Muslim / Non-muslim Relations

Posted on August 28, 2010


what is the implication for the Muslims in their attitudes toward non-Muslims? To start with, and we must be frank about it, the Qur’an makes it incumbent on the Muslim to convey Allah’s message in its final form, the Qur’an, to all humanity. We are not talking here about conversion. I do not like that word. Indeed, to turn to Islam, the religion of all the prophets in its final form, is not to turn one’s back on the preceding prophets. It is an augmentation, rather than a conversion, because it does not involve changing one’s basic spiritual nature. In the Qur’an, pure human nature is a “Muslim nature,” which knows its Lord and wishes to submit to Him. The Qur’an states, “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” (al-Baqarah; 2:256). My substitute for the term “conversion” is “reversion,” in the sense of a return to the pure monotheism in which we were all created. Thus the Muslim is taught to be tolerant towards others. Indeed, the Qur’an not only prohibits compulsion in religion, but it prohibits aggression as well, although it allows defense: “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but commit no aggression; for Allah loves not transgressors.” (al-Baqarah; 2:190) In addition, we find that within this broad rule of dealing with non Muslims “the People of the Book” is a special term accorded to Jews and Christians in the Qur’an. Why “People of the Book”? Because the Muslim makes a clear distinction between a polytheist or an atheist and those who follow the prophets who originally received revelations from Allah. Even though a Muslim might point out areas of theological difference, we still believe in the divine origin of those revelations in their “original” forms. How should a Muslim treat these “People of the Book”? Says the Qur’an: “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for [your] Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loves those who are just. Allah only forbids you, with regard to those [others] who fight you for [your] Faith, and drive you out of your homes and support [other] in driving you out, from turning to them [for friendship and protection], that do wrong.”(al-Mumtahanah; 60:8-9) In the world today all believers in Allah are facing common dangers: atheism, materialism, secularism and moral decay. We must work together. Allah says in the Qur’an: “…If Allah had so willed. He would have made you a single People, but His Plan is to test you in what He has given you. So strive as in a race in all virtues. The return of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which you dispute.” (al-Ma’idah; 5:51) I hope, feel, and trust that there is sufficient common ground for Muslims and Christians to meet, understand each other, join hands and move together in the Path of Truth, Peace, and Justice, the Path of Allah.

Posted in: Islamic Articles