There are three kinds of kufr, [i.e. enmity toward Allah:] Kufr-i-inâdî, kufr-i-jehlî (or jahlî), and kufr-i-hukmî.
Kufr-i-inâdî is the stubborn denial of Islam and îmân by a person who does so knowingly, e.g. kufr of people such as Abû Jahl, Fir’awn (Pharaoh), Nemrûd (Nimrod), and Sheddâd (Shaddâd bin Ad). It is permissible to say outright that they are people of Hell.
Kufr-i-jehlî: As the disbelievers among common people know that Islam is the right religion and hear the azân-i-Muhammadî being performed, if you say to them, “Come on, become Muslims,” they will reply, “Our way of life is what we learned from our forefathers and families. Likewise shall we carry on.”
Kufr-i-hukmî means tahqîr (treating with contempt) instead of ta’dhîm (treating as great) and ta’dhîm instead of tahqîr.
It is also kufr to treat the Awliyâ and the Anbiyâ (Prophets) and the ’Ulamâ (Scholars) of Allâhu ’adhîm-ush-shân and their statements and books of Fiqh and fatwâs with contempt instead of treating them as great. As well, it is kufr to like disbelievers’ religious rites and to wear zunnâr (a rope girdle worn by a priest) without darûrat to do so and to wear a priestly hood and other signs of kufr such as a cross.
Kufr causes seven harms: It eliminates faith and nikâh. Edible animals killed by that person cannot be eaten, (even if he has jugulated the animal agreebly with all the rules dictated by Islam.) What he has done with his halâl becomes fornication. It becomes wâjib to kill that person. Jannat gets away from him. Hell becomes close to him. If he dies in that state (of kufr), the namâz of janâza will not be performed for him.
If a person says of his own volition, “So and so has (or does not have) such and such. May I be a kâfir (disbeliever) if I am wrong,he has sworn an oath dragging him into kufr, regardless of whether or not the person named has the specified object. Tejdîd (renewal) of his îmân and nikâh is necessary.
Another act of kufr is to say, for instance, about an act which Islam prohibits, such as fornication, interest, and lying: “I wish it were halâl, so that I could commit it!”
If a person says, for instance: “I believe in Prophets ‘’alaihim-us-salawât-u-wa-t-teslîmât’. But I don’t know if ’Âdam ‘’alaihis-salâm’ is a Prophet,” he becomes a kâfir. A person who does not know that Hadrat Muhammad ‘’alaihis-salâm’ is the final Prophet, becomes a kâfir.
As has been stated by Islamic scholars, if a person says: “If what Prophets ‘’alaihim-us-salawât-u-wa-t-teslîmât’ said is true, then we have attained salvation,” he becomes a kâfir. Birgivî ‘rahmatullâhi ’alaih’ says: “If that person says so as an expression of doubt, he becomes a kâfir. He does not become a kâfir if he says so by way of ilzâm (convincing in argument).”
It has been stated (by Islamic scholars) that if a person is invited to perform namâz together and replies that he won’t he becomes a kâfir. However, he does not become a kâfir if he means to say: “I will not perform namâz to act on your advice. I will do so because Allâhu ta’âlâ commands to do so.”
If people say onto a certain person: “Do not grow your beard shorter than a small handful –or shorten it so as to make it only as long as a small handful, or pare your nails–, for it is a Sunnat of Rasûlullah’s ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’alaihi wa sallam’,” and if that person says, “No, I won’t (do what you say),” he becomes a kâfir. The same rule applies concerning all other acts of Sunnat, provided that it should be known commonly and by way of tawâtur that the act in question is an act of Sunnat. An example of this is (brushing the teeth with) Miswâk (before or when making an ablution). Hadrat Birgivî [Zeyn-ud-dîn Muhammad Birgivî Efendi ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’ (928 [1521 A.D.], Balıkesir – 981 , Birgi, d. of plague).] adds the following explanation at this point: “It will be kufr if he says so in a way of denying the act of Sunnat. Yet it will not be kufr if he means to say: I shall not do as you say only because you say so. Yet I will do so because it is a Sunnat of Rasûlullah’s.”
[Yûsuf Qardâwî (or Kardâvî) states as follows in the eighty-first page of the fourth edition of his book entitled Al-halâl wa-l-harâm fi-l-islâm: A hadîth-i-sherîf quoted in the book entitled Bukhârî-i-sherîf (or Jâmi-i-sahîh [Compiled by Muhammad bin Ismâ’îl Bukhârî ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’ (194 [810 A.D.], Bukhâra – 256 , Samarkand).] reads: “Behave in opposition to mushriks (plytheists, disbelievers)! Grow your beard! Pare your moustache!” This hadîth-i-sherîf prohibits to shave your beard and to make it shorter than a small handful. Fire-worshippers would cut their beard. In fact, some of them shaved their beard. This hadîth-i-sherîf commands us to act contrary to their custom. Some scholars of Fiqh said that this hadîth-i-sherîf shows that it is wâjib to grow a beard and that it is harâm to shave one’s beard. One of them, namely Ibni Taymiyya, writes quite vehemently against cutting one’s beard. According to some other Islamic scholars, on the other hand, it is a customary act, not an act of worship to grow a beard. The book entitled Fat-h quotes Iyâd as saying that it is makrûh to shave one’s beard [without an ’udhr to do so]. That is thruth of the matter. This hadîth-i-sherîf cannot be said to show that it is wâjib to grow a beard. For, it is stated in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “Jews and Christians do not dye [their hair and beard]. Do the opposite of what they do!” In other words, the hadîth-i-sherîf says to dye (your hair and beard). This hadîth-i-sherîf does not show that it is wâjib to dye one’s hair and beard. It shows that it is mustahab to do so. For, some of the Ashâb-i-kirâm dyed their hair and beard. Most of them, however, did not do so. All of them would have done so if it had been an act of wâjib to do so. So is the case with the hadîth-i-sherîf that commands to grow a beard; it shows that it is mustahab to grow a beard, not that it is wâjib to do so. None of the Islamic scholars have been reported to have shaved their beard. For, growing a beard was customary in their time. [It incurs notoriety not to follow Muslims’ customary acts. It is makrûh. It will be harâm if it arouses fitna.] Here we end our translation from Qardâwî. In the introduction of his book, Qardâwî writes that he mixes the teachings of Fiqh of the four Madhhabs with one another and that it is not something justifiable to adapt oneself to a single Madhhab. Thereby he deviates from the way guided by the scholars of Ahl as-Sunnat. The scholars of Ahl as-Sunnat ‘rahima-humullâhu ta’âlâ’ state that each and every Muslim has to imitate one of the four Madhhabs and that a person who commingles theMadhhabs will become a lâ-madhhabî person, a zindiq. However, because Qardâwî’s written statements concerning beard-growing are in keeping with the teachings of the Hanafî Madhhab in this respect, it has been deemed apropos to refer the readers to them as evidential informants. Hadrat ’Abd-ul-Haqq-i-Dahlawî ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’ (958 [1551 A.D.] – 1052 , Delhî) states as follows in the third volume of Eshi’at-ul-leme’ât: “Islamic scholars followed the local custom of the place they lived in concerning hair and beard-dying. For, it incurs notoriety not to follow the custom of one’s locality [in matters that are mubâh, permissible], which, in turn, is makrûh.” Muhammad bin Mustafâ Hâdimî ‘rahima-hullâhu ta’âlâ’ (d. 1176 [1762 A.D.], Hâdim, Konya, Turkey) states in his book entitled Berîqa: “It is stated in a hadîth-i-sherîf: ‘Grow your moustache short and your beard long.’ Therefore, it has been prohibited to shave one’s beard or to grow it shorter than a small handful. It is sunnat to grow one’s beard until it becomes as long as a small handful. It is sunnat also to pare it when it becomes longer than a small handful.” A small handful is a length equal to the sum of four finger widths, beginning with the lower side of the lower lip. When the Sultân commands something that is sunnat, even if it is something that is mubâh (permissible), it becomes wâjib to do it. Its being done by the Sultân and by all Muslims means a command. At such places it is wâjib to grow one’s beard as long as a small handful. To grow it shorter than a small handful or to shave it means to abandon something that is wâjib. It is makrûh tahrîmî. (Please see the next chapter for terms such as wâjib, makrûh, etc.) It is not permissible for a person who does so to be îmâm in a mosque (and to conduct namâz in jamâ’at). In the Dâr-ul-harb, however, it is permissible, nay, it is a must to shave your beard lest you should be persecuted or (lose your job, which in effect means to) be unable to make a living and/or so that you can perform amr-i-ma’rûf, serve Muslims and Islam, and protect your faith and chastity. Without an ’udhr, it is makrûh to shorten or shave it. And it is bid’at to (continuously) have a beard shorter than a small handful and to believe that thereby you are performing an act of sunnat. It means to change the sunnat. Committing an act of bid’at is a sin graver than homicide.]
