So this Surah says that Muslims should say: I will not worship what you worship and you will not worship what I worship:

Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “O you disbelievers! 109:1.

I do not worship what you worship,109:2

nor do you worship what I worship.109:3

I will never **worship what you worship,109:4

nor will you ever worship what I worship.109:5

Quran 109

However 29:46 says:

And argue not with the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), unless it be in (a way) that is better (with good words and in good manner, inviting them to Islamic Monotheism with His Verses), except with such of them as do wrong, and say (to them): "We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you; our Ilah (God) and your Ilah (God) is One (i.e. Allah), and to Him we have submitted (as Muslims)."

Quran 29:46

So in chapter 109 (kafiroon) Allah said that disbelievers do not worship the same God whom Muslims (Prophet Muhammad ﷺ) worship.

While in 29:46 Allah tells us to say that our Ilah (God) and your Ilah (God) is One (i.e. Allah).

How to resolve this apparent contradiction?

4 Answers 4


There is a difference between disbelievers and people of the book:

Al-Baqarah 2:62

Those who believe, and those who are Jewish, and the Christians, and the Sabeans —any who believe in God and the Last Day, and act righteously— will have their reward with their Lord; they have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.

Al-Baynah 98:6

Those who disbelieve among the People of the Scripture, and the Polytheists, will be in the Fire of Hell, where they will abide forever. These are the worst of creatures.

The Jewish, and the Christians, and the Sabeans who are true in their religion are usually neither counted under those who believe (āmanū) nor under those who disbelieve (kafarū).

It is mutually accepted between Muslim, Christians and Jews that we worshop the same One God.

  • 1
    Another addition would be that those righteous Jews, Christians, Sabeans who stick to monotheism are usually known as Hanif (upright in Tawheed).
    – user44632
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 10:06

First of all some things must be clarified:

  • 'People of the Scripture' means those who were given the Torah and Gospel. They can be further divided into two groups:

    • The disbelievers. This means the Jews and Christians. Mostly the name 'People of the Scripture' is used within the Quran to refer to this faction.

    • The believers. This means those who (after the arrival of Islam) became Muslims by believing in the prophethood of Muhammad ﷺ. Occasionally the name 'People of the Scripture' is used within the Quran to refer to this group. For examples of such usage see 3:199 and 28:51-54 - both of these verses mention a group from the Ahl al-Kitab who have believed in the Quran.

  • Kafiroon means disbelievers. Jews and Christians (who continue to disbelieve in Muhammad ﷺ and the Quran) are included in Kafiroon and are not a distinct group.

    واتفقوا على تسمية اليهود والنصارى كفارا

    (The scholars) are agreed on calling the Jews and Christians as Kuffar (disbelievers).

    Maraatib al-Ijmaa‘

    أو لم يكفر من دان أي تدين بغير الإسلام، كالنصارى واليهود ... فهو كافر

    Whoever does not acknowledge the Kufr of religions other then Islam, such as the Christians or Jews, ... then he himself is a Kafir

    Kashshaaf al-Qinaa’

    There are several verses in the Quran where Allah has explicitly called them disbelievers, such as: 2:91, 3:19, 3:70, 4:150-151, 4:155, 5:68, 5:72, 59:2, 98:6 etc.

  • Even many of the idolaters \ polytheists worshiped Allah as the 'creator god' or the head of their pantheon. They too are disbelievers. The Quran informs us regarding their beliefs:

    والذين اتخذوا من دونه أولياء ما نعبدهم إلا ليقربونا إلى الله زلفى ... إن الله لا يهدي من هو كاذب كفار

    Those who take protectors besides Him [say], "We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to Allah in position." ... Indeed, Allah does not guide he who is a liar and [confirmed] disbeliever.

    Quran 39:3

    ولئن سألتهم من خلق السماوات والأرض ليقولن الله

    And if you asked them, "Who created the heavens and earth?" they would surely say, "Allah."

    Quran 31:25 , also see Quran 39:38

To answer your question:

  • It is possible that 29:46 is talking about the Muslims from the People of the Book, and not Jews and Christians. And this interpretation has been adopted by some exegetes in the tafsir of the verse. Since they have accepted Islam they are not Kafir, and hence it is correct to say that we and they have the same God.

  • While Jews, Christians and Idolaters might claim to worship the same god as us, in reality they do not worship Allah - rather they worship their own desires and reject Allah's signs and verses. Hence the verses of Surah al-Kafirun:

    I do not worship what you worship.

    Nor are you worshippers of what I worship.

    Mean that you do not worship Allah like we do. Because your worship is tainted with kufr and shirk, unlike ours which is sincere and real.

