Assalaamu alaikum [peace be to you],
This article is part of a series of Articles dealing with Freedom of religion within Islam and how Islam views people of other faiths.
First part: Christians need protection, not persecution!
There has been an appalling rise in violence against Christians in some Muslim countries. Churches have been set on fire, some Christians have been accused of blasphemy and some have been attacked in the most brutal manner. This violence must stop. It is cruel, inhumane, unjust and it is totally against the Sunnah (Sayings and doings) of Prophet Mohammed -peace be upon him-. If you look to the prophetic role model, you will see that he not only treated followers of the earlier scriptures, (called people of the Book) with the utmost respect, but he also urged his followers to do the same. Prophet Mohammed -peace be upon him- guaranteed the protection of other religions under Muslim rule. In a well known Hadith (Saying of the prophet) he said that anyone who kills an innocent dhimmi, that is, a non-Muslim living in a Muslim land, he will not even smell the fragrance of paradise. The bigot and the zealot are deluded, believing they are doing a service to Islam by harming others, when in fact they do the work of Satan.
The true believer (in Islam) respects others, cares for othersí wellbeing. The true believer is the one in whom all of mankind will find a sanctuary, a safe haven, for their lives and property. In another hadith Prophet Mohammed said thatďA Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands other Muslims are safe. A Muímin (true believer) is one in whom all mankind has a sanctuary for life and propertyĒ
The Prophet Mohammed -peace be upon him- had so much respect for Christians that he once offered a delegation from Najran to do their prayers in his mosque! How many of us Muslims today will follow that example? How many mosques anywhere in the Muslim world will allow Christians to pray there? Yet there are so many good examples of Christians showing Muslims kindness and hospitality. Right here at Royal Holloway University, we often use the Jurgens Centre, which belongs to the local Catholic Church. They have never refused us a Friday, or Eid prayer, whenever the hall was available. Should we then not at least speak out firmly against any injustice that is done to Christians in Muslim lands?
I hope that Muslims everywhere will do their best to stop violence against Christians and other faith communities. We should utterly condemn any atrocities committed in the name of Islam, and we should offer no excuses for these criminal acts.
Let us examine what the Quran has to say about respecting Christians and followers of other faiths:
لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ
"Let there be no compulsion in religion..."translation from verse 2:256
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
"Those who believe, and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians*,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve."translation of 2:62
* here, The people meant in this verse are the Jewish followers of the original message of Moses -peace be upon him-, the Christian followers of the original message of Jesus -peace be upon him- and the Sabians, followers of the original message of prophet John the Baptist or David (there are different opinions among scholars regarding the Identity of the Sabians).
وَلَا تُجَادِلُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْهُمْ ۖ وَقُولُوا آمَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَإِلَٰهُنَا وَإِلَٰهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ
"And argue not 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* to Him."translation of 29:46
* A Muslim is a person who submits to the one true God. Islam means total submission to the one true God.
لَّا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ
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."translation of 60:08
During the early years of Prophet Mohammedís preaching in Makkah, the Muslims suffered so much hatred and violence that a delegation was sent to Ethiopia. These were Islamís first asylum seekers. They were welcomed by a just and generous Christian king, the Negus of Abyssinia who took care of them at a time when Islam faced mortal danger. Differences in faith did not matter.
We must remember that when we protect people of other faiths we are not just doing an optional act of generosity or demonstrating so called Ďreligious toleranceí on our part. Itís really an Islamic duty, a clear imperative supported by the Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah.
I hope this was beneficial for you allfrom The Friday Speech authored and delivered by Arshad Gamiet at the Royal Holloway University of London on 3rd Dec 2010, [link] with a little change
To be continued, in sha'Allah
If I am right, it's from the God. if I am wrong, it's from Myself.