What the Koran Really says about non-Muslims, part 2
Note: this is a updated repost of a short series of articles from the old FFI site.
Introduction to part 2.
In part one, (see here) I wrote about the words “Kaffir”, “Mushrikoon” and “Zalimoon” and showed how each of those words applies to all non-believers in Islam, even though they have distinct meanings.
I shall now consider other words used (primarily) of non-believers, though as we shall see, such words increasingly apply to “bad” Muslims.
Note: In this context a “bad” Muslim is one who does not believe whole-heartedly in the Koran, Sunnah, Tafseer and Sharia, i.e. one who does not hold fully orthodox beliefs and/or fully practise Islam also. In other words a non-orthodox Muslim.
My coding for the various translations is given in part one.
Again, feel free to skip to the summary at the end of each section if you wish to avoid the “heavy lifting”.
According to the Quranic Arabic Corpus “Fasiqoon” is derived from the triliteral root “fa sin qaf” which is found 54 times in the Koran. The words derived from this root carry meanings of “defiance”, “disobedience”, “rebelling”, “wickedness” and “sinning”.
Fasiqoon is translated as those who are “defiantly disobedient”(Q, SI), “disobedient” (E,HK), “evil-doers” (SD, P), “rebellious” (HK), “forsake the path [of Islam]”(S) , “immoral persons” (I), “infidels” (E), “iniquitous” (MA), “miscreants” (P), “perverse” (Y), “transgressors” (M, S, Y), “ungodly” (A).
2:26(HK): “… those who disbelieve [i.e. kaffirs], they say: “What did Allah intend by this parable?” By it He misleads many, and many He guides thereby. And He misleads thereby only those who are Al-Fasiqoon (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah).” This verse explicitly makes kaffirs “al-fasiqoon”. Thus all Kaffirs are also “al-fasiqoon”. See also 2:99.
3:82 (HK). “Then whoever turns away after this, they are the Fasiqoon (rebellious: those who turn away from Allah’s Obedience).” The reference in this verse is to the “prophets’ covenant” and the import is that if a person breaks an agreement with Allah, which implies apostasy, then they are a fasiq.
3:110 (HK): “…And had the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) believed, it would have been better for them; among them are some who have faith, but most of them are Al-Fasiqoon (disobedient to Allah – and rebellious against Allah’s Command).” Here all Jews and Christians who don’t convert to Islam are declared to be fasiqoon. See also 57:16, 57:26-27.
Note: Those Jews and Christians “who have faith” are those who converted to Islam, whereas those that don’t convert are the fasiqoon. This is clear on two grounds:
1. all who don’t obey “Allah’s commands” are fasiqoon and Jews and Christians do not obey all of “Allah’s commands” – both groups drink alcohol for example.
2. The vast majority of Jews and Christians have not converted, so the “some who have faith” cannot apply to “unconverted” Jews and Christians. See 28:52
Again we find from the story of Moses that being a “Fasiqoon” means not obeying Allah’s commands (5:20-26), see also 27:12, 28:32, 43:54, 51:46, 61:5.
5:49 (HK). “And so judge (O Muhammad SAW) between them by what Allah has revealed and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they turn you (O Muhammad SAW) far away from some of that which Allah has sent down to you. And if they turn away, then know that Allah’s Will is to punish them for some sins of theirs. And truly, most men are Fasiqoon (rebellious and disobedient to Allah).” The context could mean that this last sentence applies only to those Jews and Christians who refused to convert. Alternatively, it could be a general statement that applies to all non-Muslims – or most thereof. Of the two possibilities, the latter is most likely since the verse speaks of “most men” not “most of them” or “most Jews and Christians”.
5:59 (HK). Say: “O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do you criticize us for no other reason than that we believe in Allah, and in (the revelation) which has been sent down to us and in that which has been sent down before (us), and that most of you are Fasiqoon (rebellious and disobedient (to Allah))?” Here “most” Jews and Christians are declared to be Fasiqoon. i.e. The ones who did not convert to Islam. In other words, Islam sees the failure of Jews and Christians to convert to Islam as “a rebellion against god”.
5:81 (HK): “And had they [the Jews] believed in Allah, and in the Prophet (Muhammad SAW) and in what has been revealed to him, never would they have taken them (the disbelievers) [here “disbelievers” means polytheists] as Auliya (protectors and helpers), but many of them are the Fasiqoon (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).” Although primarily directed against the Jews, this verse implies that not believing in Allah/Mohammed makes one a “fasiq”.
