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The Murji`ah
  The Issues Pertaining to Imaan and Refutation of the Murji’ah
Author: Imaam al-Asbahani
Source: (Trans. Abu Iyaad)
Article ID : GSC050003  [15197]  
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Introduction

The false beliefs of the Murji’ah include:

ONE: The belief that Imaan is affirmation of the heart only (tasdiq), meaning that one need only to affirm the existence of Allaah, His Tawheed, the message of His Messengers and related matters in his heart.

Amongst the adherents of this belief are those who include the actions of the heart – which is the majority of the Murji’ah and also those who do not include the actions of the heart in the definition of Imaan – and this the view of Jahm Ibn Safwaan and his followers.

The position of the Jahmi type of Murji’ah who do not include actions of the heart in the definition of Imaan, is also described as ‘ma’rifah’ meaning acquaintance only. What is meant here that one only need to have knowledge of Allaah, His Messenger etc. to be considered a believer.

TWO: The belief that Imaan is proclamation of the tongue only, this is the view of the Karraamiyyah.

THREE: The belief that Imaan is affirmation of the heart and proclamation of the tongue only.

Some proofs for this:

The statement of Shaikh ul-Islaam in Kitab ul-Imaan: "The Murji’ah were of three views: The first was that Imaan is merely what is in the heart. Most of them believed that works of the heart contribute to Imaan, as indicated in the book of Abu al-Hassan al-Ash’ari. He also mentioned many other sects whose listing would be lengthy, although the author states that he has mentioned most of their statements. This view does not include works as part of Imaan. This was the opinion of Jahm and of those who followed him, such as as-Salihi, who, along with his followers, were great supporters of him [Jahm]. The second view states that Imaan is a mere utterance of the tongue. This position was not known prior to the opinions of the Karramiyyah sect. The third view states that Imaan is tasdiq, assent, of the heart and a saying of the tongue. This was the most well-known position among them. Indeed, this was the prevailing belief among the jurists and the worshipers of the Murji’ah."

And from the Imaam Wakee Ibn al-Jarraah ar-Ru’usi who said: "Ahl us-Sunnah are the ones who say Imaan consists of speech and action. The Murji’ah say Imaan is speech (only)! And the Jahmiyyah say Imaan is acquaintance (ma’rifah)!" (Al-Laalikaa’ee reports in as-Sunnah (1837) and al-Aajurree in ash-Sharee’ah, no.342)

So in summary we have the following:

Based upon these false assumptions, the view of these stray sects with respect to the various issues related to Imaan can be understood. Some of the false beliefs arising from these assumptions include:

  • That Imaan is constant – it cannot increase or decrease.
  • What naturally follows from the point above, that the Imaan of all those tasked with obedience to Allaah (Angels, Prophets, and Muslims in general) is equal, their being no disparity between any of them.
  • That sins can do no harm whatsoever to Imaan, and cannot cause it to diminish.
  • That one must be certain that he is a perfect Believer, complete and perfect in his Imaan.
  • That the most vile of disbelievers and rejectors can be considered to be Believers, such as Iblis, Fir’aun and others.
  • That the hypocrites are considered perfect believers due to the mere utterance of their tongues.

It is in light of the above, that we come to know firstly, the falsehood of the beliefs of the Murji’ah and secondly that the Salafis are free from Irjaa both its beginning and its end.

Two of the important issues raised below include the increase and decrease of Imaan and also the differentiation between Islaam and Imaan, which is actually a vitally important point that needs to be understood when the context of our discussion leads on to other matters such as the futility of performing takfir on account of sins, and declaring those guilty of major sins to be disbelievers.

The Text

The Imaam and Establisher of the Sunnah Abul-Qasim al-Asbahani said in explanation of the beliefs of Ahl us-Sunnah concerning the issues of Imaan (in al-Hujjah Fee Bayaan il-Mahajjah):

"Imaan, in the legislative sense (i.e. Sharee’ah usage) is a term which signifies all of the acts of obedience, both internal and external.

The Ash’aris say that Imaan is assent, tasdiq, and that actions follow on from it, but are not from Imaan itself.


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