Hisbah (Arabic: حسبة hisba, ḥisba, “verification”) is an Islamic doctrine of keeping everything in order within the laws of Allah. This doctrine is based on the Qur’anic expression Enjoin what is good and forbid what is wrong.
This doctrine has the following major aspects.
An obligation of a Muslim
An obligation of a state to ensure its citizens observe the hisbah, in particular, the Sharia law.
In a broader sense, hisbah also refers to the practice of supervision of commercial, guild, and other secular affairs. Traditionally, a muhtasib was appointed by the Caliph to oversee the order in marketplaces, in businesses, in medical occupations, etc. The position of muhtasib may be approximately rendered as “inspector“. See Hisbah (business accountability) for this aspect.
For example, in Saudi Arabia, the state establishment responsible for hisbah is the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.
In various islamic states there is an establishment called “religious police” in the West. In some states it is state-established, in others it is independent of state.
Hisba : A Historical Overview
By: – Ahmed Mansour
The Hisba is when a a Muslim individual volunteers to interfere in the lives of others once they commit a crime against God or against the people. The rights of God include doctrines and beliefs such as believing in God, His angels, His books, His prophets, as well as praying on time and giving alms, going on pilgrimage, fasting, repenting, and reading the Koran. The rights of people are protecting their money, lives and honor and the right to ownership.
What happens then when a person violates one of God’s rights? Everyone tends to more or less agree as to the punishments for murder, burglary, theft, defamation and adultery (although the latter is controversial). But the real controversy arises when one of God’s rights is violated through heresy, apostasy, ignoring prayers and abstaining from giving alms. Should the ruler punish this person? Should others interfere in this person’s personal life and force him/her to adopt a certain faith under penalty of death? Should anyone force this person to pray or go to pilgrimage? In other words, is the hisba applicable here? And if the hisba is legitimate, and means interfering in someone’s life, what are the limits of that intervention? Is it merely offering advice or should it include employing force through both moral and physical punishments? It is here that we find the vast difference between the Qur’an’s shari’a which the Prophet exercised, and the shari’a applied by the clergy since the Abbasside era.
This difference lies in the political system itself. The Prophet’s state was founded on shura, freedom and justice, while the Ummayyds and the Abbasside states were founded on power, violence, injustice and the banning of rights. The Umayades were not bothered with acquiring a sanctioned fatwas to justify their actions, even while murdering Al Hussein and his followers, or while violating the Kaaba during the reign of Yazeed bin Moaweya. The Abassides built their state under the slogan of gaining approval from the family of Mohammed, claiming to be his relatives and descendants. They clearly needed a legitimate and justifiable reason that would entitle them to murder their enemies on demand.
This is why they created new religious posts that would reinforce their powers, the most notable of which was creating the post of al hisba, or the mohtaseb. Al Hisba was therefore a new term not mentioned in the Koran, nor in any of the approved hadiths except to mean a ‘volunteer’. The clergy of the Abbasside era found in the issue of Al Amr bel Maaroof wal Nahy an el Monkar a supportive basis for their hisba, making it an official religious post that would operate politically in favor, and at the service of, the State. This was approved despite the fact that the hisba itself is a volunteer work that by definition contradicts official employment and paid work.
It has been historically established that the hisba was unknown during the times of the Prophet as well as during the times of the great Caliphreat Caliphs, although the latter killed their enemies of the Khawareg, Shi’a and Mawali on the grounds of mere suspicions. The Al Haggag, the Ummayade ruler over Iraq, killed his opponents just for doubting their loyalty, without need for legal justification nor courts. This system continued until the Abassides destroyed the Umayades with the help of the Persians.
In the wake of the rise of the Abasside State with the help of Persian leader Abi Muslim al Kharsani, immediate suspicions began to surface between him and Abi Gaafar Al Mansour, the Abbasside Caliph. The latter felt insecure about his own power in the presence of Abi Muslim until he finally murdered him with his own hands in the year 137 higri. Despite the precautions he took, he could not prevent the Persian rebellions in Kharsan and the Eastern provinces under the leadership of Fatma bint Abi Muslim, daughter of the slain leader. At the same time Abi Muslim’s followers within the Abbasside state and in Baghdad began conspiring against the Caliph in order to assassinate him. The Caliph knew that among the administrators and military of his state there were many of Abi Muslim’s followers. Those of them who announced their loyalty to the Caliph were still treated with suspicion. Being a military Caliph who founded his Caliphate on religious grounds, needing to protect his state and defeat his enemies, he sought a religious legislation that would accomplish two objectives:
First: getting rid of his enemies and the conspirators against him within the State.
