Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"

"Muslim / Non-Muslim Relations"


In this segment, Dr. Badawi argues that the Qur'an teaches Muslims that they can be friends with non Muslims. He is attempting to show that Muslims and Islam are tolerant of those who do not share their beliefs. The one thing that we must ask ourselves throughout this discussion is : what is tolerance, who defines it, and under what terms?

Host: Is there any basis in the Qur'an for peaceful co-existence with non-Muslims and what are the exceptions?

Jamal Badawi: If have a book called the meaning of the Qur'an since there is no way that it can be accurately translated. Sura 60:8-9, the basic rule for the relationship is clear:

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 loveth those who are just. Allah only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). It is such as turn to them (in these circumstances), that do wrong.

There are 3 important issues:

1. Justice and kindness, or peaceful coexistence with non Muslims. There are exceptional reasons such as those who fight you because you are Muslim who are trying to eliminate your identity.

2. Those who are trying to drive you out of your home. You can extend friendship to those who are trying to destroy you.

3. There are two key words, to be just with them or justice, you cannot persecute them because they are not Muslims. The other is interesting, this word has no equivalent in English, it means everything that is good. In the Traditions, he uses this term for the relationship between a child and his parents, it is respect and kindness. Those who hate Muslims cannot expect this.

I am not convinced of Dr. Badawi's explanation since in verse 13, it says:

O ye who believe! Turn not (for friendship) to people on whom is the Wrath of Allah, of the Hereafter they are already in despair, just as the Unbelievers are in despair about those (buried) in graves.

We will see how Muslims have treated non Muslims in a moment.

Host: Are there other passages?

Jamal Badawi: The justice of the Qur'an includes Jews and Christians. These people are called the People of the Book. This is in 29 places in the Qur'an. What is the significance. The Book is the scriptures, people whose Prophets received scriptures. They are closer to Muslims than unbelievers for 5 reasons:

1. In all of these faiths, the common thing is the belief in God, the supreme creator. They believe in one supreme loving Father, they do not convey divinity to a human being or to Trinity, this does not bear of the basis concept of God.

Do we really believe in the same God if we Christians accept the Triune nature of God?

2. These three faiths believe in Prophethood, God sent Prophets to guide humanity to guide them into truth and the followers carried this message.

We all believe in the concept of Prophethood, however, Jews and Christian have a Biblical test for Prophethood in Deuteronomy 18:21-22 :

"When a prophet speaks in the Name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the Lord has not spoken, the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him.".

Muhammad did not make any accurate prophecies and fails this test. Therefore, we do not consider him a Prophet.

3. They all believe in divine revelations, Holy Books, there might be differences in beliefs about the scriptures but this is common.

Other religions also have sacred texts. The Hindus have the Gita, the Jains have the Agama, and the Parsis have the Avesta. Are they also close to Muslims?

4. Belief in accountability and punishment based on correct belief and behavior told by all Prophets. These is a lot of commonality.

No, Christians believe that the correct belief is that the death of Jesus atones for all of the sins of those who accept Him as Lord and Savior. The un-abridged messages of the Prophets, as told in the Bible, provide a clear outline of God's plan of salvation and how this plan has unfolded throughout history with the final act of love and redemption on the cross.

Host: Sometimes people say that there is a verse in the Qur'an that discourages befriending Christians and Jews.

Jamal Badawi: The verse that I cited is clearly the rule and other verses must be interpreted in the context of this verse. Many people who are not informed about Islam is to pick some things out of context to give the opposite meaning. There is no restriction. One verse gives a misleading impression, let us read the entire verse. Sura 5:54:

O ye who believe! if any from among you turn back from his Faith, soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him,- lowly with the believers, mighty against the rejecters, fighting in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault. That is the grace of Allah, which He will bestow on whom He pleaseth. And Allah encompasseth all, and He knoweth all things.

The following verse says:

Your (real) friends are (no less than) Allah, His Messenger, and the (fellowship of) believers,- those who establish regular prayers and regular charity, and they bow down humbly (in worship).

This verse deals with some of the hypocritical people. This was revealed when some of the hypocritical people who claimed to be Muslims but the non-Muslims may attain victory, so they kept the friendship with them so they win either way - the Muslims win or lose. The Qur'an condemns duplicity and hypocrisy. The verse says do not take Jews and Christians as protectors, not for your defense. When there are camps, it is erroneous to take this verse to apply to every individual person. This does not apply to a decent Jew or Christian, this is a misquotation.

I found Dr. Badawi's statement concerning those who quote passages out of context fairly amusing! Why did Muhammad "ethnically cleanse" Arabia of all Christians and Jews? Were all of them his enemies? In fact, Muhammad's last words are reported to have been:

"Allah's damnation be on the Jews and the Christians who made the graves of their prophets objects of worship."

