Committing major sins does not mean disbelief
Fatwa No: 13087

  • Fatwa Date:7-2-2012 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 15, 1433
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Question

Is the person who commits a major sin a disbeliever?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

 

The person who commits a major sin is called a defiantly disobedient person in the Sharee‘ah. Allaah The Almighty is the One who calls him as such. For example, Allaah The Almighty when referring to liars in a verse Says (what means):

•        {O you who have believed, in case an immoral (person) comes to you with a tiding, then (ascertain) the evidence.} [Quran 49: 6]

Allaah The Almighty has not excluded the liar from being one of the believers and does not call him a disbeliever. This is similar to where Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):

•        {And if two factions among the believers should fight, then make settlement between the two.} [Quran 49:9]

Allaah The Almighty has called the fighting Muslims (believers) in spite of the fact that some of them kill each other while thinking such behavior is justified. The proof that confirms this is what Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):

•        {The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers.} [Quran 49:10]

No one should be called a disbeliever, unless it is based on Sharee‘ah-based evidence. The apostasy of a person is determined according the criteria set by Allaah The Almighty and His Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam .

The Muslim who commits a major sin should be called a disobedient person. Such persons are believers, but their faith is deficient. The degree of deficiency is determined by the degree and amount of sinning.

Shaykh Haafith Al-Hakami  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said that a disobedient person is not considered a disbeliever, but his faith decreases according to the sins that he commits. He said that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was referring to  minor, not major Kufr (disbelief) when he, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was speaking about certain sins. For example, the Hadeeth in which the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that cursing a Muslim is disobedience and fighting him is disbelief. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

In conclusion, a Muslim who commits a major sin is not a disbeliever, but a disobedient person who deserves a great punishment. Allaah The Almighty may forgive him if He wills. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):

•        {Indeed, Allaah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills.} [Quran 4:48]

This is why Shaykh Haafith  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said that we cannot say that the person who commits major sins would be in Hell forever. We should also know that Allaah The Almighty may or may not choose to forgive him.

Allaah Knows best.

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