Qibla Answers

Takfir - Anathematizing

Answered by Shaykh Gibril F Haddad


Does any person (be it a regular person or a an 'alim) have the right to put any other person (who claims to be Muslim), out of faith?... if yes, is there anything in the the Quran or Sunnah that would prove it? and if no, then isn't this very act of calling a 'Muslim claimee' out of faith, haram/sinful?


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Wa `alaykum as-Salam:

This reply is in two parts, the first are some primary texts and the second some Hanafi fatwas on the issue.

Imam Abu al-Qasim ibn `Asakir narrates in Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari (p. 373-) with his chains:

1. >From Khaddash ibn `Iyash:

We were sitting in a circle in al-Kufa when a man among us said: "We were sitting with Abu Hurayra whereupon a young man passed by. A man sitting with us said: 'This is a Kafir from among the people of the Fire.' Abu Hurayra rose and went to speak with the young man, asking him: 'Who are you?' He replied: 'Son-and-so, son of So-and-so.' Abu Hurayra said: 'Allah have mercy on your father!' The young man was looking around, so he asked him: 'What are you looking for?' He replied: 'I have not prayed yet.' Abu Hurayra said: 'So you pray?' The young man replied: 'Subhan Allah!' Abu Hurayra: 'And you say Subhan Allah?' He said: 'La Ilaha illAllah!!' Abu Hurayra: 'And you say La Ilaha illAllah?' The young man said: 'I would prefer not to leave Salat even if I were given all there is on the face of the earth.' Abu Hurayra said: 'Allah have mercy on you. Allah have mercy on you. Allah have mercy on you.' Then he came back to his seat in the circle and said: 'I heard the Messenger of Allah say: "Whoever bears testimony against a Muslim of which the latter is not deserving, let him prepare for his seat in the Fire."'"

2. >From `Ubayd Allah ibn `Umar, from Nafi`:

A man said to Ibn `Umar: "I have a neighbor who bears witness against me that I commit shirk." He replied: "Say: 'La Ilaha illAllah,' you will make him a liar."

3. >From Sawwar ibn Shabib al-A`raji:

I was sitting in Ibn `Umar's house when a man came and said: "O Ibn `Umar! There are groups of people bearing witness against us and attributing to us kufr and shirk." Ibn `Umar replied: "Woe to you! Did you not say: 'La Ilaha IllAllah'?!" Whereupon the entire household began to say La Ilaha IllAllah until the house was shaking.

4. >From al-A`mash, from Abu Sufyan:

We came to see Jabir ibn `Abd Allah who lived in Makkah and resided with the Banu Fihr. A man asked him: "Did you [the Companions] use to call anyone from the People of the Qibla [i.e. Muslims], 'Mushrik'?" He replied: "I seek refuge in Allah." The man continued: "Did you call anyone from them 'Kafir'?" He said: "No."


as-salaam `alaykum,

Forwarded message:

The Fatwas: Look at the strictness with which we are warned not to pronounce someone a Kaafir. Hadrat Ibn Abideen says in his Radd al-Muhtar: "The Fatwa of Kufr is not given to a Muslim when his words have the possibility of being interpreted in better (Hasan) manner (not amounting to Kufr)".(vol 3/p.283)

But yet we should not shy away from the Fatwas; as Hazrat Junayd al-Baghdadi did in case of Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj (NafaHaat - Hazrat Jami) and Izz Abd as-Salaam in case of Shaykh Muhiyuddeen ibn al-Arabi Qaddasallahu Asraarahum wa Nafa'na bihim wal Muslimeen. "And it is mentioned in some other place 'I have heard that Izz ad-Deen Abd as-Salaam disapproved (YuT'yinu) of Hazrat Ibn 'Arabi, and he called him a Zindeeq. Another day, one of his disciples told him, that he wished to see a Qutub [a grade of Waliyah]. He [Izz ad-Deen Abd as-Salaam] pointed towards Hazrat Ibn 'Arabi. The disciple [was perplexed] said, "but you disapprove of him", he replied "THAT is the ruling according to Sharia' (Dhahir) or something like that...." (Radd al-Muhtar vol.3/p.294)

And there is consensus that the slanderer of the Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam is a Murtadd. "The ibarat of Shifa is as follows: Abu Bakr ibn al-Mundhir held that the consensus of the scholars on the matter that the slanderer of the Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam should be executed (killed). And others who said so are Malik ibn Anas, Layth, Ahmed ibn Is-Haaq and so is the Madh-hab of Shafiyi and it is also the ruling of Hazrat Abu Bakr RaDiyallahu 'Anhu, and neither is his Tawba (repentance) accepted. Others who said so are Abu Hanifa and his followers (AS-Haab) and Thawri and the Scholars of Kufa and Awzayee....." (Radd al-Muhtar vol.3/p.294)

"And the summary of all this is that there is Ijma'a (consensus) that he who insults the Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam is a Kafir." (Radd al-Muhtar vol.3/p.294)

Elsewhere he (Ibn Aabideen) says: "I say, and I have seen it in Kitaabul Kharaaj by Imam Yousuf that if a Muslim slanders the Messenger Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam or belies him (kadhdhaba) or finds fault ('aaba) or degrades (tanaqqasahu) be it known that he has disbelieved in Allah Ta'aalah and his wife goes out of his Nikah.. (Baanat minhu imra-atahu)" (Radd al-Muhtar vol.3/p.291)

"It is clear from this that those who slander the Angels or any of the Prophets (Alayhimus Salaam), he is declared a Kafir. And this is that type of Kufr where he is left off if he does Tawba, else he is executed (killed)." (Radd al-Muhtar vol.3/p.292)

"It is said in Bazzaziyyah from Khulasa that a Rafidi if he slanders the Shaykhayn [Hadrat Abu Bakr and Hadrat Umar RaDiyallahu 'Anhuma] and damns them (swears at them) he is a Kafir. If he only holds Hadrat Ali (RaDiyallahu 'Anhu) superior to him he is a heretic (Mubtadiy)." (Radd al-Muhtar vol.3/p.293)

And Ibn Abideen goes on explaining and debating at length about this and other such statements whether the slanderer of Sahaba is Kafir or not. If he is declared a Murtadd; is he executed or left off after Tawba; whether his Tawba is accepted or not and so forth. He also gives a reference to a book by Mullah Ali Qari who is reported to have opposed the position held as quoted from Khulasa above in it.

Ibn Aabideen says, that even Khariji's are not considered as Kaafirs: "It is mentioned in Fath al-Qadeer that the Khawarij who hold that it is permissible to kill Muslims and take away their belongings (loot their maal) and call as Kafirs to the Sahaba, the ruling regarding them among majority of the scholars (Jamhoor) and the people of Hadeeth is that they are considered as rebels (Hukm of Bughat)" (Radd al-Muhtar vol.3/p.293)

But yet Hadrat Ibn Abideen gives HIS verdict on page 294, vol.3: "Yes, there is no doubt in the kufr of he who caluminates (Qadhafa) Hadrat Aayisha RaDiyallahu Anha by accusing her of inchastity or refuses to believe that Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddiq was a Sahabi or believes in the deification (Uluuhiyyah) of Hadrat Ali RaDiyallahu Anhu or in that that Hadrat Jabrayeel Alayhis Salaam did a mistake in bringing the Wahy or the like, it is open KUFR obviously (Min al-Kufris SareeH) for it (such beliefs) opposes the Qur-aan." further he says: "And the Rafidi who slanders the Shaykhayn RaDiyallahu Anhuma but yet DOES NOT calumniate Hadrat Aayisha RaDiyallahu Anha by accusing her of inchastity (Qadhf) NOR disbelieves that Hadrat Siddiq RaDiyallahu Anhu was a Sahabi etc., then it is not kufr and nor is it without Tawba but it is Heresy and Innovation (Dalal, Bid-ah) and the rest of the matter shall be discussed in the first part on rebels, Insha Allah (Bab al-Bigha)"

Note here that Ibn Aabideen, is debating on the slander of Sahaba not the denial of the Khilafat of the Shaykhayn RaDiyallahu Anhuma.

He says on page 310/ vol.3 - Bab al-Baghi:"It is clear from Kitab al-Musaayirah by consensus on the Takfeer (Ruling that someone is Kafir) of he who opposes the Basics of Religion (Usuul al-Deen) and the Obligatory matters [Matters which are obligatory to be believed in ] (Darooriyyat). For example that the universe ('Aalam) is from eternity (Qadeem) [without a beginning] or in the refusal of the belief that people will be brought forth with their bodies on Judgement Day. (Hashr al-Ajsaad)"

But then, we also have fatwas from other luminaries many of which I quote on the authority of Imam Ahmed Rida. (These can be found in the tenth volume of Fataawa ar-RiDawiyyah: pages 516-527 / Vol.10)

It is said by Shaykh Barjandi in Sharah Niqaayah: "He who refuses to accept the Imamah of Hadrat Abu Bakr as-Siddiq RaDiyallahu 'Anhu is a Kafir. Some opine that he is a Mubtadiy (a heretic) and not a Kafir but the truth of the matter is (As-SaH) that he is a Kafir. And so also is the case of he who refuses to accept the Khilafah of Hadrat Umar RaDiyallahu 'Anhu. And this is the most correct ruling."

Fataawa Bazzaziyyah states: "It is Wajib to rule someone as a Kafir (Yajibu Ikfaarihim) who calls Hadrat Uthman, Ali, TalHa, Zubayr and Sayyidah Aayisha RaDiyallahu 'Anhum Ajama'een"

It is stated in Bahr ar-Raayiq (page.131) : "It is the most correct ruling (in this matter; As-SaH) that it is KUFR to refuse to accept/deny the Imamah of Hadrat Abu Bakr RaDiyallahu 'Anhu and so also is the case in the refusal (of the Khilafah) of Hadrat Umar RaDiyallahu 'Anhu"

It is stated in Majma' al-Anhur: "The RafiDi if he just holds Hadrat Ali RaDiyallahu 'Anhu superior to Hadrat Abu Bakr (FaDDala) RaDiyallahu 'Anhu, he is a heretic; and if he denies / refuses the Khilafah of Hadrat Siddiq RaDiyallahu 'Anhu, he is a Kafir"

It is said in Tahtaawi 'ala Maraaqil FalaaH : "If one denies in the Khilafat of Hadrat Abu Bakr RaDiyallahu 'Anhu he is declared as a Kafir. But the truth of the matter is that this applies to (those who deny the Khilafah of) Hadrat Umar and Uthman too (RaDiyallahu 'Anhuma)."

Shaykh Allamah ibn Wahbaan said in his NaDHm al-Faraaid :

Wa Man La'ana ash-Shaykhayni Aw Sabba Kaafirun Wa Man Qaala Fil Aydee al-Jawaarihi Akfaru! Wa SaHHaHa Bi Nakri Khilaafat il--- al-Ateeqi Wa Fil Farooqi Dhaalika ADH-haru!

He who damns the Shaykhayn - Hadrat Abu Bakr and Hadrat Umar RaDiyallahu 'Anhuma - or slanders/insults them, he is a Kaafir; And he who said that (the meaning of) Hands (as mentioned in the Qur-aan: Yadullaha..) means physical hands (Jawaarihi; attributing Jism, body to Allah SubHanahu Ta'aalah) he is a bigger Kaafir! And it is also true that the refusal to accept the Khilafah of HaDrat Ateeq (Abu Bakr) and Hadrat Farooq (HaDrat Umar) RaDiyallahu 'Anhuma is also a Kaafir as is obvious. (Mistakes of I'yraab if any are mine)

It is stated in Sharah Aqaayid an-Nasafiyyah and Tareeqah al-Muhammadiyyah and Hadeeqah an-Nadiyyah that : "And to say that a Wali (saint/imam) is superior (AfDal) to a Nabi (prophet) is (manifest) Kufr."

Last but not least Ibn Aabideen himself says in his Uquud ad-Durriyyah (vol.1/page.92) when asked "what is the ruling (fatwa) regarding the RafiDis?" replies : "They are Kaafirs for they have collected (Jama'uu) different kinds of Kufr (in their beliefs) and he who withholds (tawaqqafa) pronouncing the ruling that they are Kaafirs is himself a Kaafir" Qadi Iyad says in his Shifa:

"Wa lihaadha nukaffiru man lam Yukaffiru man kaana bighayri millatil Muslimeena minal milal aw waqafa feehim aw shakka aw SaHHaHa madh-habihim wa in ADH-hara ma'a dhaalika al-Islamu wa Iytiqaaduhu, wa'ataqada ibTilaali kullu madh-habin siwaahu fahuwa Kaafirun bi-IDH-hari maa A-DH-hara min Khilafin dhaalik"

And therefore we term him a Kafir who does not consider them khuffar who are not in the Millah (creed) of Islam; or deliberated in saying so or doubted in this or said 'true/right' about their Madhhab even though such a person may believe in all Islamic beliefs and the falsehood of all other beliefs, yet he is a Kaafir for the fact that he did the opposite (of what he believed).

It is said in Fataawa Bazzaziyyah, Durar wa Ghurar, Fataawa Khayriyyah, Durr al-Mukhtar and Majma' al-Anhur : "He who doubted in such a person (he, whose Kufr is obvious) and the fact that such a person would be tormented (Adhaabihi) has committed Kufr."
Hajj Gibril
GF Haddad

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