The Murji’ah are of four types:
ONE: Those who say that eemaan is merely knowledge (ma’rifah), even if this is not accompanied by testification (tasdeeq).
This is the statement of the Jahmiyyah.
This is the most evil and the ugliest of statements. It is in fact disbelief (kufr) in Allah Azza wa Jall, because the mushrikoon from the early times, and Pharaoh (Firawn), and Haamaan and Qaaroon and (even) Iblees all acknowledged (the existence) of Allaah, Azza wa Jall, in their hearts. However because they did not state this on their tongues, nor testify to this in their hearts, nor act upon it with their limbs, then this knowledge did not benefit them.
TWO: Those who say that eemaan is testification in the heart only.
This is the statement of the Ashaa’irah (the Ash’arees).
This is also a false statement since the disbelievers (kuffaar) testify in their hearts, they know that the Quraan is True and that the Messenger (sal Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam) is True, and the Jews and Christians know that.
Those to whom We gave the Scripture (Jews and Christians) recognise him (Muhammad sal Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) as they recognise their sons; but verily, a party of them conceal the truth while they know it – [i.e. the qualities of Muhammad sal Allaahu alaihi wa sallam which are written in the Tawraat and the Injeel]. (Surah Al Baqarah: 146)
And they testify to it in their hearts.
Allaah Ta'aala says regarding the Mushrikoon: We know indeed the grief which their words cause you (O Muhammad sal Allaahu alaihi wa sallam); it is not you that they deny but it is the Ayaat of Allaah that the Dhaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers) deny. (Surah Al An’aam: 33)
So these people did not state upon their tongues nor did they act with their limbs, yet they did testify in their hearts – so they did not become people of eemaan (mu’minoon).
THREE: The statement of those who are the direct opposite of the Ashaa’irah - and they are the Karaamiyah. Those who say that eemaan is statement on the tongue even if the person does not truly believe in his heart.
Without doubt, this is a false statement since the hypocrites (munaafiqoon) – those who are in the lowest depths of the Fire – say “We bear witness that laa ilaaha ill Allaah and that Muhammad rasool ullaah’ with their tongues and they act (accordingly) with their limbs, but they do not truly believe in that nor do they testify to it in their hearts.
This is just as Allaah Ta'aala says: When the hypocrites come to you (O Muhammad sal Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) they say: ‘We bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of Allaah’. And Allaah knows that you are indeed His Messenger and Allaah bears witness that the hypocrites are liars indeed. They have made their oaths a screen (for their hypocrisy). In this way they hinder (men) from the Path of Allaah. Verily, evil is what they used to do. (Surah Al Munaafiqoon: 1-2)
And He says, Subhaanahu wa ta’aala: They say with their tongues what is not in their hearts. (Surah Al Fath: 11)
FOUR: The statement of the murji’ah al fuqahaa, and they are the lightest of the groups in terms of irjaa’ - those who say that eemaan is belief (i’tiqaad) in the heart and statement upon the tongue, but action does not enter into it.
This is the statement of the Murji’ah al-Fuqahaa and this is a statement which is also incorrect since there is no eemaan without action.