The Kinds of Kufur.

The Kinds of Kufur


Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid


The Reality of Kufur and its manner is indeed a significant matter in the akidah. Thus it is imperative for every one of us to know what kufur is, and the forms that it may take.


The Qur’an and Sunnah precisely specify that the faith would be invalid unless the two conditions are met in its testimony: There is no god except Allah and Muhammad SAW is the Messenger of Allah.”


These two conditions are the submission to Allah Almighty Alone, which is the Islamic Tawhid”, and that entails denouncing and shunning all kinds of kufur and syirik.


One could not denounce it until and unless one cognizant of what it is the Tawhid, so as to act accordingly and attaining it; and knowing what constitutes kufur and syirik.


The Definition of Kufur.


Kufur, in Arabic comes from the root word that means hiding and concealing something”. In terms of Islamic doctrine it means:


“…not believing in Allah and His Messenger, whether that is accompanied by denial or it is not accompanied by denial but rather doubt, or turning away from faith out of jealousy or arrogance, or because one is following whims and desires that prevent one from following the message. Kufur is the attribute of everyone who rejects something that Allah has commanded us to believe in, after news of that has reached him, whether he rejects it in his heart without uttering it, or he speaks those words of rejection without believing it in his heart, or he does both; or he does an action which is described in the texts as putting one beyond the pale of faith.”


[Majmu’ Al-Fatawa by Shaikh Al-Islam Ibn Taimiyah, 12/335; Al-Ihkam Fi Usul Al-Ahkam by Ibn Hazam, 1/45.]


Ibn Hazam said in his book Al-Fasal: “Rejecting something for which there is sound proof that there can be no faith without believing in it is kufur, and uttering words for which there is proof that uttering them is kufur is kufur. Doing any action for which there is proof that it is kufur is also kufur.”


Kinds of Major Kufur


The Kufur which Put One beyond the Pale of Islam. The scholars divided Kufur into a number of categories, under which they listed many forms and kinds of syirik as follows:


The Kufur of Denial and Rejection.


This kufur may sometimes take the form of disbelief in the heart – which occurs rarely among the kuffar, as Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said – and sometimes it takes the form of outward or apparent rejection, which means concealing the truth and not submitting to it outwardly, whilst recognizing it and knowing it inwardly, such as the Jews’ rejection of Muhammad SAW.


Allah SWT says of them:


“Then when there came to them that which they had recognised, they disbelieved in it” [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:89]


 “Then when there came to them that which they had recognised, they disbelieved in it” [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:146]


That is because rejection only happens which a person knows the truth and refuses it. Hence, Allah stated that the kuffar’s disbelief in the Messenger SAW was not disbelief in the true sense of the word, because their disbelief was only outward and verbal, and inwardly they recognized the truth.


Allah Says:


“It is not you that they deny, but it is the Verses (the Qur’an) of Allah that the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers) deny” [Surah Al-An’am, 6:33]


“And they belied them (those Ayat) wrongfully and arrogantly, though their ownselves were convinced thereof” [Surah Al-Naml, 27:14]


Similar to this is the kufur of permitting that, which is forbidden. Whoever regards as permissible something, which he knows that Islam has forbidden has disbelieved in the Messenger SAW and in that which he brought. The same applies to one who forbids something, which he knows that Islam has permitted.


The Kufur of Turning Away In Arrogance, Such As the Kufur of Iblis.


Allah Says:


“… except Iblis (Satan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allah)” [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:34]


 “They (hypocrites) say: ‘We have believed in Allah and in the Messenger (Muhammad), and we obey,’ then a party of them turns away thereafter, such are not believers”. [Surah Al-Nur, 24:47]


Therefore, Allah has stated that those who do not act in accordance with faith are not believers, even if they utter the words of faith. The kufur of turning away means that one ignores the truth and does not learn it or act in accordance with it, whether it is the matter of words, actions, or beliefs. Allah says:


“But those who disbelieve, turn away from that whereof they are warned” [Surah Al-Ahqaf, 46:3]


Whoever turns away verbally from that which the Messenger has brought is like one who says “I will not follow him.” The one who turns away by his actions is like one who runs away from hearing the truth, which he brought, or puts his fingers in his ears so as not to hear, or who hears it but turns away in his heart and refuses to believe, and who refuses to act upon it. He has disbelieved in the sense of the kufr of turning away.


