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How Did Rasulullah Exemplify Inter-Faith Relations?

The Islamic law exists not only to preserve religion, but also to protect the freedom of beliefs. So how do we maintain our relations with people from different faiths? How did the prophet do it? Here are 2 incredible examples how.

Adapted from Ramadan For All Booklet published by Office of the Mufti.

Download the booklet by Mufti here

Islam is a faith that recognises the diversity of human beings, and acknowledges the diversity of religions. This might sound surprising, in light of the religious clashes and conflicts that are happening in some parts of the world.

In actuality, the Shariah exists not only to preserve religion, but also, according to Ibn Ashur, to protect the freedom of beliefs.

Here are 2 incredible examples that show the extent of the good relations that Prophet s.aw. shared with people of other faiths:

He treated everyone with mercy.

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. never forced anybody to accept Islam. In fact, his own beloved uncle, Abu Talib, was not Muslim, and he was never forced nor persuaded by the Prophet to become one.

The two shared a close relationship, and the Prophet’s enduring love for his uncle can be witnessed in many of his recorded expressions. What’s more, Abu Talib was instrumental in ensuring the success of the Prophet’s mission, and was there to provide protection and support to him from his adversaries who tried to stop him.

Their incredible bond demonstrates that regardless of faith and religion, Muslims are obliged to maintain good relationships with our family members and kin.

He Established Good Relations With All.

In the early years of Islam, Muslims lived peacefully and harmoniously within a diverse and non-homogenous environment.

When they eventually faced persecutions in Makkah, their reputation made it possible for them to migrate to Abyssinia, to receive protection under the Christian King in Negus (Najasyi), whom the Prophet s.a.w. trusted. The relationships subsequently established by the Muslims and Christians in Abyssinia (Habsyah) were based on mutual trust and respect.

King Negus eventually converted to Islam while remaining the ruler of the Christian-majority country until his death. It is important to note, however, that he did not impose Islamic law in his country even after his conversion and respected the law of the land and the will of the majority.

The peaceful co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims was not only exemplified in Abyssinia, but also in other momentous occasions in the Prophet’s lifetime.

For example, later on, Islam became more established in Madinah, where the Prophet s.a.w. founded a viable state and just political order in a cosmopolitan society comprised of Muslims, Jews, Christians and Pagans.

History recorded that the people were able to co-exist peacefully in this diverse society, and that members of other faiths were regarded as part of the ‘one community’ while also being recognised as having ‘their own religion’.

It is amazing that despite their differences, the Prophet and the people surrounding him in that time were able to focus on their common values for the benefit of all.

What do you think of these incredible examples?

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