Are All Non-Muslims Condemned Kafirs?
It is generally thought that all non-Muslims are kāfirs who are worthy of the condemnation and punishment referred to by the Qur’ān. This view is not correct. A non-Muslim becomes such a kāfir when he denies the truth in spite of being convinced that it is the truth. Since it is humanly impossible for a person to determine whether a person is denying the truth or not, it is only on the basis of information provided by the Almighty that a person can be called such a kāfir. In the times when He sent His messengers (rusul), He chose to impart this information to His messengers through wahī; however, after the departure of the last rasūl Muhammad (sws), people who have deliberately denied the truth cannot be pinpointed since the institution of wahī has been terminated. No Muslim preacher is in a position to reveal the truth in a manner a rasūl is able to, nor can he ascertain who among his addressees is guilty of deliberately denying the truth. After the departure of Muhammad (sws), the last of the Messengers of God, only on the Day of Judgement will it now be known whether a particular person is such a kāfir or not.
It is evident from this explanation that the Christians and Jews and followers of other religions in times after the Prophet (sws) are not the kāfirs who are condemned by the Qur’ān. As far as Christians are concerned, it must be noted that they are basically followers of monotheism. They never admit to polytheism, though they are involved in certain polytheistic practices. A person becomes a polytheist when he openly admits that he is a polytheist. A person who claims to be a monotheist in spite of being involved in polytheistic practices, cannot be regarded as a polytheist. The reason is that a person might be doing something wrong without realizing what he is doing; all Christians whether of today or from the period of Jesus (sws) never admit to polytheism; trinity to them is in accordance with monotheism. Of course Muslims do not agree with them but unless they claim polytheism, it can only be said that in spite of claiming to be monotheists they are involved in polytheism. Their case is the case of a Muslim who goes to the grave of a saint to ask him to grant a wish; such a Muslim cannot be called polytheist; he shall be told that what he is doing is something which is against monotheism to which he himself strongly claims adherence. Similarly, Christians cannot be called polytheists; however, they will be told that what they are doing is not in accordance with monotheism.
It is precisely for this reason that the Qur’ān never referred to the People of the Book as polytheists though they were incriminated with certain blatant forms of polytheism. The Qur’ān only called the Ishmaelites as polytheists because they admittedly subscribed and testified to the creed of polytheism. They strongly advocated that polytheism was the very religion the Almighty had revealed and claimed that they were the strong adherents to this religion.
(Dr. Shehzad Saleem)
Sponsor Ask Ghamidi
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