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The Principles of Takfir
  The Excuse of Ignorance and Takfir
Author: Ahmad Fareed
Source: Trans. Dawud Burbank
Article ID : MNJ090002  

PART ONE: The Danger Of Rushing To Perform Takfeer.

The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: He who says to his brother O Kaafir - then it returns upon one of them. [1]

And he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)said: And he who accuses a Believer of Kufr - then it is like killing him. [2]

An-Nawawee said: "They differ as regards interpretation of this returning, so it is said: Kufr returns upon him if he is making that lawful - and this is far from the context of the narration; and it is said: It is taken to refer to the Khawaarij since they declare Believers to be Kaafirs."

Al-Haafidh [Ibn Hajr] says: "And what is correct is that the hadeeth was said as a warning against a Muslims saying that to his brother. And it is said: What returns upon him is his speaking ill of his brother and the sin of declaring him a Kaafir - and this is reasonable. And it is said: It is to be feared that will lead him into Kufr, just as it is said: `Sins lead towards Kufr’ - so it is to be feared that if he continues in that and persists in it then he will have a bad end. And I prefer from these sayings that it refers to one who says it to one from whom nothing is known except Islaam and there is no justification / reason for his claim that he is a Kaafir - so in such a case he becomes a Kaafir because of that as will be explained - so the meaning of the hadeeth is that his judgement of takfeer returns upon himself so what is meant is takfeer not Kufr - so it is as if he passed judgement of Kufr upon himself since he passed this judgement on one who is like him." [3]

And ash-Shawkaanee (rahimahullaah) aid: "Judging that a Muslim has left Islaam and entered into Kufr is something that it is not fitting for a Muslim who believes in Allaah and the Last Day to do, except with a proof (burhaan) which is clearer that the day-time sun - since it is established in the authentic hadeeth, reported by a group of the Companions that he who says to his brother: O Kaafir! Then it returns back to one of them. And in another wording : Whoever addresses a man with kufr, or says `Enemy of Allaah’ and he is not that it returns back upon him.[4]

And so there is in these ahadeeth and their like the severest reprimand and the greatest warning against hurrying to perform Takfeer; and Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic says :

But such as open their breast to kufr. [anNahl 16:106].

So it has to be the case that the heart embraces Kufr and the heart is at peace with it and the soul is satisfied with it - so the appearance of wicked beliefs is not to be taken into account here - especially if one is ignorant of the fact that they are contrary to Islaam.

And likewise account will not be taken of the appearance of an action of Kufr whose doer did not intend by it to leave Islaam and enter into Kufr - and likewise account will not be taken of a word spoken by a Muslim which is a saying of Kufr - but he does not believe what it means." [5]

And where are those who hasten to perform Takfeer of the Muslims from the saying of the Prophet(sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) : Abusing a Muslim is open sin and killing him is Kufr.[6] And from his (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) saying: The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim, he does not oppress nor forsake him. [7] And from his(sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) saying: All of the Muslim to the Muslim is inviolable - his blood, his wealth and his honour. [8]

And al-Qurtubee says in his tafseer of Sooratul-Hujuraat: "...and His saying :

Lest your deeds become vain and you perceive it not. [Hujuraat 49:2]

does not mean that a person becomes a Kaafir without knowing, since just as a person does not become a Believer except through choosing Eemaan over Kufr, then likewise a Believer does not become a Kaafir without intending Kufr and choosing it - and there is Ijmaa’ upon this." [9]

PART TWO: Censure Of Ignorance.

It should be known that our saying that ignorance is an excuse does not mean that we encourage and call to ignorance, nor that ignorance has any merits, nor that we are satisfied and pleased with it, rather it is as one of the Salaf said: "Allaah has not been disobeyed with any sin worse than ignorance."And ignorance is the reason for sin and incites it and leads to it.

Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) says: The eminently truthful and upright Yoosuf, (‘alaihi ssallam) said:

And unless you turn away their snare from me, I should feel inclined towards them and join the ranks of the ignorant. [Yoosuf 10:33].

(The word `Jaahil’ (ignorant) being used) to mean: Those who do that which You have forbidden. And Allaah - Most High - says :

Allaah accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance. [An-Nisaa 4:17].

Qataadaah said: "The Companions of Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) agreed that everything by which Allaah is disobeyed is ignorance."

And others said: "The Companions agreed that everyone who disobeys Allaah is an ignorant one (Jaahil)."

And ‘Alee (radiallaahu anhu) said: "It is enough honour for knowledge that he who is not able leaves it; and one becomes happy if he is labelled with it. And it is enough of a censure for ignorance that its people disassociate themselves from it."[10]

And someone said:

"And there is in ignorance a death for its people before death
And their bodies before burial are graves,
And their souls are in grief on account of their bodies,
And there is no resurrection for them until the Resururection."

And the cure for ignorance is to question and to learn, as the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: Indeed the cure for ignorance is to ask. [11]

So he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) made ignorance a disease and declared asking to be its cure.

And Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) aid in ash-Shaafiyatul-Kaafiyah:

"And ignorance is a fatal malady and its cure is in
Two things together in agreement:
A text from the Qur.aan or from the Sunnah
And a physician possessing knowledge of the Deen."

PART THREE: Not Everyone Who Is Excused From Ignorance Is Free Of Sin.

The fact that a certain person is excused due to ignorance does not mean that he is free from sin - since there are some people who are excused due to ignorance and are not sinful and are not punished and do not leave the fold of Islaam upon committing an action of Kufr or holding a belief of Kufr ignorantly. And then there are other people who are excused due to ignorance, meaning he does not become a Kaafir and is not punished for that particular action. However, he is punished for failing in the duty of acquiring obligatory knowledge - just as ‘Uthmaan (radiallaahu anhu) excused the Abyssinian woman who committed fornication not knowing that it was forbidden, and ‘Umar (radiallaahu anhu) excused those Companions who drank wine based on their interpretation of the aayah :

On those who believe and do deeds of righteousness there is no blame for what they ate (in the past). [al-Maa.idah 5:93].

So the rulings in this life and the Hereafter apply when the message is conveyed and warning given, Allaah - Most High - says:

Nor would We punish until We had sent a Messenger (to give warning). [al-Israa 17:15].

And Allaah - the Mighty and Exalted - says:

This Qur.aan has been revealed to me by inspiration, that I may warn you and all whom it reaches. [al-An’aam 6:19].

Ibn Hazm said: "He - the Most High - says : Nor would We punish until We had sent a Messenger (to give warning) therefore it is established that there is no punishment upon a Kaafir until the warning of the Messenger reaches him."[12]

And ash-Shanqeetee said: "Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic - does not punish anyone from His creation in this world or the Hereafter until He sends to them a Messenger to warn them."[13]

Shaikh ‘Abdur-Rahmaan ‘Abdul-Khaaliq said: "And the well-known Sharee’ah principle is that a person is taken to account only after having received knowledge, He - the Most High -says :

And Allaah will not mislead a people after He has guided them until He makes clear to them what they should avoid. [at-Tawbah 9:115].

That is, the Muslim is not counted as being misguided and astray unless he knows the truth and then turns away obstinately from it ."[14]

And this part is connected to and explained by the following:-

PART FOUR: The Textual Ruling Is Not Established About A Person Until The Truth Reaches Him.

Shaikhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said:

"Is the textual ruling established upon a person before it reaches him? There are three sayings in this regard in the madhhab of Ahmad and others. It is said: It is established; and it is said: It is not established; and it is said: An initial firm text is established upon him, but not an abrogating one. And what seems more correct is that none of that is established until the truth reaches him, due to Allaah - the Most High - saying :

That I may warn you and all whom it reaches. [al-An’aam 6:19]

and His saying :

Nor would We punish until we punish until We had sent a messenger [al-Israa. 17:15]

and His saying:

That mankind after (the coming) of the messengers should have no plea against Allaah. [an-Nisaa 4:165]

And this occurs a number of times in the Qur.aan. He - how free from defects is He explains that He does not punish anyone until that which the Messenger came with reaches him, and he who know that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah and believes that, but does not know much of what he came with then Allaah will not punish him about that which did not reach him. And just as He does not punish him for not believing before the truth reaches him, then likewise, that He does not punish him for (leaving) some of its conditions until that which reaches him is more fitting. And this is the well-reported Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) just as is reported in the saheeh hadeeth that some of the Companions thought that His saying: The black thread from the white thread. meant a white rope and a black rope, so he tied chords upon his foot and ate until he could distinguish between them - so Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) explained that what was meant was the whiteness of day and the blackness of night, and he did not order them to repeat (the fast). Similarly, when ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab and ‘Ammaar both became junoob and ‘Umar did not pray until he reached water whereas ‘Ammaar thought that earth had to reach the parts of the body that are washed in wudoo. So he rolled around just as an animal does - and he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)did not order either of them to repeat the Prayer, but rather to make Tayammum in future.

And likewise the woman who had continual bleeding and said: I have continual heavy bleeding which prevents me from Prayer and Fasting - so he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) ordered her to pray during the period of continual bleeding, and did not order her to make up for the Prayers she had missed.

And when speech was forbidden in Prayer Mu’aawiyah ibn al-Hakam as-Sulamee spoke in Prayer after the forbiddence, being ignorant of it, so he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said : This Prayer of ours - nothing from the speech of humans, and he did not order him to complete the Prayer.

