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Takfīr of the Entire Ummah: The Legacy of Sayyid Quṭb

Shaykh Ṣāliḥ ibn Fawzān al-Fawzān

A series of answers from the noble Shaykh exposing the takfīrī methodology of Sayyid and Muḥammad Quṭb.

So when there is so much misguidance, differing and disbelief and there is no escape from the continuance of this Muslim group.

Shaykh Ṣāliḥ ibn Fawzān al-Fawzān

[Q.1]: ‘Muḥammad Qutb says in his book, Hawla Tatbeeqish-Sharīʿah concerning the meaning of Lā ilāha illā-Allāh (There is no deity worthy of worship besides Allāh), that it means, ‘There is no deity besides Allāh, nor is there any ruler besides Allāh.’2 So is this tafsīr (exegesis) correct?’

[A.1]: “Allāh the Glorified and Exalted has explained the meaning of Lā ilāha illā-Allāh in His Book and Messenger has clarified it.  Allāh the Exalted said,

“And worship Allāh and do not associate anything with Him.” 
[Sūrah al-Nisāʾ, 4:36]

And Allāh the Exalted said,

“And indeed, We sent a Messenger to every nation saying: Worship Allāh and avoid the false deities (ṭāghūt).”
[Sūrah al-Naḥl, 16:36]

And Allāh the Exalted said,

“And you were not commanded, except to worship Allāh and to make the Religion purely for Him.”
[Sūrah al-Bayyinah, 98:5]

And Allāh the Exalted said about His close friend (khalīl) Ibrāhīm,

“Verily I am free from what you worship, except He who created me.”
[Sūrah al-Zukhruf, 43:26-27]

This is the meaning of Lā ilāha illā-Allāh.  Allāh the Exalted said,

And I have not created the Jinn, nor the mankind, except to worship Me.” [Sūrah al-Dhāriyāt, 51:56]

The Prophet said, ‘I was commanded to fight the people until they say, ‘Lā ilāha illā-Allāh,” and in a narration, “until they single out Allāh.” 3 So the Prophet explained that the meaning of Lā ilāha illā-Allāh is to single out Allāh the Exalted with all acts of worship, not ḥākimiyyah (sovereignty) only.  So the meaning of Lā ilāha illā-Allāh is that there is no deity worthy of worship [besides Allāh].  This is true worship of Allāh alone and ruling by the Sharīʿah enters into it.  However, the meaning of Lā ilāha illā-Allāh is more general than that. It is wider and more important than ruling by the Book in the affairs of about which there is difference.  It is more important than that, it is eraḍīcating Shirk from the earth and sincerely worshipping Allāh the Glorified.  So this is the correct tafsīr.  As for explaining it with al-Ḥākimiyyah, then this is a deficient tafsīr that does not give the meaning of Lā ilāha illā-Allāh.  As for explaining it to mean, ‘There is no creator besides Allāh,’ then this tafsīr is not only deficient, it is false!  It has not come to affirm that ‘there is no creator besides Allāh,’ because this was confirmed by the idolaters.  So if the meaning of it was that ‘there is no creator besides Allāh,’ then all of the idolaters would become people of Tawḥīd.  Allāh the Exalted said,

“And if you were to ask them who created them, they would say: Allāh.”
[Sūrah al-Zukhruf, 43:87]

This means that Abā Jahl and Abā Lahab were upon Tawḥīd.  So to explain it as ‘There is none to be worshipped besides Allāh,’ is also a false tafsīr, because it necessitates wahdatul-wujood (oneness of existence).  So there are many deities that are worshipped in terms of idols and graves.  So is worship of them to be counted as worship of Allāh?  So it is obligatory to say, ‘There is no true deity worthy of worship besides Allāh,’ as Allāh the Exalted said,

“That is because Allāh is the truth.  And whatever is called upon besides Him is falsehood.”
[Sūrah Luqmān, 30] 4

[Q.2]: ‘It is the term ‘jāhilīyyah’ (pre-Islamic times of ignorance) unrestrictedly upon the present-day Islamic societies?’

