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Part B – Warning Against the Fitnah of Takfeer

Part B – Warning Against the

Fitnah of Takfeer


By the

Muhadith, Allama, Ash-Shaykh

Muhammad Nasir ud-Deen al-Albaani


Translated By

Abbas Abu Yahya


A Kufr less than Kufr


Now we return to this Ayah: 


<<. . . and whosoever does not judge with what Allaah has revealed so they are the kaafiroon.>>


So what is the intent of the word (al-kufr ) here?  Does it take one outside of the Muslim Ummah or does it mean something else?


I say:  It is necessary to have precision in understanding this Ayah.  The Ayah could mean the kufr of action and that is leaving off some of the actions from the rulings of Islaam. In addition, what helps us in this understanding is the scholar of the Ummah and the interpreter of the Qur’aan, Abdullah bin Abbas –may Allaah be pleased with him.  He was from the Companions that all Muslims are in agreement – except those who are from the deviant sects – that he is an Imaam in tafseer. 


It is as if he heard in those days, the likes of what we hear today exactly, that there are people who understand the Aayaat on its apparent meaning without its explanation. 

Ibn Abbas – may Allaah be please with him – said:  “It is not the kufr which you understand to mean, indeed it is not the kufr which takes you outside the fold of the Ummah, it is a kufr less than kufr.”


Perhaps he means the khawaarij – who rebelled against, the Ameer ul-Mumineen Ali – may Allaah be please with him – and as a result of that they spilled the blood of the Believers, and they did to the Believers what is not done even by the Mushrikeen.  Ibn Abbas said:  “The matter is not like what they have said or what they presume but indeed it is a kufr less than kufr.”


This is the clear, precise answer from the explainer of the Qur’aan. The explanation of the Ayah, from which it is not possible to have an understanding other than this (i.e. kufr less than kufr) from the texts of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, this is what we indicated towards previously in the beginning of this speech.


Indeed the word al-kufr, which is mentioned in many Quraanic texts and ahadeeth, is not possible to explain – regarding all these texts – that the meaning is equal to exiting outside of the Ummah.  Like this is the example of the well-known hadeeth which is in the two authentic books of hadeeth (Saheeh Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim) on the authority of Abdullah bin Mas’ood –may Allaah be pleased with him – said that the Messenger of Allaah – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – said:


Cursing a Muslim is fassooq (sinful) and killing him is kufr.”


So the kufr mentioned here is sinning and it is disobedience, and  the Messenger – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – who is regarded as the most eloquent in expression – was intense in expressing rebuke, and he said:  “…….. and killing him is kufr.”


From another angle we can question, is it possible for us to understand from the first section of this hadeeth – “Cursing a Muslim is fassooq…………” with the same word fisq (sin) which is mentioned in the previous Ayah with the third wording:  


<<Whosoever does not judge with what Allaah has revealed so those are the fasiqoon>>




The answer is; it could mean that the word fisq also corresponds in its meaning to the word kufr which means going out of the Ummah.  It could be that the word fisq also corresponds in meaning to the word kufr which does not mean going out of the Ummah, but indeed it means just what the explainer of the Qur’aan said: It is the kufr lesser than kufr.

This hadeeth emphasizes that the kufr here could be with this meaning; because Allaah Azza wa Jaal mentioned:


<<And if two parties among the believers fall into fighting, then make peace between them both, but if one of them rebels against the other, then fight against the one that which rebels till it complies with the command of Allaah.>>


Indeed here our Lord has mentioned the rebel sect which fights the truthful believing sect, and along with this Allaah did not judge upon the rebel sect that they were kuffar, even though the hadeeth says:  “. . . killing him is kufr.” 


Therefore killing him is a kufr lesser than kufr, exactly like Ibn Abbas said in the explanation of the previous Ayah.


A Muslim killing a Muslim is oppression and aggression against him, and evil and kufr, but this meaning of kufr, could be kufr of action, and perhaps could be kufr of belief. 


From here comes the precise detailed exposition whose explanation and commentary was given by the Imaam in truth, the Shaykh of Islaam Ibn Taymeeyah – may Allaah have mercy on him – and then after him his devoted student Ibn Qayeem  al-Jawzeeyah who took on this responsibility. 


Since they were blessed in making aware and explaining the division of kufr into these two divisions, whose banner was raised by the explainer of the Qur’aan with those concise and complete words.  Ibn Taymeeyah – may Allaah have mercy on him and his student and companion Ibn al-Qayeem always repeatedly mentioned the necessity of distinguishing between the kufr of action and kufr of belief.  Otherwise the Muslim would fall into, without knowing, the fitnah of rebelling against the community of Muslims, into which fell the khawaarij of old and some of their adherents of today.




The summary of this is: indeed his – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – saying, “… killing him is kufr” does not mean, – in absolute terms – going out of the Ummah.  There are many hadeeth regarding this.  All these hadeeeth are irrefutable evidence upon those who only hold their own deficient understanding of this previous Ayah, and cling to the explanation that this is kufr of belief.


For now, this hadeeth is sufficient for us, because it is a definitive proof that a Muslim killing his brother Muslim is kufr with the meaning: kufr of action and it is not the kufr of belief!


Now, if we return to the ‘Jamaat al- Takfeer ‘ – or to those who branched  off from them –  and their accusation of the rulers and of those who live under their custody, and those who live under their leadership and those appointed by them, of kufr and apostasy!!  Then this is built upon their evil view, which is they say: that these people have perpetrated a sin, so they have become kuffar because of that.