Jurisprudence for Muslim Minorities

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  • Jurisprudence for Muslim Minorities



    Non-Muslims Communities and the Attitude of Sharî’ah Towards Them

            Grouping human communities on the basis of religion is not a theoretical matter that has no effect on life for us, or does not require rulings for it. Indeed, this research is nothing but an account of this grouping, for the grievously important effects that it entails, which are relevant to Muslims in this life and the Hereafter. Hence, the upright Sharî’ah has laid down many rulings for explaining to a Muslim how to deal with non-Muslims, how his attitudes towards them should be in different walks of life, how his relations with them should be, and his position in relation to their governments, under whose laws he lives. Non-Muslim communities vary according to the origins of their beliefs. They are neither alike, nor are they on the same degree or the same level from the Sharî´ah point of view.


    Divisions of Non-Muslim Communities According to Their Religions

            Humankind, from the Islamic Sharî'ah viewpoint, is divided into two big groups:

                            A- Muslims.                                                                                   B- Non-Muslims.

            What we are concerned with explaining here is the well-known sects of non-Muslims. They are so many, with different names, but the entire are infidels .The infidel is the person who does not believe in the Oneness of Allah, the prophethood of Muhammad, his Sharî'ah, or all of these.

            In brief, He is the one who does not believe in the true religion of Allah (Islam).

            They fall into different groups:


            Scholars differed as to defining the people of the Book, and whom this description applies to. These are two groups:

            The First Group: The Hanifites

            They defined the people of the Book as “ Those who believe in a Divine Religion and have a revealed Scripture, such as the Torah, the Bible, and the Scripture of `Ibrâhîm, Shîth, or the Psalms of David”. This viewpoint was also held by Ash-Shâfi’î.

            So, the people of the Book, in their views, are not the Jews and Christians alone, as is widely known, but any people who have a Divine Scripture.

            It seems that the Hanifites and their followers only considered the linguistic aspect of the word “ The people of the Book”, that is, those who have a “Divine Scripture”. 'Abu-Ya'la, a Hanbalite, maintains the same opinion.

            The Second Group: The majority of scholars and jurists

            They maintain that “The people of the Book are only the Jews and the Christians”, pursuing Allah’s saying,

    “Lest you should say, The Book has only been revealed to two communities before us”. (Al-’An‘âm: 156)
            That is, if the people of the Book were more than two communities, Allah Almighty would not have confined them to two communities. 
            Ibn-‘Abbâs, Mujâhid, and Qatâdah said, “The two communities means the Jews and the Christians”. Ibn ‘Atiyyah added “with the consensus of scholars”. They also said “The people of the Divine sheets (papers) are not included in the people of the Book, because these sheets are just sermons and axioms that lacked rulings and laws, hence, they are not deemed Scriptures”. 
            It is not a condition for the people of the Book to be committed to their religion in belief and behavior, that is, the majority of scholars maintain that it is enough for a person to believe in a Scripture to belong to the people of that Book even if he was not fully committed to applying its rulings. 
            It has been narrated that ‘Alî ibn Abi-Tâlib objected to the Companions when they considered the Arabs of Banî-Taghlib who turned Christians as people of the Book, saying “They have nothing of Christianity but drinking wine”. So, they said to him “ Enough be it for us that they became Christians”


            Ibn-‘Abbâs (m.a.b.s.w.h.) replied saying that Allah Almighty said, “O you who have believed, do not take to yourselves the Jews and Christians as patrons, some of them are patrons to some (others), and whosoever of you patronizes them, then surely he is one of them”. (Al-Mâ’idah: 51) 
            So, they belong to them by virtue of supporting and allying with them in war. The Companions agreed on this opinion except ‘Alî (m.a.b.s.w.h.) and ‘Umar who concluded agreements with them according to which they paid taxes. 
            It has been reported that ‘Alî (m.a.b.s.w.h.) disliked their slaughtered animals and their women, but did not prohibit them. 

           Magians are people who glorify light, fire, water, and earth, and deem Zorodster a prophet. It has been said that he had a Book, that they had Laws which they believed in, and that they fell into many sects. Scholars disagreed as to whether the Magians are people of the Book or not. They fell into two groups:

            The first group: the majority of scholars, who says that they are not people of the Book.

            The other group: including Ash-Shâfi’î,who says they are.

            Ash-Shâfi’î said in Al-‘Umm – a book by Ash-Shâfi’î 4/173 – “Magians are people of the Book, like the Jews and Christians”. It was also reported that ‘Alî (m.A.b.s.w.h.) said that the Pagans use to have a Book and a Law, but they ceased.

            As-San’ânî said, “It is evident that the saying of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) “Treat them like people of the Book” implies that they are not people of the Book.

            I hold that what supports the opinion of the majority of scholars is that they are, except for 'Abu-Thawr, unanimous that eating their slaughtered animals and marrying their women are prohibited. On the other hand, the sayings of ‘Alî (m.A.b.s.w.h.) and Ash-Shâfi’i (may Allah bestow his mercy upon him) do not conform to the Verse “Lest you should say, The book has only been revealed to two communities before us, and (as for us) we remained unaware of what those (Books) read”. (An-Nisâ': 156). If we consider the face meaning of this Verse, we will find that there are three groups not two.

            Their location: In Iran, there exists a group of Magians of about one million at present, with their places of worship, and Fire, which they never allow to go off. 

            Third: Atheists (and Ad-Dahriyyah) 
            They deny the existence of the Creator, and say that the world has neither god nor maker, and the things around us exist without a creator, thus holding the created things apart from their creator. Hence, Allah Almighty says about them: “And they have said “In no way is there anything except our present life; we die and we live, and in no way is there anything that causes us to perish except time” (Al-Jâthiyah: 24) 
            Allah Almighty also says about them “And they have said, 'Decidedly there is (nothing) except our present life, and in no way are we made to rise again.' ” Al-An'âm: 29)

            The Arabic word dahr means long time, long life, and the succession of night and day.

            A group of them said that things have no beginning at all, but are immediately active, and that the world eternally exists.

            Recently, communists agree with those atheists with regard to their views of the universe and life. Communism is an ideology based on atheism, that is, denying the existence of Allah Almighty and all the unseen, and that material is the basis of everything. Communism explains history in the light of class struggle and the economic factor, and their slogan is: We believe in three; Marx, Lenin, and Stalin, and disbelieve in three; god, religion, and private ownership. They deny the Hereafter, believe in the eternity of material, and fight religion and private ownership. Among their military slogans: Revolution gains victory by iron and fire.

            Communism is known for its cruelty, violence, and brutal liquidation of its opponents. But recent developments in what used to be known as The Soviet Union gave a détente to religions.

            Fourth: Associators:

            Association means that a person takes as god other than Allah, whom he/she considers equal to Him, loves him as he loves Allah, glorifies him in a way similar to glorifying Allah, and worships him in a way similar to worshipping Allah. This is the status of the associators in the world, who make their gods equal to the Lord of the worlds.

            The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was asked about the gravest sin in Allah's reckoning. He said, “To make a god equal to Allah, Who created you”.

            Associators admit the Lordship of Allah Almighty in general, and that He is the Creator and the Owner, but they do not assign Him as the only One to be worshipped and resorted to. Moreover, they worship other gods such as idols, the sun, angels, fire, people, etc. excepting that they may bring them near in proximity to Allah.

            Among the influential, widespread associators who have overwhelming majority in their countries are Hindus, Confucians, Buddhists, and Sikhs. 

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