I really never understood that why is this word taken as an abuse when it isn’t. So let me try to get this matter sorted out to create a better understanding for one and all.
The word ‘Kafir’ is an arabic word which only means ‘disbeliever.’ Literally it means one who conceals or covers. The innate nature of everything that Allah has created is believing in Allah and submitting to Him alone. But people conceal this innate nature and hence the word came into existence for disbelievers. And that’s the word used in the Quran by Allah to those who do not believe in Allah and His messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم). And Exalted is Allah to abuse anyone. Allah never uses language that doesn’t suit His Greatness!
I fail to understand that when a person is happy about not believing in Allah and His messenger, then why get offended on using the arabic term for the same. The double standard is that they accept they don’t believe in Allah and His messenger and they are ok with that and the English word as ‘disbeliever’ but they are repulsed with the word in arabic ‘Kafir’. People have misunderstood it as an abuse when it isn’t. It was just a way used by Allah to differentiate between believers and disbelievers, so that the message could be conveyed and people can adopt or choose a path that is better for them.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean each one should go around naming one other with that word. It’s a term which is used in general and not specific but only when one clearly accepts himself or herself that he or she disbelieves. We must also know that any person, before his death, can change based on Allah’s guidance and mercy. So it’s not apt for the believers to belittle the ones who haven’t got the message of Allah. And the ones who do not wish to accept, it’s their choice. By we naming any specific person with that word or any other word won’t help us to gain anything in this world. Let us leave that upon Allah to decide who was and who was not.
And a word of caution to those who are believers, we ourselves are not sure in what state we would depart from this world then how can we declare or judge one another. We are all at the mercy of Allah and it’s His mercy alone that we might have got this Deen by birth. So don’t demean any of the creations of Allah!
May Allah forgive us for our wrongdoings and help to create a peaceful society in order to give the right message of Islam!
© Dr. Nisar Ahmad bin Ibrahim