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Thinker
03-12-2009, 01:09 PM
Sometime back we discussed the question ‘Is Paki a racist slur’ after Prince Harry was reported as using the term. . . . http://www.islamicboard.com/world-af...cist-slur.html.

Notwithstanding the fact that Paki literally means person from Pakistan as Brit means person from Briton, the consensus was that it was a racist slur because it had been adopted by racists as a derogatory term.

Applying that logic, does it not follow that it is wrong to use the word kaffir (of kufr) as opposed to non-believer. It is undeniable that those pushing hatred and intolerance use that word as a racist slur. Personally, I feel offended when it is directed against me and my country and I form a view of the person using that term rather than non-believer. Or is it one rule for some and another rule for others?
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AntiKarateKid
03-12-2009, 01:20 PM
Didnt know unbelievers were of a particular race..... could you point it out for me ?
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Güven
03-12-2009, 01:27 PM
racist? no

disrespectful? , not realy , but I think it depends on the tone you say it.
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Mikayeel
03-12-2009, 01:32 PM
Kafir = Non muslim. As zakir naik said. And kufr is not a race as antikaratekid said so it can't be considered racism.

If one does not want to be called a kafir (non muslim) then the solution is simple.
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Muezzin
03-12-2009, 03:18 PM
Originally Posted by Thinker
Sometime back we discussed the question ‘Is Paki a racist slur’ after Prince Harry was reported as using the term. . . . http://www.islamicboard.com/world-af...cist-slur.html.

Notwithstanding the fact that Paki literally means person from Pakistan as Brit means person from Briton, the consensus was that it was a racist slur because it had been adopted by racists as a derogatory term.

Applying that logic, does it not follow that it is wrong to use the word kaffir (of kufr) as opposed to non-believer. It is undeniable that those pushing hatred and intolerance use that word as a racist slur. Personally, I feel offended when it is directed against me and my country and I form a view of the person using that term rather than non-believer. Or is it one rule for some and another rule for others?
'Unbelievers' are not a race in and of themselves.

Some people do spit venom with the word 'Kafir', so yes, depending on how the speaker is using it, it can (and is, from some speakers) a slur. Not a racist one though. Still as rude, and offensive, the way certain people use it.
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alcurad
03-12-2009, 03:24 PM
Perhaps we should use the term non believer while conversing in english to avoid confusion, there is no word for muslim other than muslim, but kaffir is taken to mean unbeliever etc.
To note, kaffir in arabic originally could mean farmer or night, the root is kafr, which means to cover. for farmer, it is taken from the act of burying the seeds, the metaphor for non believer being he hides/buries his faith in God and so on and so forth.
In Egypt and other arab countries some places and towns start with the name kafr, such as kafr ash-shaikh. This had nothing to do with the inhabitants beliefs though, rather a town 'covers' it's people.

most groups have words used to define/attack 'others', so it's not a big deal either way, note that most people don't use it to insult, it is used more as a description, although it does imply a lesser status.
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Zafran
03-12-2009, 03:35 PM
Salaam

Kuffar isnt a racist a slur - its what it is - non believer nothing to do with race - its your own choice to be a kaffir.
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crayon
03-12-2009, 06:15 PM
Like everyone said, "kaffirs" don't belong to a certain race, so it isn't a racial slur.

The actual word in arabic isn't derogatory at all, it simply refers to someone who is not muslim. However, like lots of words, it has gained many negative connotations over the years. I agree with everyone else, it depends on the way it is said. One can usually tell whether a certain word was meant as an insult, or not, be it "kaffir", or a different word.
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جوري
03-12-2009, 06:30 PM
Do you get upset when Jews refer to you as a "goy" or "gentile" I think it should only matter if you adhere to a faith and being cast out by its members as such, if you naturally don't care to subscribe to religion I don't see how it could possibly upset you. Contrast that with calling a black person the N word or a Hispanic person the S word.. a slur is meant to be disparaging, whereas being called a kaffir or goy is simply a state of being like 'agnostic' or 'atheist'

peace
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جوري
03-12-2009, 06:37 PM
Originally Posted by alcurad
Perhaps we should use the term non believer while conversing in english to avoid confusion, there is no word for muslim other than muslim, but kaffir is taken to mean unbeliever etc.
To note, kaffir in arabic originally could mean farmer or night, the root is kafr, which means to cover. for farmer, it is taken from the act of burying the seeds, the metaphor for non believer being he hides/buries his faith in God and so on and so forth.
In Egypt and other arab countries some places and towns start with the name kafr, such as kafr ash-shaikh. This had nothing to do with the inhabitants beliefs though, rather a town 'covers' it's people.

most groups have words used to define/attack 'others', so it's not a big deal either way, note that most people don't use it to insult, it is used more as a description, although it does imply a lesser status.
mm
we could use words like mol7id or 3ilmani but I imagine that would create even more confusion :smile:

:w:
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Caller الداعي
03-12-2009, 06:40 PM
:sl:
i think the definition of racism must be understood before going further.
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Danah
03-12-2009, 06:41 PM
kaffir is an arabic word mean non believer.

the opposite of the arabic word Mu'min (believer)

so it has nothing to do with racism
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Muhammad
03-12-2009, 07:11 PM
Greetings,

If we consider the word 'unbeliever' - it might not always be accurate to use because even an atheist has a belief. If 'unbeliever' implies that the person does not hold any belief, or at least not one worth being considered as the true belief, wouldn't this make it offensive?

Moreover, I think terms like "Islamist", "Islamic terrorist", "Fundamentalist", "Islamic Extremist", "Radical" - and all the rest of these meaningless words which seem to have only yesterday been conjured up - are much more offensive than what we are currently discussing.
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Whatsthepoint
03-12-2009, 07:38 PM
Whats the exact meaning of the word kaffir, just an unbeliever or something else?
Personally I don't find it offensive, though it all these arabic terms in an Eglish discussion sometimes annoy me.
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Caller الداعي
03-12-2009, 07:44 PM
good point whatsthepoint
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Thinker
03-12-2009, 08:27 PM
OK I accept the ‘racist’ slip up which I unthinkingly included because of the analogy with the ‘Paki’ question. The word racist came into use at a point in time when someone (correctly) identified it as something that should be avoided to the point of making it illegal. Whilst unbelievers are not a race, there are lots of non-racial groups who have been identified as groups to which certain descriptive words are unacceptable. An example is ‘spastic’ which came to be used as a form of insult and which is offensive to spastics, to the extent that (in the UK) spastics are no longer called spastics. So if we can get past the defence mechanism, I would suggest that the term kuffar, when directed at non-Muslims, is used in an offensive sense even if that is only because it suggests that the kuffar are in some way inferior exactly the reason ‘Paki’ is unacceptable.
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alcurad
03-12-2009, 08:30 PM
^too much political correctness does that to you sometimes,,
by banning such words, the 'offensiveness' increases, words which were not so commonly thought of as insults are now considered by most of society as such, and new terms are coined anyway. this is a very ineffective way not to mention one that enforces bigotry by accepting the worse usage of otherwise normal slang words.
n----r is one of the most used words in hip hop/rap for example, yet those who listen to these songs don't complain,,
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Whatsthepoint
03-12-2009, 08:44 PM
Originally Posted by alcurad
^too much political correctness does that to you sometimes,,
by banning such words, the 'offensiveness' increases, words which were not so commonly thought of as insults are now considered by most of society as such, and new terms are coined anyway. this is a very ineffective way not to mention one that enforces bigotry by accepting the worse usage of otherwise normal slang words.
n----r is one of the most used words in hip hop/rap for example, yet those who listen to these songs don't complain,,
It doesn't mean what it used to mean.
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BlackMamba
03-12-2009, 09:10 PM
If u dont like being called a Kafir then become a Muslim! Its pretty simple. If you are not a Muslim then you ARE a Kafir and thats what you believe is the right thing.
Atheists and Agnostics chose to disbelieve. So why would u care if you are called a Kafir(Non-Believer).
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Suomipoika
03-12-2009, 09:20 PM
Originally Posted by Shakoor15
If u dont like being called a Kafir then become a Muslim! Its pretty simple. If you are not a Muslim then you ARE a Kafir and thats what you believe is the right thing.
Atheists and Agnostics chose to disbelieve. So why would u care if you are called a Kafir(Non-Believer).
Kaffir is often used as an offensive term to degenerate other people. It shouldnt be surpricing that people "care" and respond to insults.
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BlackMamba
03-12-2009, 09:35 PM
Ya but if u truly disbelieve in Islam and are a Kafir then why is it such a big deal. Like if someone called me a Muslim I'm happy; thats what I am.
Kafir is not a bad word or offensive term its just a way of describing someone. So why such a big deal.
I think if a non-Muslim gets offended by that word, then either he's REALLY soft. Or he has doubts about his disbelief.
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Suomipoika
03-12-2009, 09:52 PM
Originally Posted by Shakoor15
Ya but if u truly disbelieve in Islam and are a Kafir then why is it such a big deal. Like if someone called me a Muslim I'm happy; thats what I am.
Kafir is not a bad word or offensive term its just a way of describing someone. So why such a big deal.
I think if a non-Muslim gets offended by that word, then either he's REALLY soft. Or he has doubts about his disbelief.
Words change their meaning. Going with the classical example, negro/neger and all the other variants is/was just a way of describing a black person in various languages.

Compare:

Ya but if u truly are a negro then why is it such a big deal? Negro is not a bad word or offensive term its just a way of describing someone. So why such a big deal? I think if a black man gets offended by that word, then either he's REALLY soft, or he has doubts about his blackness.
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BlackMamba
03-12-2009, 10:01 PM
No its different Black is actually a race. You can chose to be a Muslim or not, while being black is just what how ur born.
I just cannot see how Kafir is a racist slur. It seems ridiculous to me. Maybe you can say that Kafir has a negative connotation but its not a racist slur lol
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Hamayun
03-12-2009, 10:05 PM
Originally Posted by Suomipoika
Words change their meaning. Going with the classical example, negro/neger and all the other variants is/was just a way of describing a black person in various languages.

Compare:

Ya but if u truly are a negro then why is it such a big deal? Negro is not a bad word or offensive term its just a way of describing someone. So why such a big deal? I think if a black man gets offended by that word, then either he's REALLY soft, or he has doubts about his blackness.
Haha! How can you compare the two???

N***er is used to describe a race....

Kafir is used to define....???

A race?? No!

A country??? No!!

A family??? No!!!

Amazing how you made the connection ^o)
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Suomipoika
03-12-2009, 10:09 PM
Originally Posted by Shakoor15
No its different Black is actually a race. You can chose to be a Muslim or not, while being black is just what how ur born.
I just cannot see how Kafir is a racist slur. It seems ridiculous to me. Maybe you can say that Kafir has a negative connotation but its not a racist slur lol
So the degarotary value of a word is based on whether you can change to become something else or not?
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Suomipoika
03-12-2009, 10:12 PM
Originally Posted by Hamayun
Haha! How can you compare the two???

N***er is used to describe a race....

Kafir is used to define....???

A race?? No!

A country??? No!!

A family??? No!!!

Amazing how you made the connection ^o)
Both started out as something inoffensive, both are being used as hate words. Thats where I took the connection.
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Hamayun
03-12-2009, 10:16 PM
Originally Posted by Suomipoika
Both started out as something inoffensive, both are being used as hate words. Thats where I took the connection.

But the point I am trying to make is... people use the word "Kafir" and "Unbeliever" in exactly the same context. ^o)

It all depends on what language you say it in.

