The Methodology of Yusuf Estes


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ وَلِتَسْتَبِينَ سَبِيلُ الْمُجْرِمِينَ
Allah says: “And so do We explain our verses in detail in order for the path of the criminals to be made manifest.” Al An’am: 55

At Tabari comments on the statement “and so do We explain our verses in detail” meaning; just as we have detailed to you O Muhammad in this particular surah from it’s inception to this passage our proofs and evidence against the pagans, clarifying and distinguishing it for you, in that manner we have detailed for you our evidence for every truth in which the people of falsehood from other faiths deny. Therefore we have clarified it for you in order for you in to make clear it’s truth from falsehood, and it’s soundness from error.” تفسير جامع البيان في تفسير القرآن/ الطبري

Dear reader may Allah reward you with good, the previously mentioned verse defines the role and responsibility of our Messenger sallahu alayhi wa salaam, to convey the truth and guidance in detail so that the various paths to defeat, failure, and humiliation becomes distinct and manifest to the people. This was his sallahu alayhi wa salaam’s role and likewise it is the responsibility of every individual that conforms to his Sunnah. Thus whoever is capable should detail the truth in order for the methodologies of the various groups, sects, and parties be made manifest so that the masses are safeguarded from their evil. In addition this conveyance not only benefit’s the Muslims by protecting them from evil, it also benefit’s the carrier of this evil.

وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ
Allah says: “And so do we explain our verses in detail so that perhaps you may return.” Al A’raf: 174

Imam Ash Shawkani comments on the portion of the verse “so that perhaps they may return” meaning; to the truth and abandon what they’re upon of falsehood.
تفسير فتح القدير/ الشوكاني

In light of that I have gathered some statements of our brother Yusuf Estes may Allah guide him, that illustrate some aspects of his methodology and how it differs severely with the methodology of the salaf. By this it is hoped that the lofty objective stated in the Quran is achieved, to safeguard our brothers and sisters from following these errors that can consequently be harmful to them, and that it be an encouragement for Yusuf Estes to repent before the time comes in which repentance will not be accepted.

From the methodology of Yusuf Estes:

The lack of concern for whom one takes knowledge from

Yusuf Estes states: “I’ve sat with sufi scholars, shia scholars. I’ve sat with those of the Ahlis Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah, those so called Sunnis and Sufis and those of all tariqahs even and I took benefit where I could take benefit. But anytime they said something that didn’t line up with what was the main – the main – straight line that the Prophet talked about then that’s the part I said ok guys well that’s when we have to go you know. I can’t do that. But the part where they call to la illaha illa’llah, Muhammad rasullah, establish the salah, pay the zaykah, fast Ramadan, and do Hajj wooo that’s Islam no problem. But I’m just not going to do the other things that we can’t find evidence for….”
[video: Calling all 73 Sects of Muslims to? Sheik Yusuf Estes]

As is aforementioned we see that the methodology of Yusuf Estes is to sit with any Muslim irregardless of their creed or methodology in order to take benefit where benefit can be sought, per his statement “I took benefit where I could take benefit…” Thus this method in which he has adopted for himself lead him to take knowledge from some of the most astray of individuals and groups as he states “I’ve sat with sufi scholars, shia scholars….” This admission of his is very strange for someone that claims to follow evidence and encourages other to do so as well. Therefore my question dear reader may Allah preserve you, is acquiring knowledge from innovators in accordance with the text? Is it in accordance with the Quran, Sunnah, and methodology of the Salaf?

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ۖ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ ۗ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا ۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ
Allah says: “It is He Who has sent down the Book. In it are verses that are clear, they are the mother of the Book. And they’re others not so clear. So as for those in whose hearts there is deviation they follow that which is not entirely clear. Seeking by that fitna, and seeking by that (false) interpretation. But no one knows its meanings except Allah….” Ali-Imran: 7

Ibn Kathir said while commenting on Allah’s statement “they follow that which is not entirely clear…” meaning they only take from that which is not so clear that which is possible for them to twist out of it’s true meaning their corrupt intent. Then they defer the verse to they’re intent due to the expression’s (multiple) possibilities.
تفسير القرآن الكريم/ ابن كثير

