A discussion of the accusation of disbelief regarding ruling by other than what Allah has revealed without detailed explanation or distinction

A discussion of the accusation of disbelief regarding ruling by other than what Allah has revealed without detailed explanation or distinction
The refutation of this doubt involves several perspectives:

1- The First Perspective: Not everyone who rules by other than what Allah has revealed becomes a disbeliever since this issue involves important details related to the type [of disbelief], so this issue does not always result in the unrestricted assignment of disbelief.

2- The Second Perspective: It is not rejected that there are rulers –in this time- who have fallen into ruling by other than what Allah has revealed in a manner that constitutes disbelief. However, the ruler –in spite of his falling into an issue that involves disbelief- then certainly it is not lawful to accuse him specifically of disbelief except after the argument has been established against him.
This is because it is the belief of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-jamāʿah that rulings should not be applied to specific individuals until after the argument has been established against them because a specific individual might be ignorant, or he might have erred due misinterpretation, or he could have been influenced by evil scholars who deceived him or other than this from the possibilities that require deliberation and that hastiness be avoided. Similarly, the prescribed Islamic punishments (ḥudūd) are averted due to doubts. And by Allah, disbelief is even more deserving of being averted.

Here the question becomes, was the argument established against every ruler specifically such that the one who is suggesting disbelief can make such a statement with certainty regarding specific individuals?

So if he is invited to rebel –without restriction- then…

3- The Third Perspective: It is not rejected that there may be from the rulers those who fall into one of the scenarios that necessitates disbelief while fulfilling the argument required in the case of the specific individual. However, rebelling against the disbelieving ruler requires the fulfillment of conditions. These conditions consist of the following:

I. The ability to remove the disbeliever.

II. Assurance that such an action will not bring about a greater evil.

III. That he will be replaced by a Muslim

So it is not lawful to rebel against the disbeliever so long as these conditions are not satisfied. And if this is not the case, then observing restraint and patience regarding rebellion becomes obligatory and Allah should be asked for relief and resolution.

From the citations regarding regarding what we say clarifies that it is not lawful to declare disbelief (takfīr) due to the issue of ruling by other than what Allah has revealed without restriction. Rather there must be detailed information. Certainly, the unrestricted accusation of disbelief (takfīr) in every variation of the ruling concerning ruling by other than what Allah has revealed necessitates many corrupt implications. And the clarification of this can be found in the following:

• The First Introductory Principle: the issue of ruling by other than what Allah has revealed is not restricted to the ruler or judge. Rather, this includes everyone who assumes the responsibility of judging between two parties. For this reason Shaykhul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah said in Majmūʿ Fatāwá volume 18 page 170: “And everyone who judges between two parties is considered a judge regardless of whether he is a soldier, an elected official, or put forward to ensure the public good through commanding the good and forbidding the evil to the extent that even the one who judges between children regarding their ropes; since the companions used to regard this individual as though he was from the rulers.” [end of quote].

