13 September 2017
your definition of kufr is correct, it is of little help in the correct
understanding of the Quran and even misleading judging by the fact that you
have judged all the Mushrikin of the Prophet’s times and his immediate audience
as kafir and only revised this view after intense debate with me over the last
while you merely say that “for want of any appropriate English
counterpart, Kafir have been rendered as disbelievers or deniers as appropriate”, what I say is
that Kafir does not mean disbeliever even in a single verse of the Quran, and
when the Quran intends to say “disbeliver” it uses “la yuminin”. The difference
between the two positions is the same as the difference between cheese and
chalk. All the translators of the Quran make the mistake of translating kafir
as disbeliever rendering grotesque the meaning of the Book and highly
definition of Kafir/kufr is based on the precise meaning the Quran gives to
these words and therefore does not lead to any misinterpretations. My
definition has led to the following insights:
Kufr in the temporal dimension.
crimes against humanity such as religious persecution, oppression and injustice
in any form. It also includes violation of recognized rights of other people
which is also a form of oppression. There are consequences for it and the ruler
must fight against oppression until it ends and must establish justice and
freedom of conscience for all. The faith professed by the perpetrator of wrong
and the wronged are immaterial. Islam stands for secular justice in the
temporal dimension. Who is a kafir and who is a momin is situational for kufr
in the temporal dimension. The one who fights for the cause of right and
justice is a momin and the oppressor is kafir.
Kufr in the spiritual dimension
Kufr by the believers: Ingratitude to Allah, disobedience of His
commands, failing to uphold the truth. Any kufr by a believer in the temporal
dimension is also kufr for him in the spiritual dimension. The ruler can punish
for only kufr in the temporal dimension but not for kufr in the spiritual
dimension. Apostasy and blasphemy being kufr in the spiritual dimension are therefore
not punishable as per the shariat of the Quran.
Kufr by the disbelievers in the spiritual
does rejection of the `Truth’ brought by the Messenger become kufr? Not until
the truth of belief/disbelief becomes manifest to them in their innermost being
and their own self becomes a witness against their rejection of belief. Only
Allah knows who these people are and not even the Prophets knew until informed
law of Allah is however, that the kafaru among the disbelievers will not
believe. Who is kafaru in the spiritual dimension can be known only after the
fact – whether they eventually accepted belief or died rejecting belief. Since
most of the Mushrikin of the Hejaz accepted belief and very few died rejecting
belief while fighting the Muslims or otherwise, we can confidently assert that
Allah did not consider the majority of the Mushrikin as kafir in either Surah
Al-Kafirun which is addressed only to the kafir among the people or in Surah
Taubah. This is apart from the fact that the text of the Quran simply does not
consider all the Mushrikin of the Prophet’s immediate audience as kafir in any
verse of the Quran and verses such as 98:1,6 etc., clearly speak of the kafaru
among the Musrikin clearly implying that not all are considered kafir.
can be no punishment by a ruler to any
person whether believer/disbeliver for kufr in the spiritual dimension and
therefore no war can be waged against the disbelief of the disbelievers.
to my articles:
What Is Kufr And Who Is A Kafir In The Quran? (Full and Revised
Text of the New Age Islam Series on the Subject)
is a Muslim in the Quran?
Much discussed and debated Medinian Verses Relating to Fighting
Story of the Prophetic Mission of Muhammad (Pbuh) In the Qu’ran (Part 4): The
Story of the Prophetic Mission of Muhammad (pbuh) in the Qu’ran (Concluding
to the prevailing theology of all schools of thought including Deoband,
Barelvi, Salafi etc, Kafir means non-Muslim, and according to them, the Prophet
was fighting against disbelief to end disbelief as reflected in the
translations and tafseer of the Quran by their leading lights. This view is
what sustains the current extremism
Can we reach a common
understanding on the following?
insights lead to taking up the following very bold and categorical position
which demolish the ideology of the traditionalists and the extremists:
1. Kafir does not mean disbeliever even in one verse
of the Quran. The closest English word that describes ‘Kafir’ is ‘Sinner’ and
‘Kufr’ is ‘Sin’. Kufr is possible by person of any faith. The word Kafir has
been used in the Quran to mean a die-hard Sinner not amenable to change his
ways or repent. The disbelievers who are kafir will therefore not believe. Not
all the disbelievers are kafir and they will believe once they realize the true
nature of belief/disbelief. Who among the disbelievers is a kafir from the
perspective of his beliefs can be known only after the fact – whether he became
a believer or died rejecting belief. Rejection from certain knowledge is the
criteria and not mere non-acceptance from lack of knowledge or conviction.
