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Is He a Muslim?

December 10, 2005

kr’s note: After
jumu’ah at MCC yesterday, several of the uncles asked me to email them
the story that formed the crux of the khutbah. I figured since I was
going to spend time writing an email out to them, I might as well make
this into a post on my xanga as well. Moreover, Saqib recently posted a
letter in his last post wherein I commented that since the problem has
been identified, what remains is developing a solution. Of course, I
have my own ideas on such a solution; I think that this story contains
most of them (they’re somewhat hidden, perhaps I’ll elaborate in a
future post), so I figure that posting this will accomplish both things

A man once came to the learning-circle of Imām Abū Hanīfah
(may God have mercy on his soul) and asked the great Imam whether or not his
neighbor was a Muslim. He asked the Imam that if his neighbor died, if he had
to wash his body, bury him, and pray the janāzah prayer over him.

Imam Abu Hanīfah asked him, “Why do you think that he is not
a Muslim?”

The man replied, “My neighbor says the following seven
things, and because of this, I do not know whether or not he is still a Muslim.
The first thing is that he says he has no imān (faith) in the signs of Allah
that he sees. The second is that he says that he does not fear Allah. The third
is that he says he does not have any hope for Paradise.
The fourth is that he says he does not fear the Hell-Fire. The fifth is that
when he prays, we see him praying without any bowing (rukū`) or prostration (sajdah).
The sixth is that he says he eats meat that he already finds dead. The seventh,
and last statement, is that he says that he doesn’t like truth (haqq) and he loves corruption/chaos (fitnah).”

The Imam smiled and looked around his circle of students and
fellow scholars. He asked them, “What do you say after listening to this
account? Is this man’s neighbor a Muslim?”

The students all looked around at one another, confident
that this matter was quite easy. They looked to the senior most student-scholar
of the gathering, Qādī Abū Yūsuf (may God have mercy on his soul), who also had
the same look on his face that this matter was quite clear. Abu Yusuf
confidently said to the Imam that the opinion of all the scholar-students
present was that this man was not a Muslim.

Abu Hanīfah smiled and asked if this was the students’ final
decision, and they all replied in the affirmative. The Imam remained quite pensive
for a while, then he smiled and said, “Have you not heard the hadith of the
Prophet (may God’s peace and blessings be upon him) wherein he said, “Think
good of the believers (Zunnu
bi’l-mu’minīna khayran
)”. He continued and said, “If a man’s faith can be
divided into 100 parts, and if 99 of them are corrupted and false, and even one
is sound and whole, then we look at that sound part first, disregard the other
99 parts, and consider him as a believer.”

He continued, “However, this case goes beyond simply just
that. In fact, after hearing this man’s description of his neighbor, I am quite
pleased to listen to his narration and I wish that every believer would have a
similar creed (`aqīdah) as this man’s

A hush fell over the students. They thought to themselves, How could the great Imam make such a
statement? How could he not only give this man excuses, but then say that every
believer should have a similar creed?

Abū Hanīfah continued, “I will now explain to you why I have
made such a statement and tell you why that perhaps this man’s creed is a model
for all believers.

“As for the first statement, that he says he has no faith in
the signs of Allah that he sees. Have you not read the verses in the Qur’an
when Prophet Musa (`alayhi al-salām) asks Allah to show him Himself: ‘And when Musa came at Our appointed time and
his Lord spoke to him, he said: My Lord! show me (Thyself), so that I may look
upon Thee. He said: You cannot (bear to) see Me but look at the mountain, if it
remains firm in its place, then will you see Me; but when his Lord manifested
His glory to the mountain He made it crumble and Musa fell down in a swoon;
then when he recovered, he said: Glory be to Thee, I turn to Thee, and I am the
first of the believers
.’ Now Musa did not see this sign of Allah that he
asked for, yet he believed. Compare this to Fir`awn, who at the moment of his
drowning saw the sign of Allah and said he believed: “…until when drowning overtook him, he said: ‘I believe that there is no
god but He in Whom the children of
Israel believe and I am of those who submit.’
And then Allah said to him, “What! now!
and indeed you disobeyed before and you were of the mischief-makers
.” So
here, Fir`awn saw the sign of Allah but it was too late for him since he
brought faith only after seeing. So perhaps it may be that this man is saying
he has no faith in those types of signs of Allah that when upon seeing them, it
is too late for him to benefit from such a witnessing.

