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‘Say Muslim, not Mumin’


It was narrated from ‘Amir bin Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas that his father said: “The Prophet (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) gave a share (of some spoils of war) to some men and not to others. Sa’d (radiyallahu’anhu) said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, you gave to so-and-so and so-and-so, but you did not give anything to so-and-so, and he is a believer.’ The Prophet said: ‘Or a Muslim,’

until Sa’d had repeated it three times, and the Prophet (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) said: ‘I give to some men, and leave those who are dearer to me, without giving them anything, lest (the former) be thrown into Hell on their faces.'” (Sunan Nasa’i)

It was narrated from Sa’d that : The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) distributed (some spoils of war) and gave to some people but withheld from others. I said: “O Messenger of Allah, you gave to so-and-so and so-and-so, and you withheld from so-and-so, who is a believer.” He said: “Do not say ‘a believer,’ say ‘a Muslim.'” Ibn Shihab (one of the narrators) said: The Bedouins say: “We believe”. (Sunan Nasa’i)

Would you clarify some points below:

1. Why did Nabi (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) withhold from some and gave to some, being afraid of their faces be thrown to hellfire?

2. Why Nabi (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) refuse to let Sa’d (radiyallahu’anhu) call them believer, but a Muslim instead? What is the difference in this context?

3. Are we allowed to call someone who we deem as reliable in deen a believer?



1. These people were new muslims who needed further satisfaction about Islam. Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) used this opportunity to draw them even closer. These are the same people discussed in the Quran among the avenues of zakat. They are referred to as: ‘Al-Mu-allafatu Qulubuhum‘ Those whose hearts need to be reconciled.


2. Iman has to do with the heart which is concealed from us. Islam has to do with the outer deeds. Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) taught Sayyiduna Sa’d (radiyallahu’anhu) and the rest of the ummah a lesson; we comment on what is apparent to us only. Nothing more.


3. We are, but we should know that this is based on outer factors only. We can therefore not state such with one hundred percent certainty. Allah Ta’ala Knows the reality, and that will never change, irrespective of our words.

(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 27)



And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,


Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar


Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar