By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
09 January 2018
The first part of this series concisely and objectively reported on religious freedom granted by Islam to non-Muslims. This second part deals with the exploration of the right to life of peaceful non-Muslims living in minority or under any Muslim-governed country. Islam commands the Muslims to protect the life of these peaceful non-Muslims and has made it impermissible to kill any one of them unless he is sentenced for murder or a capital crime. This is mainly because Allah the Most High has said,
Allah Almighty says:
“And do not kill the soul whose (killing) Allah has forbidden, except when it is rightfully due (according to law in self-defence against disruption and whilst combating terrorism). It is these (injunctions) He has enjoined upon you so that you may apply reason”. (6:151)
In another oft-quoted Quranic verse Allah Almighty says,
“Whoever kills a human being except in lieu of killing or causing turmoil in the earth, so it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whoever saves the life of one person, is as if he had saved the life of all mankind; and undoubtedly Our Noble Messengers came to them with clear proofs – then after this indeed many of them are oppressors in the earth”. (5:32)
This verse witnesses that killing a person unjustly is tantamount to kill all mankind and saving a person is like saving all mankind. The message of this verse is applicable to both Muslims and non-Muslims.
Now the question arises as to why there are so many verses of the Quran and Ahadith which talk about fighting Kuffar, Mushrikin, Mufsidin, such as in the verses and Ahadith referenced below;
The war-related Quranic verses:
(2:244) (2:216) (3:56) (3:151) (4:74) (4:76) (4:89) (4:95) (4:104) (5:33) (8:12) (8:15) (8:39) (8:57) (8:67) (8:59-60) (8:65) (9:5) (9:14) (9:20) (9:29) (9:30) (9:38-39) (9:41) (9:73) (9:73) (9:88) (9:111) (9:123) (17:16) (18:65-81) (21:44) (25:52) (33:60-62) (47:3-4) (47:35) (48:17) (48:29) (61:4) (61:10-12)(66:9)
The war-related Ahadith:
Sahih Bukhari (Book 52, Hadith 177) Sahih Bukhari (Book 52, Hadith 256) Sahih Bukhari (Book 52, Hadith 65) Sahih Bukhari (Book 3, Hadith 125) Sahih Bukhari (Book 52, Hadith 220) Sahih Bukhari (Book 52, Hadith 44) Abu Dawud (Book 14, Hadith 2526) Abu Dawud (Book 14, Hadith 2527) Sahih Muslim (Book 1, Hadith 33) Sahih Bukhari (Book 8, Hadith 387) Sahih Muslim (Book 1, Hadith 30) Sahih Bukhari (Book 52, Hadith 73) Sahih Bukhari (Book 11, Hadith 626) Sahih Muslim (Book 1, Hadith 149) Sahih Muslim (Book 20, Hadith 4645) Sahih Muslim (Book 20, Hadith 4696) Sahih Muslim (Book 19, Hadith 4321-4323) Sahih Muslim (Book 19, Hadith 4294) Sahih Muslim (Book 31, Hadith 5917) Sahih Muslim (Book 31, Hadith 5918) Sahih Bukhari (Book 2, Hadith 35) Sunan an-Nasa'i (Book 25, Hadith 13) Sunan Ibn Majah (Book 24, Hadith 2794)
Having read the above referenced Quranic verses and Ahadith, a number of people describe Islam as a hostile and aggressive religion. This stereotype has been extensively reinforced by the acts of terrorists and fanatics. Hence the world opinion including mostly of non-Muslims as well as of the terrorists tends towards viewing Islam as a violent and extremist religion. Very few of the non-Muslims see it as a religion that forbids any kind of aggression and permits fighting only in self-defence. Hence it is necessary to convince all of them about the truth that Islam does not stand for what they think it does.
But in fact the above referenced Quranic verses and Ahadith deal with the war-related rulings and situations related to self-defence. However this self-defence cannot be claimed at individual level or by a group of individuals. The idea of self-defence is applicable to the situation, when it turns to be too destructive to be controlled and when there is no option left except for fighting in defence. As obviously the fight for defence is the right of every country, so it is not wrong to say that the Muslim governments are allowed to defend their land, property, life etc. But it is completely wrong to derive the meaning from these verses and Ahadith in justification for fighting against those non-Muslims who have agreed to live peacefully in minority or majority.
Now another question arises as to what about those scholars who support the view that some of these war-related verses have abrogated the peace-related verses and war should be waged against Kuffar for all time to come.
This is an important question and needs to be answered. In this brief article, it is difficult to cover all the quotes and arguments and present their analytical view. But briefly in reply to this question, my argument is that we should not forget that such scholars, at the same time, also support the opinion that those Kuffar or non-Muslims who have agreed to live peacefully in minority or under Muslim-governed country [i.e. Mu’ahid] should not be killed unjustly.