And when he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) made Hijrah to al-Madeenah, the Prayer was increased for the resident, but those who were far from him such as those in Makkah and Abyssinia - used to pray two rak’ahs and he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)did not order them to repeat their Prayers.

And when the month of Ramadaan was made obligatory in the second year of Hijrah this news did not reach the people who were in Abyssinia who were Muslims - so the month passed them by, but he did not order them to make up the fast."[15]

PART FIVE: The Excuse Of Ignorance; And That Which Is Known From The Deen Necessarily (Alma’loom Min Ad-Deen Bid-Duroorah).

That which is known from the Deen necessarily, is that which is known to the scholar and the unlettered alike - and it is something relative which will vary according to time, place and the people. So that which is known from the Deen by necessity in the times when the light of the Sharee’ah is uppermost and there are many scholars who act on their knowledge and propagate Allaah’s Deen and establish Allaah’s proof upon creation - is different to that which is known from the deen necessarily in times when the light of the Sharee’ah is eclipsed and the scholars are wicked, who hide the Deen from the people; and the people of truth are few and their voice does not reach all the people.

So he who denies something known from the Deen necessarily commits Kufr which takes him outside the fold of Islaam as has been explained by the scholars.

And an-Nawawee said: "And he who denies something known from the Deen of Islaam necessarily - is judged to be a Murtad (Apostate) and a Kaafir, and likewise, the one who declares to be lawful fornication, wine or murder or other forbidden things whose forbiddance is necessarily known."[16]

And al-Khataabee said: "And this is the case with regard to everyone who denies something upon which the Ummah is agreed - if knowledge of it is widespread. "[17]

And Ibn Abil-‘Izz said: "And there is no doubt about the Takfeer of one who rejects a ruling of the Book. But he who interprets the ruling of the Book according to a doubt which is in his mind - then what is correct is explained to him in order that he may return to it."[18]

So the reason why the excuse of ignorance is not applicable in matters which are known from the Deen necessarily is that they are known - and if there existed a person who was ignorant of the matters known from the Deen necessarily in a certain time or place - then the scholars likewise excuse him due to his ignorance.

But the scholars state clearly the Kufr of the one who wilfully rejects, refuses or denies anything known from the Deen necessarily as has been shown by the texts quoted from them, and none of them said: "If he is ignorant ...." So if this matter is understood then it will no longer be surprising when we find that the shaikhs and the scholars in Saudi do not excuse one ignorant of Tawheed, since the knowledge of Tawheed is abundant and widespread there, and the proof has been established upon its people through the Da’wah of Shaikhul-Islaam (Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab) and the scholars who continued the Da’wah after him. But how are we in our lands, where many of the scholars have hidden the Deen from the people and have made shirk alluring to them and have presented it to them in such a way in which they have been led to the greatest blasphemy - so to Allaah we complain and His aid we seek, and His help we implore, and there is no might nor movement except with Allaah the Most High, the Most Great.

PART SIX: The Reality Of Eemaan And Kufr.

Al-Haafidh (Ibn Hajr) said: "Eemaan in the language means attesting to the truth of, and in the Sharee’ah it means attesting to the truth of the Messenger in what he brought form his Lord - and this much is agreed upon. Then there is difference - is anything else a condition on top of that, such as stating this Eemaan upon the tongue as well as its being in the heart, since attesting is an action of the heart - or an action upon what he attests by doing what is ordered and leaving what is forbidden.

So the Salaf say: `It is the belief of the heart, and statement of the tongue and action of the body parts’ - and they mean by it, that actions are a condition of its completion, and from here comes their saying that it increases and decreases as will follow.

And the Murji.ah say: `It is affirmation and statement only.’

And the Karraamiyah say: `It is statement only.’

And the Mu’tazilah say: `It is action, statement and affirmation.’

But the difference between them and the Salaf is that they (the Mu’tazilah) make actions a condition for the correctness of Eemaan, whereas the Salaf make it a condition for its completeness.

And as for the second point - then the Salaf hold that Eemaan increases and decreases, whereas most of the people of Kalaam reject that, saying that if it is liable to decrease then it is doubt.

Ash Shaikh Muheeyuddeen an-Nawawee said: `And what is correct is that affirmation increases and decreases according to contemplation and clarity of the proofs, and therefore the Eemaan of as-Siddeeq (Aboo Bakr) was stronger then the Eemaan of others such that no doubt/uncertainty could come near it. And it is supported by the fact that everyone knows that what is in his heart varies, so that at some times he has greater certainty and sincerity and reliance in Allaah than at other times. And likewise for affirmation and understanding according to the appearance and amount of clear proofs.’

And reports in his Kitaab us-Sunnah (Sharh Usool I`tiqaad Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah) with his isnaad from al-Bukhaaree who said: `I met more than a thousand of the People of Knowledge from the different lands and I did not see a single one of them disagree that Eemaan is saying and action; and increases and decreases.’ "[19]

And the Prophet(sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: Eemaan comprises seventy-odd branches, the highest of them is saying `La ilaaha illallaah’ (None has the right to be worshipped except Allaah) and the lowest is removing something harmful from the road. [20]

Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) aid: "Since Eemaan is a root having many branches and each of its branches is called Eemaan. So Prayer is from Eemaan and likewise Zakaat, Hajj, Fasting and inner actions such as modesty, placing reliance, fear of Allaah and turning to Him until the lowest branch - which is removing harmful things from the road - and it is one of the branches of Eemaan.

And from these branches are some of which if they pass away - then Eemaan passes away with it - such as the Shahaadah. And from them are some which, if they are left, then Eemaan does not pass away - and between them the branches differ - some of them being similar to the Shahaadah and nearer to it, and others being similar to removing harmful objects from the road and nearer to it. And likewise Kufr has a root and has branches so just as the branches of Eemaan are Eemaan, then the branches of Kufr are Kufr - and modesty is a branch of Eemaan and immodesty is a branch of Kufr, and judging by that which Allaah revealed is a branch of Eemaan, and judging by other than that which Allaah revealed is a branch of Kufr, and all sins are branches of Kufr just as acts of obedience are branches of Eemaan."[21]

PART SEVEN: One Who Has In Him A Branch Of Eemaan Does Not Become A Mumin Through That; And One Who Has In Him A Branch Of Kufr Does Not Become A Kaafir Through That.

Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) says: "A servants having in him a branch of Eemaan does not necessitate that he is a Believer - even though that is Eemaan, nor does his having in him a branch of Kufr mean that he is called a Kaafir - even though it is Kufr. Just as a persons having a piece of knowledge does not mean that he is called a Scholar, nor is one who knows some matters of Fiqh or medicine called a Faqeeh or a doctor.And that does not prevent a branch of Eemaan being called Eemaan, and a branch of Nifaaq (Hypocrisy) being called Nifaaq, and a branch of Kufr being called Kufr. And it may be indicated by use of the verb such as his (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) saying: He who abandons it has committed kufr.[22] and: He who swears by other than Allaah has committed kufr. [23] It is reported with this wording by al-Haakim in his Saheeh - so he from whom appears a characteristic of Kufr does not deserve to be called an outright Kaafir, and likewise one who commits something haraam - it is said that he has done Fisq (a wicked act), not that he has become a Faasiq by that act - and he is not called a Faasiq unless that overcomes him. And likewise the fornicator and the thief and the robber is not called a Believer (outright) even though he does have Eemaan, just as he is not called a Kaafir even if what he has done is characteristic of Kufr since all sins are branches of Kufr and all acts of obedience are branches of Eemaan."[24]

PART EIGHT: Outward Eemaan Does Not Necessarily Mean Eemaan Is Present Inwardly.

The fact that we affirm a persons Islaam or judge according to his apparent Eemaan does not mean that we judge that he will enter Paradise and that he is inwardly free from Shirk, rather a person is judged to be a Muslim in order for rulings to operate in this world - so he inherits from his Muslim father and marries a Muslim and is buried in a Muslim graveyard - whereas inwardly he would be a Kaafir, but we are not ordered to split open the peoples’ hearts.

Shaikhul-Islaam (Ibn Taimiyyah) (rahimahullaah) aid: "Apparent Eemaan, upon which rests the rulings applied in this world, does not necessarily mean Eemaan is present on the inside and the Munaafiqs who said that: We believe in Allaah and in the Last Day but they do not (really) believe. [al-Baqarah 2:8] then outwardly they appeared as Believers praying with the Muslims, marrying them and inheriting from them just like the Munaafiqs in the time of Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not give to them the same judgement as the Kaafirs who were open in their Kufr neither in marriage nor inheritance etc. Rather ‘Abdullaah ibn Ubayy who was one of the most famous of the Munaafiqs died and his son ‘Abdullaah - who was one of the best of the Believers inherited from him ..." Until he said: "And their blood and wealth was not to be shed - and what was lawful to take from the Kaafirs was not lawful in their case, whereas, those who did not make themselves appear to be Believers but rather displayed Kufr and not Eemaan - then he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said : I have been ordered to fight the people until they bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah and that I am Allaah’s Messenger - so if they say it, then their blood and their wealth becomes safe from me - except due to its right - and their accounting is with Allaah. " [25]

PART NINE: A Man Having Combined In Him Both Kufr And Eemaan.

Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said: "A person may have in him both Kufr and Eemaan, and Shirk and Tawheed, and Taqwaa and sin, and Hypocrisy and Eemaan - this is one of the greatest principles of Ahlus-Sunnah and this is disagreed with by the People of Innovation such as the Khawaarij, the Mu’tazilah and the Qadariyyah. And the question of the coming out of those who committed major sins from the Fire - and not residing therein forever, is built upon this principle - and it is shown by the Qur.aan, the Sunnah, the Fitrah and Ijmaa’ of the Sahaabah.

Allaah - the Most High - says :

And most of them believe not in Allaah except that they attribute partners (unto Him) [Yoosuf 10:106]

So Allaah - the One Free from all Defects affirmed belief for them along with Shirk.

And He - the Most High - says :

The Bedouins say: "We believe." Say: You believe not, but only say: We have surrendered (in Islaam), for Faith has not yet entered your hearts. But if you obey Allaah and His Messenger, He will not decrease anything in reward for your deeds. Verily, Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [al-Hujuraat 49:14]

So He affirmed Islaam and obedience to Allaah and His Messenger whilst negating their Eemaan - and what is meant is unrestricted and full Eemaan which deserves the unreserved term as occurs in:

Those who believe in Allaah and His Messenger, and do not doubt, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allaah. [al-Hujuraat 49:15]

But in the more correct of the two sayings they (the Bedouins) were not Munaafiqs, rather they were the Muslims due to their obedience to Allaah and His Messenger, but were not Believers, even if they had some Eemaan which took them away from being Kaafirs."[26]

PART TEN: Kufr Is Of Two Types - Kufr Of Belief (Kufrul-I’tiqaad) And Kufr Of Action (Kufrul-‘Amal) - Or Greater Kufr (Kufr Akbar) And Lesser Kufr (Kufr Asghar).

Al-Qaasimee says in his Tafseer: "When there occurs in a hadeeth: `He who does so and so has committed Shirk or Kufr’ - then what is not meant, is the Kufr which takes a person out of the Deen, nor the Greater Shirk which takes a person outside Islaam and causes the rulings of apostasy to apply - and we seek Allaah - the Most High’s - refuge. And al-Bukhaaree said: `Chapter: Kufr towards the spouse, and Kufr less than Kufr.’"[27]

Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) aid: "And this distinction is the saying of the Sahaabah who were the most knowledgeable of the Ummah about Allaah’s Book and about Islaam and Kufr and their essentials - and these matters are not to be taken except from them. Whereas the later people did not understand the meaning of this and so split into two groups: A group who expel people from the Deen due to commission of major sins and judge them to be eternally in the Hellfire, and a group who declare them to be Believers having complete and perfect Eemaan. So one has gone to one extreme and the other to the other extreme. And Allaah guided Ahlus-Sunnah to the correct saying and the middle way - which is amongst all its sayings just as Islaam is amongst all the religions. So what we have here is Kufr less than Kufr, and Nifaaq less than Nifaaq, and Shirk less than Shirk, and Fusooq less that Fusooq, and Dhulm less than Dhulm."[28]

Aboo Bakr ibn al-‘Arabee said: "What the author (al-Bukhaaree) intended by his saying: (Chapter: Kufr towards spouses and Kufr less than Kufr) was to explain that just as actions of obedience are called Eemaan - then likewise actions of disobedience are called Kufr - but when they are referred to as Kufr it does not mean the Kufr which takes a person outside Islaam. (He said): And Kufr towards the spouse is particularised from the rest of the sins due to a certain point and it is his (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam): If I were to order anyone to prostrate to anyone else, then I would have ordered the woman to prostrate to her husband.[29]

So the right of the husband upon the wife is joined to the right of Allaah - therefore it is labelled as Kuf, but it is Kufr which does not take a person outside the Deen."[30]

And also from the proofs that the Sharee’ah terms greater sins as being Kufr - in order to warn against them and keep people away from them - but not meaning it takes a person outside Islaam - is his (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) saying: "Abusing a Muslim is wickedness and killing him is Kufr."[31]

And his (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) saying: "Do not, after me, turn back as Kaafirs - some of you striking the necks of others."[32]

And the Sahaabah - may Allaah be pleased with them all - did not use the like of these texts in order to declare each other Kaafirs when the Fitnah and the fighting occurred.

And regarding his saying: (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) : The covenant that is between us and them is the Prayer - so he who abandons it has committed Kufr.[33]

And the preferred saying from the saying of the scholars and what is the saying of the majority is that the one who leaves the Prayer out of laziness does not become a Kaafir - and like his (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) saying : He who swears by other than Allaah has committed Kufr or Shirk.[34] and it is known that what is meant is the Lesser Kufr which does not take a person out of the Deen - like minor Riyaa. (ostentation) - and Allaah knows best.

PART ELEVEN: The Splitting Of The Deen Into Principles (Usool) And Minor Issues (Furoo’) Has No Basis.

Shaikhul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullaah) "As regards differentiating and calling some matter principles (usool) and others minor issues (furoo’) - then this differentiation has no basis - not from the Sahaabah, not from those who followed them in righteousness and not from the scholars of the Muslims. But rather it is taken from the Mu’tazilah and their like from the People of Innovation and those scholars who mention it in their books took it from them. And it is a self contradictory differentiation - since it is to be said to the one who makes the differentiation: Which are the principles about which error causes a person to become a Kaafir? And what is the distinction between them and the minor matters? So if he says: The principles are the matters of belief and the minor matters are those concerning actions - then it is said to him: Then the people have disagreed whether Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) saw his Lord or not; and whether ‘Uthmaan or ‘Ali is better; and with regard to many of the meanings of the Qur.aan and the authenticity of some ahadeeth - which are matters of belief and action and no one is declared a Kaafir due to any of that by agreement. And the obligation of the Prayer, Zakaat, Fasting and Hajj, and the forbiddence of fornication and wine are questions of action - and the one who denies them is a Kaafir - by agreement.

And if it is said that : the principles are those matters which are definite [i.e. mutawaatir], then it said to him - then many of the matters of action are definite [i.e. mutawaatir], and whether something is mutawaatir or not is a relative thing since something may be definite to a certain person due to the definite proof - such as one who heard if from Allaah’s Messenger Oáì Çááå Uáíå æOáaand was sure of its meaning whereas to another man it does not even reach the level of doubt, let alone certainty, because the text did not reach him - or because he does not think it is authentic, or because he does not comprehend what it is indicating." [35]

PART TWELVE : The Distinction Between An Action’s Being Kufr And The Doer Of The Action’s Being A Kaafir.

Shaikhul-Islaam (rahimahullaah) aid : "A certain saying may be Kufr and so it is declared unrestrictedly that the doer is a Kaafir and it is said : He who says this then he is a Kaafir. But a particular person who has said that is not judged to be a Kaafir until the proof - whose denier is a Kaafir - is established against him - and this is like the textual threats since Allaah - subhaanahu wa ta’aalaa says :

Verily those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, they eat up only a fire into their bellies, and they will be burnt in the blazing Fire [an-Nisaa. Aayah 10]

So this and its like from the textual threats are true, but we do not bear witness than a certain person in particular will receive that which is threatened, so we do not bear witness that any person in particular from the people of the Qiblah will enter the Fire, since that threat may not be carried upon him due to the absence of one of its conditions of presence of something to prevent it since perhaps its forbiddance never reached him, and perhaps he will repent from it, or perhaps he has great good deeds sufficient to wipe it out, or perhaps trials befall him which expiate for it, or perhaps an acceptable intercessor will intercede on his behalf (on the day of Resurrection). And likewise those sayings whose sayer is a Kaafir - perhaps the texts which convey the truth did not reach him, or perhaps they reached him but he did not regard them as authentic or did not understand them, or perhaps he had a doubt for which Allaah will excuse him - so if a Believer strives to arrive at the truth but makes a mistake then Allaah forgives his mistake whatever whether in the matters of belief or action this is the position of the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the great majority of the scholars of Islaam."[36]

And al-Qaasimee says, quoting Shaikhul-Islaam : "What is meant is that the position of the scholars is built upon this distinction between the type of action [i.e. its being an actin of Kufr] and the person in particular [who does the action] - indeed the rest of the scholars of Islaam such as Maalik, Aboo Haneefah and ash-Shaafi’ee that they do not declare the Murji.ah as disbelievers - those who say that Eemaan is saying without action, and their texts are replete with the fact that the Khawaarij and Qadariyyah and others are not declared to be Kaafirs."[37]

And Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee when he spoke with `Hafs al-Fard’ one of the heads of the Mu’tazillah (deniers of Allaahs attributes) with regard to the question of the creation or otherwise of the Qur.aan, Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee said to him : `You have disbelieved in Allaah the Most Great’ - declaring him to have done Kufr - but he did not judge him to be an apostate through that, and if he held him to be an apostate and Kaafir he would have hastened to have him executed. And Fatwaa was given that the callers to innovation such as Gheelaan al-Qadree, al-Ja’d ibn Dirham and Jahm ibn Safwaan the leader of the Jahmiyyah and others be executed - and the people prayed over them and they were buried with the Muslims and their execution was like that of the Brigand - in order to put an end to the harm they cause, not due to apostasy - and if they were Kaafirs the Muslims would have treated them as such."[38]

PART THIRTEEN : How A Person Becomes Muslim

A person becomes Muslim by saying the two Shahaadahs - and Ijmaa’ has been reported about that - then after that Prayer, Zakaat and the rest of the demands of the Sharee’ah are sought from him - and he is punished for leaving any of them as demanded by the Sharee’ah - and some people of our time make it a condition for his Islaam to be established that we ascertain that he has fulfilled the conditions necessary for correctness of the Shahaadah - which are mentioned by the scholars, i.e. knowledge, love, submission and certainty etc., and this is ignorance and going to excesses - since most of these conditions are actions of the heart not the limbs and there is no way of checking them. And then the rulings in this life are dependant upon that which is apparent - and it is Allaah-‘azza wa jalla who knows what is hidden. And some scholars likewise make Prayer and Zakaat a necessary addition to the Shahaadah for acceptance of a person’s Islaam - and this saying is a Bid’ah due to the Ijmaa’ of the Salaf which is opposed to it. And the proofs of this from the Book and the Sunnah are too many to enumerate - from them is Allaah - ‘azzawajalla’s - saying :

But if they repent, offer Prayer perfectly, and give Zakaat, they are you brethren in religion. [at-Tawbah : Aayah 11]

i.e. they repent from Kufr with the Shahaadah of Tawheed.

