Shia Muslims sit beside coffins of those killed in a bombing during a protest in Queta on Jan. 23, 2014. It is clear from the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet that those who are busy declaring others deviant, false, fasiq, fajir or kafir or unbelievers violate the fundamental principles of Islam. Xinhua photo
Shia Muslims sit beside coffins of those killed in a bombing during a protest in Queta on Jan. 23, 2014. It is clear from the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet that those who are busy declaring others deviant, false, fasiq, fajir or kafir or unbelievers violate the fundamental principles of Islam. Xinhua photo

The Islamic world is being riven apart between the theology of Takfir (declaring others unbelievers) and the politics of takhrib (destruction)


SCORES of religious edicts and decrees are issued by Muslim theologians, muftis and Ulema almost regularly denouncing fellow Muslims who do not accept their version of Islam and hundreds of debates take place on these edicts in Muslim gatherings at various levels on issues pertaining to these edicts.

There are those who call others kafir (unbeliever), fajir, fasiq (dishonest, deceitful) or murtad (revert from Islam) and there are those who advocate violence against such people. These decrees are not issued by common people. They are bystanders who only learn about these edicts from those who describe themselves as learned people and scholars.

Many commoners, then, engage in conflicts and infighting against each other to live the ideals of Islam with full sincerity as taught to them by their scholars or religious leaders regardless of their level of scholarship and influence. Many are baffled with this situation.

Can differences of understanding of a divine message that describes itself a simple message lead to a level where people are unwilling to accommodate each other? Many ask. In their eyes, Islam has been turned into a conflicting faith where no one knows who speaks the truth because everyone is suspect in the eye of the other and everyone is claiming that his group is the only righteous group.

This is confusing.

No one has the time to read all the conflicting opinions among existing Muslim sects and factions and then decide which one to follow. People do not have to choose between a theology of takfir and a politics of takhrib.  They want to live Islam so that in the words of the Quran: “And there are men who say: “Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and defend us from the torment of the Fire!” 2:20

Growing Up In Diverse Environment

This article is the reflection of one such person who wants to find good in this life and in the life of hereafter.

I grew up in a religious environment. As a child I used to regularly attend the neighborhood masjid where I would listen to the sermons of Shaikh Yusuf who spent most of his time in reading and teaching. He lived in a small room of the masjid known as Hauz Wali Masjid in Old Delhi. On important religious occasions, he would teach us about their significance and relevance.

I grew up and started visiting mosques with Tablighi Jamaat. I would travel to far distant places in India for months learning about religion with the Jamaat people. I spent several weeks in Nizamuddin’s Bangle Wali Masjid and often heard Shaikh Yusuf and Shaikh Haqqan Palanpuri on several occasions.

I grew older and started visiting the tombs of religious scholars such as Shaikh Nizamuddin, Shaikh Moinuddin Chishti and Sheikh Bakhtiar Kaki and Shaikh Sirhindi and many others, a practice that I still follow. In fact, when I visited Lahore just for one day in 2008, I spent the whole night at Shaikh Hajveris’s mausoleum reading his books and reading about his life and marveling how dedicated he was to his faith.

I also attended the meetings of Jamaat-e-Islami regularly and I also listened to the talks given by leaders of Ahle Hadith at their masjid near Jama Masjid in Delhi. I also attended several majalis of Shias where I learned about the life of the grandsons of the Prophet and their sacrifices.

I also attended and participated in the activities of Muslim League, Muslim Majlis, Muslim Majlis Mushwarat as well as Congress, and Socialist Parties. During my time in prison, during the emergency imposed by Mrs. Gandhi I spent months with the leadership of the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS)

I must admit, I liked all of them, yes, even the leaders of RSS with whom I spent the time. They were all sincere in what they believed and practiced. I especially liked all Muslim organizations as they all appeared sincere and committed to what they believed in.

Whether I was memorizing the Quran at the local madrassa or listening to the talks given by various scholars, I always admired the beauty of scholarship and the dedication of scholars. I decided to dedicate myself to the learning from all. But one day, someone asked me while I was in a Tablighi Jamaat round, “how come you’re part of the Tablighi Jamaat while, your father is from Jamaat-e-Islami?” Frankly speaking, I did not know how to answer. (Dr Aslam Abdullah’s father was a senior Jamaat leader and editor of ‘Dawat’ newspaper-Editor).

The same question would be repeated by others in gatherings of different organizations. Even in a gathering of the Jamaat-e-Islami I heard someone ask: “What were you doing with the Tablighi Jamaat anyway?”

I had no answer to any of these questions. I often wondered why they asked such a question. Later, however, I discovered something else when I embarked on the journey to learn more about Muslims in South Asia and the world.

Theology of Takfir

I found out that there were people who had declared Tablighi Jamaat a mushrik (polytheist) outfit. There were people who had labelled scholars from Deoband (the largest Islamic university in the subcontinent) as the deviants practicing false religion. There were people who had issued religious decrees declaring the Jamaat-e-Islami a fasiq (rebellious) organization.

There were people who had called Shias non-Muslims and there were people who had declared all non-Shias kafir. There were those who had denounced Ahle Hadith as deviants and there were those who had labelled the followers of Ahmed Raza Khan as mushrik.

Those who made these statements were not ordinary people; they were learned people who called themselves scholars and Ulema and who enjoyed respect among their followers. They quoted the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet to support their claims.

Many of them called themselves righteous and the other deviant, fasiq, and kafir. It was a shocking reality that I confronted. More shocking was the realization that even many of the icons of Islamic history were also involved in this movement of declaring others kafir or disbeliever. The Prophet’s warning that the one who declares a fellow Muslim a kafir is himself a kafir appeared to be of no consequence to such great teachers, scholars and Ulema of Islam.

Where is the Ummah? I asked this question, several times, to myself. Because some Muslim scholars declared the other kafir, all appeared to be kafir. Where are Muslims? What about the time I spent learning with the Tablighi Jamaat, Deobandi, Barelvi, Ahle Hadith or Salafi scholars or with the Jamaat-e-Islami? Was I learning kufr or practicing kufr? Will I ever be able to free myself from kufr because I liked them all and I respected them all despite what many say and do to each other? I was baffled.

No ordinary Muslim would dare declare other non-Muslims. He or she does not

have enough knowledge to even define his own Islam, how can he define others. If he does so, it is not that he reached to this conclusion on his own, but someone else taught him to say so.

I discovered that all the sects, whether Hanafis, Ahl-i Hadith, Deobandi, or Barelvi, and all the Sufi orders such as Chishtiya, Qadiriya, etc., have had fatwas of heresy and apostasy pronounced against them. And not only sects, but the prominent scholars of these sects have had fatwas directed against them individually.

Takfir of Individuals

Shaikh Nazir Husain of Delhi of Ahl-i Hadith was called disputant, doubter, follower of base passions, jealous, dishonest and was accused as a falterer of the Quran.

Shaikh Muhammad Husain Batalavi, along with Shaikh Nazir, was called devil, atheist, stupid, senseless, faithless, etc. This fatwa had the seals of 82 Ulema of Arabia and elsewhere.

Shaikh Sana-Ullah of Amritsar of Ahl-i Hadith had fatwas directed against him which were obtained in Makkah. It is written about his commentary of the Quran: “It is the writing of a misguided person, one who has invented new doctrines. In his commentary he has collected beliefs such as re-incarnation and the doctrines of the Mu`tazila [an early extreme Muslim sect]. It is neither permissible to obtain knowledge from Sana-ullah, nor to follow him. His evidence cannot be accepted, nor can he lead prayers. There is no doubt regarding his heresy and apostasy. His commentary deserves to be cut to pieces. In fact, it is forbidden to see it except for the purpose of refuting it.” (Faisila Makka, pp. 15–20)

Sheikh Husain Ahmad Madani of Deoband was also criticized for his beliefs in Tarjuman Islam of Lahore that carried the following extract in its issue for 10 November 1961:

“Husain Ahmad Madani, Deobandi, was a first-rate scholar and servant of Quran and Hadith. He needs no introduction. But one was very shocked by a letter of his which contained the grotesque idea of the denial of Hadith. This concept goes beyond the Mu`tazila, and breaks the records of the ideologies of Chakralvi and Pervez.”

All those whose record is said to be broken by Husain Ahmad Madani, have had fatwas of kufr directed against them. This makes it clear that Maulana Madani too is considered a kafir.

Syed Abul Ala Maudoodi and his party have been the subject of fatwas by Ulema of nearly every sect. Mufti Muhzar-ullah, of Jami Fatehpuri in Delhi, wrote in his fatwa: “On the very face of it, these things [beliefs of Maudoodi’s party] exclude a Muslim from the Sunnis, and lead to divisions among the believers, and is the basis of making a new sect. But looking closely, these things take one to heresy. In this case, they do not make a new sect, but result in one’s entry into the group of apostates.”

Shaikh Hafiz-ullah of Aligarh wrote: “Whatever was the position of the Zarar mosque, similar is the position of this [i.e. Maudoodi’s] party.” (The Zarar mosque was a mosque built by some hypocrite Muslims in Madina during the Holy Prophet’s time for the purpose of conspiring against Islam. The word kufr is used about the Zarar mosque in the Holy Quran.)

Shaikh Izaz Ali of Deoband wrote in his fatwa: “I consider this [i.e. Maudoodi’s] party to be even more harmful for the faith of the Muslims than are the Ahmadis.” Mufti Sayyid Mahdi Hasan, President-Mufti of the theological school at Deoband, wrote in his fatwa: “If an Imam of a mosque agrees with the views of Maudoodi, it is a hateful matter to pray behind him.”

Shaikh Ahmad Madani, Deoband wrote in a letter to Maudoodi: “Your `Islamic’ movement is against the righteous tradition in Islam. It is like the [extremist] sects of old such as Mu`tazila, Khawarij and Rafiz. It resembles modern sects such as Qadiani, Chakralvi [deniers of Hadith], Naturi [rationalist], and Baha’i [i.e. the Baha’i religion]. It seeks to make a new Islam. It is based on principles, beliefs and practices which are against the Sunnis and Islam.”

The Committee of Ulema of Maulana Ahmad Ali wrote in a poster against Maudoodi: “His reasoning is devilry against the Quran. May God save all Muslims from Maudoodi and the evil and deceit of his so-called Islamic Party.”

In a fatwa online at the site of Darul Uloom Deoband, one can glance through several religious decrees against the Jamaat Islami, Ahle Hadith, Barelvi sect and others. The fatwas declare it unlawful to even join the Jamaat-e-Islamic as in their views “it is haram.”

Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, a prominent Muslim modernist leader and founder of the Aligarh University for Muslims, (d. 1898) was not spared either. In his biography Hayat-i Jawaid by Maulana Hali, the storm of condemnation and takfir against Sir Sayyid is fully detailed. Read some of these lines: “Sir Sayyid was called atheist, irreligious, Christian, nature-worshipper, anti-Christ, and many other things. Fatwas that he was a kafir were prepared, and signatures of Maulvis of every town and city were obtained. Even those who remained silent against Sir Sayyid as regards takfir, were called kafir.” (p. 623) “All the Muslim sects in India, be they Sunni or Shia, conformist or non-conformist, the seals and signatures of the known and unknown Ulema and priests of all these are on these fatwas.”(p. 627)

A fatwa was obtained from Makkah, bearing the seals of Muftis of all the four schools, in which it was written: “This man is an heretic, or he was inclined to unbelief (kufr) from Islamic law in some aspect…If he repents before he is arrested, and turns away from his misguided views, and there are clear signs of repentance from him, then he should not be killed. Otherwise, it is obligatory to kill him for the sake of the faith.” (p. 633)

Both Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Muhammad Iqbal were all described as kafir. A fatwa of 300 Ulema against Deobandis that read “The Deobandis, because of their contempt and insult, in their acts of worship, towards all saints, prophets, and even the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon himself, and the very Person of God Himself, are definitely murtadd and kafir. Their apostasy and heresy is of the worst kind, so that anyone who doubts their apostasy and heresy even slightly is himself a murtadd and kafir. Muslims should be very cautious of them, and stay away from them. Let alone praying behind them, one should not let them pray behind one, or allow them into mosques, or eat the animal slaughtered by them, or join them on happy or sad occasions, or let them come near one, or visit them in illness, or attend their funerals, or give them space in Muslim grave-yards. To sum up, one must stay away from them completely.’

In March 1953, a poster was put up on walls in Karachi titled: “Demands: Deoband sect should be declared a separate minority” Among other things it said: “Just as Sikhs originated from Hinduism, but are not Hindus, and Protestants came from Roman Catholicism, but are not Catholics, similarly, the Deobandi sect originated in the Sunni community, but are not Sunnis. The representatives of this minority sect are Mufti Muhammad Shafi, Sayyid Sulaiman Nadawi, Ihtasham-ul-Haqq, and Abul Ala Maudoodi, etc.” After this it was demanded that this sect be declared a non-Muslim minority. It was signed by 28 Ulema.

Maulvi Sayyid Muhammad Murtaza of Deoband has, in his book, Radd at-Takfir ala-l-fahash at-Tanzir tried to show that Ahmad Raza Khan, the Barelvi leader, was a kafir, a great kafir, Anti-Christ of this century, murtadd, and excluded from Islam.

On the other hand, Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi noted the beliefs of Muhammad Qasim Nanotavi, founder of the school at Deoband and Rashid Ahmad Gangohi of Deoband, and then added: “They are all murtadd [apostate] according to the unanimous view (ijma) of Muslims.”

This fatwa bears the signatures and seals of Ulema of Makkah and Madina, and other Muftis and Islamic judges. Three reasons have been given for calling them kafir: 1.They deny the finality of Prophethood; 2.They insult the Holy Prophet; 3.They believe that God can tell a lie. They conclude that “He who doubts that they are kafir, is himself a kafir.”

The Impact of Takfir

If one looks at the takfir of Ulema in other parts of the world, one can write volumes on the subject. Why is this takfir? If everyone is saying that they believe in one God and they accept Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, as the final and Last Messenger and the Prophet and they believe in the reality of the life after death, then why would one declare the other as kafir or murtadd or fasiq and fajir? Who can stop them? Or who has given them the right to declare the other as deviant or kafir? Is there any basis of their action?

A woman raises a poster against the growing scourge of Takfir.
A woman raises a poster against the growing scourge of Takfir.

One of the great scholars of the previous century, Shaikh Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi summarized the whole theology of takfir in the following words in a book called The Status and Responsibilities of Ulema: “If the scholars of religion do not discipline them spiritually, intellectually, morally and personally, then the entire religion and Ummah would be in a state of decline.”

He further wrote: “If our country’s religious circles do not produce people like Ashraf Ali Thanvi, Syed Hussain Ahmed Madani, Syed Salman Nadwai, Syed Manazar Ahsan Gilani, Shaikh Ahmed Usmani, Shaikhul Hadith Muhammad Zakariya, Mufti Kifayatullah, Shaikh Sajjad, Abul Kalam Azad, Shaikh Ilyas, Shaikh Yusuf Kandelvi, then the identity and dignity of the Ulema and Islam in India would be lost.”

Obviously, Shaikh Abul Hasan Nadawi was speaking from his background. Among the scholars that Indian Muslim justifiably claim to be great were Shah Waliullah, Shah Ahmed Sirhindi, Shaikh Nizamuddin, Shaikh Makhdoom Mohiyuddin, Shaikh Hajaveri, Syed Ahmed Khan, Chiragh Ali, Shaikh Muhibbul Haq, Aslam Jairajpuri and Shaikh Hifzur Rehman,  All of them drew their inspiration from the Quran and Sunnah.

Fabricated Ahadith

They made a distinction between the personal opinions of individuals and the essence of the faith. They rarely questioned the other’s sincerity and integrity. They also identified false, fabricated and false ahadith (views and quotes attributed to the Prophet). For instance, they knew that the following ahadith that glorify Ulema were weak or unauthenticated:

“Ulema of my Ummah are like the Prophets of the Bani Israel.”

“After me the most generous is the one who acquired knowledge and propagated that.”

“One who saw an alim saw me and the one who shook hand with an alim shook hand with me.”

“An alim (scholar) or a sheikh is like a prophet among his people.”

“The ink of an alim is better than the blood of a martyr.”

“Looking at the face of an alim is an act of Ibadah (worship).”

“The difference of my Ummah is mercy.”

“Follow scholars as they are the light of this world and the lantern of the world Hereafter.”

Spirit of Islam Betrayed

Genuine scholars described all these fabrication as an act of ‘fitna’ or sowing the seeds of strife among Muslims and challenged those who had indulged in this theology of takfir.

The Quran and the Prophet are specific and very clear on the dissension among Muslims with particular reference to groups, sects, scholars, or factions. The Quran reminds all of us that the guidance comes from Allah only and that guidance has to be lived in one’s life. The one who introduced the world to the ideas of one God taught his followers that if they did not find anything good to talk about fellow Muslims, they should at least stay quiet rather than hurting him by name.

It is clear from the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet that those who are busy declaring others deviant, false, fasiq, fajir or kafir or unbelievers violate the fundamental principles of Islam. They were causing dissensions in the community and instigating the innocent, uneducated and simple minded masses against the other. It was clear that they had become the first violator of the faith and they wanted others to follow or adhere them. Anyone who stayed outside their pale was not considered worthy of having a faith.

In reality, they betrayed Islam. They tried to rob Islam of its inherent universalism and the beauty for all. Rather than inspiring Muslims to live the Quran in their everyday life and explore the world as commanded in the divine book to serve the humanity, they indulged and involved their followers in petty theological debates and issued religious edicts on them. They fought on every minute detail dividing the community into sects, sub-sects and sub-sub sects. The dominated the debate in Muslim circles and families. Rather than discussing the message of the Quran and the character and life of the prophet and the responsibilities of Muslims in the changing world, the debate focused on petty differences without any end in sight.

The situation is more confusing to non-Muslims. Whom should they accept as the genuine voice of Islam? Even if they identify with the teachings of Islam they would find it hard to identify with any Muslim groups because each is a deviant in the eyes of the other. In this age of information, when nothing is hidden from the eyes of readers, people would soon discover such writings no matter when they were written and in what language they were written.

Why it is that such learned people were indulging in this sort of practice? Why were they declaring each other kafir or fajir? Rather than engaging with others in a dialogue to seek further clarity and accept the differences as an expression of one’s comprehension and understanding, why were they obsessed with the idea of total annihilation or subjugation of the other?

Some of these groups crossed all line. They took it upon themselves to annihilate their opponents. They first declared others as kafir, murtadd, fajir and fasiq and then incited their followers to decimate the opposition, kill them or silence them forever.


Strife And Common Muslim

Understandably, common Muslims are bewildered. They do not have skills to define each other in the terms many scholars have defined. They are baffled as they are given a choice, a choice that none of average Muslims would ever want to be. They are being forced to make a choice between the theology of takfir (declaring others as kafir) and the politics of takhrib (destruction). This is not what the Quran calls. In fact, the Quran describes such a practice a fitna.

The Quran, the book that is the fundamental source of Muslim’s identity uses a word fitna in its different variation. The Trilateral root fatanun occurs 60 times in six different forms, 34 as a noun and 25 in various verbal forms. 

“The Arabic word fitna includes meanings of testing and trial. The root is taken from the phrase fatantu al-fiddah wa’l-dhahab , meaning I melted the metals to separate the bad from the good. (Al-Azhari) Allah says in the Qur’an (interpretation of the meaning): ‘(It will be) a Day when they will be tried [yuftanoona] (punished) over the Fire!’ [al-Dhaariyaat 51:13], meaning, burning them with fire.” (Tahdheeb al-Lughah, 14/196). “Fitna means testing, trial, wealth, children, kufr, differences of opinion among people, as well as burning with fire.” (Lisaan al-‘Arab by Ibn Manzoor).

The Quran uses difference among People and lack of agreement as a meaning of the word fitna in one of the verses:

“And they would have hurried about in your midst (spreading corruption) and sowing sedition among you [yabghoonakum al-fitnah]” [al-Tawbah 9:47] i.e., they would have stirred up differences amongst you, as it says in al-Kashshaaf, (2/277).

It appeared that what was done by many of these learned people was nothing but an exercise in fitna. They were sowing sedition and stirring up difference among the believers. They were inciting their followers against the other. However shocking it may be but it is to be acknowledged and accepted. Obviously, they were not the Ulema described in the Quran or defined by the Prophet as scholars. Obviously, they were not the ones who showed any humility towards the other. In the words of the Quran “Those who split up their Religion, and become (mere) Sects,- each party rejoicing in that which is with itself!” (30:32)

Scholars and Scholarship

As explained by the Quran, a person does not become a scholar by reading books only.  “(But only the people who comprehend what they read and then act upon it can benefit from Allah’s Book.  The Book would be of no use if it is carried around wrapped in beautiful covers.  This is what the Bani-Israel did to Allah’s book; and you can see their condition.) 

The Torah was given to them and they were told that it was their duty to act upon it.  However, they (carried the book with extreme reverence but) did not undertake the responsibilities it imposed on them.  An apt parable would be that of a donkey laden with books.  (It is obvious that the books cannot benefit the donkey in the least).  This is an example of people who admit to the truthfulness of Divine Laws, but belie it by their deeds.  How wretched their plight would be.  The people who treat the Divine Book in this way obviously cannot find the right path.  (Can a donkey ever go on the right path just because the books containing guidance, namely the distinction between right and wrong, are laden on its back?) (62:5)

“(Such was the conduct of Bani-Israel.  They merely carried the Divine Book around instead of obtaining guidance from it, and at the same time they remained under the false impression that they alone were the favourites of Allah.)  Tell them: 

“If you really are the only ones who are Allah’s closest friends and favorites, then aspire to die in His cause.  This would substantiate your claim.” (62:6) and (2:94) 

A true scholar is a teacher who instills hope in the ability of individual to relate to Allah and His messenger. A true scholar is a teacher who helps an individual broaden his intellectual horizons. A true scholar is a teacher who helps an individual develop a comprehensive Islamic personality to the welfare and wellbeing of all.

A true scholar is a person who rises above sectarian, factional and party lines and directly goes to the Quran and Sunnah to develop his/ her rationale in assuming any position. A true scholar is a person who goes outside the box to understand the divine wisdom in the guidance given to human beings. A true scholar is a person who ignores the individual weaknesses to ensure that the doors of divine mercy are never closed.

A true scholar does not create intimidation and fear. A true scholar is not the one who controls the mind of his students. A true scholar is never afraid of any question his followers ask him even if it questions the validity of the fundamentals of religion. In the words of the Quran a true scholar is the one who shows humility even after attaining the highest laurels of knowledge.

“(Obedient and rational people wonder why such benevolent, clear and eye-opening knowledge was opposed?  And even now it continues to be opposed.  However this is not all that strange.  People’s mind-set and attitudes are different from each other, and you will see this everywhere.  This can be eliminated by following Divine Guidance.) Don’t you see how water comes down from the clouds, following which different fruits of varied colors are produced?  (It does not happen that all fruits and crops are the same.)  And look at the mountains. Although you observe streaks of white and various shades of red as well as others which are jet black, these mountains are basically the same. The same applies to men, animals and cattle of various kinds.  Such creations of nature are living proof of the working of Divine Laws.  However only those who reflect over them with intellect and reason bow in submission to Him.   Only they deserve to be called ‘the scholars’; and only they can comprehend how over-powering and supreme Allah’s Law is.  Whoever lives accordingly is provided with sufficient means of protection. (35:27-28)

From the Quran and Prophet’s teaching it is obvious that the theology of takfir (declaring a believer a non-Muslim) is a reprehensible act with very serious implications for those who indulge in it. Unfortunately, this takfir has become a dominating factor in evaluating the integrity and sincerity of the other. It is this theology that leads to takhrib (destruction). This is disastrous for Islam, Muslims as well as the world.

Quran and Hadith against Takfir

People would always have differences of opinions on issues. The differences are human and the Quran and the Prophet recognize them. According to the Quran, if a person says ‘assalamu alaikum’to Muslims to indicate that he is a Muslim, one cannot say to him “you are not a believer.” (4:94) When such occurrences took place during the Holy Prophet’s life-time, sometimes some Muslims suspected that such a person was not sincere.

But the Holy Prophet advised them: “Did you open his heart to see what was in it?” In our hadith literature we read that Ibn Umar related that the Holy Prophet said: “If a Muslim calls another kafir, then if he is a kafir let it be so; otherwise, he [the caller] is himself a kafir.”(Abu Dawud, Book of Sunna, vol. iii, p. 484)

“Abu Zarr reported that the Prophet said: No man accuses another man of being a sinner, or of being a kafir, but it reflects back on him if the other is not as he called him.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book of Ethics; Book 78, ch. 44)

The teaching contained in these hadith is meant to stop Muslims from dubbing each other as kafir and fajir or fasiq.

“Withhold [your tongues] from those who say `There is no god but Allah’ — do not call them kafir. Whoever calls a reciter of `There is no god but Allah’ as a kafir, is nearer to being a kafir himself.” (Tabarani, reported from Ibn Umar)

“Call not the people of your Qibla [i.e. those who face the Ka`ba in Makkah for prayer] as kafir.” (Al-Nihaya of Ibn Athir, vol. iv, p. 187)

“Nothing expels a man from faith except the denial of that by which he entered into it [i.e. the Kalima].” (Majma` az-Zawa’id, vol. i, p. 43)

“Three things are the basis of faith. [One is] to withhold from one who says `There is no god but Allah’ — do not call him kafir for any sin, nor expel him from Islam for any misconduct.” (Abu Dawud, Book of Jihad, 15:33)

“Whoever attributes kufr [unbelief] to a believer, he is like his murderer.” (Tirmizi, ch. Iman (Faith); see Arabic-Urdu edition cited earlier, vol. ii, p. 213. See also Bukhari, Book of Ethics; Book 78, ch. 44)

Scholars against Takfir

Takfir of Muslims is also prohibited in the standard, classical works of Islamic law (fiqh)  “And among the doctrines of the Ahl as-Sunna is that none of the people of the Qibla can be called kafir.” (Sharh `Aqa’id Nasfi, p. 121)

Regarding Imam Abu Hanifa, who has more followers than any other system in Islam, it is written: “He did not call as kafir anyone from among the people of the Qibla.” (Sharh Mawaqif, fifth part)

He further said: “Nothing expels a man from faith except the denial of that which made him enter it.” (Rad al-Mukhtar, vol. iii, p. 310) “It is extremely serious to expel a Muslim from the faith.”  (Sharh Shifa, vol. ii, p. 500)

“A ruling of takfir against a Muslim should not be given if it is possible to interpret his words in a favorable manner.” (Rad al-Mukhtar, Book of Jihad, ch. on Apostasy)

“As for statements of takfir found in books of rulings (fatwa), these are not proof if the authors are unknown and the arguments are missing, because in matters of faith, beliefs depend on conclusive proof, and the takfir of a Muslim is attended with troubles of all sorts.” (Sharh Fiqh Akbar, by Mulla Ali Qari)

