Where’s your evidence ak-ee?

I went to perform salat al-Maghrib at our local masjid today. I noticed a Muslim man of West Indian origin pointing and chatting to some of the members of our community, it seemed that he was making a few points about certain things. I took very little notice of him but my Madhhabi-sense was tingling: “I bet he is a Salafi”. Anyway the iqama was read and we started to form the lines for the prayer, when I again noticed this same man instructing those next to him to join their feet to his and he seemed to make a big point of it.After the prayers, he pulled over one of the brothers and started to ask why people weren’t standing feet to feet, this was cue for me to join the fray. After a tiring week back at work I guess I was not my usual placid self, I am not prone to getting angry, but I have heard Wahhabis use this argument countless times and it annoys me to hear it again and again and to explain it again and again. The brother told us he was from High Wycombe and a “student” of the new Jordanian Imam at the WISE Centre there.

He started his conversation with me by saying “Akee, I see a lot of things here that I aint never seen before, I want to see evidence for what’s going on here” I asked him what he was talking about and he said “like people not standing shoulder to shoulder ankle to ankle”, I asked him for his evidence (knowing full well what it was) he replied “it’s in a hadeeth akee”, “what hadith?” I asked, “which collection?” I pressed. He couldn’t tell me as he didn’t know. I then said “You come here asking for evidence and proof and yet you offer none yourself”, “but it is in the hadeeth akee” he countered, I conceded, to see where he was going with his argument (again, knowing full well where he was taking this). He started demonstrating physically what the hadith meant and I noticed that he was not actually standing ankle to ankle but toe to toe. I pointed out that in actual fact what the hadith meant was not jam your foot or your ankle against the person next to you, rather you use the ankle as a guide to straighten the lines in the ranks and the hadith certainly doesn’t say anything about joining feet. I also pointed out to him that if he stood next to someone much taller than himself he would not actually be standing shoulder to shoulder but shoulder to arm. I then explained that in light of this, the hadith is not meant to be taken totally literally, since then the taller person would have to crouch or bend his knees to bring his shoulders to the lever of the shorter person. His reply was “then you would go and stand next to someone your own height”! How the heck he arrived at that conclusion I will never know, but that is certainly a new one on me! Do Salafis send converts to some training school to rehearse these arguments because the amount of times I have heard this it almost seems scripted.

What struck me most was when I asked him if he knew what the integrals of prayer were and what their rankings were such as Fardh, Wajib, Sunnah etc he had no idea! If you don’t know the integrals of salat then your salat is defective in the first place and there is little point arguing over the position of your feet; he didn’t seem to be concerned.

We argued about a few other things and it was clear to me that this brother was very ignorant of fiqh and scholarly difference as well as history of Islamic cultures, may Allah guide him and me. At the end it boiled down to him accusing me of racism and that the only reason I was arguing with against him was that he was black! SubhanAllah!

wa’as-salam

Mas’ud
www.masud.co.uk

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12 thoughts on “Where’s your evidence ak-ee?”

  1. assalmualiekum wa rahmatullah
    reading your post abt the”salafi brother” reminds me of an experience i had not so long ago.
    it was a friday and i was on my way home frm college. i normally dont attend the mosque on friday to pray because i pray at home (im female by the way). Anyway i met a sister on the bus who invited me to pray at a mosque so i went along with her.
    After we finished praying she told me that praying with sunnis, suffis and sh’ias and basically everyone else other than Salafis is Haram. I had an inkling that i was in a salafi mosque. This sister eventually presented me with one of the “business “cards. the funniest thing was that when we left the mosque she was still lecturing me when we met an elderly english man who overheard some of what she was saying. This man first of all conveyed that he did not agree with her and guess what happened she started to lecture him and he wasn’t even a muslim. Afterwards i was left feeling amused but also alarmed at what i just experienced. Salafis are loud people i heard their voice i just wasn’t listening to it!

  2. salam alaikoum

    subhan Allah one thing you said struck a chord with me, “the amount of times I have heard this it almost seems scripted.”
    Exactly. I hate it when people go to the masjid and throw out the same canned responses I have heard a million times. One dude challenged me in my OWN house over the same deal. Great post macha Allah!

  3. Me again, post number 3; Bro, could you please refute the article I provided since you probably have more knowledge than me and I think it would be a great benefit to us since these are the arguments used by the Salafis. I know that the 4 Imams never mentioned joining the feet in prayer as a condition for the prayer in any of their books dealing with fiqh of Salat. But I would like additional clarification, insha’allah.

  4. I find this sort of behaviour by brothers and sisters very frustrating and it does nothing but leave some people very confused. I remember last year at university, a sister always use to watch me when I was praying. Imagine being watched whilst praying. Anyways, afterwards, she would always say ?you pray wrong!? then she would demonstrate how I should pray! Then one day, a group of other sisters came into our prayer room and did a talk. These sisters emphasized that ?there is no difference between how a man and women prays?, also its bid?a to wipe your face after completing your dua. Now this left me very confused because I was still at the learning stage of fiqh, madhabs etc. But Alhumdulilah, I had my dad and some local sisters who explained things to me and set things straight!
    May Allah guide all of us.Ameen

  5. Salaam ‘Alaikum

    Ach, don’t blame it on the converts. We see plenty of this behavior from “born” Muslims who follow the “Dawatus Salafiya” here in the US too. Plenty of it. Worse, when dealing with someone who is relatively new to Islam, there tends to be a lot of stock and faith placed in what they’re saying, if only b/c they are “born” Muslims and somehow endowed with knowledge and authority by virtue of their birth. — Umm Zaid

  6. Do such trivialities deserve a post ?

    To speak from a not-so-salafi + not-so-madhabi perspective i’m finding it hard to believe muslims ( on both sides, if there is such a thing ) are pushing arguments on trivialities further and further.

    Polarizing won’t help either.
    Call me confused or whatever, but this is becoming frustrating. I refuse to believe in either groups’ stance ( i was raised in a fairly multi-muslim environment ), can’t we stress, focus and be busy with our universal values of Islam.

  7. assalaam alaykum

    I agree too much triviality. While the traditionalists are right on the issue, the approach and adab seemed “salafi” like to me. Especially making fun of the brother saying “akee” on another forum. Very sad and
    poor adab. The salafi brother may not
    have been emulating the Prophet exactly in using “akee”, but his heart
    may have been sincere in saying it, Allah knows.

  8. As-salaamu alaikum

    Sahih Bukhari Volume 1

    Reported by Anas bin Malik

    The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Straighten your rows, for I see you from behind my back.” Anas added, “Everyone of us used to put his shoulder with the shoulder of his companion and his foot with the foot of his companion.”

    Maybe instead of labelling people with silly names, you should fear Allah (swt) and verify if what the brother is saying is correct. If the hadith is there and is sahih, then the duty of the muslim is to hear and obey.

    Also, you said “I also pointed out to him that if he stood next to someone much taller than himself he would not actually be standing shoulder to shoulder but shoulder to arm.” Why are you using childish arguments? Of course the hadith does not mean literally stand shoulder to shoulder but the wisdom behind the hadith is that the sahaaba (may Allah be pleased with them) did not have any gaps between them, which is a lesson that many Muslims need to learn today.

    Any good I have said is from Allah (swt) and any wrong is from myself and shaytaan.

    Wa salaam

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