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Aqeedah and Fiqh

Salvific Exclusivity – Shaykh Yasir Qadhi


So if all of these groups have claimed Islam salvific exclusivity, has anyone ever disagreed in this history of our religion? It turns out that there have been a handful of dissenting voices. These comprise primarily of two groups. One in medieval Islam and one in our own era.

The first group of medieval Islam comprise of certain elements within the Sufi faction and the second within our time are modern reformers. The first group is best exemplified by people like ‘Ayn al-Qudat Hamadhani, Ibn Farid, Ibn ‘Arabi, Ibn Sab’in, Jalaal ad-Rumi and others of their nature. Their writings do have elements that can be considered to be supported of pluralistic doctrines. For these Sufis anyone who had a genuine love of the divine was on the correct path regardless of a specific religion. It is crucial to point out however, with regards to such Sufi figures.

Two points, firstly as far as I can tell, none of these Sufi figures cared to back this claim up with any Qur’anic evidences or prophetic tradition. That the truth was found beyond the Qur’an simply trumped the very usage of the Qur’an. They felt no need to quote any scripture. Verses that modern reformers that are calling to a type of soteriological pluralism “are markedly absent from the discussion of those medieval Sufis.”

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Secondly, the belief in the validity of other religions by these Sufi’s was not due to in any inherent doctrine. The truth itself was more than one, but rather was based on the doctrine that there is  no existence of anything other than the truth. In other words a belief in the validity of all religions was a natural result of the belief in monism or wahdat al-wajūd. For if there was no existence other than the existence of God this implies that anything anyone worshiped would in fact be God. And there are a number of explicit calls from Ibn Farid, Ibn ‘Arabi, al-Rumi and others that clearly link the belief in wahdat al-wajūd to a case of salvific pluralism.

The second group that has argued for this are modern champions of reform. They claim that salvific plurality stems from a true reading of the Qur’an itself. Some of them such as Reza Shah-Kazemi, has worked “The Other in the Light of the One”, has explicitly championed the model of Ibn ‘Arabi. And, so he simply comes under the message of Ibn ‘Arabi. Others such as the traditionalist of the perennialist school have expanded these notions and infused them with other thoughts, in particular those of Frithjof Schuon and others of the perennialist school. However, there is a category within this reformist camp that stands outside of the Sufi message, or do not openly reference it. Perhaps the most famous amongst them would be Fazlur Rahman and in our times would be Abdulaziz Sachedina and Farid Esack.

This last group in particular is extremely significant because it is the first and only group, to the best of my knowledge, to explicitly argue for a message of pluralism stemming directly from a reading of the Qur’an.

In other words in contrast to medieval Sufis, the four or five who said this and they viewed themselves as ahlul haqiqa so they don’t have to care about the ahlu dhaaher and the evidences that the ahlu dhaaher have to occupy themselves with. This last group actually felt that the Qur’anic message is one of pluralism and of course it is this group that I will devote some attention to. The primary evidences that this group uses are two. The first is this concept of Islam with a small “i” or a religion of Ibrāheem, or a sense of submission. And they quote quite a number of verses which are very valid and true, that God wants us to submit to him and that what is important is not being a Christian or a Jew but rather being upon the religion of Abraham 2:135 “millata ibrāheema haneefa”. 

Now the problem that I see with this understanding is that the Qur’an itself defines that submission to the will of God. And it includes a submission to key tenets that God states we must believe in. In particular, belief in monotheism, belief in the prophets, the books, the angels and the day of judgement. In numerous verses in the Qur’an, īmān, or faith, has been defined as believing in these particular doctrines. In many other verses a rejection of these particular doctrines has been called kufr.

Therefore to cut and paste verses in isolation of other verses is simply not very academic. To suggest that the three monotheistic faiths are all subsumed by larger faith called Islam with the small “i” and that this is the Islam that the prophet came to preach, is basically to view a handful of verses in isolation from literally hundreds of other verses that show the contrary. It also ignores specific criticisms that the Qur’an has to existing Jewish theology and Christian theology. And many of those criticisms are found in the context of the verses that mention milla ibrāheem, or mention the concept of aslama, oryuslimu and I have some more but we haven’t got time to get into them.

And the Qur’an clearly outlines what this millah Ibrāheemiyah or what this Islam with the small “i” was. The Qur’an clearly criticizes those who seek to differentiate between the doctrines of God, the prophets of God.

In fact, even one verse God criticizes those for rejecting one angel, as having committed kufr. The angel Jibreel in Surah Baqara. One angel. if you disbelieve in him God says that this is a type of disbelief. So, to simply pick some vague verses and examine them while ignoring the hundreds of other verses on the topic is not very if you like academic discourse.

Quite a number of verses mention the criticism that is due to the Christians and Jews for having rejected the prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad.

Of them is 4:47 “O people of the book believe in what has been revealed to you”, meaning the Prophet “For it is an affirmation of that which is with you”, meaning the Jews and the Christians, “Believe this before the punishment comes and we disfigure faces and turn them around and curse them as we curse those who broke the Sabbath”.

Similarly, 4:115, again in the context of ahlil kitāb “Whoever opposes the messenger after the guidance has been made clear to him and follows another way we shall leave him to that way and take him to the fire of hell”.

Another primary evidence that people in this reformist camp use is the famous verse 2:62 “Those who believe, the Jews, the Christians, the Sabians whoever believes in God and the last day….” and you all know the verse we have heard it at least twenty-five times in the last day and a half. This particular verse, this is the key point that Fazlur Rahman uses and Fazlur Rahman is honest enough to admit that nobody before him has ever interpreted in this manner. I like that honesty. He simply says he doesn’t understand it, he finds it strange but he admits nobody before him has ever understood it in the manner that he wishes to take it.

Now, I have read, as I said, over thirty tafasir with regard to these particular verses. Hopefully when the paper comes out and the footnotes we can talk more about specific names. There are three primary interpretations of this verse. A very few people have said that the verse is abrogated. I found this more in Ibadi literature rather than Sunni literature to be honest. The Sunnis by and large they didn’t take this seriously as abrogated.

The primary interpretation of this verse is that it occurs in the context of once again criticizing the people of the book, and this verse praises them. And there is a story that has already been mentioned yesterday of Salman al-Farsi coming to the Prophet and saying how about my teachers what’s going to happen to them?

So the primary understanding of this verse has always been righteous Jews of their time and righteous Christians of their time and righteous Muslims of this time. All of them are under the general religion of Islam with the small “i”. And this is something that is a cornerstone of Muslim belief. There are other interpretations as well but by and large this is the primary understanding of this verse. The question of understanding this verse the way that Fazlur Rahman and other modern reformers have done, simply never occurred to them. Far from finding the literal interpretation problematic, quite the contrary.

They simply understood that any interpretation derived from this one verse had to be in accordance with the basic message and theme and of hundreds of other verses in the Qur’an.

To conclude, and the conclusion is a bit long so, to conclude this is an academic conference. An academic is supposed to present facts as if they are completely neutral observations without any agenda or inherent biases on the part of the presenter.

