3) And in another narration from him via the route of Alee bin Abu Talha from ibn Abbaas that he said, the one who rejects what Allaah revealed is a kaafir, and the one who believes in it but does not rule by it is a dhaalim faasiq.
Reported by ibn Jareer (12063). I say: ibn Abee Talha did not hear from ibn Abbaas, but the narration is good as a witness.
4) Then he (ibn Jareer) reports (12048-12051) from Ataa bin Abee Rabaah about the three verses, kufr less than kufr, fisq less than fisq, dhulm less than dhulm. And its isnaad is saheeh.
5) Then he reports (12052) from Saeed al-Makki from Tawoos about the verse, it is not the kufr that ejects one from the religion
And its isnaad is saheeh. And this Saeed is ibn Ziyaad ash-Shaybaanee al-Makki, and ibn Maeen and al-Ijlee and ibn Hibbaan and others declared him trustworthy, and a group narrate from him.
6) And he reported (12025, 12026) via two routes of narration from Imraan bin Hadeer who said a group of people from the Banee Umru bin Sadus [and in another narration: a group from the Ibaadiyyah] came to Abu Mazliz (he is from the great trustworthy taabieen, and his name is Laahiq bin Humaid al-Basree) and said: do you see the saying of Allaah the one who does not rule by what Allaah reveals then they are kaafir is this the truth? He replied, yes. They said: the one who does not rule by what Allaah revealed then they are dhaalim is this the truth? He replied, yes. They said, the one who does not rule by what Allaah revealed then they are faasiq is this the truth? He replied, yes. So they said, O Abu Majliz do these (rulers) rule by what Allaah revealed? He replied, this is the religion that they hold to and they call to, so if they leave anything from it they know that they have fallen into sin. They said, no by Allaah, but you are afraid and worried. He said, you are more deserving of this (description) than me! I do not see this, but you do yet you do not forbid (them from) it. But these verses were revealed with regards to the Jews and Christians and the People of Shirk. And its isnaad is saheeh.
And the scholars differed over the explanation of the kufr that is mentioned in the first verse, having five different opinions which ibn Jareer narrates (10/346-357) with their chains of narration to their proponents. Then he concludes by saying (10/358),
and the most correct saying of all of these according to me is the saying of the one who says: these verse were revealed with regards to the kuffaar of the People of the Book due to the verses before and after them, and they are the people who are meant in them, and the context of these verses is about them. So it is most deserving that the narrative be about them.
So if someone were to say: indeed Allaah generalised the narrative to all who do not rule by what Allaah revealed, so how can you specify it?
It is said (in reply): Indeed Allaah generalised the narrative to all those who reject the Ruling of Allaah that is laid out in His Book. So He informed us about them that they, by their leaving the Ruling - by way of what they left - are kaafir. And this is the saying on all who do not rule by what Allaah revealed, rejecting it - that he is a kaafir as said by ibn Abbaas. Because his rejecting the ruling of Allaah after he knows it to have been revealed in His Book is the same as his rejecting the Prophethood of the Prophet after he knows him to be a Prophet.
In conclusion: the verse was revealed with regards to the Jews who rejected what Allaah had revealed, so the one who associates with them in this rejection, then he is a kaafir, with kufr in belief. And the one who does not associate with them in this rejection then his kufr is in action, because he has performed an action of theirs. And he is a sinful criminal (mujrim aathim), but he is not ejected from the religion due to this as has preceded from ibn Abbaas (RA). And al-Imaam Abu Ubaid al-Qaasim bin Sallaam explained this and increased upon this explanation in Kitaab al-Eemaan, chapter leaving faith due to sin (pg. 84- 96 with my tahqeeq), so the one desiring further research should refer to this.
After writing what has preceded I saw ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, saying in the explanation of the verse in his Majmoo al-Fataawaa (3/268), meaning he regards it permissible to rule by other that what Allaah revealed.
Then he mentioned (7/254) that Imaam Ahmad was questioned about the kufr mentioned in the verse and he replied, a kufr which does not eject from faith, like having faith in some of it (?), and likewise with kufr. Until there comes a matter over which there is no difference over.