What’s the Deal with QSS?!
February 5, 2009 143 Comments
First, I’d like to start off by saying that it’s really unfortunate that disclaimers like this need to be made, but quite often, people read a statement from someone associated with a particular group and suddenly that person becomes a spokesperson for said group and whatever he says is assumed to be what the group says, when that’s not necessarily the case. So let it be known to those who suffer from this disease that I am not a spokesperson for QSS and what I am writing here is not an official QSS statement (or even an unofficial QSS statement for that matter), nor does the organization or those associated with it necessarily hold to what I will be saying here. What is written here is something purely from myself.
With that said, I really did not want to write this post. Quite a while ago, I mentioned in the comments to one of my posts from 2007 that I did not want to get into these issues on my blog. Unfortunately, it seems that like a bad case of herpes, however, this crap will just not go away. Over the past year or so, I’ve gotten a few emails asking about various issues concerning QSS, its president (Abdulmonem Burkhes), some of the speakers that have been invited to its conferences, and some of the positions it appears to have taken—usually in relation to something Shaikh Rabî’ bin Hâdî al-Madkhalî has said. Now, as far as I’m aware, no official (or unofficial) statements have ever really been issued by the organization regarding these things. Much of what has been said has usually come from the organization’s opponents and critics, or those who have some sort of tie to it, whether they be associates of or volunteers for the organization, friends of associates or volunteers, or those who attend QSS’s classes and lectures. I can really only think of one statement issued by QSS regarding any sort of “controversial” topic; an email sent out to address a copyright infringement matter involving Khalid bin al-Walid Mosque several years ago. Other than that one aberration, QSS as an organization has usually remained silent on controversial issues and remained focused on its main objective: the propagation of Islamic knowledge within its community and inviting scholars from overseas to lecture here in the West.
Now, with regards to these emails I’ve received, I’ve tried to answer them in the best manner I could think of, rarely addressing their specific questions directly while trying to advise them of what would be of most benefit to them. A few days ago, however, I came across a post on one of the English Islamic forums written by a brother here in Toronto in reply to the following question:
as salaamu alaikum who is the head of QSS now and is there any problems surrounding him or the organization?in the past our shaykh rabee had spoke about the president of the organization
The brother answered saying:
It remains ‘Abdul-Munim al-Leebee, the one who Shaykh Rabee’ (and others) have warned about, they remain tied to Abul-Hasan al-Ma’ribee, Usaamah al-Qoosee, Abu Usaamah adh-Dhahabee, Alee Hasan al-Halabee etc. and their youth continue to warn against/mock/ridicule the Salafees in Toronto and their belittlement of Shaykh Rabee’ has increased much more since that time.
Their issues are more than Shaykh Rabee’ warning against there[sic] leader alone as the above would alude[sic] to. An invitation was made (by Shaykh Rabee’) to the followers of QSS to leave ‘Abdul-Munim, unfortunately some stuck with him regardless.
This post, in addition to the emails I’ve received mentioned above in which the senders sincerely asked what the deal was, prompted me to write this post. The fact that this crap keeps coming up time and time again got me thinking that it should be addressed publicly. Hopefully, what I write here will answer some of the questions I chose not to address directly in at least one of my replies to those emails, as well as prevent any future questions directed to me regarding these same issues; I hope this isn’t taken the wrong way, especially by those sincerely looking for the truth of the matter, but quite frankly, I’m rather tired of being asked about it and of having people bring up the same topics over and over again whenever the “other side” publicly makes some retarded statement; it’s nothing against those sincerely wanting to know what the deal is, it just becomes very reduntant and very draining and disheartening having to explain and clarify things time and time again.
Let me start off by saying that I find it rather pathetic—and almost hilarious—how some people behave with regards to the people of knowledge. Once a person has been refuted for whatever reason, in whatever issue, and subsequently kicked off the list of those upon the correct methodology, these people make it a point to drop any sort of honorific the refuted person was referred to with in the past. I’m speaking with specific respect to the scholars and shaikhs mentioned on their lists of supposed deviants, innovators, and heretics to avoid. In this case: Shaikhs Abul-Hasan al-Ma’ribî, Usâmah al-Qūsî, and now ‘Alî Hasan al-Halabî, who, at one time was referred to by some of these people as ‘Allâmah, is currently the latest victim of Shaikh Rabî’ al-Madkhalî’s dreaded ire. It’s as if these scholars have suddenly lost the seas of knowledge that Allah had blessed them with and thus, the right to be referred to as “shaikh” merely because their “flag bearer of disparagement and accreditation” has spoken ill of them. These people have no real respect for knowledge or its carriers. Their respect lies solely with specific individuals and personalities and whoever these individuals and personalities approve of. And rather than making the evidences their guiding light, they’ve taken the opinions of men as infallible revelation, never to be questioned or rejected.
As for brother Abdulmonem Burkhes, QSS Chairman, he is a man, along with these others mentioned on the list, who has been unjustly demonized and oppressed; may Allah give him and the others what is rightfully theirs on Judgement Day. I swear by Allah, why Shaikh Rabî’ warned against Abdulmonem boils down to the latter’s refusal to toe the line and unjustly warn against Shaikh Abul-Hasan (that’s right, unjustly!!!); the same goes for Shaikhs Abū Hâtim (al-Qūsî) and Abul-Hârith (al-Halabî); they also refused to toe the line with regards to Shaikh Abul-Hasan and were punished for it. Shaikh Abul-Hasan, likewise, was punished for refusing to toe the line, but in his case, it was with regards to attacking Shaikh Muhammad al-Maghrâwî of Morocco, something that has been testified to by Shaikh Salîm bin ‘Îd al-Hilâlî during a question and answer session that took place at Brixton Mosque in London, England in August of 2002 (an audio recording of this statement is available on the internet, but will soon be published here in text, with Allah’s permission, retranslated; what’s mentioned at the end of this recording also has some relevance to what’s going on with Shaikh Abul-Hârith).
This claim that “[QSS’s] youth continue to warn against/mock/ridicule the Salafees in Toronto,” is nothing short of retarded. Firstly, QSS openly regards itself as a Salafî organization. Likewise, its associates and volunteers, including myself, openly profess Salafism as our chosen methodology. It should be a well known fact to all who know the slightest bit about QSS that it now operates out of Toronto, so even if this claim were true, it should be painfully obvious to anyone with half an ounce of common sense that the “QSS Youth” (who are these anonymous “QSS Youth” anyhow?) wouldn’t be warning against, mocking, or ridiculing themselves. There is also the fact that there are a large number of Salafî brothers and sisters (a lot more than the mere 200-300 Salafîs the Toronto Sun reported the same brother from Toronto who wrote the reply quoted above claimed lived in Toronto—where and how he came up with this number, only Allah knows) who live in the city and do not align themselves with either TROID (who this brother obviously intends by “the Salafees in Toronto”; as if they’re the only ones) or QSS; I also highly doubt that the “QSS Youth” are warning against, mocking or ridiculing these brothers and sisters.
Secondly, and I’m extremely sorry to shatter any delusions of grandeur these brothers might have about themselves, but many of us—those actually considered “QSS brothers”—don’t have this obsession with them that they seem to want us to have. Perhaps because they seem to take every opportunity they get to attack and demonize QSS and those affiliated with it they think that QSS does the same. Quite frankly, however, QSS has better and more pressing things to tend to than to approach anyone and everyone they come across to warn them against the “evils” and “deviances” of “the Salafees in Toronto,” i.e., TROID. Now, while I’m sure that there are those affiliated with QSS who have made statements criticizing TROID for the bigotry, the partisanship, the blind adoption of opinions and positions, and the sometimes outright retarded behavior they’ve displayed, I’m absolutely certain that if you were to collect and compare the instances where either side has made public verifiable recorded statements about the other, whether written or spoken, you would find very little coming from QSS and those affiliated with it about TROID and literally pages upon pages of statements from TROID about QSS and its affiliates. Honestly, what need does anyone affiliated with QSS really have to warn against, mock, and ridicule TROID when their behavior and methodology of dealing with controversial matters speaks volumes on its own and gives many others more than enough reason to turn away from them and their way?
As for this allegation that QSS belittles Shaikh Rabî’ al-Madkhalî, it is something that often is mentioned when these people criticize it, or any other Salafî organization or group that opposes them for that matter. It is a false and baseless accusation and those who utter this lie need to «bring [their] proof if [they] are truthful» (2:111 & 27:64). Shaikh Rabî’ al-Madkhalî is a Salafî shaikh and one of the scholars from the People of the Sunnah of our time. The shaikh, however, is not Allah. He is not a prophet. His words and opinions are not revelation and just as is the case with any man, his statements can be accepted or rejected. No one is under any sort of obligation whatsoever to take what he says, let alone impose it on others. His being labelled “the flag bearer of disparagement and accreditation of our time” by some does not mean that he cannot err in his judgements and cricitisms, nor does it mean that his judgements and criticisms will always be fair and just. Stating these facts and basing one’s own opinions and stances on knowledge of instances where the shaikh has erred or was unjust in his judgements is not belittling the shaikh; anyone who thinks it is seriously needs to get his head checked. For some reason, many people forget the fact that our scholars and shaikhs are human. They suffer from some of the same vices and shortcomings we “mere mortals” suffer from. We feel jealousy and envy towards others, they can feel jealousy and envy towards others. We let our anger get the best of us, they can have their anger get the best of them. We can have our personal feelings cloud our judgements, they can have their personal feelings cloud their judgements. Yes, Allah has blessed our scholars with knowledge, piety and godliness, and they deserve our love and respect for what Allah blessed them with, but He has not made them infallible or superhuman. If the imams and scholars of the past can have personal beefs occur between them (e.g., what happened between Imams al-Bukhârî and adh-Dhuhlî concerning the issue of the articulation of the Qur’an), then who are the likes of Shaikh Rabî’ al-Madkhalî and the other scholars of our time in comparison to them?!?!
Concerning this invitation to “the followers of QSS to leave ‘Abdul-Munim,” I have personally known brother Abdulmonem for several years. Throughout the time I’ve known him, I have never known him to have lied, carried tales, or display blameworthy partisanship to a particular individual or group. Although I do not agree with everything he says or does, I see him to be an upright Salafî brother. I have benefited enormously from his direction and advice and not only consider him one of my teachers, but also a dear friend; someone I have a great deal of respect for. You cannot tell me the brother is a liar, a tale carrier, and a partisan and expect me to believe these accusations when they are made without giving any evidences whatsoever. It’s downright foolish to expect anyone to abandon another person merely on the basis of empty accusations, regardless of who makes them. If you want me to give the shaikh’s words regarding Abdulmonem any weight, you’re going to have to come with something more substantial than unsupported accusations. Provide legitimate evidences to back them up, otherwise, the accusations mean nothing to me. This is Salafism; we accept statements and opinions based on the evidences that support them and their conformity with the truth, not merely on the basis of who made them. If anyone wants to accept what the shaikh said about Abdulmonem on this basis alone though, that’s fine by me. Those of you who do, however, shouldn’t fool yourselves thinking that you’re doing anything more than just blindly adopting the shaikh’s position as your own, because that’s all you’re doing.
Stay tuned as there’s possibly more to come regarding specific issues and claims made against QSS and those who affiliate themselves with it.