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Non Beleivers in Islam (response to Lisa)

Reader comment on item: Islamophobia?

Submitted by The Scholar (United States), Nov 12, 2005 at 23:09

I find a lot of people's ignorance of the right teachings of Islam mind boggling, but when I notice their ignorance of their own history, I begin to understand.

Let me remind you of what Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) said about Non Muslim citizens "He who abuses a dhimmi [non-Muslim citizen] then I will be his rival and dispute him on the Day of Judgment."

Does such a teaching exist in Christianity or Judaism???

The opinion of mainstream Islam with regards to Jews and Christians (and extended to other non believers) can be understood from the following section quoted from Wikipedia "Many non-Muslims used to live with Muslims under the banner of Islam for almost thirteen centuries. Throughout those periods non-Muslims used to have the same high standard of living as the Muslims did. They enjoyed equal rights, prosperity, happiness, tranquility and security. The Jews and Christians used to be called Ahl al-Dhimma, People of the Covenant. The Prophet said, "He who abuses a dhimmi [non-Muslim citizen] then I will be his rival and dispute him on the Day of Judgment."

An Islamic classical scholar, Imam Qarafi, says, "It is the responsibility of the Muslims to the People of the Dhimma [non-Muslim citizens] to take care of their weak, fulfilling the needs of the poor, feeding the hungry, providing clothes, addressing them politely and even tolerating their harm even if it was from a neighbour, even though the Muslim may have an upper hand. The Muslims must also advise them sincerely on their affairs and protect them against anyone who tries to hurt them or their family, steal their wealth or violates their rights."

Abu Yusuf, in his Kitab al-Kharaj, wrote that "[n]o one of the ahl al-dhimma should be beaten in order to exact payment of the jizya, nor made to stand in the hot sun, nor should hateful things be inflicted upon their bodies, or anything of that sort. Rather, they should be treated with leniency. [. . .] It is proper, O Commander of the Faithful--may Allah be your support--that you treat leniently those people who have a contract of protection from your Prophet and cousin, Muhammad--may Allah bless him and grant him peace. You should look after them, so that they are not oppressed, mistreated, or taxed beyond their means."

Now compare this to what the Catholics did when they introduced the Visigothic Code (or Forum Judicum) that had an entire book dedicated to laws concerning Jews. It forced Jews not to prevent their children from baptism, prohibited them from celebrating Passover, undergoing circumcision, marriage of relatives, observing dietary laws, reading books that the Christian faith rejects, and testifying against Christians—as well as forbidding Christians from defending or protecting Jews, and forcing Jews to abstain from labor on Sundays and Christian holidays.

Talking about Islam's tolerance of other religions and the existence of non-Muslim minorities, the Encyclopedia Wikipedia also says "most pre-Islamic religious minorities continue to exist in their native countries, a fact which is in glaring contrast to the extinction of Muslim minorities in Europe at the time of the Renaissance." The same source also adds "Religious persecution is also not sanctioned by Islam, although a few occurrences are known in history, but are mostly due to cruel rulers, or general economic hardships in the societies they are in."

Non-Muslim citizens under Islamic rule were supposed to pay a certain tax (Jizia). According to Wikipedia, "Jizya was applied to every free adult male member of the People of the Book, and/or non-Muslim living in lands under Muslim rule. There was no amount permanently fixed for it, though the payment usually depended on wealth: the Kitab al-Kharaj of Abu Yusuf sets the amounts at 48 dirhams for the richest (e.g. moneychangers), 24 for those of moderate wealth, and 12 for craftsmen and manual laborers. Females, children, the poor, and hermits were exempt from it. The disabled and elderly were exempt unless they were independently wealthy, as were mendicant monks—those living in productive monasteries had to pay. Historically Muslim rulers also attempted to collect jizya from Hindus, Sikhs and Zoroastrians under their rule. The collection of the tax was often the duty of the elders of those communities.

In return, those who paid the jizya were not required to serve in the military and were considered under the protection of the Muslim state, with certain rights and responsibilities. Non-Muslims were also exempt from zakat, or mandatory charity imposed on Muslims. In addition, if a non-Muslim chose to serve in the army, he would be exempt from the jizya. If he refused to pay the jizya, he might be imprisoned, as Abu Yusuf recommended."

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