Muhammad’s Mistreatment of the People of the Book

A Dawagandist Seeks to Justify Islam’s Degradation of Jews and Christians

Sam Shamoun

Dr. Jamal Badawi had a debate in Tulsa Oklahoma with Muslim convert to Christianity Dr. Reza Safa on January 25, 2008, concerning the topic, "Can Muslims and Christians be Friends?" We highly recommend this debate to our readers since Dr. Safa did an excellent job of proving his position that Muslims are expressly forbidden from befriending Christians by citing authentic Islamic sources. The entire debate can be viewed here: 1, 2.

During the rebuttal period Dr. Badawi claimed that Dr. Safa misunderstood a specific narration where Muhammad forbade his followers from initiating greetings with Jews and Christians:

Does he know, Mr. Safa, the background of this? The background is already in the books of tafsir; that some people among the people of the book, Jews in particular in Medina, when they came to greet the prophet they twisted the word as-Salam into another Arabic word as-Sam, which means, instead of "peace be with you," "death be with you." And the Quran in one verse actually say, "when they come to you they greet you in a way not greeted to by God." So what the prophet basically told, because he didn’t want to come to their level and tell "death with you too," and they twist the word so it sounds like "peace be with you.’ So he said alright, for them – not for all Jews and Christians all the time, everywhere – he said for those particular people, if they… don’t initiate greeting with them – they showed arrogance, they showed assault, unfair assault on Muslims and the prophet – but if they greet, so, if they greet you, say "on you too." So if they say "peace be with you," you say "you too"; if they say "death be with you," you’re saying "you too." So you’re not trying to just dealing with them on, ahh, a level, ahh, ground. (Can Muslims and Christians be Friends?; YouTube videos: 1, 2)

In this article we are going to examine Badawi’s assertion in light of what the so-called authentic Islamic references and historical documents say concerning Muhammad’s injunction.

Examining The Historical Context

At first glance Dr. Badawi seems to be correct since the hadiths do say that the Jews did wish death on Muhammad which prompted the latter to issue the order of not greeting them first:


Anas b. Malik reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: When the People of the Book offer you salutations, you should say: The same to you. (Sahih Muslim, Book 026, Number 5380)

'A'isha reported that some Jews came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and they said: Abu'l-Qasim (the Kunya of the Holy Prophet), as-Sam-u-'Alaikum, whereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Wa 'Alaikum. A'isha reported: In response to these words of theirs, I said: But let there be death upon you and disgrace also, whereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: 'A'isha, do not use harsh words. She said: Did you hear what they said? Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Did I not respond to them when they said that; I said to them: Wa'Alaikum (let it be upon you). (Sahih Muslim, Book 026, Number 5386)

This hadith has been reported on the authority of A'znash with a slight variation of wording. 'A'isha understood their meaning and cursed them and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: 'A'isha, (do not do that) for Allah does not like the use of harsh words, and it was at this stage that this verse of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, was revealed: "And when they come to thee, they greet thee with a greeting with which Allah greets thee not" (lviii. 8) to the end of the verse. (Sahih Muslim, Book 026, Number 5387)

However, when one does consult the Islamic reference works it becomes apparent that it wasn’t the Jews who started the antagonism but Muhammad did after failing to convince them that he was God’s prophet.

The historical records show that Muhammad at first tried to please the Jews in order to win them over to his cause. But after seeing that the Jews wouldn’t buy into his prophetic claims things became ugly and he turned on them. As the late renowned Christian scholar of Islam, Sir William Muir noted in his monumental biography on the life of Muhammad:

IV. The Jews

The JEWISH TRIBES located in the vicinity of Medina were on an entirely different footing. Mahomet, as I have already shown, had not only acknowledged the divine authority of their religion, but rested his own claims, in an important degree, upon the evidence of their Scriptures, and the testimony of their learned men. No object was nearer his heart than a combination with them. His feasts, his fasts, his ceremonies, were, up to this time, framed in close correspondence with Jewish custom. Jerusalem itself was his Kibla. Towards that holy spot, the Prophet, and all his followers, turned five times a day while they prostrated themselves in prayer. There was no sacrifice that Mahomet was not prepared to make, short of the abandonment of his claim to the prophetic office, in order to gain the Jews over to his cause.

Mahomet desirous of a combination with them

It was natural that Mahomet, holding these sentiments, should desire to enter into close union with the Jews. This he did in a formal manner shortly after reaching Medina; for he associated them in a treaty of mutual obligation, drawn up in writing, between the Refugees and the men of Medina, in which he confirmed the Jews in the practice of their religion, and in the secure possession of their property. The main provisions of this Contract, as given to us by Ibn Ishac, are the following:- …

Ill-will grows up between Mahomet and the Jews.

It is nowhere stated when this treaty was entered into; but we may naturally conclude that it was not long after the arrival of Mahomet at Medina. It is probable that, for a short time, the Jews remained on terms of cordiality with their new ally; but it soon became apparent to them that Judaism could not go hand in hand with Islam. The position of Mahomet was no longer negative: his religion was not a mere protest against error and superstition. It was daily becoming more positive and more exclusive in its terms. The Prophet rested his claims on the predictions of the Jewish Scriptures; yet he did not profess to be the Messiah; --- the Messiah, he held, had already appeared in the person of Jesus, and had been rejected. He was himself another, and a greater Prophet, also foretold in their Book. The Jews, he said, knew this: they recognized in Mahomet the promised Prophet, "as they recognized their own sons;" yet, out of jealousy and spite, from wilful blindness, they rejected him, as they had rejected their own Messiah. This was the position which Mahomet held: how could they concede it without an entire abandonment of Judaism? It was impossible. Thus Judaism and Islam came rapidly into a state of direct antagonism. Those Jews who joined Mahomet virtually abnegated their ancestral faith, and went over to another. With few exceptions, however, the Jews remained steadfast, and fearlessly testified that their Scriptures contained no warrant for the assumptions of the Arabian Prophet: the Messiah that was to come, they said, should be of Jewish blood, and of the lineage of David. The disappointed hope of finding in Mahomet a supporter of their faith, naturally changed into bitter and hostile feeling. What availed his oft-repeated professions of respect for their ancient prophets, and allegiance to their Scriptures, when he now so openly contradicted their clearest testimony?

They are inveighed against as blind and stiff-necked

The few traitors to Judaism, whom Mahomet was able (by what inducements we shall see by and by) to gain over, were of the utmost service to his cause. They were constantly referred to as his "witnesses". They bore evidence that the Prophet's character answered to every mark predicted in their Books; and asserted that their brethren, actuated by jealousy, and mortified that the gift of prophecy should pass over from their nation to another people, had concealed the passages which were favourable to his claims. These were the only men whose eyes were open. Judicial blindness had seized the rest; a "thick covering" enveloped their hearts, and rendered them seared and callous. They followed in the footsteps of their forefathers. What but unbelief and rebellion might be looked for from the descendants of those who murmured against Moses, killed their Prophets, and rejected their Messiah?

The Jews a standing cause of annoyance to Mahomet

Such was the plausible reasoning by which Mahomet succeeded, so far as his own followers were concerned, in setting aside the adverse testimony of the Jews; yet they were a constant cause of trouble and anxiety. They annoyed him with questions, the point of which he found it often difficult to turn aside. The very people to whose corroboration he had spontaneously appealed over and over again in the Coran, proved a stubborn and standing witness against him. There existed, also, a strong sympathy between the clans of Medina and the Jewish tribes, which had severally stood by them in their troubles, and had repeatedly shed their blood in their defence. Sympathy in such a direction was dangerous to Mahomet. He resolved to rid him of this source of weakness and risk; and he was not long in finding pretexts which might enable him to gain his end.

Notices of them in the Coran

Meanwhile, his Revelation teemed with invectives against the Israelites. The tales of their forefathers’ disobedience, folly, idolatry, were reiterated at great length; and the conclusion insinuated that the descendants of so flagitious and incorrigible a race must be equally incorrigible and flagitious15.

These remarks explain Mahomet's secession from the Jewish institutions

This outline, otherwise in some respects premature, is necessary as an introduction to the following chapter, in which we shall find Mahomet gradually receding from the customs and institutions of the Jews, even where he had formerly adopted them. (Muir, The Life of Mahomet: With Introductory Chapters on the Original Sources for the Biography of Mahomet, and on the Pre-Islamic History of Arabia, Volume III, Chapter Ninth: State of Parties at Medina.—First two Years after Mahomet's Arrival. A.H. II. A.D. 623, pp. 31, 35-38; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

That Muhammad first tried to win the favor of the Jews by following their customs and practices is admitted by Muslim sources. When he saw that his efforts were in vain and that they were not going to convert Muhammad turned against them and their traditions:

The Change of Qiblah

One of these is God’s changing of the Muslims’ Qiblah (the direction faced in prayer) from Syria (that is, Jerusalem) to the Ka‘bah. This was in the second year of the Prophet’s residence in Medina, in Sha‘ban (which began January 28, 624). The early scholars disagree as to the date at which the Qiblah was changed in this year; the majority say that it was changed halfway through Sha‘ban, eighteen months after the arrival of the Messenger of God in Medina.

Those who says this.

According to Musa b. Harun al-Hamdani – ‘Amr b. Hammad – Asbat – al-Suddi – Abu Malik and Abu Salih – Ibn ‘Abbas and Murrah al-Hamdani – Ibn Mas‘ud and some companions of the Prophet: People used to pray towards Jerusalem when the Prophet came to Medina, and for eighteen months after his Emigration. He used to raise his head to heaven when he prayed, to see what he would be commanded, he used to pray towards Jerusalem, and then this was abrogated in favour of the Ka‘bah. The Prophet used to like to pray towards the Ka‘bah, and God revealed the verse: "We have seen the turning of your face to Heaven…"

According to Ibn Humayd – Salamah – Ibn Ishaq: The Qiblah was changed in Sha‘ban, eighteen months after the arrival of the Messenger of God in Medina.

Ibn Sa‘d – al-Waqidi offers a similar account, adding: The Qiblah was changed to the Ka‘bah at midday on Tuesday, halfway through Sha‘ban.

According to Abu Ja‘far (al-Tabari): Others say that the Qiblah was changed to the Ka‘bah sixteen months after the beginning of the Hijrah era.

Those who have said this.

According to Al-Muthanna b. Ibrahim al-Amuli – al-Hajjaj – Hammam b. Yahya – Qatadah: They used to pray towards Jerusalem while the Messenger of God was in Mecca before the Hijrah. After the Messenger of God emigrated, he prayed towards Jerusalem for sixteen months and after that was turned towards the Ka‘bah.

According to Yunus b. ‘Abd al-A‘la – Ibn Wahb – Ibn Zayd: The Prophet turned towards Jerusalem for sixteen months, and then it reached his ears that the Jews were saying, "By God, Muhammad and his companions did not know where their Qiblah was until we directed them." This displeased the Prophet and he raised his face toward Heaven, and God said, "We have seen the turning of your face to Heaven." (The History of Al-Tabari: The Foundation of the Community, translated by M. V. McDonald, annotated by W. Montgomery Watt [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1987], Volume VII, pp. 24-25; bold emphasis ours)

Al-Tabari candidly admits that Muhammad changed the prayer direction in response to the Jews making fun of him! For more on this point please see this article.

As Muir noted, these Jews had legitimate disagreements with his prophetic aspirations since he contradicted just about everything that the Hebrew prophets said concerning God, the Messiah, salvation, ethics etc.

Muhammad himself told the Jews that if they couldn’t find a prophecy about him in their Scriptures then they were not obligated to follow him. But when the Jews denied that he was mentioned in their inspired Books, Muhammad refused to accept this and took this as a sign of their obstinate rebellion:

The apostle wrote to the Jews of Khaybar according to what a freedman of the family of Zayd b. Thabit told me from ‘Ikrima or from Sa‘id b. Jubayr from Ibn ‘Abbas: ‘In the name of God the compassionate the merciful from Muhammad the apostle of God friend and brother of Moses WHO CONFIRMS WHAT MOSES BROUGHT. God says to you, O scripture folk, and you will find it in your scripture "Muhammad is the apostle of God; and those with him are severe against the unbelievers, merciful among themselves. Thou seest them bowing, falling prostrate seeking bounty and acceptance from God. The mark of their prostrations is on their foreheads. That is their likeness in the Torah and in the Gospel like a seed which sends forth its shoot and strengthens it and it becomes thick and rises straight upon its stalk delighting the sowers that He may anger the unbelievers with them. God has promised those who believe and do well forgiveness and a great reward." I adjure you by God, AND BY WHAT HE HAS SENT DOWN TO YOU, by the manna and quails He gave as food to your tribes before you, and by His drying up the sea for your fathers when He delivered them from Pharaoh and his works, that you tell me, DO YOU FIND IN WHAT HE SENT DOWN TO YOU that you should believe in Muhammad? IF YOU DO NOT FIND THAT IN YOUR SCRIPTURE THEN THERE IS NO COMPULSION UPON YOU. "The right path has become plainly distinguished from error" so I call you to God and His Prophet’ (313).

Among those people whom the Quran came down, especially the rabbis and the unbelieving Jews who used to ask him questions and annoy him in confusing truth with falsehood – as I was told on the authority of ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas and Jabir b. ‘Abdullah b. Ri’ab–was Abu Yasir b. Akhtab who passed by the apostle as he was reciting the opening words of The Cow… (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], p. 256; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

According to what I heard from ‘Ikrima, freedman of Ibn ‘Abbas or from Sa‘id b. Jubayr from Ibn ‘Abbas, Jews used to hope that the apostle would be a help to them against Aus and Khazraj before his mission began; and when God sent him from among the Arabs they disbelieved in him and contradicted what they had formerly said about him. Mu‘adh b. Jabal and Bishr b. al-Bara’ b. Ma‘rur brother of B. Salama said to them: ‘O Jews, fear God and become Muslims, for you used to hope for Muhammad’s help against us when we were polytheists and to tell us that he would be sent and describe him to us.’ Salam b. Mishkam, one of the B. al-Nadir, said, ‘He has not brought us anything we recognize and he is not the one we spoke of to you.’ So God sent down about that saying of theirs: ‘And when a book comes to them from God CONFIRMING what they have, though beforehand they were asking for help against those who disbelieve, when there came to them what they knew, they disbelieved in it, so God’s curse rests on the unbelievers.’

Malik b. al-Sayf said when the apostle had been sent and they were reminded of the condition that had been imposed on them and what God had covenanted with them concerning him, ‘No covenant was ever made with us about Muhammad.’ So God sent down concerning him: ‘Is it not that whenever they make a covenant a party of them set it aside? Nay most of them do not believe.’

Abu Saluba al-Fityuni said to the apostle: ‘O Muhammad, you have not brought us anything we recognize and God has not sent down to you any sign that we should follow you.’ So God sent concerning his words, ‘We have sent down to thee plain signs and only evildoers disbelieve in them.’ (P. 257; bold, capital and italic emphasis ours)

A number of them came in to the apostle and he said to them, ‘Surely you know that I am an apostle from God to you.’ They replied that they did not know it and would not bear witness to him. So god sent down concerning their words: ‘But God testifies concerning what He has sent down to thee. With His knowledge did He send it down and the angels bear witness. And God is sufficient as a witness.’ (Ibid., p. 265; bold emphasis ours)

Mahmud b. Sayhan and Nu’man b. Ada’ and Bahri and ‘Uzayr and Sallam came to him and said: ‘Is it true, Muhammad, that what you have brought is the truth from God? For our part we cannot see that it is arranged as the Torah is.’ He answered, ‘You know quite well that it is from God; you will find it written IN THE TORAH WHICH YOU HAVE. If men and jinn came together to produce its like they could not.’ Finhas and ‘Abdullah b. Suriya and Ibn Saluba and Kinana b. al-Raba‘ and Ashya‘ and Ka’b b. al-Asad and Shamwil and Jabal were there and they said: ‘Did neither men nor jinn tell you this, Muhammad?’ He said: ‘You know well that it is from God and that I am the apostle of God. You will find it written IN THE TORAH YOU HAVE.’ They said: ‘When God sends an apostle He does for him what he wishes, so bring down a book to us from heaven that we may read it and know what it is, otherwise we will produce one like the one you bring.’ So God sent down concerning their words: ‘Say, Though men and jinn should meet to produce the like of this Quran they would not produce its like though one helped the other.’ (324).

Huyayy, Ka’b, Abu Rafi‘, Ashya‘, and Shamwil said to ‘Abdullah b. Sallam when he became a Muslim, ‘There is no prophecy among the Arabs, but your master is a king.’ Then they went to the apostle and asked him about Dhu’l-Qarnayn and he told them what God had sent him about him from what he had already narrated to Quraysh. They were of those who ordered Quraysh to ask the apostle about him when they sent al-Nadr and ‘Uqba to them. (Ibid., pp. 269-270; bold, underline and capital emphasis ours)

Muhammad started threatening them with violence and expulsion for refusing to convert:

VI: Expelling the Jews from the Arabian peninsula

'Umar said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "We will let you remain in that as long as Allah lets you remain there."

2996. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "While we were in the mosque, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came out and said, ‘Go to the Jews.’ We went out until we came to the house of al-Midras. He said, ‘Become Muslim AND YOU WILL BE SAFE. Know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Messenger. I want to expel you from this land. Whoever of you has some property should sell it. However, the earth belongs to Allah and His Messenger.’" (Bewley, Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 63. Chapters on the Jizya and Truces; source; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

Some of the Jews feigned belief in order to save their lives from his bloodlust:

About this time the Jewish rabbis showed hostility to the apostle in envy, hatred, malice, because God had chosen His apostle from the Arabs. They were joined by men from al-Aus and al-Khazraj who had obstinately clung to their heathen religion. They were hypocrites, clinging to the polytheism of their fathers denying the resurrection; yet when Islam appeared and their people flocked to it they were compelled to pretend to accept it to save their lives. But in secret they were hypocrites whose inclination was towards the Jews because they considered the apostle a liar and strove against Islam.

It was the Jewish rabbis who used to annoy the apostle with questions and introduce confusion, so as to confound the truth with falsity. The Quran used to come down in reference to these questions of theirs, though some of the questions about what was allowed and forbidden came from the Muslims themselves … (Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, p. 239; bold and underline emphasis ours)

The above clearly demonstrates that the only reason why Muhammad even made a treaty with the Jews is because he thought he could win them over to his cause and religion. But when he saw that they had no interest in embracing him as a prophet he became violent and wanted to get rid of them.

In light of the foregoing, does anyone blame the Jews for wanting to fight Muhammad and kill him? Should they be faulted for mocking and annoying Muhammad by asking him tough questions seeing that they were convinced that he was an imposter? And were the people really wrong for pretending to believe in him in order to save their lives?

In fact, by wishing death on Muhammad the Jews were only acting in accord with their revealed Scriptures since God’s Word emphatically says not to be afraid of false prophets who should be put to death:

"If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, 2 and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, ‘Let us follow other gods’ (gods you have not known) ‘and let us worship them,’ you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you. If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods’ (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone him to death, because he tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again." Deuteronomy 13:1-11

"‘But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.’ You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him." Deuteronomy 18:20-22

However, Israel no longer being a theocracy, and these Jews living dispersed in foreign lands, they couldn’t put false prophets to death. Instead, they could only pray that God would cause this imposter to die an accursed death, with the Muslim sources testifying that this is precisely what happened:

Moreover, would Badawi condemn any Muslim group today who decide to take a stand against a dictator that was threatening their lives? Of course he wouldn’t, and he should therefore be able to see that the Jews’ praying for death upon his false prophet Muhammad was thoroughly just since he failed to provide any supernatural sign or convincing evidence that he was God’s spokesperson.

