Just so, however, he has deserved some chastening as the Prophet did to his companions.
10. The associationists of today present yet another argument. The Prophet, they argue, condemned Usamah's killing of the man who pro- fessed "There is no God but Allah," and told Usamah, "I have been commanded by Allah to fight men until they witness that there is no God but Allah." Other hadiths to this effect are also mentioned by these ignorant people, to the end of proving that whoever so witnesses does not commit unbelief no matter what else he does. We must inform them that the Prophet -- Salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam -- fought the Jews and made bondsmen out of them despite the fact that they witnessed that there is no God but Allah; that the Prophet's companions fought Banu Hanifah while they too subscribed to this as well as to the fact that Mu- hammad is the Prophet of Allah, called themselves Muslims and ob- served the salat. The same is true of those whom 'Ali ibn Abu Talib con- signed to the flames. And yet, these people argue, all the more inconse- quently, that whoever denies the resurrection commits unbelief and de- serves capital punishment, even if he held that there is no God but Allah. They hold the same to be true of the person who denies any of the pillars of Islam. But how could the change apply to these lesser cases and not to the deniers of tawhid itself, the head and crux of all religion? How ignor- ant are the enemies of Allah of the meanings of the hadiths they quote!
As to the tradition of Usamah itself, how he killed a person who pretended to enter Islam in order to save his neck at the very last moment, the moral it teaches is that we must stop execution if the person shows entry into Islam, in order to ascertain whether his entry is genuine or fake. In this regard, Allah said:
"O men who believe! Whenever you set out in
the path of Allah, investigate the evidence and make absolutely sure before you
act." Qur'an 4:93
Execution must therefore be stopped, not absolutely, but for a purpose; namely, to carry out the investigation and make sure. If the evidence is against the accused, one may -- indeed should -- proceed with the execution. Otherwise, the divme command to investigate and make sure becomes itself meaningless.
The fact that the Prophet asked Usamah: "Did you kill him after he said 'There is no God but Allah?' I am commanded to fight men until they witness that there is no God but Allah," constitutes evidence against their claim when we remember that it was the Prophet himself who said of the Khawarij (schismatics): "Kill them wherever you find them. If I ever seize them, I will kill them like the people of 'Ad." Everyone knows that the Khawarij were the most pious of all, the most devoted. The Prophet's companions acknowledged the Khawarij's superiority to themselves in such matters, even though the Khawarij were their students in Islam. But none of these deserving qualifications helped them when they followed a course other than the shari'ah.
The same is true of the Prophel's fighting of the Jews, of his compamons' fighting of Ranu Hamfah, of his mtent ion to fight Banu al Mustaliq when he received report that they had withheld the -akar. It was on that occasion that the verse
"O Men who believe, if an immoral man
presents you with a report, mvestigate the evidence and make absolutely sure
before you act." Qur'an 49:6
All this proves the meaning we assigned to these hadiths.
11. Another claim is that the Prophet said that on the Day of Judgment, the people will ask Adam to intercede on their behalf, then Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, and 'Isa. All of them will refuse until the people come to Muhammad. This Iradith, the claim holds, proves that asking intercession from beings other than Allah does not constitute unbelief. This claim is far from right. To ask any person to intercede on behalf of anyone in that wherein he is capable of interceding is not in question here. Allah has said of Musa,
"He asked that his fellow countrymen
intercede for him agamst his enemy," Qur'an 28:15