The Definition of Kufr

According to the Shariah, kufr is the opposite of Imaan. From those things upon which it is imperative to bring Imaan upon, to have doubt or not to accept any one of them is termed kufr.


The definition of Imaan has already passed, which is to accept and believe in all the Commandments of Allah Ta`ala, relying on the information given by the Nabi of Allah Ta`ala, and not to nit-pick and object thereto. This is Imaan. Since kufr is the opposite of Imaan, its definition is as follows:

To refute any Commandment of Allah Ta`ala, which is absolute and definite, or to have doubt or reservations about it, which has reached us through the medium of Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). This is kufr.

The condition of >absolute and definite= has been added, since the laws of Deen have reached us via two ways; one by way of >Tawatur= and another by way of >Khabar-e-Aahaad=. >Tawaatur= are those narratins that have reached us via Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), through a continuous and unbroken chain of narrators. From the time of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) until the present in every era, these narrations were reported by some (reliable) Muslim. Such things are absolute and definite (>Qat`i= and >Yaqeeni=). In these there is no possibility of mistake or forgetfulness. It is kufr, to reject something which is Qat`i and Yaqeeni. To reject something which is from Khabar-e-Waahid is not kufr. For example, to reject and refute the validitiy of Salaat, Zakaat, alcohol or adultery is clear-cut kufr. To jeer and degrade the Shariah of Islaam is also kufr, because these things are from the Qur`aan and Hadithe-e-Mutawaatir and the continuous practice thereupon by the Muslims is established, hence to refute any of them is kufr.

The Reasons And Types Of Kufr

All types of kufr are based on five things, firstly, atheism and nihilistic, i.e. to attribute the entire universe and everything in it to matter and its movements. To regard the entire universe and all its workings as being self-existent, that there is no Creator and Facilitator. Secondly, >Ta`leel= and >Ta`attul=, i.e. some philosophers accept the existence of Allah Ta`ala, but they say that Allah Ta`ala is self-existent and is the reason (catalyst) for the universe. Since Allah Ta`ala is there, so too is this universe. They say that Allah Ta`ala is self-existent and eternal in His Being and this universe is possible in its being and eternal with regard to time. The meaning of >Ta`attul= is that Allah Ta`ala is devoid of perfect qualities.

Thirdly, >Tashbeeh= and >Tamtheel=, that is, there are those who accept for Allah Ta`ala the same qualities and limbs that are prevalent in man. This is the belief of the >Mujassamas= and the >Mushabbihas=. Fourthly, >Tashreek Fiz Zaat=, that is, to ascribe some partner to Allah Ta`ala=s bing ever-existent and eternal, like the fire-worshippers. Fifthly, >Tashreek Fit Tadbeer=, that is, to accept some other being as partners to Allah Ta`ala in His governing and planning of the universe, like the mushrikeen, fire-worshippers, etc.

The Definition of a Kaafir and the Types

Allaama Taftaazani (rahmatullahi alaih) states in >Sahr-he-Maqaasid=, page 268, vol.2:

AKAAFIR: That person who is not a Mu`min. That is, he does not accept any one of those things which are necessary for a Mu`min to believe in.

MUNAAFIQ: That person who outwardly accepts Imaan, but refutes it in his heart.

MURTADD: That person, who after accepting Islaam, turns away from it.

KITAABI: That person who accepts any one of the previous abrogated Kitaabs, like the Christians and the Jews.

ATHEISTS: Those who regard this universe as eternal. They attribute this universe and its occurrence to some time or the other, and they refute the existence of Allah Ta`ala.

MULHID AND ZINDEEQ: That person who professes and accepts the Risaslaat of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasalam) and he carries out the different tenets of Islaam, like Salaat, Zakaat, etc. , but he holds such views in his heart that are unanimously regarded as kufr, such persons are called >Zindeeqs=.@

Imaam Maalik (rahmatullahi alaih) states that a Zindeeq is the same as a Munaafiq, since such a person hides his kufr behind s screen of Islaam. Outwardly he professes Islaam and inwardly, he refutes and makes all sorts of excuses.

The Ruling regarding the refutation of the Ahl-e-Qibla

Ahle Qibla, are regarded as those people who accept all the necessaries of Deen and the rulings of Islaam, for example, they accept the creation of the universe, in the resurrection, that Allah Ta`ala is the Knower of all things, and they accept whatever Commandments appear in the Qur`aan and the Mutawaatir Ahaadith. They accept all of this.

If any person reads his five time daily Salaat, facing towards the Qibla, but he regards this universe as being eternal (ever-existent), or for example, he he refutes the Resurrection of the bodies, or he regards as Halaal adultery or alcohol, then such a person is most definitely NOT from the Ahle Qibla.

30548. Allah Ta`ala declares:
What! Do you believe in part of the Kitaab and refute another? There is no recompense for that person amongst you who does such a thing, except a disgraceful punishment in this worldly life and in the Hereafter he will be returned to a more severe punishment. And Allaah is not unwary of what you do.
30549. Thus whenever a Rasul comes to you with that which your naffs does not favour, you pride away therefrom. You have refuted a group and killed another group. And they say: >Our hearts have a cover=. In fact, Allaah has cursed them for their kufr, and a few amongst them believe.
30550. Indeed those who belie Allaah and His Nabi, and they desire to cause a separation between Allaah and His Rasul, and they say: >We believe in some and we refute some=. They intend to make a path in between this. These are the true Kaafiroon, and We have prepared for the Kaafiroon a disgraceful punishment. Those who believe in Allaah and His Rasul and they do not separate between any one of them, those are the one, soon We will grant them their recompense. Indeed, Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.

A Doubt and its Answer

It is famous and well-known amongst the Ulama that the ruling of kufr is not given to that person who has 99 reasons for declaring him a kaafir and one reason to declare him a Muslim. It should NEVER be misunderstood that the person who refutes and denies 99 things in the Shariah and accepts one, he cannot be declared a kaafir. This is completely incorrect and silly. Because, if this is the case then even the jews and Christians cannot be called kaafir, since they accept at least 50% of the Deen. In fact, in the whole world one will not find a single kaafir who refutes every aspect of Islaam.

The object of this statement of the Ulama is that if an ambiguous or vague statement emerges from the lips of a Muslim, and there are 9 possibilities of kufr in that statement and one possibility of Imaan, this person cannot be declared a kaafir. The object is not that the person who accepts 300 Commands of the Shariah and refutes just three, for example, he regards adultery, alcohol and bribery as being Halaal, then this person is not declared a kaafir! Simply because he accepts 99% and refutes 1%.

That person who accepts 99 laws of a country and refutes just one law, then according to the government of the time, he is regarded as a rebel. He is liable to be imprisoned, even though he accepts 99 of the laws of the country, and refutes just one which he admonishes against.