The sedition of the Accusation of Disbelief

Islam is a religion of moderation, as Allah said, ” And thus we have made you a just community “, thus Islam opposes every form of extremism and teaches Muslims to become moderate, neither extremists nor negligent, and asks them to commit to the teaching of the Prophet, peace be upon him, who enjoined moderation on his followers.

Hence, the ideology of “The Accusation of Disbelief ” is closely related to terrorism and extremism, since people exceed the laws and limits of religion in their judgment of other Muslims, and thus stray from the teachings of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and our trustworthy scholars, and may sometimes even violate the sanctity of blood because of this accusation.

Moreover, misguided people who have espoused this devastating thought, have resorted to the misinterpretation of the apparent meaning of religious texts without proper understanding of the underlying meaning of these texts, thus confusing sins with disbelief, and accusing perpetrators of major sins of disbelief, and permitting the killing of whoever opposed them.

Hence, we will try in this study to address the ideology of “The Accusation of Disbelief ” which opposes the moderation Islam called for, and demonstrate the unspeakable outcomes of this thought that has recently spread among some group of ignorant young people, and manifest that extremism in religion and the ideology of “The Accusation of Disbelief ” are actually the two sides of the same coin. Thus, we will discuss this subject based on the following:

1. The linguistic and terminological definition of disbelief

2. The dangers of rushing into the accusations of disbelief

3. The consequences of the accusations of disbelief

4. The distinction between absolute disbelief and minor disbelief

5. The conditions of the accusations of disbelief

6. The taboos of the accusations of disbelief

7. The distinction between alliance and violation.

The linguistic and terminological definition of disbelief:

Disbelief linguistically means coverage and concealment in Arabic; however the terminological definition of disbelief is used in Arabic to refer to two types of disbelief, doctrinal disbelief, and the action of disbelief. Thus, doctrinal disbelief refers to the disbelief in the existence and the Oneness of God, while the action of disbelief refers to ingratitude, as Allah said, “whoever does righteous deeds while he is a believer – no denial will there be for his effort.”

And although the terminological definition of disbelief has two meanings in Islam, yet most people usually use the word disbelief to indicate doctrinal disbelief, and not the action of disbelief, as Raghib Isfahani said, “(Kufran-ingratitude) is widely used to indicate the denial of grace, whereas disbelief is more used to indicate doctrinal disbelief, as Allah said about disbelievers, ” Those are the wicked disbelievers.”

Thus, the accusation of disbelief can be defined in religious terminology as, accusing a Muslim of disbelief. Therefore, disbelief is used to refer to doctrinal disbelief and not the action of disbelief, whose perpetrator should rather be described as a sinner, or an immoral Muslim.

The Dangers of Rushing into the Accusations of Disbelief:

Accusing a Muslim of disbelief is a serious matter that may lead to formidable consequences, thus no one is permitted to accuse a Muslim of disbelief unless he demonstrates evident disbelief; since belief and disbelief are intangible matters that lie in people’s hearts and thus can never be the subject of conjecture, for Islam forbade Muslims from judging people based on conjecture in a lot of religious texts in the Quran and Sunnah, especially when it comes to creeds, and (for example) reproached Osama bin Zaid, may Allah be pleased with him, for killing a man who greeted him, thinking he was a disbeliever, as Allah said,” O you who have believed, when you go forth [to fight] in the cause of Allah , investigate; and do not say to one who gives you [a greeting of] peace “You are not a believer,” aspiring for the goods of worldly life; for with Allah are many acquisitions. You [yourselves] were like that before; then Allah conferred His favor upon you, so investigate. Indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, acquainted.” The Prophet, peace be upon him, also reproached Osama bin Zaid, in the hadith narrated by Osama bin Zaid, “The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, sent us in a raiding party. We raided Huraqat of Juhaina in the morning. I caught hold of a man and he said, “There is no god but Allah”, yet I attacked him with a spear. It once occurred to me and I talked about it to the Prophet, peace be upon him, then the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “Did he profess” There is no god but Allah,” and even then you killed him?” I said, “Messenger of Allah, he made a profession of it out of the fear of the weapon”, The Prophet the said, “Did you tear his heart in order to find out whether it had professed or not?” And he went on repeating it to me till I wished I had embraced Islam that day.

Therefore, the Prophet, peace be upon him, warned Muslims of rushing into the accusation of disbelief and said in the Hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah, “If a man says to his brother, O disbeliever! Then surely one of them is such.” And said “Anyone who called his brother, “O disbeliever”, it [the designation] then would return to one of them. If it was as he said, [if the person accused is actually a disbeliver] or it would be returned to him [The man himself would become a disbeliever if he falsely accused his brother Muslim of disbelief]”.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, also said, “”If somebody accuses another of disbelief or calls him the enemy of Allah, such an accusation will return back to him [the accuser] if the accused is innocent.” And Thabet bin Dahhaak narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Whoever swears by a religion other than Islam, then he is as he says if his oath is false and whoever commits suicide with something, will be punished with the same thing in Hell, and cursing a believer is like murdering him, and whoever accuses a believer of disbelief, then it is as if he had killed him.”

Ibn Sa’ed said, “This is a great warning for those who falsely accuse Muslims of disbelief, which is a serious sin that a lot of people fell into.”

Thus, all of these Hadiths warn of falsely accusing Muslims of disbelief, because belief and disbelief are the matters that lie deep down in people’s heart, thus no one but Allah can judge people’s faith, as Allah said, ” Whoever disbelieves in Allah after his belief… except for one who is forced [to renounce his religion] while his heart is secure in faith. But those who [willingly] open their breasts to disbelief, upon them is the wrath of Allah, and for them is a great punishment.”

Hence, people are not allowed to accuse a Muslim of disbelief, just because he ignorantly practiced disbelief, nor are allowed to regard an immoral Muslim or a sinner as a disbeliever, for Imam Malik, may Allah have mercy on him, said, “A Muslim who manifests ninety nine practices of disbelief should never be regarded as a disbeliever as long as he manifests one practice of belief.” He also said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, did not fight the hypocrites, in order to demonstrate to Muslims that they cannot judge people’s hearts.”

Moreover, the Prophet, peace be upon him, urged Muslims to bear good intentions when they judge people and said, “”Whoever prays like us and faces our Qibla and eats our slaughtered animals is a Muslim and is under Allah’s and his Prophets’ protection. So do not betray Allah by betraying those who are in His protection.” And the prophet forbade fighting whoever prayed, as Anas narrated, “The Prophet, peace be upon him, used to attack the enemy when it was dawn. He would listen to the Adhan; so if he heard an Adhan, he stopped, otherwise made an attack. Once on hearing a man saying, “Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, remarked, “He is following the instinct [Islam]. Then the man said, “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah.”The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “You have come out of Hell.” And Essam al-Muzaini said, “The Messenger of Allah would say to any army or battalion he dispatched, ‘If you see a Masjid, or hear someone calling for prayer, then do not kill anyone,'”

Al-Shawkaani said, “This Hadith indicates that Muslims should judge people based on the apparent matters and practices and not on what lies deep down in their hearts, for the Prophet, Peace be upon him, stopped fighting them the moment he heard the call for prayer, although it could have been a trick they resorted to in order to stop the war.”

Unfortunately, some misguided people nowadays have neglected all of these religious texts and resorted to immediately accusing innocent Muslims and governments of disbelief, despite the existence of the Grand Mosque and the Mosque of Prophet, peace be upon him! And that is because of their ignorant misinterpretation of the word disbelief in the texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah, which refers to doctrinal disbelief. Hence, the Sunnis and the group have demonstrated through the interpretation of the underlying meaning of the religious texts, that not all what Allah and his Messenger, peace be upon him, described as disbelief necessarily refers to doctrinal disbelief, for it may sometimes refer to the action of disbelief which doesn’t make the sinner a disbeliever.