Teaser:

 

The positive beginnings of the Obama administration spawned an overall decrease in anti-Islamic sentiments in America and abroad. However, threatened by this success, and the achievement of Muslim-Christian unity, the hatemongers have recently intensified their efforts to make certain Islamophobia prevails. Consequently, true Muslims must do their part to show the world the correct Islamic perspective regarding the treatment of non-Muslims by promoting the esteemed stature of Islamic principles in word and deed as a means to accomplish the eradication of the false notion propagated by advocates of hate that Muslims want to “kill all infidels”. This incomplete, commonly misquoted part of the Holy Quran displays how vitally important it is to not only read the individual lines, but also to read the accompanying commentary and additional resources, to avoid misinterpretation. Many ayaat [signs] of Holy Quran contain detailed aspects of history and commentary and may span several pages of explanation. This crucial research enables the reader to comprehend the reason each segment was revealed and the context in which Almighty God sent them down.

 

In this regard, there are many ayaat [signs] that display the true Islamic sentiments regarding non-Muslims. A prime example is found in the 60th chapter, Sura Mumtahana, or “She to be Examined”. Such is the case with the third ayah of this Sura: “God forbids you not as regards those who have not fought you in religion and have not expelled you from your habitations, that you should do kindness to them and act justly towards them. No doubt, God loves the just.”
History
In the early years of Islam, there were many military confrontations between the Muslims and pagan Quraish. During the famous Battle of Khandaq (or The Trench), the opposing forces were a coalition of pagan Quraish, Bedouins and Jews who had joined forces to attempt to de­stroy the budding religion. A few years later, there was the Treaty of Hudaibeya. After some time, the Quraish breeched this treaty of peace. With divine knowledge, Hazrat Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) secretly gathered his troops for a preemptive incursion. One Muslim soldier, believing the heavenly decree would prevail, sent warning to the Meccans of the ensuing clash in an effort to save his family, who still resided in Mecca. He entrusted the message to a woman and by Divine order, the letter was intercepted and the above-mentioned segment of the Quran was revealed to Hazrat Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
According to the commentary, there were some among the non-Muslims who did not quarrel or treat harshly any Muslim or show enmity to Islam. Almighty God ordered that they should thus be treated with compassion and decency. The commentary goes on to say that: “When they deal with you with leniency and toleration, justice demands that you should also tender them good treatment, and show to the world how lofty and high is the standard of Islamic Morality.” This ayah embodies the true, peaceful spirit of Islam.
In understanding the intricacies surrounding this section of the Holy Quran, one can easily gain insight into the truism that Muslims cannot harm others, and in fact must treat those who show no enmity to them with utmost regard. So even in times of hostility, a Muslim’s behavior must delineate those who mean no harm, from the antagonists. Even more so, Muslims are called upon to not only show kindness to those aggressors who cease their hostility towards them, but to go above and beyond- to treat them with better favor. From this, one can then accurately surmise that the essence of Islam is peaceful accord.
I must digress at this point and relate a personal account that will aid in the understanding of the portion of the Holy Quran cited. As a young boy, I spent many summers with my Southern Baptist grandparents in Cleveland, OH.
Across the street from their house lived a very tall, husky boy who would bully me and my younger brother on many occasions. One particular time, my grandfather apparently witnessed him taking our ice cream truck purchases with threats of bodily harm. Upon returning to the house, my grandfather sat us down for one of his lessons-of-life talks—as he had done many times before.
The gist of what he said was that it was okay to be kind and generous, but under no circumstances should you let anyone bully you. If you do, they will pick on you for the rest of your life. So in essence, he said to not only treat others as you will have them treat you, but many times you have to treat others with the same regard with which you have been treated. He additionally said that if they show any remorse for bad behavior towards you, then receive it with grace and return it two-fold. So it turned out that the lessons I was learning from my Islamic upbringing were reinforced by my Christian grandfather.
Although there are many points to be taken from this, two should be abundantly clear. First is that the baseline of Islamic principles is the propagation of peace, justice, and harmonious accord. Second, the fact that the essence of Islam was realized by the teachings of my Southern Baptist grandfather, furthermore proves the universality of the message of Hazrat Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). It also proves that Islam and Christianity are theologically more alike than they are different.
At the outset, I stated that true Muslims must do their part to show the esteemed nature of Islamic principles, but that is not all. In the end, true Christians and Muslims must come together and show the inherent solidarity that exists between us, and thus the essence of Islam is true for both religions.
And as always- only by God, The Almighty and All Glorious, can we be healed.
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