Questions Asked by Non-Muslims

Ustadh Farid Dingle advises on how to logically reply to the questions asked of a Muslim by non-Muslim believers of other faiths.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am a young Muslim who born and raised in Bangladesh and now living in the USA for the past 7 years. As you know living in the USA around with non-Muslims is a very challenging and I have been asked couple of questions recently by one non-Muslim neighbor who likes to know about Islam but he has asked me couple of questions.

The questions are (1) Why among all the prophets Jesus was the only prophet who did not have any father and my neighbor is claimed that it is mentioned in the bible but not in the Qur’an.Can you please tell me why, how and where it is found in our holy Qur’an. and the second question is (2) Why was Jesus the only prophet who was taken to the haven? Why was Prophet Muhammed, blessings and peace be upon him, was not sent to the heaven?

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Dear questioner,

First of all, when we are debating with someone, we have to agree on a certain logical framework. If Jesus (upon whom be peace) did not have a father and was taken to heaven, does that make him God or the Son of God? The answer is no. If you both agree on that, the rest is fairly easy.

Secondly, Allah clearly tells us in the Quran that Jesus (upon whom be peace) did not have a father. The whole story of Lady Mary is found very clearly in chapters 3 and 19, Al Imran and Mary respectively.

Allah also tell us that that does not make him divine, anymore than Adam, who had neither father nor mother, was divine: ‘Truly, the likeness of Jesus, in God’s sight, is as Adam’s likeness; He created him of dust, then said He unto him, ‘Be,’ and he was.’ [3:59].

Lastly, why was Jesus sent to Heaven and no other prophet? I don’t know. Does it change anything? No. Does that make him divine? No. Why is it that Allah made planet Earth the only inhabited planet in the universe? I don’t know. Does that make planet Earth divine? No. There are many things simple people like me, and smart people alike do not know. But their ignorance of many things often has very little theological significance.

Try sharing this with your Christian friend Habib Ali al-Jifri – Jesus Christ the Son of Mary and His Most Blessed Mother – Book in PDF .

I pray this helps.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Shaytan’s Promise to Adam, Peace Be upon Him

Ustadh Tabraze Azam explains the meaning of Shaytan’s promise to Adam, peace be upon him, concerning eternal life in Paradise.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have a question regarding the 120th ayah of Sura Ta Ha in which, according to a translated commentary of this ayah, Shaytan promised immortality and the everlasting kingdom to Adam, peace be upon him, in order for him to eat from the forbidden tree.

My question is: Wasn’t Adam, peace be upon him, immortal in Paradise at that time? And how did Shaytan whisper to Adam and Eve, peace be upon him, when he himself was not in Paradise? I would appreciate a deep explanation of this if possible.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

The answer to your questions has a little detail which you may find below. But it is important to remember three matters: (1) the Prophet Adam, peace be upon him, was cunningly deceived by the devil in Paradise; (2) the Prophets, peace be upon them all, are sinless, and protected from sin, before and after prophethood, as we learn in our studies of Theology (‘aqida); and (3) his descent to earth was to fulfill a divine purpose, to manifest His divine wisdom and to honor the Prophet Adam, peace be upon him. It was certainly not a “punishment.”

Thereafter, the verse in question is Allah Most High’s saying, “But Satan whispered to him, saying, ‘O Adam! Shall I show you the Tree of Immortality and a kingdom that does not fade away?’” (Sura Ta Ha 20:120)

Immortality in Paradise

The Prophet Adam, peace be upon him, was actually created for custodianship or vice-regency (khilafa) of the earth, so he was not going to be in Paradise forever at this stage. Abu al-Su’ud, Shaykh al-Islam of the Ottoman Empire of his time, and widely considered to have authored the greatest work of exegesis (tafsir), clarifies this in his explanation of the relevant verses in Sura al-Baqara (2:36), namely, that the divine instruction wasn’t to remain in Paradise forever.

Elsewhere, Allah Most High says, recounting the words of the devil, “He said, ‘Your Lord has forbidden this tree to you only to prevent you from becoming angels or immortals.’” (Sura al-A‘raf 7:20) Imam Alusi explains that immortality, here, meant either that (a) you will never die, or (b) you will remain in Paradise forever, just as the “Tree of Immortality” (Sura Ta Ha 20:120) indicated eternal life. This is perhaps another indication that the Prophet Adam knew that Paradise wasn’t an eternal abode at the present time.

