Some violations that will invalidate the Islam of a Muslim if he’s not careful: Taking another religion (Christianity, Judaism, etc), falling into the ideas of the Atheists, Darwinists and Philosophers, worshipping graves and saints, mocking the Religion…
In the name of Allāh, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation, may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and likewise, his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly until the establishment of the Hour.
All praise is for Allah who is pleased Islam as our Religion—and He has made us the best Ummah raised for mankind—He has commanded us to hold fast to this Religion, and to remain firm upon it until death. He has warned us from turning away from the Religion and abandoning it:
وَمَن يَرْتَدِدْ مِنكُمْ عَن دِينِهِۦ فَيَمُتْ وَهُوَ كَافِرٌ فَأُولَـٰٓئِكَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَـٰلُهُمْ فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا وَٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ ۖ وَأُولَـٰٓئِكَ أَصْحَـٰبُ ٱلنَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَـٰلِدُونَ ٢١٧
“And whosoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will be the dwellers of the Fire. They will abide therein forever.” (Al-Baqarah: 217)
So, the believers should fear Allah and know that their Religion is one, and its path is clear, straight, and steadfast. So, every Muslim must have knowledge of the Straight Path and knowledge of those paths that will deviate him away from Islam, harm him and destroy him.
Apostasy from Islam and falling into disbelief can occur by abandoning Islam altogether and following another religion or ideology such as Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Atheism, and so on. Or it can be falling into a nullifier (nāqiḍ) from among the nullifiers of Islam while still thinking he is upon Islam, and even while carrying out some of the duties of Islam. He sees himself as a Muslim, but he is not from the Muslims.
So, the affair is serious and dangerous, and cannot be taken lightly, especially in this age. It requires insight, knowledge, and a criterion to judge between truth and falsehood, and between guidance and misguidance—but many people are deceived and do not learn the truth—they are ignorant of Islam, the Creed of Islam, of Tawheed and what it means to be a monotheist upon the correct belief according to the Qur’an and Sunnah. Many Muslims at this time do not know what nullifies Islam and what leads to apostasy (riddah). They think that so long as they fulfil some of the outward duties of Islam, they remain Muslim even if they commit clear disbelief and polytheism in speech, action and belief.
These notions emanate from their ignorance of the reality of Islam and what nullifies it. This is the sad and painful reality that many Muslims live in our times—they affirm Islam for themselves and commit many violations involving polytheism and disbelief that are from the nullifiers of Islam. They do not realise that fulfilling some of the duties of Islam and performing some acts of worship, and then falling into disbelief through false ideas, beliefs, speech, or action is like a person who performs wuḍoo (ablution), and then breaks his wuḍoo—so, does he remain in a state of purification? If he prays, will his prayer be accepted whilst he is in this state?
Islam is not merely an ascription without reality nor is it a gathering of contradictions. Rather, Islam is the true religion, the religion sent by Allah to the Prophets (ʿalaihimus-salām). So Islam is: ‘to submit to Allah by worshipping Him alone (Tawheed), yield to Him in obedience and to free oneself from polytheism.’ Islam is one, it is complete and not many separate religions. So, it is a must that a person establishes this religion in his life by making it apparent, fulfilling its rights and duties and keeping away from those ideologies, beliefs and actions that would nullify his Islam. Islam is religion and state (deen wa dawlah), it is worship, judgement, law and action—it is daʿwah and jihād. Islam is the Law (Shareeʿah) that regulates all the affairs in the life of a Muslim from the cradle to the grave.
We see people today who ascribe themselves to Islam and extol its virtues, yet they fall into violations and beliefs that nullify their Islam—they openly profess these nullifiers and even ascribe them to the religion or believe that the religion accommodates their heretical notions.
For example, some people profess the ideas of the philosophers such Abu ʿAli Ibn Sina (d. 427 H) or Abu Naṣr al-Farābi (d. 339 H) who believed in the eternity of the universe, that the universe is made from eternal matter—and that the Greek philosophers were more enlightened than the Prophets of Allah, that the Prophets themselves were no more than philosophers who made up notions to convince the people of their ideas! There are people today who ascribe themselves to Islam but are convinced that the universe is eternal, that whatever is in the universe came about through random collision of this eternal matter, and its expansion and contraction—and thereafter, that the creatures of the earth came about through chance, random mutations, and a process of evolution as propounded by Charles Darwin—so in the end, humans are evolved from apes. All of this is disbelief that nullifies a person’s Islam and opposes the clear verses of the Qur’an and the authentic narrations of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam), as well as sound reason and rational thought.
Then we have those who ascribe themselves to Islam but commit clear acts of polytheism with Allah by offering worship to others besides Him. They perform acts of worship at graves that nullify their Islam. Imām Mālik (rahimahullāh) reported in Al-Muwatta that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said: “O Allah! Do not make my grave into an idol that is worshipped. Allah’s anger is severe upon a people who turned the graves of their Prophets into places of worship (mosques).”
Ibn ʿAbbās (radiyallāhu ʿanhumā) said: “Allah’s Messenger invoked the curse of Allah upon the women who continually visit the graves and those people who build mosques upon them and place lights over them.”
Ibn Jareer reports with his chain of narration to Sufyān from Mansoor, from Mujāhid regarding the verse:
أَفَرَءَيْتُمُ ٱللَّـٰتَ وَٱلْعُزَّىٰ ١٩
“Have you then considered [the two idols] Al-Lāt and Al-ʿUzzā…” [An-Najm: 19] that he (Mujāhid) said: “Lāt used to serve the pilgrims flour mixed with ghee and water (called saweeq). So, when he died, they would gather and sit around his grave in devotion.”
From the habits of people is that they will go to extremes in veneration of those they see to be righteous. And it is this type of exaggeration in veneration that leads the people to worship which they venerate instead of directing worship to Allah alone. So, this person used to prepare Saweeq and feed it to the pilgrims at Hajj ―and people went to exaggeration in veneration of him until they made him an object of worship, and they gathered around his grave in devotion.
It is reported in the Saheeh from ʿĀ’ishah (radiyallāhu ʿanhā): that Umm Salamah (radiyallāhu ʿanhā) mentioned to the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) regarding a church she had seen in the land of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) which had within it pictures [of people]. So, the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said: “When there used to die a righteous man or servant from amongst them, they would build over his grave a place of worship – and they would make in it these pictures. They are the worst of creatures in the sight of Allāh.”
Imām Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Wahhāb said: ‘These people gathered together two tribulations: tribulation of building over the graves, and the tribulation of making pictures [of people].’
Bukhāree and Muslim reported that ʿĀ’ishah (radiyallāhu ʿanhā) said: “When Allāh’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) was close to death, he would cover his face with a cloth, and when it became difficult for him [to breath or he would tire] he would uncover it once again. So, whilst in that state, he said: “The curse of Allāh is upon the Jews and Christians because they took the graves of their Prophets as places of worship.” She continued: ‘So he warned against what they had done. Were it not for that warning, his grave would have been elevated – but it was feared that it would be taken as a place of worship.’
This great Religion closes every door to shirk even when it comes to the grave of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam). Muslim reported from Jundub Ibn ʿAbdullāh (radiyallāhu ʿanhumā) who said: I heard the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) five days before his death saying: “Indeed those who came before you would take the graves of their Prophets as places of worship (as mosques). Do not take graves as places of worship, for indeed I forbid you from that.”
Shaikhul-Islām Muhammad Ibn ʿAbdul-Wahhāb stated: The Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) warned from this affair [of the veneration of the graves] at the end of his life, and he cursed those who did it as is reported in the texts. The prayer next to the graves is also prohibited – even if there is no Masjid built there – and this is the meaning of ʿĀ’ishah’s saying: “It was feared that it would be taken as a place of worship.”
Furthermore, it was not the Sahābah who built a Masjid around his grave. Every location which is taken as a place of prayer is considered a masjid. Indeed any place where the prayer is performed is called a masjid, just as the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said: “The earth was made as a masjid and a place of purification for me.”
Imām Ahmad (rahimahullāh) reported with a good chain of narration from Ibn Masʿood (radiyallāhu ʿanhumā) which is elevated as a saying of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam): “Indeed the most evil of people will be those who are alive when the Final Hour reaches them, and those who take the graves as places of worship.”
Shaikh Ahmad an-Najmee stated: The grave of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) was initially outside of his Mosque in Madeenah – the fact is that his house was next door to the Mosque and that is where he was buried after his death. Later, in the time of the rule of Waleed Ibn ʿAbdul-Malik he commanded that Mosque be expanded, and thus the house of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) was included into the Mosque as it was extended.
This occurred at the displeasure of the Scholars – and they hated it – from them, Saʿeed Ibn Al-Musayyib (died 94H). As for the green dome that was erected over the grave of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam), then it was built at the end of the 6th century – it was built by one of the kings of Egypt.
So, whoever uses the grave of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) in the Mosque as a proof, or the presence of the green dome then, in reality, he has no proof at all. That is because these constructions and affairs were initiated by people ignorant and devoid of knowledge.
They had authority and the people were not able to prevent them. So, they did what they did due to their claim that they were expressing their love of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) and respect for him. (End)
Likewise, from the types of apostasy (riddah) is to make fun of anything that the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) came with, or to mock him—whether it is reported in the Qur’ān, Sunnah, Seerah or from the Companions even it is making fun at growing the beard, wearing the hijāb, shortening the trousers to above the ankles, the prohibition of ribā, using the siwāk, drinking Zamzam as a cure, and so on. Once a person knows that these affairs are from the Religion, and then he proceeds to poke fun at them, then that is considered a nullifier of Islam. Allah said:
وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُمْ لَيَقُولُنَّ إِنَّمَا كُنَّا نَخُوضُ وَنَلْعَبُ ۚ قُلْ أَبِٱللَّهِ وَءَايَـٰتِهِۦ وَرَسُولِهِۦ كُنتُمْ تَسْتَهْزِءُونَ ٦٥
لَا تَعْتَذِرُوا قَدْ كَفَرْتُم بَعْدَ إِيمَـٰنِكُمْ ۚ
“If you ask them about this, they declare: ‘We were only talking idly and joking.’ Say: ‘Was it at Allah, and His signs and revelations, and His Messenger that you were mocking?’ Make no excuse; you disbelieved after you had believed.” (At-Tawbah 9:65-66)
The affair is religion is not a light affair, it is an affair of Jannah and Nār, Paradise and Hell, so pay attention and take your religion seriously.
There are many other nullifiers we must know and be aware of—and inshā’ Allāh, we can clarify them in further articles.
 Al-Muwatta no. 85 in mursal form, ʿAbdur-Razzāq in his Musannaf, 1/406 from the hadeeth of Zayd Ibn Aslam (radiyallāhu ʿanhu), declared saheeh (authentic) by Al-Albāni in Al-Mishkāt, no. 750.
 Reported by Abu Dāwood, no. 3236; At-Tirmidhee, no. 320.
 Bukhāree 427, Muslim 528.
 Bukhāree 335, Muslim 521.
 Reported by Abu Hātim in his Saheeh; also, Ahmad 1/405 (no. 38844), Al-Albānee in Tahdheer as-Sājid, p. 23 (saheeh).