Islam and co-existence

Husna Rahman

Here [below] is the text of a booklet written on the occasion of the recently-held ‘All-India Anti-Terrorism’ Conference, Organised by the Deoband madrasa. Given the importance of the subject, the clumsy language may be excused. —Yoginder Sikand

Tolerance and Coexistence with Non-Muslims in Islam

Written on the occasion of’All India Anti-Terrorism Conference’on 25th February, 2008at the behest of:Hazrat Maulana Marghoobur Rahman Sahib Rector, Darul Uloom Deoband& President, Rabita Madaris-e-Islamia Arabiah(Islamic Madrasas Association)

By: Maulana Shaukat AH Qasmi Bastawi

Professor, Darul Uloom Deoband & General Secretary,Islamic Madrasas Association

Published By: Central Office: Islamic Madrasas AssociationDarul Uloom Deoband

Today, this rumour and lie is being spread that Islam
and its followers do not have any tolerance towards
the people of other faiths. This is a misleading and
baseless propaganda. This is part of the planned world
conspiracies to malign and defame Islam and Muslims.

Non-Muslims in Islam and their rights

In fact, Islam is the religion of blessings, kindness
and tolerance for all humanity without any
differentiation. It stresses on its followers to
behave with equality, sympathy, love and tolerance
towards non-Muslims. It orders the rulers not to have
any discriminatory attitude towards them. Their lives,
honour, property and rights must be protected. The
Holy Quran says:

“Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly
with those who fought not against you on account of
Religion and did not drive you out of your homes.
Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity.”
(Surah Mumtahanah: 60/8)

Explaining the verse, Hazrat Maulana Shabbir Ahmad
Usmani says: “Some non-Muslims of Makkah neither
embraced Islam nor they had any enmity and hatred
against Muslims. They did not fight against them about
the faith of Islam and did not help others torturing
and ousting them. Islam does not permit Muslims to
behave such non-believers with cruelty and malice but
it commands them to behave them with kindness and
affection. Islam does not permit Muslims to consider
both non-Muslims on war and those not involved in war
against them with the same yardstick. To treat both in
an equal fashion is against

common sense, wisdom and justice^
(Footnote commentary on Tarjamah Shaikhul Hind)

This is the Islamic principle of co-operation which
advises Muslims to extend their best help and
assistance to the people of other faiths in common
social and national issues as far as they are not
against Shariah and Islamic teachings. If even some
members of other faiths are bitter enemies to Islam,
Islam teaches Muslims to show tolerance and patience
toward them. The Holy Quran states:

If, then, they have patience, the Fire will be a home
for them! and if They beg to be received into favour,
into favour will They not (then) be received. (Surah
Fussilat 41/24)

Good Treatment towards Makkan Non-Muslims

Makkan Non-Muslims strained their every nerve to harm,
hurt and oppress the Prophet Muhammad (peace and
blessings be upon him!). They called him a magician,
poet and soothsayer. They tortured him
physically and mentally. They pelted him with stones
and hit him hard. Thorns were put in his way; his
throat was pressed as an attempt to strangle him to
death; the load of camel dirty intestines was put on
his back when he was busy in the prayer. Plots to kill
him were made by them. He was detained in Shi’ab
Abi-Talib for long three years, during which he had to
eat acacia leaves. In Taif, he was tortured beyond
limit, was abused and was injured so much1 that drops
of blood were collected in his shoes. He was forced to
migrate from Makkah to Madinah. In Madinah too, he
could not find relief but faced many trials and

Several conspiracies were hatched against him. Plots
were planned against the Prophet and his Companions
with the help of the Jews.

At the conquest of Makkah, Non-Muslims were feeling
very close to death and were thinking Muslims will
avenge their tyranny and oppression. But the Prophet
addressed them: O’ Quraish! How do you think I would
treat you? They replied: ” We expect nothing but good
from you as you are a noble and kind brother to us and
the son of a noble and kind brother as well.” The
Prophet said,” I say to you what the Prophet Yusuf
(peace be upon him!) said to his brothers: No blame
against you! You are free. (Zadul Ma’adVol.l,p.424)

Can human history present an example of such kindness
and affectionate treatment?

Good treatment toward Jews

Many Jewish tribes lived in Madinah. For some time,
after the Prophet’s flight from Makkah to Madinah, the
Jews remained neutral and silent. But they could not
hide their hatred and enmity against Islam, the
Prophet and Muslims for long. They strained their
every nerve to do harm to the Prophet and his
Companions. They made secret plots and planned
rebellion against him; mix poison secretly in his
food; made several plots to kill him. In brief, they
left no stone unturned to damage Islam and Muslims.
Envoy and biased feelings, coupled with their wrong
creeds and foul manner, were among the causes leading
them to such wrongdoings. Imagine surprise when he
treated them with noble manners and tolerance.

After the Prophet arrived in Madinah, he entered into
an important treaty with the Jews so that friendly
relations and peaceful co-existence between Muslim and
Jewish communities might be established and both might
live peacefully and show tolerance to each other
helping in removing anxieties and troubles from each
other. Some important articles of the treaty are as

1. All Jews will enjoy the same rights of
citizenship that they had enjoyed before the coming of

2. Muslims will have friendly relations towards all

3. If a Muslim is killed by a Madinah, a ransom will
be taken from the killer if agreed by the heirs of the
person killed.

4. If any inhabitant of Madinah commits a serious
crime, his family will not be punished.

5. In need, Jews and Muslims will help each other.

6. Any group will not deceive its ally.

7. The wronged and distressed will be helped without
any communal discrimination.

8. If the Jews are attacked by foreign enemies,
Muslims will defend them.

9. The Jews will enjoy their religious freedom.

10. If any Muslim ill-treats someone, he will be
punished by Muslims.

11. The Jews of Bani Auf will be considered among

12. If any dispute takes place between the Jews and
Muslims, the Prophet will act as judge in the case.

13. This treaty will not favour any sinful or criminal
person. (Seerat bin Hisham p.501-504)

Everyone can observe the equal rights granted to Jews
with an open heart and full justice. The Prophet
followed the treaty but it was Jews who breached the
terms of the treaty. They helped Makkan Non-Muslims
against Muslims. They always tried to do harm to Islam
and Muslims.

Good treatment towards Christians

The Prophet showed exemplary good treatment towards
Christians also. An important Christian delegation of
Najran situated between Makkah and Yemen met and
conversed with the Prophet. The Prophet accommodated
them in the mosque and they had a dialogue with him on
religious issues. A historic and important treaty was
concluded between Muslims and Christians in which many
rights were agreed upon for Christians. The articles
of the treaty are as follows:

1. Their lives will be secured.

2. Their land, property and wealth etc. will
continue to be in their custody.

3. Any change will not be made in their religious

4. Religious office-holders will continue their

5. Crosses and statues will not be damaged.

6. Anything belonging to them will not be taken.

7. They will not be employed in military services.

8. Tithe or Ushr will not be levied on them.

9. Soldiers will not be sent to their country.

10. Full justice will be delivered in their cases and

11. Any tyranny and ill-treatment will not be allowed
against them.

12. Interest will not be allowed.

13. Any innocent will not be punished in the place of the offender.

14. They will not have any mistreatment
from Muslims. (Deen-e-Rahmat p. 239, Futuhul Buldan)

No government of today’s world can give even to its
own subjects the rights that were granted by Islam to

Non-Muslim subjects living under an Islamic government
or Zimmis are in the protection of Allah and the
Prophet according to Islamic Shariah. Therefore, they
are called Zimmis. The Islamic law orders to remove
the wrong from Zimmis in the same way as from Muslims
themselves. (Al-Mabsut Li Al-Sarakhsi Vol. 1 p.85)

Good treatment towards Hypocrites

In Madinah, there was an opportunist group which
pretended to be Muslims but the>i. were not genuine
Muslims. Seeing the growing influence and power of
Muslims, they declared themselves Muslims but, in
fact, had severe hatred and enmity against them. Their
leader was Abdullah bin Ubai ibn Salul. He was an
influential person of Madinah and the inhabitants of
Madinah were preparing to make him their ruler. But,
after the Prophet’s migration, his hopes were dashed
to pieces. He pretended to be Muslim but remained a
Hypocrite until his death. Hypocrites tried their best
to divide Muslims; they insulted the Prophet; they
made plots together with Jews and other non-Muslims to
harm Islam and Muslims. In spite of their several
plots and feeling of hatred against them, the Prophet
and his Companions treated them with tolerance and
patience. The Prophet even led the funeral prayer of
Abdullah bin Ubai, the leader of Hypocrites, and
offered his shirt or Jubbah for his shroud on the
request of his son.

Rights of Non-Muslim subjects under Islamic rule

Islam came to the world as the religion of blessings
and kindness for all human beings and groups of
people. This is the reason why it treats the people of
other faiths and Non-Muslim subjects with equality,
kindness, love, sympathy, tolerance and forbearance.
It is Islam, in the world history for the first time,
which has guaranteed such social and national rights
for them that no religion or culture has ever given to
the followers of other faiths or culture. Islam has
ordered the rulers to protect the life, honour,
property and religious freedom of Non-Muslim subjects
living under an Islamic government and treat them
without any discrimination. The Islamic concept about

or Non-Muslim subjects is that they are in the
pptection of Allah and the Prophet. Therefore, the
Islamic Shariah says: “It is a duty of Muslims to
remov,^ the wrong from Norn-Muslim subjects in the
same way as from Muslims themselves.” (Mabsut Sarakhsi
Vol. 1 p.85)

Oppressing a zimmi (Non-Muslim subject living under
lilamic government) is worse than oppressing a Muslim.
(AI-Durr AJ-$ukhtar: 5/396)

Zimmis will have the same rights that Muslims have and
th«y will be equally b^und to what Muslims will be.
Their lives will be safe and protected like Muslims.
(Al-Durr Al-Mukhtar, Kitabul Jihad)

The non-Muslim subjects under Muslim rule enjoyed such
freedom that their educational institutions and their
personal law courts were independent and free.

According to Islamic Shariah, a Muslim who kills a
Mu’aahid (a person who is granted the pledge of
protection by Muslims) shall not smell the fragrance
of Paradise which can be smelt at a distance of forty
years (of travelling).”

An Islamic government is responsible to safeguard the
wealth and property of the zimmis (non-Muslims living
under Muslim rule).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Behold, one who
will oppress non-Muslim subject, load them with extra
burden or take their belongings without their pleasure

I will fight their case against the oppressor on the
Day of Judgment. (Abu Dawood, Mishkat: 354)

In Makkah, the infidels were inflicting great deal of
oppression on Muslims that it was hard for Muslims to
live in Makka. The Muslims did not find any relaxation
after their migration to Habsha (Ethiopia) and
Madinah. They were continuously victims of
conspiracies hatched by the infidels and the
hypocrites. Even the enemies invaded Madinah with a
huge army with intention of ravaging Madinah and
destroying Muslims. So, Muslims were left with no
option except to defend the sword with sword. In the
long run, they were ordained by Allah: “Sanction is
given unto those who fight because they have been
wronged; and Allah is indeed able to give them
victory, who have been expelled from their homes,
unjustly only because they said: “Our Lord is Allah.”
(Al-Quran, Surah Al-Hajj, 39)

Thus, on one hand, Jihad was allowed to fight against
injustice and oppression, while on the other Muslims
were asked to behave with tolerance and good conduct,
the example of which is not found in any other

1. It prevented Muslims to attack first.
(Al-Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, 39)

2.It prohibited oppression and transgression of »,.
lawful boundaries. (Al-Quran, Surah
Al-Baqarah, 39)

3. It allowed continuing war with the enemies only
until the mischief and evil is not over. (Al-Quran,
Surah Al-Hajj, 39)

4. It guaranteed the peace of messengers and
ambassadors of enemies. (Al-Bidayah wa Al-Nihayah:

5. It forbade killing of enemy’s women, children,
disabled and handicapped people. (Tareekh-e-,Ibn
Khaldoon: 2/499)

6. It prohibited ruining green fields and cutting
down fruitful trees. (Tareekh-e-Ibn Khaldoon: 2/499)

7. It stopped demolishing worship-places and killing
of ascetic people and religious elders. (Tareekh-e-Ibn
Khaldoon: 2/489)

It disallowed torturing the prisoners of war.

9. it asked Muslims to tend to reconcile if the
enemy requests for the same. (Al-Quran, Surah
Al-Anfal, 61)

10. It asserted to give peace and behave well with the
non-Muslims coming in Muslims’ refuge.

11. It prohibited fighting only for obtaining spoils
of war. (Abu Dawood: 1/348)

12. Looting was regarded unlawful. (Tareekh-e-Ibn
Khaldoon: 2/489)

13. Muslims were held responsible for the protection
of lives and properties of Zimmis (Deen-e-Rahmat 229,
with reference of Futoohul Buldan)

Love of one’s native land

In fact, man needs food for life, and this food is
obtained from the earth. Likewise, man has been
created by the soil as the Quran says: “We created man
from soil.” (Al-Quran, Surah Al-Hajj)

At another place it says: “And surely, we gave you
authority on the earth and appointed for you therein
provisions (for your life).” (Al-Quran, Surah
Al-Araaf: 10)

Thereof (the earth) we created you, and into it we
shall return you, and from it we shall bring you out
once again. (Al-Quran, Surah Taaha: 55)

Naturally a man has sentimental attachment with the
land from/which he was created and where he was born
anil where he leads his life. It is a famous saying of
Arabic: “The land where a man is born is like his
suckling.mother”. There is a famous wise saying: “Love of one’s
land is a part of faith”.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was reported saying
when he was migrating from Makkah: “O Makkah, how much
dear you are to me! I would never leave you if I was
not forced by your people.” (Jam’ul Fawaid, 1/195)

After settling in Madinah he was often reported
stating: “O Allah! Infuse the love of Madinah in our
heart as much as you infused the love of Makkah. O Allah! Sweeten the
weather of Madinah and give us blessings in the Mudd
and Saa’ (measuring scales) and shift the traders of
Madinah to Jahfa. (Al-Bukharif: 1/558)

This hadith signifies the love of one’s land.
Moreover, it expresses his ardent desire for its
economic prosperity, goodness of weather and health of
the people. Therefore, love of native land is natural
as well as religious.

Virtues of India

Hazrat Shaikhul Islam Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani,
former Head Teacher of Darul Uloom Deoband and
President of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind writes: “The Islamic
books tell that Hazrat Adam (peace be upon him) was
sent down in India and lived herein, and from here his
offspring spread throughout the world. Therefore human
beings are called ‘Adami’ (attributing to Adam).
(Hamara Hindustan awr uske Fazail, with reference of
Tafseer ibn Kathir, vol 1,P8)

Hakimul Islam Hazrat Qari Muhammad Tayyib, former
Mohtamim of Darul Uloom Deoband writes: “India is the
capital of prophet-hood since Hazrat Adam first
descended from heaven here. The second prophet was
Hazrat Shees who appeared in India and his grave is
said to be in Ayodhya.

The Founder of Darul Uloom Deoband Hazrat Maulana
Muhammad Qasim Nanautavi writes in one of his books
that Ram Chandra Ji and Krishna Ji should be taken
with respect and they should not be blasphemed. (Qaumi
Ittihad, p 7)

Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Miyan says: “India is the
capital of humanity since Hazrat Adam the prophet was
guided by Jibreel (Gabriel, angel who
brought the revelation from Allah); thus India was
the land from where the sun of Islam rose. Hazrat
Jibreel ascended first in India. Ibn Sa’ad writes in
his book Tabaqaat’ that Allah Almighty made the body
of Adam from the soil of Wajni from India. According
to scholars, Wajni was the name of a place in India.
Thus India holds the honour that first prophet was
made of its soil. Secondly, Hazrat Adam is the
forefather of all prophets, thus the spiritual
and material root of all prophets and humanity is
India. As per the reproduction and breeding rules, the
origin of all the prophets, pious people and entire
mankind belongs to this sacred land.

Hazrat Ibn Abbas (May Allah bless him) narrates that
Ahd-e-Alast was taken at Wajni in India when Allah
derived all the souls from Hazrat Adam and addressed
them: “Am I not your Lord?” All the souls unanimously
said: “Why not? You are our Lord.” (Hamara Hindustan
awr uske Fazail)

Hazrat Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiri, former Head Teacher
of Darul Uloom Deoband says: “In India and in every
non-Muslim majority country every Muslim is
responsible as much as he can to maintain the rights
of peace and freedom which Islam has allotted for
common people. Obviously, to fulfill this target every
Muslim has to take part in the political, economical
and civil activities of his country so that with his
political and economical power he can discharge the
responsibility of safeguarding the rights pertaining
to life, wealth and belongings of common citizens. If
a Muslim is only a spectator and keeps aloof from the
political and economical activities of his country
then how he can discharge the duty of serving the
people.” (Hindustan mein Musalmaanon ke Mulki Faraiz)

National duties of Muslims in India

Our ancestor Ulama and common Muslims has always
played prominent roles to promote love, tranquillity,
good manners, communal harmony, national integrity and

Shaikhul Islam Hazrat Maulana Syed Hussain Ahmad
Madani said: “We as Indians are integrated and have an
alliance which perpetuates in all conditions along
with the differences in religions and cultures. In the
same way, being different in complexions, castes,
colours and heights has no impact in our mutual
humanity, we all are Indians as per holding same
nationality. Hence, Muslims are equally dutiful like
other communities to avail the national interests and
make attempts to remove any kind of harm and damage.
If the inhabitants of a village do not extinguish the
fire together in case it catches, then the whole
village will be engulfed by the fire and all people
will be badly affected^ Likewise, the inhabitants of a
country, whether Muslims or Hindus, Sikhs or Parsis,
all are equally obligated to strain every nerve
jointly to guard their country in case of national

This responsibility implies all and being different in
religions causes no hindrance. Everyone can discharge
this duty having full allegiance to their respective
religions. The same collaboration is prevailing in
municipal boards, councils and assemblies. Member of
different religions perform their duties related to a
city, a district, a state or a country. This is what
called ‘composite nationalism’. (Extracted from
‘Khutbaat Fidaa-e-Millat: 205,216)

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