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Takfir
Takfir
or takfeer (Arabic: تكفير‎ takfīr) is a controversial concept in Islamist
Islamist
discourse,[1] denoting excommunication, as one Muslim
Muslim
declaring another Muslim
Muslim
as a non-believer (kafir). The act which precipitates takfir is termed mukaffir. Contemporary formulation and usage of the term have its roots in the 20th-century Islamist theorist Sayyid Qutb's advocacy of takfirism (doctrine of excommunication) against the state or society which deemed as jahiliyah (state of ignorance and disbelief). According to Qutb, violence is required to be sanctioned against corrupt state leaders, on the premise that quietism is not the Islamic prescriptions against one who deemed as apostates. This position is widely held and applied by jihadist organizations to varying degrees. At the same time, the concept is opposed by religious establishment as an ostensible reason for violence.[1] They hold that excommunication against those who profess their Islamic faith is not sanctioned by Islam,[1] or an ill-founded takfir accusation is a major forbidden act (haram).[2]

Contents

1 Authority and conditions

1.1 Sunni
Sunni
Ashari 1.2 Murjites 1.3 Mu'tazilites 1.4 Khawarij

2 History

2.1 After 1950

2.1.1 In Pakistan 2.1.2 Salman Rushdie 2.1.3 GIA in Algeria 2.1.4 Tunisia 2.1.5 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

3 See also 4 References 5 External links

Authority and conditions[edit] Further information: Apostasy in Islam Legitimate authority and conditions that permit the issuance of takfir are major points of contention among Muslim
Muslim
scholars. In general, the official clergy considers that Islam
Islam
does not sanction excommunication of Muslims who profess their Islamic faith and perform the ritual pillars of Islam.[1] This is due to takfir having major consequences of killing, confiscation of their property and denial of Islamic burial. Ulamas often raise objections by asking rhetorical questions of who holds the right to excommunicate others, on what religious criteria it should be based, and what level of specialized knowledge in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) is required for the qualification of authority.[1] Some Muslims consider takfir to be a prerogative of either the Prophet — who does that through Divine revelation — or the state which represents the collectivity of the Ummah
Ummah
(the whole Muslim community).[3] The declaration of takfir may be made if the alleged Muslim
Muslim
declares himself a kafir, but more typically applies to a judgement that an action or statement by the alleged Muslim
Muslim
indicates his knowing abandonment of Islam. In many cases an Islamic court or a religious leader, an alim must pronounce a fatwa (legal judgement) of takfir against an individual or group. There are disputes among different schools of religious thought as to what constitutes sufficient justification for declaring takfir: Sunni
Sunni
Ashari[edit] The orthodox Sunni
Sunni
position is that sins generally do not prove that someone is not a Muslim, but denials of fundamental religious principles do. Thus a murderer, for instance, may still be a Muslim, but someone who denies that murder is a sin is a kafir if he is aware that murder is considered a sin in Islam. Murjites[edit] Murji'ah
Murji'ah
emerged as a theological school that was opposed to the Kharijites on questions related to early controversies regarding sin and definitions of what is a true Muslim.[4] As opposed to the Kharijites, Murjites advocated the idea of deferred judgement of peoples' belief. The word Murjiah itself means "one who postpones" in Arabic.[5] Murjite doctrine held that only God has the authority to judge who is a true Muslim
Muslim
and who is not, and that Muslims should consider all other Muslims as part of the community.[6] This theology promoted tolerance of Umayyads and converts to Islam
Islam
who appeared half-hearted in their obedience.[7] Mu'tazilites[edit] The Mu'tazilites (followed by the Zaidiyyahs) advocated what they saw as a middle way, whereby grave sinners were categorized neither as believers nor as kafirs. Khawarij[edit] Some of the early medieval Kharijites concluded that any Muslim
Muslim
who sinned ceased to be a Muslim, while others concluded that only major sin could cause that. History[edit] Some Muslims (such as Muhammad
Muhammad
Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, founder of Wahhabism) believe that one of the earliest examples of takfir was alleged to have been practiced by the first Caliph, Abu Bakr.[8] In response to the refusal of certain Arab tribes to pay the alms-tax (zakat), he is reported to have said: "By God, I will fight anyone who differentiates between the prayer and the zakat. ... Revelation has been discontinued, the Shari'ah has been completed: will the religion be curtailed while I am alive. ... I will fight these tribes even if they refuse to give a halter. Poor-due (zakat) is a levy on wealth and, by God, I will fight him who differentiates between the prayer and poor-due."[citation needed] Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
did not use the word kafir though.

