God as your new best friend

Having a relationship with God is one of the strongest bonds anyone can create. The unique thing about this rapport is that you are the sole conductor of it, and therefore it is ultimately in your hands to determine the strength of this connection. When things go wrong and you feel detached from God, you must ask yourself: who moved? From my own personal experience, Allah (God) to me is with me wherever I go. He is entwined into my conscience which subsequently helps me to decide upon my actions what is right and what is wrong. Many people look to faith as a moral guide, setting the boundaries of life, and obeisance of this will enable you to be rewarded eternally. Being in the UK, there has recently been a shift in the levels of religious involvement. This is down to many factors such as the pursuit of Liberalism, and generally as human beings we are becoming more self inclined, leading us to not want to have to be held accountable for our actions. Personally, I feel disappointed that so many are missing out on such a close relationship with God, and I feel that this is because of the misunderstanding of His role. You often find particularly in the Muslim faith, Allah’s functions are viewed in a punitive manner rather than a loving one. This will be partly due to the way parents have brought up their children with the idea that if you do X wrong, God will punish you in Y way. As representatives of faith, we should be concentrating on God as a support mechanism, and a constant source of love and affection. Yes, without a doubt there are certain actions which may have consequences, yet we do not express as strongly the ability of God to forgive. His mercy extends beyond belief, and the root of that is His love for us. Seeing God as a Judge who hands out a punishment takes away from His capacity to love and to respect the human beings whom He has created.
 You often find when things get serious, and your belief in the human race expires, you inherently look towards a higher being to support you. When desperation seeps in, even the ones who have actively rejected God seek solace and comfort in the expectation that there is something out there which holds more power than them. As the saying goes, when the world pushes you to your knees, you’re in the perfect position to pray. In the same way, whenever things do go wrong, it is natural to look up into the sky to search for an answer or a glimmer of hope. Actions such as this are not coincidental in my view, nor have they just been duplicated from generation to generation. As humans we are flawed, and thus we need a perfect being to depend on in order to solve our own misfortunes.

 My thoughts on this matter were triggered by recent events when the mother of a friend of mine fell ill. She isn’t a strong believer in Islam yet she told me the first thing she did was reach for the Quran and do a special Duaa (prayer). In many ways this made me think why is it that people only look to God as a last resort when things get bad? But at the same time, I rebutted this thought by concluding that it is the ability for their mind to come to terms with having a superior force that is the most important factor. It is this connection, however thin which we should embrace, because at the end of the day, as long as the link is there, you can always build upon it. 

See God in a different light, look to Him as a friend who can guarantee you he will never let you down. Work on your relationship with Him in the same way you would work to improve your other personal relationships, if not harder. Even when you think he has failed you; remember there is a purpose for every action in life. Bad things carry elements of good, and through patience comes reward. Ask for forgiveness on a regular basis and keep your feet on the ground. Focus on what you do have, and God will give you more.

Depression

To commemorate world mental health day, 10/10/2011, I thought I’d write a post about the most common mental health problem people suffer from depression.

Depression is more than just feeling down or temporarily unhappy, and depression doesn’t come in just one form. Many things can affect our mood and increase our risk of falling into depression. Some risk factors include traumatic childhood experiences, conflict, unemployment, genetic predisposition, stress, boredom, bullying, childbirth and many other things and if you’re a woman, you’re more than twice as likely to seek treatment for it. Current numbers indicate that depression is on the increase and the current statistics state that between 8-12% of the population experience depression in any year with half them getting better after 18 months. (source)

The French philosopher Descartes once said “I think, therefore I am”, and when it comes to depression this is key to our susceptibility and prognosis because the contents of our thoughts have a major influence on our emotions. Our outlook on life, our attitude to our own situation, how we interact with our environment all have a major impact on how we perceive the world. If, for example, you feel unloved, the world will appear unloving, and if you continue to have this kind of outlook and continue to tell yourself that you will never be loved then it will lead you on a trip to the darkest recesses of your soul, a downward spiral into a deep depression.

So, a lot of the potential for treatment lies in our own selves and how we think about things. Where possible and permitted, a person should identify and tackle the root cause of their ailment. Be proactive, try solving the problem or speaking with people who can help, like your family, friends, employer and doctor. If you can’t solve the problem nor make a massive change in your life then you have to find a way to deal with it. Talking with friends and family is a starting point, but from hereon, your aim is not to deal with the root cause of the problem as you cannot change the past, your aim is to change your future, to handle the symptoms or secondary problems and reduce their influence. Your aim is to create a more positive outlook on your life and a better future.

