Friday, November 17, 2006

Who is a Kafir?

The following is a useful article written by a brother from America some years ago.

Early Muslims did not have any difficulty in differentiating between a Muslim and Kafir. Such a debate never occurred during the generation of the Sahabah, the Tabi'een, or those Muslims who lived in the succeeding thirteen centuries. Even during the periods when the intellectual level was at an ebb, the distinction between a Muslim and a Kafir remained clear. Due to the deteriorated level of Islamic thought in the Ummah today, the subject has mushroomed into a major issue.

The question of "Who is a Kafir" is not something that the Muslims can afford to overlook because the very existence of such a question challenges the clear-cut distinction between Islam and Kufr that the Muslims understood without difficulty for most of their history. Islam is a unique Deen with its own unique 'Aqeedah that clearly distinguishes it from any other belief, system or ideology. No "gray area" exists between Islam and Kufr, and the Qur'an openly rejects such a notion:

"There is nothing after the Truth (Islam) but falsehood." [TMQ, Yunus 10:32]

"Say: The truth is from your Lord. Whoever wishes to believe, let him believe. And whoever wishes to disbelieve, let him disbelieve" [TMQ, Al-Kahf 18:29]

Because of Islam's uniqueness, the Muslim Ummah possesses a unique 'Aqeedah that distinguishes it from any other nation in the culture it adopts, the laws it submits to, the thoughts and ideas it carries, and its outlook upon life. Without a clear understanding of Islam as distinct from Kufr, the Muslim Ummah is stripped of its distinguished status, and the Islamic 'Aqeedah is bereft of its uniqueness. In light of the current situation, ideas which posit that Islam , Christianity, and Judaism all share the same roots, or that no difference exists between a Muslim and Kafir, come as no surprise.

The purpose of this article is to define "Who is a Kafir" and clear up the confusion surrounding the word Kafir so that the Ummah can once again clearly differentiate between a Muslim and Kafir and worship Allah (swt) in the way He ordered us to worship Him, allowing us to attain His pleasure. This would, insha'Allah, result in the crystallization of Islamic concepts in the minds of Muslim Ummah and subsequently, proper and complete implementation of Islam as an ideology. When this happens, the Muslim Ummah can once again lead humanity and carry the message of Islam to the entire world in the manner in which Allah (swt) ordered us.

Additionally, this article briefly addresses some of the issues that relate to this subject matter directly, such as: Ahl ul Kitab, Abrahamic religions, celebrating Kufr holidays and deeds of the Kuffar.

The Criterion

Before attempting to define Islam and Kufr, the Muslims must understand who defines Islam and Kufr, who draws the boundaries, and who establishes the criterion for evaluating any idea or concept. To enter the circle of Islam, the first action an individual does is to declare the Shahadah in which he states, "I bear witness that there is no Ilah but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." The word "Ilah" has been frequently misinterpreted to mean "God." People of all different religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, and even Hinduism, claim to believe in a God or supreme power. In the context of such a translation, Islam would seem no different than any other religion. In reality, the word "Ilah", in Arabic, is defined as "that which is worshipped." This definition has deep connotations. Regarding the Jews and Christians, the Qur'an mentions:

"They took their priests and rabbis to be their lords beside Allah." [TMQ, At-Tauba 9:31]

When Muhammad (saaw) recited this verse, one of the Companions, who was formerly from among the People of the Book, told him, "We did not worship them, O Messenger of Allah." Muhammad (saaw) then asked the person, "Didn't they forbid what Allah allowed and allow what Allah had forbidden, and you followed them?" When the Companion answered, "Yes," the Prophet (saaw) replied, "That was your worship." Such an incident illustrates that Allah (swt) defines "Ilah" as the thing that dictates a person's life. In Islam, the concept of worship carries a far deeper meaning than just performing Salat or going to Hajj. The worship of Allah (swt) implies full submission and obedience to Allah's (swt) laws, as the Qur'an clearly states:

"O you who believe! Enter perfectly into Islam (by obeying all the rules and regulations of Islam) and follow not the footsteps of Satan. Verily! He is your open enemy!" [TMQ, Al-Baqarah 2:208]

By such a definition, the Muslims must resort to the Akham Shari'ah as the source of all of their concepts and ideas. For a Muslim, Allah (swt) defines Islam as well as Kufr or any other idea or concept, as He (swt) states:

"To Allah belongs the Ghayb of the Heavens and the Earth, and to Him return all affairs."
[TMQ, Hud 11:123]

"Blessed be He Who sent down the criterion to His slave that he may be a warner to the 'Al Amin." [TMQ, Al-Furqan 25:1]

The Definition

Any belief that exists outside the boundaries set forth by Allah (swt) falls under the category of Kufr, or disbelief. The words Kufr and Kafir are derived from the root "Kafar", which linguistically means "to cover". Even the farmer is considered a Kafir in the linguistic sense because he is covering the seeds with soil. When it comes to application, the Shari'ah meaning supersedes the linguistic connotations. For example, Jihad linguistically means struggle, but the Shari'ah meaning defines Jihad as the physical fighting (qitaal) conducted by the Khilafah's Army to remove physical obstacles that try to suppress the propagation of Islam. Also, Hajj means "to go" linguistically. If Muslims resorted to the linguistic meanings, then going to the shopping mall would be considered Hajj and the woman who covers her body with the Hijab would be considered a Kafir! As such, the Shari'ah, or the juristic meaning, defines the rule and the concepts in Islam.

