Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Camp of Faith in the Latter Days

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Peace and Salutations upon our Prophet and Master
Muhammad the Chosen One

 Muslims today, collectively speaking, are indisputably negligent in their observance of Islam in contrast to all the preceding generations. This reality was predicted by the Prophet (peace be upon him & his family) in several Hadith, and can even be inferred from the Qur’an al-Karim:

وَالسَّابِقُونَ السَّابِقُونَ ﴿١٠﴾ أُولَـٰئِكَ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ ﴿١١﴾ فِي جَنَّاتِ النَّعِيمِ ﴿١٢﴾ ثُلَّةٌ مِّنَ الْأَوَّلِينَ ﴿١٣﴾ وَقَلِيلٌ مِّنَ الْآخِرِينَ

And the forerunners, the forerunners - Those are the ones brought near [to Allah] In the Gardens of Pleasure, A [large] company of the former peoples And a few of the later peoples

(Sura 56: 10-14)

Regarding the faithful Muslims of the latter-days, the Prophet (peace be upon him & his family) referred to them as Ghuraba (the estranged):

أَنّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ : إِنَّ الدِّينَ لَيَأْرِزُ إِلَى الْحِجَازِ كَمَا تَأْرِزُ الْحَيَّةُ إِلَى جُحْرِهَا ، وَلَيَعْقِلَنَّ الدِّينُ مِنَ الْحِجَازِ مَعْقِلَ الْأُرْوِيَّةِ مِنْ رَأْسِ الْجَبَلِ ، إِنَّ الدِّينَ بَدَأَ غَرِيبًا وَيَرْجِعُ غَرِيبًا ، فَطُوبَى لِلْغُرَبَاءِ الَّذِينَ يُصْلِحُونَ مَا أَفْسَدَ النَّاسُ مِنْ بَعْدِي مِنْ سُنَّتِي

The Messenger of Allah said: Indeed the religion with creep into the Hijaz just like a snake creeps into its hole, and the religion will cling to the Hijaz just like the female mountain goat cling to the peak of a mountain. Indeed the religion began as something strange and it will return to being strange. So Tuba (glad-tidings) is for the strangers who correct what the people have corrupted from my Sunnah after me (Jami at-Tirmidhi)
The Prophet stated that the Faith would entrench itself between the Two Sacred Mosques of Mecca and Medina (Sahih Muslim):

إِنَّ الإِسْلاَمَ بَدَأَ غَرِيبًا وَسَيَعُودُ غَرِيبًا كَمَا بَدَأَ وَهُوَ يَأْرِزُ بَيْنَ الْمَسْجِدَيْنِ كَمَا تَأْرِزُ الْحَيَّةُ فِي جُحْرِهَا

Regarding the blessed Ghuraba, the Prophet stated that the majority of the people would oppose them, while only a few would follow them (Musnad Ahmad):

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ذَاتَ يَوْمٍ وَنَحْنُ عِنْدَهُ : طُوبَى لِلْغُرَبَاءِ ، فَقِيلَ : مَنْ الْغُرَبَاءُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ؟ قَالَ : أُنَاسٌ صَالِحُونَ ، فِي أُنَاسِ سُوءٍ كَثِيرٍ ، مَنْ يَعْصِيهِمْ أَكْثَرُ مِمَّنْ يُطِيعُهُمْ

The Prophet also stated that among the characteristics of the Ghuraba is that they would be alienated from their tribes (Sunan Ibn Maja):

قِيلَ وَمَنِ الْغُرَبَاءُ قَالَ النُّزَّاعُ مِنَ الْقَبَائِلِ

The modern-day Kharijites and Takfiris cite these and other Hadith to justify their position of separation and opposition to the general body of Muslims. They assert that the glad-tidings given to the Ghuraba of the latter-days applies to none other than them. But this argument could only be considered compelling if the modern Takfiri (Kharijite) current is the only one which could be described as estranged or opposed by the general body of Muslims. The truth is, however, that there are other groups or streams within the contemporary world of Islam which too are potential candidates for being identified as Ghuraba based on this particular characteristic. Among the most vociferous opponents of the modern Takfiris are the quietist and apolitical Salafis, whose nerve center is the Islamic University of Medina, and whose Ulama are mostly based in the Hijaz, between the Two Sacred Mosques. As has preceded from the Hadith of Tirmidhi, one of the salient features of the Ghuraba is that they are people who rectify what the people have corrupted of the Prophet’s Sunna. In short, the Ghuraba are in fact a religious revivalist and pietist tendency and not a Kharijite one. The Takifirs (Kharijites) are generally characterized as a tendency that view the broader Muslim Umma as being infidels and apostates, i.e., outside the very circle of Islam. Many of them are violent and see it as permissible to shed the blood of ordinary Muslims whom they regard as apostates or infidels, for example the recent massacre in the Sinai on 24 November 2017, when Takfiri radicals slaughtered over 300 Muslim worshipers in a mosque during the Friday service, including some 30 young children.

While it is certainly true that the Prophet never predicted any phenomenon that would occur in his Umma that could potentially justify mass-Takfir of it, let alone such violent and vicious behavior to the Muslims, it should be noted that in the latter days the Muslim Umma would fracture and become polarized into two camps:

يُصْبِحُ الرَّجُلُ فِيهَا مُؤْمِنًا وَيُمْسِي كَافِرًا حَتَّى يَصِيرَ النَّاسُ إِلَى فُسْطَاطَيْنِ فُسْطَاطِ إِيمَانٍ لَا نِفَاقَ فِيهِ وَفُسْطَاطِ نِفَاقٍ لَا إِيمَانَ فِيهِ فَإِذَا كَانَ ذَاكُمْ فَانْتَظِرُوا الدَّجَّالَ مِنْ يَوْمِهِ أَوْ مِنْ غَدِهِ

During it a man will be a believer in the morning and an infidel in the evening, so that the people will be in two camps: the camp of faith which will contain no hypocrisy, and the camp of hypocrisy which will contain no faith. When that happens, expect the Antichrist that day or the next. (Sunan Abi Dawud)

This fracture in the Umma will be complete at the emergence of the Antichrist (Dajjal). Until that happens, we continue to witness the polarization and fragmentation of the Umma into two camps, one characterized by faithfulness and the other characterized by hypocrisy. Yet, this does not justify mass-Takfir, since there is still a large middle ground in between with some fluidity. The Camp of Hypocrisy will only be clearly identified at the emergence of the cursed Dajjal, as they will be those who were from among this Umma that will follow and obey him. Nevertheless, this Hadith which describes the rupture within the Umma into two general tendencies, one towards Faith and the other towards Nifaq (hypocrisy) should be understood and digested as part of the contemporary Islamic narrative but without being related to the legal question of Takfir. For now, it is not a legal or jurisprudential issue in Islam so the question of Takfir of any society which claims to be Muslim does not arise. This phenomenon of polarization and bifurcation within the Umma should only reinforce the narrative of spiritual separation from corrupt mainstream society known as Hijra and Uzla, which I have written about at length here.

1 comment:

  1. The Hadith about the Religion clinging to the Hijaz as reported in the Jami at-Tirmidhi is extremely weak due to the narrator Kathir b. Abd Allah, a known liar according to the Muhaddithin.


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