Tolerance, Respect and Safeguard for
The following excerpts are mostly from Dr.
Ahmad Sakr's book, "Muslims and Non-Muslims, Face to Face" (isbn:
A deputation from the Christians of Najran (Yemen) came to see
Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) in Madina. They came into the
Prophet's Mosque (Masjid Nabawi) as he prayed the afternoon prayer. The
time of prayers of Christians having come, they stood and prayed in the
Prophet's Mosque, and the Prophet said that they were to be left to do
so. (see The Life of Muhammad by A. Guillaume).
During the life of Prophet Muhammad, the Jews in Madina had a
synagogue and an educational institute, Bait-Al-Midras. The Prophet
preserved the institute and gave protection to the Jews.
The Prophet respected the autonomy of the Christian churches. The
nomination and the appointment of bishops and priests was left to the
Christian community itself.
Prophet Muhammad promoted cooperation between Muslims and Christians
in the political arena as well. He selected a non-Muslim, 'Amr-ibn
Umaiyah-ad-Damri, as an ambassador to Negus, the King of Ethiopia.
The Prophet sent a message to the monks of Saint Catherine in Mount
"This is a message written by Muhammad ibn
Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, far and near,
we are behind them. Verily, I defend them by myself, the servants, the
helpers, and my followers, because Christians are my citizens; and by
Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion
is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be changed from their
jobs, nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a
house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to
the Muslims' houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil
God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they (Christians) are my
allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is
to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to
fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, this is
not to take place without her own wish. She is not to be prevented from
going to her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They
are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of
their covenants. No one of the nation is to disobey this covenant till
the Day of Judgment and the end of the world."
March 28, 2002