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Takfīr Is Not Your Job

Deliberation before Condemnation – Part 4

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Imām Ibnu Taymiyyah said,

هَذَا مَعَ أَنِّي دَائِمًا وَمَنْ جَالَسَنِي يَعْلَمُ ذَلِكَ مِنِّي: أَنِّي مِنْ أَعْظَمِ النَّاسِ نَهْيًا عَنْ أَنْ يُنْسَبَ مُعَيَّنٌ إلَى تَكْفِيرٍ وَتَفْسِيقٍ وَمَعْصِيَةٍ، إلَّا إذَا عُلِمَ أَنَّهُ قَدْ قَامَتْ عَلَيْهِ الْحُجَّةُ الرسالية الَّتِي مَنْ خَالَفَهَا كَانَ كَافِرًا تَارَةً وَفَاسِقًا أُخْرَى وَعَاصِيًا أُخْرَى وَإِنِّي أُقَرِّرُ أَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ غَفَرَ لِهَذِهِ الْأُمَّةِ خَطَأَهَا: وَذَلِكَ يَعُمُّ الْخَطَأَ فِي الْمَسَائِلِ الْخَبَرِيَّةِ الْقَوْلِيَّةِ (القضايا الموقوفة على النقل والرواية) وَالْمَسَائِلِ الْعَمَلِيَّةِ (مثل الصلاة والصيام) وَمَا زَالَ السَّلَفُ يَتَنَازَعُونَ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِنْ هَذِهِ الْمَسَائِلِ وَلَمْ يَشْهَدْ أَحَدٌ مِنْهُمْ عَلَى أَحَدٍ لَا بِكُفْرِ وَلَا بِفِسْقِ وَلَا مَعْصِيَةٍ

“With this said, those who sit with me know very well that I am one of the strictest of all people when it comes to forbidding people from classifying individuals as disbelievers, constant sinners (Fāsiq) or sinful, except if the prophetic proof has been established against him, the proof which if a person rejects, may be classified as a disbeliever, or Fāsiq, or sinner (depending on the case at hand). I also reiterate that Allāh has pardoned the mistakes of this Ummah, and such pardoning encompasses mistakes that are related to both matters of narration and matters of application (like prayer, fasting etc.). Our predecessors have differed on many such issues yet none of them classified the other as a disbeliever, Fāsiq or sinful.”[1]

How misguided, then, are those who use Ibnu Taymiyya’s works to justify their hasty condemnation of Muslims? And, how ill-informed are those who accuse Ibnu Taymiyyah as being the theorist behind modern-day Ghuluw (excesses)? It is very easy to selectively choose passages from the works of Ibnu Taymiyyah to justify deviant ends. In fact, in the case of every deviant group which attributes itself to Islām, its theorists cite passages from the Qur’ān in justification of their twisted ideas. A holistic view of the Qur’ān, however, uncovers the falseness of their beliefs, the same way that the holistic view of Ibnu Taymiyyah’s works reveals his true intent and belief. Selective citation is indeed a hazardous issue and thus the emphasis in this study has been on the words of this great Imām.

Ibnu Taymiyyah cites other examples where scholars had adopted erroneous opinions, yet were excused as their opinions were founded upon what they considered to be valid premise. Such examples include:

– Those who argued that Allāh will never be seen, due to their understanding of the verse, لَا تُدْرِكُهُ الْأَبْصَارُ “No vision can grasp Him”.[2] This opinion was adopted by some of the Tābiʿīn, including Mujāhid and Abū Sālih. Despite this being the opinion of the deviant sect, Al-Mu’tazila, and despite the rule which states that “whoever rejects the seeing of Allāh in the Hereafter is a disbeliever”[3], these Tābiʿīn were not considered heretics.

– Those who rejected certain authentic modes of recitation, like ʿUmar b. Al-Khaṭṭāb did after hearing the companion Hishām b. Hakīm reciting Sūrat Al-Furqān in a manner which ʿUmar was unfamiliar with. It goes without saying that no Muslim however would deem ʿUmar as a disbeliever for that.

– Those who believe that some words or even entire āyāt found within the Qur’ān are not part of the Qur’ān as, to them, no evidence supports there Qur’anic nature. Some of our predecessors would say about the āyah,

وَقَضَى رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ

“And your Lord has decreed that you do not worship except Him” [4]

That it should read,

وَوصى رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ

“And your Lord has instructed that you do not worship except Him”

Others said about the āyah,

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَاقَ النَّبِيِّينَ

“And when Allāh took the covenant of the prophets[5]

That it should read,

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَاقَ بني إسرائيل

“And when Allāh took the covenant of the children of Israel

In fact, it has been narrated that the companion Ibnu Masʿūd rejected Sūrat Al-Falaq and Sūrat An-Nās as being from the Qur’ān, arguing that they are merely a form of Ruqya.

Despite this, no Muslim would deem Ibnu Masʿūd as a disbeliever. In fact, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) would urge the companions to take knowledge pertaining to the Qur’ān from Ibnu Masʿūd himself.[6] The most that can be said about this false opinion is that, to him, no evidence establishes their Qur’anic nature.

After reading the above, one is left wondering how many of our hasty contemporaries would have reacted should they had been presented with similar case studies. Perhaps very few excuses would have been found for them and little effort would have been exerted in relaying to them the truth with its evidences. Such excuses include those which Ibnu Taymiyyah identified when he said,

 فَلَا يُشْهَدُ لِمُعَيَّنِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْقِبْلَةِ بِالنَّارِ لِجَوَازِ أَنْ لَا يَلْحَقَهُ الْوَعِيدُ لِفَوَاتِ شَرْطٍ أَوْ ثُبُوتِ مَانِعٍ فَقَدْ لَا يَكُونُ التَّحْرِيمُ بَلَغَهُ وَقَدْ يَتُوبُ مِنْ فِعْلِ الْمُحَرَّمِ وَقَدْ تَكُونُ لَهُ حَسَنَاتٌ عَظِيمَةٌ تَمْحُو عُقُوبَةَ ذَلِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِ وَقَدْ يُبْتَلَى بِمَصَائِبَ تُكَفِّرُ عَنْهُ وَقَدْ يَشْفَعُ فِيهِ شَفِيعٌ مُطَاعٌ.

“Never must an individual Muslim be classified as a future resident of the fire, for he could be spared from its punishment due to a condition that is missing or the presence of an impediment. To further elaborate, it could be that the prohibition of such a matter hadn’t reached him, or he may repent from the sin, or he may possess great good deeds which erase the punishment of such a sin, or he may be trialled with calamities which erase his sins, or an intercessor may successfully intercede for him.”[7]

This is indeed a remarkable statement of justice and scholarly composure. Imām Ibnu Taymiyyah continues listing the potential excuses for the doers of such mistakes, saying:

وَهَكَذَا الْأَقْوَالُ الَّتِي يَكْفُرُ قَائِلُهَا قَدْ يَكُونُ الرَّجُلُ لَمْ تَبْلُغْهُ النُّصُوصُ الْمُوجِبَةُ لِمَعْرِفَةِ الْحَقِّ وَقَدْ تَكُونُ عِنْدَهُ وَلَمْ تَثْبُتْ عِنْدَهُ أَوْ لَمْ يَتَمَكَّنْ مِنْ فَهْمِهَا وَقَدْ يَكُونُ قَدْ عَرَضَتْ لَهُ شُبُهَاتٌ يَعْذُرُهُ اللَّهُ بِهَا فَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مُجْتَهِدًا فِي طَلَبِ الْحَقِّ وَأَخْطَأَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ لَهُ خَطَأَهُ كَائِنًا مَا كَانَ سَوَاءٌ كَانَ فِي الْمَسَائِلِ النَّظَرِيَّةِ أَوْ الْعَمَلِيَّةِ هَذَا الَّذِي عَلَيْهِ أَصْحَابُ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ. وَجَمَاهِيرُ أَئِمَّةِ الْإِسْلَامِ وَمَا قَسَّمُوا الْمَسَائِلَ إلَى مَسَائِلِ أُصُولٍ يَكْفُرُ بِإِنْكَارِهَا وَمَسَائِلِ فُرُوعٍ لَا يَكْفُرُ بِإِنْكَارِهَا

“Similarly, the same applies to those statements which would otherwise push a person beyond the pale of Islām. Such a person may not have had access to the narrations which guide to the truth, or he may have access to them but to him, they aren’t authentic, or he may not be able to understand them, or he may have been the subject of Shubuhāt (doubtful arguments) which Allāh will excuse him through. Thus whoever is from the believers and strives to reach the truth and then makes a mistake, Allāh will forgive his mistakes, regardless of the nature of this mistake, and regardless of whether such a mistake pertains to theoretical or practical matters.

This is what the companions of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) were upon as well as the majority of the Imāms of Islām, for they did not divide matters into Usul (principles) which causes disbelief if denied and Furoo’ (branches) which doesn’t cause disbelief if denied.”[8]

Then he goes on to explain how not all those who uphold heretical views are of the same category, but gives very precise differentiating factors, saying that:

فَإِنَّ الَّذِي يَدْعُو إلَى الْقَوْلِ أَعْظَمُ مِنْ الَّذِي يَقُولُ بِهِ وَاَلَّذِي يُعَاقِبُ مُخَالِفَهُ أَعْظَمُ مِنْ الَّذِي يَدْعُو فَقَطْ وَاَلَّذِي يُكَفِّرُ مُخَالِفَهُ أَعْظَمُ مِنْ الَّذِي يُعَاقِبُهُ وَمَعَ هَذَا فَاَلَّذِينَ كَانُوا مِنْ وُلَاةِ الْأُمُورِ يَقُولُونَ بِقَوْلِ الْجَهْمِيَّة: إنَّ الْقُرْآنَ مَخْلُوقٌ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُرَى فِي الْآخِرَةِ وَغَيْرُ ذَلِكَ. وَيَدْعُونَ النَّاسَ إلَى ذَلِكَ ويمتحنونهم وَيُعَاقِبُونَهُمْ إذَا لَمْ يُجِيبُوهُمْ وَيُكَفِّرُونَ مَنْ لَمْ يُجِبْهُمْ. حَتَّى أَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا إذَا أَمْسَكُوا الْأَسِيرَ لَمْ يُطْلِقُوهُ حَتَّى يُقِرَّ بِقَوْلِ الْجَهْمِيَّة: إنَّ الْقُرْآنَ مَخْلُوقٌ وَغَيْرُ ذَلِكَ. وَلَا يُوَلُّونَ مُتَوَلِّيًا (أي على قضاء ولا ولاية) وَلَا يُعْطُونَ رِزْقًا مِنْ بَيْتِ الْمَالِ إلَّا لِمَنْ يَقُولُ ذَلِكَ وَمَعَ هَذَا فَالْإِمَامُ أَحْمَد رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى تَرَحَّمَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمْ

“A person who promotes a particular (deviant) opinion is worse than a person who merely believes in it, and the one who punishes those who disagree with him is worse than the one who merely promotes it, and the one who does Takfīr of those who disagree with him is worse than the one who punishes. Despite this, there were people in authority who had adopted the belief of the Jahmiyyah, in that the Qur’ān is created,[9] and that Allāh will not be seen in the Hereafter, amidst other beliefs. These people would then promote this belief, persecute those who resisted this belief and classified them as disbelievers. In fact, they would not release their detainees until they profess the belief of the Jahmiyyah sect, that the Qur’ān is created, amidst other things. Furthermore, they would not give positions nor would they provide an income from the Muslim treasury except to those who profess this belief. Despite all of this, Imām Aḥmad would ask Allāh to have mercy upon them and to forgive them.”

(Despite Imām Ahmad himself having experienced their full wrath, wherein they deprived him of food, drink and actively tortured him until he was on the verge of death.)

لِعِلْمِهِ بِأَنَّهُمْ لم يُبَيِّنُ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ مُكَذِّبُونَ لِلرَّسُولِ وَلَا جَاحِدُونَ لِمَا جَاءَ بِهِ وَلَكِنْ تَأَوَّلُوا فَأَخْطَئُوا وَقَلَّدُوا مَنْ قَالَ لَهُمْ ذَلِكَ

“This was because he recognised that these leaders were not educated to realise that they were denying the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) nor that they were rejecting that which he came with, rather, they made an attempt to understand but were mistaken, having imitated those who informed them of these matters.”[10]

This takes us to our tenth and final narration:

After having informed us that those who utter statements of disbelief are of varying categories, Ibnu Taymiyyah had given us a case study where the people at hand were victims to the worst possible category. As we have just read, not only were these leaders supporters of heretical ideas, and not only would they call to them, and not only did they impose them in the schooling systems, and not only did they persecute those who believed otherwise, but they also declared Takfīr on those who believed otherwise.

Scholars were harassed and intimated, including Yaḥya b. Ma’een and ʿAli b. Al-Madīni. Others were shackled, detained, deprived and isolated from society, including Imām Aḥmad b. Hanbal, whilst others in fact died in the process, like Aḥmad b. Nūḥ and Al-Buwaiti.

In just one of these many episodes of brutality, Aḥmad b. Nasr Al-Khuzā’i was summoned by the Khalifa Al-Wāthiq. He began the interrogation process by asking him what he believed with regards to the Qur’ān, whether it was created or not. He responded by saying, “It is the words of Allāh” (i.e. it is not created) to which the Khalifa then said,

أحتسب خطاي إلى هذا الكافر

“I hope that Allāh will reward me for the footsteps that I will take towards this disbeliever (i.e. before he executes him).”

He then swung his sword at him, wounding his shoulder. He followed this up with another strike to his head and then a third where he thrust the sword into his stomach, rendering him dead.[11] His head was decapitated and his body crucified.

Such innovations were staunchly defended and promoted by three consecutive Khulafā; Al-Ma’mūn, then Al-Mu’tasim and then Al-Wāthiq. Despite this brutality which they levelled at the scholars of the Sunnah, and despite the fact that no less than 500 scholars deemed those that say the Qur’ān is created are disbelievers,[12] including Imām Ahmad; Aḥmad would make Duʿā’ for these Khulafā, asking Allāh to pardon them and would find excuses for them, despite them being the spearheads of this Fitnah.

Furthermore, we do not possess a single narration to suggest that an armed movement was formed to combat the deviants of their time. In fact, no single narration suggests that any of these innovators were killed, nor do we have narrations to suggest that the scholars of the Sunnah during this period fell into dispute amongst themselves with regards to who should be classified as a Kāfir or not, or that “so and so is a Kāfir as he did not classify X as a Kāfir”. Rather, their approach was based upon revelation, where they would say broadly “whoever says such and such, then he is a Kāfir” without occupying themselves in trying to apply such a statement to individuals. Accusations of being a sell-out, hypocrite or traitor were not thrown about as we see nowadays. Such matters only occur when the ill-experienced and ill-equipped put themselves forward for such matters that are far greater than them.

What exacerbates our current dilemma is that such untrained people have now found for themselves an open platform via the net to purport their views and unrestricted pulpits to air their voices, thus adding fuel to the fire. Our pleas however to return such differences to the scholars of Islām fall on deaf ears. This is because many a time such scholars have been branded with all sorts of unjust labels – deviant, ignorant, innovator, hypocrite – and thus the credible have lost their credibility. Naturally, in the absence of the qualified, a perfect setting is created for the zealous novices to fill this vacuum and set the narrative.

This assassination of scholarly personalities is at times intended by the adversaries of Islām in order to leave the Ummah headless, lacking all forms of leadership and scholarly supervision. At other times, however, the destruction of such scholarly personalities is not intended but obliviously spurred forward by the Muslims themselves. This could be when a scholar of Islām, one who is known for his adherence to the Sunnah and service to the Ummah, speaks incorrectly with regards to a matter or adopts a certain stance that cannot be justified. This mistake of his then becomes audio-visual material that is forwarded and shared by the masses of Muslims. As a consequence, those who are unaware of this scholar’s many years of hard work and contribution to the Ummah are introduced to him via a two minute soundbite or its like which does not represent him in the least.

Viewers play the video as some laugh and others gasp in horror, and whilst others cringe and hurl insults. Little do we notice that our sharing of such material contributes to the assassination of his Islamic personality and assists in the decapitation of the heads of our Ummah.

