Islam commands kindness to all people, Muslims and non-Muslims. Only in case Muslims are attacked, they can defend themselves. When Asma’ bint Abi Bakr came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asking about her pagan mother who want to have good relations with her, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) commanded her to keep good relations with her. The Qur’an instructs Muslims saying: “Allah forbiddeth you not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drove you not out from your homes, that ye should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo ! Allah loveth the just dealers.” (Al-Mumtahanah: 8)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have liberated Sufanah, the daughter of Hatim At-Ta’i, who died as a non-Muslim, and also to have praised him for some of his good manners. Sufanah fell captive to the Muslims. When she saw the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), she cried: “O Muhammad! If you please liberate me and let no one gloat over my misfortune, it will be better. My father was the leader of his clan. He used to relieve the distressed, protect the weak, honour the guest, feed the hungry, and help the needy. He never said ‘no’ to any kind of good deeds.” The Prophet commented: “Verily! These are the characteristics of a believer. Had your father been a Muslim, we would have asked Allah to grant him mercy. However, this would not prevent us from praising him for loving good manners, for Allah loves good manners.”

Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “Islam teaches us to recognize goodness in every human being and reciprocate kindness with kindness at all times. We are therefore not only allowed but religiously mandated in Islam to speak about their goodness after their death. The fact that they were not a Muslim should never stop us from doing that. This does not mean that we participate in their specific religious rituals on this occasion, there is nothing un-Islamic about it. By doing this, in fact, we are letting them know the truth about our religion, for it is through such acts of kindness and generosity of spirit that Islam spread throughout the world and not through the sword and might.”