Islam And Tolerance
Treatment of Non-Muslims By The Prophet (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon Him) of Islam
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By Ibn Zaib Bhikaari
As Muslims we are the followers of an extremely well-mannered Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). He had an exemplary attitude viz a viz non-Muslims. You read in the previous episodes. Now read about the enlightened lives of his followers. Think, the power of decision rests with you.
When Hazrat Abu Bakar (RA) sent an army on the expedition of Syria, he addressed the emir of the army: ”You will find a nation which has devoted itself for the worship of Allah. Leave them. I make ten recommendations for you. Do not kill any woman, child, or an old person. Do not cut a fruit bearing tree. Do not ruin a place that is inhabited. Do not slaughter goat or camel without need for eating. Do not burn any oasis. Do not cheat in the property that has been confiscated due to battle. And do not become cowards.
Security of the Rights of Non-Muslims: The countries that were conquered in his time, their non-Muslim population was taken under safety and took complete responsibility for guarding their rights. The rights that were given to non-Muslims by Rasool Allah (may Allah’s peace be upon him) the same were given by him. When Heera was conquered, a pact was made with the christians of that place that their churches and mausoleums will not be demolished. Their that palace will not be demolished in which they hid themselves while competing with the enemy. They will not have any prohibition in knelling and ringing of church bells. On the occasions of religious ceremonies they will not be prohibited to take out their crosses. Any old person who became handicapped for work or someone contracted a severe illness. Or if someone was wealthy in the beginning and then became destitute. From such people taxes would not be charged. And till the time they stayed alive their kin’s needs would be fulfilled from the bait-al-maal. Nonetheless, if they go to another country their relatives’ financial assistance would not be a responsibility of the Muslims. It was also written in this agreement that the non-Mulims would have permission to wear any dress other than the military dress. On the condition that they do not try to imitate the Muslims. The instruction for avoiding imitation was given so that a difference be maintained between Muslims and non-Muslims to give complete security to the latter.
A slave of hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) was a christian. He (RA) used to invite him to embrace Islam. But he (RA) never emphasized too much. He (RA) used to say that there is no compulsion in Islam. The slave remained christian throughout his (RA) life.
Hazrat Umar (RA) had blown such a spirit of Islam’s true teachings among his officials and soldiers that non-Muslims of the conquered countries automatically kept on embracing Islam by getting impressed with their fear of Allah, following of sunnah, piety, abstinence, hospitality, helpfulness, behavior, truthfulness, justice, mercy, equality, good treatment of opponents.
When the Muslim army reached Syria, the ambassador of Romans, George, embraced Islam. The emir of of Shitaa, a city of Egypt, embraced Islam with two thousand people. The bishop of Damascus came to hazrat Khalid bin Waleed (may Allah be pleased with him) and embraced Islam in front of him. After the conquest of Jalola the emirs and affluent of that city themselves embraced Islam. After the battle of Qaadsia the royal regiment of Iran embraced Islam with 4000 soldiers. When some army officers of Yazdgird converted to Islam, nations like Siaabcha, Zatt, and Andghaar also embraced Islam. People of a few towns of Egypt also became Muslims. After the conquest of Wimyaat the whole population ranging from Baqaara to Asqalaan embraced Islam. And then who can refuse to accept this reality that the population of the whole territories of Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Iran gradually embraced in such a way that Muslim majority increased in these countries. And those countries became known as Muslim countries. If Muslims had not exhibited the elegant model of their tolerant character there, how would they have embraced Islam. A few people can be pressed and oppressed but to persuade a whole territory with force and terror to a particular religion is against the human nature.
