The real difference between a Muslim and a Kafir.
This section is a continuation from the previous article and summarizes the second chapter from Abu A’la Maududi’s rahimahullah (rh) book entitled “Fundamentals of Islam”. This part is probably the first of the few chapters that serves as the main foundation in his explanation on this topic and attempts to answer a very rudimentary question to Muslims and non-Muslims alike – why is there so much difference between a Muslim and a “Kafir”? One key point that he kept stressing is that the answer to this question should be answered cool-mindedly and not be looked from a provocative perspective. We should strive to do the same.
A non-believer is as much an offspring of prophet Adam (pbuh) as Muslims are. They breath the same air, drink the same water and inhabit the same land as Muslims do. Allah created them as Allah created Muslim. Why then, in the day of the Hereafter Allah promised the true believers Paradise and the non-believers Hellfire? Why is Allah the Most Just and Most Merciful makes a distinct treatment in the Hereafter for these two groups of people?
This is the main point that must be pondered and reflected deeply. Allah the Almighty is not cruel to discriminate between all human beings on petty grounds such as bearing different names, eating “non-halal” foods or whether one person is circumcised or not. Allah the Most Beneficent is far from such unjust attributes. The answer to this question is actually simple yet it has always been taken for granted.
The meaning of Islam is obedience to Allah while the opposite of Islam that is “Kufr” is disobedience to Allah. A true Muslim recognizes his Master, obey His orders and fears the consequence of disobeying Him. However, a non-Muslim falls from Allah’s grace because the person does not recognize Allah as the One True God and does not carry out Allah’s instruction on this earth. It is only through this distinction that Allah promises the reward of heaven to Muslims and warns the unbelievers the threats of hellfire. Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) was born in the home of an idolator but he came to know of Allah and worshipped Him. Prophet Noah (pbuh) son was born in a prophet’s home but he did not understand God and disobeyed Him.
Thus, the main difference in the sight of Allah between a Muslim and a non-Muslim is in relation to the person’s knowledge and deeds. The reward that a Muslim will get in the Hereafter is proportionate to the degree of the Muslim’s conviction and deeds on this face of this earth.
Therefore, if the knowledge and deeds of a person who claims himself or herself as a Muslim is similar to those who disobey Allah, the person should really check where his or her faith really lies.
Abu A’la Maududi rahimahullah made it clear in this chapter, “A Kafir does not read the Quran and does not know what is written therein. If similar is a condition of a Muslim, why should he be called a Muslim? A Kafir does not know the teaching of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and what straight path the prophet has shown to reach Allah. If a Muslim is equally ignorant of this, how is he considered a Muslim? A Kafir follow his own desire instead of following the command of God. If a Muslim too like him is headstrong and unbridled and a follower of his own ideas or opinion, indifferent to God and is a slave of lust then what right does he to call himself an obedient slave of Allah? A Kafir does not need to discriminate between Halal and Haram and takes to anything that to him is beneficial and full of relish, no matter whether it is Halal or Haram in the sight of Allah. If a Muslim behavior is the same as that of a non-Muslim, what difference is there between him and a Kafir?”
This is a point that requires a deep reflection by us as Muslims. The condition of our ummah today suggests that we’ve neglected our duty as Muslims and there is only a slight difference between non-Muslims and us. If we continue this path, we can’t entitle ourselves as true Muslim. In fact, the opposite is probably true (we seek refuge from Allah for such thing) since we already know that the Quran is the word of Allah yet we treat it similar as a non-Muslim does. We know Allah cursed liars, those who believes in shamans and khurafat, taking and giving bribes, declare war against interest and usury, warned against backbiting, obscenity and lewdness yet despite of knowing all these we continue to be indulged in these vices as if there is absolutely no fear of Allah.
This again goes back to the first part of the series that was published last month that is the importance of true knowledge for being a Muslim. It is thus important that we continue to strive and learn about the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The Muslims need to appreciate the great loss we’re experiencing by remaining ignorant on the Islamic teachings. The book of God is with us yet we’re moving away from Allah’s teaching. Allah demands the Muslim to put the ummah unity as a priority yet we instead prefer to put that aside and make our political pact as more important.
We know the pain of losing badminton or when our favorite football team loses in the final tournament. We know the loss and suffering due to being a lower income nation with high cost of living. Yet we do not know the loss of being unaware of Islam’s teaching, acknowledging and submitting that Allah is the One True God and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the Last Messenger.
Can there be a greater loss than this?