KAAFIR: Every person who is not a Muslim is described in the Shariah as a Kaafir.
THE TYPES OF KAAFIR: Munaafiq, murtad, kitaabi, mushrik, dahriyyah, mu’attil and zindeeq. A zindeeq is also known as baatini and mulhid.
MUNAAFIQ: One who verbally claims to be a Muslim, but in his heart is not so, is termed a Munaafiq.
MURTAD: A Muslim who renounces Islam is termed a murtad.
MUSHRIK: One who subscribes to or believes in more than one Divine Being is termed a mushrik. One who associates another as a partner with Allah is also termed a mushrik.
KITAABI: One who follows a previously revealed, Divine religion which has been abrogated, is termed a kitaabi, e.g. Jews and Christians.
DAHRIYYAH: One who believes in the eternity of time and ascribes creation to time is termed dahriyyah.
MU’ATTIL: One who denies the existence of the Creator is termed a Mu’attil (atheist).
ZINDEEQ: Zindeeq is a person who acknowledges the Nubuwwat of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and accepts the shiaar (salient features, e.g. Salaat, Hajj) of Islam, but at the same time adheres to beliefs which are unanimously branded as kufr in the Shariah.
According to this definition the term zindeeq will apply to all persons who proclaim themselves to be Muslims while at the same time prescribing to kufr beliefs. The majority of baatil sects fall in this category of kufr.
TA’WEEL BAATIL (Baseless interpretation)
In some quarters there exists the misconception that rejection of a teaching of the Shariah by way of ta’weel (interpretation) is not kufr. A ta’weel which rejects or alters in any way any of the Dhurooriyaat-e-Deen (Essentials of Deen) is baatil (baseless). Such interpretations produce kufr. For example:
(1) Belief in the fact that Nabi Isaa (alayhis salaam) is alive and that he was physically raised into the Heaven is among the Dhurooriyaat-e-Deen. Denial of this belief by any form of interpretation whatever, is baatil and kufr.
(2) The belief in Khatme-Nubuwwat (finality of the Nubuwwat of Rasulullah — sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is among the Dhurooriyaat-e-Deen. Denial of this belief on the basis of interpretation is baatil and kufr.
(3) Belief in the physical resurrection of humanity in the Aakhirah is among the Dhurooriyaat-e-Deen. Denial of this belief by way of interpretation is baatil and kufr.
(4) Belief in the Mu’jizaat (Miracles) of the Ambiyaa (alayhimus salaam) is among the Dhurooriyaat-e-Deen. Whoever interprets the Mu’jizaat to mean anything other than what the Ummah has understood it to be for the past fourteen centuries, commits kufr.
THE FOUR CATEGORIES OF KUFR
There are four kinds of kufr, viz. Kufr Jahl, Kufr Juhood, Kufr Shakk and Kufr Ta’weel. The one guilty of any of these types of kufr is described as a kaafir in the Shariah.
KUFR JAHL: This means kufr occasioned by ignorance. Islam or the teachings of Islam are denied on the basis of ignorance. The rejector believes that the claim of Islam is false. This was the type of kufr of Abu Jahl and his compatriots.
KUFR JUHOOD: This means deliberate kufr. The denial of Islam or its teachings is occasioned deliberately, inspite of realising its truth. This type of kufr is the result of rebellion and obstinacy. This was the type of kufr of the Ahl-e-Kitaab (the Jews and Christians). This is also the kufr of Iblees (shaitaan).
KUFR SHAKK: This means kufr occasioned by doubt. The denier doubts the truth of Islam.
KUFR TA’WEEL: This means kufr by way of interpretation. The kufr is not committed by outright rejection, but is rendered by means of interpretation. A belief or teaching of Islam is distorted or given an interpretation or meaning other than what was the meaning ascribed to it by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
Of the four types of kufr, the last viz. Kufr Ta’weel is the most common nowadays among those who were born Muslim. Corrupt interpretation is widely employed by Muslims to distort the true beliefs and teachings of Islam. By such baatil ta’weel (baseless and corrupt interpretation), Qur’aanic verses and Ahaadith are given meanings which conflict with their true and original meanings explained by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). By means of this type of kufr, numerous born Muslims have become kaafirs.