by Ustadh Luqman al-Andalusi
Seeking after others’ faults
 “Surely your Lord knows best who strays from His path, and knows best who follows the guidance” (Qur’an, 53:30).
`Abdullah bin Masud (ra) reported: The Prophet ﷺ said, “He who has, in his heart, an ant’s weight of arrogance will not enter Jannah.” Someone said: “What of a man who likes to wear beautiful clothes and shoes?” The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Allah is Beautiful and He loves beauty. Arrogance means ridiculing and rejecting the Truth and despising people” [Sahih Muslim].
 Salamah bin Al-Akwa` (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Man continues to display haughtiness and arrogance until he is recorded among the arrogant and will be therefore afflicted with what afflicts them” [At-Tirmidhi].
 Ibn Ata’i Allah (rh) said as a warning and an admonition in his al-Misbaah, “Beware of having enmity of the people of Laa ilaha illa Allah, for they indeed possess general friendship (al-wilaayat’l-`aamat) from Allah, and for they are the saints of Allah (awliya Allah). If they were to make mistakes or if they were to come with errors as near in size to the earth, while they have not associated anything with Allah, then Allah will meet them with its like in forgiveness. Whoever has the friendship of Allah established for him, then it is forbidden to make war against him. For whoever makes war with him, has declared war against Allah. Whoever makes war against Allah, Allah has declared that He will repay him in this world and the next. Therefore, whenever it is not clear whether a person is the enemy of Allah -by Allah- never take him as your enemy! The least of your states when you are ignorant of him is to be slow at drawing conclusions about his affair. However, when you are aware that he is indeed the enemy of Allah and that he is associating partners with Allah, then stay clear of him in the same manner which Ibrahim (as), the Friend, did with regard to his father. Allah ta`ala says, “But when it became clear to him that he was an enemy of Allah, then he stayed clear of him.”
 The Prophet ﷺ wanted to drive home the meaning of backbiting to his Companions through questions and answers. He asked them, ‘Do you know what backbiting is?’ They replied, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He said, ‘It is saying something about your brother which he would dislike.’ Someone asked, ‘What if I say something about my brother which is true?’ The Prophet ﷺ replied, ‘If what you say of him is true, it is backbiting and if it is not true you have slandered him’ (Reported by Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, and An-Nasa’i).
 Abu Hurayrah (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day: let him speak good or remain silent.”
 Imam Abu Hatim bin Hibban, in Rawdatul-`Uqalaa said, “It is obligatory upon the intelligent to adhere resolutely to silence until he must speak. Frequently will the one who speaks regret it later on. Rare will it be that the one who remains silent has a cause to regret! The people who will have the most misery and greatest misfortune are those with unrestrained tongues and encased hearts.”
It is obligatory upon the intelligent to treat his ears and mouth fairly. He should know that he was given two ears and one mouth so that he may listen more than he speaks, for it may well be that when he speaks, he will regret it, and when he does not speak, he will have no cause to regret. Man is more able to return what he did not say to its origin as compared to returning and retracting what he has actually said. When a word is spoken, it has taken control of him; but when it is not spoken, he is in control of it.
The tongue of the intelligent is behind his heart: when he wishes to speak he first refers to the heart and if it is befitting that he speak, he does, otherwise he does not. The heart of the ignoramus is on the tip of his tongue: whatever comes to it, he speaks. The one who does not preserve his tongue has not understood his religion.
 Abu Saeed Al-Khudri (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: When the son of Adam gets up in the morning all the limbs humble themselves before the tongue and say: Have taqwa (fear) of Allah for our sake, for we are dependent on you. If you are straight and upright, we are straight and if you are crooked, we are crooked” (At-Tirmidhi, lbn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibban).
 Sufyaan ibn ‘Abdullaah ath-Thaqafee narrated that he said, “‘O Messenger of Allah! Inform me of something which I may hold fast to’. He ﷺ said, ‘Say, My Lord Is Allah and thereafter be upright.’ I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is the thing that you fear most for me?’ He took hold of his tongue and said: ‘This!’” (At- Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Imam Ahmad).
 Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) said, “A wise man first thinks and then speaks and a fool speaks first and then thinks.”
 Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) said, “A fool’s mind is at the mercy of his tongue and a wise man’s tongue is under the control of his mind.”
 Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) said, “The tongue is a beast, if it is let loose, it devours.”
 Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) said, “The person who says something indecent and the person who makes it known are equal as far as the wrong action is concerned.”
 Ibn ‘Abbas (ra) said, “When you want to mention your companion’s faults, remember your own faults.”
 It is related in the Muwatta, “Do not examine the faults of people as if you were a Lord, but rather examine your own faults as though you were a slave.”
 Imam Abu `Abd ar-Rahman Muhammad ibn al-Husayn as-Sulami (rh) said in his Kitaab `Uyuub ‘n-Nafs, “Among the faults of the self (nafs) is being preoccupied with the faults of people and being blind to one’s own faults.”
 Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Shaadan said, “I heard Ibn Zaydan say, ‘I saw some of the people who had many faults being quiet concerning the faults of other people. Thus Allah covered their faults and wiped them out. Then I saw some of the people who did not have faults but were preoccupied with the faults of other people, as a result many faults befell them.’”
 Abdullah Ibn Umar (ra) related, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ once rose above the podium and then said with a loud voice, “O those who have embraced Islam only with their tongue, while Imaan (faith) has not yet entered their hears, neither harm Muslims, nor mock them, nor try to expose their mistakes. For he who follows (searches for) the errors of his brother, Allah will follow his errors, and he whom Allah follows his errors, He will expose him even if he was in the middle of his home.”
 Imam an-Nawawi (rh) writes ‘This hadith indicates that following and then exposing people’s mistakes only occurs by the hypocrites and those whose Imaan is so weak, that it did not yet fill their hearts…” [Bukhari's Jamee as-Saheeh].
 Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rh) was once asked about the correct meaning of the following Hadith, “When you hear something from or about your brother, ascribe to it the best interpretation until you can no longer do so.” To this, he replied: “Find an excuse for him by saying, ‘Maybe he said this, or maybe he meant such and such.’”
Calling a Muslim a Non-Believer without due right is Haram (unlawful)
“When the truth came to them and they recognized it, they denied it (kafara bihi)” (Qur’an, 2:89).
 Shaykh Uthman ibn Fodio (rh) said in his Ihya Sunnah: The judgment of one’s faith is built upon the outward in this world in accordance with the Book, the Sunnah and the Consensus. Allah ta`ala says, “Do not say to those who give you the greetings of peace; ‘You are not a believer.’”
 The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said as related in the Saheeh of al-Bukhari, “I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify to: Laa ilaha illa Allahu wa anna Muhammadar rasuulu Allahi (There is no deity except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah); establish the prayer and give the alms. For if they do this, then their blood and their wealth are protected from me except by the rights of Islam. And their final reckoning is with Allah.”
 Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio (rh) said in his Ihya Sunnah, “The consensus is agreed concerning whoever pronounces the shahadatayn (two testimonies of faith), then the judgment of Islam applies to him. He can then be married, he can lead in prayer, his slaughtered meats are to be eaten, the Muslims inherit from him and he inherits from them, and he is to be buried in the graveyard of the Muslims.”
 From al-A`mash, from Abu Sufyan, “We came to see Jabir ibn `Abd Allah who lived in Makkah and resided with the Banu Fihr. A man asked him, “Did you [the Companions] use to call anyone from the People of the Qibla [i.e. Muslims], ‘Mushrik’?” He replied, “I seek refuge in Allah.” The man continued, “Did you call anyone from them ‘kafir’?” He said: “No.”
 Ibn Abideen says in his Radd al-Muhtar, “The fatwa (legal ruling) of kufr (disbelief) is not given to a Muslim when his words have the possibility of being interpreted in better (hasan) manner (not amounting to kufr).”
 Imam An-Nawawi said, “They differ as regards interpretation of this “returning,” so it is said, “kufr returns upon him if he is making that lawful” and this is far from the context of the narration. And it is said, “It is taken to refer to the Khawaarij,” since they declare believers to be Kaafiroon (disbelievers).” Abbreviated from An-Nawawi’s sharh (explanation) of Sahih Muslim (2/50).
 Imam Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajr (rh) says, “And what is correct is that the hadith (narration from the Messenger ﷺ) was said as a warning against a Muslim saying that to his brother. It is said, ‘What returns upon him is his speaking ill of his brother and the sin of declaring him a kafir (disbeliever)’ and this is reasonable. It is also said, “It is to be feared that this will lead him into kufr” just as it is said, “sins leads toward kufr.” Thus it is feared that if he continues in that and persists in it then he will have a bad end. I prefer from these sayings that it refers to the one who says it to someone from whom nothing is known except Islam and there is no justification or reason for him to claim that he is a kafir. So in such a case he becomes a kafir himself because of that, and this will be explained. So the meaning of the hadith is that his judgment of takfeer (making someone a kafir) returns upon himself, so what is meant is takfeer not kufr. So it is as if he passed judgement of kufr upon himself since he passed this judgement on one who is like him (i.e. a Muslim).” Abbreviated from Fathul Baaree (10/466).
 Imam Ash-Shawkani (rh) said, “Judging that a Muslim has left Islam and entered into kufr is something that is not fitting for a Muslim who believes in Allah and the Last Day except with a proof (Burhaan) which is clearer than the daytime sun, since it is established in the authentic hadith reported by a group of companions that he who says to his brother “O kafir!” Then it returns back to one of them.” In another wording, “Whoever addresses a man with kufr, or says ‘Enemy of Allah’ and he is not that, then it returns back upon him.” Hadith reported by Muslim (2/49 – Book of Imaan).