Translation: Imams Bukhari, Muslim and Ahmad reported that Asma’ (ra) the daughter of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) said: “My mother came to me while she was still a polytheist, so I asked Allah’s Messenger (saws), “My mother, who is ill-disposed to Islam, has come to visit me. She wants something from me. Shall I maintain relations with her?” He (saws) replied, “Yes, maintain relations with your mother.”
Explanation: Part-01) The life of the prophet Muhammad (saws) and the lives of his companions are full of great examples that promote good relationships with Non-Muslims. Islamic history is full of evidence that shows that Muslims have maintained good relations with non-Muslims for many centuries. Because these Muslims dealt with others in good manners, they were able to conquer nations and lands. Muslims did not overcome these nations with the strength of weapons and large armies. Some lands were conquered without a single soldier—in fact, they were conquered by Muslim merchants who carried goods and good manners. These manners opened the minds and hearts of the people who came into Islam by the masses. Because of the good manners of these merchants, today we witness the largest Muslim populations in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Peace, tolerance, compassion, and good relationships are the normal, and original state between Muslims and non-Muslims. Islam promotes and protects this good relationship. Allah (swt) said in surat Al-Mumtahinah: “Allah does not forbid you (Muslims) to deal justly and kindly with those who have not fought against you in accounts of your religion and who do not drive you out from your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity.” (Verse 8)
This great verse clearly states the normal and original state for a good relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims. Allah (swt) did not prevent Muslims from establishing good relationships with non-Muslims. He clearly says that our relationships with non-Muslims should be based on the best morals and justice with those who declared peace upon us and did not fight us.
The Noble Quran uses the word, “Bir,” which is typically used to describe the highest relationship one could have with parents. The Qur’an also uses “Bir” to describe the type of relationship we should have with Non-Muslims. “Bir” includes all the good things that a relationship should have, and excludes all the bad aspects of a relationship. For that reason, Muslim scholars said that “Bir” is the foundation of the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims.
After Imam At-Tabari mentioned various opinions for the explanations of this verse (surat Al-Mumtahinah Verse 8), his final conclusion was that: “The most correct opinion in understanding this verse is that Muslims should be just, fair, and have the best relationship with all non-Muslims who ‘do not fight against us on account of our religion and do not drive us out of our homes.’ This includes people of all faiths and sects and the support of this correct opinion came from the story of Asma (ra) with her mother.
Scholars’ have also attempted to explain this verse, saying that: “Islam is a Deen of peace and a conviction of love. It is a system that has compassion to all people. It gathers all people (Muslim and non-Muslim) under the banner of Allah like brethren in accord and love. There is no obstacle that prevents this from happening except an aggression from its enemies against it and its people. If those enemies show peace, Islam does not want animosity or to start it. Even when the enemies still show animosity, Islam always looks for ways to bring the relationship to normalcy through great conduct and justice.”
From all that we have just read, we should understand that the normal relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims should be based on the best morality and justice. If we fail to establish this relationship, then we are committing aggression and injustice, and Allah (swt) does not love transgressors and unjust people.
Lastly, bear in mind that everything that is mentioned here is based on evidence from the Qur’an or the Sunnah of the prophet Muhammad (saws). If we keep these things in mind in our relations with Non-Muslims then we reflect a brighter picture of Islam and Muslims. This is the key to giving successful da’wah.