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Imām al-Shanqīṭī on Instituting Secular Laws

Posted by Abu Iyaad
Translated May 2002
Filed under Miscellaneous

THERE USED TO BE among the Takfīrī Khārijites who believed that regulatory laws such as customs at borders, traffic codes and what is similar through which security and protection of beneficial interests are attained, that they are unlawful and that legislating or instituting them is disbelief and they would deliberately violate these laws. These were the ignorant followers of Abū Muḥammad al-Maqdisī (Isām al-Barqāwī) and their likes.

In this statement Shaykh al-Shanqīṭī (رحمه الله) explains the two types of law that can be legislated, that which is simply idārī (administrative, regulatory) and that which is sharʿiyy (legislative) which pertains to actual law. So he gave examples of the first as for the second, the legislative code, then it is legislate what contradicts the Sharīʿah, such as the legislation that favouring men over women in inheritance is injustice, or legislating that polygamy is a form of oppression, or legislating that stoning and chopping the hand are barbaric and impermissible and what is similar to these claims that form the basis for opposing laws. So whoever makes these legislations falls into major kufr.

The Shaykh also explained that acting upon legislations besides those of Allāh, for those who believe they are equal or better than His Sharīʿah is clear kufr, without any dispute.

Imām al-Shanqītī (رحمه الله) said:[1]

From these heavenly texts which we have mentioned it becomes clear to the utmost that those who follow the secular laws which Shayṭān has legislated upon the tongues of his allies, in opposition to what Allāh, the Majestic and Elevated, has legislated upon the tongues of his Messengers (صلى الله عليهم وسلم), then no one doubts about their kufr and their shirk, except the one whose vision Allāh has removed, and has blinded him from the light of revelation…

Know that it is obligatory to make a distinction between the code of law (niḍhām al-waḍʿiyy) whose implementation (taḥkīm) necessitates kufr in the Creator of the Heavens and the earth and between the code of law which does not necessitate that.

And to make that clear: Law (niḍhām) is of two types: Idārī (organisational, administrative, regulatory) and Sharʿiyy (legislative, pertaining to the Sharīʿah).

As for the Iḍārī (law) by which perfection and exactness in the affairs is intended, and to regulate and bring together the affairs in a manner that does not oppose the legislation (of Allāh), then there is nothing to prevent this, and there is no one who opposed it from amongst the Companions or those from after them. And ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) acted on some things which were not in the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), such as his writing the names of the soldiers in a record (i.e. account book) for the purpose of exactness, so he would know who was missing and who was present. Yet the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) did not do that. And also like his, I mean ‘Umar’s (رضي الله عنه), purchasing of the house of Ṣafwān bin ʿUmayyah and making it into a prison in Makkah al-Mukarramah, while the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) did not set up a prison and nor did Abū Bakr…

So there is no harm in this type of law, and it is not outside of the confines of the principles of the Sharīʿah of maintaining the general benefits (in the society)…

And as for the legislative code which is in opposition to the legislation of the Creator of the Heavens and Earth, then instituting it is disbelief in the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. Such as

  • the claim that favouring the man over the women in the issue of inheritance is not from justice,
  • or that it is necessary for them to be considered equal in receiving inheritance,
  • or like the claim that polygamy is (a form of) oppression,
  • or that divorce is oppressive for the woman,
  • or that stoning (for adultery) and chopping (the hand for theft) are from the strange (backward) actions and that it is not permissible to apply them to a human being
  • and other such (claims)

So instituting this type of law (niḍhām) upon the people of society, their wealth, honours, lineages, intellects and religions is disbelief in the Creator of the Heavens and Earth, and obstinacy against the arrangement (order) of the Heaven which He placed, of creating all the creations while He is the most knowledgeable of their beneficial interests, Sublime and Exalted is He from there being another legislator alongside Him, with a lofty exaltation.

Imām al-Shanqīṭī (رحمه الله) also said:[2]

And by this it is known that the lawful (ḥalāl) is what Allāh has declared lawful and the unlawful (ḥarām) is what Allāh has declared unlawful, and the religion (dīn) is what has been legislated by Allāh. Therefore, every legislation (tashrīʿ) from other than Him is falsehood, and acting upon it, instead of the legislation of Allāh—for the one who believes that it is equivalent to it, or better than it—is clear, manifest kufr, there being no dispute regarding it.

1. Aḍwā al-Bayan (Dār Iḥyā al-Turāth, 1417H) 2/377-378 and and (Dār ʿĀlam al-Fawāʾid) 4/109-111.
2. (Dār Iḥyā al-Turāth, 1417H) 4/419, and (Dār ʿĀlam al-Fawāʾid) 7/173.

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