And he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said : I have been ordered to fight the people until they bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah so if they say that then their blood and wealth are safe from me except with its right and their accounting is with Allaah.[39]

And Usaamah ibn Zaid said : Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) sent us on a military expedition and we came upon al-Haraqaat of Juhainah and found a man who said `La ilaahaah ilallaah’ but I killed him, but then I felt uneasy about that so I mentioned it to the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) so Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said : Did he say `La ilaahaah ilallaah’ and you killed him? I said : `O Messenger of Allaah he only said it because he was afraid of the sword.’ He said : Did you open up his heart to see if he said it or not? And he kept repeating it until I wished that I had accepted Islaam that day.[40]

And from Aboo Hurairah who said : Allaahs Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said to his uncle [i.e. Aboo Taalib] : Say `Laa ilaahaa illallaahu’ and I will bear witness in favour because of it on the Day of Resurrection. He said : `If it were not for the fact that Quraysh would say he said it because of fear of death then I would have pleased you by agreeing to it,’ so Allaah send down:

Verily you (O Muhammad) guide not whom you like, but Allaah guides whom He will. [al-Qasas : Aayah 56]

And likewise Islaam is affirmed for a person who was born to Muslim parents, or who is looked after by the Muslims since he wa small until he reaches puberty and this is due to the saying of Allaah’ s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam): "Every child is born upon the Fitrah, then his parents make him a Jew or a Christian or a Magian."[41] And he did not say `or make him a Muslim’ because the Fitrah is Islaam as Allaah ta’aalaa says :

Allaah’s Fitrah (i.e. Allaah’s Islamic monotheism), with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in "Khalqillaah" (i.e. the Religion of Allaah - Islamic monotheism), that is the Straight Religion, but most of men know not. [ar-Room, Aayah 30]

And he who becomes Muslim - then his blood, wealth and honour become inviolable as Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said : "All of the Muslim is inviolable - his blood, his wealth and his honour."[42]

And it is not possible for anyone to declare him a Kaafir and to expel him from Islaam due to an action or belief of Kufr whilst he is ignorant of that until the Sharee’ah proof is established against him. And the description of this proof is as said by Ibn Hazm (rahimahullaah) : "To convey it to him to the extent that there remains nothing with him to oppose it."

And Shaikhul - Islaam said : "Until the proof whose denier becomes Kaafir is established against him from one who knows the Sharee’ah ruling - a sultaan or an Ameer who is obeyed."

Ash-Shaikh Sulaimaan ibn Sahmaan said: " What appears to me - and Allaah know best is that the proof is not established except by one able to establish it - as regards one who is not able to establish it such as one who is ignoring and does not know the rulings of his Deen, nor what the scholars have mentioned about that - then as far as we know the proof is not established through him and Allaah knows best."[43]

And it is a condition that the proof is from the Book and Sunnah, and that is clear containing no ambiguity and dispels every doubt which the person has. And some matters do not require a scholar, for example one who hears about an Aayah of the Qur.aan - then it is enough to show him the Mushaf and if he obstinately rejects after that then he is a Kaafir.

Part Fourteen : The Ruling For Abusing The Deen, Or Allaah - ‘Azza Wa Jalla - Or The Messenger (Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam)

Shaikhul-Islaam - rahimullaah said: "The one who abuses if he is a Muslim - then he becomes a Kaafir and is killed - about which there is no disagreement - and this is the position of the four Imaams and others and as has preceded some such as Ishaaq ibn Raahawaih and others have declared that there is Ijmaa’ about that."[44]

And he said about one who abused the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) : "So anyone who abuses him or speaks ill of him - from those who declare him to be a Prophet - then that is a proof of his wicked belief and his Kufr - indeed it is a proof of his taking him as a joke and a mockery, so if a proof has appeared about his inner state then no notice is taken of the outer appearance since we know that inwardly he is different."[45]

Ash-Shaikh ‘Aleesh al-Maalikee says : "So if anyone speaks against the pure Sharee’ah and the rulings which Allaah has laid down for His servants upon the tongue of His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then he is a definite Kaafir - if he declares that openly he is an Apostate (Murtad) and either he repents or is killed, and he seeks to hide that then he is a hypocritical heretic (Zindeeq) who is killed even if he repents. If however he speaks against a person and his state and his practising the Deen - then this is abusing a Muslim - and its punishment is as the judge sees fit and whether this will be different to the first case will be determined by confession and examination of the circumstances, and some of them make the same as the first case with regard to its ruling. And as is known the Great Qur.aan is from the Deen and abusing it is Kufr."[46]

And the committee of scholars of Saudi answered the question : What is the ruling for one who abuses the Deen if he is ignorant - Does he have the excuse of ignorance or not in this case?

The reply was :

"Abusing Allaah or His words or anything from Him is Kufr - and likewise abusing the Messenger or his Sunnah or anything from it, or abusing the Deen of a person if his Deen is Islaam - so if he is ignorant of that then the ruling must be explained to him - and if he does not give up his abusing then he is a Kaafir and Apostate, outside Islaam - he either repents or is executed as Allaah ta’aalaa says

Say : "Was it at Allaah, and His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and His Messenger that you were mocking?" Make no excuses: you have disbelieved after you had believed. [at-Tawbah : Aayah 65-66]" [47]

Part Fifteen : The Ruling Concerning Taking Allaah - The Might And Majestic Or His Messenger (Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam) Or Anything From The Sharee’ah In Jest

Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic says :

If you ask them (about this), they declare : "We were only talking idly and joking." Say : "Was it at Allaah, and His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs,revelations,..) and His Messenger that you were mocking?" Make no excuse ; you have disbelieved after you had believed. If We pardon some of you, We will punish others amongst you because they were "Mujrimoon" (disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, criminals, etc.)[Tawbah : Ayaah 65-66]

Ibn Katheer (rahimahullaah) ays in his Tafseer: "Aboo Ma’shar al-Madanee said : from Muhammad ibn Ka’ab al-Qurazee and others : "They said :A man of the Munaafiqs said : `I do not see anyone more greedy in filling his stomach, nor more untruthful in speech, nor more cowardly in battle than our reciters.’ So that was conveyed to Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who was riding his camel. So he said : "We were just jesting, playing and speaking as riders speak to shorten the journey." So he said : Was it with Allaah and His Ayaats and His Messenger that you were mocking.and the (man’s legs) were dragging on the stones and Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)did not look at him - and he was hanging onto the tail end of the camel of Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) [48]

Shaikhul-Islaam Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah) said : "So He informed that they had disbelieved after having believed even though they said that they said the words of Kufr without believing in them - but rather out of play and jest - and He explained that mocking the signs of Allaah is Kufr - and this will only occur for one whose heart is pleased with that saying and if there were Eemaan in his heart then it would have stopped him from saying that."[49]

And the Committee for Fatwaas [of the scholars of Saudi Arabia] was asked : What is the ruling regarding one who makes fun of recommended actions such as the siwaak, wearing shortened clothes and sitting in order to drink?

So they answered : "Anyone who makes fun of recommended actions such as the siwaak, wearing the shirt up to half way up the shins and placing one hand upon the other in Prayer - and such actions as are established in the Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)and if he persists in mocking the authentic Sunnah then he becomes a Kaafir because of that - since by that he is defaming Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)and that is major Kufr."[50]

Part Sixteen : Ruling For The One Who Abandons Prayer

Shaikh Al-Albaanee says : "As is known the scholars disagree about the one who abandons Prayer whilst believing in its being prescribed - so the majority hold that he does not become a Kaafir because of that but a Faasiq, and Ahmad holds that such a one is a Kaafir and is killed because of apostacy - not as a prescribed punishment. And it is established from the Companions that they had not used to regard the abandonment of anything as Kufr - except for Prayer - which is reported by at-Tirmidhee and al-Haakim - and I hold that the saying of the majority is correct and that what is reported from the Companions is not a clear statement that what they meant by `Kufr’ was the Kufr which causes a person to remain forever in the Fire and whom Allaah will not forgive and how can that be when Hudhaifah ibn al-Yamaan - one of the foremost of those Companions - replied to Silah ibn Zafr who was about to understand the matter in the same way as Ahmad, so he said : "`Laa ilaaha illallaah’ will not benefit them if they do not know what is Prayer," so Hudhaifah replied after turning away from him : "O Silah it will save them from the Fire" three times. So this is a clear statement from Hudhaifah (radiallaahu anhu) that the one who abandons Prayer - and likewise the other pillars of Islaam - is not a Kaafir, rather he is a Muslim who will be saved from remaining eternally in the Fire."

