Questioner: Noble Shaikh! Is it enough to establish the proof against the people of shirk and all the people of innovation or do they have to understand it? And what is the condition [by which to judge] this understanding? And Allaah the Most High says, “And We have placed over their hearts coverings …” and that is about the disbelievers, “And We have placed over their hearts coverings, lest they understand it, and in their ears deafness.” [Al-Israa 17:46]
Al-Albaani: There is no doubt that when Allaah the Blessed and Most High’s proof is presented to some people who are foreign to the Arabic language and which is something they do not understand then the proof has not been established against them. Due to that Allaah the Most High said, “And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them.” [Ibraahim 14:4].
So when a scholar establishes Allaah’s proof against His servants but they didn’t understand it due to some obscurity which occurred to them concerning their Arabic tongue or because they were non-Arabic speakers then at that time this scholar must explain Allaah the Blessed and Most High’s proof to them until it becomes clear. Once it has become clear to them and they then reject it after being certain of it, it is then judged that they are disbelievers and that they will abide in Hell forever.
As for just reciting the proof to the people without them understanding it then the people of knowledge are agreed that [in such a case] the proof has not been established, and Allaah the Blessed and Most High said, “And never would We punish until We sent a messenger,” [Israa 17:15] He means a messenger who speaks his people’s language so that they can understand what he is preaching to them about from the revelation which has been sent down to him from his Lord, the Blessed and Most High.
And for this reason, as an affirmation of this meaning, he عليه الصلاة والسلام said, as Imaam Muslim reported in his Saheeh from the hadith of Abu Hurairah may Allaah the Most High be pleased with him, that, ‘Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said, ‘There is no man from this ummah from the Jews or the Christians who hears about me and then does not believe in me except that he will enter the Fire.’
So in this hadith his صلى الله عليه وسلم statement regarding all of the disbelievers on the face of the earth whom news of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم reaches, [news showing how] he was in his call in its true form and then disbelieves in it, then such a person is in the Fire.
So his statement, ‘… who hears about me …’ means his true call, and naturally it does not mean that if an unbeliever from the Europeans for example, or the Americans or others, heard of our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم through the priests or monks or orientalists who tell lies about out Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and do not tell their people about the true reality of the manners and merits of Allaah’s Messenger’s صلى الله عليه وسلم person and who [also] do not speak about the reality of his call and that it is the call of monotheism and rectification in all aspects of life, but rather only speak to their people about things contrary to what he was upon صلى الله عليه وسلم relating to his person and his call–then there is no doubt that in such a circumstance these people would not have heard of him عليه الصلاة والسلام truly and for this reason that aforementioned warning at the end of the hadith does not apply to them.
I will repeat a mention of this hadith again due to its importance in relation to this topic, for many people assume that just by transmitting the Noble Quraan to unbelieving populations through Arabic radio that Allaah the Blessed and Most High’s proof has been established against them and as a result the Muslims don’t have to do anything in terms of conveying the message, it is not like that.
For the Quraan was sent down in an Arabic tongue and those people don’t understand any of it, how can they when many of the general Arabs themselves have become like foreigners who don’t understand what is recited to them from their Lord’s Book, so how can it be said that Allaah the Blessed and Most High’s proof has been established against those Europeans and their likes from those foreigners just because every day, morning and evening, they can hear the Quraan’s recitation on Arabic radio?
So there is no doubt a group of the Muslims, who are truly from the people of knowledge, must convey Islaam’s sharee’ah in the language of those peoples and they should be good at translating the Quraan, translating its meanings and not a literal translation.
This is the answer to that important question.
Fataawaa Jeddah, 26.