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Islam Is Innocent - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Due to the regrettable events that took place recently between Egypt’s Muslims and Christians, I decided to postpone my article concerning the ‘codification of Sharia and dedicate this piece to the matter of jurisprudence related to the dealing with and treatment of non-Muslims.

Islam is a religion of mercy and justice. It was revealed to bring happiness to humanity and to deliver people from darkness. Islam is not about shedding blood or violating the rights of others.

As for how Islam deals with non-Muslims, jurisprudence has classified this into four categories. The first category is Ahl Al-Zimma that is non-Muslim citizens of an Islamic state living under Islamic law. These are those whose countries were conquered by Muslims many years ago. They lived under the protection of Muslims throughout the centuries as the Muslims had entered their countries. Islam emphasized preserving the rights of Ahl Al-Zimma, the security of their places of worship as well as their freedom of worship.

As for the Jiziya (tax to be paid by non-Muslims), it is similar to Zakat paid by Muslims and goes directly to the Bayt Al Mal, the Muslim Treasury. It is used to protect Ahl Al-Zimma. Most non-Muslim citizens in Egypt and in countries of the Levant are classified as Ahl Al-Zimma and their rights are maintained and secured by Islam.

The second category is Al Ma’ahidoon whose governments are at peace with the Muslim state. They constitute the majority of non-Muslim citizens and they have their rights that cannot be violated. Their wellbeing and property cannot not be harmed by Muslims.

The third category is Al Musta’mineen. These citizens come from a country that is at war with the Muslims but have asked for protection under Islamic law, or through the support of a Muslim. They should also be protected by Muslims and be permitted to stay in our countries.

The final category is the Harbeen. They are citizens of countries at war with Muslims. As long as they have not sought the protection of Muslims, those citizens have no rights. However, I should emphasize here that with the Harbeen, the Muslim rulers are the only ones to have declared war on them.

Knowing all of the above, the latest events that took place in Alexandria, Egypt are merely un-Islamic violations carried out against Ahl Al-Zimma, who out of the four categories, ought to be the first to be protected.

Therefore, I strongly condemn the clashes that took place in Alexandria and state clearly that Islam has nothing to do with such acts that were carried out against the interests of Muslims. Such events in fact defame the image of Islam and Muslims. These clashes provoke disorder and seek to weaken the solid structures of Muslim states as others could use them as a pretense to harm Muslims.

May God guide as all.

Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Al Obeikan

Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Al Obeikan

Sheikh Abdul Mohsen bin Nasser Al Obeikan is a member of Saudi Arabia's Shura Council and a judiciary consultant for the Saudi Ministry of Justice. A writer and lecturer, Sheikh Al Obeikan is a prominent figure who actively defends Islam against the fundamental and militant ideologies of groups such as Al-Qaeda.

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