Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
I was waiting on a cash desk when a man asked me if I am Muslim. I replied with “Yes” and then he said “Elhamdulillah”. He said:”I have the intention to become Muslim.” After that, we talked again without touching the topic of Islam and suddenly he walked away. Does it mean that I was pleased with his disbelief? What to do in such a situation?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
No, the scenario in question does not constitute being pleased or contented with disbelief (rida’ bi’l kufr).
In general, the jurists give examples which are indicative of principles they are trying to get across. They are not supposed to be taken literally, and this is why many jurists wrote explicitly that they do not give legal verdicts (fatwa) according to what is found in legal texts. Law is not so simplistic.
Even in an actual and serious case, the jurist will strive to take whichever position reasonably keeps the person within the fold of Islam. Anathema (takfir) is no small matter, and in our times, it is a cancer affecting the community of believers (umma). Please see the attached answers for further details and discussion.
Moreover, most people who intend to become Muslim are already subsumed within the faith by virtue of what they have believed in and accepted as truth. Thus, formally “accepting” and the like has social wisdoms, but isn’t an essential part of faith, just like the testimony of faith itself.
In any case, if you feel that you didn’t adequately assist, or you wish you would have said more, you can supplicate for the person in question. But if the person didn’t ask you of anything, nothing is specifically, religiously required from you.
[Qari, Sharh Alfadh al-Kufr (78-81); Ibn `Abidin, Sharh `Uqud Rasm al-Mufti (440)]
Please also see: What is the Ruling For Someone Who Has Thoughts of Disbelief Without Saying Them Aloud? and: Misgivings Regarding Apostasy and How to Deal with Them and: Overwhelmed and Confused in Trying to Understand and Practice Islam: What Can I Do? and: Did I Become a Disbeliever by Repeating Lyrics Containing Disbelief?
And Allah Most High alone knows best.
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.