AL WALA' WAL BARA'
ACCORDING TO THE AQEEDAH OF THE SALAF
(Love and Hate for
by Muhammad Sa'eed Al
What Negates the Declaration of Faith
~ Chapter 6 of the
Book, entitled: 'Al Wala' wa'l Bara' Authored by: Muhammad Sa'eed Al
We have now discussed the meaning of
the declaration of Faith, the obligations that it places upon the
believer, its essence and its effects upon those who proclaim it. In
order to provide a more complete picture of the precise meaning of the
words, 'There is no god but Allah', we will now turn our attention to
what contradicts it.
It is common knowledge that disbelief,
shirk, hypocrisy and apostasy all stand in complete contradiction to
Islam. Before discussing this point, however, we should perhaps mention
the necessity of supporting our arguments from both primary as well as
secondary sources. It is in comparing the sources that a cogent reply to
the claims of the Murji'ah and other sects may be found. This method
will expose both the distortion inherent in the beliefs of such groups
as the Murji'ah, and the extremism of the Kharijites, both of whom have
departed from the Straight Path. Islam steers a course of moderation
between neglect and excess.
This topic has been much discussed,
both in the past and in the present, and every opinion has its
partisans. Ibn al Qayim spoke about it at length. He says:
"Disbelief and Faith are mutually
exclusive: when one of them disappears the other takes its place.
Faith is fundamental and consists of
many branches, each of which may be known as 'Iman': its branches are
the prayer, zakat, hajj and fasting, as well as actions of the inner
self such as modesty, reliance upon Allah (Ta'aala), fear of Allah and
drawing near to Him. The least of its branches is to remove an obstacle
from the road as an act of Faith.
There are branches of Iman which are
vital to the very existence of Belief; one of these is the declaration
of Faith. But there are others that are not vital to Belief; the removal
of an obstacle from the road is an example of this. Between these two
extremes there are branches of Iman that are associated more closely
with the declaration of Faith, and others that are associated more
closely with the removal of obstacles.
Disbelief too is fundamental and has
its branches. As a branch of Iman is related to Faith, so a branch of
disbelief is related to kufr. If modesty is a characteristic of Faith,
immodesty is one of disbelief. If honesty comes from Faith, dishonesty
comes from faithlessness. The prayer, zakat, hajj and fasting are
branches of Faith, while abandoning any one of them is a kind of
disbelief. To rule by what Allah (Ta'aala) has revealed is a quality of
those who have Faith, but to rule by another law is a quality of those
who are without belief. All disobedience comes from disbelief and all
obedience is due to Belief.
The branches of Faith are of two types:
the first is speech, and the other is action. In the same way, the
branches of disbelief take the form of either a word spoken or a deed
Of the branches of Faith connected to
speech, there are those whose disappearance results in the disappearance
of Faith itself. This is also true of those branches of Faith that are
connected to action. When such a deed is left unperformed, the result is
an eclipse of Iman.
Likewise, the branches of disbelief are
of two types, both speech and action. Thus it follows that deliberately
saying a word of disbelief will in fact, result in disbelief, since this
is one of the branches of kufr. It is the same for the performance of
any act of disbelief, like prostrating to a graven image, or making fun
of the Qur'an, since kufr is at its root.
Therefore, we should realise that Faith
is a matter of both word and deed.
Words include both the private
statement to oneself, which is inner conviction, and the public
statement to the world, which is the declaration of Faith. As for deeds,
the private act is the inner resolve, sincerity and intention known to
the heart and known to Allah (Subhannah wa Ta'aala). Public acts are the
outward actions of each one of us in the world. If these four things
disappear then Faith too, has gone.
If the heart knows no sincerity, then
whatever else you have of Faith can not benefit you, since sincerity
must precede Belief. Sincerity makes Belief worthwhile and without it
actions of the heart are nothing. This is the root of the disagreement
between the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'ah and the Murji'ah sect. The Ahlus
Sunnah wal Jama'ah maintain that Faith would be destroyed, and that
sincerity would be useless in the absence of the inner action of the
heart, that is, love for and submission to the Message. The Faith of
Iblis (i.e. Shaytaan) and of Fir'awn (i.e. Pharaoh) and his people, and
of the Jews and the pagan Arabs, and of all others who apparently
acknowledged the sincerity and Truth of the Prophet's Message (salallaahu
'alayhee wa sallam), was destroyed in this way. Though they agreed with
it both inwardly and outwardly, and even protested that they had not
denied it, they neither followed him nor put their trust in him.
If it is true that Faith diminishes as
the inner actions of the heart wane, then it is also true that Faith has
a direct connection to the most significant of your outward actions.
This is especially true if your actions are liable to inhibit the love
in your heart and the desire to follow it; this in turn undermines any
sincere commitment you may have had, as in the examples given above. If
your heart does not know inward obedience, you will not be able to obey
outwardly either. But if your heart had followed and obeyed, then you
too would have done the same. Whoever is unable to obey lacks the
sincerity to motivate him to do so; this is the nature of Faith.
Faith is not a matter of simple
sincerity of Belief, as some have claimed. Rather it is sincere Belief
in the necessity of obedience and of following the heart. Guidance, too,
does not simply mean knowing the Truth and the arguments which support
it. It also means that you realise the necessity of following it and of
acting in accordance with it. Without this realisation, guidance is
neither complete nor is it sufficient, just as simply believing that the
Message is sincere does not in itself constitute sincerity of Faith.
Disbelief, too, is of two types: one is
disbelief by inner stubbornness and recalcitrance, and the other is by
The first means to stubbornly deny that
the Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam), came with Knowledge from
his Lord, Knowledge of His Names and Attributes, Knowledge of His works
and Knowledge of His Sharee'ah. This kind of disbelief contradicts Faith
As for disbelief in deed, it may be
divided into a disbelief which contradicts Faith, and one which does
not. Some of the acts which contradict Faith are the worship of idols,
the ridiculing of the Qur'an, and the killing or slandering of a
Prophet. Ruling by something other than what Allah (Ta'aala) has
revealed and abandoning the prayer are also, undoubtedly, acts of
disbelief. It is not possible to say that we should not call someone who
does any of these things a disbeliever, since Allah (Ta'aala) and His
Messenger have both referred to such people in this way. According to
what the Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) has said, whoever rules
by other than what Allah (Ta'aala) has revealed, or abandons the prayer
is a disbeliever.
A distinction between action and
conviction remains, however, and while we can say that, because of some
action, a person is a disbeliever, this is not proof that he does not
believe. We know that Allah (Ta'aala) does not call someone who does not
rule by what He has revealed a disbeliever, in the absolute sense of
disbelief, nor did the Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) call
anyone who had abandoned the prayer a disbeliever absolutely. (1) In
fact, the Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) denied this in the
case of the fornicator, the thief, the drunkard, and in the case of the
man who troubles his neighbours.
Also, we have the hadeeth,
consults a fortune teller and believes what he says, or commits
sodomy with his
wife, is free of what has been revealed to Muhammad'.
He (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) also
a man says to his brother: 'O disbeliever', then one of them has fallen
into it." (3)
A person may keep the Law of Allah (Subhannah
wa Ta'aala), not exceeding the limits nor approaching what has been
forbidden, hastening to good works and to fulfillment of Allah's
commands, only according to the depth of his Faith.
Allah (Ta'aala) has referred to someone
who observes part of the Revelation and leaves part of it aside as
believing in the part that he observes and disbelieving in the part that
he does not. He (Ta'aala) says:
(remember) when We took your covenant (saying): Shed not the blood of
turn out your own people from their dwellings. Then, (this)
you ratified and
(to this) you bear witness.
After this, it
is you who kill one another and drive out a party of you from their
enemies) against them, in sin and transgression. And if they come to you
as captives, you
ransom them, although their expulsion was forbidden to you.
Then do you
believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest? Then what is
those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this world,
and on the Day
of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment.
And Allah is not
unaware of what you do.}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 2 Ayat 84-85)
Allah (Ta'aala) says that they agreed
to His covenant, which He also commanded them to keep. Part of it was
that they would not kill each other, or drive each other out of their
homes. He then says that they disobeyed His commands and a party of them
then attacked the other and drove them away. This was how they
disbelieved in the Revelation that came to them. Then He ends by saying
that they would ransom some of the defeated party out of respect for
their covenant with Allah (Ta'aala). So they believed in the part of it
that they observed, and disbelieved in the part of it that they ignored.
In action and conviction, Faith is the
opposite of disbelief.
In a well known hadeeth, the Prophet (salallaahu
'alayhee wa sallam) makes a distinction between action and conviction
when he tells us,
curse a Muslim is corruption, to kill him is disbelief.'
The conviction is in cursing and the
action is in killing: he regarded cursing as corruption but not evidence
of disbelief, while killing is, apparently, proof of disbelief. It is
well known that what he meant by this was disbelief in action, not in
conviction. This kind of disbelief can not take someone completely out
of the circle of Islam, just as the fornicator, the thief and the
drunkard may still be called Muslims, but not believers.
