Takfirism Is Not Just An ISIL Problem — It’s a Muslim Problem

A call to Muslims to oppose takfirism by condemning Pakistan’s Second Amendment signed 40 years ago this week.

I read with interest Salam Al-Maryati’s recent piece for OnFaith titled “Takfirism: The Key to Understanding ISIL.” While well intentioned, Marayati inaccurately relegates the practice of “takfir” to a problem of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), while ignoring the pervasive grip the practice has on the majority of the Muslim world.

First, contrary to Marayati’s assertion, takfir is not some ancient practice revived by Gulf States today. Unfortunately, Muslims have engaged in takfir throughout Islam’s 1400-year history. In fact, ISIL is late to the takfir party and is simply joining virtually every other Islamic organization and sect worldwide that has been engaged in the practice.

Marayati omits some critical history from his piece. In 1974, the Muslim world was comprised of 73 different sects. Among the newest sects then was the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, established in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, a man who claimed he was the awaited Messiah and Mahdi. Muslim leaders from each of Islam’s 72 other sects convened in Pakistan, and in a collective act of takfir, unanimously declared all Ahmadi Muslims to be “non-Muslim.” This unprecedented pronouncement led Pakistan’s Parliament to pass the Second Amendment, formally declaring Ahmadis to be non-Muslim. To date, Muslim leaders the world over rely on the 1974 amendment to practice takfir against all Ahmadi Muslims.

The head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community at the time, His Holiness Mirza Nasir Ahmad, warned the Muslim world that its decision to excommunicate an entire community from the pale of Islam had sowed the seeds of extremism, which would rapidly spread if left unrestrained. September 7, 2014 marks the 40-year anniversary of Pakistan’s Second Amendment, and the rapid rise and growing power of Boko Haram and ISIL — arguably more violent manifestations of the already extreme Taliban and Al Qaeda — prove that His Holiness was correct in warning of the perils of takfirism.

Marayati correctly notes that “we need independent rational thinking now to navigate us away from danger, empowering humanity to prevail over inhumanity.” However, he declines to name any specific Muslim thinker. In reality, the only available independent-thinking Muslim leader capable of fulfilling this requirement is none other than the current worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness the Khalifa of Islam, Mirza Masroor Ahmad. And lest I be accused of judging the faith or sincerity of other Muslim leaders, my argument below is purely secular — not religious.

First, His Holiness’s voice is demonstrably independent. Indeed the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community — established in over 200 nations with membership exceeding 160 million — is the world’s largest entirely self-funded Muslim community. It has remained so for its entire 125-year existence. Accordingly, His Holiness credibly advocates for peace through absolute justice by giving powerful lectures before U.S. and European lawmakers and writing open letters to global leaders, including President Obama and Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Next, while Marayati correctly calls the mixing of religion and state an unholy alliance, he curiously does not mention that His Holiness stands as the Muslim world’s leading voice to vociferously advocate for a strict separation of mosque and state. Arguably, Marayati’s dogmatic disagreements with His Holiness should not impact his endorsement of His Holinesses’ advocacy for secular governance based on absolute justice and service to humanity. Accordingly, His Holiness has repeatedly condemned the barbaric persecution of Christians in Iraq, Gazans in Palestine, all religious minorities in Pakistan, and women and children in Nigeria.

Third, while Marayati correctly calls takfirism a cancer, he ignores that His Holiness leads the world’s only Muslim sect that has categorically rejected the poison of takfirism since its inception. Over a century ago, the Messiah Ahmad declared even about those who did not accept him, “ . . . my belief from the beginning has been that no person becomes a kafir or antichrist by denying my claim. I do not apply the term kafir to any person who professes the Kalima . . . ” Therefore, when looking for a Muslim leader to demonstrate how to conquer Takfirism, who better than the Khalifa of Islam who has already done so by upholding the Messiah Ahmad’s anti-takfir platform?

Muslims — many of whom Marayati correctly notes are disillusioned with hypocritical ulema — are taking notice of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s anti-takfir platform. Despite facing intense persecution from takfirists, it is no accident that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the world’s fastest growing Islamic sect.

Finally, Marayati ignores the fact that takfirism is a cancer that has infected not just ISIL, but also the entire Muslim world — with the sole exception of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The lack of accountability from some Muslim leaders who ignore their united takfir against Ahmadi Muslims — when convenient to present themselves as more pluralistic — perpetuates intolerance. Sadly, since 1974, we can list on one hand how many Muslim organizations and leaders have openly recognized Ahmadi Muslims as Muslims and have rejected Pakistan’s takfir-inspired Second Amendment. Ironically, Marayati and the Muslim Public Affairs Council he presides over are not yet on that list.

So, I invite Marayati, MPAC, and all Muslim leaders and organizations to demonstrate their opposition to takfirism by categorically condemning Pakistan’s Second Amendment and publicly recognizing Ahmadi Muslims as Muslims.

Where Muslims once united to practice takfir, they must now unite to eradicate it.

The opinions expressed in this article belong to the author.

Image courtesy of Portable Soul.

Qasim Rashid
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  • Ahmad

    Sir very good article, the truth is simple Islam can only flourish by being united and that can only happen by accepting The Messiah and Imam Mahdi and joining his Jamaat, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community!

  • Ahmad

    Sir very good article, the truth is simple Islam can only flourish by being united and that can only happen by accepting The Messiah and Imam Mahdi and joining his Jamaat, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community!

    • http://www.ahmedi.org Ahmedi.org

      That is arrogant. That Punjabee slave mentality on full display.

  • http://www.ahmedi.org Ahmedi.org

    This entire article makes no sense.
    Didn’t Ahmadis call ALL MUSLIMS AS KAFIRS in the 1910’s and 20’s??
    Wasn’t one of the differences that caused the Split on Takfir?? Didn’t Mahmud Ahmad admit to calling Muslim as such in this debate?? Didn’t Mahmud ahmad write an article on this very topic in 1911 that caused a stir??
    Didn’t Mirza sahib say in 1904-06 era (roughly) that if anyone calls him a Kafir, they are automatically a Kafir??? Hence, declaring 90% of Muslims as Kafirs in India??? What if a Muslim doesn’t accept the prophethood of Mirza sahib?? Doesn’t that make someone a Kafir???
    Didn’t Mahmud Ahmad admit to calling Muslims Kafir in court in 1953? The Munir Inquiry?? Oh wait…that was Kufr Dunna Kufr right???
    Do some research on your own religion buddy!!
    I know you folks have been trying to change your image since 1947…it may have worked for some time, however, that boat has sailed, the internet killed Ahmadiyyat.

    • muslimsforpeace

      Ahmadis believe all non ahmadis to be non ahmadi “Muslims”. Take my words if you are honest.
      Now tell me do you believe ahmadis to be Muslims?

      • http://www.ahmedi.org Ahmedi.org


        Do you have any evidence???

        We have writings from the sons of MGAQ which prove the opposite of what you say??


    • Khalid Shaikh

      These are all hypocritical lies, Firstly, all the so called ulema of subcontinent and arab countries declared Mirza sahib Kafir by collecting fatwas from the whole continent. Only then Mirza Sahib re-calling a Hadith of Holy Prophet (pbuh) that whosoever called a muslim kafir, becomes kafir himself, Mirza Sahib never called anyone kafir himself. Stop spreading lies and putting things totally out of context. And according to the Munir report, Every other sect becomes kafir according to their definition of a muslim. Ahmadis call all others non-ahmedi muslims, Instead of our Image, you should be worried about your own image, Since 1974, Pakistan/islam/terrorism have become synonyms, thats what you should b worried about instead of ahmadies image, and if someones loyal/honest/trustworhty/compassionate/ pakistanis accuse him or her of being ahmadi, Thats our image.

      • http://www.ahmedi.org Ahmedi.org

        @ Khalid Shaikh

        1. Where are the lies?? This is what Ahmadis do all the time. Whenever we present data…they call it a lie, fanatic Ahmadis (90% of all Ahmadis) end up believing you and never research their own books. This is so sad.

        2. You are right in 1891–1893, the ulema of India, published a Fatwa stating that MGAQ was not a Muslim in their opinion. What Arab countries joined them??? NONE….Arab countries didnt exist, the Ottoman Empire ruled them.

        2.a. In fact, Mahmud Ahmad went for Hajj in 1913. Hence, proving that the Arab speaking world didnt know or care about Ahmadiyyat.

        3. It was til 10 years after the fatwa when MGAQ began calling Muslims as Kafirs. First, he found a hadith of Muhammad (saw) which he used to call all Muslims Kafir very cleverly I may add. However, in 1906, he said that all Muslims who havent accepted him are Kafirs. Do you need the reference????

        3.a. I am happy to provide you with this knowledge…obviously, Ahmadis dont talk about this event.

        4. The Munir report favored Ahmadis….you people had sooooooo much political influence in those days…in fact, Maudoodi was given the death penalty, possibly as a favor to Ahmadis.

        5. And yes…I know that Ahmadis call Muslims as “Ghair-Ahmadis-Musalamans”. This is proof enough that you hate Muslims and consider as not TRUE MUSLIMS.

        5.a. Remember, Ahmadis are fond of calling Kalima professing Muslims as “so-called-Muslims”. Masroor does it almost every week in his Khutba. Isnt that Takfeer on a weekly basis.

        6. And have you read all the statements from the sons of MGAQ ranging from 1911 to 1922???? If you havent….you need to.

        7. Here is one reference for you….”God almighty has conveyed it to me that every person to whom my call is conveyed and who does not accept me is not a Muslim and is accountable to God for his default (Letter addressed to Dr. Abdul Hakeem (April 1906).”

        7.a. This reference was also archived in Tadhkirah til a few years ago when it was removed.

        8. The Muslim image??? Well…it has been under attack for 700 years.

        9. The USA and Pakistan are allies. General Zia and Ronald Reagen were good friends. Pakistan has nuclear capabilities….what other Muslim country has it???

        10. And we are tired of Ahmadis selling Islam and giving all the money to a member of Mirza’s family.

        any other questions???


        • Khalid Shaikh

          1. Look, when i say, that ahmadis do not call other muslims kafir, then either

          you believe me or you dont, but you do not have the

          right to force me to believe in what you think. I know what ahmedis call other muslims, and thats Non-ahmedi Muslims, no more no less.

          2. Nice to know that you agreed to the point that takfir started from non-ahmedi muslims

          first. Ahmedis never took part in any takfiri movement.

          3. And by arab countries, what i meant was arab clergy, you are right about the ottoman empire.

          4. And since you also know that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad went for Hajj. Ahmedis are not

          allowed to go to hajj since the inclusion of religion section on pakistani passport,

          otherwise, ahmedis all over the world go to hajj.

          5. And if you think that Mirza sahib (found a hadith very cleverly) then im sorry to say

          but thats an allegation against Prophet Muhammad pbuh himself. because Quran and

          hadith are for our guidance. If you have another guide other than Quran and Prophet Muhammad,than

          i cant do anything about it.

          6. And you dont have to give me any references, because out of utter

          ignorance and prejudice you will always refer to it out of context.

          all other non-ahmedi muslims are waiting for the promised messiah and Imam Mehdi to come as well

          and according to them, when he appears, and who doesnt believe in him, what would you call them

          then? because according to the Hadith prophet Muhammad pbuh said, When Imam Mehdi appears among you, Say my salam

          to him and do ba’ait on his hand. So you tell me, when your Imam mehdi will appear among you, and those who doesnt

          believe in him, what would you call them?

          7. And about Munir report, well, if you think they favoured the ahmedis and ahmedis influenced the politics,

          all i can say is “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un” nothing more to that. and if you think calling someone non-ahmedi muslim is any different then

          calling someone shia muslims, sunni muslim, wahabi muslim, bahrelvi muslim, salafi muslim, sufi muslim, ismaili muslims, kathiya muslims, zikris and the list goes on till 72.

          then so be it, i cant do anything about it. these are just names given to identify to ones sect, not to hate someone.

