Shaykh Ibn Jibreen said, “It is known that al-kufr al-bawah (manifest, open, clear kufr (disbelief)) is an open, outward [clear] matter, such as when he abolishes the teachings of Islaam, or we see him for example, destroying mosques, or he fights the people of the mosques [i.e. those who frequent them], or he abolishes [all] the [shariah] law courts, or he abolishes the religious lessons, for example, or we see him burning the copies of the Quran, or that he orders for them to be burnt, and he promotes, assists the books of misguidance, the books of the Christians and whatever resembles them, he spreads them and makes reading them obligatory, or we see him erecting those things that are worshipped besides Allaah, such as idols and the likes. This is considered manifest, clear [open] kufr…
The majority of the rulers are upon [matters that ijtihad enters into rather than matters of al-kufr al-bawah].
From [those ijtihad matters] is that which is called judgement by the secular laws…overwhelmingly, the affair pertaining to them is that they [the Muslim rulers] consider benefit in them [which is an incorrect ijtihad from them], but they did not abolish the shariah with absolute abolishment [i.e. they did not do total remove all traces of the shariah in their laws], such that they do not judge with anything from it at all [i.e. they rule with varying amounts of the shariah from one Muslim country to another Muslim country but they do not rule with 100% shariah].
Since Allah said, “And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed then they are the kaafireen (disbelievers)”, so the likes of these, they have this angle of approach, that we do not speak of their kufr (disbelief) [as they rule by some shariah and not complete man made laws in every issue].
Rather we [the scholars] consider them to be in error [and not kuffar], [error] in this ijtihad which involves changing somethings from the legislation [because they see some benefit in these man made laws due to their incorrect ijtihad].
So for example, their permitting of zinaa [i.e. in action to be done, not as a matter of belief holding it is halaal to be done], when it is with the consent of both parties.
Their abandonment or the abolition of the hudood (Islamic capital punishments), the punishment for stealing, the punishment for slander [of innocent women], the punishment for drinking alcohol ect and their permitting alcohol [i.e. in action to be drunk, not as a matter of belief to be held as halaal to drink], and their announcing the selling of alcohol and whatever resembles that.
There is no doubt, that this is a great sin, however there could be, for example, excuses for them [the Muslim rulers], those in which they consider themselves to be justified [i.e. excused for the haraam action they commit of ruling by man made laws].
So for example, they excuse themselves from this by saying that in their land they have those people who are not Muslim and that being severe upon them will make them flee.
Thus when they have an angle of approach [like this an incorrect ijtihad], then Allaah will reckon them [and we don’t call them kuffar].
But in any case, there is no doubt that if we judged by the legislation of Allah and we implemented its teachings, there would be sufficiency in this [for the Muslims in their lands] and much good.”
Ref: From a cassette titled “Sharh Lum’uat il-I’tiqaad #7”, Tasjeelaat at-Taqwaa, Riyadh
Posted by Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie