Salafi Scholars on Ibn Taymiyyah’s Takfir of the Rulers…
Ibn Taymiyyah’s “most famous” fatwa was issued against the Mongols (or Tartars), in the Mamluk’s war. Ibn Taymiyyah declaring jihad upon the Mongols not only permissible, but obligatory. He based this ruling on the grounds that the Mongols could not be true Muslims despite the fact that they had converted to Sunni Islam because they ruled using ‘man-made laws’ (their traditional Yassa code) rather than Islamic law or Shari’ah, and thus were living in a state of jahiliyya, or pre-Islamic pagan ignorance outside the folds of Islam.
Classical Period: Acceptance of Ibn Taymiyyah’s fatwa.
Ibn Kathir and Ibn al-Qayyim accepted the above at face value and stated that anyone who judges with other than Allah’s laws is outside the fold of Islam.
Pre-Modern Time: Acceptance of prior opinionsSh. Ahmed Shakir (d. 1958) & Sh. Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Shaikh (the first Grand Mufti of Saudi prior to Sh. Abdullah b. Baaz, d.1969) both explicitly stated that anyone who judges by other than Allah’s law is not a Muslim.
Shakir: There should be no confusion about such a person, for example the laws that are being imported into Egypt, there should be no doubt that a person who judges by these laws is not a Muslim.
Ibrahim al-Shaikh; The worst type of judgment that can possibly be done is to create a combination between Shariah and man-made laws. “What greater kufr is there than this kufr”.
Modern Era: Shift away from classical opinions with each holding differing opinions that didn’t agree with classical perspectives.
Sh. Abdullah Bin Baaz (d.1999): Disagreed with his teacher (Sh. Muhammad ibn Ibrahim) and said that judging by man-made law is not kufr unless it is accompanied by istihlaal, a condition of accepting the position in one’s heart. Also, he added how will you know the inner thoughts of a ruler and therefore a ruler can not be pronounced as kafir. When asked about his opinion disagreeing with that of his teacher, he replied, ‘My teacher was only a human, no matter how great he was, the evidence is in the Quran and Sunnah.’
Sh. Salih Uthaymeen (d.2000): Would not discuss the topic in public or answer it for the masses. Judging by other than Allah’s law is kufr even if there is no istihlaal. However, one who doesn’t understand the importance of Allah’s law may be excused for their ignorance. He then states that the rulers of our time can not be called kafir b/c they do not know the status of Islam or Islamic law.
Sh. Nasiruddeen Albani (d.1999): In all situations and scenarios, judging by other than Allah’s laws is not kufr.
And finally, the odd one out…
Sh. Abu Muhammad Asim al-Maqdisi: Represents classical understanding and adheres to early and classical opinions says “modern democracies are nothing more than mongol nation resurrected in our times”. [Note: al-Maqdisi is considered to be a ‘Jihadi-Salafi’ by many other mainstream Saudi Salaf scholars.]
Source: Qadhi, Yasir, “The Reception of IbnTaymiyya’s Fatwa on “Ruling by Other than God‟s Law‟ Amongst Modern Salafi scholars.” Presented at 2009 UK Conference: Rethinking Jihad: Ideas, Politics and Conflict in the Arab World & Beyond