Fatâwâ and Masâ'il

"Ask the People of Knowledge
If you do not know."

With the Shaykh, the Faqîh
Muhammad ibn Sâlih al-’Uthaymîn


Q.1 Is da’wah (calling) to Allâh obligatory upon every Muslim man and woman, or is it to be left for the Scholars and the students of knowledge only? Is it permissible for the lay person to do da’wah to Allâh?

A.1 Shaykh ibn al-’Uthaymîn - hafidhahullâh - replied:

“When a person has knowledge and insight into that which he is calling to, then there is no difference between the one who has a great amount of knowledge, or a student of knowledge who has recently started in pursuit of knowledge or a lay person - as long as he has certain knowledge of the issue at hand. The Prophet sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam said: Convey from me, even if it is one verse. [1] So it is not a condition upon the dâ’î (the one calling) to attain a great amount of knowledge, but the condition is that one must have knowledge of what one is calling to. If this calling is established upon ignorance and built upon emotion and passion, then it is not permissible.

Thus, we see that some of the brothers who call to Allâh, they do not have except a little knowledge. We see them, due to their strong emotions, prohibiting that which Allâh has not prohibited, whilst making obligatory that which Allâh has not made obligatory upon His worshippers. This is a very dangerous matter, since permitting what Allâh has made harâm (unlawful) is like prohibiting what Allâh has made halâl (lawful). So when they begin prohibiting people for making a particular matter then others will rebuke them for making it harâm. Allâh - the Most High - says: “And do not say, concerning that which your tongues falsely put forward, ‘This is lawful and this is forbidden,’ so as to invent lies against Allâh. Indeed, those who invent lies against Allâh will never prosper.” [2] As for the lay person, then he must not call to Allâh if he does not have knowledge. Rather, it is essential to have knowledge in accordance with the saying of Allâh - the Most High -: “Say: This is my path. I call to Allâh upon sure knowledge.” [3] So it is a must to call to Allâh upon knowledge. However, if a matter is clearly known to be evil or good, then one can command it - if it is good, or forbid it - if it is evil.

So the callers to Allâh must start with knowledge. Whosoever calls to Allâh without knowledge, then such a person will cause greater harm than good - as is evident. So it is obligatory for a person to first acquire knowledge, then to do da’wah. As for the clear evils and that which is clearly good, then the good is enjoined and the evil prohibited. [4]

Q.2 What is the difference between a Scholar and a dâ’î?

A.2 “The difference between the Scholar and the dâ’î is clear. The dâ’î is one who strives to convey the message of the Sharî’ah to the servants of Allâh. He calls them to it, sometimes by means of targhîb and tarhîb (persuasion and deterring).

The Scholar is one to whom Allâh has given knowledge and who may or may not be a dâ’î. However, if the Scholar is not a dâ’î., then he is extremely deficient in his knowledge and is not a complete inheritor of the Messenger of Allâh sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam. This is because the Prophets - may Allâh’s peace be upon them all - did not bequeath the dirham or dînâr as inheritance, but they bequeathed knowledge - as the Prophet sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam said: “Indeed, the Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets and indeed the Prophets do not leave behind them the dînâr or the dirham as inheritance, they leave only knowledge behind as inheritance. So whosoever acquires it, acquires a huge fortune. [ 5] Consequently. whosoever acquires knowledge and calls to Allâh. then such a person has truly inherited from the inheritance of the Prophets - in proportion to what he establishes and implements of their prescribed laws.

As for the saying of some of the people that it is permissible to become a dâ’î without knowledge, then if they mean a dâ’î without a huge amount of knowledge, able to give fatâwâ (legal verdicts and judgements), explain and deduce issues from their proofs - then it is possible to accept this saying. However, if they mean a dâ’î not having knowledge what to do da’wah with, nor having knowledge what to do daw’ah too - then there is no doubt that this cannot be. And I warn people from calling to the truth in this manner, since the harm caused is greater than the good achieved - as is witnessed! [6]

Q. 3 Allâh says: And your Lord says: Call upon Me and I will respond to your supplication. So why is it that a person’s du’â (supplication) is sometimes un-answered?

A.3 The honourable Shaykh answered by saying:

“All praise is due to Allâh, Lord of the worlds. The Salâh (prayers) and Salâm (peace) of Allâh be upon our Prophet Muhammad; and upon his Family and Companions. I ask Allâh for the ability to be correct in belief, speech and actions, for myself and for my brothers.

Allâh says: “And your Lord says: call upon Me and I will respond to your call. Verily those who are too arrogant to worship Me will enter Hell in humiliation.” The questioner stated that he did indeed invoke Allâh - the Mighty and Majestic - but was not answered by Allâh. So he is in doubt with respect to this noble verse, in which Allâh promises to answer the one who supplicates to Him, and Allâh - the One free from all imperfections - never breaks His promise.

The clarification of this is that there exists certain conditions that must be fulfilled, in order for supplications to be answered. These conditions are:-

Firstly: Sincerity to Allâh - the Mighty and Majestic. That is to say, one must be sincere in his supplication, so he turns to Allâh - the One free from all imperfections - with an attentive heart, being truthful in his turning to Him, knowing that Allâh - the Most Perfect, the Most High - is capable of answering his supplication and hoping to be answered.

Secondly: During supplication, the caller should feel that he is in great need of Allâh - the Most Perfect, the Most High - infact in dire need; and that only Allâh alone answers the supplication of the one in distress and the One who removes evil.

Thirdly: The caller should refrain from unlawful (harâm) matters, since this acts as a barrier between the caller and his supplication being answered - as has been established in the authentic hadîth, from the Prophet sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam who said: Indeed Allâh - the Most High - is good and accepts only that which is good. Allâh has ordered the Believers to do that which He commanded the Messengers. Allâh - the Most High - has said: “O you Messengers! Eat of the good things and do righteous actions. [8] And He - the Most High - says: O you who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided. [9] Then he mentioned (the case of a man) who, having journeyed far is disheveled and dusty and who spreads out his hands to the sky (saying: O Lord! O Lord! - whilst his food is unlawful, his drink unlawful and he is nourished unlawfully. So how can he be answered! [10]

So the Prophet sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam explained the unlikelihood that this person’s supplication would be answered, even after fulfilling the apparent factors which aid the supplication being answered; which are:-

One: Raising ones’ hands towards the sky - meaning to Allâh, the Mighty and Majestic, since He is above the skies, above His ‘Arsh (throne). Extending the hands out towards Allâh - the Mighty and Majestic - is amongst the causes of response; as is shown in the hadîth related by Imâm Ahmad in his Musnad: “Indeed your Lord is Alive, Most generous. His feels shy that when his servant raises his hands towards Him, calling upon Him, that He should rebuff him empty, having nothing. [11]

Two: This man called upon Allâh - the Most High - using the name Rabb (Lord). Seeking the means of approach (tawassul) to Allâh with this name is also regarded as one of the causes of response to the supplication because the Rabb is the Creator, the Owner, the Governer of all affairs - so the reign of the Heavens and the earth are in His Hands. 


Due to this, you will find that most of the supplications made in the Generous Qur‘ân are by this name: Our Lord! We have heard the call of one calling us to faith: ‘Believe you in the Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins, and remit from us our evil deeds, and take to Yourself our souls in the company of the righteous. Our Lord! Grant us what You did promise unto us through Your Messengers, and do not disgrace us on the Day of Judgement, for You never break Your promise. And their Lord has accepted of them, and answered them: Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female ... [12] So seeking the means of approach to Allâh - the Most High - by this name is one of the causes of response to the supplication.

Three: This man was a traveler, and journeying is often a cause for response to the supplication, because a person feels more in need of Allâh - the Mighty and Majestic - when traveling, than when a person is resident with his family. He was dusty and disheveled, seeming very insignificant in himself, as if the most important thing to him was to retreat to Allâh and to call upon Him - in any condition he may be - whether dusty and disheveled, or in ease and opulence. Being dusty and disheveled is also instrumental, like in the hadîth attributed to the Prophet sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam: “Allâh descends to the lowest heaven, in the evening on the day of Arafah, boasting to the angels about those standing at Arafah; and says: They come to me dusty and disheveled from all directions.” [13]

However, these factors did not bring about anything, because his food, drink, clothing and nourishment were all unlawful. So the Prophet sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam remarked: “So how can it be answered!”

Therefore, if these conditions are not satisfied, then the question of being answered will seem distant. However, if they are satisfied and the one supplicating is still not answered, then this is due to a wisdom which Allâh - the Mighty and Majestic - knows and the supplicating one does not know what this wisdom is; and maybe that you like a thing and it is bad for you.

Thus, when these conditions are fulfilled and the one supplicating is not answered, then either he has been protected from an evil which is greater than what he has asked for, or Allâh stores it for him, until the Day of Resurrection, and he then gets a greater reward. This is so, because the one calling - invoked Allâh, fulfilled the conditions and was not answered or was saved from a greater evil - is in the position of having carried out the causes and being prevented from being answered and therefore has a two-fold reward. Once for supplicating, and another for his trial of not being answered. So that which is greater and more complete is stored for him with Allâh - the Mighty and Majestic.

Also of importance is that the one supplicating should not express that he is not being answered, for this action in itself is a reason for the supplication not being answered - as the Prophet sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam said: A servants prayer continues to be answered as long as he does not ask for anything sinful or breaking ties of relations, as long as he does not become impatient. It was said: How does one become impatient O Messenger of Allâh? He said: He says: I have supplicated, I have supplicated, but it has not been answered. Thereby becoming despondent and abandon supplicating. [14] So it is not befitting that the one supplicating should become impatient about being answered, then become disappointed and despondent, thereby abandoning supplication. Rather, one should beseech Allâh, since every supplication you make to Allâh is an act of worship, which brings you closer to Him and increases your reward.

So my brother, you should take to supplication in all affairs, be it general or specific, in difficulty or in ease. And if it was that supplication was only a means of worshipping Allâh - the One free from all imperfections, the Most High - then it would still be befitting that a person strives in this. And with Allâh lies the success and ability. [15]

Q. 4 What are the conditions and requirements of making takfîr (passing a judgement that a Muslim has left the fold of Islâm and has become a disbeliever), and what is the ruling regarding a person who commits an act of kufr (disbelief) in jest?

A.4 “The ruling about making takfîr upon a Muslim is dependant upon two conditions:-

Firstly: That the proof has been established that this is a matter which is from disbelief (i.e. which can cause a person to become a disbeliever).

Secondly: Then applying this ruling to one who does such an act, having knowledge that this action is an act of kufr (disbelief) and intending it. However, as for the person who is ignorant, then he does not become a kâfir (disbeliever) by such an act - due to the saying of Allâh - the Most High: “Whosoever opposes the Messenger, even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that of the Believers, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen and land him in Hell; what an evil destination.” [16] As His saying: “And AIlâh will never misguide a people after He has guided them, until He makes clear to them as to what they should avoid.” [17] And His saying: “And We never send punishment until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning).” [18]

However, if such a person is one who has transgressed by intentionally turning away from learning and seeking clarification, then he is not excused - such as the one who comes to know that such and such an action is an act of kufr, but he does not try to confirm it, nor does he attempt to seek further clarification - then such a person will not be excused in this case.

If, however, the person did not intentionally intend to commit kufr by such an action, then he will not be judged as a kâfir (disbeliever) on the basis of that action. For example: Being compelled to commit kufr, whilst the heart is at peace with îmân (faith). Or the example of one who looses control over his thoughts and does not know what he is saying - due to extreme joy, or other similar reasons. Such as the saying of the owner of the camel, so he lay under a tree waiting for death; and then suddenly the camels reigns are caught by the tree, so he takes hold of them and says: “O Allâh! You are my Slave and I am Your Lord,” [19] committing a grave mistake due to his extreme joy. However, as for the one who commits an act of disbelief in jest, then he becomes a disbeliever, due to him intending disbelief - as the people of Knowledge have duly stipulated. [20]


1. Related by al-Bukhârî (no.3461) from ’Abdullâh ibn ’Amr radiallâhu ’anhu.
2. Sűrah Nahl 16:116-117
3. Sűrah Yűsuf 12:108
4. As-Sahwatul-Islâmiyyah (pp.75-76) of Shaykh lbn al-’Uthaymîn.
5. Hasan: Related by Abű Dâwűd (no.3641), and Ibn Majah (no.223), from Abűd-Darda radiallâhu ’anhu. It was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albânî in his checking to Sharhus-Sunnah (1/276).
6. As-Sahwatul-Islâmiyyah (pp.76-77) of Shaykh Ibn al-’Uthaymîn.
7. Sűrah Ghâfir 40:60
8. Sűrah Mumin 23:51
9. Sűrah Baqarah 2:172
10. Sahîh: Related by Muslim (no.1015) from Abű Hurayrah radiallâhu ’anhu.
11. Sahîh: Related by Ahmad (5/438), Abű Dâwűd (no.1488) and others. It has been authenticated by al-Hâfidh Ibn Hajar in Fathul-Bârî (11/143).
12. Sűrah Âl-’Imrân 3:193-195.
13. Related by Ibn Hibbân (no.1006), Ibn Abî Ya’lâ (no.2071 and others - and the hadîth contains some weakness as al-Haythamî indicated in al-Majma’ (2/253).
14. Sahîh: Related by Muslim - from Abű Hurayrah.
15. From Majű’ Fatâwa war-Rasâ’il (no.155) of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Sâlih al-’Uthaymîn - hafidhahullâh.
16. Sűrah-Nisâ’ 4:115
17. Sűrah Tawbah 9:115
18. Sűrah al-Isrâ 17:15
19. Related by Muslim (no.6611) from Anas radiallâhu ’anhu.
20. Majmű’ Fatâwâ war-Ras’âil (no.341).

Al-Ibaanah Issue No.1

Dhul-Qa'dah 1415H / April 1995

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