Kofr (کفر) & Kafir (کافر) meaning in quran
Muslims know /Kāfir/ as the person who does not accept the Islamic description of God. This definition, over the time, has led to the fact that most Muslims call all non-Muslims /kāfir/.
But indeed, from Quran’s point of view, who is /kāfir/?
/Kāfir/ is the active participle for the root /kafara/ and means “what covers”.
According to /Mofradat/, literally /kufr/ means to cover an object.
If an object is covered by another object, the covering thing is called /kufr/.
The covering can include either the appearance of something or the effects of its action.
Putting Cover on a car, painting or closing one’s eyes and ears in order to block observing an entity are all examples for /kufr/.
This word is used when something is covered or concealed without affecting its nature or action.
This means that the essence and nature of the covered object is not affected. Even the functionality of the object does not change nor be corrupted, but its appearance or function is kept hidden.
As you know, our sensory perceptions, such as seeing, hearing and memory are not completely compatible with reality. Actually the brain selectively observes the universe by filtering, and from hundreds and thousands of stimuli, we only perceive those which are passed through cognitive filters.
Similar to a noisy place where you can only selectively focus on just one sound at a time.
in God’s words , this filtering is called /kufr/, which is the reason for many judgments, conclusions and wrong thoughts.
From Quran point of view, even rejection of a religion or lack of belief in God is a result of Kufr.
That is when Some people , for various reasons, such as fear, desire or passion, filter the obvious facts in a way that they do not discern anything..
Filtering is not necessarily bad. In many cases we need to filter out unnecessary stimulus in order to focus better on necessary ones.
However, in a different situation, these filters might be the reason for misunderstanding and wrong judgments about facts and people.
The words /Kufrān/ and /Kaffāreh/ are rooted from (Kafara).
/Kufrān/ is exaggerated expression of the /Kufr/.
This word is often used to describe people who conceal something good by a cover so that the good or blessing look turns into evil or misfortune. That everyone assumes the good as evil, just because of the cover.
For example, someone who has a great job and good income, but is constantly complaining about his job, is like someone who covers all blessings of a great job with complaining in a way that even he himself cannot see it any more.
The word / Kaffāreh /, often refers to something that covers the bad effects of a wrong action or being with a good thing.
In some occasions someone causes loss or damage to himself or someone else, which may not be healed or corrected, and then what he does for compensation is called /Kaffāreh/, Because it covers the effects of the evil by a good thing.
In Surah /Al-Ma’idah/, verses (45-89-95) Kaffāreh/ is explained as an act or a thing which eliminates (cancels) the bad effects or compensates resulting loss of a disobedience or a sin.
All of the words /Kāfir/, /Kufr/, /Kaffāreh/ and /Kufrān/ denote covering something with something else.
One of the most important types of /Kufr/, that human has ever experienced is the wrong translation and misinterpretation of the Qur’an and all the scriptures; which has led to greatest crimes in history.
In fact, the Qur’an is distorted in the translation not in itself.