And there is no doubt that the what he has mentioned in his reply regarding
the tafseer of the saying of the Exalted - "And whoever does not judge by
what Allaah has revealed, they are the kaafiroon", "And whoever does
not judge by what Allaah has revealed, they are the dhaalimoon", "And
whoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed, they are the faasiqoon"
- that it is the truth. And he has made manifestly clear - may Allaah grant him
success - that kufr is of two types - kufr akbar and kufr asghar - just as dhulm
is of two types and likes fisq is of two types - akbar and asghar. So whoever
declares lawful (istahalla) judgement by other than what Allaah has revealed, or
declares lawful zinaa, or usury, or other than them from the prohibited things
whose prohibition is agreed upon then he has disbelieved with major kufr, and
major dhulm and major fisq. And whoever does that without declaring them
permissible - then his kufr is kufr asghar and his dhulm is dhulm asghar and
likewise with his fisq...." [Ash-Sharq al-Awsat 12/5/1416]
And also the saying of Shaikh bin Baaz, in his comments upon the saying of
Shaikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhaab - in his Nawaaqid ul-Islaam 'whoever believes
that other than the guidance of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is more perfect than his
guidance....:' So he said:
"Whoever holds the belief (I'taqada) that the systems and laws which
people have prescribed are better than the Sharee'ah of Islaam, or that they are
equal to it, or that it is permissible (yajooz) to refer to them for
... "and entering into this is everyone who holds the belief (I'taqada)
that it is permissible (yajooz) to judge by other than the Sharee'ah of
Allaah..." [Majmoo' Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwa'ah
… And as for the second matter under discussion, and that is ruling by
other than what Allah has revealed, before we go onto speak about it and clarify
the ruling about it, we say that ruling by other than what Allah has revealed is
an evil crime. Many Muslims have been put to trial by it in the present times,
both rulers and those who are ruled over.
It is obligatory for the one who has fallen into this sin to refrain from it
and to seek forgiveness from Allah, the Sublime and Almighty.
For it is not lawful for him to remain upon this big sin which is [in
reality] a challenge to the Shari’ah of Allah, and which consists of
overstepping the bounds of what Allah, the Sublime and Almighty has revealed. It
also consists of putting an end to the sanctities of Allah, the Lofty and
And the true Muslim, my dear brothers, shudders out of despair and sorrow at
what he observes of this great and apparent danger and other things like it. And
also at the manner in which it is rapidly spreading in many different facets of
the life of the Muslims today.
Therefore, there is no other option for him, when the situation is as it is,
but to offer advice, and may Allah strengthen him in every moment to rectify the
situation of the Muslims and may Allah guide those amongst them who have
strayed, certainly He is the All-Hearer who responds.
And this sin unlike all the other sins. In fact this is a wicked and
repugnant sin on account of what it contains of opposition to the command of
Allah, the Sublime and Almighty and of what it contains of departing from that
which Allah obligated upon his servants.
And we, just like those besides us from amongst the Muslims, reject it
clearly and in the most severe of manners and we call upon Allah that He guides
the one who has fallen into it and directs him to what is correct and that He
returns him to the truth and what is correct, such that he refrains from this
great sin and repents to Allah, the Sublime and Almighty.
This is one matter. As for the other, which is clarifying the ruling on this
issue from the Islamic Shari’ah, then its ruling is absolutely clear and
evident from the Book of Allah the Most High and Sublime.
He, the Lofty and Sublime said in three places in Surah
And whosoever does not judge by what Allâh has revealed, such are the
And whosoever does not judge by that which Allâh has revealed, such are
the Zâlimûn (5:45)
And whosoever does not judge by what Allâh has revealed (then) such
(people) are the Fâsiqûn (5:47)
So the one who reflects on these great verses and looks at them in light of
what the language of the Arabs and the language of the Qur’an necessitate
and require, he will find that they are general in their application to two
The first: that they are general for all of the Muslims, regardless of
whether they are rulers or those who are ruled over. So these verses include the
overall ruler, the qadi (judge), the teacher, the owner of a house, the wife and
The evidence of this generality is taken from the verse itself and also from
the narrations that have been reported from the Salaf may Allah be pleased with
them all in explanation of this verse. For the statement of the saying of Allah,
the Sublime and the Most High:
gives evidence to the generality (i.e. includes everybody). And this particle
"man" is one of the words which indicates generality in the
view of the People of Knowledge, since it is one of the nouns of condition
(‘ism ush-shart’) and so therefore it refers to all of those being
And whoever restricts it to the ruler only then he has fallen into a very big
As for the generality of its application to the second entity, then that
is its application to all of the rules and laws of Allah, the Most High and
Sublime. Therefore, every ruling, whether it is small or large, is for Allah and
is included in this verse, due to its generality.