“As for the second statement, that he says he doesn’t fear
God. Now, you know that on the Day of Judgment, Allah will have complete
dominion over all things and there is no one who can question Him in His
decisions and choices. He has the choice to judge with fairness and equity or
to judge without it. Yet, He says that He will judge with truth and balance, “…and they shall be judged with truth and
they shall not be wronged.
”, and in another place, He says, “…and they shall be judged with equity.”
So perhaps it may be that this man is saying that he doesn’t fear that Allah
will judge without truth and fairness, and he has full certainty that God will
judge with fairness.

“As for the third and fourth statements, wherein he said
that he has no hope for Paradise and no fear of the
Hell-fire. We know that both of these things are creations of Allah, and they
have no power or authority to determine who will enter them and who will not.
Only the One who created them has the authority to decree who will enter Paradise
and who will enter Hell-fire. Why should anyone fear Hell or put their hope in Paradise.
So perhaps it may be that this man is saying that he doesn’t fear Hell or hope
for Paradise since he knows that God will decide who
goes where.

“As for the fifth thing, which is that you say that when you
see him praying, he doesn’t make any bowing or prostration. Know then that the
Prophet said that a believer has six rights over another believer: when he
meets him, he should greet him; when he is sick, he should visit him; when he
invites him, he should accept the invitation; when he sneezes, he should pray
for mercy on him; whether he is present or absent, he should think only good of
him; and when he dies, he should pray the funeral prayer over him. Now, when
this man prays, he is only standing and not making any bowings or prostrations.
So perhaps it may be that this man is taking part in a Janazah prayer that is
going on anywhere in the Muslim lands when you see him like this. We know that
one does not have to be present in front of the dead body to pray the Janazah
prayer, as the Prophet prayed the funeral prayer of the Negus (who was in
Abyssinia) while he was in Madinah. So perhaps he is always praying the Janazah
prayer for any Muslim that has passed away and therefore fulfilling his

“As for the sixth thing, which is that he says that he eats
meat that is already dead (al-maytah).
Know that the Prophet said in a hadith, “Made lawful for us are two bloods and
two dead meats (Uhillat lana al-damān
) [i.e., the two bloods are the liver and spleen of a lawful
animal and the two dead things are fish and locusts… a person may freely eat
these if he chooses]”. So perhaps it may be that he is referring to dead fish
or dead locusts that he finds and he eats of them. So therefore, perhaps this
statement is correct.

“As for the seventh and final thing, wherein he said that he
loves fitnah and hates the haqq. How is he any different from any
of you in this statement. When he said that he hates the haqq, don’t you recall that the Qur’an says, “and the stupor of death will come in truth.” There is not a man
amongst us who loves the stupor of death and does not hate it. No man in his
right mind would love the stupor of death, so perhaps it may be that he when he
says he hates the truth, that he is referring to this. Now, the Qur’an also
says, “Indeed your wealth and your
children are a fitnah
.” There is not a man amongst us who does not love his
wealth and his children. What makes him any different than us? So perhaps it
may be that when he says he loves fitnah, that he is in fact referring to this.

“You did not meet this man’s neighbor or ever speak to him,
yet you all unanimously agreed that he was not a Muslim. You did not think good
of him after you heard these seven things. And now that you have heard my
responses, perhaps this is why his creed is indeed sound, and why every Muslim
should have a similar creed.”

Those who were present were astonished and amazed by the
Imam’s insight, intelligence, leniency, and wisdom.

A hush fell over the students and scholars as they became
silent out of respect.

