"And when adversity strikes man, he turns
to his Lord in prayer and repentance." Qur'an 39:8
"Say, you may enjoy your unbelief for a
short while. But you are doomed to the Fire." Ibid
"And if the waves of the sea cover them
like awnings, then do they call on Allah, dedicating all their devotion to
Him." Qur'an 3l:32
Whoever understands this problem clearly will realize the difference which separates the modern associationists from their older predecessors. The former, who were fought by the Prophet -- Salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam -- called unto Allah and other beings in prosperity only; but in time of distress they called upon Allah alone, declared He had no partners, and forsook their previous lords.
The second point is that whereas the ancients have called unto other beings beside Allah -- namely prophets, saints, angels, and other beings close to Him, trees and rocks which conform to His divine pattern and never disobey for, the associationists of our times do so to some of the most corrupt people. Their so-called "patrons" are precisely those about whom they report all kinds of sins, adultery, theft, neglect of salat and other crimes. To believe in that which is incapable of disobedience, like wood and stone, is better than to do so in beings whose corruption and immorality are for everyone to witness. We may hence conclude that those associationists whom the Prophet -- Salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam -- fought in his days were more rational and their crime lighter than that of the modern ones.
8. The moderns have another defence, no less fallacious than what we have already seen, but far more beguiling and misleading. They hald that the unbelieving contemporaries of the Prophet against whom the Qur'an launched its arguments did not witness that there is no God but Allah, unlike themselves who do. The ancients belied the Prophet and charged him with witchcraft, denied the resurrection of the body and the Qur'anic revelation. Hence, they were radically different fram the modern associationists who witness that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah; who accept the Qur'an as true, believe in the resurrection, hold the salat and observe the fast. How then, runs their argument, can the two be comparable to each other?
The answer is that the 'ulama' [Muslim men of knowledge] universally agree that to believe the Prophet of Allah -- Salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam -- in part of his revelation, and to belie him in the other part, is to commit unbelief, to stand outside the pale of Islam. Such is the case of the person who accepts tawhid but denies the obligation to hold salat, or accepts both these and denies the zakat, or the fasting, or the pilgrimage. It was for the benefit of those who accepted everything that was revealed to the Prophet before, but refused to be led by him to the pilgrimage that the verse was revealed:
"And to Allah is due from mankind the
observance of pilgrimage to the House by everyone capable of it. Whoever
disbelieves must know that Allah stands in no need of men." Qur'an 3:97
The 'ulama' are agreed that whoever accepts all this but denies the resurrection of the body has committed unbelief and rendered himself liable to capital punishment and his property to confiscation. Allah said:
"Those who disbelieve in Allah and His
prophets, who discriminate between them, who believe in some and disbelieve in
others, seeking a way in between, are the real unbelievers. To them We have
prepared a humiliating punishment." Qur'an 4:149
Since Allah Himself has so clearly condemned the person who believes in part of the revelation and disbelieves in the other part, their defence falls to the ground. Such was the defence of those who wrote to us from al Ahsa'.
It is also possible to argue the case from another angle. We have seen that where there is belief in everything the Prophet had brought from Allah but disbelief in the salat, the consequence is kufr (unbelief), deserving of capital punishment. Likewise, when one accepts everything in the revelation as true except the resurrection of the body, or the fasting of Ramadan. The juristic schools do not disagree on this matter, and we have seen that the Qur'an itself gives the same judgment. It is known that tawhid is the most important task the Prophet -- Salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam -- brought to us, more important than salar, zakal, fasting or pilgrimage. Certainly, to compromise tawhid is to commit unbelief, even if such compromising is accompanied by the strictest observance of all other duties imposed by the Prophet. Otherwise, unbelief would have been predicated of him who rejects the lesser but not of him who rejects the greater part, which is absurd.