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    A takfiri (Arabic: تكفيري‎ takfīrī) is a Muslim who accuses another Muslim (or member of Abrahamic religions) of apostasy. The accusation itself is called takfir, derived from the word kafir (infidel), and is described as when "one who is, or claims to be, a Muslim is declared impure."

    The act of accusing other Muslims of being takfiri has itself become a sectarian slur particularly since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, as when used by Shi''a groups such as Hezbollah to refer to Sunnis.

    In principle the only group authorised to declare a member of an Abrahamic religion a kafir ("infidel") is the ulema, and this is only done once all the prescribed legal precautions have been taken. However, a growing number of splinter Wahhabist/Salafist groups, labeled by some scholars as Salafi-Takfiris, have split from the orthodox method of establishing takfir through the processes of the Sharia law, and have reserved the right to declare apostasy themselves against any Muslim in addition to non-Muslims.



    Takfiris have been classified by some commentators as violent offshoots of the Salafi movement, yet while Salafism is seen as a form of ''fundamentalist Islam'', it is not an inherently violent movement that condones terrorism. Takfiris, on the other hand, condone acts of violence as legitimate methods of achieving religious or political goals. Middle East expert Robert Baer has written that

    "takfiri generally refers to a Sunni Muslim who looks at the world in black-and-white; there are true believers and then there are nonbelievers, with no shades in between. A takfiri''s mission is to re-create the Caliphate according to a literal interpretation of the Qur''an."


    Takfiris believe in Islam strictly according to their interpretation of Muhammad''s and his companions'' actions and statements, and do not accept any deviation from their path; they reject any reform or change to their interpretation of religion as it was revealed in the time of the prophet. Those who change their religion from Islam to any other way of life, or deny any of the fundamental foundations of Islam, or who worship, follow or obey anything other than Islam, become those upon whom the takfiris declare the "takfir", calling them apostates from Islam and so no longer Muslim.

    According to at least one source (Trevor Stanley) the precedent "for the declaration of takfir against a leader" came from Medieval Islamic scholar Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyyah who issued a famous fatwa declaring jihad against invading Mongols not because they were invading but because they were apostates, apostasy from Islam being punishable by death. Though the Mongols had converted to Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah reasoned that since they followed their traditional Yassa law rather than Islamic Sharia law, they were not really Muslims and thus apostates. More recently 18th-century Islamic Revivalist Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and 20th-century Muslim authors Maulana Maududi and Sayyid Qutb, referenced Ibn Taymiyyah in condemning self-proclaimed Muslims as not really Muslims. Al-Wahhab condemned practices of Shia, Sufi and other Muslims as bid''a (innovation of the religion), and al-Wahhab''s followers slew many Muslims for allegedly pagan (kufr) practices. In his influential book Milestones, Sayyid Qutb argued not that some Muslims should not be considered Muslims, but that the failure of the world Muslim community to obey Shariah law meant, "the Muslim community has been extinct for a few centuries" having fallen back into a state of pagan ignorance (jahiliyyah).

    Elie Podeh distinguishes between conservative Islamists, "jihadi" Muslims and takfiri groups. Like jihadis, Takfiri groups advocate armed struggle against the secular regime, invoking the concepts of jahiliyya, al-hakimiyya (God''s sovereignty), and al-takfir (branding as apostate). However, takfiri groups are more extreme, regarding the whole of Egyptian society as kafir, and therefore completely disengage themselves from it. Also unlike jihadis, takfiri groups (according to Podeh) make no distinction between the regime and the ordinary population when employing violence.

    Takfiris also reject the traditional Muslim duty to obey one''s legitimate rulers in all manners that do not contradict Sharia, as sedition is viewed as a great danger to a nation. However, Takfiris consider all political authority that does not abide by their interpretation of Islam as illegitimate and apostate; a view which closely mirrors Qutb''s views on jahiliyyah. As such, violence against such regimes is considered legitimate.

    Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhāb makes an explicit takfeer of people who invoke or implore for help to dead people (such as the prophet and his family) or in other word, intercede for themselves with God by seeking intercession to the prophet and his family in his book Risālah Aslu Dīn Al-Islām wa Qā’idatuhu and Kashf ush-Shubuhaat (Clarification Of The Doubts).


    Takfiri views on suicide also differ significantly from that of orthodox Islam. Takfiris believe that one who deliberately kills himself whilst attempting to kill enemies is a martyr (shahid) and therefore goes straight to heaven. As such all sin is absolved when a person is martyred, allowing carte blanche for the indiscriminate killing of non-combatants, for example. An example of such a takfiri terrorist group is the Caucasus Emirate.

    Views within Islam

    Opponents of the takfiris often view them as modern-day analogues of the Khawarij, a seventh-century off-shoot Islamic sect which waged war against the Caliphate.

    In mainstream media

    The term takfiri was brought to a more public prominence by the BBC investigative journalist Peter Taylor, in his 2005 BBC television series The New Al Qaeda.

    Tags:Al Qaeda, Arabic, BBC, Caliphate, Caucasus, Egyptian, Gender, Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, Ibn, Iranian, Iranian Revolution, Islam, Islamic, Islamization, Jihad, Khomeini, Liberalism, Middle East, Muslim, Muslim Brotherhood, Pakistan, Politics, Revolution, Salafi movement, Sayyid, Secularism, Sharia, Shia, Sunni, Syrian, Syrian Civil War, Takfiri, Taliban, Ummah, Wikipedia

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