The Correct Understanding Of Ēmān & Those Who Deviate From This | Shaykh Rabī’ bin Hādī Al-Madkhalī
“Al-Ēmān is made up of statement and action; statements of the heart and tongue, as well as actions of the heart and limbs. Or you can say Al-Ēmān is speech, actions and belief; it increases with obedience to Allāh and decreases with disobedience to Allāh. This is Al-Ēmān with Ahl-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah.
The deviant group, Al-Khawārij, agree with the people of the Sunnah, that Al-Ēmān is made up of speech, actions and belief; however, they deny the fact that faith increases and decreases. This is because, with the Khawārij, by a Muslim committing a major sin, this removes him from the fold of Al-Islām. On the other hand, the Murjiah are the opposite of Khawārij. They say that faith is only affirmation of the heart, or to simply know, which is the belief of the Jahmiyyah, but the extreme Murjiah limit faith to affirmation of the heart (without actions and statements).
As for the Fuqahā from amongst the Murjiah, faith is made up of belief in the heart, speech of the tongue, with exclusions of actions. As for the people of the Sunnah, both the actions of the heart and limbs are included inside of Faith, after affirmation. So faith includes beliefs, actions of the heart, such as having fear of Allāh, loving and seeking Allāh, as well as relying upon Him. All of these are considered actions of the heart. Rather, they are at the centre of faith; no one’s faith can be established except with the actions of the heart. Likewise, actions of the limbs such as fasting, praying, giving charity, and all other deeds such as fighting and struggling in the way of Allāh, even removing something harmful from the pathways is all from true faith. (As the Prophet ﷺ said,) “Faith is made up seventy something branches, the highest being Lā ilāha illa Allāh (the declaration that there no deity worthy of being worshipped in truth except Allāh alone), and the lowest branch is to remove something harmful from the road.” [Sahīh Muslim, Book of Faith].
This faith increases with obedience and decreases with disobedience. It can increase until it reaches the likes of mountains, and can decrease until it is as small as an atom’s weight of faith.
The Murjiah believe that faith neither increases nor decreases. With them, faith is merely affirmation of the heart; therefore, it is not susceptible to decrease and increase. Rather, if a decrease was to occur, this would mean that faith is not present, leaving such a Muslim outside the fold of Al-Ēmān. Also, the Murjiah believe faith does not vary from one individual to another. (According to them) The most evil and wicked of the Muslims is equal in faith to the Prophets, the Righteous, and the Angels (may peace and prayers be upon them). This belief of theirs is great misguidance and equally deviant are the Khawārij. The evil of the extreme Murjiah is very dangerous. With this belief of theirs, they destroy the Legislation of the religion of Al-Islām. And likewise the Khawārij are filthy as well, because they declare the Muslims to disbelievers, lifting against them swords, and making their blood and wealth permissible. If a Muslim commits a major sin such as fornication, robbery or murder, according to them, he becomes a disbeliever.
All of this is a lie, misguidance, and faulty understanding. Why did Allāh establish the Islāmic punishment upon the thief? As Allāh says, “And the male and female thief cut their hands as a recompense for that which they committed” [Al-Mā’idah: 5:38]
Likewise, why did Allāh establish the Islāmic punishment upon the one who drinks alcohol? What about the one who used to drink alcohol (during the time of the Prophet ﷺ)? He came to the Prophet ﷺ and one of the people said, “May the curse of Allāh be upon you, how often it is that you are brought (in a state of drunkenness). So the Messenger of Allāh said, “Do not curse him, for indeed he loves Allāh and His Messenger”.” [Sahīh Al-Bukhārī, Book of Legal Punishments].
The legal punishment is established upon the believer and (they say) he is still declared a disbeliever?! Rather this punishment is expiation for him. Likewise, if an individual commits fornication and the legislative punishment is established upon him this is a form of expiation for him. As for the disbeliever (e.g. the apostate), the Messenger ﷺ said about him, “Whoever changes their religion, then execute him.” [Sahīh Al-Bukhārī, no.3017]
[Note: All Islāmic punishments are only to be carried out by a Muslim Ruler and his appointed representatives in Muslim countries. A person cannot take the law into his own hands and apply these punishments himself in non-Muslim or Muslim countries.]
There is no doubt that committing a major sin, such as fornication, murder, drinking alcohol, and other major sins, are very serious sins, and are great crimes in the view of Al-Islām, but Al-Islām does not declare such Muslims to be disbelievers. Rather the legislative punishment is established against him, and this sinner maybe punished in the hereafter because of his transgression if Allāh does not pardon him. However, even with this, he does not leave the fold of Al-Islām. Rather, if he enters the fire, he will eventually be removed from it with the Tawhīd that is with him, and eventuate in paradise.”