7:102 (HK): “And most of them We found not (true) to their covenant, but most of them We found indeed Fasiqoon (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).” The context of this verse is early, pre-Mosaic, Jewish stories. Thus, again, the “them” is pointed primarily at the Jews. However, another important point is that if you break your word (covenant) to Allah, you are a fasiq. Put the other way, fasiqoon (are likely to) break covenants – even those made with god. This is reinforced in 9:8.
7:145 implicitly condemns the “fasiqoon” to hell and 32:20 does it explicitly, 46:35 promises that they will be destroyed on “judgement day”.
9:24 (HK): “Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His Cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision (torment). And Allah guides not the people who are Al-Fasiqoon (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah).” Thus you are a fasiq if you won’t fight/kill “for Allah and Mohammed”or are “half-hearted” in your Islam in any way (in Koran-speak a “hypocrite”). See also 9:41-54, 67, 80, 84, 96; 63:1-8, More generally, if you hold anything dearer than Allah you are a fasiq, which clearly makes atheists and agnostics “fasiqoon” as well as anyone who does not “put Allah/Mohammed first” – i.e. any non-Muslim.
21:74 (HK): “And (remember) Lout (Lot), We gave him Hukman (right judgement of the affairs and Prophethood) and (religious) knowledge, and We saved him from the town (folk) who practised Al-Khabaith (evil, wicked and filthy deeds, etc.). Verily, they were a people given to evil, and were Fasiqoon (rebellious, disobedient, to Allah).” The town “we saved him from” was Sodom/Gomorrah where the townsfolk are purported to have engaged in homosexual intercourse. Thus this verse declares homosexuals evil, wicked, filthy people who are in rebellion against god. So now you know why so many Islamic preachers practically froth at the mouth over homosexuality and why many Muslims are virulent or even violent homophobes. Also implicit here is a reflection of the trait of doing evil by all fasiqoon.
24:55 (Arberry): “God has promised those of you who believe and do righteous deeds that He will surely make you successors in the land, even as He made those who were before them successors, and that He will surely establish their religion for them that He has approved. for them, and will give them in exchange, after their fear, security: ‘They shall serve Me, not associating with Me anything.’ Whoso disbelieves after that; those, they are the fasiqoon.” For once “disbelievers” – kafara- does mean “apostate”. Thus this verse declares apostates to be fasiqoon – rebels against Allah. The more general point is that since apostates have an automatic death-sentence on their heads, does this mean that other “fasiqoon” do to? See also 59:18-19
32:18 (HK): “Is then he who is a believer like him who is Fasiq (disbeliever and disobedient to Allah)? Not equal are they.” This verse states categorically the inequality between a “fasiq” and a Muslim and so states to the ‘superiority’ of Muslims over non-Muslims.
59:5-6 state that Allah “degrades the fasiqoon” by letting the Muslims despoil them in war.
A fasiq is a person who is in rebellion towards Allah by not following his revelations or prophets (in history ante-Islam) and more narrowly by not following Allah/Mohammed post-Islam. Thus, today, all non-Muslims are fasiqoon (Jews and Christians are explicitly included).
Kaffirs are called “fasiqoon” and thus have the attributes of the fasiq, which include inferiority to Muslims, practising “evil, wicked and filthy deeds” – this explains translations of “fasiqoon” such as “evil-doers”, “immoral persons”, “iniquitous” etc.
Jews are the group most frequently reviled as fasiqoon.
Fasiqoon also include various groups of Muslims:
Those not willing to “fight in the way of Allah”. Thus any pacifist Muslim is a fasiq.
Those who are “half-hearted” or who pay “lip-service” to Islam, i.e. non-orthodox Muslims. To avoid this epithet a Muslim must unquestioningly submit to Allah/Mohammed with no reservations.
The above lead to a further point: it provides some “justification” for the practice of “Takfir” – that is one Muslim group declaring another “apostate” or similar for “not being Muslim enough”. I should add that this practice, though frowned upon in Islamic theology has been widely used in Islamic history and is still used today and especially so by Wahhabi/Salafi groups.
Homosexuals are “fasiqoon”. This partly explains (but does not justify) the vicious and violent homophobia found within much of Islam.
The property (and women) of a fasiq is “legitimate” war-booty to be despoiled.
To put it in a sentence: The fasiqoon are peaceful,“cultural” or half-hearted Muslims as well as the Kaffirs – all of whom are filthy, immoral, iniquitous, perverted evil-doers who are inferior to true Muslims and who are to be despoiled by Muslims in jihad and, by the way, the worst examples of fasiqoon are homosexuals, closely followed by the Jews (or perhaps that’s the other way around).
According to the Quranic Arabic Corpus “Mujrimoon” is derived from the triliteral root “jim ra mim” which is found 66 times in the Koran. The words derived from this root – with only a handful of exceptions – all mean “criminal”(s) or “crime(s)”. Encompassed within this is the overtone of sin (It should be remembered that Sharia law often does not distinguish between crime and sin either.)
The first occurance (Sura-wise) is in 6:55 which HK render thus: “And thus do We explain the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in detail, that the way of the Mujrimoon (criminals, polytheists, sinners), may become manifest.” Mujrimoon is also translated as “sinners” (A, MA,Y); “unrighteous” (P); “guilty/culprits” (E, M, P, S, Y); “criminals” (I, M, SI), “wicked” (SD) and “evildoers” (P, SD). Here HK include “polytheists” in the Mujrimoon on the grounds that being a polytheist is “shirk” (see Mushrikoon) which is a sin; thus polytheists (and idolators) are sinners, which means they are criminals, which means they are Mujrimoon. See also 44:37.
6:147 (I): “so if they should reject you, then say: ‘Your Lord possesses boundless Mercy. His might will not be withheld from criminal [mujrimoon] folk.” This verse is in reference to the Jews and says that they are Mujrimoon. Also implicit is that Allah will not withhold his “might” from criminals/sinners/etc.
Note: “Allah’s might” is often understood to be the might of Muslim armies etc. Thus this verse can be seen as an implicit permission to kill “criminal sinners”, here Jews.
7:40 (SI): “Indeed, those who deny Our verses and are arrogant toward them – the gates of Heaven will not be opened for them, nor will they enter Paradise until a camel enters into the eye of a needle (i.e., never). And thus do We recompense the criminals [mujrimoon]”. “Those who deny our verses” are practicing “kufr” and are thus Kaffirs. Here they are also identified as “mujrimoon” or “criminal/sinners”. Thus simply to be a Kaffir is to be a “criminal sinner” in the eyes of Islam. See also 7:132-133, 10:13, 10:17, 10:47-51, 10:75-82, 11:52, 20:102 (a slightly elliptical reference), 32:22, 45:31.
7:80-84 is another telling of the story of Lot. The import here is that the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah are called “mujrimoon” in this version. By implication this makes being homosexual a crime/sin since the various translators render this as “criminals”, “sinners”, “evil-doers”. See also 15:51-58, 51:24-33.
8:7-8 recounts a raid on a Quraishi caravan and describes the caravaneers as “mujrimoon”. Thus these verses directly makes (Meccan) polytheists “criminals/sinners”.
9:65-66 tells us that (some) apostates are “mujrimoon” – sinners/criminals – who will be punished.
11:116 (E): “…And the unjust [zalimoon] remained behind the same luxury that was given to them, and they were sinners [mujrimoon].” The context of this verse is a lament that few people prior to Mohammed were “rightly guided”. Those that were not were both zalimoon and mujrimoon (as well as being Kaffirs). See also 25:27-31,
12:110 (A): “Till, when the Messengers despaired, deeming they were counted liars, Our help came to them and whosoever We willed was delivered. Our might will never be turned back from the people of the sinners.” Here Allah is promising that he will always use his “might” (see note above) against mujrimoon.
14:49 tells us that mujrimoon are destined for hell. See also 18:53, 19:86, 20:74, 25:22, 30:12, 30:55, 37:34, 43:74 etc.
15:11-12 says that mocking a prophet (i.e. Mohammed) makes you a Mujrim.
28:1-20 is a long passage about “Mousa” – Moses – in which the Egyptians polytheists are called Mujrimoon (and Zalimoon). The former charge is repeated in 44:22
34:32 states that being weak-willed about and/or swayed away from being Muslim makes you a mujrim. Thus non-orthodox Muslims are also criminals/sinners.
46:25 tells us that Allah will destroy Mujrimoon. See also 77:18.
68:35 declares the superiority of Muslims over “Mujrimoon” – i.e. ultimately all non-Muslims.
74:40-47 states that not making “Salat” (Muslim ritual ‘5-a-day’ prayer) amongst other things, makes you a Mujrim. The import here is that failure to offer (proper Islamic) prayer makes a person a “Mujrim”. Thus all non-Muslims (and many heteropractic or half-hearted Muslims) are mujrimoon.
77:45-46 (M): “Woe on that Day to the disbelievers [lit: to the deniers]! Eat and enjoy yourselves for a little while. Surely you are culprits [mujrimoon]”. Here again those who deny the Koran are criminal/sinners.
A “mujrim” is a criminal in the eyes of Islam. Implicit in this is an element of sin as well thus mujrimoon are “criminal sinners”.
Anyone who rejects “Allah’s verses” – the Koran – is a mujrim. Therefore all non-Muslims are “mujrimoon”, i.e. criminals/sinners.
Verses explicitly extend “mujrimoon” to include:
- Jews (again!),
- (some) Muslim apostates (Probably those that do not repent and revert – the text is unclear),
- homosexuals (again!),
- the Zalimoon (who are also both Mushrikoon and Kaffirs!),
- non-orthodox Muslims, since failing to follow Islam (the “way”) makes you a mujrim.
Homosexuals (and Jews) are singled out as the worst of all Mujrimoon criminal/sinners. Again this is a further explanation (but not justification) of the vicious and violent homophobia and Jew-hatred found within much of Islam.
Mujrimoon are destined to be destroyed by Allah (or perhaps Muslim armies) and/or will dwell forever in hell.
To put it in a sentence: A “Mujrim” is a person who has committed the crime and sin of being a Kaffir or of not being a fully orthodox Muslim AND the worst examples of the mujrimoon are the Jews, closely followed by homosexuals (or should that be the other way around).
According to the Quranic Arabic Corpus “Mufsidoon” is derived from the triliteral root “fa sa dal” which is found 50 times in the Koran. The words derived from this root are all variations on the theme of corruption and “corrupters” (those who corrupt others).
This word first appears in 5:64, a verse about the Jews; (HK) “Every time they [the Jews] kindled the fire of war, Allah extinguished it; and they (ever) strive to make mischief [Arabic: fasadan, lit: spread corruption] on earth. And Allah does not like the Mufsidoon (mischief-makers).” The first point to make is that in this verse even HK tone the translation down, replacing “spread corruption” with “make mischief” and calling the “Mufsidoon” ‘mischief-makers’ rather than “corrupters”.
These two words, “fasadan” and “Mufsidoon” are translated in this verse (respectively) as: “mischief …mischief-makers” (E, HK, M, S, Y); “corruption … corrupters” (A, MA, P, SD,SI) and “havoc … havoc” (I). Elsewhere, “mischief-makers” is also used by (I).
7:86 says that Mufsidoon will come to a “bad end”. Or: have come to a “bad end” in the past.
7:103 Is the start of a Moses story. Here the Mufsidoon are identified as “Pharaoh and his folk”, who elsewhere are called Mujrimoon. Therefore Mujrimoon are also Mufsidoon. We can further infer that (at the least) polytheists are Mufsidoon. See also 28:4. Within this story in vv.142 Moses tells his brother to “Take my place among my people, do right and do not follow the way of the Mufsidoon.” (My own rendition.) The inference here is that acting rightly is following (in the general sense) Islam (though in the specific it would be Monotheism) and nothing else. Thus, today, anything non-Islamic is “corruption”.
10:39-40 (HK): “Nay, they deny that; the knowledge whereof they could not compass and whereof the interpretation has not yet come unto them. Thus those before them did deny [the Koran]. Then see what was the end of the Zalimoon! And of them there are some who believe therein [the Koran], and of them there are some who believe not therein, and your Lord is All-Aware of the Mufsidoon.” Here Zalimoon who don’t convert to Islam are equated with Mufsidoon.
10:81 is part of another Moses story. Here sorcerers (therefore any practitioner of wiccan) are declared “Mufsidoon” (we could Anglicise this to Mufsids of course).
27:14 (Y): “And they rejected those Signs in iniquity and arrogance, though their souls were convinced thereof: so see what was the end of those who acted corruptly!” By definition, those who “reject the signs” are Kaffirs. Thus this verse identifies Kaffirs as Mufsidoon or “corrupters”.
