What Are the Rights of Non-Muslims in Islam?
Name of Questioner: David
Date: 27-11-2016 02:20:02 PM
Consultant: Ask About Islam Editorial Staff
What are the rights of non-Muslims in Islam?
Dear questioner, thank you very much for your important question.
Actually, Islam gives specific rights for the followers of other religions protecting their identity and dignity. In the following lines we sum up a part of these rights.
Inviting to Islam
Calling others to Islam, the last religion, is obligatory upon everyone who assumes following the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Islam is the only true religion that lends a hand to the success in this life and the hereafter. So, it is a kind of injustice to withhold this goodness from those who have no knowledge about it. The Muslim is obligated to show the true teachings of Islam, in word and action and with wisdom and kindness, to those who do not believe in it. Almighty Allah says,
Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided. (An-Nahl 16:125)
Almighty Allah states in the Qur’an,
Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. (Al-Mumtahanah 60:8)
Scholars have divided non-Muslims into two main categories. The first one is the non-fighting non-Muslims, which applies to every non-Muslim who does not show antagonism towards Islam and does not engage in any offensive actions against the Muslims. The other category is the fighting ones who engage in wars against Muslims and aim at destroying the Muslim communities and territories.
As for the first category, which is true for the general majority of non-Muslims nowadays, they owe the right to be mercifully treated and welcomed, especially if they are relatives or neighbors. The proof of this is the narration from Asmaa’ bint Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with them both) that she said, “My mother came to me during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and she was a pagan (i.e. a non-Muslim worshipping idols). I said to Allah’s Messenger (seeking his verdict), “My mother has come to me and she desires to receive a reward from me, shall I keep good relations with her?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Yes, keep good relation with her. ” (Al-Bukhari)
The non-Muslims, although being of invalid faith from the Muslims’ viewpoint, they must not be put to harm because of their creed so long as they do not cause harm to others. Islam’s stance on this regard should be clear to everyone. Islam does not stand on the opposite side against the non-Muslims. Rather, Islam urges Muslims to respect, tolerate, and have good relations with non-Muslims in general. It is reported from Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that a young Jewish boy who was in the service of the Prophet (peace be upon him) fell ill. The Prophet (peace be upon him) went to visit him.” (Al-Bukhari)
This indeed is the spirit that Islam seeks to instill in the hearts of Muslims towards non-Muslims.
Jabir bin ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Beware of injustice, for injustice will turn into excessive darkness on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim)
The warning against committing injustice is more stressed in the case of non-Muslims as stated in the hadith narrated by Safwan from a number of Companions of the Messenger of Allah that the Messenger of Allah said: “Beware, if anyone wrongs a contracting man (a non-Muslim who has a treaty with Muslims), or diminishes his right, or forces him to work beyond his capacity, or takes from him anything without his consent, I shall plead for him on the Day of Judgment.” (Abu Dawud) That is the true tolerating Islam.
With regard to the non-fighting non-Muslim, protecting their souls is more stressed and the prohibition and punishment became more established owing to their specialty and the covenant of Islam to protect them from harm. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Indeed, whoever kills a Mu`ahid (a non-fighting non-Muslim) that has a covenant from Allah and a covenant from His Messenger, then he has violated the covenant with Allah and the covenant of His Messenger. He shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise; even though its fragrance can be sensed from the distance of seventy autumns.” (At-Tirmidhi)
No compulsion in religion
Islam is a belief and course of conduct that initially begins from the heart, the reason and the soul then its impacts flow over the body. Allah does not accept the outer obedience unless it emanates from a faithful and sincere heart. Islam views that claiming Islam with the tongue and practicing worship by the body parts without true faith in God is nothing but a cursed form hypocrisy whose doer is a loser. Therefore, the issue of following Islam remains a matter of freedom and none can be forced on following Islam. Almighty Allah has stated that compulsion on religion cannot be accepted. He says,
And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed – all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers? (Yunus 10:99)
Not to insult their gods and sacred things
Almighty Allah forbade insulting the gods of non-Muslims or making little of them because this will lead to greater harm, that is they may insult our God (Glory be to Him) in revenge. Almighty Allah says,
And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah , lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do. (Al-An`am 6:108)
Al-Qurtubi (a renowned Muslim scholar) said, “Scholars said that the ruling of this verse is permanent all the way. So, if the non-Muslim is in power and it is feared that he curses Islam, the Prophet Muhammad or Almighty Allah; it is not permissible for the Muslim to curse their crosses, religion or churches and not to commit what leads to this.” (Tafsir Al-Qurtubi)
These are some of the rights of non-Muslims upon the Muslims that should be taken into consideration by every Muslim. These rights show both the greatness of Islam as well as its tolerance towards those who do not follow it by preserving their dignity, identity, life and religions.
Source: Taken with modifications from The-Faith.com