But let us not fool ourselves, even academics have their own biases otherwise they wouldn’t be human. And I believe that my own inclinations have as it were, are self evident and I do not pretend to make any claims otherwise. I am an academic and I do wish to view things in as much a neutral light as possible. But at the same time I’m a Muslim and not just a committed one, but rather one that has had extensive training in the classical sciences of Islam and, in particular, the sciences of theology. Therefore I cannot merely speak as an academic. I must also speak as a Muslim theologian.

And it is from that perspective that I offer my concluding remarks. Being as unbiased as I believe is humanly possible, I do not think that a claim that the Qur’an itself promotes a vision of soteriological pluralism is a claim that can be supported. Even with the most sophisticated hermeneutical gymnastics. Or what Abdal Hakim Murad calls a copernica revolution.

The accusation that such a reading of the Qur’an is a presupposed reading, a cherry picking of a selection of ambiguous verses which are then viewed with tinted lense, is an accusation that is difficult to repudiate. No matter how politically correct or theologically generous or ethically pleasing such a reading is, in the end of the day, it is a reading that is simply not emanating from the Qur’an, but rather from external judgments of how things ought to be.

They are emanating from a personal sense of unfairness, from individual experiences of acts of saintliness from the other. Such genuine and sincere feelings might well form the basis of ones personal convictions. But it would be unfair, unethical and unacademic to extrapolate those sentiments and project them onto a religion that clearly has its own sources of theology and dogma.

I think it is fair to say that the reason we have not seen the Qur’an historically read in this manner by anyone in the pre-modern era, even by the handful of Sufis who claim salvation outside of Islam, is simply because the Qur’an can not be read in this manner with any sense of justice to the entire text. In fact the assertion that some vacuous undefined submission to God earns salvation flies in the very message of the times and life of the Prophet. Even the Quraysh, the arch enemies of the Prophet, submitted to God in some abstract sense. They believed in him, they prayed to him, they had some type of relationship with him.

To go even further, a pluralistic version contradicts the very purpose of sending a prophet or revealing a book. It is as if a divine book is claiming to be God’s final revelation and a prophet is being told to announce his prophethood to all of mankind, but the message is there’s no need to believe in the message.

A rather superfluous endeavor to say the least. I do understand the awkwardness of my frankness but if my youthfulness cannot be blamed for pointing out the emperor’s nakedness, then I hope my theological conscious can. But my frank view does leave two very real problems, which exclusivists try to solve.

The first of them concerns the human dimension and the second the divine. As for the human dimension the main issue that is raised is the treatment of the other, like Rousseau himself referred to. How can I treat somebody nicely when I think that he is damned? It is true that an inclusivist view could potentially lead to prejudice and intolerance, but my point is that it does not necessarily do so. In fact quite the opposite can and does occur and this is a tangible reality that those who’re involved in the Muslim community can attest to. A Muslim might actually treat a non-Muslim better even if it is done with the selfish motive of showing him the beauty of Islam and showing him how good Islam is. But a Muslim might treat a non-Muslim better simply because he wants to show the validity of his own religion. Therefore my point is, I do not view there to be an inherent relationship between bigotry and prejudice and between exclusivist or inclusivist theology. There could be, there couldn’t be, we need to solve that though education. I give you the second problem is far more profound, and that is does such a narrow view of salvation lead to an intolerant and unmerciful God?

How could a just and merciful and loving God unconditionally assign his wrath to those who might have theological views other than our own but none the less have much good in them. Farid Esack points out in his work on liberation theology, many of those who suffered fighting apartheid actually seem to exemplify Islamic values of standing for justice of fighting on behalf of the poor and oppressed more than many of the ultra-isolationist Muslim clerics.

What is to be done of the clear examples of saintliness found in other religions, or as one of the presenters said “Does Saddam get to go to heaven and Mother Teresa go to hell”?

Well, to respond to this, the orthodox position would be that the religion requires not just orthopraxy but also orthodoxy. The religion requires good belief and good actions, īmān and ‘amal as-sāleh is the Qur’anic terminology, together. But I don’t think that’s our only response. I think that even from the most ultra-orthodox traditional understanding of Islam, we can provide some glimmer of hope for such people. Not a bright shining radiant light that some reformers would like to see but at least a glimmer of hope. That glimmer of hope can be argued historically from within the tradition. And that glimmer of hope is based upon two basic principles.

Number one, the Qur’an clearly conditions God’s punishment on those who have received the prophetic message and understood it and then rejected it. There has to be a bayan and a taktheeb. There has to be an understanding and then a knowing and conscious rejection. Right, Ibn Taymiyyah says “That whoever opposes the guidance after it has been made clear to him”. Ibn Taymiyyah says “There must be a tebyān, there must be a bayan, there must be an attempt to make the religion clear to him”.

What this also means, is that those who have not been exposed to Islam or exposed to an improper manner might possibly have an excuse on the day of judgement. And only God can fully judge whether someone has been exposed to Islam in a proper and correct manner. I personally don’t know if I meet John and Jenny in the street whether they have heard the real message of Islam or whether they watch Fox News in which case they will be excused on the day of judgement.

Secondly, at least with regards to the Sunni tradition, there is a very explicit theological premise of not assigning a judgement of heaven and hell to a particular individual, no matter how righteous or evil, how Muslim or kāfir the person was, but rather of leaving the individual fate to God. A specific non-Muslim is never said to be in hell and a specific Muslim is never said to be in heaven because the basic premise is only God has the right to judge.

As 13:40 says “innamā ‘alaykal balāghu wa’aalynāl hisāb”, “Your job is convey, our job is to judge”. We speak in generalities, those who are good and righteous shall enter heaven. Not Yasir or Ahmed will enter heaven. We speak in generalities and not in specifics. When a theologian affirms a supremacy of his own tradition, when I affirm the supremacy of my tradition, I am not saying that I’m going to go to heaven and you’re going to go to hell. Not at all. Rather, what I am saying is that I am following a path that leads to God’s mercy and that path is perfect. But I am a human being and imperfect. You are following a path that will not lead you to God’s mercy, but you as a human being might have perfect qualities. You might have good in you and God might possibly reward you for that good. The judgement is on the paths and not on the individuals.

Therefore putting all of this together, I believe that there is no need for a radical reconstruction of our faith. There is hope for good people outside of the fold of the faith, but that hope is an exception to the rule and it is one that God in his infinite wisdom and mercy dispenses, and not one that his servants preach and make the general rule.

For those who believe in an all-merciful and all-wise God, we leave it to him to judge people and we trust his judgement. So to answer the question of whether there are multiple paths to God or one path, I believe that the Qur’an is explicitly clear on this issue.

In 6:161 “we are told to announce my lord has guided me to a straight path a righteous religion the religion of Ibraheem the hanif” and this is my path, the straight path, so follow it and do not follow other paths because they will lead you astray from his path. This is what he has commanded you so that you may achieve righteousness.

