I was told that it is an act of kufr (disbelief) to say that one saved someone because it is Allaah Who saves people - is this true?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.
It is impermissible to make such a statement in a general sense; the correct thing is to say “so-and-so has saved so-and-son” while bearing in mind that he is only a means by which Allaah saved this person; He is the One Who caused the means that helped saving him. Shaykh Ibn ʻUthaymeen stated that there are three cases for crediting other than Allaah for something. He wrote:
“Firstly, if the reason that caused the materialization of a given thing is hidden with no genuine impact, such as the case when one says, 'If it were not for so-and-so waly (a deceased righteous person), then such-and-such would not have happened.' In fact, this statement constitutes an act of major disbelief because the sayer believes that that righteous person can bring about benefit or cause harm after his death; it is a belief in a hidden ability to dispose of the worldly affairs after one’s death.
Secondly, to attribute the materialization of something to a reason that is established religiously or tangibly; this is permissible provided that the sayer does not belief that the mentioned reason can cause the materialization of such effects in and of itself, overlooking the role of Allaah being the One Who disposes of the affairs of the world in the first place.
Thirdly, to attribute the occurrence of something to an apparent reason that has not been religiously or tangibly established as its genuine cause; this is an act of minor shirk. At-Tiwalah (love-charms) – a type of magic done believed to make a husband love his wife and vice versa – and amulets and the like that are believed to guard against evil eye fall under this category because the person believes in a cause other than Allaah.
This classification is evidenced by attributing the occurrence of something to the reason in the saying of the Prophet about his uncle Abu Taalib, ‘...had it not been for me, he would have been in the bottom of the Hellfire.’ There is no doubt that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, would never have uttered words of disbelief and that he had the purest belief in the unique Oneness of Allaah. The Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, attributed the action to the cause in this case because it is religiously and genuinely established.”
Allaah knows best.
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