Status of Jihad (English translation). A letter from Abu Mus'ab to Abu Mohammed relating a meeting with Abu Musab Zarqawi. The author and Zaraqawi agree that the Muslims fighting in Bosnia, Tajikistan, Chechnya, and Kashmir
Kashmir
are polytheists and supporters of secular democracy, and that the Taliban
Taliban
are a front for Pakistan. Zarqawi tells Abu Mus’ab that he is accused of Takfir
Takfir
because of his views about the Muslims in Bosnia, Tajikistan, Chechnya, and Kashmir.

In the wars between the Umayyad Caliphate
Caliphate
and the Khawarijs, the latter's practice of takfir became the justification for their indiscriminate attacks on civilian Muslims; the more moderate Sunni view of takfir developed partly in response to this conflict. Ibn Taymiyyah, the 14th century scholar followed by many modern Salafi, ruled that though Mongol invaders professed to be Muslims their enforcement of the Yasa law in place of Islamic Shariah "reversed their conversion, rendering the Mongols apostate."[9] 18th century revivalist Muhammad
Muhammad
ibn Abd al-Wahhab cited Ibn Taymiyyah
Ibn Taymiyyah
in his preaching that many mainstream Muslim
Muslim
traditions (such as Sufism) as bid'a (innovation of the religion) caused self-professed Muslims to be unbelievers and his followers slew many Muslims for allegedly kufr practises.[9] After 1950[edit] Takfir
Takfir
has become "a central ideology of militant groups" such as those in Egypt, "which reflect the ideas" of Sayyid Qutb, Abul A'la Maududi and others, according to the Oxford Islamic Studies Online website.[10] It is rejected by Islamic scholars and leaders such as Hasan al-Hudaybi
Hasan al-Hudaybi
(d. 1977) and Yusuf al-Qaradawi and by mainstream Muslims and Islamist
Islamist
groups.[10] In Pakistan[edit] Takfir
Takfir
has been used[by whom?] against the Ahmadiyya, who describe themselves as Muslims but who many Muslims and Islamic scholars believe reject the doctrine of Khatam an-Nabiyyin, i.e. the belief that Muhammad
Muhammad
was the last and final Prophet and Messenger of God, after whom there can be no other Prophet or Messenger. In 1974 Pakistan
Pakistan
amended its constitution to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims. In 1984, General Muhammad
Muhammad
Zia-ul-Haq, the then military ruler of Pakistan, issued Ordinance XX,[11][12] forbidding Ahmadis to call themselves Muslim. As a result, they are not allowed to profess the Islamic creed publicly or to call their places of worship mosques,[13] to worship in non-Ahmadi mosques or public prayer-rooms, to perform the Muslim
Muslim
call to prayer, to use the traditional Islamic greeting in public, to publicly quote from the Quran, to preach in public, to seek converts, or to produce, publish, and disseminate their religious materials. Local ulama (Islamic scholars) have declared takfir on another group in Pakistan, the Zikri of Makran in Balochistan. The Zikri believe that Syed Muhammad
Muhammad
Jaunpuri (born in 1443) was the Mahdi
Mahdi
(redeemer) of Islam. In 1978 the ulama founded a movement (Tehrik Khatm-e-Nabuat) to have the Pakistan
Pakistan
state declare the Zikris as non-Muslims, like the Ahmadis.[14] Salman Rushdie[edit] Main article: The Satanic Verses
The Satanic Verses
controversy The case of Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie
provides an example of takfir that featured prominently in Western media. Rushdie went into hiding after Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1989, officially declaring him a kafir who should be executed for his book The Satanic Verses, which is perceived[by whom?] to contain passages that draw into question the basis of Islam. Similar cases have occurred in Egypt: for example, Nasr Abu Zayd was accused[by whom?] of apostasy following his work on Islamic sources, describing the Qur'an as a historical document.[15] GIA in Algeria[edit] During the Algerian Civil War
Algerian Civil War
of 1991-2002 the Islamist
Islamist
insurgent group the GIA (Armed Islamic Group of Algeria) under amir Antar Zouabri issued a manifesto in 1996 entitled The Sharp Sword, presenting Algerian society as resistant to jihad and lamented that the majority of Algerians had "forsaken religion and renounced the battle against its enemies". Zouabri at first took care to deny that the GIA had ever declared takfir on Algerian society itself.[16] But during the month of Ramadan (January–February 1997) hundreds of civilians were killed in massacres,[17] some with their throats cut. The massacres continued for months and culminated in August and September when hundreds of men women and children were killed in the villages of Rais, Bentalha and Beni Messous. Pregnant women were sliced open, children were hacked to pieces or dashed against walls, men's limbs were hacked off one by one, and, as the attackers retreated, they would kidnap young women to keep as sex slaves.[18] The GIA issued a communiqué signed by Zouabri claiming responsibility for the massacres and justifying them—in contradiction to his manifesto—by declaring impious (takfir) all those Algerians who had not joined its ranks.[19] While the GIA had been the "undisputed principal Islamist
Islamist
force" in Algeria two years earlier,[20] the slaughters drained it of popular support and led to the end of "organized jihad" in Algeria.[19] (The issue became complicated by evidence that security forces cooperated with the killers in preventing civilians from escaping, and may even have controlled the GIA.[19]) Tunisia[edit] The constitution of Tunisia (passed after the Tunisian Revolution
Tunisian Revolution
of 2011), criminalized takfir by placing a ban on fatwas that promote takfir.[21] Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant[edit] The Islamic State (aka Daesh) has been heavily criticized[by whom?] for applying takfir to Muslims who oppose its rule.[22] According to journalist Graeme Wood in mid-2015,

