During the Khilafat of Maulana Nur-ud-Din, when Mirza Mahmud Ahmad returned from performing the Hajj to Makkah, some welcome meetings were held for him in Qadian. One such meeting, attended by the Hazrat Maulana, was held on 14th January 1913, and was organized by the pupils of the Ahmadiyya religious school. At the request of the gathering Mirza Mahmud Ahmad made a speech about his journey (See the quote and scan in the below). In this speech he mentioned various questions and objections that he encountered from people during the journey and his answers to them. He then explains how Ahmadi’s don’t believe Muslim’s to be Kafir simply on the score that they believe Eisa (As) to be alive, Ahmadi’s consider Muslim’s as Kafir’s per the famous hadith of Sahih Bukhari, wherein any Muslim who calls another Muslim a Kafir, has the Takfir come back onto himself. However, this is a non-sensical argument since Ahmadi’s are confirmed Kafir’s in the first place. MGA made exactly the same argument in 1906-1907 via Haqiqatul Wahy (see pages 143-144, online english edition). We have posted this hadith in the below.
It should be noted that this speech was, of course, made almost two years after his well-known article of April 1911, in which he declared all other Muslims to be kafir, all those who “decline to accept his claims”, “even if they called him a righteous person with their tongues”.
This event, along with the speech, is reported in Badr, 30 January 1913, pages 17-18
(p. 18, column 2)
The image of the complete report in Badr can be read in pdf format at this link. The report begins in the 3rd column of the first page (p. 17). I have marked appropriate points by red lines.
“Then a man raised the objection that the Holy Prophet has said that in every century there will be a group in his Ummah who will receive salvation, but you (i.e., Ahmadis) say that after the Companions till today all Muslims have been kafir as they believed that Jesus is alive. I replied to him that we do not call non-Ahmadis as kafir because of their believing in Jesus to be alive. We call them kafir because they call the followers of Mirza sahib, who are Muslims, as kafir. Therefore, under the Holy Prophet’s order, we call them kafir because they call Muslims as kafir.”
Hadith on a Muslim calling a Muslim a Kafir
|: Sahih al-Bukhari 6103|
|In-book reference||: Book 78, Hadith 130|
|USC-MSA web (English) reference||: Vol. 8, Book 73, Hadith 125|
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “If a man says to his brother, O Kafir (disbeliever)!’ Then surely one of them is such (i.e., a Kafir). “
Hadith on a Muslim calling a Muslim a Kafir
2————–Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “When a person calls his brother (in Islam) a disbeliever, one of them will certainly deserve the title. If the addressee is so as he has asserted, the disbelief of the man is confirmed, but if it is untrue, then it will revert to him.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Hadith on a Muslim calling a Muslim a Kafir
3——It is reported on the authority of Ibn `Umar that the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) said:
Any person who calls his brother: O Unbeliever! (then the truth of this label) would return to one of them. If it is true, (then it is) as he asserted, (but if it is not true), then it returns to him (and thus the person who made the accusation is an Unbeliever). [Sahih Muslim]
Hadith on a Muslim calling a Muslim a Kafir
Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, “If somebody accuses another of disbelief or calls him the enemy of Allah, such an accusation will revert to him (the accuser) if the accused is innocent.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim}
Ibn `Abidin in his Rasa’il (2:291 Sall al-Husam al-Hindi) said that a Muslim who unjustly calls another Muslim kafir commits kufr if he really considers him kafir but not if he only intents to insult him. In the latter case he only commits fisq. We seek refuge in Allah from the accusations of the ignorant and the fitan of our times
“And those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly, bear on themselves the crime of slander and plain sin.” (33:5
1559. Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Reviling a Muslim is Fusuq (disobedience of Allah) and killing him is (tantamount to) disbelief.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: “Killing him is (tantamount) to disbelief” means that in terms of sin and prohibition, it is akin to Kufr. This Hadith makes the severity of this crime abundantly clear.
Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, “When any Muslim accuses another Muslim of sin or of disbelief, the reproach rebounds upon the one who utters it, if the other person is not deserving of it.” [Al-Bukhari].
Commentary: What this Hadith stresses is that one should never say about a Muslim that he is sinful (Fasiq) or disbeliever (Kafir) when he is not so. The reason is that in that case, one who says it, will be held Fasiq or Kafir. One should, therefore, strictly refrain from uttering such statements.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “When two persons indulge in abusing each other, the beginner will be the sinner so long as the oppressed does not transgress the limits.”
Commentary: This Hadith tells us that if a Muslim abuses another and says unfair things about him and in return the recipient also abuses him and says unfair things to the same extent, then the entire burden of sin of abusing would lie with the person who initiated the quarrel. But if the one who is wronged, exceeds the limits in revenge, then he will also be guilty to the degree of his excess. Thus, this Hadith shows that although revenge is permissible in Islam, it is better to forgive and bear the excess with patience. The reason behind this is that in revenge, one usually exceeds the limits and becomes an aggressor. Allah says: “And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives, that would truly be from the things recommended by Allah.” (42:43).
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: A drunkard was brought to the Prophet (PBUH). He said, “Give him a beating.” Then some beat him with their hands, some with their shoes, and some with (a folded) piece of cloth. When he left, someone said to him: “May Allah disgrace you!” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Do not help Satan overcome him by uttering such words.” [Al-Bukhari].
Commentary: We learn from this Hadith that imprecation against a sinner helps Satan because he is avowed to disgrace and humiliate Muslims before Allah. When a Muslim curses another Muslim and imprecates for his humiliation and disgrace, he in fact tries to accomplish the mission of Satan because in doing so Satan will have achieved his objective. Therefore, one should not curse a fellow Muslim even if he or she is a sinner. In fact, one should pray to Allah for his or her guidance.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, “He who accuses his slave of Zina will receive the punishment (Hadd) of slander on the Day of Resurrection, unless the accusation of Zina was true.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: On the Day of Judgement, the masters of slaves and slave-girls will be exposed to Hadd-ul-Qadfi (Hadd for accusing someone of adultery) for the reason that they perpetrate all kinds of oppressions on their captives and their grievances are not redressed. On the Day of Judgement, when Almighty Allah dispenses justice without any prejudice and favour, He will also do full justice to this oppressed class and those masters, who somehow escaped the punishment on this account in this world. Thus, this Hadith has a stern warning for those masters who are carried away by their might and authority and perpetrate oppression on their servants and slaves.
O’ You who believe! When any mischief-maker brings you any news, then ascertain (it) lest you cause harm to some people and regret what you have done.’ (Surah Al-Hujuraat, Verse 6)
Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should say something good or keep quiet.” [Bukhari]
Famous companion, Sayyidna Muaz ibn Jabal, Radi-Allahu anhu, once asked the Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, “Tell me about an act that will cause me to enter Paradise and be protected from the Fire.” “You have indeed asked something profound,” responded the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, “But it will be easy on whom Allah makes it easy. Worship Allah and do not associate any partners with Him. Establish regular Salat, pay Zakat, fast during Ramadan, and perform Hajj.” Then he asked “Shall I not tell you about the doors of good: fast is a shield (against sins and against Hell-fire), charity extinguishes sins like water extinguishes fire; and the midnight Salat (the voluntary Tahajjud Salat).” Then he recited this verse: “Their limbs do forsake their beds of sleep, while they call on their Lord, in Fear and Hope: and they spend (in charity) out of the sustenance which We have bestowed on them.” [As-Sajda 32:16]
Then he continued: “Shall I tell you about the beginning, the mainstay and the high point of this? The beginning is (acceptance of) Islam; It’s mainstay is Salat; it’s highest point is Jihad.”
Then the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, asked: “Shall I tell you about the thing on which all this depends?” He, then held his tongue and said “Guard this.” Sayyidna Muaz ibn Jabal, Radi-Allahu anhu, asked: “Shall we be questioned about our utterances?” On this the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said, “Most people will be thrown into Hell—face down—because of the transgressions of their tongues.”
The ability to speak and express themselves separates human beings from animals. The proper use of this great gift—or its absence—separates the good and successful people from the bad and unsuccessful ones.
Sayyidna Mu’adh’s question was about eternal success. In response, the hadith mentions both mandatory and voluntary good deeds that cover a person’s entire life. But then we are reminded that the outcome of all these depends upon guarding our tongue. In other words carelessness with the tongue can poke holes in all of our good deeds.
Another hadith highlights the same issue in a different way: “Every morning all the limbs of a person plead with his tongue: ‘Fear Allah for our sake, for our fate is tied to yours. If you follow the straight path so shall we. And if you go astray so shall we.'”
Yet another hadith reminds us about the far reaching consequences of the words we utter. “Sometimes a person says something good but he does not realize how far will his words go. Yet it earns him the pleasure of Allah till the day he will meet Him. On the other hand sometimes a person says something bad, although he does not realize how far his words will go. Yet it earns him the wrath of Allah till the day he will meet Him.” [Tirmizi, Ibn Maja, Muwwata Imam Malik].
The pre-Islamic Arab society was a very vocal society. While reading and writing were not that common, people did pride themselves in their facility with words—both prose and poetry. A person commanded respect based on his command over words. Using power of words only, they could sink reputations, start wars, and impact life in a similar fashion as modern media has come to demonstrate on a much larger scale. Then, as now, it was raw power like the power of the beasts of the Jungle.
Islam tamed this beast. It reminded us that each and every word we utter is being recorded by the angels and one day we will have to stand accountable for all this record. It reminded that a person’s greatness lies not in how powerful he is with words but in how careful is he with them. It reminded that it is better to keep silent than to say something bad. And it is better to say something good than to keep quiet.
The social revolution it engendered was unprecedented. It produced a people who truly understood the value of words and who were as pious with them as they had been powerful. Their silence was the silence of quiet reflection. And they spoke only when they could improve the silence. Is it any wonder that even their extempore statements were pearls of wisdom.
Today, everywhere there are schools that can teach one how to read, write, and speak a language. But their students would never learn how to civilize this raw power; to use it only in promoting truth and spreading virtue; to never use it for promoting falsehood or spreading evil.
There is a lot of unlearning we have to do if we want to get out of this. It is a costly mistake for a believer to think that talk is cheap; that you can say whatever is expedient without any concern for any consequences beyond the immediate ones.
Such attitudes, prevalent today, lead to all kinds of sins: vain pursuits, gossip, dishonesty, insincerity, arrogance, belittling others, backbiting, spreading scandals and corruption, telling lies. Each of these has been clearly defined as a deadly sin by the Qur’an and Hadith. The treatment for each of these sins begins with learning the Islamically responsible use of the tongue. Then there are secondary problems caused in turn by these. In fact most of the problems in the family, in the society, and even between countries are either created or augmented by the irresponsible use of the tongue.
Links and Related Essays
In 1923, Mirza Basheer-uddin Mahmud Ahmad, the Ahmadi Khalifa, ordered Ahmadis to stop doing Takfir on Muslims
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