How Did the Devil Get into Paradise?

As for how the devil managed to deceive them, the reality isn’t clear to us. We do know that he was instructed to leave Paradise by the command, “Get out of Paradise, for you are truly cursed,” (Sura Sad  38:77) and that he was known to them as somebody harmful, “We said, ‘Adam, this is an enemy to you and to your wife. So let him not expel you from Paradise.’” (Sura Ta Ha 20:117)

The exegetes, however, have forwarded a varying number of possibilities explaining the issue. Some of these affirm that the devil was no longer permitted to enter Paradise in a state of honor like the angels, but could enter in a humiliated state; others said that he called upon them from the door as they were close to it; others still that he took on the form of another creature and the guardians of Paradise didn’t realize, and a variation of that, namely, that he entered whilst being carried in the mouth of another animal or creature.

The Moral of the Story

At the end of the day, these kinds of details aren’t relevant to the message of the story, as Ibn ‘Ashur points out in his Tahrir. The important point is that we come to realize and appreciate the presence of a divine command, the great gift and blessing of belief and guidance, the duty to avoid the unlawful and it great harm in this life and the next, the tremendous opportunity to attain unto eternal salvation and divine pleasure, and the reality that this is the one and only chance we get.

Allah Most High sums the final matter up in a few words, “a group will be in Paradise and another in the Blaze.” (Sura al-Shu‘ara 42:7) But Allah Most High has made Paradise for the believers, and it is up to us to ensure that we get both feet there. Ibn ‘Ata’ Illah al-Sakandari commented in one of his Aphorisms, “He has made worship binding upon you, and in reality, He hasn’t made anything but Paradise binding upon you.”

We ask Allah Most High to shower His everlasting mercy upon us out of His pure grace and favour.

Please also see How do We Understand the Sinlessness of Prophets in Light of Their Reprimand in the Qur’an?  and How Did the Devil Tempt Adam & Hawa (Eve)?

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

(Abu al-Su‘ud Effendi, Irshad al-‘Aql al-Salim; Alusi, Ruh al-Ma‘ani; Tantawi, al-Tafsir al-Wasit; Baydawi, Anwar al-Tanzil wa Asrar al-Ta’wil; Sabuni, al-Muntaqa min ‘Ismat al-Anbiya’ (34))

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Confused about Christianity

Shaykh Jamir Meah clears up confusion about Christian articles of faith and the mistaken picture of Jesus found therein.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Recently I have been having waswasa or something about Christianity. I am a Muslim but I am confused about the following things:

1. Religious Christians describe finding Jesus as peaceful. They talk about how they find peace in hard times through him; how they have faith in difficult situations (like tawakkul but they direct it at Jesus) and so on. How can they feel such peace if they are misguided? And how can I know if the peace we get from the Islamic tawakkul is truly the truth when others feel the same thing without following Islamic tawhid and so on?

2. How can we understand the many near death experiences where people claim to have seen Jesus, hell, paradise, etc., and then wake up and become practicing Christians because what they saw convinced them to accept Jesus as their savior and to live a different life?

Please answer me, it doesn’t have to be published but still send me a reply as an email. I want to have yaqin in Islam but I am struggling with this.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Religions have many aspects to them and it is often quite easy to get stuck in one facet of the religion and forget about all the other parts of the ‘jigsaw’ which give a fuller, complete picture. This approach is akin to a person who only takes religious understanding from the Qur’an and ignores the sunna or life of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, or vice versa. Both of these are forms of extremism.

I have extracted the various issues embedded in your questions and answered them below. Following this, I have included some further points  to consider in regards Christianity, the person of Jesus Christ, peace and blessings be upon him, the importance of looking at a religion in it’s entirety, and how it compares to Islam.

Q1: Religious Christians describe finding Jesus as peaceful and Christians talk about how they find peace in hard times through him. How can they feel such peace if they are misguided?

Finding solace in something in times of difficulties is not exclusive to Christians, nor Muslims. There are many people who are Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, Jewish, and even humanists, materialists, Scientologists, etc., who also speak of finding peace in and deriving strength from their deity or particular belief system. Therefore, finding peace and solace in a matter, even if experienced very deeply, is not a criterion for the validity of that belief, rather other things must be considered.

To understand why many people of all faiths may find peace and reliance in their belief, we look at the common factor that is shared between all types of “believers” that claim they find “peace.”  That shared factor is the belief in a Higher Being, Force, Intelligence, Architect, etc. Whatever one wants to call this Power, they all return to a basic belief that something exists that is more powerful than ourselves, whether it be God, gods, nature, love etc.

