The Conditions Of Takfir


takfirIn modern times takfir (classing another Muslim as a kaafir (disbeliever)) has become very common among the takfires and those influenced by them, especially takfir of the Muslim rulers. Sadly many of those who make takfir do not understand the conditions of takfir, so in this article the five conditions for takfire will be outlined.

Unfortunately many Muslims and especially the takfires make takfir of the rulers based on general descriptions like, the one who rules other than Allahs law is a disbelieve and allying with the kuffaar against Muslims is disbelief.

But what they fail to understand is when making takfir of individual Muslim rulers it is not allowed to make takfire of them using these general descriptions, because for individual takfir the rulers’ situation has to be investigated.

Shaykh Uthaymeen said “Hence, the meaning of the words of Shaykh ul-Islam (Ibn Taymiyyah) – it is said: the disbelief that is associated with a description, then judgement can be made by it in all circumstances, [such as] whoever disbelieves in Allaah will be in the Fire, whoever prostrates to an idol is a disbeliever, whoever says that there is another deity alongside Allaah is a disbeliever [and so on]. However, with respect to a specific individual, you must not make a judgement (of  takfir) against him until you investigate; he could be ignorant and not know, or he could have made an interpretation (ta’wil) [that is incorrect], or there could be a situation in which he was made to utter words without actually intending them.”
Liqaa ul-Baab al-Maftooh (v36. No 1020)

Investigation of the ruler involves investigating his situation and applying the conditions of takfir to him to see if the general description of takfir applies to him or not.

Conditions of Takfir Al-Muayyin (Takfir of a particular individual) from the Muslims

Condition #1
This first condition which is a scholar and only a scholar can perform takfir al-muayyin of an individual Muslim is much disputed by the takfires as they hate this condition because it means the bulk of their dawah will get demolished.

This because the majority of their dawah is built around the fact the Muslim rulers all being individual kuffaar (disbelievers) as declared by the takfires (NOT THE SCHOLARS OF AHLUS SUNNAH). As the takfires have no scholars among their ranks this condition would mean in effect that all those rulers they made takfir of, are Muslim as their takfirs have been all invalid as this condition has not been fulfilled. Meaning the takfire dawah would be shattered.

The fact only the scholars have the right to make takfir is not an issue for dispute as it is proven by the Quran, Sunnah, Qiyas (analogical deduction), basic logic and the speech of the scholars.

To make takfir al-muayyin of an individual Muslim a high level of knowledge is needed. Only the scholars have the right to make takfir al-muayyin of an individual Muslim due to them possessing the high level of knowledge needed to make this type of takfir.

The level of knowledge the scholars have on all areas of Islam is not equalled by the laymen, daaeeis or students of knowledge.

Allah says, “Say: Are they equal, those who have knowledge (the scholars) and those who do not (the laymen, daaeeis or students of knowledge)? But only the men of understanding will take admonition.” [Soorah Zumar 39:9].

Allah emphasizes the status of the scholars knowledge, Allaah calls upon the prophets and then the scholars (due to their high level of knowledge) to bear witness to His Oneness.

Allah said, “Allah bears witness that La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness); (He always) maintains His creation in justice. Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the AllMighty, the All-Wise” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:18]

The takfires do not understand that the reason the scholars have this right to make takfir alone is because they are superior to other Muslims due to their knowledge of Islam, acting upon that knowledge and teaching others the knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah.

The prophet said, “…The superiority of the scholar over the worshipper is like that of the full moon at night over the rest of the stars…”[Saheehul Jaami #6297].

Allah has truly made the scholars superior to the laymen, daaeeis or students of knowledge as they are the inheritors of the all the prophets. The scholars inherited the propets knowledge of Islam, thus in the prophets time when they where alive only they had the right to pass the judgement of takfir upon any individual follower of theirs as they had the greatest knowledge.

Therefore after all of the prophets died only their inheritors (the scholars) have some of this knowledge as this was their inheritance. So the right to pass the judgement of takfir upon individual Muslims also lays with the scholars has they have inherited the knowledge from the prophets that gives them that right alone.

The prophet said, “…Verily the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets, who leave behind neither Dinar nor Dirham, they only leave knowledge as their heritage:  so whoever acquires it has acquired a huge fortune.” [Saheehul Jaami #6297].

Imam al-Aajurree said, “Consider – may Allaah have mercy upon you – a path thwarted with great dangers, yet people need to traverse it, even in the darkness of the night.

If there were no light upon this path the people would be terrified.

However, Allaah gave to them a guiding light with which they were able to traverse this path in peace and safety.

Then came groups of people who also needed to traverse this path, so they traversed it.

However, during this time the guiding light became extinguished and the people returned to a state of darkness. So what would your opinion be about their condition?

This is the example of the scholars and the people.

Most people do not know how to fulfil their obligatory duties, nor how to avoid forbidden matters, nor how to worship Allaah correctly (yet these same people think they can make takfir this is insanity); all of this they learn from the scholars.

So with the death of the scholars, mankind returns to a state of anxiety and terror, the teaching of knowledge dies, whilst ignorance prevails; what an enormous calamity this is for the Muslims. Indeed to Allaah we belong and to Him will we all return.”

Ibn Taymiyyah, said, “Every nation, before the sending of our Prophet Muhammad, then their scholars were the worst of them, except for the Muslims. For indeed their scholars are the best of them and they are the successors of the Messenger in this nation.”

