The Tenet of Loyalty and Disavowal Agrees with Islam’s Tolerance
After giving the evidence for the tenet of loyalty and disavowal and explaining how it relates to faith, no doubt remains about the fact that it is one of the major principles of the religion of Islam. This means that it must agree with the overall spirit of Islam, which is moderation, tolerance, and mercy.
Allah said to His Messenger, “We have sent you but as a mercy to all created beings.” He also said, “Thus We have made you a balanced nation so that you may be witnesses over people and so that the Messenger may be a witness over you.” He further said, “He has placed no burden on you in religion.” Additionally, Allah said, “Allah wants ease, not hardship, for you.”
The equation is easy and the solution is that the tenet of loyalty and disavowal is part of the religion of Islam, and thus it is a tenet of moderation, tolerance, and mercy. No Muslim, or impartial non-Muslim for that matter, would disagree with this.
There is no contradiction between the tenet of loyalty and disavowal and the principles of moderation, tolerance, and mercy. This becomes clear with the following examples:
1. No non-Muslim may be forced to accept Islam. Allah says, “There is no compulsion in religion.”
2. Non-Muslims granted peace treaties by the Islamic Government may travel and reside anywhere they wish in the Islamic State except Makkah.
3. Treaties between Muslims and non-Muslims must be upheld. Allah said, “If the polytheists make a treaty with you and uphold it, not supporting anyone against you, complete their treaty until its term [has ended]. Indeed, Allah loves the righteous [who fear Him].”
Abu Raafi’, who was a Copt, said, “The Quraysh sent me to Allah’s Messenger, and as soon as I saw him, my heart was drawn toward Islam. I said to him, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I swear by Allah I will never return to them.’ Allah’s Messenger replied, ‘I do not break treaties or withhold envoys. Go back to them and, if you continue to feel the way you do now, you may return to us.’ So I went back to [the Quraysh] then returned to the Prophet and embraced Islam.”
In his book Maraatib Al-Ijmaa’, Ibn Hazm said, “There is a consensus on the obligation of upholding any treaty mentioned as permissible or obligatory in the Qur’an or Sunnah if it has already been signed; initiating any such treaty is permissible.”
4. The blood of treaty-holders is sacred and may not be shed. The Prophet said, “Whoever kills a treaty-holder will not even smell the scent of Paradise, and its scent can be smelled from the distance of a forty-year journey.” He also said, “I am free from any man who grants someone a truce then kills him, even if he be a disbeliever.”
5. Muslims are advised to protect the honor and wealth of treaty-holders. The Prophet said, “You will conquer a land where the carat is mentioned. Treat its people well, for they enjoy a treaty and lineage.” Omar Ibn Al-Khattab said, “I advise the Caliph after me to keep his treaties with those granted protection by Allah and His Messenger…” Ibn Hazm said that there is a consensus on the prohibition of oppressing, shedding the blood of, or taking the money of a treaty holder.
6. Difference in religion does not eliminate the rights of relatives. Allah said, “If [your parents] endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them, but accompany them in this world with appropriate kindness.” Asmaa Bint Abi Bakr said, “My mother was a polytheist and she traveled to where I was, according to the treaty the Quraysh had made, desiring to visit me. So I asked Allah’s Messenger if I should visit her. He said, ‘Visit your mother.’”
7. Kindness and justice are the rights of everyone who does not fight the Muslims or help others fight them. In fact, kindness can even be shown to those waging war against the Muslims as long as this does not encourage them to continue harming Muslims. Allah said, “Allah does not forbid you from being righteous and acting justly toward those who do not fight you or drive you out of your homes on account of your religion. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. Allah only forbids you from making allies with those who fight you, expel you from your homes, and aid in your expulsion on account of your religion. Whoever makes allies with them is, indeed, a wrongdoer.”
It is obligatory to be just with absolutely everyone, even those who are our open enemies and fight against us. Allah the Exalted said, “O you who believe, stand firm for Allah, being witnesses for justice, and do not let your enmity toward a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. Fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with all you do.” He also said, “Fight in the Path of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed, Allah loves not transgressors.”
Thus, it is not permissible to betray others even if they betray us because betrayal is not just. The Prophet said, “Fulfill what you are entrusted with and do not betray those who betray you.” He also warned about the supplication of the oppressed, even if they are disbelievers, informing that nothing prevents their it from being answered.
In Islam, there is a strong emphasis on justice with non-Muslims, as justice is the pinnacle of every virtue.
These are the morals and values that the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger teach and it is with them that Muslims must treat non-Muslims. Because these values are from the religion of Islam, there can be no contradiction between them and the tenet of loyalty and disavowal, which is also from the religion.
Some ignorant non-Muslims (and Muslims for that matter) mistakenly believe there to be some contradiction between this tenet and the aforementioned values and think there is no way to reconcile between them. Some Muslims are excessive in implementing the tenet of loyalty and disavowal while others are negligent therein. The Religion of Allah, however, is moderate and does not allow for excess or negligence. Just treatment of non-Muslims does not require agreeing with their faith; it simply means complying with divine commandments.
Imam Al-Qarafi wrote about the prohibition of taking disbelievers as allies and the command of treating them kindly saying, “Signing a treaty with them means that we must be kind to them in every manner that does not entail our hearts being in unison with theirs or consecrating their acts of worship; doing either of these two things is not permissible.” He then went into detail and gave examples, stating that the prohibition lies in having inner love, and the context in which he wrote clarifies just what he meant. Further explanation is needed, however, in order to clarify that the tenet of loyalty and disavowal is actually a moderate tenet.
There are different types of love for disbelievers. One such type of love negates one’s faith. Another type is a sin which decreases one’s faith, yet it does not negate it. A third type of love for disbelievers is permissible and has no negative effect on one’s faith whatsoever.
The first type, which negates the foundation of faith, is love for a disbeliever due to his disbelief.
The second type, which merely decreases one’s faith, is love for a person – whether a believer or a disbeliever – due to the sins he commits. There is no doubt that such love is sinful; however, it does not constitute disbelief or negate the foundation of one’s faith. There always have been, and always will be, Muslims who love to commit sins, and no one from Ahl As-Sunnah has ever deemed such people disbelievers. Whoever loves someone for committing a major sin has also committed a major sin; whoever loves someone for committing a minor sin has also committed a minor sin.
The third type of love is both natural and permissible. This includes the love a believing father has for his disbelieving son, the love a believing son has for his disbelieving parents, the love a Muslim man has for his Jewish or Christian wife, and the love a believer feels toward a disbeliever who treats him kindly and does him favors. The proof that this type of love is permissible and has no effect on one’s faith is found in the Qur’an. When Abu Taalib, the Uncle of the Prophet, died as a disbeliever, Allah said, “You do not guide whom you love; it is Allah who guides whom He wills.” Allah confirmed that the Prophet loved his uncle, who was a disbeliever, and did not reprimand him for doing so. This shows that loving a disbeliever does not decrease one’s faith or affect it in the slightest. How could it, when the person with the most faith of all – Allah’s Messenger – did so?!