Infidel (literally "unfaithful") is a term used in certain religions for those accused of unbelief in the central tenets of their own religion, for members of another religion, or for the irreligious.

Question: Does the word "infidel" have any significance in Islam?

I see it from time to time. E.g.:

  • Tom Elliott in Tom Elliott: An open letter to Islam from this infidel, 2017, recently wrote:

    I am what you what [sic] call an infidel. An unbeliever. A kuffar. A crusader. An allegedly lesser being than those who follow Allah. You have many disparaging terms for people like me.

  • Mohammad Tawhidi is quoted as saying in Muslim leaders clash in fiery debate on Sunrise:

    “They push the Muslim youth to believe that if you go out there and you kill the infidel that’s how you will gain paradise,” the Imam said.

    (Tawhidi has become popular among right-wing news outlets, but he's described as "fake sheikh".)

Before converting to Islam, I also thought Muslims were fond of the word "infidel". Having been a Muslim for a year now, I don't think I've once heard it from a Muslim, with the humorous exception of this tweet:

"Falafel" actually means "kill all the infidels". We've kept that a secret all this time. #MuslimsReportStuff

I notice it's used in these questions:

  • 1
    Clearly it depends on how one interprets the word "kafir"- Tom Elliott seems to already choosen the definition in his letter, also he desribe himself as "a kuffar" (in plural) which only shows that he isn't at all familiar with the terms.
    – Kilise
    Jun 10, 2017 at 11:54
  • 1
    Hahahhaah love the tweet!
    – Casanova
    Jun 14, 2017 at 23:49

2 Answers 2


"Disbeliever" appears more than 300 times in the Quran, "disbelief" more than 100 times, and as far as I know, all of those are in a negative light, most with a threat of hell. From reading the Quran there can be no doubt that in Islam, the difference between paradise and hell is the difference between belief and disbelief.

"Disbeliever" is a synonym for "infidel".


Infidel is a derogatory term that God would never use for any of his creation. The word "kafir" although commonly - and wrongly - translated by extremists and terrorists as non Muslim, actually means one who has understood that Islam is the truth, yet still refuses to accept it, ie, the one who has seen the signs, the proofs, and in his/her soul admitted that Islam is the way, but refuses to follow this path because of stubbornness. Remember, God will NEVER punish till he sends a messenger with clear signs, like Muhammad. (17:15)

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