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['Aalim Network QR] Definition of Kaffir


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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\
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Salaamun  Alaykum

Please find below a question on the definition of  kaffir to which the reply was
kindly provided by Ma'alim Liyakatali.

Jazakallah

With Duas and Salaams

Maqbul Rahim
Acting Moderator for ABDG-A
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Question: I am a muslimah  in taqlid of of Agha Seestani.

Q. I was having a discussion with a Sunni sister yesterday and I told her 
the Shia Ithna Asheri definition of a "kaafir".. such like.. a kaafir's sweat is
najis for us .. a kaafir's cooked food is najis for us. She was pretty apalled 
at my words.. and told me that since Allah S.W.T. Has Created us all clean and 
pure, how is it possible that we can be so unclean to one another, based on our 
beliefs,  whatever they may be. I told her the treatment we extend to kaafirs is
synonymous with the treatment we extend towards dogs... but I know that I was 
limited in my knowledge to adequately satisfy her..and that's why I need help to 
explain this issue to her.. and please, if I fell short when explaining to her, 
do tell me.
...........................................................................

Answer:

Salaamun Alaykum

Before I answer the question, I believe it is essential to understand how we
define a kafir:

A kafir is, first of all, according to the the Qur'an, one who is ungrateful
to the blessings showered by Allah, the Almighty.
This sense of being ungrateful is connected to the state of turning away
(i.e. disbelieving in God) despite clear guidance coming from Allah. The
guidance is not only in the form of the Prophets, Imams and Qur'an but also
inner voices (waridat), the ability to distinguish good from evil and also
outer ayat of Allah. Despite Allah talking to a person through these
different modes, he/she chooses to turn away. 

A kafir then is one who does not show gratitude in his/her conduct despite
God's benevolence. This act of kufr is often accompanied by haughtiness and
istghna' (free from God)

In several verses, the Qur'an warns them of the consequences of their evil
acts and even curses them for it. e.g. (2:6). Verse 2:221 asks us not to
marry them until they believe.

The definition of a kafir is not a Shi'a Ithna-asheri definition (as
mentioned by you in the question) rather it is a Qur'anic definition. Please
mention this to your sunni friend.

It is important to remember that although the Qur'an severly condemns them
for their kufr, at no time does it ask us to deal with them in an inhumane
way. i.e., our duty is to try to guide them not to treat them as lesser
beings. Hence your comparison between a kafir and a dog was not appropriate
at all. 

Please remember Allah has bestowed dignity to all human beings and only he
can take away that dignity, not us.

The prohibition on eating a kafir's food has nothing to do with his/her
physical state of uncleanliness. Rather, it is connected with his/her
spiritual state. What we eat makes a difference to our own spiritual state
and our character formation. Therefore, we are required to eat pure food for
the sake of the well being of our own spiritual states. Purity in the
spiritual realm is dependent on consuming that which is spiritually pure. By
the way, this is not unique to Islam - Yogis, some Hindus share a similar
view. Therefore the najasat is connected to the spiritual state of a kafir.
There is no doubt that we still have to treat them humanely.
Talking about the cleanliness of a kafir is very misleading since people
assume it is connected to their physical state, I would therefore prefer
using the term spiritual well-being or spiritual state.

May Allah guide us all

Yours in Islam

Liyakatali
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