I recently came across several articles and bits of disturbing information that have prompted me to post this. I’ve stated this before, and am trying to reaffirm through this post, that to know Islam, YOU HAVE TO STUDY ISLAM ! Know the Truth, then you will know its people. If you go seeking after TV personalities or the “Islamic book table” information, you may be misled in your Religion.
Br. Yusuf Estes is a good-hearted man, and has done a considerable amount to build awareness about Islam in America. So, KUDOS for that. However, Br. Yusuf is NOT a scholar, no matter how many people call him Sheikh. He, like so many other Converts from the 90’s, has some misunderstandings about Islam, innocently so. So, here’s some background.
I had been a Muslim, living in Arlington, for 4 years when Br. Yusuf entered Islam at our local mosque. I was there during several early trials he went through. Arlington has been a place of good efforts for Islam, and much tumult and destruction as well. At the time, it was a major center for the Saudi political religion called “Salafism”, and our community has suffered tragedies because of that. So, this is a story about what happens to Converts who don’t learn their Religion properly.
Br. Yusuf has a genuine love for Islam; there’s no doubt about his sincerity. He’s inspired many people to enter Islam or to take up a renewed interest in the Religion. If I had to describe him in a nutshell, I’d say he’s a good guy who’s often been in the wrong crowd. In those days, the Salafis would latch onto us converts with their ceaseless propaganda. I was there when a 20-year-old brother was recruited to an early death in Afghanistan’s war with the Soviets. I was there to hear the ravings of Wadih al Hage who’s rotting away in prison right now. It was an environment in which Nasir ad-Deen al-Albani was King of Hadeeth and Imam of the Ummah, which demonstrates the level of extreme ignorance in our Brother’s surroundings. His early teachers included a man who was the primary translator of al-Albani’s books into English.
I don’t believe Br. Yusuf has ever taken any opportunity to study classical Islam, from its origins. His understanding has always been filtered through the writings of others, some of whom have been misleading. He prides himself in being “just Muslim”, but unfortunately he has never been selective enough about his company. Among all the hundreds of websites that have his name attached, you’ll find a lot of misleading garbage, most of which comes from people who manage those websites. He doesn’t actually manage those sites; it’s more like an endorsement – the Yusuf Estes brand-name. May Allah keep his intentions pure.
END OF DISCUSSION ABOUT BR YUSUF ESTES, MAY ALLAH REWARD HIM
BEGINNING OF DISCUSSION ABOUT WHERE THE YUSUF ESTES NAME CAN LEAD A PERSON (THROUGH WEBSITES BEARING HIS NAME)
Because Converts have a tendency to attach themselves to celebrity personalities and then follow their threads, rather than reaching into the sources of Knowledge, the Yusuf Estes brand name may lead one to a place called Huda TV, where he sometimes interviews. Huda is a beautiful Arabic word meaning guidance, which may be connected to his own TV brand GuideUS TV, I don’t know. However, if I could enforce any rule prohibiting converts from watching Huda TV or following along with any of its “scholars”, I definitely would. And after seeing the same “scholars” on the GuideUS TV website, I would recommend avoiding it as well.
Many converts now may be too young in Islam to have known the name Abdul Azeez bin Baz. He was formerly the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia. A gentle man with admirable qualities and tremendous knowledge, but who had serious issues in articles of Creed, and an improper approach to Islam, as most Saudis/Wahhabis have. May Allah have mercy on him, at a point in history he was insistent that the world was flat and the sun revolved around the earth, until a Saudi astronaut reported to him that this was incorrect.
From Huda TV, a quote from the ‘Aqeeda of bin Baz:
“His “settling on the throne” means that He is sitting in person on His throne in a way that is becoming to His majesty and greatness. Nobody except He knows exactly how He is sitting.” a’udhuBillah !
Please do NOT believe what bin Baz and other Salafis have said about Allah. Such beliefs could land one in hellfire. Anyone worshiping a “god” who is sitting on a throne, or “literally” descending in the night, or “literally” in the sky or above the sky, has been misled by the literal interpretation of things that shouldn’t be understood as “physical descriptors” of Allah. Such beliefs are NOT the beliefs of Ahlus-Sunnah (the people of Sunnah), and they have been refuted all throughout Islam’s history. You have to know that there have always been Muslims who misled themselves by not following the proper rules in interpreting (or avoiding) some of the indeterminable meanings in the Qur’an.
The basic rules of Creed (‘Aqeeda) come directly from Allah’s Words in the Qur’an, among them لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ “there is no likeness or similarity of Him“, kinda like the Israelite commandment “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above” found in the Book of Exodus, except way beyond that in comprehensiveness. Ibn Hajar said: “The creed of the Salaf(the real Salafis, not today’s posers) and Khalaf is that Allah is clear from movement, change, or dwelling in a place. Absolutely nothing resembles Allah”.
The Creator does not resemble anything among the creation.
(Abu Hanifah, Fiqhul-Akbar)
Knowing you are incapable of imaging Allah is knowledge in itself.
Attempting to fathom Allah’s Reality is disbelief and polytheism.
(Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, Al-Basit)
Ponder Allah’s creations; do not attempt to ponder Allah’s Reality.
(Ibn ^Abbas, Al-Asma’u was-Sifat)
Whatever you imagine in your mind, Allah is different from that.
(Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, ^Aqidatu Ahmad)
Additionally, the “Salafi” books, websites, and discussions are rife with unauthentic ideas, many of which are theologically dangerous. It’s sufficient to know that “Salafism” has spread out of one root source, Saudi, and that it’s an aberration in Belief and Methodology that is quite distant from Islam’s authentic teachings. Although it claims to be “authentic Qur’an and Sunnah”, and claims to derive its teachings from the early Muslims, it most definitely fails on both points.
So, to summarize:
Ibn Sireen r.a. said “This knowledge is Religion, so be careful from whom you take your Religion.” It is of extreme importance for Converts to reach for the right resources while learning their Deen and, in a nutshell, that can only be the Ahlus-Sunnah Imams and their followers. It is demonstrable that the vast majority of those who strayed from those Imams ended up going astray in their Beliefs or their actions.