We do not negate other people’s sense of inner peace, nor deny that we all share this common factor at the very basic level of faith from which strength and comfort can be derived. This is because this common factor belongs to the primordial state (fitra) that is a part every being.

However, acknowledging this does not conclude that the entire belief system of each faith is agreeable or sound. In fact, some may be complete misguidance and perversion, others partially true, and, because absolute truth can only be one, one faith is absolutely true. Additionally, God is Peace  and the Giver of peace, thus He gives peace to whomever He pleases among his creation, and this giving of peace to an individual could be for many reasons.

Furthermore, for Muslims, this world is one of toil and struggle. It is not a place for peace and relaxation. This life is the land that we toil on, and its harvest and reward is in the next life. This is why God says in the Qur’an, “Indeed, We have created humanity in [constant] struggle.” [90:4], and the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said, “The world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the unbeliever.” (Muslim)

Muslims toil on earth because it is a prison for them, for they are shackled by the burden of legal and moral responsibility. Tests come in waves in this life, and you may see Muslims struggle and sometimes even despair, and perhaps struggle with the practice of their faith, but this is the nature of humans, and not to be confused with the invalidity or validity of their faith.

Contrast this to person who is told that they are not bound by any binding law, no obligations, restrictions etc., and they are told that another person has suffered for their sins so they don’t have to. With such premises for belief and salvation, it is to be expected that this person would feel generally happier in life because they have freedom to do as they please, and worship God how and when they please. Though despite this, it would be a sweeping statement to say all Christians find peace in their “savior,” for the ills and struggles within Christian communities, including within the church, are no different to anyone else.

The strong believer realizes that difficult and dark times are part of the believer’s portion on this earth and part of an essential alchemical process of the soul, for these times are the smelting furnace from which a believer rises above the dregs of his mortal self to a being of pure eternality.

Thus, true peace and contentment is not seeing everything around you as successful and harmonious, but rather true peace is the contented state of one’s heart with God and His Decree, despite the chaos and darkness of life.

This would be agreed upon by people of almost all faiths, not just some Christians. Muslims who possess these states have been, and still are, are found in multitudes across the world. Their source of reliance and locus of peace and hope is Allah Most High and his Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him. May Allah make us among them.

Q2: How can we understand the many near death experiences where people claim to have seen Jesus, hell, paradise etc and then woken up and become practicing Christians because what they saw convinced them to accept Jesus as their savior and to live a different life?

Please refer to this previous answer that discusses this matter: Why We Shouldn’t Take Christian Miracles at Face Value.

Further Points to Consider

Jesus was a prophet of God, so is characterized by perfect attributes like all other prophets. Each prophet, just like every other person, has his own personality. We have five specific prophets known as the ‘Ul al-‘azm’, Those of high and firm resolve; Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all.

Noah and Moses are described as being more direct and hardy personalities, while Abraham and Jesus more gentle and compassionate in nature, each being perfect for the fulfillment of their mission. Sayyidna Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, is the apex and perfect balance between all the Prophets.

This is why he, peace and blessings be upon him, said to his two companions, may Allah be pleased with them both, “God has rendered the hearts of some men soft for him, until they are softer than milk. He has made the hearts of others hard, until they become harder than stone. Your likeness, Abu Bakr, is to Ibrahim, peace be upon him, who said, ‘Whoever follows me is of me, as for whoever disobeys, you are most forgiving, merciful’. Your likeness, Abu Bakr, is to ‘Isa, who said, ‘If you punish them, they are your servants; if you forgive them, you are most powerful, wise’. Your likeness, ‘Umar, is to Nuh, who said, ‘Lord, do not leave on the earth an abode of the disbelievers’. Your likeness, ‘Umar, is to Musa, who said, ‘Harden their hearts, such that they do not believe until they see a painful punishment” (Ahmad)

In regards the merciful personality of Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him), the following must be remembered:

a. Jesus was sent as a reviver and reformer, not as an abrogator with a new message or religion. Part of his reformation was to do away with the legal and ritual encumbrances, excesses, and additions that had crept into the Judaic tradition, as well as to admonish the corruption and transgression of the Judaic ministry. Thus, his mission was to restore balance to Judaism, which necessitated that he shows his people a path of compassion, mercy, and emphasis the spirit of the law to equilibrate the liturgical and ritual aspects of the faith.

