The Sharing Group Discussion: Is Nouman Ali Khan a Wahhabi?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was raised by Sister Crystal on the 08th February, 2015, on The Sharing Group.  She said: “I often hear here how Nouman Ali Khan is a Wahabbi.  I have not watched or listened to many of his talks, but one of my friends loves them, and suggests them to converts.  Can you explain what makes him a Wahabbi?  Thanks!”

Brother Jon Beatty: He rejects wasilah for one, and he should restrict his talks to discussions of the Arabic language.  He is not an ‘alim or an ustadz, and has no real qualifications in Diyn.

Sister Saima Haider: He makes a lot of sense in his talk because it is all about direct references from the Holy Qur’an.  By the way, do not listen to negative people.  I enjoy listening to him he is great role model and knowledgeable.

Brother Jon Beatty: It is a sad day in the Diyn when calling a goat a goat is being ‘negative’.

Brother Aidan Grif: Sister Saima Haider, it is not about being negative or ‘making sense’.  It is about iman and protecting your iman.  You can take one ayat from the Qur’an, give it to two people and they can both give you an answer that ‘makes sense’.  But the difference is one committed kufr and left the fold of Islam and the other is a believer.  You have to be extremely careful with whom you learn the religion from.  Some poisons taste sweet.

Sister Behireta- Becky Corbadzic: I love to watch his lectures.  This guy sure will not lead you astray.  I would suggest you watch few of his videos and make your own opinion.

Brother Aidan Grif: Sister Behireta- Becky Corbadzic, how do you know he will not lead one astray?  I did not realise you could see the chain around our necks and the marking on our heads which says either believer or kuffar?

Brother Jon Beatty: Rejection of things that are clearly in the Qur’an is leading others astray regardless if he quotes the Qur’an or not.

Sister Behireta- Becky Corbadzic: He has not guided me astray yet.  He always motivates me to try to be better Muslimah.  I am not sure how you perceive his message though.

Brother Aidan Grif: Sister Behireta- Becky Corbadzic, if the Qur’an clearly gives permission of something and he says it is not allowed and then ‘proves’ it by misquoting an ayat or two from the Qur’an, is that not misguidance?

Sister Crystal: Sister Behireta, I prefer to have a generalised opinion first.  I have a history of sometimes to jumping into intolerant positions sometimes that make sense on the surface, but do not have the more in depth knowledge of Islam and terms in Islam; like I had to look up ‘wasilah’ to be able to deeply delve into things.  I have been a Muslim for only a year, and try to be careful what I put into my head, lest something incorrect take root and grow into something unmanageable.  Hence, why I asked.  It is too easy to let oneself be led astray.

Brother Aidan Grif: May Allah (s.w.t.) Protect us all from misguidance and Guide us towards that which is best.

Brother Jon Beatty: My best advice, Sister Crystal, is stick to qualified scholars with sanad and leave the internet preachers alone.

Brother Aidan Grif: This is one of his issues.  Sister Behireta- Becky Corbadzic, do get and read this book, insha’Allah: Erasing the Accusation of Shirk: A Conversation with a Kharijite.

Sister Crystal: The reason, I think, that internet preachers have become so prevalent is because of the questions of application of Islam in the modern day context.  I wonder about it myself.  There are insights that the more learned can give that may not have been considered previously.

Sister Behireta- Becky Corbadzic: Because I do not want to offend some people here, I will stop right here.  There are some a’immah that will take you astray way more than this guy; some different Muslim groups are just way far from Islam and act like they are the best.  But thank you for the advice.

Brother Jon Beatty: The application of fiqh in the modern era should only be tackled by people who are experts in fiqh and its principles, not by laymen preachers who have YouTube channels.

Brother Jon Beatty: Sister Becky, it is irrelevant what other unnamed a’immah do if you are not willing to mention them and their problems, but this man makes clear serious errors in matters of Diyn, pretending to be an authority in the subject.  The fact is, he was nothing more than an Arabic professor in a small community college and now, because of the internet he is looked at as a mufassir without any training, and that is a problem.

Brother Aidan Grif: Sister Behireta- Becky Corbadzic, to put it straight, this guy preaches stuff that can take you out of the fold of Islam.  Read that book, take heed and protect yourself from misguidance, insha’Allah.  As for our point, that there are some ‘that will take you astray way more than this guy’, astray is astray; kufr is kufr.  I suggest you listen to actual authorities like the youngest mufti in the UK, Shaykh Monawwar Ateeq.

Sister Saima Haider, we may be Muslims, insha’Allah, but preachers are preaching kufr and whether they say, “I’m a Muslim,” or not, does not matter as they are guiding people outside of Islam.  Nope.  He does not want us to get into debates on the religion so stay away from those people misguiding people and there will not be any debate.

