Category: Beliefs and Practices (Aqeedah)
Fatwa#: 38142
Asked Country: India

Answered Date: Apr 06,2017

Title: Did Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh degrade the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam?

Question

Assalaam alaikum,

 I was going through a website on the internet which says that deobandis are KAFIR due to their false beliefs. Please reply since i am very disturbed . 

FALSE BELIEF 3: "Every creation, no matter how big or small, is equivalent to a cobbler before Allah." ("Taqweeyat-ul Imaan" by Ismaeel Dehlwi). 
ANSWER: The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) is the most beloved Nabi of Almighty Allah. Almighty Allah took Qasm (Oath) even on the city of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). He is the greatest of the creations of Almighty Allah. His every word is accepted in the Court of Allah. He is a perfection in the Attributes of Almighty Allah and Allah has not created any unique being besides Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Taqwiyatul mān is a book written by Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh.

You may read the biography of this great personality of the Indian subcontinent from our previous Fatwa: http://askimam.org/public/question_detail/37213

Did arat Maulānā Shāh Ismāl Shahd Ramatullāhi ‘Alayh say “every creation, no matter how big or small, is equivalent to a cobbler before Allah”?

A detailed answer showing the misinterpretation of Ḥadhrat Maulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh’s comments has been given by the late Maulānā Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh in his critically acclaimed work in the Urdu language:

عبارات اکابر

“The statements of the elders”[1]

A detailed answer has also been given by Maulānā Muḥammad Manẓūr Nu’mānῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh in his book in the Urdu language:

حضرت شاہ اسماعیل شہید اور معاندین اہل بدعت کے الزامات

“Ḥaḍrat Shāh Ismā’ῑl Shahῑd and the accusations of the antagonistic people of innovation” [2]

Another detailed answer has also been given by Dr. ‘Allāmah Khālid Maḥmūd (Dāmat Barakātuhum) in his book in the Urdu language:

شاہ اسماعیل شہید محدث دہلوی

“Shah Isma’il Shahid, the Muhaddith of Delhi”[3]

We have gathered and translated their response.

The claim:

Molvῑ Muḥammad ‘Umar writes in Miqyās Ḥanafiyyat:

Taqwiyatul Īmān, page 16: ‘and one should know with certainty that every creation, whether big or small, is more disgraced than a shoemaker in comparison to the status of Allah’.

The noble Qur’ān, Surah Munāfiqūn, Verse 28: ‘And to Allah belongs all honour, and to His Messenger, and to the Believers, but the hypocrites do not know’.

According to the Deobandῑ Wahhābis, in light of the principles mentioned above, the essence of Islam is that every creation, whether big or small – and big and small has been elaborated as meaning ‘the saints and the Prophets’ in Taqwiyatul Īmān, page 68, over there he gave them (the saints and Prophets) the status of big brothers and here he says that all saint and prophets – is [sic.] more disgraced than a shoemaker.

We seek protection in Allah. We seek protection in Allah”

[Miqyās Ḥanafiyyat, page 205]

The Answer

First, let us take a look at the actual statement of Taqwiyatul Īmān.

Ḥaḍrat Maulānā Shāh Ismā’ῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh quotes the following verse of the Qur’ān:

                                 قَالَ اللهٌ تَعَالَى وَإِذْ قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللهِ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيْمٌ 

 He then translates and elaborates upon the verse by stating:

ترجمہ ! اور فرمایا اللہ تعالے نے سورہ لقمان میں جب کہا لقمان نے اپنے بیٹے کو اور نصیحت کرتا تھا اس کو اے بیٹے میرے مت شریک بنا اللہ کا بے شک شریک بنانا بڑی بے انصافی ہے –

ف: - یعنی اللہ صاحب نے لقمان کو عقل مندی دی تھی سو انہوں نے اس سے سمجھا کہ بے انصافی یہی ہے کہ کسی کا حق اور کسی کو پکڑا دینا اور جس نے اللہ کا حق اس کی مخلوق کو دیا تو بڑے سے بڑے کا حق لے کر ذلیل سے ذلیل کو دے دیا جیسے بادشاہ کا تاج ایک چمار کے سر پر رکھ دیجئے اس سے بڑی بے انصافی کیا ہوگی؟ اور یہ یقین کرلینا چاہئے کہ ہر مخلوق بڑا ہو یا چھوٹا وہ اللہ تعالے کی شان کے آگے چمار سے بھی ذلیل ہے –

Translation:

“Translation! And Allah Ta’āla said in Surah Luqmān, ‘When Luqmān said to his child and he was advising him, “Oh my son, do not make partners with Allah. No doubt, making partners [with Allah] is a great injustice’”.

Explanation: - i.e. Allah had given Luqmān intellect, so he understood that it is injustice to hand over the right of one being to another being, and the one who has taken the right of Allah and given it to his creation has indeed taken the right of the Greatest and has given it to the lowest of the low, such as if the crown of a king were to be put on the head of a cobbler, what greater injustice could there be? And you should know with certainty that every creation, whether or big or small, is weaker than a shoemaker in comparison to the status of Allah”.

Through this statement, Ḥaḍrat Maulānā Shāh Ismā’ῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh has simply mentioned that the right consigned to Allah the Almighty is the right to be worshipped, giving this specific right to anyone besides Him is like putting the crown of a king on the head of a shoemaker. In fact, it is worse than this as a king and a shoemaker are at least similar in the sense that both are human beings, both require food and drink to survive, both were born in the same manner, etc. Whereas the creation of Allah the Almighty and the Being of Allah the Almighty are completely dissimilar.

Thus, Ḥaḍrat Maulānā Shāh Ismā’ῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh had intended to explain the wretchedness of polytheism; i.e. just as a shoemaker is weak compared to the status of a king, the creation of Allah is much weaker and feebler compared to the status of Allah.

He did not in any way whatsoever intend to insult the Prophets or the pious servants of Allah the Almighty. In fact, Ḥaḍrat Maulānā Shāh Ismā’ῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh has written an entire book titled Manab Imāmat that details the high status of the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalām.

Molvῑ Muḥammad ‘Umar has - through his own preference - interpreted the term ذلیل - weak (in the sentence ‘weaker than a shoemaker’) - with the words کمینہ /بے عزت – lowlife, disgraced (thus interpreting the sentence as ‘more disgraced than a shoemaker’).

The word ذلیل is not only used as a reference to a ‘lowlife/disgraced’, it is also used as a reference to ‘weakness’.

On the occasion of the Battle of Badr, Allah the Almighty revealed to the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam:

وَلَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللهُ بِبَدْرٍ وَّأَنْتُمْ أَذِلَّةٌ 

Translation:

“And indeed, Allah helped you in Badr when you were weak

[Surah Al ‘Imrān, verse 123]

The word أذلة mentioned in the verse above is the plural of ذليل. It is clear that the word أذلة (plural of ذليل) in the aforementioned verse has been used in the meaning of ‘weakness’, and not in the meaning of lowlife/disgrace.

Nevertheless, a shoemaker has at least the sanctity of a human being and, therefore, has a worthy status. However, if one were to look at the statements of some our pious saints of the past, one would notice that they have described the creation of Allah with analogies much worse than that of a shoemaker. This was out of their love and sincerity towards Allah, and was never an expression of insult towards the Prophets.

Some of these statements of the pious saints of the past include:

1-    The accomplished Sheikh, Shihāb Al Dῑn ‘Umar ibn Muḥammad Suharwardῑ Raḥimahullah (d.632 AH) writes:

 

وَبَلَغَنَا عَنْ رَسُوْلِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ حَدِيْثٌ أَنَّهُ قَالَ لَا يَكْمُلُ إِيْمَانُ الْمَرْءِ حَتَّى يَكُوْنَ النَّاسُ عِنْدَهُ كَالْأَبَاعِرِ 

 

Translation:

“A Ḥadῑth has reached us from the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam that the Īmān (faith) of a man is incomplete until the people are like dung to him [in comparison to Allah the Almighty]”

 

[Awārif Al Ma’ārif ‘Alā Hāmish Iḥyā ‘Ulūm Al Dῑn, v.4, pg.360, Miṣr]

 

One should consider the words of this great saint. He has stated that the Īmān (faith) of a person is incomplete until he has conviction that all of mankind, in respect of causing harm or benefit, is equivalent to dung in comparison to Allah the Almighty.

 

2-    Ḥaḍrat Shaykh ‘Abdul Qādir Jῑlānῑ Raḥimahullah (d.561 AH) writes:

 

اجْعَلِ الْخَلِيْقَةَ أَجْمَعَ كَرَجُلٍ كَتَفَهُ سُلْطَانٌ عَظِيْمٌ مُلْكُهُ شَدِيْدٌ أَمْرُهُ مهولُهُ شَوْكَتُهُ وَسطوتُهُ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ الْغَلَّةَ فِيْ رَقْبَتِهِ مَعَ رِجْلَيْهِ  

“Think of the entire creation as a person who has been imprisoned by a king whose kingdom is enormous and his rule is strict, whose strength and might is frightening. Then he (this king) has chained his (the prisoner) legs and neck…”

 

[Futūḥ Al Ghayb, Maqālah Sābi’ah ‘Asharah]

 

3-    Ḥaḍrat Shaykh ‘Abdul Qādir Jῑlānῑ Raḥimahullah (d.561 AH) states:

 

الْخَلْقُ عِنْدَ أَهْلِ الْمَعْرِفَةِ كَالذُّبَابِ وَالزَّنَابِيْرِ كَدُوْدِ الْقَزِّ 

“The entire creation according to those who have the recognition [of Allah] is like a fly or wasp or silkworm”

 

[Al Fatḥ Al Rabbānῑ, pg. 622]

 

4-    Ḥaḍrat Maḥbūb Ilāhῑ Khwājah Nizām Al Dῑn Awliyā Raḥimahullah (d.725 AH) writes:

 

ایمان کے تمام نہ شود تاہمہ خلق نزد او ایں چنیں نہ نمایہ کہ پشک شتر

 

Translation:

“A person does not have complete Īmān (faith) until he views the entire creation as equivalent to the droppings of a camel”

 

[Fawāid Al Fawāid, pg. 61]

 

One answer given by some of our Barelwῑ brothers with regards to the statement of Ḥaḍrat Khwājah Maḥbūb Ilāhῑ Nizām Al Dῑn Awliyā Raḥimahullah (d.725 AH) is that the book Fawāid Al Fawāid was not authored by Ḥaḍrat Khwājah Maḥbūb Ilāhῑ Nizām Al Dῑn Awliyā Raḥimahullah (d.725 AH), rather, it contains the statements (Malfūẓāt) of Ḥaḍrat Khwājah Maḥbūb Ilāhῑ Nizām Al Dῑn Awliyā Raḥimahullah (d.725 AH) as recorded by others.

 

The response to this is quite simple. Our discussion pertains to the topic of the statement (i.e. to consider everything besides Allah as being low in comparison to Allah) and not the actual words of the statement itself. Thus, considering that the individuals who gathered his statements were reliable and trustworthy, it is apparent that the topic of his statement is the topic that we are discussing. Another response to this feeble answer is that the individual who compiled the statements (Malfūẓāt) of Ḥaḍrat Maḥbūb Ilāhῑ Khwājah Nizām Al Dῑn Awliyā Raḥimahullah (d.725 AH) was Ḥaḍrat Khwājah Amῑr Ḥasan Sanjrῑ Raḥimahullah, a great scholar and saint of his time whose status was no lessor than that of Ḥaḍrat Maḥbūb Ilāhῑ Khwājah Nizām Al Dῑn Awliyā Raḥimahullah (d.725 AH).

 

Another bizarre response given by some of our Barelwῑ brothers is that Ḥaḍrat Maḥbūb Ilāhῑ Khwājah Nizām Al Dῑn Awliyā Raḥimahullah (d.725 AH) has used the words ‘entire creation’, while Ḥaḍrat Maulānā Shāh Ismā’ῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh has used the words ‘every creation, whether big or small’ which (supposedly) creates the impression of an attack upon the Prophets.

 

This answer is so feeble and bizarre that it is not even worth responding to it. It is evident to any individual with an iota of understanding that there is no difference between ‘entire creation’ and ‘every creation, whether big or small’.

Never mind a shoemaker, these great saints of Islām have stated that the very Īmān (faith) of a believer is incomplete until he considers the entire creation as equivalent to dung in comparison to Allah the Almighty.

What would our Barelwῑ brothers say regarding the statements of these great giants of Islām? Whatever answer they give in interpreting these statements is the same answer that may be given in interpreting the statement of Ḥaḍrat Maulānā Shāh Ismā’ῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh;

فَمَا كَانَ جَوَابُكُمْ فَهُوَ جَوَابُنَا

“Whatever answer you give is the answer we may give”

Furthermore, when one analyses the statement of Ḥaḍrat Maulānā Shāh Ismā’ῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh:

اور یہ یقین کرلینا چاہئے کہ ہر مخلوق بڑا ہو یا چھوٹا وہ اللہ تعالے کی شان کے آگے چمار سے بھی ذلیل ہے

“And you should know with certainty that every creation, whether or big or small, is weaker than a shoemaker in comparison to the status of Allah”

We see that Ḥaḍrat Maulānā Shāh Ismā’ῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh has referred to the creation in general, he has not at all specified a Prophet or pious servant of Allah.

There is a huge difference between a general statement and a specific statement. As a principle, there are many statements which may be made in a general manner but cannot be made in a specific manner.

This principle has been explained by Ibn Sharῑf Al Maqdisῑ (d.905 AH) who states:

قَالُوْا وَمَا ذَكَرْنَاهُ مِنْ صِحَّةِ الْإِطْلَاقِ إِجْمَالًا لَا تَفْصِيْلًا كَمَا يَصِحُّ بِالْإِجْمَاعِ وَالنَّصِّ أَن يُّقَالَ اللهُ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَلَا يَصِحُّ أَن يُّقَالَ خَالِقُ الْقَاذُوْرَات وَخَالِقُ الْقِرَدَةِ وَالْخَنَازِيْرِ مَعَ كَوْنِهَا مَخْلُوْقَةً لَهُ اتِّفَاقًا  

“They (the scholars) have said that what we have mentioned as being correct is with regards to when it is mentioned in general, not when it is specified, just as it is correct by consensus and evidential texts to say, ‘Allah is the creator of all things’ (a general statement) and it is incorrect to say, ‘[Allah is] the creator of filth’ and ‘[Allah is] the creator of monkeys and pigs’ (a specific statement) even though everyone agrees that these things are part of His creation”

[Kitāb Al Musāmarah Fῑ Sharḥ Al Musāyarah, v.2, pg.3, Al Maktabah Al Azhariyyah]

For example, Allah the Almighty says:

وَبَدَأَ خَلْقَ الْإِنْسَانِ مِنْ طِيْنٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ نَسْلَهُ مِنْ سُلَالَةٍ مِّنْ مَاءٍ مَّهِيْنٍ 

Translation:

“And he started the creation of mankind from clay, then He made his posterity out of the extract of a weak and worthless liquid”

[Surah Sajdah, verses 7-8]

This verse of the Qur’an explains that mankind have been created from a weak and worthless liquid called sperm. It is apparent that the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalām also fall under the generality of the word ‘mankind’, however, it is inappropriate and immoral of us to specifically state that the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalām have been created from a weak and worthless liquid called sperm.

Thus, the former general sentence - that mankind have been created from weak and worthless liquid called sperm - is a valid sentence, while the latter specific sentence - that the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalām have been created from weak and worthless liquid called sperm - is an inappropriate and immoral sentence.

We see from the statement of Ḥaḍrat Maulānā Shāh Ismā’ῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh that he has used a general sentence – that mankind in general is lowlier than a shoemaker in comparison to Allah the Almighty - which is valid. He has not specified the Prophet or pious servants of Allah, which would be inappropriate and immoral.

