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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Al-Wala' Wal-Bara' in Islam

Al-Wala' Wal-Bara' in Islam

By: Dr. Muhammad Saeed Al-Qahtaani

by: Omar Johnstone

Wal-Bara' and the Declaration of Faith

is the source of wala' and hate is the source of bara'; it is by
this that both the heart and the hand are moved to act. Wala' inspires
intimacy, concern and help. Bara' provokes obstruction, enmity and
rejection. Wala' and Bara' are both related to the declaration of
faith and constitute essential elements in it. The evidence of this
from the Qur'an and the Sunnah is considerable.

for the Qur'an, consider the following ayat: "Let not the believers
take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers.
Whoever does this has no connection with Allah unless you are guarding
yourselves against them as a precaution. Allah bids you to beware
(only) of Himself. And to Allah is the journeying." [3:28]
And He says: "Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind), If you love Allah,
follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your wrong actions.
Allah is Forgiving, Compassionate. Say, Obey Allah and the Messenger.
And If they turn away, then surely Allah does not love the disbelievers."
[3:31-32] Speaking of the aims of the enemies of Allah, He says:
"They long for you to disbelieve even as they disbelieve, so
that you may be the same (as them). so do not choose friends from
among them until they go out in the way of Allah." [4:89]

also: "O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians
for friends. They are friends of one another. And whoever of you
takes them for friends is (one) of them. Surely Allah does not guide
wrongdoing people." [5:51]

lastly: "O you who believe! Whoever of you becomes a rebel
against his Deen, (know that in his place) Allah will bring a people
whom He loves and who love Him, humble towards the believers, harsh
towards the disbelievers, striving in the way of Allah, and not
fearing the blame of any blamer." [5:54]

will mention only a few of the many hadith and reports of the Companions
on this subject. Imam Ahmad reports from Jarir ibn Abdullah that
the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, made him swear
an oath to 'offer counsel to every Muslim and to steer clear of
every disbeliever.' (1) Ibn Shayba reports that the Prophet said,
"The strongest bond of faith is love for the sake of Allah
and enmity for His sake." (2) Ibn Abbas reports that the Prophet
said, "The strongest bond of faith is loyalty for the sake
of Allah and opposition for His sake, love for the sake of Allah
and enmity for His sake." (3)

Abbas is also reported to have said,

"Whoever loves for the sake of Allah, and hates for the sake
of Allah, and whoever seals a friendship for His sake, or declares
an enmity for His sake, will receive, because of this, the protection
of Allah. No one may taste true faith except by this, even if his
prayers and fasts are many. People have come to build their relationships
around the concerns of the world, but it will not benefit them in
any way." (4) Shaykh Sulaiman ibn Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn
Abdul Wahhab explained the words of Ibn Abbas by saying that the
meaning of 'to seal a friendship for the sake of Allah' indicates
the obligation of establishing relationships of love and trust for
His sake; this is friendship for the sake of Allah. It also indicates
that simple affection is not enough here; indeed what is meant is
a love based upon alliance. This entails assistance, honour, and
respect. It means being with those whom you love both in word and

for 'enmity for the sake of Allah', it includes the obligation to
declare enmity for His sake: opposition for the sake of Allah. it
is to declare opposition in deed, to take up arms against His enemies,
to shun them, and to stay far from them both in word and deed. This
proves that simple opposition of the spirit is not enough, and that
it must be a complete honouring of your commitment, for Allah says:
"There is a good example for you in Ibrahim and those with
him, when they told their people: 'Surely we disassociate ourselves
from you and all that you worship beside Allah. We have done with
you. And there has arisen between us and you enmity and hate for
ever until you believe in Allah only'." [60:4] (5)

this leads us to conclude that loyalty for the sake of Allah really
means to love Allah and to come to the assistance of His Deen; it
is to love those who are obedient to Him and to come to their help.
Opposition for the sake of Allah is to feel anger at the enemies
of Allah and to struggle against them. Because of this Allah has
called the first group the "party of Allah" and the second
the "party of Satan": "Allah is the Protecting Guardian
of those who believe. He brings them out of darkness into light.
As for those who disbelieve, their patrons are false deities. They
bring them out of light into darkness. Such are rightful owners
of the Fire. They will abide therein." [2:257] And Allah says:
"Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those
who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the friends
of Satan. Surely Satan's strategy is always weak." [4:76] It
is well known that Allah has never sent a Prophet on His mission
without also raising up opponents against him. Allah says: "Thus
have We appointed for every prophet an adversary - devils from mankind
and the jinn who inspire in one another plausible words that are
deceiving." [6:112] It may be that opponents of Divine Unity
possess some learning, a part of Revelation, and proof.

