By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
13 April 2021
Islamic Scholarship Is based very little on rigorous analysis and mostly on perceptions formed. Perceptions are formed based on the narratives spun, told and re-told, until these got accepted as the authentic or “Saheeh” ahadith (plural of hadith).
1. Scholars base their arguments and conclusions on false beliefs.
2. Scholars continue to equate Mushrik with Kafir.
3. It is a pervasive false belief that Allah destroyed the people of Noah, Lut, Hud, Saleh and Shoaib because they practiced polytheism and idolatry and refused to accept Islam
4. In the case of the prophetic mission of Muhammad, the violent rejecters were only a few and the passive non-believers many.
5. Violent rejecters taunted Allah and His Messenger that if they were speaking the truth, they should bring about the punishment that they had warned of. It is therefore only these people who got punished.
Peace be upon all the prophets mentioned in this article.
Islamic scholarship is based very little on rigorous analysis and mostly on perceptions formed. Perceptions are formed based on the narratives spun, told and re-told, until these got accepted as the authentic or “Saheeh” ahadith (plural of hadith) when these are nothing but stories embellished by bigotry. Rather than use analysis to check the veracity of the beliefs, the scholars base their further arguments and conclusions on the false beliefs!
One such belief is that all the Mushrikin of Mecca were kafir and the surah 109 called Al-Kafirun addresses all the Mushrikun as Kafirun. If this is true, then after having said to the Kafirun meaning all the Mushrikun, “And you will not follow what I follow, and to you be your religion and to me mine”, Allah and His Messenger, had effectively declared an end of the Prophetic mission to all the Mushrikun of the world. How ridiculous, and yet the scholars continue to equate Mushrik with Kafir!
The second pervasive false belief is that Allah destroyed the people of Noah, Lut, Hud, Saleh and Shoaib because they practised polytheism and idolatry and refused to accept Islam. In the case of the people of Lut, we do not even know whether or not they practised polytheism and idolatry. There are stories of other prophets such as Ibrahim and Elias (37:123-132) who were also rejected by the people who practiced polytheism and worshiped idols, but this did not end with their destruction. Prophet Ibrahim was put through the fire which he survived by divine grace and then plotted against (21:69-71). No punishment was visited on the people for it. Prophet Yusuf preceded Moses and preached in Egypt but we do not find any believers among the Egyptians when Moses is sent as a Messenger to the Pharaoh. Prophet Yusuf’s Egyptian audience was not destroyed for rejecting the Message perhaps because it was a peaceful rejection of “unto you be your religion and unto me mine”. The non-believing Egyptians are not destroyed even after Moses was sent except those who followed the Pharaoh in pursuit of Moses.
Allah says in the Quran that He does not change His sunnat or practice (17:77). There must therefore be a common reason that runs across the people who were destroyed by an act of Allah when they rebelled against their Messengers. There is indeed a common reason. The relevant verses that bring out what is common to each of the people destroyed by Allah are quoted below:
(11:32) They said: "O Noah! thou hast disputed with us, and (much) hast thou prolonged the dispute with us: now bring upon us what thou threatenest us with, if thou speakest the truth!?"
(7:70) They (people of Aad) said (to the Messenger Hud): "Comest thou to us, that we may worship Allah alone, and give up the cult of our fathers? bring us what thou threatenest us with, if so be that thou tellest the truth!"
(7:77) Then they (the Thamud) ham-strung the she-camel, and insolently defied the order of their Lord, saying: "O Salih! bring about thy threats, if thou art a messenger (of Allah)!"
(29:29) "Do ye indeed approach men, and cut off the highway?- and practise wickedness (even) in your councils?" But his (Lut’s) people gave no answer but this: they said: "Bring us the Wrath of Allah if thou tellest the truth."
(26:187) (They said to Shu´aib )"Now cause a piece of the sky to fall on us, if thou art truthful!"
