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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS IN ISSUES OF AL-IMAAN AND AL-KUFR

Question One: "How does al-Kufr al-Akbar (Major Disbelief) or ar-Riddah (Apostasy)
occur? Is it specific to al-Itiqaad (Belief) and al-Juhood (denial) and at-Takdheeb (refusal to
accept) or is it more general than that?"
Answer: "In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All praise if for Allah, Lord of
all the worlds, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad
and upon his family and companions.
Indeed the issues of al-Aqeedah (Islamic Creed) are very important. It is obligatory to learn
al-Aqeedah (Islamic Creed) in all of its various subjects and issues, and to acquire it from
the people of knowledge. It is not enough to just present questions and then spread them. The
questions have increased and they have been answered, yet the ignorance (of the issues
related to creed) ends up being greater. Therefore it is obligatory on the one who wants to
benefit himself and his Muslim brothers to learn the Aqeedah from its beginning to its end,
and to learn its subjects and issues, acquiring it from the people of knowledge and the basic
books (on creed), the books of the rightly guided predecessors.
In doing so ignorance will be removed and there will be no need for anymore excessive
questions. One will also be able to explain (these issues) to the people and teach the ignorant.
That is because he will become an expert in al-Aqeedah (Islamic Creed).
Likewise knowledge of al-Aqeedah (Islamic Creed) is not taken from books alone, or from
reading and researching, since its issues are not elementarily taken from just books and
research, rather it is by narration from the people of knowledge and insight, those who
understand it and give rulings based on its problematic issues. This is a necessary advice.
As for what occurs now in gatherings where large amounts of questions about al-Aqeedah
and its important issues are presented by the people who have not studied it before or from
those who speak about al-Aqeedah (Islamic Creed) and its issues out of ignorance or relying
on their reading of books or their research. This makes the issue more obscure and causes
more problems along with other issues. This will discourage efforts of learning, and
differences will occur because we relied on our (personal) understanding without taking
knowledge from its sources. We rely on our reading and (personal) understanding. Indeed the
understandings and the perceptions will differ.
Subsequently, differences will spread concerning these important issues. Our religion brought
unity, harmony, non-division, and mutual love for the people of faith and animosity for the
people of disbelief. This is not complete except by acquisition of the religious issues from
their sources and from the scholars and those who conveyed it from the scholars of the past.
They studied it by the chain (of narrators) and conveyed it to whoever was after them. This is
the correct path in learning knowledge of al-Aqeedah (Islamic Creed) and other subjects. Al-
Aqeedah is the most important since it is the foundation and since differing about it is an
area of misguidance and division amongst the Muslims.

Al-Kufr (Disbelief) and ar-Riddah (Apostasy) occur when a nullifier from the nullifiers of
Islam is committed according to the people of knowledge. Whoever commits a nullifier from
the known nullifiers of Islam then by this act of nullification he becomes an apostate and
becomes a disbeliever. We pass judgment based on ones statements and by ones actions.
We pass judgment on him based on this because we can only do so by what is apparent. As
for the issues of the heart then no one knows them but Allah, the Glorified, the Most High.
Whoever pronounces disbelief or an act of disbelief we pass judgment based on his statement,
his words, and his actions when his action or his statement are from the affairs of apostasy."
Question Two: "There is one who says that al-Imaan (faith) is statement, creed, and action,
but that action is a condition for the completeness of faith. And he also says, There is no
disbelief except for belief. Is this or is this not a statement from the statements of the people
of the Sunnah?"
Answer: "The person who makes this kind of statement has not understood al-Imaan or al-
Aqeedah. This is what we spoke of in response to the first question: it is obligatory for this
person to study al-Aqeedah under the people of knowledge and to acquire it from its correct
sources. Then he will understand the answer to this question.
As for his statement that al-Imaan is Qawl (statement), Amal (action), and Itiqaad (creed)
and then says that al-Amal (action) is a condition of the completeness of al-Imaan and in its
correctness then this is contradictory!! How can action be a part of al-Imaan and then he turns
around and says that an action is a condition? It is understood that the condition (prerequisite)
is out of what is stipulated. This contains deficiency. This person wants to combine the
statements of the Salaf with the statements of the later people. He does not understand the
contradiction because he does not know the statements of the Salaf nor does he know the
reality of the statements of the later people. He desires to mix the two. Therefore al-Imaan is
Qawl, Amal, and Itiqaad. Action is from al-Imaan and is al-Imaan. It is not a condition
(prerequisite) based on the conditions of what correctly embodies al-Imaan or a condition of
completeness or any other statements that are spread today. Al-Imaan is statement of the
tongue, belief of the heart, and action of the body parts. It increases with obedience and
decreases by sins that are committed."
Question Three: "Are actions a pillar of al-Imaan or just a part of it, or are they conditions of
its completeness?
Answer: "This is related to the previous question. The person asking this question does not
understand the intricate issue of al-Imaan. Based on this he is confused; are actions a pillar of
al-Imaan or just a part of it, or are they based on a condition? That is because he did not
acquire al-Aqeedah from its sources and its principles and its scholars. As we mentioned that
there is no act without Imaan and there is no Imaan without action. Both of them are
intertwined. Actions are from al-Imaan, it is al-Imaan: actions are faith, statements are faith,
and belief is faith. All of it combined is belief in Allah, the Mighty and Majestic and belief in
His Books, Messengers, the Day of Judgment, and belief in Divine Decree, whether it is good
or bad."

Question Four: "How many categories do the Murjiah sect consist of? And mention their
claims concerning the issues of al-Imaan."
Answer: "The sect known as al-Murjiah consists of four categories:
The first group is al-Jahmiyyah, who say that al-Imaan is based only on acknowledgement
even if affirmation is not done. This is the statement of al-Jahmiyyah. This is the most evil
and nastiest statement to come from them. This is Kufr (disbelief) in Allah, the Mighty and
Majestic, because the early polytheists, Pharaoh, Haamaan, Qaaroon, and even Iblees all
acknowledged Allah and acknowledged al-Imaan in their hearts. However, they did not
articulate it with their tongues or act upon it with their body parts. This acknowledgement (of
faith) did not benefit them.
The second group is al-Ashaairah. They say that al-Imaan (faith) is only affirmation of what
is in the heart. This is a statement of al-Ashaairah. This is also a false statement because the
disbelievers affirmed (faith) in their hearts. They acknowledged the Quran as being the truth.
They acknowledged the messenger as being the truth. The Jews and the Christians
acknowledged that:
{Those who whom We gave the book recognize him (the messenger) just as they recognize
their own sons.} [Surah al-Baqarah: 146]
They affirmed his (prophet-hood) in their hearts! The Most High says about the polytheists:
{We know what they say grieves you. They do not deny you rather the oppressors deny the
signs of Allah.} [Surah al-Anaam: 33]
Therefore they did not articulate it with their tongues or act upon it with their body parts
despite the fact that they affirmed it in their hearts. It did not make them believers.
The third group is al-Karraamiyyah, who are opposite to al-Ashaairah, they are al-
Karraamiyyah. They say that al-Imaan (faith) is based on the articulation of the tongue even
if the heart does not believe it. This is a false statement without a doubt. That is because the
hypocrites, who will be in the lowest depths of the hellfire say that they bear witness that
there is nothing worthy of worship and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah with their
tongues but they do not believe it or affirm it within their hearts. As the Most High says:
{When the hypocrites come to you they say, We bear witness that you are the Messenger of
Allah, and Allah knows you are His Messenger. And Allah bears witness that the hypocrites
are liars. They made their oaths a screen so they hindered (men) from the path of Allah.}
[Surah al-Munaafiqoon: 1-2]
And the Glorified and Most High says:
{They say with their mouths that which is not in their hearts.} [Surah Aali Imraan: 167]

The fourth group is is the lightest of the sects concerning the issue of al-Irjaa. They said that
al-Imaan (faith) is belief in the heart, articulation of the tongue, but action does not enter into
it. This is the statement of the Murjiat-ul-Fuqahaa. This is also a false statement."
Question Five: "Is there a difference of opinion between the people of the Sunnah and with
the Murjiat-ul-Fuqahaa concerning the actions of the hearts and body parts? Is the difference
due to wording or in meaning? We hope for clarification from your Eminence."
Answer: "Their differences concern actions. The differences amongst the Murjiat-ul-
Fuqahaa with the majority of the people of the Sunnah is centred around the outward deeds,
such as prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage. They say that it is not from al-Imaan rather it is a
condition (pre-requisite) for al-Imaan. It is either a condition for validity or a condition for
completeness, and this statement is false as we know it.
The difference between them and with the people of the Sunnah is in the meaning not in the
wording. That is because they say that al-Imaan does not increase or decrease by action. It
does not increase when deeds in obedience to Allah are done and it does not decrease when
deeds in disobedience to Allah are done. Instead people are all equal since according to them
affirmation of faith in the heart is done at the same time as statement of the tongue! And this
is a false statement."
Question Six: "What is the ruling of one who totally leaves off doing all the outward acts (of
Islam) but he recites the two testimonies of faith and acknowledges the performance of the
obligatory matters? He doesnt perform any of them. Is he still a Muslim, knowing that he has
no valid Islamic excuse that stops him from establishing these obligatory matters?"
Answer: "This is a not a believer. Whoever believes in his heart and affirms (this belief)
with his tongue but does not carry out any actions with his body parts, he has suspended all of
his good deeds if there was no valid excuse then this person is not a believer because al-
Imaan as we mentioned and as the people of the Sunnah and the scholars have defined that
faith consists of the statement of the tongue, belief in the heart, and actions of the body parts.
Faith does not occur unless these three are combined. Whoever leaves just one of them then
he is not a believer."
Shaykh Saalih bin Fawzaan Al-Fawzaan
Reference: Taken from Asilah wa Ajwibah fee Masaail-Imaan wal-Kufr pgs. 2 -7 by Shaykh
Saalih al-Fawzaan. Translated by Aboo Imraan al-Mekseekee