Line of Demarcation between Belief and Disbelief:
Purging disbelief in Muhammad’s followers
Allāh has conferred infinit e blessings on the followers of the Holy Prophet . One of these blessings is t heir impossibility to ret urn to disbelief aft er embracing Islam. It happened in the past that the followers of a particular prophet returned to t heir earlier state of ignorance and disbelief aft er his death. But this shall not happen t o t he followers of the Holy Prophet. The Prophet of Allāhin the last days of his earthly sojourn had himself declared that he had no fears that his followers will relapse into disbelief after his death. As Muslims, we should reflect on his words. The Prophet who was sent t o t his world to quash disbelief and all forms of impermissible innovation, who is our primary source of guidance and who is our ultimat e means of salvation, is saying that he has no doubt s lurking in his mind about our steady and irreversible belief, while we are hurling allegations of disbelief at one another to catertoour false sense of superiority or to pamper our egotism based on prejudice and sheer stubbornness. What could be more unfortunate than this mutualincrimination. It is narrated in a tradition:
‘Uqbah bin ‘Ām ir has narrated:
The Prophet one day went (to Uhud) and offered prayer for the natives (m artyrs) of Uhud as it is (generally) offered for the dead. Then he returned to the pulpit and said: ‘I am your forerunner and I am a witness on you. By Allāh! I am right now seeing the basin of m y fountain (kawt har), and I have been handed over the keys of the treasures of the earth (or the keys of the earth). I swear on Allāh, I have no fears that after me you will return to disbelief but I am apprehensive that you will try to outdo each other in acquiring worldly goods.
- (Bukhārī narrated this tradition in his as-Sahīh with different words at six various places, i.e. b. of janā’iz (funerals) ch.71 (1:451#1279); b. of manāqib (virtues) ch.22 (3:1317#3401); b. of maghāzī (the military expeditions led by the Prophet) ch.14, 25 (4:1486, 1498-9 #3816, 3857); b. of riqāq (softening of hearts) ch.7, 53 (5:2361, 2408#6062, 6218); T abarānī, alMu‘jam-ul-kabīr (17:278-80#767-70); Bayhaqī, asSunan-ul-kubrā (4:14); Baghawī, Sharh-us-sunnah (14:39-41#3822-3); and ‘Alī’ al-Hindī in Kanz-ul‘ummāl (14:416#39122).
This is a st at ement made by t he Prophet himself. He has sworn on Allāh about his followers that they will not revert to disbelief. The Prophet ’s words call for deep reflect ion and serious soul-searching. We brush aside the Prophet’s statement when we accuse oneanot her of disbelief. This tradit ion has been reproduced by Imām
Muslim and Imām Ahmad bin Hambal. Repeated
(Narrated in his as-Sahīh, b. of fadā’il (virtues) ch.9 (4:1795 #30/2296) references to t his tradition by people of such calibre and prestige, and our dogged defiance of its content s are not hing but harrowing unawareness of the real spirit of our faith.
Istighāthah, which has been established as a valid act in Islam by countless Qur’ānic injunctions and authentic and certified traditions and which has been practised by the large majority of Muslims, is now turned into a matter of dispute and controversy, and is now being used as a convenient ploy to not only indulge in incriminating one another in disbelief but also to give vent to our personal frust rat ions. If we care to reflect on his words and statements, we will come to realise that to insist on the illegality of beseeching for help, either as a doctrine or in some of its actual applicat ions, especially when its legality has been conclusively established bot h by the Qur’ān and the sunnah, is not hing but religious perversity. Tens of statement s made by the Holy Prophet are wit ness to t he fact that to call someone for help to her than Allāh is quit e consistent with Qur’ānic commands and the Prophet’s statements.
As it is report ed by ‘Amr bin Shu‘ayb that his grandfat her says: we were present in the company of the holy Prophet when messengers from Hawāzin tribe came and said, “O Muhammad! We belong t o t he same origin and tribe, and the trouble we are facing is not hidden from you, therefore, have mercy on us.” The holy Prophet replied, “Optone of the two choices; either take away your property and wealth or have your women freed.” They opted for t heir women and children. T hen the Messenger of Allāh added: as far as my share and the share of ‘Abdul Muttalib and his children (in the spoils) is Narrated in his Musnad (4:149, 153-4). concerned, I have already given it to you. But when I have performed the noon prayer, you should all st and up and say: Through the means of the Messenger of Allāh we seek help for our women and children from believers (or Muslim s).
The narrate or says that when people had finished t heir prayer, they repeated the same words as the Prophet had advised t hem. These words were uttered by the sacred tongue of the holy Prophet himself and he uttered t hem in the form of a command. Therefore, this tradition furnishes a cogent justification for the act of beseeching for help.