Questioner: (There are people who ascribe themselves to groups); they take this group so serious to the extent that they go with whatever their group says even if their statements contradict evidences from the Qur’aan and Sunnah. Can people with this ideology and action be referred to as disbelievers such that we do not pray behind them or greet them with the greeting of peace whenever we see them?
Dr Sharof: …This question you read regarding a group of people who are into sectarianism, and who put the statements of their sect before the statements of Allaah and that of the Prophet (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam), even when evidences are clear to them from the Qur’aan and Sunnah that what their sect ask them to do is against the Qur’aan and Sunnah; can we declare such people as disbelievers or not?
Firstly, our covetousness on the path of Da’wah is that the one who is a disbeliever accepts Islaam, our covetousness is not to excommunicate the one who is a Muslim. We must note that whatever is known with certainty must not be denied except with another certainty. A person whose Islaam is certain is not to be excommunicated except with another certainty. For this reason, there are from the people, those who are ignoramuses. The solution to the problem of an ignoramus is to teach him. And there is no doubt that the one who becomes knowledgeable after having being ignorant will change his statements and actions.
There are from the people, those who are taking wrong positions as a result of mistakes. And we know that the solution to mistakes is to educate the one who makes the mistakes. There is no sane person who wants to be ascribed to mistakes.
There are from the people, a person who is forced to do things that are contrary to Islaam, and he does not know how to escape from them. A person like this should be aided by taking him away from the midst of the people who having tainted his reasoning. Once he is freed from them he will become enlightened.
There are from the people, a person who has some acclaimed evidences which he relies upon to support his positions, but which may not really be in line with his claims. We should explain to him about how the evidences do not support his positions. That is it. For this reason, it is not befitting for anyone, as Imaam Shaafi’ said, that something becomes obvious to him from the way of the Prophet and he rejects it because of a person’s statement except that there is something wrong with his brain. If it is clear to an individual that the Prophet said ‘so and so’ or ordered us to do ‘so and so’ and he rejects it because of the statements of a people or a particular person, (no one does that) except that the person’s brain is problematic.
For this reason, in our own societies today, many people are not covetous regarding the Islaam with which Allaah sent the Prophet Muhammad (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam), rather they are interested in the Islaam under the umbrella of a particular Jamaa’ah. This is because they belief that whosoever does not have a sect in this world will never have a sect on the day of Qiyaamah. If Allaah had ordered us to engage in sectarianism, we are very sure that people won’t take it as serious as they do now. How many of the commandments of Allaah do we take serious? You will see that the people are fervently engaging themselves in the prohibitions of Allaah.
What we should be covetous about is how to strive to explain Islaam to the people who are into sectarianism, and (those) who say these things you have mentioned. Let us make them know what we have known of knowledge. This is because by doing so many of them will change. They will later become knowledgeable after having being ignorant. Many of them will be thankful after explaining to them that they are now out of their misguidance other than acting in haste to declare them as disbelievers. Why will you declare them as disbelievers? An ignoramus ia tobe taught; a person who is ignorant should be taught real knowledge. Declaring them as disbelievers is not the next thing.
However, as for the one who is knowledgeable amongst them, and (who) understands your submissions after series of explanations, and (in which case) it is obvious to us that he is doing these things deliberately (because) he is not an ignoramus, in addition, he is not forced by anyone, he is doing his actions wishfully, and we have explained all his ta’welaat (allegorical or recondite interpretations of the divine texts) to him that they are simply flubs and he refuses to leave it; a person like this will be excommunicated. But generally declaring everyone who says what you said (in relation to the question) as a disbeliever is not in line with the methodology of the Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah. Ahlus Sunnah would say, ‘this kind of statement is a statement of disbelief, there is no doubt about this.’ If anybody says whatever his sect says supersedes what the Qur’aan and Sunnah says, we will say it is a statement of disbelief’, but is this person automatically a disbeliever? There is need to follow some processes before excommunicating him. And Allaah knows best.
[SOURCE: ‘Question and Answer on the Harms of Takfeer at Ede’; TIME OF THE QUESTION AND ANSWER IN THE CLIP: ’00:01 to 08:11]
Translated by Aboo Aaishah Al Odeomeey