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Relationship between Muslims and Non-Muslims

  • Unlike other world religions, Islam takes care of every aspect in human life through social interactions.
  • You will realise that most Islamic activities are done with the spirit of brotherhood.
  • A Muslim is a brother to another Muslim.
  • We must therefore strengthen this bond of brotherhood and unity.
  • In the previous classes, we learnt about guidelines on devotional acts, marriage, divorce, inheritance, among other forms of worship.
  • During these acts, Muslims interact with each other.
  • However, apart from these acts of worship, there are other matters in life that may involve interaction with neighbours, colleagues at places of work, school mates or even friends.
  • These groups of people may be from other faiths different from Islam but play a very important role in coexistence within the society.
  • We must therefore interact with each other responsibly, with sincerity and in a meaningful way.
  • Regardless of our religious differences, we are all vicegerents of Allah (SWT).
  • Allah (SWT) says; “O you people We have created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other. The best among you is the most pious.” [Q 49:13]
  • Islam teaches us to interact with non-Muslims in all aspects so long as they do not interfere with the Islamic faith and worship.
  • The life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companions is full of examples that promoted good relationship with Non-Muslims.
  • Muslims coexisted with people from other religions peacefully.
  • Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) peacefully interacted with non-Muslim traders of Syria, pilgrims from Yathrib, Christian leaders like Najash and many others.
  • Let us now look at some of the Islamic teaching on the treatment of non-Muslims.

Islamic Teachings on the Relationship with the Non-Muslims

  • Muslims should deal with them justly and with fairness. Allah (SWT) says, “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: For Allah loves those who are just.” [Q 60:8]
  • Muslims should extend greeting to them as a sign of good neighbourhood.
  • Muslims should exercise wisdom, patience and knowledge when debating or discussing religious issues with the non-Muslims. The Qur’an directs that; “And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury); but say, ‘We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God and your God is One; And it is to Him we bow (in Islam)” [Q 29:46]
  • Muslims must be careful not to compromise the religion with non-Islamic practices that are prevalent in the society.
  • Muslims can enter into treaties or peaceful agreements with the non-Muslims for the sake of coexistence. The Prophet (PBUH) showed a good example when he settled in Madina. He succeeded to unite all its inhabitants (Muslims, Jews, Christians and pagan Arabs) to sign a treaty (that is, the Madinan constitution).
  • Non-Muslims should be given the freedom of practising their religion without interference.
  • Visiting them when sick and praying for their recovery and guidance.
  • Sending condolences to them during death, disasters and tragedies.
  • Collective participation with them in any project or undertaking beneficial to the society.
  • Perform da’wa (inviting them to Islam) using good language and wisdom. They should not be coerced to embrace Islam. Allah (SWT) says; “There is no compulsion in religion. The truth stands out clear from error.” [Q 2:256]
  • Accommodate them in our communities and show them kindness and justice. At one time caliph Umar (RA) the second Caliph had learned that some Muslims had taken a piece of land that belonged to a Jew, and had built a mosque on it, he ordered the demolition of the mosque and the piece of land was given back to the Jew.
  • Sign treaties with them and having respect for such treaties. The Prophet (PBUH), despite facing hardships from the Makkan Quraish, he signed the treaty of Hudaibiya which was favouring the Makkans. The Muslims respected the terms of the treaty
  • Maintain good family ties with them. There are instances where one or some members of a family are of different religions. A Muslim should not break his or her family ties.

Status of Women in Islam

  • In Form one, we learnt about the prevailing social, economic, political and religious conditions during Pre-Islamic Arabia.
  • Can you recall some of the barbaric social conditions that were subjected to women during this era?
  • You will realise that women were denied their rights.
  • During this period, girls and women are among those who were affected by the ignorant social practices of the Arabs.
  • For example, Arabs would kill their baby girls out of fear of humiliation, girls would be married off without their consent and women would be inherited like property.
  • You will realise that all that transpired during the Jahiliya period are against Islamic social teachings.
  • What comes into your mind when you hear of status of women in Islam?
  • Definitely some will regard a Muslim woman as one who is oppressed and inferior.
  • They will also consider her as someone who is not liberated.
  • Such conclusions are based on the treatment of women during the Jahiliya period or cultural practices.
  • It is important to note that Islam is different from cultural practices that do not recognise a woman.
  • Indeed, Islam has empowered and liberated a woman since the 7th Century.
  • Islam has given a Muslim woman her full rights.
  • The misconception that a Muslim woman is suppressed by the Sharia is wrong.
  • The Sharia (Qur’an and Hadith) elevated the women to their rightful position and status.
  • Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an, “And their Lord has accepted of them, and answered them:Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be He male or female: Ye are members, one of another…” [Q 3:195]
  • It is important for a Muslim woman to know her rights and be able to differentiate with what the western world allures her to fight for.
  • The following are some of the rights of a Muslim woman which elevate her status in the society:

Performance of acts of ibada

  • Muslim women have an equal opportunity as the men in the performance of ibada.
  • Similarly, both man and woman receive equal reward before Allah (SWT) without considering gender.
  • Allah (SWT) rewards the women believers equally as the male believers.
  • Allah (SWT) says, “Allah has promised to the believers, men and women, gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss.” [Q 9:72]

Right to acquire Knowledge

  • Islam encourages both men and women to equally seek knowledge.
  • A Muslim woman has never been segregated in her quest for knowledge.
  • The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Seeking knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim (man and Muslim woman).”
  • During the time of the Prophet (PBUH), prominent Muslim women were on the forefront to learn the Islamic Sharia.
  • Aisha (RAA) learnt several Hadith from the Prophet (PBUH) and transmitted them to the other narrators.
  • She was an important source of reference on religious knowledge as she would learn most of the information from the Prophet (PBUH).
  • Muslims should therefore educate their girls in both religious and secular education.

Right to Choose a Spouse (marriage partner)

  • At the beginning of this chapter, we learnt that women during the Jalihiya Period could be married off without their consent.
  • Islam came and abolished this unjust practice through its laws on the rights of women.
  • The Sharia gave the woman the right to choose a spouse and even keep her original family name once married.
  • Cultural practices like forced marriages are prohibited in Islam.
  • The Prophet (PBUH) discouraged this practice.
  • At one time, a woman came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said, “My father has married me to my cousin to raise his social standing and I was forced into it.” The prophet sent for the girl’s father and then in his presence gave the girl the option of remaining married or nullifying the marriage. She responded, “O Messenger of Allah, I have accepted what my father did, but I wanted to show other women (that they could not be forced into a marriage).

Ownership of property

  • In many communities a man is considered as the rightful sole owner of wealth and property.
  • During inheritance, they distribute the property only to the male children.
  • Islamic teachings give the Muslim woman a right to own property and take part in the development of the economy.
  • Allah (SWT) says, “And in nowise covet those things in which Allah hath bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others: to men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn…” [Q 4:32]
  • The Islamic laws that support ownership of property by Muslim women are drawn from a variety of fields such as The Family Law (marriage/dower, inheritance, and guardianship), Property Law (gifts, endowments/trusts (awaqf), sale) and Economic Law (right to work, income).

Dowry during marriage

  • A Muslim woman is entitled to dowry during marriage.
  • This forms part of her personal property and the husband has the responsibility to provide for her upkeep.
  • In a situation where a woman owns property before marriage, the husband must respect it.
  • Even in the event of a break up in marriage, the husband is not entitled to retain it as his.
  • It shall remain the property of the woman.
  • Allah (SWT) says, “And give the women (on marriage) their dower as a free gift; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it and enjoy it with right good cheer.” [Q 4:4]

Freedom to express herself and form associations

  • Islam gives everyone freedom to express themselves in both the personal as well as social grievances affecting the community.
  • An Islamic marriage should be based on consultation and mutual understanding.
  • Both the husband and the wife should take part in making decisions that affect their family.
  • A Muslim woman is also allowed to interact with other members of the society.
  • She can join women development groups, community based organisations among other related associations.
  • However, she should inform and seek permission from her husband.
  • These activities should conform to the Islamic teachings and also should not compromise her responsibilities as a wife and a mother.


High status before Allah (SWT)

  • Allah (SWT) has honoured the women who are pious.
  • Allah (SWT) “And We have enjoined on man (To be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command), “Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) goal.” [Q 31:14] Also refer to Qur’an [Q 16:11).
  • The Prophet (PBUH) also emphasised the woman’s position in the society in his Hadith.
    Abu Hurayra (RA) narrated that a man asked the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) as to who amongst those near ones has the greatest rights over him. He (Prophet (PBUH) replied: Your mother. He asked, “Then who (is next)?” He (Prophet (PBUH) replied: “Your mother.” He again asked, “Then who (is next)?” He (Prophet (PBUH) replied: “Your mother.” He asked: “Then who (is next)?” He (The Prophet (PBUH) replied: “Your father.” (Agreed upon)


  • The modern society falsely classifies a Muslim woman as oppressed based on her mode of dressing which includes the Hijab to cover her aura.
  • According to the modern world, liberation of a woman includes among others, the exposure of her body and beauty in public.
  • However, Islam respects and dignifies a Muslim woman.
  • Islam liberates her from being treated as an object by the society around her.
  • Her modest appearance, which includes wearing the hijab highlights her personality and character instead of her physical figure.

