Are Muslims Supposed to Hate Non-Muslims? (Part 3)
In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
Last time, I began to explain how there is no genuine Islamic basis to claim that Muslims must hate all non-Muslims. The verses that prohibit taking Jews and Christians as awliya’ do not mean that Muslims are therefore not to have friendly relations with non-Muslims who are well-disposed to their Muslim counterparts (which, I believe, describes the overwhelming majority of my fellow Americans who are not Muslim). A full explanation of the term awliya’ can be found in my last post.
Yet, as I said before, the adherents of the “Doctrine of Hatred” retort by quoting this verse:
Indeed, you have had a good example in Abraham and those who followed him, when they said unto their [idolatrous] people: “Verily, we are quit of you and of all that you worship instead of God: we deny the truth of whatever you believe; and between us and you there has arisen enmity and hatred, to last until such a time as you come to believe in the One God!”... (60:4)
This verse is quoted completely out of context. It can only be properly understood in the context of the entire passage in which it resides, namely, the first part of chapter 60. Let us examine the entire passage. It begins with:
O YOU who have attained to faith! Do not take My enemies - who are your enemies as well - for your friends, showing them affection even though they are bent on denying whatever truth has come unto you… (60:1)
On the surface, this seems to bolster the contention that Muslims should not befriend non-Muslims. BUT, I intentionally quoted the verse incompletely to show how such a practice is deceitful and incorrect. The rest of the verse says:
... [and even though] they have driven the Apostle and yourselves away, [only] because you believe in God, your Sustainer! If [it be true that] you have gone forth [from your homes] to strive in My cause, and out of a longing for My goodly acceptance, [do not take them for your friends,] inclining towards them in secret affection: for I am fully aware of all that you may conceal as well as of all that you do openly. And any of you who does this has already strayed from the right path. (60:1)
As is quite clear, the verse prohibits Muslims from making friends with those who are engaged in active hostility towards the Muslims, not towards every non-Muslim on earth. Again, this only makes sense. Verses 2-3 further explain who these “enemies of God and the believers” truly are:
If they could but overcome you, they would [still] remain your foes, and would stretch forth their hands and tongues against you with evil intent: for they desire that you [too] should deny the truth. But [bear in mind that] neither your kinsfolk nor [even] your own children will be of any benefit to you on Resurrection Day, [for then] He will decide between you [on your merit alone]: and God sees all that you do. (60:2-3)
Again, these people are actively hostile towards Muslims. No where does it say that Muslims are supposed to hate all non-Muslims. No where. It is after these three verses that the example of Abraham is cited:
Indeed, you have had a good example in Abraham and those who followed him, when they said unto their [idolatrous] people: “Verily, we are quit of you and of all that you worship instead of God: we deny the truth of whatever you believe; and between us and you there has arisen enmity and hatred, to last until such a time as you come to believe in the One God!” The only exception was Abraham’s saying to his father, “I shall indeed pray for [God’s] forgiveness for thee, although I have it not in my power to obtain anything from God in thy behalf.” [And Abraham and his followers prayed:] “O our Sustainer! In Thee have we placed our trust, and unto Thee do we turn: for unto Thee is all journeys’ end. O our Sustainer! Make us not a plaything for those who are bent on denying the truth! And forgive us our sins, O our Sustainer: for Thou alone art almighty, truly wise!” In them, indeed, you have a good example for everyone who looks forward to God and the Last Day. And if any turns away, [let him know that] God is truly self-sufficient, the One to whom all praise is due. (60:4-6)
Given the context of the verse, it is quite clear that Abraham and his people had enmity and hatred for their people because their people were actively hostile towards them. Did not Abraham’s people, when confronted with the absurdity of their idolatry, say: “Burn him and give aid to your gods…” (21:68)? How, then, can one extrapolate this verse to mean that Muslims must hate all non-Muslims?
The remaining verses in this passage, in fact, declare quite the opposite:
[But] it may well be that God will bring about [mutual] affection between you [O believers] and some of those whom you [now] face as enemies: for, God is all-powerful - and God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace. As for such [of the unbelievers] as do not fight against you on account of [your] faith, and neither drive you forth from your homelands, God does not forbid you to show them kindness and to behave towards them with full equity: for, verily, God loves those who act equitably. God only forbids you to turn in friendship towards such as fight against you because of [your] faith, and drive you forth from your homelands, or aid [others] in driving you forth: and as for those [from among you] who turn towards them in friendship, it is they, they who are truly wrongdoers! (60:7-9)
According to the Muslim scholar Zamakhshari, the phrase “God does not forbid you” implies a positive exhortation. These three verses establish the guiding principle in Islam for relations with non-Muslims. As long as those who are not Muslim are not hostile towards us, we are commanded by God to treat them kindly and equitably. There is absolutely no basis for the claim that Muslims are supposed to hate all non-Muslims.
I mean, the evidence could not be any clearer in the Qur’an. Yet, if one has to mistranslate, misquote, or quote out of context verses in the Qur’an to “prove” that Muslims must hate all non-Muslims, can this be called “evidence” with any sort of credibility? I think not.
To be continued…
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