It is this spiritual and peaceful aspect of the mission of Christ which many exclusively focus upon. However, Jesus also harshly rebuked the Pharisees and those who perverted the law, while at the same time, affirming the importance of adhering to sacred law and legal and moral responsibility.

b. Jesus actually preached on earth for a very limited space of time; one to three years. His followers were very few, and unlike other Prophets, his time on earth did not see him become established as a leader of a whole nation or of a state, which necessarily requires setting up state funds, legal institutions, welfare system, markets for commerce, a military, relations with other faith groups within one’s land, international relations with foreign countries and opposing empires, alongside the spiritual education. Jesus’ short time on earth is why there still remains a certain level of enigma for Christians around the facts of his personality, life, and the full import of his teachings.

Compare this to the life of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, whose life encompassed all of the above, as well as his personal relationships. His entire private and public life was scrupulously recorded and checked and confirmed in painstaking details.

c. Jesus was sent only to the Israelites and no other people, while Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them both, was sent to all of mankind.

d. While historians and scholars agree that Jesus existed historically, there is disagreement on the historical reliability of the Gospels and how closely the character of Jesus Christ portrayed in the Bible reflects the historical Jesus. There is no such disagreement in the studies on the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.

e. The Bible as we find it today is not the original revelation sent to man, but written over periods of time after Jesus by different people. Extensive critique has been done on the accuracy and reliability of the Gospels which cast much doubt on its content, which of course had a profound effect on how subsequent Christians understand the person of Jesus. Figures are often setup to fulfill a need of those who create them.

f. Bearing in mind that the Gospel’s authenticity is uncertain, we find many sayings of Jesus in it which seem to go against the typical image of Jesus put forward, such as, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36) Bible exegesis explains this paragraph as referring to eschatological events, but this interpretation is also open to critique, just as any other religious text is.

g. To base the legitimacy of one’s faith based on the personality of a person, without understanding the theological, legal, rational, and even historical aspects of a religion is not only naive, but extremely dangerous and subject to manipulation and exploitation. Yes, faith is in the heart, but authentic textual basis and the rational intellect, even at a basic level, play a crucial role in the validity of that conviction. Islam satisfies and appeals in all the areas of faith we have described.

h. The doctrine of the Trinity, the general concept of God incarnating in a created being, and the doctrine of the original sin, are all highly problematic from a theological and rational point of view, and contrary to textual evidence.

i. Believing that the man Jesus is the son of God, or one aspect of God, necessities for him everything that is connected to God. The Bible, even as it is today, is replete with references not only to the immense love and mercy of God, but also the terrifying wrath and vengeance of God. It also speaks of the bliss of paradise and the damnation of hell.

This would mean that divine reward and divine punishment, whether on earth or in the hereafter, is the will and action of God alone, His son alone, or both. Therefore, if Jesus is believed to be God, or the son of God, or both God and son, then one must logically accept that this person or duo is characterized by the attributes of not only peace and mercy, but also of a terrible wrath and retribution. According to this understanding then, it is wrong to only view the person of Christ as purely characterized by the attribute of love and mercy, as this would entail denying the other necessary attributes that must be connected to an absolute deity.

Lastly, I advise you to study Islamic creed and the sirah with a qualified traditional scholar. In person is best, but if not possible, consider taking one of our Islamic belief courses here on SeekersGuidance.

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

How Can Allah Just Exist?

Ustadh Salman Younas is asked how it can be that Allah exists necessarily without beginning or end.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I agree that we came into existence and that Allah is the necessary existent to fulfill it. But how can Allah just exist?

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

God being the “necessary existent” means that God has always existed without beginning and without end.

In Islamic theology, all contingent and created things require a cause that took them from a state of non-existence into a state of existence. Ultimately, this first cause must transcend contingency and be “necessary” in its existence. Otherwise it does not sufficiently explain the reason for why things exist. If the first cause, or God, came into existence itself, it would not be the first cause, or God, because the question would arise: what created it? Unless we affirm a necessary existent that has no beginning, we will be stuck in an infinite regress, which theologians view as an impossibility.

For more on this, I would recommend enrolling in the introductory aqida course taught by Shaykh Hamza Karamali: Introduction to Islamic Theology: Sanusi’s Umm al-Baraheen Explained: Why Islam is True.

