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Ruling on Reporting Words of Disbelief (Kufr)

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
Ruling on reporting words of disbelief, such as saying that someone said "So and so", and reviled the religion. Does the reporter of this become a disbeliever (Kafir)?

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

Reporting words of disbelief is a serious matter, whichmust be handled with utmost care, because it could raise doubtful matters in the minds of those whose faith and religious knowledge are weak or shaken. The impactof such an act, on hearer or reader,must also be taken into account. The one reporting words of disbelief must disavow himself of it and its people, because if he believed in it, then he becomes a disbeliever and so becomes liable for the rulings of apostacy. This is becausecursing the religionis prohibited and one who does so is an apostate. Everyone who hears words of disbelief is required to advise the person uttering them to make sincere repentance and return to the fold of Islam {TakeShahadah}. However, if he doesn`t repent, then the judge has the final say as regards the suitable punishment. An-Nawawi (May Allah be pleased with him) said, "Whoever reports the testimonies of faith by saying," I have heard (Mr X) saying: "There is no God worthy of worship save Allah and that Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah," doesn`t become a Muslim according to the consensus of the scholars since he is merely a reporter. Similarly, a Muslim doesn`t become a disbeliever if he reported that someone has spoken words of disbelief."{Al-Majmou`, 3/99}.

In addition, one who uttered the words of disbelief out of ignorance doesn`t become a disbeliever. This is because the Prophet(PBUH) said, ""Verily, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a person who has his camel in a waterless desert carrying his provision of food and drink and it is lost. He, having lost all hopes (to get that back), lies down in shade and is disappointed about his camel; when all of a sudden he finds that camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then out of boundless joy blurts out: 'O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Rubb'.He commits this mistake out of extreme joy." {Related by Muslim}.

It is fearedthat whoever reports words of disbelief unnecessarily while aware that they are as such, fits the statementof Ibn Nojaim: "Accordingto the unanimous agreement of the scholars, whoever speaks words of disbelief as a joke or play is a disbeliever regardless of what is in his heart of faith. This is as reported by Khadi Khan in his book. One who speaks words of disbelief out of ignorance or compulsion isn`t a disbeliever, but whoever speaks them knowingly and deliberately is a disbeliever by consensus of the scholars."{Al-BaharAr-Raa`iq, 5/134}.

In conclusion, whoever reported the words of disbelief or uttered them out of ignorance or compulsion while denying that, because it is contrary to what is in his heart of faith, isn`t a disbeliever nor liable for the rulings on apostacy. Moreover, itis prohibited to report words of disbelief except for a need, such as delivering a testimony against the utterer of such words and nullifying disbelief and doubtful matters. And Allah knows best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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