Supposing a girl and a boy reached the age of discretion and puberty, they were married under the contract of nikâh, and yet they failed to answer a question asked concerning the attributes of îmân, that would mean that they were not Muslims. The nikâh between them would be sahîh only after their being taught the tenets of îmân and thereafter their contract of nikâh being renewed. Please see the chapter dealing with the fifty-four fards (or farâid).
If a person pares his moustache and another person, who is with him, says, “It’s no good,” it is feared that the latter may lose his îmân. For, it is an act of sunnat to shorten one’s moustache, and that (latter) person has taken an act of sunnat lightly.
If a person wears silk –which covers his entire body from head to foot– and another person sees him and says, “May you be blessed with it,” it is feared that he, (i.e. the latter,) may lose his îmân.
If a person commits an act of makrûh, such as lying with one’s feet extended towards the Qibla and spitting or urinating in the direction of Qibla, if thereupon other people try to dissuade him from doing that act of makrûh and the admonished person says, “I wish all our sins were as venial as this,” it is feared that he may lose his îmân. For, he has talked about makrûh in such a way as if it were an unimportant matter.
And also, if a person’s servant enters his master’s room and greets his master (by saying, “Selâmun ’alaikum, sir,” and if a third person, who happens to be with his master in the room, chides the servant by saying, “Be quiet, you ill-mannered person! One simply does not greet one’s master like that,” that (third) person becomes a kâfir. However, if his purpose is to teach rules of decorum to the servant and means to say that the servant might as well do the greeting (silently) in his heart, then, evidently, his statement is not an act of kufr.
If a person backbites another and then replies others’ dissuasive remarks, “I haven’t done something important at all, have I,” he has become a kâfir, according to scholars. For, he has commended an act of harâm, instead of denouncing it.
If a person says, “If Allâhu ta’âlâ gives me Paradise, I won’t enter Paradise without you,” or “If I am ordered to enter Paradise with so and so, I won’t,” or “If Allâhu ta’âlâ gives me Paradise, I will not want it, but I will prefer to see His dîdâr (beautiful countenance),” statements of this sort are acts of kufr, according to scholars. Another statement that is said (by scholars) to be an act of kufr is to say that îmân will increase or decrease. According to Birgivî, it is kufr to say that it will increase or decrease with respect to mu’minun bih, yet it is not kufr to say so with respect to yaqîn and quwwat-i-sidq. For, many mujtahids spoke on the abundance and paucity of îmân. Scholars said that it is kufr to say, “There are two Qiblas. One of them is the Kâ’ba and the other one is Jerusalem.” According to Birgivî, it is kufr to say that there are two Qiblas now, and yet it is not kufr to say, “Bayt-i-muqaddes was the Qibla. Afterwards Kâ’ba became the Qibla.”
If a person hates or swears at an Islamic scholar, it is feared that he may become a kâfir, if he does so without any reason.
It is kufr to say or to believe that kâfirs’ acts of worship and rites disagreeable with Islam are lovely.
Scholars have said that if a person says that not to talk when eating is one of the good customs of magians or that it is one of the good deeds of magians not to go to bed with one’s wife during menstruation or lochia, he becomes a kâfir.
If a person ask another person if he is a Believer and the latter replies, “Inshâ-Allah …,” it causes kufr if he is incapable of explaining it.
Scholars have said said if a person says to a person bereaved of his son, “Your son is a must for Allâhu ta’âlâ,” he becomes a kâfir.
If a woman who wears a black girdle around her waist says that it is a zunnâr when she is asked what it is, she becomes a kâfir and becomes harâm for her husband.
They have said that a person who says, “Bismillah …,” when eating food that is harâm becomes a kâfir. Hadrat Birgivî says: “As far as this faqîr understands, that person will become a kâfir if what he eats is harâm li-’aynihî, [e.g. wine, unclean meat or fat such as that of an animal that died of itself.] However, this rule applies only when that person knows that what he eats is harâm li-’aynihî, (i.e. food which Islam prohibits to eat.) By doing so he will have taken the Name of Allâhu ta’âlâ lightly. For, things of that sort are harâm themselves. As has been reported by our Imâms (Islamic Guides), If a person says, “Bismillah,” as he eats the food which he has obtained by extortion. For, the food itself is not harâm. It is the extortion that is harâm.” [To avoid misunderstanding on this subtle subject, please read the first chapter of the sixth fascicle of Endless Bliss, which is available from Hakîkat Kitâbevi, Fâtih, Istanbul, Turkey.] If a person utters a curse against another by saying, “May Allâhu ta’âlâ take away your soul in a state of kufr,” Islamic scholars have not been unanimous on whether that person, (i.e. the one who utters the curse,) will become a kâfir. As a matter of fact, it is kufr for a person to approve of his own kufr –Islamic scholars are unanimous on that. As for approval of someone else’s kufr; it is still kufr according to some Islamic scholars, while other Islamic scholars say that it will be kufr if the approval is of kufr itself. But it is not kufr if the approval is on account of wickedness and fisq (sinfulness)– so that the torment to be inflicted should be perpetual and fierce. Birgivî ‘rahima-hullâhu ta’âlâ’ states: “We understand this qawl (scholarly judgement) as essential. For, the true story of Hadrat Mûsâ ‘’alaihis-salâm’ in the Qur’ân al-kerîm is a proof-text for it.”
If a person says, “Allâhu ta’âlâ knows that I did not do such and such an act,” although he himself knows that he did it, he becomes a kâfir. For, (by saying so) he has imputed ignorance in guise of wisdom to Hadrat Haqq ta’âlâ.
If a person marries a woman by making a nikâh [without any witnesses] and then both the man and the woman say that Allâhu ta’âlâ and the Prophet are their witnesses, both of them become kâfirs. For, our Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’alaihi wa sallam’ did not know the ghayb (unknown) when he was alive. It is kufr to say that he knows the ghayb.
If a person says that he knows stolen and lost property, he himself and also those who believe him become kâfirs. If he says that genies are informing him, he becomes a kâfir again. Prophets and genies do not know the ghayb, either. Allâhu ta’âlâ, alone, knows the ghayb, and so do those who are informed by Him.
As is stated by scholars, if a person wants to swear an oath by Allâhu ta’âlâ and yet another person dissuades him by saying, “I do not want you to swear an oath on Allâhu ta’âlâ. I want an oath sworn on things such as divorce, emancipation of a slave, honour, and chastity,” the latter becomes a kâfir.
If a person says to another, “Your countenance reminds me of the Angel of Death,” he becomes a kâfir. For, the Angel of Death is a grand angel.
A person who says, “How nice it is not to perform namâz,” becomes a kâfir. As is stated by Islamic scholars, if a person says to another, “Come on and perform namâz,” and the latter replies, “It is difficult for me to perform namâz,” the latter becomes a kâfir.
If a person says, “Allâhu ta’âlâ is my witness in heaven,” he becomes a kâfir, because he has ascribed a place for Allâhu ta’âlâ. Allâhu ta’âlâ is free from having a place. [Also, a person who calls Allâhu ta’âlâ ‘father’ becomes a kâfir.]
If a person says, “Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’alaihi wa sallam’ would lick his blessed finger after eating,” and another person says that it is ill-mannered behaviour to do so, the latter becomes a kâfir.
If a person says, “Rizq (food) comes from Allâhu ta’âlâ, yet the qul’s, (i.e. born slave’s,) motion is necessary, too,” his statement is an act of polytheism. For, man’s movements also are created by Allâhu ta’âlâ. If a person says that it is better to be a Nasrânî than being a Jew, [or that being an American kâfir is better than being a communist,] he becomes a kâfir. One should rather say, for instance, that a Jew is worse than a Nasrânî or [that a communist is more wicked] than a Christian.
If a person says that being a kâfir is preferable to treachery, he becomes a kâfir.
If a person says, “What is my business in an assembly of ’ilm (knowledge),” or “Who could ever do what ’ulama (Islamic scholars) say,” or throws a (written) fatwâ down to the ground or says, “Words of religious people are no good,” he becomes a kâfir.
