Throughout the history of Islam, non-Muslims have lived in peace along with Muslims under the ruling of the Islamic state. The blood of those non-Muslims is so sacred that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Anyone who kills a person from among the people with whom there is a treaty will not smell the fragrance of the Garden, although its fragrance reaches to a walking distance of forty years.” (Reported by al-Bukhari and others.)
He also said, “Anyone who kills a dhimmi will not smell the fragrance of the Garden.” (Reported by al-Nisa’i)
Dr.Muzammil Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America, states the following: “Islam protects the freedom of religion of all people. The Qur’an says, “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” (al-Baqarah :256). Any group of non-Muslims who live in the Islamic State have the right of protection or dhimmah. The Magians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. are also entitled to the same protection that is given to the Ahl al-Kitab (People of the Book, i.e., Christians and Jews).
They are also entitled to have the freedom to practice their faith. During the Umayyad period when Muslims entered Sindh (now western Pakistan), they saw Hindus and Buddhists in that area. Muhammad ibn al-Qasim, the commander of the Muslim armies at that time, sent a letter to the Caliph asking him how he should treat them. The Caliph called a meeting of the `ulama’ (scholars) and told them that the armies had met people who are neither Christians nor Jews. How should they be treated in Islam? The `ulama’ gave their fatwa that these people should be treated like the People of the Book with the exception that Muslims will not marry their women and will not eat the meat slaughtered by them. This is the position that Muslims took with other groups as well when they came into contact with them in other lands.”