Definition of Mushrik, Thimmi, Harbi, Munaafiq
Fatwa No: 6568

  • Fatwa Date:29-9-2010 - Shawwaal 21, 1431
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What is the meaning of Mushrik, Kaafir, Thimmi, Harbi and Munaafiq? Are the Jews and Christians polytheists?


All perfect praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.


All the Almighty Says (what means): {Fight those who do not believe in Allaah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allaah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture -- [fight] until they give the Jizyah willingly while they are humbled.}[Quran 9:29]


This verse instructs how People of the Book -- i.e., Jews and Christians -- should be treated. The same thing applies to the Magians, whom the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ordered Muslims to treat in the same way. [Maalik and Al-Bazzaar]


Jews, Christians and Magians should, first, be invited to accept Islam. If they do, they will be treated as Muslims who are entitled to Muslims’ rights and obliged to fulfill Muslims' obligations. If they refuse to accept Islam, they are given the choice to pay Jizyah (a tax levied on non-Muslim civilians in an Islamic state). If they accept this, they will be treated as Thimmis (non-Muslim civilians in an Islamic state who accept to pay Jizyah). If they do not accept it, they must be fought. These rulings are valid until the Day of Judgment, as Allaah the Almighty Says (what means): {And fight them until there is no Fitnah and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allaah. And if they cease -- then indeed, Allaah is Seeing of what they do.}[Quran 8:39]


Jews and Christians are polytheists according to the Quran, in the verses that read (what mean): {The Jews say, "Ezra is the son of Allaah "; and the Christians say, "The Messiah is the son of Allaah." That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allaah destroy them; how are they deluded? They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allaah, and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him.}[Quran 9:30-31]


A Mushrik is a person who believes in another deity together with Allaah The Almighty, and who demonstrates this by dedicating acts of worship, such as kneeling, prostration, supplication, slaughtering or any other act of worship, to a being other than Allaah The Almighty.


Kufr (adj. Kaafir) stands for types of sins including Shirk, belying the prophethood, permitting prohibited things and denying the indisputably established facts of the religion.


Shirk (adj. Mushrik) stands for associating another deity with Allaah The Almighty. 


Thimmi is a person from the People of the Book who accepts to pay Jizyah to Muslims.


Harbi is a disbeliever who is neither a Thimmi under treaty with Muslims, a messenger from the disbelievers to Muslims, or someone who has sought protection from Muslims.


Munaafiq is the person who pretends to adhere to Islam while concealing disbelief. Jurists also call such a person Zindeeq (atheist).  


And Allaah Knows best.

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