Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi states that: “Islam considers the whole humanity as one family. All have common ground in being the worshippers of Allah and the sons of Adam. That is why the Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, has put it clear in front of the Muslim congregation at the Farewell Pilgrimage saying: “O people, Your Lord is One and your father is one. All of you are traced back to Adam, and Adam was created from dust. No privilege of a certain person over the other save by righteous deeds.”. Islam has determined the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in two clear verses of the Glorious Qur’an. These two verses serve as a regulatory code governing relations between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Allah Almighty says: “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. Allah forbiddeth you only those who warred against you on account of religion and have driven you out from your homes and helped to drive you out, that ye make friends of them. Whosoever maketh friends of them (All) such are wrong doers.” (Al-Mumtahanah: 7-8)
The aforementioned two verses were originally revealed to shape the nature of the relationship between Muslims and polytheists. However, the People of the Scripture are further granted a special consideration. Islam allows a Muslim to have a life partner from among the People of the Scripture (i.e., Christians and Jews). Such a sacred bond (marriage) dictates that the wife’s kith and kin deserve a kind treatment, for after begetting children, all of them will become the newborn’s uncles, aunts, grandmothers and grandfathers, etc. Here, it is clear that Islam has drawn a separate line between how Muslims should treat the People of the Scripture, and how they should deal with the polytheists.
In Islam, Christians have close affinity with Muslims than do the people of other faiths. Allah Almighty says: “Thou wilt find the most vehement of mankind in hostility to those who believe (to be) the Jews and the idolaters. And thou wilt find the nearest of them in affection to those who believe (to be) those who say: Lo! We are Christians. That is because there are among them priests and monks, and because they are not proud.” (Al-Ma’dah: 82)
The Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, is reported to have said: “I am the closest of all the people to Jesus (`Isa), the son of Mary, both in this world and in the Hereafter.”
Muslims have firm belief in constructive dialogue
Muslims, who are required to hold constructive dialogue, have a strong belief that such a dialogue will bear fruitful results. In the Qur’an, there are different forms of dialogue between Allah’s Messengers and their nations, and between Allah and some of His slave-servants. Even with Satan, Allah Almighty holds dialogue. Allah addressed His Prophet saying: “Remind them, for thou art but a remembrancer. Thou art not at all a warder over them. But whoso is averse and disbelieveth. Allah will punish him with direst punishment.” (Al-Ghashiyah: 21-24)
That is why Muslims welcome all forms of (cultural and civilized) dialogue as a substitute for conflict between civilizations and religions. We have played an active role in making this year the year of ‘cultural dialogue’. The idea of such cultural dialogue has surfaced when the Iranian President, M. Khatami, hailed the initiative in his speech at the United Nations.
We Muslims do not share the belief maintained by some American thinkers that there will be unavoidable clash of civilizations between the Islamic Civilization and the Western one. Rather, we see that it is high time for Muslims and Christians to complement one another and make the best use of their achievements.
What do we want from the West?
We want the West to free itself from the fear of Islam (Islamophobia) and to get rid of the notion that Islam is the upcoming danger or the “green danger” as some people have called it; the West should stop considering Islam as an alternative enemy after the demise of the Soviet Union, which former U.S. president Ronald Reagan dubbed the kingdom of evil. Actually, the latest tragic events that rocked the US have unveiled the yawning gap in the Western mentality about Islam as a whole. This becomes clearer when previewing tens of articles, messages and ongoing dialogues via the Internet.
Such yawning gap astonishes us, Muslims, to the extent that it causes discomfort to see that the West is generally in the dark about Islam and Muslims.
We want the West to free itself from the old prejudice that it inherited from so-called Crusade Wars. We are the children of today, not the remains of yesterday, and we are not those who initiated those wars but we are in fact the generation that happens to be the victim of those wars.”
Allah Almighty knows best