          8. and i dont know why it hurts you so much when ahmedis recite kalima tayyiba, love the quran, the hadith, prophet Muhammad pbuh more then their own lives. unlike

          your mullahs who are busy day and night calling each other kafirs, preaching hatred in the name of islam, killing innocents in the name of shariah.

          9. and mind you, the way Mirza sahib and his successors have defended islam against all enemies, no one comes even close in the last 1400 years, and im not saying that,

          if you know so much about history and research, go research about it, He was called the Champion in the defence of Islam by all those ulema who later on turned against

          him after his claims. They all use to envy him.

          10. and about USA, Zia, Nuclear bomb! I dont know which part are you so proud of!

          11. and if you are do tired of ahmedis preaching the true islam and sacrificing their wealth for spreading the message of peace and love, why dont you do it?? whos stopping you!

          . But the billions and billions of dollars

          that the arab world owns goes to poeple like hamas, al qaeda, taliban, salafis, ISIS just to preach hate, kill innocent people, and give bad name to islam

          and what not, i dont think i need to mention any more.


          • http://www.ahmedi.org Ahmedi.org

            @ Khalid

            1. Why are you not reading your own books? Why are you not willing to discuss the points that I made?/ Why are you sooo brainwashed??

            1.a. We can prove to anyone, on an academic level, that Ahmadiyyya is false and a dirty religion. What issue would you like to discuss??

            2. MGAQ himself stated that if any person claims prophethood, they are Kafir, there are many many referneces…do you wish to see them??

            4. Why do Ahmadis trespass Mecca?? Why do Ahmadis trespass in the UAE??? Why dont Ahmadis follow the rules?? And yes, I know all about 1973-74 and the ban on Ahmadis. Answer my questions…

            5. First off, this hadith has no basis in the Quran. Why do Ahmadis choose Hadith that dont have a Quranic references?? And further, by using this hadith, MGAQ was cleverly engaging in Takfir. Why didnt he just remain silent???

            6. Why dont you want references?? Why arent you willing to conduct research work?? Why arent you willing to use your own brain??

            6.a. I am not out-of-context, I give references to everything. Try me….

            6.b. This is point, when Esa (as) and the Mahdi return, those who dont accept him will be Kafirs. So…..why dont you call us Kafir’s then?? Why are you falling back and saying no its OK to deny us??

            6.c. What hadith are you referring to about giving the Imam Mahdi bait?? I know of the hadith oif course. Why didnt you post the reference??

            6.d. Do you know that 99% of Mahdi/Messiah related hadith, explain that the Mahdi and Messiah are two seperate people. Essentially, you are using that entire hadith out of context. Do you even know that??? And is this even an authentic tradition?? Was it recorded in Bukhari?? Muslim??

            7. yes…Ahmadis got a pass in 1954. Munir helped Ahmadis. However, Zafrullah Khan was forced to leave the country. He was telling Mahmud Ahmad, your khalifa about all the politics of Pakistan.

            7.a. There are more than 72 sects in Islam, there are probably over 1000’s of sects. Again, Ahmadis are brainwashed to believe in this very odd hadith. Its so sad.

            8. Ahmadis are fake Muslims. Thats the problem here. The entire Muslim world is 99% agreed on this matter. MGAQ was a madman. I dare you to read his books. They are filthy. MGAQ wished death upon sooooo many people. He embarrassed Islam.

            8.a. Why do you hate Mullah’s so much??? Arent they Muslim?? And what about Ahmadi-Mullahs??? Are they also dangerouys??

            9. He was not a champion of anything. I have read all of the history/. He prayed for people to die all the time. In fact, the British govt had to step in and stip him from issuing these Mubahila Challengens. These are terrorists challneges really.

            10. I am not proud of anything. I am stating the facts. The USa supported Zia as a major ally in teh region. 2 American congressman died in that plane crash. Why do you people celebrate that??

            11. I dont need money….The Mirza family wants money….hence they are sellling Islam.

            I answered all of your questions. Any more?? And will you answer my questions now??

  • muslimsforpeace

    Ahmadis believe all non ahmadis to be non ahmadi “Muslims”. Take my words if you are honest. 
    Now tell me do you believe ahmadis to be Muslims?
    we can decide it right here who believes in takfir allegations.