Belief in Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aala)

Discussion in 'Fundamental Beliefs in Islam Tawheed and Aqeedah' started by ditta, Jul 29, 2009.

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    As-salaamu'Alaykum wa'Rahmatullaah wa'Barakatuh,

    This thread is in relation to Belief in Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aala) by Umar al-Ashqar (rahimahullah) as stated by the thread title.

    I will break this down into sections and will provide a relevant link that post (where that section begins). I think you will be able to figure out when the section ends. I hope that makes sense:

    EDIT: The break down below will not be accurate in terms of the starting post. Some content has been removed to respect the right of the publisher.
    I hope this organisation of the thread helps in order to read the portion you want. However you could just start from the beginning!
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    1) Aqeedah: Meaning and Usage

    The word aqeedah and related words are constantly repeated by people in their everyday conversations. So we hear them saying “Ana a’taqid kadha (I believe such and such),” “Foolaan aqeedatuhu hasanah (So and so’s belief is sound),” “The Islamic aqeedah is the strongest cause for the great Islamic victories in every time and place,” “The war between us and the Jews is in fact an ideological war (harb aqaa’idiyah)” and so on.

    What do people mean by the aqeedah (faith)? What does this mean in Arabic? What is the concept of aqeedah (faith) in Islam?

    Aqaa’id (plural of Aqeedah) are the things which people’s hearts affirm and believe in, the things that accept (as true). These are matters which are held as certain beliefs, with no taint of doubt.


    Aqd al-habl (tying the rope) means tying one part to another part, as opposed to untying it. In Arabic, the meanings of the word aqd revolve around ideas of adherence, certainty and affirmation. There is aayah (verse) in the Qur’an:

    Allah will not punish you for what is unintentional in your oaths, but He will punish you for your deliberate oaths (aqqadtum);...

    (Qur’aan 5: 89)


    A deliberate oath is one in which there is resolve and determination in the heart, unlike an unintentional oath which may be spoken of without any intention.


    Uqood refers to the strongest of covenants, as when Allah says:

    O’ you who believe! Fulfil (your) obligations (awfoo bi’l-uqood)...

    (Qur’aan 5: 1)


    The Arabs say “a’taqada ash-shay’u” when a thing becomes solid and strong.

    In Islam, Aqeedah (belief) is the counterpart of shari’ah, because Islam is composed of both aqeedah and shari’ah. Shari’ah means the practical duties enjoined by Islam, about acts of worship and dealings with others.
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    2) Aqeedah is a Matter of Knowledge in the Heart

    Aqeedah is not a practical matter, but a matter of knowledge which the Muslim is oblihed to believe in his heart, because Allah has told him about these matters in His Book or through Revelation to His Messenger :saw:.

    The basic principles of the aqeedah Allah commands us to believe in are mentioned in the aayah:


    The Messenger (Muhammad :saw:) believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books and His Messengers. (They say), ‘We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers’- and they say, ‘We hear and we obey. (We seek) Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all).’

    (Quran 2: 285)


    The Prophet :saw: defined this belief in the famous hadith of Jibreel (may Allah’s peace be upon him), in which he :saw: said:

    “Eemaan (faith) is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, the Meeting with Him and His Messengers, and to believe in the final Resurrection.”

    (Bukhari, Muslim 1/39, hadith no. 5. This version is narrated by Muslim)


    So aqeedah in Islam refers to those matters of knowledge which have been transmitted in authentic reports from Allah and His Messenger, and which the Muslim must believe in with all his heart, believing in what Allah and His Messenger say.
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    3) Aqeedah means Certain Belief, with no Room for Doubt

    In order for these principles to form aqeedah, we must believe in them firmly, with no room for doubt. If there is any element of doubt, then they are merely speculation, not aqeedah (belief). “Al-Mu’jam al-Waseet “ defines aqeedah as a belief in which the one who holds that belief will not entertain any doubt whatsoever.” (Al-Mu’jam alWaseet, 2/614) Evidence [daleel] for that is found in the Qur’an:

    Only those are the believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not...

    (Qur'aan 49: 15)


    Alif-Laam-Meem..This is the Book (the Qur’aan) whereof there is no doubt.

    (Qur'aan 2: 1-2)


    Our Lord! Verily, it is You Who will gather mankind together on the Day about which there is no doubt...

    (Qur'aan 3: 9)


    Allah condemned the mushrikeen (polytheists) who were filled with doubt:

    ...There hearts are in such doubt that they even waver in their doubt.

    (Qur'aan 9: 45)
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    4) The Issues of Aqeedah are Invisible

    It may be noted that the issues which we are required to believe in are unseen matters, not visible, tangible things. This is what Allah referred to when He praised the believers:

    Who believe in the Ghayb...

    (Qur'aan 2: 3)


    Allah is unseen, as are His angels and the Last Day. With regard to His Books and Messengers, one might thing that they are visible, but what is referred to here is the belief that they come from Allah i.e., that the Messengers were sent by Allah and that the Books were revealed by Allah, which is the matter of the unseen.
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    5) Correct Aqeedah and False Aqeedah

    Aqeedah (belief) is not exclusive to Islam. The adherents of religions and schools of thought inevitable have beliefs according to which they run their lives. This applies to individuals just as it applies to societies. From the beginning of the creation until the Day (of Judgement), until the time when Allah will inherit the earth and everything on it. Beliefs are divided into two kinds.

    a)
    The correct aqeedah:
    It is composed of the set of beliefs brought by the noble Messengers. This is the one aqeedah, because it was send down by the All-Knowing, All Aware (Allah); it cannot be imagined that it differs from one Messenger to another, or from one time to another.


    b) False beliefs: They are very many indeed. Their falseness stems from the fact that they are the product of human thought and intellect. No matter how great mankind may become, their knowledge is (and will remain) limited and is (and will continue to be) influenced by the customs, traditions and thoughts that surround them.

    There are also false beliefs which are the result of distortion, changes and alteration, is the case with the Jewish and Christian beliefs at the present time. They were distorted a long time ago, and were corrupted as a result of this distortion, even though each of them was originally a sound aqeedah.
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    Where is the true aqeedah today?

    The true aqeedah today is not found anywhere except in the religion of Islam, because this is the protected religion which Allah, has guaranteed to protect:

    Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur’aan) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).

    (Qur'aan 15: 9)

    The beliefs of other religions, even though they may contain some grains of truth here and there, do not present a clear image of the truth.

    Whoever wants to know the truth, correct aqeedah will not it in Judaism or in Christianity, or in the words of the philosophers. He will only find it in Islam, in the original sources of the faith: the Qur’aan and Sunnah, pure and clear and shining, which convince the man’s mind with evidence and proof, and fill the heart with eemaan, certainty, light and life.


    And thus We have sent to you (O’ Muhammad) Rooh (a revelation, and a Mercy) of Our Command. You knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith? But We have made it (this Qur’aan) a light wherewith We guide whosoever of Our slaves We will...

    (Qur'aan 42: 52)
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    6) The Importance and Necessity of Islamic Aqeedah

    The Islamic aqeedah is as essential for man as water and air. Without this aqeedah he is lost and confused. The Islamic aqeedah is the only one which answer the questions that have always preoccupied man and still preoccupy human thought and cause frustration:

    Where did I come from?

    Where did the universe come from?

    Who is the Creator?

    What are His attributes and names?

    Why did He create us and the universe?

    What is our role in this universe?

    What is our relationship to the Creator who created us?

    Are there other, invisible worlds beyond the world that we can see?

    Are there other intelligent beings apart from man?

    Is there another life after this life?

    If the answer is positive, what is that other life like?


    There is no other belief today, apart from the aqeedah of Islam, that can answer these questions in a true and convincing way. Everyone who does not know or believe in this aqeedah is like that miserable poet who knows nothing of it.
    He says:

    I came, I know not from whence, but I came
    I saw before me a path, so I followed it
    And I shall continue to tread this path, whether I like it or not
    Where did I come from? How did I find this path?


    I know not

    Am I new or ancient in the universe?
    Am I free, or a prisoner in chains?
    Am I controlling my own fate in this life, or am I controlled?
    How I wish I knew, but


    I know not

    My path, what is my path? Is it long or short?
    Am I ascending, or descending?
    Am I running through this life, or is it life that is running?
    Or are we both standing still, whilst time runs?


    I know not

    I wonder, when I was in that unseen, secure world,
    Did I know that I was hidden there
    And that I would emerge and come into being?
    Or, I wonder, did I not know a thing?


    I know not

    I wonder, before I became a complete human being,
    Was I non-existent, or was I something possible, or was I something?
    Is there an answer to this mystery? Or will I remain forever
    Not knowing... why I don’t know?

    I know not

    What confusion is this! What anxiety this uncertainty brings to human souls!

    Do the children of this generation, who have missed out on knowledge of the “great universal” facts” without which their lives cannot be sound and healthy, deserve to suffer these worries which fill their hearts and cause pain and complexes? Compare their situation to that of the Muslim who knows for certain all of these facts, and through them finds comfort and peace of mind. So he travels on a straight path towards a definite goal whose features are known.
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    Listen to this miserable poet speaking about death and one’s ultimate fate:

    If death is a punishment, what sin can the pure soul commit?
    If it is a reward, what blessings does the promiscuous soul deserve?
    If there is no reward or loss in it,
    Then what is the point of calling things sinful or righteous?

    I know not

    If death is a kind of sleep after being awake,
    Why do we not stay awake?
    Why does a man not know when he it to depart?
    When will the secret be revealed so that he will know?


    I know not

    If death is a kind of sleep to allow man to relax
    And it is a setting free rather than an imprisonment, a beginning rather than an end,
    Then why do I not love this sleep and long for this?
    Why are souls so afraid of it?


    I know not

    After the grave, after death, will there be any resurrection
    And life, and eternity, or only final oblivion?
    Is what people say true or false?
    Is it true that some people know?


    I know not

    If I am resurrected after death, physically and spiritually,
    I wonder, will I be resurrected in part, or in total?
    I wonder, will I be resurrected as a child, or as an adult?
    Then will I know myself after I am resurrected?


    I know not

    He does not know what his ultimate destiny will be, and man’s ultimate fate concerns him. He wants to be reassured about that destiny. We see the poet’s pain, because he does not know where his ultimate destiny lies and what will become of him. He is misguided from the truth, his heart is filled with misery and laden with worry and grief. His wonderings have exhausted him.

    How many people there are in this world who are like this misguided, miserable poet! Some of them are able to express their misery and confusion, whilst others feel and suffer, but their thoughts remain trapped in their miserable souls.


    “I know not,” is the response to these eternal questions. These are not the words of this poet alone. Socrates, the thinker who is viewed as one of the giants of philosophy, clearly stated,


    “The thing that I still do not know about is the fact that I do not know

    (Ad-Deen by Ad-Darraaz, 69).


    Indeed, scepticism/agnosticism (in Arabic, laa adriyah, lit. “not knowing”) is an ancient school of philosophical thought.
    Only though the guidance of Islam does man learn where he came from, where he is going, why the universe exists, and what his role is in this universe. He knows that in truth, and there is a great difference between those who know and those who do not:

    Is he who walks prone (without seeing) on his face, more rightly guided, or he who (sees and) walks upright on the Straight Way (i.e. Islamic Monotheism)?

    (Qur'aan 67: 22)
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    2 - The Relationship Between Aqeedah and Eemaan, and Shari’ah

    1) The relationship between Aqeedah and Eemaan


    In the Qur'aan, Allah, the Exalted, praises eemaan (faith) and the people of eemaan, in aayaat (verses) such as the following:

    Successful indeed are the believers.

    (Qur’aan 23: 1)


    They are on (true) guidance from their Lord, and they are the successful.

    (Qur'aan 2: 5)

    Allah, promised them Paradise:

    These are indeed the inheritors, who shall inherit the Firdaus [Paradise]. They shall dwell therein forever.

    (Qur'aan 23: 10-11)


    The eemaan (faith) for which Allah praised people was not only aqeedah (belief). Aqeedah formed the foundation and basis of eemaan (firm belief). So eemaan is the aqeedah which is established firmly in the heart, clings to it and never departs from it. It is verbally declared and pronounced by the believer in whose heart this aqeedah takes firm roots. His belief and declaration are confirmed by his actions conforming to the dictates of that aqeedah.

    Belief that takes roots in the heart but has no visible manifestation is an empty and cold belief that does not deserve to be called aqeedah. We see many people who know the truth, but they do not abide by it or live their lives in accordance with it. They may even resist the truth which they believe to be true. Iblees (Satan) knows the great universal truths with certainty, he knows Allah, and the truth, the Messengers and Books, but he devoted himself to opposing the truth even after full knowledge.


    Pharaoh (Fir’awn) was certain that the miracles brought by Moosa (May peace be upon him) were indeed from Allah, but he denied them out of stubborn pride and arrogance, as Allah the Exalted, tells us about him and his people:

    And they belied them (those Ayaat) wrongfully and arrogantly, though their own selves were convinced thereof...

    (Qur'aan 27: 14)


    Moses had addressed Pharaoh, saying:

    Verily, you know that these signs have been sent down by none but the Lord of the heavens and the earth (as clear evidences, i.e. proofs of Allah’s Oneness and His Omnipotence)...

    (Qur'aan 17: 102)


    The People of the Book know that Muhammad :saw: is a Messenger sent by his Lord:

    Those to whom We gave the Scripture (Jews and Christians) recognise him (Muhammad :saw:) as they recognise their sons...

    (Qur'aan 2: 146)

    - But they do not admit that.