The accounting of the financial offices of Iraq, Egypt and Syria was kept in their local languages. For this reason, in the era of Hazrat Umar Farooq (RA), the accountants used to be majoosi (fire worshippers?), christians or qatbis. They used to be treated well according to the commands of Hazrat Umar Farooq (RA). Hazrat Umar Farooq (RA) cared about the zimmis (non-Muslims living in Muslim lands) even on his death bed. He said I instruct the caliph who would follow me to treat the zimmis (non-Muslims) well. Whatever truce be made with them, should be well guarded. They should be defended against their enemies well. And they should not be given loads which they cannot bare. He was very punitive about the mistakes of the governors. Once he addressed the people: ”By Allah, I do not send my governors to you so that they should slap on your faces. snatch your property, they are sent because they can teach you your religion and sunnah of Hazrat Muhammad (may Allah’s peace be upon him). If a responsible should treat someone out of the boundaries prescribed by religion and sunnah of Hazrat Muhammad (may Allah’s peace be upon him), I would definitely avenge on behalf of the person that is oppressed. Listening to this Hazrat Amar bin Al-Aas (RA) said that if a Muslim governor gives corrective punishment to his people should he also be fined? Hazrat Umar (RA) said, yes, I will certainly fine him, I have seen Hazrat Muhammad (may Allah’s peace be upon him) paying fines himself.” Hazrat Umar (RA) used to know if a government official used to express his grandeur, did not visit the ill, weak cannot approach his office, and he (RA) used to suspend him. He given instructions to governors that they should not ride Turkish horses, should not wear thin clothings, should not eat sieved flour, should not keep guards on the door, should always keep the doors open for the needy. If someone used to go against these instructions he used to take severe corrective actions against him.
All the agreements that were made with non-Muslims in the times of Hazrat Umar (RA) were kept in the era of hazrat Usman (RA). And all the new territories that were conquered, the same tolerant spirit was maintained there too. The training of which was given by Rasool Allah (may Allah be pleased with him). He kept on following the holy prophet (may Allah’s peace be upon him) in his every small or big deed. His era remained tormenting due to some reasons. Even then due to the chivalry of Muslims soldiers Taraablas, Algeria, Qabras, Tabristaan and Armenia were conquered. In his time there were also a lot of mutinies. His personality had a lot of softness and regard for others. But he kept on overcoming these mutinies by adopting the strategies of lack of tyranny and blissfulness. In order to be aware of the wellbeing or not of the conquered territories he used to send delegations of notable sahaaba-e-karaam (friends of prohept Muhammad (may Allah’s peace be upon him)). On fridays he wold ask about the circumstances of neighboring countries by reaching the rostrum. And he had made a general announcement that if anyone has any problem with a governor, he should describe that on the occasion of hajj. On this occasion he used to call all the concerned officials so that inquiry of such matters could be done easily.
In his time Muslims did some bad treatments towards the christians of Nijraan. They complained about it to hazrat Usman (RA) by coming to him. At that time the governor of that place was hazrat Waleed bin Utba (RA). Hazrat Usman (RA) wrote to him that the chief of the citizens of Nijraan in Iraq has come to me and complained and showed to me the condition which hazrat Umar (RA) had set with them. I have come to know about the damages Muslims have done to them. I have reduced their taxes. I have given it to them in the way of Allah. And I have given them all the land that hazrat Umar (RA) had agreed with them.
Hazrat Ali (RA)’s era of caliphate also remained mostly tormenting and vociferous. The period of his caliphate was five years. Due to fights and rebellions he could not achieve that peace of mind which is mandatory for ruling. But he had gotten his grooming under the shadow of Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him). That is why about anchoretism, piety, worship, hospitality and good treatment and character whatever good examples can be given all were present in his personality. No contemporary was his equal in chivalry. But he continuously kept on acting on this hadith of Rasool Allah (may peace be upon him) that brave is not the one who defeats his enemy rather brave is the one who can control his nafs (self). This story of his life is very famous. That in one battle he bowled over a jew and sat on his chest. He wanted to kill him that he spat on his face. At once he got away from his chest. The jew got astonished and asked the reason for his getting away. And he said that initially I wanted to kill you for Allah, you spat on my face. If I had killed you now, I would have done it for my nafs (self), which would not have been right. The jew accepted Islam after listening to this.
He remained very popular due to the beauty of his treatment and character. Depending on this quality of his Rasool Allah (may Allah’s peace be upon him) kept on taking the work of spreading Islam continuously. After the conquest of Makkah Hazrat Khalid bin Waleed (RA) was appointed for spreading the message of Islam in banu-Khuzaima. Initially this tribe accepted Islam and then they refused. Hazrat Khalid (RA) imprisoned and killed some of these people. When Rasool Allah (may Allah’s peace be upon him) learnt this, he became sad. You (may Allah’s peace be upon you) had complete confidence in Hazrat Ali’s (RA) performance in dealing with circumstances. That is why you (may Allah’s peace be upon you) sent him to banu-Khuzaima in order to make up for the damage. Hazrat Ali (RA) dealt with the matter with tolerance. Redeemed the prisoners and paid monetary concessions for the people who were killed. (Fateh Albaari)
Once upon a time Hazrat Khalid (may Allah be pleased with him) was sent for the purpose of tableegh (daawaah) to Yemen. He remained unsuccessful there. Rasool Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) chose hazrat Ali (RA) to be sent over there. Hazrat Ali (RA) initially considered this task as difficult. But Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him) prayed for him by putting his hand on his chest: ”O Allah! make his tongue truthful and enlighten his heart with the light of hedayet.” After this he tied amaama shareef (turban) on his head and sent him towards Yemen by giving him black knowledge (siyaah ilm?). Hazrat Ali (RA) changed the atmosphere of that place with the beauty of his strategy and treatment in such a way that the whole tribe of Hamdaan converted to Islam. (Fateh-al-Baari, khulafaa-e-raashideen).