Similarly, Allah the Almighty says:

إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الْأَمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَن يَّحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الْإِنْسَانُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُوْمًا جَهُوْلًا 

Translation:

“Indeed, we offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook it] bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant

[Surah Al Aḥzāb, verse 72]

This verse of the Qur’ān explicitly labels mankind as unjust and ignorant. This is a general statement made for mankind. It is inappropriate and immoral for one to make a specific statement that based upon this verse the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalām are also unjust and ignorant.

The various accusations made by some of our Barelwῑ brothers are usually based upon a lack of understanding of this principle; that at times, a general statement is permissible while a specific statement is impermissible.

A person once presented this quote from Taqwiyatul mān to the erudite scholar, Maulānā Rashῑd Aḥmad Gangohῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh, and asked:

“What is the meaning of the following sentence, ‘and you should know with certainty that every creation, whether or big or small, is weaker than a shoemaker in comparison to the status of Allah’?”

Maulānā Rashῑd Aḥmad Gangohῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh replied:

اس عبارت سے مراد حق تعالی کے بے نہایت بڑائی ظاہر کرنا ہے کہ اس کی سب مخلوقات اگر چہ کسی درجہ کی ہو اس سے کچھ مناسبت نہیں رکھتی … پس حق تعالی کی ذات پاک جو خالص محض قدرت سے اس کے ساتھ کیا نسبت ودرجہ کسی خلق کا ہوسکتا ہے چمار کو شہنشاہ دنیا سے اولاد آدم ہونے میں مناسبت ومساوات ہے اور شہنشاہ نہ خالق ورازق چمار کا ہے تو چمار کو تو شہنشاہ سے مساوات بعض وجوہ سے ہے بھی مگر حق تعالی کے ساتھ اس قدر بھی مناسبت کسی کو نہیں کہ کوئی عزت برابری کی نہیں ہوسکتی – فخر عالم علیہ السلام باوجودیکہ تمام مخلوق سے برتر ومعزز بے نہایت عزیز ہیں – کہ کوئی مثل ان کے نہ ہوا نہ ہوگا مگر حق تعالی کی ذات پاک کے مقابلہ میں وہ بھی بندہ مخلوق ہیں تو یہ سب حق ہے مگر کم فہم اپنی کجی فہم سے اعتراض بیہودہ کرکے شان حق تعالی کو گھٹاتے ہیں اور اس کا نام حب رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم رکھتے ہیں

“The purpose of this statement is to make apparent the endless greatness of Allah the Almighty, that the entire creation, even if they are of some worth, have no similarity with Him…What status or similarity can the creation have in comparison to the Being of Allah the Almighty who is the only One who has complete power? A shoemaker is [at least] similar or equal to a king of this world in the sense that both are children of Ᾱdam, and this king is neither the creator nor the sustainer of the shoemaker, so a shoemaker is at least similar [in some ways] to a king [of this world], but no one has even this level of similarity with Allah the Almighty – whose Greatness has no parallel.

The Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam has a very high status and is honourable and noble, such that he has no equivalent, despite this, in comparison to Allah the Almighty, he is also a created servant.

This is all true and correct. However, an asinine individual raises absurd accusations due to his lack of intellect, and in doing so, he diminishes the status of Allah the Almighty while labelling it ‘love for the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam’.”

[[Fatāwā Rashῑdiyyah, pg.225, (Karachi: ‘Alimῑ Majlis)]

To summarise, there is no doubt that to specifically consider the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalām as low in status is clear misguidance and disbelief (kufr). However, to consider the entirety of creation as low in status in comparison to Allah the Almighty is the essence of Īmān (faith).

This sentiment has been echoed by ‘Allāmah Zurqānῑ Raḥimahullah (d.1122 AH) in his Sharḥ Mawāhib Al Ladunniyyah. Allāmah Zurqānῑ Raḥimahullah (d.1122 AH) states when defining taṣawwuf (تصوف):

هُوَ تَجْرِيْدُ الْقَلْبِ لِلهِ وَإِحْتِقَارُ مَا سِوَاهُ بِالنِّسْبَةِ لِعَظَمَتِهِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَإِلَّا فَإِحْقَارُ نَحْوِ نَبِيٍّ كُفْرٌ 

Translation:

“It is to free the heart for Allah and to consider everything in general besides Him as little in comparison to His Greatness and Glory, otherwise (i.e. without comparison to Allah), to belittle a Prophet is actual disbelief (kufr)”

[Sharḥ Mawāhib Al Ladunniyyah, v.1, pg.34, Dār Al Kutub Al ‘Ilmiyyah]

In conclusion, the claim that Ḥadhrat Maulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh degraded the status of the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam is incorrect and nothing more than a shameless attack.

By hopelessly clinging to such despicable misinterpretations and misquotations of the scholars of the past, and by labelling Muslims as apostates based on invalid reasons, our Barelwῑ brothers do more harm to their cause than good.

The Gravity of Labelling a Muslim an Apostate (Takfr)

Indeed, it cannot be emphasised enough that complete precaution must be exercised with regards to the solemn act of labelling a Muslim an apostate.

In the narration of Ṣaḥῑḥ Muslim, Ḥaḍrat ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar Radiyallahu Anhu narrates that the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam said:

إِذَا كَفَّرَ الرَّجُلُ أَخَاهُ فَقَدْ بَاءَ بِهَا أَحَدُهُمَا 

Translation: 

 “When a man labels his [Muslim] brother an apostate, then it (apostasy) returns to one of them”

In another narration of Ṣaḥῑḥ Muslim, the narration is found with the words:

أَيُّمَا امْرِئٍ قَالَ لِأَخِيهِ يَا كَافِرُ فَقَدْ بَاءَ بِهَا أَحَدُهُمَا إِنْ كَانَ كَمَا قَالَ وَإِلَّا رَجَعَتْ عَلَيْهِ

Translation: 

“Whichever man says to his [Muslim] brother, ‘Oh disbeliever’, then it returns to one of them if he (the Muslim brother) is like how he (the speaker) has said, otherwise, it (his statement) reverts to him (the speaker)”[4]

This narration has also been narrated Imām Mālik in his Al Muwatta[5] and Imām Al Bukhārῑ in his Ṣaḥῑḥ[6].

‘Allāmah Abul Walῑd Al Bājῑ Al Mālikῑ Raḥimahullah (d.474 AH) writes:

وَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ كَافِرًا فَوِزْرُ هَذَا الْقَوْلِ عَلَى قَائِلِهِ 

Translation:

“If the accused is not an apostate, then the punishment of this statement reverts to its speaker”

[Al Muntaqā Sharḥ Al Muwattā, v.9, pg.480, Dār Al Kutub Al ‘Ilmiyyah]

Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajr Al Asqalānῑ Al Shafi’ῑ’ Raḥimahullah (d.852 AH) writes:

وَالتَّحْقِيْقُ أَنَّ الْحَدِيْثَ سِيْقَ لِزَجْرِ الْمُسْلِمِ عَنْ أَن يَّقُوْلَ ذَلِكَ لِأَخِيْهِ الْمُسْلِمِ 

Translation:

“The correct view is that this Ḥadῑth has been brought to rebuke a Muslim from saying such a statement to his Muslim brother”

[Fatḥ Al Bārῑ, v.10, pg.524, Dār Al Ḥadῑth]

‘Allāmah Ibn Daqῑq Al ‘Id Al Shafi’ῑ’ Raḥimahullah (d.702 AH) writes:

وَهَذَا وَعِيْدٌ عَظِيْمٌ لِمَنْ أَكْفَرَ أَحَدًا مِّنَ الْمُسْلِمِيْنَ وَلَيْسَ كَذَلِكَ وَهِيَ وَرَطَةٌ عَظِيْمَةٌ وَقَعَ فِيْهَا خَلْقٌ كَثِيْرٌ مِّنَ الْمُتَكَلِّمِيْنَ وَمِنَ الْمَنْسُوْبِيْنَ إِلَى السُّنَّةِ وَأَهْلِ الْحَدِيْثِ لَمَّا اخْتَلَفُوْا فِي الْعَقَائِدِ فَغَلَطُوْا عَلَى مُخَالِفِيْهِمْ وَحَكَمُوْا بِكُفْرِهِمْ

Translation:

“This is a great warning to anyone who labels anyone from amongst the Muslim an apostate while he is [not an apostate], and this is an enormous dilemma which many people from the theologians, and those who are attributed to the Sunnah and the scholars of Ḥadῑth have fallen into. When they differed [with one another] in [matters of] creed, they condemned their opposition and labelled them with apostasy”

[Iḥkām Al Aḥkām Sharḥ ‘Umdah Al Aḥkām, v.2, pg. 226, Maṭba’ah Al Sunnah Al Muḥammadiyyah]

The scholars of the past were well aware of the seriousness of labelling a Muslim an apostate. Therefore, they were extremely cautious in this regard. It was the methodology of the scholars of the past to vehemently avoid labelling a Muslim an apostate, even if this meant interpreting a Muslim’s statements or actions with a somewhat distant interpretation in order to maintain his Īmān (faith) and keep him within the fold of Islām.

