Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Could you please explain the exact definition of contempt in relation to faith? This is because there are multiple definitions of contempt in various English dictionaries.
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate.
I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.
In the Arabic language, contempt (ihtiqar or tahqir) is to look down on something, deem it small and insignificant, or belittle it. [Ibn Faris, Maqayis al-Lugha; Fayyumi, al-Misbah al-Munir]
Formally, it is to deem another insignificant, or to deem the good they have or do to be insignificant.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim: he doesn’t wrong him, nor cheat him, nor has malice for him. Mindfulness (taqwa) is here,” and he pointed to his chest three times. “It is sufficient evil for a person to have contempt for their Muslim brother. Everything of the Muslim is inviolable to another Muslim: his life, his property, and his honor.” [Muslim]
Related to contempt is malice.
In the Arabic language, malice (hiqd) refers to, “Harbouring enmity in one’s heart, and being ready for the opportunity to express it.” [Ibn Mandhur, Lisan al-Arab]
Formally, malice is defined as: Seeking vengeance. Its reality is that when anger is restrained, it can well up and grow into malice. [Jurjani, Ta‘rifat]
Others define it as, “Ill-will towards others in the heart, arising from enmity.” [Kafawi, al-Kulliyyat]
Contempt, Malice, and Faith
Contempt and malice are qualities that are displeasing to Allah, and are expressive of not being truly content with Allah’s Decree and Destiny (qada’ and qadar), and with how Allah chooses to give to whomever He wills.
Living faith entails seeking the qualities that are pleasing to Allah. “Having a good opinion of the servants of Allah is of the best of qualities with Allah Most High…” [Ibn Ajiba, al-Bahr al-Madid]
Faith entails wishing well for others. Allah Most High describes true believers as saying, “I am sincere in wishing you well, trusted, and true.” [Quran, 7:68]
The Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk) said, “Religion is sincere concern (nasiha).” [Muslim]
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), and 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 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, the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center has named Shaykh Faraz one of the 500 most influential Muslims.