Hijrah: Al Wala

2013 Summer Session (August 11 to October 14 2013)

Class taught by Shaikh Jamaal Zarabozo

Required or Recommended Reading:

There is actually a great deal of related literature available on in English that could be classified as “interesting.” One book that I plan on referring to a great deal is: Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus by Andrew March

The following books all contain material that we may wish to benefit from or comment on:

To be a European Muslim by Tariq Ramadan.

Western Muslims and the Future of Islam by Tariq Ramadan.

The Unfamiliar Abode: Islamic Law in the United States and Britain by Kathleen Moore.

Citizenship and Accountability of Government: An Islamic Perspective by M. Hashim Kamali

Muslim and American? Straddling Islamic Law and U.S. Justice by Mark Hanshaw

Recommended Textbook:

Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus by Andrew March

Basic Outline of the Quarter:

Verses dealing with al wala that start on page 229

Participating in non Islamic welfare and government

Tradition and creativity in grounding moral obligations to non Muslims

Choosing citizenship in non Muslim land

Laws of the land and how they relate to shariah

Keeping the Muslim identity and challenges

Issues related to Islamophobia

2013-08-11 Class Notes

We are approaching the end of the book by Andrew March. The basic outline of the course is shared above.

Al Wala (Loyalty)

Without a doubt it is one of the central questions. The word Wala contains the idea of loyalty, love and affection. Before we get to March again, we will discuss some of the verses.

In Surah Mumtahinah verses 8 & 9 Allah swt discusses this topic

لَّا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

Sahih International

Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.

إِنَّمَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ قَاتَلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَأَخْرَجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ وَظَاهَرُوا عَلَىٰ إِخْرَاجِكُمْ أَن تَوَلَّوْهُمْ ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُمْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

Sahih International

Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion - [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers.

Surah Al Imran verse 28, Allah swt says

لَّا يَتَّخِذِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۖ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَيْسَ مِنَ اللَّهِ فِي شَيْءٍ إِلَّا أَن تَتَّقُوا مِنْهُمْ تُقَاةً ۗ وَيُحَذِّرُكُمُ اللَّهُ نَفْسَهُ ۗ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ الْمَصِيرُ

Sahih International

Let not believers take disbelievers as allies rather than believers. And whoever [of you] does that has nothing with Allah , except when taking precaution against them in prudence. And Allah warns you of Himself, and to Allah is the [final] destination.

الَّذِينَ يَتَّخِذُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ أَيَبْتَغُونَ عِندَهُمُ الْعِزَّةَ فَإِنَّ الْعِزَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا

Sahih International

Those who take disbelievers as allies instead of the believers. Do they seek with them honor [through power]? But indeed, honor belongs to Allah entirely. [4:139]

Andrew March’s creative attempts to reinterpret the Al Wala and Al Bara related verses

These are some of the verses that March quotes, they are related to Al Wala and Al Bara. March wants to see how he can re-interpret these verses in order to enable Muslims to become full fledged citizens of a non-Islamic society specially the liberal society.

Do you think that it is possible to re-interpret these verses?

Some students think that if you live in a friendly liberal society, then these verses will not be in conflict.

Does friendship imply love and closeness?

They are not quite strangers. March says that many of the translators, translate awliya as friends. If friendship implies some kind of closeness and love with them, love for who they are, then it can be translated as awliya. The word ally is closer to the meaning of the word Wali in Arabic compared to being just friends. The word friend in English which is used very loosely is not the right understanding for the word Wali. Keep in mind that it is also different from someone with whom you have a pact.  Other choices for translating awliya would be acquaintances or ....

Treating people justly is expected from Muslims whether you dealing with a friend or an enemy. Many Muslim leaders were tolerant of their enemies. But this does not mean that you love them.

If you think in a broader sense that you are going to please Allah (swt) or you are going to please the disbelievers. For example, in this society some people believes in things that Islam does not believe in. If you will believe in these things of this society then you will be displeasing Allah (swt) whether you please or displease these people. This is true for all non-Islamic societies.

Religious Minorities in general have two approaches in order to keep their beliefs in tact.  One approach is that the dividing line between what they believe in and what they don't believe in gets very close. Another approach is that the minority separates themselves from the majority in order to protect their religious believes, for example we see places in NYC and LA where the Jews keep themselves separate (even in clothing) and the society does not have a problem with them. So people become accepting of the idea of that other people and may even open up to their worldview.

Scholars opinion about Al Wala and Al Bara

Hamid ibn Ateeq says that in the book of Allah and sunnah, Al Wala and Al Bara is the most discussed and most clear concept after the Tauheed, Shirk and the Hereafter. Lets say someone does not reject Shirk and says that “I have no problem with Shirk” then we cannot accept it since Quran calls it the greatest Shirk. We have Muslims today who say that they have no problem with Shirk and they accept it as a right for the people. It is true that one does not force anyone to become a Muslim but it is totally another to say that one does not care if Shirk spreads or not.

Concepts of Tawali and Wala

There are two words used in the Qur’an by Allah swt when referring to loyalty to kufar:

#1 Tawali (االتولّي)  

In Surah Mumtahina verse 89. Since this word has extra letters, it implies that it carries a more increased meaning based on the principle of the Arabic language which says that the increase of the letter points to the increase in meaning (ذيادةُ الحرف يدّلُ علي ذيادةِ المعاني)

Tawali (major kufr) takes you out of the fold of Islam. It means to defend the kufar with your body and wealth, in order to protect them.

#2 Wala (الولاء)

Wala is kabirah (a major sin), however it does not take you out of the fold of islam. Here you compromise with the kuffar for dunya purposes. It is also true that  الولاء < االتولّي according to some scholars (recent scholars have this view) and  الولاء = االتولّي according to other scholars (for example Al Qurtubi).

This verse (beginning verse of Mumtahanah) was revealed in relationship to an event that occurred during the life of a sahabah (Hatib ibn Abi Balta) who had participated in Battle of Badr. He did not intend to help the kuffar, but because of weakness to dunya, he helped some kuffar, without wanting the kuffar to succeed. This is a kind of wala and it does not take the individual out of Islam. We pray to Allah swt to forgive the sahabah.

Opinion of Qurtubi and Al Arabi among others scholars say that tawali is the same as wala. However they say that there are two types of wala, one that is general unrestricted wala and then there is more restricted wala. The first wala is which takes one out of the fold of Islam but the other is a major sin. They don't distinguish between tawali and wala but have the same type of rulings as the first group of scholars.

Both actions are completely unacceptable, one is a major sin and the other takes you out of the fold of Islam.

There are many liberal Muslim personalities who are performing tawali, they clearly state that Islam has no role to play in society. They say that what the liberal democracies are providing is far superior than Islam and they are definitely performing tawali.

Then there are some who are practicing wala for dunya reasons. And then there a lot of people who are not aware of this topic and are not thinking about whether something is halal or haram. This topic is not discussed by a lot of mosques and many Muslims are not even aware about it.

Al Birr (البِرّ)

Al Wala is different from Al Birr. Al Birr means to extend positive relationship to others without any feeling of love or closeness in your heart towards them.

Go back to the verses to the Al Mumtahinah as mentioned above, it makes it clear that Al Birr and Justice is allowed (  أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ ).

It is proper for a Muslim to deal with a non Muslim justly without having the feeling of love in the heart for them.

In Surah Luqman, Allah swt is discussing if your parents ask you to perform shirk, then do not obey them but have Al Birr that is permissible in shariah with them. You will not find any ayah or hadith in which word wala is used for the kuffar even if the kuffar are your close relatives.

وَإِن جَاهَدَاكَ عَلَىٰ أَن تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا ۖ وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًا ۖ وَاتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ مَنْ أَنَابَ إِلَيَّ ۚ ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

Sahih International

But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance]. Then to Me will be your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do.

The feeling of love and acceptance should not be there for somebody who is performing kufr. But you can be just in your dealings with them is acceptable, however if you have love for them and their way of thinking is wala, and if you assist them against the Muslims, then it is tawalli which takes you out of the fold of Islam.

There were some Q&A related to recent happenings in Bangladesh and Egypt.

Footnote: In the Muslim countries it is many times it is the behavior of the members of the so called Islamic parties which takes people away from them and not Islam itself. Many Muslims have not studied Quran and Sunnah directly so they judge Islam based on the behavior of these members and can be misled.

2013-08-18 Class Notes

The attachment to the concept of Wala and Bara started to break down at some level due to some reasons.

The first one was the changes in Europe and unfortunately we Muslims had started to look up to them as an example. There was a time in Europe when church was controlling everything and the national identity was on religious basis. For example as catholic you are either with us or with them. So ‘you are Muslims and we are not’ type basis for identity made the Wala and Bara a lively concept. When the conflict between the science and religion came up in Europe and the church lost its strength politically, the identity on the basis of religion started to weaken. Even the US constitution wants a society not on the religious basis.

Major event which weakened the concept of Wala and Bara among Muslims

No one really is specific about when this transition happened in the Muslim world. We will discuss Mudawi bint Sulaiman al Bassam master’s dissertation on this topic from King Saud University (which is not a Islamic university) by Sister Mudawi bint Sulayman bin Bassam and her adviser is Muhammad al Badawi.

It is about the stance of the contemporary modernist movement towards walaa and baraa. She discusses when the first chink in the armor it appears. One particular event from 1798 to 1801 C.E. is when the Napoleon Bonaparte ruled over Egypt. (See also: French Campaign in Syria and Egypt).

Napoleon was really trying to counter the British and he had some relations with India for trade purposes. He wanted to use Suez (note: no canal at that time) to find a shorter route to India to undermine the British rule. Egypt was under Ottoman rule before that and they had bases there.

Eventually Napoleon took over Alexandria and tried to extend control over Damascus and Palestine which was very violent but was an unsuccessful military expedition. Napoleon was good at propaganda and was able to give strong impression that he is just like Muslims.   

But Napoleon was eventually driven out. Even so, Napoleon is considered the first one to export the ideas of enlightenment and Western civilization to the Egyptians.

When he landed in Alexandria he told his troops:

“The peoples we will be living alongside are Muslims; their first article of faith is "There is no other god but God, and Mahomet is his prophet". Do not contradict them; treat them as you treated the Jews, the Italians; respect their muftis and their imams, as you respected their rabbis and bishops. Have the same tolerance for the ceremonies prescribed by the Quran, for their mosques, as you had for the convents, for the synagogues, for the religion of Moses and that of Jesus Christ. The Roman legions used to protect all religions. You will here find different customs to those of Europe, you must get accustomed to them. The people among whom we are going treat women differently to us; but in every country whoever violates one is a monster. Pillaging only enriches a small number of men; it dishonours us, it destroys our resources; it makes enemies of the people who it is in our interest to have as our friends. The first city we will encounter was built by Alexander [the Great]. We shall find at every step great remains worthy of exciting French emulation.”

Basically the Napoleon wanted his soldiers to respect the Muslims just like the Jews and the Christians.

When addressing the Muslims of Alexandria, Napoleon said:

For too long the beys who govern Egypt have insulted the French nation and covered their traders in slanders. The hour of their punishment has come. For too long this horde of slaves, bought in the Caucasus and Georgia, have tyrannised the most beautiful part of the world; but God, on whom all depends, has ordained that their empire shall end. People of Egypt, they have told you that I come to destroy your religion, but do not believe it; [tell them] in reply [that] I come to restore your rights, punish the usurpers and that I respect God, his prophet and the Quran more than the Mamluks. Tell them that all men are equal before God; wisdom, talents, virtues are the only things to make one man different from another... Is there a more beautiful land? It belongs to the Mamluks. If Egypt is their farm, then they should show the lease that God gave them for it... Cadis, cheiks, imans, tchorbadjis, [I ask you to] tell the people that we are true Muslims too. Wasn't it us who destroyed the Knights of Malta? Wasn't it us who destroyed the Pope who used to say that he had a duty to make war on Muslims? Wasn't it us who have at all times been friends to the Great Lord and enemies to his enemies? ... Thrice happy are those who will be with us! They shall prosper in their fortune and in their rank. Happy are those who will be neutral! They will get to know us over time, and join their ranks with ours. But unhappy, thrice unhappy, are those who shall arm themselves [to fight] for the Mamluks and who shall fight against us! There shall be no hope for them, they shall perish.[5][6]

The Muslims started to look up to the European people and Napoleon took complete advantage of this, saying that they are liberators from the Ottomans and Mamluks. As a result he was able to get quite a bit of support from the Egyptian people. In 1798 he wrote to a letter to a Sheikh saying he wanted to set up a system based on the Qur’an which alone is true.

Bourrienne (his secretary) said: Bonaparte’s principle was to see religion as a product of man, but that it should be respected. Napoleon had lavish celebrations for the Prophet’s Birthday (a legacy from the Fatimids time), and he would give sweets out, would protect hujjaj etc. He brought with him Chemists, Scientists, Engineers etc who established institutions in Egypt. The Rosetta Stone was discovered by one of his Scientists.

He left his commanders behind, but eventually the British invaded. He presented himself as a friend of the Egyptians, and a protector from the Ottomans. He was very good at making it look like he was on the side of the Muslims. Al-Jabarti and many other Muslims did not believe in his claims at all. Napoleon encouraged the Egyptian identity above the Muslim identity claiming that you Egyptians have more to do with the great Empire of the Pharoahs rather than anything else.  

Even though Napoleon left rather peacefully but the ruler he did leave behind Muhammad Ali Pasha was to continue with Napoleon’s efforts (even though he was Ottoman); for example, he sent students to England and France. In 1826, he sent 18 students to study arts and sciences at Western institutions.

Amongst the one he sent was Al-Tahtawi -- was sent not as a student, but sent as the Imam for the students. And Muhammad Ali Pasha asked him to keep memoirs. Tahtawi ended up reading the works of Voltaire, etc.

Al Tahtawi also wrote a book about the beauty of Paris and how good they were from a cultural point of view. He wrote a couple of other books, even stronger in their intonation about adopting their ways. He basically stressed that we need to adapt the European culture in the works published in 1872 and 1873. He argued that it is the role of the Muslims to look up to the Europeans and create a civilization based on that.

As a result, the bond of nationalism became more important than the Islamic bond via Wala and Bara. The Ottomans (even though they thought Turkish are better) still looked at as other Muslims as their own people. Tahtawi was basically questioning this Ottoman view now.

One of the people Tahtawi influenced was Mohammad Abduh, and then he in turn influenced Muhammad Rashid Rida.

Footnote: Whenever in the Muslim world a need for change is felt, the body of Muslims always never reach a balanced consensus. There is one side which is so conservative that it does not want to change even if the change is not related to the Deen and then the opposite who embrace the change so wholeheartedly that the Deen is forgotten. The middle party which understands the balance is always very few voices who never become strong enough to influence the masses. That is why in past few centuries Muslims ummah has been in this strange conflict and this problem exists to this day.  

Footnote: A famous story is that some of the scholars (at the time of Napoleon’s attack) went into a mosque and started reading Sahih Bukhari thinking that Allah will defend them from the invaders just because they were reading Sahih Bukhari.

Andrew March on the verses of Wala and Bara

March quotes Muhammad Rashid Rida’s commentary on http://quran.com/3/28 (on page 229 of the book):

لا يتخذ المؤمنون الكافرين أولياء من دون المؤمنين ومن يفعل ذلك فليس من الله في شيء إلا أن تتقوا منهم تقاة ويحذركم الله نفسه وإلى الله المصير

Sahih International [3:28]

Let not believers take disbelievers as allies rather than believers. And whoever [of you] does that has nothing with Allah , except when taking precaution against them in prudence. And Allah warns you of Himself, and to Allah is the [final] destination.

Footnote: Among the era of Taba-Tabieen there had been some people who said that even giving a pen to a Mushrik is giving Wala to them. Such an extreme position even though goes against the Quran but unfortunately some Muslims (even to this day) believe in such statements. This is what the comment of Rida on page 229 is pointing to.

Three key points by Rida about Al Wala  (p 229):

1. They refer to specifically to situations where there is an active war and those who are fighting against Muslims.

In Surah Mumtahinah verses 8 & 9 Allah swt discusses this topic

لَّا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

Sahih International

Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.

إِنَّمَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ قَاتَلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَأَخْرَجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ وَظَاهَرُوا عَلَىٰ إِخْرَاجِكُمْ أَن تَوَلَّوْهُمْ ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُمْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

Sahih International

Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion - [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers.

The Prophet (SAWS) established bonds with non-Muslim states before and after hijrah. He emphasizes these verses as taking them as allies at the expense of Muslims. But he’s applying mafhoom al mukhaalafah here. Some of the ahadith of the Prophet (SAWS) says don’t mention this as a condition.

2. According to Rida what is forbidden is allying with them at the expense of Muslims and Muslim interests.

3. Then Rida quotes Mohammad Abduh says that what is prohibited is anything that damages the community; but social/secular/commercial interaction is allowed which does not harm the religion, harm the people of religion and harms interests. He’s mixing the picture about what is prohibited with what is harmful and more on this next week, inshaAllah.  

2013-08-25 Class Notes

Today we will follow the book by Andrew March a bit closely. On page 229 he discusses the muwalat verses and we move on to page 230. At the end of the class last time we did Rida and Abduh. Today we will discuss the Mauritanian Abdullah bin Bayyah. who is member of many international organizations including the European Islamic Council.

March quotes his definition on page 230 and mentions that ibn Bayyah is reversing the causality. Bayyah says that Wala is of many types and kinds. There is Wala based on Aqeedah, then there is one based on blood relations and contracts as well. This type of loyalty is not incompatible with the loyalty of citizenship and homeland. March thinks that ibn Bayyah is more for the contemporary European norms for the European Muslims. March says that ibn Bayyah agrees with the Habermas’s conception of the constitutional patriotism.

Religious loyalty to him does not exclude the constitutional loyalty and he considers that modern constitutional democracies are not asking for abandonment of the religion i.e. the religious freedoms and religious rituals.

This exception is not only negative, but on the positive side, there is much good demanded by religion.

March quotes on page 231 where ibn Bayyah quotes the following verse:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ

Sahih International [5:1]

O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts.  

Here ibn Bayyah’s position on what he means by human rights is not clear. It is not clear what he means by neutrality between religions either. Since the start of secularism, the secularist want that their religion should stay in the private sphere and gives up the right to be in the public sphere.

These man made systems (e.g. human rights, secularism, etc) all have a flaw: you must buy into their essential principle. This has been a debate that has gone on even in the USA.

These passages can not be dismissed as from some “media savvy” figure like Tariq Ramadan -- it’s from a traditional scholar in Arabic.

The most important question that March raises is on page 232 stating: “However, it is appropriate to ask just what is Islamic about these arguments”.

Bin Bayyah does quote Qur’an verses. He quotes:


يا أيها الذين آمنوا أوفوا بالعقود أحلت لكم بهيمة الأنعام إلا ما يتلى عليكم غير محلي الصيد وأنتم حرم إن الله يحكم ما يريد

Sahih International

O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts. Lawful for you are the animals of grazing livestock except for that which is recited to you [in this Qur'an] - hunting not being permitted while you are in the state of ihram. Indeed, Allah ordains what He intends.

Bin Bayyah also quotes:


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُحِلُّوا شَعَائِرَ اللَّهِ وَلَا الشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَلَا الْهَدْيَ وَلَا الْقَلَائِدَ وَلَا آمِّينَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَانًا ۚ وَإِذَا حَلَلْتُمْ فَاصْطَادُوا ۚ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ أَن صَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ أَن تَعْتَدُوا ۘ وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

Sahih International

O you who have believed, do not violate the rites of Allah or [the sanctity of] the sacred month or [neglect the marking of] the sacrificial animals and garlanding [them] or [violate the safety of] those coming to the Sacred House seeking bounty from their Lord and [His] approval. But when you come out of ihram, then [you may] hunt. And do not let the hatred of a people for having obstructed you from al-Masjid al-Haram lead you to transgress. And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.

Even if you think of this verse from secular perspective then the Birr means righteousness and Taqwa means fear of Allah which cannot be translated in any secular way. The verse is so “religiously filled” that quoting it in secular paradigm is not possible. Similarly “sinfulness” and “aggression” are understood in the context of Islam. March is not impressed by the quotation of these verses as on page 232 (end of 2nd paragraph) he mentions that these verses can be used to cooperate with Jews and Christians against secularism.

Truth, morality and goodness are good terms but each worldview will define it in their own way. In Islam, Shariah defines these terms in its own way. For example, someone who commits shirk is not a good person and shirk is considered the greatest injustice. He is very charitable and outgoing in public spheres but he worships an elephant. From secular perspective this may be fine, but Islamically this is not fine. So removing the concrete values of religion, then the broad categories do not mean anything.  

Bin Bayyah writes: Using mafhoom al mukhalafa argument, he says if it is not at an expense to the Muslims, then there is nothing wrong with loyalty to non Muslims. He says that if the non Muslims are not attacking our deen, then there is no harm in cooperating with them for a common interest, have loyalty with them according to the law of morality.

Footnote: Not sure what is the original Arabic source for the term “law of morality” or what it means. March is quoting the original Arabic text and not a translation of Bin Bayyah’s writing.

Ibn Bayyah is known to have some extreme views on the secular side as he give complete endorsement to secularism. http://www.themodernreligion.com/world/muslims-living.html

Another source quoted by March is Abdul Qadir on page 233.

We discussed the difference between wala and tawalli, and the difference between birr and treating non Muslims justly and being good to them. There is no doubt that you can treat them justly and be good to them, but you cannot find any source that says that you should have wala for them, draw near them and be pleased with them.

March quotes Abd al Qadir that there is no prohibition with friendship with unbelievers. Footnote: It depends on what he means by friendship ....

The Prophet (SAWS) turned to non-Muslims for help and in addition there is the permissibility of marrying Jews and

March is introducing a new concept, that of marriage to Jews and Christian women as an argument for having love for non-Muslims. He argues doesn’t it mean that you are supposed to love your non-Muslim wife?

There are different kinds of love, there is natural love for those who do good for you is permissible. Al Wala is love that comes above natural love, it is love based on religion. There is no basis in our texts for having Al Wala to non-Muslims. You are supposed to have love for the sake of Allah and hate for the sake of Allah swt. And even among Muslims, your religious love or al wala will be based on the level of religiosity of the person you are dealing with. Believing men and women are auliyaa of one another.

So just because Muslim men can marry Jews or Christians, does not mean that you can have al Wala with them.

Abd al Qadir is not opening the door for alliances with political entities. He says that there must be overwhelming need and the stance of kufar cannot be dominant. He says that if we make agreement with the non-Muslims and that we are in need while Islam is dominant, then it is valid. Footnote: This is similar to agreements signed by the Prophet with the non-Muslims which were all based on the principles of Islam.

Abd al Qadir says it is permissible to sign such contracts and other means of interactions and these not meet the level of al Wala.

Walaa is basically a situation where if Muslims are going to be harmed, then you resort to assistance from them, and then you accept them and their kufr.

Al Walaa is reached with non Muslims if you come into agreement based on your religious beliefs and if you allow to cloud what you are.

Abdul Qader includes approving their doctrines and aiding them in their unbelief. Ibn Taymiyyah refers to muwalaat al qalb (alignment of their hearts).

Abdul Qader is defining what exactly is al wala wal bara with non-Muslims. He gives examples.

The next question is are these bonds with non-Muslims compatible with the political system of Islam (last paragraph of page 234).

2013-09-01 Class Notes

In the question of the liberal citizenship, can Muslim fit into the expected liberal citizens?

This is by the way purely based on theory, since in Western democracies one is not put into jail just for disliking or hating other citizens. We saw that complete Tawali is forbidden to those non-Muslims who are fighting Islam and Muslims. We were discussing Muhammad Rashid Rida and his view last week, and in this view one is not to take auliya from those who are fighting the Muslims.

As we discussed that there is no verse or hadith which allow for Al Wala to non-Muslims. It talks and permits for Al Birr to non-Muslims but not al Wala. Here Rida quotes the eighth verse of Surah al Mumtahinah.

لَّا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

Sahih International

Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.

Bin Bayyah does not have problem with Wala based on nationalism and he also praises secularism. Abdul Qadir has the approach of the traditional scholars. He talks about that the kind of Wala which is forbidden which leads to subjugation and setback for Islam and its people. His description of how it can occur in two ways. First is being pleased with their unbelief and second being intimate and close to them. This in his view is what makes one being accepting of their creed and beliefs. For example in some part of the Muslim world sometimes one has to deal with corruption on daily basis. In Western societies the corruption is in big dollars and not the small dollars. So many times a Muslim seeing the lack of corruption in small dollars may start to conclude mistakenly that their behavior is good based on their creed. Seeing these qualities and accepting their good qualities does not mean that they have the right creed. If one has stayed too long among them or grew up with them then one may have what Abdul Qadir calls Muwalat al Qalb, i.e. the heart starts to accept them to the point of accepting their kufr in the heart. This is a grave error if one goes beyond being good with them in their dealings and starts to accept their religion and creed.

Footnote: If you get PhD in Islamic Studies from a reputable university in the West, you have to pass an examination in Arabic, usually at least one other "middle eastern" language like Farsi or Turkish and in another language such as German or French (many prominent orientalists wrote in these languages). So you can expect a PhD in Islamic Studies to have knowledge to translate the original Arabic texts.

This actually happened even to those Muslim intellectuals who saw the material advancements of the West and without judging on their creed, these intellectuals brought secularism back to the Muslim world and even to this day argue against Islam. We can say that with material progress the West is turning against God more and more and even to this day this is very visible phenomenon.

The next wrong step can be emulating them in their ways and beliefs. Abdul Qadir makes it clear that helping them out in terms of their creed and religion is going against the concept of Wala in Islam. He makes it clear that the religions that existed before Islam are not acceptable even though one is ordered to be good to the adherents of these religions.

Lets take three cases: One person says Merry Christmas and says also I believe what you have is good and I like what you do. Then on the other end one does not say Merry Christmas at all. Then one is in the middle who may say Merry Christmas but I am only doing this to have relationship with you and use that to try to give you Dawah and stop you from heading to the fire of Hell. Obviously the first person is wrong in his approach for sure.

Abdul Qadir continues, one cannot make alliance make with non-Muslims which allow the kufr to become dominant. In case of citizenship, is the formal alliance and contract in which a Muslim is accepting a system on top of it which is not Islamic? March raises questions on page 235 that one can may be live as a resident alien in the state but you do not have the attachment to the state. Then he quotes two reasons on why the liberal citizenship contract will not be against the Islamic concept of Wala.

1) The first is the qualifying condition of ‘min doonil mumineen’ and use mafhoom al mukhalafa to argue alliances which are not against Muslims is allowed. The Hanafis do not accept this mafhoom al mukhalafa at all. So for Hanafi this understanding of March is not acceptable any ways.

الَّذِينَ يَتَّخِذُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ أَيَبْتَغُونَ عِندَهُمُ الْعِزَّةَ فَإِنَّ الْعِزَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا

Sahih International [4:139]

Those who take disbelievers as allies instead of the believers. Do they seek with them honor [through power]? But indeed, honor belongs to Allah entirely.

For example Quakers are pacifists so can I make Wala to them i.e. Quakers? Here even this Wala is to disbelievers and ayah does not allow for this.

2013-09-08 Class Notes

Going back to the page 235 of the Andrew March’s book, we need to continue discussing his two propositions. March is making a mistake by using the Mafhoom al Mukhalafa and before him Rida also used this argument.

Mafhoom al Mukhaalafah is the idea that:

If A then B then that indicates if not A then not B. Many Hanafis have rejected it and many shafi do not accept it.

So then if walaa is giving preference to the disbelievers over believers then it is haram.

Then a mafhoom al mukhaalafah argument is:

If walaa is not giving preference to the disbelievers over believers then it is not haram.

This statement is not true automatically. So the scholars who accept mafhoom al mukhalafa put a condition that even when invoked, it cannot contradict a mantooq (a clear statement from the text of Quran and Sunnah).  

This is the argument that they use to say you can make walaa to the disbelievers as long as it is not in preference to the believers.

Another issue is to discuss liberal society has basis for justice in the justice theory from John Rawls. We have not discussed the Islamic theory of justice yet. However in Rawls theory the justice is not the same thing as democracy. The book ‘A Theory of Justice’ by John Rawls, and he gets into many different theories in history.

He comes down to two basic principles of justice (assuming rational people):

1. Each person to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty with others.

2. [Of course, not everybody’s going to have the same thing] Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that:

(i) they are reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage

(ii) they are attached to positions are open to all

In economics the rational person is one who is working to maximize profits. The social scientists in the West found that the idea of the rational person that they had does not work so they have started to change the definition. So rational person is someone who has vested interest in the system. So March is raising these questions to figure out a way (from his perspective) to make Muslims more rational players into the system.

From an Islamic perspective, justice and equity is divinely ordained. Muslim scholars have discussed a wide variety of ways that they can abide by social cooperation. Even if you take Qaradawi and Mawlawi what they are describing is a private obligation to non-Muslims, but these scholars go even further and they give more of a comprehensive picture of a Muslim citizen that goes beyond equitable treatment to being one of concern.

What does it mean that a Muslim should have a concern for non-Muslim? If it is a care for dawah and to bring them to Islam then that is not acceptable to the liberal democracy.

How close can Muslims be with fellow non-Muslims in a liberal democracy?

March starts his chapter 8 with the following two verses from the Quran which are from Surah al Mumtahinah.


عَسَى اللَّهُ أَن يَجْعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ عَادَيْتُم مِّنْهُم مَّوَدَّةً ۚ وَاللَّهُ قَدِيرٌ ۚ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Sahih International

Perhaps Allah will put, between you and those to whom you have been enemies among them, affection. And Allah is competent, and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.


لَّا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

Sahih International

Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.

The sahabah took these verses as miracle, since after the Fath Makkah this ayah’s prediction was fulfilled. So it was predicting that particular incident. So March is quoting them out of context. Note how March ignores quoting the very next ayah which states:


إِنَّمَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ قَاتَلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَأَخْرَجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ وَظَاهَرُوا عَلَىٰ إِخْرَاجِكُمْ أَن تَوَلَّوْهُمْ ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُمْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

Sahih International

Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion - [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers.

You are going to benefit non-Muslims even if all you do is pay taxes.

2013-09-15 Notes

The real question we are examining is: can Muslims living in Western societies be anything more than “resident aliens”? Can they be full members of society from the perspective of Western liberal citizenship.

He describes this as the principle ‘S’ on page 238: It is possible for Muslims to contribute to civic, economic and social aspects of their societies.

In the section of ‘contribution to Non-Muslim Welfare’ March makes a point that general notions of charity and contributing to the welfare of others and sacrificing for the sake of one’s political community are central aspects of Islamic behavior. He talks about Zakat, for example. There are specific Qur’anic verses that encourage charity towards others.


ليس البر أن تولوا وجوهكم قبل المشرق والمغرب ولكن البر من آمن بالله واليوم الآخر والملائكة والكتاب والنبيين وآتى المال على حبه ذوي القربى واليتامى والمساكين وابن السبيل والسائلين وفي الرقاب وأقام الصلاة وآتى الزكاة والموفون بعهدهم إذا عاهدوا والصابرين في البأساء والضراء وحين البأس أولئك الذين صدقوا وأولئك هم المتقون

Sahih International

Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.

So you give to the needy, without reference to their faith.


واعبدوا الله ولا تشركوا به شيئا وبالوالدين إحسانا وبذي القربى واليتامى والمساكين والجار ذي القربى والجار الجنب والصاحب بالجنب وابن السبيل وما ملكت أيمانكم إن الله لا يحب من كان مختالا فخورا

Sahih International

Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.

These verses are speaking about being charitable/generous, and one of the interpretations is that it is referring to Muslim neighbors (the near neighbor) and the non-Muslim neighbors (the farther away neighbor).

Zakat is political, since it is administered by the govt. And it says that the govt has an active role in meeting the needs of the citizens of the state both Muslims and non-Muslims.

But there is a difference between saying that a Muslim state deals with non-Muslim citizens in a good fashion, doesn’t prove that Muslims outside of the state are required to deal with non-Muslims in a good fashion.

There’s no restriction to giving charities to giving to Muslims and even in the classical tafsirs they don’t put this restriction. Even Qutb interprets as an order to extend charity to the human family at large. In the classical books of tafseers it mentions that Umar bin Khattab (ra) assigned a certain amount of the money from the treasury was assigned for non-Muslims. One interpretation was that fuqara was for Muslims and masakeen were for non-Muslims.


إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاءِ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ ۖ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

Sahih International

Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler - an obligation [imposed] by Allah . And Allah is Knowing and Wise.

There is a category of ‘Mualafatu Qulubuhum’ the zakat may be given (by the way the sadaqat in this verse is talking about zakat and this the opinion of majority of scholars). There is a narration in ibn Kathir that the Fuqara are the Fuqara of Ahle Kitab.

Ibn Kathir (regarding the narration from the source that March is referencing) says that this is a very strange statement, even if its chain was correct, and he says Abu Bakr Al-Abasi, and says his provenance is unknown (majhool).

There’s another narration from Suyuti about Umar bin Khattab (ra) that he saw an old man from his door from the People of the Book, and then Umar said we should give them and then he quoted the above verse. But Al-Dawr Al-Manthoor, Suyooti presents all kinds of narrations. And this story he’s narrating is from Ibn Abi Hatim, and it goes through the same weak chain we described earlier.

Hence as a report from Umar bin Khattab (ra), it is weak. Also narrated that ‘Ikrimah, the student of Ibn Abbas, are the poor of the Muslims, and the masakeen are the poor of Ahl-ul-Kitaab -- this narration doesn’t seem to be authentic.

In many books, you see there is ijma’ that zakat is not to be given to a kaafir. Ibn Qudaamah said in Al Mughni said: we do not know of any difference amongst the scholars of any difference on this topic; and similarly Ibn Al Mundhir said that all of the people we take knowledge is that zakaat is not to given to a dhimmi. When Muadh went to Yemen he said to “take it from their rich to their poor” so it seems there is agreement amongst all the scholars that this is something khaas (خاص) to the Muslims with the exception of those whose hearts can be reconciled.

The fact that zakat cannot be given to the non-Muslim puts the second half of this paragraph into difficulty as it does not have a sound basis. However, this does not say that sadaqa and gifts cannot be given to the non-Muslims.

With respect to the verse we mentioned (4:36) -- Qurtubi says: being good to neighbors is to be recommended whether they are Muslims and non-Muslims -- it means protecting them from harm, being charitable and supportive.

The neighbor who is Muslim and relative then he has 3 rights and if the neighbor is non-Muslim but relative then he has two rights. If he is just a neighbor then we take the rights of the neighbor very seriously. Recall the hadith that the emphasis by Jibrael (pbuh) made Prophet (pbuh) think that neighbor will have right in inheritance. This principle of being good to the neighbors is general, hence these ahkam of neighbors apply in all lands unless there is proof to show otherwise. Qurtubi is emphasizing this to remove the misunderstanding that after the verses of sword (saif) these verses were abrogated. So Qurtubi made special emphasis to this.

So is it permissible for Muslims to pay for the road from San Francisco to Sacramento? On page 240 (first paragraph) March quotes Ali Muhyi al Din al Qara Daghi who allows taxes to be paid by Muslims even if non-Muslim state may adopt anti-Muslim policies. Well may be road from San Francisco to Sacramento may not be a problem but what about the Drones being used? Most of the people (Muslims and non-Muslims) are paying taxes just to stay out of jail anyways. So this makes the taxes a case of necessity.

Then he goes on to say that since Muslims are benefitting so they should go ahead and put money into the non-Muslim society (taxes, charity etc.). He then goes back to verses of muwallat and says that Muslims can have Wala as in cooperation in civil and secular matters. So based on generosity being taught by Islam, March feels that there is strong reason to build a bond between Muslims and liberal democracy.  