The scholars of the past repeatedly advised that one should never hurry in labelling a Muslim an apostate based upon a statement or action of his.

Ḥāfiz Ibn ‘Abdil Barr Al Mālikῑ Raḥimahullah (d.463 AH) said:

فَالْقُرْآنُ وَالسُّنَّةُ يَنْهَيَانِ عَنْ تَفْسِيْقِ الْمُسْلِمِ وَتَكْفِيْرِهِ بِبَيَانٍ لَا إِشْكَالَ فِيْهِ 

Translation:

“The Qur’an and the Sunnah discourage - in an elaboration that does not leave any doubts - a Muslim from labelling a [fellow] Muslim a ‘transgressor’ or ‘apostate’”

[Al Tamhῑd Li Mā Fil Muwattā Minal Ma’ānῑ Wal Asānῑd, v.17, pg.315, Al Fārūq Al Ḥadῑthiyyah]

Qāḍῑ ‘Iyāḍ Al Mālikῑ Raḥimahullah (d.544 AH) has recorded the statement of the great Shāfi’ῑ’ jurist, Imām Al Ḥaramayn Al Juwaynῑ Al Shāfi’ῑ’ Raḥimahullah (d.478 AH) who said:

إِدْخَالُ كَافِرٍ فِي الْمِلَّةِ أَوْ إِخْرَاجُ مُسْلِمٍ عَنْهَا عَظِيْمٌ فِي الدِّيْنِ 

Translation:

“To consider a disbeliever within the fold of Islām or to take a Muslim out of it (the fold of Islām) is a severe act in religion”

[Al Shifā, pg. 473, Dār Al Ḥadῑth]

Imām Al Ghazālῑ Al Shāfi’ῑ’ Raḥimahullah (d.505 AH) said:

وَالَّذِيْ يَنْبَغِيْ أَنْ يَمِيْلَ الْمَحْصَلُ إِلَيْهِ الْإِحْتِرَازَ مِنَ التَّكْفِيْرِ مَا وُجِدَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيْلًا فَإِنَّ اسْتَبَاحَةَ الدِّمَاءِ وَالْأَمْوَالِ مِنَ الْمُصَلِّيْنَ إِلَى الْقِبْلَةِ الْمُصَرِّحِيْنَ بِقَوْلِ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُوْلُ اللهِ خَطَأٌ، وَالْخَطَأُ فِيْ تَرْكِ أَلْفِ كَافِرٍ فِي الْحَيَاةِ أَهْوَنُ مِنَ الْخَطَأِ فِيْ سَفْكِ مِحْجَمَةٍ مِنْ دَمِ مُسْلِمٍ

Translation:

“What the summary should lead to is that one should refrain as much as possible from labelling a Muslim an apostate, for indeed, to consider it permissible to spill the blood and take the wealth of those who are performing Ṣalāh towards the Qiblah and are explicitly declaring that there is no one worth of worship besides Allah and that Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allah is a mistake. And to make the mistake of staying silent over a thousand apostates in this world is less harmful than the mistake of spilling the equivalent to a cupping glass of the blood of a Muslim”

[Al Iqtiṣād Fil I’tiqād, v.1, pg.135, Dār Al Kutub Al ‘Ilmiyyah]

Qāḍῑ ‘Iyāḍ Al Mālikῑ Raḥimahullah (d.544 AH) has related the view of many great scholars of the past who said:

فَإِنَّ اسْتَبَاحَةَ الْمُوَحِّدِيْنَ خَطَأٌ وَالْخَطَأُ فِيْ تَرْكِ أَلْفِ كَافِرٍ أَهْوَنُ مِنَ الْخَطَأِ فِيْ سَفْكِ مِحْجَمَةٍ مِّنْ دَمِ مُسْلِمٍ وَاحِدٍ وَقَدْ قَالَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ "فَإِذَا قَالُوْهَا – يَعْنِيْ الشَّهَادَةَ – عَصَمُوْا مِنِّيْ دِمَاءَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ إِلَّا بِحَقِّهَا وَحِسَابُهُمْ عَلَى اللهِ" فَالْعِصْمَةُ مَقْطُوْعٌ بِهَا مِنَ الشَّهَادَةِ وَلَا تَرْتَفِعُ وَيُسْتَبَاحُ خِلَافُهَا إِلَّا بِقَاطِعٍ  

Translation:

“Indeed, to consider it permissible to spill the blood of the believers is a mistake, and to make the mistake of staying silent over a thousand apostates in this world is less harmful than the mistake of spilling the equivalent to a cupping glass of the blood of a Muslim. Indeed, the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam has said, ‘When they say it – i.e. the Shahādatayn (testimony of faith) – they have protected from me their blood and their wealth except its right (in Sharῑ’ah), and their reckoning is upon Allah’. Thus, protection [has been granted to them] with certainty due to the Shahādah (testimony of faith), and it (the protection) shall not be lifted and that which is opposite to it shall not be made permissible except with certainty [of apostasy]”

[Al Shifā, pg. 473, Dār Al Ḥadῑth]

‘Allāmah Ibn ‘Abidῑn Al Shāmῑ Al Ḥanafῑ Raḥimahullah (d.1252 AH) has quoted the statement of the master Ḥanafῑ jurist Al Ṣadr Al Shahiῑd Al Ḥanafῑ Raḥimahullah (d.556 AH) who said:

الْكُفْرُ شَيْءٌ عَظِيْمٌ فَلَا أَجْعَلُ الْمُؤْمِنَ كَافِرًا مَتَى وَجَدْتُ رِوَايَةً أَنَّهُ لَا يَكْفُرُ 

Translation:

“Disbelief (apostasy) is a severe act, so I will never consider a Believer to be an apostate if I have found a view [in Sharῑ’ah] to state that he has not become an apostate”

[Sharḥ ‘Uqūd Rasm Al Muftῑ, pg.440, Dārul Bashāir Al Islāmiyyah]

The Ḥanafῑ jurist, Nāṣir Al Dῑn Al Samarqandῑ Al Ḥanafῑ Raḥimahullah (d.556 AH) writes:

فَيَنْبَغِيْ لِلْعَالِمِ إِذَا رُفِعَ إِلَيْهِ مِثْلُ هَذَا أَن لَا يُبَادِرَ بِتَكْفِيْرِ أَهْلِ الْإِسْلَامِ

Translation:

“When something like this (i.e. A Mas’alah pertaining to apostasy) is brought to a Muftῑ, he should not rush in making Takfr (considering a Muslim to be an apostate) of the Muslims”

[Al Multaqaṭ Fil Fatāwā Al Ḥanafiyyah, pg.248-249, Dār Al Kutub Al ‘Ilmiyyah]

This advice has been echoed by other Ḥanafῑ jurists, such as ‘Allāmah Sirāj Al Dῑn Al Awshῑ Al Ḥanafῑ Raḥimahullah (d.569 AH)[7] [Al Fatāwā Al Sirājiyyah, pg.305, Zam Zam Publishers], Ibn Qādῑ Samāwinah Al Ḥanafῑ Raḥimahullah (d.823 AH) [Jāmi’ Al Fuṣūlayn, v.1, pg.215, Islāmῑ Kutub Khānā], and ‘Allāmah Khair Al Dῑn Al Ramlῑ Raḥimahullah (d.1081 AH) [Al Fatāwā Al Khayriyyah, v.1, pg.106, Mῑr Muḥammad Kutub Khānā].[8]

The erudite Ḥanafῑ jurist, ‘Allāmah Ṭāhir Al Bukhārῑ Al Ḥanafῑ Raḥimahullah (d. post 600 AH) writes:

إِذَا كَانَ فِي الْمَسْأَلَةِ وُجُوْهٌ يُوْجِبُ التَّكْفِيْرَ وَوَجْهٌ وَاحِدٌ يَمْنَعُ فَعَلَى الْمُفْتِيْ أَن يَّمِيْلَ إِلَى هَذَا الْوَجْهِ

Translation:

“If in a Mas’alah, there are plenty of reasons for labelling a Muslim an apostate, and only one reason to prevent such a label, then it is upon a Muftῑ to turn towards the one reason [that prevents such a label]”

[Khulāṣah Al Fatāwā, v.4, pg.382, Maktabah Rashῑdiyyah]

This advice has been reiterated by ‘Allāmah Burhān Al Dῑn Al Bukhārῑ Raḥimahullah (d.616 AH) [Al Muḥῑṭ Al Burhānῑ, v.7, pg.397, Idāratul Qur’ān].

