Is Being Silent Around Disbelief an Approval of It?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I was with my soccer team and the coach said to “keep putting the team first”. I do not know if what he said was disbelief. If someone remains silent in a situation like this but disapproves of it in his heart, is that sufficient? For example, is eating in a restaurant where there are Hindu statues disbelief?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Thank you for your question. May Allah Most High reward you for having such deep concern regarding your religious affairs.

It is not disbelief (kufr) to recognise disbelief around you. Moreover, the Sacred Law (shari`ah) does not apply to non-Muslims, thus we don’t hold them accountable to our standards.

If a Muslim, however, utters something which appears to be clear disbelief, they should be gently reminded that such utterances are problematic and unbecoming of believers, if the conditions of commanding the good are fulfilled.

Generally, it is disbelief to deny and reject something necessarily known to be from the religion, such as the fact that Allah Most High is one, or the obligation to pray daily and the like.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever loves for the sake of Allah, hates for the sake of Allah, gives for the sake of Allah, and withholds for the sake of Allah has perfected faith.” [Abu Dawud, with a sound chain of narration]

[Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha fi al-Hazr wa al-Ibaha (205)]

Please also see: Reader on Disbelief and: The Criteria of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.