When will a Muslim be excused?

Question: Will a Muslim be excused when doing acts of Shirk such as offering a sacrifice for or making a vow for anything other than Allah out of ignorance?

Answer: There are two categories of acts: First: Acts are excused when done ignorantly. Second: Acts not excused when done ignorantly.

If the doer lives among the Muslims and commits acts of Shirk, worshipping anything other than Allah, he will not be excused, for he is negligent in knowing and understanding his religion. His excuses for worshipping anything such as the dead, trees, stones, and idols other than Allah are not acceptable because of his negligence. Allah (may He be Praised) says:

But those who disbelieve turn away from that whereof they are warned. [Surah Al-Ahqaf, 46:3]

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) sought Allah’s permission to ask His forgiveness for his mother who died in Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic time of ignorance), he was not permitted to do so as she died believing in her tribe’s faith (worship of idols). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to someone asking about his father’s fate:

He is in the Hellfire. When he saw his face gloomy, he said: My father and yours are in Hellfire.

This is because he died as a Mushrik (one who associates others with Allah in His Divinity or worship). If this is the case of such Mushriks who lived during the times of ignorance, what about those who live among the Muslims and worship Al-Badawy , Al-Husayn , Shaykh `Abdul-Qadir Al-Jilany, , the Prophet (peace be upon him), or `Aly or any other person!

Such a person and his like are not to be excused because they commit major Shirk (associating others in worship with Allah) while they are living among the Muslims and read the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger (peace be upon him). They turn away from these sources which point out the impermissibility of their acts.

As for the second category that are excused for ignorance, they are like those who live in a land far away from the Muslim world and Ahl-ul-Fatrah (those to whom Da`wah has not reached in an uncorrupted manner). Such people are excused and their case is left to Allah. The correct view is that they will be tested on the Day of Resurrection: if they respond and obey, they will be admitted to Paradise. However, if they disobey, they will enter Hell as Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says:

And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning). [Surah Al-Isra’, 17:15]

Other authentic Hadiths mentioned in this regard also.

The encyclopedic scholar Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah be merciful with him) explained this issue in the closing part of his book entitled [Tariq Al-Hijratayn] tackling the ranks of Mukallafs (persons meeting the conditions to be held legally accountable for their actions). You may refer to this useful book.

[Fataawaa Ibn Baaz, 4/26-27]


Drawing living objects – is it considered major or minor kufr?

Question: Is making pictures of (all) that which has a soul (from amongst the humans and animals) (considered) major kufr or minor kufr or is it (just) a sin?

Answer: It is not (considered) major kufr, however it is considered from the major sins; for that which it contains of serious warning and the cursing of the one who makes the picture(s). Along with this, he is (considered) an accomplice to major shirk.

And with Allaah lies all success and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) and his family and his companions.

The Permanent Committee for Islaamic Research and Verdicts, comprising –
Head: Shaykh ‘Abdul ‘Azeez Ibn Abdullaah Ibn Baaz;
Deputy Head: Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee;
Member: Shaykh ‘Abdullaah Ibn Ghudayyaan;
Member: Shaykh ‘Abdullaah Ibn Qu’ood

[Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa.imah lil-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa., – Volume 1, Page 676, Question 3 of Fatwa No.6541]

Published: 13 May 2001

The consequences of committing ash-Shirk al-Akbar

Question: Does everyone who commits ash-Shirk al-Akbar (the association of a partner in worship with Allaah on a major level) become a mushrik, and thereby the (appropriate) rulings pertaining to the mushrikeen are applied upon them?

Answer: Yes. Whoever disbelieves in Allaah becomes a kaafir, and whoever commits shirk with Allaah becomes a mushrik; Just as whoever believes in Allaah and His Messenger becomes a believer (mu.min) and muwahhid (one who attests to the Oneness of Allaah).

As for he to whom the (Islaamic) da’wah has not been conveyed, then it is not said of him that he is a believer and nor a kaafir, and he is not to be dealt with as a Muslim, rather his affair is with Allaah on the Day of Resurrection, and they are those who are unaware since the (Islaamic) da’wah has not been conveyed to them, they shall (instead) be tested on the Day of Resurrection.

As for him to whom the (Islaamic) da’wah has been conveyed and he has (subsequently) not believed and become a Muslim, then he is a kaafir and an enemy of Allaah.

[Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Silsilah Kitaab ad-Da ‘wah (11), al-Fataawa – Volume 4, Page 3]

Published: 16 July 2006

Authenticity of the hadeeth: «Verily Allaah created Aadam upon His appearance»

Question: What is the authenticity of the hadeeth:

«Verily Allaah created Aadam upon His appearance»?

…and may Allaah reward you with good.

Answer: This hadeeth is authentic; So Allaah the Mighty and Majestic created Aadam upon His appearance, with hearing, sight, speech, with a face, hands, eyes and feet. And this does not mean he resembles Him, as Allaah the Mighty and Majestic says:

{There is nothing like unto Him}, Soorah ash-Shooraa, Aayah 11

…and also:

{And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him}, Soorah al-Ikhlaas, Aayah 4.

Just as the scholars of the Sunnah such as Ahmad ibn Hanbal and others have said.

[Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Silsilah Kitaab ad-Da ‘wah (11), al-Fataawa – Volume 4, Page 4]

Published: 25 November 2004

Ruling on studying man-made laws

Question: What is the ruling on studying man-made laws, and teaching them?

