I Have Entertained Thoughts About The Disbelief of Another Muslim: Am I Still Muslim?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Salam, today I got very angry with someone and through my anger I felt that he had pride. I thought how can a muslim have pride when he knows he will enter hell for that? Then I thought maybe he is not muslim. But I heard that if a believer calls another believer a disbeliever then he is disbeliever himself. Am I still Muslim?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
No, you have not committed apostasy.

The Hadith of Pride

The Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “No one with the slightest particle of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” A man remarked, “But a man likes his clothes to be nice and his sandals good.” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Verily, Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. Arrogance is refusing to acknowledge what is right and considering others beneath one.” [Muslim]
The scholars explain that what is apparent is that they will not enter Paradise without punishment, and not that they won’t ever enter Paradise, as the believers in their entirety will enter Paradise eventually, even if after a time. [Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim]
With that, it is not our duty nor right to judge other people. If there needs to be judgement, it should be a good opinion (husn al-dhann). This is the adab of Islam. Anything else is foolishness and false piety. [see: Is He a Muslim?]

Calling another Muslim a Disbeliever

The Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “If someone says to his fellow Muslim, ‘You unbeliever,’ one of them deserves the name.” [Bukhari]
Muhammad `Alawi al-Maliki writes, ” There is scholarly consensus that it is unlawful to charge with unbelief anyone who faces Makkah to pray, unless he denies the Almighty Creator, Majestic and Exalted, commits open polytheism that cannot be explained away by extenuating circumstances, denies prophethood, or something which is necessarily known as being of religion, or which is mass transmitted (mutawatir), or which there is scholarly consensus upon its being necessarily known as part of the religion.” [Keller, Reliance of the Traveller: w47.1, from Alawi’s Mafahim yajibu an tusahhaha]
It is classically deemed a state punishable offence. Because of the danger of this matter and the potential rife it could cause, as well as the outward purport of the tradition of the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), such matters should be left to the scholars of Islam and, where applicable, the state.
Please also see: What is the Islamic Understanding of Pride? and: Making 70 Excuses for Others in Islam – A Key Duty of Brotherhood and: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
And Allah alone gives success.
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.