Following takfiri doctrine, the Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people. The lack of objective reporting from its territory makes the true extent of the slaughter unknowable, but social-media posts from the region suggest that individual executions happen more or less continually, and mass executions every few weeks.[23]

The tendency of the group to target Shia Muslims with suicide bombings has been credited[by whom?] to the fact that the group considers them apostates.[24] See also[edit]

Anathema K-F-R Takfiri Heresy

References[edit]

^ a b c d e Karawan, Ibrahim A. (1995). "Takfīr". In John L. Esposito. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ^ Brown, Michael (2010). Contending with Terrorism. p. 89.  ^ Asif Iftikhar (March–April 1997). "Murder, Manslaughter and Terrorism -- All in the Name of Allah". 7 (s. 3-4). Al-Mawrid: Renaissance.com.  ^ Ibn Taymīyah, Abī al-ʻAbbās Taqī al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn ʻAbd al-Ḥalīm. "al-Fatāwá". , 5: 555-556; 7: 195-205; 7: 223 ^ Nigosian, Solomon Alexander (2004). Islam: Its History, Teaching, and Practices. Indiana University Press. p. 59.  ^ Isutzu, Concept of Belief, p. 55-56. ^ Isutzu, Concept of Belief, p. 55. ^ Abou El Fadl, Khaled (2005). The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam
Islam
from the Extremists. Harper San Francisco. pp. 54–5. `Abd al-Wahhab was also fond of citing a precedent in which Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
reportedly burned so-called hypocrites to death ... most scholars in the Islamic tradition who studied the purported Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
precedent concluded that the claim that Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
accused people of hypocrisy who upheld the five pillars and fought them is without support or foundation.  ^ a b Stanley,, Trevor. "Definition: Kufr - Kaffir - Takfir
Takfir
- Takfiri". Perspectives on World History and Current Events. Retrieved 16 June 2016.  ^ a b Compare: "Takfir". Oxford Islamic Studies Online. Retrieved 2016-08-09. Takfir[:] Pronouncement that someone is an unbeliever (kafir) and no longer Muslim. Takfir
Takfir
is used in the modern era for sanctioning violence against leaders of Islamic states who are deemed insufficiently religious. It has become a central ideology of militant groups such as those in Egypt, which reflect the ideas of Sayyid Qutb, Mawdudi, Ibn Taymiyyah, and Ibn Kathir. Mainstream Muslims and Islamist
Islamist
groups reject the concept as a doctrinal deviation.  Leaders such as Hasan al-Hudaybi
Hasan al-Hudaybi
(d. 1977) and Yusuf al-Qaradawi reject takfir as un-Islamic and marked by bigotry and zealotry. ^ The presentation before the parliament: Khan, Naveeda. Mahzaharnama (PDF). Islam
Islam
International Publications. ISBN 1-85372-386-X.  ^ Khan, Naveeda. "Trespasses of the State: Ministering to Theological Dilemmas through the Copyright/Trademark" (PDF).  Sarai Reader 2005: Bare Acts. p. 178. ^ Heiner Bielefeldt: " Muslim
