The Correct Understanding Regarding Ruling By Other Than Allahs Law, According To The Scholars Of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah Past & Present

In this age the takfires have distorted the understanding of making takfir of the Muslim rulers in this time based on the issue of ruling by other than Allahs law or as some say ruling by man made laws.

The reason for this is because the takfires have claimed that whenever the Muslim ruler does rules by other than Allahs law more than once or twice and he makes other than Allahs law in a number of issues a code of law to be referred to or he judges by other than Allahs law more than once or twice he automatically becomes a kaafir taghoot apostate due to his major kufr.

In regards to this issue the takfires have lead astray many with this dangerous incorrect understanding of takfir based upon ruling by other than Allahs law. Thus it is possible to find a person who disagrees with the takfires in all the points of their deviated manhaj but he aggress with them in making takfir of the Muslim rulers in this time based on the issue of ruling by other than Allahs law. So this individual thinks he has rejected the takfires and is free from their manhaj but he has been in fact infected with the foundation of their manhaj.

The foundation of their manhaj is the Muslim rulers of today are all kuffaar for a number of reasons but the most important one of them all is because the Muslim rulers of today all rule by other than Allahs law and Allah said “And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are disbelievers.” {al-Maa’idah (5): 44}.

On the other hand some Muslim think a Muslim can never be made takfir of after he has testified to the shahhadah (None has the right to be worshiped in truth expect Allah and that prophet Mohammed is his (Allahs) slave and messenger), unless he denies/rejects with his heart something true from the religion (like prayer being an obligation) then he is deemed to have major kufr thus he is considered a kaafir. This group is similar to the Murjiah (one of the first Islamic groups to deviated from the sunnah today this group no longer exist but groups and some Muslims hold some or many of their beliefs sometimes without even knowing it), who held a very similar belief. So this group say a Muslim ruler can not become a kaafir due to ruling by other than Allahs law as he has testified to the shahhadah and plus the tafsir of that verse in which it states it is kufr to rule by other than Allahs law it is referring to major sin and minor kufr which does not expel a person from Islam. These people then quote the following: Abu’l-Madhfar as-Sama’aanee said: “And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are disbelievers.” {al-Maa’idah (5): 44}…Ibn ’Abbaas said: the verse is about the Muslims and the intent is kufr less than kufr (minor kufr) and I know that the Khawaarij use this verse as a proof and say whoever does not rule by what Allaah has revealed is a disbeliever. The people of Sunnah (Ahlus Sunnah) say – he does not disbelieve by leaving off ruling (by Allahs law). Tafseer ul-Quraan, vol.2, p.42

al-Haakim narrated, from the way of ‘Ali bin Harb, from Sufyaan bin ‘Uyaynah from Hishaam bin Hujayr from Tawoos, that Ibn ‘Abbas said: “It is not the kufr that you are going towards (in your minds), it is not the kufr that expels one from the religion, “And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are disbelievers.” {al-Maa’idah (5): 44}…is kufr less than kufr. [al-Haakim al-Mustadrak, volume 2/313]

Al-Haakim said: “This hadeeth has an authentic chain of transmission and Shaykhayn did not transmit it.” Adh-Dhahabee agreed with him (Al-Haakim). Shaykh Al-Albaanee stated in as-Saheehah, vol.6, p.113: It would have been more deserving that they (said: “…on the conditions of Shaykhayn (Bukhaaree and Muslim)” as the isnad is of this type. Then I saw that al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer transmitted in his Tafseer, vol.6, p.163 from al-Haakim that he said: “the hadeeth is Saheeh on the conditions of Shaykhayn (Bukhari and Muslim).” So it is obvious that this statement is omitted in the printed edition of ‘al-Mustadrak (by al-Haakim)” and Ibn Katheer also ascribes the narration, (in) summarised (form), to Ibn Abee Haatim.

So the takfirs have gone to extremes in this issue and this other group have become too soft in this issue. The correct understanding of this issue rest with those in the middle of both groups, they are Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah. Ahlus Sunnah hold the believe that ruling by other than Allahs law can make the Muslim ruler become a kaafir due to major kufr or make him a major sinner due to minor kufr.

If the Muslim ruler falls in to major kufr and the conditions of takfir have all been successfully applied to him by the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah and they have ijmah on this ruling then this ruler is declared a kaafir apostate and it is major kufr for any Muslim not to declare him as such.

Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdil Wahab states in his ten nullifiers of Islam (in regards to those with no religion and follows of other faiths). The third nullifier is: Whoever does not hold the mushriks (or any other type of kaafir) to be disbelievers, or has doubts about their disbelief or considers their ways and beliefs to be correct, has committed kufr (disbelief). Muallafaat al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhaab, 212, 213

However if the Muslim ruler is declared by the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah to have major sin and minor kufr due to him ruling by other than Allahs law, then no Muslim should declare him an apostate, kaafir or a taghoot.

There are seven situations in which the Muslim ruler is considered to be ruling by other than Allahs law and for each is a different ruling of major kufr or minor kufr and major sin: (Any statement from a scholar below which is in all italics means this is a statement that many of the takfires often use to try and prove that ruling by other than Allahs law (more than a few times) is always major kufr)

The first situation is when the Muslim ruler rules by man made laws believing they are better than Allahs law. This Muslim ruler if he openly and clearly sates this or something similar he becomes a kaafir both outwardly and inwardly.

However if he holds this belief inwardly in his heart but does not state it openly and clearly he becomes a kaafir with regard to what is between him and Allah, but the rulings on being a Muslim apply to him outwardly, because his kufr is not obvious. In this case he is like the hypocrite who is inwardly a kaafir although he appears to be a Muslim.

Shaykh Ar Rajihi (student of Shaykh Mohammed ibn Ibraaheem and Shaykh Bin Baz)said about this, “If someone rules by man-made laws and believes that they (the man made laws) are better than ruling by the Shariah, he has disbelieved.” (Taken from his Explanation of Nawaaqid al-Islam of Shaykh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab)

Shaykh Bin Baz said: “And whoever ruled by other than what Allah has revealed then he will not be in other than one of four situations: … (One of the situations is) The one who says: “I rule by this because it is superior to the Shariah of Islam.” Such a one is a kaafir in the sense of the major disbelief (i.e. ejected from the Religion).” Al-Hukmu bi-Ghairi Maa Anzalallaahu wa Usool ut-Takfeer pp. 71/72

Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab said “The word Taghoot is general. So everything that is worshipped besides Allah, while being pleased with this worship – whether it is something worshipped, someone followed, or someone obeyed in the absence of obedience to Allah and His Messenger, then that is considered Taaghoot. The Tawaagheet (pl. of Taghoot) are many, but their heads are five: The Third: The one who judges by other than what Allah has revealed.” Taken from The Explanation of “The Meaning of Taaghoot” Of Muhammad bin Abdil-Wahhaab By Dr. Muhammad bin Abdir-Rahmaan Al-Khumayyis

This type of ruler is a kaafir taghoot ruler due to his ruling by other than what Allah has revealed; this is what is implied by the statement of Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab above.

The second situation is when the Muslim ruler rules by man made laws believing that they are equal to Allahs laws (i.e. both laws are equally just, equally good, equally applicable to the rulers era etc). This Muslim ruler if he openly and clearly sates this or something similar he becomes a kaafir both outwardly and inwardly.

However if he holds this belief inwardly in his heart but does not state it openly and clearly he becomes a kaafir with regard to what is between him and Allah, but the rulings on being a Muslim apply to him outwardly, because his kufr is not obvious. In this case he is like the hypocrite who is inwardly a kaafir although he appears to be a Muslim.

Shaykh Ar Rajihi said “And if he rules by man-made laws and believes that they are equal to ruling by the Shariah, he has disbelieved.” (Taken from his Explanation of Nawaaqid al-Islam of Shaykh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab)

Shaykh Bin Baz said: “And whoever ruled by other than what Allah has revealed then he will not be in other than one of four situations: … (One of the situations is) The one who says: “I rule by this because it is like (equal to) the Shariah of Islam, so ruling by it is permissible and ruling by the Shariah is permissible (because he thinks both laws are equal).” Such a one is a kaafir in the sense of the major disbelief. Al-Hukmu bi-Ghairi Maa Anzalallaahu wa Usool ut-Takfeer pp. 71/72

Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab said “…The Tawaagheet (pl. of Taghoot) are many, but their heads are five: The Third (taghoot is) : The one who judges by other than what Allah has revealed.” Taken from The Explanation of “The Meaning of Taaghoot” Of Muhammad bin Abdil-Wahhaab By Dr. Muhammad bin Abdir-Rahmaan Al-Khumayyis

This type of ruler is a kaafir taghoot ruler due to his ruling by other than what Allah has revealed; this is what is implied by the statement of Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab above.

The third situation is when the Muslim ruler rules by man made laws believing that Allahs laws are better than the man made laws however he deems it as permissible (halaal) to rule by man made laws.  This Muslim ruler if he openly and clearly sates this or something similar he becomes a kaafir both outwardly and inwardly.

However if he holds this belief inwardly in his heart but does not state it openly and clearly he becomes a kaafir with regard to what is between him and Allah, but the rulings on being a Muslim apply to him outwardly, because his kufr is not obvious. In this case he is like the hypocrite who is inwardly a kaafir although he appears to be a Muslim.

Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah “…Many of those who ascribe themselves to Islaam judge by their customs that Allaah has not revealed, such as the ancestral customs of the bedouins. And the chiefs (umaraa) were obeyed (in this) and they used to consider that it is desirable to judge by these such customs, without the Book and the Sunnah. And this is disbelief.

For many people have accepted Islaam but along with this they do not judge except by their natural [inherited] customs, those that are ordered by those whom they obey.

So if they know that it is not permissible to judge except by what Allaah has revealed and did not adhere to that, but in fact declared it to be lawful (halaal) for themselves to judge in opposition to what Allaah has revealed, then they are disbelievers…” Minhaaj us-Sunnah (5/130)

Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said, “It’s known by necessity from the religion of the Muslims and by the agreement (ijmah) of all the Muslims, that he who permits (he believes it is permissible (halaal)) the…following a law other than the shariah of Muhammad, then he is a Kaafir.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa 28/524)

Shaykh Abdul-Lateef bin Abdur-Rahmaan Aal ash-Shaykh said, “…, whoever made it lawful to judge (i.e. believes it is halaal to judge) by [any of] this in the issues pertaining to blood, or other than it is a Kaafir. Allaah the Most High said, “And whosoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed, such are the Kaafirun (disbelievers)” (5:44)…But they (the Mufassiroon (the scholars of tafsir)) do not dispute amongst themselves regarding its application in general to the one who makes it lawful (believes it is halaal to rule by other than Allahs law) and that the kufr in this case, is the one that expels from the religion (major kufr).” Minhaaj ut-Ta’sees, p.71

Imam as-Saadi stated in Tafseer ul-Kareem ur-Rahmaan, vol.2, pp.296-297: “Ruling by other than what Allah has revealed is from the actions of the people of kufr…It can be (major) kufr which expels one from the religion, if he believes that it is halaal and permitted for him to rule by it(other than Allahs law)…”

Shaykh Abdul-Azeez Ar Rajihi said “And if he rules by man-made laws but yet believes that ruling by the Shariah is better than ruling by man-made laws, however it is permissible to rule by man-made laws, he too has disbelieved.” (Taken from his Explanation of Nawaaqid al-Islam of Shaykh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab)

Shaykh Abdul-Azeez Ar-Rajihi was asked, “This person asks about the shariah ruling concerning the ruler who rules by French secular laws alongside the knowledge that he claims Islam, Salaah (he prays), Saum (he fast in the month of Ramadan), and makes Hajj. So what is to be said about him”

The Shaykh said, “When he believes in (their) permissibility, when he believes that the judgment by the French laws is permissible (i.e. halaal), then he is a kaafir. When he believes that it is permissible for him (to do rule by man made law)…”

Fataawa by the Permanent Committee for Research and Verdicts compiled by Shaykh Ahmad bin Abdur-Razzaq ad-Duwaish, Volume 1 (Aqeedah). Question No. 11 of Fatwa No.5741.

Q. The one who does not judge by what Allah has revealed is he a Muslim or a Kaafir [guilty of] the major kufr and are his actions accepted?

A. All Praise is due to Allah and prayers and peace upon the His Messenger, his family and his companions. To proceed:

…However if he declares that to be lawful and believes (in his heart) it to be permissible, then this is the major kufr (which expels the doer from Islam), the major fisq and the major dhulm which expels him from the religion… The Permanent Committee for Research and Verdicts: Shaykh Abdullah bin Ghudayan, Shaykh Abdur-Razzaq Afifi and Shaykh Abdul Aziz bin Baz

Shaykh Bin Baz said (while discussing Muslim rulers ruling by secular law or any other law which is not Allahs law), “when he (the Muslim ruler) declares it lawful (i.e. halaal) to judge by the secular law, or declares it lawful to judge with such and such, and likewise, [when he makes it lawful] to judge with such and such Shariah, then he is a kaafir…” Taken from Hiwaar Hawla Masaa’il it-Takfeer Ma’a Allaamah ash-Shaykh Abdul-Azeez Ibn Baz” and it is found also in al-Furqaan Magazine No. 94).

The Muslim ruler who deems it as permissible (halaal) to rule by other than Allahs law through this belief it is indicated that this Muslim ruler believes in his heart that it is not obligatory to rule by Allahs law.

If he deems it as permissible to rule by other than Allahs law clearly he can not at the same time believe it is obligatory to rule by Allahs law or he would believe it is haraam for him to rule by other than Allahs laws due to him not fore filling a obligation to Allah.

So this ruler has rejected Allahs law as an obligation to rule by and has thus committed juhood (rejection). This Muslim ruler if he openly and clearly sates this or something similar he becomes a kaafir both outwardly and inwardly.

However if he holds this belief inwardly in his heart but does not state it openly and clearly he becomes a kaafir with regard to what is between him and Allah, but the rulings on being a Muslim apply to him outwardly, because his kufr is not obvious. In this case he is like the hypocrite who is inwardly a kaafir although he appears to be a Muslim.

Shaykh Jamaaluddeen al-Qaasimee stated in Mahaasin ut-Ta’weel, vol.6, p.1998 the view of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah he said, “The one who rules by other than what Allah has revealed has disbelieved if he disregards or rejects (ruling by what Allah has revealed).

This is what many adhere to and (there are those who) narrated it from Ikrimah and Ibn Abbas.”

So Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah only make takfir of the ruler who rules by other than Allahs law if he disregards or rejects Allahs law.”

Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said, “There is no doubt that the one who does not believe in the obligation to rule by what Allaah has revealed (i.e. rejects/disregards) is a disbeliever. Hence, whoever declares it permissible (i.e. halaal) to judge amongst the people with what he considers to be justice, without following what Allaah has revealed, then he is a disbeliever…” Minhaaj us-Sunnah (5/130)

Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab said “…The Tawaagheet (pl. of Taghoot) are many, but their heads are five: The Third (taghoot is): The one who judges by other than what Allah has revealed.” Taken from The Explanation of “The Meaning of Taaghoot” Of Muhammad bin Abdil-Wahhaab By Dr. Muhammad bin Abdir-Rahmaan Al-Khumayyis

This type of ruler is a kaafir taghoot ruler due to his ruling by other than what Allah has revealed; this is what is implied by the statement of Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab above.

The fourth situation is when the Muslim ruler rules by man-made laws or by a manmade law in one issue or many issues because of some worldly gain (like money, power etc), desires and the devil have overtaken him. But he believes that judging by the Shariah is obligatory, better than the man made laws thus he believes it is suitable for his era, subjects and place in which his kingdom is. Also he believes that it is not permissible to judge by man-made laws and when he judges by man made laws he deserves to get punished for that major sin.

This Muslim ruler if he openly and clearly sates this or something similar he is judge to be a sinful Muslim who has committed minor kufr.

However if he holds that judging by the Shariah is obligatory, better than the man made laws thus he believes it is suitable for his era, subjects and place in which his kingdom is and he believes that it is not permissible to judge by man-made laws and when he judges by man made laws he deserves to get punished for that major sin, but does not state that or something similar, he is judge to be a Muslim. Though he did not state this belief he is still a Muslim as this is the belief that every Muslim is reasoned to original hold and based on having good suspicion of Muslims. The ruler is and every other Muslim is judge to have this belief unless it is proven that he does not hold this belief.

Shaykh Aboo Bakr bin al-’Arabee stated in Ahkaam ul-Qur’aan, vol.2, pp.624-625: “Yet if one rules by his own (rules) (i.e. rules by other than Allahs law and rules by his own man made laws) out of desire and disobedience then this is a sin and the person (the ruler) will be forgiven according to the basis of Ahl us-Sunnah in regards to the belief that the sinful will be forgiven.”

Imam Ibn al-Jawzee said, “…And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – inclining to his desires without rejecting it [in belief] then he is a dhaalim, faasiq and it has been reported from Alee bin Abu Talhah from Ibn Abbaas that he said: “Whoever rejects (jahada) what Allaah has revealed then he has disbelieved, and whoever affirms it (aqarra bihi) but does not judge by it – then he is a dhaalim, a faasiq.” (Zaad al-Maysir 2/366)

Imam Ibn Abil Azz al-Hanafee stated in Sharh ul-Aqeedah at-Tahawiyyah, pp.323-324: “Here there is a matter which has to be understood and that is: ruling by other than what Allah has revealed can be kufr which expels one from the religion; it can be disobedience, major or minor…If he believes that it is an obligation to rule by what Allah has revealed and this is his knowledge of the situation, yet he does not rule by it, along with his admittance that he deserves punishment, then this is disobedience and such a person is a disbeliever for committing kufr in the figurative sense or has committed minor kufr (which does not expel a ruler/person from Islam);

If he is ignorant of the rule of Allah, while he exerts great efforts in trying to know the ruling yet makes a mistake, then this is one who has been mistaken (so he is not sinful). He has a reward for his ijtihad and his error is forgiven.”

Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah in Madaarij us-Saalikeen, vol.1, pp.336 said: “…What is correct (concerning the Islamic ruling on the ruler/person who rules by other than Allahs law) is: that ruling by other than what Allah has revealed goes between the two types of kufr, minor or major depending on the condition of the ruler (or judge).

If he believes in the obligation of ruling by what Allah has revealed in this situation yet averts from ruling by it, along with his admittal that he deserves punishment for this, and then this is minor kufr… (Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah stated in Madaarij us-Saalikeen, vol.1, “As for kufr then it is of two types: major and minor. Major kufr necessitates eternity in the hellfire. Minor kufr necessitates a threat but not eternity in the hellfire…

This is the interpretation of Ibn Abbas and the generality of the Companions in regards to the Allah’s saying, “Whoever does not rule by what Allah has revealed, then they are the disbelievers.” (al-Maidah:44) Ibn Abbas said: “It is not the kufr which expels from the religion, rather if one does it (rules by other than Allahs law) he has (minor) kufr within him but it is not like the kufr of the one who disbelieves in Allah and the Last Day (which is major kufr) ”, as Taawoos said. Ataa said: “It is kufr less than kufr, dhulm less than dhulm and fisq than fisq.”)

Shaykh Abdul-Lateef bin Abdur-Rahmaan Aal ash-Shaykh: When asked concerning what (is the ruling on) the Bedouins (who) judge according to the customs of their fathers and grandfathers (i.e. ruling by other than Allahs law). “Do we label them with (major) Kufr after it is made clear to them (that this is haraam and they still continue)?”

He said, “Whoever takes the judgement to other than the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (i.e. rule by man made laws) after it is made clear to him (that this is not halaal), then he is a Kaafir. He, (Allah) ta’ala said, “And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the Kafirun.” (5:44). While they have been ordered to reject (other than the laws Allah has revealed) them. ”And the verses with this meaning are many.”– “Dur’ur As-Saneeyah fi’Al-Ajweebah An-Najdeeyah”, Vol. 8/ 231 Published by “Dar Al-Iftaa’ bil’Saudeeyah” 1385 H.

This ruling (above) from the shaykh seems to indicate that the shaykh viewed any person who ruled by other than Allahs law as a kaafir if he knew it was not halaal (i.e. he know it was haraam) to do so but still did it. However this was a general fatwa from the shaykh and he explained in another of his works, that the person who rules by other than Allahs laws, knowing it was haraam to rule by other than Allahs law but does so without believing it is lawful (i.e. halaal) to rule by other than Allahs law is a Muslim with minor kufr.

Shaykh Abdul-Lateef bin Abdur-Rahmaan Aal ash-Shaykh said, “…and it is forbidden to pass judgement (tahkeem) when the judgement is based upon a false (baatil) Shariah which opposes the Book and the Sunnah, such as the laws of the Greeks (Ahkaam Yoonaan) and those of Europe, and those of the Tartars, and their various legislative codes the source of which are their own opinions and desires. Similar to this are the various cultural and customary practices of the Bedouins. Hence, whoever made it lawful to judge (i.e. believes it is halaal to judge) by [any of] this in the issues pertaining to blood, or other than it is a Kaafir. Allaah the Most High said, “And whosoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed, such are the Kaafirun (disbelievers)” (5:44).

And concerning this verse, some of the Mufassiroon (scholars of tafsir) have said that the kufr intended here is the kufr that is lesser than the major kufr (kufr doona kufr al-akbar which means minor kufr), because they understood that this verse applies to whoever judges by other than what Allaah has revealed but does not make that lawful (halaal to rule by other than Allahs law).”

Shaykh Mohammad Ameen ash-Shanqeetee said: “Know that the liberating stance in this topic is that kufr, dhulm and fisq, all of them can be used in the legislation with the intent of ‘disobedience’ at one time and with the intent of ‘kufr that ejects from the religion another time’.

  • And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, turning away and contradicting the Messenger and nullifying the rulings (ahkaam) of Allaah, then his dhulm, fisq, and (major) kufr – all of them are disbelief that eject from the religion.

(Regarding this type of Muslim ruler who rules by other than Allahs law due to nullifying Allahs law (i.e. he stops ruling with any shariah so that he only rules by man made laws), turns away form ruling by the shariah (i.e. juhood (rejects) the shariah laws not necessarily in his heart but on his tongue (says he only rules by man made law or says he wish to only rule by man made laws or something similar) and through his actions (does not refer one law in his code of laws to the Quran or Sunnah (i.e. the shariah) hence he contradicts the prophet Mohammed’s guidance. Shaykh Mohammad Ameen ash-Shanqeetee said in ‘Adwaa’ al-Bayaan (3/441) about this individual, “The strange thing is from those who rule by other than the Shariah of Allaah, then thereafter claims Islam. Like Allaah (Ta’aalaa) Says, {Do you not see those who claim they believe in what was revealed to you and what was revealed before you? They wish to refer to false gods for judgment although they were commanded to reject them? Satan wishes to deviate them very far.} And He Says, {Whoever rules by other than what Allaah Revealed, then they are the disbelieves.} And He Says, {Should I seek someone other than Allaah as a judge although it is He who revealed to you the book that is detailed? Those who were given the book by Us know that it was revealed with truth by your Lord, so do not be from the doubters.}”)

  • And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, whilst believing that he is committing a forbidden action and doing a reprehensible action, then his kufr, dhulm and fisq does not eject him from the religion (minor kufr). (Adwaa al-Bayaan 2/104)

(In relation to this ruling Shaykh Mohammad al-Ameen ash-Shanqeetee stated in Adwaa’ ul-Bayaan, (2/101) It is reported from Ibn ’Abbaas that he said in regards to this verse, (“And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are disbelievers.” {al-Maidah (5): 44}) “It is not the kufr that you are going towards ((in your minds), it is not the kufr that expels one from the religion (i.e. it is minor kufr)”). This is reported from him by Ibn Abee Haatim and al-Haakim who said: “It is Saheeh according to the conditions of Shaykhayn (Bukhari and Muslim), and Shaykhayn did not report it, as stated by Ibn Katheer.”)

Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Ibraaheem in his Fataawaa (1/80) dated 9/1/1385H – five years after Risaalat Tahkeem al Qawaaneen was pubished: “And likewise, the implementation of the meaning of ‘Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’ is by judging to his Shariah and confining oneself to that whilst rejecting whatever opposes it from the secular laws and all those matters for which Allaah gave no authority.

  • And the one who judges by them or refers to them – for judgement whilst believing in the correctness of that or the permissibility (to judge by them), then he is a kaafir with the kufr that ejects from the religion.  

(Also Shaykh Muhammed Ibn Ibraaheem said in his Risaalat Tahkeem al Qawaaneen, “Verily from the major clear cut kufr is giving to the accursed manmade laws the position of that which the faithful spirit descended upon the heart of Muhammad that he should be a warner in the clear Arabic tongue, judging by it between the nations, and referring back to it when there is a disagreement, in contradiction to, and obstinate rejection of, Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted’s saying: {If you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allaah and His Messenger, if you do believe in Allaah and the Last Day. That is best and more suitable for final determination.} (an-Nisaa’ 4:59) Allaah the Most Perfect and High has negated the belief of those who do not make the Prophet the judge in that about which they differ – strengthening the negation by repeating it and swearing upon it, He says: {But no, by your Lord, they can have no belief, until they make you a judge in all disputes between them, and find no resistance in themselves against your judgments, and instead submit wholeheartedly.} (an- Nisaa’ 4:65)”)

  • And if he does that without belief in their correctness and (regarding it) permissible to judge by them, then he is a kaafir with the kufr in action (minor kufr), which does not eject from the religion.”

Fataawa by the Permanent Committee for Research and Verdicts compiled by Shaykh Ahmad bin Abdur-Razzaq ad-Duwaish, Volume 1 (Aqeedah). Question No. 11 of Fatwa No.5741.

Q. The one who does not judge by what Allah has revealed is he a Muslim or a Kaafir [guilty of] the major kufr and are his actions accepted?

