Takfir (the practise of calling others professing to be Muslims as non-Muslims) is categorically rejected by the Qur’an, Sunnah (Way of the Prophet Muhammad [sa]), and pious Friends of God (saints) of early Islam.
(al-Qur’an al-Kareem, Surah al-Nisaa’ [The Women], Ayah 95 [4:95]):
“O ye who believe! when you go forth in the cause of Allah, make proper investigation and say not to anyone who greets you with the greeting of peace (as-Salamu ‘Alaykum), “Thou art not a believer.”
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “If a man says to his brother, O kafir (disbeliever)!’ Then surely one of them is such (i.e., a Kafir). ” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Book #73, Hadith #125)
The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) mentioned 2 types of ‘Ulemah fi’l-Ummah (Scholars in the Body of Muslims). The righteous ones who are those who will be “like the Prophets of Bani Isra’eel (Jewish Prophets)”, and also those that are “the worst creatures under as-Samaa’ (the heavens)”.
If you believe in mental freedom then surely you have to use your own mind for interpretation too? This is a prevalent problem I personally see among most Orthodox Muslims today. The stronghold grip that Taqlid (non-questioning belief of whatever the present-day scholars say) has on the Muslims; shockingly especially among the youth.
Wikipedia’s definition of Taqlid: “an Arabic term in Islamic legal terminology connoting “imitation”, that is; following the decisions of a religious authority without necessarily examining the scriptural basis or reasoning of that decision, such as accepting and following the verdict of scholars of jurisprudence (fiqh) without demanding an explanation of the processes by which they arrive at it, hence adherence to one of the classical schools (madhhab) of jurisprudence.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taqlid)
It cannot be the scholars acting as your brain 100%; they are humans too. Even the Mujjadideen (Reformers) of Islam like Imam Ghazali, Imam Alif Thani, made minor mistakes on certain theological things.
And who would you trust more? The scholars of today, some of which may fall under the category of those who are “the worst creatures under the canopy of heaven” according to Rasul Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) himself, or the pious saintly Wali’ Allah scholars of the past?
Of course each and every Mujjadid (Reformer) and pious saint of Islam was insulted by the “orthodox” clergy of the time, and many even received fatwas of apostasy upon them.
Most people don’t know that Imam Abu Hanifah (rahmatAllahu ‘alayh), founder of the Hanafi madhhab (school of thought) was considered a heretic and kafir by the ‘Ulemah of his time, and put into jail because he wouldn’t submit to the “not-so” righteous “Caliph” of the time. In jail he died while he was in Sajdah (prostration during prayer). The torment didn’t even stop there. After he died, his body was taken out of his grave and replaced with that of a dog. And later on that place was converted into a lavatory. This is one of the greatest saints of Islam.
In this book is a list of all the torments and fatwas of apostasy that the righteous saints and scholars of Islam had to face, from every century since Islam’s inception:
So now, what did the classical righteous scholars have to say about Takfir?
It is put no better than by the Mujjadid (Reformer) and Hujjah al-Islam (Proof of Islam), Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (rahmatAllahu ‘alayh) in his book “Faysal al-Tafriqa Bayna al-Islam wa’l-Zandaqa” or “The Decisive Criterion for Distinguishing Islam from Masked Infidelity”):
“those who rush to condemn people who go against any school as Unbelievers are reckless ignoramuses. For, how could the jurist, purely on the basis of his mastery of Islamic law (fiqh), assume this enormous task? In what branch of the law does he encounter the (aforementioned) skills and sciences? So when you see the jurist who knows nothing but law plunging into matters of branding people Unbelievers or condemning them as misguided, turn away from him and occupy neither your heart nor your tongue with him. For, challenging others with one’s knowledge is a deeply ingrained human instinct over which the ignorant are able to exercise no control” (pg. 120)
So I just showed you an Ayah (Verse/Sign) of the Noble Qur’an, Hadith (Saying of the Prophet Muhammad [sa]; there are many others against Takfir), and interpetration by a saintly classical scholar and Wali’ Allah (Saint).
If you are a mainstream Muslim subscribing to either the Sunni or Shi’ah stream of thought, this does indeed concern you because the present-day scholars you look up to (some of them) condemn millions of Muslims following the Ahmadi madhab to be kuffar based on their own ideas. I just showed you classical fundamental Islamic sources proving that is haraam (unlawful).
We don’t want to commit haraam deeds right?
The scholars today are unfortunately in error when dismissing Ahmadi Muslims as kuffar (non-believers) without property researching the madhab which is their duty as scholars (may Allah forgive and preserve them).
And if you believe in the argument that the majority must be right, you are commiting a philosophical “Argumentum Ad Populum” (appeal to the people), a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or most people believe it; it alleges: “If many believe so, it is so.” The world’s majority population at one point believed the earth was flat, Did this make it true? They also believed that the speed of light was the fastest constant in the Universe, while recently scientists have found that neutrinos are faster than the speed of light, conducting over 16,000 trials with an uncertainty of +- 6 sigma (really, really certain).
So just because most of the Muslims today believe that Jesus ascended to the heavens and has lived for over 2,000 years (something completely scientifically impossible) and will one day come down, or that there cannot be an Ummati Nabi without a law or new religion within Islam, or that Ahmadi Muslims are kuffar, does not make it true.
However the Qur’an is never wrong. It says the earth is indeed round as contrary to the opinions of the Jahilliyyah ‘Arabs of the time, and that “make proper investigation and say not to anyone who greets you with the greeting of peace (as-Salamu ‘Alaykum), “Thou art not a believer.”
Make proper investigation.
The Qur’an instructs you to do that. It doesn’t say “ask a scholar.”
Rasul Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) once said “The Jews made their scholars into gods besides Allah.”
I invite you to escape the chains of mental slavery and Taqlid, and enter the realm of logic and truth, al-Lujjah al-Noor (the Sea of Light).