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]


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

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)]

Ruling on praying in a mosque in which there is a grave

Question: Is it correct to pray in mosques in which there are graves?

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

Prayers should not be offered in mosques in which there are graves. The graves should be dug up and the remains transferred to the public graveyards, with each set of remains placed in an individual grave as with all other graves. It is not permissible for graves to be left in mosques, whether that is the grave of a wali (“saint”) or of anyone else, because the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade that and warned against that, and he cursed the Jews and Christians for doing that. It was narrated that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “May Allah curse the Jews and the Christians, for they took the graves of their Prophets as places of worship.” ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said, “He was warning against what they had done.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1330, Muslim, 529.

And when Umm Salamah and Umm Habeebah told him about a church in which there were images, he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When a righteous man died among them, they would build a place of worship over his grave and put those images in it. They are the most evil of mankind before Allaah.” (Saheeh, agreed upon. Al-Bukhaari, 427; Muslim, 528)

And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Those who came before you took the graves of their Prophets and righteous people as places of worship. Do not take graves as places of worship – I forbid you to do that.” (Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh, 532, from Jundab ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Bajali).  So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade taking graves as places of worship and he cursed those who do that, stating that they are the most evil of mankind. So we must beware of that.

It is known that everyone who prays at a grave is taking it as a place of worship, and whoever builds a mosque over a grave has taken it as a place of worship. So we must keep graves far away from the mosques and not put graves inside mosques, in obedience to the command of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and so as to avoid the curse issued by our Lord against those who build places of worship over graves, because when a person prays in a mosque in which there is a grave, the Shaytaan may tempt him to call upon the deceased or to seek his help, or to pray to him or prostrate to him, thus committing major shirk; and because this is the action of the Jews and Christians and we are obliged to differ from them and to keep away from their ways and their evil actions. But if the graves are ancient and a mosque was built over them, then it should be knocked down, because this is an innovated thing, as was stated by the scholars, and so as to avoid the means that may lead to shirk. And Allaah is the Source of strength.

[Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah li Samaahat al Shaykh Ibn Baaz 10/246]

Ten things which nullify one’s Islaam

All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of the worlds. May peace and salutations be upon the Last Messenger of Allaah, and upon all those who follow him until the Last day. To proceed: Brother and Sister Muslim, you must be aware that there are matters which nullify your Islaam. Please be mindful of them:

1 – Associating partners with Allaah (shirk). Allaah Most High says (in the meaning ):

{Truly, whosoever sets up partners with Allaah, then Allaah has forbidden the Garden for him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the wrongdoers there are no helpers}, [Soorah al-Maa.idah, Aayah 72].

Calling upon the dead, asking their help, or offering them gifts or sacrifices are all forms of shirk.

2 – Setting up intermediaries between oneself and Allaah, making supplication to them, asking their intercession with Allaah, and placing ones trust in them is unbelief (kufr).

3 – Anyone who does not consider the polytheists (mushrikeen) to be unbelievers, or who has doubts concerning their unbelief, or considers their way to be correct, is himself/herself an unbeliever (kaafir).

4 – Anyone who believes any guidance to be more perfect, or a decision other than the Prophets decision to be better, is an unbeliever. This applies to those who prefer the rule of Evil (Taghoot) to the Prophets rule. Some examples of this are:

(a) To believe that systems and laws made by human beings are better than the Sharee’ah of Islaam; for example, That the Islaamic system is not suitable for the twentieth century. That Islaam is the cause of the backwardness of the Muslims. Or that al-Islaam is a relationship between Allaah and the Muslim. It should not interfere in other aspects of life.

(b)To say that enforcing the punishments prescibed Allaah, such as cutting of the hand of the thief or the stoning of an adulterer, is not suitable for this day and age.

(c) To believe that it is permissible to give a rule from that which Allaah did not reveal in Islamic transactions or matters of law, punishments or other affairs. Although one may not believe such things to be superior to the Sharee’ah he in effect affirms such a stand by declaring a thing which Allaah has totally prohibited, such as adultery, drinking alcohol or usury, to be permissible. According to the consensus of the Muslims, one who declares such things to be permissible is an unbeliever (Kaafir)

5 – Anyone who hates any part of what the Messenger of Allaah [sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam] has declared to be lawful has nullified his Islaam, even though he may act in accordance with it. Allaah Most High says (in the meaning):

{This is because they hate what Allaah has sent down, so he has made their deeds fruitless}, [Soorah Muhammad, Aayah 9].

6 – Anyone who ridicules any aspect of the religion of the Messenger of Allaah [sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam], or any of its rewards or punishments, becomes an unbeliever. Allaah Most High says (in the meaning):

{Say: Was it Allaah, and His signs and His Messenger that you were mocking? Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after you had believed}, [Soorah at-Towbah, Aayahs 65-66].

7 – The practice of magic. Included in this, for example, is causing a rift between a husband and wife by turning his love for her into hatred, or tempting a person to do things he dislikes using black arts. One who engages in such a thing or is pleased with it is outside the fold of Islaam. Allaah Most High says (in the meaning):

{But neither of these two (angels, Haaroot and Maaroot) taught anyone (magic) till they had said, Indeed, we are a trial; then do not disbelieve}, [Soorah al-Baqarah, Aayah 102].

8 – Supporting and aiding polytheists against the Muslims. Allaah Most High says (in the meaning):

{Whoever among you who takes them as allies is surely one of them. Truly, Allaah does not guide the wrongdoers}, [Soorah al-Maa.idah, Aayah 51]

9 – Anyone who beleives that some people are permitted to deviate from the Sharee’ah of Muhammad [sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam] is an unbeliever by the word of Allaah Most High (in the meaning):

{And whoever seeks a religion other than Islaam, it will not be accepted of him, and in the hereafter he will be from among the losers}, [Soorah Aal-‘Imraan, Aayah 85]

10 – To turn completely away from the religion of Allaah neither learning its precepts nor acting upon it. Allaah most high says (what means):

{And who does greater wrong than he who is reminded of the revelations of his Lord and turns aside therefrom Truly, We shall exact retribution from the guilty}, [Soorah as-Sajdah, Aayah 22].

And He (Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala) also says (what means):

{But those who disbelieve turn away from that about which they are warned}.

It makes no difference whether such violations are committed as a joke, in seriousness or out of fear, except when done under compulsion (i.e. from threat of loss of life).

We seek refuge in Allaah from such deeds as entail His wrath and severe punishment.

[Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Fataawa al-Mar.ah]

Published: 20 November 1999