The Prophet’s (PBUH) treatment of Non-Muslims
In the middle of the current state of uncertainty among almost all Non-Muslims and some Muslims, it appears to be a necessity to do some research upon the way in which the Prophet, Mohammad, Peace Be Upon Him treated the Non-Muslims. Some people argue that this treatment was brutal and that the prophet treated them badly. Thus this research is to clarify for them and other distrustful the following:
The Non-Muslims lived in the Muslim society and enjoyed the same rights that Muslims had.
Justice was the real shield that protected them all the time.
His feelings towards the disbelievers at the beginning of his mission.
“O God, to You I complain of my weakness, lack of resources and humiliation before these people. You are the Most Merciful, the Lord of the weak and my Master. To whom will You consign me? To one estranged, bearing ill will, or an enemy given power over me? If You do not assign me any worth, I care not, for Your favor is abundant upon me. I seek refuge in the light of Your countenance by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Thy anger should descend upon me or Your displeasure light upon me. I need only Your pleasure and satisfaction for only You enable me to do good and evade the evil. There is no power and no might but You.”
The Lord then sent the angel of mountains, seeking the permission of the Prophet to join together the two hills and crush the city of Taif, between which it was located. Out of his great tolerance and mercy, the Messenger of God replied,
... as revealed to his prophet Muhammad peace be upon him (p. b. u. h). A Muslim is on whom believes ... Day of Judgment. The prophet hood of Muhammad (p. b. u. h) obliges the Muslims to follow his exemplary ... according to his revealed guidance and the saying of Prophet Muhammad (p. b. u. h). He also works ... city of Makkah in Arabia. He is the last prophet and last messenger from Allah. He received the first ...
“No! For, I hope that God will bring forth from their loins people who will worship God alone, associating nothing with Him.” (_Saheeh__ Muslim_)
Was that mercy out of disability?
“And never (O Muhammad) pray for one of them who dies, nor stand by his grave. Lo! They disbelieve in God and His Messenger, and they died while they were evil doers.” (Quran 9:84)
Abdullah bin Ubayy worked all his life against Muhammad and Islam and left no stone unturned so as to bring him into disrepute and try to defeat his mission. He withdrew his three hundered supporters in the battle of Uhud and thus almost broke the backbone of the Muslims at one stroke. He engaged in intrigues and acts of hostility against the Prophet of Islam and the Muslims. It was he who tried to bring shame to the Prophet by inciting his allies to falsely accuse the Prophet’s wife, Aisha, of adultery in order to discredit him and his message.
The mercy of the Prophet even extended to those who brutally killed and then mutilated the body of his uncle Hamzah, one of the most beloved of people to the Prophet. Hamzah was one of the earliest to accept Islam and, through his power and position in the Quraishite hierarchy, diverted much harm from the Muslims. An Abyssinian slave of the wife of Abu Sufyan, Hind, sought out and killed Hamzah in the battle of Uhud. The night before the victory of Mecca, Abu Sufyan accepted Islam, fearing the vengeance of the Prophet, may God praise him. The latter forgave him and sought no retribution for his years of enmity.
After Hind had killed Hamzah she mutilated his body by cutting his chest and tearing his liver and heart into pieces. When she quietly came to the Prophet and accepted Islam, he recognized her but did not say anything. She was so impressed by his magnanimity and stature that she said, “O Messenger of God, no tent was more deserted in my eyes than yours; but today no tent is more lovely in my eyes than yours.”
Ikrama, son of Abu Jahl, was a great enemy of the Prophet and Islam. He ran away after the victory of Mecca and went to Yemen. After his wife embraced Islam, she brought him to the Prophet Muhammad under her protection. He was so pleased to see him that he greeted him with the words:
God, like Adam and Eve, suffered consequences. Genesis 3:14-17, God says: “Because you did this…” referring to the serpent who tempted Eve, then to Eve, and finally to Adam, “Because you did…” Humankind invited the existence of Evil into the goodness of God’s creation. No longer did God walk in the breeze of the Garden of Eden; no longer did God remain in the actual presence of humankind. No ...
“O emigrant rider, welcome.”
The tribe of Quraish the were archenemies of Islam and, for a period of thirteen years while he was still in Mecca, they would rebuke the Prophet, taunt and mock him, beat him and abuse him, both physically and mentally. They placed the afterbirth of a camel on his back while he prayed, and they boycotted him and his tribe until the social sanctions became unbearable. They plotted and attempted to kill him on more than one occasion, and when the Prophet escaped to Medina, they rallied the majority of the Arab tribes and waged many wars against him. Yet, when he entered Mecca victorious with an army of 10,000, he did not take revenge on anyone. The Prophet said to the Quraish:
“O people of Quraish! What do you think I will do to you?
Hoping for a good response, they said: “You will do good. You are a noble brother, son of a noble brother.”
The Prophet then said:
Rarely in the annals of history can we read such an instance of forgiveness. Even his deadliest enemy Abu Sufyan, who led so many battles against Islam, was forgiven, as was any person who stayed in his house and did not come to fight him.
The Prophet, may God praise him, was all for forgiveness and no amount of crime or aggression against him was too great to be forgiven by him. He was the complete example of forgiveness and kindness, as mentioned in the following verse of the Quran:
“Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad), and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant.” (Quran 7:199)
He always repelled evil with the good of forgiveness and kind behavior for, in his view, an antidote was better than poison. He believed and practiced the precept that love could foil hatred, and aggression could be won over by forgiveness. He overcame the ignorance of the people with the knowledge of Islam, and the folly and evil of the people with his kind and forgiving treatment. With his forgiveness, he freed people from the bondage of sin and crime, and also made them great friends of Islam. He was an epitome of the verse of the Quran:
“Good and evil are not alike. Repel evil with what is better. Then he, between whom and you there was hatred, will become as though he was a bosom friend.” (Quran 41:34)
Americans have labeled Muslims in the United States as a threat to our country due to the fact that they share their religion with the extremists responsible for worldwide terrorism. Due to the recent conflicts between the US and Muslim, the Muslims that live in America continue to face isolation and danger because of their faith. Muslim people have gotten worse treatment after 9/11 in the United ...
Judaism, Christianity and Islam are rooted in the Abrahamic religion where Islam is the most recent religion sent by God to humankind as a complete way of life. Muslims are required to respect and honor people of the book. An Islamic state must protect non-Muslims and ensure their peace and harmony within Muslim territories.
Non-Muslims flourished in the Muslim world in all aspects of life even after the abolition of colonialism. Anywhere a person goes in both the Arab world and the non-Arab Muslim world, he will see Christians and Jews. They have lived freely in the Muslim community and have thrived in the fields of religion, education, economics, politics, health, industry, farming, housing, banking, festivities, and social services.
In several Muslim countries like Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Algeria or Sudan, etc. there are a large number of Christians in the highest political levels of the government.
Contrary to what many believe, armed jihad is not meant to force non-Muslims into Islam. There are many Qur’anic verses, some of which we have already studied, that order Muslims to live in peace with any peaceful people, whether Muslims or not. This is clear, for instance, in the following verses:
Allah does not forbid you [O you who believe!] from being kind and just to those who have not waged war against you because of your religion and have not driven you out of your homes. Surely Allah loves those who are just (60.8).
He only forbids you from making friends with those who have waged war against you because of your religion, have driven you out of your homes, and have supported others in driving you out. And whoever makes friends with them, these are the wrongdoers (60.9).
Note how Allah identifies the enemies of the Muslims. The enemies are not simply those who are not Muslims, but rather those who have waged war against the Muslims and driven them out of their homes for embracing Islam. Significantly, Allah orders the Muslims to be “kind” and “just” to the non-Muslims who did not take part in violence against them. The two verses above remove any possible ambiguity and misunderstanding as to how Muslims should treat non-Muslims who are willing to live in peace with them, and how to identify and treat their enemies.
Ever since Islam bloomed from the deserts of Arabia, it had received massive amounts of scrutiny in regards to its teachings, and especially its spread throughout the world. Even more than fourteen hundred years later, the religion of Islam continues to receive this scrutiny by those who oppose it. One of the chief arguments posed by those who oppose the Islamic faith is that Islam was "spread by ...
Allah has explicitly prohibited coercing people to accept religion saying: “there is no compulsion in religion” (from 2.256).
Elsewhere in the Qur’an, Allah mentions this complaint of the Prophet to Him: “O my Lord! Surely they are a people who do not believe” (from 43.88), before revealing His reply to the Messenger: “So turn away from them and say ‘Peace,’ for they shall come to know” (43.89).
Allah instructed the Prophet to turn away from the disbelievers on peaceful terms, reminding him that they will come to know one day that what they rejected is the truth.
I have cited below more verses that instruct the Prophet to turn away from the disbelievers who are not interested in his Message. Clearly, forcing people to adopt Islam was never an option:
Follow [O Muhammad!] what has been revealed to you from your Lord; there is no god but He; and turn away from the polytheists (6.106).
Therefore turn away [O Muhammad!] from him who turns aside from Our Reminder [the Qur’an] and does not desire anything but this world’s life (53.29).
That is as much knowledge as they will get. Surely your Lord knows best those who have gone astray from His path, and He knows best the guided ones (53.30).
Therefore declare [O Muhammad!] openly what you are commanded, and turn away from the polytheists (15.94).
Surely, We will suffice you against the scoffers (15.95).
Those who set another god with Allah; so they shall come to know (15.96).
And surely We know that your heart is distressed at what they say (15.97).
Therefore celebrate the praise of your Lord, and be of those who make prostration (to Him) (15.98).
There are so many verses that make it clear that the role of the Prophet was simply to deliver the divine Message, that is the Qur’an, to people. The Prophet warned the disbelievers of hell and brought good news to the believers. He was not a “controller” or “keeper” over people, and he was not to answer for their disbelief. These are some of the relevant verses:
And those who disbelieve say: “If only a sign had been sent down upon him [Muhammad] from his Lord.” You are not [O Muhammad!] but a warner, and for every people a guide (13.7).
Muslim Religion Christianity and Islam share a few similar beliefs and practices such as belonging ... made revelation to send His message and warning to people through ancient prophets. Both religions believe that by faith in the one God ... For them, Jesus is a great prophet, although the title of the greatest prophet still belongs to Muhammad. It is precisely Jesus cross ...
Surely We have sent you [O Muhammad!] with truth, as a bearer of good news and a warner; and you shall not be called upon to answer for the people of hell (2.119).
Surely We have revealed to you [O Muhammad!] the Book for the people with truth; so whoever follows the right way, it is for his own soul, and whoever goes astray, he goes astray only to its detriment; and you have not been put in charge of them (39.41).
Had Allah willed, they [the disbelievers] would not have associated gods with Allah. And We have not appointed you [O Muhammad!] a keeper over them, and you have not been put in charge of them (6.107).
Whoever obeys the Messenger, he has indeed obeyed Allah; and as for he who turns away, We have not sent you [O Muhammad!] as a keeper over them (4.80).
Therefore do [O Muhammad!] remind [with the Message that We revealed to you], for you are only a reminder (88.21).
You are not a controller over them (88.22).
We know best what they say [about Our revelation to you, O Muhammad!], and you are not to be a dictator over them. Therefore, remind by the Qur’an he who fears My threat (50.45).
But if they turn away, then We have not sent you [O Muhammad!] as a keeper over them; only deliverance [of the Message] is your duty (from 42.48).
And if you [O disbelievers!] deny [the truth], then nations before you did indeed deny [the truth]; and nothing is incumbent on the Messenger other than plain deliverance of the Message.
And whether We show you [O Muhammad!] part of what We threaten them (the disbelievers) with or cause you to die, [only] deliverance [of the Message] is your duty, while calling [the disbelievers] to account is Our business (13.40).
The Qur’an teaches that attracting people to Islam must occur through good-mannered preaching and discussion:
Call [O Muhammad!] to the way of your Lord with Wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the best manner; surely your Lord best knows those who go astray from His path, and He best knows those who follow the right way (16.125).
Obviously peaceful rather than armed jihad is the Qur’anic way of calling people to Islam. I will talk about this more in the next chapter.
... were still nomadic.Mohammad, the prophet of Islam, was born in this time. II Muhammad and the Rise of Islam "Islam was born in the ... the religion of the conquered people.Even Christian population preferred the rule of Islam. The conquered people assisted in establishing the new ... language and faith. Muslims rarely felt that they had imposed their faith on people. They felt the Christians and Jews were ...
As well as prohibiting forcing people to embrace Islam, the Qur’an has also made it absolutely clear that other religions can coexist with Islam. This Meccan chapter carries clear instructions to Prophet Muhammad to seek peaceful coexistence with the polytheistic Qurayshites:
Say [O Muhammad!]: “O disbelievers! (109.1) I do not worship that which you worship (109.2).
Nor do you worship that which I worship (109.3).
Nor I shall worship that which you worship (109.4).
Nor do you worship that which I worship (109.5).
