We do not declare a Muslim as a disbeliever for committing a sin unless he believes it is lawful.

Question:

Some people ascribe the following saying of Salaf (righteous predecessor): “We do not declare a Muslim as a disbeliever for committing a sin unless he believes it is lawful.” to Al-Murji’ah (a deviant Islamic sect claiming that Faith is restricted to belief not deeds), is this right?

Answer:

This is wrong for this is the saying of Ahl-ul-Sunnah (followers of Sunnah). The adherents to Sunnah see that the person who commits a sin is not to be deemed as non-Muslim as long as he does not consider sins as lawful.

For example, the adulterer and drunkard should not be deemed as non-Muslim unless they consider their evil deeds are allowable. On the other hand, Al-Khawarij (separatist group that believes committing a major sin amounts to disbelief) deem a person a non-Muslim by the mere doing of sins. Anyhow, Ahl-ul-Sunnah say that a sinner is disobedient to Allah that should be submitted to Had (ordained punishment for violating Allah’s Law) and, in addition, he should offer repentance to Allah but in no way can he be regarded as a non-Muslim as long as he does not deem sins allowable such as adultery, wine, usury and the like. He is regarded as disobedient to Allah and of weak belief.

This is the opinion of Ahl-ul-Sunnah which is at variance with that of Khawarij and Mu’tazilah (a deviant Islamic sect claiming that those who commit major sins are in a state between belief and disbelief). It becomes known that Ahl-ul-Sunnah do not consider a person who commits sins while knowing that they are Haram (prohibited) as non-Muslim but he is regarded as disobedient and of weak belief and should be submitted to Had.