The Brothers of Bal'aam

Since 2012-11-17

Bal'aam changed, from being a righteous man whose supplications were accepted, into an iniquitous heretic who reneged on his faith...

This article is a free and adapted translation of its original, Ikhwan Bal'aam, written in Arabic by Dr. Abdul Aziz Abdul Latif.

Bal’aam changed, from being a righteous man whose supplications were accepted, into an iniquitous heretic who reneged on his faith. He was an individual who altered his righteous ways for a small stake of the worldly life, discarding and forsaking the ayaat (proofs/signs) of Allah just as a snake sheds and discards its skin. It was an affair whereby the Shaytaan pursued him until he was misled – Bal’aam knew the truth but acted on the contrary. Allah the Most High said: {And recite (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), but he threw them away, so Shaitan (Satan) followed him up, and he became of those who went astray. (175) And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desire. So his description is the description of a dog: if you drive him away, he lolls his tongue out, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls his tongue out. Such is the description of the people who reject Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.). So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect.} [Al-A'raf 7:175-176].
{وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ الَّذِي آتَيْنَاهُ آيَاتِنَا فَانسَلَخَ مِنْهَا فَأَتْبَعَهُ الشَّيْطَانُ فَكَانَ مِنَ الْغَاوِينَ ﴿١٧٥﴾ وَلَوْ شِئْنَا لَرَفَعْنَاهُ بِهَا وَلَـٰكِنَّهُ أَخْلَدَ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ ۚ فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ الْكَلْبِ إِن تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْهِ يَلْهَثْ أَوْ تَتْرُكْهُ يَلْهَث ۚ ذَّٰلِكَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا ۚ فَاقْصُصِ الْقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ} الأعرف: 175-176


Transliteration: Waotlu AAalayhim nabaa allatheeataynahu ayatina fainsalakha minha faatbaAAahu alshshaytanu fakana mina alghaweena (175) Walaw shinalarafaAAnahu biha walakinnahu akhlada ila alardi waittabaAAa hawahu famathaluhu kamathali alkalbi in tahmil AAalayhi yalhath aw tatrukhu yalhath thalika mathalu alqawmi allatheena kaththaboo biayatinafaoqsusi alqasasa laAAallahum yatafakkaroona
Thus it is evident that the following of hawaa (desires), love of the world and an inclination to shahawaat (physical pleasures) is a cause for dissatisfaction and failure, with such love for worldly attributes being the means by which a scholar reneges on his faith.


Ibn al-Qayyim said in an explanation of the aforementioned verses: ‘there is a wonderful secret in resembling the one who chooses the fleeting world over the hereafter to a dog with its tongue out. The one who left Allah’s signs and followed his desires was because of his strong yearning (panting) for the world due to the disconnection of his heart with the hereafter. His yearning (panting) is like the incessant panting of the dog whether he is disturbed or left alone’. In continuance he said: ‘Allah tells us in the verse ‘And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him’ that elevation is not merely with knowledge as is evident through the fact that this person was a scholar. Elevation is through following the truth, preferring it and seeking the pleasure of Allah. This person was the most knowledgeable man of his time, yet Allah did not elevate him with this knowledge, which in effect did not benefit him. We seek refuge from knowledge that does not benefit.’1


The disciples of Bal’aam are indeed on this path. Ibn al-Rawandi (d.298) whom Ibn al-Jawzi named as the authority of heretics and apostates2 was paid four hundred dirhams by the Jews to compile a book which supposedly refuted Islam. He intended thereafter to produce a rebuttal once payment had been received. However, he desisted from doing so on sum of another hundred dirhams, rewarded on the condition that no such refutation be written.3 Additionally, Abdulllah ibn Ali Al-Qusaymi (d. 1416) authored many works in support of Islam and Sunnah but abandoned it all instead to become a preacher of apostasy and heretical doctrine. Some of his contemporaries noted the motivation for his abandonment of the truth as being his acceptance of bribes from the various warring religious factions4, and more significantly his austere living conditions in the past which impacted on his desire for wealth thereafter.5
The new followers of Bal’aam are supported by foreign embassies and other factions either directly or via external agents, whereby they use the lure and adornment of the worldly life to transform a righteous individual into a malevolent being. Allah says: {That is because they loved and preferred the life of this world over that of the Hereafter. And Allâh guides not the people who disbelieve.} [An-Nahl 16:107].
{ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمُ اسْتَحَبُّوا الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا عَلَى الْآخِرَةِ وَأَنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ} النحل: 107
Transliteration: Thalika biannahumu istahabboo alhayata alddunya AAala alakhirati waanna Allaha la yahdee alqawma alkafireena 
In addition, apostasy may also be caused by extreme passion and obsession with women. For this reason the Prophet warned against the temptation of wealth and women: “The world is green and sweet. Allah will give you succession therein and see what you do. Therefore beware of the Dunya (world) and beware of women. The first trial for banu Israel (Jews) was over women.” [Sahih Muslim].
«إن الدنيا حلوة خضرة. وإن الله مستخلفكم فيها. فينظر كيف تعملون. فاتقوا الدنيا واتقوا النساء. فإن أول فتنة بني إسرائيل كانت في النساء» رواه مسلم
Furthermore, it is reported that there was a pious man known for his righteousness named Saalih who also happened to hold the office of the muezzin (caller to prayer). Due to a momentary lapse in lowering his gazes, he briefly glanced at a Christian woman which consequently led him to reneging on his faith and dying a Christian6. Furthermore, a warrior against the Crusaders, Abduh ibn Abdur Raheem, abandoned Islam, the Sunnah and jihad, and died a Christian due to his infatuation and intense love for a Christian woman7. Similarly, Ibn Hazm cited the story of An-Nazhaam, one of the leaders of Mutazilites who was obsessed and besotted with a Christian boy. Resultantly, he authored a treatise on the (alleged) superiority of the principles of Trinity over Tawhid (Islamic monotheism)8.
Acquiescence to dubious matters and engulfing oneself in doubts results in apostasy and the abandonment of Islam.
As such, Al-Jahm Ibn Safwan met some polytheists known as the Sumaniyyah. They caused him to doubt his religion through a process of confusion, until he came to the point where for forty days it was unbeknownst to him as to who he worshipped. Subsequently, he declared his rejection of the names and attributes of Allah the Most High9. As we also see in the case of Ibn Al-Rawandi, he used to keep the company of heretics claiming when reprimanded that: ‘I want to know their views’. However, as a result of such company he consequently manifested his heresy and took to attacking Allah and the Qur’an10.
Thus, as has been evidently demonstrated, it is incumbent to avoid places of apostasy and heresy whether this happens to be in the form of people, magazines, satellite channels, websites, conferences or symposiums. The exception is for those of qualification and knowledge who determine to either expose such people or cause them to renounce their hypocrisy and disbelief. Imran bin Hussain narrated that the Prophet said: “Whoever hears about ad-Dajjal must go away from him. By Allah a man thinking himself a believer will come to ad-Dajjal and follow him because of the doubts he is sent with” [Reported by Abu Dawud and authenticated by Al-Albani].
«من سمع بالدجال فلينأ عنه، فوالله إن الرجل ليأتيه وهو يحسب أنه مؤمن فيتبعه مما يبعث به من الشبهات، أو لما يبعث به من الشبهات» رواه أبو داود وصححه الألباني
The new followers of Bal’aam wander in the depths of doubt, the abyss of uncertainty, the gorges of confusion. Al-Qusaymi, before his admission of heresy, confessed that confusion and doubt unnerved him causing him to be physically restless and heated. In addition, the author of ‘the modern scientific revolution’ was overcome by the misery of scholastic theology which led to the utterance of heresy and doubt regarding Allah the Mighty and Majestic. A third person (or type) regards doubt as a correct course while accusing Allah (with false claims) concerning His decree and measures. Others embrace confusion and doubt, fervently following the Al ma’arrah dog, Abul ‘Ala Al-Ma'arri, the author of suspicion and the conniver who attacked Allah’s Deen.


