In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Ever Merciful…
During his 2008 tour of Malaysia that started out with scholar-like pageantry but quickly plummeted into his usual clownery, controversial American preacher, Yusuf Estes, took the opportunity to speak about the deviant sects in Islam, saying:
As the Jews and Christians divided themselves into 71 or 72 groups, the Muslims will divide into 73, and all of them will be in Hellfire, illa wahid, except for one – the one that me and my companions are on today.
Now, how many of you heard this hadeeth? You heard it? OK. This is a good hadeeth. But how do you understand it? Right away, someone says: See that hadeeth? It proves that we’re right. How? Because our group is only on Quran and Sunnah. So what do you think every other group is on? The Yellow Pages?
Yes, we know that people are divided up into groups. We know that. And we know from this hadeeth that all these groups are going to Hell, all of them! The only group not going to Hell are the ones that are following what Prophet (sallay salam) and his companions actually did. There’s no doubt about that. But how do you understand it?
And this is why you have to have real scholars, not somebody who just decided to grow his beard last week. Not somebody that just started praying a month ago. Not somebody who spent half of his life in a bar, and now all of a sudden he got religion, and he’s going to come tell you all this stuff, that he heard in a dars, or a symposium, or some lecture. You know, he came to hear Yusuf Estes, and he became a expert. Duh!
And this is what we’ve seen, in the last 20 years, we’ve seen these wannabe guys. I don’t call anybody a wahhabi, I call him wannabe. You wish! You wish to be like the early companions of Muhammad. They call them “Salafi” – You heard about this name, “Salaf”? Salaf as-Saalih. How many of you know what is “Salaf as-Saalih” – you know what it means? It’s a very good term.
“Salaf” is the most righteous of people, very righteous. They are the predecessors, literally: before us. Before us, righteous. Saalih is righteous. Salaf: predecessors.
So if somebody said, “I’m Salaf,” it means he’s dead. How could you be your own predecessor? Can you? No. But if you said we’re following the way of the Salaf as-Saalih – What Muslim isn’t?! Any Muslim who is following Islam is following the Islam – hopefully – that’s coming from Muhammad through his companions and these righteous people.
Whether you said: I want to follow Imam ash-Shaafi’ee, Abu Haneefah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Imam Maalik, Imam Ja’far as-Saadiq, if you said you’re following really what he had, what is your problem?
But if you said you ARE one, that’s interesting, for two reasons. One: You’re not dead. And the other one is: How do you get off calling yourself “saalih”? Unless your mother named you that. Can you imagine somebody – in the English language – translate it: “I’m a dead righteous person.” [Audience laughs.]
Even though I wish to be like them, no doubt, I’m still not going to give myself a title that Allah didn’t give us, the Prophet (sall-sallam) didn’t give us, and the Salaf as-Saalih also didn’t give us, they didn’t call themselves that!
Source: A recorded Q&A from the 2008 Malaysian Tour, uploaded on Dec. 12, 2008. [YouTube/SafeShare]
After introducing the idea of the many sects that ascribe to Islam, and that only one of them is saved, Yusuf Estes fails to actualize the meaning of the hadeeth, and stumbles about in confusion as usual, warning the Muslims from the Salafis (“wannabes”), while legitimizing the Shiite Ja’fari Cult.
The Hadeeth of Iftiraaq (Splitting)
Quite simply, the hadeeth of iftiraaq (splitting) teaches us the importance of holding fast to the way of the Companions in beliefs and actions. So whoever practices Islam as they practiced it is from the saved sect mentioned by the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace).
They were real people whose beliefs and practices were recorded in detail. For example, the Companions had total consensus that the writing in the mushaf is in fact the Quran, the Speech of Allah, and not a representation of the actual Quran stored somewhere else, as some sects of the deviant Jahmiyyah Cult later introduced, after the era of the Companions. Sadly, Yusuf Estes has chosen the Jahmiyyah’s beliefs over that of the Companions. Anyone who does this effectively excludes himself from being what the Companions were upon, and thus from the saved sect mentioned by the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace).
Instead of paying lip service to a very important hadeeth and quoting it without any knowledge of its meaning, Yusuf Estes would do well to learn about the beliefs of the Companions and adopt them, for the sake of his own salvation.
Yusuf Estes pretends to be concerned for the Muslims that they are not turning to the “real scholars” of Islam. The real scholars of Islam to Yusuf Estes are himself, the real-deal scholar [click here] and the likes of Ayatollah Muhammad Hadi Marifat, one of the well-known Shiite figureheads of the deviant Raafidhah Religion of Iran. [click here] These are people calling to the exact opposite of the way of the Companions.
As-Salaf as-Saalih and the Salafis
The only group that Yusuf Estes actually mentions by name after introducing the hadeeth of the 73 sects (which he does not understand) is the Salafis. He seems to blame them, saying, “You wish! You wish to be like the companions,” whilst that is the exact key to becoming from those who are considered within the saved sect, in the very hadeeth he just quoted! Then, he clearly contradicts the hadeeth by claiming that all Muslims follow the way of the Salaf. Then where are the other 72 groups, O Yusuf?! Did you forget about them?
He then introduces his assumed “fifth mathhab” – the Shiite Ja’fari mathhab of modern Iran, who are certainly not upon the way of the Companions. They are most known for their belief that the Caliphate is/was only for the descendants of the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace), while the Companions, including ‘Alee, united under the legitimate Caliphate of Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq, and then ‘Umar, and then ‘Uthmaan, none of them being from Ahlul-Bayt (his descendants).
Near the end of his rant, Yusuf Estes concludes that the ascription to the way of the Salaf, by calling oneself a Salafi, is unfounded and against the way of the Salaf themselves! This is some seriously amazing compound ignorance.
The reality is that one of the very first dictionaries of legitimate ascriptions and nicknames in Islam, certainly the most well-known and reliable, “al-Ansaab” of as-Sam’aanee (d.562), written over EIGHT centuries ago, lists “as-Salafi,” an ascription to the Salaf, as a legitimate ascription in Islam. Until today, this continues to be the Muslims’ choice reference book for looking up ascriptions, their meanings, and their legitimacy. Later, Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728) would cite complete scholarly consensus regarding its validity, 700 years before Al-Albani (d.1420), whom Estes believes “invented” Salafiyyah! [click here and here]
Imam Ja’far as-Saadiq and the Ja’fari Mathhab
Ja’far as-Saadiq was the great-grandson of the companion, ‘Alee ibn Abee Taalib. He was an upright Muslim known for good understanding of the Religion and reliable narrations. The modern-day Shiite mathhab that is named after him is from the many tricks of the deceptive Shia Cult, specifically the “Imaamiyyah, Ithnaa-‘Ashariyyah” Cult of Iran. They claim Ja’far as-Saadiq is the sixth of their twelve infallible imams who knew the unseen!
When Yusuf Estes adds this as the fifth of the five Islamic mathhabs, he is promoting the Shiite Religion of Iran precisely according to the plots they have devised. We have previously exposed Yusuf Estes for his shameful ongoing promotion of the Shiite Religion. [click here and here] This has continued until at least the summer of 2012, when he was caught openly spreading the writings of Ayatollah Muhammad Hadi Marifat from official Iranian Shiite publications. While openly spreading his article on his own “IslamNewsRoom” website, he was also privately referring to him as one of “the true scholars of Islam,” as documented on pp.55-56 of the informative PDF: Yusuf Estes and the Quran.
A Fountain of Misinformation
Based on the series of wild mistakes mentioned here in this article, and in the other content of this informative website, Muslims must be advised to stay away from the deviant ramblings of this confused preacher. May Allah guide Yusuf Estes and all those who follow him.
As the scholar of al-Madeenah, Shaykh ‘Ubayd al-Jaabiree (may Allah preserve him), said:
I warn the Muslims, men and women alike, from listening to him, since he is corrupt. He is either astray, leading others astray, or he has lost his mind.
Source: The shaykh’s answer to a question posed to him in the summer of 1433 (2012). [click here]