May God make us all amongst those who are righteous and with that I conclude my talk. Thank you very much.


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Sh. Dr. Yasir Qadhi is someone that believes that one's life should be judged by more than just academic degrees and scholastic accomplishments. Friends and foe alike acknowledge that one of his main weaknesses is ice-cream, which he seems to enjoy with a rather sinister passion. The highlight of his day is twirling his little girl (a.k.a. "my little princess") round and round in the air and watching her squeal with joy. A few tid-bits from his mundane life: Sh. Yasir has a Bachelors in Hadith and a Masters in Theology from Islamic University of Madinah, and a PhD in Islamic Studies from Yale University. He is an instructor and Dean of Academic Affairs at AlMaghrib, and the Resident Scholar of the Memphis Islamic Center.



  1. Arban Shazan

    April 11, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    Can Four madhabs in sunni Islam be an example of religious pluralism. There are quite contrasting fitwas found in the madhabs. For example a man giving three talaq at a time is deemed divorced in Fiqa Hanfia while in Fiqa shafia he is not divorced. Such couple living together after that would be fornicating according to Fiqa Hanafia but perfectly ok according to fiqa Shafia.It may look to a layman that they can not be correct at the same time but for sunni scholars all the four madhabs are correct. So a thing may be halal and haram at the same time ?

    • Umm ZAKAriyya

      April 12, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      This is about tenets of faith and core beliefs. not about social or other aspects of faith.

  2. Bilkis

    April 11, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    These madhabs differences is very confusing to me. The Hanafi madhab, with backup quotations from hadith and quran, allows a woman to give herself into marriage without wali. Others strongly disagree. Although I would love to go with Hanafi madhab because it does not make much sense to me for a mature adult woman not to be able to give herself away in marriage, I want to make sure I do the right thing if I find myself in such situation. Yes and No can not have the same definition. So which is which?

    • Umm ZAKAriyya

      April 12, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      We do what is most correct and avoid the gray area , just to be on the safer side.

      Its possible to follow one school for one issue ( such as food ) and another school of thought for another issue ( such as marriage and divorce) .

      Its not confusing at all . When you study what lead to the opinions of different schools of thought, it all makes sense. You begin to appreciate how smart our scholars are/were.

  3. Rida

    April 11, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    I can’t see the video.
    Also for a balanced presentation, why not include Tariq Ramadan’s presentation as well?

    • Mahmud

      April 13, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      I haven’t listened to what Tariq Ramadan said, but ANYONE who denies the kufr of non-Muslims after Islam has reached them is HIMSELF a kaffir-and this is the CONSENSUS of the scholars!!!

  4. Lalalande

    April 12, 2014 at 2:24 AM

    Salamu 3alyekoum,

    Thank you very much for this article. Since its pretty technical for me I decide to stop each time it refered to something i didnt know or understand. Then llearn about it before carrying on.

    So I need guidance please : (I know it s a lot of question so maybe point me towards a good reliable ressource website and i ll do my homework.)

    What does “By and large the Mu’tazilites made takfir of the Ash’arites, the Ash’arites made takfir of the Hanbalites. All of them made takfir of Falasifa and the Batinites, so on and so forth.” mean?
    To make takfir especially ?
    In my dialecte if we say “why takfir ?” we would mean “why are you sinning in a grave way” (like doubting what s actually written in the Coran or make in up verses -_-)

    Full disclosure: I think I don’t agree with what little i know about the bahai-ites, the allouites, the batinites, the ashwiyyaa-ite, the rafawides and allah grant me patience.the wahabite. When i do this am i am i doing something wrong in the eye of Allah ? Also I thought the Ash’arites founders were in line with the Sunnites teaching?

    And please please please! Do not propagate the foolishness of Tariq Ramadan.I am sure there other intellectually honest people out there who can provide us with a different point of view. He is doing enough damage in France. May Allah put him back on the right path.
    May Allah guide us and forgive us all.

    Thanks in advance.

  5. Riz Khan

    April 13, 2014 at 4:39 AM

    It was a scholarly speech/lecture from Brother Shaykh Yasir Qadhi. It is very simple to understand that if there was salvation available in other religions then there was no need of Islam.

    • Arban Shazan

      April 14, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      Then what is meant by this (from Qadhi’s speech)
      “You are following a path that will not lead you to God’s mercy, but you as a human being might have perfect qualities. You might have good in you and God might possibly reward you for that good.”
      He is accepting the possibility of salvation for non-muslims. Also the following clear verses from the Holy Quran are very clear.

      “They are not [all] the same; among the People of the Scripture is a community standing [in obedience], reciting the verses of Allah during periods of the night and prostrating [in prayer].
      They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and hasten to good deeds. And those are among the righteous.” Quran 3:113-114

      I don’t think it is ambiguous. And about password; I don’t care but thanks for not changing it.

      • p4rv3zkh4n

        April 15, 2014 at 6:43 PM

        Sheikh Yasir Qadhi made it very clear based upon verses of the Quran, that anyone who rejects Islam will in general be punished in the hereafter.

        Regarding the verses you quoted about the righteous amongst people of the book, then it may imply that they are those righteous people that were unaware of Islam so its possible for them to get salvation.

      • Mahmud

        April 16, 2014 at 1:37 AM

        No Araban, he absolutely did not accept that. 3:85 makes it absolutely clear only Muslims can enter Paradise.

        You are taking some ayat out of context and forgetting others.

        By consensus of the scholars, accepting another religion other than Islam is kufr itself.

        So please take the Quran as a whole and not misquoting one or two ayahs.

        • Reed

          April 18, 2014 at 2:18 PM

          Those who say, “take the Quran as a whole and not misquoting one or two ayahs,” often don’t take the Quran as a whole. What they do is ignore the ayahs that go against their understanding of the Quran. But the logic of going with the majority of ayahs and ignoring the few simply means that one doesn’t understand the Quran.

          If 3:185 were “absolutely clear,” then there would be no need to discuss the “concept of Islam with a small “i” or a religion of Ibrāheem, or a sense of submission.”

          • p4rv3zkh4n

            April 21, 2014 at 8:57 PM

            The relevant verses used by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, show that anyone who rejects Islam are susceptible to punishment in the hereafter.

            But other verses in discussion [Quran 3:113-114] indicate that those monotheists who were unaware of Islam; may go to Jannah.

            Anyways Allah is the only Judge.

          • Mahmud

            June 6, 2014 at 9:29 PM

            “But the logic of going with the majority of ayahs and ignoring the few simply means that one doesn’t understand the Quran.”

            Muslims don’t ignore any ayat in the Quran. We believe all of them. However Perrenialist disbelievers take ayat like 2:62 out of context and disbelieve the remaining ayat of the Quran.

            The consensus of the Ummah is not something you have a right to disagree with Reed. I don’t know how many times I will have to tell you, it is absolute kufr to fail to accept that Islam is the only way to Paradise. The Quran is explicit about the kufr and shirk of the Jews and Christians and their destination in the fire and it is explicit that Islam is the only way to Paradise.,

            The fact that you are confused alongside others as to a few of the ayat does not affect this reality.

