As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh
What says the hanafi madhab about a muslim who declaring someone to be a disbeliever?
Wa Alaikum As Salaam,
To state that a believer has disbelieved is a very dangerous matter in Islam. It is prohibited in Islam to accuse one of disbelief or an attribute that entails the meaning of disbelief. Islam declares that one who charges a Muslim of disbelief or believes him to be a disbeliever without a definitive and decisive proof has himself committed disbelief. This is because he has turned faith into disbelief (with his charge) and a believer into a disbeliever. The Prophet said, “If a man says to his brother – ‘O kafir’ – then surely one of them is such. Either he (whom he called an unbeliever) is an unbeliever; otherwise it (disbelief) returns to him.” (Bukhari, Muslim, Muwwata). Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar says in al-Fat’h: “If the one charged with disbelief is an unbeliever in accordance with the Sacred Law, then the accuser is to be believed, and the trait of disbelief goes to the one he spoke about. Though if one is not considered a disbeliever in the eyes of the Sacred Law, then it returns to the accuser as a disgraceful accusation and sin.”
Shaykh Rashid Rida in his Tafsir al-Manar said that some of the people of recent time daringly declare others disbelievers on the basis that such persons assign a meaning to speculative proof (dhaniyat); or because they oppose something in which a legal opinion has been given (ijtihad); or because they reject certain matters which is subject to disagreement among the scholars. The people in this regard have daringly engaged such a practice in a vast way, to such an extent that if others oppose their innovative and unlawful customs and traditions, they are declared disbelievers.’ (Tafseer Al Manar).
Owing to these facts, precaution in charging specific individuals with disbelief is the best and safest practice. The superior thing in such cases is to refer the matter back to a judicial panel so that they may investigate and uncover the situation and identify whether there are any issues of resemblance to consider. This course of action will prevent the people from entering in this matter and judging others merely by what they hear and what is spread between the community. Allah said, ‘(Do not pursue what you have no knowledge of. Hearing, sight and hearts will all be questioned).’ (Al Quran Chap. 17 verse 36 ). (See Ar Risala An Nafi’a wal Hujjah Al Qaati’a pg. 308).
And Allah knows best,
Mufti Waseem Khan