Mocking a Muslim who Practices

Imaam Muhammad bin ‘Abdil-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah) writes in his short treatise “Nawaaqid-ul-Islaam” (The Nullifiers of Islaam), under the 6th nullifier of Islam:

قال الإمام ـ رحمه الله ـ : السابع : السحر ومنه الصرف والعطف , فمن فعله أو رضي به كفر , والدليل قوله تعالى : (( وما يعلمان من أحد حتى يقولا إنما نحن فتنة فلا تكفر )) .

Translation: Whoever mocks or ridicules any part of the Messenger’s Religion or its rewards or punishments has committed an act of disbelief.  The proof for this is Allaah’s statement:  “Say: ‘Was it Allaah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking?  Make no excuses, you have disbelieved after having had faith.” [Surah At-Tawbah: 65-66]


(1) Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan explains this point in the Sharh of the book  “Things that Nullify One’s Islam” by Shaykh al-Islam Muhammad ibn ‘Abdil-Wahhaab,  (p.41-46) 

The sixth kind of apostasy is mockery of what Allah sent down or of anything that the Messenger came with, even things from the Sunnahs (of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) or recommended things likesiwaak, trimming the moustache, removing armpit hair, or trimming the nails. If a person makes mockery of any of these things he becomes a disbeliever. The evidence for this is found in the Statement of Allah the Most High:

And if you were to ask them, they would say: ‘Surely we were only jesting and playing.’ Say: ‘Was it Allah, His Verses, or His Messenger you were mocking? Make no mistake, verily you have disbelieved after your belief.’ ” [Translation of the meaning of Soorah at-Tawbah (9):65-66]

So then the one who mocks anything that the Messenger came with, be it obligatory or recommended, he is an apostate from the Religion of Islam. So then what do you think about the one who says, “Growing the beard, trimming the moustache, removing armpit hair, washing the knuckles, these are insignificant things!” This is exactly what is meant by mockery of the Religion of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic. When they say this thing, and if they know (it is from the Religion), then they have apostated, since this is belittling what the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) came with. It is obligatory to have great reverence for the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) and to respect it.

Even if a person falls into some kind of opposition (to the Sunnah) due to his desires, then surely he still must respect the way of the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam), respect his Sunnahs, and respect the narrations. He must not say, “These are insignificant things.”

The proof is the Statement of Allah the Most High:

“Say: ‘Was it Allah, His Verses, or His Messenger you were mocking? Make no mistake, verily you have disbelieved after your belief.'”

The event that lead to the revelation of this verse

The event that led to the revelation of this Verse was what happened with a group of people who were with the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) during the Battle of Tabook. They were Muslims. During a gathering they began to say, “We have not seen the likes these reciters of ours, the most untruthful tongues, the greediest stomachs, the most cowardly in the face of the enemy…” They were referring to the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) and his Companions.

Amongst them was a young man from the Companions who became enraged at this speech and went to convey what this group was saying to the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam). He found that the revelation had preceded him (in informing the Messenger).

So then the group came apologizing once they heard that the Messenger had become aware of what happened in their gathering. One of them was hanging on to the front harness of the Prophet’s she-camel while he (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) was riding it, saying, “O Messenger of Allah! We were just talking loosely to help pass the time during the journey! We did not intend mockery, rather we only intended to joke.”The Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) would not even look at him, he only recited upon him this Verse:

“And if you were to ask them, they would say: ‘Surely we were only jesting and playing.’ Say: ‘Was it Allah, His Verses, or His Messenger you were mocking? Make no mistake, verily you have disbelieved after your belief.’ ” [Soorah at-Tawbah (9):65-66]

[The above hadeeth has been quoted by Imaam Ibn Katheer (rahimahullaah) in his Tafeer Ibn Katheer, under the tafseer of the aayah 65-66 of Surah Tawbah]

Point to Note

Notice His Statement, “Verily you have disbelieved after your belief.”This proves that before they had uttered words (of mockery) they were Muslims, and that when they uttered them they apostated from Islam, even though they were saying that it was a joke. This is because the affairs of the Religion are not to be played with, so Allah had declared them to be disbelievers after their faith. We ask Allah for safety.

