Claiming that a disbeliever is a Muslim is a lie, not apostasy
Fatwa No: 312034

  • Fatwa Date:24-1-2016 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 14, 1437
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Question

Please, what is the ruling on lying to (two muslims) by telling them that a disbeliever is a muslim (though in the Muslim's heart, he does not believe that this disbeliever is a Muslim)? He is concealing his disbelief and labelling him a muslim. The person that does this knows that lying is haram. But when he does that, he does not know that labeling a disbeliever a Muslim is kufr (disbelief). Now he wants to repent from the kufr that he has committed but he saw a verse in Al-Baqarah:160 that says that he must declare the truth that he is hiding before the repentance is accepted. Please, is this verse applicable in his situation? Can Allaah accept his repentance coming back to the fold of Islam without him declaring the truth to the two Muslims that he lied to? He told only one of the Muslims the truth. Is that sufficient for his repentance though he can still contact the other muslim to which he is yet to declare the truth to? And he now doubts whether he is still a Muslim because of this lie, and Islam (faith) is based on certainty (yaqeen). Please, what are the rulings regarding all that I have mentioned? Finally, last time I asked, I was given related fatwas in the answer. Please, can you try and treat this situation on its own rather than listing other related fatwas?

Answer

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  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger. {C}

What this man did is labeled as lying, which is a sin; however, he cannot be declared a disbeliever merely because of lying and claiming that a given disbeliever is a Muslim. Verily, he whose Islam is established with certainty cannot be declared a disbeliever except with like certainty. For further benefit, please refer to fatwa 8106.

It is incumbent on him to repent to Allaah from the sin of lying; the conditions of sincere repentance were detailed in fatwa 86527. An aspect of perfection of the sincere repentance from lying is to seek pardon from the person he lied to, unless it leads to a graver harm; please refer to fataawa 81748 and 82148.

It should be noted that the Muslim should not let his tongue indulge and say whatever it wants to say. Verily, the evils of the tongue can lead the person to destruction. Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {Man does not utter any word except that with him is an observer prepared (to record).} [Quran 50:18]

Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, "A man would utter a word that is displeasing to Allaah without considering or thinking of its gravity, and because of that he will be thrown into Hellfire." [Al-Bukhari]

Allaah knows best.

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