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Takfir in Islamic Thought


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Takfir: Meaning and Origin 2. Takfir in Early Islamic Theology 3. Takfir in Later Islamic Theology 4. Takfir in Medieval Islamic Thought Conclusion

About the Author

Hussam S. Timani is associate professor of philosophy and religion and codirector of the Middle East and North Africa Studies Program at Christopher Newport University.


This study provides a clear and useful overview of early and medieval Islamic positions on takfir (declaring someone an infidel). Against this background, the recent ideological deployment of takfir by some extremists may be criticized and ultimately rejected as an illegitimate misuse of Islamic tradition. -- Marcia K. Hermansen, Loyola University Chicago
Hussam Timani's Takfir in Islamic Thought is a systematic and in-depth study of a practice that has, unfortunately, become increasingly prevalent in contemporary Islam: namely, branding a fellow Muslim as a non-Muslim. Drawing extensively on the Qur'an, hadiths (the reported sayings of Prophet Muhammad), and classical Arabic texts, Timani demonstrates that there has always been a vigorous debate among Muslim scholars about the understanding of iman (belief) and kufr (disbelief) and, by extension, the definition and legitimate usage of takfir. I was particularly impressed by Timani's attention to questions of nuance and complexity. He not only contrasts a variety of theological schools-the Kharijites, Murji'ites, Karramites, Mu'tazilites, Ash'arites, and Maturidites-but even analyzes differing perspectives within these schools. This book will become essential reading for anyone interested in religious pluralism in Muslim contexts, especially in terms of intra-faith dialogue. -- Shadaab Rahemtulla, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

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