As Muslims, we find strength from our faith and our belief and trust in Allah. Sometimes we feel all alone and with no one to seek help from when in fact we have God there to seek help and support from. If we seek treatment, Allah will help us on our way to getting better. We need to form a better understanding of life. We have to understand that we will all have some adversity in our life but we need to be patient:

[2.155] And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient.

[2.156] Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah’s and to Him we shall surely return.

[2.157] Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those are the followers of the right course.

On the face of it, the reality of life is that we will all get diseases, suffer, grow old and die, but our attitude towards this reality makes all the difference. This is the human condition and there is nothing you can do about it apart from change your attitude towards it. In Islam, life isn’t viewed as the be all and end all of existence. Our life is a gift from Allah and He uses it to test us to see if we are patient and obedient before He takes us into the afterlife where we will discover our fate. We need to understand the value of our own soul and this is why we need to form a better relationship with God. When we feel lonely and unloved, we must always remember that God is with us and that He loves and cares about us and He is never far from us. We can talk to Him and seek help from Him and He can help us get better and He has the power to improve our situation. Allah asks us to call on Him for support:

[2.186] And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way.

Humans have an unmatched ability to make their own lives miserable and ruin the lives of others with them. Isn’t it strange how we commit sins against our very own souls and against the people we love and our neighbours and wonder why we feel bad and ashamed or ask why we get punished in this life? The first step to becoming a better person and a better believer who Allah is more likely to help, is to reduce your sinning, right your wrongs and seek repentance from those you wronged and from Allah. Never lose hope in the forgiveness of Allah and pray to Him. It is said that one of the worst sin a person can do, aside from the obvious ascribing partners to Allah (shirk), or disbelieving in Him, is despondence and despair, or losing all hope in God and in His mercy and forgiveness. If we are depressed we may feel hopeless and powerless, but if we lose our trust and faith in Allah then we have committed a great injustice against our very own souls.

The Prophet Muhammed (SAW) has related:

“No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that” [Sahih Bukhari]

We might suffer in this life, but if we are patient and obedient to Allah then He will remove our sins and bless us manifold in the hereafter. If we go through a hard time, and we fight a good fight and we remain patient in adversity, we may come out better people, mentally and spiritually stronger at the end of it. Let us not forget, that there is something good in the bad things that happen to us and we are in far less dire a condition than other people in the world. Other people are dying of terrible diseases, people are watching their friends and family getting hacked to death and others are being tortured while we here are worrying about ourselves. And let us not forget that the most beloved people to Allah suffered some terrible fates � one has only to remember the fate of Imam Hussain ibn Ali (AS) and his family members, including his children, close friends and companions getting slaughtered one after the other, but he never lost trust in Allah and he prayed to Him throughout the massacre. And also of the Prophets of God, like Nuh (Noah), Ayub (Job) and Muhammed (PBUT). All of these holy and most beloved people to God were physically harmed by their enemies, belittled, called liars, became ill and suffered the loss of their own children.

Brothers and sisters, you are not alone and you have people who care about you. There is no shame is seeking help. You have Allah, your family and friends and if you need further help then please speak with your doctor. There are also books, help lines you can telephone (Muslim Youth Helpline 0808 808 2008) and websites you can visit to help you overcome depression inshallah.

I should state that I’m not a therapist of any sort, nor can I give any professional advice, and the aim of this article is to help guide you to seeking professional help if you require it. The statistics and non-religious advice mentioned in the article have been paraphrased from the books I read in researching the subject: Overcoming Depression by Dr Windy Dryden and Sarah Opie, and Overcoming Depression by Paul Gilbert.

Be the change you want to see in the world…

In light of recent events, we have seen ourselves often questioning our duties to fellow human beings around the world. Living in the UK, in comparison to people from other countries, we live a very lavish lifestyle – food, shelter, and our basic rights are all protected. As clich as it may sound, we really DO take it for granted. This semester studying about international justice really took me by surprise. Here I was, a political philosophy student, studying about whether people around the world deserve the same access to basic commodities as we do here. Truth be told, I felt uncomfortable that this issue actually needed to be debated about. In those moments, all I found myself thinking about was dying, starving children in the third world who are being punished literally because of where they were born. I felt like I had the power to juggle their life chances in my hands, yet at the same time, I felt so powerless to actually actively help them. Our birthplace is a luxury, therefore anything we do have, isn’t really “ours”. We see poverty on the television, we hear the news, and we know the statistics…the fact of the matter is, we have become numb to it. But why should we dismiss the deaths and the poor qualities of living standards? As human beings, we have to neglect our superiority, and break down the barriers which have dictated our standards of living. We are all equal, we share the same air, and we see the same sky, therefore we all have a duty to respect everyone’s minimum of basic human rights. Being a moral agent involves you having compassion, and the ability to feel other people’s pain and instinctively want to help. As a global unit, we are moving closer together and exchanging our goods, values and cultures. Within this process, we should also transfer our duties and our helping hands to others. The biggest threat to war and conflict is the peaceful existence of people side by side. So stand in the way of these obstacles and pursue the rights of everyone, because together we’re stronger. In this temporary life, we have one chance to make a change to the world, and ultimately this will determine your future in the hereafter.

The “Arab Spring” uprisings – the stream of blood continues to flow

Arab Spring 3

There were no indications that the subservient people of the Arab nations would ever request a change to the system and rise up against it even when they were denied the most basic of human rights, but to our pleasant surprise they rose up against dictators, against bureaucracy, against the corrupt officials, against murderous villains whose offices had stood unperturbed for 40 years in some cases, and they sacrificed their lives for the sake of their fellow countrymen.  

Arab Spring 3

God has said in the Quran that:

“… Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition…” [13.11]

And indeed the youth in particular, having seen the poverty, humiliation and fear their parents and fellow countrymen lived in, decided to take up the reigns of social responsibility and demand change and better treatment and social justice, their innate human rights and basic respect. And they had the courage and sense to fight for what they believed in and Allah provided them with His support and blessed them with a grand success because they placed their trust in Him.

The dictators, the enemies of God, had they read the words of God, the Quran, would have come upon the story of Prophet Moses (PBUH) and learnt the fate of Pharaoh, and then perhaps they would have considered that they might meet an evil fate as well. They also had the example of Saddam Hussain before that and the other nations as they fell one by one but yet they remained heedless.

“We recite to you from the account of Moses and Pharaoh with truth for people who believe. Surely Pharaoh exalted himself in the land (as their lord) and made its people into groups, weakening one group from among them (in particular); he slaughtered their sons and spared their women; surely he was one of the mischiefmakers. And We desired to bestow a favour upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the leaders, and to make them the heirs, and to grant them power in the land, and to make Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts see from them what they feared.” [28.3 – 6]

Alhamdullilah, the dictators of the Middle East are falling one by one. Let us hope that they come to their senses and stand down of their own accord to stop any unnecessary bloodshed, otherwise their end will be a wretched one and Allah’s punishment more so severe. 

But the battle continues in Yemen, Bahrain and Syria and the blood continues to flow in the streets. In the case of Bahrain, we see that an outside state, Saudi Arabia, has interfered and sent thousands of its troops to support the current rulers to kill any protesters. Young unarmed men posing no physical threat have been being shot in cold blood, possibly by Saudi troops, while the Western countries watch and remain silent. Isn’t it strange to see how they support one uprising, like in Libya, and not another, and they take an ally in Saudi Arabia knowing of their crimes and opposition to “freedom and democracy”. The politicians and newspapers may be silent but let us, the people, do our part and raise awareness of the plight of the people of Bahrain, Yemen and Syria. Use Facebook, Twitter, email and other means to inform your friends of the news and please contact your local MP and have them raise the issue in parliament and then you can say you did your part.

To the rebels: We wish you the best of success in toppling these dictators and bringing freedom, peace and harmony to your lands Inshallah. We salute you for your efforts, and for those of you who have succeeded, we congratulate you for your success. And we pray for all the fallen martyrs who risked everything they hold dear to bring freedom to your nations. Jazakumullah Khair.

Ten years on since 9/11

Ten years on since 9/11

Ten years have passed since those fateful attacks on the twin towers in New York, America. The world is a very different place now from what it may have been had the attacks not happened. The US has led two costly wars since the attacks and we, the citizens of all the countries involved, have had to pay the price with our children, our money, and for the losers of those wars, their sovereignty.

Everyone can remember where they were when the attacks occured. I was in Iraq at the time and my cousin pointed at the TV and told me that planes had crashed into the twin towers. At first I didn’t believe it and thought it was like a clip from some Hollywood movie but the reality was much more horrifying and the consequences of the attacks would be far more resounding than I or anyone else could have ever imagined.

It was only when this incident had occurred that the ugly head of terrorism and islamaphobia became apparent to me and to the 1.5 Billion Muslims in the world. With one swift action, 1.5 Billion Muslims were painted with the same brush and labelled terrorists. The American media machine didn’t pause to breathe and continually spewed out hatred for Islam and the Muslims. Muslims became pariahs wherever they were, whoever they were, be they young or old, male or female, rich or poor, educated or not and school and work colleagues, people who we met every day, were friends with, knew us very well, met us with distrust having suddenly associated us with the murderers who flew those planes into the towers. Terrorism and all things associated with it was alien to us and our religion but somehow we were now made associates of a crime we had nothing to do with.

The 9/11 attacks were a wakeup call to Muslims across the world we had had our eyes closed to the enemies in our midst. Somehow, a disease had spread within our social fabric and we had not noticed it till now, and when we did take notice, we did not understand it until we began to pay the price for our ignorance. These “terrorists” began to kill Muslims. It started off with individual suicide bombings and car bombings in public places in Afghanistan, but they were attacking Afghani citizens, including women and children, not the occupier. Then when the Americans manufactured a case for war on Iraq, they grew more dastardly, and the terrorists started to kidnap, rape, torture, steal from and massacre anyone they could lay their hands on. Tribal leaders who had initially welcomed these terrorists in because they saw them as freedom fighters against the American occupation soon realised their grave mistake when they themselves and their people became the targets and were being killed off in droves as the power-mad terrorists clambered for the authority and governance of their hosts. They eventually realised that terrorists are not just the enemies of America, or the West in general, but they were enemies of Islam and the Muslims and anybody who didn’t believe in what they believed.

It seems like a blink of an eye but ten years has now passed. Millions have lost their lives most of them innocent Muslims, no thanks to the callous acts of a few who thought themselves devout Muslims and the ensuing American war machine and its associates. Let us never forget that we are in this situation because of a few people who claimed to be devout Muslims yet broke all the rules and murdered innocent people, including innocent Muslims. Today they will be commemorating and paying tribute to the 3000 innocent men and women who lost their lives at the towers in America, but who will be holding a memorial for the hundreds of thousands of non-American victims of global terrorism and American wars after that? Let us never forget the innocent victims of their crimes, the 3000 who died at the towers, the Afghani and Iraqi civilians, and the people who have been attacked around the world in such places as Pakistan, India, Spain and the UK. Please recite a prayer for our fellow deceased brethren, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

Choose Your Friends Wisely

Choose Your Friends

Perhaps the most important thing, the thing we hold dear to us after God and our family are our friends, and the influence our friends have on us is not something negligible. There is a lot to consider when we choose our friends as this article will briefly convey.

Humans are naturally social creatures and we tend to try and find other people, groups to belong to – usually people who we share some interests, have things in common or can communicate easily with. This is why lasting friendships tend to lie within racial, cultural, social and religious boundaries, though it is not rare for people to have really good friends who don’t belong to their own community.

When we hear about peer pressure we don’t like to admit that we have been affected because we believe we are not so easily influenced, but our friends have a great impact on how we turn out as we get older. Sometimes it’s a bad influence and sometimes it’s very good but do we pay attention to these things growing up?

If you remember back to your days in school, the people who were friends with “the smokers”, for example, and hung around with them, more than likely ended up becoming smokers themselves. As young people, we yearn for acceptance and being liked so we end up doing things that aren’t right or good – the feeling of belonging is sometimes stronger than knowing that something is wrong and we tend to forget our stances if all our friends’ hold different opinions to us.

This is why, when choosing a friend, it is important to gauge the values of that person before you get sucked into their circle of friends and get negatively influenced and/or hurt. There a number of things to remember when first choosing a friend – what are their values? Are they trustworthy and truthful? do they flaunt the rules, lie, cheat, commit many sins, disrespect their parents, bully or mock other people, backbite, have bad manners  and use foul language? Do they respect you and your beliefs and values?

It might seem strange but a lot of people are friends with people who do not respect them or their values and mistreat them. You cannot be true friends with someone who treats you badly and disrespects you so you must break off the friendship. Choose friends who like you for who you are and don’t cause you trouble.

More than just being normal friends, a good friend can make you a better person and inspire you to do good things. You can tell a good person had good friends growing up because they do good things and are well mannered. Choose friends who are not only kind to you, but who inspire you to do good things like getting involved with charity, improving your community, increasing your knowledge, remind you of God and pray, and improve your future prospects in this life and the next.

