Shafiʿis consider entering enemy lands is a cause for disbelief – fact or fiqhtion?

I was asked about a Facebook post claiming that Imam al-Nawawi considered entering enemy lands (“Dar al-ḥarb”) to be a cause for disbelief. Instead of linking to the message, I have included a screen-shot of the post and its accompanying image.

The passage has been mistranslated. The author skipped the condition that Imam al-Nawawi gives in the text and replaced it with one of his own. Here is Imam al-Nawawi’s complete passage:

روضة الطالبين وعمدة المفتين (10/ 69)
وَلَوْ شَدَّ عَلَى وَسَطِهِ زُنَّارًا، وَدَخَلَ دَارَ الْحَرْبِ لِلتِّجَارَةِ، كَفَرَ، وَإِنْ دَخَلَ لِتَخْلِيصِ الْأُسَارَى، لَمْ يَكْفُرْ.

In this passage, Imam al-Nawawi gives a conditional clause

ولو شد على وسطه زنارا

meaning: “And if he was to wear a zunnār [a sash Zoroastrian dhimmis wore to distinguish themselves from Muslims] around his waist…”, and the answer to that conditional clause

وَدَخَلَ دَارَ الْحَرْبِ لِلتِّجَارَةِ، كَفَرَ، وَإِنْ دَخَلَ لِتَخْلِيصِ الْأُسَارَى، لَمْ يَكْفُرْ

meaning: “…and entered for trade, he would disbelieve; and if he entered to free prisoners of war, he would not disbelieve”.

The author has replaced Imam al-Nawawi’s conditional clause with his own, and rendered the ruling as: “And who entered Dar al-Harb for trade has disbelieved…” And that original conditional clause is legally significant to the issue at hand.

Additionally, the translation omits Imam al-Nawawi’s next line:

روضة الطالبين وعمدة المفتين (10/ 69)
قُلْتُ: الصَّوَابُ أَنَّهُ لَا يَكْفُرُ فِي مَسْأَلَةِ التَّمَنِّي وَمَا بَعْدَهَا إِذَا لَمْ تَكُنْ نِيَّةً. وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ.

meaning: “I say: The correct opinion is that one has not committed disbelief in the issue of wishing [that something had remained permissible] and what follows – when there is no intent. And Allah knows best.”

In this line, Imam al-Nawawi indicates his disagreement with Imam al-Rafi’i’s ruling concerning several specific potential causes for apostasy – including the one just mentioned above. And this, too, is significant for Shafi’is – since the rule of thumb in the school is that whenever Imam al-Nawawi disagrees with Imam al-Rafi’i, Imam al-Nawawi’s opinion is taken as the official position of the school.

So, when the passage is translated as Shafiis read it, it is clear that Imams al-Rafi’i and al-Nawawi (and the others who mention the issue) are talking about the combination of a Muslim within Dar al-Islam wearing a type of clothing that non-Muslims wear to be distinguished from Muslims and then entering enemy lands for the purpose of trade or for freeing prisoners of war. Imam al-Nawawi concludes that neither of those combinations is considered apostasy unless the person himself somehow, through the act, intends apostasy or what constitutes apostasy. This is how the issue was understood, and this is the official position of the school.

Someone might object that I have misread the books when I connect those two issues together, perhaps citing the passage in I’yanat al-talibin (4:156) that mentions the issue of entering enemy lands for trade or for freeing prisoners of war disconnected from the issue of wearing their clothing…

إعانة الطالبين على حل ألفاظ فتح المعين (4/ 156)
ولا إن شد الزنار على وسطه أو وضع قلنسوة المجوس على رأسه أو دخل دار الحرب للتجارة أو لتخليص الاساري، ولا إن قال النصرانية خير من المجوسية، ولا إن قال لو أعطاني الله الجنة ما دخلتها.
صرح بذلك كله في شرح الروض

First, this disconnection appears to be a mistake since it cites Asna al-matalib (4:119) as its source and Asna does not make that distinction…

أسنى المطالب في شرح روض الطالب (4/ 119)
وَلَا إنْ شَدَّ الزُّنَّارَ عَلَى وَسَطِهِ أَوْ وَضَعَ قَلَنْسُوَةِ الْمَجُوسِ عَلَى رَأْسِهِ أَوْ شَدَّ عَلَى وَسَطِهِ زُنَّارًا وَدَخَلَ دَارَ الْحَرْبِ لِلتِّجَارَةِ أَوْ لِيُخَلِّصَ الْأُسَارَى

And neither do al-Sharwani in his marginalia for Nihayat al-muhtaj (9:91) when quoting Asna al-matalib and Mughni al-Muhtaj

تحفة المحتاج في شرح المنهاج وحواشي الشرواني والعبادي (9/ 91)
ولا إن شد الزنار على وسطه أو وضع قلنسوة المجوس على رأسه ودخل دار الحرب للتجارة أو لتخليص الأسارى … مغني وأسنى.

– which Al-Mughni (5:431) attributes to Rawdat al-talibin:

مغني المحتاج إلى معرفة معاني ألفاظ المنهاج (5/ 431)
ولا إن شد الزنار على وسطه أو وضع قلنسوة المجوس على رأسه أو شد على وسطه زنارا ودخل دار الحرب للتجارة أو لتخليص الأسارى…، صرح بذلك كله في الروضة

And so does al-Isnawi in his Al-Muhimmat fi Sharh al-Rawdat wa al-Rafi’i (8:249)…

المهمات في شرح الروضة والرافعي (8/ 294)
ولو شد على وسطه [حبلا فسأل عنه فقال هذا زنار فالأكثرون على أنه يكفر. أو شد على وسطه] زنارًا ودخل دار الحرب للتجارة كفر. انتهى.
والحق ما قاله في “الروضة” أن الصواب في جميع هذه المسائل أنه لا يكفر بشيء منها إذا لم تكن له نية.
واعلم أن الرافعي قد ذكر في أوائل الجنايات في الطرف الرابع ما حاصله أن لبس زي الكفار لا يكون ردة، ونقل عن صاحب التهذيب أن تعظيم آلهتهم كذلك أيضًا وأقره ولم يبين النوع الذى حصل به التعظيم بل أطلق اللفظ وقد سبق هناك ذكره مع ما ذكره هنا مما ظاهره المعارضة.
واعلم أن هذه المسائل إنما جمعت بعضها إلى بعض وإن كان في خلالها مسائل أخرى فيها كلام لاشتراكها في ظهور عدم التكفير وتصويب النووي

المهمات في شرح الروضة والرافعي (8/ 295)
لذلك في جميعها كما ذكره على خلاف ما أشعر به إيراد الرافعي حيث ارتضاه ولم يرده، وقد ذكر الرافعي مسائل بالفارسية فحذفها النووي.

All of which shows that I’yanat al-talibin‘s sources mention the combination of wearing clothing distinctive to enemies of Islam and then entering their land for trade is not a cause for disbelief, thus connecting the two issue.

Secondly, even if its sources did not connect them and the issue is just about entering enemy lands: Iyanat al-talibin nonetheless concludes that it would not be a cause for apostasy.

As demonstrated above: The official position of the school is that entering their lands while wearing clothing distinctive to non-Muslims is not itself a cause for disbelief. A fortiori, I do not see how merely entering their lands without wearing something distinctive to them would be, either.

In closing: Contemporary Shafiis are aware of the ruling for this issue. It’s just that the books do not say what the author thinks they say. So while the Shafiʿi ruling is being misrepresented by a contemporary, it is not a contemporary Shafiʿi who is doing it.

And Allah knows best.

p.s. I did not link directly to the Facebook post or give a name in hopes that the author will realize his mistaken reading of the Shafiʿi school on this issue.

Addition: Entering enemy lands for the LOLs & partaking in their pork and wine removes you from Islam – fact or fiqhtion?

Elsewhere in Rawdat al-talibin, Imam al-Nawawi mentions the issue of entering enemy lands, without it being conjoined to wearing their clothing or going for trade:

روضة الطالبين وعمدة المفتين (10/ 65-66)
وَمَنْ دَخَلَ دَارَ الْحَرْبِ، وَشَرِبَ مَعَهُمُ الْخَمْرَ، وَأَكَلَ لَحْمَ الْخِنْزِيرِ، لَا يُحْكَمُ بِكُفْرِهِ

meaning: “Whoever enters enemy lands and drinks wine with them and eats pork, is not judged to be a disbeliever.”

The opinion is affirmed in later works, including Al-Nahjm al-wahhaj fi sharh Al-Minhaj

النجم الوهاج في شرح المنهاج (9/ 81)
ومن دخل دار الحرب فشرب معهم الخمر وأكل لحم الخنزير .. لم يكفر.

…and Asna al-matalib:

أسنى المطالب في شرح روض الطالب (4/ 119)
وَلَا إنْ دَخَلَ دَارَ الْحَرْبِ وَشَرِبَ مَعَهُمْ الْخَمْرَ، وَأَكَلَ لَحْمَ الْخِنْزِيرِ

Indeed, the issue is mention in even earlier books, including Al-Tahdhib…

التهذيب في فقه الإمام الشافعي (7/ 299)
ولو دخل مسلم دار الحرب، فكان يأكل معهم لحمر الخنزير، ويشرب الخمر، ويعم آلهتهم-: لا يحكم بكفره

meaning: “If a Muslim was to enter enemy lands and then repeatedly ate pork with them and drank wine […] he would not be judged to have disbelieved.

Interestingly enough, Imam al-Rafi’i himself included that very same issue and ruling in Fath al-aziz:

العزيز شرح الوجيز المعروف بالشرح الكبير ط العلمية (11/ 99)
ومَنْ دخَل دار الحرب، فشَرِبَ معهم الخَمْر، وأكل، لحم الخَنْزير، لم يُحْكَمْ بكفره

So, if Muslim enters enemy lands and commits acts that are known to all Muslims to be unlawful and indisputably so and still remains Muslim, someone who enters it for a valid purpose and does something that is not typically considered to be unlawful will also not be judged to have committed disbelief, a fortiori. Something to keep in mind here is that the authors are talking about someone who considers consuming wine and swine to be unlawful.

Really, the author of the original post has made a mountain out of the mirage of a molehill.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this addendum is to clarify the ruling of entering enemy lands without having a noble purpose for doing so. It is not to condone doing so, or committing acts of disobedience while doing so.

Addition #2: Imam al-Shafiʿi himself takfīrs Muslims who enter enemy lands for trade – fact or fiqhtion?

Imam al-Shafiʿi himself talked about the issue of an individual entering enemy lands for trade. Although “an individual” could mean Muslim or non-Muslim, there are places where he explicitly mentions Muslims entering enemy lands. In Al-Umm he wrote:

الأم للشافعي (4/ 261)
مَسْأَلَةُ مَالِ الْحَرْبِيِّ (قَالَ الشَّافِعِيُّ) : وَإِذَا دَخَلَ الذِّمِّيُّ أَوْ الْمُسْلِمُ دَارَ الْحَرْبِ مُسْتَأْمَنًا فَخَرَجَ بِمَالٍ مِنْ مَالِهِمْ يَشْتَرِي لَهُمْ شَيْئًا فَأَمَّا مَعَ الْمُسْلِمِ فَلَا نَعْرِضُ لَهُ وَيُرَدُّ إلَى أَهْلِهِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْحَرْبِ لِأَنَّ أَقَلَّ مَا فِيهِ أَنْ يَكُونَ خُرُوجُ الْمُسْلِمِ بِهِ أَمَانًا لِلْكَافِرِ فِيهِ

meaning: “When a protected non-Muslim citizen of the Islamic state [dhimmi] or a Muslim enter enemy lands, with safe passage, and exit it with some of their wealth to purchase something for them: As for [the wealth] with the Muslim, we do not interfere with it and it is returned to its owner in enemy lands since, at the very least, the Muslim taking it out with him is a form of protection for the non-Muslim in [enemy lands]…”

It is worth noting that Imam al-Shafiʿi says nothing negative about a Muslim performing trade on behalf of individuals living in enemy lands.

And this is how Imam al-Mawardi understood it, too, as indicated in his Al-Hawi:

الحاوي الكبير (14/ 278)
وَلَوْ دَخَلَ مُسْلِمٌ دَارَ الْحَرْبِ، فَدَفَعَ إِلَيْهِ أَهْلُهَا مَالًا لِيَشْتَرِيَ لَهُمْ بِهِ مَتَاعًا مِنْ بِلَادِ الْإِسْلَامِ، فَلِلْمَالِ أَمَانٌ إِذَا دَخَلَ بِهِ الْمُسْلِمُ، وَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ لِمَالِكِهِ أَمَانٌ، لِأَنَّ اسْتِئْمَانَهُمْ لَهُ أَمَانٌ مِنْهُ

meaning: “If a Muslim enters enemy lands and its inhabitants give him some of their wealth to buy goods for them from Muslim lands, the wealth has amnesty if the Muslim brings it in [to Muslim lands] …”

Notice that Imam al-Mawardi says “the Muslim brings it in,” thus confirming that the individual remains a Muslim.

So it seems safe to conclude that Imam al-Shafiʿi did not consider a Muslim entering enemy lands for trade to, itself, be a reason to judge that individual to be an apostate.

Also, Imam al-Shafiʿi mentioned other cases where a Muslim enters enemy lands without being automatically classified as a disbeliever. For example, while discussing punishments for murder, he says:

الأم للشافعي (6/ 37)
وَإِذَا دَخَلَ مُسْلِمٌ فِي دَارِ حَرْبٍ، ثُمَّ قَتَلَهُ مُسْلِمٌ فَعَلَيْهِ تَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مُؤْمِنَةٍ وَلَا عَقْلَ لَهُ إذَا قَتَلَهُ وَهُوَ لَا يَعْرِفُهُ بِعَيْنِهِ مُسْلِمًا

meaning: “When a Muslim enters enemy lands and a Muslim then kills him, he must free a single Muslim slave and no blood-money is required if he did not know that specific individual was a Muslim…”

Notice that Imam al-Shafiʿi considers this a Muslim-on-Muslim killing, which is possible only if he does not consider either one of them to have left Islam simply for entering enemy lands.

Imam al-Muzani is clearer and more explicit about this in his Mukhtasar:

مختصر المزني (8/ 380)
وَمَا فَعَلَ الْمُسْلِمُونَ بَعْضُهُمْ بِبَعْضٍ فِي دَارِ الْحَرْبِ لَزِمَهُمْ حُكْمُهُ حَيْثُ كَانُوا إذَا جُعِلَ ذَلِكَ لِإِمَامِهِمْ لَا تَضَعُ الدَّارُ عَنْهُمْ حَدَّ اللَّهِ وَلَا حَقًّا لِمُسْلِمٍ

meaning: “Whatever Muslims do to one each other in enemy lands, they will be held accountable for it if it is brought to their leader, for enemy lands do not absolve them of any of Allah’s prescribed punishments nor any Muslim’s just due.”

I mentioned this issue because it hints that Imam al-Shafiʿi did not consider merely entering enemy lands itself to be a cause for apostasy.

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