Muslims’ relationship with non-muslims

The Islamic teachings are the guidance for the Muslim’s outlook on life. Muslims should do their best to follow the Islamic rules in every aspect of life. It requires a certain attitude and a particular behavior toward other people in society.

A distinctive characteristic of human interaction is needed. Muslims are expected to interact with everyone responsibly, sincerely and in a meaningful way. Sincerity is needed to have a relationship with other people. It leads the Muslim to behave in an open and straightforward manner, and to try to be conscious of the duty and obligation to society.

Islam’s emphasis on fairness and good treatment to all human beings without discrimination is very clear. It does not permit differentiation in the treatment of other people on the basis of religion, colour, race, sex or nationality.

Muslims, who do not treat the minority equal, do not follow the Islamic principles and are not consistent with the history of Islam.
When prophet Mohammed settled down in Medinah, he succeeded to get all inhabitants, Muslims, Jews, Christians and pagan Arabs to enter into some form of a social treaty.

The prophet of Islam said: “Whoever hurts a non Muslim, I shall be his complainant and for whoever I am a complainant, I shall ask for his right on the day of Resurrection.” (Hadith)
He also said: “ Whoever persecutes a non Muslim or demands work from him beyond his capacity or takes something from him with evil intentions, I shall be a complainant against him on the day of Resurrection.”(Hadith)

In Islam the meaning of worship is applying not only to the religious practices such as praying and fasting but everything Muslims do in accordance of the Islamic principles, to satisfy their proper needs and those of their society, is considered worship.
Islam determines the various acts of kindness and arranges the responsibilities and rights of different relationships. In social relationships, the responsibility of the Muslim lies firstly to the family then relatives, neighbours, friends and all other human beings.

Freedom for the Muslims as well as for the non-Muslims is guaranteed by Islamic law, which gives all citizens the right to complete equality and considers their life and property sacred. When Omar, the second Caliph, had learned that some Muslims had taken a piece of land belonging to a Jew, and had built a mosque on it, he ordered the demolition of the mosque and the land was given back the Jew.

Prophet Mohammed said: “ One who hurts a non-Muslim, he hurts me and one who hurts me, hurts God.” (Hadith)
Qur’an says: “… and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.” (16: 125)

Again the prophet said: “ Whoever relieves a human being from a grief of this world, God will relieve him from a grief on the day of judgment.” (Hadith)

So, Islamic teachings concerning social responsibilities are based on kindness and consideration of others. Muslims and non-Muslims alike have the right to live in peace and harmony hence the Islamic constitution ensures justice for all.

Freedom of religious practice, conscience, association, citizenship, law, are some types of guarantees that should be given to the non-Muslims and to minorities living under the protection of an Islamic state.
A great deal on the rights of the non-Muslims has been emphasized in Islam to be enjoyed without any interference, so that any Muslim who violates these rights is considered to be wrong.

The son of the Muslim governor of Egypt once slapped a native Christian when he had raced ahead of him. When the complaint was brought before Omar, the second Caliph, he ordered the son to be beaten by the Christian.
Omar said to the governor: “ How could you make slaves of these people who had been born free?”

Qur’an says: “God does not forbid you, to act fairly towards those who have never fought you over religion nor have driven you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them.” (60:8)

Islamic teachings instruct the Muslims to respect and cooperate with the followers of other religions and treat them equally provided they reciprocate the same feeling.
In the Qur’an special attention has been given to the people of the Book that is Christians and Jews, because their religions are based on the heavenly book, Torah and Bible.
Qur’an says: “ Do not argue with the people of the Book, unless it is in the politest manner.”(29:46)

When Omar entered Jerusalem victoriously, he visited the Holy Church. When the Muslims prayer was due, the Christian Patriarch asked him to perform his prayer in the church. But Omar refused, saying: “ I fear that once I have my prayer in this church, the coming generations of Muslims would say that in this place Omar had performed his prayer and therefore it has to be converted to a mosque. I want the church to remain a church.”

Muslims respect Jesus and acknowledge him as one of God’s messengers. They never refer to him simply as ‘Jesus’ but always add the phrase “peace be upon him” just as they do for prophet Mohammed and prophet Moses.

Qur’an says about Jesus: “ O’ Mary! God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name shall be Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, honoured in this world and the Here after, and one of those brought near to God.” (3:45)

And about Moses, the Qur’an says: “ Also mention in the Book Moses: For he was specially chosen. And he was a messenger and a prophet. And We called him from the right side of Mount (Sinai), and made him draw near to Us.” (19:51-52)

Moreover, a Muslim is allowed to marry a non-Muslim, Christian or Jew, and should give her the liberty to practice her religion without interfering or questioning her going to the church or to synagogue or drinking alcohol or practicing any other customs.
In addition to that, non-Muslims living in the Islamic states have the right of practicing their own customs such as eating pork and drinking alcohol, which are forbidden to Muslims.

Qur’an says: “This day, are all things good an pure made lawful to 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.” (5:6)

Authors Details: Fathy Fares C/o


2 Responses to “Muslims’ relationship with non-muslims”

  1. Firaz Nawaz

    Salams to you Sir,

    Prophet Mohammed said: “ One who hurts a non-Muslim, he hurts me and one who hurts me, hurts God.” (Hadith)

    Kindly assist me by providing the Hadith Reference of above quote.

    Wassalam! Firaz Nawaz

    1. Al Khateeb, Abu Dawood, Al Baihaqi and Tabarani p 467. See also Al-Sunnan al Kubra Vol.5 P. 205.
      See also Dr Yousef El-Karadawy, the President of the Muslim Ulama of the Islamic World, in his book Al Halal and Al Haram in Islam.(Arabic) P. 328, 329.
      by the way, these sources apply to the three Hadith(s) I have mentioned in my article.

      Fathy Fares


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