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Protect his Faith: Avoid Apostasy, Blasphemy, Disbelief

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم

Praise be to Allâh, the Lord of the worlds. May Allâh raise the rank of our master Muhammad and his Al and Companions and protect his nation from that which he fears for it. Thereafter:

In Surat At-Tawbah, Ayah 74, Allâh said:

﴿ يَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ مَا قَالُوا وَلَقَدْ قَالُوا كَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ وَكَفَرُوا بَعْدَ إِسْلامِهِمْ ﴾

which means: « They swear by Allâh that they did not utter, and they have said the word of blasphemy and blasphemed after having been Muslims. » This ayah reflects that category of apostasy pertaining to sayings.

Allâh ta^ala said: The ayah

﴿ وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُمْ لَيَقُولُنَّ إِنَّمَا كُنَّا نَخُوضُ وَنَلْعَبُ قُلْ أَبِاللّهِ وَآيَاتِهِ وَرَسُولِهِ كُنتُمْ تَسْتَهْزِؤُونَ {65} لاَ تَعْتَذِرُواْ قَدْ كَفَرْتُم بَعْدَ إِيمَانِكُمْ إِن نَّعْفُ عَن طَآئِفَةٍ مِّنكُمْ نُعَذِّبْ طَآئِفَةً بِأَنَّهُمْ كَانُواْ مُجْرِمِينَ {66} ﴾

that means: « If they were questioned they would say we were just talking and joking. Say to them: Is it Allâh, his ayat and messenger you were belittling!! Do not give any excuse. You committed blaspheme after you had the belief. » [Surat At-Tawbah, ‘âyah 65-66]

Imam an-Nawawiyy and other Muslim scholars defined apostasy as interrupting Islam by an intention or by a blasphemous doing or by a blasphemous saying, whether or not it was said mockingly, out of stubbornness, or out of conviction. Thus becomes a blasphemer who attributes to God the son, even if he said it by joking or under the effect of anger or by not aiming at the true meaning of the word son and even the one who attributes to God the space or time or change or organs or mood or direction or whatever is attributes of creatures. In the same way, becomes a disbeliever whoever claims to be a non-Muslim or support the disbelief or approves the disbelief or denies the law of God or belittles it or one of the prophets or angels, or attributes to him disbelief. To return to Islam the person must abandon the disbelief and pronounce the two testimonies: there is no god except God and MuHammad is the messenger of God.

The Prophet sallAllâhu ^alayhi wa sallam said:

« إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ لَيَتَكَلَّمُ بِالْكَلِمَةِ لاَ يَرَى بِهَا بَأْسًا يَهْوِي بِهَا فِي النَّارِ سَبْعِينَ خَرِيفًا »

which means: « A person may utter a word he thinks is harmless, which results in his falling the depth of 70 years into Hellfire. » [Related by at-Tirmidhiyy]

The depth of 70 years falling is the bottom of Hellfire, and it is a place that only the blasphemers will reach. This Hadith is explicit in showing uttering a word of blasphemy renders a person a non Muslim, even if he does not deem that word harmful or a sin as such. This Hadith also shows that it is not a condition for committing blasphemy that the blasphemous saying be combined with either the belief in that saying or an action. The Prophet did not say: "A person might utter a word and believe in it…" Nor did he say: "A person might utter a word and act in blasphemy…" Nor did he say: "A person might utter a word in seriousness…" Rather, he said: "A person might utter a word he thinks harmless…" In the same way Uttering blasphemous words out of anger does not excuse a person from committing blasphemy.

Thus becomes a blasphemer who attributes to God the son, even if he said it by joking or under the effect of anger or by not aiming at the true meaning of the word son and even the one who attributes to God the space or time or change or organs or mood or direction or whatever is attributes of creatures. In the same way, becomes a disbeliever whoever claims to be a non-Muslim or support the disbelief or approves the disbelief or denies the law of God or belittles it or one of the prophets or angels, or attributes to him disbelief. To return to Islam the person must abandon the disbelief and pronounce the two testimonies: there is no god except God and MuHammad is the messenger of God.

A similar Hadith related by Al-Bukhariyy and Muslim is proof that it is not even conditional that one must know the judgment of the uttered blasphemous word for him to have committed blasphemy.