‘Allāmah Al Walwāljῑ Al Ḥanafῑ Raḥimahullah (d.540 AH) writes:

وَيُحْمَلُ كَلَامُ الْمُسْلِمِيْنَ عَلَى أَحْسَنِهِ وَأَجْمَلِهِ

Translation:

“The [dubious] statements of a Muslim shall be interpreted in the best and most appropriate manner”

[Al Fatāwā Al Walwāljῑyyah, v.5, pg.417, Dār Al Kutub Al ‘Ilmiyyah]

The author of Al Fatāwā Al Tatārkhāniyyah, ‘Allāmah Farῑd Al Dῑn Al Indarpatῑ Al Ḥanafῑ (d.786 AH) relates:

الْأَصْلُ أَن لَا يُكَفَّرُ أَحَدٌ بِلَفْظٍ مُحْتَمَلٍ لِأَنَّ الْكُفْرَ نِهَايَةٌ فِي الْعُقُوْبَةِ فَيَسْتَدْعِيْ نِهَايَةً فِي الْجِنَايَةِ وَمَعَ الْإِحْتِمَالِ لَا نِهَايَةَ

Translation:

“The principle is that no individual should be considered a disbeliever if his statement could have another [valid] connotation. This is because disbelief is deserved of the worst punishment, therefore demanding it to be the worst of crimes, and when his statement has another [valid] connotation, it can no longer be the worst of crimes”

[Al Fatāwā Al Tatārkhāniyyah, v.7, pg.282, Maktabah Zakariyya]

The great Ḥanafῑ jurist, ‘Allāmah Zayn Al Dῑn Ibn Nujaym Al Ḥanafῑ Raḥimahullah (d.970 AH) states that he had made it a habit to never issue a Fatwā in which he labels a Muslim an apostate.

He writes:

وَالَّذِيْ تَحَرَّرَ أَنَّهُ لَا يُفْتَى بِتَكْفِيْرِ مُسْلِمٍ أَمْكَنَ حَمْلُ كَلَامِهِ عَلَى مَحْمَلٍ حَسَنٍ أَوْ كَانَ فِيْ كُفْرِهِ اخْتِلَافٌ وَلَوْ رِوَايٌة ٌضَعِيْفَةٌ فَعَلَى هَذَا فَأَكْثَرُ أَلْفَاظِ التَّكْفِيْرِ الْمَذْكُوْرَةِ لَا يُفْتَى بِالتَّكْفِيْرِ بِهَا وَلَقَدْ أَلْزَمْتُ نَفْسِيْ أَنْ لَا أُفْتِيَ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنْهَا

Translation:

“The conclusion we have come to is that a Fatwā shall not be given declaring a Muslim to be an apostate when it is possible to interpret his statement in a positive manner or where there is a difference of opinion as to whether such a statement is apostasy or not, even if the difference of opinion is due to a weak narration. Thus, a Fatwā of apostasy shall not be issued in the majority of the statements of apostasy that have been mentioned earlier. Indeed, I have made it incumbent upon myself never to issue a Fatwā [of apostasy] in regards to those statements.

[Al Baḥr Al Rā’iq, v.5, pg.125, HM Said]

Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Taymiyyah Al Ḥanbalῑ Raḥimahullah (d.728 AH) writes:

فَلِهَذَا كَانَ أَهْلُ الْعِلْمِ وَالسُّنَّةِ لَا يُكَفِّرُوْنَ مَنْ خَالَفَهُمْ وَإِنْ كَانَ ذَلِكَ الْمُخَالِفُ يُكَفِّرُهُمْ لِأَنَّ الْكُفْرَ حُكْمٌ شَرْعِيٌّ فَلَيْسَ لِلْإِنْسَانِ أَنْ يُعَاقِبَ بِمِثْلِهِ كَمَنَ كَذَبَ عَلَيْكَ وَزَنَى بِأَهْلِكَ لَيْسَ لَكَ أَنْ تَكْذِبَ عَلَيْهِ وَتَزْنِيْ بِأَهْلِهِ لِأَنَّ الْكِذْبَ وَالزِّنَا حَرَامٌ لِحَقِّ اللهِ وَكَذَلِكَ التَّكْفِيْرُ حَقٌ لِلهِ فَلَا يُكَفَّرُ إِلَّا َمْن كَفَّرَهُ اللهُ وَرَسُوْلُهُ

Translation:

“It is due to this reason that the people of knowledge and Sunnah do not label their opposition as apostates, even if their opposition labels them as apostates. This is because declaring a Muslim as an apostate is a ruling related to Sharῑ’ah, thus it is not for a human being to retaliate in such an issue. For example, if someone lies to you and performs adultery with your wife, it is not for you to now [retaliate and] lie to him and perform adultery with his wife, because lying and adultery are prohibited due to the right of Allah. Similarly, the issue of labelling a Muslim as an apostate is also the right of Allah, thus none shall be declared an apostate except whom Allah and His Messenger declare an apostate”

[Al Istigāthah Fῑ Al Rad ‘Alal Bakrῑ, pg.252, Dār Al Minhāj]

Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar Al Haytamῑ Al Shafi’ῑ’ Raḥimahullah (d.974 AH) writes:

يَنْبَغِيْ لِلْمُفْتِيْ أَنَّهُ يَحْتَاطُ فِي التَّكْفِيْرِ مَا أَمْكَنَهُ لِعَظِيْمِ خَطَرِهِ وَغَلْبَةِ عَدْمِ قَصْدِهِ سَيِّمًا مِّنَ الْعَوَامِّ وَمَا زَالَ أَئِمَّتُنَا عَلَى ذَلِكَ قَدِيْمًا وَحَدِيْثًا

Translation:

“It is appropriate for a Muftῑ to be as cautious as possible with regards to the issue of declaring a Muslim an apostate due to its great dangers and the prevalence of it occurring without intention, especially from laymen. Our scholars have always held this view, in the past until now”

[Tuḥfah Al Muḥtāj Bi Sharḥ Al Minhāj, v.4, pg.110, Dār Al Kutub Al ‘Ilmiyyah]

Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar Al Haytamῑ Al Shafi’ῑ’ Raḥimahullah (d.974 AH)’s caution has been reiterated by his student, Zayn Al Dῑn ibn ‘Abd Al Azῑz Al Malibārῑ Raḥimahullah (d.987 AH) [Fatḥ Al Mu’ῑn Bi Sharḥ Qurrah Al ‘Ayn Bi Muhimmāt Al Dῑn, pg. 573, Dār Ibn Ḥazm].