The Kufur of Hypocrisy.


This takes the form of not believing in the heart and not acting, whilst submitting outwardly in order to show off to people. This is like the kufur of Ibn Salul and the other munafiqin (hypocrites) of whom Allah SWT says:


“And of mankind, there are some (hypocrites) who say: ‘We believe in Allah and the Last Day,’ while in fact they believe not.


They (think to) deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!


In their hearts is a disease (of doubt and hypocrisy) and Allah has increased their disease. A painful torment is theirs because they used to tell lies.


In addition, when it is said to them: ‘Make not mischief on the earth,’ they say: ‘We are only peacemakers.’


Verily, they are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive not.


In addition, when it is said to them (hypocrites): ‘Believe as the people (followers of Muhammad, Al-Ansar, and Al-Muhajirun) have believed,’ they say: ‘Shall we believe as the fools have believed?’ Verily, they are the fools, but they know not.


In addition, when they meet those who believe, they say: ‘We believe,’ but when they are alone with their Syayatin (devils — polytheists, hypocrites), they say: ‘Truly, we are with you; verily, we were but mocking.’


Allah mocks at them and gives them increase in their wrongdoing to wander blindly.


These they have purchased error for guidance, so their commerce was profitless. In addition, they were not guided.


Their likeness is as the likeness of one who kindled a fire; then, when it lighted all around him, Allah took away their light and left them in darkness. (So) they could not see.


They are deaf, dumb, and blind, so they return not (to the Right Path).


Alternatively, like a rainstorm from the sky, wherein is darkness, thunder, and lightning. They thrust their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunderclap for fear of death. However, Allah ever encompasses the disbelievers (i.e. Allah will gather them all together).


The lightning almost snatches away their sight, whenever it flashes for them, they walk therein, and when darkness covers them, they stand still. In addition, if Allah willed, He could have taken away their hearing and their sight. Certainly, Allah has power over all things”


[Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:8-20]


The Kufur of Doubt.


It means hesitating with regard to following the truth and being uncertain as to whether it is true, because what is required is certainty of faith (yaqin) that what the Messenger brought is truth with no hint of doubt in it. Whoever thinks that what he brought may not be true has disbelieved, in the sense of kufr of doubt, as Allah says:


“And he went into his garden while in a state (of pride and disbelief), unjust to himself. He said: ‘I think not that this will ever perish.


 And I think not the Hour will ever come, and if indeed I am brought back to my Lord, (on the Day of Resurrection), I surely, shall find better than this when I return to Him.’


His companion said to him during the talk with him: ‘Do you disbelieve in Him Who created you out of dust (i.e. your father Adam), then out of Nutfah (mixed semen drops of male and female discharge), then fashioned you into a man?


But as for my part, (I believe) that He is Allah, my Lord, and none shall I associate as partner with my Lord.’” [Surah Al-Kahfi, 18:35-38]


Kufur is the opposite of iman or faith, which may take the form of feelings in the heart, such as hating Allah or His signs, or His Messenger SAW; this contradicts love and faith, which support the actions of the heart. Kufur may also take the form of spoken words, such as insulting Allah, or it may be an outward action, such as prostrating to idols, or offering sacrifices to someone other than Allah SWT.


Just as faith takes the form of actions of the heart, words on the tongue and outward physical actions, so too kufur may take the form of actions of the heart, words on the tongue and outward physical actions.


Thus we ask Allah SWT to keep us safe from kufur and its branches, and to increase us in faith and make us guided and cause us to guide others.


Allah knows best.


See : A’lam Al-Sunnah Al-Manshurah, 177; Nawaqid Al-Iman Al-Qawliyah Wa’l-‘Amaliyah by Shaikh ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Al ‘Abdul Latif, 36-46; Dawabit Al-Takfir by Shaikh ‘Abdallah Al-Qarani, 183, 196.




About Md Radzi Ahmad
A retired Malaysian civil servant. Served the Malaysian government for thirty-one years. Posted to London, Rangoon, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bangkok. Born in Kampong Hutan Kandeh, Alor Star, Kedah. Educated at Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star and University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Currently resides in Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan,Malaysia.Blessed with three children, a son, two daughters, daughter in law and two grandaughters.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: