Category Archives: Fiqh

Convert or Revert

Salam

It appears that referring to non Muslims who enter Islam as being “reverts” as opposed to “converts” is terminology unique to English speaking Muslims from the West.

The argument put forward by “revert” supporters is the hadith which states that all humans are born on Fitrah which is Islam and thereafter change their belief due to their respective upbringing. According to Shaykh Abd al-Fattah al-Yafi there are some Muslim scholars who hold this view.

As an aside – when did the phrase “Let me revert back to you” come in usage? Is it not supposed to be, “I will reply back to you?”

Coming back to the topic at hand, it is clear that numerous prominent Sunni scholars held the view that Fitrah (natural disposition) referred to in hadith is not Islam, and thus by extension for English speakers the term “convert” would be more accurate. One evidence of many is the following hadith recorded in Sahih Muslim 4/2048:

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: Every person is given birth to by their mother upon the Fitrah, thereafter their parents make them Jewish, Christians or Magians, and if the parents are Muslim then the person will be Muslim…

Imam al-Nawawi in his commentary said:

The strongest view is that the meaning is that every child is born with the natural disposition towards Islam.

Imam Ibn al-Athir said in Al-Nihayah (1/247):

The meaning of the hadith is that every child is born with a type of natural disposition which is the Fitrah of Allah Most High and that it inclines towards the acceptance of truth both naturally and in obedience.

Other scholars who supported this understanding are: Ibn Abd al-Barr, Ibn Atiyyah, al-Qurtubi, Ibn Qutaybah, Abu Shamah, al-Ayni and others, and Allah Taala knows best.

Source: Mawahib Karim al-Fattah of Shaykh Abd al-Fattah al-Yafi 1/531 onwards.

Allamah Ibn Aqil al-Hanbali on Tawassul

Salam

Please find below an extract from a work showing the difference in approach of the classical Hanbali scholars and modern day scholars of the Salafi Movement of Najd.

Imam Ibn Aqil al-Hanbali (d.513 hijri) said in his fiqh work al-Tadhkirah regarding what a person should say when visiting the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in Madina the Illuminated,

“O Allah, I turn to you by means of Your Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), the Prophet of Mercy. O Messenger of Allah! I turn by means of you to my Lord to forgive my sins. O Allah I ask You by his right that You forgive my sins.”

Notes:
1. Shaykh Nasir Salamah, the editor of this text (and a Qadi at a Shariah court in Saudi Arabia at the time of publishing) footnotes this statement with the following,

“Seeking dua from the Prophets and other than them such as the Awliyah and seeking help from them after their passing away is Shirk al-Akbar…”

2. This extract clearly highlights the divergence in approach of the classical Hanbalis and the Salafi scholars of the Najd.

3. Does Shaykh Nasir Salamah and other Salafi scholars regard Imam Ibn Aqil al-Hanbali to have left the folds of Islam? According to their principles of takfir recorded in Durar al-Saniyyah and other works Imam Ibn Aqil al-Hanbali was not Muslim as he committed Shirk al-Akbar on a clear cut issue and had access to the Quran and Sunnah and thus has no excuse.