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Takfir and the Excuse of Ignorance: Shaykh Abd al-Aziz Bin Baz
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Thursday, July 17 2014 - by Manhaj.Com
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Shaykh Ibn Baz on takfir On The excuse of ignorance

The Shaykh (rahimahullaah) was asked the following question:

س :إن رأيت أحداً يدعو صاحب القبر ويستغيث به , فهو مصاب بالشرك فهل أدعوه على أنه مسلم , أم أدعوه على أنه مشرك , إذا أردت أن أدعوه إلى الله عز وجل , وأن أبين له ؟

Question: If I see someone invoking the (dead) in the grave, seeking rescue from him, then has fallen into shirk, shall I call him (to the truth) on the basis that he is a Muslim or shall I call him on the basis that he is a Mushrik if I wanted to call him to Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, and explain to him?

ج: ادعه بعبارة أخرى , لا هذه ولا هذه , قل له : يا فلان يا عبدالله عملك هذا الذي فعلته شرك , وليس عبادة . هو عمل المشركين الجاهلين , عمل قريش وأشباه قريش ؛ لأن هنا مانعاً من تكفيره ؛ ولأن فيه تنفيره , أول ما تدعوه ؛ ولأن تكفير المعين غير العمل الذي هو شرك , فالعمل شرك , ولا يكون العامل مشركاً , فقد يكون المانع من تكفيره جهله أو عدم بصيرته على حد قول العلماء. وأيضاً في دعوته بالشرك تنفير , فتدعوه باسمه , ثم تبين له أن هذا العمل شرك .

Answer: Call him through another expression, neither this (that he is Muslim) and neither that (that he is a Mushrik), say to him, "O So and so, servant of Allaah, this action of yours which you have done is shirk, it is not worship, it is the action of the ignorant mushriks, the action of the Quraysh and the likes of Quraysh, because there is a barrier to the takfir of such a one and (takfir of him) would cause to him to flee (from the truth) when you call him. And also because making takfir of an individuad is (a matter) other than the action which is shirk, the action is shirk, but the one who performs it does not become a Mushrik because there could a barrier to his takfir, his ignorance, or his lack of insight in the definition of the scholars. And also in calling through the label of shirk (calling him a Mushrik) is turning him away, so you call him by his name, then you explain to him that this action is shirk.

س : ما الراجح في تكفير المعين ؟

Question: What is the stronger view regarding takfir of a specific person?

ج: إذا قامت عليه الأدلة والحجة الدالة على كفره , ووضح له السبيل ثم أصر فهو كافر. لكن بعض العلماء يرى أن من وقعت عنده بعض الأشياء الشركية وقد يكون ملبساً عليه وقد يكون جاهلاً , ولا يعرف الحقيقة فلا يكفره ,حتى يبين له ويرشده إلى أن هذا كفر وضلال , وأن هذا عمل المشركين الأولين , وإذا أصر بعد البيان يحكم عليه بكفر معين

Answer: When the evidences and proof are established over him which indicate his kufr, and the path has been made clear to him and he persists, then he is a disbeliever. However, some of the scholars hold that whoever falls into some of the affairs of shirk and he may be confused or may be ignorant and does not know the reality, then they do not make takfir of him until it is explained to him and guides him to (the realization) that this is disbelief and misguidance, and that this is the action of the first mushriks. And if he persists after the clarification, he is judged to be a disbeliever (through this disbelief).

Benefits from the above:

  1. Gentleness and wisdom in da'wah in calling others to the truth
  2. Explaining the difference between the act and the doer, the act can be shirk but it is not binding that the doer is a mushrik
  3. Explanation of some of the barriers to the judgement of takfir of an individual such as ignorance, lack of insight, or being confused, deceived (by others).
  4. The Shaykh mentioned that there are some scholars who hold the excuse of ignorance making establishment of the proof to be a condition (of takfir) [and this view is held by Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn al-Qayyim, the Imaams of the Da'wah and others] alongside the fact that Ibn Baz in other places expresses the view that there is no excuse of ignorance in foundational matters of Tawhid and the likes, and despite this, Shaykh Bin Baz does not revile those who hold there is excuse of ignorance in these affairs.

Source: al-Fawa'id al-Ilmiyyah min al-Duroos al-Baaziyyah (2/273-274), translated from this post on Sahab.Net.

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