20. "Although they had before prayed for victory over those who prayed not - yet when that Qoran came to them, of which they had knowledge, they did not recognize it. The curse of God is on the infidels!" (2: 83.)
C. ~ You call men professing other religions infidels, while they do the same to you, and their God curses you in the same way. Now will you please tell us which of the two should be considered right and which wrong? On reflection it is clear that there are errors in all creeds.
I must here warn the followers of Swamiji against a sentence which is used in the above question. Swamiji says,
"Now will you please tell us which of the two should be considered right and which wrong? On reflection it is clear that there are errors in all creeds."
It means that there are errors even in the Vedic religion, and thus it stands on the same footing as other religions. The first act of folly on the part of Swamiji was to compose Satyarth Prakash and thereby to take upon himself the unnecessary trouble of criticising other faiths. Again, according to his own assertion, the Vedic religion is not free from falsehood. The Qur'an and Islam wil be free from all the doubts when answers have been given to the criticism made on them. So, the followers od Swamiji should, after perusing these answers and after being satisfied thereby, accept the authority of Islam and should not afterwards speak ill of any religion. Swamiji had not properly studied the Vedas. Had he doe so he would have known the invectives hurled on the followers of other creeds by the Vedas and calling them Naastiks (infidels), Malecchas (barbarians), Anaryas, Dasyus, Asuras, Rakshashas, etc.
The Arabic word 'Kaafir' (كافر) is not an insult nor does it mean an infidel. This word comes from the root word (كفر ) Ka-Fa-Ra which carries the following meanings in the arabic lexicon:
- to conceal, to cover,
- to reject, to disbelieve,
- to be thankless,ungrateful
It should be noted that its primary meaning is to cover/conceal, with active/conscious intent. That is why as a pre-Islamic term it described farmers (Kuffaar) burying seeds in the ground, covering them with soil while planting. Thus, the word Kaafir implies the meaning "a person who hides or covers". From this, is born: to reject/disbelieve because this is a conscious decision made by a person. So as per common sense one can only reject something after hearing/seeing/experiencing it, and not before. Thus this term is no insult at all. The term is used in the Quran for Muslims too who reject (Arabic kafara) falsehood and accept the truth.
Example from the Quran of its being used in the first meaning, i.e.'to cover/conceal' is Surah al-Hadeed (57) verse 20,
كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ
"Here is a similitude: How rain and the growth which it brings forth, delights (the hearts of) the tillers (Arabic Kuffaar)"
Example from the Quran of its being used in the second meaning i.e. 'to reject' is Surah al-Baqarah (2), verse 256
فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ
"And anyone who rejects (Arabic YAKFUR) false deities"
Example from the Quran of its being used in the third meaning i.e. 'ungrateful' is Surah Luqmaan (31), verse 12
وَمَنْ يَشْكُرْ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ
"Any who is (so) grateful does so to the profit of his own soul: but if any is ungrateful (Arabic Kafara), verily Allah is free of all wants, Worthy of all praise."
In Islamic parlance, therefore, a Kaafir is a word used to describe a person who rejects Islamic faith. It is no curse.
This word is similar to the Sanskrit word Naastik (नास्तिक) meaning unbeliever of a certain belief.