Then he (rahimahullaah) quotes as-Sakhaawee, who after mentioning the ahaadeeth about the Kufr of one who abandons Prayer, who says : "But all of this is taken at face value with regard to one who abandons it whilst denying its obligation after having grown up amongst the Muslims - since in that case he will be a Kaafir and an apostate by ijmaa’ of the Muslims - so he either returns to Islaam or is killed - but as for the one who abandons it without valid excuse but out of laziness whilst still believing in its obligation then what is correct and clearly stated by the majority failing to pray a Prayer in its essential time - such as leaving Zuhr until the sun sets, or Maghrib until the sun rises - then his repentance is sought just as the repentance of the apostate is sought - then if he does not repent heis executed, then he is washed, prayed over and buried in a Muslim graveyard - and the rest of the rulings applicable to Muslims apply to him and application of the term `kufr’ to him is explained to be due to the fact that he shares with the Kaaafir in some rulings with regard to action, this explanation is in order to harmonize between these texts and the texts such as what is authentic from him (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that he said : There are five Prayers which Allaah prescribed... if He wishes He punishes him and if He wishes He forgives him and he also said : He who dies knowing that none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah enters Paradise Therefore the Muslims have not ceased to give inheritance to and to inherit from those who abandon Prayer. And if he were a Kaafir then he would not be forgiven and would not inherit or be inherited from."[51]

And he (rahimahullaah) quoted Shaikh Sulaimaan ibn ‘Abdullaah who said : "And because that is the ijmaa’ of the Muslims because we do not know of any time when a person who abandoned Prayer was not washed and prayed over, nor whose inheritance was prevented - even though those who abandon Prayer are many - whereas if he were a Kaafir then these rulings would apply - and as for the preceding ahaadeeth then they are to be taken as a sever warning and as describing their condition as being similar to the Kaafirs - not that it is to be taken literally - such as his (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)saying : Abusing a Muslim is open sin and fighting him is Kufr and He who swears by other than Allaah has committed Shirk etc Al-Muwaffiq said : "And this is the most correct of the two sayings."[52]

Then he said : "And there is a fine point here which I have rarely seen pointed out or noticed so it is essential to point it out and explain it, so I say : That the one who abandons Prayer out of laziness is judged a Muslim as long as there is nothing to reveal the secrets of his heart or indicate that and he dies before repentance is sought from him - as is the case these days - but if he is given the choice between death and between repentance and returning to regular Prayer, but he chooses death then in this case he dies a Kaafir. Shaikhul-Islaam said : And when a man refuses to pray even if he is to be killed then he will not be inwardly agreeing to the obligation of Prayer nor one who establishes it - and he is a Kaafir by agreement of the Muslims as is shown by the many reports from the Companions that such a one is a Kaafir - and as is shown by the authentic texts."[53]

Part Seventeen : The Qur’anic Proofs That Ignorance Is An Excuse.

[1] He ‘azza wa jall says :

And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning) [Al-Israa.: 15]

"It is a statement of His - the Most High justice and that He does not punish anyone until the proof is established against him by the sending of a Messenger to him."[54]

Al-Aloosee said : "Meaning : And that is not correct and that is not done by Us, rather it is impossible for that to occur in Our way established upon extreme wisdom - or - that it did not occur in Our previous judgements and what We determined that We should punish anyone with any type of punishment in this life or in the Hereafter - for doing anything, whether a question of belief or action until We send a Messenger to him to guide him to the truth and away from misguidance, and to establish the proof and lay down the prescribed way."[55]

And Shaikh Ash-Shanqeetee (Muhammad al- Ameen...) said : "And the clear meaning of this Noble Aayah is that the Allaah does not punish any of His creation until He sends a Messenger to them to warn and admonish - and then they diobey that Messenger and persist in Kufr and sin after the warning. And some of them claim the punishment negated in this Aayah is just the worldly punishment and the reply to that is from two aspects : Firstly that it is opposed to the apparent meaning of the Qur.aan which unrestrictedly negates punishment - so that it is wider in meaning than merely referring to worldly punishment, and taking the meaning of an Aayah of the Qur.aan to be other than what is apparant is not permissible unless dictated by a proof which shows that. Secondly that the Qur.aan shows in many Aayaats that the punishment denied includes punishment in the Hereafter - such as His saying :

Everytime a group is cast therein, its keeper will ask : Did no warner come to you ? They will say : Yes indeed....[Al-Mulk : Aayaats 8-9]

And this is a proof that all the crowds of the people of the Fire are not punished except after a Messenger has been sent to warn - so Allaah is praised for His complete Justice, since He - the Mighty and Majestic does not punish anyone until there remains no excusewith the person -by sending messengers in this world - and this wisdom for which Allaah is praised would not be as it is -and the person would have the excuse which Allaah sent the Messengers to remove." [56]

[2] He - the Most High - says :

And if We had destroyed them with a torment before this, they would surely have said : Our Lord ! If only You had sent us a Messenger, we should certainly have followed Your aayaat (signs, proofs....) before we were humiliated and disgraced. [Taa.Haa : Aayah 134]

His saying And if We had destroyed them with a torment before this : meaning : before the sending of Muhammad (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) and the sending down of the Qur.aan that is : on the Day of Judgement [they would say] : Would that You had sent a Messenger to us -before we were debased with the worldly punishment and disgraced to being made to enter the Fire in the Hereafter.

[3] He - the Most High - says :

Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against Allaah after the Messengers. [An-Nisaa.:Aayah 165]

Ibn Katheer (rahimahullaah) aid : "That is : that He sent down His Books and His Messengers with good news and warning, and an explanation of what He loves and is pleased with and what He hates and rejects so that no excuse remains…" then he quotes the previous Aayah… "And as is established in the two saheehs from Ibn Mas’ood who said : Allaah’s Messenger said: "There is no one having more shame than Allaah - therefore He forbade shameful actions - what is apparent and hidden therefrom, and there is no one to whom praise is more beloved than Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic - and therefore He praised Himself and there is no one to whom excuse is more beloved than Allaah - therefore He sent the Prophets, bringers of good news and warning. And in another wording : and therefore He sent His Messengers and sent down His Books.[57]

[4] His - the Most High - saying :

Everytime a group is cast therein, its keeper will ask : Did no warner come to you ? They will say : Yes indeed a warner did come to us, but we belied him and said : Allaah never sent down anything...[Al-Mulk : Aayaat 8-9]

Ash-Shanqeetee (rahimahullaah) said : "This Aayaah shows that Allaah - the Most High - does not punish anyone in the Fire until He warns him in the world." [58] And as is well known His - the Mighty and Majestic’s saying covers all the groups who enter the Fire.

[5] His - the Most High -saying :

This Qur.aan has been revealed to me that I may warn therewith you, and whomsoever it may reach. [Al-An’aam : Aayah 19]

Shaikhul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyaah (rahimahullaah)said : "And the order is not established on a person except after it reaches him due to His -the Most High - saying :

Nor would We punish until We had sent a Messenger (to give warning) [Al-Israa. : Aayah 15] and : ......That I may warn you and whomsoever it may reach. [Al-An’aam : Aayah 19]

and : order that mankind should have no plea against Allaah after the Messengers. [An Nisaa. : Aayah 165]

And the like of this is found frequently in the Qur.aan - He - the One free of all defects - does not punish anyone until he receives the message brought by the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and Allaah does not punish him for that which did not reach him - so if He doesn’t punish him for failing to have Eemaan until the proof is established - then He will not punish him for leaving some Sharee’ah obligations until the proof is established against him." [59]

[6] His - the Most High - saying :

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. Verily Allaah is the Knower of everything. [At-Tawbah : Aayah 115]

Ibn Katheer (rahimahullaah) aid : "He - the Most High - says informing about his Noble Self and His Just Judgement that He does not misguide a people after the message has reached them until the proof is established against them, as He says :

And as for the Thaamood We showed (and made clear to) them (the Path of Truth) [Al-Fussilat : Aayah 17]." [60]

[7] His - the Most High - saying :

And if (We had) not (sent you to the people of Makkah) - in case a calamity should seize them for (the deeds) that their hands have sent forth, they should have said : Our Lord ! Why did You not send us a Messenger ? We should then have followed Your Aayaat (signs, proofs...) and should have been among the Believers. [Al-Qasas : Aayah 47]

Al-Aloosee (rahimahullaah) aid : "And the Aayah is a proof that the saying of one to whom no messenger was sent - if he were to be punished : O my Lord - if only you had sent a Messeger to me - is an acceptable plea - and if it were not then it would not be a reason for sending the Messengers." [61]

[8] His - the Most High - saying :

And this is a blessed Book which We have sent down, so follow it and fear Allaah, that you may receive mercy Lest you (Pagan Arabs) should say : The Book was only sent down to two sects before us (the Jews and Christians), and for our part, we were in fact unaware of what they studied. Or lest you (Pagan Arabs) should say : If only the Book ahad been sent down to us, we would surely have been better guided than the (the Jews and Christians). So now has come to you a clear proof (the Qur.aan) from YourLord, and a guidance and a mercy. [Al-An’aam : Aayaat 155-157]

Part Eighteen : Proofs From The Sunnah That Ignorance Is An Excuse

[1] Narrated Ribee’ ibn Hiraash : ‘Uqbah said to Hudhaifah : Won’t you narrate to us what you heard from Allaah’s Apostle (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) ? Hudhaifah said : I heard him saying : Death approached a man and when he had no hope of surviving, he said to his family : When I die, gather for me much wood and build a fire ( to burn me ). When the fire has eaten my flesh and reached my bones, take the bones and grind them and scatter the resulting powder in the sea on a hot ( or windy ) day.’ (That was done.) But Allaah collected his particles and asked (him), "Why did you do so?" He replied, `For fear of you.’ So Allaah forgave him.[62]

Shaikhul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullaah) said : "So this man thought that Allaah would not be able to take hold of him if he did this - so he thought that He would not be able to resurrect him - and both denying the power of Allaah the Most High, and denying the resurrection of the bodies, even if they are dispersed - are Kufr. But he along with his belief in Allaah and His orders and out of fear of Him - being ignorant of that and astray and mistaken in that thought - then Allaah forgave him ithat. And the hadeeth clearly shows that he hoped that Allaah would not resurrect him if he did that - and that is at the very least doubting the Resurrection and that is Kufr if the Prophet proof is established against one who denies and he would then be judged a Kaafir - and would clearly show his lack of belief in Allaah. And those who explain away his saying "If Allaah takes hold of me " to mean : "If Allaah deals with me harshly" - then this is incorrect and twisting of the words - because he ordered that he be burnt and dispersed in order to avoid being united andresurrected... and if he affirmed Allaah’s power over him then he would not have done that as it would have been pointless."

And Ibn Hazm (rahimahullaah) aid : "So this person was ignorant until death that Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic - was able to gather his ashes and resurrect him - and yet Allaah forgave him due to his belief in Him and his fear of Him and his ignorance. And some of those who twist words saying that this means : "If Allaah is severe against me" - just as Allaah’s saying : "But when He tries him, by straitening his means of life..." [Al-Fajr : Aayah 16]

And this is a baseless explanation since then the meaning would be : If Allaah is severe against me then He will certainly be severe and also if this were the case then there would be no point in his ordering that he be burnt and his ashes be scattered - and there is no doubt that he ordered that in order to escape Allaah’s punishment.

[2] From ‘Aaishah (radiallaahu anhaa) who had narrated this : Should I not narrate to you myself and about the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)? We said : Yes. She said : When it was my turn for Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to spend the night with me, he turned his side, put on his mantle and took off his shoes and placed them near his feet, and spread the corner of his shawl on his bed and then lay down till he thought that I had gone to sleep. He took hold of his mantle slowly and put on the shoes slowly, and opened the door and went out and then closed it tightly. I covered my head, put on my veil and tightened my waist wrapper, and then went out following his steps till he reached Baqi’. He stood there and he stood for a long time. He then lifted his hands three times, and then returned and I also returned. He hastened his steps and I also hastened my steps. He ran and I too ran. He came (to the house) and I also came (to the house). I, however, preceded him and I entered (the house), and I lay down in the bed, he (the Prophet) entered the (house), and said : Why is it, O ‘Aaishah, that you are out of breath? I said : There is nothing. He said : Tell me or the Subtle and Aware would inform me. I said : Messenger of Allaah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said : Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said : Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said : Did you think that Allaah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you? She said : Will Allaah know whatever the people conceal ? He said : Yes." 63]

Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullaah) said : "So this is ‘Aaishah - the Mother of the Believers asking the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam): Does Allaah know everything which the people conceal ? So the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) answered her `Yes.’ - which shows that she did not know that Allaah knows everything which the people conceal - and that affirming that after the proof is established is one of the Principles of Eemaan - and denying His knowing everything is like denying His having power over everything.[64]

[3] Aboo Hurayrah (radiallaahu anhu) said : The people asked : Apostle of Allaah ! Shall we see our Lord, the Exalted, on the Day of Resurrection? He replied : Do you feel any trouble in seeing the sun at noon when it is not in the cloud? They said : No. He said : By him in Whose hand my soul is, you will not feel any trouble in seeing Him except as much as you feel in seeing any of them.[65]

So this hadeeth shows that they were ignorant of the belief that Allaah will be seen until they asked Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)so did Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)inform them that they were Kaafirs because of that and that they had to renew their Islaam - or did he excuse them and teach them the truth - and the matters relating to Tawheed are many and diverse some of them are known by people in general, some are known by students of knowledge and some are known only by specialising scholars - so how can this matter be decided and where is the dividing line beyond which ignorance of those matters makes a person a Kaafir, and is it the case that a person does not become a Believer until he learns all of these matters, and why then is a person judged a Muslim simply by his saying the Shahaadah?

[4] Aboo Waaqid al-Laithee said : "We went out along with Allaah’s (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to Hunain - and we had recently left Kufr - and the Mushriks had a lotus tree which they used to devote themselves to and upon which they hung their arms - and it was called `Dhaatu Anwaat’ so we passed by a lotus-tree and said : O Messenger of Allaah, make for us a `Dhaatu Anwaat’ just as they have a `Dhaatu Anwaat’, so Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)said : Allaah is greater! These are the ways, you have said - by the One in Whose Hand is my soul - just as the sons of Israa.eel said to Moosaa : Make for us a God as they have gods you will certainly follow the ways of those before you.[66]

And the hadeeth clearly shows that some of the Companions, who had become Muslim at the Conquest of Makkah - who had not yet learnt all the matters relating to Tahweed, asked the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) for a tree to devote themselves to and to hang their weapons upon and to seek blessings from just as the Mushriks did - so did the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) declare them all to be Kaafirs and inform them that they had left Islaam and that it was obligatory upon them to repent and return to the Deen again ? Or did he carry out the punishment of apostasy upon them - as would be demanded by those who do not excuse one ignorant of the affairs of Tawheed ? Or did he excuse them due to their ignorance and inform them that what they were asking for Kufr - and was what the sons of Israa.eel asked Moosaa (‘alaihis-salaam) for, and so declared their saying to be kufr but did not declare them to be Kaafirs. So look - may Allaah have mercy upon you - and see which of the two is better guided and a more correct path - and all praise is for Allaah who guided us to the Sunnah of His Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)and to the way of those whom Allaah ordered us to follow.

[5] Rib’ee ibn Khiraash reports from Hudhaifah ibn al-Yamaan - from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam): Islaam will fade away just as the dye of a garment fades away until it is not known what is Fasting, nor Prayer, nor sacrifice, nor charity, and the Book of Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic - will be taken up in a single night so that not a single Aayah fromi t remains, and there will remain groups of people - the old men and the women [from them] will say: `We found our fathers upon this saying : `Laa ilaaha illallaaah’ so we say it.’ Silah ibn Zifr said to Hudhaifah : "How will `Laa ilaaha ilallaah’ benefit them whilst they do not know what is Prayer, nor Fasting, nor Sacrifice, nor Charity?" So Hudhaifah turned away from him, so he repeated it three times and Hudhaifah still turned away - then on the third he turned to him and said: "It will save them from the Fire, it will save them from the Fire, it will save them from the Fire."67]

And the Hadeeth is a clear proof that ignorance is an excuse when knowledge is taken away, ignorance becomes widespread and the people do not know anything of Islaam except the word of Tawheed - and they do not know what is Prayer, Fasting or Charity - not to mention the rest of the Pillars of the Deen. And it is used as a proof that the one who abandons Prayer is not a Kaafir as long as he does not make that lawful due to his saying : "It will save them from the Fire, even though they do not know what is Prayer" and see Shaikh al-Albaanee’s note [68], as it is a fine note.

[6] ‘Abdullaah ibn Abee Awfaa said : "When Mu’aadh came from Shaam he prostrated before the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) so he said: What is this O Mu’aadh? He replied : I came to Shaam and found them prostrating to their bishops and patriarchs, so I wished to do that before you. So Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said : If I were to order anyone to prostrate to anyone other than Allaah I would have ordered the woman to prostrate to her husband. By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, a woman does not fulfil the rights of her Lord until she fulfils the rights of her husband - even if he were to ask her for herself whilst she were upon the saddle of a camel she should not prevent him."[69]

And the hadeeth contains clear proof that one who prostrates to other than Allaah ignorant of the fact that prostration (sajdah) is worship which is for Allaah alone - then he does not become a Kaafir through that and other actions of Kufr are to be treated likewise.

Ash-Shawkaanee (rahimahullaah) said : "One who prostrates to other than Allaah out of ignorance does not become a Kaafir."[70]

[7] Narrated Ar-Rabee’, the daughter of Mua’wwidh bin ‘Afraa’ : After the consummation of my marriage, the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) came and sat on my bed as far from me as you are sitting now, and our little girls started beating the tambourines and reciting elegiac verses mourning my father who had been killed in the battle of Badr. One of them said : Among us is a Prophet who knows what will happen tomorrow. On that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said : Leave this (saying) and keep on saying the verses which you had been saying before.[71]

So did the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) declare those who claimed that he knew the Unseen were Kaafirs - whilst it is obligatory to believe that Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic - alone knows the unseen. Rather he excused them due to ignorance and said to them : No one knows what the next day holds except Allaah.[72]

[8] Ibn ‘Abbaas (radiallaahu anhu) reports that a man came to Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)and said : Just as Allaah and you have willed. So he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said : Have you made me a partner with Allaah?! Just as Allaah alone has willed.[73]

So this man equated Allaah’s Will and that of His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and this is Kufr - as he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said : Have you made me a partner with Allaah?! Just as Allaah alone willed. And even so the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not declare him to be a Kaafir - and all of these proofs from the pure Sunnah are proofs for the excuse of ignorance in matters of Tawheed - and there are also proofs to show that ignorance is an excuse in matters of Halaal and Haraam :-

A: The man who came to the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)and confessed four times that he had fornicated, so the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked him : Do you know what fornication is ? He said : I unlawfully did with her what a man lawfully does with his wife. [74]

This shows that the statutory punishment was binding after the possibility of the man’s ignorance of fornication and its forbiddance was removed - but the one who is ignorant of its prohibition is excused due to his ignorance.

And Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said : "The punishment is not binding upon the one ignorant of its prohibition since he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked him about the ruling of fornication and he said : I unlawfully did with her what a man lawfully does with his wife."[75]

And it is reported from ‘Uthmaan (radiallaahu anhu) that he excused a foreign slave-girl who fornicated and claimed ignorance from Umar (radiallaahu anhu) that he excused a man in Shaam and did not inflict the punishment when he claimed ignorance of the prohibition of the fornication.

B: Al-Bukhaaree reports that two men raised their voices in the mosque of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)so ‘Umar said to them : Where are you from? They said : From at-Taa.if. He said : If you were from this town I would have punished you for raising your voices in the mosque of Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

Ibn Hajr (rahimahullaah) aid : "And it shows that the ignorant have an excuse - if it is something that can possibly remain hidden."

C: Narrated al-Mugheerah : Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaadah said : If I saw a man with my wife, I would strike him (behead him) with the blade of my sword. This news reached Allah’s Messenger Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who then said : You people are astonished at Sa’d’s gheera. By Allaah, I have more gheera than he, and Allaah has more gheera than I , and because of Allaah’s gheera, He has made unlawful shameful deeds and sins ( illegal sexual intercourse etc. ) done in open and in secret. And there is none who likes that the people should repent to Him and beg His padon more than Allaah, and for this reason He sent the warners and the givers of good news. And there is none who likes to be praised more than Allaah does, and for this reason Allaah promised to grant Paradise ( to the doers of good). [76]

An-Nawawee said : "There is no one to whom excuses are more beloved than Allaah - the Most High - so the `excuse’ here means to give excuse and to warn before sending punishment, just as He - the Most Perfect and Most High says :

And we never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning). [al Israa:15]" [77]

Part Nineteen : Sayings Of The Scholars Affirming The Excuse Of Ignorance

[1] Ash-Shaafi’ee (rahimahullaah) aid : "Allaah has names and attributes which no one is allowed to refuse, and he who disagrees after the proof has been established then he is a Kaafir, but as for before the proof is established - then he has the excuse of ignorance - since knowledge of that cannot be reached by the intellect or sight or thought, so we affirm these attributes and deny any likeness just as He has denied it for Himself :

There is nothing like unto Him and He is the All-Hearer the All-Seer. [Ash-Shoora : 11] [78]

[2] Ibn al-‘Arabee (rahimahullaah) said : "Just as the acts of obedience are called Eemaan then likewise sins are called Kufr but when they are described with the term Kufr then what is not intended is the Kufr which takes a person out of the religion, so the ignorant one and the one who commits a mistake from this Ummah - even if he does an action of Kufr or Shirk then such a one will not be a Mushrik or a Kaafir because he is excused due to the ignorance or mistake until the proof whose doubt - and he denies what is known from the Deen of Islaam necessarily - such as their is definite Ijmaa. upon, something known by all the Muslims without having to think it over and consider - as will be explained if Allaah ta’aalaa wills - and no one disagrees in that except the people of Innovation." [79]

[3] Imaam at-Tahaawee (rahimahullaah) says :

"And we do not declare anyone from the people of the Qiblah to be a Kaafir due to a sin as long as he does not legalise it. And we do not say that Eemaan is not damaged by sins which a person commits and we hope for the righteous Believers that He will pardon them and enter them into Paradise by His Mercy, and we do not feel safe regarding them and we do not definitely bear witness that they are people of Paradise, and we seek forgiveness for the wrongdoers from them and we fear for them and we do not despaf of them - and feeling secure and despairing take a person out of Islaam - and the way of truth is between the two for the people of the Qiblah."

[4] Al-Haafiz Adh-Dhahabee (rahimahullaah) said : "And know that as for many of there major sins except for a few of them - then a large part of the Ummah are ignorant of their prohibition, and have not heard the warning against it or the threat of punishment. So here distinction should be made and the scholar should not deal hastily with the person ignorant of that - rather he should treat him with compassion and teach him from that which Allaah taught him, especially if he has only recently left his Jaahiliyyah having grown up in the distant lands of the Kaafirs and having been taken prisoner and brought to the lands of Islaam - he being a Turk or a Georgian and a Mushrik and a non Arab, and then a Turkish Ameer buys him to himself who himself has no knowledge or understanding - and so with effort he pronounces the shahaadah, and then if he learns enough to understand the meaning of the shahaadah after a number of days and nights - then how good. Then he may or may notstart to pray, and after a while he may learn the the Faatihah if his teacher has something of the Deen, but if his teacher is like himself then how can this poor person come to know the laws of Islaam and the major sins and to avoid them and the obligatory actions and to carry them out ? So if such a one comes to know the most severe of the major sins and avoids them, and the pillars from the obligatory actions and believes that - then he is a fortunate one, and that is rare. So a servant should praise Allaah for granting him success, and if it is said : But he is [accountable for] falling short in not asking about that which is obligatory upon him. Then the reply is : That it never enters his mind and he never realises that it is obligatory upon him to question the one who is teaching him - and he whom Allaah does not grant light then he has no light, and so no one becoes sinful except after knowing and after the proof is established upon Him and Allaah is Gracious and forgiving towards them, he - ta’aaalaa says :

Nor would We punish until We had sent a Messenger (to give warning) [Al-Israa. : Aayah 15]

And the noble Companions were in Abyssinia whilst the obligations and prohibitions were being sent down upon the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and these things didn’t reach them until months later, but in those things they were excused due to their ignorance until the text reached them, and it is the same for one who does not know - he has the excuse of ignorance until he hears the text - and Allaah knows best. [80]

[5] Imaam Ibn Hazm al-Anadalusee said : "It is established that no one is to be declared a Kaafir until the order of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) reches him - so if that reaches him and he doesn’t believe in it then he is a Kaafir. But if he believes it and then believes whatever Allaah willed he would believe in anything of beliefs, judgements or action - whatever Allaah willed him to do - without anything from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) reaching him to contradict what he believes, or says, or does - then there is no punishment upon him at all unless it reaches him. But if it reaches him and he knows its authenticity - then if hecontradicts it due to ijtihaad - and the truth as it is is not clear to him, then he is mistaken in that, excused and has a single reward - as the (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said : When the judge strives to reach the truth and is correct then he has two rewards, and if he is mistaken then he has a single reward. And everyone who believes something, or speaks or acts then he is judging in that matter, so if he - in his actions obstinately opposes the truth believing other than what he does, then he is a sinful Believer. And if he opposes it obstinately with his heart or his words then he is a Mushrik, a Kaafir - the same whether that is in his beliefs or words due to the texts which we have quoted - and this is the saying of Ishaaq ibn Raahawaih and it is our saying and success lies with Allaah." [81]

[6] Ibn Rushd (rahimahullaah) aid : "And judgement of Kufr is not to be passed on anyone except for three reasons : two of them being agreed upon and that the third is something about which they differ. As for the two about which they agree then the first is : that he himself admits to the Disbelief in Allaah ta’aalaa, and secondly : that he says a saying which the texts state and their ijmaa’ stating that that does not emanate except from a Kaafir - even if that is not in itself Kufr in essence - for example making lawful : drinking wine, theft, leaving obligatory duties, murder, fornication, worshipping idols, making fun of the Messengers, abolishing soorahs of the Qur.aan etc. - then that becomes a proof of Kufr even if it itself is not Kufr. And joined to these is abandoning of Prayer - according to those of Ahlus-Sunnah who declare him to be a Kaafir - and there is no proof for this except the apparent wording of the Aathaar which have more than one possible meaning. And the third about which they differ : that he says a saying which it is known that it is not possible for the one saying it, if he believes it to be adhered to, to know and believe in Allaah - even if he claims to know Allaah ta’aalaa and affirm belief in Him. And due to this reason those who declare the Innovators to be Kaafirs do so - due to what their saying implies. And this is the saying of Maalik about the `’Utaibiyyah’ : "There is no Aayah harsher upon the people of Innovation than this Aayah :

On the Day when some faces will become white and some faces will become black. [Aal ‘Imraan : Aayah 106]

But as for declaring a particular person to be a Kaafir or a Believer, then that is not correct since he may hide inwardly other than that which he displays outwardly - except due to a text from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) or he clearly displays a belief which causes him to be a Kaafir." [82]

[7] Shaikhul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullaah) aid : "I am one of those most severe in forbidding that a person in particular should be declared to be a Kaafir, Faasiq or Sinner until it is known that the Prophetic proof has been established upon him - the like of which one who denies it is a Kaafir sometimes, a Faasiq at other times and sinful at others. And I affirm that Allaah has forgiven the mistakes of this Ummah - and this covers both matters of belief and sayings of actions." [83]

And he (rahimahullaah) aid : "If a man prostrates to another man thinking that that is from the Deen then he does not become a Kaafir until that is clearly explained to him."