Everyone makes mistakes, both scholar and layman, but as the Fiqhi principle states:

إذا بلغ الماء قلتين لم يحمل الخبث

“If the quantity of water reaches two Qullas (a Qulla is a type of vessel) then such water does not become impure.”

In other words, due to the sheer quantity of water, small impurities that fall within it do not affect its overall state of purity. Similarly, as regards those people of knowledge whose track record is one of stern adherence to the Sunnah and selflessness in the service of Islām, their odd mistakes do not and must not tarnish their credibility and standing within the hearts of the Muslims.

Indeed, the fact that the faults of a person can be counted indicates how few these faults are in comparison to their points of praise. This is how every Muslim must view the errors of such scholars of the Sunnah.[13] As for the broadcasting of such faults, this causes the elimination of these key personalities. Then, when people are advised to “refer their matters to the people of knowledge” they ask, “Who are they?” Beware of playing any role in the creation of this vacuum.

The Khawārij experienced a similar vacuum in terms of their scholarly references. This was when they had crossed out the companions of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) from their equation, having deemed them as disbelievers. Thus, in the absence of the Sahāba, the fools amongst them were put forward as their theorists and points of reference, and consequently their end would be one of confusion, misery and defeat.

Closing words:

  • A: A summary:

In the articles in this series we discussed no less than 10 different case studies, some pertaining to the era of the companions, others to the eras before them and others afterwards, where, statements or actions of disbelief were purported. Such actions were at times at the hands of the ignorant whilst in other cases, the person involved was a scholar.

We went on to relay much of the commentary of Imām Ibnu Taymiyyah wherein he illustrates, beyond doubt, the many factors involved which may serve as an obstacle to the Takfīr of an individual. He taught us that not every person who engages in acts of Kufr becomes a Kāfir, just as not every person who engages in acts of innovation becomes an innovator.

I hope that it has become manifest, to the pursuer of truth at least, just how sophisticated the matter of Takfīr is. It is a matter that evidently requires many prerequisites, including a strong foothold in the Islamic sciences, an astute awareness as per the matters which relate to the meeting of conditions and absence of impediments, and a final verdict which is appropriate to the time-specific, place-specific and situation-specific case at hand.

Indeed, it is impossible to set a series of rigid standards of Takfīr that apply to every situation, place and time, for the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) told us of a people at the end of time who will merely repeat the statement of Lā ilāha ila Allāh, having witnessed their forefathers saying it. They would have lost all knowledge with regards to prayer, fasting, Zakāh, Ḥajj and everything else. Although the default rule is that this is certainly not sufficient, but in their case-specific situation, they were not deemed as disbelievers and will be saved from the hellfire.[14]

  • B: Beware of the avenues of Shubuhāt

Do not present your heart to Shubuhāt, for your heart and mine are weak. The scholars of Islām have written volumes upon volumes in this regard, having documented dozens of narrations from our predecessors urging every Muslim to distance himself from ideas which may render his Dunya and Akhira null.[15]

Ibn Tāwūs would say to his son as the innovators speak,

أدخل أصابعك في أذنيك واشدد، فلا تسمع من قوله شيئاً، فإن القلب ضعيف

“Place your fingers within your ears and do so firmly! Do not listen to anything of what they have to say, for the heart is weak.”[16]

Imām Adh-Dhahabi also said,

أكثر أئمة السلف على هذا التحذير، يرون أن القلوب ضعيفة، والشبه خطافة

“The majority of the Imāms of the Salaf were upon this type of advice. They deemed the heart as weak and considered the Shubuhāt as seizing.”[17]

Thus Imām Ibnu Taymiyyah would advise his student Ibnul Qayyim, saying:

“لا تجعل قلبَك للإيرادات والشبهات مثل السفنجة فيتشربها فلا ينضح إلا بها ، ولكن اجعله كالزجاجة المصمتة تمر الشبهات بظاهرها ولا تستقر فيها ، فيراها بصفائه ، ويدفعها بصلابته ، وإلا فإذا أشربت قلبك كل شبهة تمر عليها : صار مقرّاً للشبهات.” قال ابن القيم: “فما أعلم أني انتفعت بوصية في دفع الشبهات كانتفاعي بذلك”

“Do not make your heart like a sponge soaking up all ideas and ‘Shubuhāt’, rather make it like a glass whereby doubtful matters pass over it but do not settle within it, thus the transparency of such a heart allows it to clearly see the doubtful matter but is solid enough to reject it, otherwise if your heart was to soak up every doubtful matter which it is presented with, your heart will become a dwelling for Shubuhāt.

