Taken from his book “The Pillars of Islam and Iman – and what every muslim must know about the religion
“There are things which nullify Imân (Faith) i.e. Belief, just as there are things which nullify Wudhû’. If a person does any single one of them, he loses his state of ritual purity. The same is true with Belief. The nullifiers of Belief can be classified into four categories:First category: Denial of Rabb’s existence or reviling and speaking ill of Him.
Second category: Denial of Allâh’s right to be worshipped or worshipping anything or anyone along with Him.
Third category: Denial of any of Allâh’s Names or Attributes established in the Qur’ân and Sunnah or reviling them.
Fourth category: Denial of the role of Muhammed (pbuh) as the messenger of Allâh, or reviling His Message.
1. Denial of the existence of Rabb nullifies Imân
This first category encompasses several types:
1. Pure atheism; such as the belief of communists who deny that the universe has a creator and say: “There is no god, and life is a purely material phenomenon.” They attribute the creation and all actions to pure chance, or “nature” but forget the One Who created even the “chance” and the “nature”, as Allâh said:
“Allâh is the Creator of all things, and He is the Wakîl (Trustee, Disposer of affaires, Guardian, etc.) over all things.” (39:62)
This category of disbeliever is more hardened in their apostasy than the polytheist Arabs of post-islamic period, and even Satan himself, as those polytheist Arabs did admit the existence of their creator as the Qur’ân states about them saying:
“And if you ask them who created them, they will surely say: ‘Allâh…'” (43:87)
and the Qur’ân mentions the statement of Satan:
“(Iblîs) said: I am better then he, You (Allâh) created me from fire, and You created him from clay.” (38:76)
It is an act of disbelief for a Muslim to say, “Nature created something or that it came into being by chance.”
2. Or if a person claims to be the Rabb; as Pharaoh claimed saying:
“I am your lord, most high.” (79:24)
3. Or to claim that there are great saints [called “Qutb” in Sufi terminology, which literally means axes (of creation)] who have control over what happens in the universe, even if this claim is accompanied with the admissions that Allâh, the Soverign Lord exists. People who have this belief are in a worse condition than the idol worshippers before Islâm, who used to admit that Allâh is the Sole Controller of the affairs of the universe, as is indicated by Allâh’s statement:
“Say: ‘Who provides for you from the sky and from the earth? Or who owns hearing and sight? And who brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from the living? And who disposes the affairs? They will say: ‘Allâh.’ Say: ‘Will you not then be afraid of Allâh’s punishment (for setting up rivals in worship with Allâh?'” (10:31)
4. Or the statements of some Sufis that Allâh pervades in His creation, or became incarnate in it. The Sufi, Ibn Arabi, who is buried in Damascus, said:
“The Lord is a slave, and the slave is my Lord. I only wish I knew, which one is the Mukallaf.”
[Mukallaf is a basic Sharî’ah terminology, that refers to the essential role of the adult, sane human being: That he or she is charged by Allâh with a series of duties and responsibilities, orders and prohibitions, and he will be questioned on the basis of how well he discharged his responsibilities.]
And this transgressor of the Sufis has stated:
“And the dog and the pig is nothing other then our deity, nor is Allâh other then a monk in a church.”
And Hallâj (a Sufi of Baghdad) stated: “I am He (i.e. the Rabb) and He is I.” Due to this statement of his, which he would not retract; the scholars agreed that he should be executed as an apostate. High Exalted is Allâh above what such people say. 2. Shirk (polytheism) in Worship nullifies Imân
This second category includes the denail of Allâh as the object of worship or ascribing a partner along with Allâh. It too has various manifestations:
1. Those who worship the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees, Satan or any other created being, and abandon the worship of Allâh, Who created all these things which have no power to benefit nor to harm. Allâh said:
“And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allâh Who created them, if you (really) worship Him.” (41:37)
2. Those who worship Allâh, and worship along with Him some of His creations, such as saints, as embodied in idols, grave-worship, etc. The Arab idol worshippers before Islâm were of this category, as they used to call upon Allâh only in times of hardship and pressing need, and would worship others in times of ease. As the Qur’ân described them:
“And when they embark on a ship, they invoke Allâh, making their Faith pure for Him only, but when He brings them safely to land, behold, they give a share of their worships to others.” (29:65)
They are characterized as Al-Mushrikûn, (i.e. those who associate and attribute partners with Allâh), even though they made supplication to Allâh Alone when they were afraid of drowning at sea, because they didn’t stay like that. Instead they called upon others after He saved them.
3. Since Allâh was displeased with the idol worshipping Arabs before Islam, He branded them as Kâfiroon (i.e. the disbelievers), and ordered His Prophet to fight them, because they called upon others besides Allâh at the time of ease. He didn’t accept their whole-heartedness when they called upon Him alone in hardship, and He labelled them Mushrikîn. Therefor, what can we say about certain Muslims today, who resort to dead saints at the time of ease as well as at the time of hardship? And they ask of them only Allâh has the power to bestow, like curing the sick, and granting sustance and guidance, etc., and they forget the Creator of those saints, whereas He is the only One Who cures, the Substainer, and the Guide. And those dead people have no power at all and cannot even hear those who are calling upon them, as Allâh stated:
“…And those, whom you invoke or call upon instead of Him, own not even a Qitmîr (the thin membrane over the datestone). If you invoke (or call upon) them, they hear not your call, and if (in case) they were to hear, they could not grant it (your request) to you. And on the Day of Resurrection, they will disown your worshipping them. And none can inform you (O Muhammed pbuh) like Him Who is the All-Knower (of each and every thing).” (35:13,14)
This verse is explicit to the effect that the dead cannot hear those who call upon them, and explicit in stating that their supplication is major Shirk.
Some of them might say: “We don’t believe that these saints and righteous people have the power to benefit or harm. We only take them as intermediaries who will intercede with Allâh on our behalf, and through them we get closer to Allâh.” Our reply to them is that the idolaters before Islâm used to hold a similar belief, as is mentioned in the Qur’ân:
“And they worship besides Allâh things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say: ‘These are our intercessors with Allâh.’ Say: ‘Do you inform Allâh of that which He knows not in the heavens and on the earth?’ Glorified and Exalted is He above all that which they associate as partners with Him!” (10:18)
This verse is explicit in proving that whoever worships and supplicates other then Allâh, he is a Mushrik even if he believes that those other beings cannot benefit nor harm, but only sees them as intercessors.
Allâh said about the idolaters:
“…And those who take Awliya’ (protectors and helpers) besides Him (say): ‘We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allâh.’ Verily, Allâh will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Truly, Allâh guides not him who is a liar, and a disbeliever.” (39:3)
This verse is explicit in proving the disbelief of those who call upon other than Allâh with the intention of getting thereby closer to Allâh.
The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Because supplication is worship” (Tirmidhi)
4. Among the nullifiers of Belief is to rule by other than what Allâh has revealed; if it is accompanied by the belief that Allâh’s Laws are inappropriate or less appropriate, or that man made laws which contradict them are equally appropriate; Allâh said:
“…The command (or the judgement) is for none but Allâh. He has commanded that you worship non but Him (i.e. His Monotheism), that is the (true) straight religion, but most men know not.” (12:40)
And Allâh said:
“…And whosoever does not judge by what Allâh has revealed, such are the Kâfîrun (i.e. disbelievers – of a lesser degree as they do not act upon Allâh’s Laws).” (5:44)
If the ruler is applying a law other than what Allah has revealed, while believing that the revealed Law is the only Legitimate Law, but he is contradicting it on the basis of personal whims and inclinations or because of what he considers to be external pressure beyond his control, then he is injust and tyrannical or corrupt, but he did not cross the line of disbelief. This is according to the statement of Ibn Abbas who said:
“Whoever repudiates what Allâh has revealed, the he surely disbelieved, while one who accepted it (while acting in contradiction to it), he is unjust and corrupt.”
This is the interpretation of the verse chosen by the great exegete Ibn Jarîr At-Tabari, and ‘Atâ said with regard to the second state:
“A level of disbelief below the level which takes one out of Islâm.”
As for those who suspended the Laws of Allâh and replaced them with man-made laws which oppose them, believing in the validity of their man-made laws, they have disbelieved and gone out of Islâm by the consensus of the scholars.
5. Among the nullifiers of Belief is displeasure with Allâh’s Legislation, or the opinion that it is too confining and strict or that it imposes undue hardship. Allâh said:
“But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (Muhammed pbuh) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” (4:65)
Or to dislike the orded which is revealed, as Allâh said:
“But those who disbelieve (in the Oneness of Allâh – Islamic Monotheism), for them is destruction, and (Allâh) will make their deeds vain. That is because they hate that which Allâh has sent down (this Qur’ân and Islâmic laws, etc.), so He has made their deeds fruitless.” (47:8,9) 3. Shirk in Allâh’s Attributes nullifies Imân
This third category includes denail of some of all of Allâh’s Attributes or His Names or speaking ill of them.
1. It nullifies Belief when a believer denies the Names of Allâh or His Attributes which are established by the texts of the Qur’ân and the authentic Sunnah; for example, to deny that Allâh’s Knowledge is total, or His Power, or His Life or His Hearing or Sight or Speech or Mercy, or His Establishment over His Throne or His Transcendence above it, or His Descent to the lowest heaven or that He has a Hand or an Eye, or other than that of the Attributes which befit His Splendour and which do not resemble the attributes of anything in creation. Allâh said:
“…There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” (42:11)
In this verse Allâh denied His Resemblance to His creatures, and attributed to Himself the faculties of hearing and sight; and all His other Attributes must be understood in the same way.
2. It is an error and misguidance to interpret something some of His affirmed Attributes, and to change the meanings of the words used to describe them from their primary meaning in the Arabic language to obscure meanings, like the interpretation of the word Istawâ which means ascension and establishment above something, to mean Istilâ which means to take power. Imam Al-Bukhâri in his Sahîh transmitted the authentic interpretation of Istawâ from Mujâhid and Abul-‘Âliyah, two of the prominent scholars among the Tabi’în, the successors of the Sahâbah. The diversionary interpretation of Allâh’s Attributes leads to their denial. As the interpretation of Istawâ meaning to take power is, in fact, a denial of one of Allâh’s Attributes, which is Allâh’s Elevation above His Throne, which is established in numerous places in the Qur’ân and Sunnah. Allâh said:
“The Most Beneficent (Allâh) Istawâ (rose over) the (mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty).” (20:5)
And Allâh said:
“Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allâh), will not cause the earth to sink with you…” (67:16)
And the Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Allâh recorded a Book which is with Him above the Throne.” (Agreed upon)
This type of interpretation of the Divine Attributes is a form of distortion as Shaikh Muhammed Amîn Shinqeeti states in his book “Manhaj wa Darâsât feel-Asmâ’i was-Sifât – Studies in the (Divine) Names and Attributes” on page 26:
“To sum up the issue, I would like to make two points. First the interpreter should consider Allâh’s Statement to the Jews:
“…say Hittatun…” (2:58)
Hittatun means repentance, they added a letter “N” in it and said “Hintatun”, Allâh called this addition a change. Allâh said in Surah Al-Baqarah:
“But those who did wrong changed the word from that which had been told to them for another, so We sent upon the wrong-doers Rijzan (a punishment) from the heaven because of their rebelling against Allâh’s obedience.” (2:59)
Likewise are those who interpret Allâh’s Attributes with diversionary interpretation. It was said to them Istawâ so they added an “L” and said Istawlâ. Consider the resemblance between the “L” they added and the “N” the Jews added (this point was originally mentioned by Ibn Al-Qayyim).
