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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  


In the years gone by, the Qutubiyyah, used as evidence for their position the following passage from "Kitaab ut-Tawheed" of Shaikh Salih al-Fawzaan to justify their unrestricted and generalised, absolute takfir of the rulers who judge by other than what Allaah has revealed

Shaikh Salih al-Fawzaan stated: "And Shaikh Muhammad bin Ibraaheem said, ‘As for what has been said regarding it, that it is the lesser disbelief (kufr doona kufr) when he judged to someone other than Allaah (or something other than what Allaah has revealed) while believing that he is disobedient and that the judgement of Allaah is the truth, then this is something that occurs from him once or something like that (i.e. occurs infrequently). As for the one who lays down laws in an organised and arranged manner and requests submission and compliance to them, then this is disbelief, even if he says, ‘We have erred, and the Shari’ah laws are more just’, so this is disbelief that expels from the religion’. So he distinguished between the partial ruling (by other than what Allaah has revealed) which does not recur and between the general rule which becomes a reference point in all of the rulings or most of them. And he affirmed that this disbelief expels from the religion absolutely. This is because the one who removed the Islamic Shari’ah and put secular law in its place, in replacement of it, then this indicates that he considers that this [secular] law is better and more beneficial than the Sharee’ah, and there is no doubt that this is the major disbelief which expels from the religion." [1] End of Shaikh Salih al-Fawzan’s words.

When the youth began to use the above words of Shaikh Fawzan to justify takfir of the rulers, the Shaikh was approached and asked for his clarification, and we present further below the actual text of the discussion.

Excerpt from the Cassette "Questions and Answers on al-Haakimiyyah"

Listen to the discussion in RealAudio

Questioner: "Someone has understood from your words in Kitaab ut-Tawheed, which are from your comments, with regards to the issue of al-Haakimiyyah and ruling by other than what Allaah has revealed. So they have understood from them that [by the act alone] you perform specific takfir of a specific ruler who does not judge by what Allaah has revealed. And then they applied (what they understood from your words) to the rulers of the Gulf states.

Shaikh al-Fawzan: [Laughs]… is it due to hawaa (desire)?… the words are clear, there is no ambiguity in them, the words are clear. The distinction (tafsil) that is mentioned (i.e. previously in the beginning of the chapter) relates to them. And it was then said after that that the one who banishes the Shari’ah entirely and puts another law in its place, that this indicates that he views the [secular] law to be better than the Sharee’ah, and whoever holds this opinion, he is the one who is a kaafir [emphasis given]. This is in the same book itself… however they only take [from the book] according to their own understanding of it and what is of benefit to them, yet they abandon the rest of the words. If they had read the words from the beginning, the matter would have become clear [to them].

Questioner: And the statement of Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Ibraheem is [understood] in the same way?

Shaikh al-Fawzan: Yes, it is the same.[2] His words mean that the one who abolishes the Shari’ah and puts in its place another law, then this indicates that he considers this law to be better than the Sharee’ah. And [subsequently] whoever considers this law to be better than the Sharee’ah, then such a one is a kaafir in the view of everybody, there is no doubt in this.

Questioner: They mean the rulers of the Gulf states O Shaikh?

Shaikh al-Fawzan: [words unclear] … … the words [in the book] are general. As for people and specific individuals, then this requires investigation.

Questioner: So there is a difference between [takfir of] a specific individual and a general ruling?

Shaikh al-Fawzan: Yes, between a general ruling…

Questioner: So you intended only a general ruling [not a ruling upon specific individuals]?

Shaikh al-Fawzan: Yes, a general ruling, there is no doubt about this. So he said ‘the rulers of the Gulf states (was meant)?’

Questioner: Yes, this is it, however al-hawaa (desire) overtook him?

Shaikh al-Fawzan: Yes, hawaa (desire).. .[words unclear]… Is this rectification? Performing takfir of the rulers of the Gulf states, is this from rectification (of the affairs)?

Questioner: No it is not…

Shaikh al-Fawzan: It is not rectification… it is but kindling of tribulation (fitnah).

Questioner: May Allaah reward you…" End of the discussion.

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]

And Shaikh Muhammad bin Ibraaheem said, ‘As for what has been said regarding it, that it is the lesser disbelief (kufr doona kufr) when he judged to someone other than Allaah (or something other than what Allaah has revealed) while believing that he is disobedient and that the judgement of Allaah is the truth, then this is something that occurs from him once or something like that (i.e. occurs infrequently or intermittently). As for the one who lays down laws in an organised and arranged manner and requests submission and compliance to them, then this is disbelief, even if he says, ‘We have erred, and the Shari’ah laws are more just’, so this is disbelief that expels from the religion’. So he distinguished between the partial judgement (by other than what Allaah has revealed) which does not recur and between the general law which becomes a reference point in all of the rulings or most of them. And he affirmed that this disbelief expels from the religion absolutely. This is because the one who removed the Islamic Shari’ah and put secular law in its place, in replacement of it, then this indicates that he considers that this [secular] law is better and more beneficial than the Sharee’ah, and there is no doubt that this is the major disbelief which expels from the religion." [7]

End of chapter

And to finish, we quote also the words of the remainder of our Ulamaa:

Imaam Ibn Baaz said, "Whoever holds the belief (i'taqada) that the systems and laws which people have prescribed [secular laws] 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 judgement… and if he believes that establishing the system of Islaam is not beneficial in this twentieth century ...and entering into this is everyone who holds that carrying out the rule of Allaah with respect to cutting of off hands, or stoning the adulterer - that it is not suitable for these times... "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 [secular law]..." [Majmoo' Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwa'ah [2/326-330]

He also said, "The rulers who judge by other than what Allaah has revealed [i.e. secular laws] are of different categories. The ruling upon them varies according to their inner beliefs and actions. Hence, whoever judged by other than what Allaah has revealed and considers that to be better than the Shari’ah is a kafir (disbeliever) in the view of all the Muslims. And likewise the one who makes the secular law a reference point for judgement (man yuhakkim al-qawanin al-wad'iyyah) in replacement (badlan) of the Shari’ah of Allaah and considers that to be permissible – even if he were to say that judgement by the Shari’ah is superior – then he is a disbeliever, due to his having made lawful (istahalla) what Allaah has made unlawful." (Majmoo Fataawaa Samaahat us-Shaikh Ibn Baaz 3/990-991)

As for Ibn Uthaimeen, then all of his statements, when put together, analysed and reconciled give the same meaning and understanding that has been alluded to above.