Khaarijis kept on continuously conspiring against Hazrat Ali (RA). They kept on provoking majoosis (fire worshippers?), apostates, new-Muslims, and minorities (zimmi?), for mutiny. But Hazrat Ali (RA) handled these mutinies with a lot of patience. When they were subdued, he treated them in a very nice way. Iranian rebels said about his charitable treatment that the method of governance of Ameer-ul-momineen Hazrat Ali (RA) bin Abi-Taalib has made us forget the memory of the governance of Nosheerwaan.
He had maintained and attitude of love and affection with zimmis (minorities?). Hazrat Ali (RA) maintained all the pacts that he had made with them.
The most glorious example of Hazrat Ali’s (RA) charitable treatment is that when his murderer, Ibn-Baljam, was brought to him was brought to his death bed, he said by looking at him: give him good bed, have him sleep on a soft bed. If I remain alive, then I would have the authority to forgive him or to take revenge from him. If I die, I would fight with him in front of Allah. Then he also made this will that he should be avenged softly, that is, his hands or feet should not be cut.
Hazrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) did not tolerate the betrayal of right of non-Muslims under any circumstance. When non-muslims complained about the severity and strict handling of one of his officials, Hazrat Amar bin Muslima (RA), he wrote: ”I have come to know that the non-Muslim farmers of your country have problems with your strict attitude. There is nothing better in this. You should handle things both with softness and strictness. But strictness should not reach the limits of oppression. And softness should not reach the limits of loss. Whatever is due to be received from them, yu should receive it. But save yourself from spilling their blood. Similarly, an irrigation canal of non-muslims was ruined. He wrote to the official hazrat Qarz bin Kaab (RA) that it is the duty of the Muslims to rehabilitate the canal. And that I can swear upon my life I like its rehabilitation. Inspite of this that the people living there be exiled.”
Once upon a time the armor of Hazrat Ali (RA) fell somewhere. A christian picked it up. He recognized it as he (RA) saw it. The christian refused to give it. Despite being the caliph of the time hazrat Ali (RA) reported the matter to the Qazi (judge) of the shariah and filed a case. Qazi asked that what proof did he have of the armor being his (RA)? He could not provide any evidence and the Qazi made the judgement in favor of the christian. The christian got impressed by it and said that this justice is like that of prophets. Ameer-ul-momineen (RA) presents me in front of the Qazi to make a judgement and after that the Qazi makes a judgement against him (RA). After that he converted to Islam. When Hazrat Ali (RA) used to send a military convoy somewhere, he used to address them: ”I advise you to acquire the piety of that Allah, with whom you have to ultimately meet. Other than this you cannot have a destination. And he is the lord of this world and the afterlife. Look! The expedition on which you are being sent, make complete arrangements for that. And perform such deeds that will make you near to Allah. Because only those worldly things will be useful, which reach Allah.”
The jews of khyber adopted such a rebellious attitude that not only did they cheat in the matters of Muslims and tried to spread their destruction rather they threw the son of Hazrat Umar (RA), Hazrat Abdullah (RA), from the top of the roof. Due to this his hands broke. Hazrat Umar (RA) exiled them from Khyber. But in the times of Rasool Allah (may Allah’s peace be upon him) an agreement was made with them that they would be partners in half of the land and half of the yield. Thus, at the time of exile Hazrat Umar (RA) gave them silver and gold equivalent to their shares of half the land and half the yield.
The jews of Fidak also did political mutiny. Hazrat Umar (RA) had made a truce with them on the conditions of exile. That is why at the time of exile he (RA) gave them the justifiable price of whatever shares they had in oasis and land. He sent some acquaintances to set these terms with them and according to the pact whatever price was set with them was given to them.
When hazrat Umar (RA) used to get knowledge of any rebellious conspiracy in his land, he (RA) used to act severely to dissipate it. If this conspiracy used to be from non-muslims, although he would hesitate in punishing them but even in this he used to be merciful and tolerant. When Syria was conquered. On the boundary of it there was a city known as Arboos. A truce was made with the people of this city. But they used to secretly conspire with the Romans of central Asia and used to tell the secrets of Muslims to them. When Hazrat Umar (RA) came to know about this, he wrote to the governor of that place, hazrat Umair bin Saad (RA), to give them a deadline of one year, that they refrain from their conspiracy. And if they do not refrain, their property, land, animals and belongings be counted and the price be given and they be asked to leave. This order was fulfilled.
In the era of Hazrat Umar (RA) also there remained continuous confrontation with the Romans. And when the chivalrous military chiefs of Hazrat Umar (RA) occupied Damascus, Jordan and Qabas Harqul? was extremely perplexed and horrified. He called his military emirs and asked, ”what is the reason, Arabs are too numerous compared to us in terms of numbers and amunition and even then they become successful.” An experienced person gave an answer for this, ”Arabs have better morals than us. They worship at night and fast during the day. They do not oppress anyone and live with equality amongst each other. In comparison to that our situation is that we drink, indulge in adultery, do not keep promises, and oppress others. The result of this is that, in their every activity they have vigor and perseverance and our activities are void of them.”
In the battle of Fahal when the Romans wished to have a truce they sent a message to the chief of Arabs, Hazrat Abu-Ubaida (RA) that some person should come over as an ambassador. Hazrat Abu-Ubaida (RA) sent Maaz-bin-Jabal (RA). When Hazrat Maaz (RA) reached the camp of the Romans he saw that there was a very expensive floor laid in the tent. He stopped there. A christian came and said, ”I can hold the horse, you please go and sit in the court.” The piety and sacredness of Maaz (RA) was well known. And even the christians were aware of that. That is why they really wanted to respect them. His staying out disturbed them. Maaz (RA) said, ”I do not want to sit on the floor that has been prepared by snatching the rights of the poor.” Saying this he sat on the floor. Christians felt pity and said that they wanted to respect him but if he did not care about it, what could they do. Hazrat Maaz (RA) became angry. He stood on his knees and said, ”what you consider as respect, I do not care about that, if sitting on the floor is a tradition of the slaves, then who can be a bigger servant of Allah than me.” Roman’s were astonished about his carelessness and independence. So much so that a person asked, ”is there a person among Muslims who, in this regard, is more than you?” He said, ”I can swear upon Allah! this is enough that I should not be the worse of all.” Romans kept quiet.
A fireworshipper named Shamoon was a neighbor of Hazrat Hasan Basri (RA). When he neared death, you (RA) went to him and saw that his body had become black due to the smoke of fire. You (RA) advised him to accept Islam by abandoning fire worship. Allah will have mercy! He said that he was nihilist about Islam due to three reasons. First, while according to your beliefs love of the world is a bad thing then why do you struggle for it? Second, when you consider that death is certain then why do you work in the world to attain the will of God? And that considering the certainty of death, why don’t you prepare for it? Third, that when you consider that the river of God’s sight as very special and wonderful, the why do work against the will of God in this world? You (RA) replied that these are deeds and character of the believers (meaning that they do not reflect the teachings of Islam), but what what had he achieved by wasting time in believing in fire worship? A believer, no matter what his character is, after all believes in the unity of God. But you have worshiped fire for seventy years. And if both of us fall in the fire, would it burn both of us equally, or would it have any regard for your worship? but my God has that much power that should He will, the fire cannot give me minutest of the harm. And after saying this, he held fire in his hand and the fire did not affect him at all. Upon getting impressed by this Shamoon said that I have I have indulged in fire worship for seventy years, what would I achieve by becoming a Muslim now? But when you (RA) insisted again to him to accept Islam, he said that he would accept Islam on one condition that you (RA) should write a testimonial for him that after my becoming a Muslim Allah Almighty would forgive all of my sins. You wrote a testimonial to him about this subject. After this Shamoon became a Muslim by the truth of his heart. And he made a request that upon his death you (RA) would wash his body with his hands and lay him down in his grave and place the testimonial in my hand so that on the day of judgement I have a proof about being a believer. And by making this will he recited the testimony of unity and departed from this world. The same night you (RA) saw in a dream that Shamoon is wearing a very expensive dress and is wandering in the heaven. And when you (RA) asked about as to what happened to him? He said God forgave him by virtue of his mercy and what the bounties He bestowed upon him were indescribable. Thus, there is no burden on you (RA) and that you (RA) can take your testimonial back. Because it is not needed now. And when you (RA) woke up in the morning, that testimonial was in your hand.
