Islam and other religions

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Over the centuries of Islamic history, Muslim rulers, Islamic scholars, and ordinary Muslims have held many different attitudes towards other religions. Attitudes have varied according to time, place and circumstance.

Quotes[edit]

  • Islam stands in a long line of Semitic, prophetic religious traditions that share an uncompromising monotheism, and belief in God's revelation, His prophets, ethical responsibility and accountability, and the Day of Judgement. Indeed, Muslims, like Christians and Jews, are the Children of Abraham, since all trace their communities back to him. Islam's historic religious and political relationship to Christendom and Judaism has remained strong throughout history. This interaction has been the source of mutual benefit.
  • In many ways, local populations found Muslim rule more flexible and tolerant than that of Byzantium and Persia. Religious communities were free to practice their faith—to worship and be governed by their religious leaders and laws in such areas as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In exchange, they were required to pay tribute, a poll tax (jizya) that entitled them to Muslim protection from outside aggression and exempted them from military service. Thus, they were called the “protected ones” (dhimmi). In effect, this often meant lower taxes, greater local autonomy.
  • I have informed myself better about Buddhism and I found that, unlike Muslims, with their an-eye-for-an-eye and a-tooth-for-a-tooth, and unlike Christians who speak of forgiveness but invented Hell, Buddhists never use the word "enemy". I have found that they have never made converts with violence, they have never made territorial conquests through the pretext of religion, and they don't have the concept of Holy War. Some deny this. They deny that Buddhism is a peaceful religion... Each family includes people of bad character. But even they recognize that the bad character of those warrior monks was not used to proselytize, and admit that the history of Buddhism does not record a ferocious Saladin or popes like Leo IX or Urban II or Innocent II or Pius II or Julius II... Yet the children of Allah also fight the Buddhists. They blow up their statues, they prevent them from practising their religion.
  • Even a little knowledge of Islam will show that its religion is not only tolerant of other faiths, but most respectful, and, indeed, fully accepts the divine inspiration of all theistic faiths that came before Islam. It does not only teach tolerance to its followers, but goes a step further and enjoins on them all to create the godly quality of Hilm, that is, tolerance, forbearance, patience, calmness, and forgiveness. It is due to the spirit of tolerance of Islam that even the smallest Christian and Jewish minorities survived and kept all their doctrines during the thousand years of Muslim rule. Nothing like what happened to Muslims in Spain after the Christian conquest has ever happened to a non-Muslim faith in any Islamic dominion.
    • Aga Khan III, Aga Khan III, Selected Speeches and Writings of Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Edited by K.K. Aziz, Kegan Paul International, 1997, Vol II, pp 1282.
  • Children of any religion who have true faith must realize that God is the only One who knows all of everything. Therefore, only God can judge whether a person has faith, certitude, and determination or not and whether a person lives with that purity that can be called Islam or not. No one else can give that judgment. Do not wave your religion like a banner and go out to capture others. Only one kind of war is permissible in the eyes of God: the war you wage within yourself to defeat the demonic forces of lust, anger, jealousy, desire for revenge, and other evil feelings and attributes that may exist within your heart. God has sent each of the prophets as witnesses to the grace of God and as supports to help us in this inner war. This is the reason for the Qur'an. It is to help the true Muslim fight this inner battle and win victory over his own base desires that God sent the Messenger with the Qur'an.
  • I studied the Koran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. So far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself.
  • It is here that Indians build temples for Mohammedans and Christians; nowhere else. If you go to other countries and ask Mohammedans or people of other religions to build a temple for you, see how they will help. They will instead try to break down your temple and you too if they can.
    • Swami Vivekananda. Complete Works (3.114)
  • To the Mussulman, the Jews or the Christians are not object of extreme detestation; they are at the worst, men of little faith; but not so the Hindu. According to him the Hindu is idolatrous, the hateful Kafir. Hence in this life he deserves to be butchered and in the next, eternal hell is in store for him. The utmost the Mussulman kings could do as a favour to the (Hindu) priestly class - the spiritual guides of these Kafirs - was to allow them somehow to pass their life silently and wait for the last moment. This was again sometimes considered too much kindness. If the religious ardour of any king was a little more uncommon, there would immediately follow arrangements for a great Yajna by way of Kafir- slaughter.
    • Swami Vivekananda. Complete Works (4.446)

Quran[edit]

