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Exploring Takfir, Its Origins and Contemporary Use: The Case of Takfiri Approach in Daesh’s Media

Jamileh Kadivar


Muslims have been the primary targets of Daesh’s attacks since 2014 in different countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. These attacks were based on its takfiri ideology. As Daesh official media and documents indicate, kufr (unbelief, infidelity) in Daesh’s approach is not limited to non-Muslims (original disbelievers), but Muslims are the most significant parts of kuffar (unbelievers) in its view and defined as incidental disbelievers. Through studying Daesh’s official documents and various Arabic, English, and Persian media productions, in an explanatory research, this article attempts to display Daesh’s takfiri approach toward Muslims and explains its historical and ideological roots, difference with Al-Qaeda’s takfiri approach, different approaches to takfir inside Daesh, main targets of Daesh’s takfir, and the reasons behinds its takfiri view. This article displays that for Daesh, the Muslims are limited only to Sunni Muslims who are accepting and following its approach. Other Sunni and non-Sunni Muslims are thus kuffar. This study also shows that the assertion of takfir has become a method for Daesh to discredit its opponents, such as Shi’a Muslims and other Muslim groups.

Keywords:  Daesh, ISIS, kafir, Media, Muslims, Takfir

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pp. 259–285