A lot of people come to believe that Muslims cannot be friends with non Muslims. Even our Muslims brothers and sister find themselves in confusion with this matter. First, one must understand who are the enemies of Islam, then why. Is it through ignorance or do they know the truth yet refuse to accept it? Why does the Quran have violence in it? Some people tend to confuse revenge with justice or justice with revenge. So if you do something that can cause animosity, then don’t you think this action will be judged as a hate crime, therefore causing people to hate you? How is one to act with those who are enemies of Islam? How should we relate to such- from an Islamic perspective?
Manners of the Prophet towards his enemies:
‘I asked the Messenger of God (peace be upon him): “Did you face a day harder and more intense than the Battle of Uhud?‛ He replied: ‘I suffered a lot from your people! The worst I suffered was on the Day of al-’Aqabah when I spoke to Ali b. Abd Yaleel b. Abd Kilaal (in order to support me) but he disappointed me and left me. I left the area while I was quite worried, and walked – when I reached an area called Qarn ath-Tha’alib, I raised my head to the sky and noticed a cloud that shaded me. Gabriel (pbuh) called me and said: ‘O Muhammad! God, the Exalted, has heard what your people have said to you – and has sent the Angel in charge of the mountains, so you can command him to do what you please.’ The Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘The Angel in charge of the mountains called me saying: ‘May God praise you and keep safe from all evil! O Muhammad, I will do whatever you command me to do. If you like I can bring the Akh-shabain mountains together and crush them all.’ The Messenger of God (pbuh) said: ‘It may be that God raises from among them a progeny who worship God alone and associate no partners with Him.’ (Bukhari #3059)
This Hadith clearly shows that Muhammad peace be upon him, had a chance that anyone of us would have taken but didn’t. He is not a man of war, he is a man of peace, and he said Allah might raise one just one of them to be Muslim. Same goes when Muhammad peace be upon him returned to Mecca, he won the war without any bloodshed. You would think after gaining power and returning to the people who did terrible things to you, you would find the man responsible (in this case, it was Abu Shufian) and make sure he is to pay. Not with Muhammad peace be upon him. This act of kindness made Abu Shifian convert to Islam. So it is a good thing that our beloved prophet Muhammad peace be upon him didn’t smash them in between the mountains after all. If only we can learn that peace is what wins over the heart and not anger and destruction. Especially being a Muslim and knowing that Allah is All Just, we know that if anyone actively opposes Allah or His religion they will pay either here or the hereafter. The only time it is okay to kill is in holy war when you are defending yourself or home. Only Allah has the power to take lives. Wars were always on battlefields, never were they where civilians lived.
Enemies of Islam
These are who intentionally and actively oppose Allah and the religion of Islam. These people are not doing this out of ignorance but out of rage and anger towards Muslims, Islam, or any act which they believe was the cause for their actions. A recent example is the Muhammad cartoon trailer. This was done intentionally and it was even stated that he knew that Muslims would go crazy about the trailer and react in such a way; which is the reason why Muslims should react in a more intelligent manner when it comes to discrimination.
However when it came to US Troops in Afghan burning almost 500 copies of the Quran, well according to the Washington post, this was due to suspicions that prisoners were passing illicit notes in the margins of library books. So they decided to go through all the books in the library and burn all suspicious books, 474 being Qurans. (Washingtonpost.com) Furthermore, this act was supposedly due to ignorance of how valuable the Quran is to Muslims and ignorance towards the religion.
Revenge & Justice
We must understand that justice is not always served in this life and this is why Allah is All Just. Revenge on the other hand is taken in some cases like when mentioned an eye for an eye, however not all cases. Sometimes things happen and as a Muslim we know what happens on earth are written in the heavens first. So nothing happens without the will of Allah Subhaana wa Ta’aala. In all matters, we should act rationally and never sink down to their level.
I read a book by Dr. Aisha Utz, and in her book she states that “Hatred should be for the sake of Allah only, and should not affect us in a way that allows us to act or react irrationally. The matters that necessitate hatred include disbelief (when it is not out of ignorance), hypocrisy, innovation and sin.”
Now in most of the cases in hate crimes, it is obvious that this is done due to mere ignorance. Most people are just misinformed about Islam, followers of their fore fathers blindly; these people are NOT the true haters of Islam. Like stated above this is only through ignorance.
Why the Quran has Violence
Muhammad peace be upon him fought to spread Islam, holy wars were done because rulers refused Islam to enter their lands, where Allah made it clear that Islam was made for all mankind, so this means no one could speak for others but each individual must know about Islam. This is why Jihad took place. Today, there is more anger than anything! As humans we all have a choice in the religion we want to follow. But no one should make that choice for us. Allah Subhaana wa Ta’aala sent down the shariah (Islamic Law) which includes tax being paid, (which we call Zakat) This is one of the examples explaining what will happen if not paid in the Quran. Zakat was made for the community, to help everyone not just the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, with Zakat there would not be any poor. However, there are those who do not follow this and will get punished and if they don’t in this life by Muslim rulers then they will get a severe punishment in the hereafter. Quran doesn’t have violence just because Islam supports killing, this is what brings order among the people. You can tell that many have strayed far from the Quran, from their actions taken place when a discriminated act towards Islam happens.
In regards to Zakat, Allah knows people could be selfish or even forget about others in need. So this Zakat covers them (those in need). 10% of all working people’s income every year would not leave anyone ever in need nor will it make working people poor financially. (Allah knows best indeed and He rewards those who give Zakat). As a Muslim one knows that there are always reasons behind every law (shariah) and as Muslims we should have taqwa (trust) in Allah. This is only one of the reason why there is violence mentioned in the Quran and it is to teach us how to act as an Ummah.
A Mercy towards his Enemies
So how should I act towards my enemies in Islam? I can’t be rude or ignorant to them. Islam teaches us to respect others and their religion, the Quran explicitly states that they have their religion and we have ours. As Muslims we are taught tolerance, manners, respect. Our prophet Muhammad peace be upon him is a great example of this.
The prisoners of war taken captive at the battle of Badr were amongst his bitterest enemies. Nevertheless, he made sure that they were given the best of treatment. Among them was Suhayl bin ‘Amr who was a fiery speaker and was denouncing the Prophet. ‘Umar one the Prophet’s closest companions, suggested that two of his lower teeth be pulled out so that he might not be so vile in his speeches. The Prophet replied:
“Were I to do this, Allah would disfigure me on the Day of Judgement, despite the fact that I am His messenger.”
- Discover Islam. Messengers of God. The Prophet Muhammad a Mercy for all Creation: www.ediscoverislam.com.web.2013
- Sahih Al Bukhari # 3059
- Sheba, Adbul-Rahman al, Murad, Abdul-Rahman. Muhammad the Messenger of Allah.www.messengerofgod.info.web.2012
- Utz, Aisha Dr. Psychology from the Islamic Perspective. Riyadh, 2011.Print.