The Holy Qur'an: Text, Translation and Commentary (3rd edition, 1938) by Abdullah Yusuf Ali.
  • The Jews say: "The Christians have naught (to stand) upon; and the Christians say: "The Jews have naught (To stand) upon." Yet they (Profess to) study the (same) Book. Like unto their word is what those say who know not; but God will judge between them in their quarrel on the Day of Judgment.
    • al-Baqara 2:113
  • Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand- hold, that never breaks. And God heareth and knoweth all things.
    • al-Baqara 2:256
  • They say: "Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (To salvation)." Say thou: "Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with God." Say ye: "We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to God (in Islam)." So if they believe as ye believe, they are indeed on the right path; but if they turn back, it is they who are in schism; but God will suffice thee as against them, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. (Our religion is) the Baptism of God: And who can baptize better than God? And it is He Whom we worship. Say: Will ye dispute with us about God, seeing that He is our Lord and your Lord; that we are responsible for our doings and ye for yours; and that We are sincere (in our faith) in Him. Or do ye say that Abraham, Isma'il Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Do ye know better than God? Ah! who is more unjust than those who conceal the testimony they have from God? but God is not unmindful of what ye do. That was a people that hath passed away. They shall reap the fruit of what they did, and ye of what ye do! Of their merits there is no question in your case.
    • al-Baqara 2:135-141
  • Say: "O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God." If then they turn back, say ye: "Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to God's Will)
    • al-Imran 3:64
  • Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration.
    • al-Imran 3:113
  • And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book, those who believe in God, in the revelation to you, and in the revelation to them, bowing in humility to God: They will not sell the Signs of God for a miserable gain! For them is a reward with their Lord, and God is swift in account.
    • al-Imran 3:119
  • This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto 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,- when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues if any one rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good).
    • al-Ma`idah 5:5
  • (Both) the Jews and the Christians say: "We are sons of God, and his beloved." Say: "Why then doth He punish you for your sins? Nay, ye are but men,- of the men he hath created: He forgiveth whom He pleaseth, and He punisheth whom He pleaseth: and to God belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between: and unto Him is the final goal (of all)"
    • al-Ma`idah 5:18
  • To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what God hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If God had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to God; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.
    • al-Ma`idah 5:48
  • O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily God guideth not a people unjust.
    • al-Ma`idah 5:51
  • If only the People of the Book had believed and been righteous, We should indeed have blotted out their iniquities and admitted them to gardens of bliss.
    • al-Ma`idah 5:65
  • If only they had stood fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There is from among them a party on the right course: but many of them follow a course that is evil
    • al-Ma`idah 5:66
  • Those who believe (in the Qur'an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians,- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness,- on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
    • al-Ma`idah 5:69
  • Say: "O people of the Book! exceed not in your religion the bounds (of what is proper), trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the vain desires of people who went wrong in times gone by,- who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the even way.
    • al-Ma`idah 5:77
  • Those who believe (in the Qur'an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians, Christians, Magians, and Polytheists,- God will judge between them on the Day of Judgment: for God is witness of all things.
    • al-Hajj 22:17
  • And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, "We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that whic h came down to you; Our God and your God is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam)."
    • al-Ankabut 29:46
  • Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, were not going to depart (from their ways) until there should come to them Clear Evidence,- An apostle from God, rehearsing scriptures kept pure and holy: Wherein are laws (or decrees) right and straight. Nor did the People of the Book make schisms, until after there came to them Clear Evidence. And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship God, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practise regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight. Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures. Those who have faith and do righteous deeds,- they are the best of creatures. Their reward is with God: Gardens of Eternity, beneath which rivers flow; they will dwell therein for ever; God well pleased with them, and they with Him: all this for such as fear their Lord and Cherisher.
    • al-Bayyina 98:1-8

Hadith and other Islamic texts[edit]

  • The Prophet said, "Your example and the example of the people of the two Scriptures (i.e. Jews and Christians) is like the example of a man who employed some laborers and asked them, 'Who will work for me from morning till midday for one Qirat?' The Jews accepted and carried out the work. He then asked, Who will work for me from midday up to the 'Asr prayer for one Qirat?' The Christians accepted and fulfilled the work. He then said, 'Who will work for me from the 'Asr till sunset for two Qirats?' You, Muslims have accepted the offer. The Jews and the Christians got angry and said, 'Why should we work more and get lesser wages?' (Allah) said, 'Have I with-held part of your right?' They replied in the negative. He said, 'It is My Blessing, I bestow upon whomever I wish .'
  • Narrated Ibn Abbas: concerning: "As We sent down (the Scripture) on those who are divided (Jews and Christians)." (15.90) They believed in part of it and disbelieved in the other, (and they) are the Jews and the Christians.
    • Sahih Bukhari, Prophetic Commentary on the Qur'an (Tafseer of the Prophet (pbuh)), Volume 6, Book 60, Number 229, translated by Muhammad Muhsin Khan.
  • Narrated 'Ubaidullah bin `Abdullah:`Abdullah bin `Abbas said, "O the group of Muslims! How can you ask the people of the Scriptures about anything while your Book which Allah has revealed to your Prophet contains the most recent news from Allah and is pure and not distorted? Allah has told you that the people of the Scriptures have changed some of Allah's Books and distorted it and wrote something with their own hands and said, 'This is from Allah, so as to have a minor gain for it. Won't the knowledge that has come to you stop you from asking them? No, by Allah, we have never seen a man from them asking you about that (the Book Al-Qur'an ) which has been revealed to you.
  • The Apostle of Allah said, "I will certainly expel the Jews and the Christians from Arabia "
    • Source: Abu Dawud, Sunan (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 1997), vol. 2, Hadith no. 3024, p. 861.
  • I was told that the last injunction the apostle [Muhammad] gave [before his death] was in his words `Let not two religions be left in the Arabian peninsula."
    • Source: Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, trans. A. Guillaume (1955; reprint, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), p. 689.
  • It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed: By Him in Whose hand is the life of Muhammad, he who amongst the community of Jews or Christians hears about me, but does not affirm his belief in that with which I have been sent and dies in this state (of disbelief), he shall be but one of the denizens of Hell-Fire.
  • Yahya related to me from Malik from Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn Ali from his father that Umar ibn al-Khattab mentioned the magians and said, "I do not know what to do about them." Abd ar-Rahman ibn Awf said, "I bear witness that I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'Follow the same sunna with them that you follow with the people of the Book.'"
    • Muwatta Imam Malik, Zakat, Book 17, Number 17.24.43, translated by `A'isha `Abdarahman at-Tarjumana and Ya`qub Johnson.
  • Abu Musa reported God’s messenger as saying, “When the bier of a Jew, a Christian, or a Muslim passes you, stand up for it. You are not standing for its sake, but for the angels who are accompanying it.”

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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