February 03, 2006

Why Muslims Don't Pronounce "Takfir"

George Carty asked: "Would it not be a good idea to refer to extremist terrorists like al-Zarqawi and the GIA as 'takfiris'?"

Good question, George; however, the answer is no.

Both the Qur'an and the sahih ahadith collections are strong in their condemnations of this practice. We are not to judge who is a kafir unless there is extremely stringent evidence against them. Unfortunately, there are some groups, such as Takfir wal-Hijra and the GIA, who take a too-liberal approach toward pronouncing people as kafirs when perhaps they shouldn't be; however, these same groups may suffer for their pronunciations of takfir in the hereafter.

According to the Qur'an: "O ye who believe! When ye go abroad in the cause of Allah, investigate carefully, and say not to any one who offers you a salutation: "Thou art none of a believer!" Coveting the perishable goods of this life: with Allah are profits and spoils abundant. Even thus were ye yourselves before, till Allah conferred on you His favours: Therefore carefully investigate. For Allah is well aware of all that ye do." (4:94)

The punishment for those Muslims who kill other Muslims is severe: "If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him." (4:93)

In the sahih collections are the following ahadith:

“Whenever a man accuses another of being a kafir or wrong-doer, this accusation will rebound on him if the one accused is not in reality a kafir or wrong-doer.” (Bukhari)

“The man who calls another kafir or enemy of God, and the latter was not such, this charge will indeed turn back upon the accused.” (Muslim)

“He who curses a believer, it is as if he has killed him. And he who accuses a believer of kufr, it is as if he has killed him.” (Bukhari)

There is a belief in Islam that we humans are not really in a position to judge who is a Muslim and who isn't. One never knows who will be accepted into Jannah (heaven), even at the last moment:

"Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: There was a person before you who had killed ninety-nine persons and then made an inquiry about the learned persons of the world (who could show him the way to salvation). He was directed to a monk. He came to him and told him that he had killed ninety-nine persons and asked him whether there was any scope for his repentance to be accepted. He said: No. He killed him also and thus completed one hundred. He then asked about the learned persons of the earth and he was directed to a scholar, and he told him that he had killed one hundred persons and asked him whether there was any scope for his repentance to be accepted. He said: Yes; what stands between you and the repentance? You better go to such and such land; there are people devoted to prayer and worship and you also worship along with them and do not come to the land of yours since it was an evil land (for you). So he went away and he had hardly covered half the distance when death came to him and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment. The angels of mercy said: This man has come as a penitant and remorseful to Allah and the angels of punishment said: He has done no good at all. Then there came another angel in the form of a human being in order to decide between them. He said: You measure the land to which he has drawn near. They measured it and found him nearer to the land where he intended to go (the land of piety), and so the angels of mercy took possession of it. Qatada said that Hasan told him that it was said to them that as death approached him, he crawled upon his chest (and managed) to slip in the land of mercy.
Muslim, Book 037, Number 6662

(There are slight variations to the story in hadith numbers 6663 and 6664; however, the basic story remains the same.)

Also, from Maulana Maudoodi (May 1935):

It is in Hadith that once during a military expedition a man, when he saw the Muslims, said: “Assalamu Alaikum, there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” But a Muslim killed him, thinking that the man had proclaimed the Kalima just to save his own life. When the Holy Prophet heard of this, he was very angry, and he reprimanded that Muslim. But he replied:

“O Messenger of Allah, that man read the Kalima merely to protect himself from our sword.”

The Holy Prophet said:

“Did you open his heart and look inside it?”

A companion of the Holy Prophet asked:

“If a man (in battle) attacks me and cuts off my hand, but when I attack him he recites the Kalima, can I kill him in these circumstances?”

The Holy Prophet said: “No.” The companion said:

“O Messenger of Allah, he cut off my hand.”

The Holy Prophet said:

“Despite that, you cannot kill him. If you do kill him then he will have the rank which you had before you killed him, and you will have the rank which he had before he recited the Kalima.

In another hadith it says that the Holy Prophet said:

“If a man (in a battle) is attacking a kafir with a spear, and it has reached his throat, and at that moment he says ‘There is no god but Allah,’ the Muslim must immediately withdraw his spear.”

Another hadith records that

“to abuse a Muslim is an act of wrong-doing, and to fight a Muslim is an act of kufr.”

All these instructions were given because the strength and unity of the Muslims are based on the bond of faith and nothing else. If Muslims do not honour this bond, and they keep on cutting it on small things, the community will become disintegrated, and it will have no collective strength left to proclaim the word of God to the followers of falsehood and to invite them to good.

For more information about takfir, you might also look at:
Fitna-i Takfir (‘The mischief of calling Muslims as kafir’)
Wiki: Takfir


George Carty said...

I wasn't suggesting that Muslims should pronounce takfir on terrorists, but rather should attack the terrorists because of the TERRORISTS' pronouncements of takfir.

Did you understand this?

Running Man said...

why is there so many quotes from holy scriptures. thats the most annoying thing.