Written by Abu Khadeejah ‘Abdul-Wāhid حفظه الله

8. We do not declare a Muslim to be an unbeliever or an apostate due to a major sin so long as his sin does not reach the level of shirk or kufr . Allāh, the Most High, stated: “Indeed Allāh does not forgive that partners be associated with Him in worship, but He forgives lesser than that to whomever He pleases.” Those who declare Muslims to be unbelievers based upon major sins are the Khawārij.

9. We hold that a fornicator, a thief, a murderer, a drunkard, a gambler, etc. is under the threat of Allāh’s punishment and under His Will. He is not considered to be an unbeliever, even if he commits all of these sins unless he considers them to be permissible ( istihlāl ). This is just as Ibn Taymiyyah (died 728H), Ibn Abdul-Wahhāb (died 1207H) and Ibn Bāz (may Allah’s mercy be upon them all) have stated as the consensus of Ahlus-Sunnah . The Khawārij oppose this and declare the major sinners from Muslims to be unbelievers, focusing particularly upon the sinful Rulers.

0. We hold that Kufr can be minor ( asghar ), which does not exit a person from Islam – and it can be major ( akbar ), which exits a person from Islam. Likewise, shirk can be minor ( asghar ), which does not exit a person from Islam – and it can be major ( akbar ), which exits a person from Islam.

1. We hold to the statement of Ibn Taymiyyah ( Al-Fatāwa 7/312): “It was from the saying of the Salaf that ‘a person can possess both imānand hypocrisy ( nifāq ).’ Likewise, their saying that ‘a person can possess both imān and kufr .’ And that is not the kufr that exits from the Religion, just as Ibn ‘Abbās ( ﺭﺿﻲ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻨﻬﻤﺎ ) and his companions have said regarding the saying of Allāh, the Most High, ‘And whoever does not judge by what Allāh has revealed, then they are the unbelievers.’ So, they would say: “They disbelieved with a kufr that did not exit them from the Religion. ” And they were followed in that understanding by Imām Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and other than him from the imāms of the Sunnah.”

2. We do not declare the Muslim rulers to be unbelievers if they judge by other than what Allāh has revealed unless they proclaim that to be halāl , just as Imām Abdul-Azeez Ibn Bāz ( ﺭﺣﻤﻪ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ) stated: “If he judges by other than what Allah has revealed making that permissible (halāl), then he has disbelieved [an exited Islam]. But when he does so to please his people, or other than that, then it is kufr lesser than [major] kufr, that does not exit him from Islam.” This agrees with the saying of Ibn ‘Abbās ( ﺭﺿﻲ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻨﻬﻤﺎ ) mentioned in the previous point.