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Kafir (Arabic : كافرkāfir; plural كَافِرُونَkāfirūna, كفّارkuffār or كَفَرَةkafarah; feminine كافرةkāfirah; feminine plural كافراتkāfirāt or كوافرkawāfir) is an Arabic term (from the root K-F-R "to cover") meaning "infidel", "rejector", "disbeliever", "unbeliever", "nonbeliever". The term refers to a person who rejects or disbelieves in God or the tenets of Islam, denying the dominion and authority of God, and is thus often translated as "infidel". The term is used in different ways in the Quran, with the most fundamental sense being "ingratitude" (toward God). Historically, while Islamic scholars agreed that a polytheist is a kafir, they sometimes disagreed on the propriety of applying the term to Muslims who committed a grave sin and to the People of the Book. In modern times, kafir is sometimes used as a derogatory term, particularly by members of Islamist movements. Unbelief is called kufr. Kafir is sometimes used interchangeably with mushrik (مشرك, those who commit polytheism), another type of religious wrongdoer mentioned frequently in the Quran and other Islamic works. The act of declaring another self-professed Muslim a kafir is known as takfir , a practice that has been condemned but also employed in theological and political polemics over the centuries. The person who denies the existence of a creator is called dahriya.
In Islam, God is the absolute one, the all-powerful and all-knowing ruler of the universe, and the creator of everything in existence. Islam emphasizes that God is strictly singular : unique, inherently One, also all-merciful and omnipotent. God is neither a material nor a spiritual being. According to Islamic teachings, beyond the Throne and according to the Quran, "No vision can grasp him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things."
Infidel is a term used in certain religions for those accused of unbelief in the central tenets of their own religion, for members of another religion, or for the irreligious.
People of the Book/Scripture is an Islamic term which refers to Jews, Christians and Sabians and is sometimes applied to members of other religions such as Zoroastrians. It is also used in Judaism to refer to the Jewish people and by members of some Christian denominations to refer to themselves.
The word kāfir is the active participle of the root K-F-R. As a pre-Islamic term it described farmers burying seeds in the ground. One of its applications in the Quran is also the same meaning as farmer.Since farmers cover the seeds with soil while planting, the word kāfir implies a person who hides or covers. Ideologically, it implies a person who hides or covers the truth. Poets personify the darkness of night as kâfir, perhaps as a survival of pre-Islamic religious or mythological usage. The noun for disbelief, "blasphemy", "impiety" rather than the person who disbelieves, is kufr.
K-P-R is a Semitic root, in Arabic and Hebrew rendered as K-F-R . The basic meaning of the root is "to cover", but it is used in the sense "to conceal" and hence "to deny", and its notability derives from its use for religious heresy or apostasy in both Islam and Judaism.
The Hebrew words "kipper" and "kofer" share the same root as "kafir" כִּפֵּר, or K-F-R. "Kipper" has many meanings including, to "deny", "atone for", "cover", "purge", "represent", or "transfer". The last two meanings involve "kofer" that mean "ransom". "Kipper" and "kofer" are mostly likely used together in the Jewish faith to indicate God's transfer of guilt from innocent parties using guilty parties as "ransom".Hence also Yom Kippur, literally meaning "Day of Atonement."
Judaism is the ethnic religion of the Jewish people. It is an ancient, monotheistic, Abrahamic religion with the Torah as its foundational text. It encompasses the religion, philosophy, and culture of the Jewish people. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenant that God established with the Children of Israel. It encompasses a wide body of texts, practices, theological positions, and forms of organization. The Torah is part of the larger text known as the Tanakh or the Hebrew Bible, and supplemental oral tradition represented by later texts such as the Midrash and the Talmud. With between 14.5 and 17.4 million adherents worldwide, Judaism is the tenth largest religion in the world.
Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services.
The practice of declaring another Muslim as a kafir is takfir .Kufr (unbelief) and shirk (idolatry) are used throughout the Quran and sometimes used interchangeably by Muslims. According to Salafist scholars, Kufr is the "denial of the Truth" (truth in the form of articles of faith in Islam), and shirk means devoting "acts of worship to anything beside God" or "the worship of idols and other created beings". So a mushrik may worship other things while also "acknowledging God".
Takfir or takfeer is a controversial concept in Islamist discourse, denoting excommunication, as one Muslim declaring another Muslim as a non-believer (kafir). The act which precipitates takfir is termed mukaffir. Contemporary formulation and usage of the term have their roots in the 20th-century Islamist theorist Sayyid Qutb's advocacy of takfirism against the state or society deemed jahiliyah. According to Qutb, violence is required to be sanctioned against corrupt state leaders, on the premise that quietism is not the Islamic prescription against those deemed apostates. This position is widely held and applied by jihadist organizations to varying degrees. At the same time, the concept is opposed by religious establishment as an ostensible reason for violence. They hold that excommunication against those who profess their Islamic faith is not sanctioned by Islam, or an ill-founded takfir accusation is a major forbidden act (haram).
