Praise be to Allah.
We appreciate your protective jealousy towards the religion of Allaah, and we value your attitude in defending it against its enemies and doubters. But this will not prevent us from advising you and directing you towards that which is better for you and for the religion of Allaah.
This advice may be summed up by telling you not to get involved in dealing with specious arguments and refuting them until after you have gained a strong knowledge of the rulings and laws of Islam, and until your faith has become strong and certain. This is not something that is mustahabb or recommended, rather it is obligatory in your case and in the case of everyone who wants to get involved in dealing with specious arguments and refuting the followers of innovation, misguidance and deviant religions. There are a number of important reasons for this:
1 – Protecting the religion and laws of Allaah from zealots who do not have any real knowledge. These people see the specious argument but their answer misses the point, and sometimes their response is so weak that it may reinforce the specious argument and weaken truth.
2 – Protecting the Muslims who are eager to refute them from being misled by these specious arguments and their proponents. Many of those who get involved in this field enter with little knowledge, and the specious arguments penetrate their hearts and they can find no answer to them, so they become confused and begin to doubt. Examining specious arguments too much weakens the heart.
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Shaykh al-Islam (may Allaah have mercy on him) said to me, after I had posed some questions to him, one after another:
Do not make your heart like a sponge for questions and specious arguments lest your heart be filled with them and they start to affect your thinking and your behaviour. Rather make it like a sealed bottle, so that the specious arguments will bounce off its surface and will not settle in it, then you will be able to see them clearly and ward them off because of the resolve you have. Otherwise if every specious argument that crosses your mind settles in your heart, it will become an abode for specious arguments. – Or words to that effect.
I not know that I benefited from any advice to ward off specious arguments as I did from this advice.
Miftaah Daar al-Sa’aadah (1/140).
Imam al-Dhahabi narrated that Sufyaan al-Thawri (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Whoever hears of an innovation should not tell it to his companions lest it reach their hearts.
He commented on that by saying:
Most of the imams of the salaf issued similar warnings; they thought that hearts were weak and that specious arguments could easily penetrate them.
Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’ (7/261).
3 – Taking care of one’s time and not wasting it on stubborn arguers, and not wasting time on one aspect of knowledge which should be preceded by other kinds of knowledge. It is not right to refute those who attack Islam until after one has learned the Qur’aan and saheeh Sunnah, which takes a lot of the knowledge-seeker’s time. Some specious arguments may be answered from the point of view of language, others from the point of view of Tafseer, or hadeeth, or logic. What zealous beginner can master all of that?
4 – Choosing the right way to call people to Islam. Calling people to Allaah needs knowledge on the part of the caller, and it needs wisdom so that he will handle matters appropriately. Some of those who are called may be open-minded, easy going and close to the truth, and some may be stubborn, so the caller needs to know the appropriate way to deal with each of them, and be strict with some and gentle and kind with others.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Invite (mankind, O Muhammad صلىالله عليه وسلم) to the way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Revelation and the Qur’aan) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better”
“And argue not with the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), unless it be in (a way) that is better (with good words and in good manner, inviting them to Islamic Monotheism with His Verses), except with such of them as do wrong”
How can the beginner know the appropriate way to deal with these people? How can he implement it? When should he give up? All of that needs the caller to have a considerable amount of knowledge and wisdom, and this cannot be found with the majority of zealous beginners.
Hence the answer to the brother’s question may be known: should he remain in the chat rooms even though he sees them reviling Allaah, may He be exalted, and His Messenger and His religion, or should he leave? Does what is mentioned in the verses quoted in the question apply to him? There is no definite answer to that, unless we know the state of the chat room and the state of the caller, and the state of the specious arguments, and whether he is allowed to respond and comment, or is he only reading and not taking part? If we know all that we can form an idea of the appropriate answer.
We have seen some of our zealous brothers who are eager to engage in da’wah entering chat rooms on “Pal Talk” where heretics revile the Sahaabah and label them as kaafirs, and they insult the Muslims in immoral speech, but they prevent the Muslim brother from commenting verbally or by typing. What point is there in staying in those evil rooms?
In this case, what is mentioned in the verses quoted in the question is applicable; this is unlike one who listens in order to compile and document their words or one who listens in order to refute them when it is his turn to speak. In those cases, what is mentioned in the verses quoted in the question does not apply.
This is general advice, and we ask Allaah to cause it to be of benefit.
Shaykh al-‘Uthaymeen said:
It is not permissible for a person to read a misguiding book of the Jews, Christians, mushrikeen or innovators, unless he has deep knowledge that can protect him. But if he is a beginner in seeking knowledge, then it is not permissible for him to start by reading these books of falsehood, because he may be influenced by the falsehood contained therein. We advise these people to leave these books alone until they have fortified themselves with sound shar’i knowledge before they look into those misguided books. If a person wants to protect himself against a flood, he builds a barrier and implements other means before the flood comes; he does not do that after the flood comes. So we say: First of all, fortify yourselves with shar’i knowledge and let it take root deeply in your hearts, so that you will be strong and it will not matter what you read and you will be able to refute the specious arguments and false notions of the people.
Liqaa’aat al-Baab il-Maftooh (47/question no. 7)