Hazrat Imran bin Hassain (may Allah be pleased with him) describes an account of a journey that on a night we stayed somewhere. In the morning everyone fell asleep. The prayer was missed. That was offered immediately afterwards. We had run short of water. And we were extremely thirsty. The prophet of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) sent me with some riders in search of water. When we went out we saw a woman taking two skins of water on her camel. We asked her as to where could the water be found? She said that water was not available in the vicinity. That she had traveled away from her tribe for a day and a night to fetch water. She told that she was a widow and that she had small orphaned children. We took her to the prophet of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). Upon your (PBUH) order the camel was sat down. You (PBUH) put your hand on the skin. Took a little bit of water and gargled with it. After this Your (PBUH) this miracle was observed that were were 40 people. All of us drank water from it. And whatever, big or small, utensils we had, we filled them all. One person had the need for taking shower. He was given water for that. Despite that it felt that the skins were so full that they were tearing apart. He (PBUH) told that woman, ”look we have not lessened your water.” Then due to Your (PBUH) command we gave her pieces of leftover bread and dates. You (peace be upon you) said, ”go and feed these to your children.” She went to her tribe and told about this incident and everyone accepted Islam.
It is said about Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that during his journey of Syria he took water from the house of a christian woman and performed ablution with it. Imam Shaafi (RA) has quoted this incident that Hazrat Umar (RA) performed ablution by taking water from the pitcher of a christian woman.
Khawaja Moin-ud-din Chishti (may Allah’s blessings be upon him) was in reality Sultan-ul-hind and a bringer of prosperity sage. You were the one who spread light of Islam in the infidel land of India. And for spreading the religion you spread a network of your caliphs and scholars of spiritual knowledge in every corner of India. They started brining non-Muslims under the shadow of the teachings of Islam. You were not only a dignified wali (friend of Allah) rather you were India’s biggest and first Muslim leader with whose leadership not only that in the dark and infidel-nourishing corners of the land of India Islamic lights were lit, rather a Muslim dynasty was also established.
When Khawaja Moin-ud-din Chishti (RA) came to Delhi in the beginning, a person, hiding a knife under his armpit, attacked with the intention of killing him. Hazrat Khawaja Moin-ud-din Chishti (RA) lovingly said, ”since you have come, finish your job.” The infidel started quivering as soon as he heard these words. He fell in the feet and accepted Islam instantaneously. Seeing this wonder many other people also became Muslims.
A fire worshipper named Behram used to live in the neighborhood of Hazrat Ahmad bin Hizb (RA). He was a big merchant. Once in the way robbers looted all of his property. When you heard about this you felt very sad. He said to his disciples, ”what if he is a non-Muslim. He is our neighbor. It is mandatory for us to console him. Let’s go and and console him. He is very sad.” Thus, you went to his house. He also respected you (RA) a lot. And took you (RA) in the house and sat you in a well decorated room. Since it was a time of severe famine, formalities were made, but he thought that may be you (RA) have come to eat something. You (RA) understood from your enlightened self and said, ”Behram, be comfortable. We have not come here to eat and drink. We have just come here to console you. We heard about your great loss.” He said, ”indeed my belongings were looted and I had a grave loss. But still there are three things for which it is mandatory for me to be thankful.” Firstly, I was looted but I did not loot anyone. Secondly, half of my belongings are still left with me. Thirdly, that worldly belongings were looted, belongings of the afterlife were saved.” You (RA) said to your disciples that his sayings have a smell of friendship. Then you (RA) asked that tell us that why do you people worship fire? He said that only so that on the day of judgement I remain safe from it. You (RA) said, ”you are worshipping it since a long time. And I could not understand its significance even for a single day. Come! let’s both of us put hands in it. We will get to know as to how much it spares you.” This suggestion struck Behram’s heart a little bit. He said, ”Ok explain four affairs to me. Why did Allah brought to life His creation?” You (RA) said, ”Creation was given birth so that it could recognize its creator. Sustenance was given so that they could know Him due to it. Death was given so that they could recognize Him by the virtue of His (Qahaari?). Then brought back to life so that they could recognize him by the virtue of His nature.” Behram said, ”Ok bring forward this fire and let’s test it too.” You (RA) put your hand in it and no harm happened. Behram embraced Islam at that point.
