Principles of Takfīr – Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘

In this book, originally titled Īmān Aur Kufr Qur’ān Kī Roshnī Mein (Īmān and Kufr in Light of the Qur’ān), Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘* provides a detailed explanation of the principles of Takfīr (declaring someone outside the fold of Islām). As he explains in the preface to the book, most of the academic content is taken from a highly technical and largely inaccessible work by his teacher, ‘Allāmah Anwar Shāh al-Kashmīrī, called Ikfār al-Mulidīn. Thus, writing for the benefit of a more popular audience, Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘ offers a clear understanding of what constitutes Īmān and Kufr, and outlines the principles on which a person who claims to be Muslim while denying core elements of Islām will be deemed a Kāfir.

Since the work was written shortly after the creation of Pakistan, Mufti Muḥammad Shafī‘ also includes a short tangential discussion on the two-nation theory (which was the basis for the creation of Pakistan).

In light of Zandaqah (crypto-Kufr) and Ilḥād (heretical distortion) – concepts discussed in detail in the book – being on the rise today, Muftī Shafī‘’s work is all the more relevant and important.

* Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘ was one of the most eminent scholars of undivided India and then the new state of Pakistan. He served as the head-muftī of Dār al-‘Ulūm Deoband for over ten years, having trained in Ḥanafī Fiqh and fatwā under the first head-muftī of the Dār al-‘Ulūm, Muftī ‘Azīz al-Raḥmān Deobandī, and Ḥakīm al-Ummah Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī. In 1943 CE, Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘ resigned from the Dār al-‘Ulūm due to his involvement in the Pakistan movement. When Pakistan came into existence, he migrated to Karachi, and in 1951 CE established Dār al-‘Ulūm Karachi. He authored a number of academic books and treatises primarily on subjects of Fiqh. He initially took bay‘ah in taṣawwuf at the hands of Shaykh al-Hind (1851 – 1920 CE), and then continued on the spiritual path with Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī, receiving khilāfah (successorship) from him.

Zameelur Rahman

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