Question: For people holding false beliefs, some say that they are Muslim so we should not speak ill of them. Who is called Ahl al-qibla? Should we not speak ill of them?
In a hadith-i sharif, our Master the Prophet says:
(Bani Israil split into seventy two nations. My ummah will split into seventy three nations. Seventy two of them will be in Hell, and only one of them will be saved. They are those who are upon what I and my companions are.) That is, children of Israel split into seventy two sects in the religion. As for Muslims, they will split into seventy three sects in the religion. None of them are disbelievers, but they will stay in Hell for a long time. Only the sect that holds the belief of our Master the Prophet and of the Blessed Companions and does the acts of worship as they did will not enter Hell. If, while performing ijtihad in the matters of aqeedah, scholars who deviate from the aqeedah of our Master the Prophet and of the Blessed Companions, turn away from the aqeedah which is known indispensably and unanimously in Islamic religion, they become a kafir and are called a mulhid. It is written in the books Bahr and Hindiyya that they are polytheists.
If they deviate from a belief which is not communicated by consensus and which is not indispensable, they become not disbelievers but holders of bid’at in belief. They, too, are called Ahl al-qibla (Muslims). Also, while employing ijtihad in the matters of deeds and acts of worship, those who disbelieve the acts of worship that are unanimously known to be indispensable become disbelievers or mulhids. But those scholars who err in those acts of worship that are neither indispensable nor unanimously communicated earn thawab if they are mujtahids. They become la-madhhabi if they are not mujtahids. For, it is not permissible for a non-mujtahid to do ijtihad; he has to follow the madhhab of a mujtahid. It is declared in a hadith sharif, “One who says, ‘La ilaha ill-Allah’, should not be called a kafir on account of his sinning! He who calls him a kafir will become a kafir himself.” A person who will not enter Hell because of their correct belief may enter Hell because of the sins they commit. If they are salih (true, pious, devoted), that is, if they repent for their sins or attain
forgiveness or shafa’a, they will never enter Hell. Because a person who denies a belief or a deed which has been communicated unanimously and is indispensable, that is, known even by the ignorant, becomes a disbeliever or a renegade, they are not called a believer in “La ilaha ill-Allah” or people of the qibla, even if they say “La ilaha ill-Allah,” does all kinds of acts of worship and avoids all kinds of sins.
Question: Is it true to say “If a person has any of the signs of Islam, e.g., performing salat, they are Ahl al-qibla, even if they have any sign of disbelief. They cannot be labeled a disbeliever”?
It is not true. Islamic scholars state the opposite:
1.Imam-i A’zam and Imam-i Shafi’i said that a person of the qibla (Ahl al-qibla) cannot be called a kafir (disbeliever). This statement means that a person of qibla does not become a disbeliever by committing sins. The seventy-two groups are Ahl al-qibla. Since they erred in the interpretation of the unclear documents in which ijtihad is permissible, they cannot be called disbelievers. Yet, because ijtihad is not permissible in those religious facts that are indispensable and which have been communicated through tawatur [consensus], those who disbelieve such facts become disbelievers according to the consensus (of savants). For those who disbelieve them have disbelieved the Messenger of Allah. Iman [belief, faith] means to believe those commonly known facts which the Messenger of Allah brought from Allahu ta’ala. It is kufr [disbelief] to disbelieve any of them. (Milal-Nihal)
[As it is disbelief not to believe any of what the Messenger of Allah brought, it is clear that a person disbelieving the Messenger of Allah is a disbeliever. Anyone who says La ilaha illallah but does not add Muhammadun rasulullah deliberately is a disbeliever.]
2. Though the seventy-two heretical groups perform salat and do all acts of worship, some of them have become mulhids. Since those who deny a belief or a practice that has been communicated through consensus become disbelievers and renegades, they are not called Ahl al-qibla anymore, even if they utter the La ilaha ill-Allah, do all acts of worship, and avoid all sins. (Hadiqa)
3. Those who disbelieve even one of indispensable religious facts or one of the facts to be believed become disbelievers, even if they say “La ilaha ill-Allah Muhammadun Rasulullah.” It is not enough to believe in Allah. Anyone who disbelieves any of the six pillars of faith, for example, belief in qadar, becomes a disbeliever and all their good deeds are erased. (Radd-ul-mukhtar)
4. Because 72 groups of bid’at are Ahl al-qibla, they are not declared disbelievers. However, of these people, the ones who disbelieve those Islamic facts that are indispensable to be believed become disbelievers. (Maktubat-i Rabbani, Second Volume, 67th Letter; Third Volume, 38th Letter)
5. Those who deny a commonly known fard become disbelievers, even if they perform salats. (Bariqa) [For example, saying that today covering one’s body parts is not necessary.]
6. Not all people who perform salat turning towards our qibla are not considered Ahl al-qibla. Hypocrites, who are unanimously declared disbelievers, perform salat turning towards our qibla. (Tabaqat-ush-Shafii)
7. Not every performer of salat is classified as being Ahl al-qibla. A hadith-i sharif says:
(He who lies, who breaks when he promises, and who betrays the trust when he is entrusted is a hypocrite, even if he claims he is a Muslim, performs salat, and fasts.) [Bukhari] (The person mentioned here becomes a hypocrite because they do acts of worship not for the sake of Allah due to unbelief in Him, but for ostentation. In fact, a person performing a grave sin does not become a disbeliever.)
8. Anyone who does not believe in any of the six pillars of faith is a disbeliever, even if they perform salat. (Ashiat-ul-lamaat)
9. If something said or done by a certain Muslim bears ninety nine symptoms of disbelief and one symptom of belief, we should take it and should not declare them a disbeliever. However, it applies to a situation when a certain deed or speech has a hundred meanings. If a hundred deeds or words bear one symptom of belief but ninety-nine symptoms of disbelief, such a person cannot be called a Muslim because if a deed or word of a person clearly shows disbelief, that is, has no meaning showing belief, it is understood that this person is a disbeliever. His/her other deeds or words showing belief do not clear himself/herself of disbelief. He/she cannot be judged a Muslim. (Kıyamet ve Ahiret)
One of the most important signs of a Muslim is to perform salat. It is also important to perform it in jama’ah. In spite of this fact, our Master the Prophet said:
(In the time period close to Doomsday, more than a thousand people will perform salat in a mosque; however, there will not be a Believer among them.) [Daylami]
Then in order to be a Muslim, it is not enough that one has the signs of a Muslim. It is a condition that one should not deny a fact which must indispensably be believed and known in Islam.
Question: When we see a certain Muslim do an act that is a symptom of disbelief, can we judge such a person to be a disbeliever?
On the basis of a suspicion, we cannot attribute disbelief to a person who confesses openly that they are Muslim and who says the Kalima-i shahadat.
If something done or said by a certain Muslim bears many symptoms of kufr [disbelief] and only one symptom of iman [belief], or bears a symptom that is controversial (among savants) whether it causes disbelief or not, such a person cannot be named a disbeliever because we are enjoined to have a good opinion about other Muslims. (Radd-ul-mukhtar)
When it is understood clearly that that person has meant the symptom of disbelief, this one becomes a disbeliever. Our ta’wîl [interpretation] will be of no use then. (Bazzaziyya)
Question: Is it not declared in hadith-i sharifs and in Islamic savants’ statements that seventy-two heretical groups will go to Paradise after they stay in Hell as much as their sins and corruptness of their belief?
Yes, but who will be treated as such are heretical groups, not every person who is Ahl al-qibla. Of these heretical groups, only those who have not fallen into disbelief will be so. People who have slid into disbelief will stay in Hell eternally.
Question: There have emerged people claiming, “Those who turn to the direction of the Ka’ba five times a day and who say the Kalima-i shahadat when reciting the prayer “Attahiyyatu” in the sitting postures in salat will not remain in disbelief even if they fall into disbelief and do not repent and renounce the deed which caused their apostasy.” Is it not wrong?
This thought goes against Ahl as-Sunnat belief. Hadrat Imam-i A’zam expresses: “To make tawba [repentance], it does not suffice to say the Kalima-i shahadat; it is also necessary to repent and renounce the deed which has caused one’s disbelief. Unless one repents that deed, one will remain in disbelief even if one performs salat.
Question: Basing their thought on the hadith “He who says La ilaha ill-Allah will enter Paradise,” some people say that seventy-two heretical group will not stay in Hell eternally. Is this assertion true?
It is wrong. A hypocrite may also utter the La ilaha ill-Allah. Of them, those who have died as disbelievers will not enter Paradise.
Question: Is it permissible to say “Beneath our disease of takfir, there lies a kind of self-deification virus”?
This statement is a slander against the Prophet of Allah and Islamic savants. Were Rasulullah and his inheritors, Ahl as-Sunnat savants, infected (Hasha!) with a self-deification virus as they declared those who fell into disbelief disbelievers? What an abominable slander! Heretical people holding disbelief in creed are not Ahl al-qibla; they will stay in Hell forever even if they perform salat and do all acts of worship.
