My first encounter with Dr Yasir Qadhi was when a scholar of good character (other than perpetual lack of punctuality) and sound knowledge, suggested that I draw from Dr Qadhi’s Seerah programme for my own, which I had two years ago. I regret that I found his work way too “tweaked”, bending the facts to suit his narratives. I therefore abandoned further delving into his work.
The still not punctual friend of Allah invited me to attend Dr Yasir Qadhi’s seminar, last night (13 Muharram 1440, 23 Sep 2018), in Fordsburg, Johannesburg, South Africa.
I do acknowledge that the doctor appears to be far superior to myself in knowledge, sincerity and exerting himself for Islam. That does not negate that his talk raises serious questions. I raised some of them at the Q&A, but apparently there was no time to respond to me.
Before going into specifics, it must be pointed out that the Ahlus Sunnah which Dr Qadhi belongs to, is hallmarked by the trait of moderation. I fail to see how his arguing against the extremism of sectarianism is different to his extremism of including any group as Islamic as long as they claim to be Muslim. Both are extremes and miss the desired moderation in our attitude.
I have addressed some concerns to Dr Qadhi on Twitter, which I reproduce below. (The unpunctual scholar had more technical objections). I apologise for not having time for a more fleshed out article:
@YasirQadhi Thank you for your insights at last night’s talk, but there are matters which I must address without negating the overall good of your work.
1) Your equating deeds and belief and explicitly stating that good deeds negate wrong belief. I cannot belittle you by pointing out where the Quraan distinguishes between the two.
2) You specifically mention sajdah and charity. I am sure that there are Catholics who make more sajdah than some Muslims and Jews who give more charity than us. To whom does your doctrine of deeds>belief apply? If you intended a restriction, you might be more explicit in stating thus.
3) You spent well over a half-an-hour blasting the Ulama of South Africa. Every point your raised was possibly valid and I do not argue against them. However, was it mature to address those issues to all andsundry instead of a specific Ulama forum? You mentioned an example where you addressed a Sunni Ulama forum in your land, so the concept is not foreign to you. The lack of confidence certain sectors feel towards SA Ulama is their own doing, as you point out, but consider the added damage you have contributed.
5) I salute your superior knowledge but do not respect the patronising way you assume we know nothing of the Shiah. After putting us in our place and touting your qualifications you proceed to declare that do we even know of the Alawis being a group of the Itha Ashariyah! Yes, we all err, but you state this after elevating yourself and lowering your audience.
6) Your interpretation of inmates of Hell being liberated on the basis of their atomic faith
referring to their faith being correct on at least SOMETHING although wrong on most things; rather than a statement of weak but correct belief as per narrow minded people like myself, is problematic. How does your interpretation exclude the Jews who might have more points of coincidence with Islamic belief than certain deviant sects?
7) You said NOTHING new. If these are then the interpretations of Ibn Hajar etc whom you mentioned, please provide references.
8) Later you contradict yourself. Everything you said is purported from classic scholars
on the other hand, it does not matter if you say something new, because whatever you say is from the Quraan.
9) I am not convinced that Sunnis were always the majority at every point in our history, but that is a minor point