He said, "So we say: the one who does not judge by what Allaah has revealed, belittling it, deeming it repugnant or holding the belief that other than it is more suitable and more beneficial than it for the creation then he is a kaafir with a kufr that takes out of the religion - and amongst such people are those who prescribe for the people, laws and legislations which oppose the sharee'ah that it may become a way 'minhaaj' that the people adopt and travel upon - for verily they did not prescribe these laws that oppose the sharee'ah except due to their belief that they are more suitable, or of greater benefit to the creation, since it is known by necessity by the intellect and the natural inclination (fitrah) that a person does not turn from one methodology to another that opposes it except that he believes in the superiority of that which he turned to over that which he turned away from" (Majmoo’ Fataawaa Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen 2/103)

He said, "As regards the one who lays down legislative laws, despite his knowing the judgement of Allaah and that these laws are contrary to Allaah's judgement [8] - then this person has substituted these laws in place of the Sharee`ah. Therefore he is a kaafir - this because he does not choose these laws and turn away from Allaah's Sharee`ah except due to his belief that they are better for the people and the land than the law of Allaah. But when we say that he is a kaafir, then the meaning of this is that this action leads to disbelief." (al-Qawl ul-Mufeed alaa Kitab ut-Tawhid 2/263-269)

Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen (hafidhahullah) also said (commenting upon some words of Shaikh Albani), "And these words of Shaikh al-Albani are very good indeed, however, we would differ with him on the issue where he does not make a ruling of disbelief over them (the rulers) except when they held that to be permissible (as a matter of belief). This matter needs further investigation, because we say: Whoever rules by what Allaah has revealed yet he holds that something other than the rule of Allaah is better or more befitting, then he is a kafir - even if he judged by the rule of Allaah - and his kufr is a kufr of belief. However, our discussion here is concerning an action. And it is in my opinion (dhann) that it is not possible for a person to apply and establish such laws that oppose the Shari'ah and which are referred to by the slaves of Allaah for judgement except that he declares this to be permissible (istahallahu) and holds the belief (ya'taqidu) that such laws are better the Shari'ah laws. Hence, he is a disbeliever. This is what is apparent, and if not then what [motive] is it that carried him to undertake this?" (Fitnah of Takfir pp.75)

And Shaikh al-Albani replied to this saying: "I do not understand from which angle this opposition [to our view] can be sustained. Since I say, that if any person - even someone other than a ruler - considered a rule other than Islam to be better and more befitting than the rule of Islam - even if he acted by the rule of Islam - then he is a kafir. Therefore, there is no difference at all, since the original point of reference is what is in the heart." (Fitnah of Takfir pp.75)

NOTES

[1] Kitaab ut-Tawheed of Shaikh Salih al-Fawzaan (pp. 49-40)

[2] Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Ibraaheem said

"...And similarly, more important than that, is what the deviants, heretics and Orientalists are entering into the ideas and thoughts of the Muslims in causing doubts about the foundation of their religion and causing them to stray from the Sunnah of their Prophet (sallalaahu alaihi wasallam) and his sharee'ah, and judging by the secular law which is in opposition to the Islamic Sharee'ah. And the most important [part of all of this] is being acquainted with the foundation of Tawheed, that which Allaah sent His Messenger Muhammad (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) with, to actualise it in both word and deed, and to fight against everything that opposes it such as the major Shirk which expels from the religion or the variety of minor forms of shirk. This is the actualisation of 'Laa ilaaha ilallaaha'. The actualisation of the meaning of 'Muhammad is the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam)' is from judging to his sharee'ah and confining oneself to that - and rejecting whatever is in opposition to that from amongst the rules (qawaaneen) and regulations and all those things for which Allaah has not revealed any authority. And the one who judges by them (hakama bihaa) or refers to them (haakama ilaihaa) - for judgement whilst believing in the correctness (sihhah) of that or the permissibility (to judge by them) (jawaaz), then he is a kaafir with the kufr that ejects from the religion. And if he does that without belief (I'tiqaad) in their correctness and (regarding it) permissible to judge by them (jawaaz), then he is a kaafir with the kufr in action, which does not eject from the religion." [Majmoo Fataawaa Ibn Ibraahim 1/80]

The understanding in this statement is the very same that the likes of Imaam al-Albani, Imaam Ibn Baz, Ibn Uthaimeen and Shaikh Salih al-Fawzaan are upon, as we have explained elsewhere.

[3] Sharh at-Tahaawiyyah (363-364)

[4] Note: There is no judgement of takfir made in this passage for this particular form of not ruling by what Allaah has revealed and this particular text is another one of those ambiguous texts that have been distorted by the Qutubiyyah, in order to strengthen their position.

[5] Majmoo al-Fataawaa (35/388)

[6] Minhaj us-Sunnah 5/130

[7] Kitaab ut-Tawheed of Shaikh Salih al-Fawzaan (pp. 49-40)

[8] Allaah's judgement in the texts of the Book and the Sunnah.


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