The same principles apply for the words Kafir and Kufr. In Shari'ah terminology, there exists some general extracts from the classical and respected mujtahideen (scholars). First and foremost, Kufr is the rejection of the belief in Allah AND the Messengership of Muhammad (saaw), because Allah (swt) states:

"Verily, those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers and wish to make a distinction between Allah and His Messengers (by believing in Allah and disbelieving in His Messengers) saying, 'We believe in some, but reject others,' and wish to adopt a way in between, they are in truth disbelievers. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating torment." [TMQ, An-Nisa' 4:150-151]

Kufr is further divided into some categories:

1. Kufr al takdheeb, or denying Islam, because Allah (swt) says:

"Then who does more wrong than the one who utters a lie against Allah and denies the truth (this Qur'an, the Prophet Muhammad, the Islamic Faith, the Resurrection, and the reward and punishment) when it comes to him. Is there not in Hell an abode for the disbelievers?" [TMQ, Az-Zumar 39:32]

"The only Deen in the sight of Allah is Islam" [TMQ, Al-Imran 3:19]

"And whoever seeks a Deen other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers." [TMQ, Al-Imran 3:85]

2. Kufr al iba' wat takabbur ma'at tasdeeq, implying refusal to submit to Allah and His Commandments out of arrogance after acknowledging Allah, because Allah (swt) says:

"And when We said to the angels: 'Prostrate yourselves before Adam.' And they prostrated except Iblis, he refused and was arrogant and was one of the disbelievers." [TMQ, Al-Baqarah 2:34]

3. Kufr as shakk wa al thann, which means doubting or rejecting any of the six articles of Iman, as Allah (swt) states:

"And he went into his garden while in a state (of pride and disbelief) unjust to himself. He said: 'I think not that this will ever perish. And I think not the Hour will ever come, and if indeed I am brought back to my Lord (on the Day of Resurrection) I surely shall find better than this when I return to Him.' His companion said to him during the talk with him: 'Do you disbelieve in Him Who created you out of dust (i.e. your father Adam) then out of Nutfah (semen from the male mixed with female discharge), then fashioned you into a man? But as for my part (I believe) that He is Allah, my Lord, and none shall I associate as partner with my Lord.'" [TMQ, Al-Kahf18:35-38]

4. Kufr al i'raad, describing the action of willingly turning away from the Haqq, to which Allah (swt) states:

"We created not the heavens and the earth and all that is between them except with Haqq and for an appointed term. But those who disbelieve and turn away from that whereof, they are warned." [TMQ, Al-Ahqaf 46:3]

5. Kufr an nifaaq, implying hypocritical disbelief, because Allah (swt) states:

"They have made their oaths a screen (for their hypocrisy). Thus they hinder (men) from the Path of Allah. Verily, evil is what they used to do. That is because they believed, then disbelieved, therefore their hearts are sealed, so they understand not." [TMQ, Al-Munafiqoon 63: 2-3]

A person who commits any one or more of the major acts of disbelief is considered a Kafir. No gray zone exists in Islam in which a person can be called a "Believer, but not a Muslim." Islam defines the human being as either a Muslim or a Kafir - a Muslim as one who believes in the 'Aqeedah of Islam and the tenets of Iman, and who accepts Islam as his/her Deen; and a Kafir as one who follows any belief or creed other than Islam, or rejects any one of the fundamental pillars of the Islamic faith. To claim to believe in Allah (swt) while denying Muhammad (saaw) as a Messenger, or believing that Allah (swt) can have a son or can exist as multiple entities, excludes such an individual from the circle of Islam.

A Muslim is not someone who merely appreciates Islam while adhering to the teachings of the Bible or a person who possesses sound morals and decency of character. The notion of a Muslim who does not believe in Islam, or someone who is "Muslim and not Muslim simultaneously" contradicts the natural laws of Allah (swt). No one can imagine a Communist who does not believe in Communism, a Christian who does not believe in Christianity, or someone who is "Jewish and not Jewish at the same time."

Also, Allah's Messenger (saaw) said: "A disbeliever will be asked, 'Suppose you had as much gold as could fill the earth. Would you offer it to ransom yourself (from the Hell-Fire)?' He will reply, 'Yes.' Then it will be said to him, 'You were asked something easier than that: To join none in worship with Allah (i.e. to accept Islam). But you refused.'" Worshipping Allah means believing that Allah (swt) is One with all His Attributes, believing in all of the pillars of Iman, and submitting to all of Allah's (swt) rules. Anything else denotes Kufr, and such a person is considered a Kafir by definition.

Ahl ul Kitab, Mushrikeen, and Kafireen

Islam clearly defines the terms Ahl ul Kitab, Mushrikeen, and Kafireen. The term Ahl ul Kitab (People of the Book) specifically refers to the Jews and Christians. The Qur'an refers to them by this term because they received books such as the Torah and the Injeel. The term Mushrikeen (Polytheists) denotes people who associate other gods with Allah (swt). As mentioned previously, the term Kafir refers to anyone who disbelieves in any of the tenets of Iman, such as the belief in Allah with His attributes, the Messengers of Allah, all the Angels, all the Books, and the Day of Resurrection.

Allah (swt) gave no other reasons for using such a categorization. Unfortunately, the Ummah's lack of focus has led many Muslims to debate and bicker over clear-cut issues. Questions such as why Allah (swt) did not refer to the Ahl ul Kitab as Mushrikeen because they also worship idols, or why Allah (swt) referred to the Disbelievers under three headings instead of one, are commonly asked. Nobody can fathom why Allah (swt) used these terms, and no one can offer his own reasons on Allah's behalf. Such a process leads the person to question the Ghayb (Unseen) which lies beyond the limited scope of the human mind and senses, and only results in speculation that wastes the Ummah's intellectual resources over questions that will never be resolved. The same persons who pose such questions might as well ask why Allah (swt) created the Jinn from fire and the human being from clay, or why Allah (swt) made the sun rise in the east and not in the west. The questions that concern the Ghayb are endless.

The role of the mind is to submit to Allah's (swt) rules and not to pass judgment on them or to question Allah's (swt) Knowledge. Allah (swt) called the Jews and the Christians as Ahl ul Kitab because they were given previous scriptures and for no other reason, and He (swt) addressed all other disbelievers as Mushrikeen. The Muslims are ordered to surrender to Islam and the Islamic text, as Allah (swt) states:

"The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger to judge between them, is, 'We listen and we obey.'" [TMQ, An-Nur 24:51]

Islam clearly defined Ahl ul Kitab, Mushrikeen, and Kafireen, and these definitions are not the subject of debate. The Muslims must take these definitions as they are.

Are the Ahl ul Kitab Kuffar?

Because the Qur'an refers to the Ahl ul Kitab under a different name, many quickly conclude that Allah (swt) has given them a special status that is situated midway between Islam and Kufr. The abundance of evidence from the Qur'an and the Sunnah clearly establishes the Ahl ul Kitab as Kuffar. The early Muslims did not have any difficulty in understanding this issue, nor was the issue ever a subject of dispute among them. Referring to the Ahl ul Kitab as Kuffar does not denote negative treatment of them as many Muslims may think, but firmly establishes that the Muslims constitute one millah (grouping), and the Kuffar comprise another, ideologically and culturally distinct from the Muslim Ummah. Islam defines any person who rejects some or all of the fundamental tenets of Iman as a Kafir, and the Ahl ul Kitab are no exception. Many ayat in the Qur'an clearly establish this point without any ambiguity:

"Surely, in disbelief are they who say that Isa (Jesus) is the Messiah, son of Mary. Say, 'Who then has the least power against Allah, if He were to destroy the Messiah, son of Mary, his mother, and all those who are on the earth together?' And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them. He creates what He wills, and Allah is Able to do all things." [TMQ, Al-Ma'idah 5:17]

"And the Jews say: 'Uzayr is the son of Allah.' And the Christians say: 'The Messiah is the son of Allah.' This is a saying from their mouths. They imitate the saying of the disbelievers of old. Allah's curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the truth." [TMQ, At-Taubah 9:30]

"They took their priests and rabbis to be their lords beside Allah. And they took their lord as the son of Mary. Yet, they were commanded to worship none but One Ilah, there is no Ilah but He. Praise and glory be to Him. Far is He from having partners they associate with Him." [TMQ, At-Taubah 9:31]

Many persons use the following two ayat as a justification for claiming that the Ahl ul Kitab are Believers:

"Verily! Those who believe and those who are Jews, Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and do righteous deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." [TMQ, Al-Baqarah 2:62]

"Surely, those who believe, those who are the Jews and the Sabians and the Christians - whosoever believed in Allah and the Last Day, and worked righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." [TMQ, Al-Ma'idah 5:69]

Such individuals misinterpret these ayat by neglecting other ayat and isolating them from the context of the Seerah. Ibn Katheer, one of the classical mufasireen (commentators of the Qur'an), states in his book, Tafseer Ibn Katheer, that these ayat refer to the Jews who existed from the time of Musa (as) until the time of Isa (as), not to be confused with the Jews and the Christians during the time of Muhammad (saaw) and who exist today. The ayat refer to the Christians as Nasireen, which linguistically means "helpers". These Helpers were the Hawariyeen (Disciples) of 'Isa (as) who followed his message until the time of Muhammad (saaw) and did not ascribe partners with Allah (swt). Based on these ayat, the term "Christians" does not accurately refer to these people, and Ibn Jawzi, who lived in the 12th century AD, says the same in his book Zad Al Maseer Fi 'Ilm At Tafseer.

The ayat refer to those from among the previous groups who existed before Islam and adhered to their scriptures, but these ayat were later abrogated by the ayah which states:
"And whosoever desires a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter, he will be one of the losers." [TMQ, Al-Imran 3:85]

After Muhammad (saaw), Allah has chosen Islam as the Deen for all of humanity, and no one on the Day of Judgment who was presented Islam and rejected it will have any excuse that will exempt him from the punishment of the Hell-Fire.

This is in regards to the thoughts and beliefs carried by Ahl ul Kitab. When it come to a particular person he cannot be considered a Kafir until Islam is presented in an effective way and s/he rejects it deliberately knowing that it is the Haqq. If Islam did not reach this person, then s/he cannot be considered as such.

"Whoever goes right, then he goes right only for the benefit of his ownself. And whoever goes astray, then he goes astray to his own loss. No one laden with burdens can bear another's burden. And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning)" [TMQ, Al-Isra' 17:15]

However, when it came to deal with this type of person in this life, such as a Kafir woman from the Ahl ul Kitab marrying a Muslim man, then it is permitted. This individual still takes the status of the Kafira in the legal aspect and holds her accountable in the Hereafter.

Abrahamic Religions

As a result of the confusion in understanding Islam and its uniqueness, many alien ideas have surfaced among the Muslims that are designed to obliterate the clear distinction between Islam and Kufr. The call to adopt the concept of "Abrahamic Religions" has risen to the forefront of ideas. Those who call for this absurdity claim that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share the same roots because they all emanate from the same source, the Prophet Ibrahim (as). As a result of such a call, "Trialogues" have emerged in which Muslims would sit together with the Christians and Jews to discuss their commonalties and establish a common linkage between them as offshoots of the same prototypic religion of Ibrahim (as).

The concept of Abrahamic Religions states that a commonality exists between Islam and Kufr, whereas no such concept exists. No one can claim that such a commonality among religions exists without directly contradicting the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Allah (swt) states in the Qur'an:

"Say (O Muhammad): "O People of the Book. Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords beside Allah. Then, if they turn away, say, 'Bear witness that we are Muslims. O People of the Book! Why do you dispute about Abraham, while the Torah and the Injeel were not revealed until after him? Have you then no sense?" [TMQ, Al-Imran 3:64-65]

"Ibrahim was not a Jew nor a Christian. But he was a true Muslim Hanifan, and bowed his will to Allah, and he joined not gods with Allah. Without doubt, among men, the nearest of kin to Ibraham are those who follow him, AS ARE ALSO THIS MESSENGER and those who believe. And Allah is the Protector of those who have faith." [TMQ Al-Imran 3:67-68]

Many people who call for Abrahamic Religions justify their claims by citing that they are following the Sunnah of the Prophet (saaw). Those individuals should draw their attention towards the following incident: 'Umar ibn al Khattab narrates that he brought a copy of the Torah to Allah's Messenger (saaw) and said, "Allah's Messenger, this is a copy of the Torah." When he began to read it, he noticed that the color of the face of Allah's Messenger (saaw) underwent a change, whereupon Abu Bakr said, "Would that your mother mourn you, don't you see the face of Allah's Messenger?" 'Umar saaw the face of Allah's Messenger (saaw) and said, "I seek refuge with Allah from the Wrath of Allah and the wrath of Allah's Messenger. We are well pleased with Allah as the Lord, with Islam as our Deen, and with Muhammad as the Prophet." Allah's Messenger then said, "By Him in Whose hand is the life of Muhammad, even if Musa were to appear before you and you were to follow him, leaving me aside, you would certainly stray into error, for if Musa were alive and he found me, he would have definitely followed me (Miskhat al Masabih)."

Such incidents clearly indicate that Muhammad (saaw), far from promoting a brotherly understanding of Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions or encouraging practices such as Abrahamic Faiths and Trialogues, was the first person to address the Ahl ul Kitab as Kuffar and did not hesitate to use the word Kafir.

Every Muslim acknowledges that Allah (swt) and His Messenger speak the truth. Allah (swt) and the Messenger (saaw) state that Truth and Falsehood will never join hands, that the Ahl ul Kitab are Kuffar and have no relationship to Ibrahim or to Islam, and that Islam will clash with other ideas. When voices emerge claiming that the Truth and Falsehood share the same roots and can coexist, and that the Ahl ul Kitab and Muslims are brothers in faith and the offspring of Ibrahim's family tree, the Muslims must reject such calls as an open invitation to destruction in this life and in the Hereafter. The enemies of Islam have injected into the Ummah such calls as Abrahamic Religions to dilute the clear and distinct understanding of Islam in the Muslim Ummah and to busy the Muslims in trumpeting slogans that neither exist in Islam nor in reality.
Muslimeen and Kafireen

Many Muslims hesitate in referring to the non-Muslims as Kuffar because they believe that the word carries a derogatory meaning. Using such vocabulary, according to many, would contradict certain principles of Islam that emphasize fair conduct, decency in behavior, and kindness towards non-Muslims. The question emerges: How can a sincere believer, who adheres to such principles, simultaneously use terms like "Kafir, Kuffar, and Kufr"?

Answering this question requires the understanding that Allah (swt) ordered all Muslims to obey His orders and to submit to His Laws, which are found in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Anything that Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saaw) have decreed, the Muslims must submit to willingly and without any hesitation, whether it sounds easy or difficult, practical or improbable, reasonable or unreasonable. When Allah (swt) obliges the Muslims to carry the Da'wah to the world, all Muslims are ordered to submit to this command by virtue of being Muslims. Similarly, when Allah (swt) orders the Muslims to be nice, possess good morals, maintain good relationships with others, and help other human beings, the Muslims must submit to these commands for no other reason than because Allah (swt) commanded them. Moreover, the Muslims are bound by the orders of Allah (swt) to perform their actions following the Sunnah of the Prophet (saaw):

"He who obeys the Messenger has indeed obeyed Allah..." [TMQ, An-Nisa'4:80]

"And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids for you, abstain." [TMQ 59:7]

"Say (O Muhammad), 'If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islam and follow the Qur'an and Sunnah). Allah will love you and forgive your sins.'" [TMQ, Al-Imran 3:31]

"Say (O Muhammad), 'Obey Allah and the Messenger.' But if they turn away, then Allah does not like the disbelievers." [TMQ, Al-Imran 3:32]

"Say you (O Muhammad), 'This is my way. I invite unto Allah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me.'" [TMQ, Yusuf 12:108]

Based on these ayat, the Muslims are ordered to carry the Da'wah and work to establish the Islamic State according to the Seerah of the Prophet (saaw).

Similarly, the Prophet (saaw) showed the Muslim when to be nice and when to be rude, when to be angry and when to be merciful, as well as how and to whom. Thus, every situation, act, issue, or problem has an Islamic ruling, or a Hukm Shari', and the Muslims must take all the rules and submit to them comprehensively, looking at each situation or issue as a distinct one with its own specific Hukm.

Addressing the non-Muslims and the terms that Islam refers to them by are one issue, distinct from carrying the Da'wah of Islam and the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims. Whether carrying the Da'wah according to what Islam dictates results in resentment among the Kafireen or not, the Da'wah must continue to be conveyed in that manner. No human being has the right to say that the methodology of the Prophet (saaw) should be changed to suit the current situation as the Islamic method does not constitute "good behavior" towards the non-Muslims. If Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saaw) address the non-Muslims as Kafireen and address their beliefs and actions under the heading of Kufr, then this terminology is cemented until the Day of Judgment. Nobody has the right to change the terminology that Allah (swt) has used to describe the non-Muslims and their beliefs, in the same way that no one can claim that the Jinn are creatures created from clay or that Hell-fire is the reward from Allah and Jannah is Allah's Punishment.

