Alhamdulillah, was-Salat was-Salam 'ala Rasulillah,
Few days ago a brother sent a message asking what response I would give regarding a piece circulated by a certain Abu 'Ubaydah Ayinla. Apart from the fact that the write-up was largely bereft of coherence, one would find that the first two issues were about, Al-Hukm bi gayri ma anzala Allahu (ruling by other than what Allah has revealed).
1. It said that I gave a lecture in which I was "...trying to justify the Kufr of not ruling by the Shari'ah." He mentioned that I called it "Kufr duna Kufr" according to the Tafsir of a verse by Ibn Abbass - radiya Allahu anhuma.
2. The piece also mentioned that I likened the gravity of the sin of "ruling by other than what Allah has revealed" to sin any other Muslim would commit such as drinking alcohol, adultery, etc.
3. In the second part of the piece, it mentioned that I defined Eeman as sayings, actions and intentions, and that the individual may still remain a Muslim even when one of the three is missing. The author charged that that is the position of the deviant Asha'irah sect.
I thought it appropriate to explain and clarify these issues - by Allah's Will:
THE FIRST ISSUE
Firstly, the Salafu as-Salih did NOT give a BLANKET RULING that every ruler who rules by other than what Allah has revealed is a Kafir, Disbeliever, no matter his situation or circumstance. Their statements and explanations have clarifications; they were NOT BLANKET. They mentioned the situations where ruling by other than what Allah has revealed will constitute Kufr that expels the person from Islam, and the conditions in which even though the action is called Kufr, it does NOT imply that such ruler is out of the fold of Islam.
Al-Imam Ibn al-Qayyim explained, "And the correct view (is that): Ruling by other than what Allah has revealed would involve the two forms of Kufr, the Minor and the Major, depending on the condition of the ruler. If he believes in the obligation of ruling by what Allah has revealed in reality but turns away from it out of sinning while he recognises his being due for punishment (for not ruling by it), then that is Minor Kufr. But if he believes that it is not obligatory; that he has a choice in it (to rule or not to rule by it) despite being sure that it is the rule of Allah, then this is a Major Kufr. But if he is ignorant or erring regarding it, such is an erring person, he has the ruling of those who err (in matters)." (Madarij as-Salikeen 1/335-337).
Al-Imam Ibn Abi 'Izz al-Hanafiy gave the same explanations in Sharh al-'Aqidah at-Tahawiyyah pg. 323-324.
Before them both, al-Imam Ibn al-Jawziy had given the same explanations in his Tafsir, Zaad al-Masir 2/366-367.
Likewise al-Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas in his Tafsir, Ahkam al-Qur'an 2/439.
Al-Imam Ibn al-'Arabiy in Ahkam al-Qur'an 2/642 gave the same explanations.
This lengthy explanation by Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad Ibn Taimiyyah would be instructive - Allah willing:
"Likewise the Negus - even though he was a king over Christians - his people did not obey him to enter into Islam, only a few of them accepted Islam with him.
Consequently, when he passed away, there was no one to observe the Funeral Prayer over him. So, the Prophet - sallallahu alayhi wasallam - observed it on him at Madinah. He went out with the Muslims to the praying ground, arranged them in rows and observed the Prayer on him. He also told them of his death the day he died saying, 'A pious brother of yours from the people of Abyssinia has passed away.'
He (that is, the Negus) did not observe many or most of the rulings of Islam because he was unable to do that. So, he did not make Hijrah, neither did he partake in Jihad nor make Hajj to the House. In fact it was reported that he did not use to observe the Five Prayers nor fast in the month of Ramadan, neither did he pay the prescribed Zakat because all of that would be known to his people and they will reject that of him while he will not be able to confront them.
So, we are certain that it wasn't possible for him to rule over them according to the Qur'an, and Allah had made it obligatory upon his Messenger - sallallahu alayhi wasallam - at Madinah that if the people of the Books approached him he must not rule among them except by what Allah revealed to him. He even warned him not to be beguiled by them away from some of what Allah has sent down to him such as the ruling of stoning to death for adultery, justice in Diyya, equality between the noble and the lowly in the penalty for blood-related infringements: life for life, an eye for an eye, and so on.
As for the Negus, he was not able to rule by the legislations of the Qur'an because his people will not accept that from him." (Minhaj as-Sunnah 5/112-113)
The point here, dear reader - may Allah preserve us all upon goodness -, is that it is NOT correct to declare a ruler to be a Kafir who is out of the fold of Islam because he rules with other than what Allah has revealed WITHOUT giving due consideration to his condition and circumstances as the scholars have explained.
Here are more of their statements:
1. Abdullah bin Abbass - radiya Allahu anhuma - said regarding the verse Whoever does not judge by whatever Allah has revealed such are disbelievers (Al-Maidah 5:44) that, "Whoever denies whatever Allah has revealed has disbelieved. Whoever affirms it but does not rule by it is a wrongdoer, a sinner." (Tafsir At-Tabari 4/557 and others).
2. 'Ikrimah al-Barbariy (d. 105H) said regarding the same verse, "Whoever does not rule by what Allah has revealed, denying it, has disbelieved. But whoever affirms it but does not rule by it is a wrongdoer, sinner." (Mukhtasar Tafsir al-Khazin 1/310)
3. Mujahid bin Jabr (d. 104) said regarding the same verse, "Whoever leaves ruling by what Allah has revealed by way of rejecting the Book of Allah is a Kafir, wrongdoer, sinner." (Mukhtasar Tafsir al-Khazin 1/310)
But as for giving a BLANKET ruling that every person who rules by other than what Allah has revealed, no matter his circumstance is a Kafir who is out of Islam, that is the view of the wicked and deviant Khawarij sect.
Al-Imam Al-Aajjurriy (d. 360H) said, "Among the ambiguous issues the Harurriyyah (the Khawarij) followed is (that regarding) Allah's saying: '*And whoever does not rule by what Allah has revealed those are the disbelievers'* . They read together with it (Allah's saying), '*...yet those who disbelieve hold others as equal with their Lord*’ (An'am: 1). So when they (the Harruriyyah) find a Ruler ruling by other than the truth, they say, 'He has disbelieved, and whoever has disbelieved holds others as equals with Allah, and so those rulers, those are Mushrikun!" (Ash-Sharee'ah 1/342)
Al-Imam Abul-Mudhaffar as-Sam'aniy (d. 486H) said regarding the verse, ...and whoever does not rule by what Allah has revealed, those are disbelievers (Al-Maidah:44) that, "You should understand that the Khawarij give evidence with this verse and say that, 'Whoever does not rule by what Allah has revealed is a disbeliever. But the Ahlu as-Sunnah say, 'He does not just disbelieve by his leaving to rule (by what Allah has revealed).' " (Tafsir al-Qur'an al-'Azeem 2/42)
Al-Imam Ibn Abdil-Barr (d. 463) gave the same explanations, he said, "A group of the people of Bid'ah, the Khawarij and the Mu'tazilites, have astray regarding this matter. They give evidence with a verse from the Book of Allah which should not be taken upon its apparent meaning such as Allah's saying: 'Whoever does not rule by what Allah has revealed is a disbelieved. '" (at-Tamhid 17/16).
Likewise al-Imam Abul-'Abbass al-Qurtubiyy (d. 671) in al-Mufhim Sharh Sahih Muslim.
Al-Imam Abubakr al-Jassas (d. 370) too in Ahkam al-Qur'aan 2/534.
...and many others.
The summary here is that the Ahlu as-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah DO NOT GIVE A BLANKET RULING of Kufr that expels a person from Islam upon just every ruler who rules by other than what Allah has revealed in every situation and circumstance. Those who gave such BLANKET ruling were the KHAWARIJ and other peoples of Bid'ah.
THE SECOND ISSUE
Firstly, I believe - following the scholars of the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah - that sins are of varying gravities; not all sins have the same seriousness. Even the rank and file of the Muslims know some things about Major Sins, Kabaa-ir, and those that are lesser than them called Sagaa-ir, Minor sins. Still, the Major Sins have those called al-Maobeeqaat, the Destructive sins.
Yet, among these "Destructive sins", some are worse, and the gravest of them is Shirk - may Allah protect us all, Amin.
However, every kind of sin whether Major or Minor is a kind of deed upon other than what Allah has revealed. The person committing adultery, the one consuming Riba, the alcoholic are NOT conforming to what Allah has revealed. And this meaning can be deduced from the general sense in that verse:
ومن لم يحكم بما أنزل الله...
Both من, (whoever) and ما in بما meaning, "whatever" are both particles of generalisation. So when a person commits sin, he has ruled by other than what Allah has sent down. Al-Imam Ibn Hazm al-Andalusiy (d. 456H) said, "Every person who commits sin has not judged by what Allah has revealed." Al-Fasl fil-Milal wan-Nihal (3/234)
See: Al-Ilmaam bi Sharh Nawaaqid al-Islam pg. 138.
Secondly, these sins - each of which constitutes ruling by what Allah has revealed - can each be called Kufr. Those sins that expel the individual from Islam would make the the Major Kufr and all others fall under the Minor Kufr with varying gravity and seriousness.
Al-Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (d. 751H) explained, "Since Eeman is a foundation with various branches and each of its branches is called Eeman: Salaat is of Eeman, likewise Zakaat, Hajj and Fasting..." He continues, "The same thing applies regarding Kufr, it has foundations and branches. So, as the branches of Eeman are Eeman, the branches of Kufr are Kufr as well. Hence, Shyness is a branch of Eeman and having only little shyness is a branch among the branches of Kufr, honesty is a branch of Eeman and lying is a branch among the branches of Kufr. The Salaat, Zakaat and Fasting are of the branches of Eeman and abandoning them is of the branches of Kufr. Ruling by what Allah has revealed is among the branches of Eeman and ruling by other than what Allah has revealed is among the branches of disbelief. All sins are from the branches of Kufr just as acts of obedience are all from the branches of Eeman." Kitaab as-Salaat pg. 53.
This point also occurs in ar-Rasaail wal-Masaail an-Najdiyyah by Shaykh Abdul-Lateeef bin Abdir-Rahman bin Hasan (3/13).
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah gave similar explanations in Majmoo'ah al-Fataawah (7/472). He based the explanations on Allah's mentioning that Kufr increases as in at-Tawbah: 37:
إنما النسيء زيادة في الكفر...
So, each sin a person commits constitutes "ruling by other than what Allah has revealed" by the person who commits the sin, and each and every sin can also be called Kufr as a foundation or branch depending on the sin and it's gravity and how it has occurred and so on.
This is the explanation Abu 'Ubaydah Ayinla reffered to as "likening the gravity of the sin of not ruling by what Allah has revealed to sins any other Muslim can commit."
Quite unfortunately again, it is a common thing with those who hold the views of the Khawarij to think that "any other Muslim" cannot rule by other than what Allah has revealed because the Khawarij grudgingly focus on the faults of rulers and leaders and rise against them with the slightest fault!
THE THIRD ISSUE
The piece by Abu 'Ubaydah Ayinla mentioned that I affirmed Eemaan to be sayings, actions and intentions, and then claimed that I said, "one will not cease to be Muslim even when one of the 3 is missing"! He went on to cite the scholars' statements that Eeman is sayings, actions and intentions as if to say I hold a different view!!!
My response is that:
Firstly, I believe - following the entire scholars of Sunnah - that: "Eeman is Utterance and Deeds. It increases and reduces." 'Aqeedat A-immat al-Amsaar by al-Imam Ibn Abee Hatim ar-Raaziy - may Allah shower blessings on them all.
