Istithna (Exception) Regarding Iman (Faith) Between Ahlus Sunnah & The Murji’ah

This article has been written in order to refute the Murji’ah creed and because Ahlus Sunnah of today (the Salafis) are accused by some groups of Muslims as being the Neo Murjiah (the Murji’ah of this era).

Therefore this article should inshallah help to provide evidence that Ahlus Sunnah of today are free from the Murji’ah creed and opposed to it inshallah.

From the correct understanding of iman with Ahlus Sunnah is that a person can and should make istithna (exception) regarding iman, which is that, a person if asked ‘are you a believer’ or something similar the person should reply ‘I am a believer inshallah (if Allah wills)’.

In the book of Hafidh ‘AbdulGhani al-Maqdisi he said: “…the Istithna (exception) regarding Iman is a part of the Sunnah, so if a man is asked are you a believer? He replies: If Allah wills…”

However the Murjiah incorrectly claim it is haraam to do istithna of iman and therefore if someone asks ‘are you a believer’ or something similar in their view the person asked should say ‘I am a believer’ and must not add inshallah.

But this stance by the Murjiah is incorrect because according to Ahlus Sunnah istithna (exception) in iman (saying “I’ am a believer inshallah” is allowed when it is said;

  • to avoid showing off (distancing oneself from Tazkiyah an-Nafs (self certification),
  • due to fear that one may be unable to meet Allah with perfect iman because of the sins the person has committed,
  • because the person was unable to fulfill his obligations (like praying, fasting in Ramadan, Hajj and giving Zakat etc) perfectly thus he does not have perfect (complete) iman,
  • or because Allah wants every Muslim to have perfect (complete) iman thus it is an obligation upon every Muslim to have perfect iman but he may fear that he is not be able to fulfill this obligation to Allah correctly (as Allah wants).

But Ahlus Sunnah make it clear that it is not allowed to say “I’ am a believer inshallah” when the person says it doubts he is a believer.

Ibn Battah said: “However, Istithna (exception) is correct from two angles: Negation of self certification in order that the person does not certify for his own self with the rights of Iman and its perfective elements; for whosoever pledges these characteristics for himself has testified for himself paradise and the pleasure and approval.” 51 Al-Ibanah, vol.2, p.865

Imam Ahmad said: “I say: “a believer, if Allah wills and a believer I hope”, because he does not know how his fulfillment of the actions are in accordance with what he has been obligated or not?” Khilal, as-Sunnah

Imam Abd Al Rahman bin Mahdi said “if he leaves exception (in Iman), surely it’s the core of Irjaa’” Al Sharee’ah by Al Aajurry, 2/664

Shaykh Al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said ” as for the opinion of the Salaf of Ashab Al Hadith, such as Ibn Mas’ood and his companions, and Al Thowri and Ibn ‘Uyayynah and the majority of scholars in Al Koofah, and Yahya Ibn Sa’eed Al Qattan in what he narrates about the scholars of Al Basrah, and Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, and others from the Imams of Ahl Al Sunnah, they used to apply exception in Iman, and this is well reported from them ” Al Fatawa 7/438

Shaykh Al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah also said ” those who prohibit exception in Iman are the Murji’ah, Al Jahmiyyah and their likes ” Al Fatawa 7/429

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About Abdul Kareem Clarke-Binns

I am a revert trying to spread the sunnah inshallah.
This entry was posted in REFUTATIONS OF THE MURJI'AH CREED and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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