Hamza Yusuf on What is a Kaafir

Someone had inquired about the issues that are contained in this following video link



The following are the problematic issues inherent within this short vid regarding Hamza Yusuf’s Murji tendencies towards the topic of Eman and Kufr.

As usual, may Allah guide him, Hamza Yusuf completely scrambles the Aqeedah of Ahlu-Sunnah wal-Jamaah and puts it in disarray. Everything that is contained in the video happens to be either a farce, a misapplication, a misunderstanding, a truth but by which some error was arrived at, or a red herring.
1. True: Hamza Yusuf begins by asserting a Qur’anic fact. Yes, the ayaah that Allah revealed in those versus happen to be applicable only to this specific class of people who has heard the message over and over, saw the m’ujizaat of the Prophet alayhi salatu salam, and continued to disbelieve. That is true.

However, there is a correct way of induction of the above Qur’anic realities and there is an incorrect way of induction of the above Qur’anic realities.

In the incorrect way, the way that Hamza Yusuf employs, it instigates the assumption that no one outside of these group of people whom Allah addresses can fit this category. When this same idea was adopted by someone who got infected with modernist ideology, they began to advocate that “there are no kuffar in this world”. The point here regarding this terminal error is that his methodology negates the fact that what Allah revealed is a mentality, a mentality that can and does happen beyond these people whom Allah Himself is talking about.

The correct way in which this is understood is that in the shariah, disbelief occurs through doubt, rejection, animosity, or any other condition that lands into kufr after a person receives the message of Islam, period. Haafidh Ibn Katheer mentions 10 foundations of kufr. If they did not accept the message of Islam, then they are ipso facto a bona fide kaafir and their ruling is that of a kaafir.

2. Hamza Yusuf says
Most people are Nass” [meaning just people]. They are just in ghaflah, just nass

Firstly, ghaflah is the basis of kufr. If you review the state of the kufaar in the Qur’an, Allah charges them many times with ghaflah or ranking them as Ghaafiloon Secondly, Allah declares that ALL people are are in a total state of loss and error, with the revealing of wal-Asr. And I assume everyone knows the rest of the surah.
That is not the only proof. Allah further mentions that the default state of man is that of jahl and dhulm, ignorant and oppressive.

Infact here is the ayaah

Truly, We did offer Al-Amanah (the trust or moral responsibility or honesty and all the duties which Allah has ordained) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it (i.e. afraid of Allah’s torment). But man bore it. Verily, he was unjust and ignorant.*
(* سورة الأحزاب *, Al-Ahzab, Chapter #33, Verse #72)

Because of their jahl and dhulm, most people are haughty, arrogant (kibr), and many other attributes that lead to the application of kufr.

3. He claims that initially, “Allah did not claim the Arabs as “yaa ayu hal kafirun” because they were not kaafirun.”

Allah called them kaafirun when they disbelieved in the message by revealing suratul-Kafiroon, in the beginning. This was way before the era of having witnessed miracles, and hearing the message over and over again. The moment the Arab Mushrikeen heard the message of Muhammad and they rejected, Allah revealed suratul-Kafiroon. This Qur’anic Manhaj is the sunnah of Allah and is the sunnah that we practice. The shariah is based on the fact that if someone hears the message of Islam, and they reject it for any dubious reason, then their rejection is the warrant of takfeer and the ruling of them being a kaafir.

In the words of Hamsa Yusuf, it is almost as if he makes having witnessed miracles and hearing the revelation over and over again as a pre-requisite to the warrant of takfeer, and this is simply false and ludicrous. That is because that would absolve everyone under the sky of kufr for the past 14 centuries. This is pure murji thinking.

4. Hamza Yusuf enters into a conundrum.

In the one hand, Hamza says that “people should not apply these things (meaning the label of kufr) to people whom we see out there walking” and then on the other hand he says “even though they have a legal status which is outside of Islam

Then he finishes with an unfinished statement “You don’t assume about people..” I guess the proper words that could complete the statement is “that they are kaafirs

In the aqeedah of Ahlu-Sunanh wal-Jama’ah, there is no “third state” of people. People are either ahlul-emaan or ahlul-kufr. There is as well ahlul-fitrah, but they have nothing to do with our discussion and they are not considered a “third state” of people. In fact it was the murjis among the M’utazilah who claimed their to be a “third state” of people, a state of eman, a state of kufr, and a state of in between. The statement that the M’utazilah employed was there famous statement “al-Manzila bayna al-manzilatayn” i.e. a state in between the two states. Im not saying that Hamza Yusuf says or is saying this, Im saying that this seems to be an implied extraction of what he is saying. Whether he intends this or not is irrelevant, rather what is relevant is what the ignorant who hears this heresy extracts from it, and it is precisely this corrupted thinking that someone who is ignorant will extract from it.

If they are outside of Islam, then they are in a state of kufr, period. There is not state of flux for them. Their ruling is that of kufr and when we pass by their graveyards, we invoke the du’a of the people of hellfire.

What Hamza Yusuf and many of the Murjis of today like to do is to apply a double standard. In the one hand, they like to attack us (wahhabis, ahlu-sunnah, atharis, salafis) for our takfeer of people and they like to say “you don’t know them, you don’t know their reality“, and then on the other hand they want us to negate their kufr which would warrant us to say the same back to them.

The truth is, is that Allah did not obligate us to know their reality.
Umar radhiyallahu anhu said
During the time of wahy, people used to be judged based on their reality. However since the wahy has passed (meaning the messenger has passed away), then men were no more judged by their reality, rather they were judged by their speech and their action

This is the pivotal blow against all the Murjis of this type. Our takfeer, the takfeer of all the Muslims is based on this reality stated by Umar radhiyallahu anhu. We are not obligated to know their reality, their reality is with Allah. What we are obligated by Allah is to judge the life of this world based on the dhaahir, the apparent realities, those being what one says and what one does, nothing more and nothing less. We are not to be splitting hairs about who had eman in their hearts and who was ignorant of Islam or who actually rejected Islam. Whoever died outside the state of Islam, we by default deem them kuffar and we let Allah deal with his fate and reality during the day of Judgment. This is the raw conundrum that people involved in this Murji ideology as Hamza Yusuf isolate themselves in.

5. His claiming martyrs on the firemen.

If Hamza Yusuf said “martyr” in English or french, then the one who took this news to his shaykh should have made excuse as Hamza correctly points out. However, the onus is likewise upon the Muslim (just as it is on other Muslims to make excuse), for you as an individual to make yourself clear in your intent thereby avoiding suspicion that nearby Muslims may detect. The same onus that was upon whoever took this news to your shaykh is also the same onus upon you to have made yourself clear as to what you meant by “martyr” because you, as a spokesman for Islam, are in the spotlight of Muslims, no matter who you are talking to, and in light of this reality, you should have known that the meaning of “martyr” in the Muslim terminology is “Shaheed” (pl. shuhada). So considering your state as a spokesman on Islam, then it was not as if none of the Muslims would have reviewed your speech. As a Muslim, in order to curb what could arise to be suspicion, you immediately root it out to the best of your ability.

6. Hamza stipulates
Did we check those firemen, if they believed or not. Did we ask them if they heard and believed in Islam or not“.

That is irrelevant. Allah did not obligate the Muslims with that. They were in a state outside the state of Islam, which means that they were outside of the fold of emaan, which means that if they have died, they are kuffar IN OUR VIEW as it pertains to the shariah. Whether they heard the message or not, Allah will sift through them, not us.
You see, the very argument that Murjis apply to us, actually becomes turned back at their face.

7. The Jahmi style Irjaa of Hamza Yusuf

He then says
The basis is not kufr, it is emaan

The basis is not kufr or emaan. Even when we are born, our state of fitrah is fitrah, NOT Islam. Many people get it twisted. Fitrah is not emaan absolutely, otherwise there would have been no need of Allah to test the ahlul-fitrah in on the Day of Judgment, as has been revealed in the authentic sunnah. The Messenger of Allah alayhi salatu salaam said “the baby is first upon the fitrah, and then it is the parents that turn him into a jew or christian (i.e. kufr).

So the basis of all accountable adult life, Mukalifoon, is that of either eman or kufr. Eman is for the Muslims, and kufr is for ghayr Muslimeen

So let us for arguments sake entertain that fitrah is belief. Then the issue is what does that have to do with the adult populace of disbelieving nations who have been turned into disbelief. They are not 5 years olds where we could assume of them what you assume. However, since they are not, we have to understand that they are adults, and thus they have entered into the state of kufr.

8. Hamza being on both sides

This is a red herring. I’ve been on both sides as well. Human experience is used to help understand the shariah, it does not supplant the shariah.

We ask Allah to guide both him and us towards His Pleasure. Ameen

asalamu alaykum warahmatullah