Cooperation is one of the things we start, but then this leads to love (however this is doubtful). It’s not clear that he did cooperate with non-Muslims on numerous occasions. March’s quotation on page 240 from Mawlawi on ‘numerous occasions ….. to advance just secular causes” is not accurate. In regards to hilf al fudool, it cannot be quoted to strengthen March for two reasons:

1) Prophet (pbuh) said “if…” in front of the statement and never executed it

2) Hilf al fudool is about giving the right back to the one who has been wronged, which is not the same as the question of having consensus with liberal democracy. Muslims can always help to give the right back to the one who has been wronged.  

When Tariq Ramadan talks about enjoining good, he talks about how things like unemployment etc, but for enjoining justice calls for direct confrontation on sin. We Muslims are commanded to improve the society we live in, to enjoin good and to forbid wrong.

But note that making the society more Islamic, you may make the society more illiberal.

2013-09-22 Class Notes

We are discussing an unattributed column in Islamonline.com about contributing to non-Muslim societies.

We discussed last time, that we have to gradually shape this society to our standards, but basically our standards are not those of liberal societies.

The above article says that you could identify goals that are good for us, which are social and secular from the perspective of Islamic welfare.

The author is trying to identify many goals and if some goals align with our goals then well and good. For example, the war in Iraq was not a just war, but many just war theorists said that since one of the causes was a just cause, then even an unjust war is okay. One of the just war theorist (Turner Johnson) said that since one of the goals is good so despite the rest of the wrong goals, overall the war is good.

Andrew March talks about Dawah and its universalism and quotes the ayat from the Quran (17:70),

وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَىٰ كَثِيرٍ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلًا

Sahih International

And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.

Andrew March is quoting the general evidence and remains silent about the other evidence.

Does this mean that all human beings are to be honored?

He could have quoted the verse that shows that all mankind except the believers are losers from Surah al Asr. Similar example is in Sura At-tin.

Andrew March says that Islam is for all of humanity, he says God’s creation was an act of love for the humankind. What do you think of this expression?

He says Islam brings improvement and benefit for all of humanity? Are there not any exceptions to this?

After 9/11, many people quote Imam Nawawi that we should desire good for your brother, and they say akhi-hi means all brotherhood in humanity, however they don't quote the entire quotation, which is to wish all of humanity to accept Islam.


حَدَّثَنَا مُسَدَّدٌ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى، عَنْ شُعْبَةَ، عَنْ قَتَادَةَ، عَنْ أَنَسٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏.‏

وَعَنْ حُسَيْنٍ الْمُعَلِّمِ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا قَتَادَةُ، عَنْ أَنَسٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ "‏ لا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لأَخِيهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ ‏"‏‏.‏

Narrated Anas:

The Prophet () said, "None of you will have faith till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself."

(Sahih al-Bukhari 13)

March says on page 242 (end of first paragraph) that benefit to humanity is comprehensive in nature and controversial in Rawlsian sense, the contemporary scholars say it is un-Islamic to regret the benefit that comes to the entire humanity.

In the USA, the moral character is a requirement for naturalization since 1790. You have to prove that you are fit for the society. Since 1990, Congress has added requirements for what it means to have a good moral character. And according to an author, the examiners are using this authority to exclude people who do not meet their guidelines.

Some examples of moral character

A muslim should be a model neighbor.

In order to meet this characteristic, you have to know the urf of the society. If your kids are up late at night and make as much noise, while living in an apartment will disturb your neighbors. But if you live in your own separate villa, then this is not an issue.

Germans found the Turk immigrants problematic, because of their habit of consuming garlic. Germans liked them as good labor and workers in the society but disliked this garlic issue since Germans do not use garlic.

This is something that Muslims should be sensitive to, as the ayah says:

وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَبِذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْجَارِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ وَالصَّاحِبِ بِالْجَنبِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ مَن كَانَ مُخْتَالًا فَخُورًا

Sahih International [4:36]

Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.

In Islam even if neighbors are non-Muslims then one has to be good to them. There are many ahadeeth which can also be quoted to strengthen this point.


حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ الْمُبَارَكِ، عَنْ حَيْوَةَ بْنِ شُرَيْحٍ، عَنْ شُرَحْبِيلَ بْنِ شَرِيكٍ، عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ الْحُبُلِيِّ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ خَيْرُ الأَصْحَابِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرُهُمْ لِصَاحِبِهِ وَخَيْرُ الْجِيرَانِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرُهُمْ لِجَارِهِ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ غَرِيبٌ ‏.‏ وَأَبُو عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ الْحُبُلِيُّ اسْمُهُ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ يَزِيدَ ‏.‏

Abdullah bin Amr narrated that the Messenger of Allah said :

"The companion who is the best to Allah is the one who is best to his companion. And the neighbor that is the best to Allah is the one that is best to his neighbor."(Sahih)

Is it acceptable to accept gifts from non-Muslims? On what basis?

The Prophet did accept gifts from non-Muslims. Since neighbors have more rights, then it makes more sense on basis of mafhoom al mukhalafah to accept gifts from non-Muslim neighbors. You should not accept gifts that are based on religious observations etc

However you need to let your neighbors know that you are Muslim and you have some unique ???

British were more open to other cultures and followed the concept of multiculturalism. Whereas German and French societies expect immigrants to accept their culture and speak their language. People in France and Germany have many problems with this requirement. For Muslims Ihsan is always essential of the character:


حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ مَنِيعٍ، حَدَّثَنَا هُشَيْمٌ، حَدَّثَنَا خَالِدٌ، عَنْ أَبِي قِلاَبَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي الأَشْعَثِ الصَّنْعَانِيِّ، عَنْ شَدَّادِ بْنِ أَوْسٍ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ "‏ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَتَبَ الإِحْسَانَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ فَإِذَا قَتَلْتُمْ فَأَحْسِنُوا الْقِتْلَةَ وَإِذَا ذَبَحْتُمْ فَأَحْسِنُوا الذِّبْحَةَ وَلْيُحِدَّ أَحَدُكُمْ شَفْرَتَهُ وَلْيُرِحْ ذَبِيحَتَهُ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ ‏.‏ أَبُو الأَشْعَثِ الصَّنْعَانِيُّ اسْمُهُ شُرَحْبِيلُ بْنُ آدَةَ ‏.‏

Narrated Shaddad bin Aws:

that the Prophet () said: "Indeed Allah has decreed Ihsan in everything. So when you kill, then do the killing well, and when you slaughter, then do the slaughtering well. Let one of you sharpen his blade, and let him comfort his animal (before slaughtering)."

Few points from discussion:

The Rawlsian sense does not have any problem in cultures having their inner individuality. From the Rawlsian sense the Patriotism is not correct because if you help your country in doing wrong then you are not looking after the welfare of the humanity. From the perspective of Amr bil Maroof and Nahi anil munkar, our conception of good and evil is not the same. We should hate it in our hearts but if we cannot change it then we have to be patient.   

Discussion about patriotism. Some define patriotism as my country right or wrong. This type of belief is harmful to your country according to the founding fathers of United States. If you truly love your country then when it is doing something wrong, you should not blindly accept it and not speak out, because doing something wrong might hurt the country

Next week we will discuss political participation by Muslims in non-Muslim societies.

2013-09-29 Class Notes

Participation in Political System in non-Muslim Lands

The textbook now discusses the participation of Muslims in the political edifice in non-Muslim lands. He says that they are all crucial components of participating in the society and affirming your citizenship. You have to accept the political system as a whole.

March says that the maqasid of the shariah which are preservation of deen, life, aql, mal, nasl, can they be fulfilled by a non Muslim land, and would it be acceptable from the shariah point of view.

The author says that there are four main objections to participation in the political system, if you are engaged in the political system, you are accepting non-Muslims as awliya, you are inclining towards them, you are accepting their system as an alternative to the shariah, and you are in danger of being assimilated.

وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ

(5:44) And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the disbelievers.

The four main objections of participation in political system in non Muslim land are from Taha Jabir Alwani and M. Amir Ali who are the two who are strong proponents of participating in the political system.

In response to those who say it is sin to participate in the political system, they say that we must advance the cause of Islam by all means. They are implying it is okay to participate in things that are illegitimate to advance the cause, even by making coalitions with liberal groups.

The Islamization fears of the West

Some of the fears Western minds have is  laws based on Shariah, capital punishment, alcohol ban, muslim marriage and divorce courts, alternative view to capitalism, etc. So here Muslims will or can bring their view into different propositions. On page 244 March states:

1) No prohibition on collaborating with unbelievers in secular matters (عدم التحريم)

2) It is a religious injunction to enjoin good and forbid evil

Example: Political participation being dismissed as not an issue, and there is vagueness on the topic.

E.g. bin bayaa: Political participation varies from permissible to necessary given the verse that says

وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.

He includes within political participation joining political participation, running for office.

So bin bayya specifies two general rules:

1) Upholding Islamic morals,

2) Respect for difference of opinion, being honest and eschewing violence.

But these are vague. How do you take these and actually apply them?

One of the most quoted reports for in-depth political participation is the story of Yusuf.

قَالَ اجْعَلْنِي عَلَىٰ خَزَائِنِ الْأَرْضِ ۖ إِنِّي حَفِيظٌ عَلِيمٌ

Sahih International

[Joseph] said, "Appoint me over the storehouses of the land. Indeed, I will be a knowing guardian."

Footnote: On page 256 one needs to show care in the use of word Pharoah in the time of Yusuf (pbuh). It is coming from the Bible and not the Quran. Either Mawardi made the mistake or the translator made the mistake.

There are two opinions on the Shariah before the Shariah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). One group says that no the Shairah before is not acceptable. The second group says that we can only accept if it does not violate what has come in the Shariah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Also note that Yusuf (pbuh) has become very dear to Al-Aziz (the ruler in Egypt). So if Yusuf (pbuh) said anything that would have been taken seriously by Al-Aziz. Today the Muslims are not in this position with the rulers.

2013-10-06 Class Notes

Discussion of the Story of Yusuf as justification for participation in non-Muslim governments

The story of Yusuf (pbuh) is invoked to justify the  participation by Muslims in non-Islamic governments and March quotes M. Mukhtar al Shanqeeti from Texas on page 245 who sees it important to ward off injustices. He says that the Muslims who participate in US elections should not participate with an ulterior motive to achieve their own aims but should look at it the case of Prophet Yusuf (pbuh) who was saving the pagan people from the fire of Hell.

Q: It looks like the role of Yusuf (pbuh) was apolitical. Is this true?

A: Well political system from back then is totally different from the complex political system today. However we need to look at it more closely.

Historically speaking we have to answer whether the shariah of the people before us should also be our shariah. However don't you think that the creed and faith would have been the core of their belief and they would have similar objections to our case.

Yusuf was special position with the king of the land and when he was appointed the head, he had full authority to implement his vision. Whereas today, you would not be able to achieve the same position as Prophet Yusuf and we would not have the same authority as he had.

March has a lengthy quote from Mawardi, he lived in 6th/7th Hijri and is from the Shafi school. He is discussing whether a Muslim should accept an appointment from an unjust ruler. Keep in mind this case has the unjust Muslim ruler included.

He says that there are two positions, you could be appointed by an unjust ruler as long as you could yourself are just and his justification is the story of Prophet Yusuf.

He said that the second position is that it is not acceptable since you are giving loyalty to that unjust ruler and you are implementing the commands of the unjust ruler.

The king who appointed Yusuf was morally upright and Yusuf had complete authority.

Mawardi says that you have to look into what he is being appointed into three categories. If you are a civil servant and implementing rules that are not the result of the ijtihaad of the ruler, it is acceptable to accept the appointment.

If the ruler is going to take hold of the wealth of the nation then you are not allowed to accept the appointment.

If you have complete freedom to implement without the authority of the ruler, then you are allowed to accept the appointment.

March comments on Mawardi’s opinion

His first question is whether non Muslim rulers could be considered just and upright. He says that there is confusion about belief and justice.

But isn’t belief in Allah not a necessary condition for being just, so how can they be just without accepting Allah swt? In theory you could have Muslim rulers who are not just.

Ibn Taymiyyah is very famous for his statement that he made concerning just and unjust rulers.

He is famous for this saying, “The affairs of the people in this world can only be sustained with justice.” And then he says, “For that reason it is said, that Allah will assist and establish a just ruler even if it is disbelieving and Allah swt will not establish and assist an unjust ruler even if he is a Muslim.” The second part of the statement is not his statement, but he is quoting others. Then he says, it is said, that justice …..

Is Ibn Taymiyyah saying or more correctly reporting that it is said that you could have justice and kufr coexisting together? If one takes it as a relative statement then it is an agreeable statement. If it is taken as an absolute sense then it is wrong. This is not Ibn Taymiyyah’s direct statement so it should not be attributed to him. Second thing is he is a scholar and we cannot take his statement above the Quran and Sunnah.

The Muslim rulers should know that justice is very important and if they are purposely being unjust then they know that they are committing a grave sin. The bedouin who urinated in the mosque, not knowing that it is not proper to urinate there, and a person who knowing killed somebody unjustly, the person who knowingly took a life is more egregious in his sin.

Even the current Pope commented how corrupt the capitalist system is, the current system has a lot of dhulm. There are a lot of levels of justice or injustice in the society. The Occupy Wall St movement complained about the dhulm of the capitalist society. The crime committed by a rich white man who is well connected will not be treated the same as the crime committed by a black poor man from the inner cities of America.

If the non-Muslim ruler has a dunyawi (worldly) justice then we will accept it. This was the case of the Nijashi in Habasha (Abysinnia).

Rashid al Ghanooshi whose party is now ruling Tunisia says that there is some justice in the non Muslim state and we would not be able to achieve all of the qualities in the Islamic state but the justice is one attribute that must be achieved in a Muslim state.

Imam Shattabi says if you take a birds eye view of the Maqaasid of Shariah, he says it is about preserving the human basic necessities which are faith, life, wealth, intellect and lineage.

Can we say that a non Muslim state can affirm to these above necessities?

If a state says that you have the right to attack Islam, then can you say that is preserving the above necessities?

The right of freedom of speech also gives you the right to attack other people’s beliefs.

When Shattabi mentioned the right to preserve intellect. And the critics point to lack of right to consume alcohol as an impediment. But where in liberal democracies does it say that you should have the right to consume alcohol?

March (on page 247) then proposes that you can persevere justice in a non-Islamic state. The question is whether the justice is defined in Islamic terms or in other terms.

