Clarifying those excused for ignorance in matters of `Aqidah and Fiqh

Clarifying those excused for ignorance in matters of `Aqidah and Fiqh

Q: A Muslim brother from the Arab Republic of Egypt asks: Who are those excused for their ignorance? Can a person be excused for their ignorance in matters of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), `Aqidah (creed) and Tawhid (monotheism)? What is the role of scholars in this regard?

A: Being excused due to ignorance is a matter that needs elaboration and not anyone can be excused due to their ignorance. Thus, the excuse due to ignorance cannot be applied to teachings of Islam made clear by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and the Qur’an and that which has spread among Muslims, especially in matters related to `Aqidah (creed) and the principles of religion. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) sent His Prophet (peace be upon him) to explain to people their religion and clarify it to them. Indeed, he conveyed the message, showed the nation the reality of the religion, explained everything and left it on the Right Path. Moreover, in the Qur’an, there is guidance and light. Some teachings are Ma`lum minad-din biddarurah (well-established religious matters) and are spread among Muslims. If someone claims that Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) and worshipping anyone other than Allah is not prohibited, that Salah (Prayer), fasting in Ramadan or Zakah are not obligatory or that Hajj is not obligatory for whoever can afford it, their claim will not be accepted on the basis of ignorance since they live among Muslims and these matters are known to everyone. They are Ma`lum minad-din biddarurah and are known to all Muslims, thus such people

(Part No. 7; Page No. 133)

cTags: , , , , , , , , , annot be excused due to their ignorance. Similarly, someone may claim they do not know it is forbidden to do what Mushriks (those who associate others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) do, who visit the graves and call upon idols, supplicate, slaughter, or vow for them. Other Mushriks slaughter animals for idols, planets, trees, or stones. They may seek treatment or victory from the dead people, idols, jinn, angels, prophets or anyone. All of these practices are Ma`lum minad-din biddarurah to be major Shirk. Allah shows this fact in the Glorious Qur’an. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) remained in Makkah for thirteen years, during which he warned people against Shirk, apart from another ten years he spent inMadinah. He (peace be upon him) conveyed to people the obligation of worshipping Allah alone and recited to them the Qur’an in which Allah (Exalted be He) says: And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. He (Glorified be He) says: You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything). And He (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allâh, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him) He (Glorified be He) also says:So worship Allâh (Alone) by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allâh’s sake only. Surely the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allâh only. Allah (Glorified be He) says also: Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): "Verily, my Salât (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allâh, the Lord of the ‘Alamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists). "He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims." Allah addresses the Messenger (peace be upon him) saying: Verily, We have granted you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) Al-Kauthar (a river in Paradise). Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only). In addition, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says:And the mosques are for Allâh (Alone): so invoke not anyone along with Allâh. He (Glorified and Exalted be He) says:

(Part No. 7; Page No. 134)

And whoever invokes (or worships), besides Allâh, any other ilâh (god), of whom he has no proof; then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely! Al-Kâfirûn (the disbelievers in Allâh and in the Oneness of Allâh, polytheists, pagans, idolaters) will not be successful. Mocking at the religion, vilifying, insulting or making fun of it are all acts of major Kufr (disbelief) whose committer cannot be excused due to ignorance. It is Ma`lum minad-din biddarurah that cursing religion, insulting the Prophet (peace be upon him), making fun of the religion and mocking it are all acts of major Kufr. Allah (Exalted be He) says: Say: "Was it at Allâh (عز وجل), and His Ayât (proofs, evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations) and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that you were mocking?" Make no excuse; you disbelieved after you had believed.

Thus, it is the duty of scholars everywhere to spread the basic religious knowledge among people and especially among the public, so that they may have no excuse and thus have to abandon the forbidden practices such as calling upon the dead and seeking their help. No matter where they are, whether they are in Egypt, Al-Sham (The Levant), Iraq, Madinah at the Prophet’s grave, Makkah or anywhere else. People in general and pilgrims in particular must pay attention and learn Shar`iah (Islamic law) and teachings of Islam. Scholars’ silence leads to the public’s doom and ignorance. Consequently, scholars everywhere should convey religion to the people, teach them Tawhid and show them the different types of Shirk so as to avoid them and worship Allah alone. Some examples of Shirk practices are those taking place at the grave of Al-Badawy, Al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him), Shaykh `Abdul-Qadir Al-Jilany, the Prophet (peace be upon him) at Madinah and other graves. Thus scholars must warn people against these practices and teach them that worship is the sole Right of Allah without a partner. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allâh, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him)

He (Glorified be He) says: So worship Allâh (Alone) by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allâh’s sake only. Surely the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allâh only.Allah (Glorified be He) also says: And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. Hence, Muslim scholars in all Muslim countries and in areas of Muslim minorities should teach people Tawhid and explain to them the true meaning of worshipping Allah. Furthermore, they should warn people against Shirk which is the greatest sin and clarify that Allah basically created jinn and humans to worship Him. Allah (Glorified be He) says: And I (Allâh) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone). Worshipping Allah entails obeying Him, obeying the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), worshiping Allah alone sincerely and turning to Him. Allah (Exalted be He) says: O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allâh), Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become Al-Muttaqûn (the pious – See V.2:2).

On the other hand, some matters that may not be known to all people such as those related to transactions, Salah, and Sawm – in this case, ignorance may be used as an excuse. For example, the Prophet (peace be upon him) excused someone who entered the state of Ihram (ritual state for Hajj and `Umrah) wearing a long cloak which was later stained with mud. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to the man, "Take off your cloak and wash away the traces of scent from your body and do in your ‘Umrah what you do in your Hajj." He (peace be upon him) did not order the man to offer Fidyah (ransom) but he excused him due to his ignorance. There are other matters of religion that are not known to people and which they should be taught. However, violating the principles of `Aqidah, the pillars of Islam, and the well-known prohibited acts are not to be excused

(Part No. 7; Page No. 136)

on the plea of ignorance. If, for example, a Muslim living among Muslims says they do not know that Zina (premarital sexual intercourse and/or adultery), being undutiful to parents or sodomy is prohibited, they are not excused for their ignorance. Rather, they should be disciplined, as all of these acts are known among Muslims to be prohibited.

Nevertheless, if such a person is living in a place where the call has not reached them or in Africa where there are no Muslims nearby, they may be excused for ignorance. If they die in this state, their affairs are left to Allah and they take the same ruling as Ahl-ul-Fatrah (those to whom Da`wah has not reached in an uncorrupted manner). The most authentic view is that they will be tested on the Day of Resurrection; if they answer and obey Allah, they will enter Paradise, but if they disobey Allah, they will be cast in Hellfire. The situation is totally different for someone living among Muslims if they commit acts of Kufr and abandon well-known obligations of Islam. This person is not to be excused, as the matter is clear and Muslims are around, all praise be to Allah. They fast, perform Hajj and know that Zina, Khamr (intoxicant) and being undutiful to parents are prohibited. All of these are common knowledge among Muslims and claiming to be ignorant of them is void. It is Allah Alone Whose help can be sought