Takfeer (Excommunication)

Takfeer (Excommunication)

Author: Ms. Seen Noon


Allah says in the Holy Quran, in Surah Ale ‘Imran, Verse 103

Quran Surah Ale Imran

‘And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.’ (3:103)

The book of guidance / hidayah, the golden book sent down to us via our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ for the benefit of the entire mankind, providing us with insights on things big or small, so we may not be blinded by false explanations/ versions of Allah’s commands, ultimately not letting us go astray, thinking, that maybe it was this or that. A clear guideline is narrated by our supreme Creator, informing us and implanting in our minds that we are all equal in the eyes of Allah, brothers actually, a favor bestowed by Allah on mankind. To save us from the hellfire, Allah instructs very clearly, to NOT become divided, and to hold the rope of Allah with a firm faith in Him, while seeking guidance from the Quran. Just look around us, everywhere you see a division, inequality, on the basis of race, religion, color, status, and more. Who has authorized us to create such an imbalance in Allah’s world? The world was made so mankind could dwell in it with peace and harmony, where justice was to prevail, and all to be caretakers of those around them.

According to The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, takfir means:

Pronouncement that someone is an unbeliever (kafir) and no longer Muslim, used in the modern era for sanctioning violence against leaders of Islamic states who are deemed insufficiently religious. Mainstream Muslims and Islamist groups reject the concept as a doctrinal deviation, rejecting takfir as un-Islamic and marked by bigotry and zealotry.

Alas, we have truly lost track of our destiny, have forgotten the means to adapt to reach the end in this world and the next, becoming rather accomplices in the hands of satan, helping him in spreading hatred, injustice, inequality, division, and a sense of superiority, being better than others. How can we be so equipped with analytical tools so as to calculate and categorize the goodness of our fellow beings according to our value system? This type of categorization and analysis is something that only our Creator can accomplish, Who knows, hears, sees it all, even the tiniest of thoughts hidden deep under our conscience are visible to Him. Thus, we are nothing as compared to His skills, undoubtedly, then why the sense of superiority, why the demeaning gestures, showing to the world that ONLY we matter, and others hold no meaningful role to fulfill in this circle of life.

In Muslims, I have witnessed that people belonging to a certain sect would consider in their hearts that the other person, of a different sect is not going to please Allah with any of his/her deeds. At extremes, even considering someone a non-believer, God forbid. We are all Muslims, and in no way can we put a stamp of a believer / non-believer as a result of the sect one belongs to.

Allah says in the Holy Quran, in Surah Al-Hujurat, Verse 11

Quran Surah Al Hujjarat

‘O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.’ (49:11)

Allah, the Almighty, only He knows the real fate of a believer, we are none to label any one, or whispering it to the world that they are of this sect or that, trying to satisfy our self-obsessions that we are the perfect versions of the Islam sent by Allah. I mean, I don’t have a clue about the acceptance of my prayers and supplications, that, are they up-to-mark, or am I offering my responsibilities and duties as a believer, in the best manner possible or not? The final score at the day of judgement would make it apparent to us, of the seeds we have planted in this life, while making it a task next to impossible to get a badge of YES or NO from Allah, the Almighty, announcing it openly in this world if we are on the right track or not.

During the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, there were incidents when some people were looked at with a hint of dislike, that maybe they are not strong in their faith and ultimately thinking of them as a non-believer. Our beloved Prophet ﷺ strictly refused to let this impurity dwell in His beloved Islam, saying that:

‘Did you tear open his heart to see what was in it?’

SubhanAllah! Then and there this division and segmentation was stopped by our Prophet ﷺ, otherwise people would have turned to exercise unfavorable means of dealing with their Muslim brothers, who they perceived as outside of Islam. We have no way of knowing if our friend, or a colleague or a neighbor is firm in his faith or if he is beloved to Allah and we are blind enough to not see it clearly. After all, we are humans, we lack a lot of qualities, attributes to filter out someone’s religious stage, or his level of piety and love for Allah and Muhammad ﷺ. No one knows what seal is one labelled with in the eyes of Allah, who knows, maybe a person we strongly believe is a non-believer and will not go to Paradise, but Allah knows that in a certain period of time that person will set his path straight and Allah will grant him a place in heaven because of his piety and love for Allah.

Our Holy Prophet ﷺ said in another Hadith:

In the hadith Ibn Umar related that the Holy Prophet said: If a Muslim calls another kafir, then if he is a kafir let it be so; otherwise, he [the caller] is himself a kafir.” (Abu Dawud, Book of Sunna, edition published by Quran Mahal, Karachi, vol. iii, p. 484)

Crystal clear I’d say, our Holy Prophet ﷺ couldn’t have opened our eyes more clearly than this. What a great shame it would be if we accuse a person of being a non-believer (kafir), when he is NOT one in the eyes of Allah, while on the other hand we get a bad deed in our bags and get labeled as a kafir instead. It’s a sad thing really, as more and more cases of such name calling and accusations have started to surface on a more frequent basis. The pride in our souls for being a Muslim and our actions imitating that we believe that we are the most perfect versions of a believer, disregarding respect and tolerance for the actions of those around us. This is leading towards a downfall for all of us, and the only way to come out of this is to correct ourselves and our thinking patterns. Letting go of hatred, contempt, animosity against our fellow brothers and sisters would help getting rid of this negativity around us.

Our Prophet ﷺ would never ask Allah to hurt those who did not react to his teachings and rather sent out groups of people to torture our Holy Prophet ﷺ. Allah’s messenger took a lot of toll on his health by the arrogant actions of these non-Muslims, but the humble Prophet ﷺ always smiled and asked Allah to guide those people and to return them to Islam.

The great scholar from Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Muhammed ibn Saalih al Uthaymeen talks about Takfeer as follows; “The kaafir is the one whom Allah and His messenger have declared a kaafir. And takfeer itself has conditions. Among those, ilm (knowledge) and iradah (will, intent). So, we need to know that he opposed the truth, and he knew the truth, and he intended deliberate opposition, and that he did not have any faulty interpretation (in the matter), such as when a person prostrates to an idol, and he knows that prostrating to an idol is shirk, and he does not have any faulty understanding either. What is important is that the affair has conditions, and it is not permissible to rush into saying, ‘this is halal (lawful), and this is haram (unlawful).” Furthermore, the Shaykh cites the following verse of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ;

“Reviling a Muslim is fusooq (disobedience of Allah) and killing him is (tantamount to) disbelief.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Building a nation takes unlimited time, immeasurable effort, sincere dedication, and unconditional togetherness of its inhabitants. A task so critical is not easily achieved until and unless the sweat and blood of the young and the older generation joins hands and proceeds in a manner which disallows any incompetency, such as ridiculing the sect of a fellow Muslim on one hand and ignoring all the other qualities of that polished individual on the grounds of our own self-judgement. Squeezing in some room for this adjustment in our belief system can benefit our nation as a whole. The pile of academic achievements and professional milestones can in no way educate you about what our most forgiving Allah has told us in the Quran about not playing with other people’s emotions and religious beliefs.

This knowledge and change can only be a part of our practical lives and social circle if we brainwash our naive souls, while pouring in the jewels of accommodating others, and leaving the ‘believer / non-believer’ tag to the creator of this beautiful universe. Spending quality time with the Holy Book and the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet ﷺ can enlighten and eradicate the darkness of a closed-minded believer, and open new horizons of forgiveness, acceptance, and trust. Saving oneself from the displeasure of Allah by holding onto the rope of faith (iman), Quran and Sunnah, is the only way towards a better and brighter tomorrow. Let’s all strive to be better versions of ourselves, setting beautiful examples of humility, kindness, religious enlightenment, generosity and love for mankind, in order to inspire others to strengthen their faith in Allah and His miraculous universe.


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