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Bashing Other Religions

Shaykh Farid Dingle is asked about the permissibility of “bashing” other religions in discussion and the best way to call to Islam.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

The other day in school I was having a conversation in school with a Hindu girl about religion. During this conversation, a Muslim boy in my class came up to us and joined the conversation.

He told the girl that her religion is wrong and that she is a kafir. My question is, is it wrong in Islam to bash a non-believer and call them a kafir?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Allah Most High has taught us in the Qur’an how to deal with non-Muslims and their beliefs; He has said, “And do not insult those that invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge.” (Sura al An‘am 6: 108)

The only time to “slam” or “bash” false actions or beliefs, with Muslims and non-Muslims alike, is when the case against their beliefs (or actions) is very clear, and when we can see that such ostensible “harshness” would be the best way to convince them of their erroneous ways.

This is how we see the Prophet Ibrahim, upon whom be peace, deal with false beliefs of his time: he orchestrates a very clear proof against the idol worshipers such that they confess to themselves of their own folly, and then he rebukes them:

They said, ‘Have you come to us with truth, or are you of those who jest?’
He said, ‘[No], rather, your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth who created them, and I, to that, am of those who testify.
And [I swear] by Allah, I will surely plan against your idols after you have turned and gone away.’
So he made them into fragments, except a large one among them, that they might return to it [and question].
They said, ‘Who has done this to our gods? Indeed, he is of the wrongdoers.’
They said, ‘We heard a young man mention them who is called Ibrahim.’
They said, ‘Then bring him before the eyes of the people that they may testify.’
They said, ‘Have you done this to our gods, O Ibrahim?’
He said, ‘Rather, this – the largest of them – did it, so ask them, if they should [be able to] speak.’
So they returned to [blaming] themselves and said [to each other], ‘Indeed, you are the wrongdoers.’
Then they reversed themselves, [saying], ‘You already know that these do not speak!’
He said, ‘Then do you worship instead of Allah that which does not benefit you at all or harm you?
Fie on you and to what you worship instead of Allah! Then will you not use reason?’ (Sura al Anbiya 21:55-67)

So it is clear from this Qur’anic example that there is a place for “bashing’ other religions, since they are indeed false, but only when we have discussed and explained everything, and only when it is clear to both sides that the other person is in denial, or following mere caprice. And even when this is the case, we have be observe proper decorum and manners, and not attack anyone or try to pontificate: our desire should be that the truth be manifest, even if it against us, and that the other person should attain to salvation by following.

It’s well worth noting that people often need time to ”breathe.” They need to be given the chance to digest the facts and the emotional and spiritual consequences of what has just been explained to them. Repeating facts again and again, or forcing them to verbally acknowledge that they are wrong is not necessarily the best way of doing this.

We also need to make sure that we lead by example. For more detail, please see How to Bring Someone to Islam.

On a personal note, I did a lot of calling others to Islam (dawa) at school myself. It is my conviction that the best way to convince people, fellow students and teachers alike, is by being a nice person and by showing how happy you are as a slave of Allah on the true religion. Debate is often only needed with adults, and, even then, only in very specific settings.

It is also very important that we all learn more about our religion, because we might find ourselves trying to invite people to Islam while saying things about Islam that just aren’t true. (I sometimes fell into that mistake when inviting people to Islam in my days at school!)

May Allah give you success.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Was Prophet Muhammad Light or Human? Is It Obligatory for Me to Know About Every Religious Matter?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Was Prophet Muhammad light or human? Can du’a change Qadar (Destiny)? People around keep debating these issues and I don’t know what to say. Is it obligatory for me to know about every religious matter?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

Most debates on these matters relate to peripheral aspects of prophetology and theology. An individual is not required to understand or know the details of these debates. Rather, in the context of the issues you raise, all that one needs to affirm is:

(a) The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was a human as affirmed in the Qur’an, “I am but man” (18:110) but unlike any other human since he was someone “who is divinely inspired” as the verse continues to affirm. As Shaykh Nuh Keller states:

The important qualificatory phrase in this verse shows us that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was a completely different sort of human being from anyone else, then or now. For none of us can say he is divinely inspired as the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was. [Keller, Haqiqat al-Muhammadiyya]

At the same time, we also affirm generally that the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was a “light from God” (5:15). However, apart from generally affirming this, it is not obligatory for an individual to know the details surrounding the matter in terms of the modality of this light, its relation to the prophetic humanness, and so forth.

(b) Qadar is affirmed due to the myriad number of texts that have come regarding it. The most famous is the hadith of Gibril where the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) defines faith as, “believing in God, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day, and that you believe in pre-destination.” [Bukhari, Sahih] As for the particular nature and details of this qadar and how it relates to questions of freewill and accountability, this is not necessary to know.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.