Taking interest for example, or drinking alcohol, or eating with the left
hand, and letting the lower garment hang below the ankles, or having intercourse
with ones wife during her menses, the laws of Allah have come for all of these
matters and all of the laws of Allah regardless of whatever they may be, whether
those that we have just mentioned as examples or those that have not been
mentioned, come under this verse.
And the evidence for the generality here is the saying of Allah:
And whoever does not judge by WHATEVER Allah has revealed…
The word ‘ma’ again has the meaning of generality in view
of the People of Knowledge. Therefore the statement of Allah, "… by
whatever Allah has revealed…" includes all of the laws and rules of
Allah, the Sublime and Almighty, regardless of whether it is his ruling
concerning adultery, or for the one who drinks with his left hand.
And the Salaf, when they understood the meaning of this verse, in the manner
described above, since it is from the language of Arabs with which they actually
spoke and in which the Book of Allah was revealed, when they understood this
from the verse, they said concerning the statement of Allah in the verse,
"… then they are the disbelievers":
"Kufr less than kufr, that which does not eject a person from the
This then is the asl (foundational pillar) concerning ruling by other than
what Allah has revealed. And it is reported with an authentic chain of narration
which has no defect in the view of the People of Knowledge, from Ibn
‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said,
"It is kufr in the [particular] rule itself and is not kufr in Allah,
His Angels, Books or Messengers."
This narration has been reported by at-Tabari from Ibn Sari’ who said,
"Waki’ ibn al-Jarrah" narrated to us, "my father narrated
to me from Sufyan from Amr bin Rashid from Ibn Tawus from his father from Ibn
Abbas.." and this isnad reaches perfect authenticity.
And at-Tabari also reported that a man said concerning this verse, "So
whoever does that has he disbelieved?" so Ibn ‘Abbaas replied to him,
"When he does that it is kufr only in that action of his, and he is not
like the one who disbelieves in Allah and the Last Day."
And in the Mustadrak of al-Hakim from Ibn ‘Abbas also that he said,
"Verily it is not the kufr which you tend to, it is not the kufr which
ejects a person from the religion, "and whoever does not rule by
whatever Allah has revealed" then this is kufr less than
So these are authentic and very explicit narrations from the explainer of the
Qur’an and the erudite scholar of the ummah, Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah
be pleased with him.
And what has come from Ibn ‘Abbaas has also come from others besides
him, from the Salaf of this Ummah and from its scholars. To give examples, what
has been reported by at-Tabari in his tafsir, that a group of the Ibadi’ah
sat with Abu Mijliz and they said to him, Allah says, "whoever does not
judge by what Allah has revealed, they are the disbelievers, they are the
oppressors, they are the rebellious" Abu Mijliz replied, "Certainly
they do what they do and they know that it is a sin. And this verse was revealed
concerning the Jews and the Christians." They replied, By Allah you do not
know what we know but you only fear them." He replied, You have more reason
to do that than we do, as for us we do not know what you know but you know
The chain of narration is authentic also and its meaning that those Ibadis,
who were one of the groups of the Khawarij, came to Abu Mijlaz and sought to use
this verse to do to takfir of the rulers of that time and he replied to them
with a reply of the People of Knowledge, the reply of Ahl us-Sunnah, he said,
"those rulers whom you do takfir of on account of his verse do what they do
of sins and evils such as oppression, tyranny etc. they do these things and they
know that they are sinful. So they do not make lawful their actions which they
have fallen into from amongst those things that are in opposition to the rule of
Allah, the Sublime the Most High.
So their affair is just like the affair of all the other Muslims, those who
commit sins but without declaring them to be lawful for themselves.
So those Ibadis said to him, "you know that what we say is the truth,
but you fear them," meaning wish to compromise with them and their actions
And this is one of the mechanisms of the People of Desires that comes at the
end of the narration, and this is that when the people of knowledge argue
against them and refute their falsehood, they resort to the likes of these
machinations, so they said to this scholar, you compromise, that you fear them
etc. They said this when he replied to them whilst depending upon the Book of
Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) .
However, the one who is firmly grounded in his knowledge is never shaken by
these kind of ploys, but it only makes him firm upon what is evident to him that
it is the truth from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and
he does not pay attention to the mischief of the troublemakers and those who
cause agitation and sedition in the land.
When what has been stated by the Companions and the Salaf, may Allah be
pleased with them and have mercy upon them concerning this verse has become
clear and evident, then it is not permissible for a Muslim who believes in Allah
and the Last day that he should adopt a saying that they never said and for
which there is no proof, neither from the Book nor from the Sunnah.
For they, may Allah shower mercy upon them, are more knowledgeable than us
about the Book of Allah the Lofty and Sublime and are more knowledgeable than us
of the intent behind the [statements] in the Book of Allah the Lofty and
And the one who uses the verses in Surah al-Ma’idah in order to perform
takfir of the rulers of the Muslims, those who have fallen into things that
oppose the Shari’ah such as working with interest and other similar
things, then the one who uses these verses in order to perform takfir of them,
then there is no doubt that he has adopted a root of the roots of the Khawarij
and may Allah protect us and you from that.
And the Salaf, may Allah have mercy upon them, also agree that the Khawarij
used to use these verses and others similar to them, in order to show the
disbelief of the rulers on account of what occurred from them of sins,
disobedience, ruling out of their desires and other such things.
Al-Ajurree reports from Sa’id bin Jubair that he said, "Of that
which the Harooris follow from the mutashabih, is the saying of Allah, the
Sublime and Lofty, "and whoever does not judge by what Allah has
revealed they are the disbelievers…" and they read along with
this verse ".. then those who disbelieve in their Lord turn away
(ya’diloon)". So when they see a ruler who has ruled by other
than the truth, they say ‘He has disbelieved. And whoever disbelieves has
turned away from his Lord and whoever turns away from his Lord has committed
shirk, therefore those leaders are Mushriks’, and so they revolt and so
they do what you can see because they make ta’weel of this
Therefore using this verse in order to perform takfir of the rulers is not a
new thing, it is a very ancient thing, which emerged at the time of the Khawarij
and their appearance.
Shaikh ul-Islam in Minhaj us-Sunnah said about some of the verses of Allah
and amongst them, " By your Lord they cannot be real believers until
they make you judge in what disputes occur amongst them…." he
said, "And this verse is amongst those that the khawarij use in order to
perform takfir of wullat ul-amr (those in authority over the Muslims), those who
do not judge by what Allah has revealed and then they claim/think that this
belief of theirs is the rule of Allah itself."
And he mentioned this in the fifth volume on page 131.
The Salaf from all parts and time of the ummah know that the one who uses
such verse to perform takfir of the rulers, then he is amongst the Khawarij.
Every other group besides the Khawarij knows that the one who uses these verses
to perform takfir of one rulers of the Muslims on account of the sins and
disobedience he commits, then they know that he is one of the Khawarij.
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
And Ibn Jarir – may Allah have mercy upon him has explained in his
tafsir this meaning. He said, "And likewise is the saying regarding
everyone who does not judge by what Allah has revealed, deliberately opposing it
(jahidan bihi), then he is a disbeliever in Allah, as Ibn Abbas has said and
this is because his opposition to the rule of Allah, after having the knowledge
that He revealed it in his Book, is equal to the one who opposed the Prophethood
of our Prophet after his knowledge that he is the Prophet."
And Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah says as occurs in al-Fatawa (vol
3/267-268), "And when a person declares to be lawful something that is
haram and is unanimously agreed upon that it is haram, or who declared to be
haram something that is unanimously agreed to be halal, or who replaced the
legislation (baddal ash-Shar’), which is unanimously agreed upon, he is a
disbeliever, apostate by the unanimous agreement of the jurists. And it is with
regards to the likes of this, that the following was revealed, according to one
of two opinions, "And whoever does not rule by what Allah has revealed then
they are the disbelievers", meaning that he declares it to be permissible
to rule by other than what Allah has revealed (huwal
mustahillu lilhukm bighairi maa anzalallaahu)." End of his
And there are many other parts where he writes about istihlal and juhood and
other such things.
And I will make clear the previous words through the words of Ibn al-Qayyim
– may Allah have mercy upon him, in Madarij us-Salikin, he says in the
first volume, page 163, said, "And it is correct that ruling by other than
what Allah has revealed, can be both types of kufr, the minor and the major, so
if he considers it to be obligatory to rule by what Allah has revealed in this
instance and did not do it out of disobedience whilst acknowledging that he is
deserving of punishment, then this is minor disbelief, and if he believed that
it is not obligatory upon him and that he has a choice in the matter whilst
having certainty that it is the ruling of Allah, then this is major disbelief.
And if was ignorant of the matter and erred, then he is an errant one and his
ruling is that of those who err."
And the narrations of the Salaf in this regard are very many, but we shall
restrict ourselves to what has been mentioned.
Therefore do not be affected, O Sunni by what you hear of the application of
the word al-Murji’ah to the one who speaks with all of the above, for that
is the saying of the Ahl us-Sunnah – may Allah have mercy upon them,
absolutely, [without exception].
So they say that ruling by other than what Allah has revealed can be both
types of kufr, the minor disbelief and the major disbelief and this depends on
the state and condition of the ruler. So if he rules by other than what Allah
has revealed and acknowledges that he is sinful, that he is in error and he
seeks forgiveness from Allah. And as for the one who resists and opposes the
obligation to judge by what Allah has revealed and other such things then he has
fallen into the major disbelief, may Allah protect us and you from this.
So this is just a small sample to illustrate the position of Ahl us-Sunnah,
may Allah have mercy upon them in this issue.
What remains are some of the doubts that arise concerning this issue and we
will deal with them next.
Amongst them are:
Some of the people use as proof the words of Imam Ishaq ibn Rahawaihah which
are quoted by Ibn Abdul –Barr in at-Tamheed, and also Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn
Taymiyyah, in as-Sarim al-Maslul. Ishaq Ibn Rahawaih said, "The muslims are
agreed that the one who reviled Allah, or His Messenger or repelled anything
that Allah revealed that he is a disbeliever on account of that, even if he
affirms (muqirran) everything that Allah revealed."
These words from Ishaq are true, there is no doubt in these words and none
from the Scholars of Ahl us-Sunnah differ with him regarding this.
However, the one who used this as proof to perform takfeer of the one who
ruled by other than what Allah revealed has erred and has not understood the
words of Ishaq bin Rahawaih. And these words have been explained by Shaikh
Abdullah, the son of Shaikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab, mayAllah reward them
both, in some beneficial words of his,
"And the meaning of the statement of Ishaq, may Allah have mercy upon
him, "or repels anything that Allah has revealed…" is that he
repels and rejects something from the Book of Allah or something that has
proceeded from the tongue of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) from amongst the obligatory
matters, those which are from the non-obligatory sunnah, the recommended things,
after he knows that Allah has revealed it in his book or that the Messenger
(sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) commanded it or forbade it, [so after this] if he repels it then he is a
kafir and apostate, even if he affirms everything that Allaah revealed of
legislation, unless he repelled or rejected it because it opposed his desire, or
his habit, or the custom and habit of his people. And this is the meaning of the
saying of the scholars, ‘Whoever rejected a subsidiary matter of the
religion, which is unanimously agreed upon, then he has disbelieved’. Thus
whoever rejected the forbiddance of eating with the left hand or the forbiddance
or trailing the lower garment, after knowing that the messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) forbade
it, then he is a disbeliever, an apostate even if he was the most devout of
people, so how then will it be for the one who rejects Allah’s right to
sincere worship, and his sole right to be called upon and be asked for help in
times of difficulty, and making an oath, and placing reliance and so on for the
other types of worship and that none of these acts should be directed to a near
angel and messenger that has been sent… " to the end of his words.
May Allah have mercy upon him.
So the meaning of his words, is the meaning of the saying of the people of
knowledge, "Whoever rejected something which is unanimously agreed upon,
then he has disbelieved." And his words cover everything from the
legislation of Allah Azzawajall, even the non-obligatory matter and the
And there is another doubt:
The separation between ruling by other than what Allah has revealed in a
single matter or two or three matters and between, ruling by other than what
Allah has revealed in a hundred matters, two hundred matters or more than that
or less than that.
So what is the correctness of this separation. This separation has no sound
basis upon knowledge. Also the general meaning of the verse rejects this
separation, since it did not specify a single ruling, two, or a hundred or two
hundred. But it has been left general and unrestricted and thus it is obligatory
to leave it as general or unrestricted.
And whoever made such a specification or made separation in such a manner,
then it is obligatory upon him to establish a clear proof, unequivocal and sound
to show such as specification for this verse.
And the one who made a specification or separation merely on account of his
own opinion and what he deems to be correct (istihsan) then no consideration is
to be given to it at all.
And I shall give an example to you which will make clear the falsehood of
Example a man who has taken the position of a judge whose age is 30 or says
he was in this position for forty years, for example. He spent all these years
in judging between two disputants based on the bribes that he received from one
of the two, or that he made his judgement based on his love of one of the two
disputants, or because he is a near relative, or because he hates the one who is
under judgement – so he rules by his desire and not by what Allah has
revealed. So is the likes of man, about whom we know has passed in this Ummah
many a time, so can it be said that he has disbelieved in Allah the Most High,
and that he is an apostate and that he should not be given the treatment that a
Muslim is due? The Ahl us-Sunnah do not say this, nor do they hold it as their
belief and nor do they accept it from the one who says it, rather the one who
says it is from the Khawarij, those who perform takfeer on account of sins and
Therefore know this well and reflect upon it carefully. The truth will become
clear to you insha’allah in matters such as these.
And we shall make sufficient with these words on this topic….
We ask Allah that he shows us the truth as truth and grants us the ability to
follow it and that he shows us the falsehood as falsehood and grants us the
ability to avoid it and that we ask Him that he does not make it confusing for
us so that we go astray and Allah the Most High knows best. With Allah is all
success and may Allah send prayers and peace and blessings upon our Prophet