Is A Muslim Who Does Not Follow The Teachings Of Islam Worse Than An Atheist?
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
Is it possible to be a "non-practicing" Muslim? Basis
for question: A friend of mine married a
"non-practicing" Muslim from Iraq. While he drinks
wine and or spirits, and married a kufaar, he will not
eat pork. My impression is that a "non-practicing"
Christian would be considered to be apostate, or worse
than an infidel.
Praise be to Allaah.
The Muslim is obliged to adhere to the teachings of
his religion and perform the obligatory duties of
praying, fasting, honouring his parents, upholding the
ties of kinship, speaking truthfully and other duties
that Allaah has enjoined upon him.
He must also avoid that which has been forbidden, such
as zina (unlawful sexual relations), riba (usury or
interest), drinking alcohol, disobeying parents,
lying, treachery, consuming people's wealth unlawfully
and other forbidden things.
This is obligatory upon every Muslim. Whoever adheres
to that will be close to Allaah and beloved to Him,
and is promised admittance to Paradise and being
honoured by Him.
Those who neglect the obligatory duties or commit
forbidden actions fall into two categories:
1 – Those whose sin reaches the level of kufr
(disbelief) and shirk (associating others with Allaah),
such as mocking the faith, insulting Allaah, insulting
His Messenger, denying any of the well known tenets of
Islam, or regarding as permissible something that
Allaah has forbidden, such as regarding wine, adultery
or pork as permissible. Whoever does that is an
apostate from Islam, but if he does that out of
ignorance or negligence, then he should be taught,
advised and reminded, so that he may repent to Allaah.
If he persists in that after being taught, then he is
an apostate who is beyond the pale of Islam.
2 – Those who commit some sins that are not regarded
as kufr or shirk, such as adultery or drinking wine,
without regarding that as being permissible. If such a
person repents, Allaah will accept his repentance and
turn his bad deeds into good deeds. But if he persists
in his sin, then Allaah warns him of the painful
punishment on the Day of Resurrection, and of
punishments in this world, such as poverty, sickness,
humiliation and defeat, as well as having the hadd
punishment carried out on him when committing some
crimes, such as drinking alcohol or committing
adultery, if it is proven that he committed the crime,
and subject to certain conditions that we do not have
room to discuss here.
The Muslims' duty towards those who commit sin is to
advise them and call them to repent, and remind them
of the danger of sin and the evil consequences
thereof, as well as hating them because of their sin.
The obedient and the disobedient are not equal before
Allaah, or before His believing slaves, as Allaah says
(interpretation of the meaning):
"Shall We treat those who believe (in the Oneness of
Allaah –– Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good
deeds as Mufsidoon (those who associate partners in
worship with Allaah and commit crimes) on earth? Or
shall We treat the Muttaqoon (the pious) as the
Fujjaar (criminals, disbelievers, the wicked)?"
But if a sinner does both good and evil, and does both
acts of obedience and acts of disobedience – and chief
among goodness is belief in Allaah – then the justice
and mercy of sharee'ah dictates that his good deeds
should not ignored or wasted, and he is not to be
regarded the same as those who disbelieve in Allaah
With regard to a Muslim marrying a kaafir woman, this
is haraam, unless she is a Jewish or Christian woman,
for Allaah has allowed marriage to them, because of
the possibility of their being guided to Islam and
because these religions share with Islam the belief in
Allaah, the Prophets and Messengers, and the Last Day.
The marriage of such a woman to a Muslim may lead her
to seek the truth and encourage her to give up her
disbelief in Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him) and his message.
To sum up:
The Muslim who leaves his religion altogether is as
bad as an atheist, or worse.
As for the Muslim who believes in the basics of
Tawheed (Oneness of God) and Islam, but he commits
major sins and abhorrent actions, he is undoubtedly
better than a kaafir and atheist – despite his
shortcomings – because the good deed of Tawheed
(believing in the Oneness of Allaah) is the best of
all good deeds, and he has done that. But he is warned
of a painful punishment in this world and the
Hereafter for the sins he commits, if Allaah does not
bestow His mercy upon him and forgive him.
And Allaah knows best.