Extremism in Takfeer – Principle Three

Study Notes
Abu Saifillah Abdul Qadir


Kufr is of two types;

  1. Kufr in belief, that takes one out of the fold of Islam. It is also referred to as major kufr.
  2. Kufr in action, that does not take one out of the fold of Islam on its own except, if after the establishment of the proof, his actions portray manifest denial, rejection, arrogance, etc. It is also referred to as minor kufr.

So this principle necessitates the establishment, of whether the judgement by other than what Allaah has revealed, falls under the type of kufr in belief which is rejection, denial, or making it permissible or even believing that one has a choice in the matter. Or does it fall under the type of kufr in action that does not make you a kaafir. Therefore if the scholars of Islam judge that the kufr in a particular instance was kufr in action then we would have indeed lied against Allaah if we were to make them unbelievers.


If kufr was not of two types then how would we understand the hadith narrated by Abdullah ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu anhu) that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Abusing a Muslim is fisq (sin) and fighting him is kufr.”

[Agreed upon]

So is this fighting kufr in belief or kufr in action, bearing in mind that if it is kufr in belief, then the person who does this act becomes a disbeliever (kaafir)? The answer is clearly that it is kufr in action, the minor kufr which does not remove one from the fold of Islam, and this is established from Allaah’s statement;

“And if two parties from amongst the believers fight then make peace between them, and if one transgresses then fight you all the one which transgresses till it complies with the command of Allaah.”

[Al-Hujuraat (49):9]

So we find Allaah describing those Muslims that fight each other as believers.  Therefore fighting amongst believers is kufr in action or minor kufr and cannot be kufr in belief or major kufr. Each and every verse in the Qur’aan and the hadith that mentions kufr must be verified to find out what type of kufr it is. This is a task for the scholars alone and not the common people. Other examples of such cases can be found in the following authentic ahadeeth, where all the examples are of kufr in action or minor kufr.

“Two things if done are kufr, abusing of genealogies and wailing over the dead.”

[Saheeh Muslim]

“Arguing over the Qur’aan is kufr.”

“Speaking about Allaah’s favours is giving thanks and leaving that is kufr.”

“Do not return to being kaafir after me by some of you striking the necks of others (fighting).”


“Whoever goes into his women from behind (anus) has indeed done kufr.”

And also the statement of Allaah:

“Whoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed such are the disbelievers.”

[Al-Maa’idah (5):44]

Like this there are many more verses and ahadeeth, like the ones mentioned in chapter one that need to be explained by tafseer or hadeeth using principles of the Shari’ah in order to arrive at the correct ruling. A work only befitting for scholars. So this is where many of the Muslims become confused and are lead astray. They try to implement the verses of Surah Al-Maa’idah and other texts, as they are, apparently, without applying the principle that the kufr mentioned in the text can be one of two types.

Extremism in Takfeer – Principle Two

Study Notes
Abu Saifillah Abdul Qadir


The issue of Takfeer is grave, so one should be cautious in this matter and not rush to pronounce the Muslim leaders as kaafirs. The issue of takfeer should be taken very seriously and not bear on emotional happenings. There is a great possibility the person being labelled may not deserve it.


Firstly to show that there is a possibility that a person may show apparent disbelief but really his heart is full of belief, and it would be very dangerous for one to pronounce takfeer upon him without establishing what he truly believes first. Allaah says:

“Whoever disbelieved in Allaah after his belief, except him who is forced thereto, whilst his heart is at rest with faith (imaan) but such as open their hearts to disbelief – on them is wrath from Allaah and theirs will be a great torment.”

[An-Nahl (16):106]

The statement of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam):

“He who says to his brother: O disbeliever, then it returns upon one of them.”

[Bukhaaree, Muslim and Muwatta Imaam Maalik]

Also his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) saying:

“And he who accuses a believer of kufr then it is like killing him.”


Also his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) saying:

“…..Except if you see clear open kufr, given to you as evidence from Allaah..”

[Muslim, An-Nasaa’ee]

And his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) saying:

“if a man says the people are destroyed, then he has destroyed them…”


Also his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) saying:

“Everything of a Muslim is sacred to a Muslim: his property, honour, and blood. It is enough evil for a man to despise his Muslim brother.”

[Aboo Daawood: 4868]

And his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) saying:

“I warn you of suspicion, for indeed suspicion is the most lying speech.”

[Agreed upon]

And his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) saying:

“Whoever accuses a man of kufr, or says enemy of Allaah, and he is not that, then it returns upon him.”

[Agreed upon]

And his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) saying:

“If anyone guards a believer from a hypocrite, Allaah will send an angel who will guard his flesh on the day of judgment from the fire of Jahannam; but if anyone attacks a Muslim, saying something by which he wishes to disgrace him he will be restrained by Allaah on the bridge over Jahannam till he is accounted for what he said.”

[Aboo Daawood: 4865]

And the saying of Shaykhul-Islaam Ibnu Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah):

“I am one of the most severe in forbidding that a person in particular be labelled with disbelief, or sin or disobedience until it is known that the proof has been established upon him….”

[Al Fatawa 3/229 and see Al Fatawa 3/282, 283 (a principle with Ahlus-Sunnah)]

Extremism in Takfeer – Principle One

Study Notes
Abu Saifillah Abdul Qadir


This principle is to stand out 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.

This principle dictates not allowing the poor situation of the Muslims around the world i.e., Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia etc. dictate one’s position that is held, and to not 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.


The evidences for this principle are many. Of them is the statement of Allaah:

“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 judgement between them, and not being just with some people and not with others.

Indeed Allaah 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 Allaah has ordered the believers to be just by His saying:

“..Be just for it is closer to taqwa…”

[Al-Maa’idah (5):8]

And Allaah, the Most High also states:

“Verily Allaah orders with justice and the doing of good and kindness to relatives”

[An-Nahl (16):90]

Allaah 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:

“Allaah orders to be just in actions and sayings with our near ones and our far ones and Allaah 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 witnesses to Allaah even if it is against yourselves or your parents, or your kin..”

[An-Nisaa’ (4):135]

And Allaah 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.”

So being just plays an important role when speaking about people, and it is more important when pronouncing takfeer.

Extremism in Takfeer – Introduction

Study Notes
Abu Saifillah Abdul Qadir


Linguistically, ‘extremism’ is taken from the word Ghulu which means to go beyond the limit and measure. Ibn Faaris stated: “the letters Ghain, Laam, and the weak letter wow form a sound root that indicates ‘rising above and going beyond the appropriate measure.’ [Mujam Maqaayes al Lughah, section ghulu]

Technically according to the Qur’aan and Sunnah it means to go beyond the prescribed limits, in excess of the boundaries laid down by Allaah. Allaah makes this clear from His warning:

“Oh people of the book! Commit no excess in your religion nor say anything of Allaah but the truth…”

[An-Nisaa’ (4):171]

Islam has a balanced approach in all its commandments. It is a manifest characteristic within this religion. Allaah, the Most High says:

“Thus we have made you a nation justly balanced, that you maybe a witness over the people and the messenger a witness over yourselves.”

[Al-Baqarah (2):143]

Also He (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) said:

“Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom you have favored and not of those whom deserve you anger or those who have gone astray.”

[Al-Faatihah (1): 6-7]

Here Allaah makes clear that Islam is a middle way, a balanced path between the two extremes of the Jews and the Christians. The Jews tried to kill their Prophet ‘Eesa (alayhis-salaam) and the Christians raised him to the level of God and worshipped him.

Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) said:

“You are the best nation raised for mankind..”

[Aali-‘Imraan (3):110]

Because we are balanced, moderate, we are just, we take the middle path. At- Tabaree (rahimahullaah) said:

“My opinion is that Allaah described them as being wasat (middle, balanced) due to their moderation and being balanced in religion. They are not from those who go to the extreme of the Christians who practice monasticism and in what they said about the person of Jesus. Nor are they from those who are lax in the practice of their religion, such as the Jews who altered the book of Allaah, killed their prophets and lied in speaking about their Lord. Instead they (the nation of Muhammad) are the people of balance and moderation in the religion. Allaah described them in that manner because the most beloved of matters to Allaah are those that are balanced and just.”

[At-Tabaree Jaami al Bayaan vol 2, p6]

Ease In Islam

The religion of Islam is built upon ease – ease is a foundation this religion is constructed upon. One of the reasons Allaah sent his messenger Mohammad (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) was to relieve the people from the chains which had captured the previous nations. Allaah states:

“Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet who they found mentioned in their tawraat (Torah) and Injeel (Gospel) … he releases them from their heavy burdens and from the fetters (bindings) that are upon them…”

[Al-Araaf (7):157]

And Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) states:

“..and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship…”

[Al-Hajj (22):78]

Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) also states:

“Allaah wishes for you ease and does not wish for you hardship.”

[Al- Baqarah (2):185]

Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) also mentions:

“Allaah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you..”

[Al-Maa’idah (5):6]

So the religion is made easy and Allaah wishes for us every ease and no hardship. Abu Bakar al Jasaas said: “since hardship is also restriction and tightness and He has denied about Himself that He desires hardship for us. It then permissible to use the apparent meaning of this verse as evidence to deny hardship and to establish the flexibility in every matter concerning which people differ related to the laws that come from the texts. Therefore if anyone argues in favor of aspects that are hardship and difficulties, the clear meaning of this verse will defeat them.” [Ahkaam al Qur’aan vol 2 p39]

Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa salaam) said:

“Verily the religion is easy. No one overburdens himself in the religion except that it overcomes him (and he will not be able to continue).”
[Al-Bukhaaree and An-Nisaa’ee]

Different Forms of Extremism

Extremism comes in a number of different forms. From them we find extremism related to beliefs and actions. We are discussing here extremism as it relates to contemporary Muslims, their deviation and call to deviation which leads to going beyond the boundaries set by Allaah. Such deviations then have an immediate or long term consequences on themselves and fellow Muslims and the ummah as a whole.

We will first research the extremism in the issue of takfeer (declaring a Muslim as a disbeliever or excommunication). It is a major contemporary problem amongst Muslims and has immediate and long term effects on them. It not only affects just those who go to extremes in this field but it affects the general people and even the non-Muslims.


So the mother of all these verses concerning “Takfeer” is the verses of Surah Al-Maa’idah where Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) informs us:

“..And whoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed such are the disbelievers (kaafiroon).”

[Al-Maa`idah (5):44]

“..And whoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed such are the Oppressors (dhaalimoon).”

[Al-Maa`idah (5):45]

“..And whosoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed such are the disobedient (faasiqoon).”

[Al-Maa`idah (5):47]

“Do they seek the judgement of the days of ignorance and who is better in judgement than Allaah for a people who have faith.” 

[Al- Maa’idah (5):50]

Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) said instructing His prophet:

“And so judge between them by what Allaah has revealed and follow not their vain desires…..”

[Al-Maa`idah (5):48]

And Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) said also to His messenger:

“Surly we have sent down to you the book in truth that you may judge between men with that which Allaah has shown you…”

[An-Nisaa’ (4):105]

Also Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) has ordained that:

“Indeed the ruling is for none, except Allaah..”

He, the Most High repeats this statement in similar words, in different places:

“..The judgement is for none but Allaah…”

[Yusuf (12):40 & 67]

Also His (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) saying;

“It is not befitting for a believing man or women that if Allaah and His messenger have judged in a matter that they have a choice in it..”
[Al-Ahzaab (33):36]

” But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission. ”

[An-Nisaa’ (4):65]

“.. and with them He sent the Scripture in truth to judge between people in matters wherein they differed..”

[Al-Baqarah (2):213]


His saying (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam):

“If a man says to his brother O kaafir then one of them is a kaafir.”

[Agreed Upon]

And his saying (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam):

“You did indeed judge amongst them with the judgement of Allaah
the greatest the sublime.”

[Agreed Upon]

From Adiy ibn Haatim (a former Christian) who said:

I came to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) with a gold cross around my neck and he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

“O Adiy, throw this idol away from yourself.”

And I heard him reading from Sura Al-Baraa’a (At-Tauba):

“They took their scholars and their monks as lords other than Allaah…”

He (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

“They did not actually worship them. Rather it was their practice that if they declared something lawful they took it as lawful and if they declared something unlawful they forbid it.”

[Hasan – At-Tirmidhee]

Also his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) saying:

“If a man was called a kaafir or enemy of Allaah, and he was not any of them then it is not except that the curse is returned upon the one who said it.”

[Agreed upon]

And his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) saying:

“There is no obedience to the creation if it means disobedience to the creator.”

[Saheeh – Musnad Ahmad]

Also his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) saying:

“The difference between us and between them is salaat, so whoever abandons has disbelieved (kafara).”


Also his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) saying:

“Whoever swears by other than Allaah has indeed disbelieved or associated partners.”

[Saheeh At-Tirmidhi]

So the question that remains to be answered after reading all these verses and ahadeeth is does this mean that any Muslim that does not judge by what Allaah reveals is an unbeliever, kaafir, outside the fold of Islam? And how do we understand all these Qur’aanic verses and Prophetic ahadeeth?

The answer to this will follow in chapter two, in shaa’ Allaah.

The issue of takfeer cannot be correctly understood except by first thoroughly comprehending all the principles of the Shari’ah that are involved. So we will lay down for the noble reader a set of principles which are within our ability.

When we say that a Muslim is a Kaafir, or disbeliever what we have essentially done is removed Imaan (faith) from him, saying that he no longer believes in the six pillars of Imaan. Saying that he does not believe in Allaah, the Angels, the Books, the Messengers, life after death, and predestination is not something easy or trivial. Rather it is something extremely dangerous if we are wrong in our accusation (see principle 2 below). So in order for us to take someone out of the realms of Imaan we have to know what Imaan is and what its constituents are.

So in the course of these lessons we will explain Imaan as understood correctly, by Ahlus-sunnah wal-jamaa’ah, and then explain the deviated explanations of it.

8 Pamphlets Refuting Extremism {Download PDF}

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Refuting Extremism Part 1
Refuting Extremism Part 2
Refuting Extremism Part 3
Refuting Extremism Part 4

Islamic Radicalism, It’s Roots & Causes
The Evil End of A Terrorist
“Muslim Terroris” The Myth:
The Early Khawaarij Sect & The Takfiris of Today

written by Abdul-Qadeer Baksh