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Ruling By Other Than What Allaah Has Revealed
  Shaikh Salih al-Fawzan Explains his Words in Kitaab ut-Tawheed on Ruling by Other Than What Allaah Has Revealed
Source: Trans. Abu Iyaad
Article ID : MNJ050014  [19838]  
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For the sake of completeness, we present below the complete chapter under discussion, so the reader can see the actual view of the Shaikh and so all of the words can be read together and within context and so that the distinction (tafsil) he mentioned can also be understood.

Chapter: The Ruling Upon the One Who Judges by Other Than What Allaah Has Revealed

Allaah the Most High said, "And whosoever does not judge by what Allâh has revealed, such are the Kâfirûn" (Al-Ma'idah 5:44). This noble verse shows that ruling by other than what Allaah has revealed is kufr (disbelief). This kufr can sometimes be the major disbelief which expels from the religion and sometimes it can be the minor disbelief which does not expel from the religion. And this is based upon the state and condition of the ruler.

So if he believes that ruling by what Allaah has revealed is not obligatory and that he has a choice in the matter, or if he belittles the rule of Allaah and believes that the secular laws and legislative codes are better than it, and that the it is not suitable for this era, or if he sought to please the disbelievers and the hypocrites by ruling by other than what Allaah has revealed, then all of this is the major disbelief . However, if he believed in the obligation to rule by what Allaah has revealed and knew what the judgement was in this instance, but he turned away from it while acknowledging that he is deserving of punishment, then he is a sinner and is labelled a kaafir with the minor form of disbelief. And if he was ignorant of the judgement of Allaah concerning it while having striven hard and expended efforts in knowing the judgement but erred, then he will receive a reward for his ijtihaad and his error will be forgiven. This is in relation to a particular matter[3].

As for making judgement in matters in general (al-hukm ul-aam), then this varies. Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said, "For if the ruler is pious, but he makes a judgement without knowledge, then he will be amongst the inhabitants of Hellfire. And if he knew (the judgement) but he judged in opposition to the truth which he knew, he will be amongst the inhabitants of the Hellfire. And when he judged without knowledge or justice, then it is more befitting that he should be amongst the inhabitants of Hellfire. This is when he makes a judgement concerning an affair in relation to a particular person. As for when he makes a general ruling regarding the religion of the Muslims and makes truth into falsehood, falsehood into truth, sunnah into bid’ah and bid’ah into sunnah, the ma’roof into munkar and the munkar into ma’roof, forbids what Allaah and His Messenger have commanded and orders what Allaah and His Messenger have prohibited. Then this is another manifestation, the Lord of all the Worlds, Diety of the Messengers and the Master of the Day of Judgement, to whom belongs praise in this world and the hereafter will pass judgement over it [4]. "His is the Decision, and to Him you (all) shall be returned." (Al-Qasas 28:88) He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islâm), that He may make it (Islâm) superior over all religions. And All-Sufficient is Allâh as a Witness. (Al-Fath 48:28)." [5]

He (Shaikh ul-Islaam) also said, "There is no doubt that the one who does not believe in the obligation to rule by what Allaah has revealed is a disbeliever. Hence, whoever declares it permissible to judge amongst the people with what he considers to be justice, without following what Allaah has revealed, then he is a disbeliever. There is no nation except that it orders ruling with justice. And sometimes justice, as perceived by its senior leaders, can exist in its religion. Many of those who ascribe themselves to Islaam judge by their customs which Allaah has not revealed, such as the ancestral customs of the bedouins. And the chiefs (umaraa) were obeyed (in this) and they used to consider that it is desirable to judge by these such customs, without the Book and the Sunnah. And this is disbelief. For many people have accepted Islaam but along with this they do not judge except by their natural [inherited] customs, those which are ordered by those whom they obey. So if they know that it is not permissible to judge except by what Allaah has revealed and did not adhere to that, but in fact declared it to be lawful (istahalloo) for themselves to judge in opposition to what Allaah has revealed, then they are disbelievers." [6]

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