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Mar 17, 2013

Jews and Christians in History (Ibn Qayyim)

Many people critique Islam by saying that it does not tolerate other religions when it clearly states in the Qur’an: “[…] and He does not forbid you to deal kindly and justly with anyone who has not fought you for your faith or driven you out of your homes: God loves the just.” 60:8 Perhaps the qur’anic verse they rely on the most is verse 5:51 which says: “You who believe, do not take the Jews and Christians as allies: they are allies only to each other. Anyone who takes them as an ally becomes one of them – God does not guide such wrongdoers.” However, the Jews and Christians talked about here are clearly just the ones who are against the Muslim camp, as is clear from the following verses up to 5:59 : “You who believe, do not take as allies those who ridicule your religion and make fun of it – whether people who were given the Scripture before you, or disbelievers – and be mindful of God if you are true believers. When you make the call to prayer, they ridicule it and make fun of it: this is because they are people who do not reason. Say [Prophet], ‘People of the Book, do you resent us for any reason other than the fact that we believe in God, in what was sent down to us, and in what was sent before us, while most of you are disobedient?’ ”
Non-Muslims who want to show how Islam is intolerant of others also use the following qur’anic verse: “He that chooses a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted of him and in the world to come, he will be one of the lost.” 3:85 However, “the word ‘Islam’ in the Arabic of the Qur’an means complete devotion/submission to God, unmixed with worship of any other. All earlier prophets are thus described by the Qur’an as Muslims. Those who read this word ‘Islam’ in the sense of the religion of prophet Muhammad PBUH will illegitimately set up a barrier between Islam and other monotheistic religions.” (Haleem, 2004). Logically, for Islam to be the true religion of God, it has to be attainable by any person, at any time, anywhere. It is this fundamental principle of one surrendering his will to God which makes Islam universal and not constrained to a certain type of people.


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