What is common to all these stories is that the people rejected the Messenger and actively opposed him and hindered those who followed the Messenger and persecuted them. They also mocked and taunted the Messenger asking him to bring down the punishment of Allah that the Messenger had repeatedly warned about. These Messengers also prayed to Allah to deliver them and their followers from the violent rejecters. Those who heeded the Messenger and Allah’s message were saved and the rest destroyed by an act of Allah “to accomplish that of which they were in doubt” (15:53).
It is therefore not rejection of the Messenger or any other crimes/sins that the people practiced that resulted in their destruction, but their violent opposition and persecution of the Messenger and his followers, culminating in taunting Allah and His Messenger that if they were speaking the truth, they should bring about the punishment that they had warned. It is therefore only the people who asked for the punishment who got punished.
In the case of the prophetic mission of Muhammad, the violent rejecters were only a few and the passive non-believers many. It is these violent rejecters alone who are addressed in Surah 109 as Kafirun and not the passive non-believers. The violent rejecters also asked for the punishment to descend but Allah did not send His punishment on all the disbelievers since many were only passive disbelievers “who could yet seek pardon”. Allah punished the few violent rejecters by the sword of the Muslims in battle. The rest accepted Islam after their violent and cruel leaders were eliminated and whose fear had perhaps prevented them from accepting Islam earlier.
(8:32) Remember how they said: "O Allah if this is indeed the Truth from Thee, rain down on us a shower of stones form the sky, or send us a grievous penalty."(33) But Allah was not going to send them a penalty whilst thou wast amongst them; nor was He going to send it whilst they could ask for pardon.(34) But what plea have they that Allah should not punish them, when they keep out (men) from the sacred Mosque - and they are not its guardians? No men can be its guardians except the righteous; but most of them do not understand.
So apart from the disbelievers daring the Messenger to bring down the punishment, the other condition to be satisfied for their destruction was that there remain none among them who could yet seek pardon. This is also confirmed by the following verse:
(11:36) It was revealed to Noah: "None of thy people will believe except those who have believed already! So grieve no longer over their (evil) deeds.
This was the case with the people of Lut also about whom the decision to destroy all except Lut and his daughters was taken even before the Messengers (Angels) sent for it reached Lut. (11:76, 15:57-67)
It is only when the people reach a point of no return who will not believe no matter what, are they referred to as Kafir in the Quran. The Kafirin are not every disbeliever, but those who oppose Allah and His Deen and reach a point from where they will not return to the Deen of Allah. Abu Lahab and his wife are examples of such kafirin on whom the punishment of Hell in the Hereafter is declared a decade before their death in Surah 111. The others are Abu Jahl in Surah 96 and Walid-ibn-Mughiyrah in Surah 68 who are referred indirectly and not by name and Pharaoh in verse 10:88.
The third false belief is that Prophet Muhammad was fighting battles against the disbelievers to end disbelief. When Allah did not destroy anyone for merely disbelieving, Prophet Muhammad could not have been fighting against disbelief. Indeed, there is no verse of the Quran that commands fighting against disbelief. The only justification for fighting in the Quran is to end oppression. This is covered in my articles:
2. The Story of the Prophetic Mission of Muhammad (Pbuh) In the Qu’ran (Part 4): The Medinian Period
The fourth false belief follows from the previous false beliefs. It is the belief that the Mushrikin of Mecca had only two choices after being defeated in battle which was to either accept Islam or get killed even though some of them may not have ever been hostile to the Muslims. This is again a false belief discussed in my following articles:
Based on the four false beliefs, the Meccan Mushrikin are demonized by the Muslims in every discussion forgetting that the kafirin among them were only a few, and the rest were considered worthy enough by Allah to bestow on them belief in Him and who subsequently spread His Deen far and wide. Many of them will be among the foremost ranks on the Day of Judgment. These false beliefs are also responsible for using disparaging words to describe the non-Muslims today.
The four beliefs described above are pervasive and shared by even moderates such as Javed Ghamidi and Maulana Wahiduddin Khan. These beliefs are false because these do not have any basis in the Quran and are contrary to its clear Message. False beliefs are kufr and must be shed, or else, nauzobillah, we may be judged as kafir on the Day of Judgment.
A frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He has spent years studying Quran in-depth and made seminal contributions to its interpretation.
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