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First Quarter 2000

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Malcolm X

Filipino Workers 2000

The Abuja Islamic Education Trust
Islam Through E-Mail



OFW 101

Wisdom For All
Times & Places


What does the Qur'an say about friendliness with Non-Muslims?

The Qur'an and Hadith (Prophet's Traditions) make abundantly clear the position of Islam on the relationships between Muslims and non-Muslims. The Qur'anic verses 60:8-9 say that we are enjoined to relate with them amicably unless they are hostile to us, persecute us or drive us out of our homes. Allah further reaffirms that we should not even engage them in argument for no good reason (Qur'an 29:46).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) declared that non-Muslims under an Islamic State authority are to be protected against internal oppression and external aggression. Accordingly, they are called the "Dhimmi" i.e. protected people. In another Hadith, he stated the consequence for hurting them: "whoever hurts a dhimmi, hurts me, and he who hurts me angers Allah" (Al-Tabarani). Also "Whoever hurts a dhimmi, I am his adversary, and I shall be an adversary to him on the Day of Resurrection" (Al-Khatib).

However, some people tend to take some passages in the Qur'an in isolation from their context and without relating them to several others that explain better e.g. Qur'an 5:57 and 3:28 where Allah commanded the believers not to take the Jews and the Christians as "guardians" or "protecting friends" (Awliya'). These verses apply to those non-Muslims who were hostile to Islam and made war upon the Muslims (Qur'an 3:118-119, 58:22 and 60:1).

Seeking help from non-Muslims is not forbidden, especially in technical matters, at private or Governmental level, for example in Medicine, Agriculture, Industry, Military matters etc. The Prophet (peace be upon him) employed Abdullahi bin Uraiqit, a polytheist, to be his guide on his Hijrah from Makkah to Madinah. Hence, a person's state of unbelief does not necessarily mean that he is untrustworthy. The Prophet's life was at stake yet this particular polytheist was trustworthy, and the Prophet trusted him. Trustworthiness therefore is an essential factor to consider when seeking for the assistance of a non-Muslim.

Islam enjoins us to respect every human being irrespective of belief, particularly if they are "People of the Book". It was reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stood up for a Jewish corpse being carried by for burial. When he was asked why he did so, he replied: "Was he not a soul?" (Al-Bukhari).

For one with a strong intellectual conviction of faith and who constantly replenishes that faith through spiritual exertion, friendliness with those of other faiths should not pose as a threat. Indeed, a smile, pleasant disposition, willingness to help and counsel those in need irrespective of religion, and a resolve to return even animosity with that which is better would be proof of the beauty and relevance of a faith that calls for such positive relations.

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