This question is not an example of intellectual self-indulgence or cultural sophistry, and it is not – as it might seem to some at first glance – a call to lift the barriers between Islam and other religions or faiths. This question is also not a provocation from a hidden party attempting to dilute religious truths and transform these into variables, and in fact I believe it is the polar opposite of this. Therefore in the interests of promoting the principles of Islam, some Islamic scholars should take a second look at the Quranic verse “You shall not find a people who believe in Allah and the latter day befriending those who act in opposition to Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their (own) fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kinsfolk” [Surat al-Mujadila; Verse 22].
Dealing with non-Muslims has become a normal requirement of modern life, and this is a relationship that has eased whether it is the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslim communities in Muslim countries or non-Muslim expatriates, and whether this is in the fields of employment, trade, or tourism. There are also millions of Muslims who mix with non-Muslims across the world through tourism, trade, and study, and therefore the situation has become even more pressing as this difficult issue is one that causes great confusion. This is especially the case when Muslims receive good treatment from non-Muslims, whether this is in the form of a successful marriage, a good neighbor, or business, or even in a favor bestowed upon a Muslim by somebody who does not share their belief. This even applies to non-Muslims who do not fight against Islam or drive Muslims from their homes, and whose major concern in life is securing a good living for themselves and their families. As a result of this some Muslims ask; “How am I supposed to hate them?” and “How can I hate my Christian or Jewish wife, who is the mother of my children, and who I love dearly?”
The problem here is that the clerics did not confine this [hatred] to those who fought against Allah and his Prophet, or those who fought against the Muslims and drove them from their homes, and instead they deem anybody who does not believe in Islam to be an enemy of God and the Prophet, and therefore unworthy of our love. This assertion comes despite the fact there is a lot of [historical] evidence that is inconsistent with his view, and the Prophet [pbuh] loved his uncle Abu Talib Ibn Abd al-Muttalib, even though he was an infidel, and the Quran says “Surely you cannot guide whom you love” [Surat al-Qasas; Verse 56]. Therefore if one’s parents are non-Muslim, how can they be hated when it is not permissible [in Islam] to hate one’s parents? I also heard a nice remark by Salafist philosopher Dr. Jafar al-Sheikh Idris who once said “I do not know how some people ask others to hate a Christian man walking down the street? Even if I wanted to hate him I would not be able to.”
I think that with a careful Shariaa reading of a number of texts on this subject, and by confining this [hatred] to specific cases, many problems and dilemmas would be solved, and this could even have help in consolidating social peace, especially in the Muslim countries where acts of violence are being carried out against their Christian minorities such as Egypt and Nigeria. This is something would also need to be taught as part of the academic syllabus, and this may be the key to solving this problem.
When I was working for the Islamic Center in London in the 1990s, I saw for myself the state of confusion in the British people who had recently converted to Islam when they were taught the principles of hatred, rather than [peaceful] disagreement. This had a negative impact in the way in which they treated other people; their parents, their brothers and sisters, their family and friends, and so Islam lost a number of potential converts who might have been attracted to the religion had they been treated with more respect and compassion.