On the second paragraph of page 248, March mentions that “the restraint of a ... ruler does not come from contemporary scholar such as Tariq Ramadhan or Tariq Abou al Fadel but comes from Ibn Taymiyyah in response to the rule of Nijashi who could not rule by the rules of justice of Islam but his own understanding of justice because his people were not going to accept it. Ibn Taymiyyah mentions that Prophet (pbuh) prayed the funeral prayers since there were very few Muslims who followed Islam with him.  

وَإِنَّ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ لَمَن يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِمْ خَاشِعِينَ لِلَّهِ لَا يَشْتَرُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ

Sahih International (3:199)

And indeed, among the People of the Scripture are those who believe in Allah and what was revealed to you and what was revealed to them, [being] humbly submissive to Allah . They do not exchange the verses of Allah for a small price. Those will have their reward with their Lord. Indeed, Allah is swift in account.

They are the believers from ahl al kitab since they were not able to completely let go of their previous beliefs even after they accepted Islam. The ayah above according to some mufasireen was in relation to Nijashi.

Nijashi accepted Islam and he was protecting a group of Muslims in his protection and if publicly accepted Islam, then the small group of Muslims in his protection would have come to harm. So this was a very exceptional case.

If March is going to use this statement of ibn Taymiyyah as justification for Muslims to participate in non-Muslim state. March himself cautions the readers in trying to establish too much from this statement of ibn Taymiyyah.

2013-10-13 Class Notes

Today we continue with the political participation in Andrew March’s book. Sh. will like students to give a summary on feelings on the March’s book. March school wise is following the liberal school of Rawlsian. The book is at an abstract theoretical level and it is just one of the many books on the role of Muslims in the Western civilization. The American brand of liberalism is very different from Europe and the US version is very laid back on political participation and loyalty.

Ibn Taymiyyah’s quote on Najashi about political participation

March (on page 248) says that you cannot say from Ibn Taymiyyah’s quote that this would apply to the case of Muslim immigrants to the West, who have done so by choice. Najashi did not apply the Shariah due to extreme situation that he found himself in, and we cannot apply this analogy to the case of Muslims in the West.

March says that even ibn Taymiyyah is willing to concede that a non-Muslim ruler, if he is just can be helped by Allah (swt) compared to the Muslim ruler who is unjust.

March then goes back to the story of Yusuf which we have not yet discussed on whether it applies to the Muslim’s political participation in the West.

March quotes Tariq Ramadan who says that, “To defend justice cannot be to defend Muslims only: …” (page 249). What did Tariq Ramadan mean by this statement?

Prophet told us that you should help you brother even if he is the oppressor or the oppressed. However we have to know what does it mean by help the oppressor, we have to advise him and stop him from his oppression.


حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحِيمِ، حَدَّثَنَا سَعِيدُ بْنُ سُلَيْمَانَ، حَدَّثَنَا هُشَيْمٌ، أَخْبَرَنَا عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ أَبِي بَكْرِ بْنِ أَنَسٍ، عَنْ أَنَسٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏"‏ انْصُرْ أَخَاكَ ظَالِمًا أَوْ مَظْلُومًا ‏"‏‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَجُلٌ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَنْصُرُهُ إِذَا كَانَ مَظْلُومًا، أَفَرَأَيْتَ إِذَا كَانَ ظَالِمًا كَيْفَ أَنْصُرُهُ قَالَ ‏"‏ تَحْجُزُهُ أَوْ تَمْنَعُهُ مِنَ الظُّلْمِ، فَإِنَّ ذَلِكَ نَصْرُهُ ‏"‏‏.‏

Narrated Anas:

Allah's Messenger () said, "Help your brother whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed," A man said, "O Allah's Messenger ()! I will help him if he is oppressed, but if he is an oppressor, how shall I help him?" The Prophet () said, "By preventing him from oppressing (others), for that is how to help him."

(Bukhari 6952)

We also should not come to the defense of a Muslim just because he is Muslim, because he might be wrong. This is the lesson Musa (pbuh) learnt that one cannot defend someone from one’s nation if he is unjust.

March quotes Qardawi and Shanqeeti on page 249. Qardawi says that we should show care for others while Shanqeeti mentions that the Issues related to public welfare, inside or outside the US are all good places for Muslims to participate in politics.

Discussion of Prophet Yusuf’s political participation in a Idolator state

Prophet Yusuf asked for the position of taking care of public wealth for the non-Muslim ruler. We have to ask whether the shariah of the previous ummah always applies to us.

قَالَ اجْعَلْنِي عَلَىٰ خَزَائِنِ الْأَرْضِ ۖ إِنِّي حَفِيظٌ عَلِيمٌ

[12:55] [Joseph] said, "Appoint me over the storehouses of the land. Indeed, I will be a knowing guardian."

If we are going to participate politically, it would be mostly supporting non-Muslims in political office instead of directly participating in it.

On page 249, March quotes Abdul Qadir who says it is permissible to vote and participate in the non Muslim state based on various interactions between the Prophet and non-Islamic tribes. He mentions various evidences, such as Prophet witnessing the hilf al fadul. He also mentions that any contract from prior Islamic times were considered to be still valid after Islam.

Sh. Jamaal is asking us how many of us have investigated the various evidences that were mentioned by Abdul Qadir. A student mentioned that these evidences can be found in the books of seerah.

We have to know the differences between books of Hadith and books of seerah because their goal and purpose was different. Some people say that the criteria for history books should be different than books of hadith, does this argument make sense?

The books of seerah were never intended to be basis for law. However some people go to the books of seerah and then create a basis for law based on these hadith. This is wrong. You cannot use it for the basis of law and aqeedah, you use them just for understanding the life of the Prophet and the sahabah. Some of these points were discussed in the usul al hadith class.

Footnote (good books on Fiqh as Seerah): One good book is by Muhammad al Ghazali on Fiqh as Seerah. Sh. recommends that study it with the Arabic edition since the footnotes have the Albani’s judgment on narrations. The English edition does not have this information. Another is by Akram Umari titled ‘the Medinan society’. Fiqh as Seerah books try to bring out lessons from the Seerah of Prophet (pbuh) by looking at it as a whole just like Maqasid al Shariah does this for the whole of Shariah.

Hilf al fudool was before Prophet (pbuh) received Wahi (revelation). It meant that we stand against the unjust one. The hadith in which Prophet (pbuh) approves of this action after he received revelation can be found in many books including Al Bayhaqi, …., …., in ibn Jawzi, in seerah of Bayzawi and in seerah of ibn Hisham. Sh. went over fast on all the narrations and all chains are broken, have weak narrators or liars.

There is one hadith which is in …….. in which Prophet (pbuh) shows approval of hilf al fadul while he was at the age of ‘ghulam’ i.e. around 9 or 10 years. In summary Prophet (pbuh) said that he (pbuh) will not break this oath even if the best of wealth is offered to him (pbuh). The isnaad according to Shuaib Arnaud and Albani is at the level of Sahih however as far as the ‘matn’ (text) is concerned there is a problem.

Assuming there is not problem with the text, this pact is when Prophet (pbuh) was not a ruler. Another issue is that none of the narrations mention what was in the pact. Some which do say very general things like ‘we will take the right from the oppressor and give it to the oppressed’. Lets say we say that ‘we will not be unjust’ ????, so are we going to break this pact. Another problem is that it is difficult to use authentic narrations and not authentic narrations to construct anything which can be called a pact. In addition there is a hadith ‘La Hilfa fil Islam’ (لا حِلف في الاسلام).