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Disbelief of a Lesser Disbelief: What’s the Deal?

Questioner

Jahoorahmad Z Patankar

Reply Date

Sep 13, 2019

Question

Assalamualaikum warahmatullh wabarakatuhu,

I came across a Hadith of Ibn Abbas KUFR without KUFR (Disbelief of a Lesser Disbelief). Is is authentic? Does it mean that certain Actions of Disbelief (Haraam Actions such as Drinking Wine / eating Pork / or other Bad deeds such as Zina / Unjust Ruler etc) will be condemned, yet when committed by a Believer WOULD NOT entirely Deny them Jannah / or remove them from the Fold of Islam? Further meaning that while in the Act, the disbeliever temporarily is out of fold of Islam, yet will not be denied Jannah?

Consultant

Answer


disbelief

Short Answer: Generally speaking, the ruler who does not rule according to what Allah has revealed is committing a great sin. This sin is less than the sin of disbelieving in Allah. With regard to what denies one Jannah, we have a very clear verse that states that any sin can be forgiven as long as one offers sincere repentance to Allah with the exception of one great sin which Allah will not forgive which is associating  others with Allah.

………….

Salam dear Jahoorahmad,

Thank you for your question.

There is so much controversy about the words reported from Ibn Abbas’s commentary on the Quranic verse which reads:

*{ Indeed, We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light. The prophets who submitted [to Allah ] judged by it for the Jews, as did the rabbis and scholars by that with which they were entrusted of the Scripture of Allah, and they were witnesses thereto. So do not fear the people but fear Me, and do not exchange My verses for a small price. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are the disbelievers.}* (5:44)

Disbelief

There are different narrations regarding the exact words reported from Ibn Abbas.

One narration reads:

“It is not the kufr (disbelief) that you are going towards (in your minds).” (At-Tabari)

In another narration, the words go like this:

“it is not the kufr (disbelief)  that you are going towards (in your minds), it is not the kufr (disbelief)  that expels one from the religion.” (At-Tabari)

One more narration reads:

“It is not like the one who disbelieves in Allah and the last day..” (Ibn Jarir)

Scholars differed also on the authenticity of these words and whether Ibn Abbas said them or not. Some scholars argue that the narrations reported from Ibn Abbas about this verse are weak. This is because one of the narrators is not reliable or some narrators reported from Ibn Abbas without seeing him.

We are not going to discuss the interpretation of this verse and other related verses. These verses have a specific socio-political context and generalization is not fair in this case.

The Unforgivable Sin

Generally speaking, the ruler who does not rule according to what Allah has revealed is committing a great sin. This sin is less than the sin of disbelieving in Allah.

With regard to what denies one Jannah, we have a very clear verse that states that any sin can be forgiven as long as one offers sincere repentance to Allah with the exception of one great sin which Allah will not forgive which is associating others with Allah.

We read in the Quran what means:

*{Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin.}* (4:48)

*{Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly gone far astray.}* (4:116)

*{They have certainly disbelieved who say, ” Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary” while the Messiah has said, “O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Indeed, he who associates others with Allah – Allah has forbidden him Paradise, and his refuge is the Fire. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers.}* (5:72)

Abdullah ibn Masud reported that a man said, “O Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him)! Which sin is the biggest in Allah’s Sight?” The Prophet said, “To set up rivals unto Allah though He Alone created you.” (Al-Bukhari)

Any other sin such as drinking wine, adultery, theft, etc. is left to Allah. If Allah wills, he will forgive the sinner and admit him to Paradise. If Allah does not will, the sinner will be punished in Hell according to the gravity of the sin then he will be admitted to Paradise.

Whoever testifies that there is no God but Allah will not abide forever in Hell.  

The Prophet (peace be upon him) never declared that a thief or an adulterer is a disbeliever.

The Seven Major Sins

The Prophet warned us against seven major sins.

“Avoid the seven destructive things.” It was asked: (by those present): “What are they, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “Associating anyone or anything with Allah in worship; practicing sorcery, killing of someone without a just cause whom Allah has forbidden, devouring the property of an orphan, eating of usury, fleeing from the battlefield and slandering chaste women who never even think of anything touching chastity and are good believers.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Any sin will be forgiven if followed by sincere repentance to Allah the Almighty.

*{And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.}* (49:11)

Avoiding major sins is a means of expiating one’s minor sins.   

*{If you avoid the major sins which you are forbidden, We will remove from you your lesser sins and admit you to a noble entrance [into Paradise].}* (4:31)

Out of Allah’s mercy, sins and major sins do not erase all of the good deeds of the Muslim, and that there is nothing that erases the good deeds of a Muslim altogether except associating others with Allah.

*{And whoever of you reverts from his religion [to disbelief] and dies while he is a disbeliever – for those, their deeds have become worthless in this world and the Hereafter, and those are the companions of the Fire, they will abide therein eternally.}* (2:217)

Sincerity and Repentance

Ibn Taymiyyah said:

“If someone is sincere towards Allah when doing a good deed, He will accept it from him, even if he disobeys Him in other ways. Likewise, if someone is not sincere towards Allah when doing a good deed, He will not accept it from him, even if he obeys Him in other ways.”

Repentance is the key factor for forgiving one’s sins whether major or minor.

Allah says what means:

“Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (39:53)

“And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty. Multiplied for him is the punishment on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein humiliated – Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (25:68-70)

Most Merciful

Abu Said al-Khudri reported Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying:

“There was a person before you who had killed ninety-nine persons and then made an inquiry about the learned persons of the world (who could show him the way to salvation). He was directed to a monk, and came to him and told him that he had killed ninety-nine persons and asked him whether there was any scope for his repentance to be accepted. He said: No. He killed him also and thus completed one hundred. He then asked about the learned persons of the earth and he was directed to a scholar, and he told him that he had killed one hundred persons and asked him whether there was any scope for his repentance to be accepted. He said: Yes; what stands between you and the repentance? You better go to such and such land; there are people devoted to prayer and worship and you also worship along with them and do not come to the land of yours since it was an evil land (for you).

So he went away and he had hardly covered half the distance when death came to him and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment. The angels of mercy said: This man has come as a penitent and remorseful to Allah and the angels of punishment said: He has done no good at all. Then there came another angel in the form of a human being in order to decide between them. He said: You measure the land to which he has drawn near. They measured it and found him nearer to the land where he intended to go (the land of piety), and so the angels of mercy took possession of it. Qatada said that Hasan told him that it was said to them that as death approached him, he crawled upon his chest (and managed) to slip in the land of mercy.” (Al-Bukhari)

No Partner

Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) say, “Allah the Almighty has said: ‘O Son of Adam, as long as you invoke Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O Son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and you then asked forgiveness from Me, I would forgive you. O Son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the Earth, and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it [too].’ ” (At-Tirmidhi)

We hope this answers your question.

And Allah knows best.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Rewards for Sincere Repentance

The Road to Salvation: Repentance is the Key

Why Shirk is So Serious

 

 

 




About Dr. Mohsen Haredy

Dr. Mohsen Haredy: Former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait

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