Thursday, March 11, 2010

There is no sanctity for a corrupt person

Assalamu alaikum, below are the final part of my notes for Lesson 181. You can read the first part here. Lesson 181 of the Commentary of al Tajrid al Sarih (Book of Funerals, The Abridged Saheeh al-Bukhari) which was delivered by our respected teacher Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 25th January 2008 and covered hadeeth 686 ad 687.


Speaking ill of the dead is backbiting. As we know from the ahadeeth that the definition of backbiting is mentioning something of a fellow Muslim in his absence which if he or she came to hear would be hurt by. If it is untrue, then it is slander. It does not matter whether a person is willing to repeat it in front of the one that they have spoken about. It is still backbiting. It is impermissible to backbite anyone who has honour and dignity, and every Muslim has honour and dignity. However, there is a famous saying amongst the fuqahah – ‘There is no sanctity for a corrupt person’. The meaning of this saying is explained as follows; we are all sinful. However, if someone unashamedly reveals their sinful nature and brazenly sins, then a person has relinquished their right to dignity. If a person is an open sinner, then it would be permissible to backbite them. There is no sanctity of a faasiq. One reason for this is so other people can be warned of their vices e.g. if someone is warns a father that the man that wishes to marry their daughter is corrupt. The prohibition of backbiting only applies to the pious and upright believers not those that are open sinners as they have no consideration of their own honour and dignity. This ruling can also be extended to the dead if it serves a practical purpose. For example, if they led a life of sin and evil and they cared not for the laws of Allah and if they failed to honour the teachings of Rasul (صلى الله عليه وسلم), then Allah and His Rasul (صلى الله عليه وسلم) would deem their honour and dignity to have no sanctity. Thus, in such a circumstance it would be permissible to speak ill of such a deceased. It is of such deceased that the sahabah spoke ill of as we have covered in the hadeeth and also the people at the time of Sayidina Umar (رضى الله عنه).

Having said this, the Shaykh explained further that although it may be permissible to speak ill of those deceased that had no honour and dignity by openly sinning, it is not befitting a Muslim to talk and engage in that kind of gossip all the time. A Muslim should be engaged in the remembrance of Allah rather than always engaged in such talk. However, if someone is a faasiq and others are speaking highly of him and holding him in esteem, then an upright, pious Muslim should establish justice. He should give his testimony and demonstrate that the person should not be praised in this manner. Once, the pious Muslim has done his duty he doesn’t need to keep speaking ill of the sinner. He leaves it at this. Similarly, if a deceased person led a life of corruption and sin, one should not speak about this all the time. But if everyone is calling the person a saint, we can correct the balance and simply make it clear that this person was not an angel.

It is stated in the hadeeth that when someone good dies, then everything mourns his passing including the inanimate creation of Allah as well as the birds and beasts. When a corrupt person dies, then no one mourns the person’s passing and souls are glad and the non-human world is also glad.

In one hadeeth it is stated that when a good person dies, he is relieved of the dunya but when an evil person dies, the dunya is relieved of him.

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said that if four people praise the deceased and even if two people praise the deceased then Allah will grant the deceased Jannah. This is not absolute and a condition we learn from the hadeeth is that people should know the person. In one hadeeth, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said that if a person dies and four of his closest neighbours testify to his goodness, then Allah will grant him jannah. This shows that the people who praise the deceased should know him.

The Shaykh mentioned the relationship that people had people had with the neighbours at the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). People would know everything about their neighbours and the neighbours about them. For example, a person would know whether their neighbour frequented the masjid, what company they kept, and what the family was like and so on. To a certain extent a person even today people will know such things about their neighbours.

Thus, testimonies about the deceased have to be based on some knowledge.

What category and calibre of person is required to provide the testimony? The person giving the testimony should be upright, pious believers themselves. It cannot be the corrupt simply praising the corrupt.

You are Allah’s witness upon the earth primarily applies to the sahabah and after this those that follow in the footsteps of the sahabah.

Rasul (صلى الله عليه وسلم) says in a hadeeth that when Allah loves a servant, he summons Jibril and says ‘Oh Jibril! I love this servant of Mine and therefore you love him’. Jibril then announces to the angels in heaven that ‘Allah loves this servant of His and has instructed me to love him also. Allah loves him, I love him so oh assembly of angels you also love him’. Then Rasul (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said that when those who are in the heavens (i.e. the angels) begin to love a servant of Allah, Allah naturally instills the love of that person in the hearts of His pious servants. Conversely, when Allah despises a person, Allah summons Jibril who informs the angels and then the hatred of that person is instilled in the hearts of the pious servants on earth.

This does not mean that those that are loved by the masses in the dunya are those that are loved by Allah and the angels. The hadeeth refers to ‘His pious servants’ not to everyone in the creation.

May Allah allow us all to leave the dunya in such a way that we are relieved of the dunya rather than the dunya being relieved of us. Ameen!