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The Islamic Principles of Takfir Part II

When does kufr akbar (major disbelief) and apostasy occur?

Fawzaan was asked the following question;

When does kufr akbar (major disbelief) and apostasy occur ?

Is it only specific by; belief , and opposing, and by denying the shariah ?
Or is it more general than that?

Answer :

Disbelief and apostasy occur by indulging in or doing one of the nullifiers of Islam , which are known by the people of knowledge. So whoever commits any of these (nullifiers), without having the excuse of being ignorant; then by doing this , he has become a disbeliever and an apostate.

And therefore we pass this ruling according to what is apparent of his actions and statements.

Because we only pass rulings on what is apparent, and as for the actions of the heart; then no one knows these , except Allah The Most High The Most Exalted.
Therefore whoever utters statements of Kufr (disbelief), or commits actions of kufr; then we judge him according to these statements and actions of his. Except if he is an ignorant, or he was forced; then he is excused.

And these are the statements and actions that oppose the apparent aqeedah (creed) of the Book and the Sunnah; like major shirk (associating partners with Allah) and apostatizing.

As for the things which are hidden (in the heart), then it is a must to establish the proof that he/she opposes the correct creed ; while having sound understanding of it. Then (if this is done) ; the ruling can be established. [Masaa’il fil-emaan]

Likewise Imaam Muhmmd ibn Ibraheem stated the following

“The things which causes a person to apostate are divided into three divisions:

The first division: That which the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is known to have come with, and opposing what is known by necessity that the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came with. So this is disbelief in that, regardless of whether it is in the foundations (usool) or in secondary matters (furoo’), and no excuse can be sought by what is new in Islaam.

: That which the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is known to have come with, and opposing what is known by necessity that the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came with. So this is disbelief in that, regardless of whether it is in the foundations (usool) or in secondary matters (furoo’), and no excuse can be sought by what is new in Islaam.

The second division: Those to whom the proof is unknown. So this one does not disbelieve until the proof is established upon him, and the evidences are presented to him. After the proof has been established upon him, he only becomes a disbeliever if he has understood it. If he says: I do not understand, or he understands but contests, then the proof should be clarified to him with a sufficient explanation.

: Those to whom the proof is unknown. So this one does not disbelieve until the proof is established upon him, and the evidences are presented to him. After the proof has been established upon him, he only becomes a disbeliever if he has understood it. If he says: I do not understand, or he understands but contests, then the proof should be clarified to him with a sufficient explanation.

Resisting stubbornly (‘inaad) is not from the disbelief of the disbelievers, rather it is a part from its parts, and the other part or parts are not stubborn resistance, and the scholars have not entered into that judgement because it is between him and Allaah.

The third division: Things that involve inner thoughts. So this does not cause a person to apostate until the proofs have been established upon him, regardless of whether it is in the foundations (usool) or secondary matters (furoo’)…

: Things that involve inner thoughts. So this does not cause a person to apostate until the proofs have been established upon him, regardless of whether it is in the foundations (usool) or secondary matters (furoo’)…

…So we know from this that there is no takfeer upon anyone except after the establishment of proof upon him.
So the first division is apparent, and the second is in its place in this case, not the third.
Then there are two things here: Firstly, the ruling upon the thing that it is disbelief. Secondly, the ruling upon a person specifically is a separate matter, and then there is the takfeer of a group such as the Jahmiyyah which is another thing

in this last part the shaykh is speaking about tafkir bi wasf (takfir on the issue) which is different and seperate with regards to takfir al-ayn (takfir on an individual)

The Reason why Ahlu-sunnah make Takfir for Apostasy

the main crux of why takfir is made is based on the statements of every single sunni Imaam.

The person who kicked the Qur’an, takfir is made after establishing the proof. That is why we have something called “iqaamatil-hujjah”

In the shariah, the scholars have deduced two fundamental sources for the pronouncement of takfir which is shown in the following map. The following is a road map of scholastic takfir based on the usool of the classical Imaams. The first one is takfir al-ayn. The issue of making takfir of an individual (al-ayn) only becomes valid once a person is known clearly to have fallen into a nullifier of Islam.

takfir al-ayn (is when a person has already fell into kufr al-akbar)—————->Conditions present and barriers absent————->iqaamatil-hujjah (establishing the proof)—————->takfir (then takfir is made)

as for takfir bi wasf, it is those issues that the shariah has labeled as kufr

takfir bi wasf (the hukm on the issue, not the individual)
wasf is either
1. tafseeli (meaning the act of doing something could be major kufr or minor kufr depending on the condition of the person and the circumstances. e.g. Ruling by other than what Allah has revealed)
2. itlaaqi (meaning the act is only kufr akbar unrestrictedly. e.g. erasing the shariah and instituting secular french or british laws as the fundamental source of legislation)

under itlaaqi, then the road is like this

itlaaq——->conditions present and barriers absent——–>iqamatil-hujjah———->takfir

as for tafseeli then the map is

tafseel———->deciphering if it is kufr al-akbar or not. This is where juhood, istihlaal, itiqaad, inaad, iraadh, etc, fall into as the jurist utilizes these states to determine the condition of the person. All of this is the tafseeli aspect of it all————->then comes conditions present and barriers absent—————>iqaamatil-hujjah————–>takfir

this is the sunni legal theory behind legislated takfir. what seperates us from the current day takfiri movements is their deletion of this extra step in the “road to takfir” which is the tafseel aspect. All of the imaams, from Ibn Ibraheem to Ibn Taymiyyah to Abu Bakr Ibnul-Arabi all agreed to the fact that ruling by other than what Allah revealed can be both what takes you out of Islam and that which does not and it depends on the situation of the person, hence the reality of tafseel. And the deletion of this sunni orthodox method is what defines the salafis with those who oppose them

So at the end of the day, in reality all takfir is based on the condition of the persons heart. That is why Ibn Uthaymeen called the secularist an apostate because the creed of secularism by default lands that person to hold kufr in his heart about any aspect of the shariah. As an-Nawawee said in crystal clear sunni terms

Apostasy occurs either through a statement,  an action, or by a belief, our by a doubt……..

At the same time ahlu-sunnah have agreed that the actuality of kufr can only be actualized in the heart just as emaan can only be actualized by the heart. Therefore when we call someone who kicked the qur’an and it became clear to us that he was not on drugs, or was forced to do so, etc, then we deem the action as apostasy and the doer an apostate, and the reasoning used by all is because no person who does not have an excuse (like being forced) can do such an action except for one who has no emaan in his heart.
Strangely I have seen that someone has called this view a “minor murjism” by which Bin Baz, Ibn Uthaymeen and every other alim are a follower in.

That is why the above sunni formulated methodology of takfir, the centralization of its process is carried out once the person is known to have committed their statement or action with qasd.