“Brothers in Deen”: the Quran calls for Coexistence, not Clash

non-Muslims in a Muslim state

The rise of ISIS and the recent Charlie Hebdo massacre have brought the “clash of civilizations” discourse to a fever pitch.  In reality, the Quran calls for a government based on values closely resembling that of Western republics. Equal rights are guaranteed to non-Muslims so long as they fulfill the same two obligations as their Muslim counterparts:  follow the law and pay an income tax. Henceforth, they are considered “brothers in the system of life.”  No religious conversion is required.

Before we proceed, note that Islam (meaning “submission” to the will of God) is referred to as a “Deen” in the Quran. Deen means “system of life” or “way of governance.”   Religion is but a component of Deen.  Next, let’s review the verse deemed “the verse of the sword” by critics:

9:5: “Slay those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God wherever you come upon them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and lie in wait for them…”

At first glance, this would seem to condone violence against non-Muslims. But, an honest contextual review reveals that this verse references those non-Muslims who keep violating treaties and attacking the Muslim government.

9:10: “They respect no tie and no pact regarding a believer. They are the transgressors.”

9:11:  “If they (the warring non-Muslims) mend their ways and establish Salat and pay Zakat, then they are your Brothers in Deen.”

So we are clearly told that non-Muslims are considered “brothers” to Muslims if they are not fighting against them and they fulfill two duties: establish Salat and pay Zakat. “Salat” means the “system that follows closely” (the divine commands).  The scope of Salat can vary with context.  For instance, the Quran indicates that establishing Salat at a government level eliminates corruption (11:84-87) and all creatures “know their Salat” (24:41), meaning they follow their Divine programming instinctually.  At a personal level, Salat defines the Islamic daily prayers but more importantly the moral code of honesty, sincerity, truthfulness, steadfastness, etc. (70:19-34). Continue reading

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“No Comment”: m.o. of the passive Muslim majority

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything” – Einstein

the-girl-buriedAn essay dedicated to:

  • the Passive Muslim as a wake up call,
  • the Traditionalist as a challenge,
  • the Extremist as a denouncement,
  • the Reformer, the most rare and brave of God’s creatures, as a helping hand.

For centuries in the Indian Subcontinent, Hindu widows were obligated to leap into the funeral pyre of their late husbands. As the woman screamed in unimaginable pain, her family members and other onlookers who knew better, stood watching. They had no comment, you see. It was not until the 19th century that British conquerors relieved their subjects of the hellish tradition of suttee.

In pre-Islamic Arabia, during the Days of Ignorance, a newborn girl was considered a source of shame. Many parents would walk to the open desert and bury the poor infant alive!  Sometimes, the father would compound this grave sin by delaying the decision. It was 3-4 years later he would realize the girl was a burden he could not bear. Imagine the scene: a child of three, doll in her left hand, her father’s finger in the right, strolling to the middle of the desert, assuming an afternoon of play awaits. As he begins to dig a hole, eager to help, she too scrapes the ground with her frail fingers. Finally, she is placed in the abyss. She reaches for her father again, only to receive a mound of earth in return. This is to be her resting place. Certainly, there were many in Arabia who realized the inhumanity of it all. But, they had no comment.

In Pakistan, Asia Bibi, the lady unfortunate enough to have been born Christian in Pakistan, a land of apostasy and blasphemy laws, is due to be hung next year. Her crime? Her Muslim coworkers refused to take water from a “non-Muslim woman” and hurled insults at her.  They claim she responded by insulting the Prophet (S), a charge she explicitly denies.  Now this mother of five is fighting for her life. Is there any evidence to support blasphemy laws in the Quran and Sunnah (the Prophet’s example)? Continue reading

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