Questioner: Our Imaam believes that there is no difference between a disbeliever and a Muslim. What is the ruling on this?
Dr Sharof: You shouldn’t have been specific about your Imaam. This is because there may be someone who recognizes you here and the person may take this issue to the Imaam saying we deliberately organized the sitting because of him. It suffices that you mention the question without restricting it to your Imaam so that it benefits him and other than him.
Anyone, whether Imaam or not, who believes that a disbeliever and a Muslim are equal in judgment and (believes that they) worship the same Allaah is not a Muslim. That kind of person must not lead the Muslims in prayer. If he wants to lead the prayer, ask him to step back for someone else. He may think that something filthy is on his attire and as such ask why you asked him to step back. Tell him that you will make him know the reason after the prayer.
The Congregation: Laughing mode activated!
Dr Sharof: You Yorubas are not brave to take such action. You are only long-winded; you are not brave. You don’t have to be a coward regarding anything related to Islaam. Make him know that he is not qualified to be the Imaam of the Muslims and refute his kufr beliefs. If he asks about what he has done wrong. Say, ‘you gave the Muslims and the disbelievers the same ruling?’ Allaah says, ‘Shall We then treat the (submitting) Muslims like the Mujrimin (criminals, polytheists and disbelievers, etc.)? What is the matter with you? How judge you? [Soorah Al-Qalam (65):35-36]
This kind of person is not qualified to be the Imaam. That is why we said that there is need to have a committee which sees to the affair of the mosques. They will have to examine people who would be the Imaams of the mosques. They should start by asking them to recite Soorah al-Faatihah. The one who cannot recite Soorah al-Faatihah appropriately should be asked to step back even if he claims he understands Islaamic Jurisprudence. As for the one who can recite Soorah al-Faatihah appropriately, his knowledge of Tawheed should be tested. This is because the one who has no Tawheed has no prayer. As for the one who passes Tawheed, he should be tested on Fiqh (Islaamic Jurisprudence). Then they should ask them about the amount of the Qur’aan they have memorized. If there are two people for example, and one of them memorized Juz Amma while the other memorized half of the Qur’aan, the one who memorized half of the Qur’aan should be made the Imaam while the other person joins the congregation. This will make us have a good society where the capable people lead the Muslims. That is it.
[Source: Question and Answer Session of the tape, “Explanation of Ma’aarijul Qabuul”; Venue: Ibadan]
Translated by Aboo Aaishah Al Odeomeey