Careless Use Of Language
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
I WOULD like to begin today by bringing to mind some terms that we often use in name-calling, and perhaps some of us are not aware of the proper use and application of these names or terms.
We hear many people who, I believe, live the religion and are sincere referring to Christians generally as "Kaafirs," or rejecters of faith, disbelievers—a blanket condemnation of Christians.
"Kaafir" is translated in different ways by different translators. Different translations give it disbeliever, unbeliever, non- believer, rejecter of faith. Many say the Christians are Kaafir, so let us look at this word.
Kaafir means one who rejects faith. One who rejects the guidance of God when it is brought to him is Kaafir.
But we must understand that when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was missioned to be the Prophet, he was in a society that was dominated by pagan Arabs, Christians, and Jews. And he preached this religion and invited all of them to this religion, while not bringing a blanket condemnation on any of these people.
THE OPPOSITE of faithful is Kaafir. Allah's Prophet and the Holy Book (Quran) accepts that Jews, Christians...be faithful to their true authentic teachings. That tells us that you can't call a person Kaafir just because they believe in a different way.
In the Quran, our Holy Book, Allah, the Most High says, "Whoever believes and is a doer of good, he has his reward with his Lord; there is no fear for him nor grief."
Now some of us may say, "Well that means whoever believes in the Quran." No, it says whether it be Sabian—a religious group from the vicinity of Arabia before the time of Prophet Muhammad—or Christian or other.
THE QURAN also refers to people of the Book, identifying them as being some faithful and some Kaafirs. In order for someone to be a Kaafir, he has to have an intent in his heart to reject what is right. He has to be a person who is trying to cover up wrong. The very word "Kaafir" means to cover up as well as to reject.
Now we know many people who claim faith are indeed Kaafirs. You will find faithless persons (Kaafirs) identifying as Jews, Christians, and as Muslims. We all have our Kaafirs. But to say all Christians are Kaafirs is wrong. To say all Jews are Kaafirs is wrong.
Kaafir is a terrible person! Allah would not tell us that you will find Kaafirs to be the nearest to you in faith. He said among those people who call themselves "Nasaarah" (the old name for Christians) are those to be the nearest to you in faith.
In the Quran we are told how pious they were in their worship, how humble they were in their religious devotions, how sincere they were in their prayers, how they shed tears, often, when they prayed.
SUCH ARE good Christians. They have not all gone from the Earth since Prophet Muhammad. Many are still here, genuine in their religion. They believe in God. They want to be right. They feel they are on the right way.
And if they come to know they are doing something wrong, they turn to God just like the good Muslims. So we have to be very careful of using terms and causing a blanket condemnation of a people.
Allah says in the Quran, there's a party of the Jews who practice justice and the doing of right, while there is another party of them who practice injustice and deceit. Should we say all the Jews are bad? No! We can't do that. We have to accept our Quran. This is our Holy Book, we have to accept it.
WE HAVE TO be aware that there are some people among us, who belong to our religion, who have lost sight and are only moved by the hurt, the bitterness, the discomfort in their own lives; that causes them not to see plainly what is right and what is wrong.
They are moved emotionally and politically to get you to join them in a blanket condemnation. You are not my friends if you join them.
I say "friends" because I don't like my enemies. I love them as creatures, but I don't like my enemies. If your enemy is good and you are bad, then like your enemy. But if I'm trying to do good and someone's working against me because of my goodness, I don't like that person.
NOW LET US LOOK at another word, "Munaafiq." Munaafiq is translated in most books as hypocrite. We know the English term hypocrite, and some of us use that word loosely. "He's a hypocrite" and we mean, he disappointed me. Maybe he's a good person, but since he disappointed me, he's a hypocrite.
We want to dwell on this word a bit because this community has had a habit of calling people hypocrites. What is a hypocrite, a Munaafiq?
ALLAH SAYS in the Quran, "They have professed to believe with their mouths, but their hearts have not believed." Here is one description of a hypocrite. One who says with his mouth nice words about the religion, and he says, "I believe in this religion, my book is the Quran," but his heart is saying the opposite. That's a hypocrite.
Who knows that hypocrite but Allah? We have to wait until that hypocrite manifests himself openly.
Allah says in the Quran, "Surely the hypocrites are in the lowest depths of the fire." That tells you their place is terrible.
Allah says in the Quran, "Surely the hypocrites, the Munaafiq, are in the lowest depths of the fire, and will never find aid, except those who repent from their ways and do righteous deeds and join firmly unto Allah and make their religion pure and wholly for Allah alone, for those are to be identified as believers."
