Exceptional Words on the Prophetic Conduct with Non-Muslims & the Issue of Compulsion in the Religion

الحمد لله رب العالمين، وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين، أما بعد


Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said:


“Whoever observes the biography of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), it becomes clear to him that he did not compel anyone upon his religion – ever, rather; he fought those that fought against him. As for anyone that concluded a truce with him; and did not fight against him for as long as he continued to abide by his truce – then he did not break his treaty. Rather Allaah, The Most High, commanded him that he should fulfill for them their treaties for as long as they were to abide by it. As He, The Most High, said:

فَمَا اسْتَقَامُوا لَكُمْ فَاسْتَقِيمُوا لَهُمْ

((So as long as they are upright toward you, be upright toward them.)) (At-Tawbah: 7)


So when he came to Al-Madeenah he made peace with the Jews, and acknowledged them upon their religion, so when they waged war against him and broke his treaty and initiated fighting against him – he then fought against them, thus he was benevolent to some of them, and expelled some of them, and fought against some of them.[1]

Likewise when he concluded a truce with the Quraish for ten years, he did not commence fighting against them until they themselves initiated fighting against him, and they broke his treaty.[2] So due to that he carried out military expeditions against them in their territories, whilst it had been them who had undertaken military expeditions against him before that; just as they had designs against him on the day of Uhud and the day of Al-Khandaq and the day of Badr also. It was they who came to fight him, and had they desisted from it; he would not have fought them.

The intent; is that he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) did not compel anyone upon entering into his religion at all, rather the people entered into his religion out of choice and did so readily.[3] Hence the majority of the people of the earth entered into his call when the guidance became clear to them, and that he was truly the Messenger of Allaah.

So these people of Yemen, they were upon the Jewish religion – or most of them were, as the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said to Mu’aadh when he sent him to Yemen:

((You will come to a people [from] the people of the Book (the Jews and Christians), so let the first thing you call them to be: to bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah.))[4]


And then he mentioned the hadeeth. Then they entered into Islaam without detesting or fright.

Likewise those that accepted Islaam from the Jews of Al-Madeenah, they were a plentiful group – other than ‘Abdullaah (bin Salam) who are mentioned in the books of biographies (historic accounts) and military campaigns. They did not accept Islaam out of a desire for the world, nor out of fear of the sword, rather they accepted in a circumstance in which the Muslims were in pressing need, along with the abundance of their enemies and the warfare the people of the earth conducted against them without strike or hitch. Rather they bore the enmity of their kinsfolk and of their forbidding them of their welfare through wealth and in body – despite the frailty of the power of the Muslims and the scant nature of their wealth and affluence.

So one of them would contract the enmity of his father and his mother and the people of his household and his relatives, and would set out from the world out of a longing for Islaam – not for leadership or wealth. Rather he would forfeit leadership and wealth and would bear the harms of the disbelievers by way of their beatings and their revilement and the varieties of their harms. Yet that would not turn him away from his religion.”


(Taken from: Al-Hidaayah al-Hiyaara fee Ajwibah al-Yahood wan-Nasaara p.29-30)



[1] Shaikh ul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said: “At Al-Madeenah there used to be three groups of Jews around it, and they were; Banu Qaynuqaa’ and Banu Nadeer and Banu Quraydhah. Banu Qaynuqaa’ and Nadeer were the allies of (the tribe of) Al-Khazraj whilst Quraydhah was the ally of (the tribe of) Al-Aws. So when the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) came; he concluded a treaty with them and he made peace with them. Then Banu Qaynuqaa’ broke the agreement, then Nadeer, then Quraydhah.” (Abridged from: As-Saarim al-Maslool p.62)

Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said: “The Messenger of Allaah made peace with those in Al-Madeenah from the Jews, and he had a treaty written out between him and them, and their Rabbi and scholar ‘Abdullaah bin Salaam hastened and thus entered into Islaam. They were three tribes; Banu Qaynuqaa’ and Banu Nadeer and Banu Quraydhah, the three of them waged war against him, so he was benevolent to Bani Qaynuqaa’, and expelled Bani Nadeer and fought against Bani Quraydhah.” (Zaadul Ma’aad vol 3 p.65)

[2] Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar (rahimahullaah) stated: “The outcome of the Quraish breaking the treaty with Khuzaa’ah – the allies of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was that the Muslims made forays against them until they conquered Makkah, and hence they were forced to request for peace. Thus, after being upon honour and strength; they were reduced to the limits of feebleness – until they entered into Islaam.” (Fathul Baaree vol 6 p.342)

Ibn Al-Qayyim explained the circumstances behind these events when he stated that the allies of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would also be considered part of the agreement and hence: “They entered along with him in his agreement, therefore the ruling of the one who waged war with anyone that entered along with him in his agreement from the disbelievers – was the ruling of the one that waged war against him. It is due to this reason that he carried out the military expeditions against the people of Makkah, for indeed; when he made peace with them in order to cease warfare between them and him for the duration of ten years, the Banu Bakr bin Waa-il arose and so entered into the treaty of the Quraish – and their agreement, whilst the Khuazaa’ah arose and so entered into the treaty of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and his agreement. Then the Banu Bakr commit aggression against the Khuzaa’ah and so made a sudden attack against them and killed some of them; whilst the Quraish aided them by secretly supplying them with weapons. Therefore the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) considered the Quraish as having broken the treaty due to that and approved the military expedition against Bani Bakr bin Waa-il due to their hostile violation against his ally.” (Zaadul Ma’aad vol 3 p.138)

[3] Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer (rahimahullaah) said: “No one should be compelled upon entering into the religion of Islaam, for it is manifestly clear, manifest in its proofs and its evidence. It does not need for anyone to compel anyone upon entry into it, rather; whoever Allaah has guided to Islaam, and has opened his chest and illuminated his insight will enter into it upon indisputable evidence. Yet whoever Allaah has caused for his heart to be blinded and has sealed his hearing and his vision, then for him the entry into the religion serves no benefit to him in a state of compulsion and coercion.” (Tafseer Al-Qur’aan Al-Adheem vol 1 p.273)

[4] Part of a hadeeth reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.1496) and Muslim (no.121)

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