He said: Lets assume he is in the desert, there is no scholar or jurist with
I said: This is an imaginary example that would not occur in reality so there
is no need to busy ourselves with it.
He said: Let it be an imaginary circumstance, what is the ruling?
I said: He should follow what seems more obvious to him arising from his
personal ijtihaad. If I was in his place I would have followed the verse and
were I later to find that I was in error then my belief is that Allaah would not
bring me to account for this because I did all that I could in that situation
and fulfilled my obligation. However the youth can also follow the opinion of
the Four madh-habs that has reached him and I see no harm in this if this is
what he decides to be the stronger course. However the best course is to follow
the verse because it is the Speech of Allaah and constitutes evidence in and of
itself and should not be left for doubt or error. The Four Imaams on the other
hand are men and it is possible that they err even if their errors occur
At this point al-Bootee began to rant and rave, raising his voice, fuming
with rage and exclaimed: "There is no harm in your view that he prays in a
direction other than the Qiblah, leaves the saying of the Four Imaams and you
consider his prayer to be valid?!"
I said: Yes, because the circumstances that you put him in [in this example]
and imagined do not allow him to come to know the Sharee`ah ruling with
certainty and therefore he has to exert himself in trying to ascertain it to his
utmost ability. He believes that the noble verse shows that he can pray in any
direction and that this is the stronger course because the Qur`aan constitutes
proof in and of itself. On the other hand he has the mere saying of these Imaams
and their proof has not reached him and therefore [under these circumstances] it
constitutes only opinion. Evidence takes precedence over opinion in the eyes of
all the People of Knowledge. Imaam Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy upon him said,
'the opinion of al-Awzaa`ee, Maalik, Abu Haneefah is only opinion and it is all
the same to me. The proof lies with the hadeeth.'"
The debate on this point continued for some time and al-Bootee was unable to
bring a single evidence that would prove that the prayer of this youth was
invalid in these circumstances. All he did was to shout and exaggerate,
threatening to publish my words to the people in order to frighten me.
I said to him: spread my words as you like for I do not fear your publishing
what I believe to be correct and the truth.
His reply was vile and I have no doubt that Allaah will bring him to a
painful account for it.
He said: you do not fear Allaah so how can you fear me?
The meaning of this is that he has accused me of that which resembles
disbelief for I do not believe that you will find a Muslim who does not fear
Allaah, the Mighty and Magnificent.
I reminded him of the danger of this accusation and the severity of its sin
in the Sight of Allaah, the Mighty and Magnificent. I reminded him of the
hadeeth of the hadeeth of Usaamah bin Zayd wherein the anger of the Prophet
(sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) was severe when he learned of his killing the disbeliever even after he
had uttered the Shahaadatayn. Usaamah tried to excuse himself saying that he
only said out of fear for his life. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) said: Did you split open
Instead of retracting after hearing this hadeeth, al-Bootee only increased in
arrogance and repeated the last sentence 'did you split open his heart' in a
vile fashion. He mockingly repeated it, mimicking my voice such that even those
who were listening objected!
Then I said to him: Allaah will call you to account for this.
He said: Let Him take me to account!
These are the manners of al-Bootee O noble reader! [Then follows some
emphatic advice to al-Bootee to correct his manners and know his standing.]
He mentions further lies, that I will insha`Allaah translate soon, commencing
with the section I have omitted from the last quote of Kellers translation. Some
of these even exceed what we have seen above!!
For a related debate refer to the article 'Al-Albaanee versus Bootee.'
And Our Lord Most High Knows best.