Allah says: "And when their Messengers brought them clear proofs
(of Allah's Sovereignty), they exulted in the knowledge which they
(themselves) possessed. And that which they had become accustomed
to mock befell them." [40:83]

is the obligation of every Muslim to learn from Allah's Deen whatever
may serve as a weapon for him in the struggle against the friends
of Satan. In this he should have no fear and no misgivings, since
the devil's strategy is always weak. Allah says: "And surely
that Our host would be the victors." [37:173] To the host of
Allah shall be the victory in discussion and in debate, as in war
and strife. In this way an ordinary man from the party of the One
God will overcome a thousand scholars of the disbelievers. (6)

the aim of the enemies of Islam - whether they are atheists or Jews,
or Christians or modernists, or Zionists or Communists - is the
emasculation of the Aqeedah of the Muslims, and the erosion of their
unique character in order to make them 'the ass of the chosen people',
(as it is put in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion), then the
urgency of this issue should become clear to every Muslim. We should
all take heed, for ourselves and for those who are with us, so that
we may warn all the Muslims who are slipping away into the abyss
of apostasy, warn them of the treacherous call of the disbelievers
to what they call 'brotherhood and equality', warn them of the false
claim that religion is for Allah but that nationhood is for the
masses. We will return to this point in more detail later.

For the present, the evidence is clear from the Qur'an and the Sunnah
that allegiance is demanded by the declaration of faith since this
is an essential part of its meaning. As Ibn Taimiya has said, "The
declaration of faith, there is no god but Allah, requires you to
love only for the sake of Allah, to hate only for the sake of Allah,
to ally yourself only for the sake of Allah, to declare enmity only
for the sake of Allah; it requires you to love what Allah loves
and to hate what Allah hates." (7) It also requires you to
ally yourself to the Muslims wherever you find them and to oppose
the disbelievers even if they are your closest kin.



Imam Ahmad,
Musnad, 4/357-8.

Abu Bakr Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn Shaybah, (d.235 AH) Kitab al-Iman.
At-Tabarani, al-Kabir, ascribes it to Ibn Mas'ud as "marfu'",
and classed it as "hasan".

At-Tabarani, al-Kabir. It is mentioned by as-Suyuti, al-Jami' as-Saghir,
1/69. Al-Albani classes it as "hassan". Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali,
Jami' al-Ulum wal Hikam, p.30.

Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, Sharh Kitab at-Tawhid, p.422. Abridged
from Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, Kashaf ash-Shubuhat, 3rd edition,

Ibn Taimiya, al-Ihtijaj bil-Qadar, p.62.



According to Ibn al-Qayim, belief in Divine Unity is not simply
saying that Allah is the sole Creator and that He is Lord and Master
of all things. This was what the pagans used to say, while at the
same time worshipping many gods. Belief in Divine Unity does not
only mean love of Allah, but also submission to Him, humility before
Him, complete obedience to Him, and devotion to Him in all our words
and deeds, in what we hold on to and in what we give, in our love
and in our hate. It can never be confused with the urge to disobey,
or to do as you please in misguided self interest.

takes this to heart will understand the words of the Prophet, may
Allah bless him and grant him peace, "Certainly Allah has forbidden
the Fire from taking whoever says 'There is no god but Allah', and
who says this for the pleasure of Allah.";(1) and in another
hadith, "whoever says 'there is no god but Allah, shall not
enter the Fire."

what do these reports really mean? Many people have misunderstood
them, going so far as to say that these statements were later abrogated,
and that they were made before the completion of the Shariah, before
we knew what we must and must not do. Others have said that the
fire they refer to is the hell of the disbelievers, while others
still interpret the actual entering of the fire to mean entering
it for eternity; thus "..shall not enter the Fire (for eternity)."
These are just a few of their baseless interpretations.

fact, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did
not say that this would occur merely by pronouncing the declaration
of faith; this would contradict our entire understanding of Islam.
The hypocrites say these words with their tongues, but they are
bound for the deepest pit of Hell, and will be punished even more
severely than those who actively dispute the fact that there is
no other god than He. What is being referred to is, of course, a
matter of both the heart and the tongue.

the heart must believe, it must also realise the truth: it must
realise the meaning of the words of the declaration of faith, of
what they deny and what they affirm; realise that there is no other
divinity than Allah; and realise that the attribution of divinity
to anything else is quite impossible. Thus its meaning must be taken
to heart consciously and deliberately, with certainty and urgency.
This is what protects you from the Fire.

recalls the story of the man who had murdered a hundred men, and
though faith arose in his heart he took no notice of it, pushing
it out of his breast; but when he came to death's door it again
entered his heart and so he was one of those who entered Paradise.
(2) And also the account about the prostitute whose heart was moved
by the sight of a dog dying of thirst by the side of a well, eating
the dust in desperation. With no higher purpose or hope of reward,
she filled her shoe to the brim and gave it to the dog. Though people
usually beat it she took it by the paw and stilled it until it had
drunk, knowing that it could neither reward her nor even thank her
in any way. Her supreme act of love wiped out all her previous sins
and this is how she was forgiven. (3)

Muslim reports a hadith in which the Prophet, may Allah bless him
and grant him peace, says, "Whoever says, There is no god but
Allah, and denies whatever he used to worship beside Allah, will
find that his life and his property are protected, and his reward
is with Allah." (4) Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab points out that
this is the greatest proof we have of the real meaning of the declaration
of faith, since neither life nor property are protected simply by
pronouncing these words; indeed there is no significance at all
in just saying them, nor in advocating them, nor in calling on Allah
alone. Your life and your property are not protected until you actually
deny whatever you used to worship beside Allah; and if you have
any doubt or hesitation about that, then you are still outside Islam.

should make clear the error of the Murji'a sect (6), who said that
faith was equivalent to knowledge, and disbelief to ignorance, and
who in this way severed deeds from belief. Everyone knows that the
pagans of Makkah understood what the Prophet, may Allah bless him
and grant him peace, meant by saying, "There is no god but
Allah". They understood it and they believed it, but they arrogantly
refused to acknowledge it; so their faith in the One God, the Provider,
the Bringer of Life and Death, did not benefit them at all. When
the Prophet told them, "Say there is no god but Allah",
they said: "Does he make the gods One God? Surely that is an
astounding thing." [38:5]

strange thing is that while the disbelievers know that the declaration
of faith is more than just saying the words, some think that these
reports mean that a simple utterance of the words 'there is no god
but Allah', with none of their meaning entering the heart, is all
that is required. But wiser people understand that it means that
there is no creator other than Allah: no other provider, giver of
life, bringer of death, and no other who holds all things in his
hand. However, there is still no benefit to be gained by knowing
what the declaration of faith means if you are without any belief.
This throws new light on the meaning of those reports in which the
Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, mentions the simple
repetition of these words, such as, "I have been ordered to
struggle against people until they say 'There is no god but Allah'."

people hope to imply by this that whoever recites the declaration
of faith is not a disbeliever, and that we should not oppose him,
regardless of whatever else he does. These people should recall
that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, fought
the Jews and cursed them even though they said, 'There is no god
but Allah'. Not only this, but also the Companions of the Prophet
fought the Bani Hanifa who not only said, "There is no god
but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah", but also
prayed and claimed to be Muslims; this was the same for the people
whom Ali ibn Abi Talib burned alive for saying that he was an incarnation
of Allah.

However, when you ask these people about the case of someone who
denies the rising of the dead, they say that he has disbelieved
and that we should fight him, even he says, 'there is no god but
Allah'. They agree that whoever disputes any of the five pillars
of Islam has disbelieved and should be opposed with the pen and
the sword, even though he may pronounce the declaration of faith.

contradiction here is that none of these denials involve the central
tenet of Islam, which is the affirmation of Divine Unity, and yet
these people are prepared to go to war over them; but when it is
a matter of someone who denies the very essence of belief, the Diving
Unity of God, then they provide him with an excuse for its denial,
even though it is the very source and foundation of the Deen. So
it becomes clear that these people are the enemies of Allah, and
that they have not understood at all the meaning of what the Prophet,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace, has said: It is well known
that when a man declares himself to be a Muslim we should act prudently
towards him until he does something that clearly contradicts his
claim. Allah says: "O you who believe! When you go out (to
fight) in the way of Allah, be careful, and do not say to one who
offers you peace: 'Your are not a believer', seeking the chance
profits of this life (so that you may despoil him). With Allah are
plenteous spoils. You too were like this once, and Allah gave you
hope, so be careful; surely Allah is well aware of what you do."

verse indicates the necessity of restraint until such time as you
are sure about the situation, since Allah says: "be careful".
If it becomes clear that someone is at odds with Islam, then fight
him. If this were not the case, then the command to verify the situation
before fighting would meaningless.

Similarly the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,
said of the Kharijites, "Wherever you find them fight them,
for were I to discover them I would destroy them utterly, as the
people of Ad were destroyed." (8)

He said this even though they were meticulously observant in their
dedication and in their worship, so much so that the companions,
with whom they studied, felt humbled before them. Their declaration
of faith, however, did not benefit them, and neither did the fullness
of their worship, nor indeed their service to Islam, once they had
abandoned the Shariah.(9)

intelligent person knows that if this whole matter hinged upon a
single word, a mere word, then it would have been a simple thing
for the Quraish to say it. They would have said, 'There is no god
but Allah', saving both themselves a lot of trouble and their gods
from ridicule. But they knew that the declaration of faith also
involved a commitment, and it was this commitment that threatened
their power and status in the land.

The point here is that Islam is a force that liberates all people
from the unjust slavery of one to another, and places mankind at
the service of the One, the Victorious. The degree of their fear
of Allah became the measure of their worth and excellence among
people. Thus the habits and customs of the jahiliyyah, inherited
from parents and grandparents, had no place. Every good hearted,
sincere Muslim must strive towards the full realisation of the declaration
of faith, in order that each and every one of us may worship Allah
with insight, knowledge, and certainty. This is the real challenge
of Islam.



Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Masajid, 1/356.

See Sahih Bukhari, Kitab al-Anbia', 6/512, (3470); and Sahih Muslim,
Kitab at-Tawba, 4/2118 (2766)

Ibn al-Qayim, Madarij as-Salikin, 1/330-332.

Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Iman, 1/53, (23).

Ibn Abdul Wahhab, Kitab at-Tawhid, p.115. The Murji'a sect believed
that belief is all that is needed to reach the Garden Sahih Muslim,
Kitab al-Iman, 1/51, (20)

Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Zakat, 2/742, (1064) Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab,
Kashaf ash-Shubuhat, p.40. The Kharijites believed that committing
major wrong actions turns a Muslim into an unbeliever.



Abu A'la al-Mawdudi mentions in his book, Fundamentals of Islam,
nine effects of the declaration of faith upon the heart. First,
as a believer you are not narrow minded like those who believe in
many gods or who dispute the existence of God altogether. Second,
as a believer you feel a sense of your own worth and dignity, since
it is Allah alone who brings benefit and harm, and He alone who
brings life and death. Wisdom, power and authority are His. Because
of this the heart feels no fear of anything other than Him. No head
bows to another, no one is humbled before anyone else. No one may
fear another or be intimidated by human power or majesty, since
Allah is the Majestic and the Omnipotent over all things. In contrast
to this we see the subjugation of the disbelievers, the Christians
and the Jews, and the pagans and the atheists, to one another.

as a believer your sense of honour and self esteem are inspired
by faith. The Muslim knows humility without humiliation, and pride
without vainglory. Shaytan can not affect his pride or inspire conceit
in him since he is well aware that it is Allah Who has given him
all that he has and Who is capable of stripping him of everything
at any time. Yet you see the atheist bursting with pride whenever
some worldly benefit comes his way.

