Assalaamu alaikum, brothers and sisters.
Can someone tell me the definition of Kaffirs and how Muslims are supposed to interact with them? Like a pretty broad range of things there. Haha. Thanks.
May Allah's peace be with you all.
DEALING WITH PEOPLE OF OTHER RELIGIONS
We know that Islam give us guidelines for how to interact with people, as well as how to communicate with Allah. Part of this is how we deal with non-Muslims, and this is an important topic, especially for people who are living in the midst of a non-Muslim society. It becomes even more important to be clear on the fundamental points regarding this when we find people sometimes going to an extreme. On one extreme, some people claim that there is no difference between a Muslim and a follower of another religion, and that all religions are equal. This is in clear contradiction to the Qur'an and sunnah, and hence is kufr. On the other extreme, some may incline towards stripping non-Muslims of all rights and humanity, and being totally biased and hateful against them. This position, too, overlooks important Qur'anic guidelines. A Muslim is not supposed to have unjustified, closed-minded or unreasonable hate towards people as a preconceived rule.
1. Good character and respect for fundamental rights
A Muslim is supposed to deal with people kindly and justly, unless they are open enemies to Islam and/or Muslims.
"Allah does not prohibit you from being kind and just to those who have not fought you on account of religion, nor expelled you from your homes. Allah loves those who are just. Allah only prohibits you from being intimate friends with those who have fought you on account of religion, and expelled you from your homes, and assisted others in your expulsion. Whoever befriends them is a wrongdoer." [Surah al-Hujurat (60), 8-9]
"Treat people with good character." [Narrated by Tirmidhi, who said it is a good hadith]
Hence, traits such as truthfulness, justice, kindness, honesty should be part of the Muslim's character whether he is dealing with Muslims or non-Muslims. Lying to non-Muslims, cheating them and backbiting them might become permissible in certain circumstances of war, as may killing them, but generally, when one has entered their lands under a 'peaceful' agrement (such as a visa), he is expected to abide by common standards of decency as long as it does not violate any injuctions of Islam. In fact, even in war, the Prophet gave some limits:
"The Messenger of Allah, when sending out dispatchments, would say, "…Do not behave treacherously, nor mutilate, nor kill children or those [secluded] in hermitages." [Ahmad. Thanwi graded it as hasan in I`la al-Sunan, 12/354]
If a warrior is not supposed to be treacherous, then even more so one who enters on a peaceful agreement.
"The treacherous one will have a banner hoisted for him on the day of Resurrection." [Abu Dawud, Bukhari, Muslim, Nasa'i]
In a narration with al-Hakim, which he graded authentic, and Dhahabi corroborated him, "When a man has confidence in another man, and then he kills him after he had confidence in him, a banner of treachery will be hoisted for him on the Day of Resurrection."
A Muslim is supposed to respect the human rights not only of Muslims, but even of dhimmis (non-Muslim subjects of the Islamic state). According to some ahadith, severe warning is reported for violating the property or lives of dhimmis.
"Whoever unjustly kills a person of the covenent of dhimmah, Allah has prohibited Heaven for him." [Abu Dawud, Nasa'i; Bukhari, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, Tirmidhi(hs), Darimi]
However, the Muslim is not to lose sight of Islamic injunctions in his/her dealings either. Clearly, one may not be nice to people at the expense of compromizing Islamic principles.
2. Universality of the Islamic message
In particular, the Muslim realizes that Islam is Allah's final revelation for all of mankind. Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his Household) was sent to Arab and non-Arab, to black and white, to pagans as well as those who may have received some scripture before, to people of his time as well as to all thereafter until the day of Judgment.
"The religion before Allah is Islam." [Surah Aal-`Imran(3), 19]
"Whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he will be among the losers" [Surah Aal-`Imran(3), 85]
"And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, for him there is the fire of Jahannam. There they will remain forever." [Surah al-Jinn (72), 23]
"Say, 'O mankind! I am the messenger of Allah to you all." [Surah al-A`raf (7), 158]
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his Household) has said that even if Moses were alive on the earth today, he (Moses) would have no option but to follow him (Muhammad) [Reported by Abu Dawud and Bazzar]
"By [Allah] in Whose Hand is my soul! There is noone of this ummah who hears about me, Jew, or Christian, and then dies without having believed in that with which I have been sent, except that he is among the Companions of the Fire." [Muslim]
3. Wala’ and Bara’
Just as the Muslim loves Islam, and loves Allah and the Prophet, he will naturally feel a special affinity for other Muslims. Similarly, he will feel a revulsion for all beliefs which are contradictory to Islam. This is the sense in which the Muslim hates non-Muslims - he does not hate them intrinsically or as people, but rather he hates the falsehood they are following and their evil deeds and disobedience to Allah.
