Greeting and Interacting with the Jews, Christians and Pagans ―Even if they are oppressive

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Shaikhs Al-Albaanee, Ibn Baaz, Ibn ‘Uthaimeen & the Salaf on how to Greet and Interact with Non-Muslims

Shaikhul-Islaam, al-Muhaddith: Muhammad Naasir ad-Deen al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah) stated:

“Al-Bukhaaree reported in al-Adab al-Mufrad (no. 1101) with an authentic chain of narration: Abu ‘Uthmaan an-Nahdee (rahimahullaah) said:

“Abu Moosaa (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) wrote to a non-Muslim and greeted him with salutations of as-Salaam in his letter. So it was said to Abu Moosaa, “You greet him whilst he is a non-Muslim?!” He replied, “Indeed he wrote to me, and he greeted me, so I greeted him in return.”

If it is said: Is it permitted to begin a greeting with other than the “Salaam” such as saying: “How are you this morning?” or, “How are you this evening?” or, “How are you?” and so on?

So I say: This type of initiating is permitted, and Allaah knows best, because the forbiddance that is mentioned in the hadeeth then that is concerning the “Salaam” – and that is absolute in reference to the “Salaam” in Islaam that includes the name of Allaah (the Mighty and Majestic) as in the saying of Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam):

السلام اسم من أسماء الله وضعه في الأرض فأفشوه بينكم

“As-Salaam is a name from the names of Allaah that He placed upon the earth, so spread the salutations of as-Salaam amongst yourselves.”

Reported by al-Bukhaaree in al-Adab al-Mufrad, no. 989.

And that which aids what I have mentioned is the saying of ‘Alqamah (rahimahullaah):

إنما سلم عبد الله ( يعني ابن مسعود ) على الدهاقين إشارة

“Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood greeted the non-Muslims by waving.”

Reported by al-Bukhaaree in al-Adab al-Mufrad, no. 1104. This is in explanation of Bukhaaree’s chapter: “One who greets the non-Muslim [dhimmee] by waving.” Its chain of narration is authentic.

So here Ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) permitted initiating the greeting by waving because the greeting is not specific to only the Muslims – so likewise is said concerning the salutations upon them (the non-Muslims) similar to what we have mentioned from the different wordings [in that regard].

Another issue [that was discussed in a gathering] is whether it is permitted to return the actual “salaam” to a non-Muslim by saying: “wa alaikumus-salaam”?

So I answered that it is permitted with the condition that the “salaam” of the non-Muslim is clear in wording, and that there is no distortion of the wording with his tongue as occurred with the Jews with the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) and his Companions (radiyallaahu ‘anhum), when some of the Jews said: “As-Saamu ‘alaikum (poison/death be upon you).” So the Prophet commanded that one respond with merely saying, “wa ‘aliakum (and upon you),” as has been reported in the collections of Bukhaaree, Muslim and others from the hadeeth of Aa’ishah (radiyallaahu ‘anhaa).

Investigation into the reason behind this legislation reveals that it is permitted to respond in kind if the condition mentioned is met. This is further supported by two further matters:

Firstly: The saying of the Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam):

“If the Jews greet you and say: “as-Saamu alaikum (poison/death be upon you),” then merely respond with: Wa ‘alaik (and to you).”

Reported by Bukhaaree and Muslim, also al-Adab al-Mufrad, no 1106.

So the Prophet gave the reason by his saying respond with: Wa ‘alaik (and to you).” And this is because they said: “As-Saamu alaikum (death be upon you).” And if this reason is removed as in the case wherein they say: As-salaamu ‘alaikum (peace be upon you).” Then one responds with what is the same as it, which is: “Wa ‘alaikumus-Salaam (and peace be upon you)” And this position is further supported by the following, and that is the generality of the saying of Allaah, the Most High:

وَإِذَا حُيِّيتُم بِتَحِيَّةٍ فَحَيُّوا بِأَحْسَنَ مِنْهَا أَوْ رُدُّوهَا ۗ 

“And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet [in return] with one better than it or [at least] return it [in a like manner].” An-Nisaa: 86

This verse in its general meaning also encompasses the non-Muslims.