Apparent as it is from the above that some readers may sense a contradiction in these two points; 1) that war-related verses have abrogated the peace-related verses and thus war should be waged against Kuffar for all time to come and 2) that those Kuffar or non-Muslims who have agreed to live peacefully in minority or under any Muslim-governed country [i.e. Mu’ahid] should not be killed unjustly. At the one hand they opine that the war should be waged against Kuffar, while at the same time they say the war should not be waged against the Kuffar. What are those types of Kuffar against whom the war should be waged? And what are those types of Kuffar against whom the war should not be waged?
Based on my understanding of a major part of their texts, I have reached a conclusion that those scholars, who have described some of these war-related verses as ones abrogating some peaceful verses of the Quran, must have done so for fighting against the religious persecutors from among the Kuffar. This understanding can be deduced from their quoting the situation of Makkah that then Muslims were not allowed to fight back in their self-defence even in the state of war against religious persecutors from among the Kuffar. But when the Muslims increased in number they were given permission to fight back in self-defence against those religious persecutors from among the Kuffar and Mushrikin.
These scholars adopted the idea “the war-related verses have abrogated the verses related to peace, patience and tolerance”, because they must have thought that in the state of self-defence or live-or-die, the idea of peace and patience will not save their life. They must have thought that the idea of peace and tolerance will work only with those Kuffar and non-Muslims who are peaceful. These scholars must have taken into their mind the situation of Makkah, as they narrate in their books, that Muslims had been thrown out of their homes, persecuted and killed but their patience could not save them from being killed and persecuted. And if the Muslims had not been given permission to fight back in self-defence, they would have not have existed today in this world. So these scholars must have presented the war-related verses as all-time applicable only for fighting against the religious persecutors from among the Kuffar and not for all the Kuffar who are living in the state of peace along with Muslims.
The reason is that I and we can easily trace with the god-gifted intelligence in the texts of these scholars that the peaceful non-Muslims or peaceful Kuffar [Mu’ahid] who have agreed to live peacefully with Muslims are excluded from their general statement of “war-related verses abrogating peace-related verses”. To sum up my understanding of their texts, it can be appropriately summarized that such scholars must have regarded the war-related verses as all-time applicable only for fighting against the religious persecutors from among the Kuffar and not against those Kuffar who are living peacefully. This can be deduced from the following materials as well.
Now the question is; why is it that the peaceful Kuffar or non-Muslims are excluded from the texts that support the statement that “some war-related verses have abrogated the peace-related verses”? What is the proof? The Muslim scholars and Fuqaha [experts in Islamic rulings to a much higher degree] present in their proof the verses [6:51], [5:32], [2:252] and the following Ahadith which are the central points of this article—that peaceful non-Muslims living in minority or majority or under Muslim-governed country should be protected from all injuries, sufferings and persecutions.
Killing or Persecuting Peaceful Non-Muslims or Peaceful Kuffar Is Forbidden – Evidences from Authentic Ahadith
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
أَلاَ مَنْ ظَلَمَ مُعَاهِدًا أَوِ انْتَقَصَهُ أَوْ كَلَّفَهُ فَوْقَ طَاقَتِهِ أَوْ أَخَذَ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا بِغَيْرِ طِيبِ نَفْسٍ فَأَنَا حَجِيجُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ "
Translation: “Beware, if anyone persecutes any peaceful non-Muslim citizen [Mu’ahid], or diminishes his right, or forces him to work beyond his capacity, or takes from him anything without his consent, I shall plead for him on the Day of Judgment.”
The Chain Of Narration Of This Hadith:
Imam Abu Dawud has narrated this Hadith from Sulayman b. Dawud al-Mahri, from Ibn Wahb, from Abu Sakhr al-Madini, from Safwan b. Sulaim, from a number of Companions’ sons, from a number of Companions [Sahaba] of the Messenger of Allah- Peace be upon him. (Please see Sunan Abi Dawud – Book 20, Hadith 125- Arabic reference).
The purport of this Hadith is that if any Muslim persecutes any peaceful non-Muslim citizen, or diminishes his right and so on, as mentioned above in the Hadith, the beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) will plead for that peaceful non-Muslim on the Day of Judgment.
This Hadith is not simply a warning but a law executed in the blessed era of the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) even after the conquest of Makka [Fath-e-Makka]. This law is still the part of Islam. There is not a single statement of its being abrogated. Thus according to the great Ulema and Fuqaha of Islam, this law is universally and all-time valid in its essence and application. Therefore none of the followers of Ahadith or the followers of the interpretation of great Ulema and Fuqaha should hesitate to accept the message inherent in this Hadith.
