This article is part three of a long reseach by Sheikh Safwat Morsy.
3- A third aspect needed to establish apositive relationship between Muslims and others is a generalized view of thenature of such a connection/coexistence. The coexistence sought here – be it inthe U.S.A.or the West at large – is one that encompasses all aspects of life. Thecoexistence needed is one that deals with the social, political, intellectual,economical, and educational fronts and aspects of life. We can clearly see thisas the Quran and Prophetic Sunnah have both laid a foundation for each type of connection and coexistence.
On an intellectual, level we find many verses in theQuran addressing the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) and settinggrounds to reach common terms and mutual agreement. Take for instance SuratAal-Imran, Verse 64
قُلۡ يَـٰٓأَهۡلَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ تَعَالَوۡاْإِلَىٰ ڪَلِمَةٍ۬ سَوَآءِۭ بَيۡنَنَا وَبَيۡنَكُمۡ أَلَّا نَعۡبُدَ إِلَّاٱللَّهَ وَلَا نُشۡرِكَ بِهِۦ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعۡضُنَا بَعۡضًاأَرۡبَابً۬ا مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّوۡاْ فَقُولُواْ ٱشۡهَدُواْ بِأَنَّامُسۡلِمُونَ (آل عمران 64)
"Say: ‘O People of the Book! Come to commonterms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associateno partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords andpatrons other than Allah.’ If then they turn back, say ye: ‘Bear witness thatwe (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah's Will).’ " Surat Aal-Imran,verse 64
We also see how Allah (swt) warned and discouraged people fromengaging in rigid and rough disputes and arguments.
وَلَا تُجَـٰدِلُوٓاْ أَهۡلَ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبِإِلَّا بِٱلَّتِى هِىَ أَحۡسَنُ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ مِنۡهُمۡۖوَقُولُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا بِٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيۡڪُمۡوَإِلَـٰهُنَا وَإِلَـٰهُكُمۡ وَٲحِدٌ۬ وَنَحۡنُ لَهُ ۥ مُسۡلِمُونَ (العنكبوت 46)
"And argue/dispute not with the People of the Bookunless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them who commitoppression (do wrong); and say: We believe in that which hath been revealedunto us and revealed unto you; our Allah and your Allah is One, and unto Him wesurrender." (Al-'Ankabut: 46.)
On the societal front, Islamic law has permitted social exchangeand coexistence. A prime example of this is the allowance of marriage to thechaste women of the People of the Book. This is evident in Surat Al-Ma'idah,Verse 5,
ٱلۡيَوۡمَأُحِلَّ لَكُمُ ٱلطَّيِّبَـٰتُۖ وَطَعَامُ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ حِلٌّ۬لَّكُمۡ وَطَعَامُكُمۡ حِلٌّ۬ لَّهُمۡۖ وَٱلۡمُحۡصَنَـٰتُ مِنَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنَـٰتِوَٱلۡمُحۡصَنَـٰتُ مِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ مِن قَبۡلِكُمۡ إِذَآءَاتَيۡتُمُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ مُحۡصِنِينَ غَيۡرَ مُسَـٰفِحِينَ وَلَامُتَّخِذِىٓ أَخۡدَانٍ۬ۗ وَمَن يَكۡفُرۡ بِٱلۡإِيمَـٰنِ فَقَدۡ حَبِطَعَمَلُهُ ۥ وَهُوَ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ مِنَ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرِينَ (المائدة 5)
"This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful untoyou. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawfulunto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who arebelievers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before yourtime, - when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness,nor secret intrigues if any one rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and inthe Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritualgood)." (Surat Al-Ma'ida: 5.)
Furthermore, economic coexistence is another element we shouldstrive for. We see its importance in the Quran, where Allah (swt) encourages usto deal with those who are trustworthy from the People of the Book and becareful when dealing with those who lack trust. As Allah (swt) mentions inSurat Aal-Imran, Verse 75,
وَمِنۡ أَهۡلِ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ مَنۡ إِنتَأۡمَنۡهُ بِقِنطَارٍ۬ يُؤَدِّهِۦۤ إِلَيۡكَ وَمِنۡهُم مَّنۡ إِن تَأۡمَنۡهُبِدِينَارٍ۬ لَّا يُؤَدِّهِۦۤ إِلَيۡكَ إِلَّا مَا دُمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِ قَآٮِٕمً۬اۗذَٲلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمۡ قَالُواْ لَيۡسَ عَلَيۡنَا فِى ٱلۡأُمِّيِّـۧنَ سَبِيلٌ۬وَيَقُولُونَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡكَذِبَ وَهُمۡ يَعۡلَمُونَ (آل عمران 75)
"Among the People of the Book are some who, if entrustedwith a hoard of gold, will (readily) pay it back; others, who, if entrustedwith a single silver coin, will not repay it unless thou constantly stoodestdemanding, because, they say, ‘There is no call on us (to keep faith) withthese ignorant (Pagans).’ But they tell a lie against Allah, and (well) theyknow it.". (Surat Aal-'Imran: 75.