• The Corrupt Implication (the result): What is implied from this is the application of disbelief (takfīr) to everyone who falls into sin like the one who shaves his beard in the previous example. And because of the corrupt nature of this accusation then certainly the scholars say concerning the verse from Sūrah al-Māʾidah: “And those who do not judge according to what Allah has revealed; then it is them who are the disbelievers.” The literal application of this verse is not intended, and it is unlawful to apply it without restrictions.
Ibn ʿAbdul-Barr said in At-Tamhīd [volume 17 page 16]: “Certainly a group from the people of religious innovation (bidʿah) from the likes of the Khārijites and Muʿtazilites in this regard such that they cite verses from the Book of Allah (the Qurʾān) which should not be understood literally like the statement of Allah the Exalted: ‘And those who do not judge according to what Allah has revealed; then it is them who are the disbelievers.’” [end of quote]. And the prominent scholar Abū Ḥayān al-Andalūsī said in al-Baḥr al-Muḥīṭ [volume 3 page 493]: “The Khārijites cite this verse as evidence that everyone who disobeys Allah the Exalted is an unbeliever. They say: it is a text that states how anyone who rules by other than what Allah has revealed is a disbeliever.” [end of quote]. Al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī said in Tārīkh al-Baghdād [volume 10 page 183 under the biography of the Caliph Maʾmūn biography number: 5330]: “Abū Muḥammad Yaḥyá ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Mundhir al-Muḥtasib informed us that Ismāʿīl ibn Saʿīd al-Muʿaddal informed us that Abū Bakr ibn Durayd informed us that al-Ḥasan ibn Khiḍr said: I heard Ibn Abū Duʾād say: ‘A man from the Khārijites was presented to Maʾmūn. He (i.e. Maʾmūn) said to him: What caused you to differ with us?’ He responded; ‘A verse from the Book (the Qurʾān) of Allah the Exalted.’ He said: ‘What verse?’ He replied: ‘And those who do not judge according to what Allah has revealed; then it is them who are the disbelievers.’ Then Maʾmūn said: ‘Do you have knowledge concerning its revelation?’ He replied: ‘Yes.’ He (i.e. Maʾmūn) inquired: ‘What is your evidence?’ He replied: ‘The consensus of the Muslim nation.’ He (i.e. Maʾmūn) said: ‘So just as you have become pleased with their consensus regarding the revelation of this verse, you should likewise be pleased with their consensus regarding interpretation.’ He said: ‘You have spoken the truth. As-salāmu ʿalayka O commander of the faithful.’” [end of quote]. In this there is a clarification that not everyone who falls into disbelief should be considered a disbeliever.

Shaykhul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah said in Majmūʿ Fatāwá volume 16 page 434: “Not everyone who errs is a disbeliever; especially in the complicated issues over which this nation has differed.” And he said in Majmūʿ Fatāwá volume 12 page 466: “And it is not for any Muslim to assign disbelief to another Muslim even if he errs or is mistaken until the argument is established against him and the evidence becomes clear. And whoever’s Islam is confirmed with certainty cannot be removed due to doubt. Rather, it cannot be removed except after establishing the argument against him and the elimination of doubt.” [end of quote].

And he said in Majmūʿ Fatāwá volume 12 page 487: “Every time they saw them they said: ‘whoever said such & such is a disbeliever’ I believe those who hear this interpret this phrase completely according to whomever says it and they do not consider that takfīr involves conditions and preventative factors which could possibly nullify the ruling from being applied to a specific individual. And the unrestricted assignment of disbelief (takfīr) does not necessitate that a specific individual is a disbeliever except after the conditions are fulfilled and the preventative factors are eliminated. This is further clarified by Imām Aḥmad and most of the Imāms who use these generalizations did not assign disbelief to most of those who uttered this speech specifically.” [end of quote].

And he said in Majmūʿ Fatāwá volume 23 page 348: “But rather the intent here is that the positions of the Imāms is based upon this distinction between type and specific application.” [end of quote].

And he said in Majmūʿ Fatāwá volume 12 page 500: “So the assignment of disbelief (takfīr) to a specific individual from those ignorant people and the like of them such that it is determined that he is from the disbelievers, this is not permissible until after the Islamic argument has been established against them such that it becomes clear to them by way of it that they have opposed the Messengers. And this is the case, even if the original statement was a clear statement of disbelief. This is the speech which applies to the assignment of disbelief (takfīr) to specific individuals.” [end of quote].

Imām al-Albānī said (in Silsilatul-Ahḥādīth aṣ-Ṣaḥīḥah under the discussion of narration number 3048): “Not everyone who commits disbelief -from the believers- falls into disbelief or becomes enveloped by it.” [end of quote].

Benefit: The conditions for the assignment of disbelief (takfīr) are four:

1. The presence of knowledge and the elimination of ignorance.

2. The presence of intent and the elimination of error.

3. The presence of choice and the elimination of compulsion.

4. The absence of plausible interpretation and the corresponding preventative factors which are essentially plausible interpretations.

