Does the term “al-Mushrikoon” include the Ahl al-Kitaab? – Imam al-Shinqitee

During a lesson that sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee once gave in Jordan, he was asked a series of three questions from one of the students of knowledge present. The second of these questions was:

هل يشمل لفظ المشركين أهل الكتاب؟

Does the term “al-Mushrikoon” include the Ahl al-Kitaab?

In response to this question, the sheikh answered:

وأما الجواب عن المسالة الثانية , فهو أن ما ذكرتم من أن القرآن فرق بين المشركين وبين أهل الكتاب , واستشهدتم لذلك بآية المائدة لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِلَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَبَهُمْ مَوَدَّةً لِلَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَى (82) الآية ، فهو كما ذكرتم, لأن العطف يقتضي بظاهره الفرق بين المعطوف والمعطوف عليه. ـ

As for the answer to the second question, then it is regarding what some have mentioned that the Qur’an makes a distinction between the Mushrikoon and the Ahl al-Kitaab, and as evidence they cite the ayah of surah al-Maa’idah:

لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَ‌كُوا ۖ وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَ‌بَهُم مَّوَدَّةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَ‌ىٰ

You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews and those who associate others with Allah; and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, “We are Christians.” [5:82]

And it is as they say, because mentioning two items of the same part-of-speech category together [i.e. “the Jews” and “those who associate others with Allah”] entails that there is some distinction between the two when taken at its apparent linguistic meaning.

وقد تكرر في القرآن عطف بعضهم على بعض كالآية التي تفضلتم بذكرها , وكقوله تعالى: لَمْ يَكُنِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ مُنْفَكِّينَ الآية (1) , وقوله تعالى إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ الآية (6) البينة , وقوله تعالى مَا يَوَدُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَلَا الْمُشْرِكِينَ أَنْ يُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ الآية (105) سورة البقرة , وقوله تعالى لَتُبْلَوُنَّ فِي أَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنْفُسِكُمْ وَلَتَسْمَعُنَّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا أَذًى كَثِيرًا الآية (186) سورة آل عمران , إلى غير ذلك من الآيات. ـ

And the joint-mention of one of these two terms with the other comes repeatedly in the Qur’an, as in the previous ayah which some have mentioned, or for example in Allah’s statement:

لَمْ يَكُنِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ مُنْفَكِّينَ

Those who disbelieve from among the Ahl al-Kitaab and among the mushrikoon, were not going to leave (their disbelief)… [98:1]

And His statement:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ

Indeed, they who disbelieved among the Ahl al-Kitaab and the mushrikoon will be in the fire of Hell [98:6]

And His statement:

مَا يَوَدُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَلَا الْمُشْرِكِينَ أَنْ يُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ

Neither those who disbelieve from the Ahl al-Kitaab nor the mushrikoon wish that any good should be sent down to you from your Lord [2:105]

And His statement:

لَتُبْلَوُنَّ فِي أَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنْفُسِكُمْ وَلَتَسْمَعُنَّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا أَذًى كَثِيرًا

You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves. And you will surely hear much abuse from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allah [3:186]

as well as elsewhere.

وظاهر العطف يقتضي المغايرة بين المتعاطفين , لأن عطف الشيء على نفسه يحتاج إلى دليل خاص يجب الرجوع إليه مع بيان المسوغ لذلك كما هو معلوم في محله. ـ

And what is apparent is that mentioning two things together necessarily entails that there is some distinction between those two things. Because to interpret this joint-mention as a repetition of the same thing twice under two different names would require a specific proof for that interpretation, as well as explanation of the legitimacy of that, as is known in this field of knowledge.

وما تفضلتم بذكره من أن عمر بن عبدالعزيز رضي الله عنه أمر بإلحاق أهل الكتاب بالمشركين في عدم دخول المسجد الحرام فمستنده المسوغ له أن الله جل وعلا صرح في سورة التوبة أن أهل الكتاب من يهود ونصارى من جملة المشركين , وإذا جاء التصريح في القرآن العظيم بأنهم من المشركين , فدخولهم في عموم قوله تعالى: (إنما المشركون نجس) الآية ، لا إشكال فيه. ـ

Also, another evidence that is brought is that ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ordered lumping the Ahl al-Kitaab in with the Mushrikoon in (the status of) not entering into al-Masjid al-Haraam. For he based the legitimacy of this judgement on the fact that Allah explicitly stated in surah al-Tawbah that the Ahl al-Kitaab of the Jews and the Christians are part of the larger category of the mushrikoon. So since an explicit clarification that they were part of of the mushrikoon came in the Qur’an, then they are included in the generality of His statement:

إِنَّمَا الْمُشْرِ‌كُونَ نَجَسٌ

Indeed the mushrikoon are unclean… [9:28]

There is no doubt about this.