Hazrat Kabeer-ul-Aulia, Sheikh Jalal-ud-din (RA) was very wealthy and a rich person of his time. And your father, Khawaja Mehmood (RA)’s wealth also did not have any measure. You (RA) were renowned for your knowledge and benevolence. From childhood you (RA) used to get upset about anyone’s problem. And till the time you (RA) would not solve his problem you (RA) would remain restless. You (RA) used to help poor and the needy a lot. You (RA) were very charitable and you had this habit till the end. You belonged to Paani Patt. You (RA) had not reached adolescence yet that you started developing mystic states. You (RA) would go to jungles and remain busy in worships there. When hazrat Sheikh Shams-ud-din (RA) made you a caliph he (RA) prayed for you (RA), ”Jalali! I give you this and that.” This meant that blessings of both life and afterlife were prayed to be bestowed upon him.
Thousands of people benefited from you (RA). Islam and the purpose of Islam benefited a lot. Plenty of hindus accepted Islam on your hands. You (RA) reached a mountain while touring, you (RA) saw that a hindu yogi was sitting still while his eyes were closed. When you (RA) reached near you gave movement to his heart. He opened his eyes. And gave you a piece of Paaras? (a gem) happily. You (RA) threw it in water while smiling. He did not like this act. He said, ”you (RA) did not value this priceless thing. I do not know give me my stone back. Otherwise I will not let you lift even a single foot from here.” And he behaved with severe insolence in front of you (RA). But you (RA) while exhibiting a good behavior went down into the spring and said, ”come pick your stone up.” What he saw was that there thousands of such stones (gems) were lying. You (RA) smiled and said, ”When respectful people of Allah look at any stone it becomes paaras (gem).” When he saw this wonder and the beautiful behavior he converted to Islam instantaneously. Then in his vicinity all of his disciples also converted to Islam. This yogi became a firm and a complete believer.
In the character of Hazrat Shah Sahib (RA) many incidents can be found that show that he used to have a lot of affection on the creation of Allah. This did not have any discrimination of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian. A part of this affection was hadayet (guidance) too. He would meet everyone openheartedly. And he had a catch phrase, ”O banday Allah dai” (O man of Allah). He used to address the others with this.
Care for a Hindu Neighbor: You had so much regard for the punctuality of sunnah of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) that once in the neighborhood a Hindu died. You did not eat food till the time he was taken out for cremation. He said that he was a neighbor and when the neighbors are in sorrow food should be eaten by getting separate from them. This, he went to the mosque and ate a little bit of rice over there.
The inhabitants of Egypt were given complete independence in the matters of religious affairs. They were assured about the safety of life, property and personal respect. So much so that the great bishop of christians, Benjamin, who was in hiding due to the fear of the Romans, Hazrat Amar bin Alaas (may Allah be pleased with Him) invited him and appointed him on his designation. And about churches whatever concessions were asked were granted. On gaining religious independence Christians celebrated a lot and speeches were made in the churches. Asqaf Baasili said, ”After a long oppression of Romans, I am seeing an era of redemption and peace in Alexandria today.” In the eyes of the Muslims jews, christians, polytheists and fire-worshippers were all equal. And muslims used to treat everyone with sympathy and love. After seeing the beauty of behavior of Muslims, myriads of non-Muslims adopted Islam and by the passage of time they started adopting Arabic language too. The result of this was this that in future eras Egypt became a center of Islamic culture and civilization. When Muslims conquered Alexandria, an arrow of a person belonging to the Muslim Army accidentally broke an eye of the statue of Hazrat Isa (may Allah’s peace be upon Him) (Jesus Christ). This incident deeply agonized the Christians. They went to the chief of the Muslim Army, Hazrat Amar-bin-Alaas (may Allah be pleased with Him), and said, ”your man has broke an eye of the statue of Jesus Christ (Hazrat Isa (AS)). You should also make a statue of your prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon Him). And we would break an eye of that statue in return.” The chief of the Muslims said, ”this sounds like a foolish idea. It would be better that instead of breaking the eye of the statue, you should break the eye of a Muslim soldier.” A christian agreed to do this. The chief of the muslims himself gave him his dagger and said, ”my eye is presented here, you can break it.” Seeing this justice of the chief of Muslims the dagger dropped down from the hands of the christian and he refrained from this act.
