And indeed that which is saddening nowadays is that some of the youth have taken some of the 'ulemaa (scholars) to be figureheads. They follow them, and ally themselves with anyone who is allied to them, and they oppose anyone who opposes them, even if the one who opposes them is correct, and the one who is allied to them is incorrect. And they end up disputing between themselves (saying), "What do you say about this person, what do you say about that person?" Why?
I say that this person could either be making a mistake or he could be correct. If he has made a mistake whilst being a mujtahid (someone who is qualified to make judgments), then his mistake is forgiven, and if he is correct, then he gets two rewards. As for allying oneself with anyone who is allied to him (this scholar) and opposing anyone who is against him, then this is not permissible.
For this reason I ask the youth, my children, that they should not preoccupy themselves with this, nor should they focus on this. Their goal should be the truth, wherever it comes from.
Listen to Allaah the Mighty and Majestic's statement:
And when they commit an indecent act they say, 'We found our fathers upon this, and Allaah commanded us with this.' Say: 'Indeed Allaah does not command with indecency.' [7:28]
So they brought two points to support their argument: firstly, that, 'we found our fathers upon this'; and secondly, 'Allaah commanded us with this.' So Allaah the Mighty and Majestic said:
Say: 'Indeed Allaah does not command with indecency.' [7:28]
and He was silent about the first proof (which they brought). Why? Because the second proof was false and futile, and Allaah negated it. And the first proof was correct, so Allaah remained silent about it, and accepted it, even though it had come from the mushrikeen (the people of shirk).
And listen also to that which is authentically reported from the Prophet sallAllaahu'alaihiwa'alaa.aalihiwasallam, that when a Jewish Rabbi came to him and said:
'O Muhammad, indeed we hold that Allaah will put the heavens on one Finger, the earths on one Finger, …' So the Prophet sallAllaahu'alaihiwa'alaa.aalihiwasallam laughed until one could see his molar teeth, confirming what the Rabbi said. Then he recited:
"They made not a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him. And on the Day of Resurrection the whole of the earth will be grasped by His Hand, and the heavens will be rolled up in His Right Hand." [39:67]
How perfect Allaah is, and exalted above that which they associate with Him. So here, did the Prophet sallAllaahu'alaihiwa'alaa.aalihiwasallam reject the truth because the one speaking it was not upon correctness, or not? Rather he agreed with it, even though this person was a Jew.
Even more clear-cut than this - that the Prophet sallAllaahu'alaihiwa'alaa.aalihiwasallam asked Aboo Hurairah radiyAllaahu'anhu to guard the sadaqat-ul-fitr (charity for 'Eid-ul-Fitr) - i.e. he told him to keep watch over it. Someone, apparently in the form of a human came one night and took from the food. So Aboo Hurairah took hold of him, and said, 'I'm definitely going to take you to the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu'alaihiwa'alaa.aalihiwasallam.' However the man said that he was poor and asked to be excused, so Aboo Hurairah felt sorry for him, and let him go. Then he went to the Prophet sallAllaahu'alaihiwa'alaa.aalihiwasallam. So he said to him, "What did the person you caught do last night?" So he said, 'O Messenger of Allaah, he said that he was poor, so I felt sorry for him and I let him go.' So he said, "Indeed he lied, and he will come again." ("He lied", meaning he told you something untrue, "and he will come again.") So I felt sure that he would come again due to the Prophet sallAllaahu'alaihiwasallam saying, "and he will come again." So he kept an eye out for him on the second night, and he came and took from the food, and he claimed that he had dependents and was poor, so he let him go. (Because the Prophet sallAllaahu'alaihiwa'alaa.aalihiwasallam, when he said, "He will come again", he didn't say, 'Detain him', or, 'Keep hold of him.') Then Aboo Hurairah went to the Prophet sallAllaahu'alaihiwa'alaa.aalihiwasallam and he told him what happened, so he said, "He lied, and he will come again." So he came on the third night, so Aboo Hurairah took hold of him, and said, 'I must take you to the Prophet sallAllaahu'alaihiwa'alaa.aalihiwasallam.' So this person said to him, 'Should I not tell you about an aayah from the Book of Allaah, if you recite it then a protector from Allaah will remain with you (overnight) and shaytaan will not be able to approach you until morning.' So he let him go. So he went to the Prophet sallAllaahu'alaihiwa'alaa.aalihiwasallam and told him what happened, so he said, "He told you the truth, even though he is a liar." (What did he mean by saying that, "He told you the truth"? – i.e. he told you something truthful, meaning that if you recite aayat-ul-kursee, then a protector from Allaah will remain with you and shaytaan will not be able to approach you until morning). Then he said, "Do you know who you were talking to over these last three nights?" He said, 'I don't know, O Messenger of Allaah. He said, "That was shaytaan".
So look how the Prophet sallAllaahu'alaihiwa'alaa.aalihiwasallam accepted the truth from whom? From shaytaan.
So one should desire the truth. And men are known by the truth, and the truth is not known by men.
So, how do we end up splitting up and having differing between the hearts? It is due to arguing over specific individuals from the scholars. This one says that he is right and upon correctness, and the other says the opposite. This is wrong. This is not from the guidance of the rightly guided Caliphs, nor from that of the Sahaabah. What is obligatory is to accept the truth from anyone who speaks it, and to reject falsehood from anyone who speaks it. And it is never permissible to make al-Walaa wal-Baraa (Allegiance and Disassociation) based around people, because no-one is free from error, we are correct sometimes and incorrect at other times. So we should come together, and leave off personalities. And we should ask Allaah to guide them if they are alive, and for forgiveness for them if they strove in a matter and ended up opposing the truth. And their affair returns to whom? To Allaah the Mighty and Majestic. As for us splitting up our unity, fragmenting our togetherness and [word unclear] between ourselves to split off from this person or that person, then this is wrong, this is pure error and very harmful. For this reason I request my Muslim brothers in every place that they should unite and not differ, and that they should not make individuals to be figureheads for whom they have allegiance and enmity, for indeed this is wrong. And it is only this which caused harm to the Muslims, both in the past and in the present, being partisan to individuals whether in loving or hating.
[Translated by Adnaan ibn Salman from: http://safeshare.tv/w/ODdScinhqf
Please note that this audio recording was not so clear. If anyone notices any errors in the translation, or indeed any other errors or shortcomings elsewhere on the site, then please do let me know here. Jazaakumullaahukhairan].