Shaykh 'Ubayd: All praise is due to Allaah, the Lord of all the Worlds, and the Final End is for the Pious ones. I testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah alone, without any partners, the Walee of the Righteous. And I testify that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger, the chief of the all the sons of Aadam, may Allaah send prayers and peace upon him, his family and his pure and good companions. To proceed:
The answer to this question requires and explanation of numerous matters:
The first: The respected father, the Imaam the Atharee, Shaykh 'Abdul-Azeez bin Baaz (rahimahullaah) is a skilled, erudite Imaam, and a strong Scholar, deeply-rooted in manhaj in a mighty way. And by way of his being deeply-rooted in the manhaj and being deeply-rooted in Sharee'ah knowledge and his firmness in the truth, then everyone has awe of him, and Ahl us-Sunnah revere him, and Ahl ul-Bid'ah have awe, fear of him.
The second: We know from his respected self (rahimahullaah) that he openly proclaims the truth, and that concerning the truth he does not fear the reproach of the one who reproaches. He speaks with the truth, openly proclaims it, with wisdom and good admonition with whatever is best.
The third: Whoever sat with the Shaykh (rahimahullaah) gaining benefit from his gatherings and is away of his nature will know that he would reprimand some of the opposers by mentioning their names, and in front of all of the people. For his saying to one of them has reached us, "O so and so, be quiet, for you are a fattaan (one who puts people to trial)". And he said to some of the people of knowledge, "This is not correct. What is correct is such and such..."
And from this it becomes clear to the just and fair person that the Shaykh (rahimahullaah) does not sit with those in a way that is devoid of any advice to them which contains strength and severity. Just as he, and even if he sat with some of the people, then the distinction, the apparentness of the Sunnah and calling to it, was very clear in his way and his politics (of dealing with affairs). So from this you will come to know that this statement that "the manhaj of Shaykh 'Abdul-Azeez was to sit with all the people", that it is not to be taken unrestrictedly, or we say that we do not submit to the idea that he used to sit with the people unrestrictedly. The Shaykh (rahimahullaah) was an Imaam who was sought by all of the people, not just inside of Saudiyyah which is his country, but rather from all the corners of the earth. The Muslims used to seek him and would seek to find his gatherings. Thus, (in light of this) it was necessary that he have a particular policy (siyaasah) in dealing with the situations of the people. This is from one angle. From another angle, the Shaykh (rahimahullaah) was amongst those who signed the resolution of the Hay'ah Kibaar al-Ulamaa which comprised the admission of the fact that the well known ones amongst the Harakiyyeen had excesses and mistakes. That same resolution that granted the Wali ul-Amr the persmission to restrain and imprison them, or restraining of some of them, and imprisonment of others. And for this reason it becomes clear to us that the Shaykh (rahimahullaah) was stern and severe in situations in which only sternness and severity bring about benefit, and he was soft when he would consider that softness and gentleness is beneficial. And another angle is that when a Scholar makes ijtihaad and errs, then his error is not actually a manhaj that is to be traversed upon by all of the people. Rather, he is rewarded for his error, and this is his burden, and Allaah does not burden a soul except what it can bear. However, that his error should be taken as a manhaj, and that it is taken as a way, then this is not upright, nor is it correct, or the truth. An error is an error. And another angle is that those deviants, the people of excess, monopolised upon this spaciousness of heart of the Shaykh (rahimahullaah), and his good heart, and his love of giving advice with gentleness, wisdom, and good admonition, and then they set up a gathering for to refer judgement to him, intending to make him fall (in the eyes of the people). So look at what they did with him, they desire to repay him as he repaid them. Then it can also be said that if this was the manner of the Shaykh (rahimahullaah), and that which we worship Allaah with is that he was a Scholar, a Muhaqqiq, a Mujtahid, and that he never took a path of softness and gentleness with those, except while he hoped that they would accept the truth, and that they would respond to it - up until they transgressed upon him and deliberately tried to make him fall. However, Allaah caused their striving to be lost and wasted.
