The Islamic Principles of Takfeer (excommunication)

This article extract from Imaam Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab’s judgment on takfir is crucial in this day and time for two following facts. It lays bear the compounded ignorance of both extremists groups among the murji (liberal) so called Muslims among the deviant heresiological groups among sufis and ash’aris and others. Likewise it completely deflates the entire khawaaarij movement found in todays haphazard takfiri websites like the tibyaan, darul-tawhid, and others. It lays the crystal clear methodology of the Muslim and the Islamic introspection on what is to be made takfir of and under what avenue it is to be made.

Principles of Takfir
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab
ad-Durar as-Sunniyyah 1/102-104

The Shaykh was asked concerning that for which he fights, and upon what does he make takfir of a person.

He replied,

“The five pillars of Islam. The first of them [by which he disbelieves] is the two testimonies of faith, then the remaining four pillars. However, if he affirms their obligation but abandons them out of neglect, then even though we fight him in order to make him act upon them, we do not declare him a disbeliever by mere abandonment of them. The scholars have differed about the disbelief of the one who abandoned the prayer out of laziness, without willful denial, juhood. So we do not perform takfir on account of anything except what the all of the scholars are united upon, and that is the two testimonies of faith.

And also, we make takfir of him after acquaintance. That is after he knows, and then rejects it. So we say that those who are our enemies are of different types:

The first type: The one who comes to know that the Tawheed that is the deen of Allaah and His Messenger, is the very one that we have brought to the people, and who also affirms that these beliefs concerning the stones, trees, and men, which is the deen of the majority of the people, that it is Shirk with Allaah, and is that which Allaaah sent His Messenger to prohibit, and that he fight its people so that the all of the deen is for Allaah. So alongside all of this he does not turn to Tawheed, and does not learn it and does not enter into it, and he does not abandon Shirk, then this one is a Kaafir, and we fight him for his kufr. Since, he knew the religion of the Messenger, but did not follow it, and he knew Shirk, but did not abandon it, alongside his not having any hatred for the deen of the Messenger, and nor for anyone who has entered into it, and nor does he praise Shirk and nor does he beautify it to the people.

The second type: The one who knew all of that, however he makes clear his revilement of the deen of the Messegner, alongside his claim that he actually acts by it (the deen). And he also makes clear his praise of the one who worshipped Yusuf, and al-Ashqar, and Abu Alee, and al-Khidr, from the people of Kuwait, and he considers them better than the one who made Tawheed of Allaah and abandoned Shirk. This is one is actually more severe than the first one, and concerning this is the saying of Allaah, “And when that which they knew came to them, they disbelieved in it, so the curse of Allaah is upon the Disbelievers” (al-Baqarah 2/89), and this is the person about whom Allaah said, “But if they violate their oaths after their covenant, and attack your religion with disapproval and criticism then fight (you) the leaders of disbelief – for surely their oaths are nothing to them – so that they may stop (evil actions)” (At-Tawbah 9:12).

The third type: Whoever knew Tawheed, loved it, followed it, and knew Shirk and abandoned it, however, he hates the one who enters into Tawheed, and he loves the one who remains upon Shirk, so this one also is a disbeliever, and regarding this is the saying of Allaah, “That is because they hate that which Allaah has sent down, so He has made their deeds fruitless” (Muhammad 47:9).

The fourth type: The one who is free of all of this (i.e. what has been mentioned above), however the people of his town clearly express their enmity to the people of Tawheed, and their following of the people of Shirk, and they strive to fight them. So this person makes excuse that abandoning his land will be very difficult upon him. And so he fights the people of Tawheed alongside the people of his town, and he strives with his wealth and his self. So this one too is a Kaafir, for if they were to command him to abandon fasting in Ramadan, and he was not able to fast without separating from them, he would have done so. And if they were to command him to marry the wife of his father, and he was not able to do that without separating from them, then he would have done so. And his agreement with them in making jihad alongside them with his self, and his wealth, when they desire by this to cut off the deen of Allaah and His Messenger, is actually greater than that (i.e. the examples given), by a great deal, a great deal. So this one too is a Kaafir. And this is the one about whom Allaah said, “You will find others that wish to have security from you and security from their people. Every time they are sent back to temptation, they yield thereto. If they withdraw not from you, nor offer you peace, nor restrain their hands, take (hold) of them and kill them wherever you find them. In their case, We have provided you with a clear warrant against them” (An-Nisa 4:91).

So this is what we say.

As for the great lie and slander, then it is like their saying that we make takfir bil-‘umoom (generalized takfir) and that we make hijrah (emigration) obligatory upon the one who is able to make an apparent display of his deen, and that we make takfir of the one who does not actually disbelieve, and the one who does not fight us, and whatever (lie and slander) is similar to this, multiple times over. So all of this is lie and slander, by which they prevent the people from the deen of Allaah and His Messenger.

And when it is the case that we do not make takfir of the one who worships and idol, that which upon [the grave] of Abdul-Qaadir, and the idol that is upon the grave of Ahmad al-Badawee and whatever is similar to these two, due to their ignorance, and the absence of the one who will notify them [make them understand].

How then can we make takfir of the one who does not make Shirk with Allaah?! When he does not make hijrah to us, or does not actually disbelieve, and does not fight us, “Glory be to You this is a great lie” (An-Nur 24:16).

Rather, we make takfir of those four types, due to their enmity towards Allaah and His Messenger, and may Allaah show mercy to a man who looked to himself and knew that he will be meeting Allaah, with whom is Paradise and Hellfire, and prayers and peace be upon Muhammad, his family and companions”.