Praise be to Allah.
We appreciate your frankness and your courage in sending this question, and we are very happy to answer it. Our hearts and the heart of every Muslim are filled with mercy and compassion towards all of creation, believers and disbelievers, male and female, young and old, white and black. All of them are the children of Adam, and Adam was created from dust. So the humanity that unites us reminds us Muslims that our father Adam (peace be upon him) was expelled from Paradise as a result of his sin, and that results in trials for his progeny so long as this world remains. The one who adheres to the innate, sound human nature of monotheism, to which Adam (peace be upon him) adhered, will be victorious and will be saved, and he will return to his original home which is eternal Paradise with the Lord of the Worlds. But those of the progeny of Adam who are diverted by whims and desires and other distractions will suffer true loss and will be deprived of returning to the eternal Paradise from which our father Adam (peace be upon him) was expelled.
Our Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:
“O people, Your Lord is One and your father is one. There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, or of a non-Arab over an Arab, or of a white man over a black man, or of a black man over a white man, except in terms of taqwa (piety, God-consciousness).”
A saheeh (sound) hadeeth, narrated by Ahmad in his Musnad, no. 23489.
It is from this point that our relationship with you begins, and it is with this philosophy that the Muslim is required to look at all of creation, that they are prisoners of their own evil inclinations and the Shaytaan (Satan), who are their real enemies, and it is essential to help all of them to escape from these bonds by means of believing in Allah, the One and Only, the Unique, the Eternal, Absolute, Who begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none like unto Him. This is the way to freedom, and this is the message of all of His noble Prophets.
This is how our Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was; he shed tears and his heart was broken out of compassion and sorrow for those who did not believe in him and did not join his caravan that would take them back to their original home for which they were created and from which they were expelled, which is Paradise. That great compassion that filled the heart of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) deserved to be recorded by Allah in the Holy Qur’an, where He said (interpretation of the meaning): “Perhaps you would kill yourself (O Muhammad) in grief, over them (for their turning away from you), because they believe not in this narration (the Quran)” [al-Kahf 18:6] i.e., perhaps your grief for them would destroy you.
See Tafseer al-Qur’an al-‘Azeem, 5/137
We do not hate you personally. How could we hate you when we do not know you and have never met you; we could never despise you for your colour, your race or your family. All of that is forbidden to us, to love or hate people because of their colour, lineage or forebears. Rather our hatred and enmity is directed towards the disbelief and atheism that you carry in your heart and will soon destroy you and lead you to the eternal punishment of Allah, and that will bring upon you misery in this world and in the hereafter. We feel very sorry for you because of this misery and we are striving to save you from it; we wish that we could do that!
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah has taken away your pride of Jaahiliyyah (ignorance) and your boasting about your forefathers. One is only a righteous believer or a doomed evildoer. You are the sons of Adam and Adam was created from dust. Men should stop boasting about their forefathers, who are no more than the coal of Hell, or they will certainly be more insignificant before Allah than the beetle that rolls dung with its nose.”
A saheeh (sound) hadeeth, narrated by Abu Dawood (5116) et al.
We think that you will agree with us that all humans are free to believe in and to love or hate any idea or belief. This is one of the freedoms that are guaranteed by modern constitutions. But no human being has the right to mistreat those who differ from him in belief by wronging them, annoying them or betraying them, or trying to cause them harm, just because of the differences in belief between them.
If you were living among Muslims who truly adhere to Islam, you would be living a good and happy life, and you would have the rights brought by Islamic law over fourteen hundred years ago, which are not surpassed by the rights brought by modern civil societies. At that time the earth was filled with oppression and tyranny that trampled upon human dignity. The first of these rights is the right to follow the beliefs that you choose, as is the view of many of the jurists and scholars. Ibn al-‘Arabi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: All of our scholars said that the jizyah (a form of tax paid by non-Muslims in return which they are granted protection and freedom of worship by the Islamic state) is to be taken from every disbeliever, and this is the correct view. End quote from Ahkaam al-Qur’an, 1/156; there is a similar remark in Tafseer al-Qurtubi (8/110). If your belief is Judaism or Christianity or Zoroastrianism, then you have complete freedom according to the consensus of the jurists. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “There is no compulsion in religion” [al-Baqarah 2:256].
If you lived among Muslims, you would be safe from any harm by any means. The Prophet of Islam Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever kills a mu‘aahad (non-Muslim living under Islamic rule) will never smell the fragrance of Paradise, although its fragrance may be detected from a distance of forty years.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 6914.
If you lived among Muslims, you and all of your property would be safe against any transgression. The Prophet of Islam Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) disavowed anyone who transgresses against non-Muslims.
If you lived among Muslims and you fell sick or were stricken by harm or calamity, they would hasten to visit you and they would support you in the hope of reward from Allah, may He be glorified and exalted. They would always be eager to save you from the Fire even if you were on your deathbed, at which time you would have no power to cause them harm or bring them benefit. In such a situation they would not hope for anything from you except what they would hope for you now when you are healthy, which is that Allah should save you from the Fire.
Have you not heard the report from the Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that he had a Jewish servant who served him and he treated him kindly? He (the Jewish boy) fell sick, so the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) came to visit him. He sat by his head and said to him: “Become Muslim.” (The boy) looked at his father, who was there with him, and he said to him: Obey Abu’l-Qaasim [i.e., the Prophet] (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). So he became Muslim, and the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) left, saying: “Praise be to Allah Who has saved him from the Fire.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no.1356
If you lived among Muslims, society would allocate to you a monthly stipend to help you with living costs. In the covenant that Khaalid ibn al-Waleed wrote for the people of al-Heerah in Iraq, who were Christians, it says: “I allocate to them: for any old man who is incapable of working or who has been stricken by calamity, or who was independent of means and then became poor and his coreligionists start giving charity to him, the jizyah is waived and a stipend is to be given to him and his dependents from the bayt al-maal (treasury) of the Muslims.”
End quote from al-Kharaaj by Abu Yoosuf, p. 144.
The title that may be given to the mission of our Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) in brief is: mercy. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “And We have sent you (O Muhammad) not but as a mercy for the worlds” [al-Anbiya’ 21:107]. And Allah knows best.
And our Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said of himself: “O people, I am but a mercy that has been bestowed.” Narrated by ad-Daarimi, 15; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.
If we were to quote examples of Islamic tolerance throughout the history of the Islamic state, that would fill dozens of pages. If you would like to read and study further, you could read the book by Prof. ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez entitled Samaahat al-Islam (Islamic Tolerance), published by al-Maktabah adh-Dhahabiyyah and Maktabat al-Adeeb.
We ask Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, to guide you and open your heart.