The deen necessitates submission and compliance to the revealed texts (Qur’an and Sunnah) with a lack of opposition to them, opposition which is built upon proclivity, intellect or (personal) opinion, as none are safe in their religion except those who are delivered by Allah from misguidance. It also necessitates secure and grounded knowledge of the Shari’ah. ‘For even if the one grounded in knowledge were to be exposed to doubtful matters, the number of which is akin to the waves in the sea would still neither remove his certainty nor impair him with doubt. This is indeed because he is established in knowledge which quells the provocative ability of doubtful matters. Instead of overcoming him, such doubtful matters are repelled as they are surmounted by the custodian of knowledge.’ 11
Decay of the inner self, and inward ruin lead to apostasy and a wicked demise. Abdul Haqq Al-Ishbeeli said ‘know that an evil end (we seek protection in Allah from it) does not befall on one who is outwardly upright and is internally correct. It only occurs to one who has a corrupted aqidah (creed or belief) or persistently commits major and greatly depraved sinful acts, which may as a result overcome him until he dies unrepentantly’ 12. The epidemic of inner corruption is what has overcome the heretics over time. Al-Qusaymi, for example, was extremely arrogant and self conceited. Such arrogance was found in his work al-Buruq an-Najdiyyah which began with flattering poetry and excessive praise for his own self, even though he was still occupied with Islam and knowledge at this stage of his life. Thus, when Shaikh Abdul Aziz ibn Bishr (d. 1359) came to know about the book he sensed in the author heresy and deviation from Islam (a process which unfortunately did occur)13. However, this book is not the only example of his ghastly arrogance, for Al-Qusaymi wrote abhorrent verses praising his knowledge, some of which claimed that if his knowledge were to be distributed it would be just as adequate and sufficient as the knowledge of the Messengers14.
It is almost impossible to differentiate between Bal’aam’s progeny and crooked individuals who write articles and thesis’s which manifest their delusion and egotism (as well as other similar traits).


They brag using complex terms and fervently express their ardour of foreign and unfamiliar expressions. This is so that they may hide behind ambiguous and deceptive arguments which reflect arrogance and self conceit, things which reside in a ruined soul. The average reader may be intimidated by such ambiguous terms and difficult phrases, and they are in effect, as Ibn Taymiyyah said: ‘from the type of clattered (and nonsensical) speech of young boys and those similar to them for those who find them scary.’15
In conclusion, our pious predecessors from the first three righteous generations as well as those after them unrelentingly continued to battle against the heretics exposing their secrets, revealing their hypocrisy and true colours. They warned the Ummah against these heretics while also elucidating and announcing Allah’s judgment upon them in respect to their apostasy and abandonment of the faith. They established the evidence against them and executed the punishment for their apostasy. Thus, the least that can be done is to issue the correct ruling about them in accordance with Allah’s hukm (law or judgement) clarifying their hypocrisy.
Nevertheless, we caution against haste and emotional impetuosity in responding to these heretics as this may result in negative consequences. Conversely, we also caution against being steeped into what is called ‘self control’ which results in placating ones ardour for the faith and pacification of the heart in eagerness for the Deen. Never did the scholars of Islam detract a fiery and blazing passion, zeal and fervour of the faith from their understanding of being established in knowledge, having a wise character or even self control!
Muhammad Nizami
[1] Tafsir Al Qayyim. Surah Saad, 281-283
[2] Ibn Al Jawzi. Al Muntazim.
[3] See Al A’sam. Ibn Al Rawandi fil Muraji’i al Arabiyyati al Hadeethah.
[4] See Bayan al Huda min dalaal fi ar radd ‘ala sahib al aghlaal.
[5] See Salaah al Deen Al Munjad. Diraasah ‘an al Qasaymi.
[6] See Ibn Al Jawzi. Zham al Hawaa.
[7] See Ibn Kathir. Bidaayah.
[8] Ibn Hazm. Tawq Al Hamaamah (rasaa’il Ibn Hazm).
[9] Ahmad Bin Hanbal. Radd az Zanaadiqah (Aqaa’id as salaf).
[10] See Ibn Al Jawzi. Al Muntazim.
[11] Ibn Al Qayyim. Miftah Dar as-sa’aadah
[12] See Ibn Al Qayyim. Al Jawaab al Kafi.
[13] Ibn Yaabis. Radd al Qaweem. and Al Qaadhi. Rawdah as Sineen.
[14] ibid
[15] Ibn Taymiyyah. Ad Dar’.



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