Ayat reflection: Who are you to judge…
هُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَصَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَالْهَدْيَ مَعْكُوفًا أَنْ يَبْلُغَ مَحِلَّهُ ۚ وَلَوْلَا رِجَالٌ مُؤْمِنُونَ وَنِسَاءٌ مُؤْمِنَاتٌ لَمْ تَعْلَمُوهُمْ أَنْ تَطَئُوهُمْ
فَتُصِيبَكُمْ مِنْهُمْ مَعَرَّةٌ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۖ لِيُدْخِلَ اللَّهُ فِي رَحْمَتِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ لَوْ تَزَيَّلُوا لَعَذَّبْنَا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا
It is they who disbelieved and prevented you from the Sacred Mosque, and that the animal held for sacrifice should reach its place (of sacrifice). And, if it was not for believing men and women – whom you did not know – lest you should trample them and a guilt should unwittingly fall on you – so that Allah may admit into His mercy whom He will – surely, had they been separated (from the unbelievers), We would have punished the unbelievers among them with a painful chastisement. TMQ [48:25]
…لَوْلَا رِجَالٌ مُؤْمِنُونَ وَنِسَاءٌ مُؤْمِنَاتٌ لَمْ تَعْلَمُوهُمْ أَنْ تَطَئُوهُمْ فَتُصِيبَكُمْ مِنْهُمْ مَعَرَّةٌ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۖ …
….And, if it was not for believing men and women – whom you did not know – lest you should trample them and a guilt should unwittingly fall on you…
In relation, the above part of the verse Imam Al Qurtubi discusses a hypothetical situation in his Tafseer. Supposing the enemy has been surrounded but among them, there are some Muslims. If the enemy is attacked they might come in the range. Or, the enemy might make a shield of the Muslims. What should they do? Imam Malik answered that he would not allow any attack; and that, blood money will be due if a Muslim is killed. (In fact, this happened on one occasion. The Romans were besieged and their access to water was denied. But they had Muslim prisoners. They were sent down to fetch water). On the other hand, Imam Abu Hanifah declared – as well as his students and, in addition, Imam Thawri – that in such situations the enemy could still be attacked, and if one of the Muslims died, retaliation or bloodwit would not be incumbent. Imam Shafi, however, was with Imam Malik (Tafseer Al Qurtubi).
The reason why I mentioned this verse and its commentary because I heard someone who was commenting on this verse made the point that we should not label non-muslim society as ‘kafir society’ and he relied on this verse -…And, if it was not for believing men and women – whom you did not know – lest you should trample them and a guilt should unwittingly fall on you… – to suggest that we should not use the term ‘kafir society’ and pass judgment on non-Muslim societies because there may be Muslims amongst them that we don’t know as mentioned in the verse about those Muslims who were amongst Quraysh. An implication of this conclusion is that we as Muslims should not judge societies to be either Islamic or non-Islamic. This is an example of ‘who are you to judge…’attitude that is prevalent amongst secular-minded Muslims.
This is an example of using the Quran to distort Islamic concepts, in this case, the concept of how to judge the nature of societies. It is well known that in Islam there is the concept of Dar Al-Islam (Ruled by Islam and security/authority is maintained by Muslims, even if the majority of citizens are Muslims) and Dar Al-Kufr (Ruled by non-Islam and the security/authority maintained by non-Muslims) – these definitions are derived from Sharia evidences. Just to be clear when we use the term Dar Al-Kufr it does not mean that we have right to oppress the non-Muslims who are residing in it.
It is interesting to note in the tafseer of Al Qurtubi and others, they were not discussing whether we should not label non-Muslim society as ‘kafir society or not – rather they discussed rules of combat when there are Muslims amongst the Non-Muslim warring state. In the case of Makka prior to its conquest it is well known that that society was considered to be non-Islamic society even though there were Muslims living there.
We need to be careful of projecting our preconceived notions defined by non-Islamic thoughts about society and state onto the Islamic text when deriving lessons or rulings.
Allah (SWT) knows best.
Please read, reflect, like and share with others and get the reward. مَنْ دَلَّ عَلَى خَيْرٍ فَلَهُ مِثْلُ أَجْرِ فَاعِلِهِ Anyone who guides [others] to goodness, then he will get such rewards of the people who do it [Sahee Muslim]