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The issue of Eeman, its components, levels and that which negates it (i.e., Major Kufr) are fundamental concepts of Islam. It should be a Muslim's utmost concern to understand these issues as was understood by the first and best generation of Islam.

This booklet is an attempt to educate the reader about the
moderate understanding of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah concerning the components of Eeman and Kufr and to warn against the misguided views of those who have been mislead on the subject.

Exaggerations in understanding the verses and Ahadeeth of warning lead the
Khawarij to overstate the status of sinners amongst Muslims until they regarded anyone who commits a major sin to be a disbeliever, who will not be forgiven. They lightened the extremely serious issue of Takfeer (declaring someone to be a Kafir) and consequently, off-shoots of Khawarij caused blood-shed throughout Islamic history, by revolting against legitimate rulers they saw as sinful.
A contemporary example is that of
Juhayman and his followers who, having been affected by Khawarij-like ideas, attacked al-Masjid al-Haraam in the 1980s and shed the blood of innocent Muslims (details on how their extreme views led to this appalling incident can be read in the course of the book).

In opposition to the Khawarij, appeared the Fitna of
Murjiyah, who were deficient in their understanding of Eeman and Kufr and thus, took to the other extreme and claimed that Kufr only occurs by rejection and denial of faith in the heart; and not due to actions.
Their misguided approach led to the belittling and easy escape from the practices of Islam and its obligations. Their way implies that someone is a Mu'min (complete believer) by just verbally confessing belief in Allah, even if he prays to the cross, goes to church, and commits major sins! This is the reason why the Salaf considered the
deviation of the Murjiyah to be more severe than that of the Khawarij. The Khawarij cause destruction to life and property whereas the Murjiyah cause ruin to the Deen.

This booklet seeks to expound how
failure to seek guidance from the learned scholars in issues of the Deen can lead to devastating consequences, which was the main sickness of the Khawarij since their origin.

The Murjiyah too, fell into the same pitfall when they tried to counter one form of misguidance with another. They sought their own understanding instead of referring back to the Salaf.

The common misunderstanding of both the Khawarij and the Murjiyah was that
they both consider Eeman to be one entity that does not increase or decrease. So, Eeman is either there altogether (even if one performs actions like prostration to other than Allah) as the Murjiyah believe, or Eeman is not there altogether (even if one only commits a major sin) as the Khawarij believe.

Whereas, the belief of the Ahlus-Sunnah is that Eeman is a combination of actions and statements; it increases with good deeds and statements and decreases with sinful statements and actions. The only case when a person goes out of the fold of Islam is when he commits any act or statement from the nullifiers of Islam that are known from the texts of the Deen.

Many original Arabic books were referred to in the compilation of this booklet such as,
Kitaab al-Eeman by Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah,
Sharh Aqeedatil-Wastiyyah by Shaikh Salih al-Fawzan,
As'ilah wa-Ajwiba fi Masaa'il al-Eeman wal-Kufr by Shaikh Salih al-Fawzan,
Aqeedah at-Tawheed by Shaikh Salih al-Fawzan,
Dar' al-Fitna 'an Ahlus-Sunnah by Shaikh Bakr ibn Abdullah Abu Zaid,
As'ilah wa-Ajwibah fil-Eeman wal-Kufr by Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah ar-Rajhi,
Al-Khawaarij wal-Fikr al-Mutajaddid by Shaikh Abdul-Muhsin ibn Nasir al-Ubaikan,
DVD series explaining Aqeedah at-Tawheed by Dr. Abdullah al-Farsi and others.

I ask Allah to accept this humble effort and all success is from Allah Alone.

Shawana A. Aziz


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