Takfeer is serious matter that is not taken lightly
Fatwa No: 343903

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. Why is Takfeer (declaring someone to be a disbeliever) made so easily when it comes to the specific interpretations of Allaah's attributes and names even though the verses and hadiths concerning that are not clear, and as shown throughout Muslim history, open to varying degrees of interpretation? For example, the Mu‘tazilah, Ash‘aris, Maturidis, and Hanbalis all differed concerning that, and each group has strong arguments from the Quran and the Sunnah, and since the Companions did not speak of it, then should we not be more lenient when it comes to differing interpretations? And this argument can also be used regarding other controversial matters such as the Quran being created or no, Ahaad hadits, and so on. May Allaah reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, regarding the texts about the attributes of Allah, it is obligatory to adhere to the approach of the righteous predecessors  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them by accepting these texts as they are without subjecting them to interpretation. You mentioned that they did not speak of these texts; this was not due to their ignorance of a hidden interpretation of these texts; that is simply inconceivable. Rather, they were the most knowledgeable of Allah, His attributes, and what should be affirmed or negated in relation to Him. They accepted these texts according to their apparent indications as befitting Allah, The Almighty, because this is the obligation required of the Muslim regarding such texts.

Secondly, Takfeer is a serious matter; it is impermissible for individual people to make Takfeer. There are many religious texts warning against Takfeer and the gravity of taking it lightly. It is impermissible for Muslims to be lax in this regard, and any disputes in it must be referred to scholars. Please refer to fatwas 8106 and 87963.

Thirdly, Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jama‘ah do not declare those who interpreted the divine attributes, such as Istiwaa', in a figurative sense to be disbelievers. Rather, they held that this is wrong and is a religious innovation (Bid'ah). They do not declare the Ash‘aris or Maatureedis, or even the Mu‘tazilah, as disbelievers. They only perceive them as followers of Bid'ah and that they differ in the extent of their Bid'ah in proportion to their contradiction to the Sunnah and their rejection of it.

We do not know what you mean exactly by saying that Takfeer is made so easily. Even the claim that the Quran is created, though it is a statement of Kufr (disbelief), the individual who says it is not declared a Kaafir (disbeliever) except after he is educated about the issue beyond the excuse of ignorance and all potentials doubts and misconceptions that he might have are eliminated. Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him stated this in many places in his writings.

The rejection of Aahaad ahaadeeth on issues pertaining to Creed ('Aqeedah) does not fall under the category of matters entailing Takfeer, although such rejection is wrong without a doubt. Hence, you come to know that Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jama‘ah do not take the matter of Takfeer lightly. If other groups take the matter of Takfeer lightly, then they are the ones who will bear the consequences of that.

For more benefit, please refer to fatwas 29238122436 and 8406.

Allah knows best.

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