Ibnul Qayyim says: “I do not know of any advice that has benefited me in repelling Shubuhāt more than this.”[18]

Thus distance yourself from such avenues of Fitnah.

What was once merely a curious surfing of the net may then become a Shubha which begins to take root. The matter becomes more problematic if the reader fails to possess the necessary knowledge to repel such ideas, just as the scuba diver who dives ill-equipped will be unable to swim back up to the surface.

For this reason, when Al-Muzani approached Imām Ash-Shāfi’i with a question, having exposed himself to a doubtful matter, Imām Ash-Shaafi’i said to him reprimandingly, “Do you know where you are?!” He said, “Yes, I am in the Masjid of Al-Fustaā”. He responded,

أنت في تاران! قال عثمان : وتاران موضع في بحر القلزم لا تكاد تسلم منه سفينة

“No, you are in Tārān!” [19]

Tārān is the name of a place in the sea which rarely spares the ships that sail through it. In other words, with this doubtful matter which you have exposed yourself to you have placed yourself at a very dangerous place.

Thus distances yourself from such avenues.

What is it that plants the seeds of misguidance in the hearts of people other than the initial lending of an attentive ear? In fact, what was it that rendered ‘Imran Ibn Hittān as a leading figure of the deviant group Al-Khawārij other than the lending of an attentive ear? ‘Imrān had married a cousin of his whom he loved. She was upon the methodology of the Khawārij but he was adamant that he would turn her away from this group. However, she would end up influencing him until he would embrace their ideas wholeheartedly.

  • C: Do not contribute in the character assassination of scholars

If one is not led by the established scholars of Islām, those who have sat arched-backed for years on end beneath the feet of scholars, having sacrificed much in pursuit of understanding, then one will be led by the ignorant. Furthermore, regardless of the many faults of such a scholar, his status is still greater than the ill-equipped whose prime source of reference is passion.

أَتَسْتَبْدِلُونَ الَّذِي هُوَ أَدْنَى بِالَّذِي هُوَ خَيْرٌ؟

“Would you exchange what is better for what is less?”[20]

Thus we have a vested interest in upholding the reputation of such scholars, for any Da’wah that is not led by the scholars of Islām is a Da’wah that is fragile, prone to manipulation and change.  As for their mistakes, broadcasting them will not rectify the matter. Rather, if possible, exert an effort in communicating with his peers who have a bearing on such an individual. Perhaps upon their advice, he will reconsider the matter at hand. As per the violation of people’s sanctity, the hurling of accusations and the endless backstabbing chit-chat within our gatherings, no evil will be changed but rather, it will only add to our luggage of sin and worse still, will only further the demolition process of the Ummah’s leaders.

Furthermore, the promoter of such mistakes may end up falling prey to a crime which Allāh has sternly warned against in the Qur’ān, namely; wanting to see the spreading of evil. Allāh says,

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحِبُّونَ أَنْ تَشِيعَ الْفَاحِشَةُ فِي الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ

“Indeed, those who like that immorality should be spread among those who have believed will have a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter.”[21]

If this is what awaits those who merely “like” the spreading of immorality amongst people, what then is the punishment of those who actively promote them?

Gatherings where the faults of Muslims are brought to surface do not, for the most part, bring about any positive change in the remedying of that evil. Rather, they merely fill hearts with rancor and poison towards such individuals. Now that these hearts have been emptied from the respect of such scholars, they become susceptible to the ideas of every speaker, readily accepting what they hope will fill that void. As time elapses, such an individual ends up becoming a passionate supporter of deviant ideologies, and the beginning of this thorny journey had begun from such social gatherings where the faults of scholars were the crux of the conversation.