Ibn Shattā Al Dimyāṭῑ Al Shāfi’ῑ’ Raḥimahullah (d.1310 AH) writes:

يَسْلُكُ طَرِيْقَ الْإِحْتِيَاطِ فِي الْإِفْتَاءِ بِتَكْفِيْرِ أَحَدٍ فَلَا يُفْتَى بِذَلِكَ إِلَّا بَعْدَ الْفَحْصِ الشَّدِيْدِ وَالْيَقِيْنِ السَّدِيْدِ

Translation:

“He (a Muftῑ) should tread the path of caution when issuing a Fatwā declaring someone to be an apostate, thus such a Fatwā should not be issued except after extreme examination and outright conviction”

[I’ānah ‘Alā Ṭālibῑn, v.4, pg. 138, Dār Ihyā Al Kutub Al ‘Arabiyyah]

Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar Al Haytamῑ Al Shafi’ῑ’ Raḥimahullah (d.974 AH) has quoted the statement of ‘Allāmah Badr Al Dῑn Al Zarkashῑ Al Shafi’ῑ’ Raḥimahullah (d.794 AH) who said:

أَنَّ مَعَنَا أَصْلًا مُحَقَّقًا هُوَ الْإِيْمَانُ فَلَا نَرْفَعُهُ إِلَّا بِيَقِيْنٍ فَلْيَتَنَبَّهْ لِهَذَا وَلِيَحْذَرْ مِمَّنْ يُبِادِرُ إِلَى التَّكْفِيْرِ فِيْ هَذِهِ الْمَسَائِلِ مِنْهَا وَمِنْهُمْ فَيُخَافُ عَلَيْهِ الْكُفْرُ لِأَنَّهُ كَفَّرَ مُسْلِمًا

Translation:

“We have an established foundation which is Īmān (faith), thus we shall not eradicate it (Īmān (faith)) [from a Muslim] except with conviction [that he has eradicated his Īmān (faith)]. So the individual from amongst us (the Shāfi’ῑ’s) and them (the Ḥanafῑs) who rushes in declaring a Muslim an apostate should be alert and cautious in this regard, for apostasy is [equally] feared for him too as he has declared a Muslim to be an apostate”

[Tuḥfah Al Muḥtāj Bi Sharḥ Al Minhāj, v.4, pg.110, Dār Al Kutub Al ‘Ilmiyyah]

Mullā ‘Alῑ Al Qārῑ Al Ḥanafῑ Raḥimahullah (d.1014 AH) writes:

وَقَدْ قَالَ عُلَمَاؤُنَا إِذَا وُجِدَ تِسْعَةٌ وَّتِسْعُوْنَ وَجْهًا تُشِيْرُ إِلَى تَكْفِيْرِ مُسْلِمٍ وَوَجْهٌ وَاحِدٌ إِلَى بَقَائِهِ عَلَى إِسْلَامِهِ فَيَنْبَغِيْ لِلْمُفْتِيْ وَالْقَاضِيْ أَنْ يَعْمَلَا بِذَلِكَ الْوَجْهِ وَهُوَ مُسْتَفَادٌ مِّنْ قَوْلِهِ عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ ادْرَؤُوْا الْحُدُوْدَ عِنْ الْمُسْلِمِيْنَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ فَإِنْ وَجَدْتُمْ لِلْمُسْلِمِ مَخْرَجًا فَخَلُّوْا سَبِيْلَهُ فَإِنَّ الْإِمَامَ لَأَن يُّخْطِئَ فِي الْعَفْوِ خَيْرٌ لَهُ مِنْ أَن ْيُخْطِئَ فِي الْعُقُوْبَةِ رَوَاهُ التِّرْمِذِيُّ وَغَيْرُهُ وَالْحَاكِمُ وَصَحَّحَهُ

Translation:

“Indeed, our scholars have said, ‘If there are 99 reasons that indicate towards the apostasy of a Muslim and 1 reason to indicate that he is still a Muslim, then it is appropriate for a Muftῑ and a judge to act upon that 1 reason’. This is supported by his Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam’s statement, ‘distance corporal punishment from the Muslims as much as possible, if you find a way out for a Muslim, then clear his path, for indeed it is better for an Imām to mistakenly forgive an individual than it is for him to mistakenly punish [someone]’ narrated by Al Tirmidhῑ and Al Ḥākim – and he considered it authentic.”

[Sharḥ Al Shifā, v.2, pg. 499, Dār Al Kutub Al ‘Ilmiyyah]

Imām Muḥammad Al Shawkānῑ Raḥimahullah (d.1250 AH) writes:

اعْلَمْ أَنَّ الْحُكْمَ عَلَى الرَّجُلِ الْمُسْلِمِ بِخُرُوْجِهِ مِنْ دِيْنِ الْإِسْلَامِ وَدُخُوْلِهِ فِي الْكُفْرِ لَا يَنْبَغِيْ لِمُسْلِمٍ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ أَن يَقْدِمَ عَلَيْهِ إَلَّا بَبُرْهَانٍ أَوْضَحَ مِنْ شَمْسِ النَّارِ ... فَفِيْ هَذِهِ الْأَحَادِيْثِ وَمَا وَرَدَ مَوْرَدَهَا أَعْظَمُ زَاجِرٍ وَأَكْبَرُ وَاعِظٍ عَنِ التَّسَرُّعِ فِي التَّكْفِيْرِ

Translation:

“Know that to remove a Muslim person from the religion of Islām and into apostasy is not an appropriate thing for anyone who believes in Allah and the final day to step forward and do without a reason as clear as the light of fire … for in these Aḥādῑth and other similar Aḥādῑth is the greatest rebuke and most important warning from rushing in declaring a Muslim an apostate”

  [Al Sayl Al Jarār Al Mutadaffiq ‘Alā Ḥadāiq Al Uzhār, pg. 978, Dār Ibn Ḥazm]

This methodology of maintaining complete precaution in labelling a Muslim an apostate was also evident amongst the ‘Ulamā of Deoband. [See Al Muhannad ‘Alal Mufannad, pg.62, Dār Al Fatḥ Li Al Dirāsāt Wal Nashr]

Muftῑ Muḥammad Taqῑ ‘Uthmānῑ Ṣāḥib (Dāmat Barakātuhum) relates an incident of his father, Muftῑ Muḥammad Shafῑ Raḥimahullah, in his book in the Urdu language, Meirei Wālid Meirei Shaykh (میرے والد میرے شیخ), he writes:

خاکسار تحریک کے بانی عنایت اللہ مشرقی صاحب نے ایک زمانے میں ہندوستانی مسلمانوں کی ایک بڑی تعداد کو متاثر کیا ، ان کے عقائد ونظریات جمہور امت سے بہت سے معاملات میں مختلف تھے ، اور بعض نظریات تو ایسے تھے کہ دائرہ اسلام میں ان کی کوئی گنجائش نظر نہیں آتی تھی – حکیم الامت حضرت مولانا اشرف علی صاحب تھانوی قدس سرہ کے ایماء پر حضرت والد صاحب نے ان کے نظریات کی تردید میں ایک رسالہ تحریر فرمایا جو "مشرقی اور اسلام" کے نام سے شائع ہوا ہے –رسالہ تو مختصر سا ہے لیکن حضرت والد صاحب فرمایا کرتے تھے کہ  میں نے اس کی ترتیب میں بڑی محنت اٹھائی ، اول تو مشرقی صاحب کی تمام معروف تصانیف کا نظر غائر مطالعہ کیا – پھر ان کے جن مقالات پر جمہور امت سے ناقابل برداشت  انحراف نظر آیا ، ان کو قلمبند کیا ، اور پھر مزید احتیاط یہ کہ ان عبارتوں کو جمع کرکے مشرقی صاحب کے پاس بھیجا کہ ان عبارتوں سے آپ کی مراد وہی ہے جو ان سے ظاہر ہوتی ہے یا آپ کچھ اور کہنا چاہتے ہیں؟ ان کی طرف سے کوئی واضح جواب نہ آیا تو انہیں دوبارہ خط لکھا ، اور یہ خط وکتابت کافی عرصے تک جاری رہی ، یہاں تک کہ جب اس خط وکتابت کے نتیجے میں یقین ہوگیا کہ مراد وہی ہے جو ان کی عبارتوں سے ظاہر ہے تو پھر اس پر تردید تحریر فرمائی -  

Translation:

“The founder of the Khāksār movement, Ināyatullah Mashriqῑ Ṣāḥib, had at one time influenced a large group of Muslims in India, his beliefs and views were different from the view of the mainstream Muslims in many aspects, and some of his views were such that it seemed there was no scope for them in the circle of Islām. Upon the instruction of Ḥakῑm Al Ummah Ḥaḍrat Maulānā Ashraf Alῑ Ṣāḥib Thānwῑ, may his soul be sanctified, [my] father prepared a treatise as a refutation to his views which has been published with the title ‘Mashriqῑ aur Islām’. The treatise itself is brief, however, [my] father would say, ‘I undertook great efforts in compiling it; first I performed an in-depth study of all of Mashriqῑ Sahib’s famous books, then I came across all those statements of his which I felt were an unacceptable aversion from the [view of the] mainstream Muslims, I wrote these down. Then, as a matter of extra precaution, I gathered these statements and sent them to Mashriqῑ Ṣāḥib [in order to ask him] that, “Do you intend with these statements what seems to be [the] apparent [meaning] from them? Or do you intend something else?” I never got a clear response from him so I wrote a letter to him again, and this writing of letters [to him] continued for a significant period of time, up until the point where the conclusion of these letters gave [me] conviction that he intends that which is apparent from the statements. So then I wrote a refutation upon him.”

