How should our relations with non-Muslims be?

Details of the Question
How should our relations with non-Muslims be?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The religion of Islam gives importance to man. Islam has opened its bosom of compassion to everybody, whether a believer or unbeliever, without discriminating between believers and unbelievers, Islam states that all human beings are valuable and that they are vicegerents on the earth and that all people descend from Adam and Eve and that they were created in groups so that they would know each other and strengthen the ties among each other. Islam encourages people to treat everybody, whether they are believers or not, and even every living creature well. The Prophet (pbuh) says,    

"It is rewarding to treat every living creature well." The following is stated in a verse:

"Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just."

The Prophet (pbuh) says there are three kinds of neighbors: A neighbor who has one right (the one with the least rights), one who has two rights and one who has three rights over you. The neighbor with one right is the one who is a non-Muslim. The one with two rights is the one who is a Muslim. One right is for Islam and one right is for being neighbors. The one with three rights is one who is a neighbor, Muslim and a relative. One right is for Islam, one for being neighbors and one for being relatives.  (From Bazzar and Abu Naim).

As it is seen, a person is respected even if he is not a Muslim. Let alone violating his rights, it is necessary to help him, to treat him well and to avoid any words or acts that will hurt his feelings.  

The religion of Islam gives great rights and freedom to non-Muslims living under its rule.

l- They are free in their beliefs and worshipping. They can worship as they wish. Their crosses and worshipping places cannot be touched. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Leave them alone with their worshipping.” If the wife of a Muslim is non-Muslim, she can go to church or synagogue. Her husband cannot prevent her. He can accompany her to the church to protect her if necessary.  

2- If what is forbidden in our religion like pigs is not forbidden for them, it is not permissible for Muslims to touch them.  

3- They are free in their personal affairs like marriage, divorce, alimony, etc. 

4- The religion of Islam gives them the right to debate within the framework of the mind and logic. It is necessary to avoid any words or acts that will hurt their feelings during the debate. Allah states the following:  “And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation) “(1).

5- Islam regards it permissible to eat the meals prepared by Christians and Jews and to marry Christian and Jewish women. Allah states the following regarding the issue:

“This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time― when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues. If anyone rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good). " (2)

6- It is permissible to visit non-Muslims and ask about the health or condition of them.

7- Doing business with (buying and selling) non-Muslims is permissible just as it is permissible with Muslims.

8- It is sunnah to give food, etc to neighbors; therefore, if a Muslim sacrifices an animal, he can give some of its meat to his non-Muslim neighbors.

9- It is permissible to give presents to or to receive presents from non-Muslims. Before Makkah was conquered, there was a great famine there. Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) sent 500 gold coins to be given away to the poor people of Makkah. (3)

How is it possible to make agreements with Jews and Christians despite the verse: “O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors”?

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi states the following in his answer to some people who oppose the military alliances and trade agreements with Christians by misinterpreting the verse:  “O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors”:

“...being friends with them is to obtain the good parts of their civilization and developments, and to maintain public order and security, which is the most important principle of the happiness in the world. That kind of friendship is not included in the Quranic prohibition.” Münazarat

In the explanation above, it is stated that the happiness in the world depends on public order and security. It is  understood better today, when anarchy and wars oppress and terrorize the world, how appropriate that explanation is.

In the Nur Collection, “generosity towards friends and forbearance towards enemies “ is advised. The reason why many people in Europe and America today embrace Islam and obtain the bounty of guidance is peace not war.  

Our religion regards it permissible to marry a Jewish or Christian woman. It is permissible to make friends with them. Hereby, we introduce our religion to them.

1-al-Ankabut. 46

2-al-Maida. 5

3-Ibn Abidin v. 2. p. 67

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