THE FOURTH PRINCIPLE
That a Muslim is not pronounced a Kaafir (disbeliever) except: if he rejects something known from the religion by necessity; or if he denies it out of arrogance or pride; or if he opposes it whilst not believing in it.
This principle dictates the following:
- One who does not judge by what Allah has revealed out of rejection that it is an obligation, such an individual is a disbeliever (Kaafir) with major kufr.
- The one who does not adhere to judging by what Allah has revealed out of arrogance or pride is a disbeliever, with major kufr.
- The one who opposes judging by what Allah has revealed whilst not believing in it, rejecting as an obligation is a disbeliever, with major kufr.
- One who remains in doubt about the obligation of judging by what Allah has revealed is a disbeliever. [Doubt here can be of two types either in its obligation in its interpretation. What is referred to here is doubt in its obligation.]
However, if such an individual accepts the obligation to judge by what Allah has revealed and believes that it is most supreme over any other law and system, but does not judge by it due to weakness, following of desires, sin, fear or hope, his original imaan does not disappear. Such an individual is not a disbeliever (kaafir), with major kufr. Rather he is a disbeliever with minor kufr and he is still within the fold of Islam.
EVIDENCE FOR PRINCIPLE FOUR
One of the best evidences demonstrating principle four in implementation is the following:
Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said: “And this was the state of An-Najaashi, (ruler of Habashi). Even though he was the king of the Christians, his people did not follow him in accepting Islam. Rather, only a number of them accepted Islam with him, and for this, when he died there was no one to pray over him. So the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) prayed over him in Madina. He went out with the Muslims to the musalla and arranged them in rows and prayed over him and informed them of the death the day he dies. He (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Verily a righteous brothers of yours from the people of Al-Habashi has died.”
Many of the outwardly manifested pillars of Islam were not established for his people because of his weakness. He did not do hijrah, nor did he fight jihad, nor did he perform the hajj. It has even been narrated that he did not even establish his five daily prayers, fast in Ramadan, pay the legislated Zakaat (all of these are obligatory actions) because his people would have disapproved of it and it was not possible for him to differ with them. We know definitely that it was not possible for him to judge between his people with the Qur’an even though Allah had made it an obligation upon the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) in Madina, that if the people of the book came to him, then he should not judge between them except with what Allah has revealed to him…” [Minhaaj as Sunnah 5/112-113].
From this statement of Shaykhul Islam Ibnu Taymiyyah, we can clearly understand that An-Najaashi did not rule by what Allah had revealed and that if one does not deny, reject, oppose or make halal what Allah made haram or vice versa, with belief that it is an obligation to judge by what Allah has revealed then such an individual is a believer even if he does not judge by what Allah revealed, out of weakness, fear, hope, etc. This is because the Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“…your brother in Habaashi has died…” then he prayed over him, which he would not say or do if An-Najashi was a Kaafir.
We also find in Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree, a narration about Haatib ibn Baltah, where he informed the Quraish to be aware that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) was going to attack Mecca. When Allah gave this information to Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) he summoned Haatib, and ‘Umar (radiyallahu anhumaa). Umar said: “let me take off the head of this munafiq, O Messenger of Allah.” The Messenger refused and asked him (Haatib): “Why did you do this?” He replied: “O Messenger of Allah, verily I did not do this out of disbelief (kufr) I believe Allah is going to aid you. All the companions here have relatives to take care of their families in Mecca but I do not. So I thought by giving them this information they will be lenient towards my family there.” So the Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “leave him for perhaps Allah has turned to the people who partook in al Badr, do what you will, I have forgiven you.” [Al-Bukhaaree]
So ‘Umar (radiyallahu anhu) believed this action to be hypocrisy, but the Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) asked Haatib “Why did you do this?” He (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) established the proof on him first, and then let him be after concluding it was of lesser kufr and not the major kufr.
Further evidence is in the saying of Imaam At-Tahaawi (rahimahullah):
“And the slave is not taken out of the fold of imaan except by denying that which entered him into it.” [Aqeedatut-Taahawiyyah p-331]
The Shaykh is pointing out a refutation to the Khawarij and Mu’tazilah, where they say a person leaves imaan by doing major sins (other than shirk). This clearly shows that a mere action alone cannot take one out of the fold of Islam until the proof is established that is action displayed is what the belief of the person is. Just as when one becomes a Muslim the action of the Shahadah alone is not acceptable until it is clear the person understands and believes what he is entering into.
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