A. All Praise is due to Allah and prayers and peace upon the His Messenger, his family and his companions. To proceed:

Allah the Most High said: “And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the Kafiran” (5:44), and He the Most High said, “And whosoever does not judge by that which Allah has revealed, such are the Dhaliman” (5:45) and He the Most High said, “And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed (then) such (people) are the Fasiqan” (5:47)…However, if he did this due to a bribe or some other motive while believing in the forbiddance (of this act), then he is considered a disbeliever (figuratively not literally) with the minor kufr (still a Muslim but committing the major sin of minor kufr), a dhalim (oppressor) with the minor dhulm and a fasiq (sinner) with the minor fisq which does not expel him from the religion as the people of knowledge have explained in the exegesis (tafsir) of the aforementioned verses.”The Permanent Committee for Research and Verdicts: Shaykh Abdullah bin Ghudayan, Shaykh Abdur-Razzaq Afifi and Shaykh Abdul Aziz bin Baz

Shaykh Bin Baz said, “And whoever ruled by other than what Allah has revealed then he will not be in other than one of four situations: … (One of the situations is) The one who says: “I rule by this” while he believes that ruling by other than what Allah has revealed is not permissible and who says that “the Shariah of Islam is superior and it is not permissible to rule by other than it” but he is neglectful, or treats matters lightly, or does this action due to a reason that proceeds from his rulers, then he is a disbeliever in the sense of minor disbelief which does not eject from the Religion – and it is considered one of the greatest of major sins.” Al-Hukmu bi-Ghairi Maa Anzalallaahu wa Usool ut-Takfeer pp. 71/72

Shaykh Abdul Aziz Abdul Latif said “Ruling by other than Allah’s law is lesser kufr (kufr asghar (minor kufr)), which makes the doer a major sinner) when a ruler or a judge rules by other than what Allah has revealed in a specific case – while believing in the obligation of ruling by what Allah revealed in that specific case – abandoning it (Allah’s law) due to disobedience and desire, but recognizing at the same time that he is sinning with regard to that, and deserving of punishment.” Excerpted from: “Hukmu’Llahi wa maa Yunaafeeh”  Dar Al-Watan Lin-Nashr,Riyadh, 1413

Shaykh Fawazaan said “…As for the individual who believes that the rule of Allah is the truth and that the man-made law is false but he rules by it due to desire or due to a temptation that has overcome him-then such an individual is sinful and a transgressor yet is not judged with Kufr. This because he believes that the rule of Allah is obligatory and ruling by other than it is false but has done it in order to obtain a career or due to a temptation. In this instance his Aqeedah remains, as he still has his belief in the Book of Allah and that it is the truth and has to be ruled by, then in this case his Aqeedah remains.Such an individual is judged to be sinful and not judged with having kufr because this is Kufr Amali (Kufr of actions, Kufr less than Kufr is minor kufr which does not expel a person from Islam).” Session question-answer of the lecture “Takfir: Between excess and neglect” delivered at Masjid ar-Raajihee in Hayy ul-Jazeerah,Riyadh, KSA dated 10/10/1428 AH (21/10/2007 CE)

Shaykh Abd-Allah al-Ghunaymaan said, “We (the ummah) must make this distinction between the ruler who judges according to shariah, but may rule in a manner contrary to the shariah on some issues, because of his own whims and desires or because of a bribe…The one who adheres to the religion of Islam (i.e. is a Muslim), but is a sinner and wrongdoer by virtue of his following his whims and desires in some cases (some of his rulings) or pursuing some worldly interest (like money or power), but admits that he is a wrongdoer by doing so (by ruling by other than Allahs law), is not guilty of kufr which would put him beyond the pale of Islam (so he has committed minor kufr).

Shaykh Muqbil bin Haadee al-Waadi’ee said “When the ruler rules by other than what Allah sent down for the sake of obtaining a bribe or out of desires (i.e. for some worldly reason) then this ruler is not considered a Taghoot (a kaafir).” Taken From Al-Masaa’il al-‘Ilmiyyah fee Qadhaayaat al-Imaan wa at-Takfeer Al-As’ilat-ul-Yamaneeyah wa Ajwibah Fadheelah al-Muhaddith al-Allaamah Muqbil bin Haadee al-Waadi’ee Compiled by ash-Shaykh Ali al-Halabee

Shaykh Ar Rajihi said “when one rules by man-made laws or by a manmade law in one issue or in one judicial affair, but yet he believes that judging by the Shariah is obligatory and that it is not permissible to judge by man-made laws and that it is not permissible to rule by other than what Allaah has revealed, and he believes that he is doing wrong and that he deserves to be punished. However his inner whims, desires and devil have overtaken him and so he rules by other than what Allaah has revealed…Such a person has committed minor disbelief and he does not leave from the fold of Islaam.” (Taken from his Explanation of Nawaaqid al-Islam of Shaykh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab)

Shaykh Uthaymeen said “… (One) becomes a dhalim (oppressor). When he believes that ruling by what Allah has revealed is the best of judgments and the most beneficial for the servants and the lands and that it is obligatory to apply it. However hatred and jealousy (of his subjects) lead him to rule by other than what Allah revealed over his subjects – such a person is a dhaalim.

(One) becomes a faasiq (evildoer/sinner). When he follows his own desires, for example he rules in favour of a person due to being bribed by him, or due to his being a close relative or friend, or [because the ruler] seeks the fulfilment of a need from his comrades or the likes. This along with the belief that the rule of Allah is the ideal and it is obligatory to follow it – such a person is a faasiq. Even though he is also a dhaalim, describing him as a faasiq is more befitting.” Taken from Al-Qawl al-Mufeed `ala Kitaab at-Tawheed’ [2/263-269]

Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab said “…The Tawaagheet (pl. of Taghoot) are many, but their heads are five: The Third (taghoot is): The one who judges by other than what Allah has revealed.” Taken from The Explanation of “The Meaning of Taaghoot” Of Muhammad bin Abdil-Wahhaab By Dr. Muhammad bin Abdir-Rahmaan Al-Khumayyis

This type of ruler is not the kaafir taghoot ruler due to his ruling by other than what Allah has revealed as his kufr is only minor not major; so what is implied by the statement of Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab above is the one who rules by other than Allahs law, when his kufr is major not minor.

A Clarification On A Major Misconception About This Point

Some takfires (maybe the majority Allah knows best) have conceded that when a Muslim ruler rules by man made laws in some issue (not in every issue) based upon a bribe or desires etc they (as is clear from the scholars words above) are judge to be Muslims with major sin and minor kufr.

However the takfires could not just accepted this ruling as it was a major blow to their manhaj which for years has been built around the fundamental idea that the reason they demonstrate, protest, fight, do suicide bombing against, do not give bay’ah to, backbite in public, call for revolts and name the Muslim rulers of today as kaafirs and taghoots is because they do not rule by what Allah has revealed and instead rule by man made laws so they are to be considered kaafirs, thus they try to just all their actions based on this point (the Muslim rulers being kuffaar taghoot apostates.

Therefore the takfires accepted this ruling and added to it by saying ‘when a Muslim ruler rules by man made laws in something’s (not everything) based upon a bribe or desires etc they are judge to be Muslims with major sin and minor kufr, (takfire addition) only if this is done a few times (once or twice most claim, some takfires may say a few more times). If he does this more than a few times he is to be judge with major kufr and becomes a kaafir.’

However this is incorrect as the action of the Muslim ruler in this situation is a major sin thus it is impossible that if he persists in this major sin it could become an action of major kufr like the takfires hold. No scholar from Ahlus Sunnah from the past or present has ever stated that ‘the doer of any major sin whether it be due to minor shirk, minor kufr, minor nifaaq (hypocrisy) or a just a straight forward haraam action (like drinking alcohol or gambling) can become a kaafir with major kufr if he persist (or continually) does this sin’.

In fact what is the correct position of Ahlus Sunnah is that this type of Muslim ruler due to him ruling by man made law based upon desires and worldly reason (like money (a bribe) or power) has committed minor kufr and has become a major sinner.

If this ruler persists in this major sin and does this major sin many times he now has become a faasiq (evildoer), has fallen into the major sin of persisting in committing a haraam action and may even acquire other major sins due to having a rebellious attitude and stubbornness in committing this major sin continually.

Therefore this ruler deserves a punishment from Allah due to his major sin. So he might get punished in this world or in Al-Barzakh (period between death and the Resurrection (i.e. in his grave)) or he may have to enter hell, but out of Allahs mercy he may get spared a punishment.

Even if he is punished (in what way Allah wills) he will eventually enter paradise. The reason is because this ruler has not become a kaafir (disbeliever) as a Muslim can only become a kaafir if he has committed major shirk or major kufr or (major) nifaaq.

