It shall now be shown on the basis of the above discussion that there are some directives of Islam which are solely related to the divine practice discussed in this treatise. They relate to the direct addressees of Muhammad (sws) who had deliberately denied the truth: they do not relate to other non-Muslims. These directives are nothing but various forms of humiliation and punishment meted out to these people for their crime of intentionally denying the truth. They do not relate to non-Muslims who cannot be identified in this capacity. This identification can only be made by God. In the times of His messengers, He communicated this fact through these messengers. However, with the departure of these messengers, no communication can be established with the Almighty and even though non-Muslims who have deliberately denied the truth may exist today, they cannot be humanly identified.

Hence these directives cannot be related to non-Muslims of today.

Here is a summary of these directives:

i. The Punishment of Apostasy

ii. Waging War against Non-Muslims

iii. Dhimmi Status of Non-Muslim Minorities

iv. Prohibition of Friendship with Non-Muslims

v. The Superiority of Muslim Blood

vi. Greeting Non-Muslims in an Inferior Way

vii. Non-Muslims to be Doomed in the Hereafter

viii. Assassination of Non-Muslims

ix. Prohibition of asking for Forgiveness for Non-Muslims

x. Prohibition of Inheritance between Muslims and Non-Muslims

xi. Prohibition of Testimony of Non-Muslims

xii. Prohibition of Imitating Non-Muslims

xiii.Struggle forthe Supremacy of Islam

I will now elaborate upon each of these:

 

i. The Punishment of Apostasy

According to almost all Muslim jurists,[1] a Muslim who leaves the fold of Islam is punishable by death. They base their verdict on the following Hadith as narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (rta) in the following way:

قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم مَنْ بَدَّلَ دِينَهُ فَاقْتُلُوهُ

The Prophet said: “Execute the people who change their faith.”[2]

In their opinion, the ruling pronounced in this Hadith is regarded to have a general application for all time upon every Muslim who renounces his faith from the times of the Prophet (sws) to the Day of Judgement.

It has been shown in the previous sections that once the Idolaters of Arabia had deliberately denied the message of Muhammad (sws), they were sentenced to death because of this denial:

فَإِذَا انسَلَخَ الْأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمُ فَاقْتُلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدْتُمُوهُمْ وَخُذُوهُمْ وَاحْصُرُوهُمْ وَاقْعُدُوا لَهُمْ كُلَّ مَرْصَدٍ فَإِنْ تَابُوا وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوْا الزَّكَاةَ فَخَلُّوا سَبِيلَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (9 :5)

So when the forbidden months are over, slay the Idolaters wherever you find them. Seize them, surround them and everywhere lie in ambush for them. But if they repent from their wrong beliefs and are diligent in the prayer and pay zakah, then spare their lives. God is Oft-Forgiving and Ever-Merciful. (9:5)

The above quoted Hadith is merely a statement of this law for the Arab Idolaters of the Prophet’s times. It has no application to any other people or nation. It does not even relate to the People of the Book of the Prophet’s times. For reasons already explained, the law for these Idolaters was to either accept faith or face death. Hence, it follows that if a person among the Idolaters after accepting faith reverted to his original state of disbelief, he had to face the same penalty. The following Hadith is of similar meaning also:

عن عبد اللَّهِ بن عُمَرَ قال قال رسول اللَّهِ  صلى الله عليه وسلم أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَشْهَدُوا أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ فَإِذَا فَعَلُوا ذَلِكَ عَصَمُوا مِنِّي دِمَاءَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ إِلَّا بِحَقِّ الْإِسْلَامِ وَحِسَابُهُمْ عَلَى اللَّهِ

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar reports from the Prophet: “I have been directed to fight against these people until they testify to the oneness of God and to the prophethood, of Muhammad, are diligent in the prayer and pay zakah. If they accept these terms, their lives will be spared except if they commit some other violation that entails their execution by Islamic law and [in the Hereafter] their account rests with God.”[3]

The following text of this Hadith clearly shows that by the word الناس (al-nas), the people implied are the mushrikin (the Idolaters of Arabia):

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَتَّى يَشْهَدُوا أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ فَإِذَا شَهِدُوا أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَصَلَّوْا صَلَاتَنَا وَاسْتَقْبَلُوا قِبْلَتَنَا وَأَكَلُوا ذَبَائِحَنَا فَقَدْ حَرُمَتْ عَلَيْنَا دِمَاؤُهُمْ وَأَمْوَالُهُمْ إِلَّا بِحَقِّهَا

Anas ibn Malik reports from the Prophet: “I have been directed to fight against these Idolaters until they testify to the oneness of God and to the fact that Muhammad is His servant and messenger. If they testify to the oneness of God and to the fact that Muhammad is His servant and prophet, are diligent in our prayer and face our qiblah [while praying], and eat our slaughtered animals, their life and wealth we shall hold sacred except if they commit some violation.”[4]

The onslaught launched by the first caliph Abu Bakr (rta) against those who had desisted to pay zakah in his times should also be understood in this perspective. Since, according to Islam, a person who refuses to pay zakah does not legally remain a Muslim, those who had evaded zakah from among the Idolaters had actually reverted to their state of disbelief. About them, the directive was either to accept faith or face death. So, the caliph Abu Bakr (rta) was merely administering the punishment of death upon them.

Consequently, apart from the Idolaters of Arabia of the Prophet’s times, it has no bearing upon any other person or nation.[5]

 

ii. Waging War against Non-Muslims

Authorities are of the opinion that Muslims must fight the polytheist nations as well as the Jews and Christians of today until they subdue them. It is further held that while the polytheist nations must be put to death if they do not accept faith, the Jews and Christians can be allowed to live on with their religions if they submit to Muslim authority by paying jizyah.[6]

The following verses are generally presented in support of this view:

فَإِذَا انسَلَخَ الْأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمُ فَاقْتُلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدْتُمُوهُمْ وَخُذُوهُمْ وَاحْصُرُوهُمْ وَاقْعُدُوا لَهُمْ كُلَّ مَرْصَدٍ فَإِنْ تَابُوا وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوْا الزَّكَاةَ فَخَلُّوا سَبِيلَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (9 :5)

So when the forbidden months are over, slay the Idolaters wherever you find them. Seize them, surround them and everywhere lie in ambush for them. But if they repent from their wrong beliefs and are diligent in the prayer and pay zakah, then spare their lives. God is Oft-Forgiving and Ever-Merciful. (9:5)

قَاتِلُوا الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلَا بِالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَلَا يُحَرِّمُونَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَلَا يَدِينُونَ دِينَ الْحَقِّ مِنْ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ حَتَّى يُعْطُوا الْجِزْيَةَ عَنْ يَدٍ وَهُمْ صَاغِرُونَ (9 :29)

Fight those who believe not in Allah or the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the jizyah after being subdued and live a life of submission. (9:29)

It has been shown in the previous sections that these verses and other verses of similar meaning specifically pertain to the Idolaters, the Jews and the Christians of the Prophet Muhammad’s times. They delineate a divine practice which relates only to the immediate addressees of a messenger of God. The onslaught they mention, as has been discussed earlier, was specific in nature and cannot be extended to people after them. Consequently, the age old debate about whether Islam was spread through the sword or not should also be understood in this perspective. The Companions (rta) of Muhammad (sws) in their collective capacity were only completing a divine scheme of God initiated by Muhammad (sws): in reality, they were not spreading Islam; they were punishing people who had deliberately denied the truth.

Consequently, after them, as has been stated earlier, Muslims have no right to subdue nations and countries in the name of Islam or impose jizyah upon them.

 

iii. The Dhimmi Status of Non-Muslim Minorities

It is held by Muslim authorities that the non-Muslim citizens of an Islamic state are of two categories[7] regarding their citizenship in a state:

(i) Dhimmis, viz. those who live under the rule of an Islamic State on account of being subdued in a battle.

(ii) Musta’mins, viz. non-Muslim residents of Dar al-harb (abode of war) who temporarily reside in Dar al-islam (abode of Islam).

It has been explained in the previous sections that subduing non-Muslims by force is no longer permitted today; waging war against them to punish them for deliberately denying the truth relates to a divine practice pertaining to the immediate and foremost addressees of Muhammad (sws), hence dhimmis and musta’mins are categories of non-Muslims specific to the age of the Prophet (sws) and his Companions (rta). The directives of fiqh related to dhimmis and musta’mins consequently cannot be related to the non-Muslims of today.

The non-Muslim minorities of today living in Muslim countries can only be classified as mu‘ahids (citizens by contract).[8] Keeping in view the general welfare of the state, through mutual consent, any contract can be made with non-Muslims of today regarding their rights. As such, all dealings with them should be according to the terms of the treaty concluded with them.

 

iv. Prohibition of Friendship with Non-Muslims

On the basis of the following verse of the Qur’an, some Muslim scholars[9] are of the view that Muslims should never make friends with non-Muslims; in fact, they should show hostility and venom towards them:

لَا يَتَّخِذْ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ (3:28)

Believers should not make friends with the disbelievers leaving aside the believers. (3:28)

Similar verses read:

يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَتُرِيدُونَ أَنْ تَجْعَلُوا لِلَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ سُلْطَانًا مُبِينًا (4 :144)

Believers! Do not make friends with the disbelievers leaving aside the believers. Do you wish to offer God an open argument against yourselves? (4:144)

يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَى أَوْلِيَاءَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ وَمَنْ يَتَوَلَّهُمْ مِنْكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ (5 :51)

Believers! Take not these Jews and the Christians for your friends. They are but friends to each other. And he amongst you who turns to them [for friendship] is of them. (5:51)

A deliberation on the context of these verses will show that they were revealed in Madinah in that phase of the Prophetic mission in which the Muslims were being told to separate themselves as a collectivity from the non-Muslims. This was so that the latter could be identified as a collectivity that was soon to be visited by divine punishment if they continued to deliberately deny the truth. In other words, if these verses are interpreted in the light of the divine practice discussed in the previous pages, it becomes evident that the alif lam (al-) on al-kafirin (these disbelievers), on al-yahud (these Jews) and on al-nasara (these Christians) refers to the Jews and Christians who were the direct and immediate addressees of Muhammad (sws) and had deliberately denied the truth communicated to them by him.

Consequently, none of these verses relates to the non-Muslims of today.

 

v. The Superiority of Muslim Blood

The following Hadith is presented as evidence to support the view that a Muslim will not be killed if he is guilty of killing a non-Muslim[10] whereas the reverse will be carried out:

عن عَمْرِو بن شُعَيْبٍ عن أبيه عن جَدِّهِ عن النبي لَا يُقْتَلُ مُؤْمِنٌ بِكَافِرٍ

Shu‘ayb ibn Muhammad narrated from his father, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘As who reported from the Prophet: “No Believer will be killed in qisas of a Disbeliever.”[11]

It is evident from another narrative attributed to ‘Ali (rta) that here the word “Disbeliever” signifies an Idolater:

لَا يُقْتَلُ مُسْلِمٌ بِمُشْرِكٍ

No Muslim will be killed in qisas of an Idolater.[12]

It essential to relate this Hadith to its basis in the Qur’an since a Hadith cannot give an independent directive. Thus in accordance with the divine practice mentioned in the Qur’an as discussed in this treatise, after Muhammad’s migration to Madinah, the Idolaters had lost their right to live after having intentionally denied the truth. As a result, this Hadith and other Ahadith of similar meaning are solely related to the Idolaters of the Prophet’s times.[13] This directive has no bearing on the non-Muslims of today.

Consequently, today if a Muslim is guilty of murdering a non-Muslim, he shall certainly be sent to the gallows if he is not forgiven by the family of the slain.

 

vi. Greeting Non-Muslims in an Inferior Way

It is held by many Muslims  that one should not initiate salutations with non-Muslims because this would be showing respect to them. In all probability, their view is based on the following narrative:

عن أبي هُرَيْرَةَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلملَا تَبْدَءُوا الْيَهُودَ وَلَا النَّصَارَى بِالسَّلَامِ

Abu Hurayrah reported from the Prophet: “Don’t initiate salutations to the Jews or the Christians.”[14]

If this narrative is understood in the light of the divine practice discussed in this treatise, one can conclude that this was a form of humiliation for the Jews and Christians of the Prophet’s times who had deliberately denied the truth. This attitude of course cannot be adopted with other non-Muslims.

Even in the time of the Prophet (sws), before the non-Muslims had deliberately rejected the truth, they too were greeted by taking the initiative. In this period, the Prophet (sws) himself said al-salamu ‘alaykum to the non-Muslims of his times:

عن عُرْوَةَ أَنَّ أُسَامَةَ بن زَيْدٍ أخبره أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَرَّ بِمَجْلِسٍ وَفِيهِ أَخْلَاطٌ مِنْ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْيَهُودِ فَسَلَّمَ عَلَيْهِمْ

‘Urwah reports that Usamah ibn Zayd informed him that the Prophet (sws) [once] passed by a mixed gathering of Muslims and Jews and said al-salamu ‘alaykum to them.[15]

 

vii. Non-Muslims to be Doomed in the Hereafter

It is generally held that all non-Muslims will necessarily go to Hell. Verses like the following usually form the basis of this view:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَـابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ فِى نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ خَـالِدِينَ فِيهَآ أَوْلَـئِكَ هُمْ شَرُّ الْبَرِيَّةِ (98 :6)

These Disbelievers among the People of the Book and the Idolaters shall burn for ever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures. (98:6)[16]

Once again, it must be appreciated that these verses speak of the Jews and Christians and the Idolaters of the Prophet Muhammad’s (sws) times, who had knowingly denied the truth. According to the divine practice discussed in the previous pages, such non-Muslims were condemned to this fate. As far as the non-Muslims of later times are concerned, they will meet this fate only if they are not sincere seekers of the truth and also deny the truth in spite of being convinced about it.

 

viii. Assassination of Non-Muslims

One of the arguments on the basis of which it is held that blasphemy is punishable by death is the assassination of certain non-Muslims of the Prophet’s times who had allegedly blasphemed against Allah and the Prophet (sws).[17] Thus, for example, Abu Rafi‘ and Ka‘b ibn Ashraf were put to death in their houses.[18]

If all these cases are analyzed, it comes to light that this conclusion is incorrect.

Once again we are faced with a situation in which the people assassinated are those who, as per the divine practice discussed in this treatise, had already become punishable by death once they had intentionally denied the truth after the Prophet’s migration to Madinah. While most of them were given more time and respite to contemplate on the consequences of their denial, those among them who assumed the role of active adversaries and were spreading disorder and anarchy in the society were punished by death after they were repeatedly warned of their highly antagonizing behaviour.

While describing the details of three prominent non-Muslims who were put to death for being active adversaries of Islam and the Prophet (sws), Ghamidi writes:

Abu Rafi‘ was one of those people who were guilty of bringing out the tribes against Madinah in Ghazwah-i Khandaq (Battle of the Ditch). In Ibn Isḥaq’s words: فِيْمَنْ حَزَّبَ الأَحْزَابَ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْه وَ سَلَّم. About Ka‘b ibn Ashraf, the historians write that after Ghazwah-e Badar (Battle of Badar), he went to Makkah and recited vengeance inspiring elegies for those of the Quraysh who had fallen in battle, wrote odes (tashbib) that prefaced the names of some Muslim women and caused much distress to Muslims, and, while residing in the domain of the Prophet’s government, endeavoured to incite people against him. Some narratives describe that he even went to the extent of devising deception to assassinate the Prophet (sws). ‘Abd Allah ibn Khaṭal was sent forzakah(obligatory alms) collection by the Prophet (sws). He was accompanied by a person from amongst the Anṣar and a servant. On the way, Ibn Khaṭal killed the servant on the pretext of insubordination, became an apostate, and ran away to Makkah. Not only this; all three people mentioned here persisted in their denial of the Prophet (sws) even after the truth of his message had become conclusively evident to them.[19]

 

ix. Prohibition of asking for Forgiveness for Non-Muslims

A common perception among Muslims is that the following verse of the Qur’an has stopped them from asking the Almighty for forgiveness of non-Muslims:

مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُوا لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا أُوْلِي قُرْبَى مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ (9 :113)

It is not proper for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allah’s Forgiveness for the mushrikun, even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of the Fire. (9:113)

Again, it needs to be appreciated, as the verse itself clarifies, that the Idolaters of Arabia of the Prophet’s times were condemned to Hell because of their persistence in denying the truth in spite of being convinced about it. It was such people about whom, as per the divine practice discussed earlier, the Prophet (sws) and the Muslims were stopped from praying and asking forgiveness. Hence, this verse does not relate to non-Muslims of times after the Prophet (sws) and his Companions (rta).

 

x. Prohibition of Inheritance between Muslims and Non-Muslims

On the basis of the following narrative, there are scholars who are of the view that Muslims and non-Muslims cannot mutually inherit from one another:[20]

عن أُسَامَةَ بن زَيْدٍ رضي الله عنهما أَنَّ النبي  صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ لَا يَرِثُ الْمُسْلِمُ الْكَافِرَ وَلَا الْكَافِرُ الْمُسْلِمَ

Usamah ibn Zayd reported that the Prophet said: “A Muslim cannot be an heir to aDisbeliever nor can a Disbeliever be a Muslim’s.”[21]

Today with numerous conversions taking place all over the world, this issue has become very relevant as often a family ends up in a situation in which one blood relative has entered the fold of Islam.

If this Hadith is understood in the light of the divine practice discussed in the foregoing pages, one can see that the article alif lam is appended to the word al-kafir. Giving due consideration to this, an accurate translation of this word would be “such a Disbeliever”. This, in other words, would refer to the Disbelievers of the times of Muhammad (sws) who had deliberately denied the truth.[22] Now, according to the Qur’an (4:12), the basis of inheritance between relatives is “benefit of kinship”. If a lack of this benefit is diagnosed in some relations, then the matter of inheritance will be severed between them. After a deliberate denial of the truth by the Quraysh and the People of the Book, this “benefit of kinship” no longer existed between them and the Muslims. Hence, they could not inherit from one another.

In other words, this directive is only related to the direct addressees of the Prophet (sws), and has no bearing on later non-Muslims.

 

xi. Prohibition of Testimony of Non-Muslims

There is a consensus among Muslim scholars that the testimony of non-Muslims is inadmissible except in cases of will testaments. The reason for this is that the Qur’an (2:281) has asked Muslims to take only those people as witnesses who are their favoured ones, and surely the disbelievers cannot be regarded in this category.[23]

Here again the disbelievers under discussion are the ones who as per the divine practice discussed in this treatise are those who had denied the truth in spite of being convinced about it and who, as a result ,had earned the wrath of God. Non-Muslims who were not a party to this divine practice are not referred to here.

 

xii. Prohibition of Imitating Non-Muslims

On the basis of the following narrative, scholars opine that Muslims should not adopt the ways and mannerisms of non-Muslims in any way.[24]Thus, for example, they should neither wear their dress nor attend or celebrate their festivals. The following narrative is generally presented in support of this view:

عن بن عُمَرَ قال قال رسول اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم من تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ فَهُوَ منهم

Ibn ‘Umar said that the Prophet said: “He who imitates a nation is from among them.”[25]

An important principle in understanding a Hadith is to collect all its variant texts and then evaluate them. In this regard, if all the variants of this narrative are collated and analyzed, a very different picture emerges. A variant reads:

عَنِ بن عُمَرَ قال قال رسول اللَّهِ  صلى الله عليه وسلم بُعِثْتُ بِالسَّيْفِ حتى يُعْبَدَ الله لاَ شَرِيكَ له وَجُعِلَ رزقي تَحْتَ ظِلِّ رمحي وَجُعِلَ الذِّلَّةُ وَالصَّغَارُ على من خَالَفَ أمري وَمَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ فَهُوَ منهم

Ibn ‘Umar said that the Prophet said: “I have been sent with the sword until God alone is worshipped and my livelihood has been placed under the shade of my spear and there is humiliation and subjugation for those who disobey me and he who imitates a nation will be regarded from among them.”[26]

A simple analysis of this detailed narrative shows that its last sentence has been quoted out of context, and thereby taken to mean an absolute directive which prohibits Muslims from adopting the mannerisms of other nations. If the complete narrative is analyzed, it comes to light that it is nothing but an explanation of the divine practice mentioned in the Qur’an, as discussed in detail in this article. As per this practice, those who had disobeyed the Prophet (sws) were destined to be doomed and humiliated. They would be subjugated by the swords of his Companions (rta). This subjugation has been discussed in the Qur’an in detail. At times, these subjugation campaigns were directed to areas in which Muslims and non-Muslims were living together and there was no distinction between the two, neither in dress nor in places of residence. On the one hand, the attacking Muslim armies were told by the Qur’an that if someone whom they attacked said the ceremonial salutation (al-salamu ‘alaykum) to them, they should not harm him and regard him as a Muslim; they should not tell him that he is not a Muslim simply to loot his wealth:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِذَا ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ فَتَبَيَّنُواْ وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ لِمَنْ أَلْقَى إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلاَمَ لَسْتَ مُؤْمِنًا تَبْتَغُونَ عَرَضَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فَعِندَ اللّهِ مَغَانِمُ كَثِيرَةٌ كَذَلِكَ كُنتُم مِّن قَبْلُ فَمَنَّ اللّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَتَبَيَّنُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا (94:4)

Believers! Investigate when you go to fight for the cause of God, and do not say to those that offer you peace: “You are not believers,” – seeking the booty of this world; for with God is a lot of booty. Previously you were also like this. The Almighty then bestowed on you His grace. Therefore investigate; God is cognizant of all your actions. (4:94)

What is evident from this narrative is that the Muslim inhabitants in the attacked localities with a mixed population must have been told to distinguish themselves from non-Muslim neighbours in some form or the other lest the attacking Muslim army attack them too since they outwardly resemble the non-Muslims. This is what is meant by the last part of the narrative. If all the suppressed and implied portions are unfolded in the light of the Qur’an, the last part of the narrative would be something like this: “Humiliation and subjugation is destined for those who disobey me. So O you Muslims who live in the areas of non-Muslims! In order to make your selves known to the attacking Muslim army that you are Muslims, make some distinguishing mark that makes you distinct from non-Muslims; If you do not distinguish yourself and [as a result] resemble the non-Muslims, then he who resembles an enemy nation, will be regarded among them by the attacking Muslim army.”

Hence this narrative has no bearing on wearing the dress or adopting the ways of non-Muslims. In other words, Muslims are not bound in any way in this regard by their religion. Adopting the ways and mannerisms of other nations has been left to their discretion.

 

xiii. Struggle for the Supremacy of Islam

It is held by some Muslim scholars of contemporary times that it is the religious obligation of Muslims to strive for the supremacy of Islam. If a Muslim country is not following Islam, Muslims must organize an effort to topple its rulers and enforce Islam. An obvious corollary of this view point is that if they are living as minorities in some non-Muslim country, here also they should strive to achieve the supremacy of Islam. They term this struggle an “Islamic Revolution” and present the following verse in support of this view:[27]

هُوَ الَّذِى أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ (61 :9)

It is He Who has sent His rasul with guidance and the religion of truth that he may proclaim it over all religions, even though the Idolaters may detest [this]. (61:9)

On the basis of the phrase “all religions”, it is understood that the followers of Islam must struggle for its dominance in their respective countries and territories.

An analysis of the context of this verse shows that it also belongs to the divine practice discussed in detail in this treatise. Thus it is to be noted that the word al-mushrikin (the Idolaters) is used in this verse. The Qur’an uses this word specifically for the Idolaters of Arabia of the Prophet’s times. As a result, “all the religions” in the conjugate clause can only mean all the religions of Arabia at that time.[28] Therefore, the verse has no bearing on Muslims after the times of the Prophet Muhammad (sws).

It has already been shown in an earlier section that the Companions (rta) of Muhammad (sws) were promised sovereignty in the land of Arabia after the Idolaters of Arabia had knowingly denied the message of Muhammad (sws).

وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُم فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمْ الَّذِي ارْتَضَى لَهُمْ (24 :55)

God has promised those among you who professed belief and did righteous deeds that He will surely grant them political authority in this land as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish their religion – the one which He has chosen for them. (24:55)

Consequently, striving to achieve the political supremacy of Islam is no religious obligation of a Muslim. The verses from which this obligation has been construed are specifically linked to a divine practice related to Muhammad (sws) and his Companions (rta).[29]



[1]. See, for example:Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammadibn Rushd,Bidayah al-mujtahid wa nihayah al-muqtasid, 1st ed., vol. 4 (Beirut: Dar al-ma‘rifah, 1997), 304; ‘Abd al-Rahman Jaziri, Kitab al-fiqh ‘ala madhahib al-arba‘ah, 7th ed., vol. 5 (Beirut: Dar ihya’ al-turath al-‘arabi, 1980), 422-425; Wahbah al-Zuhayli,Al-Fiqh al-islami wa adillatuhu, 1st ed. vol. 6 (Damascus: Dar al-fikr), 186.

[2]. Al-Bukhari,Al-Jami‘ al-sahih. vol. 3, 1098, (no. 2854).

[3]. Muslim, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, vol. 1, 53, (no. 22).

[4]. Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman Ahmad ibn Shu‘aybal-Nasa’i, Al-Sunan al-kubra. 1st ed, vol. 2 (Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-‘ilmiyyah, 1991), 279, (no. 3428).

[5]. The original research that forms the basis of this inference has been conducted by Javed Ahmad Ghamidi. For details, see: Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Burhan,6th ed. (Lahore: Al-Mawrid, 2009), 139-143.

[6]. This is the view of Ahmad, Shafi‘i and Ibn Hazm. For details see: Muwaffaq al-Din ‘Abdullah ibnAhmad ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali,Al-Mughni, vol. 8 (Riyad: Maktabah al-riyad al-hadithah, 1981), 500-501; Abu ‘AbdullahMuhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi‘i, Kitab al-umm, 2nd ed., vol. 4 (Beirut: Dar al-ma‘rifah, 1393 AH), 174-175; Abu Muhammad ‘Ali ibn Ahmad ibn Sa‘idibn Hazm, Al-Muhalla bi al-athar, 1st ed., vol. 5 (Beirut: Dar al-fikr, n.d.), 413-414. In this regard, the Hanafite jurists are however of the view that death was only prescribed for the Idolaters of Arabia of the Prophet’s times. As far as polytheists of other times and lands are concerned, they cannot be put to death if they do not accept Islam. Like the People of the Book, they too can be allowed to remain on their faith if they accept the superiority of Islam and pay jizyah. For details, see: Shams al-Dinal-Sarakhsi,Kitab al-mabsut, 2nd ed., vol. 10 (Beirut: Dar al-ma‘rifah,1978), 7.

[7].‘Abd al-Karim Zaydan, Ahkam al-dhimiyyin wa al-musta’minin fi dar al-islam, 1st ed. (Baghdad: Maktabah al-Quds, 1982), 22-60.

[8]. The mithaq (treaty) of Madinah made with Jewish tribes by the Prophet (sws) is an example of this type of citizenship.

[9]. Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn ‘Ali al-Jassas, Ahkam al-Qur’an, vol. 2 (Beirut: Dar ihya’ al-turath al-‘arabi, 1405 AH), 288; Abu al-Fada’ Isma‘il ibn ‘Umaribn Kathir,Tafsir Al-Qur’an Al-‘Azim, 1st ed., vol. 2 (Lahore: Amjad Academy, 1982), 68.

[10]. This is the opinion of Shafi‘i and Ahmad ibn Hanbal. For details, see: Ibn Qudamah, Al-Mughni, vol. 7, 652-653; Shafi‘i,Kitab al-umm,vol. 6, 38.

[11]. Abu Da’ud Sulyman ibn al-Ash‘ath, Sunan, vol. 4 (n.p.: Dar al-fikr, n.d.) 173, (no. 4506).

[12]. Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Darimi, Sunan, 1st ed, vol. 2 (Beirut: Dar al-kitab al-‘arabi, 1407 AH), 249, (no. 2356).

[13]. Since the word mushrik is used in this Hadith, the directive it mentions does not even pertain to the People of the Book of the Prophet’s times.

[14]. Muslim, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, vol. 4, 1707, (no. 2167).

[15]. Abu ‘Īsa Muhammad ibn ‘Īsaal-Tirmidhi, Sunan, vol 5 (Beirut: Dar ihya’ al-turath al-‘arabi, n.d.), 61, (no. 2702).

[16]. For verses of similar meaning, see: 3:10, 63, 131; 4:56, 115; 7:41; 8:50; 9:63.

[17]. Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Halimibn Taymiyah,Al-Sarim al-maslul ‘ala shatim al-rasul, 1st ed., (Multan: Nashr al-sunnah, n.d.), 61-180.

[18]. Ibn Hisham,Al-Sirah al-nabawiyyah,vol. 3, 43-48; Ibid., 215-217; Ibn Sa‘d, Al-Tabaqat al-kubra, vol. 2, 28.

[19]. For details, see: Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Punishment for Blasphemy against the Prophet (sws) (trans. Asif Iftikhar). Can be accessed from: http://www.al-mawrid.org/pages/articles
_english_detail.php?rid=1157&cid=304&search=blasphemy

[20]. See, for example: Al-Sarakhsi.Kitab al-mabsut, vol. 30, 30.

[21]. Al-Bukhari,Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, vol. 6, 2484, (no. 6383).

[22].Adapted from: Ghamidi, Mizan, 39.

[23].See: Abu Ja‘far Nahhas, Ma‘ana al-Qur’an, 1st ed., vol. 2 (Makkah: Jami‘ah Umm al-Qura, 1409 AH), 377.

[24].ٍSee, for example: Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Halimibn Taymiyah, Majmu‘ah al-fatawa, 2nd ed., vol. 22 (n.p.: Maktabah Ibn Taymiyah, n.d.), 154.

[25]. Abu Da’ud, Sunan, vol. 4, 44, (no. 4031).

[26]. Abu ‘Abdullah Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad,vol. 2 (Cairo: Mu’assasah al-Qurtubah, n.d.), 50, (no. 5114).

[27].See for example Abu al-A‘la al-Mawdudi, Shahadat-i haq, 10th ed., Lahore: Islamic Publications, 1961; YY Haddad, The Qur’anic Justification of an Islamic Revolution: The View of Syed Qutb, The Middle East Journal, 37 (1), 1983, pp. 17-20.

[28]. The original research that leads to this conclusion has been carried out by Javed Ahmad Ghamidi. For details see: Ghamidi, Burhan, 169-172.

[29]. This of course does not mean that Muslims should not strive for this cause. It only means that this is not their religious responsibility.

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