Also if the takfires understand that in Islam there is a (Hukm) rule that only scholars can give a fatwa they can make Qiyas between this rule and the fact that only the scholars can issue verdicts of takfir on individual Muslims which are like fatwa’s in their importance and benefit to the ummah.

This is a strong correct Qiyas as it Qiyas jali (obvious analogy) and  not Qiyas Khafi (hidden analogy).

The reason Qiyas can be done between the rule that only scholars can give a fatwa and the fact that only scholars can issue verdicts of takfir is because Illah (the cause of ruling in the original case (the Asl)) is exactly the same in the Far (the new case on which ruling is to be given the new case is).

The Illah (the cause of the ruling in the original case (the Asl)) is having a very high level of Islamic knowledge. The scholars have the most knowledge of Islam out of the laymen, daaeeis or students of knowledge so they are the only Muslim people who have the right to give fatwa’s (legal verdicts). Therefore it makes sense that the scholars must also be the only Muslim people who have the right to make takfir based on their superior knowledge of Islam.

Thus this Qiyas is called Qiyas-al-musawi (analogy of equals), the Illah is present in the Asl and Far equally, this type of Qiyas makes the Qiyas between these two things even stronger and more correct.

Another Qiyas which can be given to help understand why only scholars can issue verdicts of takfir on individual Muslims, is another this Qiyas is called Qiyas-al-musawi (analogy of equals), the Illah is present in Asl and Far equally which is Qiyas jali (obvious analogy).

The Qiyas is between the agreed upon (by the scholars) (Hukm) rule that only scholars can do ijtihad and the (hukm). When there is no clear rule in available in the text (Nass) of the Quran and the Sunnah, then ijtihad is applicable. The subject matter of ijtihad is the practical rules of the shariah not covered by the Quran, the Sunnah or ijmahs.

The Illah (the cause of the ruling in the original case (the Asl)) is having a high level of Islamic knowledge. The scholars have the most knowledge of Islam out of the laymen, daaeeis or students of knowledge so they are the only Muslim people who have the right to perform ijtihad.

As the Illah is present in the Asl and the Far is equally it means the scholars should be the only Muslim people who have the right to make takfir of individual Muslims based on their superior knowledge of Islam, like wise based on the scholars superior knowledge of Islam only they can perform ijtihad.

Plus making takfir upon an individual Muslim is reserved only for the scholars due to two logical reasons;

The level of knowledge needed to make takfir of an individual Muslim.

The reason why the level of knowledge needed to make takfir of a Muslim is so much is because;

  • all the proofs that need to be established upon the person
  • then explained in detail to the person accused of kufr,
  • his level of understanding needs to be looked into and if it is not to the required level the scholar has to explain the proofs to him again and again until his understanding of them is correct,
  • the persons wilfulness in doing the action or saying the statement of kufr must be looked into,
  • all the preventive factors to takfir need to be eliminated from the person accused of kufr,
  • after the scholar has established this takfir the scholar needs to be able to explain everything to other scholars in order to get an ijmah on his takfir of this person
  • And he has to explain his takfir to the ummah as a whole.

The people best suited for the job of making takfir are those with the most knowledge of the religion and they are the scholars.

The other reason only the scholars can make takfir of Muslims is because of the dangers of incorrectly making takfir upon a Muslim. A scholar, a student of knowledge, a daaeei or a layman could get takfir wrong. However to minimise the danger of takfir being made incorrectly the right to making takfir of an individual Muslim has been left to the scholars as they are least likely to get takfir incorrect as they have the most knowledge and the best understanding of the Quran, the Sunnah and the Islamic principals in regards to takfir and all other areas of Islam.

Those Muslims who are from the laymen, daaeeis or students of knowledge who wish to make takfir of a Muslim should with hold their tongues as they do not have enough knowledge to make takfir on individual Muslims, those who do make takfir of individual Muslims are speaking without knowledge, Allah warns against this he says, “And follow not (O man, i.e., say not, or do not, or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge. Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those ones will be questioned (by Allah)” [al-Israa’ 17:36] 

Also when the laymen, daaeeis or students of knowledge who wish to make takfir of a Muslim thinking they can make takfir of this person just like the scholars can.

They should known they and the scholars are not on the same level in regards to knowledge. Allah has raised the scholars above other men due to their knowledge so Allah has given the right and responsibility of takfir of individual Muslims to the scholars as a way of showing that their level of knowledge (of Islam) is far superior to that of others hence Allah has given them a right which others can never attain due to their lack of knowledge.

The scholars occupy a noble status in Islam which is higher than the position of others in this world and in the Hereafter. Allaah says, “Allah will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge” [al-Mujaadilah 58:11]

Due to the knowledge Allah has granted the scholars, Allah has raised the scholars to such a high level that their sins are forgiveness without them doing anything. The prophet said, “…all that is found in the heavens and the earth and even the fish in the depth of the water seek forgiveness for the scholar.” [Saheehul Jaami #6297].

Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan said, “The judgement of apostasy and expelling someone from the religion is only appropriate for the people of knowledge (scholars) who are firmly grounded in knowledge, and they are the judges in the various shariah law courts, and those who are able of giving legal verdicts. And this is just like the other matters, and it is not the right of every person, or from the right of those who are learning, or those who ascribe themselves to knowledge, but who have deficiency in understanding. It is not appropriate for them to make judgements of apostasy (upon others).

Since mischief will arise from this, and sometimes a Muslim might be judged as an apostate but he is not actually so the takfir of a Muslim who has not committed one of the nullifications of Islam contains great danger. Whoever says to his brother “O Kaafir” or “O Faasiq”, and he is not like that, then the words will fall back upon the one who said them.

Hence, the ones who actually judge with apostasy are the legislative judges (the scholars) and those who are able and fit for giving legal verdicts. And as for those who enforce the judgements they are the leaders of the Muslims. As for whatever is other than this, then it is mere confusion.” Maraaji’aat fee Fiqh il-Waaqi… (comp. by Abdullaah bin Muhammad ar-Rifaa’ee

Also Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan stated: “It is obligatory for the ignoramus not to speak and to keep quiet and fear Allah, The Exalted and Majestic, and to not speak without knowledge,

Allah says, “Say, My Lord has only forbidden immoralities – what is apparent of then and what is concealed – and sin (any unlawful action), and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.” {al’A’raaf (7): 33}

So it is not permissible for the ignoramus to speak in issues of knowledge especially in regards to major issues such as takfir, jihad and al-walaa wal-baraa (allegiance and association). As for slander and backbiting in regards to the honour of the people in authority and the honour of the scholars, then this is the most severe type of backbiting and as a result is not permissible. As for current events which have passed or are taking place then these are affairs for the people in authority to research and seek counsel over and it is for the scholars to explain its Divinely Legislated ruling.

As for the general and common people and beginning students it is not their issue.

Allah says, “And when there comes to them something (I.e. information) about (public) security or fear, they spread it around. But if they had only referred it back to the Messenger or to those in authority (scholars are the authority in regards to religious affairs and the Muslim rulers are the authority in regards to the worldly affairs) among them, then the ones who can draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it. And if not for the favour of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have followed Satan, except for a few.”{an-Nisaa (4): 83}

So it is incumbent to refrain the tongue in speaking about the likes of such issues, especially takfir, allegiance and disavowal. And humans are mostly ignorant of its application and can apply it incorrectly and thus judge a person with misguidance and kufr, and the ruling could thus return upon the claimant. So if a person says to his brother “O kaafir, O fasiq” and the man is not like that (i.e. neither a kaafir nor a fasiq) the ruling can return upon the one who said it, and Allah’s refuge is sought. This is a very dangerous issue, so it is upon the one who fears Allah to refrain his tongue except if he is from those who are entrusted to deal with such issues, from the people in authority or the scholars.” Muhammad bin Fadh al-Husayn (editor and compiler), al-Ajabaat ak-Muhimmah fi’l-Mashaakil al-Mumilah (Riyadh: Mataabi’ al-Humaydee, 1425 AH/2004 CE, Second Edition), pp.56-58

Furthermore Shaykh Dr Baasim bin Faysal al-Jawaabirah explained that the scholars are to be referred to in regards to newly-arisen issues. This refers to seeking the correct position with regard to the issues of takfir of a Muslim who some think is an apostate while others think he is still a Muslim, jihad, revolts against Muslim rulers and any other issue which was not there before and has arisen now. This would be referred to as a newly arisen issue.

The shaykh said, “There is no doubt that the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets except that they are not infallible and Allah instructed that they be resorted back to

(Allah said), “Ask the people of remembrance (i.e. the scholars) if you do not know.” {an-Nahl (16): 43}, and

Allah also says, “And when there comes to them something (i.e. information) about (public) security or fear, they spread it around. But if they had only referred it back to the Messenger or to those of authority (scholars are the authority in regards to religious affairs and the Muslim rulers are the authority in regards to the worldly affairs)among them, and then the ones who (can) draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it. And if not for the favour of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have followed Shaytan, except for a few of you.” {an-Nisaa (4): 83}

The Prophet said: “Whoever Allah wishes good for, he grants him understanding of the deen.” Bukhari and Muslim, from the hadeeth of Muaawiyyah.

There are other evidences which indicate the virtue of the Ulema (scholars), their elevated position and the necessity to refer back to them, especially in regards to newly-arisen issues.” Taken from the shaykhs book Takfeer: Fee Daw’ is-Sunnah in-Nabawiyyah (n.p., 2006 CE/1428 AH, 1st Edn.), pp.11-37.

As for making takfir of those individuals who are not Muslim they are dived into two categories which are:

1. Making takfir of an individual with no religion: Atheist (those who do not believe in Allah and agnostics (those who believe in Allah but reject all religions including Islam) – All Muslims (lay men, daaeeis, students of knowledge and scholars) can (and have to) make takfir of a person who belongs to this  group based on their actions and beliefs because their actions are major kufr (disbelieve) and their beliefs are major kufr and Allah and his messenger have made takfir of these people in the Quran and Sunnah. Also there is an ijmah (consensus) of the Muslims on this group being kufr based on their actions and beliefs.

2. Making takfir of an individual who follows another faith like Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and any other religion. All Muslims (lay men, daaeeis, students of knowledge and scholars) can (and have to) make takfir of a person who belongs to this  group based on their actions and beliefs because their actions are major kufr (disbelieve) and their beliefs are major kufr and Allah and his messenger have made takfir of these people in the Quran and Sunnah. Also there is an ijmah (consensus) of the Muslims on this group being kufr based on their actions and beliefs. Also there is an ijmah (consensus) of the Muslims on this group being kufr based on their actions and beliefs.

So in regards to the above two categories all of the Muslims not just the scholars can and must make takfir of every individual in the above two categories. The Muslims who refuse to make takfir of these individuals it is feared they may themselves become a kuffaar like these individuals due to this action of with holding from making takfir.

Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdil Wahab states in his ten nullifiers of Islam (in regards to those with no religion and follows of other faiths). The third nullifier is: Whoever does not hold the mushriks (or any other type of kaafir) to be disbelievers, or has doubts about their disbelief or considers their ways and beliefs to be correct, has committed kufr (disbelief).
Muallafaat al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhaab, 212, 213

Making takfir of an individual with no religion and the individual who follows another faith so they reject and deny the five pillars of Islam and the six pillars of emaan and they state they are not Muslim, TAKFIR OF SUCH A PERSON IS OBLIGATORY ON ALL MUSLIMS NOT JUST THE SCHOLARS, because it requires hardly any knowledge of Islam what so ever and the danger of getting this type of takfir wrong is nearly non-existent. Even a new Muslim automatically understands that those who state they are not Muslim and reject and deny the five pillars of Islam and the six pillars of emaan are kuffaar.

But as for making takfir of an individual Muslim who claims to be Muslim states he believes in the five pillars of Islam and the six pillars of emaan and may do some may be not all of the obligatory and recommend acts of Islam out of their own free will requires a great deal of knowledge and the danger of getting this type of takfir wrong is great SO ONLY THE SCHOLARS CAN MAKE THIS TYPE OF TAKFIR (as explained early in this section).


Shaykh Muhammad Umar Bazmool clarified the 2nd, 3rd and 4th conditions in regarding to making takfir of an individual Muslim he said, “And a specific individual does not become a kaafir in their view (Ahlus Sunnah) except with the fulfilment of the following matters:

Shaykh Muhammad Umar Bazmool words are everything outside of the brackets.

Condition #2

Establishment of the proof (from Quran, Sunnah and Ijmah (consensus of the companions of the prophet Mohammed or after they all died the consensus of the scholars Ahlus Sunnah)
(Ibn Taymiyyah agreed with this condition he said in his Majmoo al-Fataawa (12/466), “It is not proper for a person to declare anyone a Kaafir from amongst the Muslims… until the evidence is established against him…” Shaykh Uthaymeen also agreed with the condition of establishing the proof, he said, “For the judgement of the takfir of a (individual) Muslim…the evidence that this matter (his action of kufr or statement of kufr) is something that expels from the religion is established (upon this individual Muslim proofing to him from the Quran, Sunnah or ijmah that this Muslims action or statement was haraam and kufr as he may not even have known his action was haraam let alone kufr.).”)

Condition #3

Affirmation of the [fulfilment] of the conditions are:

A) (Ilm) Acquisition of correct knowledge.

B) (Qasd) Corroboration of the wilful intent (to utter the saying or perform the action.)

(Shaykh Uthaymeen also agreed with the condition of Ilm and Qasd, he said, “…the application of the ruling (of takfir of an individual Muslim) upon the one who does that (a statement of kufr (disbelief) or an action of kufr), is that he has knowledge (ilm) of it (he is aware of his actions so he is not crazy or intoxicated for example) and that he intends (qasd) it (he did not say the statement of kufr or do the action kufr intending to do a halaal action but did this action or said this statement by accident for example).”)

Condition #4

The absence of any barriers (preventative factors of making takfir al-muayyin (takfir of an individual), which are four, and which are incompatible with (cancel out) the conditions (of ilm and qasd)

(Ibn Taymiyyah agreed with this condition, he said, “Indeed takfir has…impediments (preventative factors, that) are (in need of being) negated in regards to an individual (Muslim, if it is to be proven using the conditions of takfir that he is kaafir).” Majmoo al-Fataawa 12/487, 488)

(Listed below are the four preventative factors of takfir al-muayyin of a Muslim.)

1. Ignorance that negates knowledge. (When a Muslim has no knowledge due to his ignorance of the religion that he has done an act or said a statement of kufr then he is held accountable for this. Allah only holds Muslims to account and punishes them after they know (so they are no longer ignorant) they should not hold this belief of kufr, or do that act or say that statement of kufr. Allaah says ,“And Allaah will never lead a people astray after He has guided them until He makes clear to them as to what they should avoid (they are not ignorant of what they should avoid). Verily, Allaah is the All-Knower of everything” [al-Tawbah 9:115]

Ibn Taymiyyah said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (12/180), “…the one who understands (is not ignorant of) the message brought by the Messenger, but deliberately goes against the way of the Messenger after true guidance has become clear to him, and follows a path other than that of the believers, is a kaafir.”

Ibn Taymiyyah also explained the condition of the Muslim who is ignorant due laziness in seeking knowledge concerning the religion, he said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (12/180), The one who…fails to seek the truth and speaks without knowledge is a disobedient sinner…”

Shaykh Uthaymeen said “if he is ignorant, he does not become a disbeliever, due to His saying, “And whoever contends with the Messenger after the guidance has been made clear to him, and he follows a path other than the path of the believers, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen and land him in Jahannam (hell), an evil refuge” (4:115) and His saying, “And Allaah is not one to misguide a people after He has guided them, until He explains to them that which they should avoid…” (9:115), and His saying, “And We never punish until we have sent a Messenger.” (17.15).

However, when this person is neglectful in abandoning learning and attaining clarity, he is not to be excused. Such as when it reaches him that this action of his is kufr, and then he does not verify it (that it is as such), and nor does he investigate, then in this situation, he is not to be excused.” Liqaa ul-Baab al-Maftooh (v36. No 1020))

2. Compulsion that negates wilful intent. (When a Muslim is forced to do an act or say a statement of kufr involuntarily while not accepting this statement or action as correct in his heart. He is not to be judge to be a kaafir in that case, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Whoever disbelieved in Allaah after his belief, except him who is forced there to and whose heart is at rest with Faith; but such as open their breasts to disbelief, on them is wrath from Allaah, and theirs will be a great torment” [al-Nahl 16:106] and Allaah says, “And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been shown clearly to him (i.e. he is no longer ignorant of the right path because Allah showed the man the right path through the mans knowledge of the right path), and follows other than the believers’ way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell — what an evil destination!” [al-Nisa’ 4:115]

Shaykh Uthaymeen said “A man is compelled to prostrate to an idol, so he prostrates. And another is compelled to utter a statement of kufr, so he says it. Have both of these men disbelieved? No.

Because Allaah has said, Whoever disbelieved in Allah after his belief, except him who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with Faith but such as open their breasts to disbelief, on them is wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a great torment. [Nahl 16:106]

So His statement “Whoever disbelieves in Allaah after having faith” is inclusive of the one who disbelieves by words or deeds. So this man who prostrated to an idol under compulsion and the man who uttered a statement of disbelief under compulsion, is his action one of kufr or not? Yes, his action is one of kufr. But is he a kafir? No. This is because, there exists a preventative barrier that restrains from takfir, and that is compulsion.” Liqaa ul-Baab al-Maftooh (v36. No 1020))

3. Error (Mistake) which negates wilful intent. (So when a person errors and does an act or says a statement of kufr by accident this means the action or statement takes place unintentionally. Every act or statement of kufr that a Muslim commits because he makes a mistake is forgiven by Allaah, Allaah says, “Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error (a mistake)” [al-Baqarah 2:286]. So the Muslim is only brought to account for what he does deliberately, not for what he does by mistake unintentionally.)

4. Faulty interpretation that negates wilful intent (as it leads to misinterpretation. When a Muslim misunderstands something from the religion but he does not realise so, he thinks he has understood this issue from the religion correctly while he really has not understood the issue correctly and therefore does an act, statement or holds a believe of kufr based on his misunderstanding of a certain Islamic issue he is not judge to be a kaafir as he done this unintentionally believing he is correct not knowing he was wrong. Judging a Muslim to be a kaafir is not valid except in the case of the one who deliberately goes against the shariah evidence and who knows that he is wrong.  Allaah says, “And there is no sin on you concerning that in which you made a mistake, except in regard to what your hearts deliberately intend. And Allaah is Ever Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-Ahzaab 33:5]

Ibn Taymiyyah said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (12/180), “With regard to takfir the correct view is that a member of the ummah of Muhammad who strives to reach the truth concerning a certain issue, but reaches the wrong conclusion (due to a faulty interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah), is not to be deemed a kaafir, rather he will be forgiven for his mistake.

So no judgement of disbelief upon a specific individual is not made until these matters are corroborated, as opposed to (the case) of takfir al-mutlaq (general takfir).”

Condition #5

The last condition is there has to be ijmah (consensus) of the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah on the takfir of an individual Muslim who was made takfir of by a scholar Ahlus Sunnah.

The takfires wish to reject this condition because often they make takfir of the Muslim rulers, governments and others and these takfirs of theirs are always rejected by the scholars and as the scholars believe their takfir of these individuals as unjustified.

So the takfires have never ever had an ijmah of the scholars on any of their takfirs, so in order to make their takfirs seem legitimate they claim it is not a condition for some ones (they should say a scholars takfir but they rejected that condition) takfir to be correct that the scholars have to have an ijmah on this takfir.

However what they fail to understand is takfir is not a small matter especially takfir of individual rulers, it is a matter of public security one the greatest matters of public security.

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said, “Matters related to public welfare and safety (umoorul-’aammah) – from the matters related to Sharee’ah politics, peace, security and fear – should be referred back to the oolul-amr (those in authority).”

Allah says, “And when there comes to them something (I.e. information) about (public) security or fear, they spread it around. But if they had only referred it back to the Messenger or to those in authority (oolul-amr) among them, then the ones who can draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it. And if not for the favour of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have followed Satan, except for a few.”{an-Nisaa (4): 83}

The oolul-amr (those in authority) are the scholars as they are the authority in regards to religious affairs and the Muslim rulers as they are the authority in regards to the worldly affairs.

Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said, “This is why those who are in authority are of two groups: the scholars (scholars is in the plural form this denotes more than just one scholar, it denotes many if not all the scholars) and the rulers.”

So when a person makes takfir of anyone but especially the rulers and governments like the takfires often do this is a matter of public security so this matter must be returned to those who are in authority (oolul-amr). Those in authority are the rulers and all of the scholars so takfir must be returned to the scholars as they are the authority in religious matters and then if they (the scholars) collectively agree on a persons takfir then they can inform the ruler who is in charge of the worldly matters so he can carry out the hudood for apostasy on this individual.

Even though the takfires deny this condition the verse in surah an-Nisaa (4:83) proves that takfir has to be referred back to the scholars for the scholars agreed judgement. When all the scholars make and agreed judgement on any issue it is known as an ijmah hence the condition: there has to be ijmah (consensus) of the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah on the takfir of an individual Muslim who was made takfir of by a scholar Ahlus Sunnah.

Imaam as-Sa’dee commented on the verse discussed above surah an-Nisaa (4:83).

Allah says, “And when there comes to them something (I.e. information) about (public) security or fear, they spread it around. But if they had only referred it back to the Messenger or to those in authority (oolul-amr) among them, then the ones who can draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it. And if not for the favour of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have followed Satan, except for a few.”{an-Nisaa (4): 83}

Imaam as-Sa’dee said “This is the disciplinary admonition from Allaah to His Servants with regards to their unbefitting action. And that it is a must for them, that when there comes to them some news concerning important issues (like takfir) – such as issues connected to public welfare and safety of the Believers, or those that are related to breach of security, or fear of a calamity befalling them – that they should first verify such news and not be hasty in spreading it.

Rather, they should refer such issues back to the Messenger (after his death refers to his authentic Sunnah),

and to the people in authority (Imam Ibn Katheer, said, “those who are in authority (oolul-amr), (are) from the rulers and the scholars (scholars is in the plural form this denotes more than just one scholar, it denotes many if not all the scholars).”)

; Those who possess knowledge, understanding, sound advice, intellect, maturity and composure; those who understand the affairs and have knowledge of the associated benefits and harms (these people are the scholars collectively).

If they see that in broadcasting it there is a benefit and a nashaat and a cause of happiness for the Believers, and a means of protection from their enemies, then they should do so. But if they see that there is no benefit in it, or that there is some benefit but the harm in it is greater, then they should not do so.

This is why Allaah said: “Then the proper people (the scholars as they are the oolul-amr) would have investigated and evaluated the matter from them.”

Meaning: That they (the scholars) would (have) evaluated it with there sound understanding, there firm and correct knowledge.

So in this is an evidence for an important principle which is: If there arises a need to investigate a particular issue, then it is obligatory that it is left to those who are qualified for it (the scholars), and no one should precede them in this – and this is what is closer to what is correct, and safer from error.

And in this also is a prohibition of being hasty and impatient in spreading the news as soon as they hear it.

Likewise there is a command to reflect and consider before speaking, so he looks into it to see if there is a benefit in doing so, if so he embarks upon it, and if not, he abstains from it.”

If a person understands the words of Imaam as-Sa’dee properly then they would understand that when issues of public safety and security arise such as takfir especially takfir of the Muslim ruler this issue should be referred to those who possess knowledge, understanding, sound advice, intellect, maturity and composure; those who understand the affairs and have knowledge of the associated benefits and harms.

Those people are the scholars and the laymen, daaeeis or students of knowledge are not from the people of who possess knowledge, understanding, sound advice, intellect, maturity and composure; those who understand the affairs and have knowledge of the associated benefits and harms.

The reason for this they have been commanded by Allah to turn to the scholars, so how then can they  (the laymen, daaeeis or students of knowledge) be people who can issue verdicts of takfir on individual Muslims, when this is an issue of public safety on which only the scholars can speak and have to agree upon.

Shaykh Dr Baasim bin Faysal al-Jawaabirah explained that the scholars are to be referred to in regards to newly-arisen issues.

He said, “There is no doubt that the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets except that they are not infallible and Allah instructed that they be resorted back to

(Allah said), “Ask the people of remembrance (i.e. the scholars) if you do not know.” {an-Nahl (16): 43)…”

Therefore after a SCHOLAR has issued takfir on an individual Muslim and this SCHOLAR believes he has fulfilled the pervious conditions of takfir (which have been discussed early). THEN ALL THE SCHOLARS OF AHLUS SUNNAH HAVE TO LOOK INTO HIS TAKFIR TO SEE IF THEY AGREE OR DISAGREE with this takfir then IF THERE IS IJMAH (SCHOLARLY CONSENUS) on his takfir being correct and then his takfir of this individual Muslim will be an established fact in the Ummah which no one from the Muslims can deny or disagree with.

Even though the verdict of takfir may be issued by a scholar and held as correct by some others it is not considered a binding fact upon every Muslim to hold takfir of this individual as correct and something to be followed unless ALL THE SCHOLARS OF AHLUS SUNNAH AGREE on this individuals takfir. So takfir of no Muslim can be established in this ummah as a fact if the scholars differ over this person’s takfir.

Ibn Abdul Barr said, “The Quran and the Sunnah clearly forbid making tasfeeq and takfir of a Muslim without ambiguity. Whoever’s Islaam is affirmed at any given time according to the consensus of the Muslims and then commits a sin or makes a false interpretation then after that they (the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah) differed over whether the person had left Islaam or not.

But their difference was only after their consensus with a proof (that the person did commit kufr of action (minor kufr) but uncertain whether this person did kufr of belief (major kufr)), for one is not agreed upon to have been expelled from Islaam except with another agreed upon ruling (by the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah), or with an affirmed Sunnah which does not contradict the ruling.

Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah, who are the people of fiqh and athar, have agreed on the fact that one is not expelled from Islaam due to committing a sin, even if it be major.

The people of innovation differed from this and what is obligatory upon inspection is that takfir is not made except when all (the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah) have reached a consensus on the person’s takfir or when there is an evidence justifying the person’s takfir from the Book and the Sunnah (which in turn will lead to a consensus on the person’s takfir).  At-Tamheed fi’l-Muwatta’ min al-Ma’aani wa’l-Asaaneed (Morocco: Wazeerat ul-Awqaf al-Maghribiyyah, 1967 CE), vol.17, p.22

Ibn Aabideen stated: “One should not judge a Muslim with kufr especially when his words can possibly be good (have a meaning other than that of major kufr), or there was a difference of opinion in regards to the person’s kufr even with a weak narration. Based on this, most of the relayed terms of takfeer do not justify takfeer and I myself adhere to not give these rulings.” Haashiyat Ibn ’Aabideen (Daar ul-Fikr, 1399 AH, 2nd Edn.), vol.4, p.224

Shaykh Uthman ibn Fodio said, “The judgment of one’s faith (whether you’re a Muslim or a kaafir apostate) is built upon the outward in this world in accordance with the Book [Quran], the Sunnah and the Consensus [ijma] of the Scholars. Allah says, “Do not say to those who give you the greetings of peace: ‘You are not a believer.” Ihyas Sunnah wa Ikhmadul Bida

Imam Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhaab said “We (the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah) do not make takfir except in accordance with what the all of the scholars have agreed upon (amount to major kufr)” Ad-Durur as-Sunniyyah, vol.1, p.102.

Also Shaykh Uthaymeen transmitted that takfir is not an issue which is disputed, in al-Qawaa’id al-Muthla he said, “You will find from many people today, from those who attach themselves to the religion and to protecting the religion of Allah, making takfir of those who neither Allah made takfir of or His Messenger. Rather indeed, unfortunately, some people have begun to discuss their rulers and try to impugn them with kufr due to them having merely done something which those people believe is haraam. Yet the matter could be one about which there is a difference of opinion…”

This understanding is based on he fact that to make takfir of an individual Muslim a person needs to see clear explicit disbelief (kufran bawaahan) as in the hadeeth in Saheeh Muslim the prophet explained to the sahaba do not oppose the command of the Muslim ruler, the prophet said, ‘‘except if you were to see clear explicit disbelief (kufran bawaahan) about which you have a proof from Allah.’’  Imam Nawawi stated inRiyadh us-Saaliheen when explaining the word ‘buwaahan’ meaning ‘clear and explicit’ and it does not need any interpretation. So clear and explicit means no one scholar should differ over this person’s takfir if his kufr (disbelief) is clear and explicit about which all the scholars have a proof from Allah.

How Should The Ummah Act After Takfir Has Been Made Of A Muslim Individual & All The Conditions Of Takfir Have Been Fulfilled

After all of the above conditions have been fulfilled and agreed upon by all the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah, then and only then can the students of knowledge, the daaeeis and the lay people believe in their hearts and declare on their tongues that this person who was made takfir of is a kaafir.

How Should The Ummah Act After Takfir Has Been Made Of A Muslim Individual But Not All Of The Conditions Of Takfir Have Been Fulfilled

If takfir of a Muslim person is declared by a scholar (takfir declared by a student of knowledge, a daaeei or a layman is always rejected as it is a condition of takfir that only a scholar can issue takfir as stated previously in this article) on someone but only some, none or not all of the conditions of takfir are fulfilled then it is not allowed for the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah, the students of knowledge, the daaeeis and the lay people to believe in their hearts and declare on their tongues that this person who was made takfir of is a kaafir.

The correct position is for the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah, the students of knowledge, the daaeeis and the lay people to believe in their hearts and declare on their tongues that this person who was made takfir of is still a Muslim. The scholar who declared this takfir has made a mistake as he has not fulfilled the conditions of takfir on this Muslim so his takfir is invalid.

The Reason Why These Conditions Must Be Followed

Takfir of a Muslim if it is correct makes the blood; property and honour of a Muslim lawful so due to this these conditions of takfire above must be adhered too in order not to make a mistake as the Muslims blood; property and honour are sacred.

As Once the Prophet (Mohammed) was riding his camel and a man was holding its rein. The Prophet asked, “What is the day today?” We kept quiet, thinking that he might give that day another name. He said, “Isn’t it the day of Nahr (slaughtering of the animals of sacrifice i.e. Eid al-Adha)” We replied, “Yes.” He further asked, “Which month is this?” We again kept quiet, thinking that he might give it another name. Then he said, “Isn’t it the month of Dhul-Hijja?” We replied, “Yes.” He said, “Verily! Your blood, property and honour are sacred to one another (i.e. Muslims) like the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours and in this city of yours (I think the city is Mecca but it may be Medina Allah knows best).” Recorded in Bukhari & Muslim.

Side Point: Warning Against Takfir

Takfires and any Muslims influenced by them who makes unjustified takfir (takfir but with out fulfilling the conditions of takfir outlined in this article) of individual Muslimsby saying things like you kafir or you muwnafiq etc, should known that takfir is such a dangerous and serious matter that it has been warned against by the prophet Mohammed and a number of scholars. A Muslim must not take the issue of takfir against other individual Muslims lightly or in jest.

From Abee Dharr that he heard the Prophet say: “If somebody accuses another person of Fusooq (evil doing) or accuses him of Kufr, then such an accusation will revert to him (i.e. the accuser) if his companion (the accused) is innocent of that.” Bukhaaree hadeeth no. 6045

From Aboo Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah said: “If a man says to his brother; “O kaafir” then it goes back to one of them.” reported by  Bukhaaree, hadeeth no.6103

In the Two Saheehs from Ibn Umar who said: the Messenger of Allaah said: “Whenever a man says to his brother: “O kaafir!” then it applies to one of them or it returns to the one who actually said it first.” The hadeeth is agreed upon, Al-Bukhaaree, as-Saheeh, hadeeth no.6104; Muslim, as-Saheeh, hadeeth no. 111. In the narration of Muslim it is mentioned “if a man makes takfeer of his brother”.

The Messenger of Allaah said “Whoever curses a believer it is as if he has killed him and whoever accuses a believer of kufr it is as if he has killed him.”  Bukhaaree, hadeeth no.6105

Shaykh Dr Baasim bin Faysal al-Jawaabirah said “The conclusion from these ahaadeeth is that if the accused is actually a disbeliever then he is branded as so in accordance with the principles of the Divine Legislation and the accuser has spoken the truth. But if they accused s not a disbeliever then the accusation of kufr will go back to the accuser who will carry the burden of kufr along with his sin, this is the most balanced answer as stated by al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar.”
Takfeer: Fee Daw’ is-Sunnah in-Nabawiyyah

al-Haleemee said “If a Muslim said that (you are a kaafir) to another Muslim then there is two aspects to this:

  1. That the deen in which the person believes is kufr (the person is a follower of another religion) and thus (this person) is to made takfir of on account of this.
  2. Or the accuser intends that the person is a disbeliever internally (i.e. he is kaafir due to his believes) yet manifests emaan (actions of a Muslim e.g. praying fasting reading Quran etc) out of nifaaq (hypocrisy), in this case the accused is not made takfir of.

If the accuser does not intend anything then the accused is not to be made takfir of due to what the person manifests outwardly and the accuser will be accusing without knowing what is in the person’s soul (however the accuser would have still committed a major sin) .”

Ibn Taymiyyah said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (3/229), “those who sit with me know this about me, I am always one of those who most emphatically forbid describing a specific person (among the Muslims) as a kaafir, faasiq or sinner, unless it is known that shariah proof has been established against him, and it has been proven whether he is a kaafir, a faasiq or a sinner.”

Ibn Abi’l-’Izz al-Hanafi stated: It is from the greatest forms of transgression to declare that a specific person (wrongly) will neither be forgiven by Allaah nor shown mercy, and that the person will remain in Hellfire eternally as this is the judgement on a disbeliever after death.
Al-Iqtisaad fi’l-’I’tiqaad vol.2, p.436

Shawkaanee said, “You should know that the ruling expelling a Muslim man from the deen of Islaam and applying kufr to him is not befitting for a Muslim who believes in Allaah and the Last Day to do except with clear proof that is clearer than the sun. For it is affirmed in the authentic hadeeth via a group of Sahaabah that whoever says to his brother “O kaafir!” the statement refers to one of them. Within these ahaadeeth are the sternest threats and the major admonitions are with regards to hastiness in takfeer.” Muhammad bin ’Ali ash-Shawkaanee, Mahmood Ibraaheem (ed.), As-Sayl ul-Jaraar (Beirut: Daar ul-’Alamiyyah, 1405 AH), vol.4, p.578

Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhaab said “Generally it is obligatory for the one who advises his own self to not speak in regards to this issue except with knowledge and clear proof from Allaah, and in order to warn those who expel people from Islaam merely on account of their misunderstandings or what their minds desire. For expelling a man from Islaam, or his entry, is from the most important matters of the deen and Shaytaan has caused many people to slip in regards to this issue.”
Abdullaah bin Muhammad bin ’AbdulWahhaab, ad-Durur as-Saniyyah (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami,n.d.), vol.8, p.217

Al-Qurtubee stated, “The issue of takfeer is a dangerous matter wherein many people that have tried to establish it have fallen short and those who have withheld from it have been safe.”
2 Al-Mufhim, vol.3, p.111 and Fath ul-Baaree, vol.12, p.314

Ibn Aabideen stated, “One should not judge a Muslim with kufr especially when his words can possibly be good, or there was a difference of opinion in regards to the person’s kufr even with a weak narration. Based on this, most of the relayed terms of takfire do not justify takfire and I myself adhere to not give these rulings.”
Haashiyat Ibn ’Aabideen
(Daar ul-Fikr, 1399 AH, 2nd Edn.), vol.4, p.224

Ibn Hajar al-Haytamee said, “The Mufti should be as cautious as can be with regards to takfeer due to its great danger. Our Imaams (meaning from the Shaafi’ee madhdhab) have always been upon this past and present.”
Tuhfat ul-Muhtaaj
, vol.4, p.84

Posted on February 4, 2014, in Aqeedah, Fatwa and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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