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Categorizing People

Categorizing People

by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan

Firstly: Categorizing people according to desires and pride, this is prohibited, Allaah the Glorified said:

{O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may know one other (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is the one who is the most righteous. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted with all matters.} (Surah Hujurat, 49:13)

The Messenger - صلى الله عليه وسلم – said:

“All of you are from Aadam, and Aadam is from dust, an Arab does not have virtue over a non-Arab, nor does a white person over a black person, [virtue] is only through Taqwaa”

 [Musnad of Imam Ahmad, no. 22978]

Superiortiy is only through Taqwa, not by colors or nationalities.

Secondly: Categorizing people according to their creed and actions so that each category takes its place and is treated in a befitting manner. This is legislated as people are not all the same; amongst them are disbelievers, believers, hypocrites, the righteous, the sinners etc. This categorization is present in the Book and the Sunnah, and there is no way it can be rejected due to its affirmation in the legislation and reality, a poem reads:

‘There is no cure for the ailment – of one who considers all people as one’

Thirdly: Categorizing the believers according to what Allaah blessed them with in terms of knowledge, faith and actions. This is also present in the Book and the Sunnah, Allaah the Elevated said:

{Those are the Messengers! We preferred some of them to others} (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:253)

He also said:

{Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame), and those who strive hard in the Cause of Allaah with their wealth and their lives.}(Surah An-Nisa, 4:95)

He said:

{Say: "Are those who know equal to those who know not?"}(Surah Az-Zumar, 39:9)

{Not equal among you are those who spent and fought before the conquering (of Makkah, with those among you who did so later). Such are higher in degree than those who spent and fought afterwards. But to all Allaah has promised the best (reward).}(Surah Al-Hadid, 57:10) 

Fourthly: Categorizing the believers into Sunnees [followers of the Sunnah] and Bid’ees [innovators] and into believers with complete Eemaan [faith] and believers with incomplete Eemaan, and into upright people and sinners. This is done to put people into their respective places, each category is treated according to what befits it legislatively, and giving them their due rights is legislated; the Messenger of Allaah - صلى الله عليه وسلم - said:

“Place people in their respective places.”

Fifthly: Categorizing disbelievers according to their religions, treating each one according to what Allaah legislated is a necessity and a legislated obligation. The People of the Book have specific rulings, atheists have their own rulings and polytheists have their own rulings in this religion. Concerning the afterlife then they are all in the hell fire if they die upon disbelief, but they have different levels of torment. In any case, one must differentiate between the believers and the disbelievers, the people of the Sunnah and the innovators, Allaah said:

{Verily, those who believed, and emigrated and strove hard with their property and their lives in the Cause of Allaah as well as those who gave (them) asylum and help, – these are (all) Awliyaa to one another }(Surah Al-‘Anfal, 8:73)to His saying { And those who disbelieve are Awliyaa of one another, (and) if you (Muslims of the whole world collectively) do not do so to make victorious Allaah's religion of Islaamic Monotheism], there will be Fitnah (wars, battles, polytheism) and oppression on the earth, and great mischief and corruption (appearance of polytheism).}(Surah Al-‘Anfal, 8:73)

Al Imaam ibn Katheer, may Allaah have mercy upon him, stated:

“Allaah mentioned the types of believers and categorized them into those who were thrown out of the homes and wealth and came to support the religion of Allaah and His Messenger and establish it, they spent their lives and wealth in this cause, and into Ansaar, the Muslims of Madeenah at that time; they sheltered their brothers the migrants in their homes and made them equal partners in their wealth, and they also supported the religion of Allaah and His Messenger and established His religion and battled with them. So they {are (all) Awliyaa to one another} Meaning each one of them is more rightful than anyone else to the other. {And those who disbelieve are Awliyaa of one another} When Allaah mentioned that the believers are Awliyaa of each other, He cut of the Muwaalaat between them and the disbelievers, and the meaning of the saying of Allaah {if you do not, there will be Fitnah (wars, battles, polytheism) and oppression on the earth, and great mischief and corruption} is that if you do not leave the Muwalaat of the polytheists and have Muwalaat to the believers, a Fitnah would befall the people, and it is confusion in the affair and the mixing of the disbelievers with the believers and so extensive corruption would occur.”

[Tafsir of ibn Kathir, Surah Al-‘Anfal (verse 72-73)]

Sixthly: It is not permissible to categorize the believers based upon speculation, because the basis of the Muslim is that he is upon goodness, so it is not permissible to think negatively of him, Allaah said:

{O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicions are sins.}(Surah Al-Hujurat, 49:12)

He also said:

{O you who believe! If a Faasiq (liar – evil person) comes to you with any news, verify it, lest you should harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful for what you have done.}(Surah Al-Hujurat, 49:6)

So categorizing people is not permissible in totality, and it is not prohibited in totality, rather it is a detailed issue dependant on the evidence. Categorizing people according to the evidence does not mean that we cannot interact with them in what Allaah has permitted such as buying and selling, exchanging benefits, having diplomatic ties and rewarding those who do good from all the categories according to the evidence and stopping transgression between them, Allaah the Elevated said:

{and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety.}(Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5:8)

It is the Muslim’s duty towards the contradicting paths to call them to Allaah, order them with good and prohibit them from evil, and strive against them so that they may emerge from darkness into light, from disbelief into belief. They shouldn’t leave them in their errors and misguidance while they are able to put some effort into saving them; Allaah said:

{You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma'roof (i.e. Islaamic Monotheism and all that Islaam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar
(polytheism, disbelief and all that Islaam has forbidden), and you believe in Allaah.}(Surah Ale Imraan, 3:110)

Meaning you are the best of the people for the people.

It becomes clear from this that the categorization of people is a detailed issue, and that it is present in the Legislation and is permissible, rather it may be an obligation to clarify the truth and refute falsehood so that there is no confusion, if this wasn’t the case, then why were books authored in the topic of religions and sects such as ‘Al Farq bayn al Firaq [The Difference between the Sects]’ by al Baghdaadee, ‘Al Milal wan Nihal [Religions and Sects]’ by al Shahrastaanee, and ‘Maqaalaat al Islaamiyyeen’ by al Ash’aree and ‘Al Fasl’ by Ibn Hazm.

I say this, and Allaah is the granter of Success, and may the Salaat and Salaam be upon our Prophet Muhammed, his family and companions.

1- تصنيف الناس بحسب الهوى ومن باب التفاخر فهذا منهي عنه ولا يجوز قال الله تعالى (يا أيها الناس انا خلقناكم من ذكر وأنثى وجعلناكم شعوبا وقبائل لتعارفوا إن اكرمكم عند الله اتقاكم ان الله عليم خبير). وقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ( كلكم لآدم وآدم من تراب. لا فضل لعربي على أعجمي ولا لأبيض على أسود الا بالتقوى) فالتميز انما هو بالتقوى لا باللون والجنس.

2- تصنيف الناس بحسب اعتقاداتهم واعمالهم لإنزال كل منهم منزلته ومعاملته بما يليق به فهذا امر واقع وامر مشروع فالناس ليسوا على حد سواء فمنهم الكافر والمؤمن والمنافق والبر والفاجر وهذا التصنيف وارد في الكتاب والسنة ولا مجال لإنكاره لأنه ثابت شرعا وواقع فعلا وفي المثل ( من كان الناس عنده سواء فليس لعلته دواء).

3- تصنيف المؤمنين بحسب ما أتاهم الله من العلم والإيمان والعمل قد جاء في الكتاب والسنة قال تعالى ( تلك الرسل فضلنا بعضهم على بعض) وقال تعالى ( لا يستوي القاعدون من المؤمنين غير أولى الضرر والمجاهدون في سبيل الله). الآية. وقال تعالى (قل هل يستوي الذين يعلمون والذي لا يعلمون) وقال تعالى ( لا يستوي منكم من انفق من قبل الفتح وقاتل أولئك اعظم درجة من الذين انفقوا من بعد وقاتلوا وكلا وعد الله الحسنى).

4- تصنيف المؤمنين إلى سني وبدعي والى مؤمن كامل الايمان ومؤمن ناقص الايمان والى مستقيم وعاص لانزال كل منزلته ومعاملته بما يليق به شرعا واعطائه حقوقه اللائقة به امر مشروع قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم (انزلوا الناس منازلهم).

