What the Koran really says about non-Muslims, part 1

Jon MC

Jon MC is a retired Chemist, Physicist and teacher (not necessarily in that order) who still has professional commitments. His interest in Islam was kindled when he met some "radical Muslims up close and personal" and he has studied the foundational texts of Islam ever since. He writes under a nomme de plume in order to keep his professional life and views separate.

5 Responses

  1. Passive observer says:

    Jon MC
    Since you have a good knowledge of Islam with keen interest I wish you joined in their debates. They are progressive Muslims and will entertain your valuable contribution. Your writing and approach is decent. Please do not forget that we too have a responsibility to guide the Muslims to the ‘straight path’

  2. Jon MC says:

    Despite your not giving a link, I found the articles.
    They make for an interesting read.
    Let me state that I wish them well in their endeavour to “to reclaim Islam from the clutches of jihadists and petrodollar-funded Salafist-Wahhabis”, although it has to be said that at present the reverse is the case with more and more of the “Darul Islam” turning to more orthodox interpretations rather than “modernist” / “revisionist” / etc. versions.

    I note that Naseer Ahmed rejects Sunni (and presumably Shia) Theology.
    As such he places himself outside anything that might be termed “mainstream Islam”.
    I have debated several people who have insisted that their views were the “True Islam” (some were Ahmadhis for example) and whilst I would always say that they *might* be correct, I would also point out that IT DOES NOT MATTER whilst the majority of Muslims are happy with orthodox Sunni Theology and its Jihadism (a fact consistent over all Islam’s history btw) then that these versions of Islam (there are several) are “corrupt” in the view of my protagonists is actually irrelevant to how the world (Muslim and non-Muslim alike) experiences Islam.

    I think you will find that the other parts of this article series will show that Ahmed’s interpretations of the Koran text, whilst interesting and definitely appealing in that they offer a much more peaceful and tolerant understanding of its message than orthodoxy does, is flawed in that Ahmed’s “proof texts” do not tell the whole story.

  3. Passive observer says:

    jon MC

    The person who wrote should be a Sufi Muslim.I give you the link below or go to New Age Islam to see Naseer Ahmed article

    What Is Kufr And Who Is A Kafir In The Quran? (Full and Revised Text of the New Age Islam Series on the Subject)

  4. Jon MC says:

    Dear Passive observer,
    I thank you for that. There is much that I can agree with, especially viz-a-viz Sunni Theology and its innate tendency to Jihadism.
    May I ask from what sect of Islam your comment is drawn and also the source?
    I ask because the conclusions in it differ (as your source states) from Sunni Islam which is the sect I mostly write about (on the basis that ~90% of Muslims worldwide are Sunni and thus they represent the overwhelming majority).

    Your source writes: “a non-believer Is guilty of Kufr if he rejects the “truth” out of envy, insolence, arrogance rather than for lack of required evidence or conviction. He becomes a kafir after the truth becomes manifest to him where his mind and heart acknowledges the “truth” and yet he rejects it.”
    Now I agree, but given that the very word “Kafir” means “one who covers [the truth]” the clear implication is that once the message of Islam has been spoken (etc.) to a non-Muslim “the truth becomes manifest to him where his mind and heart acknowledges the ‘truth'” and thus he becomes a Kafir.

    He also writes: “verse 3:28, 4:139 and 4:144 contradict verse 60:8 and 9 … there Is No Contradiction In Any Of The Verses Of The Quran.”
    That is an oxymoronic pair of statements.
    The verses do contradict each other.
    Which is not to say that they cannot be harmonised. As the article notes “the moderate Muslim … ignore[s] verse 3:28, 4:139 and 4:144 and heed verse 60:8 and 9”. Which is one form of “harmonisation”, I suppose.
    In other words your author is admitting that the “Moderate Muslim” is a “pick-n-mix” Muslim who only believes those parts of the Koran which s/he likes.
    The orthodox Sunni position is otherwise. According to multiple sources K.60:8-9 refer to a specific case revolving around whether a Muslim woman should accept gifts from her Kafir Mother.
    Thus K.60:8-9 are verses of limited applicability whereas the others are generally applicable verses. This is, as I am sure you are aware, an application of Abrogation – that doctrine set out within the Koran itself precisely to aid in the resolution of contradictions. Consequent to that is the fact that the Koran itself is stating that it contains contradictions which require Abrogation.

    Then the author writes: “The terms kafir, Mushrik, and idol worshipper are not synonyms.”
    One one level this is correct, the words “kafir” and “Muskrik” are not synonyms, they have distinct meanings. On the other “Mushrik” means “idolator” and thus is a synonym for “idol worshipper”.
    However, my point was otherwise: the Koran says (as shown above) that a Kafir is *also* a Mushrik (and a Fasiq as well, but that is another matter).
    I also note that your author, unlike myself, does not offer any quotations to back up their assertions.

    “A kafir is not a term that the Quran associates with people based on their faith …”
    Actually it is.
    Again, as I show above, the Koran makes it pellucidly clear that a non-Muslim is a Kafir. That is a faith-based judgement, to which fact your author then alludes: “…the term [Kafir] is used … in a faith relative manner in other verses.”
    Thus your author contradicts him/herself within the space of two sentences.

    Again: “The battles were only against the Kafirin from amongst the Christians, Jews and the Mushrikin and never against the Christians, Jews and the Mushrikin.”
    What is interesting here is that your author makes no mention of who the ” Kafirin from amongst the Christians, Jews and the Mushrikin” were.
    The Koran text makes it clear that such were those who did not convert to Islam.
    Thus calls to fight “the Kafirin from amongst the Christians, Jews and the Mushrikin” are calls to fight those who remain(ed) “Christians, Jews and Muskrikin”. And that was what happened in history.

