Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Zaid Hamid: On Pakistan's twin threats - Takfiris and the Foreign Powers.

Enlightening the Current Scenario in Pakistan


Here, Zaid Hamid errs in failing to make a distinction between Takfiris and Salafis.

Takfiris by definition "... have been classified by some commentators as violent offshoots of the Salafi movement, yet while Salafism is seen as a form of 'fundamentalist Islam', it is not an inherently violent movement and does not condone terrorism. Takfiris, on the other hand, condone acts of violence as legitimate methods of achieving religious or political goals. Takfiris practice a number of beliefs that separate them from the Salafist movement. The most obvious example is the aforementioned labelling of fellow Muslims as kufr and the practice of declaring takfir upon them. This belief allows Takfiris to justify the use of violence against fellow Muslims; a contemporary example being the sectarian violence perpetrated in the Iraqi Insurgency."

Going by the above definition, the sectarian militias operating in Pakistan i.e. the Kurram Agency Sunni Vs Shia lashkars, Mangal Bagh's Lashkar-e-Islam Vs the Barelvi Ansar-ul-Islam in Khyber Agency, the Punjabi Lashkar-e-Jhangvi / Sipah-e-Suhaba Vs the Shia Sipah-e-Muhammad are Takfiri groups whom consider each other Kafirs - while the Afghan/Pakistan tribal militias plus the Arabs/Uzbeks operating in Afghanistan are Salafis Vs foreigners whom they consider 'Kafir' crusaders.

Another important distinction between Takfiris and Salafis is that "many Takfiris are not bound by the usual religious constraints regarding wearing a beard, drinking alcohol, or eating pork when such restrictions would interfere with waging effective jihad. To Takfiris, strict adherence to those laws precludes necessary covert action in defense of Islam." The Central Asian Jihadis would fall in this category e.g the Uzbeks and the Chechens.

Thus, above description would not place the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan nor Swat's Mullah Fazlullah amongst Takfiris. It is possible though that the severity of action against the Salafi leadership of Lal Masjid, turned many Salafis into Takfiris, and this is where it now stands.

But he's right on the dot that similar groups have been emerging regularly at critical junctures in Islam, such as the formidable Khwarij movement and the Hashishin of Hasan Al Sabah, which could not sustain for long and were ultimately sidelined by the mainstream Islamic forces.


cliftonbridge said...

The political history of Islam is not that different from the history of the world.

Morality has nothing to do with it, power is primary and ideology is for the most part a tool to con some people into accepting others as powerfull.

This is hard to tease out from the intrisic anxiety muslims have of the world and themselves not being muslim enough ...... which is our equivalent of original sin.

Zeemax said...


Morality has nothing to do with it, power is primary ...

That's correct cliftonbridge.

ideology is for the most part a tool to con some people into accepting others as powerful.

Don't agree with the tool for conning part. Ideology is everything to most people. Rest is just subsistence, and many people want to look beyond that.

Who is conning whom anyways?

The entire thesis of Libertarian thought is knit around self-interest, the economic foundation of which is rooted in classic Adam Smith Capitalism. This is an oxymoron.

Libertarian thought cannot be coupled with self-interest. Think about it. It is self-interest which causes conflicts amongst peoples of different cultures and different identities in the first place. A Libertarian would overcome those differences, but it's their ideological self-interest which always prevents that from happening. In the end there's no difference between a Libertarian and a Fascist.

When one believes everything that feels good must be good, it's not always correct. That feeling is based upon self-interest alone, and a Libertarian would kill and maim indiscriminately to protect that 'feel good' feeling.

This is why Islam eliminates self-interest altogether in its socio-economic narrative. All wealth belongs to 'Allah' - and all good fortune is His blessing, not anyone's doing. He giveth and He taketh. It's a sacred Trust for mankind to keep and use - for good or for evil. The choice is ours.

However, LoL, this blog is not about what is right or what is wrong, nor what is common with other stuff or what isn't.

It's about what IS!

But you can make it anything you want. Whatever you make it, will be right :P

cliftonbridge said...

i know this is broader than the topic but:

ideology is neccessary for ANYONE to have any reason for living. Some ideology like communism is tangible, religion OTOH is not.

In a world of conflicting ideologies the only thing we know for sure is that our survival depends on co-existence.

Also religion/islam has to compete in a free market of other ideologies. This is why any real believer needs to think intelligently about how to portray religion as a bunch of ideas that are good and meaningful - not just fairy tales and threats.

pavocavalry said...

ideology , ambition ,economics are all intermixed and human motivation is a very intangible subject.

yes pakistan has a twin threat , but this was created right from the time when muslim leaders starting using islam as a political slogan for getting jobs,positions,social status.so this includes all including sir syed,jauhar brothers , jinnah,down to zia and musharraf .the masses were galvanised in name of religion , the stated aim of these characters ,while the real aim was power and privilege.the masses or at least a substantial albeit highly effective minority started believing what the liar leaders told them !

now is the time of balkanisation , first there was disorder of 1707-1849 , then there was order and peace when the knight in shining armour english east india company saved the muslim damsel from rape by marathas liberating delhi in 1803 and punjab and pathan areas in 1849.now there shall be disorder , rebellion,civil war , anarchy and balkanisation ! this is the law of history.

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