I now wish to expand upon that here by saying that which further supports the general meaning of this verse are two matters:

Firstly: That which has been reported by al-Bukhaaree in al-Adab al-Mufrad (1107), and Ibn Jareer at-Tabaree in at-Tafseer (10,039) via two chains of narration from Sammaak, from ‘Ikrimah, from Ibn Abbaas (radiyallaahu ‘anhumaa) who said:

Respond to the greeting of salaam upon the Jew, the Christian, or the Magian. That is because Allaah has said:

وَإِذَا حُيِّيتُم بِتَحِيَّةٍ فَحَيُّوا بِأَحْسَنَ مِنْهَا أَوْ رُدُّوهَا ۗ 

“And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet [in return] with one better than it or [at least] return it [in a like manner].”

And what supports this further is that which has been narrated from Sa’eed Ibn Jubair (rahimahullaah) from Ibn Abbaas who said:

“If the Pharaoh himself was to say to me: ‘May Allaah bless you.’ I would respond: ‘And you too!’ And the Pharaoh is dead.”

Reported by Bukhaaree in al-Adab al-Mufrad (1113) and its chain of narration is authentic upon the conditions of Imaam Muslim.

And the next point is the saying of Allaah, the Blessed and Most High:

لا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُمْ مِنْ دِيَارِكُمْ أَنْ تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

“Allaah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who did not fight against you on account of Religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allaah loves those who deal with equity.”

So this verse is clear-cut in commanding with good treatment of the unbelievers from amongst fellow countrymen – those who are at peace with the believers, and they do not harm the believers and they deal with them justly. And from that concerning which there is no doubt is the fact that if one of them greets with clear words saying, “As-salaamu ‘alaikum (peace be upon you)”, then if we respond to him in mere shortened form with “wa ‘alaik (i.e. and upon you)” – then that is not from justice at all, let alone goodness because in this situation we are giving equal in response to someone who could have said “as-Saamu ‘alaikum” and this is clear oppression (i.e. if a non-Muslim greets you clearly with as-salaam alaikum, then one should respond with the same).”

Abridged from Silsilatul-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah 2/318.

Shaikhul-Islaam, al-‘Allaamah: Abdul-‘Azeez Ibn Baaz (rahimahullaah) stated:

“Concerning salutations of ‘salaam‘, then a Muslim does not initiate the ‘salaam‘ due to the saying of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam):

((لاتبدأوا اليهود ولا النصارى بالسلام))

“Do not initiate the Salaam with the Jews and Christians.”

Reported by Muslim in his Saheeh.

He (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) said:

((إذا سلم عليكم أهل الكتاب فقولوا: وعليكم))

“If the People of the Book greet you with Salaam, say to them: And the same upon you [wa-‘alaikum].”

So the Muslim does not initiate the ‘salaam‘ with a non-Muslim. So these are rights that are connected to the conduct between a Muslim and an unbeliever. Also, one should be a good neighbour, not harm him, give him charity if he is poor, give him gifts and advise him in that which is in his benefit because all of this will give him a desire for Islaam and be a cause of him entering it. That is due to the fact that the neighbour has rights in Islaam. The Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) said:

((مازال جبريل يوصيني بالجار حتى طننت أنه سيورثه))

“Jibreel did not cease to exhort me concerning the neighbour until I began to think he would inherit from me!”

This hadeeth is agreed upon in authenticity. So if the neighbour is an unbeliever, he still has the rights of a neighbour – and if he is an unbeliever, a neighbour and a relative then he has two rights: the rights of a neighbour and the rights of a relative. And it is legislated to give charity to the neighbour who is an unbeliever, and to one who is not a neighbour other than Zakaat, so long as he is not at war with him, due to the saying of the Most High:

لا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُمْ مِنْ دِيَارِكُمْ أَنْ تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

“Allaah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who did not fight against you on account of Religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allaah loves those who deal with equity.”

