Ilhād and Zandaqah: What Are They? Why Are They a Major Problem?

The Islāmic Sharī’ah has been codified and is pure from flaws and defects. After it had crystallized and stood in its pristine form, surviving the tides of time, its nomenclature and terminology were used for specific Sharī’ah-related and technical meanings. For example, in the classical texts and Islamic works, wherever the word ‘Kitāb’ is mentioned, it refers to the Noble Qur’ān; the pure word of Allāh Ta’ālā revealed upon Sayyidunā Muhammad Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam – the final Messenger of Allāh Ta’ālā.

If anyone says that now this ‘Kitāb’ refers to any written book, he or she will be declared ignorant. In the same way, wherever the word ‘Sunnah’ is mentioned in Islāmic teaching or Shar’ī discussions, it will refer to the Sunnah of Sayyidunā Muhammad Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam only.

A Subtle Case of Ilhād & Zandaqah

Once the Sharī’ah has been stipulated and prescribed for man, if someone will abandon the Shar’ī meanings and take the lexical meanings, he will be committing Ilhād. This is, in essence, Tahrīf fid-Dīn, i.e., interpolation of the religion of Islām. Who does not know that Īmān, Islām, Salāh, Zakāt, Saum, and Hajj used to be employed according to their respective lexical meanings?

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However, once Islām dawned in the world, these words had specific Shar’ī meanings attached to them. These words were then used for these meanings. These Shar’ī meanings had a totally new standing and new specialties, even though the lexical and Shar’ī meanings had some link and association between themselves.

Now, to abandon these Shar’ī meanings – which are the objective – and to take the lexical meaning and use the words for the lexical meaning, thereby, making the Shar’ī technical meanings deferential to the lexicon, rendering the Shar’ī position and specialties of the words void, this will be Ilhād fid-Dīn. All the scholars of the Ummah, the early day scholars, as well as the latter-day scholars have unanimously declared this as Ilhād and Zandaqah.

Hujjat-ul-Islām Imām Ghazālī rahimahullāh had penned a work on this particular topic, called ‘Faysal At-Tafruqah bayn Al-Islām was Zandaqah’. He also wrote ‘Qānūn At-Ta’wīl’ covering the aspects related to Ilhad and Zandaqah.

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One of the latter-day works, brilliantly penned and comprehensive in content is ‘Ikfār Al-Mulhidīn fī Darūriyyāt Ad-Dīn’ by Mawlānā Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmīrī rahimahullāh.

These valuable treasures by the master scholars of Islām are essential tools for scholars today, to be used fully to deal with the Modernist Menace that is eroding the beliefs and practices of true and sincere Muslims worldwide. May Allāh Ta’ālā accept us all to defend Islām from the modernist attack. Āmīn

Follow Mufti Abdullah on Twitter: @MuftiAMoolla


Source: Basā’ir wa ‘Ibar vol.2 p.246, Maktabah Bayyinat, Karachi

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