The “Kafir” Dispute

Sad but true: In a country where the coffin of Prem Chand, who was a member of Youth Parliament and victim of Islamabad plane crash, was marked as “Kafir”, can we expect some progression in the country when there is a presence of such an utmost religious intolerance and bigotry? I don’t think so we can have any progression under such circumstances where Islam in an “Islamic” country is manipulated and practiced in an extreme manner.

I had a detailed argument on this issue with some of my friends. An absolute majority condemned the act of tagging the coffin as “Kafir”. And I am happy that people are disapproving such an act of bigotry. During the debate an disputation, a friend of mine had a very interesting yet coherent statement on this issue. In his words:

The man who wrote this on his coffin was illiterate, uneducated and we all know the workers at this level carry what education.

We all saw one side of the picture and started maligning the whole Pakistan, but the other side of the picture can be that, the marker used the word just to identify the dead to his choice, and did so, so that like other bodies may not this body also gets buried in some Muslim ritual and the family of this poor soul remain wanting to bury their son to their tradition, customs and value.

The argument that “we all know what standard of education people, people carry at such level” is a very strong one. Coherent and acceptable. However, the latter part can be argued that the name “Prem Chand” was suffice to give a hint to the Muslims.

Another friend argued, which in my understanding is a demonstration of extremism, that calling Prem Chand a “Kafir” is very much according to Islamic teachings.

What “I” have been taught since childhood is:

After anyone’s death, one should avoid talking if he died as non-Muslim or he didn’t; or would he be a “Jahannumi” or a “Jannatti”. The affair of the deceased is solely with Allah now. Moreover, you never know if the deceased had embraced Islam in the plane, do you? That is one little reason why we are not allowed to speak about the deceased .. about any such thing. We must avoid it. My parents have taught me that since childhood. They taught me this because my religion Islam teaches so. Did your parents teach you this in your childhood, I ask the ones who are happy in calling Prem Chand a “Kafir” after his demise?

Another friend of mine has to say this:

I don’t know but some people have a very sad state of mind. Can somebody answer me since first voyage from the known world to the Americas (new world) took place in 1492 A.D, approximately 600-800 years after the arrival of ISLAM, what would have been the status of those people (Inca’s and Aztec’s) who had no clue that final Prophet Muhammad SAW with the final message has arrived in the world? Why there is a need to term someone as “Kafir” that too on the coffin? You can ask his religious views from his relatives but there is absolutely no need to label someone as “Kafir”, whether Hindu or follower of any other religion.

There are a number of possibilities that the deceased could be a converted Muslim. Even we’re not allowed to call an alive person as “Kaafir” unless we’re 100% sure that he’s really the one. Some Non-Muslims at some point in life embrace Islam, but they don’t reveal it until a certain time for various reason like family problems or security issues. It had happened in the era of Prophet Muhammad SAW too. A couple of friends of the concerned person may know about the conversion — the rest of the society, with tens of thousands of people “may not” know about it. Calling someone as “Kafir”, without having a personal knowledge of that person, is something that Islam strictly prohibits us to do. There’s no controversy regarding this matter. Rejecting it is, to be sure, a demonstration of sheer bigotry and religious intolerance. We must understand this!

Another guy says:

Because Muslims are degraded in India, UK, USA and other western countries, we must disgrace them in our “Islamic” Republic of Pakistan.

For the above person:

Two wrongs do not constitute a right, dearie.

In any case, we should be reasonable with our religious views. When the issue of “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” was started, a blogger who happen to be a Christian, wrote something excellent:

However, just because I can do something which members of another religion are forbidden to doesn’t mean I have to. I don’t go up into a Jew’s face while eating a baconburger and start telling them how delicious this forbidden meat is.

This hints how one should behave ethically and morally — which of course is a part of religion likewise. Calling a Non-Muslim a “Kafir” on his face is surely going to hurt his emotions. In a general scenario: a person (believer) knows about another person that he is a non-believer, but the believer shouldn’t go tell the non-believer that your eternal life would be in Hellfire, or that the fire of Hell is waiting for you because you are a “Kafir” — an infidel. There is a manner of preaching a religion and certainly the aforementioned manner is utterly wrong. Islam, during the era of Prophet Muhammad SAW, was spread via “excellent character” of Prophet Muhammad SAW and His Companions — not via the bullies or baleful behavior. By means of this baleful behavior with regards to Islam, we are not only hurting Non-Muslims, but are giving them a free passage to think that Islam is really intolerant.

Let’s take a trip to assume-palace. Had such thing been done by some church in the west — marking of a Muslim coffin as “infidel” — the same Muslims affirming the marking of Prem Chand’s coffin as “Kafir” would have raised their intensely emotional voices in against till the skies. They would have burnt the flags and effigies too. Reminds me of Confucius who said:

What you do not want others to do to you, do not do to the others.

I think God doesn’t like those who Judge [people] when He specifically says He is the Judge! Isn’t it why we have a Judgment day for this? Hell and Heaven is to be decided by Allah. Only Allah knows who is truly a rejector and who is merely a misguided person. It is not up to us to “sentence” a person to the Hellfire. To be sure, Allah is the best Judge.