This 'takfirism'- i.e.denouncing all and sundry as apostates- is a perfectly harmless past-time and occurs within all nice, well conducted, households. Baby says 'Mummy is takfir coz she won't let me eat dirt, waahn!' Mummy says 'Hubby is takfir coz he refuses to buy a new dishwasher.' Hubby says 'wifey is like totally takkir because she beats me in her sleep.' Cat says 'Miao miao takfir miao miao'.
Essentially, the assurance that everybody else is going to burn in hell fire makes it that much easier to put up with their little foibles.
In every small town and village in India, brothers denounce each other as takfir, teachers denounce the Head Master as takfir, peons denounce their bosses as takfir, it's a great social glue and enduring source of hilarity.
The U.K Chair of 'Friends of al Aqsa', Ismail Patel, thinks, however , that takfirism equals 'Islamic' terrorism.
He writes-The term ‘Islamist’ is a political ideology and is unhelpful when employed in this context. The more nuanced term of Takfiri is better suited, which is an ideology viewing liberal democracies as a challenge that corrupts, captures and exploits Muslim people and lands. However what sets them apart is that they view violence as the first and only choice to redress grievances. Historically, the Takfiris have posed violent threats to within Islam and Muslim leaders, and as early as the first century of Islam, they were responsible for assassinating the caliph. Being mindful of the disparity in power, the Takfiris today have relied on terror attacks with high visibility; something that has been termed ‘pornography of violence’. The idea is to entice the liberal states to address the attack with a maximum reciprocity that erodes the very basis upon which the latter's ideologies are anchored. In effect the strategy is one of engineering a major implosion through a minor explosion.'
Is Ismail right? Was 9/11, 'Takfiri? What about the 7/7 London attack & the Mumbai terror strike?
The reason given by the perpetrators for 9/11 was that American troops were defiling the holy land of Saudi Arabia. In response, America relocated its troops. 7/7 and the recent Greenwich attack are about British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the first of which has ceased and the second of which will soon do so. The Mumbai attack had an I.S.I signature and was intended to derail warming Indo-Pak ties by showing that the Democratic elected Govt. of Pakistan could not control the lunatic fringe.
But this suggests that terror attacks are rational and similar to military operations. Essentially, their purpose is to
1) drive the news cycle and thus gain salience as an obligatory passage point for ineressement
2) change the Cost Benefit calculus for the adversary.
Clearly, both objectives can be instrumentalized by
a) Nation States as part of a strategic notion of 'force multipliers with plausible deniability'
b) Self important shitheads who enjoy talking shite.
If 9/11 was Takfiri, the demand would have been for the expulsion of all non-Muslims and symbols of non Muslim culture and life-style. Rather, it appears, 9/11 was motivated by the belief that the Saudi regime would crumble without American troops. Nothing of the sort materialised. The Saudis have successfully met the challenge and now appear to see themselves as champions of main stream Sunni modernising Islam rather than exponents of Ibn Taymiyya style Wahhabism.
It is true that in Algeria in the 90's, there was a 'takfiri' type of jihad according to which anyone not killing everyone else was takfir and should be killed- but this craziness, even if not sponsored by the Regime, nevertheless is the reason it is still securely in place while Tunisia and Egypt have fallen and Syria and Yemen are tottering.
The truth is, some terrorists and killers believe those they kill are apostates but most don't. In any case, tafkirism is only relevant when people belong to the same sect. It is irrelevant when the target belongs to a different religion. In the case of the first hundred years of Islam, all killing arose straightforwardly from a political power struggle. The Ridda wars were about which tribe would dominate and represented a return to pre-Islamic thinking rather than a development within Islam. The rightly guided Caliphs abhorred the shedding of Muslim blood by Muslims. Caliph Uthman could have saved his own life if he'd ordered his supporters to slay the rebels besieging him. Hazrat Ali was killed by a Kharijite still angry that he had not given the order to slaughter those Muslims who opposed him. It is not difficult to say the single word 'takfir'. The rightly guided Caliphs could have elevated themselves to the level of Emperors or Dictators just by pronouncing this word. Instead, two of them were killed because of their principled stand in this regard.
Nobody suggested that those who were cruelly done to death at Kerbala were apostates- it is ludicrous to think so. Caliph Uthman wasn't killed because his assassin thought him an apostate- I may mention that Hazrat Hasan & Husayn were among those protecting the Caliph's house- the issue was purely political.
The reason there was no 'takfiri' bloodshed in the first century of Islam is because everybody knew the following story regarding Usama Ibn Zayd.
Despite his accomplishments in helping defeat the Roman army, he is best known as the person Muhammad admonished for killing a man who had got the best of the Muslims in battle and then when Usama approached him to take off his head, he pronounced the words one officially states to become Muslim. Thinking this was just an attempt to spare his life, Usama killed him anyway. When the news of this got back to Muhammad, he asked Usama, "Did you kill him in spite of his professing La ilaha illallah (There is no God but One)?" Usama replied, "O Messenger of Allah! He said it out of fear of our arms." Muhammad said, "Why did you not cut his heart open to find out whether he had done so sincerely or not?" He continued repeating it until Usama wished he had embraced Islam only that day (so that he could be forgiven for whatever sins he committed before that). (Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Tayalisi, Abu Dawud, Nasa'i, al-`Adni, Abu `Awana, al-Tahawi, al-Hakim, and Bayhaqi.)
It may be that tafkiri terrorism is an issue for an avowedly Islamic state. However, it is not relevant at all to Britain except as a problem internal to the Muslim community.
A Muslim who believes- as most do- that only God knows who is or is not a hypocrite or a heretic or an apostate- i.e. there is no reason for internecine conflict- may still wish to wage war against the West because he believes that it is robbing Muslim countries of their wealth and spreading moral corruption. In fact, a non Muslim may join hands with the Muslim if they share the belief that the West is acting immorally and spreading evil ideas.
Takfirism is totally irrelevant.
Ismail Patel says that 'Britain is de-civilizing Muslims'. I don't know exactly how de-civilized he has become but I bet I am more de-civilized yet. Ignorant of Islam he certainly is- but that isn't Britain's fault. He is stupid and his ignorant shite is published on 'Open Democracy'- is that Britain's fault? No. As I have repeatedly proved- David Cameron is a French Cambodian rent boy who took my online 'English Elocution course' back in 2002. Similarly, Tony Blair (real name, Tarlok Singh Bedi) attended my Super Best Englis Klas in Ballimaron circa 1977.
Mind it kindly.
Mind it kindly.