Fourth, as a believer you have the knowledge and the certainty that
it is only through purification of the self and the performance
of good works that success may be had. As for the disbelievers they
have only the false hope that the 'son' of God will wash away the
sins of the world, or that since they are themselves the 'sons'
of God and His high priests they will not be punished for their
sins, or that they will benefit from the intervention of the noble
and pious, or that their offerings and sacrifices to their gods
will give them licence to do as they please. As for the atheist
who supposes that his existence in this world is without purpose
and unguided by any higher plan, his gods are his own passions and
desires. To these things he has dedicated his life. Fifth, the believer
in this Aqeedah will not know hopelessness or despair, because he
believes that Allah is Master of all that the heavens and earth
contain. So his heart is reassured in peace and in hope. Even when
weak in himself and defeated, when life closes in around him, he
knows that those whom Allah takes into His protection will not be
neglected or abandoned so long as they depend upon Allah and trust
in Him. The disbelievers prefer to depend upon their own feeble
resources, yet how quickly despair overtakes them, plunging them
into desperation, and even driving them to suicide.

belief in this Aqeedah develops in the individual great determination,
fortitude, patience, confidence and trust, since you are engaged
in the greatest of enterprise, the quest for the pleasure of Allah.
Indeed you feel that what supports you is the power of He Who possesses
the heavens and the earth. In this way the strength and determination
of the believer, with his resolute will inspired by this confidence,
becomes like a mountain that no human force may move. Could there
ever be such a strength and confidence as this to inspire a person's

the believer derives both strength and support from the declaration
of faith, since it puts you out of reach of the two things that
can undermine your strength, love of the world and fear of it. Love
of the world is to place love of yourself, your spouse or your money
before love of Allah. Fear of the world is fear of an unknown force,
not under the power of God, waiting to destroy you. The believer
knows that there is no god but Allah, and so neither of these things
can gain any power over the heart, because it is reassured by the
fact that Allah is the Sole Possessor of both life and property.
Once you dedicate yourself to the pleasure of your Lord regardless
of the cost, you suddenly realise that no one can deprive you of
your life, neither man nor beast: the gun, the sword and the stone
do not kill; it is God alone Who brings death.

is no stronger determination than that of someone who believes in
Allah. No man can intimidate him and no army frighten him, neither
flashing swords nor bullets falling like rain. Whenever a believer
presents himself for battle in the path of Allah, his strength is
multiplied tenfold. So where does this leave the Christians and
the Jews, the disbelievers and the atheists.

by believing in the declaration of faith you can take command over
your own life, take pride in yourself, in your confidence and determination,
and in this way purify your heart from the influence ofavarice,
jealousy, cowardice, spite, and all other vices. Ninth, and by far
the most important of these effects on the heart, is the knowledge
that the declaration of faith guides you to understand the law of
Allah, and helps you to keep carefully to it. Thus you are awakened
to the fact that Allah is totally aware of every thing, and that
He is nearer to you than your jugular vein; and although you may
be able to escape from most kinds of danger, there is no escaping
from Allah. The degree to which faith pervades the human mind determines
in turn the extent of the believer's obedience to the laws of Allah,
his keeping to Allah's limits and not coming near to what Allah
has forbidden, and his hastening to do good works and to fulfill
Allah's commands.

declaration of faith is the first of the five essential pillars
of Islam. It is also the most important of these when it comes to
ascertaining the extent of a person's faith. The Muslim is the obedient
servant who keeps near to Allah. We can not do this until we believe
from the depths of our hearts that there is no god but Allah. The
declaration of faith is the source of Islam and the basis of its
strength. Regardless of the details of our belief or the different
shades of legal opinion, everything ultimately rests upon this one
statement: the power of Islam relies upon nothing else. If this
should ever be lost, then nothing at all would be left of our Deen.(1)
Ibn Rajab, when commenting on the declaration of faith, quotes Sufyian
ibn Uyaynah: "Allah did not bestow upon His servants a greater
blessing than the knowledge that there is no god but Allah. For
the people of Paradise these words are the same as fresh water is
to a people who live on the parched Earth. By it the scales of Heaven
and Hell are set. Because of it the Messengers were sent into battle.
Whoever declares it to be so, his wealth and his life are protected,
but whoever denies it shall find himself destroyed. It is the key
to paradise, and the single call of all the Messengers." (2)



Abu A'la al-Mawdudi, Mabadi' al-Islam, p.87.

Ibn Rajab, Kalimat al-Ikhlas, p.53

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