Freedom of Worship: It is one function of Islamic law to protect the privileged status of minorities, and this is why non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world. Muslims during their rule granted freedom of worship to all religious communities in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Throughout the Muslim world, churches, synagogues and missionary schools were built within the Muslim neighborhoods. These places were protected by Muslims even during the contemporary crises in the Middle East. Qur’an is very specific:
“Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another there would surely have been pulled down monasteries churches synagogues and mosques in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid His (cause); for verily Allah is Full of Strength Exalted in Might (Able to enforce His Will).”(Qur’an;22:40)
While throughout Europe and America, Muslims are not permitted to make the call to prayer (adhan) on loud speakers, church bells ring freely in the Muslim world. Exception is Saudi Arabia, which is sacred to Muslims more that Vatican to Roman Catholics. The sacred sites are forbidden for the non Muslims on Divine command. Recently in Switzerland the constructing minaret for the mosque has been stopped. In USA, there is great opposition to plan of constructing a mosque in proposed Islamic cultural center few blocks away from ground zero.
Marriage with Women of People of the Book : Islam is not exclusive faith, social intercourse, including food and inter-marriage, is permitted with the People of the Book. According to Qur’an: “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).” (Qur’an;5:5).
Racisms Rejected: Any man or woman, of any race or faith, may, on accepting Islam, freely marry any Muslim woman or man, provided it be from motives of purity and chastity and not of lewdness. As always, food, cleanliness, social intercourse, marriage and other interests in life, are linked with the duty to Allah and faith in Him. Duty and faith are for individual’s own benefit, here and in the Hereafter.
Reward of Good Deeds of Non Believers: Islam looks after the interest of non believers with justice, the good deeds of non-believer will not be wasted. Narrated Anas ibn Malik: Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) said about reward for a non-believer:
That he (unbeliever) would be made to taste the reward (of virtue in this world). (Sahih Muslim Hadith:1305).
The children of minorities (non-Muslims), are similar to the children of Muslims with respect to their entry into Paradise.(Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Fiqh 4.89a).
Social Courtesies : There are other social courtesies which Muslims are urged to extend to non Muslims: like the respect is to be extended to the non Muslim deceased;(Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith:2.399). Condolences are desirable, even if the deceased was a non-Muslim. It is permissible for a Muslim to visit a sick non-Muslim person.(Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Fiqh 4.5). The strong emphasis placed on the need to behave with equity towards minorities has been heeded by Muslims throughout the ages. Minorities in the Muslim State have always enjoyed a fair and kind treatment by the Muslim majority. On the personal level, there is nothing to stop any Muslim from forging a friendship with non-Muslims who harbor no ill intentions against Islam or its followers.
Tolerance and Moderation: Tolerance and moderation is the hallmark of Islam. Tolerance and moderation is the hallmark of Islam, Allah says :
“We have made you (Muslims) a community of the middle way (keeping balance in extremes) so that you may testify against mankind and that your own Messenger may testify against you.”(Qur’an;2:143).
Human life of Muslims and non Muslims alike, has a very high place in Islam, Allah says:
“whoever kills a person, except as a punishment for murder or mischief in the land (through judiciary), it will be written in his book of deeds as if he had killed the mankind and whoever will save a life shall be regarded as if he gave life to all the mankind.”(Qur’an;5:32).
Killing is only permitted in state of war or through judiciary if some one commits some crime warranting such punishment.
The English educationist and historian, Thomas Arnold observed:
‘During the Muslim rule, on the whole, the level of tolerance exhibited towards non Muslims was missing in Europe till modern times’.
Marmaduke Pickthall observed:
“It was not until the Western nations broke away from their religious law that they became more tolerant, and it was only when the Muslims fell away from their religious law that they declined in tolerance”.
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