Takfirism

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Terrorist groups with Takfiri ideology are preaching hatred and practicing savage crimes against humanity while falsely claiming to be the true followers of Islam.

TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00

Narration: Today, over one billion people in the world are Muslims. They all believe in monotheism, the prophet-hood of Muhammad, and the holy Quran. However, the unity within the Muslim world is being threatened by a group who call themselves Muslims but what they practice is not Islam. They have different names but share the same ideology; the same callousness, and the same disregard for human life. They claim to have promoted pure Islam, the one practiced by the first generations of Muslims. But what they have offered so far has been a harsh, rigid, wrong interpretation of Sharia and Islamic traditions. They look upon themselves as the only saved group chosen by God while consider others as infidels who have to be killed. They call themselves real Muslim but Muslim scholars call them Takfiri and their ideology Takfirism.

The first instance of takfir can be traced back to a few decades after the death of the Prophet, when a group of Muslims broke into revolt against the authority of Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the prophet’s successor and the ruler of the Muslim world. They called him kafir or non-believer and killed him later in 661 while praying in the Great Mosque of Kufa in Iraq. The group known as the Khawarij was among the first to promote takfiri ideology. After the Khawarij, the Salafi Takfiri ideology came into being. Influenced by Ibn Taymiyyah, a medieval Islamic scholar, the followers of this ideology called the majority of Muslims non-believers.

Takfirism reared its ugly head once more in the 18th-century Arabian Peninsula under the cloak of Wahhabism, Muhammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab denounced all Muslims who honored the dead, saints, or angels.

He wrote, "Those who would not conform to this view should be killed, their wives and daughters violated, and their possessions confiscated.”

Many believe thatterrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and the Taliban are the contemporary embodiment of takfirism. As a militant multi-national organization, al-Qaeda was founded in 1988 by several Arab volunteers including Osama bin Laden, who fought against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Having a distorted interpretation of jihad, the group has carried out a huge number of terrorist attacks throughout the world.

Since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the fall of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the power vacuum in the country created a breeding ground for takfiri groups. In 2006 these groups mainly came under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and with the outbreak of war in Syria in 2011, the group called itself Daesh” to be the most recent takfiri group with the blood of many innocent civilians on its hands. But the question is, “Why should such groups that claims to promote the real Islam, a religion of peace and mercy, kill the innocent people, whether Muslims or non-Muslims. Wherein lies the problem?

TIME CODE: 05:00_10:27

Narration: The Takfiris’ spurious arguments about Sharia law, their negation of reason, and finally their rejection of any Quranic interpretations have all resulted in a chaotic situation where compassion gives its place to hatred and holy concepts like jihad and justice become an excuse for bloodshed …

For Takfiri groups like al-Qaeda and its affiliates, jihad is of paramount importance. While the main focus of Islam is on peaceful co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims, Takfiri groups puts unnecessary emphasis on jihad – which primarily meant as a collective form of defense against invaders. They consider jihad just like a pillar of the religion and a means to justify their heinous crimes against humanity. Their understanding of jihad is in direct contradiction to the nature of Islam.

On Takfiris’ list of apostates meriting death are Muslims of many denominations, above all Shia Muslims. Takfiris have sworn to annihilate this group of Muslims, accusing them of breaking with traditions and promoting innovation in the religion. They see any prayers to saints and the dead as the examples of innovation punishable by death; they ban pilgrimages to holy shrines and tombs as a sin of idolatry; and regard religious festivals celebrating saints or honoring of the Muslim Prophet as blasphemous acts.

By the same token, Takfirs consider seeking intercession of Prophet Muhammad and religious saints against the Islamic traditions, and in contraction to Tawhid or the oneness of God. That’s while seeking intercession is a direct order mentioned in the holy Quran. Chapter 4, verse 64 reads:

“And We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed by permission of Allah. And if, when they wronged themselves, they had come to you, [O Muhammad], and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Accepting of repentance and Merciful.”

Cruelty and savagery are part of Takfiris’ strategy in Muslim countries as in other parts of world. They have massacred Shia communities in Iraq and Syria as well as Sunni Muslims and the followers of other religions, calling them apostates. That’s while human life is cherished in Islam. According to the Quran, “Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely.”

In addition to killing innocent civilians and looting their property, Takfiri groups demolish shrines, holy places and historic sites in their twisted ideology to expunge the earth from the symbols of idolatry and polytheism. That’s while they have revived slavery and sex slavery in particular in territories under their control. Takfirism has above all sullied the reputation of Islam and its followers, fanning the flames of Islamophobia.

The Takfiris’ myopic attitude to religious concepts like Tawhid, Intercession and Jihad has resulted in the death of many innocent civilians. Negating reasoning in their reading of Islamic texts and sources, they have utilized religion to excommunicate and then do away with those who think differently. Over centuries, Takfirism has proved to be a political movement with a religious mask that has had no tolerance towards others, whether Muslims or non-Muslims.   

   

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