AL WALA' WAL BARA'
ACCORDING TO THE AQEEDAH OF THE SALAF
(Love and Hate for
by Muhammad Sa'eed Al
OF FAITH: ON THE TONGUE AND IN THE HEART
~ Chapter 4 of the Book,
entitled: 'Al Wala' wa'l Bara' Authored by: Muhammad Sa'eed Al Qahtani ~
According to Ibn al-Qayim, belief in
Divine Unity is not simply saying that Allah is the sole Creator and
that He is Lord and Master of all things. This was what the pagans used
to say, while at the same time worshipping many gods. Belief in Divine
Unity does not only mean love of Allah, but also submission to Him,
humility before Him, complete obedience to Him, and devotion to Him in
all our words and deeds, in what we hold on to and in what we give, in
our love and in our hate. It can never be confused with the urge to
disobey, or to do as you please in misguided self interest.
Whoever takes this to heart will
understand the words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him
peace, "Certainly Allah has forbidden the Fire from taking whoever says
'There is no god but Allah', and who says this for the pleasure of
Allah.";(1) and in another hadith, "whoever says 'there is no god but
Allah, shall not enter the Fire."
So what do these reports really mean?
Many people have misunderstood them, going so far as to say that these
statements were later abrogated, and that they were made before teh
completion of the shari'ah, before we knew what we must and must not do.
Others have said that the fire they refer to is the hell of the
disbelievers, while others still interpret the actual entering of the
fire to mean entering it for eternity; thus "..shall not enter the Fire
(for eternity)." These are just a few of their baseless interpretations.
In fact, the Prophet, may Allah bless
him and grant him peace, did not say that this would occur merely by
pronouncing the declaration of faith; this would contradict our entire
understanding of Islam. The hypocrites say these words with their
tongues, but they are bound for the deepest pit of Hell, and will be
punished even more severely than those who actively dispute the fact
that there is no other god than He. What is being referred to is, of
course, a matter of both the heart and the tongue.
While the heart must believe, it must
also realise the truth: it must realise the meaning of the words of the
declaration of faith, of what they deny and what they affirm; realise
that there is no other divinity than Allah; and realise that the
attribution of divinity to anything else is quite impossible. Thus its
meaning must be taken to heart consciously and deliberately, with
certainty and urgency. This is what protects you from the Fire.
This recalls the story of the man who
had murdered a hudred men, and though faith arose in his heart he took
no notice of it, pushing it out of his breast; but when he came to
death's door it again entered his heart and so he was one of those who
entered Paradise. (2)
And also the account about the
prostitute whose heart was moved by the sight of a dog dying of thirst
by the side of a well, eating the dust in desperation. With no higher
purpose or hope of reward, she filled her shoe to the brim and gave it
to the dog. Though people usually beat it she took it by the paw and
stilled it until it had drunk, knowing that it could neither reward her
nor even thank her in any way. Her supreme act of love wiped out all her
previous sins and this is how she was forgiven. (3)
Imam Muslim reports a hadith in which
the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, says, "Whoever
says, There is no god but Allah, and denies whatever he used to worship
beside Allah, will find that his life and his property are protected,
and his reward is with Allah." (4)
Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab points out
that this is the greatest proof we have of the real meaning of the
declaration of faith, since neither life nor property are protected
simply by pronounicng these words; indeed thre is no significance at all
in just saying them, nor in advocating them, nor in calling on Allah
alone. Your life and your property are not protected until you actually
deny whatever you used to worship beside Allah; and if you have any
doubt or hesitation about that, then you are still outside Islam. (5)
This should make clear the error of the
Murji'a sect (6), who said that faith was equivalent to knowledge, and
disbelief to ignorance, and who in this way severed deeds from belief.
Everyone knows that the pagans of Makkah understood what the Prophet,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace, meant by saying, "There is no
god but Allah". They understood it and they believed it, but they
arrogantly refused to acknowledge it; so their faith in the One God, the
Provider, the Bringer of Life and Death, did not benefit them at all.
When the Prophet told them, "Say there is no god but Allah", they said:
"Does he make the gods One God? Surely that is an astounding thing."
The strange thing is that while the
disbelievers know that the declaration of faith is more than just saying
the words, some think that these reports mean that a simple utterance of
the words 'there is no god but Allah', with none of their meaning
entering the heart, is all that is required. But wiser people understand
that it means that there is no creator other than Allah: no other
provider, giver of life, bringer of death, and no other who holds all
things in his hand. However, there is still no benefit to be gained by
knowing what the declaration of faith means if you are without any
belief. This throws new light on the meaning of those reports in which
the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, mentions the
simple repitition of these words, such as, "I have been ordered to
struggle against people until they say 'There is no god but Allah'." (7)
Some people hope to imply by this that
whoever recites the declaration of faith is not a disbeliever, and that
we should not oppose him, regardless of whatever else he does. These
people should recall that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him
peace, fought the Jews and cursed them even though they said, 'There is
no god but Allah'. Not only this, but also the Companions of the Prophet
fought the Bani Hanifa who not only said, "There is no god but Allah and
Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah", but also prayed and claimed to be
Muslims; this was the same for the people whom Ali ibn Abi Talib burned
alive for saying that he was an incarnation of Allah.
However, when you ask these people
about the case of someone who denies the rising of the dead, they say
that he has disbelieved and that we should fight him, even he says,
'there is no god but Allah'. They agree that whoever disputes any of the
five pillars of Islam has disbelieved and should be opposed with the pen
and the sword, even though he may pronounce the declaration of faith.
The contradiction here is that none of
these denials involve the central tenet of Islam, which is the
affirmation of Divine Unity, and yet these people are prepared to go to
war over them; but when it is a matter of someone who denies the very
essence of belief, the Diving Unity of God, then they provide him with
an excuse for its denial, even though it is the very source and
foundation of the deen.
So it becomes clear that these people
are the enemies of Allah, and that they have not understood at all the
meaning of what the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,
has said: It is well known that when a man declares himself to be a
Muslim we should act prudently towards him until he does something that
clearly contradicts his claim. Allah says: "O you who believe! When you
go out (to fight) in the way of Allah, be careful, and do not say to one
who offers you peace: 'Your are not a believer', seeking the chance
profits of this life (so that you may despoil him). With Allah are
plenteous spoils. You too were like this once, and Allah gave you hope,
so be careful; surely Allah is well aware of what you do." [4:94]
This verse indicates the necessity of
restraint until such time as you are sure about the situation, since
Allah says: "be careful". If it becomes clear that someone is at odds
with Islam, then fight him. If this were not the case, then the command
to verify the situation before fighting would meaningless.
Similarly the Prophet, may Allah bless
him and grant him peace, said of the Kharijites, "Wherever you find them
fight them, for were I to discover them I would destroy them utterly, as
the people of Ad were destroyed." (8) He said this even though they were
meticulously observant in their dedication and in their worship, so much
so that the companions, with whom they studied, felt humbled before
them. Their declaration of faith, however, did not benefit them, and
neither did the fullness of their worship, nor indeed their service to
Islam, once they had abandoned the Shari'ah.(9)
Any intelligence person knows that if
this whole matter hinged upon a single word, a mere word, then it would
have been a simple thing for the Quraish to say it. They would have
said, 'There is no god but Allah', saving both themselves a lot of
trouble and their gods from ridicule. But they knew that the declaration
of faith also involved a commitment, and it was this commitment that
threatened their power and status in the land.
The point here is that Islam is a force
that liberates all people from the unjust slavery of one to another, and
places mankind at the service of the One, the Victorious. The degree of
their fear of Allah became the measure of their worth and excellence
among people. Thus the habits and customs of the jahiliyyah, inherited
from parents and grandparents, had no place. Every good hearted, sincere
Muslim must strive towards the full realisation of the declaration of
faith, in order that each and every one of us may worship Allah with
insight, knowledge, and certainty. This is the real challenge of Islam.
1) Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Masajid, 1/356.
2) See Sahih Bukhari, Kitab al-Anbia', 6/512, (3470); and Sahih Muslim,
Kitab at-Tawba, 4/2118 (2766)
3) Ibn al-Qayim, Madarij as-Salikin, 1/330-332.
4) Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Iman, 1/53, (23).
5) Ibn Abdul Wahhab, Kitab at-Tawhid, p.115.
6) The Murji'a sect believed that belief is all that is needed to reach
7) Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Iman, 1/51, (20)
8) Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Zakat, 2/742, (1064)
9) Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab, Kashaf ash-Shubuhat, p.40. The Kharijites
believed that committing major wrong actions turns a Muslim into an