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Hey! Who Am I Really? (Part Three)

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Many questions have been received with regard to a recently published book titled “Hey! Who Am I Really?” Since many aspects in the book deal with fundamental beliefs, it was deemed necessary to explain the issues in detail in their proper perspective. The explanation will insha Allah be done in several parts.

This is Part Three of the series.

Tawheed and Risaalaah

(The Oneness of Allah Ta‘ala and Messengership of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

When a child is born, among the first rites is to call out the azaan in his ear, as established from the practice of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) (Sunan Tirmizi #1514). Together with expressing the greatness of Allah Ta‘ala, the azaan consists of two fundamental declarations – tawheed and risaalah. First, the declaration of tawheed is called out: أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ (I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship besides Allah). Immediately thereafter follows the declaration of risaalah: أَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ (I bear witness that Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is the messenger of Allah.)  The azaan will not be fulfilled without this declaration.

Thus, from the time the child has barely been ushered into this world, both these fundamental beliefs are implanted into his pure heart. Then, for the rest of his life, five times daily he will hear the same azaan and reaffirm his faith in both tawheed and risaalah. He will reaffirm both beliefs by reciting the kalimah immediately upon awakening and also do the same, the last thing before going to bed. Even his salaah will not be complete until he recites the shahaadatain (the declaration of tawheed and risaalah) in his tashahhud.

It is clear from the above that the belief in tawheed is firmly intertwined with the belief in risaalah, to the extent that without the correct belief in risaalah one’s claim of belief in tawheed is rejected. Without belief in risaalah, there is no salvation in the hereafter. Such a person will be perpetually doomed to hell.

In the Quraan, the fundamental position of the belief in risaalah has been spelt out. Allah Ta‘ala says, “Verily the Mu’minoon (Believers) are ONLY those who believe in Allah and His Rasul (Muhammad [sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam]), then they entertain no doubt” (Surah Hujuraat, v15).  In another verse Allah Ta‘ala declares, “And among those who do not believe in Allah and His Rasul (Muhammad [sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam]), then verily we have prepared for the Kaafireen (rejectors) a blazing fire” (Surah Fath, v13). Hence, one who does not believe in the risaalah has been declared by the Quraan as being among the Kaafireen.

Many other verses of the Quraan and numerous ahaadeeth of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) also establish the fundamental belief in risaalah. One hadeeth sums it up, wherein Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) declared, “If Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) were alive, it would not be permissible for him (to practise anything) except that he follows me” (Musnad Ahmad #14631). Thus to believe in Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) as being the last and final messenger of Allah Ta‘ala is a fundamental pillar of imaan without which there is no salvation in the hereafter.

Glaring Omission

As discussed previously (in Part One), the author has written more than 200 pages to guide the reader to the answers of the four questions he has posed, the most important of which is: “Which road do I take?” Every person obviously wants to take the road that leads to Jannah, which essentially is the path of correct ‘aqeedah (belief). In the book the author discusses various aspects of ‘aqeedah. Under the chapter of “Spiritual Foundations” he discusses tawheed. He also discusses Islam, imaan, ihsaan, kufr, shirk, etc., (though there are many contentious issues in these discussions). Despite detailed discussions on other aspects of ‘aqeedah, the absolutely fundamental spiritual foundation and belief in risaalah is not mentioned anywhere in the book. This begs the question as to why has the fundamental belief of risaalah, which is reaffirmed millions of times daily throughout the world through the azaan and salaah, not been given any space in 200 pages??? In the introduction, after stating that “the terminology and concepts in this book will strike a familiar chord with Muslims, people of faith in general, as well as students of science and philosophy” the author goes on to say: “The hope is that the message in the book is universal and will resonate with readers of all spiritual traditions” (pg. 17). It is clear from this that the author is giving a message to people of all faiths as to which road they should take. Is he directing them all to a path that does not include or discuss the belief in risaalah? 