3. There are certain Attributes which are exclusive to Allâh, like Knowledge of the unseen, which no one in creation possesses. Allâh said in his book:
“And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), non knows them but He…” (6:59)
Allâh might reveal certain aspects of the unseen to His Messengers through Revelation when He wants, Allâh said:
“(He Alone) the All-Knower of the Ghaib (unseen), and He reveals to non His Ghaib (unseen) except to a Messenger (from mankind) whom He has chosen (He informs him of the unseen as much as He likes)…” (72:26,27)
Among the statements of disbelief and error is the statement of the poet Al-Busairy in Qasîdah Burdah describing the Prophet (pbuh)
“Verily, from your generosity is the world and its rival (that is the Hereafter) and a part of your knowledge is the knowledge of the Tablet and the Pen.”
This world and the Hereafter are certainly part of the creation of Allâh and from His Generosity, not from the generosity or creation of the Messenger, as the poet claimed.
“And truly, unto Us (belong) the last (Hereafter) and the first (this world).” (92:13)
Allâh’s Messenger (pbuh) does not know what is in the Preserved Tablet, nor what the Pen wrote, as the poet claimed, since this is part of the absolute unseen, which no one knows exept Allâh. As the Qur’ân mentioned:
“Say: None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghaib (unseen) except Allâh.” (27:65)
As for the saints, it is only logical that they have less access to knowledge of the absolute unseen as they do not even have access to direct Revelation by which Allâh informed His Prophets and Messengers of certain aspects of the unseen, because Revelation does not descend on saints; it is reserved for Prophets and Messengers, so whoever else claims knowledge of the unseen, and whoever believes their claims, has nullified his belief in Islâm. The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Whoever goes to a fortuneteller or astrologer and believes what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad.” (Ahmad)
Occasionally the predictions of these fortuntellers do turn out true, but part of that is due to chance, because they are guessing and trying to extrapolate on what they already know. If they were really truthful in their claim to knowledge of the unseen, they would be right all the time, and they would have informed us the secrets of the Jews, and they could have uncovered all the buried treasures of the earth, and they would not be dependent on the people for money, taking their wealth from them under false pretenses.
4. Defamation of Prophets nullifies Imân
This fourth category is the rejection of any of the messengers of Allâh or defaming their characters. These are the following:
1. To deny the Message of Muhammed (pbuh) because the testimony that ‘Muhammed is the Messenger of Allâh’ is one of the pillars of Belief.
2. To disparage the Messenger of Allâh (pbuh) or his truthfulness, or his faithfulness in discharge of what he was entrusted with, or his chasteness or to revile him or make fun of him, or make light of him, or find fault with any of his documented behaviour.
3. To attack his authentic Ahâdîth (transmitted sayings) and disbelieve them, or to reject the true news which he has described for us including his documented prophecies. Examples are the appearance of the Dajjâl (the Antichrist) or the descent of Jesus who will rule by the Sharî’ah of Muhammed (pbuh) and other prophecies documented in the Qur’ân and Sunnah. It is a nullification of Imân to reject these matters after accepting the attribution of the Ahâdîth to the Prophet (pbuh) as being authentic.
4. To deny any of the Messengers sent by Allâh before Muhammed (pbuh) or to deny the stories and sayings in regards to them and their nations, as reported in the Qur’ân or by the Messenger of Allâh (pbuh) in authentic Ahâdîth.
5. To claim Prophethood after Muhammed (pbuh) for example Ghulam Ahmed, the Qâdiyâni (i.e. from Qadiyan, India), who claimed Prophethood, while the Qur’ân says in this verse:
“Muhammed (pbuh) is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allâh, and the Last (end) of the Prophets…” (33:40)
And the Messenger of Allâh (pbuh) said:
“I am the last one, after whom there will be no Prophet.” (Agreed upon)
And anyone who believes that there is a Prophet after Muhammed (pbuh) whether he is a Qâdiyâni (follower of the deviant heretic, Ghulâm Ahmad) or from any other group, he has disbelieved and nullified his Belief.
6. To describe the Prophet (pbuh) with attributes which belong to Allâh only, such as unlimited knowledge of the unseen, as some Sufis claim. One of their poets said:
“Oh (total) knower of the unseen, we resorted to you; Oh curer of the hearts, blessing upon you.”
7. To supplicate to the Prophet (pbuh) for what only Allâh has the power to bestow, such as supplicating for victory and help, cure of illness, etc., as is happening today among the Muslims, especially among the Sufis as their poet, Al-Busairy said:
“Whoever asks by the Messenger of Allâh gets victory, even if a lion meets him in the forest;
Never did time impose on me a hardship and I sought his protection except that I got his protection and no harm came to me.”
This conception of the station of the Prophet (pbuh) is Shirk, contradicting the unequivocal announcement of the Qur’ân:
“…And there is no victory except by the help of Allâh…” (8:10)
and contradicting the order of the Prophet (pbuh):
“When you ask, ask from Allâh, and when you seek help, seek the help from Allâh.” (Tirmidhi)
So what should we think about those who attribute to “saints” knowledge of the unseen, or make a Nadhr (a vow to give charity or perform some other optional good deed) for their sake, or dedicate animal sacrifices to them or ask of them what may only be requested of Allâh, such as sustenance or cure of illness, or victory, etc.? No doubt, these are Shirk.
8. We do not deny the miracles that appeared from the Messengers of Allâh nor those miraculous feets that came from the saints, but what we deny is making them partners with Allâh, supplicating them as we supplicate Allâh, and dedicating sacrifies to them, and undertaking a regime of optional worship for their sake. It has gotten to the point that the graves of some notable “saints” are showered with donations which are appropriated by the custodians and servants of these shrines, who then divide them among themselves, consuming people’s money under false pretenses. At the same time they are surrounded by multitudes of poor people who don’t get enough to eat for a day.
One poet said: “Our living don’t even get a Dhirham (a coin of silver), while thousands and thousands go to the dead.”
Not all of these shrines and graves even contain the body of a saint. But swindlers erect some of them as a means of taking the money of the gullible.
For example, one of my fellow teachers related to me that a certain Sufi Shaikh came to his mother’s house requesting a donation in order to erect a green flag to indicate the presence of a saint on a certain street, so she gave him some money. He bought some green cloth and fixed it to a wall and started telling people, “There is a Wali (saint) here, one of the friends of Allâh. I saw him in my dream.” And thus he started collecting money. One day the government decided to widen that street, which would require removing the grave. The man who had started the whole story started telling people that they had tried to remove it, but the equipment used had broken, and some people believed him, and this rumor started circulating, which caused the government to proceed with caution. The Mufti of that country himself told me that the government called him in the middle of the night to the site of that saint’s grave. He found it surrounded by soldiers. Then the excavator was brought and the grave was dug up. The Mufti looked inside and found nothing there, and knew the whole thing was a lie and fabrication.
Another example, which I heard from a teacher in the Haram in Makkah: One poor man met another and they complained to each other of their poverty. Then they saw a saint’s grave which was filled with welth. One said to the other: “Come on, let’s dig up a grave and put a saint in it, and the money will start rolling in.” His friend agreed, so they set out until they came to a braying donkey. They killed it and laid it to rest in a pit, they raised a mausoleum with a dome over it. And then both of them proceeded to roll around in the dust of the grave to get the Barakat (blessing) from it. When people passing by asked them what they were doing they said: “This is the grave of the saint Hubaish bin Tubaish, who worked miracles which defy description.” People were taking in by their spell and they began laying donations before the grave as charity and to fulfill vows, until they had gathered great wealth. When they started dividing it, they got into argument and started shouting at each other, which attracted a crowd of spectators. One of the two said: “I swear to you by this saint I didn’t take anything from you.” His friend said: “You swear to me by this saint while the both of us know there is a donkey in this grave that we buried together?” The people were astonished and felt foolish due to the donations they had made as vows, and took them back after beating the two men.
from “The Pillars of Islam and Iman – and what every muslim must know about the religion”
Written by: Muhammad bin Jamil Zino
Published by dar-us-salam
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