What Is The Meaning Of Kâfir, Munâfiq And Zindîq?

The religious teachings revealed by Islam are the teachings that are written in the books of the scholars of Ahl as-Sunna. A person becomes a kâfir (disbeliever) if he does not believe, among the teachings of îmân and the Sharî'a that have been reported by the scholars of Ahl as-Sunna, even one of the nasses (âyats or hadîths) with explicit meaning. If he keeps his disbelief secret, he is called a munâfiq. If not only he keeps it secret but also he tries to deceive Muslims by passing himself off as a Muslim, he is called a zindîq. If he makes ta'wîl of the nasses with explicit meaning without knowing, that is, gives wrong meaning to them and believes wrongly, he again becomes a disbeliever and is called a mulhid.

If he believes wrongly by making ta'wîl of the nasses with inexplicit meaning, he does not become a disbeliever but, because he has departed from the right path of the Ahl as-Sunna, will go to Hell. Since he believes in the nasses with explicit meaning, he will not remain in Hell eternally but will be taken into Paradise. Such people are called ahl al-bid'a or heretical groups. There are seventy-two heretical groups. None of their 'ibâdât is acceptable. Muslims whose faith is correct are called Ahl as-Sunnat wa 'l-Jamâ'a or Sunnîs. In relation to 'ibâdât, the Sunnîs belong to four different madhhabs. Those who follow one of these madhhabs acknowledge that the followers of the other three also belong to Ahl as-Sunna, and they love one another. A person who does not follow any of these madhhabs does not belong to Ahl as-Sunna. Further, "He who does not belong to Ahl as-Sunna is either a disbeliever or a man of bid'a."