And likewise due to the hadeeth of Asmaa bint Abee Bakr (radiyallaah ‘anhumaa) that her mother visited her in Madeenah during the treaty of Hudaybiyyah and she was a staunch pagan, and she sought help. So Asmaa sought permission from the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) as to whether she should keep ties with her mother, so he responded:


“Yes, keep ties with her.”

As for az-Zakaah, then one is able to give Zakaah to an unbeliever so as to draw their hearts to Islaam. And as for participating [or congratulating] them on their festivals and celebrations, then a Muslim is not permitted to do that.”

(See Majmoo’ Fatawa Ibn Baaz (rahimahullaah), vol. 6, see:

Shaikh al-‘Allaamah, al-Faqeeh: Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) stated, during a tele-link with Salafi Publications in Birmingham on the 28th July 2000:

“…Likewise I invite you to have respect for those people who have the right that they should be respected, from those amongst you  and with whom there is an agreement [of protection from the non-Muslims]. For the land which you are living in is such that there is an agreement between you and them (i.e. you are at peace with them and not at war with them!!). If this were not the case they would have killed you or expelled you. So preserve this agreement, and do not prove treacherous to it, since treachery is a sign of the hypocrites, and it is not from the way of the Believers.

And know that it is authentically reported from the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alayhi wassallaam) that he said,

“Whoever kills one who is under and agreement of protection will not smell the fragrance of Paradise.”

Do not be deceived by those sayings of the foolish people, those who say: “Those people are Non-Muslims, so their wealth is lawful for us [to misappropriate].” For by Allaah! This is a lie. A lie about Allaah’s Religion, and a lie in Islamic societies. So we may not say that it is lawful to be treacherous towards people whom we have an agreement with.

O my brothers! O youth! O Muslims! Be truthful in your buying and selling, and renting, and leasing, and in all mutual transactions. Because truthfulness is from the characteristics of the Believers, and Allaah, the Most High, has commanded truthfulness:

“O you who believe – fear and keep you duty to Allaah and be with the truthful”

And the Prophet encouraged truthfulness and said,

“Adhere to truthfulness, because truthfulness leads to piety, and piety leads to Paradise; and a person will continue to be truthful, and strive to be truthful until he will be written down with Allaah as a truthful person.”

And he warned against falsehood, and said,

“Beware of falsehood, because falsehood leads to wickedness, and wickedness leads to the Fire. And a person will continue lying, and striving to lie until he is written down with Allaah as a great liar.”

O my brother Muslims! O youth! Be true in your sayings with your brothers, and with those Non-Muslims whom you live along with – so that you will be inviters to the Religion of Islaam, by your actions, and in reality. So how many people there are who first entered into Islaam because of the behaviour and manners of the Muslims, and their truthfulness, and their being true in their dealings.

(End of the words of Ibn ‘Uthaymeen)

So the origin here is that one is to show kindness, gentleness and justice towards the unbelievers amongst whom we live. This treatment is from justice, and a means of da’wah and giving them a beautiful insight into Islaam. Allaah, the Most High, said:

لَّا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

“Allaah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who did not fight against you on account of Religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allaah loves those who deal with equity.” [Al-Mumtahana: 8]

This fine etiquette and justice was from the conduct of the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) towards the unbelievers. He would call them with wisdom and gentleness that was recognised and borne witness to by the unbelievers. When the Christian Emperor of the Romans, Heraclius, asked Abu Sufyaan (who was a polytheist at the time): “What does Muhammad command you with?” Abu Sufyaan responded:

“To worship Allaah alone and not to worship anything else along with Him, and to abandon what your fathers say [in worshipping other than Allaah]. And he orders with the Prayer, charity, chastity and joining the family ties.”

Upon hearing the honest words of Abu Sufyaan, Heraclius, said the following:

“If what you have said is true, he will very soon occupy this place underneath my feet and I knew that he was going to appear, but I did not know that he (the Prophet) would be from you. If I could reach him, I would go immediately to meet him – and if I were with him, I would certainly wash his feet.”

Reported al-Bukhaaree.

Kind Treatment Towards the Unbelievers and Reciprocating Kindness May Incline them to Islam, Even if they be Tyrants

The Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam), and his Companions after him, would show kindness and generosity towards the non-Muslims from the amongst the Jews, Christians and pagans as a means of softening their hearts to Islaam. This was not from the aspect of accommodating their polytheism, disbelief, sin and opposition to Islaam, rather it was for the purposes of inviting to Islaam, its beauty and justice. This is from the ways of calling people to accepting the beauty of Islaam. How many a non-Muslim has accepted Islaam merely on the basis of the good conduct they have seen in a Muslim! So this affair cannot be underestimated at all.

Abdullaah b. ‘Amr (radiyallaahu ‘anhumaa) mentioned that he slaughtered a goat or sheep and then said to his servant:

عن عبد الله بن عمرو رضي الله عنهما، أَنَّهُ ذُبِحَت لَهُ شاةٌ فَجَعَلَ يَقُولُ لِغُلَامِهِ أَهْدَيْتَ لِجَارِنَا الْيَهُودِيِّ؟ أَهْدَيْتَ لِجَارِنَا الْيَهُودِيِّ؟ سَمِعْتُ رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: (مَا زَالَ جِبْرِيلُ يُوصينى بِالْجَارِ حَتى ظَنَنتُ أنه سَيَورِثُه)

“Did you send some to our Jewish neighbour? Indeed I heard the Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) say: “Jibreel did not cease to exhort me concerning the neighbour until I began to think he would inherit from me!”

(An authentic naration, see Al-Irwaa, 891.)

The Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) would supplicate for the guidance of the non-Muslims and they would anticipate his supplication for them. Again this illustrates how his truthfulness, honesty, kind treatment was recognised by the unbelievers – and also how eager he was for their guidance, such that they entered into Islaam in their thousands! Abu Moosaa (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) said:

 – عن أبي موسى رضي الله عنه قَالَ: كَانَ الْيَهُودُ يَتَعَاطَسُونَ عِنْدَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رَجَاءَ أَنْ يَقُولَ لَهُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللَّهُ فَكَانَ يَقُولُ: (يَهْدِيكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيُصْلِحُ بالكم)

The Jews would deliberately sneeze in the presence of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) hoping that he would say:

“May Allaah’s Mercy be upon you”, but instead he would say: “May Allaah guide you and set your affairs in order.”

Saheeh, see Al-Irwaa, no. 1277.

The Messenger of Allaah made du’aa for ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattaab and Abu Jahl that they be guided to Islaam, and Allaah guided ‘Umar (radiyallaahu ‘anhu).

It is also authentically reported that the non-Muslims would send gifts to the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) and he would accept them, and in return he would send them gifts. However, when we see this being done in our times, we see ignorant “politicised” Muslim youth screaming out that this is showing allegiance to the enemies of Allaah and “selling out”! This is due to the wicked nurturing of the youth at the hands of the political agitators from the misguided sects who seek to sow discord, and in turn ruin the da’wah instead of building it. Imaam Al-Bukhaaree has a chapter heading:

Chapter: The Acceptance of Presents from the Pagans. 

(Baabun: Quboolil-Hadiyyati minal-Mushrikeen)

Abu Humaid (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the king of Aila sent a white mule to the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam), and the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) sent him a garment and wrote to him a confirmation of the treaty concerning his country.

Reported al-Bukhaaree, no. 2615.

The great scholar and taabi’ee, `Ataa (died 114H, rahimahullaah) said:

The saying of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic,

وَقُولُوا لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنًا

“And speak to the people in a goodly manner.”[al-Baqarah:83]

Meaning: Speak in a goodly manner to all the people, the pagans and others.

(See Mudaaraatun-Naas of Ibn Abee Dunyaa, no. 106. Tafseer at-Tabaree 1/311.)

Islaam does not, and has never considered this type of interaction to be a violation of the Islamic codes of conduct, whether it be between the leaders or between fellow countrymen.

To Acknowledge the Greetings of the Unbelievers, Even if they be Tyrants!?

Abu Sinaan (rahimahullaah, died 132H) said:

I said to Sa’eed b. Jubayr (died 95H):

“A Magian (Fire-worshipper) has inclined towards me, and he gives me salutations of ‘salaam’, should I respond to him?”

Sa’eed b. Jubayr replied: I asked Ibn Abbaas (radiyallaahu ‘anhumaa) about something similar, so he replied to me saying:

“Even if the Pharaoh himself said something to me of goodness, I would respond to him in kind!”

(See Mudaaraatun-Naas of Ibn Abee Dunyaa, no. 106. Al-Hadaa’iq of Ibnul-Jawzee, 3/102.) 

And it has already been mentioned above that Ibn Abbaas (radiyallaahu `anhumaa) said:

لو قال لي فرعون بارك الله فيك ، لقلت وفيك

If the Pharaoh had said to me: “Allah bless you.” I would have surely responded: “And you too!” And the Pharaoh is dead.”

(Al-Bukhaaree in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 1113, Saheehah 2/329.)

Indicating here that the worst of those who walked the earth is dead, so why would you not respond to the greeting of one who is not as wicked as he was, and not even close to him in tyranny!?

If a Jew or a Christian was to say to a Muslim, “O Muslim! I hope you have a pleasant day,” or a “pleasant Ramadaan,” does one ignore him? Does he turn his face away from him and frown, or even revile him?! Is that what Islaam teaches us?! Rather Islaam commands with responding in kind, so one would naturally respond, “Thank you for your nice words.” And this is not considered as giving allegiance to the religion of the Jews and Christians at all! Nor does this now mean that one has approved of their polytheism, or approved of their sins or oppression. Read again, O Muslim, carefully the words of the Salafi scholars above and consider the verses and Prophetic narrations they have utilised in their discussions.

Read again, O Muslim, the words of Ibn Abbaas (radiyallaahu `anhumaa) in relation to the Pharaoh – that he would respond in like manner to a good word from the Pharaoh. Does this mean Ibn `Abbaas (radiyallaahu ‘anhumaa) approved of the murder, killing and oppression committed by the Pharaoh?! This same Pharaoh who aimed to wipe out Islaam altogether, to kill the Prophets Moosaa and Haroon (`alaihimasalaam)? The one who murdered his own wife because she became a Muslim? The one who killed countless Muslims and claimed he was the Lord, Most High? Gentleness in da`wah and approaching the tyrant (even if he be an unbeliever) with gentleness does not necessitate one has approved of his disbelief and tyranny.

The Pharaoh rejected the call of the two Prophets (Moosaa and Haaroon), and Allaah punished him by drowning him in this life, and with further punishment in the Barzakh before the Day of Judgment, and He, the Most High, will punish him in the Hereafter with the Hellfire. Yet look, O Reader, how the two noble Prophets Moosaa and Haroon (`alaihimaa salaam) were commanded to address the Pharaoh:

Imaam al-Qurtubee (rahimahuhullaah) in al-Jaami’ li-Ahkaam il-Qur’aan (2/16) stated:

It is obligatory upon a person that his speech towards the people is gentle. Allaah said to Moosaa and Haaroon:

فَقُولَا لَهُ قَوْلًا لَّيِّنًا لَّعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوْ يَخْشَىٰ

“And speak to him with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [Allaah]” (Qur’aan 20:44)

So [today] the one who addresses [the people] is not better than Moosaa and Haaroon. And [today] the one being addressed is not more evil than the Pharaoh – yet Allaah commanded the two of them to be gentle with him!

So when a person of Sunnah addresses and responds in kind to some greeting of an unbeliever, even if he be a tyrant, then that in no way necessitates that he has given allegiance to the Religion of the Christians, Jews or pagans or that he has glorified the one he is addressing, or that he has approved of the tyranny that he may have perpetrated.

Additionally, the speech of the non-Muslims in favour of Islaam has been narrated by the Scholars. Al-Marroodhee (rahimahullaah) said:

“I brought a Christian to Abu Abdillaah Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (d. 241H), and the Christian said to him: I have wished to see you for some years. Your presence is not just beneficial for Islaam alone, but rather for all of creation, and there is no one from our people except that he is pleased with you!

And what of the speech of the Prophet Muhammad (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) wherein he said:

“If only you were to leave out and go to the land of Abyssinia, for indeed there a king there who does not oppress anyone.

(See As-Seerah an-Nabawiyyah of Ibn Hishaam, 1/397.)

The Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said this about the King of Abyssinia, who was a Christian at the time, ruling over a Christian kingdom.

Furthermore, Umm Salamah (radiyallaahu ‘anhaa) who later married the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:

“When we arrived in Abyssinia, we were neighbours to the best of neighbours [who was] An-Najaashee. He left us to safely practice our Religion, and we worshipped Allaah, the Most High, and we were not harmed.”

(This was narrated by Abu Bakr b. Abdur-Rahmaan. Shaikh Al-Albaanee authenticated it [as Jayyid] in As-Silsilatis-Saheehah, 7/578.)

The Conduct of the Prophet and his Companions towards the Jews and other Unbelievers

Muslim (rahimahullaah) reported from Ibn Abee Laylaa (rahimahullaah) that:

Qais b. Sa’d and Sahl b. Hunaif were both in Qaadisiyyah when a funeral procession passed by them, so they both stood up. So it was said to them: “Indeed, she is a person of this land, a Jewish woman.” So they said: “A funeral passed by Allaah’s Messenger, so he stood up.” It was said to him: “Its the funeral of Jewish woman.” So he responded: “Is she not a soul?”

Muslim reported (no. 2224): Jaabir said:

“The Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu alaihi wassallam) and his Companions stood up for the funeral of a Jew until it had disappeared.”

Again this shows the conduct of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) towards the non-Muslims.

Note: Then Imaam Muslim states in the next chapter heading: Chapter: Abrogation of Standing for Funerals. And this abrogation applies to both Muslim and non-Muslim funerals.

Anas Ibn Maalik (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) said:

There was a Jewish youth who would serve Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam). One day he fell sick so the Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) went to visit him. He sat close to the head of the boy and said to him: “Embrace Islaam.” So the boy started glancing at his father who was present. His father said: “Obey Abul-Qaasim (i.e. obey the Messenger).” So the boy became a Muslim. The Messenger came out and said: “All praise is due to Allaah who saved him from the Fire.” (Reported by al-Bukhaaree)

Then there is the story of Mut’im ibn ‘Adiyy who was was a polytheist, an uncle of the Messenger and the chief of the Banee Nawfal tribe of the Quraysh. Mut’im died a non-Muslim before the battle of Badr. However, his son Jubayr ibn Mut’im became a Muslim.

Jubayr b. Mut’im (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) said regarding the prisoners of the battle of Badr:

“Had Mut’im b. Adiyy been alive and had he spoken to me regarding these unworthy [impure] captives, I would certainly have released them for his sake.”

Reported by Al-Bukhaaree no. 4024.

So why did the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) say that he would accept the intercession of this polytheist who died upon his unbelief? The Scholars such as Ibn Hajr in his Fath-ul-Baaree mention that this was due to the Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) wishing to recompense Mut’im after he aided, gave refuge and security to the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) on his return to Makkah after he was stoned and cast out of the town of Taa’if. Yet this Mut’im was a pagan.

So from this brief article, the reader can see the manners of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam), his Companions (radiyallaahu `anhum), the early Salaf and the later scholars towards the non-Muslims, and how far removed is the understanding of many of those in our times who are driven by emotions, rage and what they understand to be politics. The Muslim youth in particular are targeted and deceived into believing that they at war with the countries in which they live – so they are indoctrinated by the “Islamist” ideologues of agitation into acting treacherously and obnoxiously towards those amongst whom they live – and what an evil nurturing that is!


Having said all of the above, this kind treatment, gentleness and justice, and calling the non-Muslims to Islaam necessitates that one bear in mind the following important points:

1. A Muslim is forbidden from worshipping alongside non-Muslims in their places of devotion, or participating in their rituals, rites, festivals, mournings and celebrations.

2. Muslims do not participate in interfaith forums wherein Muslims are invited to accept that Judaism and Christianity are Monotheistic religions – and as such our beliefs are virtually one and the same. Rather a Muslim calls the Jews, Christians and others to Islaam, to Tawheed, to the worship of Allaah alone, upon the guidance and Sunnah of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam).

3. A Muslim does not glorify the religion of the unbelievers, nor praise their idols or their practices that are in opposition to Islaam. However, there is no harm in mentioning the justice of a non-Muslim if there is a benefit in that, as the Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said concerning the Christian King of Abyssinia, for indeed there a king there who does not oppress anyone.” It is not permitted to glorify individuals amongst the non-Muslims and look up to them as heroes or examples to be followed by the Muslims, whether they be footballers, leaders, movie actors or musicians! Our examples are the Prophets and Messengers and their true believing disciples with the finality of them, and best of them being Muhammad and his disciples.

4.  A Muslim does not congratulate the non-Muslims on their religious occasions or celebrations in opposition to Islaam such as Christmas Day, Thanks Giving, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. On these occasions one neither gives them gifts nor accepts them, but politely declines and explains as to why a Muslim does not participate in such practices – because the Lord of creation has clarified for us that He alone is to be worshipped and the practices of worship are legislated by Him through the guidance of the Prophets, and this ritual was not practiced by the final Prophet (or even by the Prophets who were sent before him), and by Muslims participating or acknowledging them would be to contradict the Divine Revelation.

5. Giving gifts, and greetings on other days is permitted as the texts indicate – and as scholars such as Shaikh Abdullaah al-Ghudayaan (rahimahullaah) have stated, that on Eid or in Ramadaan gifts can be given to the non-Muslims as a display of kindness.

6. It is permitted to respond to a non-Muslim to words of truth and praise that he utters concerning Islaam, and this does not necessitate that a Muslim has agreed with his religion or his tyranny, or that he has betrayed the Muslims!

7. One is permitted, rather encouraged, to use polite courteous tones with non-Muslims that he is inviting to Islaam by good conduct, just as occurred with Moosaa (‘alaihi salaam) and the Pharaoh.

8. One should respond to the greetings of Salaam of a non-Muslim if his words are clear.

9. Being kind to them and just with them should not prevent one from explaining Islaam and the beliefs of a Muslim, and to speak against Polytheism.

10. Speaking to non-Muslims gently does not necessitate honouring or glorifying their religions.

11. Oppression towards Muslims and non-Muslims alike, is forbidden, even if that means failing to respond to a greeting in kind!

12. In one’s speech with with non-Muslims, it is not permitted for a Muslim to degrade Islaam or to compromise one’s faith, or to praise the false deities and false religions – and every religion besides Islaam is false and everything that is worshipped besides Allaah is false. But knowing and affirming that did not prevent the Prophets Moosaa and Haaroon approaching the Pharaoh with gentle words as they were commanded.

13. There is no harm in transmitting the truthful statements of the unbelievers who are in positions of influence so that those non-Muslims who look towards their figureheads may be attracted to Islaam. That is because it shows the non-Muslims that, “those to whom you look up to have acknowledged the goodness of Islaam and have asked you to look into this religion.” This may direct many of them to look into Islaam and embrace it – and guidance of the hearts is with Allaah.

13. When a Salafi caller is given the opportunity to give da’wah and calls the unbelievers to Islaam, he must not be vague in clarifying the message of the Prophets. Rather, the audience should be left in no doubt with respect to the Islamic belief in monotheism (at-Tawheed) and its importance, and polytheism and its grave sin in the sight of Allaah. The caller must cling to methodology of the Prophets in his inviting others.

14. If a Salafi caller is invited to preach to a particular group of individuals with a specific set of deviations, then he must make clear the truth – and with good manners, make clear their deviations so that they are not left in any doubt whatsoever about the true message of the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and of the misguidance they are upon. This was the methodology of Prophets of Allaah in calling to the truth.

And all praise is due to Allaah, Lord of the worlds.