Is Calling Something Impossible or Saying “Nothing Is Impossible” Sinful?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question

Is it shirk to say that something is impossible and then do it, as it means that you can do the impossible?

Sorry if the question sounds ignorant.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.

First, may Allah Most High bless you for asking. No sincere question is ignorant. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged his Companions to ask questions, and said, “The only cure for confusion is asking.” [Abu Dawud and Ahmad; sound]

Human speech is assumed to be conditioned by the norms of created things. Thus, when we say something is “impossible” or “nothing is impossible,” we mean that it is “normally not possible” and “nothing in itself possible is in itself impossible.”

Also, Allah and the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) teach us that the basis of human actions is assumed to be soundness. This includes human speech. [Karkhi, Usul; others]

Thus, what you mentioned is neither shirk — which is to associate partners with Allah in His worship, or in ascribing Divinity to other than Allah — nor is it sinful.

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.