The following is an article that was submitted by a reader.
When the Tatars took over Iraq, the centre of the Abbasid Khilafah instead of displacing all of Islam, they kept some aspects just as the rulers do today in the Muslim world. The adhaan could still be heard coming from the masajid and some of the laws of Islam were held in place. The Tatars, in addition to borrowing the Islamic laws, also borrowed laws from Judaism, Christianity, and even had laws invented by their king, Genghis Khan, the leader of the conquering army against Baghdad. All of these laws were then made into one codified law, in a book entitled, al-Yaasiq and sometimes-pronounced al-Yasaa.
The great scholar Ibn Kathir رحمه الله articulates the history surrounding this law that the Tatars made for themselves:
“His book, which is alYasaa, most of it differs from the Shari`a of Allah and His Books. When he (Genghis Khan) died in the year 624 AH (1227 AD), they put him in an iron tabuk (enclosed container), they chained him in between two mountains and left him there. His book alYasaa has two volumes, large in size and to be carried on a camel. In his books, there are such extracts as, ‘Whoever commits fornication, he should be killed, married or not. Whoever does a homosexual act should be killed. Whoever deliberately lied, he should be killed. The one who does magic should be killed. Whoever spies should be killed. Anyone trying to intervene between two opponents, helping one against the other, he should be killed. The one who urinates or dives into stagnant water should be killed.
‘Anyone who feeds a captive or gives him clothing, drink or food without family permission should be killed. Anyone who threw any food to anyone should be killed. He should give it by hand. Anyone who wants to give sadaqa (voluntary charity) from food should eat it first, even if he wants to give it to someone high in the society. Whoever eats and does not feed his guests or household should be killed. Whoever slaughters an animal should be killed. He should cut it in half and take the heart out first.’
He also explained: “This all differs with the Shari`a which Allah revealed to his Messengers. Whoever leaves the decisive Shari`a which has been revealed to Muhammad ibn `Abdullah, the Seal of the Prophets, and he goes for judgment to other than his (Muhammad’s) Shari`a which has been abrogated by his (Muhammad’s) Shari`a, he becomes a kaafir. What about those who are not ruled by an abrogated Shari`a, but alYaasa, and he puts it before the Shari`a of Muhammad? Certainly, whoever does that, he becomes a kaafir unanimously, by the consensus of the Muslims. Allah says,
أفحكم الجاهلية يبغون و من أحسن الله حكماً لقوم يوقنون
‘Is it the legislation/rule of the Days Jaahiliyyah (Days of Ignorance) that they seek? And who is better in judgment than Allah for a people who are certain?!’
فلا و ربك لا يؤمنون حتى يحكموك فيما شجر بينهم ثم لا يجدوا في أنفسهم حرجاً مما قضيت و يسلموا تسليماً
‘No, by your Lord [O Muhammad r], they will not believe until they make you the judge in what they differed in, then they do not find in themselves any dispute from what you judged and they submit completely.’
Allah has spoken the truth in this matter.” [Ibn Kathir’s AlBidaaya wan-Nihaaya, V. 13, p. 101]
Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Shaakir (1892-1958), the renowned Qadi of Egypt said relating to this topic:
“Is it then lawful with this in the Shari`a of Allah that he judge the Muslims in their lands by the legislation of pagan, atheistic Europe? On the contrary, the legislation comes from false and fabricated opinions. They change it and replace it according to their whims.
No, its inventor is unconcerned or remote from the Shari`a or its violation. The Muslims have not been tested by this, as far as we know of in their time, except in that time, the time of the Tartars. And it was a wicked time, a period of great oppression and darkness.
Thus in these clearly invented laws, as clear as the sun, it is clear kufr, no doubt about it. There is no persuasion and there is no excuse for any one who is affiliated to Islam, being whoever it may, in acting on it, submission to it or establishing it.” [Hukm ul Jaahiliyyah, pg. 28-29 also in Omdah Tafaseer, Verse 50 Surah Al Ma’ida.]
Sheikh Muhammad ibn Ibrahim, a previous Mufti of the Arabian Peninsula said:
“As far as the saying, kufr duna kufr, it is when the judge makes judgement to other than Allah with firm conviction that it is disobedience. He believes that the judgement of Allah is the truth, but he left from it in one matter. As far as whoever made laws in succession and makes others submit to it, then it is kufr, even if they said, ‘We sinned and the judgement of the Revealed Law is more just.’ This is still kufr that removes from the religion.” [Fatawa of Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Aal ash-Sheikh, V. 12, pg. 280]
He said in a famous speech in 1960:
"And it (the major kufr of replacing the Shari`a) is more enormous, more universal, more distinct and more clear in its stubborn opposition to the Shari`a. And stubbornness and arrogance to his judgements, being lax to Allah and His Messenger, making resemblance to the Shari`a courts, arranging, setting up, preparing, establishing a foundation, making applications and usage, shaping, forming and organising, of a mixture of various things and themes in the process of modification (of the Shari`a), making judgement, making it compulsory, and making judgements by turning to authorities.
Then just as the Shari`a courts turn to authorities, all of them (the authorities) returning to the Book of Allah and the Sunna of His Messenger (SAW), then what the authorities turn to of it (the false Shari`a) are concocted and trumped up laws from various Shari`as, several different law systems, such as French law, American law, British law and other laws and from different schools of thought, some attributing bid`a and other things to the Shari`a.
Then these courts are now in most of the urban centres of Islam, prepared, perfect and complete, the doors have been opened and people are swarming to them one after another, their rulers judging between them by what is in direct opposition and contradiction to the judgement of the Sunna and the Book, from the judgements of that law (the false Shari`a) and coercing them to it and establishing it over the Shari`a (the true Shari`a of Allah) and imposing and making it incumbent on them. Then which kufr is over and above (more amplified and clearer) this kufr? And which opposition to the Shahada that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah is after this opposition and violation.” [Tahkim alQawanin, pg. 7]
There is legitimate difference of opinion on whether the ruler becomes Kafir by ruling by other than what Allah (swt) has revealed or whether it is kufr asghar (minor kufr) by which the ruler becomes a sinner (fasiq) and not a disbeliever. However the scholars unanimously agree that ruling by other than what Allah (swt) revealed is a Qat'i prohibition.
Ibn Abeel-'Izz Al-Hanafee said: "Judging by other than what Allah has revealed could be kufr that expels one from the religion and could be a sin either a major sin or a minor one and it could be a symbolic kufr or minor kufr based on the two sayings and this all depends on the situation of the judge: So if he believes that judging by what allah has revealed is not obligatory or that he has the option in this or if he dishonours it(The judgement of Allah) while being certain that it is the judgement of Allah then this is major kufr and if he believes in the obligation of judging by what allah has revealed in this instance but turnsaway from it while recognizing that he deserves to be punished then he is a sinner and is to be referred to as a disbeliver symbolically or upon minor disbelief". [Sharh At-tahaaweeyyah, pg. 324]