Imam Bukhari narrates a Hadith from the chain of Qays b. Hafs, from Abdul Wahid, from Hasan, from Mujahid, on the authority of Abdullah bin Amr that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
“Whoever kills a peaceful non-Muslim living in minority [Mu'ahid] shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise, though its fragrance can be smelt at a distance of forty years (of travelling). (Sahih Bukhari, Book 87, Hadith 52)
Imam Nasa’i, in his Sunan, has made a chapter on the forbiddance of killing a non-Muslim living under Muslim protection. In this chapter he has mentioned four Ahadith with slight difference of words—each forbidding the killing of a non-Muslim living in minority under Muslim protection. One of them that I think needs to be quoted here on behalf of all the four Ahadith that unanimously testify to the forbiddance of killing the peaceful non-Muslim is as follows;
Imam Nasa’i narrates from the chain of Ismaeel b. Masuood, from Khalid, from Uyaynah, from his father, on the authority of Abu Bakrah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,
“Whoever kills a peaceful non-Muslim living in minority or under Muslim-governed country [Mu'ahad] with no justification, Allah will forbid Paradise to him.” (Sunan Nasai, Book 45, Chapter “Seriousness of killing the Mua’hid”, Hadith 42)
Imam Abu Dawud has included, in his book of Sunan, a chapter on “Fulfilling the agreement of a peaceful non-Muslim who has a covenant, and the sanctity of his protection”. In his Arabic book of Hadith he has expressed it with the words “Bab Fil Wafaai Lil Mu’ahid Wa Hurmati Dhimmatehi”.
Imam Abu Dawud narrates the Hadith from Uthman b. Abi Shaiba, from Wakee’, from ‘Uyaynah b. Abd al-Rahman, from his father, on the authority of Abu Bakarah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,
“If anyone unjustly kills a peaceful non-Muslim living in minority or Muslim protection [Mu’ahid], Allah will forbid him [the killer] to enter Paradise” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Book 15, Hadith 284)
Imam Tirmidhi, in his book of Hadith, has also made a chapter on “What is related about the one who kills a peaceful non-Muslim living in minority or under the Muslim protection”. He has included one Hadith in this chapter, narrating from the chain of Muhammad b. Bashshar, from Ma’di b. Sulayman al-Basri, from ‘Ajlan, from his father, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
“Indeed, whoever kills a peaceful non-Muslim living in minority or under the Muslim protection [Mu'ahid] that has a covenant from Allah and a covenant from His Messenger (peace be upon him), then he has violated the covenant with Allah and the covenant of His Messenger, so he shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise; even though its fragrance can be sensed from the distance of seventy autumns.” (Jami’ al-Tirmidhi, Book 16, Hadith 19)
Imam Ibn Majah, in his Sunan, narrates two Ahadith on the forbiddance of killing a peaceful non-Muslim living in minority or Muslim-run country — one Hadith from the chain of Abu Kuraib, from Abu Mu’awiyyah, from Hasan b. ‘Amr, from Mujahid, from Abdullah b. ‘Amr that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,
“Whoever kills a peaceful non-Muslim living under the protection of Muslim-run country [Mu’ahid], will not smell the fragrance of Paradise, even though its fragrance may be detected from a distance of forty years” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 21, Hadith 2789-Arabic reference)
The second Hadith that Imam Ibn Majah narrates on this subject is from the chain of Muhammad b. Bashshar, from Ma’adi b. Sulayman, from Ibn ‘Ajlan, from his father, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
“Whoever kills a peaceful non-Muslim (living in Muslim-run country) who has the covenant with Allah and the covenant with his Messenger, will not smell the fragrance of Paradise, even though its fragrance may be detected from a distance of seventy years” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 21, Hadith 2788-Arabic reference)
The point to be noted here is that when a non-Muslim promises to peacefully live in any Muslim-governed country or in minority, he agrees to “the covenant from Allah and the covenant from His Messenger (peace be upon him). The terms “ذمة الله وذمة رسوله” mentioned in this Hadith have been translated differently in the English translations of the books of Ahadith. Some translate them as “covenant with Allah and covenant with His Messenger” while others as “Protection of Allah and protection of His Messenger”. But both the translations must have reflected the idea unanimously understood among the great jurists [Fuqaha] that Allah the Most High and His Messenger have forbidden the killing of the non-Muslim [Mu’ahid] who has agreed to peacefully live in minority or Muslim-governed country. So if anyone from among the Muslim members kills that non-Muslim, he will be termed as one violating the covenant from Allah and His Messenger and consequently he shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise. To further explain, that killer shall be punished in the Hereafter, if not by the Muslim-governed country.
This can be reinterpreted afresh that today’s non-Muslims living in minority or any Muslim countries, such as, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, and so on—should not be killed or tortured by any groups or individuals like those of ISIS, Taliban etc. The claims of such groups in terms of giving religious justification for killing the non-Muslims living in minority or any Muslim-governed countries are for nothing, but in fact to enforce false accusations on the Islamic Shariat which has nothing to do with such claims. For this and other reasons as mentioned above, the brainwashed youth or followers should think thousand times, before joining the cults of ISIS, Taliban and their likes, that by doing so and so they are going to enforce false accusations [Iftira’] on the Islamic Shariat and shall indeed taste the divine punishment in the Hereafter.
(All the Most High Knows the Best)
A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator.
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