Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Debunking Islamophobic Myths about 26 Wartime Verses: Part 4

What Is The Background Of Three Quranic Verses Prohibiting Friendship With Non-Muslims (9:23, 5:51, And 5:57)? Main Points: 1. It is a popular misconception that Islam prevents Muslims from establishing friends and forming social interactions with others. 2. Thinking that befriending non-believers can lead to Kufr is an extremely flawed line of thinking. 3. In these verses, awliya needs to be understood as guardians or patrons in the historical and strict military sense. ------ By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam 29 April 2022 This part will attempt to debunk Islamophobic myths about three verses of the Quran because the subject of all three verses is the same. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O People who Believe! Do not consider your fathers and your brothers as your friends if they prefer disbelief over faith, and whoever among you befriends them – then it is he who is unjust.” (9:23) “O People who Believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians your friends; they are friends of one another, and whoever among you befriends them, is one of them; indeed Allah does not guide the unjust.” (5:51) “O People who Believe! Those who have made your religion a mockery and a sport, and those who received the Book before you, and the disbelievers – do not befriend any of them; and keep fearing Allah, if you have faith.” (5:57) Allah Almighty has prohibited believers from establishing Muwalaat (friendship in matters of religion) with Jews, Christians, disbelievers, polytheists, and apostates in the aforementioned three verses of the Quran, and has conveyed His disapproval and indignation at those who do so. Based on this principle, many Islamophobes and radical Muslims say that Islam prevents Muslims from forming friends with non-Muslims. They cite the verses mentioned above to prove their point. So it is essential to examine the meaning of Muwalaat/Awliya in these verses, as well as whether Muslims can accept non-Muslims as friends. The following is a summary of Haris Aziz's treatise: The word Awliya has various meanings such as friends, protectors and guardians, and if the meaning is taken to be friends then it seems to contradict the Islamic message of peace and cooperation. The context and the historical background of this verse have been well explained by David Dakake. In this verse, Awliya needs to be understood as guardians or patrons in the strict military sense. The word Awliya means ‘Friends, protectors, and guardians, and if this means ‘friends’ in verse 5:51, it will appear to contradict the Islamic message of peace and cooperation. David Dakake has provided a thorough explanation of the context and historical history of this verse. In this verse, Awliya must be taken as guardians or patrons in the strict military sense. This is because Muslims were in a perilous position in Medina at the time this verse was revealed, with the Makkans plotting an attack on them and some Christian and Jewish tribes scheming against them. As a result, Muslims were told to strengthen themselves and not rely on others unnecessarily. Al-Tabari, one of the oldest commentators on the Quran, explains the entire context. Furthermore, if we read the verses immediately after 5:51, verse 5:57 confirms the meaning even further: “O you who have believed, take not those who have taken your religion in ridicule and amusement among the ones who were given the Scripture before you nor the disbelievers as Awliya. And fear Allah, if you should [truly] be believers.” (5:57) This demonstrates that, while Muslims should cooperate with non-Muslims in general and form friendships with well-intentioned non-Muslims, they should be wary of appointing as a guardian someone who despises Islam or does not want Muslims well. It's distressing to note that, despite the fact that a simple technique leads to the correct interpretation, this verse is not only misused by anti-Islamic organisations, but also by some hate-mongering Muslim groups. Similarly, a warning (Quran 5:82) regarding the animosity of the Jews of Medina toward Muslims must be viewed in its historical context and should not be taken to mean that Muslims should be hostile to them. (Islamic Political Radicalism – A European Perspective, Edited by Tahir Abbas, Anti-Semitism Amongst Muslims – Haris Aziz, Edinburgh University Press, p79-80, cited in https://osmanisnin.wordpress.com/2022/01/02/what-does-awliya-mean-in-quran-551-can-muslims-take-non-muslims-as-friends/) According to Mufti Badruddoja, a classical Indian scholar, These verses prohibit demonstrating Muwalaat (religious friendliness) to Jews, Christians, Infidels, polytheists, and apostates, but they do not prohibit Muamalat with them, that is, buying, selling, conducting transactions, establishing peaceful cohabitation, and sitting together. These verses do not prohibit people from engaging in worldly affairs as long as they do not damage one another. Those who accuse the Quran of encouraging hatred and violence need to comprehend the difference between Muwalaat and Mua’amalat. They are not related to one other. It's possible that you do Mua’amalat (worldly affairs) with someone all your life, such as transactions, buying and selling, but you don't even have a nominal acquaintance with them. It's also possible that you've developed a friendship, emotion, or propensity for someone but have never transacted or coexisted with them. This distinction has revealed that “neither friendship is indispensable for Mua’amlaat nor Muwalat or friendship for Mua’amlaat”. The distinction between Mua'amalat and Mua’amlaat is significant. In the aforementioned verses, Allah Almighty prohibits Muwalat with Jews, Christians, unbelievers, polytheists, and