This is also proof that whoever insults Allah, His Messenger, His Book, anything from the Quran, or anything from the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) apostates from Islam, even if he was joking.

End of Shaikh Saalih al-Fawzaan’s explanation.

(2) Shaikh Abdur-Ra’uf Shakir writes in his explanation of Imaam Muhammad bin ‘Abdil-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah)’s word:

So, mocking Allah, His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) or the religion of Islam is considered kufr (infidelity) and hypocrisy. The Muslim must fear hypocrisy and falling into it as Abin Aby Mulaikh (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu) said:
I have met thirty of the companions of the Messenger (N) and all of them feared hypocrisy in themselves”.

Mocking is not only made by words, but by other means such as winking the eye, sticking out the tongue, pointing with the finger, etc. For example, if a Muslim grows his beard [an obligatory sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam)] and someone makes a joke about it (the idea of growing the beard because it is an Islamic issue), then this is kufr (infidelity). But if the joking is done towards the person himself without pointing out the religion, then this is not kufr infidelity), but the major sin, gheebah (talking about someone in their absence regarding something they don’t like).

Answers to Excuses given by some

Replying to an excuse which people give that a person does not become a disbeliever if he mocks it outwardly but not inwardly i.e, his intentions are not for mocking, Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan says,

Where are those who say that he does not apostate unless he intends it in his heart? They say, “If a person insulted Allah, the Messenger, or the Quran, we do not pass a judgement upon based merely on his utterance or his action.” Where do they get these statements and these specifications from? Allah has judged them with apostasy while they were saying: “We were jesting and playing.”

They were believers in Allah and His Messenger, people of tawheed, however, once they uttered those words, Allah said: “Verily you have disbelieved after your belief.”

And He did not say, “If you had truly believed that.” We ask Allah for safety.

So it is obligatory that things are put in their proper places and that we do not add things, take them away, or specify the texts from our own selves. Allah did not ask about what they believed, nor did He mention that they believed (what they said), rather He ruled on them with apostasy after having faith: “Verily you have disbelieved after your belief.”

He based this (ruling) on a statement. He based this (ruling) on mockery, and He did not specify it with these specifications. If a person speaks with a word of disbelief without being forced into it, then he is judged with apostasy. However, if he was forced, then he has not apostated in this case.

Whoever makes fun of a Muslim man or woman for adhering to the Islamic sharee’ah is a kaafir, whether he is mocking a Muslim woman for observing correct Islamic hijaab or for some other reason.

In a lecture titled “Sharh Nawaaqid-ul-Islaam” Shaikh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez ArRaajihee was asked the following questions:  

Question: What do you say about someone who says that Allaah’s statement: “Say: ‘Was it Allaah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking? Make no excuses, you have disbelieved after having had faith” [Surah At-Tawbah: 65-66] was revealed with regard to the hypocrites and that His saying: “after having had faith” means the outer Eemaan (i.e. not what’s in the heart)?

Answer: This is contrary to what is apparent from the ayah (verse). This misinterpretation requires a proof for it, since there occurs in the ayah: “Make no excuses, you have disbelieved after having had faith.”

Question: [Continuing] So does that mean that it was revealed with regard to the Companions?

Answer: Yes, it was revealed concerning a group of them during the battle of Tabook. The hypocrites were of different levels. Some of them did not have any Eemaan, some of them had Eemaan but it was weak, and some of them had Eemaan but it left them and vanished. So they were of different types.

We should note that, if we are not following the Sunnah of the prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), then we don’t have the right to mock or make statements in a derogatory manner about people who are striving to follow the sunnah.

The same goes for the non-muslims as well as the Muslims that they should not mock the religious commitments of other Muslims who try and practice their faith, like practicing Hijaab or keeping a beard etc.

May Allaah save us from this often neglected aspect. We seek refuge in Allaah from those things that bring about His Anger and painful Punishment. May the peace and blessing be on the best of His creatures, Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

Author: Islamic Treasure

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