[Meirei Walid Meirei Shaykh, pg.114-115, Maktabah Ma’ārif Al Qur’ān Karachi]

Even with regards to the notorious apostate Mirzā Ghulām Aḥmad Qādiyānῑ, the ‘Ulamā of Deoband did not hasten in labelling him an apostate. Initially, the ‘Ulamā of Deoband exercised complete precaution and attempted to interpret his statements in a positive manner. It was only when he openly and explicitly claimed to be a prophet and openly and explicitly denied the lifting of Hadrat Isa Alayhis Salam that the ‘Ulamā of Deoband were forced to label him an apostate.

Maulānā Khalῑl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrῑ Raḥimahullah (d.1346 AH) writes:

جُمْلَةُ قَوْلِنَا وَقَوْلُ مَشَايِخِنَا فِي (الْقَادِيَانِيِّ) الَّذِيْ يَدَّعِي النُّبُوَّةَ وَالْمَسِيْحِيَّةَ إِنَّا كُنَّا فِيْ بَدْءِ أَمْرِهِ – حِيْنَ لَمْ يَظْهَرْ لَنَا مِنْهُ سُوْءُ اعْتِقَادٍ بَلْ بَلَغَنَا أَنَّهُ يُؤَيِّدُ الْإِسْلَامَ وَيُبْطِلُ جَمِيْعَ الْأَدْيَانِ الَّتِيْ سِوَاهُ بِالْبَرَاهِيْنِ وَالدَّلَائِلِ – نُحْسِنُ الظَّنَّ بِهِ عَلَى مَا هُوَ اللَّائِقُ لِلْمُسْلِمِ بِالْمُسْلِمِ وَنُؤَوِّلُ بَعْضَ أَقْوَالِهِ وَنَحْمِلُهُ عَلَى مَحْمَلٍ حَسَنٍ ثُمَّ إِنَّهُ لَمَّا ادَّعَى النُّبُوَّةَ واَلْمَسِيْحِيَّةَ وَأَنْكَرَ رَفْعَ اللهِ تَعَالَى الْمَسِيْحَ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ وَظَهَرَ لَنَا مِنْ خُبْثِ اعْتِقَادِهِ وَزَنَدَقَتِهِ أَفْتَى مَشَايِخُنَا رِضْوَانُ اللهِ تَعَالَى عَلَيْهِمْ بِكُفْرِهِ

Translation:

“The summary of our statement and the statement of our ‘Ulamā with regards to Qādiyānῑ, who claimed prophet hood and that he is the Messiah is that during his initial years - when we had not witnessed a corrupt belief from him, rather it had reached us that he supports Islām and invalidates all other religions using evidences and proofs – we held good thoughts of him as is appropriate for a Muslim to do with regards to another Muslim and we explicated some of his [dubious] statement by interpreting them with a positive interpretation. Then, when he claimed prophet hood and that he is the Messiah, and he denied that Allah the Almighty has lifted the Messiah to the heavens, and the wretchedness of his beliefs and his hypocrisy became apparent to us, our ‘Ulama, may Allah the Almighty be pleased with them, issued a Fatwā of apostasy upon him”

[Al Muhannad ‘Alal Mufannad, pg.98, Dār Al Fatḥ Li Al Dirāsāt Wal Nashr]

All of the above quotations were pertaining to the specific issue of maintaining complete precaution and avoiding the act of labelling a Muslim an apostate when one has some form of Shar’’ evidence to prove apostasy.

As for labelling a Muslim an apostate simply based upon one’s own intellect or understanding without an accepted Shar’’ reason that is adequate to prove apostasy, this is completely and unequivocally arām (forbidden). In fact, such an individual risks losing his own Īmān (faith).[9]

Allah the Almighty says:

وَلَا تَقُوْلُوْا لِمَنْ أَلْقَى إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَامَ لَسْتَ مُؤْمِنًا

Translation:

“And do not say to the one who extends greetings to you, ‘you are not a Believer’”

[Surah Nisā, verse 94]

Qāḍῑ ‘Iyāḍ Al Malikῑ Raḥimahullah (d.544 AH) writes:

الْفَصْلُ الرَّابِعُ فِيْ بَيَانِ مَا هُوَ مِنَ الْمَقَالَاتِ كُفْرٌ وَمَا يَتَوَقَّفُ أَوْ يَخْتَلِفُ فِيْهِ وَمَا لَيْسَ بِكُفْرٍ. اعْلَمْ أَنَّ تَحْقِيْقَ هَذَا الْفَصْلِ وَكَشْفِ اللُّبْسِ فِيْهِ مَوْرِدُهُ الشَّرْعُ وَلَا مَجَالَ لِلْعَقْلِ فِيْهِ

Translation:

“The fourth chapter in elaborating upon those statements that are apostasy and those in which there is no opinion or a difference opinion and those which are not apostasy.

Know! That a discussion in this chapter and clearing the doubts in it are based upon Shari’ah, [personal] intellect has no role to play in it[10]

[Al Shifā, pg. 473, Dār Al Ḥadῑth]

The ‘Ulamā of Deoband have also elaborated that a person who labels a Muslim an apostate based upon his own intellect and understanding has risked his own Īmān (faith).

Muftῑ Maḥmūd Ḥasan Gangohῑ Raḥimahullah (d.1417 AH) writes:

کسی مسلم کو بغیر دلیل کے کافر کہنا بھی نہایت خطرناک ہے اس کو بھی کھیل نہ بنا لیا جائے اس سے اپنا ایمان بھی مجروح ہوتا ہے 

Translation:

“To call a Muslim an apostate without any [accepted] Shar’ῑ’ evidence [that is accepted to prove apostasy] is extremely dangerous. This should not be made into an amusement. One hurts his [own] Īmān (faith) by doing such a thing”

[Fatāwā Maḥmūdiyyah, v.2, pg.470, Dārul Iftā Jāmi’ah Fāruqiyyah]

In conclusion, the methodology of the illustrious scholars of the Ahl Al Sunnah Wal Jamā’ah has remained to avoid labelling a Muslim an apostate. Rather, we have been advised to interpret a Muslim’s dubious statements or actions in a positive manner in order to maintain his Īmān (faith) and to keep him within the fold of Islām.

This spirit of interpreting a Muslim’s dubious statements in a positive manner is manifest in an incident related by Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar Al Haytamῑ Al Shafi’ῑ’ Raḥimahullah (d.974 AH), who writes:

وَقَدْ أَفْتَى أَبُوْ زُرْعَةَ مِنْ مُحَقِّقِي الْمُتَأَخِّرِيْنَ فِيْمَنَ قِيْلَ لَهُ اهْجُرْنِيْ فِي اللهِ فَقَالَ هَجَرْتُكَ لِأَلْفِ اللهِ بِأَنَّهُ لاَ يَكْفُرُ إِنْ أَرَادَ لِأَلْفِ سَبَبٍ أَوْ هِجْرَةٍ لِلهِ تَعَالَى وَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ ذَلِكَ ظَاهِرُ اللَّفْظِ حَقْنًا لِلدَّمِ بِحَسْبِ الْإِمْكَانِ

Translation:

“Indeed, from amongst the later scholars, Abū Zur’ah [Al Īrāqῑ (d.826 AH)] gave a Fatwā - regarding the one to whom it is said, ‘leave me for the sake of Allah’, so he replies, ‘I’m leaving you for a thousand Allahs’ – that he will not become an apostate if he intended [by his statement ‘a thousand Allahs’] a ‘thousands reasons’ or [he intended] ‘I am leaving you for the sake of Allah the Almighty’, even though this is not apparent from his words, [this is] in order to protect the blood [of a Muslim] in any way possible”

[Tuḥfah Al Muḥtāj Bi Sharḥ Al Minhāj, v.4, pg.110, Dār Al Kutub Al ‘Ilmiyyah]

The zeal to interpret a Muslim’s dubious statements in the best manner possible in order to maintain his Īmān (faith) and to keep him within the fold of Islām is also evident from an interesting story related by ‘Allāmah Zayn Al Dῑn Ibn Nujaym Al Ḥanafῑ Raḥimahullah (d.970 AH).

‘Allāmah Zayn Al Dῑn Ibn Nujaym Al Ḥanafῑ Raḥimahullah (d.970 AH) writes:                                                              

وَسُئِلَ الْإِمَامُ رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى عَمَّنْ قَالَ لَا أَرْجُو الْجَنَّةَ وَلَا أَخَافُ النَّارَ وَلَا أَخَافُ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى وَآكُلُ الْمَيْتَةَ وَأُصَلِّي بِلَا قِرَاءَةٍ وَبِلَا رُكُوعٍ وَسُجُودٍ وَأَشْهَدُ بِمَا لَمْ أَرَهُ وَأُبْغِضُ الْحَقَّ وَأُحِبُّ الْفِتْنَةَ فَقَالَ أَصْحَابُهُ أَمْرُ هَذَا الرَّجُلِ مُشْكِلٌ فَقَالَ الْإِمَامُ هَذَا الرَّجُلُ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ لَا الْجَنَّةَ وَيَخَافُ اللَّهَ لَا النَّارَ وَلَا يَخَافُ الظُّلْمَ مِنْ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى فِي عَذَابِهِ وَيَأْكُلُ السَّمَكَ وَالْجَرَادَ وَيُصَلِّي عَلَى الْجِنَازَةِ وَيَشْهَدُ بِالتَّوْحِيدِ وَيُبْغِضُ الْمَوْتَ وَهُوَ حَقٌّ وَيُحِبُّ الْمَالَ وَالْوَلَدَ وَهُمَا فِتْنَةٌ فَقَامَ السَّائِلُ وَقَبَّلَ رَأْسَهُ وَقَالَ أَشْهَدُ أَنَّك لِلْعِلْمِ وِعَاءٌ

Translation:

“The Imam (Imām Abū Ḥanῑfah Raḥimahullah (d.150 AH)) was asked regarding a person who says:

1-    I do not wish paradise

2-    I do not fear hellfire

3-    I do not fear Allah the Almighty

4-    I eat carrion

5-    I pray without reciting, kneeling, or prostrating

6-    I give testimony to that which I have not witnessed

7-    I hate the truth

8-    I love corruption

Imām Abū Ḥanῑfah Raḥimahullah (d.150 AH)’s students remarked, ‘this person’s matter is difficult’. Imām Abū Ḥanῑfah Raḥimahullah (d.150 AH) responded,

1-    This person does not wish paradise as he wishes for Allah

2-    He does not fear Hellfire as he fears Allah

3-    He does not fear Allah the Almighty in the sense that he does not fear oppression from Allah the Almighty

4-    He eats carrion as he is someone who eats fish and locusts

5-    He prays without reciting, kneeling, or prostrating as he is someone who reads the Ṣalātul Janāzah

6-    He gives testimony to that which he has not witnessed which is his belief in Allah

7-    He hates the truth, as he hates death – which is a truth

8-    He loves corruption as he loves his wealth and his children, both of which are forms of corruption

The questioner stood up, kissed the Imam (Imām Abū Ḥanῑfah Raḥimahullah (d.150 AH)) on his forehead, and said, ‘I bear witness that you have a load of knowledge’”

[Al Ashbāh Wal Naẓāir, v.2, pg.413, Maktabah Nazār Muṣtafā Al Bāz]

Indeed, it is sad to see that not only do some of our Barelwῑ brothers avoid interpreting a Muslim’s statement in a positive manner in order to maintain his Īmān (faith) and keep him within the fold of Islām, they actually go to great lengths in misinterpreting his statements in order to take him out of the fold of Islām.

May Allah Ta’āla protect us and grant us death upon Īmān.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mu’ādh Chati

Student Darul Iftaa
Blackburn, England, UK

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

 



[1] عبارات اکابر( ص78 – 86 )  مکتبہ صفدریہ

 

[2] حضرت شاہ اسماعیل شہید اور معاندین اہل بدعت کے الزامات (ص56-69) الفرقان بک ڈپو

 

[3] شاہ اسماعیل شہید محدث دہلوی (ص124-130) دار المعارف

[4] صحيح مسلم لمسلم بن حجاج ت (18/2) – نسخة "فتح الملهم" – دار القلم – 2006م

 

[5] الموطا للإمام مالك ت (311/16) – نسخة "التمهيد" – الفاروق الحديثية – 2010م

 

[6] صحيح البخاري لمحمد بن إسماعيل ت (524/10) – دار الحديث – نسخ فتح الباري – 2004م

[7] وينبغي للعالم إذا رفع إليه هذا أن لا يبادر بإكفار أهل الإسلام

الفتاوى السراجية لسراج الدين الأوشي ت569ه (305) زمزم ببلشرز

 

[8] وينبغي للعالم إذا رفع إليه هذا أن لا يبادر بتكفير أهل الإسلام

جامع الفصولين لإبن قاضي سماونة ت823ه (215/1) إسلامي كتب خانة

 

[9] والختار للفتوى في جنس هذه المسائل أن القائل بمثل هذه المقالات (أي قوله يا كافر ويا يهودي وغيرهما) إن كان أراد الشتم ولا يعتقده كافرا لا يكفر وإن كان يعتقده كافرا فخاطبه بهذا بنا على اعتقاده أنه كافر يكفر

الفتاوى الهندية (278/2) مكتبة رشيدية

 

(وعزر) الشاتم (بيا كافر) وهل يكفر إن اعتقد المسلم كافرا؟ نعم وإلا لا به يفتى شرح الوهبانية

(قوله إن اعتقد المسلم كافرا؟ نعم) أي يكفر إن اعتقده كافرا لا بسبب مكفرا قال في النهر وفي الذخيرة المختار للفتوى أنه إن أراد الشتم ولا يعتقده كافرا لا يكفر وإن كان يعتقده كافرا فخاطبه بهذا بنا على اعتقاده أنه كافر يكفر لأنه لما اعتقد المسلم كافرا فقد اعتقد دين الإسلام كفرا

رد المحتار لإبن عابدين ت1252ه (69/4) ايج ايم سعيد

 

[10] Note: in Al Tahrir, takfir has been considered from amongst the ‘Aqliyyat.

DISCLAIMER - AskImam.org questions
AskImam.org answers issues pertaining to Shar'ah. Thereafter, these questions and answers are placed for public view on www.askimam.org for educational purposes. However, many of these answers are unique to a particular scenario and cannot be taken as a basis to establish a ruling in another situation or another environment. Askimam.org bears no responsibility with regards to these questions being used out of their intended context.
  • The Shar's ruling herein given is based specifically on the question posed and should be read in conjunction with the question.
  • AskImam.org bears no responsibility to any party who may or may not act on this answer and is being hereby exempted from loss or damage howsoever caused.
  • This answer may not be used as evidence in any Court of Law without prior written consent of AskImam.org.
  • Any or all links provided in our emails, answers and articles are restricted to the specific material being cited. Such referencing should not be taken as an endorsement of other contents of that website.