Al Qurtubi states “ The verse encompasses every group whether they be kafir, zindeeq, ignorant, or innovator even though during that time it was directed towards the Christians of Najran. Qatadah said in his explanation of Allah’s statement “they follow that which is not entirely clear…” if they are not the Haruriyyah and the various groups of the Khawarij then I don’t know who they are.” تفسير الجامع لاحكام القرآن/ القرطبي

In addition; we have an authentic narration collected by both Imaam Al Bukhari and Muslim in which the Prophet stated after reciting the previously mentioned verse: “If you see those that follow that which is not entirely clear then they are those whom to which Allah has named (of having deviation) so beware of them!”

Imaam An Nawawi said in his explanation of Sahih Muslim: “Contain in this narration is the warning from intermingling with the people of deviation, innovation, and those that follow the obscure for the purpose of fitna. As for whoever ask about that which is unclear to him seeking guidance and direction, and goes about doing that respectfully, then there is no problem with him. Answering him is compulsory. As for the first type then he is not given an answer. In contrary he is to be rebuke and reprimanded just like Umar ibn Al Khattab reprimanded Sabee ibn Aseel for him having followed that which was unclear.”

After reflecting on what was presented we see the reality of the people of innovation. Furthermore we see the ruling regarding our dealings with them. That and many other proofs point to the absence of association, mixing, and love in the absolute sense for the people of innovation. As a result; hatred is reserved for them in accordance with their opposition to truth and guidance until they abandon that which is with them from corruption, sinfulness, and blatant disregard of the text. Thus how can it be conceived that one who claims to follow evidence would become so negligent that he’d actual sit with those that have polluted hearts in order to take knowledge from them, and then speak about it in a way as if his actions were praiseworthy and commendable. We ask Allah for firmness upon the truth.

Yusuf Estes attempts to justify his position by stating; “But anytime they said something that didn’t line up with what was that main – the main – straight line that the Prophet talked about then that’s the part I said ok guys well that’s when we have to go you know. I can’t do that.” and he said “I’m just not going to do the other things that we can’t find evidence for..”

First; it’s incumbent for us to understand that the ignoramus concerning affairs of deen is incapable of distinguishing truth when mixed with falsehood. The lessons of the innovators are just that truth mixed with falsehood. Thus the person who takes knowledge from the people of confusion and ignorance results in nothing more than remaining confused and ignorant.

Shaykh Muhammad Al Imaam states: “Whenever knowledge is removed due to the passing of scholars and due to the deviation of those who come after them, then (what results from that) the multitude of Muslims implement worship based on ignorance assuming that their understanding of what they hear from Allah’s speech and the speech of the Messenger is sufficient concerning awareness of Islam. Hence they rely on blind following their fathers and others. This is the condition in which As Saadiq Al Masdooq sallahu alayhi wa salaam informed us where he states (in an authentic narration upon the authority of Abdullah ibn Amr): “There will come upon the people a time in which they will gather in the masjid and pray, however there will not be amongst them a believer!” After mentioning the whereabouts of the narration and it’s grading shaykh Al Imaam then states: “The intent is that hypocrisy will be plentiful among those that pray due to ignorance. Thus this repugnant ignorance results from the scarcity of Ahlis Sunnah’s scholars and the abundance of those who are placed forward for teaching or educating but in reality are not qualified.”
Taken from the book: رفع العلم

The methodology of Yusuf Estes with regards to whom he has sat with proves that he is what shaykh Al Imaam was referring, an individual placed forward in order to teach the masses from amongst the Muslims but is clearly not qualified for that. This is evident in his speeches, for instances he states: “hadith means stories, and the stories we receive outside of Quran, Quran also has stories that is also a book having hadith but there from Allah, whereas the stories of Muhammad peace be upon him are also called hadith…” Likewise his confusion is evident in his shameless explanation to the term salafi wherein he states: “When someone says we are salafi, first of all I’m gonna guess he doesn’t know the Arabic language. I’m gonna guess he probably doesn’t know, or he said it so much he forgot what it really means. Salaf means someone who’s dead and gone. These are your predecessors. So a guy standing there telling you I’m dead. And they say salaf salih righteous predecessors, ok I’m a dead righteous guy…” I seek refuge with Allah from such buffoonery.

