As we discussed last time, those who are bent on promoting the “Doctrine of Hatred” cite verse 60:4 and the example of Prophet Abraham (pbuh). Yet, it is clear that this understanding is not valid when the verse is examined in its proper context. Thus, again, I can say truthfully that there is no basis for the claim that Muslims must hate all non-Muslims. None whatsoever.
Yet, there are other considerations that further strengthen my contention for the lack of evidence for the “Doctrine of Hatred.” First of all, there are some verses that tell the Prophet what to do in case the people “turn away,” or reject what he is saying:
Behold, this is indeed the truth of the matter [about Jesus not being God], and there is no deity whatever save God; and, verily, God – He alone – is almighty, truly wise. And if they turn away [from this truth] – behold, God has full knowledge of the spreaders of corruption. (3:62-63) [emphasis added]
Say: “O followers of earlier revelation! Come unto that tenet which we and you hold in common: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall not ascribe divinity to aught beside Him, and that we shall not take human beings for our lords beside God.” And if they turn away, then say: “Bear witness that it is we who have surrendered ourselves unto Him.” (3:64) [emphasis added]
But if they turn away [from thee, O Prophet, remember that] thy only duty is a clear delivery of the message [entrusted to thee]. (16:82)
Say: Pay heed unto God, and pay heed unto the Apostle. And if you turn away [from the Apostle, know that] he will have to answer only for whatever he has been charged with, and you, for what you have been charged with; but if you pay heed unto him, you will be on the right way. Withal, the Apostle is not bound to do more than clearly deliver the message [entrusted to him]. (24:54)
No where in these verses does it say, “If they turn away, then hate them.” So, on what basis are Muslims supposed to hate all non-Muslims? Now, to be completely honest and forthcoming, in verse 3:32 it does say:
Say: “Pay heed unto God and the Apostle.” And if they turn away – verily, God does not love those who deny the truth.
Yet, I do not conclude from this verse that I am, therefore, supposed to hate all non-Muslims. My guiding principle when it comes to my non-Muslim friends, colleagues, and neighbors is verse 60:8.
Secondly, in verse 3:110 it says:
You are indeed the best community that has ever been brought forth for [the good of] humanity: you enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and you believe in God…
How can Muslims be the “best community that has ever been brought forth for [the good of] humanity” if they must harbor hatred in their heart of hearts for all those who are not Muslim? Does this make any sort of sense?
Thirdly, in verse 4:36 it says:
And worship God [alone], and do not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught beside Him. And do good unto your parents, and near of kin, and unto orphans, and the needy, and the neighbour from among your own people, and the neighbour who is a stranger and the friend by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom you rightfully possess.
In this verse, God commands the believers to do good unto their neighbors, and it does not stipulate the faith of these neighbors. Similarly, in a tradition reported in both Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever believes in God and the Last Day, let him to do good unto his neighbor.” Again, the Prophet (pbuh) did not stipulate the faith of that neighbor. In addition, the wayfarer very well can be a non-Muslim, and the verse did not stipulate the faith of the wayfarer. How can Muslims obey these commandments if they are supposed to harbor hatred in their heart of hearts for all those who are not Muslims? Does this make any sort of sense?
Fourthly, in verse 5:5 it says:
Today, all the good things of life have been made lawful to you. And the food of those who have been vouchsafed revelation aforetime is lawful to you, and your food is lawful to them. And [lawful to you are], in wedlock, women from among those who believe [in this divine writ], and, in wedlock, women from among those who have been vouchsafed revelation before your time – provided that you give them their dowers, taking them in honest wedlock, not in fornication, nor as secret love-companions…
Now, if Muslims are supposed to hate all those who are not Muslim (such as Jews and Christians), how could it be that they can eat of their food? So, a Muslim can eat a Kosher meal, but must remember that he has to hate the Jews who prepared it? Does this make any sort of sense?
Furthermore, if Muslims are supposed to hate all those who are not Muslim (such as Jews and Christians), how could it be that God would allow Muslim men to marry Jewish and Christian women? The verse does not say that the Muslim husband has to convert his wife, and it is quite conceivable that many Jewish or Christian wives of Muslims will stay that way. So, a Muslim can take a Jewish or Christian wife, but he has to hate his lover, his life-partner, the mother of his children? Does this make any sort of sense?
Fifth, if a Muslim is supposed to hate all those who are not Muslim, this would include a Muslim having to hate his non-Muslim parents. Yet, this clearly contradicts clear commandments of God:
Now [among the best of righteous deeds which] We have enjoined upon man [is] goodness towards his parents; yet [even so,] should they endeavour to make thee ascribe divinity, side by side with Me, to something which thy mind cannot accept [as divine], obey then, not: [for] it is unto Me that you all must return, whereupon I shall make you [truly] understand [the right and wrong of] all that you were doing [in life]. (29:8)
[Revere thy parents;] yet should they endeavour to make thee ascribe divinity, side by side with Me, to something which thy mind cannot accept [as divine], obey them not; but [even then] bear them company in this world’s life with kindness, and follow the path of those who turn towards Me. In the end, unto Me you all must return; and thereupon I shall make you [truly] understand all that you were doing [in life]. (31:15) [emphasis added]
These verses clearly command the person to be kind to his parents even if they strive to make him or her worship other beings besides God, the worst sin a person can commit according to Islam. But, according to the adherents of the “Doctrine of Hatred,” Muslims must hate all those who are not Muslim. Does this make any sort of sense?
Sixth, God says that Muslims must invite to the path of God in the best manner:
Call thou [all humanity] unto thy Sustainer’s path with wisdom and goodly exhortation for, behold, thy Sustainer knows best as to who strays from His path, and best knows He as to who are the right-guided. Hence, if you have to respond to an attack [in argument], respond only to the extent of the attack leveled against you; but to bear yourselves with patience is indeed far better for [you, since God is with] those who are patient in adversity. (16:125-126) [emphasis added]
And do not argue with the followers of earlier revelation otherwise than in a most kindly manner – unless it be such of them as are bent on evildoing – and say: We believe in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, as well as that which has been bestowed upon you: or our God and your God is one and the same, and it is unto Him that We [all] surrender ourselves. (29:46) [emphasis added]
And tell My servants that they should speak in the most kindly manner [unto those who do not share their beliefs]: verily, Satan is always ready to stir up discord between men for, verily, Satan is man’s open foe! (17:53)
Obviously, this invitation is mainly to those who are not Muslim. If Muslims are supposed to hate non-Muslims, why would God continually stress that Muslims argue and speak to them “in a most kindly manner”? If you should hate someone, why treat them kindly? Moreover, God exhorts the believers to be patient in the face of retaliatory attacks in argument from non-Muslims. Why do so if Muslims are supposed to hate all those who are not Muslims? Does this make any sort of sense?
Absolutely not. So, does this pose a problem for Muslims? Is there an inherent contradiction in Muslim beliefs? Am I being disloyal to my faith by asking these questions? Absolutely not. The only logical conclusion is that the “Doctrine of Hatred” must be categorically rejected. There is no basis in the sacred text of Islam for this doctrine which not only cuts off the Muslim from other human beings, but also chokes the air out of any spirituality and leaves the heart hard, dry, coarse, and ultimately dead.
So, to answer my reader’s question: if I was having dinner with a Christian and I told him about Islam and he said to me, “Hmm. That’s interesting,” but did not become Muslim right then and there, I would not scream “Infidel!” in his face; I would not say “You Kafir! I must now hate you!”; I would not turn over the table in my seething anger at him for rejecting Islam. No. I would simply continue my meal and continue enjoying the nice evening with him. As the Qur’an says, my “only duty is a clear delivery of the message” (16:82). It is God and God alone who will judge the domain of the heart. And believe you me, He knows what He is doing.
Hesham A. Hassaballa is a Chicago physician and writer. He is the co-author of “The Beliefnet Guide to Islam,” published by Doubleday in 2006. His blog is at godfaithpen.com.