Fataawa by the Permanent Committee for Research and Verdicts, Group 2, Volume 1: Aqeedah, Major sins: The first question of Fatwa no. 10618: Part No. 1; Page No. 332: They said, “According to Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jamaah (those adhering to the Sunnah and the Muslim community) anyone who commits a major sin is considered a believer by virtue of his Iman (Faith), but his major sin renders him a Fasiq (someone openly and flagrantly violating Islamic law). Therefore, it is not permissible to call this sinner a Kaafir as long as he does not deem his sinful act lawful, or is satisfied with it.” Member Shaykh Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan, Deputy Chairman Shaykh Abdul-Razzaq Afify, Chairman Shaykh Abdul Aziz ibn Abdullah ibn Baz

Fataawa by the Permanent Committee for Research and Verdicts, Group 2, Volume 1: Aqeedah, Acts commensurate with Kufr, Declaring someone who does an act nullifying Islam as a Kaafir, The second question of Fatwa no. 18415Part No. 1; Page No. 424,: They said, “Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jamaah (those adhering to the Sunnah and the Muslim main body) do not call any Muslim a Kaafir for committing a sin, like the Khawarij (separatist group that believes committing a major sin amounts to disbelief) and Mutazilah (a deviant Islamic sect claiming that those who commit major sins are in a state between belief and disbelief) do, unless they consider it lawful…Also, they do not believe that Iman (Faith) is enough, and there is no harm in committing sins like Al-Murjiah (a deviant Islamic sect claiming that Faith is restricted to belief not deeds).” Member Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd,  Member Shaykh Salih Al-Fawzan, Member Shaykh Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan, Deputy Chairman  Shaykh Abdul-Aziz Al Al-Shaykh, Chairman Shaykh Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah ibn Baz 

The fifth situation is when the Muslim ruler replaces some or all of the shariah law.

Total Istibdaal (replacing) of all the shariah (so that the ruler has made it that in every issue he only referrers judgment to other than Allahs law) is major kufr in action and belief no need for holding the believe that Istihlaal (making it lawful) to rule by other than Allahs law needs to occur, no need for the doer to know that he holds juhood (rejection) of the shariah law as this action already proves he holds juhood of all the shariah hence why it is major kufr of belief as well as action.

Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah has described the one who leaves the shariah (i.e. the Quran and Sunnah) as a kaafir; the Muslim ruler who does total istibdaal has the same ruling as this person because replacing all of the laws in his country for man made laws indicates he has left the shariah (i.e. he has left implementing even one shariah law).

Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said, “The Shariah revealed from Allaah, which is the Quran and Sunnah that Allaah sent His Messenger with, no one from the creation is allowed to leave it. And no one leaves it but a Kaafir.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa 11/262)

Imam Ibn Katheer also said similar to Ibn Taymiyyah above, he said, “So whoever leaves (ruling by) the clear cut law (shariah) revealed to Muhammad bin Abdullah the final of the Prophets (i.e. the person who leaves ruling by all the shariah laws), and refers to other sources for judgment, such as abrogated laws (or any man made law), then he is a Kaafir.” (al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah 13/119)

Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Whenever a person legalizes what is illegal by consensus (i.e. he makes the haraam halaal) or illegalizes what is legal by consensus (i.e. he makes the halaal haraam) or replaces (istibdaal of) the Shariah (i.e. he does total istibdaal of the shariah with man made laws) that is agreed upon by consensus, then he is a Kaafir by the agreement of the scholars of Fiqh.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa 3/267)

Shaykh Abdul-Azeez Ar-Rajihi said, “And some of the people of knowledge have held that when he (the Muslim ruler) alters the religion in all of the affairs of the state, then he is a kaafir, because he has changed the religion, and al-Hafidh Ibn Katheer rahimahullah has gone to this in his tafsir, and also Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Ibraheem rahimahullah, in his treatise ‘Tahkeemul-Qaaaneen’. So when he changes the religion, the whole of it, from head to heal, in all of the affairs of the state, in everything, not part of it (i.e. he replaced all of the shariah laws with man made laws this type of ruler did not just replace some of the shariah for man made laws), then he is a kaafir, because he has altered the religion.”

Shaykh Abdul-Azeez Ar-Rajihi said in reference to the Muslim ruler who does total istibdaal, “If a person establishes all of the man-made laws and removes the Shariah in its entirety, changing it completely around, this is considered changing the Religion. A group amongst the scholars have taken the view that such a person that does this has disbelieved because he has changed the Religion of Allaah. This is the verdict that was given by Shaykh Muhammad bin Ibraaheem, may Allaah have mercy on him, the former Muftee of the lands ofSaudi Arabia. He said: “This is changing the Religion completely around – it is not in one issue only but rather it is changing all of the laws. So it means removing the Shariah in its entirety and replacing it with man-made laws in every small or large affair.”” (Taken from his Explanation of Nawaaqid al-Islam of Shaykh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab)

Shaykh Muhammed Ibn Ibraaheem clarified when the one who rules by other than Allahs law can be judge with minor kufr. He said, “As for what has been said regarding it, that it is the lesser disbelief (kufr doona kufr) when he judged to someone other than Allaah (or something other than what Allaah has revealed) while believing that he is disobedient and that the judgement of Allaah is the truth, then this is something that occurs from him once or something like that (i.e. occurs infrequently or intermittently).

As for the one who lays down laws in an organised and arranged manner and requests submission and compliance to them, then this is disbelief, even if he says, “We have erred, and the Shariah laws are more just”, so this is disbelief that expels from the religion.” - Fatawa Muhammad Ibraaheem 12/280

Shaykh Salih al-Fawzaan stated, In his book, “Kitaab ut-Tawheed, Chapter: The Ruling Upon the One Who Judges by Other Than What Allaah Has Revealed commented on Shaykh Muhammad’s above fatwa, Shaykh Fawzaan said, “So he (shaykh Muhammed ibn Ibraaheem) distinguished between the partial judgement (this is when a Muslim rulers, rulings (laws) are referred to the shariah and some of the rulers rulings are referred to other than Allahs law) by other than what Allaah has revealed) which does not recur and between the general law which becomes a reference point in ALL (means this ruler total abolishes the shariah in its entirety such that nothing remains of the shariah hence ALL of his judgements have to be referred back to the new code of law the ruler rules by) of the rulings or most of them.

And he affirmed that this disbelief expels from the religion absolutely (major kufr). This is because the one who removed the Islamic Shariah (means the Muslim ruler completely and totally effaces Islam and everything related to it, such that nothing of it remains, so there is no shariah law to refer to in judgements) and put Secular Law in its place, in replacement (Istibdaal) of it (the shariah laws), then this indicates that he considers that this [secular] law is better and more beneficial than the Shariah, and there is no doubt that this is the major disbelief which expels from the religion.”

Shaykh Salih al-Fawzaan also clarified explanation of the fatwa of Shaykh Muhammad (previously mentioned), he said “…that the one who abolishes the Shariah entirely (nihaa’iyyan) (means the Muslim ruler completely and totally effaces Islam and everything related to it, such that nothing of it remains, or is allowed to remain, and then brings another law to replace it totally, then that does not exist today), and puts another law in its place, that this is evidence (daleel) to show that he views the [secular] law to be better than the Shariah, and whoever holds this opinion, he is the one who is a kaafir [emphasis given]…”

After Shaykh Fawzaan clarified his statement in a sitting someone asked him “And the statement of Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Ibraheem is (it understood) in the same way?

Shaykh Fawzaan said, “Yes, it is the same. His words mean that the one who abolishes the Shariah (in its entirety such that nothing remains of Islam and it is no longer a code of law which can be referred to in that country) and puts in its place another law, then this indicates that he considers this law to be better than the Shariah. And [subsequently] whoever considers this law to be better than the Shariah, then such a one is a kaafir in the view of everybody, there is no doubt in this.”

Shaykh Salih al-Fawzaan also said on the matter of total istibdaal (replacing) of all the shariah (so that the ruler has made it that in every issue he only referrers judgment to other than Allahs law) in a Cassette: Questions and Answers on al-Haakimiyyah, he said, “the one who abolishes the Shariah (in its entirety such that nothing remains of Islam) and puts in its place another law, then this gives evidence that he considers this law to be better than the Shariah. And [subsequently] whoever considers this law to be better than the Shariah, then such a one is a kaafir in the view of everybody, there is no doubt in this.”

Shaykh Bin Baz said: “There is no Eemaan (faith) for the one who believes the laws of the people and their opinions are superior to the Hukm of Allaah and His Messenger (this is major kufr) or that they are equal to it (this is major kufr) or that they resemble it (this is major kufr) or who leaves it (i.e. this type of ruler has not one shariah law in his countries code of law, this is total abolishment of the shariah therefore this rule always only refers to man made laws for judgement so this is major kufr) or replaces it with fabricated laws and institutions invented by people (i.e. this type of ruler has replaced all the shariah laws and institutions build upon the shariah in his country for man made laws and institutions build upon these man made laws, therefore this is total istibdaal (replacement) of the shariah with man made laws this is major kufr), even if he believes that the laws of Allaah are more encompassing and more just.” – “Risalaat Wujoob Tah’keem Sharee’at Allaah’ Pg. 39

Shaykh Uthaymeen said, “…when the Hukm of Allaah is removed and replaced with another Taghoot Hukm (disbelieving law), so that the Hukm (law) of the Shariah is eliminated between the people and he puts in its place another Hukm (law) from the fabrication of the humans and they remove the laws of the Shariah concerning the Mu’amilah (i. e. the general actions between people) and they put in its place fabricated laws and this, without doubt, (this) is (total) istibdaal (replacement) of the Shariah of Allaah subhaanahuu wa-ta’ala, with other than it.

