Can I Call a Kaafir a Kaafir?

Recently, there was an emotional discussion on a forum as to whether a Muslim can call a Kaafir a Kaafir or not. Let us review this issue rationally:

What is in a name?

  1. All of human knowledge is based on names and their definitions. All our communication takes place through names and their definitions.
  2. Names and definitions help us differentiate one entity/thing/idea from others, such as “individual” from “group” and other collective designations, “table” from “chair” and other pieces of furniture, “doctor” from “lawyer” and other professions, “walk” from “talk” and other activities, “God” from “human beings” and other creations, “Christianity” from “Judaism” and other religions, etc.
  3. A name and definition makes a thing, idea, entity or concept exclusive of what it is not, in addition to describing what it is. The word “table” not only defines a piece of furniture but also identifies it distinctly and exclusive of all other pieces of furniture that are not tables. “Christian” not only defines a person with a certain set of beliefs but also excludes all non-Christians from its definition.
  4. A definition of the names of the physical items/entities (chair, table, water, fire) is more easily and clearly understood according to the norms of the society that speaks a language than the names like “God” and “Christianity” which need to be more explicitly defined and elaborated to develop a common understanding and clearer communication between people who are talking about them.
  5. Clear definitions help clear thinking and develop clear understanding; while vague definitions cause confusions and misunderstandings. To avoid confusions, disputes, misuses or misunderstandings, important documents contain explicit definition of their key words within the document itself so that people do not feel free to take its words or concepts to mean whatever they want or whatever suits their purpose.
  6. The strange thing is that when it comes to “Islam” and “Muslim”, some people want us to believe that:
    1. Neither “Islam” nor “Muslim” has an official definition. Anyone can concoct any views and call it Islam and anyone can believe whatever he wants but call himself a Muslim and we have to accept his or her claim; and
    2. No one has a right to tell them that what they promote is not Islam and what they profess does not make them a Muslim.

    Can there be a more ridiculous position than that?

    Is it possible that Allaah reveals the most important official document called the Qur-aan and tells us therein that He has approved “Islam” as our Deen, that any Deen other than Islam is not acceptable to Him, and that He has named us “Muslims”; but does not even define what “Islam” or “Muslim” is? Or is it logical that He gives us the definitions, but we are forbidden to use those definitions for any practical intents and purposes?

    The main purpose of the Qur-aan was to define what Islam is and is not, and consequently, what a Muslim is and is not. Those criteria are there to be used for personal improvement and reflection, as well as for determining who is a part of the Ummah and who is not.

    So what is in a name? A lot! Only a person who meets the criteria given by the Qur-aan can be called a Muslim. Everyone else is a non-Muslim for which the Arabic word is Kaafir.

Islam is a Deen of Moderation

Islam is a Deen of moderation that, if followed properly, helps people avoid extremism.

Unfortunately, when it comes to defining who is a Muslim and who is not, many Muslims have adopted extremist positions. The Qur-aan provides a logical, rational distinction between the Muslims and non-Muslims (Kuffaar) for two purposes:

  1. Every individual can evaluate himself as to where he stands, what consequences he  will be facing in the Hereafter, and what changes to make in his thinking, beliefs, paradigms, attitude and behaviour to change the consequences to his favour;
  2. Muslims clearly know who belongs to the Ummah and who does not and thus can make decisions that are based on faith accordingly.

Unfortunately, many Muslims have deviated from the defined, moderate path of Islam and adopted extremist tendencies in two aspects of the second purpose – the use of the word Kaafir and in defining a Kaafir:

Use of “Kaafir” as a noun for anyone who is not a Muslim

The Qur-aan uses the word Kaafir as a simple noun to describe all human beings who are non-Muslims as opposed to those who are Muslims, nothing more, nothing less. Some people use the word Kaafir to taunt the non-Muslims, as if it is a derogatory word; while it is commonly known among the Muslims thatthe Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has prohibited the taunting of anyone for being a Kaafir. The other extreme is those who absolutely avoid using the word Kaafir, once again unduly assuming that it is a taboo or derogatory word. They naively take the Hadeeth that prohibited taunting to mean that people should not even be classified in the category to which they belong. They ignorantly are faulting the Qur-aan because it has used the term Kufr and its derivatives more than 400 times in its text, sometimes addressing them as Kuffaar or Kaafireen. Even the Prophet was told to say to them, “O Kaafiroon … for you your Deen, for me my Deen”. The point is that Kaafir is only a description of the one who has chosen to disbelieve in Islam. It is an Arabic word for a non-Muslim. There is nothing wrong with classifying anyone as a Kaafir, just as there is nothing wrong with classifying someone as a non-Christian or a non-Jew. The only thing that is wrong, and thus prohibited, is to taunt anyone for being a Kaafir, a non-Christian or a non-Jew.

Defining a Kaafir

On one extreme are some people who start classifying a Muslim as a Kaafir on the basis of those differences of opinion that are not even matters of Deen, wherein difference of opinion is allowed, and which have not been regarded by the Qur-aan as matters that distinguish a Muslim from a Kaafir. On the other extreme are those who see a person disbelieving, denying, opposing and contradicting the basic tenets of Islam and tearing the very fabric of Islam, but people keep accepting him as a Muslim because he or she has a Muslim sounding name or falsely claims to be so for his own expediencies. Both of these extremists cause strife and problems in the Muslim community.

In Canada, al-Hamdulillaah, the first kind of extremists are hardly to be found; but the second kind of extremists abound. Some well-meaning Muslims ignorantly have adopted this extreme. They are deluded by the wrong understanding and application of a Hadeeth whereby a Muslim doubted another person’s faith for no reason other than his personal assumption, and the Prophet censured him saying words to the effect that “Did you open his heart and verified that he did not really believe?” That comment about assumption is absolutely wrongly misapplied to the situations where a person openly condemns Islam, the Qur-aan, the Prophet and the Islamic teachings that are clearly and unequivocally commanded in the Qur-aan. Similarly, they even accept those as Muslims who believe in other prophets or messengers after the Prophet and those who have abandoned the Deen in favour of taking human beings as gods.   

In Conclusion

The proper, reasonable, rational and balanced views in this respect are that:

  • “Islam” and “Muslim” are Qur-aanic terms that must be defined according to the provisions of the Qur-aan. Only those people who comply with the Qur-aanic criteria can be called Muslims, others will be considered non-Muslim or Kaafir;
  • There is nothing wrong in using the noun Kaafir to indicate or identify a person who does not subscribe to Islam;
  • People should not be taunted for being non-Muslim, disbeliever or Kaafir;
  • A Muslim should not be called Kaafir for difference(s) of opinion on matters of Fiqh;
  • Anyone’s claim to be a Muslim should be rejected if he or she violates the Qur-aanic criteria by words or actions such as condemning Islam, criticizing the Qur-aan or challenging the authority of the Qur-aan and the Messenger, or believing in a prophet or messenger after the Prophet, etc. Such persons should be treated like any other Kaafir.

In the end, two important points must always be remembered:

  1. Being Muslim or Kaafir is a matter of a person’s sincere commitment to Islam or lack of it, which is neither constant nor permanent. When the attitude, beliefs, commitment or paradigms change so will the person’s status as a Muslim or Kaafir. A Muslim may become a Kaafir or a Kaafir may repent and become a Muslim. Whatever happens, a Muslim must treat all human beings in the most excellent manner humanly possible. That is the goal that the Qur-aan and the Prophet has set for every Muslim -- excellence in conduct, dealings and attitude towards all creations of Allaah.
  2. As the matters of law are only the responsibility of the state, not any individual, and as there is no Islamic state in existence today, questions about the punishment for apostasy are totally irrelevant to our current situation.

[1] A report of the teachings of the Prophet

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Now You See It, Now You Don’t

I grew up with the idea that freedom of expression was a basic human right. Every person has an inalienable right to state the truth, narrate the facts and express his or her opinions or views on matters of policy or principle, especially when they are different from the majority or those in authority, without a fear of persecution, intimidation, violence, economic backlash, ridicule or personal attacks. I assumed that freedom of expression was not a freedom to lie, utter falsehoods, concoct accusations, distort facts, spin doctoring or slander a living or dead person. I also assumed that the media’s role in the society was to uphold the truth via the principle of freedom of expression.

However, I have come to realize that the abovementioned notions exist only in theory. Practically, they are used only as instruments of fooling the masses so that the rich and powerful can get what they want. If someone is weak, such as Muslims in Canada, the media looks for and exploits even flimsy and far-fetched excuses to brand Muslims negatively and to slander their Prophet and their religion using their presumed “right” to ‘offend’ through free speech. When someone protests against the utter lies, flagrant falsehoods, fabricated accusations and distorted facts that they use for their propaganda, they hide cunningly yet invalidly behind the “freedom of expression” shield, giving the false impression that pointing out their harassment and abusive propaganda against Islam and Muslims is an attack on freedom of expression.

On the other hand, just mentioning the genuine rights of Palestinians or factual war crimes of Israel and the evils of Zionism elicits heavy handed censorship, accusation of anti-Semitism and terrible rebuke, so much so that any critics are intimidated into silence. Books are withdrawn, access is denied, social media pages are forcibly removed, web pages are delisted, people are fired, made/asked to resign and forced to withdraw their comments. If someone persists on his or her right to express their views, they are condemned and turned into pariahs.

Many people do not perceive this duplicity until one day they happen to speak the truth about an Israeli crime, just as Helen Thomas in the US and Libby Davies in Canada have recently discovered.

The reality is that the media and politicians use the freedom of expression as a hat: They wear it when it suits the vested interest of the rich and powerful that control them, and remove it when it goes against those interests.

When it comes to freedom of expression, it is a magic trick mastered by the Zionists and their cohorts: now you see it, now you don’t!


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Why Osama Was Not Found - The New Revelation

You thought that Iraq was invaded because Saddam had weapons of mass destruction which he was going to unleash on the whole Middle East. It turned out that it was a massive lie and deception. Millions of Iraqis were killed and their country devastated so that a few American and British companies could continue to prosper using Iraq’s oil wealth.

You thought that Afghanistan was invaded, killing hundreds of thousands of Afghanis, devastating their country and imposing misery over Afghan children and women, because Taliban did not handover Osama bin Laden. The amazing thing is that with all their advanced, sophisticated technology and their occupation of every inch of the country, they could not find Osama. They blamed Pakistan for their failure and devastated Pakistan in the process as well.

It turns out that Americans were not looking for Osama. They were looking for mineral resources of Afghanistan and the adjacent areas of Pakistan, the worth of which, according to the New York Times report, is estimated to be at least a trillion dollars.

The miracle of the Machiavellian propaganda machine is that the simple-minded masses of the world honestly believe in their lies. The criminals who happen to be Christian Fundamentalists earn a good name in the court of public opinion, and the victims of their crimes which happen to be Muslims are faulted for everything going wrong in the world. And in all this craziness, Islam – the religion of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad – is unnecessarily, unduly and shamelessly abused and vilified.

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Liberal Party Continues to Alienate Muslim Voters

There was a time when Canadian Muslims used to vote for the Liberals with no questions asked. Not anymore! As they see themselves being constantly short-changed in terms of their basic rights and being unjustly vilified in the society, they also realize that the Liberal party has not done enough to stand up for their rights and justice. Although the Liberals have spoken against the mistreatment of Muslim citizens at the hands of the Harper government, on most other issues Muslims feel betrayed by Ignatieff Liberals. Some of the sore points, for example, are:
  • On the Israel/Palestine conflict, it seems there has been a competition going on between Harper and Ignatieff to prove who is friendlier to Zionists, which is a competition that Ignatieff cannot even win because Harper has gone to such an extreme that no one in the world can catch up to him. Thus Ignatieff is losing this competition, while also alienating all those who consider his stance unbalanced, unjust and unreasonable. Recently, by not condemning Israel’s terrorist attack on peace activists who were taking much needed humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of a besieged people and its massacre of unarmed defendant of their assault, he has lost an opportunity to show that he can be just and reasonable on this issue.
  • A statement was attributed to Ignatieff in the press claiming that he considered Quebec Bill C94 to be a reasonable accommodation, which he denies. But he has not made a public correction or clarification.
  • Now Bob Rae has come back from Afghanistan and wants to extend the armed mission beyond 2011. Is the loss of lives of Canadians and Afghans thus far not enough to his satisfaction?

If the Liberal party continues this way, I can see many long time Liberal voters looking for an alternative. I already feel the vibes growing.

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This Is Not Democracy

Democracy means:  rule by the people, which implies rule by the plural majority. Unfortunately, the current election process of Canada defeats this basic rule of democracy. It results in the rule of the country by a tiny minority of the Canadian population. Take the current conservative government for example: this government represents only 16% of the Canadian population.

Here is how: Only 58.8% of the eligible voters cast their vote in the 2008 election, which represented only 46% of the Canadian population. Out of the total voters, only 37.7% voted for the conservative candidates, which comes to only 16% of the populace of the country. Even if we calculate their percentage of vote using the eligible voters instead of the total Canadian population, it still comes only to 22%.

Thus, the country is being ruled according to the wishes of merely 16% of the population whose preference has been thrust onto the rest of the 84% of the population. Is this democracy?

The new British coalition government has realized this injustice and plans to reform the system; should some prudent politician in Canada not make this reform as part of their platform? I hope someone does!
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