Shaikh Sayyid Jalal-ud-Din wrote: “The takfir of people of the Qibla is itself an act of unbelief.’“(Dala’il al-Masa’il)

Ibn Abu Hamra, a saint, wrote: “It has already been stated that the rule of the Ahl Sunna is that they do not call kafir, or consider as going to hell eternally, anyone who is of the people of the Qibla.” “The Imams have made it clear that if there is any ground for not issuing takfir, a ruling of takfir should not be made, even if that ground is weak.” (Raf al-ishtiba `an `ibarat al-ishtiba, p. 4, published in Egypt)

“Some prejudiced persons from the Asharis call the Hanbalis as kafir, and some Hanbalis call the Asharis as kafir. But their calling each other kafir is not right because the belief of the trustworthy Imams of the Hanafis, Shafi`is, Hanbalis, and the Asharis, is that none of the people of the Qibla can be called a kafir.” (Miftah Dar as-Sa`ada wa Misbak as-Sayyida, vol i, p. 46)

“The generality of the theologians and the jurists are agreed that none of the people of the Qibla can be called a kafir.” (Al-Mawaqif, printed in Cairo, p. 600)

The famous saint of Delhi, Khawaja Mir Dard (d. 1785 C.E.), wrote: “We do not call kafir anyone of the people of the Qibla, even though he may be following falsehood or novel beliefs in most matters, because the acceptance of the oneness of God, and the affirmation of the Prophethood of Muhammad, pbuh, and the turning to the Qibla, do not expel them from faith as such. So he would be of those who follow later inventions and falsehood from among the Muslims. The Holy Prophet said: `Withhold in the matter of the people of the Qibla, that you do not call them kafir’.” (`Ilm al-Kitab, p. 75)

Mulla Ali Qari in Sharh Fiqh Akbar writes: “They say regarding the issue of kufr that if there are ninety-nine reasons for considering someone as kafir, and only one reason against it, the mufti and the judge is bound to act according to that one reason for negating the kufr.” (p. 146)

Sayyid Muhammad Abidin writes: “If there are many reasons in any matter for the application of kufr [considering someone as kafir], and one reason for its negation, the judge must incline towards the reason which negates takfir, giving the Muslim the benefit of the doubt.” (Sil al-Hisan al-Hindi, p. 45)

Husain Ahmad Madani, the well-known Deobandi theologian, has written in his autobiography Naqsh-i Hayat: “All great scholars are unanimous in holding that if, out of hundred ingredients of the belief of some Muslim, ninety-nine are those of unbelief, and merely one of true Islamic faith, it is not allowed to call him kafir, nor does his life or property become violable. In fact, Hazrat Gangohi [a founder of Deoband religious school] clearly states in his Anwar al-Qulub that the saying of the jurists about ninety-nine grounds does not set a limit, and that if 999 out of a thousand points in the belief of a Muslim are unbelief (kufr) and only one is true belief, even then he cannot be called kafir.” (Naqsh-i Hayat, Bait-ut-Tauhid, Karachi, 1953, vol. i. p. 126)

Sayyid Abul Ala Maudoodi (d.1979) wrote in his well-known journal Tarjuman al-Quran: “The aim of these injunctions is that there should be as much caution in calling a Muslim kafir as there is in pronouncing a death sentence against someone. In fact, this matter is even more serious because by killing a person there is no risk of one becoming a kafir, but this risk does exist if one calls a Muslim kafir if that man is not really a kafir. Should there even be an iota of Islamic belief in that man’s heart, the slander of kufr shall reflect back upon the accuser. Hence, he who has fear of God in his heart, and has some realization of the great danger of being involved in kufr, shall never dare call a Muslim kafir until he has carried out a thorough enquiry and fully ascertained that such a person was a kafir. There is so much caution in this regard that if there is a man whose conduct clearly shows insincerity, and whose condition is openly showing that he is not a Muslim at heart, if even he recites the Kalima with his tongue, it is not allowed to call him kafir and treat him as a kafir.” (Tarjuman al-Quran, issue for month of Jumadi al-Awwal, 1355 A.H., circa 1936, vol. viii, p. 5)

What is to be done?

In order for Muslims to regain their dignity in their own eyes, this theology of takfir must come to end. This theology is created by those who call them Ulema and they alone would be able to stop it. The simple way to do it is to stop it without any ifs and buts.

Otherwise, the Muslim community would never be able to come out from the abyss in which it has found itself. What was said by Shaikh Abul Hasan Nadawi is relevant today more than even before. He said that if Ulema did not reinvigorate with the true spirituality, morality, psychology and sociology of Islam, they would heap upon them nothing but indignity and would bring down the Ummah with them.

We are living in different times and situations. Knowledge is every increasing and common people have access to it. Every can go to the books directly and every one can now learn who is saying what and about whom. People do not want to live in confusion and ambiguities.

They want to have clarity. They want to relate to an Islam that is described in the Quran and lived by the Prophet as demonstrated in his teachings and statements compiled by people. They want to see Islam a dynamic source for progress for the future of humanity. They want to come out of the theology of takfir and politics of takhrib. They want to live as Muslims serving humanity with their beliefs in their faith driven value system.

If the religious scholars and Ulema failed to change their theology of takfir to a theology of developing better understanding of others viewpoints and accept them as a genuine expression of one’s right to have an understanding, Muslim masses would no longer trust them. A new breed of scholars would emerge not from our traditional schools but from those places where knowledge is respected and differences are not used to denounce, humiliate and annihilate others. That time is not far. In the words of the Quran: “Soon will We show them our Signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord doth witness all things?” (41:53)



  1. Excellent article and timely. The Muslim world is in a ‘self-destruct-mode’ by calling each other as unbelievers. This has to stop. However, we need to include all Muslims, including the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, otherwise it would be ‘work only half done’.

    • Ahmadiyya is not in muslim community because they didnt believe in last prophet Muhammed SAW. This is should be noted it is in basic Kalima….

    • @Rafiq A. Tschannen, it seems u r a khadiyani, how can u call yourself a muslim, when your basic belives are against islam (not believing in the last Prophet Muhammad PBUH)

      • Allah will judge who is a Muslim and who is not. Do you know of the hadith where one Muslim soldier said that he had killed a Makkan fighter even though he had recited the ‘Kalima’ because – the Muslim said – he might have just said it out of fear. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was reported to have been very angry and said: ‘Did you look into his heart?’. (not exact wording of the hadith, just as I recall it, please forgive any shortcomings). Question to you: Did you look into my heart? (or are you not afraid of Allah’s anger?)

  2. It seems ya akhi that you have spent great pains in viisiting and learning what all they have to say. The only place that you have not spent time or effort in is the life of the prophet peace be upon him and the amal of the sahaba and tabieen. A person of your intelligence can understand the heavy influence of culture on Islamic practices which shadow the teaching of Islam and the culture prevails – Does that remain Islam anymore?
    Why did Abu Bakr fight against the people who denied zakaah, surely Islam is a lot more than just zakah. It seems that you are entirely looking at this issue with the aim to consolidate everyone to agree with everything islamic or non islamic just because they profess to be muslims. It would help if you study the previous generations who really followed Islam and indeed it would help even more if you read and understand about the mushriks of Makkah and why were they fought against when they DID belive that Allah is the only one who provides and they DID call out sincerely to Allah when in times of trouble. What was the need to fight then if Islam could have accommodated everything as you suggest that it does now? The clear path is follow the quran and the sunnah AS practiced by the sahabah, tabieen and those after them on the same path. Anything else no matter how you think will not make sense. You are unfortunately not suggesting a path to unity but you are suggesting a path to confusion and confusing people as well. Before you had written this, it would have helped you to understand what the unity of the muslims is based on. May Allah give you the hikmah to learn the ilm and practice it before you rush to propose a impractical solution for unity based on profound ignorance. This I say to you as a mere student of knowledge, surely you can do better than this.

    • Brother Adil,
      It seems that you have missed the point of the article. The trouble started with those whom you call our predecessors. They were the ones who initiated the politics of takfir. So right after the death of the Prophet and the disintegration of Caliphate, Islam lost its unifying edge because the scholars became subservient to political interests. Salaf were the ones responsible for this takfir. Islam is defined by Allah and let Him be the judge not the salaf or y ou.

      • I am glad that you chose to answer and not ignore the comment. I hope that you would think about what I have said before and what I would say now as part of this comment. I understand the point very well Akhi and it is precisely that which is troublesome. You say that the trouble started right after the prophet(peace be upom him) died and after the disintegration of the caliphate – Are you then considering the period of the four khulafaa to be within the caliphate or not or are you suggesting that the prophet’s best friend and his trusted companions whom the quran certifies were wrong? It would make it clearer if you tell us the time of the disintegration of the caliphate as your statement appears to be cutting through centuries. Islam can never lose its unifying edge because its protected from all sides with aspects that are constant. The unifying edge is the quran, hadith and the practice of the salaf which is recorded and free from opinions of others. Others try to use their own intellect using reactive and inclusive approaches and fail miserably because unity is only established by what established it before. I dont say that myself, history is proof that Islam reached throughout the world at their time and we with all our opinions are unable to move an inch. So who were more intelligent, we or the salaf and who was Allah more pleased with?

        I do not know the purpose of your writing this article brother but it is far from the true advice that the ummah needs at this moment. When you say that the “salaf” started the takfir and I assume that you are indeed counting the prophet’s companions amongst it, then this is an accusation that goes against the aayahs of the quran and against what Allah himself has said. In essence, you are trying to cut the branch you are sitting on because the salaf were the ones who relayed to us the knowledge of the deen as we know today. Whatever you speak about Islam today was not possible without them relaying this information to us. If you have studied Islam bypassing the “salaf”, I would be interested to know your source of knwoledge and your argument to support your claim especially as you are a teacher, editor, director and an imam. You have also accused the scholars of being subservient to political interests – this is a very generalized statement that seems to apply to all or most scholars as you suggest. In short, apologies for my saying so but it seems that you are selling what the people can buy from your own opinions and hardly based on facts or history and you are aiming to achieve this by separating the ummah from its scholars and placing yourself before them. I am only suggesting that you teach people the truth of Islam and not take advantage of the dearth of knowledge and teach people your opinions in the name of Islam. This I tell you as a concerned brother who is concerned about your aakhirah and your accounting in front of Allah because when the accounting starts, then winning an argument or any social standing will be of no benefit and do remember that if the argument is flimsy and not based on facts, it just needs a little push of the truth to crumble. Lastly, when you say that Allah is the judge then can you explain who the Kafiroon are who are mentioned in surah Al Kafiroon and on what basis do we determine the kafiroon of today? Is it to be understood that everyone who calls himself muslim is a muslim no matter what he believes, does, practices etc? What is the benchmark? Are muslims allowed to be so gullible to allow themselves to be stabbed in their back by anybody and everybody?

        • Dear brother, Islam is not an abstract. It is divine guidance and people have tried to live it according to their understanding. The understanding immediately after the Caliphate (all four rightly guided Caliph) became subservient to political interests. God was misused and Islam was misinterpreted. Those who claimed to be the defenders of Islam sought the blood of their opponents. Our history is full with all this. Secondly, leave it to Allah to decide who is a Muslim, momin and kafir. Let us focus on following the faith to the best of our understanding. But for this we have to overcome the culture of elite. Each individual is entitled to have a divine understanding and uleama are not the protector of the deen. they are the cause of fitnah in many instances. Our problem is that we have never empowered our masses with an uncontaminated understanding of the Quran.

  3. Who wrote down/relayed the Quran, Hadith, history and the rulings of the deen as it happened at the time of the prophet(peace be upon him)
    How do you for example know how to pray your salah as this was also relayed by the people whom you reject?
    How are they truthful enough with regards to some matters and dishonest at the same time? Are you giving YOUR benchmarks for the entire ummah?

    You are selectively taking from the same people the following – The Quran, The hadiths, the rulings and a lot of other matters. Try to think how these things could have reached you if not through the salaf.

  4. 4:115 And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination.

    Who are the believers in the above aayah if not the salaf?

    98:8 Allah Well-Pleased with them, and they with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord.

    Who else has this certificate if not the salaf?

    35:28 It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah.

    Who are these knowledgeable people and what is their distinction and their identification?

    4:144 O you who believe! Take not for Auliya’ (protectors or helpers or friends) disbelievers instead of believers. Do you wish to offer Allah a manifest proof against yourselves?

    How can people act on this aayah if people do not know who is a believer and a disbeliever?

    Empowerment? Uncontaminated understanding? Excellent, now whose understanding should they take based on what I have mentioned above? The Quran and the Hadith or YOURS. Because apparently the choice is clear, its either of the two.

  5. Your words are contradictory, your arguments weak and you are suggesting nothing but chaos right from the point you mention that you still visit tombs and shrines and till you take the name of inidividuals who support grave worship and political subservience. Do you ACTUALLY know why the kuffar in makkah were fought against? Based on what belief of theirs? They DID attest to Allah being the Lord… It is the manhaj and the belief system that is important. The names have been made into sects and people are stubbornly following what the “NAME” said, many times wrong than right. This is a recipe for disaster. Does your allegiance lie to Allah and his prophet(peace be upon him) or to these names and contradictory practices you have mentioned?

    You made a case against the ulema with the mawdoo hadiths but did not consider the the sahih hadiths as mentioned below? Wasn’t this deliberate and far from truth? IS THERE ANY umbrella that will shelter the muslims today if its not the following of the Quran and the hadith AS followed by the first three generations of Islam?

    Narrated Abdullah: The Prophet said, “The best people are those living in my generation, and then those who will follow them, and then those who will follow the latter. (Bukhari)

    My advice to you as a brother is – It is enough of knowledge to know what you dont know, start with that. Keep aside your position and your compulsive urge to speak about fiqh al waaqie. Focus first on Aqeedah, the basics of the deen and the usool of tafseer and fiqh, read the biographies of the salaf and realize the gravity of your mistake in trying to split the muslims and their scholars.

    This is what the Prophet(peace be upon him) said about the Ulema –

    “Verily, the Ulama are the inheritors of the Prophets.” [Abu Dawood (the book of Ilm)]

    Muslim 34:6462
    ‘Abdullah b. ‘Amr b. al-‘As reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people but He takes away knowledge by taking away the scholars, so that when He leaves no learned person, people turn to ignorant as their, leaders; then they are asked to deliver religious verdicts and they deliver them without knowledge, they go astray, and lead others astray.

    We DO HAVE ample benchmarks to understand islam, kufr, riddah, nifaq and bidah. Laymen are not involved in this takfir, tabdee of others but this is ABSOLUTELY NEEDED and is done by the scholars so that we do not rally along with backstabbers pretending that unity is possible with our enemies. Muslims have been blessed with intellect and have to abide by al walaa and al baraa so that they are not taken advantage of. To think otherwise is allying oneself to political interests and becoming subservient to something other than the worship of Allah and bringing peril upon ourselves.

    Islam is a practical religion which is based on credible evidence and not a religion of opinion, hypothesis and speculation.

  6. Dear Adil,
    You are account of Islam does not make sense and this is the whole point I am making. Islam is what the divine has given us through Prophet Muhammad. We all have been given the freedom to relate to the divine guidance the way we understand it. No scholar and no group can dictate its terms on Muslims. With a thought process like yours, no wonder, Muslims would never be able to unite and work for the welfare of humanity. They would keep on fighting among themselves and declaring each other kafir, murtad and the world would laugh. So keep doing what you are doing and make yourself an object of ridicule.

    • First, I am trying to bring your attention to the fact that the ulema are those who RECORDED and RELAYED this divine guidance to you. If you talk about skipping them entirely and using your own logic. My question to you is – WHO do you think relayed to you the Quran that you believe in? This does not make sense to you?

      Second, The rulings of the hadiths are inseparable from the quran as they relate to us the life of the prophet. Who relayed to you the hadiths that you believe in? Ibam Bukhari, Muslim, Imam Ahmad etc were ALL the scholars? Is not then your rhetoric self contradictory? If you agree that because these are widely believed then you implicity agree to the Ijma of the scholars.

      Third, I NEVER gave MY thought process, I just gave you the proofs from the TEXTS. In order to show me where I am wrong, you have to tell me what those texts mean or you have to state your belief or disbelief in them plainly so the people can understand your intent better.

      Fourth, How can unity be achieved by going in ENTIRELY different directions at the same time? Either you worship Allah or either you worship the shrines and graves. How can both be Islam at the same time?

      Fifth, Muslims can UNITE when they move in the SAME direction… the DIRECTION that the Prophet(peace be upon him) and his companions moved towards because that was the true Islam. This is plain common sense that even a non-muslim can understand. Did they worship or venerate graves? NO. Then its not from Islam even if they use the name of Islam. Is this difficult for you to understand?

      Sixth, The world laughed when the Quran was revealed, they laughed when muslims were a small group in Makkah. Who then had the last laugh? If the world laughing is your argument then I am afraid you have a very weak one.

      Seventh, Declaring Kafir and Murtad are based upon sure knowledge, proofs and matching the “Islam” of the deviants today with the Islam of the Prophet(peace be upon him) and is only done by Scholars(the same ones who relayed Islam). This is an apples to apples comparison to make sure that muslims move in the SAME direction as noted above.

      Eight, Muslims DO work towards humanity as was taught by the Prophet(peace be upon him). The muslim countries are the ones that spend highest in charities and humanitarian works and so do the most of muslims.

      Ninth, I can understand your frustration from your last comment but you should understand that the issue is not about me or you. I have nothing against you as a person and this is not arguind based on empty opinions. Its only about what is right and how we can achieve unity. I gave the proofs above indicating that unity will come with EVERYONE following Islam as followed by the prophet(peace be upon him) and separate this true Islam from the other deviances that came in later while your suggestion is to let everyone continue in doing what they are doing in the name of Islam and just not call each other kaafir/murtad etc. How can unity be achieved by this is something that would be interesting to know.

