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Confronting those declaring Muslims as unbelievers intellectually

Harsh punishment is not the right tool for eradicating the phenomenon of declaring Muslims as unbelievers (Takfir)

Nader Bakkar , Wednesday 26 Mar 2014
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When incitement to violence becomes a staunch media campaign, managed from abroad and being persistent on people's minds night and day. When this incitement is backed up by aberrant Fatwas that confer religious legitimacy on burning, sabotaging and violating the sanctity of money and honour and portray the inter-fighting between sons of the same country as Jihad in the name of Allah. When arbitrariness increases in order to arrest innocent people, unsubstantiated accusations are leveled randomly on those who have nothing to do with anything and the most basic human rights of those detained are violated. When the blood of dozens is spilled recklessly, what will prevent a teenager or even a youth in his twenties from dipping himself into the quagmire of declaring Muslims as unbelievers (Takfir)?

It isn't a prerequisite that the victim of a Takfiri thought be brought up in an intellectually distorted environment or a socially poor milieu. Rather, it suffices that all the previous factors accompanied with utter ignorance of the foundations of proper Islamic belief are to create, from a pampered or poor youth or the university student or the illiterate young man, a living substance pulsating with fanaticism and extremism wherever it goes.

Punishing the aggressor is an Islamic jurisprudential duty and a logical necessity in order to rid a society of its scourges and evils. But he, who thinks that the harsh punishment is a tool for getting rid of the phenomenon of Takfir and subsequently being relieved of terrorism, is delusional.

Dozens of political science professors, strategic experts, and an army of media persons, journalists, and analysts all make the same mistake of addressing symptoms while ignoring the incurable disease itself. When they speak about takfir, their talk is confined to the security framework without refuting or invalidating the arguments of those who declare Muslims as unbelievers. Until when shall we continue to revolve in this vicious cycle?

If takfir is launched from an intellectual incubator that claims it is committed to the texts of the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah (the teachings and normative example of the Prophet), then intellectual confrontation should come from scholars and credible authorities within Islam. Let this confrontation be held in our mosques, forums, satellite channels, and even on billboards and posters.

We can start this discussion with Sharia law (Islamic jurisprudence) scholars, Islamic studies students, and brilliant preachers. These respected authorities within Islam should participate in wide-scale campaigns sponsored by Al-Azhar, charity organizations, developmental institutions and moderate-thinking Islamic action to confront the outbreak of the cancer of takfir among the youth of our nation, equipped with the Sharia sciences necessary to eradicate the disease and treat its after-effects.

When the Kharijites group emerged during the rule of the Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib, quoting texts from the Holy Qur'an in order to support their false faith, projecting it out of context due to ignorance and arrogance, he sent to them the renowned Islamic jurist Abdullah ibn Abbas to argue with them. He was able to return with half of them repentant and penitent. The argument was held clear on those who remained before the sword fell on their necks…Shall we repeat this act now, for maybe we will gain one tenth of them repentant and penitent? 

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