The Surat Al-Kafiroon is amongst
the ‘Suwar’ that draws the borders between Islam and
Disbelief, and between Jannah and Hell. It is also called
Surat Al-Ikhlas because it purifies one’s faith and
shows one’s sincerity and fidelity to Allah.
Surat Al-Kafiroon was revealed
in Makkah and consists of six short verses. Both this
Surah and Surat Al-Ikhlas are twins. They both demonstrate
innocence of ‘Shirk’ and ‘Kufr’. Hence, the Prophet
used to read both of them in the Sunnah prayers before
Fajr and after Maghrib. Ibn Umar narrated that he heard
the Prophet read these ‘Suwar’ in the above prayers
twenty-four or twenty five times at different occasions.
Surat Al-Kafiroon equals a quarter
of the Qur’an in reward of recitation. Jablah, the son
of Haritha, who is the brother of Zeid son of Haritha,
narrated that the prophet said to him: ‘when you go
to bed to sleep, read Surat Al-Kafiroon until the end,
for verily it shows innocence of Shirk.’
The cause of the revelation of
Surat Al-Kafiroon is that the disbelieving chiefs of
Quraysh (Walib Bin Al-Mughira, Al-Aass Ibn Wa’l Asahmi,
Umayyah Ibn Khalaf, and Al-Aswad Ibn Al-Mutalib) came
to the Prophet with an offer that suggests that
they alternate in worship between Allah and their idols.
They said, ‘we worship Allah with you a year and you
worship our idols with us a year, this way both parties
are satisfied.’ As a response, Allah sent this great
Surah to demonstrate the firmness of the Islamic faith
and to stand in the face of those who want the Muslims
to compromise their religion to please the disbelievers
at any place or time.
Say, ‘O disbelievers!’
Allah, the Al-Mighty, commands the Prophet to
say to the ‘Kafiroon’ (disbelievers) what would follow
in the coming verses. The word ‘Kafiroon’ in this verse
encompasses all those who have disbelieved in Allah
in the past, present and the future. However, it was
particularly directed towards the ‘Mushrikoon’ who came
to the prophet with the offer of alternating between
the worship of Allah and the worship of their idols.
Notice how Allah commands the Prophet to address
them in a harsh and a bold manner to make them realise
that the matter they are negotiating is fatal and extremely
serious. This opening verse shows that what is going
to follow is going to be the final answer to the offer
of the ‘Mushrikoon’.
I worship not that which you worship
This is the first thing that Allah
wanted to make clear to them. I worship not the partners
that you and your fathers associated with Allah whether
they were statues, stars, Jinns or angels.
Every Muslim should believe this
in his heart and practice it in his words and actions.
This is the fundamental belief in Islam, to unify Allah
in worship. A Muslim is a Muslim only when he does not
associate partners with Allah in his worship. The word
‘partners’ does not only refer to the false deities
that people of certain religions worship besides Allah
like the Christians, the Jews and the Hindus. It also
refers to anything that people may worship besides Allah,
like the Graves of the pious, the Jinn through Magic
or to ask someone alive or dead to help you in something
that only Allah can do. A Muslim is innocent of such
beliefs and actions.
Another important lesson that
one learns from this verse is that a Muslim should be
proud of his religion, proud of his Lord and proud of
The time that this Surah was
revealed to the Prophet was in the early years
of Dawah, when the Muslims were weak and few. They were
still oppressed and persecuted, yet Allah revealed this
Surah to the Prophet as a clear reply to the disbelievers
giving them no hope of finding a mid way between their
religion and Islam. It showed them that Muslims do not
compromise their religion at any time or place or under
Nor do you or will you worship whom
Allah the Most High commands the
Prophet to tell them that they do not and will
never worship truly Allah as long as they are associating
partners with Him. Allah does not accept a partner with
Him because He created all that exists alone, He is
the only God and none is co-equal or comparable to Him.
Thus, the two verses read, ‘I
do not worship besides Allah what you worship and you
(in turn) do not worship Allah my Lord,’ the one who
deserves all praise and worship. The Arabic word ‘??’
means ‘what’ but in this verse it means ‘who’ because
it refers to Allah the Most High.
And I shall not worship that which
you are worshipping.
Nor will you worship whom I worship
between these verses and the ones above is that the
above ones refer to the action of worship when these
two refer to the acceptance of the action. In simpler
words, the first two verses state that I do not worship
what you worship and you do not worship whom I worship.
The second two verses state I don’t even accept what
you worship and how you worship it and likewise you
don’t accept whom I worship and how I worship Him.
To you be your religion, and to
me my religion
My religion is Islam and true
Monotheism and your religion is disbelief and Shirk.
I shall be rewarded what I deserve and you will meet
the punishment that you deserve.
This verse proves that all the
religions other than Islam are false and unacceptable.
It further shows that all the false religions are the
same in their essence because they all are based on
the worship of other than Allah.
Therefore, this is the attitude
that a Muslim should have towards the concept of Tawheed
and Disbelief. There is no compromise in Aqida, any
difference in Aqida is and should be a major difference
that cannot be overlooked and that causes disavowal.
A Muslim disavows whatever worshipped besides Allah.
He believes in Allah alone always and is proud of his
religion and his Lord.