Thursday, 21 November 2013

Takfir: Historical Observation

Assalaamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah

A very good morning and a peaceful Friday which is a great weekend for us.  I still have few references to compile as a post here. I am not sure whether this could be known as an article because I am not clear about the standard myself, haha. I am planning to move to Bangkok but I do not tell anyone about my plan. It is a Buddhist country but I wanted to go to the United Nation office there rather than the one in Kuala Lumpur and getting the access to accession there. It must be done in stages because I cannot just go there out of blue while I know no one. Our ancestors were also like this before some of our branches becoming king or royal associates in the Malay countries. They were alone or together with their family members.

In my case, I am now alone because my beloved fort which is my father is paralyzed. I am stuck with my responsibility to my father and to be my mother's companion since the noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w mentions that a particular person must take care his own family member first before talking about preaching to others. Moreover, we are Hashemites and we must love our fathers and mothers more than we love our selves. I am not studying in political science simply because I did not know what to do after I graduated from the undergraduate studies. I am not studying in the post-graduate to live a luxurious life or to get an executive position like others think.  I am not interested at all because I am aware that this life is just a "dream" while the fact is behind the veil of the "hereafter".

But rather I am doing anything with the basic ground that I wanted to set this beautiful name well-beloved by the creatures of heavens and earth, Muhammad s.a.w in its original connotation and context. As the mercy of the Lord to the universe and the holder of the scepter of tranquility. This was my prayer just after I decided to become a follower of prophet Muhammad s.a.w in its true meaning and dedication. Some people might think that it is crazy but I already had tried it before I faced conflicts with my sisters because they cannot understand my thought. They had long called me a lunatic and my third sister even had told me to take valium that made me quit from talking with them or other people no more. I never blame them. Human are not perfect and we are also the same mortal human like them so we see them as our reflection. 

Historical Obesrvation

Historically speaking, the issue is nothing new to the nations. It happened since the first century of Hegira in the period of Othman al-'Affan r.a where there were extremists who accused him as an infidel and argued with the evidence from surah al-Maidah 5:44 which means...
Indeed, We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light. The prophets who submitted to the God judged by it for the Jews, as did the rabbis and scholars by that which they were entrusted of the Scripture of the God, and they were witnesses thereto. So, do not fear the people but fear Me, and do not exchange My verses for a small price. And whoever does not judge by what the God has revealed, then it is those who are the disbelievers.
In the period of Ali r.a, the Kharijites had put this accusation on him due to that he accepts the peace treaty. Others such as Mu'awiya r.a and two peace makers, Abu Musa al-Ash'ari and Amr bin al-'As were also accused as infidels. Whoever that accepts the peace treaty were also regarded as infidels.

While in Egypt of 1950s, a great tyranny which was committed by the Gamal Abd el-Nasser regime on the Muslim Brotherhood had sparked extreme view among the members of the Brotherhood and it goes to the stage where those members begin to stamp the regime which operates the government as infidels and those who were not opposing them too were accused as infidels.

This ideology is not in accordance to the leaders of Brotherhood view as they adhered to the moderate creed of Ahl Sunnah just like the majority of Muslims around the world. The view of the Ahl Sunnah is that any Muslim who commits vices or even grave sins are not deemed as infidels. The Brotherhood leaders though were imprisoned but had tried hard to set the view of its members right. Among them was the second General Guide of the Brotherhood, Hassan Ismael el-Hoaibi. He completed the manuscript of Nanu Du'at la Qudat (We are the Callers, not the Judges) which was published after his death in 1977. Many people who analyzed it argued that it is a refutation to Sayyid Qutb's manifesto known as the Ma'alem fi al-Tareq (Milestone along the Way) and his argument of takfir, or the practice of declaring another Muslim as a non-believer. Barbara Zollner in her "Muslim Brotherhood" suggests that Sayyid Qutb was not a direct target of the text, but rather that el-Hoaibi wanted to pose respond to a radical marginal group withing the Brotherhood movement.    

One of the main objectives of the text is to define Muslims and disbelievers. Sayyid Qutb had previously argued that so-called "Muslim" governments were actually non-Islamic ignorant that must be abolished by "physical power and war struggle". However, el-Hoaibi responds even though a Muslim may have committed a sin or crime that may require punishment, but that person cannot be taken as an apostate. Judgement over Muslims should be left to the God alone. El-Hodaibi also questions whether the testimonies of faith in Islam is sufficient to be a Muslim, or whether there are requirements to act beyond this profession of faith. He argues that only those who actively engage in Islamic cause can be called Muslim.

The efforts of el-Hoaibi with regard to the questions has produced a valuable study on the creed of the Ahl Sunnah creed. The translation of this book in Malay was published by Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM) in 1985. The translation was made by alahuddin 'Abdullah. However, this test of takfir cannot be completely eliminated because there are still a minority of people who are tightly attached to their perception and view.

This kind of attachment has been discussed by ancient sage for example, Siddhartha Gautama of Kapilavastu in the contemplation of Five Components about the origins of conflicts in the world. I was trained with this contemplation in the "Path of Self Purification" when I was a young teenage boy. It says like in the method of concentration discourses that..
"Views and perceptions of the eyes, views and perceptions of the sounds, views and perceptions of the smells, view and perceptions of the tastes and feeling, views and perceptions about tangible things, views and perceptions about intangible things in the thought or mind in this temporal world which are in accordance to our "self" and "pleasing" to ourselves, thus there will be the rising of the volition and basis for desires in "self". This, dear ascetics are known as the Noble Truth of the Suffering in the world. These, dear ascetics, are known as the Noble Truth of the Stress in the world. These, dear ascetics, are known as the Noble Truth of the Anxiety in this world. These, dear ascetics are the Noble Truth of the Unsatisfactoriness in the world. This, dear ascetics are known as the Noble Truth of the Conflicts in the world".
In our country as an example, this issue was traced as happening in the 1960's when certain religious teachers from the Kelantan state were involved in this practice in the context of supporting the political struggle related to Islam. The writer such as Wan Zahid Wan Teh reported that he saw this situation himself and witnessing the events where it took place since one of the involved religious teacher was his school teacher while he studied in Kelantan.

Before this issue is further discussed, there is a question which needs to be solved by everyone especially fellow Muslim brethren. Whether this takfir issue which is prevalent in Muslim societies worldwide with all of its dividing implications is a fact in existence or something which is made up? Even for some people, this question is merely an explanation about the boundaries of faith and the opposite. No more no less.

View on Issue

In agreement with Wan Zahidi (1987), I personally think that this issue and all of the impacts risen from the issue is a fact! It exists and is not made up by any party nor simply an expression of principles about the faith and infidelity.

This conclusion is taken based on the experience and based on the observation on news and historical analysis of those people whom we could depend on because of their firm reputation, trustworthiness, morality and according to Islamic methods. Please refer to technical terms such as 'alimiqah, and wara'. Also check the method of Malik bin Anas and 'Ali bin al-Madini for reporters of narrations, news and reports.

It would be unreasonable to say that, this inquiry is merely an expression of the principle since the expression about the boundaries of faith and infidelity are there stated in our old religious literature either in Classical Malay or in Arabic itself. They were taught to people by teachers since before the existence of political parties like today; however it never raises any conflicts like in our societies today.

As to say, we should honestly deal with this issue and being responsible without trying to escape instead facing this fact without being influenced by any sentiment which could bend our intellect tendency and consideration to any direction. The same thing also about Muslim civil wars which leads to our schism such as the Battle of Siffin and the Battle of Jamal. We should not run from the facts or passing it to the next phase simply because we are afraid of the consequences which is only in our presumptions.

Everyone especially Islamic scholars should sit at the roundtable discussing matters with "clear mind" instead of talking in the phone in TV programs, recorded programs, or writing in the journal or pamphlets without consulting each other. They should first avoiding egoism in scholarship but rather training themselves to be humble before the God the Highest so the tendency to debate in proving this matter or that matter as wrong or right would cease to happen instead everyone could try to be closer to the Truth or facts. This is the way of our salaf al-saleh (pious predecessors) and the tabi'in (pious followers).        

Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin!

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