Khalid Zaheer
“I am convinced about the veracity of my opinions, but I do consider it likely that they may turn out to be incorrect. Likewise, I am convinced about the incorrectness of the views different from mine, but I do concede the possibility that they may turn out to be correct.” — Imam Shafa’i
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"Let's not be like Kafirs" - summary of lecture delivered in Manchester

Question:
You delivered a lecture recently in Manchester whose announced title was "Let's not be like Kafirs." Can I get the contents of your lecture?

Response:
The following is the summary and conclusions of my lecture.

"Even though many Muslims believe that Kafirs condemned in the Qur’an as criminals worthy of hellfire are non-Muslims, a careful study of the text reveals that it is a category which is neither Muslim nor non-Muslim. Instead, there were certain traits which cause an individual to become a Kafir. Some of the prominent traits of a Kafir mentioned in the Qur’an are these: He is a deliberate denier of truth; he is an arrogant person who looks down upon others as inferiors; he is a bigot who considers all other religious people as criminals simply because they belong to groups different from his; he doesn’t care to listen to the other religious views, creating fuss to ensure that they are not heard; he follows his scholars and elders blindly without bothering to know what other possible versions of the truth were; because of his insistence that only he has monopoly over truth, he participates in breaking religious groups into distinct sects; he thinks that because he belongs to the right religious group, he is God’s favourite, his group alone will enter the paradise, only people belonging to his group were eligible for intercession in the hereafter, and he is going to be forgiven simply because of his religious allegiance with the right group.
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Most of the traits of Kafirs mentioned above are sadly found today in many of us Muslims. Why is it that we don’t realize it and feel inclined to reform ourselves? There are two reasons for it: We don’t read the Qur’an with tadabbur (deep reflection) in a way that we try to critically examine our conduct in the light of the Qur’an. Our reading of the Qur’an is either cursory or, worse still, in most cases, without any intention of understanding its meaning.

Many of those who care to understand Qur’anic text, see strong condemnation in it of Kafirs. The Qur’anic message is expressed in the context of the messenger’s era. During the messenger’s time there were two types of Kafirs who had the traits discussed in this lecture: Munafiqun (Muslims) and Ahle Kitab and Mushrikun (non-Muslims).

To begin with, not all non-Muslims were categorised as Kafirs. However, as the message of God became clearer to the good-natured non-Muslims, they started converting to Islam, until such time that only Kafirs remained non-Muslims.
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Today, unfortunately, the message of Islam isn’t being presented properly and effectively. Kafirs are understandably found both among Muslims and non-Muslims. Likewise do we find believers (Mo’min) on both sides. And nobody can tell who is who. Since we can’t imagine the glorious example of the prophet’s time to return, it is very unlikely that all non-Muslims could ever be described as Kafirs anymore.

However, if we want to be genuine believers in the eyes of God and successful in the life hereafter, let's not behave like Kafirs."

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