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
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
Al-Khawaarij wal-Fikr al-Mutajaddid by Shaikh Abdul-Muhsin ibn Nasir
DVD series explaining Aqeedah at-Tawheed by Dr. Abdullah al-Farsi and
I ask Allah to accept this humble effort and all success is from
Shawana A. Aziz