Dignity and protection from harm

  • Islam prohibits the improper treatment of women.
  • It also forbids any form of emotional, physical or psychological abuse on women.
  • Any form of domestic violence is condemned by the Islamic teachings.
  • The Muslim couple should protect each other, foster love and unity in their marriage.
  • The husband should provide security to his family at all times.
  • Allah (SWT) emphasises in the Qur’an that: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means…” [Q 4:34]
  • Sometimes people wonder why Muslim women are separated from men during prayers or during any other functions that involve both genders.
  • This is the Islamic etiquette during gatherings that is aimed at protecting the dignity of the women who may feel insecure or shy before a male congregation.
  • It also minimises chances of zinaa that may arise due to intermingling of members of the opposite gender.

Child Abuse

  • Have you ever come across streets children in major towns and cities?
  • Do you ask yourself why these poor children live on the streets?
  • Most of these children have families but due to several reasons they end up living in such unbearable conditions.
  • These include poverty within the families, peer influence, urban attraction and among others.
  • It may also be as a result of parental neglect, mistreatment from the parents or guardians or any other form of child abuse.
  • Child abuse refers to physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment of a child.
  • Child abuse may be practised by parents, guardians, relatives or any other adult interacting with the child.
  • Children can be abused anywhere, including at home, in learning institutions, organisations, or anywhere else within the child’s community.
  • Parents and guardian together with the other members of the community should take up the social responsibility of protecting the children from any form of abuse.
  • Responsibility from marriage to parenthood is emphasised in Islam.
  • This noble religion has given all spiritual guidelines on child rearing and upbringing.
  • This is meant to produce children who are good Muslims and have accepted citizens in the society.
  • The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Every one of you is a protector and guardian and responsible for your wards and things under your care and a man is a guardian of his family members, and is accountable for those placed under his charge.”(Bukhari and Muslim)
  • There are different forms of child abuse. These include; child neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and child labour. Let us look at each of these forms of child abuse.

Physical Abuse

  • Many young people are mistreated but because of their tender age or ignorance, they do not realise that they are subjected to abuse.
  • Physical abuse may include intentional infliction of pain to the victim in order to intimidate them or force them to do something.
  • This may include, pinching, slapping, whipping, burning, canning and any rough handling of the child.
  • The abused victims suffer from bodily injuries like scars, bleeding, bruises, burns, fractures, and deformities among others.
  • Extreme cases may lead to death.
  • There are other long term effects such as low self-esteem, withdrawal from the society, abuse of drugs, psychological trauma, emotional instability and general discomfort.
  • Islam emphasises that every person should be responsible for the children because the care of their lives is a duty to us.
  • Parents are answerable to the society since the fabric of the society will be made by these children.
  • It is important to note that the children of today are parents and leaders of tomorrow.

Sexual Abuse

  • According to Islam, rape is regarded as a grave sin and if legally proven, the assailant is punishable by death.
  • Child sexual abuse or child molestation is a form of abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation or to satisfy his sexual desires.
  • Sexual abuse may involve children of both genders.
  • Islam has prohibited all sorts of sexual abuse.
  • To avoid such unlawful and barbaric practices, Muslims are encouraged to marry and fulfil their sexual desire with their marriage partners. Allah (SWT) says, “Marry those among you who are single, or the virtuous ones among your slaves, male or female: If they are in poverty, Allah will give them means out of his grace: For Allah encompasses all, and He knoweth all things.” [Q 24:32]



Child neglect

  • We are all aware that the parents are the cause of a child’s existence.
  • The innocent child did not plead with the parents to be brought in this world.
  • It is therefore a bonded duty for the parents to take responsibility of what they have brought forth.
  • Once brought to the world, the children are a trust in the hands of parents.
  • Most parents would wish the best for their children.
  • Parents and guardians should not ignore or neglect their children.
  • They should provide them with the basic needs, offer them protection and give them love.
  • The parents should also create sufficient time for their children.
  • They should follow up their progress in their daily activity and studies, both religious and secular.
  • Mothers, who bear the most responsibility for the upbringing of the child, should play an important role in instilling virtues in the children.
  • The parents should be aware that their children will be their support at their old age.
  • Therefore there is need for them to be given a good foundation.
  • Children who are neglected will lack basic life skills which would have assisted them face the challenges of the world.
  • Some of the observable signs in neglected children may include:
    • the child frequently absenting him or herself from school,
    • begging for food or stealing food or money,
    • poor health
    • poor grooming
    • lack of sufficient clothing and other basic needs and difficult time relating to other children.
  • Every parent shall be answerable on the day of judgement about this trust.
  • Allah (SWT) says:
    And those who believe and whose families follow them in Faith, to them shall We join their families: Nor shall We deprive them (of the fruit) of aught of their works: (Yet) is each individual in pledge for his deeds.”[Q 52:21]

Child labour

  • Child labour refers to the employment of children in any kind of work that deprives them their childhood rights.
  • It is work that is harmful to the child’s mental, physical, social or moral well-being.
  • This work interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and denies them their recreation time.
  • In fact child labour is a form of exploitation since the children hardly benefit from such work.
  • The unfortunate thing about these young people is that they are exposed to various risks as they lack the required skills for the respective engagements.
  • There are various forms of child labour such as exposing children to drug trafficking, child prostitution, employment as house or farm labourers, manual work in factories and quarries among other forms.
  • Child labour is as a result of high levels of poverty and the need for cheap labour in industries and farms. Some parents or adults use children as a source of income.
  • This is child abuse and is unlawful in Islam.
  • Such parents and adults need to be sensitised on the rights of the child and severe measures taken to stop them from abusing the children.

Effects of child abuse

  • Abused children have a feeling of guilt and self-blame for mistakes that are not of their own making.
  • They keep on having psychological trauma, nightmares or flashbacks of the unpleasant situations that they went through.
  • They develop fear of people, things or places associated with the abuse. This may include objects used in torture, places where the abuse occurred and the people who abused them.
  • They develop low self-esteem and a feeling of rejection.
  • Some children may resort to drug addiction so as to suppress thoughts and feelings of the abuse.
  • Physical and sexual abuse may cause chronic pains or permanent disability, including sexual dysfunction.
  • Some victims think of committing suicide while others actually commit.
  • Some develop the feeling of revenge in adulthood and may end up engaging in acts of child abuse.

Domestic violence

  • Domestic violence often refers to the physical, emotional or sexual abuse of a spouse done either within the marital home or outside.
  • It may involve use of force against someone in a way that injures or endangers them.
  • Abusers may also instil fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation.
  • They may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.
  • Domestic abuse has many forms.
  • It can be physical, emotional/psychological, sexual and financial in nature.
  • In extended family situations, abuse may also be from other family members towards the incoming spouse, with or even without the consent of the other partner.
  • Islam does not support any form of violence against husbands, wives or anyone else within the family.
  • Offenders of such violence will earn severe punishment in the hereafter.
  • Allah (SWT) teaches Muslims to be kind to each other.
  • Marriage should be one of mutual love, respect and kindness.
  • Allah (SWT) says;
    Among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” [Q30:21]
  • From the above verse, a Muslim learns that the purpose of Allah (SWT) creating the male and female gender and legalising marriage between them so that they may live in harmony.
  • Allah (SWT) also says, “O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness that they may take away part of the dower you have given them –except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.” [Q 4:19]
    The believers, men and women are protectors, one of another: they enjoin what is just and forbid what is evil…” [Q 9:71]
  • These verses make it clear that the relationship between men and women should be that of kindness, mutual respect, and caring for each other.
  • Allah (SWT) calls men and women ‘protecting friends of one another.’
  • This refers to the mandated atmosphere of mutual kindness and mercy within the marital home.
  • In case of any conflict arising in the family, the husband and the wife should consult in kindness.
  • They should strive to bring peace and bridge their differences.
  • Separation or divorce should not be their first option.
  • Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) instructed us, “I recommend that you treat women with goodness. The best of you are those who treat their wives the best.” (Bukhari)
  • In another narration, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated, “The best among the faithful is the one whose character (akhlaq) is the best, and the best among you is one who is best towards his wife.” (Tirmidhi)
  • Mu’awiya ibn Hida (RA) relates that he once asked the Prophet (PBUH): “O Messenger of God, what does one of us owe to his wife?” He said, “You should feed her when you eat and you should clothe her when you clothe yourself. Do not beat the face, do not abuse her and do not keep away from her except inside the house.” (Abu Dawud)

Effects of domestic violence

  • Victims of domestic violence suffer from low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident before they were abused.
  • Violence or aggression may lead to physical injuries or deformities.
  • Extreme cases may lead to death of the victim.
  • It leads to divorce in marriages.
  • Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
  • It leads to depression, anxiety or suicidal attempts.
  • Victims frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation.

Islamic Relations with Other Nations

  • We learnt earlier in this chapter that Muslims should coexist peacefully with other people in the society.
  • This relationship should not only be among people of the same religion, tribe or nation but should also extend to the other nations.
  • The Islamic state classifies its relationship with the other countries into the following three categories:

Relations with Muslim countries

  • Muslims are brothers in faith wherever they live in this world.
  • They form one brotherhood because of a common religion.
  • The concept of Islamic brotherhood eliminates all forms of differences on the basis of race, tribe, colour, language, blood relations or nationality.
  • The concept of brotherhood among Muslims has been well addressed in the Qur’an.
  • The Almighty Allah (SWT) says:
    The believers are but a single brotherhood: so make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers and fear Allah that ye may receive mercy.” [Q 49:10]
  • The Prophet (PBUH) also emphasised, in many of his Hadith and lifestyle the importance of Muslim brotherhood and unity.
  • During the Farewell Pilgrimage in 10th AH, Prophet (PBUH) announced:
    You must know that a Muslim is the brother of the Muslim and they form one brotherhood. Nothing of his brother is lawful for a Muslim except what he himself allows willingly. So, you should not oppress one another…”
  • In a Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “A Muslim is brother to a Muslim. He does neither wrong him, nor puts him to disgrace, nor does he hate him…. . Every Muslim’s blood, property and honour are sacred to another Muslim.” (Muslim)

Relations with non-Muslim countries joined by treaties and agreements

  • This relation is governed by either a treaty, an alliance or agreement signed between the Islamic state and the non-Islamic allied state.
  • The agreement may be in sharing business opportunities, development, and exchange programs among others.
  • Muslims should honour the treaty as agreed upon and should not violate its conditions.
  • If the other party or parties are not fulfilling the terms agreed upon, then any Islamic state is at liberty to cancel the alliance.
  • Before this cancellation, several attempts to keep together and several warning should have been given.
  • Islam has laid more emphasis on the sanctity of an agreement and the violation of a promise or pledge is a great sin liable for severe punishment.

Basic principles on Islamic international relations

Promotion of Peace and Security at all costs:

  • Islam means ‘peace’.
  • Islam is therefore a religion of peace.
  • The Holy Qur’an teaches us that Muslims or a Muslim nation should not start an aggressive war.
  • However, if it so happens that a Muslim nation is attacked, then they should defend themselves. Allah (SWT) says,
    Fight in the cause of Allah (SWT) those who fight you, But do not transgress limits For Allah (SWT loveth not transgressors.” [Q 2:190]
  • During the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Muslims resorted to fight only when they had been wronged, persecuted and even expelled from their homes by the enemies of Islam.

Promotion of Brotherhood

  • Islam believes in the brotherhood of humankind.
  • All humankind were created from a single pair and come from the same parents, Adam and Hawa.
  • Therefore they all share in the same parentage.
  • Allah (SWT) says:
    O mankind! Reverence your Guardian Lord, Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women...” [Q 4:1]
  • In another verse, Allah (SWT) says, “It is He Who hath produced you from a single person; Here is a place of sojourn and a place of departure: We detail Our signs for people who understand.”[Q 6:98]
  • Islam promotes universal brotherhood not only among the individual human beings but also among the people of different backgrounds and nations.
  • The prophet (PBUH) emphasised in his that “…all human beings are sons of Adam and Adam was created out of clay. No white one has superiority over a black one or an Arab over a non-Arab. All are equal and in the sight of Allah he is best one who is most excellent in conduct…”

Establishment of Justice and Equity

  • Islam emphasises the establishment of justice and equity among all humankind.
  • Everyone should be treated equally and fairly before the law and in the distribution of resources of the state.
  • There should be no intimidation or instilling fear among people on the basis of religious or any other differences.
  • Allah (SWT) says:
    “Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition.”[Q 16:90]
  • In another verse, Allah (SWT) directs believers to be just even if it is against their own souls. Allah (SWT) says, “O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witness To Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor…” [Q 4:135]
  • The principle of justice and fair dealings would not only govern the relations of one individual with the other but would also the relations of one state with the other. Therefore, justice in foreign relations is very significant in ensuring peaceful coexistence among nations.

Promotion of International Co-operation

  • This principle of the Islamic state is to co-operate for good, for righteousness, for peace, for justice and fair play.
  • A Muslim nation should be ready to co-operate and share with other nations; ideas regarding education programs, economic development, sports and cultural programs among other related fields.
  • However, a Muslim state should not cooperate for sinful act or transgression against the set limits of Allah (SWT).
  • The Almighty Allah (SWT) says:
    “…Help ye one another in righteousness and piety, But help ye not one another in sin and rancour: Fear Allah: for Allah is strict in punishment.” [Q 5:2]
  • In reference to this guideline from Allah (SWT) the Islamic state should extend its co-operation to all those countries working for international peace and security; that are fighting evil, ignorance, poverty and other social vices.

