Whoever Does Not Judge By What Allah Has Revealed

[What follows is an excerpt from a transcript of a lecture by Shaikh ‘Abdus-Salam Burjis]

He, the Lofty and Sublime said in three places in Surah al-Mai’dah:

“And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such as the Kafirun” (5:44)

“And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such as the Zalimun” (5:45)

“And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed (then) such (people) as the Fasiqun” (5:47)

So the one who reflects on these great verses and looks at them in light of what the language of the Arabs and the language of the Qur’an necessitate and require, he will find that they are general in their application to two entities.

The first: that they are general for all of the Muslims, regardless of whether they are rulers or those who are ruled over. So these verses include the overall ruler, the qadi (ruler), the teacher, the owner of a house, the wife and so on.

The evidence of this generality is taken from the verse itself and also from the narrations that have been reported from the Salaf (may Allah be pleased with them all) in explanation of this verse. For the statement of the saying of Allah, the Sublime and the Most High:

“And whoever…”

gives evidence to the generality (i.e. includes everybody). And this particle “man” is one of the words that indicates generality in the view of the People of Knowledge, since it is one of the nouns of condition (‘ism ush-shart’) and so therefore it refers to all of those being addressed.

And whoever restricts it to the ruler only then he has fallen into a very big error.

As for the generality of its application to the second entity, then that is its application to all of the rules and laws of Allah, the Most High and Sublime. Therefore, every ruling, whether it is small or large, is for Allah and is included in this verse, due to its generality.

“And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such as the Kafirun” (5:44)

Taking interest for example, or drinking alcohol, or eating with the left hand, and letting the lower garment hang below the ankles, or having intercourse with ones wife during her menses, the laws of Allah have come for all of these matters and all of the laws of Allah regardless of whatever they may be, whether those that we have just mentioned as examples or those that have not been mentioned, come under this verse.

And the evidence for the generality here is the saying of Allah:

“And whoever does not judge by WHATEVER Allah has revealed…”

The word ‘ma’ again has the meaning of generality in view of the People of Knowledge. There the statement of Allah, “…by whatever Allah has revealed…” includes all of the laws and rules of Allah, the Sublime and Almighty, regardless of whether it is his ruling concerning adultery, or for the one who drinks with his left hand.

And the Salaf, when they understood the meaning of this verse, in the manner described above, since it is from the language of the Arabs, with which they actually spoke and in which the Book of Allah was revealed, when they understood this from the verse, they said concerning the statement of Allah in the verse, “…then they are the disbelievers”:

“Kufr less than kufr, that which does not eject a person from the religion”.

This then is the asl (foundational pillar) concerning the ruling by other than what Allah has revealed. And it is reported with an authentic chain of narration which has no defect in the view of the People of Knowledge, from Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said,

“It is kufr in the [particular] rule itself and is not Kufr in Allah, His Angels, Books or Messengers.”

This narration has been reported by at-Tabari from Ibn Sari’ who said, “Waki’ ibn al-Jarrah” narrated to us, “my father narrated from me from Sufyan from Amr bin Rashid from Ibn Tawus from his father from Ibn Abbas…” and this isnad reaches perfect authenticity.

And at-Tabari also reported that a man said concerning this verse, “So whoever does that he has disbelieved?” so Ibn ‘Abbas replied to him, “When he does that it is kufr only in that action of his, and he is not like the one who disbelieves in Allah and the Last Day.”

And in the Mustadrak of al-Hakim from Ibn ‘Abbas also that he said, “Verily it is not the kufr which you tend to, it is no kufr which ejects a person from the religion, “and whoever does not rule by whatever Allah has revealed” then this is kufr less than kufr.”

So these are authentic and very explicit narrations from the explainer of the Qur’an and the erudite scholar of the ummah, Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him.

And what has come from Ibn ‘Abbaas has also come from others besides him, from the Salaf of this Ummah and from its scholars. To give examples, what has been reported by at-Tabari in his tafsir, that a group of the Ibadi’ah sat with Abu Mijliz and they said to him, Allah says, “whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, they are the disbelievers, they are the oppressors, they are the rebellious” Abu Mijliz replied, “Certainly they do what they do and they know that it is a sin. And this verse was revealed concerning the Jews and the Christians.” They replied, By Allah you do not know what we know but you only fear them.” He replied, You have more reason to do that than we do, as for us we do not know what you know but you know it.”

The chain of narration is authentic also and its meaning that those Ibadis, who were one of the groups of the Khawarij, came to Abu Mijlaz and sought to use this verse to do to takfir of the rulers of that time and he replied to them with a reply of the People of Knowledge, the reply of Ahl us-Sunnah, he said, “those rulers whom you do takfir of on account of his verse do what they do of sins and evils such as oppression, tyranny etc. they do these things and they know that they are sinful. So they do not make lawful their actions which they have fallen into from amongst those things that are in opposition to the rule of Allah, the Sublime the Most High.

So their affair is just like the affair of all the other Muslims, those who commit sins but without declaring them to be lawful for themselves.

So those Ibadis said to him, “you know that what we say is the truth, but you fear them,” meaning wish to compromise with them and their actions etc.

And this is one of the mechanisms of the People of Desires that comes at the end of the narration, and this is that when the people of knowledge argue against them and refute their falsehood, they resort to the likes of these machinations, so they said to this scholar, you compromise, that you fear them etc. They said this when he replied to them whilst depending upon the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

However, the one who is firmly grounded in his knowledge is never shaken by these kind of ploys, but it only makes him firm upon what is evident to him that it is the truth from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and he does not pay attention to the mischief of the troublemakers and those who cause agitation and sedition in the land.

When what has been stated by the Companions and the Salaf, may Allah be pleased with them and have mercy upon them concerning this verse has become clear and evident, then it is not permissible for a Muslim who believes in Allah and the Last day that he should adopt a saying that they never said and for which there is no proof, neither from the Book nor from the Sunnah.

For they, may Allah shower mercy upon them, are more knowledgeable than us about the Book of Allah the Lofty and Sublime and are more knowledgeable than us of the intent behind the [statements] in the Book of Allah the Lofty and Sublime.

And the one who uses the verses in Surah al-Ma’idah in order to perform takfir of the rulers of the Muslims, those who have fallen into things that oppose the Shari’ah such as working with interest and other similar things, then the one who uses these verses in order to perform takfir of them, then there is no doubt that he has adopted a root of the roots of the Khawarij and may Allah protect us and you from that.

And the Salaf, may Allah have mercy upon them, also agree that the Khawarij used to use these verses and others similar to them, in order to show the disbelief of the rulers on account of what occurred from them of sins, disobedience, ruling out of their desires and other such things.

Full transcript at http://www.thenoblequran.com/sps/sp.cfm?subsecID=MNJ05&articleID=MNJ050003&articlePages=1

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The Qur'an and Sunnah upon the understanding of the Salafus-Saalih (Righteous Predecessors).
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