What do the noble ulamā say regarding this that amongst us occasionally people call one another ‘be Imaan’ [faithless], will the ruling of disbelief fall upon the one who says this?
بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب
The manner in which people in our society call someone be Imaan [faithless], the one who makes such a statement in such a manner will not have the ruling of Kufr return upon him. This is because these words are generally not spoken in the meaning of disbeliever, nor is it the purpose of the one who states these words to declare the other person a kāfir. Rather his purpose is to describe the other’s treachery, deceit or similar bad traits. Therefore, in this consideration the ruling of Kufr does not return upon the one who says these words.
However to call a Muslim ‘be imaan’ without any Shar’ī permission is impermissible and a sin and a reason for discretionary punishment according to Islamic Law because in this there is causing of harm and disgracing another’s honour which is not permissible.
It is mentioned in hadīth in relation to harming a Muslim without a Shar’ī reason:
“Whosoever harmed a Muslim then he has indeed harmed me and he who has harmed me has indeed tried to harm Allāh.”
[al-Mu’jam al-Awsat Volume 4 page 60]
In relation to calling someone ‘be imaan’ it is mentioned in Bahār e Sharī’at:
“If someone calls another Muslim ‘be imaan’ he will be given ta’zīr (discretionary punishment), although in the general custom of the people this wording is not used in the meaning of Kāfir rather it is used in the meaning of deceiver and in the use of the word deceiver there is discretionary punishment.”
[Bahār e Sharī’at Volume 2 page 409]
It is mentioned in ‘Jannati Zewar’:
“Calling a Muslim ‘be imaan’ or saying that upon so and so be the punishment of Allāh, Allāh’s Curse, Allah’s Anger, may he receive the Fire, to speak in such a way is sinful. Whosoever he says this about if in reality that person is not like that then this curse and punishment will return upon the one who makes such a statement.”
[Jannati Zewar page 416]
Yes, if the one who calls a Muslim ‘be imaan’ (kāfir) does so from the perspective of belief then the one who says so without any valid interpretation or genuine reason the ruling of kufr will return upon him. Although in the scenario asked about it is not apparent that it is a situation where ‘be imaan’ is said whilst considering the person a kāfir.
It is mentioned in Sahīh al-Bukhārī and Sahīh al-Muslim, and the wording is for the latter:
“When a man declares his brother a disbeliever then it will return upon one of them.”
[Sahīh Muslim Volume 1 page 57]
الله أعلم عز و جل و رسوله أعلم صلى الله تعالى عليه وآله و سلم
Answered by Muftī Abū al-Sālih Muhammad Qāsim al-Qādirī
27th Muharram al-Harām 1440 AH (8th October 2018)
Translated by Mawlana Ibrar Shafi
Source: Dār al-Iftā Ahl al-Sunnah (Da’wat e Islami)
Read the original Urdu answer here: [Q-ID0643] How is it to call someone ‘Be-Imaan’ (faithless) as is commonly said by some Asians?