By Maulana Nadeem Al-Wajidee
Translated from Urdu by Raihan Nezami, NewAgeIslam.com
Sometimes, Muftiyan-e-Karam (the respected experts in Islamic law entrusted with the task of issuing fatawas or declarations or judgments on theological issues) commit great blunder while issuing Fatawa in different matters which are not based on adequate understanding. They do so without going deep into the subject and considering different aspects. Fatawas should be issued only after comprehending all the social and religious aspects of the question.
That’s why he is considered a good Mufti who has certain distinct qualities
- His intention should be righteous having patience and tolerance.
- must possess respectable personality with good command over the related subjects.
- must be aware of the various aspects of Shari’at and well-informed national and international affairs.
The Muftiyan-e-Karam of distinct stature and excellence are extremely rare in the present time, though social critics are abundant and vigorously active so they pounce at every verdict given by the Muftiyan-e-Karam without any delay and present it before the world in such a terrible way as if a devastating blunder has been committed and the communal cord is going to be shattered. As a consequence, the Muftiyan-e-Karam are in great danger. They might have to face dire consequences of their “Fatwa”, particularly if the critics are related to media which don't intend to miss out on a single opportunity to criticize them. At present, such misconceptions about certain “Fatwas” are quite common. This is being debated round the clock in the media. A perfect example of this misleading tradition of distortion of Islam and criticism over a “Fatwa” can be given with the incident of Jashpur in Uttrakhand; the same has been widely published in all media in details.
Briefly speaking, it is being said that a certain person died in Jashpur who used to be drunken, didn't offer Salah and rang the bell and blew the shankh in the temples and rested at Shamshan Ghat (Hindu crematorium). Because of his un-Islamic and deplorable activities, the citizens of the town sought clarification from the Muftiyan-e-Karam over the funeral prayer. They pronounced “Fatwa” that such a person must not be buried in the Muslim graveyard. They further asserted that the people who participated in his funeral prayer and the last rites would have to seek Allah's forgiveness, recite Kalma-e-Tauheed again to refresh their Faith (Eeman) and repeat their marriage vows (Nikah Al-Sunnah). According to the news report, they not only refused to lead and offer the funeral prayer of the dead man, but also appealed to Muslims not to offer his funeral prayer. Ultimately, the dead man's relatives offered his funeral prayer and buried in a Muslim graveyard.
After some time, the Muftiyan-e-Karam issued another Fatwa that such a man must not be buried in a Muslim graveyard and so his dead body should be exhumed to be buried somewhere else. This news was welcomed by the media and reporters were wandering relentlessly hither and thither in search of the Muftiyan-e-Karam's comments.
It would be best to find out whether the “Fatwa” was authentic or not. We also have to ponder if the opinion of certain newspapers – that the disbelievers get an opportunity to criticize Islam by such verdicts or controversies – is right or wrong.
First of all, it is necessary to know whether the dead person was a Muslim or a disbeliever. Certainly he had settled down in a Hindu crematorium and used to ring the temple bell and blew the shankhs too. Many other objectionable things and un-Islamic activities were seen or heard about him which point toward his moving away from Islam. But as far as the matter of not offering mandatory Salah, the ringing of bells and blowing of shankhs in the temple, residing in a Hindu crematorium and drinking of alcohol is concerned, no one can be expelled from Islam merely on account of these failures, unless and until it is well-known by proof and evidence that he refused the Oneness of Almighty Allah-e-Kareem and the prophethood of His Messenger Hazrat Mohammad (Peace be upon Him) and is a disbeliever. In other words, he can be expelled from Islam only if he declared himself a disbeliever and started worshipping like Kafirs.
It can be assumed from his relatives' behaviour that they considered him as a Muslim so that they had taken the "Janaza" to the Jama Masjid for the funeral prayer and ultimately they buried him also in a Muslim graveyard. The Hindus also didn't object at his Muslim funeral rites. Had he converted to Hinduism, the Hindus would have objected and demanded to perform his last rites according to the Hindu religion but that didn't happen. On the basis of the above two points – it’s crystal clear that the relatives of the dead man considered him a Muslim and even the Hindus of the town considered him the same. If this is the case, the “Fatwa” of the Muftiyan-e-Karam is inauthentic.
It must be kept in mind that quite sincere efforts should be made before pronouncing the Fatwa of Kufr for anyone. A Muslim cannot be declared a Kafir (Disbeliever) until his Kufr is exposed completely. For example, the concerned person himself refuses the mandatory principles of Islam and accepts that he has converted from Islam to some other religion or has involved himself in un-Islamic activities – such as idol-worship.
Otherwise, if he is not committing such grave sins and is only guilty of not offering mandatory Salah, ringing bells and blowing shankhs in the temples, residing in the Hindu crematorium and consuming alcohol, he is not committing a great sin (Gunah-e-Kabeera).
In that case he will not be considered out-of -slam because one has to be very careful in declaring a Muslim a Kafir. Islamic scholars and Fuqaha have asserted that if there are ninety nine elements of Kufriat and only one element of weak Islam present in a Muslim, he should still be treated as a Muslim even though he may be a Kafir near Allah-e-Kareem
Islamic scholars and Fuqaha have asserted that if there are ninety nine elements of Kufriat and only one element of weak Islam present in a Muslim, he should still be treated as a Muslim even though he may be a Kafir near Allah-e-Kareem. According to the statement of Ahnaf available in Fatwa-e-Shamee, “No one can be expelled from Islam until and unless he refuses the basic principles of Islam on which ground he had accepted Islam. If his refusal is acceptable and authentic, he can be considered a Kafir, but simply on the basis of confusion, no one can be declared a Kafir. Islam is too formidable a force to be obliterated merely on the basis of confusion.”
(Fatwa-e-Shamee, Bab Al-Murtid: 271/6)
If the man was a Muslim and had not committed extreme Kufr as it can be assumed from the behaviour of his relatives and the indifference of the Hindus, the Muftiyan-e-Karam should have allowed the offering of funeral prayer. The last prayer of the dead person must be offered even if someone is a “Fasiq” or “Fajir” (deviant). According to a Hadeeth Shareef, “Offer the funeral prayer of every righteous or sinful” (Al-dar Al-Qatni). That’s why the scholarly Muftiyan-e-Karam have been regularly pronouncing “Fatwa” that the funeral prayer of every Muslim except those of four kinds of people should be performed.
(Fatwa-e-Shamee, Bab Al-Salat Al-Janaez: 102/3)
The details about these four kinds of people are given in different books of Fiqha. Dar Al-Uloom, Deoband has also issued the same “Fatwa” in this regard.
Once someone had asked for a “Fatwa” about a scheduled caste woman who had converted into a Muslimah, and later on, returned to her previous religion and again accepted Islam. She repeated the same practice thrice. She continued to drink alcohol and having extra-marital relations even after converting to Islam. Once she had sacrificed a goat to appease Matarani (Smallpox) and performed a Sajda while her brother was sick. When she died some people except me performed her funeral prayers.” What is the rule of Shari’at in this regard?”
Mufti Azeezur Rahman Usmani (May Allah be pleased with him) replied, “According to Hadeeth Shareef, the funeral prayer of every Muslim whether righteous or sinful should be performed.” So the funeral prayer of the newly converted Muslimah should have been performed, even though she is a “Fasiqah” or a “Fajirah” (deviant). It is all right if some people have performed her funeral prayers, otherwise, everyone will be held guilty.
(Fatwa Dar Al-Oloom: 299/5)
Anyway, if someone has converted into a disbeliever (Kafir) openly, his funeral prayers will not be performed, In the matter under consideration also, if the Muftiyan-e-Karam were absolutely confident of the dead person’s obvious refusal of the Oneness of Almighty Allah Kareem and the prophet-hood of his messenger Hazrat Mohammad (Peace be upon Him), they have delivered an authentic “Fatwa”. In that situation, the insistence of the relatives of the dead person for the performing of the funeral prayer will be considered as an attempt to maintain their honour and prestige in the society and the silence of the Hindus as an attempt to maintain communal harmony but anyway, there is no reason to doubt over the “Fatwa” of the Muftiyan-e-Karam.
Quran Kareem says, “And never (O Mohammad (Peace be upon Him) pray (funeral prayer) for any of them (hypocrites) who dies, nor stand at his grave. Certainly they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon Him) and died while they were “Fasiqun” (deviant, disobedient) to Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon Him).
(Surah Al-Taubah, V-84)
Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) says according to Hazrat Umar Farooq (May Allah be pleased with him). When Abdullah bin Abi Maslool died, it was requested to the prophet Hazrat Mohammad (Peace be upon Him) to offer his funeral prayer and He (Peace be upon Him) offered the funeral prayer. Just after his return from the prayer, the above mentioned two Aayat-e-Kareemah of Surah Barat (Al-Taubah) were revealed.
(Al-Bhukhari, Kitab Al-Janaez, 182/1)
Source: Hamara Samaj 4 March 2009
Translated from Urdu by Raihan Nezami, NewAgeIslam.com