[A.2]: “The general jāhilīyyah went away when the Messenger of Allāh was sent.  So it is not permissible to employ it upon the Islamic societies in a general sense.5 As for applying something from its affairs upon individuals or upon some groups and societies, then this is permissible and allowed.  Indeed, the Prophet said to some of his Companions, “Verily you are a man who has jāhilīyyah in him.” 6 And he said, “My Ummah will not leave off four affairs of jāhilīyyah: [i] pride in noble descent; [ii] cursing the lineage; [iii] seeking rain through the stars; [iv] and wailing over the dead.”7

[Q.3]: ‘What do you say concerning the one who applies the term ‘ghaa‘ibah’ (absent) upon the present-day Ummah of Islām?’

[A.3]: “The statement that the Ummah of Islām is ghaa‘ibah (absent) necessitates takfīr upon every single one of the Islamic states, because it means that there is no Islamic state in existence. 8 This opposes the statement of the Messenger that, “There shall always remain a group from my Ummah, apparently victorious upon the truth.  They will not be harmed by those who oppose them, nor by those who oppose them, until the Command of Allāh, the Blessed and Exalted, is established, whilst they are upon that.”9 So when there is so much misguidance, differing and disbelief and there is no escape from the continuance of this Muslim group.  So there is no absence for the Ummah of Islām – and the praise is for Allāh – nor is it a condition that the Islamic society – or even the Victorious Group – be completely void of disobedience, because disobedience was found in the time of the Prophet and his Caliphs.  However, it was strongly opposed.”10


