Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Sa‘id Hakim
Please guide the millions of Muslims regarding this particularly important subject: is someone who utters the shahadatayn, prays facing the qiblah, and adheres to one of the eight schools of thought (Hanafi, Shafi‘i, Maliki, Hanbali, Ja‘fari, Zaydi, Ibadi, or Zahiri) considered a Muslim with his life, honour and property inviolable?
Doing takfir upon the Companions and Muslims of whatever other school of thought is not something Shi‘is believe in. This belief of ours arises from the spirit of Islam and its principles. This point is understood from a number of narrations by the Shi‘i Imams (A) on the subject, and in the legal judgements (fatawa) of jurisprudents1.
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 school 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) Confessing the shahadatayn verbally and performing the obligatory actions and necessary elements that are binding in religion, such as canonical prayer, that would make us say that someone is a Muslim is sufficient [to be considered a Muslim].
2) The answer can be found in what was said before this2.