What are a Muslims obligations towards non-Muslims whether they reside in Muslim countries or whether the Muslims themselves reside in non-Muslim countries? I would like to know about the obligations in all dealings with them, starting from initiating the Salaam to celebrating non-Muslim holidays with them. I would also like to know if is it permissible to have a non-Muslim friend at work? Benefit us, may Allaah reward you.
There are a number of issues that are legislated for Muslims in relation to non-Muslims, from amongst them are:
Firstly: To call them to Allaah (?? ???) by calling them to the religion of Allaah and explaining the reality of Islaam to them if you are able to and if you have Baseerah. This is the greatest and most important form of beneficence that a Muslim can provide to his country men and those around him from the Jews, Christians and other polytheists due to the saying of the Prophet (??? ???? ???? ????):
The guide to good [deeds] attains an equal reward to those who act upon that good. Narrated by Al Imaam Muslim.
This is also due to his saying (??? ???? ???? ????) to Ali who he sent him to Khaybar and ordered him to call to Islaam, he said:
By Allaah, if Allaah were to guide one man through you, this would be better for you than the best of camels. Agreed upon its authenticity by Bukharee and Muslim.
He (??? ???? ???? ????) also said:
Whoever calls to guidance will attain an equal amount of reward as those who follow him without their rewards decreasing at all, and whoever calls to misguidance will receive an equal amount of sin as those who follow him without there sins decreasing at all. Reported by Muslim.
Therefore, calling them to the religion of Allaah, conveying Islaam to them and advising them is from amongst the most important of affairs and from amongst the greatest ways in seeking to get closer to Allaah.
Secondly: It is not permissible for Muslims to transgress upon non-Muslims, not in their person, their wealth or their reputations if they are formal residents in a Muslim country, have a treaty with Muslims or are under Muslim protection, rather they must be given their rights. Muslims must not transgress upon non-Muslims by stealing from, betraying or cheating them in their wealth. Likewise they mustnt physically transgress upon them by hitting them and so on. Because the fact that a non-Muslim is a resident, under treaty or protection secures him from that.
Thirdly: There is nothing to prevent Muslims from dealing with non-Muslims in relation to buying, selling, renting and so on. It has been authentically narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (??? ???? ???? ????) bought items from Jews and had similar dealings with them, he (??? ???? ???? ????) passed away leaving his breast plate as collateral with a Jew for food that he had bought from him.
Fourthly: In relation to Salaam, a Muslim must not initiate it with a non-Muslim due to the saying of the Prophet (??? ???? ???? ????):
Do not initiate Jews or Christians with Salaam. Narrated by Imaam Muslim.
He also said:
If the people of the book greet you with Salaam, then reply by saying: Wa Alaykum (and upon you as well).
So a Muslim does not initiate the Salaam with a non-Muslim, however he should reply by saying: Wa Alaykum due to the saying to the Prophet (??? ???? ???? ????):
If the people of the book greet you with Salaam then say: Wa Alaykum. Agreed upon its authenticity by Bukharee and Mulsim.
These are some rights related to Muslims and non-Muslims. From amongst them as well is being beneficent to non-Muslim neighbors and not harming them, you should give them charity if they are needy, give them gifts and advice them in what benefits them because this will cause them to be intrested in Islaam and make them want to enter into it. Neighbors have rights, the Prophet (??? ???? ???? ????) said:
The angel Jibreel continued to instruct me in regards to neighbors until I thought they would be granted the rights of inheritance. Agreed upon its authenticity.
If neighbors are non-Muslim, they have the rights of neighborhood. If they are non-Muslim relatives they now have two rights; the rights of neighbors and the rights of relatives. It is permissible for Muslims to give Sadaqah from other than their Zakaat money to their non-Muslim neighbors and other than them if they are amongst those who are not in a state of war with Muslims. This is due to the saying of Allaah (?????):
Allaah does not forbid from dealing justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Indeed Allaah loves those who deal with equity. [Al Mumtahanah: 8]
This is also due to an authentic Hadeeth reported on the authority of Asmaa bint Abu Bakr (??? ???? ?????), that her mother, while she was a polytheist, came to visit her in Madeenah during the treaty of Hudaybiyah because she was in need of help. So Asmaa asked the Prophet (??? ???? ???? ????) and he replied:
Be kind to her.
As for Zakaat, there is nothing that prevents Muslims from giving it to those amongst the non-Muslims whom they wish to conciliate with in order to draw them to Islaam due to the saying of Allaah (?? ???):
As-Sadaqaat (Zakaat) is only to be given to the needy, the poor, those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islaam)... [At Taubah: 60]
As for joining non-Muslims in celebrating their holidays, it is not permissible for a Muslim to do so.