In 2008, at one of Yusuf Estes’ lectures in Malaysia, he was asked about the various groups in Islam. In the course of a very long reply, he claimed that the Ja’fari Math-hab, the Shiite math-hab of Iran, is an acceptable school of jurisprudence in Islam, saying:
Actually, there are things that are called deviant groups, and then there are groups which are normal, but people try to turn it into something deviant. To be a follow of a particular jurisprudence, such as Hanafee, Maalikee, Shaafi’ee, Hanbalee, Ja’faree, like this. This is, according to Al-Azhar University, they ruled on these five and said that these are mathaahab. These are mathaahab of learning how to make wudhoo’, how to pray, things like that. And if somebody follows one or the other, that’s fine, cause you don’t have time to become a scholar, great! If you want to go further than that, you can. But the point here is: Those are normal groups.
Source: “Who are the Salafis and Wahhabis?” on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeN_hCqddhs
Yusuf Estes is likely referring to a fatwa ascribed to the previous shaykh of al-Azhar, Mahmood Shaltoot (d.1383), that he allegedly wrote:
The Ja’fari Math-hab, which is well known as the math-hab of the Imaamiyyah Inthaa-‘ashariyyah Shiite, is a math-hab suitable for worship in Islamic Law, just like the rest of the math-habs of Ahlus-Sunnah…
Source: His biography on the Arabic Wikipedia.
Whether Shaltoot actually said this or not is disputed, and even the likes of Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradhawi, one of Shaltoot’s students, refuses to accept it as the position of Shaltoot. Whatever the case, we can safely say:
- If it is established that he held this position, then it is falsehood, and no Muslim is allowed to accept such falsehood from anyone.
- If it is not established, it would not be surprising, since the Shiites plot and lie often to promote their religion.
Sadly, Yusuf Estes chooses to allow someone to refer to themselves as a Ja’fari, which is a direct ascription to Shiite teachings, while he condemns those who would refer to themselves as Salafis (followers of the Salaf, in the very same answer. So a Salafi who tries to follow the righteous Salaf is blamed and ridiculed, and a Ja’fari who follows a different religion, the Iranian Raafidhah Shiite Religion, is protected and endorsed.
He refers to these teachings at the “Wasatiyyah” (balanced, middle course) of Islam.
This belief propagated by Yusuf Estes is another serious error. Through it he is promoting the Shiite Religion and serving a religion other than Islam.
Additionally, it should be known that Yusuf Estes has openly freed himself from Ahlus-Sunnah, stating with no uncertain terms that he is NOT a Sunni. (see this article)
Please take the time to review many other serious mistakes of Yusuf Estes in the following informative PDF: