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THE TERMS KUFR AND SHIRK

Started by Subul’us Salâm, 26.09.2022, 00:36

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Subul’us Salâm


The Terms Kufr and Shirk

Ibnu Hazm Rahimahullâh said,

"People disputed about Kufr and Shirk.

A group said: These are two names that are used for two different meanings, and although every Shirk is Kufr, not every Kufr is Shirk. Those who said this also said: There is no Shirk other than the view of those who associate partners unto Allâh. They also said: These Jews and Christians are Kuffâr (disbelievers), but not Mushrikûn (polytheists), while other nations (religions) are both Kuffâr and Mushrikûn. This is the opinion of Abû Hanîfah and others.

Others have said: Kufr and Shirk are the same; every Kâfir is a Mushrik, and every Mushrik is a Kâfir. This is the view of ash-Shâfi'î and others."1

An-Nawawî Rahimahullâh said,

"Undoubtedly, Shirk and Kufr, can be used for a single meaning which is denying Allâhu Taâlâ or they could be differentiated. Shirk is specific to worshipping idols and other created beings while affirming Allâhu Taâlâ, such as the Kuffâr of Quraysh. Thus, the term Kufr is more general in meaning than Shirk. And Allâh knows best."2

Abû Hilâl al-Askarî Rahimahullâh said,

"As we have mentioned, the difference between Kufr and Shirk is that, Kufr has many traits. Every trait of Kufr is an opposite to a trait of Îmân. This is because when a servant commits a trait of Kufr, he loses a trait of Îmân. Shirk, on the other hand, is one single trait, which is producing deities alongside or other than Allâh. The derivation of Shirk informs this. Then, the word began to be used frequently until every Kufr was called Shirk from the aspect of magnifying it and exaggerating its quality. The essence of Kufr is being ungrateful for blessings and gratitude violates it. The violator of Kufr in Allâh is Îmân. However, he who has lost his faith was called Kâfir, since he has wasted away the rights of Allâh and the obligation of giving thanks to Him for His blessings. Therefore, he is in the status of one who is ungrateful towards the blessings. In reality, what violates Shirk is Ikhlâs. Then, when it was used for all kinds of Kufr, Îmân became what violates it. It is not permissible for someone who is not in the status of denying the blessings of Allâh to be called a Kâfir, because of the magnificence of what it bears of disobedience. Kufr is a noun related to the Sharî'ah, just as Îmân is a noun related to the Sharî'ah."3




1- Ibnu Hazm, al-Fisal fi'l Milal wa'l Ahwâ wa'n Nihal, 3/124.

2- an-Nawawî, Sharhu Muslim, 2/71.

3- Abû Hilâl al-Askarî, Furûq'ul Lughawiyyah, p. 230.
"If the ignorant persists, gets haughty, is determined upon his transgression and misguidance, chooses blindness over guidance, and if what he falls into and disputes with regards to is Shirk Akbar (major Shirk) that brings the person who commits it out of the fold of the faction of Muslims to the party of polytheists, then in this case, the just verdict is the sword!" (al-Fath'ur Rabbânî min Fatâwâ'l Imâm ash-Shawkânî, 1/185)

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