Congratulating or Greeting the disbelievers | Ibn al-Qayyim

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Ibn al-Qayyim -May Allāh have mercy upon him- said in his book, “Aḥkām Ahl adh-Dhimmah (Rulings of the people of protection)” under the Chapter on congratulating/greeting (the non-Muslims)[1]:

بِزَوْجَةٍ أَوْ وَلَدٍ أَوْ قُدُومِ غَائِبٍ أَوْ عَافِيَةٍ أَوْ سَلَامَةٍ مِنْ مَكْرُوهٍ وَنَحْوِ ذَلِكَ، وَقَدِ اخْتَلَفَتِ الرِّوَايَةُ فِي ذَلِكَ عَنْ أَحْمَدَ فَأَبَاحَهَا مَرَّةً وَمَنَعَهَا أُخْرَى، وَالْكَلَامُ فِيهَا كَالْكَلَامِ فِي التَّعْزِيَةِ وَالْعِيَادَةِ وَلَا فَرْقَ بَيْنَهُمَا

“On (occasion of) marriage, or (birth of) a child, or arrival of an absent (loved) one, or good health (after falling sick), or (returning to) safety from calamity and the likes of that. There are differing reports concerning this from (Imām) Aḥmad. Once he permitted it and another time he prohibited it. And the speech regarding it is similar to the speech regarding giving condolences and visiting the sick and there is no difference between the two.”

He mentioned in the chapter titled, “Chapter of Visiting the Sick from the People of the Book”:

فَهَذِهِ ثَلَاثُ رِوَايَاتٍ مَنْصُوصَاتٍ عَنْ أَحْمَدَ: الْمَنْعُ، وَالْإِذْنُ، وَالتَّفْصِيلُ، فَإِنْ أَمْكَنَهُ أَنْ يَدْعُوَهُ إِلَى الْإِسْلَامِ وَيَرْجُوَ ذَلِكَ مِنْهُ عَادَهُ

وَقَدْ ثَبَتَ فِي ” صَحِيحِ ” الْبُخَارِيِّ مِنْ حَدِيثِ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: «كَانَ غُلَامٌ يَهُودِيٌّ يَخْدُمُ النَّبِيَّ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – فَمَرِضَ فَأَتَاهُ النَّبِيُّ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – يَعُودُهُ، فَقَعَدَ عِنْدَ رَأْسِهِ، فَقَالَ لَهُ: أَسْلِمْ، فَنَظَرَ إِلَى أَبِيهِ وَهُوَ عِنْدَهُ، فَقَالَ لَهُ: أَطِعْ أَبَا الْقَاسِمِ، فَخَرَجَ النَّبِيُّ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – وَهُوَ يَقُولُ: ” الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَنْقَذَهُ بِي مِنَ النَّارِ» .

وَفِي ” الصَّحِيحَيْنِ ” عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ الْمُسَيَّبِ أَنَّ أَبَاهُ أَخْبَرَهُ قَالَ: «لَمَّا حَضَرَتْ أَبَا طَالِبٍ الْوَفَاةُ جَاءَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – فَوَجَدَ عِنْدَهُ أَبَا جَهْلِ بْنَ هِشَامٍ وَعَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ أَبِي أُمَيَّةَ بْنِ الْمُغِيرَةِ، قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – لِأَبِي طَالِبٍ: ” أَيْ عَمِّ قُلْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ كَلِمَةً أَشْهَدُ لَكَ بِهَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ “.

فَقَالَ أَبُو جَهْلٍ وَعَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ أَبِي أُمَيَّةَ: يَا أَبَا طَالِبٍ أَتَرْغَبُ عَنْ مِلَّةِ عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبِ؟ فَلَمْ يَزَلْ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – يَعْرِضُهَا عَلَيْهِ وَيَعُودَانِ بِتِلْكَ الْمَقَالَةِ حَتَّى قَالَ آخِرَ مَا كَلَّمَهُمْ: هُوَ عَلَى مِلَّةِ عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبِ وَأَبَى أَنْ يَقُولَ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ -: ” أَمَا وَاللَّهِ لَأَسْتَغْفِرَنَّ لَكَ مَا لَمْ أُنْهَ عَنْكَ ” فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: {مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُوا لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا أُولِي قُرْبَى مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ} [التوبة: 113] » .

“So the following three reports have been specified from (Imām) Aḥmad: the prohibition, the permission and the elaboration, that if it is possible for one to invite him to Islām and hopes that from him, then he visits him [2].

And it has been established in Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī from the Ḥadīth of Anas bin Mālik -May Allāh be pleased with him- that he narrated:

“A young Jewish boy used to serve the Prophet ﷺ and he became sick. So the Prophet ﷺ went to visit him. He sat near his head and asked him to embrace Islām. The boy looked at his father, who was sitting there; the latter told him to obey Abul-Qāsim and the boy embraced Islām. The Prophet ﷺ came out saying: “Praise be to Allāh Who saved the boy from the Hellfire.” [3]

And in the Saḥīḥayn, it has been narrated from Saʿīd bin al-Musayyab from his father:

When the time of the death of Abū Ṭālib approached, Allāh’s Messenger ﷺ went to him and found Abū Jahl bin Hishām and ʿAbdullāh bin Abū Umayyah bin al-Mughīrah by his side. Allāh’s Messenger ﷺ said to Abū Ṭālib, “O uncle! Say: None has the right to be worshiped but Allāh, a sentence with which I shall be a witness (i.e. intercede) for you before Allāh”. Abū Jahl and ʿAbdullāh bin Abū Umayyah said, “O Abū Ṭālib! Are you going to denounce the religion of ʿAbdul Muṭṭalib?” Allāh’s Messenger ﷺ kept on inviting Abū Ṭālib to say it (i.e. ‘None has the right to be worshiped but Allāh’) while they (Abū Jahl and ʿAbdullāh) kept on repeating their statement till Abū Ṭālib said as his last statement that he was on the religion of ʿAbdul Muṭṭalib and refused to say, ‘None has the right to be worshiped but Allāh.’ (Then Allāh’s Messenger ﷺ said, “I will keep on asking Allāh’s forgiveness for you unless I am forbidden (by Allāh) to do so.” So Allāh revealed (the verse) concerning him,

مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُوا لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا أُولِي قُرْبَى مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ

It is not fitting for the Prophet (ﷺ) and those who believe that they should invoke (Allāh) for forgiveness for pagans even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of the fire.

Sūrah at-Taubah (9:113)” [4]

He goes on to say in the Chapter of congratulating the disbelievers:

وَلَكِنْ لِيَحْذَرِ الْوُقُوعَ فِيمَا يَقَعُ فِيهِ الْجُهَّالُ مِنَ الْأَلْفَاظِ الَّتِي تَدُلُّ عَلَى رِضَاهُ بِدِينِهِ، كَمَا يَقُولُ أَحَدُهُمْ: مَتَّعَكَ اللَّهُ بِدِينِكَ أَوْ نَيَّحَكَ فِيهِ، أَوْ يَقُولُ لَهُ: أَعَزَّكَ اللَّهُ أَوْ أَكْرَمَكَ إِلَّا أَنْ يَقُولَ: أَكْرَمَكَ اللَّهُ بِالْإِسْلَامِ وَأَعَزَّكَ بِهِ وَنَحْوَ ذَلِكَ، فَهَذَا فِي التَّهْنِئَةِ بِالْأُمُورِ الْمُشْتَرَكَةِ.

وَأَمَّا التَّهْنِئَةُ بِشَعَائِرِ الْكُفْرِ الْمُخْتَصَّةِ بِهِ فَحَرَامٌ بِالِاتِّفَاقِ مِثْلَ أَنْ يُهَنِّئَهُمْ بِأَعْيَادِهِمْ وَصَوْمِهِمْ، فَيَقُولَ: عِيدٌ مُبَارَكٌ عَلَيْكَ، أَوْ تَهْنَأُ بِهَذَا الْعِيدِ، وَنَحْوَهُ، فَهَذَا إِنْ سَلِمَ قَائِلُهُ مِنَ الْكُفْرِ فَهُوَ مِنَ الْمُحَرَّمَاتِ، وَهُوَ بِمَنْزِلَةِ أَنْ يُهَنِّئَهُ بِسُجُودِهِ لِلصَّلِيبِ، بَلْ ذَلِكَ أَعْظَمُ إِثْمًا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَأَشَدُّ مَقْتًا مِنَ التَّهْنِئَةِ بِشُرْبِ الْخَمْرِ وَقَتْلِ النَّفْسِ وَارْتِكَابِ الْفَرْجِ الْحَرَامِ وَنَحْوِهِ.

وَكَثِيرٌ مِمَّنْ لَا قَدْرَ لِلدِّينِ عِنْدَهُ يَقَعُ فِي ذَلِكَ، وَلَا يَدْرِي قُبْحَ مَا فَعَلَ، فَمَنْ هَنَّأَ عَبْدًا بِمَعْصِيَةٍ أَوْ بِدْعَةٍ أَوْ كُفْرٍ فَقَدْ تَعَرَّضَ لِمَقْتِ اللَّهِ وَسَخَطِهِ، وَقَدْ كَانَ أَهْلُ الْوَرَعِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْعِلْمِ يَتَجَنَّبُونَ تَهْنِئَةَ الظَّلَمَةِ بِالْوِلَايَاتِ، وَتَهْنِئَةَ الْجُهَّالِ بِمَنْصِبِ الْقَضَاءِ وَالتَّدْرِيسِ وَالْإِفْتَاءِ تَجَنُّبًا لِمَقْتِ اللَّهِ وَسُقُوطِهِمْ مِنْ عَيْنِهِ، وَإِنْ بُلِيَ الرَّجُلُ بِذَلِكَ فَتَعَاطَاهُ دَفْعًا لِشَرٍّ يَتَوَقَّعُهُ مِنْهُمْ فَمَشَى إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَمْ يَقُلْ إِلَّا خَيْرًا، وَدَعَا لَهُمْ بِالتَّوْفِيقِ وَالتَّسْدِيدِ فَلَا بَأْسَ بِذَلِكَ، وَبِاللَّهِ التَّوْفِيقُ.

“However, one should be cautious of falling into that which the ignorant ones fall into, by way of phrases that display acceptance of their religion, as someone might say, “May Allāh strengthen you in your religion”, or he says, “May Allāh strengthen you” or “honour you” except if he says, “May Allāh honour you with Islām and strengthen you by it” and its likes. So this is with regards to congratulating (them) in matters that the people have in common.

And as for greeting (the disbelievers) on religious rituals of disbelief specific to them, then it is Harām (prohibited) by consensus, as is greeting them on their festivals and fasts, by saying, “A blessed festival to you” or “Greetings to you on this festival”, and the likes. The one who says this has been saved from disbelief, yet it is from the prohibitions. And it is like congratulating someone for prostrating to the cross, rather it is a greater sin with Allāh and despised more than congratulating for drinking wine or murdering a soul or having an illicit sexual relation and the likes.

And many from those who do not have value for their religion fall into this, and do not realize the offensiveness of their action. One who congratulates a slave for his sin or bidʿah (innovation) or kufr (disbelief) exposes himself to the hatred and displeasure of Allāh. The pious people from the scholars would avoid congratulating the oppressors appointed by the state, or congratulating the ignorant ones for the position of the judiciary, teaching or Iftāʾ (legal counsel), to avoid the wrath of Allāh and falling before His eyes. If one finds himself compelled to do that, due to the evil foreseen from them, so then he goes to them and does not speak except good. And prays for them to be guided and upright, then there is nothing wrong with that. And with Allāh lies true success.”

– Compiled & Translated by Abū Āsiyah Muẓaffar al-Hindī
– Reviewed by ʿAbd an-Nūr al-Hindī

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Footnotes:

[1] Aḥkām Ahl adh-Dhimmah (http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-21747/page-349#page-349)

[2] Ibn Mufliḥ al-Ḥanbalī -May Allāh have mercy on him- said: “This view was favored by our Shaykh (Ibn Taymiyyah) and a similar view was favoured by al-Āajurrī. Abū Dāwūd narrated that if one’s intention is to call him to Islām, then yes (one may visit him).” [Al-Furūʿ wa taṣḥīh al-Furūʿ (10/334)] (http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-12052#page-4936)

[3] Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 1356

[4] Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 1360, Saḥīḥ Muslim 24 a

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