The individual must affirm Eeman in his heart and utter it upon his tongue. Likewise, his heart must do the deeds of Eeman such as Ikhlas an-Niyyah, loving Allah, loving the people of Eeman and disliking the people of sin and innovations, being humble and so on. His tongue must also perform the deeds of Eeman such as Dhikr, Dua, saying the truth etc. His limbs and body parts must observe the deeds of Eeman as well, like Salaat, Hajj, Jihad and so on among the open actions. So, when his acts of obedience to Allah increase the individual's Eeman increases, and when his deeds of disobedience to Allah increase, his Eeman reduces. These points are established from many verses and Ahaadeeth and is the position of the people of the Sunnah regarding Eeman and what it is.
Refer to: Sharh 'Aqeedat A-immat al-Amsaar pg. 16, 35-43.
Consequently, I believe that, as al-Imam Abu Ibrahim al-Muzaniy (d. 264H) puts it, "The believers are in varying degrees in Eeman, and regarding virtuous deeds, they surpass one another. They do not exit Eeman due to sins, and they must not be declared disbelievers owing to their persistence upon a Major sin or an act of disobedience..." Sharh as-Sunnah pg. 83.
1. The Muslims vary in the level of Eeman. Even among the Prophets of Allah - alayhim as-salaat was-salam - their ranks vary, and so we have Messengers who are superior to the other Prophets, and then the five "Messengers of Strong Covenant" are superior to other Messengers. Among them too they rank differently and the head of them all is Muhammad - sallallahu alayhi wasallam. Likewise among the companions - radiya Allahu anhum -, and so on among the rest of the Muslims.
2. Regarding good deeds, the Muslims surpass one another. Allah mentions some of them who mix-up good and bad deeds while some are at the forefront of good deeds. Some are still overrun by their bad deeds - may Allah protect us all.
3. And this is the point of reference: "They do not exit Eeman due to sins, and they must not be declared unbelievers owing to their persistence upon a Major sin or an act of disobedience..."
While explaining this point, Shaykh Ubayd bin Abdillah al-Jabiree said, "Sins reduce Eeman and negate its being perfect and stain its purity. But they do not expel the person from Eeman." He continued, "...so the Ahlus-Sunnah have the position that, the Fussaaq (sinners) among the people of Eeman are believers due to their Eeman and Fussaaq (sinners) because of the Major sins they commit. Sometimes they express it as that: they are deficient in Eeman." At-Tayyib al-Janaa pg 41.
Shaykh Ahmad bin Yahya an-Najmiy affirmed the same points. Fath Rabb al-Ganiyy pg 25-27.
This was the explanation I was giving in the said audio. I gave example of the person who believes the Salaat was legislated and compulsory for him but fails out of laziness. I also gave example of the person who commits Zina despite believing inside his heart and even uttering it clearly that Zina is Haram. He does not become a disbeliever - who is out of Islam - because of this evil and sinful action of his that contradicts what he holds in his heart and utters with his tongue. These were the points I was explaining. That his committing the sin - or not being upon Eeman in this matter as the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) mentioned regarding the adulterer - does not mean that he has completely exited Islam.
Unfortunately, this Abu Ubaydah Ayinla deliberately twisted the words away from their rightful places in order to be able to ascribe evil!
Worst still, I have been explaining Eeman in many other classes since 12 years after that audio, and I have been affirming that Eeman must be of the heart, the tongue and limbs, and that it increases and decreases - as I have always ever affirmed! Yet this person chose to be what he has decided he wants to be.
I wish to remind him and his likes that:
إن ربك لبالمرصاد
OTHER ISSUES RAISED
Concerning his claim that I said that "if Jihad week is bid'ah, the past OAU MSSN executives would not have partaken in it", I sincerely think it's a make-up.
This is not my way of proving a matter of the religion even as a young undergraduate since 1993 in my first University! As the Islamic Affairs Council chair at Ife between 97-99 for 2 consecutive sessions and the Imam of the largest congregation Masjid (Awo Mosque), we queried everything those before us did, asking for proof from the Sunnah.
