MUFTI SAYED HAROON AL AZHARI writes that during the month of Ramadaan one must be most conscious that one’s fast, salaah and charity are not negated by engaging in slander, illegally consuming the wealth of others or harm others.
RAMADAAN is the month of Taqwa (Allah consciousness). The purpose of fasting is to restrain our lower selves in order to seek the Divine. Likewise, with our daily salaah and the recitation of Al Quran, it is to terminate all types of indecency, evils and to guide us to that which is most upright.
Thus, doing the outer formalities of salaah and fast or by merely commemorating the anniversary of the Quran’s first revelation, without actually refining ourselves, is missing the point altogether. Our Nabi (SAW) described the bankrupt worshipper as outwardly prosperous but one who has no substance. We lose all our good deeds because we want to judge others because we think we’re too pious. Below are a few examples:
External worship isn’t everything
Our Nabi (SAW) said: ‘Some would recite the Quran, perform salaah and keep fast so much so that the salaah, fast and Quran recitation of my Companions will seem insignificant. They assume that they are in line with the Quran but the Quran is clearly against what they do. Their worship does not reach their hearts. They would exit from Islam just as the arrow exits the bow.’ (Bukhari). These are the bankrupt worshippers.
A bankrupt person is not the one without money or possessions but as the Prophet (SAW) said, ‘Verily, the bankrupt of my nation are those who come on Qiyamah with salaah, fast and charity, but he insulted, slandered, illegally consumed the wealth of others, shed innocent blood, and harmed individuals. The oppressed will be given his good deeds and if his good deeds are finished before justice is served, then their sins will be cast upon him and he will be thrown into the Hellfire.’ (Muslim)
Many have transgressed the boundaries of Allah by thinking they are more religious than everyone else. They think they can admit people into paradise or damn others to eternity in the hellfire. Accusing believers of shirk (polytheism), kufr (blasphemy), bid’ah (heresy) and dhalal (misguidance). Claiming that everything is haraam and asserting their extreme understanding of Islam down people’s throats in order to monopolize the religion and to expel everyone else out of Islam.
Ibn Taymiya informs us in his Majmoo’ regarding these renegades. He said, ‘They have a superiority complex problem. Their primary aim is to cause dissension between the Muslims seeking to legalise the killing of those Muslims and to seize their wealth.
Dark times and those to be blamed
Our Nabi (SAW) warned us about the dark times, when ‘Mosques will be full but won’t have any believers in it’ (mustadrak). The signs of dark times are unfolding. A time where nothing will remain of Al Quran except its words. Its message will be ignored. Its people will call themselves Muslims but they’re furthest away from it.
Their mosques will be attractive but their hearts void of guidance. The worst people will be the scholars of fitna (disorder). The strife will originate from them and return to them. It is a time when knowledge will be lifted.
If scholars educated people how to embrace our diversity and differences of scholastic understandings – that was and will always be – in matters of Aqeedah (Theology) and Fiqh (Jurisprudence), and not mis-educate them to accuse everyone who understand Quran and Sunnah differently as a kaafir, mushrik, mubtadi’ faasiq, and going to Jahannam then there would be way less fitna in the ummah.
Accusing Muslims due to superiority complex
Our Nabi (SAW) said: ‘Indeed, what I fear for you is a man who recites the Quran so much that its illumination appears on him and he becomes a support of Islam. Until this man changes his state to what Allah wills, by ignoring its guidelines (He thinks he is even superior to the word of Allah). He makes an effort to attack those around him with the sword, accusing them of shirk (polytheism).’
Huzayfa asked: ‘O Prophet (SAW), which of the two deserves more to be described as committing shirk? The accused or the (illuminated) accuser?
Nabi (SAW) replied: ‘The accuser.’
Nabi (SAW) told us of the ardent worshipper who continued to see others as sinners. The worshipper will take an oath saying: ‘Wallahi (By Allah), Allah will not forgive so-and-so.’
Allah will respond: ‘Who dare speak on my behalf that I won’t forgive him? Indeed most definitely I forgave him and destroyed all your actions.’
And in another narration: Allah will say to the sinner, ‘Enter into paradise through my Mercy,’ and will say about the other person, ‘cast him into the hellfire.’ (Muslim and Abu Dawud).
A Companion of Rasoolullah (SAW) who was previously punished for drinking intoxicants was charged again with the same crime. While receiving punishment Umar (RA) said: ‘O Allah, curse him.’
The Prophet (SAW) said, ‘Do not help Shaitaan against your brother. Do not curse him, for by Allah, I know he loves Allah and His Messenger.’
Do not call a Muslim a kaafir because if he is not a kaafir in the sight of Allah then you become one (Bukhari). Likewise, if someone says they are from a prestigious bloodline (like that of Rasoolullah (SAW) then do not criticise their linage because Nabi (SAW) said that is also kufr (Muslim). If they are lying, they will lose their imaan (Bukhari) but you have no right to instigate problems, lest you lose yours.
Everything stacked against him
The Companions were talking against Malik bin Dukhshum saying that he’s a munafiq and it’s best if duah is made against him so he can be destroyed.
He does not love Rasoolullah (SAW) because he’s is always in the company of the munafiqs and sympathetic towards them.
Nabi (SAW) responded by saying: ‘Do you not see that Malik professes La Ilaha Illallah and I am the Messenger of God?’
They said: ‘Yes, but that is only lip service, its not from his heart!’
Nabi (SAW) said: ‘Doesn’t he make salaah?’
They responded: ‘Yes, but it’s not real!’
Nabi (SAW) then reprimanded them by saying, ‘Verily Allah will forbid the fire to touch any individual who declares La Ilaha Illallah (Bukhari and Muslim) and I was commanded to stay away from such people (the accusers).’
Nabi (SAW) said: ‘If a man abuses and shames you for something which he finds in you then do not shame him for something which you find in him; for the evil consequence will backfire on him. (Abu Daud)
Nabi (SAW) also said, ‘Do not expose, gloat or rejoice over the flaws and misfortune of your brother lest Allah have mercy upon him and afflict you with trials.’
This article is not a licence for a person to sin or to hide behind the excuse ‘Allah will judge me’ but it’s a two-way gauge to hold ‘ourselves’ accountable in the Sight of Allah. Similar to how I don’t have the right to oppress others by judging them, I also don’t have the right to oppress myself by disobeying Allah.
- Mufti Sayed Haroon Al Azhari is head of the Cape Town Ulama Board.
This article was first published in the March 17, 2023 print edition of Muslim Views.