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Dawah and Interfaith

Between Natural and Religious Loyalties: Part I

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Abu Aaliyah brings us a timely reminder from Shaykh Salman Al-Oadah regarding misunderstandings about wala wal bara’…
[To make it easier for readers to digest this extremely important topic in this day and age, I am summarizing the original document into three parts]

Next:
Between Natural and Religious Loyalties: Part II
Between Natural and Religious Loyalties: Part III (Final)

A Summary: Between Natural & Religious Loyalties (Shaykh Salman Al-Oadah)
Translated by Abu Aaliyah Sarkheel

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Abu Aaliyah mentions that these terms (wala’ wal bara’) are usually “glossed as ‘loving and hating for the sake of God”, though “loyalty and disavowal for God’s sake” would be a more appropriate gloss”. (full PDF version can be downloaded here).

The Prophet (S) said, “Every child is born upon his Fitrah (original disposition)” [Bukhari]

Part I

Natural Wala’ (Loyalties)

  • Mankind shares a natural inborn instinct in dealing with each other.
  • Islam came to refine this natural matrix of human relationships:
    • The Qur’an declares cutting ties as being a hallmark of the misguided [2.27]
  • One’s love for his relative, spouse, land, people, etc. forms part of this innate or natural wala’- loyalty, love, closeness, which does not go against the religious wala’.
  • Muslims from the earliest times interacted with each other in ways that were natural or inbred as opposed to some who act on a mixture of misconceptions and harsh understandings, leading to negligence or extremism.

Religious Wala’ (Loyalties)

  • Religious wala’ is to have loyalty to the believers by being attached to them, loving them, helping them, maintaining brotherhood, and having empathy. This is what constitutes the “Ummah”. [Quran 49.10, 21.92, 5.56]. As also from the Prophet’s sayings that the believers are like a single body.
  • It constitutes an essential element of Tawhid (Islamic monotheism).
  • Spirit of wala’ entails hearts contain love, mercy and affection. Practical application is displayed in help, support and awareness.

Rejection of “My tribe, right or wrong” Mentality

  • One has to aid truth and reject falsehood, such as shown in the Prophetic command to restrain the oppressor.
  • Bond of loyalty is a religious bond, not a tribal one.
  • Wala’ is based on principle, not on individuals or personalities.
  • It is never right to support a person in wrongdoing or to go along with it.

Next Up: Part II- Loyalty’s Flip Side.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

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