29:28-30 (HK): “And (remember) Lout (Lot), when he said to his people: “You commit Al-Fahishah (sodomy the worst sin) which none has preceded you in (committing) it in the Alameen (mankind and jinns). Verily, you do sodomy with men, and rob the wayfarer (travellers, etc.)! And practise Al-Munkar(disbelief and polytheism and every kind of evil wicked deed) in your meetings.” But his people gave no answer except, that they said: “Bring Allah’s Torment upon us if you are one of the truthful.” He said: “My Lord! Give me victory over the people who are Mufsidoon”. These verses identify homosexuals as “corrupters”, or as HK put it: “those who commit great crimes and sins, oppressors, tyrants, mischief-makers, corrupters”. (Nice!)
38:28 states the superiority of Muslims to Mufsidoon and (common) criminals. I think the point here is that Mufsidoon are the worst sort of corrupters since they (attempt to) corrupt Islam/Muslims. (Almost amusingly HK interpret Mufsidoon here as “Mushrikoon criminals”.)
A Mufsid is a “corrupter”. Someone who either seeks to corrupt the Koran, the practice of Islam or Muslims themselves. This latter-most either by getting them to adopt un-Islamic (non-orthodox) practices/beliefs or by luring them away from Islam in total.
Once again, homosexuals are singled out, this time as “corrupters”.
Again there are verses that link Mufsidoon to Zalimoon, Mujrimoon, Mushrikoon and ultimately to Kaffirs. Thus in the eyes of Islam all non-Muslims are “corrupt” and will seek to corrupt Muslims.
To put it in a sentence: All non-Muslims are Mufsidoon who seek to corrupt Islam and Muslims, but the worst of all such corrupting people are homosexuals.
According to the Quranic Arabic Corpus “Musrifoon” is derived from the triliteral root “sin ra fa” which is found 23 times in the Koran. The words derived from this root carry meanings of “excess” or “extravagence” and “transgression”.
The first occurrence is found in 6:141 (S): “And He it is Who produces gardens (of vine), trellised and untrellised, and palms and seed-produce of which the fruits are of various sorts, and olives and pomegranates, like and unlike; eat of its fruit when it bears fruit, and pay the due of it on the day of its reaping, and do not act extravagantly [NB this word is from the same root]; surely He does not love the Musrifoon.” Other translators render the two words as: “excess…wasters” ( , Y); “prodigal … prodigal” (A, P); “wastefully … wastefully” (E, MA, SD); “overdo … extravagant” (I); “spendthrift … spendthrift” (M); “excessively … excess” (SI).
This verse is clearly a warning against “excess”. See also 7:31, . In similar vein 10:12 implies that the (wealthy and) extravagant are never thankful to Allah for any blessings they get.
21:9 states that Allah destroyed “Musrifoon”, thus increasing the severity of the warning.
26:151-152 “And do not obey commands of the Musrifoon, those that spread corruption in the Earth and do not reform”. Here we have the linkage of the Musrifoon to the Mufsidoon – and hence back to Kaffirs. Note that this also sets Muslims and Islam above any non-Shariah law, no wonder many Muslims believe that Shariah law supercedes any other – or at least should, and in time will, do.
36:19 “They said, ‘Your evil omens are with you; if you are reminded? But you are a wasteful [Musrifoon] people.’” (similarly MA.) This verse provokes wide variation in translation since it makes little sense in Arabic. Those that stay with literal meanings for Musrifoon seem to me to fail to understand the verse here. Others use “ transgressing.” (E, M, SI, Y); “prodigal” (A); “wayward” (SD). I understand it to mean that the people were “wasteful” or “prodigal” in that they threw away the opportunity to become Muslim and/or they “transgressed” or were “wayward” by not accepting Islam. Both fit with the rest of the passage, 36:14-32. Thus we have a link between kaffirs and Musrifoon.
40:28 tells us that Musrifs are liars, v.34 tells us that Musrifs are also “doubters” (Murtab) and v.43 tells us that the Musrifoon are doomed to hell (ho hum).
31:32-34 Equate Mujrimoon and Musrifoon.
A Musrif is someone who is extravagant, excessive and/or wasteful. This “extravagance” can be in wealth, ostentation, consumption etc. Implied here is the wastage of worldly resources for excess pleasure etc. This definition applies to both Muslims and non-Muslims, though Muslims are strongly warned not to be Musrifoon.
Note: The Mussalman and his large Hareem of sex-slaves seems contra-indicated by this verse, but since it is given explicit Koranic permission, this is one excess that does not count, according to Allah.
A second “layer” of meaning, one mostly implicit, is that a non-believer – i.e. a kaffir, is a Musrif since s/he “wastes” the opportunity to become Muslim. This type of Musrif, is also declared to be a Mufsid, which in turn links back to the term Kaffir.
Musrifoon are also liars and doubters. Although applicable to both “classes” of Musrifoon, the tenor of the Koran is such that Muslims are warned against this, whereas non-Muslims are declared to be liars and doubters.
In a sentence: A Musrif is a lying spendthrift of a Kaffir who wastes life’s resources and opportunities (particularly that of becoming Muslim) and good Muslims are warned not to emulate this sort of behaviour.
According to the Quranic Arabic Corpus “Maqbuhoon” is derived from the triliteral root “qaf ba ha” and is found only once in the Koran. The Quran Corpus translates this as “the despised”, but the root of the words actually means “ugliness”.
Other translators use: “the spurned” (A); “the loathed and despised (Y); “hateful” (P); “hideous” (I, S,); “they will be in an ugly condition” (E); “despised” (M, Q, R, SI); “bereft of all good” (MA); “exiled” (SD).
Note: Strictly Irving and Shakir translate this as “made to appear hideous”, but there is no “made to appear” in the Arabic which is “hum mina al-muqbuhina”, literally “they of the ‘Muqbuhina’”. Thus they interpolate “made to appear” to soften it from “they of the hideous”. I think it is poor translation, however Irving and Shakir choose to render it. The The root of ” Muqbuheen ” literately means ” Ugliness ”. The Quran calls the Pharaoh and his people, “Maqbuheen,” i.e. ” Uglies” because they are considered to have ” ugly souls ” for not believing Moses. “they will be in an ugly condition”, meaning here, I think, “in a bad place” – i.e. hell. Asad adds a footnote to say: “i.e., among those who by their own actions will have removed themselves from God’s grace: a meaning given to the term maqbuh, in this context, by most of the classical commentators and philologists.”
The verse containing this word is 28:42: “And We made a curse to follow them in this world, and on the Day of Resurrection, they will be among Al-Maqbuhoon (those who are prevented to receive Allah’s Mercy or any good, despised or destroyed, etc.).” (HK). The context is Allah’s destruction of Pharaoh and his army and their being sentencing to hell and residing “among the maqbuhoon”.
Thus most translators render this word with a meaning within Yousaf Ali’s translation “loathed and despised”.
According to this passage Pharaoh et al will be among the “loathed and despised” in hell. Thus all persons in hell are “loathed and despised”. Thus all those apart from “true believer” Muslims have “ugly souls” and who are, therefore, to be “loathed and despised” (according to most translations).
Summary: since all kaffirs go to hell they are the “ugly souls” whom Muslims should loathe and despise.
According to the Quranic Arabic Corpus “jahiloon” is derived from the triliteral root “jim ha lam” which is found 24 times in the Koran. The words derived from this root all mean “ignorant/ignorance” etc. From this same root we also get the word “jahilliyah” meaning the “time of ignorance (before the coming of Islam)”.
2:67 (HK): “And (remember) when Moosa (Moses) said to his people: “Verily, Allah commands you that you slaughter a cow.” They said, “Do you make fun of us?” He said, “I take Allah’s Refuge from being among Al-Jahiloon (the ignorant or the foolish).” Here the implication is that you are “ignorant” if you do not follow correct ritual. See also 7:199.
5:50 (HK). “Do they [non-Muslims] then seek the judgement of (the Days of) Ignorance? And who is better in judgement than Allah for a people who have firm Faith.” This verse refers to the time before the advent of Islam as the “days of ignorance”. Implicit is that anything “un-Islamic” is the result of “ignorance” of the ‘truth’ of Islam. See also 33:33, 48:26, 3:154 (here in the context of thoughts),
6:35 (S): “And if their turning away is hard on you, then if you can seek an opening (to go down) into the earth or a ladder (to ascend up) to heaven so that you should bring them a sign and if Allah had pleased He would certainly have gathered them all on guidance, therefore be not of the ignorant [jahiloon].” In this verse the “ignorance” is either (or both) in seeking something you “know” Allah won’t allow (here the bringing of a “sign” – in this case a miracle), so the admonishment is for Mohammed; or the implication is that Mohammed should not “be of” (be like) the ignorant – i.e. the unbelievers – by “chasing after them” even though their rejection of his “revelation” hurts him. See also 12:33.
