Grand Ayatollah Bashir Najafi
Many Muslims and non-Muslims ask us about Islamic unity and connections between the different Islamic schools of thought. We would like your Excellency to answer the following questions:
1) Is someone who follows the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i, Hanbali, Ja‘fari, Zaydi, or Ibadi schools of thought considered a Muslim?
2) What are the limits of doing takfir in Islam? Is it permissible for a Muslim to do takfir upon the followers of one of the well- known schools of thought mentioned in the question above, or the Ash‘arite or Mu‘tazilite schools? Is pronouncing takfir upon followers of Sufism permissible?
1) Whosoever confesses to the oneness of God and the messengership of Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah (S) verbally and believes that messengership and Prophethood end with him, and who also believes in the eschatology that comes with the faith, while not denying any of the above and is firm in his Muslim identity, is counted as a Muslim. He falls under all of the laws of Islam and as such, his life, property and honour are inviolable. It is also obligatory on all Muslims to defend his property and his honour. And Allah knows best.
2) It is not permissible to pronounce takfir on anyone who utters the shahadatayn verbally – i.e. bearing witness to the oneness of God and bearing witness to the prophethood Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah (S) – ad believes in the Day of Judgment and does not deny any of those matters that a Muslim would affirm. There are also narrations from the Prophet (S) forbidding that. Anyone who exacerbates sectarianism between schools of thought or pronounces takfir on one of the schools of thought mentioned above is ignorant and is displaying ignorance, or is an enemy of Islam that has infiltrated [the community] with the aim of inciting sectarianism and creating rifts among the Muslims in service of supremacist unbelievers. And Allah knows best1.
- 1. Ghazi ibn Muhammad ibn Talal, Ijma‘ al-Muslimin ‘ala Ihtiram Madhahib al-Din, pp. 235-237.