Boycotting The People Of Innovation, By Al-Baghawee

Imaam Al-Baghawee said:

“The Prophet (saw) informed us that this ummah would divide into groups, and that desires and innovations would appear amongst them. And he (saw) declared salvation for whoever follows his Sunnah and the Sunnah of his Companions.

So it is a must upon every Muslim, when he sees a man dispersing any type of vain desire or innovation knowingly, or he is scorning any part of the Sunnah, to abandon him and free himself of him, whether he is dead or alive.

So he should not greet him with salaam when he encounters him nor should he respond to him if he is greeted initially. He should continue doing this until that individual abandons his innovation and returns to the truth (1).

As for the forbiddance of boycotting (hijrah from) one’s brother for more than three days, then this is with regards to a disagreement that occurs between two people in matters related to friendship or family ties. It is not with regards to the religion, for indeed, boycotting the people of vain desires and innovation is ongoing until they repent.”

He then quotes the hadeeth of Ka’ab Ibn Maalik and how the Companions boycotted him (2) and then mentions:

“There is evidence in this (hadeeth) for boycotting the people of innovation… The Sahaabah, Taabi’een, their successors and the scholars of the Sunnah have continued to implement this, unanimously agreeing on showing enmity towards the innovators and boycotting them.”

[Sharh As-Sunnah, 1/227]


(1) This boycotting, as Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned is like a medicine, too much of it will kill the person, and not the right amount will also kill the person. So moderation and wisdom comes into play. Furthermore, this boycotting is to be done (as is the case with medicine) out of love for the person to return to the truth.

We boycot the person hoping that this will effect the person and then he will return to the truth. And of course, this cannot be done if the people of the sunnah are the minority and have no real control, dominance or power in the lands.

(2) Ibn ‘Abdil-Barr commented on the hadeeth of Ka’ab Ibn Maalik regarding the three individuals who didn’t go out to the battle with the Prophet (saw), saying: “In this hadeeth of Ka’ab there is a proof that it is permissible for an individual to boycott his brother if innovation or evil appears in him, with the hope that his boycotting of him will serve to discipline and rebuke him.” [At-Tamheed, 6/118]


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