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Shaykh ‘Abdul-Aziz bin Baaz (rahimahullaah) was asked ‘Who are the ones who will be excused for ignorance about ‘aqeedah and matters of fiqh?’, to which he replied: Claiming that one is ignorant or using this as an excuse is a matter which needs further discussion. Not everyone can be excused for his ignorance. With regard to the things which were brought by Islam, which the Messenger (peace and blessi ngs of Allah be upon him) explained and which were made clear in the Book of All ah and are widely known among the Muslims, no claim of ignorance will be accepte d in these cases, especially in matters which have to do with ‘aqeedah and the bas ics of the religion. Allah sent His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to teach the p eople their religion and explain it to them, and he conveyed the message clearly and explained to the Ummah the truths of their religion. He explained everythin g and left them with a clear path which is always obvious. In the Book of Allah there is guidance and light. If some people claim to be ignorant about things wh ich are known to be essential parts of the religion and which are well known amo ng the Muslims, such as claiming to be ignorant about shirk and worshipping anyt hing other than Allah, or claiming that salah is not obligatory, or that fasting Ramadan is not obligatory, or that paying zakah is not obligatory, or that doin g Hajj when one is able to is not obligatory – in these and similar matters, claim s of ignorance are unacceptable from those who live among the Muslims, because t hey are matters which are well known among the Muslims. They are known to be ess ential parts of the Muslim religion and are widely known among the Muslims, so t he claim of ignorance of these matters is unacceptable. This is the case if a person were to claim that he does not know that what the m ushrikeen do at the graves or idols is wrong, when they call upon the dead, seek their help, offer sacrifices to them and make vows to them, or offer sacrifices to the idols, stars, trees or rocks; or seek healing or help against their enem ies from the dead or idols or jinn or angels or Prophets. All of these are thing s which are known essentially in the religion that they are major shirk (al-shir k al-akbar). Allah explained this clearly in His Book, and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explained it clearly. He remained in Makkah for thirteen years warning the people against this shirk, and he preached the same message in Madeenah for ten years, explaining to them that it is obligatory for their wors hip to be purely and sincerely for Allah Alone, and reciting to them the Book of Allah, such as the verses (interpretation of the meaning): “And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him” [al-Israa 17:23] “You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything) .” [al-Fatihah 1:5] “And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him).” [al-Bayyinah 98:5] “So worship Allah (Alone) by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allah’s sake only. Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allah only.” [alZumar 39:2-3] “Say (O Muhammad): ‘Verily, my Salah (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists). He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Mus lims.” [al-An aam 6:162-163]
but that they should worship Allah. and so that they will give up their attachment to the dead and seeking help from them whethe r that is in Egypt. and no one else has any right to it. which is the greatest of sins. as He says (interpretation of the meaning): . because it is well known in the religion that insulting the religion or insulting the Messenger (peace and b lessings of Allah be upon him) are forms of major kufr. Similarly. is to teach the people about the unity of Allah (Tawheed) and to educate them abou t the meaning of worshipping Allah. Surely. polytheists. The people must know that worship is due to Allah alone. or at the grave of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qaadi r al-Jeelani or at the grave of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upo n him) in Madeenah and at other graves. attack it. The scholars. the worship and the obedience) is for Allah only. m ock it and insult it – all of these are forms of major kufr and are things for whi ch none may be excused on the grounds of ignorance. rev elations.. addressing His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon h im) (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily. Iraq or in Madeenah at the grave of the Prophet (peac e and blessings of Allah be upon him).” [al-Israa 17:23] i. the religion (i. then his reckoning is only with his Lord. pagans. and so tha t the pilgrims and the people will be aware.And Allah says. Theref ore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only). Al-Kaafiroon (the disbelievers in Allah and in the Oneness of Allah.” [al-Kawthar 108:1-2] “And the mosques are for Allah (Alone). So the duty of the scholars throughout the Muslim world and in the areas where there are Muslim minorities and in every place. and will know the laws and religion of Allah. or in Makkah or anywhere else. lessons. you disb elieved after you had believed” [al-Tawbah 9:65-66] It is obligatory for the scholars in every place to spread this knowledge among the people and to make it known so that the common folk will have no excuse and so that this important knowledge will become widespread among them. We have granted you (O Muhammad) Al-Kawthar (a river in Paradise). as Allah says (interpretat ion of the meaning): “And they were commanded not.” [alZumar 39:2-3] “And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. signs. besides Allah. of whom he has no proof.) and His Messenger that you were mocking?’ Make no excuse. Surely. and His Ayat (proofs. they must s peak out against the things that happen at the grave of al-Badawi. verses. wherever they are. so invoke not anyone along with Allah” [al-J inn 72:18] “And whoever invokes (or worships). etc. any other ilaah (god).e. Syria. ido laters) will not be successful” [al-Mu minoon 23:117] The same applies in the case of those who make fun of the religion.e. as is making fun of the religion or mocking it. your Lord has commanded. must convey to the people the religion of Allah and teach them about the unity of Allah (Tawheed) a nd the kinds of shirk. so that they will give up shirk out of understanding and so that they will worship Allah Alone with understanding. evidences.” [al-Bayyinah 98:5] “So worship Allah (Alone) by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allah’s sake only. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Say: ‘Was it at Allah. and He has commanded them to do t hat. Allah has created the two r aces (of mankind and the jinn) to worship Him. and to warn them against associating anythin g with Allah (shirk). The silence of the scholars is one of the reasons for the loss and ig norance of the common folk. the grave of al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him). and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him).
and if he dies in that state his case will rest with Allah.Kitaab Majmoo Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutnawwi ah li Samaahat vol. But the one who lived among the Muslims but did actio ns of kufr and neglected the well known obligations. so the claim of ignoranc e in this case is a false claim. “I did not know that h omosexuality is haraam. “I did not know that disobeying my parents is haraam.” this is no excuse. There is no room to discuss this issue in detail in thi s answer. Secondly: Among the scholars who say that the ignorant person is excused.” this is no excuse. The correct view is that they will be tested on the Day of Resurrection: if they respond and obey they will enter Paradise. Who created you and those who were before y ou so that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious)” [al-Baqarah 2:21] With regard to matters which may be unclear. and do in your ‘umrah what you do in your Hajj. the pillars of Islam. because of the abundant evidence that it is obligatory to spread the relig ion. All of this is well known and widespread among the Muslims. If anyone who lives among the Muslims w ere to say. But as far as the basics of ‘aqeedah. a s the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) excused the man who ent ered ihraam dressed in a cloak and wearing perfume. claims of ignorance cannot be accepted from anyone who lives among the Muslims. [Shaykh Abdul-Aziz bin Baaz rahimahullaah . teach the ignorant and establish proof against those who are accountable. “Take off the cloak and wash off the perfu me. devoting worship sincerely and purely to Him. Or if he were to say. there is no one who says that the ignorant person should be left without calling him or teaching him. and things which are clearly haraam are concerned. then the claim of ignorance may be accepted from him.” this is no excuse. 132] The excuse of ignorance is one of the matters subject to ijtihaad concerning wh ich there is a difference of opinion among the scholars.“And I (Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone)” [al-Dhaariyaat 51:56] Worship means obeying Him and obeying His Messenger (peace and blessings of Alla h be upon him). some matters which may be u nclear should be taught to the one who is ignorant so that he will come to under stand them. he will come under the same ruling as those who lived during the fatrah (time be tween two Prophets).” He did not tell him to pay a pe nalty (fidyah) for his ignorance. and if they dis obey they will enter Hell. A llaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “ ‘this Qur’aan has been revealed to me that I may therewith warn you and whomsoever i t may reach” . But if he lived in a land far away from the Muslim world or in a remote part of Africa where there are no Muslims around him. rather he should be beaten and disciplined. “I did not know that zina is haraam. These are matters which are clear and are well known among the Muslims and in Islam. has no excuse. because the matter is clear and there are Muslims around him who fast and perform Hajj. The Prophet (peace and bless ings of Allah be upon him) said to him. If he were to s ay. Some of them say that t he ignorant person is excused in all cases and some of them say that that is lim ited to certain matters. and focusing one’s h eart on Him. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah). By the same token. p. the one who is ignorant of them may be excused. 7. And Allah is the One Whose help we seek. such as some transactions and some matters of prayer and fasting.
your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His path.e. and not to hide it” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:187] It should be noted that if the ignorant person finds someone who can teach him. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “(And remember) when Allaah took a covenant from those who were given the Scriptur e (Jews and Christians) to make it (the news of the coming of Prophet Muhammad gious knowledge) known and clear to mankind. The ignorance for which a person may be excused is ignorance of the ruling. He said (interpretation of the meaning): “They know only the outside appearance of the life of the world (i. No one should imagine that leaving the ignorant in their ignorance is e. or he does a forbidden action because he does not know that it is forbidde n. Hence Allaah crit icised the heedless people who know about their worldly matters but are ignorant of their religion. acts of worship or interactions with others. Who ever does not do an obligatory action because he does not know that it is obliga tory. and that they may warn their peop le when they return to them. so that they may beware (of evil)” [al-Tawbah 9:122] “Invite (mankind. and argue with them in a wa y that is better. Truly. then he is sinning because he has not learn t what he was required to learn and he is not excused. let alone any scholar.e. If leaving the people in ign orance was acceptable. No rational person would say this. a party only should go forth. that they (who are left beh ind) may get instructions in (Islâmic) religion.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari.[al-An’aam 6:19] “Of every troop of them. but he falls short and is negligent. the matters of their livelihood. permissibl that Allaa negligence been comma . whether the matter has to do with beliefs. 3461. Islam) with wis Divine Revelation and the Qur’aan) and fair preaching. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) sent his Companions as t eachers and conveyors of glad tidings and warnings. and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided” [al-Nahl 16:125] And the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: “Convey from me even if it is one verse. like irrigating or sowing or reaping). the Messengers would not have been sent. O Muhammad ) to the way of your Lord (i. And He criticised those imitators who ignore the knowledge and guidance that has come to them and say: we found our forefathers following a way and we are follo wing in their footsteps. the Books would not have been sent down and the callers would not have been charged with their d uty. The fact h may excuse the ignorant person whose ignorance is not the result of does not mean that the scholar should refrain from doing what he has nded to do of conveying and explaining. is an ignorant person who may be excused for his obedience. and they are heedles s of the Hereafter” [al-Room 30:7].
The evidence for that is the hadeeh of Maa’iz (may Allaah be pleased with him) who confessed that he had committed zina. and he said: I did with her wrongfully haraam what a man does w ith his wife lawfully. 5/33. “I am burned. but this igno rance did not excuse him from the punishment. he is to be excused for his ignorance and is not regarded as a kaafir. But if a person does not pray and he knows that not praying is haraam but he does no t know that not praying is kufr. If a person commits zina – for example – and does not know that zina is haraam.” Narrated by Abu Dawood. Ibn al-Qayyim – who classed the report of Abu Dawood as saheeh – said: The hadd puni shment is not due for one who was ignorant of the fact that it is forbidden. then he has no excuse and the hadd punishment must be carried o ut on him. if the conditions for that are met. then the hadd punishme because he dared to do something haraam. and there is some hadd punishment or expiation required for that. whethe expiation or anything else. Zaad al-Ma’aad. As was pointed out by al-Ha afiz ibn Hajar in al-Fath (4/207). This hadeeth was also reported in al-S aheehayn. But if a person knows that zina is haraam but he does not know that the one who commits zina deserves the hadd punishment.” The Prophet (peace and bless . Similarly. take me back t o the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). the Sahaabi who had intercourse with his wife during the day in Ramad aan did it deliberately and knew that it was haraam. he has no excuse. 4428. The evidence for that is the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to a person who confessed that he had committed zina: “Do you know w hat zina is?” Narrated by Abu Dawood. he w ill not be punished and is excused for his ignorance. and he mu sin requires expiation. (B) If he knows that it is r a hadd punishment. but he is igno rant of the punishment for that. There follows some evidence for the above. Zaad al-Ma’aad. Thi s Sahaabi (may Allaah have mercy on him) knew that it was haraam but he was unaw are of the punishment. for my pe ople deceived me and killed me. required nt must be carried out on him st offer the expiation if the haraam but is ignorant of the consequences. its isnaad was clas sed as jayyid by al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) in al-Irwa’. as well as some comments of the schol ars: (A) If a person is ignorant of the ruling on the forbidden action and does it .But if a person knows that something is forbidden and he does it. this is indicated by the fact that he said “I a m doomed” – or according to another report. Maa’iz did not know that the punishment was execution. because he has knowingly comm itted a sin and transgressed the bounds. 7/354. 5/34. it is not re quired in his case. if a person does not pray and he does not know that prayer is obligat ory. bec ause the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked him about the ruling on zina. in which he said: “O people. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: This indicates that ignorance of the punishment does not excuse a person from the punishment if he knew that it is haraam. then he is not to be excused. 4420. Similarly.
But if he knows that zina is haraam. or he is new in Islam. then no hadd punishment is to be carried out on him. we are not referring to ignorance of the consequences of this haraam action. Hence he said.” If we say that ignor ance is an excuse. 1111. and he does not live in a Muslim country. Islam Q&A . then the hadd punishment should still be carried out on him. “I am doomed. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: If someone were to say: Wasn’t the man who came to the Messenger (peace and blessi ngs of Allaah be upon him) ignorant? The answer is: He was ignorant of what was required of him. rather we are referring to ignorance of the ruling on this actio n and whether it is haraam or not. and did not ex cuse him because he was unaware of it. This was narrated by al-Bukhaari. 1834.ings of Allaah be upon him) ruled that he had to offer expiation. Ignorance of whether an action is haraam or not is an excuse. 6/417 And Allaah knows best. because he has transgressed a sacred limit. Ignorance of the consequenc es of a haraam action is no excuse. he was not ignorant of the fact that this was haraam. Al-Sharh al-Mumti’. or he lives in a remote area and does not know that zina is ha raam. M uslim. or lashing and banishment. Hence if a person commits zina and is ignoran t of the fact that it is haraam. but he does not know that the hadd punishment for it is stoning.
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