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You Are Here: Knowledge Base Aqeedah (Pillars of Faith) Kufr (Disbelief) and its types

Do religious scholars have the right to declare someone to be a Kafir (disbeliever)?

  Shaykh Ibn …Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Just as it is not permissible to label a specific person as a kaafir unless the conditions of labeling someone as such have been met in his case, so too we should not shy away from labeling as kaafirs those whom Allaah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) have labeled as such. But we must differentiate between what is specific and what is general. [Sharh Kitaab al-Tawheed, 2/281]

It is permissible to describe unspecified people as Kafir (disbelievers) based on their actions. Therefore, it is not wrong to describe any one who seeks help from people other than Allah for something which can only be sought from Him as Kafir. This includes beseeching a prophet or Waliy (pious person) to cure one's self or one's children.

On the other hand, certain people may be declared as Kafir, when they deny a matter which is Ma`lum minad-din biddarurah (well-established religious matter); such as Salah (Prayer), Zakah (obligatory charity), or Sawm (Fast). In such cases, the person in question should be informed of the ruling and called to repent. If they do not repent, the ruler is obliged to execute them for their disbelief. If Takfir (declaring as Kafir) of certain persons for a religious reason had not been allowed, al-Had (prescribed penalty) of Riddah (apostasy) would have not be applicable.

May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!

Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and 'Ifta
Member Member Committee Deputy Chairman Chairman
`Abdullah ibn Qa`ud `Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan `Abdul-Razzaq `Afify `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz