Just Be Muslim, Not A Brand Manager for Islam

We don’t need more brand managers for Islam, says Shaykh Walead Mosaad. Living as good Muslims with sincere concern for others is the best means of calling to Islam, and as Shaykh Walead demonstrates, there are countless everyday scenarios when we can put these words into action.

Resources on How Not To Be A Brand Manager For Islam

Cover photo by Bengin Ahmad.

"Born Muslims Are Stuck! Why Would Anyone Convert to Islam?"

Convert To Islam IZSWhen Imam Zaid Shakir lived in Syria, he met a gentleman and they struck up a conversation. When the man learnt that Imam Zaid had knowingly embraced Islam, he was incredulous, “Why would you do that? I was born Muslim so I’m stuck. Why would you choose this?”
This is an increasingly common phenomenon – not just amongst Muslims but with regards to faith in general. Watch – and share with your friends, this brilliant lecture from Imam Zaid at the Islamic Center of Irvine. As always, he offers a great deal of clarity and guidance.

Ever get caught out on these issues? Thinking of becoming a convert To Islam? Deepen your understanding by taking a short course with SeekersHub.

Resources for seekers

Cover photo by ynrozturk.

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

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.

Is He a Muslim?

Reposted with permission by Dr. Kamran Riaz, with thanks.
A man once came to the learning-circle of Imām Abū Hanīfah (may God have mercy on his soul) and asked the great Imam whether or not his neighbor was a Muslim. He asked the Imam that if his neighbor died, if he had to wash his body, bury him, and pray the janāzah prayer over him.
Imam Abu Hanīfah asked him, “Why do you think that he is not a Muslim?”

The man replied, “My neighbor says the following seven things, and because of this, I do not know whether or not he is still a Muslim. The first thing is that he says he has no imān (faith) in the signs of Allah that he sees. The second is that he says that he does not fear Allah. The third is that he says he does not have any hope for Paradise. The fourth is that he says he does not fear the Hell-Fire. The fifth is that when he prays, we see him praying without any bowing (rukū`) or prostration (sajdah). The sixth is that he says he eats meat that he already finds dead. The seventh, and last statement, is that he says that he doesn’t like truth (haqq) and he loves corruption/chaos (fitnah).”
The Imam smiled and looked around his circle of students and fellow scholars. He asked them, “What do you say after listening to this account? Is this man’s neighbor a Muslim?”
The students all looked around at one another, confident that this matter was quite easy. They looked to the senior most student-scholar of the gathering, Qādī Abū Yūsuf (may God have mercy on his soul), who also had the same look on his face that this matter was quite clear. Abu Yusuf confidently said to the Imam that the opinion of all the scholar-students present was that this man was not a Muslim.
Abu Hanīfah smiled and asked if this was the students’ final decision, and they all replied in the affirmative. The Imam remained quite pensive for a while, then he smiled and said, “Have you not heard the hadith of the Prophet (may God’s peace and blessings be upon him) wherein he said, “Think good of the believers (Zunnu bi’l-mu’minīna khayran)”. He continued and said, “If a man’s faith can be divided into 100 parts, and if 99 of them are corrupted and false, and even one is sound and whole, then we look at that sound part first, disregard the other 99 parts, and consider him as a believer.”
He continued, “However, this case goes beyond simply just that. In fact, after hearing this man’s description of his neighbor, I am quite pleased to listen to his narration and I wish that every believer would have a similar creed (`aqīdah) as this man’s neighbor.”
A hush fell over the students. They thought to themselves, How could the great Imam make such a statement? How could he not only give this man excuses, but then say that every believer should have a similar creed?
Abū Hanīfah continued, “I will now explain to you why I have made such a statement and tell you why that perhaps this man’s creed is a model for all believers.
“As for the first statement, that he says he has no faith in the signs of Allah that he sees. Have you not read the verses in the Qur’an when Prophet Musa (`alayhi al-salām) asks Allah to show him Himself: ‘And when Musa came at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said: My Lord! show me (Thyself), so that I may look upon Thee. He said: You cannot (bear to) see Me but look at the mountain, if it remains firm in its place, then will you see Me; but when his Lord manifested His glory to the mountain He made it crumble and Musa fell down in a swoon; then when he recovered, he said: Glory be to Thee, I turn to Thee, and I am the first of the believers.’ Now Musa did not see this sign of Allah that he asked for, yet he believed. Compare this to Fir`awn, who at the moment of his drowning saw the sign of Allah and said he believed: “…until when drowning overtook him, he said: ‘I believe that there is no god but He in Whom the children of Israel believe and I am of those who submit.’ And then Allah said to him, “What! now! and indeed you disobeyed before and you were of the mischief-makers.” So here, Fir`awn saw the sign of Allah but it was too late for him since he brought faith only after seeing. So perhaps it may be that this man is saying he has no faith in those types of signs of Allah that when upon seeing them, it is too late for him to benefit from such a witnessing.
“As for the second statement, that he says he doesn’t fear God. Now, you know that on the Day of Judgment, Allah will have complete dominion over all things and there is no one who can question Him in His decisions and choices. He has the choice to judge with fairness and equity or to judge without it. Yet, He says that He will judge with truth and balance, “…and they shall be judged with truth and they shall not be wronged.”, and in another place, He says, “…and they shall be judged with equity.” So perhaps it may be that this man is saying that he doesn’t fear that Allah will judge without truth and fairness, and he has full certainty that God will judge with fairness.
“As for the third and fourth statements, wherein he said that he has no hope for Paradise and no fear of the Hell-fire. We know that both of these things are creations of Allah, and they have no power or authority to determine who will enter them and who will not. Only the One who created them has the authority to decree who will enter Paradise and who will enter Hell-fire. Why should anyone fear Hell or put their hope in Paradise. So perhaps it may be that this man is saying that he doesn’t fear Hell or hope for Paradise since he knows that God will decide who goes where.
091223_fatehpur_sikri_jama_masjid_courtyard_muslim_men_praying_travel_photography_MG_7951“As for the fifth thing, which is that you say that when you see him praying, he doesn’t make any bowing or prostration. Know then that the Prophet said that a believer has six rights over another believer: when he meets him, he should greet him; when he is sick, he should visit him; when he invites him, he should accept the invitation; when he sneezes, he should pray for mercy on him; whether he is present or absent, he should think only good of him; and when he dies, he should pray the funeral prayer over him. Now, when this man prays, he is only standing and not making any bowings or prostrations. So perhaps it may be that this man is taking part in a Janazah prayer that is going on anywhere in the Muslim lands when you see him like this. We know that one does not have to be present in front of the dead body to pray the Janazah prayer, as the Prophet prayed the funeral prayer of the Negus (who was in Abyssinia) while he was in Madinah. So perhaps he is always praying the Janazah prayer for any Muslim that has passed away and therefore fulfilling his obligations.
“As for the sixth thing, which is that he says that he eats meat that is already dead (al-maytah). Know that the Prophet said in a hadith, “Made lawful for us are two bloods and two dead meats (Uhillat lana al-damān wa’l-maytatān) [i.e., the two bloods are the liver and spleen of a lawful animal and the two dead things are fish and locusts… a person may freely eat these if he chooses]”. So perhaps it may be that he is referring to dead fish or dead locusts that he finds and he eats of them. So therefore, perhaps this statement is correct.
“As for the seventh and final thing, wherein he said that he loves fitnah and hates the haqq. How is he any different from any of you in this statement. When he said that he hates the haqq, don’t you recall that the Qur’an says, “and the stupor of death will come in truth.” There is not a man amongst us who loves the stupor of death and does not hate it. No man in his right mind would love the stupor of death, so perhaps it may be that he when he says he hates the truth, that he is referring to this. Now, the Qur’an also says, “Indeed your wealth and your children are a fitnah.” There is not a man amongst us who does not love his wealth and his children. What makes him any different than us? So perhaps it may be that when he says he loves fitnah, that he is in fact referring to this.
“You did not meet this man’s neighbor or ever speak to him, yet you all unanimously agreed that he was not a Muslim. You did not think good of him after you heard these seven things. And now that you have heard my responses, perhaps this is why his creed is indeed sound, and why every Muslim should have a similar creed.”
Those who were present were astonished and amazed by the Imam’s insight, intelligence, leniency, and wisdom.
A hush fell over the students and scholars as they became silent out of respect.
Imam Abu Hanifah had spoken.
What else was left for them to say?

Want to hear more from Dr. Riaz? Watch some of his talks from the Bukhari Institute on Youtube.
Follow Dr. Riaz on twitter
Read his biography here

The Dimensions of the Religion – Excerpt from the Forthcoming Book “Being Muslim” by Asad Tarsin

Being Muslim – “Welcome to the Reading Room”

This following excerpt is from the forthcoming book “Being Muslim”. It is suitable for those who are simply curious about Islam, newly practicing, or lifelong Muslims who would like a refresher. It assumes no background knowledge in Islam and systematically covers some of the most essentials aspects needed to begin studying the faith.


(Note: all material is copyrighted and may not be reproduced or printed without written permission by the author)

© Asad Tarsin 2010 Work In Progress – Do Not Copy or Distribute Without Permission

The Dimensions of the Religion

To better understand the final message from God to humanity, we will examine a concise yet comprehensive summary of the religion given by Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace). This took place as one of the most famous and significant historical events in Islam, one day while some of the closest Companions2(sahābah) were sitting with the messenger of God. The story is narrated by ‘Umar (may God be pleased with him), who tells us the following:

One day while we were sitting with the messenger of God there appeared before us a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black; no signs of journeying were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down by the Prophet. Resting his knees against his and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs, he said, “O Muhammad, tell me about islām3”.

The messenger of God said: “Islām is to testify that there is nothing worthy of worship except God and that Muhammad is the messenger of God, to perform the prayers, to pay the purifying charity, to fast in Ramadan, and to make the pilgrimage to the Sacred House if you are able to do so.”

He said, “You have spoken rightly.”And we were amazed at him asking him and saying that he had spoken rightly. He then said, “Then tell me about imān.”

He replied, “It is to believe in God, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in divine destiny, both the good and the evil thereof.”

He said, “You have spoken rightly.” He then said, “Then tell me about ihsān.”

The Prophet said, “It is to worship God as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you”.

He said, “Then tell me about the Hour4.”

The Prophet replied, “The one questioned about it knows no better than the questioner.”

He then said, “Then tell me about its signs.”

He replied, “That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress and that you will see the barefooted, naked, destitute herdsman competing in constructing lofty buildings.”

Then [the man] left and I stayed behind for a time. Then [the messenger of God] said, “O ‘Umar, do you know who the questioner was?”

I said, “God and His messenger know best”.

He said, “He was Gabriel (Jibrīl), who came to you to teach you your religion.”

With four questions, the Archangel Gabriel (Jibrīl), upon him be peace, brought forth a summary of the foundational elements of the religion from God’s final prophet to humanity. The religion, we learn, is comprised of three elements: islām,imān, and ihsān. The fourth aspect mentioned, namely the signs of the Hour, provides us with the understanding that there is a downward trend of the human story, and thus the believing community as well. There are many such statements from Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace) which indicate the moral decline of the latter days, and the consequent need for believers to hold more tightly to their principles, values, and beliefs, despite the increased difficulty in doing so.

These three elements are called the dimensions of Islam. The first of the three dimensions discussed was islām, which is presented as a sub-category within the religion itself, Islam. In Arabic, the word linguistically means “to surrender,” or “to submit.” We see from the definition laid out by Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace), that it is the dimension of our religion involving the external actions of our bodies, acts of surrender. To state the Testimony of Faith5, to pray, to fast, to pay, and to make pilgrimage are all acts we perform through the medium of our bodies. These are called the Five Pillars of Islam. We understand from them that actions of external conformity, which include ritual worship and more, are absolutely indispensable to a complete characterization of the religion.

Next, we heard about imān. In Arabic, the word linguistically means “to believe.” Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace) starts his definition by using that phrase exactly: “it is to believe….” What follows is a series of beliefs that a person must affirm in order for their faith to be complete. Unlike the dimension of islām, these are not acts, but convictions of the mind which settle in the heart. We thus learn that the affirmation of realities as they truly exist is also indispensable to the characterization of the religion of Islam.

Lastly, we learn about ihsān. The word in Arabic linguistically means “to make beautiful or good.” We are told that involves the internal constitution of a believer’s heart – his spiritual state. It is the basis of your relationship with God Almighty. Here, Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace) defines the dimension by telling us its very result. So, to attain a particular spiritual constitution, of complete awareness and reverence of God Almighty, is an indispensable component of the religion, the one that gives it purpose.

Each of these components speaks to an aspect of the human experience. The first is devotional acts – of the body; the second is faith– of the mind; and the third is purity – of the soul. And so Islam is a religion that speaks to every element of our humanity. It is essential to understand that these three dimensions must all simultaneously be fulfilled harmoniously in order to have a complete characterization of the religion. To neglect any one of these will lead to imbalance and misplaced emphasis, a sure path to misguided religiosity. For example, to neglect the affirmation of our beliefs would make Islam a kind of cultural tradition void of its main purpose. To neglect the external conformity to God’s commands leads to an abstract religion guided by personal whims with no arena within which to prove faith through application. And lastly, a neglect of the spiritual leads to a version of the religion that, void of reverence and love of God the Sublime, becomes rigid, cold, and legalistic. It is thus only with the complete surrender of our minds, bodies, and spirits to God that the complete vision of Islam can be realized.


2 – A companion (sing. Sahābī, pl. sahābah) is a believing Muslim who met the Prophet during his lifetime. A follower (tabi’ī) is a believer who met a companion of the Prophet. The companions are the best generation of believers overall, while the followers are the second best generation.

3 – For the purposes of the discussion presented, the Arabic terms have been retained and not translated, since their definition is the purpose of the dialogue and follows shortly thereafter.

4 – The Last Day and the Hour are other names for the Day of Judgment.

5 – Scholars explain that stating the Testimony of Faith (Shahadah) is a precondition to the other four pillars.

© Asad Tarsin 2010 Work In Progress
Do Not Copy or Distribute Without Permission