Second: portraying him as a defender of the faith who kills apostates, heretics, and all enemies of religion.
In this political environment, the redda(apostasy) punishment was created and the hisba position made.
The Abbasside state sent its forces to fight the Persian rebels under the leadership of Fatma, while concurrently steering its ulemas inside Baghdad to kill opponents under the guise of apostasy. Since there is no punishment for apostates in Islam, the State’s clergy invented two hadtihs stipulating for the punishment of apostates, and the state immediately began inflicting such punishments.
The war between the two factions continued, and the Abbasside state sent its army to fight the Persians in the East. Fatma and her followers announced that they were adopting their old faith which is the Mazdakeya. They therefore fought the Abbasside state under that umbrella. Within the State itself, the Abbassides continued to pursue Fatma’s aids and supporters, who were murdered for being heretics and apostates. Among those murdered were the poet Bishar bin Bard and poet Ibn Abdel Koddoos.
The Caliph Abu Gaafar adviced his son and follower Al Mahdi to pursue and murder apostates, and this son in turn adviced his own son Al Hadi with the same. The Abbasside era therefore was clearly founded on pursuing and murdering their opponents and enemies under the guise of apostasy.
It should be noted that many other ‘apostates’ were left completely unharmed since they did not criticize the State. Among them were poet Abi Al Ataheya, Ibn Saba and many others, some of whom were even close to the Caliph himself. Historians therefore agree that the term al mohtaseb appeared for the first time during the reign of Al Mahdi (158-169 higri; 774-785) and the first mohtaseb was called Abdel Gayar, otherwise known as Friend of the Apostates, whose duty was to seek apostates and murder them. This was in 163 higri.
This therefore was the scene that created the job of hisba and it is no wonder that it is mostly contradictory with many of the Qura’n’s shari’a. Since the Abbasside era witnessed the beginning of scribing Islamic thought including the fikh , the hadith s and the interpretations, we have therefore inherited this deception and lived with it as though it were Islam itself, although God has given us the Qur’an and said that He would protect it so that we would always get back to it as a basis for our belief.Asking People to Repent and Postponing Judgement till Resurrection Day:Is it acceptable that a human being demand that another person or group of people repent under threat of punishment, otherwise known in Arabic as estetaba? The term ‘repent’ and its derivatives are mentioned in the Qur’an 87 times, and not one time is the word estetaba (asking someone to repent mentioned. Repentance is a special relationship between human beings and God, and no human being not even the Prophet himself, may come between man/woman and God in matters of repentance. Whoever makes himself or herself a go-between, and asks people to repent in the name of God, this person has clearly misunderstood Islam. We ask this person to provide us with the proxy he/she has from God to receive repentance in His name, or to ask others to repent in His name. In the Qur’an there are enough details concerning repentance. We here provide some of those verses:
1- In matters of faith and the secrets of the hearts which no one knows but God, repentance is to God alone. God commanded the Prophet to announce that: ¢Say: He is my Lord; there is no God save Him. In Him do I put my trust and unto Him is my recourse” (The Thunder, 30). This means that to Him alone do we repent, trust and believe. This is what the Prophet says, and what every believer should say as he/she repents and turns to God alone.
2- Because the Prophet is a human being who does not know the secrets of the hearts, and because God alone knows what is hidden from the eyes and hidden in the chests, repentance is directed to God alone. He says: ¢But whoso repenteth after his wrongdoing and amendeth, lo! Allah will relent toward him. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful¢ (The Table Spread). Who could know the truthfulness of such repentance but He who knows the unknown?
