Stands >2004 Stands >The Stand of Muharram 17  -1425H /March 9 2004A.D.


Accusing others of unbelief

Sayyed Fadlullah: Accusing others of unbelief is neither religiously justified, nor a lawful reason for execution.

Asked in his weekly seminar the following question: The mentality of rejection that has been lately transformed into a tool of killing and exclusion has begun to cause a lot of panic in the Arab and Muslim world, especially in the aftermath of the suicide operations that are claimed to be martyr ones, even if it targets Muslims.

How do you view this phenomenon? And what is the responsibility of Muslims and religious scholars towards it?

The Religious Authority Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah said:

This phenomenon of accusing others of unbelief that is found in both Sunni and Shiite circles is a result of historic accumulations of describing certain interpretations or certain judgments of certain individuals or groups as being an expression of unbelief, and consequently isolating, excluding and even killing those who adopt them .

Yet, Islamic jurisprudence states that the accusation of unbelief could not be made unless the fundamental principles are rejected. As for denying other religious necessities, an investigation in its content and motives should be instituted. Moreover, it should be verified that whoever made these denials is aware that he is denying that the Messenger says the truth. If he is not, then he will be one of those who are led astray, and not a unbeliever.

Depending on a certain saying of the Messenger to accuse those who do not believe it to be authentic or those who interpret it in a different way to prove unbelief is a case in point.

Then fanaticism and mental backwardness, that imposed themselves on several Muslim communities, have further expanded this tend, which became very dangerous as some trends began to believe that claiming that someone has become an unbeliever is a sufficient justification for executing him. This is not true because the jurists say it is the engagement in fighting against Muslims that justifies killing and not unbelief in itself. Islam has called for the respect of unbelievers who are in a state of peace with Muslims and called for treating them with respect and kindness :Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.(60 :08)

Those who find it easy to resort to killing even against Muslims, are in a state of conceptual perplexity that often leads to a political and military anarchy that would make Muslims kill fellow Muslims in cold blood, even if it involves killing innocent children and women. All this takes place in the absence of a state of war, which of course is completely different from what is happening in Palestine, where the Mujahideen do not have any other way to defend their people.

We believe that this phenomenon has had a devastating effect in the Arab and Muslim world. It has given the arrogant power in the world, and especially the United States, the opportunity to claim that it is fighting terrorism in our world. It has given the arrogant powers the chance to deprive us of any strength we might have and continue their eradicating war against the freedom fighters in Palestine and Lebanon, as well as other peoples that are accused by America of supporting the liberation movement it considers terrorist.

In its cold blooded killing of innocents and worshippers as in Karbala and Kazimiah, or in its targeting of mosques especially some Sunni mosques in Iraq, this phenomenon is providing the American Administration with a major free service, since it has already begun to direct the reactions against these killings towards those who adopt the revolutionary and conscious line of Islam. It has also started a wave of confusion and weariness in the Arab and Islamic world.

We say to all who adopt such mentality: If you are faithful as you claim to Islam and Muslims, let us engage in an objective dialogue based on Allah’s saying that we have to refer our differences to Him and His Messenger.

On the other hand, we call for a thorough investigation of all what is going on in the Muslim world. It could well be that some international or regional intelligence agencies are behind it, for it serves their interests in disrupting Muslim unity and strength.

On their part, Shiite and Sunni religious scholars should educate the nation on facing two kinds of violence: the one that targets Muslims by killing and the one that targets the others by exclusion.

They also have to hold the responsibility of confronting this utilitarian mentality and establish the cultural and political dynamics to face this phenomenon and safeguard Islamic unity.