  5. Passive observer says:

    Thanks jon MC, for the exhaustive study of the words “Kafir”, “Mushrik” and “Zalim”. I give below the gist of the explanation of the word “Kafir” by a Muslim for you information..
    Who is a kafir in the Quran? Defining Kufr
    We are now in a position to define the term Kufr as used in the Quran based on the discussions in the previous 3 sections of this paper. This definition varies from the definition we find in Sunni theology which is also discussed.
    4.1 Dimensions of Kufr
    From the discussion so far, we see that there are two dimensions to Kufr:
    Kufr relating to man, society, the world or the temporal dimension
    Kufr relating to God or the spiritual dimension
    Kufr relating to the temporal dimension
    The Quran recognizes certain human rights:
    Right to belief and pursuit of one’s beliefs without obstruction or persecution
    Sanctity of life and property
    Mutual rights and responsibilities emanating from commonly accepted norms of civil society, agreements, contracts and the laws of the society in which one lives.
    A violation of the rights of man is Kufr
    Kufr relating to God or the spiritual dimension
    The Quran also recognizes the “Rights of God”
    The spiritual dimension is covered by the scriptures which inform the believer about his covenants with God and the duties and responsibilities emanating from these.
    The believer invites a nonbeliever to become a believer and accept these covenants and become the recipient of divine blessings and guidance, showing gratitude for the blessings of God and fulfilling his part of the covenant by conducting his affairs in accordance with the guidance provided in the scriptures.
    Besides God’s blessings common to all, God is “shaa’ker” (giver of thanks) which God does through His rewards for the acts of man that are for pleasing God. Man is required to reciprocate with `Shukr’ (giving thanks) through worship and acts that please God such as spending on charity. For the sins of man against God, his reckoning is with God alone, who will punish him in the hereafter.
    With reference to God, a non-believer
    Is guilty of Kufr if he rejects the “truth” out of envy, insolence, arrogance rather than for lack of required evidence or conviction.
    He becomes a kafir after the truth becomes manifest to him where his mind and heart acknowledges the “truth” and yet he rejects it.
    And a believer is guilty of Kufr if he violates the prohibitions and injunctions in the scriptures.
    Kufr is therefore a violation of the rights of man or of God and a Kafir is one who deliberately and wilfully goes against what he believes and knows to be the truth without rejecting any new truth that becomes clear to him.
    4.2 Punishment for Kufr
    A violation of the rights of man and/or God is Kufr.
    The Quran prescribes hadd punishments only for Kufr in the temporal dimension. Kufr in the temporal dimension is also Kufr in the spiritual dimension but not vice versa.
    Hadd punishments for Kufr relating to God or the spiritual dimension are not prescribed in the Quran as that would violate the right of conscience that the Quran clearly grants to man.
    An apostate who turns hostile and carries on activities harmful to a section of the society or the state can be punished for the harm that he has caused or can potentially cause but not for apostasy. Apostasy is merely incidental and irrelevant to the case as apostasy is not Kufr in the temporal dimension.
    Usury will only be Kufr in the spiritual dimension if it does not contravene the laws of the land. Through legislation, usury could be made a punishable offence since it is injurious to the society as well but it is not hadd. Legislating punishments for Kufr related to the spiritual dimension alone (beliefs of a person), violate the freedom of religion and conscience granted to man by the Quran and such interference with the freedom granted to man by Allah is Kufr.
    4.7 Serious implications of Sunni theology
    It is easy to see now, why it is difficult to say that the ideology of extremists is not Islamic.
    In Sunni theology Kafir is antonym of Muslim and the terms Mushrik, Kafir and idol worshipper are synonyms. Christians and Jews are also Mushrikin and therefore practice Kufr.
    The Kharijites have further included sects of Muslims in the definition of kafir. Every sect practices Takfir against other sects and are Kharijites to some extent.
    As per verse 3:28, 4:139 and 4:144 a Muslim cannot befriend a Kafir. The rest of the World is therefore enemy of a Takfiri Muslim except those who belong to his sect. He is therefore at war with the rest of the world and in a war “everything is fair” (not according to the Quran but yet generally accepted).
    The beliefs of a moderate are no different except that they ignore verse 3:28, 4:139 and 4:144 and heed verse 60:8 and 9 which enjoin a Muslim to treat those who do not fight with them with justice and kindness and other verses of a similar nature which call for living in peace etc.
    What should be evident however is that the meaning of Kufr in Sunni theology makes verse 3:28, 4:139 and 4:144 contradict verse 60:8 and 9 and the belligerent verses dealing with the Kafirin contradict the peaceful verses dealing with non-Muslims. So who can say with any authority which choice that a Sunni makes is the correct one?
    This paper shows, based on the evidence of the Quran that:
    The terms kafir, Mushrik, and idol worshipper are not synonyms. A kafir is not a term that the Quran associates with people based on their faith and the term is used in a faith neutral manner in many verses and in a faith relative manner in other verses.
    The battles were only against the Kafirin from amongst the Christians, Jews and the Mushrikin and never against the Christians, Jews and the Mushrikin
    There Is No Contradiction In Any Of The Verses Of The Quran.
    The Quran does not prescribe any punishment for Kufr in the spiritual dimension and grants explicit right to freedom of religion and conscience.
    The definition of Kufr in this paper is derived from the usage of the various terms in the Quran considering every verse that uses these terms and is therefore consistent with every verse of the Quran besides being logically consistent.
    The Sunni definition is neither consistent logically, nor consistent with the verses of the Quran and makes many of the verses contradict other verses if their definition of Kufr is applied.
    Unless Sunni theology is reformed and the definition of Kufr as given in this paper is accepted, the extremist ideology cannot be defeated because it is based on the ideology of every Sunni and the only difference between a moderate and an extremist is only his personal choice and both choices are equally justifiable based on the loose definition of Kufr in Sunni theology.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: