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Narrate what people can understand
 
Ali Bin Abu Talib (may Allah be
pleased with him) said: “Narrate to people what they can understand; do you


want Allah and His Messenger to be disbelieved?” (Al-Bukhari)  Ibn Hajr said in Fath Al-Bari, “(In

this narration) there is evidence that ambiguous knowledge should not be
mentioned amongst the general public.”

Sheikh Muhammad Bin Saleh


Al-Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) explained this very important and
often misunderstood point beautifully. After mentioning the narration of Ali,

he states:
“It is therefore an aspect of wisdom

in Da’wah that you should not surprise people with things they are not able to

comprehend. Rather, you should call them in stages, bit by bit until their

minds settle.
“(The statement of Ali) ‘Do you want

Allah and His Messenger to be disbelieved in?’ is a rhetorical question, posed


as criticism of such behavior. It means: By narrating to people what they

cannot understand, do you want Allah and His Messenger to be disbelieved in ?


This is because in such cases when you say, ‘Allah said, and His Messenger said,’ people will say, ‘You have lied,’ if their minds cannot comprehend what
you are saying. Here, they are not disbelieving in Allah and His Messenger, but

they are disbelieving you because of what you have attributed to Allah and His

Messenger. Thus they will end up disbelieving in Allah and His Messenger – not

directly – but through the person who transmits this knowledge (i.e. you).


“So, should we stop telling people
things they cannot understand even if they need to know? The answer is: No, we


do not leave this knowledge altogether. But we should tell them in a way that

they are able to understand it.
This is done by telling them in

stages, bit by bit until they can accept the thing we want them to know and

they can feel comfortable with it. We do not abandon knowledge that people

cannot understand and just say ‘this is something they will reject or dislike

so we will not speak about it.’


“The same is the case with acting
upon a
Sunnah that people are not used to and which they might find

objectionable. We should act by this Sunnah only after informing people about

it, such that they will be able to accept it and feel comfortable about it.



“We learn from this narration that

it is important to employ wisdom in calling to Allah, and that it is incumbent upon anyone who calls to Allah to consider the level of understanding of those

he is inviting, and that he should put everyone in their proper place.” (Majmu’

Fatawa Bin Uthaymeen, vol. 10, p. 140).


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