apostates; however He Almighty does not prohibit believers from establishing Mua'amalat, or trade or peaceful coexistence with them. (Summarized The Verses of Jihad in The Quran - Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background - Part 6) When we examine the exegesis (Tafsir) of these verses critically, we can determine that they are specifically referring to prohibiting an alliance with non-Muslims who wished to damage the Muslim community. Furthermore, these verses were revealed in the midst of political strife, not during a period of peace. It is a popular misconception that Islam prevents Muslims from establishing friends and forming social interactions with others. It contradicts both current reality and Islamic history. It's also a hazardous viewpoint, as some have claimed that befriending non-believers can lead to Kufr. This line of thinking is extremely flawed. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has a long history of peaceful coexistence with people of many religious communities. In both Makkah and Madinah, he lived with Christians and Jews. Even when there were apparent disagreements with certain of the Jewish tribes in Madinah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not cut off links with the entire Jewish community. In Madinah, the Prophet acknowledged the Jews as one community with the Muslims. Throughout Islamic history, the Prophet (peace be upon him) cooperated with different non-Muslims. For example, when he and his companion Abu Bakar left Makkah for Madinah during the Hijrah, he relied on Abdullah bin Urayqat, a non-Muslim, to guide and direct them. According to a hadith preserved in Sahih Bukhari, the Prophet paid a visit to a Jewish lad who used to serve him till he became unwell. The Prophet's kind demeanour illustrates the beauty of his teachings, inspiring the youngster to accept the message of the Prophet. These are just a few examples of the Holy Prophet’s remarkable interpersonal relationships with members of various faiths. (Peace be upon him). In addition to his social contacts with people of different faiths, the Holy Prophet emphasised the need of maintaining kinship ties despite religious differences. He advised his companion, Saad bin Abi Waqas, to maintain a good connection with his mother, despite the fact that she did not share the same faith. The Holy Prophet emphasised that one's faith and belief should not interfere with one's family ties. He was Abu Talib's confidant and had an excellent relationship with him. Abu Talib was crucial to the Prophetic message's success. He shielded the Prophet from those who tried to stop him from carrying out his mission. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also lavished love and respect on his uncle. As a result, it is perfectly acceptable for us to befriend individuals who do not share our beliefs. We can always extend friendships to whomever we want to be friends with and embrace friends regardless of their religious beliefs. A friend in need is a true friend. Indeed, some of our friends share our ideals, but we all share our humanity and, more importantly, our strong links to real friendship. A serious assessment of the overall message of the Quran, as well as the Holy Prophet's diverse deeds, would be ample grounds to reject any restricted or exclusivist readings of these verses. Several verses in the Quran exhort us to do good to people of other faiths and to create positive relationships with them. Allah Azzawajal says in the Quran, “And He does not forbid you to deal kindly and justly with anyone who has not fought you for your faith or driven you out of your homes; God loves the Just.” (60:8) As Muslims, we have a religious obligation to challenge interpretations that seek to sow division and hatred. It is our responsibility to portray a favourable image of our faith and to explicitly reject exclusivist interpretations of the Bible. As taught by the Holy Prophet, we spread Rahma (mercy) to all. We must have trust that our faith does not need us to be isolated from other communities and that it does not create hostility in our interpersonal relationships. It is critical that we make attempts to learn about and interact with others in order to develop social cohesion. So, absolutely, we can make friends with our non-Muslim acquaintances. And, certainly, we must, because the beauty of human connections comes in their uniqueness. (Excerpts summarized from Can Muslims Befriend Non-Muslims?) In conclusion, Muslims have no problem maintaining casual friendships and cordial acquaintances with people of other faiths as long as those people do not oppose or dislike Islam or Muslims, do not engage in or incorrectly influence Muslims toward immoral behaviour, and are not unjust and oppressive to anyone. The words of Allah Most High Himself demonstrate this when He says: “Allah does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you due to your faith or driven you out of your homes. Allah loves those who deal justly. Allah only forbids you from those people that fought you because of your faith, drove you out of your homes and helped in your expulsion, that you take them as intimate associates. And whosoever takes them as intimate associates, then it is they who are the wrongdoers.” (60:8-9) Other Parts of the Article: Debunking Islamophobic Myths about 26 Wartime Verses: Part 1 on Verse 9:5 Debunking Islamophobic Myths About 26 Wartime Verses Of Quran Considered Militant And Exclusivist: Part 2 On Verse 9:28 Debunking Islamophobic Myths about 26 Wartime Verses: Part 3 on Verse 9:123 ------ Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam. URL: https://newageislam.com/radical-islamism-jihad/islamophobic-myth-wartime-verses-part-4/d/126967 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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