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Waswasa, Apostasy and Pure Faith

Ustadh Tabraze Azam explains that baseless misgivings about one’s Islam are part of pure faith and such thoughts do not put one outside of the fold.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have bad thoughts keep coming over to me this last few days. It was really hard and I tried my best every time to not entertain these bad thoughts. I have bad thoughts about like “get out from Islam,” or something like “Apostate, I’m an apostate” and such.

For the last few days, I didn’t entertain this thought but today, when I was studying, thoughts like “Get out from Islam, you’re not a Muslim” come to my mind. I made a mistake, I deliberately utter this word “Get out from Islam” and then part of myself said “Who?” I’m not sure if I said, “I want to get out from Islam” or “Get out from Islam.” It’s like the word “I” is only in my mind and heart but utter the words “Get out from Islam.”

I have no intention to get out from Islam. Although I’m not a good Muslim I still want to die in Islam and I still want to be a Muslim. What should I do? Does doing this makes me a disbeliever? Should I just ignore these thoughts ? I have retaken my shahadah.

Please help.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

You are still a Muslim, by the Grace of Allah.

Faith is something deeply rooted in the heart. It isn’t something that leaves by mistake because its entailment is clearly belying Allah and His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, and that takes conviction. This is why Imam Tahawi stated in his Creed that a person leaves the faith only by rejecting “that which brought him into it.”

What you are experiencing is some form of unhealthy misgivings (waswasa). This is something that even the Companions (sahaba) dealt with, and the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, remarked to them that they were from “pure faith.” (Muslim) That is to say, deeming them to be odious and abominable statements is a mark of true faith.

Busy yourself with righteous actions and company, recite regular remembrances (adhkar), send many blessings upon the Blessed Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and continue supplicating to Allah Most High to relieve you from this difficult situation. If you continue to struggle with these matters, I suggest that you get in touch with a mental health professional, ideally somebody from a Muslim background so they can assist you more ably.

Please also see A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings).

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

 

Are Diseases Contagious?

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked how one reconciles hadith and science on contagion.

I have a teacher who is an alim from the Deobandi school of thought. My understanding of disease was that Allah created germs and that many germs are the reason for the spread of disease as they can be passed on when in proximity of a sick person, by the will of Allah.

But my teacher said that this is incorrect and that the hadith “There is no contagion [of disease]” means that illness or sickness is only inherently from Allah, and that germs or genetics have zero part in it. Likewise he was of the opinion that it is not Islamic to take baseless precautions against disease, as the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, ate with a leper out of the same bowl, and that no explicit Islamic commandment exists to warn the believers of something harmful about diseases being passed on. (The ahadith about dipping the fly, visiting the sick, and eating fallen food off the floor – which I believe and follow, but don’t see it in-conflict with my current understanding of Allah controlling who gets sick or not – lending strength to his argument).

The only exception he said would be against leprosy, citing the hadith “flee from the leper,” but even that according to him, quoting Ibn Hajar, was so that someone with weak faith would not lose faith if he were to get infected.

He has not studied biology so I’m not able to explain how genes are inherited. Hence I cannot adequately frame my question with regards to diseases being passed down through genes, but he applies the hadith “there is no contagion [of disease]” to these as well and says the doctor saying “because it runs in your family” is something they have to say, and not necessarily the truth of the matter).

I believe that the Qur’an and Sunna cannot be in conflict with science, so I hope you will be able to explain this to me fully. Is there another school of thought on the matter? How do we explain this hadith in light of the scientific evidence of inherited diseases and infectious diseases?

Jazak Allah khayr.

The sunna of Allah in the world is that matters are normatively correlated to their respective causes. Accordingly, the basis would be that accepting the causation of contagious illnesses or genetic disorders is not at all in conflict with our tenets of faith (‘aqida).

Realities: Tawhid and Moral Responsibility

The believer is always looking at the world with two eyes: the eye of divine oneness (tawhid), and the eye of moral responsibility (taklif). The result of the former is the recognition that Allah alone is the sole doer, and none besides; at every moment, He is the only Creator and Sustainer. As for the latter eye, it is the appreciation of the “causal” relationships between things of this world, and responding to them in an appropriate manner.

The tradition (hadith) in question is reported on the authority of our Master Abu Huraira (may Allah be well-pleased with him) in which he said the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “There is no contagion [of disease]. There is no bad omen. There is no reincarnation as a bird. There is no worm in the stomach.” (Bukhari

Imam Turibishti explained the interpretation of this tradition by speaking about the hadith corpus as an organic whole. He noted that the Lawgiver does not intend to negate realities understood medicinally, in this case, but to negate the independent nature of such realities. What this does is that it allows us to affirm the divine creative act for every single thing. Hence, it is true to say that germs and other microscopic organisms don’t intrinsically, nor necessarily, make another person sick.

Taking the Means 

Yet, at the same time, other traditions explain to us how to take the means to avoid difficulties from matters which have a correlation and relationship to harm. For instance, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) instructed to avoid the leper, and when a leper sought to pledge allegiance to him physically, he had him return his hand to himself.

Having said that, there were other scholars who held fast to what is explicitly stated in this and other traditions. Given what we now know about the nature of the world, germs and the like, it would seem that a such a position is, practically, somewhat untenable to hold.

The upshot, then, is to appreciate the reality of Allah’s creating, the total dependence of creation upon their Creator, and the fact that there is a sunna in the cosmos whereby one thing leads to the other, by Allah’s creating the former, the latter and the relationship between them. (Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh al-Mishkat al-Masabih)

Please also see Concepts of Health and Disease within an Islamic Framework, by Shaykh Jamir Meah and Does Modern Science Confirm the Hadith that Says There is an Antidote in the Wing of a Fly?

And Allah Most High knows best

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Apostasy and Good Deeds

Ustadh Salman Younas unpacks the question of the deeds of an apostate who returns to Islam.

My question is on the deeds of the apostate. I know that apostasy invalidates good deeds but I want to know the opinion of the majority of scholars and maddhabs; whether they are returned to him when he repents and reverts back to Islam?

Also, when he or she does return back, is it necessary to repeat Hajj because I find it against the mercy of Allah Most High to wipe out all good deeds and keep his sins even if the apostate repents because apostasy is very easy to fall into so how can one word of kufr destroy all hard work even if one repents?

The first thing to point out is that apostasy is absolutely not a very easy state to enter into. While some people and texts may give such an erroneous and dangerous impression, scholars are quite clear that the conditions for deeming a person out of the fold are extremely stringent. When it comes to supposed acts or statements of kufr by a person, any excuse or interpretation that keeps him or her inside the fold of Islam is favored over those that do not.

As for the deeds of the apostate – someone who is shown to have decisively left the faith – there are two main positions on the issue:

  1. The deeds of the apostate who returns to Islam are not invalidated. Thus, he or she would not be required to repeat Hajj if they had already performed it before their apostasy and while Muslim.
  2. The deeds of the apostate who returns to Islam are invalidated. Thus, he or she would be required to repeat the Hajj even if they had already performed it before their apostasy while Muslim.

There is also a difference on the reward for previous acts. Some scholars stated that the rewards for the actions an apostate performed while Muslim are also nullified (and this was stated even by those who opined that such a person does not have to repeat acts the apostate did while Muslim, such as Hajj), while others stated that if he returns to Islam, he or she may continue to possess these rewards in some form. (al-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim; Ibn al-Arabi, Ahkam al-Qur’an; Ibn Abidin, Hashiya; al-Shafi‘i, Kitab al-Umm)

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Uncreated Beings Besides Allah?

Ustadh Farid Dingle is questioned about the possibility of their being other creators besides Allah.

Are there other uncreated beings alongside Allah? Seeing as how the definition of god is the one who created the universe and creation, is it possible for there to be uncreated beings that Allah did not create? A being that created their own universe and creation. That is not regarded as god by us but regarded as god by their own creation that they have created.

I am asking this question because I have a thought going through my head that before the existence of any creation Allah had a quarrel with other uncreated things over who is more powerful. And that is why Allah has created the mankind and jinn to worship him; to prove to the other uncreated things that He is the most powerful.

I also go through thoughts that other uncreated beings alongside Allah do exist, but they all live in peace and that they all have created their own things and only the things they created regard them to be gods but not the things that the other uncreated things have created.

I know this sounds like it is against the teachings of Islam and I have tried to find anything that goes against this but I can neither find any convincing evidence against this claim or for it. The Qur’an mentions the impossibility of multiple gods in Sura al-Anbiya 21:22. But that only had to do with multiple gods creating the same thing.

My question is to do with multiple uncreated beings that create their own creation who are not regarded as god by the creation of other uncreated beings, but regarded as god by their own creation.

Please I would like for you to clear this up for me and give me an answer as soon as possible, because I am extremely confused and I need to desperately know what is the answer against this claim.

I also have other thoughts that Allah has sexual organs. I go through this thought because Allah mentions he has hands and a shin. I need to know what is the response to all of the above queries I have.

Dear questioner, I would strongly advise you to listen to this series of podcasts: Why Islam Is True.

Regarding your question, it is logically impossible that there be multiple creators because that necessitate a level of dependency in being or actions.

Were there other beings with the power to create and destroy, nothing would stop them from destroying each other, and then they wouldn’t have necessary existence. Similarly, if there were there beings with the power to create and destroy, the execution of such powers would be contingent upon the agreement of other such beings, and this would also be a dependency.

In short, the being that keeps everything in existence and keeps things the specific way everything is exists without any dependency whatsoever, and this dictates that it (He) be one.

As for His not having body parts, this also returns to His freedom of need: parts take up a certain among of space and this would entail that He needs space to exist. Verses that mention His hand or face are metaphorical. For more detail, please see Literalism and the Attributes of Allah.

Theologically, whenever anyone returns the whole of existence to one being, that being must be completely self-explainable: that it is and what is does cannot return to some other external determiner.

This is why the Big Bang cannot be the reason for the universe, Brahma, Jesus or, anything else apart from Allah as He is in the Qur’an.

Allah summarizes this beautifully in Sura al-Ikhlas 112: 1-4.

Say: It is the Allah is One, the One to Whom all else returns;
Never has He had children, nor was He ever born;
And there was [and never will be] anything equal to Him.

Again, listen to the podcasts and this will be more than clear, insha Allah.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Will Hell Be Emptied?

Ustadh Farid Dingle answers a question on a hadith about Hell being emptied.

would like to know if the Hadith in Kanz al-Ummal vol. 14, number 39505 is authentic? It says that there will be one day when hell will be empty. Shukran for your answer!

Wassalam

Hell-Fire will last forever. This is an agreed upon tenet of faith.

The hadith #39505 in Kanz al-Ummal is:

There will come a day that Jahannam will be dried crops, reddened completely empty.

The source given is Tabarani. It seems like it could be a misprint, and the it is “and another [day] in which it is completely empty.” A similar hadith is found in Khatib’s Tarikh.

The editor of Juz fihi ma intaqa Ibn Mardawayhi min hadith al-Tabarani, Badr ibn Abdullah al-Badr, states that this hadith has been deemed weak by al-Haythami, and deemed fabricated by al-Dhahabi, Ibn al-Jawzi and al-Suyuti.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Memorizing the Qur’an and Intercession

Ustadh Farid Dingle is asked about a particular reward for memorizing the Qur’an.

Could you please clarify the scholarly position as to whether or not the person who memorizes the Quran might be able to intercede for ten family members.

Barak Allah fik.

Dear questioner,

Intercession on Judgment Day

Intercession is a general grace that Allah will grant for the righteous of His slaves. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, none will plead Allah for any right more than the believers will do on the Day of Rising in their plea for their brethren who are in the Hell-Fire. They will say, “Our Lord, they used to fast with us, and pray and perform Hajj.” It will be said to them, “Take out [from the Hell-Fire] whomever you used to know.” So their forms will be protected from the Hell-Fire, and they will bring out a great number of people. Then Allah Mighty and Majestic will say, “The angels have interceded, the prophets have interceded, and the believers have interceded, and none remains save the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy.” He will grab a piece of the Hell-Fire and take out from it a people who never did any good whatsoever. (Muslim)

So we can learn from this hadith and many others that righteous believers will be granted intercession for believers they knew, such as their family, in this life.

This applies directly to someone who learns and applies the Qur’an.

Interceding for ten people

As for the specific mention of intercession for ten people of one’s household, such a hadith does exist, but it is weak: Imam al-Tirmidhi and others narrate form the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace:

Whoever recites the Qur’an and memorizes it by heart, and deems licit what it make licit, and forbidden what it makes forbidden, Allah will enter him into Paradise and allow him to intercede for ten of his family members who had been condemned to Hell.

Tirmidhi notes that this hadith has not reached us through a sound chain of transmission.

Upshot

Regardless of the weak hadith, we hope and pray that we all memorize and learn as much of the Qur’an as we can, and apply it in our lives, and intercede for ten, twenty, a hundred Muslims of our families and ancestors who would otherwise be in the Hell-Fire for a long time.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.