Saad Abdullah, put up or shut up and fear Allah!

My last long post was a reply to Umar Lee, who posted an attack on so-called Rand Institute Muslims and Shaikh Hamza Yusuf specifically. His post has provoked a series of angry responses and equally angry counter-arguments. Now, the discussion has descended into an all-out slanging match, with one individual posting a disgraceful personal slur sourced from his father, who is not even a Muslim, based on one look at a flyer, people lining up to defend him and his father, and some specific accusations being posted against Shaikh Nuh Keller and Shaikh Muhammad al-Ya’qoobi. Normally I would not post at length about such matters, but these issues need answering.

First, I am mystified about why people are so keen to defend the individual who posted a remark like this about any Muslim. Let us get this straight, making insulting remarks about someone’s appearance is ghiba and is haraam, and if anyone is responsible for exposing the source of that remark to ridicule, it is the person who posted it, namely his son. To my mind, anyone who would say such a thing is a vulgar lout.

Further on, there is a bitter attack on Shaikh Nuh from one Saad Abdullah, to which I would like to respond point by point:

The comments of Murid are reflective of the sad state of Sh. Nuh and his followers. When he comes to town, they wipe is ass, carry his shoes and treat him like the catholics treat the pope. The strange thing about Sh. Nuh is the only people who think he’s on the footing of the major scholars in the world are his ignorant murids? Does he sit on any major scholarly councils Sufi or otherwise? Has he presented one scholarly work or paper to any major gathering of Ulema?

I cannot believe for a moment that anybody performs the first of these personal services for the shaikh other than the man himself. It is haraam for anyone to do this for someone who is capable of doing it himself, because it involves exposing the awrah. Even if this is an exaggeration, it still conveys the idea that people go to unlawful excesses in the service of the shaikh, and if anyone really were asked to do such a thing, they would have refused, and walked out without hesitation. The shaikh has always emphasised the importance of the Shari’ah, particularly since there are some well-known supposed Sufi shaikhs who do not (albeit to a lesser extent than this).

As for whether he sits on this council or that, that is not the only measure of a shaikh.

We know how he gets his Ijazat in hadih. He goes to a reading of a major book, done at 100mph with no explanation, with a few hundred students and after the Sh. Finishes reading the text, gets his Ijaza and broadcasts it. We know because we have seen him there and seen him there sitting like a normal person.

The shaikh got his ijaaza in hadeeth from Shaikh Shu’aib Arnaut. Surely he has plenty of students, and there are other observers, who would pick up anybody making false claims to have ijaazaat in any science. The shaikh has had many enemies, and essays and even a whole book have been written attacking him, yet somehow nobody has noticed this until now.

A simple question, can Sheikh Nuh even pronounce Daad or Ghayn correctly? Can he read the Qur’an without mistakes. Juniad said, “Our way, the sufi way, is based on the Book and the Sunna. Whoever fails to study the Qur’an and Sunna is not from us. Where are all of these Sufi sheikhs in the reading of the Qur’an? Where are the Ijazaat in that? You know where please tell us Murid? The Qur’an, in the traditional school, is the first book to be mastered? And this guy, who you would clean his toliet and drink is piss, can’t even get an Ijaza in al-Fatiha?

Is this an actual question or a rhetorical one? Shaikh Nuh has lived in the Levant for more than 25 years. He has had all that time to study. Doubtless he would still have an accent when speaking Arabic as it is not his native tongue, but no doubt also he would have learned how to pronounce Arabic at least recognisably if not absolutely correctly. And again, you make suggestions of unlawful personal exposure. I am not one of Shaikh Nuh’s closest or most diligent students by any means, but cleaning someone’s toilet is a perfectly lawful form of service while a shaikh’s urine is as much najaasat as anyone else’s. Perhaps this is hyperbole, but it still implies haraam, and it’s ghiba.

There follows some accusations against Shaikh Muhammad al-Ya’qoobi, which I will not repeat - you can find them on Umar’s page - but I will say that the shaikh lost two wives in quick succession a couple of years ago. The shaikh is entitled to marry whoever he likes and if you move to a country with a spouse and the marriage fails early, the norm is that you go back home. That is as true in the UK as in Syria. Mureeds leave shaikhs for all manner of reasons, not least because they no longer have the ability or inclination to follow the tariqa.

Again, one must raise the question of why Saad’s accusations have taken this long to surface if there is any truth to them. There are plenty of people in Philadelphia who oppose Shaikh Ya’qoobi’s teachings and would have spread any such gossip on the “salafi” web, as they have never been above slander and exposing a major anti-“salafi” shaikh as a pervert as well as a religious deviant would be a major coup for them, so why have we heard nothing about it until now? Many of us have no tolerance for sexual abuse (some of us have experienced it ourselves) and we would be greatly shocked if such a thing was revealed to us.

