Does a Muslim who says ‘a nice thing’ for something haram become an unbeliever?

Details of the Question

- Does a Muslim who says ‘a nice thing’ for something that Allah rendered haram become an unbeliever?
- For example, if a Muslims says, ‘How nicely you drink, how nicely you gamble, how nicely you curse’, does he become an unbeliever?
- Does joking like that make a person exit the religion?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- According to Ahl al-Sunnah creed, whatever Allah rendered haram is bad. Whatever he commanded (fard, wajib, mandub, etc.) is good.

- Some things can be known to be good or bad with human nature, conscience and customs (such as murder, adultery, a lie), but some things that were haram in previous religions were rendered halal in Islam and vice versa. Besides, the existence of different religions aims to make some changes in the secondary decrees at those different time periods and places.

- Therefore, everything that is haram in Islam now is bad. To say that such a thing is good/nice means making an evaluation contrary to Allah's evaluation.

When we look at what is apparent, it is unbelief to say halal/nice for something about which Allah says haram/ bad. However, sometimes a word or a deed means unbelief but the one who says or does it does not become an unbeliever. For, according to the decree of the hadith which means “deeds are based on intentions”, it is important to know what the real reason, intention and purpose that causes the person to say or to do the thing that is regarded as unbelief.  

For instance, I heard somebody say to another person, “I do not believe in the Allah that you believe in.” This statement is unbelief in appearance. However, the person who said it explained his purpose as follows: “I do not believe in his imagination of Allah who always punishes and gets angry with people. The Allah I believe in has infinite mercy.” Thus, he moved away from the position of being an unbeliever.

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi points out a fact regarding the issue as follows:

“A word may sometimes appear to be unbelief, but the one who speaks it is not an unbeliever.” (Lem'alar, 274)

- A believer who commits a sin experiences a dilemma in himself. On the one hand, the common sense and conscience, which are on the side of belief, preach obedience to Allah; on the other hand, there are mean feelings that advise man to disobey Allah and obey the evil-commanding soul.

While man maintains his belief on the one hand, he may also be dragged by the desires of his soul on the other hand. His heart and conscience hate committing sins but his soul and mean feelings enjoy committing sins.

At this point, the free will of man becomes involved. If the desires and requests of the soul outweigh, he will say, "You will be saved in the future by repenting; do not avoid committing this sin and enjoying it now." If the desires and requests of the heart, which is the place of belief, common sense and conscience outweigh, he will prefer keeping away from sins.

Thus, what protects the belief of man is one thing and the mechanism that makes him sin is another thing. For this reason, to commit a major sin – even if a person does so intentionally, by loving it regarding it nice and liking it – does not make a person exit the religion unless he denies the religion.  

However, if he says a nice thing for something that Allah says bad in order to oppose Allah knowingly and stubbornly, he cannot be saved from unbelief even if the whole world comes together.

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