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What or who is Kaffir?


John
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I think it's a matter of interpretation, personally I interpret Khafir as aethiest, but most (not all) Muslims would understand it to mean non-Muslims. So would class Sikhs, Hindu's, even Jews/Christians in some cases as Khafir. It all stems on what the interpretation of Muslim is, one who submits to God, or one who submits to the Prophet Mohammed?

Similar to most Sikhs interpreting Gurmukh to only refer to those highly spritual ones who follow the Sikh path, where as I interpret as any spiritual person who follows Gods path (irrelevent of faith).

It also depends on whether a Allah exists for non-Muslims (which of course he does), but most Muslims will say that Allah can only be realised through accepting his prophet.

As with many other faiths, people are trying to monopolise Akaal Purkh (which of course they can't).

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According to Islam a Muslim is one who believes in the prophethood of Mohammad and follow his doctrine. Anyone who does not do this is a non Muslim, therefore a Kaffir (non-believer). It is no use for us to try to revise Islamic concepts to how we want to interpret them. Personally I don’t have a problem with Muslims considering me a Kaffir. They have their way, and I have mine. If they respect my right to freedom of faith, I’ll respect them. It is only when someone tries to enforce their doctrine on me that I have a problem with. Otherwise there is no problem.

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Singh47,

I think we should specify which sect beleives thats because sufi and shia sect of islam have different interpertation of kafir than wahabi sunnis and other sharia sects.

Sufi and Shai interpertation of word kafir is one who doesnt beleive in Nirgun Paratma Allah, so they would consider nastiks as kafirs. I think gurbani also gives lot of lanata and tarna to people who are nastiks as well.

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"Kaafir" generally means "unbeliever". In the Quran people who are unbelievers are those who do not believe in the authenticity of the Quran or the prophethood of Muhammad. This does not mean that they don't believe in God in some form or another. In the Quranic chapter "Kaafirun" it says the following:

1. Say : O ye that reject Faith!

2. I worship not that which ye worship,

3. Nor will ye worship that which I worship.

4. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship,

5. Nor will ye worship that which I worship.

6. To you be your Way, and to me mine.

This surah was refering to the pagan tribes of Arabia who had many gods which they worshipped. I believe this is a Meccan Surah (verse from the time when muslims were a minority living in Mecca before they migrated to Medina after being persecuted by the pagan majority in Mecca).

"Infidel" is one translation of the word "Kaafir" but so is "non-believer" but as you can see both english words have a different feel to them. Infidel is a harsher word.

These days the word "Kaafir" is used by extremist muslims like a swear word and among many converts and forward thinking muslims this word has become a pain in the you know what.

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BAZ,

People who want one to turn to the historical Islam often tend to term, people of different faiths as 'Kaffir', however, these people are not concerned with the worship, pooja, praise of the Almighty but instead are blinded by power and ofcourse ignorance.

Now for the other side of the coin, people such as Julaludin Rumi, Farid Ud Din Ganj E Shakar, Sheikh Nizamuddin Aulia, and many many such great Muslims saints, do not term people of otehr faiths as Kaffir as they are interested in the praise of Allah.

Kaffir today has become a term used to 'identify' for these Muslims, a 'them' and 'us' game, In the Quran, Kufr Al Tawheed is frowned upon, which is the Rejection of the Unicity of Allah, Ram, Hari, Gopal etc etc, which is everywhere. In actaul fact it is these people who say that one should adhere to the doctrines of historical Islam, that are Kaffir as thet cannot and refuse to see Allah within everything and people all faiths!!

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John I see where you are coming from. For muslims who want to use the word "kaafir" to build a barrier between "us" and "them" will end up doing so because its the lower nature of man to do such things. People have always loved using religion as a tool to feed their egos.

You said that Muslim saints "do not term people of other faiths as Kaffir as they are interested in the praise of Allah." Well you can't term a faith as kaafir. Faith is faith. The word kaafir comes from the word kufr (unbelief). In one way I must be a kaafir looking at it from a Sikh standpoint because I choose to remain muslim. There must be a level of unbelief in me towards the Sikh faith. According to some muslims I must have (and I have been told) that there is a degree of kufr in my heart when it comes to Islam because I dont always believe the way some of them believe.

In some ways the term "Kaafir" is black and white when it comes to worldly matters (marriage, who pays zakat and who pays jizya etc). But in a more important spiritual way the whole matter is filled with degrees of grey between the black and white. At some level we all have kufr in our hearts and the purpose of any religion is to eradicate the kufr within and fill it with the light of belief.

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Firstly I did not say that a faith can be labelled as Kaffir, I said PEOPLE of different faiths. Your mindset is very narrow from reading what you have written,

' In one way I must be a kaafir looking at it from a Sikh standpoint because I choose to remain muslim'

This is completely beyond the point, why do you and many Muslims today cling onto the Zahir or the outward systems or ways of attaining God?

You also state

'According to some muslims I must have (and I have been told) that there is a degree of kufr in my heart when it comes to Islam because I dont always believe the way some of them believe'

When it comes to believing, we are dealing with believing in God, every single human being on Earth percieves God in a different way so how can you 'believe' the way that those 'Muslims' want you to believe. Through ones own intellect and understanding one perceives Allah. How can one limti something which is beyond limits?

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Obviosly John you dont know me very well as do some others on this board so your accusation of calling me narrow minded is baseless adn quite humorouos actually.

Its not only muslims who cling to outward systems or ways to attaining God. God can't be attained through outward systems as we both know. Outward systems and practices are theer for us as a religious community to unify us and guide us in our daily living and dicipline. Sikhism has its outward system and so does Islam and they are beneficial for certain things. But ofcourse it doesn stop there.

I completely agree with your last paragraph by the way.

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You state

'Its not only muslims who cling to outward systems or ways to attaining God. God can't be attained through outward systems as we both know. Outward systems and practices are theer for us as a religious community to unify us and guide us in our daily living and dicipline. Sikhism has its outward system and so does Islam and they are beneficial for certain things'

If this is the case then why do many Muslims today carry the notion that one needs to adhere to the historical Islam? ie doing what they do

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I cant answer for "those" muslims. They have their way of looking at things and other muslims have their view. What exactly do you mean by "historical Islam" anyway? To be a Muslim one needs to believe in the 5 tenants of the faith as described by the Porphet Muhammad who said Islam is built on five pillars: bearing witness that there is no god but God and Muhammad is His prophet, establishing the prayer, giving zakat, hajj, and fasting during Ramadan.

U can still believe in God and not be a Muslim obviously.

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