And this is (major) Kufr which removes one from the Milla (religion) because this person put himself at the level of the Creator because he shara’a (legislated) for the slaves of Allaah that which Allaah ta’ala did not give permission for and that is Shirk in His, ta’ala’s saying: “Or have they partners with Allâh (false gods), who have instituted for them a religion, which Allâh has not allowed?” (Ash-Shu’ara, 21) – “Fiqh Al-‘ Eebaadaat”, #60

Shaykh Abd-Allah al-Ghunaymaan spoke about these two rulings saying, “…the ruler… who fails to rule by that which Allah has revealed and bases the entire legal system on man-made laws (is) a kaafir…The one who rejects the law of Allah and casts it aside, and replaces it (all of the shariah law) with man-made laws and the opinions of individuals has committed an act of (major) kufr which puts him beyond the pale of Islam.”

Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab said “…The Tawaagheet (pl. of Taghoot) are many, but their heads are five: …The Second head of the taghoot is: The tyrannical and oppressive ruler who changes Allah’s rulings…” Taken from The Explanation of “The Meaning of Taaghoot” Of Muhammad bin Abdil-Wahhaab By Dr. Muhammad bin Abdir-Rahmaan Al-Khumayyis

This statement of the shaykh concerns when a Muslim ruler becomes kaafir (disbelieving) taghoot due to his tabdeel (changing the law of Allah) and total Istibdaal (replacing all of the laws of Allah). This type of ruler is a kaafir taghoot ruler due to the ruler changing Allahs rulings as he has committed major kufr of action and belief due to him doing istibdaal (replacing) all of the shariah so the ruler only refers judgement to other than Allah laws; this is what is implied by the statement of Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab above.

So from the above it is clear that the Muslim ruler who totally replaces the shariah (so that in every issue the only law which can be refereed to for judgment is other than Allahs law) itself this is an act of kufr which proves that the doer holds kufr in his believes as the inward is tied to the outward.

Therefore this act of kufr indicates that the doer’s emaan has completely gone, because this act would only occur from a person whose heart is full of corruption and hatred for Islamic law. This would be a sign that they have kufr in their heart and so as well as doing an act of kufr they also hold kufr in their beliefs. This is why the Muslim ruler who totally replaces the shariah as point of reference for judgments in his state with a completely new law system has disbelieved due to committing major kufr and has become a kaafir taghoot.

Total istibdaal (replacement) of the shariah (for a entirely new code of law with has not even a trace of some shariah laws in it) does not exist today and has very rarely ever existed as today in every Muslim land there are trace of some shariah law and some shariah ruling. Some countries have more shariah laws and some have much less but it can not be said honestly and truthful that there is a single Muslim country in which there is no shariah law at all.

Even the kuffaar understand that all the Muslim countries have some traces of shariah law but each has varying amounts this is why they always want all the Muslim countries to have completely one hundred percent democracy like (theUSand theUK). As they fear as long as the Muslim lands have with in their codes of law some shariah laws this could one day increase to total or mostly all shariah laws.

Those who claim there is no shariah in the Muslim lands and only total istibdaal should read the words of Shaykh Ibn Jibreen said “…As for the matters in which ijtihad enters into, then we have alluded to one of these types last night. The majority of the rulers are upon, from that which is called judgement by the secular laws, such as these, overwhelmingly, the affair pertaining to them is that they consider benefit in them, but they did not abolish the shariah with absolute abolishment (i.e. they did not do total istibdaal), such that they do not judge with anything from it at all (i.e. they rule with some shariah but not all of it). Since Allah said ‘And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed then they are the kaafireen’, so the likes of these, they have this angle of approach, then we do not speak of their kufr, but we consider them to be in error, in this ijtihad which involves changing something from the legislation, even if it was by the path of ijtihad…” [From a cassette titled “Sharh Lum’uat il-I’tiqaad #7”, Tasjeelaat at-Taqwaa,Riyadh]

Also Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan stated similar to Shaykh Ibn Jibreen, Shaykh Fawzaan statednarrating what Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer wrote concerning the Tartar’s and “Al-Yasiq”, he said, “And the likes of the law that he mentioned from the Tartars, and judged upon with (major) Kufr, those who put in the place of the Islamic Shariah (the Tarts laws were judged with major kufr due to their belief that their own laws where equal to the shariah laws, their belief that a person had a choice in deciding whether to rule by shariah or Tart laws and their belief that it was halaal to rule by the Tartar laws instead of shariah laws. There also did minor kufr as they did  partial istibdaal (replacement) of some of the shariah laws for their own code of law which was in the book they called “Al-Yasiq” but they did not replace all the shariah laws, however their beliefes were major kufr hence takfir was made of them by the scholars of Islam), are the fabricated laws, which have – in our time –

been established as sources of laws in many countries and the Islamic Shariah has been disregarded in favour of them except in what they call ‘personal matters’ (so these fabricated false laws he states have (in many Muslim countries but not all as some countries have even more (not less) shariah than this) replaced the shariah laws expect in personal affairs (marriage laws, child custody laws, divorce laws, fostering laws, inheritance law etc in over words all the laws related to the family). As these countries have some shariah laws there rulers have done partial istibdaal and not total istibdaal so they have major sin and minor kufr).” – “Al-Irshaad ila’Saheeh Al-‘ Atiqaad “, Vol. 1/ 74

Partial istibdaal (partially replacing some of the shariah laws for other than Allahs laws but not all of the shariah laws, so that the ruler has made it that in some issues (one or many) he referrers judgment to other than Allahs law) the Muslim ruler may be a kaafir with major kufr,

  • if he believes the laws that are not from the shariah however few or large in number are better than the shariah laws he has replaced,
  • if he believes the laws that are not from the shariah however few or large in number are equal to the shariah laws he has replaced,
  • if he believes the laws that are not from the shariah however few or large in number he had a choice in choosing between keeping the shariah laws and replacing the shariah laws with these new laws,
  • if he believes the laws that are not from the shariah however few or large in number are halaal to rule by,
  • he has juhood (rejection) of the parts of the shariah law he has replaced, due to hating or disliking those shariah rules
  • Or he believes the replaced non-shariah rules however few are more suitable for his state or this era or his subjects, then he is a kaafir.

If the Muslim ruler holds one of these major kufr beliefs he may be open or hidden and known only to Allah. If he openly and clearly sates one of the above he becomes a kaafir both outwardly and inwardly.

However if he holds one of these beliefs inwardly in his heart but does not state it openly and clearly he becomes a kaafir with regard to what is between him and Allah, but the rulings on being a Muslim apply to him outwardly, because his kufr is not obvious. In this case he is like the hypocrite who is inwardly a kaafir although he appears to be a Muslim.

Additional the Muslim ruler may be a Muslim with major sin and minor kufr due to his partial istibdaal (partially replacing the shariah laws), if he does while believing that he is disobedient and deserving of punishment, believing that the rule of Allah is the truth and the rule of Allah is better than his legislation (which is not Allahs law) ad that he refers judgment to other than Allahs laws only in specific cases and not in every cases. This type of Muslim ruler is considered either a faasiq (sinner) or a dhaalim (oppressor)

Shaykh Ar Rajihi said in reference to partially istibdaal, “our teacher, Shaykh Abdul-Azeez bin Baz, may Allaah grant him success, held the view that even though he changes the Religion, he must believe that it is permissible to rule by man-made laws so that the proof can be established against him.” (Taken from his Explanation of Nawaaqid al-Islam of Shaykh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab)

Shaykh Bin Baz said “If he does not desire Istihlaal (making halaal to rule with the law he did istibdaal with some parts of the shariah with) by that, but (he) did it (ruled with it) due to some other reasons (like for money or power), then this is kufr doona kufr (the minor kufr).” Taken from Hiwaar Hawla Masaa’il it-Takfeer Ma’a Allaamah ash-Shaykh Abdul-Azeez Ibn Baz”

Shaykh Abdul-Muhsin al-Abbaad, in the Islamic University of Madinah, during his lesson, “Sharh Sunah Abu Dawood” on 16/11/1420H,  spoke about the Muslim ruler doing (partial) istibdaal and he said “As (long as) a person considers himself to be in error, that he is doing what is evil (munkar), and that he is committing disobedience, and that he is fearful of sin, so this is the minor kufr (kufr doona kufr, kufr that does not make a person leave Islam).”

This type of partially istibdaal which is major sin and minor kufr is what the Muslim rulers of today are upon and the total istibdaal which is major kufr does not exist today.

Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab said “…The Tawaagheet (pl. of Taghoot) are many, but their heads are five: …The Second head of the taghoot is: The tyrannical and oppressive ruler who changes Allah’s rulings…” Taken from The Explanation of “The Meaning of Taaghoot” Of Muhammad bin Abdil-Wahhaab By Dr. Muhammad bin Abdir-Rahmaan Al-Khumayyis

This statement of the shaykh concerns when a Muslim ruler becomes kaafir (disbelieving) taghoot due to his tabdeel (changing the law of Allah) and total Istibdaal (replacing all of the laws of Allah). This type of ruler is a kaafir taghoot ruler due to the ruler changing Allahs rulings when his sin is major kufr however this is not the type of ruler who does partial istibdaal because this is minor kufr and not the major kufr which make him a taghoot; this is what is implied by the statement of Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab above.)