Imam An-Nawawiyy said: « If a man was angry with his child or slave and hit him severely, then another person asked him, "How can you do this? Aren’t you a Muslim?" and to that his deliberate answer, though angry was, "No" he blasphemed. » This was said by Hanafiyy scholars as well as others. In his Hadith, the Prophet warned us against anger. His reply to a man who came to him asking for advice was, « Don’t get angry. » The Prophet warned us against anger because anger is not an excuse. Not controlling it can lead a person to various sins, including blasphemy. The scholars mentioned that the third category of apostasy, apostasy of sayings, is like the sea that has no shoreline, meaning the examples could go on and on, and they cited many examples in their books again, a warning to people not to speak words similar to them. For example, to curse Allâh is blasphemy. The one who curses Allâh is not a Muslim.

Allâh ta`âlâ said:

﴿ إِنَّمَا النَّسِيءُ زِيَادَةٌ فِي الْكُفْرِ يُضَلُّ بِهِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُحِلُّونَهُ عَامًا وَيُحَرِّمُونَهُ عَامًا لِّيُوَاطِئُوا عِدَّةَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّـهُ فَيُحِلُّوا مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّـهُ زُيِّنَ لَهُمْ سُوءُ أَعْمَالِهِمْ وَاللَّـهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ (37)﴾

This verse 37 of Surat At-Tawbah speaks about the disbelievers who have increased in disbelief by making lawful what God has forbidden, so this is a proof that disbelief is increasing and that it is not permissible to help the disbeliever making blasphemy neither with deeds nor with words

It is blasphemy to curse one of the Prophets or one of the Angels, as stated by Qadi ^Iyad To declare a Muslim a kafir without a valid reason causes the person to become a non-Muslim, as was mentioned by Mutawalli and Al-Ghazaliyy.

At-Tahawiyy said that to attribute to Allâh any attribute of the creation, like age or time, body or place, organs or instruments, colors or shapes ; or attribute to Allâh a partner or a child, all are blasphemous sayings.

Also, intending to blaspheme in the future contingent upon the happening of a certain incident makes the person a blasphemer immediately. Let the person take heed of the advice and warnings of the Prophet. Let him be extremely cautious not to let his tongue drive him to a destructive situation. As mentioned by Imam Al-Ghazaliyy, the tongue has such a small size but the crime (sin) it could commit could be so great. Other scholars said the tongue is like a fierce beast which will attack you if you do not tie it up.

Allâh ta`âlâ said:

﴿ إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَمُ ﴾

(‘inna d-dîna `inda l-Lâhi l-‘islâm)

which means: « Certainly, the only religion accepted by Allâh is Islam. » [Sûrat ‘Ali `Imrân, ‘âyah 19]

Allâh also said:

﴿ وَمَن يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الإِسْلاَمِ دِينًا فَلَن يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ ﴾

which means: « the one who takes a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter. » [Sûrat ‘Ali `Imrân, ‘âyah 85]

Islam is the only religion Allâh accepts from His slaves and the only religion He ordered His slaves to follow. The one who performs the greatest right of Allâh on the slave by worshipping Allâh alone, not taking any partners to Him, and believing in the message of the Prophet Muhammad, will be granted everlasting bounties in Paradise. He who takes for himself a religion other than Islam and dies on that status will be a loser on the Day of Judgment and his eternal abode is Hellfire, where the torture does not cease nor decrease. Allâh does not forgive the one who dies non-Muslim, nor will any of his good deeds done in this lifetime be accepted from him.

Surat MuHammad, Ayah 34:

﴿ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَصَدُّوا عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ مَاتُوا وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ فَلَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ ﴾

which means: « Those who blasphemed and block away from the ways of Allâh and die as blasphemers, Allâh shall not forgive them. »

Surat An Nisa, ‘Ayah 48:

﴿ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يَغْفِرُ أَنْ يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ ﴾

means: « Allâh does not forgive that one associates partners with Him, and He forgives whatever is less than that for whomever He willed. »

Knowing everlasting enjoyments await the Muslim in Paradise and everlasting torture in Hellfire awaits the one who dies a non-Muslim should make every Muslim anxiously prioritize holding tight to his Religion. The one who is desirous of having his ending a good one will do his utmost to comply with all what is obligatory upon him and avoid what is forbidden, and above all, will endeavor to avoid anything which will invalidate, interrupt, and terminate his Islam, namely apostasy.

Apostasy From Islam: The Abhorrent Sin

Of greater priority is warning the Muslims against what would take them out of Islam and lead them to be one of the eternal inhabitants of Hellfire over other issues in the Religion with less drastic consequences. For this reason, the scholars of Islam included chapters on apostasy in their books to elucidate what causes a person to commit apostasy and the judgments concerning him, in an effort to warn the people from committing any of it. The one who does not know evil is more likely to fall in it, and the one who learns the chapter of apostasy would have his eyes open and his heart guarded to avoid committing this grievous sin.