[8] Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) aid : "The second principle : that punishment is applicable due to two reasons : Firstly : turning away from the proof, not accepting and acting upon it and what it demands, Secondly : obstinately refusing it after it has been presented - and leaving what it demands. So the first is Kufr of turning away (‘Iraad) and the second is Kufr of obstinate rejection (‘Inaad). As for the Kufr of ignorance when the proof has not been established and of one who has not been able to reach the truth then Allaah has denied punishment for such a one until the proof brought by the Messenger.


[1] Saheeh - related by al-Bukhaaree (10/514), Muslim (2/49), Maalik (2/984), at-Tirmidhee (10/30) and Aboo Daawood (4662).

[2] Saheeh - related by al-Bukhaaree (10/514).

[3] Abbreviated from Fathul-Baaree (10/466) and an-Nawawee’s Sharh of Saheeh Muslim (2/50).

[4] Saheeh - related by al-Bukhaaree (10/514), Muslim (2/49) and others.

[5] Taken from as-Sailul-Jarraar (4/578) and adapted

[6] Saheeh - related by al-Bukhaaree (1/110) and Muslim (2/54).

[7] Saheeh - related by Muslim (16/120) and atTirmidhee (8/115)

[8] Saheeh - related by Muslim (16/121), Aboo Daawood (4861) and at-Tirmidhee (8/115).

[9] From al-Jaami’ li Ahkaamil-Qur’aan (7/6128) of al-Qurtubee.

[10] Madaarijus-Saalikeen (1/470) and see also Dhammul-Jahl of Muhammad ibn Sa’eed Ibn Rusulaan.

[11] Hasan - related by Aboo Daawood (332), Ibn Maajah (464) and Ahmad (1/380) and declared to be hasan by Shaykh al-Albaanee in asSaheehah (4323).

[12] al-Ihkaam fee Usoolil Ahkaam (p.895)

[13] Adwaa.ul-Bayaan (3/429)

[14] al-Haddul-Faasil bainul-Kufr wal-Eemaan (pp.70-73)

[15] Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (22/41-42).

[16] Sharh of Saheeh Muslim (1/100).

[17] ibid.

[18] Sharh Aqeedatut-Tahaawiyyah (p.223)

[19] Taken from Fathul-Baaree (1/46-47)and abbreviated.

[20] Saheeh - related by al-Bukhaaree (1/51) with the wording: sixty-odd, and in the narration of Muslim (2/6) there occurs with uncertainty: sixty or seventy-odd, and the three authors of Sunan report it without doubt: seventy-odd. And this is a further report of Muslim (2/3).

[21] Kitaabus-Salaat (p.24) of Ibn al Qayyim.

[22] Saheeh - related by at-Tirmidhee (10/90), (231-232) and al-Haakim (1/7) and it was authenticated by al-Albaanee in KitaabulEemaan of Ibn Abee Shaybah (46).

[23] Saheeh - related by Aboo Daawood (3235), atTirmidhee (7/18), Ahmad (2/34), al-Haakim (4/297) and others and al-Albaanee authenticated it in Irwaa ul-Ghaleel (2561).

[24] Kitaabus-Salaat (p19).

[25] Taken from Kitaabul-Eemaan of Ibn Taymiyyah, as quoted from Mahaasinut-Taa.weel (5/13161317) and the hadeeth is Mutawaatir as asSuyootee says in al-Jaami’ us-Sagheer. It is reported by al-Bukhaaree with additional wording (1/75) and also by Muslim (1/206-207) Aboo Dawood (2623) and at-Tirmidhee (7/10).

[26] Kitaabus-Salaah (p.25)

[27] Mahaasinut-Ta.weel (5/1307)

[28] Kitaabus-Salaah (p26)

[29] Saheeh - a part of a hadeeth related by Ibn Maajah and Ibn Hibbaan; and its takhreej will be given later inshallaah, with the incident of the Prostrating.

[30] Fathul-Baaree (1/83)

[31] Saheeh - related by al-Bukhaaree (1/110) and Muslim (2/54)

[32] Saheeh - related by al-Bukhaaree (3/573) and Muslim (2/54)

[33] Saheeh - related by at-Tirmidhee (10/90), (231-232) and al-Haakim (1/7) and it was authenticated by al-Albaanee in KitaabulEemaan (46) of Ibn Abee Shaybah.

[34] Saheeh - related by Aboo Daawood (3235), atTirmidhee (7/18), Ahmad (2/34), al-Haakim (4/297) and others and al-Albaanee authenticated it in Irwaa ul-Ghaleel (2561).

[35] Majmoo’ ul Fataawaa (23/346/347)

[36] Majmoo’ ul Fataawaa (3/345)

[37] From `Mahaasinut-Ta.weel’, (5/1313)

[38] Mahaasinut-Ta.weel, (5/1314)

[39] al-Bukhaaree with additional wording, Muslim...

[40] al-Bukhaaree (7/517), Muslim (2/99) and Aboo Daawood (2626)

[41] Muslim (16/209)


[43] Minhaaj Ahlul-Haqq wal Ittibaa’

[44] `as-Saarimul - Maslool ‘alaa ShaatimarRasool’

[45] ibid

[46] `Fathul-‘Alee al-Malik fil Fatwaa ‘alaa Madhhabil Imaam Maalik’ (2/347)

[47] Fatwaa no.5213, dated 15/1/1403H

[48] Tafseer Ibn Katheer (2/367)

[49] Fathul-Majeed, p.436

[50] Fatwaa no.5213, dated 15/1/1403H

[51] Al-Fataawaa al-Hadeethiyyah (2/84) from `Silsilatus-Saheehah’ (1/115-110)

[52] `Haashiyatul-Muqni’ (1/95-96) quoted in`Silsilatus-Saheehah’ (1/117)

[53] Abbreviated from `as-Saheehah’ (1/117) and the saying of the Shaikul-Islaam is quoted from `Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa’ (2/48) and we have satisfied ourselves with quoting what Shaikh al-Albaanee says since he takes the way of harmonizing the tests - both those severely warning the one who abandons Prayer and those ahaadeeth showing the excellence of the Shahaadah - and harmonization is essentail if it is possible - and that is the saying of the majority of the scholars - and he mentioned some of their sayings and proofs and what is fitting here out of respect for Allaah - ‘azza wa jalla - and His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is that we apply the term `kufr’to abandonment of Prayer - just as the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) applied it, but believing that it is not the Kufr which takes a person outside Islaam and destines a person to dwell eternally in the Fire - we seek Allaah’s refuge from the condition of the people of perdition. And an-Nawawee brings a chapter heading in his Sharh of Saheeh Muslim : "Chapter : The Application of the word `Kufr’ to the one who abandons Prayer." (2/71) and he did not head the chapter containing the ahaadeeth clearly stating `Kufr’ as `The Kufr of one who abandons Prayer.’

[54] Tafseer al-Qur.aanil-‘Azeem (3/28)

[55] `Roohul Ma’aanee’ (15/36)

[56] ‘Adwaa.ul-Bayaan (3/429-430)

[57] Tafseer al-Qur.aanil ‘Azeem (1/588) and the hadeeth is reported by al-Bukhaaree (13/338) and Muslim (10/132)

[58] Adwaa.ul Bayaan (8/396)

[59] Al-Fataawaa (2/41-42)

[60] Ibn Katheer (2/395)

[61] Roohul-Ma’aanee (20/91)

[62] Bukharee (6/494), Nasaa`ee (4/113), Muslim (17/70), Ibn Maajah (3432) and Ahmad (2/269)

[63] Muslim (7/43,44), an-Nasaa`ee (4/91,93), Ahmad (6/221) and ‘Abdur-Razzaaq (6712).

[64] Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa (11/409)

[65] SAHEEH : Aboo Daawood (4703), At-Tirmidhee (10/25-30), Ibn Maajah (148).

[66] SAHEEH : Ahmad (5/218), at-Tirmidhee (9/2728) and HASAN: Ibn Abee ‘Aasim (76)

[67] SAHEEH: Ibn Maajah (4049) and al-Haakim (4/473)

[68] Silsilatus-Saheehah (1/115)

[69] SAHEEH : Ibn Maajah (1853), Ibn Hibbaan (1390)

[70] Nailul-Awtaar (6/210)

[71] Bukhaaree (9/184)

[72] This addition is reported by Ibn Maajah (1897)

[73] SAHEEH : Ibn Maajah (2117), al-Bukhaaree in al-Adabul-Mufrad (783) and Ahmad (1/214)

[74] Bukhaaree and Muslim

[75] Zaadul Ma’aad (5/33)

[76] al-Bukhaaree (trans. 9/378)

[77] Sharh Saheeh Muslim (10/132)

[78] Fathul-Baaree (13/407)

[79] Mahaasinut-Ta.weel (5/1307) reporting it from Qaadee Aboo Bakr in his Sharh

[80] of Adh-Dhahabee (12)

[81] Al-Fasl fil-Milal wal-Ahwaa. wan-Nahl (4/2425)

[82] Fathul ‘Alee ul-Maalik (2/346) 83Al-Fataawaa (3/229)

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