Error, Innovation and True Belief

Praise be to Allah, that He puts down innovation and innovators, and raises high the Sunnah of the Last Messenger, our Master and Protector Muhammad (sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam) and its people. Praise be to Allah that in every century he brings forth the sincere lovers of the Prophet (s) to defend the traditions of the Prophet (s) from the distortion of the ignorant–those who call the majority of Muslims throughout the Islamic world associationists (mushrikeen) and unbelievers (kuffar).

Salutations and Greetings of peace upon the Prophet (s), his Companions (r), and his Pure Family (Radhi Allahu Anhum wa Rahmatullahi alayhim), who are the owners and protectors of the Sunnah. In this century and before, there has appeared a group of people who are opposed to Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’at, and Shari’ah in general. Their opposition is mainly to the established religious schools of law (madhahib). They contradict the beliefs and practices of Muslims, while they mislead a minority of Muslims with incorrect beliefs. Further, these people have given a religious judgement (fatwa) that it is permissible for them to harm, even slay, anyone who does not accept their beliefs.

The intention this article was written is to clarify some of the beliefs to which the majority of Muslims adhere. It is intended to refute some of the maliciously incorrect teachings which are being presented as Islam by a small but vocal group in mosques and centers throughout the Western Hemisphere. One of the main claims of this group is that Muslims whose beliefs differ from theirs are innovators (ahl al-Bida’ah), Kuffar, and even Mushrikeen.

We will demonstrate, through the relevant texts from Holy Qur’an and Hadith, that such a claim is not only invalid but is even Haraam from one Muslim to another. Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (Radhi Allahu Anhu) conveyed that the Prophet (s) said, “Cursing a Muslim is corruption and fighting a Muslim is unbelief.” 1Another hadith states that Thabit ibn al-Dahak said that the Prophet (s) said, “Whoever says that a believer is an unbeliever, it is the same as if he had killed him.” 2 Abu Huraira and Abdullah Ibn `Umar (r) related that the Prophet (s) said, “If any man says to his brother `O unbeliever’ it is the same as if he had killed him.” 3 Abdullah Ibn `Umar related that the Prophet (s) said, “Don’t say that people who proclaim `La ilaha ill-Allah’ are unbelievers, even if they commit a sin, because the one who calls those who worship no God except Allah unbelievers, is himself an unbeliever.” 4

There are many many hadiths regarding this particular subject. We humbly ask our Lord to maintain us as true Muslims and prevent us from falling into the error of invoking kufr for believing people. It is unacceptable for Muslims to call each other unbelievers for any reason, because it is against the Shari’ah (whose sources comprise the Holy Qur’an, Hadith, Ijma’, and Qiyas) and it is a judgement which belongs to Allah Ta’ala alone.

HADITH: Hazrat Anas bin Malik relates that the Holy Prophet (s) said:

Three (3) things form the foundation of al-Islam:(1) Whosoever says ‘La ilaha Illallah, Muhammadar-Rasulullah,’ do not take him out of Islam because he committed a sin. …. [Sahih of Abu Dawud]

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