Brother Kyle: Your iman is the most important thing as a Muslim.  Years of ‘ibadah can be nullified due to incorrect ‘aqidah.  Iman is what will determine your Salvation on the Day of Judgement.  Taking your Diyn from Khwarij is a sure fire way to go astray

Sister Rhiannon Roesler Alobeid: Okay, so if Nouman Ali Khan is not good then who should we listen to?  I have always really liked him, but if there is someone better then tell me.

Brother Aidan Grif: Sister Rhiannon Roesler Alobeid, I compiled this list a while ago.  These, as far as I am aware, are all decent scholars and sites: Good Islamic Sites & Scholars.  There is no preference in order.  But there are many people better than he is.

Sister Rhiannon Roesler Alobeid: So seriously, what did he say that was so bad?  I really liked him.

Brother Aidan Grif: Sister Rhiannon Roesler Alobeid, I mentioned earlier about a book.  If you read that you will understand fully, but long story short, he says wasilah is shirk

Sister Shima Umm Ramy: Used to like listening to him; likeable, almost ‘MTV-ish’, as Brother Terence described it.  I feel that he is more of a psychologist or philosopher than an ‘ulama or religious scholar.  Unlike traditional scholars, whose knowledge stems from not only the Qur’an, but from sirah and knowledge imparted from their shuyukh, who got their knowledge from their own previous shuyukh and so on, Nouman only imparts knowledge based on his own reasoning and deductions of the Qur’an.  Surely, that cannot be adequate, especially where matters of the Diyn are concern.

Sister Jennifer Giove: I once belonged to a forum that would have video chats with him.  You could email questions and he would answer them.  At the time, I felt uncomfortable referring to myself as a Muslim, so identified myself as a non-Muslim.  He had extremely low patience with me and treated me with nothing but disdain.

Sister Crystal: Oh wow!  That is terrible, Sister Jennifer.

Sister Jennifer Giove: He hangs out with the likes of that guy from India and that former American preacher on PeaceTV, all of whom are Wahhabi.  They are the same.  You can judge a person by the company they keep.

Sister Taking Meaning: Take the good and leave the rest, that is my way.  But we must study, study, study so we are qualified to recognise what is good and what is misleading - or have someone qualified close to us whom we can depend on.  Not one person has the complete picture.  That is why it is valuable to study all views.  The truth eventually becomes clear.  May He Grant us such diligence and focus.

Brother Jon Beatty: Yes, he is associated with Zakir Naik and Yusuf Estes - great company there.

Sister Taking Meaning: Imam Ja’far asw-Swadiq (q.s.) said, “Humility is when you are humble to the truth and follow it, even if you hear it from a child.”

Brother Billy Johnston: Personally, I have not watched Nouman Ali Khan much.  But I have seen some threads on here where someone gets labelled a ‘Wahhabi’ over a position or two.  Perhaps they are, perhaps they are not but some may find their lectures overall beneficial.  That seems to be the case of some in this and other threads I have seen.  Sister Taking Meaning probably has the best advice.  Take the good and leave the rest.  All believers from the newest of converts to the greatest of scholars can be wrong in interpretation, potentially in a lot of things.  Even the best of us is a baby.  Yet, we sit here defining whom we should listen to based on a position or two when, in reality, even the greatest of us is far from perfect.  Even the greatest of minds have had differences of opinion.

‘Who’ you should listen to is, perhaps, going about it the wrong way.  It is to be an active listener, think about what you are listening to and do your own due diligence.  Sometimes, the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is the least important part of the answer.  What matters most is the thought processes that led to it.

Brother Hyder Gee: He is a Sufi at heart.  He will return to the fold.  Give him time.

Sister Crystal: I did not mean to imply that I am looking for someone to ‘listen to.’  Rather, given that I am a newer Muslim, I would like to be exposed to differing opinions and rulings in a way that I can understand.  I try to develop my beliefs based on what I see, but given my previous tendencies to go overboard - I was quite the right wing Zionist - I would prefer to know who tends to be ‘safer.’

Sister Sabine: I cannot stand him.  He is an ultra-conservative but playing the cool brother.  The Deen Show pretends to be sleek and modern but they are selling an extremist Salafi ideology.  The links and resources they recommend on their website speak for themselves.  They are even trying to present female genital mutilation as Islamic and are linking to absolutely atrocious fatawa from Islam-QA recommending the practice.

