The Conditions For Takfir
by Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Saalih Ibn 'Uthaymeen
Source: Majmoo al-Fataawaa, 2/125-126
Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen was asked, “The conditions for the judgement of takfir of a Muslim? And the judgement upon the one who did any action that is mukaffir (i.e. expels from the religion) but only in jest (not seriously)?”
The Shaykh replied by saying, “For the judgement of the takfir of a Muslim, there are two conditions: The first, that the evidence that this matter is something that expels from the religion is established. The second, the application of the ruling upon the one who does that, in that he has knowledge of it and that he intends it (aaliman bidhaalik qaasidan lahu).
Thus, if he is ignorant, he does not become a disbeliever, due to His saying, “And whoever contends with the Messenger after the guidance has been made clear to him, and he follows a path other than the path of the believers, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen and land him in Jahannam, an evil refuge
” (4:115) and His saying, “And Allaah is not one to misguide a people after He has guided them, until He explains to them that which they should avoid
…” (9:115), and His saying, “And We never punish until we have sent a Messenger
However, when this person is neglectful in abandoning learning and attaining clarity, he is not to be excused. Such as when it reaches him that this action of his is kufr, and then he does not verify it (that it is as such), and nor does he investigate, then in this situation, he is not to be excused.
And if he did not intend (ghayr qaasid) the action (i.e. wilfully, knowingly, deliberately), then he does not become a disbeliever. He does not become a disbeliever. Such as for example, when he is compelled to kufr while his heart is secure with Imaan, such as when his thinking becomes confused, so he does not know what he is saying, due to extreme joy and what is like that. Or such as the man with the camel who lost it, then he sat under the tree, waiting for death, and then he finds it tied to the tree, and so he takes it, then he said, “O Allaah, you are my servant and I am your lord”, so he erred due to extreme joy.
However, the one who did something that expels from the religion, only in jest (maazihan), then he becomes a disbeliever, because he intended that [action or statement] (qasada dhaalik), as has been textually stated by the people of knowledge.” (Majmoo al-Fataawaa, 2/125-126).