6:111 (SI): “And even if We had sent down to them [non-Muslims] the angels (with the message) and the dead spoke to them (of it) and We gathered together every (created) thing in front of them, they would not believe unless Allah should will. But most of them are ignorant [yajhaluna].” The context is about those that deny the signs of Allah – i.e. Kaffirs. Again we see that denying or ignoring the “signs” of Allah is “ignorance”. See also 11:29, 39:64, 46:23.
11:46 (SI): “He (Allah) said, “O Noah, indeed he [your son] is not of your family; indeed, he is (one whose) work was other than righteous, so ask Me not for that about which you have no knowledge. Indeed, I advise you, lest you be among the ignorant.” Here the context is Noah pleading with Allah for the life of his son and Allah admonishes Noah for questioning him.
Another usage of the word is for behaviour deemed immoral, sinful or improper by Islam. For example 27:55 speaks of homosexual desire as being the result of “ignorance”. See also 12:89.
4:17 (SI): “The repentance accepted by Allah is only for those who do wrong in ignorance [or carelessness] and then repent soon after. It is those to whom Allah will turn in forgiveness, and Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.” Here Allah promises mercy for those Muslims who “do wrong in ignorance” – i.e. by mistake. See also 6:54, 16:119, 49:6 (an admonishment not to do “ignorant” things).
Words with meanings related to “ignorance” are used in several ways.
- If Muslims do wrong out of ignorance (of ritual etc.) they are forgiven.
- Time before the advent of Islam is the “time of ignorance”.
- Un-Islamic actions, desires etc. are also “ignorant”.
- Non-Muslims are “ignorant” when they don’t convert to Islam. This is a willed “ignorance” since they are practicing “Kufr”.
Setting aside its usages with respect to Muslims, we can see that non-Muslims are deemed “ignorant” for not converting to Islam.
“Those in whose hearts is a disease.”
This phrase and it’s twin, “in their hearts is a disease”, is used in three contexts in the Koran.
2:10 refers to those Muslims who only pay “lip service” to Islam or are “half-hearted”. See also 33:6 and 12, 47:20, 29; 74:31.
In 9:125 it refers to “unbelievers” who “die in a state of unbelief” – i.e. Kaffirs have “diseased hearts”. See also 22:53 where Zalimoon have “diseased hearts”.
Summary: In these verses people who don’t (fully) believe in Islam are said to have “diseased hearts”. Thus Allah states that anyone who isn’t a “true-believer Muslim” is “diseased” in some way. Clearly since Kaffirs do not believe at all, they are the most diseased of all.
In part one I showed how Kaffiroon (Kaffirs), Mushrikoon and Zalimoon are operational synonyms in that the Koran states that Mushrikoon are also Zalimoon and all Kaffirs are Mushrikoons (hence Zalimoon also).
Similarly we now find that Kaffirs are identified as the Fasiqoon, and thus that all Kaffirs are also Fasiqoon; Mujrimoon and Mufsidoon are Zalimoon and all Kaffirs are thus both Mujrimoon and Mufsiqoon.
Musrifoon are linked to Mufsidoon and hence, via Zalimoon, to all Kaffirs and there is also a more direct link between Musrifoon and Kaffirs.
The Maqbuhoon are those in Hell – i.e. Kaffirs and finally the phrase “…hearts is a disease” is used of Kaffirs.
Thus the Koran has a web of words, all interlinked and all derogatory at best and hateful at worst, to describe “those who do not believe” – i.e. the Kaffirs or non-Muslims. All these words are linked to each other in the Koran, mostly with direct “equations”, but otherwise at “one remove” (i.e. the Koran says A = B and B = C therefore A = C ). Thus all the words ultimately become descriptors of non-Muslims in general.
What we find in the Koran is a web of words used to describe non-Muslims. Although each word has its own meaning, the Koran binds them all together by the way it uses these different words, thus Mushrikoon (“associators”), Zalimoon (“evil-doers”), Fasiqoon (“defiant, rebellious, immoral, wicked, sinful” people), Mujrimoon (“criminals”), Mufsidoon (“corrupters”), Musrifoon (“profligates, transgressors”), Maqbuhoon (“loathed, ugly, despised” people) and “those with diseased hearts” become different epithets for the various characteristics of the “Kaffirs” – the non-Muslims.