If the Muslims are ordered to carry the Da'wah, they must carry the Da'wah. If the Muslims are ordered to be nice to the non-Muslims, then they must be nice to them. If the Muslims are ordered to address the non-Muslims as Kafireen, then they must address them as Kafireen. If the Muslims are ordered to refer to anything outside of Islam or contradicting Islam, then they must label such a thing as Kufr. The Muslims must take Islam comprehensively and willingly. Islam defines how the Muslims should interact with the non-Muslims and how to address them, as well as how to carry the message of Islam and how to establish the Islamic system and implement the rules of Allah (swt).

If the Kuffar resent the Muslims for practicing Islam and submitting to Allah's (swt) rules in their totality, such a scenario cannot be avoided because Allah (swt) states:

"Neither those who disbelieve among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) nor Al Mushrikun like that there should be sent down unto you any good from your Lord." [TMQ, Al-Baqarah 2:105]

"Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you until you follow their religion." [TMQ, Al-Baqarah 2:120]

Such a conflict does not excuse the Muslims to neglect some aspects of Islam or to make justifications in order to save their skin or to appease the Kuffar. Every Muslim has the choice: He can either please the Kuffar or please Allah (swt). Based on the above mentioned ayat, Allah's (swt) Sunnah very clearly states in no equivocal language that the Muslims cannot have both.

The Deeds of the Kuffar

With the correct understanding of this issue, such an discussion should never arise among the Muslims, but the current state of affairs has made the issue of whether or not the Kuffar are going to enter Hell-Fire into a controversy. Some would look at the issue from a moral or a human perspective and conclude that the Kuffar, if they perform good deeds and abstain from all sorts of vices, will end up in Jannah, regardless of what their beliefs are. Others would claim that Allah (swt) never explicitly defined the criteria for determining who would enter Jannah and Hell-Fire. Still others would attempt to avoid the issue altogether by saying that no person has the right to even raise such an issue because the act of Judging belongs solely to Allah (swt), using such a premise as a justification to claim that the Kuffar may be admitted into Jannah even if they retain their beliefs.

Islam addresses the issue with such clarity that no lengthy discussion is necessary. In the Qur'an, Allah (swt) states:

"The parable of those who disbelieve in their Lord is that their works are as ashes, on which the wind blows furiously on a stormy day, and they shall not be able to reap what they have earned." [TMQ, Ibrahim 14:18]

"Say: 'Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of their deeds, those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds? They are those who deny the Ayat of their Lord and the meeting with Him. So their works are in vain, and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall not give them any weight. That shall be their recompense. Hell, because they disbelieved and took My Ayat and My Messengers by way of jest and mockery.'" [TMQ, Al-Kahaf 18:103-106]

"As for those who disbelieve, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert. The thirsty one thinks it to be water, until he comes up to it, and he finds it to be nothing, but he finds Allah with him, Who will pay him his due. And Allah is Swift in taking account. Or is like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with a great wave topped by a great wave, topped by dark clouds, darkness, one above another. If a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it. And he for whom Allah has not appointed light, for him there is no light." [TMQ, An-Nur 24: 39-40]
"But those who disbelieve, for them is destruction, and (Allah) will make their deeds vain. That is because they hate that which Allah has sent down (this Qur'an), so He has made their deeds fruitless." [TMQ, Muhammad 47: 8-9]

The question which arises is, are the Kuffar destined for Hell-Fire? As mentioned earlier, Islam states that anyone who dies as a disbeliever, rejecting Islam after it was presented to him in an effective manner and cognizant that it is the Haqq, will be admitted into the Hell-Fire, no matter how many good deeds that person performed, no matter how revered or adorable that person was in the eyes of others, and no matter how pious or righteous that person was.

Conclusion

The Islamic verdict is clear: Islam is one thing, and Kufr is something else. The Muslims are those who believe in Islam, and anyone else is a Kafir. When the Prophet (saaw) first received revelation, the ayat in the Qur'an immediately confronted the Kufr that existed in Makkah. Since that time, the Muslims possessed the clear understanding of Islam, as opposed to Kufr, as well as what each side stood for. As a result of this clear understanding, the Muslims understood what was expected from them, which was to continue to carry the message of Islam through Da'wah and Jihad until the Deen of Allah (swt) was supreme. Allah (swt) stated this objective very clearly in the Qur'an:

"It is He Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Deen of Haqq (Islam) to make it superior over all Deens (ways of life), even though the Mushrikun (disbelievers, polytheists) hate (it)." [TMQ, At-Taubah 9:33]

"He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with Guidance and the Deen of Haqq (Islam) to make it victorious over all other Deens, even though the Mushrikun hate (it)." [TMQ, As-Saff 61:9]

When the Qur'an and the Sunnah speak of the Kuffar as open enemies, the early Muslims understood this to mean not to be loyal to them or to follow their way of life. When the Qur'an and the Sunnah speak of Islam as the belief in Allah (swt) and His Messenger, the early Muslims understood this to mean that belief in anything else constitutes Kufr. When the Qur'an and the Sunnah state that Islam came to dominate the world, the Muslims understood this fact and continued to carry the Da'wah and struggle with other nations to achieve this objective. As a result of their clear understanding of Islam, the Muslims had a clear reference and agenda, which caused them to progress in all facets of life.