3- Because repentance concerns God alone, one of His characteristics is that he is a ‘forgiver’. This is repeated 11 times. Because repentance is only to God and no one may join Him in accepting it, it is closely related to His will. God says: ¢Allah relenteth toward whom He will¢ (Repentance 15). Also ¢That Allah may reward the true men for their truth, and punish the hypocrites if He will, or relent toward them (if He will)” (The Clans, 24). No human being is therefore allowed to interfere in God’s will and make someone repent or punish someone for not repenting.
4- All people are equal in demanding repentance in front of God the Merciful.Each asks it of God, whether they be ordinary people or Prophets, even hypocrites and wrongdoers. God says about Abraham and Ismail that they lift the foundation of the Holy House and pray to God saying: ¢Our Lord! And make us submissive unto Thee and of our seed a nation submissive unto Thee, and show us our ways of worship, and relent toward us. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Relenting, the Merciful¢ (The Cow, 128 ).
God says about the Prophet Mohammed concerning the emigrants and the Ansar during the battle of Zat al Asra: ¢Allah hath turned in mercy to the Prophet, and to the Muhajirin and the Ansar who followed him in the hour of hardship. After the hearts of a party of them had almost swerved aside, then turned He unto them in mercy. Lo! He is Full of Pity, Merciful for them¢ (Repentance, 117). Mercifulness then and accepting repentance is for God alone, for he alone knows people’s hearts and knows the truthfulness of their repentance. Asking others to repent therefore is a divine duty, so how are we giving ourselves the right to something divine?
Postponing Condemnation till Judgment Day:
Qur’anic jurisprudence does not give human beings the right to judge others concerning their belief. It clearly stipulates for postponement of condemnation till judgment day. God willed to create people who have different opinions, beliefs and trends, except for those who abide by the Book. He says: ¢and if thy Lord had willed, He verily would have made mankind one nation, yet they cease not differing¢ (Hud, 118 ). The history of humankind is a series of non-stop differences between religions, within each religion and within every sect. Jews and Christians differ, and each claim to have the sole truth while others are wholly in the wrong. God judges among them on Judgment Day: ¢Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they differ¢ (The Cow, 113). There are still differences among the Jews even after the Torah was finished, so God said: ¢and they differed not until the knowledge came unto them. Lo! thy Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning wherein they used to differ¢ (Jonah, 93). Concerning their differences around the Sabbath that God will judge between them also (124). The Christians have similarly differed where there are those who were people of the truth and those who were people of the untruth. God said he will postpone their judgement till the Day of the Resurrection: ¢and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ¢ (The Family of Imran, 55). Concerning the differences among those who believe in God alone and those who take other deities with God, He said: ¢Thou wilt judge between Thy slaves concerning wherein they used to differ¢ (The Troops, 46). With regard the relationship between Muslims and People of the Book He said: ¢So vie one with another in good works…He will then inform you of that wherin ye differ¢ (The Table Spread, 48 ).
Concerning the relationship between the Prophet and those who fight against him, God said: ¢Lo! Thou wilt die, and lo! they will die; Then lo! on the Day of Resurrection, before your Lord ye will dispute¢ (The Troops, 30-31). This means that the Prophet himself will dispute with his enemies in front of God. That is why God commanded him to tell them: ¢Lo! Allah will decide between them on the Day of Resurrection¢ (The Pilgrimage, 17). all religious conflicts have therefore been postponed till the Day of Resurrection. God said about all people: ¢Each soul earneth only its own account, nor doth any laden bear another’s load. Then unto your Lord is your return and He will tell you that wherein ye differed¢ (Cattle, 164).
Concerning judgement among people on judgment day, God commanded the Prophet to announce this truth: ¢Say: O Allah! Creator of the heavens and the earth! Knower of the Invisible and the visible! Thou wilt judge between Thy slaves concerning that wherein they used to differ¢ (the Troops, 46).
Those many verses are enough to show that religious differences among people are only left for God on the Day of Resurrection, and this applies to the Prophets no less.
After all this, is a Muslim who loves his religion, allowed to give himself/herself the right to take on a divine characteristic? Matters of faith are God’s concern alone on the Day of Resurrection. But there are rights of people in their lives, property and honor when committed have their penalties awaiting him/her in this world. This is God’s jurisprudence in controlling society. This is the field where the human judiciary may enter to protect people and society while abiding by divine jurisprudence.A Fikh and Legal Response for the Verdict against Dr. Nasr Abu Zaid.
First: General Answers:
The verdict against Nasr Abu Zaid crossed the threshold of the judiciary to legislation, ignoring all legal and Constitutional provisions that differed with the judge’s opinion. The judge immersed himself in religious jurisprudence and doctrinal writings, deliberately choosing from them what supported his opinion and ignoring what did not. Consequently, he neither abided by the law, the Constitution, the opinions of religious scholars themselves, nor even by the judicial system of the middle ages, and, more ironically, he did not adhere to a specific doctrinal creed.
Never in the history of the judiciary during the middle ages, was there a verdict regarding the apostasy of an absent person. The defendant was always present and had his fair share of defending himself, his opinions and his beliefs. The Court would then announce its verdict after hearing the defence. This did not happen with Dr. Abu Zeid.
It is narrated about the courts during the middle ages that they were inquisition courts, denying people their rights to belief and opinion. But they were certainly better than this verdict since at least during the former, the defendant was present, and his defense was heard. This did not happen in our case here. More importantly and more tragically, this verdict contradicts the Qur’an itself, a fact which needs a detailed explanation here: First: The Judge writes on page 23: ¢What the professor has written is not just contravening with religion but is also in contradiction with the Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt. Article 2 states that Islam is the religion of the State.¢ Since Islam is the religion of the State, we have to resort to it in this matter rather than resorting to the writings and opinions of religious scholars which necessarily tend to expresses their own opinions. The words of God and the Sunna of his Prophet Mohammed alone express God’s opinions. They necessarily coincide with each other. Islam does not have a jurisprudence that condemns a person to death or accuses him/her of apostasy, separating this person from his/her spouse, nor does it condemn a person for his faith and belief, nor what he says about his faith and belief. This is all detailed in the Qur’an, and has been applied by the Prophet himself. We’ve never heard that the Prophet killed any of the hypocrites, nor judged them, or even ruled for their separation from their wives. This is what we shall explain in details later. The verdict of this court itself, therefore is against Islam and against the religion of the State.Second: The verdict contradicts the Principles of the Islamic Shari’a:
Article 2 of the Constitution states that the principles of the Islamic Shari’a is the source of legislation in the Arab Republic of Egypt. There is a clear difference between the principles of the Shari’a and the fatwas issued by scholars. The principles of the Islamic Shari’a are undoubtedly based on justice:
– ¢We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scriptures and the Balance, that mankind may observe right measure;…¢ (Iron, 25).
-The principles are made to lift burdens and make matters easier: – ¢…but say: I believe in whatever scripture Allah hath sent down, and I am commanded to be just among you.¢ (Counsel, 15)
– ¢ Allah desireth for you ease; He desireth not hardship for you.¢ (The Cow, 185)
– ¢Allah would make the burden light for you.¢ (Women, 28 )
– ¢Allah would not place a burden on you.” (The Table Spread, 8 )
– He hath chosen you and hath not laid upon you in religion any hardship.¢ (the Pilgrimage, 78 )
– Freedom of Choice and personal responsibility in front of God:
– ¢Each soul shall earneth only on its own account, nor doth any laden bear another’s load. Then unto the Lord is your return and He will tell you that wherein ye differed.¢ (Cattle, 164)
-” Whosoever goeth right, it is only for (the good of) his own soul that he goeth right, and whosoever erreth, erreth only to its hurt.¢ (the Al-Isra, 15)
– ¢If ye are thankless, yet Allah is Independent of you, though he is not pleased with thanklessness for His bondmen; and if ye are thankful He is pleased therewith for you. No laden soul will bear another’s load. then unto your Lord is your return; and He will tell you what ye used to do. ¢ (The Troops, 7)
– Even those who are apostates, God has postponed their punishment till Judgement day:
– ¢Lo! Those who distort Our revelations are not hid from Us. Is he who is hurled into Fire Better, or he who cometh secure on the Day of Resurrection? Do what ye will. Lo! He is Seer of what ye do.¢ (Fussilat, 40)
The principles of the Shari’a, or, according to the fundamentalists, the ‘intentions’ of the Shari’a, are founded on justice and facilitation. They are based on freedom in belief and opinion, while being responsible in front of God for that. This naturally contradicts interference in other people’s freedom of thought, belief or opinion, and judging them accordingly.
It should be emphasized therefore that there is a big difference between the intentions of the Shari’a and its rules. Rules are partial; intentions are comprehensive. For example: The rules of the Shari’a discussed fasting. God says: ¢And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of other days. Allah desireth for you ease…¢ (The Cow, 185)
The legislation concerning fasting and the refraining from fasting for a cause, enter into the field of legislative rules or provisions. Intentions on the other hand, came to lighten burdens and make matters easy, rather than difficult. The same with regards the provisions concerning ablution with water or sand (the Table Spread 6). The rules of Islamic legislation which the Prophet adhered to, therefore clearly contradict condemning someone for apostasy or someone who differs in opinion or belief.
The verdict therefore clearly contradicts the Islamic Shari’a and contradicts Islam itself. Third: This verdict also contradicts the opinions of the Grand Imams. It is important here to note that the Imams have differed and agreed in their efforts, and that these efforts are merely representative of their own points of view, instead of Islam’s point of view which was clearly stated in the Qur’an.
It is clear therefore that the verdict cited the later religious scholars who lived during the times of retardation and staticism. He ignored the Imams who lived during the more enlightened times of exerting efforts and igtihad. Imam Malek for instance, never stated that the Prophet demanded the death of an apostate. Nor does he mention separating a man from his wife based on apostasy. Not only that, but Imam Mohammed al Shibani, friend of Abi Hanfeefa, said in the writings of Imam Malek that زno man may testify to another Muslim man’s sins however big that sin is.¢ This is also approved by Abi Haneefa and the majority of our scholars.
The Maleks and the Abi Haneefas, therefore, during the times of scholarly research and igtihad, were against the hisba and equally against accusing others of apostasy. This is the correct opinion which refutes the later opinions during the times of retardation. Imam Shafei said: ¢Any person who believes in God must keep his doubts and not judge any person accordingly. The Prophet himself is an example for us.¢ Al Mekdad Bin Al Aswad narrated that he once asked the Prophet: ¢O Prophet of God, I met an atheist and we fought. He hit one of my hands with his sword and cut it off then escaped behind a tree. He then said: ¢I have become a Muslim.¢ Shall I still kill him after he said that?¢ The Prophet said: ¢No do not kill him. ¢ I said: ”But he cut my hand then afterwards said those words, shall I kill him?¢ The Prophet said: ¢Do not kill him because if you do, you shall be like him before he utters those words, and he shall be like you after he said it.¢
It is an established fact that the defendant, who is accused of being an apostate, has announced his abidance by Islam and his care for it. What the Court accused him of is its own understanding of the professor’s writings and opinions. It is therefore a judgment by doubt against a man who has said ¢There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is His Prophet.¢ According to what Imam Shafei stated this judgment is nulled and invalidated. The verdict clearly contradicts even the opinions of the later Imams. The real irony is that the wife herself announced that she was staying with her husband and believed in his opinions. Since the Court ruled that the defendant is an apostate, then this applies to his wife too. What do the scholars whom the court has cited, say about separating a man and his wife if they both became apostates? In his book Al Ahkam al Soltaneya (Sultan Rulings), Al Mawardi says that a marriage is not nulled if both husband and wife are apostates together!
The judge based his verdict a book called: Badae al Sanae written by Al Kasani Al Hanafi. This same man says in that same book that if both man and wife become apostates together or if both become Muslims together, their marriage is not nulled, and could not be nulled. This means that separating the defendants is not feasible because they believe in the same opinions and beliefs which the Court describes as apostasy.
We therefore say that separating the man from his wife is not feasible according to Sheikh Al Kasani, although the Court cites his book in the matter of Al Hisba and uses it against the defendants. The judge therefore clearly cited what he wanted and ignored what he felt like leaving. The verdict therefore ignored both the law and the Constitution that stipulated for freedom of opinion and belief, and also the freedom of making academic efforts and igtihad. If there was a clear legal provision that criminalized the opinions of the defendant, the judge would not have resorted to the opinions of the religious scholars while ignoring all other opinions.