    Listen to what Abu Taalib said to the Messenger :saw: as his excuse for not believing:

    “I know that the religion of Muhammad is one of the best religions in the world, were it not for the fear of blame and slander, you would see me acknowledging that openly.”

    So eemaan does not mean only acknowledging Allah, the All-High, exists, or knowledge that a person admits not because of superiority complex, or refuses to abide by its rulings. Eemaan means aqeedah (belief) that a person accepts in his heart and affirms by his tongue, and he accepts and always adheres to the way laid down by Allah.


    Hence the scholars of the salaf (Pious Predecessors) said: “Eemaan means belief in his heart, words on the tongue (declaration) and striving to implement its pillars.”

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    2) The Relationship Between Aqeedah and Shari’ah

    As we have mentioned above, there are two conditions of faith:
    aqeedah which is deeply rooted in the heart, and deeds which manifest themselves in a person’s actions. If either of these two essential components is missing, eemaan is lost or becomes unbalanced. Hence the connection between these two elements is very important.


    Eemaan is like a good, strong tree that is firmly rooted in good soil with its branches reaching up into the sky, bearing abundant fruit, producing its fruit for everyone by the grace of its Lord. Thus eemaan is the tree; aqeedah is rooted deeply in the heart, and its trunk, branches and fruits are deeds and actions.

    Undoubtedly if the roots are removed or turn rotten or dried up, they will no longer exist. Similarly, eemaan will no longer exist if aqeedah is taken away. If the trunk or branches are cut off, or some of them are cut off, the tree will weaken, and may die altogether, because the presence of branches and leaves are essential to the tree’s continued existence. Similarly, if deeds are neglected, in part of in whole, then eemaan will be reduced or destroyed.​
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    3) Paying Attention to Deeds

    It is incumbent on us to pay attention to the deeds that Allah, has enjoined upon us as obligatory duties, or that He has encouraged us to do, and to abstain from the deeds that He has forbidden us to do, because this is a part of eemaan. Doing the deeds that are forbidden – even it is only a little – detracts from eemaan proportionately.

    Hence those who undermine the importance of implementing and adhering to the Sunnah of the Prophet should be aware of their dangerous attitude. Some them may overstep the mark and describe some issues of Sunnah or Islamic religion as unimportant or insignificant. We ask Allah to forgive these people, for all of the religion is important and nothing in it is insignificant, although matters may vary in their degree of importance.


    What we say should not be taken as meaning that we do not pay attention to the priorities in knowledge, actions and in calling people to Allah. This is a matter which should be well known and established. But what we are denouncing here is negligence of minor issues and condemnation of those who pay attention to both minor and major issues in Islam and Sunnah of the Chosen Prophet :saw:.

    How deeply moved I am when I think of Umar’s attitude after he had been stabbed, and a young man came to see him and spoke kindly to him. When the young man turned to leave, his izaar (lower garment) was trailing on the ground.
    ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) called him and said to him:“O Son of my brother, lift up your garment, for that is cleaner for your garment and more pleasing to your Lord.”

    [Saheeh al-Bukhari bi Sharhihi Fath al-Baari, 7/60, hadith no.3700]


    His approaching death did not prevent him from telling that man about a matter which many people nowadays regard as insignificant and as something which we should not pay attention to.


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    3) Eemaan and Kufr

    1) Ruling of Rejection of Aqeedah​


    He who rejects aqeedah altogether, such as the communists who deny the existence of Allah, reject the Messengers and the Books, and do not believe in the Hereafter and reward and punishment, or who denies part of the aqeedah, is a kaafir (disbeliever) and is not a Muslim. He should be told that the Islamic aqeedah can never be accepted in part, because the whole is so strongly interconnected.

    Belief in Allah requires that one believe in the angels, the Books, the Messengers and the Last Day. Belief in the Books requires that one believe in all the other basic principles of faith (usool al-eemaan). Belief in the Messenger :saw: means that one believes and accepts all that he brought... Hence Allah considers the person who believes in one principle and denies another as being a kaafir.

    Allah, the All Glorious, says:

    Verily, those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers and wish to make distinction between Allah and His Messengers [by believing in Allah and disbelieving in His Messengers] saying, “We believe in some but reject others,” and wish to adopt a way in between. They are in truth disbelievers...

    (4: 150-151)

    Disbelieving in some of the minor issues of aqeedah which have been proven definitively in the Qur’an or Sunnah is also counted as kufr (disbelief), such as denying one of the Messengers or one of the Angels.
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    2) Actions and Words Which are Counted as Kufr (Disbelief)

    Kufr does not consist only of denying basic principles of aqeedah. There are certain actions which if done, are also kufr. They may be summed up in one phrase: “worshipping others besides Allah.” Worship is the right of Allah alone, and directing worship to anyone or anything other than Allah is shirk (polytheism), such as praying to anything other than Allah, offering sacrifice to anything other than Allah, calling upon anything or anyone other than Allah etc.

