Students of Ali al-Halabi, one of the most prominent sheikhs of the Salafist movement in Jordan, announced his death on November 15, after being infected with the corona virus, which caused disagreements to erupt on social networking sites between those praising the sheikh and his critics.
The dispute reached the point of insulting words and reciprocal accusations between the two sides, so what is it about Halabi that provokes this reaction?
Benefited from Albani
Ali al-Halabi is known as one of the students of the modern hadith scholar Sheikh Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani, who died on October 2, 1999 in Jordan. Albani’s books are considered among the most prominent scholarly references, especially in the science of hadith terminology. Among his most famous works, which amounted to more than 300 books, are Silsilat al-Hadith al-Sahihah and Silsilat al-Hadith al-Da’ifah.
Albani was famous for being one of the most important scholarly references of the Salafist current. Halabi thus derived his fame within the Salafist current from the fame of Albani and his abundant books.
Disagreements and infatuations
However, Halabi did not follow Albani’s path purely. Rather, he drew his own path, which sometimes conformed with the approach of his sheikh but often diverged. This brought him into the major conflict circle that the Salafist movement is currently witnessing, and it also plunged him into numerous clashes with the two wings of the Madkhali current. At the same time, he fell into a direct conflict with the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
These contradictions first emerged in matters of belief, especially in matters of faith and disbelief, which prompted the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ to issue a fatwa criticizing Halabi, especially his book “Warning against the discord of takfir” and “A cry foreshadowing the danger of takfir”.
The committee responded to the two books by saying, “It is not permissible to print, publish or circulate them, because of their falsehood and distortion. We advise their author to fear God within himself and among Muslims, especially the youth, and to strive to acquire legal knowledge at the hands of scholars who are trusted with their knowledge and good faith. That knowledge is a trust that is not permissible to publish except according to the Qur’an and Sunnah, and to relinquish such opinions and miserable behavior in distorting the words of scholars. It is known that returning to the truth is a virtue and an honor for a Muslim. God is the One who grants success.”
At the time, the fatwa sparked a wave of disagreements within the Salafist movement, to which Halabi himself responded with a treatise that he titled “Corresponding answers to the fatwa of the Permanent Committee”.
Halabi’s statements that sparked this crisis focused on the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ having said that Halabi based his position on matters of disbelief and faith on the doctrine of respite, which is contrary to the major Islamic doctrines in faith.