NOW EVEN IF one is a hypocrite but later repents and begin to practice righteous deeds and holds fast to Allah, not adding false things into His religion, those are to be identified as believers.
IF YOUR HEART changes and you begin to practice righteousness and hold fast to Allah and you give your religion solely to Him, not mixing up wrong things in it, then you are to be identified as a believer, even though before you were faithless (Kaafir) and hypocritical (Munaafiq).
"What concern does Allah have to punish you if you show gratitude and faith? And surely Allah has always been appreciative and all- knowing." (Quran)
Allah says to us in the Quran— very, very clearly—that He is not a God looking for an opportunity to punish somebody. Allah welcomes an opportunity to grace somebody, to do good by somebody.
Allah is inclined to show mercy and to aid the individual. However, His justice is firm.
WE make our own hell. We draw our own concept of hell, we name people to go to hell. We should follow what Allah says!
Allah Most High, says in the Quran—highly praised is He, the Knower of everything and has everything in His charge—He says, "Surely this is the true account, surely this is the true report."
WHAT IS IT talking about? It's talking about the words of the Quran, the report that's given in the Quran about Jesus, Christ, peace be on him. Surely Allah, the Mighty and the Wisest, says in the Quran: "This is the true report and there is not a God except Allah."
I was listening to a T.V. program the other day. It was entertainment. Something very beautiful came out in song. I can't recall the words but the message was that every lover is looking for that one love—not two, not three. Allah says in the Quran that Allah has not given the human being two hearts—one heart.
"And if they turn away from that, then surely Allah is most aware of the corrupters." What is this saying?
Anyone who knowingly accepts more than one God is a corrupt person? Yes. But we must be aware that the trinitarian concept claims the Oneness of God. Most Christians avoid the complex issue. They say too, "God is One God."
WHAT ABOUT the Christians who believe in three gods in one godhead?
As long as they are confused on that confusing matter and have sincere faith in God (Allah), they are not guilty. No one would willingly and knowingly have more than one God unless they have some deceit, some evil intent. The innocent heart knows one Creator, one Judge, one Justice, one God.
Further Allah, the Most High says in the Quran, "Oh, people of the Scripture"-Jews, Christians; people of scripture—"come and let us agree on terms respecting us mutually"—let's agree on something that respects me, just as it respects you. It doesn't slight you, it doesn't slight me. It doesn't offend me, it doesn't offend you.
WHAT IS THAT term of mutual respect? "That we worship none but Allah (the One Lord, the Creator of everything.) That we worship none but the One God and that we do not make a partner with Him." That's the mutual terms of the agreement.
What does Allah need with a partner?
I may need a partner in my business because I can't run it as well on my own.
Does Allah, the One God, need to take on partners in the rule of the heavens and the Earth? Why would He take on a partner? Is His rule insufficient? Is His rule inadequate that He needs to take on a partner to help Him rule in the creation?
The scripture doesn't say He changes. Scripture says the way is fixed. From eternity, there is no change in the Lord. But many Christians say God begat Jesus, and Jesus is the Son of God and One with God in the godhead. It should be understood that Unitarian Christians and a few other recognized Christian faiths do not believe the Trinitarian concept.
Lastly, the condition to be met here is that "we do not take from among ourselves (human beings of our folk) Lords to the rejection of Allah.
What does this tell us?
You cannot take or make someone a partner with God in a so-called godhead, without rejecting Allah.
Who is God?
God is the One who is absolute, independent, has all power, needs nothing, takes care of everything by Himself. Any time you say He needs a partner, you have rejected that God.
And if they reject "Say: We bear witness that we are Muslims." Let the record be straight and clear, we are not Christians, we are not Jews, we are Muslims. We want no association with you in trinitarianism. Our Holy Book warns against anthro-morphic worship.
Should we say I'm going back there and talk to them some more? No!
ONCE YOU HAVE brought the clear truth that Allah has revealed in His Quran to people who claim to believe in God and they reject that, what right do you have to go back to those people? You not only shame yourself, you shame the name Muslim.
Your religion is not something to force on somebody. Your religion is the best thing you have, the most precious thing in our life. It shows the way to Allah and to the most excellent life.
Will we play it cheap by trying to put it off on somebody after they said "I don't want it?"
Once we discuss it with them rationally and they have made a judgment that they don't want it, goodbye! And peace.
Allah is not poor that He needs them. Allah says in the Quran, "You are poor. Allah is rich."
My friends, we want to be right.