Some Reflections on Love of Madinah al-Munawwarah


The following is a quick rough translation of a recent beneficial post by Shaykh Abd al-Wahid al-Azhari, a young Hanbali scholar based in Qatar. In this he talks briefly about his experiences in the Salafi movement and the issue of love of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

O Lord, grant us death in the land of your Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), in a manner which You are pleased with, and grant us burial there!

I have pointed out in the past, even when I was counted as being a part of the Salafi movement (and records are a witness to this) that some of the viewpoints of the Wahabis relating to the understanding of love of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the issues of difference between them and the majority of the Ummah: the jurists and others – and I do not say it is only the sufis – such as tawassul, tabarruk, travelling to visit the Prophet etc, contain an element of animosity and injustice… which is not hidden to intelligent folk. 
I do not say as some of their extreme enemies do that they do not love the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) or do not honour him as they should, nor do I say that this exists in each of them, no by Allah, there are those amongst them who are not like this… 
However I say: the manifestation of animosity, coarse disrespect and aversion are apparent in many of them which cannot be missed by the observant person.

This is a reaction of theirs as to what they perceive of exaggeration of their opponents in loving the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), praise of him, and attachment to him…the examples of this are many and evident.

It is sufficient as evidence that you will not find them (the Salafis) holding gatherings of praise for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) not gathering together to recite his sirah or salawat upon him, and even it does occur then it is little and cannot be compared to those that they accuse of going to extremes!

You will not find in their literary output anything which comes close to the Burdah or that which is similar to it, even if it is free of that which they criticise, except for some recent efforts by them, but that is a separate topic of discussion.

It is sufficient for you to present to them the statements of the Imams…regarding the excellence of the blessed resting place of the Prophet and it being superior to the Kabah, or some of that which is recorded regarding their spiritual states in Medina such as that which is reported from Imam Malik and what is mentioned by Qadi Iyad in al-Shifa, and then look at their behaviour in such places and attitude.

They proclaim assertively that the meaning of love is following the Prophet!

This is an understanding which there is no difference of opinion over, rather the discussion is about a matter at a higher level which only a deprived person is ignorant of.

I will here mention a story of one of the prominent students of knowledge from my friends, a pleasant Salafi, advanced in knowledge with some beneficial published works. He resided in a city close to Medina al-Nabawiyyah – I will not name it so he is not identified – he was living there for a number of years. He said to me after the passing of several years: I have not visited Medina since I have come here, not even once!

I was greatly shocked at his statement, for I know those who would expend their wealth and health just to visit it once, rather they are prepared to choose visiting Medina over their continuing to live if they had a choice. 
I asked him – out of disbelief almost – Why? 
He said: “Because prayer in Mecca is rewarded at 100,000 and in Medina it is 1000, so what is it that can make me give preference to visiting Medina over Mecca? When I have the opportunity the visit to Mecca is given preference without a doubt.”

The above statement is a financial calculation (if it can be described as such) which a lover (of the Prophet) would not utter. Neither would someone who understands the statements of the fuqaha truthfully or has examined the states of the truthful lovers (of the Prophet).

This statement can only be uttered by an uncouth idiot who does not understand and is unaware, or a materialistic fool who is devoid of affection. This statement should not be stated by a pious man who I know well is righteous and desirous of doing good. It is however the distorted understanding and comprehension that these people inherit, and this person is a senior figure amongst them.

Were it that this person had looked at the longing of visiting the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), attachment to the places which his blessed foot touched, the resting place wherein resides his noble body along witth longing to see those famous places and other necessary results of truthful love – and that this is more beloved to Allah than many righteous bodily acts – he would not have made this statement nor would have thought in this diseased way.

Were it that he had he looked at the strengthening of faith and serenity which occurs for a visitor to Medina.

Were it that he had looked at the statements of the Fuqaha and great Imams such as Ahmad bin Hanbal who said, “If you are performing an optional Hajj then go first to Medina.” Ibn Nasrullah commented on this saying, “This means that the visiting (of Medina) is superior to an optional Hajj.”, and there are numerous other statements and well known stories…

However this is a veil of coarsness and animosity which a person does not realise he is afflicted by, rather they are deceived by the shaitan that they are intelligent and possess understanding, and help is sought from Allah.

This post is for the purpose of sincere advice and evaluation, not to shame or defame, and Allah is the guider to the straight path.

One comment

  1. Salam Alaykum,

    I believe many of the “Salafi” attitudes described above come due to trying to stay away from Shirk, thus they would risk not paying the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) more respect/reverence rather than potentially falling into Shirk [if they equate this with what is due Allah alone]- an economic calculation as alluded to above.

    No doubt staying away from Shirk is a noble and obligatory pursuit, but what do you say about this reasoning?

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