There is not even one verse in the Quran that considered all the Mushrikin of
Mecca as kafir and the verses only refer to the kafaru among the Mushrikin
clearly implying that not all are kafir.
2. The Quran also speaks of the kafaru among the
believers and among the People of the Book. Not all the believers who commit
kufr are kafir if they repent their transgressions. Those who do not repent on
committing what they know to be a sin, may get inured to even the feelings of
guilt, and become die-hard sinners or kafir. The kafir among the believers who
are such unrepentant sinners, will be in hell-fire prepared for the kafirin.
3. The most odious form of kufr is injustice and
oppression. So much so, that those who will not desist from oppression are
Kafir, who must be resisted or fought against until they agree to mend their
ways and give up on their oppressive ways. Oppression is the only form of Kufr,
against which the permission to fight is given in the Quran. The faith professed
by the oppressor/oppressed are not a consideration
4. Specifically, there is no permission to fight
against the kufr of deliberate disbelief. Only peaceful preaching with gracious
speech is permissible.
5. The Quran affirms that the freedom of conscience in
Islam is absolute and without any restraints. “Let there be no compulsion in
religion” and “To the peaceful disbeliever be his way and to me mine” are
fundamental principles. These principles were never compromised by the Prophet
in his battles against the religious persecutors. The Prophet was fighting not
the disbelievers and disbelief, but the Religious persecutors and oppression to
establish the Deen of Allah, in which there can be no oppression or injustice and
people are free to practice any religion.
I urge all scholars
supporting NAI to endorse the above with or without modification after
discussions, so that NAI can boldly and officially project it as its firm
belief of what Islam is, and effectively work for reforming the ideology of the
Muslims reaching out to all sections of them.
Naseer Ahmed is an
Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after
having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions
for over three decades. He is a frequent contributor to http://www.NewAgeIslam.com
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Is Javed Ghamidi also delusional? Or Is Ghulam Mohiyuudin sb a determined
obstructer of the truth?
According to Javed Ghamidi, the following are the reasons for
The belief that it is the rightful duty of all Muslims to mete out
the punishment of death to all the Kafir – polytheists, disbelievers and the
The belief that no one except the Muslims have a right to rule the
world and the Muslims are therefore religiously bound to wage war to bring all
non-Muslim countries under their rule. There should be only one government in
the entire world and that should be the Islamic caliphate. The modern states
are an embodiment of Kufr (disbelief), and therefore can have no place in
reasons are also based on the meaning of Kafir and the reasons for fighting which
is based on the belief that the kafir/disbelievers must be fought against to subjugate them or
make them accept Islam. He gives the same reasons for extremism but differently
GM Sb says: “His claim that he is
dealing a deadly blow to the extremist ideology is not only grossly exaggerated
but is delusional”
The definition of kafir in the theology
of every sect is based on belief alone and Kafir has come to mean a disbeliever.
This is supported by the false belief of all the scholars that all the disbelievers
of the Prophet’s times were Kafir. Recognizing that the Quran never considered
all the disbelievers as Kafir leads to rejection of the definition of kafir
based on belief alone. The second part is recognizing that the only justifiable
reason for war can be to end oppression and not to end disbelief. In the
tafseers of Ibn Kathir and others and the opinions of the leading lights of
every sect however, the justification for war is erroneously made out to be to end
disbelief. These two falsehoods on the meaning of kafir and the justifiable reason
for war are what provide ideological support to extremism. If the Prophet was
fighting battles against the kafir/disbelievers to end kufr/disbelief, then it
is the duty of the Muslims to keep on waging war against the disbelievers until
there is no more disbelief is the ideology that feeds the extremists. Can GM sb
or anyone else cite any other belief that provides ideological support to
GM Sb can continue to throw mud over the truth
that I have brought out and try to bury it. That by the way is the literal
meaning of Kafir. If it is God’s will that he should go into his grave vehemently
and relentlessly rejecting and opposing the truth, then no one can help him. He
appears to belong to the category of “those who will not accept the truth” and
therefore, this is my last comment to him.
Khan, Javed Ghamidi and Muhammad Yunus have been saying is what Yunus sb said
in his article “Hindus are Not the Mushrikin Mentioned in the Quran”. If
I have been saying the same thing as what these people have been saying, then
why is Yunus sb debating the same with me for the last two years and conceded
only recently? Is GM Sb severely challenged mentally not to understand this? Or
is he simply a lying hypocrite trying to spread confusion? Or is he Mullah
Ghulam Mohiyuddin supporting the traditionalist Ulema? Or is he just envious about
my being the first to say that ‘Kafir does not mean disbeliever in the Quran
because the Quran never considered all the Mushrikin of Hejaz of the Prophet’s
times as kafir’? If yes, then he has reason to be envious about all my articles
and he is.
What could be more
important than dealing a deadly blow to the extremist ideology? What could be
more important than clearly establishing the peaceful foundational concepts of
Islam and refuting the false ones? Which article that argues that Islam is a
religion of peace or refutes the ideology of the extremists can still stand if 1.
Kafir means disbeliever in the Quran and 2. The Prophet was fighting the
disbelievers to end disbelief are not rejected/refuted first?
GM Sb only confirms what I have said several times before.
That for a few scholars such as Javed Ghamidi, Wahiduddin Khan and Muhammad
Yunus, non-Muslims today are not necessarily Kafir but all the Mushrikin of the
Prophet’s times in Hejaz were kafir. Why is he then repeating what I said? What
is he trying to achieve by quoting Wahiduddin Khan who says the same thing? He could
have as well quoted Yubus Sb’s article on why the Hindus of today are not
kafir. Is that what is being debated? Is he not deliberately trying to create
If all the Mushrikin in the Prophet’s times were kafir according
to these scholars, then by what reason are they not kafir today? They argue
that because it was the Prophet himself who invited the Mushrikin of his times to
accept Islam, their rejection made them kafir, but in today’s world, there is
no prophet inviting the Mushrikin to accept Islam and therefore they are not
kafir. This argument is a bit of a stretch and an innovative interpretation which
is why there are only a handful who argue thus, and the rest consider all the
Mushrikin, and some even the People of the Book as kafir.
What I have been arguing is entirely different. If the
Mushrikin to whom the Prophet preached directly were not considered Kafir in
the Quran, there is no way the disbelievers today can be considered Kafir and
my arguments are based entirely on a textual
analysis of the Quranic verses which can be easily refuted or accepted. And
yet, the scholars on this website shy away, run away or otherwise go back and
It is truly amazing, that Yunus Sb can be flexible in
considering the Mushrikin of today as not Kafir, although his argument is a bit
of a stretch, and simply an innovative interpretation, and
GM Sb, who cares very little for the meaning of the Quran, and is for a
complete “re interpretation” should both keep arguing endlessly to prevent
accepting that “Kafir does not mean disbeliever in the Quran” after having accepted
“I agree with you that the Qur'an does not treat all muhsrikin as kafirin” By muhammd yunus - 8/8/2017 9:01:11 PM,
and “You are right in calling kuffaru a
faith-neutral term. I stand corrected.”By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 10/18/2016 3:14:40 PM!
What is the motivation
of these so-called progressives in stalling progress? Their reasons are purely
Shahin Sb, take any
article that builds an edifice of “Islam is a religion of peace” and simply ask
the author of those articles the two key questions:
1. Do you agree that Kafir does not mean
disbeliever in the Quran?
2. Do you agree that the Prophet was
fighting battles against the religious persecutors to end religious persecution
and not against the disbelievers to end disbelief?
And if he cannot
agree to the above two questions, his edifice can simply be toppled. The above
two are foundational questions and if the response is in the negative to either
of them, then the edifice that he has built is simply without a foundation and
can be toppled easily, although the superstructure may be perfect in all
respects. People may have used fine arguments in refuting Jihadist fatwas, but
if the kafir are the disbelievers and if the Prophet was fighting battles against
the disbelievers to end disbelief, then no matter what they say, the Jihadist
ideology prevails over anything they may say.
GM Sb is back to what
Kafir means in the dictionary and what it has meant to generations of ulema.
Have I not myself said that all the translators, without exception, translate
Kafir as disbeliever? Is that the point of discussion at all? Would I have
written my article on what kafir means otherwise? Would Yunus Sb have debated for
two years before accepting that not all the Mushrikin of the Prophet’s times
are considered Kafir in the Quran? Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is categorical
in considering all the Mushrikin of Mecca as Kafir and so also is Javed
Ghamidi. Let GM sb quote anyone who has said otherwise if he isn’t lying.
He says "(1) Any
categorical statement ascribing one and only one meaning to the word 'kafir' is
false." That is again beside the point. What is being categorically stated
is that "Kafir does not mean disbeliever in the Quran". That is not
ascribing a meaning but saying what it does not mean.
Shahin Sb, if you
recall, this is what Yunus sb said two years back and ran away from the debate
on verse 98:6.
In the Qur’anic epistemology, all the polytheists among
its direct audience stood as kafirin in God’s sight.
Naseer Sahab, to be frank with you, I really fail
to understand how can you split the polytheists of the Prophets era into two
categories (kafir and not kafir) by pure scholasticism.
By muhammad yunus - 5/11/2015 8:20:30 AM
The current discussion
began with Yunus Sb’s reversal of his previous position on the subject.
a comment under the article: The
Meaning of the Quran Resonates With the Aims of Progressive Islam
Yunus Sb accepted that from
verses 9:4, it is clear that even among the very last verses of the Quran, it
did not consider all the Mushrikin as Kafir. This what he said:
“I agree with you that the Qur'an does not treat all muhsrikin as
By muhammd yunus - 8/8/2017 9:01:11 PM
To my surprise however,
he did a flip in his comment under the article :
Islam and Mysticism: Is ‘Nafs’ Soul? (Part - 1)
in which he
went back to his earlier position and said the following!
I believe Surah al-kafirun is addressed to the 'mushrikin' among
the Prophet's immediate audience who were witnesses to the Qur'anic revelation
and were adamantly dismissing it and were just committing kufr. But the same
'kafirun' eventually entered Islam.
By muhammd yunus - 9/1/2017 7:55:58 PM
he is considering all the Mushrikin as kafirin when he says that the same
kafirun eventually entered Islam.
the above with the following comment:
As I understand and also put in my
exeg work, there is no category of people called 'kafirin.' I believe the
Qur'an regarded the mushrikin in its immediate audience as kafir because they
witnessed the truth of Qur'anic revelation unfolding before their eyes but
dismissed it. Thus the kfirin in the opening verse of Sura 109 were the
inveterate denier of the Qur'anic revelation among the mushrikin.
By muhammd yunus - 9/4/2017 7:31:29 AM
accused him of being a hypocrite for the surprising reversal, he once again
corrected himself by lamely conceding:
Since you called me “a lying hypocrite” in your last mail, let me
defend my position by posting my comment in blue ink over your following comment
dated 9/9/2017 1:21:51 PM:
In a recent comment in a
different thread you agreed with me and said "I agree with you that the
Qur'an does not treat all muhsrikin as kafirin. (9:4)."
But this is precisely what I said in my last comment to you,
“I believe Surah al-kafirun is addressed to the 'mushrikin'
among the Prophet's immediate audience who were witnesses to the Qur'anic
revelation and were adamantly dismissing it and were just committing kufr.”
This obviously implies that those mushrikin who were not “adamantly dismissing
it” may not have been regarded as kafir.
By muhammd yunus - 9/9/2017 8:27:20 PM
From a categorical acceptance “I
agree with you that the Qur'an does not treat all muhsrikin as kafirin.”
It has grudgingly changed to “may not have been regarded as kafir”
Shahin sb, the importance of this topic is obvious. As long as
people hold onto:
Kafir means disbeliever and 2. The Prophet was fighting battles
against the disbelievers to end kufr (disbelief)
there can be no concept of Islam being
a religion of peace and the above two points will continue to provide
ideological support to the extremists. You can see how Ghulam Ghaus has gone
silent on his article The Sixteen Quranic Verses That Counter Violent-Extremism and
not being able to refute/reject the above two and accept that:
Kafir does not mean disbeliever in the Quran 2. The Prophet was
fighting the religious persecutors to end persecution and not the disbelievers
to end disbelief.
This article was written to take the debate out into the open
rather than allow it to remain buried among the comments. Yunus Sb expectedely
ran away. GM Sb helped him by saying
When Naseersaab says with such confidence, "Kafir does not mean disbeliever even in one
verse of the Quran," he is going against all the previous translators and
ulema of the past 1400 years. Or, as the Americans would say, "He is going
out on a limb"! You are wise to dissociate yourself from his project.
By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/14/2017 12:37:02 PM
And then he went on with his circus of flip flops. His
objective was clearly to scuttle any meaningful discussion, debate and
consensus building. He has become a troll on this website.
Shahin sb, if you wish to guide NAI into providing thought leadership
on finding the true Islamic ideology of the religion of peace it is, you will
have to find a way to deal with the trolls and the insincere scholars. Yunus Sb
will not budge from the gross errors in his book and will scuttle any attempt
that goes against anything that he has said in his book or in anything in which
he cannot become a part because of what he has said in his exegetic work. Since
he has not said “Kafir does not mean disbeliever” in his exegetic work, he will
never openly support this view.