Who is KAFIR
By khurshid Imam
Very few Islamic terms are as misunderstood as the term “Kafir”. A few Muslims use this term to humiliate some non Muslims. On the other hand our non Muslim brothers perceive this word as an abuse and take umbrage to it. So what is so great about this term – kafir? And million dollar question is to whom this term-kafir-applies i.e. WHO REALLY IS KAFIR?
It is no wonder that today many so-called-Muslims are living in the world of illusion wherein they think that:
1. Just because they are born is a Muslim family they are Muslim and will get paradise.
2. Just because their name is khan or ahmed or Muhammad they are Muslim and will get paradise.
3. Just because they go for namaz once in a week (for juma) they are Muslim and will get paradise.
4. Just because they believe in Allah and akhrat they are Muslim and will get paradise.
Almighty God has strictly put two conditions for the salvation or for entering paradise – 1. Faith 2. Actions.
If anyone reads Quran then these two conditions echoes throughout the Quran for getting paradise. In simple word only with faith AND action a person will be really a Muslim.
But look at the tragic part. When a Muslim read Quran and when Almighty God is speaking about punishment or condemnation for Kafir then the Muslim reader will automatically translate the word Kafir as NON-Muslim in his mind. He will think that these punishments and condemnations are certainly not for me but for Non Muslims. Similarly when God is talking about reward for momin(believer) or Muslim then reader will think – ‘yes! This ayah is talking about me’. Thus the dream of illusion continues for such type of Muslims and only in the life hereafter they will realize how wrong they were.
Three meanings of word - kafir
The Arabic word Kafir has three meaning. And certainly kafir does not mean Non-Muslim. Quran has used the word kafir in any of the three meaning everywhere.
1. One who conceals: The act of concealing something is called kufr in Arabic. In Islamic and Quranic terminology kufr will mean concealing teachings of God / concealing the truth / concealing what is right and divine / concealing the message of God. Now we Muslim proudly say that Quran is the word of God, it is the truth; it contains the message of God.
الَّذِينَ يَبْخَلُونَ وَيَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبُخْلِ وَيَكْتُمُونَ مَا آتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ ۗ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُّهِي
Those who are miserly and enjoin miserliness on other men and hide what Allah has bestowed upon them of His Bounties. And We have prepared for those who hide (kafir word is used here). a disgraceful torment. Quran, Surah Nisa 4:37
Now be ready for a straight forward Question: As per this definition of kafir who is MORE entitled to be called kafir – Non Muslims or so-called-…….?
2. One who is ungrateful: The act of being ungrateful is called is called kufr in Arabic. Gratefulness is shown towards some very important and precious thing. We say Quran is the most precious thing. In Islamic and Quranic terminology kufr will mean not being grateful to emaan (faith)/ quran / not being grateful to the message of God. Now we Muslim proudly say that Quran is the word of God, it is the truth; it contains the message of God; emaan is the biggest wealth. As per this definition of kafir who is MORE entitled to be called kafir – Non Muslims or so-called-…….? Think honestly.
They recognize the favors of Allah. Then they deny them; and most of them are ungrateful (kafir word is used here). Quran: Surah Nahal 16:83
"Any who is (so) grateful does so to the profit of his own soul: but if any is ungrateful (Arabic Kafara), verily Allah is free of all wants, Worthy of all praise." Quran: Surah Luqmaan 31:12
3. One who rejects:The act of rejecting something is called kufr in Arabic. In Islamic and Quranic terminology kufr will mean rejecting teachings of God / rejecting the truth / rejecting the message of God. As per this definition of kafir those Non Muslims will be called who have REJECTED the truth / the message of God.
قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لِمَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ شَهِيدٌ عَلَىٰ مَا تَعْمَلُونَ
Say: "O people of the Scripture ! Why do you reject the Ayat of Allahwhile Allah is Witness to what you do?" Quran, Surah Al imran 3:98
It is not that by default any non Muslim will be called kafir. And for this action it is required that truth is presented to them; otherwise they can be called ghafil or unaware.
In simple words
Going by the above 3 definitions of kafir the whole perception of word kafir changes and it can shiver one from inside and force to think more and more about Quranic ayah.
Those who conceal teachings of God have done KUFR as per Arabic language. Whether they are / were scholars of torah/zabur/injeel OR bible who know the truth of the message of GOD; whether they be scholars of Hinduism who know the monotheism of Vedas and the prophecy of prophet Muhammad; whether it be so-called-Muslims who conceal the truth of Islam from the masses. As of today the uncorrupted and pure message of God is with Muslims mostly so the act of concealment can be done mostly by them.
Those people who were given revelation from God and they were not grateful to God-too have done kufr. Remember the last revelation-Quran- is in the house of Muslims mostly.
Those who reject the teachings of God-too have done kufr. So our non Muslim brethren should understand that this is not an abusive term rather its misunderstood term. If they reject the teachings of God they can be called kafir as per Arabic language or “saty-tiraskari” in Sanskrit.
Let us read Quran with proper understanding rather withy preconceived ideas and thoughts.And Allah knows the best.
1. Word kafir is one of the most misunderstood terms by Muslims and non Muslims.
2. Quran has used kafir word in any of the 3 meaning: one who conceals one who is ungrateful and one who rejects.
3. Out of these three definitions this word will apply more to so-called-Muslim in 2 cases as of today.
Author Khurshid imam is a software engineer at bangalore. Mail firstname.lastname@example.org for feedbackNote: If you don't agree with the post then instead of giving fatwa of kufr/shirk/deviation - have faith in Allah and leave uo to him to judge.