By Badruddoja Razvi Misbahi, New Age Islam
9 April 2021
Allah Almighty says, “O you who believe! The polytheists are surely impure (Najas), so they would not be able to come near the Sacred Mosque after this year. And if you fear the need and poverty, Allah will soon make you rich by His grace, if He wills. Surely Allah Knows, Wise”. (9:28)
This is another verse of Surah At-Tawbah which is piercing the hearts of the anti-Islamic elements. It has already been stated that in most of the verses of Surah At-Tawbah, the Mushrikin refer to the polytheists of Makkah who did not keep their peace-treaty. It is important to explain what is meant by the phrase “The polytheists are surely impure (Najas)”. Impurity in this Quranic verse does not denote what apparently comes to mind, such as urination and defecation, as the anti-Islamic elements are propagating. Instead Impurity here refers to their polytheism which is in the state of spiritual dirtiness, or it might be interpreted that they have been called ‘impure’ (Najas) because they do not perform proper purification and bathing (Taharat and Ghusl, specific modes of purification described in Islam) etc and they do not avoid un-cleanliness, as it is commonly seen that they urinate standing up and do not avoid splashes of urine. They defecate with a little quantity of water. For these reasons, impurity has been applied to them. This verse does not mean that they are as dirty as urination and defecation are, as clearly stated in the commentary of Abi Saud: وصفوا بالمصدر مبالغۃ کانھم عین النجاسۃ أو ھم ذو نجس لخبثِ باطنھم او لان معھم الشرک الذی ھو بمنزلۃ النجس او لانھم لا یتطھرون ولایغتسلون ولا یجتنبون النجاسات فھی ملابسۃ لھم۔ (Tafsir Abi Saud vol. 4, p. 57)
Even Allama Imam Abu Zakaria ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi of Damascus (May Allah have mercy on him) said in his commentary on Sahih Muslim under the chapter of “الدلیل علی ان المسلم لاینجس” (The evidence that a Muslim is not impure), “The disbeliever has the same decree as the Muslim has. This is also the creed of the Shaafi’s and the majority of the Salaf and Khalaf (pious predecessors and successors). The verse "انما المشرکون نجس" (The polytheists are unclean.) refers to the impurity of the belief of the disbelievers and polytheists (i.e. shirk and kufr). This does not mean that their limbs are impure like the urine and defecation”.
In the verse “So after this year they would not be able to come near the Sacred Mosque after this year (9:28)”, Muslims were commanded to prevent infidels and polytheists from approaching the Sacred Mosque.
This ruling is derived from “the impurity of polytheists” and the ruling of prohibiting from approaching the Sacred Mosque (Masjid-e-Haraam) is due to exaggeration. Imam-e-Azam Abu Hanifa opines that the prohibition in this verse is meant to prevent polytheists from performing Hajj and Umrah, and not from the Haram, Masjid-e-Haram, and other mosques. Imam Shafii holds the view that here the prohibition means to prevent polytheists specifically from entering Masjid-e-Haram (the Sacred Mosque). Imam Malik opines that it has been commanded here to stop the polytheists from all mosques. The opinions of these Imams and Jurists have been mentioned in the commentary of Abi Saud, “و قیل المراد بہ النھی عن الدخول مطلقا،و قیل :المراد بہ المنع عن الحج و العمرۃو ھو مذھب ابی حنیفۃ رحمہ اللہ۔۔۔ولا یمنعون من دخول الحرم و المسجد الحرام و سائر المساجد عندہ و عند الشافعی یمنعون من المسجد الحرام خاصۃ و عند مالک یمنعون من جمیع المساجد” (Tafsir Abi Saud, Vol:4, 57)
However the author of Tafsir-e-Abi Saud did not explain here the preferred and accepted view among the Hanafis and Shafiis. In this regard, we would like to shed some light on the opinions of Hanafis and Shafiis.
According to the Shafiis, it is forbidden for the infidels and polytheists to enter the Haram, they are allowed to enter other mosques with the permission of the Muslims. However, Shafiis have discussed whether the Mushrikin here specifically, refer to idolaters or other types of infidels. Allama Subki says: “The Infidel, in general, will be barred from entering the Haram, whether he is a Dhimmi (a non-Muslim living as a minority in a Muslim country) or a Musta’min (a non-Muslim who comes to the Muslim country with a temporary passport or visa).
Imam Nawawi Shafi'i of Damascus says, “It is permissible for a disbeliever to enter mosques other than the Haram with the permission of Muslims (whether he is a dhimmi or Musta’min, idolater, or from the people of Book/Ahle Kitab). The reason is that when a delegation of Thaqif came to the Prophet (peace be upon him), he set up a tent for them in the mosque. When they accepted Islam, they fasted. Imam Tabrani has recorded this hadith with the authentic chain. There is another report narrated by Hazrat Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him), which mentions the arrest of Thumama ibn Athal and tying him to the pillar of the mosque. That is why Imam Shafai' ruled that an infidel is allowed to enter a mosque with the permission of Muslims even if he is not from the People of the Book. However, an infidel is not allowed to enter the mosques and Haram of Makkah. Allama Nawawi has written in his book "Majmoo" that our companions have stated that no infidel should be allowed to enter the Haram but it is permissible for the infidel to enter every mosque outside the Haram, and with the permission of the Muslims he can stay in the mosque at night. (Tikmilah Sharh -e-Tahzib, Vol. 9, p. 436, 437 Published by Dar al-Fikr, Beirut)
According to the Hanafis, non-covenanted polytheists (with whom there is no agreement or law of peace) will be prevented from entering the Haram and the rest of the mosques. And similarly, the covenanted non-Muslims (with whom there is agreement or constitution of peace) will not be barred from entering the Haram or the rest of the mosques. In his book “al-Sayr al-Kabeer, Imam Muhammad (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) says,
و ذکر عن الزھری ان ابا سفیان بن حرب کان یدخل المسجد فی الھدنۃ وھو کافر غیر ان ذلک لا یحل فی المسجد الحرام قال اللہ تعالی: اِنَّمَا الۡمُشۡرِکُوۡنَ نَجَسٌ فَلَا یَقۡرَبُوا الۡمَسۡجِدَ الۡحَرَام
Translation: “Zuhri has narrated that Abu Sufyan used to come to the mosque during the peace-treaty days of Hudaybiyyah, while he was a disbeliever at that time. However, it is not permissible for an infidel to enter the Masjid al-Haram because Allah Almighty says: “The polytheists are impure and they should not come near the Masjid al-Haram.”
From the words of Imam Mohammad, it apparently comes to our mind that the polytheists, in general, will be prevented from entering the Masjid al-Haram, but in the Jami' Saghir, he has made it clear that there is no prohibition for the covenanted infidels or people (Ahl al-Dhimma/ people living under the protection of peace or peace-constitution). He says, “It is permissible for the people of covenant to enter the Sacred Mosque (Masjid-e-Haram)”. (al-Jami' al-Saghir, p. 153, published by Mustafai Hind)
Having gone through the explanation made by Imam Muhammad, the Hanafi jurists hold the view that the covenanted infidels or Mushrikin (with whom there is a peace agreement) will not be barred from entering the Ka'bah and the rest of the mosques. This prohibition is specifically for non-covenanted polytheists.
It is mentioned in Fatawa Alamgiri:
لا باس بدخولِ اھل الذمۃ المسجد الحرام و سائر المساجد و ھو الصحیح کذا فی المحیط للسرخسی
There is no hindrance for the covenanted people to enter the Masjid al-Haram and the other mosques and this is the correct view as also mentioned in Imam Sarkhasi’s book ‘Al Muheet’ [Fataawa al-Alamgiri, vol. 5, p. 346, published by Kubrah Aamiriyah, Bulaq, Egypt]
The statement of Fatawa Alamgiri “this is the correct view” is meant to suggest that what Allama Sarkhasi has written in the commentary of al-Sayr al-Kabir that “it is not forbidden for both Harbi and Dhimmi to enter the Masjid al-Haram and other mosques” is not correct.
Imam Malik opines that the non-Muslims of any kind are not allowed to enter any mosque, whether it is the Masaji-e-Haram or otherwise.
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal holds the view that it is forbidden for polytheists to enter any part of the Sacred land (Haram Sharif, i.e. the part of Makkah which comes under the land of Haram). There is no specification for Masjid-e-Haram. As for the mosques located outside the Haram, there are two types of statements narrated by him.
We have taken all these references from the commentary of Sahih Muslim by Allama Ghulam Rasool Saeedi, vol. 3, pp. 681, 682, 683)
Maulana Badruddoja Razvi Misbahi, Principal of Madrasa Arabia Ashrafia Zia-ul-Uloom Khairabad, District Mau, UP (India) is a Sufi-minded, well-mannered, classical Islamic scholar, an expert teacher, an excellent writer, a good poet and orator. He has authored numerous books, some of which are as follows: 1) Fazilat-e-Ramazan, 2) Zad-ul-Haramain, 3) Mukhzin-e-Tib, 4) Tauzeehat-e-Ahsan, the commentary on the well-known logical book “Mulla Hasan” 5) Muhazarat fi Halle Qutbi Tasawwurat, 6) Tahzib al-Faraid commentary on “Sharh al-Aqaid”, 7)Atayib al-Tahani fi Halle Mukhtasar al-Ma’ani, 8) Commentary on Sahih Muslim
English Part: 1- The Verses of Jihad: Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 1
English Part: 2- The Verses of Jihad: Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 2
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