Consider the following cases:
You are lost on a deserted island with no food or subsistence. You do not find anything at all to eat. You do not find any fruits or vegetation that you know you can consume. You find wild weeds and other plants that you are not sure may or may not be poisonous or harmful. You are agonizing in pangs of hunger and will die if you do not get nutrition. Suddenly, you spot a little piglet. You’re permitted to slaughter it and eat only as much as is required to save your life and move on and look for rescue.
This is allowed in Islam. You are allowed to engage in a haram action if you are under genuine duress or face a genuine life-threatening situation, only to the extent required for getting out of such a situation.
Another similar situation – It’s not a deserted island. It’s inhabited by nonMuslim jungle tribes. You look for food you can eat. You find a chicken. You slaughter it and start eating it. You start to choke on a chicken bone and will die if you don’t ingest it by the aid of a liquid. There is no water close by. A jungle tribesman helps you out by offering his alcoholic drink to quickly alleviate your situation. You’re permitted to drink only as much alcohol as required to flush down the chicken bone and save your life. In such a situation consuming just that much alcohol to negate the situation was allowed on you.
There are examples of such cases in books of fiqh to elucidate on the point that a haram is permitted under genuine duress or a genuinely helpless, life threatening situation. We have seen the two examples of consuming alcohol and the flesh of swine.
Now consider this setting – an interfaith dialog between a munaafiq pretending to be a Muslim scholar and a pastor of a boston episcopal church (this is only a description of a mock-setting, not a narration of a real life event):
One of my jobs is to navigate the Quran and the Islamic tradition to educate the common Muslim about the profound and marvelous commonalities that we share between these two great traditions of Islam and the episcopal christian tradition. I mean when I visit the villages of Tunisia to see my teacher and tell them about these profound commonalities, most people are shocked when I tell them that the Islamic tradition too permits us to eat pork and drink alcoholic beverages. They ask me “Really? We weren’t aware of it. So what’s the best brand of beer you recommend?” And I tell them that there are two opposing schools of thought on it in the western tradition. One favors irish beers and the other one favors german beers. [smiles stupidly and looks to the audience beseeching laughter; audience laughs and obliges]
A few days later a Muslim meets the munafiq, and the following conversation takes place:
You called the christian religion as good, in fact you said it is as good as Islam, and you said that Islam permits eating swine and drinking alcohol – only to make your christian brothers happy. This is open apostasy from Islam. You uttered blasphemies only to make the christians feel happy around you. You should be ashamed of yourself and fear Allah’s Wrath. Repent and re-enter Islam for that is better for you.
One of the biggest problems that we face in the Muslim world today is lack of education on the various Islamic sciences. The entire Muslim world in these times suffers from this misfortune. I called my teacher in Tunisia, who is really a scholar’s scholar, and asked him about this. He asked me about the various words I used. I said “tradition” which translates to “a’araf” or “taqaaliid” or “’urf” or “’aadah” in Arabic. In a rare but nonetheless valid, nuanced and varied translation it also refers to “usluub” which refers to “mannerisms” or ”normative behavior patterns”. I was talking about this in my discourse that Muslims and christians share various normative behavior patterns in life; for example, Muslim parents too ground their children for inappropriate behavior in order to educate and train them, old-fashioned families are the same everywhere in the world regardless of religion. Nowhere did I use the word “religion” which refers to “deen” in Arabic, and say that the christian religion is good, or worse yet as good as Islam. I too am well aware of the prohibition and the apostasy rulings in Islam.
It is in the same chain of thought that I said that the Islamic “tradition” permits us to drink alcohol or eat swine. I never said that the normative juridical rulings and writs of Islam grant an open permission to eat swine or consume alcohol. I was talking about an extremely nuanced and subtle exception to the normal, everyday life; and that such is permitted in a life-threatening situation by all the schools of the Ahlus Sunnah and even the common sense of common folks would understand the gravity of such a life threatening situation and even they can adduce by their simple common sense, without approaching jurists, that in such grave circumstances the Shari’ah does permit such actions. Hence, in this case too I used the word “tradition” as opposed to saying the Muslim “RELIGION” permits the consumption of alcohol and the flesh of swine. The subtle difference here is that “tradition” means that even the stereotypical narrow-minded societies of under-educated, middle-class Muslims, would find such actions as acceptable, and indeed a “religious” sanction too exists for it in the works of fiqh.