It is described in Israr-at-Tauheed that one day Abu-Saeed Abu-Al-Khair (RA) was passing through a street with a group of people. A woman was throwing the ash of her stove from the top of her roof. Some ash fell on Sheikh’s clothes. Sheikh was not affected by this incident at all. But his companions became severely angry. And they felt about asking the man of the house. Sheikh said that they should not become angry. Only ash has fallen on the person who deserved fire. This time is appropriate for thanking Allah instead. Everyone became quiet by listening to this. And no one harmed any one.
Hazrat Ba-Yazeed (RA) was passing through a graveyard. A Bistaami young man was playing a musical instrument. You recite Laa-hola-waala after seeing him. That young man struck his instrument so severely on hazrat’s head that his head got wounded. And the instrument also broke. You came back to your house and sent to him the price of the instrument and a little bit of sweet. And also sent this message to buy a new instrument from that money and eat sweet so that the sorrow of broken instrument may go away. When the young man got this message he felt very ashamed. He came back to sheikh and asked for forgiveness.
The historian of Islam ibn-e-Khuldoon writes that Hazrat Amar bin Al-Aas (RA) used to sit on the floor with the common people of his palace in Egypt. When Maqooqas (king of Egypt) used to come to him (RA), potters used to carry former’s throne. And he used to sit on his throne like kings with Hazrat Amar bin Al-Aas (RA). Because Maqsoos was a zimmi? (non-Muslim) and the Muslims used to care about their truces and pacts. And worldly glory so far had not gained any value in their eyes. So on this act of Maqsoos nobody criticized.
Hazrat Abu-Ubaida (RA) took bait-al-maqdas under siege. On getting anxious about the siege the priests of bait-al-maqdas made a truce on this condition that the conditions for truce be set through the caliph himself. Thus, on invitation of Hazrat Abu Ubaida (RA) Ameer-ul-momineen Hazrat Umar Farooq (RA) went to bait-al-maqdas. When ameer-ul-momineen went close to the city of Jerusalem, a christian came to you. And said, ”I am a zimmi (a non-Muslim living in a Muslim country) and this is my garden in front. Some people of your army are harming.” Ameer-ul-momineen went close to the garden and saw that some people were taking grapes away from the garden. Ameer-ul-momineen stopped those people. They said that they were hungry. Hazrat Umar (RA) went inside the garden and found some people there too. He (RA) called that zimmi (non-Muslim) to himself and asked about the price of the garden and paid him the price.
When Ameer-ul-momineen hazrat Umar (RA) went to the church of Kaneesa and the time of prayers approached there, he said to Venice Batareeq, ”I want to offer my prayers.” Batareeq replied, ”Ameer-ul-momineen, you can offer your prayers here.” You (RA) refused to do so. Batareeq went to the church of Constantinople, but you (RA) did not offer your prayers there too. You (RA) offered your prayers outside the church in front of the door. And said to Batareeque that I did not offer the prayers inside the church so that in future Muslims do not capture the church following the logic that Umar (RA) had prayed there. After that you (RA) wrote a letter and gave it to Batareeque. In which it was written, ”Any Muslim cannot pray in the church with Azaan and jamaa (as a group prayer), although he can pray alone.”
Hazrat Khalid bin Waleed (may Allah be pleased with him) made a peace agreement with the priest of Ghaanaat on the following conditions. (1) Their temples not be destroyed. (2) They should be able to ring their bells and display crosses on their religious festivals whenever they like, during the day or night, but not during the times of the prayers.
While playing polo a rich Qatbi man advanced his horse further from that of governor of Egypt, hazrat Amar bin Alaas (RA). The son of Hazrat Amar bin Alaas (RA) angrily beat the rich man with a whip. The rich man went to Madina Munawara and complained about it to ameer-ul-momineen hazrat Umar (RA). Ameer-ul-momineen (RA) called both the father and the son from Egypt and gave a whip in the hands of the rich man and said, whoever of these has beaten you, you can also beat him. The rich man whipped hazrat Abullah (RA). Hazrat Umar (RA) pointed towards Hazrat Amar-bin-Alaas (RA) and said, ”on him too”. The rich man said, ”no, he is my mentor.”
The peace treaty that was written through Ameer-ul-Momineen, Hazrat Umar Farooq (may Allah be pleased with him) for the inhabitants of Bayt al-Muqdis (Jerusalem) had written in it: ”The life, property, churches, cross, sick, healthy of inhabitants of Aelya and Bayt al-Muqdis all are given peace . Habitation in their temples is forbidden. And neither should they be demolished. So much so that even their enclosures would not be harmed. Nor would any deficiency be made in their crosses or properties. Nor would any torture be done as regards their religion.
Misho? writes about the history of crusades that, ”When Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) conquered Bayt -al-Muqdus he didnot give any hardship to the christians. Contrary to this when crusaders conquered this city they extremely ruthlessly committed genocide of Muslims and burnt the Jews.
Renowned English Historian Gibbon writes: ”Caliph Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) indeed conquered Bayt al-Muqdus, but neither did he torture the inhabitants of the city nor did he interfere in their religion. A part of the city was set aside for christians, priests, and cardinal bishop(?). For the security of this christians only had to pay 2 Dinaar annually. Instead of stopping the pilgrimage to Bayt al-Muqdus, Muslims facilitated it so that due to visiting business could be flourished. After 460 years of this when this sacred city went back into the hands of European Christians, the eastern Christians used to miss and remember the tolerant governance of the Arab Caliphs.
Foreign nations are complete strangers. In the time of treason and revolt even the most civilized of the empires cannot do any favors even to its own people. But Sahaaba (friends of Prophet of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)) (may Allah be pleased with them) treated the minorities even under such circumstances with extreme politeness. On the extreme border of Syria there was a city Areesus. The Muslims had signed a peace treaty with the Christians living there. But these Christians conspired covertly with the roman and used to convey the news of Muslims to them. When Hazrat Umair bin Saad (may Allah be pleased with him), who was the governor of that place, informed about it to Hazrat Umar-e-Farooq (may Allah be pleased with him), he replied back in writing that the inhabitants be given twice the worth of their property and belongings and then they should be exiled. If they do not agree to this, they should be given a time of one year. Thus, after one year they were sent in to exile. These favors and amenities had such an effect on the minorities that they became supporters of Muslims themselves. Although Romans were themselves of the same religion as the Christians, when Romans made preparations for a great and decisive battle against the Muslims, these minority Christians sent their spies from all over to gain information about the Romans. The governors, that Hazrat Abu Ubaidah (may Allah be pleased with him) had appointed in every city, were approached by affluent christians from every city and reported about this bellicose preparation. When all the governors reported about this news to Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah (may Allah be pleased with him), he wrote back that all the tax that had been collected by the minorities be returned, because according to the treaty the security of latter was a responsibility of the Muslims and that they did not possess the means to do so at that time. When these officials returned these amounts back, the minorities were deeply impressed and exclaimed that, ”May God bring you back, if Romans had themselves been in this situation they would not have returned the tax back, rather they would have taken whatever was ours” When the Muslims won the christians themselves returned the money so that they could come under the shade of this blissful rain again.
Sufia-e-karaam (may Allah shower His blessings on them) have always adopted the attitude of forgiveness with the creation of Allah, muslim and non-muslim. This had a very good effect on the social environment. Once hazrat Malik bin Deenaar (RA) rented a house in the neighborhood of a jew. Your cottage was adjoining with the door of the jew. Thus, the jew made such a pipe out of enmity through which through which he used to pour all the filth in to your house. And the place of your prayer used to become dirty. You (RA) never complained. Once day the jew himself started saying, ”Do you have a problem due to my pipe?” You (RA) said, ”I clean the filth that comes out of the pipe every day. So I do not have any problem.” The jew said, ”You do not get angry even after bearing with so much filth. Your religion is definitely true.” (Tazkira-tul-Aulia, p, 27).
One of the guests of hazrat Nizam-ud-din Aulia (RA) said, ”Some ill-religious, your ill-wishers bad mouth about you everywhere, which we cannot listen.” You (RA) said, ”I have forgiven everyone, you should also forgive them. Do not argue with such people.”
Encouragement and Affection: In front of Sufia-e-karam (RA) there no better deed than encouragement, affection, and to provide happiness to others. Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi (RA) went to a person with a few dirhams. He said that he did not need them. You (RA) said, ”You do not need them but I am a Muslim. If you will accept them I will feel happy. So you should accept them to make me happy.” (kitab-ul-Alhuma, p, 263).
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