    A man may become a kaafir (disbeliever) by uttering words which insult the Creator, Glorified and Exalted be He, or Islam, or the Prophet, or words which make fun of Islam, or which give preference to misguided principles such as communism or Buddhism, or deviant religions such Judaism or Christianity over Islam, or which accuse Islam of being imperfect, backward and reactionary.
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    3) Attitude Towards the Kuffaar (Disbelievers)

    The Muslim should regard the kuffaar as enemies and hate them because of their kufr, just as he hates their kufr (disbelief) itself. He should oppose this falsehood and its followers by speaking out clearly, and by calling them to the truth. He should explain to them their misguided state, and show them the truth, explaining it to them clearly and confidently. Even though we hate the disbelievers, we want them to be guided and we hope that they will be.

    These are rulings concerning the kuffaar which are explained in the books of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). For example, we do not let them marry Muslim women, we do not marry any of their women except those of the People of the Book, and we do not wash their dead or pray for them...
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    4) The Kaafir before Allah

    The person who hears of Islam, and knowingly rejects it is a kaafir (disbeliever) who will abide in the Hell-Fire forever, for he will have no excuse on the Day of Resurrection.

    Those who do not hear of Islam for whatever reason, such as living in remote areas or because they have lost their hearing and sight, or because Islam reached them when they were too old to understand, will not be punished on the Day of Resurrection until they have been tried and tested, because the proof did not reach. Allah, the Almighty, says:


    ...And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning). (17: 15)

    The evidence that they will be tested is the hadith narrated by Al-Aswad ibn Saree’, who said: “The Messenger of Allah :saw: said:

    “There are four who will be tested on the Day of Resurrection: the deaf who could not hear anything; the imbecile; the senile old man; and the man who died during the fatarah (interval between two Prophets, when no Message reached him).

    The deaf man will say,

    "O Lord, Islam came and I did not hear anything.” The imbecile will say, “O Lord, Islam came but the young boys were pelting me with camel dung.”

    The senile old man will say,


    “O Lord, Islam came and I did not hear anything.”

    The man who died during the fatarah will say,

    “O Lord, no Messenger came to me.”

    Then Allah will take their pledge to obey Him, and He will send word to them to enter the fire. By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, if they enter it, it will be cool and safe for them.”


    (Ahmad in his Musnad, and classed as saheeh by Al-Bayhaqi. See Ibn Katheer in his tafseer of the aayah of al-Israa’ 15)
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    5) Neglecting Obligatory Duties and Committing Prohibited Actions


    i) The attitude of the salaf towards those who commit major sins



    Undoubtedly, if a person neglects the duties that Allah has enjoined upon him, such as paying zakah, fasting, performing Hajj and honouring one’s parents, or does haraam (forbidden) things such as committing adultery (zina), engaging in usury or interest (riba) or consuming orphans’ property, his faith is distorted and is lacking in proportion to the duties neglected or sins committed. But is he to be regarded as a kaafir – disbeliever – simply because he has neglected those duties or committed those haraam actions, so long as he does not deny the former or claim that the latter is halaal (legal)?


    The texts that we have before us teach us that the Muslim does not become a kaafir by committing sins or by neglecting obligatory duties, but this does detract from his faith and his case rests with Allah – if He wills, He will forgive him, and if He wills, He will punish him. Among the texts which state that clearly is the aayah (verse):


    Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him [in worship], but He forgives except that [anything else] to whom He wills;...


    (Qur'aan 4: 48)

    The only sin that He will not forgive is shirk. In the case of every lesser sin, it is up to Allah: if He wills, He will forgive, and if He wills, He will punish.


    There are also ahaadeeth which clearly state the same thing that is indicated in this aayah. According to a hadith qudsi:


    “O son of Adam, if you were to come to me with an earthful of sin, then you were to meet Me not associating anything in worship with Me, I would come to you with an earth-full of forgiveness.”


    [Hadith qudsi – the inspired words of Allah conveyed by the Prophet :saw: in his words]


    [Tirmidhi in his Sunan 4/49, hadith no. 3540. He said: this is a ghareeb hadith which we know only with this isnad. See Saheeh Sunan at-Tirmidhi by al-Albaani, 3/175, hadith no. 2805]


    According to another hadith qudsi:


    “Whoever meets Me with an earth-full of sin, but does not associate anyone in worship with Me, I will meet him with forgiveness equal to it.”