The distinction between those who believe in Islam and those who do not is an essential one in the Quran. Kafir, and its plural kuffaar, is used directly 134 times in Quran, its verbal noun "kufr" is used 37 times, and the verbal cognates of kafir are used about 250 times.
By extension of the basic meaning of the root, "to cover", the term is used in the Quran in the senses of ignore/fail to acknowledge and to spurn/be ungrateful.The meaning of "disbelief", which has come to be regarded as primary, retains all of these connotations in the Quranic usage. In the Quranic discourse, the term typifies all things that are unacceptable and offensive to God. The most fundamental sense of kufr in the Quran is "ingratitude", the willful refusal to acknowledge or appreciate the benefits that God bestows on humankind, including clear signs and revealed scriptures.
According to the E. J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913–1936, Volume 4, the term first applied in the Quran to unbelieving Meccans, who endeavoured "to refute and revile the Prophet". A waiting attitude towards the kafir was recommended at first for Muslims; later, Muslims were ordered to keep apart from unbelievers and defend themselves against their attacks and even take the offensive.Most passages in the Quran referring to unbelievers in general talk about their fate on the day of judgement and destination in hell.
According to scholar Marilyn Waldman, as the Quran "progresses" (as the reader goes from the verses revealed first to later ones), the meaning behind the term kafir does not change but "progresses", i.e. "accumulates meaning over time". As the Islamic Prophet Muhammad's views of his opponents change, his use of kafir "undergoes a development". Kafir moves from being one description of Muhammad's opponents to the primary one. Later in the Quran, kafir becomes more and more connected with shirk . Finally, towards the end of the Quran, kafir begins to also signify the group of people to be fought by the mu'minīn (believers).
The status of the People of the Book (ahl al-kitab), particularly Jews and Christians, with respect to the Islamic notions of unbelief is not clearcut. Charles Adams writes that the Quran reproaches the People of the Book with kufr for rejecting Muhammad's message when they should have been the first to accept it as possessors of earlier revelations, and singles out Christians for disregarding the evidence of God's unity.The Quranic verse 5:73 ("Certainly they disbelieve [kafara] who say: God is the third of three"), among other verses, has been traditionally understood in Islam as rejection of the Christian Trinity doctrine, though modern scholarship has suggested alternative interpretations. Other Quranic verses strongly deny the deity of Jesus Christ, son of Mary and reproach the people who treat Jesus as equal with God as disbelievers who will be doomed to eternal punishment in Hell. While the Quran does not recognize the attribute of Jesus as the Son of God or God himself, it respects Jesus as a prophet and messenger of God sent to children of Israel. Some Muslim thinkers such as Mohamed Talbi have viewed the most extreme Quranic presentations of the dogmas of the Trinity and divinity of Jesus (5:19, 5:75-76, 5:119) as non-Christian formulas that were rejected by the Church.
Cyril Glasse criticizes the use of kafirun [pl. of kafir] to describe Christians as "loose usage".According to the Encyclopedia of Islam , in traditional Islamic jurisprudence, ahl al-kitab are "usually regarded more leniently than other kuffar [pl. of kafir]..." and "in theory" a Muslim commits a punishable offense if he says to a Jew or a Christian: "Thou unbeliever".
Historically, People of the Book permanently residing under Islamic rule were entitled to a special status known as dhimmi , while those visiting Muslim lands received a different status known as musta'min .
Mushrikun (pl. of mushrik) are those who practice shirk , which literally means "association" and refers to accepting other gods and divinities alongside the god of the Muslims - Allah (as God's "associates").The term is often translated as polytheism. The Quran distinguishes between mushrikun and People of the Book, reserving the former term for idol worshipers, although some classical commentators considered Christian doctrine to be a form of shirk. Shirk is held to be the worst form of disbelief, and it is identified in the Quran as the only sin that God will not pardon (4:48, 4:116).
Accusations of shirk have been common in religious polemics within Islam.Thus, in the early Islamic debates on free will and theodicy, Sunni theologians charged their Mu'tazila adversaries with shirk, accusing them of attributing to man creative powers comparable to those of God in both originating and executing his own actions. Mu'tazila theologians, in turn, charged the Sunnis with shirk on the grounds that under their doctrine a voluntary human act would result from an "association" between God, who creates the act, and the individual who appropriates it by carrying it out.
