The many shades of a Kafir

Saman Khanzada-Mirza
3 min readNov 1, 2022
Photo by op23 on Unsplash

Islamic scholars use the arabic word ‘kafir’ for one devoid of religious beliefs, or an atheist who denies the existence of God. And the consequences of dying a Kafir is severe in the Quran — unless one repents and mends their ways.

But what most scholars fail to explain is that the word kafir is used in different ways in the Quran, the most fundamental being ‘ungrateful’ or ‘to be thankless’ or ‘ingratitude’.

And ingratitude towards God is not a trait practiced by non-believers — since they don’t believe in God so they are devoid of gratitude to Him anyway.

In actual fact the term is used repeatedly in the Quran for those who believe in God but are ungrateful and thankless to Him at the best of times. Dare we term these believers kafir too?

That is why practicing gratitude and a keeping a sense of thankfulness in your heart is encouraged in Islam at all times. Not just towards God but towards all humanity.

If you look at the root word of kafir (k-f-r) it means ‘to conceal’.

In pre-Islamic times the term was used to describe farmers burying their seeds in the ground.

So another meaning of Kafir is anyone who buries or hides the truth after it has been made evident to him. And this truth essentially relates to existence and acceptance of…



Saman Khanzada-Mirza

I love all inspiring and uplifting things — whether as beautiful and profound written words, elating and exhilarating art and design or soulful life experiences