Today, the Muslim Ummah has no clear understanding of Islam, and as a result, it has no reference. Such a level of understanding has ultimately resulted in the Muslims debating over issues that Islam has a clear-cut answer for, issues that the Muslims never debated since the time of the Prophet (saaw). As long as Islam remains misunderstood, the discussion of such issues will persist, and the Muslim Ummah will remain distracted from its objectives and its purpose. The only way to restore the Ummah's focus and to eliminate the confusion that exists is to understand the nature of Islam with clarity and certainty. Allah (swt) says:

"The revelation of the Book (this Qur'an) is from the Rabb il al Amin (mankind, jinn, and all that exists) in which there is no doubt!" [TMQ, Al-Sajdah 32:2]

Allah (swt) is stating in plain terms that Islam is clear, and there is no doubt in His Message. When issues that are clear, such as "Who is a Kafir," is being discussed, it points up the sad fact that there is doubt regarding Islam amongst the Muslim Ummah. As long as the doubt remains, the Muslims will remain uncertain in their objectives and their purpose, and the enemies of Islam will continue to find it easy to manipulate the Muslim Ummah under false slogans as "Abrahamic Religions." Thus, there is an urgent need in the Muslim Ummah to eliminate its doubt and return to Islam as its only source for its 'Aqeedah, its culture, its laws and rules, its standards, and its solutions.

15 comments:

ramaddan said...

Al Salemu Aleikum

One of the verses mentioned has a mistake.

"Surely, in disbelief are they who say that --> Allah <-- is the Messiah, son of Mary. Say, 'Who then has the least power against Allah, if He were to destroy the Messiah, son of Mary, his mother, and all those who are on the earth together?' And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them. He creates what He wills, and Allah is Able to do all things." [TMQ, Al-Ma'idah 5:17]

Where the arrows are, should be 'Issa (Jesus), not Allah.

I think it was an important topic to put up.

Jazekum al Llahu Kheir to you and the original author.
Wa Aleikum al Salam

Uthman said...

Jazakum Allah for this article.

Good article masha'Allah.

I think however that the author has been a bit vague about how those who are not Muslims are to be interacted with in this life, regardless of whether Islam has been communicated to them correctly or not.

Yes, if Islam has not been presented to someone then they cannot categorically be said to be a kafir, yet anyone is not a Muslim, must be dealt with as a kafir. Meaning all the ahkam that apply to the kuffar apply to him/her.

The author does make this point, but I felt that it was a little vague.

Wasalam

zeb said...

Salam alaikum

Plz Explain in detail are prseent muslim Ruler kafirs because of not ruling according to what Allah has revealed because some people declare them kafir and justify militant struggle for establishing khilafah

Islamic Revival said...

This is answered in: http://islamicsystem.blogspot.com/2007/08/definitive-violation-of-shariah-by.html

Even those who have the view that they are disbelievers automatically by ruling by non-Islam cannot use that as a basis to engage in militant struggle and depart from the method of the Prophet (saw) of how he established the first Islamic state. Their arguments are elaborated in: http://islamicsystem.blogspot.com/2008/03/fighting-as-method-to-establish-islamic.html

Anonymous said...

Assalamo Alaikum... please provide me with literature refuting the takfeeri approach a/c to which if someone supports infidels against Muslims he also becomes kafir eventually murtid (rulers of Muslims world) so its no problem killing them. They also say that comiting major sins can also make a person murtid with reference to Surah Tauba Ayah 65... etc, etc...This thinking is very dangerous and a very fragile issue as some scholars like Tartusi and movements adopt this thinking to kill Muslim armies and people, considering them apostates... provide me with books and literature ... May Allah accept ur efoorts. Jazak Allah

Anonymous said...

If they are disbelievers why we should not fight them when Rasul (saw) said, "if you see your rulers upon kufr buwah then fight them" ? When the British occupied muslim lands then it was OBLIGATORY TO FIGHT and when they installed some puppet governments then we SHOULD NOT FIGHT with them !!

Islamic Revival said...

Although some scholars may disagree, these Ahadith are not connected to the current situation. By studying them closely it becomes clear that they are connected to revolt and rising against the Khaleefah and Imam. The current situation is not that of the Khulafah who used to rule by Islam and then turned away from Islam. The current problem is also not merely related to removing a ruler by killing him. Rather, entire systems of Kufr have been implemented over Muslims for many years, none of the current rulers have ever ruled by Islam and none of them are Khulafa within a Khilafah. The systems that they are applying are either monarchies or Capitalistic with some sort of democratic framework. Hence, the reality isn’t that of removing a bad Khaleefah within an Islamic State. The reality is of uprooting an entire Kufr system, including it’s ruler, to again establish the Khilafah state. The current rulers are not comparable in any way to Khulafah who have introduced one Kufr law into the Khilafah.

The following hadith is important in this regard: Al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of Junada b. abi Umayyah who said: We went to ‘Ubadah b. as-Samit when he was sick and we said: May Allah (swt) guide you. Inform us of a Hadith from the Messenger of Allah (saw) so Allah may benefit you from it. He said, the Messenger of Allah (saw) called upon us and we gave him the Bai’ah, and he said, of that which he had taken from us, that we should give him the pledge to listen and obey, in what we like and dislike, in our hardship and ease, and that we should not dispute the authority of its people unless we saw open Kufr (kufr buwah) upon which we had a proof (burhan) from Allah.

Ibn Kathir in his Tafseer states that if the Khaleefah reverts to the rule of disbelief, he would be fought until he returned to the
implementation of Islam and the Shariah. This is also explained by other classical scholars, see: http://islamicsystem.blogspot.com/2007/08/when-is-rebellion-against-khalifah.html

Hence these Ahadith do not apply upon the current situation. The reality which they address is that of removing a Khaleefah who rules with Kufr within the Islamic State, not that of uprooting an entire Kufr system merely by fighting and killing the ruler of that system.

The closest situation that is comparable from the evidences is the establishment of the Islamic State for the very first time by the Prophet (saw) and the struggle which he (saw) went through in order to establish this State and change the non-Islamic society into an Islamic one. As that is the only instance in which a complete system of Kufr existed and was changed to a complete system of Islam. So the matter is regarding the changing of a system, not merely a ruler. The Ahadith of fighting, apply to changing a ruler i.e. a Khaleefah who has gone astray not a system, only the struggle of the Prophet (saw) in Makkah applies to the changing of a system. So armed struggle is not the method of re-establishing the Khilafah today.

Islamic Revival said...

The Takfeeri argument is addressed in: http://islamicsystem.blogspot.com/2008/03/fighting-as-method-to-establish-islamic.html

We are planning to write a more detailed refutation in the coming months inshallah.

Anonymous said...

Brother, thnx for ur answer, I have gone through this answer previously.

1.I want to know, were not the muslim lands was dar ul Islam ? were not these lands were occupied by the kuffar british ? ok, forget this hadith, when a muslim land is attacked by the kuffars, should we not fight the kuffars ? and when these kuffars left us putting a murtad ruler over the muslims, on the condition that they will not rule by the law of Allah, then what matters to refrain fighting them ? are not the murtads worse than the kuffar ??

2.regarding ur say about nusrah, what is the objective of seeking nusrah ? I think it is to gain the necessary material power for the islamic state, right ? then whats wrong with the mujahideens who themselves have gathered power and fought the agent rulers who didnt implement the ahkam of Allah and then Allah gave them victory ? didnt we see that mujaheedins established hukm of Allah in many places ... yes those were not khilafah but not dar ul kufr !

3."The argument that you presented against this is that the only similar situation to our situation now is that of Rasulullah establishing an Islamic state first and then fighting Jihad. You are neglecting a serious difference and that is when Rasulullah established Madina there was no Islamic land that was invaded. Isn’t this a serious and major difference? Today the Muslim world is under occupation and the statements of our scholars are clear that it becomes fardh ayn on every able Muslim to fight to free the Muslim land. When something is fardh ayn it is fardh ayn. You cannot theorize or hypothesize otherwise. The ruling is clear and the implications of it are clear. So even if you do not believe Jihad to be the way to establish khilafah you must agree that Jihad is fardh ayn and that is not where HT stands. Also the jihad which is fardh ayn and is Jihad al dafa (defensive Jihad) does not require the one who wants to participate to seek the permission of the Imam, parents, husband, slave owner, or lender.

Also why should we argue on this point when we see the evidence of it in the real world. The two most successful examples, even though far from perfect, of Islamic rule in this past decade were the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic courts in Somalia. In both countries only these Muslim fighters brought peace, security and rule of law in both countries. Both movements reached to power not through elections or debates but through war. They did not fall because they were failures but they fell because the ummah failed them. However, even though a battle here and there were lost but the war is not over. If you follow the current events and look at them with an attentive eye you would realize that it is the enemy who is bleeding to death not the Muslim fighters. Pretty soon the scales will tip.

Because confusion usually surrounds what is meant by Jihad whether it is the Jihad al Nafs or Jihad of the sword I do not exclusively mean one or the other and I do not exclude one or the other. What I mean by Jihad here is not just picking up a gun and fighting. Jihad is broader than that. What is meant by Jihad in this context is a total effort by the ummah to fight and defeat its enemy. Rasulullah says: Fight the disbelievers with your self, your wealth and your tongues. It is what Clausewitz would refer to as “total war” but with the Islamic rules of engagement. It is a battle in the battlefield and a battle for the hearts and minds of the people." [Anwar Al Awlaki]

ma assalam

Bilal said...

Aoa.. Jan 29th was my question.. Bro I am convinced that taking arms isn't the method for re-establishment of Islamic State, my question is of Takfeer.. regarding above comment i like to comment that there is a difference b/w establishment of Caliphate and carrying of Jihad.. caliphate is a state that establishes Islam in society while Jihad is a part of foreign policy of state (offensive) & defensive when kuffar attack Muslim land. We take seerah of Muhammad saw as our basis, as when Islamic state has ceased to exist after Othmani Caliphate, the method for its re-establishment is to be extracted from Seerah... Prophet's method for State was doing an intellectual struggle and seeking Nussrah + refraining from arms. Example It is quoted in Ibn-e-Hasham in the chapter “The Second Pledge of Aqabah” that, “Abbas bin Ibadah(who was among Ansar) said to Prophet that …If you command us, we will take out our swords on the people of Mina’ tomorrow. Prophet (saw) replied that We aren’t ordered to do this now.” .. the Hukm of Jihad was revealed after days of Hijra and formation of Islamic society in Surah Baqara. Therefore, using arms is not the method of Prophet for establishing state, and its Fard Ayn now upon every Muslim to work for it in the method of intellectual struggle & Nusrah & not arms as Prophet didn't use them... & yes we agree that defensive Jihad is also Fard Ayn today but remember that it can never be fulfilled by doing Jihad only, the fard will be fulfilled when the Kuffar are thrown out of Muslim lands and their hegemony is destroyed.. which is only possible with an Islamic State that attains sufficient strength for it, expel kuffars and estblish Islam

Anonymous said...

In reply to the 3 point question above:

1. Yes all Muslim lands used to be Dar al-Islam in the past. However when the colonialists left and their agent rulers were left in place even if they were murtad this does not mean that the entire army and administration are murtad. The present governments in the Muslim world are run by Muslims not a disbelieving occupying force. Yazid bin Mu'awiya's forces killed the Sahaba including the grandson of the Prophet, al-Hussein ibn Ali (ra) - this made them fasiqs (sinners) not apostates (murtadeen). Even though many from the ruling authority, army and administration in those lands are fasiqs it does not make them kuffar.

2. If the mujahideen in particular places gain power in any place you are right they become the people of nussrah themselves. However what must be questioned is the reality of the place where they gain power and does it match the shar'i conditions for an Islamic state i.e. does it have istita'ah (capability) to stand by itself without being destroyed.

3. Regarding what you said about Jihad being Fard Ayn, this has been explained by the brothers in the comments of: http://islamicsystem.blogspot.com/2008/03/fighting-as-method-to-establish-islamic.html

There is a difference between when a land is attacked by an enemy and when an enemy occupies a land:

1) If the enemy attack a land like the Israeli's did in Southern Lebanon or the Americans in Iraq - at that point it is Fard Ain on every Muslim male to fight the enemy invaders to stop them from occupying. This is a well known Islamic rule that the members of HT also adhere to.

2) However, if the enemy occupies the land as in the case of Palestine or Iraq today. Then although jihad it is technically fard on the ummah, in reality it is a direct obligation upon the people of capability who can actually remove them from authority and not on every normal individual. As was explained earlier:

To say that Jihad becomes fard ‘ain on Muslims means that it is upon those who are capable amongst them, i.e. the armies and those who are like them (i.e. have military power). This is because the ‘capability’ (Istita’ah) is (indirectly) understood in every hukm shar’i. Therefore it is incorrect to change the definition and thus say that Jihad is fard ‘ain upon the armies instead of upon the Muslims, this is because the mentioning of ‘Muslims’ is more general, and it is clear in it that it is a duty (fard) upon those who are qualified and have the capability and ability to fighting in the manner which the shara’ has explained.

This can be seen in history when Palestine was occupied by the Crusaders for 100 years, the scholars said Jihad against them was Fard Ain, however did they all practically oblige everyone to move there and go to fight? In fact if this was the case all the scholars themselves would have moved there and fought against the crusaders which clearly didn’t happen. Therefore it is clear that they understood the hukm in the same way and this is the classical position."

Anonymous said...

4. The examples you gave of Somalia or the Taliban although they were sincere and struggled for the deen as you yourself mentioned - they did not survive. This is why it is fundamental to work to re-establish the Khilafah in a place that at least fulfil basic criterion such as the Quranic odds 10-1 in the Muslim army which ulema used in the past to determine when it is permissible for the Ameer to make a tactical withdrawal from a battle:

‘O Prophet (Muhammad [saw])! Urge the believers to fight. If there are twenty steadfast persons amongst you, they will overcome two hundred, and if there be a hundred steadfast persons they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are people who do not understand.’ [8:65]

These odds (10-1) are for the Muslim army vs the immediate likely enemy and of course not for any potential enemy.

It is not relevant whether a place for a period of time fits within an opinion regarding the definition of dar al-Islam. If wealthy Muslims bought an island and moved there with a 100 people and all the laws on that island were from Islam and they had a judge who judged by the shariah etc - then it would too fit within this category. But as you rightly said - it is not Khilafah! Today we are obliged to re-establish the Khilafah and not that type of entity.

5. The Taifah Mansoora (victorious party) mentioned in the ahadith which everyone wishes to be part of are those who will be victorious which as explained in the following means those who establish the re-establish the Khilafah which is victorious over its enemies: http://islamicsystem.blogspot.com/2009/07/q-triumphant-group-at-taifa-az-zahira.html

zeb said...

Salam Alaikum ..

The takfiri argument is not just this. They say the rulers and Msulims armies are Murtad (Apostates) because they aid Kuffar against Muslims and the evidence is the verse of Surah Almaida verse 51



(یٰاَیُّھَا الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْیَھُوْدَ وَالنَّصَارٰی اَوْلِیَائَ بَعْضُھُمْ اَوْلِیَائُ بَعْضٍ وَمَنْ یَتَوَلَّھُمْ مِنْکُمْ فَاِنَّہ مِنْھُمْ)(المائدة : ٥١)
O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.

Also claims there is Ijma of Ummat on this that aiding Kuffar against Muslims is Irtidad (apostacy.As


Imam ibn e tammyah says in ikhtayat ul faqeeh:

Who ever runs towards the cantonments of tartars, and meets with them becomes a “murtad” and its permissible to kill him and take his money. This is the ruling on a person who only meets with mushrikeen, imagine the ruling on a person who himself helps mushrikeen against muslims , his kufr and irtadad is more than the previous one..

Also

Imam ibn e hazam says : if some one lives in land of kuffaar and supports the war agsainst muslims and serves the kuffar at any level, even he is a clerc becomes a kaafir

(Al Muhlaa 11/200)

Ibn e jareer al tabri says:

whosoever befriends kuffar is one of them. Who ever helps kuffar is one of them and is on their deen because he only befriends them because he is on their mission.( tafseer tabri 6/30, sample paper mehmood shaakir)

Also Imam Al Qurtabi in the explanation of Above mentioned verse say

Imam qurtabi says : who ever helps the kuffar becomes a kafir just like them (al jamia alhukaam , tafseer alqurtabi 6/204)

The other point is that only Murhiyah involves the conditon that it leads to apostacy if Muslims aid Kuffar against Msulims if they are pleased with the deen of Kuffar , and this not what Ahl e sunnah understood. According to Ahl e sunnah it is apostacy with any conditon of heart or aitiqad on the deen of Kuffar.

abdullah said...

Asslamu alaikum,

You said, "This is in regards to the thoughts and beliefs carried by Ahl ul Kitab. When it come to a particular person he cannot be considered a Kafir until Islam is presented in an effective way and s/he rejects it deliberately knowing that it is the Haqq. If Islam did not reach this person, then s/he cannot be considered as such."

isn't it the case for majority people in the west or other parts of the world i.e islam is not properly presented to them?

so how will we consider them? as kafir or something else?

pls answer.

Anonymous said...

so you want the muslim armies to "convince" and upto that period u people are not interested to take preparation for jihad ??