Dear Muslim! Know that Allaah obligated all His slaves to enter Islaam completely by adhering firmly to its legislation and to shun anything that contradicts it. Allaah sent Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to call people to Islaam and propagate this mission. He informed us that whoever follows Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will be guided, and whoever shuns his call will stray and be misguided.
In many verses of the Quran, Allaah warns us against things that lead to apostasy, as well as all types of Shirk
(associating partners with Allaah in worship) and Kufr (disbelief). In the chapters of apostasy which are found in the books of Islamic creed, the scholars have mentioned many matters which nullify a persons’ Islaam and render one an apostate; the most dangerous and common of which are ten, which are mentioned below and which have brief explanations so that people may be aware of these matters and avoid them.
Shirk in worship: Allaah says what means: “Verily, Allaah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners (in worship) with Him, but He forgives whom He wills, sins other than that,” (An-Nisaa’: 116) and also “Verily, whosoever sets up partners (in worship) with Allaah, then Allaah has forbidden Paradise to him, and the Fire will be his abode.
And for the wrongdoers there are no helpers” (Al-Maa’idah: 72). These are matters such as calling upon the dead, seeking their support and slaughtering animals for them or in their name, such as those who slaughter for Jinn or at people’s graves.
Making intermediaries between a person and Allaah, whom people ask to intercede on their behalf with Allaah. This includes supplicating to such ‘intermediaries’ and putting ones trust in them. Whoever does any of these has become a disbeliever by the consensus of the Muslim scholars.
Not considering those who associate partners with Allaah in worship as disbelievers, doubting their disbelief, or considering their faith as correct.
Believing that there is guidance which is better or more suitable than the guidance with which the Prophet sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam came with; or believing that any other legislation is superior to his, such as those who favour manmade legislation over Islamic legislation and use these manmade legislations to rule with. This also includes believing that man-made legislation is better than Islaam, or that they are equivalent, or that one may use them as a basis for ruling, or that Islamic legislation is not suitable for the twenty-first century, or believing that Islamic legislation is the reason behind the weakness and backwardness of the Muslims or limiting Islamic legislation to only govern the relationship between the slave and his Lord and not his other worldly affairs. Moreover, this category includes those who consider that some Islamic penal-laws are unsuitable for our time, such as cutting the hands of thieves or stoning adulterers. Likewise, believing that one can refer to man-made legislation for commercial or business transactions renders one a disbeliever, because such a person by conviction deems lawful what Allaah has ruled as unlawful. An example of this is those people who set rules for those who consume intoxicants or commit fornication or adultery.
Hating anything which the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commanded even if one performs it, Allaah says what means: “That is because they hate that which Allaah has sent down (Qur’aan)” (Muhammad: 9).
Joking at or making fun of any part of Islaam, its rewards or its punishments, Allaah says what means: “Say: Was it at Allaah and His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and His Messenger that you were mocking. Make no excuse; you disbelieved after you had believed” (At-Tawbah: 65-66).
Practising magic, Allaah says what means: “but neither of these two taught anyone (such things) till they had said, We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us)” (Al-Baqarah: 102).
Supporting the disbelievers against the believers, Allaah says what means: “And if any amongst you takes them (as supporters), then surely, he is one of them. Verily, Allaah guides not those people who are the Thaalimoon
(polytheists and wrongdoers and unjust)” (Al-Maa’idah: 51).
Believing that people are free to abandon the Islamic legislation which was brought to us by Muhammad sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam, Allaah says what means: “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islaam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers” (Aal ‘Imraan: 85).
Shunning the religion of Allaah by refusing to learn or practice it, Allaah says what means: “Who does more wrong than he who is reminded of the Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of his Lord, then turns aside therefrom Verily, We shall exact retribution from the Mujrimoon (criminals, disbelievers, polytheists, sinners)” (As-Sajdah: 22).
There is no excuse for committing any of the above mentioned nullifications, regardless of whether one did it seriously, jokingly or fearfully unless one was forced to say or do any of them. A believer must be careful not to commit any of them, so as not to be deserving of the punishment of Allaah.