This was the time we made photocopies and studied Tas-heeh ad-Dua by Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd, 'Ilm Usul al-Bid'ah by Shaykh Ali Hasan and others books. I wouldn't forget to mention that we got the original copies from Shaykh Najeem Ibn Sulayman and I would personally repeatedly visit him to get explanations on various issues. He would provide many more sources to establish the points he sought to affirm with us.
So at school, it was easy to stop the congregational weekly and exam prayers, the beginning and end of session congregational prayers, to mention a few. And asking about the correctness of labelling a week program "Jihad" was not far from our engineering shortly before we left school.
I sincerely find it farfetched that even after getting better upon the Sunnah - out of Allah's Mercy and Favour - one would now be saying that "Jihad week is Sunnah otherwise MSSN executives wouldn't partake in it" as this Abu Ubaydah claimed. This is far!
Nevertheless, if for whatever benefit of a doubt I had made a statement that could be misunderstood - not to say understood - to mean what he said, then the statement is wrong, null and void.
As regards ascribing me to Prof Alaro, in an ascription of blind-following, it will convince anyone who knows me - even from afar - that the expression is far from the truth.
I have teachers across the world - from Allah's Favour - from whom I directly learnt the books of Sunnah and guidance upon the religion, and I still do. But all my direct teachers will tell you that Abu Naasir will not take a position till he knows the proofs affirming it. So if I have a view on a matter that is established in the Sunnah which happens to be the same view of the Prof on the same matter, does that ascribe me to the Sunnah or to the Prof?!
The objectivity people lack when they choose to criticise individuals for reasons known to them alone makes a mockery of the brazenness and audaciousness their verdicts display!
The INEC Question
Abu 'Ubaydah Ayinla also claimed that I answered not to know when asked about being an INEC agent despite the fact that I hold that democracy is unlawful. He found my answer strange.
Rightly, some of the people may find such responses strange because they expect that after you give a 30 minutes clearcut evidenced-based explanation - by Allah's Will - that a thing is prohibited and un-Islamic, you should still help explain whether working with the agency in charge of such prohibited things is lawful or not.
They want you to say for example, whether it is lawful for them to work in the brewery if alcohol is prohibited, or in a Riba-based Bank if Riba is prohibited and so on. They still want you to explain that and provide them the proofs. And when they get the right answers to their questions, they find it strange. And indeed, they should!
The condition of these persons reminds of the statement of Al-Imam Ash-Sha'biy cited by al-Hafidh Abu Hatim Ibn Hibban (d. 354) in his masterpiece on Manners and Noble Charater titled, Rawdat al-'Uqalaa, with his Isnad up to al-Imam ash-Sha'biy, who said:
"إنما كان يطلب هذا العلم من اجتمعت فيه خصلتان: العقل، والنسك، فإن كان عاقلا ولم يك ناسكا قيل: 'هذا أمر لا يناله إلا النساك'، فلم يطلبه، وإن كان ناسكا ولم يكن عاقلا قيل: 'هذا أمر لا يناله إلا العقلاء' ، فلم يطلبه". قال الشعبي:"فلقد رهبت أن يكون يطلبه اليوم من ليس فيه واحدة منهما، لا عقل ولا نسك". روضة العقلاء ونزهة الفضلاء (ص. ٣٤)
"This knowledge used to be sought by persons who have two traits combined in them: Intelligence and Devoutness. If he was intelligent and not devout, it was said, 'This is an affair that cannot be attained except by the devout.' So he doesn't seek it. And if he were devout but not intelligent, it would be said, 'This is an affair that cannot be attained except by the intelligent.' So he doesn't seek it.'" Ash-Sha'biy said: "I am deeply horrified that it is sought today by persons bereft of even one of them: Lacking in intelligence and neither devout!" pg 34.
What would the Imam say if he sees the people in our own times?!