Imam Abu Hanifah had spoken.

What else was left for them to say?


From → Uncategorized

  1. amazing

  2. Assalam-U-Alaikum…
    WOW…..dang…i would be hushed too….MashahAllah….Imam Abu Hanifah was an intelligent man….MashahAllah…
    i would have also thought the man wasnt muslim, but Imam Abu Hanifah’s response makes it clear that you should never judge a person….leave that to Allah (swt)…
    man…i am speechless…
    Allah Hafiz

  3. Great post KamKam.  Moslems are too judgemental…everyone has the arrogance to pretend that they know the mind of Allah. 
    We should be bastions of furry love in the manner of the Prophet.  Only then will we be good Muslims. 

  4. great post alhamdulillah. I especially liked the seventh thing, the way he refers to the Quran in that particular one was tight.
    Imam Abu Hanifa – what a stud.
    btw. is there a book in which this story can be found?

  5. Anonymous permalink

    salamz im ahmers frend ok soo yeh and the POP games are knda hard….the first 1 was easy as hell……..2nd…haraaam….theres a fricken girl with bare front…..nastiiii… and the 3rd havent played it i guess thats nastii 2!!! salamz!

  6. Imam Abu Hanifa = uberstud.Allah accept him and raise his rank in Jannah.Ameen

  7. im so glad that you put this up, alhamdulillaah wa jazaaka khayran. i too think the seventh is muy hotttttt.sigh to the fault of early dismissal.. tis a very buffoonish thing to do.. at least according to my rhyme-definition of buffoonery.baraakallahu feekum and ameen to the duas.peace,IJB

  8. Awesome story bro….

  9. Anonymous permalink

    holy crap that friggin RULED…
    imam abu hanafi is a the shaykh of all studs mash’Allah…
    wow good stuff…now if only we all could take what he said and implement it…then there wouldnt be all this poppycock nonsense between Muslims…

  10. Wow KR, JazakAllah Kheir for that story… that must have been some khutba 🙂

  11. Let this be a lesson to those who think they have the authority to make takfeer on their Muslim brothers and sisters and for those of us who think its cool to judge others. May Allah bless Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah). I think part of his greatness lied in his ability to relate to the people around him. This isnt the first time I’m reading or hearing of Imam Abu Hanifa exhibiting this beautiful characteristic. I’m sure there are numerous stories like this from his life mashAllah.

  12. Jazaakallah Khair Kamran for this post. It’s my 3rd time listening to it from u :). It was such a pleasure hanging out with u yesterday! Even the uncle in J.K. was impressed by you Masha Allah. Maybe he didnt know he was listening to KAMRAN RIAZ!!! hehe…You make me drive all around chicago area now, just coz u know how big of a fan i am of ur talks…Masha Allah! Alhumdulillah, I didn’t get a parking ticket 🙂

  13. Subhanallah. This was a great post…I’m speechless. :)Therefore, I shall give infinity eprops to last you your entire xangan life (so in the future if I don’t give you props…TECHNICALLY…I already have). I heart technicalities 🙂 Btw…thanks for your comments..well, the second one anyway 😛

  14. ohh mann. subhanAllahh. . . he really told it! i would prolly jus stay hush too…

  15. I think this story should be printed out and given to every Muslim in America so that we can finally stop all the hating going on.

  16. four thumbs up.

  17. to help you get FC… b/c i haven’t read this yet…

  18. Amazing story bro, I haven’t been on the site for a few days, seems like I missed soem stuff. I agree with grasshopperpie, I give you two thumbs and two toes up.

  19. That takes giving someone the benefit of the doubt to a completely new level. Subhan’Allah.

  20. Anonymous permalink

    Mashallah, amazing post.

  21. Isn’t it funny that the scholars of the past used their knowledge to excuse people and make them part of Islam whereas now, some scholars and a lot of common people use knowledge to condemn people and write them off as “irreligious” or whatever.
    No wonder he was called Imam al-Azam (the Greatest Imam)… Allah have mercy on him and the other great Imams.