  • D: For those who insist on their ways

The hope is that this series will not only dissuade those who have been afflicted with such boldness to reconsider their behaviour, but more importantly, to occupy themselves with those matters that befit them and will benefit them, such as to memorise the book of Allāh, to perfect its recitation, to the study of the Arabic language, to pursue Islamic knowledge and to call to the path of Allāh.

If a person finds himself unable to pursue any of the examples above, then such a person should occupy his time in aspects of Mubāh (neutral matters), as for some people, their sleep is better than their wakefulness. Although, by principle, excessive indulgence in matters of Mubāh and Lahw (play) is blameworthy, should the alternative to this be the harming of Muslims and the tarnishing of their reputation, then the former is far safer. In fact, some claim that the situation of the fornicator, thief or consumer of alcohol is lighter than the harming of Muslims, despite them being from the major sins.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) has informed us of a man who once said,

والله لا يغفر الله لفلان

“By Allāh! Allāh will never forgive so and so!”

Upon which Allāh said,

من ذا الذي يتألّى عليّ أن لا أغفر لفلان ، فإني قد غفرت لفلان ، وأحبطت عملك

“Who is this person who takes an oath that I will not forgive so and so?! I have now forgiven him and caused your good deeds to collapse!”[22]

You may be surprised however, as you think to yourself:

“Who on earth could be so bold in ruling out Allāh’s forgiveness of a person anyway? Who could possibly dare to posit that another person will be a future resident of the fire forever?”

The answer:

The one who carries the unrestricted banner of Takfīr is such a person, for the classifying of a person as a Kāfir necessitates that Allāh will never forgive him, and thus, essentially, they attest that: “By Allāh! Allāh will never forgive so and so.”

The risks involved are high. We have a single chance at this life and, with this in mind, an urgent assessment of our ways is always necessary.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] Ibid

[2] Al-Qur’ān, 6:103

[3] As was the opinion of the majority of the predecessors, as mentioned by Ibnu Taymiyyah in his ‘Majmoo’ Al-Fataawah’

[4] Al-Qur’ān, 17:23

[5] Al-Qur’ān, 3:81

[6] As was narrated by Muslim, on the authority of ʿAbdullāh b. ʿAmr b. Al-‘Aas

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid

[9] Createdness refers to the doctrinal position that the Qur’ān was created, rather than having always existed and thus being “uncreated”

[10] Majmoo’ Al-Fataawah

[11] Siyar A’laam An-Nubalaa

[12] As was mentioned by Imām Ibnul Qayyim

[13] As was established by Imām Ibnu Taymiyyah, Imam Ibnu Rajab, Imam Adh-Dhahabi and many others

[14] As was narrated by Ibnu Maajah, on the authority of Huthaifa

[15] Refer to the introduction of Ad-Daaraani’s ‘Sunan’, ‘Ash-Sharee’a’ by Al-Aajurri, ‘Al-Ibaana As-Sughra’ and ‘Al-Ibaana Al-Kubra’ by Ibn Batta, ‘Usool As-Sunnah’ by Al-Lalakaa’i, ‘Sharhus Sunnah’ by Al-Baghawi and others.

[16] Narrated by ‘AbdurRazzaaq in his ‘Musannaf’

[17] Siyar A’laam An-Nubalaa

[18] From Ibnul Qayyim’s book ‘Miftāhu Dāris Sa’ādah’

[19] From Imam Adh-Dhahabi’s book, ‘Siyar A’laam An-Nubalaa’

[20] Al-Qur’ān, 2:61

[21] Al-Qur’ān, 24:19

[22] Narrated by Muslim, on the authority of Jundub

About Ustādh Ali Hammuda

Ustadh Ali Ihsan Hammuda is an educator and writer on Islam. He is of Palestinian origin but was brought up in the UK and although an architect/planner by profession, he currently works with Al-Manar (Cardiff) as the English Islamic programmes officer. Ali is known as the author of various books including 'Origins of the Mosque of Cordoba' and 'The End of Times', and continues to deliver sermons, lectures and regular classes across the country. He is a regular writer on Islamic issues to a wide audience.

2 comments

  1. Masha’Allah, I haven’t been captivated by such a scholarly article for a while, beautiful construct for a much needed discussion. May Allah guide us through testing times like the present, Ameen.

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