Dr. Abdullah ibn al-Mahfouz ibn Bayyah, former Mauritanian justice minister and vice chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, was asked about his opinion concerning ending boycott of Arla, a Danish company, as recommended by the conference held in Bahrain. He answered:
All praise is due to Allah. Peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah and upon all his Companions. I see that the boycott should be lifted of this company. I expressed this point of view in a conference held in Bahrain that combined scholars, intellectuals, and researchers. It is based on the following reason:
1. The general principle stated in the Quranic verse “And no laden soul shall carry the load of another”. The other verse in the chapter of al-Najm reads “Or is it that he has not been told of what was in the Scriptures of Moses and of Abraham- who proved ever true [to his Lord’s word: That no laden soul shall carry the load of another; and that there is nothing for a person except that for which he strives.” This principle is found in all heavenly legislations and in all human laws.
2. I believe that the apology presented by the company, along with its renouncement of what these people did, is enough, when added to the first reason, to lift boycott of this company.
3. Taking interests into consideration, we should deal with reasonable persons who desire to build good relations and treatments. We should deal with them equally and should stretch our hands to those who stretch their hands to us. The basic principle in the relations is to have kind and equitable treatment with those who do not fight us or launch war against us- be it verbal or military war. Almighty Allah says “Allah does not forbid you from [honorable relations with] those who have not fought you over religion, nor expelled you from your dwellings- that you relate kindly and equitably with them. Indeed, Allah loves those who are just.” This company did not do harm against us and consequently, it deserves our kind and equitable treatment.
4. Forgiving, pardoning, tolerance, and kind treatment are values and principles beyond doubts in Islam.
Through our conduct and behavior and through stretching our hands to others we can embody these values. Conversely, through our improper conduct we may cause tremendous harms to our interest and our call to Islam which is a call to peace, love, and cordiality. I believe that this attitude is the appropriate one that helps Muslims’ need to create public opinion that deals with the West. If we are to reject every hand stretched to us, this will mean that we will unconsciously provoke others against us, which will be short-sidedness. I believe that this will cause tremendous harm to our interests and will provoke people against us; and thus our call will not reach others and our words will not be listened to. Thus, the interest is to stretch our hands to them.
Finally, I prefer that lifting the boycott should be on the basis of a meeting held between this company and the general secretariat of the conference. This meeting can reach a binding agreement based on some conditions declared by the company that may help in changing the typical image that the West has. This is my opinion. Almighty Allah is the One who says the truth and guides to the right path. Almighty Allah knows best.