Shaykh Abdul-Azeez ar-Raajihee was asked (You can download the audio here):
What is the saying of the respected Shaykh 'Abdul-'Azeez Bin Baaz (rahimahullaah taa'alaa) concerning Takfir on account of abandonment of judging by what Allaah has revealed, and is his saying, and the saying of al-Albaani, and Muhammad Ibn Uthaymeen (alaihim rahmatullaahi) the saying of "the Murji'ah of the Era"? (i.e. as some people say).
So the Shaykh replied:
No. It is not the saying of "the Murji'ah of the Era". Ruling by other than what Allaah has revealed has tafseel (detail) to it.
(The first situation): If he rules by other than what Allaah has revealed, believing (mu'taqidan) that it does not suit the times (i.e. what Allaah revealed), then this is the greatest of people in disbelief. This is great disbelief, when he judges by other than what Allaah revealed, believing that judging by the Sharee'ah does not suit the times, and that judging by the Secular Laws is suited to these times. So this is disbelief without doubt.
The second situation is that he rules by other than what Allaah has revealed, believing (mu'taqidan) that he has a choice between judging by the Secular Laws and judging by what Allaah has revealed, and that they are both the same. This is disbelief by agreement.
The third situation is that he rules by other than what Allaah has revealed and he believes that ruling by what Allaah has revealed is better than ruling by the Secular Laws, but that it is permissible to rule by the secular laws. This is disbelief by agreement also, since he declared ruling by other than what Allaah revealed to be permissible, and ruling by other than what Allaah revealed is unlawful, which is known in the religion by necessity, such as the one who declared fornication (zinaa) to be permissible, and said "I am not committing zinaa" or the one who declared usury (ribaa) to be permissible, and said "I am not consuming interest". Then likewise, the one who declared ruling by the Secular Laws to be permissible and then said "Ruling by the Sharee'ah is superior", then he disbelieves by agreement.
So these are three manifestations. Three situations.
The fourth situation is that he rules by the customs, habits, such as the bedouin, who judge by the (ancestral) customs, habits. This is major disbelief.
The fifth situation is that he changes the Sharee'ah, in that he judges, from head to heel, in that he changes the whole of the Sharee'ah, in all of the affairs of the state, all of them, from their first to the last of them, from head to heel. So some of the scholars have tended to this (view), in that he disbelieves because he changed the (whole) deen, and al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer (rahimahullaah) has tended to this, this is what has been said, (i.e. about Ibn Katheer). And this was also chosen by Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Ibraaheem (rahimahullaah) in his risaalah "Tahkeem ul-Qawaaneen".
However, others have said, that it is necessary for it to be explained to the ruler, because he could be ignorant, and could have some doubt (shubhah) with him, and this has been chosen by the respected Shaykh 'Abdul-Azeez Ibn Baaz (rahimahullaah) and likewise, Shaykh Muhammad bin Uthaymeen chose this also.
And this is in relation to the fifth situation, meaning, the one who said that he disbelieves because he changed the whole deen, from head to heel. This is when it is in all of the affairs of the state, and as for when it is partial, and in partial matters, then no. And then amongst them (who hold Takfir of the one who changed all of the deen), are those who say that it is necessary for the proof to be established upon him.
The questioner then asks:
May Allaah be benevolent to you, what is the advice to those foolish ones and those groups of pretenders (to knowledge) who accuse those scholars of being Murji'ah?
The Shaykh replied:
The advice to them is that they repent to Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, and that they learn knowledge before they speak, and that upon them is to learn knowledge before they speak. And upon them is to repent to Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic for that in which they have been neglectful in their words, and that they hold back their tongues from speaking without knowledge, and speaking about Allaah without knowledge is from the greatest of major sins, and Allaah put it above Shirk with Allaah.
Say: "(But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are evil shameful sins (of lusts, desires) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allaah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allaah of which you have no knowledge." (Al-A'raf 7:33)
Meaning, that it includes Shirk and also other than Shirk, he also made it to be from the desire of Shaytaan (i.e. to make them speak without knowledge) in His saying:
O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on the earth, and follow not the footsteps of Shaitaan (Satan). Verily, he is to you an open enemy. [Shaitaan (Satan)] commands you only what is evil and Fahshaa (sinful), and that you should say against Allaah what you know not. (Al-Baqarah 2:168-169)
Note: You can download the audio here. This statement was published eight years ago elsewhere. Irjaa' in the issue of ruling by other than what Allaah has revealed is to restrict the disbelief pertaining to it only to "juhood" or "istihlaal" or juhood and istihlaal only, just like it is Irjaa' to restrict kufr more broadly, to just "takhdeeb" and "juhood" and "istihlaal". With respect to ruling by other than what Allaah has revealed and Secular Laws then the kufr in that regard can be that of
- Juhood (rejection, denial, after knowledge)
- Istihlaal (declaring it to be lawful in one's belief)
- Considering Secular Law to be better (even if he does not judge by it)
- Considering Secular Law to be equal to the Sharee'ah
- Considering Sharee'ah law to be better but believing one has a choice in the matter
- Believing the Sharee'ah law is backward or not suitable for the times
- Removing the entire Sharee'ah from top to bottom, in all affairs, in the entire religion and instituting another law in its place
- Hating what Allaah revealed, even if one judges by it
- Accepting the rule of Allaah is better, more just, that it is obligatory to rule by it, but we withholds out of arrogance and the likes.
So here the kufr is not just related to the speech of the heart but also to the hearts actions, and to the outward actions too.