Imam an-Nawawiyy and other Muslim scholars defined apostasy as interrupting Islam by an intention or by a blasphemous doing or by a blasphemous saying, whether or not it was said mockingly, out of stubbornness, or out of conviction. He said apostasy is the most abhorrent type of blasphemy. For one to have been Muslim, then to apostate from Islam is the most vulgar of sins. It is a heinous crime and the on who commits apostasy deserves the everlasting torture of Hellfire should he die without repenting from it.

Muslim Scholars of the four schools (madhahib) classified apostasy into three (3) categories: beliefs in the heart, actions committed by certain parts of the body, and sayings with the tongue. Ar-Ramliyy, from the school of Imam ash-Shafi^iyy, classified apostasy into these three categories and gave examples of each in his book, Explanation of Minhaj, as did Imam an-Nawawiyy in his book, Rawdat at-Talibin. Qadi ^Iyad and Imam MuHammad ^Ulaysh from the Malikiyy school gave examples of these three (3) types of apostasy. Likewise did Imam Ibnu ^Abidin and Badr arRashid from the Hanifyyy school and Imam al-Buhutiyy from the Hanbaliyy school.

Ibn asSubkiyy said in his book At-Tabaqat: « Imam Al-Ash^ariyy, his students and all Muslims do not disagree upon that he who says a blasphemous word or he who does a blasphemous doing is a blasphemer (kafir). He is not a believer in Allâh, and he shall remain in Hellfire forever, even if he knew the truth in his heart. This is a case of scholarly consensus ; not even two Muslims would disagree on that matter. »

The MuHadith, Hafidh, Faqih and Linguist Murtada Az-Zabidiyy said: « the scholars from the four schools (madhhab) authored in exposing the types of apostasy. »

The scholar’s classification of apostasy into these three categories facilitates one’s learning and understanding of the subject, thereby making it easier to avoid falling into it. Classification as such can be easily understood from different ayat in the Qur’an. In Surat Al-Hujurat, ‘Ayah 15, Allâh said:

﴿ إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَرْتَابُوا ﴾

which means: « The believers are those who believe in Allâh and His Messenger, and they do not doubt in that belief. » This ayah reflects that category of apostasy pertaining to beliefs in the heart. In Surat Fussilat, Ayah 37, Allâh said:

﴿ لا تَسْجُدُوا لِلشَّمْسِ وَلا لِلْقَمَرِ وَاسْجُدُوا لِلَّهِ الَّذِى خَلَقَهُنَّ ﴾

which means: « do not prostrate for the sun or the moon, rather prostrate for Allâh Who created the sun and the moon. » This ayah reflects that category of apostasy pertaining to actions committed by different parts of the body.

The third category of apostasy is that of sayings and the scholars said this category contains the most numerous cases. The Prophet MuHammad Salla lLâhu `alayhi wa sallam said:

« أَكْثَرُ خَطَايَا ابْنِ آدَمَ مِنْ لِسَانِهِ »

wich means: « Most of the sins of the sons of Adam are from his tongue. » [Related by At-Tabaraniyy]. Among these are great sins (kaba’ir) and blasphemy.

In this age it has become common that people are so negligent and careless with their words to an extent some would utter words which turn them out of Islam, yet they do not deem such words sinful despite them being blasphemous. This complies with the saying of the Prophet, sallAllâhu ^alayhi wa sallam, related by at-Tirmidhiyy:

« إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ لَيَتَكَلَّمُ بِالْكَلِمَةِ لاَ يَرَى بِهَا بَأْسًا يَهْوِي بِهَا فِي النَّارِ سَبْعِينَ خَرِيفًا »

wich means: « A person may utter a word he thinks is harmless, which results in his falling the depth of 70 years into Hellfire. »

Each one of these three categories of apostasy is divided into many subdivisions, and the scholars gave many examples of each.

An example of the first category of apostasy (beliefs in the heart) is for one to have doubt in the existence of Allâh or doubt in the message of Prophet Muhammad. Also blasphemous is to doubt in the message of any of the messengers or prophets of Allâh known to be a messenger or a prophet by the layman and the scholar alike, such as Adam, Ibrahim, ^Isa, or Musa. Doubting in the revelation of the Qur’an to Sayyidina Muhammad is blasphemy, as is doubting about matters such as the Day of Judgment, the existence of Paradise and Hell, or other such matters upon which there has been scholarly consensus, such as Reward and Punishment. Doubting in matters which are not commonly known among the Muslims, layman and scholar alike, like the existence of the Basin (HawD) that the believers will drink from prior to entering Paradise, is not blasphemy except if one was stubborn about it in that he knew this matter is part of the Religion and still denies it.

Included in the category of apostasy pertaining to beliefs in the heart is to believe anything other than Allâh exists without a beginning. This was the belief of the Greek philosophers, and following in their footsteps, Ibn Taymiyyah, who said the kind of the world exists without a beginning. Only Allâh exists without a beginning and His attributes are eternal and everlasting and do not change. Everything else is a creation of Allâh and has a beginning to its existence. Qadi ^Iyad, al-Mutawaliyy, and Ibn Hajar al^Asqalaniyy, and others established the scholarly consensus (ijma^) on the blasphemy of he who believes the world exists without a beginning. Renouncing any of the attributes of Allâh, known by ijma^ He is attributed with, such as knowing about everything, is blasphemy. Also blasphemous is he who renounces that Allâh is attributed with Power, Will, Knowledge, Hearing, Sight, or Speech (Kalam). Renouncing any of these attributes of Allâh is blasphemous because the mind alone is sufficient in knowing that Allâh must be attributed with these attributes, i.e., these attributes are a condition for the status of Godhood and as such, one is not excused by ignorance. Ibn al-Jawziyy said: « There is consensus on the blasphemy of he who negates Allâh has power over everything. » He who believes that Allâh resembles any of his creations in His Self, Attributes, or Doings has blasphemed. The one who believes Allâh is a body or an illumination, or believes Allâh exists ‘above’ in the heavens, or that He sits on the throne is a blasphemer. All these are attributes of the creation and are non-befitting to attribute to the Creator. If Allâh was attributed with such attributes, He would have similar from among His creations, and Allâh said in the Qur’an:

﴿ لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَىْءٌ ﴾

which means: « Nothing is like him. » If Allâh was a body, He would be susceptible to the things all bodies are susceptible to like change, divisibility, and annihilation, all indications of shortage or weakness are non befitting to attribute to Allâh.

Also is blasphemous he who renders lawful what is commonly known among the Muslims to be unlawful (such as adultery, fornication, stealing, or drinking alcohol), or renders unlawful, matters commonly known among the Muslims to be lawful, (such as selling and marriage), conditional in all this is the person is aware of the judgments of these matters in the Religion. Belying the Prophet, blemishing his attributes, or believing in the possibility of prophethood of someone after our Prophet MuHammad (as the Qadiyany’s claim) is blasphemy.

The second category of apostasy, i.e., actions committed by different parts of the body, includes prostrating to an idol, or prostrating to the sun or the moon, or prostrating to any other creation with the purpose of worshipping it.

Another example of apostasy of actions is knowingly throwing the Book of the Qur’an in the garbage, and likewise any papers containing Islamic information, as said by the great scholar Imam al-Juyaniyy and others, because this action displays mockery for the Religion. It is blasphemy to throw a paper on which is written a name of Allâh, provided the thrower knows it is a name of Allâh and is conscious of the fact when he threw the paper.

Also helping commit a sin is a sin and helping commit blasphemy is a blasphemy. Similarly approving blasphemy is a blasphemy.

Brother Muslim, learn well this subject of apostasy in an effort to avoid committing any of it. It is an obligation on every Muslim to protect his faith against whatever invalidates, interrupts and terminates it. Then, if apostasy occurred from one, it is an obligation on him to immediately return to Islam by leaving out what caused him to apostate and uttering with the Testification of Faith (two shahadas) with the intention of clearing himself of apostasy. Left on him is the obligation to regret having committed apostasy and to intend not to go back to something similar in the future.

Apostasy is not an easy issue, and not one to be taken lightly. Many judgments are incurred on the one who apostates from Islam. Some examples are: the apostate’s fasting and Dry Purification (Tayammum) are invalid ; it is not permissible to eat the meat he slaughters ; his wealth not inherited, nor does he inherit ; his marriage contract to a Muslim or non-Muslim is not valid. Moreover, the apostate loses all the reward of all the good deeds done prior to his committing apostasy, though all his sins remain. These sins are not erased for him should he go back to Islam, but rather require a separate repentance. Who among the people can afford to have all his good deeds done and rewards earned erased by apostasy, to stand on the Day of Judgment with only his sins to be weighed? Brother Muslim. Learn well this subject of apostasy. It is the most abhorrent of sins.

Do not be fooled by those who claim contrary to what the scholars of Islam classified as apostasy. Do not be led astray to uttering blasphemous words out of ignorance, anger, or carelessness. Do not believe doing so is not blasphemy if not accompanied by liking or believing the meaning of those uttered blasphemous words. Do not believe those who follow their opinions and contradict the rules of the Religion and say: "Who are you to judge others as blasphemous?" while they, themselves, are ignorant of the rules of the Religion on this vital subject, let alone the rules of the tenets of belief (^Aqidah), ablution (Wudu’), Prayer (Salah), and other.

Acquire the personal obligatory knowledge that leads to success and acceptance of Allâh and takes away from the tortures of the Hereafter. Equip yourself with the Hadith of the Prophet, sallAllâhu ^alayhi wa sallam, narrated by Ibn Majah:

« يَا أبا ذَر لأن تَغدُوَ فَتَتَعَلَّمَ ءايَة مِن كِتَاب الله خَيْرٌ لَكَ مِن أَن تُصَلّيَ مِائةَ رَكْعَةٍ ولأن تَغدُوَ فَتَتَعَلَّمَ بَاباً مِن العِلمِ خَيْرٌ لَكَ مِن أَن تُصَلّيَ أَلفَ رَكْعَةٍ »

wish means: « If you learn a verse of the Book of Allâh, it is more rewardable for you than praying one hundred (100) raka^s (of the supererogatory prayers) ; and if you go and learn a Chapter of Knowledge it is more rewardable for you than praying one thousand (1,000) raka^s (of the supererogatory prayers). »

Take your knowledge from trustworthy, God-fearing, knowledgeable teachers. Implement the advice of Ibn Sirin when he said: « Look thoroughly into whom you take your knowledge from, for this knowledge is that of the Religion. » Those must know it is obligatory upon us to order with what is lawful and forbid what is unlawful. If a person commits blasphemy what do we say about him? Do we say he is a believer? Certainly not! Should we leave such a person drowning in that state of blasphemy or should we reach out for him and rescue him by advising him to leave the apostasy and return to Islam? If the person is receptive, we address him immediately and directly so that we would not be included in the Hadith of the Prophet, sallAllâhu ^alayhi wa sallam, « If you see my nation fear to tell the unjust person he is unjust, know that the support of Allâh is withdrawn from them. » As reported in the Qur’an, blasphemy is the greatest of injustice, may Allâh protect us from it.

Use a reported speech to report word contrary to Islam

The good intention is not enough if the word or the act involves clear blasphemy, in this case it is necessary to use the reported speech before saying the sentence which comprises a blasphemy.

In Islam if someone wants to report word contrary to Islam, he must use the reported speech by saying for example the author said or someone said so-and-so. Similarly in writing, he must write the author said before reporting what is contrary to Islam. Similarly, the reported speech is used before playing an audio or a video in which it is mentioned things contrary to Islam and before displaying writings contrary to Islam on a screen or before printing them, by saying for example I show what the author said…

The proof of the reported speech is mentioned in the Qur’ân. Allâh said :

﴿ وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ ابْنُ اللَّهِ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَى الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللَّهِ ﴾

Which means: « The Jews said `uzayr son of God and the Christians said Messiah is son of God. » [Surat At-Tawbah, ‘âyah 30] and in many other verses.

The Prophet MuHammad Salla lLâhu `alayhi wa sallam said:

« أَكْثَرُ خَطَايَا ابْنِ آدَمَ مِنْ لِسَانِهِ »

which means: « Most of the sins of the sons of Adam are from his tongue. » [Related by at-Tabaraniyy]. Among these are great sins and blasphemy.

How Does One Become a Muslim or return to Islam?

One becomes a Muslim by believing in the Two Testifications of Faith and uttering them with the intention of leaving out blasphemy. The Two Testifications of Faith are: I testify that no one is God except God and I testify that MuHammad is the prophet of God.

If someone does not know how to say MuHammad he can call the prophet by Abu l-Gaacim: no one is God except God and Abu l-Gaacim is the prophet of God.

It is not allowed to delay the convert to Islam of the one who wanted to become a Muslim

Moreover, if a person wishes to become Muslim, he must immediately pronounce the two testimonies [in the language that he understands], and it is not allowed to delay his entry into Islam ; the only condition for becoming a Muslim is to pronounce the two testimonies by believing in them and it is not a condition to wash one’s body, to perfume one’s self, or to circumcise oneself, nor to learn Arabic, nor to know part of the Qur’an, nor the presence of an Imam or witnesses nor to be in a mosque ; thus, the one who delays the convert to Islam of the one who wanted to become a Muslim becomes itself disbeliever, because it leads to approval of disbelief, as was said by An-Nawawi in his book.

Praise be to Allâh.

May Allâh bless us with a good ending and Allâh knows best.