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:
A) One who does not judge by what Allaah has revealed out of rejection that it is an obligation, then such an individual is a disbeliever (kaafir) with major kufr.
B) One who does not adhere to judging by what Allaah has revealed out of arrogance or pride then such an individual is a disbeliever, with major kufr.
C) One who opposes judging by what Allaah has revealed whilst not believing in it, rejecting it as an obligation then such an individual is a disbeliever, with major kufr.
D) One who remains in doubt about the obligation of judging by what Allaah has revealed then such an individual is a disbeliever. [Doubt here can be of two types either in its obligation or 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 Allaah has revealed and believes that it is most supreme over any other law and system, but he left judging by it for some weakness or following of desires or sin or out of fear or hope then 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.
This is just a brief explanation of what this principle dictates, a further and clearer
explanation can be found in chapter four.
EVIDENCE FOR PRINCIPLE FOUR
One of the best evidences in my view, in order to show you principle four in implementation is the following:
Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) prayed over him in Medina. 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 died. He (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Verily a righteous brother of yours from the people of Al-Habashi has died.”
And many of the outwardly manifested pillars of Islam or most of them, he did not establish upon his people because of his weakness in that. So he did not do hijrah, nor did he fight jihaad, nor did he perform the hajj. It has even been narrated that he did not even establish his five daily prayers, and he did not fast in Ramadaan, neither did he pay the legislated Zakaat (all of these are obligatory actions), because that would have made apparent to his people and they would have disapproved of it opposing him, 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’aan even though Allaah had made it an obligation upon the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) in Medina, that if the people of the book came to him, then he should not judge between them except with what Allaah 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 Allaah had revealed and that if one does not deny, reject, opposes or makes halaal what Allaah made haraam or vice versa, with belief that it is an obligation to judge by what Allaah has revealed then such an individual is a believer even if he does not judge by what Allaah has revealed, out of weakness, fear, hope, etc. This is because the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “…your brother in Habashi 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) was going to attack Mecca. When Allaah gave this information to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) he summoned Haatib, and ‘Umar (radiyallaahu anhumaa).
“Let me take off the head of this munafiq, O Messenger of Allaah.”
The messenger refused and asked him (Haatib):
“Why did you do this?”
“O Messenger of Allaah, Verily I did not do this out of disbelief (Kufr) I believe Allaah 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Leave him for perhaps Allaah has turned to the people who partook in al Badr and said do what you will, I have forgiven you.”
So ‘Umar (radiyallaahu anhu) believed this action to be hypocrisy, but the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) asked Haatib “Why did you do this?” He (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) established the proof on him first, and then let him be after concluding it was of the lesser kufr and not the major kufr.
Further evidence is in the saying of Imaam At-Tahaawi (rahimahullaah):
“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 Khawaarij and Mu’tazilah, where they say a person leaves imaan by doing major sins [other than shirk]. And this clearly shows that a mere action alone cannot take one out of the fold of Islam until the proof is established that this 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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