You know, I really wish we leave this quickness to judge and “unmask” people, this extremism and all this excess baggage from the uneducated villages of Egypt and Pakistan behind us. Whatever happened to looking for 70 excuses for people? Our scholars would think a million times and look as exhaustively as possible for all the possible meanings and esoteric interpretations of a person’s words or actions, no matter how far-fetched, before admonishing him, much less doing takfeer. It is really hurtful to people, you know, when you so outlandishly just speak like this with such accusations, more so takfeer. Whatever happened to gentleness in preaching and correcting people’s mistakes, and adab and ihsan? Whatever happened to confirming a ruling and understanding its subtleties and nuances before going all gung ho and preachy as if you have 70 different ijaza’s in the normative Islamic sciences from the leading scholars of Syria and Tunisia?
At this point in time, I think of the anecdote of Sayyiduna ‘Umar, may Allah reward him, when he just patiently and quietly, without offering any justifications, accepted the words of a Muslim lady when she pointed out to a minor error, and I too am doing the same, despite not being guilty of your accusations.
Please forgive me if I did any wrong by you and please let us pray for each other; and let us remember that the flesh of scholars is poisoned, and that fitnah really hurts the ummah.
May Allah bless us all.
Such a long-winded justifications might silence an innocent Muslim who doesn’t know enough about the deen and the mannerisms of the hypocrites as described in the Quran, and hadith and books of Islamic knowledge; or perhaps catch out the munafiq in his heart out of mere sweetness of faith and understanding of his evil behavior but yet not possess all the evidence or the ability to utter it all at once in the same manner as the munaafiq’s “eloquence of discourse” – in order to rebut him and refute.
However, a Muslim who knows better due to any reason, either by observing such evil for a long time and witnessing the harm that the munaafiq is doing, or by studying the works of our scholars or so on, will (and should) reply as such:
Such prolixity might make you feel special and scholarly and help you sordidly escape rebuke by innocent Muslims who are more involved in their everyday practical lives rather than attending interfaith tea parties and observing the disservice of you hypocrites and then dragging them out of their holes, but there are Muslims who have seen you enough trying to hurt Islam, upon whom you have manifested your state as an accursed infidel and a hypocrite just as the munaafiqiin in the times of the sahaba eventually manifested themselves, who know their “traditions” (and I’m referring to “deen” here) and can catch you out easily, seeing right through your evil. You have simply played with one “subtle point” too many. Your words, mannerisms and normative behavior patterns (you know “usluub”) around your christian brothers and sisters certainly don’t match up with the copiously “nuanced” justification you gave. Allah says that the hypocrites are LIARS, despite their flaunting the declaration that our Master Muhammad ﷺ is His Messenger, it is because their “traditions” (you know,”’aadah”) don’t match up to their supposedly professed “religion” (“deen”). You are a damned liar, and the basest of kafirs – an accursed zindqiiq and a munaafiq. Your beard is the beard of the rabbis of the jewish “tradition”. Your turban is the turban worn in the sikh “tradition”. You’re wearing the cassock of the christian “tradition”, regardless if you call it “jillaba” and bought it from the souks of Tunisia. To us, it is all simply najaasah. You are a swine-eater, regardless of how much “traditional” halal-food you have consumed in the villages of Tunisia or Egypt or Indonesia. I pray to Allah that the head of such a head of kufr is crushed to pulp under a speeding truck. Aamiin.
Please note that this is NOT a real situation or a real conversation between any Muslim or munaafiq or between the fictitious munaafiq and his christian brethren. It is a simulated situation and a simulated conversation to simply let people be aware of how the hypocrites lie and deceive Muslims by playing with words.
AND YET, any similarity to any real (living or dead) Muslim or munaafiq is MOST CERTAINLY VERY DELIBERATE & INTENTIONAL – as all Muslims throughout history have had the same love of Islam, as have all munaafiqiin & zanaadiq throughout history behaved in the same manner.
The munaafiqeen think they are very intelligent and Muslims are fools. Little do they know, that they are the worst of all fools. The Quran says that when Muslims see them, their dressing is appealing, when they (munaafiqiin) speak, they speak with charming eloquence, they are like logs of wood propped up, they are so panic-stricken they think that every word is against them (see verse 63:4).