Does Islam encourage hostility to Christians?

Since 2014-05-08

Does Islam encourage hostility to Christians?

Dr. Ragheb El-Sergany

Some fanatics accuse Islam of bigotry against Christians and incitement to hate them. They back their false claim by Quranic verses which they misunderstood them or purposely misinterpreted them. Some of these Quranic verses cited the prohibition of taking non-Muslims allies, like the verse:

{لاَّ يَتَّخِذِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاء مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ فَلَيْسَ مِنَ اللَّهِ فِي شَيْءٍ إِلاَّ أَن تَتَّقُواْ مِنْهُمْ تُقَاةً وَيُحَذِّرُكُمُ اللَّهُ نَفْسَهُ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ الْمَصِيرُ}

Translation: {Let not believers take disbelievers as allies rather than believers. And whoever [of you] does that has nothing with Allah, except when taking precaution against them in prudence. And Allah warns you of Himself and to Allah is the [final] destination} [Al-`Emran:28]. And the verse:

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاء مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَتُرِيدُونَ أَن تَجْعَلُواْ لِلَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ سُلْطَانًا مُّبِينًا }

Translation: {O you who have believed, do not take the disbelievers as allies instead of the believers. Do you wish to give Allah against yourselves a clear case?} [AniNisaa:144].

Those fanatics quoted these verses and the like as evidence for bigotry of Islam against Christians, even if they are citizens of the Muslim state.

In fact, such verses have a completly different signification which is easily understood by those who studied the reasons of revelation of these verses and the rules of forming the Muslim state at the time of the Prophet (PBUH). It is manifested in the following:

1- The related forbidding is limited to those known as certain group distinguished by their own beliefs, dogmas, thoughts and cermonies that is Jews or Christians or the like, not as neighbors, colleagues or citizens. It is duty upon every Muslim to be ally only to the Muslim nation, thus the forbidding mentioned earlier means that a Muslim is forbidden to court non-Muslims against Muslims.

It is granted that no religion or man-made system approves it for its followers to be ally to other group other than to which he is ascribed, which is known in nationalism language as 'Treason'.

2- The alliance prohibited by the verses is not applied to all non-Muslims in general, even if he were to be peaceful to Muslims or Dhimmy (protected non-Muslim living under Islamic rule), however, it is applied to inflicting harm to Muslims or opposing Allah and His Messenger. This is manifested by the following:

A- The verse:

{لا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ }

Translation: {You will not find a people, who believe in Allah and the Last Day having affection for those who oppose Allah and His Messenger} [Al-Mujadalah:22]. Opposing Allah and His Messenger is not restricted to disbelief in them only; rather it extends to opposing their call and confronting it and doing harm to its adherents.

B- In the beginning of the chapter titled Al-Mumtahanah:

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تَتَّخِذُوا عَدُوِّي وَعَدُوَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاء تُلْقُونَ إِلَيْهِم بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَقَدْ كَفَرُوا بِمَا جَاءَكُم مِّنَ الْحَقِّ يُخْرِجُونَ الرَّسُولَ وَإِيَّاكُمْ أَن تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ رَبِّكُمْ}

Translation: {O you who have believed, do not take My enemies and your enemies as allies, extending to them affection while they have disbelieved in what came to you of the truth, having driven out the Prophet and yourselves [only] because you believe in Allah, your Lord} [Al-Mumtahanah:1]. The verse unveils the reason of prohibiting alliance or showing cordiality to polytheists, for being disbelievers in Islam and for driving out Muslims and the Messengers of their homes unjustly.

C- In the same chapter:

{لا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ . إِنَّمَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ قَاتَلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَأَخْرَجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ وَظَاهَرُوا عَلَى إِخْرَاجِكُمْ أَن تَوَلَّوْهُمْ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُمْ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ}

Translation: {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.  Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion - [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, and then it is those who are the wrongdoers} [Al-Mumtahanah:8-9]. Allah classified non-Muslims into two groups:

  • Those who were peaceful to Muslims and did not fight them in terms of Islam or expelle them from their homes, thus, they have the right to be approached in kindness and justice by Muslims.
  • Those who went confronting Muslims, killing them, driving Muslims out of their homes or supporting in doing so, thus, it is forbidden for Muslims to show alliance to this kind, like polytheists of Mecca who severely punished Muslims. The text signifies that it is not forbidden to show alliance to the former kind.

3- Islam made it permissible for Muslims to marry women of the people of the Book. The marital life is based on the psychological tranquility, affection and mercy as indicated in the verse:

{وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ }

Translation: {And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy} [Ar-Rum:21]. This means that alliance of Muslims to non-Muslims is permissible. How it comes for a Muslims husband to not be kind to his wife, Christian or Jew? Or how it comes for a Muslim not to be kind to his grandmother or grandfather, or his aunt if they were to be Christians?

4- The very plain fact is that Islam gives priority to the religious bond to any other bond, whether it is relative, regional, racial or class. Muslims are brothers and Muslims are one nation, the noble of them is abided by any covenant that may be given by the least of Muslims. Muslims are one party against any other oppressing them. Muslims are attached to each other rather than any disbeliever even if he is a father, son or brother to Muslims.

This condition is not restricted only to Islam, however, it is the nature of any religion and creed and the gospel approves this repeatedly.

5- In addition to the aforementioned, the life-example of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH), his companions and the righteous successors present the practical evidence for what has been mentioned before. This book "Future of Christians in the Muslim state" is full of situations and examples to the great dealing of the Prophet with non-Muslims of the different dogmas and races.

Without hesitation, one can be assured that there is no law ordained its adherents to be kind to others like Islam did, which is strong evidence that it is a religion revealed by Allah, Lord of the worlds.

Source: "Future of Christians in the Muslim state" by Dr. Ragheb El-Sergany.

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