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

There is no doubt that Allaah has enjoined upon His slaves to rule according to His sharee’ah and to refer to it for judgement, and He has warned against ruling by any other laws and has stated that this is the characteristic of the hypocrites. He has also stated that any rule other than His rule is the rule of Jaahiliyyah (ignorance) and that there is nothing better than His rule. Allaah tells us that people do not truly believe until they refer to His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) for judgement in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against his decisions, and accept (them) with full submission. In Soorat al-Maa’idah Allaah tells us that ruling by anything other than that which He has revealed is kufr (disbelief), wrongdoing and evildoing. All these things that we have mentioned here are clearly stated by Allaah in His Book.

With regard to those who study and teach man-made laws, they fall into different categories:


Those who study it or teach it in order to understand its real nature, or to understand the superiority of sharee’ah to these laws, or to benefit from it in ways that do not go against sharee’ah, or to benefit others in such ways. It seems that there is no sin on the one who does this, indeed he may be rewarded for that if he seeks to expose its faults and demonstrate the superiority of sharee’ah. The ruling on people in this category is the same as the ruling on those who study the rulings on riba and the various kinds of alcohol and gambling, and false beliefs, or who teach about such matters so that he may know them and the Islamic rulings on them, or he may inform others of that, whilst also believing that they are haraam, just as those in this category who study law believe that man-made laws which go against the laws of Allaah are haraam. They do not come under the same ruling as those who learn or teach witchcraft and the like, because witchcraft is haraam in and of itself, as it involves shirk and worship of the jinn instead of Allaah. So the one who learns it or teaches it to others only attains it by means of shirk, unlike the one who studies law or teaches it to others, not because he thinks that it is permissible, but for a permissible or Islamically prescribed purpose, as stated above.


Those who study law or teach it to others in order to pass judgements thereby or to help others to do so, even though they believe that it is haraam to rule by anything other than that which Allaah has revealed. But their desires or love of money makes them do that. These people are undoubtedly doing wrong and they are committing kufr, wrongdoing and evil, but it is minor kufr, minor wrongdoing and minor evil that does not put them beyond the pale of Islam. This view is well known among the scholars. It is also the view of Ibn ‘Abbaas, Tawoos, ‘Ata’, Mujaahid and a number of the earlier and later generations, as was stated by al-Haafiz ibn Katheer, al-Baghawi, al-Qurtubi and others. The great scholar Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) also mentioned something similar in his book Kitaab al-Salaah. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Lateef ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Hasan (may Allaah have mercy on him) wrote an excellent essay on this topic which has been published in the third volume of al-Rasaa’il al-Oola.

Those who learn and teach man-made systems of law are likened to those who learn about different kinds of riba, alcohol and gambling and teach them to others for some whims and desires of their own or because of their greed for money, even though they do not regard that as permissible. They know that all dealings involving riba are haraam, just as they know that drinking intoxicants and gambling are haraam, but because they are weak in faith and are overwhelmed by whims and desires or greed for money, their belief that these things are haraam does not stop them from dealing in these forbidden things. According to the belief of Ahl al-Sunnah, they are not regarded as kaafirs because of their dealing in those things, so long as they do not believe that that is permissible.


Whoever studies or teaches manmade laws and believes that ruling by them is permissible, whether he believes that sharee’ah is superior to them or not, is a kaafir in the sense of major kufr, according to the consensus of the Muslims, because by believing that it is permissible to rule by man-made laws that go against sharee’ah he is regarding as permissible something that no Muslim has any excuse for not knowing that it is haraam. So he comes under the same ruling as one who regards adultery or alcohol etc as permissible, and because by believing these laws to be permissible he is disbelieving in Allaah and His Messenger and rejecting the Qur’aan and Sunnah. The scholars of Islam are unanimously agreed that the one who regards as permissible something that Allaah has forbidden, or regards as forbidden something that Allaah has permitted, which is well known in Islam and no Muslim has any excuse for not knowing it, is a kaafir. Whoever studies the words of the scholars of all four madhhabs on the rulings on apostates will understand what we have said clearly.

[Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 2/325-331]

Does the one who goes to a fortune teller and asks him about something become a kaafir?

Question: How can we reconcile between the two following hadeeths?
1 – “Whoever goes to a fortune teller and asks him about something and believes him, his prayers will not be accepted for forty days.” Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh.
2 – “Whoever goes to a soothsayer and believes what he says has disbelieved in that which was revealed to Muhammad.” Narrated by Abu Dawood. The first hadeeth does not point to kufr whereas the second hadeeth does.

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

There is no contradiction between the two hadeeth. What is meant by the hadeeth “ Whoever goes to a soothsayer and believes what he says has disbelieved in that which was revealed to Muhammad” is that the one who asks a soothsayer a question, believing that he tells the truth and that he knows the unseen, has committed an act of kufr, because he has gone against the Qur’aan in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Say: “None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghaib (Unseen) except Allaah” [al-Naml 27:65]. As for the second hadeeth, “Whoever goes to a fortune teller and asks him about something and believes him, his prayers will not be accepted for forty days”, which was narrated by Muslim, it does not contain the words “and believes him”.

Thus we learn that if a person goes to a fortune teller and asks him anything, his prayer will not be accepted for forty days, and if he believes him, then he has committed an act of kufr.

And Allaah is the source of strength. May Allaah send blessings and peace on our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.

Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azez ibn baaz, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Razzaaq ‘Afeefi, Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Ghadyaan

[Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Ifta’ (2/48)]