A Mu'awwil cannot be called kafir

[ BACK ] A mu'awwil is a person who places an interpretation on some words of the Quran, or on a religious injunction, which is different from the commonly-accepted interpretation.


Imam Razi: This great classical commentator of the Quran writes in his renowned Commentary:

``Those who interpret differently cannot be called kafir.''

(Tafsir Kabir, Part I, p. 172)


Imam Shafi`i (d. 820): One of the four great founders of Islamic jurisprudence, he said:

``I do not call kafir those who, by error, interpret differently from the obvious meaning.''

(Shawahid al-Haq by Shaikh Yusuf Ibn Ismail, p. 125)


Imam Shaukani:

``The ulama are agreed that he who denies the ordinary meaning, and resorts to interpretation, cannot be called kafir, or a sinner.''


Allama Ibn Hajar: Commenting on the internecine warfare between two groups of the Companions of the Holy Prophet during the reign of the fourth Caliph, he said:

``The Companions cannot be expelled from Islam due to this fighting. Both groups are equal in this. There is no sin or defect in either one of them because we have shown that each of the two did an interpretation [of a Quranic command] such that neither interpretation could definitely be called wrong.''

(Al-Asaleeb al-Badia by Shaikh Yusuf ibn Ismail, p. 68)


Abdul Wahhab Shi`rani: He wrote as follows:

``Some ulama have dared call the mu'awwil as kafir, but the majority are opposed to this ruling.''

(Al-Yawaqit wal-Jawahir, Part II, p. 111)


``The argument of those who say that the mu'awwils cannot be called kafir is that because they have recited the Kalima, `There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah', their honour, life and property are protected, and we do not find any evidence that an error of interpretation amounts to kufr.''



``Abul Mahasin al-Rawayani and other ulama of Baghdad say that no one belonging to the religion of Islam can be called kafir because the Holy Prophet has said that he who says prayers as we do, and faces our Qibla, and eats our slaughtered meat, he has the same rights and obligations as we do.''

(ibid., p. 112)