Why were Muhammad's last words on this planet a curse on the Christians and Jews? If Muhammad were a man of God, why didn't he pray for the forgiveness and guidance of his enemies? Jesus forgave His enemies and so did Stephen, the first Christian Martyr.

Host: Could you show us a few more verses about friendship and that restrictions are the exception?

Jamal Badawi: Sura 3:118-120:

O ye who believe! Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks: They will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire your ruin: Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths: What their hearts conceal is far worse. We have made plain to you the Signs, if ye have wisdom. Ah! ye are those who love them, but they love you not,- though ye believe in the whole of the Book. When they meet you, they say, "We believe": But when they are alone, they bite off the very tips of their fingers at you in their rage. Say: "Perish in you rage; Allah knoweth well all the secrets of the heart." If aught that is good befalls you, it grieves them; but if some misfortune overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if ye are constant and do right, not the least harm will their cunning do to you; for Allah Compasseth round about all that they do.

These are people who have bad feeling towards Muslims and want to ruin them.

Sura 60:1:

O ye who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as friends (or protectors),- offering them (your) love, even though they have rejected the Truth that has come to you, and have (on the contrary) driven out the Prophet and yourselves (from your homes), (simply) because ye believe in Allah your Lord! If ye have come out to strive in My Way and to seek My Good Pleasure, (take them not as friends), holding secret converse of love (and friendship) with them: for I know full well all that ye conceal and all that ye reveal. And any of you that does this has strayed from the Straight Path.

Sura 58:22:

Thou wilt not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, to dwell therein (for ever). Allah will be well pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allah. Truly it is the Party of Allah that will achieve Felicity.

Host: Is there any room for reconciliation for these people?

Jamal Badawi: There is no question about that. Any ban on friendship is temporary. Sura 60:7:

It may be that Allah will grant love (and friendship) between you and those whom ye (now) hold as enemies. For Allah has power (over all things); And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Sura 41-31-34:

"We are your protectors in this life and in the Hereafter: therein shall ye have all that your souls shall desire; therein shall ye have all that ye ask for!- "A hospitable gift from one Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful!" Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah, works righteousness, and says, "I am of those who bow in Islam"? Nor can goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!

Goodness is to do something for someone who wrongs you.

Fight those who do not profess the true faith (Islam) till they pay the jiziya (poll tax) with the hand of humility.

In other words, this verse in Qur'an lays down the rules for non Muslims living in an Islamic state. They must pay the jiziya tax. These non Muslims are called zimmis and are permitted to exist in the Islamic state under the following 20 conditions, sometimes know as Umar's Pact:

1. They are not to build any new places of worship.

2. They are not to repair any old places of worship which have been destroyed by Muslims.

3. They are not to prevent Muslim travelers from staying in their places of worship.

4. They must entertain for 3 days any Muslim who wishes to stay in their homes and longer if the Muslim falls ill.

5. They are not to harbor any hostility or any give aid and comfort to anyone hostile to Islam.

6. They are not to prevent anyone of them from being converted to Islam.

7. They must show respect to every Muslim.

8. They must allow Muslims to participate in their private meetings.

9. They must not to dress like Muslims.

10. They must not to use or give their children Muslim names.

11. They are not to ride on horses with saddle and bridle.

12. They are not to possess arms.

13. They are not to wear signet or seals on their fingers.

14. They are not to sell or drink liquor openly

15. They must wear a distinctive dress which shows their inferior status and separates them from Muslims.

16. They must not to propagate their custom and usages among the Muslims.

17. They may not to build their houses in the neighborhood of Muslims.

18. They are not to bring their dead near the graveyards of the Muslims.

19. They are not to observe their religious practices publicly or mourn their dead loudly.

20. They are not to buy Muslim slaves.

Christianity requires that we share our faith we others. If Christians are prohibited from sharing their faith, then they are not free to practice their faith. Dr Badawi, there is more to tolerance and freedom, than simply not being murdered!

Host: Are there any in a Islamic law which talks about forgiveness for non Muslims?

Jamal Badawi: Sura 5:6:

O ye who believe! when ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If ye are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body. But if ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands, Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete his favour to you, that ye may be grateful.

A Muslim may marry a Christian, and what could be more close than the relationship of marriage?

I am not sure if this is what this passage has to do with Dr. Badawi's argument. However, if nothing is more close than the relationship of marriage, why is it unlawful for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man? To make matters even worse, a non-Muslim wife CANNOT be buried in the same cemetary as her Muslim husband. In fact, if a non-Muslim woman, who is married to a Muslim, dies when she is pregnant, the mother and her child (who is considered a Muslim) CANNOT be buried together (Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Fiqh 4.75a)! Double standards Dr. Badawi? After all, what could be more close than the relationship of a mother and her child?

Andrew Vargo

Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"
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