Misconceptions about Islam

  • Islam is one of the greatest religions in the world.
  • It is known for the belief in monotheism, and system of life that has defined moral, economic and political aspects of human life.
  • Muslims are guided by the strict Islamic law enshrined in the Holy Quran and Hadith.
  • While the Islamic law is aimed at safeguarding life, property, reason, lineage and more so the faith itself, there are some concepts found in the religion that have been misunderstood to give negative image of Islam.
  • These misconceptions, either by Muslims themselves or at large non-Muslims, have adversely affected the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims.
  • They involve several teachings or beliefs in Islam.
  • In this subtopic we are going to discuss three of the concepts that have been misconceived as follows;


  • Jihad, a very common terminology among both Muslims and non-Muslims is one of the most manipulated concepts in Islam today is the concept of jihad.
  • Jihad is derived from an Arabic term Jahada which means ‘he exerted himself.’ This simply means ‘to make an effort’, or ‘to do ones best’ in order to achieve a goal.
  • The Qur’anic definition of jihad is “striving with one’s self and one’s wealth in the cause of Allah.”
  • This is confirmed by a number of verses in the Qur’an.
  • The following are some examples of these verses:
    Only those who are believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and have never since doubted, but have striven with their belongings and their persons in the course of Allah: such are the sincere ones.” [Q 49:15].
    Those who believe, and suffer exile and strive with might and main, in Allah’s cause, with their goods and their persons, have the highest rank in the sight of Allah. They are the people who will achieve (salvation).” [Q 9:20]
  • The whole world today and especially the non-Muslim world have a misconception of Jihad.
  • To most of them, Jihad means Holy war or acts of terror which results in mass suffering and destruction of property.
  • This is not the correct picture of Islam but a misrepresentation by those who do not understand Islam.
  • Islam does not call for violence; rather it despises all forms of violence and terrorism, whether against Muslims or non-Muslims.
  • Islam, calls for peace, co-operation, and maintaining justice among all.
  • It calls for happiness for the common good of humanity as a whole.
  • This fact is declared in the Qur'an when Allah says: “Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition.” [Q 16: 90]
  • Now that we have learnt and established that jihad means to strive with one’s self and one’s wealth in the cause of Allah (SWT), both Muslims and non-Muslims need to understand the meaning of the Quranic phrase: “in the cause of Allah.”
  • Striving to uphold the “cause of Allah,” means striving to live by Allah (SWT’s) commandments.
  • These commandments are found in both Qur’an and Hadith.
  • Since the word jihad has been manipulated to advocate acts of violence and the killing of innocent people, it is necessary to establish, with clear Qur’anic evidence, that the “cause of God” does not allow unlawful killing or violence.
  • The following verses provide proof that Islam advocates for peace and hates all acts of violence:
    Allah (SWT) says, “…Say ‘Nay, Allah never commands what is shameful: Do you say of Allah what ye know not?” [Q 7:28]
  • The Holy Quran states firmly that killing any innocent soul is a major sin:
    ".... take not life, which Allah Has made sacred, except by way of justice and law. Thus doth He command you that ye may learn wisdom.” [Q 6:151]
  • In yet another verse to emphasise that life of a person is sacred, Allah (SWT) says, “Nor take life which Allah Has made sacred except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, We have given his heir authority (to demand Qisas or forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life: for he is helped (by the law.)” [Q 17:33]
  • In Islam, war is not waged at anyone or any state except in the case of self-defense.
  • Peace and restrain should be the first steps before resorting to any acts self-defense.
  • Allah (SWT) says,
    Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (guarantees) of peace, then Allah Hath opened no way for you (to war against them).”[Q 1:90]
  • Allah (SWT) commands that there should be no compulsion in religion. Nobody should be forced to join Islam but should do so out of their will. Allah (SWT) says, “Let there be no compulsion in religion: truth stands out clear from Error…” [Q 2:256]
  • In another verse, Allah (SWT) says, “If it had been the Lords Will, they would all have believed-All who are on earth! Wilt you then compel mankind against their will, to believe!” [Q 10:99]
  • The commands of Allah (SWT) in the above verses are very clear.
  • The Quran confirms that belief must be attained voluntarily.
  • If someone is forced into converting to Islam, there would be no credit due.
  • All the above verses indicate clearly that the Quran prohibits any violence, unlawful killing and or forcing others to embrace Islam.
  • Attacks on civilians and other innocent people around the world by any person or groups of people, are a violation of the Sharia.
  • These acts are condemned by all religions including Islam.
  • Those who kill themselves or kill innocent people in the name of Islam disobey Allah (SWT’s) commands.
  • Allah (SWT) says, “O you who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves in vanities; but let there be amongst you traffic and trade by mutual good will: nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah has been to you Most Merciful.” [Q 4:29]
  • As per all the Quranic verses presented above, we should understand that:
    • Killing an innocent soul is a great sin in the sight of Allah (SWT).
    • Allah (SWT) condemns any form of Suicide.
    • The Quran warns of great retribution to those who commit suicide.
    • Islam advocates for peaceful coexistence.


