Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Takfir: Summary of al-Tahawi

Assalaamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah

The explanation of al-Tahawi Creed with regard to the crimes and accusation of infidelity is summarized by Wan Zahid Wan Teh (1987) in his treatise Takfir Problem in Muslim Society. In evidences of both primary and secondary sources of our "Path", namely the Quran and the Traditions, there are terms such as kufr, shirk, unfaithful and so on for crimes and vices such as killing a life, refusing to execute the commandment of the God the Highest by a Muslim, breaking promises and treaties, accusing another Muslim as an infidel, lying, drinking alcohol, stealing, skipping obligatory prayer services, soothsaying, swearing with other Names other than Him, defecating one's lineage and insulting his ancestors, lamenting over the dead and the list goes on like what has been clearly mentioned in evidences of the sources.

Whether these terms such as kufr, shirk and so on as such being used in evidences of the Quranic and prophetic tradition sources related to those crimes means that the criminal is an apostate (murtad)? If so then almost all of Muslim nations are liable to apostasy and so, are infidels. Because whoever among Muslims are infallible? Whoever among Muslims never commits those vices and sinful acts mentioned as in examples such as breaking promises, breaking treaties, lying, cheating, debating or arguing until they are deflected from the track of the Truth? Only noble prophets and messengers appointed by the God the Highest are infallible but not public Muslims nor Muslim clerics.  

This kind of ideology is contradictory to the consensus of Sunnah Muslim clerics in their opinions, that a Muslim who commits major sins is not an infidel. But he is still a Muslim. Their opinions were based from clear evidences of the Quran and Prophetic Traditions who never assume that sinners who commit major sins or vices as apostates or infidels (Wan Teh, 1987). They were punished only according to their crimes and never excommunicated from the congregation of the faithful Muslims. 

The noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w himself prohibits companions from cursing or teasing a person who had few times being imposed with restrictions (in form of lashes) at the court because he took alcohol. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w says, "Do not be assistants of Satan by severing more your brethren!" (al-Ghazali in al-Ihya 3:121).    

Noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w still calls the person prosecuted as a brother to others although he keeps drinking and prohibited others from abusing him because of his crimes. And we can see how open the heart of the noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w toward a brother or a sister although he or she commits a "major" crime. Isn't this a good lesson in propagating Islam and bringing everyone to common words rather than impatiently throwing out abusive terms such as ṭāġūt, pharaoh and so on to other congregations or groups while everyone are Muslims?

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

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