I say that the Noble Scholars and the Erudite Imaams - from the time of the Sahaabah until today - warned from inclining towards the people of desires and excessiveness, from mixing with them, and mingling with them with a mingling that entails tamyee' (softening), remaining silent and laxity, slackness. And I will mention some examples to you.
Al-Laalikaa'ee narrates from Ibn 'Abbaas (radiallaahu anhumaa) that he said, "By Allaah, I do not think that the destruction of anyone is more beloved to Shaytaan than my destruction today." So it was said, "How come?" He said, "An innovation is introduced in the East or the West, and a man carries it to me, so when it comes to me, then I destroy it (restrain it) with the Sunnah". And Mus'ab bin Sa'eed (rahimahullaah) said, "Do not sit with one who is put to trial, for you will not gain from him except one of two things: Either he will put you to trial and so you will follow him. Or he will harm you before you depart from him". And more emphatic than this is his (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam's) saying, "A man is upon the deen of his friend. Then let him look at whom he befriends".
So when this has been firmly established then know that those who sit with the people of excessiveness and the people of desires are of various gruops, and it is not possible for us to equate the ruling upon all of them. Since, every group differs from the other in ruling:
- One who is a strong Imaam, erudite, skilled, openly proclaiming the truth, who is held in awe and fear by them, on account of what he is distinguished by of strength in the manhaj and being deeply-rooted in knowledge. And for such a person, a tangible benefit is foreseeable by him in sitting with them, such as smashing the power that they have, or reducing their evil, or affecting them with advice. Like what Shaykh 'Abdul-'Azeez used to do. For he was a pure Salafi Quh (a hardcore Salafee), free, if Allaah wills, of any traces of Hizbiyyah.
- One who is a sound Salafee however he does not have the criterion or the perceptive knowledge of the [astray] methodologies. And he outwardly manifests Salafiyyah, and calls to it, and proclaims the Sunnah and fights against bidah, but he does not have this criterion. So he sits with whoever he gets the opportunity to sit with. So with respect to the likes of this one, it is his right upon us that we explain and uncover the condition of those (people) using gentleness and wisdom, and that we do not withdraw from him, and nor do we leave him alone when he sits with those (i.e. leave him to the company of those).
- The one who is a softener (mumayyi'), a waster, one who sees that everyone is correct, both this person and that person (are correct). So there is no doubt about the likes of this one, that he is a danger upon the manhaj. Hence, it is obligatory to remind him with the right of the manhaj upon him, and to advise him and to explain his opposition to the people of truth by way of this approach. So if he accepts the advice, then fine, otherwise he is amongst them.
- The one who mixes with them whilst defending them and increasing their rank and number, and showing severity upon the Salafees. So this one is a blazing hizbee.
- The one who is a hardcore Salafee however he considers that mixing with those in order to explain the truth to them and to establish the proof upon them, such as what is done by some of the Mashaayikh - may Allaah grant them success and grant us, them and you uprightness in statements and actions - such as visiting some of the deviated Jamaa'ahs of da'wah, with the argument of proclaiming the truth against them in their own places and establishing the proof upon them from their own pulpits - as they say - then in my view, this opposes what is better and more appropriate. We show severity with them and show harshness to them (i.e. those amongst us who do this), however we do not withdraw from them, so long as they are with us adding to our strength, and mutually cooperating with us, backing us up, and they do not increase the numbers of those (hizbiyyeen, deviants etc.), and do not add to their strength. But only in specific circumstances for specific reasons, they respond to their invitation, and so in their midst, they set up lectures or seminars of knowledge. So from the likes of these, we know there to be some good Shaikhs (who do this), they have their share and have their share of firmness in the Salafee manhaj, however in my view, they have opposed that which is more befitting and appropriate, and that the Hizbiyyoon are the ones who have actually gained something by the visit paid to them by the likes of these (Shaykhs).