Those Who Deny the Truth
By Javed Ahmad
Bismillahir rahmanir rahim.
1. Kul ya aiuhal kafiruna
2. La abudu ma tabuduna
6. Lakum dinukum aliadeen.
Those who do not know Sura Kafirun would at least guess from the pronunciation that the content is taken from the Qur’an. Sura Kafirun, which means “Those who deny the truth”, is the 109th chapter of the Qur’an. The six verses of this chapter are addressing the “kafirs” which means the infidels or disbelievers to consider the “truth”. The English translation (from Muhammad Asad’s “The Meaning of the Qur’an”) of the sura is given below:
In the name of Allah, the most gracious, the dispenser of grace:
In the introduction and summary of the chapter, Abdullah Yusuf Ali says the followings in his translation “The Holy Qur’an”:
“This is another early Meccan sura. It defines the right attitude to those who reject faith: in matters of truth we can make no compromise, but there is no need to persecute or abuse anyone for his faith or belief…The man of faith holds fast to his faith, because he knows it is true. The man of the world, rejecting faith, clings hard to worldly interests. Let him mind his worldly interests, but let him not force his interests on men sincere and true, by favor, force, or fraud.”
I’ve heard many quoting only the last verse of the chapter from their memory “Lakum dinukum aliadeen” and translating it as “You keep your religion, and I’ll keep mine”, which is okay, but is out of context if quoted singly. The verse should be read along with the other verses to get the clear meaning. The meaning of this sura is simple. The bottom line is,
“Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching: and argue with them in the ways that are best and most gracious: For thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His path, and who receive guidance.” (Qur’an 16:125).
In other words, first we need to invite them to Islam with wisdom and beautiful preaching; if they do not pay any attention, only then we are allowed to say sura Kafirun to them.
Similar verses are also seen in the Qur’an:
“Say: “O people of the book! Come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah.” If then they turn back, say ye: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing) to Allah’s will.” (3:64).
Accepting Islam is purely an intellectual matter. The following verse confirms that,
“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error: Whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And Allah hearth and knoweth all things.” (2:256).
As Muslims, our duty is limited to delivering the message only, see the following verse.
“So if they dispute with thee, Say: “I have submitted my whole self to Allah and so have those who follow me.” And say to the people of the book and to those who are unlearned: “Do ye (also) submit yourself?” If they do, they are in right guidance, but if they turn back, thy duty is to convey the message; and in Allah’s sight are (all) His servants.” ().
Now the question that automatically follows in our minds is, “How could a Muslim who doesn’t understand Islam thoroughly can possibly invite a non-Muslim to Islam?” Probably that is why most of the Muslims shy away form their duty of inviting the non-Muslims to Islam, simply because they do not understand the religion themselves!
Due to the lack of understanding of Islam, many Muslims have a compromising attitude. They tend to believe that all religions in the world have some sort of validity as such there is no need to care much about it. Well, they are dead wrong!
According to the Qur’an, Islam is the ONLY valid religion on the surface of the earth today. Here is what the Qur’an has to say about it:
“The religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His will): Nor did the people of the book dissent there from except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of Allah, Allah is swift in calling to account. ()…”If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good).” (3:85)…”O ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islam.” (3:102)…”It is He who has sent His apostle with guidance and the religion of truth, that he may proclaim it over all religion, even though the pagans may detest (it).” (61:9).
Sadly enough, it is true that the Muslims (no matter how scholarly they are) do not read the Qur’an with care. Most of them do not know Arabic. And it never occurs to them ever that “How can a Muslim truly be a Muslim without knowing Arabic?”
The Qur’an has been purposely revealed in Arabic. But no one ever brings up the fact that in order to understand the book which is revealed in Arabic one must learn Arabic! As a result, we see a lot diversions and groups and divisions among ourselves based on whatever we understand from the translations. Have you noticed that most of the Islamic groups and divisions are among the people who are NOT Arabic? Who are the Shiai? Who are the Ahmadia’s? Who are the Aga Khani’s? Who are the Bhai’s? They are all non Arabic speaking people!
Religious tolerance is one of the main factors of sura Kafirun. It is sad to notice some Muslims damaging the religious worshipping place of the people of other faith and beliefs which is totally disallowed in Islam. Instead, what they should do is invite them in a public debate to discuss the difference of the religions for better understanding. Islam did not give permission to impose the religion on anyone by force. Nor does it allow any practicing Muslim to stand on the way of their religious practices and rituals. All it said is to stay away from the ignorance of other faiths.
Then what should we do to invite people to Islam peacefully? We need to do exactly what the Qur’an tells us to do, “…invite all to Islam with wisdom and beautiful preaching…”. How can one invite with beautiful preaching without wisdom? How can this “wisdom” be achieved? Wisdom can only be achieved by learning the Islamic materials from the original sources namely the Qur’an and Sunnah, not from translations alone. First we need to educate ourselves before attempting to preach others. Here are some materials you may want to read to “educate” yourself before preaching Islam to others.
To invite Hindus to Islam, read the following books:
To invite Christians to Islam, read the free books distributed by the following organizations:
To argue with an atheist about Islam read the following books:
Before inviting a Jew to Islam, read the following book:
To learn about the current affairs and to stay up to date on recent issues, read the followings:
No matter how many books you read, please take the time to learn Arabic. Once you learn the language the whole world of Arabic literature will become available to you. You will be able to read the original Arabic books on Islam without going through someone else’s translations and interpretations. Wouldn’t it be better to learn Islam from the original sources?
To learn Arabic, please contact the following institutions:
Now a day, one could learn reading Arabic within a short time using the so called “scientific method” taught at different madrassas and masjids. Contact your local masjid for more information. One needs to learn reading Arabic correctly before trying to understand its meanings. Make sense?