Muslim
Voices in the Human Rights Debate", Human rights quarterly, 1995 vol. 17 no. 4 p. 587. ^ Talbot, Ian (1998). Pakistan, a Modern History. NY: St.Martin's Press. p. 252. The Zikris, who form a large proportion of the population of Makran, are the followers of Syed Muhammad
Muhammad
(b.1443) who they consider to be a Mahdi. ... In their drive to implement Shariat law the 'ulama founded the Tehrik Khatm-e-Nabuat ... in Balochistan
Balochistan
in 1978. Their intention was to demand that the state should declare the Zikris to be non-Muslims, like the Ahmadis earlier.  ^ Susanne Olsson, "Apostasy in Egypt: contemporary cases of hisbah" i The Muslim
Muslim
World, Volym 98:1, 2008. ^ Al seif al battar, p.39-40 ^ "Hundreds murdered in widespread Algeria attacks". cnn. January 6, 1998. Retrieved 11 June 2015.  ^ "World Report 1999. Human Rights Developments". Human Rights Watch. Archived from the original on 13 November 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2015.  ^ a b c Kepel, Jihad, 2002: p.272-3 ^ Kepel, Jihad, 2002: p.265 ^ Al-Haddad, Mohammad. "Tunisia's New Constitution Criminalizes Takfir". Al-Monitor. Al-Monitor. Retrieved 4 December 2014.  ^ BARRETT, RICHARD (November 2014). THE ISLAMIC STATE (PDF). THE SOUFAN GROUP. p. 5. Retrieved 16 June 2016. The Islamic State claims religious legitimacy for its actions. This is based on an extreme salafist/takfiri interpretation of Islam
Islam
that essentially means that anyone who opposes its rule is by definition either an apostate (murtad) or an infidel (kafir). Although much of the Muslim Middle East is salafist, takfirism is widely considered a step too far, and the absolutism of The Islamic State has already attracted criticism, even from ideologues who support al Qaeda.  ^ WOOD, GRAEME. "What ISIS Really Wants". The Atlantic (March 2015). Retrieved 16 June 2016.  ^ Compare: "Iraq violence: Islamic State attacks kill dozens". BBC News. 9 June 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2016. The Sunni
Sunni
jihadist group has frequently attacked security targets and Shia Muslims, whom it considers apostates. 

Kepel, Gilles (2002). Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam. Harvard University Press. 

External links[edit]

The Amman Message (Declaration forbidding takfir (declarations of apostasy) between Muslims unanimously agreed upon by 200 of the world's leading Islamic scholars ' Ulama
Ulama
from 50 countries.) Religious denunciations and Takfir: Isn't there enough to go around? (by Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq) Maudoodi's article on takfir (by Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi) Be Careful who you call non-Muslim Islamic theology and Takfir
Takfir
Article exploring the classical view of takfir Herm

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