And for this reason, Ibn al-Jawzee included at the beginning of al-Muntazam
(and this is also mentioned by others aswell such as al-Khatib al-Baghdadi) that
a man from the Khawarij entered upon Ma’mun. Ma’mun said, on account
of what do you declare us to be disbelievers? He replied, due to a verse from
the Book of Allah. Ma’mun said, What is it? He replied, "The saying
of Allah, and whoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed…" .
So Ma’mun said, to him what is your proof that this is a verse from the
book of Allah? The Khariji replied, "the concensus of the Muslims upon this
issue" (meaning that it is a verse from the Book of Allah). So Ma’mun
replied, "Then just as you are pleased with their concensus about the
revelation of this verse, then be pleased with their ta’wil (explanation)
of this verse."
Then Ma’mun and the rulers besides him, are those who put the Muslims
to trial on account of desires and innovations or with fisq (open sinfulness) or
tyranny, as occurred from Yazid and others, yet none of the Salaf judged them to
be disbelievers and did not take them outside the fold of Islam.
Ma’mun, entered into the fold of Islam a great innovation, but the
scholars up until the time of Ahmad, did not speak of his kufr (i.e. that he was
a kafir) and this is because he came with this innovation without declaring it
to be lawful.
And this issue of istihlal, is necessary, i.e. it must be present when
performing takfir of the one who rules by other than what Allah has revealed.
The Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah, it is not possible in any situation for
them to use this verse as evidence for the takfeer of the rulers of the Muslims,
and this because if they had done this, then it would have been binding upon
them to perform takfir of everyone who commits a major sin.
This is because the one who rules by other than what Allah has revealed has
ruled by other than what Allah has revealed, and the one who eats with his left
hand, on purpose, then he has ruled by other than what Allah has revealed, and
the one who has intercourse with a woman who is menstruating, then he has ruled
by other than what Allah has revealed, and likewise for everyone who commits
such sins, so can it be said that he has disbelieved on account of that? The Ahl
us-Sunnah do not say this, may Allah have mercy upon them. But the Khawarij say
And the various narrations from the Salaf concerning the tafsir of this verse
are very many and I will suffice here with a quote from Imam ash-Shanqiti may
Allah have mercy upon him, from his tafsir Adwa al-Bayan, in explanation of this
verse, (vol 2 p.120), he says, "The verse is general in this regard, Ibn
Mas’ud and al-Hasan said, "This is general for everyone who does not
judge by what Allah has revealed from among the Muslims, the Jews, and the
Disbelievers, while he holds belief in (the correctness of his action) and
declares it to be permissible (mu’taqidan dhalik wa mustahillan lahu). And
as for the one who did that whilst believing that he is committing something
that is forbidden, then he is from the rebellious amongst the Muslims, and his
affair is with Allah, if He wills He will punish him and if He wills and He will
forgive him. And similar to this is the saying of Allah, "But no by your
Lord .. complete the verse. Disputes amongst them." End of his words!
And the People of Knowledge from Ahl us-Sunnah – may Allah have mercy
upon them, give an illustration of a situation (of many situations) in which
ruling by other than what Allah has revealed is major kufr, which ejects from
the religion. So the basis in this matter is that it is kufr less than kufr,
except that in a certain situation it makes the person guilty of it fall into
the greater kufr and removes him from the confines of Islam.
Before mentioning this situation, I say that the ruling of major kufr is not
restricted to this issue of ruling by other than what Allah has revealed alone.
It is general for all issues.
The specific situation I am talking about is when a person rules by other
than what Allah has revealed, declaring his action to be lawful (istihlaal), or
doing it out of deliberate opposition (juhood).
And this is when a person deliberately opposes and rejects the punishment for
adultery or who falls into adultery whilst declaring it permissible for himself
(in terms of belief) to do that, (mustahillan lahu) or making it permissible for
others. So he says that it is halal and it is not haram.
And also for example, he says likewise for usury and drinking alcohol or for
everything that it is known in the religion by necessity or for everything that
has been established in the Shari’ah in the most clearest of ways and
about which there is no doubt (that it is from the Shari’ah) or
misconception. [So all of this is major disbelief which ejects from the