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    Fake Salafi Refutation


    (Love and Hate for Allah's Sake)

    by Muhammad Sa'eed Al Qahtani

    What Negates the Declaration of Faith

    ~ Chapter 6 of the Book, entitled: 'Al Wala' wa'l Bara' Authored by: Muhammad Sa'eed Al Qahtani ~

    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 performed.

    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 outer action.

    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 totally.

    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, 

    'Whoever consults a fortune teller and believes what he says, or commits
    sodomy with his wife, is free of what has been revealed to Muhammad'. (2)

    He (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) also said, 

    "If 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:

    {And (remember) when We took your covenant (saying): Shed not the blood of your 
    (people), nor 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 homes, 
    assist (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 the 
    recompense of 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,

    'To curse a Muslim is corruption, to kill him is disbelief.' (4)

    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 about this.

    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 wa Ta'aala).

    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. {And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the kafirun (disbelievers).} [5:44] refers to an act of disbelief.


    {And 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)

    {And 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:

    {La illaha illah Anta [none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah)], 
    Glorified (and 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:

    {Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves}
    (The Noble Qur'an: Surah 7 Ayah 23)

    And Musa ('alayhee salaam) says:

    {My 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 etc.):  

    {And He (Allah) misleads thereby only those who are Al Fasiqun 
    (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah). Those who break 
    Allah's covenant after ratifying it...}
    (The Noble Qur'an: Surah 2 Ayat 26-27)

    And also: 

    {And indeed We have sent down to you manifest Ayat (proofs, 
    evidences, verses, lessons signs, Revelations, etc.), and none 
    disbelieve in them but Fasiqun (those who rebel 
    against Allah's Command).}
    (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:

    {O you who believe! If a Fasiq (liar - evil person) comes 
    to you with news, verify it, lest you should harm people in ignorance, 
    and afterwards 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] 'Fasiq')  

    And again:

    {And 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 (Shaytaan):

    {...he 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:

    {So 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: fusooq)
    nor dispute 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 (Ta'aala), says:

    {Show 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 (Ta'aala) says:

    {Allah accepts only the repentance of those who do evil in 
    ignorance and 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) says:

    {Verily, whosoever sets up partners (in worship) with Allah, then Allah 
    has forbidden Paradise to him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the 
    dhaalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers) there are no helpers.}
    (The Noble Qur'an: Surah 5 Ayah 72)

    And also:

    {...and 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 place.}
    (The Noble Qur'an: Surah 22 Ayah 31)

    About showing off [which is Shirk ul Asghar] He (Ta'aala) says:

    {So whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, let him work 
    righteous and 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:

    'Whoever 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:

    'Shirk in this Ummah is stealthier than creeping ants.' (7)

    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:

    'There 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.' (8)

    He also (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) said:

    'There are four characteristics by which you can recognise the total hypocrite; 
    whoever exhibits 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 
    despicably; and when you trust him he betrays you.' (9)

    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, (10) 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,

    '...the fornicator does not have sex when he has sex and he is a Believer.' (11)

    This means that he is no longer a Believer, but he is still a Muslim. The same hadeeth continues:

    '...he 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:

    {And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, 
    such are the kafirun (disbelievers).}
    (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 their like.

    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: 

    {And most of them believe not in Allah except that they attribute partners unto Him.}
    (The Noble Qur'an: Surah 12 Ayah 106)

    Here Allah (Ta'aala) confirms their Belief in Him together with their shirk.

    And again:

    {The bedouins say: 'We believe.' Say: 'You believe not but you only say, 
    'We have 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:

    {Only those are the Believers who have believed in Allah and 
    His Messenger, 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:

    'Whoever has one of these characteristics, has one of the attributes of hypocrisy.'

    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,

    'Whoever abandons it has disbelieved.'

    And he (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) said,

    'Whoever swears an oath by other than Allah has disbelieved.'

    And lastly,

    'Whoever 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." (15)


     1) Sahih 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.

     3) Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Iman, 1/79, (60).

     4) Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Iman, 1/81, (64).

     5) This refers respectively to the positions of those who adopted the Murji'ah and Khariji heresies.

     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, 1/76, (57).

    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

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