Note: This is post #20 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma (click the link to see all posts in this series).

In Surah Kafiroon, Allah says:

قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْكَافِرُونَ

لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ

وَلَا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ

وَلَا أَنَا عَابِدٌ مَّا عَبَدتُّمْ

وَلَا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ

لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ

Translation: Say, “O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship. Nor are you worshippers of what I worship. Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship. Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship. For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.” [Surah Kafiroon]

The mushrikeen (polytheists) of Mecca tried many, many different techniques to get the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) to stop spreading Islam.

Before this ayah was revealed, they decided to make a pact with him. They said, “Look, how about this–you worship our gods for one year, and we’ll worship your God for one year.” And to sweeten the deal: “And, we’ll go first.”

And they applied the Broken Record technique. Whenever the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) would try to speak to them about Islam, they would only repeat this.

And he, salallahu alayhi wa sallam, refused.

Those of you who are wondering why–although it seems on the surface like a fair trade, it’s not. Allah does not forgive shirk, worshipping other than him; not even a single sujood, or a single du’a, none of it is acceptable.

So clearly, this is not a contract the Messenger of Allah could engage with. So he refused.

And he refused.

And he refused.

Then, the Mushrikeen said, “ok, how about this–just speak highly of our gods, and we’ll do the same for you.” A smaller compromise.

And whenever people approached them, they would say, “Well, we’re trying to compromise (like we’re the good ones in this deal–even though we kill our daughters and murder on whims and …), but he’s not agreeing.”

So the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) went to the ka’bah.

The Ka'bah, the House of Allah

Mushrikeen were there. And in front of everybody he said:

Qul, yaa ayyuhaal-kaafiroon …

Say, O you people who disbelieve. And the root verb of kafiroon is kafara, which means to be ungrateful. It’s not a nice word. It’s an ugly word. They don’t like being called kaafir.

So don’t be shy! the Messenger of Allah did this, in front of everybody! He didn’t pull any punches! We shouldn’t be embarrassed as Muslims–what’s the worst someone will do? Make fun of you? So then, O Muslim, why are you embarrassed to give The Message to those who are showing interest in it?

Allah has commanded each and every human being to stick their forehead to the ground and worship Him alone. Not just the Muslims. Everybody. It’s from the great honour and nobility of the Muslims that we do what we were created to do.

And about what Allah revealed? Here’s what it means:

  • Verse 2: I’m not worshipping what you’re worshipping. (Fi’l Mudaari’–present/future tense).
  • Verse 3: And you don’t worship what I worship.
  • Verse 4: And I will never worship what you worship.
  • Verse 5: And you will never worship what I worship.
  • Verse 6: To you is your deen, and to me is my deen.

And deen, commonly translated as religion, doesn’t mean religion; it means your entire way of life, everything from how you eat and drink to clothes you wear to interaction with parents, children, schoolmates, everything.

And after this, the mushrikeen gave up their technique; they realized that it’s not going to work.

Wallahu ta’ala ‘alam.

This surah is also called Surah Tawheed, the surah of oneness (of Allah). It’s a very powerful surah.

Action Items:

  • Don’t be embarrased. Realize that you have nothing to be embarrased about. And if Allah guides one person through you, that’s better than ANYTHING you can imagine.
  • Share your stories. What stories do you have of embarrassment, and of da’wah turning out right?


Touched by an Angel: Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma. By Muhammad Alshareef. 2009.