I would like to know about rights towards non muslims and do we have anything in Quraan and Sunnah about treating everyone with equality.
In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful.
Islam is a religion of peace and educates all Muslims on how to live ones life in peace and tranquility. Islam teaches its followers to be gentle, kind, considerate and understanding towards each other including non Muslims.
Allah (SWT) says in the Quran: “Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who did not fight against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity.” (Surah Al-Mumtahinah, 60:V8)
In another verse Allah (SWT) states, “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Verily, Allah is well acquainted with what you do.” (Surah al-Ma’idah, 5:V8)
From the above verses it is clear that Allah commands us to treat Muslims and non-Muslims justly and kindly. The beliefs of non-Muslims should not prompt a Muslim to treat them unjustly. Rather, a Muslim must deal with them in an impartial, just and kind manner.
There are numerous occasions where the conduct of The Prophet with the non-Muslims has been recorded. The occasion of Taif is well documented. Despite the hardship and pain suffered by The Prophet he was forgiving and compassionate.
It is related in Imam Muslim’s Sahih, that the Companion Hakim ibn Hizam (RA) passed by a group of people in Sham who had been made to stand in the sun after oil had been poured over their heads. He asked, “What is this?” He was told that they were being punished for failing to pay their land tax. Hakim ibn Hizam (RA) responded: “Truly, I have heard The Prophet say: “God shall torment those who torment others in this life.” (Sahih Muslim)
The Prophet also accepted the invitation of a non-Muslim by eating at his house. Similarly, The Prophet invited non-Muslims to his house. (Sahih Muslim)
Imam Ashraf Ali Tahanawi has noted in his book Imdadul Fatawa (VOL3, P482) Giving and accepting gifts during the period of non-Muslim religious festivals, such as Christmas, Diwali, etc, would be permitted, as it is not a religious act, but a social custom. The intention in giving gifts is not to respect the religious festival, rather to respect and show courtesy to the one whom the gift is given.
In conclusion, Islam teaches Muslims to be kind and loving towards one another including non-Muslims. We should act as ambassadors of our religion and let our actions and conduct call the non-Muslims towards Islam. However, a fine line needs to be drawn so that Muslims do not imitate non-Muslims as in a Hadith related by Imam Abu Dawud in his Sunan, the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever imitates a nation will be amongst them.” (Sunan Abu Dawud).
Allah knows best
Darul Ifta, Birmingham