The Prophet Muhammed (SAW) defines a good friend in these words: 

“He is the one whose very sight makes you remember God, whose conversation increases your knowledge and whose deeds remind you of the world in the Hereafter.” (Behar al-Anwar, v15 p51)

A good friend can enter you into the kingdom of heaven and a bad friend can lead you into the fires of hell, so choose your friends wisely.

How did the spread of Islam affect the World?

Among the reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam was the simplicity of its doctrine – Islam calls for faith in only one God worthy of worship. It also repeatedly instructs man to use his powers of intelligence and observation.

Within a few years, great civilizations and universities were flourishing, for according to the Prophet, ‘seeking knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim man and woman’. The synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas and of new thought with old, brought about great advances in medicine, mathematics, physics, astronomy, geography, architecture, art, literature, and history. Many crucial systems such as algebra, the Arabic numerals, and also the concept of the zero (vital to the advancement of mathematics), were transmitted to medieval Europe from Islam. Sophisticated instruments which were to make possible the European voyages of discovery were developed, including the astrolabe, the quadrant and good navigational maps.

Unlike Christianity where religion and science are two separate elements, the study of science has always been compatible with Islam. The Islamic ability to reconcile monotheism and science proves to be the first time in human thought that theology, philosophy, and science were finally harmonized in a unified whole. Thus the magnitude of their pioneering contributions were enormous, considering its effect upon scientific and philosophic thought and upon the theology of later times.

The Islamic empires, in the early 6th centuries, were the inheritors of the scientific tradition of late antiquity. They preserved it, elaborated it, and finally, passed it to Europe. This time period, which was Europe’s dark ages, were, for Muslim scholars, a time of philosophical and scientific discovery and development. The Arabs at the time not only assimilated the ancient wisdom of Persia, and the classical heritage of Greece, but adapted their own distinctive needs and ways of thinking. Muslim scholars studied the ancient civilizations from Greece and Rome to China and India. The works of Aristotle, Ptolemy, Euclid and others were translated into Arabic. Muslim scholars and scientists then added their own creative ideas, discoveries and inventions, and finally transmitted this new knowledge to Europe, leading directly to the Renaissance. Many scientific and medical treatises, having been translated into Latin, were standard text and reference books as late as the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe.

Within a few years, great civilizations and universities were flourishing, for according to the Prophet, ‘seeking knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim man and woman’. The outcome is shown in the spread of Islamic universities; Al-Zaytunah in Tunisia, and Al-Azhar in Cairo go back more than 1000 years and are the oldest existing universities in the world. Indeed, they were the models for the first European universities, such as Bologna, Heidelberg, and the Sorbonne. Even the familiar academic cap and gown originated at Al-Azhar University. The synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas and of new thought with old, brought about great advances in medicine, mathematics, physics, astronomy, geography, architecture, art, literature, and history.

During the period in Spain (known to the Muslims as Andalus), it was the golden age of Islam whereas Europe was steeped in the dark ages. Within two hundred years the Muslims had turned Andalus into a bastion of culture, commerce and beauty. Irrigation systems imported from Syria and Arabia turned the dry plains into an agricultural cornucopia. Olives and wheat had always grown there. The Arabs added pomegranates, oranges, lemons, aubergines, artichokes, cumin, coriander, bananas, almonds, henna, woad, madder, saffron, sugar-cane, cotton, rice, figs, grapes, peaches, apricots and rice. It became the intellectual centre of Europe There was nothing like it, at that epoch, in the rest of Europe. The best minds in that continent looked to Spain for everything.

Does Islam tolerate other Beliefs?

The Qur’an says:

“God forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not for (your) faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them; for God loveth those who are just.” (Qur’an, 60:8)

It is one function of Islamic law to protect the privileged status of minorities, and this is why non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world. History provides many examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths: when the caliph Omar entered Jerusalem in the year 634, Islam granted freedom of worship to all religious communities in the city.

Islam is the religion of all prophets. Muslims believe that all the prophets were sent to their respective peoples from God. They all had the same mission and message guiding people to the worshipping of One God. The three revealed monotheistic religions, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, go back to the Prophet Abraham (PBUH).

