Coexistence means living together, cooperating socially and economically of either the people of two countries to fulfill their livelihood or two individuals who might not share the same interests. In other words, coexistence includes being together, not interfering in others’ private affairs, and respecting the rights of others. Islam, which considers both the individual and social needs of human beings, offers a complete package for a thriving social life. Through its teachings, the Prophet’s (PBUH & HP) and infallible Imams’(AS) tradition (Sunnah), and the Quranic teachings, Islam has provided some clear guidelines for Muslims and the followers of other religions peaceful coexistence in the Quran. Here, we focus mostly on what the Quran offers in this regard.
The first point raised about the peaceful coexistence in the Quran is that Muslims should deal with non-Muslims with justice and beneficence, as far as non-Muslims have not expressed any hostility against them and don’t respond to their kindness with hatred (60:8). In Surah Mumtahina, it is said that: “Allah forbids you only in regard to those who made war against you on account of religion and expelled you from your homes and supported [others] in your expulsion, that you make friends with them, and whoever makes friends with them—it is they who are the wrongdoers.”(60:9).
Accordingly, non-Muslims are in two groups — the first group who are in peace with Muslims and live peacefully with them. The Islamic government and Muslims of society should respect this group and recognize their rights. The second group is those who act against Muslims, Islam, and the Islamic government. Undoubtedly, they should be counteracted, and there would be no place for peace in this case . That’s why Imam Ali (AS) had devoted a share of public treasury (Bayt al-mal) to help the needy people of other religions. It means that an Islamic government does not overlook non-Muslims, but recognizes their rights and supports them. (10:57)
Humans naturally tend to reject any imposed idea or belief. And, the Quran never orders something which opposes to human’s nature. Hence, non-Muslims are not compelled to convert to Islam (2:256), and they are free to keep their religion. In Surah An’am, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) is told that: “Had Allah wished, they would not have ascribed partners [to Him]. We have not made you a caretaker for them, nor is it your duty to watch over them.” (6:107). Based on these verses, along with some others, Islam recognizes other Abrahamic religions, and no Muslim is permitted to force any non-Muslim to accept Islamic ideas. Still, Muslims should let non-Muslims to retain their own religious views and beliefs and to live peacefully in society.
If Muslims want to discuss their religious viewpoints with followers of other religions, they are told: “not to argue with the People of the Book, except in a manner which is best” (29:46). It means to exchange peacefully with logical reasoning and argument. Even in their discussions with polytheists, Muslims are prevented from insulting those whom they invoke besides Allah Almighty; otherwise, they would affront Allah Almighty out of hostility (6:108) . It should be noted that the aim of these discussions should be clarifying the truth and not obliging others to convert. As stated above, no one is forced to accept what we believe. This manner ensures Muslims and non-Muslims peaceful coexistence in the Quran.
In surah Baqara, it is stated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) and the faithful have faith in what has been sent down to him (PBUH & HP) from Allah Almighty, and they believe in Allah Almighty, His angels, His scriptures and His apostles, and they make no distinction between any of His apostles (2:285). It means that a real believer should recognize all previous Prophets sent by Allah Almighty and what they have brought to humans from Him . Besides, in Ayat 62, the followers of other religions like the Jews, the Christians, and the Sabaeans who are faithful to Allah and the Day of Judgement and act righteously are told to have their reward from Allah Almighty (2:62). This is another proof that Islam recognizes other religions. Also, it reveals that there have been faithful people among the followers of other religions who truly believed in Allah almighty according to the teachings of their faith.
In dealing with the opponents of Islam, Islam orders Muslims to accept if they offer peace and declare a ceasefire and emphasizes that: “Allah does not allow you any course [of action] against them” (4:90). In other verses, Muslims are told that: “If they incline toward peace, then you [too] incline toward it” (8:61).
