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How should we treat non-Muslims?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

How should we treat non-Muslims?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

There are two aspects of a Muslim:

a)     Beliefs (Aqa`id)

b)    Character and conduct

As Muslims, we are required to protect our beliefs and values and we should not compromise on that. Islam is a practical religion which is based on discipline and moderation.

Whilst we do not compromise in our faith and we don’t forego our principles in pleasing others, we should demonstrate the highest ethics and character in all our dealings and interactions with both Muslims and non-Muslims.

The Glorious Qur’an states:

لا ينهاكم الله عن الذين لم يقاتلوكم في الدين ولم يخرجوكم من دياركم أن تبروهم وتقسطوا إليهم إن الله يحب المقسطين

Translation: Allah does not forbid you with regards to those who did not war against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes, that you show them kindness and deal justly with them. Verily, Allah love those who are fair. [60: 8]

In regards to this verse, it is reported that:

أن أسماء سألت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم عن أم لها مشركة جاءتني أأصلها؟ قال: نعم صليها

Translation: Asma`, the sister-in-law of Prophet Muhammad (peace and salutations be upon him), asked him about her mother, an idolater, who had come to visit her in Madinah: “Should I keep (good) ties with her?” He (peace be upon him) replied: “Keep (good) ties with her.” (Ahkamul Quran: 9/52) [1]  

Our firmness and steadfastness to the faith does not mean that we cannot demonstrate good conduct to non-Muslims and others. The Glorious Qur’an clearly specifies what our conduct should be to others when it discusses how a Muslim should behave with his non-Muslim parents:

إِن جَاهَدَاكَ عَلى أَن تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًا

Translation: “If they put pressure on you to associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them. Yet, keep their company in the world in kindness. [Al-Qur’an, 31:15]

Furthermore, as mentioned in the Qur’anic verse above, Allah Ta’āla urges justice and fairness towards even non-Muslims.

The Qur’an also states:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاء لِلّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَى أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالأَقْرَبِينَ

Translation: O you who believe, be upholders of justice, witnesses for Allah, even though against (the interest of) your selves or parents, and kinsmen. [4:135]

This good conduct is also illustrated in the lives of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) too.

It is recorded in Sahih al-Bukhāri that a group of the companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) were surrounded and most of them were killed. One of them, Khubayb ibn ‘Adiyy (Radiyallahu Anhu), was taken captive, and it was decided he would be executed. In his captor’s house, the day before his execution, he was given a blade to remove unwanted hair. A child of the house came to him and Khubayb sat the child on his lap (out of compassion). When the child’s mother saw this, she feared for the boy. Khubayb could have threatened the child’s life as a plan to escape. Yet, he said: “Do you fear that I will kill him? I am not one to do this!” The woman relates that she never saw a captive better than Khubayb.[2]

The companion of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al ‘As (Radiyallahu Anhu), refused to partake of meat served by his family until some of it was shared with his Jewish neighbor. He explained that this was because he heard the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) say: “Gabriel kept advising me regarding the neighbor until I thought he will make him an heir.”[3]

There are also various Ahadith from Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) which urge the believers to exemplify good conduct and not to demonstrate unfair and unjust character:

ألا من ظلم معاهدا أو انتقصه أو كلفه فوق طاقته أو أخذ منه شيئا بغير طيب نفس، فأنا حجيجه يوم القيامة

Translation: “Beware! The one who oppresses a person under a covenant (with Muslims) or dishonors him or burdens him beyond his capacity or takes anything from him without his consent, I will be his disputant on the Day of Resurrection.” [Sunan Abi Dawood][4]

من لا يرحم الناس لا يرحمه الله

Translation: The one that does not show mercy to people, Allah will not show him mercy. [Sunan At-Tirmidhi][5]

المسلم من سلم الناس من لسانه ويده

Translation: The Muslim is the one from whom the people are safe from his hand and tongue [Sunan an-Nasa`i][6]

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Abdullah Syed Sajid

Student Darul Iftaa         
Houston, TX, USA 

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.


[3]  سنن الترمذي ت شاكر (4/ 333) 

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الأَعْلَى قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ بْنُ عُيَيْنَةَ، عَنْ دَاوُدَ بْنِ شَابُورَ، وَبَشِيرٍ أَبِي إِسْمَاعِيلَ، عَنْ مُجَاهِدٍ، أَنَّ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ عَمْرٍو ذُبِحَتْ لَهُ شَاةٌ فِي أَهْلِهِ، فَلَمَّا جَاءَ قَالَ: أَهْدَيْتُمْ لِجَارِنَا اليَهُودِيِّ؟ أَهْدَيْتُمْ لِجَارِنَا اليَهُودِيِّ؟ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ: مَا زَالَ جِبْرِيلُ يُوصِينِي بِالجَارِ حَتَّى ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ سَيُوَرِّثُهُ 

[4] سنن أبي داود (3/ 170) 

حَدَّثَنَا سُلَيْمَانُ بْنُ دَاوُدَ الْمَهْرِيُّ، أَخْبَرَنَا ابْنُ وَهْبٍ، حَدَّثَنِي [ص:171] أَبُو صَخْرٍ الْمَدِينِيُّ، أَنَّ صَفْوَانَ بْنَ سُلَيْمٍ، أَخْبَرَهُ عَنْ عِدَّةٍ، مِنْ أَبْنَاءِ أَصْحَابِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، عَنْ آبَائِهِمْ دِنْيَةً عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: أَلَا مَنْ ظَلَمَ مُعَاهِدًا، أَوِ انْتَقَصَهُ، أَوْ كَلَّفَهُ فَوْقَ طَاقَتِهِ، أَوْ أَخَذَ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا بِغَيْرِ طِيبِ نَفْسٍ، فَأَنَا حَجِيجُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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