Therefore, Christians and Jews hold a special place in Islam. They are called the People of the Book, since the original Torah and Gospel were also divinely revealed and they shared in the prophetic tradition. Islamic states have shown their religious minorities tolerance and respect and those communities flourished under Islamic rule. God says in the Qur’an:

“… Those who believe (in the message of Islam), and the Jews, the
Sabaeans and the Christians – all those who believe in Allah and
the Last Day and act righteously – no fear shall come upon them…” (5:69)

Setting up the Islamic state in Madinah, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) further warned:

“Whoever oppresses any Dhimmi (non-Muslim citizen of the Islamic state), I shall be his prosecutor on the Day of Judgement.”

In setting up the Islamic state, Prophet Muhammad included the Arabian Jews and Christians. Their persons, properties, churches and synagogues were protected, freedom of worship was guaranteed and they controlled their own community affairs with their own civil and religious laws and courts. For most of the first century of the Islamic state, in fact, the majority of the citizens were Christians enjoying peace and liberty such us they had not had even under Christian Rome or Byzantium. When the Islamic state expanded outside Arabia the Jews of other lands were treated for the first time as liberated citizens, Judaism flourished as never before, with Jews even serving in Muslim armies and administrations while their culture bloomed in the arts, sciences, medicine and philosophy. This knowledge they transmitted to their brethren in the hostile climate of Christian Europe.

When Islam reached Persia the concept of the People of the Book was extended to the Zoroastrians as well. Later, when the Muslims conquered parts of India and encountered Buddhists and Hindus, who appeared to worship idols, the question was referred to the ulema’ (council of scholars) who judged that even they could have the same protected status as the Jews and Christians. Marmaduke Pickthall (1927) commented:

“Innumerable monasteries, with a wealth of treasure of which the worth
has been calculated at not less than a hundred million sterling, enjoyed
the benefit of the Holy Prophet Muhummed’s Charter to the monks of
Sinai and were religiously respected by the Muslims. The various sects of
Christians were represented in the Council of the Empire by their
patriarchs, on the provincial and district council by their bishops, in the
village council by their priests, whose word was always taken without
question on things which were the sole concern of their community.
The tolerance within the body of Islam was and is, something without
parallel in history: class, race and colour ceasing altogether to be barriers”

Islamic law ensures the privileged status of minorities, and this is why non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world. History provides many examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths: when the caliph Omar entered Jerusalem in the year 634, Islam granted freedom of worship to all religious communities in the city. History bears testimony to the tolerance of Islam to all the religions of the world.

How does Islam guarantee Human Rights?

Freedom of conscience is laid down by the Qur’an itself:

“There is no compulsion in religion” (2:256)

The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred whether a person is Muslim or not. Racism is incomprehensible to Muslims, for the Qur’an speaks of human equality in the following terms:

“O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one Another. Truly, the most honoured of you In God’s sight Is the greatest of you in piety. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (49:13)

Islam has been from its inception very concerned with issues of human rights, privacy, freedom, dignity and equality are guaranteed in Islam. The holy Qur’an states clearly:

“Let them be not compulsion in religion; Truth stands
out clear from Error… ” (2:256)

And there are no reliable reports to confirm the old accusations that when the Muslim armies were expanding into Asia, Africa and Europe the people were put to the sword if they failed to convert to Islam. The best proof is that not only did the Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and Hindus in those areas not perish or otherwise disappear, they actually flourished as protected minority communities and many individuals rose to prominent positions in the arts, sciences, even in government.

De Lacy O’ Leary commented:

“History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims, sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of a sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.” (Islam at Crossroads. London (1923) page 8)

The lives, property and privacy of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred, whether or not the person is Muslim. Non-Muslims have freedom of worship and the practice of their religions, including their own family law and religious courts. They are obliged to pay a different tax (Jizyah) instead of the Zakah, and the state is obligated to provide both protection and government services. Before the modern era it was extremely rare to find a state or government anywhere in the world that was as solicitous of its minorities and their civil rights as the Islamic states.

In no other religion did women receive such a degree of legal and moral equality and personal respect. Moreover, racism and tribalism are incompatible with Islam, for the Qur’an speaks of human equality in the following terms:

“O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may come to know one Another. 
Truly, the most honoured of you in God’s sight is the greatest of you in piety.” (49:13)

Justice is a fundamental tenet of Islam as the Qur’an 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. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear
Allah. Verily, Allah is Well Acquainted with what you do.” (5:8)

It is not permissible to oppress women’s honour, and chastity are to be respected under all circumstances, the hungry must be fed, the naked clothed, and the wounded or diseased given medical treatment regardless of their pro- or anti-Muslim sentiments and activities.