The false beliefs of the Murjiah 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 Murjiah 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 Murjiah who do not include actions
of the heart in the definition of Imaan, is also described as
marifah meaning acquaintance only. What is meant here that
one only need to have knowledge of Allaah, His Messenger etc. to be considered a
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 Murjiah
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-Ashari. 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
And from the Imaam Wakee Ibn al-Jarraah ar-Ruusi who said: "Ahl
us-Sunnah are the ones who say Imaan consists of speech and action. The
Murjiah say Imaan is speech (only)! And the Jahmiyyah say Imaan is
acquaintance (marifah)!" (Al-Laalikaaee reports in as-Sunnah
(1837) and al-Aajurree in ash-Shareeah, 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
- 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, Firaun
- 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 Murjiah 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
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. Shareeah usage) is a term
which signifies all of the acts of obedience, both internal and external.
The Asharis say that Imaan is assent, tasdiq, and that actions follow
on from it, but are not from Imaan itself.
The benefit of [the existence of] this difference is that the one who is
devoid of actions and commits the forbidden acts, will not have the name of
believer applied to him absolutely and it is said in this regard
that he is deficient in faith, since he has neglected some parts of it. And in
the view of those (i.e. the Asharis) the name of believer
can be applied to him absolutely because [in their view] Imaan signifies assent,
tasdiq and such a person has fulfilled this.
Our evidence for this is the saying of the Exalted:
Verily the Believers are those whose hearts tremble when Allaah is
Up to His statement:
they are the Believers in truth. (Anfal 8:4)
So he described them with the real and true Imaan due the presence of these
actions. And the Most High said:
And never would Allaah cause your Imaan to be lost (Baqarah 2:143)
Meaning, your prayer. So he applied the term Imaan to the prayer, yet it is
What also gives evidence to this is what is reported from Abu Hurairah
may Allaah be pleased with him that he said, "The Messenger
of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said: Imaan consists of seventy odd
branches" and in another narration, "sixty odd branches: the most
superior of them being the declaration that there is none worthy of worship
except Allaah and the lowest of them being the removal of something harmful from
the path. And modesty is a branch of Imaan"
[What also constitutes our evidence is that] the one who is compelled into
Imaan, his entrance into Imaan is correct and acceptable. Because if Imaan was
something unique to the heart [alone], his entry into Imaan would not have been
correct, since that is not possible with compulsion. It can be attained from the
perspective of the outward sayings and deeds. And because Imaan is actually what
constitutes the deen (religion) of a Muslim, and the deen is a term that
signifies acts of obedience, then likewise [is] the Imaan that is characteristic
of him. And also [the fact that] the term perfect in faith cannot
be applied to the one who abandons fasting, zakaah, and who commits the obscene
Issue: [Increase and Decrease in Imaan]
And it is possible for Imaan to increase and decrease. Its increase is by
performance of the acts of obedience and its decrease is by abandoning them and
doing acts of disobedience. This is in opposition to the one who says that Imaan
is [merely] the knowledge of the heart and its assent and that these two are
indicatives, and that increase and decrease cannot take place in the case of
And it is reported from Ibn Abbaas, Abu Hurairah and Abu ad-Dardaa
may Allaah be pleased with them, "Imaan increases and decreases". So
when he neglects some of it and performs the forbidden acts then he has
neglected some of the actions of Imaan. Hence, it is permitted that Imaan be
described with increase and decrease.
Issue: [Is the Imaan of the Mukallifeen Equal?]
And the Imaan of all those tasked (with obedience) from amongst the Angels,
Prophets - and those besides them such as the Martyrs and Truthful ones
is not equal. Rather they excel one another to the extent of their level in
performing acts of obedience. This is in opposition to the one who says that
Imaan is [merely] the assent, tasdiq, of the heart and that superiority only
takes place with respect to knowledge and the variety in its evidences! And we
have already mentioned that acts of obedience are from Imaan. It is also known
that people excel each other in the acts of obedience. So some of them increase
over others, hence it is necessary that superiority be acquired with respect to
Issue: [The Difference Between Islaam and Imaan]
And Imaan and Islaam are two terms referring to two [distinct] meanings.
Islaam is a term that refers to the two Shahadahs (testimonies of belief) and
assent, tasdiq, of the heart. And Imaan is a term that signifies all of the acts
of obedience. This is in opposition to the one who says that Islaam and
Imaan are the same.
And the evidence for the difference between them is the statement of the Most
Verily the Muslims, men and women, the Believers men and women
So he placed Imaan after Islaam (next to it) and something is not placed
straight after itself. So it is known from this that Imaan has a meaning which
extends that of Islaam.
What gives evidence to this is the hadith of Umar ibn al-Khattaab
may Allaah be pleased with him and the saying of Jibreel
(alaihis-salaam): "Tell me about Islaam"
and then he said:
"Tell me about Imaan". So this gives evidence to the separation (in
meaning) between the two.
What has been reported from Amir bin Sad bin Abi Waqqas, from
Sad from the Prophet (sallallaah alaihi wasallam) also gives evidence to
this. The Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) gave something to a group of men
but left one of them out. So Sad said to him, "You gave to them yet
you left him out? By Allaah I consider him to be a Believer!" The Messenger
of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said, "Or a Muslim?!"
So he differentiated between Islaam and Imaan.
And we already mentioned that Imaan is a term that signifies all of the acts
of obedience and that Islaam is a term that signifies the two testimonies along
with the ease of the heart (i.e. its acceptance). So when it is like this then
it is obligatory to differentiate between them.
Issue: [Excepting oneself from having perfect Imaan, Istithnaa]
And is disliked for the one who has acquired Imaan that he should say,
I am a believer in truth! or I am a [true] believer in the
sight of Allaah. Rather he should say, I hope I am a
beliver or I am a believer if Allaah wills or I
believe in Allaah, His Angels, Books, and His Messengers. And none of
this is from the angle of doubtfulness in his Imaan, but it is from the aspect
that he cannot be absolutely sure that he has fulfilled every single thing with
which he has been order and has left everything that he has been forbidden from.
This is in opposition to the one who says that when a person knows from himself
that he is a believer, it is permissible for him to say I am a believer
And the evidence for the impossibility of making this absolute claim [of
perfect Imaan] and the necessity of making exception (istithnaa) is the
consensus, ijmaa, of the Salaf.
It was said to Ibn Masud may Allaah be pleased with him:
"This person claims that he is a Believer? He replied, "Ask him
whether he is in Paradise or in Hellfire?" So they asked him and he
replied, "Allaah knows best". So Abdullaah [Ibn Masud] said to
him, "If only you had entrusted the affair of this life as you have
entrusted the affair of the Hereafter [to Allaah]!
And because it has already been established that Imaan is characterised by
all the acts of obedience and the abandonment of the prohibited matters, then in
that situation a person cannot be resolute that he as fulfilled all that is
binding upon him and has avoided all that has been prohibited to him. Therefore,
it is no possible for him to know that he is a Believer who is deserving of
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