Here’s the PDF: IfYou’reNotWithUSYou’re AgainstUs.
Questioner: There are principles, O Shaikh, which some of the youth act upon, from these rules is, ‘Whoever does not declare a disbeliever to be a disbeliever then he is a disbeliever. Whoever does not declare an innovator to be an innovator then he is an innovator,’ and another rule, ‘Whoever is not with us, then he is against us.’
What is your opinion about these rules, O Shaikh?
Al-Albaani: And where have these rules come from?! And who laid them down?!
This reminds me of a joke that is told in my motherland, Albania, my father, may Allaah have mercy on him, related it in a sitting. In the story he said that a scholar visited a friend of his at his house and then when he left he declared his friend to be a disbeliever.
He was asked why …
In our country we have a custom, and I think it is [something] uniform in the countries of non-Arabs, they glorify and respect, and revere the scholars with some customs and habits which differ from country to country. From these is that when a scholar enters a house, visiting someone, upon leaving his shoes are supposed to be turned around so that the scholar will not have to burden himself by turning around—he should just find the shoes are ready for him to slide his feet into.
So when this scholar visited his friend and then went to leave he found that his shoes were just as he had left them, i.e., the host had not respected the Shaikh and had just left them as they were.
So ‘the scholar’ said that this is disbelief.
Why? Because the host had not respected the scholar, and the one who has not respected a scholar has not respected knowledge, and the one who does not respect knowledge does not respect the one who brought the knowledge—and the one who brought the knowledge is Muhammad عليه السلام and he carried on in this way until he got to Jibreel and then the Lord of the Worlds, and thus the host is a kaafir.
This question [of yours], this rule [you mentioned], reminded me of this fable!
It is not a condition at all that someone who has declared a person to be a disbeliever or has established the proof against someone, that [as a result of that] all of the people have to be with him in that judgement of takfir, because he [i.e., the person’s situation] may be open to interpretation and [thus] another scholar may hold that it is not permissible to declare that individual to be a disbeliever, and the same goes for declaring someone to be a faasiq or an innovator.
This reality is from the trials of the present day, and from the hastiness of some youth who falsely claim knowledge. So the point is that this chain [of deduction] or making this binding is not incumbent at all.
This is an open/expansive issue, one scholar may hold something to be obligatory and the other may hold that it is not. And the scholars of before and those who came later never differed except due to the fact that the door of ijtihaad does not make it incumbent on others to take his opinion, ‘that others have to take his opinion.’ It is only the blind-follower [muqallid] who has no knowledge who has to blindly-follow [yuqallid].
The scholar, who sees another declare an individual to be a disbeliever, or a faasiq or an innovator, but does not agree with his opinion—it is not incumbent upon him at all to follow that [other] scholar.
And this is a calamity which, inshaa Allaah, has not spread from your country to others?
Questioner: By Allaah, O Shaikh, it is present in our country, the issue of declaring people to be innovators and declaring them to be disbelievers.
Al-Albaani: As for the Jamaa’atut-Takfeer then it is well-known that it is a group that started in Egypt and their fitnah was here in Ammaan before I settled here, i.e., about fourteen years ago. But Allaah the Mighty and Majestic guided them and they became upright on the Sunnah with us. Likewise some of them came to Damascus before I came here, and they tried to spread the fitnah of declaring other people to be disbelievers there, but again, our Lord did not give them success and they returned empty-handed. As for this misguidance, it is still present in Egypt and I fear that some of it may have reached the students of knowledge, and Allaah’s Aid is sought.
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 778.