The sixth situation is when the Muslim ruler does tabdeel (changing/altering) of the shariah (by adding new laws to the shariah) in one specific ruling or in many rulings, then this ruler claims this changed/altered ruling was from the Shariah originally. Tabdeel never involves completely changing all the shariah as this would then be a replacing of the shariah with another law which is total Istibdaal. For tabdeel to work the ruler needs to have some shariah in place to claim that the altered/changed law is from the shariah law but without any shariah with in his code of law obviously this would not be impossible.

Tabdeel of the shariah can be major kufr if: the Muslim ruler changes or alters some of the shariah law intentionally, neither out of an error nor a incorrect interpretation and attaches this to the shariah, this type of individual is an apostate and disbeliever according to the consensus of the Muslims.

Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah saidWhen a person makes halaal whatever is haraam by consensus, or prohibits whatever is halaal by consensus, or replaces whatever is from the Divine Legislation by consensus – is a disbelieving apostate by agreement of the fuqahaa. With regards to the likes of these people Allaah revealed,And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are disbelievers.” {al-Maa’idah (5): 44}

Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said “ (this is the name he used to describe this type of law/legislation) ash-Shar’ al-Mubaddal (the altered legislation), and this is lying against Allaah and His Messenger, or lying against the people with false testimonies or the like (false ahaadeeth, corrupt tafsir, misguided innovations which have entered the shariah and are not from it and (a judge) ruling by other than what Allaah has revealed claiming the ruling is from the shariah or based upon the shariah); and clear oppression. So whoever says: “Indeed this (type of altered and distorted legislation) is from Allaah” has disbelieved without dispute, just as the one who says: “Eating the blood and dead flesh of an animal are halaal” even if he says: “this is my madhab” and the likes. Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa, vol.2, p.267

Imam Ibn Jareer At-Tabaree has explained the issue of tabdeel in regards to the one who does tabdeel of some of the shariah and then claims it is form the shariah by trying to add these changed laws to the shariah. He explained this point by using the story of the Jews in the time of the prophet Mohammed and how they were considered kuffaar by Allah and his messenger due to them doing the type of tabdeel discussed above with some of Allahs laws. At-Tabaree consider the verse (that discussed this story) general for anyone who did what the Jews did and he held that this verse implies major kufr upon anyone who did what they did.

Imam Ibn Jareer At-Tabaree said, “He (Allah) ta’ala says, whoever conceals the Hukm of Allaah, which He revealed in His Book and made it a law between the slaves – so he hides it and rules with other than it like the Hukm of the Jews concerning the married fornicators with whipping of the guilty and blackening their faces and concealing the Hukm of stoning and like their judging upon some of their murdered with full blood-money and some with half of their blood-money. And concerning the noble people, they would have Qisaas but the commoner would only get the blood money. But Allaah made all of them equal in the Tauraat (Torah): …such are the Kafirun. They are the ones who concealed the truth, which was upon them to uncover and make clear. And they hid it from the people and they showed something different to the people and they judged according to that (changed Hukm) because of a bribe they took from them.”-“Tafseer Al-Tabaree” Vol. 4/ 592

So At-Tabarees statement proves that if any Muslim ruler does tabdeel of some of the shariah laws in return for a bribe (or any other worldly reason) and attached (and claimed) these changed new laws are from the shariah (i.e. Allah and his messenger) then this is major kufr.

Shaykh Aboo Bakr bin al-’Arabee stated the ruling on a Muslim who rules by other than Allahs law and claims these laws are from Allah. In Ahkaam ul-Qur’aan, vol.2, pp.624-625 Shaykh Aboo Bakr bin al-’Arabee said: “…Tawoos and others said: (about Allahs saying”And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the Kafiran” (5:44)) “It is not the kufr which expels from the religion; however it is kufr less than kufr.” This may differ if he rules by his own self claiming that it is from Allah, this is tabdeel (changing Allahs law) and necessitates (major) kufr.”

Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab said “…The Tawaagheet (pl. of Taghoot) are many, but their heads are five: …The Second head of the taghoot is: The tyrannical and oppressive ruler who changes Allah’s rulings…” Taken from The Explanation of “The Meaning of Taaghoot” Of Muhammad bin Abdil-Wahhaab By Dr. Muhammad bin Abdir-Rahmaan Al-Khumayyis

This statement of the shaykh concerns when a Muslim ruler becomes kaafir (disbelieving) taghoot due to his tabdeel (changing the law of Allah) and total Istibdaal (replacing all of the laws of Allah). This type of ruler is a kaafir taghoot ruler due to the ruler changing Allahs rulings as his sin is major kufr because he has done tabdeel of some of the shariah and claimed these additional laws to the shariah are from Allah. As through this action he has made the haraam halaal or the halaal haraam due to his new additional laws which he has added to the shariah.

Tabdeel can also be minor kufr: This happens when the ruler alters/changes some of the shariah intentionally yet he does not attach this to the shariah (claiming it is from the shariah, he lets it be known it is a ruling other than Allahs) and his replacement is not out of arrogance (towards the Allahs shariah) or stubbornness to the (wanting his self and others to comply with the) shariah, rather he believes that it is haraam to do that yet due to a weakness in him such as bribery, position, hatred of a person or the likes he does it. This type of individual is a sinful criminal and has ruled by other than what Allah has revealed, yet takfir is not to be made of him except if there is a proof of his istihlaal (believing it to be lawful), istikbaar (arrogance towards Allaah’s rule) or mu’aanadah (stubbornness to Allaah’s rule).)

Shaykh Bin Baz was asked: “Is replacement (change/alteration) of the Shariah) with the secular laws (tabdeel ul-qawaaneen) considered to be major kufr that expels from the religion?”

He replied: “ …As for when he does that for specific reasons, out of disobedience to Allah, for the sake of bribery, or pleasing somebody, and knows that this is haraam, then this is kufr doona kufr (the minor kufr)…

Ibn Abbas said, concerning the saying of Allah the Most High, “And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the Kafirun (i.e. disbelievers -of a lesser degree as they do not act on Allah’s Laws)”. (Al-Ma’idah 5:44) – So he said, “This is not like the one who disbelieves in Allah, but it is the minor kufr (kufr doona kufr)”… Taken from Hiwaar Hawla Masaa’il it-Takfeer Ma’a Allaamah ash-Shaykh Abdul-Azeez Ibn Baz” and it is found also in al-Furqaan Magazine No. 94).

Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab said “…The Tawaagheet (pl. of Taghoot) are many, but their heads are five: …The Second head of the taghoot is: The tyrannical and oppressive ruler who changes Allah’s rulings…” Taken from The Explanation of “The Meaning of Taaghoot” Of Muhammad bin Abdil-Wahhaab By Dr. Muhammad bin Abdir-Rahmaan Al-Khumayyis

This statement of the shaykh concerns when a Muslim ruler becomes kaafir (disbelieving) taghoot due to his tabdeel (changing the law of Allah) and total Istibdaal (replacing all of the laws of Allah). This type of ruler is a kaafir taghoot ruler due to the ruler changing Allahs rulings when his sin is major kufr.

However this is not the type of ruler who does tabdeel of some of the shariah due to being overcome by the shaytan and following his desires while believing his action is a major sin for which he deserves a punishment, Allahs law is better than his man made laws and Allahs law is suitable for his subjects, country and this era because this is minor kufr and not the major kufr which would make him a taghoot; this is what is implied by the statement of Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab above.

The seventh and last situation is one in which the Muslim ruler believes in his heart that he has a choice to rule by Allahs law or any man made law he wants too. This Muslim ruler if he openly and clearly sates this or something similar he becomes a kaafir both outwardly and inwardly.

However if he holds this belief inwardly in his heart but does not state it openly and clearly he becomes a kaafir with regard to what is between him and Allah, but the rulings on being a Muslim apply to him outwardly, because his kufr is not obvious. In this case he is like the hypocrite who is inwardly a kaafir although he appears to be a Muslim.

Imam Ibn Abil Azz al-Hanafee stated in Sharh ul-Aqeedah at-Tahawiyyah, pp.323-324: “Here there is a matter which has to be understood and that is: ruling by other than what Allah has revealed can be kufr which expels one from the religion; it can be disobedience, major or minor. So this all depends on the condition of the ruler: if he believes that ruling by other than what Allah has revealed is not an obligation, or that he has a choice in a matter…then this is major kufr…”

Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah in Madaarij us-Saalikeen, vol.1, pp.336 said: “…What is correct (concerning the Islamic ruling on the ruler/person who rules by other than Allahs law) is: that ruling by other than what Allah has revealed goes between the two types of kufr, minor or major depending on the condition of the ruler (or judge)…if he believes that ruling by other than what Allah has revealed is not an obligation or that he has a choice in ruling by it (man made laws or Allahs law), while accepting that it is the rule of Allah, then this is major kufr…”

Shaykh Salih al-Fawzaan stated, In his book, “Kitaab ut-Tawheed, Chapter: The Ruling Upon the One Who Judges by Other Than What Allaah Has Revealed:  “Allaah the Most High said, And whosoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed, such are the Kafirun (Al-Ma’idah 5:44). He said, “This noble verse shows that ruling by other than what Allaah has revealed is kufr (disbelief). This kufr can sometimes be the major disbelief which expels from the religion and sometimes it can be the minor disbelief which does not expel from the religion. And this is based upon the state and condition of the ruler.

