Question

If a Muslim thinks to himself that he had or might have had 'respect' (in the mind or verbally) for other false beliefs/religions.

Later, he realises that it was doubts and that he didn't have any respect (in the mind or verbally) for other false beliefs/religions other than worldly respect e.g. leaving the false religions to do what ever they want, not interfering, respecting their privacy etc.

Does thinking in the first place that he had or might have had respect (in the mind or verbally)  for other beliefs/religions, and later, he realises it was doubts and that he didn't have any respect for the false beliefs other than worldly respect, make him a kaafir?

Answer

Bismillahi Ta'ala,

Walaikum Assalam Warahmatullah,

Sometimes when there is much fog in the morning time, one has complete conviction of it being the day, but is unable to see the sun brightly. It is only after the fog is lifted that a person's bodily eyes perceive the truth of the day as it is. 

Alhamdulillah, your heart attests to the validity and truth of Islam. For indeed religion in the eyes of Allah is only Islam (3:19). And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him (3:85). But your mind needed conviction, hence searching for the signs which will put your mind at ease became a duty upon you.

Alhamdulillah, Allah gave you the ability to put those wandering doubts hurled towards you to rest and fortify your heartly conviction in Islam. This is a bounty and boon of Allah for you.

Besides this, respect is not only warranted towards good alone. Show of respect is the reflection of one's own character. Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam was most adamant and opposed to the incorrectness of the Aqa'id of falsehood, yet never did he loose the ambit of respect. One can differ with non-muslim religions with the utmost staunchness and yet display good character and respectable decorum. This respect does not lend any credibility to the other religions. 

There is no need for you to think about your search of truth as kufr. Be thankful to Allah for having guided you towards Islam. 

May Allah keep you steadfast and established on Haqq, Ameen.

Wallahu A'lam

Mufti Faisal al-Mahmudi