*Al Kufr and its Classifications

Alhadulillah wasolatu wasalaam ‘ala rosulillah

Al-Kufr in Arabic language literally means covering and concealing something. In the shar’ia lexis, it means “not believing in Allah and His Messenger”. In extended sense, kufr 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 Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, 12/335; al-Ihkaam fi Usul al-Ahkaam by Ibn Hazam, 1/45.

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

Basically we have major kufr and minor kufr. Kinds of major kufr includes:

* The kufr of denial and rejection. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“then when there came to them that which they had recognized, they disbelieved in it” Q2:89,146. Q6:33 Q27:14

* The kufr of turning away in arrogance, such as the kufr of Iblees of whom Allah said:
“… except Iblees (Satan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allaah)” Q2:34, Q24:47

* The kufr of hypocrisy. Allah said (interpretation of the meaning):“And of mankind, there are some (hypocrites) who say: ‘We believe in Allaah and the Last Day,’ while in fact they believe not…Q2:8-20

* The kufr of doubt Q18:35-38. A’laam al-Sunnah al-Manshoorah, 177; Nawaaqid al-Eemaan al-Qawliyyah wa’l-‘Amaliyyah by Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez Aal ‘Abd al-Lateef, 36-46; Dawaabit al-Takfeer by Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah al-Qarani, 183, 196.

On Minor Kufr (Disbelief)/Some called as Kufr of Practice, Shaykh Fawzan mentioned in Kitaab ut Tawheed:“The minor Kufr, or the practical Kufr, does not constitute apostasy. This type of Kufr comprises of sins that are referred to in the Book and the Sunnah as Kufr, but do not reach the level of major Kufr”[Kitaab ut Tawheed, Disbelief and its Types]. An example is the saying of the Prophet SallAllahu Alayhi wa sallam

لايزني الزاني حين يزني وهو مؤمن…

No adulterer is a believer when he is committing adultery…Reported by Bukhari and Muslim

Another example: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi was salaam) said the majority of the people in the Hellfire will be women. When asked the reason why this is, the Messenger sallallahu alayhi was salaam said “yakfurnah” meaning “they commit kufr” the Companions then asked “Ayakfurnah billah?” they asked “Is it the kufr in Allah?”(i.e. Major kufr) and then the Prophet sallallahu alayhi was salaam went on to explain that the “kufr” which the women commit is the “kufr” of denying the favours of their husbands to which the wife of Thaabit ibn Qays said “Innee akrah ul kufra fee al islaam”, meaning “but I hate/abhor THE kufr in Islaam” Here the Sahaabiya used the definite article “al” and called this denial of the husbands favours to his wife as “al kufr” meaning “THE KUFR” yet by the unanimously agreement (al-‘Ijmaa’) of the Scholars is “minor” kufr NOT “major kufr.

* Major kufr require renewing kalmatu shahadah and repentance conditions

* Minor kufr require repentance conditions to be met. And generally followed by good deeds in both cases


May Allah grant us benefiting understanding

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