Tolerance Towards Non-muslims

Tolerance Of Islam In Terms Of Calling Others To Islam

Islam is a world faith, and it is for all people in all times and places. In light of this, calling people to Islam and propagating the true faith must be done in a manner that is ethical, and in a good way so that the others who are called to it will accept it and think of it in an impartial way. Allah, the Exalted, says: “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and dialogue with them in the best manner. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.” [16:125]

Let us discuss some of the aspects of tolerance when it comes to propagating Islam.

  • We accept people of all other faiths, regardless of their past. Amr ibn al-Aas, a man who had fought against the Prophet s and his Companions for years, said: When Allah put Islam in my heart, I came to the Prophet s and said: “Give me your right hand so that I may swear allegiance to you.” He held out his hand but then I withdrew my hand. He said, “What is the matter, Amr?” I said, “I want to stipulate a condition.” He said, “What do you want to stipulate?” I said, “That I will be forgiven”. He said, “Do you not know that Islam destroys that which came before it”? (Muslim)
  • Another aspect of Islam’s tolerance in terms of propagating Islam is that one who calls others to the faith should do so in a good, inviting manner. The Prophet s said: “Give glad-tidings, and do not push people away; make matters easy and do not make them difficult.” (Muslim)

  • We are asked to discuss respectfully with those who hold opinions that are not congruent with ours. Allah, the Exalted, says: “And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” [29:46]
    No one can force another to accept their opinion. The Islamic view is that faith stems from the heart and as such you can never force faith into someone’s heart against their will; they must choose it. Let us look at the story of Al-Aas bin Wa’il. He was a pagan who refused to accept the faith of Islam. He went to the Messenger of Allah y with a bone that was decomposed and he crushed it and said to the Prophet s :Do you claim we shall be resurrected after we turn into this?’ He said, ‘Yes… Allah will cause you to die, then resurrect you and then put you into the Hell-Fire.’ He then recited the words of God: “And he presents for Us an example and forgets his [own] creation. He says, “Who will give life to bones while they are disintegrated?” Say, “He will give them life who produced them the first time; and He is, of all creation, Knowing.” [It is] He who made for you from the green tree, fire, and then from it you ignite. Is not He who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the likes of them? Yes, [it is so]; and He is the Knowing Creator. His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, “Be,” and it is. So exalted is He in whose hand is the realm of all things, and to Him you will be returned.” [36:78-83]

    Arguments of this nature make it impossible for one to refute the truth. Another example is what is mentioned in the Quran regarding a discussion that took place between the King Nimrod and the Prophet Abrahamu. Allah, the Exalted, says: “Have you not considered the one who argued with Abraham about his Lord [merely] because Allah had given him kingship? When Abraham said, “My Lord is the one who gives life and causes death,” he said, “I give life and cause death.” Abraham said, “Indeed, Allah brings up the sun from the east, so bring it up from the west.” So the disbeliever was overwhelmed [by astonishment], and Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.” [2:258]
  • Another aspect of the tolerance of Islam is that one should not rile people up, spread hatred or cause commotion. Allah, the Exalted, says: “And tell My servants to say that which is best. Indeed, Satan induces [dissension] among them. Indeed Satan is ever, to mankind, a clear enemy.” [17:53]
  • We use methods to draw people to Islam that will help them love Islam. The Messenger of Allah y said: “If anyone wrongs a non-Muslim citizen, detracts from his rights, burdens him with more work than he is able to do or takes something from him without his consent, I will plead for him (the non-Muslim citizen) on the Day of Resurrection.” (Abu Dawud)
  • We should be very gentle, kind and accepting. Allah says: “Go, both of you, to Pharaoh. Indeed, he has transgressed. And speak to him with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [Allah].” [20:43-4]
  • We always ask that those who differ with us in an argument to bring forth their evidences and proofs. Allah, the Exalted, says: “Say, [O Muhammad], “Have you considered that which you invoke besides Allah? Show me what they have created of the earth; or did they have partnership in the creation of the heavens? Bring me a scripture [revealed] before this or a [remaining] trace of knowledge, if you should be truthful.” [46:4]
  • We are asked to discuss topics in constructive ways. Allah, the Exalted, says: “Say, “O People of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you - that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of Allah.” But if they turn away, then say, “Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him].” [3:64]
  • Whoever accepts Islam will become sin-free upon becoming Muslim, in the sight of God. He will bear no sins from his past life. Allah, the Exalted, says: “Say to those who have disbelieved [that] if they cease, what has previously occurred will be forgiven for them. But if they return [to hostility] - then the precedent of the former [rebellious] peoples has already taken place.” [8:38]

  • Anyone who becomes a Muslim will receive the reward of all the good things they had done in the past, before they accepted Islam. Hakim bin Hizam said: “O Messenger of Allah! What do you think about my good deeds which I used to do during the period of ignorance (before embracing Islam) like keeping good relations with my kin, freeing slaves and giving charity, etc.; will I receive the reward for those deeds?” The Messenger of Allah y said, “You have embraced Islam with all those good deeds which you did.” (Bukhari)
  • Whoever accepts Islam from a previous religion will receive their reward two fold. Allah, the Exalted, says: “Those will be given their reward twice for what they patiently endured and [because] they avert evil through good, and from what We have provided them they spend.” [28:54]

Tolerance Of Islam Towards Non-muslims

Before we begin, let us mention the words of the award winning TED speaker and author Dr. Karen Armstrong: “Ever since the Crusades, when Christians from western Europe were fighting holy wars against Muslims in the near east, western people have often perceived Islam as a violent and intolerant faith – even though when this prejudice took root Islam had a better record of tolerance than Christianity”.

  • All financial transactions are lawful between Muslims and non-Muslims, such as buying and selling, and taking part in companies, as long as the Islamic principles are upheld. A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her said: “The Prophet s bought some food from a Jewish seller and was not able to pay the money upfront so he left his armor as a security/ collateral with him until he could pay.” (Bukhari)
    The only form of bartering that is unlawful is that which contains a degree of harm. Allah, the Exalted, says: “O you who have believed, do not consume usury, doubled and multiplied, but fear Allah that you may be successful.” [3:310]

    Allah, the Exalted, also says: “O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, sacrificing on stone alters, and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful. Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to distract you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?” [5:90-91]
  • It is lawful for Muslims to perform prayers in a non-Muslim place of worship. Abu Musa performed prayers in a church in Damascus.
    It is not praiseworthy for a Muslim to do this, for there maybe idols, and other pictures. So, it is recommended that only if a person cannot find any other place to pray in, he may pray there. Umar said to a Christian, “We do not enter your Churches due to the pictures that are posted on the walls.”
  • It is lawful for non-Muslims to enter the Masjid if there is a need for this; excluded from this is the Grand Mosque in Mecca. As for Madinah, the Prophet rmet with some non-Muslim delegates there.
  • It is good for Muslims to visit non-Muslims who are sick and to supplicate for them that they become healthy. Anas said a young boy from a Jewish background fell sick and the Prophet s visited him and encouraged him to accept Islam. The boy looked to his father for permission, and the father told his sick son: “Obey Abal-Qasim (i.e. Muhammad d “(so he said the Testimony of Faith and the Prophet s said: “All praise is due to Allah who saved him from the Fire.” (Bukhari)
  • We can also give our condolences to non-Muslims. Abu Hurairah said that the Prophet s said: “I sought permission to visit my mother’s grave and it was granted to me.” (Muslim)
  • One can give charity to non-Muslims as long as they are not engaged in oppressing others. Abdullah Bin ‘Amr slaughtered a sheep and gave some of its meat as a gift to his Jewish neighbor. He said, ‘The Messenger of Allah rsaid: “The Angel Gabriel kept on enjoining the good treatment of neighbors to the extent that I thought that he would include neighbors as heirs.” (Muslim)
  • Islam has further encouraged Muslims to maintain the relations of kinship even if they be non-Muslims. Asma bint Abi Bakr, came to the Prophet rand said: “My mother is visiting me and she is a non-Muslim. He said, ‘be kind to your mother’.” (Bukhari)
  • There is no concern for Muslims to eat from non-Muslims utensils and use their clothes as long as they are not made from materials that are unlawful for us. Abu Tha’labah al-Khushani said: “O Messenger of Allah, we are in a land that belongs to the People of the Book, shall we eat in their utensils?” He said: ‘If you can find other utensils it is better, if not then wash them and use them’.” (Bukhari)
  • It is also lawful for a Muslim man to marry a chaste woman from the People of the Book. Allah, the Exalted, says: “This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. And lawful in marriage are chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you, when you have given them their due compensation, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse or taking them as [secret] lovers. And whoever denies the faith - his work has become worthless, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.” [5:5]
  • Whoever accepts Islam and is married to a woman from the People of the Book, his marriage would continue to remain valid.
  • It is lawful for one to eat of the foods slaughtered by the People of the Book, as long as it is lawful for us to eat and they have mentioned the name of God over it. Allah, the Exalted, says: “And do not eat of that upon which the name of Allah has not been mentioned, for indeed, it is grave disobedience.” [6:121]
  • We are to offer protection to a non-Muslim if he seeks it. Allah, the Exalted, says: “And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah. Then deliver him to his place of safety.” [9:6]
  • A Muslim is not to swear or speak ill of the non-Muslims’ faith. Allah, the Exalted, says: “And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge.” [6:108]
  • Allah has ordered that we repay our loans to a non-Muslim. He, the Exalted, says: “O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts.” [5:1]
    He, the Exalted, also says: “And fulfill [every] commitment. Indeed, the commitment is ever [that about which one will be] questioned.” [17:34]
  • Furthermore, we are encouraged to show kindness and to uphold justice for those who do not share our faith. Allah, the Exalted, says: “As regards those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - Allah does not forbid you from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” [60:8]
    The Prophet s “Whoever kills a person who is under a contract of safety in a Muslim country, that person will not even smell the scent of Jannah.” (Bukhari)
  • When a non-Muslim resides in a Muslim state, he would receive the welfare services due to any citizen who has reached a senior age. Umar saw an old man who was Jewish and he asked about his condition. He was told that he was from the people who paid the protection-tax. So the Caliph, Umar told him “We have not been fair to you, we took Jizyah from you while you were young and now that you are old, you have nothing!” So he took him by his hand till he went to the Muslim treasury, and he gave him some food and clothing. He then told the treasurer, “Find people like him and give them what is enough for them and their families.” He then recited the verse: “Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy.” [9:60]
    He said the poor are the Muslims and the needy are those from the People of the Book.
  • Allah has opened the gateway of forgiveness for them (nonMuslims). He, the Exalted, says: “Say to those who have disbelieved [that] if they cease, what has previously occurred will be forgiven for them. But if they return [to hostility] - then the precedent of the former [rebellious] peoples has already taken place.” [8:38]
  • Wanting good for others is a sign of one’s faith. The Prophet s said to Abu Hurairah: “O Abu Hurairah, be cautious, and you will be the most devoted of people to Allah. Be content, and you will be the most grateful of people to Allah. Love for people what you love for yourself, and you will be a (true) believer. Be a good neighbor to your neighbors, and you will be a (true) Muslim. And laugh little, for laughing a lot deadens the heart spiritually.” (Saheeh Ibn Majah)