Was Muhammad’s Instruction Only Applicable to the Jews of His Time?

Badawi’s claim that Muhammad’s command only applied to those Jews who were insulting him suffers from two main problems. First, if this injunction was meant only for the Jews then why did Muhammad also include Christians?

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Do not greet the Jews and the Christians before they greet you and when you meet any one of them on the roads force him to go to the narrowest part of it. (Sahih Muslim, Book 026, Number 5389)


866. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Do not greet the Jews and the Christians before they greet you; and when you meet any one of them on the road, force him to go to the narrowest part of it." [Muslim]. (Riyad-us-Saliheen, compiled by Al-Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya bin Sharaf An-Nawawi Ad-Dimashqi, commentary by Hafiz Salahuddin Yusuf, revised by M.R. Murad [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore, First Edition: June 1999], Volume 2, Book Five. The Book of Greetings, Chapter 138: Greeting the non-Muslims and Prohibition of taking an Initiative, p. 711; source; italic and underline emphasis ours)

The Salafi version of the Riyad-us-Saliheen has a note to the above hadith:

Commentary: This Hadith prohibits Muslims from greeting non-Muslims first. It also tells us that when the road is crowded, we should use the middle of the road and let the non-Muslims use its sides. This Hadith shows the dignity of Muslims and the disgrace and humiliation of the non-Muslims. (Italic and underline emphasis ours)

Pay careful attention to the fact that forcing the Jews and Christians to the narrow part of the road and refusing to the greet the people of the Book first is meant to disgrace and humiliate them.

This leads us to the second problem with Badawi’s eisegesis. Muslims refused to initiate greetings with the Jews and Christians and continued to force them to the narrow part of the road as a sign of their humiliation and disgrace long after Muhammad was dead:

Paying Jizyah is a Sign of Kufr AND DISGRACE

Allah said …

<until they pay the Jizyah>, if they do not choose to embrace Islam …

<with willing submission>, in defeat and subservience …

<and feel themselves subdued.>, DISGRACED, HUMILIATED AND BELITTLED. Therefore, Muslims are not allowed to honor the people of Dhimmah or elevate them above Muslims, FOR THEY ARE MISERABLE, DISGRACED AND HUMILIATED. Muslim recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said …

<<Do not initiate the Salam to the Jews and Christians, and if you meet any of them in a road, FORCE THEM TO ITS NARROWEST ALLEY.>>

This is why the Leader of the faithful `Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, demanded his well-known conditions be met by the Christians, THESE CONDITIONS THAT ENSURED THEIR CONTINUED HUMILIATION, DEGRADATION AND DISGRACE. The scholars of Hadith narrated from `Abdur-Rahman bin Ghanm Al-Ash`ari that he said, "I recorded for `Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, the terms of the treaty of peace he conducted with the Christians of Ash-Sham:

‘In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. This is a document to the servant of Allah `Umar, the Leader of the faithful, from the Christians of such and such city. When you (Muslims) came to us we requested safety for ourselves, children, property and followers of our religion.

We made a condition on ourselves that we will neither erect in our areas a monastery, church, or a sanctuary for a monk, nor restore any place of worship that needs restoration nor use any of them for the purpose of enmity against Muslims.

We will not prevent any Muslim from resting in our churches whether they come by day or night, and we will open the doors [of our houses of worship] for the wayfarer and passerby.

Those Muslims who come as guests, will enjoy boarding and food for three days.

We will not allow a spy against Muslims into our churches and homes or hide deceit [or betrayal] against Muslims.

We will not teach our children the Qur'an, publicize practices of Shirk, invite anyone to Shirk or prevent any of our fellows from embracing Islam, if they choose to do so.


We will not imitate their clothing, caps, turbans, sandals, hairstyles, speech, nicknames and title names, or ride on saddles, hang swords on the shoulders, collect weapons of any kind or carry these weapons.

We will not encrypt our stamps in Arabic, or sell liquor.

We will have the front of our hair cut, wear our customary clothes wherever we are, wear belts around our waist, refrain from erecting crosses on the outside of our churches and demonstrating them and our books in public in Muslim fairways and markets.

We will not sound the bells in our churches, except discretely, or raise our voices while reciting our holy books inside our churches in the presence of Muslims, nor raise our voices [with prayer] at our funerals, or light torches in funeral processions in the fairways of Muslims, or their markets.

We will not bury our dead next to Muslim dead, or buy servants who were captured by Muslims. We will be guides for Muslims and refrain from breaching their privacy in their homes.’

When I gave this document to `Umar, he added to it, `We will not beat any Muslim. These are the conditions that we set against ourselves and followers of our religion IN RETURN FOR SAFETY AND PROTECTION. If we break any of these promises that we set for your benefit against ourselves, then our Dhimmah (promise of protection) is broken and you are allowed to do with us what you are allowed of people of defiance and rebellion.’" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 9:29; source; capital and underline emphasis ours)

The following Muslim had the audacity to take back his greeting once he discovered that the person with whom he spoke was a Christian:

1115. 'Abdu'r-Rahman said, "Ibn 'Umar passed by a Christian who greeted him and Ibn 'Umar returned the greeting. He was told that the man was a Christian. When he learned that, he went back to him and said, ‘Give me back my greeting.’" (Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari (Muslim Morals and Manners), XDIII. The People of the Book; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

If Badawi is to be believed then all of these Muslim companions and scholars were ignorant and deliberately misapplying Muhammad’s instructions since they continued to harass countless Jews and Christians who had never met Muhammad to offend him. Didn’t they know that Muhammad was only referring to the Jews of his time who were wishing him death?

The fact is that Muslims are commanded to humiliate and degrade the disbelievers as long as they have the upper hand. When dominant and in power, Muslims are not supposed to initiate the greeting with the kuffar or make room for them to pass by on the road since this would amount to showing them honor. Muslims are only allowed to show honor to the infidels when they are living in areas where they form a minority. This is a fact which even Muslim authorities and scholars wholeheartedly admit (unlike Badawi):

Chapter 41. What Has Been Related About Greeting The People Of The Book With Salam

1602. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “Do not precede the Jews and Christians with the Salam. And if one of you meets one of them in the path, then force him to its narrow portion.” (Sahih)

[He said:] These are narrations on this topic from Ibn ‘Umar, Anas, and Abu Basrah al-Ghifari the Companion of the Prophet.

[Abu ‘Eisa said:] This Hadith is Hasan Sahih. And regarding the meaning of the Hadith: “Do not precede the Jews and Christians”: Some of the people of knowledge said that it only means that it is disliked because it would be honoring them, AND THE MUSLIMS WERE ONLY ORDERED TO HUMILIATE THEM. For this reason, when one of them is met on the path, then the path is not yielded for him, because doing so would amount to honoring them.


IN NORMAL CONDITIONS, WHEN MUSLIMS ARE IN POWER AND THEY ARE NOT LIVING AS A MINORITY, AND THEY ARE NOT UNDER ANY COMPULSION OR SUBJUGATION, IT IS AN ORDER for Muslims that they should not give such leeway to the non-Muslims and they should not greet them first nor yield the way for them. Some of the people of knowledge said that it only means that it is disliked because it would amount to honoring them, AND THE MUSLIMS WERE ONLY TO HUMILIATE THEM. FOR THIS REASON, when one of them is met on the path a Muslim is not to yield for him because doing so would amount to honoring them. In a country where Muslims are living as a minority, THEY ARE ALLOWED TO GIVE SUCH LEEWAY TO NON-MUSLIM RULERS FOR THE GREATER INTEREST OF THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi v.2, p.397.) (English Translation of Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi, Compiled by Imam Hafiz Abu ‘Eisa Mohammad Ibn ‘Eisa At-Tirmidhi, translated by Abu Khaliyl (USA), ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Tahir Zubair ‘Ali Za’i [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, First Edition: November 2007], Volume 3, 19. The Chapters On Military Expeditions From The Messenger of Allah, pp. 365-366; capital emphasis ours)

To say that the the use of such deceptive tactics to cover up Islam’s real attitude and treatment of Jews, Christians, and other disbelievers is utterly repulsive would be a wild understatement.

Jamal Badawi: Another Example of a Muslim Polemicist Who Deliberately Lies

Since Dr. Badawi is hailed as one of the leading Islamic scholars, authors, and debaters he must surely be aware of all this information. Why, then, would he fail to mention all of these pertinent details to his audience?

The answer is rather simple: The Quran permits Muslims to lie to the disbelievers in order to conceal Islam’s true agenda:

Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security. Allah biddeth you beware (only) of Himself. Unto Allah is the journeying. S. 3:28 Pickthall

The exegetes explain that this text gives Muslims the license to employ taqiyya (dissimulation, concealment, i.e. concealing or disguising information in the interest of "protecting" oneself) when living in the midst of disbelievers:

The Prohibition of Supporting the Disbelievers

Allah prohibited His believing servants from becoming supporters of the disbelievers, or to take them as comrades with whom they develop friendships, rather than the believers. Allah warned against such behavior when He said…

<And whoever does that, will never be helped by Allah in any way> meaning, whoever commits this act that Allah has prohibited, then Allah will discard him…

Allah said next…

<unless you indeed fear a danger from them> meaning, except those believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers. In this case, such believers are allowed to show friendship to the disbelievers OUTWARDLY, but never inwardly. For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda' said, "We smile in the face of some people ALTHOUGH OUR HEARTS CURSE THEM." Al-Bukhari said that Al-Hasan said, "The TUQYAH is allowed until the Day of Resurrection…" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; source; underline and capital emphasis ours)


Let not the believers take the disbelievers as patrons, rather than, that is, instead of, the believers - for whoever does that, that is, [whoever] takes them as patrons, does not belong to, the religion of, God in anyway - unless you protect yourselves against them, as a safeguard (tuqatan, 'as a safeguard', is the verbal noun from taqiyyatan), that is to say, [unless] you fear something, in which case you may show patronage to them through words, but not in your hearts: this was before the hegemony of Islam and [the dispensation] applies to any individual residing in a land with no say in it. God warns you, He instills fear in you, of His Self, [warning] that He may be wrathful with you if you take them as patrons; and to God is the journey's end, the return, and He will requite you. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)


(Let not the believers take) the believers ought not to take [the hypocrites:] 'Abdullah Ibn Ubayy and his companions [and] (disbelievers) the Jews (for their friends) so as to become mighty and honourable (in preference to believers) who are sincere. (Whoso doeth that) seeking might and honour [by taking the hypocrites and disbelievers as friends] (hath no connection with Allah) has no honour, mercy or protection from Allah (unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them) save yourselves from them, (taking (as it were) security) saving yourselves from them by speaking in a friendly way towards them with, while your hearts dislikes this. (Allah bideth you beware (only) of Himself) regarding the shunning of unlawful killing, unlawful sex, unlawful property, consuming intoxicants, false testimony and associating partners with Allah. (Unto Allah is the journeying) the return after death. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

It seems that Badawi has adopted this policy of deliberately lying to western audiences in order to conceal the real face of Islam. He seems to think that since Muslims in the West are greatly outnumbered by the disbelievers it is better to deceive the unbelievers in order to protect the interests of Islam instead of running the risk of having Western people discover the true evil of Muhammad and his false religion.

In so doing Badawi is merely imitating his false prophet who permitted his followers to smile in the disbelievers’ faces as they lie and curse them in their wicked hearts.

Further Reading

Responses to Jamal Badawi
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page