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The Academy Blog
12 Jul 2017

Continuing To Knock Him Down!!! (Part 3)

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{O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former; nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it, to insult one’s brother after having Faith [i.e. to call your Muslim brother (a faithful believer) as: “O sinner”, or “O wicked”, etc.]. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed Dhalimun (wrong-doers, etc.).}

[(49):11]

We hope that this series has been beneficial to you this far, as this is a topic that we need to begin to take more seriously if we want to see our communities grow in goodness. In today’s article we want to tackle a third issue that really needs to be corrected in our societies. This is the issue of calling one another by bad names. The early generations saw this, after revelation was sent down about it, as something horrible. Yet, in our days and times, even among those that claim to be following them, it is taken lightly and done in passing and play, even among close companions. Subhanna Allah.

Well, we need to take a quick look and see how the early generations of the Muslims (may Allah be pleased with them and have mercy upon them) used to look at this command by Allah, and it’s meaning. Now just for the purpose of being completely clear, I want to point the part of the verse that we will be focusing on. This is where Allah stated,

{… nor insult one another by nicknames.}

Generally we will find that there are three major opinions as to what is being referred to here in this verse. Imam at Tabari (may Allah have mercy upon him) has not only mentioned them in his tafsir, but he has also mentioned who was upon which opinion. So for more details about this, you can return there to get more explanation. Today we just want to mention what these three opinions are and how regardless of which opinion that we hold, going against it has become the norm in may of our Muslim communities. May Allah guide us all to following that which is correct. Allahuma ameen.

The first of these opinions is the fact that which is meant here, in this verse, is the issue of simply calling someone by a name that they dislike or hate to be called. The Imaam mentioned that some say that this verse was revealed about a people that had certain nicknames before Islam, and then after they were guided to Islam, they hated that people continued calling them by these names. Thus, this was revealed.

Now I need to ask a question. Is this name calling or addressing people by their old nicknames that they do not like something that is strange to our communities? Of course it is not. It is something that we see often. It is even something that we find ourselves doing with those that we are comfortable with in our lives. We find that we have a hard time allowing people to leave off their old names or reputations, even when we know that they are something that they may be ashamed of, or just simply dislike being mentioned. It is not just about these people, rather the command of Allah to leave off this practice. May Allah rectify our affairs. Allahuma ameen.

The second opinion is that of those who say that the prohibition is about a Muslim calling another Muslim by the phrase “Hey Faasiq (open sinner)” or “Hey Zaani (fornicator or adulterer)”. This does not stop here though. Therefore, we should not think that it is limited to just these names. Ikrimah and Qataadah (may Allah be pleased with both of them) stated that it also includes the phrase “Hey Munaafiq (hypocrite)”. This just goes to show that it is inclusive of many different bad names that we hear roll off of not only the tongues of others, but also our own tongues at times. This also falls under this prohibition that Allah has commanded us to stay away from. If we understand this, we have to ask ourselves why we continue doing it, and allowing it to be done around us on a regular basis.

The third and last opinion that we need to look at closely, is that of those that say it is referring to a person that has been guided to Islam with kufr (disbelief), or fusuq (open sins) and detestable deeds after they have made repentance for these deeds.Unfortunately, this too has become a common practice among the people of our times. We know when looking into history and tafsir of the Quran, this was a situation that was frowned upon. Yet, when we look around our Masaajid and communities we find that it is something that people do not look twice about before partaking in this practice. It is done so much in some communities, that it is seen as normal. It goes so far in some communities, that we tend to attribute this to Allah’s religion.

So regardless of which explanation that we decide to choose, we must realize that we need to stay away from partaking in something that become common practice in these days and times. The religion has not changed in terms of the commands and prohibitions, therefore we need to return to seeing things they way the were seen by the earlier generations. By doing this, we will find ourselves more correct in the practice of Allah’s wonderful religion.

How is it that this action was looked at as something that was despicable after the sending down of this verse, yet we find it today to be common practice, or even part of the religion according to some? Are we really following what the earlier generations were upon, or are we doing whatever we please and calling it “Deen”? This is the question that we must ask ourselves.

May Allah rectify all of our affairs and forgive us for our disobedience and shortcomings. Allahuma ameen.

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