Ahmad Kuftaro explains the rules for decalring apostasy

Fatwa, posted 4.22.2010, from Syria, in:
Religious Authority: 
Ahmad Kuftaro
Fatwa Question or Essay Title: 
Ahmad Kuftaro on not accusing a Muslim of apostasy
Websites and Institutions: 
Amman Message, (Jordan)

Islamic scholars have identified [two categories of] acts which precipitate takfir [the practice of declaring someone an unbeliever or kafir]: creed-based [acts] relating to divinity (like denying the Creator), to the six pillars of belief (like denying prophecy or the messages of prophets), or to the permanent religious legal rulings supported categorically by evidence (like denying the five pillars of Islam or the prohibition of adultery). The denier must know that his beliefs render him an apostate and insist on them. If he is a Muslim and any of the aforementioned things emerge from him, he must be called upon to repent and given a chance to retract his beliefs. If he does not [do these things], he is considered an apostate.

As for [category 2] verbal and performative acts which precipitate takfir, like insulting or cursing God Almighty or religion, or performing an action that is evidence of unbelief, like tearing up a Qur'an or prostrating to idols, there must be intent, conscious awareness, and a lack of compulsion. If there is any [such] explanation, it is not considered apostasy . . .

Therefore, it is creed-based acts which are the basis for ruling whether or not someone is an apostate. As for speech-based or performative acts, they are merely expressions of instigation or of what humans believe.

Therefore, it is not permissible to declare anyone an apostate who has uttered the two professions of faith [There is no God but God, and Muhammad is His Prophet], since this shields his finances and his blood . . .

[For full text, see accompanying website.]

[Note: Islamopediaoline.org has several more texts archived pertaining to The Amman Message. Viewers may readily access these records by performing a simple search for the above italicized text.]

Please see attached file for the full Arabic text.