In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Firstly: We repeat once again the fact that rebutting false beliefs, ideas and views does not necessitate bad behaviour, rather Muslims are commanded to behave well towards others.
Allaah [The Most High] said:
قُلۡ يَـٰٓأَهۡلَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ تَعَالَوۡاْ إِلَىٰ ڪَلِمَةٍ۬ سَوَآءِۭ بَيۡنَنَا وَبَيۡنَكُمۡ أَلَّا نَعۡبُدَ إِلَّا ٱللَّهَ وَلَا نُشۡرِكَ بِهِۦ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعۡضُنَا بَعۡضًا أَرۡبَابً۬ا مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّوۡاْ فَقُولُواْ ٱشۡهَدُواْ بِأَنَّا مُسۡلِمُونَ
–Say (O Muhammad): “O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians): Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah. Then, if they turn away, say: “Bear witness that we are Muslims]. [Surah Aal Imraan. Aayah 64]
Meaning: say to the people of the scripture – the Jews and Christians,
[تَعَالَوۡاْ إِلَىٰ ڪَلِمَةٍ۬ سَوَآءِۭ بَيۡنَنَا وَبَيۡنَكُمۡ – Come to a word that is just between us and you]- Meaning: Come let us unite upon the statement which all the Prophets and Messengers agreed upon and none opposes it except the obstinate and misguided. This statement is not specific to anyone of us; rather it is something that you and us should establish between us, so this is justice and fairness in debate. Then Allaah explains this and said:
[أَلَّا نَعۡبُدَ إِلَّا ٱللَّهَ وَلَا نُشۡرِكَ بِهِۦ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا – that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partners with Him]- Meaning: We should single out Allaah in worship, devoting all love, fear and hope to Him alone, and we should not associate anyone as partner with Allaah in worship- neither a Prophet, an Angel, a Righteous Person, an Idol, a Deified image, a living or non-living thing, [وَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعۡضُنَا بَعۡضًا أَرۡبَابً۬ا مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِۚ – and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allaah]; rather all obedience is to be devoted to Allah and His Messengers. [فَإِن تَوَلَّوۡاْ فَقُولُواْ ٱشۡهَدُواْ بِأَنَّا مُسۡلِمُونَ – Then, if they turn away, say: “Bear witness that we are Muslims]”. [Tafsir As-Sadi]
Who Were The Rightly Guided People of The Scripture?
Allaah [The Exalted] commanded the Muslims that they say in their prayer:
ٱهۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٲطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ
صِرَٲطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ غَيۡرِ ٱلۡمَغۡضُوبِ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا ٱلضَّآلِّينَ
Guide us to the Straight Way, the Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray. [Surah Al-Faatihah. Aayaat 6-7]
Those upon whom Allaah bestowed His grace are the ones mentioned in His statement:
وَمَن يُطِعِ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلرَّسُولَ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ مَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنۡعَمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡہِم مِّنَ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ وَٱلصِّدِّيقِينَ وَٱلشُّہَدَآءِ وَٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَۚ وَحَسُنَ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ رَفِيقً۬ا
And whoso obeys Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad), then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the Siddiqun (those followers of the Prophets who were first and foremost to believe in them, like Abu Bakr As-Siddiq ), the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are! [Surah An-Nisaa. Aayah 69]
These are the people about whom Allaah commanded His servants to ask Him for guidance to their path. The Christians who followed the religion of the Messiah [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] before it was abrogated and altered were amongst those upon whom Allaah bestowed His Grace, just as the Jews who followed the religion of Moosaa [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] before it was abrogated and altered were amongst those upon whom Allaah bestowed His grace. As for the Christians who came after the religion of the Messiah [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] was abrogated and altered, they are from the people of misguidance, just as Allaah [The Exalted] said:
قُلۡ يَـٰٓأَهۡلَ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبِ لَا تَغۡلُواْ فِى دِينِڪُمۡ غَيۡرَ ٱلۡحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوٓاْ أَهۡوَآءَ قَوۡمٍ۬ قَدۡ ضَلُّواْ مِن قَبۡلُ وَأَضَلُّواْ ڪَثِيرً۬ا وَضَلُّواْ عَن سَوَآءِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ
Say (O Muhammad): “O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Exceed not the limits in your religion (by believing in something) other than the truth, and do not follow the vain desires of people who went astray in times gone by, and who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the Right Path.” [Surah Al-Maa’idah. Aayah 77]
And Allaah [The Exalted] said:
أَسۡمِعۡ بِہِمۡ وَأَبۡصِرۡ يَوۡمَ يَأۡتُونَنَاۖ لَـٰكِنِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ ٱلۡيَوۡمَ فِى ضَلَـٰلٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬
How clearly will they (polytheists and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) see and hear, the Day when they will appear before Us! But the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers) today are in plain error. [Surah Maryam. Aayah 38]