You have your religion, and I have my religion” (109.6).
The situation in al-Madina was similar. Muslims sought peaceful coexistence with the People of the Book. There are many verses that show various theological discussions and debates that were taking place between Muslims and followers of other religions. The Qur’an promised paradise to all those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and do righteous deeds, whether Jews, Christians, Sabians, or Muslims:
Surely those who believe, the Jews, the Sabians, the Christians – whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does righteous deeds – they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve (5.69).
Relations between the Muslims and the People of the Book in al-Madina deteriorated only when the later got involved in the Qurayshites’ wars and conspiracies against the Muslims. Muslims had to fight against the People of the Book for the same reasons that they had to fight the polytheistic Meccans: defending their right to choose Islam as their religion.
History of Jews, Christians, and believers of other faiths who lived under Islam reflects the tolerance of the Qur’an. Karen Armstrong notes the following:
After Muhammad’s death, Jews and Christians were never required to convert to Islam but were allowed to practice their religions freely in the Islamic empire. Later Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs were also counted among the People of the Book. It has never been a problem for Muslims to coexist with people of other religions. The Islamic empire was able to play host to Christians and Jews for centuries; but Western Europe has found it almost impossible to tolerate Muslims and Jews in Christian territory.
This Qur’anic tolerance toward other religions, which history tells us Muslims applied wherever they ruled, is in complete contradiction with the extremely intolerant image of Islam in the West today.
Source: Jihad in the Qur’an: The Truth from the Source (Second Edition)
There were many treaties made with the non-Muslims during the time of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. The main parties to these treaties were the Muslim emigrants and the inhabitants of Madinah. Among the most important was the treaty signed by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. himself soon after the Muslims arrived in Madinah.
During the time of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. , there were many tribes in the Arabian Peninsula, some of which were Jewish or Christian. They used to follow their own laws and customs, and worshipped God according to the tenets of their respective religions. There was no pressure on the part of the Prophet to convert them to Islam. Rather, he recognised them as People of the Book, that is, people to whom God’s messages, were sent in earlier times and were enshrined in their scriptures. The Prophet let them lead a peaceful life, treated their religion with respect and entered into a number of treaties with them to ensure mutual cooperation.
After that, the Prophet entered into many treaties with the Jews and the Christians of Arabia. In 632 A.D., the Christians of Najran sent a delegation to the Prophet. The Prophet lodged the members of the deputation in his mosque and permitted them to say their prayers according to their own faith. He invited them to accept Islam. Though the Christians of Najran did not abandon their faith, they entered into a treaty with the Muslims and were given a pledge that they would be free to practice their religion and have the protection of the state on the payment of a poll tax.
The text of the treaty signed by the Prophet with the Christians of Najran is a historical document giving evidence of a guarantee of the right to religious freedom under Islam. It runs as follows:
“Najran and those living therein are placed under the protection of God and the responsibility of Muhammad, the Prophet and Messenger of God, so far as their lives, their religion, their lands, their property, the individual members both present and absent, their places of worship and their right of prayers are concerned. Simlarly, neither any priest nor monk shall be removed from his position, nor a person making a religious endowment shall be deprived of his bequeathed state. And all that they legally own, small and big, shall belong to them, so long it has nothing to do with usury or the blood vengeance prevalent during the days of ignorance. And in case a person claims something from them by right, it will be settled on the basis of equity and justice and without discrimination to either of the parties. Whoever has taken usury before signing this convenant, I do not hold any obligation for that. Nobody shall be held liable for the acts of oppression committed by any other member of his community. God and His messenger shall remain bound for all time by the contents of this treaty, unless decreed by God, provided they (the Christians of Najran) remain sincere and continue dealing with fairness among themselves and without resorting to injustice or acts of opression against each other.”
A careful study of the life of the Prophet, through the Qur’an and traditions, confirms that he never tired of calling people to the path of God, or of exhorting them to keep the peace. He was firm in his stand that peace was better than war. Peaceful co-existence, established through a network of peace treaties and divine guidance, especially pertinent in the treatment of non-Muslims and even the Muslims’ enemies, was more pleasing to God than direct hostilities.
The Quran says:
To emulate the Prophet is considered sunnah in Islam and his treatment of other communities should serve as a guideline to be emulated also in today’s world. If he considered the treaties as a framework for working out differences and ensuring peaceful living conditions, the same should be done in the contemporary world.
(Source: Islamic Studies Text)