            Please do understand.

          • Reed

            June 7, 2014 at 4:30 AM

            By your own words, there are “Perrenialist disbelievers.” So, there is no “consensus of the ummah.”

          • Mahmud

            June 11, 2014 at 12:35 AM

            Reed-that doesn’t make an iota of sense whatsoever. There is a consensus of the Ummah just like there is a consensus that the sky is blue.

            Perrenialists come in all shapes and forms. Some identify as Muslims. They are not. Their whims do not affect that.

          • Reed

            June 11, 2014 at 10:45 PM

            Mahmud: If someone disagrees, there is no consensus. All you are saying is that people who disagree with you don’t count. Well, sure, you can get a consensus if you leave out anyone who disagrees with you.

          • Mahmud

            June 26, 2014 at 3:14 PM

            My dear brother in humanity Reed-someone disagreeing doesn’t make their opinion valid. Up until now the CONSENSUS(not majority-CONSENSUS) among the Muslims was that Islam is the only way to Paradise.

            Why is this consensus important? It’s important because the final Messenger of Allah (S) sent to all of humanity informed us that this Ummah does not agree upon error.

            And of course it’s foolish to think that the Sahaba RA those who followed them and the rest of the Ummah until now were misguided on this issue.

            If someone disagrees with the consensus of the Muslims n this issue, then Reed, AS Imam an-Nawawi made clear, they are NOT MUSLIMS. It’s really that simple.

            Qadi Iyad says:

            الاجماع علی کفر من لم يكفراحدا من النصاری واليهود و کل من فارق دين المسليمن او وقف فی تکفير ھم او شک ، قال القاضی ابو بکر لا ن التوقيف والا جماع اتفقاعلی کفرھم فمن وقف فی ذٰلک فقد کذب النص و التوقيف اوشک فيه، والتکذيب والشک فيه لا يقع الامن کافر

            الشفا ء بتعریف حقوق المصطفٰی 297/2

            There is consensus on the disbelief of the one who does not state disbeliever anyone from the christians or jews and all those who are aloof from the religion of Muslims, or refrains from doing takfir of them (doing takfir is calling someone kafir) or doubts their being kafir. The Qadi Abu Bakr Al-Baqillani said [it is] because explicit primary texts (Quranic verses & ahadith) and the consensus of the ummah (i.e., the sahaba and the scholars) are unanimous on their kufr. Therefore, he who refrains from calling them kafir, is denying the explicit primary texts and consensus, or doubting them. And such denial and/or doubt can only be expressed by a kafir.
            (Ash-Shifa of Qadi Iyad)

            Excerpt from Imam An-Nawawi’s Rawdat At-Taalibeen, Chapter on apostasy:

            وأنه لو قال كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أسود أو توفي قبل أن يلتحي أو قال ليس هو بقرشي فهو كفر لأن وصفه بغير صفته نفي له وتكذيب به وأن من ادعى أن النبوة مكتسبة أو أنه يبلغ بصفاء القلب إلى مرتبتها أو ادعى أنه يوحى إليه وإن لم يدع النبوة أو ادعى أنه يدخل الجنة ويأكل من ثمارها ويعانق الحور فهو كافر بالإجماع قطعا وأن من دافع نص الكتاب أو السنة المقطوع بها المحمول على ظاهره فهو كافر بالإجماع وأن من لم يكفر من دان بغير الإسلام كالنصارى أو شك في تكفيرهم أو صحح مذهبهم فهو كافر وإن أظهر مع ذلك الإسلام واعتقده وكذا يقطع بتكفير كل قائل قولا يتوصل به إلى تضليل الأمة أو تكفير الصحابة وكذا من فعل فعلا أجمع المسلمون أنه لا يصدر إلا من كافر وإن كان صاحبه مصرحا بالإسلام مع فعله كالسجود للصليب أو النار والمشي إلى الكنائس مع أهلها بزيهم من الزنانير وغيرها وكذا من أنكر مكة أو البيت أو المسجد الحرام أو صفة الحج وأنه ليس على هذه الهيئة المعروفة أو قال لا أدري أن هذه المسماة بمكة هي مكة أم غيرها فكل هذا أو شبهه لا شك في تكفير قائله إن كان ممن يظن به علم ذلك ومن طالت صحبته المسلمين فإن كان قريب عهد بإسلام أو بمخالطة المسلمين عرفناه ذلك ولا يعذر بعد العريف وكذا من غير شيئا من القرآن أو قال ليس بمعجز أو قال ليس في خلق السماوات والأرض دلالة على الله تعالى أو أنكر الجنة أو النار أو البعث أو الحساب أو اعترف بذلك ولكن قال المراد بالجنة والنار والبعث أو الحساب أو اعترف بذلك ولكن قال المراد بالجنة والنار والبعث والنشور والثواب والعقاب غير معانيها أو قال الأئمة أفضل من الأنبياء

            (……….And the one who does not declare kafir the ones who profess a deen (religion) other than Islam, such as the christians, or doubts in the takfeer (declaring kafir) of such people, or authenticates [or praises] their religion, he is a kafir even if he displays Islam alongside this [filthy belief] or [claims & shows he] believes in it; and likewise takfeer certainly applies on everyone who says things that imply towards stating that the entire ummah is misguided or [a person doing] takfeer (declaring kafirs) of the sahaba……)

            Do read and reread these statements to understand that this issue is as black and white as night and day!!!

            Thank you for your time Reed.

          • Reed

            June 28, 2014 at 2:18 PM

            @Mahmud “ummah (i.e., the sahaba and the scholars)”

            Since when did “ummah” equal “the sahaba and the scholars”?

            I suppose if people can change or restrict the original meaning of the word “ummah”, then they can claim “consensus,” but as I pointed out previously, there are Muslims who disagree. Consequently, all that is being said is, Those who don’t agree with my group aren’t Muslims and so their opinion doesn’t count.

      • Mahmud

        April 20, 2014 at 2:19 PM

        Arban, your misinterpretation of those ayat is so egregious, you would literally be executed under a land of Islam governed by believers because what you have said is actually kufr itself. If you continued to hold on to this misinterpretation, the Sahaba themselves would have had you executed for apostasy.

        PLEASE, for the sake of your own soul, LOOK UP the tafsir of those ayat and take the Quran as a WHOLE.

      • Jeremy Boulter

        March 2, 2016 at 9:33 AM

        That is meant for you or I , Mahmud. For we have accepted Islam as our religion, not just islam.

        But let me take an example. When I was reading the Quran and my heart was opened, and the swathes of kufr were falling from my heart, I wanted to test the Muslims. I asked, what does this Surah mean to you (and I was pointing toe Surat Al-Ikhlas). If, like the Christians, they somehow twisted a declaration and description of monotheism to mean polytheism

        [= i.e. in the words “The Lord your God is One Lord – so love the Lord your God with your whole heart, your whole strength, your whole mind, your whole soul, There is no God but Him,” the word Lord (Yahweh – He is) is taken to mean Jesus (as in Saeedi Nabi) making Jesus a God intermediary between us and “The Father”. Jesus taught Christian the Prayer of Tawheed. “Our Father, in Heaven, Praised be Your Name; Your Kingdom is manifest. Your Will is Decreed on Earth, just as it is in Heaven. …” and then they follow this with something he did not teach, “…through Jesus the Messiah, our Lord.”

        In fact, in the gospel in the hands of Christians today, Jesus, ‘Alayhi salam, said, that whoever calls him ‘Lord,’ in supplication would not enter into God’s Kingdom, but only those that did the Will of God would. He said he would reject those who took him (Jesus) as their Lord beside God, and then did their deeds for his sake as a result, rather than for God – calling them sinners in practice and vowing not to bear witness to them as followers of his prophetic office…],

        then I too would have rejected Islam for islam; that is, I would have followed the book which I believed as best as I could, and believe in the Prophet who revealed it, but not in the (man distorted) religion.

        God blessed me that I encountered Muslims on Tawheed before I encountered the extremist whose love for the Prophet led them to prayer through him, pray to him, make him a man similar to angels in composition (that is a man made of light, rather than earth). If they had been the first Muslims I encountered, what earthly reason would there be to swap one Prophet “made God” by another? Christianity for Mohammedism?

        Alhamduillah, I am Muslim. Would I have been less of a Muslim if I rejected establishment Islam had I been taught the religion by “Mohammadists”?

      • Jeremy Boulter

        March 2, 2016 at 9:58 AM

        Mahmud. Would Arban have been executed for apostasy by the Sahaba had he lived in their society? Can you point to instances of this? How many executions for apostasy did the Sahaba preside over? How many did the Prophet, May Allah honour him, and grant him Peace, preside over? How active were such apostates in waging war against Allah and His Messenger? Where is your proof for your judgemental statement (the Sahaba would have executed Arban for his statement concerning devout Christians reciting the verses of Allah in Qiyyam al Layl)? Thank you.

  6. Rezk

    April 13, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    How can the Ash’arites make takfir on the Hanbalites when you can be an Ash’ari and Hanbali at the same time? Ash’ari has to do with theology, Hanbali with law.

    • Parvez Khan

      April 14, 2014 at 3:55 PM

      Hanbali was not just about fiqh law. Ahmad ibn Hanbal also preached Islamic theology and so did Ibn Taymiya and other hanbali scholars.

      If you read Sheikh Yasir Qadhi’s book – “Introduction to Sciences of the Quran” there are some pages refuting the ashari creed regarding the Speech of Allah.

    • Anonymous

      January 12, 2015 at 5:39 PM

      Dr. Shaykh Yasir Qadhi is refering the Hanbalis as those who follow the Aqeeda of Ahlul Athar.

      Imam Ar-Raazee (d.277AH) said: “Our madhhab and chosen path is following the Messenger of Allaah (sallaallaahu alaihi wa sallam) and the taabi’een and holding onto the madhhab of Ahlul-Athar, such as Abu Abdullaah Ahmad Ibn Hanbal” (Sharh usoolul I’ttiqaad Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah 1/179 of Imaam Laalikaa’ee d.428AH)

      Imam Safarini (d.1188AH) said: “So he (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal) was the Imaam of Ahlul-Athar, so whoever behaves in this manner of conduct, then he is Atharee” (Lawaami ul-Anwaaril-Bahiyyah p.64)

  7. Reed

    April 13, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    I cannot find where I read this, but Imam Al-Ghazali stated that just as the understanding of the scholars was greater than that of laymen, so, too, was the understanding of Sufis greater than that of scholars. Something similar is in his “Deliverance from Error”:

    “I learned from a sure source that the Sufis are the true pioneers on the path of God; that there is nothing more beautiful than their life, nor more praiseworthy than their rule of conduct, nor purer than their morality. The intelligence of thinkers, the wisdom of philosophers, the knowledge of the most learned doctors of the law would in vain combine their efforts in order to modify or improve their doctrine and morals; it would be impossible.”

    From Imam Ghazali’s perspective, one might say that s/he doesn’t understand how the Sufis came to their position that “anyone who had a genuine love of the divine was on the correct path regardless of a specific religion.” However, one shouldn’t dismiss their position because they don’t use one’s accepted method of reasoning.

    • O H

      April 15, 2014 at 1:08 AM

      It is important to properly define what constitutes sufism and who maybe considered sufi? The belief and actions are more important than labels. It is what determines the credibility/correctness of a thing.

      Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The words al-faqr and al-tasawwuf (i.e., Sufism) may include some things that are loved by Allaah and His Messenger, and these are things that are enjoined even if they are called faqr or tasawwuf, because the Qur’aan and Sunnah indicate that they are mustahabb and that is not altered if they called by other names. That also includes actions of the heart such as repentance and patience. And it may include things that are hated by Allaah and His Messenger, such as some kinds of belief in incarnation and pantheism, or monasticism that has been innovated in Islam, or things that go against sharee’ah and have been innovated, and so on. These things are forbidden no matter what names they are given… And it may include limiting oneself to a certain style of clothing or certain customs, ways of speaking and behaving, in such a way that anyone who goes beyond it is regarded as an outsider, although this is not something that has been stipulated in the Qur’aan or Sunnah; rather it may be something that is permissible or it may be something that is makrooh, and this is a bid’ah that is forbidden. This is not the way of the friends of Allaah (awliya’ Allaah); such things are innovations and misguidance that exists among those who claim to follow the Sufi path. Similarly, among those who claim to be servants of knowledge there are innovations that involve beliefs and words that go against the Qur’aan and Sunnah, using phrases and terminology that have no basis in sharee’ah. Many such things happen among those people.

      The wise believer agrees with all people in that in which they are in accordance with the Qur’aan and Sunnah and obey Allaah and His Messenger, but he does not agree with that in which they go against the Qur’aan and Sunnah and disobey Allaah and His Messenger. He accepts from every group that which was taught by the Messenger… when a person seeks the truth and justice, based on knowledge, he is one of the successful friends of Allaah and His victorious party…

      Al-Fataawa, 11/280-290.

      • Reed

        April 18, 2014 at 2:34 PM

        “It is important to properly define what constitutes sufism and who maybe considered sufi? The belief and actions are more important than labels. It is what determines the credibility/correctness of a thing.”

        Definitely. No doubt, many, if not most, people who claim to be Sufis aren’t. But there’s no gainsaying the status of Ibn ‘Arabi or Al-Rumi.

        And definitely this:

        “The wise believer agrees with all people in that in which they are in accordance with the Qur’aan and Sunnah and obey Allaah and His Messenger, but he does not agree with that in which they go against the Qur’aan and Sunnah and disobey Allaah and His Messenger. He accepts from every group that which was taught by the Messenger… when a person seeks the truth and justice, based on knowledge, he is one of the successful friends of Allaah and His victorious party…”

        Although I wasn’t quite sure where you were coming from with the long quotation, I tied it into Shaykh Qadhi’s dismissal of a Sufi position and note that he doesn’t give any evidence that the Sufis he mentions went against the Qur’an and Sunnah. Instead, he states that they didn’t quote the Qur’an and concludes,

        “That the truth was found beyond the Qur’an simply trumped the very usage of the Qur’an.”

        To be fair, this short lecture can’t go into great detail. Even so, it’s not clear how that conclusion follows from a lack of citing the Qur’an. One could also conclude that the Sufis interpreted the Qur’an differently from the scholars and simply didn’t want to wrangle over interpretations, as argument often undermines one’s development as a human being and drawing closer to Allah (swt).

    • Mahmud

      April 20, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      Reed, any beliefs that another religion other than Islam is acceptable is kufr itself and a denial of Allah’s ayat and anyone who holds these beliefs is himself a kaffir. As a Muslim, I dismiss ALL kufri beliefs and anyone who holds them.

      • Reed

        April 21, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        I haven’t seen anywhere in this conversation that someone has denied Allah’s (swt) ayats. Instead, it’s a conversation about the interpretation of the Qur’an. So, some may deny the majority position’s interpretation of the Qur’an, but that doesn’t mean that they deny the Qur’an.

        It’s a requirement of all human beings to seek truth. This conversation is about whose interpretation is closer to the truth. It’s important to continually question the interpretations we’ve encountered. Otherwise, instead of seeking truth, all we have is seeking the comfort of social conditioning.

        • Mahmud

          June 6, 2014 at 9:33 PM

          Reed-it absolutely does not matter if someone claims he’s believing all of the ayat of Allah aza wa jal when he is not.

          If anyone is claiming a deen other than Islam is acceptable, he is a disbeliever because he disbelieved Allah and His ayat whether he uses some distorted interpretation of those ayat or not.

          Please understand, this kufr interpretation of ayat is not something you are anyone else has a right to. No one has a right to be a kaffir. This is not a valid difference in agreement. This is Islam and kufr.

          Islam IS the only way to paradise and anyone who fails to enter Islam after it comes to him is a disbeliever who will be in the fire of Jahannam forever. This is the explicit truth and no amount of denying it will make anyone’s kufr valid. Kufr will remain kufr.

  8. Sarah

    April 13, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    Salaam… I am not a theologian nor an academic, but my understanding on this issue has improved almost 100% after reading the transcript (and then watching the video). Usually, a mental exercise on this topic leads to either complete heartbreak or a decision to bar further thought. I am fully satisfied to know that the final judgement lies with Allah, even though the Straight Path (to Salvation) has been clearly defined in the Quran and Sunnah. However, I think you can elaborate on a response to Rev. Madigan’s question – because that is the point that is still nagging me.

    • Mahmud

      June 6, 2014 at 9:39 PM

      Allah judged disbelievers pretty harshly-read Surah al Ahzab. He promised them the fire of Jahannam forever.

  9. Omar Ibrahim

    April 14, 2014 at 12:20 AM

    The one Jew’s question and Sheikh Yasir’s silencing response, I think, summarize all you really need to say about “salvific exclusivity”… at least for now… with out a clear paradigm for interpretation of doctrine we’re all at a loss.. during the time of the prophet (upon him be peace) there was just the one.. as time went on, however, fragmentation became the norm. In my opinion there is no way to shut out all “schools of thought”, as it were, because not a single one of them can be considered pure enough any more.. what I believe we can do, on the other hand, so to speak, is consider the two extremes we have.. call them inclusivity and exclusivity, if you like, I would call them something else.. but what is important is that interpretation from these two standpoints are all we have to work with now…

  10. Yamaan

    April 14, 2014 at 4:35 AM

    JAk for the thoughtful article and wide introduction to the topic.

    I know this was a speech that was probably transcribed later, but there were probably 10+ errors in the written article, which I felt detracted slightly from the article. I hope an editor is able to take another look at it.

  11. Chaplain Zain

    April 15, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    I wrote this on YQ’s FB wall because people were a little hostile towards him on that response. So forgive me if th efollowing sounds hostile. It was meant for the people on FB

    “For those of you disappointed in YQ’s response to the Rev.

    1) It was a little unfair question to ask in an academic setting. YQ was there to discuss his academic view NOT proselytize (Even though he used some proselytizing language and I really don’t like what he said about academia.)

    2) If you think YQ’s answer falls short. YOU guys try to answer it. It is a deeply PERSONAL question. A shaykh cannot just GIVE you that answer. EACH person needs to answer that question for themselves.

    3) Are your reasons for believing in the Quran ‘better’ than anyone else’s?”

  12. Khadijah

    April 18, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Ma sha’ Allah, SubhaanAllah, Alhamdulillah. Just brilliant, so clearly explained with various arguments from al-Quraan & logic. May Allah keep us on the Straight Path.

  13. Reed

    April 20, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    “They simply understood that any interpretation derived from this one verse had to be in accordance with the basic message and theme and of hundreds of other verses in the Qur’an.”

    In other words, if they don’t understand how a verse or two accords with “hundreds of other verses in the Qur’an,” they don’t find it “problematic” to distort the literal meaning so that they can harmonize it according to their own biases. For my part, if Allah (swt) is beyond comparison and full comprehension, then it’s not a problem that how some verses fit with other verses is beyond full comprehension.

    On “Now the problem that I see with this understanding is that the Qur’an itself defines that submission to the will of God. And it includes a submission to key tenets that God states we must believe in. In particular, belief in monotheism, belief in the prophets, the books, the angels and the day of judgement.”

    There actually are people who believe in these tenets without belonging to capital “I” islam. There are likely some who accept Muhammad (pbuh) as a prophet. They submit to Allah (swt) but not to the scholars’ framework of roadblocks to that submission.

    I imagine that there can be others who just aren’t certain of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) status as a prophet. This might be similar to a Muslim who accepts that prophets and messengers were sent to every nation, but if asked if a specific person (they had never heard of or knew about) sent to a particular nation was a prophet, would say, I don’t know. I suppose if you say that these Muslims are committing kufr, then the logic would be consistent.

    • Mahmud

      June 6, 2014 at 9:59 PM

      2:62 Salman told the Prophet ﷺ about those Christians and what he had seen of their works, and he replied, “They did not die upon Islam.” Salman said, “The whole earth darkened around me,” and he recounted their spiritual rigors. Then this verse was revealed, so the Prophet ﷺ summoned Salman and told him, “This verse has been revealed about your companions.” Then he added, “Whoever dies upon the religion of Jesus and in submission [literally. “upon Islam”] before he hears of me is in goodly state. But whoever hears of me today and does not believe in me has perished,” (Tabari, 1.323).

      There are a number of ahadith on this, and I advice you to check it out.

      As Ibn Kathir explains:

      “`Ali bin Abi Talhah narrated from Ibn `Abbas, about,

      ﴿إِنَّ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَالَّذِينَ هَادُواْ وَالنَّصَـرَى وَالصَّـبِئِينَ مَنْ ءَامَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ﴾

      (Verily, those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day) that Allah revealed the following Ayah afterwards,

      ﴿وَمَن يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الإِسْلَـمِ دِينًا فَلَن يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِى الاٌّخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَـسِرِينَ ﴾

      (And whoever seeks religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers) (3:85).

      This statement by Ibn `Abbas indicates that Allah does not accept any deed or work from anyone, unless it conforms to the Law of Muhammad that is, after Allah sent Muhammad . Before that, every person who followed the guidance of his own Prophet was on the correct path, following the correct guidance and was saved.”

      Therefore, as Allah and His Messenger have explained, Islam is the ONLY way to Paradise. 2:62 refers to the Jews and Christians BEFORE the final Messenger of Allah SAW.

      The capital and small letter I thing in Islam is a modern day deviation made by disbelievers. Has nothing to do with Islam. The Lord was merciful enough to us to make the plain meaning of the Quran clear so that we do not need to resort to such pathetic linguistic arm wrestling. 2:62 clearly refers to the Muslims before the final Messenger SAW-if we take the context of the ayah, it makes it clear. Man Amana billahi(whoever BELIEVED in Allah. Whoever, Jew or Christian or otherwise today fails to enter Islam, he has disbelieved Allah just like the Perrenialists who claim deens other than Islam are acceptable.

      And if anyone claims 3:85 is not clear, then they ought to be confused as to whether God exists in the first place.

  14. Sunny Salman Jamil

    April 24, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    The subtitle of the article says the following:
    “The following is the video and transcript of Shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s lecture “Salafivic Exclusivity.” The transcript includes slight modifications for the sake of readability and clarity.”

    Notice the typo saying “Salafivic” in place of “Salvific”. :-p

  15. Pingback: Salvific Exclusivity – Shaykh Yasir Qadhi - Kawaal

  16. Mahmud

    June 26, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    This matter is so severe even a Bedouin was told to give glad tidings to a disbeliever of the fire when he is dead. We should follow the Sunnah of an-Nabi S and the Sahaba RA and declare disbelievers as disbelievers and also know full well that if a disbeliever dies, he is headed to the fire and will be imprisoned there forever and ever.

    Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas said: “A Bedouin came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘My father used to uphold the ties of kinship, and so on and so forth – where is he now?’ He said, ‘In Hell.’ The Bedouin got upset and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, where is your father?’ He said, ‘Whenever you pass by the grave of a kaafir, give him the tidings of Hell.’ The Bedouin later became a Muslim, and he said, ‘The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave me a difficult commission. Whenever I pass by the grave of a kaafir, I give him the tidings of Hell.”’”
    (Narrated by al-Tabaraani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, 1/191; Ibn al-Sunni in ‘Aml al-Yawm wa’l-Laylah, 588; al-Diyaa’ al-Maqdisi in al-Ahaadeeth al-Mukhtaarah, with a saheeh isnaad. Al-Haythami (1/117-118) said: it was narrated by al-Bazzaar and by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, and the men of its isnaad are sound).

  17. Salman

    July 13, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    Please listen to this talk given by Yasir Qadhi. The question starts at 53:35 and I will paraphrase it below. The link is –

    Questioner: “The question that remains in my mind though is the circularity of authority. Every religious tradition is in this position. If you say as you do, the Qur’an says that the Qur’an is authoritative, and the prophet who was delivering the Qur’an says that you must believe in this prophet. There is no solid ground to base that on. It’s an existential decision one has to make to read this text that makes claim for himself, to choose the prophet who claims for himself. It comes down to a fundamental choice of what kind of message do you want to hear or credit as being the divine message. My question is why do you privilege this text and what does the privileging of this text entail in terms of existential decision”

    Ans by Yasir Qadhi – “ Why do I personally believe in this message? When you hear the Qur’an being recited, I just know that this is the word of God. It moves me in a way that nothing being created can move me. At the end of the day, that is my reason. At the end of the day, I have my doubts. I am theologian and my students might be shocked when I say this – of course we all have doubts, we all are humans and I will be the first to say that.

    Keeping the above answer in mind by Yasir Qadhi, think about the pastor in the church across the house. Reading Bible moves him in a way that nothing else does.
    Now how can you reconcile this while maintaining that your experience of being moved, awestruck by the Qur’an is better than the pastor’s ? What’s the benchmark used here or is there a benchmark ? Answer is that the matter is far from settled. Everyone is trying their best to secure the truth. If the truth was clear cut, then there would be only one religion.

    After citing all those evidences, Yasir Qadhi is giving a personal opinion. Why would an unbiased outsider value Yasir Qadhi’s personal opinion over the Christian, Jew etc. who is equally moved and passionate about his/her religion ? Personal opinion is just what is says, personal opinion.

    • mangElan

      December 1, 2015 at 5:35 PM

      well, you have just cut in the middle of his answer.
      you could have listened the moment he said that quran asks us to think of god, the attribute of god, think of the prophet the life of the prophet and the text of the quran itself.
      al-quran 2: 23, 24:
      And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a surah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah, if you should be truthful. (23)

      But if you do not – and you will never be able to – then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers. (24)

      وَإِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَ‌يْبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَىٰ عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُوا بِسُورَ‌ةٍ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ وَادْعُوا شُهَدَاءَكُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّـهِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ ﴿٢٣﴾

      فَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلُوا وَلَن تَفْعَلُوا فَاتَّقُوا النَّارَ‌ الَّتِي وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَ‌ةُ ۖ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْكَافِرِ‌ينَ ﴿٢٤﴾

  18. farooq

    September 21, 2015 at 1:47 PM

    jazakallah khayr

  19. Amir

    November 30, 2015 at 2:33 PM

    Actually, the “pluralism” of Sufis (assuming one interprets the doctrine of wahdat al-wujood as pantheism, which no one who actually understands it would) is based on enlightenment as much as it is a metaphysical presupposition.

    In other words, if everything is God, then that does not mean a person worshiping a rock is going to get credit for worshiping God. The person worshiping that rock has to come to the realization that everything, including that rock, “is God” (the more accurate statement would be “from or by God” but we’re running with the Shaykh’s description) and only then do they get credit for actually worshiping God. So… it isn’t actually changing much in terms of internal spirituality. The intention still has to be God.

    The idea that they endorsed pantheism has huge legal ramifications though. Because then anyone can say “though I am prostrating to this idol, I only mean to worship Allah” and that would cause havoc.

    But none of the Sufis named endorsed this. They prayed like everyone else. They didn’t endorse other religions, they just spoke in pluralistic terms of enlightenment through knowledge in their poetry. Maulana Rumi was an orthodox Sunni and would be horrified by the idea of himself not growing his beard to a fist length or not praying five times a day or wearing a cross. He just had a different attitude towards other people and this reflected his personal relationship with Allah where the rest of creation becomes a sort of “third wheel” for many, but he tried to include the creation in his personal relationship with Allah, which is a very valuable insight to every believer today. Anyone who claims to worship Allah but disrespects their parents, for example, could really stand to learn from such a lesson.

    And the only thing which separates the person whose relationship with God excludes the rest of creation and the person whose relationship with God includes the rest of creation is that the latter realizes God put that creation there. The hermit who isolates himself from people in order to attain nearness to God isn’t automatically of a higher station than the blacksmith who attains nearness to God through his fair dealings with other people (i.e, being kind to and raising his family) and helping the rest of God’s creation (like poor people). It’s the latter which is also closer to the true message of Islam and considered the “end goal” of spiritual development in Sufism (so one might start off by isolating themselves from the world to cut out distracting noise, but the goal is to orient one’s self so eventually they can “hear” God in that noise).

    And generally, the Sufis debated against and refuted the pantheism of Hindus, Buddhists, and other eastern faiths. So there’s that. They generally held to the panENtheism of the mainstream Ash’ari/Maturidi positions because it has all the logical benefits of pantheism without any of its logical faults (which they pointed out in competing religions).

    Ibn Arabi’s devotees have tons of stories of him “dueling” the “gurus” of other faiths and proving the supremacy of Islam, for example. Clearly “salvific exclusivity” meant something to them too.

  20. Amir

    November 30, 2015 at 2:54 PM

    Ibn Arabi said this to the Sultan of Egypt who was about to negotiate with the Franks/French during the 4th Crusade:

    “You have no pride and Islam will not recognize the likes of you. Stand up and fight or we shall fight you as we fight them.”

    I don’t know, sounds “salvifically exclusive” to me?

    There’s a particularly relevant verse of the Bible, but the sentiment is pretty universally accepted: “By their fruits ye shall know them”. What are the fruits of the Sufis? What are the fruits of their critics?

    I digress, however. We should all keep in mind that none of us is guaranteed intelligence.

    • Malik Matiyahu

      December 5, 2015 at 5:13 PM

      Salaam Amir

      Ibn Arabi quite clearly does take an inclusive approach, but that does not stop him believing that Islam is “the mightiest of religions”. If religion is essentially a route to God, Truth, Enlightenment, and Felicity in this world and the Beyond (and if it is not then it becomes an empty vessel and a dangerous one at that – just look around you!), then the fact that Islam is the most effective route on offer does not logically entail that other routes may not also be effective. If you have a life threatening infection, you ideally want the very best antibiotic but you may well be saved by an inferior one too.

      As to his comment to the Sultan, that is politics, He obviously felt that suing for peace against the invaders was a bad idea (which given their history of duplicity and bloodlust was likely a wise counsel), but that by no means connotes an attack upon the salvific potential of their religion.

  21. Asadullah Fringi

    December 1, 2015 at 12:51 AM

    If Allah calls those who do not believe in Isla Kaafir, which literally means one who rejects the truth of Islam, then why should we not have the right to call them the same?. now Kaafir includes Christians, Jews, and or who ever rejects the oneness of Allah and his messenger Muhamad along with Quran. last time I checked, no single denomination of Christianity believes in the unity of God, or believes in the Quran or prophet Muhammad. So obviously it is a matter settled in the Quran. no matter what , you can not say I believe in Allah but do not accept the his prophet. that is exactly how the polytheists of Makkah were, they believed in Allah, but they wouldn’t believe in Muhammad and Quran.

  22. Ariba

    December 1, 2015 at 3:26 AM

    Alhumdolillah for blessing us with sheikh Yasir

  23. Malik Matiyahu

    December 1, 2015 at 5:11 PM

    I don’t want to enter into any exegetic or interpretative debate here but would just like to make the following observations.

    1. There seem to be verses that support both positions.
    2. There is absolutely no consensus as to what constitutes consensus.
    3, The Hadith about “my community not being able to agree upon an error” is not supported by multiple chains of transmission.

    But here’s the real problems, to me.

    If you genuinely believe that only people that follow your religion (which in most cases you did not even choose consciously) are rewarded and that everyone else is condemned to Hell Fire, how do you maintain respect for those condemned people? Is it not a recipe to dehumanise and mistreat them ( and lets face it, thats what a lot of religious people, including muslims, do)?

    If people are blamed when they hear an authentic version of Islam and reject it, what is the litmus test for that? Since there are a lot of differing versions of Islam, does it not beg the question as to who has the authentic version? So the issue of inter-islamic debate on the issue rears its head. If say, you only hear a Shia espousing islam, and reject it, that presumably would not count against you in the eyes of a Sunni. If that’s the case, presumably Shias themselves are also to be blamed. Pretty soon, you end up with salvific exclusivity within Islam itself, for exactly the same reasons that are given to support inter faith exclusivity.

    If we then say, well if you say you are a muslim, you are, then what is to prevent the arguments of (say) the perennialists that Islam actually is not salvifically exclusivist?

    The “problem” is that the Quran can be mined for almost any opinion you want to read into it. Yasser Qadis’ ultra rationalist approach ( based though, he says, upon an entirely subjective “feeling’ of his response to the Quran being recited) swerves profound hermeneutical issues. For example, why does a definite article necessarily imply the specific religion “islam” rather than just “the” submission to God? I agree it might, but then equally it might not.

    Ultimately, what would be better for the world, human flourishing, peace, understanding, and hence the creation of the best environment for spiritual development for all people? Surely that is clear – a non exclusivist interpretation. Exclusivism, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu or whatever has always been a recipe for conflict, war, and sometimes appalling cruelty, of which IS is a perfect example.

  24. Malik Matiyahu

    December 1, 2015 at 5:29 PM

    A parable.

    Two Ulama are whiling away a hot afternoon in a tea house, and the talk turns to the after life.

    “Who will ultimately go to Paradise?” ask the younger and less knowledgable scholar.

    “Well” answers the older man ” Clearly any atheist is out. And we know that Hindus, Buddhists and so forth are either atheists or polytheists, so they are out too. The Jews and Christians do believe in God, but in the wrong way, and they reject the Prophet (SAW) so they too are out, no matter what some pinko-sufis will try and tell you. So obviously that just leaves the Muslims.”

    The younger man sipped on his tea, feeling very content.

    “But” said the elder, after a suitable pause. ” We know that the Shia went astray. So they are out, and Sufis indulge in all sorts of innovation, so they too are out. That only leaves us Sunnis”

    The younger man nodded approvingly.

    “But most ordinary Sunnis have no real understanding of the religion. They go through the motions but have no true faith, they believe in all sorts of aberrations, and are guilty of endless forms of subtle Shirk. So they too are out. So that leaves just us Ulama”.

    The younger man was about to express his gratitude for these reassuringly wise words when the older man continued:

    “But most Ulama are secretly motivated by a desire for prestige and power, their piety is all for show. So they too, I am afraid are out”.

    The younger man was by now looking quite anxious and noticed his tea had gone cold.

    “So that just leaves you and me. And to be frank, I am none too sure about you.”

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