  22. I didn’t get to read since its so long…and I have to study for finals…but judging by the comments as I was scrolling done, I’ll catch up on it later. And yea, I don’t get this tagging stuff much either, i just got tagged so I just passed it along….

  23. Anonymous permalink

    Truly a humbling story; I hope everytime from here forth that I think badly or speak badly of a Muslim I will recall this story and remember that I have no right what-so-ever to pass judgment on any Muslim because only Allah knows the reason for their actions, and their intentions. May Allah help us all to understand this. Ameen.
    About Believer2’s comment, I am also interested in knowing where you find this material, so if you could just make an edit into your post or drop me a line, it would be greatly appreciated.

  24. great advice

  25. Salaams… superb story… and good timing I must say – I’ve been feeling very troubled by thoughts of Muslims doing not so Islamic things.  Not that this gives them justification, per se – but it still makes me feel better. 😛

  26. believer2, ATBC: the story was narrated to me by Mawlana Aziz who said he read it in some old-school urdu book about the political life of Imam Abu Hanifah. i dunno if it’s in another specific book.

  27. Perhaps one of your most important posts. Teaches all of us never to be judgemental.GJ brother…

  28. Anonymous permalink

    Thanks – can’t read urdu, but now I will go bother someone who can. haha.

  29. Subhan’Allah, I am always speechless about Imam Abu Hanifa. You know what really amazes me about him is not only his wisdom, but the fact that he channeled his wisdom only for good. Allah (swt) blessed him with that gift that not everybody has been blessed with, and he made complete use of that gift 100% fisabilillah. A friend and I were actually talking about this the other night. We were talking about how there are so many who have been blessed with great intelligence, but there’s no purpose in having it if you’re going to misuse it. He brought up the example of Condoleeza Rice. The woman is brilliant, she went to college at age 16 or something. But look at her today. She’s using that gift for all the wrong reasons (ok I know I just read a post about judging and everything, but does that apply to non-Muslims as well?). We all have our own special gifts from Allah, maybe not like Imam Abu Hanifa’s gift, but we should all be making use of whatever Allah has blessed us with fisabilillah. Jazak’Allahu khair for posting this up. Kamran Riaz, you is a stud =)

  30. Anonymous permalink

    masha Allah. Imam Abu Hanifa (May Allah have mercy on him) did something that we often fail to do…think.Jazakallahu khairan for the reminder.

  31. good stuff

  32. I finally have a chance to get into heaven….oh yeah…

  33. Anonymous permalink

    this post was such an imaan booster.. I love you shaikh fi sa bilillah

  34. this was hardcore. it’s wierd how some people see other muslims like that, and instead of considering them a muslim, they go talk smack about them, and decide not to have anything to do with them. its a shamee…

  35. Mufthi Aziz from IIE used to quote this incident often.  People are usually baffled when you ask them the question whether they think this person could be a Muslim.

  36. “Give your brother seventy excuses before you accuse him.” <==I think this process goes backwards nowadays. Inshallah this post will remind those of us reading it to think good of others before we start judging them based on ur knowledgelessness.
     Pats on the back to you.

  37. Thanks for such an inspiring post. Now if only other Jumaah khutbah’s are half as good..

  38. nice color change, i think….i didnt read the entry, sort of in a hurry, but do you hate me? but i have no more after this, so i can spend many hours beating and rebeating two thrones…

  39. subhanallah amazing…

  40. Anonymous permalink

    Mashallah,May Allah raise from among our current ummah such men like Imam Abu Hanifah. Props on the post.masalamaarif

  41. Does anyone know what book this is found in, unfortunately many people have gone around fabricating stories of imam abu hanifah.  Similarly if someone could also find any chain of narration for the hadith (think good of the believers), for there is no chain of narration listed

  42. awesome bro.May Allah enlighten Imaam e Aazam grave :wub:

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