  • The verse:

    And our God and your God is one

    Does not mean that we both worship one God. For example it is understood that Christians (who form a majority of the People of the Scripture) worship Jesus and consider him to be God, while Muslims obviously deny that.

    Rather it just means that there exists only one God.

  • Even though the verses of Surah al-Kafirun apparently seem to address all disbelievers, it is possible that only a specific subset is being addressed in reality. This Surah was revealed in response to a proposal made by some individual pagans from the Quraish, and hence is a response to them specifically.


Firstly, The Christians are disbelievers

“Surely, they have disbelieved who say: ‘Allaah is the Messiah [‘Eesa (Jesus)], son of Maryam (Mary).’”

[al-Maa'idah 5:72]

“Surely, disbelievers are those who said: ‘Allaah is the third of the three (in a Trinity).’”

[al-Maa'idah 5:73]

And there are other texts which speak of their kufr (disbelief) and misguidance.

Among the verses which speak of their ultimate destiny is the last of the verses in the passage referred to by the questioner, where Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“But those who disbelieved and belied Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), they shall be the dwellers of the (Hell) Fire”

[al-Maa'idah 5:86]

and 109.1-6 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir

The Declaration of Innocence from Shirk

This Surah is the Surah of disavowal from the deeds of the idolators. It commands a complete disavowal of that. Allah's statement, قُلْ يأَيُّهَا الْكَـفِرُونَ

(Say: "O disbelievers!") includes every disbeliever on the face of the earth, however, this statement is particularly directed towards the disbelievers of the Quraysh. It has been said that in their ignorance they invited the Messenger of Allah to worship their idols for a year and they would (in turn) worship his God for a year. Therefore, Allah revealed this Surah and in it He commanded His Messenger to disavow himself from their religion completely Allah said, لاَ أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ

(I worship not that which you worship.) meaning, statues and rival gods. وَلاَ أَنتُمْ عَـبِدُونَ مَآ أَعْبُدُ

(Nor will you worship whom I worship.) and He is Allah Alone, Who has no partner. So the word Ma (what) here means Man (who). Then Allah says, وَلاَ أَنَآ عَابِدٌ مَّا عَبَدتُّمْ وَلاَ أَنتُمْ عَـبِدُونَ مَآ أَعْبُدُ

(And I shall not worship that which you are worshipping. Nor will you worship whom I worship.) meaning, `I do not worship according to your worship, which means that I do not go along with it or follow it. I only worship Allah in the manner in which He loves and is pleased with.' Thus, Allah says, وَلاَ أَنتُمْ عَـبِدُونَ مَآ أَعْبُدُ

(Nor will you worship whom I worship.) meaning, `you do not follow the commands of Allah and His Legislation in His worship. Rather, you have invented something out of the promptings of your own souls.' This is as Allah says, إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلاَّ الظَّنَّ وَمَا تَهْوَى الاٌّنفُسُ وَلَقَدْ جَآءَهُم مِّن رَّبِّهِمُ الْهُدَى

(They follow but a guess and that which they themselves desire, whereas there has surely come to them the guidance from their Lord!) (53:23) Therefore, the disavowal is from all of what they are involved. For certainly the worshipper must have a god whom he worships and set acts of worship that he follows to get to him. So the Messenger and his followers worship Allah according to what He has legislated. This is why the statement of Islam is "There is no God worthy of being worshipped except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." This means that there is no (true) object of worship except Allah and there is no path to Him (i.e., way of worshipping Him) other than that which the Messenger came with. The idolators worship other than Allah, with acts of worship that Allah has not allowed. This is why the Messenger said to them, لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِىَ دِينِ

(To you be your religion, and to me my religion.) This is similar to Allah's statement, وَإِن كَذَّبُوكَ فَقُل لِّى عَمَلِى وَلَكُمْ عَمَلُكُمْ أَنتُمْ بَرِيئُونَ مِمَّآ أَعْمَلُ وَأَنَاْ بَرِىءٌ مِّمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ

(And if they belie you, say: "For me are my deeds and for you are your deeds! You are innocent of what I do, and I am innocent of what you do!") (10:41) and He said, لَنَآ أَعْمَـلُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَـلُكُمْ

(To us our deeds, and to you your deeds.) (28:55) Al-Bukhari said, "It has been said, لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ

(To you be your religion.) means disbelief. وَلِىَ دِينِ

(and to me my religion.) means, Islam. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Qul ya Ayyuhal-Kafirun.


Al Kafirun refers to a group of idol worshippers who did not believe in Allah. Al Kafirun has the prefix "al-". "al-" is used there to indicate it's for a specific group


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .