Kāfir
(1,857 words)

(a.), originally “obliterating, covering”, then, “concealing benefits received” = “ungrateful”; this meaning is found even in the old Arab poetry and in the Ḳurʾān, Sūra xxvi. 18. In the Ḳurʾān the word is used with reference to God: “concealing God’s blessings” = “ungrateful to God”, see Sūra xvi. 57 and xxx. 33: “That they are ungrateful for our gifts”; cf. also Sūra, xvi. 85. The next development — probably under the influence of the Syriac and Aramaic where the corresponding development took place earlier — is the more general meaning of “infidel” which is f…

Cite this page
Björkman, W., “Kāfir”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, First Edition (1913-1936), Edited by M. Th. Houtsma, T.W. Arnold, R. Basset, R. Hartmann. Consulted online on 14 December 2018 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-871X_ei1_SIM_3792>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004082656, 1913-1936



▲   Back to top   ▲