Islam is always a hot topic for discussion when it comes to dealing with the non-followers of any faith; because Islam is always believed to be unkind religion when dealing with non-Muslims. There is a lot of misinformation and propaganda spreading through the media to defame Islam. Since Islam has not been an influential power during this period of history, it makes the enemies of Islam to utilize this fact to deprecate the image of Islam. However, as history has witnessed from the great times of Islamic sovereignty, Islam is a peaceful, trustful and a just system, even under conflicting situations. Islam today is no less applicable to human beings than it was at the time of sovereignty, and it can still prove to be the best religion for human beings today.
Islam provides us with a clear picture of how to deal with our enemies, those in war, those who signed pacts with the Muslims, those who are friends, and those of the people of the book (i.e. Jews and Christians) living under the rule of Islam. Let’s go through some examples that illustrate Islam’s dealing with non-Muslims.
Huzaifa ibn Al-Yamaan RAA reported an incident that is recorded in Sahih Muslim; that when the infidels of Makkah were preparing for the battle of Badr with the Muslims in Madinah, Huzaifa and his father were trying to migrate to Madinah but they were caught by the infidels. They questioned Huzaifa whether he, along with his father, was going to fight with the Muslims in Madinah, so Huzaifa answered negative to save his life and to successfully migrate. So the infidels took an oath from Huzaifa and his father not to fight with the Muslims in Madinah. After getting to Madinah, Huzaifa asked the prophet of the possibility of breaking the oath and fighting along with the Muslims. Prophet Muhammad SAW replied and said, “Both of you leave (i.e. do not fight with us). We will fulfill our oath to them, and ask Allah’s help to defeat them.” As you can clearly see, Islam respects agreements between Muslims and non-Muslims even under war situations.
Let’s see another example, this time it is from Caliph Omar ibn Al-Khattab’s time, where a soldier, not even a leader, in a large army under the leadership of Abu Ubaidah ibn Al-Jarraah RAA promised peace to a village in Iraq and then told his leader about it. Abu Ubaidah RAA sent a message to Omar RAA right away asking him what to do in this situation. Omar replied by saying, “fulfillment of a promise is dignified in the sight of Allah, and you will not be faithful to Allah if you do not fulfill promises made to others. So, fulfill that promise of peace and ask Allah’s help.” This again, is from a war situation. This incident shows much value Islam has for every person, even if he does not hold a high ranking. Omar showed Islam in practice, rather than just talking about Islam in theory.
At the time of Caliph Omar ibn Abdul Aziz, the army of Islam conquered the city of Samarqand in Uzbekistan. However, the army did not give to the people the choices of accepting Islam, living under the protection of Islam and paying taxes, or fighting; rather they took over the city by a surprise attack. So the people of that city considered that to be unfair, and sent a message to Omar ibn Abdul Aziz complaining about that action of the army, and demanding the army to retreat from the city. Omar commanded the army to retreat from the city right away and give everything back to the people as it was before taking over. Eventually, the people of Samarqand city accepted Islam after seeing how respectful Muslims were.
One can also examine how Salahuddin dealt with the crusaders who slaughtered 70,000 people, most of them Muslims, as they conquered Palestine. When Salahuddin got Palestine back, he did not torture his enemies nor did he destruct any worshipping places of any other faiths. The most he did was to regain a mosque that was turned into a horse stable at that time. After defeating the crusader’s army Salahuddin sent his own private doctor with his own medicine to look after his worst enemy, the leader of armies against Salahuddin, King Richard the Lion-Heart.
You may wonder why Muslims deal with those that do not share their beliefs as mentioned in the examples above. The answer lies in the teachings of our beloved prophet Muhammad SAW. He told us to be faithful, respectful and merciful to other human beings. He strongly condemned betrayal of oaths and peace promises for example, as mentioned in the 2nd volume of Albani’s verified authentic ahadith book, where the prophet said, “If a Muslim gives some person a promise of peace, and then kills him, I will deny my responsibility about him (Ana minhu Baree’), even if the one who got killed is a Kafir (non-Believer).”
Those were some glimpses from Islamic History to show the real image of Islam, which completely contradicts with what is portrayed by the media in this society. All of us must try to understand Islam from its original sources, and do not accept anybody talking about Islam to be true. Islam was, is and will stay the best way of living for the human beings, and there are more than enough reasons to study Islam more to find out why it is so.