If a person says to someone with whom he has a dispute, “Let’s apply to the Shar’ (Islamic court),” and the latter replies, “I won’t go there unless the police take me,” or “How do I know Islam,” the latter becomes a kâfir.
If a person says something that causes kufr, (he) and also anyone who laughs at it become kâfirs. The latter’s laugh will not be kufr if it has been darûrî (inevitable, involuntary, ineluctable).
If a person says, “There is no [empty] space unoccupied by Allah,” or “Allâhu ta’âlâ is in heaven,” he becomes a kâfir, according to Islamic scholars.
A person who says that souls of the meshâikh are always present and they know, becomes a kâfir. It will not be kufr to say that they will be present.
A person who says, “I do not know (or want) Islam,” becomes a kâfir.
If a person says, “If ’Âdam ‘’alaihis-salâm’ had not eaten wheat, we would not have become shaqîs (sinners, evil-doers),” he becomes a kâfir. However, Islamic scholars are not unanimous on his kufr if he says, “… we would not be on the earth now.”
If a person says that ’Âdam ‘’alaihis-salâm’ would weave cloth and another person says, “Then we are sons of a weaver,” the latter becomes a kâfir.
If a person commits a venial sin and says to a person who tells him to make tawba, “What sin have I committed to make a tawba for,” he becomes a kâfir.
If a person says to another, “Come along, let’s go to an Islamic scholar,” or “Let’s read books of Fiqh and ’Ilm-i-hâl and learn,” and the latter replies, “What is my business with ’ilm (knowledge),” the latter becomes a kâfir. For, (in effect) it means contempt for ’ilm. A person who insults, despises, or discredits books of Tafsîr and/or Fiqh, becomes a kâfir. Implacable kâfirs who attack these valuable books written by scholars of one of the four Madhhabs, are called ‘sham scientists’ or ‘zindiqs’.
If a person does not know how to answer questions such as, “Whose progeny are you?”, “Whose millat do you belong to?”, “Who is the Imâm of your Madhhab in i’tiqâd?” and “Who is the Imâm of your Madhhab in ’amal (acts of worship)?”, he becomes a kâfir.
As has been stated by Islamic scholars, if a person says, “Halâl,” about a harâm-i-qat’iyya (something that is definitely harâm) –such as wine and pork–, or says, “harâm,” about a halâl-i-qat’iyya (something that is definitely halâl), he becomes a kâfir. [It is dangerous to say that tobacco is harâm.] [The fourth chapter of the sixth fascicle of Endless Bliss enlarges on tobacco and tobacco-smoking.]
It is kufr to wish that a certain harâm act were made halâl if that act has been made harâm (prohibited) in all religions (dispensations) and if it would have been contradictory to hikmat to make that thing halâl. Examples of this are fornication, sodomy, eating after having been satiated with food, and taking and giving interest. It is not kufr to wish that wine were made halâl. For, wine was not harâm in all (the past) dispensations. It is kufr to make use of the Qur’ân al-kerîm amidst words and jokes. If a person says to someone named Yahyâ, “Yâ Yahyâ! Huz-il-kitâba,” he becomes a kâfir. For, he has made fun of the Qur’ân al-kerîm. The same rule applies to reading (or reciting) the Qur’ân al-kerîm to the accompaniment musical instruments or amidst dances or songs.
It is âfet [Âfât is the plural form of âfet, whose lexical meaning is disaster, catastrophe, perdition.] to say, “I have just arrived, Bismillâhi.” If a person says, “Mâ khalaqallah,” upon seeing something that he deems too much, he becomes a kâfir if he does not know its meaning.
It is âfât to say, “I will not swear at you now, for they have named swearing ‘a sin’.”
It is âfât to say, “You have become stark naked like Jebrâîl’s calf.” For, it means to make fun of the Archangel.
It is harâm to swear an oath on anything other than Allâhu tebâraka wa ta’âlâ. A person will not become a murtadd or kâfir by committing a harâm act. Yet he will be a kâfir by saying halâl about a harâm that is mansûsun ’alaih, (i.e. that which has been declared to be harâm in the Nâss, which in turn means âyat-i-kerîmas and hadîth-i-sherîfs with clear meanings.)
And also, if a person swears on his son’s head or on his own head by using the name of Allâhu ta’âlâ, e.g. if he says, “Wallahî by my son’s head, it is feared that it may cause kufr.