BETWEEN ISLAM AND KUFR
Muslims or Kafirs?
Brothers in Islam! Every Muslim believes, as you too must surely believe, that Muslims are different from Kafirs; that God likes Muslims and dislikes Kafirs; that Muslims will find God’s forgiveness, while Kafirs will not; that Muslims will go to Heavend (Jannah) and Kafirs to Hell (Jahanum). I want you to consider why there should be so much difference between Muslims and Kafirs.
Kafirs are as much offspring of Adam and Eve as you. They are human beings like yourselves. They possess hands, feet, eyes and ears. They breathe the same air as you, drink the same water and inhabit the same land. The God who created you also created them. So why should they be ranked lower and you higher? Why should you go to Heaven and why should they be cast into Hell?
Consider carefully. Such a vital difference between man and man cannot be simply due to the fact that you have names like Abdullah and Abdur Rahman and they have names like Kartar Singh, Smith and Robertson, or that you are circumcised and they are not, or that you eat meat and they avoid it, or that they eat pork and you do not. Allah, who has created all human beings and who is the Sustainer of all, cannot be so unjust as to decide on such petty grounds which of His creatures to send to Heaven and which to Hell.
Where, then, does the real difference lie between Muslims and Kafirs? The answer is that it lies, simply, in the very nature of Islam and Kufr. The meaning of Islam is submission to God while the meaning of Kufr is denial and disobedience of God. Muslims and Kafirs are both human beings; both are slaves of God. But one becomes exalted and meritorious by reason of recognizing his Master, obeying His orders and fearing the consequences of disobeying Him; while the other disgraces himself by failing to recognize his Master and carry out His orders. This is why Allah is pleased with Muslims and displeased with unbelievers. That is why He promises true Muslims that they will be rewarded with Heaven and warns unbelievers that they will be cast into Hell
Knowledge and Actions
The two things which separate Muslims and Kafirs are, therefore, knowledge and actions. That is, you must first know who your Master is, what His orders are, how to follow His wishes, which deeds please Him and which displease Him. When these things are known, the second step is to make yourselves true slaves of your Master by giving up your own wishes in deference to what He desires.
If your heart desires to do a certain act and your Master’s order is against it, you should carry out that order. If something seems good to you but your Master says
that it is bad, you must accept it as bad. And if something else seems bad but your Master says it is good, then you must accept it as good. If you think a certain action will be harmful but your Master says that it must be done, then done, then done it must indeed be, even though it may entail you in loss of life or property. Similarly, if you expect to benefit from a certain action but your Master forbids it, you must refrain from it even though it might have brought all the worldly treasures.
This is the knowledge and actions by which Muslims become true servants of Allah, on whom He bestows His mercy and whom He rewards with honour and dignity. Conversely, Kafirs, since they do not possess this knowledge, are Allah’s disobedient slaves and are denied His blessings.
Now, in all fairness, tell me: if you call yourselves Muslims but in fact are as ignorant and disobedient as a Kafir, can you in reality be superior to the latter merely on the strength of bearing different names, wearing different clothes and eating different foods? Can you on this basis be entitled to the blessings of God in this world and in the Hereafter? Islam is not a race or family in which membership is automatically passed on from father to son. A high caste priest’s son will not command respect in the eyes of God, if he does wrong deeds, just because he is born into a priestly home; nor will He look down on the son of a low caste family, disregarding his good deeds, simply because of his birth.
On this point God has explicitly stated in His Book:
‘Indeed the noblest among you in the sight of God is the most God-fearing of you’ (Al-Hujurat 49:13).
That is, the more you know God and the more you obey His commandments, the more honourable you are in His sight, Ibrahim was into the home of an idolator, but he came to know God and obeyed Him. That is why God made him Imam (leader) of the whole world. The son of Nuh was born into a prophet’s home but he did not understand God and disobeyed Him. Despite his high family connection, God so punished him that the punishment became an object lesson for the world.
Understand, therefore, thoroughly that whatever differences there are in the sight of Allah between man and man depend entirely on the state of their knowledge and actions. Both in this world and the Hereafter, God’s blessing is reserved for those who recognize Him, accept the right path shown by Him, and carry out His commandments. Those who do not do these things, whether their names are Abdullah and Abdur Rahman or Kartar Singh, Smith or Robertson, are identical in the sight of God. They are unworthy of His blessings.