    [Muslim, 4/2068, hadith no. 2687]


    It is reported that Utbaan ibn Maalik stated: “The Messenger of Allah :saw: said:


    ‘Allah has forbidden for the Fire all those who say Laa ilaaha illa-Allah seeking thereby the Face of Allah.’


    [Bukhari, 1/519, hadith no. 425]


    It is reported from Jaabir that the Messenger of Allah :saw: said:


    Whoever dies not associating anything with Allah will enter Paradise.”


    [Muslim, 1/94, hadith no. 94]


    In the hadith about intercession, it is reported that Allah said:


    “By My Glory, My Majesty, My Pride and My Might, I will bring forth from it (Hell) those who say Laa Ilaaha illa-Allah”


    [Bukhari, 13/474]


    It is reported from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah :saw: said:


    “The people of Paradise will enter Paradise, and the People of Hell will enter
    Hell, then Allah, will say: ‘Bring forth everyone in whose heart was faith the weight of a grain of mustard seed.”


    [Bukhari, 1/72, hadith no. 22]


    Abu Sufyaan said: “I lived near Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah in Makkah for six months. A man asked him, ‘Do you call any of the people of Qiblah (i.e. Muslims) a kaafir?’ He said, ‘Allah forbid!’ He asked, ‘Do you call anybody a mushrik?’ He said, ‘No.’


    [Abu Ubayd al-Qaasim ibn Salaam in his book Al-Eemaan, edited by Shaykh Naasiruddin al-Albaani, Pp. 98. The editor said, its isnad is saheeh according to the conditions of Muslim. Abu Sufyaan, the narrator of the hadith was a Taabi’ee]


    These texts lead prominent scholars among the salaf of this ummah to say of the one who commits sins and neglects obligatory duties: “He is a believer because of his faith but a faasiq (sinner) because of his sin.” They attributed faith to him, but it was not the perfect faith that is the rightful attribute of those who do acts of obedience and refrain from committing sin. His faith is impaired because of his wrongs (fisq) and because of the sin that he has committed.
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    ii) The khawaarij who denounced people as kaafir because of their sins

    In contrast to these (the salaf), there was another group who accused people of kufr if they feel short in any obligatory duty, or if they committed any haraam actions. We still see many people hastening to condemn people as kaafir in a similar manner. The first group to adopt this approach was the Khawaarij, a group who emerged (kharaja) from the army of ‘Ali bin Abi Taalib (radhiyAllahu anh) after the appointed arbitrators, Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari and ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas, had failed to end the dispute that was raging among the Muslims under the leadership of ‘Ali and Mu’aawiyah.

    The Khawaarij claimed that appointing men as arbitrators was a mistake according to shari’ah, and they regarded it as kufr. They viewed as kuffaar all the Muslims who had agreed to that, and testified that they themselves turned to be disbelievers. (Because they had initially agreed to the arbitration – Translator). They then entered the pale of Islam afresh. They demanded that ‘Ali should also accept that he committed kufr by agreeing to the arbitration (and pronounce shahadah afresh) as a precondition for their returning to the ranks of his army. ‘Ali (radhiyAllahu anh) disputed with them, and sent to them the great scholar of this ummah, Ibn ‘Abbaas, who established proof against them and refuted their point of view. A few thousand of them came back (to the army and to Islam), but two thousand persisted in following their opinion and fought ‘Ali, who defeated them and finished them off. But their thinking spread, and was adopted by many people after them. This idea of denouncing others as kaafir still emerges from time to time, and it has resurfaced in our own times.
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    The evidence quoted by the khawaarij for denouncing as kaafir those who commit major

    The Khawaarij –

    (There is another group, the Mu’tazilah, who are the followers of Waasil ibn ‘Ataa’, who said that one who commits major sin is neither a believer nor a kaafir, but is in a position between kufr and eemaan, but in the Hereafter he will be doomed to eternity in Hell.)


    - claim that one who commits a major sin is a kaafir and is no longer Muslim, and his blood and wealth are halaal (lawful (i.e. he may be killed and his wealth seized by the Muslims)). They say that he will abide in Hell forever. They quote in support of their view; evidence, which they thought, proved their case, such as the following:


    a)
    They said, “You agree with us that deeds are part of faith, because eemaan is composed of belief, words and deeds. If one part of faith, such as actions, is missing, then the whole of eemaan is absent.”


    b)
    They quoted as evidence the fact that Allah describes some sins as fisq, as in the aayah:


    ...If a Faasiq (liar – evil person) comes to you with any news, verify it...


    (Qur’aan 49: 6)


    The word faasiq here is applied to a liar, which quite obvious to anyone who looks at the context of the aayah.


    The Prophet :saw: said:


    “For a believer to trade insults with another is fusooq (evil).”


    (Muslim, 1/80, hadeeth no. 64)


    And they said that Allah called some sins, such as consuming orphans’
    wealth, zulm:


    Verily, those who unjustly (zulman) eat up their property of orphans, they eat up only fire into their bellies,...

    (Qur’aan 4: 10)


    And He (subhaanahu wa ta’aala), calls the one who evicts a widow from her marital home during the time of her ‘idda, a zaalim, because he transgresses the limits set by Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala):


    ...And fear Allah your Lord (O’ Muslims). And turn them not out of their (husband’s) homes nor shall they (themselves) leave, except in case they are guilty of some open illegal sexual intercourse. And those are the set limits of Allah. And whosoever transgresses the set limits of Allah, then indeed he has wronged himself...

    (Qur’aan 65: 1)


    They said, these sins are fisq and zulm, and the faasiqoon and zaalimoon are kaafir as the Qur’aan says:


    ...And it is the disbelievers who are the Zaalimoon (wrongdoers).


    (Qur’aan 2: 254)


    ...But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the Faasiqoon (rebellious,
    disobedient to Allah).


    (Qur’aan 24: 55)


    And they said: the texts indicate that those who commit sins are not believers, for example, the report narrated by Muslim which says that the Prophet :saw: said:


    “The one commits zina is not a believer at the time when he is committing zina, and the one who steals is not believer at the time when he is stealing, and the one who drinks wine is not a believer at the time when he is drinking.”


    (Muslim, 1/76, hadeeth no. 57)


    And he :saw: said:


    “No one who believes in Allah and His Messenger can hate the Ansaar.”


    (Ibid, 1/86)


    And:


    “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another.”


    (Ibid, 1/74, hadeeth no. 54)


    c)
    They said: the Messenger :saw: disowned those who committed certain sins, such as when he said:


    “Whoever bears arms against us is not one of us, and whoever deceives us is not one of us.”


    (Muslim, 1/99, hadeeth no. 101)


    And, according to another hadeeth:


    “Whoever cheats is not one of us.”


    (Ibid, 1/101, hadeeth no. 102)


    According to a hadeeth narrated by Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (radhiyAllahu anh), the Messenger of Allah :saw: said:


    “By Allah, he does not believe; by Allah, he does not believe; by Allah, he does not believe.


    They said,


    “Who, O’ Messenger of Allah?”


    He said,


    “The one from whose annoyance his neighbour is not safe.”


    (Mishkaat al-Masabeeh, 2/607, hadeeth no. 4962)


    d)
    They said: some sins were described as kufr, as when Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) said:


    ...And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka’bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves (i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allah), then Allah stands not in need of any of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exist).


    (Qur’aan 3: 97)


    And the Messenger :saw: said:


    “Do not go back to kufr after I am gone by killing one another.”


    (Muslim, 1/82, hadeeth no. 65)


    And:


    “If a man denounces his brother as a kaafir, it will be the case that one of them is a kaafir.”


    (Ibid, 1/79, hadeeth no. 79)
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    Refutation of the evidences quoted by the khawaarij

    These are the evidences which they referred to, for their labelling as kaafir those who commit sins. We will strive to point out where they went wrong in using these texts as evidences:

    a -
    With regard to their point that deeds are included in the components of eemaan, we do not deny this. But where they went wrong is when they counted deeds as a condition of faith. The correct view is that this is not so. If deeds are lacking, this impairs the required perfection of faith, i.e., if deeds are lacking then faith is also lacking in part, and it remains imperfect. This is like a man whose hand or foot has been cut off, or whose eye has been taken out, or his ear has been cut off. He is still a human being and is still alive. But if he is cut in two or his head is cut off, or his heart is torn out, then he is like a person whose faith is removed. If the hand, foot or eye is removed, this is like a person who neglects some obligatory duties or does some haraam (forbidden) actions. When the head or heart is removed, is like the ‘aqeedah is taken away.


    b -
    Their explanation of fisq and zulm being kufr is a misunderstanding. The meaning of fisq is to disobey Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala), and all acts of disobedience towards Allah are not on the same level. They may entail kufr, or they may not. A person who denies the angels disobeys Allah in a manner that constitutes kufr, whilst a person who drinks wine disobeys Allah in a manner that is sinful, but does not constitute kufr.


    Zulm also varies in a degree: it may taken a extreme form that reaches the level of kufr, or it may be of a lesser degree than that.


    We may picture this if we draw a large circle in the middle of which is a smaller circle. The large circle represents zulm and fisq, and the smaller circle represents kufr, so kufr is included in zulm and fisq, because they are broader in meaning than kufr, but some kinds of zulm and fisq are not kufr.


