Denouncing People as Unbelievers
This ruthless spirit of dissention considers shedding the blood of the innocent as an "act of worship", it refuses to grant the right to life for those who do not adhere to their own understanding of faith and it causes the spread of this sedition which incessantly sheds blood in the Islamic countries. One of the problems at the base of this deviant ideology is "takfir":
"Takfir" means declaring a person [or a group] an unbeliever (kafir), accusing him of divorcing himself from the faith of Islam. When the groups referred to as "takfiri" arrive at this verdict about a person or a group, they also declare it obligatory for these people to be killed in line with their bigoted un-Islamic understanding based on superstitions. However in the Qur'an, God does not grant any human being the right to reject or not accept one's adherence to Islam. On the other hand, even if a person swerves to irreligion after his faith his punishment is for God to decide.
The judgment concerning anything you differ about is God's concern... (Qur'an, 42:10)
... God alone is qualified to judge. His order is to worship none but Him. That is in truth the straight and upright religion, but most of mankind simply do not know. (Qur'an, 12:40)
In our day, some Sunni groups declare Shias unbelievers while Shias declare Sunnis unbelievers. We see that they mention one another's name with hatred, that they do not pray together and in many regions they kill one another in a fierce struggle. The rationale of takfir that has entered into the religion of Islam has no place in the Qur'an; this sedition is based on a so-called hadith known as the "'al-Firqat al-Najiyah" (the Saved Sect) ascribed to our Prophet (pbuh). The most widely referred to part of this fabricated hadith – one that is part of various narrations but has no foundation in the verses of the Qur'an – is as follows:
"My nation will split-up into seventy-three sects, all of them in the Fire save one: that which I and my Companions are upon."
In our day, some Sunni groups declare Shias unbelievers while Shias declare Sunnis unbelievers. We see that they do not pray together. The rationale of takfir that has entered into the religion of Islam, however, has no place in the Qur'an.
This line of reasoning takes place in different narrations with various additions or deletions. For instance, in at-Tirmidhi there is no mentioning of "All of them in the Fire save one." In Hakim, this hadith is narrated very briefly saying, "My nation will be divided into some seventy sects; the largest one acts of its own accord and makes what is lawful unlawful, and makes that which is unlawful lawful." (Al-Mustadrak, 4/430)
The disintegration and fragmentation we see in the Islamic world is the outcome of a mindset that does not find the Qur'an to be sufficient, and attempts bringing about a different form of Islam through superstitions, bigotry and fabricated hadiths and traditions. Instead of following the example of the Muslims at the time of our Prophet (pbuh), such bigoted and fanatical groups make up their own fabrications of what is lawful and unlawful and believe only in their own conjectures; they declare other Muslims who practice Islam in a different way to be apostates. However, God has precluded the grounds for such a mindset quite clearly in the Qur'an:
You who believe! When you go out to fight in the Way of God verify things carefully. Do not say, "You are not a believer, to someone who greets you as a Muslim, simply out of desire for the goods of this world. With God there is booty in abundance. That is the way you were before but God has been kind to you. … (Qur'an, 4:94)
In the hadiths, we see that our Prophet (pbuh) guided Muslims to shy away from accusing one another with disbelief:
... he who labelled anyone with unbelief or called him the enemy of God, and he was in fact not so, it rebounded on him. (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 118)
... cursing a believer is like murdering him, and whoever accuses a believer of disbelief, then it is as if he had killed him." (Sahih Bukhari, Book 73, Hadith 126)
Whoever prays like us and faces our Qibla and eats our slaughtered animals is a Muslim and is under God's and His Apostle's protection. So do not betray God by betraying those who are in His protection. (Sahih Bukhari, Book 8, Hadith 386)
Any person who called his brother: O unbeliever (has in fact done an act by which this unbelief) would return to one of them. If it were so, as he asserted (then the unbelief of man was confirmed but if it was not true), then it returned to him (to the man who labelled it on his brother Muslim). (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 117)
When a man calls his brother an unbeliever, it returns (at least) to one of them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 116)
At the time of our Prophet (pbuh), there were hypocrites, those who did not have faith in their hearts and of course deviators: God has informed us in many verses in the Qur'an that there were people who were not pleased with the judgment of the Prophet (pbuh), who displayed abnormalities in their conduct and morals, and even some who were covertly in disbelief. However, our Prophet (pbuh) pursued communicating religion and made efforts to strengthen the faith of everyone without exception, and never indicted them for disbelief. It is not possible for a servant of God to judge any person regarding his faith or punish him on the basis of this.
God informs us that Muslims' differing among themselves or being in dispute is an error that must be accounted for in the hereafter:
As for those who divide up their religion and form into sects, you have nothing whatsoever to do with them. Their affair will go back to God and then He will inform them about what they did. (Qur'an, 6:159)
In the Qur'an, we are informed that Muslims should be united, that they should live as brothers, that they must not separate and they must be friends and be in ranks like well-built walls and not quarrel:
Obey God and His Messenger and do not quarrel among yourselves lest you lose heart and your momentum disappear. And be steadfast. God is with the steadfast. (Qur'an, 8:46)
Do not be like those who split up and differed after the clear signs came to them. They will have a terrible punishment. (Qur'an, 3:105)
Instead of contributing to the unity of Muslims, those who make statements of separation and hatred or give fatwas declaring others to be in a state of disbelief incite Muslims to violence and bloodshed. Those who wage a so-called jihad against their fellow Muslims based on the pronouncements of their sect leaders are in grave error, which they will not be able to account for in the hereafter. God commands making peace between Muslims as follows:
The believers are brothers, so make peace between your brothers and have fear of God so that hopefully you will gain mercy. (Qur'an, 49:10)