The following information was excerpted from the appendices to the English translation of Tafsir ibn Kathir.The Quran uses the word Kufr to denote people who cover up or hide realities. The Quran uses this word to identify those who denied Allah’s favours by not accepting His Dominion and Authority. Kufr thus is an antonym for Iman or disbelief in Allah and a Kaafir is a non-believer. This type of Kufr is called “al-Kufr ul-Akbar” or Major Kufr. There are many types of al-Kufr ul-Akbar:
- Kufrul-’Inaad: Disbelief out of stubbornness. This applies to someone who knows the truth and admits to knowing the truth and admits to knowing it with his tongue, but refuses to accept it and refrains from making a declaration. Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala says: “Throw into Hell every stubborn disbeliever.”[50: 24]
- Kufrul-Inkaar: Disbelief out of denial. This applies to someone who denies with both heart and tongue. Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala says: “They recognize the favors of Allah, yet they deny them. Most of them are disbelievers.”[16: 83]
- Kufrul-Kibr: Disbelief out of arrogance and pride. The disbelief by the devils (Iblees, Satan) is an example of this type of Kufr.
- Kufrul-Juhood: Disbelief out of rejection.This applies to someone who acknowledges the truth in his heart, but rejects it with his tongue. This types of kufr is applicable to those who calls themselves Muslims but who reject any necessary and accepted norms of Islam such as Salaat and Zakaat. Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala says: “They denied them (our signs) even though their hearts believed in them , out of spite and arrogance.”[27: 14]
- Kufrul-Nifaaq: Disbelief out of hypocrisy.This applies to someone who pretends to be a believer but conceals his disbelief. Such a person is called a Munafiq or hypocrite. Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala says: “Verily the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of Hell. You will find no one to help them.”[4: 145]
- Kufrul-Istihaal: Disbelief out of trying to make Haram into Halal. This applies to someone who accepts as lawful (Halal) that which Allah has made unlawful (Haram) like alcohol or adultery. Only Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala has the prerogative to make things Halal and Haram and those who seek to interfere with His right are like rivals to Him and therefore fall outside the boundaries of faith.
- Kufrul-Kurh: Disbelief out of detesting any of Allah’s Subhanahu Wata’ala commands. Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala says: “Perdition (destruction) has been consigned to those who disbelieve and He will render their actions void. This is because they are averse to that which Allaah has revealed so He has made their actions fruitless.”[47: 8-9]
- Kufrul-Istihzaha: Disbelief due to mockery and derision. Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala says: “Say: Was it at Allaah, His signs and His apostles that you were mocking? Make no excuses. You have disbelieved after you have believed.”[9: 65-66]
- Kufrul-I’raadh: Disbelief due to avoidance. This applies to those who turn away and avoid the truth. Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala says: “And who is more unjust than he who is reminded of his Lord’s signs but then turns away from them. Then he forgets what he has sent forward (for the Day of Judgement).”[18: 57]
- Kufrul-Istibdaal: Disbelief because of trying to substitute Allah’s Laws. This could take the form of:
a. Rejection of Allah’s law (Shari’ah) without denying it
b. Denial of Allah’s law and therefore rejecting it, or
c. Substituting Allah’s laws with man-made laws. Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala says: “Or have they partners with Allah who have instituted for them a religion which Allah has not allowed.” [42: 8] Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala says: “Say not concerning that which your tongues put forth falsely (that) is lawful and this is forbidden so as to invent a lie against Allah. Verily, those who invent a lie against Allah will never prosper.” [16: 116]