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The Excuse of Ignorance
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Shaykh Salih al-Fawzan on the excuse of ignorance and Barriers to takfir
Shaykh Abd al-Azeez al-Rahijee presents the question:
The questioner says, "Whoever performs shirk, such as (a person) calling upon other than Allaah for example, for a cure to an illness (or ill person), so do we say "He is a mushrik" or do we say, "His action is shirk" (with the knowledge) that he says "Laa ilaaha ilallaah" and he fast and makes pilgrimage.
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan answers:
When he does not have an excuse in falling into Shirk then he is a mushrik. As for when he is ignorant, or a muqallid (blind-follower of others), or he makes an interpretation he considers to be correct, then the (affair) is explained to him, then if he disobeys, then the judgement of shirk is made upon him, because his ignorance has now ceased.
The Shaykh affirms that a person may have an excuse, when he is ignorant or blindly following others thinking he is guided, or makes a faulty interpretation (ta'weel) he deems to be correct. So here the Shaykh said this one is to be advised and corrected. This statement should be read with many other statements of the Shaykh and other Mashaayikh which collectively inform us that what is considered (المعلوم من الدين بالضرورة) "that which is known from the religion by necessity" is not a fixed affair, rather it changes from place to place and time to time, and it cannot be used absolutely to reject the other principle of (العذر بالجهل) "the excuse of ignorance" which is amongst the barriers to takfir.
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