Most of the discussions in the book are an explanation and amplification of the statements of Fadhlallah Haeri. Thus the sixth chapter titled Society and Relationships opens with the following quote from him: “The diversity of existence includes multiple layers of connectedness and relationships. In truth, one of the main forces in the universe is the drive for connectedness, by which we seek the end of separation” (pg. 155). The author then unpacks what all this means in the conversation between the characters of the book. He first makes the point that “the Quraan encourages a healthy connectedness between people”. Thereafter to explain what is meant by the “connectedness” that is required, the author quotes the verse of the Quraan: “The Believers are indeed brethren” (Surah Hujuraat, v10). He then raises the question of whether this brotherhood applied only to Muslims.[1] In answer he states: “That’s a mistake that even some Muslims make” (emphasis ours), and then comments: “So the brotherhood between Muslims is part of a larger brotherhood of humanity.” This is followed by the elaboration: “Also, humanity needs to ‘come to know’ and awaken to the realization that physical, cultural and other differences are an ‘outer veneer’. When looked at ‘mindfully’ these ‘differences’ actually point towards us being essentially the same. There is oneness behind all the diversity” (pg. 156).

The summary of the above discussion is:

- The verse “Verily the Believers are brethren” does not apply to Muslims only.

- To believe that it applies to Muslims only is actually a mistake.

- In reality, the whole of humanity is included in the brotherhood referred to in the aayah.

- Cultural and other differences are merely an outer veneer.

- Everyone is essentially the same.

- There is oneness behind all the diversity.

If everyone is “essentially the same”, this would mean that Muslims, Christians, Jews and Hindus are all the same, since “there is oneness behind all the diversity.” Everyone is well aware that Christians, Jews and Hindus do not believe in Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) as the final Messenger of Allah Ta‘ala. Can all these groups still be the same?

In the verse of Surah Fath quoted earlier, Allah Ta‘ala declared those who do not believe in Allah and His Rasul (Muhammad [sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam]) as the Kaafireen, for whom is the blazing fire. Despite this clear distinction between believers and the Kaafireen, is everyone nonetheless “essentially the same”? Is a Muslim praying in the musjid the same as someone praying in a church, temple or synagogue? Furthermore, if there is “oneness behind all the diversity” and “everyone is essentially the same”, why was jihaad waged against those who did not accept the risaalah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)?

The Quraan is emphatic on the distinction between Mu’min and Kaafir. They are NOT the same. A Mu’min is one who believes both in tawheed and risaalah as well as every other basic ‘aqeedah. A Kaafir (disbeliever) is one who does not accept any fundamental ‘aqeedah –  and the belief in risaalah is among the most fundamental ‘aqaaid (beliefs).  

While the Quraan enjoins justice, compassion and kindness for every human being, there is no compromise in the matter of ‘aqaaid. The Quraan highlights this through the words of Sayyiduna Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) who openly said to the disbelievers of his time:

     “There has already been for you an excellent example in Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) and those with him, when they said to their people: “Indeed, we are disassociated from you and from whatever you worship other than Allah. We have rejected you, and there has appeared between us and you animosity and hatred forever until you believe in Allah alone” (Surah Mumtahinah, v 4).

Accepting tawheed but rejecting risaalah, and yet expecting to be regarded as a Believer, is to try to find a “middle path” in the matter of faith. Such a “middle path” is totally rejected in the court of Allah Ta‘ala. Allah Ta‘ala declares:

      “Those who deny Allah and His messengers, and (those who) wish to separate Allah from His messengers, saying: “We believe in some but reject others”: And they wish to take a course midway. They are in truth (equally) unbelievers; and we have prepared for unbelievers a humiliating punishment. (Surah Nisaa, V151/152)

Thus the author’s depiction of ‘Spiritual Foundations” and ‘aqaaid is fundamentally flawed. The glaring omission of the fundamental spiritual foundation of risalaah and the totally erroneous and deviating explanation of the verse of the Quraan regarding the brotherhood of Believers are grave errors. This depiction gives which give the false and heretical impression that salvation may be gained without the belief in risaalah - Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raaji‘oon.

May Allah Ta‘ala guide us all to the Straight Path, the path of correct ‘aqaaid which leads to Jannah and save us from every deviation.  Aameen.


[1] * All the mufassireen are unanimous that this brotherhood applies to Muslims, to believers only. Imaam Raazi (rahimahullah) states: The particle  ( إِنَّمَا )in the verse is a restrictive clause, which means that there is no brotherhood except between Mu’mineen (Believers). As for any brotherhood between a Mu’min and Kaafir, there is NO brotherhood, since the unifying factor is Islam. Hence if a Muslim passes away and he has one brother who is a Kaafir, his estate will be distributed to the Muslims in his family and nothing will be given to his Kaafir (biological) brother since there is no brotherhood between Muslims and disbelievers.  (At-Tafseerul Kabeer

(To be continued, insha Allah)

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