The only justification for the verdict is that there is no local law for a case like that. The judge was therefore entitled to resort to the opinions of past scholars. Even in such a case, the judge should have adhered to one single doctrinal trend. This was the way things were during the middle ages, before local laws were made.Detailed Answers
The verdict cited the verses that discuss hypocrites. But Islamic jurisprudence did not pass judgment over hypocrites, and did not consider them ‘apostates’. The Prophet himself did not judge them or separate them from their wives. Some people might say that when the Prophet was ruler of Medina, he did not have any powers over his enemies the apostates, nor over the People of the Book. Maybe his rights as a ruler and a Prophet was to sentence his hypocrites, but the Qur’an’s jurisprudence is one and there are no exceptions in it. Perhaps the refinement of the Qur’an is evident in precisely its treatment of the hypocrites who are under Islamic rule. Furthermore, there are two types of hypocrites: the first type involves those who have become addicted to hypocrisy, keeping their opinions and feelings inside themselves and without saying or doing anything that would reveal their true hatred of Islam. This type God has promised enmity in this world and the hereafter. The Prophet did not know them, as the Qur’an says: ¢And among those around you of the wandering Arabs there are hypocrites, and among the townspeople of Al-Madinah (there are some who) persist in hypocrisy whom thou (O Muhammad) knowest not. We, We know them, and We shall chastise them twice; then they will be relegated to a painful doom.¢ (Repentance, 101).
The second type of hypocrites involves those who have shown their hatred of Islam through words and through action, conspiring against the Prophet and his people. Their conspiracies amounted to high treason, where they sometimes joined forces with the enemies of the State or conspired with them against Muslims in times of war. This was within the acceptable limits as long as they were still under the State’s authority and did not raise arms against it. It was acceptable as long as their actions were merely mouthing harassments. But once they went beyond those limits, like the hypocrite Bedouins of the desert, or attempted carrying arms, this necessitated military confrontation according to the Qur’an in verses 88 of Women which says: ¢What aileth you that ye are become two parties regarding the hypocrites, when Allah cast them back (to disbelief) because of what they earned? Seek ye to guide him whom Allah hath sent astray? He whom Allah sendeth astray, for him thou (O Muhammed) canst find a road.¢ And verse 60 and after of The Clans: ¢If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and the alarmists in the city do not cease, We verily shall urge thee on against them, then they will be your neighbors in it but a little while. Accursed they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.¢
The hypocrites, as individuals and groups, had the freedom of opposition to the State and religion. The Qur’an passed judgments on them and called them by their names, exposing them and their conspiracies. However it also ordered the Prophet and the believers to keep their distance from them and accept only what will happen to them on judgement day if they do not repent.
Qur’anic jurisprudence therefore wanted believers to withdraw and distance themselves from hypocrites. This jurisprudence totally contradicts judging them or accusing them of apostasy, punishing them or separating them from their wives. This jurisprudence is also stable and constant, and was followed by the Prophet and the believers in Mecca in their handling of the atheists of Quraish, and in Medina with the hypocrites, despite the difference between the status of the Prophet in Medina and Mecca.
In the beginning of the Da’wa (calling people to faith), the Prophet was ordered to merely inform and distance himself from the atheists. God said: ¢So proclaim that which thou art commanded, and withdraw from the idolaters.¢ (Al Hijr, 94). He also said: ¢Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad), and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant¢ (The Heights, 199). And again: ¢Then withdraw (O Muhammad) from him who fleeth from Our remembrance and desireth but the life of the world¢ (The Star, 29). This was mentioned in other verses as well such as in Cattle, 106; The Prostration, 30; and The Star, 29.
The jurisprudence regarding withdrawal and distancing oneself from harming atheists and apostates came as a general jurisprudence for all believers saying : ¢when the foolish ones address them answer: Peace…And those who will not witness vanity, but when they pass near senseless play, pass by with dignity¢ (The Criterion, 63 and 72), and ¢when they hear vanity they withdraw from it and say: Unto us our works and unto you your works. Peace be unto you! We desire not the ignorant¢ (The Story, 55). All those Holy verses descended in Mecca.
After the believers began having their own State and a great power, this jurisprudence did not change, but rather began to be literally applied in reality, and in all their dealings with the hypocrites, for the verses also stated that they should withdraw and distance themselves from hypocrites and their conspiracies and words and movements. We here cite examples from the Qur’an:
– Hypocrites used to leave the judicial power of the Islamic State and resort to others, rejecting the judicial procedures right in front of the Prophet. The Qur’an used to then order the Prophet to distance himself from those hypocrites where God said: ¢Those are they, the secrets of whose hearts Allah knoweth. So oppose them and admonish them, and address them in plain terms about their souls¢ (Women, 63).
– Some of them used to go to the Prophet and express loyalty then leave him and immediately embark on a conspiracy against him by claiming that he said things which he did not. The Qur’an came to expose them and ordered the Prophet to withdraw from them: ¢and they say: (It is) obedience; but when they have gone forth from thee a party of them spend the night in planning other than what thou sayest. Allah recordeth what they plan by night. So oppose them and put thy trust in Allah. Allah is sufficient as Trustee¢ (Women, 81)
– The hypocrites used to organize meetings in which they made fun of God’s verses and God’s Prophet. The environment of freedom existent in the Prophet’s State used to permit this. The Prophet sometimes attended those meetings where the hypocrites discussed God’s verses, but a Qur’anic jurisprudence ordered the Prophet not to sit in those meetings, and added that should they begin talking about something else, he could go back to them. God said: ¢And when thou seest those who meddle with Our revelations, withdraw from them until they meddle with another topic. And if the devil cause thee to forget, sit not, after the remembrance, with the congregation of wrong-doers¢ (Cattle, 68 ).
The jurisprudence is therefore one of withdrawal and distancing and not through preventing them from meddling with or discussing God’s verses. It stipulates that the Prophet should not sit with them only as they discussed God’s verses, and did not stipulate for totally reject them nor for severing ties with them!
Some believers continued to attend those meetings in which the enemies of the Prophet discussed God’s verses. The Qur’an reminded them of the previous jurisprudence and threatened them that if they did not stop attending those meetings, God will consider them like the hypocrites and atheists. God told believers: ¢He hath already revealed unto you in the Scripture that, when ye hear the revelations of Allah rejected and derided, (ye) sit not with them (who disbelieve and mock) until they engage in some other conversation. Lo! in that case (if ye stayed) ye would be like unto them. Lo! Allah will gather hypocrites and disbelievers, all together, into hell;” (Women, 140).
The believers abided by the jurisprudence and stopped attending those meetings. The hypocrites then were free of all shame and those meetings were transformed into pure atheism, making fun of God, His Prophet and His Book. God then said: ¢And if thou ask them (O Muhammad) they will say: We did but talk and jest. Say: Was it at Allah and His revelations and His messenger that ye did scoff? Make no excuse. Ye have disbelieved after your (confession of) belief. If We forgive a party of you, a party of you We shall punish because they have been guilty¢ (Repentance, 65-66).
Here there is a postponement of condemnation until God Himself takes action, for He is the one who forgives or punishes. God ordered the Prophet to distance himself from them and not harm them. God had said before: ¢And incline not to the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Disregard their noxious talk, and put thy trust in Allah. Allah is sufficient as Trustee¢ (The Clans, 48 ).
The environment of freedom permitted this sort of opposition to the Prophet. The Prophet tolerated it knowing that the Qur’an would itself defend him and say about the hypocrites: ¢and of them are those who vex the Prophet and say: He is only a hearer. Say: A hearer of good for you, who believeth in Allah and is true to the believers, and a mercy for such of you as believe. Those who vex the messenger of allah, for them there is a painful doom¢ (Repentance, 61).
This liberal environment made some believers fall into the trap of harming the Prophet themselves: ¢Lo! Those who malign Allah and His messenger, allah hath cursed them in the world and the Hereafter, and hath prepared for them the doom of the disdained¢ (The Clans, 57). Warning the believers against harming the Prophet, the Qur’an says: ¢O ye who believe! Be not as those who slandered Moses, but Allah proved his innocence of that which they alleged, and he was well esteemed in Allah’s sight¢ (The Clans, 69).
From mocking and harming to conspiracy against the Prophet and the believers in times of trouble, war and battles, refusing to fight in defense of Medina, then constructing a mosque which became a conspiratorial meeting place. God did not order the Prophet to burn that mosque, but merely ordered him not to pray in it. This means that he attended prayers there until the Qur’an exposed them for what they were. God described this mosque as being a whole destructive force where it was a place for ¢opposition and disbelief, to cause dissent among the believers, and as an outpost for those who warred against Allah and His messenger¢, and yet the only command He gave the Prophet was that he should not pray there. This jurisprudence did not seem favorable with the scholars of the Abbasside era later, and they therefore invented a hadith where they claim the Prophet burnt this mosque and totally demolished it. God knew that this would happen and that this would be said about he Prophet, so he said about this mosque: ¢the building which they built will never cease to be a misgiving in their hearts unless their hearts be torn to pieces¢ (Repentance, 110).
This means it is still there and has not been demolished or destroyed as they claimed. It is the same jurisprudence that stipulates for withdrawal and distance from idolaters and hypocrites whatever they said and whatever they did, as long as there were no arms involved, nor bloodshed, or something that touched on the rights of people. For example, the most renowned of those hypocrites, Abdallah Bin Abey, who led the campaign against the Prophet, God said about him: ¢and as for him among them who had the greatest share therein, his will be an awful doom¢ (Light, 11). This hypocrite died in bed, and no one ever approached him with redda or apostasy. The Prophet did not make an inquisition against him, although the Qur’an itself described him as an idolater. Neither did the Prophet separate him from his many wives!
The Prophet whom God has sent as mercy for people in this world, was truly merciful of those hypocrites who were harming him and conspiring against him. He used to ask for forgiveness for them and even accepted some of their demands in the hope of gaining them to his side. But God admonished him and said: ¢ask forgiveness for them (O Muhammed), or ask not forgiveness for them; though thou ask forgiveness for them seventy times Allah will not forgive them¢ (Repentance, 80). And when he allowed some of them to refrain from participating in the battle of Zat al Asra, God said: ¢Allah forgive thee (O Muhammad)! wherefore didst thou grant them leave ere those who told the truth were manifest to thee and thou didst know the liars?¢ (Repentance, 43).
Qur’anic jurisprudence focused on withdrawal from the hypocrites without hurting them or asking them to repent or accepting their demands in the hope of gaining them to Islam’s side. When they did not participate in Zat al Asra, God exposed their intentions and said that those hypocrites will wait until the fighters return to meet them and swear that they were faithful, and give illusory reasons of why they did not go to fight, so that believers would leave them alone, as they were wont to do. God commanded the believers to withdraw from them and leave them to what will happen to them in the hereafter. God said: “They will swear by Allah unto you, when ye return unto them, that ye may let them be. Let them be, for lo! they are unclean, and their abode is hell as the reward for what they used to earn¢ (Repentance, 95).
That is how hypocrites lived during the times of the Prophet, in complete liberality and freedom, safe from pursuance and punishment. Current democracies put their actions under the penal code, but Qur’anic jurisprudence gives them a freedom which we have never known before. The current fundamentalist movement objects to our contemporary world, democracy and human rights, wanting us to go back to the jurisprudence of the Abbasside era in the middle ages. It opposes the enlightened Islamic thinking, which insists on applying the Qur’anic jurisprudence which God gave humanity till judgment day.
The verdict also cited the definition of the Redda or apostasy in the Qur’an which says: ¢And whoso becometh a renegade and dieth in his disbelief: such are they whose works have fallen both in the world and the Hereafter. Such are rightful owners of the Fire: they will abide therein¢ (The Cow, 217).
But this verse which the judge cited clearly shows that there is no punishment for apostates, since the verse says: ¢dieth in his disbelief¢ which shows that he remains alive until he dies without repentance, whereby he shall go to hell. This is also enforced through another verse which states: “Lo! Those who believe, then disbelieve and then (again) believe, then disbelieve, and then increase in disbelief, Allah will never pardon them, nor will He guide them unto a way¢ (Women, 137). This clearly means that punishment is postponed till judgment day.