So if he believes that; ruling by what Allaah has revealed is not obligatory and that he has a choice in the matter (of ruling between Allahs law and man made law)…Then all (this is referring to the other ways he discussed in this chapter of how a ruler can rule by other than Allahs law) of this is the major disbelief (major kufr).”

In addition the Muslim ruler who believes he has a choice in ruling by Allahs law or man made law through this belief it is indicated that this Muslim ruler believes in his heart that it is not obligatory to rule by Allahs law.

If he believes he has a choice in ruling by Allahs law or man made law he can not at the same time believe it is obligatory to rule by Allahs law or he would believe he has no choice but to rule by Allahs law and he would know it is haraam for him to rule by other than Allahs laws (man made law) due to him not fore filling a obligation to Allah.

So this ruler has rejected Allahs law as an obligation to rule by and has thus committed juhood (rejection) of Allahs law. Therefore this Muslim ruler if he openly and clearly sates this or something similar he becomes a kaafir both outwardly and inwardly.

However if he holds this belief inwardly in his heart but does not state it openly and clearly he becomes a kaafir with regard to what is between him and Allah, but the rulings on being a Muslim apply to him outwardly, because his kufr is not obvious. In this case he is like the hypocrite who is inwardly a kaafir although he appears to be a Muslim.

Shaykh Baqaa’ee stated in Nudhm ud-Durur, vol.2, p.460…Ibn Abbaas said: “Whoever rejects the rule of Allah has disbelieved…”

Imaam Aboo Madhfar as-Sama’anee stated in Tafseer ul-Quran, vol.2, p.42: “The ayah (“And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are disbelievers.” (al-Maidah: 44) has two interpretations: First meaning: Whoever does not rule by what Allah has revealed out of apostasy and rejection then those are disbelievers…”

Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab said “…The Tawaagheet (pl. of Taghoot) are many, but their heads are five: The Third (taghoot is): The one who judges by other than what Allah has revealed.” Taken from The Explanation of “The Meaning of Taaghoot” Of Muhammad bin Abdil-Wahhaab By Dr. Muhammad bin Abdir-Rahmaan Al-Khumayyis

This type of ruler is a kaafir taghoot ruler due to his ruling by other than what Allah has revealed; this is what is implied by the statement of Imam Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab above.

Conclusion

The scholars from Ahlus Sunnah of this era believe based upon ruling by man made laws the Muslim rulers of today have fallen into minor kufr, major sin and major oppression for which they deserve a punishment form Allah (but Allah may have mercy on them and not punish them).

The reason scholars of Ahlus Sunnah believe this is because the Muslim rulers of today there actions (ruling by man made laws, partial istibdaal (replacement) of some of the shariah and tabdeel (changing) of some of the shariah) are not actions which are from the group of actions that are sufficient in and of themselves to take someone out of the fold of Islam. The Muslim rulers actions are form the group of actions which need the doer to hold major kufr of belief in his heart to be expelled from Islam. So the Muslim ruler’s actions in this regard are not to be judged like the actions which necessitate major kufr in and of themselves. Therefore these types of actions do not need the doer to hold major kufr of belief in his heart, like:

  • Total istibdaal of the shariah (i.e. the ruler replacing all of the shariah laws in his countries code of laws so only a man made code of law is used in his country),
  • Bowing down (prostrating) out of worship to other than Allah,
  • supplicating (duaa) to other than Allah,
  • Throwing the copy of the Quran in filth;
  • Vandalising (graffiti, breaking things inside) a mosque

So the scholars from Ahlus Sunnah of this era scholars of Ahlus Sunnah state that the Muslim rulers have done the above actions (ruling by man made laws, partial istibdaal (replacement) of some of the shariah and tabdeel (changing) of some of the shariah) which are not sufficient in and of themselves to take them out of the fold of Islam based upon:

  • the shaytan over coming them,
  • following sinful desires,
  • bribes and money (and other worldly pleasures),
  • out of fear of the much stronger kuffaar nations,
  • Wanting power and status with those like them self.

Thus the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah assert they have done these actions which are minor kufr, major sin and major oppression by themselves: based for the above reasons which do not necessitate major kufr in beliefs so they rule these Muslim rulers to be:

‘MUSLIMS with minor kufr, major sin and major oppression and these rulers due to there persisting in doing this major sin have become faasiqs (evildoers), because of they are major sins and faasiqs due to their continually committing this minor kufr the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah also state that they all deserve a punishment form Allah but Allah for there sin but Allah may have mercy on them and not punish them.’

Thus these scholars say the students of knowledge, the daaeeis and the lay people have to believe in their hearts and declare on their tongues that these rulers are Muslims but with major sin, major oppression, minor kufr and are faasiqs.

They fear these rulers could easily fall into major kufr, so for this reason and because of the oppression and major sin involved in what they are doing, they hold these rulers should only rule with Allahs law, repent sincerely to Allah and immediately stop there actions.

Plus the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah further hold that even though the actions of ruling by man made laws, partial istibdaal (replacement) of some of the shariah and tabdeel (changing) of some of the shariah are from the things that are minor kufr like wailing over the dead, questioning lineage and swearing by other than Allah. If any of the rulers did these actions while holding a belief of major kufr like:

  • he believes his legislated laws are better than Allahs (or any other code of law he refers judgement to other than the shariah),
  • that he believes his legislated laws are more suitable to this era, or place than Allahs laws (or any other code of law he refers judgement to other than the shariah),
  • he believes both his legislated law (or any other code of law he refers judgement to other than the shariah) and Allahs law (the shariah) are equal (implying that himself and Allah can both legislate their own laws for mankind, this is shirk in Allahs Ruboobiyyah (Lordship) as Allah has no equals in legislating. Legislating laws for mankind is Allahs right only),
  • he believes that any trace of Allahs law in his legislation should be totally replaced for all man made laws,
  • he believes the parts of the shariah laws he has changed for man made laws are from the shariah (i.e. Allah and the prophet Mohammed), so this is a lie on Allah and the prophet,
  • He believes that ruling by other than what Allah has revealed is permissible or he has a choice to rule by which ever he choose.

The scholars of Ahlus Sunnah agree that if any of the Muslim rulers based upon their ruling by man made laws, partial istibdaal (replacement) of some of the shariah or tabdeel (changing) of some of the shariah fell into major kufr.

By doing one of these actions and openly stating (just) one of the above beliefs of major kufr and the conditions and preventive factors of takfir are fulfilled upon this ruler by a scholar (or scholars) of Ahlus Sunnah and the other scholars of Ahlus sunnah agree with this ruling of takfir. Then this ruling would be that this ruler is classed as apostate kaafir who no longer has the right to rule that country and can be revolted against (with conditions) if he refuse to step down (after all this then and only then can the students of knowledge, the daaeeis and the lay people believe in their hearts and declare on their tongues that this ruler who was made takfir of is a kaafir).

However these scholars also acknowledge the fact a Muslim ruler may rule by man made laws, do partial istibdaal (replacement) of some of the shariah or do tabdeel (changing) of some of the shariah (which are acts of minor kufr) and not openly state one of the previously mentioned beliefs of major kufr in regards to this issue but may still be a kaafir. They believe this can happen when a Muslim ruler holds one of these major kufr beliefs in his heart but does not openly state it. So this ruler becomes a kaafir with regard to what is between him and Allah, but the rulings on being a Muslim apply to him outwardly, because his kufr is not obvious, it is hidden and only Allah knows it. In this case the ruler is like a hypocrite who is inwardly a kaafir although he appears to be a Muslim outwardly.

Side Point

The takfires who claim the Muslim rulers of today have committed major kufr due to them ruling by man made laws (and other related issues like tabdeel and istibdaal) often try to use the words of the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah of today and the past on this issue (in their books, lectures, on you tube, blogs, magazines, flyers and websites etc) to try to establish takfir of the Muslim rulers of today, however from the article it is clear that these scholars are far removed form the path of unjustified takfir of today’s Muslim rulers like the takfires.

Also none of the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah of today regardless of their words on ruling by man made laws (and other related issues like tabdeel and istibdaal) have ever stated that all the Muslim rulers of today are taghoot kaafirs like the takfires assert.

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About Abdul Kareem Clarke-Binns

I am a revert trying to spread the sunnah inshallah.
This entry was posted in REFUTATIONS OF THE KHAWARIJ CREED and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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