Question: What beliefs are “bid’ah” but do not take one outside the fold of Islam, as opposed to the clear kufr of the falasifa and other sects? If a particular belief is against the sound beliefs of the Ahl al Sunnah wal Jama’ah, by what criteria to we judge that this belief either takes one out of Islam, or takes one out of the fold of Ahl al Sunnah only, but would still leave the person who holds this belief a Muslim?
This is a long discussion with much divergent opinion, and that I will provide great detail later on because of its importance. Briefly, Maalik said that all deviants are kuffaar in one of his sayings. An example of where they differed in takfir is regarding the one who thinks Allah will not forgive his sins, but surely will punish him, while not denying its intellectual possibility. Where they agreed is where the belief was in clear contradiction with tawhid, or implied a flaw, such as believing that Allah is physical, or has a limit, or shares His attributes with something else, or that there is something else that creates. Al-Tahaawi mentions a number of things, but for now, to deny any of the following would be plain kufr:
- Know that Allah is Necessarily Existent without a beginning or an end; non-resemblant to anything or anyone in any sense; Self Existent and does not need a specifier for Him or His attributes, or something to be in; One without a partner, part or like in His Self, attributes or actions.
- Only He can create, and all that happens is according to His Will and Predestination.
- Sound reason tells us that He must be attributed with the Power to bring anything possible into existence, the Will to specify how it is to be, and Knowledge of all that is now, has been in the past, and will be in the future, as well as all that must be, cannot be, or may be.
- His attribute of Life is without beginning, end, body, soul, change or development.
- He must be All-Hearing and All-Seeing, not by ability, but by necessity; without instruments, such as eyes or ears; or needs, such as sound waves or light rays; or events, such as hearing or seeing one thing and then another.
- He must also have Speech that is not created and is therefore not language, sounds, letters, sequence, or a capacity; for all such attributes must have a beginning, and therefore a creator.
- It is impossible that Allah be attributed with the opposites of any of the above, such as being a body, in a place, or having a limit or a weakness, such as ignorance, death, deafness, blindness or speechlessness.
- It is possible, however, that Allah creates anything that can exist, or leaves it. He is the creator of all beings, things and actions and thus the Absolute Owner of everything.
- It is impossible that He could be unjust or unfair, as He has no creator, and therefore no judge. In addition it would be plain kufr to say that it is possible for Prophets to lie, or that they might commit mean acts, such as desiring other men’s wives, or even contemplating adultery.
Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji