Relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims

Article translated to : العربية Español

systems in the islamic civilization were not confined only to addressing muslims and non-muslims' affairs in the islamic state, but were also concerned with organizing relations between muslims and other peoples and countries. in this regard, it had bases and principles for such relations. this was the case in the state of peace and war. these are the cases in which the glory of islamic civilization is manifested and its human nature becomes lofty.

islam is the religion of peace

peace is really the origin of islam. allah, exalted be he, commended his believing slaves who believed in his messenger, saying: {o ye who believe! enter into islam [peace] whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the evil one; for he is to you an avowed enemy.} [al-baqara:208], peace here is islam[1]. islam was expressed in the word “peace” because it is peace for man, himself, his home, society and for those surrounding him; it is the religion of peace.

it is no wonder to find that the word islam is derived from (peace) and that peace is one of the most prominent islamic principles, if not the most prominent at all. moreover, it can amount to a synonym of islam itself, on the grounds of the origin of the language material[2].

peace in islam is the original state that makes preparations for cooperation, acquaintance and promulgating good among people in general. if non-muslims maintained the state of peace, islam views them, together with muslims, as brothers in humanity[3]. safety is a constant between muslims and others, not based on efforts or contract, but rather on the basis that peace is the origin and as long as no aggression on muslims emerged and destroyed such a basis[4].

relationship between muslims and non-muslim peoples
it is incumbent upon muslims to establish a relationship based on cordiality and love with followers of other religions and non-muslim peoples in order to achieve such a human brotherly relation and in compliance with such a holy quranic verse {o mankind! we created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other)}[al-hujurat:13]. such multiplicity of peoples does not aim at hostility or destruction; but rather it is a reason for knowing, liking and sharing mutual love with each other[5].

this trend is supported by many quranic verses that ordered to make peace with non-muslims if they showed readiness and inclination to peace and reconciliation; almighty allah says: {but if the enemy inclines towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in allah.}[al-anfal:61]. such a noble verse categorically proves how muslims love and prefer peace to war; whenever enemies inclines towards peace, muslims accept it unless such peace encompasses loss of muslims’ rights or usurpation of their will.

al-suddy[6]and ibn zayd[7]said: such a verse means: if they invited you to make peace, answer their invitation[8]. the next verse emphasizes islam is keen on achieving peace even if enemies showed peace and harbored treason. almighty allah says speaking to his noble messenger: {should they intend to deceive thee,- verily allah sufficeth thee: he it is that hath strengthened thee with his aid and with (the company of) the believers.}[al-anfar:62]. this means that allah is sufficient to protect you.[9]

the messenger, peace be upon him (pbuh), regarded peace as a thing muslim should be keen on and ask allah to grant him. the prophet, pbuh, said in his supplication: “oh my god, i ask you to grant me soundness in this world and in the hereafter…”[10].the prophet, moreover, delivered a sermon to his companions, saying: “do not wish to meet the enemy and ask allah soundness, but when you meet (face) the enemy, be patient."[11]. the prophet, pbuh, used to hate the word of war; he said: “the most pleasant names to allah: abdullah and abdul-rahman, and the most faithful: harith and hammam, and the ugliest: harb (war) and murrah.”[12]


[1]miraculous quran tafsir, ibn kathir, 1/565.

[2]mohamed al-sadeq al-afify al-islam wal-ilaqat al-dawliyah [islam and international relations], page 106- zhafir al-qasimy al-jihad wal-huquq al-dawliyah fil-islam [jihad and international rights in islam], page 151

[3]mahmud shaltut al-islam aqida wa sharia [islam is belief and sharia], page 453

[4]- sobhi al saleh: al nozom al islamiya: nashatha wa-tatourha, (islamic systems), page 520.

[5]gadul-haqq al-azhar magazine, december 1993, page 810.

[6]al-suddy: is ismail ibn abdul-rahman al-suddy (died in 128 a.h./ 745 ad). he was a follower to the prophet companions from the arabian peninsula and lived in al-kufa. ibn taghry bardy said about him: “the owner of quran explanation, muslim conquests and biographies. he was an imam who knew facts and days of people. al-nugum al-zahira, ibn taghry bardy, 1/390.

[7]ibn zayd is abdul-rahman ibn zayd ibn aslam (died in 170 ah/786 ad). he is a religious jurist who expounded quran. he authored books “al-nasikh wal-mansukh” and “al-tafsir”. he died at the beginning of harun al-rashid’s caliphate; look at al-fihrist, ibn al-nadim, 1/315.

[8]- see: al qurtobi: al jamea le ahkam al quran, 4/398,399

[9]- ibid, 4/400

[10] abu-dawud, book of rules of conduct, the section of what is said at morning (5074), ibn maja (3871), ahmed (4785), shu‘aib al-arana’ut said: good isnad (chain of narrators of a hadeeth) and reliable narrators, ibn hibban (961), narrated by al-bukhary in separate rules of conduct (1200), al-tabarani in the grand lexicon (13296), al-nasa’i in the great sunnahs (10401), authenticated by al-albany, see: sahih wa da’if sunnan abu dawud (5074).

[11]al-bukhary, book of jihad and marching, the chapter of “if the prophet (pbuh) did not fight at the beginning of the day…” (2804), sahih muslim: book of jihad and marching, the chapter of “dislike of wishing to meet the enemy and order to be patient at meeting” (1742)

[12]abu-dawud: book of rules of conduct, chapter of changing names (4950), al-nasa’i (3568), ahmed (19054), al-bukhary in separate rules of conduct (814), authenticated by al-albany, see: al-silsila al-sahihah (authenticated series) (1040).

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