Assalamualaikum SS Dato’ Seri Mufti. There are some people in our community that claim Islam acknowledges other religions. They presented the verse of the Quran in Surah al-Kafirun ((لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ)).
I hope to get an explanation from SS Dato’ Seri Mufti regarding this matter.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Al-Quran is revealed as guidance for the people of taqwa. Allah SWT states:
ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ
“This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah.”
Surah al-Baqarah (2)
In order to understand the verses of the Quran correctly, we have to refer to the commentaries and explanations by the Prophet PBUH, for the Quran is revealed to him. Next, we should also refer to the interpretations of the companions of the Prophet PBUH, for they lived during the time when the Quran was revealed and understands the meaning and situations when the verse is revealed, then the tabi’en for they are the students of the companions of the Prophet PBUH and next are the scholars who have ample knowledge in interpreting the meaning of the verses of the Quran.
Before we answer the question, we first refer to the commentaries and explanations made by the mufassirin (commentary scholars) regarding the real meaning of verse 6 of surah al-Kafirun.
Imam Ibn Kathir Rahimahullah said: “This surah is a commandment to leave the practises of the musyrik. Allah SWT states (قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْكَافِرُونَ) which includes all disbeliever on the face of the earth, but this verse is especially revealed for the Quraisy disbelievers.
It is said that they are ignorant people who invited the Prophet PBUH to worship the idols for a year, then they will worship Allah for a year. Thus, Allah SWT revealed the surah commanding the Prophet PBUH to completely dissociates himself from their religion.” Refer Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Azim(8/507)
The Commentaries of verse 6 Surah al-Kafirun
Allah SWT states:
لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ
“For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”
Surah al-Kafirun (6)
Imam Ibn Kathir Rahimahullah said: “The Prophet PBUH said to the Quraisy disbelievers: (لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ) as stated in the following statement of Allah:
وَإِنْ كَذَّبُوكَ فَقُلْ لِي عَمَلِي وَلَكُمْ عَمَلُكُمْ أَنْتُمْ بَرِيئُونَ مِمَّا أَعْمَلُ وَأَنَا بَرِيءٌ مِمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ
And if they deny you, [O Muhammad], then say, "For me are my deeds, and for you are your deeds. You are disassociated from what I do, and I am disassociated from what you do.
Surah Yunus (41)
لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ
“For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds.”
Surah al-Qasas (55)
Imam al-Bukhari Rahimahullah once said: “The phrase (لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ) means in disbelief, while (وَلِيَ دِينِ) means Islam.” Refer Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Azim (8/508)
Imam Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi Rahimahullah commented on verse 6 surah al-Kafirun stating: “For you is your idolatry or polytheism and me with my concept of oneness or monotheism.” Refer al-Bahr al-Muhit fi at-Tafsir (10/561)
Verse 6 surah al-Kafirun is not a form of acknowledgement towards religion other than Islam, but is a form of a threat and intimidation towards them, as stated by Allah SWT:
وَقُلِ الْحَقُّ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ فَمَنْ شَاءَ فَلْيُؤْمِنْ وَمَنْ شَاءَ فَلْيَكْفُرْ إِنَّا أَعْتَدْنَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ نَارًا أَحَاطَ بِهِمْ سُرَادِقُهَا
And say, "The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills - let him believe; and whoever wills - let him disbelieve." Indeed, We have prepared for the wrongdoers a fire whose walls will surround them.”
Surah al-Kahfi (29)
Refer Adwa’ al-Bayan fi Idhoh al-Qur’an bi al-Qur’an (9/135)
Imam al-Mawardi Rahimahullah commented on verse 6 surah al-Kafirun stating: The verse has two meanings:
- For you is your religion for the disbelievers and for me is my religion for those who have faith in Islam.
- For you are your deeds, for me are my deeds. This is a threat from you (the Prophet PBUH) to them (the Quraisy disbelievers) and it means that it is enough with the rewards of my good deeds (it is unnecessary to commit shirk to gain rewards).
Ibn ‘Abbas R.Anhuma said: There is no surah in the Quran of which the iblis are more angry at, than this surah (surah al-Kafirun) for there is the commandment to uphold the concept of tauhid (oneness of Allah) and dissociating oneself from shirk.” Refer an-Nukat wa al-‘Uyun (6/358)
After analysing the interpretation of the mufassirun (commentary scholars) regarding surah al-Kafirun generally and the sixth verse of the said surah specifically, we found that it does not mean Islam acknowledges religion other than Islam, or even accepts their religion, consequently the verse is actually a firm threat for disbelievers and commandment for them to learn from Islam.
The commentaries of the mufassirun regarding this verse clearly differentiate between Islam and religion other than Islam and at the same time disapproving shirk and disbelief from religions other than Islam. Allah SWT states:
إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ الْإِسْلَامُ
“Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam.”
Surah Ali ‘Imran (19)
Imam Ibn Kathir Rahimahullah commented on the above verse, stating: “Allah SWT states that there is no religion that is accepted by Him from anyone except Islam.” Refer Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Azim (2/25).
Allah SWT further states:
وَمَنْ يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا فَلَنْ يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
“And whoever desires other than Islam as religion - never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.”
Surah Ali ‘Imran (85)
We would like to advise all of us to not use the verses of the Quran according to our wants and desires without referring to the commentaries of renowned scholars. Refer to them for they are the experts in the field of understanding the real and accurate meaning and interpretations of this verse. Allah SWT states:
فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
“So, ask the people of the message if you do not know.”
Surah al-Nahl (43)
May Allah SWT give us goodness and correct understanding of His commandments and protect us from clear or vague disbelief. Amin.