We live in a Muslim country, and there are disbelievers who live with us. How should we deal with them?
This is an important topic to discuss, especially nowadays, due to what we see of the Khawarij killing people with no just cause while thinking that they’re doing something good.
The Categories of the Disbelievers
1) المعاهدون Al Mu’ahidoon
These are non-Muslims living in their countries, but have a treaty between them and the Muslim countries.
E.g. What happened at the time of the Prophet ﷺ with the Quraish in Makkah and the Prophet ﷺ in Madinah. They made the treaty of Hudaibiya.
The Ambassadors that travel to our countries are of this category.
2) الذّمّيون Adh Dhimiyun
A ذميّ is a non-Muslim living in a Muslim country, and pays tax to the Muslim government to live there and be protected. We don’t have these nowadays.
When the companions conquered an area, the residents who didn’t convert were allowed to live in the country, but had to pay tax.
3) المستأمنون Al Musta’minoon
This is a non-Muslim who comes to the Muslim country for business or work, and gets a visa or temporary residence. They come for a certain period of time and then leave.
4) الحربيون Al Harbiyoon
Those who fight the Muslims.
We have to fight them back according to our ability. And this doesn’t mean everyone takes a weapon and fight them. Jihad has conditions to be fulfilled.
We shouldn’t have non-Muslims work in our countries, especially in the Arabian Peninsula.
The Prophet ﷺ said,
“أخرجوا المشركين من جزيرة العرب”
“Expel the polytheists from the Arabian Peninsula” [Agreed upon]
The exceptional case is when the Muslim Country is in need of them. But Muslims should be given priority.
“It is not permissible for a مشرك to settle or enter in the Arabian Peninsula, except for a need” – Ibn Baz
The Prophet ﷺ let the Jews of Khaibar remain there, and let them take half of the harvest. Umar then expelled them during his time, because there was no need for them there anymore.
What is our duty towards the first three categories?
1) We have to give them protection.
Surat At Tawbah Verse 6
وَإِنْ أَحَدٌ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ اسْتَجَارَكَ فَأَجِرْهُ حَتَّىٰ يَسْمَعَ كَلَامَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ أَبْلِغْهُ مَأْمَنَهُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَعْلَمُونَ
And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah . Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know.
2) We have to be just towards them
If there’s a case between Muslims and non-Muslims, we have to be fair. We shouldn’t take the side of the Muslims against them, just because they are disbelieevers.
Surat Al Ma’idah Verse 8
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا ۚ اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ
O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah , witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
3) Its a collective duty upon the Muslims to call them to Islam
If you visit a sick person among the كفّار, call them to Islam, as the Prophet ﷺ did when he visited the Jewish boy.
4) It is forbidden on us to force them to embrace Islam
Surat Al Baqarah Verse 256
لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ ۖ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ ۚ فَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىٰ لَا انفِصَامَ لَهَا ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
5) It is forbidden on the Muslim to transgress against any one of the كفّار from these three categories by harming him, killing him, etc.
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever kills a Mu’ahid will not smell the fragrance of Paradise although its fragrance can be smelt from 40 years distance” [Bukhari]
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever oppresses a معاهد, or diminishes his right, or overburdens him with a job beyond his scope, or takes something forcefully from him, I will be his opponent on the Day of Judgement” [Abu Dawud, Authenticated by Al-Albani]
6) It is forbidden upon the Muslim to harm other than الحربيون with his speech; to lie to them, etc. It is incumbent upon us to talk to them nicely, kindly, but without seeking their love or lowering yourself to them. You display good manners.
Surat Al Baqarah Verse 83
وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ لَا تَعْبُدُونَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَقُولُوا لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنًا وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ ثُمَّ تَوَلَّيْتُمْ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّنكُمْ وَأَنتُم مُّعْرِضُونَ
And [recall] when We took the covenant from the Children of Israel, [enjoining upon them], “Do not worship except Allah ; and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, and the needy. And speak to people good [words] and establish prayer and give zakah.” Then you turned away, except a few of you, and you were refusing.
7) It is incumbent to give your non-Muslim neighbor their right – which is to be good to them as neighbors by not harming them, and if they’re poor it’s recommended to give them charity, feed them if they’re in need of food, give them gifts in other than their festivals, and advise them with what benefits them.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
مَا زَالَ يُوصِينِي جِبْرِيلُ بِالْجَارِ حَتَّى ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ سَيُوَرِّثُهُ
“Jibreel continued to advise me to treat neighbors well until I thought he would make them myheirs.” [Agreed upon]
8) It is obligatory upon the Muslim to reply to their greeting if they say السلام عليكم by replying with “و عليكم”
Some scholars said that if you clearly hear them saying “السلام” and not “السام” you can say “و عليكم السلام”.
Note: We aren’t supposed to commence the greeting (by saying السلام عليكم) with them
9) It’s permissible to call him by his nickname, ask him how he is, congratulate him for his new baby, give him gifts, etc. – with the intention of calling him to Islam or keeping the peace and protecting yourself and the Muslim community from his harm. These are all considered legal interests.
10) It is permissible to offer condolences to the كافر if someone dies, without invoking the forgiveness and mercy of Allah for the deceased non-Muslim.