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November 24, 2010

Muslims judging Muslims

Dr. Mohamed Elmasry

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Islam has no place for excommunicating a Muslim. Any person who chooses to declare in public that "la-elaha-ila-Allah, Muhammed rasul-Allah"; "I witness that there is no deity except the One God, and Muhammed is His messenger" is a Muslim.

Some Muslims may commit acts against the guidance of the One God and will be punished by their Lord if they do not sincerely repent and ask for forgiveness, but they are still Muslims. The duty of other Muslims to that person is to advice him/her IN PRIVATE.

Islam prides itself that it does not have priests, Popes or gurus who would act as mediators between a Muslim and his/her Lord.

Islam teaches that there are no chosen people; any person can reach the highest status in the eyes of the Lord according to his/her deeds. All humans are judged equally by the One Perfect, Absolute and Infinite God, the Lord of the Universe.  Islam also teaches that there is no original sin. No wonder during the last 1400 years millions of Jews, Christians, and Hindus became Muslims.

A Muslim is prohibited to judge people and their intentions but can judge acts and deeds.  Only God Almighty knows the intentions of every person and his/her final destination in the Hereafter.  God in Islam is the One and only One; Perfect, Absolute, Infinite Being, Who is the Lord and Supreme Judge of all people, Muslims and non-Muslims, in this life and in the Hereafter.

Imam Shaefi, the famous Muslim jurist said it was easier for him “to accept the Islam of 100 people than to reject the Islam of one person.”  The Prophet himself warned in words and deeds against judging Muslims.

Despite the clear Islamic teachings that no Muslim should claim that he/she is holier than other Muslims (53:32), few Muslims today talk and behave as if they are the only good Muslims while others are not.  Even very few Muslims take the extreme non-Islamic view of anathematizing (takfeer) other Muslims.  But why?

Why do very few Muslims try to excommunicate others, just because they defer with them on issues?  Why don’t they follow the Islamic etiquette of a good debate (16:125)?  Why do they try to repeat the same big mistake of some early group of Muslims, historically known as Kha-wa-reg? 

A Muslim is not a Muslim if and only if he/she declares and behaves in words or/and in deeds IN PUBLIC that he/she is no longer a Muslim and not believing in what a Muslim believes, after a long time of reflection, in full conscience and with a free will, and after receiving repeated advice from his/her Muslim peers.

In this Hadith the Prophet was explicit that judging other Muslims is a very serious matter: “Maan gala le akhehe ya Kafer fa Kad ba’ beha Ahdo-ho-ma” (Sahih).

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