The linguistic meaning of this word comes from the verb kafara, which means to cover a seed with dirt. A kafir is one who does kufr (the act of covering a seed with dirt.) This term is used in Islam in both a spiritual sense and a legal sense. Spiritually speaking, a kafir is one who covers the metaphorical “seed” of truth, with the “dirt” of lies. Thus any person who covers the truth knowingly, either to themselves (in an act of self denial) or before others, commits an act of kufr and will be liable on Judgement Day. In Islamic Law, a kafir is a non-Muslim. It should be noted that not every kafir in the legal sense is a kafir in the spiritual sense, because not every non-Muslim has rejected the truth knowingly. Furthermore, some people may be Muslims in the legal sense, but kafir in the spiritual sense; for example, scholars who knowingly lie and obfuscate truths about the religion.

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