Assalamu'alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh!
Dear Respected Scholars –
This email is on behalf of many concerned community members of Austin (although a few of them are copied on this email) who seek your opinion/Fatwa in a matter related to the beliefs of an Imam in our community.
Shaikh Yassir Fazaga had been appointed as an Imam in a local Masjid in Austin named "Islamic center of Brushy Creek (ICBC)" about a year ago. He is engaged, since then, in lectures, Jummah khutbahs at various masajid, khatirahs, halaqas, youth programs, interfaith dialogues, welfare programs, etc. all over the greater Austin area. His communication skills are great and he speaks lot of thought provoking ideas. However, he has been stating number of things during his public sessions, with people of all ages, that have raised the concerns regarding his beliefs in some of the religious matters. The community is perplexed and confused. Muslim community of Greater Austin had not seen this kind of situation ever before. The close bonding’s among the community members are tearing off over the issue of beliefs of Imam Yassir Fazaga.
We therefore humbly request you to provide us with your opinion/Fatwa on the concerned matters below, as soon as possible. This will help us to decide for ourselves and our children whether to attend his lectures, halaqas, etc. or not. Please also let us know about the validity of praying Salah behind him.
We have mentioned below some of our major concerns.
STATEMENTS OF IMAM YASIR FAZAGA:
Under each concerned topic below, are the evidences and concerns regarding statements of Imam Yassir Fazaga as stated in his various talks at various occasions:
1. PROPHET IBRAHEEM (AS) MISUNDERSTOOD THE DREAM AS ALLAH NEVER COMMANDED HIM TO SACRIFICE HIS SON
YouTube video: Did Allah command Abraham to sacrifice his son ? Part 1 - Jummah Khutbah. September 2, 2016
YouTube video: Did Allah command Abraham to sacrifice his son ? Part 2 - Lecture by Sheikh Yassir Fazaga
2. PROPHET ISA (ALEH SALAAM) IS DEAD AND WILL NOT COME BACK
People were concerned about Imam Yassir Fazaga’ s belief about Isa (AS). When he was questioned regarding this matter to get clarified, he said he believes that Prophet Isa (AS) is dead and will not return, in front of a group of people. Concerns and questions regarding this matter kept increasing in the community along with lot other concerns. Q&A session was arranged in sister's halaqa. When he was asked there regarding the same matter, he said he believes in the second coming of Isa (AS) but emphasized that nobody becomes kaafir if he doesn't believe that and moved on to another topic (did not elaborate on it). After that, in another lecture/Q&A session with men and women at ICBC He said:
"THE SECOND COMING OF ISA (AS) IS NOT A PRINCIPLE OF OUR DEEN......"
He said about the second coming of Isa (AS):
" FROM MY MEANING IT HAS NOT BEEN EXPLICITLY STATED."
(Refer to attached audio 1)
He further said:
"some credible, good, knowledgeable, (Sunni), Muslim scholars do not believe in second coming of Isa (AS)." He said "We cannot call them kafir... we cannot take (them) outside of the fold of Islam. We are not saying they are right but chances are they may not necessarily be that wrong.... they are not lesser Muslims than we are, they are not less knowledgeable than we are, we are not better than them... there is a point where it is ok to hold these different _____" (Refer to attached audio 2). He said it's a part of social immunization. He said: "What I would like to do is, if you are out there and you hear somebody saying that Jesus is not coming back, relax, that does not make him a kafir. There are some credible Muslim scholars out there who do not believe in second coming of Isa (AS), not because they reject Sunnah, not because they reject Quran, (but) because what they have studied they believe that there was not enough evidence that Isa (AS) is coming back. So if you hear somebody saying that Isa (AS) is not coming back, please relax. So that's what we called SOCIAL IMMUNIZATION that is exposing you to an opinion that when you hear outside you don't react very passionately about it, so that you say I have heard that before and because of this I am chill." (Refer to attached audio 3).
1.Isn't it problematic that he wants to make Muslims immune to listening of stuff that goes against the main stream Islamic beliefs, Sahih Ahadeeth, Sahaba's view and Tafaseer and explanations of great scholars.
2. Won't the spread of this belief cause weakening of faith regarding second coming of Isa (AS) in our future generations resulting in their weak or no support to Isa (AS) when he will come, against Dajjal?
3. Is that ok to reject Sahih Mutawatir Ahadeeth which are in a very huge number regarding the second coming of Isa (AS)?
5. How can a person who rejects Sahih Mutawatir Ahadeeth be trusted to be taking guidance from Sahih Ahadeeth and Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad (SAW) in other religious matters which he preaches?
3. PROMOTING MOHAMMAD ASAD'S AND YUSUF ALI'S QURAN TRANSLATIONS
Many members of the community (Men, women and children) have witnessed him highly recommending and prescribing Mohammad Asad's and Yusuf Ali's translations of the Quran in his various lectures, Halaqas etc. He asked the students in Sunday Islamic school at ICBC to buy a copy of one of these to study at Sunday Islamic school where he will teach them from these books.
Despite knowing the issues in these translations, he highly recommends and prescribes these books saying (taken from his lecture):
"I think they are brilliant, I think they are beautiful, I think they are very good. No book is a perfect book. That includes any book other than the book of Allah. (Any book other than Allah's book) is not a perfect book. So any other tafseer that you can recommend that comes to mind I will point out some of the short comings in that tafseer...." (Refer to attached audio 5)
Examples of some more issues in Mohammad Asad's and Yusuf Ali's Translations:
Mohammad Asad’s tafseer: (4:157 and 5:117) explains that Prophet Isa (AS) is dead and there will be no second coming of Isa (AS).
Mohammad Asad denies many positive attributes of Allah.
According to Mohammad Asad Iblis is a power of evil instead of an individual jinn.
Mohammad Asad makes the Hijab relative to the environment (surah Noor)
Yusuf Ali denies physical existence of Jannah and Jahannam and call them state of mind
Yusuf Ali says about Jinn that they are bad tendencies in humans instead of Makhlooq (footnote 929)
Yusuf Ali denies the miracle of birds coming to life in story of Ibraheem AS - footnote 308
Yusuf Ali says the modern day interest is not same as the Riba mentioned in Quran and that Quran should be interpreted according to the current times. (footnote 324)
4. THE PLACE WHERE IBRAHEEM (AS) LEFT HIS WIFE HAJAR (AS) AND THE SON ISMAIL (AS) WAS NOT A VALLEY WITH NO PEOPLE AROUND, RATHER IT WAS A COMMUNITY LIVING THERE.
When asked about Ibraheem (AS) leaving his wife and a child in a desert, imam Yasir Fazaga said:
There was already a city and there were people living in that place.
He quoted Ar-Razi that he said most of the details in this story are far-fetched because its not be fitting that Ibraheem will take his family for a place where there is no food or water...... "
5. HE INITIATED 5 SESSIONS LONG WEEKLY PROGRAM FOR MUSLIM COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO GO TO THE CHURCH IN ORDER TO STUDY QURAN AND BIBLE TOGETHER (TOUGHT BY HIM AND PASTOR OF THE CHURCH). HE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED MUSLIM YOUTH TO JOIN HIM IN GOING TO CHURCH FOR THIS CAUSE.
He announced in his weekly sisters Halaqa and asked that group of sisters to come to the church from next week. Sisters went.
Is it recommended for common people who are not scholars, to study bible?
We would highly appreciate your response in the light of the Quran and the Sunnah.
May Allah reward you abundantly for helping out in this matter of Deen. Jazakum-Allahu Khair.
الجواب وبالله التوفيق
Many of the statements mentioned about the translations of Yousuf Ali and Mohammed Asad, either constitute kufr(disbelief) or ilhad(apostasy). For example, the denial of:
Since the proofs of all of the above beliefs come with tawatur(recurrence) from Quran, hadithand Ijma‘, denial of any of them is considered kufr.
من کذب بشیء مماصرح بہ فی القراٰن من حکم أوخبر أثبت ما نَفَاہ او نفی ما اثبتہ علی علم منہ بذلک أو شک فی شیء من ذلک کفر
(امداد الفتاوٰی ، ص183، ج6، محولہ الإعلام بقواطع الإسلام)
Other statements are nothing but an offshoot of jahalat(i.e. ignorance), such as considering the interest in today’s world different than the interest which has been mentioned in Quran and considering interest as halal(permissible). This is sheer ignorance because the commandments are applied on realities not situations or eras. Similarly, associating the commandment related to hijab with situations is a baseless claim and there are established proofs against it.
Calling ignorance as knowledge, irreligiousness as religiousness, tehreef(change) in the meanings of Quran as tafseer and kufras eeman, does not prove them as knowledge, religiousness, tafseer and eeman, they remain as ignorance, irreligiousness, tehreef and kufr.
When something is proven through Quran and their translations deny those proven facts, how can that explanation be considered as tafseer? If this is considered tafseer, then what is the definition of tehreef? Such statements have no relation with tafseer, if they can be associated with anything, it is kufr and ilhad. Kufr is denying anything which has been proven through Rasulullah Sallallaho Alyhi Wasallam with tawatur:
(ھو تکذیب النبی فی شیء مما جاء بہٖ من الدین ضرورۃ(االدر المختار مع الرد ص 223، ج4، کتاب الجہاد باب المرتد
Whereas ilhadmeans strive to provide a misleading interpretation regarding the requirements of deen:
وإعترف بہٖ ظاھرا ولکن یفسر بعض ما ثبت من الدین ضرورۃ بخلاف مافسرہ الصحابۃ والتابعون وأجمعت علیہ الأمۃ فہو الزندیق
(مسویٰ شرح موطا، ص 130، ج2)
In both translations, both aspects are present along with the explicit denial of the verses of Quran and providing misleading interpretation of the proven facts as well.
(قال الما تریدی القطع علٰی أن المراد من ھذا أوالشہادۃ علی اللہ أنہ عنی باللفظ ھذا فإن قام دلیل مقطوع بہ فصحیح و و إلا فتفسیر بالرأی وھوالمنھی (کشاف اصطلاحات الفنون ، 425/3، بحوالہ الإتقان
This type of tafseeris what is termed as “tafseer bir-raeay” and according to the hadith of Rasulullah Sallallaho Alyhi Wasallam, tafseer bir-raeay has been considered as kufr.
من فسر القرآن برأیہ فقد کفر
Therefore, the mufassir and anyone who trusts his tafseer or backs up his beliefs are considered kafir according to explication of hadith. In addition, it is sheer illogic to call other translations as flawed in order to try and prove that their translations as correct. If the same illogic is put forth by their opponents, will they accept it as a legitimate reasoning?
And is it not awful that people are being educated on Quran and bible in coordination? Was the teaching of Quran in itself incomplete and flawed that bible is being used to make it complete and free of fault? Do they not remember that when Hazrat Umar read a few pages of torah, how it led to Rasulullah Sallallaho Alyhi Wasallam’s agitation? And Rasulullah Sallallaho Alyhi Wasallam stated at that occasion that even if Moosa Alyhissalam was present today, it would have been mandatory upon him to follow me? Even if the reasoning behind this action was to perform a comparative study of religions, is that not true that the result of such an action (i.e. teaching nasikh-o-mansookhtogether) for immature and inexperienced minds would be unfavorable? Especially when the general human behavior is to accept shar easily, in comparison to khair? And why was it necessary to go to a church in order to perform this comparative study, instead of being in the mosque which is the place for preaching righteousness?
This overall situation is an indication of one’s internal heresy and zindeeqiyat (i.e. holding heretic beliefs).
When such a person’s kufria and nonsense beliefs have been clearly outed through hist afseer etc., then their services cannot be considered as deeni services at any cost, instead they are considered a tool of the opponents of Islam, a snake in the grass and the ones who hurt Islam more than anyone else. One should not accept any invitations from such people and refrain from attending any of their gatherings at every cost. Such people are the propagators of kufr and not Islam.
واللہ اعلم بالصواب