      Tenth, I see that you have not answered any questions that I have asked for the sake of clarity to the readers. So I have numbered it for better tracking. I am willing to accept, agree, change my opinion and follow yours if you provide me the proofs from the texts and history because I understand Islam to be the religion that was revealed to the Prophet(peace be upon him) and not a religion based on the opinions of people today who write based on the thinking of the world. Surely that is a legitimate request considering that you do teach Islamic studies. There would have been no point asking if you would not had suggested such confusion on a public forum and kept your opinion to yourself but since you made it public then you have to support your stand with proofs from the text and history. There are hundreds of such suggestions from ignorant laymen and politicians which are their own opinions devoid of any attention but when you seek religios legitimacy flashing your Islamic credentials and belittling the scholars and the inheritors of the prophet(peace be upon him) then you have the burden to clarify your stand and this is indeed in your own interest and the interest of the readers who might be confused about true Islam reading your article suggesting that everything goes…

  7. Whom do you call scholars? Self proclaimed or the ones legitimized through some objective. List me the names of those who you consider scholars. The Quran is handed down to us on the authority of the prophet through ordinary people who memorized it, wrote it and passed it on to us without any contamination. You are confusing people by imposing ideas that are not substantiated by either the Quran or the Prophet. Every individual has a right to relate to the divine guidance and scholars cannot dictate their terms upon people. Each one of us is responsible and accountable before Allah. I would nto be asked if I followed the logic of Adil or not. i would be asked if I tried to understand the divine message based on my level of understanding. You want to deprive people of this right. You are doing everything that this faith was revealed to replace with. You are repeating the arguments of Jahiliya and that is what my position is. We are not on the same page in our methodology of understanding the Quran. So you would be questioned for your understanding and I for my understanding and in the words of the Quran, Allah will ultimately decide who was what. But I would not surrender my right to you or to any scholar to relate with the Quran.

  8. Abu al-Darda’ (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,
    “Scholars are the inheritors of the prophets.” [Related byTirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, Ibn Maja, Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, and others]

    “Whomever Allah wishes well for He gives deep understanding (fiqh) in religion.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

    Abu’l-Darda’ said, ‘I heard the Messenger of Allaah says, “Whoever follows a path to seek knowledge, Allaah will make easy for him the path to Paradise. The angels beat their wings in approval of the seeker of knowledge, and those who are in the heavens and on earth pray for forgiveness for the scholar, even the fish in the water. The superiority of the scholar over the worshipper is like the superiority of the moon over all other heavenly bodies. The scholars are the heirs of the Prophets, for the Prophets did not leave behind dinars or dirhams, rather they left behind knowledge, so whoever gains knowledge has gained great good fortune.’”
    (narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2606)

    Whom do you call scholars?
    Narrated Abdullah: The Prophet said, “The best people are those living in my generation, and then those who will follow them, and then those who will follow the latter. Then there will come some people who will bear witness before taking oaths, and take oaths before bearing witness.” (Ibrahim, a sub-narrator said, “They used to beat us for witnesses and covenants when we were still children.”) (Bukhari)

    Our scholars are the sahaba, the tabieen, the tabe-tabieen and those who follow their path and believe what they believed, explain what they explained and the contemporary scholars refer back to the earlier ones to derive rulings whenever necessary.

    Abdullah bin masood, Abdullah ibn abbas, ibn umar(may Allah be pleased with them), abu hanifa, malik, shafii, ahmad ibn hanbal, bukhari, muslim, ibn taymiyah, ibn kathir…. and so on.

    The Quran is handed down to us on the authority of the prophet through ordinary people who memorized it, wrote it and passed it on to us without any contamination. – Here I would agree with you because even ordinary people were scholars then because of their proximity with knowledge. They did tell us about the “context” in which the aayahs were revealed. They did tafseer and explained the rulings – What is your criteria of a scholar? Someone who agrees with your solutions of world peace by getting everything and everyone together?

    You are confusing people by imposing ideas that are not substantiated by either the Quran or the Prophet. – If I am confusing people and you are bringing clarity then please clarify to people whom they should go to following the guidance of this aayah –

    O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.(4:59)

    Who are these, according to you? You?

    …Those truly fear Allah, among His Servants, who have knowledge: for Allah is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving (35:28)

    How can we be among these people – learning quran all by ourself?
    O you who have believed, when you are told, “Space yourselves” in assemblies, then make space; Allah will make space for you. And when you are told, “Arise,” then arise; Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.(58:11)

    Every individual has a right to relate to the divine guidance and scholars cannot dictate their terms upon people. – The scholars NEVER dictate THEIR own terms, if someone does then his fatwa is rejected… They are ASKED about their proof and their reasons. NO ONE follows the scholars blindly except those who are ignorant and no one definitely follows lesser than scholars except if he is more ignorant.

    Each one of us is responsible and accountable before Allah. I would nto be asked if I followed the logic of Adil or not. – This isn’t MY logic, these are the texts from the quran and the guidance of the prophet(peace be upon him) – Its the proofs that you have to explain and answer.

    i would be asked if I tried to understand the divine message based on my level of understanding – Absolutely, but why on earth would you suggest in public, the solutions for world peace and tolerance by way of ridiculing the scholars and trying to include grave worship as part of Islam. Islam isn’t soft on grave worship. Islam is about worshiping Allah only and not taghut – which includes the idols of makkah and the graves of today.

    If you are self sufficient without the scholars, do you still need the hadiths? list me the names of the hadith narrators that you accept…
    Do you need the guidance of abdullah ibn abbas for whom the prophet(peace be upon him) prayed for wisdom. Do you need tafsir ibn kathir to understand the aayahs in detail?

    Ibn ‘Abbas said [in the tafsir of 3:79], “Be people of religious knowledge (rabbaniyun), people of forbearance and fiqh.”

    You want to deprive people of this right. You are doing everything that this faith was revealed to replace with. You are repeating the arguments of Jahiliya and that is what my position is. – Rather I want to show them the importance of learning from the scholars and not random articles off the internet written by random people. The deen is protected because people were always there to scrutinize and differentiate between those who had knowledge and those who didn’t. A person who recites sura fatiha among a group of tribals is a scholar amongst them. Would you listen to his recommendation for world, peace tolerance and how the hafiz of quran should be ridiculed?

    We are not on the same page in our methodology of understanding the Quran. It is explanatory because all I have given is proofs from history and from the texts and all you have given me is words and more words about how I am wrong and not once have you attempted to address the proofs that I have given. Atleast not even the ones with regards to Aqeedah. Prophet(peace be upon him) ordered Ali to raze the graves to the ground that are over a handspan high. What is your say about this?

    Book 004, Number 2114:

    Thumama b. Shafayy reported: When we were with Fadala b. ‘Ubaid in the country of the Romans at a place (known as) Rudis, a friend of ours died. Fadala b. ‘Ubaid ordered to prepare a grave for him and then it was levelled; and then he said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) commanding (us) to level the grave.

    Book 004, Number 2115:

    Abu’l-Hayyaj al-Asadi told that ‘Ali (b. Abu Talib) said to him: Should I not send you on the same mission as Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) sent me? Do not leave an image without obliterating it, or a high grave without levelling It. This hadith has been reported by Habib with the same chain of transmitters and he said: (Do not leave) a picture without obliterating it.

    Both the above are from Sahih Muslim

    So you would be questioned for your understanding and I for my understanding and in the words of the Quran, Allah will ultimately decide who was what. – That is true but when a student of knowledge sees that an article is being publicly displayed and is seeking to break the aqeedah of people asking them to tolerate grave worship as part of islam and have a soft stand towards it and seeks to alienate people from proofs and the scholars who are the inheritors of the prophets – what do you advise he does? If he is wrong, Show him where he is wrong, convince him and the others who are reading this article and if you realize that you have made a mistake then ask for this article to be taken off and repent for suggesting things that were contrary to the teachings of Islam. Words will not suffice when proofs are presented.

    But I would not surrender my right to you or to any scholar to relate with the Quran. – Nobody is asking for your right to agree to me or to a scholar, you can disagree and many do disagree but you cannot do the following – associate grave worship with Islam, ridicule scholars and confuse people. When your foundation in islamic knowledge becomes strong and you are able to discuss proofs, inshallah then there will be benefit to the people. Your solutions for world peace are not the ones that anyone from the salaf would have agreed upon. Rather there was no fight then with the kuffar of makkah because they only worshipped good people in the form of idols and today people worship the graves of anyone and everyone. This is the BASIC difference between Islam and other religions such as grave worship. Islam does not have a soft corner for grave worship and deviant ideologies. The purity and protection of the deen is based on people correcting wrong where they find.

    If you cannot discuss the proofs mentioned above then it seems that you have made your point and I have made mine. If you have any aversion to any of the proofs or the names I have given above then I suggest you make the names of YOUR scholars known as I have did for mine so that people can know your aqeedah and manhaj.

  9. Salam
    Adil, there is a fundamental differecne between your approach and mine. You believe that Allah and his messenger did not give Muslims a complete package and he was dependent on scholars to explain, codify and develop the faith as we see it. I believe that Allah and His messenger delivered the deen in complete form not leaving anything for scholars to develop.
    Ahadith about the supremacy of scholars are fabricated as is the opinion of all those who critically examined the hadith literature.
    Most of the people whom you describe scholars were racist and Arab nationalists who used the cloak of Islam to promote the notion of Arab and Arabic superiority. They deserved to be exposed.
    They were the people who killed each other as part of their political differences and when it served their interests desecrated the Quran by raising them on their spears. They were the ones who indulged in promoting slavery and maintaining concubines in the name of Allah. For God sake acknowledge the truth of our history. They were the scholars who said that a goat ate the verses of the Quran. I will never accept the position that Allah needed scholars to expound and codify his faith. I think our positions are clear and while you want to assume the authority to declare anyone who does not subscribe to your idea as kafir or murtad, I do not want to indugle myself in this vulgarity. I would rather leave the judgment to Allah, the Almight.

  10. Walaikassalam,

    Do you term ALL hadiths as fabricated or only those that do not coincide with your belief?

    Do you call ALL scholars as racists and arab nationalists or only those that do not agree with the shirk that you have venerated in your article?

    I have given you the names of my scholars which includes the companions, the tabieen and the tabi-tabieen? It is only fair if you give me the names of your scholars also and if you are a scholar yourself then please answer the following…

    What is the benchmark that you use to decide which ahadiths are fabricated. i gave you hadiths from Bukhari and Muslim above – Do you consider these books to be fabricated?
    How do you know how to pray? The qiyam ruku sajdah etc? Which books of “non-fabricated” hadiths do you follow?

    who critically examined the hadith literature – Who are these scholars of hadiths? Give me the names please.

    They were the people who killed each other as part of their political differences and when it served their interests desecrated the Quran by raising them on their spears. – I think at last we are getting closer.

    Who suggested this – Amr Ibn al-Aas – Do you delegitimize this companion of the prophet(peace be upon him)?

    Why was it suggested? – To call the muslims to use the quran for reconciliation between themselves? Is raising it on a spear desecration? What do you say about the sahabas who wrote on bones when they were unable to find paper? Remember that the Quran certifies ALL the sahabis and whether it was uhud or siffeen, its a lesson for later generations to use the Quran as reconciliation just like the lesson of the disobeying of the Prophet(peace be upon him) in the battle of Uhud. Do you delegitimize ALL the archers of Uhud too because of whom the battle was lost?

    Is not the guidance of the Quran clear that conlifts should be resolved when arised? – Surat Al-Hujurat, verse 9, “If two parties among the Believers fall into a quarrel, make ye peace between them: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then fight ye (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the Command of Allah; but if it complies, then make peace between them with justice, and be fair: for Allah loves those who are fair (and just).

    Who accepted this suggestion – Muawiyah – Who was a katib e wahy and used to write down the revelation – Would the prophet(peace be upon him) trust him for that if he was not worthy? Are you challenging the judgement of the prophet(peace be upon him)?

    He was the first of the kings after the prophetic khilafah of 30 years ended as prophecised in the ahadiths…

    “Allah, make him (Muawiya ) guided, a guider, and guide people through him”.[Imam Bukhari in Tareekh Al Kabeer 5/240, Sunan at-Tirmidhi

    Apart from bukhari, there are other routes for this hadith and one of them is in Ahmad.

    Ibm Abbas reported that the prophet(peace be upon him) said “Go bring Muawya to Me “, because he wrote down Allah’s Revelation (Wahy) for the Prophet [Recorded by Imam Ahmad 2651]

    For God sake acknowledge the truth of our history – We have not yet established what constitutes “OURS” and we cannot be on the same page until we agree to the judgement of the quran and what books of ahadith are genuine.
    I assume that you acknowledge the below sahabi and ahlul bayt so I will note about him below…

    No other than HASAN IBN ALI made peace with muawiyah(may Allah be pleased with them both), Read this hadith in Bukhari about what the Prophet(peace be upon him) prophecised… Al-hasan (Al-Basri) said: I heard Abu Bakr saying, “I saw Allah’s Apostle on the pulpit and Al-hasan bin ‘Ali was by his side. The Prophet was looking once at the people and once at Al-hasan bin ‘Ali saying, ‘This son of mine is a Saiyid (i.e. a noble) and may Allah make peace between two big groups of muslims through him.” (Bukhari Book #49, Hadith #867)

    Note that the ones who fought each other were termed AS MUSLIMS by the Prophet(peace be upon him) himself. What is the ruling of those who differ from the ruling of the Prophet(peace be upon him) himself?

    Arabic superiority? – Verily, We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran in order that you may understand. (Suran Yusuf 12:2)
    And thus have We sent it (the Quran) down to be a judgement of authority in Arabic. (13:37)

    Also read 16:103, 20:113, 39:28, 41:3, 42:7, 43:3

    ALLAH chose arabic to be the language of the quran and we know from hadiths that NO arab has any superiority over a non arab. This is evident in the companionship of Salman farsi, suhaib roomi, hazrat bilal and others, may Allah be pleased with them.

    I will never accept the position that Allah needed scholars to expound and codify his faith. – It seems that you need this position because it suits your role and because of the general ignorance around you in Nevada.

    I think our positions are clear and while you want to assume the authority to declare anyone who does not subscribe to your idea as kafir or murtad, I do not want to indugle myself in this vulgarity. – Do you subscribe to this surah? –

    Say, “O disbelievers,
    I do not worship what you worship.
    Nor are you worshippers of what I worship.
    Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship.
    Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship.
    For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.” (Sura kafiroon)

    Is Iblees a kafir according to you? – And [mention] when We said to the angels, “Prostrate before Adam”; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers.

    Would you curse whom Allah cursed? – And when there came to them a Book from Allah confirming that which was with them – although before they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieved – but [then] when there came to them that which they recognized, they disbelieved in it; so the curse of Allah will be upon the disbelievers. (2:89)

    The prophet’s wife, whom he termed as his favorite wife has the status of the mother of the belivers, you should be careful when speaking carelessly about her. The hadith of the goat is a sunan that does not come from a sound tradition. Muhammad ibn Ishaq in this chain of narrations was known for practising tadlis and these words are ONLY related by him whereas there are multiple chains of hadiths that relate with hadith without this wording…
    About the quran Allah says – Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian. (15:9)
    The verses were written and memorized by most people then, so even if a goat ate what was known, how does it matter?

    If it was a verse that was unknown and EVEN if a goat ate, would it do it without the permission of Allah while Allah is the guardian?

    It seems that you seek to delegitimize not only any present day scholars or the imams of the sunnah in the past from the best generations, you also seek to delegitimize the people the Prophet(peace be upon him) trusted and prayed for.

    Interesting would be to listen to your answer for this question – Who are the believers and how should we identify them? It is evident to me, but for the sake of clarity of the readers, please tell them what is required to be a muslim? Simple question.

    So far you have established by your comments that the ones whom the Quran certified as believers and whom Allah is pleased with, ones whom the Prophet(peace be upon him) trusted and those whom he called his favorites are not legitimate – refer to proofs above.

    Who are these people – Muslims?

    If you say that they were hypocrites then were they not known to the Prophet(peace be upon him) when we know that he knew well ALL the hypocrites in the ummah. How strange is it that you suggest that he allowed someone like that to write down the wahy and in whose house and whose lap he passed away? What is the name that you give to this religion that adopts some names from Islam? Even the most ignorant non-muslim would not digest suggestions such as this about Islam where the Prophet(peace be upon him) keeps his enemies and those with vested interests close to him, trusts and loves them.

    I think its now that the positions are clear. Any further argument should be in line with your knowledge, proofs, reasons and refutation against what is written above as it does not befit that a dean should keep repeating opinions and words over and over again clinging to his position in society that he has managed to reach without explaining the meaning of aayahs and hadiths to the readers even when such explanation is being repeatedly sought.

  11. Wa alaikum Salam,
    Your lengthy responses do not make any sense. I still do not understand your point.
    The Quran is the ultimate furqan and everything has to be judged accordingly.
    Scholars are just humans like you and me and they can make mistakes as I and you make mistakes. their ruling is not binding on us.
    Each one of us has a right and duty to understand the deen according to our level of understanding.
    Allah did not make the deen dependent on scholars.
    Yes, many whom you refer to as scholars were racists, slave owner and promoters of slavery. They had concubines and they believed in sex outside marriage with their concubines.
    Yes, many hadith were fabricated. Out of 15 million ahadith, even the scholars of hadith chose only less than one percent and their authenticity has also come in doubts.
    Ahadith about glorifyign Muwaiya or Ali or their families are mostly fabricated consequent to their political differences.
    No matter what you say, these people resorted to violence to solve their difference in total disregard to human life and they violated the Quranic principle.
    Allah in the Quran refers to all those companion who remain steadfast on his path.
    If ahadith about the preservation of the Quran are to be beleived that the Quran is incomplete as one hadith in Ibn Maja says that a goat ate one paper where a particular hadith was written. A God who could not save his words from a goat cannot be credited to have control over the world. Such fabrication creates more confusion.
    Sunnah of the prophet is well established and practiced by people throughout generations and that is enough. Even if scholars were not there, sunnah could have been preserved and is preserved.
    Scholars have created more confusion. Look at verse 4:34, where scholars have accused Allah and the Prophet of promoting violence in homes against wives for their misconduct.
    Take your understanding of Islam as you have got from these scholars and face God. I am responsible for my understanding. I am not a slave of scholars or history. I am a slave of God, the almighty.
    I think the issue is clear. I know you would resort to vulgarity by calling other perspective shirk, because this is what your scholars have taught you. Enjoy your arrogance and ignorance. We will all meet our Lord one day.

  12. The Quran is the ultimate furqan and everything has to be judged accordingly. – Did I not quote the Quran above. Then why don’t you do the same to show me where I am wrong. I gave you specifics and you are seeking to generalize again to shadow the discussion.

    Your lengthy responses do not make any sense. I still do not understand your point. – Thanks… Its now in the interest of the readers.

    Yes, many whom you refer to as scholars were racists, slave owner and promoters of slavery. They had concubines and they believed in sex outside marriage with their concubines. – Wow, you are seeking to rewrite history accrding to your belief? Are you accusing the Prophet(peace be upon him) himself? Who was Maria Al Qibtiyya? What history book would you ask me to refer to read more about her status? Specific name of the book please or the historian.

    What is the meaning of 4:34 according to you and what action is required of the muslims when they see misconduct. Tafseer please.

    Also, in the same context, can you please let us know what these verses mean Mu’minoon 23:5-6 and Ma’arij 70:29-30

    إلا على أزواجهم أو ما ملكت أيمانهم
    The verse says AND so its not about the same category of wives. What other category is it in the verse?

    No matter what you say, these people resorted to violence to solve their difference in total disregard to human life and they violated the Quranic principle. – Were they still muslims then if they fought each other? If yes then the discussion is still valid according to the aayahs about conflict resolution mentioned in the quran and quoted above. If no, then you are ironically doing takfeer of ALL the companions who were involved in this fight.

    Allah in the Quran refers to all those companions who remain steadfast on his path. – who were they? Can you give some examples? What is the criteria of being a companion of the Prophet(peace be upon him)?

    If ahadith about the preservation of the Quran are to be beleived that the Quran is incomplete as one hadith in Ibn Maja says that a goat ate one paper where a particular hadith was written. A God who could not save his words from a goat cannot be credited to have control over the world. Such fabrication creates more confusion.

    Wow, hold on! Did you actually read my reply to you or you just want to say what you want to say? – Read this again, also above – Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian. (15:9)
    It is ALLAH who said he will guard it.
    Not just about the goat, ANY fabrication creates confusion. That is the reason there are methods in the istalah of the hadiths and that is the reasn there are scholars to verify.

    “Yes, many hadith were fabricated. Out of 15 million ahadith, even the scholars of hadith chose only less than one percent and their authenticity has also come in doubts” – Akhi, I really don’t know what to say. you mean to say that ALL the muslims of the world are in a seriously messed up state as they base most of their worship on fabricated hadiths. Then pray enlighten them…As you believe in using your own understanding – How can YOU determine which one are authentic and which one is not – Please list names of the people whom you think have relayed authentic ahadiths. In short, the source of your statement.

    Ahadith about glorifyign Muwaiya or Ali or their families are mostly fabricated consequent to their political differences – Who was right and why and who was wrong and why?

    Sunnah of the prophet is well established and practiced by people throughout generations and that is enough. Even if scholars were not there, sunnah could have been preserved and is preserved. – Who are these “people”? Why do you shy away from calling these people scholar? Are they unknown and unnamed people or do you have some names or are they known only to you personally?

    I am not a slave of scholars or history. I am a slave of God – Everyone is a slave of Allah whether accept it or deny it.
    However, It is interesting to see that you know about muawiyah, ali,the goat and the concubines etc which you base your discussion on. Also interesting is that you say that there are 15 million hadiths and only one million are doubtfully authentic etc. I am interested in knowing your source of this information – Is this a secret that is hidden from the world still? Some books of history that no one knows the names about? Some hadith scholars that no one knows the names about?

    The issue isn’t clear until you tell the names of your sources – because it will then make it clear to the readers your aqeedah and your manhajj. People will then understand your objective in wriiting this article. All I am asking is transparency, is that not a legitimate request? At least your students in Nevada need to know who they are learning “muslim” history from and what influences your reading of history.

    I know you would resort to vulgarity by calling other perspective shirk, because this is what your scholars have taught you – The pagans of Makkah used to worship the idols of the good people who passed away – Is this Shirk? Consequently if this is shirk then how is worshipping of the same good people’s graves is not shirk. Kindly explain according to your understanding. My scholars have taught me to rely on authenticity and proofs that are given in the texts and not to listen to laymen who talk without proof. I have only asked academically and historically relevant questions and have used rhetoric wherever necessary as students are required to do to understand the subject.

    Enjoy your arrogance and ignorance. We will all meet our Lord one day. – I hope that your students in Nevada are reading this and I hope that they are able to make better sense of what is given above of proofs and words. I have only shown you proofs from the Quran and the hadith that I know as a student and you have failed to reply with knowledge for even one aspect that I mentioned above. You have not given the names of the “hadith scholars” because these names will make your association clear as to what group you are from.
    You have not named the sources of your history which you heavily used to base this article on.
    I only seek explanation and transparency so that anybody who reads this understands what your understanding is based on, simple as that.

  13. Wa alaikum Salam,
    Still you do not make any sense and you are contradicting yourself. I am still baffled at your insistence on ignorance. You have failed to grasp the point that I have repeatedly made.
    I do not need scholars to relate to God. No one needs a scholar to relate to God. It is the right of every human being to try to understand the Quran directly as the Quran clearly tells us that each one of us responsible for our behavior and action. There are several verses of the Quran and you can yourself read them. I do not have to quote the obvious.
    Historical records are conjectural. The Quranic knowledge is definite. You are the ones who are accusing the Prophet. You fail to see the behavior of the Quran with the parameters of the Quran.
    I do not belong to any group and any sect. I take everything that is good from anyone who offers it. So I learn from Shaukani, ALbani, Ibn Taymiyah, Aljaquzi, Razi, Zamakhshari, Jalalain, Ibn Kathir but I do not blindly accept everything that say. I read books of ahadith and again look at every narration within the Quranic parameters.
    You want me to accept everything said by previous scholars blindly and I do not accept that methodology.
    As far as the history is concerned, it is all conjectural. I read Ibn Hisham, Waqidi, Tabaqat ibn Saad, But I read them critically.
    In my view over reliance over scholars in understanding the simple divine guidance is associating parterns with Allah. I am not willing to do that.

  14. Assalamalaikum,

    A discussion can only move forward if specifics are being discussed rather than vague allegations trying to show that the other person is ignorant. When in a discussion, the questions and answers are a test of our understanding and our knowledge of the aayahs and its tafseer and it adds more value to what have tried to explain to the masses. I have made it clear that I am just a student of knowledge who is seeking answers from a person who is an director of an Islamic center.

    You have named so many scholars above that you do not need…

    You have mentioned the scholars of tafsir but whose tafsir you do not need but you still read.
    You have mentioned the scholars of history but according to you history is conjectural but you use it to explain your point.
    You have mentioned the scholars of hadith but according to you most hadiths are fabricated which means that you accept that most of the life of the prophet(peace be upon him) is not preserved.
    You say that reliance over scholars is associating partners with Allah while its okay with you if people associate partners with Allah when they go to the shrines.

    There is no surprise that you say that I am contradictory after what I have written above about your approach towards learning.

    Why do you then seek to separate the others from doing what you do yourself? Trying to tell that the scholars of the salaf were arab racists and discourage people to listen to them. Whom should they then listen to? YOU? and if yes then on what basis? Because you call students who ask answers ignorant?

    A correct statement would have been to advise people that they should critically view history and they should not blindly follow any particular scholar to the extent that they also follow his mistakes and I completely agree with this approach. Scholars are accepted and rejected and they are refuted by others when they make mistakes.

    The clarity of my questions regarding specific aayahs and ahadiths is evident and so is my argument that you need scholars of history to know about the history, that you need to depend on scholars of hadith to analyze which hadith is fabricated and which is not and that it was the scholars amongst the sahaba who memorized the verses of the quran and the tafsir and related to the ones after them before it was brought in the form of a book. Their knowledge and jurisprudence is much better because of their close proximity with true knowledge and lesser fitna and they are the ones from whom knowledge should be taken from rather than the people of today who have many political interests and who lack the basic understanding of aqeedah but they are eager to separate the scholars so they can project themselves as scholars in front of a audience who is for the most part ignorant about the signs of a scholar and how to identify those who are scholars and those who are not.

    Also, Did Allah naoozubillah ask people to associate partners with him in the quran itself? Who are these people of knowledge whom Allah refers to… in your own tafseer and in your understanding of the simple divine guidance?

    Then ask the People of Knowledge if you do not know (16:43, 21:7)


  15. So at least we agree on thing. We should not blindly follow any scholar. That is the point of my whole argument.


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