Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition

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(801 words)

(a.), the verbal noun from the form II verb kaffara “to declare someone a kāfir or unbeliever”.

1. General definition.

From earliest Islamic times onwards, this was an accusation hurled at opponents by sectarians and zealots, such as the K̲h̲ārid̲j̲ites [q.v.]; but a theologian like al-G̲h̲azālī [q.v.] held that, since the adoption of kufr was the equivalent here of apostasy, entailing the death penalty [see murtadd ], it should not be lightly made ( Fayṣal al-tafriḳa bayn al-Islam wa ’l-zandaḳa , quoted in B. Lewis, The political language of Islam, Chicago-London 1988, 85-6). It ha…

Cite this page
Ed, and Hunwick, J.O., “Takfīr”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 23 July 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_COM_1154>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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