From the methodology of Yusuf Estes:

Lying in order to achieve his objective

Yusuf Estes states: “The one who came up with this idea (Salafiyyah) was actually a very good scholar, but he was a loner in that he had his own thing going. He didn’t come from a particular following of anything he just come up with a lot of stuff on his own…”
[Video: Yusuf Estes-fscs p2 s14: q6. Which Islamic Movement is Salafi? And the video: Who are the Salafis and Wahhabis Yusuf Estes]

This statement is made directly after his explanation to the term Salafi. Therefore the idea that he’s referring to is Salafiyyah. He claims that it’s a new idea or movement supplanted throughout the ranks of the Muslims in recent times by the noble shaykh Muhammad Nasriddin Al Albani. Consequently his claim leads one to believe that the generations of Muslims that came before us did not practice Islam in this way due to this idea being non existent, and that’s due to it originating in recent times at the hands of shaykh Al Albani.

Dear reader may Allah guide you to what He loves and is pleased with, it is incumbent for us to understand the correct intent of the term Salafiyyah. It is to traverse upon the way or methodology of the Prophet’s companions concerning adherence to the Quran and the purified Sunnah. Understanding these textual sources the way they understood them, and actualization of these textual sources the way they actualized them, and shunning every method or way that conflicts with that. This is Islam practiced the way Allah intends, and every Muslim who Allah blessed with wisdom, insight, knowledge and understanding of deen has practiced Islam in this way from the great imams and scholars of Islam.

Imam Al Awzaa’ee said: “Be patient upon the Sunnah, and stop where the people stopped. Say what they said, and refrain from what they refrained. Follow the path of your righteous predecessors (salaf-us -salih) for indeed it will suffice you that which sufficed them.”
[Ash Shareeah by Al Ajuri]

Shaykh Saleem Al Hilaali said while commenting on the statement of imam Al Awzaa’ee: The intent (of people and righteous predecessors) is the companions.
{[From his book tareeful aam bi minhajis salafil kiraam]

Imam Ahmad said: “The foundations of the Sunnah with us is clinging to that which the messenger of Allah’s companions were upon and to emulate them in that…”
[Usoolus Sunnah of Imam Ahmad]

Imam Al Barbahaari said: “The companions of Muhammad may Allah be merciful to them, they are the basis of the jamaa’ah. They are Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah. So whoever does not take from them has gone astray and innovated. Every innovation is misguidance, and misguidance along with it’s people are in the fire.”
[Sharhus Sunnah]

The statements of the imams and scholars of deen regarding this subject are numerous. Thus the objective of Yusuf Estes is quite clear, it is nothing more than to divert people away from al minhaj as salafi, and he utilizes lies, trickery, and deceit in order to accomplish this. He distorts the intent of the descriptive term salafi which is in reality an ascription to the companions showing that one emulates them in practical application of Islam, yet he fabricates an intent unheard of before him by stating salafi means I’m a dead righteous guy. He continues by brazenly claiming that all of it was invented by shaykh Al Albani and accompanies this lie with defamation of the shaykh. Yusuf states: “he was a loner in that he had his own thing going. He didn’t come from a particular following of anything he just come up with a lot of stuff on his own.”

Eventually he attempts to bring credibility to his deceit by stating: “…because his own students have told me themselves they didn’t endorse it. Muhammad Jibaly, Bin Uthaymin you can go and talk to them in Saudi Arabia yourself..” Yaa Yusuf when did shaykh Uthaymin become a student of shaykh Al Albani?
And how can I ask him anything considering the fact that he passed away over ten years ago?

As if that wasn’t enough he continues by attributing actions to the salafis that which we are free from, and warn against diligently. He states: “..not going in a pointing at people calling them kafir, and labeling all of the leaders and things like that…” Dear reader may Allah rectify our affairs, Allah commands us to be truthful and prohibits us from lying.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ
Allah says: “O you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are truthful.” At-Taubah: 119

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا
And He says: “O you who believe! Fear Allah and speak a sadeed word.” Al Ahzab: 70

Imam Ash Shawkani comments on the meaning of sadeed: “A correct and truthful word.”
تفسير فتح القدير/ الشوكاني

The Prophet sallahu alayhi wa salaam said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the last day then speak that which is good or keep quiet…” [Collected by both Al Bukhari and Muslim upon the authority of Abi Huraira]

The Prophet sallahu alayhi wa salaam also said: “ the signs of the hypocrite are three; when he speaks he lies, when he makes a promise he doesn’t fulfill it, and when he is entrusted he betrays (the trust).” [Collected by Muslim upon the authority of Abi Huraira]

Likewise he sallahu alayhi wa salaam said: “Indeed truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. A man (doesn’t continue to) speak truthfully until he is (or becomes) truthful. Likewise lying leads to sinfulness, and sinfulness leads to the fire. A man (isn’t continuous in) lies until he is written to be a liar with Allah.” [Collected by both Al Bukhari and Muslim upon the authority of Abdullah ibn Masud]

When the inaccuracies of Yusuf Estes are presented to some, the usual response is perhaps he was given incorrect information from those he considered reliable, then regurgitated it without investigation nor verification. My response is, isn’t errors of this nature expected from someone who sat with shia scholars and scholars of all tariqa from the Sufis?

Also if the situation that is assumed is the case, to spread inaccuracies similar to that which is being discussed only harms the integrity of the propagator, and can not be used to defend him. The Prophet sallahu alayhi wa salaam stated: “sufficient for a man to be considered a liar he who narrates everything he hears!” [Collected by Muslim in the intro to his sahih] I seek refuge with Allah from being considered a liar.

From the Methodology of Yusuf Estes:

Urging deviant groups to push forward

Yusuf Estes states: “And what we find today is that many of the Muslims are divided into these various groups. Now some of these groups actually I highly encourage to go forward, but some of the groups they have problems and they even fight amongst themselves…”
[Video: Groups Sects in Islam -misconceptions- Yusuf Estes Part 6]

Dear reader, may Allah bless you with good, the division and separation found among the Muslims today results from differing in aspects of the Islamic creed. With all of the varying groups is opposition to Allah’s legislation. As a result this opposition is classified as sinful and corrupt. Some opposition is very extreme and even reaches the boundaries of disbelief and apostasy. Therefore it is not befitting for one who claims to have a yearn to correct and rectify the condition of the Muslims today, to encourage any of these groups and factions to go forward. On the contrary, it is compulsory for him to detail the errors of these groups in order to prevent people from being deceived unknowingly. Likewise it’s upon him to direct the people to the truth, to aid it and assist those who strive to establish it.

The Prophet sallahu alayhi wa salaam said: “Indeed the people of the book before you split into 72 groups upon desires and indeed this nation will separate into 73 groups upon desire. All of them in the fire except one and it is the jamaa’ah.” [Collected by Abu Dawud, Ahmad, Ibn Abi Asim in kitabus Sunnah and others]

Likewise he sallahu alayhi wa salaam said: “Whoever from among you lives after me will see an abundant of differing. Thus upon you is my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided successors after me. Cling to and bite onto it with your molar teeth. Beware of novelties, for every novelty is a bidah (innovation), and every innovation is misguidance.” [Collected by Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and others]

These two narrations point to the threat against the safety and well being of the individual in this life and the next that associates with any of these groups. Shamsul Haqq Al Atheem Abaadi states in his explanation to sunan Abi Dawud “Al Jamaa’ah, they’re the adherents of the Quran, hadith, fiqh, and knowledge. They assemble upon conformity to the narratives of the Prophet sallahu alayhi wa salaam in every circumstances. They don’t invent (matters into deen) by way of distortion, and alteration nor do they change (the deen) by way of corrupt opinions.”

These are some observations with regards to the methodology of Yusuf Estes that clearly illustrate his differing with the methodology of the salaf. I ask Allah to make Yusuf Estes successful in repenting from these errors and to recognize his limitations in order to not transgress them, wa billahit tawfeeq.

Written by Najeeb ibn Yusuf Al Angelesi

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