It has been related in a continuously related narration (mutawaatir) that many of those who say laa ilaaha illallaah will enter the Hellfire, but will eventually be taken out from it. It has also been related in mutawaatir form that Allaah has forbidden the Fire from devouring the traces of prostration from the children of Aadam; those that used to pray and prostrate to Allaah. It has been related in mutawaatir form that the Fire is forbidden to whoever says laa ilaaha illallaah or testifies to laa ilaaha illallaahu muhammadur-rasoolullaah. However, they occur with certain weighty restrictions. Many of those who utter it do not know what sincerity or certainty [towards it] means, and it is feared that if they do not understand this, then they may be put to trial at the time of death, whereby they are barred from it.
Indeed, most of the people who are put to trial at the time of death, or in their graves, are these types of people, as pointed out in the hadeeth: “I heard the people saying something, so I said the same.” (1).
This mostly occurs from those people who blindly follow. They are the people who best fit Allaah the Most High’s saying:
“Indeed we found our fathers following a certain way and religion, and we will surely follow in their footsteps.” [Soorah az-Zukhruf 43:23].
Therefore, there is no contradiction between these ahaadeeth.
Since if laa ilaaha illallaah is said with complete sincerity and certainty, there will not be - in such a state - persistence towards sinning. Indeed, perfect sincerity and certainty necessitate that Allaah becomes more beloved to that person than everything else, and hence no desire will remain to do what Allaah has prohibited, nor will there be any dislike for what Allaah has commanded. Such is the person to whom the Fire will be prohibited, even if he committed sins previous to this. Since this faith, this sincere repentance and sincerity, and this true love and certainty, will not leave any sin with such a person, except that it will be blotted out, just as the night blots out the day.” Here end the words of the Shaykh, rahimahullaah.(2).
Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab said: “There is another
misconception that is raised. They say that the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam reprimanded Usaamah for killing a person after he had uttered laa ilaaha illallaah, and he said:
“Have you killed him after he had uttered laa ilaaha illallaah!”(3).
There are other ahaadeeth concerning withholding from one who utters the kalimah.
The intent of these ignorant ones is that whoever utters the kalimah, then it is not permissible to ever declare them to be unbelievers, nor to fight them - regardless of what they do! So to these ignorant ones it is said: It is known that Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘ala yhi wa sallam fought the jews and captured them, despite their utterance of laa ilaaha illallaah.
And the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘ala yhi wa sallam fought against Banoo Haneefah, inspite of them bearing witness to laa ilaaha illallaahu muhammadurrasoolullaah, and despite them praying and claiming that they were Muslims.(4).
(1) Hasan: Part of a lengthy hadeeth reported by at-Tirmidhee (no.737), from Abu Hurayrah radhiyallahu anhu. Shaykh al-Albaanee verified its soundness in as-Saheehah (no.1391).
(2) Tayseerul-Azeezul-Hameed (pp.61-62).
(3) Reported by al-Bukhaaree (no.4269) and Muslim (no.159).
(4) That was when Banoo Haneefah apostatized under the leadership of the false prophet, Musaylamah. The Companions fought them at the battle of Yamaamah, during the rule of Aboo Bakr radiallaahu ‘anhu, in the year 11H. Consult al-Kaamil (2/218-224) of Ibn al-Atheer.