Manas. Studies into Asia and Africa.

Electronic Journal of the Centre for Eastern Languages and Cultures
Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”

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Manas 3 (2017), 2.

Published on 03.11.2017 http://manas.bg/en/issue_4/origins-and-nature-islamic-doctrine-apostasy-and-accusations-unbelief

ISSN: 2367-6256

Evstatiev, Simeon. On the Origins and Nature of the Islamic Doctrine of Apostasy and the Accusations of Unbelief (Takfīr). – In: Manas: The Arab World and Islam in Cultural-Historical Perspective, Vol. 3, 2, 2017.

2017 / Volume 3 / Issue number 2 : The Arab World and Islam in Cultural-Historical Perspective

On the Origins and Nature of the Islamic Doctrine of Apostasy and the Accusations of Unbelief (Takfīr)

Simeon Evstatiev

Summary

The study tackles some key teachings related to the Sunnī doctrine of takfīr – the legally consequential accusation of unbelief leading to the excommunication of a member of the Muslim community (umma) as an apostate (murtadd) which may result in execution. The focus is on the origins of the takfīr doctrine within the context of the early and classical theological and legal discussions in Sunnī Islam. The analysis thus brings to the fore some early and classical theological and legal discussions on the boundary between belief (īmān) and unbelief (kufr) which entails the categorization of sins and the breaches of the sharī‘a leading a person to apostasy (ridda or irtidād), and subsequently to the application of takfīr. Framing the issue, the essay briefly touches upon some questions referring to the contemporary manifestations of takfīr that cause theological and legal disarray in many intra-Muslim discussions, including resulting from the rise of groups, such as the “Islamic State” (IS).

Keywords: takfīr, madhhab, theology (kalām), Ḥanafī, Mālikī, Shāfi‘ī and Ḥanbalī legal schools, Qurʼān, ḥadīth, Islamic law (sharī‘a) and Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), belief (imān) and unbelief (kufr), apostasy (irtidād), repentance (istitāba), Jamā‘at al-Takfīr wa l-Hijra, Salafism, Islamic State (IS)

The main text of the article is in Bulgarian