Ten principles to consider before making takfeer
When we accuse a Muslim leader of a Muslim country or a layman of being a Kaafir (disbeliever), we essentially remove Imaan (faith) from him, implying that he no longer believes in the six pillars of Imaan. This means he does not believe in Allah, the Angels, the Books, the Messengers, life after death, and predestination.
This is an accusation that is neither easy nor trivial. Rather, it is something extremely dangerous if we are wrong in our accusation. In order for us to take someone out of realm of Imaan, we have to know what Imaan is and what its constituents are.
So in the course of this small research we will explain a number of important principles which are from the foundations of performing takfir which one must comprehend well before embarking upon this dangerous yet important subject. We shall also briefly cover Imaan as understood by Ahlus-sunnah wal-jamaa’ah, and then explain the deviated explanations of it. Principle nine will cover this point.
The readers should know for sure that these principles explained here are not exhaustive.
THE FIRST PRINCIPLE
Let us now research the first principle (which our final conclusion will depend on): to stand up for justice and not allowing one’s emotions, desires, hatred, and ignorance dictate the position one is going to hold regarding the issue of takfeer. The textual evidence from the shariah must be our single source of judgment.
The principle dictates not allowing the poor situation of the Muslims around the world (i.e. Palestine, Kashmir, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq etc.) to influence one’s position as well as not to allow one’s hatred for a people (i.e. leaders of Muslim countries), make him unjust to them, even though we see from them manifest dhulm, fisq and kufr.
EVIDENCE FOR THIS PRINCIPLE
This evidence for this principle is many. Of them is the statement of Allah:
“And if you judge between the people, then judge with justice.” [An-Nisaa’ (4):58]
The verse orders fairness, justice and equality with all people when making judgment between them, and not being just with some people and not with others.
Indeed Allah ordered his Messenger with a straightforward command to be just by His saying:
“…And I have been ordered to be just between you all.” [Ash-Shoora (15):42]
Also Allah has ordered the believers to be just by His saying:
“..Be just for it is closer to taqwa…” [Al-Maa’idah (5):8]
And Allah, the most high also states:
“Verily Allah orders with justice and the doing of good and kindness to relatives” [An-Nahl (16):90]
Allah has specifically ordered all the believers to be just in their speech by His saying;
“..And if you speak then be just even if it be with your own relatives” [Al-An’aam (6):152]
Ibn Katheer said in the tafseer of this verse: “Allah orders to be just in actions and sayings with our near ones and for ones and Allah orders everyone to be just at all times and in all situations.”
So His order to be just in our actions is in His saying:
“Oh you who believe stand out firmly for justice as witness to Allah even if it is against yourselves or your parents, or your kin…” [An-Nisaa’ (4):135]
And Allah has warned us not to be unjust, ever, in His statement:
“…So do not follow the desires lest you avoid justice…” [An-Nisaa’ (4): 135]
Ibn Katheer said in the tafseer of this verse: “Meaning, do not let the desires and partisanship and hatred of a people cause you to be unjust in your matters and your affairs rather adhere to justness in every situation”.