Indeed, the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said that those Jews [who altered the religion of Moosaa, disbelieved in Messiah and Muhammad] are the ones who have earned the anger of Allaah, and those Christians [who altered the religion of the Messiah and disbelieved in Muhammad] are the who have gone astray. The reason behind this is because those Jews knew the truth, but did not act upon it, and those Christians worshipped Allaah without sound knowledge. Allaah described those Jews [in some Aayaat] as people who are afflicted with pride, miserliness, cowardice, hard heartedness, concealers of knowledge, followers of the path of deviation – the path of evil desires and transgression. As for those Christians, He described them as people who go beyond bounds in religion, innovators in acts of worship, people who associate partners with Allaah, people of misguidance and that they declared lawful that which Allaah has made unlawful. Allaah [The Exalted] said:
يَـٰٓأَهۡلَ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبِ لَا تَغۡلُواْ فِى دِينِڪُمۡ وَلَا تَقُولُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلۡحَقَّۚ إِنَّمَا ٱلۡمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ٱبۡنُ مَرۡيَمَ رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ وَڪَلِمَتُهُ ۥۤ أَلۡقَٮٰهَآ إِلَىٰ مَرۡيَمَ وَرُوحٌ۬ مِّنۡهُۖ فَـَٔامِنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِۦۖ وَلَا تَقُولُواْ ثَلَـٰثَةٌۚ ٱنتَهُواْ خَيۡرً۬ا لَّڪُمۡۚ إِنَّمَا ٱللَّهُ إِلَـٰهٌ۬ وَٲحِدٌ۬ۖ سُبۡحَـٰنَهُ ۥۤ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُ ۥ وَلَدٌ۬ۘ لَّهُ ۥ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِ وَڪِيلاً۬
لَّن يَسۡتَنكِفَ ٱلۡمَسِيحُ أَن يَكُونَ عَبۡدً۬ا لِّلَّهِ وَلَا ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةُ ٱلۡمُقَرَّبُونَۚ وَمَن يَسۡتَنكِفۡ عَنۡ عِبَادَتِهِۦ وَيَسۡتَڪۡبِرۡ فَسَيَحۡشُرُهُمۡ إِلَيۡهِ جَمِيعً۬ا
فَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ فَيُوَفِّيهِمۡ أُجُورَهُمۡ وَيَزِيدُهُم مِّن فَضۡلِهِۦۖ وَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ٱسۡتَنكَفُواْ وَٱسۡتَكۡبَرُواْ فَيُعَذِّبُهُمۡ عَذَابًا أَلِيمً۬ا وَلَا يَجِدُونَ لَهُم مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ وَلِيًّ۬ا وَلَا نَصِيرً۬ا
O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word, (“Be!” – and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Ruh) created by Him; so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not: “Three (trinity)!” Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allah is (the only) One Ilah (God), Glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs. The Messiah will never be proud to reject to be a slave to Allah, nor the angels who are near (to Allah). And whosoever rejects His worship and is proud, then He will gather them all together unto Himself. So, as for those who believed (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism) and did deeds of righteousness, He will give their (due) rewards, and more out of His Bounty. But as for those who refuse His worship and were proud, He will punish them with a painful torment . And they will not find for themselves besides Allah any protector or helper. [Surah An-Nisaa. Aayaat 171-173]
And Allaah [The Exalted] said:
وَرَهۡبَانِيَّةً ٱبۡتَدَعُوهَا مَا كَتَبۡنَـٰهَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ إِلَّا ٱبۡتِغَآءَ رِضۡوَٲنِ ٱللَّهِ فَمَا رَعَوۡهَا حَقَّ رِعَايَتِهَا
But the Monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them, but (they sought it) only to please Allah therewith, but that they did not observe it with the right observance. [Surah Al-Hadeed. Aayah 27]
Meaning, We prescribed for them to seek the Pleasure of Allaah, but did not prescribe monasticism for them; rather they innovated it and even more so they did not observe it with the right observance. Every innovation in religion is misguidance, so they are blameworthy for innovating monasticism. As for that which was prescribed for them to seek the Pleasure of Allaah, it can only be attained by acting upon that which Allaah has legislated for them, whether obligatory or recommended deeds, because this is that which pleases Allaah. Therefore, whoever does that which pleases Allaah, then he has done that which Allaah has prescribed for him and he’ll attain the Pleasure of Allaah through fulfilling obligations. This is what is prescribed for the servants.
[An Excerpt from Al-Jawaabus Saheeh Liman Baddala Deen Al-Maseeh 2/67-70. Slightly paraphrased]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said:
This guidance is of various levels:
1.Blessed with sound knowledge and clarification, acquaintance with the truth and enabled to reach it.
2.Blessed with ability to be on this guidance, otherwise the human is not able on his own.
3.Blessed with the ability to intend [or have a desire to follow its path].
4.Blessed with the ability to act upon it.
7.Guided to the detail explanation of the affairs in the path, which is more specific than general guidance.
8.Clearly shown the goal in the path and alerted to it, so that one pays close attention to it- turning towards it and not being prevented by something in its path.
9.Clearly shown his need for this guidance and that it is what he needs more than everything thing else which he cannot do without.
10.Clearly shown the path of the deviants who deviated from the right path, and that is the path of those who earned Allaah’s anger- those who intentionally and wilfully turned away from the truth; and the path of those who went astray – those who turned away from the truth due to ignorance and misguidance.
The Siraat Al-Mustaqeem is one path which all the Prophets and the Messengers [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon them] followed, as well as their followers amongst the Siddeeqeen [the truthful people], Shuhadaa [martyrs] and Saalihoon [righteous people].
[An Excerpt from Madaarij As-Saalikeen 3/510. Slightly paraphrased]
Finally, we repeat once again the fact that rebutting false beliefs, ideas and views does not necessitate bad behaviour, rather Muslims are commanded to behave well towards others.
To be continued InShaaAllaah
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