By Dr Hafiz Saleem
It is a great challenge for the Muslim community, living in multi-cultural and multi-faith
societies across the world to comprehend how to live honorably and peacefully with followers of other faiths. Some extremists hold the view that sincerity with the faith requires not to show any respect and honor to the non-Muslims in any way whilst the majority believe that Islam does not forbid Muslims to be polite and courteous towards them. Despite the fact it is not feasible for those Muslims, who are living as a minority in
Europe and other countries of the world, to live in a way which puts them in isolation.
There are many services in the modern setup where the Muslim- scholars work together in a multi-faith environment, for example, prison service, educational institutes, hospitals, police, home office, etc. We need to see the situation in the light of the Holy Quran, the Sunnah of the Beloved Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the views of the Jurists who developed the Jurist system in the early centuries of Islam to address this controversy.
The Holy Quran is the final code of command for the Muslim Ummah, the exemplary
life of the Beloved Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم being a practical source of how to act upon the instructions of the Quran. It is very obvious that the Quran does not compel anyone to accept the message of Islam by force. The Holy Quran says “There is no compulsion in the acceptance of religion”(2:256).At one place the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was commanded to announce “you have your religion and I have mine” (109:6). 1
Once the Beloved Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was asked to invite the people of the book (Christians and Jews) on the common points: “Say, people of the book, let us arrive at a statement that is common to us all: we worship God alone, we ascribe no partner to Him and none of us takes others beside God as Lords’. If they turn away, say `Witness our devotion to Him.” (3:64)2
At another place the Quran commands that there is a need to fulfill the pacts and
agreements with non-Muslims and not to fight with them in the presence of such Peace Pacts. The Quran says “take none of them as an ally or supporter, but as for those who seek refuge with people with whom you have a treaty, or who come over to you because their heart shrinks from fighting against you, or against their own people, God could have given them power over you and they would have fought you .So if they withdraw and do not fight you, and offer you peace, then God gives you no way against them”.(4:89-91) 3
The Holy Quran also encourages the Muslims to provide asylum to the non believers, if
they so request. Allah (SWT) says in Surah Tauba “ If any of the idolaters should seek your protection [Prophet] grant it to him so that he may hear the word of God, then take him to a place of safety, for they are people with no knowledge”(9:6).4
It is also very important to see that Islam does not tolerate any oppression and injustice against anyone on the basis of enmity,difference of faith, culture or tribe, for example; justice is the key principal in the system of Islam.
Allah( SWT) commands the Believing community to maintain justice in every situation saying “ Do not let your hatred for the people who barred you from the Sacred Mosque induce you to break the law; help one another to do what is right and good; do not help one another towards sin and hostility. Be mindful of God, for His punishment is severe”(5:2)