Another example that demonstrates Islamic teachings promote peaceful coexistence in the Quran with non-Muslims is that in the Quran, Muslims are told that: “the food of those who were given the Book is lawful to you, and your food is lawful to them” (5:5). Besides, according to the Quran, Muslim men can marry the chaste ones from among faithful women, and chaste women of those who were given the Book before Muslims, once their dowries are paid to them (5:5). These two instances show that Muslims are free to fraternize with non-Muslims and exchange with them in society.
What has been mentioned above are only some of the many Islamic guidelines that encourage treating others kindly and behaving friendly with the followers of other religions. That makes them incline slightly towards Islam, such that after a Christian boy who had converted to Islam changed his bad behavior with his mother, the mother was attracted and converted to Islam, too. This, together with many instances of the way that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) and Infallible Imams (AS) treated non-Muslims, proves Islam's deep care for the way Muslims deal with others which should ultimately lead them toward tolerance and maintaining a peaceful coexistence as stated in the Quran.
- M. A. Amini, “The principle of peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims in Islam,” Ma’rifat Journal, no. 165, p. 35-52.
- M. H. Tabataba’ei, “Translation of Tafsir Al-Mizan, “vol. 2, p. 681.
One of the most discussed words nowadays among politicians, humanitarians, thinkers, and social researchers is the word peace. It’s one of the favorite ideas among Christians and Muslims. Many of the religious activists try to publicize peace as a social manner and act. Islam, as the last religion of Allah, is a religion of peace, as its name is taken from the word Salaam, meaning peace in Arabic.
On the other hand, Jesus Christ (PBUH) is the other most-followed prophet in the world and one of the chosen ones in Allah's regard. But what is the stance of Islam toward Jesus Christ (PBUH)? Does Islam believe Jesus (PBUH) to be a peace-loving prophet? Here, we are going to bring you some verses of the Holy Quran in praise of Jesus Christ (PBUH) and his peace-loving character.
Believing in a peace-loving God, he treated all the people, whether innocent or sinful, young or old, with mercy and kindness. His amiable attitude not only included human beings but also animals whom he deeply cared for. Thus, wherever he went, he brought peace and blessing to the people, as he puts in this verse of the Quran:
“He has made me blessed, wherever I may be” (19:31)
The holy Quran always refers to Jesus (PBUH) as the embodiment of a dutiful and devoted child concerning his mother, Saint Mary. When it narrates the story of his birth and the disbelief of the Jewish sages, the Quran says that Jesus (PBUH) started talking while he was a newborn in his mother’s arms. He told everyone about the mission Allah had given him and then said:
“…He has enjoined me to [maintain] the prayer and to [pay] the zakat as long as I live, and to be good to my mother, and He has not made me self-willed and wretched.” (19:31-32)
Accordingly, one of the missions Allah has given Jesus (PBUH) is to be kind and respectful toward his mother, which is one of the manifest signs of a peaceful and loving character.
When Jesus Christ (PBUH) started spreading the message of Allah to human beings, he began to advise people to be truthful followers and described his mission as follows:
“When Jesus brought those manifest proofs, he said, ‘I have certainly brought you wisdom, and [I have come] to make clear to you some of the things that you differ about. So be wary of Allah and obey me.” (43:63)
Based on this verse, he was there to clarify the ambiguities and to bring wisdom. And that was all he did; he never used anything, but words of Allah and miracles inspired him to lead people toward what is right.
Virgin Mary was about to find out about Allah’s blessing upon her in bestowing her with a son, without any man touching her and the angels said:
‘O Mary, Allah gives you the good news of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, distinguished in the world and the Hereafter and one of those brought near [to Allah]. He will speak to the people in the cradle and adulthood and will be one of the righteous. (3:45-46)
Also, in another verse of the Quran, Allah refers to Jesus Christ (PBUH) besides other prophets as such:
“And Zechariah, John, Jesus, and Ilyas—each of them among the righteous.” (6:85)
Allah refers to Jesus Christ (PBUH) in the verses above, as his word and one of the righteous ones. But who is a Righteous person? A person characterized by, proceeding from, or following accepted standards of morality, justice, or uprightness and virtues . So, a righteous person is one who is upright, and free from sins or guilt, which ultimately leads one toward peacefulness.
Finally, the Holy Quran and Islam, as the religion of peace, admire prophet Jesus (PBUH) as the word of Allah and send peace and blessing upon him. In this verse of the Quran, Jesus addresses himself and says:
“Peace to me [Jesus] the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised alive.” (19:33)
Just as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) who, according to the Quran, was sent as a mercy to humankind (21:107) and perfect moral virtues, Jesus Christ (PBUH) was also sent to accomplish the same mission; as the prophets before him were also after spreading this peaceful message. Thus, Muslims who believe in all the prophets as the best role models, do not doubt in the peace-loving character of Jesus Christ (PBUH), the blessed son of Mary.
- Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000,3,6,7,9,11,14
Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar, a month that holds great significance for many Muslims around the world, including Shias and Sunnis. Literally meaning “forbidden, banned or prohibited,” this month is one of the four sacred months in Islam during which warfare is strictly forbidden. But what is that thing that makes this month, particularly the 10th day of it (Ashura), so special for many Muslims and generally a significant number of people throughout the history?!
About fourteen hundred years ago, on the 10th of Muharram, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP), Imam Hussain ibn Ali (AS) together with his family members and close companions were ruthlessly slain on the plain of Karbala.
Yazid, the son of Muawiyah, was illegally appointed as the leader of the Muslim community by his father. After Muawiyah’s death, Yazid started to take allegiance from the most influential tribal leaders. He also called upon Imam Hussain (AS) to swear the oath of obedience to him and accept him as the rightful leader.
Imam Hussain (AS) refused to do so as Yazid lacked the minimum qualities required for an ordinary Muslim let alone a Muslim leader. Anyhow, Yazid ordered his governors to either take allegiance from Imam Hussain (AS) or make him surrender by any means, even at the cost of taking his life. Imam Hussain (AS), however, did not give away to their unjust request and unkind pressure. So finally he was martyred along with his sincere companions by Yazid’s forces and their wives and children were taken as captives.
Since the 10th of Muharram of 61 A.H., millions of Muslims all over the world hold yearly mourning ceremonies throughout Muharram to commemorate the loss of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH & HP) grandson, Imam Hussain (AS). In their religious gatherings, each year, speeches are given about the life and merits of Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions, the sufferings they went through and the sacrifices they made. People recall the incident of Karbala many times and try to keep the message and purpose of this greatest martyrdom in the history of humankind alive through their sorrow and tears. Not only that, but lots of people are also engaged in charitable activities like blood donation, giving food to their fellow brothers and sisters, and helping the ones in need to follow their Imam’s lead.
You might wonder what the real cause of this incident was that still evoke great emotions in the hearts of Muslims and generally anyone who gets the opportunity to hear about it, despite the passage of centuries! The most important purpose for which Imam Hussain (AS) was martyred was his faith. He fought in an unjust battle to revive his grandfather’s religion, the invaluable merits, and values that had been violated and taken for granted all those years. He, along with his companions suffered great miseries and sacrificed all they had for the sake of the principles of Islam, which they believed to be a lot more precious than anything else even their own lives. They practically showed the humankind of all times that sacrifice and martyrdom are essential when the cause is just.
Now, throughout centuries, in the month of Muharram, Muslims turn over a new leaf in their lives by remembering Imam Hussain (AS) and the incident of Karbala. They answer Imam Hussain’s (AS) call for help by expressing their anger to Yazid and the likes. They follow their Imam’s footsteps in fighting the Yazid within themselves and generally resisting any violent oppression and injustice out there in the social and political levels.
As a result, Muslims fully comprehend the core message of Islam, which is the Quranic principle of Tawhid; that there is no one but Allah, and we all need to be committed to Him; that even ordinary Muslims deserve more than a figure like Yazid, and they should always remain defiant against him and any oppression or injustice. The month of Muharram is an opportunity for all of us to remind ourselves of the right belief and the true Islamic teachings that never harmonize with any kind of oppression.