"Indeed, there was an excellent example for you in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people, 'Indeed, we have nothing to do with you, nor with that which you worship besides Allah. We reject you, and there has appeared between us and you enmity and hatred until you believe in Allah alone.'" [Qur'an, 60:4]
As a consequence, the Muslim distances himself from the ways and deeds of unbelief.
"And incline not toward those who do wrong lest the Fire touch you, and you have no protecting friends against Allah, and afterward you would not be helped." [Surah Hud(11), 113]
The scholars of tafsir have said that "inclination'' comprises love, attachment of the heart and feeling pleasure in their actions, and to feel honor and respect for them. Ibn Abbas said that ``inclining'' towards the disbelievers means being favorably disposed towards them.
In the same vein, the Prophet has said,
"Do not say "Master'' to the hypocrite, for if he is indeed your master, then you have displeased your Lord, the Mighty, the Majestic." [Reported by Abu Dawud with an authentic chain, as extracted in Riyadh al-Salihin, #1725.]
The same prohibition clearly applies, by analogy, to every innovator, sinner and unbeliever: to show honor to them stemming from or implying approval of their evil or unbelief - is unbelief.
Imitation is another sign of love and attachment.
"Whoever imitates a people is one of them.'' [Abu Dawud, Ahmad, Bukhari, also Tabarani and Bazzar]
In another hadith, it is attributed to the Prophet that he said,
"Every soul will be gathered according to what he loved. So, whoever loved unbelief will be with the unbelievers, and his good deeds will not benefit him at all." [Tabarani]
Having established these general principles, we go on now to mention some specific guidelines.
* Justice and kindness
Hating the unbelievers clearly not mean that the Muslim treats all of their deeds as automatically bad. He will acknowledge what is good, and in fact that good provides a basis for da`wah.
"You will find people to be mineral-ores, the best of them in Jahiliyyah are the best of them in Islam, when they acquire knowledge." [Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Darimi; See: Fath al-Bari, 6/610]
He may also benefit from their knowledge in worldly matters in which they have expertise. In such a case, he should feel obliged to invite them to Islam as a kind of gratitude for whatever help they have given him. And his hate for their unbelief should not lead him to be unjust, or to lose sight of the need to try to bring them out of their unbelief and onto the path to eternal happiness.
"Let not your malice for a people lead you to not be just. Be just; it is closer to piety." [Qur'an, 5:8]
Hence, the Muslim should be trying to make da`wah to non-Muslims with whom he interacts - in as wise and beneficial a way as possible.
"Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way. Lo! Your Lord is Best Aware of him who strays from His way, and He is Best Aware of those who go aright." [Qur'an, 16:125]
One who rejects the message of Islam is a kafir. There is some difference of opinion among scholars as to whether a person is accountable for monotheism merely through reasoning, without having received the message. Regardless, however, our obligation is to present the message to non-Muslims in the hope they will accept Islam. This should not merely be for the sake of personal gratification, or furthering one's own agenda, or defeating someone else's arguments, but in obedience to Allah and the Prophet, and out of compassion, and desire for the eternal well-being of people.
Interfaith discussions, if they are intended as a form of da`wah, are then clearly recommended, provided those engaging in them have sufficient knowledge of Islam, and especially of Islamic doctrine (`aqidah). However, if they are used as a means of 'unifying' religions, or if lies are told about Islam in an effort to placate the non-Muslims, and/or out of ignorance, then their prohibition does not need any sclarification.
Prohibition of taking as awliya’ Q[5:51-8]
The friendship prohibited here clearly does not refer to amicable and just dealings with those who have not shown themselves as enemies of Islam. Rather, it refers to taking unbelievers as intimate friends to whom one divulges all his secrets (Bitanah: see Q[3:118]), in whom one confides and places trust, or whom one takes as allies and protectors, especially if they are being preferred over Muslims. Such intimacy is prohibited, for it may confuse the landmarks of Islam, making the distinction between Islam and unbelief unclear to others, and also affecting the Muslim himself in his practice of Islam, for he may start to become accustomed to unbelief and evil, and perhaps even to approve and love it. A Muslim who associates with non-Muslims in that way is revealing a grave deficiency in faith, and is approaching unbelief if he has not completely entered it.
"Whoever among you takes them as awliya' is one of them."
Such as person, though, we are assured, will not be able to harm Islam.
"O you who believe! Whoever among you turns back from your religion, [let him know] Allah will bring a people who love Him and whom [Allah] loves, soft towards the believers, hard against the unbelievers, striving/performing jihad in the path of Allah, not fearing the blame of any blamer."
This verse gives the characteristics of the true believer; he loves Allah, is gentle with the believers, respecting their rights, and making personal concessions for his brothers and sisters, while hard with the unbelievers - in the sense of standing strong in iman, not compromizing his religion, and fighting the enemies of Islam - and not being concerned with people's criticisms as long as he knows he is acting Islamically.
* Enjoining right and forbidding wrong (not compromizing, and not accommodating or honoring evil)
Finally, we should keep in mind that while associating with non-Muslims, we may not participate in any Islamically prohibited activities.
"And it has already been revealed to you in the Scripture that when you hear the signs of Allah being rejected and made fun of, then do not sit with them, for then you would be like them." Q[4:140]:
Approval of kufr is kufr, and clearly, to participate in activities of kufr - such as non-Muslim religious festivals - is kufr. Similarly, if people are telling jokes which make fun of Allah or a prophet or angel or Heaven or Hell or any other aspect of Islam - which is quite common even among supposedly religious Christians - a Muslim may not remain there if he does not try to stop it. To tell such jokes or approve of them is clear kufr, by the explicit text of the Qur'an. [Surah al-Tawbah]
Similarly, if wine is being drunk, one may not be a part of that gathering.
"Whoever believes in Allah and the last day should not sit on a table at which wine is being partaken of." [Ibn Kathir]
* Summary of Interactions with non-Muslims
- condescending to and approving of their kufr, or loving and respecting them because of it, is kufr
- not approving of their wrongdoing, but rather showing repugnance, but not leaving either is fisq (trasngression) when there is no religious justification for being present.
- for some worldly need, when there is no kufr or haram activity involved is allowed
- to make da`wah to them is a form of `ibadah.
- out of genuine helplessness, such as if one is captured as a prisoner: this is excusable, inshaAllah, as long as the person's heart remains firm, and he does his best to resist and/or change the evil around him.
The Muslim And His Neighbours
Allah (SWT) has clearly commanded the good treatment of neighbours in the Qur'an:
( Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good - to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the Companion by your side, the wayfarer [you meet], and what your right hands possess . . .) (Qur'an 4:36)
The "neighbour who is near" is one with whom one shares ties of kinship or religion; the "neighbour who is a stranger" is one with whom one shares no such ties; and the "companion by your side" is a friend, colleague or travelling-companion.
Everyone whose home neighbours yours has the rights of a neighbour over you, even if you are not connected by kinship or religion. This honouring of the neighbour is an example of the tolerance promoted by Islam.
There are many Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) which enjoin good treatment of neighbours in general, regardless of kinship or religious factors, and confirm the importance of the neighbourly relationship in Islam. For example:
"Jibril kept on enjoining the good treatment of neighbours to such an extent that I thought he would include neighbours as heirs."1
Islam gives such a high status to neighbours that when Jibril reiterated the importance of treating them well, the Prophet (PBUH) thought that he would raise neighbours to the level of kinship and give them similar rights of inheritance.
The Prophet (PBUH) followed Jibril's urging, and encouraged Muslims to honour neighbours and treat them well. In his historical khutbah during the Farewell Pilgrimage, in which he summarized the most important points of his teachings, he did not omit to mention neighbours and emphasized their rights to such an extent that the eminent Sahabi Abu Umamah also thought that the Prophet (PBUH) would make neighbours heirs:
"I heard the Prophet (PBUH), when he was seated on his she-camel during the Farewell Pilgrimage, saying, `I enjoin you to treat your neighbours well,' and urging their good treatment so much that I thought, he is going to give them the rights of inheritance."2
The Prophet (PBUH) sometimes used to stir up the emotions of the Sahabah when he encouraged them to do good deeds, so he would start by saying, "Whoever believes in Allah (SWT) and the Last Day, let him do such-and-such . . ." He would use this emotive phrase to command or encourage some good deed or desirable characteristic. Among the Hadith that use this method of conveying a message is:
"Whoever believes in Allah (SWT) and the Last Day, let him treat his neighbour well; whoever believes in Allah (SWT) and the Last Day, let him honour his guest; whoever believes in Allah (SWT) and the Last Day, let him speak good or else remain silent."3
According to a report given by Bukhari, he (PBUH) said:
"Whoever believes in Allah (SWT) and the Last Day, let him not harm or annoy his neighbour . . ."4
Good treatment of neighbours is enjoined at the beginning of the hadith, and is identified as one of the signs and most beneficial results of belief in Allah (SWT) and the Last Day.
Can someone tell me the definition of Kaffirs
and how Muslims are supposed to interact with them?
Today, the Muslim ummah (nation) is passing through a critical stage in history. The decline of the Muslim nation has reached its lowest ebb. There are various reasons for it. Sheikh ul-Hind, Maulana Mahmood ul Hasan (died in 1922 C.E.), who was imprisoned in the Island of Malta by the British government in India, said that during his years in prison, he contemplated over the cause of the decline of Muslim ummah and he reached the following conclusion:
"There appear to be two reasons for the decline of the Muslim ummah today: i) Muslims have forsaken the Qur'an, and ii) Muslims are disunited."
Allah has sent down the Qur'an for the Muslim so that they would absorb and integrate the teachings of the Qur'an into their character just as the companions (sahaabah) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did it. Maryam Jameelah, an Islamic scholar, once mentioned that one of the things she observed among the Muslims is that they can sacrifice their life for the Qur'an but they cannot live their life according to the Qur'an. This is a very profound observation. Today, Muslims have made the Qur'an as a ceremonial book, i.e. they use the Qur'an on special occasions for attaining blessings, but they do not use it as the code for their life. The sahaabah used to apply every verse of the Qur'an on their character.
The second cause, which is related to the first cause, is the disunity among the Muslims. The cliché that "Unity is Strength" is nonetheless true. The life history of nations shows that whenever there is disunity in a nation, it is a crystal-clear indication of its decline. The Muslim nation is not an exception to this rule. Allah’s "Sunnah" (way of dealing) is same for every nation. In Qur’an, Allah says:
"So no change will you find in Allah’s Sunnah (way of dealing)." (Surah Faatir [The Originator of Creation] (35:43).
Qur’an teaches us to learn from history and not to repeat the mistakes of previous generations. The following examples from history will elucidate the point:
When Muslims conquered Constantinople (Istanbul) under the leadership of Sultan Muhammad Fatih in 1453 C.E., the Christian popes and priests were disunited and, instead of becoming united and making military plans against Muslims, they were arguing about the following trivial issues in the royal court of Constantine:
i) Did Mary remain virgin after giving birth to Jesus?
ii) How many angels can fit on the tip of a needle?
iii) What kind of bread did Jesus eat in his last supper? Was it baked or not?
The consequences of this disunity among Christians were horrible. Muslims were easily able to conquer Constantinople, which was the heart of Christian empire.
When the British were attacking and conquering the different Muslim states of India around 1800 C.E., Muslims of Indian sub-continent were disunited and they were busy in having debates among each other about such issues as:
i) Issue of "Imkaan-e-Kizb" which means "Can Allah tell a lie or not?
ii) Issue of "Imtinaa-e-Nazeer" which means "Can Allah create another person like Muhammad (peace be upon him)?
The consequence of this disunity among Muslims was not different than it is for any other nation. The British were able to conquer all the Muslim states in India by the year 1857 C.E. Similarly, it was because of this disunity that the Western imperial powers were able to convert the united states of Middle East into the disunited states of Middle East.
Today the defence system (immune system) of the Muslim ummah has become very weak. It seems as if it is suffering from an immuno-deficiency disease. One of the features of a healthy body with good defence system is that the anti-bodies (defence army of the body) learn from the past. It is not wise to blame non-Muslims for the condition of Muslims today. If a virus enters four people and one of them gets sick, we cannot just blame the virus for it. Why did the other three people did not get sick? Because they had strong immune system and the person who had weak defense system got sick. Imam -Shaafi has rightly said in one of his poetic verses which is translated as:
"We blame time and the fault is in us,
There is no fault in time except us." (Diwaan ash-Shaafi).
The companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had very strong immunity and defense system and they were united because they had vaccinated themselves with the Qur'an. The Muslims of today also need a vaccine of Qur'an and Sunnah at least once a day. In Qur’an, Allah says:
"And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Qur’an) and be not divided among yourselves."
(Al-'Imran [The Family of Imran] 3:103)
In addition, in Surah An-Nisa, Allah has said:
"If you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger (i.e. Qur’an and Sunnah)" (An-Nisa [The Women] ) 4:59
Rasool Allah (peace be upon him) has further clarified this prescription in the following authentic hadith:
"I am leaving with you two things. If you hold them tight, you will never go astray. They are the Book of Allah (Qur’an) and my Sunnah (Hadith)." (Sahih Hadith)
If the Muslims of today begin to understand and act upon the message of unity given in the Qur’an and Sunnah and become united, they will be able to uplift themselves from the state of decadence they are in today. This message applies to Muslims all over the world. Today, Muslims have to cultivate tolerance towards their fellow Muslims who differ from them. We, as a Muslim ummah, have to learn to sacrifice our ego in our community, tolerate difference of opinions within the boundaries of the Qur'an and Sunnah and we should not compete in raising our level of living and wealth. Only then we will be successful by the Will of Allah.