In classical jurisprudence, Islamic religious tolerance applied only to the People of the Book, while mushrikun, based on the Sword Verse, faced a choice between conversion to Islam and fight to the death,which may be substituted by enslavement. In practice, the designation of People of the Book and the dhimmi status was extended even to non-monotheistic religions of conquered peoples, such as Hinduism. Following destruction of major Hindu temples during the Muslim conquests in South Asia, Hindus and Muslims on the subcontinent came to share a number of popular religious practices and beliefs, such as veneration of Sufi saints and worship at Hindu shrines.
Whether a Muslim could commit a sin great enough to become a kafir was disputed by jurists in the early centuries of Islam. The most tolerant view (that of the Murdji'a) was that even those who had committed a major sin (kabira) were still believers and "their fate was left to God".The most strict view (that of Kharidji Ibadis, descended from the Kharijites) was that every Muslim who dies having not repented of his sins was considered a kafir. In between these two positions, the Mu'tazila believed that there was a status between believer and unbeliever called "rejected" or fasiq .
The Kharijites view that the self-proclaimed Muslim who had sinned and "failed to repent had ipso facto excluded himself from the community, and was hence a kafir" (a practice known as takfir) was considered so extreme by the Sunni majority that they in turn declared the Kharijites kafir,following the hadith that declared, "If a Muslim charges a fellow Muslim with kufr, he is himself a kafir if the accusation should prove untrue".
Nevertheless, in Islamic theological polemics kafir was "a frequent term for the Muslim protagonist" holding the opposite view, according to Brill's Islamic Encyclopedia.
Another group that are "distinguished from the mass of kafirun"are the murtad , or apostate ex-Muslims, who are considered renegades and traitors. Their traditional punishment is death, even, according to some scholars, if they recant their abandonment of Islam.
Non-Muslims living under the protection of an Islamic state.
Muslim belief/doctrine is often summarized in "the Six Articles of Faith",(the first five are mentioned together in the Qur'an 2:285 ).
According to the Salafi scholar Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali, "kufr is basically disbelief in any of the articles of faith. He also lists several different types of major disbelief, (disbelief so severe it excludes those who practice it completely from the fold of Islam):
Minor disbelief or Kufran-Ni'mah indicates "ungratefulness of God's Blessings or Favours".
According to another source, a paraphrase of the Tafsir by Ibn Kathir, [ unreliable source? ] there are eight kinds of Al-Kufr al-Akbar (major unbelief), some are the same as those described by Al-Hilali (Kufr-al-I'rad, Kufr-an-Nifaaq) and some different.
In Islam, jahiliyyah ("ignorance") refers to the time of Arabia before Islam. It may also refer to modern secularist states.
When the Islamic empire expanded, the word "kafir" was used broadly for all pagans and anyone who disbelieved in Islam.Historically, the attitude toward unbelievers in Islam was determined more by socio-political conditions than by religious doctrine. A tolerance toward unbelievers "impossible to imagine in contemporary Christendom" prevailed even to the time of the Crusades, particularly with respect to the People of the Book. However, animosity was nourished by repeated wars with unbelievers, and warfare between Safavid Persia and Ottoman Turkey brought about application of the term kafir even to Persians in Turkish fatwas. During the era of European colonialism, the political decline of Islam impeded organized state action against the pressure from Western nations, and the resulting feeling of impotence contributed to a rise of hatred against unbelievers and its periodic manifestations, such as massacres.
However, there was extensive religious violence in India between Muslims and non-Muslims during the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire (before the political decline of Islam).In their memoirs on Muslim invasions, enslavement and plunder of this period, many Muslim historians in South Asia used the term Kafir for Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains. Raziuddin Aquil states that "non-Muslims were often condemned as kafirs, in medieval Indian Islamic literature, including court chronicles, Sufi texts and literary compositions" and fatwas were issued that justified persecution of the non-Muslims.
Relations between Jews and Muslims in the Arab world and use of the word "kafir" were equally as complex, and over the last century, issues regarding "kafir" have arisen over the conflict in Israel and Palestine.Calling the Jews of Israel, "the usurping kafir", Yasser Arafat turned on the Muslim resistance and "allegedly set a precedent for preventing Muslims from mobilizing against 'aggressor disbelievers' in other Muslim lands, and enabled 'the cowardly, alien kafir' to achieve new levels of intervention in Muslim affairs."
In 2019, Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest independent Islamic organization in the world based in Indonesia, issued a proclamation urging Muslims to refrain from using the word kafir to refer to non-Muslims, in the interest of promoting religious tolerance and co-existence.
A hadith in which Muhammad states that his father was in hell has become a source of disagreement about the status of Muhammad's parents. Over the centuries, Sunni scholars have dismissed this hadith despite its appearance in the authoritative Sahih Muslim collection. It passed through a single chain of transmission for three generations, so that its authenticity was not considered certain enough to supersede a theological consensus which stated that people who died before a prophetic message reached them—as Muhammad's father had done—could not be held accountable for not embracing it.Shia Muslim scholars likewise consider Muhammad's parents to be in Paradise. In contrast, the Salafi website IslamQA.info argues that Islamic tradition teaches that Muhammad's parents were kuffār (disbelievers) who are in Hell.
By the 15th century, the word Kaffir was used by Muslims in Africa to refer to the non-Muslim African natives. Many of those kufari were enslaved and sold by their Muslims captors to European and Asian merchants, mainly from Portugal, who by that time had established trading outposts along the coast of West Africa. These European traders adopted that Arabic word and its derivatives.
Some of the earliest records of European usage of the word can be found in The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation (1589) by Richard Hakluyt.In volume 4, Hakluyt writes: "calling them Cafars and Gawars, which is, infidels or disbelievers. Volume 9 refers to the slaves (slaves called Cafari) and inhabitants of Ethiopia (and they use to go in small shippes, and trade with the Cafars) by two different but similar names. The word is also used in reference to the coast of Africa as land of Cafraria. The 16th century explorer Leo Africanus described the Cafri as "negroes", and one of five principal population groups in Africa. He identified their geographical heartland as being located in remote southern Africa, an area which he designated as Cafraria.
By the late 19th century the word was in use in English-language newspapers and books.One of the Union-Castle Line ships operating off the South African coast was named SS Kafir. In the early twentieth century, in his book The Essential Kafir, Dudley Kidd writes that the word "kafir" had come to be used for all dark-skinned South African tribes. Thus, in many parts of South Africa, "kafir" became synonymous with the word, "native". Currently in South Africa, however, the word kaffir is regarded as a racial slur, applied pejoratively or offensively to blacks.
The song "Kafir" by American technical death metal band Nile from their sixth album Those Whom the Gods Detest uses as subject matter the violent attitudes that Muslim extremists have toward Kafirs.
The Nuristani people were formally known as Kaffirs of Kafiristan before the Afghan Islamization of the region. Moreover, their native name was Kapir, due to the lack of a "P" in Arabic, they coincidentally were called Kafirs, which was incorrect but again correct since they were polytheists, moreover Henotheists.
The Kalash people located in the Hindu Kush mountain range south west of Chitral are known as Kafirs by the Muslim population of Chitral.
In modern Spanish, the word cafre , derived from the Arabic kafir by way of Portuguese, also means "uncouth" or "savage".
The following list consists of notable concepts that are derived from both Islamic and Arab tradition, which are expressed as words in the Arabic language. The main purpose of this list is to disambiguate multiple spellings, to make note of spellings no longer in use for these concepts, to define the concept in one or two lines, to make it easy for one to find and pin down specific concepts, and to provide a guide to unique concepts of Islam all in one place.
In Islam, shirk is the sin of practicing idolatry or polytheism, i.e., the deification or worship of anyone or anything besides the singular God, i.e., Allah. Literally, it means ascribing or the establishment of partners placed beside God. It is the vice that is opposed to the virtue of Tawhid (monotheism). Those who practice shirk are termed mushrikun. Mushrikun are those who practice shirk, which literally means "association" and refers to accepting other gods and divinities alongside the god of the Muslims - Allah. In Islamic law shirk is a crime and can only be attributed to Muslims, since only a Muslim is legally responsible for avoiding association of any partner with Allah.
The Khawarij, Kharijites, or the ash-Shurah were members of a school of thought that appeared in the first century of Islam during the First Fitna, the crisis of leadership after the death of Muhammad. It broke into revolt against the authority of the Caliph Ali after he agreed to arbitration with his rival, Muawiyah I, to decide the succession to the Caliphate following the Battle of Siffin (657). A Khariji later assassinated Ali, and for hundreds of years, the Khawarij were a source of insurrection against the Caliphate.
Jahannam in Islam refers to an afterlife place of punishment for evildoers. The punishments are carried in accordance with the degree of evil one has done during his life. In Quran, Jahannam is also referred as an-Narالنار, Jaheemجحيم, Hutamahحطمة, Haawiyahهاوية, Ladthaaلظى, Sa’eerسعير, Saqarسقر. and also the names of different gates to hell. Just like the Islamic heavens, the common belief holds that, Jahannam coexists with the temporary world.
Fitna is an Arabic word with extensive connotations of trial, affliction, or distress. A word with important historical implications, it is also widely used in modern Arabic.
Al-Baqarah is the second and longest chapter (sūrah) of the Qur'an. It consists of 286 verses (āyāt), 6,201 words and 25,500 letters.
Injil is the Arabic name for the Gospel of Jesus (Isa). This Injil is described by the Qur'an as one of the four Islamic holy books which was revealed by God, the others being the Zabur, the Tawrat, and the Qur'an itself. The word Injil is also used in the Quran, the Hadith and early Muslim documents to refer to both a book and revelations made by God to Jesus.
Sūrat al-Qamar is the 54th sura of the Quran with 55 ayat. Some verses refer to the Splitting of the moon. "Qamar" (قمر), meaning "'Moon" in Arabic, is also a common name among Muslims.
Sūrat al-Maʻārij is the seventieth chapter (sūrah) of the Qur'an with 44 verses (āyāt). The Surah takes its name from the word dhil Ma'arij in 3rd ayah. The word appears twice in the Quran. Abdullah Yusuf Ali an Indian Islamic scholar introduces the surah as “This is another Islamic eschatology Surah closely connected in subject matter with the last one. Patience and the mystery of Time will show the ways that climb the Heaven. Sin and Goodness must each eventually come to its own.”
al-Muzzammil is the seventy-third chapter (sūrah) of the Qur'an, containing 20 verses (āyāt), which are recognized by Muslims as the word of God (Allah).
A takfiri is a Muslim who accuses another Muslim of apostasy. The accusation itself is called takfir, derived from the word kafir (unbeliever), and is described as when "one who is a Muslim is declared impure."
Barzakh designates a place between hell and heaven, where the soul resides after death, and experiences its own heaven or hell, until the resurrection on Qiyamah.
Mumin or Momin is an Arabic Islamic term, frequently referenced in the Quran, meaning "believer". It denotes a person who has complete submission to the Will of Allah and has faith firmly established in his heart, i.e. a "faithful Muslim". Also, it is used as a name and one of the names of God in Islam.
Tawba is the Islamic concept of repenting to God due to performing any sins and misdeeds. It is a direct matter between a person and God, so there is no intercession. There is no original sin in Islam. It is the act of leaving what God has prohibited and returning to what he has commanded. The word denotes the act of being repentant for one's misdeeds, atoning for those misdeeds, and having a strong determination to forsake those misdeeds. If someone sins against another person, restitution is required.
Taghut is an Islamic terminology denoting a focus of worship other than Allah. In traditional theology, the term often connotes idols, Satan and jinn. The term is also applied to earthly tyrannical power, as implied in surah Al-ma’idah verse 60. The modern Islamic philosopher Abul A'la Maududi defines taghut in his Qur'anic commentary as a creature who not only rebels against God but transgresses his will. Due to these associations, the term may refer to any person or group accused of being anti-Islamic and an agent of Western cultural imperialism. The term was introduced to modern political discourse since the usage surrounding Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during the 1979 Iranian Revolution, through accusations made both by and against Khomeini.
Islam considers the Quran to be a holy book, the word of Allah, and a miracle. The text itself is believed to be a miracle on the grounds that the Arabic text would not conform to the standard poetry and prose categories commonly expressed by other forms of written and spoken languages and therefore is attributed to supernatural, esp. divine, agency; esp. an act showing control over nature and used as evidence that the agent is either divine or divinely favoured.
The splitting of the moon is a miracle in Muslim tradition attributed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It is derived from the Quranic verses 54:1-2, and mentioned by Muslim traditions such as the Asbab al-nuzul. Some Muslim commentators, particularly from the Medieval period, interpret the event as a literal physical splitting of the Moon by Muhammad, while some others identify it as an event that will happen at judgment day. Others consider it to have been an optical illusion.
Prophets in Islam are individuals who Muslims believe were sent by God to various communities in order to serve as examples of ideal human behavior and to spread God's message on Earth. Some prophets are categorized as messengers, those who transmit divine revelation through the intercession of an angel. Muslims believe that many prophets existed, including many not mentioned in the Qur'an. The Qur'an states: "There is a Messenger for every community". Belief in the Islamic prophets is one of the six articles of the Islamic faith.
Tolerance may in no circumstances be extended to the apostate, the renegade Muslim, whose punishment is death. Some authorities allow the remission of this punishment if the apostate recants. Others insist on the death penalty even then. God may pardon him the world to come; the law must punish him in this world.
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