Kāfir كافر — rejecter, denier, refuser, suppressor (of Islam), faithless one; non-believer
one who rejects Islam
Very loosely speaking, kāfir can be translated as ‘non-Muslim’ or ‘non-believer’. More specifically, a kāfir is a person who engages in kufr, a type of spiritual denial or suppression of their gratitude.
Chapter 109 of the Qurʾān is called The Deniers.
And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.' " 14:7
Only Allāh can call somebody a Kāfir
‘Don’t say to someone who gives you [a greeting of] peace ’you’re not a believer’… you yourselves were like that before’ (Qurʾān 4:94) Name calling is actually a sin called Ghībah.
Allāh’s Messenger said, ‘Whenever any man calls his brother a Kāfir, then that truth returns and becomes binding on one of them.’ In another wording, ‘Whenever any Muslim man rules that another Muslim man is a disbeliever, then either that other man is a disbeliever or else he is a disbeliever.’ (Bukhari 6104, Muslim 60, Abu Dawud 4687, Tirmidhi 2637)
There is nothing a Muslim can do about adamant rejecters. ‘As to those who reject Faith, it’s the same to them whether you warn them or don’t warn them. They won’t believe.’ (Qurʾān 2:6)
Muslims cannot insult the beliefs of non-Muslims
- Don’t insult the beliefs of non-Muslims 6:108
English word kaffir
Kāfir is an Arabic word that Allāh uses in the Holy Qurʾān. It is correct Classical Arabic, and it is the beautiful speech of our Master and Provider.
Sadly, people have turned the Classical Arabic word Kāfir into the the English word ‘kaffir’, which is now an ethnic slur for black people in South Africa. For this reason, it’s wise to never use the word Kāfir in English.