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Surah Al-Kafirun: You Have Your Own Religion and I Have Mine

Unbeliever (kafir): A neutral term?

Remarkably, many people think that when Islam or Muslims describe someone of another faith as being a kafir or an unbeliever, that Islam is underestimating him or looking down at him.

This is not true in any way.

Originally, the term kafir comes from the Arabic verb kafar-a, which means to cover something or someone.

A farmer inserts a seed into soil and covers it with dust, he is called a kafir.

When someone covers up the truth of something, they too are a kafir.

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Therefore, when Muslims do not believe that Jesus is the son of God, they are regarded as kafirs by Christians who do believe it. It is as simple as that!

Arabic regards this term as a neutral one: anyone who disbelieves in something can be described as an unbeliever.

Even Muslims can be described as unbelievers if they declare their disbelief in false or man made religions.

Partial commitment is not accepted

Neither disbelief nor partial commitment is accepted in Islam. One should be totally and wholly committed to the teachings of Islam and be a good follower of the faith.

Allah the Almighty says in His Ever-Glorious Qur’an what means,

{Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin} (An-Nisa’ 4: 48)

and also,

{So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do} (Al-Baqarah 2: 85).

Peaceful coexistence and cooperation

The final statement in this Surah, Al-Kafirun, ascertains that, “You have your own religion and I have mine.” This means that there is no middle way!

Surah Al-Kafirun: You Have Your Own Religion and I Have Mine - About IslamHowever, this should not be confused with peacefully coexisting with others. The focal point here is the distinction between faiths in terms of creed and beliefs.

Treating people fairly; having mutual understanding and cooperation and interacting amiably with others regardless of their faith is what Islam dictates.

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About Dr. Ali Al-Halawani
Dr. Ali Al-Halawani is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Translation Studies. He is an author, translator, and writer based in Canada. To date, Al-Halawani authored over 400 original articles on Islam and Muslims, most of which can be accessed on and other famous websites. He has recently started to self-publish his articles and new books, which are available on Amazon and Kindle. You can reach him at [email protected].