In order for them to be embraced in the group termed Ahl al-qibla, they must repent and renounce the false creed that causes their disbelief. We have listed its proof-texts and documents above.
Is an Ahl al-qibla called a disbeliever?
Question: In the book Endless Bliss, it is written that a person who is not Ahl as-Sunnah will be either a disbeliever or a bid’at holder. Is a bid’at holder not a disbeliever?
A bid’at holder cannot be called a disbeliever. Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states:
It is declared in a hadith that this Ummat will part into seventy-three groups, seventy-two of whom will go to Hell. It does not state that they will stay in Hell eternally. Remaining in the torment of Hell-fire eternally is for those who do not have iman, that is, for disbelievers. The seventy-two groups, on account of their corrupt belief, will go to Hell and will burn as much as the corruptness of their belief. The seventy-two groups of bid’at should not all be called disbelievers, because they are Ahl al-qibla. However, of these people, the ones who disbelieve the Islamic facts that are indispensable to be believed, as well as those who deny, without knowing its ta’wil, those rules of Islam which every Muslim has heard and known become disbelievers. (Third Volume, 38th Letter)
Hadrat Sayyid Abdulhakim Arwasi states:
Seventy-two heretical groups are called deviant, but none of them is a disbeliever. However, if a person who claims that they are a member of one of these heretical groups disbelieves a fact that explicitly stated in hadith-i sharifs or Qur’an al-karim and is widespread among Muslims becomes a disbeliever. Today there are many people who have left the madhhab of Ahl as-Sunnah and become either a deviant or a disbeliever. (Faideli Bilgiler)
If a person who has left Ahl as-Sunnah disbelieves a fact that is learnt indispensably and through tawatur, they are not called people of La ilaha illallah. They are disbelievers. The same is written in Ibn Abidin. (Se’adet-i Ebediyye)
None of the 72 heretical sects is a disbeliever, but they will burn in Hell for a long time. If, while performing ijtihad in matters pertaining to belief, a scholar who deviates from the aqaid of the Messenger of Allah has deviated from a matter that is known indispensably and unanimously becomes a disbeliever. However, if he deviates from a belief that is not stated indispensably and unanimously, he does not become a disbeliever. He becomes a holder of bid’at in aqaid. A holder of bid’at can also be called Ahl al-qibla. If he, while performing ijtihad in the matters of deeds and acts of worship, disbelieves acts of worship that are known indispensably and unanimously, he becomes a disbeliever. However, if a scholar who deviates from those acts of worship that are not known indispensably and unanimously is a mujtahid, then he earns thawab. If he is not a mujtahid, he becomes a holder of bid’at and a la-madhhabi in deeds. A person who disbelieves a belief or deed that was stated indispensably (that is, it is known even by laymen) and unanimously becomes a kafir and murtad. For this reason, they are not called Ahl al-qibla, even if they say La ilaha illallah or perform all acts of worship or avoid all sins. (Faideli Bilgiler)
Consequently, today as there is no scholar who has reached the capacity of ijtihad, iman of those who are an enemy of Ahl as-Sunnah but followers of heretical groups are in danger.
Ahl al-qibla cannot be called a disbeliever
Question: If a person who performs salat has a false belief, can they be called a disbeliever?
The Ahl al-qibla, that is, a person who performs salat cannot be called a disbeliever unless they say or do something that causes disbelief. However, a person who says or does something disagreeable with something declared clearly in the Qur’an al-karim and hadith-i sharifs and which Muslims have been believing for centuries is called a kafir, even if they perform salat and does all kinds of worship throughout their life. For example, if they say, “Allahu ta’ala does not know every tiny mote, the number of leaves, or secret things,” they become a disbeliever. A person who speaks ill about a Sahabi except Abu Baqr and Umar for some religious reason becomes a bid’at holder. A person who says permissible about a haram does not become a kafir if they say so sincerely depending on an ayah or a hadith-i sharif. If they say so capriciously without depending on ayah or hadith, they become a disbeliever. It is bid’at to say that it was unjust to elect Abu Baqr and Umar for the caliphate, but it is an act of disbelief to say that they had no rights to become caliphs.
Question: Suppose a person denies some basic things pertaining to belief but believes other facts of Islam. Can such a person be called Ahl al-qibla?
An Ahl al-qibla means a person, a Muslim, who believes all of the Islamic facts that are unanimously and indispensably known. Such a person is not considered to have abandoned Islam due to a heretical belief. The situation of 72 heretical sects is the same unless they fall in disbelief.