A discussion of their application of disbelief to the rulers by referring to them as apostates

The refutation of this doubt from two angles:

The First Angle: If the application of disbelief is intended by this description, then this application of disbelief cannot be established except with evidence. So it is upon this individual to provide details and avoid generalization.

And detailed explanation involves: The mention of the reason why the accused is described in this manner (i.e. ṭāghūt) in a way that implies disbelief so that it can be examined:

Is it a reason that legitimately necessitates the application of disbelief?

Then, if it necessitates disbelief, then the following should be considered: Was the argument established against this ruler that confirms his descent into disbelief or not?

The Second Angle: Describing something as being a ṭāghūt does not necessitate the application of disbelief to everyone who is described in this manner. And the explanation of this point involves three perspectives:

– The First Perspective: The term ṭāghūt is used in reference to every figurehead of misguidance and this is because the term is derived from ṭughyān which means transgressing the limit and this type of ṭughyān may involve the application of disbelief and may also not quite reach the limits of disbelief.

– The Second Angle: From the people of knowledge are those who link the description of ṭāghūt to anything that transgresses the limit without regard for what is being described as a ṭāghūt. So then it is plausible to apply this description to whoever assumes this description without looking into the description itself. And the evidence for this is that they describe inanimate objects which are worshiped besides Allah as ṭawāghīt. And it is well-known that inanimate objects are obviously not described with the terms Islam and disbelief.

– The Third Angle: From the people of knowledge are those who used the description in reference to some sinful people. And if this description necessitates disbelief, then this ascription would not have been appropriate or it would necessitate that they accused them of disbelief due to those sins.

– And in order to further clarify what has preceded I say: the term ṭāghūt is used in two ways:

– The First Way: That it is a noun derived from a verb or active participle which can be used in reference to whoever demonstrates ṭughyān.

– The Second Way: That it is a passive participle and is used in reference to those who are oppressed in such a way that the offenders can be described as having transgressed the limits. This is the ṭāghūt if we consider it from the perspective of those who take it. And this type of ṭughyān might constitute disbelief and might not. Then the thing which is taken as a ṭāghūt, then it is not considered to be blameworthy unless it is pleased with this.

– The summarization of what has preceded is as follows: It is a must before applying the ruling of disbelief that the thing being described as a ṭāghūt is considered in light of two situations:

– The First: Have the limits of ṭughyān been breached such that individual fell into disbelief or not? This situation requires a detailed account of the individual’s ṭughyān.

– The Second: Is he referred to as a ṭāghūt due to his exceeding the limits or because the people have exceeded the limits with respect to him? In this situation it must be determined whether or not he was pleased with what occurred. This situation also requires a detailed account of his situation.

From the citations regarding what we say clarifies the impermissibility of applying disbelief without evidence are the following: The narration of Ibn ʿUmar wherein he says: “Anyone who says to his [Muslim] brother: O disbeliever has certainly uttered a statement that applies to one of them. It is either as he mentioned it or otherwise [the statement] returns to him.” (1) This narration is a sufficient deterrent for the one who seeks to accuse disbelief to another.

A clarification regarding how the term ṭāghūt is used in reference to every figurehead for misguidance. The distinguished scholar al-Qurṭubī said in his explanation of the Qurʾān in his explanation of the thirty-sixth verse from Sūrah an-Naḥl (2): “And certainly We have sent to every nation a messenger, [declaring], Worship Allāh alone and avoid the ṭāghūt.” “Meaning: Abandon worship of everything else besides Allah like Satan, the soothsayer, the idols, and everyone who calls to misguidance.” [end of quote].

And the distinguished scholar al-Fayrūz Ābādī said in al-Qāmūs al-Muḥīṭ under the root word ṭaghā: “The ṭāghūt is al-Lāt, al-ʿUzá, the soothsayer, Satan, every figurehead for misguidance, idols, whatever is worshipped besides Allah, and the things ascribed to the people of the book.” [end of quote].

A clarification of how the people of knowledge attach the term ṭāghūt to whatever is taken [in worship besides Allah] without regard for the one who takes it in worship besides Allah and for this reason some inanimate objects are referred to with the term ṭāghūt.

The distinguished scholar Ibn al-Jawzī said in Nuzhah al-Aʿyun an-Nawāẓir in the chapter concerning the ṭāghūt: “Ibn Qutaybah said: Everything that is worshipped whether it be a rock, or image, or Satan; it is a jibt and a ṭāghūt. And az-Zujāj conveyed something similar to this from the people of [Arabic] language.” [end of quote].

Shaykhul-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah said in Majmūʿ Fatāwá Volume 16 Page 565: “It is the name for a specific type or classification that includes: Satan, false gods, the soothsayer, silver coins, gold coins, and other than that.” [end of quote].

The distinguished scholar Ibn al-Qayyim said in his book Iʿlām al-Muwaqiʿīn (3): “And the ṭāghūt is anything regarding which the servant exceeds beyond its due boundaries, whether it is something worshipped, or someone obeyed, or followed.” [end of quote].

The Imām Ibn al-ʿUthaymīn said while commenting on the statement of Ibn al-Qayyim: “The meaning of it is whatever was pleased with this. Or it can be said: It is a ṭāghūt with respect to whoever worships it, follows it, and obeys it because through it the due limits are exceeded to the extent that it is given a place above that which Allah has made for it. So directing any devotion to this object of worship, following it, and obeying it constitutes ṭughyān because it involves exceeding the due limits.” [end of quote].

A clarification that the people of knowledge have used the term ṭāghūt to refer to sinful people in a way that did not imply disbelief. The distinguished scholar ar-Rāghib al-Aṣfahānī said in his book Mufradāt (4) under the root word ṭaghā: “The ṭāghūt is an expression used to refer to everything that transgresses and everything that is worshipped besides Allah…” “According to what has preceded the magician, the soothsayer, the giant jinn, and the one who misleads people from the path of goodness; all of them are called ṭāghūt.” [end of quote].

Imām Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdul-Wahhāb said in ad-Durar (5): “The manifestations of ṭāghūt are many, but the most distinct of them are five: The first of them is Satan, the oppressive ruler, the one who takes bribes, the one who is worshipped and is likewise pleased that he is worshipped and the one who acts without knowledge.” [end of quote]. The Imām Ibn al-ʿUthaymīn said in his explanation of al-Uṣūl ath-Thalāthah (6): “And the scholars of evil and wrongdoing who call to misguidance and disbelief or religious innovation (bidʿah) or making lawful what Allah has forbidden or conversely forbid what Allah has made lawful; these scholars are ṭawāghīt.” [end of quote].

1 Extracted by al-Bukhārī; narration number (6104). This narration is also found in Muslim narration number (213) and the wording of Muslim was cited here.

2 Volume 5 Page 75.

3 Volume 1 page 50.

4 Page 108.

5 Volume 1 page 137.

6 Page 151.