The Radical Application of the Islamist Concept of Takfir

Arab Law Quarterly 31 (2017) 132-160

19 Pages Posted: 23 May 2017

See all articles by Mohamed Badar

Mohamed Badar

Northumbria Law School

Masaki Nagata

Brunel University London

Tiphanie Tueni


Date Written: May 21, 2017


The ideology and actions of certain militant groups in the Middle East are often condemned as a perversion of Islamic precepts. In order to achieve a theologically ideal society these groups espouse Takfirism, a minority ideology which endorses violence and in particular advocates the killing of other Muslims declared to be unbelievers. These groups justify their words and deeds with direct quotations from the Qur’an and the Sunna, which are the sources of Islamic law (Shari‘a), as well as by citing historical precedents such as the Khawarij movement and Ibn Taymiyya’s fatawa. This article aims to analyse how these groups (and in some cases state actors) defend their actions in legal terms and how mainstream Islamic scholars respond to what they consider to be doctrinal deviations.

Keywords: Takfir; ISIS; the Khawarij; Wahhabism; radical Islamist groups; hisba; fatwa; blasphemy; apostasy

Suggested Citation

Badar, Mohamed and Nagata, Masaki and Tueni, Tiphanie, The Radical Application of the Islamist Concept of Takfir (May 21, 2017). Arab Law Quarterly 31 (2017) 132-160, Available at SSRN:

Mohamed Badar (Contact Author)

Northumbria Law School ( email )

Pandon Building
208, City Campus East-1
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Newcastle NE1 8ST
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://

Masaki Nagata

Brunel University London ( email )

Kingston Lane
Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH
United Kingdom

Tiphanie Tueni

Independent ( email )

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