Wednesday, 20 November 2013


Assalaamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah



Takfir is a term referring to the practice of a Muslim declaring or accusing another Muslim as an unbeliever or infidel. The act which precipitates this matter is termed in Arabic as mukaffir.

A Takfiri however, is a Muslim who accuses another Muslim of apostasy. Then accusation itself is called as takfir and was derived from the word kafir or translated as infidel and is described as when, "... one who is, or claims to be, a Muslim is declared as impure".

In principle, the only group authorized to declare a Muslim a kafir is the ulama, and this is only done, once all the prescribed legal precautions have been taken. However, a growing number of splinter neo-Salafi groups, labeled by some scholars as Salafi-Takfiris, have the split from the orthodox method of establishing takfir through the processes of the law, and have reserved the right to declare apostasy themselves.

As to explain this to one who does not understand Arabic, it is more or less like the act of excommunication on the others who does not go with one's ideology, deemed as heretics or against their belief in Christian world.

Issue in Our Country

Around 1984 there was an issue which is related to a debate among political parties in our country. The coalition party challenged the opposition party to join a debate with the notion that the "opposition party was accusing the coalition as infidel". It was later cancelled and there was a treatise written by Wan Zahidi Wan Teh being endorsed by the Islamic Da'awa Foundation to the public among which my father also kept one of it and it is now in my hand while typing about this matter. I read this guy's other books too and some of them I do not agree because he is too much leaning to a certain side instead of being neutral but I still read them because I consider it as an analysis.

Tough it was cancelled but it does not mean that this issue together with its implications cease to exist among Muslim societies. There are many stupid conflicts happened related to this issue... In Iraq, in Iran, in Pakistan, in Egypt, in Syria, in Saudi Arabia and also in our country especially those who love to follow the trend in muttering out their statements. This issue is not like a seasonal issue where it is hot in one time and later sunken to the bottom when people are tired of it. In the contrary it is still in the mind of some society who are influenced with it and sometimes it is manifested in practices and execution.

History in Our Country

According to Wan Teh (1987), this issue happened in this country in the 1960's but it was later being cured through political development. A coalition government was formed. However, it rises again also due to political development and it turned out to be a big national issue. I could still feel this situation while I was in my childhood and teenage times especially my parents were loyal to nationalist party which forms the coalition party just like our maternal grandparents and some of my mother relatives at our state had turned to Islamic party. I was a victim of discrimination elsewhere though I was clueless on what were my errors?

There were many factors for schism in political view and it was also related to vengeance and dissatisfaction among families and relatives back then that also morphed into political conflicts. I began to seek refuge in Buddhism in the same time that I was schooled in Islamic system in Perlis state because I was emotionally and psychologically abused by my mother relatives at my grandparents' house besides I was also in anger to my parents for sending me to a "hell". I was 13 years old at that time and the only son at home with no brothers to refer on whatever that I need to know to be a man. I refused to leave behind Buddhist teachings and practices even until I reached 17 years old and deciding again my faith and being a Muslim. I had a tough time...

Wan Teh mentions in the treatise that a senior member in the Islamic party had made the accusation to nationalist members in the coalition party thus the issue was echoed again in national political stage.

Historically speaking, takfir is very difficult to be contained and the target is not limited to any certain people. It could also spread like an epidemic until it involves a friend with a friend. The Kharijites in the beginning had called Ali r.a and his party as infidels because their acceptance to tahkim or peace treaty with Mu'awiyah. Later, this act is extended to those who commit major sins. After that, those who are not apart of their group and movement are called the infidels. Those who refuse to wage war on non-Kharijites were called infidels although they held the view which is the same with the Kharitijites (Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari; 15:312). Among the Muslim Brotherhood, figures such as Muhammad al-Ghazali and Sayyid Sabiq were charged with infidelity by the extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood (Muhammad al-Ghazali, Min Ma'alim al-Haq: 242).    

Due to that this issue is an important issue as it deals with creed of a Muslim, his life and the unity of the nations thus there is a need for serious attention being given to the discussion in order to understand the issue in an academic way and with an objective besides leaving behind the group sentiments, political inclination and so on.

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

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