This is the understanding of the
Prophet's Companions, may the blessings and peace of Allah be on him and
on his family and on them, who knew the Book of Allah better than anyone
else: they knew the meaning of submission and the meaning of disbelief
and they knew the distinction between them.
We do not accept anyone else's opinion
Later, some people who failed to
understand this split up into two groups: the first group said that
those who commit major wrong actions should be excluded from the Muslim
community, and were thought to be condemned to Hell for ever. The second
group said that such people should still be considered believers. (5)
The first group over-exaggerated and the second turned a blind eye. Of
course, the correct position is to follow the Prophet's (salallaahu 'alayhee
wa sallam) Sunnah, which is to follow the guidance of Allah (Subhannah
The lesson of the Sunnah implies that
there is a disbelief that is less than disbelief, a hypocrisy that is
less than hypocrisy, a shirk that is less than shirk, a corruption that
is less than corruption, and an oppression that is less than oppression.
Ibn 'Abbas (radiallaahu 'anhu) said that the ayah.
whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the
[5:44] refers to an act of
it is the disbelievers who are the dhaalimun (wrong-doers).}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 2 Ayah 254)
And with reference to the laws of
marriage and divorce: (The Noble Qur'an: Surah 28 Ayah 16)
whosoever transgresses the set limits of Allah,
then indeed he
has wronged himself}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 65 Ayah 1)
Speaking in the Qur'an the Prophet
Yunus ('alayhee salaam) says:
illaha illah Anta [none has the right to be worshipped but You (O
Exalted) are You [above all that (evil) they associate with You]!
Truly, I have
been of the wrong-doers.}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 21 Ayah 87)
And Adam ('alayhee salaam) says:
Lord! We have wronged ourselves}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 7 Ayah 23)
And Musa ('alayhee salaam) says:
Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself, so forgive me.}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 28 Ayah 16)
It is clear that we are dealing with
two kinds of wrong doing here.
In the Qur'an, the disbelievers are
called 'Fasiqun' (plural of Fasiq i.e. rebellious, disobedient, sinful
He (Allah) misleads thereby only those who are Al Fasiqun
disobedient to Allah). Those who break
after ratifying it...}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 2 Ayat 26-27)
indeed We have sent down to you manifest Ayat (proofs,
verses, lessons signs, Revelations, etc.), and none
them but Fasiqun (those who rebel
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 2 Ayah 99)
There are many more such examples; but
the believer too is called [a] 'Fasiq', as these ayat show:
you who believe! If a Fasiq (liar - evil person) comes
to you with
news, verify it, lest you should harm people in ignorance,
you become regretful for what you have done.}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 49 Ayah 6)
(This was revealed with reference to an
incident involving al Hakam ibn al 'As, who was not literally [a]
those who accuse chaste women, and produce not four witnesses,
flog them with
eighty stripes, and reject their testimony forever. They
indeed are the
Fasiqun (liars, rebellious, disobedient to Allah).}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 24 Ayah 4)
While the term is applied to Iblis
disobeyed (i.e. Arabic: fasaqa) the Command of his Lord.}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 18 Ayah 50)
It may also be applied to the pilgrim:
whosoever intends to perform Hajj (therein by assuming Ihram), then he
should not have
sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin (i.e. Arabic:
unjustly during the Hajj.}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 2 Ayah 197)
So 'Fisq' (i.e. 'disobedience',
'rebelliousness', 'sin') are not always of the same degree or type.
Ignorance [and foolishness] is also of
two types: one which takes a person out of the Community, as Allah
forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish.}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 7 Ayah 199)
and one which does not, as Allah
accepts only the repentance of those who do evil in
foolishness and repent soon afterwards...}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 4 Ayah 17)
We find the same duality in the case of
association of some object of worship with Allah (Ta'aala), since there
is an act of association called Greater Shirk (i.e. Shirk ul Akbar),
that takes one out of the Community and there is another, Lesser Shirk
(i.e. Shirk ul Asghar), that does not. This lesser one could be as
simple a thing as showing off.
About Shirk ul Akbar Allah (Ta'aala)
whosoever sets up partners (in worship) with Allah, then Allah
Paradise to him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the
(polytheists and wrong-doers) there are no helpers.}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 5 Ayah 72)
whoever assigns partners to Allah, it is as if he had fallen
from the sky,
and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown
him to a far off
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 22 Ayah 31)
About showing off [which is Shirk ul
Asghar] He (Ta'aala) says:
whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, let him work
associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 18 Ayah 110)
On this same subject of Shirk ul Asghar
(i.e.Lesser Shirk), the Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) said:
swears an oath by other than Allah has associated something with Him.'
(Abu Dawud and others) (6)
However, it is well known that swearing
an oath by something other than Allah (Ta'aala) does not take one out of
the Community of Muslims, and it does not make someone a disbeliever. In
the same vein the Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) said:
in this Ummah is stealthier than creeping ants.'
Shirk, disbelief, corruption,
oppression and ignorance may all be divided into two sorts: a kind that
takes a person out of the Community and another that does not. This is
the same again for hypocrisy, since a person may be a convinced
hypocrite or may only sometimes act like a hypocrite. It is the
convinced and confirmed hypocrites whom Allah (Ta'aala) has denounced so
severely in the Qur'an, promising them the deepest pit of Hell.
As for someone with the behaviour of a
hypocrite, the Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) is reported in a
sahih hadeeth to have said:
are three signs of a hypocrite: when he speaks he lies; when he
makes a promise
he breaks it; and when you trust him he betrays you.'
He also (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam)
are four characteristics by which you can recognise the total
one of them exhibits an attribute of hypocrisy: when he speaks
he lies; when he
makes an agreement he breaks it; when he argues he behaves
when you trust him he betrays you.'
This is the behaviour of a hypocrite;
it does not necessarily rule out Faith, but if it takes root and
establishes itself, it could in time completely remove a person from
Islam, even if he still prays and fasts and claims that he is a Muslim.
Faith should correct the hypocritical behaviour of the Believer, but if
there is no Faith, then the growth of hypocrisy will proceed until, like
a cancer, it completely fills the heart.
According to Isma'il Ibn Sa'id,
this was supported by Imam Ahmad. He said, 'I asked Ahmad Ibn Hanbal for
his opinion about the condition of someone who, while continuing to pray
and pay zakat and fast, is afflicted by persistent major wrong actions
that he finds impossible to resist. He replied that this is the subject
of the hadeeth,
fornicator does not have sex when he has sex and he is a Believer.'
This means that he is no longer a
Believer, but he is still a Muslim. The same hadeeth continues:
does not drink when he drinks and he is a Believer; neither does
he steal when he
steals and he is a Believer.'
Ibn 'Abbas (radiallaahu 'anhu) also
said this about the ayah:
whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed,
such are the
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 5 Ayah 44)
Isma'il Ibn Sa'id said:
'I asked Ahmad, 'What is this
disbelief?' He said, 'It is the disbelief that does not take you out of
the Community. It is not like believing in part of the Revelation and
disbelieving in another part of it; this is real disbelief, about which
there is no doubt in anyone's mind.''
The point is that someone can combine
in his heart Faith and disbelief, devote himself to Allah (Ta'aala)
alone and at the same time associate something else with Him, be
God-fearing and also boldly defiant, be hypocritical and sincere. This
is one of the fundamental positions of the Ahl ul Sunnah who differ in
this with the lovers of innovation and invention (Bid'ah) in Religion,
the Kharijites (12), the Mu'tazilites (13), the Qadirites (14), and
The other point that this matter raises
relates to the doctrine that maintains that sinners may be brought out
of the Fire or may remain in it. There is ample evidence from the Qur'an
and the Sunnah to support this, as well as that provided by the
agreement of the Companions (radiallaahu 'anhum) and by natural
reasoning. Allah (Ta'aala) says:
most of them believe not in Allah except that they attribute partners
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 12 Ayah 106)
Here Allah (Ta'aala) confirms their
Belief in Him together with their shirk.
bedouins say: 'We believe.' Say: 'You believe not but you only say,
surrendered (in Islam),' for Faith has not yet entered your hearts.
But if you obey
Allah and His Messenger, He will not decrease anything in
reward for your
deeds. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 49 Ayah 14)
So their submission and obedience to
Allah (Ta'aala) is confirmed, while their faith is denied.
When Faith is mentioned in the Qur'an,
it means absolute Faith; for example:
those are the Believers who have believed in Allah and
and afterward doubt not but strive with their wealth
and their lives
for the Cause of Allah.}
(The Noble Qur'an: Surah 49 Ayah 15)
These people are not hypocrites in the
real sense of the word: they are Muslims by virtue of their own
obedience to Allah (Ta'aala) and His Messenger (salallaahu 'alayhee wa
sallam); however, they are not Believers, even though there was some
Faith in them that brought them out from among the disbelievers.
Imam Ahmad said:
'Whoever comes with these four things,
meaning fornication, theft, drunkenness or brigandage, or four like
them, or even more than four, is still a Muslim, but you cannot call him
a Believer. If he comes with something less than this, we say he is a
Believer but deficient in Faith. This is indicated by the words of the
Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) when he said:
has one of these characteristics, has one of the attributes of
This proves that a man may be a
hypocrite and a Muslim at the same time.'
In this way showing off is regarded as
shirk, for if a man hopes to be seen doing good works then he has
combined shirk with Islam. And if one rules a land by something other
than what Allah (Ta'aala) has revealed, or does something that the
Messenger of Allah (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) has called disbelief,
while he is at the same time devoted to Islam and to the observance of
its Sharee'ah, then he has combined disbelief with Islam.
We have already said that every
disobedient person is one of the people of disbelief, just as all of
those who are obedient should be counted among the people of Faith. So
when you see an obedient person you may call him a Believer or you may
not. Likewise when you see a disobedient person you may call him a
disbeliever and then again you may not. It is not a matter of saying
absolutely this way or that: this one is a Muslim, that one is not.
Rather, we are dealing here with two things: one is a name, a word,
while the other is a legal category.
As for the word, we can easily say that
if the shoe fits then wear it, but as for the category, the question is,
does a particular trait or characteristic actually constitute disbelief
or not? When we speak of words and what they designate we speak about
something that may be legal or linguistic; but when we speak about
specific categories of this kind then we have narrowed the meaning to
the strict legal sense of the term.
Our final point is that just because
someone possesses one of the characteristics of Faith, it is not
necessarily accurate to call him a Believer; and conversely, just
because someone possesses one of the characteristics of disbelief, it is
not necessarily accurate to call him a disbeliever. One would not, for
example, call everyone who had some knowledge a scholar, for knowledge
is not the same as understanding. Not everyone with some knowledge of
fiqh is a faqih; nor would you say that everyone who knows something
about medicine is a doctor.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that
you are prevented from calling someone a Believer, a hypocrite, or a
disbeliever, if his behaviour justifies it. As the Prophet (salallaahu
'alayhee wa sallam) said,
abandons it has disbelieved.'
And he (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam)
swears an oath by other than Allah has disbelieved.'
comes to a fortune-teller and believes in
what he has been
told has disbelieved...'
An attribute of
disbelief is not in itself proof of total disbelief, so when someone
does something that is forbidden we call it a corrupt act by which he
has transgressed, but we do not call him a corrupt person himself, or at
least not until corruption overpowers him."
Muslim, Kitab al Iman, 1/88,(87).
2) Abu Dawud,
Kitab at Tibb, 4/225; also Mishkat al Masabih, 2/1294, (4599); al
Albaani said that it is sahih.
Muslim, Kitab al Iman, 1/79, (60).
Muslim, Kitab al Iman, 1/81, (64).
5) This refers
respectively to the positions of those who adopted the Murji'ah and
6) Abu Dawud,
Kitab al Iman, 3/570, (3251); Tirmidhee, Kitab al Iman, 5/253, (1535);
also ash Shawqani in Nayl al Awtar, 8/257, stating that al Hakeem says
it is sahih.
7) Imam Ahmad, al Musnad,
4/403; al Albaani includes it in his al Jami'a as Saghir, 3/333, (3624),
saying that it is sahih.
8) Sahih Bukhari, Kitab al Iman,
1/89, (33,34); Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Iman, 1/78, (58,59).
9) Reference omitted.
10) One of the companions Imam
Ahmad; see Ibn Abu Ya'la, Tabaqat al Hanabila, 1/104.
11) Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Iman,
12) The Kharijites believed that
committing major wrong actions turns a Muslim into a disbeliever.
13) The Mu'tazilites believed
that the Qur'an was a created thing and that it is impossible for Allah
(Ta'aala) to be seen. They did not believe in the punishment of the
grave, nor in intercession.
14) The Qadirites believed that
the creation has free will, independent of the Will of Allah (Ta'aala),
and rejected the doctrine of 'Qadr wa'l Qada'.
15) This section is taken
entirely from Ibn Al Qayim Al Jawziya's Kitab as Salat, pp. 25-31.
Formatted and Edited by Abu Suhayb
Due to the inferiority of the original
Qur'anic translations in this chapter - which was that of Muhammad
Pickthall's - all translations of Qur'anic text have been changed to
texts from the: 'The Noble Qur'an': A summarized Version of At-Tabari,
Al Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir with comments from Sahih al Bukhari.
Summarized in One Volume. Translation by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Deen Al
Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan.
Maktaba Dar-us- Salam: Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia, 1995