    What indicates that fisq may not be kufr is the hadeeth of the Prophet :saw:
    , in which he said:


    “Slandering a Muslim is fusooq, and killing him is kufr.”


    (Muslim, 1/80, hadeeth no. 64)


    The Messenger distinguished between the two, even though what is meant by kufr in this hadeeth is not the kind of kufr which puts a person beyond the pale of Islam.


    The texts which they quote to support their view that faith is cancelled out by sins, or that the Messenger :saw: disowned people who committed sins, or that the person who commits a certain is a kaafir, do not mean that faith is taken away by sins or that sin implies that a person if a kaafir. But sins do detract from the perfection and sincerity of a person’s faith, which Allah described and stated was a precondition in several places in His Book.


    Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) says:


    Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties for (the price) that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah’s Cause, so they kill (others) and are killed. It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him in the Tawraat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) and the Qur’aan. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded. That is the supreme success.


    (The believers whose lives Allah has purchased are) those who turn to Allah in repentance (from polytheism and hypocrisy), who worship (Him), who praise (Him), who fast (or go out in Allah’s Cause), who bow down (in prayer), who prostrate themselves (in prayer), who enjoin (on people) Al-Ma’roof and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar, and who observe the limits set by Allah. And give glad tidings to the believers.”


    (Qur’aan 9: 111-112)


    Successful indeed are the believers.


    Those who offer their salaah (prayers) with all solemnity and full
    submissiveness.


    And those who turn away from Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk, falsehood, and all that Allah has forbidden).


    And those who pay the Zakaah.


    And who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts).


    (Qur’aan 23: 1-5)


    The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in
    their hearts and when His aayaat (verses) (this Qur’aan) are recited unto them, they trust in their Lord (Alone);


    Who perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah) and spend out of that We
    have provided them.


    (Qur’aan 8: 2-3)


    After quoting these aayaat, Abu ‘Ubayd al-Qaasim ibn Sallaam –


    (These quotations are taken from the book Al-Eemaan by Abu ‘Ubayd, a collection of his four treatises edited by Shaykh Naasir-ud-deen Al-Albaanee, Pp. 90-96)


    - said:


    “These aayaat explain the obligations that Islam has enjoined upon its followers, and prohibited all kinds of sin.”


    The ahaadeeth of the Sunnah describe the features of eemaan. When sins are mixed with faith, it may be said that this is not what Allah has enjoined upon the believers, and these are not the signs by which faith is known, i.e., this is not the reality of faith. But this does not mean that ther is no faith at all.”


    He then examines the specious arguments of those who say, how can it be said that he is not a believer but that the title of faith is not taken away from him? He explains this by pointing out that this is the way the Arabs speak: they deny that a deed has been done if it had not been done properly. The Qur’aan was revealed in the language of the Arabs using the stylistic devices of their language. “In the language of the Arabs, about which we know a great deal, it is not uncommon to deny a deed if the person who did it failed to do it properly. Do you not see that if a worker does not do his job properly, they will say to him, ‘You haven’t done anything’? The intention here is to deny the quality, not to deny the work itself. In their view, the job is done nominally but not properly.”


    He explained that the Arabs may speak in an even harsher tone, such as when a son disobeys his father and annoys him to the extent that the father may say, ‘He is not a son’ – although they know that he is his son, born from his loins. A similar thing may be said concerning a brother, wife or slave.


    Then he explained that these texts which deny faith were narrated in a similar fashion. He said: “The same applies to these sins for which faith is denied, because what cancelled out the reality of faith is not complying with the rulings which are attributes of eemaan. But a person’s
    classification remains as it was, and he is not described as being anything other than a believer, and the rulings which apply to believers remain intact in his case.”


    He quoted the aayah from Soorah Aal ‘Imraan (the third chapter of the Qur’aan) which states that Allah took a covenant from those who had been given the Scripture, that they would make it (the news of the coming of Prophet Muhammad :saw:) known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it, but they threw it away behind their backs, yet despite that they are still described as People of the Book in other aayaat, and it is permissible for us to eat their meat and marry their women. Then he said: “In the rulings and in name they are still described as People of the Book, although in reality they have departed from it.”


    And he narrated the hadeeth of the man who prayed badly, which was narrated by the two Shaykhs (Bukhari and Muslim), in which the Messenger :saw: said:


    “Go back and pray, for you have not prayed.”


    (Bukhari, 2/277, hadeeth no. 793; Muslim, 1/298, hadeeth no. 397)


    - more than once. Although the man had prayed each time, it was a nominal prayer only, and was a not a prayer as it should be.

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