5- تصنيف الكفار بحسب مللهم ومعاملة كل منهم بحسب ما شرعه الله في حقه امر ضروري واجب شرعي فالكافر الكتابي له احكام والكافر الوثني أو الملحد له احكام أخرى هذا في الدين. واضاف الشيخ الفوزان اما في الآخرة فجميعهم في النار إذا ماتوا على الكفر وقد يتفاوتون في العذاب وعلى كل فلابد من التمايز بين المؤمنين والكفار واهل السنة واهل البدعة قال الله تعالى ( ان الذين آمنوا وهاجروا وجاهدوا في سبيل الله بأموالهم وأنفسهم والذين آووا ونصروا اولئك بعضهم أولياء بعض). إلى قوله تعالى ( والذين كفروا بعضهم أولياء بعضهم الا تفعلوه تكن فتنة في الأرض وفساد كبير) قال الامام بان كثير رحمه الله : ذكر تعالى اصناف المؤمنين وقسمهم إلى مهاجرين أخرجوا من ديارهم واموالهم وجاءوا لنصرة الله ورسوله وإقامة دينه وبذلوا أنفسهم واموالهم في ذلك والى انصار وهم المسلمون من اهل المدينة إذ ذاك آووا اخوانهم المهاجرين في منازلهم وواسوهم في اموالهم ونصروا الله ورسول بالقتال معهم فهؤلاء (بعضهم أولياء بعض) أي كل منهم احق بالآخر من كل أحد الى ان قال رحمه الله على قوله تعالى ( والذين كفروا بعضهم أولياء بعض) لما ذكر تعالى ان المؤمنين بعضهم أولياء بعض قطع الموالاة بينهم وبين الكفار. ومعنى قوله تعالى ( الا تفعلوه تكن فتنة في الأرض وفساد كبير) اي أن لم تجانبوا المشاركين وتوالوا المؤمنين والا وقعت الفتنة في الناس وهو التباس الأمر واختلاط المؤمن بالكافر فيقع بين الناس فساد منتشر عريض طويل. انتهى كلامه رحمه الله.

6- لا يجوز تصنيف المؤمنين بالظن لأن الأصل في المؤمن الخير فلا تجوز اساءة الظن به قال الله تعالى ( يا أيها الذين آمنوا اجتنبوا كثيرا من الظن ان بعض الظن إثم) وقال تعالى ( يا أيها الذين آمنوا ان جاءكم فاسق بنبأ فتبينوا أن تصيبوا قوما بجهالة فتصبحوا على ما فعلتم نادمين).

تصنيف الناس ليس جائزا مطلقا ولا ممنوعا مطلقا. بل لابد من التفصيل حسب الأدلة. وتصنيف الناس حسب الأدلة لا يعني تحريم التعامل بينهم فيما اباح الله من البيع والشراء وتبادل المنافع والخيرات النافعة والتمثيل الدبلوماسي بينهم ومكافأة المحسنين من جميع الاطراف حسبما جاءت به الأدلة ومنع التظالم فيما بينهم قال تعالى ( ولا يجرمنكم شنآن قوم على ألا تعدلوا اعدلوا هو أقرب للتقوى). ويجب على المسلمين نحو الاطراف الأخرى المخالفة لهمدعوتهم إلى الله وأمرهم بالمعروف ونهيهم عن المنكر وجهادهم لإخراجهم من الظلمات إلى النور ومن الكفر إلى الإيمان ولا يتركوهم في غيهم وضلالهم وهم يقدرون على بذل الأسباب لانقاذهم قال تعالى ( كنتم خير أمة أخرجت للناس تأمرون بالمعروف وتنهون عن المنكر وتؤمنون بالله). أي كنتم خير الناس للناس وتبين من هذا ان مقولة منع تصنيف الناس فيها تفصيل وان التصنيف الجاري على مقتضى الشرع جائز بل قد يكون واجبا لبيان الحق ورد الباطل وعدم الالتباس والا لماذا صنفت كتب الفرق والملل والنحل مثل كتاب (الفرق بين الفرق) للبغدادي والملل والنحل للشهرستاني ومقالات الاسلاميين للأشعري والفصل لابن حزم هذا وبالله تعالى التوفيق. وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وآله وسلم


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