  • Terrorism is a criminal act that is deliberately executed by an individual or a group in order to achieve specific goals.
  • Terrorist normally target individuals, groups, organisations or governments with the intention of revenge, creating fear, instability, demanding for ransom among other goals.
  • Terrorists employ several cruel and unlawful methods including the following:
    • Brutal murder of innocent people, including women and children.
    • Hijacking innocent passengers and clients and torturing them physically and emotionally
    • Torturing innocent people or captured victims affect
    • Suicide bombing.
    • Kidnapping people to unknown destinations
    • Destruction of valuable property and wealth.
  • The world today blames the Muslim Ummah whenever an act of terrorism happens.
  • Unfortunately very few people realise that Terrorism is not part of Islam, neither is it encouraged.
  • Islam is a religion of peace and it emphasises on peaceful relations between different people.
  • In order to understand the Islamic religion’s stand on terrorism, we must refer to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH).
  • The teachings are clear in their prohibition of any form of injustice including any violence which seeks to instill fear, injury or death to innocent civilians.
  • Human life is sacred in Islam.
  • The religion values human life whether it is of a Muslims or Non-Muslims and makes it absolutely forbidden to take an innocent life unjustly.
  • According to these teachings a crime of murder of a single innocent person is equated with the killing of all humanity.
  • Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Qur’an:
    On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.” [Q 5:32]
  • In regard to the above, it is evident that Allah has detested the taking of life deliberately. He also says: “If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is hell, to abide therein (forever); and the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him.” [Q4:93].
  • Apart from condemning murder, Islam also prohibits wanton destruction of people’s property.
  • All individual’s wealth, family and dignity in the society must be respected and protected. This is the justice that Allah (SWT) instructs us to obey.
  • Allah says:
    The blame is only against those who oppress men and wrong-doing and insolently transgress beyond bounds through the land, defying right and justice: for such there will be a penalty grievous” Q[42:42].
  • It is only in the case of self- defense that war is inevitable in Islam.
  • And even in such an instance, there is a clear guideline to be adhered to during the battle.
  • For example, Abu Bakr (R.A) the first Caliph of Islam showed the way when he advised his general Yazid, who was confronting Roman armies.
  • He said: "I advise you ten things, Do not kill women or children or an aged, infirm person. Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees. Do not destroy an inhabited place. Do not slaughter sheep or camels except for food. Do not burn bees and do not scatter them. Do not steal from the booty, and do not be cowardly."
  • Unfortunately there is a lot of misconception about Islam and terrorism.
  • More and more often, the world has associated this peaceful religion with destruction and violence.
  • Islam is a religion with many followers from many nations, races and tribes.
  • We cannot therefore rule out separate cases where few extreme individuals or groups who have taken it upon themselves to do the most evils in the name of Islam.
  • Therefore, Islam cannot be refereed as a religion of violence simply because of handful followers who engage in cowardly acts in order to achieve their own goals.
  • Similarly any individual or group who engages in terrorist acts on political, fanatical, sectarian or denominational or for any other goal should be made responsible for his acts but not the entire race, tribe, religion or community.

Effects of Terrorism

  • Islamic religion has distant itself from all acts of terrorism.
  • Those who know about Islam and its Sharia are aware that all the consequences of terror cannot be tolerated in Islam.
  • Among these effects are as follows:
    • Cruelty is directed to innocent groups of people like the children, women, the elderly, the disabled, and the sick.
    • Brutality and murder of innocent civilians and destruction of valuable property.
    • Undermining the security levels of the countries involved.
    • Frequent wars that throw the whole world into panic, instability, fear, hunger, pain and mass suffering.
    • Creates hatred and enmity between people, communities and nations who have once lived together in harmony, peace and mutual understanding.
    • Interrupts the country’s economic stability which is crucial for business and economic growth.
    • Breach of contracts between nations because the security situation may not allow them to execute their trusts.
    • Diverting so many resources from projects on development towards beefing up security, creating awareness, rescue missions and treatment.
    • Distorts the image of Islam before the whole world where people take Muslims to be perpetrators of violence.
    • Terror victims are affected emotionally and psychologically.


Read [Q 4:36]

  • Slavery is a system under which human beings are subjected to a dominating power with no rights at all.
  • They are treated as property to be bought and sold, and forced to work.
  • In this state the slave have no freedom over anything in their lives.
  • They are forced into total obedience to the commands of their masters.
  • Slavery is an ancient practice of many early civilizations including Ancient Egypt, the Akkadian Empire, Assyria, Ancient India, Ancient Greece, Ancient China, the Roman Empire, and the pre- Columbian civilizations of the Americas.
  • During this time, pre-industrial societies required manpower on their farms.
  • Slaves were extremely important because they provided labour on these farms.
  • Before the advent of Islam slavery was a popular practice among the Arabs.
  • The Arabs used to import slaves from different parts of the world.
  • By the time the Prophet (PBUH) started preaching Islam, this practice was still very common in Arabia and other parts of the world.
  • It is from this that the world all over equated Islam to slave trade forgetting that this had been a common trend among early civilisations.
  • In order for us to understand slave trade and Islam, we must refer to the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
  • This is because he lived at a time when the Arabs were in ignorance.
  • Slavery was among the acts of ignorance common among them.
  • Islam therefore started by abolishing all acts of barbarism.
  • Allah (SWT) revealed verses of the Qur’an guaranteeing freedom of mankind in all their dealings such as freedom of worship, speech, movement, among others.
  • The abolishing of the institution of slavery was gradual.
  • Allah (SWT) begins by reminding humankind that they have all been created from a single pair and no one is superior except those who have taqwa.
  • Islam prohibits ill treatment of not only human beings but also other creatures like animals.
  • Prejudice, persecution, oppression have no room in Islam.
  • On the contrary, the Qur’an and the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) provide sufficient lessons on the treatment of those in bondage.
  • The Sharia put several measures to curb slavery and slave trade.
  • Among these methods include the following:
    • The Qur’an instructs Muslims not to force their female slaves into prostitution but instead ask for their hand in marriage. Allah (SWT) says, “…But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that you may get a gain in the goods of this life…”[Q 24:33]
      Allah (SWT) says, “If any of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women, they may wed believing women from among those whom your right hands possess…” [Q 1:21] In this verse, Allah (SWT) uses ‘the right hand’ to refer to the captives taken during conquests.
    • Muslims were also asked to free the slaves as atonement for crimes or sins done. Among these sins include; not fulfilling oaths that you deliberately make, killing a believer unintentionally and those who wish to take back their wives after divorcing them by dhihar or intentionally breaking fast during the month of Ramadhan.
    • Giving the slaves freedom to buy their own liberty. Allah (SWT) says, “…And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed.” [Q 24:33]
    • The Sharia raised the rank of the slave and made his blood protected just like the free person, where the free person is killed for the deliberate murder of a slave.
      Allah (SWT) says: “O ye who believe! The law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman…” [ Q 2:178]
    • Islam made the freeing of slaves one of the eight categories which money paid as Zakat should be spend for. Allah (SWT) says:
      Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to the truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the course of Allah; and for the way farer…”[Q 9:60]

Islamic Teachings on Treatment of Slaves.

  • We have learnt earlier in this chapter that the Prophet (PBUH) was born in a society where slave trade was being practiced.
  • As a Messenger of Allah (SWT) he therefore had to teach the society on the treatment of slaves as gradually the practice was abolished.
  • His teachings combined with Allah (SWT’s) divine guidance, in a way eased the position of slavery imposed upon slaves.
  • Below are some of the Islamic teachings on the treatment of slaves:
    • The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Fear Allah in regards of those whom your right hands possess. They are your brothers whom Allah placed under your hands (authority). Feed them with what you eat, clothe them with what you wear and do not impose duties upon them which will overcome them. If you so impose duties, then assist them.” [Muslim]
    • Abu Hurayra narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “One of you should not say: My slave (abd) and my slave-girl (amati). All of you are the slaves of Allah and all of your women are the slave-girls of Allah. Rather let him say: My (ghulam) boy and my (jariyah) girl and my (fata) young boy and my (fatati) young girl.” (Muslim)
    • Sumra bin Jundub relates that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Whoever kills his slave, we will kill him.”(Ahmad and Abu Dawud)
  • Islam urged the setting free of slaves.
  • The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whichever man frees a Muslim man, Allah ta’ala will liberate for each of his organ an organ from the Fire.” (Bukhari and Muslim).
  • This demonstrates that Islam urged the freeing of slaves and gave it a great reward.
  • Islam prohibited punishing the slave by burning, cutting or damaging an organ, or hitting him violently.
  • Whoever punishes his slave in this manner should set the slave free.
  • If his owner does not free him, the leader frees him by force from his owner.
  • Ibn Umar (RA) narrates that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever slaps his slave or strikes him, his atonement (kaffara) is to free him.”(Muslim)
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