The Meaning of Islam and the Meaning of Taghut

آحمد صبحي منصور Ýí 2016-01-30


The Meaning of Islam and the Meaning of Taghut


Was published in Arabic in September 22, 2006

This translation by Ahmed Fathy


(A revised English version with a new translation, after omitting an older version)



1- Islam literally, and in terms of faith in one's heart and mind, means submission and and surrendering oneself ONLY to God. None among all human beings has the right to judge others as far as religious faith is concerned; otherwise, such judgmental human beings are deifying themselves. The Quran asserts the postponement of judging people, a right reserved for God the Almighty alone, concerning differences in religious faith until the Day of Resurrection; see in the Quran 2:113, 3:55, 10:93, 16:124, 5:48, 39:3, 39:7, and 39:46. This is the real meaning of Islam in terms of people's faith in their hearts and minds; it means to submit and surrender oneself totally and wholeheartedly to God in terms of one's faith inwardly, within the language of the hearts. Such a language is universal and shared by all human beings regardless of their various tongues; it is the language on which their judgment before God in the Day of Judgment is based.

2- As for the meaning of Islam in terms of outward demeanor, it means peace; peaceful existence and peaceful dealings with all human beings regardless of religious faith differences or their lack of any type of faith.  God says in the Quran: "O you who believe! Enter into peace wholeheartedly…" (2:208). This means that God commands us to prefer peace in all aspects of life. Let us remember that the greeting ordained in Islam among people is the phrase:  "peace be with you" (Pax vobiscum, in Latin). Peace is one of the divine epithets of God in the Quran. All these facts assert that the religion of Islam underlines its regard for spreading peace among humanity; this is affirmed by the meaning of faith (Eman in Arabic) in Islam: it is derived from the Arabic term (Aman), which means protection, safety, and security.

3- Any human beings who achieve the meaning of behavioral peace (Islam in demeanor) in dealing peacefully with others in daily life, and never violate, assault, or attack others or others' rights, and at the same time achieve Islam in terms of faith (i.e. submission to God alone, not to any human beings dead or alive) by never worshipping any mortals or deities beside God the Creator, then such persons deserve peace from God in the Day of Resurrection; God promises such human beings to have peace and safety in Paradise: see 15:46. Paradise is the Abode of Peace; see 6:127, and the word "peace" is the greeting of the dwellers of Paradise; see 13:24, 10:10, and 36:58.


The Concepts of "Kufr" (Unbelief or Disbelief in Arabic) and "Shirk" (Polytheism in Arabic) in the Quran:


1- Both Kufr and Shirk are synonymous terms, with slight difference that we will explain here, in the terminology of the Quran and go hand in hand throughout the Quranic text; they are usually mentioned together within the same context within the Quranic verses: see for instance 9:1-2, 9:17, and 40:42.

2- Linguistically, the term Kufr in Arabic literally means a cover, a wrapping. The English word "cover" is believed to be derived from the Arabic word, along with the literal sense of the term, NOT the religious one with its connotations of course. That is why we find in the Quranic terminology, in 57:20, that the Arabic plural-form term (Kuffar) means peasants; or literally, the ones who 'cover' seeds with soil and water to grow plants. God has created human beings with unspoiled innate, inborn, and inherent instinct that does not deify, sanctify, or worship anyone but God the Almighty, the Creator of the Universe, the Omnipotent, and the Omnipresent; see 30:30. Later on, the social environment and its traditional inherited notions, myths and man-made creeds would 'cover' this inherent and innate instinct via the belief in falsehoods like mortal deities/gods (i.e. the so-called saints) who have been ascribed falsely to God as 'divine' or 'holy' and sanctified persons. This is due to the sheer false notion of a saintly person who might intercede on behalf of the living sinning person before God, to aid the sinner to draw nearer to God! This notion of intercession is 'covering' or Kufr in the religious sense of the word; i.e., one is covering real faith with a shroud or mantle of falsehoods and erroneous beliefs that spoil one's faithfulness to God. At the same time, this disbelief is deemed in Islam as a sort of polytheism (Shirk), because such falsehoods makes one turn divinity, religion, and the Kingdom of God into a partnership among several deified partners that share deep faith and sanctification that are supposed to be due to God alone. This is contrary to monotheism in the Quran. In fact, within Shirk and Kufr, there is little room for true faith; polytheism is a faith in God that lacks a great deal because of deified partners (mortal deities and gods) falsely attributed and linked to God.  When such gods/deities/idols share parts of the sanctification due to God alone, this is sheer polytheism, even when one believes in Almighty God at the same time. Such distorted faith that lacks a great deal of devotion and sincerity, is described by God in the Quran; God tells us that MOST human beings among believers never believe in God except alongside with other mortal gods from among persons (alive or dead) or deities/idols made of stone or other worldly material or substance. This is the state of polytheistic people as well; see 12:106. Hence, polytheism, or Shirk, means that a polytheist believes in God in a distorted manner due to one's belief in other gods/deities beside the Almighty. Both Kufr and Shirk lead polytheists to Eternal Hell in the Afterlife; they will be told in the Day of Judgment that they have refused to believe in God alone with no partners beside Him, as they were told during their lifetime on earth: see 40:12.  God never regards such distorted faith containing polytheism; it is not deemed as correct devoted faith by God. This Kufr is 'covering' and distorting the inherent instinct by worshipping and deifying anything and/or anyone along with God. Inherent instinct in the Quran means that divinity and worship are reserved for the Almighty alone. God curses disbelievers because of their little or distorted faith in Him; see 4:46. God asserts in the Quran that this type of little or corrupt faith will NEVER do in the Day of Judgment; see 32:29. Some people claim that Kufr is atheism or denying the existence of God and that Shirk is the belief in other gods/deities and saints beside God, and hence, Shirk is different from Kufr. The Quran mentions Moses' Pharaoh as the model NOT to be followed in Kufr (disbelief and unbelief); he deified himself and questioned mockingly the existence of any gods apart from himself to the Egyptians of his time; see 79:23-24, 28:38, and 40:36-37. This unbeliever or unbeliever was polytheist in the sense that he believed in the Pharaonic gods; yet, the Quran asserts that he knew about angels of god: see 43:53 and 7:127. Yet, Moses' Pharaoh deceived himself by his kingdom, power, authority, wealth, and the support of staunch clergymen, soldiers, and servants as well as inherited mythological or quasi-religious notions that increased his tyranny and led him to challenge the Almighty. When Moses' Pharaoh discerned in the moment of his death, by drowning, that he lost all of the above, the cover of illusion consisting of inherited traditional polytheistic notions was removed swiftly, and he tried to return to Islam (i.e. real faith in God alone) when it was too late for him to repent or feel remorse; see 10:90-92. Moses' Pharaoh became an example to avoid in the Quran to warn any tyrant whose tyranny might lead him to self-worship or self-deification. However, very few among the Muhammadans learn such a lesson, whether those Muhammadans were among the tyrants, subjects, or the mean manipulative people. By the way, even the staunchest atheists in our modern times cannot eradicate fully the inherent innate instinct concerning the existence of God, once atheists or disbelievers pass through fearful ordeals, they remember God and then discard and reject Him once the ordeals are over; see 10:22-23, 39:8, 39:49, and 17:67.  In some cases, atheists remain in their disbelief until their moment of dying; they will at this moment in the hands of the Almighty scream with no one hearing them among mortals, and they will feel the urge to repent and feel remorse in vain, for it is too late for them in the moment of dying. The Quran describes such moments in the best lengthy description that we will discuss it in another article.

3- At any rate, both terms of Shirk and Kufr carry the meanings and connotations of aggression and injustice as well. God in the Quran describes Shirk as a grave injustice; see 31:13. Indeed, the worst type of injustice is to deal unjustly with God by polytheism in distorted personal faith of any believer. As for dealing unjustly with people, this means to kill, oppress, tyrannize, and confiscate rights, especially basic rights of freedom of faith and thought. Hence, the unjust ones are disbelievers and polytheists in terms of their aggressive behavior that violates rights due to other people, even if those unjust ones are monotheists apparently or overtly who declare their faith in the One God alone. We judge the unjust ones as such due to their overt crimes like murder, aggression against peaceful people, and oppressing others. As for any person's faith, we are NEVER to judge it; this is God's exclusive right in the Day of Resurrection; see 2:113, 3:55, 10:93, 16:124, 5:48, 39:3, 39:7, and 39:46.

4- Accordingly, Islam has two levels of meaning: 1) submission to the One God alone within one's faith in heart and mind, and 2) peace, trust, and safety in one's demeanor and dealing with all people. Hence, Shirk and Kufr means unbelief or disbelief as well as injustice and aggression. Injustice toward God is polytheism and worshipping of other gods/deities as partners of God in divinity. Injustice toward human beings is 1) violating, limiting, or confiscating other people's rights, 2) murder, 3) aggression of any kind, and 4) oppression. God is the sole Judge concerning matters of monotheistic and polytheistic faiths, and it is the right of human beings to judge, as good or bad, the behavior and demeanor of others toward other people. If one is peaceful and non-violent, one is a believer and a Muslim, and if one is aggressive, oppressive and unjust, one is a disbeliever in terms of demeanor and behavior alone, regardless of one's nature or type of faith or lack of it. Hence, a true believer, or real Muslim, is the one whom people feel secure and safe with him and is sure to commit no violence, transgression, evildoing, or aggression of any type, regardless of one's announced or formally declared faith notions or set of beliefs.  The disbelievers, nonbelievers, and polytheists are the terrorists, the criminals, the unjust, and the tyrants who oppress their nations. Tyranny is the worst crime; worse than injustice, because it means transgressing all limits, or injustice/oppression that knows no bounds.

5- Shirk and Kufr in the Quranic terminology and contexts are usually linked to injustice. Injustice and its descriptions are mentioned in the Quran about 200 times. Another link is to aggression and transgressions of limits in several Quranic contexts. The worst type of polytheists are described in the Quran as unjust and aggressive ones whose crimes are forbidden in Islam.

6- Taghut: the worst level of injustice, Kufr (disbelief), and Shirk (polytheism):

 The Arabic word (Taghut) and its Quranic contexts show its meaning. There are ordinary or common criminals who do not attribute their crimes, evildoing, or wrongdoing to any religious reasons or causes. There are secular tyrants who oppress their nations without religious mottoes or banners, but by using mundane or worldly ones like nationalism or any other mottoes that do not ascribe such tyranny to God or religion.  Such secular tyrants and ordinary common criminals are deemed unbelievers, disbelievers, or polytheists in accordance with their criminal behavior alone, not by any faith of any type. Yet, some other tyrants and criminals justify their injustices, oppression, aggression, transgressions, and crimes using erroneous religious interpretations, intentionally distorted exegeses of scripture, or sayings/deeds/traditions ascribed falsely to god and His prophets. For instance, bloodshed, invasion and occupation, terrorism, and aggression are sometimes deemed as jihad or a religious duty by the Muhammadans. This applies to the Arab conquests of the Muhammadans in the 7th and 8th centures A.D., and likewise, this applies to the heinous terrorist crimes of today's terrorists who claim falsely that their terrorist acts are a form of jihad in Islam! Such type of injustice toward God and humankind is doubled, such severe injustices and oppression are manifold and their enormity cannot be calculated; as such crimes are directed against God, religion, divine revelation, and finally to innocent people. Such worst levels of manifold injustices have one terminology in the Quran: Taghut. This Arabic term means the utter falsehoods, lies, and distortions ascribed falsely to God by abusing religion and faith as a pretext to commit crimes. Within the Quranic terminology, Taghut is the imam or leader of all unjust polytheistic ones; it is their idol to which they all adhere. Contemplating and reflecting upon the Quranic contexts that contain the word "Taghut", we discern that it applies in our modern times to the so-called hadiths (sayings) ascribed falsely to Prophet Muhammad, aka Sunna, as well as to the so-called fiqh (theology and jurisprudence of the Sunnite, Shiite, and Sufi creeds) and fatwas (clergymen's religious notions, edicts, and views) that endorse aggression and massacres as jihad and convince the youth to become suicide bombers to kill civilians indiscriminately. This sort of legislations in the man-made creeds of the Muhammadans (especially the Sunnites, the Shiites, the Salafists, and the Wahabis) turned the worst crimes and aggressions into acts of worship! The Quran does NOT give orders or commands of committing injustices, corruption, transgressions, crimes, and aggressions. On the contrary, the Quran urges justice, charity, and peace, and it warns against immorality, injustice, oppression, aggression, and tyranny. Hence, there is not a worse sin in Islam than to ascribe such heinous crimes, corruption, and aggressions to God's religion, divine book, and prophets. This is the definition of the term Taghut; literally (in Arabic) the boundless or limitless injustice. With such Taghut, theocracies in history used to rule countries in the name of Islam and Christianity in the Middle Ages East (the current Middle) and West (i.e., Europe). Within such Taghut, religious wars/conquests ensued throughout history. Arab conquests used the name of Islam unjustly and falsely. Crusaders used the name of Christianity unjustly and falsely. Religious persecutions and inquisitions followed one another successively for centuries. Millions were raped and/or sold in slavery under the false notion that enslavement is permissible in Islam. We know from history that millions were massacred and murdered in near and far countries in the name of God's holy religion! Europe has freed itself from theocracy centuries ago. The Muhamadans have been about to get rid of theocratic rule when the Ottoman empire or tyrannical (i.e. Taghut) caliphate ended in 1924. Yet, this attempt of getting rid of theocratic notions failed because of the widespread Wahabism creed (falsely proclaiming itself as the 'true' Islam!) that has maintained the same Middle-Ages notions, ecclesiastical type of clergymen, and the political conditions that have helped in the propagation of the Wahabi Taghut to control the Muhammadans. Wahabism is the worst Satanic enemy of true Islam: the Quran.

7- To sum up all of the above-mentioned points:

7/1: All peaceful non-violent persons are Muslims in terms of behavior and demeanor regardless of their faith/belief or lack of it; i.e., this can apply to those who believe in the Quran, in the Bible, in the Torah, in Buddhism, or in atheism. According to this peaceful behavior, a peaceful Muslim woman can marry any non-Muslim peaceful man, and a peaceful Muslim man can marry any non-Muslim peaceful woman. Offspring of such mixed marriages are to choose their faith freely when they grow up and come of age. In accordance with the Quranic sharia legislation, all houses of worship of all types (mosques, churches, cathedrals, convents, temples, etc.) are to be protected as houses that are used in order to worship God and to remember His name. God in the Quran urges jihad to defend all houses of worship of all types; see 22:40.

7/2: Any terrorists, murderers, and tyrant rulers are unjust persons who are disbelievers in terms of their behavior of aggressions, crimes, oppression, and injustices, regardless of their declared or formally announced creed/faith. If such unjust criminals justify their heinous crimes using religion or erroneous and intentionally distorted religious interpretations, they are deemed as Taghut: the one who does grave injustices toward God and human beings. This applies to leaders of Church of Europe and the rulers who were their allies in the Middle Ages. This applies as well to all caliphs in caliphates in Arab empires during the Middle Ages when they ascribed their crimes to Islam. This applies in modern times to the theocratic rulers in the Middle East among today's countries of the Muhammadans. This applies as well now to all terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and its terrorists and other similar groups of terrorism. Such terrorists, like Bin Laden, are forbidden to marry Muslims, and similarly, Muslims are forbidden to marry such criminals.  

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