• A clarification that rebelling against the disbelieving ruler is not unrestricted; rather it involves conditions. We have previously cited speech from Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar, Ibn Bāz, ibn al-ʿUthaymīn -may Allah have mercy upon them- concerning the fourth basic principle from the basic principles mentioned in the beginning of the book, so refer to it there if you wish.

• I conclude my speech regarding this doubt by citing a part of the rulings from the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fatāwá concerning the issue of ruling by other than what Allah has revealed. The second question from Fatwá number (5226) in (Fatāwá of the Permanent Committee volume 2 page 141) reads: “Question: When is it permitted to declare the disbelief of another (takfīr) and when is it impermissible to declare the disbelief of another (takfīr)? And what type of declaration of disbelief (takfīr) is mentioned in the statement of Allah: ‘And those who do not judge according to what Allah has revealed; then it is them who are the disbelievers.’?”

Answer: “All praise is due to only Allah and may the prayers of peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger, his family, and companions…As to what follows: As for your statement, when is it permissible and impermissible [to declare disbelief (takfīr)], then we hold the view that the affairs that have become problematic for you have become clear for us and thus we will explain for you the corresponding ruling. As for the type of declaration of disbelief (takfīr) found in the statement of Allah: ‘And those who do not judge according to what Allah has revealed; then it is them who are the disbelievers’ is the greater declaration of disbelief (takfīr). Al-Qurṭubī said in his explanation of the Qurʾān: Ibn ʿAbbās and Mujāhid said: ‘And those who do not judge according to what Allah has revealed’ rebukes the Qurʾān and repudiates the statement of the Messenger(pbuh) then this person is a disbeliever.” [end of quote].
As for the one who does not judge according to what Allah has revealed but recognizes that he is disobeying Allah, however he was driven to judging by other than what Allah has revealed by the bribes that he accepted or other than that like his enmity towards whomever he ruled against or his ties of friendship or family towards whomever he rules for and the like of this. This type of behavior does not constitute the greater type disbelief. Rather, this individual is disobedient and can fall into a type of disbelief that is not considered disbelief or oppression that is not considered oppression and transgression that is less than transgression. And with Allah is the success and may the prayers of peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muḥammad(pbuh). The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fatāwá. Signatories: ʿAbdullāh ibn Quʿūd [Member], ʿAbdullāh ibn Ghudayān [Member], ʿAbdur-Razzāq ʿAfīfī [Vice-President of the Committee], and ʿAbdul-ʿAzīz ibn ʿAbdullāh ibn Bāz [President of the Committee].

And the eleventh question from Fatwá number (5741) in (Fatāwá of the Permanent Committee volume 2 page 141) reads: “Whoever does not rule according to what Allah has revealed; is this individual a Muslim or disbeliever who has fallen into major disbelief and will his actions be accepted?”

Answer: “All praise is due to only Allah and may the prayers of peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger, his family, and companions…As to what follows: Allah the Exalted says: ‘And those who do not judge according to what Allah has revealed; then it is them who are the disbelievers.’ And Allah the Exalted says: ‘And those who do not judge according to what Allah has revealed; then it is them who are the oppressors.’ And Allah the Exalted says: ‘And those who do not judge according to what Allah has revealed; then it is them who are the transgressors.’ But if this individual legitimizes the action believing that it is lawful, then this is major disbelief, major oppression, and major transgression that expels an individual from the religion. However, if an individual did so due to bribery or another reason while believing what he did was unlawful, and this individual is considered to have fallen into lesser disbelief, the lesser oppression, and the lesser transgression all of which do not expel someone from the religion as the people of knowledge have clarified in their explanations of the previously cited Qurʾānic verses. And with Allah is the success and may the prayers of peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muḥammad(pbuh). The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fatāwá. Signatories: ʿAbdullāh ibn Ghudayān [Member], ʿAbdur-Razzāq ʿAfīfī [Vice-President of the Committee], and ʿAbdul-ʿAzīz ibn ʿAbdullāh ibn Bāz [President of the Committee].”