Why is there no talk of the murids who became murtdadin after leaving Sh. Nuh? After someone joins this cult do they work with other groups? Do they become active in the Mosque? Do they bring good to the USA. No, the stay at home, pray, make trouble and warn people to stay away from the “Wahaaaabi” mosque!

So what if someone leaves a shaikh and then leaves Islam? Perhaps they would have left Islam anyway. Perhaps they just left Islam, and left the shaikh by virtue of doing so. How many students (the word murid in this tariqa is only used for students at advanced stages; ordinary students are called muntaasiboon) have joined and stayed? Probably very many. The tariqa has grown enough in the UK alone to become too big for the University of Leeds which has been hosting its suhba meetings. From my personal experience, students are not expected to devote much time to bashing Wahhabis. In fact, communal infighting is very strongly discouraged, and there are many students from both Deobandi and Bareilawi backgrounds among the British students.

If Sh. Nuh told you to divorce your spouse would you do it? If he told you you could no longer talk to certain murids would you do it? If he told to quite your job and run to Jordan, where the Jordanian government, ala Prince Gaza, have built for him an Zawiyah, given him residence and bankrolled his bida, funny he charges the salafis with the petro dollars claim while he prostitutes the Jordaninans, would YOU do it?

The shaikh very strongly discourages divorce. I have his Virginia Suhba tapes, in which he actually says something like “divorce is not a word we use”. So, the idea that he would expect a student to divorce his wife is unthinkable, unless it was obvious to him that the marriage was bad for one or both parties. The idea that he would do so because he coveted the wife is even more absurd. The shaikh protects himself from this kind of temptation, by requiring female students to cover their faces while in male company (including his) at tariqa meetings, or even when visiting Syria and Jordan. Why would he do this when it is a barrier between whatever are his desires and their fulfilment?

The accusations regarding Saudi oil money are much more serious than the Jordanian government funding (wholly or partially) a zawiyah for the shaikh, if they have done. The accusations include, for example, that oil money persuaded publishing houses in Beirut to publish editions of classical texts with bits whited out, so as to obscure negative references to Wahhabism. One brother told me that in discussions with local “salafis” in south London, when he brought up the topic of “salafis” re-writing parts of classical texts to suit their agenda, to an extent that Shaikh Nuh had to travel all the way to Hadramaut to find an edition of a book by Imam Nawawi that had not been tampered with, they defended the practice. How do you think Shaikh Nuh has been influenced by Jordanian money?

Sh. Nuh is not a scholar of fiqh or any other major Islamic science. His murids will counter that he translated Umdat al-Salik. This text is a beginners texts in the Shafi school memorized in the past by children. Until Sh. Nuh’s murids are able to accept legitimate critique like the one above, the only thing they can be labled as is a cult.

This betrays the ignorance of this commentator. Reliance of the Traveller is much more than a translation of that book, as anyone who has read it will know. It contains substantial material extracted from other classical Islamic texts, not just from the Shafi’i madhhab; some of these are to explain matters raised in the book, some of them address aspects of obligatory knowledge to a depth not reached by the original book, and some of them addressing modern Islamic issues, and there are also explanatory notes by contemporary scholars, particularly his own shaikhs. It certainly is not a book for children; even the original text addresses issues no adult would discuss with a child.

In short, this man wants to make out Shaikh Nuh to be little more than someone who has attended a few basic lessons and received token ijaazas and made himself a shaikh on the back of that. As far as I know, the shaikh does not claim to be a mujtahid and nobody believes him to be other than a teacher of Islam who is authorised to transmit the Shadhili tariqa. In my experience, his students are very dignified in response to the attacks on the shaikh and his shuyookh from activists of the “salafi” sect; they have provoked nothing like the furious emotional outcry which greets any suggestion that certain other shaikhs are not what they are made out to be.

Shaikh Nuh’s students are among the least cult-like Muslims I’ve ever come across; in contrast to some subcontinental tariqa groups, the students are not required to avoid other shaikhs other than when they are actually teaching Sufism. They are not required to boycott any other Muslims and I have never heard any of them express an attitude of contempt for Muslims outside the tariqa, and they hold some of their dhikr meetings in mosques (at least two in London). In addition, participation in the tariqa is voluntary on both sides, and the student can quit any time he likes.

I call upon Saad Abdullah to present his evidence if he has any, otherwise to make tawba and fear Allah. The communities in which Shaikh Nuh and Shaikh al-Ya’qoobi live have had years to observe and complain about their behaviour if there was any complaint to make, and many would do so readily if they could, and yet we have to wait for him to pop up on Umar Lee’s blog to find all this out! Put up if you have anything to put up, or shut up!

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