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Ahl al-Qibla

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Ahl al-qibla (Arabic: أهل القبلة) or people of the qibla refers to all Muslims who believe in the Ka'ba as their qibla. The term is used to prevent the excommunication of Muslims.

Definition

Ahl al-qibla is a person to whom the belief in Islam is attributed. Hence, all Islamic denominations and sects who believe in the Kaʿba as their qibla count as people of the qibla. According to Muhammad Jawad Mughniya, a Shi'a exegete of the twentieth century, the term “ahl al-qibla” is synonymous with the terms “ahl al-Qurʾan” (people of the Quran), “ahl al-shahadatayn” (people of the two testimonies), and “Muslim,” all of which refer to those who believe in God, the Prophet (s), and his tradition, and perform prayers toward the direction of the qibla; that is, the Kaʿba. Moreover, Mulla ʿAli Qari, a Sunni Hanafi scholar, believes that ahl al-qibla is a person who does not deny any essential doctrines of the religion. Thus, in his words, for Sunni scholars, a person who denies an essential doctrine such as the eternity of the world and resurrection does not count as Ahl al-qibla, even if he worships God throughout his life.

Jurisprudential Rulings

According to the majority of Shi'a and Sunni scholars, Ahl al-qibla’s life, property, and reputation should be respected. Moreover, it is not legitimate or permissible to excommunicate them and kill them when they are imprisoned in a war. Also, it is obligatory to perform funeral prayers for the deceased among them. As noted by Mulla ʿAli Qari, Abu Hanifa and Muhammad b. Idris al-Shafiʿi did not excommunicate Ahl al-qibla. He also notes that Sunni jurists do not excommunicate ahl al-qibla.

Nevertheless, there are Islamic sects that excommunicate the followers of other sects and permit their murder or execution. Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabism, believed that it was obligatory to kill those who seek the intercession of prophets, angels, and divine saints when praying to God, even though they admit the unity of God as the Lord (or lordship monotheism).

Furthermore, rulings of excommunication and impurity have been issued about Nawasib, Khawarij, and Muslims who have denied the essential doctrines of Islam, even though they believe in the Kaʿba as their qibla.

Jurisprudential Applications

The term “ahl al-qibla” appears in the jurisprudential rulings of the dead and jihad. It is said that Muslims did not know the rulings of the war with ahl al-qibla before the Battle of Jamal. Indeed, they only learned these rulings from Imam 'Ali (a) in this battle.

References

  • The material for this article is mainly taken from اهل قبله in Farsi WikiShia.