What then does the Koran say are the characteristics of the Kaffir? Taking the way(s) the above words are used in the Koran we find that the Kaffir is inherently:
an actively deceitful and deceptive person – they are “those who cover up (the truth)” (from the literal meaning of the word “Kaffir”).
a sort of “quasi-apostate” from Islam. Kaffirs “know” that Islam is ‘true’ in their “heart of hearts”, but refuse to admit it and submit.
someone who makes something other than, or along with, Allah their “deity”. The point here is that this carries with it a strong whiff of “Shirk”, Islam’s unforgivable sin, which along with apostasy, merits the death penalty.
a liar – they are accused of making up lies about Allah, one such lie is that they deny him and his prophet.
corrupt. They stand accused of being “corrupters”, particularly of Muslims (given the chance).
defiant, disobedient and rebellious (towards Allah/Mohammed and thus Muslims) – by not being Muslim or Dhimmi.
ingrates – for not receiving Islam and Allah’s blessings with due humility, submission and gratitude.
sinful, immoral and wicked. Thus underlining the ‘superiority’ of Muslims.
actively seeking to do harm to the Muslim Umma, through oppression, injustice,spreading discord and are a corrupting influence on both Islam and Muslims. I must remind the reader that “oppression” and “injustice” both mean – in essence – not supporting Sharia law.
criminal. Again this is related to the Kaffir “resisting” Islam and not supporting Sharia law.
a profligate, wasting the resources of this world (which only “belong” to Muslims) and the next (though denial of Islam).
an unclean and “diseased” sub-human.
vile in the eyes of the Koran.
The Kaffir’s “ugly soul” is to be despised and loathed for all the above reasons by the Muslims.
As a part and parcel of this the Koran regards Kaffirs as little more than prey for the Umma, it being quite permissible for Muslims to despoil them of their wealth, women and children in war and raids, (something that has been demonstrated by Islam many times within its history, right from its inception).
Homosexuals and Jews come in for particular labelling as being “wicked”, “sinful”, “immoral” “criminal” “corrupt(ing)” etc. In this way the Koran originates and “justifies” the anti-Semitic and Homophobic hatreds of so much of the Islamic world.
“Half-hearted” Muslims, those unwilling to kill for Islam, “modernist”, “moderate” or “name only” (cultural) Muslims are almost as severely condemned as Kaffirs. Only orthodox Muslims (who support Sharia and closely follow Mohammed) are “real” or “true-believer” (“Mumin” in Arabic) Muslims.
Before a reader asks “what about Dhimmis?” let me add the following: a Dhimmi or “protected person” also rendered a “tolerated person” is tolerated within the Umma provided that they lead their life as circumscribed by their Dhimmah. In quasi-legal terms we might regard the Dhimmi as being “on parole” – allowed certain freedoms, true, but (potentially) subject to retribution if they fail to abide by their “parole terms” which includes the payment of special taxes. In all cases the second or third class status of the Dhimmi is clearly established in such treaties and they must acknowledge their inferiority compared to the Muslims.
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In several of my articles (including part one of this series) I’ve stated that “disbeliever” is a mistranslation of “Kaffir” since the word is applied to those who have never been Muslim rather than those who have left Islam. Whilst I stand by this from the viewpoint of a non-Muslim considering this linguistically, there is more to this usage than merely poor translation.
If we take seriously the quasi-apostasy of one who ‘hides’ the fact that s/he ‘really’ knows that ‘Islam is the truth’ – and thus is ‘rejecting the facts’ and couple this to K7:172 in which all “the descendants of Adam” were made to testify that Allah is their god, then perhaps the translators who use “disbelievers” for Kaffir (HK, P, Q, SD, SI), actually do regard all non-Muslims as, in effect, apostates from Islam.
Thus I consider that this translation – disbeliever – reflects the Theological bias of the translator, rather than merely poor English – since approximately 50% of the translations available to me use this form and some theological “justification” can be made for it.
Note: The corollary of this is that any Muslim who thinks this way must believe that all non-Dhimmi non-Muslims should be killed – unless they “revert” to Islam – since this is the mandated Sharia punishment for apostasy. Fortunately, most of these Muslims will also believe that only the Islamic state (i.e. Caliphate/Imamate) has the legal (Sharia) authority to execute this sentence.
That said, I maintain that it is basically an inappropriate translation especially for a Koran aimed at a non-Muslim audience, since it is a Theologically based translation rather than a linguistically based one; but I can see how, from an Islamic Theological perspective, it is possible to equate: Kaffir = apostate = disbeliever.
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In part 3 I shall present the information developed in parts 1 and 2 in a more graphic way and also consider some of the (potential) out-workings of the Koran’s description of non-Muslims for interactions between the two groups.