respect their agreement. Hence from my perspective the agreement itself, and those who signed it, would not be creating any new groups.

    - I agree that it is not the most important thing to see who signed or who didn’t. Rather, the most important thing is to look at the content and not the individuals signing. However, that doesn’t mean that the individuals signing should be ignored. An opinion from a respected da’ee obviously holds more weight than an unknown one. (This is on a theoretical level – I know there are respected du’aat who have signed the pledge and there are also those who would be opposed to it). And Alhamdulillah quite a number of significant du’at have signed on (not just me). This in no way diminishes the status of those who disagree, all I’m saying is that this fact should not be completely overlooked either. And it also means that some level of husn al-dhann should be exercised, if not for me, then at least for them, for there are those on that list whom I consider more knowledgeable than me.
    - With regards to the statement that the ‘Salafis’ are the ones who lose by this pledge and the ‘Asharis’ gain, that is an opinion. But, firstly, this is not an all-out ‘Salafi’ vs. ‘Ashari’ pact, and secondly, I don’t see this as a loss or victory for any one group over another, but rather as a blessing for all Muslims in N. America. Also one needs to realize that this pledge was primarily targeted towards the rash and impetuous youth from both camps (as the wording quite clearly indicates), intending that they stop causing fitnah in their unwise ways and concentrate on more beneficial matters. I do believe that many of the people commenting from other countries do not appreciate how the situation had deteriorated in some segments of Muslims regarding these issues.

    - On a personal note, I would like to state that I am sympathetic to many of the concerns expressed, especially those expressed by Sh. Haitham Hamdan, which were also expressed in a polite and respectful manner, jazahu Allah khayr. I fully understand and see where he is coming from. However, I along with the other signatories of ‘our’ theology, feel that these fears will not materialize insha Allah. All of us are fully aware of Ahl al-Hadeeth theology and are proud to teach it. In fact, all of us are very active in teaching it, and we don’t plan to stop or change our classes. But let me state this: five years ago, I was the senior-most American student at the Islamic University of Madinah, and the most active Western student as well (I say this only to bring out the point that I had some experience and a little bit of knowledge). Yet, if I had been approached with this very document, in all likelihood I would have raised many of the same concerns that these brothers (most of whom are presently oversees) have raised, and I would have refused to sign it. Yet, here I am, five years later, signing such a document and seeing this as a good matter for the Muslims of N. America. Experience teaches one just as much as books do, and in these last years that I have been giving dawah, I have softened greatly in the harshness that I used to exhibit against the Asharis and moderate Sufis. Yes, they still have mistakes, some of them very serious, but seeing the entire context of our Western situation first-hand has made me realize that there is little to be gained by such harshness, especially in the times and place we live. Perhaps others who are presently studying oversees will also come to agree with this attitude in the years to come, and then again perhaps they won’t. My theology hasn’t change one iota, but my attitudes towards specific groups has. And it is well known that mu`amalah with other groups is a context-based matter, and not one that has specific rulings in the Sharee’ah.

    - There is much talk about why I didn’t ‘go back to the Mashayikh’ for approval. This is a very deep question, and a topic that I, over the course of other posts not related to this one, will insha Allah tackle in the future. I have already given a brief perspective on this in my talk of establishing a vision for Muslims in the West (available on MM’s ‘Blog Best’ section). With regards to this matter in particular, I asked the people whom I typically refer to in such matters. Some of them have also signed, so there is no need to mention their names. Others whom I respect and would turn to for guidance in matters related to the situation of Western Muslims are Sh. Jafar Idris and Sh. Salah al-Sawi. I spoke with both of these Shaykhs about cooperating on a public level with certain famous individuals (who have also signed the pledge). I mentioned their names explicitly and I asked their opinion about it. They both responded in the same manner (paraphrasing of course), ‘If you see there to be maslaha in this, then you may do it.’ Let me be clear about this: I did NOT have the opportunity to speak to either of them about this specific pledge (although others are approaching them regarding it as far as I know), but I DID speak with them about the broader ideology that is behind the pledge, which is public cooperation with certain groups and individuals, and they both responded that it depends on the pros and cons (maslaha versus mafsada), and that I would have to weigh out which of the two was heavier. Neither of them gave me a blanket ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and in my opinion this is a sign of their wisdom and maturity. Others whom I spoke with, as I said, are already signatories, so there is no need to mention what they think. With regards to going back to mashayikh oversees, then with all due respect to them I simply do not view this matter as being one that should go back to them. If I myself, having experienced first-hand the Western situation for the last few years, have changed my own views, and I am from the West, how would I then expect an alim who has lived his entire life in India or Saudi to understand our situation? Sometimes we place our ulamaa above the level they deserve, and that is a fact that needs to be said plainly and clearly. I say this with the utmost respect to them – after all I owe my own knowledge (after the blessings of Allah) to them. But, in the end of the day, they are human beings, and a product of their own culture and civilization, just like I am a product of mine. Of course there are other issues associated with this matter as well, which to me are not as relevant as the first one (of them is the way that the question is presented to a Shaykh; after living in Madinah for a decade I can assure you that Western students in particular, and students in general, are able to present a scenario the way *they* see it - hence a fatwa is given that is simply not relevant to the actual situation, since it was interpreted through the eyes of the students). In any case, I have conferred with the people of knowledge whom I look up to and who are more aware of our situation than overseas Mashayikh, and they have said that I would have to weigh out the pros and cons, which I did.

    - Lastly, to sign this document is, for me at least, a purely ijtihadi issue. I prayed istikhara over this and asked those whom I trust. I fully admit that there is a possibility, no matter how slight, that this might be a mistake on my part. But at this point in time, and also seeing the reaction from the broader Muslim community (and not the reactions primarily represented on this page and a minority of websites), I am much more prone to see this as bringing about much good, insha Allah ta’ala, for the Western Ummah as a whole. If you disagree with this verdict, then this is your prerogative, and I respect you no less for that. But I do ask that you observe a level of civility and husn al-dhan with your brothers in Islam who feel that this is a positive step for Muslims of N. America and England.

    Jazak Allah khayr.
    Yasir
    'Ulama Speak Regarding Pledges With 'Asha'rees, Maturidis and Sufis etc

    "...You are my Walî in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die as a Muslim, and join me with the righteous." [Surah Yusuf 101]

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    Re: 'Ulama Speak Regarding Pledges With 'Asha'rees, Maturidis and Sufis etc

    there are several Issues which I have raised regarding the fundamental basis of the pledue and more importantly Shayk Yasir's understanding of it being contrary to its actual intent.

    when I find the arguments raised I will post it inshallah
    'Ulama Speak Regarding Pledges With 'Asha'rees, Maturidis and Sufis etc

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