Are you now saying we are not allowed to call an unbeliever an unbeliever? So what do we call them? A believer? :?
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BlackMamba
03-12-2009, 10:29 PM
I'll agree to this, depending on the context, Kafir can have a negative connotation. But even when it is used like that, it doesnt make it a racist a slur. Not at all. I wouldnt say the word infidel is a racial slur.
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Zafran
03-12-2009, 10:32 PM
salaam

Kafir is someone who covers something up - or covering up the truth in Islam

words such as P***, N***** are directed at a particular group who didnt choose to be in that specific race

Kuffar on the other hand is a choice by the individual. To reject Islam or as Muslims would say the truth.
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Hamayun
03-12-2009, 10:32 PM
Originally Posted by Shakoor15
I'll agree to this, depending on the context, Kafir can have a negative connotation. But even when it is used like that, it doesnt make it a racist a slur. Not at all. I wouldnt say the word infidel is a racial slur.
Depending on the context "unbeliever" can have a negative connotation. It doesn't mean you should stop calling a spade a "spade".
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Zafran
03-12-2009, 10:34 PM
Originally Posted by Hamayun
Depending on the context "unbeliever" can have a negative connotation. It doesn't mean you should stop calling a spade a "spade".

well said.
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BlackMamba
03-12-2009, 10:36 PM
Originally Posted by Hamayun
Depending on the context "unbeliever" can have a negative connotation. It doesn't mean you should stop calling a spade a "spade".
Haha ya thats a good point.
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Intisar
03-12-2009, 10:46 PM
Originally Posted by Suomipoika
Words change their meaning. Going with the classical example, negro/neger and all the other variants is/was just a way of describing a black person in various languages.

Compare:

Ya but if u truly are a negro then why is it such a big deal? Negro is not a bad word or offensive term its just a way of describing someone. So why such a big deal? I think if a black man gets offended by that word, then either he's REALLY soft, or he has doubts about his blackness.
LOL, I'm sorry but that does not make any sense whatsoever. You're not understanding that the direct meaning of a kufaar or a kaffir is an unbeliever. An unbeliever can be black, white, yellow, etc. just like a Muslim can be from any race.

If you find it offensive, then that's your problem, it's not meant to be that way.
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جوري
03-12-2009, 10:59 PM
as explained prior.. a kaffir is someone who disbelieves in God, if you feel you are not a kaffir then become of the believers ..
a very common example from the Quran chapter 18

قَالَ لَهُ صَاحِبُهُ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ أَكَفَرْتَ بِالَّذِي خَلَقَكَ مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ سَوَّاكَ رَجُلًا {37}
[Pickthal 18:37] His comrade, when he (thus) spake with him, exclaimed: Disbelievest thou in Him Who created thee

the word conjugated for a male from kufr (the act of) read as 'akafart' from kufr 'as in do you disbelieve in he who created you'...
It is really very simply.. if you don't wish to be a goy, gentile, kaffir, then be a believer or clam up, it isn't worth three pages worth of whining!

cheers
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Suomipoika
03-12-2009, 10:59 PM
Originally Posted by Shakoor15
I'll agree to this, depending on the context, Kafir can have a negative connotation. But even when it is used like that, it doesnt make it a racist a slur. Not at all. I wouldnt say the word infidel is a racial slur.
Perhaps not a racial slur, but that doesnt really make it any less offensive when used as degoratory term.

Originally Posted by Hamayun
Depending on the context "unbeliever" can have a negative connotation. It doesn't mean you should stop calling a spade a "spade".
People didnt stop calling black people black, they just stopped (well, unfortunately not all) using the offensive slur when negro (and variants) became offensive.

Originally Posted by Ameena*
If you find it offensive, then that's your problem, it's not meant to be that way.
Except that alot of people do mean it and use it that way. And that is pretty priceless "If you find it offensive, then thats your problem". Should remember it for future use.
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Hamayun
03-12-2009, 11:10 PM
Originally Posted by Suomipoika
Perhaps not a racial slur, but that doesnt really make it any less offensive when used as degoratory term.



People didnt stop calling black people black, they just stopped (well, unfortunately not all) using the offensive slur when negro (and variants) became offensive.



Except that alot of people do mean it and use it that way. And that is pretty priceless "If you find it offensive, then thats your problem". Should remember it for future use.
Oh wise one...

please teach us another Arabic word to describe non believers that suits you then???? ^o)

Kafir is the exact translation of the word "unbeliever"....

Are you saying the exact translation of the word "Black" is "Negro"??? :? Really?
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Suomipoika
03-12-2009, 11:40 PM
Originally Posted by Hamayun
Oh wise one...
Thank you. :smile:

please teach us another Arabic word to describe non believers that suits you then???? ^o)

Kafir is the exact translation of the word "unbeliever"....
Despite my wiseness, I dont have such power imsad, and even if I had such power, I would not be looking for you to discover new word or anything else. Im just comparing what happened with one another word that was used as an offensive slur and using it as a tool when arguing against your (what I see as) faulty rationalising.

I have to admit that due to its usage and rather regular appearance with words like dog, the word kaffir offends me somewhat and gives me rather negative feelings about people who use it to describe me, but whether kaffir should be dropped or not, I cannot really say. I just disagree with your reasoning why it shouldnt be dropped.

Personally what I would really like to see is some real self-criticism among muslim communities to tackle the hate and intolerance towards unbelievers (especially the western ones) and prevent the usage of the word kaffir as a hate word.

Besides, if my memory doesnt fail me, negro is still used as perfectly accetaple term without any negative connotation in some Latin American countries.

Are you saying the exact translation of the word "Black" is "Negro"??? :? Really?
They are used as synonyms.
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coddles76
03-12-2009, 11:54 PM
In my opinion many people use it disrespectfully and in this case I would say its wrong, as only Allah SWT knows the secrets of the heart and you may be claiming that someone is a Disbeliever when in essence there soul is devoted to Allah SWT. This is were I think people should be careful and think twice about throwing words around which could hurt someone. restricting the tongue is important. The word itself has no intention of racism if used in the correct manner and tone befitting the topic you are addressing
And Allah SWT knows best!
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Hamayun
03-12-2009, 11:58 PM
I am sorry that you find it offensive but you can not expect us to drop a word from the Arabic dictionary because someone doesn't like the sound of it.

When I use the word it is not with the intention to cause offence at all.

It would be understandable if the word had an offensive meaning... but this makes no sense.
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ghengis
03-13-2009, 12:22 AM
depends how you use it.

u can use it to defile others.

my grandma is hindu, and her fave curse word is calling people kaffir! lol


compare the sentences...
-they are kaffirs
-they are people who do not believe in god
-they are poeple who do not believe in god yet


v good this thread...... linguistic use can reveal pride in your own heart. i have called people kaffirs. as derogatory slang....

i guess there are 2 words

"kaffir" the true arabic word that has no racial connection

and the word

"kaffir" the derogatory slang variation....

on this board lets just say "no derogatory slang allowed"

....
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Suomipoika
03-13-2009, 12:28 AM
Originally Posted by Hamayun
I am sorry that you find it offensive but you can not expect us to drop a word from the Arabic dictionary because someone doesn't like the sound of it.

When I use the word it is not with the intention to cause offence at all.

It would be understandable if the word had an offensive meaning... but this makes no sense.
Well, the word does have an offensive meaning for some of us, and it is used to cause offense. What should be the reaction to this offense?
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Vito
03-13-2009, 12:42 AM
Which Arabic word do you prefer?
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Foxhole
03-13-2009, 01:45 PM
Originally Posted by -Kai-
Which Arabic word do you prefer?
When you're speaking Arabic? Kaffir is fine.
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Güven
03-13-2009, 02:30 PM
I think this thread has served its purpose :blind:


:threadclo
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