Allah azza wa jal said about the Muslims:
You [Muslims] are the best (most beneficial) of people ever raised up for (the benefit of) all mankind; you enjoin Al—Ma’ruf (all that is good) and forbid Al—Munkar (all that is evil), and you believe in Allah.
A’al Imraan 3:110
So it is enjoined upon the Muslim to strive to be beneﬁcial to all mankind, irrespective of race, ethnicity, color, class, social status, gender, religion or nationality. Justice is
primary and supreme in Islam and justice means the absence of all discrimination. In Islam therefore in terms of people and their rights there is no differentiation between
Muslim and non-Muslim. They are all entitled to the same privileges and beneﬁts equally before law. In Islam the law is supreme, not the individual. Rasoolullah salallahu alaihi wa sallam who was the lawmaker (on behalf of Allah azza wa jal) was himself subject to the same law and didn’t consider himself or his family to be above the law. This is one of the major differences between Islam’s concept of rulership and the concepts of the Divine Right of Kings and similar ideologies. In Islam the ruler is
not above the law and can be taken to task for violating the law. There are numerous examples in history of how this was followed with integrity by pious Muslim rulers.
In Islam there are two kinds of duties that a Muslim is obliged to fulﬁll: Duties towards Allah azza wa jal (called Huqooq ullah — Rights of Allah azza wa jal and Duties towards the people (Huqooq-ul-ibaad — Rights of the people).
Rasoolullah salallahu alaihi wa sallam said: ’If someone doesn’t fulﬁll the rights of Allah azza wa jal, he may still be forgiven because Allah azza wa jal ; is free from all want and need. But if someone doesn’t fulﬁll the rights of the people he will not be forgiven unless the person forgives him ﬁrst.’ It must be remembered that for this purpose i.e. fulﬁlling the rights of people, Islam doesn’t differentiate between Muslim and non-Muslim. All people have the same rights depending on their roles. For example the rights of parents on a child are the same whether the parents are Muslim or not. The child must respect them, be kind to them, support them and obey them in every respect except when they tell him to do something that Islam prohibits; like worshiping others than Allah azza wa jal.
Allah azza wa jal said: Because of that We ordained for the Children of Israel (and all mankind) that if anyone killed a person, not in retaliation for murder, or (and) for spreading mischief in the land — it would be as if he killed all mankind; and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.
Rasoolullah salallahu alaihi wa sallam said: Whoever has wronged his brother with regards to his honor or anything else should seek pardon now before the time when either dinar nor dirham will be of any beneﬁt. At that time if he has good deeds an amount equal to the evil will be taken but if he has none, sins from the wronged person will be taken and put on him.
Rasoolullah salallahu alaihi wa sallam said: ’Beware of the curse of the oppressed for surely there is no veil between him and Allah azza wa jal (Related in Sahih Bukhari).
Rasoolullah salallahu alaihi wa sallam is reported to have said that it is more virtuous to give a person an interest free loan than to give him that amount as charity. When he was asked why it was more virtuous to give a loan which you would expect to be returned compared to charity which is a gift, he replied, ’Because you give the loan when he needs it and the charity when you feel like giving it.’ Justice and compassion are inextricably linked. It is compassion to ensure that the victim of a crime gets justice. Islam therefore places more importance on the rights of the victim than on so-called human rights of the criminal who unilaterally decided to violate the human rights of the victim in the ﬁrst place. Modern society seems to have lost its balance in this among many other matters and so its punishments don’t deter criminals from continuing their activities.
Ask anyone who has been the victim of violent crime what he or she thinks about the idea of exemplary punishments which discourage potential aspirants and you will ﬁnd that they will all agree with the Divine Islamic punishments which may seem harsh only when looked at in isolation without any reference to the holistic law of cause and effect.
In the light of all these teachings and Ayaat of the Qur’an it is clear that Islam places a very high premium on justice because it is only when justice is established that one can have peace, harmony and safety for everyone. That is the reason why for centuries ]ews, Christians and Hindus lived in peace and harmony and great prosperity under Muslim rule. Many of them rose to great heights in government, business and academics while still remaining in their own religions. In the rule of the Khilaafa Raashida and the rule of pious Muslim rulers anywhere in the world, there was no persecution of non-Muslims on account of their religion. History is witness to this. Muslim rulers who persecuted anyone on account of their religion were acting against the tenets of Islam. Islam is not answerable for their conduct. They are answerable to Allah azza wa jal; for violating Islamic law and will pay the price.
There was and is no compulsion on anyone to enter Islam. If anyone enters Islam, he does so because he is convinced that Islam is the truth and he wants to believe in it and to live by its laws.
The most impressive example of treating even enemies well comes, not surprisingly, from the life of Rasoolullah salallahu alaihi wa sallam himself. At the time that Makkah was conquered the conduct of Rasoolullah salallahu alaihi wa sallam’s soldiers became a source of inspiration for those who they vanquished. People who
were vanquished saw the way Rasoolullah salallahu alaihi wa sallam entered Makkah, not arrogantly as a victor but with his head lowered in submission to His Rabb.
Thanking Him for the victory, granting amnesty and protection to his erstwhile enemies who had persecuted him so mercilessly and not exacting revenge which is what they expected him to do. This is the ﬁnest example of how Muslims live with others and the reason why Islam spread all over the world so quickly— because Islam and Muslims won the hearts of others. This was the secret of the Companions of Rasoolullah salallahu alaihi wa sallam and it must become our way today.