وآية التوبة التي بين الله فيها أنهم من جملة المشركين هي قوله تعالى: وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ ابْنُ اللَّهِ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَى الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ قَوْلُهُمْ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ يُضَاهِئُونَ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ قَبْلُ قَاتَلَهُمُ اللَّهُ أَنَّى يُؤْفَكُونَ (30) اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَهًا وَاحِدًا لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ (31) سورة التوبة , فتأمل قوله تعالى في اليهود والنصارى (سبحانه عما يشركون) يظهر لك صدق اسم الشرك عليهم , فيتضح إدخالهم في عموم (إنما المشركون نجس). ـ

And that ayah of surah al-Tawbah in which Allah clarifies that they are part of the larger category of the mushrikoon is His statement:

وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ‌ ابْنُ اللَّـهِ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَ‌ى الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللَّـهِ ۖ ذَٰلِكَ قَوْلُهُم بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ ۖ يُضَاهِئُونَ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُ‌وا مِن قَبْلُ ۚ قَاتَلَهُمُ اللَّـهُ ۚ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ * اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَ‌هُمْ وَرُ‌هْبَانَهُمْ أَرْ‌بَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّـهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْ‌يَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُ‌وا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَـٰهًا وَاحِدًا ۖ لَّا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِ‌كُونَ

The Jews say, “Uzayr is the son of Allah”; and the Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allah.” That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded? * They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah, and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him. [9:30-31]

So consider the statement of His regarding the Jews and the Christians:

سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِ‌كُونَ

Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him. [9:31]

This should make the applicability of the the term “al-shirk” as it relates to them clear to you. So therefore it is clear that they are included in the generality of:

إِنَّمَا الْمُشْرِ‌كُونَ نَجَسٌ

Indeed the mushrikoon are unclean… [9:28]

ووجه الفرق بينهم بعطف بعضهم على بعض هو: أنهم جميعا مشركون , والمغايرة التي سوغت عطف بعض المشركين على بعض هي اختلافهم في نوع الشرك. ـ

And the reason for making a distinction between the Ahl al-Kitaab and the mushrikoon writ-large by mentioning them back-to-back as two separate things rather than subsuming them all within one label is as follows: they are all mushrikoon, but the difference which legitimizes mentioning them jointly but under separate terms is the difference in the types of al-shirk which they commit. 

فشرك المشركين – غير أهل الكتاب – كان شركا في العبادة , لأنهم يعبدون الأوثان , وأهل الكتاب لا يعبدون الأوثان فلا يشركون هذا النوع من الشرك , لكنهم يشركون شرك ربوبية كما أشار له تعالى بقوله: اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ , ومن اتخذ أربابا من دون الله فهو مشرك به في ربوبيته , وادعاء أن عزير ابن الله , والمسيح ابن الله من الشرك في الربوبية , ولما كان الشرك في الربوبية يستلزم الشرك في العبادة , قال الله تعالى وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَهًا وَاحِدًا لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ. ـ

For the shirk of the mushrikoon – that is, the non Ahl a-Kitaab – was shirk in terms of al-‘ibaadah [worship], for they worshiped idols while the Ahl al-Kitaab do not worship idols and so they do not commit that particular type of shirk. However, they do commit the shirk of al-Ruboobiyyah [Lordship], just as indicated by His statement:

اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ

They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah [9:31]

And whoever takes lords besides Allah, then he is committing shirk with Allah as it relates to His Lordship. The assertion that ‘Uzayr is the son of Allah and that the Messiah is the son of Allah fall under al-shirk in al-Ruboobiyyah. And committing shirk in Allah’s ruboobiyyah entails committing shirk in Allah’s worship. Allah said:

وَمَا أُمِرُ‌وا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَـٰهًا وَاحِدًا ۖ لَّا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِ‌كُونَ

And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him. [9:31]

[Majaalis ma’a Fadheelah al-Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Jankee al-Shinqitee pg. 84, 101-104]

See also: The Three Categories of Tawheed according to the Qur’an: Imam al-Shinqitee

See also: The Messiah was only a Messenger and his mother was a ṣiddīqah: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Major Shirk and Minor Shirk: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: “And the Jews say ‘Uzair is the son of Allah” – Ibn Taymiyah

See also: Allah does not forgive shirk but he forgives what is less than that: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: What is the wisdom of abrogating a command before it can be acted on?: Imam al-Shinqitee

See also: Two Qur’anic proofs that Ismaa’eel is the sacrificed son: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

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5 thoughts on “Does the term “al-Mushrikoon” include the Ahl al-Kitaab? – Imam al-Shinqitee

  1. Pingback: “And the Jews say ‘Uzair is the son of Allah” – Ibn Taymiyah | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: What is the wisdom of abrogating a command before it can be acted on?: Imam al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: Allah does not forgive shirk but he forgives what is less than that: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Major Shirk and Minor Shirk: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: In Response to the View that the Hell-fire will Come to an End: Sheikh bin Baaz | Tulayhah

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