5. Takfirism and Shirk: 2 Sides of the Same Coin

Tauheed is the belief of One-God.

With regards to Ruqyah, it is the ultimate reliance on the One True God to remove the illness from one’s spiritual and physical body. Not committing Shirk (associating partners to the One True God) is the only restriction that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) put upon Ruqyah however ironically, many of those in the 21st Century who call for Tauheed have no idea of the meaning of this.

Many Muslims in the 21st Century have become accustomed to declaring other people who do not share the same beliefs as them as deviant or at the extreme, Kafir (disbelievers). In fact, this practice of making Takfir (declaring others as Kafir i.e. non-Muslim) has become an obsession for many people.

It is now common to see published videos, lectures and essays describing to the common member of the Ummah how to detect a magician. It is common for these to be published with the justification that they want to protect others from committing Shirk and falling to the wrong path.

What’s perplexing, is the level of conviction on these methodologies to declare someone a magician. For example, a common sign of a magician (according to the creators of these types of media) are that “if someone asks for your mother’s name, then know 100% that he is a magician”.

They make the claim that the use of the mother’s name is a definite sign of calling the Jinn to create magic therefore considered an act of Shirk. Although this doesn’t even fall under the category of Shirk, the possibility that a Raqi is asking for your mother’s name for a reason other than ‘magic’ is not even considered. For example, the mother could be in a state of possession and the Raqi wants to wake her up by calling her name, so he asks her son, “what’s your mother’s name?”. According to these videos, there is now “100% proof” that the Raqi is a magician. As far-fetched as this may seem, I have personally experienced this level of absurdity in false accusation.

It is undeniable that Al-Hakam is the One who Judges. It is one of Allah’s names (or attributes to be more precise). This means for anyone to pass judgement (without authority from Allah) on another person, especially to declare that person a Kafir and hence explicitly stating that they possess knowledge that if the person dies in that state, then that person will spend eternity in Hellfire, is the self-declaration that this person has associated himself to Allah by sharing Allah’s judgement and declaring himself to be part of Al-Hakam.

Ibn Taymiyyah (13th – 14th century) was pivotal in amplifying the practice of Takfirism (declaring people as non-Muslim) when he issued a fatwa saying it was obligatory to kill Muslim Mongols because he declared them all to be Kafir (non-Muslim) since they ruled by man-made law. This was a big turning point in Muslim history that has in turn contributed to the culture of the 21st Century where it is not only considered acceptable to judge other people as Kafir, but it has become a norm in idle discussion.

Allah warns against the practice of declaring others as non-Muslim so casually in the Quran.

O you who have believed, when you go forth [to fight] in the cause of Allah, investigate; and do not say to one who gives you [a greeting of] peace “You are not a believer,” aspiring for the goods of worldly life; for with Allah are many acquisitions. You [yourselves] were like that before; then Allah conferred His favour upon you, so investigate. Indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted. [An-Nisa’; 4:94]

Furthermore the Prophet warned against it and even said that it would take the accuser out of Islam if wrong. Declaring Takfir is therefore not something to be taken lightly.

Abu Dharr (RA) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) saying, “If somebody accuses another of disbelief or calls him the enemy of Allah, such an accusation will revert to him (the accuser) if the accused is innocent.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Allah is Al-Hakam. Allah is The Judge. A human being cannot share the same attribute to Judge in what only Allah reserves the right to judge on as this is assuming the human shares the same powers as Allah i.e. this is Shirk. Judging someone to be non-Muslim and condemning him to hell is different to judging someone in a talent contest.

Prohibitions in Ruqyah must be very clear. Do not commit Shirk by judging others in a way only Allah can judge. Allah has many other attributes. Do not associate yourself with any of them. Shirk is a major sin.

Pondering upon the two issues below will further help understand Tauhid better.

Firstly, both the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and Ibrahim (AS) sought help from the perfect words of Allah, instead of directly from Allah in the below Du’a. Asking for help from the perfect words of Allah is not shirk.

I seek refuge for you in the perfect words of Allah, from every devil and every poisonous reptile, and from every bad eye. [Bukhari] 

Secondly, the Burning Bush was an instrument of Allah to communicate with Musa (AS), however the Burning Bush is not part of Allah. Musa (AS) did not commit Shirk when he believed that the voice from the Burning Bush was Allah’s orders.