Identifying the Misconceived Verses Used by Extremists as Refutations
All praise is to Allah, thou we worship, thou we seek for forgiveness. Thou we seek refuge from our sins and evil within. Whom Allah sends astray, no one will guide, and whom Allah guides, no one will mislead. And I bear witness that there is no God but, Allah, and that Mohammad is the messenger of Allah.
This article will refute those who use the following verse, “They have taken as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks “[Tawba: 31], and other verses, to accuse whoever accepts and follows man-made legislations, regardless of their disbelief in man-made laws, of apostasy!
Thus, in regards to their inferences with the At-Tawba verse, the answer is as follows:
Their interpretation of the verse contradicts the Hadith which identified the meaning of the verse; Uday Ibn Hatem said: “I came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, wearing a golden cross on my neck, he said, “O Uday! Forsake thy idol”, Then I heard him recite Surat At-Taowba, “They have taken as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks.” He said: “although they did not worship them, yet they obeyed them when they either forbade or approved of something “(1).Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: “They have taken their rabbis and monks as lords, through obeying them in permitting what Allah has forbidden, and forbidding what Allah has permitted, and these people fall under two categories; some of them are aware that they have altered the religion of Allah, yet they still abide by their laws, believing in the permission of what Allah has forbidden, and the prohibition of what Allah has permitted, and thus fall into disbelief, while others don’t believe nor approve of those alterations (2), yet still obey them in these alterations, committing by that a sin, and thus they become sinners instead of disbelievers”(3).
Hence, we can affirm from this in-depth perception, that they are considered disbelievers, not just because they abided by their laws, but because of their belief in the permission of what has been forbidden or vice versa. Yet extremists resort to this verse, “Devils do inspire their minions to dispute with you. But if ye obey them, ye will be in truth idolaters” [Al-Anaam: 121], to accuse whoever abides by man-made laws of disbelief!
However, Al-Qurtubi said about the interpretation of the verse, “This verse indicates that whoever permits anything of what Allah has forbidden; becomes a disbeliever, for Allah has forbidden the carrion in the verse , and if he accepts others’ permission of it ; he then will fall into disbelief” (4).
Ibn al-Arabi al-Maliki also said, “A believer becomes a disbeliever by obeying others while believing in the permission of what Allah has forbidden, yet if he obeys without the belief, he then is considered a sinner” (5).Sheikh Saadi said: “a believer becomes a disbeliever once he obeys them in the prohibition of the permitted, and approves of what they have done” (6). Moreover, Sheikh Abdul-Latif Bin Abdul-Rahman Bin Hassan said: “whoever obeys anyone in permitting what Allah has forbidden and approves of it, becomes a disbeliever”(7). Thus, the verse refers to obeying them in permission and prohibition with belief.
Furthermore, some extremist use this verse: “hast thou not seen those who pretend that they believe in that which is revealed unto thee and that which was revealed before thee, how they would go for judgment (in their disputes) to false deities when they have been ordered to abjure them? Satan would mislead them far astray.”[Annesa: 60], to accuse those who follow man-made laws of hypocrisy and disbelief!
However, this verse had a lot of narrations that explained the cause behind its revelation , for Ibn Abbas, said “Abu Barzeh Aslami was priest among the Jews, arbitrating their disputes, and some Muslims came to him seeking his judgment, then Allah revealed, “Hast thou not seen those who pretend that they believe”(8).Hence, this verse refers to the hypocrites, which is confirmed by the later verses , when Allah said, ” And when it is said unto them: Come unto that which Allah hath revealed and unto the messenger, thou sees the hypocrites turn from thee with aversion” they originally did not believe in Allah and the messenger, and thus regarded judging with other than the law of Allah permissible. Ibn Jarir al-Tabari said, “Those hypocrites approved of the rule of other than Allah,and although they have been ordered to abjure the rule of idols, yet they abandoned Allah’s command “(9).Therefore, seeking other than Allah’s judgment resembles the hypocrites’ deeds and resemblance doesn’t necessitate nor contribute to disbelief.
Based on this, a Muslim does not become a disbeliever unless he approves of idols’ judgment, seeks and desires to do so, as we have pointed out. Also, some extremists use this verse, “But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make thee judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which thou decides, and submit with full submission’ [Annesa: 65], to accuse whoever forsakes Allah’s judgment of disbelief,although the prohibition in the verse refers to the belief and not just the action.
The answer consists of several aspects:
First aspect, these are Kharijites’ old inferences, which are based on a misconception of the verse. Shaykh al-Islam IbnTaymiyah said about this verse, “A Muslim becomes a disbeliever once he forsakes the rules of Allah and his messenger. However, those who are committed to the rule of Allah and his Messenger, but disobey and follow their whims, are considered sinners. Yet Kharijites use this verse to accuse rulers who don’t resort to Allah’s judgment of non-belief.”(10).
The second aspect, Abd Allah ibn al-Zubair, demonstrated in the Hadith he narrated the cause of revelation, for he said that a man from the Ansar argued with Zubair about (shiraj al hra) the thing they use to irrigate the palms. The man said, “Allow the water to pass!”,but Zubair refused, so they went to the prophet seeking his judgment. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said to Zubair, “Oh Zubair irrigate, and then send the water to your neighbor”. The Ansari angrily said: “Oh Messenger of Allah! And was not Zubair your aunt’s son?!” The color of the face of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, changed, then he told Zubayr: “O Zubayr, irrigate and then withhold the water until it returns to the walls.” Zubair then said, “I swear to Allah , I recon this verse was revealed regarding this matter, “But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make thee judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which thou decides, and submit with full submission.”(11)
Thus, this Ansari – a Companion – was displeased with the Prophet’s judgment, yet the prophet, peace be upon him, didn’t accuse him of disbelief, for the man was one of the people of Badr, and they are forgiven as mentioned in the well-known Hadith (12) and it is well known that if he becomes a disbeliever,then the fact that he is one of who witnessed the badr battle won’t favor him, nor eliminate the penalty of disbelief, which indicates that who witnessed the badr battle are protected from disbelief, as stated by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (13). Based on that, what he did, did not make him a heathen nor an apostate, and that is the best response to those who use this verse to the negate other people’s faith, without mentioning the detailed event which is indicated by the cause of revelation, and it is well known that the cause of revelation is always included in any verse inferences. Therefore, Ibn Teen mentioned that the verse to lack of faith and not disbelief (14).
Furthermore, there are some events that support what we mentioned previously; one of them is what some people of the Ansar said in Hunain, when Allah bestowed upon his Messenger the spoils of Hawazin, and the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, gave one of the men of Quraysh a hundred camels. They said, “May Allah forgive the Messenger of Allah! He gives to Quraysh while our swords are dripping of their blood (15). Hence, this means that they did not submit to what the Prophet did in the beginning, and condemned it, and spokea bout it, however the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, didn’t accuse them of disbelief.
Thus, according to Sunnis and group and Ibn Taymiyah, the disapproval of what Allah and his Messenger have ordered contributes to the lack of belief rather than utter disbelief. (16).
He also said: “the disapproval of some of the deeds in Quran and Sunna, is because of the rejection by some of the commands; Allah said, ‘But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make thee judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which thou decidest, and submit with full submission”, and the verse, “they only are the true believers who believe in Allah and his messenger and, when they are with him on some common errand, go not away until they have asked leave of him”(17). And what the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “I swear (he) does not believe, (said it thrice), he who his neighbor is not safe of his harm ” (18).And also said, “none of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself” (19).
Finally, we conclude the article with the words of Abdul-Rahman Bin Saadi, in the interpretation of the verse, “But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe,” identifies the difference between who denies Allah’s judgment out of obstinacy and arrogance, and he who denies it out of submission to his whims, lust, and so on, and they are not alike in the verdict.He added “Whoever obeys anyone in permitting what Allah has forbidden and approves of it, becomes a disbeliever, and whoever obeys anyone in permitting what Allah has forbidden yet disapproves of it, becomes a sinner and not a disbeliever”(20-21). Thus, this is what we intended to verify and disclose in this article.
1. Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, no. (3095), Ahmad (4/257), and Tabarani in al-Kabeer (17/92), and al-Tabari in his Tafseer (10/114), and al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan (10/116), and others, which is a hasanhadeeth.
2. The statement was originally like this: “permission of the prohibition, and the prohibition of the permission.”
3. Faith, by IbnTaymiyyah, p (67).
4. (Aljame) the verdicts of the Quran (7/77-78).
5. The verdicts of the Qur’an (2/752).
6. Tayseer Al KarimARRahman, p (271).
7. Letters and matters of Najd (3/46).
8. narrated by Waahidi in the causes of revelation, (p. 160-161) and IbnAbiHatim in Attafseer, in number, 5547, and Tabarani in al-Kabeer, number (120 045), the attribution Saheh.
9. TafseerIbnJarir (5/96).
10. SunnaMethods (5/130).
11. Narrated by Bukhari, number (2359), and Muslim, no. (2357)
12. Narrated by Bukhari, number (2785), with other parties, and by others as well.
13. See: Total fatwas (7/490).
14. See: Fath al Bari (5/44).and the Ansari mentioned in this story is a Badri.
15. Narrated by Bukhari, number (3147), with other parties, and narrated by others as well.
16. Total fatwas (7/37).
17. Total fatwas (22/530).
18. Narrated by Bukhari, and Muslim
19. Narrated by Bukhari, number (13), and Muslim, number (17)
20. Means: arbitration, and submission.
21. TaiseerAlKarimARRahman, 1/397, Bookshop, prepared by Muhammad ZuhriNajjar.