Jump to content
Islamic Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Absolute truth

Surah Al-Kafirun & perennialism !

Recommended Posts


This chapter instructs the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to inform the disbelievers that the worship of false deities and the worship of One God are not, and can never be, compatible. It takes its name from “the disbelievers” (al-kafirun) mentioned in the first verse.

Why It Was Revealed

The chapter was a response to some of the nobles among the Qurayshi idolaters that suggested to the Prophet (pbuh) as a compromise that he should worship their gods for a year and they will worship his God for a year in return. In addition, they wanted him to stop criticizing their gods and calling them false. So Allah responded to them by sending down this chapter of the Qur’an to His final prophet. Ibn Abbas, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), said that the following verses were also revealed in addition to this chapter in response to the Quraysh’s request:

“Say, [O Muhammad], “Is it other than Allah that you order me to worship, O ignorant ones?” And it was already revealed to you and to those before you that if you should associate [anything] with Allah, your work would surely become worthless, and you would surely be among the losers.” Rather, worship [only] Allah and be among the grateful.” [Qur’an 39:64-66]


Some modernists have misunderstood this chapter and believe it encourages perennialism, the belief that all religions are true. This is completely false and has no basis. In fact, it is the complete opposite. We know why these verses came down, as mentioned above, and it had nothing to do with perennial philosophy. It was a form of refusal to worship the false idols of the Quraysh and to not compromise the most fundamental principle of Islam: worship of only One God without any partners. Also, there are numerous verses that criticize idol worship, the divinity of Jesus Christ, rejection of Islam, refusal of believing in the messenger, etc. Therefore, to suggest that this chapter proves all religions are equal and true is being dishonest and divorcing the chapter from it’s historical and textual context.

Explanation of the Ayat


Say, “O disbelievers,

Say O Messenger to those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger: “O disbelievers in Allah!”


I do not worship what you worship.

I do not worship idols and false gods.


Nor are you worshippers of what I worship.

You do not worship what I worship of One God. He is the Lord of the all the Worlds and deserves to be worshiped alone.


Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship.

I will not worship idols and false gods.


Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship.

You will not worship in the future what I worship. This verse came down for the nobles among the idolaters whom Allah knew would never believe no matter what.


For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”

For you be your religion which you are insisting to follow and for me be mine, which is the only one that I desire.

Source: Tafsir Al-Muyassar


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this