[1] The following is taken from al-Ajwibatul-Mufeedah (p. 140-142); Shaykh Ṣāliḥ Ibn Fawzān said on (p. E) of this book, “The praise is for Allāh, and may Prayers and Peace be upon our Prophet, Muḥammad, and upon his Family and his Companions. To Proceed: So I approve the publishing of al-Ajwibatul-Mufeedah ’an As‘ilatil-Manaahijil-Jadeedah which contains my answers and notes from the brother, Jamāl Ibn Fareehaan al-Ḥārithee. And I hope that it is of benefit in explaining aspects of the truth which have been hidden from some of the people today. And may the Prayers and Peace of Allāh be upon our Prophet, Muḥammad, his Family and his Companions. Signed: Ṣāliḥ Ibn Fawzān Ibn ʿAbdullāh al-Fawzān 18/4/1417.”
[2] He affirmed this in more than two places within the aforementioned book, (p. 20-21).  Then, he also affirms this meaning in his book, Waaqi’unal-Mu’aasir (p. 29). So he says, “However, it is because they,” that is to say, the jāhilīyyah of this age, as has been recorded from him, “rejected the most essential requirement of Lā ilāha illā-Allāh in this time, and that is ruling by the Sharīʿah of Allāh and implementing the manhaj (methodology) of Allāh.”
[3] Related by al-Bukhārī (no. 1335-2786) and al-Tirmidhī (no. 2606).
[4] This section was taken from al-Ajwibatul-Mufeedah (p. 67-69)
[5] This unrestricted takfīr of the Islamic societies goes back to what Sayyid Qutb mentions in his books.  So as an example, and not to be exhaustive, I shall present some of his statements so it is not said that we gossiped about him.  Sayyid Qutb says in his book Ma’aalim fit-Tarīq (p. 101), “That which falls under the framework of the jaahilee (being upon pre-Islamic ignorance) societies are these societies that claim for themselves that they are Muslim. So these societies do not enter into this framework because they believe in the divinity of someone other than Allāh, and not because they also give precedence to the acts of worship that are directed to other than Allāh.  However, they will enter into this framework when they fail to judge in servitude (ʿubūdiyyah) of Allāh alone in their system of living.  So if they do not believe in the ʿulūhiyyah (divinity) of anyone besides Allāh, giving the most important qualities of ʿulūhiyyah to other than Allāh, then they have judged by the ḥākimiyyah (sovereignty) of other than Allāh…  So when this has been designated, then the position of Islām towards these societies of jāhilīyyah is that they are all limited one mode of expression (i.e. that of jāhilīyyah).”  And he says in his book, al-’Adaalatul-Ijtimaa’iyyah (p. 250), “So when we examine the face of the entire earth today in light of the divine affirmation for understanding the Religion of Islām, we do not find this Religion in existence…  This existence has been halted since the last group of Muslims left off singling out Allāh the Glorified with ḥākimiyyah in human life…  So it is obligatory upon us to affirm this grave reality and we must make it public.  We should fear the disappointed hopes held by the hearts who would love that they be Muslims…  So if this reality of theirs is certain, then how can they be Muslims?”  And Sayyid Qutb says in his book, Fee Dhilālil-Qurʾān (2/1057), “Indeed, this era has returned to how it was before the Religion came to mankind.  And mankind has returned to the likes of the position they were in when the Qurʾān was revealed upon the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam)…  Indeed, the era today has returned to how it was when this Religion just came to mankind, without Lā ilāha illā-Allāh.  Indeed, mankind has apostatized to the worship of servants, and they have returned to the deviant religion, and they have turned away from Lā ilāha illā-Allāh. Groups from amongst them repeat Lā ilāha illā-Allāh upon the minarets without knowing its true meaning…in general as it relates to mankind.  These people repeat the words, ‘Lā ilāha illā-Allāh,’ upon the minarets in the eastern and western parts of the earth without knowing their meaning, nor their reality…  So these ones will be heaviest in sin and gravest in punishment upon the Day of Judgement, because they apostatized to the worship of servants after the guidance had been laid plain in front of them and after they had settled into the Religion of Allāh.”
So Yūsuf al-Qardawi testified to Sayyid Qutb’s takfīr of the Islamic societies in his book, Awlawiyyaatul-Harakatil-Islāmiyyah (p. 110).  So he says, “So it was in this period that the books of the martyr, Sayyid Qutb appeared.  These were the books that represented his final thoughts.  These were thoughts that justified takfīr upon entire societies…the breaking of all sentimental attachments to society, breaking off all ties with others, and the announcement of a destructive jihād against the whole of mankind.  The demonstrated contempt for all of the callers that called for softness and leniency, accusing them of idiocy and being defeatist in front of the western civilization. He made this manifest in the clearest manner in the tafsīr, Fee Dhilālil-Qurʾān, and in the second edition of Ma’aalim fit-Tarīq, and the bulk of it is taken from al-Dhilāl and al-Islām wa Mushkilatil-Hadaarah and others…”  Likewise, Fareed ʿAbd al-Khāliq – one of the leaders of al-Ikhwān-Muslimīn – testified to this in his book, al-Ikhwān-Muslimūn fī Meezaanil-Ḥaqq (p. 115), “We have pointed out in what has preceded that the ideology of takfīr occurred amongst the youth of the Ikhwān who were imprisoned in the late fifties and the early sixties, and they were all influenced by the ideology of the martyr, Sayyid Qutb and his writings. They derived from these books that the society had fallen into jāhilīyyah, and that he had performed takfīr of the rulers who had rejected the ḥākimiyyah (sovereignty) of Allāh by not ruling by what Allāh has revealed, and also takfīr of the ruled when they became satisfied with this.”
[6] The meaning of this ḥadīth is found in what is related by al-Bukhārī (no. 30).  So from Waasil Ibn al-Ahdab, from al-Ma’roof who said, ‘I met Abā Dharr at Rabbadhah and he had a garment and his servant-boy had a garment as well.  So I asked him about that.  So he said, ‘I cursed a man, so I reviled him through his mother.” So the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said, “O Abā Dharr, did you revile his mother?  Verily you are a man who has jāhilīyyah in him.”
[7] Ṣaḥīḥ: Related by Aḥmad (5/344).
[8] It is with great regret that one of those who are attributed to the daʿwah (call to Allāh) – from amongst those who claim that they are leading the alleged ‘revival’ – made a lecture some time ago in the city of Taa‘if under the title of al-Ummatul-Ghaa‘ibah (‘The Absent Ummah’ by Salmān al-ʿAwdah).
[9] Related by Muslim (no. 1920).
[10] This section was taken from al-Ajwibatul-Mufeedah (p. 148-151).

Prepared by Jamāl Ibn Fareehaan al-Ḥārithee
Translated by Maaz Qureshi [1]

Published: June 13, 2007
Edited: April 13, 2023

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