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: When adherents of that theology are chopping off the heads of innocents, killing people with fire, we must label this theology and call it out.  Our governments have petrodollars in their eyes and allow this hateful theology to cause so many problems.  Abu Jahl was labelled, Musaylimah the Liar was labelled, the Kharijites were labelled, ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab was labelled by his own father and brother.  And we must continue to call these people and the theology out to protect our Diyn.  My instinct is to let them be but our aloofness in the 1980s allowed them to grow unchallenged.  We must not make that mistake again.  Personalising the attacks is problematic unless iron clad evidence can be provided, but that theology is fair game until it stops calling our forebears mushrikin and kafirun.

Sister Sabine: Should we not label a Nazi either because it is dangerous and will make others scared to speak up for fear of being labelled?

Sister Nazeera Faz: I feel the judgement of who is a Muslim or not is the role of God!

Brother Mohamed Meeranudeen: Sister Mahshid Turner, we are encouraged to seek out good company.  The hadits on being in company of blacksmith and perfumer comes to mind.  Brother Aidan Grif’s and Brother Jon Beatty’s, links to lectures where he misinterpreted the ayat might help.

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: In the Hadits of Najd, remember, Rasulullah (s.a.w.) himself referred to the Horn of Shaythan rising from Najd, a hadits that ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s own father and brother applied to him.  As much as I would like to ignore them, I cannot.  Even great mujtahidun such as Imam al-Buwthi (q.s.) took them on.  Unfortunately, in the wider public eye, petrodollars funded material trumped Imam al-Buwthi’s (q.s.) comprehensive destruction of al Albani.  I had never bothered listening to Nouman Ali Khan before but I just listened to a couple of his lectures: he rejects wasilah and shafa’at but tries to dress it all up in his folksy kind of delivery that seems to attract people.  He is a marketable and consumerised Wahhabi.  You can dress a Wahhabi up a million different ways, but he will still be a Wahhabi.  Focus on the deeper reality rather getting taken in by the superficiality of his sales pitch.

Sister Sabine: What I find worrying is the fact that the Salafi ideology is not that different from what ISIS is propagating.  So unless there is going to be an open and critical discussion of Salafi Islam, I do not see any positive development.  As long as people are still afraid to speak up against ‘nice guys’ like Nouman Ali Khan and against the infiltration of numerous cultures with that ideology, the problem will not be solved.

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: My local Wahhabi mosque were caught out in a media sting operation a while ago.  They successfully rebranded from the old fire and brimstone type Wahhabism, and the local media now occasionally uses them as spokespeople for Islam.  That is dangerous, as under the facade, they are still Wahhabis.  One of our scholars asked a Makkan, non-Wahhabi, scholar about the Wahhabis several years ago.  His reply: “They are dogs that Rasulullah (s.a.w.) has left behind to guard the Haramayn.”  Insha’Allah, the day will come when these dogs can be discarded.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: In this video, Intercession in Islam, Nouman Ali Khan gives a talk about wasilah.  Essentially, he takes the verse that refers to the kafirun in the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.), and applies them to Muslims now, accusing them of shirk.  This is a typical tactic of Wahhabism.  Our position as the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah is clear on issues of wasilah.  It is not a gharib position but is as-sawad al-a’azham, it is an ijma’ that all our pious predecessors have agreed upon.  To contradict them is to misguide the Muslims.  Is Nouman Ali Khan a Wahhabi, yes.  Does that make him a kafir, yes because of the ruling based on the hadits from Swahih al-Bukhari and elsewhere that whosoever accuses the Muslims of kufr and shirk is himself guilty of it.  I hope this clears this up.

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: That's one of the lectures I listened to earlier and referred to above.  The hadits of Rasulullah (s.a.w.) would seem to apply.  He and other Wahhabis call us mushrikin and kafirun.  So either we are kafirun, or they are because they made that false allegation of kufr against us.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Let us address this from the position of doctrine.  Murder is a serious crime in Islam.  But a murderer may still be a Muslim since there may be other motive for it.  As such, killing may not necessarily put someone out of the fold of Islam.  In issues of ‘aqidah, on the other hand, we follow guidelines as agreed upon by our scholars.  If one has a doctrinal position contrary to the creed of the Muslims, he is out of the fold of Islam.  There is no liberality in these issues.  This is especially so in issues of tawhid.  As a consequence of such rulings, a person who is in authority claiming that the Muslims have committed shirk or kufr has committed a great fitnah and a grievous sin.  Murder may be the death of the body, but this is about the soul.

It is the unanimous position of all our ‘ulama that whosoever accuses the Muslims of shirk and kufr and is found to be propagating a fitnah, is himself guilty of it.  And we should be very strict on these things.  I feel Muslims are very permissive in issues of ‘aqidah.  It is akin to prostituting the religion for the sake of being politically correct.  All Wahhabis are kafirun and mushrikun.  And it is the amanah of every Muslims to wage a struggle against their heretical doctrine and out it out.

Sister Mahshid Turner: We cannot accuse people of being Wahhabi if they do not admit to it.  Just because they hang around with Wahhabi friends for example.  From a belief point of view, not shari’ah, I cannot call anyone a munafiq or mushrik because only Allah (s.w.t.) Knows the intention in people's hearts.

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: A killer may plead not guilty but if the evidence says otherwise, they are found guilty.  And the fatwa of kufr against them is because of their having called us mushrikin and kafirun.  They are responsible for their own damnation by making that false allegation against us.

Sister Mahshid Turner; Yes, this is shari’ah.  He may be innocent in which case he will get justice in the Hereafter.  But put aside people who kill and shari’ah, we cannot accuse people of being kafirun just because we do not agree with them.

Sister Fatima Ali Faruque Naqshbandi: Sister Mahshid, this is issue of ‘aqidah.  Fiqh, this is not.  Have you actually heard him talk?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Sister Mahshid Turner, it is quite clear in his writings and in the video provided that he is a Wahhabi and that he has accused the Muslims of shirk.  He is, therefore, a kafir.  Whether he admits it or not is irrelevant.  I am not accusing.  I am stating a fact.

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: It is because of the Wahhabis that we have this backlash against all Muslims.  A Wahhabi kills some moronic cartoonists in France - a Sunni mosque in the UK is torched.  Suicide bombing somewhere?  Netanyahu blames Iran.  I am afraid I do not agree that ecumenism will solve our problems because Wahhabism is by its nature anti-ecumenical: the rest of us are kafirun.  So we have to defeat them.  We are not doing a good enough job distinguishing ourselves from the extremists.  A Wahhabi blows something up?  He is a Muslim so we are all guilty.  Far from being ecumenical, which I believe will do more to realise your fears, Sister Mahshid, we have to distinguish ourselves.  So if a Wahhabi blows something up he is a Wahhabi, not a Muslim.  If someone promotes the ideology that leads to these killers then he is a Wahhabi, not a Muslim.

Brother Scot Sanford: This is the first time I have heard any negative rap about this brother!

Brother Billy Johnston: No one can be blamed for corrupting your iman.  That responsibility rests with oneself and oneself alone.  Everyone must do their own due diligence.  People need to be active readers and listeners.  People need to think and just not take something someone -anyone, scholar or not, as fact without doing such due diligence.

Brother Aidan Grif: Brother Billy Johnston, if someone is spreading false beliefs, then they are held accountable for that.  Even if a scholar acts badly and the people follow him in that sin, then he is punished for their following of him in the sin.  Here, this is one time he is rejecting wasilah: Nouman Ali Khan Saying Wasilah is Shirk.  Wasilah is established from the Qur’an and ahadits.  The classical scholars accepted it, so whatever this guy says is simply wrong.  Once you have established that he is wrong and his accusation of shirk is against the Qur’an, ahadits, the companions, and the classical scholars, then you have to wonder who committed shirk: everyone or Nouman?

Brother Billy Johnston: Brother Aidan, a false scholar is certainly responsible for his own actions.  So are the individuals who followed the false scholar.  They had a choice.  Everyone has their own mind to think and determine right from wrong.  Even the best of scholars know nothing.  I guess we should all stop talking if knowledge is a prerequisite.

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: A kafir is someone who is guilty of kufr.  So whether they say I am a kafir or guilty of kufr, the intent is the same and the hadits applies.

Brother William Voller: I just had a thought about the original post.  How much does one actually reject what someone says based on their group or sect?  Normally, I would say a non-Muslim would not be someone to take our religion from, but then, John Esposito is arguably one of the greatest minds on the future of Islam.  Before, I might have said I was Sunni Hanafi Ash’ari Shadzili, but the more I learn, the more this seems a hindrance because one is prejudiced from the start.  There is truth and only God Owns this, and man has but a little.  Generally, we each have truth and falsehood so we filter from others the best we can.

Sister Crystal: I do not attribute myself to any particular group or sect.  I try not to reject things out of hand, but given my lack of knowledge in the nuances of sectarian beliefs and the terms associated with them, I know that I have not the capacity at this time to studiously delve into every comment that every self-styled preacher makes.  Rather, there are forums for which I can sound out the ideologies of these ‘teachers’, like here.  However I am uninterested in the theology of Wahhabis, as my personal view of them is not complimentary, and I am not interested in hardliners.

Brother William Voller: I think it is a fair point, Sister Crystal; it is pretty hard if you are going to sit and analyse everything, so as you say when you find people you trust stick with them.  But again, only God Knows all truth so they may not have everything which is worth remembering as you do not want to tip into sectarianism yourself.


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